This episode is based upon the scenario “Night Floors,” in the Delta Green: Countdown sourcebook from Pagan Publishing, written by Dennis Detwiller.
(There is no cut scene for this adventure; rather, it rewinds several hours from the end of the prior episode, flashing back to the moments after the characters arrive back in Pittsburgh.)
The group finds themselves standing back in Quill’s apartment. As his neighbor is talking, he gasps and points, and when everyone looks they can see a hand poking out from behind a couch. They discover the hand belongs to Quill, who is very dead, and has a rictus grin on his face.
His neighbor’s face suddenly shifts. He gives them a sinister smile, and when his voice rings out again, it is Cassilda’s.
“Clock’s ticking, loves…that is, if you don’t want Delia back again. You’d best figure out where her dear brother is.”
He snaps back to normal and the group immediately begins to discuss their next move. Henry suggests that Darrek use his magics to affect the mind of Quill’s neighbor and that they make themselves scarce before the police arrive. Darrek reflects that the police will find evidence of their presence in the apartment and track them down, and it will not look good for them to have left a crime scene. Matthew calls Joe, and he quickly comes, the group are all questioned, and then given leave.
Darrek suggests going to the Hive Arcana so he can put the book, which is entitled, ‘The Dark and Divine History of the Shade on Hastur,’ into Anita’s vault and they can update her on everything that has happened. Looking at the book, he can see that it is written in an utterly alien language and guesses that it will likely take quite a while to translate it, although the longer he looks at it, the more sense the text seems to make. Descending the stairs to the lower level and walking into Anita’s library, he notices right away that the shelves are looking rather bare. He slides the book into an empty space and it immediately disappears. Looking down, he finds a card in his hand, which reads, ‘Thank you for your donation. When catalogued, it will join the restricted collection!’
“Well, bollocks,” he curses, taking a picture of the card with his phone and climbing the stairs up to Anita’s office and knocking on her door. She calls for him to enter, and he shows her the photo on his phone. She is as disturbed as he is, and is very concerned about the whereabouts of her books.
The rest of the group joins them, and Darrek tells them what happened when he put the book into the library. He then finds the business card that Alistair gave them when the group first met him and Delia, and suggests casting a locator spell to see if he can track down where Alistair currently is. He asks Anita for use of her office. She stands outside her closed door, arms crossed over her chest, looking rather cranky.
While Darrek is preparing the locator spell, FBI Special Agent Barnes comes into the Hive and upstairs to speak with the group. She asks for their help and goes on to say that there’s no need for them to beat around the bush as she’s very aware of the recent unusual goings-on around the city, and asks for their expertise with a case. She explains that a young artist, Abigail Wright, went missing back in October. Matthew recognizes the name as one of the fringe artists that his girlfriend, Rebecca, has been hanging out with. The police turned up no leads, and then the FBI became involved after her credit card was used six days ago in Maryland to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Barnes says, “There’s some seriously weird shit going on at her apartment.” After giving the group the case file, she hands Danny a large envelope of papers, which she tells him should help in keeping the Feds off of his back for the time being.
In Anita’s office, Darrek casts the locator spell. A large beam of light hits the map in the center of Oakland, then suddenly splits into two and shoots off in opposite directions, and the map violently bursts into flames. Darrek calls to Anita to get the fire extinguisher. She is very unhappy about the scorch marks his spell made on her desk, and the two begin to loudly argue. Their exchange can be heard throughout the building. Matthew quickly intervenes and diffuses the situation before it escalates further, to everyone’s relief. Matthew asks Darrek what information he was able to gain. Darrek, flustered and embarrassed, explains that the spell was utterly unhelpful in narrowing down Alistair’s location.
Matthew and the rest of the group fill Darrek in about their case. Darrek reflects that since Abigail is an artist, investigating her disappearance may lead them to clues regarding Alistair’s whereabouts, and he suggests they get started. Matthew tells the group that he will meet them there and goes back to his loft to change. He finds a handwritten note from Rebecca on his pillow which reads, “They call to me. I’m sorry. Help me!” He heads over to Lawrenceville, where Abigail’s apartment complex is located.
He pulls in behind Darrek’s car, which is parked out front. Henry senses a swell of Essence from Darrek before they all exit the vehicle. Darrek gapes up at the building and explains that the building itself appears to be an illusion overtop of the building itself. Confused, the rest of the group asks him to explain, and he tells them that, as far as he can tell, the building both is and isn’t there.
Darrek’s cell phone suddenly rings. His wife informs him that a notecard written in a distinctly feminine hand materialized in their house seemingly out of nowhere. It says that the books he requested are ready for pick up at his convenience.
Reviewing the case file, the group learns that the faux-castle complex is named the McAllister building, and was built in 1924. The building is owned by a non-profit company called ‘Artlife’ who have offices located in the same building where the Honorable Krewe of Swords constructed and housed the floats for their Halloween parade. Darrek uses his Google-fu to get more information and discovers that the manager of the property is a woman named Cynthia LeChance, and the head of their board of trustees is none other than Raymond Fowler.
The group enters and makes their way to the first apartment, belonging to Abigail. The inside of the apartment is a mess of junk, including random papers (some are foreign), several radios of varying technology spanning decades, artificial limbs, dentures, and a 1940’s wheelchair. Many of the pieces have been glued to the walls with hard-set epoxy. Henry discovers a map of the complex with handwritten notes. Danny discovers a receipt from Abigail paying her November rent, which is highly unusual as Agent Barnes told the group that she went missing in October. Matthew finds a page from a play and begins reading it aloud. Listening to the dialogue, the group is collectively disturbed by the scene being described, and as the sun sets they can sense a definite shift of energies. Everyone has the feeling that they are being watched.
Danny goes to examine the tenant directory in the front hallway and writes down the apartments that appear to be occupied. The group makes their way to the next apartment, number 3, occupied by a Roger Caron. They knock, but there is no answer. Entering, they see a computer with a locked screen, and bookshelves with a series of science fiction books authored by Caron entitled the ‘Nightsea’ series. Darrek manages to crack the password on the computer and he and Henry begin going through Caron’s files. They find a series of files with titles that sound like short stories, but when opened contain only a single letter repeated over and over again. Working in the order of the date/time stamps, Henry is able to piece together a message: ‘Smooth is the hand which makes the world, and steady is the mind which grasps it.’ Danny finds another page from the play, which piques Darrek’s attention. Henry continues investigating the computer, and finds another file entitled, ‘Night Floors,’ which appears to be a prose version of the story the play is referencing, and with enough changes to file the serial numbers off of it. He is deeply disturbed by the story.
As Darrek listens to the next scene from the play, he begins rambling about his theory that the play is being recreated, but the roles of the characters are being filled by the tenants of the apartment and by them (the group). Rebecca (Matthew’s girlfriend) is also referenced in the next scene of the play. Darrek references the Hastur dossier that Ekloff brought them, and points to patterns of this at several points in history since the original copies of the play the King in Yellow were destroyed.
They move on to the next apartment, occupied by a man named Thomas. Darrek tells him he needs to ask him about Abigail. He cracks the door, clearly annoyed, and says that he already told the authorities everything he knows, and that she moved upstairs to the sixth floor with a no-good encyclopedia salesman. Darrek and Matthew remark that there are only three floors according to their map. Thomas refuses to speak to them further and slams his door.
Henry then goes into one of the vacant apartments and begins drawing a magical circle on the floor. Darrek stops him and urges everyone to be cautious until they have a better understanding of what they are dealing with. “We don’t know what this place even is, or what’s happening here,” he says, squeezing Henry’s shoulder. “We need to keep our heads.” Henry is clearly extremely frustrated, but heeds Darrek’s warning and erases the circle.
As they climb the stairs to the second floor and make their way towards the next occupied apartment, Darrek suddenly covers his ears and backs into a corner, slides down the wall and curls into the fetal position. Shaking, he closes his eyes and breathes deeply, and a few minutes later he uncovers his ears and stands back up. Henry is visibly frightened by this, and texts Anita.
Reaching the next apartment, belonging according to the directory to a tenant named ‘Michelle,’ the doors swing open and reveal an opulent mansion. Sounds of a party can be heard (talking, laughing, glasses clinking, faint notes of music). The group begin to investigate the rooms off of the main hallway and discover a parlor and a library with many old books from the 1600s and 1700s about history, zoology, and science, which Darrek assesses are first editions and probably worth a substantial amount of money. There is also a large decanter of brandy on a table in the parlor which Darrek carefully avoids.
In the library another page of the play is found. The scenes are unconnected, but are clearly all a part of a larger story.Hilda discovers a copy of the play ‘The King in Yellow,’ on one of the shelves, which is identical to the copy she took from Darrek. Fortunately, he is distracted, and she is able to hide it before he sees it. After the group exits the library, Hilda and Henry hang back, douse the book with absinthe from a large glass bottle on a desk, set it on fire, and put it in the fireplace to burn.
Leaving Michelle’s apartment, they walk to the final occupied apartment per the directory, belonging to Louis Post. They knock, and can hear a voice talking to someone, but no one answers. Darrek speaks up and explains who they are, and Post responds, “I’m busy,” and does not come to the door. Darrek loses his temper, kicks in the door, and throws a wave of Essence at Post, who is sitting in front of a mirror talking to himself. Darrek and Yun-Xun can both see a figure standing behind Post in the reflection, but they can’t hear its responses. Darrek commands Post, “Tell me who you are talking to.” He spins around, clearly insane, and attacks Darrek outright. Matthew proceeds to lay him out with one punch.
On Henry’s map, there is a room marked with a handwritten note, ‘Man with white shoes and a briefcase’. Going to investigate, Darrek and Yun-Xun both see him. He runs across the room and into a closet, and they both chase after him. Entering the closest, it appears to be just a normal closet, empty…and the man is nowhere to be seen.
Henry looks out a window and, looking up, sees that the building seems to extend up infinitely into the sky. He suggests they check out the roof. Everyone agrees, and discovers that the roof in fact leads them to an Edwardian-styled smoking room, which Darrek quickly points out is where one of the scenes of the play that they have been finding pages of takes place…
TO BE CONTINUED
Memorable Quotes and Great Moments
“What did he do, again?”-Yun-Xun
“What he did was throw blasts of Lyssicus directly at peoples’ faces.”-Henry
To Anita “It would appear your library now has a librarian. And I’m honestly a little upset that you didn’t consider me for that job.”-Darrek
Re: The locator spell
To Anita “I can’t do it with you watching!”-Darrek
To Henry “Don’t try to bullshit a bullshitter, kid.”-Agent Barnes
“You set my desk on fire! There’s huge scorch marks on it, you bastard!”-Anita
“It was already BLACK, you cow!”-Darrek
“And it was har-roar, not whore-er.”-Matthew
“I have a ’65 GTO that I bought new.”-Matthew
“I had a ’65 Aston Martin. I sold it so I could buy my girlfriend a large, hard, expensive rock.”-Darrek
“I had a Vespa.”-Henry
Darrek and Matthew both give him a look
“The building is and isn’t there.”-Darrek
“Have you ever heard of Schroedinger’s cat?”-Darrek
“I knew Schroedinger!”-Matthew
“So, were you banging his wife or his mistress?”-Yun-Xun
“Or, were you his mistress?”-Henry
Darrek’s phone rings
“Hi, love. What’s up?”-Darrek
“Are you seeing another woman?”-Emily
“No, of course not! Why do you ask?”-Darrek
“I found a card on the dining room table with very feminine handwriting on it.”-Emily
“What does it say?”-Darrek
“The books you requested are ready and can be picked up at your convenience.”-Emily
“I don’t know what the deal is with those cards, but I can assure you, I’m not having an affair. So, what are we having for dinner?”-Darrek
“I vote for lasagna!”-Henry
“Tell Henry I am not making fucking lasagna again.”-Emily
To Henry “She says we’re having that another night.”-Darrek
“Who keeps roses and butter in their closet?”-Henry
“Oh, fuck!”-Darrek (while Matthew is reading an excerpt from the play)
“What the fuck is this, ‘The Landlord in Yellow’?”-Henry
To Darrek “You really need to re-evaluate your priorities.”-Henry
Raises an eyebrow “You mean like buying you a PS4 for your birthday?”-Darrek
“This map is very misleading.”-Henry
“I’m sick of this shit.”-Henry
“Me, too. It’d be really nice if our enemies would just line up so we could kill them.”-Matthew
Re: The Hastur Files
“Did no one else do the reading?”-Darrek
After Darrek covers his ears and slides down the wall into a corner, Henry texts Anita saying, “I think Darrek is in trouble, stuff is getting to him. Really worried. What do you know about ‘Catharsis’?” He gets a text back which simply reads, “Talk tomorrow.”