Because the vampires had got there first, bluffed and bullied an invite out of any flatmates that were in, and were snacking on them whilst they wait.
When Tyr, a heavily built bruiser even by the standard of a vampire gang, approaches from the kitchen, she tries to cast a spell to sap his strength – but it backfires, and at the moment of contact she collapses like a rag doll.
In the Council’s base, Regina has a vision of Elli in danger.
Before the vampire grabs her, Elli manages to mumble the retreat spell that the Pythagoreans had given her before the stake out – teleporting her to the street outside. Using telekinesis, she tries to block the flatshare door onto the street with some dumpsters, but they’re thrown aside by the vampires.
Elli takes a risk to repeat the retreat spell, and hides in the leather goods shop that (ironically) occupies the ground floor beneath the flatshare.
By now, Regina has alerted the rest of the team, called Elli, and is sharing a motorbike to the flat with watcher Matthew Parks.
Regina charges up the stairs to the flatshare, and retreats in the face of the vampires.
The rest of the team (including Nuria) arrive, and this escalates into pitched street battle, with Regina and Fergus shooting their crossbow and (holy) water pistol from inside the leather shop.
Patty swiftly turns into were form – but one of the vampires meets her claw with a stuffed badger claw, and she turns back into a human!
Regina goes into the street to cut off Tyr’s advance. Outmatched, the best she can do is hold him off, but she can’t even do that for long. She’s grabbed and about to be bitten …
… when Fergus runs up behind Tyr, and swings his sword through his neck. (Fergus was a weapons geek before he was a fighter against the supernatural).
When Try dusts, it ends Elli’s spell and restores her strength.
With Nuria’s help, and a great deal of effort, our heroes kill the other three vampires, and race back indoors and upstairs. Elli’s friends are barely conscious and have lost a lot of blood but – (because they were hostages) – are still alive.1
Although the PC’s won’t know it until they read about it in the news a few days later, this marks the effective end of X2. Their leader, Alfred, is alive, but he’s lost all its heavies – and it’s hard to maintain a climate of fear when you were shown up by a vegan food bus.
Most of Elli’s flatmates were out at a birthday party, but they soon have second thoughts about sharing a flat with someone who is mixed up in dangerous feuds with bitey drugged-up gangs, and schedule a house meeting.
Confronting the Corporation
Meanwhile, Fergus turns up more circumstantial evidence linking Bethton Abbatoir to Terralith Eco – its products turn up unusually often, for example, in the hardware and supplies used for the illicit blood trade.
They share the evidence with the Council. The Council swiftly shares it with their allies in Terralith Eco, who claim to be horrified and invite the vegan investigators over as they confront the culprit.
(By the time the PCs arrive at Terralith Eco’s offices in the City of London, Fergus has hacked into their buliding network and can control many automated systems. This is in parenthesis because you’d expect nothing less.)
The charm offensive is led by Dawn Shepherd, their “community engagement officer”, who offers to give their food bus Kickstarter double the amount of money they were looking for. Plus, as an example of the kind of devices they supply the Council with, some networked vampire-detection webcams.2
But Dawn isn’t so keen no having the entire PC team witness the arrest. Patty might have been invited. [Cannot remember] Elli casts a glamour over herself to look like a random member of staff, and Fergus sets up the camera to show a loop of the meeting room.
The Terralith Eco board goes into a basement to where their paranormal laboratories area. They admit to experiments with vampire blood, but claim to be horrified at the allegation of illicit sourcing, synthesis, and use.
They get to the large open-plan lab where the computer sits that ostensibly3 received the encrypted message from the vampire gang. The computer’s owner, startled, mutters something about not pinning this on him -
- when a swirling portal opens behind him and a large clawed demon pulls him into it.
Meanwhile, Elli gets into a fight trying to get past the guards into the lab. Patty goes were. Fergus uses his control of the building to lock and open doors to let them get out.
And they still get the donation to The Stake Out.
At the house meeting to discuss her status, Elli successfully argues that they’re a lot safer with her around to protect them.
Flash forward to Stake Out’s launch party, several weeks later.
Regina is going to rejoin the Council. She warns the other PCs that although the protective powers of the Shelter of the Elect won’t attract supernatural creatures to the omnibus, she might have done. Her arrival through time would have weakened the barriers between this world and others – not as much as a hellmouth, but still likely to attact some vampires and demons.
But nothing a Pythagorean and adept and a were-badger can’t deal with.
1 I expected the party to rescue hostages and run away, not fight a pitched battle. But the nice thing about the drama points system is that it gives more agency to the players: they can fight overwhelming odds and either spend a drama point to escape, or lots of drama points to pull off an odds-defying victory.
2 This is a fairly cheap and mundane device. Because vampires don’t cast a reflection, all the anti-vampire webcam needs to do is reflect half the incoming light onto a second sensor, and compare the two images.
3 Fergus was in a position to double-check this.