Pulp Fiction

A Friend in Need
In which insinuations are made and insults are hurled...

It becomes clear very quickly that the investigation team must deliver some bad news to Kassel. The body in the alley is that of his fiancée, Rosie Capello. Unlike previous victims, Rosie’s display appears hurried, as if the perpetrators were rushed to complete their morbid task. Detective Hopkins and Atalanta remain at the crime scene to search for clues, while Mr. Starr and Malvolio venture into the nearby boucherie in hopes of finding a witness.

Fairy street lightInside the two gentlemen find butchers and proprietors Vito and Cucciolo Menzogne. Vito insists he has neither seen nor heard anything out of the ordinary. He claims that the scuffling noises sounded enough like the general rabble outside his shop that he did not bother to investigate. Taking the opportunity to malign the current political powers, the elder Menzogne points out how few guards are posted within the perost. As Malvolio prods further, he learns of Vito’s distaste for Ms. Capello and, consequently, her government-employed fiancée. Seizing the opportunity, he asks about Cucciolo’s relations with the deceased. Vito merely directs them to his younger brother, who is clearly shaken by recent events.

Mr. Starr speaks with the younger Menzogne, trying to glean what information he can from the shell-shocked butcher. Cucciolo speaks of his unrequited affections for Ms. Capello, as well as his strong resentment of Kassel. Starr continues the interrogation, ultimately accusing Cucciolo of murdering Rosie in a fit of passion brought on by frustrated love. Furious, the butcher demands that Mr. Starr and Malvolio leave the premises immediately. They oblige, but warn the two men not to leave town, lest their suspicions be confirmed.

Meanwhile, out in the street, Atalanta manages the crowd while Detective Hopkins examines the body. Upon asking for witnesses she discovers that one of the Lampers, a small fairy named Fluttershy, managed a partial view of the scene from her lamppost. The fairy proceeds to describe two men dragging the body of an unconscious girl into the alleyway. Following them is a taller man dressed in slightly better clothing. Fluttershy is unable to identify any of the three, though she obligingly provides her address for a follow-up.

Detective Hopkins notes that Rosie appears to have been dead long before she was brought to the alley. There is a noted lack of blood spray, and the whole area is generally cleaner than it ought to be. is equally successful, finding both some bloody fish scales and a promising scrap of paper near the body. The partners telegraph dispatch to collect the body, then go to meet Mr. Starr and Malvolio as the pair are leaving the butcher’s shop.

Hopkins notes at least one familiar name on the list: A. Allumette. Recognizing that his secretary Bansheemight be in danger, Mr. Starr and company rush to his estate. As the group charges in the foyer they are surprised to encounter a keening banshee. The omen of death unleashes a hideous screech and lashes out at the group, badly wounding both Starr and Hopkins. Its true target, however, appears to be Ms. Allumette. With one last, painful howl the banshee reaches out for Amberly and disappears. Badly shaken, the young secretary cannot imagine who she might have crossed or why a banshee might be visiting her. Malvolio vows to protect her in any way he can, while Mr. Starr kindly puts her on leave within the manor until the case has been wrapped up. Detective Hopkins steps outside to look for any clues. Gaining a flash of insight from the list of names, he abruptly steps out into the night, leaving his puzzled companions at the manor.

A Troubling Discovery
In which it is revealed that Mr. Starr may be a lady of the night

MingmanorexternalUnconvinced of Sepa’s previous tale, Louie M. Starr makes a house call to follow up with Mrs. Ming. The charming businessman soon coaxes a decidedly different tale from the grieving widow. It seems that she paid a visit to Dr. John H. Watson earlier in the evening and was only just arriving home when she stumbled upon the gruesome scene in the study. Sepa claims that she was out on business, enlisting the help of the Offices of the Watch to work security for a gala celebrating the opening of Perrault Orphanage. Louis senses something is amiss, but chooses to respectfully leave the manor rather than call her bluff.

Mr. Starr arrives at the Offices of the Watch to confront Watson about the legitimacy of these so-called planning meetings. Watson corroborates Sepa’s story, though his outrage at Starr’s hints of sordid behavior suggests a more-than-professional relationship between the chief and Mrs. Ming. Louis relays this information to Atalanta and Detective Hopkins. Hopkins seems to take this information in stride, while an outraged Atalanta accosts the chief in his office, demanding answers. However, in her zeal to get to the bottom of a conspiracy that goes “straight to the top” the rookie succeeds only in confusing herself further, exiting the office and returning to her cohorts with the news that she and the detective have been tasked with defending Mr. Starr and solving the crime of Charles Ming’s murder. In short, nothing was gained except a vague understanding of why Shikibu was so keen to transfer her.

Duckling warehouseRealizing that Atalanta’s sub-par powers of deduction will be of little help, the detective, Malvolio, and Starr decide to take the investigation to the dockyard—home of Obosk’s established crime syndicate ringleader the Ugly Duckling. The group receives an icy reception from the warehouse employees. Nonetheless, the party is ushered inside following relatively little questioning. After accompanying a particularly large mook through a labyrinthine hallway of crates, they come to a small backroom where they are to wait for the crime lord. Caneton Laid proves to be a shrewd businessman. Upon Duckling interrogation roomreceiving a considerable check from Starr, Mr. Laid explains that the series of murders appear to be the work of either the Knave of Hearts or Hansel and Gretel. However, detective Hopkins determined that the murders did not appear to match the Knave and were, more likely, the work of a copycat. Mr. Starr requests a meeting with the Knave, but Laid assures him it will be several days before he is able to locate the criminal.

Meanwhile, Hopkins moves around back to search for clues. Failing to pick the lock on the back door to the warehouse, he moves on to one of the upper windows. The detective deftly lowers himself upon one of the stacks of crates and begins his search. Many of the boxes in the warehouse bear the insignia of the Menzogne boucherie. His interest is piqued, though Jacob does not discover anything other than meat in the few crates he opens. Noticing movement on the warehouse floor, he quietly slips out and rejoins his comrades several blocks away.Cobblestone alley

The hansom’s progress is arrested a few blocks from the Menzogne boucherie. A large crowd has gathered near an alleyway, rendering adjacent streets virtually impassable. Starr instructs the cab to wait while the four go to investigate. As the group nears the alley they hear word that another body has been discovered. The rumor is confirmed as Detective Hopkins and his cohorts round the corner onto an eerily familiar scene…a body laid out precisely as Charles Ming’s. It seems the group will have some bad news for Kassel.

The Game is Afoot!
In which etiquette is disgustingly breached...

Interior city hallLouie M. Starr, Detective Hopkins, and Atalanta receive a summons to the mayor’s office. In the lobby of city hall the detectives first meet the businessman and his butler, Malvolio. Detective Hopkins’s partner, Atalanta, and Starr’s butler engage in a minor clash of wills, though the group is summoned to the mayor’s office before things can get out of hand.

The party discovers a distracted and disconcerted Dodo in his office. The flustered mayor confirms recent rumors that Obosk citizens are being kidnapped and murdered. He goes on to inform the group that one of the city’s prominent businessmen, Mr. Charles Ming, was found dead in his study by his wife, Sepa. Moreover, there is reason to believe that Mr. Starr himself is in danger. The detectives are instructed to keep watch over Mr. Starr, ensure his safety, and to get to the bottom of the string. Starr seems unfazed, though graciously accepts Dodo’s gesture. He sends Malvolio to his offices with instructions for his secretary, Amberly Allumette, to set up a meeting with the newly widowed Mrs. Ming.

Country club interiorAs they are leaving the mayor’s office the group is intercepted by Kassel Savigny. The young clerk begs their assistance in locating his missing fiance, Rosie Capello. The girl was last seen several days previous, leaving her home, alone, with a basket of goods to take to Kassel at city hall. The group generously accepts, though prospects seem bleak. While waiting for a response from Mrs. Ming the trio take tea at Pratt’s, the local gentleman’s club. Less formal introductions are made, in which it becomes apparent to Mr. Starr that it may be prudent to take a more active role in the investigation.

Ming studyAfter a brief stop at Starr’s office the trio makes their way to Ming’s manor house. They are lead to Ming’s study, where the body is still lying from the night before (as per police instructions). Upturned furniture shows obvious signs of a struggle, but there is no sign of forced entry. The body has been carefully laid out on its back. The heart has been removed. Stranger still, the victim is holding a blank piece of parchment over the hole—parchment that does not appear to have originated from Ming’s office. A search of the office yields no other evidence. In fact, the scene is oddly immaculate.

Despite the best efforts of Malvolio and Atalanta, Detective Hopkins and Mr. Starr manage to calm the new widow enough to ask a few questions. Sepa claims to have seen a shadowy figure leaving her husband’s study just before stumbling upon her dead husband. Yet, Mrs. Ming insists that she was in another part of the house and did not hear any indication of trouble beforehand. Additional inquiry only upsets her, however. Mr. Starr, understanding the futility of further questioning, makes an appointment to meet Sepa Ming the next day when she has had time to collect herself.


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