Ch1-4 Home again, Home again - Liz only

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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby ghill » Mon Oct 03, 2011 9:33 am

Almost as she's writing Liz recieves a text from Clayton describing both the news and essentially the same vivid dream, although this time with some different details.

A short while later Jacob rings suggestig her come around and pick Liz and the others up so they can go and investigate the site of the house fire.

Spoiler:
news check the news thread for additional details.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Oct 04, 2011 4:43 am

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"Yeah, good idea," says Liz. She gives her address. "Let me know when you're a few minutes away, and I'll come outside and meet you."
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby ghill » Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:28 am

Spoiler:
Go now to Road Trip
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Dec 14, 2011 4:46 am

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Liz returns home and spends much of the evening on the Internet, looking for any information she can find on the Verbetoi and their deity, Verbti.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby ghill » Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:54 pm

When Liz gets down to it there does seem to be quite a bit about the Verbetoi floating around.

From the high mountain valleys of the Tropoje region of the Northern Albania Alps, they are one of Europe’s last remaining indigenous people and have been recognised as such by the European Union and given indigenous people status (they get funding for schools and programs which encourage the Verbetoi culture)

Albanian government records indicate an estimated current population size anywhere in the range of 2,000 to 7,000 mainly concentrated around lake Ligeni Komanit. Estimating the Verbti population is complicated both by the remote location of many villages, as well as the Verbtis’ secretive nature and distrust of the Albanian authorities. With the aid of EU cultural grants ([1]) the Albanian government has instituted several programs to encourage the Verbti to abandon their traditional lifestyle, but they continue to cling to their age-old customs and beliefs.

While made painfully difficult by the Verbti's distrust of the outside world the study of Verbtism the religion remains a topic of interest to some theologians, philosophers, and those engaged in comparative religion mainly because they are monotheistic Europe's last true polytheistic religion. The study of the Verbti people largely appeals to anthropologists because their largely self imposed isolation from modern society makes their way of life, diet and cultural practices worthy of study.

Liz will need to be a bit more specific about the areas of study or she could spend forever studying.

For example - Verbetoi ancient history, verbetoi modern history, language, culture, religion etc
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby Mr. Handy » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:48 am

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Liz starts by focusing on modern Verbetoi history, hoping to find out where they are now amd what they are doing. She is particularly interested in any presence they may have in the UK, especially in the London area, and any crminal activity in which they might be involved.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby ghill » Fri Dec 16, 2011 12:18 pm

Liz compiles the following from a variety of reports

Liz's Research: The last ten or so years has seen a drastic change in the Verbti, mirroring changes already apparent in Albania’s organised crime. Both Albanian and Verbti organized crime has its roots in traditional family-based clans. But after the collapse of communism in the late 1980s, and the events in the Balkans through the nineties and early twenty-first century both are showing a level of sophistication previously unheard of.

The Verbti’s attitude to the rest of societies morals and laws has always placed them on the wrong side of the authorities; they were little more than bandit gangs who robbed the locals mercilessly. Built around the family unit or ‘fis’ the clans is patriarchal in nature and built upon a tradition of machismo and family loyalty.

The breakdown of Albanian central government in the late 90's, left swathes of north-eastern and southern Albania only nominally under government control, became virtual strongholds for organised crime.

While the Verbti had been heavily involved in smuggling under the communist regime. After the collapse of communism in the late 1980s, the Verbti essentially found their business evaporating over night as border controls were relaxed and otherwise restricted items flooded over the border.

Initially the Verbti turned to the smuggling of Heroin. Traditionally Turkish heroin entered Western Europe via Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, however as a result of the Kosovo war this route was effectively closed. The Verbti, with their existing smuggling routes and infrastructure found themselves ih the ideal position to guarantee safe routes through the war zone.
As the war progressed however the Verbti found a more lucrative and less risky trade, along with heroin and weapons they started to transport ethnic Albanians out of Kosovo. Over time this element of their business continued to expand such that people trafficking now makes up the vast majoirity of Verbti smuggling activities.
Smuggling

The Verbti like the other Albanian gangs, started to develop into a more sophisticated organisation, in some cases coming to resemble legitimate businesses, in other cases political organisations, the Verbti developed along lines similar to a terrorist organisation with terrorist-style cells or 'crews', each one based around a family group; they also moved out of their traditional brigandage and moved into more lucrative criminal endeavours.

The collapse of Yugoslavia and the struggle of ethnic Albanian 'Kosovars' for independence for the Serbian-controlled Kosovo region initially Albanian gangs the Verbti among them established a lucrative trade running guns to the Kosovo Liberation Army.

The Verbti operation grew in both size and influence as they developed and ran two major smuggling routes into Kosovo while essentially taxing the rest. As the Verbti smuggling operation developed, it attracted the attention of more sophisticated organisations. The collapse of Yugoslavia meant the Turkish drug gangs needed to look for new routes to move their heroin into Europe, the Verbti among others were happy to provide the Turks with both couriers and distributors, in return they learnt tradecraft from the more established Turks.

The influx of money had a profound impact on the Verbti the former bandit operation began to transform into something considerably more sophisticated, with its own heroin processing facilities, in house money laundering and a well-developed distribution system.

The Verbti’s departure from the heroin trade was as rapid as its arrival, while the majority of Verbti bosses remained hidden to the law, the verbti’s participation in the heroin trade was attracting uncalled for attention, the Verbti elders decision to leave the drug trade behind them was almost unanimous.

While fraught with risk smuggling arms and drugs had proved a profitable venture for the Verbti, the desire to make money was still strong they simply had to look for a cargo, which involved less risk; they found it in Kosovo where the violence continued unabated. People increasingly desperate to leave were willing to pay the Verbti to get them out. Using the same network, they had developed for moving drugs, as well as links built with certain Italian gangs the Verbti ran an extremely profitable trade in smuggling refugees across the Adriatic into Italy and Europe.

The end of the conflict in Kosovo saw thousands of Kosovar Albanians returning to their homes, the verbti’s smuggling trade dried up almost overnight. The Verbti’s own skewed outlook on humanity now led them down a darker path. High levels of unemployment and severe rural poverty in Romania and Albania coupled with the traditionally low status of women in the Balkans contributed to an explosion in the trafficking of girls and women from Albania, Rumania and elsewhere in the Balkans through Albania, Bosnia and Italy, to countries such as Belgium, France, Greece, Italy and the UK.

The Verbti’s real arrival in London can be traced back to late 2001, Albanian criminal groups which included several Verbti Fis struck a deal with the Maltese gangsters, who at the time ran the Soho sex industry in London, the deal allowed the Albanians to provide their girls to the existing brothels.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) who had always expected that after the collapse of the Soviet Union the Russian Mafia would make a bid to move into the British sex industry. The arrival of the Albanians watched with a great deal of interest expecting a violent struggle between Russians and Albanians.

But the Russian invasion never came. The Albanians had already admirably demonstrated they were just as ruthless and heavily armed as their Russian counterparts, the dons of the Russian Mafia might be hardened ex-cons from the Russian gulag but they are also extremely practical, fighting for part of London’s sex-tourism £12 million a year turnover simply
wasn’t worth the effort.

This is not to say the arrival of the Albanian gangs has not resulted in violence, blood feuds, which started in Albania, are continued in London. The Verbti however remain aloof from the petty squabbles of the other Albanian gangs, of course when the turf is full then the situation is likely to change especially if as seems likely the Albanians decide to cut out the Maltese and set up their own places.

Whatever happens it is likely the Verbti will remain the toughest of nuts for the British police to crack while the other Albanian gangs have similar rigid internal rules and rigorous punishments for betrayal, the Verbti unlike the other gangs refuse to bring in people from outside the fis even if it means they are slower to expand subsequently they are almost impossible for the police to penetrate. The Fis provide cash to rent or buy flats in Soho, and the profits are returned to Albania.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Dec 17, 2011 6:11 am

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If Liz has time, she next delves into the Verbetoi's ancient history to discover their origins.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby ghill » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:26 pm

Its rather late at this point and Liz's initial research seems to raise a number of conflicting oppinions and a dearth of hard detail. It looks as though she will need to move to a well equipped library to continue.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Dec 17, 2011 9:39 pm

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Liz calls it a night and prepares herself for another bizarre dream experience. She keeps her camera ready on the nightstand next to her bed in case she needs to snap another picture quickly. After the meeting at the church tomorrow there will be time to do further research in a proper library.
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Re: IC - Ch1 - Home again, Home again - Liz only

Postby ghill » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:17 pm

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