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September 2017

Bedlam City

Corinthian Riverboat in the Babylon District

11:00 PM

 

Declan floated high above the Manitowoc River, gazing down at the Corinthian riverboat Casino.  The lights from the riverboat danced on the river, tantalizing passersby with promises of wealth, if one was lucky enough to hit it big.  While not as big, or as high profile as it's counterpart, the Heart of Dixie, it did offer something to those of lower station and less than stellar reputations: availability and anonymity.  It's the kind of place that looks glitzy and high cotton, but in reality was just another low rent mob front in an already low rent town.

 

The mob in question that owned and operated this particular den of iniquity was called the Scarpias mafia family, and Declan had tracked some of those he believed to be responsible for his death to this place.  When he was alive, he had only visited this place once, and didn't stay long as he got pretty drunk and was summarily thrown overboard.  That life seemed so long ago now, almost like it belonged to someone else.  Perhaps it was a side effect of his being a ghost, he thought, perhaps he was just an echo of what he had been, a soulless revenent sent to exact revenge.  He wasn't sure if he believed that, because when he watched Victoria, he still felt that love, and that pain for having left her.

 

Declan shook his ethereal head and descended slowly towards the riverboat.  He had come here for a purpose.  He had come here for answers.  Mostly, he had come here for revenge.

Edited by EviscerusNox

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A Martel was trained in stealth, impersonation, and deception. The inheritors of Charlemagne were expected to be able to swim across a river, talk their way past a guard post, and scale a tower before doing battle against soul-destroying great evil. It was a hard, demanding lifestyle and sometime it forced its adherents into life-threatening danger.
 
Right now Ami Rask could have done with some life-threatening danger. The riverboat was threatening to bore her to sleep. She had finagled an invitation on-board by putting on a glamorous white dress and hanging onto the arm of someone who thought of himself as a glittering, dashing young thing. She had heard rumors that the boat was one of the mob's fronts in the city, used for illegal gambling and dangerous hand-offs. She hoped that by being on board she could sniff out some of these deals and trace them farther up the chain, but the most offensive thing she'd seen so far was American wine being sold for ten dollars a glass.
 
Her date was willing to spend the money for it, at least. Vincent Pfeffner's tailored suit clashed with his pimply chin and scarred knuckles, but she was coming to understand that such things were the norm for Bedlam's up and coming bachelors. Right now he was holding onto Ami's back too tightly as the shuffled on the dance floor, the music stuck somewhere between a waltz and a slow dance. "I'll be starting at Belchner's in a week or so," he said to her, affecting the sort of Yale accent one he thought a sophisticated college-bound sort should have. "I suppose I'll be going for a surgeon's degree -- medicine is in my blood, you know."
 
"Emballant," Ami said, wondering if it would be worthwhile to try and bribe the bartender for some of that wine. "Will that not take much time, Vincent? You will be very busy with school, non?"
 
He smiled down at her, his cologne washing over like a wave. "Medicine is in my blood, Ami. And I'm sure the professors understand who my father is." He winked at her. It took all of her training not to gag. If nothing happened soon she might have to make it happen.

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Declan remembered from his brief visit that the real deals happened at the aft of the ship, below decks near there engine.  There is where the real money changed hands whether it was a poker game between mafia lieutenants or a smuggling deal, or any other type of nefarious thing.  So, Declan made a bee line of sorts to the aft of the ship, trying to steer clear of anyone that could be civilians.  Seeing a ghost on the water would most likely draw both screams and unwanted attention.  He hoped that the lowlifes known as Frankie "Fingers" Malone and Tommy "Toes" Moretti were where he thought they were.  He had tracked them to this boat, but he couldn't very well follow them in the way they came.

 

Luckily walls, or hulls in this case, were no longer obstacles for him.  Deftly gliding up under the keel of the boat, Declan ascended deck after deck until he found himself floating with just his head sticking out of the floor of a smoke filled room.  The room housed about 6 men, all with shoulder rigs and all with the distinct look of what was once called "button men."  Declan recognized both "Fingers" and "Toes," sitting at a poker table.  Fingers was a tall lanky fellow in an awful burgundy suit that was stained at the shoulders and knees.  He was smiling over his cards and "Toes" who was frowning down at his.  "Toes" was the exact opposite of "Fingers," squat, rotund, balding and in a dark blue pinstripe suit that was immaculate.

 

"You got nothin' Frankie, so stop with the BS smile already,"  Toes croaked from his seat as he shifted his bulk.  "You ain't never beat me at cards yet, not gonna do it today neither."  Toes pushed in a large stack of chips and smirked at Fingers as his smile faltered a little.

 

"Oh yeah fatty?  We'll see 'bout that,"  having successfully goaded him, Fingers pushed in an equal pile of chips and threw his cards down on the table.  "Small straight to the 7, whatcha think of that Moretti?"

 

Moretti smiled broadly and slowly layed down his hand, it was Aces full of eights.  Fingers swore under his breath and pounded on the table.

 

Declan floated all the way up out of the floor at that point, right behind Fingers.  "Dead man's hand.  Ironic, and yet appropriate."

 

As Fingers stumbled to his feet shouting and reaching for his gun, Declan threw a haymaker that missed by a mile due to Fingers stumbling over the chair to get his piece out.  Malone's eyes went wide as he recognized the wraith in front of him.  "Mother Mary, yer supposed to be dead!"

 

"I am," whispered Declan, "and you're gonna join me!"

Edited by EviscerusNox

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The music faltered for a moment and Vincent nearly stepped on Ami's foot. Only a quick step from her saved her toes from a stomp, and she smiled off the faux pas. Her date smiled down at her and his hands slipped lower, and she suddenly felt herself tensing and preparing to throw him to the ground. Instead she used that judo training to extricate herself from his grip. "Pardonnez, Vincent," she said as she backed away. "I need to use the wash room. Need to... powder my nose." She turned around and quickly walked away from the dance floor, her slingbacks clicking on the wood deck.
 
Ami turned a corner and emerged under the night sky, sighing and slowing down. Away from the light and the noise and the heat of the dance floor, away from Vincent's wandering hands and overpowering cologne, she could relax. She quickly ran through a meditation cycle, consciously could unclenching her muscles and reaching out with her senses. That's how she heard the meaty sound of flesh impacting flesh deeper in the bowels of the ship. That suggested itself to be what she had actually come on this barge to find out and she quickly moved to investigate.
 
The young woman stepped out of her heels and slipped them into her purse, pulling out a pair of tabi and slipping those on over her stockings. With the hard-soled shoes safely away she padded noiselessly over to a crew door. The tiny woman pressed herself into a notch between a bulkhead seam and a cluster of pipes, waiting for a moment as a bulky man in jeans and a raveling sweater opened the door and stepped out to the railing. As he lit a cigarette she slipped behind him and inside, then down deeper into the depths of the riverboat.

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Declan cursed as his first swing went wide.  In life he would have never thrown such a sloppy punch!  He could hear his old coach Tuck in the back of his mind: Whatya tryin' to do?  Let all of Freedom City know yer about to throw a punch?  Telegraph like that again and yer liable to get yer clock cleaned fer free!

 

Declan took the old advise to heart and brought his arms in close, taking up a cross defense stance.  Once "Fingers" righted himself Declan flashed out an uppercut that caught the skinny man flush.  A dazzling blue flash erupted from Declan's glowing fist as it connected flesh for an instant, then past through the man's head.  "Fingers" was lifted off his feet into the air from the force to come crashing back down on the poker table, destroying it and sending chips, cards, and cash all flying about the room.  Finger's slumped to the floor, unconscious and deathly pale.

 

Panicking the rest of the thugs in the room including "Toes" Moretti pulled their weapons and opened fire.  A storm of bullets passed through Declan and he watched as the degenerate criminals eyes went wide.  Declan started to laugh, it echoed off the walls of the room, sounding far away and ethereal.  This shook the younger men  in the room to their core.  

 

Each turned to look at the other before one screamed,  "No way, man!  I don't get paid enough to fight ghosts!"  Then one after the other all four ran from the room, leaving only "Toes" Moretti with the specter in front of him.

 

The men running down the hall didn't get far before coming face to face with a blonde wisp of a woman with the looks of something between a goddess and a movie starlet.  They looked at her quizzically their guns still in hand, but those hands were trembling now.

 

"What're you doing down here, lady?  Don't you know this place is haunted?!"

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Ami heard a scream and the pounding of many booted feet towards her. She looked around the stark white corridor and swore at the inconvenient lack of hiding spots. She took a deep breath and began summoning her power, psionic energy leaking from her chakra points and beginning to wrap around her body like a shroud. Orange and white and green mist layered over her limbs and torso, creating a thick suit of force that began to lift her short body off the floor. Her eyes glowed with psychic power and when she bared her teeth more leaked out from her core. When the crowd of men rounded the corner, they were confronted with the sight of a womanly shape glowing and blocking the hallway, thick arms and legs starting to deform the ship around her.

 

She let out a slowly building wail, feeling the power thrumming through her and almost sparking off her hair. Her voice reached a crescendo and she screamed "GET OFF MY SHIP!" at the crowd, her voice reverberating and echoing off the walls as the suit of armor began to shuffle forward.

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GM

 

 

With startled yelps of surprise that turned into full blown screams, the hapless thugs bolted back the way they came, passing either by, or just straight through Declan.  One by one they threw themselves out of the porthole window, into the murky water of the Manitowoc River, and with the fight or flight response in the full tilt towards the latter, doggedly swam as fast as they could towards the shore.

 

"Toes" Moretti looked completely shocked, both from seeing a dead man in front of him, and seeing his goons run out of the room, then back in after a booming voice had echoed through the hallways, only to defenestrate themselves.

"What in the &*#! is going on here!"  Moretti yelped in a higher register than his voice was meant for.  Without waiting for an answer, Moretti pressed a large red button next to the door and strobing red lights started to flash through the interior of the ship.  No auditory alarm could be heard, however a man stepped out of a secret room in the back of the illegal poker den.

 

The man was large, and absolutely covered in tactical gear.  Grenades of all shapes and sizes covered a bandoleer across his chest and he held in his hands a FN P90, one of those sleek assault rifles that loaded the clip from the top.  He also, Declan noted, wore a gas mask with a tinted face plate.

 

Without missing a beat, the man popped the pin off of a cylindrical grenade and tossed it on to the floor, and then the world exploded in light and deafening thunder.

Edited by EviscerusNox

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Brigandine continued to shuffled awkwardly down the closed-in space, the eyes and body glowing with psychic energy that filled the entire space. She pulled herself around a corner just in time to see some spec ops ninja appear and throw something to the ground. The grenade bounced once on the metal decking before exploding; the tiny girl clenched her eyes she by instinct when she saw the explosive and so she just had spots in front of her eyes for a moment. Her ears were left ringing and useless, but she could see the now-silent ninja moving to do something else. With a kiai that she couldn't hear she surged forward, thick fingers wrapping around the figure. She grinned inside the armor, feeling confident and powerful even if she was temporarily deaf.

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Declan watched the cannister bobble to floor amused, until the explosion turned the world white in front of his eyes.  Declan let out a ghostly wail and put his hands to his eyes, he heard "Toes" Moretti do the same, and fumbled about, trying to lay hands on the big man. 

 

Meanwhile the mercenary moved to bring up his assault rifle, intent on giving Brigandine new holes as a present.  He was, however not near quick enough as the giant translucent hand wrapped around his middle, pinning his arms to his sides and lifting him from the floor.  The merc was no long in a position to do much of anything except struggle against the telekinetic assault, but such struggles were useless and futile.

 

"Toes" Moretti used the opportunity to grope for the secret door the merc had entered from and attempted to make good his escape.

 

Declan could do nothing but swing out with ephemeral fists, hitting nothing but air.  He now knew how the thugs had felt moments ago when trying to pepper him with bullets and the like.  "Whoever you are, I am going to end you for this!"  

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Brigandine's big fingers wrapped around the mercenary, pinning his arms to his sides and stopping him in place. She frowned as she saw Toes running for the new doorway, though. Most people who saw a mysterious door open in a ship wouldn't run into it. Which logically meant that this door wasn't mysterious to him. Which meant he was the one who hired the ninja. Which meant he probably knew what was happening here.

 

All those thoughts went through the girl's head in a moment as she continued to pull herself into the room. She just yelled out "Vous ne pouvez pas m'arrêter! Revenez ici!" and reached out for Toes. She almost missed him, her fingers wrapping around some piping for a moment before they dematerialized and her arm kept reaching. In another moment he was captured, held fast as she did her best to pull herself in by her elbows. "Allo mon capitan," she said, smiling laser beams. "Do you do refunds on tickets?"

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GM

 

"Let go of me, you freak!"  Toes yelled, his voice breaking in panic as he futilely tried to escape Brigandine's bonds.  After a few seconds, he realized he was going nowhere and just slumped, defeated with a glower of indignation in his eyes.

 

For the masked mercenaries' part, he did not attempt to break his hold.  In a deep even voice  he said,  "I am but the first line of defense here.  More are coming.  You may have beaten me, but the Corinthian is crawling with Scarpias' men.  I suggest you get what you came for and flee.

 

Bugbear

 

Declan rubbed the stars from his eyes as he heard the man's words.  He knew them not to be a lie.  When the lights faded to a manageable level, he got his first look at the small woman in the monstrous psychic armor before him.  He reflexively sucked in a breath to lungs that no longer required air but quickly steadied himself.  She was holding both Toes and this merc.  She was clearly not on their side.

 

"I don't know who you are, lady.  But... thank you for the assistance.  However the goon is right and we need to leave.  You can drop the masked one, he is of no use to me, but Fingers here," Declan pointed a ghostly finger to the the scrawny man out cold on the broken poker table, "And Toes, who you have in your hand, have information I need.  I suggest we leave with the prize.  I don't know what you're here for and you may stay if you wish to hash that out with the thugs that own this ship, but I am leaving."

 

Declan's hands glowed as he picked up Fingers and glided to the door.

 

"You coming?" The bloody tattered spirit said over his shoulder before entering the hallway.

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