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Dead? Or Alive? (IC)


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Colt had just finished bringing in a Mark. He sat the man down on the seats in the lobby of the police station he pointedly made sure that the man was visible from the glass office of the police chief. The bum was unshaven, unclean, and smelled badly of what was likely his own filth. Normally Colt would have gone straight to see the Police Chief, but instead he handcuffed the man to the bench, and departed for the lavatory.

"Reckon this stink ain't never gonna come off." Colt complained to himself as he washed his hands and his face in the bathroom. The issue of residence had been shaky even for him for the last week or so, but at least he had bathed regularly.

Returning to the lobby he noticed there was now another individual standing in the police chief's office. "Drat. Seems there's a line. Mighta missed ma chance. Still, I reckon getting clean's worth it." That's when the police chief saw him and beckoned him into the office.

"Nice to see you again, Colt! Glad you could bring that stinker in for us."

"Yall c'n say that agin." The police chief smiled, he had come to enjoy Colt's frank sense of humor over the past few days. Still, this had to be done if he were to trust colt with anything larger than bringing in vagrants off the street. "Ain't sure if'n this'd be the time, Sheriff, but I reckon I'm ready fer a real assignment. Hav'n me pick up wastrels is just a plain wasta ma time and talents. If'n yall ain't got anythin betta, I'm sure I c'n find work off the books somewhere."

"Actually, Colt, that was exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. Colt, I'd like you to meet Ace Danger." The chief raised a hand and gestured to the man standing somewhat behind the desk...

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Ace glanced up as the western styled Bounty Hunter entered the room, the unaging hero had met stranger allies and enemies in his time, though from what he had heard of the gentlemans skills with those sidearms he was glad he was in the former catagory.

He set his slightly rumpled fedora on the Cheifs desk and strode lightly across the room to offer this space cowboy a firm handshake. He had picked up the basics about the arrival of the bounty hunter from another dimension but hadn't learned much about the man himself yet, "Pleasure to meet you," He said with nod, "The Cheif here has told me you've been helping out quite a bit around here lately."

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Colt shook the man's hand heartily. It was a strong handshake, as anybody who fired guns for a living should have. "Mighty fine ta make yer acquaintance. Sheriff's right. I been doin all I can fer the city since I got here. Haven't met nobody what c'n see me back home just yet, so I reckon I'd make maself useful."

Colt turned back to the police chief. "Visitors are mighty fine an' all, Sheriff, but I'm hopin' we c'n have that talk now?" Colt's expression was stern. "Ain't had nothin' worth ma time in days. Not since that bank robbery, o'couse...WHICH I still haven't been paid fer."

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Ace watched the exchange with a practiced eye. He was well acustomed with the more mercenary set, even among heroes one had to pay the rent. Of course it also explained the Chiefs reservations about the fellow. Anyone who's services could be bought could turn on you quickly when a better offer came in. Ace was an excelent judge of character and it seemed the Chief wanted him to take the mans measure.

Ace settled into a chair and looked expectantly to the chief for the explanation.

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"That's just the thing, Colt. As it stands, I really CAN'T give you any better assignments. You've been in town for a week now. After literally dropping out of the sky, may I remind you. As far as I know you still don't have any proper forms of identification."

"Well now that bit I'm workin' on, Sheriff. Paperwork in your world seems ta take a mite longer than in mine."

"Be that as it may, the only actual official documents you carry on your person are the registrations for those guns. Which I still don't even like letting you carry in here, mind you. I'll take the time to remind you that was a leap of faith on my part and that I expect you not to let me regret it."

"Reckon I'm good fer it, Sheriff."

"And stop calling me 'Sheriff'. Chief, or even Sir will do. But lets get back to business. I've learned it's pointless to argue with you. You're stubborn as a donkey. That reference even you should be able to understand."

"Oh I get it alright, Sher-- Sir."

"So in the interests of progress and for the good of the city, I am willing to once again go out on a limb for you. But not without an explanation. You deserve to know what I'm getting you into, and why I am doing this. Some of the men on the squad have been saying that you're a loose cannon." At this, Colt began to protest, but the chief silence him with a hand. "Whether or not that is true remains to be seen. This is why I've brought Ace here. He's been around the block more than a few times, and he's seen his fair share of mercenaries turn down the path of greed rather than righteousness. And frankly, Colt, before our business arrangements go any further, I need to know that's not going to happen with you."

"Sh--Sir, I give ya ma word that I--"

"Sorry, Colt. In this case, I can't accept something as simple as your word. Over the past week, you've shown me that you are nothing more than a mercenary. A great one, but a mercenary nonetheless. Right now, giving you bounties that are more difficult to track down involves letting you have access to some of the police force's files, etc., etc., etc. I can't do that unless I know I can trust you. That's why I have asked Ace to accompany you on this next mission, which I think will be to you're overall satisfaction. Ace?"

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Ace nodded to the Chief before turning to Colt with a polite smile. He could tell the man wasn't completely taken with the idea already, and that may have been with good reason, but the fact was cowboy justice wasn't going to fly in this world.

"I assure you I'll be able to keep up." He said with a small laugh, "And once we see how you handle yourself you may find that I'm a good person to know in the buisness." To be completely honest Ace wasn't sure about the fellow himself, but he'd put him through the paces and see how things went.

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Colt stood up straight, from where he had been leaning on the chief's desk. He remained silent for a moment, placing his left hand along his gun belt. His right hand dangled by his side, right near the revolver strapped to his hip. For a moment, the tension in the air rose. Ace's guess was correct, the cowboy sure didn't like the proposed arrangement, but why the sudden hostility?

Don't like it. Not one bit. There were a lot of thoughts running through his head. But I ain't in ma world anymore. Things don't work the same here. If I were a bettin' man, and I am, I'd say there's no difference in the way people think. Colt's eyes shifted from Ace Danger to the police chief and back again. The chief had noticed the change in Colt's demeanor, and he was beginning to sweat.

Give'em a foot, an' they'll take a mile. Let'em know you can't be messed with, and they'll treat ya more fair. Chief here thinks he c'n control me and have me do what he likes. Reckon I scared him enough fer one day...

"Fine." Colt practically bit off the word. He leaned in towards the chief once more. "I'll do it. But just so we're clear. When I accept bounties. I like workin' alone." Colt stood and turned towards the door. As his head swiveled past Ace, he was smiling. It was a smile of satisfaction. The type worn by a man who's gotten exactly what he wants. Suddenly Ace felt the tension he had a moment earlier, instantly diffuse. He realized it had all been an act. Why he hadn't realized it earlier, who could say. He had seen it so many times...

As he approached the door, he looked back over his shoulder at the police chief. "You can fill Ace in on the details of the mission. I'll be waiting outside. Need ta collect ma pay from the bursar anyways." And with that he strolled out of the room.

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Ace turned to the Chief, "Well he's certainly not from around these parts." he said with a grin. He listened as the Cheif explained what was going on, not a powerful foe but his aprehension would require some finesse. He thanked the Chief after the briefing and planting his tradmark fedora firmly back on his head went to meet up with Colt.

He was waiting when Colt had collected his pay and as the well armed bounty hunter approached nodded greetign once more. "Don't be too hard on the Chief, he wants to give you a shot but he has alot riding on your word and you don't have much of a rep at all here." he said with a shrug.

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Colt nodded as Ace Danger approached. "Well, your right about that. Reckon I owe you an apology. Didn't quite have the time to communicate what I was doin' though."

The two exited the building. Colt stopped just outside the doors and pulled a cigarillo from his breast pocket and planted it in his mouth. He produced a match from the same pocket, flicked his finger nail against it, and watched it burst to life. Covering it with his hand, he lit the cigarette and shook out the match. He flicked it away to the side.

"Tell ya one thing I like about yer world so far. These things are damn convenient. Still can't believe yall don't bother rollin' yer own cigars." He looked up at Ace after releasing a puff of smoke from his mouth. "You got transportation? If not, we can take my bike. It's proven pretty handy for avoiding traffic."

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"I have a car but we might as well go in style right?" Ace asked and indicated for Colt to lead the way.

As the walked Ace began to outline the mission passing the rough details, "Cesar Del Torro," He passed the picture of the young gang leader to Colt and continued, "Leader of the Southside gang known as 'The Yellow Kings', rumored to have some mystic training as well as your standard rap sheet a mile long for violent crime from age 13 on."

Ace passed the sparse dossier the Chief had parted with to Colt as well, useless though it may be as the most recent adress no longer existed, and known contacts were exclusively gang underlings. Add to that the notorious insular nature of the southside and you had one hard to find man.

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"Hmm." Colt perused the various files that Ace had received from the police, releasing a puff of smoke as he did so. The two walked down the stone steps in front of the police office.

To the side of the steps stood what looked like an extremely large motorcycle. Colt simply gestured to it as the pair drew near. "This here's ma faithful steed." He swung one leg over the motorcycle and sat down. Pressing a button on the dash, a small panel on the side of the cycle opened up. He slipped the files into the compartment, shut it, and pressed another button. A second larger compartment opened up into which Colt deposited his hat. He held out a hand towards Ace, implying that he should probably lose his hat as well. "This puppy c'n really move. I'd hate ta see ya lose a nice hat like that..." Once Ace handed over his hat, Colt handed him a pair of goggles, pulling his own up over his eyes. "Reckon our first stop should at least be that general area. Most'a those addresses likely ain't right. We can still do some digging there though. How's that sound by you?"

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Ace glanced at the bike curiously as they approached it, deffinately not from around here, but didn't look like your average super-scientist custom job either. Maybe the guys story was true, he really didn't seem to have reason to lie.

At Colts question he nodded, "Seems the best place to start, I might know a few folks out that way willing to talk, we'll dig up something." he replied as he pulled the goggles over his eyes.

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"Sounds like we're off then. If'n yer waitin' fer a 'yeehaw' outta me, it's gonna be a while." Soon as Ace took his seat, Colt revved the engine, and kicked down on the clutch. "Hang on!" The cycle's back tire burned rubber against the curb, and the bike quickly tore off along the sidewalk.

Colt approached the end of the block at full speed. Ace didn't know what to expect other than certain death...again...when suddenly, Colt punched a button on the dash, and the vehicle leaped the line of cars parked on the street. The odd thing was, it didn't descend, either. The tires turned and flattened underneath the cycle, and rocket boosters projected from the center of what used to be their rims. A sleek pair of wings quickly unfolded from the nose of the cycle and extended backward. Finally, the windshield extended upward and backward to cover both of the passengers.

"Now ya know why I'm holdin' yer hat!" Colt yelled back to Ace as the Stellar Cycle rocketed off towards Southside.

Once in the general vicinity of Southside, Colt again addressed Ace. "Where do yall reckon we should land?"

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Ace pointed to a rare undeveloped plot of land just off some of the main streets, "Down there, try to keep our arrival at least somewhat sureptitious." Ace replied.

Once safely on the ground Ace dismounted and with a nod said, "I gotta get me something like that. That one handy piece of machinery you have there."

He walked out onto the street and glanced around to be sure of his bearings, "Kings territory is about a block east of here, good a place as any to scare up some rumors."

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Colt pressed yet another button on the dashboard, and suddenly, the futuristic motorcycle went silent. "Surep-whatever it is, then." Colt brought the cycle down into the empty lot with it running on silent.

He stepped off the bike and handed Ace his hat, replacing his own while he was at it. Colt pulled down his goggles and let them dangle around his neck. He replaced Ace's pair into their compartment. He dialed a few of the buttons on the dash and set both the alarm, and the remote control receivers. "Reckon I'm all set. Shall we?"

The pair began walking east. Colt kept his eyes peeled. "I'm a good man ta know in the business.' That's what ya said if'n I remember correctly. So where would yall start?"

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Well there were several option but rather thn risk exposing one of his closer confidants Ace opted for easily bribeable. "Theres a dealer over on washington, goes by Dime Bag, He's not a king but they sometimes source him." Ace said, "He's a greedy little coward so he'll talk if he knows anything."

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"Well then, reckon I'll go give'em a scare. Yall c'n wait here if'n ya want." Colt began to walk towards Washington street. He stopped at the corner and looked to see if her could find anyone who looked like a "Dime Bag" loitering on the streets. Seeing a likely candidate, Colt approached him, "Howdy."

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Dime Bag stared up at Colt with the standard two bit hustler mix of terror and bravado, some things aparently didn't change between dimensions. He was about to bolt when Ace appeared on the other side of him, "Relax D-Bag, This is Colt he has a couple questions for you." Aces smile never touched his eyes as he spoke.

For his part the hood turned to Colt with a look of false bravery and said loudly, "I ain't tellin you nuttin." But Colt could already see the fear in his eyes.

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Colt gave an appreciative nod at Ace for cutting the man off. Briefly he wondered how Ace had gotten past him without him noticing. "That so?" Colt responded to Dime Bag, he was standing about five feet away at the time. "That's a darn shame. An' here I was gonna treat ya all nice." Colt drew his pistol from his belt and began spinning it around his finger, taking a step towards Dime Bag he lowered his voice threateningly, "Now I reckon we're gonna have ta do this the hard way."

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Dime Bag took a step back the fear in his eyes growing, "N-n-n-ow, No need for that man." He stammered nervously eyeing the pistol in Colts hand. "What're ya looking for?"

Ace merely cocked his head and observed Colt do his work. It wasn't a surprise that Dime Bag rolled, it was in his nature, and much of what made him so usefull on the street instead of behind bars.

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Colt stopped flipping the pistol momentarily, holding it by the barrel. His arm was half raised, and he looked like he was ready to deliver a pistol whipping if he didn't like the answer he was about to get. "The name Ceaser Del Torro mean anythin' ta ya?" Colt held still, like he was poised to strike, "He's with the Yellow Kings. Reckon yall better tell the truth now."

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While certainly putting on a good show Colt seemed to be in full control. Hard to say what would happen with a tougher nut to crack but if he was as good as he thought he was he'd know putting informants in th hospital wasn't a good way of keeping in the loop.

Dime Bag eyed the raised pistol warily, "Man that dudes crazy, I don't want to know him." He replied, "He find out I ratted him out he'll have me vanished man." The whole time he spoke he eyed a dilapidated tenement down the block.

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Colt flipped the pistol back into his hand so that he held it the proper way with the business end pointed toward Dime Bag. "And if'n I find out yer holdin' somethin' back I'll make yer way ta bein 'vanished' as painful as a'can." Colt cocked Jericho's hammer back into a firing position, holding it by his hip. "So what'll it be?"

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Dime Bag trembled and cursed, "I can't tell you nuttin' man," He said his eyes fixed on the cocked pistol, "Yellow Kings'r untouchable, He could be at any of thier places, and no one is gonna get him out."

While utterly terrified of Colt and giving up more than he intended by far, he was more afraid of what these gang bangers would do to him it seemed. That in and of itself was telling however, the dossier on the group put them pretty low ranked and not exceptionally violent at least as gangs went. Hard to explain what would so frighten a long time snitch like Dime Bag.

Ace passively looked on, Dime bag clearly knew something more but whatever it was was a damn sight scarier than Colt. The Yellow Kings had something new going on it seemed.

Finaly he looked to Colt, "D-Bag is more useless than usual, We'll find you're mark the hard way." His voice was loud enough to make clear to any who might be listening in that the dealer hadn't caved but Aces eyes were fixed on the tenement Dime Bag had been eyeing.

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"I agree!" Colt said loudly, playing along. He flipped Jericho back into it's holster, but continued to stare at Dime Bag. "Last chance, partner." He turned to Ace, "Can ya believe that after all the information Dime Bag just gave up bout them Yellow Kings, it's nothin' we didn't already know?"

Colt stepped over to ace. "Reckon that's as good'a place as any ta start." He said looking up at the tenement. "How you wanna handle this? We goin' in the front door? Or gonna try'n lure'em out?"

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