Timeline: June 5th, 2008

Ann-Marie had been away for a while, out to see an old friend in Albany, and of course her adventure with Lyla had been completed a month earlier. Ann had been satisfied to know, despite a dramatic ending to the trip, that there were no other vampires that she could find in the whole of northern New Hampshire. Now, after a further grueling ordeal waiting for her in Albany, Ann-Marie was recovered and empowered, ready to plan for the future.

This put her on a path to find Lyla. In many ways one of her most important contacts, Ann-Marie had discovered the young woman had some surprising contacts and far-reaching influence that were not immediately obvious. In time, however, she had learned that if she needed something to be acquired under the radar, Lyla was her girl.

So it was that Ann-Marie found Lyla sitting alone at the bar very late in the evening (actually the very early morning of 3 am of the 5th of June) sitting back with a glass of whiskey poring over a small stack of mail she’d picked up at the post office up the street.

When Ann-Marie entered, Lyla muttered, “We’re closed.” She looked up and then smiled in recognition. “Ann-Marie. Come in and have a seat.”

Ann-Marie walked over to her friend and sat down. “So, how are things?” she asked.

“Ugh. Too domestic,” Lyla said. She dropped the couple pieces of mail she had in her hands on the table. One looked like an electric bill. The other was addressed to “Clairborne” and her PO Box. This one had no return address, but Lyla appeared to have already opened it once. A folded paper fattened the envelop.

“What’s up?” Lyla asked with that familiar, mischievous smile.

“Well, as much as I despise them and have avoided using them, I’ve jumped to the logical conclusion that I need a pistol for certain situations. I was wondering if you could help me acquire one,” she answered.

“Oh heck, that’s easy,” Lyla said. “Michael has a shop full of ’em.” She paused and leaned forward. “But you knew that. You looking for something in particular?”

“I know about Michael’s shop, but those are…legitimate weapons. What I need is a weapon that is concealable, effective, but untraceable. If I lose it, it cannot be tracked back to you or me, or anyone else I care about. I don’t want permits, licenses, or anything with a paper trail. I thought you might be able to help me on that end. Perhaps.”

Lyla grinned. “Yeah, I can. An illegal weapon is an illegal weapon, though, so just tell me what you need and I’ll get a price and see if I can get my hands on one. You want a MAC-10? An Uzi maybe? You can hide them in a coat. Or maybe an illegally modified auto-pistol?” Lyla picked up the envelop that said, “Clairborne”. “These guys are getting into a gang war and have asked me a favor — or rather are paying me to handle something for them. Right now they have a lot of weapons and might have a line on more. Even custom jobs. So, what’s your favorite dish?”

Ann-Marie thought to herself, and then answered, “What about the two pistol combo that Kate Beckensale used in that lovely vampire versus werewolf movie. I love propaganda!” She smiled knowing that somewhere, some vampire covered the Masquerade with that piece of film. “That’s the auto-pistol, right?”
Lyla raised an eyebrow. She recalled the werewolves didn’t do so hot in that movie. “Yeah, I think they were modified. In the real world, pistols with that kind of modification tend to jam up, so two really is a good idea. And you’ll want an extended clip so that it’ll last a few seconds instead of just, like two seconds. I’m not an expert on that stuff, but I betcha I could get them. You want them cleaned and untraceable, with mods. Should I ask for silencers, too? And how many extended clips do you want?”

“You know far more than I, though with Ironclaw’s help and maybe if he is willing, Michael, I can get good at this. I learn quickly and can be very fast and agile when I want to be. But, hmm. Yes, cleaned, untraceable, mods, and what the hell, silencers too. As far as clips, would four be enough, I don’t want to be a tank? And, well how much will this cost?” she answered, continuing briefly, “There are werewolf movies I like too you know.” She smiled.
Lyla chuckled. “Hm. Cost,” she mused. “Well, don’t quote me on this. And I’ll get the best deal I can, but I think we may be talking something on the order of…” Lyla ran some numbers, all guesstimates of likely street prices and scratched them down on a used envelop. The number she came up with was more than a little disturbing.

Lyla saw the look on Ann-Marie’s face. Weapons like what they were talking about would go for many thousands of dollars on the street. Something like untraceable auto-pistols with any degree of reliability was a custom job that required talent, time, and dedication. Such skills were in high demand and rare in black market items. “Wait, Ann-Marie. This is the black market we’re talking about. They’ll barter in things other than just cash. What are you willing to barter for weapons like these? If you keep a low profile while I’m working, I might even be able to set up a meet between you and a street dealer. I’d suggest you give it a try before the price scares you off.”

“I don’t own much, as I have never needed much as a nomad. All I can really offer are my skills. I could spy on their rivals perhaps, or create artwork for them appealing to their vanity, or perhaps intimidate someone for them. I won’t murder though, it’s in bad taste.” She paused. “What city is this again?”

Her friend grinned. “Why, New York City!”

“Been a long, long time. I’d need to make a few calls first, but yeah, I think I can go.” answered a smiling Ann-Marie. “If we run into one of my kind, I’ll likely have to go and kowtow to the Man.”

“Well then, I guess we’ll just not run into one of your kind!” Lyla laughed.

The trip to New York City was eventful and dangerous, but also very productive. Lyla quickly made contact with the Black Tigers and they gave her some packages, which she took back to an expensive hotel room in Manhattan. Then Lyla made some calls while Ann-Marie waited for her to set up a meet.

One thing that Ann noted was that a surprising number of alleged underworld figures seemed to know Lyla, even referring to her by her first name as she spoke to them rather casually. Lyla didn’t answer questions directly except to provide smiles and winks and insinuations. Still, Ann was given the distinct impression that Lyla had some kind of status with these people — status that allowed her a certain amount of freedom in doing business with them. Further, it seemed more than likely that her current “mission” could garner even more status (even if that did not translate to influence) for her with certain criminal organizations.

Lyla contacted an arms dealer and this man pointed her to someone named Finny Heath. The Irishman likely had a colored history but it was obvious he was also an immigrant. Nonetheless, he was an extraordinarily skilled weaponsmith. And he had on hand a particular set of pistols he’d designed for someone else. No direct information or names were ever given, but he alluded to having made a pair of custom auto-pistols for a mafia hit man. The fellow however, was “retired” and therefore would never pick up — or pay for — the weapons Finny was contracted to build. It was these nickel-plated beauties that were presented in the rented room high in a Manhattan hotel.

They were beautiful. They had matching hand-engraved markings on the side, and a complete lack of serial numbers to identify the stock the guns came from. They might once have been Glocks, but the custom grips, slide, trigger and internal mechanism left little of the original gun to be seen. It was then given a polish, and placed in a special, lacquered wood case.

Lyla had bargained a with the man in her own way while Ann-Marie waited. She managed to sweet-talk the Irishman and charm him immensely, even doing dinner with him. That was something Ann had to trust Lyla to handle alone. When she was done with him, he’d agreed to cut the price he expected of the guns in half.

Unfortunately that still meant Ann would be far short of the necessary funds. However, they were given some time to think it over and Lyla suggested she use it by contacting the Black Tigers and seeing if she might be able to pull off a job for them. Lyla told Ann that while she could vouch for Ann, it would be more prestigious for Ann — and less risky for Lyla — if she were to impress them on her own merits. Lyla told her where she might find the gang hanging out and left Ann-Marie to handle things from there.

She made contact and after a tense introduction that could have as easily ended with an attempt to mug her –or much worse — and leave her, Ann was just able to convince them she could be quite capable. Therefore, the gang set her what they thought would be a nearly impossible task and told her that if she could pull it off, they’d take care of the Irishman’s bill for her.

Ann was sent after their current rival’s stash of drugs. Peddling the stuff was the cornerstone of gang money — and therefore power. If she could get aboard a gang-controlled boat floating in the harbor, get the goods, and deliver them to the Black Tigers, she will have single-handedly crippled the rival gang and given the edge to the Black Tigers.

Getting to the boat turned out to be simple for Ann-Marie. Getting all the drugs and leaving with them was not. However, deciding that killing gang members guarding their hoard was not her mission, she fled the ensuing gun battle by leaping overboard with almost 30 kilos of cocaine, heroine and meth! By struggling along the thick, sludgy mess of the bottom she was able to return to land after an epic 5-hour struggle to keep from being permanently mired and push her way through the muck.

The sealed packages proved impervious to the water of the bay and 25 of the 30 kilograms of drugs she took was delivered directly into the hands of the very impressed Black Tigers. No one knew how she’d done it — the Black Tigers had heard she had been fatally shot and fell into the harbor, along with all the drugs she took with her. Their rivals appeared certain they’d killed her.

The pleased Black Tigers told Ann-Marie that they’d take care of the price Finny asked of her and shortly thereafter, Lyla told her the good news — Finny had dropped off the pistols. She and the pistols were waiting for her at the hotel room. In addition, an apparently very happy Finny Heath also left a pair of custom holsters designed to hold the auto-pistols with extended clips as well as two extra extended clips. Finally, as a gift to Lyla (for whatever she ha done for him) he’d left an inner-thigh holster. This, too, Lyla had accepted but offered to Ann-Marie since she didn’t use guns.

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