RP TERMINAL - Snake-Oil Merchants - I

Quirbles

on smoke break, bother somebody else
Staff member
M.I.R.A. TerminOS version 0.62b
Secure Distribution - Mid-Atlantic Bureau A5
TerminOS kernel 40406 [build 40406 OEM 8eXD]
Running TerminOS as current module . . .
Press DEL to run Setup
                                                                                        
                                                                                        
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SITE-WIDE NOTICE: PASSWORD ROTATIONS IN EFFECT AT 1500 HRS.
CURRENT CLEARANCE LEVEL: RED-9
CURRENT AGENCY-WIDE STATUS: BLUE

FETCHING INCIDENT INFORMATION . . .

INCIDENT ID: I-20278699-AXB-D
LOCATION: ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY - 20 S. OCEAN AVE
INCIDENT STATUS: ACTIVE
INCIDENT DESCRIPTION: PREMEDITATED; WAREHOUSE RAID, CLANDESTINE

THREAT-STAKE ASSESSMENT: YLW-0

FETCHING DISPATCHED AGENT LIST . . .

D-9136-D "MOLT"
D-6237-C "MIASMA"
D-0619-F "SONGBIRD"



"SNAKE-OIL MERCHANTS"
2155 HOURS - ATLANTIC CITY, "YORIS' FISH SUPPLY"

Agent Molt, Agent Miasma, Agent Songbird. I'm Agent Smith. I'll be your Lead Analyst for this assignment.

Not all Incidents were reactive within the Metahuman Incident Response Agency. Some were premeditated operations meant to be proactive attempts at peacemaking-- whether those be raids, targeting the compounds of PMPD-affected suspects, or planning to defend against an uncovered plot by MIRA's intelligence networks. Today's incident was about as proactive as it could get-- the raid of a drug deal happening in a fish-packing warehouse along the Atlantic City boardwalk.

About a week ago, a fellow by the name of Michael Hernandez came into MIRA custody. Nothing too flashy about his PMPD abilities-- he can see well in the dark and has enhanced tapetum lucidum in his eyes-- but what was interesting was what he had to say about a local drug operation going on in Atlantic City. We traced his activities down from New York and had a decent bit of evidence to threaten him with, and he confessed to a deal happening at 2200 hours. Today. Which is why you're here.

All three agents were present along the Atlantic City Boardwalk, en route to their destination. It was a low-profile outing, so a no-costume mandate was ordered, but there would be modifications to each agent's kit to make sure they weren't at a disadvantage.

Normally, we wouldn't be bothering with busting petty crimes or drug offenses, but Hernandez has connections with bigger fish. That, and there's rumors-- that he had confirmed during interrogation-- about a new street drug on the market. What we don't have is information about its source-- who's supplying it, how much is being bought, and where it's being made. That's where you come in. Agent Molt is able to impersonate Hernandez for the purposes of reporting to the deal; or, you could take a more direct approach. Whichever the case, you're greenlit on lethal. Ideally, we won't be killing people, and the team here would appreciate you taking at least one suspect into custody for interrogation.

Good luck.

 
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Rowan hadn't ever been to Atlantic City before, and certainly not the Boardwalk. Had the circumstances been different, she might've offered to walk around for a while, explore and see the sights. Part of her was still sightseeing anyways, but she was here for work, and she wouldn't allow herself to be distracted that easily. As Agent Smith gave the briefing, she glanced to her two companions, briefly, as they strolled down the walkway, past small families and groups of people.

They looked so unassuming tonight, dressed in plainclothes like this. Of course, there was concealed armor. She knew Hannah was carrying, same as herself, and she'd received some of a briefing on their new coworkers manifestation- Miasma wasn't necessarily super indicative. Rowan was, as was typical of her, wearing a black turtleneck, made of wool, beneath an Afghan coat, all pulled over a sleeved shirt to keep the chill out.

Once the in-the-field briefing was over, she nodded. Couldn't really vocally acknowledge, not in the middle of the boardwalk, so it was more for her own sake rather than Agent Smith's. Then, she turned her eyes to Hannah and the newcomer, and offered a smile. "Looks like we have a busy night ahead of us, doesn't it?"

After a moments pause, she spoke again. "My name's Rowan. Figured it best to get introduced now, rather than later." She offered a hand.
 
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Hannah hated nights like this. Bundled up against the cold wind cutting in from the Atlantic, sent to bust some drug ring instead of - you know - doing anything that actually mattered. Freezing her ass off for the long arm of the law. She pushed her hands deeper in the pockets of her jacket, glancing back at Rowan with a somewhat sour expression from beneath the shadow of her hood.

"Fast as possible," she muttered.

Not that it was likely. They had a trainee this go. Pretty face from cloakside, probably hadn't had the chance to get her hands dirty. If she had to pull double duty as therapist again -

But nah. Rowan was here. She'd handle that. She was good with that.

"We're public. No names." She glanced up and down the pier. It was long past tourist hours, but that didn't mean there wouldn't be stragglers, and that certainly didn't mean there wouldn't be less savory people, either. She squinted against the dark. "Molt. That's Songbird. You call her anything else, I'll hit you. Hard."

She didn't offer her hand.
 
Hard to tell if this was going to be her sort of night or not. The government issued street clothes felt about as thick as some particularly robust tissue paper, which wasn’t normally a problem except that it was cold which meant she was cold. Hard to work up a sweat when it was cold, not that she particularly needed one at this exact moment. Bound to get a strongly worded ‘no drinking on the job’ or maybe a nice and simple ‘fuck you’ from the grumpy one. Still, being in on a drug bust with some veteran daggers was exciting wasn’t it? Well, not that she could show that she felt excited by it because once you did that then everyone would all start remembering how young she was and that was its own entire can of worms that it was best to just not open at all.

Ayla took Rowan’s hand and gave it a very firm and not at all way too excited shake. “Miasma, it’s good to be working with you.” Alya said, as Molt had just informed them all that they shouldn’t be using names. She was kind of cool to watch, Molt, she was always just sort of moving, little glances and such. She was sort of cool, really. Her power was cool too, able to change her appearance to impersonate someone, and Songbird could do something with hypnotic suggestion, both actually really cool, according to the little briefing notes anyway.

Molt also didn’t offer her hand which was honestly a little cool too. Alya however, kept her back straight and did her very best to ignore that tingling feeling that could potentially be her skin freezing but probably wasn’t. “So, uh, you two work together often?” Alya asked.
 
Miasma. Of course, she knew that. Hannah probably did, too. They both read the dossiers, they'd been doing this too long to come in to a dagger op with someone with little to no experience completely blind. Ayla was new, and especially so to something that wasn't public facing. Frankly, it was a good thing Hannah was being insistent on following protocol. It set a good precedent, and Rowan knew she should be setting a similar example.

As such, she raised her hands in the air in an apologetic fashion towards her partner. "Right, you're right. No names." Regardless of the reprimand, the smile remained on her face. "As she said, I'm Songbird. She's Molt, a pleasure to meet you. Don't mind her demeanor, she's right in that we are in the field and should be a bit more careful."

She spared a glance up and down the boardwalk. It was late, and dark. Cloud cover wasn't total, but they hardly had the advantage of the dark in the middle of Atlantic City. "To answer your question, yes. I joined up a few months before her, but our first assignments were together. Haven't had many separate, only really when I need to make a public appearance. What about you? I know you're on the public side a little more, what have you gotten up to?"

 
"We work good as a pair," Molt added, leveling a sharp glance at Miasma that seemed to imply only a pair and nothing more. Taking another look around - and again, just to make double certain they weren't being followed - she paused beside a gap in the buildings, slipping sideways into the darkness.

"Give me a sec. Cover me."

Rowan and the new girl - Alyssa? Alanna? Fuck, that'd slipped her mind - could catch up and small talk, since that seemed to be what Rowan wanted to do. She was gonna focus on the mission. Pulling up a photograph of Hernandez on her phone, she gave it a long, hard look, set the phone on the ground, and began to strip off her clothes.

The cold was biting, now, and she could feel her body tense beneath, movement growing sluggish. She'd have to cope. Once she was down to her underclothes, she closed her eyes. Alright. Hernandez. Hernandez. Not much of a looker. Crouching over, she began to lick at her arms, rubbing the thick secretions over herself, mingling with the substance already oozing from her skin. In seconds, she was coated in a flesh-colored cocoon.

"Tell... her... the plan," she murmured between damp sounds.
 
Oh that’s cool, I’ve never really had a set partner myself.” Well, it wasn’t like she had been doing the whole hero thing very long so there was still time for that probably! Maybe with someone who has a super liver or something and — oh no Molt was glaring at her again. Once more Ayla’s posture straightened as Molt ducked into an alleyway to do mucus related things. Probably best to not watch that too closely, or Molt might actually punch her.

I’ve helped with a few things, recently that is, uh, I was mostly public facing last year.” Oh no, that was just going to make them think she eas completely inexperienced. “Helped stop a police chase, melted the tires or the perpetrators, and there was a bank robbery a few months back, some guy with hydrokinesis or something like that.” Ayla amended quickly, though she did quickly realize that ‘I melted some tires once’ probably wasn’t an impressive part of her resume.

Yeah, so what is the plan?” Alya asked.
 
It hurt to admit it, but it wasn't exactly a stellar résumé. Rowan had been hoping for more to work with, something to inspire confidence- not that she wasn't confident, of course. She and Hannah had run operations similar to this before, and they mostly worked out without a hitch. the difference this time, of course, was that they'd be hauling a teenager around who probably hadn't ever been in an honest to goodness, bonafide gunfight, almost certainly hadn't had to take a life. The smile remained, unwavering.

Molt dipped into an alleyway, so Rowan leaned up against the wall of one of the buildings nonchalantly. It felt like she'd done this a million times, and honestly that number didn't feel like too much of an exaggeration. Getting a solid disguise took time- it was a good thing they'd arrived early.

"I won't lie to you, Miasma. I was hoping you'd have a bit more under your belt. I'm not doubting you, mind. That's not my job, and I'm sure they sent you along for good reason. Just- this stuff can get messy. Not cloak-messy, actually messy." She crossed her arms and cast a glance towards the girl. "All this to say, I know you're competent, but, and this isn't some 'respect your elders' thing, try to listen to us. Cooperation is paramount."

Ah, right. The plan. "Our usual strategy is deception. Molt is currently going to great lengths to appear as one Michael Hernandez. Picked him up off the street. You got the briefing." The sounds she had to make, once upon a time, made Rowan very uncomfortable. The first time it had felt like being near an actual living wet sock. Nowadays, it was the sound of a friend, and one who was damn good at her job. "She's going to emulate his voice, as well. You and I are are playing the roles of new recruits. Stay quiet, maybe even a little nervous. Don't talk like a cape. If they scrutinize too much, I'll provide some... convincing words."

She should be almost done. "Once we're in close on the deal, we watch. Gather what information we can, see if we can figure out who's in charge. After the deal is done, but crucially before anyone leaves, I'm going to attempt to subdue, focusing on whoever seems to be calling the shots. I'm mostly certain it will work, but external factors may keep all of them from going down. We'll deal with that when we get there, but stay ready to engage. Once they've been neutralized, and we've secured the head of operations here, you'll use your manifestation to torch the product. Agent Smith, do we need to collect a sample, or are we going scorched earth?"
 
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Molt ran her hands down her back, wicking off excess material with a wet splat as it sloughed onto the ground. Skin twitching, she rose up, drawing herself to a height that was a good half-foot taller than before. She turned to face the other two girls with a face that was very much not her own. Nothing about her was her own, honestly. The body was masculine - broad shouldered, tan, with a sharp jaw and thick eyebrows. Something about it seemed a bit... off, though. Flawlessly smooth on the torso and belly, proportions a little strange, and a smooth, doll-like lump where a crotch would be. She combed her fingers through her receding hairline, then flexed, joints popping.

"Things go smooth, you don't kill anyone." She picked up her phone again, swiping through the pictures and sticking the fingers on her free hand into her mouth. "Fings nevah go smoov."

She slid them out and shook off her hand.

"You kill before? Or just TV fights?"

She slid her thumb into her mouth and flicked it out with a pop.
 
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Ideally, we will not need to collect a sample on the narcotics; best to leave that for law enforcement when they respond to the call after our analysts have given the scene a once-over. Bear in mind that the ACPD has not been notified of this operation and it is best to use discretion, here. With that being said-- if you see anything out of the ordinary, notify TOC and take a photograph.

Atlantic City was still lively, even at this time of night. Despite taking a turn into a less-populated street, civilians still walked past every few odd minutes; the distant bells and music of the boardwalk cascaded along the night in a manner that suggested festivities were still taking place. Odd, perhaps, that an illegal drug deal was happening mere hundreds of feet away. Perhaps it wasn't odd at all.

Sending over a vocal sample for Hernandez now, Molt.

There was a brief pause, and then a voice sounded over the INFILSPEC's earpiece.

Please... call Stella. Ask her to bring these things... with her... from the store. Six spoons of fresh snow peas... five thick slabs of blue cheese... and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake... and a-- big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop-- scoop these things into three red bags, and we... will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

The spoken monologue, delivered by Hernandez during custody, was not random. It was a specifically-curated set of sentences that contained every allophone of every English phoneme-- in short, creating a vocal profile with every sound that a voice might make in English. All that was required of Molt was successfully training and molding her vocal chords to mimic that particular sound-- perhaps a bit less accurate than if she were to hear the lossless audio in-person-- in order to sound like Hernandez. It was a standard procedure for Molt's process of donning a disguise; additionally, fingerprint and retinal scans were provided on her phone.

Best to get a move on to the warehouse. One minute until meeting.

 
Can’t say I’ve really been trying to kill anyone, TV fights or not.” Ayla said. That was definitely not the answer either of them was looking for which wasn’t that hard to figure out really. The briefing too made it seem like they weren’t expecting there to be too much trouble, or nothing enough that lethal force was needed anyway. Still, Agent Smith’s response saved her from the discussion continuing, which was some relief.

Wow, that really is a change.” Ayla added, a little awed by Molt’s new Ken dollesque physique. It did look a little terrifying if you looked too closely, but as a whole it was really cool!

Right, so, don’t talk too much, torch most of the goods but save some for the cops, and stay out of your way.” Alya said, mostly hoping to keep the question about her lack of verified murder from returning.
 
"And there you have it." A smile spread across Rowan's face, and she picked herself up from the wall she'd been leaning on. As far as she could tell, no one had seen Molt, and they weren't being followed by anyone. Good.

She didn't pay much mind to Hannah's current appearance, other than a quick note of her new face. The rest of it didn't matter, especially considering she'd seen it a thousand times. "Oh come on, Molt. They've gone smoothly sometimes. Don't worry too much, Miasma. Between the three of us, things should be under control."

With hands stuffed in the pockets of her jacket, Rowan stepped around the other two, facing down the boardwalk. Hopefully, by the end of the night, Ayla didn't have to kill anyone. It was- well, horrific, really. She remembered her own first time, and it had taken her nearly a week to get over it. Then, the second one. It was worse. That one still stuck with her, she still remembered his face, sometimes.

With a shake of the head and a small huff, she replaced the smile on her face. Had to keep up appearances, just like always. "So, if you two are ready, and if you can get dressed, Molt, I think it's time for you to lead the way. Typical signal if you need anything from me, words wise, but other than that, I think I'm going to shut up for a while now."

 
Molt nodded sharply. Bending down, she pulled out the new clothes from her bag. Simple and unassuming, just jeans and a black hoodie, the sort of thing a drug dealer would wear when they didn't want to be noticed.

"Please. Call. Stella," she muttered under her breath, "Ask. Her. To. Bring. These. Things. With. Her. From. The. Store."

She repeated the line a few times, coughed, and repeated it again, voice growing deeper.

"Let's do this."

Moving out from the alley, Molt took the lead.
 


The walk to the warehouse was short. Carnival music carried down the side-street as the trio arrived at the location-- two metal doors, rusted with a flickering overhead light along the exterior of the building. Pushing inside, the group would be greeted with a loading bay that smelled strongly of sealife-- as well as old oil. There were a few men dressed in overcoats, and a few that had on regular jackets; the air was colder, so the outfits hardly looked out of place. An SUV was parked in front of an open vehicle bay shutter; the opening led out into the backlot of the warehouse, and out to another alley on the opposite side of the building. To their left was a notice board and tool wall; to their right, a set of stairs that led to an overhead catwalk, which had doors that presumably led into the office portion of the warehouse. The entire place was spacious-- and open, save the forklift by the door and crates that were placed along the floor.

"Hernandez. On time, for once. Pleasant surprise."

The voice came from an older fellow by the car-- a flat cap, bomber jacket, and chinos. Slightly-greyed hair. There was a sharpness to him that was present in the way he carried himself-- self-assured. Smug.

His smile persisted as he gestured to the two women that flanked Molt.

"Who the fuck're these two?"

 
"Eh, wanna make a good impression for the new guys, yeah?" Molt - Hernandez - replied, throwing open his arms and flashing a smile back. "Sides, this is a big deal. Don't wanna fuck things up by sleeping in late."

He gestured back at the women.

"Chicas are with me. They wanted to make money quick, so I'm showing them the ropes, if you catch my drift."

He winked.

"So. We clear? You got the new shit?"
 


The man didn't look convinced.

His stare lingered on Hernandez perhaps a second too long before he gave a smile-- a soft, assuring smile-- and nodded, looking to the two women and turning to head back to the SUV.

"Do I look like I'm hosting a little fuckin' classroom here? You bring me this sort of shit again, it's a bullet for your little students. You're lucky I know you." He muttered, adjusting his cap and gesturing with a nod of his head to one of his men-- a slightly-taller fellow beside what appeared to be a refrigerated container. A freezer trunk. He opened it. "Yeah, we're clear."

One of the men nearest Songbird and Miasma was staring at them. Intently. With a gun in his hands, it was hardly a comforting sight.

"Better not let your woman catch you with the whores, Mikey. They go a little, ah... how y'put it. Loco in the head, they find you caught out." He shrugged, turning back to the group. The man who'd opened the freezer tossed it to his boss, who turned over the package in his hands before tossing it to Hernandez. It'd be cold to the touch.

It was a kilo of coke. Neatly-packaged, duct-taped. "What we agreed on. Ten kilos, and the other nine are in that freezer. Fifteen Gs a kilo. Where's the money?"

The man had his hands in his pockets.

Ralph Ciccetti. I was unaware you'd be meeting with him. Hand over the counterfeit bills case; continue with the deal as normal, if at all possible.

 
She'd kept her hands stuffed in her pockets and her head down the rest of the way towards the warehouse, only occasionally looking up to see where they were going. She'd stayed quiet, as well, preparing herself for what would and could happen inside. The three of them entered without incident, and as Molt kicked things off with the dealers, Rowan took a moment to look around the warehouse. It was largely empty, as one would expect, but already they'd been noticed. She and Ayla weren't supposed to be here, and it was clearly bothering some of them.

Ralph seemed upset, as did his lackey, who was standing a bit too close, staring a bit too much, for her to be comfortable. She looked over to him and gave a smile. "We're just here to learn. Money's money, right?" Her voice carried a slight lilt, but nothing beyond that. It wasn't time for more.

 
Right, okay, right. She was… supposed to act like a prostitute? What did that mean, exactly? The other two had said she should try to keep out of the way so, she should just stand back and look pretty, right? Right. Now that she had a moment to think of questions she should have asked earlier, should she try to smell a little tipsy for this?

Alya drew a breath in, and let it back out slowly as she relaxed her shoulders. They were already past the point of worrying, so Alya kept a placid smile on her lips as she took in her surroundings. A large, mostly empty space, but that wasn't a shock. She gave the cocaine a little more interest, which she hoped would be taken as harmless interest. The man with the gun was a major threat, as was the unexpected element, the gave the former a smile before she looked away, trying to pick out any other threats that might be in the warehouse if things went wrong.
 
Hernandez shrugged and smirked.

"What the girls dunno don't hurt, eh?"

He caught the package, turning it over in his hands, pretending to scrutinize it. Then, he looked up and nodded.

"Good shit." Hefting his case, he held it out for Ciccetti. "Cash's all here. Have your guys count it if you want."

Then, he paused, looking thoughtful for a moment.

"Heard there's some new shit out. Strong shit. What's the deal with that?"
 


The man only laughed in reply. Ciccetti seemed to find Hernandez charming, at the very least-- or, at the very least, pretended as such, which was far more likely. It was the insincere goodwill of a gangster; a man who came as your friend, with intent to kill. Ralph wasn't one to murder indiscriminately, but he was one to tie loose ends... which Hernandez might be, in his eyes. Or he might not. It was always hard to tell, with men like him.

Ciccetti nodded to one of his men, who took the case. Up close, he glanced over Hernandez' face-- narrowing his eyes, for a moment-- and stepped back, bringing it over to Ralph. The case was opened; its contents were examined. Ciccetti's face seemed neutral, for a moment, until Hernandez asked about the new shit.

"You ask too many questions. You know that? Never liked that about you." Ralph replied, his amicable smirk fading into a frown. "You paid for the coke. Take that as a token of goodwill, and fuck off with your trainees. Yeah? Any new shit I got to sell if for--"

One of Ciccetti's men-- the one who'd been staring at the group-- suddenly spoke up.

"I know you?"

It was addressed towards Rowan. His lip quirked. His eyes were still as trained as ever, the grip on his gun tight. He tilted his head, letting the silence fill the air in the wake of the question.

No. Not a question-- an accusation.

"I've seen you somewhere." He backed up. "Ralph, this bitch is familiar."

 
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