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  #26  
Unread 22nd of October, 2012, 15:00
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"The supermarket," Mar asked, a face of confused contempt appearing on him. "The hell is Barbecue sending guys to that piece of shit for? Not like there's anything worthwhile in there anymore or anything."
  #27  
Unread 22nd of October, 2012, 15:27
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"He's just keeping an eye on it. Make sure it doesn't start to fester."
She stretched. "You know, checkups."

Last edited by zachol; 22nd of October, 2012 at 16:22.
  #28  
Unread 23rd of October, 2012, 01:34
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Rhyme made his way back to his apartment. Once he got in, he dropped his trench and went to his stash for some grub. He kept about two days worth of it in the cupboard for those days (like today) when he'd rather not deal with shit from other people at Gridder's place.

Bonzai slipped out of the trench and begged for a nibble, which Rhyme absentmindedly handed over.

Rhyme collapsed on the couch and munched. "Fuckin' noise. I was 'opin' it would be a quiet day today."

He had a few more bites, then handed the last few crumbs over to Bonzai. Standing up, he sighed and got his trench back on. "'Ey! Bonzai! Ya comin'?" Bonzai ran over and climbed up Rhyme's leg to get into the trench.

"Better find Mar. Fucker's got a habit of findin' trouble, and ya just KNOW that Joker an' Dingo'll remember who vouched ...".

  #29  
Unread 23rd of October, 2012, 12:21
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"I didn't say I picked it up out of the dust, did I?" Stitch told Nils. "Found it out in the waste, on a raider or maybe a slaver that ended up dead. Not sure how he died, maybe dehydration. Maybe he ate something he shouldn't. Anyway, this was on him. And fuck you, I know what a landmine looks like. I scouted for Barbecue before he saddled me with that bitch Doc." Nils knows that Stitch is telling the truth, kind of. She rather doubts that Stitch just came across the dead body, but the rest of it sounds pretty true. Nils can sense the fear and worry coming off Stitch, though whether its because of the device, being in Nils' workspace or something else, she can't rightly tell. Nils also knows that Stitch isn't going to just leave it with Nils for nothing. Stitch deals in favors all the time though. Maybe Nils can just owe her one in exchange for the device.

*****

Fetish found Barbecue back over by the compound talking to Mojo over a breakfast of lizard steaks and snake eggs.

Meet Mojo.

Mojo was Barbecue's left hand man, his master of underhanded dealings. If Fetish was the sharp end, Mojo was the shiv in the back. Rumors abounded in Muddy River that Mojo wasn't all right in the head, and even worse was that he could get inside your head. All rumors though, with nothing to back it up. Barbecue and Mojo were laughing about something, which meant that something bad had probably happened to someone.

When Barbecue looked up and saw Fetish he waved her over. "Tell me you've got some good news, Fetish."

*****

Doc and Mar headed over for Gridder's. Gridder's was a longstanding Muddy River institution. It predated Fetish, Doc, and even Mar couldn't remember a time that Gridder's hadn't been there. Gridder had set up shop in the burned out shell of a golden age convenience store. Overtime, he had added a roof, seats, a still, and even a chimney to keep the fumes from choking his customers.
When he saw Doc and Mar walk over he waves them over to the counter. Gridder was a great big ball of lard wrapped in a stained apron. The good news was that you never had to worry about his hair falling in what passed for food, because he didn't have any. Gridder's was open from dawn until about one. It was closed again from one to dusk because that was when Gridder went scrounging for the next day's menu. It opened again at night, but that was just to serve the "whiskey" that he distilled in the back room.

"So what'll you have Doc, Mar? Ha! Just kidding. You know you don't get to pick. It's whatever I feel like cooking today, which means its whatever I was able to scrounge up yesterday."

It wasn't long before two chipped plates piled relatively high with hash of questionable origin were placed in front of the two, along with a modest amount of the house liquor to wash it down.

"So tell me," Gridder said, leaning heavily against the counter. "What's the word out there? Give me something juicy, and the grub is on the house."

Rhyme walked into Gridder's not long after, the greasy smoky smell of the place making him glad he had eaten beforehand.
  #30  
Unread 23rd of October, 2012, 12:32
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"Not good news, sad to say. Gangers in rubber masks at the old market. Tricks is as patched up as Doc can make him, but he passed out much before he could give me any real details. Three or four, he said. All with big blades. Scared him shitless. I could hear it as he was telling me what he could. Probably ought to go and kill those freaks before they get too established in there."
  #31  
Unread 25th of October, 2012, 07:13
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"So you come to me with some old tech that you lifted off some corpse. You don't know what it is, you don't know what it does, but you just thought 'hey, I know some bitch who'll buy up any piece of crap that does fuck-knows-what' and brought it out to me, is that it?"

Nils eyed Stitch incredulously. "Tech is something folks come looking to get back, and bloody tech that does fuck-all is worthless to any trader you'll find in the market, 'cept maybe Growly, but he's hurting so hard for scratch right now you'll be lucky to come away with two hunks of shined shit to rub together in trade. So you pretty much know what I'm offering is the best deal you're gonna get."

She walked back to her bench and picked the box back up, appraising it in her hands, "I wanna know what this fucker does, and that's gonna cost me. The chances of making back what I spend on getting this crap functional are practically nothing, so I am not willing to drop good jingle for the bitch that delivered me my problems. So here's what you get, Stitch. Leave this with me, and I'll owe you a solid favor. As an added bonus, I'll even do you a kindness and not tell Doc what you've been fucking away her morning on. Alternately, you can take the damn thing down to the market, waste a few hours letting everyone know what you've got, and wind up gutted a couple weeks from now by the buddies of the stiff you swiped this off of."

Nils extended her hand with a smile. "Deal?"
  #32  
Unread 25th of October, 2012, 20:16
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"Jury's dead," Mar said matter of factly as he shoveled the unknowable substance into his mouth, savoring both his ignorance of it's origins and the taste of a cooked meal. Even if it couldn't compare to that pig he'd had once it was still sky and away better then his usual fare. "He too' hish sho' wi' him."

He swallowed the stuff (it couldn't really be called a meal if he thought about it) and then gulped down some of the drink to wash it down. "Aah, much better. Anyway, Guitar's gang is still duking it out with Orbit so nothing new there. Oh, also." Mar leaned in towards Gridder, a conspiratorial look in his eyes. "Pick's hardhold up north? Y'know Docks? Some fucker blew the whole place up. Dunno what happened, all I know is I went there 'bout a month ago and there's a water-filled crater with some random debris there now instead of a hardhold."
  #33  
Unread 25th of October, 2012, 21:32
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Doc picked at the hash, smiling absently. She didn't resent her parents for much, but spoiling her on extravagant "real food" was definitely a strike. I mean, damn.
She leaned forward, sliding over an old bit of coin.
"No real news. Actually, got a favor of my own. Seen Stitches around? You know, Kriss? I figure she's been skulking, maybe she came by here. Kind of wanted to talk to her."
  #34  
Unread 26th of October, 2012, 23:54
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"Is that so?" Barbecue asked Fetish. "Sounds like someone needs to be taught whose territory that is, don't you think? Take three or four of the boys and check it out. You find any one there, make an example of them. We can't tolerate attacks on our own." He paused, looked sideways at Mojo, then asked, "He didn't say anything about what he was carrying did he? Doc say anything about some tech he might have found?"

Mojo said nothing during the conversation, instead slowly rolling a cigarette from some torn paper and a bit of the local weed. That wasn't too unusual though, as he didn't seem to speak often. At least not where Fetish had heard.

One of Barbecue's enforcers, Fetish thought his name was Joker, came running over.
"Joker, aren't you supposed to be watching the front gate with Dingo?" Barbecue said, his voice holding a knife's edge of hostility.

"Yeah boss, but thought you should know this." Joker looked nervous, kept shuffling his feet in the dust and wringing his hands. "Some big fucker just came in through the gates, looked like he was loaded for bear."

"And you just let him in?" asked Mojo, looking up for the first time. It was impossible to tell what he was thinking behind those glasses that he always wore. "Did he give a name?"

"Yeah, said his name was Mar," Joker said. "Rhyme vouched for him."

"Fucking Mar," Barbecue said, his face splitting into a wide grin. He turned back to Fetish. "See if he'll go with you. Tell him I'll pay his usual rate."

*****

Stitch looked nervous and even more unsure of herself. "Look Nils, I don't know who it was that killed him, and I don't know who he was. Yeah, I'll give it to you, but you'll owe me. And next time maybe I'll just head over and give it to Barbecue directly. And when he wants you to figure out what it is, maybe you can deal with him. I've got to get going though. Doc's isn't even open yet, most like, but I better be there when it is"

Stitch hands the box over to Nils gingerly and then is gone without a backward glance presumably over to Doc's infirmary.

*****

"Shit, Jury's dead? That's some bad news right there," Gridder said, nodding his head, his jowls shaking as he did so. "That's not good about Docks either. I mean, they were all crazy up there, worshiping that idol like it was going to protect them or something, but they were good for a bit of trade every now and again."

He piled another helping of hash on Mar's plate. "Sounds like someone could make a fair bit of jingle working for either Orbit or Guitar. Of course, Orbit's crazier than a house full of cats and Guitar's not exactly playing with a full deck either. Still, work is work, right?"

"Hey Doc," Gridder said, scooping up the coins. "Last time I saw her was last night right before closing. Haven't seen her since."
  #35  
Unread 27th of October, 2012, 02:25
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"Yeah, definite shame about Jury."
Doc finished off her food, pushing the plate away, then heading just outside Gridder's. She waited a bit, keeping an eye out.
As Mar left, she gave him a nod.
"Figure Barbeque should have some work, if you're looking for it. Yeah?"

Something caught her eye, and she glanced back over, towards the other side of camp. Oh look, it's that weirdo Rhyme, with that bizarre raccoon thing.
"Hey Rhyme."


Last edited by zachol; 27th of October, 2012 at 02:34.
  #36  
Unread 27th of October, 2012, 12:10
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"I don't work for gangs Gridder, I know I toldja that before." Mar said as he dug into the "fresh" helping on his plate. "Odd job here or there sure, but gangs are bad fer long-haul work unless it's for wiping them out. Which is bad for your health," Mar said with a grin and a pat on Jesse beside him. "Naw, hardholds are the best place to find work, which is why I'm back here. Even with the smell."

Washing down the last of the hash with Gridder's homebrew, Mar stood back up and nodded at the corpulent man.. "Thanks for the food Gridder. I'll let you know if I find anything y'all can use." Picking his shotgun back up he exited the building where Doc was waiting for him.

"Yeah probably, but I gotta do some scrounging first. Clyde's always hungry so I gotta make sure I got the rounds to feed him with. Buncha other stuff too." Mar waved a hand at the woman as he turned towards the market proper. "I'll catch you later Doc, sure you got work to do yourself."
  #37  
Unread 27th of October, 2012, 13:07
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Fetish asked around and a drunk that went by the name of Odd pointed her towards Gridder's place. She grabbed up a small plate of grub and shoved almost the whole thing in her mouth in one bite. After a swallow of something Gridder swore was actually coffee, Fetish asked about Mar and was pointed to the room the market area.

"Mar." Fetish quietly approached. "Barbecue has some business he'd like he two of us, and maybe a few others, to take care of. Squatters possibly, or just assholes, moving in on the old marketplace. A little too close. Plus they hurt Tricks. Gotta send them the right message. Whaddya say? Barbecue says same rates as normal."
  #38  
Unread 28th of October, 2012, 04:19
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Rhyme was startled by Doc's call. He'd been too focused on getting to Gridders.

"Oh. 'Ey, Doc. You seen Mar around?"

Rhyme glanced around, still looking for Mar in the vicinity.
  #39  
Unread 28th of October, 2012, 04:52
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"Yeah, you just missed him."
She pointed her thumb back towards a corner of the market.
"He went that way."
She smiled, passing him.
"Hope you get in touch."

She left, quickly, heading towards her clinic. Time to get things settled. Shit was going to start hittin... wait. There's Kriss. Wonderful.
"Hey Stitch!"
She grinned.
"How've you been? Heard you had a job squared away, yeah?"
  #40  
Unread 28th of October, 2012, 11:29
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"Ya gotta be fucking kidding me," Mar exclaimed to Rooster as the other man smirked at him. Rooster was a lean bodied boy (really still a teen) with a penchant for finding weapons and ammo for them where no one else could. He was also a dirty rat who tried to gouge everyone who wasn't directly on Barbeque's payroll (and even they were fair game when it wasn't for hardhold related stuff).

"No joke Mar, 3 barrels of petrol for every belt you want. Y'know that tipped stuff you want is hard to--" "No fuck you Rooster," Mar interrupted as he got up in Rooster's face, his eyes promising death and his mouth ready to spit fire. "You think I'm stupid like the rest of the fuckers Barb uses here? You think I'm gonna believe any kind of shit-stained breath you pull outta your ass and shove out that hole you call a mouth?" Mar was leaning over Rooster now as the boy started bending over backwards from the older man.

"2 bottles per belt," Mar growled out. Rooster opened his mouth to say something but Mar shook his head and the boy stopped. "Rooster, if the next words out of your mouth ain't 'yeah that's a good deal' then I'm done talking with you and you're gonna hafta talk to Jesse. Cuz she still has ammo, you can be sure of that."

Rooster glanced down at the shotgun that was unsubtly clutched in Mar's hand and gulped. Looking up at Mar he gave a weak smile and nodded. "Yeah, that's a good deal Mar. 2 bottles per belt."

"Mar"

Stunned at the sudden noise right behind him Mar spun around and brought Jesse up...right in Fetish's pretty little face. Seeing her Mar immediately calmed down. "Damnit Fetish you shouldn't sneak up on me like that."

Listening to the girl's message (damn she's a looker) Mar shook his head. "Yeah, alright. I'm in so long as Barbeque's paying. Lemme finish up with Rooster here," he shot a glare behind him at the boy, "and I'll be ready."

Last edited by red_dr4g0n94; 29th of October, 2012 at 08:16.
  #41  
Unread 31st of October, 2012, 16:48
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Well, that went nicely, Nils thought as she watched Stitch walk off. She slipped the box in one of the many pockets in her overalls, then strapped her revolver to her hip and turned off her open sign.

Time to lock up and head into the market, gotta round up some folks for a nice scavving run.

With the workshop locked tight, she hopped in her truck and started rolling down into the market. People're usually more keen on going on trips when they know they don't have to walk to get where they're going.
  #42  
Unread 2nd of November, 2012, 04:52
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"Oh, hi Doc," Stitch replied. "Yeah, got something in the works on the side. Nothing that should involve you though. Hey, were you looking for me this morning? I'm heading over to the infirmary now."

Rhyme saw Mar talking to Fetish, looked like Mar was loading up for something serious, but then Mar was always packing for something serious. Rhyme was too far away to hear any of the details, but knowing that Fetish was involved it probably had something to do with Barbecue. Thinking about Barbecue reminded Rhyme that he should check in with the big man, make sure that his presence wasn't required.

It didn't take long for Mar to finish up with Rooster. Despite his appearance, Rooster was one of the more dependable suppliers in the market. Once he was done, it was time to figure out who else to take along, and the best way to get there. The supermarket was about two miles away, but there was some hard terrain out there, and who knew what might be out lurking in the ruins today? Seemed the apocalypse had a way of breeding new kinds of bad all the time.

The sputtering coughing choking of the old combustion engine announced to the market and the hardhold at large that Nils was on the move. It was painfully slow going as what passed for streets in the hardhold just weren't designed for motor traffic, not that this ever dissuaded the savvyhead.
  #43  
Unread 2nd of November, 2012, 10:09
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Doc kept walking, next to Stitch, towards her clinic.
"Yeah. One of the scouts, Tricks, got cut up pretty bad near the supermarket. He said there were some weirdos with masks."
She walked inside, nodding to Trigger, then gathering the pair to talk to them.
"Trigger already heard what's going on, yeah? Barbeque's going to send a group over to deal with the guys that cut up Tricks. They're going to fight back, and that means some of ours are going to be injured. Things might be a little rough for the next few days. That's why..."
She looked both of them in the eye, in turn. "That's why I absolutely need the both of you to stick around, until this blows over. You're on call. Alright?"
  #44  
Unread 4th of November, 2012, 14:52
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Looked to Rhyme like Mar had gotten himself a job. Good enough; no more chasing him down. Seeing that bitch, Fetish, though ... maybe he ought to check in with Barbecue. Best way to keep out of trouble, as far as Rhyme was concerned, was to keep the power happy and on your side. A shudder ran through Rhyme as he remembered the last time someone got Barbecue pissed. The things he'd let Fetish do to that guy ... well, she's one mean, shit-crazy bitch.

"Fuck me!" Rhyme muttered under his breath, turning around and heading towards the big man's place. He'd rather be sleeping and lining up another client. Fuck the world and its twisted sense of humour!
  #45  
Unread 5th of November, 2012, 11:47
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Fetish looked at Mar and nodded. "Find me by the front gate when you're ready. I'm going to try to scrape up a couple more knuckleheads to come with. That peace through superior numbers shit, or whatever. Just so that we don't get fucked when we show up. Don't want to end up looking like Tricks, or worse."

She turned and made her way towards the gate, hoping to run into a few of the regular toughs that Barbecue kept on hand just for this kind of thing. She briefly thought about bringing along the two schmucks that gave Mar such a hard time earlier, as punishment for being general fuck-ups, but decided she'd rather have some competent support. Maybe I can find that Chopper, Hop, and his crew and convince that crazy shit to come along.

  #46  
Unread 9th of November, 2012, 08:39
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Mar nodded at Fetish's words and then stood there for another moment, watching that fine piece of meat walk off. There weren't a lot of people left in the world that didn't look like roadkill, either from being born that way or from the shit you have to deal with over your life like Mar had. But Fetish was definitely one of those rare few. Letting a wicked smile spread across his face he suddenly wheeled around back towards Rooster.

"Now then, about those belts..."

A few minutes and some unsubtle threats later Mar walked away from Rooster's spot with belts of his special ammo wrapped around him. Walking through the marketplace (he'd already picked up some..."food") Mar saw Nils driving through it in her truck like it was no big deal. Maybe around here it wasn't but holy hell Mar couldn't remember that last time he's seen a vehicle actually moving under its own power. Then Mar got an idea. Maybe it wasn't the best idea, but damned if it didn't have some...what was the word that one old hag had used?

Novelty. That was it. The idea had novelty to it. So even as other people moved out of Nils way Mar stood his ground, staring the other woman in the face with a big 'ol shit eating grin on his face.
  #47  
Unread 11th of November, 2012, 11:55
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Nils stopped the truck just short of Mar and grinned almost as wide as he was. She rolled down the window and leaned out of it, calling out, "Hey Mar, you're just the kind of hard badass I'm looking for! Hop in the cabin, I gotta do some scavving so we're going out to the scrapyard. We can talk payment on the way up."
  #48  
Unread 11th of November, 2012, 12:01
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"Yeah Doc, sure, I got it," Stitch replied, though Doc had to wonder if she really did. Stitch had that kind of far off look in her eye that she was already trying to figure out her next gig, and that rarely worked out to anyone's advantage.



Rhyme got to Barbecue's just as Mojo was leaving. The left hand man just stared at Rhyme through those shades of his, and Rhyme felt a shudder run all the way from the base of his spine up into his lizard brain. Mojo was bad news, make no bones about it.

Barbecue was just standing up, stretching his long, insect thin arms up in the air when Rhyme came in. "What's this I hear you vouching for people without my say so, Rhyme?" he asked. Barbecue's voice was low and calm, but Rhyme could see the big pistol sticking out from the waistband of his pants. "Tell me why I shouldn't cut you free, no matter what KitKat says?"

KitKat was Barbecue's main item, but hardly his one and only. She was, maybe, crazier than Fetish, but not by much. What made her even more dangerous was that she had both Barbecue's and Mojo's ear, and it was rumored that she had some dark secrets on both of them. Lucky for Rhyme, KitKat had a thing for Rhyme, even taking advantage of some the services he offered from time to time. Rhyme hadn't seen her for a few days though, but that usually didn't mean anything. She might have found some new variety of weed to smoke, or maybe Mojo gave her some new chemical concoction brewed up from that home chemistry set Rhyme knew he had.

Fetish kept a weather eye open for Hop, but she didn't see him or his crew in Market today. She knew that he kept his base of operations outside of Muddy River proper, and generally only came in to trade, and that meant that they had raided some other poor schmuck. Word was that Hop and Barbecue had hammered out a treaty a few years back, but no one seemed to know the details. The long and the short of it was that if Fetish wanted his help, she'd have to go to him.



Mar had actually seen a few vehicles moving in his time. There were regular merchants that made their way between the hardholds, trading info and goods a like. Then there were the choppers, gangs like Hop's who traveled through post-apocalyptica, jackals and vultures on two wheels. Locusts for after-the-end. They mostly left Mar alone. Too much trouble for too little reward.
__________________
Ewan: Tell me, when you drove up, did you see a sign outside that said "dead ninja storage?"
Kat: No, I didn't...
Ewan: Do you wanna know why I don't have a sign like that? Because storing dead ninjas, isn't my business!

Last edited by Darius; 11th of November, 2012 at 12:03.
  #49  
Unread 11th of November, 2012, 12:03
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  #50  
Unread 13th of November, 2012, 05:59
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Rhyme looked Barbecue in the eye. If Barbecue was gonna shoot him, so be it.

"Them fuckers Dingo an' Joker were hasslin' Mar. No problem with that, it's their job. Stupid, though, how they were handlin' it. Mar would've killed 'em. Then you'd 'ave to kill Mar. Three bodies, and someone has to be pulled to gate duty and stand there 12 fuckin' hours a day to replace Joker an' Dingo on their shifts.

Already saw commotion over at Doc's this mornin'. That ain't good. Seen more signs of trouble, too, with Mojo just comin' outta here, and Fetish movin' about this mornin'.

Why shouldn't ya cut me loose, ya ask? 'Cause I'm smart enough to know not to fuck with the status quo. I'm here because there's shit in the air and I'm willin' to do what ya need me to do. Whatever keeps me more likely alive at the end of the day, right?"
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