For this second SINS episode I gained two new players, bringing in Detective “Carl” and Detective Caine to join Tohbi and Lagneux. As a playtest episode, there are a few things that went wrong. The biggest issue learned here is that secondary cases have to be much shorter. The secondary case in this episode wasn’t completed because there simply wasn’t enough time.
The camera opens on a dark alleyway, muted base-heavy music filters in. A door in the alleyway opens, the music pours through it, along with light, smoke, and a pair of people dressed in goth clothing. The girl, short with stripes of pink color in her black hair, and the man in a spiked long coat with goatee whisper and laugh to each other has they walk down the alley. A hand, holding a rifle, enters the frame with a click-click. The man in the coat turns toward the sound, his eyes glowing and fangs enlarging in his mouth as he emits an animal like answer to the threat. Roll Opening Credits
Detective Caine, a recent transfer from LAPD, walks into the SI office for the first time. He’s greeted by Captain Decoudreau, who partners him up with SI veteran Detective Carlson. Looking around the office, Detective Caine notices a number of people acting edgy, and asks what’s going on. Detective Carlson notes that’s a full moon, and all the crazies will be out. Once other units, like homicide, are all occupied, dispatch will be rolling extra calls over to SI. The unit is expecting a heavy night, if one that thankfully involves fewer strange happenings then most SI shifts. In reality, very few supernatural creatures lose control on full moons. Detective Caine is confused by the vague reference to monsters, but is interrupted as the phones start ringing. Detective Lagneux grabs the first call, picking up a shooting from the assault unit. The victim is still alive, so it’s only attempted murder. Detective Carl grabs the second phone call, getting a homicide call. Apparently it’s a corpse, without a head. The two sets of partners each pull an unmarked car out of the motor-pool, but Carl and Caine don’t make it far before the car runs out of gas. Although it had a half tank when it left the lot, it was now empty, and in fact dripping fuel from a hole in the tank. Detective Carl takes the setback in stride and heads to a pay phone to call in the trouble, but finds the pay phone busted as well. Eventually Detective Lagneux and Tohbi happen by and offer the two stranded detectives a ride.
Case 1: Drive By Shooting
Lead Detective Lagneux After dropping Carlson and Caine off at their crime scene, Lagneux and Tohbi head to the crime scene of their victim, where they interview the first responder police officers. The scene is a bit of a mess as the paramedic took the still living victim to the hospital, but the detectives do manage to find tire tracks where the drive-by shooter burned out fleeing the scene. They also collect bullets from the gun fire, and find a witness in the little old lady across the street that watches the neighborhood like most people watch TV. They don’t get much of a description of the perp, but they do get a good description of the car, which while lacking a license plate, does have distinctive “My kid in honor roll” bumper sticker. They also get a confirmation that the victim was on her way home from work, taking her usual route from the bus stop to her house, at the usual time. Doing some leg work, the detectives discover that the car used in the drive by attack was stolen two days ago, and has recently turned up abandoned in a no parking zone. The detectives take a trip down to impound lot and eventually call in a favor to get the Lab Techs to check the car for evidence. Having exhausted the trail of evidence, the players finally travel to the hospital to visit the victim, one Jennifer Lowes. Ms. Lowes, although slightly incoherent from pain killers, immediately blames her “Auntie Mirra.” After a bit of prompting, she eventually remembers her aunt’s current last name is “Yews-Grace,” although she seems to recall several other last names first. Later in the episode, the lab-techs report that they found the fingerprints for one Marcus “Skids” Gaston, a known member of the 9th Ward Warriors, in the car. Although intrigued, the detectives were forced to put the case on the back burner when more pressing matters developed.
Case 2: Headless John Doe
Lead Detective Carl Eventually making it to the crime scene in-spite of car troubles, detectives Caine and Carl find the medical examiner Doc waiting for them next to a headless corpse in a large pool of blood. After being chided by Doc because she’s very busy on full moons, they do a proper examination of the scene before rolling the corpse over. Detective Carl notes that the foot prints left in the blood imply the attacker was someone larger than him, probably male, and they took the head with them when they backed away from the corpse. Rolling the “face” down body over, the team is shocked to discover that a wooden stake is driven through the corpse’s chest. Detective Caine thinks this implies someone is taking the “goth scene” too seriously, but Detective Carl is even more confused, because while he knows that monsters are real, even the supernatural scene knows vampires don’t exist. The two detectives head into club “Black Cross” to do some interviews. They eventually discover that a group of vampire styled regulars, calling themselves the “Dark Lords,” have a usual booth up on the VIP only second floor, and that their headless John Doe’s clothing matches what “Hesperos,” leader of the Dark Lords, was wearing. They also hear rumors that Hesperos had recently had a break up with girl-friend “Astrea” and that he left the club via the side exist with a new chick named “Bellatrice.” Returning to the office, the detectives get a preliminary report from Doc indicating that the victim was first shot repeatedly with a rifle, leaving him dying, before being impaled with a wooden stake made from a rose bush, killing him. The head was then removed postmortem, likely using a chopping implement like an axe. The perp was clearly used to using an axe, but wasn’t especially knowledgeable about chopping human necks, and so took a couple of swings at it before getting the head off. The next night the detectives return to club Black Cross and find the remaining members of the Dark Lords in their usual booth. Questioning the group, they discover that the members weren’t yet aware that Hesperos was dead, and that he was last seen by them leaving the club with a new “conquest.” According to the Dark Lords, they think their leader is still seducing her a full 24 hours later. They also discover that Astrea, their victim’s ex, is rumored to be dead, although Detective Caine is fairly sure this is a lie by a member of the group that is now secretly dating her. For some reason, the detectives don’t ask for Hesperos’s real name. Doing a bit of digging, the detectives locate Astrea, actually Anne Bifolco, but upon getting a ride to her apartment with detectives Tohbi and Lagneux, they find it a taped off crime scene. According to the homicide paperwork she had her throat ripped out by a “dog” almost a week ago. Checking in with Doc, they discover that “dog” wasn’t overly accurate, and that the teeth marks better match a human with elongated fang like canine teeth, but that dog attack looks better than “vampire” on the paperwork, and that Doc likes her job enough to get fired for righting the whole truth. The detectives do some further research on Anne Bifolco, and discover that her older brother Jerome Bifolco also lives in town. They go to visit him, and find a bloody axe in the back of his pick-up truck. Sneaking around his small house, detective Lagneux looks through a kitchen window as Jerome, played by guest star Kiefer Sutherland, opens his fridge and pulls out a beer. Also in his fridge is the head of Hesperos in a plastic bag, and several bottles of water with crosses drawn on them. The four detectives surround the house and then kick down the door, eventually arresting Jerome who swears he was only killing the monsters that killed his sister. In addition to the head and holy water, in his house they find a large uprooted rose-bush, various stakes, and personally annotated copies of both the bible and Bramstoker’s Dracula, including passages describing the famed vampire as taking on a dog like form, walking in the daylight through London, and instructions on how to kill him using rose-branch stakes and beheading. They load Jerome into a black and white police car and head towards the police station to interview their suspect. As the players follow the uniformed offices driving Jermone to the station in their squad car, they notice all the street lights in a coming intersection are out. A pick-up truck flies through the intersection into a t-bone collision with the black and white cop car. A large van follows the truck into the intersection and group of ski-masked gunmen hop out of the car and attempt to kidnap Jerome. In the ensuing gun battle, both the uniformed police officers in the squad car are shot, one fatally. The players manage to drop one of the gunmen, which inspires most of the remaining gunmen to transform into half-wolf half-human werewolf abominations. The players manage to kill one werewolf with massive gunfire, noting that his corpse transforms back into a human form matching a member of the “Dark Lords” when they did so. The remaining “pack” manages to grab Jerome, and take off in the van, vanishing into the night. The detectives, having just lost their suspect to a group of werewolves in the middle of a busy intersection, and having officers down, call in PR Officer Marlin to help spin the situation. Marlin arrives having clearly been woken from bed and only wearing a robe instead of suit. This somehow does not reduce his ability to convince witnesses that Eco-terrorists had released a group of bears from the zoo. Examining the corpse and the disabled gunman, Detective Tohbi realizes that it’s the rings they wear that let them take on the werewolf forms, and she confiscates both rings. Doubting Thomas detective Caine is confused by events, but begins forming tenuous non-supernatural justifications for the fight he just took part in. He is not pleased to note two of his coworkers taking rings from the gunmen, but keeps his mouth shut about it. Interviewing the surviving “Dark Lord,” the detectives discover that Hesperos’s older sister had ordered them to capture the man who killed her brother, so she could take him to the “binding circle” and ritually sacrifice him. Apparently the Dark Lords thought they were more or less invulnerable, but finding himself full of bullet holes in a hospital bed, the survivor tells the team where the ritual is taking place… out in a patch of swamp owned by Hesperos and his sister’s family. As it turns out, they members of the de Pauger family, a wealthy and powerful bloodline whose roots go back to the city’s very founding. Returning to the police station to research werewolf hunting, the detectives are informed that Constance de Pauger, the older sister to their headless victim, had come to the police station to ID her brother and collect his belongings, including the family signage ring. The team quickly gathers up what few silver weapons and bullets they can, and then take detective Lagneux’s airboat out to the swamp location where their witness said they could find the ritual. In the ensuing battle, the players barely manage to shoot down all the werewolves, including taking out Constance before she could finish her ritual or transform. Sadly, the team is shot and mauled heavily in the exchange. Worse, unbelieving detective Caine blithely and catastrophically disrupts the sacrificial ritual circle, causing the flaming death of Jerome Bifolco and severely burning the detective himself.
The detectives do manage to close the case on the headless corpse, identifying the victim and the murderer, but the suspect was taken from their custody in an incident that cost one police officer his life. Further more, the SI Unit was unable to recover the suspect alive from his captors, and in the resulting conflict, all the captors were killed. Despite the best efforts of Detective Lagnuex to spin doctor the situation, the entire case is a black eye on the reputation of the unit.