Following the killing of the ice giant and averting Ragnarok (For the time being), the three of them, Takashi, Felicity, and Thurston, all went back to their warehouse base to figure out what to do about Randal’s imprisonment.
Knowing that whatever they did, Randal’s case would probably turn into a media circus once it became public, the three decided to try and damage control whatever they could by preparing to soften his public image with good character witnesses and credible counter-evidence. The goal was to make Randal out to be a victim and scapegoat.
Realizing that he was mostly a case BUILDER and not a PRESENTER, Takashi had to come up with a backup plan in order to compensate for his own selective training. It was February, and the Bar Exams were that month. Quickly recruiting Thurston and his ability to quickly pick up new skills, they decided that Takashi would tutor him in law extensively for the next two weeks to prepare Thurston for the Illinois Bar.
In the meantime, they realized that they’d need a legal address while the whole legal process was going on, both for Takashi and Thurston to receive mail, and a place for Randal to be under house arrest at should they manage to get him out on bail. Felicity decided to spearhead that while Takashi and Thurston were busy cloistered in the warehouse taking advantage of the fact that they needed little in the way of sleeping and food.
Escaping Takashi for one afternoon, however, Thurston went to see Detective Percy, the arresting officer in Randal’s case and the one who had shown them the video surveillance of Chance’s End. Finding him to be particularly smug about Randal’s arrest and not particularly amenable to the idea that Thurston and his friends were specially equipped in any way other than fantastic bullshitting skills and contacts, Thurston was finally forced to simply SHOW Percy. Stepping through Percy’s passenger side car door, the detective did a double-take and then immediately dismissed it as one of the magician’s tricks. Driving to the police station, Thurston finally convinced him of his own abilities by walking through the solid brick wall between the outside and one of the station’s empty holding cells.
Asking what the hell Thurston was, the son of Odin simply told him the God’s Honest truth. Telling him everything from Chance’s End onwards, the shaken man had to take a moment to collect himself before promising to help in any way he could, thoroughly Fatebound to Thurston now. Thurston, victorious in his own way, went back to Takashi’s harsh Japanese cram school-type tutelage.
Felicity, meanwhile, had gone to see Randal’s old foreman and boss of ten or so years, Larry May. Finding him at their latest construction site, a parking structure, she had to dodge catcalls on her way in to the head man. Very in charge of his site, she was only able to get his attention once she dropped Randal’s name. Not able to beat much around the bush about the trouble he was in, she told his old boss of him being framed for mass murder. Quickly blaming the Danny’s Boys and Danny himself, Felicity assured him that Danny was long gone and that the Randal had turned the Boys straight…they were quieter these days. Assured of Randal’s continued good nature, May agreed to get a statement together between him and Randal’s old friends in the business. He also put her in contact with one of Randal’s childhood friends he had a name for. Warning her to go ahead and scram before the other men (and one particularly husky, forward lesbian) on the site got a bit too forward, she took the hint and scampered off.
Going to see John, she dropped off a bag of jewelery from one of her two heists, squaring off their ‘accounts’ to each other for the time being. Dropping another request though, Felicity asked John to put her into contact with someone who could set up some legal-looking bank accounts, which John was perfectly willing to do. Within a couple of days, Felicity had a legitimate set of accounts totaling about $1,750,000, $450,000 of which was fenced through John from her second heist, and the rest from what was left over from their three million take from the Crimson Tide bloodsport prize money. Leaving the last $500,000 out in cash, they made sure to have a tidy sum in Felicity’s account for Randal’s possible bail.
The weeks went on as the case itself began to take form under Takashi’s strict tutelage. The day of the Bar Exam itself came, and the weeks of intense cram study had paid off. Takashi himself passed fairly well, now able to practice law in Illinois, and Thurston barely squeaked by, now qualified as well. The loophole in the system stipulating that you didn’t need a degree in law to take the Bar had served them well in this case.
The night before Randal’s preliminary hearing, Felicity decided to head down to the DA’s office to Patrick Mahogany’s workspace. Finding the prosecuting attorney’s office to be spare in terms of case notes, dissertations, and the various other types of things she’d seen Takashi throwing around over the past few weeks, she finally decided to look up the man’s home information on the computers, heading to an upscale neighborhood to rifle through Mahogany’s personal office. Finding it equally Spartan in terms of anything to do with his professional preparation, she heard movement in the house. Using her acute senses to pick up what was going on, she quickly realized that not only was Mahogany home, he also had a lady guest.
She had come downstairs for a glass of water in between rounds of some serious intimate times. Taking a peek at the woman, she saw a ridiculously attractive, but perfectly mortal woman. Curious as to the man himself, she followed the girl upstairs to peek in the room. Patrick Mahogany seemed to be a normal, even plain looking man with an awkward streak. Wondering how he could land such a hot mark, she quickly left the house before seeing things that she really didn’t care to see. Heading back to the guys, they decided to simply see his behavior in the courtroom the next day.
At the preliminary hearing, Takashi and Thurston both had suitcases both bursting with notes, legal diatribes, dissertations, and other things helpful to their cause, and Mahogany himself still had his sparse suitcase. Without much paper preparation to do, the lawyer settled for shuffling through a couple of necessary papers he actually had, and placing a tiny wooden figurine on the table in front of him. All of them quickly fixated on it, feeling the same latent magical emanations from it that they felt from their own personal relics. Recognizing it, Takashi realized it was a tiny Japanese idol of a minor luck god. Patrick Mahogany literally had a good luck charm.
Mahogany, with his little idol, seemed to rely totally on luck and the charisma and confidence it afforded him in his cases. Easily passing his evidence and witnesses through the legal tube in the preliminary hearing, and also noting that the judge at the preliminary was different than they thought it was going to be (They had originally been contacted by Richard E. Scott, Takashi’s judge friend, and told he’d be the presiding judge. This man was not Scott, stating that he had had a family emergency), they realized that with the luck of an Amatsukami god on Mahogany’s side, he would make their lives a lot harder. Resolving to steal it (Especially since Randal’s bail had been denied at the preliminary), Felicity tailed him that evening to steal it from him.
Finding him that night with yet another woman just as attractive than the first, Felicity searched his house for the idol, finally coming to the resigned conclusion that it was in the bedroom with Mahogany. Groaning inwardly, she girded herself and sneaked into the bedroom right in the middle of he and his ‘guest’ getting freaky. Making sure Thurston and Takashi knew EXACTLY what she was putting up with (flashing them an explicit mental image via the medallions and shocking the two of them right off their seats with seeing what could not be unseen), she took the idol from his bedside stand. Mahogany quickly lost his mojo, and Felicity scrammed from the house just as he prematurely finished. Takashi promised her dinner at a nice place for her troubles, as well as a (her idea) sniper rifle.
Doing their research, Takashi and Thurston together found out more about the idol itself. As it turns out, it was only one of a set of seven, each belonging to one of the seven Japanese gods of luck. Each figurine had gone to their corresponding Scions during the Seclusion Era of Japan, who in turn formed a Band during a rebellion. The Band eventually dissolved due to petty squabbles, but the idols had all come to like each other. It was said that whoever could reunite the seven idols would be blessed with luck before they went to rejoin their luck gods. Deciding they could use all the luck they could get, they resolved to find the others and see what happened.
They searched for possible locations of the other six, and were surprised to find that three of them were in a private collection right there in Chicago, as well as a fourth that had recently been stolen.
The next morning, Felicity gave John a call, hoping to find a possible lead on the stolen idol. As it turned out, he did, and was willing to share a little bit of information on it if she did something for him. He wanted a man who owed him money scared a little bit, roughed up some. Bristling at the grunt work, she went ahead and ambushed the man in the empty cafeteria kitchen he worked at in a school after hours, and called John back. John actually had the idol in his possession, and was happy to offer it to her for sale. Still less than pleased with John at this particular thing he’d asked her to do (also surmising that he had asked her to do this simply to test the limits of what she’d do for information), she said that she would like it for a discount, seeing as she was probably one of the best thieves he was ever going to meet. He demurred, offering it for the low low price of $15,000. Asking him if the original price was $15,001, she could practically hear him grin over the phone as he lowered it to $10,000. Agreeing finally, she met him and got the idol off his hands.
Joining the guys back at their new house (Three bedrooms, basement), Felicity dropped off the new idol and prepared that evening for a bit of fun she’d planned for the past couple of weeks. Going to the Art Institute of Chicago, she slipped in unnoticed (Though Takashi attempting to plan their restaurant excursion via medallion communication nearly made her trip into a pressure plate) and snagged one of Monet’s Water Lilies. Sneaking it to a public park under the cover of darkness, she hung it up high in a tree there along one of the walks along with a sign that read “Beautifying your public spaces, courtesy of Monet,” and signed it with a cat face. The next day, she enjoyed quite the ruckus that it caused in town as Takashi peered at her, trying to figure out if it was her.
The next evening, Felicity went after the three idols in the private collection, making short work of the scant security in the small displays. With five of the seven idols now in their possession, they had run out of leads. Further searching and research turned up nothing on Takashi’s end, and finally they decided to see if Frances Dumar, the seer friend of Randal’s, could help them out.
Finding his home to be just as much of a messy hovel as they had originally found it months before, Takashi asked politely if he could clean it up again as payment. Frances scoffed that off, saying “God no, I couldn’t find anything last time.”
Placing his hand over the little idols, he was initially confused since he saw it surrounded by tons of random, ragtag items. Realizing what he was seeing, he told them it was in a knick-knack shop somewhere in Chicago. Telling them that the last one would simply come to them, he said to tell Randal that he owed him one and they went on their way.
Deciding to search the Little Tokyo section of town, they all showed the little idols around the shops of the area until finally stumbling across a tiny little hole-in-the-wall shop where a kindly old shop woman pointed them to a display of holy figurines. They could feel emanations of power coming from the proper little figurine, and they paid $1.29 for the sixth idol.
Takashi also made good on his promise, taking Felicity to a sushi restaurant for her troubles, and also joking if he should have Hello Kitty’s face emblazoned onto her sniper rifle’s stock. She replied, “Hell no. Chococat,” not exactly thinking he’d take her seriously. He did.
Also, for the past few weeks or so, Thurston and Felicity had both been trying to get a hold of Isabelle, the Demigoddess running with the ones who had killed Noel. After a few nights of trying to leave voicemails and going to a park she never showed at, Felicity located a note tacked underneath of a table for her, stating the time and place where she’d finally hopefully find Isabelle. The night came, and she waited under the appointed bridge with Takashi and Thurston only a block away, keeping an eye on her with binoculars.
Isabelle finally showed, and Thurston realized with a shock that this was not the woman he’d originally met. It WAS Isabelle, but she’d obviously lost weight and looked older, more worn. She was covered in patches, and even had knick marks on major veins, eerily similar to Noel’s own death wounds. Felicity attempted to warn her of her dark fate, and tried to get Isabelle to come with her. Isabelle rambled on about how it wasn’t so bad at first…the experiments were on already dead Scion corpses, then Noel found out and they had argued that he’d had to die…she was rattled. Apparently they were going through her things as well, and the voicemails nearly got her into trouble, or already had.
Isabelle froze after a second, and hissed “Did you hear that?” With a slight feeling of infinity, Ronald appeared next to her. Felicity lunged for Isabelle, but was too slow for the demigod son of Hermes as he snagged her and teleported away from them. Swearing, Felicity had no choice but to rejoin Takashi and Thurston as they relocated back to the warehouse, needing to be under the anti-scrying protection now that the Demigods might track them.
Finally came the day of the jury selection. Richard E. Scott’s involvement in the case had at least gotten to the stage where he was able to really push the trial process through the chute, saving them months upon months of the usual legal red tape, and Randal’s trial was set to be no later than a month after his arrest.
Takashi and Thurston (working under his real legal name of Eugene Scheffing, ‘Thurston Frost’ simply being the stage name he lived under) began the process of questioning the various would-be jurors, questioning them individually on their own religious standing and their feelings on polytheism, planning on using Randal’s ‘religion’ as a trump card should everything else tank during the trial. Managing to root out a Jehovah’s Flame initiate and a few of the less tolerant individuals on the jury itself, they also all kept an eye on Patrick Mahogany himself. Seeming to be a bit less than composed, he seemed a touch flighty and dismissive. While he did know how to be a lawyer, his own lack of preparation for his cases was obviously coming to bite him as he’d relied on sheer luck alone for far too long. While it wasn’t his first case all over again, he had still allowed his general skillset to atrophy.
Feeling as if they’d had a generally good feel for the neutrality of their jury as a whole, after dismissing a few and reselecting a few more, they let the jury stand. Randal’s trial would begin in only a couple day’s time.
That evening, all of them went back together to the warehouse. Just as they were leaving the van, however, two of the little light balls from Chance’s End zipped around the corner. The three of them and the two balls stood at a surprised standstill, obviously having been simply happened upon by the lights. They got the feeling that they had put two and two together; the warehouse was their hideout. One ball zipped off as the other floated there, ready to fight them. Felicity attempted to shoot the one zipping off, but she was overcome momentarily by the beauty of the light it exuded. The remaining ball flared, and they were all blinded for an instant.
Joining the fight, Takashi began slashing at the deadly little light, Felicity barely managing to get out of the way of one of its attacks. Looking up at the moon, she located the other one about two blocks away at this point, and Thurston summoned Sleipnir to chase after it. Joining Takashi in the fight against the other one, after a moment, it looked about desperately before beginning to flare brighter…and brighter…and brighter…and they both heard a voice shout, “GET AWAY FROM IT!!” Felicity grabbed Takashi and leapt clear just in time for it to violently explode.
Thurston in the meantime was dashing after the second light, spotting it zoom around a corner and into an alleyway. Following it, the little thing seemed to be cornered…until a door opened beside it, and out stepped the glowing man they’d dubbed Lite-Brite. The ball alighted in the glowing man’s hand, and Thurston got the distinct feeling that he was being laughed at. Suddenly, bright, huge wings sprung from the man’s back, and he crouched and leaped straight into the air…well out of Thurston’s reach. With no other choice, he headed back to the warehouse.
Takashi and Felicity were introduced to three other Scions, one of which was the one who’d shouted for them to get clear of the exploding light, Gray. His bandmates were Rob and Sheri, and they informed them that they were all the last Scions in town. They all went into the warehouse, and he stopped them from making immediate plans to abandon the warehouse, compromised as it was now. He told them also that the demigods had left town that day as well. Thurston got back, letting them know that the light ball had escaped with the glowing man. Once again having to stop them from just abandoning the warehouse, Gray, Sheri, and Rob told them that they were indirectly responsible for the massacre at Chance’s End.
As it turns out, they had been charged by their parents to guard and keep safe a professor of some knowledge and renown. Roth Foster, the Jehovah’s Flame leader, wanted to ‘meet’ with him, and when rebuffed by the Scions, decided in a sledgehammer-like fashion to simply remove all Scions from Chicago, drawing them to the bar and slaying them, and then working to wipe up the survivors. They had survived all this time, even with their hideout compromised as well. They told the three of them that since then, Roth had been working specially to have them killed, sending waves of minions to their hideout night after night.
Noting the defensibility of the warehouse, he strongly suggested that they all team up, since now Roth would send waves of minions to them as well during the nighttime. He never attacked during the day, Gray explained, and this place, their tricked-out warehouse, seemed to be far safer than their own hideout. Resolving to join them, they said they’d bring their charge, the professor, to them the next day. Stating that it was to be only the six of them versus the forces of the Jehovah’s Flame, Felicity corrected him by adding Randal. They knew of Randal, the Scion who worked against the gangs. They didn’t know that he was still alive, and in jail. Telling them that his trial was only in a few days, they nodded and said that this was going to make things interesting.
Either way, Roth Foster’s forces were due to come that very next night. They had a warehouse to defend.