Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mason's Diary, pt. 1

Because of possible legal concerns, I have decided to document my daily activities in hopes of providing a written record of my mental state, my investigative activities and perhaps some clues for the police or other investigators in the event of my demise.

My name is Samuel Mason, I am a writer.

Since July of 2001, I have found myself involved with a group of “heroes.”
I use the quotations because they sometimes are less like Time Magazine presents them and more like a large dysfunctional family. Very caring, but very opinionated and not always in agreement.

Since having helped them in some small way in a Canadian manner, I have found they sometimes desperately need my skills, if not my opinion.

Since 9/11 and the information we found then, I have felt drawn to this group by the secrets we have in common. They have a wonderful view upon such a strange and fantastic world, I suspect that the inspiration will be worth some of the danger…but I digress.

Having been present at the riot/altercation between the white supremacist supers White Lightning and Carnivore against the African American super Brother Hood & the Forty Knights street gang, I decided that it would be a good idea to try and help resolve the situation by infiltrating the supremacist group lead by Marshall Endicott. To this end I have taken a job within a “racially friendly” trucking company as a union delivery driver, Michael Wilkinson.

Michael was born 12/15/1973 in Oklahoma City, OK and until moving to Los Angeles 11 months ago had never excelled at any thing in his life. He was an average student from a slightly broken home; mother re-married when he was 12, went out for football but hardly played.
His introduction to the “life-style” was as the result of his father, who had always exhibited a low-grade racism because of various affirmative action programs which always seemed to go against him at the local Bandag plant. When Mike’s mother re-married one of the plant managers who supported the programs, his dislike of Mike’s father combined with his father’s opinion of the manager pushed his rebellious teenage mind towards a dislike of change and anything ‘different.’
Mike drifted from one labor job to another until one night…

He was playing Texas Hold-‘Em in his local watering hole when everything happened. Sitting across from him was what he thought was a normal human, maybe Mexican or one of those freakish mulatto types whose mothers didn’t have enough sense to stay within their own race. Thoughts like those must have been the reason why he had a headache all night ‘cause the place wasn’t as smoky as other nights.

He was sitting on 4th street with 2 pair, thinking about his bet.
The chink had bet heavy off the deal, probably holding Big Slick, and hadn’t slowed down. Everyone else had dropped out either pre-flop or after, but Mike suited 9-8 had reaped the benefits of the flop of K-9-8. But the chink had kept up the betting, as if his hand was made. Since there wasn’t a flush on the board, the best that Mike could see was 4 to a possible straight, or a K-9 pair, but betting a K-9 as heavy as that from the deal would have been dumb. This has to be a bluff, he thought.
4th Street showed a 4th suit on the board with a deuce attached. The chink bet and re-raised up to the table limit. Mike considered the likelihood of K-9 being down in front of the chink. He had played big all night long, but had cashed in each time.
His luck can’t run forever and he can’t be playing anything on this hand, Mike finally decided, calling.
The River turned up another 8. Full house.
Mike bet, re-raised, and called to the limit. After he flipped the boat, the chink flipped his cards and started raking in the pot.
Mike remembers seeing all the cowboys on the table, between the board and the chink’s hole cards. He remembers being pissed off for having not seen the additional king on the board and having missed played so badly, but then he remembers Bill Carlson asking the chink what he thought he was doing?
Bill had arrived late and had been watching the game until a seat opened up, but right then he was looking over the table asking why a full house was beat by 3 of a kind?
Mike re-looked at the cards and saw three kings.
The table exploded with activity.
Several people grabbed at the chink, a couple of people moved around behind him to block his exit, the bar tender Mattie grabbed a shotgun from behind the bar and pointed it at the group, Mike grabbed for the chips as the chink flipped it up in the air, scattering cards and chips everywhere.
A scuffle happened, people tried hitting other people, several people brought down the chink, Mattie fired the shotgun at the crowd, sending a couple of people down, Mike pulled out his knife.
People holding the chink were hit from behind by others in the bar, Mattie re-loaded the shotgun, Mike stepped towards the fray, arm extended towards the chink.
Mike turned his head as he felt his shoulder grabbed from behind by Bill when someone bumped into his extended arm.
Bill’s face went white as Mike tried to figure out why he had turned him and the noise of the fight ground to a halt.
When Mike turned around, his knife was sticking from the chink’s chest and the man was grabbing at it, trying to remove it by its blood-slicked handle.
Then the chink’s head exploded.
Everyone in the bar turned towards the door as the green clad armored form standing there holstered its weapon. The markings on the armor looked military in nature, with a G evident on the chest. The figure turned and walked out of the bar in total silence.
Bill helped him out to his car where he threw up repeatedly. Mike decided at that time to leave the state and hasn’t been back since.
He believes that he might be wanted in questioning for the murder of the man.
Since that time, he has heard of the organization by the name of Genocide who is working against the mutant threat and strongly believes that the chink was a mutant. Mike now ranks mutants worse than any non-whites than he ever interacted with and is sometimes quite vocal about it.

This of course is the cover story that I have built for the cronies about Michael Wilkinson. Based partially in fact as a note, their having been an incident in Oklahoma City about a year ago fitting the outline of the story. Mike wasn’t really present, nor is he wanted in questioning.
Enough for today. I will begin the real documentation tomorrow.

April 7th 2002:
Trauma (aptly named) is staying over nights at my house in order to monitor my behavior more closely. After the tragedy involving the break-in and attack by those kids I welcome the observation. Despite his questionable morals and judgment making facilities, he is quite an able EMT. I figure as long as we can stay away from conversations about philosophy, rehabilitation, the criminal justice system, the Hooligan, Canada and almost every other topic in existence, things will go smoothly.
I suspect that he will be talking me into researching Nicodemus’s problem more, in which case I will attempt to get him to get me unrestricted access to the man. His history of how he came to this disease will be invaluable to finding a possible cure, let alone getting eyewitness information as to the manner of life within the country he was born.

April 8th 2002:
A list of potential questions:
When did he first notice the disease?
What form did it initially take?
When did he notice it getting worse?
What are the symptoms? When do they get worse?
What has he tried to alleviate the symptoms, what has worked, what hasn’t?
He went into a suspended animation, what method was used for that?
What were the expected conditions for his sleeping body during the suspension?
Were they the same as he expected when he arose?
Are there others whom he has known with this disease?

April 9th 2002:
Well, yesterday was a good starting point.
The compiled story of the questions above: After he had started studying the principles of alchemy on his own is when he discovered the symptoms. As time went on he found the symptoms getting worse. He really hasn’t ever found anything that has alleviated the symptoms. After a certain point he placed himself within the suspended animation in order to let time pass. There weren’t any surprises about the suspension. He hasn’t heard of anyone else having suffered from this disease, but then he hadn’t thought to look.
I am noticing that he isn’t as sharp a tack as we originally thought…I was able to get him speaking about his home country and conditions of the time without any problem. He also made several admissions as to why he initially went into alchemy… I will be checking on those over the next few days. Meeting with the studio and Durante tomorrow, hope that goes well.

April 10th 2002:
Studio execs are such arrogant pricks. I don’t quite see how Durante deals with them as often as he does. Of course he would tell me that he isn’t a movie star, he is a jazz musician.
I can handle the changes to the script, I can handle the changes to the story, I can even handle the changes to the timeline, but making a serious meeting about changing my name in the credits? This was not worth my time away from researching the Nicodemus problem.
At least the movie is still going forward, that much is making me happy. This way Shadowdancer won’t be looking to revenge himself against Durante or myself anytime soon. Perhaps if the movie gets put straight to video, or gets locked away for a long time we should watch for problems against the movie studio execs, but that shouldn’t happen.
I got a few of the materials Nicodemus recommended for me to review… almost a primer of information for alchemy. Perhaps I, with my other knowledge, I can get to the root of the problem.

April 12th 2002:
It happened again, but this time not in the house.
I don’t know really if I want to weep or be happy that it happened.
Yesterday, Mike was at the local bar again, spending time with the Endicott people winding down after work.
In walks White Lightning, to a hail of cheers and applause. I stand up, make some noises myself, trying to figure out how to get closer to him in order to determine where he is staying or when he will be available for detainment for the police.
He walks over to the bar in a crowd when Seth, the bartender, suddenly shoots him twice in the chest and once in the head.
The crowd scatters, guns are drawn, tables are upended, and windows crash in.
Seth strips off his latex mask revealing a masked figure underneath, I believe his name is The Crusader. Standing up by the windows are several other “costumed” figures, all drawing guns and starting to shoot people who are moving towards The Crusader.
I duck back down and keep covered, while his posse of friends covers his escape from the bar.
After they left several of us got up and went after them, looking for a bit of payback for White Lightning.
The bulk of us went east after the group in the distance, but I knew that had to be a ruse, so I turned and headed west quietly and carefully.
Then I heard the click behind me.
I slowly turned around and found Gunslinger with “the drop” on me. He said something witty as I was trying to explain what was really going on…and prepared to shoot.
Then everything went black.
When I woke up, Gunslinger was lying in the alley, dead. No marks, no blood, nothing.
I heard the other group returning, so I did the only thing I could think of, I shot his body three times. Once in the hand, once in the chest and once in the head.

I am a hero to the group. I took down one of the people who helped kill White Lightning. I suspect this will get me closer into the Endicott inner circle and the compound.
I feel so sick. I took another life again and I can’t control it. I will work another couple of days on the job and then take some extended vacation… I don’t think the managers will complain. I’m the hero because I am a murderer.
I really want these people to cease.
I am going to go crawl around a bottle of Glenmoraige. Trauma can wonder.

April 18th 2002:
At least the last several days have been productive.
I found the books that Nicodemus recommended, read them and then researched in some other texts. I think that I have an idea.
As the song goes, “there are two paths you can go by…” Fast and slow.
The fast path, which Nicodemus took, seems to have a strong disadvantage to it. It seems to force a flaw into the practitioner. There are many documented cases of this type of effect entering into the system of a practitioner within the literature and tomes.
With a couple of exceptions they all seem to be fatal. I am following up on the exceptions in the next couple of days.
The other path, slower, seems related to the Rosicrucian belief system and is presided over by the Order of the Rosey Cross. I will see what Nicodemus has to say about that when I meet with him next.
Trauma was at least been observant enough to comment on my heavy drinking the other night as being unusual and watched me carefully as I recovered from the hangover and have been researching for the last couple of days.
His observance however is overshadowed by his idiocy when it comes to this project. He admittedly doesn’t know the first steps to take in order to help Nicodemus, yet made this promise to him that we would work towards finding a cure before he dies. When I try to work on the cure and get his assistance, he refuses to understand the basic concepts of the process and wears his ignorance as a badge of honor.
Then, his obvious intent in helping Nicodemus being as a rehabilitation tool, he degrades and treats the patient without the simplest forms of respect. He constantly mispronounces his name in a derogatory fashion which belies his obvious distain for the patient/prisoner. This from a person who indicates that he has respect for the Hippocratic Oath!
I suspect that I need to point out to him that the line about “I will use my power to help the sick to the best of my ability and judgment; I will abstain from harming or wrongdoing any man by it.” refers to more than just his ability to grow, shrink and heal, but also his voice, actions and manner. By treating this man with no respect at all, he does him wrong and prosecutes harm against him.
I suspect that there is no reason to cause my blood pressure the increase as the finer points of this argument will be lost on the dunderhead.
Regardless, I will stay the course since he has promised us to the cause. Perhaps Vanguard will be able to speak to him about promising these types of things in the future.

April 19th 2002:
What started him on the path of alchemy?
Was he approached by anyone with interest in teaching him?
Did he seek out anyone to teach him?
Why did he study by himself?
How fast was his rise in power?
Since the symptoms seemed to have increased across time, were they really increasing along a gradient with his power rather than time?
Has he ever heard of the Order of the Rosey Cross?
Is he familiar with the Rosicrucian’s teachings?
Has he heard of the following names: Angelico of Venice, Isabella Del Oro, Vjerkond Struamactson, and Kiief Harksen?

April 20th 2002:
I have no idea how Nicodemus ever learned how to perform alchemy, he can’t read Greek. Heck, he is hardly literate at Latin, let along some of the more esoteric dialects of Italian needed to make simple transformations. He almost earns the sobriquet that Trauma puts on him, but he has been alive for almost 6 centuries because of his will to live, so I guess I can’t call him too dumb.
He did recognize a couple of the others who had died of similar causes, but the others he didn’t know of. I guess there isn’t really an alchemist’s network of sharing secrets in existence today, let alone then.
Kind of a guarded profession with a decent amount of industrial espionage. Hmmm, I think there is a story idea in there somewhere…
It seems as if he moved quite quickly along the rise to power. He knew of the Rosicrucians, and although he had sought out a teacher with them, they seem to have rejected him in some manner…perhaps they have some way to resolve this problem, or their method of teaching the skill sidesteps the problem involved. Shame I don’t know any one who is a member.

April 22nd 2002:
Research research research.
Isabella Del Oro, born in the late 1670’s, lived in the Los Angeles area, was reputedly killed by the Church in 1715 when accused of consorting with demons and devils on the property that she owned. Strong probability that she was an alchemist and might have been made of gold? (Alchemical accident?)
The good people that rose up and killed her never found the body, assuming that it was spirited away by her malefactors, er benefactors in this case. They burned the hacienda to the ground.
I have a location of the property, I will see what happened to it from there… she seems to be a good lead for possibly having made any progress on this disease.

April 24th 2002:
Went back to work at the route yesterday, everyone has great things to say to me for how I handled myself at the bar a few weeks ago. I suspect that sometime in the future I will need a great deal of therapy as the result of this. This is not the thing which people should be lauded and rewarded for. They should be punished and made to sit in a small box for a very long time. The only solace that I have allowed myself in this is that I am not certain what happened in the blackness. It is quite likely that I killed him, it is almost the only explanation, but I have only tenuous proof.
Proof that it has happened two times to me, but no proof that it was me acting either time.

That aside, I have found something interesting about the property I am researching.

It seems that the property sat empty for about 50 years before it was purchased by a Mexican woman, who paid with newly minted gold coins. When she died, unwed and childless, the property was left to a niece of hers who traveled a long distance to claim it.
The niece, who died unwed and childless, also left it to a niece… and so on and so on until the most recent niece, Anita Ramirez, claimed the land from her aunt’s estate about 20 years ago.

So, Durante and I are going to go have a meeting with Mrs. Ramirez on the pretense of enlightening the woman as to the interesting history of her familial home. We will be asking her if she wouldn’t mind us poking around the grounds looking for a hidden tunnel or room which might not have been noticed.
However, I suspect that we will be speaking with Isabella herself, in which case I need to bring a proper gift for her. Perhaps Shadowdancer will use his good taste in jewelry to direct me towards something I can afford and can present to her.

April 25th 2002:
I have to remind myself on a regular basis that Shadowdancer is a thief. He does indeed have good taste in jewelry, but he is a thief.
Luckily I have something I forgot about. The Stone.
After calling the property and arranging a meeting with Ms. Ramirez we went shopping.
Durante indicated that her name was present within the High Society pages at local art gallery openings and fashion shows, sometimes with a date, sometimes not, never the same man.
After wandering around Rodeo Drive for a bit, looking at various pieces of art made with precious metals and jewels, we found a delicate gold crown with metal veil which gave the proper implication of the gift and receiver.
The solid gold version of it would have set me a back a bit, but we were able to find a sterling silver version for ¼ of the price which I adjusted into gold.
Then Durante, Trauma and I went to the hacienda.
She seems to have a man-servant around the house. He met us at the door, took our gift and bade us wait in the foyer for his mistress’s pleasure.
After a few minutes he led us into a library where she was seated with the box on her lap. A pleasant woman, stunning with her dress and face, which it should have been since it wasn’t real… when I concentrated on her after sitting down I could tell that it was a projection.
We danced around the topic for a bit, Trauma being blissfully silent during the verbal fencing, when I took the leap by speaking in Spanish and addressing her by her real name. I was quite quick to tell her that we were not fortune hunters in any way, but if we could follow the trail, others could. I offered to help her with that oversight and then, switching back to English, asked her to relate some details of her history. She talked a little about how the peasants were easily frightened by things they didn’t understand and snorted derisively with the suggestion that she was consorting with devils or demons in the household.
We spoke of Nicodemus, whom she had heard of, and his malady asking if she had perhaps studied this problem and if she would have any pointers to give.
She indicated that she had actually found an elixir that might heal him, having a similar problem herself, but she was unable to avail herself to it. She then dropped the projection of flesh and blood and showed herself in her “natural” state.
She is quite gorgeous, being made of solid gold. Her features are quite rounded and pleasant to view, as opposed to angular or hammered.
I began to ask a few questions about her continued existence, since she obviously is not able to, or in need of ingesting solid food. She indicated that she has another concoction that she imbibes, through the use of alchemy which requires a certain amount of prepared gold. She gestured towards the veil and crown indicating that they were beautiful, but that she would likely melt it down in order to continue her existence. I suggested that I had access to a Philosopher’s Stone and could make her some other gold so that she wouldn’t have to destroy the gift.
She then started asking me about the Stone and what could be done. It seems that the cure she has for the disease would work on her if she was more human that she is. She believes that the Stone could change her body back into flesh if I was a little more skilled with its usage.
A deal was then struck that we would acquire the ingredients for the elixir and she would make multiple draughts of it, for herself and Nicodemus if I would agree to use the stone to transmute her back into human, once I had gained the skill.
Before agreeing to the terms, I asked her a few of the questions I had asked of Nicodemus. Why she had decided on alchemy, had she found a teacher or learned on her own, had she heard of the Rosicrucians,
She gave us a mystical shopping list, most of which she indicated that she would be able to obtain (Virgin’s tears, Bat Wing, etc.) but three ingredients that were unique.
Vampire Dust (A destroyed vampire)
The Gem of Amora
The heartsblood of the Chernibogg demon
Well, it sounds like an interesting list. Tomorrow I will start figuring out what it is all about.

Of course I will have to pick up Durante from Anita’s house, in the morning. *sigh*

No comments: