Author Topic: Vaughn Donovan  (Read 5191 times)

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2013, 10:15:45 PM »
Vaughn looked at the clock on the dashboard of the car... just three hours. For three hours he had been sat there, watching, waiting, trying not to fall asleep.

It had been a long day for the entire team, starting with an undercover operation to expose Republican involvement in a conspiracy with the transcients, then taking their findings to their boss, Campaign Manager for Senator Anders, Peterson. Vaughn hadn't been at the meeting, but as soon as the group returned he had been told that their next task would be to watch the Angel's 8 district for any sign of a truck full of missing Transcient girls. It didn't sit right with Vaughn, if this was so important, why were they getting no extra backup from the party? Instead it was a 24 hour round the clock watch for a team that had already been seen and would be recognised by Fred Christ and any other high ranking Transcients within the area. In fact, because of his disguise, Vaughn was the only person who could possibly go in and out without things going badly wrong.

And so they waited. Four of the members were in two teams, switching shifts so they could stay awake. The two drivers, Vaughn and Aronn, were not so lucky. Although they were only coverng small areas, blind spots, they were doing so by having to stay awake. Aronn was military trained, he could probably pilot a fighter aircraft for several days at a time without it going of course. Vaughn, on the other hand, suffered from two problems. First, he was exhausted. Second, he was sooo bored.

Vaughn rummaged around in the pack that one of their other military members had put together. 'Plenty of supplies for a long surveillance op' had been the description, but all Vaughn could find was a couple of bottles of water and some protein bars. Vaughn needed a lot more than that to keep him awake, to keep his mind stimulated. Only one thing for it, Vaughn left his post.

There was a 24 hour off licence just a block away and Vaughn made his way there. Inside was the usual mixture of brightly coloured brands and reading materials. Vaughn picked out a couple of newspapers and some sugary snacks. As he got to the counter he realised why he had really come, why he had persuaded himself that this was the best course of action. It stood behind the counter so discretely, a touch of gentlemanly restraint amid the cacophony of packaging screaming for attention. For a second Vaughn could taste the memory of the distilled nectar on his lips, but that second soon passed and, in that guilty moment he realised he should be getting back to the car to continue working. The longer he was gone, the more likely he would miss something.

"I'll just get these," Vaughn said, dumping his snacks and papers on the counter for the shop assistant to scan using the strange pricing device.

The assistant barely acknowledged Vaughn, despite the fact that Vaughn knew he looked quite unusual in his disguise. A day and a half earlier Vaughn had undergone a chemical change, going from a human male to a transcient female, all in order to infiltrate the organisation they were now watching. Even without the gender change, the hybrid alien-human dna would usually get at least some response from the average citizen, but clearly this particular shop worker had seen more than his fair share of wierd characters in the early hours to pay much attention.

"Anything else?" the assistant asked in his disinterested monotone voice.

Vaughn looked at the bottles behind the counter. He knew he shouldn't, he was on mission, he had a job to do. And he was a strong willed individual who could rise to any challenge, resist any temptation. When Vaughn Donovan put his mind to the task, he could achieve anything.

"I'll have a bottle of the Ellis Island please," Vaughn said, and inside his biologically altered human-alien heart, he felt disappointment in himself.

Vaughn returned to the car, he had been gone less than ten minutes and as his phone hadn't rung, he was pretty sure no-one else in the group would know. Vaughn got back to his mission, watching for any strange movements and he munched on a candy bar.

A couple of hours passed and Vaughn started to get impatient again. In the corner if his eye he kept seeing his new possession, the bottle peeking out of the brown paper bag. Time and again he told himself that it was for later, for after the mission, as a reward for a job well done. Vaughn kept watching.

Still nothing had happened. It was now the early hours of the morning and Vaughn could feel the sleep creeping up on him. He needed to stay awake somehow, maybe just a small sip would strengthen his resolve. Yes, thats what he needed. He hadn't had a proper drink since he underwent the transcient change a couple of days ago. Just a small amount wouldn't affect his ability to drive should he have to, and would keep him awake. Just a sip.

Vaughn unscrewed the bottle and brought it to his lips, a gentle tip allowed the smooth liquid to hit his lips and seep through into his mouth.

'Pppplllleergh' was the sound Vaughn made as he tasted the Whisky, the liquid spraying all over the dashboard in front of him. At first Vaughn looked in disbelief at the bottle in his hand, wondering where this pigswill had come from. Then realisation came to him, Transcient DNA had altered his tastebuds, and clearly aliens don't like Whisky.

Still, the whisky had at least had the desired effect. The sudden jolt had got Vaughn's heart pumping and he felt very awake. Vaughn kept up the Surveillance for another couple of hours but eventually the sleep overtook him.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 10:20:24 PM by Divvur »

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2013, 07:03:53 PM »
Vaughn was staring directly at a young girl, she looked familiar, like he had seen her in a picture. She walked towards him, her eyes locked on his, her face changing around those eyes into a recognisable form, a Transcient form. Vaughn turned slightly to realise he was now surrounded by half a dozen transcient girls, all flirting with him, smiling at him with their half alien DNA enhanced features.

Behind them appeared Fred Christ, self appointed leader of the Transcient movement. He moved towards Vaughn, speaking as he did so.

"This will stop the democrats, their campaign will be in ruins." Christ said as he moved closer. Within a couple of seconds their mouths were locked and Vaughn could taste the alien strangeness of Christ's lips on his.

Vaughn found himself wide awake in seconds, alone in his apartment, the only light being supplied by the ambience of The City's night slipping through the gaps in the curtains. He reached over and flipped on the bedside light, squinting as the sudden illumination burned his eyes. As his vision recovered he glanced at the clock, it was barely past 5am, but Vaughn was now wide awake, and even if he hadn't been, he didn't fancy returning to his subconcious mind just at the moment.

The previous day had certainly been action packed, wtih gunfights and investigations. By the time it had got to the early evening Vaughn had been struggling to keep awake, and had barely participated with the rest of the groups wildely paranoid debate regarding the identity of this mysterious hotel resident by the name of Turner, who may in fact have had nothing to do with their investigation anyway. Still, as he had recovered from the previous few days work with a glass of whisky in hand he had listened to his colleagues arguments and when Vaughn's head finally hit his pillow his mind had been hard at work trying to tie all these loose ends together.

Now Vaughn had some ideas, and as he wasn't going to be sleeping any time soon, he may as well get started. Within an hour Vaughn had tidied the mess in the apartment; been to the local filling station in his little car to pick up some supplies and fill up the tank; worked out how to get money out of his account using the computer in the wall; and returned to the apartment, struggling up the lift with a copy of each and every newspaper the store had to offer. As he dumped the heavy pile on the table he realised he was going to need some help. He took out his phone and started sending messages.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2013, 07:08:05 PM by Divvur »

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2013, 09:26:22 PM »
Jenna Donovan was surrounded. All around her were painful memories, each one feeding the pain growing inside, her face streaked with tears. She grabbed a nearby cloth and wiped her face, but although she held back the tears for now the sadness grew as she looked at the bright red cloth and recognised it as a stage prop, one used by her husband.

Except he wasn't here, Jenna was standing alone in what was his apartment, a room full of memories he had left her as a parting gift. Jenna knew the contents of Vaughn's Will were not to benefit her, for they had split up years before, but to help fund their two boys as they went on to grow up without a father to guide them.

There was a faint shuffle in the corridor, beyond the front door, that caught Jenna's attention. That bastard. The pain washed away from Jenna as she antipated the door creaking open and Vaughn walking in, unable to suppress a smile as he had pulled off the greatest illusion of his career. The Las Vegas papers had featured the magician's end as a front page story, only Vaughn would try to boost his popularity by coming back from the dead after putting her through two days of hell.

But as Jenna stood there waiting she realised the door wasn't moving. She strided towards it and lurched it open, her eyes darting along the length of the empty corridor to confirm that her mind had been playing tricks rather than her magician husband. That stupid man. Why did he always have to push the limits, always take risks to entertain, how could he have been so careless, why hadn't he checked. She slammed the door behind her again and marched over to the sideboard, picking up the first picture of Vaughn that came to hand and hurling it against the wall, the glass smashing and the frame bending to liberate the photograph within, which spiralled to the floor.

The picture landed face up and at an angle as if the subjects were looking directly at her. It was an old picture, showing Vaughn with the boys, their smiles captured forever. What were they going to do without him? How could they ever smile again without a father? Why hadn't she tried to patch things up, persuaded him to give up the stages shows and take responsibility as a parent. She would give anything to have him see their boys get past their teenage years into adulthood, to see them become adults. Why can't she take it all back, all the arguments, all the pain. If she had just been more understanding this may never have happened.

But it had happened, and Jenna felt the tears begin to again trickle down her face as she looked at the photograph, her body frozen in place as her mind concentrated in keeping itself from shattering into pieces.

Jenna heard someone in the corridor.

'Keep it together girl,' she thought to herself as she persuaded herself it was again a figment of her imagination. 'Your husband isn't coming back, he's gone. It's over for him.'

There was a knock at the door that made Jenna jump. Several seconds passed before Jenna moved towards it, her hands trembling as she opened it.

"Hello Ma'am, I'm looking for Vaughn Donovan," said a young man who was wearing a courier's uniform.

"I'm his wi-wife," Jenna stammered as the courier noticed her distress.

"I, erm, just need a signature, then I can, erm, go. You just need to sign, wi-with your signature, on the paper here." the courier explained as he held out a small package and a clipboard.

Jenna took the clipboard and signed in the box, her handwritting was shaky that it looked nothing like it should. The courier took it back, handed over the package and left quickly. Jenna took the package inside, sat on the couch and opened it.

It was a pile of documents from some company. Jenna wiped her eyes and started to read:

'Thank you for choosing to invest in us, and give yourself a second chance of life in the future. The enclosed documentation explains...'

'Oh Vaughn', Jenna thought, 'What have you got yourself into this time?'
« Last Edit: April 07, 2013, 09:28:12 PM by Divvur »

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2013, 09:28:13 PM »
Vaughn knew he was on his last drink, and that had only been obtained by trading it with the barman. The exchange was one whisky for a demonstration of a little slight of hand trick that the young man could use to try and impress the ladies. He sipped a bit a savoured the taste, in his pocket he had barely enough to get a taxi ride back to Schmidt's, back to his little car and his chance to escape this madness.

What a difference a day makes, yesterday they were contacting the big boss, Senator Anders himself, and saving his political career. They had spent the night at Schmidt's old shop, a safe haven with a, as it turned out, really umcomfortable floor. Then they had woken and gone to their meeting with Senator Anders, except the man himself had never shown up. Instead they had almost met their deaths, again.

It had been a clever ruse of Ed's, a performance that would have easily fooled any of Vaughn's old crowds back in Vegas. Who needs an actual gun to threaten Senator Anders with when you have a table to hide the hands and a performance so good that even Vaughn was convinced Winchester had managed to smuggle a weapon in. The only thing missing was the real Senator Anders, but why send a double? Why try to have the group killed.

Of course, their executioners and underestimated the team of Revivals. They had been led onto the open rooftop of the conference centre, and Vaughn had caught some of the additional security that Peterson had assigned getting a nod from Tom before they gunfight started. Vaughn hadn't been sure what happened next, shots were fired, there was a robotic wail from Flux. After that their van had somehow ended up on the roof, the was some kind of army flying transport and Aronn was piloting them all to safety.

They had survived, set up a meeting with Peterson, which could be another trap. However, based on his timely intervention in the meeting room where he assigned the extra security, it may actually be their only way out of this.

Still, the person they had been working for, Senator Anders, had tried to kill them, and they didn't even know why. Body doubles, an attack on the Transcients, it just didn't add up. All Vaughn knew was that he was out of a job, he had very little except the clothes on his back and people wtih a great deal of power still wanted him dead.

Still, he had his little car. He could get a taxi back, stock up on some survival gear from Schmidt's and just hit the road, get as far away from this city as possible and just keep driving. He knew enough slight of hand to not go hungry, all he would need is to somehow get petrol money. He would have to leave the others behind, of course, as there would be no space in Vaughn's little ride. Then again, he had been shot at and almost killed so many times since meeting them that perhaps that was a good thing.

Vaughn felt a little sad at the thought, and a little guilty, as he watched the ice cubes in his glass slowly melt away. One of them, resting on the top of two others, reached a size where it could finally drop into the gap by pushing the other two aside, a gentle clink sounding its victory. As it did so, the pieces suddenly fitted into place in Vaughn's mind.

The Republicans.

It had been their Anders double, they had sabotaged the meeting, they had been pulling strings all along. It all made perfect sense. They create a double of Anders, get it to do naughty things to Transcient girls and then reveal it to the world, reinforcing the publics perception of politicians, ruining the democratic campaign and securing electoral victory. They only problem is, Vaughn and his little band of Revivals knew of their involvement, they could prove it to be a hoax and the whole plan could backfire and make the Republicans look bad. Thats why they had to be eliminated.

Vaughn looked at his watch. Damn, the meeting with Peterson had already started. He would have to let the others know before they made any rash decisions. He stood himself up, poured the remaining diluted whisky down his throat, small cubes of ice and all then set the glass on the bar. The barman was paying attention by this point, ready to bid farewell to his customer once Vaughn had got his jacket on. Vaughn looked at him,

"Thanks for the drinks, but now I need to go on a mission to save the next President of the United States." he announced, before swiftly turning to walk away. He only knocked into a couple of chairs on the way out, along with almost crashing into a blonde woman, before getting the doorway and taking two attempts to grab hold of the door. He pushed, it didn't move. He pushed again, it didn't move. Finally he tried pulling and would have fallen to the floor had he not been holding tightly onto the barred handles.

Vaughn then stumbled in the direction on the beach, towards the silhouette of a large inanimate robot.

« Last Edit: April 12, 2013, 09:32:34 PM by Divvur »

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2013, 08:58:07 PM »
Angel's 8, once the home of a community, now an empty shell riddled with bullet holes. Vaughn looked around at the building that had once been headquarter's for Fred Christ's Transcient movement. He had seen some film footage of an interview with Christ in this very room, it had been a lot tidier then, a lot more lived in, now it was covered in a dust that made it look like it had been abandoned for years. But you only had to look at the walls to see where the plaster had been stripped away by gunfire to realise that this was an illusion. Forty-eight hours ago this had been a place where people lived and worked, now it was completely empty except for the five of them.

But the chance that the lingering spirits of anyone who had met their end here during the siege resting in peace was remote, as every scrap of evidence led to arguments, of wild and out-of-control theories that only existed in imaginations. They were a team member down but the volume level of the group seemed as loud as ever.Vaughn just wanted scream for quiet but he knew it wouldn't help any. Instead he focused on the debris, the bullet holes, the empty shell casings and the depleted smoke canisters, and tried to piece together the story of the Transcient last stand.

Except it wasn't a last stand, it was a fighting retreat, and Vaughn followed it to a back entrance, a doorway leading downwards into the dark. He turned and informed the other members of the group, and a new round of arguments and wild speculation began. Vaughn wanted answers, not guesswork, and he grabbed a torch and started to head down the dark tunnel. The light behind him faded fast, not from Vaughn's pace but from the bulk that was Tom Rackham following on behind. Another torch sprang into life and it was the only sign that the Marine was there as he moved stealthy along beside Vaughn. The magician was glad the ex-Marine was here, for the team never seemed to be too far away from danger. It was just a pity they didn't have anyone else with any military experience to back them up.

Then the arguments followed, echoing along the dark tunnel from behind. What was left of the team had clearly decided to follow, obliterating any chance of a stealthy approach as they advanced further into the darkness. If anything was down here, it would certainly know they were coming.

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2013, 08:57:46 PM »
Vaughn felt the air press against his face as he sprinted to the next building, and the next and the next. He turned to look back around and found himself amazed at the distance he had covered, how far he was now away from Atari who was struggling to keep up behind. His breaths were measured, had it not been for his slower teammate Vaughn felt he could easily cover the distance several times over without breaking a sweat.

Vaughn ran the fingers down his face, the cheeks felt as smooth as if they belonged to a child. Perhaps it did. Atari had used the scanner thing and told Vaughn his age was measured in months, not years. He had been too busy looking at this strange futuristic world, too busy watching what everyone else was doing and trying to avoid the consequences. But the fact was, it was Vaughn himself that was one of the strangest things, in this body he was young again, limited only by a mind used to a slower pace of life. He really should push himself, see exactly what he was capable off, but that was for another time.

As he looked again down the alleyway to where Atari had almost caught up, Vaughn brought his focus back to the present, back to the matter at hand. He could still hear the Police vehicle circling overhead, but he couldn't see it, he don't know if they had succeeded in drawing attention away from the rest of the group.

"Any ideas?", Vaughn asked an exhausted looking Atari.

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #21 on: May 12, 2013, 07:35:59 PM »
TV series always seem to have that 5 minute section at the end of the very last episode that tries to cram in an ending for each of the main characters. However, a TV series always has the good guys winning and so, when all our characters make the wrong decisions and likely end up dead in the last couple of sessions, this 'happy' ending will be never happen. Instead consider this an alternate ending...

Three years later

Samuel 'Leo' Taylor, Chief Technology Advisor to the President of the United States of America was scanning the oval office, its classically styled décor being probed by a spectrum of invisible waves and beams, the resulting feedback being translated into a selection of audible beeps. After a few seconds of scanning the beeps stopped as the device was deactivated.

“We're all clear,” Leo said as collapsed the device down, returned it to his pocket and took an empty seat in front of the large but sparsely decorated Presidential desk.

Despite the assurance, there was still a slightly nervous pause before anyone else in the group spoke. This conversation was for their ears only and even this daily ritual was not enough to completely put the men in the room at ease. It was Vaughn Donovan, the only Deputy Chief of Staff present, who spoke first.

“I have spoken to General Walker on the Command Station, he reports that Rackham and his team have landed in the Sudan and should be in position to begin the operation in the next thirty minutes.”

“Do we believe there will be any fallout from the operation that the team won't be able to handle?” asked the Chief of Staff.

“I don't believe so, the area is sparsely populated, the target has limited resources and Tom knows exactly what he is doing.” Vaughn replied.

“And he hasn't been able to communicate the information he has obtained with anyone else?” the Chief if Staff asked, looking at Leo.

“We have been monitoring his communications for days now, and in truth we are not even sure how much information he did gain. He knows he has accessed something he shouldn't have, and is now on the run from the authorities, but whether he did actually learn anything about the President is uncertain.” the technology chief replied.

“Still, it's better to play it safe and neutralise the threat. Walker's just waiting on the green light.” Vaughn added.

“Fair enough,” the Chief of Staff replied, “And the press doesn't have anything on this do they Ed?” he asked the only other aide in the room, who up until now had been uncharacteristically quiet.

“Hi, I'm Ed Winchester,” the Press Secretary replied. There was a chuckle from all four of the presidential aides before Ed continued. “I haven't heard anything from the press to suggest anyone has received any information, we should be in the clear. Still, I'll keep my eyes and ears open.” he finished with a grin, tapping the side of head with his finger to remind everyone of the cybernetically enhanced senses.

Vaughn felt a little guilt build up inside himself, knowing that behind the smile Ed must still be a little hurt. It was almost a year since the party, where Ed had donned an old pair of aviator glasses and done an impression of General Walker. That action that had endeared him to one of the journalists from KWNC news, which had then spiralled into a romance. Unfortunately, that closeness had also allow Ed to find out about one of the journalist's sources, who had some inside information on the President.

It had been Vaughn that had made the final decision, and persuaded Ed to invite the journalist to his hunting lodge. It was winter, the roads were icy, accidents do happen, at least according to the official report. It had been hard, but it was the price they all had to pay, the price of maintaining the greatest illusion in the history of the world.

“Ok then, tell General Walker we are ok to proceed,” the Chief of Staff decided, breaking Vaughn from his quiet reflection.

“In that case we can move on. I have your briefing for today's public engagements Mr President,” Vaughn said, as the four aides shifted their attention to the man sat behind the desk.

To be continued...

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2013, 06:13:15 PM »
Here is part two, continuing exactly where we left off in the last post. From the way the last session went, I think it is unlikely that anything like this will ever actually happen in our game as it draws to a close, but I don't our GM minds too much the the write-ups diverge a bit from the truth of the game  ;)

Hugo DeBerg, star of Star Wars: Episode 22 through 24, The Fast and the Furious 17 and the remake of the remake of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang sat in the Oval Office, heart of the Whitehouse, behind the desk of the most powerful man on Earth. No-one would recognise him now, of course, because he looked nothing like his previous self. Towards the end of his career in the 2050's, as the work started to dry up, he had signed up for Cryogenic Freezing. His second career hadn't quite gone as expected, and whenever he looked in the mirror he saw another man, he was no longer Hugo DeBerg, he was now President Anders.

His aides, the conspirators that had put him into place were running through the days public engagements, as they did every day. He paid less and less attention each week, for despite his position, they were the ones that made all the policies, the ones that solved all the problems and told him exactly what to do.

The Chief of Staff, Mr Peterson, dismissed Winchester and the other one, gadget guy or whatever his name was as they concluded the meeting, leaving just Vaughn and Peterson himself. They were the two faces he was most familiar with, the two faces he had woken up to three years ago.
He vaguely remembered the event, a hiss as fluid drained from a tank and his damp naked body came crashing down onto a cold hard tiled floor. As he coughed a puked as his lungs began to work for the first time in years he saw two pairs of shoes, connected to two suited individuals that we both discussing something between themselves.

“Just think about it Vaughn, we are making history, possibly the first Revival President of the United States.” one of the voices had said.

“Except no-one will ever know,” the other said. The owner of that voice then crouched down, looking directly into Hugo's eyes.

“You were an actor, yes?” the crouched figure asked.

“Yu, yuu,” coughed Hugo before weakly nodding his head to confirm.

“Good, because we are about to offer you the role of a lifetime.”

What Hugo hadn't realised at the time was that they had already changed his body to match that of a US Senator by the name of Anders. As he thought back, he wondered if they had revived any other actors who had refused to take part in their conspiracy.

“Winn should have arrived, its almost time for the meeting, I will just check with the secretary” Vaughn said, looking at his watch, the words of the Deputy Chief of Staff bring Hugo back to the present.

“Very good,” responded Peterson, “Mr. President”, he continued, “Winn Andrews is the leader of the Transcient Movement, she will be discussing how she believes the government can help with the Angel's 8 Reconstruction Project.”

Hugo, or President Anders as he was now known, simply nodded. He knew about the project, it was one of the hundreds of briefings he had been given to read over the last couple of years. If there was one thing he could never be accused of was not learning his lines.

Vaughn returned with the Transcient woman, his manner was slightly flirtatious and the pair clearly knew each other well. He introduced her to Hugo, who rose to shake her hand, then they all sat down ready to begin.

Before anyone could say anything further there was a chime that interrupted the meeting, followed by the secretary's voice.

“General Walker is calling, he said it was urgent,” the voice said.

“Excuse me, we will be back momentarily,” Peterson said, and he motioned for Vaughn to join him in leaving the room and discuss the military matters at hand.

The door closed, leaving the President alone with the Transcient leader. He flashed her a reassuring smile while he took in her alien inspired features. Despite the strangeness there was something about her that excited him and he couldn't help but draw an invisible line with his eyes, starting at her ankles and ending where her thighs met the hem of her skirt.

Of course, there was no way he could take advantage of such feelings, the President was of course a married man and he had grown quite fond of his wife in the time he had got to know her.

But then, who would know? This was one of the most secure rooms in the world, and if she resisted, well he knew some people that were very good at covering things up. President Anders looked into the woman's enlarged dark eyes and his lips curled into a smile.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 06:17:53 PM by Divvur »

Divvur

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Re: Vaughn Donovan
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2013, 09:10:40 PM »
And, as the game went no where near my alternate ending, simply because I misunderstood a piece of information given with two game sessions to go, here is the actual ending for Vaughn Donovan. Slightly less exciting than being in the centre of power but also much more realistic, if such a thing is possible in this strange world we found ourselves in. Thanks again Shorty for the great game, Vaughn was an interesting character but I don't think he will ever be revisited, so here is his final performance...

Ten years later

It was a Friday evening and the 'New World' restaurant was packed. That would normally be a good thing, but with his wife away, Restaurant owner Vaughn Donovan was struggling to organise the staff and make sure customers were served in a timely manner. Vaughn had to admit, it was always like this when he was left to run things, he certainly didn't have his wife's ability to calmly prioritise and manage the staff. However, she was away at some Transient event and Vaughn was the one rushing to greet some new customers that had just entered through the door, a slightly irritated looking gentleman and his very well presented wife or girlfriend that had clearly spent longer making herself look presentable than his partner would have preferred. Still, they had managed to arrive in time for their seating slot and had not missed the performance. Vaughn ushered them to the reserved table and indicated to one of the waiters to come over and take an order for drinks.

Vaughn took a moment to relax himself, pouring himself a glass of water behind the bar as he reflected on how less hectic his life had been before they had decided to open the Restaurant. In a way it had been almost boring, endless policy discussions, reconstruction group meetings and party strategy conferences for the Democratic party. Vaughn had taken a much safer role after the events with Senator Anders. His main focus had been helping the democratic party reach out to the Revival's and working on policies to better integrate them into society. He had also tried to work with the Transients and help guide Democratic policy in that area, but with only limited success. Indeed, it had been frustrating work and after the whole Callahan situation Vaughn had decided to leave direct involvement in politics behind, instead working to build up the restaurant relatively near the Senate that had become quite popular with politicians and political aides.

Vaughn made his way to the stage area to check the girls had got everything ready. Providing a magic show had not been an original part of the restaurant plan, but slowly over time it had become a big part of the establishment's identity as Vaughn provided a handful of tricks and illusions between meal courses. He secretly suspected it had been suggested simply to get him away from interfering in the kitchen, but Vaughn did enjoy bringing his old skills into use, and it provided a talking point for the guests.

Of course, Vaughn knew that his party tricks weren't the real draw of the place, nor was the freshly cooked Transient/Human fusion cooking. Vaughn had got to know a few people in the corridors of power over the last decade, and they loved their secret meetings. It just so happened that this very room had once been utilised as the demonstration showroom of Lion Technologies for the low-frequency EMP field, an experimental device that disabled electronic equipment without damaging it while in the field's area of effect. Clever stuff that Vaughn didn't understand in the slightest, but it made it a lot more difficult to record conversations and therefore made it one of the safest public places for politicians and their aides to enjoy a couple of drinks and a meal. It also required all the food to be cooked using the more simple devices that Vaughn was familiar with, no matter processors to do all the work, which in turn had a huge affect on profits, but Vaughn didn't mind that. It was his traditional little corner of the future, one where he could display his skills to a population that had long forgotten the art and wonder of a magician's tricks.

The upcoming illusion was actually one of Vaughn's more dangerous tricks, and one he wouldn't have even attempted in his previous life. He had two assistants on stage setting it up, one human and one transient. Vaughn had always insisted on the mix. He liked to think to himself that his little restaurant, with half the staff being transients and the other half revivals, had done more for those minority's rights than Fred Christ or the revival hostels had ever managed. Individuals from both groups now worked in a place frequented by those making policy and decisions, and he hoped that the exposure to these groups would help them get more favourable treatment in the future.

By now the girls had finished setting everything up, a large tank of water sat on the stage, with a curtain ready to be lowered to cover Vaughn's daring escape. On the floor next to it was the shackled lid of the tank, two holes ready to contain the magician's feet as he was plunged head first into the water, his hands were to be bound by a pair of metal handcuffs.

Vaughn put his valuables on the table off to the side of the stage, it was after all a tank of water and he was going to get wet, that part was no illusion. As he did so his phone rang, the number on the screen belonged to Ed Winchester, fellow revival and now star media reporter. The two revivals didn't speak to each other any more except professionally, and when Winchester called it was usually looking for information on a story that Vaughn may know something about. Whatever it was, it could wait, as the audience expected the magician to appear on stage.

The two assistants shackled Vaughn up and the hoist above started to raise him up. Vaughn calmed himself, for he knew that the blood was currently rushing downwards, straight to his head. He smiled at one of the assistants, and could tell she was a little nervous as she caught his glance. She wasn't one of his usual assistants, but one of the newer waitresses he had trained up earlier in the week to cover. Still, it was only natural for her to be a little nervous, one mistake could easily put Vaughn's life in danger.

But there was nothing to worry about, Vaughn had checked all the equipment earlier in the day and had practiced the illusion several times earlier in the week. He took a look at the audience seconds before his handcuffed hands led the way into the full tank of water, submerging him.

There was a face he recognised, someone on a table close to the stage, but he couldn't quite place it. They had been smiling in an almost disconcerting manner. The assistants padlocked the tank of water above him and started to lower the curtain to cover his underwater escape. The face, it was someone he knew from a few years ago, he was certain. The curtain reached the floor and Vaughn tugged the handcuffs, they were supposed to come apart straight away but they seemed to be stuck. As he again pulled to try and separate the cuff realisation hit him. The face, previously a Senator, but looked older now, he had been known to Vaughn as Senator Anders.

Vaughn knew he was running out of time as air slowly bubbled from his mouth, but he was confident he could escape, despite the probability of sabotage being almost certain now in his mind. Ten years ago, Senator Anders had made one mistake, underestimating Vaughn and his colleagues. He was about to do the same again, Vaughn thought, as he picked the lock on the handcuffs with his tie pin...