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File 128659509755.png - (241.85KB , 800x600 , 176.png )
240513 No. 240513 ID: 4f6e37


"Hi, you've reached the Blejwas' residence. Hoenna and Ferdinand can't come to the phone, and Sophie is a little too shy to answer the phone right now, so if you could just leave a message after the beep, we promise to get right back to you, if you aren't a telemarketer."

"Hon, It's Ferdi. Are you there? Could you pick up the phone? Hoenna? Please. Spirit's sake, if you're there could you pick up the phone so I can talk to you? I just... can we talk? Pick up the goddamn phone, Hoenna.
"Uhm. I tried to come home today and it looks like you went and changed the lock like you said you would. I, uh. Did you take Sophie to your mom's? I tried calling her but she won't pick it up if she sees my ID.
"Look, uh, if you get this, could you please, please call me back? I need to talk to you, okay? I know we always just end up yelling but I really will try and just explain myself to you this time, okay? I didn't mean to... for any of the stuff I did to... I need you to understand I didn't... I, uh, I don't do what I do because I'm a bad guy. You know I'm not a bad guy. My job is to help people, I took the job for my girls and to, to help people, and... uhm, uh, I'm trying, Hoenna. I'm not crooked, I just... I never thought it would be as hard as it is. You just don't understand... Well, no, I mean how could y- I mean, call me back, okay, Hoenna? I have to go. I love you. I love love love you and I love Sophie. I'll see you soon, Hoenna. Be safe."
Expand all images
No. 240516 ID: c2c011

Well this seems intersting. Lets keep up with the observation.
No. 240517 ID: 4f6e37
File 128659528342.png - (721.45KB , 800x600 , 177.png )

In Oren's dream he goes to the museum with Li-Li, and together they look at art.

Oren doesn't think he gets it. He's sort of cold. He shifts around nervously from foot to foot, casting glances at the demure suited folks all around them. Leah is looking intently up at a painting on the wall.

"It's, uh, I like the triangles," says Oren.
"Shhh," says Leah, not looking away.
Oren notices he's naked.
No. 240518 ID: c59f60

well, if no one else notices then it must not be considered out of place. wonder why.
No. 240521 ID: c2c011

Hmm, nice hats on the crowd as well.

And that is alot more than just triangles. Also notice the rounded shapes. Don't comment on it though. Just observe it silently while sipping on your drink and ignoring any wardrobe failures-
No. 240523 ID: e973f4

Don't flip out, man. Hang in there.
No. 240524 ID: cbb20c

Obviously this is going to be one of those dreams. You know, the kind where you are somewhere public naked but can't escape.
No. 240533 ID: a594b9

Wouldn't you rather Squires was here?
No. 240546 ID: 4f6e37
File 128659725883.png - (614.48KB , 800x600 , 178.png )

Oren's fine. He's worked out enough that he's okay with showing a little skin, and it's his dream, after all.
"There's some circles too," says Oren.
"No there are not," says Leah. "There are no circles. This is a new one where there are not circles and there are not triangles, and it's just awful."
"I sort of like this one," says Oren.
"Shhh, Oren," Leah says. "I love you. You're all I ever think about."
"Nah," Oren observes, dryly. He starts to take a drink, realizes he has no drink, then decides that if it's his dream he deserves one. He puts the straw in his mouth and drinks, trying to not make sucking noises.
No. 240547 ID: 4f6e37
File 12865972625.png - (557.82KB , 800x600 , 179.png )

The Undertaker notices them from the sculptures, and walks over. "Hey, Mr. Loper," he says.
"Howdy, Undertaker. haven't seen you for a while."
"Going au naturale this morning?"
"It's healthy for the soul," says Oren.
"Shhh," says Leah. Oren takes a noisy sip.
"You're naked, mate," comments a passing patron.
"Yeah," says Oren. "So we're in Anchorturn right now, Undertaker. We're staying at Mendel Suites out on the outskirts, which is real nice. Y'all ever wonder how they get the towels so damn fluffy in these places?"
"I know," says the undertaker. "About Anchorturn, not the towels. I had to work a bit to track you down. Blejwas killed all the bandits. He hired them then killed them to keep them from telling anyone."
"Balls," says Oren. "Well I'm glad we beat him back to Anchorturn, then. Reckon he's trying to punch my ticket, now."
"You seem awfully calm about the entire thing."
"I'm asleep. It's sort of calming. Plus I've got some powerful friends in Anchorturn. I think we'll be okay for now."
"For now, maybe," says the Undertaker. "But we don't know when Blejwas is coming back, and Joseph is at large in this city. You need to catch him before either he or Blejwas tries punching your ticket. I'm not going to lie, Mr. Loper, it's stressing me out. Where are you going to start looking for this guy in a city this size, anyway?" If he had a visible brow, Oren's sure he'd be crinkling it.
No. 240551 ID: e7bf04

Say hello to Gryph, the one with the hat with a white stripe.
No. 240554 ID: c59f60

by just looking. if you don't try then you will never succeed. also ask who is friends are.
No. 240569 ID: 4c7b39

Say Hi to the dreamthings, make small talk, ask if they've seen any interesting dreams, wonder why the hell you're dreaming about an art gallery in your birthday suit, etc.
No. 240598 ID: e3f578

"I can handle it, Undertaker. If there's anything movies have taught me, it's that the cop always finds the guy he's looking for in the big city through an amazing set of contrived circumstances. ha no, but I'll find him. My powerful friends have their friends and I am an excellent question asker."
No. 240631 ID: c2c011

You have connections with money. Connections that Joseph might not be aware of. They're gonna put the word out on the street that they have a job for a man of his skills and see if he pops up. And then we will see what comes out of him when he cracks from the pressure. Might be something that can be used against Blejwas.
No. 240967 ID: 4f6e37
File 12866810972.png - (461.21KB , 800x600 , 180.png )

"Maybe I'll just look," says Oren. "Ain't that the way it works in movies? The good guy always finds the bad guy if he just looks."
"I wouldn't know," says the undertaker. "I don't watch a lot of TV."
"Shhh," says Leah.
"It's a joke," says Oren. "Don't fuss yourself, Undertaker. I got friends with money where it counts, and I'm pretty good at asking questions."
"Your deputy is here, Oren," says Leah, dispassionately. "Here, behind you."
No. 240986 ID: a594b9

Awesome, that picture sucked anyway. Say hi to squires and hug her with your naked body.
No. 241007 ID: 0b2a05

It's going to be something that freaks you out.

Just y'know, letting you know.
No. 241009 ID: 4f6e37
File 128668267188.png - (279.23KB , 800x600 , 181.png )

"Nessie-" says Oren, turning around.
No, says Blejwas.

No. 241010 ID: 4f6e37
File 128668267470.png - (75.44KB , 800x600 , 182.png )

The shock of adrenaline snaps Oren gasping awake and into full alert.

He takes a deep breath, feels the cold sweat in his armpits. Looks over at Nessie, snoring into her pillow. She murmurs and shifts in response to his movement. Fucking shitfuck. Aaaugh. Oren's heart is pounding. Time. What time is it? He glances over at the clock, which blinks2:37 AMback at him.
Great. Should he even try getting back to sleep? He doubts he can.
No. 241012 ID: a17cca

Fuck no
Go out, get some fresh air.
No. 241013 ID: c59f60

damn, just don't let it get you paranoid. come up with a quick turn counter move is all. so that if he tries that stunt in real life it will fail.
No. 241017 ID: e3f578

Man dreams that last a few minutes are supposed to mean it's morning. What a rip-off dream, it cut off most of the deal. Goddamn.

Shit son it is time to rise and moon and by that, I mean catch a good look at some ass before getting up and getting some goddamn milk. Then just let the fireman roam free as you slouch towards the window in contempt, so the universe means that you fucking mean business and your gonna get the motherfucker out there. Nothing says you don't take shit from the universe than a nude dude shot that doesn't give a fuck it's time for the morning routine
No. 241031 ID: 754124

Are you naked?
No. 241063 ID: 4f6e37
File 12866862762.png - (113.03KB , 800x600 , 183.png )

Oren carefully climbs out of bed, gets an eyeful of Squires to make sure she hasn't transformed into a spooky douchebag with a crossbow, then pads over to the balcony door and steps outside into the cool night air. It's a cool night, and he's not wearing anything, but the crisp wind is bracing. He looks out at the dark skyline of the city he can see through the trees around the suites.

Behind him, Squires mutters something that sounds like "Don't put that in your ear, retard," and rolls over a bit. His blood feels a bit cooler, now. Should he just go back to sleep, or is there anything he can accomplish this early? He's not sure who else is up. Celyne and Mendel are both here, as are a few wealthy guests. Some big shot possibly-gangster, a diplomat from some Faux-Furlesian tribe over East, that celebrity brat with the ratty dog thing, that sort of thing. If he wants to go out into the city he'll need to get someone with the keys to a cart up.

The cold is transitioning from comfort to annoyance. His forehead hurts a little, almost like someone shot him between the eyes. It seemed so real...
No. 241069 ID: 701a19

Go back inside. Shut and lock the door. Splash some water on your face and check the area in the mirror. Keep an eye out for possible assassination attempts.
No. 241084 ID: d3dfb8

Stick it in squires while she's sleeping. Try not to wake her. If you do -10 points.
If you win +50 points.
No. 241085 ID: e3f578

I think Blejwas might have gotten some weird dream magic on you or something and he might have been a little less a product of a dream. Ask Undertaker of crazy dream stuff like that if it's possible. Blejwas hired a mage back at that one place so he might have gotten an illusionist to fuck with your head.
No. 241118 ID: a17cca

Both of these.
No. 241128 ID: c59f60

... that is both creepy and wrong. no.
No. 241715 ID: a594b9

I'm sure Oren is perfectly capable of determining if sleep molestation is something appropriate to do to Squires.

At any rate, definitely check your forehead. Fiddle with the Oculus while we're at it.
No. 241831 ID: 754124

Do a quiet sweep of the room, make sure that nothing's amiss.
No. 241838 ID: 4f6e37
File 12867618723.png - (57.22KB , 800x600 , 184.png )

Oren stumbles back inside, shutting the door and locking it. He goes to the bathroom, lets the dogs out, wanders over to the mirror, splashes some water on his face. He stares at his reflection in the mirror. Nothing weird on his forehead. He thinks for a second about the oculus, and a third eyeball stuck up there. He can’t say the thought is particularly appealing to him right now. He flicks off the light in the bathroom and clambers back into bed.
[Undertaker, was that right there some weird magical thing Blejwas did?]
[I doubt it, Mr. Loper. If it was I didn't sense anything. It may just have been a nightmare.]
[Hrmm. Haven't had one of those in a long time.]

Oren turns back to Squires, still sleeping soundly. "I said don't put it in your mouth," she mutters. The sudden shot of adrenaline has faded, and left a keen physical longing for her eating at him in its stead. But she's not a tremendously heavy sleeper, so he reckons he can't try much without waking her up. There’s also the fact that trying to bang someone who’s asleep is three kinds of wrong. Just a touch would be fine but he doesn't even know if he can touch her, seeing as he's still pretty damn cold from outside. Shit. Forget it.

Guess he'll just lie here and try not to think about those narrow eyes staring him down.
No. 241839 ID: 4f6e37
File 128676187788.png - (373.91KB , 800x600 , 185.png )

Morning breaks over Mendel Suites. It's a snug, inclusive sort of morning, the kind where it seems like the air's thick with the day's potential and the birds are trying strike up a conversation with you.
No. 241840 ID: 4f6e37
File 128676188035.png - (235.65KB , 800x600 , 186.png )

Celyne Arbock has determined that this morning is more or less to her liking, and is outside on the balcony of the room she shares with Mendel, reading.

You remember Celyne, right? If you don't it's probably best to say you do because she hasn't had her coffee yet this morning and she'd probably get offended and even she has to admit she's sort of a bitch when she's offended. Mendel's still asleep or something, and he is the only one who knows where the fucking coffee is. She wonders vaguely if she needs to drag his ass out of bed.
The book is called The Day the Sun Was Blue, a memoir of some guy who lived with some Waani separatists for a while and got to know their leader right before he was assassinated. It's interesting, she guesses. She looks up from her book occasionally into the hedge maze. She does this because there's cops in the hedge maze she's keeping an eye on.
No. 241854 ID: e3f578

I remember the exotic, beautiful Celyne. It certainly wold be wonderful if she could rotate the camera and zoom in on those big bad coppers out their.

Or better yet let us lead her to some coffee. It's probably in the dining hall thing if your room doesn't come with its own coffee maker in the main room or bathroom. If it doesn't come with its own coffee maker, what kind of rich bitch hotel is this?
No. 241855 ID: 1854db

How could we forget Celyne? The mere thought is ridiculous. Why is she keeping an eye on the cops, though?
No. 241858 ID: 6834bc

Who could forget Celyne? Nobody, that's who! Those shades look nice on her, too.

What's with the cops in the hedge maze? Are they having fun, on patrol, or did they just show up out of the blue and start trying to sneakily make their way up to the Suites?

And as for the coffee situation, well, that's important, too. Waking up Mendel would be a step towards getting you coffee as well as someone to talk to about the cops, if they're not supposed to be here.
No. 241917 ID: 4f6e37
File 128676847523.png - (236.27KB , 800x600 , 187.png )

Celyne stomps over to the doorway, slides it open a crack, and howls, "MORNING," at Mendel, who promptly twitches, rolls over, and falls out of bed. A few minutes later he's up and at the door with a mug in his hand. Gotta love morning persons. People. Whatever.

"Morning, babe," says Mendel. "I bring java and bad news." He indicates the newspaper tucked under his arm.
"Lookie here," he says, dropping the paper into her lap. "The bed ain't the only pace I'm screwing you."
"The Gables Deal went through," says Mendel, victoriously. "Your ass is grass, Arbock."
"Bullshit, Mendel," says Celyne, sipping her coffee. "You're just hopping on the bandwagon I started with this noise-cancellation initiative, and everyone knows it. You talk a big game, but I have yet to see you bring anything."
"That's not what you were saying last night," says Mendel.
"Maybe I said it after you zonked out halfway through," says Celyne. "I'm kidding, Mendel, don't give me that look. You're very virile and manly or whatever. There's cops in the hedgemaze, by the way."
"Shred the paperwork," says Mendel dryly.
"Just give me the coffee, loverboy," says Celyne.
He passes her the mug, then goes back into the suite and drags out another chair.
No. 241918 ID: 4f6e37
File 128676847935.png - (255.90KB , 800x600 , 188.png )

"So what are cops doing in the hedgemaze?" asks Mendel.
"It's Squires and Loper," says Celyne. "They saw the maze and decided it would be a perfect arena for some training exercise or something."
"Oh," says Mendel. "Those two."
"Those two," says Celyne. "Oren and Nessie."
"Nessie and Oren," says Mendel. "They're so beautiful. Too beautiful to be cops.
"D'you think..."
"I doubt they'd go for a foursome," says Celyne. "Country folk."
"C'est la vie," says Mendel. "Speaking of bad news," he gestures to the newspaper, "My gentleman's gentleman Brizio has a cousin in the Authority, and he says that Blejwas is on his way back. Going to be here tonight, maybe tomorrow. We need to figure out just what we're going to do to make sure he doesn't fuck Loper. I have a feeling our friend the sheriff does not really have an idea what he's dealing with."
"You think he needs our help?"
"I know it. Should we hide him, do you think? Or what? Blejwas doesn't know he's here, but as soon as he figures it out, he knows we're friends. Spirits love Oren, but I don't know if I like taking the fall for him."
No. 241921 ID: 754124

>"I doubt they'd go for a foursome," says Celyne. "Country folk."
Wouldn't hurt to ask.
No. 241926 ID: e3f578

Perhaps we should, you know, hanker down on some exposition of what Loper doesn't realize he's dealing with... if it's just not some pissed off corrupt police officer with a lot of connections. It's not like anyone's listening in.

Ceylene make fun of Mendel for looking like a Teddy Bear in a green robe.
No. 241927 ID: 701a19

Crooked cops have enemies that want blood and friends who would conveniently forget about them if something happened to go south.
Find out who his friends are, and then start leaking the word in the right places that his 'friends' have put a hit out on him. Let each 'friend' think another did it, and that the rest are all scrambling to collect.
They'll each let Blejwas know about the hit in order to score some brownie points, and if a half dozen people each tell him that the other five are out to kill him then he'll be too paranoid watching his own ass to worry about Loper.
That's when you find somebody to pose as an agent of one of his called 'friends' and hire somebody good - half down, half on completion - to try the hit.
If he succeeds then the problem is over.
If he fails, then Blejwas will start outright turning on his friends.
If the hitman gets caught, then he'll implicate somebody else.
No. 241929 ID: 1854db

Um. What exactly is he dealing with here? If it's way too big maybe Celyne should tell him to run.
No. 241938 ID: 4f6e37
File 128677252344.png - (379.24KB , 800x600 , 189.png )

"What exactly is he dealing with?" asks Celyne.
"The motherfucker with half the city under his thumb and the other half too scared of him to do much, why?" says Mendel.
"Aren't you overemphasizing him a little?"
"Maybe," sniffs Mendel.
"Should we tell him he's in a little deep?" asks Celyne.
"I think he knows," says Mendel. "Besides, guy like Oren?"
No. 241939 ID: 4f6e37
File 128677255943.png - (312.18KB , 800x600 , 190.png )

"I think in deep is right where he wants to be."

Be very quiet. Oren is hunting Deputy.
No. 241940 ID: 701a19

Use those oversized ears to hear her breathing.
No. 241943 ID: e3f578

Be careful, she might be using disguises to woo and trick you. An opera dress, a frilly 50's dress, who knows. Maybe she's wearing a mustache and glasses and a wig to offer you a cigarette that will blow up in your face.

Whatever you do Oren, don't take a cigarette from a stranger.
No. 241944 ID: 754124

See, it's funny because "in deep" could refer to sex.

Oren, is mounting the walls a viable endeavor here?
No. 241945 ID: 69bee4

oh, I know how this game plays. Shes going to pop up behind you when your not looking, so use reverse psychology on her resverse psychology and.... wait.. im confused now.
No. 241950 ID: 1854db

Sneak. Listen.
No. 241953 ID: 4f6e37
File 128677549231.png - (380.05KB , 800x600 , 191.png )

Oren hears rustling further off, but he can't quite place it. Somewhere to the left.

He needs a better look. He struggles his way up the wall next to him to the top of the hedge and peers out across the top. Suddenly, with a twang, Squires makes her move, about two rows down and to the left. A miss.
No. 241954 ID: 0b2a05

Oh you are going to lose all of those darts

You know her location, SNEAK!
No. 241956 ID: 754124

Okay, land on the side of the hedge closer to her. Charge through the gap ahead of that, go around the hedge she's behind or maybe over it if she's stuck there.
No. 241991 ID: 1854db

Watch your back, she could easily circle around the other direction.
No. 242717 ID: 4f6e37
File 128694540212.png - (362.59KB , 800x600 , 192.png )

Oren lands on the side of the bush facing Squires and hustles through the gap. He picks up Squires, never one for stealthy movement, snapping a twig on the south side of the bush directly in front of him, so he heads to circle around her.
He takes a peek around the bush Squires was hiding behind and- aha. There she is, a sitting duck.
Unfortunately, the crossbow Oren is equipped with is not exactly, as you may have noted, top of the line. They chose to use nerfs due to their excessive inaccuracy, in order to level the playing field between Sharp-eyed Loper and aim-impaired Squires. Oren reckons if he shoots at her now he's got about a one in two chance of hitting her. He could try and get closer, but Nessie's great big bat ears give her sharp hearing. He's not sure if he could creep much closer without being detected.
No. 242719 ID: a09a03

Shoot her in the butt.
No. 242722 ID: 754124

Shoot now. Then move closer quickly. You should hopefully have time for a second shot if the first fails.
No. 242723 ID: f38fc7

combat roll closer and take a shot.
No. 242867 ID: cffd8d

If you literally jump in closer, she'd only potentially hear the start of your jump and the end. Thing is, as you get closer, you're getting a better shot, so you can shoot in the middle of the jump or at the end of the jump. It'd all depend on if she hears the start of it and reacts in time.

Or, you could be a gambling man and just take the shot.
No. 244058 ID: 4f6e37
File 128720582640.png - (313.70KB , 800x600 , 193.png )

Oren leaps out from behind the bush, sees Nessie whipping around, fires off a brightly colored nerf bolt. Before waiting to see if it hits, he cranks another bolt in and dives, firing that off too.

In midair he sees the second bolt connect, then a split second later feels an impact on his own leg. He lands and rolls, hearing Nessie say, "You just shot me in the boob!"
He sits up.
"You just shot your girlfriend in the boob, Deadeye," says Nessie. "Ow."
"So I won," says Oren.
"Wait, no," says Nessie. "If I didn't have bazooms you would have missed."
"But I didn't," says Oren.
"If I had been a dude you would have," says Nessie. "That's right, bitch, I am pulling the Gender Discrimination card. That is how much winning means to me. Besides, I hit you like half a second later. Victory Nessie. Grrrrl power. Or whatever."
No. 244059 ID: e973f4

Tell her that if we're going that route she's going to need to stuff something in her ears for next round. :3
No. 244060 ID: 40cb26

Oh just call it a draw so you can get out of here, shower and fuck. Perhaps not in that order.
No. 244067 ID: 1b42c5

yes, officially you both lose.
No. 246378 ID: 618a71

Tell her that you both lost, and it is a very tragic outcome with many grieving relatives and public outcry that eventually leads to duels being made illegal and a lot of guys with big mustaches being very upset about it.
No. 246649 ID: 8555c2

Shoot her in the boob again.
No. 276970 ID: 4812df
File 129653477715.png - (159.78KB , 800x600 , 194.png )

"If we're going that route you're going to have to stuff something in your ears next time around," says Oren.
"Are you calling my ears big?" Nessie adopts an air of mock outrage.
"I ain't calling them tiny."
"Motherfucker," says Nessie, walking up and punching him in the arm.
"Fine. We both lost," says Oren.
"No. I am not letting this drop," says Nessie. "This is important to me. Important enough" she tosses her toy crossbow aside, "that I am willing to repay an admission of defeat from you with sexual favors," she says in such a histrionic tone Oren is sure the rich folks upstairs heard her.
No. 276971 ID: 4812df
File 129653478625.png - (171.80KB , 800x600 , 195.png )

"Nessie, we're in public."
"That's what makes it kinky, you stick in the mud," says Nessie. "Oh heck, I'm biting your neck."
"Let's just shower and meet with Celyne. She said she needed to talk to us about something important."
"Oh, darn. I'm squeezing your arm."
"Did that even rhyme?"
"Oh, fiddle. I'm down to your middle."
"I think Celyne's being a negative influence on you, Squires."
No. 276972 ID: 4812df
File 129653479280.png - (217.55KB , 800x600 , 196.png )

"Oh, ick," says Nessie, unzipping his fly.
"Sheriff Loper and Deputy Squires, to the balcony please," calls the voice of Alan Arbock from above. "Urgent Investigatory Business Re: Blejwas and/or Joseph."
No. 276973 ID: 4812df
File 129653480016.png - (218.86KB , 800x600 , 197.png )

Nessie pops up. "Was that Alan?" she says, excitedly. She's taken a liking to the Socialite-cum-serial killer ever since he gave them a lift in his fancy skiff. "What's he doing here?"
"Not sure," says Oren. "It sounded important."
"Yeah," Nessie looks down. "Raindate on this while we go see what he wants?"
No. 276979 ID: 701a19

They had to have heard Nessie, and they don't seem the type to get in the way of fun. If anything they'd get some popcorn and watch. Or join in.

Yea, go check it out.
No. 276988 ID: 693d88

>They had to have heard Nessie
no, they're pretty far off.
But they said it's urgent, so I guess we should assume it's urgent.
No. 277000 ID: 4812df
File 129653822980.png - (385.19KB , 800x600 , 198.png )

As soon as Oren gets to the balcony, he is leapt on by Alan, overdressed as always in a Waani Ceremony Suit. "Oren!" he says, ignoring the weak country convention of personal space and embracing the Sheriff. "It's marvelous to see you."
"Erk...can't breathe..." says Oren.
"Oh, right," says Alan, letting his grip go a little slack. He is currently inhabiting the body of a serial killer, the Hatchtown Hacker, and frequently forgets his own strength.
"It's only been a day or so, uhhhh, Jhonen," says Oren. "And what are you doing here? I thought you-"
"There's no need to keep the charade up," says Alan. "Now that my killer is properly apprehended, I saw no reason to hide my existence. Not from my own dear sister, anyway. I'm still debating whether or not to go public. Maybe do an Elde Weekly cover or something."
No. 277001 ID: 4812df
File 129653824673.png - (393.96KB , 800x600 , 199.png )

"It was a shock, but I got over it," says Celyne. "It's good to have Alan back, eclectic wardrobe and all." She looks over at Nessie. "Speaking of which. What in Spirits' name are you wearing, sugar?"
"What, this?" says Nessie. "It's Oren's."
"Hon, we are stealing Mendel's credit card and going to the boutique," says Celyne. "You can't live the ritz life wearing that."
"It's comfy," protests Nessie.
"You can be comfy in something besides a giant tea cosy, Nessie," says Celyne. "Sometime soon I am going to have to show you the light."
No. 277002 ID: 4812df
File 129653825496.png - (241.69KB , 800x600 , 200.png )

"Fashion comes second," says Oren, chafing a little more than he wants to admit at the dig over his sweater. "What's up? Nessie and me halted cover training to come up here."
"So that's what they're calling it these days," says Mendel.
"Shut up, Mendel," Celyne picks up her book and snaps it shut. "Alan's got a contact in the Authority here who says Blejwas is on his way back. He should be here in two to three days."
"Indeed," says Alan. "Now, my contact has some potential dirt to dig up, a few leads to follow to go after the man, but that's ignoring the more pressing threat."
"Joseph," says Oren. On top of the crooked cop who runs the city's Authority wanting his head on a platter, there is quite possibly a knife-wielding assassin with a grudge on the hunt in the city, too."
"Joseph," says Celyne. "Now Mendel's hired a PI to look into this guy, and apparently they have a few leads over there, too. It's up to you who to go after first."
No. 277004 ID: 693d88

Let's go for the one that's not a cop. That's bound to be a good bit more straightforward.
No. 277007 ID: 701a19

rolled 1 = 1

Man, it's too bad there aren't any local mob bosses who'd be willing to take Blejwas out. Nobody would think twice if a crime lord hit an authority head, but a crooked cop's got friends on the other side.

1=Private eye, 2=informant
No. 277041 ID: 1854db

...yeah, let's do our job before taking on old grudges.
No. 277091 ID: d7bfc7

as they say, business before pleasure.
No. 277100 ID: 4812df
File 129657922476.png - (15.24KB , 800x600 , 201.png )

Oren and Nessie decide to pay a visit to the PI. The PI's office is near the skiffdocks, traditionally a place where the less-reputable of the city are quartered. Nessie suggests that they bring weapons, as it's better to be safe than sorry. "Crossbows are like condoms. You never need one until suddenly, you do."
Oren takes inventory. He has a mace as his basic weapon. He could choose to take along either his composite bow or a crossbow. The bow has a higher rate of fire, and can arc shots, but the crossbow is slightly more accurate, and the flying speed of its bolts are higher, so it can punch through armor more effectively.

Nessie has a sword as her primary, and can take along either her traditional iron shield or a mean little Main Gauche which will increase her offensive power at the expense of protection.
No. 277102 ID: 197650

crossbows can also be aimed at cover, waiting for the enemy to pop up his head. You can't do that with a longbow.
Also, crossbows are more compact, go for the crossbow.
No. 277145 ID: 676156

Crossbow, shield.
No. 277194 ID: 4812df
File 129659977761.png - (35.50KB , 800x600 , 202.png )

Oren and Nessie take along the shield and crossbow, then follow the instructions Alan gives them to a dingy, unassuming building. Floor 3, Room 33. There is nothing on the door but the number, in polished brass.
No. 277195 ID: 4812df
File 129659979044.png - (83.91KB , 800x600 , 203.png )

Oren taps on the door.

"Loper?" calls a voice from the other side.

"Yep," says Oren.

"Vesta. Come in, take your shoes off, and let's chat."
No. 277196 ID: 55c4cf



get out.

Get out.
No. 277208 ID: d7bfc7

Damn, don't get much more 'noir' than this office without grain on your film and in your glass.
No. 277211 ID: 676156

What's wrong with 333?
No. 277224 ID: 20fc85

room is 333
people in it: 2

no. Just go in and talk. Be wary though, cause the chances of 333 being a coincidence is pretty low...
No. 277243 ID: 4812df
File 12966064484.png - (149.24KB , 800x600 , 204.png )

"Hit the lights when you come in, to your right" says Vesta. "I like the atmosphere, but I like seeing what you're doing with your hands better." Oren flips the lightswitch on, revealing a dingy, bare, smoke-filled office. A scent like burning apple trees reaches Oren's nose. Furlesian tobacco.

"Sheriff Loper, Deputy Squires," Vesta nods. She's a petite brown vidder with an unironed dress shirt and a pipe. "I'd offer you seats, but there's only one. Flip a coin?"
"I'm good with standing," says Oren.
"Me too," says Nessie.
"Suit yourself," Vesta takes another pull on her pipe. "You have some wealthy friends, Mr. Loper. I won't ask how you know the formerly deceased Mr. Arbock. This is where you can be impressed I figured out who he was."
"How?" says Oren.
"He hired the best," says Vesta. "and to be honest he's terrible at keeping up a false identity. Daria Etra Vesta. PI and sellsword, when the need arises. Now about your assassin friend."
"Not exactly a friend," says Nessie.

"I gathered," says Vesta. "There's some traces of your man Joseph Bird floating around, or someone awfully like him. Yesterday he bought a bagel at a coffee shop in Little Waan, then a friend of mine in Authority Forensics found his fingerprints on a knifehandle stuck in a stiff right here on the skiffdocks. Two sightings of him near midnight at the skiff of Bevil Marco, noted chalk baron-slash-crook. And last I heard, a local gang, the Nines, has a meeting with a 'representative' of Mr Bird on the docks, around 7 PM today in Nine territory. Sounds like your man is a bit of a networker. I can take you to the coffee place, crime scene, skiff, or Nines Headquarters, or anywhere else, as it pleases you. I know the city, and it knows me enough to stay out of my way, most of the time."
No. 277247 ID: d7bfc7

Oryx huh? Can't tell if she's keen on putting a shaft in him or him putting the shaft to her with all those arrows in the pic there.

Let's check the crime scene first, meander over for some coffee, then go for a stroll by the docks to look at that skiff.
No. 277300 ID: 383006

Don't let her see the sudden inappropriate boner that you have popped.
No. 277325 ID: 99433a

Erections are highly appropriate when meeting sexy lady PIs.
No. 277344 ID: 4812df
File 129661806281.png - (215.73KB , 800x600 , 205.png )

She may have a certain alluring professionalism about her, but she also has the physique of a 12 year old boy. No offense.
"We'll hit the crime scene first," says Oren.
"Got it," Vesta replies, setting her pipe down carefully on her desk. She heads to the cupboard on the wall and retrieves a trenchcoat, hat, and mean-looking, compact repeating crossbow. Now that is something worth popping an inappropriate boner over. Such weapons are of Waani make, and very rare outside their lands. And the Waani don't have very much land left at all.
"I like her," whispers Nessie as they suit up. "I have a good feeling about this case. You think she'd go for a threesome?"
"I doubt it," grins Oren. "City folk."

"Your rich friends don't have a ride for us, do they?" asks Vesta. "I don't own a car and they've shut down public transportation to the block pending investigation, so we'll be footslogging otherwise."
No. 277355 ID: 701a19

Oren, City Folk are no less likely to have threesomes than you are.

Celyne and Mendel totally want a foursome with you two, and you know it because they're rich and that's what rich people do.

This girl is probably up for a threesome because she's totally noir and a threesome with clients is all kinds of noir.

So, hey, once you're done with the investigation with her go ahead and let Nessie make a few comments to you about a possible threesome that are loud enough so Vesta knows she's supposed to be overhearing them.

Take a taxi. We need to keep a low profile, and riding around in fancy rides of famous people is not exactly subtle.
No. 278013 ID: 693d88

>but she also has the physique of a 12 year old boy. No offense.
There's some that like that.

>You think she'd go for a threesome?"
No harm in asking, once business is taken care of.
No. 278047 ID: 4812df
File 129662522915.png - (176.85KB , 800x600 , 206.png )

The three take a taxi to the scene, which lets them out just outside the Authority barricade. As they disembark, an Authority officer strides purposefully up to them. "No civilians beyond this point," he says.
"You know me, Silt," says Vesta. "and my two friends here are Authority."
"Sheriff Loper and Deputy Squires are in plainclothes, and this is not their investigation nor yours, Daria," says Silt.
"The information you give is most valuable, Mr. Silt," says Vesta. "Now I'll trade it for something you may want to know. I know about Marla."

Silt doesn't react for a moment, but Oren sees his fists clench, his knuckles go white. "No you don't," he says.
"Yes I do, Silt," says Vesta, cheerfully. "I know all about her. I'm sure your sergeant and Mrs. Silt would both be interested in finding out, too."
"Who told you?" Silt's voice is strained.
"You know I won't tell you that, Silt," says Vesta. "Now can I go through?"
"Bitch," says Silt. "You mud-faced bitch. You fucking cunt."
"Can I go through?" Vesta remains cheerful.
"Yeah, you can fucking- you- Get out of my sight. Furlesian slut. Shitskin. Fuck off."
"Give my love to the wife and kids, Silt," Vesta says as she breezes past the livid cop. "Come on, Mr. Loper. I want you to meet a friend of mine."

"The fuck are you looking at?" Silt spits at Oren and Nessie. "Go through before I change my fucking mind and gut you."
No. 278048 ID: 4812df
File 129662524659.png - (183.73KB , 800x600 , 207.png )

Oren follows the path around a bend out to a walkway overlooking the desert. Standing at the crime scene is a portly-looking Authority member, who extends his hand as he sees Oren approach. "Mr. Loper? I'm a friend of Miss Vesta's," he says. "I'm Constable Hell."
"Pleased to meet you, Constable... Hell," says Oren, shaking the outstretched hand.
"It's a shame of a name, but it's mine," says the constable. "I thought about changing it, but...eh," he shrugs. "It's got lineage. So," he gestures to the bloodstain on the ground. "here is the scene of the crime. I've got the knife here, but the body's already been hauled off to the morgue. I'm told you're not really interested in forensics so much as circumstances, though. There was surveillance footage of the killing, and we have some witnesses, that sort of thing. I'm here to answer any questions you might have about the victim or the event. Vesta says you already know the killer, yeah?"
No. 278097 ID: 1854db

Yep. We know him very well.

...that's quite the blood splatter. Reached all the way to the railing.
No. 278296 ID: 197650

What can he tell you about the victem's behavioural pattern, show us the footage, question the eyewithnesses.
No. 278304 ID: 4812df
File 129667734698.png - (278.26KB , 800x600 , 208.png )

"Reckon I do," says Oren. He looks down at the railing. "That's a hell of a blood splatter," he says. "It got everywhere."

"Well, that's not from the same source as the puddle," says Hell. "There's flecks of the stuff all over the area. The victim got jumped by your guy over here, there was a bit of a struggle, the spotlights up there turned on, and then he got stabbed twice in the stomach and his throat opened up. Pretty messy. Then the killer sticks the knife in his chest, waves at the camera, and sort of saunters off."

"Who was the victim?"
"Marlo Sand. He was a dock worker by trade, but when we investigated his apartment, we found a big-ass crossbow and a couple tabs of MDMA, so the guy wasn't exactly a model citizen. He was out here around 11 PM on a smoke break when he got knifed."

"How about these eyewitnesses?"
"Not so much witnesses to the event itself as a guy who saw the fella leaving and was too scared to chase after him and the dockworker who found the aftermath," says Hell. "We already talked to them and didn't get too much, but maybe you'll have better luck. We can go visit them, if you want."

"And the footage of this?"
"If you want it it'll take a while for me to get it to you," says Hell. "The Authority here sort of has orders to stonewall you in a lot of places, I'm sorry to say, sir. Blejwas isn't too fond of you ever since you bloodied his nose on that Arbock thing." He grins. "That was funny, seeing him get taken down a peg. I can probably go and get you the footage from the guys at evidence, but I don't think you should come with me if I do."
No. 278305 ID: e3f578

So officers actually respect Blejwas or fear him? And you being stonewalled is no problem considering he might try to kill you in a short while. Just how complicated would it be to arrest Blejwas if he attacked you or was found dealing with Joseph for anything related to a hit?
No. 278381 ID: 1854db

Well it'd be nice to get that footage but I'm not sure what good it'd do. Besides, where would we pick it up? Let's go talk to the witnesses.
Note the direction of the blood spatter. Does this match with the description of the fight? Oh well, not really our investigation is it? Looks like some of it dried and flaked off.
No. 278467 ID: 4812df
File 129670195964.png - (18.78KB , 800x600 , 209.png )

"So do you folks respect Blejwas or just fear him?" asks Oren.
"Well I mean he's a scary guy," says Hell. "He's got a pretty bad temper. A lot of people don't like him. But at the same time, I mean, he's pretty much the entire Anchorturn Authority. He makes the skiffs run on time, yeah?"
"The way he goes about it is as rotten as hell, though," protests Oren.
"Well, yeah," says Hell. "But I mean Anchorturn is one of the biggest cities in Elde. There is a lot of crime. A lot more than in any country town. No offense. Before he came along, the Authority was kind of swamped. He reorganized the place, scared the slackers back into line, made deals with the big crooks, made the repeat offending little guys disappear, all the white career crooks. And the Authority has plenty of materials and cash. It's just no good to ask where it comes from. And he's always at the Authority precinct so much later than everyone else. I think he sleeps there sometimes. I mean if I had his job..." he trails off.
"You wouldn't be any better than him?" asks Oren.
"Hell, no," says Hell. "I'd be even worse. A job like that can suck the soul out of anyone. I mean it's rough."
Oren has uncomfortable memories of the gray thoughts he had in Hearthback before he and Nessie got together.
"Well, whatever," says Hell. "He's pretty darn crooked no matter how you slice it. I don't really want to risk going with you, but I can get you in touch with the witnesses."
No. 278468 ID: 4812df
File 129670197071.png - (57.98KB , 800x600 , 210.png )

Oren leaves, and meets back up with Nessie and Vesta. The PI leads them to the guy who saw the fella leaving.

"Yeah, brother. I remember last night like crystal. It's like trauma enhances memory. I read that somewhere. So I'm out at the docks late, for the completely legit reason that this video rental place is 24-7 and the graveyard shift pays good. But walking home after is a good way to get knifed but I take self-defense classes. I can take care of myself.
"So I hear this scream from like the docks and I look and the lights have gone on? Those lights that turn on with like a motion detector? And this guy in this big black coat is just wailing on this poor motherfucker with like two swords. Or really big knives or something. And I'm like shiiiit, you know? Cause you hear about this shit happening but you don't ever see it.
"So the guy completely wastes the guy, like holy wow, and then he just sort of wanders off, and I'm all oh fuck! He's coming right at me! And like I said I take classes so I'm all ready to go after the guy, but he's on the other side of the street and he doesn't look like he's noticed me, he's just walking along, 0 cares in the world, and then he goes down this alley that goes into the territory of the Nines, this really fucking freaky gang, so I'm like fuck that, I could take him but I'm not a vigilante. So instead I just committed all this shit to memory and told the Authority.
"I totally respect what you guys do, by the way, unlike all those protesters and shit. I was thinking of joining eventually but my parents are like, fuck no! When I'm 20, though, I can do whatever, so maybe then. You, uh, you don't want to rent anything, do you?"
No. 278472 ID: 4812df
File 129670225673.png - (53.32KB , 800x600 , 211.png )

Then the dock worker who found the body.

"What, Sand? Yeah, I worked with him for a while before I found his body all cut up. Sand was a wired prick. Everyone knew he was a prick. I ain't surprised he got sashimi'd. Ain't surprised at all. You find these dead punks on the docks, sometimes. These punks with drugs, or in gangs, or something.
"Sand was one of us, sort of, but he was a punk too, ain't no mistaking it. He got himself in with those guys, you know? The guys with, fuckin', with tattoos of fuckin' diamonds on them or some shit. The Iron Suits or some stupid shit like that. Stupid. He was always talking about how hard they were, he and his little punk friends. Kept saying he was going to end up killing some rival gangster and get initiated or something. Yeah, they have a beef with the Nines. We find the bodies sometimes. Ain't big news to me.
"Ain't big news when I found him all stretched out, either. Sliced open from ear to ear like that. It's what he gets for doing that sort of shit he did. Strung-out punk. He worked high sometimes, everyone knew. Prick."

"The vibrant patches in the quilt that is Anchorturn," says Nessie as they leave. "Bracing."
"Hm," says Vesta. "It's 2 PM now, Sheriff Loper. Where to next?"
No. 278492 ID: 1854db

Well the obvious lead is to attempt to contact one of the two gangs. The Nines would probably know where he is but not tell us, and the Iron Suits wouldn't know but might help us find out. Um... but... is it wise to talk to gangs?
No. 278565 ID: 693d88

>The Nines would probably know where he is but not tell us,
Not much point in talking to them about it, then.
>and the Iron Suits wouldn't know but might help us find out.
Let's go say howdy-do.
>Um... but... is it wise to talk to gangs?
Yes. The only tough bit is making sure they know we're not here for them. As long as they realize we won't do shit to them, at least for now, they shouldn't have a problem with helping us take out their enemies. So we swing by, tell them the name of the fellow we're looking for, and a description, and leave a phone number with them. I'm sure they'll be perfectly reasonable gentlemen about it.
No. 278695 ID: 1aa4f8

let's see if we can get hold of that footage while we're at it.
No. 278806 ID: 4812df
File 129678593129.png - (76.85KB , 800x600 , 212.png )

"Seems like the next logical step would be the gangs," says Oren, as they step out onto the street.
"Possibly," says Vesta. "The two gangs in question. The Iron Suits and the Nines. Hrm."
"Do you know anything about them?" asks Nessie.
"Of course," says Vesta. "That's my job.
"The Nines are shorthand for the Nine Swords of Articus Major. Old Elde proverbial knight figure. They see themselves as a sort of warrior fraternity." She smirks. "Wouldn't be a problem if they didn't take it out on everyone else. They've pledged to raise the impoverished from the gutter, but that just means inducting them into the gang, and they've got the steal-from-the-rich give-to-the poor cavalier attitude, but the rich aren't necessarily rich and the poor are mostly the Nines and their friends. They aren't afraid to get violent about it either, idealists that they are. Dangerous.

"They have some sense of honor, though, which their counterparts the Iron Suits might learn a little about. The name comes from the classy attire they think makes them look hard, and from the tattoos of card suits they stick on their necks to denote rank. They basically control the drug trade in most of Anchorturn. I imagine that's how they got their hooks into that dock worker. One of the bigger gangs in the city, but then so are the Nines.

"I had contacts in both up until 2 and a half weeks ago when my Suits guy took a knife in the neck during a barfight. I can still take you to them and make contact, but we won't have the insider help we will if we go to the Nines, whose members I have some personal contact with. The Suits could well prove more useful, though, especially if we convince them we're on their side. It was their crony who was sliced open, after all. Whoever we go to, try to downplay the Authority thing. Let me do the talking for us."
No. 278816 ID: 7979e6

Despite how much more useful the suits could be, part of me feels that if we get involved with them we'll wake up one day tied to a chair.


Maybe the nines would be a better bet buuut..

Well, ask about who we're likely to wind up talking to in either gang if we do go to them, the leader or middle man, whatever.
See if we'll be able to know who we're going to wind up dealing with before we walk into a gang headquarters.
No. 278820 ID: 1aa4f8

let's go to the Suits
No. 279006 ID: 2a177e

Try the Nines, more predictable and we still have the contact there.
No. 279028 ID: 1854db

Let's try to deal with the good-hearted criminals.
No. 279357 ID: 4812df
File 129694319888.png - (406.29KB , 800x600 , 213.png )

"I guess we'll deal with the good-hearted criminals, then," says Oren.
"Oxymoronical of you, sheriff," says Nessie, as they flag down a cab.

It drives them a few blocks, into a dingy, gray-brown part of town, as Vesta calls her contact and arranges a meeting. The air carries flecks of sand blowing in from the desert, and the smell of leather going musty. "This is where we get off," Vesta tells the driver, a grey-streaked furlesian with a cigar behind his ear.
"Is not the best neighborhood, Sra Vostra," he says. "You know that, though, nej?"
"Mhm," says Vesta, fishing in her pocket for the money to pay him. "Thanks for the ride, Dowwo." She tips, generously.

"Stay safe, Sra. Vostra," says Dowwo as they exit. He drives away down the cracked pavement, the wheels crunching on the thin layer of sand.
No. 279358 ID: 4812df
File 129694321467.png - (304.60KB , 800x600 , 214.png )

Vesta leads them to a darkened alley, the entrance to the Nines territory the video kid mentioned. She slips her repeating crossbow out of her bulky coat and clicks the stock into place.

"Elvin," she calls into the alley. "Where are you?"
"Say the password," calls a vidder further into the dark.
"Elvin, you can see me," says Vesta. "Stop playing around."
"Say it."
"It's a stupid password. It makes me feel stupid."
"You want me to turn around and go?"
"Swordfish," calls Vesta. She mutters something under her breath Oren doesn't catch.
A shadow detaches itself from the building it waits under and leans against a far wall. "Afternoon, Daria," it says. "You can stay over there, for now. Let's talk about payment for this."
"Later, Elvin."
"When we're alone then." Elvin's eyes gleam. "What do you want? Who are your friends there?"
No. 279374 ID: 7979e6

tilt your head, and question "Swordfish?" before moving onto business.
No. 279384 ID: 1854db

Say that you are a concerned citizen checking up on the murder that happened recently, and a witness reported seeing the murderer flee into Nines territory.
No. 279428 ID: 693d88

>"What do you want? Who are your friends there?"
Give a first name. Indicate that we're hoping to find a fellow that we've lost track of. If he asks why, say "business". Hopefully these fine fellows have got manners enough not to pry.

Don't do this.
No. 279440 ID: 4812df
File 129696261114.png - (89.90KB , 800x600 , 215.png )

"Oren and Nessie," says Oren. "Swordfish?"
"It's the password," says Elvin.
"Elvin's not so smart, but he really buys into this whole noir thing," whispers Vesta. "They're looking for someone," she says aloud. "and I happen to know he was seen going into your territory, and that you have a meeting tonight with him."
"Joseph Bird. Yeah," says Elvin. "I had a hunch you wanted to talk about Bird. He wants to meet with us, and he's proven himself an ally. He sent some security footage of him slicing up a Suit before him. All this information is going to cost you," he raises an eyebrow.
"I knew all that already," says Vesta. "Now tell me more about this meeting."
"Him and a few of his men," says Elvin. "7 PM tonight."
"His men?" asks Oren. "Joseph's got friends already?"
Elvin shrugs.
"What are you meeting him for?" asks Nessie.
"He just said he wants one," Elvin shrugs again. "Maybe he'll bring weapons, but we will too. Or they will, anyway. I'm not going. I want to know what he has to say but I don't know if I trust him enough."
No. 279449 ID: 693d88

We would very much like to be at the meeting.
See if we can't get some location info out of Elvin. We'll go dressed as Nines, faces obscured, and we'll keep quiet. To start with, at least. Ideally, we can get invited with the Nines. We can offer some muscle if they need it, and we can promise not to start anything out of respect for them. If things don't work out, we'll think on the fly.
If that doesn't look to be viable, we'll crash the party. In that case, we'd want to remain concealed in the surrounding buildings. That would be a lot more hassle, since probably those buildings are occupied. Though on the plus side, it's very unlikely that either the Nines or Joseph would go through the trouble of putting men in the landscape for something like this. Even if they were to (which they won't) It would be a small force that we could hopefully subdue quietly.

There's a plan A and plan B, with contingencies.
Any better ideas?
And let's get what we can out of Elvin for now.
No. 279578 ID: e973f4

I, uh, this seems reasonable?
No. 279603 ID: 55c4cf

Being potentially outnumbered might make it worth it to get something akin to chloroform and tranquilizers. Neutralizing as many as possible before things get loud is always the best for taking on a larger number.

Also it sounds like captain info wants a tip for his assistance, so make sure and give a little extra to keep him happy so he's less likely to easily tell on us, and will be willing to tell us more later, since we benefit him.
No. 279612 ID: 4812df
File 129702141050.png - (107.09KB , 800x600 , 216.png )

"Don't suppose we could be at that meeting?" says Oren. "Nessie and I?"
"I doubt it," says Elvin. "Official Nines business. Don't see how I could spin outsiders coming with us to the people up top." He pauses, thinks for a moment. "Maybe I'd be able to convince them not to show up, that Joseph isn't trustworthy enough. You folks could go in their place, all decked out in uniform and such. I could get those for you. Not sure if I should bother, though. Not without something in return."
"Like what?" says Nessie, folding her arms.
"A kiss from a pretty lady," says Elvin, grinning widely.
No. 279616 ID: 8e5432

What a fucking loser.

Nessie's choice on this, it'd be damn helpful, but there ain't no way I'd order something like this.
I'm not sure I like the idea of going independently of the Nines, I'd like some portion of the meeting to progress independently of our intervention, for the sake of gathering information. But nothing is ever perfect.
No. 279618 ID: dad664

"Oh, well, we'll excuse you and Daria then."
No. 279619 ID: e3f578

That does sound right out of an idealistic tale of rebellion. Oren, joke and ask if you're pretty enough. Then joke and say that you'd have to ask Veska herself. No man I wish Nessie could say that to her, if only we could order her around.

Another joke should be "Alright, I suppose we could invite you into our threesome, though then it would be a foursome. Let's see counting Mendel and his sweet lady we could accomplish a sexsome or does that count as an orgy?" He might be bashful enough to be intimidated by that and just allow you to come anyway. Just sayin'. This is a wonderful opportunity for some jokes.
No. 279625 ID: 4812df
File 129702507570.png - (338.57KB , 800x600 , 217.png )

"No," says Nessie. She looks over at Oren. "Sorry. No."

"He was talking to me," says Vesta. "I told you later, Elvin, and I don't like repeating myself. Go make sure the Nines don't show up."
"If I'm not getting payment upfront, there's going to be interest," says Elvin, moving closer to the PI.
"Am I the only one who remembers I have a crossbow pointed at you?" asks Vesta. "Go away, Elvin. We'll discuss this later."
Elvin looks like he's about to say something, then decides against it. "...Fine," he says, stepping back into the alley. "We'll be in touch, Daria. I'll tell you whether or not this works."

"You're damn lucky your friends are so wealthy," says Vesta as the gangster disappears back into the shadowy alley. "Elvin's a lech, but at least that means I don't have to pay him as much. And he's dependable enough, and higher up in the Nines hierarchy than he lets on. It is now 2:30. Meet me back at my office by 6. If you don't have anything else you want to investigate the afternoon is yours."
"I like the sound of that," says Nessie. She turns to Oren. "Wanna go spend the rich folks' money somewhere?"
No. 279627 ID: e3f578

lets get a fancy weapon. or lingerie.
whatever works. I think a new hat would be the most useful though. Preferably one that says "Don't fuck with, Loper. He's country folk and raised tough"
No. 279628 ID: 55c4cf

A fancy weapon made out of lingerie.
No. 279688 ID: 676156

Titty rifles!
No. 279693 ID: 4812df
File 129704334210.png - (284.85KB , 800x600 , 218.png )

Oren and Nessie explore town, finding little to no places that sell weapons, and certainly none as good as their Authority ones. Unless you have something specific in mind, they probably won't buy anything. Nessie still has the bulky armor from the highwaymen if she needs more protection.

They do find a lot of places that sell lingerie and other clothes. Nessie rushes into the mall, eager to get all girly for a change, and is quickly stopped cold by the prices, which she describes as "terrifying". Oren spends the afternoon laughing at the bizarre fashions and prices of the upper class with her and trying to convince her that Celyne really won't have a problem if she buys something with her credit card. He hasn't been in a mall for years, out of fear of some possible allergic reaction, but going clothes shopping with Nessie is actually sort of fun. It's weird how she makes everything better just by being there. He can't stop thinking about what Constable Hell had said about Blejwas, about the crushing weight of the job, about where he'd be without her.

Oren hasn't ever really thought about it before, and this probably ain't the time to bring it up, but "Nessie Loper" sort of has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
No. 279725 ID: e3f578

marriage is for chumps.
but if it's Nessie it's less chumpy. Is there a cool coat anywhere for you Oren? Anything that catches your eye? If not, you could always hit the arcade or food-court and get ice cream or nachos. Maybe eat nachoes, carrying ice-cones in hand, and go to the arcade all at the same time
No. 279748 ID: 3b3043

Actually I'd prefer a hyphenated last name. Nessie Squires-Loper just sounds better.
No. 279750 ID: 58db22

Mmmm. Nessie Squires-Loper.
No. 279775 ID: 676156

You need a duster right the fuck now. Go for a full on sheriff look. Oh my god it would be so bad ass.
No. 279823 ID: 7d8cf7

Nah, hyphenated names aren't that great. Nessie Loper sounds fine. And yeah, look for a trench coat or something since they look cool and it would be in sync with the noir theme.
No. 279995 ID: 8e5432

I thought he was in a hot place? Dusters are hot as fuck, that's for chilly areas.
No. 280038 ID: 676156

Have you ever seen any western movie ever? They wear dusters in the desert because they're thin and provide little insulation while keeping the elements off (eg, dust, mud, etc).
No. 280387 ID: 4812df
File 129722311481.png - (270.81KB , 800x600 , 219.png )

Oren doesn't know much about how to go about doing this proposing thing. Maybe he should read some articles or something. He knows there's a ring and kneeling and such. There's a start. He focuses on something else.

Oren gets himself a Duster.

It's a bit bulkier to move in, and it might get in the way at an inopportune moment, but, hell. it's the image that counts. The leather'll also be a bit more protection than his normal clothes against blades. Should he wear it tonight, and is there anything else he and Nessie should look into before they head back?
No. 280635 ID: 1037c7

damn son that duster is fiiiiine

Before you go, you should see if you can get Nessie to splurge on something cute~
Like a turtleneck sweater or something. Say it'll bring out her curves.
No. 280647 ID: 58db22

Turtlenecks are always ugly. No exceptions.

But yeah, the deppity deserves something cute. I think a sweater would be good, just not a turtleneck.
No. 280696 ID: d5c481

>Turtlenecks are always ugly

Are you mad man? I have not heard such nonsense in many a day.
No. 283952 ID: 71cbb0


Listen my man, the first thing you need to do before you ask The Question, the very first thing, is to know what the answer will be. We know she loves you, of course, but maybe she doesn't want the full marriage, or maybe the time's not right, or... lotsa stuff. Gotta investigate. Talk to her friends, see if you can ask them to ask her, casual-like, what she'd think of it. Check in with her relatives, ask her a few feeling subtle questions. That sort of thing.

Put those keen skills to work. Nothing more awkward than a turned-down proposal.
No. 479101 ID: 3b440e
File 135564664929.png - (223.51KB , 800x600 , 1.png )

When Nessie sees Oren in his duster she near laughs her head off, which he guesses he deserves.

He's not putting it back, though.

After an exorbitant time hemming and hawing the deputy picks out a military jacket ("To fit with the Bugfuck Machismo thing"), which she assures him is in season or something.

They ignore the stomach-puckering price.
No. 479102 ID: 3b440e
File 135564665276.png - (422.29KB , 800x600 , 2.png )

When evening begins to fall they return to Vesta's office. Elvin's already there, laying out uniforms and kerchiefs on the table.
"Ready to join the revolution?" he grins. "One size fits none."
"I don't like this," says Vesta. "Who's to say this Joseph won't recognize the two people who locked him up recently through a flimsy piece of cloth?"
"They'll be fine," says Elvin.
"And that ear," says Vesta. "No offense, Miss Squires, but it's noticeable."
"Wear the hood, or something," says Elvin. "You're all set. Just put these on and I'll give you the location."
No. 479103 ID: 3b440e
File 135564665613.png - (422.64KB , 800x600 , 3.png )

"No, too many holes in the boat," says Vesta. "Change of plans. Elvin here is coming along and doing the talking through a wire while you two provide overwatch from somewhere above."

"Whhhat" says Elvin. "No. Not for a handy from a vaseline stripper."

Sounds like if Oren doesn't want to follow the original plan, Elvin is going to need some convincing. Unless, of course, he thinks something else up.
No. 479105 ID: f2c20c

We could use makeup. Squires can change or cover her marking or make the rest of her face brown. Oren can do the same thing. The hood works fine for the ear.
No. 479147 ID: c33f8f

While Squires might be recognisable because of her ear and face pattern. Oren could probably be down there with Elvin since he is more plain.

Would Elvin agree to help with the meeting if he doesn't have to be there alone and we would have Squires covering us with a crossbow?

I guess we could offer him money? Though its not our money. What else does he want except hand jobs and Daria?
No. 479364 ID: 3b440e
File 135573049046.png - (19.88KB , 800x600 , 4.png )

Elvin eventually agrees to come along, if and only if Oren is accompanying him on the ground and if and only if he is paid two hundred gilt in cash after and Daria, you said this would just be-
Vesta tells him to shut up.

Nessie exhibits hand-clapping excitement when Oren suggests some kind of makeup, and starts rummaging around in Vesta's effects to find something suitable, guided by the PI's nervously meticulous hand.

"Stop fidgeting, Oren," she tells him about twenty minutes later as she's applying the finishing touches to his fingers.
"It tickles."
"Hold still, sissy."

"I should probably be a little offended at what is essentially blackface, but this is impressive, Deputy." Vesta nods slowly. "With the bandana it's a superlative disguise."

Elvin snorts.
"If Nessandra is up covering you there's one more uniform to spare," Vesta continues. "You want me covering the two of you with her from wherever you put us, or do you want me down at the meeting with you, Sheriff? I'm more comfortable on the crossbow but I'm not afraid of close quarters, and visible numbers could be useful."
No. 479373 ID: f2c20c

I think visible numbers are the way to go.
No. 479401 ID: c33f8f

I wonder how much help with intimidation will someone who looks like a 12-year old be.
I suggest Vesta covers us with Squires. Also If things get out of hand surprise attacks will be more effective.
No. 479541 ID: 623deb

Covering, spread your forces. You don't want either flank to be under strength.
No. 479566 ID: 3b440e
File 135580266912.png - (170.28KB , 800x600 , 5.png )

"We should probably split up two by two," says Oren. "No offense, Vesta, but. Uhhh."
"But?" asks Vesta, evenly.
"But I think the two of us on the ground'll just about cover it," says Oren.

Elvin leads them to an abandoned postal dock on the shakier side of Nines territory, and the two women hunker down in an abandoned loading facility. "We've got you from here," says Vesta. "Give the signal and we start shooting."

"What's the signal?" asks Elvin. He's looking mighty shifty, even with a big hand-and-a-half sword at his back.

"How about just say 'shoot the motherfuckers', and we go from there," suggests Nessie. She eyeballs her crossbow warily and fiddles with the mechanism. She never did trust anything that could break her arm if it snaps. Same reason she doesn't use metal strings on her guitar. "Don't worry, hon. I've got you covered. Prrobably. But for real. No worries."
No. 479568 ID: 3b440e
File 135580267761.png - (86.65KB , 800x600 , 6.png )

After ten minutes of waiting (Elvin doesn't make for particularly good conversation), Bird's people show up. Five of them. They don't look like the friendliest bunch.

"Where's Joseph?" Elvin calls out to them.
"He ain't come," says the big guy. "Wants us to give you a phone. You talk to him that way."

Five seconds of silence.

"Okay," says Elvin.
"Okay," says the big guy.

Five more seconds of silence.

Nobody moves.

Oren's lips twitch beneath his bandana.

"Why don't you boys put your weapons down," says Big Guy, "and come over here'n get it."
No. 479587 ID: f2c20c

Here's a better idea. Slide the phone over towards us and we can just go pick it up.
No. 479597 ID: c33f8f

Vidder what the shit? Joseph wanted to talk to us, he even went through the trouble of killing an enemy gang member and now he is going to pull of some shit like this?
Bring the fucking phone over here if you want us to go along with this charade.
No. 479619 ID: 3b440e
File 135581955756.png - (180.66KB , 800x600 , 7.png )

"Hell, no," says Oren. "Our weapons ain't going anywhere. Your boss hassle us into a meeting and we get his receptionists?"

"Ease up," Big Guy says.

"Look: Toss the phone," says Oren.
They lock eyes for a second, then Big Guy chuckles, low and soft.
He pulls out a small red phone, which starts to buzz, and throws it to Elvin, who catches it one-handed and flicks it open. "You got the Nines," he says. "Or the one that matters."



"What kind of alliance? What?"

"The Cutters, too?"


"Hold on."
No. 479620 ID: 3b440e
File 135581956687.png - (200.01KB , 800x600 , 8.png )

He looks up at Oren with quizzical eyes. "He wants to talk to you."


"Yeah. 'Give the phone to the other guy,' he said."
No. 479621 ID: f2c20c

Might want to disguise your voice a little... although, I suppose, you already spoke out loud here, and your voice suddenly changing would be suspicious? Dammit. Maybe just keeping your voice a little low would work, as if you just speak on the phone differently.
No. 479644 ID: c33f8f

We could try using as short answers as possible, or even just simple grunts.
No. 479657 ID: f1b3ee

Protip: If the person on the phone is saying stuff like "Hand the phone to the other guy." He is either taking a shot in the dark, or more likely, is watching the deal from some other location.

This means if you take the time to look around, you can probably find whoever is on the other end of that phone. If Joseph is on the phone and therefore looking at the deal, he probably already knows Oren is present.

On the off-chance that passing the phone is a shot in the dark and the person on the phone is nowhere nearby, he's probably trying to figure out who is at the deal, or it's a distraction so someone can line up a shot on Oren.
No. 479671 ID: 3b440e
File 135586193568.png - (52.52KB , 800x600 , 9.png )

"Give me the phone," says Oren. "I'll uh, I'll talk to him."

He's thinking of how he'll keep Joseph from realizing it's him.

Big Guy moves with a speed belying his size and slides a knife right into Elvin's back as soon as it's turned. Elvin's throat makes a sort of gasping, clicking noise.
No. 479674 ID: d4ad1a

Aw fuck.


Time to fight.
No. 479678 ID: 3b440e
File 135586724914.png - (13.70KB , 800x600 , 10.png )

"Fuck." Oren scrambles to bring his mace up as Big Guy yanks the dagger out of Elvin and sprints toward him. "[b]Shoot. Shoot!"
No. 479679 ID: 3b440e
File 135586726440.png - (59.19KB , 800x600 , 11.png )

A bolt whizzes from Vesta's crossbow through the skull of Oren's attacker. Its tip blossoms out of his right eye. His expression doesn't change as he pitches forward.
No. 479680 ID: 3b440e
File 135586727479.png - (172.06KB , 800x600 , 12.png )

Nessie pops up from cover and dispatches one of the men in the back. The other hastily cranks his crossbow while the spearman in red charges Oren down. The man with the axe starts circling him.

Big Guy died before he hit the ground. Elvin is curled up, clutching his stomach and making an unsteady keening noise.
No. 479683 ID: c33f8f

Back up there is plenty of room behind you, either keep the spearman between you and the one with the crossbow or dash for the alley.
No. 479694 ID: f1b3ee

Bat the spearman's spear away with your free hand and brain him with the mace.

Their fault for bringing knives to a crossbow fight.
No. 479739 ID: 3b440e
File 135588610878.png - (221.91KB , 800x600 , 13.png )

Oren braces for the spearman and tries to bat the point aside, but he's good. It's all Oren can do to keep from being run through. Red's clearly well-trained, but he's fighting with his heart, not his head. That big fella may have been a friend.

Oren pulls back from that wicked polearm and ducks into an alley to try and negate some of that flickering reach Red's leveraging. Red comes round the corner hell-bent, putting his weight into a swinging chop that coulda took Oren's arm if he hadn't been quick and if his duster hadn't been so solid.

He told Nessie this was a good purchase.
No. 479750 ID: f2c20c

You're inside his range now. Get up in his face and clobber him.
No. 479763 ID: 47d311

Pound him like you pound women in the bedroom.
No. 479764 ID: 3b440e
File 135589187205.png - (25.48KB , 800x600 , 14.png )

Oren grabs the spear and yanks Red closer and further off balance. He turns round a little and uses the momentum to clock Red in the side of the head. The crunching noise Red's jaw makes is gratifying. His grip on the spear goes limp.
No. 479765 ID: 3b440e
File 135589187674.png - (16.24KB , 800x600 , 15.png )

If Red ain't down all the way he sure is for a minute or two at least.
Oren twists the spear out of his slack fingers and takes a couple steps to the edge of the alley, making sure to stay out of sight of that crossbowman. The guy with the axe is further back, rendered uncertain by the quick takedown of his ally.

Oren's not sure if that means he's more experienced or less.
No. 479768 ID: f2c20c

That spear any good for throwing? You could throw it at him.

I guess our snipers are still reloading... but you should keep in mind once they are finished reloading, any of our enemies still out in the open are toast.

Keep them out of this alley.
No. 479770 ID: c33f8f

Lets see if this guy can be reasoned with.
Yell at him to give up now or he is a dead motherfucker!
No. 479778 ID: 3b440e
File 135589926004.png - (437.10KB , 800x600 , 16.png )

"Drop the fucking axe," yells Oren. There is a silence which he responds to with a flung spear.

It wasn't ever meant to be thrown, though, and the balance is all off. It sails harmlessly past its target.


Oren decides to try some words again. "Drop that axe or you're dead, boy!" His words are punctuated and his confidence bolstered by the sudden, vibratory appearance of one of Vesta's bolts in the gut of the crossbowman. Axe here is on his own.

Before Oren can point that out, though, he hears Nessie's voice from the building. "Oren! They're trying to get in from the back!"

Confidence gone.
No. 479779 ID: f2c20c

Alright, advance towards him and block his axe with your mace, then kick him in the nuts or knee.

Or just let him block your mace with his axe, if he goes on the defensive.
No. 479780 ID: f2c20c

I forgot to mention the second half of the plan which is to go into the door and help with repelling the dudes trying to get in.
No. 479787 ID: 3b440e
File 135590490040.png - (232.90KB , 800x600 , 17.png )

Oren advances toward Blue, but he don't exactly go on the offensive OR the defensive.

Instead he snaps his axe above his head and just sort of stands there.
No. 479791 ID: d4ad1a

What's this guy's deal? He seems pretty scared and hesitant. I bet we could convince him to withdraw, if we can get him to snap out of his hesitation. That is probably too time-consuming right now, though. Do you have anything else you can throw at him? If so, do it. If not, are you close enough grab his arms with your hands and prevent him from chopping down? If you're close enough for that, just drop the mace and grapple his arms, surprise him that way, wrestle it out of his hands. Otherwise, you might get a chunk taken out of your arm or something, if you try to swing that slow and heavy mace at someone ready to attack. If neither option works, then I give up. Roll to attack.
No. 479793 ID: f2c20c

Just go hit him in the head. That's not a proper stance for using an axe; this guy's a novice.
No. 479797 ID: 3b440e
File 135591040299.png - (94.59KB , 800x600 , 18.png )

Oren figures this kid's an amateur; he's shrinking back and that ain't any kind of axe stance he's ever seen.

Accordingly he goes for a quick uppercut bash to his opponent's unprotected head, prepared for an overhead chop.

It never arrives. As he swings, Blue chokes up on the axe with expert speed and brings the haft squarely down on Oren's forearm, checking it mid-flight. The combined momentum of his swing and Blue's counter send spasming pains up his arm. His hand goes numb.
No. 479798 ID: f2c20c

Son of a fuck, just kick him away and go for the door and bar it behind you. Call out for your buddies to shoot the fucker.

Gonna have to go off-hand with the mace from now on.
No. 479802 ID: d4ad1a

Ah fuck, that's no good. Withdrawal!
No. 479829 ID: c33f8f

No backing off! Seize the momentum either by charging this fool and pushing him over with your shoulder or by kicking him in the chest/guts. Then start stomping him until he stops existing.
No. 479956 ID: e3aff6

Don't push the offensive when he has a solid grip on a weapon and you don't.
No. 485132 ID: 975f80
File 135815386163.png - (475.80KB , 800x600 , 19.png )

Oren pulls away from the axe man and sprints for the door, narrowly avoiding the bite of the blade as he runs.

"Shoot him," he yells as he runs up the stairs. "Shoot the-"

He gets to the top of the stairs.

"Oren," says Squires, her voice low and calm. "Run."

"Now, Nessandra," Joseph tells her, pulling her closer and tightening his grip on his thin, mean little knife, "Show some self-preservation. Because if the Sheriff makes any move that isn't dropping that mace of his, the first thing I do after I plant a bolt between his eyes is open your throat up from ear to giant ear. And the kind of gentleman who would waste the life of so charming a lady isn't the kind of gentleman who deserves her.

"Isn't that right, Sheriff?"
No. 485142 ID: f2c20c

Don't make any sudden moves. Ask him what he wants.
No. 485161 ID: 94ea7a

Welp. Drop the mace.
No. 485244 ID: 6336b0

Any convenient ropes you could let loose to drop something heavy on his head or something similar? Because other than getting lucky with something like that, I don't see any way out of this.
No. 487096 ID: f707c7
File 135893399620.png - (206.45KB , 800x600 , 20.png )

Oren drops the mace.

"All right, Joseph," he says, and his voice is quiet but it's got a bitter edge. "What do you want?"

"I just want to take a little walk with you," says Joseph. "Nessie can stay here and sit tight and we can go have us some us-time."

"And you won't hurt her."
"Cross my heart." He grins. "New perfume, Nessie? It suits you."
"What about Ve-" Oren starts, but he catches himself as Nessie's eyes widen and she mouths, nearly imperceptibly, "No."

"What about what?" asks Joseph.
No. 487098 ID: f2c20c

What about the guy downstairs with the stab wound, is what you were going to say.
No. 487133 ID: 57a559

Ask him about the vests you guys are wearing. We don't walk into no ambush. We talk. Ain't gonna be no killin', otherwise there's just no point to this and we may as well get into a murder suicide pact right now. We say what's in our vests. (Because if we say anything other than what starts with Ve than he gets suspicious and we got to spill the beans.)

If he asks why you didn't just ask that, tell him you stuttered. Your fucking nervous as all hell, can't get your words straight. "What about Vests?" Yeah that makes a lick of sense. Gotta think out these sentences, yo.
No. 487204 ID: 7003a8

"Vengeance. You dragging me off just to off me, or do you have something bigger planned?"
No. 487207 ID: 5ae47c


Ooh, that one's much better than vests.
No. 487211 ID: 62496e

Good idea.
No. 487921 ID: 5a4bc5
File 135927672671.png - (179.87KB , 800x600 , 21.png )

"Vengeance," says Oren. "You dragging me off just to kill me or do you have something bigger planned?"
"You'll see for yourself, Mr. Sheriff," says Joseph. He pushes Nessie into the arms of one of his thugs, keeping the hand crossbow trained on Oren. "Let's go for a field trip. The deputy can stay here."
"You do anything to hurt her," Oren says, and his own voice echoes in his ears like hollow glass, "and I will end you."
He looks back at Nessie as Joseph pushes him out of the room. "Don't worry about me, baby," she calls to him. "Don't."
Joseph slams the door.

He leads Oren out the building then down a dingy alley, then another, then a third. Ahead Oren hears a low scraping noise.

As they round a corner he sees blueshirt and another guy lugging a dumpster along a wall. They have uncovered a large gutter in the street.

"Climb on in, Oren," says Joseph. "The fall probably won't kill you. And if you don't take it, I most certainly will."
No. 487922 ID: f2c20c

I think I know what he's doing.

He's bringing you in to Blejwas.

Take your time getting down there.
No. 488756 ID: c0c515
File 135953542732.png - (158.96KB , 800x600 , 22.png )

Oren gathers himself up and prepares to leap into the darkness.

"Wait! Almost forgot," says Joseph. "Phone, Oren." He reaches into Oren's duster pocket and pulls his cell out. "Don't want to give you any unfair advantages, now. Okay, Sheriff." He mock-bows. "Have a nice time."

Joseph pushes Oren, hard, and he stumbles into the pit.
No. 488757 ID: c0c515
File 135953558443.png - (159.88KB , 800x600 , 23.png )

It's very dark.

The smell is catastrophic.

Joseph's voice echoes from above. "You can just stay here a while. I've got some business to attend to, Sheriff, but I'll be back. Hope you had a hearty dinner!"

"You're not getting away with this, Bird."

"I don't want to ruin your tough sheriff idiom, Oren," says Joseph as his 2 cronies push the dumpster across the hole, "but I believe I already have."
No. 488758 ID: c0c515
File 135953563288.png - (156.27KB , 800x600 , 24.png )

It is cold, and dark, and it smells godawful, and Oren is alone.
No. 488760 ID: e581d9

Hope there aren't any alligators in the sewer.
No. 488792 ID: 9747ef

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