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The Multiverse

Setting

The Nillies



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No one quite knows how the Nillies received its christening. Some say it's derived from the commercial diversity and carnal appeal of the area; from lavish museums and opera houses to high-end nightclubs and gentleman's clubs, a man can find just about any pleasure at the Nillies with a little time and a lot of money - there is, some say, 'nothing' or 'nil' you can't find. Others say it comes from the district's many casinos, attributing the name to their bright, attractive light shows and notoriously low win-loss ratios ('come to the Nillies with money, leave with 'nil' to boot). Whatever the cause, the meaning behind the name remains distinct. 'The Nillies' means gluttony, avarice and depravity. The Nillies means Van Leugen.

Though far from the festering stinkhole the deep city is, the Nillies is still the nesting grounds for many prominent organized crime syndicates and mob rings. With skyscraper penthouses and flashy entertainment revenues on every corner, the Nillies is an entertainment district ripe with corruption and greed. Police and lawmen keep the raiders and muggers off the street but turn a blind eye to the sweet-toothed dealers peddling drugs out of their five-star dining facilities and dance raves. Between a healthy influx of groveling miscreant from the Nummens and honest family patron from the Nashtons, criminal overlords manage to profit from the lawful and the morally indifferent alike, supplying legitimate entertainment to one while sating the bestial appetites of the other. It's a great place to be for a crook who knows how to play the cooperate game.

Of course, the wicked inclinations of the Nillies does not entirely mar its beauty. It is, after all, the entertainment center of the entire city, overflowing with the ripe product of Van Leugen's artistic capabilities and its deep, mysterious passion. Some of the finest theatrical performances in all of Terra can be found in the lavish opera houses of the Nillies, and many of the museums and restaurants in the area are renown throughout the galaxy. All in all, this district walks the crude boundary between acceptable entertainment pursuits and complete spiritual debasement; a wide, gray line streaking dazzlingly between what could be good and what is absolutely wrong.
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The Nillies

Van Leaugen's swanky business and commerce district; a glutted tract of cityscape rife with greed, lust and sin.

Minimap

The Nillies is a part of Van Leugen.

1 Places in The Nillies:

16 Characters Here

Viktor Vetrano [32] Once a soldier for the Italian Armed Forces and a detective, now a recovering alcoholic struggling with sobriety.
William Cole [28] Hardened Van Leugen Narcotics detective out to clean a corrupt city.
Gabby DeLeon [18] Not Another Teen Junkie
Trench Matthews [16] "Problem with Symbiotes is that they are a bunch of bitchy little girls who try to control the situation"
Kimo Struth [10] Haunted by a ghost of his own making.
Liam Casey [9] An enforcer for the Casey Mob, the second youngest of the Casey brothers.
Kor Zekresh [9] Neolantis external affairs officer, investigating a possible Red Death activity.

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Setting

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Character Portrait: Constrictor Squad Character Portrait: Venomous Squad
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  1. "All the screams and pleas of the innocent ", was originally typo'd as Creams, instead of screams.

    by Blazezon

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It was raining in the Nillies, like it always did. The only difference is that tonight there was a hive of sound to drown it out. To drown all of it out. A convoy cut through the rain, the dark, and the noise. All the screams and pleas of the innocent were swept away by the roar of the sleek, black VAB's engines. The patter of the always dismal rain was blocked out via the crunching of loose asphalt under the heavy tread tires. Even the latent stench of the Nillies took a back seat to the harsher scent of pure diesel.

That was the effect of the Gorgon's Watch Protection Services.

Even in a place as harsh, and hellish as VL, even in the rotting heart of a city of liars, and braggarts, the GW was no trifle. The two heavily plated, well armed combat vehicles commanded respect, or maybe it was fear. Fear of the wrathful, unflinching men inside them, fear of the IMI NEGEVs booth VAB's had mounted on the roof, or just the simple fear of the enemy who lives next door. Whatever it was, it didn't matter.

All of the cesspit that called itself The Nillies was swept away in the convo's wake. Even the darkness reseeded, cut to ribbons by the heavy-duty halogen headlights.

The men inside however, seemed utterly oblivious to these facts. In the rear truck the driver and passenger exchanged raunchy jokes, while the two men in back played a game of cards. The front truck was just as lax. The passenger asleep, and the three men in the back all playing I-Spy from sheer boredom. It was almost a good thing the windows on each vehicle were so heavily tinted, because if anybody could see inside at a glance, the GWSP would probably lose some of it's respect and intimidation facotr.

Hell, maybe someone did see in considering what happened.

The job was supposed to be simple, easy even. A paranoid rich guy wanted from point A to B, in the most overkill way possible. Nobody had threatened him, or his life. He wasn't too honest, or too dirty upon closer inspection. He hadn't even offended any of the visiting Aschen. There was literally no reason for the job, other than the fact the man had enough money to make it worth the resources. The Gorgon never turned down an honest, if not boring job if it paid enough.

Maybe that was his folly, maybe that made him look soft, maybe that made his men soft.

Soft enough for the front-truck's driver to look away for a split second. He checked his rear-view mirror, eyes lingering for just a moment too long. When he looked back at the road ahead of him, he saw a row of little red dots. Blinking red dots. He jerked the steering wheel full to the left, causing the VAB to tip onto it's two side wheels only. His passenger was jolted awake, one of the men in back was already communicating to the other truck.

"I dunno what the fuck is going on man, I didn't see shit myself but Asp shouted 'mines'. Fucking mi-"

The soldier didn't get to finish his warning, the right side of the truck had come back down, and the rear wheel just barely touching one of the mines. Just barely, but enough. With a deafening crash the entire row went up, launching the truck end-over-end with a hell of a lot of force. It skidded along the black top for 15m, the metal grinding and screeching the whole way. It came to a jolting stop with a harsh clunk.

"So much for fucking easy", one of the men from the rear-truck hissed as two of his brothers dove out the side doors, hitting the pavement running.

The moment they began their sprint though, gunfire erupted from all directions. A proverbial hail of bullets came screaming around every corner, impacting the VAB's with loud thuds, and the road with sprays of dirt. It had gone from a quiet night to a warzone in seconds. Luckily for the GWPS that was their forte. The man in the turret of the still rear-truck let loose return fire, the NEGEV coughing to life, and then into rapid-fire action. He had no confirmed visuals on his targets, but he didn't need any Back and forth in front of him he jerked the heavy gun as it spit out a wall of bullets, to cover the two men who dove.

The attackers seemed not to have counted on this, as screaming and the sickly, wet thumping of bullet-filled bodies colliding with the ground filled the silent gaps in between gunfire.

"Fucking move! Spitjaw, Sunbeam, FUCKING MOVE!", the driver from the rear-truck was yelling into his commlink, nearly in a panic. His two previously-pinned comrades took the hint though, sprinting forward while staying low, the MMG above them giving them enough cover to make it the downed truck. It was in bad shape, crumpled and leaking fuel, but the reinforced frame had held. Spitjaw stood in front of Sunbeam, M249H held tight, firing into the darkness and shouting. Drawing as much attention away from his buddy as possible.

Which was a damn blessing since Sunbeam was busy smashing the butt of his M4A4 against the VAB window with all his might.

It shattered as the unknown attackers unleashed another salvo, primarily focused on the MMG. Sunbeam dove into the rickety truck without a second thought, grasping desperately until his his hand gripped firm around a plated shoulder. He worked his hand's way up to the neck of whoever it was he found, the familiar scarring telling him it was Cobra. A sigh of relief. He felt for the pulse then, his breath held fast.

3..2..1..Thump-thump.

"HE'S ALIVE!" The soldier shouted into his mic, and on that note the driver of the still-able truck gunned his engine. He drove up beside the over-turned wreck, parking up against it sideways to form a V-shape. Bullets go through car doors, but even mafia guns rarely penetrate entire fortified mini-tanks. This was cover, for now. The Gunner jumped out from his turret once the VAB came to a halt, taking the NEGEV with him. While the driver grabbed a gun out of the back, and joined the rest of the team in retrieving the downed from the wreck.

The entire time the gunfire never ceased. Countless round after round colliding with the heavy VAB plating. The thuds and plinks turning into the rhythm of hell itself.

Thankfully no one was gravely wounded, two of the men from the wreck were unconscious, but the other two were already reaching for guns. It was another two full minutes of every man holding tight, eyes dead ahead and visors set to night vision, waiting, before the tornado of bullets ceased. The moronic bangers finally realized they weren't about to punch through the trucks with third-hand, outdated Terran guns. They began to rush the makeshift blockade.

It sounded like a damn swarm, there were so many. It was hard to make out distinct footfalls, but it was an easy 10-to-1 ratio of bangers to soldiers.

The men looked at each other for a moment, each trying to come up with a plan before the Gunner spoke, or more accurately, yelled. "Welp. I'd say it's a case of simple fucking crowd control. We've done this shit before, let's hop to it you limp-dicks!" The other five nodded in agreement, smirking, and set to work. Two stayed crouched in the front, waiting for targets to advance from their vulnerable flank, while the other three set about a somewhat more proactive approach.

The driver of the front-truck had grabbed a M32 MGL, a damn good thing to have in a crowd situation. Only problem was he'd also grabbed a fistful of 40mms without checking what type they were. Too late to matter now though. His two companions each set up on the hoods of the trucks, opening fire in calculated bursts. The front line of the approaching hoard was broken in moments, still some 100m out. The soldier's accuracy caught them off guard. That didn't last.

They kept on coming, opening fire at sheer random as they ran like mad men. Guess their boss was paying big for some dead GW's.

Luckily for the soldiers the driver had finished loading his MGL, and popped up from between the two marksmen with a shout of joy. He squeezed the trigger with baited breath, and time seemed to slow as he watched the mystery grenade sail through the air. It collided with the ground a bit off center from the middle of the horde, exploding with an oddly quiet bang, accompanied by the shouts of all those a little too close.

It was a wasp grenade.

Usually used by prison guards as a form of fear and crowd-control, it held a relatively weak explosive charge. It was, however, filled with small metal balls, usually made of steel or titanium. Those balls were dispersed at extreme velocity, tearing anybody too close apart and ricocheting off walls. Sadly the effectiveness was reduced outside, the only ones ricocheting were the ones hitting the VABs.

Including one that hit Sunbeam square in the forehead, knocking the man flat on his ass.

Still, the driver and Spitjaw looked at each other before nodding. Spitjaw stood up again and provided cover fire while the driver launched his other two grenades at the clustered masses on either side of the horde. It was as effective as could be hoped, but hostiles were finally closing around the flank. The two crouching soldiers had begun to open up fire in small bursts, one of them shouting over his shoulder.

"Yo Boa, they're comin' in hot. Dig back in your fucking truck, and give us some hot cover!"

The driver turned and acknowledged, leaving Spitjaw alone to keep the forward assault at bay. The two flank guards gave him the best cover they could, but it wasn't quite enough. Two bullets caught him in the back as he leaned through the VAB's window, fishing around in an ammo bag. He howled and went limp for a moment, his armor had kept the bullets from piercing, but it didn't do shit for the force of impact. He was dazed momentarily.

All the air was knocked out of his lungs, his ears rang, and he could swear a rib was broken. He shook it off as best he could, gathering himself up quickly, and snatching the ammo he needed before slumping down on the pavement, behind the flank guards. He groaned as he loaded the MGL, "Alright..FUCK that shit stings..I'm staying down. You take the shots Python, I've got your back." He tossed the launcher to the man who'd hailed him, catching the M4A4 that was thrown his way in trade. He quickly provided cover fire while prone, which was all Python needed to end this whole ordeal.

Thoop, thoop

Two grenades was all it took, both incendiary rounds. He'd managed to sink one just behind the bangers who were advancing, and one dead-center in their sloppy ranks. That second shot even managed to hit a combatant in the chest. Fire erupted all around, the crackle of the flames providing a backdrop for the screams of the burning. These thugs' over-confident charge was in ashes, just like most of the thugs themselves

A lake of fire protected them from the flank, although the rain would quell it soon, and well placed shots, coupled with Wasp grenades had devastated the front. Those attackers left on each side began to back away, but the GW troops weren't about to let it end so easily. Each of the four able men grabbed a rifle and fanned out in a V-formation. They fired with purpose at the leftover flankers before breaking off into two-man teams, and hunting down those left on either side.

The gangbangers, scattered and overwhelmed, fell into pure chaos. Thugs running off in every which direction, weapons thrown down without care. The fight was over, but mercy wasn't granted. Round after round was single-shotted into the back of every punk who had tried to kill them.

This was why. As four men spread out, illuminated by the flames of a wreckage, and their mayhem, silhouettes appearing with every life-ending shot, that they were feared. Respected. Their gunfire was why VL found itself silent in their wake.

The encounter only lasted a few minutes, including hunting down the routed deserters. By the time the four man kill squad made it back to the wreck, Sunbeam was on his feet again. He'd secured the package, the rich dude having been smart enough to hit the deck, and not make a peep the whole time. Sunbeam was already patched into HQ, giving a sitrep even.

"Yeah, an ambush, a shitty one.", he was actually laughing as he spoke. "Nah, package is secure and undamaged. Requesting minimal back-up, med evac, and new transit." He paused, listening to the dispatcher. "Fuck, man we ain't giving this mission up. Just send the fucking tank, not a minivan with a gun. I'll personal blow any dipshit who gets in the way straight to goddamn Mars."

Back up and extraction would arrive in thirty-minutes. The city would be silent the entire time, aside from the quickly dying flames, and constant patter of rain. There would be no second attack, no further ambush, and the Tank looked amazing as it drove right up Main Street.

The client couldn't have been more happy.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Jaunt Bvetin Character Portrait: Constrictor Squad Character Portrait: Venomous Squad
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Above in a disused building with one shorn rear door an olive-skinned man struggling to be horrified sat among dead comrades. A fairly noisy transmission came through unsecured RF in a voice crawling with reverb. Jaunt transmitted barely enough to reach where he figured the vehicle would be so the directional signal was weak. There was no background noise or even breathing, "Soldiers of a false Queen, while I appreciate satisfying a reconnaissance contract early the nosy fellow with me to unlock communication equipment only knows just so many. Do you need any painkillers? I can't help with any reconstruction."

Jaunt's transmission paused while the human he named Thomas started grunt as he came down from his high, "Oh. yes, caught, Thomas. Are you crawling out of the K-hole? Get back in there."

Jaunt stops his transmission the drop of activity relaxing the fins of his leathery brown abdomen that were sticking through gaps in a sewn together mishmash of human armor. Six hairy legs pivoted his large body around a small locked-open radio sitting on the floor to speak for Jaunt. The shine from his ring of secondary eyes glints repeatedly from outside light as his two primary pointed at the poor slack jawed creature too numb to move. One quick lunge to bite a man blew him further into his mind and put a second of thin holes in his shirt that now leaks fresh blood. The the capacity to understand the need to flee slowly drained out of 'Thomas' eyes. Flexible curved teeth on Jaunt's front legs flexed pushing the stiffness out of his muscles. He had the urge to get moving before the other mercs got gun-happy. At least the plundered husk of some self-important renegade human could go for a walk. The 8 legged creature slammed the teeth of one flexible front leg into the renegade's thorax in a crimson squirt from teeth that tears through flesh to grab the ribs. The renegade was well kept and had a very well kept weapon so he must have had some useful information. Jaunt needed the last two the first no longer could exist. At least the renegade wouldn't go missing among the piles of dead meat. Iron smell of blood wafted past which he found entirely disgusting his muscles itching to get rid of the horrid thing. Strong flexible front legs discarded the ruined renegade to crunch sideways through an open window at the street below. Tommy, an olive skinned male of some stripe, drooled while staring at him toss his former cultural superior aside. Jaunt was almost envious of the irrelevant human Tommy's current inability to understand how disgusting the powerful smell of meat here was.

The spines on his flexing abdomen went taut again transmitting on the same channel as before the hollow voice says with disgust, "Heads up to clear. Meat is coming down."

Jaunt absently inspected the possessions with the two pale hands. He wore combat gloves with an unused pinky finger. He'd seized a few more things bearing interest on the body and didn't care about a wet thump below.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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#, as written by Saarai
Yves sat quietly in his VIP booth high above his nightclub's dance floor, the sounds of Hip-Hop music blaring through speakers all around the club. People were having a good time, a decent amount of them were under the influence of drugs.

One of Yves' men, a member of the Rockford Drive Villains, moved the crowd, exchanging Loa and other various drugs for money among the nightclub's patrons.

Drugs and sex-fueled dancing, that was an average night in Tombeau de Guede.

"You think those guys from the meet will show up?" One of Yves' lieutenants asked, "They will. The leader, he is hungry. I plan to feed him until he fattens." Yves said, "And then?"

"We shall see."

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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JP made his way into the club as non-descriptively as possible, entering with only one other man, Kenny Erin, his de-facto second in command. The only reason he hadn't been at the meet earlier was before JP had wanted the crib on lock, just incase a few near by gangs got squirrel. He was prudent like that, and no one was better for a turf despite than Kenny "Khan" Erin. Khan was a natural born scrapper, and poured his soul into learning just how to fight fair, and proper, and then how to cheat.

There was an old van parked a block away, however. Six men with DNЯ colors, and ink sat in it. Strapped with an AK each, standing by on speed-dial. JP had not yet forgiven Yves little insult, he didn't trust the sinister man much either. It was a safety net.

He wove his way through the crowd, looking rather pedestrian, if not well dressed. Simple black shirt, freshly ironed, starched, and pressed off course. It fit snugly, and showed the man's build off, until it tucked into his equally well cared for, dark denim jeans. He wore a plain, black leather belt, the only bit of show-yness to it was the golden buckle, and flawless clean white kicks to top it off. He really looked like the kind of person who fit into the club as a patron. Eric looked a little under-dressed in a similar, albeit rattier outfit.

There was a reason JP always wore immaculate, well tended clothes. It was a sort of un-written rule of the street, at least where he was from. If you didn't look your best at all times, you weren't respecting yourself, and if you can't respect you, why should anyone else?

He made his way towards the stairs to the VIP room, the guard who flagged him to stop looked pretty displeased at some random brother trying to walk right in. "Hold the fuck up.", the man barked, glaring at the insult fool. JP just locked eyes with him, looking ready to tear his throat out, but instead he spoke cooly. "Name's Jean-Paul, I've got an invite, homes. You might wanna step off. Ask your boss."

Just enough respect, he hoped, to avoid Yves ire, and just enough menace to make it clear he wasn't here to play around.

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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#, as written by Saarai
"Let him through." One of Yves men called out, prompting the muscle to stand aside for Jean-Paul and Khan to make their way to Yves' VIP room. The Lutetian gangster never took his gaze away from a woman dancing in another booth across the room. It wasn't a sign of disrespect to JP, everyone knew that.

Yves was just odd like that. A man who spoke through his actions.

He gestured to a few chairs in the room, inviting JP and Khan to sit down and maybe relax themselves. "Help yourself to any drink or food we have. Much of it is traditional Lutetian, some of it Jamaican from Ricky's." Yves said, "You're from the Nillies, I know you're familiar with Ricky's."

He was breaking the ice, building some report with the younger gangsters.

"You're here for business, though. Not to talk about food."

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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JP pushed passed the muscle, brushing his shoulder off where he bumped into the man. He strode into the VIP room, sliding into the seat Yves motioned to, eyes locked on the man, and movements awfully graceful for a gangster, but Khan wasn't even paying attention really. He spotted the food from Ricky's the second he hit the doorway, and once permission was given he was on it in a flash. Breaking the ice was never hard with Khan around, but looking serious sure was.

"Shit man, business is nice and all, but this is Ricky's we talkin' 'bout." He was amassing quite the plate as he spoke. Leaving JP in a bit of head-shaking dismay.

"Pardon my man here, he's u-.."

Khan interrupted him, speaking through a mouthful of something or other as he flopped into a chair. "A gourmet, brother."

JP glared at him for a second before rubbing his temples. "That ain't how you pronounce 'tape-worm', you fucker.", the large, face-stuffing man just shrugged, quite content in his gluttony. "Anyway.." JP turned his full attention back to Yves. He studied the man for a minute, looking him over top to bottom, taking in every detail he could. From the man's clothes, to finger nails, to eerie eyes. He would've been offended at Yves' lack of eye contact, but he followed the man's gaze to the woman he was watching.

She was beautiful, and quite flexible, who wouldn't stare? Even Khan was at this point.

"Surprised you called me here, even more surprised it's for business. You seemed pretty uh..You know.." He searched for the most diplomatic way to put it..Arrogant? Above it? Haughty? A real cunt? He settled on a soft touch. "..Disinterested in my 'establishment'. So to speak. Think you can understand my hesitance."

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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#, as written by Saarai
"And, I can tell you took offense. You want power. You want respect. You want money. I have been here in Van Leugen since I was a child, men like you either get killed for petty beefs or you become a puppet for someone bigger." Yves said to Jean-Paul, "Expendable muscle for the Irish, or for whatever politician needs people extorted on the street." He continued.

His head turned slowly to JP, eyes moving from him to Khan and back.

"You have something that your predecessors don't have. Intelligence. That's why you were invited to that meeting, Jean-Paul." Yves turned his attention back to the woman, "I have several crews allied with me. The Rockford Drive Villains, they own Ricky's and use it as their main headquarters. They deal most of our drugs on the street. The Bone Street Krew, older guys, real badasses. They bring experience and ruthlessness to our little criminal syndicate." The Lutetian explained to JP.

"And then there is my personal crew, the Bone Street Warlocks. I tell you this because I want the Disciples to join up. Your plan made sense, and you don't seem to be concerned with those aforementioned petty beefs. Not like the others are. We could take all their business, while they take every move from each other as a personal slight." He continued.

"We'll need numbers, if you're down."

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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It seemed like a strange, almost fake offer, from an extremely strange man, but it still hit JP. Hard. "Yeah, I took offense.." His voice was soft, almost gentle but there was a certain chill under it that kept it from being that. He paused, lacing his fingers together and staring down at them. Khan was going back for a second plate, the woman was bursting into a new dance routine, and the DJ was segwaying tracks.

For a split moment the whole world froze with JP. He closed his eyes, and just let the sounds, smells, feel hit him for a moment, before speaking back up much more confidently.

"I know I kinda made myself into a jackass at the meet," He glanced over at his second in command, the man stuffing his face with the same vigor as before. "I figured, you know. That some street gangs were backed by real cats, cats like you. Not damn near all of them, though." He sighed, eyes closing again, not meant as disrespectful, just how he was when thinking carefully. "It ain't the way to make money, not real money. You mentioned 'petty beefs', but shit, it's more than that. Whole fucking system is rigged."

Khan nodded, talking through another mouthful of jerked pork. "True that brother, Nillies is a hard place, so muthafuckas gotta be harder. Leads to a bunch of fuckers runnin' 'round pissed off all day like me, gangbangin' on they breakfast, and shit."

"Yeah." JP finally locked eyes with Yves, trying to figure out if this was a set up or not. "I dunno how much time you spent in the streets, man. Petty beef don't touch it. You gotta be harder, stronger than everyone always, ain't nothin' allowed to slide. Some poor cat walks two steps into your block, pushin' shit dope, and he, and you gotta ice him, and his whole crew."

"Mhmn." Khan waved what looked like a chicken leg at his boss, "That how it is, brother. 'Cause if you don't feed that cat a lead sandwich, he and everybody else will be postin' up on you by morning."

"Yeah..And that's what I'm saying. That's not the way to make real green, and you seem to know that Yves. Competition is good for the market, but a warzone drives people right the fuck off." He glanced around the club, having noticed the peddlers in the crowd when he came in. "You got it made up in a crib like this," he motioned towards the dance floor, "But outside, out in the middle of the Nillies, bitches be too afraid to turn the wrong corner when they're out lookin' to score. If shit was consolidated.."

"Everybody sell more dope, and tag less feet in bags.", Khan more or less mumbled the last bit, becoming fixated on the dancer again.

"Yeah. Dead people expensive, wars keep business away." JP rubbed his temples again, reverting his eyes to his shoes. "Seems like everyone at that meet though, they're all happy to have shit divided up. To have everything move at a fraction of what it could be." He shook his head, chuckling. "No though, not if this offer is legit. Shit man, The Nillies could be a goddamn money machine even the bank would want if done right."

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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#, as written by Saarai
"And that is why I'm hoping we can make a criminal franchise, instead of enterprise. The man from the meeting. He spoke of cornering a new market. I want to control it." Yves told JP, he turned the man and let his monstrous gaze linger for a moment.

"If you're up to the task, you should get started. Have your crew start selling Slowmo, I'll also supply you Loa for no charge since we're under the same umbrella. I'll inform the other crews that you're with us now and have them get in touch. Let everyone meet each other."

Alliances like this didn't work if the people involved were strangers. It fostered camaraderie, and made it easier not to shoot the wrong person if something went wrong. Nothing hurt more than friendly fire.

"We'll need more territory, both inside and outside of The Nillies for safehouses, cookhouses, and street dealing. I'll see who what I can do until we have the numbers to hold more turf."

Yves and his organization were tough, smart, powerful, but even with the four or five crews they had they were outnumbered by many of the other mobs who were international, intergalactic, and interdimensional.

If JP was really as ambitious as Yves thought he was, they could reach they heights too.

"Your friend, Michael, reach out to him. His people are the easiest to work with. I don't think they would mind sharing as long as we repay them."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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JP just nodded, smiling ear to ear. Yves may have been horrifying when he stared at him, but the man was smart, and making all the moves JP wanted. He got up quick, fishing in his back pocket for a cellphone which he tossed to Khan. When his heavy-set comrade looked at him inquisitively he just chuckled. "My burner, brother. Use yours to call some of the crew that's just hangin' in the crib. Have 'em come pick up some Loa, and start moving it now." He paused for a moment, carefully smoothing out the wrinkles in his shirt. "Use mine to holler at Mikey, tell him I got some business for him. Set a meet somewhere."

"You got it, boss, but why the rush? Drugs sell themselves, we don't gotta hustle double-time."

With a roll of his eyes JP walked over and patted Khan's bald skull. tsking as he did so. "We do gotta hustle double-time, triple if we can. You see that nice man right there?" He pointed to Yves. "He's gettin' us in on some deep shit if you didn't pay attention. And I have a feeling he's the kind of cat who wants the important shit above board."

Khan just shrugged, "So?"

"So, you dense muthafucka, let's get goin'. We need a cash infusion, because we're about to hit the real estate market. Buy a nice house or two."

Khan just looked more confused than ever, but he did as he told, getting up and sauntering out of the VIP room. Plate of Ricky's still in hand. JP turned his attention back to Yves once his second in command cleared the room.

"I appreciate the opportunity, man, and you don't gotta worry. We small, but smart. You got a few dummy corporations, right? I'm thinking once we get the scratch together we'll hand you the money, and you can use a cover to buy a house or two in our block of the Nillies. Cookhouses, we already got safe spots, but this way everybody's covered and we got paperwork to prove it."

Once Yves responded, JP would bounce, heading back to the van in triumph, and setting his whole crew in motion while he waited for Ugly Mike to call back.

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Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples Character Portrait: Yves de Lutece
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#, as written by Saarai
"Everything will be taken care of, I can assure you." Yves told JP, "Watch your back, Jean-Paul. The others might not like us getting too big for them to handle." He warned the man. The Russians would be the biggest problem, they were excessively violent and greedy.

A preemptive strike was the way to go. Yves would need to come up with a plan once the other crews did their part. Not far from the nightclub, Ugly Mike and some of his own people sat within a diner. Late night breakfast, coffee, and sleight of hand passing off drugs to passing partygoers was the mood.

"Phone." One of Mike's people said, passing a buzzing cellphone across the table. "I got syrup on my hands. Do it for me, Trin." Mike said, "I didn't know I was your butler." Trin responded jokingly, making sure he started the call and held the phone close to Mike's ear.

"You got Mike."

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Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples
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One perk of being a smaller crew mas moving fast. Damn fast. Khan was already back at their base, a rundown two story townhouse smack in the middle of Rixton-Nillie. Inside people were already rushing around, folks snatching up guns, and drug packets. Keys being exchanged, burners swapped, the whole nine. The massive black man stood in the middle of the living room, directing thugs like traffic when he finally remembered he had a job to do. That's when he called.

"Yo yo homes this is Khan. JP's man if you remember. Some shit's goin' down. Big shit. My man wants to meet, hit him up with yo location. Shit's important.", with that he hung up, and jerked out the phone's SIM card. It wasn't much, but it was a start.

Within the hour close to twenty men would be armed, and slinging on every corner that flew green colors. In fact, they'd been given orders to be rather aggressive, setting up right on the line against other people's turf. Well, as long as those people weren't affiliated with Yves. Khan and three buddies were hitting up any get togethers, hyping up Slowmo, giving small tastes, dropping Loa on the side. Even the handful of prostitutes the crew oversaw was given a share of drugs to push on the more willing clients. And armed back up in the shadows to make sure shit didn't go wrong.

While all this was going on JP was overseeing some new "acquisitions", cars mainly, and poking around the housing market. He dropped all of it when he got a text from someone in Mike's crew, and split for the little dinner.

He looked beyond overdressed for it when he got there, and he stood out pretty bad. To make matters worse was he only touched the door-handle to the joint with his index and thumb, real gingerly. He wanted nothing to do with whatever slime seemed to stick to every surface of the dive. He made his way uneasily over to Mike's table, staring at the booth seat with disdain.

"How the fuck do you people sit in a place like this, and not die of god-knows-what diseases? Please tell me you ain't seriously eatin' here."

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Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples
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#, as written by Saarai
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Mike said, the other bikers at his table chuckling. "At least, I hope so." He said, poking a finger at his bacon. "I'll go to mass tomorrow before the music festival and get a blessing from Saint Agrippina to keep me from needing my stomach pumped." Ugly Mike joked.

"So," He began, "What's going on? Got some problems with the Slowmo?" The biker asked JP, "I know at least one of your guys was good at chemistry in high school. I was always a shop kid, myself."

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Character Portrait: Liam Casey Character Portrait: Pixie Sorenson
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#, as written by Lialore
Raves weren’t usually Pixie’s thing. She didn’t dance anymore. But she’d heard about this one, she knew most of the people who were working there. Still, her uncertainty was plainly written over her expression for a few seconds. It wasn’t really her scene, but then again, she tended to think too much of herself; personally and professionally. It didn’t matter much where or what you sold, calling yourself ‘high class’ meant little. Your soul was still rotten.

Nowhere in this city was her territory, everywhere in this city was a risk. If she got caught out.

She thought it over whilst she smiled emptily at Gene. This ‘mate’ was either being paid, or he was a babysitter. He didn’t seem too pleased with his appointment either way. Unfortunately for Gene’s reputation, Pixie would put her money on the latter.

“How thoughtful of you, sounds like a plan” she said, very aware of the huge difference between their accents.

Her impression was that keeping Gene sweet should be easy. Men like him tended to enjoy being told what they wanted to hear. And with most of them, they didn’t really hear much of that either. They just had eyes and tongues. Like snakes.

“Not that we’ll need a driver’s company all night. I live close.”

With a smirk, she walked past him closely and over to the car, let herself in, and sat in the passenger seat. The sounds of sirens were silenced as she closed the door.

It was all slightly arrogant and overly mysterious. Pixie had always preferred to call herself an ‘actress’ rather than be guileless.

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Character Portrait: Liam Casey Character Portrait: Pixie Sorenson
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#, as written by Saarai
"Hi." Liam said Pixie, lifting his chin in an awkward greeting. He was thrown by her just jumping into his car, but he was playing the chauffeur role. He couldn't say anything and ruin Gene's date. The Englishman could do that on his own. And chances are he would.

Liam was relieved when Gene slid into the car himself. Things would, hopefully, be less awkward with him around. "We're going to that thing. The one on Rockford." Gene told the Irishman, "Are you sure?" Liam asked, "Of course. I'm sure. Why wouldn't I be?" Gene asked the man.

"Rockford is an RDV area, and you tend to drink and start being a cunt. You'll end up startin' a fight and getting your arse kicked." Liam explained, "I'll be fine. Just drive." Gene ordered.

"I can handle myself, babe. Real top boy back where I'm from, innit?" Gene said to Pixie as the car began moving, "I command enough respect that we won't have any issues."

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Character Portrait: Liam Casey Character Portrait: Pixie Sorenson
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#, as written by Lialore
“Hi” Pixie replied to their chauffeur, without sparing him a glance.

Gene was proving himself to be exactly what she thought quicker than she’d expected. She kept her eyes ahead, looking through the droplets that had settled on the windscreen and distorted the street that stretched in front of them as she leant back into her seat.

“Where are you from? I never heard anyone talk like you do. Another planet?” She asked, certain that he wouldn’t pick up on her sarcasm and take her dumbness for easiness.

“There won’t be any problems tonight, anyway. I can make sure of it.”

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Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples
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"You'd be fuckin' bulletproof if it did, man." He slide into the booth, holding in his discomfort, and doing his best to appear casual. He wasn't paranoid like Gerone, he just didn't like being unclean in the least. Just a little personal hang up. He shooed one of Mike's boys to the side, so he had a comfortable amount of room, and once he was sitting across from his friend, he launched straight into it.

"Remember my 'suggestion' at the meet? The one that got laughed off?", he chuckled, thinking back to how the room reacted. "That scary motherfucker, Yves, hit me up, wanted to talk business.." He locked eyes with Mike. "He's in, and wanted me to throw an invitation your way. Or at least ask you to remain neutral, I guess." JP went quiet as a waitress walked by, if Mike and his crew were sitting here, working, the place was probably safe, but better not to risk it.

Once she passed he picked up a menu, grimacing at the contents.

"It's a real simple plan, but one that needs guns, bodies, and cash. Pay off gunna be huge. You might still think I'm small time as fuck, my brother, but Yves ain't, right? So." He tossed the menu aside, once again establishing eye contact. "You in?"

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Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rixton Nillies Disciples
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#, as written by Saarai
"I'll talk to the other bosses and get in touch with Yves. The dude's smart, a step above the other mobs in this city." Mike said, "The Money Gang is all about profit, so we have a decent relationship with Yves' people. Everything should go smoothly." He told JP.

"Anything you need in the meantime? Breed chapters in other cities are gonna be getting in on this, selling to other gangs and independent dealers. Break us off and we can start taking some of your product out of town too." The biker said.

Yves was right about him. He was easier to work with. A businessman. That was probably why he and JP had a good relationship. The crown meant nothing if you couldn't put diamonds in it.

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Character Portrait: Rory O'Connell
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It was a cold day already, at all of five A.M, the sun's awfully pale rays barely creeping up bast row after row of dilapidated buildings. The Nillies was a cold place in general, and it showed in every facet of one's life. Unlike most cities, or suburbs, where people would just be waking up on a beautiful morning, children running papers in rustic communities, or working men on their lawn, flipping through a tablet with a cup of coffee; here the thugs, pushers, and prostitutes were just now calling it a day, and heading to sleep. Hungry, shady, and destitute people all shuffled into their little houses, if they could even be called that, and slammed their doors, eager for the reprieve sleep brought.

From a small hill, a once grassy knoll, but now a lonely mound of dirt stationed right next to an abandoned mill, stood a man, simply watching. He took every minute detail in, that was his job after all.

You could tell he was young enough from up close, but from a distance he just looked haggard, and old. Dressed head to toe in a simple, flowing black garment, with a gleaming white collar, stood Father O'Connell, shaggy black hair a mess as always. He did this every morning, once the church was prepared for Early Mass. He'd set the tables, spark the incense, make sure each pew had a battered, torn up bible on it, and throw the once grand double-doors open.

They were large oak things, once intricately carved, and beautiful, now faded, indistinguishable hunks of wood on broken hinges.

He sighed as he watched what could've, should've, been his parish in their daily trudge home. He leaned back against one of the doors, his head hanging low. "Perhaps the view is why the morning is so chilling..", he mused to himself, a bad habit he'd gotten into. No one ever really came to speak to him anymore, so he spoke to the only person he knew would listen. Even if he felt absolutely alone.

God.

Of course, he was a sane man, and God never answered, but it still made him feel a little less lonely. At times like this, when things seemed bleak, he liked to mentally fill in the blanks where God might have responded. "I know, I know..", he exhaled in exasperation. "More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope", he snickered a little, "Roman's 5:3-4. I know. Endurance is a virtue, and probably why your clergy invented hair shirts, and these damn collars." He tugged at his without even realizing it.

"Just once, though. Just once.."

With those soft spoken, trailing words he pushed away from the door, it creaking, and cracking in response, and checked his watch. Somehow a half an hour had passed. Mass should be beginning. He shot a quick glance over to the church's sign, half hoping he'd forgotten to set it, but he as always, he hadn't. The old, and beaten sign stood tall on the hill, marred with graffiti, and neglect, but the words on it still legible.

"St. John of The Cross Refuge
We Welcome One And All In His Name.
Mass Hours:
Mon-Fri: 5am, 7am, 12pm, 5pm.
Sat: 5am, 7am, 12pm, 7pm, 9pm.
Sun: Midnight Mass available, otherwise Sat hours."

The plain truth was that no one was coming. With a bit of self pity he ambled into his church, a once proud accomplishment of Gothic stone work, now crumbling. He passed the first set of pews, half of them missing legs, he nodded to the bisected figured of The Blessed Mother, he closed his eyes as he passed a shattered stained glass window. It was his daily walk of shame, from the door to his battered pulpit. He stood behind it, hands running over the cut edges, memories of the drunken man who barged in, shouting and smashing things playing freshly in his mind.

He sighed and bent to reach for his vestments, and cross, just in case, but stopped short for the first time.

"Why?" He thought. "Why bother? What was the point?"

After all, he'd done this exact routine every day for five years, and people stopped showing up three years ago. It was ritual, it was duty, it was ingrained, but it was also pointless. Nobody would show, not even for free coffee, and fresh muffins. Nobody cared, not in this city. A wave of disgust crept over him, and he decided it was time for a change. He quickly helped himself to some coffee, which he proceeded to spike with cheap Whiskey, and retired to his office just behind the Sanctuary.

He threw himself down into his folding chair with a huff, taking a strong sip, and picking up yesterday's mail. All bills, all overdue. Any refuge his rebellion may have offered was quickly snuffed out. He moved some loose papers off the desk, and fished his laptop out from a desk drawer. The thing barely ran, and he struggled to turn it on. It'd been given to him when he was "assigned" to this church, and it was used then, but it would do. It had a calculator, and he could send messages asking for mercy from hounding debt collectors, and angry electric companies.

"Just a sign..", he called out, as the old piece of tech whirred, and hissed to life. "Just anything..Anyone..Give me a reason.."

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Character Portrait: Viktor Vetrano Character Portrait: Charlie Munroe Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rory O'Connell
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#, as written by Saarai
"This is the place?" Charlotte asked as she walked behind Michael, "It's a dump." Viktor said, pushing one of the pews. It was weak. A harder push and it would have fallen apart.

"The others are either full, weird, or a hospital. Sitting in a hospital freaks me out a little." Michael admitted, scanning for sturdy pews. "Here." He said to the others, leading them to the seats.

The group was dressed up decently, Viktor in a black suit, Michael in a clean purple flannel, and Charlie in a pair of slacks, a white blouse, and suspenders. They couldn't go to church wearing just anything.

"So, what happened to you last night?" Michael asked Charlie, "I sent you a text to meet me at the diner." He continued, "It's a long story. But, I was at Sinners' Circle last night when that shooting happened. Got sidetracked helping Cicero." Charlie answered, "Heads down." Viktor said to the Munroe siblings.

In unison all three leaned forward, hands clasped together and eyes closed. No matter where they were in life, no matter what bad they did for whatever reason, they held onto their faith.

It was the only thing keeping them all grounded.

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Character Portrait: Viktor Vetrano Character Portrait: Charlie Munroe Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rory O'Connell
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For the most part the man sat, fused to his screen. It was a never ending task, going from one agency, debt collector, or service provider to the next. People had been kind to him, so far, but even in a devote City patience would be running thin, and pills stacking high. He'd just finished reading a particularly nasty, and downright threatening e-mail from the power company. He understood their anger, he was seven months behind after all, but for some reason the needless nastiness, and threats of violence hurt him. He sighed, glancing up from his laptop. That was another habit of his, look away now and again, a break was good for the eyes, after all, and he needed those.

What with the long life of bible readings to non-existent audiences he had ahead of him.

He was about to chuckle at his own cynicism when he noticed a literal miracle though a the void where a window was supposed to be. People. Real, live, breathing, human being people. In his church no less! In lowly Saint John of The Cross! Joy screamed through his body, and his hands actually shook as he pushed his coffee mug aside. They were bowing in prayer, and respect and everything! Not more looters. He looked up at the ceiling for a moment with a sly grin. "I'll either take that as an answer to my prayers, or a request to shut up. Either way, thank you."

He hurriedly got up, made himself presentable, and tried his best to stride into the Sanctuary as calmly as possible.

If he was sure no one would be looking, he would've skipped. Instead he stood at the first rows of pews, intently watching the strangers. They seemed a rough sort, although everybody in VL was a rough sort, and yet. Oddly well dressed, for around here anyway. A suit, clean clothes, they had money, more than the people around him at least. He pondered his new guests for a moment, respectfully remaining silent while they offered whatever prayers they had.

That's when he remembered manners.

He quietly walked over to the coffeepot, it was stale by now, but it was the best he could do. He poured a cup for each of his visitors, just in case, and set out napkins with sadly cold muffins on them. He looked back to the three, the second they would seem done with their personal prayers, he'd speak up.

"I'm afraid you've missed early mass, another hour until the next, but! The Refuge of Saint John of The Cross welcomes you gladly, my children. Tell me, what can I do for you today?"

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Character Portrait: Viktor Vetrano Character Portrait: Charlie Munroe Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rory O'Connell
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#, as written by Saarai
Michael was the first to look up, shaking his head at the priest. "I think we're good, Padre. Just gonna get our penance and be on our way." He told Rory, "Our?" Charlie asked, "My penance." Michael corrected himself, "Actually... what's the deal with this place?" The biker asked.

He felt he knew the answer. This church was likely not a front for any criminal enterprises, or didn't monetize faith. In Van Leugen you did one, or both.

There were more than enough preachers willing to get on TV and take money from worshippers, and just as many who let criminals stash drugs or weapons.

"You could use a fundraiser." Charlotte said, "A really long one."

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Character Portrait: Viktor Vetrano Character Portrait: Charlie Munroe Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rory O'Connell
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Father O'Connell chuckled a little, placing his cup on a pew as he did. Honestly he half expected the minimal weight of it to break the pews leg, but it held up. "Fundraisers don't work so well when no one shows up.", his voice had a twinge of sorrow to it, but he did his best to hide it with a good sense of humor. "Well, no. That's a lie, last time I held a fundraiser someone did show up.", he eased himself into a seat just next to the three. "He tried to steal the poorbox, and got very, very angry when it was empty." The young priest motioned to the busted stained glass window. "That's how that happened."

He paused for a moment, his head bowed low in a very brief, and very silent prayer.

When he finished, he lifted his head, looking straight forward as he spoke. "From the looks of it I'd say you three have good wealth. At least for The Nillies, and since you're here in The Nillies, I think I can guess where it comes from, too." He almost sounded stern, almost, but in truth he was just stating the unvarnished way of things around here. "It is not my place to judge though, so don't worry about that. Truth be told I'm just happy to see anyone getting use out of this old place while it's still standing." He glanced over at his guests, namely Mike. The man exuded authority, and danger, but after so long in The Nillies it didn't scare Rory anymore.

"Confessional is always open, should you seek it my children, as are the doors if you ever require a safe place, and a little solitude." He chuckled again, he simply couldn't help it, because it was laugh or cry. "Or..A lot of solitude, actually. I think even the mice have abandoned me here."

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Character Portrait: Viktor Vetrano Character Portrait: Charlie Munroe Character Portrait: Michael Munroe Character Portrait: Rory O'Connell
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#, as written by Saarai
"Actually..." Michael began, "I'm a criminal." He admitted, "Michael Munroe." He said, reaching across to shake the priest's hand. "And, we're detectives." Charlotte said, gesturing to herself and then to Viktor. "Private detectives." Viktor said, exposing his Italian accent.

"We're basically family, Charlotte here is my family, actually, so we don't judge." Michael told Father O'Connell. "Despite my attempts to get Mike out of the game. It's dangerous. We lost a lot of friends, family, to stuff like that." Charlie added.

"Yeah, but I'm smarter these days. More aware." Mike boasted. He was always intelligent, but not he was wiser. He'd be a liar if he said he really wanted out of the criminal world. He really just wanted to make enough money to keep his mother set for life and then he could move on.

Move up.

Maybe even die one day knowing that crime paid for awhile.

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Character Portrait: Liam Casey Character Portrait: Pixie Sorenson
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#, as written by Saarai
"Another planet is kind of accurate." Gene told Pixie, "It's complicated." Liam added. It wasn't all that complicated, but he wasn't planning on boring Pixie. Eugene needed all the help he could get if he planned on being his normal self. "You should join us, KC. You might meet yourself a girl." Gene said to the Irishman.

"Pixie here can help you out. Give you some tips." The Englishman joked, "I don't think I'm the one who needs tips, fella." Liam retorted, coming to a stop at a streetlight.

He glanced at his rearview mirror, laying his eyes on Gene. "I'll go." He said, figuring that if he was around to keep Gene on a leash he could prevent him from getting into any trouble and ruining his night with Pixie.

"That's what I'm talking about!" Gene said excitedly, "Back before Liam here was so uptight he used to party. And then he got a girlfriend and got boring. Got even more boring when they broke up." Gene explained to Pixie.