Author Topic: Total Request Live (Ask Questions or Suggest Things and I Will Write Stories)  (Read 2430 times)

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Django Durango

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So like, I have chosen to kind of weave the birthday thing into what I was gonna do anyway so this isn't the full extent of where I'm going with that yet, but here, look. We're actually proceeding in the plot!

I am working on yours, Paupers Run.



"All right," Sable said. "Moment of truth."

Cairo picked up the hotel phone, flipped the yellowed calling card over, and dialed the number she'd jotted down ten years ago. Sable leaned in close to hear since they weren't going to risk putting the call on speaker and being overheard.

The phone rang once. Then again. Then the click of connection.

"Good morning, Miss Laurendeau's residence," a woman's voice answered. Cairo knew this woman was definitely not Bijou. Bijou had a comically affected transatlantic accent. There was still a remote possibility that Bijou still lived there, if this woman was just answering her phone.

"Hello. May I speak to Bijou please?" Cairo chanced.

The woman on the other end was silent for a moment, then said, "May I ask who's calling?"

"Oh, my apologies," Cairo said, having forgotten to introduce herself before . "My name is Cleo."

"Cleo...?" the woman trailed, prompting for a last name.

"Just Cleo."

"I see. May I put you on hold?" the woman asked.

"Yes, of course."

They waited. A moment later, an older woman's voice asked, "Hello? Bijou speaking."

Sable nearly choked in surprise at how this woman just answered so readily to her codename, not knowing who was on the other end of the line.

"Uh, hello," Cairo said, a bit startled herself. But this was Bijou. One did not forget a fake accent like that. "You may not remember me, but we met several years ago on a job. You gave me your calling card-"

"Oh, I never forget a face, darling," Bijou said.

"It was pretty dark at the time," Cairo said, positive that Bijou couldn't possibly remember her.

"We met at Mimi Vanderhausen's, correct? In 2009? We were... admiring her collection of Fabergé?"

Cairo leaned back and stared at the phone for a second. "Wow, you remember that?"

"Darling, you scared the hell out of me!" Bijou explained. "It's not often I meet colleagues while I'm working. Let alone someone quite so imposing. I thought you were on Mimi's security team until I saw you had a mask on too. So how have you been, dear? Are you still working with the Syndicate?"

"Actually, that's why I called," Cairo said. "My partner and I were thinking about leaving, striking out on our own. But we don't really know anyone outside of the Syndicate. We were hoping you might be able to help us."

"Oh dear," Bijou sighed.

"Oh dear?" Cairo asked.

"I'll help as much as I can, of course. But I definitely think you're in for an uphill battle. There's not a lot of unsigned talent left anymore."

"Surely we can scare up two crewmates," Cairo said. "We're really more worried about finding a launderer for now. We're sitting on a pretty big pile of dirty clothes and we don't have anything to wear, if you understand me."

"Hmmm. I don't know any launderers personally, but perhaps my fence does- Actually, a marvelous thought has just occurred to me," Bijou cooed. "Yesterday, he told me about this friend of his who's just come off a long-term engagement too and is looking for work. You should see about meeting him."

"Oh, uh, we're really doing more of a feasibility study at this point, not conducting interviews," Cairo tried to defer.

"Oh darling, you really must," Bijou said. "You're going to find that the world outside the Syndicate is very small. You'll want to have as many options as possible if you want to have any hope of making this work."

"I don't know. I really would rather discuss the logistics before we get anyone else involved."

"Trust me, you'll want to meet him. He's in Las Vegas right now for a car show. Go! You'll have fun, take a nice little vacation before you start this new crew." Sable perked up at the idea of going to Las Vegas. "In the meantime, I'll speak with my fence and we'll see who we can find with availability. After you speak with his friend, come up to New York and we'll figure the rest out."

Cairo didn't think now was a good time for a vacation and she didn't want to involve any more people in this conspiracy than was necessary. Sable watched Cairo's face to see what she was thinking and didn't like the conclusions she seemed to be reaching. Sable grabbed the notepad and the pen  off the nightstand and scribbled out a note.

It's my birthday next week.

She held the note up and did a seated we're-going-to-Vegas shimmy because how could one argue with that?

One couldn't and so Cairo relented, giving an annoyed nod, but she smirked when Sable hopped up from the bed and did a silent celebratory happy dance. At the very least, they'd be able to launder a little of the cash themselves through the casinos to fund a decent time.

"All right, we'll go to meet this guy," Cairo said into the phone.

"Fabulous!" Bijou said. "I'll get the details and call you back."

"Thank you so much for all your help, Bijou," Cairo said.

"Think nothing of it, darling. I'm always happy to help someone get out of a bad contract."

Cairo hung up the phone.

"Vegas, vegas, veeegas!" Sable sang as she did her Vegas dance.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Cairo said in mock-annoyance. It was convenient though. She hadn't actually known it was Sable's birthday. They'd never exchanged gifts or acknowledged birthdays the whole time they'd been working together. Now that Cairo thought about it, it was sort of strange.

"How come you've never mentioned your birthday before?" Cairo asked.

Sable stopped dancing and stared at Cairo for a second before looking away.

"It wasn't that big a deal in my family, that's all," Sable said. "Grew up poor, you know? We'd have cake and all, but it wasn't that different from any other day. So I just don't think about it, I guess."

"Oh." Clearly a change of subject was in order. "Well, what do you wanna do on your Las Vegas birthday vacation then?" Cairo said, getting out her cellphone. She ran a search for Las Vegas attractions. "Look, we could see some sort of male revue called Thunder Down Under. Oooh! Or - well, I know it's your birthday, but maybe we could see The Titanic Exhibit too."

"Hey, it's a vacation for both of us," Sable said. "If you wanna see something boring, we can see something boring."




The Titanic Exhibit is NOT boring, just fyi.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 01:15:40 PM by Django Durango »
 
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Django Durango

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Also this.

They were in the Titanic Exhibit gift shop. There were necklaces for sale, with pendants made from supposedly genuine pieces of coal brought up from the Titanic's wreckage.

"That seems rather tasteless," Cairo commented.

"That shit's probably haunted," Sable said.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2019, 01:08:31 PM by Django Durango »
 

Django Durango

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Specifically, Dixie is hitting a diamond exchange with a crew of Syndicate randoms. But as they're about to start, a non-Syndicate crew, starts their own robbery, and they're definitely more vicious than Syndicate.

You don't have to make this before Dixie met Cleo, but definitely have her as MVP. Maybe getting shit on for credit in pulling the job through, but still.

So I am still working on this, but I thought you might like to know a little about why it's taking so long. You've actually kinda given me a bit of a challenge here.

See, one of the things I try to be mindful of in my stories is not to let any one character come off Too Cool for School. Remember how when John Wick was announced for the PAYDAY roster, and the copy had Chains practically shaking in his non-slip shoes over trying to get Wick (who is supposedly an old friend with whom he has a rapport) to wear a proper mask, as opposed to the selection of sunglasses he never wears in the movie? Or how Hoxton was written from Crimefest '14 through the Housewarming update, when people finally started to backlash against his characterization? Where he was the sassiest sumbitch on the crew, and also had most of the good ideas, and also just took it upon himself to burn the safehouse down but no one minded because that was one of Hoxton's good ideas and Hoxton is so so so cool anyway that he gets away with being a jerk-ass to everyone, and now that he's called in his vast estate of resources he's also responsible for all the good things the crew has?

That kind of shit comes off like a 12-year-old boy wrote it.

Usually, the way I avoid this is to break up all the cool points among characters. You'll still get some disproportion due to characterization (Cairo is a lot more cerebral than Sable is, for example, so she gets fewer one-liners but is responsible for more crafty idears), but in general, doing this makes for a fairly even distribution of Coolness so that no one is coming off as the Hoxton on the crew.

That becomes harder, though, when one character is explicitly supposed to be MVP and also when the rest of the crew are filler characters.

I'm not saying I can't do it ('cause I can). Just that it's a fine line to walk and it requires a little more finesse than most of what I've done so far, 'cause most of my usual avenues of egress are not present in this prompt.
 

Paupers Run

Yeah, maybe MVP wasn't quite the right word. I didn't mean like "single-handedly saves the job", but did a splash more than the randoms.

Maybe that happens, but the crew downplays it more in their reviews of her. Something more like that.
 
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Things were going quite well, if Dixie said so herself. This was the first time she had applied to be lead on a job. It earned one a ten percent bonus for taking the responsibility of seeing that the score was delivered to the local Syndicate depot. The rest of her crew were out front sweeping loose diamonds off tables and displays and into duffel bags. The diamonds were small and of mediocre quality, but the sheer quantity of them would net a decent profit. Because things were going so well, Dixie was in the back office, cracking their wall safe. She didn't expect to find anything worthwhile, but she had the time and cracking safes was what she did.

At the last tumbler falling into place, she turned the handle and yanked open the door. A stack of bills sat on top of some official looking papers. She snatched the bills out and put them in her jacket pocket: a tip on top of her lead bonus! This job was turning out real well.

Until the gunshots sounded out front.

It was not common to fire one's gun during a Syndicate job after the initial civilian scare. Even if the police showed up, they usually did not interfere directly as it could endanger civilians. The occasional hero cop might try to thin a crew's ranks with an opportunistic shot sometimes, but for the most part the agreement the Syndicate had with law enforcement kept gunplay to a minimum.

The shots fired out on the sales floor were therefore cause for suspicion. Dixie drew her revolver from her hip and peeked around the door frame.

Two of her crewmates, Selznick and Mallard, had with their weapons fixed on two other people in Guy Fawkes masks who were pointing their own guns at them. Her third crewmate, Fontaine, was curled up in a ball in the middle of this stand-off, whimpering, gasping for breath, and bleeding all over the floor. The three civilians lying in a neat row on the floor along the back wall shook in fear and hid their heads under their arms.

Dixie crept out of the office, staying low to sneak behind the display cases. Joining her crew out there would tip the scales in their favor over... whoever these guys were, but if she could manage to sneak up on the one who was standing closest...

What Dixie lacked in height and might, she made up for by carrying a massive firearm. The Ursa Striking Bear revolver was five pounds and ten inches of intimidation, a fact this V for Vendetta cosplayer realized when Dixie jammed its barrel into his back.

"Why don't you set that gun down, sweetie?" Dixie said, prodding him with her own. "Nice and easy, don't want it to go off." He bent down slowly and set his assault rifle at his feet.

"Mallard, come get this," Dixie said. Mallard came over to collect the weapon, never once taking his eyes or his own weapon off the other guy.

Once Mallard and her hostage's weapon were out of reach and the odds were significantly back in the Syndicate agents' favor, Dixie shoved her hostage. He stumbled and fell. She kept her gun pointed at him. When he turned over, she asked, "Are y'all, like, protesting the robbery?" She gestured around at the scene. "The fuck is this?"

"These guys just burst in here and shot Fontaine," Selznick said.

"Why'dya do that?" Dixie asked her hostage.

"We were gonna steal your take. Billy says it's easy to steal from Syndicate crews 'cause they're not real robbers."

Dixie rolled her eyes. She figured that much.

"No, honey, why did you shoot Fontaine," she clarified.

He seemed reluctant to answer so she pulled the hammer back on her revolver to convey her impatience.

"Billy always shoots a civilian first off," he spat out. "So they know he'll shoot any of them if they act up."

"Shut up, Charlie!" Billy said, shifting his aim off Selznick and on to Dixie. Selznick jumped on the opening and fired his shotgun at Billy, hitting him in the gut. Billy reflexively fired his rifle as he fell, and the bullet clipped Dixie's ear. Dixie's hand darted up to hold her stinging ear and she swore loudly. Charlie saw the opening and made a motion to get up, but Dixie trained her gun back on him to get him to stay down.

Selznick darted forward and snatched up Billy's rifle from where it lay next to him.

"Okay, good hustle, Selz-y, but one inch over and I would be dead," Dixie pointed out.

"Sorry, ma'am," Selznick said.

Dixie gingerly prodded her ear and hissed.

"God, there's, like, a chunk missing. That's gonna heal up pretty." But no matter. "All right, you two," she directed Selznick and Mallard, "Get Fontaine into the van. You," she said, pointing at Charlie. "You are now in my crew." She waved her gun at him in a pope-like blessing. "So start loading these bags in the van."

"Or what?" Charlie said defiantly. It surprised Dixie, as Charlie had come off pretty passive this whole time. It was annoying, given the obviousness of Or What.

"Or I will shoot you," she ground out, "and your buddy Billy here, and I won't miss like Selznick did," she said. "Chop chop, motherfucker."

Charlie begrudgingly got up and picked up a pair of duffel bags. He followed behind the rest of the crew as they carried Fontaine as gently as they could.

Dixie huffed at the ceiling and reached up to poke at the missing chunk of her ear again.




Gonna have to add that clipped ear to her model.

As far as the reviews go, I think it only really pays to downplay someone's contribution when you failed to score outright. So while generally, you may not leave a glowing review of your crewmates, you wouldn't downvote them without just cause if you still completed the heist successfully. So in this case, while they probably wouldn't be effusive in their praise, they wouldn't downvote her much either. A 3 is a perfectly inoffensive, middling score and they'd all probably give 3's or 4's, as would she.

Think of it kinda like airbnb reviews. There's a lot of tension between guests and hosts re: reviews because if you, a guest, review a host who had a shitty, falsely advertised property, they would leave you a retaliatory review saying you were shitty guest regardless of what quality a guest you actually were. And that would, unfairly, make it hard for you to book future properties. And because it's all very bureaucratic and a huge case of he-says/she-says, you will never get that shit resolved or corrected for truth. So everyone thinks twice about really sticking it to their crewmates unless there is a really justified cause because it comes back around.

Cleo and Dixie ended up with the scores they did because they had a slew of bad luck, which can really fuck you in the Syndicate. And why the peer review system is wildly imperfect. It should be noted that, in this bad luck streak, they also downvoted a lot of people and lowered their scores too. And not all of those were cases where the girls were the ones in the right.

Part of their joy in striking out independently is freedom from the review system.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 02:38:21 AM by Django Durango »
 

Django Durango

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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."
« Last Edit: November 28, 2019, 04:32:23 AM by Django Durango »
 

Paupers Run

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.
 
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How did Cairo and Sable end up joining the Syndicate?
 
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Django Durango

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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.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 07:24:04 AM by Django Durango »
 

Paupers Run

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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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.
 

Paupers Run

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.
 
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Django Durango

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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.
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