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The Stake Out Bus
Saturday December 23rd, 2017 (slightly winding back)
Our heroes, plus Katrina’s daughter Freya, gather for a Christmas meal and swap presents.
Patty gives them elaborate gingerbread houses that she’d made for her TV show, hoping to film their reactions (Elli allows it, Katrina refuses).
Katrina gives her friends a candle-powered rotating ornament. But Ellie gives Patty & Katrina Dionysian adorned branches – and a song.
Conversation turns to how and why they went vegan. Patty talks about the vegan food scene, and almost seems to add “and for the animals” as an afterthought. Freya interrupts Katrina to point out she went vegan first, and reminds her of a Christmas many years ago…
Saturday December 11th, 2010
(Our Swedish flashback PCs are – apart from Katrina herself – her daughter Freya, and bejumpered detective Kriminalinspektör Eva Alvarsson. Plus, as it’s Christmas, a cameo from Jordi Casamitjana – known in the UK from the ethical vegan court case – as himself).
Time has moved on since the last flashback. Katrina is aware of her slayer status, and has had the odd supernatural tangle and/or unwanted watcher contact. She is separated from her husband Holz.
Mountains, Jämtland, Sweden
Kriminalinspektör Alvarsson is investigating a wildlife crime – the trophy killing of a hibernating bear. The headless skinned body was left nearby. Sweden (particularly Jämtland) licenses some bear hunting in Autumn, but the licenses are sought after and used within the first day of the season. She takes the bullets for ballistic analysis, and talks to rangers about a recent increase in wildlife crime, such as airgun shootings of nesting bats. Someone is doing some illegal hunting.
Storsjön (“Great Lake”) Shore, Jämtland
Elsewhere, ten-year-old Freya is with some of her playmates. A friend has found something interesting and just a little bit scary, and has convinced them to follow him through the snowclad marshes. It transpires to be a very large brown speckled egg, with goo around it. Freya grabs a stick and pokes it – and the goo crackles and burns the stick. And then she sees a doglike face closing in on her – and runs.
Old Street Hotel, Östersund, Jämtland
Meanwhile working in the hotel, Katrina is doing the nails for Valentina Medina da Cruz, a Brazilian tourist. The hotel TV has the local news on loop, and she sees the appeal for information about the bear killing. And she shudders. Because she knows this bear – in her years since slayer activation, she’s tried to avoid the supernatural, but after having the stop the werebear Bjo Bjornsson once upon a time they’d built up a relationship of trust. She knew he lived more like a bear than a man, including hibernation, and she thinks this was his cave. Were the hunters looking for a werebear?
Linberg Household, Frösö (“Freya’s Island”), Östersund
After her shift, she calls Eva to convince her to let her take a look at the cave. And then goes home – to a tearful Freya, who has run all the way home from the marshes, crying about the “egg dog” and hiding.
Katrina promises to go take a look. She finds an egg-shaped indentation in the earth, and some of the odd sparking goo around it, but, beyond the footsteps, nothing else suspicious.
Driving onward to the bear cave, Katrina fears are confirmed – it’s his cave, his preferred pine bedding, and a large boulder that she notices has been moved. She lifts it (with police permission, and also amazement) to discover Bo’s folded human clothes, and – when an officer checks a pocket – a library card with his name.
Eva Alvarsson sends the clothes and traces for genetics testing, and sends out esquires about Bo. She also lets Katrina talk her into visiting the marshes where the “Egg Dog” appeared, but they don’t see it.
Sunday December 12th, 2010
Police Station, Östersund
Eva’s investigation continues: the airgun pellets were sufficiently different to be able to narrow down suspects. There are dozens of users, but narrowing down to those nearby and less established turns up only two names. One is a local teen with a new license, and the other is a hunting guide who is supervising the visiting da Cruz family. The teen was deeply upset to be accused, but gave up his gun for ballistic checks. The da Cruz hunting party were out, with their guide & assistant, but the Old Street Hotel receptionist knows Eva and promised to let her know when they returned.
Meanwhile, the da Cruz men, who are checking out the “egg dog” site, after one of the Swedish preteen kids told their preteen daughter in the hotel, and it piqued Gib Cain’s interest. The young son, Aurelio, finds alternating crescent tracks in the snow, ones that their guide Gib Cain and his animal behaviourist/translator Juan Ferrando both recognise as belonging to a serpent. An impossibly large serpent. Near a lake famous for its cryptid Storsjöodjuret (“Great Lake Un-Animal”), or as Katrina and Freya abbreviate it in English, “Storsie”.
When they return, they find a request from the detective to talk, and Eva finds their guide Gib Cain in the hotel bar. (He decries his dull assistant for not coming down.) He turns out to be openly male chauvinistic, and patronising to her as a woman – after which Eva decided to interview the whole family.
The hunter guide, Gib Cain, turned out to be a grizzled middle-aged man with a teeth round his neck, chauvinistic and patronising. He had been leading them out and about recently, and Eva decided to talk to the rest of the hunting party. The hotel, helpfully, lends her a meeting room.
Unfortunately, of the da Cruz family, none spoke Swedish and only the eldest son Lorenzo spoke good English. The guide’s assistant, Juan Ferrando, was also there to translate the Portuguese. He articulately asked if they were being arrested, admitted he hadn’t been with them all the time, and emphasized that all the killing they’d done was legal prey such as Elk.
Eva took the hotel up on the offer to search the rooms. Gib Cain’s wasn’t unusual – it had a surfeit of guns, all legal. Juan’s stood out for its unexpected collection of vegan snacks, and (tucked away) an ID card in a completely different name. Jordi Casamitjana.
(This a great surprise to Kriminalinspektör Alvarsson, but the fact that Jordi was playing Juan probably made it less of a surprise to the player.)
Jordi sought assurances that his secret would be kept before explaining that he was a vegan undercover investigator for the Humane trust trying to gather evidence against Gib Cain, working for the Humane Trust; that contrary to what he’d had to say in front of the family to keep his cover, he had witnessed and documented illegal hunting, of both bats and bears. Gib Cain also had some odd obsessions with unusually large reptiles, onces that shouldn’t really live in Sweden, and he’d seen tracks – comparing photographs, the same site that Freya has seen the “egg dog” creature.
Eva agrees to let Jordi continue his investigation.
Monday December 13th, 2010
Around Lake Storsjön
With help from Aurelio, Gib Cain is able to pick up new serpent tracks, and discover a brown speckled egg, around 30cm in size. Cain takes it away – Jordi tries and fails to follow him.
In the evening, Jordi watches the traditional Swedish St. Lucia’s day procession – in which the children proceed behind one representing Saint Lucia with an (electric) candle headdress, the others girls in white dresses, the boys in starry conical hats, and the preteens dressed as elves/goblins. Until there’s a strange wind, a swooping noise, and they all scatter in all directions.
At least, that’s what the adults see. Freya, part of the procession, sees the egg-dog – a winged serpent with a leathery canine mouth – Storsie themselves – dive bombing the procession. Storsie is looking for something.
With Freya able to see and recognise Storsie, Eva piles her into her patrol car, with her mother and Jordi. They manage to follow the winged serpent to a small wooden summerhouse in the midst of a hillside forest – and Jordi recognises Gib Cain’s hire truck outside.
Eva rushes through into the main room, and finds Gib Cain with the egg, which he holds out, threatening to drop. Katrina sneaks around him through the summerhouse’s other door, and smoothly takes him down, catching the egg.
Eva arrests Gib Cain for illegal hunting, and the Great Lake Creature takes the egg gently in their mouth and flies off.
The Stake Out
Saturday December 23rd, 2017
Freya describes how Jordi inspired her to go vegan, and that eventually in turn inspired Katrina. Elli declares it an “Egg-cellent” Storsie and everyone groans.
(The pic (PD Andreaze) is of the Frösö runestone, said to represent Storsjöodjuret. Jordi Casamitjana realised that revealing the existence of a rare creature like Storsie would probably doom them, so has kept the secret and did not mention it in his memoir/manifesto Ethical Vegan, available in all good book shops.)