Maggots, Crows, and Porcumodos

February 23, 2018:

Captain Boomerang seeks to know who killed the arms dealer Shooky, and nearly shot him and Harley to bits. He asks the White Roses. The Boss interrupts and a pact is struck.

Gotham, East End

Characters

NPCs: White Rose Goons, Snipe, Porcumodo

Mentions: Rusalka Stojespal

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It's been over a month now since Shooky was gunned down by a gang in Gotham's East End while Owen and Harley tried to have a conversation with him. The sheer firepower used was either trying to send a message to anyone who wanted to take Shooky's place, or was meant to be able to take down Harley Quinn and Captain Boomerang. Unfortunately with demon bears, banana flash's and bouts of drunken blackouts Owen hasn't gotten around to looking into it. Finding answers isn't going to be easy. He can't just google the reasons behind a gang hit.

Having to do this the hard way means that Owen needs to get geared up. He was incognito when the hit happened, different mask, all black, no boomerangs. This time? He's in full on Captain Boomerang regalia. He wraps his hands both to make catching returns easier, but also like a boxer for optimal face punching. He slides the custom leather jacket on over his black long sleeve shirt, sliding boomerangs into the many holders.

Like nearly all of Owen's plans this is not a good idea. Going into any gang's turf specifically to get answers about their activity isn't going to go smoothly. Maybe that's why he's waited until now to do it. He doesn't want it to go smoothly. He wants to hit some people. Specifically he wants to punch some heroes in their smug faces, for their imagined judgements against him. He's projecting, not that he understands that concept, his own internal knowledge of how poor his choices are onto the heroes that seem to have somehow invaded his life. And rather than sort through things as messy as guilt and feeling, he just wants to punch someone, and hopefully get some answers in the process.

Gang territory in Gotham is common knowledge. Knowing the lines keeps you alive. You don't wander into the wrong area of Gotham and make it out unscathed. So it's relatively easy to draw up a list. The first gang up is the easiest and least fulfilling. Owen has contacts, and can ask questions without using his fists. Of course the answers he gets aren't very satisfactory either. They don't know anything about the hit or the intended target.

Next up? The White Rose Gang. Owen's familiar with them, but has no contacts. He has enough of a reputation as Captain Boomerang though that when he strolls into the bar, one of their locals, people think twice about pulling their guns.

"I got questions. I need answers. And I'm really hoping to punch them outta one of you idiots."

*

This particular bar is…well, about as classy any dive bar ever gets. Owned by a man firmly in the pockets of the White Roses, it's considered one of a few mostly safe havens for tired members to kick up their feet, relax, and enjoy cheap, powerful drinks. Oh, and there's underground fight clubs every night in the basement. More than one illicit deal flows through this establishment.

It looks somewhat akin to an old west saloon with a bit of victorian flair: a big, solid bar complete with brass to put feet up on. A big mirror to look behind you. Plus many vases with the titular roses the gang is named after. The few curtains have (stolen) expensive drapery that show a few bullet marks.

And, inexplicably, someone's stuffed a piano in the corner. From a back room, violin music filters in from the hands of a very skilled musician.

In the main bar area, there's five goons lounging around. Four of them all look like your typical street thug build: stocky, broad, and packing only loosely concealed guns on three, the forth with a baseball bat. All in charcoal suits, the gang's calling card.

The last is a slick-haired woman guarding the door into the back where the music is coming from, huffing on a cigarette. When Owen stalks in? She doesn't raise the shotgun on a sidetable, but her hands twitch like they really want to use it.

The big boys then slowly turn, far less alert. No cries of 'who the hell are you?'.

One of the smaller goons, the one with the bat, walks forward just a bit to stand up from the bar. He downs his drink. A hand on a hip, bat twirled in oddly dextrous fingers. The other two take up a slightly more fanned out position.

Bat-Goon stares down Owen. "Fancy getup. I'd love to see how good you hunt, but the Boss has got orders. You ain't gettin' any answers out of us, anyway. So either piss off, or sit the hell down and drink. Don't care which."

Smarter than your average thug. There's no shooting yet.

*

The count of six, seven assuming the bartender is also packing doesn't seem to bother Owen. He can dodge that many shots if need be. But the whole point of this little excursion is that he wants to find out if a gang wants to kill him, not make a gang want to kill him. So it's a fine line to walk. And Owen is pretty crappy at doing that.

He swaggers in, up to the five guys at the bar, though he is watching exits the entire time, just in case five becomes twenty. He moves right past bat guy, pointedly ignoring the stare down. He walks up to the bar, grabs one of the men's drinks and finishes it off before speaking.

"I was shot at in the midst of some gang hit, few weeks back on the corner of 16th and Elm, right round the corner. Local weapons dealer named Shooky and his friends all shot to hell. I want to know who did it. Because I have a very firm no killing me policy and they damn near broke it. I get answers, I walk out. You keep all your blood inside your body."

*

Rogue heads out to The Crossroads.

*

The bartender probably has a shotgun somewhere, but he doesn't seem too interested in actually stepping in. In fact, he has kind of sidled away from any potential firing lines. When Owen knocks one back? He pours dutifully. Older guy, lots of grey, more looking like a meaty butler than an actual bartender.

Right about the time that Owen gets with his demands, the music from the back stops. Bat-Goon has picked up his bat properly this time. Smack smack smack into a meaty palm. Either through loyalty to his Boss, or just lots of good old gangly bravado, he laughs.

"You know how many idiots we get in here that ask stuff like that? Come on punk, I'm going to smash your brains in and serve it like soup to the dogs! Wouldn't tell ya if I knew!"

The woman at the door grunts, and rolls her eyes. "Cool it back there! No swinging, she wants some quiet!" Barks Snipe. Bat-Goon glares.

"We just gonna let some…"

That's when the back door opens, smacking right into the woman's face and sending her tumbling with a surprised cry. What stalks out of the back room is what can only be described as an unholy cross between a komodo dragon and a porcupine. Sleek scales lead to jagged pokers, and they all seem to drip with something at the tips. At it's forehead is a serpentine, purple tattoo. One of the few places without spines is it's neck, a collar attached. Follow the lead up?

And there's the dainty figure of Miss Moreau, a scowl on her face.

"My, my! I do believe I left very /strict/ orders for peace and serenity this night. And now in the middle of my practice, what do I hear but a racous commotion? The moon will rise high at midnight, and I should like to be ready to play beneath it's silvered rays. Unsightly wolves who ignore their Alpha's orders shall not dance with me, nor shall they howl and taste the fruits of at my side." Comes a stern rebuke, british tones mixed with harsh Gothamite. A red book is casually opened in her hand. Moreau sniffs the air. The porcumodo hisses, intelligent eyes on Captain Boomering.

"And worse still, we have a guest, and you have not even offered him tea! For /shame/!" The goons, a minute ago ready to brawl, scatter like dust in the wind.

Snipe, nose bleeding and shotgun in one hand, is busy picking herself up from the floor. One of the big guys has leapt the bar and is making tea.

Moreau addresses Owen. "Now then. What curious visitor so bravely stalks our halls this day? Mmm. No, nothing, shame. Still, not an unpleasant scent…" She tilts her head as the great creature leads her to a seat at the end of the bar.

She doesn't introduce herself. There's no need to, really. For all her posturing, Miss Moreau caught most of the conversation.

*

When the beast comes through the door, Owen has a boomerang out of his jacket and poised to through before anyone can even blink. He's fast. Ridiculously fast. But he doesn't throw it yet, waiting to see what the reaction of all the goons are. As weird as that creature is, it's probably not as fast as a bullet so Owen wants to make sure he can deal with those first.

"Moreau. It's Captain Boomerang." Yes, he's well aware of who the leader of the White Rose Gang is, even if she has no idea who he is. When the porcumudo hisses at him, Owen glares and growls back at it, just a slight bit unhinged.

"Was it your puppies taking out competition? Or another group?"

Perhaps the most important question of who the actual target was go unasked for now. The new drink poured for him is likewise gulped down without complaint. He's not picky as to whatever it was and isn't going to argue with people handing him drinks.

*

The drawn boomerang hits Moreau's ears. The man's reputation isn't unknown to her. A few mental calculations, and she lets out a long giggle as he asks. Too long, and laced with a snake's hiss. Still, she sits and crosses her legs. Declining to immediately answer, she takes a sip of her tea with one hand. Book in her lap, fingers crawl the braille pages lightly.

"Oh, how bold! Stalking right in, straight to the point. You could use some work on your manners, you would be so charming if you did! Asking a Lady's secrets without even offering a flower first! Why I never!" It's not mockery, so much as a playful prod at the man. The little hiss is still there, but with some effort, she decides to not immediately have her beast launch itself at Owen.

"Luckily for you, I have answers that it would benefit me to part with. I am a merchant at heart, good Captain. I know of the filthy little man Shooky and his friends. So too do I know of the ones at fault." Yup, more drinks. Bathtub-level gin, proper moonshine. About as tasty, bluh. Moreau gets a glass for herself, so it's likely not lethal.

"The first is free, for it costs me nothing. No, they were not mine. For the rest, my offer: you will aide me in confronting them. Well? Though my heart sings with a wolf's hunger, a merchant's worth is in her word."

Sniff. "Besides. You smell more like myself than any Chiroptera. Mayhaps hunting beside you rather than for your flesh will prove a better evening's entertainment!" She sounds…oddly giddy about the prospect.

*

See? This is why he wanted to punch the answers out, because those are consequences he can deal with. But the deal she offers? That's a whole other ball of wax and one Owen is pretty sure he doesn't want to get involved in. But here he is, involved.

"Lady, if I wanted to woo ya, believe me, you'd be fuckin' woo'ed."

The moonshine is way more than Owen was expecting, but not exactly unappreciated. He eyes the thugs and more importantly the giant porcu-whatever beast and realizes he's not going to get a better deal likely.

"That depends on what you mean by confronting. You get one date lady. Not an ongoing thing. I come, I beat the shit outta who ever's responsible and I get my answers and then we're done. Deal?"

It's very important when dealing with crooks to make sure you know the terms as much as possible when you agree to something. Owen is well aware that both sides may choose to alter that deal at any time, they are crooks after all, but still just in case everyone decides to stay on the up and up, it's a good idea.

*

"So confident! Overly so, if I have the nose for it." Said nose wiggles, then she casts a wink over to him. It breaks with another giggle. By now, the other woman in the room is back up.

"That's one way to deal with it, Boss, but…"

Moreau gives an indulgent huff. "I know, I know. But I have a good feeling about this one! He is a hunter, I know it! Just like the sweet Fox. Maybe they share in that, tongues simply not yet knowing the eternal pleasure of it."

Resinded sighs all around from various goons. It seems the decision is made.

"At any rate, yes, you'll do well enough for a one night stand. Bring along a play date if you like." She starts over to Owen, dips slightly, and offers one hand palm down.

"A pact struck. By my Power, should I fail in it's execution, may maggots writhe in my throat and sparrows rip out my entrails." There's a certain ritual cadence to her voice, remarkably serious versus the teasing bubbly hissing she's been doing. Oddly enough, a chill might go up Owen's spine and the room's temperature drops just a little bit.

Mages don't invoke such things lightly.

"The men you are looking for are former members of the Black Rose Gang. I annihilated their leadership roughly two years ago. The survivors faded into obscurity for the most part, but a few held aspirations to join us. Your friend the cheating arms dealer sold us faulty guns. Cleverly done ones, I admit, only our arms expert noticed. One of my men lost a hand." Scowl! Anger almost seems to physically run through her body, then she manages to settle down.

"It seems one of my birds squawked at my anger, and it led to this. For the record, I did not intend the man to be killed. Tit for tat, I hoped to discipline him. Those Black Rose turncoats sought to impress me no doubt, and there we have it. Even more trouble brought to my doorstep when I have so many things to accomplish."

"Look for a man named Jeremy Barker, and his band of little fools. They tend to hang out in a dilapidated former distillery. Frankly I would have collapsed the place onto their heads had I not been taking care of business outside of town." Maybe Owen caught the news reports. This gang has been busy.

"But with you, we can handle this in some measure of quiet, and then we are through. Kill them, maim them horribly, I care not what you do. I seek to send a message to any other mangry mutts that think themselves so presumptuous as to be a wolf."

*

"You think I'm overconfident, let go the leash and I'll dance with your pet and all these knuckleheads. I promise you, I'm not." He absolutely is. He's just too dumb to know it.

Owen looks totally weirded out at the idea of being compared to the fox, which he takes to mean a literal animal not some hood's chosen moniker. He cautiously reaches out to take the hand, unsure if he's supposed to kiss the ring (literally?) or what. He just kinds of holds it awkwardly and gives it a small shake.

At the bit about maggots and sparrows, Owen's face twists into confused horror. "What the fuck is wrong you with lady? Who says that shit?" He complains, "Can't we just like promise to murder each other if the other renegs? Why ya gotta bring maggots and birds into this?" Maybe she knows? Owen's had his run ins with maggot infested demon crows and it's left him a little touchy about it. He doesn't seem to notice the drop in temperature in the room, he's immune to many social cues.

"Jeremy Barker. Black Roses. Kill and maim. Yea, I think that sounds like a good date."

A good date yes, just not for Owen and Moreau. He has someone else in mind that might be willing to help him get a little revenge and some answers. Even if he is overselling his willingness to kill without reason.

He pushes back off the bar and with a glance around the room he says, "Ladies. Nice meeting you, good doin' business together." Yes, he is including all the men in the 'ladies' part, because it's Owen. He moves towards the door, well aware that it means turning his back on the porcu-beast and the likely seething gangsters.

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