Limited Mean Ambition

This RP is open, but with limitations.

Jackal

New member

The first part of Rowe’s task had been easy. These guys were Leo’s guys – his guys. They were Jackals. There were only so many places in Pittsburgh for Jackals, even fewer for those who hadn’t integrated cleanly into Slate. Rowe kept tabs on them. He couldn’t really say why. He’d worked with most of them for the years he’d stood behind Leo’s shoulder and appeared calmly intimidating. He’d had it out with one or two over stupid things, but never instigated. After everything, Rowe had come to accept that there was no going back from being a Jackal, any more than there was from being in the Corps.

He’d been welcomed as one of their own. Despite his connections to Obsidian, everyone knew that Jerry was a consummate professional. He wasn’t an assassin, and he wasn’t a thug. He was a bodyguard. They’d been actually surprised when he brought up the situation with Redblood, but they’d told him everything. One of them looked nervous. The other knew Rowe well enough to know he wouldn’t be asking to deal out consequences – he was asking for his own reasons. He was fair like that, in a way Leo never had been.

Rowe was ignoring whispers that, should anything happen to Obsidian, they’d want him to take the shadowman’s place.

Nothing was going to happen to Obsidian while Jerry Rowe was alive. It was his job to make sure of that, and he was a professional. Despite what the boss had clearly wanted to say after the incident at the bar, there was no arguing with the broken arm following that bank robbery. And he’d made it clear to Marius’ men that he was here to talk, to sort things out, and make matters abundantly clear: Obsidian did not have two black-haired girls burn down an apartment building.

“Do you think that, had he had a problem with you, he wouldn’t have come and resolved it himself?” Rowe’s eyes were sharply shaped, but the expression was always soft enough to be unreadable. “Or sent me? I knew Redblood’s business on the West Side. It used to be Leo’s. I know bastards like them, and believe me, Obsidian is no bastard.”

The men went quiet. They didn’t believe him. Jerry looked between them, and took a sip of the water he’d accepted in the place of a beer.

“Obsidian is a monster. There’s a difference. A bastard protects himself, and doesn’t care. A monster protects himself – and everything that’s his. The Jackals are Obsidian’s. Anyone who still uses our name acknowledges that, and Redblood was right on the edge of outright appealing to Slate. He wanted to be one of them, the power that comes with that group. Obsidian wouldn’t have made a move on him without making it resoundingly clear that it was his own two hands taking Martinez’s life.”

They’d shifted nervously at that. They suspected, Rowe knew, that Obsidian put some of the blame on them for the story being spread. People were afraid of monsters, after all.

“I don’t think either of you caused the commotion going around. You only said what you’ve heard and saw, even if you did fall for a stupid lie. But word doesn’t travel this fast without a source. Give me a name, and I’ll follow up on it. And if you two need somewhere to go – I can convince Obsidian to open the door for you to be Jackals again.”
 
It wasn't much, the two men didn't really know anything in the grand event that had gone down at their old hideout. They were glorified door guards, big dumb hunks of muscle that didn't get easily pushed around. They weren't paid to listen and, considering they had run when the building caught fire, they had never cared enough about Redblood Marius to risk their lives for him.

But Rowe's offer was too tantalizing. He had held out a chance to get back into Obsidian's good graces. They needed that, a Rowe would be given a name,
"I wasn't too sure, I thought I heard the name 'Mary' through the door, but I wasn't sure. Then-" The other interrupted, "Then we heard about her, the Anti-Meta Mary girl. She's got fliers up all over the city, and she's sayin' Obsidians kills anyone who doesn't join Obsidian and the Jackals."

A story, then an address, 3829 Stiles Street.

-

Mary leaned against the backdoor of her apartment building. She didn't smoke indoors. Markus hated it when she did that. Even though he wasn't around anymore, the habit remained. Avery and Tom were still guarding the door, and Anne had snatched up a couple of new kids off the street and was giving them the rundown. These two would bring her 'Militia' up to eight from her original six.

Anne's fake southern girl bit wasn't great, and her charisma stat was abysmal, but she was hot. Even Mary had to admit that, and the new kids were young and stupid. 'Young and stupid' often came alongside 'dumb and horny' so a cute foreign girl was a better honeypot than Mary, even if she was blatantly a bad Russian 'agent.'

Mary, all 5'5 skinny ass of her, wasn't what most guys were into. Stringy hair and permanent layer of sweat beneath her loose fitted jeans and graphic tee. Looking down as she took another drag of the cig, Mary smiled at the little skull on her shirt with the caption 'Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! Necromancy.'


"Could prob' use 'em as restaurant guards. They's young, prob' impatient, food'll keep 'em focused. Plus young cute waitresses. That'll work." Mary spoke aloud to herself, attempting to keep her mind focused on her work. She had a lot of contracts she accepted before she had the manpower for them, she'd be scrambling for this shit for a while.
 

Mary.

The place wasn’t hard to find, once Jerry knew he was looking for it. The street address, obviously. It was advertised. What he hadn’t noticed before were the fliers. Dozens of them, all advertising against metahumans. They were against everything Obsidian and Slate stood for, even if Obsidian had called his closest human employee “Quartz” not two nights before. Even if he wasn’t in the same category as other humans to the boss, Jeremiah Rowe was expendable.

If he minded being expendable, he wouldn’t be a professional bodyguard.

Maybe it was above and beyond to stroll down the street today, in his combat boots, blue jeans, than USMC shirt, and undecorated, decades-old red Letterman jacket. His hair was loose, not slicked up but allowed to seem tousled without the gel that normally kept it in place. Obviously, he wasn’t open-carrying the Sig, but his HK was strapped to his chest under the heavy coat just in case. You didn’t go to this part of Pittsburgh without packing a little heat.

Hands in his pockets, he strolled down the street to the address on the fliers on the wall. Be a part of the solution! they said, like it was metas that were the problem. Rowe didn’t laugh at the sentiment. There were unique problems with metas, sure. But humans weren’t exempt from being bastards. It was ironic that the literal maneater was the best boss he’d had in the better part of a decade. Ironic, but not surprising.

The front doors came into sight. He barely seemed to glance at the two guards as he came to a stop, just took a quick glance. Even in civvies, he was a professional. And even when he wasn’t trying to get information, he was straightforward.

“I’m here to see Mary.”
 
Tom and Avery, Mary's 'door guards' were the only men in the entire outfit with any real experience. There were a thousand reasons people join the Anti-Meta militia, but for these two, they boiled down to a single baseline. They were fighters, and they were tired of killing in the sandbox. If they were going to die trying to protect their country, they wanted to do it in their own country.

So they worked for Mary, trying to make their home city a better place. As Rowe approached, the pair straightened up. They saw the way he walked, the manner in which he carried himself, and they recognized it. This was someone with experience. Without a closer look at his tattoos under his red Letterman jacket, the pair wouldn't be able to know what kind of experience, but it was certainly a kind they were familiar with.


“I’m here to see Mary.”

The pair looked at each other, then back to Rowe, and then they stepped aside. Tom opened the door and spoke, "She'll meet you, wait in the lobby." Neither one of them radioed or called Mary, she would come inside soon enough. Neither one of them followed Rowe or called for backup either. To the untrained eye, it would seem they didn't really care about protecting Mary, but a more intelligent observer might come to a darker conclusion.

The lobby wasn't great. A wide open room with a stairwell in one corner and a broken steel cage elevator in the middle. A few folding chairs were set, folded, against the wall nearby alongside two lazy-boy chairs. The floors were stained tile, the kind of stains that had seeped in so deep that no amount of bleach would ever remove them. However, there was no lack of trying, as the whole room smelled faintly of bleach.

Whether Rowe sat or not, he would not wait for long. Mary stepped in through the back door and put out a cigarette in a little ashtray on top of an old trash can. Looking up, she spotted Rowe and grinned. Her voice was jovial as she introduced herself,
"Well well well, who's you's? Comin' to join me lil' family? I'm Mary, nice to meet ya bud!"

 

Jerry could tell the guys at the door had experience, just at a glance. He gave them a nod as they let him past; while he thought it might be poor guarding technique (he did, after all, have his HK on his person), he wasn’t here to inspect them. These weren’t Jackals he could quietly admonish about bad habits, these were potential enemies. Even if he wasn’t here to fight, he wasn’t sure what this Mary person would be like.

Once inside, the darker reason sprung to the surface of his mind. Either her guards were bad at their job – possible – or this Mary had a trick up her sleeve. The idea that she might be powered only lingered for a few seconds. She was the leader of an anti-meta militia. Either she had some fighting skill, or something else. He didn’t like the vagueness of ‘something else,’ but it was good enough to keep his mind busy until she appeared in the doorway.

He didn’t judge her tiny form, the thin hair and long face or the smell of cigarettes. He assessed them, of course, in a glance, and in that glance wrote off the chance of her being a formidable fighter. She could know ten martial arts and still be out of her weight class with Rowe alone.

Then again, Obsidian looked like he could be broken like a toothpick. Which, he could. That was why he was paying Rowe. Whatever Mary was paying her door guards….

Right. Non-professional visit.

“Jerry Rowe.” He offered his hand for a firm, professional shake if she decided to take it. “I saw the posters around town. Just coming to see what all the fuss is about.”

He didn’t smile back at her, but his face was casual and relaxed, not angry. And he genuinely wasn’t angry. People had a reason to be scared of metas; the militia was none of his business, really. Not until it threatened Slate’s interests and, by extension, the man who was paying him. Then it was his business – to make it stop, typically with a bullet or two.​
 
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