The Duchess’ Gala Job

We took on The Job by J. Swaine this week, a Descended from the Queen game hosted on StorySynth. We are a crew planning and executing a heist, the target of the heist being the Queen in this version. Our crew is Lucky Seven, Shorty, Claire, and Thierry, but our leader is the King of Diamonds, who brought us all together and is renowned for his use of playing cards to send messages: to us, to the police, to his victims. He, and so we, specialize in high art theft. Our target for this job is an emerald necklace that supposedly brings “The Duchess’ Curse” upon those who possess it. Although superstitious Lucky Seven fears the curse, the main problem we face will be switching the necklace with a copy in the middle of a public gala at the museum where it will be on display.

A recent job of ours, to steal paintings from a museum in Paris, went horribly wrong when Jean-Claude decided to pilfer some extra canvases, which delayed our departure and forced us into a mad dash across the rooftops to escape. Jean-Claude’s carelessness got him kicked off the team, but not before Claire was injured badly enough that she won’t be accompanying into the gala on this job. Instead she goes on a scouting mission still limping and is mesmerized by the beauty of the jewel. She reaches out to touch it, but the matrons stopped her. If they hadn’t, she might have made a grab for it right there and made our job even harder.

Thierry is on this job to get the money to send his daughter to school, hoping that it will make amends for all those years he missed while away in prison. Lucky Seven doesn’t expect to use her contortionist skills on this job, but also doesn’t realize that she definitely will need to use her rudimentary French skills. Shorty has been, we are surprised to learn, preparing for this job for years, even apprenticing on diamond row in New York for a year to learn the gemology trade. He may know more about the Duchess than anyone, and his copy is exquisite, the finest work Thierry has ever seen. Claire hopes the job is done well and done quick, so she can retire to Nice to rest her foot and recover in splendor.

Once the job begins, Seven draws the attention of a gala patron who suspects her and keeps showing up and asking pointed questions. Shorty gets distracted talking to a cute waiter until Thierry reminds him to keep his mind on the job; we can’t have another Jean-Claude situation. Outside the museum, Claire spots a group of police moving in force toward the museum entrance and warns the crew. She calls in a bomb scare at an address down the street to pull the cops away from the museum. Over the radios, Shorty casually mentions he once touched the Duchess necklace while working at the museum, and Seven panics. Surely, we’re doomed now that the curse is upon us. Why, Claire wonders, couldn’t we have chosen anything else in the museum, something that doesn’t attract so many eyes and carry such a price. After having swapped the necklaces, we realize the police have created a cordon because of the bomb scare and are searching everyone’s bags. Seven hides the necklace in the suspicious patron’s hair to smuggle it through the checkpoint, and thinks our avoiding the curse is a sign that we’re destined to stick together.

Once we’re safe, Thierry tells us that the King of Diamonds has special plans for the necklace, plans that preclude us from delivering the necklace to the buyer as planned. Rather than lose out on the payday, we meet with the buyer on our own and collect. Thierry can pay for his daughter’s education (but will it win her heart), and Claire vacations in Nice as planned alongside Seven and Shorty. How long until the King of Diamonds catches up with us?