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11
Oh, this is easy! I'mma type this shit right in the box, don't even need to break out Notepad.



"They're still nitriles, what's the fuckin' difference?" Banshee complained. He crossed his arms obstinately.

"It creates a Mr. Black situation, Banshee," Wintour explained with steely patience. "If you show up to a job wearing black nitriles when everyone else is wearing blue like they're supposed to, then your crewmates get jealous of you and resentful of the uniform. Then all of three of those crewmates are going to show up to their next job wearing the wrong color gloves, which perpetuates the disruption in team morale. It creates a ripple effect that could lead to people trying to disregard the uniform entirely, which would in turn create problems with crews being recognizable as such to civilians. And if civilians cannot immediately recognize you as a Syndicate agent, they're more likely to resist and interfere with your work which could lead to causalities."

"Besides, the pattern on the tie was designed specifically to embrace the blue in the nitriles," Wintour added. "Without that blue for it to draw on, you look like you can't dress yourself. You may as well be out there wearing black shoes and a brown belt."




They wouldn't cut into the money though over that though. That's the kind of thing that just needs a reprimand.

Also, I am working on yours, Cunning.
12
Huh.

Y'know, when I pitched this, I weirdly hadn't considered "the rest of his crew got arrested" as the reason Vermouth was on his own.


Anyhoo, bringing up the uniform brought me to my next prompt:


A Syndicate guy, Banshee, is getting pissed at his controller for cutting into his money from his first job just because he had the wrong gloves on. Y'know, saying something like "They're gloves, the fuck's the difference?!"

The guy has material as an average robber. Somewhere between 2.7 and 3.2 on the app, so it's not for lack of brains that he used different gloves.
13
Just as they had the score secured and everyone was seated on the escape boat, they heard someone call out to them from the end of the dock.

"Wait! Wait!" a man's voice shouted to them. He ran towards them and everyone pointed their guns at him. He either didn't see or didn't care. He approached anyway, stopping at the edge of the dock. He doubled over, hands on his knees, and panted. After he caught his breath, he stood upright again.

His tie, mask, and gloves marked him as Syndicate agent too.

"Please," he huffed, putting his hands up to show he was not planning to pull anything, "let me come with you. My crew's all been arrested. I've been running from cops since 9:00." It was now 11:35.

They had room on the boat; it wouldn't have been a problem to let him board. Yet none of them lowered their weapons. Cleo, Dixie, and Melrose all looked to Dauphin. He was lead on this job so it was up to him if he wanted to take the risk.

"How do we know you're not an undercover cop trying to get us all arrested too?" he asked.

"I'm not!" the man on the dock said. Panic rose up in his face. How could he disprove that?

"If you're a Syndicate agent," Cleo said, "show us your profile."

Relief swept over his face. He reached into his back pocket and whipped out his phone. Unlocking it and swiping around for a moment, he turned the screen's bright face to show them.

His codename was Vermouth. He had a 2.2 rating and he looked a lot less sweaty and harried in his profile picture.

"What do you think, Dauphin?" Melrose asked. Cleo and Dixie had lowered their weapons, but Melrose steadfastly pointed his shotgun at Vermouth.

Dauphin regarded the profile on the phone's screen. It wasn't that he didn't believe Vermouth exactly. If he could make a decision without answering to anyone, he would've already let the poor guy on. It was more that it was still possible for the police to fabricate a fake Syndicate profile and even if this guy was legit, Dauphin didn't want to be known for taking risks with other agents' freedom. The peer review system made the work so much more political than it needed to be.

"What's the codeword?" he asked.

Vermouth scowled.

"There isn't any codeword! Man, if you're gonna leave me to go fuck myself, just say so already."

"All right, get in," Dauphin said.

"The fuck was that about?" Dixie asked, leaning over so Vermouth could climb over her into the boat.

"If he was a cop, he probably would have tried to guess the codeword or say he forgot it," Dauphin explained. "But since he's an agent, he knows there isn't one." There was still a remote possibility that Vermouth was a cop and just had a lucky guess, but Dauphin wouldn't be getting any bad reviews for not attempting to check. Worst case scenario, if Vermouth did turn out to be an undercover cop after all of this, they could kill him and throw his body overboard.

"Clever," Cleo said.

Vermouth flopped down in a seat next to Dixie and let out a heavy groan of relief. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes as the boat gently pulled away from the dock.

"Why didn't you just take your mask and gloves off?" Dixie asked.

"What?"

"Why didn't you just take your mask off, dude? The cops caint be hasslin' everyone in a gray suit. That's why they make us wear them."

"I can take the mask off?" Vermouth said, bolting upright. "I didn't know I could do that!"

"You're supposed to do that," Dixie said. "God, does no one read the fuckin' manual?" Cleo snorted at Dixie's exasperation.

"I thought I wasn't supposed to take off the mask. It's part of the uniform."

"Sure, not during the robbery, but afterward?" Dixie said. "I mean, this ain't The fuckin' Warriors, dude. You don't have to wear your colors when you're trying to hide."

Thankfully for Vermouth's pride, they were now leaving the marina. The boat increased speed and the water was choppy enough that everyone had to focus on staying seated rather than berating him for his inattention to protocol.
14
Alright, next prompt.


Cleo and Dixie are running to the escape boat (yeah, switching it up a bit) with their crew for the day. However, as the last guy's getting in, some other Syndicate guy is running up begging them to let him in. For one reason or another, his crew left him behind, and now he's gotta bum a ride or get arrested.
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A Syndicate fella that's named Scrooge (based on McDuck, but crews don't often figure that), and how he ironically hates taling jobs in December because of the constant jokes. Maybe have our friend Braum there to sympathize with names.

I don't like Scrooge as a codename (which is a shame 'cause Simon fkn loves Scrooge McDuck.) Like, I know I was glib about it on twitter 'cause The Rules about codenames are intuitive to me so that really is my personal process for coming up with them, but I realize now there's actually a number of parameters for codenames. It's just that, much like deciding if I need help or if I can Pistol Messiah myself up, it's a decision I make in about two seconds based on a bunch of variables.

Like, with some exception, I always try to go for two syllables because you gotta imagine shouting this name over a gunfight. You want a name that won't easily be confused for something else. The "oo" sound in Scrooge just begs for misinterpretation. A second syllable would go towards preventing that. This also rules out most common surnames, which is why for example, in my clowntown fic, Houston drops his "Wilson" codename when he joins the crew. It didn't matter when he was a lone cat burglar and never used it practically, but it's too likely there's a cop named Wilson too, you know? Also bears mentioning that originally Overkill were going to rename Houston to "Hawk" but changed it for probably similar reasons. It sounds like too many other words, not least of all "Hox".

Then there's just mouth feel. The "oo" sound also closes up the throat, which makes it unwieldy for shouting. The "aw" sound in  Hawk does it too.

Concept's good though so here's this:



"I don't know, man. I feel a little iffy about this job," Savoy said. "But I can't tell if it's a gut feeling or if it's just because working in places decorated for Christmas feels like a bad omen."

"Bad omens? We got fuckin' Rudolph up here guiding the sleigh tonight. There isn't a better omen than that." Nero smartassed.

"Wow, that's an original fuckin' joke," their driver, the aforementioned Rudolph grumped. "Why don't you tell one I ain't heard a million times before?"

"Damn, Scrooge, who pissed in your porridge?" Nero asked. "I was just trying to lighten the mood."

"Look, man, if I wanted to hear the same tired-ass joke over and over, I'd go back to working retail," Rudolph said.

"It's not even the reindeer, is it?" Braum asked to both commiserate and change the subject. In his experience, the codenames were almost never actually about the thing they seemed.

"Nope. Rudolph Valentino," Rudolph said.

"Was your controller that woman with all the black and white pictures of movie stars in her office?" Selznick asked excitedly.

"Yep."

"She was my controller too!" Selznick said. "Her office is wall-to-wall photos of old movie stars. It's like the Brown Derby in there."

"Yeah, she wanted to go with Sheik but it was too short, she said," Rudolph explained. "And Valentino was too long. So now Christmas is way fun to work every year 'cause everyone thinks he's the first guy to think up a smartass comment about the driver being named Rudolph."

"Well, fuck, man, sorry," Nero said in a way that belied that he had no sympathy at all for this salty son of a bitch. Dude needed to get some Christmas spirit.
16
The Safehouse / Re: A few questions about Hole-In-The-Wall
« Last post by Django Durango on December 05, 2019, 05:08:57 AM »
When I first moved to San Antonio to live with Simon, I was looking for a part-time job, but I was having a hard time finding anything because I was purposely applying for jobs I was over-qualified for. Like, it took a long time to find one and I only even got it because my boss at the time greatly over-estimated how much you need to know about computers to do what I do.

Anyway, it took a long time to get my day afternoon job and so I was out of money pretty quick. Simon covered my bills, but I don't like to be a burden (and you also caint buy pretty things for yourself with no money so).

I forget how we got on the subject, but Simon brought the existence of camming to my attention. I had all the equipment already so I did a bunch of research, put a nice profile on myfreecams, and tried non-nude camming for a few days. I ultimately didn't like it 'cause it was a lot of work and my personality ain't exactly built for it. Also, I was expecting the guys to be crass and lewd, but I mostly got ones coming up with elaborate gentle romance fantasies with me which is somehow more uncomfortable? I found making fetish clips to be a lot easier, more fun, and more profitable.

Anyway, the point is, most camming sites take around 60% of your tips which seems outrageous for sex work, but they do that because they have to deal with credit card processors and a bunch of other legal stuff. Which might lead you to think that the Syndicate could get away with charging an even higher percentage given that what they deal in isn't legal at all. However, cam sites generally stay around the 60% mark (at least before they get into wiggity incentive programs) because you can't get away with a higher percentage unless you're bringing something really compelling to the table. Since all these sites are competing with each other for talent, they can't get too greedy. The Syndicate doesn't have the main thing that camming sites have going for them, which is that they provide a built-in userbase/audience to their camgirls. It's a lot harder to be an independent camgirl than it is to go out and rob a liquor store on your own. Since there's (usually) no customer to sell to in thievery, the Syndicate doesn't have that angle to play on so while they are the only organized game in town, you always still have the option of working outside of their system.

So tl;dr, the 60% is based on what cam sites take from their talent.
17
How did Cairo and Sable end up joining the Syndicate?
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The Safehouse / Re: A few questions about Hole-In-The-Wall
« Last post by CunningValentine on December 04, 2019, 08:08:39 AM »
The Syndicate takes a 60% cut of the profit, but covers most overhead.

did you do any math for that figure or is it just made up?
19
Got a few ideas, actually, but I'll start with the Christmassy one!

A Syndicate fella that's named Scrooge (based on McDuck, but crews don't often figure that), and how he ironically hates taling jobs in December because of the constant jokes. Maybe have our friend Braum there to sympathize with names.


And here's a twist... maybe no Dixie OR Cleo! I don't know why, but I feel it'd be interesting to have other Syndicate members having gripes.
20
Happy Thanksgiving! Have a story.



"How long do you think it'll be before they start lookin' for us?" Sable asked. Cairo was driving, so Sable had her feet up on the dashboard and was eating Sour Punch Straws.

"I don't expect that they will," Cairo said. "As long as they never find out we're working outside of the app, they should have no reason to think we haven't merely retired."

They drove along for a while in relative silence, save for Sable's gooey chewing, the radio, and a beep every so often from the police radar detector, until Cairo's face shifted into a pensive frown.

"Frenchy could be a problem," she said.

"How?" Sable asked. She didn't look up from the candy straw she was peeling apart from the rest in their plastic tray.

"It depends on what she knows. We don't know when she disappeared or where she fucked off to." Cairo considered the angles. "If she knows we took the money, she could report that it should be incoming."

"Wouldn' be in her interests though," Sable said. "That was her job. Means she'd be responsible for making sure the money came in."

"Logically, yes, but she might report the score to explain why we didn't get the plates. If she does, she'll be on the hook for the money, but it'll also point the finger at us."

"Should probably check if the reviews are in then," Sable said. She reached down the floorboard to dig her phone out of her backpack purse. She flicked and swiped for a while, going through the newly pain-in-the-assened login procedure for the Hole-in-the-Wall app's secret backend.

"I tell you what, if we end up leavin', I ain't gonna miss this shit," Sable said. "You log in, and now they send a passcode in a text message and then you have to go back to the app and type - not paste! - but type the fuckin' combination in. And it's, like, twelve fuckin' digits, so you gotta go back and look at it three times before you can get the whole thing in. And then you gotta hope like hell you didn't mistype it or you'll be startin' all the way from the top."

Cairo's face scrunched up in empathetic frustration. She hadn't tried to log in since the day of the bank robbery so she'd yet to contend with the new two-factor authentication that the app had patched in yesterday.

"Ugh, finally," Sable said. "Reviews, reviews... Nothing from Mitty, obviously. We should report him dead." Sable opened up his profile, tapped the Reporting Options button, and notified the app of his death. His profile photo reloaded with a black and white filter when Sable backed back out.

"Nothing from Frenchy yet either. Might as well rate each other up while we're in here," Sable said. "How did Cleo do? Five, of course."

"You should at least take some points off for the utter mess I made in the lobby," Cairo demurred. She had tried to aim below the waist to minimize causalities, but there was only so much care you could take when you were shooting buckshot.

"Pffft!" Sable scoffed. "I, for one, am happy to have less cops to deal with. And they started it anyway. They got exactly what they had comin' to 'em, endangerin' civvies like that. 'Sides," Sable said seriously, "if this whole thing with Bijou doesn't pan out, we're gonna want our ratings as high as possible. Lemme have your phone so I can give myself a five."

Cairo reached into the breast pocket of her jacket and handed her phone over. After a few moments of frustrated cussing, Sable said, "There. Fresh fives. What do you want to rate Frenchy?"

"Let's wait on reviewing her. Since we don't know if she knows that we left with a score, we don't want to tip our hand or give her a reason to downrate us. We'll let her make the first move."

Sable shrugged. "Fine. What about our no-show driver? Hopscotch." Sable snorted at his codename. "Can we review him?"

"I don't see why not."

Sable brought up his profile on Cairo's phone.

"Huh," Sable said.

"What?" Cairo asked.

"Hopscotch here's got almost a perfect rating. Four point nine."

"That's impossible. That has to be a mistake," Cairo said. "There's no one way anyone has a rating that high. Especially not a guy who flakes on jobs."

Sable nibbled her lip. "What if he didn't flake on the job?" she proposed. "What if somethin' happened to him?"

"Such as?" Cairo scoffed.

"I dunno. Car accident?" Sable said. It'd be the most obvious thing.

"A four point nine driver got in a car accident?" Cairo reiterated to illustrate how absurd that was.

"He mighta had to drive through Mississippi on his way, who knows?" Sable shrugged defensively. "I just can't figure why a guy who had a score that good would fuck it up by not showin' up. It might not-a been deliberate."

"Maybe he thinks if his score is that good he can afford to ditch a job from time to time."

Sable shook her head. "Nope. His reviews would say so if he was in the habit. Nothin' but recommendations. Pfft!" Sable chuckled. "Well, this guy thinks he's an asshole, but still said he's a great driver."

"I don't care how great he was on everyone else's job. He didn't show up to ours so he gets a zero from me."

"Yes ma'am," Sable said. She gave him the score and tapped the confirmation button. His rating went down to a 4.8. Sable set Cairo's phone in the cup holder and went back to her own phone to give Hopscotch a zero from her own account. There was a new email notification on the lock screen.

Sable opened the email and read it. It was a scan of a hand-written letter from her old school friend, Desi. Sable used a mail forwarding service who would accept her mail and scan it just for Desi's letters.

Sable frowned at the contents of the letter.

"Bad news?" Cairo asked.

"Desi says they started up some call center for a phone company and they're taking him off farmwork detail to work there instead. He ain't happy about it. And he's up for parole soon too." Sable exhaled and blew her bangs out of her face. "Gonna have to tell him not to get his hopes up."

"Is the call center a pay raise at least?" Cairo asked, trying to find a bright side.

"They don't pay inmates in Texas," Sable said. She leaned her head on the window and stared out, mood soured by the news.

Cairo glanced over. That was no way to look when you were on your way to Las Vegas. Luckily, something to perk up Sable's mood was peeking over the horizon.

"Look," Cairo said when it came fully into view.

It was a simple blue sign with white letters.

Welcome to Idaho

"We're not in Buttfuck, Montana anymore," Cairo said. "Now we're in Buttfuck, Idaho!" She checked the GPS. "Just seven hundred and seventy-eight more miles before we're back to civilization."
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