Case #0766-I — The Lady Macbeth
But ‘tis strange:
And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,
The instruments of darkness tell us truths,
Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s
In deepest consequence. — Banquo, Macbeth Act I, Scene III
I have no idea whether this is a cock-up or not.
I mean, of course, we got the construction workers out and generated some good press for Oprheus, but that hound, a bona-fide shadow-class red, is something I don’t hope to encounter anytime soon again. I still don’t really understand what got into us, spooking the place up like some kids on a field trip, but we did, and it had consequences. Granted, we were off during the entire trip, and not in a good way. We might need a bit of beach to recalibrate, and get back into some form of synergy, so we don’t seem like a bunch of rookies to the client.
In any case, the assignment. Briefing was straightforward: Teatro Dei Cocci is being deconstructed, and two construction workers have been gone for two days. The client believes some PLE might be involved, so asks, and pays, Orpheus to take a look. We are the lucky bastards who are taking that look. Background information on the theater tells us that an actress disappeared mysteriously a few years ago, and that the theater seemed haunted afterwards. All in all, it seemed like a pretty straightforward job to me.
So, I went under, two floors down and into the coffin. One of the healthcare employees, Giulio, made a the same joke as always when I walked in: “dead man walking”, I’m not yet sure whether I like that or not, but I’m inclined to.
So, five hours later, I was all projected and ready to join the rest of the crucible. I tried to get Giuliuo’s attention, but he doesn’t have any deadeyes, so he was just humming to himself, monitoring the equipment. I grinned to myself: dead man walking indeed.
The team was assembled at the company van, and a rather uneventful drive trough Rome later, we arrived on site. There were two buildings: a chapel and the theatre proper, and smart as we are, we decided to split up for some recon: intel didn’t expect any shows until the evening, and it wa about three o’clock.
Raphael and I moved to the theatre: moving through walls still is weird, but moving into pitch darkness is weirder: we expected some sort of light source inside the theatre, which there obviously wasn’t: we’re immaterial, not omnipotent.
So, back to the rest of the crucible, who had combed the chapel a bit, without having found much: the chapel was ruined, the relics and altar trappings most likely sold when the theater went broke. Afterwards (or during, for all I know), the building has been used by all kinds of junkies; syringes were strewn on the floor and the smell of piss was almost unbearable. I wonder what sacerdote Trentini would have to say about this use of consecrated ground, but I digress.
We unlocked the door to the sacristy, which had also been abandoned for a while, but was in much better shape. That good shape didn’t explain the security keypad that was almost-brand-new, though. We didn’t find out what the keypad connected to, though, and in hindsight, this was our first real mistake. Things sure would’ve been easier if we found out more about the connection…
After that little excursion, we went back to the theater, although Dante remained in the chapel to investigate the security system. We took a backdoor into the theater, and after a short round (most of the theater was as advertised, with some tracks at the front door where our esteemed client seems to have walked in, or maybe one of the construction workers), we found out that we were not the only ones using the back entrance: one of the boardings was a cleverly concealed trapdoor, and there were footprints leading to the prime seat in the theatre’s stalls. That seat also had a syringe lying around, which Effisio picked up. Well, tried to, because he had a certain screamer reminding him of due procedure: after a short trip to the van, the syringe was bagged and tagged for future research.
Having found nothing else, we put up a stakeout, waiting until 19.00 hours; Effisio went home to go under himself. Don’t ask me why he only decided to now: he did. At seven, things started to live up a bit: we confirmed a PLE (Blip-class Grey) in the theatre proper: it turned out to be Maria Casserini, the actress gone missing in 2008. She kindly requested us to return at 21.00, so we did, but not after putting some eyes in spots at the theatre. I myself took a seat in the back, hopefully far away from prying eyes.
Showtime was, as promised, at 21.00, and what a show it was. A middle-aged man, one of our marks, as far as I’m concerned, came in at around 21.10, and after settling in his “usual spot”, he took out a syringe and injecting himself. Pigment, as it happens, and he was happily watching the show until the end of the third act (or so Dante tells me, I don’t care too much for Shakespeare). At this point, the mark suddenly left his flesh behind and moved to the stage. I barely had time to hide behind the chairs, and it was a wonder the prick didn’t see me. Someone should’ve told us that deadheads can do that trick, it could have seriously compromised the case if I was caught.
When the mark left the theatre, our friendly neighbourhood puppet master took over his flesh, channeling a lot of network power in the effort. He picked up the Dante-possesed phone we left near the mark’s seat, and started calling the van, digging into the memories of our signore Emilio Carolli, as it turned out to be. Man, this was some sick fuck: he raped and murdered Casserini on the day of her disappearance, hiding the body in the catacombs beneath the chapel. He then somehow trained himself to cast of his flesh (a combination of pigment use and meditation) and decides to play that fateful night over and over again, with Casserini’s ghost. Seems our missing construction workers heard something, and Carolli guided them to the same catacombs, locking them inside a sarcophagus. He locked the doors to the catacomb at some point, placing that nifty little keypad.
Afterwards, we regrouped at the van. Raphael was still in Carolli’s flesh, the rest of us waited for Effisio to return and Carolli’s ghost to leave the crypts. We were just settled when Marcello shouted a warning: a big black spectral hound was sniffing in the alley, and went straight for the catacombs. Straight, as in: through the wall. Seems we caused a red incident with all the SFX in the theatre. A few seconds later, Raphael came crashing back into his body, feeling sore all over. The body of Carolli had died, most likely when the specter took his ghost. Thank God we weren’t anywhere around, or we might have been gone as well.
After a while, everything was quiet for long enough, and Effisio was back again. We made sure the press knew of our rescue attempt, and took out the workers, as you’ve probably read in the paper by now.