st_clare: (Background)
[personal profile] st_clare
The days in late January were just the slightest bit longer, but the weather was still crisp. The highway had been one long stretch of asphalt, only a few cars and the occasional semi sharing the road.

Julianna had taken the day off, leaving her teaching duties to Clarissa, so that she and Gerald could make the drive to Searchlight. They didn't have a town hall, but there was a library there, and she knew from experience that they had some of the town archives in a special section. She already had her reason prepared, that she was planning a lecture about local history of Clark County and needed to see surveyor's maps and census figures from when the township was first established.

She parked the BMW in the lot, killed the engine and got out. She'd worn a light jacket against the slight chill of the day, and she tugged it closed as she started towards the building that housed the library. If there was something to be found, surely two sets of eyes could find it.
birthright_npc: (Las Vegas)
[personal profile] birthright_npc
The Desert Queen, the city’s newest boutique hotel, went from concept drawings to physical structure in record time. Local magazines hailed it as an architectural marvel. A newspaper columnist referred to it as a tourist’s wet dream. Behind closed doors, it was called worse things: a rush job, a fool’s errand, the hotel that dirty money built. People suspected that contractors cut corners to meet the deadlines of anxious city developers, and more disturbing, that building inspectors were bribed to pass it with flying colors.

The hotel was a modern work of pink-tinted glass and polished steel. Though only seven stories tall, its towers rose at sharp, impossible angles meant to mimic the shape of a royal crown. Hotel rooms pitched diagonally over a landscape of bubbling fountains, rippling pools, and greenery so vibrant that gardeners joked it had been painted. Even the marble tiles around the toilets were imported from Italy.

It opened with a flourish at the end of summer and was booked solid through Easter. All were poised to breathe a collective sigh of relief until the first sign of trouble: a crack in the foundation, first reported by a maintenance worker on New Year’s Eve. Then a second crack… this one in a load-bearing column in the lobby.

When the first spire buckled, the steel yawned loudly, sounding like the bellow of an exotic beast. Chunks of plaster plopped into the water. Jagged cracks appeared in the windows. Then flooring began to spill out, and bits of wire and pipe. A squadron of fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances wailed and honked as they approached on Las Vegas Boulevard. A lone news helicopter circled overhead in the night sky.

Then a second spire snapped like an insect wing. A mixture of building materials, furniture, and people teetered precariously over the stone plaza. Guests shouted and pointed. Some took pictures. Within moments, all hell broke loose.

[Thread: Open]
blackirish: (003)
[personal profile] blackirish
It was a slow night in McKenna's and Mike had let the bartender and most of the waitstaff go early. There was no point in keeping them standing around when there wasn't any demand for them and they wouldn't make any tip money. He knew the business as well as anyone and he hadn't scheduled himself to work the Dive that night, so he put himself behind the bar instead.

Not that there was much to do there either, there were only three customers in the bar area and he had one waitress left to cover the tables. The prep work was all done and at this point unless there was a sudden flood of people all they'd need to do is put things away for the night. He looked up from his newspaper as the bell over the door rang, jostled by said door's movement as someone stepped in from the street.

[open thread]
ghargreaves: (Hat - glasses)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
The snow had caused another delay in Gerald's planned excursion to Searchlight, his driver having been seconded to other duties which Gerald guessed could only have something to do with clearing the roads, or something along those lines.

So he found himself strolling the streets, enjoying the more familiar winter weather, his overcoat having come in handy yet again, his cane also useful as he navigated the white-edges pavement on his late morning stroll. There was a marked difference in the air, the crisp cold a little different to what he was used to in England, the bright sunlight reflecting off the uneven piles that were slowly turning to slush in the gutters, but currently hiding the usual discord of different pavements and surfaces merging to form the streetscape.

He wondered what Julianna was up to, not having heard from her since before New Year, and wondering if she had any more information on Searchlight.
birthright_npc: (blow confetti)
[personal profile] birthright_npc
The festivities on the Las Vegas strip were your basic police nightmare. A mile-long stretch of the boulevard was blocked off to traffic so that revelers could stagger drunkenly down the middle of the street. Food trucks and street vendors sold pizza, cheese steaks, popcorn, cotton candy, and plastic cups full of beer. Some sold pre-mixed margaritas and daiquiris. At each major intersection, a stage showcased performers and music pumped from speakers mounted on the light posts.

It didn't seem to matter that it was December in the desert. There was plenty of body heat to go around.

At midnight, several large screens would broadcast a countdown before fireworks lit the sky.

[Thread: Open to Anyone]
birthright_npc: (Vegas)
[personal profile] birthright_npc
The grand ballroom of the Skylark Hotel was awash in shades of forest green and gold. The charity ball had been arranged to benefit a local children's hospital, and so a large percentage of the proceeds from the door tickets and bar would be donated to renovate the facility. A two-story Christmas tree towered over the buffet tables of festive finger foods and chocolate fountain, and people had placed unwrapped toys under the limbs to be delivered to the hospital the next day. Champagne flowed freely. There were two stages for the live jazz musicians that would play all night. Santa's scantily clad elves wandered about the room with trays of shrimp and caviar. A dance floor took up the center of the space underneath a gleaming chandelier and there were beautifully decorated round tables on the edges of the room.

The ticket price was manageable, and a few tickets had gone out free for radio promotions and the like.

Luckily for the undead, the decor did not include wall-to-wall mirrors, though there were a few on the high ceiling.

In various corners, Vegas performance artists entertained to ooohs and aaahs. For instance, there was a man eating a gleaming sword in the corner.

Thread: Open to Anyone
ghargreaves: (Tan - hand)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
The restaurant in the hotel was relatively busy, patrons from both the hotel, and outside, enjoying the cuisine. Gerald had booked a table after confirming a time with Julianna, and was, as usual, early. He had ordered a gin and tonic, and was just finishing it when the sommelier, or at least what Americans thought passed as one, appeared with the bottle of wine Gerald had ordered.

"Yes, that's the one," he confirmed when shown the label, nodding when asked if he would like it opened. "Yes, it needs to breath," he told the young man, figuring that if nothing else, at least the chap would have a better understanding of the role he was employed to fulfill. "And another gin and tonic, if you would be so kind," he told him, pleased he hadn't had to tell the chap that the bottle should be opened in front of him and left to breath on the table. At some ghastly restaurant in New York they'd tried to take the bottle away, and tried to act offended when he clearly pointed out that he wasn't about to give them the opportunity to decant the wine in the bottle and replace it with a cheaper variety.

He nodded his approval of the linen napkin that was correctly draped around the neck of the bottle, as he had instructed, and settled back in his chair, returning to observing the tide of humanity that was dining in the Golden Nugget that evening.
ghargreaves: (Tie - smile)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
Please call Gerald at the Golden Nugget Hotel at your earliest convenience.
ghargreaves: (Hat - glasses)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
The sound of the slot machines was becoming a white noise as Gerald sat in the lounge at the the Golden Nugget. After checking in, and placing a call to Julianna at the university, leaving a message with her secretary when informed she was in class, he had spent a good while studying the large chunk of gold that was on display. His research into the nugget had revealed no known indicators to cause him to be interested in it other than as a purely aesthetic pleasure.

He sipped at his gin and tonic, flicked a glance at his watch, and returned to reading the book that sat on his crossed knee. Just as he settled into the next paragraph he heard a small cough and looked up to see a young man, smartly dressed, approaching. From the description he had been given it could only be the driver who'd been arranged to take him to the location, the Ragnarok bar, where he was to meet the person, Livia, regarding something she had come across. There were various points on the globe he still wanted to study, and the deserts of Nevada was one, but the lack of archeological discover made it difficult to justify the time and attention to the area.

As the car eased out onto the Strip, Gerald adjusted his sunglasses and hat, his brief case resting on his lap. It was a relatively short journey, in the air-conditioned comfort, and soon the older Watcher was following the young driver into a 'haunted house'. He found it somewhat amusing the mock features, and wondered what the clientele of the establishment thought of the accoutrement. Descending the stairs he removed his sunglasses, slipping them into the inside pocket of his jacket as they crossed the sparsely populated floor. Clearly the demon world was not into 'afternoons' in this part of the world.
st_clare: (Default)
[personal profile] st_clare
Andean Peru - 1978

The excavation was done. Now it was up to a more delicate touch to extract whatever treasures the earth held.

There had been two opportunities to go abroad on Council-related matters, one to South America and another to the countryside of France. Julianna's Spanish was better than her French, so she'd chosen Peru. And she'd really just been grateful to get out of England for a few months. Burying herself in work was a way to forget and to escape. That it was also rewarding made it even more worthwhile.

The day was mild, the slightest crisp breeze wafting over the campground. Julianna was watching the diggers congregating near the lip of the largest excavated pit. She didn't know what they'd find down there. Weapons, religious artifacts, scrolls. Even something as simple as a history of recorded births could be very enlightening. She knew others didn't find primitive cultures as fascinating as she did, but she had a particular field of interest.

The Watcher stepped out from beneath the sunshade when the chatter of the workmen picked up in volume. Had something already been found?
ghargreaves: (Default)
[personal profile] ghargreaves
"Flight 473 to Madrid is now boarding through Gate 12. All passengers please have boarding passes ready and make your way to Gate 12, for flight 473 to Madrid."

Barcelona had been an interesting excursion, and Gerald carried a briefcase that was a good deal heavier now than it had been on his arrival. He handed his boarding pass to the young air hostess, giving her a slight nod in response to her greeting, and wishes for him to have a safe journey and enjoyable flight. He tucked the pass back into his breast pocket and started across the tarmac. The sun was beating down, despite the commencement of the cooler season, and he tugged lightly on the brim of his hat, ensuring it would remain in place for his excursion across the blacktop to the awaiting flight of stairs and the dubious air-conditioning of the small prop jet awaiting him and the other passengers.

He noted a large boiling of clouds on the horizon which indicated they might be in for a bumpy ride. In all his decades of travel he'd never managed to find a way to allay the onset of travel sickness, much to his disgust, and no number of artifacts or potions had ever been able to relieve him of the malady. There was only one thing he knew would work, and he spied the potential purveyor of assistance in this, standing at the top of the stairs.

"Yes, my dear, and I have a request, if you could be so kind, to ensure I have a gin and tonic, as soon as you are able," he told the stewardess after showing her his boarding pass. A potion of the juniper berry, distilled, was the one thing he had found that could help still the waves of nausea that would undoubtedly threaten to wash over him if the clouds in the distant sky were any indication of the type of flight they were going to have.

As the plane taxied into the terminal in Madrid Gerald lifted an eyelid, the sodden tarmac visible through the rain-speckled window. After disembarking he made his way through customs and was soon on his way to the private club, his 'home away from home' in this part of the world. His briefcase had not left his possession, and as he finally lowered himself into a large studded-leather armchair next to the open fireplace he placed it in his lap, unlocking the clasps and opening it. Inside, atop the papers, envelopes, and leather compendium, were three large black velvet bags. A smile creased into lines around Gerald's eyes and mouth and he touched each with an almost reverent touch. "Senor Vera should be very pleased," he murmured to himself.

A movement at the door to the lounge drew his eyes upwards. A man in uniform entered, the doorman acknowledging the man's rank with a small bow of his head and touch of his heels together, an arm extending, indicating the way as he started across the large room toward Gerald.

"Senor Hargreaves, your guest, Senor Rafael Vera."

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