....how strange

Welcome to the Vincenzo!

The Vincenzo — a Nevada casino alive with the bright lights and musky smells of money exchanging hands. This is where we met our three protagonists:

  • Dinah Vincenzo, the gun-twirling entertainment prodigy of the Vincenzo’s famous Vaulted Theatre and daughter of Francesco “Frankie” Vincenzo, the presumed-dead owner of the casino;
  • Frankie, a weird telemarketer with an obsession with secret spy techniques;
  • and Crono, an independent scientist with his eyes on discovering more about quantum mechanics.

Frankie and Crono entered the establishment hunting down a street drug called Spiral Dust, Crono because of its unique scientific qualities and Frankie because he thinks he can become a new dealer for the West Coast. The two of them overhear to unknown Blackjack players ask the dealer about a card game named ‘Circles’, witness the strangers being given special golden tokens, and then witness the strangers going into a door at the back of the room labelled “Customer Relations”.

Crono turns around and plays more blackjack while Frankie, already having known about the ‘Circles’ codeword, takes it upon himself to follow the two strangers. On his way he sees Dinah—who he already knew from his days as a waiter for Vinny’s, a restaurant that she and her late father used to visit—and decides instead to talk to her about this drug thing. They decide to adjourn to the refrigerator in the back of the Chips restaurant in order to talk privately, and come up with a plan to look into those rooms in the back.

While they talk about this, Crono overhears what he thinks is a gunfight behind the Customer Relations door. On her way to investigate the back rooms, Dinah sees Crono. He tells her he heard gunfire; she runs backstage to grab her own pistols, and a jacket to conceal them. While she’s gone, Frankie returns to the Blackjack tables and Crono listens at the Customer Relations door. He hears someone get dragged away, and when they’re gone, he enters the room.

He sees two dead casino employees and a wounded woman, and immediately runs back outside for help.

Dinah, on her way back, stops him. He tells her that he saw two dead men and a wounded woman; Dinah calms him down and flawlessly convinces him that what he saw was actually a rehearsal for a new Vaulted Theatre show. Relieved that no one was actually hurt, Crono returns to the Blackjack table. Dinah closes the Guest Relations door and goes to find her good friend Tommy “Snub-Nose” Arimino.

Now that the way is clear, Frankie, with his hobbyist-spy-moves, makes it into the room without being noticed. He tries to convince the injured woman that he is there to help her; when that fails, he attacks her; when that fails, she punches him in the face. Tommy enters at that point and follows Dinah’s orders to grab the girl. She demands to know where they took Carter; they bluff and tell her that they know where he is.

After some discussion, Tommy and Frankie take the girl into a different, more secure back room while Dinah goes to get Crono, knowing that he’s seen too much.

Alone in the back room, Frankie attacks Tommy with the back end of a chloroform bottle and gets headbutted for the failed attempt. Dinah and Crono enter. After some conversation, Dinah tells Tommy to let the girl go—she informs them that her name is Alyssa—and get her a medical pack. When he returns she sets about taking care of her leg wound, and Dinah asks Tommy to get Antonio Martinetti.

Alyssa tells them that she and Carter had come here to investigate the sale of Spiral Dust on the premises and try to shut down the operator, and turns down their offer to work together. Tommy returns with Antonio; Dinah tells him that Alyssa is with the FBI. Alyssa immediately accidentally implicates herself as being in the FBI, and Antonio immediately votes to kill her. Dinah talks him down, and Tommy takes Alyssa forcefully to a more secure location.

That leaves Crono, Frankie, Dinah, and Antonio with a missing Agent and a mysterious drug sale on their hands.

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A Sphere And A Key

When Antonio and Dinah decide to hunt down Salvatore to ask him if he knows anything about the drugs, Frankie volunteers, as someone that Salvatore doesn’t know. However, his real intentions are to explore more of the back rooms.

Either way, he is immediately accosted by the sight of a huge bluish-clear sphere with Tommy suspended inside, in the middle of reaching out. Frankie inspects the sphere and discovers it impenetrable. When Dinah, Tony, and Crono follow him outside, they are also immediately drawn to the sphere. Tony, in a lowkey panic, shoots the sphere—the bullet ricochets and hits Crono in the arm.

Frankie, remembering that Alyssa was the last person alone with Tony, runs off down the hall, opening doorways and searching for her. In this way he alarms one working desk jockey, but he’s off down the stairs before the man can do more than reach the hallway and unholster his gun. Dinah and Tony catch up to him then, Dinah pushing the floating Tommy sphere (Crono is trailing behind them, focusing on trying to puzzle out what this sphere is), and he immediately says, “What the hell is that?”

Dinah says not to worry about it and the worker thinks that’s a pretty good idea.

He tells them that the crazy man who he didn’t recognize ran off down the stairs, so the three of them (plus Tommy) start heading down the stairs.

Two stories downstairs, Frankie heads into the parking structure. He can see people talking at the end of the room, so he hid behind a car in order to change into something more… comfortable.

Tony and his new friend start checking the first floor of the parking structure, while Dinah, Crono, and Tommy head one level down. Dinah hides the sphere behind a car in the back while Frankie approaches the group of people in the back of the room in a perfect womanly disguise.

However, his attempts to flirt with the Customer Service Representative are cut short when a gun is shoved in his face. He pretends to be frightened (probably not untrue) and runs away behind a car. The Customer Service Rep and his ÜberMook friend forget about his existence, and instead focus on finishing their Evil Dramatic Monologue to Carter.

Dinah and Crono approach Alyssa, whose existence behind a car went absolutely unnoticed by Frankie for like a solid half hour, and they talk a little—and part of their conversation makes Alyssa realize Crono is Quickened and entrust him with her business card—but then the Customer Service Rep, wielding an old-fashioned key, opens a portal to a different recursion and pushes Carter. through.

“It’s time to put you somewhere where you’ll never be a problem for us again.”

Alyssa immediately stands up and starts shooting, starting something of a battle, getting shot a couple times in return. The Customer Service Rep shuts the door behind Carter. For a moment, Dinah gets everybody to stop shooting, and smart-talks her way right up to the CSR’s side and slips the old-fashioned key right into her pocket. Then she pretends to get scared and runs off.

Frankie slips into the door unnoticed during the fight between the CSR, the ÜberMook and Alyssa, only to discover that it is nothing more than a maintenance room. Dinah, on her way out to retrieve Tony and his friend, pushes Tommy’s sphere far enough into the fight so as to stop the ÜberMook from shooting Alyssa—effectively stopping the fight for a few moments, as the CSR and the ÜberMook have to adjust to seeing Capo Snub-Nose floating in the middle of a giant sphere.

Frankie uses the opportunity to take the CSR down with his chloroform. As Alyssa shoots and Dinah runs away, Crono builds a bomb using his Science Equipment and chucks it at the ÜberMook. It doesn’t kill him, but it does allow Frankie another opportunity to use his chloroform. Dinah returns with Tony and his friend shortly before the ÜberMook goes down.

Frankie finds a cypher on the Mook and Crono finds one on the CSR—but neither of them have the key. Alyssa determines to bring in all three of them to the small Estate outpost in Las Vegas and use them as a small team in order to recover the key and rescue Carter.

Alyssa, Tony, Dinah, Frankie, and Crono comprise the group of people playing I Spy and flirting on the way to the office building. Alyssa lets them (but not Tony) through the harsh security. When Tom sees them, he stops her and asks where she found all these Quickened people. Alyssa bluffs and says she of course knew they were Quickened, which was not at all what Tom had asked, and brings them into the conference room for briefing.

She tells all three of them about the Strange and the Estate, what that key is (a very rare recursion key which will work in any lock), and what it means to be Quickened. She also touches on Spiral Dust, the Vegas outpost, and Carter, as well as what cyphers are. She also mentions that quantum physics is a very dangerous field as far as the Strange is concerned, and it’s for that reason that they’ve been keeping an eye on Crono and his research.

She asks them in what she believes to be an inspiring way for help in this crusade. All three of them agree, with various levels of intensity. Alyssa gives them each a cypher and drives them (and Tony, who’d been waiting outside) back to the casino—where Frankie, Dinah, and Crono immediately convince her to stay in the car. For security purposes. Of course.

With a promise that she’ll come looking for them if they don’t update her in an hour or two, she lets them leave. Tony returns to his work, and Dinah pulls Crono and Frankie into her backstage dressing room in order to let them know that she has the key.

With unanimous enthusiasm, the three of them immediately open a portal and enter The Noir.

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Black and White

It’s been almost 7 months since this meeting. I should have recorded it right away, but alas… I did not.

They met Lionel, who told them he wanted to take down one of the two warring mob bosses, Giovanni. They convinced him that if they got Lorre (the other one) to agree to help, then Lionel would accept it. They recruited a young woman from his office, took a trolley car, infiltrated a warehouse, and interrogated a man.

They’re fitting in pretty well with the Noir.

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