[Snowpocalypse] Merr on the Side of Caution (H 4.5, R 4.6)

edited April 2014 in Snowpocalypse
To Hadden:

You left Tindy reluctantly, but hey, you promised Mims and you've got other stuff to do as well, right?

It's late afternoon when you end up at Underlake Market. Your team: Handplant, CTO and Oakley are here, reporting in. Your truck is AWOL, so is Silica and K2. Oakley found some dead dogs on the ice, followed the trail to find a couple of Stinky's sleds broken up, too. No human bodies. HP's "not yet" worried about her daughter and Silica missing, but finding out from you that the truck isn't around concerns her a bit.

As you're catching up, you catch sight of Ross, not Rossi, but Ross. Ross is coming into market with a few gangers including that bit dark guy Wandering, and former Key Invert, plus a few more. They look loaded for battle. Ross, though, looks worse for wear, there's a big bandage on the side of their neck. Looks painful.

To Ross:

You brought Wandering and Invert, a few others with you, right? What about Jester? The Market is pretty busy, maybe forty or fifty souls in here. You spot a few guys you recognize from Merrell's big shin-dig. They're all armed to the teeth, wearing some body armor, too. No Merrell around, they just look like guards, more or less. Five of them. A pair are working through the stalls and huts together, the rest are near entrances keeping watch.

You also spot Hadden, with his team, chatting.

Here's a mock-up of the Market:

What do you do?


  • From Hadden:

    I knew I had to leave Tindy. I needed visit to reassure both of us. I missed her and she me. And yeah, I couldn't bust her out the first time. Why do I feel so defensive about it?

    I talk with Oakley about the Stink Bug's dogs, mention the trouble with the Skegs and Palmer. Not sure I want to get much mixed up in that, given what Dice did to Jester. But I still owe Palmer words to Dice, just to see what the what. If Oakley knows any rumors, I'll listen. Maybe we both go out there. Sleds and dogsleds both got upsides and downsides, can't they both see that?

    I'm a little concerned that K2 and Silica haven't turned up with the minitruck. My luck is they'll stroll in and say they ran outta gas up in the youpie. I expect they are joyriding, entangled, or both. K2's gonna owe me some gas, grass, or ass. I know my odds there. Not so sure about Silica's odds. But if Handplant's "not yet" worried, then I'm "not yet" worried.

    I think CTO's gonna work out. Not so positive he's ready to chillax and hang, but maybe that's a good thing.

    Good, she's got Wandering. Dude seems solid with her. Oh look, there's Invert. I got something called a "Swisher Sweet Grape" for her. I think she'd like the purple. But my thoughts are titslly derailed by Rossi, no, dammit, she's Ross right now. I still marvel how she hides that delicious rack of hers... and she walks differently with the goggles. What the ever-loving fuck is up with her neck? How can she be uprights like that? I wonder if she's here to see about doctoring, since she burned Poke at the Pier. I can't even imagine me going there and look half of Poke in the eye.

    I nod to she and her posse like, 'sup?
  • I brought ten people with me, just in case Merrell decides he wants to cause us some trouble. I asked Jester to head out and find Silica for me — I sent Arbor out with him, to kill two birds with one stone. I turn to Invert and Wandering, and whisper, "Keep sharp. I don't want those assholes to get the drop on us."

    I spot Hadden and walk over to him, "Hey. I don't suppose you've heard anything about Merrell nabbing a few of my girls, did you?"
  • From Hadden:

    "He must be on a roll, taking women. I heard there was a fight, didn't know it was your people. What happened?" It's so weird talking to that mask. She can see I'm looking at her neck back to the goggles.
  • What happened? "Fuck if I know," I answer coldly, watching Merrell's hired goons doing their rounds... I spot Hadden looking at my neck, and I turn my wound away from him, obviously uncomfortable about his concern. "I'm here to get them back. Word on the street is he might be asking them questions about our new little hidey hole... I need to stop that."
  • From Hadden:

    Right, she's got her game face on, the voice an all. I drag my eyes back to the goggles. "We can chitchat later. Who's missing? I got to have words with him about releasing another woman." Hidey Hole.... hadn't come up with that one. Plus it starts with an H. Two of 'em.

    I knew this day was coming. Place is too close to Underlake proper to stay quiet forever.
  • I look back over to him when he starts ignoring my bandage, and answer, "Em-sixteen, Inessa, and Blood Dracula. If you feel like talking to Merrell, that's fine, but we're going to fuck his shit up if he doesn't give us our people back."
  • edited April 2014
    From Hadden:

    I have a small, lovely, happy smile. "And I thought I had a silver tongue. That sounds like a fine thing to tell him." I remember Bloody Dracula and of course Em-Six-Teen, not so much Inessa. Part of my brain files away that Em-Six-Teen left the Souljas for Rossi. She's got a strength. I wonder what Rossi did to get her to flip? And I hear Tindy's voice in my ear, questioning, Rossi isn't into girls?

    But I get a little sober. "Let's go check on your people, make sure they're okay before you call him out." I quick check to see if the bribed guard from the cell is here at Market- probably not, but still.
  • I nod in agreement, and motion for my people to follow us.
  • From Hadden:

    I give my crew an assessing look, like yall come with or heads down, your call. I figure CTO's coming along, he's hungry for action. Handplant may want to check up on K2, but she's my girl. Oakley might stick with me or GTFO.
  • edited April 2014
    No, Hadden. He's back at his post. Oakley won't go head up on the guards, but he'll stick around in case of things. HP and CTO are by you.

    Ross, your gang is here, pissed at losing three to Merr. Of course, some of them are super pissed that they're girls, and so there's that factor. Does it bother you, the "protect the wimmins" instinct a few of your gang has?

    Also, if they've got three here and you brought ten, that means the other half of the gang is back at the sub, right?

    Hadden, you spot Nitro, one of your cousins-by-marriage, really a relative of Merrell, but you two know each other. He's big. Bigger than Merr, and knows it. He stands a bit taller than Wandering, not as thick. He's got a shotty and armor, and he's already noticed Ross and gang is here. He's sending a kid off towards Hamlet as you two walk up with your entourage.

    "Hadden, what the what, cuz? This looks like trouble?" Nitro says as you close the distance between the edge of the market and where he and another thug stand on the east side.

    What do you do?
  • From Hadden:

    Placidly, like discussing over coffee, instead of with eleven violent armed bastards behind me, "How's by you, cuz? No trouble, Nitro. The Good Samaritan Group here just coming to collect three or four of their own, then everybody goes home for supper. How's the missus?" He's not dumb. I like his kids.
  • edited April 2014
    To Both:

    Nitro looks at you, Hadden, then past you to Ross's gang. "Flail's fat and happy. We've got number three on the way." His tone is congenial, but he's obviously worried about being severely outgunned here. "Those girls talked some shit to Merr, Hadden. In our own place. They aint Underlake, so you know he can't stand for it. They pay the fine, you can have them back, hardly a scratch."
  • From Hadden:

    Cluck my tongue appreciatively. "Numma three? Might be me some day." Got a whirl of faces behind my eyes...

    "Underlake got to work on the tourism angle," I say sourly. Shake my head. "He got to chillax, or something. How much their fine?"

    Maybe this will be straightforward. I wiggle my fingers kind of behind my back like stay frosty.
  • To Hadden:

    "One jingle.Is all," Nitro answers with a shrug. "You footing the bill?"
  • From Hadden:

    I match his shrug. "As long as my friend's people aren't fulla harm, I'm your huckleberry." I glace back to Rossi.. dammit, Ross. No, the fucking Samaritan. A jingle's worth less than bullets, doctoring, and the lives of her people.

    I know sometimes she misses the obvious, and I really worry that those goggles color her vision more than she realizes.
  • To Both:

    "Not full o' harm," Nitro answers, more to Ross than you, Hadden. "They resisted. But nothing that won't heal in a day or so. Bruises and cuts on both sides, you know."

    He looks back at you, Hadden, "If you're good for it, and they're no trouble, then I'll get them out now. We square?"

    There's a nervous tension in the air. Ross, your gang wants to rip these fuckers into shreds, not let Hadden pay to get them out.
  • Of course it fucking bothers me! The girls cause as much chaos as any of the men, and they work twice as hard to get any respect from them — they'll probably never hear the end of it, just because they got out-numbered. I'm not going to put up with that shit.

    I put a hand on Hadden's shoulders to stay him. I look over at Nitro and answer, "you should get them out now — we're not paying your bitch fee."
  • To Both:

    Nitro's jaw sets a bit, this is not what he wanted. "It is not a bitch fee. It's a fine. They caused some shit, we kept the peace. It's Underlake shit. Hadden," he looks to you, Hadden. "Is this gonna be trouble, cuz?"

    Ross, you know there are a couple other guards here. A glance around, you see they've moved up. Both of them are packing serious heat: one has a shotty, the other has an SMG. Nitro is armed, so is the other guy with him. You've got them more than two to one, but if you throw down here, people will die. As well as some of the folks in market, too, most likely.
  • From Hadden:

    I close my eyes and sigh. Look over to fucking Samaritan, trying to see my friend behind the get-up. "An it keep the peace now, it's only jingle." I'm talking to Nitro. Looking for Rossi.
  • To Both:

    Nitro says solid, "A jingle to get em out peaceful. That's what we said, that's the price."
  • My eyes narrow into thin slits, and I take a step forward when he dismisses my assessment of the situation. "Underlake's been doing an awful lot of shit I don't fucking agree with these past few days, asshole — you're beating up outsiders, leaving innocent people out to die in the fucking cold. Your boss crossed a line taking my people, dickhead — and if you think I'm going to pay you to beat up my people, and hold them fucking hostage, just because you want to know where we're holed up, then you're fucking wrong!"
  • From Hadden:

    I'm still looking at Samaritan, almost glaring. Fuck a duck, you flex your muscle and now they're going to report back what we got. This ain't time to pay an iron price, 'specially not at Market. You're not going to slaughter them all, and for fuck's sake, Underlake is.. was.. my home and Underlake is fucking next door to where we're going to live? And now you've fucking let on that we have a Hidey Hole?

    "Samaritan," I say, carefully, levelly, tight. "Nitro here's not the target. I'm going to fucking pay to get your people out peacefully." My eyes flick to the neck wound pointedly, then I turn full face to the mask. I am working up a head of steam and my teeth hurt. "You don't have to like it, but that how the fuck this is going to go down. Every goddamn one of us home for supper to those we love." And I flip an oddment to Nitro.
  • To Both:

    Nitro, who is pretty much standing by a wall with one buddy, a couple guys off to his sides "just in case", is fucked. But he doesn't back down. Now, the oddment, that's a relief. He catches the token, checks it once, and says, "Hang tight, I'll bring em out in a jiff."

    What do you do?
  • I almost deck Hadden as he starts talking me down, and eyeing my gunshot wound — I swear, I'm this fucking close — but he's not the source of my fucking problems right now: Merrell is. I'm still fuming though. I eye Hadden up and down — he has no fucking idea how hard I've worked to earn the respect of my gang, to represent them, and he's just walked all over me like he somehow controls me.

    I push Hadden aside and walk up to Nitro as he start to walk away, "give the man his fucking jingle back, they're my fucking people and I'm not fucking happy with that deal." I jab a finger at Nitro indignantly, "I don't like it when people pretend I'm not part of a conversation — like I'm not worth fucking asking whether I think a deal is good. I want restitution."
  • To Both:

    "Well," Nitro says, keeping calm, not copping an attitude. He looks at Ross, but glances at you, too, Hadden. "We keep the peace here in Underlake. And if you don't like it, that's your call. But those girls caused trouble, so they're going to stew for a week. If you want them out early, it's a jingle. Do I give my cousin his jingle back... or what?"
  • edited April 2014
    From Hadden:

    I'm a little shocked and then pissed when I'm pushed, like I'm not worth a damn- last people who pushed me were the Soulja Boys and they got a volcano. I'm about to do something stupid, then I hear the spoken words and it's like going outside without a coat. "I apologize." I pitch my voice a little lower, so's I'm talking to Rossi, not the fucking Samaritan. I hang a lamp on it for her, then: "Do you think it's a good idea to get everyone home for supper in one piece in peace for a mere single jingle? What will make you happy?" I'm not touching when the get-up's on. Kind of want to. It's so hard to talk to a person when they're suited up like that. And I'm never quite sure who's listening in there.
  • edited April 2014
    [OOC: Seduce/Manipulate with Easy to Trust, roll+Hx]
    (Rolled: 2d6+3. Rolls: 3, 4. Total: 10)
  • I look over to Hadden, and lower my voice, "Merr isn't some almighty fucking God, Hadden. He doesn't get to lock people up just because they're vocal about not liking him — much less beat on them with his fucking herd of sheep. He could have kicked them the fuck out instead — but taking some of ours? That's bullshit. I want a guarantee this shit will never happen again, or I'm going to show you what happens when you piss off a bunch of people with big fucking sticks." I look to Nitro, "Got it?"
  • To Both:

    Nitro shrugs, "I hear you, stranger. I'll send it up the line. But maybe it's best if you and yours stay out of Underlake... you know?"
  • I smirk to myself at that, "Oh, don't you worry — we don't want anything to do with you people."
  • From Hadden:

    I listen to the words, nod, agreeing. Fire still in my eyes, but not for Rossi, or even the Samaritan. "You and I really need to have a couple beers together." I could really use to unload with Rossi, figure out what we aim to do. I sometimes can't even think straight when it comes to Merrell.
  • To Both:

    We skip ahead a bit. It was tense, the waiting. Four more of Merr's gang show up, just hang around on the edges of things. Armed tot he teeth with assault rifles, waiting down tunnels, lying in wait like predators.

    Em, Inessa and BD come up the tunnel towards the odysseyiii. BD is sporting a puffed up black eye and a swollen lip, Em is holding her left arm loose at her side like it's dislocated or broken maybe. Inessa's shirt is ripped and the knuckles on her left hand are torn up and bloody.

    Inessa smiles a toothy smile at you, Ross, and throws out her hands as she's walking. Well, more like strutting, cause that's what she does, "Shit, boss. You fucked up my plan to bore them to death with tales of my menstrual cycles!"

    "Thanks for that," Bloody Dracula says. She's not quite so happy about the situation, it seems. Em just gives you a nod, but she looks a little sullen herself.
  • edited April 2014
    This shit with Merrell has gone on too long. If Hadden wants to start shit with him, we'd best get this started soon, because I don't want him looming his fucking shadow over my new home. That he's happy to take people important to me, and rough them up for information just makes me angry — it's bad enough I've got a boyfriend that thinks the world loves him. I don't want to have to worry about him getting picked up by Merr's fucking men, and losing another foot.

    I spot the girls coming out of the Odysseyiii, and I straighten out a bit... They look worse than I thought. I'm not fucking happy about this... I nod to them as they approach, and nod back to the rest of the gang, "go on back to the gang, and we'll get you fixed up. We can talk about what these fuckers did later." It's taking every last ounce of control I have not to throw down right now.

    I turn to Hadden and nod, but really I'm indifferent about having "beers" right now. I don't feel like celebrating. "You said you wanted to talk to Merrell about some other girl? Is that Tindy? Best you go it alone unless you want me to shove his fucking head up his ass."
  • From Hadden:

    Yeah, I'm not fucking happy with asshat. I can only imagine how Rossi is keeping it together, much less the posse. And poor Em-Six-Teen. Bloody Dracula's mood's sour. The other one seems perky enough.

    Beers, whatever. I really gotta buy a clue for this one.

    I look at the eyes behind the goggles. Small sigh. I want to ask if she'll come with me. "If we both go talk to him, you know my mom and sibs will be nearby. I don't know how we can pull that off, and keep the peace." And I'm thinking, Rossi, I've had to put up with Merrell's shit for years. I need you to help me be strong here. I can't solve this with a bullet. I run my hands through my hair.
  • Urgh... Ok. This is getting frustrating. "What fucking peace, Hadden? He's tried to kill one of your friends, is locking up a pregnant woman to sell her child into slavery, and has transgressed on my fucking gang! Speak some fucking sense to me! Why can't we just roll in there and slaughter that undeserving prick before he hurts even more people!?"

    OOC: A little warning... Depending on how Hadden responds, a read could be coming up.
  • From Hadden:

    I hiss, "Don't you think I want to have his skull as a pissbowl?" If I had a jingle for every time... "He's sitting on the throne here 'cause he killed my dad. I am better than that fucknut, — and I almost say Rossi, and some of my steam boils off — "I don't want to be like him." I got some anguish in here, Rossi, I know you know me.
  • OOC: Actually, I'm just going to take the XP from the manipulate and run.

    This whole fucking place is back-asswards. I put my hands on my hips and sigh in exasperation. "I'm heading back... You can say you're better than that asshole all you want, Hadden, but you'd better be damn sure of one thing: letting Merrell do what he's doing now, though non-violent, does not make you better than him. It makes you complacent. He's going to abuse that about you, and everyone around him is going to suffer unless you grow some balls and fucking prove you're better than him."

    I turn back to the group and take a few paces away from him, then stop and add, "Talk means shit, Hadden. Do something."
  • edited April 2014
    From Hadden:

    I'm standing there with balled fists, ears burning. She calls me out. Am I really complacent? Am I really the lesser man?

    I feel like I'm falling off a scraper.

    She's walking away. "Help me." I have no idea what my voice sounds like, just how it feels coming out, and it's ragged with pain.
  • edited April 2014
    Damn it Hadden...

    I shrink a little at his cry for help, and look back at the gang for a second before turning back to Hadden, and slowly pacing back to him. "Help me understand, Hadden," I whisper, just for him, "I got 30 fucking people together to back your, and Lemma's play. If you don't want to fight him, then find another way to put us to use... You're calling him a homicidal maniac, and that's not far off. That's coming from me, remember, so fucking consider that shit."

    I take a deep breath and whisper, "the fucker's going to die, Hadden — one way or the other — so put a red dot on the fucker's forehead, and move on so we can get to fixing this fucking place."
  • From Hadden:

    I hear her, I do. She's in there. Matching her volume, "So you zilch him. Who else dies in the splash? People here at Market? My kid sister? I'm related to a goodly chunk of the people here- by blood or marriage or kith or kin. Then what? Who runs Underlake? Me? You? My mom, solo or even with Tindy? That sniveling shit Smith is dead, and..." I stop short, mouth open. I have an idea.

    "Arbor." A whisper.

    I take a step closer, excited, low voiced. "He's innocent. He was shitstain's second. He's of Underlake. People will follow. He's got ideas. He's not weak. Back from the lake like a messiah. No mistake it that the old ways are dead." I kind of bite my lip a little, in thought. I give her a questioning look. "Is this doing something?" Then, pointedly, like apology, like earnest. "You're valuable. You're part of my conversation. Do you think this is a good idea?"

  • I look back at the market for a second — killing the innocent people here would be a little overkill... They're almost like armor for Merrell. I wonder if he'd use them as a human shield. I look back to Hadden, and hold a hand up after he's finished. "Don't worry about it. If you think someone's honestly good for the work, I'm sure they'll do a stand-up job... I'm sure you'd do a stand up job, if you really wanted to... Just leave the dirty business to me. I'll gather my people, and we'll fucking raid him... We'll do our absolute best to keep your family safe. Just promise you'll look out for mine if things go really south, OK?"
  • edited April 2014
    From Hadden:

    This is the biggest choice of my life. I'm heavy with it. So many things could go wrong. Are going wrong. But Merrell can't be let alone.

    "I could never forgive myself if my blood was hurt. I gotta try to get 'em safe before a raid, right? Is that the thing to do? Wait for the all-clear signal?" Mom, Slash, Lashfight... some of the cousins. It's complicated. "Wish he'd just up and surrender..." Yeah, to be pushed off a scraper without a rope.

    I always hoped I would find a way to oust nutless. I feel like I've failed before we've started. Who gives me the right to decide who's blessed to live when these violent bastards sweep through Hamlet? What kinds of abuse will be visited on anybody? All anybody wants is to be fat, dumb, and happy.

    I feel like a fuckup. A weak, complacent, fuckup. "I don't feel like I"m doing a stand-up job right yet. I appreciate the confidence." I'm full of doubt and questions. But I quirk my lips. "And if anybody can tell me the true name of the Samaritan," Or her bra size, even, "Then I know you call them friend."

    I hope I can get through this, say my eyes.
  • There isn't much I can do to help him out at this point... Hadden's got to come into his own. He's got to stand up for himself, and take care of his family. I guess the least I can do is give him a little bit of time go get that moving.

    "You've got one week, Hadden," I answer calmly, "make it count."
  • Sounds like the pair of you are done chatting, right?

    Ross, where are you going?

    Hadden, what about you? (yes, your crew is here, they were keeping quiet watching over you)
  • From Hadden:

    I need to talk to my brother. Tell him the plan, bring him in on the whole enchilada. See about making people safe. I glance at my crew, try to gauge their reactions.
  • I'm going to bring the gang back home, rest up, and get us ready to fuck Merrell up the ass. I'm hoping Jester and Arbor can find Silica so we can discuss the best way to keep them safe.
  • Hadden,

    Please go here.


    Please go here.
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