Homicide detective, Wendy Wu, has conscripted the aid of Po Kai and his associate, Jacob Torgue, in helping her with her current case. She meets the pair at the city morgue, where she explains that her current case is a ritualistic murder and she wants their opinions on the victim. She escorts them inside the city morgue and introduces them to the medical examiner, Doctor Bettie Dyandra.
Wu explains that tourists from Idaho found the body while they were motor biking across the desert, just outside the city, and few miles away from interstate 15. Local uniforms reported that the body was dug up by wild animals, probably coyotes. Dyandra reports that John Doe was dead and buried in the desert for only a week, stripped of clothes or his ID. There are carved ritualistic markings all along his stomach and upper chest, multiple bruises and scrapes all over the body, and severe antemortem abrasions to the wrists and ankles. Dyandra notes cause of death is evisceration. There is a large gaping wound in the middle of his chest and John Doe’s ribcage was broken open. Dyandra explains that John Doe’s lungs are missing. The injuries to John Doe’s mouth and tongue indicates that it was self-inflicted. His tox screen shows Clozapine.
Wu shares that they found no identification, personal effects, or clothing with John Doe. He was wrapped up in a carpet and buried. CSI found traces of pig hair fiber on the carpet. Doctor Dyandra corrects Wu by saying that the pig was a boar, Sus scrofa. Wu confirms that he was held elsewhere before he was killed. Wu thinks this death may be occult-related due to the ritual markings, and is asking the cabal for their opinion.
After examining the body and the sample of boar hair fiber, Po believes the murderer to be a shapeshifter. Jacob is able to identify the markings on the body to be Nahuatl (also known as Aztec). He believes it may be a purification rite. Despite common belief in popular culture, Aztecs not only harvested the heart from their sacrificial victims, but also harvested other organs from the body that they believed possessed sacred significance to their deities. Detective Wu thanks the pair and cautions Po not to investigate, as the case is a police matter.
Po believes he may have a lead on the case, so he takes Jacob over to the Ragnarok Bar. At the Viking themed restaurant, they meet up with Moe Stimple, the establishment’s owner. Po shares his knowledge that there may be sightings of a werepig in the city. The news alarms Moe, and he shares a story on what he knows about the fallen changeling breed. The history of the Changing Breeds remembers the Grondr (werepigs) as warriors and investigators, charged with rooting corruption out from under the Earth itself. All shapeshifters were created to protect Gaia in one way or another, but the Grondr had one of the most direct and important roles. Gaia charged them to root out any taint or poison that might harm the Earth and the life on it. Their Gifts and rites could force taint to manifest itself as Banes, which the Grondr and their allies would fight and kill.
When the Garou attacked the Gurahl (werebears) during the War of Rage, the Grondr stood with the werebears against the wolves. The Garou ultimately triumphed and drove the Grondr to their end. Once the shapeshifters were gone, the Garou set their human Kinfolk to destroying the Grondr’s Kin. Their human Kinfolk were enslaved by Garou Kin, any purity of Boar blood gradually lost among the growing masses of humanity.
At the same time, the Garou encouraged humans to hunt and domesticate Grondr boar Kinfolk out of existence. While wild boars and feral razorback still exist, they are nothing compared to the animals the Grondr once called Kin.
When their numbers were reduced to only a handful, the remaining Grondr found themselves in a desperate situation. And, although no one may ever know the exact details that led to it, the end result is clear: the selfsame Changing Breed once trusted with rooting out the taint of the Wyrm ended up in its service as the now-infamous creatures known as Skull Pigs.
They are now degenerate creatures that feast on carrion, garbage and toxic waste, mimicking their former Gifts. While Skull Pigs have lost the ability to reason, they can gain intelligence by consuming the flesh of wyrm-tainted creatures.
Moe cautions the mages to be on the lookout for an intelligent pig, one that is probably not acting alone. Skull Pigs lost their ability to change into their hybrid and human forms. He suspects that the Skull Pig may be aided by its kinfolk. Moe then thanks the group for their news and promises that his family and any other werewolf in the city will be on the lookout for the agent of the Wyrm.
Jacob and Po decide to put the pig hunting business matter aside and focus on other cases. They head on over to Buona Fortuna Security Services and pester Oz for some ghost hunting equipment. The techno-shaman provides them with ectoplasmic disrupters and goggles that will allow them to see ghosts. While at the office of the security firm, they learn that Kat, Jacob’s ex-wife, was fired from the company. The two mages confront Skip McQueen, and learn that McQueen let Kat go because he couldn’t trust her anymore. Jacob suspects that it has something to do with the Johnny DeMarco case. Po learns about the DeMarco case for the first time, and decides to investigate.
As the mages leave Fortuna’s ground lobby, Po’s danger sense alerts him to the presence of a mysterious awakened human watching them. Jacob and Po recognize the man to be associated with Baby. Po sends a taunting message alerting the man that they’re aware that he is watching them.
While Jacob returns back to his office to dig up more information about Eddie Arkadian, Po heads on over to the Golden Nugget to confront the head of the city’s mafia, Baby. Before he confronts Baby, he encounters a coyote reminding him about the werepig case. He still decides to head off to confront Baby. Jacob calls Holly, suggesting that she should leave the city.
Po sneaks into Baby’s executive office from an overhead air duct, where he over hears that the Italian gangster is going to meet up with the head of the Rothstein family at a party during Halloween. Po decides to make his presence known to the gangsters and attempts to surprise them with an intimidating reveal. Baby is not pleased with Po’s presence and orders his men to gun him down after Po threatens the head of the mob. Po manages to knock out Baby with a flying thunder kick, but he barely avoids the hail of bullets coming in his direction. Cornered in the office with no way to escape, and more of Baby’s thugs on the way, it appeared that Po was in desperate straits.
Luckily Oz arrives, surprised to find that Po is causing the problems in the Golden Nugget. Oz arrests Po, and the martial artist gives himself up to his custody. Once Po is escorted into a uniform police car and herded off to the station, he makes his daring escape.
News of Po’s attack on Baby ripples across the city. Jacob learns about the attack from Kat, who cautions him to stay away from Po. The city police and the security firm will be hunting the martial artist for what he did. She suspects that Skip may give Po a head start.
Just as things couldn’t get worse for Jacob, so enters the mysterious awakened man he saw in Buona Fortuna’s lobby. The man introduces himself as Smith, and alerts Jacob that he works for the DeMarco family. He explains that he likes Jacob and that he doesn’t need to worry about his family or Holly being targeted. But since Po attacked Baby, he can make arrangements so that it appears that Po is the culprit behind Johnny DeMarco’s death. All Jacob got to do is give up Po. Jacob mulls this information over and they both agree to a meeting spot in a few days.
Wu calls Po, demanding to know what he did, and cautions him that the police are assembling a task force to hunt him down. Gracie also calls Po, warning him that the District Attorney is angry with him and that she wants an exclusive story on what happened. Po decides to trick the police force by sending them a dupe claiming to be him. The next morning, he meets up with Coyote and is warned that his trick is a bad idea. The dupe will draw the attention of the Black Pyramid and the Traditions will discover that he broke one of their sacred magical laws, especially dealing with violation of a sleeper’s mind. Coyote also scolds Po for not following his signs that he left behind for him. Coyote believes that the Skull Pig is actually a Grondr and may be the last of its kind. He wants the werepig found. Coyote also suggests a method on how Po can save himself from the city’s authorities turning against him, by appealing to the Cloud Room for help.
Concerned about being caught, Po heads back to the police station and removes any traces of his involvement in his dupe’s head and restored the poor man’s mind again. He then meets up with Jacob at his apartment. Jacob scolds Po for what he did at the Golden Nugget, but also shares his findings about the mysterious Smith. Jacob decides that he needs to deal with DeMarco, once and for all, and calls his hacker contact Syd. The Virtual Adept manages to draw up files of information regarding the DeMarco crime family and warns Jacob that the man is heavily connected with the Syndicate. Syd reveals that the mysterious Smith goes by the alias “the Marine”, and is a contract assassin that has been operating since the early 60s. Syd also reveals that the Marine was busy overseeing a business deal in Vegas with Isis Pharm, that costs DeMarco a large sum of money.
Jacob is interrupted by a phone call from Kat, but all he hears is his child crying. Alarmed that Baby and his goons may have Kat and his son, the cabal heads off to Kat’s apartment. They both sense danger in the area and believe it may be coming from the building across Kat’s apartment. Po scouts ahead and finds a high grade military assault rifle connected to a computer and surveillance system within the apartment, but no occupants inside. Jacob attempts to park inside Kat’s garage but the apartment security informs him that he has to find street parking. As Jacob parks his vehicle and steps out of the car to cross the street, the computer connected to the rifle comes online. Po quickly dispatches the computer’s power source, but is alarmed to find that there is still danger. Jacob’s danger sense kicks in at the last second and he teleports ahead into the building’s lobby, just as a bullet whizzes pass where his head was. Jacob realizes that Kat and his son is okay, that the phone call was to lure him out in the open. Po uses his magic and finds the source of the attack, being a tall building five blocks away. He immediately begins to run off in that direction. Jacob calls up a magical shield, which saves him as another bullet curves into the lobby’s doorway and hits him in the stomach, nearly severing his spine. He lays on the ground, choking on his life blood. Kat rushes down to his side and calls EMS.
Po runs a block and then uses his magic to narrow down the hostile mind thinking harmful thoughts about Jacob, among the hundreds of minds within the building. Once he found the hostile mind, he sends a mental command and orders the sniper to leap out the window. The Marine falls out the window and crashes to the floor from hundreds feet. Po senses that he is still alive, but unconscious.
The martial artist then arrives at the scene, seeing a crowd of people surrounding Smith’s fallen broken form. He quickly absconds with the body and flees from the scene.
Jacob is transported to the hospital and is attended by his ex-wife and son. Kat calls on her contacts, alerting them of the danger to Jacob. Po finds a secluded place to interrogate the Marine, and learns to his horror that the man’s mind has been broken and conditioned by the Technocracy. He decides to help the Marine by rebuilding his broken mind and erase the conditioning. Po tries to call Jacob but receives no answer.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Jacob is on emergency life support and close to his death. He is barely awake when he finds Johnny DeMarco standing over him with a sneer. Jacob manages to piece together the final clue left to him by Syd, that the Marine came to Vegas and made a deal on behalf of the DeMarco family with Isis Pharm so that Julian Raven’s company could clone DeMarco. Johnny informs Jacob that his life is about to end. Desperately fighting for his life, Jacob calls upon his magical willpower and attacks Johnny with pure magical energy, blasting the gangster backwards. Johnny pulls out his gun and is about to end Jacob’s life.
Suddenly, Kat arrives and shoots Johnny from behind, killing the clone. Jacob collapses down to the floor beside his bed while his ex-wife comforts him.