Motor City Breakdown

Chapter 5

Seizing the Means of Production

After a few hours of searching, Bartholomew the Peregrine Falcon discovers a suitable "nest for many two-legses" which consists of an old hotel (Size 100) that’s about 80 years old, and been abandoned for 20. There’s a lot of plants growing on the lower levels, some water damage on the upper floors, and a ton of pigeons on the roof. Our heroes decide to investigate the hotel themselves, so they leave the refugees in a public park for a couple hours. It's the weekend, so they won't look too out-of-place (as long as they strengthen their Masks with a bit of Willpower).

Just because he likes tweaking his nose at the rules, Archibald decides to use his kith-blessing to glide all the way from the Detroit Hilton to the hotel they're going to investigate. What with the need to break out onto the roof, and the relative slowness of his gliding (walking speed), he arrives at roughly the same time as the rest of the motley (only Archie arrives in style, like a boss). There is basically zero chance that he wasn't seen (it's midmorning on a weekend), but the consequences for that action might not manifest for a while.

The hotel — which used to be called Wellington Place or the Seward Hotel — is absolutely covered in vines, up to the second or third floor in some places, making the whole building look like a gigantic topiary. Vlad and Archie climb the vines and break down the boards on the front door from the inside, letting everyone else in through the (formerly) boarded-up front door. The place is full of junk, spare parts, empty bottles, animal remains, dead leaves, and miscellaneous garbage. 

While exploring, Olga (?) notices that one of the refrigerator units behind the bar is still running. Curious, she opens it up and discovers what appears to be a complete and functional engine-block, made partly of metal and partly of viscera and other organic components. Clearly, someone or something is still living here; our heroes sense sense that they’re being watched. 

Catching glimpses of tiny, hunched humanoids, our heroes quickly realize that the former hotel is infested with gremlins! Olga attempts to win their loyalty with an ill-advised striptease (it doesn't work, though they do throw stuff at her when she stops). Nemo tries to see if he can get them to reveal more about what they're building: they tell him that they work for the Nain Rouge. Nemo asks what kind of pay he's giving them, and they confess (somewhat confusedly) that they don't actually remember ever agreeing on payment, exactly. Mostly his "awesome plans" just seemed like really funny/entertaining ones, so they all signed up to help him with his big project.

"Big project? What big project?" asks Nemo. The gremlins aren't sure (the Nain only gives them specs and offers feedback, he doesn't tell them how he's gonna use it), but they think he said he wanted it done by mid-August (which is just around the corner). Pressing for more details, our heroes discover that the Nain never actually promised to pay the gremlins for their assistance, he just promised to make them a part of his "awesome plans" for Detroit, for clearing it all out and “fixing” it from the ground up. (He did mention, though, that there'd be plenty of Glamour for them to feast on once he was done.)

Struck by inspiration, our heroes exhort the gremlins to rebel against their boss! With an exceptional success on their Persuasion roll, our heroes convince the gremlins to cast off their shackles and demolish the boiler that acts as the anchor for one of the Nain’s personal Trods (like the fiery path they glimpsed through the doorway when he stepped into the abandoned house). Hopefully this will lock him out of the building, at least for a little while.

The foreman, an older gremlin named Drillbit, says that "the body-guys" work somewhere else, at a different shop; this crew just handles engines for "the boss’ new ride." For the Woodward Dream Cruise? Yeah, the gremlins think so, that’s what it’s for. That’s when he wanted to debut it.

NEMO: “The Nain is no longer your boss, you’re your own bosses! If he shows up, tell us because we want to speak with him!

[close out with a 1980s fixing stuff up montage]



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