Another Shady Back Alley

NetVegas Net is known by many as a den of corruption and vice, thanks to its many gambling establishments and other far less shady businesses. These businesses often come in the form of buildings, made public by staying off webpages and instead in the expanse of the net. As such, these buildings form many narrow alleys through which all sorts of eerie navis wander. One such alley served as a temporary refuge for a man wanted by the law: ChronicleMan.

The old, ornery man paced back and forth, swirling his book-cover cloak around himself with each turn and keeping his hands crossed behind his back. Atop his head he wore a book as though it were a hat; the bookmark trailed into his face, flapping up and down as he moved. His jaw worked back and forth beneath his white, curled mustache and his good eye narrowed with anticipation behind its monocle. "We've got it this time, Raptor! I know it! Don't you dare bug me about your paycheck one more time, because I am 100% confident that this is going to be the big break!" he spat, seemingly to no-one in particular. The wonders of the net often allowed a navi speaking into a receiver to look as though he was insanely babbling to himself.
There's something else alleys are very good for besides hiding out, and luckily for it it was about to happen. Off to the side two faint pinpoints of golden light flared to life, just floating there to watch the strange man having his loud argument. They darted to the side for a second in probably the best imitation of a shrug that two points of light could reasonably manage. The air around them shimmered and the shadows on the back wall grew ever-so-slightly darker as one more thing faded in to hog the dim light. Cheshire stood and watched the man she presumed to be ChronicleMan for a little while longer, wondering if he would notice her or just keep arguing with the unseen second party.

"He... certainly does seem to need help," Iris noted from the privacy of the private channel. "Let's introduce ourselves. There's still a possibility that not every single navi for blocks has heard him." Cheshire was silent -- sometimes a grin was all you needed. She folded her arms behind her back nonchalantly as he turned away to pace back in the other direction, her bare feet silent as always on the cold asphalt. Taking position behind him and keeping pace with his -- well, with his pacing, she waited for him to turn back toward her.

"You the guy?"
When ChronicleMan finally turned to face the navi he'd hired, his face went even paler than its typical tone and his mustache drooped commonly. "Aaaah, no, I think you must have the wrong person! Yes, definitely the wrong-!" he started in a half-moan that represented a mixture of practiced response and terror. He quieted down as he got a look at the navi and inspected her grin more closely. "Ah, yes. I read enough books to know that you must be Cheshire," he commented, grinning now as that seemed to be the necessary tone of conversation.

"It's very good that you've come!" he continued, keeping up that awkward grin. "Now, one thing I expect from anyone I hire is that they will not ask too many questions as to motivation or legality! It is enough that you are being paid, right? And you will be paid handsomely with a new SP base should you achieve your objectives!" he informed her, his grin gradually fading behind his mustache as he had a difficult time keeping up his enthusiasm. "A-And you must remember that even if you don't have a lot riding on this mission, there may be other people that do! So take it seriously for his or her or their sake!"

His gloved hand reached into his book-cover cloak for a moment, then pullled out a lengthy scroll. He unraveled it, then set it up atop a nearby dumpster, which was shallow with a top at about waist height. "I've taken the liberty of mapping out the bathing compound of Boss Oni, a high-ranking Mafia-!" he started, then seemed to think the better of what he was saying. "That is, he's an oafish sort of fellow who bought his way into the higher ranks, I suppose. Maybe dangerous, but not very smart! The thing about you and I, compared to him: we use our brains! That's how you'll accomplish this mission: brain power!"

((Acquired OniMap.DAT for later reference))

As if that told her everything she needed about strategy, he continued to the mission objective. "The goal of this operation is to acquire Boss Oni's helmet! There is a very, very influential buyer within the Neo-Shogun Army willing to pay me a lot for bringing them this item. You get it for me and I will cut you in on... the SP base," he coughed into his fist, knitting his eyebrows with irritation at how much he was letting slip. "How you get it is your own business! You can barter for it, steal it, trick it off of him, ask him nicely, whatever! I just need that helmet to give to that Neo-Shogun girl. Do that and you've got your SP, alright?" he finished, crossing his hands behind his back and staring seriously at her from behind his monocle.
However Cheshire had been expecting her new employer to react, the brief flash of panic on his face and his long stream of stammered excuses went above and beyond. The catlike navi found herself fighting to hold back her laughter, shielding her face with one hand to try and hide the way her face contorted from the effort. It was important to keep professionalism in mind, after all -- never mind that all the half-muted snickering was unprofessional by anyone's standards. She managed to compose herself, more or less, by the time he had begun his briefing.

Well... it tried to be a briefing, at least. His rambling instructions revealed more about ChronicleMan's own character than anything relevant to the job itself. He was desperate, there no mistaking that -- and Cheshire and Iris had both learned that desperation led people to do unsavoury things. Of course, hiring Cheshire's services was fairly unsavoury in and of itself...

She weathered the man's explanations and excuses with about as much patience as she was capable of, even going to far as to nod once in a while. She couldn't help but grin at his hasty omissions; even the name was more than enough to go by. She'd seen enough of the creature in the Mafia's various PR attempts to understand that stealing something from him would require more than a little delicacy. Same old, same old.

Like her namesake, Cheshire was well-accustomed with hiding how much she knew. The map, she gave a short glance, but there seemed to be a great deal to it -- She'd rather just refer back to it as needed. The ribbons that constituted her arm shifted and swarmed around it, storing the data for later reference. With that finished, she gave her employer a bright, affirmative nod. "I'll have it for you before the night is over. Just point me toward this bathhouse of his and I'll get to work!"

There were questions, of course. There always were. Likely entrances, people to be avoided, how busy the place might be... Even how the helmet might look. Cheshire didn't give a damn, though; it had been a while since she had been contracted for such a high-stakes, high-profile job, and she was planning to enjoy every minute of it.
"Hm hm hm! It's fine to enjoy some devilish laughter at the thought of a good plan coming together," ChronicleMan nodded, holding one fist to his hand and smiling beneath his thick, curled mustache. "That's the right spirit! Straight to business, good. Let's hope this goes better than the last time I commanded an associate to steal a piece of armor and then took my eyes off of them," he finished.

"Remember, the world doesn't hand things to you conveniently. How simple it would be if that map would allow you to see the entire compound! Sadly, my associate misused the recording device upon her entry and exited hastily, thus, several portions will appear as blank, unknown values. Again, one of life's small challenges that you must overcome. The mafia aren't going to make this easy for us," he affirmed, shaking one finger vigorously, as if to reinforce the fact that it was the mafia who were standing in their way and not the incompetence of the mapper and one who'd hired her.

"Now, if you feel prepared, please use this link to reach him. Because he opens his doors to all within the Teksqp, even those of lower ranks, so long as they're nice to him, it was a simple task to have one of my associates pose as an interested applicant and obtain the coordinates. At least she did not bumble that one," he smirked. "This means that you can also likely roam around relatively freely, I imagine, without raising suspicion. Especially since you're a girl, since he likes to shoot-!" he started, then seemed to decide he was saying too much again. "Well, being a woman makes you look less threatening, of course! Now, please begin the mission!"

((Topic here))