An Initial Report
rating: +1+x

October 28th, 1931: 14th street

Pitter. Patter.

Rain, running down gutters, sliding from the rooftops down into the narrow street. First on the roofs of the tallest buildings, forming puddles to be seen by birds alone. Then flooding, gushing, first trickles into streams, then streams turn to rivers. Washing away the grime beneath, defining where men can go and where they cannot. But rivers too dry up, and men ford them when the need comes. All very majestic.

That is, if you're not standing in it.

"I don't like the look of this"

Pitter. Patter.

"Who asked you?"

Patter. Pitter. Patter. Pitt-

"Gah! It's infuriating! Why do we have to be outside, waiting, watching, constantly! I tell you, It's damn unfair!"

Pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-pit-pit…

"And now the rain has gotten stronger. Fantastic…"

Pit-pit-pit-pit…

"The worst part is, nothing's gained! We've never stopped anything major from happening! We're just a sideshow! Why do we try at all if we're never more than lackeys?"

"Are you refering to us specifically or to the UIU in general?"

Pit-pit-pit…

"I don't know Shile. What on earth are we doing here? What on earth does the UIU do at all? Why aren't we leaving the whole anomalous thing to the Foundation? Why are we even in the UIU to begin with?"

Pitpitpitpit…

"Do you want an answer? I'll give you one to that last question: we're all here because we found something we shouldn't have found. You know that, Jeremy. The only reason we're not in the Foundation instead-"

"I didn't actually want an answer, Shile. This whole operation is pointless, you know that as well as I do."

Boom!

Thunder, though the lightning could not be seen. Interesting to think of the seperation between the two, despite coming from the exact same source. Similar to men perhaps; despite all being born of the same circumstances, some leap ahead with greater ease through no merit of their own. Or perhaps through their merit, the result of inequality is the same.

Or maybe I'm just looking for something to mull over.

"And?"

That won a blank stare. Maybe one of mild disbelief.

"And? You serious? What more do you want?"

Crash! Boom!

Pit-pit-pit…

"Well-"

Boom!

The world itself didn't want to hear his opinion. There was surely something poignant to be said there, but it just didn't come up.

"Well, you could mention how you're serving your country?"

Too weak an argument. Hardly dignified a grunt in return. Trying again:

"Do you have no pride in your values? Is it not better to suffer oneself for the goo-"

Crash!

Lightning struck the end of 14th street. A deafening roar of thunder followed. The tree that guards the narrowing alley shakes and trembles. It holds firm. Too firm. The howling winds will cause it to snap soon enough, falling into the water bellow, it'll probably be quite the mess for the fire department.

"All well and good Mr. Thinker. Just one problem:"

The lightning didn't strike at that remark. Did the elements have a sense of humor?

"How is this suffering doing any good? Who benefits from this?"

A smart retort? Who knew they were in him? Maybe cynicism and wits shouldn't be conflated. A story for another day, perhaps. More like a rant. A long, rambling rant with no coherent thesis. No structure either, that would be detrimental.

Now to think of a response.
One minute. Two.
Inspiration? Appeal to base desires? How?
Three minutes. Four.
Any movement? No?
Five minutes.
Wet. Cold. Miserable.

And… nothing.

So he was right. Yes, they were there for no real reason, the lowest of the low despite a lifetime of service. No matter what they did, how hard they worked, they would have enough knowledge to be afraid but not enough to understand. So they would lead a righteous revolution. Yes, all the three or four hundred disgruntled UIU field agents would overthrow the Foundation and the hunters and the serpents and finally discover what was really going on.

Sure, and there's a man on the moon. The world itself is laughing at me, isn't it? That's why I'm here, on 14th street, one of the last ones to have no shelter. One of the last streets not to be overhauled in newer construction. Of course I'd be assigned to the one street whose paving is uneven. The one street that always smells of cigarettes even after the rain. The worst place in the entire goddamn east coast.

Well it's not that bad…

"Well, does this whining help? As a matter of fact, you're getting me down."

Good job Shile. You succesfully ignored the topic of conversation. Now you get to stew in an endless pit of drivel with your partner before wrapping up another fruitless day.

"Why are you so… annoying? Just accept we're here as punishment and complain with the rest of us. Really, do you really expect Chappell to just show up on FOURTEENTH street?"

He was right of course. Well, at least with that last remark; the most interesting thing an agent ever found on 14th was a cigar vendor who hadn't reported on half his income. Not that any business would have success on 14th street, it's about the most out of the way place in the city. But punishment? Surely something was brewing here, no? Well, what would they be punished for? Let's see, Jeremy had that incident with the Circus a few years back… It was back in '28 when-

BOOM!

CRASH!

Movement!

Breaking out of the haze and into the ecstasy of action, now running, moving, trying! Oh how great it all felt! Jeremy would eat his words of this being punishment, but more importantly: an excuse to return to H.Q! A mad dash, dodging, moving. There's more than one. Can't tell how many in the rain and fog. An escape towards the crowds? Not in this weather! A stumble, a trip, a shot. Blood, flowing. Puddles, turning crimson.

Wait. A shot?

"Jeremy? Why did you shoot? I mean like… his abdomen… he's bleeding! Jesus Christ we're professionals, we need them alive!"

"I didn't shoot! Aren't you being a bit presumptive here?"

Was I? Training. Taken from local police, this should be easy. All the information is here… Gunshot wound. Dead within the minute. Abdomen. Abdomen? Abdomen shots would bleed nicely, but nowhere this quick. Poor health? Peculiar for a Spirit operative. And that he was, from the boots to the hat to the whisky on his hip. Now for a closer look at the wound. Gunpowder. Strange. Gunpowder would only be around if the assailant was less than 5 feet away. So… one of the other Spirit agents? Still, were they that close while running?


October 29th, 1931: UIU Facility 11

"That's your conclusion?"

He's unimpressed. Dissapointing, his approval is critical. What more can I do? I was only given so much, I can't write about what's not there. Perhaps our conduct was imperfect. Perhaps we bungled in letting the others get away? More bored than upset, it seems.

"Yes, I'm sure. My initial explanation is consistent with the facts. The wound wasn't deep, cutting at an angle through his abdomen. Additionally, the gunpowder suggests a very close shot, no more than 6 feet. Considering the distance, it's unthinkable a trained Unit Agent would cause harm so severe."

Unimpressed. Again.

"I understand he died quickly, though?"

Ughh. That struck at the heart of the matter. It pained me to be taken away from the case before the autopsy could come through.

"If we waited for the autopsy report-"

"You can't. Does your explanation provide room for this?"

"Well, poor health or increased bleeding due to the rain could account for it."

That satisfied Director Hubb. Searching for a way through without waiting to discover everything. How did he do it? Hubb smiled.

"Thank you detective. That will be all."

"But… but we still don't know everything! Why were they on 14th? Why did he die so quickly? Who was with him? And what-"

"Thank you detective. That will be all."

Of course. Dissmisal. They hadn't a shred of curiosity, a shred of wonder about the world around them. Just trudge along, always uncompleting. Well I won't stand for it! I'll gather up all my buddies and… wait, didn't I already have this thought?


A cold day.

A day where nothing happens.

People walked the streets. The rain had ended, washing away the blood, forgotten.

One has not forgotten. He walks the streets, watching. He has more ambition than aim. He wants the truth. The truth for it's own sake, not for justice.

Pacing now, anger setting in. Mannerisms aggresive, speech snappy. Anger brings in many kinds of hell, says an old Jewish proverb. Nobody disagrees; it may bring you to hell instead.


October 29th, 1931: Ambrose 11

The smells hit you the minute you walk in. The sights too, but first the smell. Mostly the smell.

To describe it would be futile, for its context was what mattered. Walking through the wet, stinking streets, escaping the constant agony of the city's hub. Then, suddenly, the smell of mud is replaced by a sensation of pure relief. So maybe it's not the smell the hits you the hardest. But it does hit you first.

Inside seems like its own little world, as if nothing outside could ever damage this perfect harmony. This is partially correct: the restaurant is contained within an extension of reality, warping the space around itself such that the only way out is the small backdoor exit and the only way in is the large welcoming door. Well, from the inside that is: in 'proper' reality, the door was a dingey little thing at the end of an abandoned alley, and the exit was never in the same place twice.

While this place was a favorite of the anomalous community in Boston, the realm of that community was larger than most. For while in New York the anomalous community was practically its own political entity, never contacting outsiders unless it was directly endorsed by the community, in Boston anyone was allowed in. Provided, they knew the password.

Some time in '23, a UIU agent from Facility 11 got their hands on the password, and since that time the place had been a favorite for agents. While illegal, most agents never came to know this. They assumed that they were being led by their experienced colleagues towards a perfectly acceptable part of the job. At least that's what most agents told themselves, the reality being…

"Hey Jeremy! Still working on that novel of yours?"

The reality being that most agents didn't really care about what the law had to say in regards to alcohol.

"I thought you would be happier about it than you are. Shouldn't you be proud someone is compiling a history of Ambrose? In fact, you should be happier than usual, seeing I'm currently writing about this very establishment!"

"You're going over it restaurant by restaurant? I thought you were writing a more general history… who's going to buy this book anyways? I doubt most of the world would find it entertaining fiction and I'm not sure how you'd spread it through the anomalous world."

"Well…"

"Hear me out Jeremy, I can find a publisher. Hell, I could sell it through fucking dreams! I just think that you'll need more feedback before your book is anywhere near the standards of today!"

"That… Well I suppose you're right. Say, how entertaining does a history have to be?"

"That's- Hold on a sec Jerry, won't be a moment!"

And there he goes to the other end of the bar. Really, calling this place a part of Ambrose Restaurants is being generous to say the least. The history of Ambrose has always been that of a respectable, well put together corporation. Still, it's what we have here, and I'd be lying if I said that any other kind of location would fit the Unit's needs. Is adaptability characteristic of Ambrose? How long has Ambrose truly been around? I've heard about him, but my history conveniently skips that part of the story.

And here comes Pfilt, back from the other side of the bar.

"Say Pfilt, would you happen to know about Ambrose?"

"Whaddya mean? Haven't I answered all your Ambrose related questions for the past eight months? I suppose not all, seeing as I'm only now discovering the scale of your work, but still! What kind of question is that?"

"That's not what I meant, Phil. I meant about Chaz Ambrose himself. I heard he visited around here a couple years back? What do you know about him?"

Air sucked through teeth can be heard above the din of the bar. Surprisingly? I suppose not, one notices their own conversation far more than the surrounding noise.

"Listen Jer, I don't like to admit ignorance, but I'll have to right here. Chaz is mysterious, y'know? This here bar was founded without his direct permission: he didn't want any locations outside of strictly established anomalous… places? But once he saw this place thriving, I think his attitude changed some. I've heard of a place in London, but I think Mila will know more about that than I will. Hey Mila! Jeremy here wants…"


Goddamn this place is bad for me. It's bad for everyone here, probably. It deteriorates the moral standards we hold ourselves to, and brings us down to the level of the criminals we give our lives to defeating. But does anyone else see it that way? No, I'm just a spoilsport for wanting to obey the law.

At least the atmosphere is nice. I suppose for some people that's the most important thing, and nothing builds camaraderie like mutual lawbreaking. The atmosphere… yes, it's very pleasant. And it's amplified by the visuals of the place, being very… bright. Very… colourful.

And the promiscuity of the place doesn't pop out at you unless you look for it, that a plus. Of course, it's not too hard to encounter the degeneracy, it's quite literally lurking in the walls of the place. And… did they change the lighting? I haven't been here since… last year? So it's possible, but I doubt it. Still, everything seems so bright…

Oh, it's because the wall was alive. And glowing. Why is this place so weird? I'm sure Jeremy knows about that…

Where is Jeremy anyway? He dragged me here and then just… forgot about me.

Oh well, I suppose I know this place as well as anyone else, and I do need to stop thinking about yesterday… Why is this place called Ambrose 11? It's not on eleventh street, nor is it the eleventh Ambrose establishment it's the… sixth? Fifth? Jeremy knows this stuff, where's he gone to?

"Shile? You don't usually come here. What happened today? Don't you find this place morally repugnant or something?"

Who has come to awaken me from my stupor?

"Well Noelle, sometimes Hubb makes me sick. Just today, he completely dismissed my request for further investigation! Can you imagine?"

Something flies over my head as Noelle sits down next to me, a tired look on her face. What right does she have to chastize me for coming here? And what just-

"I can imagine, Shile. I can imagine that because Hubb is quite agreeable. You're not. What's so great about national authority that you blindly obey that you don't see in Hubb's authority? Why do you think it's so terrible to drink beer but cautionary measures are just beyond the pale? Get your priorites straight."

"Where is this coming from? Why do you think I'm here right now? Sure, Jeremy dragged me, but I… actually I don't know where I was going with that."

A sigh.

"Well, whatever. What were you mulling over when I approached you anyways? You always seem deep in thought…"

"I was… I was just wondering about the name of this establishment. Why do you think it's called Ambrose 11?"

Why does she seem so dissapointed in me?

"Isn't it obvious? It's for us, for Facility 11, for keeping this place in buisness."


October 30th, 1931: 14th street

"Shile? Buddy?"

An irritant. It will go away and let me work at some point. I can ignore it. Just… work.

"You've been at it for long enough. There's nothing here! Nothing of value, anyways. The cigar vendor closed last year, y'know."

Couldn't they understand? Why didn't they understand? They would understand. Just… work.

"We have other things to investigate. C'mon, put those skills of yours to use instead of… whatever this is."

Other things to investigate? Indeed there were. There were more questions, more mysteries, more to know, more to discover. More. Never enough time to finish one project, because there are others to start. Frustration. Anger. Creeping. No… just… work.

"Could you give me a minute? Please."

There. I gave a response. Good job, they'll never notice the turmoil. Wasn't so bad now, right? Jeremy would listen. Hubb would. They all would, in time. Deep down, did they not all seek the truth? I can give the truth! To one mystery, one project, one thing. And then another. Nobody would dispute the truth that came of thouroughness.

"We've given you enough time, I'd say. Your'e rummaging through trash by this point. We can come back tommorow if that's what it takes."

Was I? Oh yes, I was. It was a sensible thing to do, when all else failed. The trash by the side of the road could be quite telling of its surroundings. And surroundings were all I had. So let's look around. Cigarette butts. Nothing notable there. A ruined costume, peculiar. Can't make it out, seems animal-like. Noted. Bullet casings. Multiple, all around the edges of the street. How was this never noticed before? Were we really so weary we never looked at our static surroundings? More importantly, a shootout? Here? Noted. Klan Emblems? Why here? Why? Noted. Whisky bottles. Probably not from the Spirit, we've never seen them here bar yesterday. Not enough time to throw around whisky carelessly. Noted anyways, maybe the police could use this.

What now? What more was there to do? Only two wittnesess, myself being one of them. No good there. Maybe someone viewed from the windows? What buildings are on 14th street? No… a warrant would never come for something this far fetched. I wonder if….


October 31st, 1931: UIU Facility 11

Sorting. I was relegated to sorting through the objects of the deceased. As punishment, obviously. Maybe Jeremy was right after all…

I was to tag the objects with who they came from (We don't even know who most of them are!), a summary of the object's function and some basic filing. All very incomplete. Can't complain too much, can you? You weren't fired or institutionalized for your insane behaviour. This temporary demotion is really the best that could be hoped for.

I can't believe that. Sure, intellectually, maybe, but I can't really take it to heart. Why am I being punished at all? This makes no sense. I should be rewarded.

Maybe this is a reward? Maybe they think I prefer sorting through endless items to freezing in Massachusetts weather. Maybe maybe maybe. Probably not. They couldn't handle the truth if it bit their nose off. So I'll show them! I'll continue my investigation from here. I'll try to at least. Let's see… A Klan Emblem? Interesting. INTERESTING! I found one on 14th street! Maybe this means that-

Stop. Klan emblems can be found all over. Nothing to get excited about. It is notable that this came off of a Spirit member, I've met my fair share of darker skinned Spirit members. Members? Did they have some title like 'Agent'? Who knows: not me.

This note has paint on it. And it glitters. Huh, that's weird. What does this other note say?

"From The Desk of Richard Chappell: We're ditching the toy store. As for Chester, leave him be. If he wants to wake up to burning crosses every night, we won't deny it from him. That business isn't gonna last with or without our help."

From Chappell? This is high up there! Seems to be a directive to all Spirits then. Burning crosses? So… the Klan? The Spirit were protecting someone from the Klan? Did they have that kindness in them? Apparently not, they've abandoned this 'Chester'. Toy store? The Spirit used toy stores? The plot thickens…


Nothing to see here. Nothing to see anywhere. Someone runs out a door that leads to a wall and a toyshop opens for another day in the middle of a crime infested city, but that's just politics for ya.

Logic has left and only chaos and confusion remain, the threads of life connecting in meaningful and meaningless ways. But that seems an unfair assessment, no? Every connection has meaning, every coincidence has consequences. For example, two people are walking towards a toy store. They cause a commotion, they storm out angrily, and they leave.

Luckily for them it's a quiet day, and nobody has seen them.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License