Komm Susser Tod 2 3 2

[21:32] <Minaplo> [Sera would've slept pretty well. After all, it was warm here, unlike Mars, and the ground was steady here, unlike the yacht.-
[21:34] <Minaplo> [At 7:30 AM, however, he'd be shaken awake by Blue. "Yo."]
[21:37] * Sept squinted at him, for a moment making as if to just roll over, before sitting up slowly. "Hello. Hendricks."
[21:38] <Minaplo> ["Sup, Marx."-
[21:39] <Minaplo> [Blue is fully dressed, wearing an elbow-length t-shirt with a camo pattern, and a pair of knee-length pants. His hat is on his head. In fact… Why does it look a little damp?-
[21:39] <Minaplo> ["Get up, get showered, get dressed, and then we'll have breakfast."]
[21:43] * Sept mumbled something, collected himself and stood up, heading for the bathroom. He stopped in the doorway. "'s wrong with your hat?"
[21:43] <Minaplo> ["You don't want me to shower without my hat."]
[21:44] <Sept> "Bad experiences?"
[21:45] <Minaplo> ["The hat keeps the voices in."]
[21:45] <Sept> "Terrible shower karaoke?"
[21:45] <Minaplo> ["Funny. Hurry up."]
[21:50] * Sept shrugged. "It's alright," he said and headed in. In a moment, the noise of the shower would block out all noise until he was done.
[21:53] <Minaplo> [After that, Sera was taken down to the mall, where the hotel had an area put aside for their own special restaurant. The breakfast menu was ready- all of it free of charge. Buttered toast, crispy bacon and chicken pieces sat next to bowls of rice, egg pastries, and grilled fish in the central buffet.-
[21:54] <Minaplo> [Blue took a little bit of everything- and a newspaper- and sat down at one of the tables, flicking the paper open to read, obscuring him completely from Sera's vision.]
[21:57] * Sept followed suit, piling a less ambitious breakfast onto the plates and digging in, occasionally glancing up at Blue's paper idly.
[22:06] <Minaplo> ["Ten letters, type of shimmering quartz, used in decoration, first letter is A."]
[22:10] <Sept> "Adamantium," Sera offered. He got halfway to clumsily shaking his jacket off before coming to the conclusion it'd be best to just leave it on one shoulder to keep the missing hand covered. After this scene, he returned to stuffing omelette in his mouth.
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["Nnnno." Said Blue. "Hmm, hmm."-
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["Ah right, here we go. Aventurine. You paying attention?"]
[22:14] <Sept> "Haven't heard of it," he semi-intelligibly said with food in his mouth.
[22:15] <Minaplo> ["Well keep it in mind. Let's see. Four letters, band worn on finger…"-
[22:15] <Minaplo> [Five minutes later, Blue walked off, grabbing a new newspaper. This one, it seemed, was like a dead-trees version of Ebay, or a lost-and-found.-
[22:16] <Minaplo> ["Huh, here we go. Silver ring, with aventurine stone. Selling it for 250 over on the northside. That's our destination."]
[22:21] * Sept looked at him for a few moments before letting go of his questions. "Alright. Anything about spare hands in there?"
[22:23] <Minaplo> ["No."-#
[22:23] <Minaplo> [He folded the paper up under his arm, finished his food, and then stood up. "Let's hit it. We'll catch a cab."]
[22:26] * Sept stuffed the last of his food in his mouth, put his cap on and stood up. He was tempted to leave the jacket halfway on like that, but still wore it properly for practical reasons. Time to find a taxi.
[22:30] <Minaplo> [It wouldn't be hard- the taxis prowled around the hotel like sharks around a school of fish. Blue grabbed the first one they found and hopped in.-
[22:33] <Minaplo> [Their cabbie was a middle-aged, maybe slightly younger man, around 30-35, with thin, black hair, a scruffy bit of growth around his chin, and a huge old smile on his face. A half-eaten sandwich lay on the dashboard. "Amakam. Where to ma?"-
[22:35] <Minaplo> ["Thye Hua Kwan Hospital." Said Blue, budging over to give Sera some room.]
[22:37] * Sept hopped in and gave a nod to the driver, pulling the door shut. "Hospital, huh."
[22:38] <Minaplo> ["We get out, walk the rest of the way." Muttered Blue.-
[22:39] <Minaplo> ["Okay, let's rock lah!" Cried the cabbie, pushing the pedal to the metal. With a loud -screech-, Sera and Blue were knocked back against their seats as the taxi took off into traffic.]
[22:43] * Sept quickly sought out the ceiling handle on his side, glancing around at the traffic and looking for the car that'd inevitably T-bone them.
[22:48] <Minaplo> [There was one pretty good candidate for a T-boning, but their driver managed to skilfully avoid it, only narrowly avoiding a drift into oncoming traffic.-
[22:53] <Minaplo> [He drove with one hand on the wheel, his sandwich in his other hand. He took the odd bite. "You heng you get me today." He said happily. "Every ah tong ah seng has his panties toot over this invasion." Said the cabbie. "I say what invasion ar? I see no choppers, no tanks, no soldiers lah. They all drive tedious, I get shit done!"-
[22:54] <Minaplo> ["Good, great." Said Blue, who was holding onto his own handle, a grim look on his face.-
[22:55] <Minaplo> [Nevertheless, the cabbie clearly knew what he was doing. He may have been tearing ass like no tomorrow, but he managed it without any accidents or even really all that close- just the constant neverending spectre of an accident instead. Within 25 minutes they'd arrived outside of the hospital, the taxi pulling to a stop rather suddenly on the curb.]
[22:56] <Sept> "Phew." Sera opened his door. "Keep rocking then, Lah. Thanks for the ride."
[22:57] <Minaplo> [The cabbie throws him a thumbs up, takes his fare, and zooms off into the distance.-
[22:57] <Minaplo> ["Well." Said Blue. "You have fun?"]
[23:00] <Sept> "I was pretty fucking startled, but after that, sure! I'm not gonna die in some shitty car crash, after all."
[23:03] <Minaplo> ["Let's not tempt fate." Said Blue. "C'mon."-
[23:08] <Minaplo> ["Now, you know what we're doing here? We're gonna speak to one of my contacts. He's a fence."]
[23:09] <Sept> "You're obviously doing the talking. Want me to just stick to bodyguarding?"
[23:10] <Minaplo> ["No, I can handle that. I want you to do something else- I want you to stand down the street with your radio and watch for trouble."]
[23:11] <Sept> "Suspicious people or groups of, heading for the building?"
[23:12] <Minaplo> ["Yes. And also upstanding members of the constabulary. Or soldiers… Y'know, trouble."]
[23:15] <Sept> "Got it. I'll radio you or give you a signal."
[23:15] <Minaplo> ["What's the signal?"]
[23:16] <Sept> "You'll know it."#
[23:16] <Minaplo> ["Is it just screaming?"]
[23:17] <Sept> "Uh huh."
[23:17] <Minaplo> ["Goddamnit."-
[23:18] <Minaplo> [They arrived at Blue's destined location- a perfectly ordinary-looking apartment building, eight floors.-
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["Ok, you go and keep an eye out, I'll go up and chat."-
[23:18] <Minaplo> [And with that, he was off, disappearing into the building.]
[23:22] * Sept familiarised himself with his surroundings at first, making a bit of a round before just settling down a little way down the street by a wall in the shade.-
[23:22] <Sept> "Nadiacadenza?"
[23:26] <Minaplo> [The avatar-girl was there, sitting against a nearby wall.]
[23:28] <Sept> "Any Solomon getting the drop on us constitutes mortal danger, at the very least for the duration of this trip."
[23:29] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[23:30] <Sept> "You'll inform me?"
[23:31] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[23:33] * Sept kept watching the street, satisfied with that and making a note of the time. But he'd have to resist the urge to keep glancing at his watch or something. Every moment could count.
[23:34] <Minaplo> ["This is a true Lilim city." Said Nadiacadenza.]
[23:36] * Sept ignored her.
[23:44] <Minaplo> ["Could you find consensus with the many here?"]
[23:45] <Sept> "Could I live in this city?"
[23:46] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[23:50] <Sept> "I'd have to work for it. It's difficult to carve out a place for yourself in a strange land."
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["Strange?"]
[23:55] <Sept> "This city acts differently, though home is probably more of an exception."
[23:58] <Minaplo> ["Explain."]#
[00:06] <Sept> "Peculiarities of the past, of the land, of the people all come together and bring the city to life. The city affects the people in return. Even if all Lilim are the same, this city changes them. Reading the atmosphere, the safety of a situation relies on seeing the little things stemming from that, with all your senses."-
[00:06] <Sept> "Except taste."
[00:10] <Minaplo> ["The same elements in different combinations produce a different outcome."]
[00:13] <Sept> "And if you take it apart, you won't find some of the elements in there anymore."
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["Yes."]
[00:19] <Sept> "So in a consensus, I'd just be one of those lost elements. That'd be ill-advised."
[00:24] <Minaplo> ["No. That would require taking it apart."]
[00:27] <Sept> "Mm."
[00:32] <Minaplo> [There was a car on the other side of the road. It'd been there since before they arrived, but… There were still people in it. Watching the building…?]
[00:38] <Sept> Or watching him. Not a problem yet, in any case. Investigating it closer might be dangerous if they'd noticed him…
[00:42] <Minaplo> [There were two men inside, both of them looking quite fit, with matching short haircuts. In any case, they didn't seem to be doing anything yet, as Sera had surmised.]
[00:48] <Sept> He might be able to stop them from doing anything if he snuck up on them… but for now, he settled on covertly bringing up his radio to an inside chest pocket so he could more easily communicate if needed.
[00:53] <Minaplo> [Luckily, they didn't seem to notice…-
[00:56] <Minaplo> [… However, he would note something interesting. The men kept glancing towards a certain location down the street. A location containing a black unmarked van with tinted windows.]
[01:04] <Sept> Had -that- been there the whole time? Was it a different group the guys in the car were watching… or was it the one where their troops were waiting for the go signal?
[01:04] <Minaplo> [Five degrees on an Awareness test will tell you a lot, but it won't let you see through solid surfaces.-
[01:04] <Minaplo> [But Sera can tell that their glances seem to be maybe not hostile.]
[01:11] <Sept> "Tricky," he noted. "Not sure if we'll have to come up with preventative measures."
[01:11] <Minaplo> ["Problem?"]
[01:19] <Sept> "Worst case scenario: The people in the car send word to the van filled with armed gangers or soldiers, who try to take him down coming out. I can cover him with smoke for a moment so he can head the other way. But that assumes they don't have other directions covered."
[01:20] <Minaplo> ["Do you want me to destroy the van?"]
[01:22] <Sept> "How would you do that?"
[01:23] <Minaplo> ["There are multiple methods available." Said Nadiacadenza. "Narrow the parameters of your query."]
[01:28] <Sept> "Nevermind. We don't want to destroy them, Nadiacadenza. Blocking their communications right as they're about to start would be really efficient. Can you do that? We don't know the timing, but."
[01:34] <Minaplo> ["I can prevent them from communicating, yes."]
[01:38] <Sept> "I think we'll have to do that, just to see how they react. Ready?"
[01:38] <Minaplo> [She held a hand out to him.]
[01:40] * Sept was still looking at the van from the corner of his eye as he extended a thoughtless hand towards hers.
[01:43] <Minaplo> [She grabbed it.-
[01:44] <Minaplo> [A second later, the men in the car had simply vanished.]
[01:46] <Sept> "…ah," Sera said, looking alarmed.
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["I have done as you asked. They are unable to communicate." Said Nadiacadenza.]
[01:50] <Sept> "Yes. Yes of course, but. Mm."-
[01:54] <Sept> "Same risks as before. It'll do. I'll be more precise in the future. Continuing on the worst case scenario, they'll either launch their operation independently, or have to spend time checking on the watchers. Hm. It's under control."
[01:54] <Minaplo> ["No." said Nadiacadenza.]
[01:55] <Sept> "What?"
[01:56] <Minaplo> ["Lack of communication, or disappearance, is in itself a form of communication. Any who are relying on the watchers to communicate are viewing an illusion of the watchers, one which I control."]
[01:57] <Sept> "Ah."-
[02:00] * Sept lowered his hand that he'd been fidgeting with behind his back. "Ah. Good work."
[02:01] <Minaplo> ["It is not permanent." She said. "In thirty minutes, the watchers will be returned back into the flow of time and my illusion will fail. This was a great drain of power considering our circumstances, so I have had to draw on your reserves as well. I recommend you tell your accomplice to hurry."]#
[02:09] <Sept> "Agreed." Sera hit the transmit button on the radio briefly, not wanting to completely cut Blue off.
[02:10] <Minaplo> [A minute passed, then-
[02:10] <Minaplo> [("Yo.")]
[02:13] <Sept> "You've got fifteen minutes. That enough?"
[02:13] <Minaplo> [("Uhhh, should be. Hey, do me a favour. Are there any suspicious -things- happenin' down there? Dudes in cars watching, whatever?")]
[02:15] <Sept> "Yeah. That's why it's tickin'."
[02:15] <Minaplo> [("Shit. Yeah, I thought this seemed a little too -off-. This is a sting. The guy in here's acting super cagey and I don't know who the hell he is. I'll be out in a minute, and we can blow this shithole.")]
[02:18] <Sept> "You're kidding me. Is there anything we can get from this?"
[02:21] <Minaplo> [("Other than the fact that I think my contact network's been properly compromised… No, not really.")]
[02:23] <Sept> "Capturing and interrogating these guys wouldn't help us, agreed?"
[02:23] <Minaplo> ["No, pretty sure they're cops. All we get from that is a hell of a lot of heat."]
[02:25] <Sept> "Ass. Over and out."
[02:28] <Minaplo> [And so a minute later, Sera would see Blue suddenly appear on a balcony, jump onto the railing and leap off, landing in a roll before getting to his feet quickly and running out the entrance. "Come on!"]
[02:29] * Sept slung his bag back on his shoulder, quickly tightening the strap as far as it went and dashing off after him.-
[02:30] <Sept> "Head start, make it count."
[02:31] <Minaplo> ["Cab?"]
[02:36] <Sept> "Two blocks, cab, maybe switch? They could've had more eyes."
[02:39] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, we'll go with that."-
[02:40] <Minaplo> [And so two blocks later, they flagged down a cab. It quickly stopped for them, the cabbie popping his head out.-
[02:41] <Minaplo> ["You double-heng today, lah." He said, grinning. "You get me -twice-!"]
[02:42] <Sept> "You too, Lah. Whatever it is you said."
[02:43] <Minaplo> [And so they went, speeding over a hill (gaining just a second of airtime on the way).-
[02:43] <Minaplo> [But this time, Nadiacadenza hadn't faded- she was right there, sitting next to Sera, squeezed between him and the door.]
[02:52] * Sept glanced through the rear window and at Nadiacadenza, with a bit of a smile. "We checking out anything else?"
[02:54] <Minaplo> ["I was going to, but… Shit, now I have no fuckin' idea who's gold and who's pyrite." Blue tapped his hands on his knees. "I'm gonna need an info broker. Dunno if I can get to Brofessor from here…"]
[02:57] <Sept> "Professor who?"
[02:58] <Minaplo> ["Brofessor. My most trusted info source. But I dunno what he's up to…"-
[03:02] <Minaplo> ["There are local info brokers, but I dunno how reliable they are, and they tend to ask for a lot. In counter info. Hm. I could ask Shen… Hrmrmm. Fuckin' cops."]
[03:11] <Sept> "…mhm, flics'll do that. Tricky. Should still be able to keep going."
[22:02] <Minaplo> ["Ok. He works for a small lefty paper called the Red Orchid. Wanna hit up his workplace, or should we wait for him outside his door like a pair of creepers?"]
[22:06] <Sept> "I don't know, do we have acceptable cover stories if people ask questions?"
[22:07] <Minaplo> ["We're tourists, so all we need to do is act like fuckwits."]
[22:11] <Sept> "Yeah, that'll be a challenge," he said drily. "Then we should have no trouble just strolling right in."
[22:20] <Minaplo> ["Right. Ok, cabbie! Take us to the corner of Asimont and Barker."-
[22:25] <Minaplo> [Fifteen minutes later, they pulled into an area on the periphery of the Singapore CBD. Here, low-rise office buildings rose above them, hundreds of them, each as nondescript as the next.-
[22:31] <Minaplo> [The cabbie pulled up outside of one such building, which had a sign detailing the businesses within. One of the entries- a flaking painted image of a red flower followed by Chinese characters, followed onwards by the English words saying 'RED ORCHID JOURNALISM'.]
[22:44] * Sept clambered out past Nadiacadenza, less shaken by the cabbie's driving already. "I guess they aren't one of those strict centrist papers?"
[22:45] <Minaplo> [Blue climbed out his own side, not having to climb over the physical manifestation of an extremely powerful ancient figure appearing as a Japanese albino schoolgirl. "Naw. They're like a sunburned wolverine. Small, angry, and red."-
[22:46] <Minaplo> ["Hey, my friend, you want me stay here mah?" Asked the cabbie.-
[22:46] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, why not." Said Blue.-
[22:47] <Minaplo> [Nadiacadenza climbed out, following after Sera.]
[23:00] <Sept> "Or like a marmot," Sera said, heading towards the doors with his bag.
[23:07] <Minaplo> ["I… Don't think so."]
[23:07] <Minaplo> [-
[23:08] <Minaplo> [The foyer is plain, a little grubby. The walls are covered with posters for bands, adverts for nearby businesses and bars, and of course angry polemics written by none other than the Red Orchid itself. There are stairs here, and an elevator, and a list of businesses tied to their floor. The Orchids are on the 6th.]
[23:11] * Sept kept moving and headed for the stairs without input or hesitation.
[23:12] <Minaplo> [Blue had been going for the elevator. "Man, seriously…?"]
[23:16] * Sept glanced back at him. "Problem?"
[23:16] <Minaplo> ["You've got something against elevators, boyo?"]
[23:17] <Sept> "Maybe. You got something against stairs?"
[23:18] <Minaplo> ["More people die falling down stairs every year than they do using elevators."]
[23:22] <Sept> "Yeah, but fuck elevators."
[23:26] <Minaplo> [Blue's elevator 'ding'ed. He stepped on. "See you on the 6th floor, loser!"-
[23:28] <Minaplo> [Leaving Sera alone at the bottom of the staircase with Nadiacadenza.]
[23:30] * Sept took a deep breath looking at her, and headed into the stairwell, keeping a level pace.
[23:39] <Minaplo> [And so he'd emerge on the 6th level some time later, an impatient-looking Blue waiting for him.]
[23:46] <Sept> "Sup. Nothing to report."
[23:46] <Minaplo> ["The case of the missing stair, huh? Some sort of stair case?"]
[23:48] <Sept> "That's the best you came up with in that time?"
[23:48] <Minaplo> ["I do these things on a case by case basis."-
[23:49] <Minaplo> ["Anyway, the place we're looking for is over there." He nodded at one of the doors on this floor- a frosted glass door with a plaque and the emblem of the Red Orchid built into it.]
[23:52] <Sept> "Uh huh. Shall we?"
[23:52] <Minaplo> ["Sure."-
[00:02] <Minaplo> [The front room of the Red Orchid smells like defeat.-
[00:05] <Minaplo> [It is humid in here, a whirring oscillating fan struggling fruitlessly to make the air cooler, but mostly just moving hot air around. The faint smells of alcohol, tobacco and sweat intermingle in the air. The room is small and contains a few chairs, a receptionist's desk and a door that leads to their 'offices', presumably. The desk is manned by a woman- she looks to be in her mid-twenties, maybe, with short brown hair, East Asian descent. She's wearing a simple red t-shirt and a wet cloth around her neck, which she periodically uses to wipe the sweat off her face. A computer that looks like it rejects DVDs is sitting sullenly on her desk.-
[00:06] <Minaplo> ["What you want?" She asks grumpily.-
[00:06] <Minaplo> ["Here to speak to Man Shen." Said Blue.-
[00:06] <Minaplo> [The receptionist's eyes narrow. "Who wants to know? You a cop?"-
[00:06] <Minaplo> [Blue goes to speak, but there's time for Sera to butt in if he wants…]
[00:09] <Sept> "Would a cop have to say yes..?" he said to himself while eyeing the rest of the place.
[00:19] <Minaplo> ["No. That would be dumb." Said Blue. "And no, we're not cops. Do I even look like I'm Singaporean to you?"-
[00:19] <Minaplo> ["Doesn't matter. Shen not here anymore."]
[00:22] * Sept refocused on the woman, adjusting the bag on his shoulder. "How come? Something happen?"
#0[00:39] <Mianplo> ["He quit. He said we not pay him enough, he want ai pee, ai chee, ai tua liap nee lah." She said, scoffing. "He start to come in late, I tell him he ai si, and he don't care."]
[00:41] * Sept glanced at Blue for translation and comfort.
[00:42] <Mianplo> ["His ambitions exceeded his means." Said Blue grimly.]
[00:45] <Sept> "Ai si. He say anything about where he'd try to fulfill those ambitions?"
[00:49] <Mianplo> ["Why we care where he goes?"]
[00:53] <Sept> "Dunno, maybe there's some weird foreigners wanting to say hi to him who could make your day better for the info."
[00:54] <Mianplo> ["Better how?"]
[01:14] <Sept> "Maybe an Asian Benjamin better?" At least there were some things that should always transcend language barriers.
[01:15] <Mianplo> ["Eh?"]
[01:16] <Sept> "…a hundred bucks," he relented. The light of the socialite world had gleamed before him for an instant, then it was awkwardly quiet once more.
[01:28] <Mianplo> ["…"-
[01:32] <Mianplo> ["I don't know where he work, lah." She said, holding her hand out. "But I know he at Lau Pa Sat after dark."]
[01:33] <Sept> "That good enough for us?" Sera asked, turning to Blue.
[01:35] <Mianplo> ["Well, it's a 5,500 square metre market space that's packed from seat to seat constantly after sunset, filled with hundreds of food stalls and eateries, thousands of hawkers harassing you constantly, and a million different scents and smells." Said Blue.-
[01:35] <Mianplo> ["So all in all it's an improvement, but still kind of a bitch, you know? I'll take it."]
[01:41] <Sept> "Yeah, alright, pay her." Sera turned around a bit to glance at the door, ready to leave. "Thanks, lady."
[01:43] <Mianplo> [She gave him a reply in a sort of a snort-huff. Blue gave her a nice crisp 100 dollar bill, and then they were out, Nadiacadenza following after Sera closely enough for her warm, bakery-fresh breath to brush against the nape of his neck.-
[01:43] <Mianplo> [Back down the building.-
[01:43] <Mianplo> ["So." Said Blue. "We've got a lead- Man Shen might be at Lau Pa Sat tonight, but that means a five, six hour wait. We can do things in those hours, you think?"]
[01:50] * Sept agreed to take the elevator this time, smiling to Nadiacadenza in the mirror most of the way down. "Well, we could get in touch with the others in case they find something worth seeing. You didn't have any other contacts you'd rely on as much as this guy?"
[01:54] <Mianplo> ["I would if I knew that the worst that could come off meeting a contact was nothing, but after that sting op I'm a little spooked." He said. "We're at 0 for 2 now, and every contact we hit up after this could mean being sold out- and not only to the cops, either. I'll lay off the contacts until we speak to Man Shen, get a feel for the underworld situation."]
[02:02] <Sept> "Yeah, point. You don't wanna just relax for the time being, then?"
[02:04] <Mianplo> ["Sure, I'm happy to relax. You wanna go hit up Raffles or some shit?"]
[02:07] <Sept> "Yeah, I don't mind. Or if you've got some place out on the town you like."
[02:09] <Mianplo> ["Well yeah, Raffles."]
[02:09] <Sept> "Oh. Oh, I see."
[02:10] <Mianplo> ["It's a hotel." Said Blue. "They serve Slings there."]#
[02:15] <Sept> "Slings sound fine by me. As long as it's not a terribly conspicuous place."
[02:16] <Mianplo> ["It's sort of… A tie."]
[02:17] <Sept> "There's a dress code?"
[02:17] <Mianplo> ["No, I mean, it's a pretty classy place- it's a national landmark. It's -famous-." Said Blue. "But it's also a huge tourist spot, you know…"]
[02:19] <Sept> "Mm. Well, I guess we'll see. Might be able to hide in the crowd just as well."
[02:20] <Mianplo> ["Let's hope."]
[20:30] <Sept> "Brave the taxi once more?"
[20:31] <Minaplo> ["S-"-
[20:31] <Minaplo> [He held a hand up to Sera, taking out his radio- designed to look like a modern phone- and walking away for a minute, speaking into it.-
[20:32] <Minaplo> [A second later he returned. "Congrats, you're now Carl Pilsudski. Edmond dropped your name around a bit so."]
[20:35] * Sept nodded slowly. "…I'm sure it was for a good reason."
[20:37] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[20:54] <Minaplo> [A fifteen minute hair-raising car trip later, they found themselves outside of Raffles- a large, white-walled complex, built in a parochial Victorian-style that clashed with both the muggy humidity of the air and the concrete towers of the city around them. A several-storey facade, lined with latticed windows, stared down on them- the entrance a series of French doors on the edge of a roundabout, itself built around a lush multicoloured garden. Sikh doormen, dressed in immaculate white military tunics and turbans, black trousers and sashes, and wearing gold cords and epaulettes, directed them to a side entrance- through which they went. The building's villa-style construction meant that much of the interior was given to open spaces, and they could ultimately go in a fair few directions- there was an arcade, filled with restaurants and luxury shops; the 'Long Bar', a famous drinking bar; and of course a gift shop, if they felt like it for whatever reason.]
[21:03] * Sept whistled as he approached the place, bag still in tow. "How much time have you spent here?"
[21:04] <Minaplo> ["Coupla years. I used to be the bartender here."]
[21:05] <Sept> "That when you got to know your contacts?"
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. I did a few years in Singapore here. Singapore's a serious man's game." He said. "There's not a lot of room for gang wars, or local mafias or triads or any of that bullshit. The local police are too on the fucking ball. As you saw."-
[21:09] <Minaplo> ["No. Here, in Singapore, with a low local crime rate and a high international presence, the money's in the -big boys-. Alves is a big boy. Probably the -biggest- boy. But it wasn't always."]
[21:20] <Sept> "Yeah, I hear the mob's on a whole other level in places like these. But Alves had rivals earlier, I assume?"
[21:22] <Minaplo> ["Yeah. I worked with a few. Tried to stay out of the violent stuff. Moved on info, mostly, or goods."]
[21:29] <Sept> "Huh. How'd that work out? Trying to stay out of it?"
[21:30] <Minaplo> ["It worked okay." Said Blue. "You don't bring your intel guys to a gun fight."]
[21:32] <Sept> "Might bring a gun fight to them," Sera shrugged. "You mentioned Slings. Their specialty?"
[21:33] <Minaplo> ["Singapore Sling. Classic cocktail."]
[21:36] <Sept> "Well, let's see if they're worth it or just a tourist trap."
[21:44] <Minaplo> [The Long Bar was a two-storey bar, splendid just to look at, nevermind anything else. Leather-upholstered chairs and stools sat around mahogany tables, all of them sitting on polished wooden floors. The bar itself was, indeed, long, and made of shiny luxurious wood like everything else. Shiny gold gilding and brass piping caught the light, both from the sun outside and from the lightbulbs that hung from the roof inside green shades. The bar's drinks display had practically everything one could think of on display.-
[21:44] <Minaplo> [… In fact, it seemed familiar. It reminded Sera strongly of Blue's own bar.]
[21:49] * Sept exercised care with the doors, with his oversized travel bag threatening to bump the frame. He headed straight for the bar. "Christ. You really like holding on to your past, don't you?"
[21:55] <Minaplo> ["Do you gotta make it sound like a criticism?" Asked Blue. He too walked over to the bar, running his hand along the top and breathing in deep. "Ohh, I missed this."]
[21:57] <Sept> "I think you're just imagining it."-
[21:57] <Sept> "It's pretty classy," he agreed.
[21:59] <Minaplo> [The crowd in here was fairly small, and most of them were scattered across the expansive bar, clumped into small groups of two or three. Hardly anyone was at the bar itself.-
[22:05] <Minaplo> ["I liked it here." He said, smiling a little. "A steady job, an easy job…"]
[22:07] <Sept> "Why"
[22:07] <Sept> "Why'd you stop?"
[22:12] <Minaplo> ["Shit got real." Said Blue. "It got real in a hurry."]
[22:15] <Sept> "Someone bring a gunfight to you?" Sera tried to get the attention of the bartender.
[22:20] <Minaplo> ["A coven of witches."]
[22:20] <Minaplo> [Bartender is also wandering over. He's a somewhat chubby Indian fellow with a smallish beard. "What'll it be?"]
[22:23] <Sept> "Two slings, thanks." Sera adjusted the strap on his shoulder with his one working hand. "Those guys. Just for a vendetta, or was it for your work here?"
[22:25] <Minaplo> ["They took a contract." Said Blue. "To bring me in alive."]
[22:29] <Sept> "That's news to me."
[22:45] <Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[22:46] <Minaplo> [Nadiacadenza was sitting on the stool next to Sera, taking in the bar with her unblinking gaze.]
[22:55] * Sept let the conversation lapse and sat down for the time being, following the spirit's eyes around the bar for a while.
[23:02] <Minaplo> [Eventually their bartender would place down a pair of slings- both of them colourful reddish-pink cocktails with a foamy top.]
[23:07] <Sept> The sound of the glass on the table woke Sera back up. "How much is that, sir tender?" He awkwardly patted his pockets with the one hand for his wallet.
[23:08] <Minaplo> ["26 dollars."]
[23:11] <Sept> Sera turned to Blue, again. "This isn't one of those places where you barter to be polite, right?"
[23:19] <Minaplo> ["Nope." Said Blue with a grin.]
[23:20] * Sept counted up thirty dollars from the correct pocket when he found it and handed it to the bartender. "Keep the change."
[23:20] <Minaplo> [He let out a snort- whether of humour or derision was unknowable- and walked off.-
[23:22] <Minaplo> ["Still overpriced." He took his drink. "L'chaim."]
[23:28] <Sept> "Logheim," Sera said and took a tentative sip followed by a deeper draft.
[23:36] <Minaplo> ["So I figure we'll RDV with Edmond at around 5 PM, see what the other hand's been doing."]
[23:39] <Sept> "Oh, I get it."
[23:43] <Minaplo> ["Hm?"]
[23:43] <Sept> "'cause I've only got one."
[23:48] <Minaplo> ["What? No." Said Blue, snorting. "It's a common expression."-
[23:48] <Minaplo> [Nadiacadenza, on the other hand, was gripping Sera's stump with one of her hands, holding it up curiously.]
[23:58] <Sept> "Ye- leggo," he snapped under his breath, drawing away from her and spilling a bit of his drink. "Ff. We going for the market together with them, then?" He put the glass back down on the counter and tried to wipe off the barely-visible stain.
Session Time: Wed Oct 22 00:00:00 2014
[00:00] <Minaplo> [Which only left his drink open. Nadiacadenza reached over, picked it up and began to suckle on the straw.-
#0[00:00] <Minaplo> ["Mayb-" Blue turned, squinting. "What the hell? Dude, your drink!"]
[00:05] <Sept> "Put it down," he hissed without turning his attention away from the hem of his shirt. "Being a nuisance…"
[00:05] <Minaplo> [She did as she was told, placing it back on the table- but still suckling on the straw, draining it away…-
[00:06] <Minaplo> ["… Let me guess. Patrick Swayze?"]
[00:10] <Sept> "-Who-?"
[00:12] <Minaplo> ["God. Pre-Impact American actor." Said Blue. "Starred in a movie where he was a bouncer for a country bar called the Double Deuce, got into a fight with a guy who tried to put a baby in a corner, got hurt, but told everyone that pain didn't hurt, so they left him, he died, and he came back as a ghost and screwed a woman over a kiln."]
[00:18] <Sept> "-That's- how you- god, yes. Whatever." Sept took a deep breath. "Everything okay?" He stretched his shirt, examining the end result.
[00:21] <Minaplo> ["I'm fine, but what's up with your drink?"]
[00:27] <Sept> "Nothing's up with the drink, drink's gone, are -we- okay?" He put up his best neutral face and idly looked toward the windows. Acknowledging the glass now would just bring more attention.
[00:38] <Minaplo> ["Uh, we're… Good?"]
[00:42] <Sept> "Uh huh. So we are." He took a glance at the glass, finally. Anything left?
[00:46] <Minaplo> [There was some, in fact. Nadiacadenza was now wandering around the bar, peering curiously at the drinks on display.]
[00:50] * Sept reached out to finish his drink, slightly sullenly.
[21:07] <Minaplo> ["These drinks give you pleasure?" Asked Nadiacadenza.]
[21:20] <Sept> "D'you still get pleasure from alcohol, then?" He asked Blue with a bit of a sigh. "That still normal?"
[21:22] <Minaplo> [He laughed.-
[21:25] <Minaplo> ["Sure, I like alcohol. I don't get drunk often- my thingies, y'know, my teeny tiny machines- they stop most of it unless I binge like a motherfucker. But these days I get as much pleasure from admiring a well-mixed cocktail than I do drinkin' it. Which makes me sound like an idiot, but once you go bartender… You never go for a bender. Or something."]
[21:30] <Sept> "Mm. And sometimes, for those of us without magic hats, it keeps the voices away."
[21:32] <Minaplo> ["Heh. Drinking never did that for me."]
[21:37] <Sept> "Different ghosts," the one-handed man concluded. "But I think most people do just drink it for pleasure."
[21:38] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, for sure. Of course, you'd say that, wouldn't cha, Frenchie?"]
[21:48] <Sept> "Nah, that's not a thing anymore. Is it?"
[21:50] <Minaplo> ["What isn't?"]
[21:51] <Sept> "Stereotypical drunk French people."
[21:55] <Minaplo> ["Well no, but stereoptypical -drinking- French people is a thing, you know, what with the wine- you guys still give watered wine to your kids, right?"]
[22:04] <Sept> "How should I know? I never had any."
[22:08] <Minaplo> ["Uhh, you should know through general cultural osmosis. Like, god."-
[22:08] <Minaplo> [Blue took a mouthful of his sling, letting out a little sigh of satisfaction.-
[22:10] <Minaplo> ["Well, that's one thing we got in common."]
[22:12] <Sept> "People -talk- about it, but I still wouldn't say it isn't an urban legend. We have what in common?" Sera said, dubiously.
[22:18] <Minaplo> ["We don't got kids. We're both virgins."]
[22:20] <Sept> "Odd thing to focus on. Matter of definition."
[22:22] <Minaplo> ["You're odd. You know, I wonder if they'll play that song if I ask…"]
[22:26] <Sept> "You say that like you specifically intend to get a rise out of me with it."
[22:28] <Minaplo> ["I think you're just imagining it." Said Blue sanctimoniously.-
[22:28] <Minaplo> ["But hey, no harm in asking. I'll even buy you another drink, all on me. Ain't I a bro?"]
[22:36] <Minaplo> —-
[22:37] <Minaplo> [Lau Pa Sat was every bit the sensory bomb that Blue had promised.-
[22:50] <Minaplo> [The building itself was gargantuan in size, the roof an interlocking network of web-like structures. Yet it wasn't enclosed- indeed, entire streets ran through here, empty of cars but full of people and stalls. Moving forward was a flipcoin between going with or against the current, but either way it involved constant contact with others, either through shoulder-rubbing or the like.-
[22:51] <Minaplo> [Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, rice, pork, chicken, the smell of fish- it all mingled in the air with the scents of a dozen curries, tangy and spicy and potent, with sour and salty sauces and other mixes that boggled the imagination.]
[22:58] * Sept had pulled the bag's strap as tight around him as it went, now - with the zippers securely against his back. His defensive posture was also apparent in his slightly downturned cap and body language.-
[22:59] <Sept> "Crazy," he just said with a bit of a smirk.
[23:00] <Minaplo> ["What is?" Asked Nadiacadenza, who was by his side no matter what.]
[23:02] <Sept> "People making their living in this mess. Some probably enjoying it."
[23:07] <Minaplo> ["How is that- crazy?"]
[23:11] <Sept> "Well. A type of crazy I haven't grown used to, of course. The kinds of things people can get used to- are crazy."
[23:15] <Minaplo> ["You talkin' to Patrick Swayze again?" shouted Blue, weaving around a couple.]
[23:16] <Sept> "No," he replied decisively.
[23:19] <Minaplo> [Blue led him into an area filled with eating tables. The hawkers here were aggressive, shoving menus under their noses and trying to lead them to a seat.-
[23:19] <Minaplo> ["Ok," Said Blue, swatting one away. "How do we find a guy in this milieu?"]
[23:21] <Sept> "We either know where he's going to be or know what he looks like?"
[23:22] <Minaplo> ["I know what he looks like, but this place is huge, and he doesn't exactly stand out."]
[23:25] <Sept> "But he comes here for a reason, yes?"
[23:26] <Minaplo> ["To eat."]
[23:29] <Sept> "So what're his favorite foods?"
[23:35] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[23:35] <Minaplo> [Blue placed a hand under his chin. "Hm."-
[23:40] <Minaplo> ["Uh… The sort you eat?"]
[23:42] <Sept> "Well. Is there anything he'd be interested in? If we spread information about something only he'd follow, we can find him."
[23:47] <Minaplo> ["Smashing the bourgouisie?"]
[23:50] <Sept> "Um." Sera scratched the back of his head. "So is he the kind of person who'd be into buying info about… um, uprisings?"
[23:51] <Minaplo> ["Uh… I s'pose."]
[23:53] <Sept> "But of course that'd attract an entirely wrong sort of attention. We wouldn't do something like that."
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["We'd probably attract cops, yes. Or soldiers. Hm…"-
[23:54] <Minaplo> ["I could find him for you." Said Nadiacadenza.]
[23:56] <Sept> "No, we'll find him," Sera reassured himself. "We couldn't just tell people we're looking for him, right?"
[23:57] <Minaplo> ["What, in this crowd? Who'd even know him?"]
[23:58] <Sept> "You don't think he's on a first-name basis with his local greengrocer?"
[00:01] <Minaplo> ["He… Could be. The receptionist seemed to think he ate here regularly, so it makes sense that some guy around here has to know him. Maybe a rickshaw driver or something."]
[00:06] <Sept> "What else is there we can anticipate about him… an entrance or exit he'd use..?"
[00:09] <Minaplo> ["This place is all open, remember?" Said Blue. "He'd go wherever his rickshaw driver or taxi cab would drop him off…"-
[00:10] <Minaplo> [A hawker got back into their faces, flashing a laminated menu in Sera's face. "You new? A tourist lah! You must try the famous singapore chili crab! Only $3!"]
[00:16] <Sept> "Unless the other venues were blocked," Sera continued, pushing the menu down gently. "Maybe it's late for that."
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["You're thinking of blocking the venues?" Asked Blue.-
[00:19] <Minaplo> ["How about good chze char lah!" Said the hawker, flashing the menu again.]
[00:25] <Sept> "Mm." Sera tilted his head. "Very difficult without panic. I could play spotter for you, if it came to that. A gamble, but if the shopkeeps can't help us…"
[00:26] <Minaplo> ["I'd rather go for a subtler option. One that doesn't catch the eye of the cops."-
[00:27] <Minaplo> ["Peanut satay skewer! Ten for $4!"]
[00:33] <Sept> "We don't know where he comes from, no distinguishing features, and we can limit his contacts to food salesmen. Looks to me like we're best off asking around for now, seeing what comes of it."
[00:35] <Sept> Sera's head was still mostly obscured by the peddler and his menu as he attempted to count off his list with the fingers on his left hand, failed due to lack of fingers, and did it with his right instead.
[00:51] <Sept> "Okay, I'll- oh. There's one right here." Sera acknowledged the conveniently-appeared hawker. "You want to earn some money, man?"
[00:53] <Minaplo> ["Maybe. You want to spend some money ar?"]
[01:00] <Sept> "Yeah. We're looking for a certain someone around here and will pay for info on them. Half now, half when we find them."
[01:03] <Minaplo> ["Let me see red first."]
[01:04] * Sept took his time digging out the money, in small, handy denominations. "Hendricks? Your description?"
[01:08] <Minaplo> ["About 5'8", Chinese, black hair, brown eyes. Name of Man Shen." Said Blue.-
[01:08] <Minaplo> ["Hahaha." The hawker let out a long low laugh. "Peace of cake."]
[01:10] <Sept> "Yeah?" Sera said skeptically.
[01:12] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, give me one minute lah. You not go anywhere."-
[01:14] <Minaplo> [Fifteen minutes later, the hawker led them to a table all of twenty metres away. There, Man Shen was enjoying a chili crab and a beer.-
[01:14] <Minaplo> ["Motherfucker." Swore Blue.]
[01:17] <Sept> "Hhhhhh," Sera exhaled slowly and with gusto, holding up the rest of the cash to the man. "Thank you, sir."
[01:18] <Minaplo> ["He he he." The man took the money and melted back into the crowd, so he could harass some other fucker.-
[01:23] <Minaplo> [Man Shen was tucking into his crab enthusiastically- when Blue approached, he shook his head, smirking. "Well well well."]
[01:29] * Sept eyed Man critically while approaching with a bit of a smirk of his own. Still, he let Blue start things off, to at least have some grasp of who this guy was before offending him.
[01:30] <Minaplo> ["Finding you was harder than I'd hoped." Said Blue, pulling out a seat.-
[01:31] <Minaplo> [Shen wiped his mouth with a cheap napkin. "I like to keep a low profile now." Said Shen. "Safer this way. Why your sorry ass back in Singapore?"-
[01:31] <Minaplo> ["Never you mind. I need info. Sit down, Pilsudski."]
[01:33] * Sept took a few further moments of menacingly staring at Man before he realised that was his name. He took a seat and tried to blend into the scene, to relax a bit.
[01:34] <Minaplo> [Nadiacadenza was sitting on the table, resting her feet on Sera's knees.-
[01:36] <Minaplo> ["Info costs money." Said Shen.]
[01:42] <Sept> "Info to get to info shouldn't," he noted, looking up at Nadiacadenza. Something about that irreverence made her antics easier to forgive than Armin's ignorance.
[01:43] <Minaplo> ["Does anyway."]
[01:46] <Sept> "Uh huh. But we're here now. How can you help us?"
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["Depends on how you want to be helped."-
[01:48] <Minaplo> ["I need an update on the underworld scene, Shen." Said Blue. "I need to know what's going on, and I need to know where my Alves contacts are -Evelyn Lee?- and how to contact 'em safely."-
[01:48] <Minaplo> ["Three hundred." Said Shen.]
[01:52] <Sept> "Steep increase," Sera noted.
[01:53] <Minaplo> ["It be hard to find anyone else with info that you know, Blue." Said Shen with a grin. He winked at Sera. "And this dangerous info. $300."]
[01:58] <Sept> "And you're in a dying business. Starving Alves of contacts might just be the last straw." Sera tapped on his leg, wound up or just impatient.
[02:08] <Minaplo> ["Adoi! Dying business?" He laughed. "Blue, who is this motherfucker ah beng gweilo? Trying to tell me how my business work lah. Cheeky fuck tok kok. I dulan now, should charge another hundred." He grabbed a crab leg, sucking it dry. "Here the deal, fucker. There will be info men like me so long as info not free. The police come, the police go, they kill a few, turn the others, info men dry up, except for the best, like me, who get to charge extra prices. Same amount of money still out there, only it now going to fewer hands lah. I get richer for awhile, then more contacts show up, and money… Spreads." He dropped his drained crab leg back onto his plate. "It… Like a cycle. You just come at high tide, fucker. $300, or you go fuck yourself. Or, you get Evelyn Lee to fuck you, although good luck finding her in a city of 8 million, especially now she keeping her head down."-
[02:08] <Minaplo> [Blue sighed, leaning back in his chair. He made a vague gesture at Sera.]
[02:10] * Sept raised his eyebrows at the reaction. "Still no haggling?"
[02:12] <Minaplo> ["Street markets haggle, because they start high and hope to swindle you. I know my cost, I don't waste time. $300."]
[02:16] <Sept> "Uh huh." Sera dug out most of what was left in his wallet and passed it to Blue nonchalantly.
[02:17] <Minaplo> [Blue took it, handing it over to Shen, who grinned and tucked it into his shirt.-
[02:18] <Minaplo> ["You guys should order something to eat. It look suspicious if I only eat and you watch."]
[02:22] <Sept> "And not the money changing hands? Feh. Hey, two of what he's got!"
[02:29] <Minaplo> [And so a few minutes later they were all eating chili crab.-
[02:29] <Minaplo> [It was okay.-
[02:30] <Minaplo> ["So, you been snooping about, running into cop stings, something like that?" Asked Shen.-
[02:31] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, something like that. This isn't the first old friend you've had to brief, is it?" Asked Blue.-
[02:31] <Minaplo> [Shen grinned.-
[02:32] <Minaplo> ["Cops cracking down lah. And it not because they bored. This city is on a fucking pow-der-keg." Said Shen. "Ever since the LN War, Alves has had the run of things. A month ago, a new player enter the game. A hardcore player. They call him Flint."]
[02:38] <Sept> "Hell of a time to enter the scene." Sera refused to take a break from his crab before it was finished. He'd had spicier foods. "So what's special about him?"
[02:41] <Minaplo> ["He get shit done. No idea how. One day no one hear of him, the next day half of the Alves network is wiped out, he control half the smuggling routes into the city, and he ready to finish the Portuguese off proper. He don't fuck about, this Flint. He -quick-, he -brutal-."]
[02:46] <Sept> "Smn-" Sera swallowed. "Sounds like a complication to me."
[21:15] <@Minaplo> ["Well, it cause a lot of the Alves to go to ground. And of course the police are feuding with Alves big time anyway. It a bad time to be Alves, my friend."]
[21:17] <Sept> "We're gonna end up bailing them out," He continued digging into his crab. "Aren't we?"
[21:21] <@Minaplo> ["I hope not." Muttered Blue.-
[21:22] <@Minaplo> ["There one other thing." Said Shen. "The other reason why this a bad time is that Alves just came into possession of someone important…"]
[21:27] <Sept> "But that's good for them, right? They'll just be more difficult to approach."
[21:31] <@Minaplo> ["It bad because whoever it is, they trying hard to protect… But their resources are split along three lines now instead of one or two."]
[21:35] <Sept> "Uh huh. Any idea who this VIP is?"
[21:38] <@Minaplo> ["Nope."]
[21:39] <Sept> "Alright. We all caught up with that? We can proceed to Phase Two."
[21:40] <@Minaplo> ["Uh-huh. We need to figure out how to contact a contact." Said Blue.-
[21:40] <@Minaplo> [But Shen was already scribbling on a piece of paper, pushing it towards them. Blue took it and pocketed it.]
[21:51] * Sept paid the exchange no mind and focused on finishing his meal. Awkwardly with one hand he cracked open the crab, its back arching like a crustacean before revealing the last of the spicy goodness.
[21:56] <@Minaplo> [Was there anything left for them to ask Shen? Or for anything that Sera wanted to ask?]
[22:04] <Sept> "Anything unusual around town recently? Police or civilians reporting supernatural shit?"
[22:04] <@Minaplo> ["Eh? Do I look like a fortune teller to you?" Muttered Shen. "People are always reporting supernatural shit."]
[22:05] <Sept> "Take that as a no," Sera said, looking past Shen at the flow of people.
[22:07] <@Minaplo> ["Or that we should ask fortune tellers." Said Blue. "Ok, I'm done."]
[22:08] <Sept> "Yeah. Let's bail."
[22:09] <@Minaplo> ["Bye, fuckers." Said Shen. "Come back with your sweet money any time."]
[22:09] <Sept> "You'll need it when your business is gone."
[22:09] <@Minaplo> ["If it goes, it won't be because of competition from your stupid shit ass. Get outta here."]
[22:19] * Sept waved to him over his shoulder, muttering to Blue as they re-entered the stream. "I'll follow."
[22:20] <@Minaplo> ["Uh-huh."-
[22:20] <@Minaplo> [And so Blue got up, and headed off- Sera and Nadiacadenza trailing in his wake.]

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