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Crack is Whack [IC]


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Slick didn't like being a vagrant. Firstly, in order to complete the disguise, he had to be a little odorous... and his sense of smell was to acute for that to be pleasant. Secondly, quite frankly, Slicked liked luxury and Slick liked looking good. The dishevelled unshaven and unkempt vagrant he had grown into, "mumbling bob" was none of these things.

Still, it suited for the investigation. Slick had been asking around Southside and hanging around unnoticed. And things didn't look good. Slick would hardly call himself a socialist, but when Southside started sliding further, well, south, he felt he need to poke his nose in. New drugs had hit the allready deprived area, and the kids where high.

Sitting on the sidewalk, mumbling to himself, Slick observed the three thugs, dressed in jeans and vests, talking to some young (15 year old) adolescent boy. The kid was unkempt and looked bad, sweaty and thin. Slick could smell the new drug on the kids perspiration.

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A block away, Dragonfly was watching the dealers from just around a building's corner, scowling. She didn't come to Southside too much - and she didn't hunt down drug pushers too much, for that matter - but one of the lowlifes in her territory had mentioned the 'competition' and she'd come to see it for herself. predators - scum - children! - going to enjoy this - possibly profitable - information - new drugs - suppliers? - imported local labs crime organization best case - will try to leave at least one of them conscious enough to talk later

Frowning, she tapped a finger against her arm as she studied the thugs.

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Hidden on the nearby rooftops, a separate investigation was also taking place. The masked vigilante known as the Drifter had traced a recent drug bust of his own out to Southside, and while it was a bit outside of his usual stomping grounds, he decided to follow up on it. The dealers weren't as independent as he had thought to begin with. He had watched this particular area for a few days now. He had wondered if the vagrant he had seen there was related to it, but dismissed the thought; if anything, he was a user.

He was more interested in the three talking to the young man. This might be the break he was looking for. He drew his grapple gun, prepping it and looking for a good spot to shoot for above them. He just needed to see the product, and he could make his move. Quick drop in, catch them off guard, grill one for his supplier. This works out, I can begin working up the chain.

He fired off his grapple gun, wrapping around a sturdy looking flagpole before leaping off, swinging down towards the group. Carter didn't know what her deal was, but she looked like she could use a little backup regardless. He landed solidly behind the thugs in a crouch before rearing to his full height. "Evening, gentlemen. I think we need to have a little chat."

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Slick cursed as the masked man swung over too the group. What was this? He stood up, a little too fluidly for a decrepit vagrant. The bandana wearing man looked like he could handle himself, but it was still three against one, and the thugs were probably packing.

Well, maybe it was time to shake things up a little bit. And this guy may just serve that purpose, without Slick having to break cover.

Slick shuffled forward, getting within earshot. He clocked the new guys smell. A bit sweaty, tinged with adrenaline but not too much. Smell of some smoke chemicals. Guy was a pro.

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The thugs were shaken by Drifter, but they had been on the street a little too long to balk at the first sign of trouble. Plucking up courage, one guy, stripped to the waist and wearing jeans and sunglasses, pulled himself together. He drew out a small but nasty looking knife from his belt.

Back off, sucker! he snapped.

The two other thugs adopted more mean and aggressive postures. One of them grabbed the kid by the scruff of the neck as he tried to run.

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Nick kept to the darkness, ducking between alley ways. The streets of Freedom were back under his feet now, but Southside wasn't exactly familiar territory. Even before getting into the hero racket, he'd never had much reason to come here. But then he met the boy with the skull T-shirt down at the edge of the boardwalk. He was mostly nonverbal, and didn't even seem to realize he was dead. He just kept gasping and scratching his skin; Nick had been around enough ghosts who'd overdosed to recognize the signs of a very bad trip. After managing to get through to the kid, all he'd gotten was a pointed finger towards Southside.

He'd spent a few nights prowling the streets, coming up dry -- the usual crack and heroin, but nothing that seemed to generate the reaction Nick had seen in the kid. Then he came across the dealers... and saw their customer, already beginning to experience some of the same symptoms as the ghost on the boardwalk. Trying to hold down his anger, Nick tried to figure out how to tackle the matter.

And then the guy with the bandanna came leaping down from the rooftops. The more the merrier, he thought. Nick drew his will together and slipped to the mouth of the alley. "Evening, gentlemen," he said. "I've got an old customer who wants to have a long talk with you."

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Scowling a little deeper, Dragonfly abandoned her corner and carefully made her way towards the group, glad their attention was on...whoever that was. idiot - charging in - going to get someone killed - hope they're spineless - going to go very bad very quickly

As she walked, a couple little lights lit up on her gauntlets, a force field like a distorted outline around her profile quietly twisting into being.

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"Holy Crapcakes" the first thug said, as Nick sauntered into view. The odds had just shortened, considerably.

The thug holding the kid started to panic. He drew a pitol and held it to the young kid's head.

Back of weirdo or the kid gets it! We ain't out for trouble! He stammered, clearly contradicting himself.

The other two thugs were getting nervous, the stakes had been raised and they had lost their cool.

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This is all get way out of control

Still, shuffling and mumbling bob couldn't be a threat. Last person the mooks would be looking at right now.

Slick shuffled just to the edge of the mooks vision, and then the shuffling old vagrant became a lithe tiger, shifting silently at inhuman speed, circling to behind the thug holding the terrified kid.

Gotta get that gun out of action first...

Slick prayed that the idiot wouldn't panic. There was enough blood on the streets.

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With gun's misfiring and one of their number on the floor, the thugs had enough sense to know when the game was up, no matter what street bravado they may have had.

The first (Shirtless) thug, probably the "leader", dropped his knife. "No way man, take it easy, it's cool" he babbled

The second thug just dropped to his knees, petrified, making a cross sign and looking at Nick uneasily.

The leader spoke again "We wasn't doin nuthin man. Just hangin out. No need to get heavy."

Meanwhile, the poor Kid, petrified and still sweaty, started to sprint away as fast as his young legs would carry him...

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Slick didn't much care to have that kid get off so easily, and ran off at superhuman speed, to once again grab the kid by the scruff of the neck. He smelled of sweat and... drugs. But a new drug. Potent. One for the lab.

Slick grabbed a small tube, and pulled out a tiny sponge wire, scraping against the kid's skin.

One for the lab Slick thought.

The kid was too frightened to speak. Perhaps not surprising. And the sight of a dirty old man sniffing a young emaciated kid didn't look to good, to be honest.

Perhaps time to let the kid go and speak to the new crowd. Without even realising it, Slick released the kid from his iron grasp, and the kid sprinted off at full pace.

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Dragonfly wasn't sure if she was happy or disappointed that they'd caved in so easily. took maybe ten seconds - combat experience on the one - unknown power on the other - grating noise sonic manipulation mechanical control very loud telekinesis - may as well let them get information - interesting to watch - good odds the kneeling criminal pees his pants

Leaning up against the nearest wall she tilted her head and watched, content to let meatier heads do their intimidation thing.

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Nick smiled -- with the painted-on skeletal rictus, it was something of a sight to behold. "Glad to see you've decided to be reasonable," he said. "As I was saying earlier, I ran into this kid down on the Boardwalk. Young, black, skull T-shirt, sunken eyes, the shakes... what else...?"

Nick leaned in close to the lead thug. "Oh, that's right," he said. "He was dead. But he told me where I could find his suppliers. So, imagine my surprise when I see you guys, and another kid with the same symptoms. So... mind telling me what you dirtlickers are pushing, or you gonna try telling me that kid got the wrong number?"

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Drifter stepped over towards the leader, falling in next to the skull-faced man. He tossed his collapsing baton lazily, glancing over to the leader of the thugs. "I suggest you answer the nice skull-faced man, dude. Or I'm going to have to ask you." He smiled a sadistic smile under his mask that was, if he had to be honest with himself, only mostly feigned. "And I doubt you're going to like how I ask questions."

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The thug went white. "What are you?" he stared at Nick, reevaluating his life and all he had known.

"Its the new stuff. We call it the Schnizzle. The Superhigh. The Green. It gets you high man. Real high. Like nuthin' else. "

"We gets the Green from Knuckles O'Hagan man. He holed up real tight. REAL tight. Not nobody get in and out of there. Man, his guys are 'packin heavy artillery. "

"Don't no nuthin' else man. We just gets the green from Hagan, that's it. He wants us to push that dope hard man. Get the kids hooked up. And they get hooked real good."

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Walking up to the thug, Drifter grabbed him around the throat, leaning down to look him face to face. "Listen carefully. You don't go to O'Hagan. You and your buddies go home, and you don't show your faces on the streets again. Or I find you, and I make sure you never show your faces on the streets again. Are we clear?" He stepped back, letting the man go and looking at all three thugs. "Go. Leave the weapons." He slipped the baton back into his belt, letting the thugs leave as he turned towards the group that was beginning to form. It seemed that he wasn't the only one that had been following this lead.

"Right then. Let's get the introductions out of the way first, then? You guys can call me Drifter. I busted a shipment of drugs a little while ago. Followed up and found these guys. Guess this is bigger than I thought." He took another glance around the group, from the magician, to the girl with what seemed to be some kind of weaponized gauntlets. "I think if we pool our resources, we can crack this wide open."

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Dragonfly frowned as the thugs ran off. should bring them in - bigger fish - find them later?

She turned her attention back to Drifter as he addressed the group, lifting a hand and nodding. "Dragonfly. I am, I mean. Heard about these dealers from their competition -" She paused, just a hint of a smile under the edge of her visor. "- ...excompetition in Greenbank. Was worth investigating." Turning a critical eye on the surrounding heroes, she added, "Should be able to handle things between the lot of us."

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Slick sure as hell didn't. Hadn't even heard of the guy.

So it was Nick, Drifter and Dragonfly. Looked like handy friends, and smelled like them too. Would have to keep his eye (And nose) on Drifter. He looked like he liked smiting the unrighteous just a little harder than was strictly necessary.

All kids too.

Slick had been keeping under the radar for seventy odd years. And he knew it wasn't worth dropping the disguise without a reason.

Still, better introduce himself.

"You guys, that was amazing. These streets sure'as hell need cleaning up. Knuckle's guys bin all ovah. Ain't no place for a man o' the road to sleep these days."

He went up to Nick. "The names Bob. Mumblin' Bob. On account of me mumblin'. Let me help, these guys won't notice me. "

He mumbled.

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Drifter looked towards the bum as he came up. "No offense, man, but I don't know if this is any fight for you. I know this O'Hagan. Tough dude, not a pushover. And he's going to have backup. This is going to be a fight, and he's going to be looking to kill." Looking at the rest of the group, he glanced around. "Speaking of which, we need to hit soon, and hit hard. Before he's got a chance to get suspicious."

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"Hey, no offence taken. Perhaps Mumblin' Bob can't be of any help."

Slick's muscles and skin danced and bulged for a few seconds. Some dark oily tears formed over his body. The sight was not pretty.

After a few seconds, Slick had assumed the form of the lead thug (who stood to one side open mouthed). It was not a perfect fit, but it took more than a casual glance to notice any difference.

"Perhaps I could be of help instead?"

Slick smiled. "The names Slick ladies and gentlemen. I've been scouting out this place for a week or so now. And I think its time to finish the Job."

Slick produced the drug sample. "But first, I'm going to see exactly what this is. " Slick produced his small, sleek (And expensive) cell phone, and started exchanging numbers. "Sounds like you guys can hit O'Hagan whilst I look into this?"

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Dragonfly knew him - O'Hagan, that was. Only by reputation, though, which left an obvious problem. She eyed Slick as she exchanged numbers - magic visually unlikely - mutation technology - disturbing - before putting her phone back in its pouch and looking around at the other heroes. She cleared her throat. "Leads to the question: Where is O'Hagan? Noticed you forgot to ask."

She tilted her head, looking back at where the thugs had been. "Effective methods, though."

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"Well, I've got something approaching an idea," Nick said. He reached down to the ground and picked up the knife the thug had dropped. "There's a chance I might be able to get some sort of reading off of this, get a better sense of the wielder. If he had it about him when he met O'Hagan, there's a chance it might give me something."

Nick relaxed as he held the knife in his hands, and opened his mind to the flow of ages.

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