Centurion Chronicles #8: A Story of Gangsters and Ghosts
The Story So Far…
Henry Smith has requested that Doctors Joseph and Evelyn Kenrick study the sample of Netherite that they acquired from Dr. Garrison Grayson at the Ziggenheim Institute in London. To aid them in their research, they are joined by Anthony Poe who has been doing his own research at the institute and his knowledge of alternate energy sources might be useful. Henry Smith has also requested the presence of Mokgosi Ramotswe and Jack Scaper; the former to have his Grayson’s Gauntlets studied and the latter to cover the news of the discovery. Doctors Kenrick and Poe have been using Evelyn’s Dimensional Particle Collider to measure the properties of the netherite.
The research was going well until one evening the power in the institute went out, causing a black-out throughout the facility. Joseph, Poe and Evelyn heard a rustling back in the offices adjacent to the research lab. Their attempts to listen were foiled by the darkness as the would-be thieves heard their presence and began to take cover behind various office furniture. When the Centurions attempted to confront the burglars they were heavily armed and opened fire. Poe was able to utilize the Curie Drive to create a magnetic field and disarm one of the thugs. Joseph grabbed the Tommy Gun and opened fire, cutting down some of their assailants.
Meanwhile in the cafeteria of the institute, Mokgosi and Jack settle in for dinner when they are struck by the blackout as well. They notice that the air suddenly gets an unnatural cold, causing Mokgosi’s gauntlets to glow with a purple light. Both Jack and Mokgosi remember this chilled sensation as the one they felt in Himmelgerührt when they were attacked by Grayson’s shadow apparitions. They move quietly into the hallways and stumble across a dead mobster on the floor. Expecting the worse, they prepare for the attack. Sure enough they are ambushed by similar shadow apparitions as before. Mokgosi and Jack are quickly able to dispatch them, Mokgosi with some cuts of his blade and Jack is able to keep them off balance; allowing Mokgosi to finish them. They then hear gunfire erupt from across the institute and fearing the worse they begin to head towards the research lab.
Back in the research offices, two of the gangsters attempt to runaway. Poe is able to utilize the Currie Drive and magnetizes some trash cans, hurling them at the gangsters and knocking them out. Dr. Kenrick begins to search the office to determine what the thieves were attempting to steal. After searching through the missing documents he determines that they are looking at research regarding netherite and Evelyn’s theory of Dimensional Phase Harmonics. Joseph shares his revelation when he notices that the lab suddenly develops a supernatural cold.
Mokgosi and Jack sneak through the darkened hallways, Grayson’s Gauntlets continue to glow with an eerie purple light. Unnoticed they manage to get to the main entryway of the Institute. They notice a large number of gangsters standing amongst dead security guards. The leader, an overweight man in a plush fur coat, appears the be waiting impatiently for his colleagues. Mokgosi turns to Jack to whisper a plan of attack when he suddenly notices that Jack has vanished. Mokgosi activates his gauntlets and generates a magnetic field that refocuses the light about him and turns invisible. He ignores the dark voice whispering insanity and sneaks up to the atrium. There he ambushes a gangster with a high power rifle. He quickly subdues him and takes the rifle. He then turns it on the rest of the mobsters, creating a panic; gunning the heavy set one from behind as he attempts to flee the building. Mokgosi then continues down the hallway to the research lab.
Jack, Evelyn and Poe quickly charge back into the research lab, just in time to see some shadow apparitions grab Evelyn’s Dimensional Particle Collider and vanish into purple mist. The unnatural feeling of cold in the air slowly fades away. The Centurions return to their the unconscious gangsters as Mokgosi stalks into the lab and shares his encounter with the mobsters in the entryway. Their conversation is interrupted by the sound of approaching sirens. The Centurions decide to hide their captive, so that he is not taken by the authorities and they can question him later.
They secret the mobster into a locker just before the police arrive. Also arriving with the authorities is Henry Smith and Dr. Wyrd. Evelyn distracts the police as she escorts them about the Institute, allowing the Centurions to talk privately with Smith and Wyrd sharing the events. After the authorities leave, Wyrd begins to question the suspect.
As Wyrd begins to hypnotize the gangster, Smith suggests that the Centurions might want to speak with Grayson; who is now being held in Alcatraz Military Prison along with The Whirlwind. Smith offers to make arrangements for their transportation and access to the island. He also warns that the Centurions might want to avoid future legal entanglements because the local police force has been corrupted by The Shadow Consortium. With that Smith leaves to make travel arrangements, trusting the Centurions to handle the situation.
Wyrd is able to break the mind of the petty criminal and learns that he is a bit player in The Russo Crime Syndicate. He has been hired to steal netherite and the Dimensional Particle Collider from the institute. The gangster was unable to explain why, but he was able to articulate that he reports to a mobster known as Skinny Pete who owns a seedy pub in a rougher part of London. Wyrd is able to implant a memory that the gangster was successful in his heist and instructed him to leave a message at the drop sight. Wyrd informs the rest of the Centurions of his discovery and they decide to go to the pub and learn what Skinny Pete wants with the netherite and Evelyn’s research. Evelyn declines to accompany the Centurions as she felt it was a waste of time, as the apparitions has her device.
The Centurions find the seedy pub on a darkened street, they notice that the entrance is guarded by two street toughs. Mokgosi decides to use the Gauntlets again and turns invisible to sneak around to the back of the bar. Upon activation he hears those eldritch voices and finds that his mental fortitude is beginning to fade under their onslaught. The rest of the Centurions enter the bar from the front, with Wyrd weaving a small deception to get past the two toughs.
Mokgosi sneaks around to the back and finds two bored gangsters guarding the loading dock entrance. Distant thunder begins to rumble and Mokgosi uses the noise to sneak closer. He eventually discovers a rickety storm door that he breaks through. The mobsters investigate the noise, but are unable to see Mokgosi because he is invisible. Mokgosi notices a doorway from the basement leading into the bar and begins to investigate the entrance.
The remaining Centurions begin to case the bar. It becomes quickly apparent that there is more to this dive bar than meets the eye. They notice a loaded shotgun sits above the bar behind the steely eyed bartender. They also notice a back room door reinforced with steel with a waitress manning a small booth that appears to be wired with a buzzer. The well educated Centurions soon run afoul of the more uneducated brutes. One attempts to intimidate Poe, but his threats roll off Poe; however this simply frustrates the thug and he attempts to get physical. Before he can throw a punch, Joseph is able to quickly throw the brute to the ground. Their victory does not go unnoticed as it appears the other patrons have suddenly taken notice and interest in the group of Centurions.
Mokgosi steals his way into the storage area of the seedy pub and notices a single armed guard amongst the storage. He also notices a small safe anchored against the back wall. Mokgosi feels whispers urging him towards the safe and he notices his gauntlet hands begin to glow with a sickly purple light. He draws his blade and silently kills the guard before stealing his way towards the safe.
Upstairs, the Centurions are asked to leave by the bartender; Wyrd notices out of the corner of his eye that a lanky gangster in the back, most likely Skinny Pete, and two toughs head into the back room. Wyrd charges across the bar, starting a frantic melee. Joseph tackles a group of toughs hurling them across the bar. Poe activates his Curie Drive and is able to magnetize the shotgun towards him, preventing the bartender from turning it upon the Centurions. Wyrd draws his blade from his sword cane and is able to wedge his body into the steel frame, fending off an attack from the two bodyguards. Joseph continues diving across the bar, throwing thugs about the pub. This gives Poe time to power up the Curie Drive again and release a blast of energy stunning the patrons and knocking them unconscious. Wyrd recognizes one the bodyguards as Danny O’Brian, a criminal he helped back in Chicago, and is able to convince him to aid the Centurions. Skinny Pete, seeing his thugs subdued and his loyal bodyguard turned quickly surrenders.
In the basement, Mokgosi feels drawn to the safe. He grabs a crowbar and under the cover of the sounds of combat from upstairs begins to pry at it. After a couple of attempts he is able to open the safe and finds a large piece of netherite has been secured inside. The voices from the gauntlet begin to whisper more furiously at him and Mokgosi’s will begins to break. He grasps the ore, the purple light revealing his invisible form and takes it for his own.
Back on the main floor, Skinny Pete warns that assistance is coming because the entire pub is under surveillance. Wyrd grins and concentrates a bit, hexing the electronics in the building. After some intimidation by the Centurions, Skinny Pete reveals that he has been hired to retrieve information on Evelyn’s research and secure any netherite that he has. Pete shares that he has netherite in the safe in the basement and offers to get it for the Centurions. He warns that the safe is rigged to explode if the netherite is removed.
This conversation, predictably, is interrupted as the entire pub explodes. The Centurions are hurled to the street, with Mokgosi hurled back into the alleyway; netherite still in hand. Skinny Pete attempts to take this moment to run. As sirens begin to echo in the streets around the Centurions, Poe powers his Curie Drive and hurls a trash can at Skinny Pete knocking him unconscious. Joseph runs down the street and throws Skinny Pete over his shoulder with the intention to hail a cab. Before he can police cars fill the street they are on and block off the street. Police officers yell at the Centurions to hold their positions and out of one of the squad cars steps Special Agent Allen Irons. With Mokgosi still in the alleyway, and Jack still missing; the rest Centurions find themselves surrounded by the police under the direction of Agent Irons.