Deadlands Noir Extinct in the Big Easy

What a Peaceful Journey
And a Calm Five Seconds off the Train

The air in Union Station was new to me, but pleasantly free of the sulfur, tears, and other contaminants I was taught to expect in the godless North. There were even children offering free popcorn. But before I could get the wrong idea, a hobo in a cocktail dress nearly bowled us over as she was being chased by three goons.

Indianapolis really shouldn’t have tried so hard to make it feel like home to us.

The more chivalrous among us took the goons out and we took the chasee with us to get the skinny of what’s going on. I was not prepared when she explained that she was supposed to be sacrificed for the corn. There’s a cult operating that’s been making offerings to Kali, a Hindu death goddess, and it’s been working if the popcorn’s any indication. They’ve been handing out cards with what looks like nonsense songs, but are actually an incantation that’ll up the power of their works. (So much for “godless” North.) It sounds bad, so I did the only sensible thing: I left to go work on cars.

The Brickyard doesn’t just have history. I swear when you look down the road you can see the future of automotive engineering. I aim to make some. Most everyone there was mighty friendly, except for this one fellow that screamed bloody murder and tried to climb the wall out of the track. Seems someone put a kit of bad mojo under his locker, and its aimed at Charlie Brockman, a washed-up driver turned commentator.

This is not how I expected voodoo to meet auto. Gasgas = grisgris? There’s a turn of phrase there somewhere, hopefully we live long enough to find it.

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Trains and Automobiles Wait something's missing

I had an interesting ride on the train from New Orleans to Indiana. I have never been a good gambler but I held my own for the two days travel. Broke even which is almost as good as winning.

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I happened to knock over a suitcase and found what appears to be a Hand of Glory. I have not let the rest of the group learn of this find…the priest in particular seems to get edgy around these sort of items. I think that he feels that these dark powers are evil. I think that these are tools and the wielders have the potential for good or evil, or both. If I have strength of purpose and goodness in my heart I can use these artifacts for the benefit of mankind.

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Deja vu all over again
34

So, no sooner do we step off the train than we step into trouble. A train whistle tapered off into the scream of a woman, and when I looked, there were these three hayseeds chasing a girl in a cocktail dress, and not in the friendly flirting way. Well, what could I do? I wasn’t gonna stand still for that skit; I took after the bunch of them. Along the way some mobsters starting shooting—seriously, they should just go out and buy uniforms if their suits are all gonna come off the same rack anyway—but I left them to Content Not Found: null and Nikki and concentrated on putting myself between the girl and danger. I almost made it, too, but Father Ryan slipped past me and got her.

While he whisked her off to someplace safe-from-everybody-but-him, Antonio and I had a friendly chat with the two hayseeds who hadn’t drowned in sewage yet, and, well, “trouble” took a step sideways into “weirdness.”

For one thing, the mobsters, who we thought were in cahoots with the hayseeds, weren’t; the hayseeds thought they were with us. For another, the hayseeds seem to have an annual tradition of kidnapping random transients in town for the race, “for the greater good.” And another annual tradition of handing out songbooks with nonsense lyrics. Although when Antonio heard the lyrics out loud he closed his eyes and had us read ‘em back to him a couple times and said, "that’s nonsense in English, but it makes sense in Hindi, and it sure doesn’t sound like anything good in Hindi."

Anyway, we all regrouped by the luggage, which Claude had been sorta standing watch over, he not being in any shape for running or fighting yet, and it turns out the girl and the Padre go way back, and that the mooks were after her specifically (unlike the hayseeds, who were just after anybody who looked like they wouldn’t be missed). It also turns out that the weird traditions are more widespread than we thought, because a couple of not-quite-girl-scouts handed us some popcorn along with more copies of the Hindi songbook, and the way the Padre’s girl dug into that stuff you’d think it was manna from heaven.

Well, not quite. See, Antonio—or maybe it was Father Ryan, I wasn’t really paying attention—knew a professor down at Indiana University in Asian religions, so we decided to take a little jaunt down there and talk to the guy, and well, the songbooks seem to be hymns to Shiva, the Destroyer, who is known to be not above a little human sacrifice, and as near as anybody can figure out, the popcorn is basically Shiva-worshipper communion wafers.

But why deja-vu, you’re asking? That’s the thing. I know I’ve never experienced anything like this before, but for some reason I keep feeling that this is all very familiar. And the word “Monplanto” keeps popping into my head for no reason.

Ain’t that odd?

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Horrible Possibilities

Dinosaurs and gangsters, mixed— this has horrible possibilities— the mafiosos could own the cities, all over, much worse than they do. We’d all be slaves, this time around.

I only hope that Anson can help the poor bastard stuck in a dino body. I bet he’ll be a better man, if he ever gets out of there. I might to put a word in father’s ear, to give him a hint about it— wrath of god, etc. etc.

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TRex

I have seen it all..Sven just one punched a dinosaur. There really isn’t much to say except this voodoo that is going on here has some really scary potential.

They put people into these dinosaur constructs. The repercussions of this could be earthshattering. Why stop at dinosaurs, why not people? You could make someone a powerful monster or an old person could be tranplanted into a young person. And what happens to the person that was there? I doubt that these people care. Scary. I don’t think dinosaur bodies will catch on…opposable thumbs seem important.

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I guess that's why they died out
33

So it turns out Tyrannosaurs kept their goolies on the outside. Sac looked so much like a speed bag—and at the right height, too—it was kind of a no-brainer, really. But I guess I’m getting ahead of myself a little.

See, I showed up at the train station, right on time for the 3 o’clock northbound, and who should be waiting for us but Chrissy Colucci. My hackles went straight up, but it seems Fr. Ryan signed us up to do a job for her and she was holding the train until it got done. I’m gonna have to have a talk with the padre about which head to think with.

Anyway, the job, as they filled me in on the way out to yet another island out in the swamp—I am getting pretty well sick of swamps. They give me the damned heebie-jeebies. Kind of puts me in a killing mood, really—one of Chrissy’s bag men had gone missing, and all the guys had had to go on was a picture of him with some outdoorsy-looking woman and our old pal Vanessa, last seen a few months ago being burnt to a crisp in a car ignited by a lightning bolt out of a clear blue sky.

The picture was taken last week.

The guys did some digging around and found out that the woman was a pale..pullo…a scientist who digs up old bones, and that she’d found some dinosaur bones out in the swamps of Louisiana that were the talk of bone-digger circles. They also turned up that the place she found them was owned by none other than Silver Dollar Sam Corolla, and that one of the people working with her is a mad-boy whose schtick is reanimating dead things—like, for example, 5000-year-old mummies.

So we kind of knew what to expect when we got out to Honeytrap Island, or whatever it’s called—Claude and Content Not Found: null between them managed to run the boat aground on the way there. Had to kill a few gators. Freakin’ hate the swamp. Anyway, we thought we knew what to expect; dinosaurs wandering around, probably some dead people. And that is what we found…sort of.

We found two dinosaurs, and two dead people…only the dead people were now the dinosaurs.

It seems that while Mr. mad-boy was working on how to reanimate dead things, Vanessa was working on trapping people’s souls in recently reanimated dead things. So, our missing bag-man? He’s a stegosaurus, now, and none too happy about it. And everybody’s favorite asshole mook Baldo is now a Tyrannosaur with some very sore testicles.

All I can say is that he shouldn’t have rushed us like that. Not out in the swamp. I am always in a bad mood in the swamp. And around anything to do with the Black Hand.

Now, personally, I figure the best thing to do, all around, is kill both of them, then move on to the rest of the Hand, but Claude seems to have promised them we’d try to learn this spell of Vanessa’s and Dr. mad-boy and put them back in their own reanimated body.

I think this is a bad idea and a very bad precedent. If this becomes a thing, I figure the rich and the powerful will decide that if they can’t take it with them, they just won’t leave, and I’ve got to tell you, the idea of immortal millionaires and hundredth-term incumbent Senators does not make my heart go pitty-pat with joy.

There’s still no sign of the madboy, the lady bone-digger or Vanessa, but we did find some paperwork that looked a little interesting; it seems ms. bone has been trying with no luck to get access to some land out in Deseret owned by the head honcho out there, but that land recently became the property of Logan Reeve Auto Supply of New Orleans, which Nicky recognizes as the Black Hand’s in-house garage and chop shop.

That doesn’t make my heart go pitty-pat, either.

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Jurassic Park is Boring

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Cabin in the Train

So not only did Chrissy Colucci hold the train for us, she set us up with a cabin of our own. It was pretty fancy, a bit nicer than some people’s houses I figured. We didn’t appreciate it a whole lot though, considering how much blood money’s gone into the Black Hand that we know about.

Before we left I ran back by Anson’s place to see if he’d be willing to talk me through some of this voodoo we keep running into. The crossroads demons are one thing, and a mighty mean thing at that, but people like Vanessa tying people’s souls into animals and dinosaurs wigs me right out. Anson gave me more of a magazine than a book, but told me it’d learn me the basics if I followed it close enough. If I could get enough of an understanding, by the time we came back he said he’d teach me more.

I haven’t seen eye-to-eye with Content Not Found: null all the time lately. For one thing, he’s got a few eyes tattooed on him, makes it tricky to figure where to look at. Mostly, though, it’s his regular dealings with one demon or another. Hinky as that is, though, I have to admit he’s had our backs when it counted, and he knew more about this side of the world than I’m ever like to, so I asked him about some of the things I weren’t reckoning well.

Once we got to talking, it was kind of chuckling how much I was leaning toward voodoo from the get-go. I always thought of cars and such as having their own quirks and such, and that it took knowing how to put enough things together in the right way to make miracles happen. Remembering that one fight with the possessed car helped put a lot of Anson’s pamphlet into perspective. Way I’m seeing it is voodoo’s a kind of refining process to help something serve a certain purpose, a bit like machining a hunk of metal into a piston. Someone, either the soul itself or someone in the know, made the car into a body for the soul to inhabit.

Now I sure as hellfire ain’t considering doing anything like that with the Mark II – that car’s meant to have its own soul, I sure don’t want anyone or anything putting one in that don’t belong. I suppose that’s what each of us is fighting for: the means for us and others to figure out for themselves where “belong” is. Now, for things like making the headlights let us see without letting people see us what we don’t want seeing us, or making a gearbox run quieter, there might be a few solutions in voodoo I could find.

These be interesting times.

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I should Know better

Chrissy Colucci wanted me alright. Seems one of her Bag men by the name of Nicodemos was missing with a weeks worth of deposits and she wanted me and the boys to find out where he was before we left for Indianapolis.

I don’t know why, but before my brain could say no, we don’t have the time, some , not so small part of me, had my mouth saying sure, we’ll do it. Next thing I remember is heading out to meet the boys and asking for their help on a little side job.

I was outta her place so fast, I didn’t even ask her about payment! I really need to work on my self control….

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Brother of the The Order
It’s official, I am now a Brother of the The Order of Saint Michael.


The ceremony was a rather small and quiet affair. As befits, i suppose, our small and secretive order. Not even the Arch Bishop is aware of it. Only Bishop Laval, Professor McNellis, and 4 other priests I did not know were in attendance. Our order is small, fewer than a thousand members world wide according to the Bishop. The Arch bishop leading our order reports directly to the Vatican. We try to keep our Membership secretive to limit attacks on the order. From without and within the Church. Yes. I said from within. The forces of Evil are very powerful and very subtle.

Hopefully my meeting withMiss Collucci after the ceremony will be a pleasant distraction from that last thought…
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