Your browser lacks required capabilities. Please upgrade it or switch to another to continue.
Welcome to The Take! Library. Here, every bit of The Take!'s narrative is organized chronologically. If you're new to the game, or if you just want to brush up on the crew's history, you can read each piece of lore in order here.
You can also save your place via the Saves menu.
[[START|Nasty Gal]][[Chapters]]"Look, if we're gonna do this, we gotta do it now." Dixie flicked ash off her cigarette and checked the time her phone again. "They're supposed to pick up the plates in about four minutes."
Their crew of four stood in an alleyway, across the street from the Pursuit Bank branch they intended to rob. They were standing well back from the street, hidden so their black suits, domino masks, and guns wouldn't cause panic before they could decide what they were going to do.
"We don't have a driver," Cleo reminded her, not looking up from her own phone. The driver assigned to their job had confirmed he'd be there in the app, but had not shown up on time. Cleo texted him continously with increasing vitriol, but recieved no response.
"So I hotwire a car and we leave. No big deal," Dixie said. "Driving is the easiest job on the crew. We'll be fine."
"Oh, you know the roads around here all the sudden then?" Cleo argued.
"No, but Away in any direction'll do, won't it?"
"You know perfectly well that is a recipe for disaster."
"So we're just gonna go back to the hotel with nothin' to show for ourselves? Come on, we ain't had a job in weeks, Cleo. We need this. We either make this work or we settle down here and apply at Wal-Mart 'cause we don't have enough cash to get to another job."
"Wooooow, that inspires confidence," one of their crewmates broke in. She was a young woman with pink hair, which undoubtedly explained her codename Frenchie as a Grease reference. Syndicate controllers liked to give out referential codenames like that.
Cleo winced at Dixie's lack of discretion, but quickly turned her attentions to Frenchie's comment.
"You only have two jobs under your belt and a 2.2 rating between them," she said, backing out of their driver's profile on her phone to bring up Frenchie's. She showed the screen to everyone else so they could see Frenchie's shameful rating. "You're lucky we joined your job at all."
Frenchie shut up.
The remaining member of their crew today, a portly and timid man with a receding hairline, took a step back out of the circle so as not to tempt Cleo into dragging him too. Codenamed Mitty, he had no rating as this was his first job. To Cleo's relief, he did not appear to recognize that their scores weren't so great if they'd joined a job with such low ranking crewmates. She and Dixie had 3's, with Cleo outpacing Dixie by a few decimal points, but that was considered only competant among Syndicate crews. 4's or better had a much easier time getting jobs. Their ratings were, however, good enough to pull rank on these new recruits.
"Yeah, the grown-ups are talkin', honey," Dixie said, gesturing at Frenchie dismissively. Turning back to Cleo, she said, "Look, we didn't come to Buttfuck, Montana to leave empty-handed and I damn sure don't wanna be stuck here."
"It's too risky, Dixie! We don't know the way. We could get caught in a dead end."
"So we'll use GPS," Dixie said.
"That won't do us shit if we're in a police chase-"
"Ladies?" Mitty interrupted. The other three turned to look at him and he blushed under their scrutiny. "Maybe we could just vote on it?" he mumbled to his shoes.
"Yeah! Democracy in action! Mitty here's got the right idea," Dixie said. Mitty blushed even harder at getting approval for his idea. "All those in favor, raise your hands."
Dixie shot hers in the air. Frenchie raised hers, but only up to her shoulder, as if she were being sworn into the witness stand and resented it. Mitty raised his as well, but only just, not wishing to draw more attention to himself.
"The ayes have it," Dixie said, pulling her revolver out and breaking from the circle to charge across the street. "Giddy up, motherfuckers!" she shouted back at them. Frenchie and Mitty scrambled after her, drawing their own weapons. Cleo grimaced but readied her shotgun and followed too.
<h6>Originally from the <a href="http://thetakegame.com/updates/exit_strategy/story.html">"Exit Strategy" update</a>.</h6>
Continue on to [[The Montana Job]].<iframe src="http://www.thetakegame.com/updates/exit_strategy/game/index.html" width="805" height="605"></iframe>
<h6>Originally from the <a href="http://thetakegame.com/updates/exit_strategy/story.html">"Exit Strategy" update</a>.</h6>
Continue on to [[Jumping Ship]].<h2>The Syndicate Years</h2>
<li>[[No Call, No Show]]</li>
<li>[[The Montana Job]]</li>
</ul>"Oh. My. GOD. What a total shitshow," Dixie said. She dropped the duffel bag of cash on the floor of their hotel room, then whirled around and flopped backwards onto the bed.
"Of course it was a shitshow!" Cleo said. She made sure the door to their room was closed completely before continuing. "We went in without a plan, with useless crewmates, and no driver!"
"Not a bad take, considerin'. What happened to Frenchy?" Dixie asked.
"I don't know," Cleo grumped. "One second she was there, the next she was gone. And I don't think she fired a single shot the whole time."
"Someone's gettin' a bad review," Dixie singsonged.
"You're goddamn right she is," Cleo said.
Cleo scowled at the whiteboard they had propped up on the desk. They brought it with them to every job. Cleo had drawn a floorplan of the bank on it the night before and went over the plan with Dixie multiple times before erasing it clean in case housekeeping came in. What was even the point of having a plan if Dixie was just going to do whatever she wanted?
"Why did you just rush in like that?" Cleo asked. The question was direct, unavoidable. "Why did you convince the others to go ahead with it?" That one was more evasive, hiding the real question of why did you undermine me in front of them?
Dixie huffed to the ceiling.
"'Cause if we didn't get something for our trouble today, we pretty much woulda had to quit altogether. Without this money, we'd have to choose between giving up and getting real jobs or robbing gas stations and hoping The Syndicate didn't notice us working outside the app." She propped herself up on her elbows. "Those bad reviews are hurtin' us, Cleo. It was do or die."
Cleo frowned and sat on the end of the bed.
She let out a long breath.
"What are we going to do?" she wondered aloud.
"Well, I figure there's about $200,000ish in that bag," Dixie said. "Once we turn it in, we'll get our 40%. We'll probably lose about half of that in cleaner costs so $40,000 divided by two, $20,000 each? That'll at least get us to another job."
Pitiful, Cleo thought. She'd shot how many cops, Mitty had died, who knew what happened to Frenchy, and all they had to show for it was forty thousand dollars between them. What were they even paying The Syndicate for? Not to arrange transportation apparently. 60% of their take, plus cleaner fees, gone. For what?
Not for the first time, Cleo had considered striking out on her own. It had always been in the back of her mind, ever since she joined up and realized the reality of the work. She had thought it would be clever Ocean's Eleven-style heists, not smash-and-grab robberies. The money was good, though, and there was security while under The Syndicate's employ. Was. Having one bout of bad luck had thrown them into a downward spiral where the drop in their ratings lowered the quality of their prospective crewmates. The lower quality crew meant lower quality takes, and therefore even lower ratings and payouts. It became a self-perpetuating cycle.
But what if they just removed themselves from the cycle? Not formally quit: one did not just quit The Syndicate so much as retire entirely. But what if they just stopped taking jobs and by all appearances dropped off the face of the Earth?
It was a delicate subject. Many Syndicate members would have considered it the highest treason to even suggest it. But Cleo and Dixie had been working together for years. It'd be a test of loyalties to ask and Cleo wasn't sure what she'd do if Dixie wasn't onboard. But maybe...
"What if we didn't turn in the money?" Cleo broached, turning around to face Dixie.
Dixie's eyebrows furrowed.
"What do you mean? Just... keep it?" Dixie snorted. "I think The Syndicate would take exception."
"Yes, but... what if they couldn't find us to do anything about it?" Cleo pressed on.
Dixie regarded Cleo, trying to discern if they were having the conversation she thought they were having.
"Cleo, are you saying we quit? Just retire on $100,000 each? 'Cause that ain't gonna get us very far in this economy."
Cleo took a deep breath.
"No. I'm suggesting that we take this $200,000 and use it to go independent. Start our own crew."
The proposition hung in the air for an uncomfortable amount of time. Cleo waited for Dixie to say something.
Finally, Dixie said, "Can we do that?"
A smile crept up on Cleo's face.
"I don't see why not. It would take them a while to figure it out. If they figure it out. They're so big now, they might not even notice we're gone at all."
Dixie frowned though.
"They're gonna know it's us though, once we get back to work. Domino masks don't do shit. They'll see us on the news and ask where their cut is."
"I know this is a real avant-garde idea," Cleo said patiently, "but what if we wore masks... that covered our faces?" She gave Dixie an "Hmm?" look.
"Huh. You know," Dixie said, marveling at the obviousness of it. She'd been in uniform way too long. Still, that wasn't her only concern.
"How are we gonna find anyone to get in on this?" Dixie asked. "We don't know anyone who isn't in The Syndicate. We don't know if there is anyone who isn't anymore. Caint do much more than gas stations and liquor stores with only two people."
"I know of at least one person," Cleo said. She bit her lip. "It's a long shot, but it's worth a try. When I first joined The Syndicate, I went on this job to steal this Fabergé egg-"
"How the fuck did you get on a job like that?" Dixie interjected.
"Not a Romanov egg! Jesus, I wouldn't be suggesting this if I was getting jobs like that. It was just, you know, one that some guy comissioned for himself. Anyway, we're creeping the house and I bumped into this woman. She was there to steal the egg too. We ended up doing rock, paper, scissors for it." Cleo chuckled. "She won so she got to keep the egg and I lied to the rest of the crew that I didn't find it."
"Anyway," Cleo said, "she gave me her calling card." She pulled out her wallet and slid an ancient business card from one of the slots. Dixie took it. It read "Bijou" in Brush Script and had a little 90's clipart silhouette of a black cat in the bottom right corner. Dixie flipped it over; Cleo had written a phone number and address on the back.
"So you want to quit The Syndicate in order to chase down this stranger you met once during a robbery? A thief, mind you, who was fool enough to give you her phone number and address?" Dixie asked.
"She didn't give them to me," Cleo explained. I convinced an administrator at HQ to search for her in the database. From what he said, they had reached out to her, but she declined to join up."
Dixie still wasn't convinced.
"Yeah, but that had to be, what? Ten years ago, give or take? What if she's moved?"
"Look, Dixie, I don't think our standing in The Syndicate is going to get any better, and you know - you know - if we had gotten arrested today, we'd be sitting in the cooler for a year before they got us out. They didn't even let the locals know we were pulling the job, to judge by all the bullets. But we don't have to commit to quitting right now. We can call Bijou up and see if she even still lives at that address and if she's willing to help us. If not, no harm, no foul. We'll never speak of it again, take another Syndicate job, and try to make a go of it.
"But if she can help us... I mean, think of the money, Dixie! We wouldn't have to give up sixty percent anymore. We could keep it all! I mean, after laundering and expenses obviously. But that would still be way more than 40%. And we could get new names! I know you've always hated yours, and mine is so on the nose. In fact, I've just thought of a new one." She had thought of it ages ago. "Hello, my name is Cairo." She held out her hand to shake. "What's your name?"
Dixie just stared at Cleo's proffered hand.
"Cairo? I... " she sputtered. "How did you come up with that off the top of your-" She cut off as the realization hit her.
"You've been thinking about this."
Cleo smirked, pleased that Dixie picked up on that.
"It pays to have a plan," she said.
Dixie regarded her old friend and partner in crime.
"Why didn't you just tell me, man?" Dixie asked.
"I don't know," Cleo said, gesticulating the awkwardness of it. "I've never heard you say a word against The Syndicate, even though the benefits are clearly evaporating. And you know how people are about even the suggestion of it." Cleo huffed. "I didn't want to ruin a good thing."
"I owe 'em a lot. I probably woulda drunk myself to death if they hadn't invited me in. And I wouldn't have partnered up with you without them. But what have they done for me lately? Who's actually making sure I get my paper at the end of the day? A company ain't your friend."
"So you'll abscond with me?" Cleo asked cheekily.
"If that means ghost on 'em, then yeah," Dixie said. Then she frowned. "I don't know what I want my name to be though."
"Well, I picked Cairo because I've always wanted to see Egypt," Cleo explained. "What's something you've always wanted?"
Dixie thought about it.
"When I was a kid, I really wanted a mink stole. I had a Barbie paper doll and she had this huge white stole... Does Mink sound good?" Dixie didn't look convinced that it did.
Cleo bit her lip. "Mink sounds kind of... euphemistic. What about Sable?"
"Like the wrestler?" Dixie tilted her head quizzically.
"I was thinking more the animal," Cleo said.
Dixie nodded. "Yeah, I like that! It's like a real name."
Cleo snorted. "Dixie is a real name."
"Maybe if you live in a compound, it is."
Cleo shook her head and laughed.
"All right, so we have new codenames. Step 1 complete. How about we plan the rest of our lives then, Sable?" Cairo said, hauling herself off the bed. She went to the desk and uncapped her hot pink dry-erase marker.
"Start off us, Cairo," Sable said, sitting upright.
<h6>Originally from the <a href="http://thetakegame.com/updates/exit_strategy/story.html">"Exit Strategy" update</a>.</h6><p></p>
<img src="http://thetakegame.com/library/libraryTitle.png">The Take! Library"What about this job?" Dixie said, holding her phone up for Cleo to see across the table. "Codename Braum. Doing an art gallery in Topeka."
"Why would we subject ourselves to driving through Kansas?" Cleo asked, not looking up from her smash burger combo. She was not helping to search because a hamburger required two hands to eat and she didn't want to get grease on her phone's screen.
"Wait, Topeka is in Kansas?" Dixie asked.
"It's the capital of Kansas, honey," Cleo confirmed patiently. Then, curious, she asked, "Where did you think it was?"
"I don't know." Dixie's face scrunched up, wondering that too. "Not Kansas. How valuable could the art from Kansas be?"
"Well, hold on," Cleo said. She tilted her head to the side, considering. "With a name like Brahm, he might have more insight on the Kansas art scene than we're giving him credit for. If he's named for the composer, maybe he's not a complete philistine. Maybe there's something special moving through there."
"Yeah, well, it's spelled like the ice cream store," Dixie said around a mouthful of Frito pie. "Maybe he's just a goth kid and Dracula and Alucard were already taken."
"There's a remote possibility that it's a Legend of Sleepy Hollow reference," Cleo mused.
"Wasn't Brom the bad guy in the movie?" Dixie asked.
"More than Ichabod himself?" Cleo said. "The man was trying to marry a girl for her money."
"You wouldn't name yourself after the dickhead in the movie though, would you?"
"You might if you thought he was in the right. Or if Ichabod had too many syllables to be used as a codename."
"Okay, hold up," Dixie said, chuckling at this turn in the conversation and waving her hands in a "stop, stop, stop" gesture. "We're gettin' away from the important thing here.
"We can't tell anything about what this guy knows about the art scene in Kansas by his name alone, 'cause he ain't the one who woulda picked it. His controller did and that don't do us shit. The only real thing we know about Braum's taste is that he is going to Kansas to steal art, which means he ain't got none unless he's stoppin' for ice cream on the way."
"Keep looking then," Cleo said. She took another bite of her burger.
<h6>Originally from the <a href="http://thetakegame.com/forum/index.php?topic=5.msg5#msg5">"Total Request Live" forum thread</a>. Based on a suggestion from Paupers Run.</h6>
Continue on to [[No Call, No Show]]."Mmhmm, and what kind of weapon do you carry?"
"Weapon?" Cleo asked.
"Yeah-huh, your gun," the bored controller seated on the other side of the desk elaborated. "You can't rob a bank with just a mean face."
"I'm really more of a burglar than a-"
"Ya still need a gun, hun." The controller clicked her mouse of a couple times. "Look, go out, buy a gun, and come back tomorrow. I can save your application, but I can't activate your account if you ain't got your equipment.
"I have more than enough to buy it," Cleo said. "I don't see what your objection is." It was a combat shotgun, the most intimidating-looking weapon in the racks at All Star Pawn. It had a sloppy, jagged engraving on the receiver that read "Nasty Gal". Cleo considered the inscription damage and felt it should've made the weapon less expensive, but intuited that the shop owner thought the narrative it created increased its value.
"My 'objection'," the elderly pawn shop owner said, making finger quotes, "is that this ain't a weapon for some Ivy League rich girl who won't appreciate what she's got. This was used as a prop in Black Beignets, held in the hands of Trini St. Romain, with a certificate of authenticity. It says Nasty Gal on it and you ain't no nasty gal."
His refusal to sell was utterly ridiculous. She had the money, she would certainly pass the background check. And yet, she couldn't buy the stupid gun because she wasn't "nasty" enough.
Cleo rolled her eyes and left.
She then spent the rest of the day watching the shop from her rental car in an alley across the street, waiting for the shopkeeper to leave.
She could have just bought a gun somewhere else. She should have. But now she wanted this one. Cleo just couldn't abide a world where she was denied access to anything, especially when she had the money. She knew this was ridiculous, that she'd let herself feel the same way to a prop from a movie she'd never seen and assumed was terrible as she would an artifact in a museum, if only because someone else was keeping it out of reach. But she did feel that way and a mere pawn shop were not going to keep her out.
She waited until the last shop on the street closed down. Then she pulled her car around to the back of the pawn shop. The front door and windows had bars, but in her experience, people didn't often think much about the back door. She figured there was a good chance the heavy metal door could be opened with nothing more than a piece of stiff wire. Slip the wire in the jam, slip the latch and-
The alarm sounded!
No matter. She knew where the gun was. She dashed to the gun case, smashed her elbow into the glass, and had the Nasty Gal in hand within seconds. Her first smash-and-grab! Cleo ran straight back to the back door, but she paused before exiting. She reached in her pocket and threw a wad of cash totaling $2800 into the store. The wad exploded into a shower of bills and wafted down to settle on the floor and counters. With that, she threw herself in her car and got the fuck outta dodge.
The pawn shop owner arrived on the scene minutes later. It was very clear to him who did this. Only one thing was stolen and it had still been paid for. Petty thugs didn't leave you enough money for the stolen goods with change leftover to buy a new gun case. He rifled through the bills one more time, just to be certain of the amount. That's when he saw the the handwriting on one of the bills.
In a tidy cursive, there was a note.
"Who's nasty now?"
The store owner chuckled. He stuck the bill in his pocket. He still had to call the police since it was a firearm that had been stolen, but he decided to keep that bit of evidence to himself.
<h6>Originally from the <a href="http://thetakegame.com/forum/index.php?topic=5.msg8#msg8">"Total Request Live" forum thread</a>. Based on a suggestion from Paupers Run.</h6>
Continue on to [[Brom]].