Location 3829 Stiles Street-Anti Meta Militia HQ

This is an in-universe location thread.


Staff member

It's a small apartment building- the structure on 3829 Stiles Street, Pittsburgh. Five floors in total, six apartments on each floor, all designed exactly the same for the purpose of low-income housing. At one point, it had been filled with young children, families, and those who had fallen on hard times looking for a way to survive. Those who laughed, lived, and loved experienced their lives to the fullest in this place. But, that was before-


Now it is devoid of all except for violence. No families live here anymore. The housing authority has abandoned this building and attempted, unsuccessfully, to cut off utilities. Electricity is stolen from nearby structures, water is permanently turned on at the street, the sewer and gas connections cannot be disabled. There are men and women who live here, but they are not families, they are not filled with love, they are not living. They are the scorned, the damaged, and the enraged.

They are Mary's Militia.

Two men stand outside the front door, armed with cheap internet-ordered body armor and army surplus M4s. They lean against the wall and smoke, shooting the shit with each other while watching for any who might arrive. Inside, the others organize, gather, and prepare. Mary herself sits in a chair on the third floor, the walls and rooms around her entirely gutted to their frames. She organizes, gathers, and plans.

Come meet Mary!
Detective Matthew Jones had not had an easy year and, while it might sound melodramatic, that in and of itself was a nominee for the "Understatement Of The Year" award. After the shootout or, more aptly, the shitshow at the convention center, Matt had been wrung through the wringer. While he'd had the standard administrative leave that department policy mandated after every officer involved shooting, it got much worse than that. As a result of his actions during the incident and the perceived recklessness of them, Matt had been forced to undergo extensive therapy, both psychologic to ensure that he was in the proper head space and physical to help his battered body heal. And then there were the months of overtime that came with pursuing the case itself as he searched high and low for signs of the man in the pink mask. The upside to the ongoing nature of the investigations, however, was that Matt had been able to convince the brass to keep his face out of the media. While people had his name, the time since the attack coupled with humanity's inability to remember fine details in the long term had done all but ensure that nobody remembered who he was.

After a few too many dark-natured jokes, the department had loaned Jonesey out to well over a dozen departments. He taught classes on scene processing, evidence collection, interrogation techniques, SWAT tactics and implementation, and no small number of other topics. He aided the FBI on their investigation of the convention shooting and assassination of Henry O'Shea. He was one of three Pittsburgh PD members assigned to the overly bureaucratic Commission Of Review in the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Attack." Long story short, Matt had been kept extremely busy but had rarely left the office for anything other than to get food or go home. And given the fact that he'd been in Pittsburgh for no more than three consecutive days at a time and had maybe twenty days in the city total since the shooting, few non-detectives remembered him even in Pittsburgh PD.

And so it was that he had been assigned to work the case of the fight-turned-arson because, as luck would have it, fifteen burned bodies meant that Homicide had jurisdiction over the case. And that was before the brass accounted for the fact that one of the bodies belonged to a major gang leader. As part of his investigation, Matt had discovered Mary's Militia and, with a bit of luck and a lot of arguing, he had been able to make the case that they needed an inside source. Given the rampant IA investigations and corruption allegations, as well as Matt's own spotless record, none other than Matthew Jones had been selected to approach the group.

Matt threw his 2020 RAM 1500 Laramie Longhorn into park and took a deep breath before opening the door. The department had set him up with everything from ID documents to a credit history and even an apartment, though only because Matt had brought in a few of his FBI friends to help him make his arguments. He stepped out onto the pavement, closed the front door, and opened the rear door. He threw on his plate carrier and slung his rifle around his body. His plate carrier was adorned with what he had dubbed 'moto patches,' the type of patches that a wannabe militiaman would put on his gear. Sayings like "I fight what you fear," "Sheepdog," and "Don't Tread On Me," were attached at various points with Velcro. His mag pouches were filled with eight 5.56 mags, each mag filled with M855 green tip ammunition, and his IFAK was filled with everything from Quikclot to chest seals to even a suture kit. His rifle had an LPVO on top and a canted red dot sight, as well as a milsurp laser/flashlight combo and an angled foregrip. It looked like what you'd see some high-speed low-drag operator use to storm a terrorist compound and, if Matthew Jones was going to play the part of 'misguided private citizen with too much money, too many radical thoughts, and too little sense,' he needed every bit of help he could get. On his battle belt was a holster with a P320 that had a red dot sight and an attached flashlight. And a few pistol mags, of course, but that was obvious.

Matt locked 'his' truck and made his way towards the entranceway. He nodded at the posted guards and stopped in front of them. "I'm Fred Adkins, I saw the flier. I want to help stop these Meta freaks and restore some security to our city." They nodded towards the door and allowed him to enter without so much as a word. Matt, silently thankful that he hadn't been turned away, simply made his way inside and found somewhere to sit.


Augustus was frustrated, though he was careful to avoid letting his face show it. He'd only had a few hours warning that they were supposed to be at this meeting and even that was only because he had double checked Carmen's schedule while he was securing a few things in her office. He hadn't said anything, of course, simply made the necessary adjustments to the club's staffing, secured a vehicle, and scouted both a route and the exterior of the building itself. He'd also used his charming personality to get the blueprints from city hall. The blueprints weren't to this specific apartment building, of course, but were from that of an apartment building that was an identical copy and built by the same developer. He needed as much information as possible, both because that was how he liked to operate and because he refused to allow the miscommunication to make him look sloppy. Few things mattered more than accurate intelligence and Augustus was an expert at both gathering and analyzing intelligence of all sorts.

As the car pulled to a stop, Augustus shifted it into park and, closing his door behind him, made his way to the passenger side to open Carmen's door for her. The trip had been quieter than normal, if only because Augustus had responded to what Carmen had directed at him but didn't speak much otherwise. As she stepped out, Augustus would close it behind her and escort her to the entrance. If she spoke to the guards, he would stay quiet. If not, however, he would simply announce that they were here as part of business between Carmen and Mary. They didn't need to know more, not if they wanted to continue to draw breath. Carmen had told him before they left that violence was to be avoided but, in all honesty, who cared about a few wannabees?

Augustus glared at the guards until they opened the door for Carmen and he. Once they were inside, he allowed her to choose where she wanted to sit and would simply stand nearby, taking in the sights and sounds and quietly examining anyone who made themselves visible to him.
-The 'Fred Adkins' Meeting-

Mary sat in her 'office' on the gutted third floor, looking over a pile of maps and building diagrams. There was a gentle twum of a guitar and a deep woman's voice echoing through the room. A country song, something Mary fuckin' hated, but it wasn't like she could turn the music off. No one could, because no one other than Mary could even hear it.

The demon just wouldn't leave her alone.

So Mary tried to focus on the work. The diagrams laid before her were blueprints for half a dozen businesses and six local banks all requesting security from Mary's Militia. She knew there had been a demand for her people when she first established the group, but already so many places had reached out wanting protection from metas. Bank robberies were especially on the rise with some new group going around and causing chaos, Mary would have to investigate them later...

Anne approached Mary and tapped her on the shoulder. Anne was a Russian girl who pretended, badly, to speak in a southern accent. "Mary ma'am, there is man at door. Come to join." Smiling, Mary snapped her head up and patted Anne on the cheek. With a quick, slightly mocking, "Thanks darlin'!" Mary made her way downstairs to the lobby.

The lobby wasn't terribly well decorated, the walls had been broken by vandals and the floors were stained from a thousand nasty substances. The place had been swept and mopped, giving it a faint bleach scent, but nothing could get those colorful stains out of the old apartment tiles. Looking over at the tall, well-armed man who sat in her lobby, Mary waved and moved to sit in one of the shitty old lounge chairs.

The man was big, in the way someone with too much time to workout and meal plan would be. His weapons and gear screamed 'racist fascist nihilist bigot with too much money.' But she hadn't heard him arrive, so he hadn't screamed at Avery or Tom at the front door. Maybe he wasn't totally unhinged! Or maybe he was just better at hiding it. Mary could work with either.

The skinny woman didn't paint an imposing figure in her tank top and ripped jeans. The way she sat, legs flopped over the arm of the lounge chair, didn't offer any respect to her guest either. But if someone couldn't get past Mary's appearances alone then there would be no way for them to work with her. Still grinning, Mary tried to focus through the song in her ears,
"Well hiya friend! I'm Mary, nice to meet you's! I'm sure you's tired of metas, why else would you's be here? Well lucky for you's- that's why we's here! What's you's background and how have metas fucked you's life up?"
It didn't take Matt long at all to allow his eyes to wander, though only when he was sure that nobody else was looking at him. Everything that he could see, smell, or hear reminded him of something. A stain to his left reminded him of an aggravated-assault-turned-homicide that was the result of a twenty-three year old man slaughtering his disabled uncle after his money supply had been cut off. The smell of bleach reminded him of a case where a would-be hitman had attempted to cover his tracks, not knowing that modern detectives could work around that interference when the murder was caught on a nanny cam. The silence reminded him of....of home. Ever since his divorce and, worse, losing custody of Cecelia, silence was the norm for him whenever he returned home. Sure, he'd turn on a movie, catch up on his 'New Releases' tab on Netflix or Hulu, or throw some music on as background music but, when all was said and done, the baseline was silence.

Matt's train of thought was, thankfully, interrupted when his eyes focused on the approaching figure of a young tattooed woman. As she waved, Matt simply nodded respectfully but without confidence, as if he was pretty out of his element. He recognized her in an instant, if only because he'd done his homework when studying the provided dossiers. Mary Martinez, sole surviving member of her family. Well, at least the dossier said that was her family. Whether they were actually related or not is up for debate, thought Matt as she continued to approach him. She was known as a gunrunner, though she hadn't previously been considered important enough to warrant a task force or even an infiltration. Most of her guns that were used in crimes, just like most of the guns of various gunrunners, ended up in the possession of Pittsburgh PD courtesy of the various units, task forces, and special assignments.

Matt shuffled in his seat, obviously about to stand, and began to outstretch his hand as she got close enough for a handshake to be appropriate. Instead, she sat down sideways in the chair, her legs dangling across one of the arms of the chair in a fairly informal, yet oddly confident, manner. He returned to his seat, though he kept his hand outstretched as he did so. If she took it for a handshake, great. If not, he would allow it to drop back to where it had been sitting on the handguard of his rifle, giving just enough time for it to not be awkward. Regardless, his hands would eventually find themselves clasped over his rifle, as if protecting it and keeping it close but not in such a manner to be threatening.

When she finished speaking, Matt offered up a slight smile that looked like a mix of 'an attempt to be friendly' and 'innocent man who is out of his depth but doesn't realize it.' He looked around nervously and, while Fred Adkins was nervous about who might be hearing his upcoming story and wanting to keep his business quiet in case he was being eavesdropped on, Matthew Jones was looking around to see who might be in a position to notice him or, worse, listen in. "I'm Fred, ma'am. Fred Adkins. It's nice to meet you, ma'am."

The greeting was formal and reserved, kept quiet enough to avoid being overheard by any would-be eavesdroppers but loud enough that she wouldn't struggle to hear him. Matt took a deep breath, as if preparing to share something extremely personal and difficult. "I, uhh, I was studying for pre-law but everything has changed in the last year or so. I lost my wife and my daughter to those fucking metas. I lost my mom to them. I've lost everything to them and I saw your poster and realized I could do something about it." By the time he had finished speaking, tears were welling up in his eyes. They had not yet allowed gravity to pull them towards his shirt, though it wouldn't be long.

It wasn't Matt's first time going undercover and it definitely wasn't his first time using his own trauma to fuel his performances. He took a deep breath and wiped his eyes, allowing a more steely look to overcome his face. "I don't have much formal training but I've taken a bunch of courses in the last few months. I want to help keep people from losing family members but, and this might make me a bad person, I want to make those meta scum pay for what they did. They kill, they steal, they turn our city into a shithole and nobody seems to care!" As he spoke, he went from quietly expressing himself to being on the brink of anger, a fire coming out in his eyes that told the tale of the wounded animal who was going to strike back regardless of how powerful its enemy was.

"I saw the flier and I knew you guys would understand. I want to help you, whatever it takes." His last two sentences were much quieter, though the last one had a note of pleading to it. A plea to be accepted. A plea to be welcomed. A plea to be used. A plea to be helped. It was the same tone of voice a person used when they were trying to find a new home. A tinge of fear, a tinge of sadness, and more than a fair share of simple hope. Hope that he had found an ally in a trying time. Hope that he could begin to strike back against the people who hurt him. Hope that he could make his pain worth it.

Not many people might notice such things, but the quality of street lights noticeably changed as one travelled through the city of Pittsburgh. Difference in the poles themselves were, of course, easily seen but the changes in the actual quality of the lights themselves were another matter entirely. It might be because your local regular had just gotten accustomed to such things. Squirrel Hill, for example, had soft lights installed that lit quite well but didn't blind you whilst the lights downtown put on a strong attempt to maintain daylight no matter the hour of day.

The neighborhood Carmen Victoria Carnifex and her accomplices now entered was the opposite of such luxury. What few street lights still functioned were either so dim as to almost generate extra shadows where none were needed or were partially shattered so that the bare bulb inside burned with baleful incandescence presumably designed to blind what pathetic creatures dared to gaze upon its modern majesty.

I should write that down later,
" Carmen muttered softly before turning to her righthand man, "
Oh come now, dear Auggie, you cannot possibly still be mad at me.

His noted lack of response was enough of an answer.

Yup, still mad.

Carmen smirked as one of her guards shifted uncomfortably in the front passenger seat. Mishka was the youngest of the men she'd brought from the West Coast and notably didn't like it when Mommy and Daddy were fighting.

Worry not, medvezhonok, this is nothing serious,
" the crime boss declared with a bit of joviality in her voice, leaning towards the center of the car as she did, "
Mr. Davenport is just upset that I scheduled this meeting and didn't notify him in a manner of his liking. Mommy and Daddy still love you very much.

After patting the big Russian man on the shoulder softly, Carmen flashed a dark smirk at Augustus as she reclined back in her seat. The man couldn't stay that irritated with her for long anyway. It wasn't like she'd stolen away in the middle of the day to meet with an unknown contact again. Auggie had lectured her what felt like days after that fiasco. Plus poor Ivan Dimitrievich was still on gopher duties despite his relative seniority for not alerting Augustus to his employer's antics.

The black BMW X5 M slowed down gently before stopping in front of what Carmen would describe as America's attempt to copy the old Soviet-style block housing while trying to somehow not lower the market value of the properties nearby. Such tactics had failed remarkably, of course, but that was probably because how much funding had been cut from such programs throughout the '80s and then again in the '00s. Stepping out onto the broken sidewalk, Carmen couldn't help but notice the pair of what probably counted as the building's door guards.


Her tailored all-black three-piece suit cost more than the entirety of the pair's gear and weaponry, and that didn't even include her shoes or the black FN Five-seveN hidden in the small of her back.

Good evening, gentlemen,
" the woman said with a hint of gentility, "
we have a meeting with Ms. Martinez.

Mishka, standing behind his superiors with a black briefcase, signalled to the BMW's driver, Sergei, before checking down the street for the large black Chevy Tahoe to roll into sight. Still a couple of blocks away, the SUV was packed with a few large men armed to the teeth and a bit of experience and skill for using such things. Mr. Davenport had demanded a QRV-Team to accompany the Boss everywhere they went these days. The older man was operating on the assumption that the whole thing was an assassination attempt on the Boss after all, and most of the boys agreed with him. Of course, Mishka personally doubted that he'd actually TOLD the Boss about this arrangement, but he sure as fuck wasn't going to the be the one who spilled.

The two guards had said something snarky to the Boss, but Mishka didn't quite catch it. What he did catch was Augustus' steely glare that seemed to melt the two men on the spot. Sensing the tension, Mishka simply walked up and opened the door for his superiors before curtly nodding to the two wannabe-soldiers, silently thanking them for not causing a scene. His boss was pretty kind and patient with her people... but these two weren't her people and Mr. Davenport was a whole different kinda bad all together.

Pittsburgh, 2023
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-The 'Fred Adkins' Meeting-

Mary laughed. Everything Fred had just told her was absolutely the opposite of a 'laughing matter' but Mary laughed anyway. A lighthearted giggle as if Fred had shared a joke that deserved a little bit of polite acknowledgment. Sighing, she reached out and grasped his hand for a shake. She had ignored the outstretched hand at first, but now welcomed it like an old friend.

"Well you's gonna be in good company Freddie! Cmon! I wanna show you's somethin'."

Mary popped out of the chair and gestured Fred to follow. Everything the man had told her had to bullshit. Not because he wasn't emotional about it and not because of some vague sense of him being 'too emotional,' Mary wasn't some fucking psychic. But she did know everything about Meta murders in the Pitts, and she didn't remember anything that matched his life.

Course, she could be totally wrong. Wasn't like Mary was omniscient either! Maybe she just missed something and this poor sap really did lose his whole family, but she doubted it. Of the three or four big meta murders recently, Mary had been involved in half of them and the other half were crazy singers and flaming valkyries. Maybe he lost his family to them, but wouldn't he call his family's killers 'a fucking winged bitch' and not 'fucking 'metas''?

It was just not like anyone else Mary had recruited so far. But that was beside the point! Mary led Fred up the stairs while humming a little tune. Opening the door to her main floor, she showed off her little 'headquarters' alongside six additional 'prospects' milling about the room. She had a little test for them all, and she couldn't wait to try it. She especially wanted to test it on Fred.

Mary might've not believed his story, but she was far more interested in why he wanted to join with a lie instead of just the truth. This guy probably just wanted to shoot metas like half the other prospects, it wasn't hard to admit that to scum like Mary. But this guy lied, why?

"Hey Freddie!" She started, pointing toward the other six men, "Get those kids into a line for me oooover there~" Mary pointed to another corner of the room where four tarps stood straight up, covering objects in front of a reinforced concrete wall. "Wouldya mind baby?"

-The 'Carmen Victoria' Meeting-

Mary sat quietly on a little swivel chair in the nearly empty lobby. The floors, pockmarked with unremovable stains and faintly smelling of bleach, were adorned only with a single folding table placed in the middle of the lobby. A few folding chairs had been set aside should any of Carmen's people wish to sit, though they had not been unfolded for the table.

The only other chair at the table was a small, shockingly new office swivel chair that Mary gestured for Carmen to sit in as she entered the building with her heralds.
"Did you's get all dressed up for lil' ol' me Vickie baby?" Mary's speech, informal as always, addressed the women she had never met before with a level of casual attitude befitting an old friend. Mary's own dress, compared to Carmen, was pathetic. Mary wore only ripped jeans, a black tee, and a graphic cardigan depicting some anime character ripping out a man's heart.

She wasn't even wearing shoes.

Avery and Tom, the two door guards, would close the door behind the group after everyone had entered. Mary herself had six men stationed at the stairwell up to the rest of the HQ. While they were armed, they were only prospects. Six new boys acquired just that morning, or, 'old men' really as the youngest was forty-five. They were playing some sort of cardgame Mary had never heard of, jackblacks or something. Mary didn't have anything to do with cards that didn't have fun little pictures on them.

Smiling at Carmen, Mary spoke,
"It's not much! I know, I know, but it's growin'! Averagin' two to six new friends a day. Lot's a people don't like metas, you's know. Damn metas, they's ruinin' the Pitts! Hah! Oh, where's my manners. You's probably thinkin' I was raised among feral folks, no no no!" Mary stood up and, withdrawing a pack of Marlboro reds from her back pocket, she offered one to Carmen.

Of all the possible reactions that Matt could have expected, laughter wasn't one of them. His confusion was easily hid, though, by allowing a flash of hurt and anger to cross his face. He made sure to cover quickly, though, because he had more important things to deal with. Why, exactly, his story was one to laugh at was concerning for a number of reasons. Was Mary so unhinged as to be unapproachable or, worse, unable to be prosecuted? If she was that crazy to be laughing at that, she was more likely to spend the rest of her days in a mental institution rather than an actual jail. Assuming, of course, she did anything worthy of a prison sentence. Well, aside from the things that Pittsburgh PD had already either ignored or dropped the ball on, and that stuff would be an embarrassment for PPD if they brought it to court.

Still, though, Matt did as he was told. He followed diligently behind Mary, fully recognizing the song she was humming and allowing a smile to cross his face shortly before he also began softly humming it. He was careful enough to stop humming if she looked at him, of course, but he both enjoyed the song and also figured it might help establish a bit of rapport with his new potential boss. He was careful to keep a respectful pace behind Mary, enough that it was obvious that he was following but not so close as to be worrying or disrespectful.

As they entered the HQ part of the building, Matt was caught off guard. He wasn't sure what he had expected but it almost certainly wasn't this. To his credit, though, he kept the surprise from crossing his face. This place looked more like a hastily constructed field operations office rather than a functional HQ. The detective knew from experience, though, that the equipment mattered less than the combined skillset and willingness of a group to do violence. He knew better to underestimate the group, especially Mary, but he gave himself a stern reminder to remain focused and to not make that mistake again. The biggest concern, though Matt continued to hide it well, was that there was a line of tarps against the wall and it reminded him distinctly of any number of LiveLeak executions.

After he was told to line them up, Matt's feelings of apprehension grew. There was no telling what direction this would go and he hated that uncertainty. He started by simply stating "Alright, guys, you heard her, line up for her." The response was a resounding assortment of "Get fucked," "We don't listen to you," and "Eat shit." He chanced a glance over at Mary and, seeing no indication that she was going to back him up and also seeing no indication not to yell or be more assertive, decided to change his gameplan.

He was careful to keep a measured response, especially considering he knew that any perceived experience would undercut his story of the pre-law student who was ready to go on an anti-meta rampage. He allowed his voice to falter as he spoke, as if finding his confidence given the circumstances. "Come on! Get in a line! It's not fuckin' complicated! Do what she says and she'll probably let us do what we came here to do: clean up this fucking city!"


Augustus hated feeling mismatched, especially when it came to his equipment. It was this very feeling that he was dealing with as they walked into the meeting, primarily because his 'left' gun, holstered under his right shoulder, was a different weight and feel than his 'right' gun, which was holstered under his left shoulder. The mags on his belt were similarly different weights, a fact that caused Augustus no great deal of frustration as he walked. While he refused to carry any weapon he didn't do well with, enjoy, or even like, he typically refused to split pairs of pistols. Typically being the key word.

When he was getting ready for this impromptu meeting, he had been shocked to discover that some of his equipment had suddenly gone missing. If he was the same man he was a few years ago, he would have absolutely punished anyone who might have even had access to his room because he had stressed in no uncertain terms that nobody was to touch his belongings. As he had changed, however, Augustus knew that none of his employees would dare enter his room, let alone mess with his things. He often returned from trips with piles of deliveries, notes, and the like because everyone simply agreed that going in his room was a good way to meet an untimely end or, at the very least, become very uncomfortable for a long time.

As soon as he opened his case to put on his favorite pair of Five-seveNs, he knew that Victoria had helped herself to his gear. He didn't hate that fact, as he often told her to use his equipment because he knew that it was more dependable than most other guns she would find around her. The fact that those idiots still haven't figured out how to properly clean it without using too much CLP is only part of the problem, Augustus thought with a frown that barely stood out from his normally angry face. What frustrated him, though, was that she didn't take both pistols as he had told her to do if she wanted to use his things.

So instead of using a pair of Five-seveNs, he was using one FN pistol and one Sig-produced M17. Both had red dot sights, both had the ability to use full auto if Augustus desired, and both had used very expensive but very effective armor-piercing ammunition. Still, the weights were different, the way they felt under his arms were different, and just generally everything was different between them. He hated different.

The fact that he was so focused on this was part of why he almost missed what the guards had said to Carmen. Almost. As Carmen and Mishka filed in behind him, he gestured to the latter to take his place at the lead of the group. Mishka gave him a subtle but questioning glance and the look at Augustus responded with was enough to kill most lesser men, though it softened after an instant and he got close enough to whisper. "I have business to attend to, Mishka. Do what I ask, please."

Auggie stopped the pair of guards from closing the door, though he did allow it to almost completely close behind him as he stepped out to talk with them. He kept his leg and part of his left side in the room as he leaned out and dropped his voice to where only they could hear him. "Gentlemen, I know it's difficult. You spend all that time in training and working for Uncle Sam only to end up in a shithole that looks like it's straight out of Ramadi using equipment that you got off of Wish and Craigslist. I respect your service. I served, too, and probably in the same spots. But if I ever hear you talk to my boss like that again, I'm going to make you wish you had been captured by ISIS and executed for the whole world to see. But let me get in here to this meeting, I'm actually important."

And before they could respond, Augustus withdrew into the room, shut the door, and kept scanning the room with all of his senses. He was listening, of course, but he was also watching. If someone was going to be caught off guard or surprised, it wasn't going to be him.
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A child. A child was leading this venture. What in the actual fuck of fucks was this farcical nonsense before the crime boss. Her face, her attitude, her accented words, the childish attire. There was the concept of a child trapped in an adult's body. This, however, was a child in a... larger, somewhat worn child's body. A slight twinge of what Carmen would later suspect was an inkling of a conscience pulled at the edge of what heart she had left for the briefest of moments.

No, that was unimportant and antithetical. Truth be told, Carmen would arm a toddler with a Carl G if she could figure out how to prop the damn thing up without sacrificing accuracy and the launcher. She did make a mental note in her Villainous Bullshit brain-folder to consider rigging a toddler with an IED-backpack.

Oh this?
" Carmen said with her usual well-practiced false-levity, "
It's got this neat inner layer for warmth while still looking nice on the outside.

" she added before sweeping her coat aside to show the pants underneath, "
The pockets have real depth to them!

Wondering briefly whether or not Mary bought this "face" of hers, Carmen politely waved off the offered cigarette before rolling up her left sleeve to show a little white patch near her elbow.

I appreciate the offer, truly, but I'm cutting back,
" the older woman replied with a smile, "
Anyway, two to six is impressive, Ms. Martinez, even if they do seem a bit rough around the edges. It doesn't take a mathematician to calculate that steady stream turning into a real army, and that's without adding in things like exponential swell from word-of-mouth.

Sitting down while motioning to Mishka, Carmen began doing the math anyway as the big Russian grabbed a folding chair for himself before sitting down in it near the door. As for his boss, Carmen eyed the area with less judgement that one might assume and more sympathy. After all, she wasn't so removed from this sort of living situation that she couldn't judge Mary on the rather... humble nature of her headquarters, but that was definitely something that was going to need to be addressed if this Anti-Meta Militia was going to stick around.

Speaking of, I'd like to thank you for meeting with me. I know that trying to start up an organization can be rather taxing.

Pittsburgh, 2023