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by: Daniel Firinne
Click-clack of keys being struck in rhythmic order was soft atop the warm lamp-lit desk of a reporter working well-past the ordinary working hours. He grit his teeth in frustration as he has once again been hamstrung into reporting worthless celebrity gossip. The phone ring interrupts his progress. He lets it ring a second time before he allows himself to reach for it. Lifting the receiver to the ear, he switches the mount to the active line.


The voice on the opposite of the phone was hurried. His breaths shortened. Anxiety blending with exhaustion. It was the familiar voice of one of his regular contacts. A common nightcrawler, with all the skeevy intuition and voyeuristic intent that scrapes the very bottom of society's best for all of their very worst. He was good at it. In the hunt to overturn anything that the public wanted to see or hear about, that the subjects of their "affection" would pay mightily to hide, he has almost some sort of mystical advantage.
Nevertheless, today's phone call was different. He's been chased by bodyguards, trailed by private investigators, held by the police, and held-up by others of his own despicable kind. But, in all of that he's never carried a scent of fear or distress. He was cut from some unflappable cloth that even a hurricane couldn't ruffle. So why was he behaving so unnatural tonight?

"What's wrong? ...
Hold on, let me get a pen. ...
What do you mean I shouldn't write it down? ...
Lambeth Bridge? It'll take me an hour and half to get there...
Fine, underneath the South end of Lambeth Bridge. This had better be worth it....

The reporter returned the phone's handle to it's holder. He thought carefully about the conditions for this sudden appointment. He grabbed his coat from the back of the chair as he stood up while pushing it back from the desk all in a singular motion. He moved towards the door, then hesitated. He reversed his course, returning to his desk. Inside of the lowest drawer, is a heavy steel box. The initials "DAF" carved in the lid. Inside of the box, a nickel-plated derringer chambered with .410 shells.
Last edited by Daniel Firinne on Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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by: Daniel Firinne
The rain was light, but the wind chewed at the reporter's marrow. Standing at the window of his cab he fished for the cash to pay for the ride.
"€95? Are you kidding me? You might as well be robbing me."
"I didn't ask you to drive me out here."
"Are you even British?"
"Chit-chat'll cost ya extra."
Fírinne unfurled the bills with grit teeth and passed them through the open window. The cab drove off, leaving him in the shadow of The Windmill Pub. It wasn't an overly special place. He waited for until the driver was fully out of sight before not entering the establishment. He took the alley through the bricklay car park to the opposite side of the block. This side faced the edge of the Thames. He clutched his jacket tighter as the uninhibited wind stole the warmth from his flesh. The street was desolate. Very little industrial light hinted as to the intent of this location for whatever that madman had for it. The roundabout featured an ornamental cluster of trees. No one appeared to be among them. On either side of the bridge itself was a case of concrete steps leading down perpendicular to its construction. Beyond the Southern approach of steps of the, in fact, East-West-bound bridge was a second set of stairs. A lone figure stood upon the lower landing.
"This had better have been worth it." He hissed to no one.

"Take this." The figured passed a file portfolio to Fírinne. The recipient began to untie the thing."No. Don't open it yet." The scheduler of the meeting grabbed him by the hand.
"What do you mean, 'Don't open it'? What did you give it to me for, then?"
"Don't worry. You will get to see what's inside." He hesitated and looked around as if looking for onlookers in the unoccupied streets above. "First I need to tell you a story...."
"Tell me a story? I tell the stories. Your job is to just peek in through windows so I know what those stories are."
"Just shut your mouth for the only time in your flea-bitten life, and listen." He pointed to the folio. "Inside of this file is undeniable evidence of something that will upend your world. Fírinne was visibly unconvinced. "Images and testimony of those involved, classified government documents. Everything that would blow it all up for the world to see. . . "
"Wait a minute? 'Blow it all up'? Do you mean terrorism? Blow what up? Another Oklahoma City? The IRA?
"The illusion. The pretense that we are all there is to the universe." The reporter was shaking his accomplice by now.
"Aliens?" Fírinne laughed out loud at the thought. "You brought me all the way to bloody Lambeth Bridge at one in the bleeding morning because you found ALIENS?" His laughter was not out of entertainment of the thought.
"No. Don't be ridiculous." The contact was incredulous and somewhat offended at the mere consideration of such a thing. "I clearly would not be so foolish as to trust you with THAT kind of information. I'm talking about Witchcraft. . ."
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by: Orion
The contact shoved his hands deep into the pockets of the second-or-third-hand trench coat he wore. He hated doing this. He hated betraying the family, but he'd been paid well to specifically hand off this envelope to this man. They said they'd be watching to ensure that he did it. God, he wished he could have a smoke, but if the missus smelled it on him, he'd catch hell from her too...

He'd caught hell three ways to Sunday from the werewolf...got caught sneaking trying to take pictures, didn't he? But then, if he counted every time he caught hell for getting caught, he'd run out of fingers to count on even if he borrowed a rugby team to count on. But the times he didn't get caught...now those were bank.

He cleared his throat nervously. Who would they have sent to watch him? A vampire? Probably not. Wizard business was wizard business...not that he was necessarily a wizard. No, that was his sister...he just happened to know about their secret little world because his muggle born sister Deb couldn't keep her bloomin' mouth shut. And apparently it worked two ways too, because when some jumped-up terrorist wanted his manifesto spread, who did they approach? Well, at least he could get the job done for them.

God, he wanted that smoke...

He shifted nervously again, watching Firinne go through the pictures, the reports, the stolen blood paperwork...He himself had gone through it, just to sift his fingers through the information. It was a pretty little treasure trove, weren't it? If it got into the hands of the right reporter, it could set the world on fire...so why the contact wanted THIS man to handle the story was beyond reckoning...the disgraced Yankee...couldn't sell a publisher a glass of water even if the building was on fire...too bad, eh? Too bad.
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by: Daniel Firinne
"You've got to be kidding me." Firinne muttered to the emptiness of his room. He closed the door of his London apartment behind him with the portfolio lodged in his armpit. Just the sensation of it still in his possession ruined any thought of personal dignity he ever thought might have almost possibly had at one time. He hung up his keys on a hook near the doorway. His coat went into the closet. In the top of there was a second lockbox. He placed the Derringer inside and closed the lid. Pulling the chain that hung down from the center of the door frame extinguished the light with a click.

His apartment was simple. Two bedrooms, one larger than the other. He had left the smaller one intact in hopes that his daughter would come to visit during class breaks. She had promised that she would try, but in the two years since the separation, she has done little more than like an occasional social media post. At first, he craved even that minuscule attention. Now, he was insulted by it. It would be one thing is calls cost hundreds of dollars or if letters and telegrams were the only way to reach "across the pond". But, since neither of those conditions are real, the absolute minimum that can only be afforded by convenience is a terrible slap to the face. Worse than when she first admitted that she was going back to Boston with her mother. Perhaps his true ire, though, was for himself. For having believed that she would come back at any time in the future. He knew that it was never really going to happen....

The main rooms of the apartment were a tiny all-electric kitchen with peeling wallpaper and a front room that only had one pull-out couch and a cathode-tube television that only got one channel clearly: the BBC. He only kept it for two reasons: it provided background noise for when he wrote or tried to fall asleep, and because "A Link to the Past" never goes out of style.

The "master bedroom" had all of the amenities that one might expect, except perhaps for an adjoined bathroom. The apartment only had one bathroom. And it was a battle to make it function correctly. But in the bedroom was a queen-sized bed that was neatly made. It was neatly made, in contrast to the dreariness of the rest of that place because Dan's grief would not allow himself to enjoy its comfort ever since that first fateful night without them. He has very-nearly sold the thing multiple times. Out of necessity to make bills. Somehow things were just able to scrape themselves together enough to allow him to keep his tragic effigy right where it stays. There was no other furniture in the room. Not even a dresser. That he had sold. He only had five suits, anyways. Why bother with unnecessary garmentry?
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by: Orion
The snitch watched his contact disappear. He'd not opened the envelope, not yet at least. And that was that...he turned to leave and stopped immediately. A large man stood with a smaller man beside him. Well, he was a normal sized man, merely dwarfed by the larger man. Not just weight, but height set him apart...and the weight wasn't just the bulk of over-indulgence, was it?

Shakes overtook him. He'd heard of King and his Shield. In fact, weren't they the ones who'd indirectly hired him? The Shield approached him and passed an envelope.

"My employer thanks you for your work. We'll keep in touch. There will be more information to pass on later, along with more rewards."

What was to be said? Scavengers knew when to hide when a predator slunk by. The pie disappeared. Literally disappeared. What could be done except rub his eyes and flee? Not much.
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by: Daniel Firinne
A mangled manila scrap littered the kitchen countered. Daniel had broken the first seal of the package. Inside, was at least a full ream of standard 20lb print paper. Mixed-in was full-color photographs and visual illustrations. Newspaper clippings pasted together onto printer paper. He brushed sweat away from his forehead and his eyes scanned for a clean glass. Stepping away from the pile of dead trees, he reached into a cabinet and ran a glass under the faucet. The water was cold, but not very satisfactory. He reached into another cabinet and withdrew and tall, narrow bottle. It was nearly empty. But with enough hair of the dog to get him through this task.

"You simply have to be kidding me. There is no possible way that I can take this seriously...."
Dan grasped the file and the bottle and took it over to the couch. Sweeping away time-old fast food takeaway containers and other trash on the floor in front of his seat. He started to sort through the data. His watch read 3 o'clock in the morning before he had realized just how much time had passed. He was faced with a choice: 1. Keep this up, go into work exhausted. 2. Leave this, get a few hours sleep; go into work exhausted.

Knowing the outcome in advance, he tried to sleep. With all of the papers scattered in front of the couch he was trying to sleep on was hardly conducive to any dreamstate. He only allowed that to squander about an hour of his time. As he laid there, he still stared down at the dried pulp. When the letterhead of one in particular page grasped his attention. "Ministry of Magic: Auror's Office."

"What is that?"

Daniel had never heard of such any such organization or point of authority. Having now seen it once, he began to see it quite more often. If not the letterhead or its watermark itself, this "Auror's Office" appeared to have its thumbs in all of the pies.
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by: Orion
An excerpt from one of the interdepartmental memos, dated in February

-furthermore, the incident at the school simply cannot be swept under the rug. The minister is expected to make an announcement sometime later, but we need to get ahead of the damage control. People will be asking about vampires more now than ever and we must seriously express that this was the act of a lone, radical, terrorist and not the general behavior of the creatures as a whole."

Re: Hogwarts murderer killed

"Your bleeding heart sentiments are well and good, but what about the families who received parts of their children? What about Captain von Wolfram and his loss? We can't just expect them to take our word as fact and not express their mourning with actions. Maybe we should restristrict the movements of vampires in and out of Diagon and other heavily populated areas. They certainly don't need to be in London, do they?"

Re:re Hogwarts murderer killed

"Sure, restrict them even more...instead of hunting them down, we'll just starve them out. That worked well with the goblins, didn't it?"

Re:re:re Hogwarts murderer killed

"Jenkins, what the hell do you know about goblins? You failed History of Magic if I remember correctly."

Re:re:re:re Hogwarts murderer killed

"Go to hell, Stan"

Notice: Memos for professional use only

"While the Auror's office and Impergium Guard encourages open and candid dialogue between officers, please remember that personal attacks and unprofessional behavior are not acceptable. Furthermore, Press Secretary Chase has put a moratorium on discussion regarding the vampire attack until a proper investigation of the werewolf and vampire involved in the school incident can be conducted. Please remember to have your reports submitted no later than 1630 tonight."
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by: Daniel Firinne
"Hogwarts? What is that, a person? If it is a person, then that person is now dead. He drummed the keys of his office computer. "Not by accident, either, but there's nothing in the public record regarding a murder or indecent killing." He relaxed backward into the rest of his chair. A dozen fruitless searches beckoned the recall of Einstein's definition of insanity. But then, of course, he was realistically considering the possibility of . . . "Magic." He was going to lose a few teeth from how much pressure he had been exerting upon them lately.

Three rhythmic knocks broke his train of thought. The door opened. It was the Advisor editor's head came through.
"Firinne, do you have a minute?" It may have been worded as a request, but it assuredly was not one. dan got up from his chair and followed his superior into his own office. He motioned to take a seat as they entered together and he closed the door behind them.

"What is it, Chief?"

"What's this about you searching up contacts in Scotland Yard about a murder?"

"Just searching up leads for a story."

"Really? No one else has any wind of an HoC Rep getting bumped off."

"Of course they don't. If they did, they would be writing the story instead of me." Daniel's sarcasm wasn't as welcome as he he'd hoped.

"Now you're telling jokes?" The Editor-in-Chief was incredulous. "Maybe we should move you over the funny pages. . ."

"Why are you so upset about this?" Daniel began to probe his superior.

"I'm not upset, Dan. But, we both know that I took a chance on you. A Yank covering Parliament. . . " He groped for the words to try to remain gentle. Daniel was already bracing for impact. ". . .The truth is, that my reputation has been bound up with yours from that moment. And that has not been a positive development for me ever since."
"What exactly are you trying to get at?"

The Editor extended his primary finger in Daniel's direction."Simply this:" He moved the digit downwards into contact with the plain of his desk. "This story had better deliver something that I can print and that will make some people sweat.

"Well, sir, I can assure you that it will stain a few collar shirts." The meeting adjourned and Dan went back to his office.
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by: Sam Sullivan
Sam waited for Dan to get out of the editor's office before following the older man to his office. It had only been a week or so now that the wizard had taken up a freelance job taking pictures for the paper. It was a good way to earn money and to keep his ear to current events. As a time traveler, especially an investigative one, he needed to know what was going on now rather than what was going on at the time of printing. And, who would question a fresh faced boy from the Scottish highlands when he got curious? Most Londoners treated him like a bumpkin. Firinne, however, had been...well...he'd just been. Sam was working on making friends, so he slid over the cup of coffee the American preferred, just as black as his mood.

"Mornin', Firinne. Going on vacation with those bags you've packed under your eyes?"

His own cup of coffee (plenty of cream and sugar, thank you) was already half gone. Sam started in on the other half. He'd want plenty of energy for his investigations today and nothing made him feel quite like a hummingbird than over-sweetened coffee.
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by: Daniel Firinne
Daniel accepted the cup of coffee. Placing the disposable cup onto his desk. He retrieved a small, narrow-neck plastic bottle from the top drawer of his desk as he sipped the sufficient amount from the cup to make room for an addition to the nutrient values.

"It's a bit early in the day for that, isn't it?" The Scot remarked.

"What time is it?" The photographer looked towards his watched to answer rightly, but the journalist cut him off first. " Don't bother. It's been 'Who asked your prepubescent ass, anyways o'clock'. since the moment that you were born."

"Well, then. . .Sam was perplexed. 'How could someone that was so hopelessly and and ignorantly backwards think so highly of himself?' He thought silently to himself. But then he realized that the opposite were the actual truth. ". . . Lets cut to the chase. I'm here to help you."

"Do I need help?"
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by: Sam Sullivan
The hard-boiled, noir-cop thing was starting to be not cute. Sam didn't let the easy smile slip from his face as he leaned on the desk.

"Help fitting in, help cutting through the London ice, help on a story...I don't know. I just know that boss-man wants us outsiders to work together, so he told me to offer you help."

He gave a vague nod in the direction of the editor's office. If Williamson wanted him to tag around the old dog like a lost puppy, so be it. Sam grew up with Garou, so 'gruff' was just a typical Tuesday. Sam knew how to play submissive just as well as he knew how to draw a line and stick to his convictions.

"So what's the story to day? The Warwick representative finally get the axe for his indiscretions? More funding being allotted to Defense? The E.U. getting to full of itself? Or are we working a city-line today? Darcie was going on about some whackadoo ninja wanna-be fighting gangs."

That would be an interesting story to try to get pictures for...Sam idly wondered if it was maybe a wizard or werewolf getting cheeky.
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by: Daniel Firinne
Dan opened the top-drawer of filing cabinet in the corner. Insider was closed file portfolio. He untied it and set it on Sam's side of the desk and gestured towards it. "The story is an unbelievable one." He returned to his own seat on his own side of the desk. "Inside of this file is all of the information that I have on it. He opened the file and spread the information in front of this pop-up imager. "For what it's worth, I haven't been able to corroborate a single scrap of any of it. Whether any of these organizations even exist, for goodness sake." He extracted a news head clipping. "This paper makes up a large amount of it. 'The Daily Prophet'. But there has never been any human publication by that name in the entirety of recorded human history." He then pointed out two photographs that seemed to depict fantastical creatures found only in fiction. "What I would like from you, is whomever took these pictures. I know that in between peeking up girls skirts, all of you freelancers talk to each other. You must know this guy."
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by: Sam Sullivan
Sam opened his mouth to reply, then really got a look at the articles. Color drained from him as he started reading the memos from the Auror's office, seeing stills of a unicorn, of a dragon, of a troll...how had the most muggle man in the office gotten this? Sam spread the pictures out, looking for anything in them that would give away a location. Shock was evident on his face when he looked up from the evidence.

"Where did you get this? Who-how-....What?!"

He looked back to the pictures again. This wasn't how the muggle world was supposed to find out about the magical world. This was it. The breach. He'd missed it. The papers were mostly all government paperwork. He could take the file, erase Firinne's memory, track down the person who gave him the file...or let it play out. Maybe...maybe this could be worked to his advantage, to the wizarding world's advantage.

"Who else knows about this?"

If Dan put it together with the pack of wolves that ran amok in February on the full moon, he'd have all the corroboration that he needed...but so many muggles thought that it was a prank of some sort, or a promotion for a movie...the hard headed muggle probably believed it.
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by: Daniel Firinne
"I have tricks. I don't know how much you limeys keep track of Yankee news, but a few years ago a major story broke in Boston about people doing things that they ought never do with society's most vulnerable. . ." Dan pointed to a frame hung on the wall of his office. It was a the front page of the Boston Globe. "That story was mine."

It's true that Dan was insanely unorthodox in how he gave credence to stories no one cared about or could fathom as possible. On anyone else's desk, THIS story was nothing but market research for a serial teen fiction novel. For all he knew, that IS what this is. But, something begged him to continue forwards with it. The images had been examined by a pair of image manipulators in the paper's basement. Whatever it is that they are, they aren't fakes. They aren't Photoshop. And they aren't film tests. Single lens, no contrast, no filter, ambient light photographs of . . . Werewolves?

"Know this, . . . Dan pointed back in the direction of Sam. ". . .I know that these images are the real deal, whatever it is that means. I am certain to eventually find the bottom of this story, just like I did then. You can either help me do that, or not. If not, there's the door." Dan took a long swallow from his coffee, immediately refilling the cup back to the brim with not-coffee.

"The truth is the only thing that matters to me. Even if I am the only one who knows it. . ."
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by: Sam Sullivan
Sam was impressed. The man had grit to go with his gruff, so there wasn't much to do except keep his eye on him and work with him. After all, since he'd missed this handoff, maybe he could direct how the story played out.

"Alright then...what's the angle you're wanting to work? Panoramic expose? a pinhole-view of what may be the oddest conspiracy our government has ever hidden from us? King Arthur returns triumphant?"

He let his smile grow with each suggestion. Each was true...well, except for the King Arthur bit...but what was Firinne going to do with this information? If he moved too quick, said the wrong thing, he'd wind up with an Obliviator or Ministry of Magic official sticking their wand in his face. Something told Sam that Dan wouldn't put up with that. Maybe it was better for the time-traveler to stick with him and keep him safe.


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