So let's talk literary for a while, shall we? This next bit's got your War and Peace along with Crime and Punishment.

It was 1931, and gambling'd been legalized. Before then, the games were run by locals. After 1931, the Mafia moved in. They'd had control of the gambling in Reno in the meantime, and after the relegalization they came dancing in to work on off-track betting, number-running, stuff like that. It was pretty small-time for a while: just enough to keep the money flowing due East.

See, at that time the big action was elsewhere - 90 miles South of Florida to be exact. That was when Batista was running Cuba. The American Government was backing him, and to hear some say it the New York Mafia had his brown ass in their hip pocket, too. Havana was pretty happening back then, but there was more money to be made and Batista wasn't quite sure how to do it.

So Meyer Lansky, who a lot of people rightfully credit as "Lucky" Luciano's financial braintrust, went down there in 1938 to spread a little of his know-how. It must have worked, 'cause after that Havana was just rolling in cash. Lots of Americans liked to go down there to spread the wealth and whoop it up, and not just the mafiosos. It was sort of like a high-stakes Disneyland for the cream of the American crop.

It was a sweet deal for Lansky. He got the chance to try out some of his theories in a place where the cops weren't going to raid him every month or so, and he was being put up by the most powerful man on the island, who his backers owned like a two-dollar floozy, just to make money that he could skim for himself! Now, they talked about
skimming from the till before then, but Lansky practically reinvented it in Havana. And by the time he was out of there with the seed money for what they wanted to do here in Vegas, they'd perfected the trick to an art. There were just less then 8,500 people here in 1940, and countless tourists and passers-through, and they wanted some of that
action in a legal context.

Of course, by that time there was some major action of a different kind going on somewhere else. Some Kraut with a bad haircut and a silly mustache was stomping all over Europe, and here in the States, after the fun we'd had in World War One - we'd just gotten involved in the end, see, and that's one thing that we do remember - didn't want to get involved again. Then the Japs decided to turn Pearl Harbor into chop suey, and before you could start a reprise of "over there," that's where we were. 1941: ka-boom.

The war came at a time when we needed the economic boost. I guess you could say we fought our way out of the Great Depression? Heh, sorry... anyway, Las Vegas was doing fine all along, like I said, but while the war might have helped most other places it was a real killer for us. It stalled growth like you wouldn't believe. But there was this
"hotelman" named Tommy Hull, and he built El Rancho Vegas Hotel-Casino in 1940. It's just across from Fort Baker, over thataway, if you haven't seen it yet. It may not have lasted for long but it was a taste of treats to come. After a while we had the Last Frontier, then the Nevada Biltmore, and then El Cortez. I guess some things don't stop for the Blitz.

And then, of course, there was the Las Vegas Army Air Field, opened up in 1941. It's Nellis Air Force Base now. They made it to train B-29 gunners for the war. That same year Basic Magnesium Incorporated was opened up, and it provided... what else... magnesium during the war. Mostly materials for incendiary bombs, the way I hear it. And
on the more peaceful side, there the Pioneer club, too. Yeah, the one with Vegas Vic on it. It went up in 1942 but Vic didn't make his appearance until the 50's.

The war was pretty interesting for those of us on this side of things. There were less men in town to get Juice out of, but overall it was good for the Hierarchy. Lots of relics came over during that time, and the ranks swelled up like balloons.

Of course, guess whose ranks were swelling? The Grim Legion. If the Civil War and The Great War
hadn't clinched it up tighter than a Nun's buns, well, World War Two sure as hell did. Lots of fun stuff went down in the European Theatre, and even after that sorry sack of shit blew his head off... yes, Hitler is dead. None of this "ran away to Brazil" crap. I'm not quite sure if he came though on this side of things or what was done with him or
Il Duce, when and if they did come through, but he's dead. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either full of it, or a wishful-thinking Ratzi, maybe both.

Where was I? Oh yeah, after Hitler went and saved us the bother, we were still knee-deep in shit in the Pacific. I'm sure you know what's coming next, but let me tell you... it's worse than you might think. On the other side of things they always crank out the pictures of babies with their skin burned black and show you photos of people's shadows
stuck on the wall? That horror was for the living, but all those people dying at once like that... that's what Maelstroms are made of, friend. Over here, when those two went up, it shook things to their foundations.

The nihils all spewed out stormfronts and the Spectres came running like bats out of Hell, eager to get some more licks in. Stygia came under direct attack, as always, but this time it was a little different. I guess the two bombs shook things up so much that it actually awoke one of the big, nasty things that lurk in the Labyrinth and stay asleep most
of the time, thank Mary, Jesus and Joseph. It was called Gorool, and it rose out of the Sea of Shadows and went straight to the Sunless Sea and Stygia. Charon Himself went out to fight it, and after it was all done and said they could never find either of them.

That really messed things up. See, before, there was Charon up at the top of things, and there were the Deathlords underneath, and no matter what went on you could be sure Charon would put his scythe down if things got out of line. But when he was gone and the others knew he wasn't coming back, there was no deterrent against them but them, and that's no way to run a government.

Yeah, yeah, that's treason, General Jim. Suck my cock. It's the truth and everyone knows it. Since then it's been seven idiots all scrabbling for loose change. No one wants to sit in the big chair because they know everyone else will screw them from behind, so they all pretend to be equals. But me, I think I got an inkling on who's got the power.

Oh..., that would be telling, my friend. That would be telling.