Marcus McCullough and his partner Alfred Scott have purchased the nightclub "Pandora" and rebranded and renamed it as "The Pandora's Box". "The Box" is a mainstream club with Goth overtones. The Duty Manager is Jason "Jay" Millberger.
This play session saw the introduction of the fourth player of the game Philip Blalock.
Play opened on the evening of Friday October 28th. Everything was normal in the Blue Sword. A group of lawyers was on an evening out, Josiah Baum sat at his corner table and Marcus McCullough was keeping an eye on his bar. A young girl headed for the bar screamed and collapsed in the middle of the club. Security, Marcus and Josh rushed to her aid. The young girl muttered incoherently including something about a man with a spider's head at the bar. She then lapsed in to unconsciousness and was carried in to the back office where she was found to be a Lucy White.
The paramedics were summoned and confirmed the staff's suspicions — Lucy had taken the new designer drug Lysomethaden. Philip Doggin accompanied Lucy to the hospital, but it was discovered that Lucy was a student from London and her family would not make it to York before morning. During his Vigil the young girl came roundm locked eyes with Philip and recited the following…
"The Shadowed one will claim from you and yours,
The seer will strike at the keeper of secrets,
The blade of ice shall sunder the city,
Its keepers shall unite or fall."
Lucy died with those words. Philip informed the Sword staff the following day. Philip went to see local occultist Josh Baum regarding the symbolism. Josh informed Philip that it was too vague to have any coherent meaning.
That night the group found themselves at two very different parties. Marcus and Philip Blalock were invited to the masquerade of a Miss Louise Chamberlain, a high society event where York's cultural elite were assembled. Philip Doggin and Michael Henderson were invited by the McCullough Scott Partnership to attend the opening Halloween party at "Pandora's Box". Both parties were going well, the guests at Miss. Chamberlain's event met up with familiar voices, Josiah Baum and Jonathan Strange. They were introduced to Miss Christine LeFey a young lady known to Mr. Baum and Mr. Alfred Scott.
Unfortunately this good time could not last and at about half ten the first of the clubbers at Pandora's box collapsed — within about fifteen minutes six student club goers were dead. Again the Paramedics were called out and the Ambulance crews were soon removing the bodies as the Police took statements.
The York Herald carried the following story on Monday.
Panic at Pandora's
A joyous occasion turned to tragedy on Saturday night. The newly re-opened nightclub Pandora's Box was the site of the largest drugs related fatality in York's history. Six partygoers died from Mask. The source of the drug is unclear and police are asking anyone who knows anything to come forward. Chief Constable Allan Jackson said today "The source of this poison will be found and dammed for the good of all"
The York Herald 31/10/05
With this Michael felt it was time to investigate the source of Mask and it's availability. Phil Doggin looked at the drug itself finding a complete synthesis after a few days work on the net. This document was taken to Josh to have a look at — the young occultist said he'd get a friend to have a look at it.
Several calm days followed. During this time Marcus enjoyed some peace in his club. Phillip Doggin sold some comics but Michael Henderson went out in search of some illegal drugs in particular Lysomethaden. After some talking and a couple of hundred pounds passing hands Mr. Henderson had two Ecstasy tablets and one gram of Lysomethaden. Some of this was sent to Josh's friend as well. Josh reported to Phil that some of the synthesis resembled alchemical rather than chemical synthesis. The structure also apparently had regions that appeared to be similar to Hermetic symbols.
Following some consultation with Mr. Blalock, Michael decided that the police should receive data on Lysomethaden from an anonymous source and so Hoffamn associates would hand over the data. The York Herald also carried the following story of note.
Noted chemist Dr Rudolph Franzusov was found dead at the offices of Psychopharm on Tuesday morning. Dr Franzusov was the project leader on the companies work on anti-depressants. He leaves behind him his widow Laura and two children.
The York Herald 2/11/05
That night a black holdall was deposited at the rear entrance to the Sword. The contents several box files and DVD-ROMs of data from Psychopharm relating to an experimental drug PSX-569 A.K.A. Lysomethaden. Some frantic photocopier use followed, as did data copying. A copy of the data was sent to Josh's friend for analysis.
Michael, in the mean time, decided to investigate a local drugs dealer "Marv", and Jonathan Moriarty, who worked for Legal and General insurance agents. Convinced that all was quiet Michael attempted a little front door larceny (and succeeded) the pair entered the town house. Despite a good search and a data hack the team came away with a lot of encrypted files but nothing that linked him to any illegal dealings save for a lease on a property elsewhere in the city.
Michael hired Steven Glenn, a private investigator, to look in to the house. Glenn came back with the fact that the house was being used as a drugs den. Some research in to the house revealed it to be the property of a Mr. Edward Coward.
Phil Doggin received a phone call from Josh telling him to come to an industrial unit that night as his associate had made a break through. By the time Phil and Michael arrived at the makeshift chemistry lab Josh's associate was dead and Josh was dying. The lab's computer system was rapidly crashing but it appeared that the data files on the DVD's were clinical studies of Lysomethaden. The analysis suggested that mushroom extracts were needed for the synthesis.
The two took Josh to hospital, having removed any identifying paperwork, and said that they had found him mugged. With Josh safe the pair removed his car from the scene and left the matter for discovery.
Michael asked Mr. Glenn to investigate the warehouses also owned by Edward Coward. Glenn arranged a meeting with Henderson. By the time Henderson arrived Glenn was sat dead on a bench by the river clutching a note. The note read:
I would appreciate you keeping your nose out of my affairs
The note was signed only with an eye symbol.
The team decided that after some research in to Psychopharm and discovering that Doctor Patrick Gale had just been dismissed from service. An investigation in to one of the warehouses was warranted it was felt — one armed with a video camera.
It was discovered that the warehouse was growing the mushrooms and producing the drug. It was staffed by Dr. Patrick Gale who was chattering away — his mind broken by something. The party sabotaged the apparatus and ran for their lives, by interfere I mean ruptured the gas supply and allowed it to ignite. In the resulting fire Dr. Gale was lost and the lab destroyed.
The group took refuge in Josh's shop until daybreak; Josh himself was still in hospital. When Marcus returned to the Sword the following day a final revelation remained. The Blue Sword itself had been stolen.
To be continued in the next instalment.