After the brief disorientation caused by the Teleport they looked round. They were stood in the corner of a large car park, bordering the against the thick Carpathian Forest. Ahead of them stood the E- Calypso hotel. Despite its rather garish name it appeared to have been constructed in a not inappropriate mock- Gothic style;it looked more like an expensive retreat for the wealthy rather than any downmarket casino.
Having browsed the literature online Clarissa was aware that the annexe housed a casino, restaurant, swimming pool and other exclusive facilities, while the main eight stories provided luxury hotel apartments and conference facilities. She scanned the gargoyles perched at the top of the buildings eight floors, and the turrets and parapets surrounding the pointed roof. This small corner of the world remained relatively untouched by the atomic wars which had devastated much of the planet. Just lucky, she supposed.
Scanning round the car park they noted that it was exceedingly full, and not only with skimmer vehicles. There were a significant number of antique petrol guzzlers -possibly a local habit, or some pursuit of the local rich. Looking at her handcomp she noted that it was situated about halfway between Brasov and a small settlement called Bran, and was pretty isolated.
“There’s a lot of friggin’ cars here” said Moe. “There must be somethin’ goin’ on like.”He pointed. “And there’s a banner up over there: SWAGOTH or something.”
While Anwyn marked the car parking space they had appeared in with spray paint, Clarissa scanned the website for the E Calypso.
“There is something going on. A S.W.A.G.O.T.H. convention, whatever that is. Let me see.” She typed further.
“Here it is”said Clarissa. “It’s a joint Convention held by the Star Wars Appreciation Society (whatever that is), and the British Gothic Society. This is S.W.A.G.O.T.H. XII apparently. Looks like it’s held somewhere different every year, with this year it’s being held ‘near the home of Count Dracula’.”
“And what do they do?” asked Anwyn.
“Watch old movies, buy and sell. Drink a lot.” she replied. “Odd but harmless.They seem to have taken over the top four floors for the next three days. I’ve just bought us four day tickets online.”
“Er are you sure we’ll blend in?” asked Moe, “Holding up his mutated arm and pointing at the others.”
“Trust me. My little brother was into all this. Look.” She pointed as two skimmer coaches pulled up at the far end of the car park.
The door opened, and eight troopers dressed in white and black combat armor walked out, forming an avenue between them. When they were arrayed a tall black cloaked figure marched out between them, and the troopers turned and marched off towards the Hotel, escorting him. A variety of exotic looking aliens, and spacers-several of them armed or armoured, also started to disembark.
The Strontium Dogs moved forward, hoping that they could blend themselves with the group. A tall, reddish fur covered alien turned towards Anwyn. “Growwarrrr. Growaoonneee.” he said.
A tough looking spacer stepped forward and spoke. “What my friend Chewie says Miss, is that he likes your Strontium Dog outfit.” Anwyn looked him up and down.
“Thank’im sweet ’eart”, she replied. “And tell ‘im he’s got a wine gum tangled down there on his leg.” Chewie bent down and frantically started scuffing through his fur.
At the door were two sharply suited men in dark glasses and expensive suits who bore all the hallmarks of in house security. They paid absolutely no attention to the gaggle of aliens, spacers, marines, bounty hunters and miscellaneous heroes of science fiction, armed with a bizarre collection of (obviously fake) weaponry. The Strontium Dogs slipped in and picked up their registration badges. There were even a couple of fake SD Agents Clarissa noted.
Taking the lift they found themselves up on the sixth floor. Moe perused the brochure he had picked up and read with interest that the Princess Leia Mud Wrestling heats were due to start down in the recreation annexe, in less than an hour. Perhaps if they got the business over with they might have time for a peek?
When the lift doors opened on the sixth they were confronted with a stall selling old editions of gothic novels, and two hunchbacked lab assistants engaged in a heated argument regard who’s particular contributions were of the greatest value to ‘The Mashter’. A seemingly seven foot tall patchwork humanoid (with bolts in his neck) was listening impassively.
As they stepped out onto the foyer they saw that this comprised a rectangular balcony surrounding the lifts and stairs, with the various rooms arranged around the outside of this corridor. The largest suite was open to all, and had been converted into a mini movie theatre, showing an endless reel of horror classics. Around the foyer balcony were arranged small stores selling movie books and memorabilia, and browsing all of this were a bewildering array of mad scientists, hunchbacked assistants, vampires, werewolves, Frankenstein’s monsters and even a very hot looking mummy, drinking an ice cold drink through a straw. The throng was also peppered with the odd Imperial Stormtrooper or alien from downstairs. The whole was very busy.
“This isn’t going to be easy” said Clarissa. “Spread out and see if you can spot room 664.” The four mingled around the balcony, with Moe mainly concentrating on seeing if there was anything which might be stolen easily.
In fact room 664 turned out to be more or less adjacent to the lifts. As she came to this realisation Clarissa saw two female vampires, holding hands and giggling, open the door and go inside, closing it to behind them. With the intervening crowd she could not get across in time. “Damn and Blast!” she thought. She gathered the others and shared the news.
“And was one of them her?” asked Anwyn.
“One had white hair, and the other dark. Could have been the dark haired one but I didn’t get a clear view.” she replied. They moved across to the door, and noted that the two hunchbacks and the monster were still stood nearby. Clarissa listened briefly and heard the sound of giggling inside, and a low moan. She turned to the hunchbacks.
“Is this a private room or can my friend and I”, here she gestured at Anwyn, “get in?”
The hunchbacks looked mollified but the monster leaned down and responded in a polite upper class British voice.
“Are you friends of Marjorie? That’s her room. If you are I’m, er sure she’ll appreciate the extra company”. He nudged the two hunchbacks and they moved away to a different part of the landing. Clarissa pressed the intercom, and a langourous female voice answered. In the background was another female voice making occasional noises.
“Hello? Who is this? I’m a little busy right now.” Female laughter.
“Is that Marjorie? This is Clarissa-we met at last year’s Convention. I was hoping that I could join your little party, and pick up where we left last year. Come on, you know it makes sense.”
There was a pause and she could hear the other voice saying “Me, me” before the phone was put down. “Damn. Lost her” she commented.
“If you cover me I can trigger that electronic lock forr yew, Clarr.” suggested Anwyn. Clarissa winced at the abbreviation of her name. As good as her word Anwyn knelt down by the door with an electronic probe in her hand, while the others three stood in front of her, shielding her from the crowd. After a few minutes she announced that the door was open. Clarissa slipped inside and Anwyn followed, closing the door in Moe’s face. “You’re not old eneff darlin’” whispered Anwyn over her comm.
Behind the door was a short corridor,which Clarissa padded along while Anwyn stayed by the entrance door. There was a scent of perfume and musk, and from the moans ahead Clarissa gathered that the two were having rather a good time.
Beyond the suite living area was an open door, and peeking through Clarissa saw the dark haired woman (Marjorie/ Ivanna?) spreadeagled on the bed, clad in only the scantiest of underwear. The white haired girl, similarly (un) clad was positioned with her head between the others legs, causing the other to moan with pleasure.
“Let’s make this quick” thought Clarissa, and aimed at the dark haired girl and fired a stasis shot from her Multibeam Blaster. The girl jerked and slumped back. Mistaking the action the white haired girl started to say something before Clarissa shot her too from behind. She gestured to Anwyn and the two set about the unconscious females with gaffa tape.
Behind them Moe and ‘Enery crept in: Moe stared wide eyed. "Woo’aaar. Tew birds naked together, Were di….y’ know?"
“Surprisin innit love?”said Anwyn. “I had all of ‘em ’ere marked down as virgins. You live and learn don’ chew?.”
Meanwhile Clarissa scanned the girls. The white haired girl had her mouth covered in blood, and there were two small puncture wounds and slight bleeding on the others thigh. Whitey seemed to have a pair of fangs.
The dark haired girl did too-but these were stored in a small box situated on the bedside cabinet. Alarm bells ringing, Clarissa checked and found that the White haired girl’s fangs were also detachable.
Anwyn checked through their bags. “Marjorie Thatcher and Naomi Campbell. Both from Hartlepool, England-same address on their passports too.” She shrugged. “One’s er, a computer tech, and the other runs a shop or somethin’.”
“And here are their convention tickets” said Clarissa, picking them up from a dresser. She looked at them, and then frowned. “Wait a minute. These say they have room 668.”
“The curtains” said ’Enery. “The curtains is open. Not bothered by the light I reckon.”
The realisation dawned on all of them: they had the wrong room. “Outside and mingle” said Clarissa. “I’m going down to reception a moment”. As they let Anwyn locked the door shut again.
Downstairs Clarissa approached the receptionist. “Excuse me, I’ve been to see my friends Marjorie Thatcher and Naomi Campbell in 668? But there doesn’t seem to be any answer. Have they arrived yet?”
“Ah, the newlyweds you mean?” smiled the girl. “They did a swap with Room 664: they wanted a front facing view and the resident of 664 agreed a swap. The lady in there is a bit of a Night Owl I’m afraid, so she was probably asleep when you knocked on 668. But your friends are now in 664.”
Returning upstairs Clarissa added this tidbit of information, and they stared across the landing at the entrance to room 668. Two stalls stood adjacent, but as they watched they saw that one man, dressed in what appeared to be a brown monk’s habit, stood outside the door and seemingly didn’t move around the rest of the floor. Clearly, he was on guard, and Clarissa suspected he was armed.
It was Moe who came up with the idea of a distraction. His misspent youth had taught him the trick of banging the plastic heads off foam fire extinguishers, and then running like hell out of the building they were located in. This somewhat novel trick might also provide a non lethal distraction, enabling ’Enery to quickly take out the Guard and Anwyn to gain access. The group positioned themselves around the landing.
Anwyn banged the head off one extinguisher quickly, and as the foam sprayed out across the floor she made her way towards ’Enery. To his increasing frustration Moe had no luck at all with his extinguisher, so he flung it down on the floor, pulled out his Laser Pistol and shot it. As the skin burst under pressure there was an almighty bang, and combined with the zzzappp of the discharge people started screaming on the landing nearby.Luckily no bystanders were hit by the shrapnel.
This was not the case with Clarissa however, who had decided on a similar tactic. Chunks of metal tore into an Imperial Stormtrooper, the Mummy, and one of the Vampirellas. Blood and more screams. “Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea” thought Clarissa.
’Enery pulled out his blaster and hit the door guard with a stunshot, flinging him backwards. The screaming grew louder.
“Oh sod it” thought ’Enery, and flicking his Heavy Blaster to kill he blew the door down. As he marched though the doorway shots rang out, pinging the woodwork nearby, and increasing the intensity of the panic. As the others tried to push their way through the screaming horror fans, ’Enery ducked into the apartment and exchanged shots with his assailant, eventually hitting him square in the chest and blowing him backwards into a darkened room.
Inside the apartment the four gathered, each switching on their Night Vision Goggles before entering the darkened room. They were operating on a very tight clock now, as it was only a matter of time before Hotel Security arrived.
The apartment was large and completely darkened, with the curtains having been stapled together, and blankets used to plug any additional gaps. Moe entered the room first as the others discussed their options, and saw that the only occupant was a naked man sprawled on one side of the bed.
The afternoon was now late and the sky was darkening outside, and the apartment was eerily silent. Moe gulped as he moved across the room.
“It doesn’t look like she’s ’ere” he called, “What do we do now?” Clarissa and the others moved in and scanned the room. She cursed.
The panic was quietening down now, as people fled downstairs or into the lifts. Gunfire rang from close by, staggering ’Enery as he was hit in an armoured shoulder. Anwyn, Clarissa and ’Enery took cover in the entrance corridor and adjacent bathroom, and exchanged fire with a couple of men positioned outside the door. The two were stunned but others appeared. After a brief pause and a bark of commands the firing renewed again, this time supplemented from people hiding in the central stairwell, and these were using Needlers and automatic fire. Things were getting deadly, and the group appeared to be trapped.