16 June, 2025 – Dubai, U.A.E.
During the night, Mike and Hugo observe John – looking quite monstrous – slinking out of the apartment. He tells them that he’ll be back shortly.
Early the next morning, EmilyBot reports in and states that it managed to remove the van from the Ministry of Transportation video feeds – however the van had been reported stolen, and the bot was unable to intercept it before it went out in a bulletin.
Huge, Daphne, Seamus, Emma, and Mike head out into the neighborhood surrounding the apartment building and swap the van’s license plates with those from a car parked in a nearby garage. Meanwhile, Margaret and Jamie go to a local bodega and purchase enough food for the team for the day.
By the time everyone arrives back, John arrives, looking more hale and hearty than the party had previously seen him, having replaced his bathrobe and slippers with a tweed blazer and some nice-looking but practical boots. After Margaret and Jamie produce an expansive breakfast for everyone, John sits down with the party and says, “So I guess we should have a conversation about your new lives….”. Through the extensive discussion, the party learns the following:
- There’s an estimated 100-200k people in the world born with various unquantifiable talents. They vary greatly, from Emily’s ability with data to, what John perceives, Hugo living one second in the future from everyone else.
- There are that number again of the “sentient monsters” as John calls them. Vampires, werewolves, and the like. (He hasn’t seen a mummy, but he’s heard of them.). Vampires, being once human and largely a-mortal have created a fairly extensive set of rules and oversight that generally keeps everyone from being discovered. More on that below.
- He confirms there’s an afterlife, and he’s not an expert, but it apparently has multiple levels having to do with an individual’s remaining life force. He says that the “nearby” worlds are almost mirrors of our own, and anyone – like Jamie – who can physically travel there could get a substantial tactical advantage.
- The Fey are another matter altogether. From John’s understanding, sometime back at the dawn of Homo Sapiens, the world was co-inhabited by the Sidhe as well as an entire ecology of magical flora and fauna. At some point, a barrier went up, referred to simply as The Veil, that separated the magical and the physical worlds – much to the chagrin of the Sidhe. Occasionally a Sidhe is born into a human, like Daphne. Some “conspiracy theorists” think that may be a deliberate infiltration scheme by the faerie courts, but John finds that a bit far-fetched. There are also those born with a bit of that ancient blood in them, granting them certain affinities and abilities, such as, presumably, Seamus and Mike. The fey are also known to be able to confer some of their magic to others, such as in the case of Jamie.
- The current cause for concern is a group called the Technocracy – which is a catch-all for a grouping of people and creatures with what John calls “the emergent properties of civilization”. He also refers to them as the “new gods”. They are very calculating and somewhat alien and generally very unpleasant and unnatural. Dubai happens to be one of their sources of power – a major city that didn’t grow or evolve, but was simply brought into being fully-formed. About five years ago, they began collecting specimens of the supernatural creatures of the world – John and Henry the Werewolf included – and started running experiments to try to figure out how they work and, presumably, commoditize their powers. They have a vested interest in keeping the Sidhe out of “their” world and maintaining their hold on an unsuspecting human civilization.
- With so few “special” creatures in the world and so many humans, the golden rule universally has been to remain hidden. None of the supernatural violate it consciously and, since they have their own enmities, there grew a necessity to establish the concept of “sacred ground” where peace would be enforced for the good of all. John has spent the last several centuries owning and operating such “sanctuaries”, his latest being near Times Square. He also notes that supernaturals tend to have a disruptive effect on electronics, and they should avoid flying if at all possible.
- John reiterates to the party that their old lives are over. The Technocracy generally and the Division specifically are very good at leaving behind few traces and closely monitoring whatever is left – and he strongly encourages the party to pursue threads of their old lives with the greatest of care. He offers up his sanctuary as a place they can stay, indefinitely if desired, as repayment for setting him free.
Shortly after breakfast, the cell phone rings and John answers it. The man on the other end of the line is obviously a dear friend and they discuss arrangements for getting out of the city. John’s friend, Alfred, has arranged for a container transport to get the party to the Port of New Jersey. It will be departing the Jebil Ali port the following night. The party has a choice whether to break into the port to make it to the ship or to meet the ship at sea. John reserves judgement until the party can discuss it. Alfred has also arranged for a drop of goods at a tourist’s locker near the Dubai Gold Souk and it should be available to pick up at 3pm. He gives the party a combination code.
Hugo, Mike, Daphne, and Emily take the van to the location and pick up the gear. On their way back to the apartment, they notice they’re being followed, and Hugo does some evasive driving and loses the tail. They ditch the van and steal a new one from an industrial block and head back to the apartment.
The gear drop contains quite a bit of cash in Dirhams, Iranian dinars, Euros, and US dollars, a number of small cans John takes (everyone assumes its synthetic blood), a field surgical kit, a change of casual clothes and shoes for the entire party, and a full day worth of MREs and some purified water.
The party discusses their options briefly, but ultimately conclude that since they have an actual pirate in the party, they should steal a boat and meet the container ship at sea.