A Rant from the Oracles

Summary:
August 3, 2014: The Red Hood's Syndicate grows by one more.

Radio.Active

An electronics store


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Radioactive! Where you can get the cheapest electronics that money can buy, or can’t afford to buy. You can also get things repaired here. Things, as in.. if you happen to steal something from Batman or Superman happened to drop a gizmo in the middle of the street that looked a little too interesting to pass up, you could bring it to Rant and she'll fix it for you, at a price of course. No job was too big or too small, and if it was, she'll tell you. Cool thing about Melody is, with her, there is no try. You either can do it or you can't. Trying gets people killed. She learned that the hard way.

Think of the store itself a little like the Apple Store, but a little bit darker with no zomboid customer service people hounding and saying hello as soon as you walk into the door. Anyone could -try- to get away with her things, but they'd have to rip it off of the displays first, and deal with her dismantling the thing without even having touched it.

But there she was, hair tied up into a neat little ponytail at the top that causes her hair to fall in waves, sitting upon the stool at the register pecking away at her keyboard. Whoever she was typing to, it seemed to amuse her, for she lets loose one of those rare and genuine smiles.

*

Not wanting to enter from the street, the Red Hood makes his way over the building, dropping down into a back alley. He leaps from railing to railing, cushioning his fall, until he finally hits the pavement, landing with a thud. He sees the door, a back entrance, and checks to see if it’s locked. When it’s not, he carefully and slowly opens it, scanning the contents inside. Seems it leads to a small corridor leading to a brightly lit room.

The Red Hood steps into the brightly lit electronics store, or at least that's what it appears to be. By his attire, he’s clearly a meta of some kind, whether it’s skill, tech, or innate power, he’s wearing a red mask and body armour. A cheerful voice emanates from behind the mask. He goes straight to the woman with the ponytail, looking around the store for moment, before setting his eyes on her. His tone is almost trivial, “Good evening, I’m called the Red Hood, and I’d like to speak to Melody. Is she in?” He says this, acting as if it were perfectly natural and he didn’t already know that it was melody he was speaking to.

*

Someone saw the Red Hood enter in through the back way. And, it was as if Melody had horrible taste in men, cause the guy hid behind a stack of stocked computer shells and only peeked out, and ran out just when the man with the mask stepped into the store. He probably was going to get fired.

For once though, Mels didn't have herself hooked up to the systems in the store, just wanting a normal day like any other girl her age, who'd chew bubble gum and chat on Skype with friends who were in college, where she couldn't go. But, the normal day turned into something of a weirdness as she glances up from her spot to see.. someone in a mask, looking for her.

"WOAH!" She nearly shouts out, gripping upon the counter to keep herself from falling off of the stool, her eyes wide as all get out, her breath held for a moment as she tries to think fast. "Uh.. Melody? Her?" She laughs uneasily. "She uh… uh.. you know.. she.. went home sick.. I think…" Ayup, terrible liar. "I think it's uh.. fast acting necritis or something. Flesh eating disease. Tore her face all up. Mmhmm. So I think she's kinda dying and dead and she won't be in ever.." She slowly stands from the stool, obviously at a tremble. "So uh.. goodday!"

*

"Fast acting necritis? Really? Sounds serious. Well, hmm," his left arm bends at the elbow, cupping his right elbow, so that the right hand can tap at the chin of his mask. "I'm dreadfully sorry to hear that. Shame really, she had such great potential. Was hoping to offer her a job."

As he scans the store again, "how about this," he grabs some random device, not having a clue what it is or what it does, "how about I buy this thing here, and pay sextuple the asking price. Then maybe knowing that there are customers like me out there, she might make a miraculous recovery, knowing her store is thriving. Do you think that might work?" Can a man in a mask and a full body suit be charming? Let’s find out.

*

Melody was ready to cut and run. She even took a step back because, it's not every day someone with a mask comes in and asks for you by first name. She was surely going to be arrested, or probably killed, maybe someone put a hit out on her because she knew too much. It was that dude, Guy! He sent someone to kill her! She just knew it!

Just when she was about to break out into a fit of tears and plead for her life, cause.. she was close enough to it, until he mentions a job offer? "Oh thank god.." She breathes out loudly, probably out of touch with what he was talking about. She blinks rapidly, the tears falling from her eyes which were quickly wiped away and a deep sniff given.

The guy was weird, but.. it was alright. He was going to pay probably.. 90 dollars for a remote. Well, he said sextuple. So let's go with five hundred and ninety dollars. "That's a television remote. Universal, but okay. I'm sorry for the deception."

She was still shaking though, leaning over the counter top to extend a hand to him. "I'm Melody. No one calls me that. Call me Rant. What can I do for you?"

*

Reaching into his jacket pocket, the man in the mask pulls out what looks like an ordinary, black leather wallet. He withdraws a 1934 thousand dollar bill. Grover Cleveland is on it. "Can you break a thousand?" There are thousand dollar bills? Technically yes, but the US government has been trying to take them out of circulation since 1969. To a collector, that things worth considerably more than face value.

"You know what, you keep the change." It’s nice being able to wave around that kind of cash. The woman seems to stressed, shaking even. But then she reveals herself as Melody. "Oh, that was a fast recovery. Glad to see you're all better." He takes note that she prefers to be called Rant. "Well, I've heard you can find rare things," like the bill he's placed on the counter. "You have a reputation as someone who's efficient, prepared, and very good at what you do. You can fix things. I could use a girl like you in my organisation."

Putting a hand up, to forestall any further nervousness, "but this is entirely an friendly offer. You don't need to worry about me or my guys going after you, your store, your friends, your family. Rant, all you have to do is ask yourself, how much money do I want to make? Say it with me, how much money do I want to make?"

*

Mels was.. clearly shocked. One thousand dollar bills were incredibly rare. But still, she didn't trust him, how could she? He'd probably take her on a killing spree and she wouldn't be able to sleep because of it. She was so close to ending it all and now that she was feeling better about herself..

"I.. wa.." She couldn't speak, he was blatant, bold, a little bit crazy and.. "You.. wha.." She carefully takes up the thousand dollar bill, then puts it into her back pocket. Where else was she going to put it? In a safe? Safe's are for idiots.

This guy was a fast talker. Rant really couldn't handle that. She wasn't shaking so much as she was confused, a little baffled, taken aback, and flattered. She was even blushing a little. Her hand reaches up to scratch at her head, fingers digging into her scalp which.. to another person would look painful. "Organisation? Which one?" She obviously didn't look the type to do what she did, she looked like a plain ol' nerd. High pony tail, glasses tucked into her plain white t-shirt, which was tucked into a plaid skirt. And, she was barefoot. Cause sometimes, Melody hates shoes.

"Um.." Man, this was uncomfortable. "How much money do I want to make?" She was unsure.. but.. "Ok ok ok! Slow down. Just slow down. Let me lock the store down okay? Just.. take that mask off, you're creeping me out."

*

He was a fast talker. But he also knew when to shut up. She was in. He knew it. She might not. But now it was all just a dance. She wouldn't be able to say no. Besides, he was offering her a pretty sweet deal. Be the girl behind the scenes. Do her thing. She wouldn't come across bloodshed or any of the dirty work. She'd help plan and organise it, but that would probably be the end of it.

She was too pure for anything more. As she locks down the store, he does as he's asked, taking off the mask. He presses a button in the back, some air blows out. It's probably environmentally sealed somehow. When it's off, he places it on the countertop. Except, he wears a mask underneath it. Not a full one, just something over his eyes. Red too, like the bigger one. He leans against one of the countertops, folds his arms over his chest, and waits for her to catch up. He smiles.

*

Melody didn't have to go too far to lock down the door, but she rarely lets anyone see her do her 'thing'. So she had to put on airs, walking from behind the counter to quickly pace her way to the door, locking it and pressing the button which brings the grates down on the inside and outside. She looks back when she hears a hiss, her brows lowering briefly. That.. was still.. so.. weird! Selina was gonna hear -everything- about today! Sure will! Well, maybe.

She took a breath now and approaches, keeping herself on his side of the counter, actually looking up towards the taller man with a little bit of a frown. "Hey. I can fix your face if you want me to." Eh, the offer was there, she was generally nice. "But.. just tell me what you need from me and I'll see if it's something I can do. I have a policy, if I can't do it I'll tell you straight up. I don't try. Trying gets people hurt and I really hate it when people get hurt."

*

"My face?" he says, a little confused. His hands separate from the fold they were in, and one gestures towards the mask, "oh, this, just a habit. I don't ever go without a mask of some kind. Old habits die hard." He adds, though the tone would suggest that there's a double meaning there.

"All right, you want it straight huh?" He pauses, thinking, and then begins, "I want to put you on retainer. I want you to be the electronic eyes and ears of my Syndicate, the Red Hood's Syndicate. It's what the cops started calling it. The name stuck." He's not too keen on it, but has accepted it. "And what does the syndicate want? We want to control Gotham, all the deals, goings on, everything." He means crime, but he doesn't refer to it that way because she might have listening devices, he's still cagey, and for her sensibilities. "I want you to help plan and organise… assignments, to help outfit my people with technology, to fix things, maybe to crack the odd safe, but, that would be in time, see how the first part goes."

*

"Yeah. Your face." He was the first one she met with a mask, so she assumed that something was wrong with his face. Why else would anyone wear them? Though, his mention of a habit puts her mind at ease, her lips pursing forward as she cocks her hip a little to the side. "Okay!" She accepts it. No more mention of his face, not from this girl!

She remains quiet thereafter, listening to what he had to say. It seemed that everyone wanted to control Gotham, and.. it was kind of cool to watch that dynamic play out on the sidelines. She doesn't realize exactly how dangerous this all is, she was just a nobody and intended to keep it that way.

"Well. That sounds okay and doable. I do have a set of rules that I abide by now, and I think it's only fair that I list them to you in order of importance to least importance, cause sometimes I don't like to lie, you know? I like to be upfront and truthful and it's kinda gotten me this far." For once, she smiles at the dodgy guy. For him being a potential overlord of Gotham, he seems like a pretty good guy. Total boyfriend material if he wasn't so darned creepy and weird though. Wait.. what is she saying? Rant can't handle boyfriends!

*

With a simple nod of his head, "All right?” He waits for the rules. There's not much for him to do or say. He's willing to hear her out, and waiting for this list of rules. Will it be acceptable? Probably, but only time will tell.

*

"So basically, my rules are this." She steps away from him, pacing back and forth all the while counting on her fingers. "I don't like to fight. I don't like to fight 'cause I don't know how. I'm learning, but I still don't like it. It's mean. I'm not really mean unless I have to be. So I don't want to be in that sort of situation, kay? Good. Um.." She pauses, then presses her middle finger down. "I don't need to know why. It creates deniability. The less I know, the better." And the fact that she could be hacked like a computer runs the risk. "If you need me to go on one of those.. mission type thingies with you? I'll go, but I have to be well protected. Kay? I don't want to get hurt. Cause it hurts." She's a delicate little flower!

"Um.. I don't know what else to say. I know I have more but.. I think that's it.. Oh!" She stops, cause this one was probably more important. "I do have this place, and I take jobs from other people too. I need to keep doing that, cause at least one of them are my friends." The other one, she's deathly afraid of.

*

The Red Hood takes note of these rules. As to the first one, that sounds like the perfect candidate to be trained by the Taskmaster. He'd suggest it for defensive reasons. She might go for that. Learning to handle one's self in a fight can only help with confidence.

She doesn't want to know more than she has to? That's fine by him. He even kind of prefers it. The more compartmentalised his lieutenants are, the better it is for him. If any of them knew too much, they might wonder what they need him for.

And the third one, he'd wait until she was prepared, trained by Taskmaster or someone else. No point bringing a civilian into a potentially hostile situation if it can be avoided.

When she's all said and done, he nods, "Okay by me. A good cover is always useful and I can see you’ve put a lot of time and effort into this place. I would never send you into the field without proper training, which I’m sure can be arranged. I'd like to know you can defend yourself if you had to. And you'll only know what you need to."

Reaching into his jacket, he pulls out a business card holder. It has an address, a phone number, her name, and a position. He offers it out to her. "All right, welcome to the Syndicate. I'll meet with you in a day or two, after it’s sunk in, and show you around. I'm sure you’ll fit right in."

*

"Yeah. I did. I really like it here, I really do sell most of this stuff.." Hey, Melody needed a job for when times were low. She hasn't stolen anything from anyone herself just yet. Time will tell though. "I mean, I can go into the field though, I just need to be watched. It doesn't have anything to do with training.. it's kinda weird actually." She rubs a little at her face, uncomfortable at that fact.

Once he hands her the card holder, she glances down at it with a raise of the brow. How in the world did he know that she was going to say yes? Totally.. effin.. weird. And damn cool! This guy must be a psychic, or one of those people who could see the future. Suh-weet! "Yay! I mean, okay." She clears her throat after that, then looks at the card holder again. "Um.. does that mean I have to get my own phone.. cause.. you got the number set up already.."

*

"You won't be going in the field for a while, not for me anyway. You have skills and talent that are hard to come by. You're special. I know someone, goes by Taskmaster, used to train S.H.I.E.L.D., that's the government's secret special forces unit. He looks scarier than I do, but he's good at what he does."

As for the card, he suspected that she'd take him up on his offer. He even reaches into his jacket, showing off what looks like a variety of neat toys, vials, devices. In there, he finds a phone. It looks sort of like a Samsung Galaxy S5, obviously based on it, but it’s not a Samsung. There is no identifying marks. And it looks to be sealed.

There are no ports. How does it even charge? Well, he has an answer for everything, pulling out a charging station. “Just rest it on this, one hour every week. It’ll hold its charge.” Where does he get these wonderful toys. “Password is Melody, though you can change that."

*

Melody blushes. In fact, it was one of those blushes that nearly made her tear up and just shy away from the entire thing because she'll be bound to become a bumbling mess. "Uh.. o..okay.." She stammers out, pretty much avoiding his gaze now, and probably would until he leaves.

Even though she avoids his gaze, doesn't mean she couldn't look at what he was doing, and once the phone was produced, she takes it along with the charge port. Her hands grasp the phone as it springs to life without her even pushing the button, her eyes focused on the screen as it changes into something all the more different than usual. She was scanning it.

It would be something considered weird if anyone were to see her, her cheeks even light up with reds, blues, greens, forming little fireworks through the nerves in her skin. She wasn't even breathing, which was a bad habit, too focused on scanning the phone, changing the password, charging it.. and even setting the background with a little boy who holds a balloon for a little girl that kisses his cheek. D'aw.

All of this abruptly stops as she takes in a shrill breath, the little glittery, firework-like lights stopping abruptly. She looks a little tired that was sure, and a tad bit woozy. "Okay.." She murmurs quietly. "Thank you..kindly."

*

Rant's a weird one, certainly different, but the Red Hood thought that she'd make a valueable member of the organisation. She'd do all right, a bit sweet, a bit naive maybe, but she had potential. Time would tell whether she worked out, or ended up like one of the countless other techies that have worked for organised crime.

As positions go, it was one of the safest and least risky positions to be in. But it still took a certain type to do it. He thought she could be that way. In a way, she reminded him a little of an old friend who had once adventured, but had since fallen on hard times.

"Well, it was nice meeting you Rant. Glad to have you aboard, but I have things to do, and people to see. I'll call you in a day or two, introduce you to some people." And with that, he begins heading for the door, picking up the helmet on his way out. She locked the store. She hasn’t unlocked it. But that shouldn’t be any problem.

*

If he were to look back, she would be gone already. She had a habit of doing that, getting sick enough working on tech stuff to the point where she just pukes. Thankfully, she had the mind to unlock the store as he moves near it, so at least he didn't have to break windows or jimmy locks to get out.


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