Orpheus: The Taste of Ashes - Missions - Interlude003
- Tom Knox, Haunter
- Teresa Reilly, Banshee
- Annie Harper, unknown shade (ghost)
- Lo-Jack, unknown shade (ghost)
- Various PLEs
As per Orpheus policy, the investigators have some downtime between missions. Teresa helps out with the analysis of the black liquid they took from Jayne’s room, confirming that it is actually pigment. Tom busies himself with some training. They also spend some time discussing the rather unsatisfactory conclusion to their last case. While wondering what can be done for Gwynneth, they recall that one of the Radio Free Death broadcasts mentioned what sounded like a sanctuary for ghosts. Digging through the transcripts, they manage to find the name and location: Brook House in Harlem. Tom does some research and finds out that it’s a rehab centre for people with drug problems. Specifically, it’s a rehab centre for poor people with drug problems, as the area is one of the most economically disadvantaged districts of New York. They decide to pay a visit, both out of curiosity, and because it may be somewhere they can recommend to Gwynneth. After some discussion, they decide to go in gauze form rather than in the flesh.
Teresa asks Annie if she knows anything about Brook House, but she’s never heard of it. (She hasn’t been out and about in this city all that much.) The expedition catches her interest, however, and she wants to come along. There being no time like the present, Tom and Teresa project and the three of them head out. Annie shifts her form into that of an African-American male, to better fit in with any ghosts they’re likely to encounter in or near Brook House. Luckily, she can also adjust her voice and accent to match. (Her changed appearance seems to disconcert Tom a little.)
The trio take the subway to Harlem, rather than request the services of a driver. Idly looking out of the window, they spot a couple of figures in one of the sealed and disused stations as it flashes by. They don’t really get a good look, but they think that one of the figures is a spook. Checking the route map, and consulting their memories, they work out that the station is probably City Hall. It goes on their list of interesting places to visit/investigate when they have the time. For the moment, however, they continue on to Brook House.
The building looks old and dilapidated, but well-cared-for. Someone has gone to a great deal of trouble to shore up the bits that are falling down, to keep it clean, and to regularly touch up the paint and varnish, but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. As they approach the building, they notice a couple of ghosts lounging on a broken sofa in the front yard. One of them comes over to greet them, introducing himself as Lo-Jack asking if they’re “new deadies”. Tom tells him that they heard about the place on the radio and came to check it out. Lo-Jack doesn’t seem overly surprised by this, mentioning that they’ve had a few folks come by because of that. He seems happy enough to answer their questions, telling them with a certain amount of pride how he and some other ghosts decided to try to help others like them, just like the staff of Brook House tried to help them while they were alive.
Lo-Jack gives them a tour of the place, and they see quite a few ghosts; probably the most they’ve ever seen in one place before. (It seems that a fair number of the people who come through here are pigment users, which may explain why there are so many. It may also explain why the majority of the ones they see -- Lo-Jack included -- look monochrome and faded.) Some of the ghosts are in fairly bad shape, and Lo-Jack steers them away from these, telling them that he and the others do what they can, but some of them seem to be beyond their help. They can only hope that these ones will be able to snap out of it on their own, eventually. Without trained counsellors, there isn’t really anything else they can do. Much like the building itself, they’re doing the best they can with what they have, but they don’t have all that much to start with. Still, what they have managed to achieve is fairly impressive.
Once the tour is done, the investigators chat with Lo-Jack and some of the others a little and then take their leave. As they travel back to Orpheus, they discuss whether this might be a good place to direct Gwynneth to (assuming they can find her again). However, as they’re talking, they remember her evil twin, and that she was making Gwynneth bring ghosts to her for some awful purpose, probably connected with the thing in Chains’ basement. In retrospect, sending her to somewhere full of ghosts seems like a really bad idea. They decide not to mention Brook House to her until and unless they manage to deal with Not-Gwynneth permanently.