Today we go a little further back. The Beast Within Revised dates back to December 2000, but Onyx Path recently recreated it for ebook formats. This story is Gherbod Fleming’s The Inquiry.
[From the interview of Archon Theo Bell, Clan Brujah, on 14 November 1999, conducted by Justicar Mme. Guil, Clan Toreador.]
MG: And so, in your estimation, Archon Bell, at the point at which you lured Prince Vitel to the warehouse, he remained unaware of your harmful intent toward him?
TB: Do you think he’d have got in that car if he’d thought I was gonna blow his [expletive deleted] head off?
MG: I’m interested in your opinion, Archon. [pause; rattling of cellophane] I’d prefer that you didn’t smoke in here.
TB: [barely audible muttering.]
MG: Excuse me, Archon?
TB: Yes. In my estimation, he remained unaware. Hell, we spent weeks briefing him and the others, telling them that the Sabbat could bust through any night. Which was true. And the scenario we constructed for Vitel was credible. When they did attack a week later, they came along the same routes I told him they were using that night.
MG: But you knew he was in communication with the enemy. Shouldn’t he have known that the assault was not happening that night?
TB: From everything that Pieterzoon and Colchester had scraped together, we thought his communication with the Sabbat was sporadic. We hoped he didn’t know the exact details of whatever attack was coming.
MG: You “thought” his communications were sporadic. You “hoped” he didn’t know?
TB: Look. That whole operation in Baltimore was built on hope and speculation. If anybody had bothered to tell us that there was a plan underway to take New York, it would’ve helped. As it was, I say we were damn lucky that the plan Pieterzoon and I came up with dovetailed with what was already going down in New York.
MG: I believe had your plan not coincided with our wishes, Lucinde would have guided you in a more convenient direction. As it was, your actions bore out our predictions to a signifcant degree, so you were left to operate independently. But we were, I believe, discussing Marcus Vitel.
TB: Right. And you’re interested in my lowly opinion. Well, it seemed most likely to me that the Sabbat high command wasn’t going to keep Vitel completely informed. If your spy gets bagged and spills his guts, you’re screwed.
MG: You seem to accept this theoretical Sabbat policy of parceling information on a need-to-know basis more whole-heartedly than our own similar practice — at least as far as you are concerned. Would not our New York gambit have been threatened had a combatant such as yourself been aware of every detail and captured?
TB: Different situation, lady.
MG: That would be “Madame,” or “Justicar,” thank you.
MG: Let us skip ahead, Archon. Once you were in the warehouse — you and your driver, the prince and his retainer—your frst interaction there with Vitel was…
TB: I shot him in the face.
MG: Indeed. Before or after extracting a confession?
TB: This wasn’t no interrogation. It was a hit. We already knew what we needed to know. We were there to take him out of the picture, not ask questions.
MG: And Mr. Pieterzoon concurred with your assessment?
MG: And Lucinde?
TB: Couldn’t tell you for sure. But since you’re so interested in my opinion, I assumed Pieterzoon was keeping her informed. I don’t think she would’ve had it any other way. Look. We were trying to hold Baltimore till the last second and pull off a screened withdrawal to another city. If you folks are unhappy about how we did it, then just have Pascek give me my pink slip, and I’ll be on my way.
MG: I am merely attempting to ascertain the facts.
TB: Bullshit. We were cut loose, and I bet that for every justicar who hoped we’d pull it off, there was another hoping we’d fall on our ass. And now that we did pull it off, you’re gonna second guess me to death because you, or somebody, can’t stand for the credit to go to Pascek or Lucinde or who-the-hell-ever.
MG: Archon Bell, I am not unaware of this and other services you have rendered the Camarilla, but I will not be addressed in that tone. [pause] Now, in your experience, the shot you fred at Prince Vitel — that would have incapacitated many Kindred?
TB: I gave him a burst, four shots, of dragons breath — that’s white phosphorus incendiary rounds — square in the face. Many…hell, most Kindred that’s gonna take their head clean off. At the very least he should have been incapacitated for a long [expletive deleted] time.
MG: But he was not.
TB: No. Not for long.
MG: What other force did you bring to bear against him?
TB: Besides me, we had thirteen ghouls plus Pieterzoon with sub-machineguns, and four more of my people, Kindred, three with side arms, the other with a sword.
MG: I see. And your losses?
TB: Eleven ghouls dead, one Kindred destroyed, another completely fucked up, and the rest of us banged around pretty good.
MG: From just Vitel and his retainer?
TB: No. That’s just from Vitel. Lydia blew the ghoul’s [expletive deleted] head off right after I shot the prince the frst time.
MG: [pause] I see. [pause] Was that the type of encounter you were expecting, Archon Bell?
TB: [derisive laughter] No. Not exactly.
Read the rest of the inquiry into Theo Bell’s encounter with the creature calling itself Prince Marcus Vitel in The Beast Within Revised, available now in ebook and print formats from DriveThruFiction.