Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dystopic: Booknapping!

Leningrad, Oxford and Nomad 6 finally rejoined Miami and London while Tokyo went upstairs to spend the session checking the computerised security (as her player wasn't available that game).  There was a bit of a debrief before the five headed out to the Tiki Hut Clubhouse for the Delta Phi fraternity on one of Miami's topless beaches.

A quick search on social media found some pictures inside the clubhouse, including one video clip of a man receiving a headjob who had a swastika on his inner thigh, whose facebook account named him as Aaron Kent.  By looking at all the social media pictures they got a decent idea of the layout of the hut including where a door locked by keypad was stationed and that two augmented attractive woman security guards act as protection for the party while attempting to blend in.

So they drove to the location in their pest control van and Nomad 6 used Paths to step them right to the front door whereupon Miami hastily bypassed the electronic security using larceny.  They opened the door and Nomad 6 used Paths to get through the Tiki Hut and under the keypad locked doorway into the study.  How did he use Paths to accomplish these things?  Basically he warped reality so that they could reach the doors without being spotted in the middle and could pass beneath the door gap because the dimensions were enlarged while their dimensions were reduced.  Kooky, huh?

They found the room to be a study containing books on eugenics, medicine and law.  Miami found his own books in a safe which he quickly disarmed by using fingerprint powder on the keypad.  He also find a series of vials which Oxford soon determined (with the aid of Miami's electronic forensics kit) had one vial full of an enzyme that unzipped DNA.  He checked the DNA against everyone in the group's (other than Leningrad's) and found that one vial matched his own DNA. 

Miami's stolen books included a bunch I swiped from Grant's Military Bookshop play-by-post and adapted for use in this game's plot:

"The Sette of Odd Volumes" 

 A London monthly dining society of wealthy bibliophiles, membership somewhere between 21 and 100, founded in 1878 by rare book dealer Bernard Quaritch. They are closely associated with the Athaneum Club. There is usually an after-dinner address by a guest speaker (past speakers have included Oscar Wilde, Samuel Clemens, W.B. Yeats, and other notable authors) on some erudite subject. The address is commonly privately printed for members afterwards, and these volumes occasionally enter the market, fetching good prices. This is one such volume. Past prominent members and office-holders in the Sette have included Sir Edward Sullivan, John Lane, John Todhunter, George Charles Haité, Sir Alfred Edward East, J.W. Brodie-Innes, Edward Heron-Allen, R. T. Gould, A. J. A. Symons, Alec Waugh, Vyvyan Holland, and Burton.

“The Book Of The Thousand Nights” 

Volume 4 of the subscriber-only 1885 first printing of Richard Burton's The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, and looks to be in excellent condition. Furthermore, it is signed. The frontispiece says "To J.C. - from one Odd Volume to Another - Richard Burton".

“An Investigation into the Oracle of Sidon” 

Ludwig von Domenstein, 1843 Whilst many of his peers and contemporaries dismissed the writings of Méric Casaubon (1599–1671) in "Credulity and Incredulity" as fanciful nonsense, informed more by wine and madness than by science, the Frenchman, whilst somewhat lacking in scientific method, seemed to describe with accuracy and good intent a valid phenomenon. Having spent many years investigating the legends surrounding the Oracle of Sidon, even visiting that region of the coast where the temple had previously teetered on the edge of a cliff only to fall to its ruin 600 years ago, the author, Ludwig von Domenstein, divorced due to his studies divulges in this work his findings.

“The Wooden Book”
MY PLAYER WARNING: Only Miami may read this.

The book is a curious miscellany; a large number of unevenly cut leaves, crudely bound with string and pressed between two hand-carved wooden covers. The front depicts an angel weeping; a small figure below catches the tears in a jug. The back shows some kind of flowering, spiky plant; perhaps a scotch thistle? It is written in Latin and contains leaves from a herbal book and some alchemical works as well as some theology tied in there (written in a late medieval hand) but has been bound in with a series of other peoples’ notes. It seems to be almost like a grandma’s cookbook with each generation adding their own recipes. The man who penned it was a Friar John Cor, ex-monk, Dissolution Period, who wanted to prove Trans- rather than Co-substantiation and attempted to distill Communion wine into the Blood of Christ, claiming to be acting on the orders of a ‘Hidden Pope’. The book has been handed down through generations and culminates in classic Victorian spiritualism where one traps spirits in bottles and asks questions by means of a pendulum.

“An Account of the Ottoman Kingdom, and select locations in the Holy Land” 

1911 English translation from the eighteenth-century German edition of a previously unpublished manuscript from the 1580s. The author was a Burgundian mercenary who was hired by some vizier or other to train Janissaries to use heavy guns. This fellow, de Chaut, was also a student of religion. He spent his time investigating little known sects and denominations in the Ottoman Empire - Dervishes, Zorastrians, Miaphysitians, Rodnovers... those sorts of individuals. This tome collated what he had found.

They returned home and discussed what they found.  Miami wouldn't let anyone read "The Wooden Book" as he feels the depiction on the cover refers to himself.  Oxford read all of the others and used his Trained Memory to memorise as much as he could.  It took five days (storm rapidly approaching now) for him to go over it all but he managed to glean a few details that were shared between them.

Several of the books refer to the Ottoman Empire or Germany and also touch upon Paris.  Two of them mention myths and rumors about relics of a person broken into pieces.  The person is meant to be some sort of saint who is meant to be larger than human and better than human though appearing human (some sort of ubermensch, perhaps?) and possession of all of the relics is meant to confer that blessing to those surrounding it.  The name Sedefkar scrolls comes up twice in one book and twice in another.  Other than that, Oxford can't really add much to it all because he's no occultist.

Since it took him awhile to cross reference it (and since he lacked access to The Wooden Book), that's all the information they have gleaned from them thus far.  A better academic or, better yet, a skilled occultist researching it could find out more.

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