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Agent A

Water Break (IC)

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Drifter landed on the rooftop, the high-test wire from his grapple gun retracting as he came to his feet. He had been expanding his borders recently, especially into Southside; lots of gang activity filtered through here before crossing the South River into Greenbank and the Fens. There was only so much he could do, of course, but he was quickly learning in the last few weeks that he wasn't alone out here. Still, however, running across rooftops worked up a sweat even if you were as used to it as he was by now.

Drifter sat down, leaning his bat against the against the wall of the roof access and looking at his watch. It was about 2AM, he was going to have to get home and get some sleep before he had to get up for work. He rummaged through his pack, looking for his water bottle. He figured that he would take a short breather and begin to head home. He had found a few leads to track down, and managed to bust up a mugging in the process. All in all, not a bad night, he supposed. He would have work to do tomorrow.

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Things were starting to pick up for Cannonade. He felt like he was starting to get the hero thing down. Earlier that evening, he'd found a smuggling operation down in Port Royal that was bringing in heroin hidden in shipments of china. The operation had security, but most of it was guys with guns. He'd been able to handle them pretty well and oversaw the arrest, though he still had a few holes in his costume from the bullets.

Sewing kit and patches aren't gonna last forever, he thought to himself as he raced across the rooftops back to Southside. Just where the hell do you go for a costume in this town? Don't suppose the Atoms have a fashion line or something...

Lost in his thoughts, he almost didn't notice that the next rooftop he landed on was occupied. He looked to see who his new neighbor was -- tall, lanky, dressed in cargo pants and a ballistic vest, with a bandanna hanging around his mouth to mask his identity. Looks like someone else who makes do...

Cannonade wondered if he should just pass on back to the apartment, or maybe say hello to the other guy. The guy seemed to be focused on his work, so he just decided to wait and see what he did.

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Drifter, for his part, was more interested in his water bottle than looking around right now. It was an old bike bottle they were giving out from one of the offices he was temping in. He had scratched out the company name and logo; perhaps a bit paranoid, but Drifter he figured he might as well. He pulled open the nozzle with his teeth, taking a small mouthful of the water before pouring a bit over his head. Hot nights were the worst; his vest wasn't exactly breathable, and he couldn't exactly wear shorts. He could see why some people went the spandex route, he supposed.

When he looked up, however, he realized he wasn't alone. Startled, his hand fell to the handle of his bat by instinct. However, it didn't seem that whoever this was was looking for a fight. After a second of consideration, he offered a small nod to the man. "Hey." Looking over the man for a second, it was pretty obvious he was another costume, and considering that he wasn't trying to start a fight yet, it seemed that they were on the same side. Drifter held out his bottle towards the man, wordlessly offering him some of the water.

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Cannonade saw the bottle, and shook his head politely. "Thanks for the offer," he said, "but I'm fine. Got a drink from the 24-Mart a few blocks down. Teller didn't seem that freaked out by the costume, either. Guess living in Freedom does that to ya."

He reached into one of the pockets of his jacket and pulled out a few foil wrapped bars. "You want some granola?" he said. "Kinda helps me keep my energy up and my stomach quiet. Tried trail mix, but... eh, it turns out it's a bad idea when you're jumping between rooftops."

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Drifter shrugged, taking another gulp of water from the bottle. He made sure to carefully slip it under his bandana, so that it didn't lift as he took his swig, and he had a small chuckle at the mention of the convenience store. "Most of them just assume I'm robbing the place. Guess I can't really blame them though. That's where I learned to keep a change of clothes on me when I'm out here." He nodded at the comment on Freedom, raising his bottle in a mock toast. "Greatest town on Earth, isn't she?"

He waved away the offer of food. "Nah, that's alright. I'm packing it in soon anyway. Gotta be up in the morning. Work, you know?" He had another laugh before taking another mouthful of water. "It would have been nice to have one of those super-powers that gets you rich. Or at least gets you on the Freedom League. I wonder if they get dental."

Drifter looked over Cannonade for a second. "What about you, man? No, wait, let me guess." Drifter narrowed his eyes, thinking about it for a second before coming up with an answer. "Maybe the helmet is magic or something? There's the soul of a Spartan warrior in there, that directs your blade to justice and honor!"

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"Greatest town on Earth, isn't she?"

"Yeah, she's really something," Cannonade said as he looked out over the neighborhood. "She may need a hand every now and then, but she's always been there for me."

Drifter looked over Cannonade for a second. "What about you, man? No, wait, let me guess." Drifter narrowed his eyes, thinking about it for a second before coming up with an answer. "Maybe the helmet is magic or something? There's the soul of a Spartan warrior in there, that directs your blade to justice and honor!"

"I wish. Then I might know what the hell I'm doing." Cannonade gave his helmet a light tap with his fist. "Nah, my powers came in naturally -- well, as naturally as they can, if you know what I mean. The helmet... it's more like tribute. To the guy I wish I could be." He smiled. "Plus, it protects my handsome mug."

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Drifter laughed, running a hand over his hair. "Heh, it's better than what I got. I've got the power of hitting people with a bat and making the rest up as I go." Drifter grabbed the handle of his bat, holding it up slightly. "Seriously. I don't even know how cricket works. But it doesn't take much to put a guy out with one of these. Nice and heavy, and freaking distinctive." Looking over at the man, Drifter noticed the patch on his arm. "What's that mean?"

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Cannonade looked down at the sleeve of his jacket to the SHARP patch. "What, this?" he said. Man, of all the days to pull an old jacket out of the closet...

"Means I'm a SHARP -- Skinhead Against Racial Prejudice. And yeah, I know how that's gotta sound, like 'Klansmen for Interracial Marriage.' Thing is, the subculture's older than the white power boneheads. When it started, it was all about working class pride and solidarity -- still is, among those who aren't boneheads. Hell, whole thing got started in the dance halls of Britain, where white guys and immigrants from the West Indies danced together to reggae and ska."

Cannonade paused for breath; he'd given this particular speech to a bunch of people before, but it felt different giving it to a hero. "Whole Nazi thing started when the National Front leveraged on anti-immigrant sentiment in the working class in the Seventies. You got this new subset of skins that was all about 'white pride.'" Cannonade said the words like he was saying, "There's a dead badger in my soup." "It kinda took off from there. But there's always been groups there to shout down the white power crowd. The anti-racist skins came together to drive 'em out of the shows and keep 'em from harassing others."

He looked to Drifter. "What I'm saying is, I know how it's gotta look, but I'm not a racist. And I don't mean that like the asshats who say, 'I'm not a racist, but...' I know the game's unfair. I know that I've got privilege, even if it's got a funny damn way of showing itself. And I know that when you're down, sometimes you don't go for the guys who want to keep you there -- you go for the 'other', the one they want you to blame. But that's the fool's game. We're down here. We're not gonna get anywhere scapegoating one another. We gotta lift each other up. And screw anyone who tries to go after the 'other' so he can feel good about his lot."

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Drifter allowed Cannonade to say his piece, listening in silence. After he had finished, Drifter waited a beat before holding out his water bottle again. "You might need some of this after that mouthful, man. But I got a history lesson out of it!" Chuckling, Drifter shook his head slightly. "Calm down, man; I'll take your word for it. Long as you don't put on any white hoods and start burning crosses at me, I figure we're good." He ran a hand over his hair again before continuing. "Besides, most of the nazis in this town go full on Third Reich. I think they put most of the neo ones in uniforms and make them rob banks or whatever. I guess it's a bit classier, at least."

Drifter leaned on his bat a bit, shifting to get more comfortable as he sat. There was always one thing that diffused awkwardness in their little culture; talking shop. "So, you from this neighborhood, man? I'm from out of the 'hood over in Greenbank and the End. Been tracking some drug runners that have been running in the area. They're holing up somewhere in this area for the most part, near as I can tell. Noticed any unusual gang work around here?"

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Cannonade smiled. "Thanks," he said, taking a swig from the bottle of water. "Sorry 'bout the monologue, but... well, I know I ain't exactly conventional heroing material. As for the Nazis... trust me, I've been at enough shows crashed by boneheads to know they've still got a place in this town. And if that means the 'good' ones are gettin' picked up for White Knight's boot squad, well, I'd hate to think about the ones I've had to deal with."

"So, you from this neighborhood, man? I'm from out of the 'hood over in Greenbank and the End. Been tracking some drug runners that have been running in the area. They're holing up somewhere in this area for the most part, near as I can tell. Noticed any unusual gang work around here?"

"Yeah, this is my place," he said. "As for the gangs, well... people keep talking about the Yellow Kings, but I ain't seen any of 'em yet. I've caught the 4Ses trying to set fire to St. Joseph's. The Irish mob's been trying to push product onto the streets, and I've heard rumors that Il Diavoli Neri's looking into here, too." He looked out over the streets. "Used to be a nice neighborhood. 'Course, it still can be."

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"I get you man, trust me. Do I look anything like 'conventional hero material' to you? I'm a dude with a bat and too little common sense to just go home and let the supers handle it." Drifter chuckled, draining the last of his bottle. "Only town in America where you've got different flavors of Nazi to choose from. It's like the Baskin Robbins of fascism." Drifter chuckled, stashing his bottle back in his pack before dropping it on his lap, opening up the main compartment and going through his gear.

While he was doing this, Drifter listened to Cannonade as he reported on the gang movements in the area. He nodded when the other man finished. "Yeah, I took down an Irish not too long ago, but I think he's working for someone bigger. Something's big is going to be happening on the street soon, I think. Might be wrong, hope I'm wrong. But I don't think I'm wrong. Be careful out there, guy."

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"Thanks for the advice," Cannonade said. "I'll keep an ear to the ground on the families, see if they've got anything brewing. I mean, this guy you're talking about could be a lone wolf, but odds are he's got a tie somewhere. And hey... don't sell yourself short. You may be a dude with a bat, but hey, you're out here. You've probably been doing this longer than I have. And the only real reason I got out here was because of what I came into. You? You got out here 'cause you knew it was the right thing to do. And you were gonna do it, powers or no. That's... well, it's just freaking brilliant."

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Drifter laughed, though the sound was more weary than mirthful. "Man, how I got out here doing this is a long, long story mostly involving a poor upbringing and a healthy disrespect for authority. But someone's got to look after the hood. I might be the best choice, but that's only by default, you get me? Least, that's the thought that keeps me out here every night."

Pushing himself to his feet, Drifter looked at his watch. "I should get going, man. Keep an eye out for me on the streets, and maybe we'll run into each other again. That's the problem with the whole mask thing, you know? Can't really social network." With a grin under his bandana, Drifter offered a hand to shake. "They call me Drifter. You got a name, man? I could probably think one up for you if you need it."

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"Name's Cannonade," he said. "And trust me, you ain't the only one patrolling the home front. You ever need help on a project, just... I dunno, leave a signal here. I usually hit this roof when I'm coming back on business."

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