A Simple Case of Bullying


Staff member
With a little imagination one could easily envision the office space this building was destined to become. Little siderooms lined the space, someday host to their fair share of bullshit meetings, and the heart of the building was empty which offered plenty of room for cubicles for wage slaves to waste away all their spare time making someone else plenty of money. That’s what Wren liked about these places, they were hostile by design. The cavernous maw of the floor offered no cover without its cubicals, other than a few barren pillars, and even that was only cold comfort when eyes could peek from any dark office.

The room was sparcely furnished, a round collapsible table sat in the middle along with three chairs. A pair of folders sat on the table, along with bottles of water — Wren was an excellent host — and Wren sat reclining on the chair opposite the door to the office space. He rested his shoes on the table top as he balanced his chair in its back legs. A lot of production for a pair of thugs? Hardly, it wasn’t like it was hard to break a lock, and if these two were worth the trouble then he’d be heading back to California before long, which was well worth the effort in his mind.

And now all that was left to do was wait for them to show up.

Running a mercenary business wasn’t easy. Not only did Mari have to deal with the logistics of cleaning their money so she and Spork wouldn’t go to jail for tax evasion, but there was also fielding clients and putting their names in for various jobs. Most contracts went to the lowest bidder, and there had been more than one occasion where Spork had been able to hear Mari curse up a storm that meant she had lost a bid to someone who was willing to get their hands dirty for much much less than she wanted.

The contracts where clients reached out to Nine Tails Inc were much better to work with, as she could negotiate directly with the client. No surprises, they got what their services were worth, and their reputation grew. Were they the cheapest? Of course not, there were people who claimed to take on hits for figures in the double digits. But they got results. So when Mari received an encrypted email for another job, she was immediately interested.

This job was different than most of the others they’d gotten. Normally people had all their information sent in an email, they wanted to be as detached as possible from the thugs they hired. There were a few that wanted to meet their independent contractors, and for those Mari usually went alone as a sole representative of Nine Tails, Inc. However, this one specified that all personnel involved with the contract come to the meeting. It meant bringing Spork along, which would usually be a bad idea. But they needed to stretch their legs anyways, and if this did end up being a trap then they could punch a cop, which would be sure to make their day.

Mari followed her standard procedure for meetings in locations where they could be ambushed. They took public transportation until they were a couple blocks away from the destination and walked the rest of the way. Mari kept an eye out for any possible tails. This could absolutely be a trap, but as long as she was prepared for it to be a trap she wouldn’t have to worry. One quick costume change and Kitsune stepped into the half-finished office building, streaks of dirty light coming through the windows. She knew Shiba was behind her as she moved to the agreed-upon location, eyes scanning for any hidden muzzles or cameras tucked into the siderooms.

The only thing that caught her attention was the round, collapsible table in the middle of the space, three chairs surrounding it, complete with — was that water? And their apparent host filled one of the seats, a couple folders in front of him. Kitsune took a seat, gesturing for her partner to do the same.

“Charming place.” The rough, metallic filter was replaced with a smoother one that still shifted her voice beyond what it would normally sound like. She had multiple settings, but those were the two most often used, which Spork referred to as “business mode and business mode”. Mari had long since stopped arguing with them about that one.

“I’m Kitsune, that’s Shiba,” She gestured towards her partner. “What can we do for you?” She desperately wanted those folders, to know what they contained, but it was best to let the client take the reins. Or at least believe they had them.
The building is echoey. That’s the first thing Spork notices when they step inside. They hate echoey, it makes following sounds so much harder when they’re bouncing all over the place. Not to mention their own clinking and clanking being a little less conveniently ignorable.

Unfortunately, clients like the kind they get seem to have a thing for abandoned buildings, construction sites, warehouses, and every other cliche comic-book-villain hideout. Just once they wish they’d get invited to a floating island or an arctic cave or something.

Miku’s beeping pulls them from their thoughts. C-03, 12 o’clock, 3 feet away.

Spork stays standing for a moment even as they hear the rustle of Mari sitting down. They keep their face turned towards the client, leaning in just an inch and tilting their head as though sizing him up. It’s all for show, but he’ll never know that.

One hand grabs the back of the other chair and they turn it a smooth 180 degrees before plopping down. They prop their arm atop the back of it, silently daring him to call them on it.

Maybe it isn’t good business to antagonize the client right away, but it’s certainly good entertainment. Mari’s doing her business whatever whatever spiel, and they keep half an ear out. A quarter of an ear. A tenth. They hear the words, at least.

They raise a hand partway when their name is called but maintain their silence. Most of the intimidation is in the silence. Most people think they’re scary until they open their mouth, so they’ve been told. Okay no one says that but they think it should be true regardless.