The Anarch Freefall

[BELOW TEXT FOLLOWS IN BECKETT'S DIARY SCRIPT]

The New Asylum, Santa Monica, United States

Los Angeles is the same as I remember: The Anarchs are back in power after the Camarilla's failed attempt to install a Prince. The self-proclaimed "Free States," ranging from the Mexican border to San Francisco and stretching as far inland as San Diego, are still held up as a model of freedom and equality to Kindred across the world. Having visited before, I can attest they are not as "free" as they would like, as an ever-changing cast of Anarch leaders has carved the Free States into bite-sized territories they rule as Barons. Naturally, the Anarchs maintain that a Baron, unlike a Prince, is chosen and supported by his people, and can be taken down by them if he abuses his power. As the modern colloquialism says though, your mileage may vary on that.

I arrive in interesting times, as the Free States are once again beleaguered by the Camarilla. The Camarilla is, in turn, under attack from Wan Kuei pushing into San Francisco where Prince Vannevar still holds. I am eager to see what comes of this volatile mix.

 [end text in beckett's diary script]

[The below sidebar should resemble a torn out encyclopedia entry in aristotle’s handwriting]

Ramona

Clan of the Beast; *1981. #1998, childe of Tanner

Hailing from the streets of Los Angeles, R. drifted from the city after her Embrace and abandonment by her sire. Traveling to the East Coast, she found herself a firsthand witness of the devastation wrought by the Eye of Hazimel. She made her way back to Los Angeles several years later.

[Above encyclopedia entry ends]

[Art note: Check Ramona's entry on the white wolf wiki. I think she is half–white, half–black and I'd like to see that multi-ethnicity reflected in her art. Also, make sure to catch the awesome hair and tattoos.]

[BELOW TEXT PRESENTED AS TRANSCRIPT OF A RECORDED CONVERSATION]

[Recording begins]

Beckett: Greetings, neonate.

Ramona: You wanna start over? I might be young, but I am no neonate. Not after what I've seen.

Beckett: Greetings, Kindred. I apologize if I offended so soon. Since you bring up your past experience, though, perhaps we could talk about —

Ramona: No. I agreed to tell you about the Anarch Free States. Nothing more.

Beckett: But you actually saw —

Ramona: [shouting] I said no! I don't want to talk about it! Not now, not ever!

 [long pause]

Beckett: Very well. Should you change your mind however, please contact me.

Ramona: I won't. You wanna talk about the Free States, or not?

Beckett: I suppose I do.

Ramona: Good. Where to start...I kept on the move after the attack. Followed Xaviar, then struck out on my own. I hear the Camarilla appointed this Leigh guy to replace Xaviar, but I'd be surprised if even half of us are behind him after the Cam left us to die. That was an eye opener, showed us what centuries of service gets you in the Camarilla: nada. Some Gangrel joined the Sabbat, seeing how fighting the ancients moved way up our list, but not everyone has the stomach for that kind of gore. A few went rogue — I think Xaviar did. A lot of us ended up with the Anarchs; it's a happy medium between making your own choices and having a group at your back. I was one of the latter. Found my way back to L.A. Haven't decided if I'll stick around yet.

Beckett: Why is that?

Ramona: I get the appeal. I really do. Freedom and equality, no elders pushing you around. Rants where everyone can speak their mind. I got invited to one on my first night, made me feel like part of the group. Like people had my back, valued my opinion. But it's not working. We have gangs and Barons, and they're little more than thugs and wannabe Princes. No central leadership; everyone keeps looking to MacNeil, but he won't step up. He's as bad as any elder: HE thinks there should be no central structure, so WE don't get to have one regardless of whether we want it or not. How is that any different from what the Cam does? It's still elders laying down the law.

Beckett: I see. And no one else is suited to lead?

Ramona: No one else's got the power. Rodriguez is popular, but he's taking the same bullshit stance MacNeil does. Garcia might have rallied the Unbound at one point, but —

Beckett: But?

Ramona: We agreed you'd owe me in exchange for the low down, right? Does that extend to taking me with you?

Beckett: I'm not looking for a protégé, Kindred.

Ramona: And I'm not looking for a mentor, old man. I just need a ride in case shit hits the fan.

Beckett: That I can do.

Ramona: Okay. Well, Garcia, word is he's been talking to those creatures from Asia. They have their eye on the West Coast and L.A. is a prime target. We're still standing, so I suppose his plans hit a snag. Maybe Martinez talked him out of it — for now.

Beckett: Then why remain? If you get a head start, you don't need me to "give you a ride."

Ramona: 'Cause I'm on foot and you have a plane. And — [sigh] I like it here. The Free States have issues — ensure personal freedom with one hand, maintain the Masquerade and present a united front to intruders with the other. It's hard. But it's better than any of the alternatives. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Beckett: Indeed.

Ramona: That's all I got for you right now. I can set you up with an account on IRC if you want — there's some interesting stuff going on in San Diego.

Beckett: IR what?

Ramona: I'll show you. And you'll take me with you?

Beckett: If the shit hits the fan, yes. Thank you, Kindred.

[Recording ends]  

[END TRANSCRIPT]

[Start: print–out of IRC Channel 'The_Gaslamp', set to private]

<Ramones added Newbie–B>

Da_Fangman: Yo, Ramones, how you been? Chillin' in the big city?

Ramones: Same ole. You?

Da_Fangman: I see you added a friend. Is he good?

Ramones: No, he's a Cam spy working for Tara. What do you think?

Da_Fangman: Relax. Can't be too careful. You vouching?

Ramones: Yeah, I'm vouching for him.

Da_Fangman: Okay then. Welcome to the group, Newbie–B. Wassup?

Newbie-B: Thank you for the welcome, Da_Fangman. I see this IRC is set to 'The Gaslamp'. That's a district in San Diego, if memory serves?

Da_Fangman: Yeah. It's where most of us are at. Full of tourists. Easy feeding, easy hiding, hard to get a grip on. It's where we'll make our stand if Tara turns out to be a b*.

Newbie-B: The Baron of San Diego?

Da_Fangman: So far.

Newbie-B: You think she has other designs? And you plan to stop her?

Da_Fangman: You're direct.

Newbie-B: I find it's the best way to get things done.

<Da_Fangman logged out>

Newbie-B: Did I say something?

Ramones: You're unknown AND blunt. Ever consider giving people time to get to know you?

Newbie-B: Yes, but that usually ends in violence.

Ramones: No shit, you having such a winning personality and all. Lemme smooth things over. Check back later.

<Ramones logged out>

<Newbie-B logged out>

[Margin notes in Lucita’s handwriting]

You know I value your straightforwardness, Beckett. But sometimes you really do catch more flies with honey.

[Lucita margin notes end]

[end Print–out of IRC.]

[below text follows in Beckett's DIARY script]

[Margin notes in beckett’s handwriting]

REMEMBER:

Set IRC to #the_gaslamp

Log in: Newbie-B

Password: Y0lo789

[beckett margin notes end]

Ocean View Hotel, Los Angeles, United States

I've checked in to a newly-renovated hotel and only now begin to suspect there's some weirdness to the place. Lots of footsteps at night, creaking floorboards, walls, and ceilings. A vase even shattered as I closed the door to my room. At least it's isolated, however.

I pursued a few leads of my own tonight. Rumor claims Carna and her childer made their way to the Free States, but I've yet to encounter them. Pity, I should like a word with her about Milwaukee. I tried to call on a local Tremere by name of Vendetta, but found no trace of her. I hope she is well. While I feel a pang of regret at the notion of her demise, I would also be saddened by the loss of her library. It seemed to be quite extensive. Pity she refused to share the location of her haven with me.

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

Consider it lost. Vendetta was antitribu.

[Aisling margin notes end]

As for more cheerful news: I've set up a meeting with Victoria. She just came from San Francisco and is willing to meet as she passes through L.A. In exchange for information about Prince Vannevar's domain, she asked me to translate a Babylonian text for her. She should be arriving tomorrow, so I'll get started on that now.

I've also compiled a short list on the important players in the West Coast conflict. Anatole can cross reference them with Aristotle's Encyclopedia Vampirica and make amendments where necessary.

[above text in Beckett's script ends]

[Start: the following Yellow stationery paper stuck between diary pages. Beckett's handwriting and sketches. These are not yet encyclopedia entries, but merely beckett's notes.]

[Art note MacNeil: Jeremy is a well–built man with pale skin, long brown hair and green eyes. He typically dresses in the height of fashion.]

Jeremy MacNeil

Brujah; *1631, #1657. Childe of James.

MacNeil was born in the Scottish Highlands and, as an accomplished fighter, drew his sire's attention during a skirmish. While MacNeil's mortal clan no longer accepted him after his Embrace, he continued to fight on their behalf. He later became involved in the Irish struggle against the British as well. Repulsed by the bloodshed and convinced nothing would ever change, he later traveled to America where, despite being battle weary, he joined the Americans in the War of Independence.

MacNeil eventually found his way to Los Angeles. He tried to reason with the tyrannical Don Sebastian, only to be beaten to a bloody pulp by the Prince's ghouls for his efforts. After the experience, MacNeil rallied the local Kindred to him and led them in revolution. The victorious result was the Anarch Free States. Refusing to become another Prince, MacNeil lets the other Anarchs do as they please, though he claimed downtown L.A. as Elysium open to all Anarchs.

[Margin notes in Anatole’s handwriting]

Aristotle's entry on MacNeil is far less impartial, shall we say. I wonder if MacNeil still has a headache.

[Anatole margin notes end]

[Art note Garcia: Garcia still has a certain ruddiness to his skin, even though it has paled considerably since his death. He wears his oily black hair down below his shoulders, occasionally tying it into a ponytail. His right cheek is somewhat swollen (a wound not healed upon his Embrace). He has a wide smile with shining teeth]

Salvador Garcia

Brujah; *1869, #1892. Childe of Ferdinand.

Garcia joined the anarchist movement in Spain at the end of the 19th century, and was saved from a subsequent encounter with the Spanish police by his sire. Garcia fled to America after his sire met Final Death in the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Appalled that the "land of the free" had the same tyrants, he aided in the downfall of Prince Don Sebastian. He has been an ally and friend to Jeremy MacNeil ever since.

Garcia claims to have personally killed Don Sebastian, and this, along with him coauthoring the Status Perfectus and being the sole author of the Anarch Manifesto, makes him a star in the Anarch Free States.

[Art note Martinez: Gloria is a beautiful woman with long black hair and brown eyes. Her life as a vampire has not yet lightened her dark complexion. She wears jeans, blouses and a leather jacket.]

Gloria Martinez

Brujah; *1951, #1972. Childe of Salvador Garcia.

Growing up on the streets of Whittier, Martinez is both smart and tough. She discovered the existence of Kindred on her own, and tracked Salvador Garcia to his haven where she gave him a choice: Embrace or kill her. Impressed by her bravado, Garcia chose the former. Garcia taught Martinez how to use the power inherent to her vitae to protect her community, and Martinez quickly rose to control Whittier's gangs. Despite being close to her sire initially, the two have drifted apart in recent years.

[Margin notes in Anatole’s handwriting]

You forgot about the masked man in the car, whispering in Martinez' ear.

[Anatole margin notes end]

[Art note Rodriguez: Check Nines Rodriguez on the vampire wiki]

Armando Rodriguez

Brujah; *1922, #1949.

Rodriguez had to fend for himself from an early age. As a child in a near-starving family of nine, he quickly learned to hold down small jobs (many of them illicit) to aid his family. That did not save Rodriguez' younger brother though, who died when the local doctor refused to look at the child unless the family paid him. Nor did it stop his father from being fired after decades of faithful employment, or his mother selling herself to the same employer so she could feed her family. When Rodriguez was Embraced, he finally had the power to fight back and has defended the downtrodden since.

Rodriguez is a rising star in the Anarch Free States and many Unbound look to him for leadership. He's rumored to have been involved in the fall of the most recent nominal Camarilla Prince of L.A., LaCroix, aiding parties unknown in his destruction.

[Art note Tara: an average–looking woman who stands approximately 5’ 6”. She has blonde hair and brown eyes, and is slightly overweight.]

Tara Kearney

Brujah; *1794, #1822. Childe of Justin Davis.

When the call for revolution went out from the Anarch Free States, Tara was one of the first Kindred to offer assistance. Hailing from Texas, she brought a team of 13 Brujah to fight Don Sebastian. Once Los Angeles was secure, Tara and her crew moved on to San Diego. Tara proclaimed San Diego part of the Anarch Free States and set herself up as Baron.

[Art note Vannevar: His long chestnut hair is tied back with a ribbon in a short queue that lays over his collar. He is still handsome at the age of forty five, though fine lines betray his age. His eyeS are dark brown, nearly black, and his nose like the beak of a hawk. Despite his pale complexion, his skin shows a ruddy quality from the thin strain of American Indian blood that ran through the veins of his aristocratic Virginia family.]

Vannevar Thomas

Ventrue, *1729, #1781.

Vannevar was an aristocrat from Virginia who fought in the War of Independence. He was captured along with other rebels in 1781, when his sire saved his life.

Vannevar was sent to secure West America for the Camarilla in 1849. He became Prince of San Francisco in 1910. A solid grasp of combat tactics and prodigious use of spies have kept Vannevar in the saddle since, despite various attempts to overthrow him. He held against the Anarch Revolt when other Camarilla domains fell. Domestically, Vannevar has to deal with repeated (though small) incursions from the Eastern Kindred, as well as the ambitious Ventrue Jochen van Nuys.

[Art note Li: To a cursory glance, she looks like a thin waif, barely into her teens. She exudes authority and centuries of experience however, and her eyes are as hard and cold as metal. She is of Chinese descent and wears her dark hair pinned up.]

Jiejie Li

Wan Kuei; *unknown, #unknown.

Ji leads the New Promise Mandarinate against San Francisco and Los Angeles, though she seems to be more of a diplomat than a warrior. Her diplomacy might be limited to navigating the politics of her own kind, however, as she is rumored to look down on Kindred.

[end the proto encyclopedia entries]

[below text PRESENTED as transcript of a recorded conversation]

[Recording begins]

[Loud music in the background]

Beckett: Victoria, it is good to see you. You look beautiful as always, and pink.

Victoria: You like?

Beckett: I can honestly say it's the loveliest color pink I have ever seen on hair.

Victoria: [Laughs] Very diplomatic.

Beckett: Shall we go somewhere more private?

[Music fades]

Victoria: Do you have what I asked for?

Beckett: I do. [Rustle of paper] That is a very interesting text. If I may ask —

Victoria: You may not. We have an agreement to talk about San Francisco.

Beckett: You know, I've encountered more people these nights who want to get straight to business. I had expected you to appreciate the finer art of conversation.

Victoria: You're trying to goad me into revealing more about this text.

Beckett: I see you will not be swayed by words alone. Perhaps we can negotiate for it later?

Victoria: Perhaps.

Beckett: For now, San Francisco. How did you find yourself there? Did you travel with this cacophonous lot?

Victoria: No. They traveled with me.

Beckett: Really? You are aware the Succubus Club has a reputation for embracing Kindred from all walks of life. Did you become Autarkis?

Victoria: [Laughs] Oh, not me. I'm as straight as they come. Camarilla girl through and through. Naturally.

Beckett: Naturally. You were welcome in San Francisco?

Victoria: We were not turned away.

Beckett: I was under the impression that Prince Vannevar is very strict?

Victoria: He is. He is also not the only Kindred in the city. Sebastian Melmoth arranged for my passage. He operates the Alexandrian in the bay, and wanted to do a joint listing to celebrate his club's 100th anniversary. He felt it would increase both our financial and social standings.

Beckett: Yet you're in Los Angeles now.

Victoria: The Succubus Club travels, you know that. That's why it works. We come in, throw the party of the century, and leave. It works for everyone. [Laughs] Well, except maybe the local authorities. [Sobering] And, in this case, our departure was very timely.

Beckett: It's official? San Francisco is under attack?

Victoria: Official? No. These so-called “Wan Kuei” are even better at smiling while they stab you in the back than some of our compatriots. Prince Vannevar is too much a coward to just declare war on the Camarilla's behalf either. So officially, they're talking. But I doubt it will last long.

Beckett: Do you think they can take San Francisco?

Victoria: I didn't stop to count their numbers or ask for war plans, Beckett. They call themselves the New Promise Mandarinate. Not sure why or what that means. But they're promising leniency on people who surrender. “A co-joint effort to build a better tomorrow, together,” I believe the phrase was. They've already spoken to Sebastian, though don't tell him I know that. So yes, they seem to know what they're doing.

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

Victoria lets nothing "slip" that she doesn't want out.

[Aisling margin notes end]

Beckett: Rumor has it Salvador Garcia is talking to them, too.

Victoria: Merde. Well, lucky me. I'm with a traveling group. I'd suggest you leave, too, but you're the foolhardy kind.

Beckett: That I am. Well, my dear, thank you for your insights. I hope we will talk again soon.

Victoria: [Laughs] About Babylonian texts, you mean. You may always call me, Beckett.

[Recording ends]  

[END TRANSCRIPT]

[The below sidebar should resemble a torn out encyclopedia entry in aristotle’s handwriting]

Victoria Ash

Clan of the Rose; *1624 #1650. Childe of Maximillian

A ghoul to the French Maximillian, A. was Embraced after she saved her domitor's life. The two had a close relationship, but A. was unable to save Maximillian when his enemies cornered him again in England. After her sire's death, A. traveled Western Europe and North America extensively, and Embraced twice. Her first childe, Evan, met the sun. Her second childe, Lady Regina Blake (#1888), grew estranged from A.

A. rose to the position of Primogen in Atlanta and was even offered the position of Prince, which she declined for reasons unknown. Since then her life has followed an erratic path, until she gained control of the infamous traveling Succubus Club.

[Above encyclopedia entry ends]

[Art note: Victoria is beautiful and alluring, though I'd like to separate that from 'sex bomb'. She has a healthy feminine build. Her hair is currently pink and cut In a bob (compare to Natalie Portman in 'Closer', but with a bolder tone of pink). Her eyes are emerald. I imagine her with a heart–shaped face, but go with what works.]

[Start: Print–out of IRC Channel 'The_Gaslamp', set to private]

Da_Fangman: Sorry 'bout earlier, Newbie-B. We're good now.

Newbie-B: Thank you. No harm done.

Da_Fangman: Can't be too careful. Anyways, on to Tara. What do we know?

Vampira: She's been talking to a Campire. Arcon or something.

Newbie-B: Archon.

Vampira: You know her?

Newbie-B: It's a title. Archons are the enforcers of the Camarilla.

Da_Fangman: How do you know all this?

Newbie-B: I pay attention.

Ramones: Plus he has a brain. Are we gonna get into this again?

Da_Fangman: No, we're good. Vampira, continue.

Vampira: Tara's been talking to an *Archon*. Not posh, but I can tell her outfit costs. A blue blood maybe, or an artist.

Da_Fangman: What did they discuss?

Vampira: Not like I get invited to these things. They spent the better part of the night together though. Maybe Tara swings that way, but otherwise they got a LOT of business done.

Newbie-B: Perhaps Tara is merely seeking reinforcements against the Wan Kuei.

Da_Fangman: You a scholar or something?

Newbie-B: I am.

Da_Fangman: But you're not Cam?

Newbie-B: Do you have a name for the Archon?

Vampira: No. Why?

Newbie-B: If you have a name, I can make inquiries.

Da_Fangman: You sure you're not Cam?

Newbie-B: I am not. But unlike you, I have learned the value of not needlessly alienating people who can help. Get me a name and I can make inquiries. Or not. Your choice.

<Newbie-B logged out>

[end Print–out of IRC.]

[below text should be presented as an email]

From:                   Victoria_Ash@sunburst.us

To:                       beckettmnemosyne1@schreckNET.nod

Subject:               You're welcome

I asked around and there is indeed an Archon in San Diego. Two actually.

Cock Robin firstly, but that's to be expected. He's been pushing for the destruction of the Anarch Free States ever since Petrodon died.

The second is more surprising: Kirsten Bellamy. Perfect schoolgirl and much milder towards Anarchs.

The two make an interesting pair, don't you think? They're meeting at the Grande Colonial, top floor.

Warm regards,

Victoria.

[above email ends]

[The below sidebar should resemble a torn out encyclopedia entry in aristotle’s handwriting]

[Art note: Robin's elongated head, puckered lower lip and distended chin give him a grotesque avian appearance.]

Cock Robin

Clan of the Hidden; *unknown, #1757. Childe of Alonso Cristo Petrodon de Seville.

R. was a talented silversmith apprentice during his mortal years. He was Embraced by Petrodon and left to fend for himself as a fledgling — a period he survived thanks to his natural caution. He eventually found his way to Rhode Island, where he witnessed the rise of Nosferatu Prince Stanford Warwick. As Warwick's rule grew increasingly tyrannical, Kindred rose to rebel against him. R. was contacted by his sire and instructed to aid the rebellion. By 1990 Warwick was dead and Robin the sole survivor of the band of insurgents.

While R.'s actions against Warwick went unnoticed by most Kindred, the Inner Council paid attention. He was promoted to serve as Archon under Petrodon and, upon the latter's demise, further promoted to Justicar. He resigned as Justicar in recent times, and has returned to work as Archon for new Nosferatu Justicar Molly MacDonald.

[Above encyclopedia entry ends]

[below text PRESENTED as a handwritten transcript]

[Transcriber's note: Archon Robin's speech is preceded by clicking sounds. These have been denoted in Morse code in a second document and appear to match what was said.]

[Margin notes in Aisling’s handwriting]

To wit, the clicking sound is Archon Robin. The voice Cesare transcribed was likely his interpreter. Also, PLEASE don't make me an accomplice to illicit transcripts of conversations between Archons.

[Aisling margin notes end]

[Recording begins]

Robin: Why are you here, Kirsten?

Bellamy: A pleasant evening to you too, colleague. How have you been?

Robin: Cut the crap. We both know you'd rather eat rats than associate with me. Get to it.

Bellamy: I'm here to fix the mess you made. You were sent to monitor the Anarch Free States and its surrounding areas. Now we have these creatures from Asia knocking on our door. Seems like someone has been remiss.

Robin: I've told the Council the territory is too large to cover alone.

Bellamy: Nonsense. You've just been so busy playing with the Anarchs. Which is why they sent me.

Robin: To replace me?

Bellamy: No, strangely enough. They want you here as "an option." But you are to cease your activities and let me handle matters.

Robin: Handle them how?

Bellamy: I'm to sue for peace with the Anarchs. Convince them the foreigners are a threat to us all.

Robin: [Agitated] Peace? With those murderers? They have no coherence, no leader. Who are you going to sue for peace with? Do you plan to visit every Baron individually?

Bellamy: If that's what it takes.

Robin: I know about Tara.

Bellamy: Good. That means you've been paying attention to San Diego at least. Here are your new orders. [Rustle of paper] It's been cleared by Justicars Iadanza and MacDonald. Feel free to confirm with the latter. Just stay out of my way.

Robin: [Annoyed hiss]

[Recording ends]  

[END TRANSCRIPT]

[The below sidebar should resemble a torn out encyclopedia entry in aristotle’s handwriting]

[Art note: Bellamy is cute in the kind of way that makes people underestimate her and which she absolutely hates. Her blonde hair falls in shoulder–length layers. She smirks more than she smiles. Vampire Kristen Bell.]

Kirsten Bellamy

Clan of the Rose; *1765, #1789. Childe of Lucille.

B. was Embraced during the French Revolution by Lucille. Ambitious and loyal to the Camarilla, B. was chosen as Archon by Madame Guil. B. has an open attitude towards Anarchs, which served her well under her like-minded patron. New Toreador Justicar Diana Iadanza takes a much dimmer view on the Anarchs, and it remains to be seen how Bellamy's career will be affected by this.

[Above encyclopedia entry ends]

[Start: Print out of IRC Channel 'The_Gaslamp', set to private]

Da_Fangman: Tara is moving! Fuck it if she didn't bring Cammie backup. Treacherous little b*. Send help.

Ramones: No can do. We're getting hit by the WK.

Da_Fangman: Fuck. FUCK.

<Ramones logged out>

[/Print–out of IRC.]

[the below are print-outs / screenshots of two stories from a Digital news website. The underlined blue lines should look like links.]

Explosions in Los Angeles

Explosions rocked the Los Angeles harbor this evening. Three container ships hailing from China and Japan are still ablaze, and the fire department is struggling to contain the fire. Police have issued no statement yet, but insiders fear this might be related to the domestic attack 12 years ago that destroyed the Golden Temple in Los Angeles' Chinatown.

This story reflects a current event and will be updated as the story unfolds.

Related stories: Domestic terrorism in the United States

Gang Violence in San Francisco

A shootout, which started in Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill, spilled over into downtown San Francisco as rival gangs engaged in a car chase through the city streets. The violence came to a climax in the Charnelhouse dance club in Chinatown, where the Latino and Chinese gangs set cars on fire and threw explosive devices, described by witnesses as Molotov cocktails, at each other.

Police are investigating whether or not these events are linked to the explosions targeting Chinese ships in the Los Angeles harbor earlier this evening.

Related stories: Explosions in Los Angeles

[end news website printouts]

[below text follows in Beckett's DIARY script]

Hallowbrook Hotel, Los Angeles, United States

Are there no decent hotels in L.A.? This one absolutely reeks of blood.

Los Angeles appears to be under attack, though it's impossible to tell by whom. Ramona called me to collect her boon. She wasn't amused when I pointed out that the deal was I take her with me, and I'm not going anywhere yet. I'm not meanspirited though, so I told Cesare to prep the plane for her regardless. She brought a friend with her, a young Ravnos by name of Irena, which was also not part of our agreement. Lest readers believe I am getting soft, rest assured: There is a scent about Ramona that implies many adventures to come. Being owed a boon by her will certainly prove worthwhile.

I myself remain in Los Angeles for now.

[above text in Beckett's script ends]

The Wild Bunch

Los Angeles is under attack. San Francisco has proven an implacable foe, San Diego slowly turns from the Free States, and strange, unknown vampires have launched their own offensive. The Anarch Free States aren’t the only ones in trouble, though: Prince Vannevar of San Francisco faces the same onslaught of these “Wan Kuei,” and Baron Tara's battle has just begun. In all the tumult, the sharks of the Sabbat smell easy prey.

The West Coast domains are going to fall like dominoes — that much is inevitable. Depending on how Kindred act however, they can influence how they fall. The West Coast has no shortage of interesting Kindred. Many important ones are detailed below, though Storytellers are encouraged to add their own or replace some of these with players' protagonists. For example, if a player character has a strong position in the Unbound, make her the emerging new leader.

Story hooks are provided for player characters allied with each faction:

• Jeremy MacNeil, Disillusioned Leader

Although the nominal leader of the Anarch Free States, MacNeil is not a good horse to back. He won't move against his friend Garcia on hearsay, but he's not oblivious to the rumors surrounding him either. Nor is he blind to Tara’s machinations. The truth is, he knows he should care about these things, but doesn't. Ever since the founding of the Free States, the Unbound have done nothing but turn on each other and vie for territory. In many ways, MacNeil feels they're as bad as the rulers he spent his life fighting against. He's tired of it all, but pride and loyalty won't allow him to admit the Free States were a failure. The war gives him a graceful "out" though. If the Anarch Free States fall, MacNeil is free to start his great experiment over elsewhere, without being seen as willingly abandoning the Unbound of the West Coast.

Unbound characters close to MacNeil can persuade him to stay and fight, or go out and fight in his name. As long as the other Unbound believe MacNeil is with them, they keep fighting and have a much better chance of holding Los Angeles — which gives them a bulwark to reclaim San Diego later. Conversely, if Los Angeles holds, characters can encourage MacNeil to leave, citing now as the time for a fresh start and new leadership; this creates a power vacuum for them to step into.

• Salvador Garcia, Unbound Traitor

Garcia is tired of the Anarch Free States. He still believes in the ideology and, unlike MacNeil, has no intention of leaving and starting over. What he does want is a strong move in a new direction: united leadership, comradeship, equality. Since the Unbound can't get it together on those points, he has begun looking elsewhere — and he believes the Wan Kuei are best suited. He's been aiding their takeover in exchange for safety for "his people," and a say at the table.

Characters in Garcia's inner circle are aware of his plans, and can help to sabotage and distract the Unbound, or smuggle Wan Kuei in. Garcia is aware of MacNeil's ennui and hopes his friend will stay out of the fight, but if not, he moves to take MacNeil out — and the characters should definitely be part of this epic battle. Alternatively, the characters are with Garcia's El Hermandad gang, but unaware of his plans. When they find out about his treachery, they're in a perfect position to either blackmail or assassinate him.

• Gloria Martinez, Sleeper Agent

Martinez is the wild card amongst the Unbound. Her meeting with Garcia all those years ago was no coincidence — she was unknowingly influenced into it by Justicar Petrodon. Petrodon was planning to use her, and other Dominated Unbound, as insiders once the Camarilla made its move against the Anarch Free States. Petrodon was killed several years ago, though, and the plan may have died with him. It's also possible that his childe and successor Cock Robin knows about it and continues where his sire left off. A third option, given the nature of Dominate, is that the Conditioning triggers itself under duress. If Petrodon's Conditioning still stands, Martinez moves to assassinate her sire, Garcia.

The characters, if they pay attention to behaviors around them, should catch on that something is wrong. In addition to stopping the assassination, maybe they don't want to kill their Dominated friend. This makes for an interesting dilemma (kill your friend, or let her kill a valued leader without whom Los Angeles falls), and could lead to some covert action (since other Unbound likely have no qualms about killing the hidden assassins).

A Masquerade of Assassins

Characters active in the Anarch Free States before Petrodon died (or even after, if Cock Robin took up the torch) could be unwitting assassins themselves. Players might relish "going dark" and trying to kill their targets, thus shaking up the game for everyone. The Storyteller should proceed with caution though. For every player who loves to be a sleeper agent, another won't appreciate having her character Conditioned. There's also the risk of players getting agitated when characters find themselves on opposite sides of the fence. Make sure everyone at the table enjoys the twist.

• Armando Rodriguez, Unbound Leader

Like MacNeil, Rodriguez believes no man should lord over another, and that includes Barons. Unlike MacNeil, he acknowledges that the Free States will fall without leadership. Going against his own principles, Rodriguez reluctantly assumes the mantle of leadership for the duration of the war. With Rodriguez to unite them, the Anarchs have a powerful rallying point. The question is: Where do they strike? The Unbound don't have the numbers to stop the Wan Kuei, the incoming Camarilla, and Tara's coup all at once. And are those Sabbat war drums they hear in the distance?

Characters close to Rodriguez can point him to whichever foe they believe to be more dangerous. Once that decision is made, Rodriguez asks them to coordinate and lead the charge – Rodriguez is an excellent combatant, but he is no field tactician. Win or lose, Rodriguez is eager to lay down his crown once the war is over, and this is another decision player characters can sway to their own benefit.

• Cock Robin, Archon bent on destroying the Free States

Archon Robin wants the Anarch Free States to fall. He believes the Unbound are responsible for the death of his sire Petrodon, and he hates them all. He cares more about their fall than he does about the safety of San Francisco. Robin encourages Prince Vannevar to abandon San Francisco and take Los Angeles as his new seat. He also pushes Tara to make her move, promising backup and resources if the Unbound strike back. Of course, he doesn't necessarily keep his word, but Tara's betrayal serves as a distraction in the meantime. Lastly, if Robin knows about the Conditioning of Martinez and other Anarchs, he makes every effort to trigger it.

Robin can't be everywhere at once, and characters close to him are tasked to persuade Vannevar, woo Tara, or trigger Martinez — whichever the characters believe is best suited to their skills, or whichever the players believe makes for the most interesting story.

• Kirsten Bellamy, Archon seeking an Alliance

Archon Bellamy seeks an alliance with the Anarchs against the Wan Kuei: She'll help them secure Los Angeles, if they aid in San Francisco's defense. She argues Tara should make her own decision regarding San Diego, knowing full well which way the Baron is leaning. The latter requires some bargaining on her part though, as the Unbound know about Tara too.

Characters working with Bellamy can either be diplomats aiding in the negotiations, or combatants participating in the alliance's movements once the deal is done. Stalling the Wan Kuei is absolutely tantamount to Bellamy's efforts, and the characters can work as saboteurs to slow the invaders.

• Vannevar Thomas, Prince of San Francisco

Prince Vannevar clings to San Francisco. He can't do it without the Camarilla though — even if he wins against the Wan Kuei, his domain will be easy pickings for the Anarchs or Sabbat afterward. He makes every effort to turn the Camarilla away from Tara, arguing those resources are better spent on San Francisco. If all else fails though, Vannevar is adaptable. He would rather be a Prince under the New Promise Mandarinate, or in beleaguered Los Angeles, than no Prince at all.

Diplomatic characters working with Vannevar are sent to treat with Archons Robin and Bellamy, urging them to lend aid to San Francisco. Hedging his bets, Vannevar asks stealthy characters to fake an attack on San Francisco by "Tara," in an effort to stop Camarilla negotiations with her.

If all else fails, Vannevar considers an alliance with either the Wan Kuei in exchange for a position in the Mandarinate, or the Anarchs in exchange for a sizable portion of the city. He seeks advice from the characters on which is the better choice — something they can turn to their own benefit.

• Tara Kearney, Baron-cum-Prince of San Diego

Tara is done playing in the kiddies' league. She's been Baron long enough and wants to be Prince now. To that end, she does what the Camarilla asks, whether it's harry Los Angeles, or lend aid to San Francisco. She's not stupid though. She knows the Wan Kuei attack drastically changed things, and San Diego isn't as big a prize to the Camarilla as San Francisco or Los Angeles. If she suspects a double cross, she stays put and remains Baron a little longer.

Characters working with Tara have her ear on whom she can and can't trust. Holding San Diego is Tara's primary concern, joining the Camarilla her second. Tara sends her people to assassinate any new Prince of L.A. She has ambitions — and there can be only one Prince. Duplicitous characters can try to pitch Vannevar and Tara against each other, leaving the position of Prince open for themselves.

• Jiejie Li, Leader of the Wan Kuei

Li leads the New Promise Mandarinate's attack and not many Kindred characters find themselves on her side. Such a setup is possible, but requires preparation by the Storyteller to explain how Li got the characters in her corner. If they are allies with her though, Li doesn't hesitate to use them, sending them on near-suicide missions against high-profile targets. If the characters survive, the rewards are great. If they don't, then Li hasn't lost any of her own troops and the characters aren't around to complain anyway.

The Blood Settles

After several nights of warfare, the fate of the Anarch Free States is decided. Detailed below are a few ways it can end, depending on which side the characters chose and how successful they were. If they played their cards right, they should hold positions of prestige and power and Storytellers are encouraged to throw out the non-player characters entirely. Perhaps the characters replaced Garcia and they are the leading Kindred in the New Promise Mandarinate, or they double crossed Tara and one of them rules as Baron in San Diego.

The outcomes below are not mutually exclusive. It's very well possible to have Eastern Neighbors in San Francisco, while Unlikely Bedfellows holds Los Angeles and Long Live Prince Tara rules in San Diego.

• The New Promise Mandarinate

With Garcia working from the inside, the New Promise Mandarinate takes Los Angeles. Garcia is granted a place in the new leadership, but only time can tell if this is a real position or merely token. Garcia claims he turned to the Wan Kuei to negotiate safety for the Anarchs after the battle was lost. Surviving Unbound, however, accuse him of betraying the cause and killing MacNeil, who disappears during the attacks.

• A Prince in Los Angeles

Despite its ill-fated attempt at installing a Prince previously, the Camarilla never gave up on reclaiming Los Angeles. Turning loss into opportunity, it abandons San Francisco and utilizes the Camarilla refugees as an attack force. With Tara coming in from San Diego, the Camarilla has Los Angeles in a pincer. While the city does not fall to the Camarilla completely, it's close, and Vannevar or Tara is set up as the new Prince. The Camarilla cements its power, while remaining Anarchs choose between admitting defeat or engaging in high-risk guerrilla tactics.

• Unlikely Bedfellows

The Camarilla comes to L.A., but as allies against the Wan Kuei. The Anarchs, realizing they cannot maintain a three-pronged war against the Camarilla, Wan Kuei, and inevitably-approaching Sabbat reluctantly accept. Several Anarch territories convert to the Camarilla, mostly by Barons willing to try their hand at being Primogen. No one is happy with this arrangement, but it holds.

• San Francisco on the Brink

San Francisco beats back the Wan Kuei, but the city is left weakened. Prince Vannevar was badly injured or killed in the battle. Jochen van Nuys steps into the vacuum, while several Unbound in Los Angeles feel that now is a good time to attack. Rodriguez isn't keen to attack San Francisco — he'd rather focus on rebuilding the Anarch Free States after the Wan Kuei invasion — but he won't stop anyone else from doing so.

• Long Live Prince Tara

Tara is clever, ambitious, and she's been planning her coup for a long time. With Los Angeles under attack by the Wan Kuei, the Unbound can't spare resources to stop Tara. San Diego's Anarchs either flee or submit. A few hole up in the Gaslamp district, where they plan their revenge.

• Eastern Neighbors

San Francisco falls to the Wan Kuei who, ironically, seem to make better neighbors than the Camarilla. The Eastern vampires open diplomatic relations with the Unbound and wish to send an ambassador to Los Angeles. Or maybe that's just their way of sending a scout party before an invasion.