“Washington D.C. has everything that Rome, Paris, and London have in the way of great architecture – great power bases. Washington has obelisks and pyramids and underground tunnels and great art and a whole shadow world that we really don’t see.”
― Dan Brown
“Outside of the killings, D.C. has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.”
― Marion Barry
Washington D.C. is the capital of the United States, and arguably of the Western world. Power consolidates here like in nearly no other city. Politicians, lobbyists, and pundits rub elbows at cocktail parties. Foreign dignitaries are flown in for lavish state dinners and tense diplomatic functions. Journalists, intelligence agents, and other Beltway glitterati trade secrets in upscale restaurants and dive bars alike. Generally speaking, there is a great deal of occult symbology and Masonic architecture embedded in DC as a whole, and many people speculate that the Founding Fathers intentionally tied Freemasonry symbolism into the very structure of the city itself.
Yet the power center of American exceptionalism casts a long, dark, cold shadow in which all too many innocent people find themselves caught and can never escape. Forgotten and impoverished neighborhoods fall victim to monsters that crave human blood and flesh, the woods around the national parks bristle with inhuman howling, and cemeteries and battlegrounds become gathering places for the restless dead.
Every hunter keeps vigil in his or her own way, but it’s especially hard in D.C. – because if your eyes are always focused on the things lurking in the shadows, you may never see the knife someone is about to stick in your back.
Places of Note
ASI Washington, Georgetown
Located on Wisconsin Avenue, ASI’s newly-founded Washington D.C. headquarters is a modest building compared to Elijah Sharpe’s majestic skyscraper in downtown Philadelphia. A six-story structure with a fascinating surrealist sculpture incorporated into its exterior frontage, ASI Washington includes an agent training facility, a containment floor for captured ENEs, a corporate office for financial and lobbying endeavors, a cryptomorphic preservation & processing laboratory, and a state-of-the-art oneiric sciences lab pioneered by Regional Director Ken Yakana which draws on several years’ worth of dream studies that Ken conducted on Contingent affiliates (and one former ASI field operative in particular). Yakana’s team is now on the verge of a major breakthrough in immersive therapy as a result of this work.
Empire Energy Innovation Center, Ivy City
The Empire Foundation’s efforts in Washington D.C. include lobbying initiatives to acquire government contracts as well as traditional research and support for their hunter affiliates within the District of Columbia. Dr. Jacinta Sandoval heads the EEIC, working on biomass fuel supplementation to make D.C.‘s infrastructure run greener and developing an innovative new water turbine system which harvests energy from the problematic excess of stormwater runoff in the Ivy City neighborhood. Cloverleaf security personnel have also been moved in from South Carolina, Missouri, and other areas of the South where that subsidiary was originally based to ensure that adequate protection is in place for the satellite facility’s employees – and that Empire can respond quickly to any emergencies which may arise.
Bert’s Barbecue Shack, Hillcrest
In recent years, D.C. locals have noted that crime has dropped drastically in Hillcrest due to a robust neighborhood watch effort. That success is due in no small part to the presence of a Union compact headquarters here. Nestled in the heart of Southeast D.C., Bert’s Barbecue Shack serves up the best damn rack of ribs you’ll ever cram into your face. On any given day, chances are good that you’ll find at least two hunters eating lunch alongside other blue-collar workers who frequent Bert’s restaurant—Union operatives in the D.C. metro area who are down on their luck know they can always get a hot meal at Bert’s. He has also set up protective measures in order to make his restaurant a safe haven for hunters—mojo bags, witch jars, pelen tans, and other protective charms adorn the tables and booths, and Freemasonry symbols are etched into the building’s massive wooden support beams.
Tamara Oliver was just a normal kid from a working-class family in Baltimore—until she hit puberty, and her latent psychic abilities flared up. A natural telepath, Tamara had great difficulty blocking others’ thoughts out of her mind, and the constant onslaught of psychic interference nearly drove her insane. At first she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, but then her family realized that she could actually hear everything they were thinking. That’s when her uncle, former Maryland Senator Landon Oliver, called in a favor from an old friend who specialized in helping people with extranormal aptitudes to learn how to control them: his former page and intern, ASI founder Elijah Sharpe.
After gaining control of her power, Tamara was finally able to face the world with a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. She worked with ASI’s in-house psychics to further hone her talents, and also trained to become an advanced-skills agent within Sharpe’s organization. A skilled investigator who can psychically shield herself from prying minds and fade into the background of any setting, Tamara now works in conjunction with the National Security Agency as an outsourced ASI contractor, handling extranormal cases that other mundane intelligence agents simply aren’t prepared to deal with.
Dr. Jacinta Sandoval (“Jacey” to her friends and family) was elated to be hired onto Cloverleaf Industries’ Alternative Energy Research Division in Braxton Falls immediately after graduating from Virginia Tech. Unfortunately for the young genius, Cloverleaf had little interest in developing any of the green technologies she’d proposed, and her work was chronically underfunded as the company chose to invest its resources into higher profit-yielding, but far more environmentally-destructive, investments.
All that changed when the Empire Foundation acquired Cloverleaf in 2016. In a whirlwind of paperwork she was relocated to Washington D.C to spearhead her dream project with full funding. For the first time in years, she could actually do her job—squee! In the last year, she’s become an expert on fae plant and algae species, working with ethically-acquired microorganisms to refine her biomass fuel supplementation projects. An irrepressibly enthusiastic and cheerful scientist, Dr. Sandoval is well-liked by all of her employees at the EEIC.
Bert Warner grew up in the Columbia Heights neighborhood of Washington D.C. and fought against extranormal entities who preyed on his friends and neighbors—mainly vampires, but also unscrupulous mages and the occasional fae that seeped through the Hedge into the alleyways of D.C. He eventually took leadership of his own hunter cell, working closely with Union bruiser Trent Remington. In the early 2000s, Bert decided to give up the hunting life and open his own barbecue restaurant. His retirement would’ve worked out great if all his old hunting buddies hadn’t decided to start eating there.
Bert is friends with a wide network of occultists and compact operatives inside the beltway, but he could hardly be described as friendly. He tries to keep conversations to as few words as possible—no attachments means less disappointment when someone gets killed. Normal folks also eat at his restaurant, so he wants to keep the weirdness down to a dull roar in order to make sure he stays in business and doesn’t attract the wrong kind of attention.
Other Notable Sites
The National Mall
A national park on the east side of the Potomac River which runs from the Lincoln Memorial in the west to the Capitol Building and Supreme Court in the east, the National Mall also includes the grounds of most of Washington’s National Museums. Occult researchers in the employ of various U.S. institutions as well as ASI frequent both the Archives and the Library, and it is rumored that both buildings house considerably-sized secret collections not open to the public. Union operatives working as groundskeepers or security personnel keep close watch on the Mall for signs of paranormal activity at all hours of the day and night.
The oldest Jesuit school in the United States, Georgetown University has connections to many hunter groups across the world. The Department of Theology encourages cooperation and fellowship between many different religious traditions, and novice hunter cells in D.C. often include Georgetown theology students who compare methods of dispatching extranormal entities with their peers in order to ensure that their allies are well-informed when they’re on a monster’s trail. Recently, Contingent operatives investigating an Avernian gate that opened on the M Street Bridge made a new ally in the Theology Department—Father Raymond Brest, whom they rescued from a daemonic pitcher plant in a strange corner of the Underworld. The School of Science boasts formidable courses of study in both biochemistry and neurobiology, and ASI frequently recruits graduates from those programs for its own endeavors in understanding paranormal biology and developing its advanced-skills agents. Also of note in this region of D.C. is a trio of small islands in the middle of the Potomac River just southwest of the university campus – a cursed location known to locals as the Three Sisters that is believed to be haunted by three Algonquian sisters who drowned in the rapids.
The Central Intelligence Agency is headquartered in Langley, with a university for incoming agents in nearby Chantilly. ASI founder and CEO Elijah Sharpe was a CIA agent prior to becoming the leader of the Contingent, and continues to support the Agency with intelligence from his own endeavors when prudent and necessary.
Arlington National Cemetery
Located just two miles west of the U.S. Capitol Building and adjacent to the Pentagon itself, Arlington is where the honored dead of America’s military servicemen and servicewomen are interred, as well as two former U.S. Presidents (William Howard Taft and John Fitzgerald Kennedy). There is no shortage of wild stories about hauntings occurring within the boundaries of Arlington, from the restless souls of war veterans to the shades of dead presidents, senators, and cabinet members.
If the White House and the Capitol are the heart and lungs of Washington’s power centers, K Street is unquestionably the artery pumping precious lifeblood – which is to say, money – to them both. Both the normal and paranormal worlds depend on cash to bribe officials and enact their agendas, and there’s plenty of dirty money to be had on K Street. The Northwest quadrant is also the location of Rock Creek Park and the connecting M Street Bridge, a notoriously haunted area of Washington D.C.. The sinister tale of a phantom stagecoach which rides across the M Street Bridge beneath the full moon is well known among the urban legend circles…and lately, sightings of the ghostly carriage have increased, even on nights when the moon isn’t full.
The Contingent has recently made two new contacts in Northwest D.C.:
Amateur cryptologist and exotic pet veterinarian Dr. Chris Bly has previously aided Contingent operatives in the D.C. metro area, and is always eager to work with extranormal investigators in order to discover new facts about undiscovered species.
Defense contractor lobbyist Jillian Mosaddegh of Thurisaz Ventures donated a generous sum to Contingent compacts in exchange for rescuing her contact, Father Raymond Brest, from the Avernian gate on M Street. She has expressed an interest in opening doors for the Contingent to replace private defense firms and government organizations, such as the recently-disgraced Task Force: VALKYRIE, by touting the credentials of ASI and the Empire Foundation to her contacts in Congress.
Capitol Hill and Anacostia are beautiful places rich with history and brimming with pricy apartments and lavish condominiums for high-paid lobbyists, senior Capitol and White House staffers, and Representatives and Senators from across the country. South of the Anacostia River, though, the streets are dark, dangerous, and poorly policed. Crime thrives in the poverty-stricken areas of the Southeast quadrant. The Union considers protecting these neighborhoods to be among their top priorities, even working with D.C. street gangs to unite these warring factions against their common enemies in the shadows.