Open RP Meeting of the Minds

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Quirbles

on smoke break, bother somebody else
Staff member


"HOSTILE NEGOTIATIONS"
PITTSBURGH - OUTSKIRTS

Khasman wasn't a fan of these types of meetings. Everything felt too open; it reminded him of the valley ambushes in old cowboy movies his father would put up on television. Calm, before storm.

"They're a minute out." Ivan "Bloody Ninefingers" Dudayev stated, taking a drag from his cigarette in the passenger-side seat. They were both currently seated within a tinted Suburban, headlights illuminating the stretch of abandoned strip-mall they've agreed to meet at. Discreet, and simple-- a parking lot. Khasman had acted as driver, and they had two men in the back; two additional cars with four men each were also present. Trusted captains and soldiers of the Kuyranash group. This was supposed to be a "sit-down" negotiation between themselves and the Jackals; time would tell if neutrality prevailed. Truthfully, Khasman was anxious. He did not enjoy these exchanges. Often times, they were an easy way to catch a bullet.

Luckily, he had his ability for that-- which was also what Dudayev was counting on.

"Should've killed these people instead of negotiating," Khasman muttered. "A fox does not bargain with the bleeding hare, Ivan."

He was unsure who was predator, and who was prey-- though that would reveal itself soon enough, he supposed. Khasman, and their firepower, was their only leverage here. Some things never changed.

 
The recent excursion to break into the home of Giancarlo Impastato, alias the Stockbroker, had been a stark reminder to the man called Shrike that Pittsburgh had become the most dangerous city in America.

Almost overnight, the boom in metahuman population had amplified the dangers faced by those who walked its streets to unknown heights; prior to his arrival, a walking massacre known as the Valkyrie had torn a bloody path through the city's heart, out in the open. But for the intervention of other meta-powered beings, the carnage might have been endless.

Even the Shrike, a man who had trained himself, dedicated himself to stopping such threats, had come just short of dying at the hands of Arlecchino and a mysterious woman whose tortured screams echoed in his eardrums, and whose magenta-colored energy projection burned a hole in his suit and left a web of bruising across his chest.

Now, he stalked even more dangerous prey. Giancarlo might not have known about the Triads, but he was willing to cooperate when it came to information on the Chechens. Something was going down soon - the Stockbroker's connections and allegedly heightened intellect confirmed it. Privately, the Shrike believed that the Stockbroker had simply exaggerated his connections to affect the appearance of supergenius; he was a gifted trader and had amassed a decent fortune through means both legal and illegal, but that hadn't protected him from winding up in a full body cast courtesy of a deadly explosion originating from beneath his manor. In an ironic twist, the Shrike's presence may well have saved his life that night. Now, they had a professional relationship - still tense, but workable.

It was possible that the Impaler had been given bad information. Set up. So he remained cautious, watching the nondescript parking lot on the outskirts of Pittsburgh from the shadows. He'd navigated here under the cover of darkness, the shadows under the moonlight clinging to his camouflaged form. The surroundings were fairly flat. No skyscrapers to scale here. Consequently, he had to stay low, parking far away, and creeping in closer, avoiding any lines of sight, practically clutching the walls.

He had been told that one of them was a metahuman. A metahuman who, conceivably, could kill him. He didn't know what his ability was, but that didn't matter. Battles against other powered humans were effectively knife fights. There was no way to know going in what he'd face. What had happened at Giancarlo's was proof enough of that. A random explosion had nearly ended him. Would the same occur here, now? Only time would tell.

The others - the normals - they might be incidental casualties. His target was the powered one. Take him down, once he revealed himself, and the gang's stranglehold would loosen, until it broke utterly.


All he could do now was wait.
 
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