Doc Tesseract

The adventures of Greg Silverman, retail industry employee, prospective college student and superhero.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Drudgeons and Dragons

So, I saw Quint again last night. And now I have to make sure that a bunch of half-assed Triads don't charbroil half of Philly.

I ported onto City Hall, as usual, to meet Punch and Judy. When I got there, though, Quint was floating off the edge of the roof, dangling above the street (he sure knows how to capture an audience, I'll say that much),

"Good to see you again, Doc," he said.

"Hey, Quint," I said back. "I'm guessing this visit isn't purely social."

"Not entirely, no. In fact, what I wish to discuss with you is a matter of grave importance. However, I'm not fond of repeating myself, so I thought I would wait until your allies show up."

"Allies", huh? Not the most... organic way of talking about Punch and Judy, but okay. We talked about what we'd been doing since that night at the Continental (Quint congratulated me for holding my own with the robot), and Punch and Judy finally showed up about fifteen minutes later.

"Sorry about that, late dress rehearsal," said Judy as she and Punch floated onto the roof. Then she turned and saw Quint. "Oh. Todd, right?"

"I prefer Quintessence while in costume," he said, smiling, "but Todd will do. I don't believe I've been truly introduced to your mechanical friend."

"Oh, I'm Judy's dad," Punch said, extending his hand. "Call me Punch."

"Well, now that we've made our acquaintances, I think we should get down to business." He cleared his throat. "Terrence Wu, a member of Ng family, has recently acquired a dragon egg."

Well, I'll say this for Quint; he gets to the point fast. Mind you, a little background would have been helpful.

"A few questions," I asked. "Who's Terrence Wu, who are the Ngs, and what's the deal with the dragon egg?"

"Ah. Sorry," he said. "The Ng family is the ruling clan of the Triads in Philly. They control rackeetering and narcotics for the entire city. Wu is a Straw Sandal for the Ngs-- basically, a message boy. He's been trying to climb the ranks for about ten years, but he's always been passed over whenever a position needs filling. So, he's trying to strike out on his own."

"Which is why he needs a dragon?" asked Punch.

"Wen Ng does not take kindly to entrepeneurs," replied Quint. "I don't think they ever found the legs of the last man who tried it. So, Wu needs firepower in a bad way, which is why he sought out a dragon egg.

"Unfortunately, Wu found out a bit too late that he should have done his research. He bought the egg of a pearl dragon-- a Chinese dragon. Chinese dragons are nothing like the flamethrowers of European myth; instead, they're benevolent and peaceful. He also didn't know that a pearl dragon egg has an incubation period of about a decade. Which is why, over the past few days, he's been abducting spellcasters from all across Philly to work on the egg, in order to not only hatch the dragon as soon as possible, but give it a major attitude adjustment. Which is why I need your help."

Triads, dragons, and magics. Great; I've ended up in a Shadowrun game*.

"But why us, Quint?" I asked. "We don't know anything about domesticating your standard pearl dragon or magic."

"Precisely," said Quint. "Whoever's kidnapped the spellcasters has made sure to cover their tracks. I've tried tracking down the missing people, but I can't. And I know every spirit in this city inside and out! However, I don't know whether he's kept them secret from nonmagic sources of detection."

"You're asking for the psychic special, I'm guessing?" asked Judy.

"If you wouldn't mind."

"Hey, no one better for invading anyone's privacy than us two!" joked Punch.

"Very well." Quint floated onto the roof for a minute, and pulled out two sigils like the one he gave me when we first met. "Use these to contact me in case anything happens. Greg, you still have yours, right?"

"Yeah," I said. I mean, why wouldn't I?

"Good. I will warn everyone else in Philly who is skilled in magic about Wu's needs. That way, if something happens to one of them, I'll know. May fortune smile upon us."

And then he floated off. Well, I've gotta say: It's certainly gonna be an interesting foray into the world of organized crime.

*Look, I think we've already established that I'm a geek, all right?

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