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Firearm Foulup (IC)

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The Fens... The seedy section of town... All the places you don't want to be, and all the places they do, all contained in one neat little package.

Word gets around quick in this city. Especially if you keep your ear to the ground and your hand in all the right pots. It just so happened these things were the specialty of one Ace Danger. And recently he had been hearing quite a lot.

Some of the lowlifes in town had been squealing about the biggest weapons deal this side of the new century. And it was gonna go down on the birthday of the nation too. Talk about fireworks...

It was time for Ace to do his thing. He had to put a stop to this business. But he was going to need help, and he was going to need information.

Who would he call on this breezy July 2nd evening? Who would he talk to? What would he find out, and what would he do? He had two days before the deal was going to go down. Whatever his plan was, he had to work quickly...

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The buzz on this deal was big, and weapon shipments of this size could mean trouble right here in Freedom City. First things first Ace wanted to know what kinda ordinance to expect, and if he'd have to tap his rolladex for backup. His first call was to a small time fence operating out of southside, the Finn wasn't working with any of the major underworld groups which meant his info was kinda limited. It also meant that he was quite willing to spill what he knew for the right price.

It rang six times before the Finn picked up, "Hello?" Came the rasping reply.

Ace spoke quietly despite being alone "Finn, its Ace and I'm calling due that favor you owe me." Tipping off the Finn that the load of stolen Fabrege eggs were cheap Ukranian knockoffs had served several purposes but also left the fence owing Ace a hefty favor.

Ace didn't give him time to quibble over the favor and steamed onward "Theres a big load of weapons getting the hand off on the 4th, I think you are in a unique position to know what whould be in those crates." The other effect of Finn being unaffiliated was all the small time goons who stumbled into mob properties came directly to him with the goods and story.

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"Man, you always gotta be buggin' me about that favor, don't'cha?" the Finn whined. "Well good job finally calling me on it. Glad to have it off my back."

The Finn cleared his throat. "Alright, man, here is the scoop. There's something big comin' in, but I don't know what. No one does." The Finn actually sounded kind of scared. When an informant with his connections can't find out a piece of information, you know the situation is pretty bad. "You're in luck though. I got something you might want. Bring my usual fee around and I might be able to help you..."

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Ah so he's gonna play it this way, fine by me, thought Ace as the Finn quibbled over what he may or may not know.

"No one?" Ace asked incredulously "You gotta have more than that Finn." Ace slid a tight roll of cash acrosss the counter towards the Finn one finger holding it down.

"Alright I'll bite whatcha got?" Ace asked with a smirk.

"And don't think you're off the hook with this. You hear anything more you call me. Got it?" Aces voice was hard as steel and left no room for argument.

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The Finn takes the wad and pockets it as quick as a jackrabbit. Without a word he walks out from behind the counter and heads toward the storefront of his pawn shop. He presses his face up against the large pane of glass clearly looking about for would be informants.

Suddenly he reaches off to the side and draws the curtain across the store window. "We're clear..." Is all he offers.

Flipping the 'Yes, we're open" sign to "Sorry, we're closed" he takes few quick strides back to the counter. Opening the door behind the counter he walks through. "Come on."

Something has The Finn pretty spooked. He shuts the door immediately after you enter, locking it. The room is black as pitch and you can hear The Finn crossing it quickly.

*click* the lights flare on and the nerves in your eyes hurt for a split second.

The first thing you see is a man with a gun pointed straight at your head. You give a start in spite of yourself...before you realize that it is only a mannequin.

"You like that, huh? just got it today." Finn picks up the dummy and bodily tosses it into a mound of boxes. His back room is very cluttered.

"But that's not what I wanted to show you." He continues rummaging for a second. "Here it is. And here you go. Picked this up at the toy store the other day. Apparently some Japanese company started putting these out recently."

Ace received something he hadn't laid his hands on in a long time. An action figure. Still sealed in the plastic packaging too. The title on the box reads 'Manga and Mecha!' and you assume it to be from some new TV show.

"That's all I got for you. Now I don't mean any disrespect, Mister, but get the hell out of my store." Finn smiles at you.

After being shoved out not unkindly, you stand in front of Finn's shop for a second, really confused. You look down at the little robot action figure sitting in its cardboard and plastic case simply wondering, "What the hell do I do now?"

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Ace thoughtfully examined the box as he strolled back to his car once inside he took his time examinign every inch for an aditional hint of what was going on or at least what had the Finn so spooked.

It seemed like he was worried he was being watched, probably by the folks who were behind this whole thing given his nerves on that subject in particular. All in all it added up to this being alot more than just another weapons deal going down, and the key was somewhere on or in this box. He went back to work on the box not wanting too many thoeries to cloud what he was looking for.

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You stroll casually down the block, parusing the box as you go. your cursory look yields nothing unusual.

Once you get into your car, however you give it a more though look. There is a blurb on the back of the cardboard that relates to the action figure.

"Smash, crash, and bash your way through your enemies with this big ass bot! The Model AS883813 Mech from the new season of Manga and Mecha is finally here!"

The rest of the box doesn't say anything unusual. Great. So it's a TV show and there are giant robots that fight each other. This was not very helpful. Wait...

"Warning: Choking Hazard - Keep out of reach of Ace Danger"

What?

It seemed Finn had done something to the back of the box. It had an overlaid plastic label that looked exactly like the design on the box except it instead of the words, "Small Children," it has your name printed there. The label even scratches off to reveal the actual words beneath. This thing was definitely your clue... but where was it?

You flip the box over and over frantically searching for something, anything.

And then you find it. It seems that the seal that joined the plastic shield to the cardboard backing had already been separated...and glued back on! You tear into it and begin to examine the toy. He had to have left you some information on it and then stuck it back in the packaging to hide his tracks in case anyone got a hold of it.

You play with the toy for a few seconds, opening missile caches and storage compartments until finally you open the opaque cockpit at the top of the robot and a small note falls out.

Sorry for the harsh treatment. I'm pretty sure they bugged my @#$%ing store. Go to this address. Bring the toy and play with it.

It's a bar, and it's in the Fens...

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Ace drove quickly to the bar but not fast as to attract attention and left the car parked down the block. Walking into the bar he picked a table in the corner and ordered a dry martini before experementing with the toys various bits and bobs.

It was an intricate design to be certain well beyond the constructions of his youth, but none the less Ace couldn't help but feel it was somehow lesser despite its obvious technological marvels.

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You sit and play with the "bits and bobs" and drink you're martini. A few of the other patrons give you some strange looks, but you ignore them. You keep your eyes peeled on the place, but you don't see anything out of order.

After you finish the martini and wait for the bartender you practice trying to shoot a few of the robot's plastic projectiles into the martini glass. you miss a few times and finally you manage to bounce it off the rim of the glass! Unfortunately, this causes the projectile to bounce onto the floor. You lean over to pick it up. When you're head rises back above the table once more...

You see a man standing at you're table. Dressed in a grey sport jacket and white button down shirt. He also wears a pair of khaki pants, black belt and shoes. "Hi," he greets you with a smile, sitting, "You look like you're having fun there."

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Ace smiled at the man and gestured in a friendly manner for the man to join him and waved the waitress over.

"Indeed," He said with a chuckle "It's a facinating little toy, so intricate, I'll admit I don't know much about the whole Mecha and Manga franchise, but these toys manage to bring out the boy in me despite myself."

He smiled at his new companion "I suppose all men have some innate love fro giant destructive robots eh?"

Ace wasn't entirely sure what he was supposed to find here but this gentlemans interest certainly seemed to be the first clue he'd had as to why the Finn had sent him here and building a rapport certainly couldn't hurt.

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"Yes, this is very true. Especially when that love extends itself into a monetary cash flow." he said as the received their drinks.

The man relaxed, took a sip, and then placed the glass back on the table.

Leaning forward, he placed his hands on the table and folded them. "How much are you willing to offer?"

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Ace smiled at the mans comment, "Indeed particularly under shuch circumstances the fondness will grow."

He pasued in the coversation until the waitresss was once again out of earshot "Well the interest I represent has very deep pockets assuming quality goods." He said slickly.

Not wanting to tip his hand too soon he left that line of inquiry to stew and moved on asking "How many units are we talking about?"

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"The shipment coming in on the 4th only has one." Said the man. "Unfortunately it has already been spoken for, but you are welcome to give a stop by to see the merchandise before we pass it off to the new owner."

Taking another sip, he leans back in the chair, totally relaxed. He clearly suspects nothing is amiss. "You are in luck though. We should expect to see a few more shipments of at least a couple of units each in the next few weeks." *sip*

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This was going better than Ace had hoped, he would certainly be able to uncover where the deal was going down. However he didn't exactly relish the idea of faceing down some giant fighting robot solo so a little finessing would be needed.

"Excelent news indeed." Ace said flatly, now to get the needed information without spooking him "I would be very interested in seeing the merchandise."

Ace paused expectantly waiting for the gentleman to give over where the trade off would take place. In such matters Ace had found that asking was suspicious but a leadign statement would often get an individual at ease such as this gentleman to reveal thier secrets of their own accord.

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"Wonderful!" The man clapped his hand together, and stood from the table abruptly. "We will be in touch before the fourth." Without a backwards glance, the man turned on his heel and left the bar.

He leaves you wondering if strange occurrences would ever stop happening around here...Suddenly you realize your trail of leads has abruptly dried up...

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At first Ace was concerned he'd spooked the man, perhaps seeming to eager. As this was his only lead he was loath to see it slip through his fingers, but upon further examination Ace saw that the man hadn't given the telltale sighns that he knew what was up but rather behaved more in the fashion of a man with somewhere to be.

All of this flashed through Aces mind int he instant the other man turned and walked to the door. With a thought Ace faded from the senses of those around him and followed the man out the door to see what was so important to pull him away with such alacrity.

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The man walked down the side of the street casually. When he was a good distance away, he took a look around. He was clearly looking for any tail he might have. Little did he know that there was no way he would ever be able to see Ace Danger following him unless Ace were right under his nose! (Because that way he would be able to smell him.)

After seeming satisfied that he was not followed, the man flipped out a cell phone. "Yea, it's me." He talked into it. "Yea, I got another one." You creep closer, but cannot seem to hear whoever is on the other line other than mumbled responses. But it doesn't matter. Enough of the conversation becomes clear that you know what he is talking about.

"Yea, I offered for him to take a look at the goods, just like usual. A Cop? No. Yes, I am sure." The man looked around to make sure once again he was not being followed. He quickly darted into a side alley and leaned up against the bricks for a minute, concentrating on his call. "No, look, he had the toy and everything. Just like the boss said he would. You can't find out about that code if you are a cop. And that doesn't even come from me. That @#$%'s higher up, so you know you can trust it."

The man began walking again. "Right, so are we cool? Yea, of course I am gonna tail him. I figured I would call you first to make sure we can actually do this!" You can hear yelling from the other end of the line. It sounded like he was taking flack for forgetting something. "No! Alright! I'm calling him right now, okay?" *Click*

He stopped in his tracks and turned back toward the bar that the two of you had been at. He seemed to be looking for a sign or something. "Christ. He hasn't even left yet. I don't know what Mal is so worried about." he talked to himself while he dialed a new number. He then got on the horn once more.

"Flowers! Yea, this is James." That is when you realize the man had never actually given you his name before. "I've got a job for you. I want you too keep tabs on somebody. How close? How about ten grand close? Yea I need to make sure the guy is on the level. I don't think he's a cop, but he might be something else." The man kept intently watching the door to the bar. "No I don't have a name, we don't usually do names in this business, remember? ... Just shut up and listen, Flowers. Come and meet me by the usual bar and I will give you a description of the guy. I'll stay here to make sure that he doesn't leave while you show up."

You realize that he's talking about having somebody tail YOU. Likely he wants to make sure that you are on the level. You realize that if this "Flowers" shows up, and you are no longer in the bar, things could go south, quick...

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It looked like this was about all he'd get from this guy without stirring up more trouble than it was worth. Ace made his way back to the Bar and slipped in invisibly with another customer and headed to the bathrooms dropping his mind clouding effect at the door apearing to emerge and made his way to the door making a casual glance to see if his tail was in place.

Once certain that the tail was following he made a few stops in keeping with his 'cover' and used a pay phone to call his cell. A good tail would try redial and Ace could fill out the cover ID a bit.

He then headed in towards the more populous downtown regions and waited for the call.

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You take a taxi downtown. You are skilled enough to note the other taxi following you the entire way. It was only as expected.

You disembark in front of a large office building. You do a few inconspicuous things, like buying a newspaper, and a pretzel on the street corner (paying with cash of course), and continue on your way.

You are in the middle of your relaxing stroll when you lose track of the man you think has been following you all the way from the fens. You smile, satisfied, and continue about your business. A few minutes later, your cell phone rings - the number is not that of the pay phone that you had written down earlier, in fact, it's restricted. A quick glance around ensures that your tail is still no where to be seen...

Are you satisfied that you lost your tail so easily on a crowded street corner? Do you answer the phone call?

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Ace felt it unlikely that people this serious would put so amatuer a tail on him as to be lost with littel to no effort on a busy corner however there seemed no need for subterfuge on this particular matter hitting the handsfree button quickly on his phone he answered "Yes?"

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A raspy voice on the other end of the line responded. "I suppose you should be familiar with people tailing you when you are in this business, but to leave such an obvious clue for your tail? Tsk tsk Mr. Mystery-Man." The voice sounded slightly sarcastic. You stop walking for a second. Was that sarcasm? Does he really know who I am?

The voice continued. "Oh, no need to interrupt your little stroll on my account. By all means, keep walking." It sneered.

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"I consider it profesional courtessy to give you a way to get in touch." Ace said smoothly. The man was clearly trying to spook Ace but the fact was Ace had faced down far more dire situations in his long life.

They both knew the tail was supposed to uncover who Ace was and if possible who he represented. "So we remain at an impasse I can't continue my day until I lose you and you have to follow me untill I do something outside the mundane." Ace had been playing this game when this ked was still in diapers most likely and wasn't about to give up a thing.

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"Very well then, Mystery Man." The voice intoned, "We shall play this game. And don't you worry that pretty little head of yours. We will be in touch..." *click*

As you continue about your day, you keep your eyes peeled for that tail of yours. You try ducking into a few shops, but notice no one suspicious follow you in. After exploring some merchandise for a while, you decide that there is nothing else for it to head back outside and try to lose your tail some other way. After all, Why would they follow you in when the only way out was through the front door. Most of the small shops on this street had large front windows that anyone could see through anyways...

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Ace had really had enough of this cat and mouse game and needed to find some back up if he was gonna face down some kind of giant fighting robot.

He headed for a crowded subway stop and waited until an arrival disembarked spilling the crush of riders out onto the platform. In the midst of this swirling crowd he adopted an illusory disguise while placing an illusion of himself over another rider and made his way through the crowd. He stuck to the generalized crush and hailed a cab still maintaining the illusion.

Once in the cab he told to cabbie to take him tot he exclusive North Bay Yacht Club. Even if his tail had managed to catch the switch in time the lightly trafiked streets near the club would offer him little to no cover.

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The switch went off without a hitch. Whether or not the tail was able to pick it up or not, you cannot say.

Once at the yacht club, however, it seemed as though there was nobody around following you. Either your tail truly was invisible in more than just the figurative sense, or you have totally lost him.

The yacht club is beautiful this fine evening. By the time you get there out of the center city traffic it is nearing twilight. The upscale parties that the yacht club usually hosts are sure to begin soon. You can count on there being some important people here...

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