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Futuristic FROSTBITE | A Frozen Post-Apocalyptic Adventure

Before she could respond properly to his "offer" a commotion from behind prompted her to look in that direction, where stood the woman and business guy from the man's table now near the exit.
Naturally, Vincent waved as the scavenger lady looked his way.

"You think they're talking about us?" He asked the mute woman, slightly tilting his head. "I'm gonna go find out."
Just the same as he'd crossed the common area the first time, Vinny began strolling his way over to the negotiators, squeezing between cramped tables and pedestrians as he went, keeping eye contact with the two survivors watching him.

Thus far into the ice age, Vincent had lived by certain rules, and generally speaking these rules had served him well. Perhaps the most valuable, living as he did in the subway: Crime thrives in broad daylight. Well, figurative daylight. One who decides to perform back-alley dealings in an actual back-alley is much more likely to suffer the consequences of the profession - No, dirty deeds are much safer carried out in public, where buyer's remorse or a stickup could lead to an undesirable end for all. This principle, Vincent found, applied more often than not whenever danger may lurk. Collateral damage is a powerful deterrent, and he had the entire sardine-can of the common area as a meat shield.

"How's it going over here, Mr. Thorn?" He greeted rhetorically, standing beside his acquaintance to even out the four-to-one ratio.
"Hey-" Vincent wagged his finger laterally across the divide with an inquisitive tone. "I know you. You're, uh, Shroud, right?" He pretended to search for the right name. "I'm Vincent, I heard good things about you from a Ghost buddy of mine, big fan. I like the mask, very mysterious..." He flashed a thumbs-up, then turned his attention to the obviously overstrung woman.

"Iiiii-" He briefly dragged on. "-Haven't met met you, though, and I'm sorry to intrude, but I can't help but feel some tension across the room. Is there something you wanted to discuss with my associate and I? I'm all ears.

Interactions: Triangles Triangles Absollover77 Absollover77 Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic Megilagor Megilagor
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Mikhail "Shrieker" Sokolov
34 | Cismale | Citadel
Location: Communal Area

Getting used to the tunnels was a challenge but the communal area seemed like a place where anyone could be anyone and no one would bat an eye. As long as you didn't cause trouble and Mikhail did his best to keep a low profile. This was his second day in the tunnels and was still trying to find a way to get some inside information on what the politics around here was like. It was kinda hard to tell whether or not people knew about the Citadel poking their noses around in an attempt to find their weaknesses. The only Citadel activity that people were aware of in the tunnels were the mercenary gigs that agents would dish out to anyone willing to do their dirty work. Mikhail would take the work if he was on the outside, they paid well. Although if you had any semblance of self-awareness you'd know that working for the citadel no matter what your association was a gilded cage. They have what everyone in this wasteland wants, currency, shelter, food, water, heating, beds, and hot showers just to name a few. And like many who chose the Citadel, Mikhail knew that he would be cared for as long as he pointed his gun in the direction they wanted him to. If he wanted to he would tell a story about raiding a raider clan or two but not without thinking about the time he had to gun down a camp of defenseless survivors for raiding a supply depot to keep their loved ones safe.

His thoughts preoccupied him as his feet dragged on the hard cold floor of the subway. He picked up some idle conversation as he paced to distract himself. The chatter of civilization was calming to him. Hearing people discuss daily monotonies, barter, and banter with each other helped him connect to himself more as he appreciated the humanity that happened around him. But that was minuscule compared to Mikhail's desire to be in his quarters back at the Citadel. He's an interesting character. He'll fantasize about a life where he could be free from his past yet he chooses to stay trapped in it along with the gilded cage of the Citadel. People down here would kill to be in his position, even having nice and in-condition boots was enough for some people to envy him.

He stuck out like a sore thumb in the tunnels, he just didn't have the grunge you would expect from someone who had been struggling in the dimly lit and at times claustrophobic subway system. But he seemed to know how to handle himself which meant that no one would attempt to mess with him with his rifle slung around his shoulder and his pistol and knife holstered.

He decided to take a break from his wandering to walk up to one of the merchant stands where he was able to get a cup of hot tea that he got with the few thermal tokens he stole from someone who had them lying around. Once he received his tea, he found an empty table and sat for a moment.
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Joel "Ranger" Dawson | Vitals: 100%
Location: 'Substation One' Tunnel Junction
Interactions: N/A | Mentions: N/A

The Metro never seemed to get any less stale, even as 'away' from civilization as this particular unexplored substation was. The only change was in odor- either more or less intense depending if something desiccated was nearby. Smoke, gunpowder, the activated charcoal filters his AVON contained- each had a distinct scent that brought a strange familiar comfort. Here? It didn't matter if the room had clean linoleum tiles faded with time; if the benches were unrusted and the vent grates spotless and free of runny drippings. The musty, heavy smell was a constant companion; making him all the more appreciative of the occasional surface expedition to take in the crisp frigid air. Flecks of fine rust hung in the air around the breached steel door, the man stepping inside with the bustle of a rifle scraping softly against his chest. It was a habit he could never shake- that primal tension seconds after breaching a room, not knowing who was going to be lurking around the corner. A tap on his right shoulder instinctively prompted him to move forward and pivot to the right; snapping his rifle up to scan his surroundings as a pair of boots made a similar sound behind him, then another. Methodically, they sounded aloud to themselves.

"Right clear."

"Left clear."

"Last man, flank secure."

A heartbeat later, and his rifle lowered. Another, and he pressed down on the radio at his chest as he spoke. His distinctly Southern baritone carried louder than he wanted it to.

"Ranger to Base."

"Base, go ahead."

"Substation entry successful, no contacts."

"Copy, proceed with search and retrieval. Out."

Releasing his hand, he blew out a quick sigh as the adrenaline peaked in his body, now working to bring it back down as quickly as possible. "Take anything you can find. The Center's got a good stock of rations to last a few more months. Techs want electronics and scrap this time around. Food is just a bonus."

John, the man to his left, spoke up with a hint of concern in his voice. "Think they'll say anything regarding the uptick in-"

"They will, I'm sure. For now, mission takes priority. Fan out." The sound of rubber boots clodded idly against the floor as the room, no bigger than a medium-sized loading platform with a security office, was descended upon by the small team of three. As expected, the platform held nothing of value, and the Metro's train tunnels were closed on either side. That was a project for the Engineers. The attention soon turned to the vacant security office on the far side of the room. Already, he could see the reflection of a monitor through the dusted glass. That was already a jackpot in a place like this. Striding up to the door, Joel tried the knob, and promptly kicked the door open to break the decades-old locking mechanism. Inside was just as he suspected- a desktop case, monitor, phone setup, and even a printer. The rearward compartment of his Paratus could fit the monitor and phone- the rest would be shifted to his teammates. Joel got to work packing the technological items in his backpack and turned around to see the reflection of disappointment looming in John's eyes as he glanced at the desktop. Joel looked up and smiled at the expense. "C'mon kid, suck it up. Lift with your legs and you'll be fine." Micheal peered around the doorway and sighed as Joel finished zipping up his pack, standing to his feet with a grunt. "Get your things and fall in behind me. I'll cover us out and then we're coming back for whatever else is here."

The resulting silence almost made Joel snicker as the man dejectedly made their way into the room. They were both late twenty-somethings eager to make a home within the Syndicate's AEG- and not at all expecting this to be on their list of assignments. Despite being seen as the most 'difficult' of the new inductees, Joel didn't see it that way. He was no babysitter and frequented most missions alone, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to step in to help train the new boots. As far as he was concerned, they were just what the Syndicate could rely on when the going got tough. To him, that was all that mattered.
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Parker "Hero" Kaneko
Communal Area

Parker held his plea for as long as his pride would allow against a nonexistent reaction-- about thirty seconds of excruciating silence. Each moment that passed only served to degrade the innocent, ignorant smile he had presented to the man before him as it sank to something neutral and then to a scowl before he finally spoke up, "Okay, I see you're completely uninterested in sharing. Sorry to bother you."

Without skipping a beat, the man was on his feet with the chair scraping at the speed of his exit before Parker pushed it back under the table. It was time to move onto Plan B: torture and then execution. That wasn't something that particularly sounded good or brought any kind of pleasure to 'Hero', but he knew just from the whispers in the Subway that The Citadel was coming around more and more. At best, it was simple interest in what was going on down here; it had grown a lot since he had first arrived, and now this station was beginning to get quite the reputation as a spot to settle down in. Parker knew, though, that it was more realistic that The Citadel saw this as a place to govern and rule-- it's size presenting a potential problem and a perfect target for occupation. At worst, The Scavenger was going to have to brave a long surface journey in hopes of finding another station. He didn't know how he would do it, truthfully. How would he keep the water from freezing? How would he procure that much food? How long would he last before he was just lump of ice and snow face-down in the street never to be uncovered?

Parker shivered at the thought. The Scavenger could almost feel the cold creep up through his body, the snowballing of weight on his eyes, the shake of his knees as they buckled. 'Hero' had been told that freezing to death was a lot like falling into a deep, comfortable sleep, but he didn't buy it. Strings of panic would tie up just about any sense of relief he would be having right up until the point where he couldn't think anymore and then it would likely be over.

'Hero' made his way over toward the exit, but a group of seven or so seemed to be having an increasingly heated discussion about something he wasn't privy on. Parker thought for a moment that perhaps he could try and squeeze by, but that seemed like a hassle if one of them tried to stop him for whatever reason; it would be even worse if they openly started to fight just as he walked by which would be his luck if he was honest with himself. Instead, The Scavenger propped up against a nearby, mostly-empty table-- save one stranger, before letting his balled fist keep his head raised as he looked on with minor frustration, "Any idea what they're on about?"

Parker hadn't exactly stopped to look at who was there, but as he turned his head slightly he knew right away that something was off. The guy was too clean, too presentable, and sported a demeanor that was far removed from the beaten down hopelessness that was ever-present in the faces of the Tunnel Dwellers. Compared to Parker-- who wore a worn out, oversized hoodie and patched jeans, the dude was clearly a couple tax brackets higher than himself. The separation was so vast that the man pulled back for a second and peeked at his boots under the table-- new, of course. Unfortunately, 'Hero' knew that kind of comfort and luxury existed only in one place, The Citadel; after all, it takes one to know one-- even if one of them was just a former member. What had he done to deserve to bump into three of their guys at once?

The Scavenger let out a huff of air from his nose almost to say 'here we go', "You new around here?"


Dimitrij "Shroud" Moroz
32 | Male | Ghost Network
Shroud felt emotionally hurt at Lena's words, sure they weren't the best of buds back at the Chisel Clan but they were more than strangers so that should count for something.
"You don't have to hurt my feelings, Lena."
Shroud jested at Lena's words which was shortly followed by a few remarks from her companions ending with Lena gut-punching one of them.
"Ouchie. That hurts doesn't it bud? But be glad she didn't do a crotch shot."
Shade said while looking at the gut-punched companion of Lena's, while imaging what he said an expression of imaginary pain appeared on his face, one could see he winced at the very idea of this happening to him, and that made him remember why he didn't poke at Lena back at the Clan, with her fist of steel that would be painful.

Shroud looked at the approaching man, he could tell from the moment he met him that he didn't like him one bit but his words only made it certain, so wanting to make a remark he did.
"Yeah, I'm Shroud. I know I made the mask myself, and I have to say I like ya Vinny if I can call you that, but you know what, I liked you more when you were silent."
Shroud miming pulling a zipper on his gasmask as if to ask him to shut up, before pulling an imaginary lock, closing it around the zipper, shutting it close with an imaginary key, and throwing the imaginary key away. Truthfully it was too much theatrics even for Shroud, but he hoped it carried the point across.

Which sadly didn't carry across since he seemed to ignore his miming completely, feeling a bit pissed at the dude Shroud spoke once again, this time with a bit of venom in his voice.
"There's no tension here buddy, at least there wouldn't be any if that buddy of yours, with you and your friend over there weren't ready to go all trigger-happy on us for wanting to leave this place. So mind turning around and leaving would ya."
He happily gestured towards the exit for the man in case he was hard of hearing or just plain out dum'.

After all that Shroud remembered that he saw Whisper in this room when he came in, so with a quick glance and some small details he saw her from the corner of his vision, not wanting to sell out her location in case she wasn't with those two Shroud simply kept her in his peripheral vision and spoke loudly enough for her to hear.
"And don't think I forgot about you Whisper. It's hard to forget the face of someone whom the central of the Ghost Network considers a valuable asset. You don't have to say anything just nod once for yes or just don't nod for no ok. Did they pay you for this? Is it related to the info this old man wants to share? Will you let us go free even if shit hits the fan if I say I will owe you a big favor? And you do know how much a favor with the Ghost Network is valued."
Now Shroud simply waited, while looking onto the communal area, with Whisper in his peripheral vision awaiting her answer, but not letting his guard down he kept his hands close as if to be ready to pull out his KS23 shotgun at a moments notice if shit really hit the fan.
Zera 'Whisper' Kingston
interaction: Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic
Mentions: Megilagor Megilagor Hard Boiled Hard Boiled
Zera nearly let out a relieved sigh as Vinny moved away from her. The man's loud presence near her was definitely less than thrilling to be near for the quiet woman. Being near such a loud person made her a target. Being an active target wasn't something she found any pleasure in. She shifted slightly due to Shroud's attention on her. Her head tilted when the tone of his voice dipped ever so slightly at what she could guess was her name being said. A little smile appeared on her face, as she loosened her hold on her weapons. While she trusted quite a few Spooks in the Network and she didn't personally know Shroud, she'd give him a professional curtesy just this once.

She moved away from the doorway on Lena's rather reasonable request. Not moving too far away from her last spot but she was a good three yards from the door now. Her eyes shifted to the child she had given a ration card to. Finding her eating happily in a corner, completely ignorant to the possibility of heavily armed people at one another's throats. Her eyes drifted to Lena; the blue windows to the soul given to her should their gazes meet. A silent request for this not to fall into a needless waste of bullets and blood.​

Mikhail "Shrieker" Sokolov
34 | Cismale | Citadel
Location: Communal Area
Interactions: Aegis Aegis

Mikhail only knew the basics of subway tunnel politics. Everyone who was assigned here had their own ops that only Citadel command was interested in hearing. It kind of made sense, that you isolate the agent from others to prevent collusion cause you'll never know when you're agent will be compromised or willingly defect. You cut one loose and don't have to worry about cutting the rest. At least that's how it was for undercover ops. Citadel agents wearing their insignias stuck out pretty clearly. But these were the ones who'd be giving out contract work, at least that's what they did to the naked eye. It was a way of hiding in plain sight since the tunnels had more to worry about than the big bad panopticon that oversaw the frozen wasteland. The politics down here were enough to stress anyone out, they had more to worry about than people from the surface trying to destabilize what was down here. Hell if anything maybe the Citadel doesn't have to do any work except clean up the mess once everything goes to shit. That was all Mikhail thought at least.

It was interesting that people were able to make something out of nothing down here. It was something profound about the indomitable spirit that Mikhail would think to himself about, no matter how much bad shit happens to people that don't want it they find some way to give the universe a huge middle finger.

Mikhail just really needed someone to talk to, about anything really. He was a man with a lot on his mind who had things to do. And luckily he was getting his chance. There was a commotion going on in the middle of the hub but imagine what kind of impression he would make if someone as clean as him got involved in that kind of situation. Clean by the standards of the wasteland at least. Would've been funny if he just gave into his impulses and butt into the conversation. He'd only been in the tunnels for two days but he was bored. He needed some sort of interaction that wasn't formalities with his superiors back at the Citadel. But seemingly he would get his chance.

From the corner of his eye, he looked over and saw what looked like a man much younger than him. He was hooded, his clothes patched up, clearly, he didn't seem like much but he did seem lost. Mikhail was quick enough to see him come up from his seat with a heavily clad mercenary before he chose to walk over to his table. Seemed like he was looking for something, someone, whatever. "Any idea what they're on about?" He heard him say.

"Not my business," Mikhail said before taking a sip of his now-warm tea. He only had it for a minute and the frigid air cooled in record time. He sighed in frustration as he took another sip. He noticed the hooded figure was still standing by his table and eyed him for a bit. He wasn't surprised, it was the attention he was expecting anyway. Although the hooded stranger seemed a bit too observant. Mikhail could see him look under the table and eye his boots for a bit. He didn't know what to think but clearly, this kid developed some sort of interest in him. Mikhail eyed him for a bit before the kid ushered a sentence, "You new around here?"

"Pretty obvious isn't it." He chuckled. "What's your story?"

Parker "Hero" Kaneko
Communal Area

The man across from him provided a gregarious enough demeanor despite Parker's suspicions about his affiliation. He let the man's question hang for a pregnant moment as he stared down toward the table rather than maintain eye contact, "It is pretty obvious. As for me, same as everyone else's, I guess."

Parker turned his eyes up to meet the older man's gaze, "Too much death and misery in a world where it's already too easy to be hopeless. Had to get away from it for a bit, but those kinds of emotions are always around the next corner in our reality. Just the way it is."

Nothing 'Hero' said was a lie by itself; it was simply a lack of the truth or the detail behind it. Regardless, he didn't want to raise suspicion by leaving things in such a melodramatic way that it practically begged for the man to look into him, so he opted to provide a bit more detail, "My Mother died, so I ended up on my own and wandering. I suppose it's a story that's all too common these days, unfortunately."

Parker knew he would be playing with fire to provide further information about his past or to provide additional information as to his whereabouts and doings. Instead, he turned the conversation around to the person before him in a near-accusation, "How about you? What's an upper class citizen like yourself doing all the way down here with us impoverished folk?"

'Hero' tried his best to hiss out the final part as he wanted to emulate what he could only imagine people felt when they looked at him: jealous, hurt, or even awe. Parker didn't feel anything like that. He had been in the older man's boots-- quite literally, in the past. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows; At least, it wasn't as long as you had a backbone and a conscience. Truthfully, though, it was something he could do without. Grime and dirt was the reality for 99% of the world that was left, and he so desperately wanted to identify as one of them.

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Joel "Ranger" Dawson | Vitals: 100%
Location: 'Substation One' Tunnel Junction > Communal Area
Interactions: N/A | Mentions: Everyone at the Commons

Three trips in and out of the substation, and even he was starting to feel the strain. Luckily, the pressure eased up as Central sent more men to assist with breaking into the harder areas of the substation- a maintenance access hatch and a breaker panel among other things. The room turned from three to twelve within the span of a few minutes, and as Joel and his men took the final haul at the reception of the Syndicate's central district, they were finally dismissed to head about as they needed. Joel took a seat at a nearby bench; stretching out his shoulders and slinging his rife onto the right side of his back as he sighed. Despite lowering his head for a mere moment, his vision picked up the two sets of boots pointed at him as he looked back up. John and Micheal were staring at him like lost dogs.

"..You two need something?"

"We're awaiting orders, Sir."

"-Don't call me 'Sir'. Central dismissed us. Get on out of here until you're needed next."

Joel dropped his head, making it clear the conversation wasn't going anywhere else as the boots remained fixed in place for a few more seconds before slowly turning to walk off. 'Christ, kids. I'm not your damn dad.' Most other higher-ups would've smoked them for loitering around like that, but those two had enough shit to deal with today. He, however, was going to pay a trip to the Communal area. Whereas the Citadel would've had superior sign-offs to switch designated sectors and meticulous radio protocol, all the AEG cared about was the reports to Base. If a task needed to be done or a situation was urgent, you knew. Pushing himself up off the bench, Joel stretched again and gingerly keyed his radio.

"Ranger, taking a walk to Commons."

"Base copies; keep us updated."

"Roger, out."

Observation paid off, and there was no better way to figure out life below ground than to watch and listen. Protection was a constant, and Joel's helmet almost never left his head when heading anywhere outside of the Syndicate's core territory. As the man left the sanctity of the Syndicate's entry district and crossed through the railway tunnel toward the Commons, he couldn't help but ponder John's quip from earlier in the substation. He knew exactly what the boy was talking about, and the sensationalism around the reports that the Citadel was mobilizing to expand was as concerning as it was downright annoying. Joel shook his head and sighed, returning his rifle from his shoulder into his hands as he walked through the tunnel. The ghost-white cones of light beamed off the rusted cylinder walls to his left, and he knew the upcoming corner was occupied by a pair of tunnel guards cackling uproariously on the other side. Joel sighed as he stopped, brought his rifle up to point at the leftmost tunnel, and clicked his maglight twice at the wall. Whatever banter was happening immediately ceased as the alerted stillness swept over the area. Once again, he clicked twice. A beat later, and the light illuminating the other side of the wall clicked once in response. Joel lowered his rifle and resumed walking.

When he rounded the corner, both lights snapped instantly to him as he reflexively squinted in pain. A second later, two Slavic-accented voices boomed obnoxiously in unison.


Vladimir and Voldomyr were stationed at the gate again for what was probably the third time this week. The Free Roamers, though lax in policy on disturbances, somehow made an exception to the dynamic duo the first three days after they showed up. As far as he knew, the community seemed to be getting more and more tired of their antics. It wasn't too difficult to see why. Joel kept walking forward and offered a curt nod at the duo as he showed no signs of stopping. He wasn't sure which one it was, but a disproportionately loud voice came from the top of the wooden guard post as the lights trailed him past the entryway. "Ay! Amerikanskiy! Yankee! What is shakening?!" They both erupted into a giggle fit as Joel snickered, shook his head, and kept going through. "Not much, guys. Just here on business."

"You're always on the business, Egg-man! You ought to come sit down and drink some with us one day. Eh? Promise that!"

As he passed through, he stopped and sighed. If he returned from the Commons in one piece, he might just take them up on that offer- letting themselves drink to unconsciousness, that is. "Alright, fine fine. After I get through. I'll be coming back anyway." The resulting cheers faded into obscurity as he made his way into the Commons. Every time he passed through, it was like entering another world separate from even what the Surface had to offer. The entryway was electric; sounds of tokens clattering in pockets, against wooden kiosks- rustling fabrics and all manner of figures maneuvering to and from their destinations no one but themselves would truly know. Joel had only been through here a few times. To lose the Citadel. To travel into the Ghost's territory. To start his life in the Syndicate. As much as this place belonged to the people of the Free Roamers, this was the hub for all other factions to congregate, and to that, there was merit in the notion that no matter how heated things were, under no circumstances would blood be shed without due consequence. Joel stuck out in his ACU-patterned uniform, but he wasn't here to start shit, and anyone with a brain in their head would know better than to try.

Clambering up the platform, he only stopped short to nonchalantly maneuver and lean against the nearest tiled wall. While it wasn't uncommon to see small clusters of groups form, the sheer number of odd characters in the center of the Commons made him raise his brow. Body language suggested the mood was tense, and fingers idled close to triggers- at this distance, it could just be exasperated gestures, but those combined with proximity to weapons never ended well. If so much as a shot rang out, Joel was booking it. No way in hell was he gonna get torn up by ignorance today if he could help it.
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Garrick "Reaper" Thorn
35 | Male | Free Roamer
Location: Communal Area
Mentions: Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic Hard Boiled Hard Boiled

Garrick could sense Lena's wariness and her determination to protect her group. It was clear she was a leader, someone who wouldn't easily be swayed by a stranger's words or intentions. As she scrutinized him, he kept his composure, not making any sudden moves that might escalate the situation.
Seeing Lena's icy glare, Garrick decided to take a more intimidating approach. He raised his hands again, not in surrender but in a gesture that held a subtle threat, showing that he had no immediate hostile intentions. "I see you're a sharp one," he began, his voice low and laden with an undercurrent of menace. "You've got every right to be suspicious."

He glanced to Vincent, his eyes lingering on him for a moment, a silent message passing between them. "But make no mistake, these are my people," he continued, the implication clear that crossing them was not a path one would want to tread. "To talk to me means to talk to them, and we're willing to talk as long as it benefits all of us."
Garrick paused for a moment, letting the tension in the air thicken. "We know the dangers of the surface," he hissed, leaning in slightly closer to Lena, his gaze unwavering. "And that cache you overheard being talked about, it's real, and it's a game-changer. But it's not something you and your crew can tackle alone."

He lowered his hands slowly, still maintaining a respectful distance but allowing the intensity of his presence to loom over the conversation. "So, I'll ask one more time," he said, his voice a menacing whisper. "Let's find a way to work together, and mark my words, it might be the best decision you'll make down here."
Garrick hoped that his intimidating demeanor and the ominous promises of the alliance would finally sway Lena's decision. In a world where fear ruled, he aimed to be the one they feared the least, and an alliance with him was a dangerous but potentially rewarding proposition.

Mikhail "Shrieker" Sokolov
34 | Cismale | Citadel
Location: Communal Area
Interactions: Aegis Aegis

Mikhail sat and listened as the guy in the hood gave his story. Seemed like he fit in really well as Mikhail told his story. Orphaned and here he is standing in front of Mikhail, he winced and it showed on his face. A welcoming smile soon turned into a neutral expression as he looked into the other man's eyes. His mind briefly flashed to a few years ago when he saw the horrified expression of a teenage boy who saw Mikhail shoot his mother in cold blood. Granted his face was covered and the boy couldn’t identify him but that didn't stop his throat from closing a little. He cleared his throat and took a sip of his tea as he continued listening to this stranger's story. Suddenly Mikhail assigned his face to that of everyone who had lost someone on the surface. Granted every death on the surface wasn't his fault but he was the cause of a lot of needless violence to those who never really deserved it. He thought about this person's mother and how he was expected to survive without her and he was a lot younger than Mikhail. Calling him a kid seemed a bit insulting, he was expected to be a man, presumably at a very young age.

All he did was listen until he was finally asked, "How about you? What's an upper-class citizen like yourself doing all the way down here with us impoverished folk?" Mikhail's heart skipped a beat. He wasn't expecting to react the way he did and he had to collect himself before he could respond. "Sorry about your mom." Mikhail said. Probably a peculiar way of responding when being asked a question but still, his demeanor had changed once he heard this stranger's story. He wasn't thinking about the question for a moment there as he just felt a wave of repressed guilt. Even though the stranger said it was a 'common occurrence' to lose someone in these godforsaken conditions, it didn't need to happen. The Citadel could fix a lot of problems if it just did away with its need to control and oppress others. But what could he do?

He took another sip, his tea still warm before he responded to the stranger's question, "I'm running. At least I think I am." Mikhail looked down for a bit before looking back up. "You live on the surface for too long you begin to feel trapped. Even someone as prim and proper as me can't stand the conformity that the Citadel provides for you. I will say I had it easier than most do under their control. But the curfews, the rations, the intimidating guards. I just want to get away from it all. Why? I don't know. But I'm gonna find my reason for doing so."

He was new to this undercover thing but it was his fault for not rolling in the mud before arriving here in the first place. It was true that mostly everyone who was a member of the Citadel kept up to hygienic strandards. Although you can live in luxury and not necessarily be a member of the
Citadel. You can live a decent life on the surface if you follow the rules. A lot of civilians under Citadel surveillance have their own homes with heating, comfy beds, food, and water. The quality of said amenities varies based on what your job is, but it's definitely a lot more than what's offered down here. The fact that he was vague about his story was hopefully enough to satisfy the stranger's question.

He took another sip of his tea, it was almost ice at this point. He groaned as he put the cup to the side and turned his attention back to the stranger. "Any particular reason why you're wandering?"
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Lena "Gearhead" Tannenbaum
27 | Female | Chisel Clan
Location: Communal Area| Interactions: Triangles Triangles Megilagor Megilagor Hard Boiled Hard Boiled Absollover77 Absollover77

Lena felt her temples tighten as the business guy from earlier came over to where they were. Yea, her judgment of him was just about right. He sounded just like those annoying schmoozy door-to-door salesmen from before everything went to shit. They talked a good game, but rarely anything they had to offer was even remotely close to what they were advertising. She said nothing to Vincent. She felt there was no need to as Shroud pretty much said all that there was to say about Vincent, giving her old masked friend a slight nod of approval after his eccentric gestures.

Her mind soon went to the woman she saw earlier. If Vincent was here, where was she? As she looked over to see where the woman near the exit was she was nowhere to be found. After a few moments of scanning the room for her, she found her some distance away from the exit. The two locked eyes for a moment before returning her attention to the guy that had approached her. She pondered the man's words as he spoke. So that's what his aim is. She silently considered the entire situation while still maintaining her gaze at the guy. The tension in the air was palpable as seconds of silence passed before Lena let out a sigh and placed her hand back on her hip away from the holster.

The look of worry on her companions' faces shifted from worried yet determined readiness to that of relief as they too relaxed their stances and drew their hands away from their holsters. "Fine... But just so we're clear, you do anything to my friends or anyone else in the Clan and there'll be hell to pay." She maintained her icy gaze at the guy as she said that, her tone giving off it wasn't just any threat, it was a promise should he backstab them. He definitely had a point though, caches were never easy to secure in her experience. Better to have some piece of the pie than ending up dead trying to get to the pie, but she sure as hell isn't just gonna let the guy completely determine how it was going to be portioned.

Lena turned to her old masked friend. He definitely wasn't here to overhear that stuff about the cache the first time around, but now that he's been witness to this entire fiasco it's not like they could just ignore him at that point. There's no denying they'd need some help on the run, but Lena isn't too keen on teaming up with even more strangers. She had known Shroud for quite a few years while he was still in the Clan, so what better person to start with than him? Besides, he did seem to take her side in this entire fiasco, a gesture that definitely didn't go unnoticed by Lena.

"You probably didn't come here to just say hi to some old acquaintance, Shroud, but what do you say about tagging along?"
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Parker "Hero" Kaneko
Communal Area

Parker passively ran his finger along the tabletop as the man spoke-- his finger tracing someone's poor carving of a skull in the aged wood. He seemed to have slipped into an unexpected windfall shaking the man without actually meaning to do so, yet-- instead of pressing, Parker let the man collect himself and continue. The well-kempt stranger opened his story with an apology towards Parker's mother which elicited a half-hearted smirk and nod of gratitude from the man. However, the man then made one serious mistake that couldn't be ignored. As the man spoke of his prior connected to The Citadel, Parker's pupil's constricted about as narrow as possible while his eyes snatched hold of the other man's gaze-- 'Hero' unmistakably had the aura of a predator after that revelation.

It was possible-- even likely, that the man had said nothing but the truth; that he had run away and now he was here searching for why he had done so. After all, that was something Parker could identify with on an internal level. His quick admission of his previous affiliation, though, was not the smart call in a place like this where enemies of The Citadel were practically around every corner; in fact, it was common sentiment to hate the place and anyone who came from it. Parker leaned forward across the table while keeping unblinking, unbreaking eye contact with a huffiness to his words that displayed a frustration, "Never say that to anyone ever again. Not until you've established yourself down here, and even then only to people you can trust to a FAULT. Either people will think you're a spy, or they'll want to rob you. It doesn't matter if you really came down here with the dozens of thermal tokens they WILL think you have or not, but they'll want to find out and you won't be in the best of health on the other end of that interaction. Your appearance only makes things worse. Here's some free chicken: find out how to fit in real fucking quick."

'Hero' leaned back into the embrace of his chair again and let the heavy atmosphere and eye contact linger between the two of them a little while longer before finally breaking it. Truthfully, he didn't know why he gave him that piece of advice-- he seemed like some rich guy who came down here and dove in over his head; maybe he even underestimated what things were like which is an even more fatal mistake. Yet, then he felt an almost physical increase in the tension of the group just next to him as one of the older, grizzled people puffed his chest and said a phrase that almost begged for interest, 'I see you're a sharp one.'

Of course, there were only a few things that could mean and the following exchange pretty much set in stone that she had caught him in something or that she was right to be wary of him. Parker didn't tip his hand and show an obvious interest, but he gave a terse glance to the stranger communicating that he wanted him to be quiet for a second as 'Hero' turned his head slightly to allow for a better understanding of the conversation taking place while keeping his eyes toward the man across from him. He heard everything he needed to hear: cache, game-changer, and something about them not being able to do it alone. Based on the overall atmosphere, their alliance would be a tenuous one at best; they would probably be at each other's throats by the end of it assuming they managed to deal with whatever challenge the grizzled man's ominous words promised.

Okay. Okay! This was good. The question of how he was gonna stockpile supplies for his potential bug-out was answered, but he had been lacking on one major detail: where the cache was. Normally, he would be comfortable going out there alone-- he even preferred it, but travelling to some unknown location to fight potentially seven or more people was a fool's errand and he knew it. So, he looked back to the stranger across from him, "If you've got gear, then I've got the perfect proposition for you to get your feet wet down here."

He left his wording vague in case any of the people of that group were listening so that it could be anything he was talking about, but his eyes strained in intensity before he cast a glance over his shoulder with them-- keeping his head perfectly forward as to not garner suspicion. Parker hoped that the man had taken his queue earlier and listened. Yet, he knew that if the man across from him was as green as he looked then he may need another hand. It pained him to work with multiple strangers in one setting, but it was just how things were working out.

'Hero' looked up from his table and scanned the surrounding crowd for anyone who looked like they fit the mercenary standard. As if to answer his summons, a brown haired and bearded man entered the area and took a similar interest in the group that he had. Parker let out a laugh and radiant smile-- enough to gather a bit of innocent attention, completely alien to his features before as he stood and waved heartily in the direction of the newcomer, "My friend, come over and share a drink with me."

In the same motion, Parker flashed him a serious glance that showed he meant business in one way or another.

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Mikhail "Shrieker" Sokolov
34 | Cismale | Citadel
Location: Communal Area
Interactions: Aegis Aegis Specialist Specialist

Mikhail choked up a little as the stranger gave him a stern warning about his allegiance. He realized how wrong he was in regard to his previous assumptions and didn't know just how hated the Citadel was down here. He only assumed that because of his appearance and the way he carried himself, it was the only logical assumption anyone could make. But that was his mistake, he made an assumption, a seemingly dangerous one at that. As he listened to the stranger speak to him about his affiliation, he was engaged with what he was listening to. There could be a myriad of reasons as to why he reacted the way he did, although it was clear that he had a traumatic past with the Citadel. He seemed to be one of many as there were more like him who ran down here for the same reason. So Mikhail didn't say anything as his previous assumptions were being torn down before him. He should've come more prepared for this op although the time for that is long past. This stranger was already giving him intel and it was going to help him survive down here.

There was tension at the table the two of them were sitting at. Sure there was a commotion that was going on beside them, but Mikhail zeroed in on this interaction. Mikhail didn't break eye contact for a second as he hung on every word the stranger had said to him. It was interesting that he would offer such advice to someone who did seemingly have a history with the Citadel despite not knowing much about Mikhail to begin with. They don't even know each other's names for starters yet here they were swapping their albeit true life stories. Mikhail's story was not the whole truth but his lack of a presence in the tunnels made it so no one genuinely knew who he was. In the frozen waste, his face was always covered. He never spoke in earshot of any one of his victims so they couldn't identify him by his voice. At least that's what he thought. Still, his half-truth was enough to garner some sympathy from the man.

He was half paying attention as the person he was talking to shifted focus to a conversation that was a lot more enticing. A cache huh? Could be a chance to get some connections down here, learn more about the tunnels, and uncover some secrets. Suddenly, Mikhail shifted into a soldier's mindset. He was here to do a job and a cache could offer some valuable contraband that would fulfill his mission. Judging by the stranger's actions, his interest was also peaked and was intent on getting more information about this cache they both just picked up on.

"If you've got gear, then I've got the perfect proposition for you to get your feet wet down here." The stranger said to him.

This was his chance to get himself grounded down in the tunnels and earn some respect. Seemed like the two would be working together and they would be an odd pairing at that. It would be hard to determine how honest they would be with each other if things went well. So he sat there in silence and chose to follow the lead of the man who would take point on this. As his new colleague eyed around the room he kept his glance behind Mikhail which prompted him to see what he was looking at. Another mercenary it looked like. Probably wasn’t a mercenary but he looked like he knew how to handle himself in the tunnels. Seemed like an odd bunch was going to be formed if this new stranger would agree to the proposition he was going to be offered.
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Joel "Ranger" Dawson | Vitals: 100%
Location: 'Substation One' Tunnel Junction > Communal Area
Interactions: Aegis Aegis | Mentions: Sylvio Sylvio

It wasn't long before Joel caught the distorted motion of a subtle wave out of his peripheral vision. Luckily, it wasn't initiated by the main group as their tempers flared- however by a man joining another at a table not far off from the commotion. His wave attracted the attention of the other- sparing a glance toward him as his eyes shot over in the direction of the second set of eyes, and quickly determining he wasn't affiliated with the initiative, glanced back at the group before slowly moving his way over. His gear audibly clattered against his body with every stride he took, being little more than additions to the rattles and jingles of noise in the area. The man spoke loud enough for him to hear, and Joel internally sighed at the forthcoming proposition. Protection was a double-edged sword. The longer you handle yourself in the field, the more others will rely on you for their dirty work. He couldn't draw any definite conclusions just yet, but it was beginning to be clear that whatever the group had previously been discussing piqued the man's interest- and he wanted him in on it. A few strides later Joel was situated at the wooden corner of the table- bringing up his hand to wave gently at the mention of a drink. "I'll pass on the drink. Something I can help you with?"
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Parker "Hero" Kaneko
Communal Area

Things seemed to be going okay all things considered. The man in front of him was clearly sifting through and digesting the information he had given him. Fortunately, if he could take in and adapt to information as quickly as that then he should be alright down here, but it seemed that he was considering his offer as well. Parker took the man's silence as compliance and gave him a slight nod as the other mercenary made his way over. 'Hero' turned to look as the man made his way over.

"Sure, straight to business then. You know that big job we had planned? Well, it turns out the payoff is even bigger than we thought, and I'm bringing this guy as help too. It'll be more than worth everyone's while, so let's strike while the iron is hot."

Parker could only hope that the new guy was as quick to catch on as his companion from before as the group was still nearby. After all, he had been looking at him the same way he had. 'Hero' held a sharp glance with his back to the larger group showing that whatever they were about to do would likely be in direct opposition of them, and that they were going to have to move quick. None of them knew where the cache was and that meant one thing: they were gonna have to follow the other group to its location. They would stalk them from a distance, and if there happened to be other owners of the cache then he hoped he could take advantage of their conflict to sneak in the back.

Of course, he couldn't share his ideas with the class just yet. Instead, Parker stood up and turned to leave, "I'm gonna go get ready. Be at the gate in ten minutes when you decide."

Parker left without waiting for a response. In the end, he would do it by himself if he had to and nothing could sway him from that course.


Parker's shanty shack was tucked away in a small residential part of the station-- rows of small wooden structures rising from the defilade that was the tracks that trains used to run through. It was a hasty, rickety affair, but it was his home. 'Hero' poked through the sheets that hung over what was a makeshift doorway and entered into his home. Parker was greeted by a cold drip seeping through the sheet metal roof hastily thrown atop the shanty shack. It was barely wide enough to get a few full steps in and the very little space was cluttered with a cot, a footlocker, and a wooden crate piled with a random assortment of clothes. The only non-essential decoration was a small wooden shelf that held snow globes atop it; something about them made 'Hero' feel like he had more control over his life in a strange way.

Parker opened the footlocker at the bottom of his cot and fished out a taps system replete with a few mags for a rifle, his rucksack with the gas mask hanging from the outside, and a his basic survival kit. After throwing on a few other layers he would need out there, 'Hero' sunk to his knees and move a few boards out from the platform his cot was sat on top of revealing two cases. One of them was longer and held his rifle and the other holding secrets he would rather leave buried there. The man unclipped the long gun case and fished the marksman rifle out from within, and sat it on his bed before applying a layer of CLP across the bolt of the rifle.

He slung the rifle over his shoulder, placed the boards back over the hidey hole, and stepped out to potentially meet the others at the door.


Mikhail "Shrieker" Sokolov
34 | Cismale | Citadel
Location: Communal Area
Interactions: Aegis Aegis |Mentions: Specialist Specialist

Mikhail smirked as three armed men congregated at the same table and it seemed like they had a leader. Hopefully, the three of them wouldn't clash too much. Mikhail was someone who would put his ego to the side if it meant getting a mission done, and this was a win that would help him out in the long run. And if they didn't get the cache, then at least they would make sure there were no hard feelings between any of them. Some friends would be a good start to finding his way down here, if he told his story to the wrong person he would've been shot up and left buried hundreds of feet below the earth. The new guy seemed like a no-nonsense sort of fellow. And from what Mikhail has seen so far, everyone looked like they could carry their own weight. Mikhail never fought in the tunnels before but he was familiar with urban warfare and fighting in claustrophobic spaces if that was anything to go by. But right now wasn't the time to talk.

He nodded to the other two men as he stood from his seat and made his way through the crowd, away from the busy marketplace. He made a left turn where he walked onto a platform which was turned into a motel of sorts. This was a terminus and there were old subway cars that were converted into motels. Parts of the cars were sectioned off to make a room. Mikhail walked into the room he rented out. All it contained was a sleeping bag and shutters with his duffel bag placed under the seat. He pulled it out, zipped it open, and took out the rest of the gear he needed. He took his helmet and nvg goggles out, attaching them together before fitting his helmet onto his head. He also took out his gas mask and attached it to his holster where his knife and pistol were.

As he was about to leave, he saw a flashing light from the corner of his eye. It was his earpiece to contact the Citadel. He placed it on his left ear and answered.

"Command to Shrieker."

"This is Shrieker, send traffic."

"What's the status of your mission?"

"Currently prepping to tail some terrorists to find a cache of contraband. Will update with any intel I find."

"Solid copy Shrieker. Command out."

Mikhail took off his earpiece and sighed before he decided to take an MRE and water purifying tablet. He didn't know how long he was gonna be down there so best to come prepared. If lucky he might get away with snagging something off some poor free roamer. Although he might draw attention to the group if he killed unnecessarily, if it came to that he wouldn't hesitate. Not like he ever did.

As he walked out of his subway car people eyed him as he made his through the hub. If the fancy gun with attachments and clean appearance was any sort of draw for attention, his new getup certainly was just that. He stood out amongst the terrorists who Mikhail labeled. It was a deliberate move from the
Citadel to label the subway tunnels as a hive of terrorist activity. Their reason for doing so? Simply cause there are raiders on the surface and below. Some cells are connected and coordinate attacks on agents in the subway and bases on the surface. Because the Citadel has no foothold in the subway besides a few covert agents, might as well lump all its inhabitants with the raiders.

Is that what Mikhail thought of the people he met so far? No, not until they actually do anything to label themselves as such. He might even be colluding with some terrorists right now. But that’s what came with the job. Mikhail approached his squad leader with his helmet on and his rifle slung in front of him. He took some time to observe him.

“How long have you had her?” Mikhail asked as he gestured to his companion’s rifle.
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Joel "Ranger" Dawson | Vitals: 100%
Location: 'Substation One' Tunnel Junction > Communal Area
Interactions: Hard Boiled Hard Boiled | Mentions: Aegis Aegis , Sylvio Sylvio , Triangles Triangles Absollover77 Absollover77 Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic Hard Boiled Hard Boiled

'I don't even know who the hell you are.'

Joel wished he could've said that, but the man already left before he could properly deduce what exactly he was being made aware of. Seeing as the duo cleared the table to meet at the gate, Joel blew out a low sigh as he reached up and took his helmet off his head; placing it on the table before unhooking an arm and swinging his Paratus over to meet his side. Grabbing at the front compartment, he unzipped it to retrieve a Momex thermal-retention balaclava before zipping it back up and hoisting it once more onto his back. He turned, looking to the group more intensely now to get a headcount and even an identity among them. The group got smaller- or was it always four? People came and went in the blink of an eye around areas like the Commons, but some of the more inclined participants at least remained, it seemed. Grabbing his Momex in his right hand and tucking his helmet under his left arm, he dipped his head and wrinkled his nose. That man's first mention was a huge payout, of course. Another laser-focused token rat trying to rope him into a scheme- that he wasn't having much of the longer he thought about it. If he was going to be doing something, it'd be for the good of the whole, not one man's ambitions over painting a target on himself. That's how he saw it- the second the objective's done? Someone's getting popped when their back is turned. Fuck that. Observation was no longer an option in this case, and he needed an answer to whatever that ring-leader Free Roamer type was blabbing about, next to some ski-googled man and a particularly quiet woman. Luckily, there was indeed a familiar among the group he could ease into already. He'd only seen this particular man a few times in the Unity territory. Wore the colors, made the rounds, and wasn't part of the AEG- at least he didn't think he was.

Leaning himself up off the corner of the wooden table, Joel strode his way over to the side of the group to hopefully make direct eye contact with the fellow Syndicate member as he approached his direction- regardless if eyes were already on him when he approached. If contact was established, he'd look around the remaining ones either way as he moved up toward the little nook of people. He was sure the 'lead' wasn't too keen on explaining himself again, and he wasn't privy to ask either. From whatever the previous man had gathered told him, this expedition sure seemed worth something. Pushing back the Citadel's expansion? Securing territory? Brokering alliances? It was all on the table, and anything was better than nothing at all.

N "The Nightstalker"
35 | Male | Merceranry
Location: Communal Area

His hidden gaze continued to scrutinize him as the younger man reacted to his presence. He noted the subtle signs of discomfort, the nervous tic in the form of finger-clicking, and the apparent meekness in the man's voice. It was a well-orchestrated act, and he couldn't help but appreciate the finesse with which the man played his part. Of course, now the issue was to figure out if the man in front of him was truly just playing a part.

The Scavenger's words painted a picture of hesitation and inexperience, a facade meant to lower his guard. The man in front of him spoke of observing the Citadel agent all day, of mustering the courage to approach but finding solace in the idea of seeking advice from someone who seemed more seasoned. It's a plausible situation. After all, most people simply have way too much free time on their hands in this underground shithole. However, he was betrayed by someone's apparent naiveness once before and that was a mistake that he was never going to make again.

He, still maintaining his stoic exterior, allowed a flicker of curiosity to emerge beneath his gas mask. He was well aware of the risks and dangers associated with Citadel dealings, and he understood the value of cautious inquiries. The slight raise of the man's head, the admiration he feigned, did not go unnoticed by him. That was immediately odd by his standards. Since who the hell has admiration for a man like him? It was subtle manipulation, no it must be subtle manipulation. An attempt to stroke his own ego and establish a sense of camaraderie. The man in front of him's calculated approach was clear, and he silently considered the implications.

As the man spoke of his desire for guidance and the scarcity of ration cards, Jax remained vigilant. He knew that even in the seemingly innocuous, trust was a luxury he couldn't afford. His own experiences had taught him that survival required a constant balance between caution and opportunism.

His gloved hand moved with deliberate care beneath the worn wooden table, fingers brushing against the concealed holster of his weapon.
The leather of the holster, aged and weathered, offered minimal resistance as his fingers expertly navigated the mechanism. The soft sound of velcro parting, the subtlest of clicks as the latch released, and then a near-silent whisper of fabric sliding against fabric as the pistol was freed from its confines.

Jax's grip on the weapon was firm yet controlled, his gloved fingers wrapped around the cold metal of the firearm. The gas mask, visor, and heavy helmet masked any sign of exertion or tension in his expression, leaving his actions shrouded in a veil of mystery. The pistol, well-maintained and oiled to ensure smooth operation, slid soundlessly from its holster and into his hand as he silently pointed it directly at the man's crotch area underneath the table.

The faintest glint of metal caught the dim light for a fleeting moment, but it was a detail easily missed in the shadowy corner. The weapon remained concealed beneath the table, ready to be fired should the need arise. He wasn't a fan of causing a ruckus in a public place, but he wasn't exactly afraid to disturb the peace if need be. His stance remained casual, his body language betraying no hint of the weapon's presence.

Finally almost as if a way to, he responded, his voice maintaining its low, measured tone. "Approaching a Citadel agent can be a risky endeavor," he began, his words deliberate. "They value discretion and competence. If you want to get their attention, prove your worth. Offer them something they need or want—information, supplies, or services. But be careful, they're not known for their mercy. And their not exactly known for giving folks second chances."

His response was vague enough to offer some guidance while leaving room for interpretation. He didn't want to leave anything more than mere breadcrumbs for the man in front fo him.

Aegis Aegis

Parker "Hero" Kaneko
The Airlock

It wasn't a long wait for the rest of his crew to show up, just the one stranger whom he had given some advice. Parker checked his watch and saw that the allotted ten minutes had elapsed as the other man approached him seemingly ready to go, yet the man's very clearly well-maintained and rare arsenal was enough to match his own-- maybe even more so than his. 'Hero' yanked upward on the sling just around his shoulder and looked back at the suppressor that was the crown jewel of his kit as his companion asked about his rifle, "She's been mine for a few years. Trust me, I've got a good feel for her at just about any distance. I know what she likes."

Parker gave the man a bit of a snicker at his own personification of his weapon, and slung his from his shoulder and extended it away from his body so that the man could get a better look-- his hand gripping hard along the mag-well and upper receiver. It was an M110 DMR replete with the standard bipod, a powerful scope, a suppressor, and a crude decal job with paint along the mag-well, a skull holding a grenade in its mouth with nigh-vampiric teeth and burning, purple embers at the center of its eyes. The Scavenger studied his companion and considered what he should say to him as he shouldered his rifle once more, but every piece of advice he could think to give him had already been said. Plus, he was just grateful to have them around in this instance, "Nice kit-- careful not to get any dirt on it."

It was a playful jab from 'Hero' as he turned to the remainder of the tunnel before him, "Alright, let's go."

The Scavenger started a slow saunter down the bare, stone pathway toward the armored door that separated the cowardly and the resting from what real life was like these days. The Subway was as much of a blessing as it was a curse; it was a place of refuge for the scavengers and the hunters, the cowardly, the useless, and the outright parasitic. Regardless, it was something they all needed to survive, so a feeling of bitter annoyance was as far as that train of thought would ever advance. As they neared the end 'Hero' called out to the guards to let him know who was coming, "I'm going out! It's 'Hero'!"

The guards let out an acknowledgement as the duo drew down upon the door. It was an imposing sight no matter how many times you saw it, a massive steel cork against the hell that could come pouring into the tunnels from outside. The Scavenger looked over to his companion, "Oh-- yeah, call me 'Hero'. Forgot about introductions."

'Hero' came to a stop just shy of the door and popped the gas mask from his shoulder and placed it over his mouth and nose before sealing it with a few deft hand motions and blowing.

There's no tension here buddy, at least there wouldn't be any if that buddy of yours, with you and your friend over there weren't ready to go all trigger-happy on us for wanting to leave this place.

With genuinely zero clue regarding what the Ghost was going on about, Vincent stood his ground, arms crossed, until the man turned his attention to the mute woman across the room. He did, however, note Shroud claiming he liked him, and thus that was what he clung onto.

"I don't go trigger-happy on anyone, friend..." Vincent assured him, and was about to continue were it not for a second familiar face approaching him.

Leaning himself up off the corner of the wooden table, Joel strode his way over to the side of the group to hopefully make direct eye contact with the fellow Syndicate member as he approached his direction- regardless if eyes were already on him when he approached.

"Now if you'll just-"
goldfishlike attention span latching onto the scavenger like stink to shit, Vincent caught Joel's eye over Shroud's shoulder, once again interrupting himself to greet his associate.
"Excuse me."

"He-hey, I thought I smelled brooding!" Vincent
slipped directly through Shroud and his crew to Joel, expressing a complete disregard for the imaginary line drawn between the two groups in order to meet his mark. As far as he was concerned, his part had been done in splitting the hostility directed solely at his old pal Gary onto two people. Anything beyond that was gravy, including throwing his name into the hat of traders, which he was more than pleased to do.

"You look good, pal! How's life upstairs?" He spoke loudly enough for the previous survivors to listen in on.

Interactions: Megilagor Megilagor Specialist Specialist Mentions: Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic Absollover77 Absollover77 Triangles Triangles
View attachment 1113317

Joel "Ranger" Dawson | Vitals: 100%
Location: Communal Area
Interactions: Hard Boiled Hard Boiled | Mentions: Triangles Triangles Absollover77 Absollover77 Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic Hard Boiled Hard Boiled

Now Joel remembered this man. Heard, but not seen. Of course, that could be helped- the Unity's efforts were much more diplomatically and communally focused below the surface, but the AEG were the ones bringing in vital supplies above and below in addition to the traders that would stop by every now and then. As to be expected, that created a perpetual disconnect from the rest of the figures who were a part of the Syndicate. He was rather surprised to see another Syndicate member, especially one so well-connected, getting caught up in this mixing pot of a group- and it was the perfect opportunity to learn just how deep this rabbit hole was about to go. The man definitely carried his voice when he got animated, and Joel responded in his nature by giving a half-smile to Vincent and brushing his irritation off with a chuckle. "Sure, sure. It's about as good as it can be- haven't had much luck as of late." A pause, and Joel stopped moving as he settled into a relaxed posture up against a nearby pillar, keeping the group in his focus and close to interact now. "How've you been, Vin? What's got you roped up here?" Joel asked, diverting his gaze to signal his question toward the bunch that remained. He flicked his eyes back onto Vincent, genuine curiosity intermingling with a heightened state of awareness from earlier.

What ever grand adventure he was going to inevitably find himself on, he knew they'd have a tail.
"How've you been, Vin? What's got you roped up here?" Joel asked, diverting his gaze to signal his question toward the bunch that remained.

"Oh, nothing of substance." Vincent answered nonchalantly, still within earshot of the negotiation. Though in the briefest moment, Joel caught a familiar twinkle in the fence's eye - The very same one produced upon conducting business. The two nonverbally shook hands and mingled over to a nearby pillar, quickly growing obscured from the main group by the sea of pedestrians, casually as any greeting.

"I've just been keeping busy with the usual stuff: repairs, maintenance, trying to scrounge cards." As Vincent spoke, his voice gradually grew quieter, melting into the cacophony of overlapping chatter. "Finally got that mold out of the chapel, my mother's thrilled. "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," she always says!" His back still turned from walking away, Vincent ensured his lips couldn't be read, but continued to talk with his hands as usual. "Though, uh, recently she's been talking with them New Dawn folks, so maybe I ought to start taking her sayings with a grain of salt - cleanliness is about as rare as a hot meal these days, am I right?" Soon, his conversation may as well have been across the planet from the main group.

"Look, we're both straight-shooters, so I'll make this quick. One-time offer. These scavs - no offense - found a weapons cache; Primo stuff, straight out the box. I'll tell you more, but I want half of whatever you get." Vincent offered Joel as though he was offering him the last slice of pizza. "Nod yes or no. Don't look at them, look at me."

Mentions: Megilagor Megilagor Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic Interactions: Specialist Specialist
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Joel "Ranger" Dawson | Vitals: 100%
Location: Communal Area
Interactions: Hard Boiled Hard Boiled | Mentions: Sylvio Sylvio Aegis Aegis

Joel bit back a sigh as he separated from the group with his fellow Syndicate. Vince always had a strange way of mingling from one conversation to the next- and as soon as his voice dropped, he was briefed on just what all this commotion was about: a cache of "premium" goods. Pre-cataclysm valuables were scarce on the surface if only due to the activity of scavvers, raiders and other parties not too dissimilar from the AEG. Caches, however, were something of a common myth. Information to one sold about as high as a quality piece of kit, and the rewards were as worth investing as the risk to get them. Vincent's tone dipped even quieter as he wasted no time in making his claim and following with a demanding urgency of confirmation. Joel's brow furrowed as he dipped his head. He looked over at Vincent as his voice lowered to a whisper- sounding much more like a low growl now. From the look he gave Vincent as his features hardened, he could tell Joel wasn't too keen on the preposition offered without an objection. "Hope you realize I'm doing this for us. You wanna talk half, it's gonna be after we get back groundside. Running with these scavs is dangerous enough, and we're gonna have a tail on our asses from a couple of soldier-types I spoke to earlier. Far as I'm concerned you get your share as long as we watch each-other's backs, and make it back alive. We have a deal?"
Zera 'Whisper' Kingston
Locale: Communal area.
Mentions: Triangles Triangles Clockwork_Magic Clockwork_Magic
Megilagor Megilagor Hard Boiled Hard Boiled
Content with watching the conversation continue and not devolve into a bloodbath of bullets was a relief. She allowed herself to further relax her eyes tracing the ceiling of the old subway. The flaking and chipped concrete lined with cracks and blemishes. She can't help but draw shapes with her mind as she half listened to the words pouring out of Vinny's mouth. Her face twisted in annoyance at his blatant greed. They could worry about how to split everything once they figured out what they were dealing with. She was surprised that sleezy salesman composure he pulls off hasn't had his face catch bullets yet. In her time being known as Whisper she's seen countless people eat lead just by being moderately offensive or by trying to be a weasel in a deal.

A light breath of air leaves her nose as she further rests herself against the wall. More people getting involved will make this messy. Her eyes wonder over the gathering people. Of course with Vinny's less than quiet talking, the group is drawing up further attention. Her blue eyes drift from table to table now spotting just how many people are paying attention or scooting slightly closer in the hope of hearing plans or other key information. Information being a sellable thing one would thing Vinny would suggest going someplace quieter before discussing anything further. A simple shake of her head and looking to the floor she gazes at the cracks in the floor losing herself in thought. Her mind flicking about trying to think on if she's seen any of the people before. None of them aside from Shroud ringing any bells which does level some concern but most of the group seem to have some trustworthy air about them, aside from Vinny. Garrick, Lena, and Shroud seem to be the people to stay near.​

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