The Smooth: Thug Hunting

Summary:
September 10, 2014: Dackleman's goons seem to be one step ahead of Shift and Jackie. A different hunting method is clearly required. (vulgarity, graphic violence)

Burnley - Gotham City

Burnley was once a gleaming gem that signified change and growth of industry; the origin point for Gotham's Uptown Jazz scene back in the 1930s when it was covered in theaters, restaurants and jazz clubs. A place people used to go to escape and get a taste of something new and progressive.

Now Burnley and most of it's connected neighborhoods are horrible poverty stricken slums covered in housing projects and an overshadowing sense of dread and desparation. The Burnley of the 21st Century is comparible to Harlem during it's worst days.

Closer towards Bay Side the separation line of Grand Avenue divides the African American populace from the Hispanic (before the '09 quake there was also a strong Irish population that has since relocated to south Chelsea). This general area, with it's massive amounts of housing complexes is called the Hill. It's a constant source of gang related violence and trouble for the GCPD and just about anyone else.

A noteable landmark here is the small neighborhood of Toxic Acres named as such due to the Kane Chemical Plant meltdown that made the neighborhood uninhabitable. That facility still stands to this day but is now Ace Chemicals.


Characters

NPCs

  • Rex
  • Assorted thugs and Darklings.

Mood Music:
"Growin' Up in the Gutter" - Yelawolf


One week. It's been one week since Kwabena Odame and Jackie Estacado made for Gotham, and by all accounts, they should have cleared out Dackleman's entire operation by now. Instead, it would almost seem as the crime lord's lieutenants somehow manage to stay just one, maybe two steps ahead of the mercenary and the Darkness.

Desperate times occasionally call for desperate measures. Rex may not have been Kwabena's primary choice, but the pimp was well connected. All it took was a little white lie; that Charlie, his favorite hooker, had run off to Gotham. Now, as the night grows longer and the shadows deeper, Kwabena comes rolling into Burnley with Rex riding on the back.

This blighted neighborhood is among the worst in Gotham, argued by some as being second only to the Narrows. It's also one of the heaviest areas of smooth distribution within the city limits, no doubt due to the heavy metahuman population that calls this ghetto home. As the Iron-883 rolls to a parking spot, engine puttering, Rex looks about with horrified eyes.

"She came here?"

"Dat's right," answers Kwabena. He kicks the stand and climbs off the motorcycle after Rex, wasting no time in lighting a cigarette. "And you're gonna have to talk her out of hah smooth-induced daze." The Ghanaian narrows his eyes. "Son of a bitch. Why'd you get hah ondat shit, anyway?"

-

Progress. It's all relative. Once upon a time, this place was A-list— now, it's lucky to make an F. Once upon a time, Dackleman's crew ran their neighborhood— now most of the gangers left local in the Big Apple are either dead, imprisoned… or working for Jackie Estacado. The more things change, the more they stay the same; or maybe revert. The higher you get, the farther there is to fall. All of it fails to ease or contributes to Estacado's lingering sense that they're being led on, baited, played— the only thing that gives him comfort is the certainty that whoever's doing the planning and maneuvering, they have /no/ idea who they're fucking with.

At least, that's what he tells himself— it's not like people who know about, or even /more/ about the Darkness than he does aren't out there. More than a few of them would like him trapped and dead, at that. Not that that tends to slow Jackie down. Exactly where the Host is, tonight, is for him to know, and Shift's been around enough by now to realize he tends to turn up when he's least expected— or when it's most (in)convenient.

As the night wears on no one wise walks the slummy streets, the main notables near Shift's arrival a coalition gathered around the mouth of an alley sharing a bottle of cheap whiskey, and a few cigarettes. A haggard,leathery-skinned old man with white facial hair shadowed by the wide brim of his hat looks up slightly as the motorcycle roars up, and takes a deeper swig.

-

"She wanted to stop," explains Rex.

Kwabena hushes the pimp. "Keep yah fucking voice down."

"She wanted to stop," he quietly hisses. "Stop switching. Man one day, woman the next, she wanted to be one of the normals. It was the only way I could help her."

"One of de normahs." Kwabena shakes his head as he leads Rex along a path that will undoubtedly, eventually intersect with Jackie. "You realize it's a bunch of 'normahs' behind dis shit? Pushing dis shit? Taking advantage of our peopah to make an absolute fuck ton of money?" The Ghanaian stares at the man with a sidelong scowl. "You're a cock sucking idiot, Rex."

Rex thought Kwabena had become friendly. Rex… was wrong. He's not even expecting it when the African grabs him by the scruff of his neck and throws him into an alley. Sneakers scuffle across the old, dirty cement before he clatters, out of balance, into a fence.

In the blink of an eye, Kwabena is on him. His forearm comes across and jams itself against Rex's neck, choking off what protest he was about to make. His leg pins Rex's ankles against the fence, and the other arm reaches down to withdraw the pimp's own switchblade from his back pocket. The blade comes up and presses right against Rex's lower eyelid.

"Yah gonna tell me exactly where you're getting de shit from. Yah gonna tell me who's moving it in Gotham. You don't stop talking, or I staht cutting. Undahstand?"

-

There's no apparent sign of Jackie, at least at first. However, only two of the five hobos scatters, running down the street when Kwabena strong-arms the pimp right past them and threatens him with a knife— they turn towards the scene.

Rex might even have a chance to look to those that linger, perhaps cry to them for help— even as it's immediately clear that's not what they're here for. Two pairs of eyes light up green, and malicious smiles show pointed teeth, as if filed to a razor point, beyond too-gaunt lips. Crooked, sharp-edged nails extend from fingertips that suddenly seem too gnarled, ungainly, malformed to function as whatever absence of god intended.

The pair tongue those cruel maws ravenously and pace around either flank, and while the white-haired old man in the cowboy hat and blue collar garb might not have the same grim panache, it's possibly even more alarming when he pulls the vintage Colt single-action army from inside his coat, and levels it on Rex's head; just in cast the pudgy pimp tries to struggle. When the hammer is cocked back, runes etchedinto the revolver's barrel and cylinder burn to life, glimmering a foreboding purple-black in the esoteric lines of an ancient tongue. He doesn't offer the obvious affirmation of Shift's stated course— just puffs on his cheap cigarette, eyeing the pimp dangerously.

-

Its certainly enough to get Rex talking. The pimp starts spewing out names, members of the Brighton Beach Gang who are dealing in M-Town; members of various cartels here in Gotham. Nothing truly solid until the pimp utters a word that seems to… stand out.

"Stop. What was dat?"

Rex's eyes grow big. "Wh-what..? Tyler Dorsey?"

"DAT WORD!" snarls Kwabena.

"Ysalamiri??"

Kwabena backs off just so. He withdraws a cell phone from somewhere on his person, and pulls up 'Send new text message.' He turns the phone around and holds it just within Rex's reach. "Spell it."

Rex taps the word in. Kwabena checks it, then pulls up every phone number taken from that phone he'd confiscated in M-Town. Suddenly, cell phones across Gotham begin to chirp with an incoming message; cell phones that belong to traffickers in the Triad, the Syndicate, the Odessa Mob, and all of the ones in between.

Smirking ruefully, Kwabena takes yet another step back. "Boys?" He's addressing the creatures, and the Host that usually accompany them. "Time to go hunting."

-

It's not quite two dozen phones that represent that Smooth pipeline— it's just a pity they're scattered through so many different parts of the city, and that sheer probability dictates the arrival of at least three dozen unfortunately synchronous texts. So it helps that there are at least several dozen Darklings gripping handsets on the adjacent rooftops who mimic Shift's initiative: sending everything from garbled text to pictures of their own junk and hardcore pornography. The one message tone is rough to get a bead on: an unending stream of random messages and the angry vocalizations of the dealers and mules they belong to? Well— it's a little more notable. The pair of hobos dissipate into a swarm of buzzing, green-eyed insects and spiral upwards into the night, and outwards in all directions, searching at an alarming rate.

In a bar in Odessa, one of the Russians slams his phone down on the table, cursing at it in his native tongue; instants before all the lights go dark, and one unfortunate Darkling chars into smouldering nothingness after chewing into the main breaker and shorting the entire thing out. A card game hosted by Triad enforcers, one of whom growls at his own handset, suddenly goes shitside straight up as their table launches itself into the overhead fixture, shatters it, and tentacles lurch hungrily from a pit that seems to have formed beneath it.

Across the city there's incident after incident, gremlins from the walls, insects shattering through the windows to bite and sting— if not out and out carry a man off in ways they really should not be able to do. A second round of texts closes the noose further, men plucked from covert meetings on rooftops by winged creatures, torn from their beds to disappear -underneath- them, courtesy of monsters that apparently are real— one is even waylaid mid-blowjob by his own desk drawer and its demonic, snarling maw, leaving one incredibly confused secretary.

-

All the while, Kwabena simply stands there, looking at the sky. He can't hear it happening, but he can almost feel the effects of the Darkness as it falls upon the city. It's not a telepathic thing in the slightest. No, he's got the incessant chirping of that cell phone in his hand, as the angry texts begin pouring in.

Once they go silent, he turns back to Rex. The pimp stands there, his face ashen, having no exact idea what is taking place… which scares him further.

"Mutants…" Kwabena turns back to the pimp. "… ah not victims." He looks the man right in the eye, his silver eyes steadily developing a sort of deadly look.
Rex's eyes go wide.

In an instant, Kwabena is upon Rex. His left hand forms a column of black smoke that forces it's way into Rex's mouth, essentially gagging and suffocating him at the same time. Rex's knife comes up. "Dis is fah Charlie, you piece of shit."

Muted screams join the desperate flailing of Rex's arms and legs, while the knife goes to work at carving a bloody hole where each of Rex's eyes used to be. It only takes a few moments, but when it's all done, Kwabena simply pulls back, smoke withdrawing from the pimp's mouth and reforming into his left hand once again. Rex falls to the ground, blood smeared upon his face and dripping from his maimed eye sockets.

The bloody, gore-stained knife twirls, is snapped shut, and drops back into Kwabena's leather jacket. To the man in the hat, he says, "Let's go find our bait."

The cell phone is chucked through the air and lands upon Rex's torso.


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