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Futuristic New Cisco: A Run For Your Credits

Sub Genres
Action, Cyberpunk, Dystopian, Mystery


Memory Dealer
If anyone here is not familiar with Cyberpunk in general, as a genre, and my style of conducting a roleplay, be aware that this roleplay will contain explicit violence, adult themes and all-around things you might not want to read if you're squeamish. Obviously, they are all going to be within RpN's own guidelines and whatnot. Beware.

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Memory Dealer

Old Echoes

The way over here must have been awkward. Considering the kind of people Samson used to hang around with, some might have been able to predict this, but the rest of us didn't see it coming. This would be an awful evening.

Pritchard was sitting outside Samson's flat, waiting, leaning on the wall, stricken with a blank expression that didn't look at anything. His arms were crossed, barricading his chest away. Although, his conviction was that he was keeping the beat of his heart under control. Doesn't matter, no. Time sure did crawl for him there, between waiting for whoever might answer his plea for help. It was almost surreal, between the tenants passing by unbothered and the cacophony of arranged noises coming from the floor below. It felt weird, isolated within his mind, Pritchard would think that he'd be able to up and solve the murder before anyone showed up, yet no amount of fictional detectives could give him the insight he so greatly desired.

The building was active. Different people populated different parts of the building and each floor was its own eco-system, almost independent from the others. The ground floor presented its clean halls like a trophy. A tenant or hiree would constantly clean them until another came for their "shift". The first floor felt almost eerily sterile, while the second part of the set of stairs tying the first and second floors was starkly decent. Not too clean, but not dirty either. The second floor was where the music came from, an amalgamation of distorted synths composed of harsh saw waves that reverberated through the halls. It was a decent looking floor, but noisy, even if the culprits had closed their door. The third floor was where Samson's flat was. It was identical to the second floor in appearance, minus the noisy neighbors, except that the music was still audible.

As for the fourth and final floor, Pritchard would not care to visit. Not right now.

As the waiting proved the most unbearable, Pritchard instinctively rose from the ground and reached for the door handle, but as he did, he was interrupted by a few familiar faces.

"I was beginning to worry..."

Code template by @Sunbather
Tags: @simj22 @Father Gigantor @The One Called X @Rantos @CerpinTaxt @The One Eyed Bandit

The One Called X

"I still think it's suspicious," Seong-Jin said, shoving his hands deeper into his pockets. It was the fifth time he'd said it during the walk to the apartment building, so Cat only smiled and reached out to ruffle his hair. He dodged. "Cat," he whined, something he'd never do within earshot of another living soul, "You're not taking me seriously."

Cat glanced at him sideways. "I think you're not taking me seriously," she said, softly, a contrast to her previous cavalier or joking responses. "Pritchard Knight couldn't pull one over on me if I was dead drunk and concussed, and he's got no reason to besides. And, more than anything-"

"We owe them, yeah, yeah, you said."

"Good to know you were paying attention," Cat said. Seong-Jin mumbled something unintelligible in reply, somehow managing to burrow deeper into his hoodie, his face unreadable under the goggles. Tom was keeping pace with him, mechanical leg whirring near-silently, the glow of his eye implant almost imperceptible in the daylight. His ears were pricked and his tail still, the picture of vigilance. Cat's mouth twitched. Tom almost seemed to sense when their boy was distressed.

"I won't let anything happen to you," she said. "Anyone who wants to get at you has to go through me, and we know they wouldn't survive that, yeah?"

"I'm not scared!" the boy insisted, despite the flush crawling up his neck. Cat almost laughed.

"'Course not," she said. "I wouldn't dream of implying such a thing." She poked him in the cheek, where a dimple would've been if he hadn't been scowling. They'd reached the building, and he fell into his customary antisocial position behind her, at her left elbow, as they entered. She could practically feel him vibrating with nerves at her back. She doubted he'd talk much, now. The prospect of interacting with a group of strangers and near-strangers was terrifying for him, she knew, and nowadays he'd never allow her to comfort him. She felt a brief, sharp pang of loss- the memory of wrapping her arm around his shoulders, the warm press of his small body against her side. He was nearly her height, now, soon to be taller than her. It was a bizarre thought.

As they passed through the second floor and the noise level grew more uncomfortable, she felt a slight brush of his fingers against a sleeve. She didn't react- acknowledging him reaching out was profoundly offensive to his teenage sensibilities- but it was reassuring, still, to know that her presence still made him feel safer.

They reached the third floor, and Cat spotted Pritchard immediately.

"I was beginning to worry," he said, and Cat let herself grin at that. "About me? That's sweet." She swatted Seong-Jin lightly on the arm, and he raised a hand in halfhearted greeting. "This is Seong-Jin," she said. "He's bigger and crankier than the last time you saw him. Seong-Jin, this is Pritchard. He's a decent man, so be nice." She glanced down the empty hall. "I can't have been the only one," she muttered, almost to herself, before sparing an uneasy glance at the apartment door.


The One Eyed Bandit

Southern Hemisphere's #1 Eye Juice Producer
Building relationships would only ever cause her trouble.

There was a point in the woman's life where she believed those words with a steadfast ferocity. Even now, that creed tugged at the back of her mind whenever she was exchanging niceties with the neighbors, or planning out events with friends. As she made her way down the trash-dotted streets that led to Samson's complex, it decided to surface yet again. This was what she got for involving herself with customers, it whispered. It wasn't too late to just turn around and go home, it complained. The woman rubbed her temples, as if to silence that nagging inner voice.

The gesture, small as it was, was enough to draw the odd wandering gaze. It wasn't something that she was unused to, but she could still feel the curious eyes of strangers drilling into her. She was a Jinx and while not the most obvious of her sisters in her allegiances, it was quite normal for casual attention directed towards her to quickly find itself turned into a business opportunity.

To put it cleanly.

Today, though, she was taking a day off. The pursuit of prey would have to wait until another time, for more pressing matters called. It was a shame, what had happened to Samson. People like him were a rarity in times like these. Cocksure kindness like his was a one in a million sort of trait, though she'd never told him that herself. But, none of that meant that this came as a surprise.

The price of being exceptional, even if it was only a little, was that you drew attention. Attention that if you didn't go out of your way to properly manage, could quickly turn sour. Getting yourself wrapped up in other's affairs like Samson was ought to was an especially dangerous thing on the Ciscan streets. She was frankly surprised that it'd taken him this long to get his just desserts.

Thinking of it that way may have sounded cruel, but she hardly figured it incorrect. Living big made you a target, and Samson had never been concerned enough with himself to take the appropriate methods to cover himself up.

She passed through the complex's lobby and various floors as she drummed that into her head. The muffled, rhythmic beats of the building's fauna sought to interrupt her thoughts all the while, but the found no avail. She was quite firmly planted in her own world.

She arrived not too far behind the first pair, hearing them before she saw them. Another woman, and a boy. It hardly seemed appropriate to bring a child to a get together such as this, but she'd definitely seen worse examples of parenting over the years. As she passed the two by, her eyes would only flit over them, observing the two for the briefest of moments before turning her attention to their host, Pritchard.

"It's been a while." She spoke, and then took a place to the side of Samson's door.


Terada HisahideDeath was inevitable. No matter how hard anyone tried to run from it, it had an uncanny ability to always catch up. Would his time ever come, he would face it with dignity. He wondered if Samson had faced his end with dignity, or did he die like a dog, begging and whimpering for mercy. It was hard to tell with a guy like Samson. Maybe he smiled all the way to the end. Whatever it was, Terada wasn't very bothered with the news of his death. Things happen, people die. In the cesspool that was New Cisco, anyone with half a working brain would know that this was a fact of life. He lightly brushed his forearm against his hip, comforted ever so slightly by the hard steel he felt under his coat. He removed his phone, an ancient relic in these times, from his coat's pocket and opened up the message that Pritchard had sent him, rereading it again, as if a new meaning would appear. He wasn't very disappointed when nothing happened, and he slipped the phone back into his pocket. He turned around the corner and eyed the apartment where Samson used to live in.

So far, only three persons had entered the compound, but the building was occupied as well. However, the two he had seen did not seem as if they were familiar with the place, or, at the very least, didn't look like they belonged. He didn't have a single shred of evidence to back up his claim, but he trusted his gut instincts enough. He glanced at his watch, an analog one, a rare commodity in these times. It was highly unlikely that anyone else was coming. Casting a furtive look behind him, he made his way across the block, coming up to Samson's residence. He climbed up the stairs, his heavy footfalls drowned out by some infernal racket up on the second floor. For someone like Samson, he had some taste in his residence, at least. As for the choice of neighbours, though, he had a long way to go. Terada scoffed. As if he could fix that now. As he came up to the second floor, he could see that the doors were shut, yet it was not enough to completely filter out the noise. Was that what they called music? He shook his head, and continued his climb to the third floor.

He reached into his coat, hand brushing against the steel on his belt, as Samson’s door came to view. The lady and the kid were standing to one side, and the whore was standing beside Samson’s door. Pritchard was there too, and looked as if he was going to pop a blood vessel from being so stressed out. He must have had been waiting for a long while. Terada almost felt bad for making the man wait. Almost. He relaxed his grip on his gun, and finished the last few steps, slowly and carefully, as if he had nothing in the world to worry about. All the answers would come in good time. He didn’t need to rush it. A sneering smile crept upon his visage as Pritchard’s eyes met his, and he brought his hands together for a loud clap.

“Pritchard,” he greeted the man, with feigned enthusiasm, then observed the rest of the company, as if this was the first time he had seen them. “A slut, a mother, and a kid. You really know how to pick ‘em, Pritchard. Couldn’t save one for me?” He gave a mirthless laugh. He did not move from his position at the stairs. Instead, he turned and leaned against the wall beside the stairs, giving him a view of both the bottom of the stairs and the four gathered in front of him. He folded his hands over his chest and resumed his sneer. When he spoke, his tone was slow and careful, but the words were anything but. “Let’s cool our jets there, whore. Why do you need us, Pritchard? Samson’s dead. So what? Everyone dies in this damned cauldron of shit everyday.” He looked down at his nails, and picked out a smidgen of dirt between his nails, and flicked it down the stairs. “I’m only here for a courtesy call. If you want things done, why don’t you call one of those Mujitsu bastards, huh?

@DeKay @The One Called X @The One Eyed Bandit
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Memory Dealer
Pritchard Knight

Pritchard had little energy for Terada's shenanigans, merely replying with an "I'm glad you're all here. Mr. Hisahide, courtesy call or not, you showed more 'compassion' than a lot of our friends, so, thank you. As for the Mujitsu... I don't trust those guys." hands on his hips. "...not a single one of them I know."

One deep sigh later, Pritchard grabbed the door handle, reluctantly.

"Now, if you'd like to accompany me. I heard 4 minds are better than one. Also, Cat. Do me a favor and shut the little guy's goggles off for the time being. No offense, but..." and with that, he drew a deep breath and punched in the winning combination that opened the door. A rancid smell peeked out of the apartment and greeted Samson's guests.

It was dark inside, save for the neon afterlight that peered through the shades and cast bright cyan on the furniture. It made the blood look like black ichor. The smell was even worse on the inside. Pritchard immediately closed the door once everyone else was in and would turn on the lights. Samson lay down on a bloodstained carpet not too far from the door into the apartment. The short hallway ended and revealed a long multi-purpose room with a large, almost paper-thin screen on the wall to the left. Samson fell on his back, a coagulated trail of blood having rushed out of his right temple. A second gunshot wound disfigured his face. It was an ugly hole in his right-side cheekbone, surrounded by powder tattooing. The expression on his face wasn't one of horror or shock, his eyes were locked looking somewhere to the right of his field of view.

Tags: @simj22 @Father Gigantor @The One Called X @Rantos @CerpinTaxt @The One Eyed Bandit
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The One Called X

Cat didn't recognize the other woman who arrived after them, but given her look she was most likely a Jinx. Her eyes narrowed when she saw Terada coming up the hall. Now, he could be a problem. She'd made trouble for his organization in the past. She doubted he'd hold a grudge for what she'd done on the payroll of another, but if he had any idea of the things she'd done on her own initiative... it could be a problem.

Fortunately, he didn't seem to recognize her, unless he was just trying to avoid giving anything away. But... no, she doubted that. His eyes skimmed over her as carelessly as the rest. Cat couldn't quite hold back her laughter at his words. He just sounded so much like Seong-Jin in a foul mood. The boy in question tensed at her side. She nudged him with her elbow, and he looked down, grinding his teeth. The last thing she needed was him going off at a Yakuza boss, however irritating the man may be.

She took a deep breath, steeling herself. She hadn't known Samson that closely, but... he'd been a good man, and there were precious few of those in this world. And- it was more difficult, now, dealing with death. Compassion, once discovered, was not easily suppressed, and she hated the thought of how he might have died. She shook her head. There was no time for that, and they were among strangers.

"Now, if you'd like to accompany me. I heard 4 minds are better than one. Also, Cat. Do me a favor and shut the little guy's goggles off for the time being. No offense, but..."

Cat sucked in a breath. Pritchard had phrased that in just about the worst way possible, and he'd directed the request at her, instead of Seong-Jin. This was not going to go over well. He was either going to start arguing, or-

He shoved his goggles up onto his forehead, exposing the ruin of his eyes, and gave Pritchard a long glare. "I've fucking seen worse, jackass."

"Don't throw a tantrum, dear," Cat said, "You're too old. It's unbecoming."

More grumbling ensued. Cat grit her teeth. He knew he wouldn't be able to get under her skin, the Jinx would intimidate him too much, so that left...

Seong-Jin slanted a sideways look at Terada. "Fucking dramatic c**t."

Cat sighed.

She hauled the boy into the apartment after her once Pritchard opened the door. She paused, laid a hand on the man's shoulder, and squeezed lightly. Seong-Jin moved to slouch against the wall, single working eye fixed on the group, Tom at his side. Cat got to work.

The body was near the door. Cat moved around to crouch on the far side, inspecting the bullet wounds.

"This was close-range," she said, indicating the hole in Samson's cheek. "I can't tell with absolute certainty which shot killed him, but I'd be surprised if it was this one." She leaned forward to get a better look at the wound to his temple. "Yeah, at first glance I'd say that he was shot in the head from some distance- the door, maybe- and then the shooter moved in close for the second shot." She frowned. "Assuming that there was only one shooter."

@simj22 @DeKay
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The One Eyed Bandit

Southern Hemisphere's #1 Eye Juice Producer
Ambergris wasn't too familiar with any of the other three guests, but her impressions were not the brightest. Boorish. She supposed that she should have assumed that this was the sort of crowd that Samson would attract. The rude, brash sort of lot that lined the pockets of her and her sisters so nicely. Though, given her lack of recognition for the trio, she supposed that they weren't the type to indulge themselves, despite their appearances.

At the man's blatant attempts to stir up trouble, she kept her lips sealed. Nothing good would have come from rising to his provocations. He was just barking away, almost like a dog, so it was harmless enough. It wasn't likely that he'd be of much help, even if he decided to stick around.

Behind Pritchard and the mother-son duo, Ambergris padded into the apartment quietly. The stench of iron was quick to drift its way into her nostrils, a scent more familiar to her than she cared to admit. The mother had already set about playing forensic investigator, but she was more curious about the psychological aspect of the crime. The motive, rather.

From the doorway, her eyes scanned the room. She'd a decent enough view of the corpse from here, and she studied the faint echoes of body language that still clung to it. It didn't look like there had been much of a struggle. Samson's features were far too relaxed for that. Not a hint of shock, panic, or even pain lingered on his face. The most obvious answer was that he'd been taken by surprise, but then there shouldn't have been two bullet holes. If the first shot hadn't killed him, then there was no way he'd be wearing such a calm expression. Even if he'd been the toughest motherfucker on the planet, getting shot in the cheek should have elicited some sort of response, even if it was only a reflexive one.

Had he been shot simultaneously? Perhaps he'd been plunged into a drugged up stupor so that he wouldn't even realize he'd been shot? Did he have some sort of pain dampening mod? Was the killer just obeying the age old rule of double tap?

It was strange.

The structure itself didn't seem any worse for wear either. No shattered glass, bullet holes, or damaged furnishings. Whoever the assailant was, they'd had a clear shot at the target. Either the door had been open, or they'd been inside the apartment itself. Samson might have even let them of his own volition. If the assailant had been a friend of his, it would explain his state of apparent relaxation.

She was starting to gather up some dots, now all she needed to do was connect them. If it had been someone that Samson had been expecting, then they must have had a reason to come here. One aside from just ending his life. Did he have something they wanted? Or, perhaps, did he know something that he wasn't supposed to?

That was what she needed to look into next. Stepping over Samson's body, Ambergris made her way from the hallway and into the apartment proper. Moving around the room, she begun to scan the environment for something that looked out of place. A scattered drawer, an active computer, a missing necessity. Anything that might have given her some sort of clue.


Terada HisahideHe stepped through the threshold of the door, and bowed, out of respect for the dead. A chill ran through his body. Even with three and a half other humans in his vicinity, there was no mistaking the aura of death that hung over the apartment. He wondered if the others could feel it. He doubted it. The chrome in them had sapped enough of their humanity to change their souls. They were no longer in tune with this world, just as he was. In time, no one else in this city would ever truly be human again. There were two kinds of people in New Cisco- those who go with the currents, and those who swim against it. The latter, without strength, will not last long, swallowed by the abyss of time. He could feel his own strength ebbing away. He wondered if Samson was just like him, but only further down the stream. That was why he was killed.

He pushed his way past the mother, and hovered above Samson’s dead body, not unlike a scarred vulture, his eyes searching every inch of his body, studying each wound on his disfigured face. He pulled out his leather gloves and pulled them on. Without as much as a hint of reservation, he took hold of Samson's chin with his hand and twisted his head over, against the rigor mortis, to catch the hole in his cheek in the light. If it wasn't apparent enough, the man had been killed with two gunshots, both into the head. "Hm. Strange, but interesting." That was all he had to say, as he released his vice grip from the head, and let it loll back to its original position. He pulled his gloves off his hands once more, taking precaution to turn its exposed fingertips inside out. He scrunched the gloves up, and shoved them into his pockets, then strode over to the dead man's right side, studying the upholstery of the home. The mother was right. Powder on the cheek, meant that shot was delivered at close range, if not within the immediate vicinity of the cheek. The purpose of this was unknown. Why would the killer do that? Was it to disfigure the man's face on purpose? Furthermore, he could have let the man bleed to death from the gunshot, but he chose to end his life with a second shot to the temple. It wasn't as if the man could scream with his jaw blown open. Even if he could, the gunshot would have been louder than his screams. Besides, Samson's eyes weren't the ones of someone frozen in fear. It was the exact opposite, as if he were expecting this result. Injured, dying, and yet calm. There were few men he knew who could present such qualities at the same time.

The second shot bothered him the most. It was not close-ranged. No powder marks. Why? The killer had to have bothered to step back and put another bullet into his head. He rubbed his chin in thought. No extraneous bullet holes in the walls either. No struggle had been present. Small calibre weapon, preferring stopping power over penetration. It was more than likely the weapon was a handgun. An obvious enough fact. Hmm. No matter. He was not part of this. This had nothing to do with his family. He glanced over at the Jinx who had started to patrol the room, and shook his head. Samson had been looking somewhere to the right of him, that hint could not have been obvious enough. But why did he care? Having signed off on his documentation of his thoughts in his head, he turned and moved over to the mother’s child. Placing his hands on his knees, he stooped down to match his quarry’s height. “Hey, kid. You follow your mother to murder scenes like these all the time?” He grinned, though it was more like a twisted grimace. “Well, I sure hope you don’t get used to it.” He reached over to ruffle the boy’s head. What was the mother thinking? Bringing a kid into a fucking murder scene like this? Well, if he wasn’t here on business, he could entertain himself by entertaining the kid. He liked to think he had some experience with kids, having brought up Mikoto. “How’re you doing with your studies, huh? Your ma teaches you or...something? You look like you have a good head on your shoulders. Kids nowadays don’t just get those naturally.


Memory Dealer
Pritchard Knight
It wasn't long before Pritchard's ragtag group of acquaintances assumed the role of a forensic team. Both Ambergris and Cat started sniffing out the details around Samson's murder, while Terada did so too, but with seemingly less interest. Faint sounds of tires screeching on the asphalt could be heard from outside, almost failing to roar through the loud and obnoxious noise coming from below Samson's apartment.

Pritchard assumed there were enough cooks in the hellish kitchen around Samson's body, so he took to inspect the apartment. It was fairly standard. A wall bed/sofa combination lay opposite of the large screen in front of which Samson's body stood. It was configured to be a sofa for the time being, with two pleather semi-armchairs that accompanied it to form a larger sitting area. In front of which was a coffee table erected from within the floor. On it stood a most peculiar item. It was a leatherbound, real this time, Bible. A relic, really. Must have cost a fortune, or maybe not. Pritchard picked it up and opened it. When he did, it conveniently opened to one eye-catching verse, which Pritchard called out loud.

"An overseer, then, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity." - 1 Timothy 3:2-5

This prompted Pritchard to scan the room once more and observe it at large. The room and the apartment itself looked tended to. Things did not seem out of place. Even the Holy Bible sat atop the coffee table in a neat, orderly fashion. Pritchard closed the book but didn't put it back. An expression devoid of energy claimed victory over his face.

"I can't believe I forgot to mention this, but Samson's girlfriend, Demi uh... she is expecting. When I first got here, she was nowhere to be found..."

Before he could finish his thought, a rather bothersome knock came from the door. It lingered for a little while and then paused. After the deafening pause, Pritchard's HUD blipped twice. He made his way towards the door and hit a button. The door opened and on the other side stood a woman of modest size and a head full of silver-dyed hair.

"I'm late and really, really sorry." She reached out and gave Pritchard a curt hug. "I took another route, had to bring some gear." She dragged a nylon handbag after her, passing Pritchard and delving into the murder scene. Before exiting the hallway she stopped dead in her tracks and let out an audible sigh. "God..."

She crouched on the ground next to Samson and put down the handbag. She ruffled around inside it for a short while and recovered a small device that looked like Terada's old phone, only bigger and wider. She drew a cable from the side of this device and connected it to Samson's datajack.

"Might take a while, but..." She started the device via a button next to the cable output and a touchscreen menu. "...by the way, I'm Maris." She looked up, to meet the gazes of everyone else. "I wish we could have met on better terms, but I'll work with what I'm given."

Tags: @simj22 @The One Called X @The One Eyed Bandit

The One Called X

Out of the corner of her eye, Cat noticed Terada approaching Seong-Jin and winced internally. Before she could head over to do damage control, Pritchard spoke. Her eyes widened at the news. How had he only thought to mention it now? Idiot. The girl could've been taken or killed by whoever had killed Samson. Even if it had nothing to do with that, who knew what kind of mental state she'd be in if she'd seen the body. Cat stood, but the knock on the door interrupted her before she could start lecturing. A good thing, probably.

Cat watched the newcomer- Maris, apparently- make her bustling entrance. "Cat," she introduced herself distractedly. The information from Samson's datajack could be helpful, but in the meantime...

Cat rounded on Pritchard. "The girlfriend. How long have they been together? Did she live here? Where might she have gone?" Another thought occurred to her. The second shot- disfiguring his face. Spiteful, maybe. Jealous. Maybe it wasn't Samson that had gotten involved with the wrong people. "Any crazy exes I should know about? And the kid. Is it Samson's?"


Seong-JinSeong-Jin's hands clenched into fists and his stomach sank when he realized that the trenchcoat asshole intended to talk to him.

It was bad enough already, being stuck in this tiny room with so many people, and Douchebag #1 treating him like some stupid little kid who needed his mommy to shield his precious eyes from scary things. He didn't need to be protected from the sight of corpses. He was thirteen, for fuck's sake.

He jerked back when the guy reached out to muss his hair, swallowing hard at the rush of panic. His heart was hammering now, and he ground his teeth. He hated getting spooked so easily. It was so stupid. And this guy- why'd he even want to talk to him, anyway? What did he care how Seong-Jin's schooling was going? What did he get out of that?

Like hell Seong-Jin was gonna give him any information, anyway. Maybe he was trying to learn more about Cat, or figure out where they lived, or something. Besides, the bastard was talking to him like he was a- like he was fucking eight years old, or something. Why was everyone here being all sanctimonious about him being here, anyhow? The fuck was Cat supposed to do, leave him at home? The last time she'd tried that, he'd wound up having a panic attack and hiding in a closet for twelve hours straight, which had been way worse than any crime scene. He glared up at Trenchcoat Bastard.

"Look, dipshit, the last thing I ever saw clearly was the face of the Yakuza fucker that did this to me." He jabbed his thumb at his eyes. "It's not like I've never seen a fucking corpse before, so I don't know why you're all so damn scandalized. It's none of your business, so fuck off." He sank back against the wall, crossing his arms and breathing hard. His heart was still beating too fast, and his face felt exposed, suddenly. It had seemed like a good idea to point out the scars, before, but now it felt- it felt- it was all he could think about, now, the scars and big hands holding him down and prying his eyelids open and the laughter-

He yanked the goggles back down over his eyes and blinked hard as the room came into sharp focus. He wished they'd never come here.

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