Eternal Lies: The Masks of the Liar

Episode XVI: Ashes to Ashes (Part 5)

Meanwhile, in the future…

Kakakatak removed their helmets and Tesla powered down the machinery.

“Do I have a mind, or am I just a brain?” asked Jimmy.

“Don’t worry,” said Tesla. “Kakakatak could explain, but only if you understand twelve-tone rows.”

“Trust me Jimmy, you do not,” said the Yithian. “Seriously, you had the worst diction ever.”

“Did anything happen?” said Ruby. Geronimo shrugged.

The next day they had a guest at the Los Angeles Society for Archaeological Studies. He was rail thin and wore a scraggly beard and had an unnatural air of silence around him.

“Dr. Ayers,” said Ruby, surprised. “What brings you here?”

“I’m glad you’re recovering,” said Millicent.

“Yes. Thank you. I am still having trouble talking. Every day. May I have water? I seem always to be thirsty. So Ramón’s work is still a problem? Can I help? I knew Ramón very well.”

They went to the conference room and made sure Ayers had a pitcher of water. He explained that Echevarría had used a lot of heavy machinery—the 1926 blackout was certainly caused by him stealing the city’s power. He huddled with Dr. Orange to go over the details.

Jimmy decided to see if any houses near the new Temple of Joy were abandoned and useful to hide out in…or as a hiding place for Doug Henslowe. He spent the afternoon down at the property clerk’s office pulling deeds for the housing development near the Temple site that had been abandoned when Trammel took over the area.

Geronimo hit his underworld contacts because as Ruby said, they were going to need guns. Lots of guns. While he was away, Ruby had another visitor.

“There’s an Ashley Murphy to see you,” her secretary said.

“Captain Murphy?” said Ruby. “Don’t tell Geronimo. He gets jealous. And he has guns.”

[I had started wondering why we never used Murphy’s first name, so I guessed it was something he might find a bit embarrassing. And then one night I was watching Ash vs. Evil Dead and it clicked.]

She walked out into reception. Murphy, looking weatherbeaten as usual, was standing kneading his sailor’s hat in his hands. A little girl, maybe six or seven years old, was standing next to him.

“Temperance?” said Ruby, clutching her chest.

“Hello, Mrs. Cuevas,” said Murphy.

“What are you doing here?” asked Ruby.

“Well, two things. First I wanted you to meet Temperance here…I wasn’t sure how to introduce you.”

Ruby walked over to Temperance, knelt down, and put her arm on the little girl’s shoulder.

“Hello,” the girl said. “Who are you?”

“I’m a friend of your father’s,” Ruby said, tears in her eyes.

“Are you a sailor?”

“I’m an aviatrix. I fly planes.”

“Like Amelia Earhart.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“She’s dead. What happened to your arm?”

“Was kind of wondering that myself,” said Murphy. “It wasn’t Geronimo, was it? No? Didn’t think so. He’s a good a man.”

“He’s a good man to me,” said Ruby.

“No,” said Murphy with surprising conviction, “he’s a good man, period.”

“So are you, when you let yourself be.”


“I hurt myself in an accident.”

“Ruby old girl, you have to take care of yourself. You’re a very dear friend to me…and Temperance. Ruby, you think we can talk in private?”

“Sure. Temperance, you can go look around the place.”

[RP: This is the beginning of her adventures! Wandering around with all this Mythos stuff!

Then we realized that she was probably going to end up talking to Millicent…or Kakakatak…]

Ruby and Murphy sat down in her office. “Ruby old girl, I understand you’re still mixed up in something,” said Murphy without preamble. “I want to help. I know what you’re going to say—look after Temperance. But let’s face facts, old girl. Probably I’m not the best father in the world. I want to be. But I also want to help you.”

“I could use your help. Of course, I’d absolutely love for you to take Temperance far away from here and teach her to fish with a spear…”

“A normal childhood, sure. I already did that.”

“Damnit Murphy, I never thought I’d say this again, but…round up the boys! We’ve got some trouble to make!”

Geronimo managed to get in touch with what was left of Captain Walker’s old gang. “We’re trying to get out of the business,” said one jefe. “So it’s a fire sale.” It wasn’t hard for the Spaniard to negotiate the purchase of quite an assortment of small arms.

“I guess you know Trammel’s back,” said the gang leader. “You know, there’s still some Nectar on the street. Not a lot. He only sells it to the most important clients. But there’s still some…”

[1 point Streetwise spend by GP.]

“Do you have any plastic explosive or dynamite?” asked Geronimo.

“Everything must go, friend.”

Geronimo returned to the old hacienda-style house that LASAS used for its headquarters, the trunk of Jimmy’s armored car stuffed with guns and explosives. As he walked into the building, he heard the sound of laughter coming from the dining room they used for a commissary.

Then he heard Murphy’s voice: “Before we say anything else, we gotta say something in the memory of a great man. To Charlie!”

“To Charlie!”

There was the sound of shattering glass. Geronimo pulled a shotgun from the bundle of weapons he was lugging with him and ran into the dining room. He saw Murphy, several of his piratical looking henchmen, and Ruby sitting around a table littered with empty bottles and platters of cold cuts.

“Geronimo, don’t shoot!” said Murphy.

“What are you doing in my house?” said Geronimo.

“It’s not your house,” muttered Jimmy to his scotch.

“I come in peace, Geronimo,” said Murphy.

For the first time Geronimo noticed the small girl standing near Murphy. “I apologize, young miss,” he said, lowering the shotgun. “It was not my intention to frighten you.”

“You should hold it more against your shoulder. It makes it easier to work the pump. Daddy told me that,” said Temperance.

“You must be Murphy’s daughter.” He turned to Ruby. “Ruby, explain.”

Ruby screwed her arm back on straight. “In private.”

They went to Ruby’s office. “I can understand if you’re upset,” she said. “Murphy showed up out of the blue, with my daughter. And we don’t know what we’re up against, and we could any help we get in case we get shot up full of holes.”

“We’re going to get shot full of holes anyway.”

“But at least this time there will be less chance of it happening. You don’t have to worry about anything untoward.”

“You seemed to be having a very good time.”

“Geronimo, it’s the end of the world. Of course I’m going to try and have a good time. You should join us. Have a drink for Charlie’s sake. For our sake. That maybe we’ll have a future.”

Jimmy went to his office, fed up with Murphy’s gang of salty dogs. As he closed the door behind him, he heard a gun cock. He turned slowly and backed toward his desk.

Doug Henslowe came out of the shadows, holding a mean looking .45. “Don’t you try to stop me—” he began.

“Get you a drink?” asked Jimmy, going to his bar.

“Um, sure. Job’s crazy.”

“We’re planning on stopping it.”

“Good. I want to be part of it if I can.”

“Was already looking for you.”

“I don’t think Job’s human anymore.”

“You should see what’s in my basement. We’ll handle it.”

“So this is going to put everything to rest? Good. By the way, I may be wanted by the LAPD. Near as I can tell, they’re in the pocket of some crazy guy named Trammel.”



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