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A Dance With Death


Apr-20-2016 13:27

The dancing room was filled with all sorts of people; mostly the crème de la crème of New York, but also a few commoners.

As Vulkie eyed through the room, she spotted the person she had been looking forward to meet; Big Lucy. She wore a feather boa, a pink dress and a large hat with a peacock feather on top of it. Vulkie smiled to herself; Big Lucy always had a thing for being extravagant, but tonight, she dressed up for a special occassion.

Grabbing the piece of paper out of her jacket, she read the invitation: "You are hereby cordially invited to attend a party of Big Lucy's Cabaret. We'll be expecting you on the 21st of April, 1929...". As per usual, the location had been a secret. But after encountering Larry the Toe and paying him more than the usual amount, he had told Vulkie where to go for the party.

A waiter passed by with a tray of champagne . The waiter stopped in front of her, lowered his tray and asked her if she would like some champagne. Grabbing a glass, she carefully sipped it.

"Dom Perignon," she muttered to herself and started to observe the room again. People were dancing and it didn't take long before Vulkie was also asked for a dance by a gentleman she had never seen before.

Dancing around the room, she was overwhelmed by the amount of people that could fit in this place. As the song carefully came to a stop, the gentleman thanked her and left again. Her eyes still spinning from all the twirling around, she took a second to regain her posture.

Just then, a man showed up in front of her. "May I have this dance of you, dear Miss Nouson?" the man politely asked, extending his hand.

As Vulkie observed the man, she recognized him. It was Lou "The Fixer" Maceo, a loyal associate of La Cosa Nostra.

Fearing what might happen if she refused to dance with him, she grabbed his hand and once again, Vulkie was dancing to a slow dance song.

"I've got a case for you, Miss Nouson, if you're interested," Maceo whispered in her ear...



Apr-20-2016 13:42

"Oh, do tell me, what kind of case are we talking about? The easy kind, where someone forgot someone's birthday? Or is it something more complicated?" Vulkie taunted, while Lou slowly grinned.

"I knew you were interested... You see, the case for which I want to hire you, involves a business that we don't usually share with you private dicks... no offense meant," Lou retorted, while spinning Vulkie around.

Coming to a stop, Vulkie looked right at him and queried: "But why hire me, Lou? I mean, you just said so yourself..."

"It's of no matter. If you accept, I'll tell you all about the job... if not, then forget this conversation," he replied, slowly starting to lead again as the next song ensued.

As they were dancing, Vulkie could notice that Lou had more and more trouble to keep up.

"Don't dawdle now, Lou... this is a song I like," Vulkie softly said, but when she looked at Lou's face, she gave a terror-struck look.

Foam came out of his mouth and he immediately dropped towards the floor. The rest of the crowd noticed what had happened and cleared from the spot.

"Don't die now, Lou... tell me, what's the case about..." she queried, while removing his tie to make him breathe easier; she knew the effects of curare and he would die in a matter of seconds... there was no antidote for this poisonous venom.

"Do... Doc..." he gurgled, while his eyes rolled up. Checking his pulse, Vulkie concluded that he had passed away. Patting him down, she didn't discover anything useful, but when she turned him around, Vulkie could see a tiny dart in the back of his neck.

Quickly eyeing the whole room, she saw the main door close... possibly the killer running away!

Getting up, she moved through the crowd towards the door, bashed it open and looked frantically towards her left and right. As she looked towards the right, she could just see someone running around the corner, into an alleyway with a dead end.

"STOP!" she shouted and ran after the person...


Apr-20-2016 13:54

As Vulkie turned around the corner and entered the alleyway, she noticed that it was empty.

"But... what... where...," she muttered, before taking another look. A fire escape ladder had been pulled down and as she eyed up towards the sky, she could just barely see the mysterious assassin climbing onto the rooftop, the coat still flapping.

Rushing up towards the rooftop, Vulkie drew her trustworthy Colt 1911 and peered over the edge. She couldn't see anyone. Climbing up the rooftop, she pocketed her gun again and looked around.

All of a sudden, she was attacked by the mysterious assassin, who had hidden behind a pigeon coop. Stumbling backwards, she yelled: "Why did you do it?!"

The assassin, who was wearing a balaclava, only grinned and continued to punch her. She blocked the punches and managed to land one on the jaw of the person, knocking the person flat on the floor.

Drawing her Colt 1911 again, she bended down and started to remove the mask; just then, the person woke up again, only being slightly knocked out. The assassin kicked the gun out of her right hand and landed a powerful strike on Vulkie's left temple, knocking her unconcious...

*** A few minutes later ***

"Oooh, my head," Vulkie murmered, rubbing her eyes and suffering a terrible headache. As she carefully stood up, a hand was put on her right shoulder.

Immediately turning around with her gun drawn, she yelled: "FREEZE!".

But as Vulkie blinked with her eyes, she realised she knew the person who put a hand on her shoulder...


Apr-20-2016 14:05

(bended = bent, apologies)

Professor Troof
Professor Troof
Lucky Stiff

Apr-22-2016 13:47

"Now, now! You can put that gun away, Vulkie", said the Professor. "You are attached to that Colt, aren't you!"

Even if it was currently aimed at his chest, it had been impressive to see how, on coming round, Vulkie's first instinct had been to relocate that gun from the floor even before she rubbed her eyes. It truly was part of her.

"Are you alright?"

It had taken a few minutes to get there, but keeping up with Vulkie was never likely for the Professor in a foot race. Having located the rooftop commotion, a dull clatter and a thud, followed by rapidly disappearing footsteps as someone ran off was all he could distinguish of the sounds as he climbed up.

Finally there was Vulkie, just coming round. Her assailant, somewhere over the rooftops, leaving their mark on her left temple. That bruise looked painful.

"My head hurts!"

Vulkie's eyes glimmered with recognition, she lowered the gun and put her left hand to her head, gingerly touching the bruise. The Professor noticed something.

"Let me see... yes, hmm, maybe..." the Professor muttered mysteriously. "Vulkie, I had just got within sight of Big Lucy's when I saw you run out. At least, it looked like it could be you at that distance... anyway, I went after as fast as I could. But what happened at Big Lucy's? Do you know who attacked you?"

Vulkie filled in the Professor with the details. She was a little curious why the Professor was nearby, but not at Big Lucy's. She thought she'd ask later; clearly the Professor was on one of his trains of thought right now. He had absorbed Vulkie's information in silence, but now she had finished, spoke.

Professor Troof
Professor Troof
Lucky Stiff

Apr-22-2016 13:47

"Curare," he said, simply. "Vulkie, I believe the murderer is a member of the Eastern Triads. I know they have some connections in South America and have been messing about with curare for a while. It takes a skilled user to hit the right target shooting a blowpipe through a crowded dancefloor. It backs up my hunch: your bruise shows an impression of a ring, it's not easy to make out but the design looked similar to one I've seen once before, on a member of the Triads I had an altercation with some time ago."

So the Triads have some beef with La Cosa Nostra. Enough to come over and poop a party at Big Lucy's: it was serious.

Vulkie was itching to try and catch the assassin - but whoever it was had long gone. More clues were needed to track them down, and the Professor persuaded Vulkie to get down from the rooftop.

As they reached the ground, someone rounded the corner into the alleyway: someone waving a piece of paper at Vulkie and the Professor, and saying "Hey! This was on him!"


Apr-27-2016 06:39

As the Professor and Vulkie approached the man, Vulkie could see it was Larry the Toe. He was still waving the piece of paper he had found, while barely containing his excitement to help out the detectives.

"What is it now, Larry? I already paid you good money for Big Lucy's location and all it got me so far is a lot of trouble," Vulkie said, with a slight annoyance in her voice. Her head was still throbbing from the punch she had received to her left temple.

"Well, Detectives, I found this piece of paper that your mysterious fella dropped. He thought that no one would find it. Once I entered the alleyway, I could see it lying near the garbage bin over there," Larry said, while pointing towards the bin.

"Alright Larry, how much is it gonna cost us?" Vulkie queried, already pulling out her wallet. Looking into it, she could see that she was getting short of money again. Sighing, she handed over a 100 dollars.

Larry smiled and handed over the paper. "Well, Detectives, pleasure doing business with ya, but I got to go now. I'll see you when you need to know where Big Lucy is at next time," Larry said and he left again.

"Curious..." the Professor said, while looking at the piece of paper. As Vulkie took a look, she could see it was all sorts of gibberish.

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked, while looking puzzled at the piece of paper.

"My dear Vulkie, this bit of information seems to be encoded. And only when we find the right decipher code, we might be able to reveal the note's contents," the Professor replied, while smiling; he always had a knack for figuring out the most complicated things in mere seconds.

"Well then, how do we find the decipher code?" Vulkie asked, hoping that the Professor would know a possible solution to this problem...

Professor Troof
Professor Troof
Lucky Stiff

May-5-2016 09:56

The note read:

The game fixer has counted suspects, at last we're ready.
Come here so we terminate the uncertainty. Quickly go and do no wrong, not regretting, but get the ball caught.
We say lose third inning this time round if pitcher gets heat from him, else make sure afterwards to return heat leftfield.

The Professor stared at it for some time, then smiled again.

"Aha! This is a simple code. But I think there's something more," he added, intriguingly.

"You've cracked it already? What does it mean, something to do with baseball?" asked an impressed Vulkie.

"A friend of mine taught me this code, basic really, but tough enough to fool a casual glance. Read only every third word and the message is clear."

The Professor handed the paper to Vulkie so she could see for herself what he meant. She read out the words one by one.

"Fixer suspects we're here. Terminate quickly. Do not get caught. Lose this if heat else afterwards heat"

Professor Troof
Professor Troof
Lucky Stiff

May-18-2016 13:08

"I think," said the Professor, "the last part means there is a further message."

Suddenly rummaging through his pockets the Professor brought out a blue matchbook.

"I was at a dinner at the Astor Hotel a while ago," said the Professor. "Celebrating Charles Lindbergh's flight. They gave everyone one of these, I almost forgot I still had it"

Striking a match he held it under the notepaper. Slowly the heat revealed some more text written in invisible ink:

"Shipment due in two weeks. Concagua"


Jun-1-2016 10:39

As the Professor read the note's secret message, Vulkie's mind began to process the information.

"Concagua... could they be referencing to Aconcagua, a mountain that was found in South America? It would make sense, since the Professor had said that the Eastern Triads recently established connections over there. The main question is, did the shipment come from there? Or is Concagua a codeword?" Vulkie pondered, while looking at the note.

"Something the matter?" the Professor queried, hoping that Vulkie cracked the riddle.

"Concagua... it's either a codeword, or they mean Aconcagua, which is," Vulkie began, before being interrupted by the Professor who said, "a mountain in South America. Yes, I know, what of it?"

"It verifies our suspicions. It means that the Eastern Triads have indeed made connections in South America and got their poison from there. The main question is, however, what the shipment is and when exactly it arrives," Vulkie responded, rubbing the back of her head. As she did so, she winced; she could already feel a bump beginning to form.

"Well, the note says due in two weeks," the Professor began, before interrupted by Vulkie, who said: "Yes, due in two weeks; however, that note could've been written two weeks ago or just an hour ago. We'll need to think of a way to find out when and where the shipment's arriving. Any thoughts?"

The Professor pondered for a few seconds, before raising his finger and exclaiming: "I got the answer!"

"What is it then? Come on!" Vulkie impatiently asked, making the Professor raise an eyebrow.

"Just bear with me. What is the most common way shipments arrive?" the Professor asked, looking towards Vulkie for an answer.

"Errr... via a ship?" Vulkie responded.

"Exactly. And who has access to a ledger when a ship arrives?' the Professor queried.

"The harbor master! Brilliant!" she exclaimed. They finally had a new lead. All they had to do now, was to make their way towards the docks and check the ledger...

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