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  • Legends art 3

    Courtesy of Queenie

    The submachine gun clicked empty, and as he tried to force a second clip into it with shaking hands, Shrike emerged from the crowd of ghosts and casually slapped it from his hand. She seized him by the throat and lifted him up into the air, trying to not grin at her own strength. She wasn’t a sadist.

    Shrike dropped the thug, and the body crumpled into a pile at her feet. She stalked down the hall, into the final room, and kicked the door open.

    It was an office space—desk, couch, chairs, table, radio—a ghoul stood behind the desk. He deftly raised a pistol from under the desktop and shot her in the head.

    Shrike staggered a half-step back and felt her head. The ghoul watched, with growing terror, as Shrike plucked the bullet free and tossed it aside.

    She smirked at him. “Ow.”


    One week ago the rogue hitwoman known as “Shrike” attacked New Vegas, targeting its ruler, Josey Wales. She killed Wales’ closest associates, with the exception of Craig Boone. Wales and Boone have been missing since Shrike’s attack and Shrike herself has been in the wind, although there is rumor that in the time since she has continued her murder spree around the country. Working alongside Shrike are two men: Thomas Hamilton and Randall Clark, both notorious killers in their own right.

    Shrike slowly advances her plan to kill those she has deemed necessary, regardless of the collateral damage inflicted. Meanwhile, those Shrike pursues prepare. Will a competent defense form against her in time or will Shrike achieve her goal of ending the Legends of the Wastes?


    Rules:

    1. The date is June 29, 2290 (Three years after the events of Fallout: Prophecy, four years after Godless America, immediately after Butcherbird). Your character can either start in one of two places: inside a warehouse they were just dropped off in or waiting to be picked up by Agent Miller.

    2. You can be a Human, Ghoul, Supermutant, or Synth.

    3. You must post a character card before posting. You can have as many characters as you want, provided that you can handle it.

    4. Don't be OP (should speak for itself). VATS is disabled. Guns and gun wounds work like real life. You cannot survive three bullets to the head, et cetera. Armored characters be it metal or skin obviously have the edge.

    5. You cannot kill (or control) other people's characters, without their consent. Same goes for amputations and maiming. Named NPCs cannot be directly controlled by the players, without the GM's permission, for story purposes.

    6. Take the RP seriously, shit posting will get you banned. I don't care how bored you are or how many pets you've lost. Don't hijack the story and change its purpose, you're more than welcome to make your own RP doing that. Anyone who leaves (without a good reason) will not be allowed back in. This is to stop people from taking the RP hostage, by constantly leaving/threatening to leave.

    7. Please use common sense when adding a character. The story relies upon the inherent threat Shrike presents. Do not make a character that Shrike would have no desire to kill (such as a bag merchant) or a character that Shrike would be incapable of killing. If your character can’t be hurt by Shrike, doesn’t care about Shrike, or isn’t afraid of Shrike, then what the heck would they be doing here?


    Character Card

    Name:

    Age:

    Sex:

    Race:

    Appearance:

    S. P. E. C. I. A. L. (Optional):

    Tag Skills (Optional):

    Perks&Traits (Optional):

    Equipment:

    Background: Keep in mind that your character’s background is the reason they were contacted by Miller or Shrike is coming after them. Refer to rule #7.


    Chapters:


    Summary:

    The entirity of Miller's Coalition was recruited by Agent Miller and brought to Warehouse Zulu. The briefing on Shrike has begun, as Miller prepares them for the road ahead.

    The new coalition planned to divide up based upon objectives. One group is planning to be headed for the Big Empty to search for a weakness for Shrike, while the other two plan to get clues on Randall or Hamilton.

    It was eventually decided that Morgan Jones, Josey Wales, Denis Callaghan, Brutus, Harriot Walker, Wilkes Walker, Rick Deere, and Paul Morgan would head to the Big Empty. Tanner Collins, William Van De Poorter, Timothy Ashford, Tyrus Carr, Evangeline Winfield, and Shanks would be heading to San Francisco.

    In the Big Empty, the Vertibird designated Devil 2 crashed into a crystal filled trench.

    At San Francisco, Timothy Ashford ran into an unhelpful whaler, and Willy drew the eye of the Yakuza.

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    • "O-okay..." Willy finally whimpered. Remaining quiet for the remainder of the walk into the seedy underbelly of San Francisco.

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    • "Huh, thanks, I didn't actually know that." Denis shrugged. To be fair, due to a lack of snakes in the vault or post apocalyptic DC, snake bites weren't a common ailment that he had to treat.

      "It has worked before but not on a bite like this. Ice would work much better, to slow the flow down but I don't really have anything that cold."

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    • "Can we get this over with.." Harriot whimpered, not liking that thought.

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    • "There gotta be a freeze ray or something here."  Josey pondered, trying to remember any that could help.

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    • "I could take it apart and use some of its parts to apply pressure but until then, there is little that I could do. Normally I'd suggest a tourniquet of some sorts to stop it from spreading but then her arm would be dead." Denis shrugged.

      "I'll erm... keep an eye out from here."

      "Who or what decided to mix fucking snakes and dogs!? That's like puking on a pile of shit." Paul growled, stripping the flesh off of the nightstalker's tail.

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    • Harry sighed. She wasn't feeling so good..

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    • "What're you doing?"  Josey demanded of Paul.

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    • "I can smell the little shit nearby", Shanks informed Tanner quietly. "However, there is another stench lingering with him. Most likely trouble."

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    • "I can use the venom." Paul shrugged, cutting the sack off.

      "Might be able to make an antidote, if we find a chemistry set in this shit hole."

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    • "Oh."  Josey hadn't expected that.  Paul didn't seem the smart type.  "Might actually be a lab nearby."  He offered.  "We should start hoofing in."  He wagged a finger at Hariot.  "And someone carry 'er.  Poison might make her pass out."


      "You can literally smell trouble?"  Tanner looked suspiciously at Shnaks.  "Isn't that a bit cliche?"

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    • "It's alright I can...walk myself." Harriot insisted. She didn't want to be a burden already.

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    • Paul rolled his eyes and grabbed the redhead by the waist and effortlessly slung her over his shoulder. He wasn't in the mood for the wounded warrior routine.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "You can literally smell trouble?"  Tanner looked suspiciously at Shnaks.  "Isn't that a bit cliche?"

      "I can smell you, can't I?" Shanks retorted. "Willy is not alone."

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    • Willy looked around. The walls felt like they were closing in on him. The warm california sun was hidden by the long shadows of these alleyways and it made him shiver, though it was probably more likely he felt dizzy from fear.

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    • "Ow, hey!" Harriot complained before she sighed and gave up. She let Paul carry her. Maybe it would give her husband a laugh.

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    • They passed around the fence.

      "Well... then where'd he go?"  Tanner gestured to the empty, Willy-less street.


      Willy and the gangster took several, confusing turns through the ruins, and then started heading back towards the city, into what Willy would remember Tanner had called 'Chinatown.'

      "Can't have your friends following us, white boy."


      Josey led them through the trench, which didn't seem to be easing up.

      "Gottdamnit, this place is a maze."  He looked up, where the pipes crisscrossed between the narrow walls.  "Any of you climbers?"

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    • "Me." Paul said, lowering Harriot down, a mere foot off of the ground before dropping her.

      "Kind of comes with the territory, where I live."

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    • Harriot groaned as she was dumped there.

      "Man..."

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    • "If you can get up there and have a look around, it'd be appreciated."  Josey said.  "Might be able to find our way out, then."

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    • "I don't need to climb," Wilkes said, glancing at Harriot. He stepped in place a couple of times, to signify that he was referring to his exoskeleton.

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    • "Yer gonna... jump?"  Josey asked.  He looked at Wilkes legs, then back up.  "It's at least forty feet.  You miss one of them pipes, it's a hard fall."

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    • Wilkes shrugged, not seeming too concerned.

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    • "Alright."  Josey conceded.  If Wilkes wasn't concerned, then neither was he.  He'd fallen down here once before, hitting a landmine and a pipe on the way down.  That hadn't been fun.

      Above them, a series of pipes, six feet in diameter, started about ten feet above their heads, and continued the rest of the way up.  Inspersed in gaps and lining the walls were thick, red crystals.

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    • Paul stood back, if tinman fell it would at least be funny...

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    • Willy's heart sank. He had hoped someone like Tanner had seen and would help him. 

      "B-but I didn't do anything!"

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    • Wilkes glanced up and knelt a little, before propelling himself upwards. He jumped high, far higher than humanly possible; aided by his exoskeleton, his legs were far, far stronger than any human's. It was the strength of a power armour frame, without any of the weight.

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    • "Shut up."  The gangster ordered.

      They came to the bustling Chinatown streets.  The pair of them pushed their way through the crowd, ignored by the swaths of people.  They were just two others, caught up in the mix.  Willy stood out, but nobody cared enough to look twice.

      They went down a dark alley.  At the end of it, Willy could see two very large Asian men wearing loose fitting suits.


      Wilkes launched into the air, rapidly approaching the cliff wall opposite.  The spiky red crystals jutted out towards him, in danger of skewering the former convict.

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    • The farmhand wanted to clutch his head. It felt like a molerat was gnawing on his brain.

      Every source of light seemed to suffer from obscene amounts of saturation, as if the bright shapes were trying to burn themselves onto his eyes in an aura of inescapable bloom. 

      It made it hard to concentrate on anything really. Characters from the neon lights of chinatown danced in his vision and memory. He knew what they meant. How? Was this his previous life? It couldn't be... He had never been to San Francisco. He was sure of that...

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    • Wilkes brought up a foot, preparing to set it against the wall once he'd reach it. He would then use it to propel himself further up, in a walljump.

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    • The gangster pulled Willy up to the two men, who looked them both over with neutral expressions.  They stood in front of door with a plain, inconspicous profile.  It blended in with the wall.

      "このろくでなしは誰ですか?"  One of the men said, looking Willy up and down.  His hands were folded in front of his waist.

      " 私が市場で見つけた何人かの男。 彼は中国語を話します."  Wily's gangster friend replied, shoving Willy towards the bouncers.  They were about the same size as will, one of them a little bigger, the other a little shorter, but they both still somehow managed to look down at him.  " 私は1つのカブが彼と話をしたいと思うだろうと思いました."

      The larger bouncer nodded.  " 私たちは彼を中に連れて行きます。 あなたは行くことができます、たわごとを浸す."

      The gangster's face twisted up for a moment, angered by what the bouncers had said, but then reluctantly nodded.  He turned away and strode off.

      One the gangster was gone, the bouncer reached back and rapped his knuckles on the door three times, pausing inbetween the first and second knocks.

      The door slowly opened, hinges screetching, revealing a dark room beyond.


      Wilkes kicked off the wall and soared back over the trench, above the others.

      His feet found purchase on the ground, if only barely.  He'd made it.

      "Y'alright?"  Josey called up.

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    • "Yeah!" Wilkes shouted down into the trench, before turning around and inspecting his surroundings...

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:
      They passed around the fence.

      "Well... then where'd he go?"  Tanner gestured to the empty, Willy-less street.

      "Hell if I know", Shanks grunted disapprovingly at the sight. "Further down this street. Presumably back deeper into Chinatown. His scent is still present, but it gets weaker with each passing moment. It will get harder to keep track of it in the crowd."

      The shit just had to go and get himself into the worst of places where even my nose will have trouble finding him.

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    • To the south, Wilkes could see a lot of structures--hexagonal pillars, domed buildings, warehouses, an antenna, a large tower at the center of the creater--but was unable to identify any of them.

      What he could identify was how the trench wound about, eventually leading to an exit point.  They had been heading in more or less the right direction, although could've easily gotten lost.  It would disposit them next to a large dome and a cave.


      "Let's hope his smell lingers."  Tanner grimaced.  "Not something I ever thought I'd say."

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    • "Let's hurry up then", Shanks said, sniffing again. "We are getting close, but the situation could turn to complete shit if I lose it completely."

      The dogfaced assassin pulled down his scarf to allow as many scents as possible to line up for his heightened sense. Willy's was still there, but ever so bleak, and he really didn't like the stench that lingered with it. Willy's scent was foul, but the one tied to his was something else and fouler.

      He walked out into the masses of people and was almost knocked back by the impressions. Sounds, sights, smells. It was too much, and he knew that he had to concentrate, lest he would lose track of Willy completely. He came close to almost forgetting what he smelled like.

      He could pinpoint the direction of the scent through the crowd to an alleyway on the other side, but from thereon it started to get severely blank.

      He motioned to the alleyway. "Somewhere ... over there. I think."

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      The door slowly opened, hinges screetching, revealing a dark room beyond.

      Willy looked at the scary asian men and turned to the door.

      "D-do you need me to go in?"

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    • "Alright, just keep going!" Wilkes called. "We're going roughly in the right way!"

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    • "That's encouraging..." Paul grumbled, throwing Harriot back over his shoulder.

      "Okay... Lead the way, Josey." Denis nodded, examining Harriot's bite.

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    • "Ngh.." Harriot groaned. Being tossed around like this sucked.

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    • As they approached the alley, a short, wiry, asian man covered in tattoos walked out.  He bumped shoulders with Shanks on purpose, and smelled very thickly of William.


      Josey led on.  Eventually, they arrived at the dome Wilke's had spotted.  What looked like a railcar tunnel was to their left, blocked by collapsed stones and crates.  An archway ran beneath the dome, and they could see a giant door that would've led inside the dome.

      "That's where I left Mobius."  Josey said, coming to a stop.  He gestured at the dome.


      In response, the bouncer reach out, grabbed Willy by the back of the collar, and pulled him inside.

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    • Morgan looked around, wondering which one was X-13...

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    • Willy hunched, all he wanted was to be left alone, but he was too scared to do anything about it.

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    • The dogman's eyes lit up the moment he could smell Willy on the man. All of a sudden he grabbed the tattoed man by the neck with one clawed hand and pulled him up close to face the snarling monstrosity.

      "Alright, short round, you tell me where our friend is while you still have a face to sport", he growled, demonstrating the claws on his free hand, ready to do some severe damage.

      He didn't care if the man understood the language he spoke or not. He thought it would be abundantly clear that the man would know what they were there for.

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    • The gangster so surprised by this sudden of events that he was only capable of yelling very loudly.  Some of the passing pedistrians looked over, but this was Chinatown, so most just walked by.  They'd gotten used to ignoring screaming since the Yakuza showed up.

      "I'd listen to him."  Tanner advised the Yakuza, jutting a thumb at Shanks.  "You're lucky he isn't hungry."

      "F-friend?"  The Yakuza stammered out in a heavy accent.  "No friend here..."

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    • "Yeah there is," Tim said. "The middle-aged overweight fellow you brought in a few minutes ago."

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    • "When you say 'left mobius...'" Denis began.

      "Do you mean in a... mobster way or a... more pleasant kinda way?"

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    • "He was alive."  Josey said.  "His friends ain't, but he was.  Had control of the loudspeakers to, don't make sense that this Rat God does, 'less..."


      "Brought him to Kabu Chotto's club."  The gangster pointed, not able to look away from Shanks.  He was... horrifying.  "I am... sorry... did not know he was friends with you."

      "No, you only pick on lonely old men."  Tanner mocked.

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    • "Details? How many more of you spooks are lurking at this club?" Shanks asked indifferently, placing a sharp claw along the man's right cheek, sticking it in just barely in so that the gangster could feel its sharpness. A trickle of blood started to seep down. "While I still have my composure in check, I recommend that you spit it out. Or else I will start claiming eyeballs."

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    • "It's probably your friend gone mad." Morgan shrugged. "Can we get to X-13 already?"

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    • Josey didn't agree, since Mobius didn't use night stalkers, but he nodded.

      "Yeah, let's go."

      But they didn't move much further until they hard a buzzing coming from the cave to their left.  Josey frowned, not remembering that from last time he was here.


      "In the alley, there's door."  The random yakuza goon told Shanks in a shaky voice.  "Two guards outside.  You can't miss it."

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    • "Ugh what now." Morgan grumbled.

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    • "Now what?" Rick sighed. 

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    • The dogfaced assassin pulled the man even closer, taking a deep whiff at him, before shoving him to the ground by his side. "I remember your ugly stench now, meat. If I find out that you have been lying to me, I will hunt you down and start eating your limbs one by one."

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    • Willy was tossed inside.

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    • The Retroriffic Man wrote:
      Willy hunched, all he wanted was to be left alone, but he was too scared to do anything about it.

      The door slammed shut behind him.  Willy stood in a dark room.  Although he could see it, he was confined, like a box.  The air was hot, and his own breath bounced back at him.

      Then the wall in front of him slid away and he was bombarding with olfactory of sensory information-- strobing lights, pulsating music.  A bar was to his left, a dance floor in front of him, tables on ascending dais to his right.

      "Who are yooouuuuu?"  A peepy, young asian woman stepped in front of William, shooting him with the sharpest smile he'd ever seen.  She wore next to nothing and what she did wear could hardly be defined at clothes, really more strips of cloth that covered her nipples and genitilia.  She wore heavy make-up and extensions, and her figure was shapely, with nothing left to the imagination.  "Here to see Mister Chotto?"  She asked, smiling up at Will.  Her teeth were purple in the strobing light.


      "And then he'll kill you."  Tanner informed the gangster, who was nodding rapidly to show Shanks that he understood. "Apologies.  Apologies."

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    • DB Baxter wrote:
      "Now what?" Rick sighed. 

      The largest bloastfly any of them had ever seen came flying out of the cave.  Probably around sixty pounds, oozing filth, and stinking of rotten flesh, with wings to small for it's ugly, putrid body, it immediately began to sling it's feces at them.

      Morgan, Rick, and Josey were covered in a wave of slimy, reeking shit.  The off-brown color of it stained into their clothes.

      "Holy... fuck..."  The Courier gagged, doubling over and retching from the smell.  "Mother of god..."

      The bloatfly buzzed angrily and took to the sky, circling them, preparing to unleash a literal shitstorm.

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    • "Erm, durr..." Was all Willy could manage. His head was killing him.

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    • The young woman took his hand and began to lead him into the club, swinging her hips.  Her hand was small and smooth compared to his large and calloused one.

      "Of course you are!"

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    • Morgan stood there, scowling. She tried not to get mad and just thought about how this wasn't as bad as the plants ass.

      "If this coat is ruined.." She growled. "Someone is going to get seriously stabbed." 

      She pulled out her M40 and fired at the bloatfly.

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    • Shanks watched how the short man scurried away, staring at the Asian with contempt. Maybe the two centuries had started to make him soft. Had it been a decade or two earlier, he would've happily ripped the gangster's jugular out as soon as he had gotten what he wanted out of him. But then again, there would be a time to do that, if the shit had indeed been lying to him.

      "Kabu Chotto's club or whatever ching-chong name it had, it is then", Shanks stated with a snort.

      "Is it wise to enter as a group?" Evangeline asked. "If they have guards posted they will most likely sound an alarm to their people inside, if they feel threatened.

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    • Tanner thought Shanks was being vaguely racist there, and by vaguely Tanner meant extremely, but he'd put up with Rick before so he doubted Shanks could do much worse.

      "Is it wise to enter as a group?" Eva asked. "If they have guards posted they will most likely sound an alarm to their people inside, if they feel threatened."

      "Yeah, I was thinking that too.  Maybe you and me go in, Tyrus and Tim wait five minutes, and then they go in.  Jared can go in on his own after."  Tanner suggested.  He looked to Shanks, wondering how they were going to get a dog-person through the door without closer scrutiny.  "Maybe you should be overwatch, Shanks.  Just in case."

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    • ".... Mother Fucker!" Rick shrieked, pulling out his shotgun and shooting away at the Bloatfly. As it turned out, he did not like being shit upon by overgrown flies.

      "That is ugliest thing I have ever seen," Brutus commented.


      "Souinds like a plan," Tyrus said. 

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    • Eilonwyn wrote:
      Morgan stood there, scowling. She tried not to get mad and just thought about how this wasn't as bad as the plants ass.

      "If this coat is ruined.." She growled. "Someone is going to get seriously stabbed."

      She pulled out her M40 and fired at the bloatfly.

      The bloatfly dropped out of the sky, narrowingly avoiding Morgan's bullet.  It flew over Brutus, spasmed, and released a steaming pile of shit on the mutant as well.

      Rick's shotgun hit the bloatfly, but the scatter pattern was too broad at this distance and only grazed it.

      "Twisted cunt..."  Josey was still retching.  It looked like he might've breathed some of the feces in.  Which was super gross.

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    • "Fine", Shanks growled. "But first signs of things going awry in there and I will spill the blood of every Commie bastard I find in there."

      Though it was unlikely that any of the gangsters shared a communistic ideal, the dogman's statement spoke lengths of his age and experience.

      Evangeline nodded approvingly to Tanner's proposal. Also, she didn't trust that the mutant would be able to keep his cool in a place full of gangsters. She was conflicted as to whether that was a bad thing or not.

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    • "Fuckin.." Morgan snarled, taking another shot.

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    • Tanner thought Shanks was providing a perfectly good reason why he wasn't coming into the club.

      "Alright.  Ready, Eva?"


      The bullet penetrated one of the fly's wings.  It began to sink in the sky, losing flight power.

      "Oh my god..."  Josey wheezed.  "Holy shit..."

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    • "Baaaaa-Ghaha!" Brutus angrily cried, grabbing for his axe. "I should have gone to the Sand Francis!"

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    • "Yup, it's shit Josey, get over it." Morgan rolled her eyes.

      "Someone finish the fuck off."

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    • Up above, Wilkes shouldered his shotgun and began to pump shells down the chasm. Disgusting...

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    • "Lady, it got in my fucking mouth, can it."  The Courier growled.

      The bloatfly hovered a few feet of the ground, weakened but still ready to fight.

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    • "I am", she confirmed. "Let's go and get Will back."

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    • Brutus lept up into the air, latching onto the bug and pummeling it as it continued its descent.

      "Stupid bug! I will teach you who is shit!" Brutus cried. "It is you who is shit!"

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    • Morgan rolled her eyes.

      "We're gonna be putting up with a lot more shit than this." She wagered as she clapped him on the back. "Just throw it up already."

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    • The bug began spewing shit, maggots, and guts as Brutus turned it into a pulp.  It gave as good as it got, that much was for sure.

      "I'm fine."  Josey said, shrugging her off.  "I ain't got a whole lotta pride left.  Too old to act tough.  Instant I get bug feces in my mouth, I'm not taking it lying down."


      Tanner led Eva into the alley.  The bouncers noticed their approach and watched them with scrutiny.

      "Think we look suspicious?'  Tanner asided to Eva.

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    • Even as the bug landed, the vengeful Brutus continued to pummel and pummel upon the emptied sack of bloatfly flesh. Punch after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch...

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    • "Alright good." Morgan sighed. "God I hope this comes out.."

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    • The bloatfly was soon just an empty exoskeleton hanging around one of his fists and he was covered in bug gore.

      "Ain't that pretty sight."  Josey drawled.

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    • .... after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch after punch...

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    • "Oh.  He's still going..."

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    • "Brutuuuus." Harriot called from Pauls shoulder.

      "It's alright bud.."

      "Man.." Morgan sighed. "I swear.."

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    • Brutus punched and punched for a while longer, before stopping to take in a deep breath. Wiping the maggots and bloatfly juice from his hands, he glanced around and made the announcement.

      "The bug is dead."

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    • "We can see that."

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    • "Good job." Morgan sighed.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      Tanner led Eva into the alley.  The bouncers noticed their approach and watched them with scrutiny.

      "Think we look suspicious?'  Tanner asided to Eva.

      "Depends on what sort of people that regularly come to visit this place of theirs? I'd expect gangsters, pimps and prostitutes."

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    • "What does that make us?"  Tanner smirked.

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    • The agent decided to stick with Shanks, mostly to keep an eye on him, but was ready to charge in and lend support.

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    • "Thank you," Brutus said to Morgan.

      "Now... we go find Rat God, yes?"

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    • "No, we go find X-13." Morgan said. "That's what we are here for."

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    • "Yeah.  And you can do to him what you did to that bug."

      "No, we go find X-13." Morgan said. "That's what we are here for."

      "That too."  Josey said.

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    • "Rat God prevents us from finding X-13," Brutus pointed out.

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    • "He's gonna try."  Josey said.  Wasn't any chance he'd succeed though.

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    • "Pff, this God is a chump." Morgan shrugged. "He doesn't even matter to us."

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    • "Wouldn't be the Big Mountain experience if there weren't some lunatic trying to kill you."  Josey drawled.  "Turns out Ulysses weren't so far off when he was talking about 'gods of the Big Empty.'"

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:
      "What does that make us?"  Tanner smirked.

      She observed the guards with caution as they slowly approached. "Hopefully something along the lines of this to make us fit in better."

      Evangeline threw her arm around Tanner and started to display a series of mannerisms and gestures that would be easily associated with someone peddling their own body. "Oh, this place looks great, sugar", she said, her voice seeping with feigned affection as they began to come within the guards' range of hearing. "Just remember, if you take longer than 15 minutes to finish, I will charge for two rides. You got that, stud?"

      She expected Tanner to pick up quickly on her charade. For all what it was worth, she was a good actress, though it made her feel unclean with every word that came out of her mouth.

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    • "Again, theses people are beneath me and this team." Morgan muttered, grumpily.

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    • "What're you talking about?"  Josey asked.


      Tanner was a terrible actor, liar, and a compulsively honest person, especially when he was put on the spot like this.

      The bouncers' skeptical eyes drifted from Eva to him.

      "Uh, sure thing, honey...tits."  He said, hooking an arm around the small of Eva's back.

      The larger of the two bouncers narrowed his eyes with scrutiny at Tanner, since he was clearly the one who did not fit in.

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    • "We don't need to bother with this small fry, fuck." Morgan insisted. "We can just go straight to X-13 and get what we needta get."

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    • "Yer right.  Problem is that rat boy's gonna get in the way.  Gotta keep a keen eye."

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    • Evangeline was luckily more observant than Tanner, taking notice of the guards' skepticism without dropping her act. She needed to act quickly, and irrationally.

      Please, don't think too badly of me for this, she reflected.

      She discreetly angled Tanner's head with her arm to face hers, pressing her lips against his, but making it seem as if it was the other way around. She backed them both up towards the wall in the alley, feeling with her hands all over him, as she made them kiss over and over again.

      "Oh, sweetie, not here", she giggled. "Those guys are watching. I know you are eager and all to get your rocks off, but couldn't we be a little more inconspicious? Like in there?"

      She tried to remain observant in the corner of her eye, to see if the guards would lower their suspicions at the sight of a seemingly harmless prostitute and her client.

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    • As Eva went to town on him, Tanner's response was a noise crossed between surprise, muffled words, and likely very genuine arousal.

      The large bouncer rolled his eyes, and rapped on the door three times.  It swung open.

      He nodded towards the dark entrance way.  "入れ ."  He instructed.  "Go on in.  Don't disturb the other clients."

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    • "Aye and we will." Morgan shrugged. "But I aint wastin time to go kill him."

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    • "I ain't either."  Josey said, ready to argue with the best of them, but unsure on what they were arguing about.

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    • "Then let's go already." She sighed.

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    • Evangeline didn't drop her act for a second, even playfully tracing a finger along one of the guards' chestbone up to his chin as they passed and entered.

      Once inside, and once she was sure that none of the bouncers outside were looking at them, she easened up on her acting, but kept her seductive mannerisms to fit into the enviroment they were in. "You okay?" she whispered to Tanner.


      Shanks leaned back against the wall to the entrance of the alleyway with a dampened growl, glaring at bypassers who stopped to stare and gawk at him. 

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    • The door swung shut behind them.  They were in claustrophobic, pitch black, overheated room Willy had been in not half an hour earlier.

      "What was that?"  He asked, breathlessly.  "You were like a whole different person."


      Josey nodded.

      "See that dome in the distance, 'long the western wall?"  Josey pointed.  "Beneath the towers?  That's X-13.  Problem is, between here and there, there's a camp full'a Communist ghouls, plant people, walking corpses, and bunch more night stalkers.  Ain't a walk in the park."

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    • "Mgh.." Morgan groaned. "Ain't there a safe route we can take?"

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    • "Since when have any of us had a walk in the park?" Rick asked.

      "Parks are for the weak," Brutus agreed.

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    • Evangeline smiled shyly. She took that as a compliment.

      "Acting", she explained. "Comes with the trade. There are no better assassins than those who could convince you that they would be the last to be suspected of being one."

      She looked around inside the club, before returning her attention to Tanner. "Are you sure that you are okay? You sound a bit out of breath."

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    • Josey shook his head.  "It's more pick your flavor of death than safety.  There's giant wasps one direction, more walking corpses another.  If we go south there's packs of lobotomites.  Circling 'round the perimeter ain't much good either.  And there's still all these robot scorpions walking around.  What I'm saying is that this Rat God complicates things.  If he can pull shit from the rest of the place to attack as we go, we'll get overwhelmed."


      "Yep, fine, just fine."  He cleared his throat and pulled at the leg of his pants.  "I was acting too."

      The wall in front of them slid away, and they were blasted with J-Pop, purple strobe lights, scantily clad women, and sweaty, drunken men.  Standing in corners around the room were large, muscular asian men, tattooed up to their necks.

      To their left was a packed bar, an equally packed dance floor in front of them, and to their right were tables on ascending dais.  Willy was no where in sight.

      "Where to start..."

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    • "Where should we begin to look?" she asked quietly. "They might start to become suspicious if we are seen separated."

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    • "Right, right.." Morgan frowned. "Maybe going south to the lobotomites would be the best?"

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    • Satisfied that things had been dealt with and that they knew where to go, Wilkes jumped off the cliffside, plummeting down and landing on his feet. His exoskeleton absorbed the shock.

      "Lobotomites, my favourite," he grumbled.

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    • "Might get suspicuous if we start turning over tables too."  Tanner said.  He eyed the bar longingly.  A drink would feel good right now.  A drink and then a few.  He hoped Will was alright.

      "I don't know... I'm a Yakuza boss.  Where do I put my captured farmhands?"


      Josey nodded.  He looked to the others for their input.

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    • A cellar... or some secret underground chamber, Evangeline reflected, though she didn't reveal her mindset to Tanner, believing that he was thinking the very same thing.

      "I have an idea", Evangeline suggested, "but it would require a bit more acting from both of us." Tanner's sudden thirst and eyeing of the bar hadn't gone by unnoticed by her. "We could head over to the bar. Have a drink or two. Pretend that it affects us more than we had anticipated and then we could quietly slip away someplace out of sight... like the basement. If they catch us, we could just blame it on our obvious 'intoxication'. How does that sound?"

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    • Willy had been taken earlier by the asian dance, he did not know where though he had hoped it was somewhere more quiet. Some place that didn't make his brain feel like it was sliding around on ice up there in his noggin'. 

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    • "This place is like a fuckin' theme park." Paul shrugged, looking around.

      "I'm spoiled for choice with this shit, so I'm fine with whatever."

      "I'd personally rather deal with the Rat King threat." Denis admitted.

      "We don't know how much control he has over the Big Empty."

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    • The young lady pulled Willy to the side of the room, up between the ascending tables, towards the distant wall.  There was an entryway at the walls center, a black curtain drapped over it, and two bouncers standing outside.


      "Don't know where we start to get the rat guy."  Josey said.  "Anyone got a Pip-boy.  I need'a look at a map."


      "Sure, I like getting drunk."  Tanner said, not altogether facetiously.

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    • Both Denis and Paul held their wrists up at the same time.

      "I heard you used a model similar to mine." Denis suggested, with a shrug as he extended his arm.

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    • Josey elected to go with Denis.  "Different color."  He noted idly.  He toyed around with it for a few moments, until he'd brought the map up.

      "Alright, here we go.  As I said, there's a lot of bullshit between us and everywhere else.  Problem's picking the best route.  We'll run into three shit shows any which way, ain't no avoidin' that."

      3f4KwTS

      "And we ain't know where that rat guy is neither.  So any route we pick, we might run into him."

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    • Willy was absolutely dumbstruck. There was just too much imput for him to handle.

      "Please... I..." He meekly managed as he was pulled along.

      The lights, the pulsating lights, they were hurting him.

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    • "Hmm... If we run into him anyway, we could use that to our advantage. Though that is somewhat underestimating the damage he could do." Denis shrugged, glancing back to the others.

      "I'll... follow your lead, Josey. I have no idea what we're up against here."

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    • "Hrm..Not sure myself..." Morgan murmured as she looked at the pip boy on her own wrist.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "Sure, I like getting drunk."  Tanner said, not altogether facetiously.

      "Then I suppose that this acting will come as natural to you", she snickered, putting her charms back on as she took him by the arm and started to head towards the bar.

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    • "One for Mister Chotto!"  The young woman cheered as she stopped at the curtain.  The bouncers nodded.

      "Alright, have fun in there, handsome."  She said, shooting one last exaggerated grin at him before sashaying off.

      "Mister Chotto's inside."  The bouncer told William, gesturing to the curtain.  "Go on in."


      The music swelled as Eva and Tanner approached the bar. It was packed from corner to corner with young people, couples, big groups of men or women, all drunk or high off their asses. But nothing had ever stood between Tanner and alcohol before, and he was much bigger than most of them, so he easily got them a spot at the bar.

      "What do you want?" He shouted to Eva over all the noise.


      "Direct route it is. Hope you ain't got allergies."

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    • Willy was just doing what he was told at this point.

      The farmhand disappeared into the VIP lounge.

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    • Once he'd gone through the flaps all noise died behind him.  The music became a faint pulse that bled through the walls.  The light in here was a dim soft orange was static instead of strobbing, much easier on Willy's eyes and head.

      Two people sat in the room.  One of them was a massive asian man, more fat than muscle.  He didn't wear a shirt, showing off a torso of tattoos.  His face and head were shaped like a boulder.  Rolls of fat gathered at his neck, chest, and hips, but Wily could see muscle definition along his arms and at his shoulders.  He lounged back on a couch, a cigar stuck in his mouth.  Two young, very pretty woman, barely more than girls, were pressed into either side of him.

      The room was circular, seating a circular couch that lined the wall.  Kabu Chotto, the heavy man, sat at Willy's left.  To Willy's right was a woman.  She was petite, with a burn scar covering one half of her delicate face, part of her hair dyed red to conceal it.  Her skin color was caramel, very rich, likely a Latino-blend of some kind.  In this orange light, she looked very familiar to Willy.

      "Shinshi,"  His voice was deep and coarse, but at the same time a steady drawl that was easy to listen to, "I don't have Bosu No-Kiba's ear anymore.  I'm old news."

      "You're the only one who would talk to me."  The woman said.  She was sat forward, her elbows resting on her news.  It showed she was engaged but not invested.  There was an eerie confidence to, as if she was certain that if this whole place fell down on her she'd still walk away.

      "'Cause I'm the only one who doesn't hate Yonome."  Chotto said.  "We came in together.  He is still my brother.  But you made enemies when you recruited him."

      The woman said nothing.  No expression passed over her face.  As if noticing him for the first time, she glanced sideways at Willy.  Some flicker of recognition seemed to register in her eyes.

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    • Willy did not know where to look, or even how to stand. He felt awkward and appeared as much. Shoulders hunched and legs nearly crossed.

      He would remain silent until someone asked something of him. 

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    • The woman stared at him for several moments.

      "Recognize him, Shinshi?"  Chotto asked.

      "Maybe."  She murmured.

      "Sit."  Kabu instructed Willy, directing him to the large empty space on the couch directly in front of the ex-Thongzi.

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    • Willy seemingly made the act of sitting down on a comfy sofa look stilted and awkward. If this Shinshi recognised him, it wouldn't have been due to his mannerisms.

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    • Kabu took a few puffs from his cigar, looking at the wall opposite.

      "Why'd my boys send you in?"  He asked.

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    • "T-they... I-I don't really know. B-but if you want me to leave that's fine. I'll go. Really fast too. I swear." Willy said, shifting under the gaze of everyone present.

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    • "I like you right where you are, brother."  Chotto smiled unsettingly.  " こんにちは!"  He shouted at the curtain.  One of the bouncers ducked his head in.  " なぜ彼らはこの男を連れて来たのか尋ねてください!"

      The bouncer nodded and disappeared.

      "What's your name?"  Chotto asked.

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    • "W-willy, sir." 

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    • The woman's expression was intense, frighteningly so.  She was on the edge of her seat, leaning towards Willy.

      "You from the city, Willy?"  Chotto asked, admiring the burn of his cigar.

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    • "N-no. I live on a farm." He said as he tried to avoid the burned woman's staring.

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    • "Hm."  Chotto mumbled.

      The bouncer reappeared.  He whispered something rapidly in Japanese into Chotto's ear.  Surprise registed in Chotto's eyes.

      " そうですか。 今すぐ出発 ."  Chotto ordered.  The bouncer nodded and vanished back through the curtain.  Chotto's attention returned to Willy.

      "You can speak Mandarin?"  He asked.

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    • "I don't know." Willy answered truthfully. He was absolutely clueless to his ability.

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    • "Hit your head or something?"

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    • "N-no?" Willy drawled out the word when he answered, fishing for more context to the question.

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    • "EIther you know or you don't.  My boys wouldn't lie to me."  Chotto said, annoyance creeping into his voice.  "If you don't know, why not?"

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    • "I-I mean. Yes. I have hit my head. Once or twice. B-but not recently."

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    • Chotto glared at Willy.

      "Are you wasting my time on purpose?"

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    • "No, I mean... I'm not trying to do errm, that." Willy muttered, he had no idea what had gotten into him today. He seemed to be angering everyone around him without trying too. 

      Did he smell? Was it his smell?

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      The music swelled as Eva and Tanner approached the bar. It was packed from corner to corner with young people, couples, big groups of men or women, all drunk or high off their asses. But nothing had ever stood between Tanner and alcohol before, and he was much bigger than most of them, so he easily got them a spot at the bar.

      "What do you want?" He shouted to Eva over all the noise.

      "Oh, you know, just something to get the juices flowing", she said suggestively with a smirk, as she playfully nibbled at Tanner's ear.

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    • "I am allergic to only cowardice," Brutus commented.

      "Why's that? What's the direct route got in front of us?" Rick asked. "Killer plants? Killer wasps? Killer Plant-Wasps? Thong-wearing mutants?"

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    • "Please let there be thong wearing mutants." Paul pleaded.

      "Heh... Allergies. People used to get those, right?" Denis smirked, he hadn't met many people who had time for them.

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    • "Right. Well I'm not allergic to anything I think.." Morgan murmured.

      "Direct route it is."

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    • "Communists."  Josey told Rick.  "Lots and lots of Communists.  There's an internment camp between us and X-13.  Full of Chinese prisoners that ghoulified."


      Shirke abruptly stood up and stepped towards Willy.  There was something incredibly threatening about her posture and movement, something spoke of eminent and extreme violence.

      "What're you doing?"  Chotto asked, puffing away on his cigar.  He did not seem concerned.


      "Hey!"  Tanner wrinkled his nose, pulling away.  He didn't think anyone had nibbled on his ear before.  Ever.  What a strange sensation.

      "Let's just go right to gin."  He decided, flagging down the bartender.

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    • Willy would also like to know what Shrike was planning. The ex-thongzi froze on the spot though.

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    • "Ok well, we can handle ghouls I think." Morgan smiled.

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    • Even seated, Willy was nearly as tall as Shrike, but she stared down at him as he cowered all the same.

      She flexed her right hand, opening and closing her glove.

      "I..."  Something seemed to flash behind her eyes.  A memory, maybe.  "...nothing.  I'm leaving."

      She turned from Willy and strode on through the curtain.

      "Strange woman."  Chotto asided to Willy.  "But dangerous.  I lose nothing by entertaining her, even if I don't want to."

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    • "Who is she?" Willy asked, feeling the ability to breathe return to him.

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    • "Shrike.  Big name hitwoman."  Chotto explained, the accent especially heavy as he said the name.  One of the women started running her hand down his leg and he slapped it away.  "Bosu No-Kiba has employed her before.  She was gone for a long time.  That she's back isn't good news."

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    • Willy suddenly vomited right there in front of Chotto. The farmhand tried to keep it in by holding a hand in front of his mouth but eggs and pancakes just oozed out from between his fingers onto the ground.

      It wasn't pretty.

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    • Chotto looked between the vomit now staining his floor and the farmhand, an unamused look on his face.

      " 彼にタオルを取りに行きます。"  He barked at one of the woman laying on him.  She rolled her eyes and slowly pulled herself free, heading for the curtain.  Chotto slapped her rear as she left.  "You alright?"  He asked Willy.

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    • "Pancakes..." Willy wheezed as he pointed at the puddle. Trying to explain, but ultimately failing.

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    • The woman came back with a towel and extended it for Willy to take.

      "You come to the City with friends?"  Chotto asked, thinking that someone like Willy wouldn't survive long on his own.

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    • "Y-yeah." Willy nodded, as he took the towel.

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    • "Tell me about them."  Chotto said.  The woman returned and pressed herself into his side again.  The sheer size of Chotto almost seemed to envelope the two.

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    • "I once took out an entire factory full of exactly that." Denis shrugged, pulling the latch back on his rifle.

      "We can do this."

      "Finally, a face to put to the commie ideology! Been fightin' their stupid little robot spiders for centuries now!" Paul grunted, finding them more than annoying.

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    • "Oh, well... I haven't known most of them for very long... Well actually, some I have known. Used to know. It's confusing." Willy said, stumbling through his thought process.

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    • Chotto looked at him expectantly, waiting to hear more.  Willy's whole appearance-- the scars, Shrike's recognition of him, his strange mannerisms and attitude--they drew attention.  Especially for someone like Chotto.


      Josey led them off.  As they headed off, the cliffs were to their right, the wide open facility to their left.  It was long before the hard, dark stone of the clifs gave way to rich foliage.  The change was abrupt, from dark, rough soil, to thick greenery.  It was explosive, seeming to appear spontaneously, and emanated from one source on the other side of the cliffs.

      Massive vines wrapped the cliffs, oversized venus fly traps stuck out from between willow weeper trees. The fly traps seemed to watch them as they moved, but they were high up on the cliff.  They brushed through a patch of thick grass, large vines wrapped together overhead.  It would remind Morgan of the Vault in New York, Denis of Oasis.

      "Old research station there, on the other side, back in the trenches.  Studying how to regrow shit for when the apocaylpse happened.  Developed this strain of plant that could survive in anything . Problem with that is the plant's real good as surviving inside the human body.  Spores it makes get into your lungs, first turn you crazy, then turn you into a pod person.  Ain't pretty."

      The vines shook and groaned above them, as if alerted by their passing.  Wind whistled through the branches and thick stalks.  It sounded like whispering voices.

      The sky above them darkened as they entered further growth.  Now the vines were arches and the trees spiderwebs of branches.  Things scurried out of the corners of their eyes.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "Hey!"  Tanner wrinkled his nose, pulling away.  He didn't think anyone had nibbled on his ear before.  Ever.  What a strange sensation.

      "Let's just go right to gin."  He decided, flagging down the bartender.

      "Sorry, sugar", Evangeline sighed. "Just moistening you up for me a bit." Evangeline's quip got a laugh from the man sitting next to them.

      Evangeline found it even more sad that she could make people laugh by pretending to make jokes. She was however starting to regret her suggestion as the bartender prepared the gin. She didn't drink. In fact, even the slightest drop of alcohol would make her tipsy. Nevertheless, she decided to go through with it, bumping Tanner discreetly in his side and casting a suggestive glance over at what appeared to be a side door.

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    • "Oh great, killer plants." Paul sighed.

      "Cause old world scientists just loved making more problems for us future people."

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    • Willy caught himself rambling and shook his head.

      "Anyways. There's Tanner. He's nice to me. Shanks, who's this dog person, Eva? Eva. She's got weird eyes but she seems nice."

      Willy raked his memory for the others.

      "There is Tim who has this weird mask, he got a bad wound he told me. And Tyrus, I don't know anything about him."

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    • Tanner leaned forwards so he could glare at the eavesdropper.

      "Mohitos."  Tanner instructed the bartender, holding up two fingers, and the man was on it like white on rice.  "You're really selling it."  Tanner joked, turning towards her.  "I'd almost believe you're into me."


      "And they brough you here?"  Chotto asked, intrigued but not satisfied.  "Why?"


      "This place is Old World problems: an expose."  He pronounced the word wrong, like 'X-pose-ie-a'.  "If it as something that could fuck the world, they made it."

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    • "Miller sent us here to find clues about Randall Clark."

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    • "There it is."  Chotto ground his teeth.  "Knew it traced back to that baka some how.  Who's Miller?  What's he want with Yonome?  You tell me this... I let you go.  Fair?"

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    • "Yeah and the worst part is that they went home and fucking lived with themselves. Looked their kids in the fucking face and everything, instead of doing the decent thing and slicing open their own throats, with the jagged edge of an open tin." Paul grunted.

      "Fuckin' disgustin'."

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    • She was taken a bit off guard by his approach and she could feel her her cheeks turn warm.

      Oh God, am I blushing? She couldn't tell, but she hoped that it would be dark enough in there for Tanner to not take notice, if that was indeed the case. "I mean", she began vaguely. "It makes it all the more easier that you are not bad looking. Besides ... " she glanced over her shoulder to make sure none of the other patrons were listening in to their ploy. "If we are to get around in these parts unnoticed, we would need to be convincing."

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    • Willy thought that was fair, or rather, he wanted to believe it was. He couldn't think straight when he had a headache and under stress.

      "S-sure. Agent Miller has brought all of these people together to deal with Shrike. That woman from earlier!" He whispered that last part as if it might've escaped Chotto's notice, just how close Willy had just been to the woman that wanted to kill him, and that he needed to stop. Or at least, Miller wanted him to stop.

      "He's got this big base where we now live but I don't really like it yet."

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    • "Mmgh..." Morgan rumbled, as she eyed the foliage wearily.

      I am not gonna be climbing out of a plants ass again am I?

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    • "To kill her?"  Chotto stroked his chin.  "And you're a part of that?"  He looked William over again and chuckled.  "Good luck, brother."


      There was a twang and a flint arrow flew out of the forest and landed at Josey's feet.  He stared at, utterly shocked.

      "What in high hell...?"

      A second flew out of the brush and him directly in the head.

      It bounced off his helmet.


      "These can't all be prostitutes and their clients."  Tanner said, looking around as the bartender pushed their drinks in front of them.  The mojito of the apocalypse lacked a lime, rum, and sugar, it was salt, vodka, and a tato.  Really more of a super gross Bloody Mary, Tanner thought, unpalatable if there wasn't so much gin to wash it down.

      "Couldn't we just be two people, out, having fun?  How would anyone know the difference?"

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    • Denis opted to take cover behind something as he wouldn't be so lucky if he got shot in the head with an arrow and he'd lost enough of his brain for one lifetime.

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    • "I don't want to kill anybody." Willy quickly defended.

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    • Morgan ducked behnid cover too, since she didn't wear a helmet...

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    • "Sure", she whispered, "if they haven't already caught on to this whole ..." she cleared her throat as she motioned between the two. " ... provider and customer relationship?"

      She leaned in and placed a passionate kiss on Tanner's cheek, taking on a whole other persona than that of the sleazy whore. "Isn't that right?" she asked softly, as you would to a lover.

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    • More arrows flew out from the canopy cover, seemingly coming from no where.  One struck Josey in the arm, deflected by the arm, but the force of it was enough to make him stumble.

      He drew his revolver and fired into the trees.  In the silence of the forest, the retort of the high caliber weapon was piercing.  The arrows momentarily ceased.


      "I believe that."  Chotto said, amused.


      Outside, Shanks, Jared, Tyrus, and Tim watched a large group of Yakuza stroll past.  They were all equally tatted up.  Some wore suits, some wore tank-tops,  others shirtless.  Each of them were definitely packing.

      They walked up the club's front door, and one of the bouncers nodded to the leader of the group, a wiry man with a mocking, sardonic face.  He knocked on the door, and it swung open, emitting them.


      Tanner grinned anxiously, because it again was convincing.  He'd sort of wanted to drop the whole playing-characters thing so he could be himself, but this worked too.  It was a role he was familiar with.

      "Exactly."  He smirked.

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    • Morgan peered through her M40 scope, eyeing the canopy for hostiles...

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    • "So..." Willy dared.

      "Am I free to leave now?"

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    • At first, there appeared to be nothing.

      Then, a flicker of movement.  Morgan thought she saw what could be an arm, but it was green, and the color of chlorophyll.  There also appeared to be green fungus growing on it.


      "Not yet."  Chotto said.  "Your friends... would they've followed you?"

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    • "I was taken away from them. I don't know where they are..." Willy shrugged. 

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    • Shanks had pulled up his scarf by the time the Yakuza gang approached to cover up as much of his animal-like exterior as possible, since people couldn't stop staring. He flinched when he saw the crew pass by him. This was certainly going to mean trouble.

      "Fuck fuckety fuck-fuck", he cursed in a whisper, creeping after the gang and observed as they gained entrance from a distance. He knew what the plan was, but chances were that both Tanner and the raven-haired piece of meat could get themselves taken hostage or get killed before the rest of them even had a chance to react. And then they would be down by two.

      He glanced over at Tyrus. "So... what do we do, meat? We enter now? Or lay back a while further and observe?"


      Evangeline grimaced at the taste of the mojito. She exhaled. Her throat was on fire and she felt it as if the drink would hit her right in the head. She was glad that she had gotten herself a filling meal before leaving, otherwise she would be on the floor by now.

      "That's strong", she wheezed to Tanner.

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    • "There's a plant thing in there." Morgan said, to the others. 

      "Guess one of those pod things you were on about?"

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    • "But would they have?"  Chotto asked.  "If you could guess."


      Tanner tried himself, it was terrible, but wasn't surprised it had no effect on him.  The singular perk of alcoholism-- it made you look tough when trying a strong drink.  He could probably down three of these before it got to him.  God, he was disgusting.

      "It is."  He agreed, setting the drink aside.  "I could do with a little less mutant tomato."


      "Yeah, that'll be it."  Josey said.  "Couldn't use tools when I was here last.  Things were mindless."

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    • "I'd like to think they care about me..." Willy finally answered.

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    • "Interesting.." Morgan murmured, seeming genuinely excited at that.

      "Maybe they have evolved over time.."

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    • "Mhmm", Evangeline concurred, her mouth turning into a straight line. "Do you want to try something else, or should we start to ... " Her voice broke off as she caught the glimpse of the gangster crew entering the club in the corner of her eye. "Don't look", she whispered, not breaking eye contact with Tanner. "Ne'er-do-wells behind us. They do not look friendly." 

      She leaned in closer to him, putting her arms affectionately behind his neck to keep them both preoccupied while the gangsters passed.

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    • "Lady, they're shooting arrows at us and made out leaves, keep it in your pants."  Josey told her.


      Eva could watch as a pack of seven or so Yakuza strolled past, but they weren't headed for them, instead they turned ride and headed straight up the dais, towards the curtain at the side of the room.

      Tanner was looking anyway, despite Eva's warning, over the top of her head.  "Wonder what's going on." He murmured.


      Chotto nodded, accepting that.  "Alright, you can go."

      As he said that however, a man pushed his way through the curtains.  He was short and wore a dark suit, his dark hair shaved close.  His features were angular and handsome.  His smile was sardonic and ever present.

      "Kabu Chotto."  The newcomer greeted him.  "Esteemed elder."  He bowed, mockingly.

      "Inchi."  Chotto replied.  It wasn't entirely visible, but Willy could see that the newcomer made Chotto wary.  "Why're you here?"

      "Heard you had a few run-ins with out-of-towners."  Inchi said, sitting down where Shrike had not ten minutes earlier.  He noticed the vomit on the floor and paused.

      "Are you ill?"  Inchi looked up with a curious smile.

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    • "No, sorry. That's mine." Willy informed, thinking that would be polite.

      As he said it though, it dawned on him he was free to leave and he best not linger or get involved with anything else.

      "I'll erm, I'll be going then."

      "Bye."

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    • "Observe," Tyrus decided. "Last thing we want right now is to draw more attention. Just stay calm...."


      "What are we keeping in pants?" Brutus asked.

      "This is like all the vaults rolled into one giant shitshow," Rick uttered. 

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    • "It's a wonder of nature.."  Morgan enthused as she kept her eye on it. "I wonder if they can talk English."

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    • "I'll draw it out!" Paul called, figuring that his skin was thick enough to protect himself from these attacks. At this point, he'd wished everyone had come in power armour...

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    • Shanks was getting impatient and bored. He wanted to do something, preferably kill something. He grumbled and leaned back towards his wall, betting that the two other pieces of meat inside the club were having the time of their life.


      The mojito had already begun to take its toll on Evangeline as she quelled a hiccup. "Do you want to ..." She closed her eyes hard before opening them again. " ... follow them?" she finished quickly before he would take notice of the slight slur in her voice.

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    • "Hold on there a moment."  Inchi held out a hand to stop Willy.  The smile never left his face.  "What were you and Elder Chotto here talking about?"  His english was excellent and he spoke without a hint of an accent.

      "He caused trouble on the docks."  Chotto lied.  "I was warning him not to do it twice."

      "Oh... oh..."  Inchi gave an exagerated nod, to show the extent of his belief and understanding.  "That what happened, Willy?"


      "Really hope not."  Josey said to Morgan.  That would be a nightmare.  "They ain't shooting arrows any more at least."

      "I'll draw it out!" Paul called.

      The pod people darted about in the trees above them.


      Tanner glanced around the room at the numerous gangsters standing guard, as well as the new arrivals who were now standing up by the curtain.  If they approached directly they'd be spotted as they came up the dais, but there many tables around.

      "Let's go have a seat.  And act as inconspicuous as possible."  Tanner suggested, pointing.

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    • Willy simply nodded.

      That was all he could muster. For he knew it wasn't true.

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    • Evangeline just nodded, unsure of whether or not they should bring their drinks with them. She could've done well without it, but reckoned they would look more presentable and convincing if they did so.

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    • "Uh-huh."  Inchi said.  "If you were leaving, I'll lead you out, Willy."  Inchi rose half-way and motioned for Willy to do so as well.  "C'mon."

      "Don't get up."  Chotto told Willy, his eyes locked on Inchi.


      Tanner cursed his own stupidity, feeling like he should've thought of that, and took his from Eva as they went.

      He selected seats that were within sight of the curtain, and close to it, but where they wouldn't have any listening ears behind them.  Up on the dais, they looked down at the packed dance floor and bar.  Even for this early in the day, this place was busy.  It was probably crazy at night.

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    • "Hey you ain't drawing nothing out with me on ya back!" Harriot grumbled.

      Morgan followed, her M40 swaying as she watched the pod people.

      "Fascinating.."

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    • "Good point!" Paul called, lifting Harriot off of his shoulder and dropping her an inch off of the ground again, like last time.

      "Oi! Veggie Buddies! Get the fuck down and fight me, like men!"

      Fuck, I'm old, if I remember that piece of shit radio show...

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    • Willy remained in an awkward position between hunched forward as if frozen in the act of getting up. 

      He looked confused.

      "You said I could go. You promised."

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    • Evangeline's gaze shifted. From the curtain, to Tanner, to the dance floor. It looked pretty fun, albeit somewhat chaotic.

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    • "Fucking.." HArriot groaned as she was dumped on the floor again.

      "Ow.."

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    • Paul was rewarded by one of the pod people flying down and wrapping itself around his face, trying to smother him.

      Another landed on Josey back and bit him through the cloth of his duster's collar.

      "Ah, gottdamnit!"  He holllered, falling to the ground and rolling, trying to get the darn thing off.

      "HA!"  The booming voice of the Rat God shook the forest.  "YOU HAVE FALLEN FOR ONE OF MY MANY TRAPS!  FOR I, THE GENIUS RAT GOD, CONTROL THE SPORE CARRIERS OF BIG EMPTY!  ME!  YOU IDIOTS!"

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    • Paul grabbed a hold of the large face hugger and crushed it in his hand, wripping its brittle flesh apart with his long fingernails and plying it off, with his brute strength and throwing it to the ground. He didn't even care that he'd just scratched his forehead and cheek up, something fierce.

      "You rat fuck! I'm gonna tear your face off and wipe my ass with it!"

      "Wait, hold on a minute!" Denis called up.

      "Can't we work somehting out? Surely a high being of your stature need not bother themselves with a few lowly intruders!"

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    • "Indeed.." Morgan murmured. "I'd love to come and study these things.."

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    • "Don't go with him."  Chotto amended.

      Inchi's smile was still plasted all over his face, waiting for Willy to join him.


      "IMPOSSIBLE!  IF I DID NOT ANNIHILATE INTRUDERS WHAT ELSE WOULD I BE ABLE TO DO?  NOTHING!  THIS PLACE IS CALLED THE BIG EMPTY!  NOT THE BIG 'FULL-OF-THINGS-TO-DO!'  DESTROYING YOU IS MY SOLE SOURCE OF PLEASURE AND ENJOYMENT!  AND I'LL MILK EVERY LAST DROP OUT OF IT!!!!"

      Josey shook free of his pod person, pinning it beneath him by its throat, and blasted it's head off.  More of the pod people were raining down on Paul, really making him eat his words, although they did ignore everyone else.


      "What?"  Tanner asked, noting Eva's darting eyes.

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    • "Hey can we join you in that?" Morgan offered. "Could use the help."

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    • "Why not?" Willy prodded, his eyes darting uncertainly from one criminal to the other.

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    • "So your long term goal is to basically be bored?" Denis asked, sounding confused.

      "I mean, destroying us is your only source of entertainment but if you succeed, you'll have to go back to being bored. Surely you want a more plentiful bounty? A greater source of entertainment?"

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "What?"  Tanner asked, noting Eva's darting eyes.

      "Oh, nothing", Evangeline said. "It's just... I have never danced before. At least not with anyone else."

      She knew that they had more important matters at hand, and this was hardly the place or the time to be frivolous. Still, it looked pretty fun. And knowing that this whole Shrike business could very well be her last assignment, made it all the more tempting.

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    • There was silence as the Rat God mulled over Denis' words.

      "WELL... WHAT DID YOU HAVE IN MIND?"


      "Exactly, let's go, Willy."  Inchi said.

      "Inchi is dangerous.  I would not leave with him.  Let he go, and then leave."  Chotto suggested.

      "What did you come here for?"  Inchi spoke to Willy directly.  "I can get for you what Chotto couldn't.  You want to know about the Yakuza?  About Randall Clark?  I can tell you about them."


      "You want to dance?"  Tanner asked, thinking that wasn't a good idea, given Will was still MIA.  They could miss him if they got distracted.  "Now?"

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    • "If we leave, we can spread your legend and convince more clueless twits to come back here and you can hunt them down." The Wanderer suggested, with a shrug.

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    • Evangeline looked longingly at the dance floor for a moment before turning away her gaze and shaking her head. "No."

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    • "NICE TRY.  IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO GET IN AND OUT OF HERE.  YOU'RE ONLY HERE BECAUSE YOUR PLANE CRASHED.  YOU'RE THE FIRST INTRUDERS I'VE EVER HAD!  IT'S MY TRIAL RUN.  WAIT UNTIL YOU GET WITHIN RANGE OF THE ARTILLERY!"


      "How about I owe you one?"  Tanner suggested with a smile.

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    • "Or, and get this." Morgan groaned. "We could crash more planes for ya, and you'd have even more fun."

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    • "DO YOU THINK I AM STUPID?  ONCE YOU ESCAPE THIS PLACE YOU WILL LEAVE ME HERE AND NEVER MENTION BIG EMPTY TO ANYONE EVER AGAIN.  AND I'LL BE ALL ALONE WITHOUT ANYONE TO DESTROY."

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    • "I implore you reconsider." Denis said, from his tone, it sounded more like it was for the Rat God's consideration, than his own.

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    • "I IMPLORE YOU TO SHUT YOUR DUMB FACE!  NO ONE TRICKS THE RAT GOD!  HE'S-- HE'S-- HE'S... UNTRICKABLE!"

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    • "If we survive", Evangeline interjected. Realizing just how cynical it had come off as she smiled back softly. "I will hold you to it."

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    • Denis frowned before glancing away, he'd fought gods before. Kings... Gods... Masters... Even a President or two and he knew them all as little men, hiding behind titles.

      "On your head, be it." He said, bitterly.

      Paul had finally finished ripping away at the pod people and glanced back to the Courier.

      "Wales? How'd we get the fuck away from this miserable shit hole?"

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:

      "Exactly, let's go, Willy."  Inchi said.

      "Inchi is dangerous.  I would not leave with him.  Let he go, and then leave."  Chotto suggested.

      "What did you come here for?"  Inchi spoke to Willy directly.  "I can get for you what Chotto couldn't.  You want to know about the Yakuza?  About Randall Clark?  I can tell you about them."

      "I..." Willy's headache grew more severe.

      "I don't know..."

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    • "Gotta keep straight through."  Josey said, inspecting the tear in his duster.  "Past that is Little Yangtze."

      The destroyed remains of many pod people lay at Paul's feet.  He himself was coated in a greenish fluid with a consistency similar to water but smelled like mint.


      Inchi moved to grab Willy.


      "You'd better."  Tanner smirked.

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    • Evangeline found herself lost with Tanner's smile for a moment, or maybe it was just the mojito affecting her judgement. She swiftly came to her senses and looked around. "So", she said. "How should we proceed? You saw the amount of men they have."

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    • In his state of confusion the roving hands of Inchi had gotten to Willy without him noticing. This caused a deep dormant instinct of sorts to kick in and a deft hand had moved to intercept the man and dislocate his radius by twisting the forearm and putting extreme pressure above it with a well placed chop.

      Willy was just as shocked as Inchi when he realised what he had done.

      "Oh, sweet heavens! I'm sorry!"

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    • "Alrighty..." Paul grumbled, tightening his fist.

      "Let's just go... Fuck this ratfaced dickhole."

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    • "You want to... make a plan?  I normally just run headfirst at these things.  If I think too much I realize how stupid and suicidal it is."  Tanner said.


      Inchi and Chotto both stared dumbfound at the former man's dislocated arm.  With a cry of anger, he drew a wakizashi from inside his coat with his free hand.  The metal screetched as it exited its sheath and he swung at William's neck.

      There was the sound like a hammer hitting a nail, and the top of Inchi's head exploded in a spray of blood.  The Yakuza immediately went slack and fell to the floor, the sword clattering from his hand.

      One of the Chotto's women was sitting up, holding a silenced pistol, previously concealed behind the couch.

      "Look what you made me do." Chotto sighed, gesturing at Inchi's rapidly bleeding corpse.  "I'll catch hell for this."


      They pressed through the forest.  But instead of thinning out, it grew thicker and thicker, to the point that they were becoming tangled in vines.  It was becoming a struggle to push them aside.  The vines seems to latch on or stick to them almost by design, as if they had evolved to trap humans.

      "Jesus fucking Christ."  Josey growled, struggling to free his foot.  It had disappeared into the ground, and wouldn't budge.  Morgan and Denis noticed something similar as they had stepped in after him.

      "Think we're sinking."  As if to prove a point, the ground next to him bubbled, and Josey sunk a noticalbe several inches into it.  They had stepped into a bog.  "Ah shit."

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    • Willy stared at the lifeless body of the man at his feet with wide blue eyes.

      William shot the fleeing brotherhood scout in the back of the head from a distance. The impact caused a 'cauliflowering' of blood, brain and skull.

      Willy looked at his hands, they were shaking, they felt like they weren't his. He gazed down at them as if they had transformed into mirelurk claws.

      Whatever Chotto was saying, Willy couldn't hear it.

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    • "Sit down."  Chotto said, louder now.  The woman concealed the pistol again.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:
      "You want to... make a plan?  I normally just run headfirst at these things.  If I think too much I realize how stupid and suicidal it is."  Tanner said.

      "Well, we can't just let them have Willy, that much is for sure. We need to get behind that curtain somehow, preferably unscathed. Not to mention ..." She glanced around at the other patrons, some of them were armed. "If we were to make a racket, we might not only have the gangsters to worry about. We do not know where these people's loyalties lie. Presumably, with the club's, if a pair of infiltrators were to disrupt their fun and interfere with the club's business."

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    • Paul sighed and looked for something sturdy that he could rip out of the ground and use as a rope of some kind. Maybe a tree or something.

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    • "Mmh...this is just like central park.." Morgan groaned as she sunk a few inches.

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    • "Y'know... I miss my scorched earth homeland already." Denis sighed, trying to find something to pull himself out with but struggled to find anything that would work.

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    • "Listen, fella, we're like the only people who know this place exists!" Rick added in. "You kill us and you lose your last chance of ever trapping more people here... and lemme tell you, I got a pretty big mouth, I’ll blab this to everyone I know..."


      "You seen Eva or Tanner yet?" Tyrus asked, glancing around the club.

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    • "Yeah, we TRIED that!" Paul grunted, grabbing the stirdiest plant he could find and extending it out to Josey.

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    • Willy would've needed to sit down regardless and did as he was told while he was still staring down at his hands.

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    • DB Baxter wrote:

      "You seen Eva or Tanner yet?" Tyrus asked, glancing around the club.

      "Still in there", the dogman grumbled. "Probably fucking."

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    • The agent shook his head. "Whatever they're doing, we need to be ready to back them up in case of trouble."

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    • "ARE YOU GUYS TRAPPED IN QUICKSAND?"  Rat God's voice inquired, having not noticed.  "THAT'S HILARIOUS!"

      Josey felt like screaming at Rat God, if only correct him and say it was a bog.

      There were plenty of vines above, near, and around Paul, but they were quickly leaving the reach of those trapped.


      Tanner was beginning to realise that he wasn't an idiot, rather Eva was just more intelligent than him.

      "Alright, sure, how do you want to do that?"


      "Take it easy there, Lady Macbeth."  Chotto derided him, annoyed again.  "You didn't kill him."

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    • Rick tried to reach up and grab one of the vines before he sank completely into the bog.


      "In that case, we might have to make a move sooner rather than later," Tyrus sighed. 

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    • "Eat shit, you rat-fuck!" Paul snapped as he shot at the vines, high up, to wither them away until they dropped a rope-length tendril that he could use for his purposes.

      "You get your 'rat' name, from fucking all your sibblings? Or was it from your unfortunate face?"

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    • "I GOT IT BECAUSE I, UH, AM SO SHREWD AND CLEVER, MY INTELLIGENCE IS EERIELY RAT-LIKE."

      Rick wasn't able to grab the vine, but Paul's ploy worked.  The vine swung down dangling well within his reach  It was one of the thicker ones too and unlikely to break underneath anyon's weight.

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    • "Yeah, you fucked your sister." Paul concluded.

      "Or your brother. Was it your brother?" He added before blasting some more of the vine apart before snatching it and bulking up his strength before pulling down on it. Given how weak its connection was, it would have a hard time fighting back against what would seem like the strength of an elephant.

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    • Several other vines that had been tangled around Paul's snapped as this one was pulled towards him.  It went taut.

      Josey was sinking remarkably slow compared to others.  The Courier, as usual, was lucky.

      "Finally."  He muttered upon seeing Paul devise an escape.

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    • Willy was not exactly comforted.

      "I should've stayed on the farm." He finally muttered.

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    • "Inchi's men are going to notice when you walk outside and he doesn't."  Chotto said.  "There will be more violence."

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    • Willy could only moan. 

      "noooo...."

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    • Paul whipped the vine letting it land within reach of Josey.

      "Grab on!"

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    • Josey grabbed hold, and began the arduous process of pulling himself up.

      "OH, LOOKS LIKE YOU GUYS ARE ESCAPING. THAT'S A SHAME."


      Chotto rolled his eyes and gave William a moment to collect himself.

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    • "Please, no more violence!" The dimwit pleaded with the yakuza boss, seeming about ready to cry into one of the man's many rolls.

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    • "I'll give them another five", Shanks grunted. "If they haven't given us a sign by then, then I'll light the place up."


      As much as Evangeline hated to admit it, she didn't have the faintest idea, at least none which wouldn't require a certain amount of risk to be taken.

      "I will make my way over there", she said. "I will pretend to have dropped something, which will give me an excuse to have a discreet little peek to see what's on the other side. If there's no one there to hinder us or catch us, I will signal for you to come over. If someone spots me and starts to ask questions or apprehends me, I will be your drunk, unknowing girlfriend who needs guidance to some place where she can sit down and sober up."

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    • Morgan waited for Josey to get free before grabbing on herself.

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    • "And you think they'll buy it?"  Tanner said, eying the group of mean-looking Yakuza crowded around the curtain.

      The two original bouncers were now augmented by the six further gangster that had come into the club not long ago for a total of eight no-nonsense looking guards.


      When a grunt of exertion, Josey swung free, bringing his knees up to his chest as he passed over the bog, his duster ruffling.  Now on solid ground, he tossed the vine to Morgan.

      From the waist down he was covered in a layer of damp, brown muck.  It augmented the feces that had already splattered his armor.


      "これを対応して." He ordered one of the woman, throwing a hand up.  She climbed off of Chotto and sat down next to Willy, one leg beneath her.  Then, she opened her arms to give the farmhand the hug he so desperately needed.

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    • "If not, then I trust that you will be my gallant knight in shining armor?" Evangeline smiled.

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    • Denis let Morgan go next, since it was more or less his prerogative to put others before himself at this point.

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    • Morgan strained to pull herself free, she wasn't exactly the strongest of people. She yanked herself out after a few minutes and swung to land by Josey, where she tossed the vine to Denis.

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    • The hug was more a shoulder to cry on for Willy. 

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    • Denis took the opportunity to grab hold of the vine as Paul yanked him out, effortlessly.

      "Whew! That was... Shitty." Paul sighed, tossing the vine aside, once it was no longer needed.

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    • Tanner glanced at the Yakuza again.  They didn't look that tough.

      "I'll be right behind you."  He assured her.


      "There, there."  The woman soothed, patting him on the back.  "It's alright."


      "Forgot how much I hate this place."  Josey muttered.

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    • "Mrgh, I forgot how much I hate people." Paul grumbled, glancing above.

      "If we don't kill King Ratfuck, I'm gonna come back and finish the job myself."

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    • "boohooo-I just wanted to know about my memories!-hooo" Willy cried.

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    • Chotto glanced at the curtain, concerned now that someone would hear Willy's crying and look in.  The music was loud however, the the room soundproofed.  It was unlikely.


      "Amen."  Josey agreed.

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    • "Hmm... We should probably watch out footing." Denis sighed, examining the roots.

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    • It felt good to have some confidence from Tanner as she had doubts that her own plan would be executed flawlessly. She slowly rose up and started to make her way over to the black curtain on unsteady legs, playing the role of the drunken girlfriend.

      She made her way past the guards, swaying around whimsically as she bent over clumsily, fumbling with her fingers around on the floor, hoping to subtly make her way over to the curtain for just a quick peek.

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    • Eva looked under the curtain only long enough to see the blood-soaked floor, vomit-splattered floor before someone pull sharply on he shoulder.

      "Off limits."  The bouncer restraining her said, his hand gentle but firm.  "Step back."


      Some of the roots appeared to even be moving, slithering like snakes.

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    • "Huh?" Evangeline said with a feigned drawl in her voice. "I am looking for my purse of caps. You didn't happen to see it around her somewhere, eh?"

        Loading editor
    • Willy was still crying.

      "boohooohooo-"

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    • "Mrgh, hopefully they've learned their place." Paul grumbled, not remotely happy about taking them on again.

        Loading editor
    • "... I'd prefer a less drastic approach if they're not out in five," Tyrus muttered.


      "They better have. If the creatures here are so smart, maybe they'll learn not to fuck with us," Rick spat. 

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    • "No."  The bouncer said, flatly, eying her.

      Tanner didn't get up yet, because it seemed Eva still had it handled.


      "He will not be much missed."  Chotto told Willy.  He was starting to regret saving his life.


      "They ain't smart.  The scientists made a game out of removing as many brains as they could.  Shit in here doesn't think.  It's either crazy or programmed to kill."  Josey explained to Rick.

        Loading editor
    • "Yeah, Lobotomites for example are drivelling animals barely capable of using a weapon," Wilkes acknowledged.

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    • "It doesn't have to be smart to be lethal." Denis pointed out, looking around.

      "If anything, that makes it more dangerous."

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    • "They shot at us a lot in Denver tho.." Harriot added, from the ground.

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    • "Let's keep movin'.  I wanna get out'a this place."  Josey muttered, starting off again.  Bog had gotten in his revolver and he cleaned it as they walked.

      The jungle began to thin out.  They could see more of the plant people in the trees, following them, but none attacked.  It was just the Rat God keeping an eye on them.

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    • SkyrimsShillelagh wrote:
      "No."  The bouncer said, flatly, eying her.

      Tanner didn't get up yet, because it seemed Eva still had it handled.

      "You wouldn't be able to help a girl find her belongings, would you?" she said with an alluring smile. "Please? I'd be ever so grateful."

      The tone of her voice implied that there would be a handsome reward indeed if she got some assistance. And what the reward would be, was entirely up to the bouncer's imagination. Not that she left much room for imagination as to what it would be with the way she carried out her seductive mannerisms.

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    • "Step back."  The bouncer said, folding his arms.  His buddy looked equally implacable.

      However, one of the nearby gangsters, one of those who can came in not long ago, was listening in and turned to Eva with a wide smile.

      "I'll help you, sister."  He smiled toothily.  His loose-fitting wife beater was half-tucked into baggy jeans.  His arms were ropey with thin muscles, plastered with tattoos.  A large switch-blade bulged in his pocket.

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    • "Mrgh... These plant people remind me of trogs..." Denis observed, in truth they did resemble them a lot, physically.

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    • "Yeah they're froggy lookin' alright."  Josey agreed, misunderstanding him

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    • Denis just went with that... it's not like Josey would ever run into Trogs, way out here...

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    • "Fact, there are these lizard people that live below the Divide."  Josey said, thinking on it some more.  "They oughtta look the same too."

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    • "Lizard people?" Paul asked, not liking the sound of that.

      "Sounds creepy..."

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    • She had relied on that the gangsters would all be willing to earn some physical affection in one way or another so that she would be able to get some, if not all, away from the curtain. She needed to create a small window of opportunity for Tanner to make it past unnoticed. The switch-blade wielding gangster sent out all the wrong signals to her.

      She had to come up with something in the meantime as they "searched". She shot a glance over at where Tanner was sitting, hoping that if something went awry he would be quick to come to her assistance.

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    • Tanner nodded back.

      The gangster was smiling an I'm going to take advantage of you smile at Eva.


      "Called tunnelers."  Josey told Paul.  "Saw 'em tear apart a Deathclaw once.  Climb on and start eating you where you stand.  Ain't a good time."

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    • "Dunno, replace 'Tunnelers' with 'persian whores' and that sounds like a good time to me." Paul shrugged, looking back to the treeline to make sure those eggplant mother fuckers weren't up to their usual shit again.

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    • After looking all over the floor for a while, she made sure that they were well out of hearing from the steadfast bouncer by the curtain, Evangeline pulled the tattooed man close with feigned anxiety in her voice.

      "Oh no..." she sighed. "I think someone might have kicked it in behind there", she said with a whimper as motioned subtly to the black curtain. "You don't think we could go and have a look?"

      She made sure to push out her bust as much possible for him as she spoke. The implications that she wanted to do more with him than just look for her lost purse were written all over her gestures.

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    • "Oh, you want to go in to see Mr. Chotto?"  The gangster said, smiling, as if seeing right through her.  "I can get you in, little sister.  For a favor."

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    • Psychomantis108 wrote:
      "Dunno, replace 'Tunnelers' with 'persian whores' and that sounds like a good time to me." Paul shrugged, looking back to the treeline to make sure those eggplant mother fuckers weren't up to their usual shit again.

      The eggplant people were still following.  The jungle was starting to break however, and they could see unfilter light up ahead.

      "Almost there."

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    • Evangeline kept her act up, knowing that if she switched to her real personality altogether, the chances of her ending up dead would rise considerably. Who could trust an actress after all? However, she decided to make an alternate approach.

      "Mr Chotto?" she said curiously. "Who is that?" She gasped excitedly. "Is he like the kingpin? The man pulling all the strings?"

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    • "He's Bosu No-Kiba's right hand man."  The gangster explained. By his tone, Eva could tell he was trying to impress her.  "He's in there with my boss right now."

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    • She was torn. She knew that this would be a good chance to get closer to saving Willy without the need to resort to violence to pass that first step, but it would also mean being separated from Tanner. If she got into trouble on the other side of the curtain then there would soon be two hostages ... or they might kill her which would still leave Willy, if they hadn't killed him already.

      It was a risky gamble, and she hoped that Tanner had some backup plan, because she intended to go through with it.

      "Oooh", Evangeline said, feigning how impressed she was. "That does sound enticing. I think I'd like to meet him. Maybe we will find my purse in there as well, eh?"


      Shanks sighed, tired of waiting. "That does it", he told Tyrus and Jared. "I am going in."

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    • "Alright, what's next?" Denis asked, wondering what came after being shit on and almost drowning in quick sand.

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    • "Follow me."  The gangster beckoned, leading Eva over to the bouncers once again.

      "私はカブに会うつもりです."  The gangster said confidently, squaring up to the two boxers.

      The bouncers glanced at each other and then back at the gangster.  They said nothing.

      "さあ、兄弟。 コックは私をブロックしないでください。 借ります カブとブレードの両方でいい言葉を言えます。"  The gangster continued at length, a pleading ntoe to his voice.

      The bouncers glanced at each other again.  Sighing, the one who seemed in charge jutted his thumb towards the current.

      "それを兄弟に感謝します!"  The gangster grinned, taking Eva's arm.  "They said we can go in."  He said, pulling her towards the curtain.


      They exited the jungle.  The cliffside continued to their right, the rough landscape of the Big Empty to their left.  They could see the tower again, as well as the many domes and hexagonal structures.

      "And we're out."  Josey said, scanning the environemnt in front of them.  They heard a distant gunshot and Josey spun as it struck him in the chest, knocking him down.

      Cover out here was limited, only the boulders near them, pipes running over the cliffs and towards the tower at the crater's center, and the trees and vines behind them.

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    • "Ooh, how exciting", Evangeline said. The truth was that she was terrified. Who was to say that he wouldn't slit her throat as soon as she was inside? Or try something worse, seeing as how she had giving him all the right signals to make it this far.

      This is going a little better than I intended, she reflected worryingly, giving Tanner a last glance before stepping inside the curtain.

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    • The gangster followed her in, the curtain fell back behind them, blocking the view from the outside.

      There was a dead man on the floor with the top of his head blown off.  Blood and brains leaked out onto the soft carpet of the room.  Directly in front of her was Willy, sobbing into his hands.  A woman had him wrapped in a hug.

      To Eva's left was a very large man, thick through arms and shoulders, heavy at his chest and stomach.  A woman lay on top of him, but was thrown off as he sprung to his feet with lithe quickness.

      The gangster was frozen on the spot, surprised by the scene.  His hand had disappeared into his pocket for his switchblade, but he never got it.  Chotto wrung him around the neck, throwing him bodily against the wall.  The gangster was easily two hundred pounds lighter and provided no resistance.  He hit it loudly, and thumped to the ground.

      The switchblade was in his hand now, and he swung it feebly at Chotto, who kicked the knife from his hand, and then crushed the gangster's trachea with his heel.

      "Who the fuck are you?"  Chotto demanded of Eva as the gangster spasmed behind him, gasping out his last moments into the floor.

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    • Willy turned from his sobbing when he heard the curtains behind him. 

      Were Inchi's men coming to get him? Was he about to die?!

      His eyes grew wide upon noticing it was Eva, a friend.

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    • "Oh, this isn't the ladies' room", she said sheepishly, knowing that in short all hell would break lose.


      Shanks steadily approached the bouncers by the club entrance, his scarf pulled all the way up to hide his doglike face. Not that it would help him by much. He still had a pair of scruffy ears, two hind legs and a long fluffy tail to cover up.

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    • "Eva, it's me!" Willy yelled, loudly in front of everyone. Wondering why she didn't recognise him

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    • Chotto was confused but catching on quickly.

      "You are one of this man's friends."  He assumed, waving one big arm between the two of them.  Standing up he was massive, seeming to take up half the room.  "Come to rescue him?"

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    • "Mrgh..." Paul grumbled, placing Harriot, gently this time, on the floor behind a boulder as Denis ducked down behind cover.

      "You see where it came from?" Denis called out to Josey, who was probably safest just staying still on the floor.

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    • "Please, Eva! I don't want to be here anymore!" Willy informed her. Keeping the same volume as before.

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    • Realizing that the gig was up, thanks to Willy, Evangeline smacked with her lips and dropped her act of the clueless bimbo. "Very observant of you", she said, not hiding her jab over the fact that it was Willy who had given her away. "Why, yes. Yes, I am here to save him. And you are going to release him."

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    • "No."  Josey groaned, playing dead.  "Think I cracked a rib."  He muttered.

      They could see a fenced in area to the west, with watchtowers at each corner.  It had likely come from one of the towers.


      The bouncers watched Shanks approach.  If they took note he was a dog-man, they didn't react.


      "Yes, I'm trying." Chotto rubbed his brow, irritated by all this excitement.  "Your friend provoked Inchi to attack him, forcing my hand."  Chotto gestured to the body on the ground.  "Inchi came here for him.  When he walks out alone, there will be trouble."

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    • "I didn't want any trouble! I said I'm sorry!" Willy protested.

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    • "Mrgh... I can draw 'em out." Paul grumbled as he bulked up. He'd probably be okay, so long as they weren't using 50.

      "Keep an eye out for me, I gotta dodge bullet."

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    • "I don't care about any of that", Evangeline said bitterly. "I don't intend to leave here with my friend still tied up to that chair. Will is leaving with us this very instant."


      "Step aside", the dogman growled. "I am going in."

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    • "Take it somewhere else."  One of the bouncers said, having no intention of letting that happen.


      Chotto considered Eva for a moment, seeming to have a sudden clarity of thought.  "Go ahead then."  He said indifferently, dropping back onto the couch.

      "ここを乗り越えなさい."  He ordered the woman hugging WIlliam.  She gave him one last solid pat on the back before making her way over to Chotto again.

      "Inchi's men will try to stop you on the way out.  Don't damage my club too badly."


      "Will do."  Josey muttered.

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    • Paul leapt up and swiftly moved towards the left tower.

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    • Evangeline seemed confused, suspecting that this was some sort of trap. Nevertheless she approached Willy and helped him up from the chair he was sitting on. "The men outside the curtains? This Inchi's or yours?"


      "I wasn't asking, meat", Shanks snarled.

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    • Willy didn't understand what Evangeline was saying really, but he appreciated the hand.

      He dried his tears and tried to compose himself again.

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