Most people know me through my work on Vampire: The Masquerade or White Wolf/Onyx Path RPG books in general. Not many know that I also do a lot of work in fiction and on other RPGs, covering a range of topics. This “A Taste Of” series features samples of my work from areas most people might not know about, along with places you can buy the book to read more!
The first taste isn’t too far from what people know. It comes from Rites of Renown, a Werewolf: The Apocalypse anthology. Bill Bridges asked me to contribute a story to it, and I decided to write a monkeywrench caper. It’s two parts Leverage and one part pack politics. If you love werewolf snark and abducted family members, you’ll probably enjoy “The Magadon Job.”
If you like this first part, you can read the rest in Rites of Renown, available through DriveThruFiction.com!
Marek Oja, Kicks-At-Dirt
This is the story about how we got an Ahroun…
No, shut up. I’m telling the story. I’m telling the… Okay, fine, this is the story of when we met Liza. Happy?
Anyway, the Cleaners has always been an infiltration pack, working monkeywrenches and industrial espionage jobs in the Atlanta area. A Ragabash, a Theurge, a Galliard, a Philodox, and a partridge in a pear tree. Didn’t have an Ahroun, and didn’t need one — too loud and fighty. So when Amanda was all like “There’s this Ahroun that wants to talk to us” in her weird Atlanta-but-not-really-Southern accent, I gave no fucks. Let the hulking musclehead find a pack that gets off on punching fomori and flexing at each other — I’ve got trash to dig through and shit to steal. For Gaia, of course. I told Amanda we should meet at our usual place. I figured an Ahroun wouldn’t even know what a Starbuck’s was, and I hadn’t been there since I dug around in their garbage last week.
So there I was, sipping the chai latte Amanda bought me and amusing myself by coming up with ten different ways I could break into the manager’s safe, when in walks this brunette. She’s all of five-foot-nothing with a thin black jacket, T-shirt, and jeans. I could see Chase giving her the once over with his eyes. Me? Meh. Girls do nothing for me. Now give me a nice, hard….
Okay, okay, stifle the breeder chatter, I’m getting there. She just wasn’t what I expected, that’s all I’m saying. Chase went to go investigate, and some flirting and a bloody nose later, he introduced us to Liza Forakis, deed name “Until-It-Stops-Moving,” Black Fury Ahroun. Also, our client. There was the usual posturing where she tried to show how tough she was, while Claudius did his thing with his spirit-bonded smartphone so anyone listening would hear some inane complaining about Congress or the Atlanta Falcons. Thankfully, when Amanda told her she was the leader of our pack, Liza calmed down. I expect the fact that Amanda was blonde, six feet tall, and, oh yeah, a woman probably helped. Chase got Liza a decaf, and we were able to get down to business.
“It’s my sister,” she said, wrapping her hands around the environmentally-conscious disposable cup. “She’s been taken.”
Amanda leaned forward onto her elbows. “I’m sorry to hear that your packmate has been abducted, but we’re not really a ‘lost persons’ kind of team. I can get you the number of someone who….”
Liza glared at her, hard. “You’re not listening,” she snarled. And I mean, like, actually snarled. I didn’t even know you could do that in Homid. Anyway, she said “I didn’t say she was lost. I said she was taken. By Magadon.”
I let out a low whistle. Magadon. Maga-fucking-don. Medical subsidiary of global megacorp Pentex, and last place winner of the Friend of Gaia Award. They had their regional headquarters here in town, and we’d talked about hitting it. Hell, once Claudius was able to get us a partial set of floor plans, and I started drooling over the security system. It would be an amazing challenge, but Amanda always said it was an insane monkeywrench.
“It’s an insane monkeywrench,” she said to Liza. “The local Magadon branch is GenDiv, Genetics Division. This isn’t some suburban psych ward for troubled teens; this is their top R&D division. We’ll be lucky to get in the front door.”
“Let’s do it,” I said.
Everyone stopped and looked at me. I’m not sure why. I even managed to bathe that morning, and I had on my cleanest hoodie. “I’m serious,” I clarified, because being Ragabash, it’s an occupational hazard that people are always assuming you’re not serious. “Warrior Queen here had her friend taken, so we get her back. It’s just like any other job, except the package happens to be a werewolf.” I kicked my feet up on the table. “It’ll be fun.”
Amanda was about to speak, but Liza slammed her tiny fist down. I think the table cracked a little. “You urban tribes spend too much time talking and not enough time listening. She is….”
“Yeah yeah,” Claudius said, finally gracing the conversation with his presence and once again reminding us of his unfortunate handicap of being French. “Your tribemate. We get it. But I don’t….”
She ground her teeth, and I expected her to give Claudius a bloody nose to match Chase’s. “My. Sister. Kinfolk. My blood.”