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Busy Little Fingers

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GM

 

"The Fingers? Not long, no not long at all. The blink of an eye!" said a confident Finnigan. "They know Trumble street like the back of their hand!"

 

There was a loud sound as a massive chunk of masonry clattered to the ground. Bricks and dust everywhere. 

 

"And speaking of hand...." continued Finnigan, as the shadows started turning to pitch black, and the dust entered their little crack. "...I offer you mine. If you want to leave this place alive!" he said, offering his hand - although it was hard to see in the almost complete darkness (perhaps fortituously, as it was a withered and leathery collection of skin and bones). "...I have no wish to see anyone die, not even you. And if I do you a good deed, perhaps you will see me as more man than monster!"

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Everything was faling apart, but at least it sounded like the kids were getting out of there. The shadows around Finnigan turned pitch black, darker than any natural darkness that Robin had ever seen. Whatever he was, he had powers, at least. Robin had always dreamed of getting powers, but not anything like that. And not with what it had seemed to cost Finnigan to get it.

 

He offered to help. He hadn't exactly done anything, aside from attacking her before, which, granted, was kind of big, but she had shot him for that. So, leap of faith? Maybe end up trapped in darkness forever?

 

Another piece of masonry fell next to her.

 

She didn't really have much of a choice, short of trying to blow her way out of there.

 

"Alright, we'll give it a try. Show me you're what you say you are." Alright, no tricks, she hoped.

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GM

 

It was now pitch black...or near enough. Justice could feel that horribly thin hand take hers and start to lead her through the warrens. And not a moment too soon. She could hear the building they had been in collapse. 

 

"I'm a cursed man" muttered Finnigan. "I did not want to die, and once medicine failed me, I turned to sorcery. Perhaps I should not complain, for I am alive - of sorts - when I should be dead. But I am wasted and spent. In the darkness I am at least free. In sunlight, I am as feeble as you could imagine" he said, voice stronger than it had been before, as if the darkness was emboldening him. 

 

Perhaps with some reason, for Finnigan seemed to have no problem seeing in the dark. 

 

"I seek to...improve...my situation. It is true that I have cultivated the talents of my fingers, but I do not wish any death. No...that would be prime hypocricy, given my own obsession with living" he explained. 

 

They were safely out of the collapsed building now. It seemed - from the smell - that they were back in the abandoned sewers beneath Trumble street. 

 

"Now then...I have lead you to safety, and, if you wish, I can take you out of these filthy tunnels. Tell me - what do you intend now?" he asked, cautiously. 

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It was dark. Even darker than it had seemed looking into the darkness, if that was even possible. Finnigan's hand felt so thin and frail in Robin's, and to be honest, it felt really weird to be walking through the darkness holding his hand like that. Like, this was something you were supposed to do with someone you trusted, or better yet, with someone you loved. In that situation it could be romantic, but not really like this. 

 

As Finnigan explained his situation, Robin started to understand him a bit more, at least. Maybe even his choices, even if she didn't agree with him and his "fingers" turning to crime to improve his situation. She'd guessed that magic was real for a while. It made sense, in a way. Just look at all those super heroes that had some kind of magic or divine power source, so really, why wouldn't it exist, even if most people didn't think so? Not that Finnigan sounded like he was happy about his current situation. Not that she blamed him.

 

Robin stayed silent while they moved through the darkness. It seemed wrong to say anything, somehow.

 

Once she stepped out, she looked at their hands, then slowly let go, as she took a step back from Finnigan. He really didn't seem all that bad, but she wasn't quite sure. He had told her the truth about taking her out of there, at least. At least he didn't seem dangerous right now. She sighed, absentmindedly scratching her upper right arm with her left hand. "Look, I think I get it. You really don't seem like that bad a guy, aside from the stealing and everything, but you really can't keep doing that. I don't want to take you and the kids in, but you gotta give everything back. I mean, look at what happened: I didn't come looking for a fight, I just wanted to try and talk things through, but then that Gas Man guy came too, and he was just spoiling to hurt you guys. Kept talking about his warped sense of justice, like breaking your bones and beating you up. Imagine if he'd gotten his hands on one of the kids. Just look at what happened because I tried to stop him." She paused, collecting herself. Enough rambling. She really didn't like that Gas Man. And she really wasn't proud of bringing down the whole place. "I want to help you, I really do. I might be able to come up with some things that can help you out. I'm pretty smart, so, like, give me a list and I'll see what I can do. And hey, I'm a super hero: I might run into some kind of magic heroes that can maybe help you with your curse. Just... you got to promise that you'll stop the stealing. The Gas Man was bad enough. Think about what else they might send after you or the kids. Imagine what they might do to them." She paused briefly, getting an idea. "Maybe, I dunno, the kids can come up with some story about how they found the stuff abandoned somewhere and they're handing it off to the police to do the right thing?"

 

So, was this her kind of justice, then? She really wasn't sure. The whole super hero thing was very much still a work in progress.

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GM

 

"Return what I stole?" replied Finnigan, irritated at the suggestion. "...firstly, it was not I who stole, it was my fingers, and they have nothing but their gains, ill-gotten though they may be" he said, firmly. "You are welcome to ask them...I doubt they will give you the answer you hope for"

 

He drew away his hand, colder in tone. 

 

"Secondly, bar the thefts of the day, we are likely not to have what we stole. They have been sold" he explained. "I take my cut, of course, but all the money I gather is spent on a cure. I have some left, but I will not part with it, not for all your promises" he said, equally as firm. 

 

"Your words are kind, but I cannot trust your intent. And even if your intent is charitable, it does not mean that charity will blossom. And even if charity blossoms, it does not mean that it will be effective" he reasoned. 

 

"My request to you is simple. Leave me alone, and keep the Gas Man away from me. You may think I am a noxious beast, but he is a callous man, and of the two, it is the latter that is more frightful!"

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"That's just splitting hairs." Did it really matter if it was him or the thieves that stole it? Alright, it just might for the cops, if they came in here, but they would probably still go after Finnigan. He gave her the option of trying to ask the kids, but yeah, he was probably right. He'd tried to teach them that this was everything they could do, so of course they wouldn't try to return what they had stolen.

 

This really wasn't what she had expected would happen today. Go out, get the things back, end of story. Of course it had to get a lot more complicated. 

 

A deep breath. It wasn't like her to get this upset, but this was much more complicated. So, what would she do? If she was a cop, she'd have to take them in. They had stolen things and broken the law. But she wasn't a cop, right? So, she didn't really have to be lawful good about this. Maybe she had to find out her own kind of justice for something like this?

 

"To be honest, I really don't want to bring you and the kids in, but you can't keep doing this. The Gas Man's just the start. He was just sent by some crazy woman with too much money. You don't just hurt other people by stealing from them, you might up getting the kids and yourself hurt too." She pretended to think deeply about her options for a moment. "But alright, you want me to leave you alone. So, what's in it for me? What will you do for me, if I don't bring the cops down on you and the kids, and leave you alone? I And saving me doesn't really count. I saved you from the Gas Man first. Maybe try and cut down on the stealing? I mean, you don't want the kids to get hurt if someone worse than the Gas Man shows up, right?" She was rather interested in his response. Did he really care about the kids or not?

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GM

 

"Cut down?" murmured Finnigan. He had not thought of comprimise. Even in the virtually complete Darkness, Justice could hear him shuffling, tapping fingers. She could almost hear him thinking. 

 

It was a little harder to hear him breathing. 

 

"It is a bitter situation I find myself him" he conceded. "And I suppose there is only bitterness to swallow. Woe! I rue the cruel fates for bringing me to this foul position, powerless. And yet, I will survive!" he said, determined. 

 

"Very well, it seems I am at your mercy" he said, his words heavily laced with resentment. "No stealing for three days. And then...let us see what happens..." he added, mixing commitment with non-commitment in a rather murky soup. 

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Three days? That was not a lot of time of not stealing. And then what? Once the days were up, what would they do then? Start another crime wave, stealing from everyone again? She really couldn't let them do that, could she? Stealing to survive, getting food and things that you needed, like toilet paper? That was acceptable, if not something she felt good about. But all the luxuries that Finnigan had wanted? Not just wanting to survive, but to live? Robin could kind of understand it, evne if she had never been in his situation before, or that of any of the kids. Ugh... if they returned to thievery, then she would have to try and stop them, but hopefully, she could do it in a better way than the Gas Man had wanted to.

 

"If that's all you can do, then I guess I'll try and keep the Gas Man and anyone else away from you for three days." She was all business now. If that's was how he wanted to play it, then Robin would play along. "But I got a few conditions. First of all, at least try to get the kids to deliver the things back. I think I get what you're trying to do here, but they'll just end up in trouble. There's a wedding ring for a Mrs. Doors. It was in a chain, to be worn around a neck. If nothing else, I want that returned." She paused. Was there anything else to add? "And at least try to find a different way. I will help you and the kids if I can, but I can't if you keep this up. If you get back to stealing like this again after that, then I will stop you. I'd really prefer it didn't come to that."

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GM

 

"Try...." muttered Finnigan in the darkness. "Try is easy. Succeed...not so easy. My Fingers are not mere robots. Respectful, yes. Obedient, sometimes. But they have a mind of their own, and they are defiant. I admit, it is a defiance I have cultivated. Try....well, do not expect results" he said, gloom in his voice. 

 

"I will bid you goodbye now. Just head down this tunnel, no deviations. It is dark so mind your step. In a short moment, it will stop, and you will be by a rusted ladder. I believe it is stable. Just climb up onto the ruins of Trumble street. And watch out for the Gas Man. He is an oily character" he muttered again. 

 

And with that, Justice heard him shuffle away, still muttering...

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Well, it wasn't like she could expect Finnigan to do more than try. It was probably wrong to call them kids, they were teenagers, and teenagers were notoriously defiant. "Thank you. I hope we'll be able to resolve this peacefully, then." she said, as Finnigan disappeared into the darkness in the tunnel. 

 

Robin stood her ground until she was sure that Finnigan was gone, then finally allowed herself to relax for a moment, releasing a heavy breath. This was so not what Robin had expected would happen. Sure, not everything could be easy, but this was not difficult in the ways she had expected. Is that how it would be? Compromise, or end up hurting or jailing someone that might not deserve it? Still, they had made a deal. Three days. Three days were a lot of time to prepare and get ready. She already had some ideas, some things that might help her, but she had to get out of there first. Maybe she could find the Gas Man, not that she expected him to listen.

 

So, Robin followed the path that Finnigan had pointed out. She wasn't about to get out of the Justice suit just yet, she might need the boost if the Gas Man was waiting at street level, after all. After a while, she finally found the ladder and climbed up, finally seeing light again. Before she got out, she made sure to look around. Who knew if he was waiting right here?

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GM

 

As it happened, the Gas Man was there, although not in the best of shape. He was sitting on a collapsed wall, catching his breath, strapping his ribs, his almost destroyed flak vest on the floor. 

 

He was fast enough to whip his handgun out and point it at Justice as she clambered out, but it really didn't look like he had much fight in him. 

 

"So, you got out did ya?" he commented. "What happened to Finnigan? Buried alive? Although I can't say he looked all that alive in the first place. He was sick. Frankly, if I didn't know better, he looked like a frikkin' zombie. Which wasn't really part of my deal..." he said, rather annoyed with the universe at his bum luck this day. 

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Well, at least he wasn't shooting at her or throwing any more grenades her way. Her glare could probably be felt even behind her mask. If she could shoot lasers from her eyes, Robin would have done just that. As it was, all she had was the Justice Buster, and drawing it while the Gas Man was pointing a gun at her seemed like a bad idea. Wouldn't be her first this day, but still... no reason to escalate right this moment. She had other things to take care of.

 

But she just couldn't help it. She had actually trusted him to do the right thing, and he had tried to gas her twice!

 

"What was that? You tried to gas me! Twice! I was trying to talk sense into them, and then you go and do something like that?" She wasn't about to tell him anything about Finnigan and the kids. If she was going to have any chance of getting them to stop this, then she had to get him out of the way. 

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GM

 

"I want to make it quite clear for legal purposes that due to the high degree of combat stress I accidentally dropped two non-lethal, and I emphasise non-lethal grenades. And as well as accidental in intent, the grenades effected self-defence and self-defence alone" said the Gas Man. 

 

He said it like a script, a well-rehearsed script. 

 

He sighed, and holstered his pistol. 

 

"Look, I'm in no shape to fight you, even if I wanted you. I won't be turning my back on you again, though. Seems like you like back stabbing" he said, nastily. "As far as my employer knows, as far as I know, Finnigan got buried under a ton of rubble. Unless you want to screw everything up but telling me different..." he suggested. 

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The Gas Man's whole speech seemed oddly rehearsed. "Wait, are you recording this or something? And my shot was completely in self defense! You gassed me! If you are so easily stressed in combat that you accidentally drop your weapons, then you are clear in the wrong line of work. Any employer should think twice about hiring someone that accidentally drops random grenades because of a bunch of a kids or being alone in a tunnel." She might be putting it on a bit thick, but if he was recording this, then it might cause him some annoyances, at least. She moved closer, once he had actually holstered his weapon, but not too close. She didn't trust those grenades of his.

 

From what she had experienced so far, the Gas Man was an opportunistic, lying scumbag. But he was a scumbag that seemed intent on doing as little work he didn't want to do. No reason to actually give him a reason to go after Finnigan and the kids. It would be much easier to deal with everything if he wasn't here the next time they showed up. "Didn't see anything until I got out of that whole. Was all dark in there, but everything was falling down." She pointed over her shoulder at the hole she had climbed out of. It was probably falling to pieces in there already. 

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GM

 

The Gas Man grunted. He was in some discomfort, and his grunt caused him to grunt in pain. Fortunately, he managed to stop himself grunting in pain from the grunt of pain at a grunt, thus avoiding a most tiresome circle of pain and grunt. 

 

"Well, I think that means he is dead and buried. Thank's for comfirming the kill. I mean job" he said, not looking Justice in the eye. "I guess Justice is served eh? ha ha ha ....umph...." he chuckled, wincing at his protesting ribs. 

 

"I'll see you around then. Don't forget, if you need any gassing, the Gas Man is your man. 0800-G-A-S-M-A-N-G-A-S" he said in a catchy little jingle"

 

And with that, he limped of down Trumble street, giving a fierce glare at anyone who looked at him. 

 

 

Edited by Supercape

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