Northwest Security Solutions, Inc.
The Phage Mystery
There is a disease that has been inflicting Garou around Port Angeles and the Seattle Area. Once it is contracted, that Garou cannot transform or she will be trapped in wolf form.
The longer that a Garou does not transform, the more difficult / and irritable they become (unrelated to the Phage, this is just how transforming works)
At this point, almost all of Luke’s tribe has transformed to Gray Wolves. His Grandmother, Mary Beth “Ria” Watkins and Barney (not a member of the tribe, but staying with them) are all that remain. They are both infected.
UPDATE 6/2/2014 Important to note that the transformation to wolf is complete – they are not a supernatural wolf, just a regular wolf. (It’s not trapped in a wolf form so much as transformation to become a wolf).
What is it?
The origin of the Phage is unclear, but John did see that werewolf autopsies were being conducted in NSS’s mysterious basement, potentially by Dr. Tashi Norbu. However, it is unclear if this was the origin of the Phage or an attempt to understand it.
We have since learned from Mary that a Kindred she worked with was aspiring to ‘cure’ vampirism and worked withing the research wing of NSS – so it is possible she may have been using werewolves to test the cure.
Most of the solid information on the Phage we have is from _Jade, who Russell spoke with in the underworld after the destruction of the hotel. Jade was a powerful something, capable of invisibility and shifting through the gauntlet in the underworld. It has been recently revealed she has a very human sister – Rebecca “Harry” Callahan.
She was being pursued by men with strange devices, and when initially encountering Russell she exclaimed that he was NOT a technocrat. (and wondered if he was a euthanatos or dreamspeaker). Jade was very concerned that the accident that caused the explosion would be seen as some sort of declaration of war, and it was important that the message get to Michael that this was not the case.
Jade was (with Michael) attempting to find a cure for the Phage, and she was close. The cause of the accident is unclear, but she said that the syndicate had caught up with her, so they may be a faction interested in causing the Phage?
Jade describes the Phage as a combination of life and spirit magic in the form of the common cold. She also explained that there were several clear interactions of the Phage (3 versions for sure) meaning that it had been under development for some time.
update 6/2/14 – Dominic has confirmed a group of supernatural beings known as “mages” exist. As Jade spoke of the Phage being a combination of spirit and life magic, it is likely that a Mage is responsible for the creation of the disease.
UPDATE 6/12/14 Dexter spoke of the Phage as a “purification” and that Luke was not affected.
Finding a Cure?
While Jade may have been the best chance to help find a cure, she seems to think one other person may have the skills needed: Dr. Tashi Norbu. However, getting her assistance might be tricky.
Norbu had been working at NSS, very possibility involved in the werewolf autopsies listed above. As she has the skills required to cure the Phage, it is also possible she had the skills to create the Phage – or at least help create it, knowingly or unknowingly. She appears to be in hiding now.
Tracking down Norbu
As our best lead, we’ve spent some effort finding Norbu. From Michael, we know she had spent some time with Virian the vampire and his ghouls, including Iris. While the vampire was not helpful, it was obvious the Iris had something to say about Norbu. we have not spoken to Iris to find out what this might be.
Shortly after that encounter Iris’s ‘brother’ ghoul, Stahl, was found murdered atop a pile of dog carcasses as if it was some sort of ritual. Not only was his body mutilated along with the dogs, there were several Sanskrit symbols written on the walls. Homeless onlookers led us to check out Dogtown, where Stahl used to live. Fortunately, this is where Declan Morain used to minister. He suggested we seek out Brennan.
Brennan (who, with his friends appeared to have been temporarily controlled or supernaturally influenced) eventually directed us to a suspect: Rag Man, a homeless man skinwalker who did similar rituals with dogs so that he could walk around in their skin. When cornered, he claimed he was being framed, and mentioned that he had been followed by a woman – he indicated it could have been Norbu based on her picture.
Rag Man confirmed the murder was made to look like his work, but that the symbols were ‘all wrong’. Evelyn has been researching the symbols from the crime scene to see if they were truly ‘gibberish’, or was a modification of the skinwalker spell to use a ghoul or human as opposed to a dog.
Update 6/2/14 – As Jade has confirmed Norbu has the ability to cure the disease, it is highly likely Norbu is a ‘Mage’.
UPDATE 6/12/14 Rag Man claimed his skinwalking spell was worship of “The Big Dog”
Why was Stahl murdered?
Either Stahl knew something (perhaps about Norbu from his time with VIrion) or he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The coincidence seems too great to me. If someone is trying to be undercover, this might be a good way to stay hidden. It is also possible a combination of both – removing someone who may have information on her location or finding her (or perhaps a later experiment) as well as continuing her own efforts to stay hidden. This is my best guess – Norbu is hiding, perhaps in the same way some other characters are in hiding, due to her involvement in whatever is happening. Stahl, Iris, and Marius may potentially know something about how to find her Of course, there was recently a new murder. If that is another one of Stahl’s brothers (such as _Marius, who I notice has just gone red in the character page) it does appear they are being silenced. Iris is in danger if that is the case, and needs to be talked to sooner rather than later.
So, was it Norbu, or someone trying to find Norbu? Was Rag Man just a patsy to throw us off the scent?
Is the Helicopter Man related?
It does appear that he has repeatedly wanted us to stay away from investigating what is going on in Seattle. This is supported by a conversation Russell had with Dexter, who said his master(?) had a way to make things better. He’s now clearly working with the Helicopter Man, so it looks like he is at least complicit in creating (or maintaining) the Phage. He also is currently actively stopping us from investigating something, and his all-seeing copters might be exactly what Norbu is hiding from.
Update: 6/2/14 Dexter’s knowledge of the Children of Gaia and apparent familiarity with Two-Tails and Adam is a link between Helicopters, Fox, and Phage
Note: Michael seemed surprised that Boothby was so surprised/scared when he saw us. It seems like he may have been hiding something, so we really need to check up on that. Michael suggested Boothby might know about these weird machines. So now it’s a dude with experience in spirits and machines? Strange. Also, he likes taxidermy, so that is creepy. Also, the helicopters first appeared shortly after we met him. Just saying.
Is the Fox related?
The fox – i’m not sure what the fox is, but if he is taking the place of the Totem of the Children of Gaia tribe, he may also be involved. I believe Dexter is a member of the Children of Gaia, as Tails (Russell’s better half) is scared of him and they clearly knew each other. I believe Dexter killed Tails.
I have no idea what the Fox was doing in the underworld, or why he’d trap the Garou there – unless it was simply to get other Garou for the sake of experimentation. The Garou there were Lupus, not Homid, and it may be an attempt to expand the reach of the Phage to other types.
UPDATE 6/12/14 (Josh here) I have a thought that if the Fox really IS a spirit of mischief or a minor god as he appears in the underworld, then he wouldn’t have any problem being in both places at once. In fact, the underworld, with its shifting sense of reality, would be the more natural place for him to hang his hat.
The Garou were likely trapped in the underworld for the same reason we were trapped in the house: to keep us out of the way. Finding out what the Garou could have done if they were on the material plane may be just as important as finding out what we could have done if we weren’t house bound for a day.
What about motive?
The only thing I can suggest is that these are agents of the Wyrm, who want the Garou out of the way. I do not know if it is Helicopter Man, Fox, and Mary’s coworker, and the Syndicate working together (or if they’re all members of the Syndicate) but those four seem to be the top forces involved in making this happen, with people like Dexter and Norbu being potential minions. If Norbu was working with them and has defected, she’s still a great lead – but all of this is conjecture.
UPDATE 6/12/14 (Josh here again) I don’t think they necessarily want the Garou out of the way entirely, instead I think The Fox or the agents of the Wyrm or whoever are using the Phage to get rid of the more intelligent, or at least more educated, Garou who would not be as easy to manipulate as their more beastial cousins. They’re a willing and violent workforce that was being ignored by the rest of Garou culture. Perfect subjects for a little trickery. The question is, how can we convince the northern tribe that the Fox is posing as their spirit guide.