Demon: Butterfiles and Hurricanes
A one-shot story for Demon: the Descent
Houston. Space city. It is a strange city, a place that both defies and embraces cultural stereotypes. It is a place where mega-churches and conservative values can walk hand in hand with an openly gay mayor, where oversized gas guzzlers tread the same path as sleek electric cars, a place where technology rushes forward yet tradition holds fast.
Houston is an international city. While Austin might have a reputation for being Texas's eclectic center, Houston excels at diversity. More than 90 countries have consular office here and as many languages are regularly spoken throughout the city. Houston has a strong immigrant population, and several rich cultural neighborhoods including the Mahatma Gandhi District.
Houston is a city of opportunity. Industry thrives here. Sharp young business people flock to the city looking to make their career. Only New York boasts more Fortune 500 headquarters. Opportunity isn't limited to mortals, either. For every person who succeeds two more fail, leaving them bitter, desperate, and ripe for a pact . Infrastructure weakened by the damage of repeated natural disasters dots the cityscape. For those brave or foolish enough, the steady churn of the God-Machine purrs temptingly from the inner city, promising great risks and greater rewards.
Due to a number of complicating factors ranging from zoning issues to the fierce independent spirit of its citizenry, Houston lacks a large-scale rapid transit system. As such, the city's highways are heavily travelled. During rush hour, these roadways are choked with commuters slowly inching in and out of town.
Off the highways, travel routes can become confused. Whether it is a quirk of construction or the work of the God-Machine, drivers often find that roads do not take them where they should. Streets curve in haphazard fashion, throughways suddenly dead end, and construction detours wind in intricate knots.
The Landscape of Power
To the metro area Unchained, Houston is separated into 3 concentric areas of influence extending out from the city center, roughly divided along the lines of the city's highway loops.
The areas inside I-610, including Downtown and the Museum District, are strongholds of the God-Machine's influence. Infrastructure abounds, as do angels and other servants of the God-Machine. Demons operating inside the loop must be extremely vigilant or risk destruction.
Between the loop and Beltway 8 (plus Bush Intercontinental Airport), the presence of the God-Machine decreases. Infrastructure is still prevalent, but there are small areas where it has become inactive or suborned. Activity is high here, but the security is not as tight.
Outside the Beltway, the God-Machine has the least control. Projects are constantly in the works to preserve or extend its influence, but these are tempting targets for the area's demons.
Highway 99/Grand parkway marks the occult outer limits of the city. Though the Parkway loop remains incomplete, local demons note it as forming Infrastructure.
In September 2005, not long after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, a second storm formed in the gulf on a track to hit Houston. Fearing the worst, Houston officials instituted a program to evacuate large portions of the city in the storm's projected path. In what remains the largest scale evacuation in the United States, over 2 million people fled the city.
Fortunately for the city, Hurricane Rita weakened and changed course, sparing the city the worst. But there are places where things happened differently. A splinter exists where whatever events caused the alterations to the storm failed. In the splinter, Rita hits Houston with its full force, devastating the city.
Time in the splinter runs from mid-July through the end of September. After the 22nd of September, the city is noticeably empty. Over half the population has evacuated and most of the remaining citizenry is secure in their homes. Anyone on the streets is either emergency personnel or opportunistic looters.
Though the presence of the God-Machine appears significantly diminished in the splinter, Houston's Unchained have difficulty exploiting the opportunity, in large part due to the erratic nature of the only know fracture and limited knowledge of its existence.
Locations and Infrastructure
- The Museum of Fine Arts- Located in the Museum District, the MFAH campus contains several buildings and sculpture gardens. The Wilson Tunnel installation, which connects the Law and Beck building, has been identified as Infrastructure
- Houston Museum of Natural Science- Though the presence of Infrastructure within HMNS is unconfirmed, several Stigmatics are on the museum staff. Efforts at further investigation have universally resulted in lost agents/resources.
- Rothko Chapel- An occult dampening aura persists within the chapel, preventing the use of numena, embeds, etc.
- Room 1881, Helios plaza- A piece of suborned infrastructure controlled by ULN.
Notable groups and people
- ULN-One of two major agencies operating in Houston. Maintain consistent operations in the Energy Corridor area
- DHS-Houston's second major temporal agency. Operations are less centralized than ULN with branch offices operating semi-independantly.
Cults and Gangs
- The Orphans- A "cult" of children and young adults who have suffered (directly or indirectly) at the hands of the God-Machine.
- The Armageddon Saints- A local biker gang
- The Chains- A local biker gang, chief rival of the Saints
- Mr Hush- A demon. A well-connected information broker. Also known as the Keeper of Secrets
- Mother Mayhem- A demon. Sabotuer and leader of the Orphans.
- The Director- The enigmatic head of the ULN
- Ignatio "Iggy" Flores- A high ranking member of the Saints
- Cherilyn Nguyen- Head of the restorations department at MFAH
Angels, Exiles, and Others
- Sabrael- Also know as the Hunter & the Bloody-handed One. An exile "sequestered" in a cave network northeast of the city.
- "Gatekeeper"- An unnamed angel set to watch Sabrael's domain.