The Eerie Exploits of Ranger Co. X: This Star Says I’m a Texas Lawman
Gamemaster notes are in italics
You leave the Depot out the front door. From the street, you can see the gateway to the famous Strand, once considered the economic capital of the West, rivaling even Wall Street. But that was before the 1900 Storm. Now, there was evidence of slow decay, as the prosperity shifted north to Houston and even further west to California. To one side lay a closed hotel, with some windows boarded over and others broken. On another nearby street you could clearly make out a sign advertising The Salvation Army.
“Christ, I need a barber,” Jack announced
Chris pulls over at the first barber shop he sees.
You make your way to the headquarters of ‘Galveston’s Finest.’ As you exit the car and make your way to the front door, you pass a number of police, both uniformed and plainclothes. They each look at you a little longer than you’re comfortable with, and then move on.
James doesn’t register anything outwardly, but inside he thinks, “Yeah, we’s black men; get over it!”
“Well, shall we get out of the sun,” Gabriel says to the others as he walks towards the doors.
Chris looked at his car. The only available spot in the GPD’s parking lot left very little room for his Chevy. Thoughts of dinged paint scampered across his brain. Looking up at the cops giving him and his fellow Rangers the ‘eye’, Chris thought it might be best to get the team inside and meet with the Detective. He followed Gabriel and looked over his shoulder at the rest, “No invitations now people.”
Then eyeing Jack running his fingers through his fresh buzz-cut he added, “It’ll grow back eventually, but if y’all gonna take your Daddy’s spot on this roster you need to look the part.”
Jack grinned, “Nah. This is my natural coat. Call the sasquatch-look freshman jitters. I feel much better now.”
You enter the station, and approach the desk sergeant. As you ask for Sorenson, he gives you the once over, and then directs you to the squad room.
Inside, Detective Sorenson is just as the desk sergeant described him: tall, broad-shouldered, sandy-haired and still fairly young-looking. You could just as easily imagine him as a college linebacker as a detective.
Gabriel felt awkward. Was he supposed to introduce himself to the detective, and if so, how? He wasn’t sure how many people even knew about this branch of the Rangers. He looked over to Chris for direction.
Seeing the odd collection led by the man in the pearl-gray hat, Det. Sorenson quickly walks over.
“I’m Charlie Sorenson. You must be the Rangers I asked for…though I didn’t expect a team…. Anyway, I’m glad you came right over. I’d like your thoughts on a case.”
What have I gotten myself into… Jack kept the thought to himself, but was already starting to wonder if he was in over his head.
Chris*tries to get a read on Det Sorenson’s body language*
All eyes in the group were on Chris. “That’s what I get for wearing my Ranger hat,” he thought to himself, “everyone suddenly thinks I’m the leader. Man I sure wish Jack Sr. was here. I’m not sure I’m ready to lead a group.”
Outwardly, Chris broke into a broad grin and tipped his hat back on his head, “Normally, one Ranger is all you need. But the home office thinks your case needs a little more attention than normal.”
He stuck out his hand, grabbed Detective Sorenson’s and pumped it vigorously, “I’m Ranger DeHart,” dropping the hand he gestured at each of the others in turn, “Vargas, Freeman, Cooper & Macher. Why don’t fill us in on the case.”
Detective Sorenson shuffled his feet in an awkward manner, almost as if he were a child caught in an embarrassing situation, “My Captain didn’t think I should call,” he began, slowly. “But things just didn’t add up to me, and I thought it wouldn’t hurt to ask for another opinion.” He took a deep breath. “A Galveston Daily News reporter apparently took a header out of an upper-story window of the old Hotel Panama – you may have seen it on your way over, it’s near the depot. Anyways, officially it’s a suicide, but I’m not so sure. You see, the reporter was still sort of new, and he was looking into reports that the Panama was haunted. A couple of Boy Scouts tried to spend the night there around Halloween, but ran out screaming like Girl Scouts within a couple of hours. Anyway, the department says suicide, my gut says something else.”
Jack raises his eyebrows.
“Hotel Panama?” Chris removed his hat and scratched his head. “That’s a new one on me. I’ve got quite a file on Galveston ghost stories but nothin’ ever mentioned the Hotel Panama.” Placing his hat back on Chris continued, “What else can you tell us, Detective?”
Jack can not mask is utterly incredulous expression.
Gabriel leans back against the wall, settling in for a ghost story. He wondered how it would line up with some of the Native spirit stories he was told as a child.
The Hotel like everything here isn’t familiar to James, as this city isn’t his beat. He does know and respect the instincts of another policeman however.
The detective took another deep breath. “That’s the thing. The hotel has been closed for many years. We’ve had a few vandalism calls out there, and rousted a few hobos, but never a story about ghosts. We figure the Scouts were there to prove to their younger friends that just because the hotel was old and boarded up that it wasn’t necessarily filled with spooks. Then they lit out like their shorts were on fire jabberin’ on about scary voices.”
Jack’s eyebrows go higher.
“How bout the non-ghostly angle? Did the reporter have enemies? Any hoods or Realtors got reason to keep kids and reporters out of the hotel? I seen some mean Realtors before.”
“As far as the reporter was concerned, he was still considered a rookie at the News, and was tryin’ to make his mark. Nobody at the newsroom seemed to know much about him.”
to be continued….