August 18th, 2025 – New York City
On Monday nights, the staff of The Castle have “family dinner” and cater in fine dining for the party and John’s confidants. A spirited discussion occurs about the motivations of The Division in general, Mr. Jones specifically, as well as some speculation about what actions the party should or should not take.
After dinner, the party retires to the lounge on one of the residence floors and engages in various lines of research. The following are discovered:
- Emily finds a discrete way to contact Benjamin Randall, the man attempting to find Emily after the death of his father, Theodore. After some electronic exchanges, she discovers that Theodore left a letter for Emily that must be hand-delivered. Somehow, Emily manages to convince Benjamin to come to NYC and deliver it to her at The Castle. He’s expected later in the week.
- Jamie attempts to find any reference possible to the Division. He manages to discover an allocation in a defense appropriations bill from the 1970s, as well as an address in an office block in Langley, VA.
- Margaret helps Emma with some research. She finds references to people who can steal “souls” or health and give it to others, and she does find some information on dragons linked to the faerie folk, but nothing tying them together,
- Hugo discovers that the surviving medical records from the facility in Dubai – those of Margaret, Jamie, and Emily – appear to have forged entries from April 8th to May 22nd. The paper and printer are different, the pages were printed at the same time as opposed to added over time, and some of the information is inaccurate and inconsistent with other records (such as Jamie’s blood type). Margaret checks with John and discovers that his records have no such anomalies, and also discovers that Mr. Jones paid John a visit every few months in an attempt to recruit John to his cause.
- Emily does some hacking on behalf of Cole and discovers that the woman who attempted to break into his apartment in Cleveland shortly after his capture is the same that he met in Afghanistan on his mission with Jones. Emily attempts a bold hack of the NSA to check their facial recognition database, but fails spectacularly and narrowly foils a trace. A semi-public records search however reveals the same woman the following week entering the offices of Lloyd’s of London just one day before Hugo was sent after the container ship.
One of the worst things about being undead, was not being able to eat regular food. Definitely. The sun, she did not really miss too much. She had never been fond of sunbathing, and she was British enough that she had usually ended up looking more or less like a lobster the few times she had tried. Her friends? She had not really had many of those in the US, even after several years living here. Tom and ms. Rogers? Well, she did miss them somewhat, but more the way you miss something simply because you had gotten used to it being there. And she could always get a cat, if she really wanted another Tom. She could even name it Tom.
The food, though. That was something she really missed. Was this, she wondered, what drove John’s passion for music? Or was that why someone had made him a vampire in the first place? More likely, those two had fed each other; he had had potential as a young man, someone had decided to ensure it lasted, and here he was now, a millennium or more later, still making music.
It was all idle speculations; she could have asked him, of course, but it felt too personal a question for someone she did not know well, especially since that was a question formed only by her own curiosity. And there were so many other things she would need to ask him.
The dinner had been excellent, from what the others had said. Then they had retired to their floors, talking amongst themselves, while the theater was being prepared for another concert. That was when Emily had asked Margaret for her help in finding out more about dragons and healers, well Emily’s kind of healers.
Margaret already had a stack of books in her room, and actually have some research to do, made her realise how much she had missed this. Digging through books, making notes, sorting out myth from facts. It made her feel useful, and she quite enjoyed diving into the world of paper and ink again.
But before she could get too far into it, Hugo made an interesting discovery. For some reason, he had been flipping through the medical records they had gotten away with; Jamie’s, Emily’s and Margaret’s own, and he had noticed something odd with some of the record. When they looked closer at the papers, the realised that some of the records might well have been switched out with new, falsified, records that, a few times, simply did not add up. Also, the paper was different, and it seemed that those records had all been printed at the same time, rather than one page at the time. This went on for approximately six weeks, and ending roughly three weeks before their escape.
Someone had clearly forged their files, and the question was why? Margaret checked with John, and his file had not been tampered with in the same way. She suspected, though, that had they still had the rest of the files, those too would have been tampered with.
The most obvious answer would be that someone was covering something up, so it was not unlikely that something had happened during the missing, or falsified, time. But again, why? If it had been the Division, why would they have done that? All of her group, as far as she knew, had been unconscious at the time. And Margaret herself had been human until the day they escaped. But a couple of weeks before they woke up, someone had clearly removed the real files and substituted them with forgeries, and not even good ones; they had even messed up Jamie’s blood type at one point.
So again with the obvious answer, why had someone done this? Were someone trying to hide information from the Division, or from the scientists who had been watching their group? Since the files had been picked up at the facility, it had to be someone who had gotten inside somehow, of course. One big question was, was that someone working for or against the Division? Where were the real records?
And then there was the other alternative. That the records had been tampered with to hide something from them. Except that would make no sense at all, unless they were expected to escape. But their escape had been real, and too many people had died for it to be a setup. At least she hoped so; not that she had wanted those men to die, but if they had died simply to make it look like the escape had been real, it would have made things worse.
Perhaps someone had stolen their records, and substituted them with forgeries, simply to avoid arousing suspicion. In fact, that made quite a bit of sense; someone had contacts on the inside, perhaps a guard, or someone who didn’t usually have direct access to the information. So someone on the outside, or the person on the inside, had forged medical records, and swapped them out at some point a couple of weeks before their group had been awoken. He or she could have brought the forged papers inside, which might explain the discrepancies.
So, their medical records might not contain anything more interesting than the forged records, or they might contain a lot of weird stuff. Margaret was half tempted to dismiss it as they had managed to get away, but that would just guarantee that it would come back and hit them in the back of the head at some point. So she would at least not forget about it, and if it led to nothing, well, it wouldn’t really matter.
She really needed to start keeping some sort of diary. Or at least some kind of todo-list. One of the things she needed on that list was to talk to John about money. She needed to find a way to start making money. Investments would probably work well. She had messed around with that before, and made enough that she could have lived on the money she made, if she had wanted to.
Now, though, she had, probably, a safe place to work from, where she had lodging and, well, food was no longer an issue. Unfortunately. But this time, she could really have a long-term perspective. Really long-term.
It occurred to her, then, that the Division might actually have done her a favour. There were so many books she had wanted to read but never found the time to. Languages she could learn, so she could read books in their original language.
She had, unless she managed to somehow get herself killed, all the time in the world, after all. Eternity. And she was not going to waste it by watching The Sound of Music. And there _were_ sushi restaurants. Even if she couldn’t eat there anymore.