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Passage
by stasiskiss (stasiskiss)
at March 25th, 2006 (02:44 pm)

It's not like she hasn't done this a hundred times before.

Problem is, it's never been this important before. She's trying really hard not to think about it.

At her back she can feel the pressure as they all pile through the club doors. She's been point so often she even knows how they've arrayed themselves without having to look. The tactical map of it shows like lights in her mind even though this is just Pocket D, just a dance club, no danger here worse than ordering too many drinks and being escorted to the door.

This has to be the worst part. Nothing started but everything about to, the terrible prickling feeling of uncertainty. Under the concealing cloak the unfamiliar disguise chafes against her shoulders. She feels silly in it but really, what choice was there? For one thing the suits wouldn’t have fit her at all, too thin through the shoulders and the idea of passing herself off as a Consigliere is laughable at best. At least this one mostly fits although how she's going to fight in it, she's not sure.

Stasis blow the hair out of her eyes and tries to settle the butterflies. It will work because it has to work.

At her side Jade is a shadow of himself. His disguise is not so different from his gi really, but the alien cut makes him seem strange, alien. She has to keep looking out of the corner of her eye to make sure it's really him. He looks so tired.

She shakes her head. He is the one she wants at her left hand.

"Guys, stay here. If this works, we'll be back in a few minutes."

Barrier just nods, having been point many times herself. She moves easily into the position Stasis vacates, her green skin shining near black under some of the lights.

"C'mon Stasi, let me come! I can make the guy see sense." Detective again, impatient enough for all of them. For his Isles disguise he's chosen his black gear, slicked his hair back like a mock gangster. Under the tee shirt the tattoos writhe up his arms, calling attention to their hard planes. He looks bad ass enough but the expression on his face is eager, like a child with a new toy. It’s really the gun strapped across his back belies that though, its silver edges showing mute evidence of hard usage.

Detective is their ace in the hole, their chaos-maker. No matter what they run across he can handle it.

She hopes.

"Detective. No." She smiles because she has to. "Stay here and flirt with something, you know you want to. We'll take care of it."

She runs a hand through her hair and turns but Jade is already moving and she has to stretch her legs to catch up. "Damn it, Rooster," she mutters under her breath, "wait up already. Remember that togetherness stuff." He doesn’t seem to hear her though but she catches him before he gets too far away. Almost as one they mount the stairs that lead to their target, pushing their way through the crowd. She hates crowds; she hates touching people she doesn't know, hates being bombarded by all the noise and motion. She grits her teeth and takes it though, clumsily trying to follow Jade's smoothly moving form. He finds the spaces that don't exist here, slides into them like quicksilver.

He is the one that finds the clear space at the center and as she comes up behind his shoulder, DJ Zero is already beckoning them in.

As they cross the threshold the force bubble snaps into place, instantly closing them off into a private zone. The walls flash opaque; cutting off the rest of the world. There is an intense feeling of vertigo, claustrophia. She swallows both.

Zero floats in the center like a magician in his parlor, his face already smiling with welcome and Stasis rubs her cold hands on her thighs. It's do or die time.

"Stasis Kiss.. and the peerless Jade Rooster! So good to see you again, my friends!" His hands move in a graceful, restless motion. "Your message... the most excitement I've had in weeks! What can I do for you?"

"Zero... we need access to the Rogue Isles."

She's never been good at saying things from sixteen different directions to cover sixteen different agendas. Still, it's blunt even for her. Zero doesn't exactly look surprised but one eyebrow does lift.

"Ah, but that is not permitted! Pocket D maintains its place by sufferance of both Longbow and the rather humorless Lord Recluse. The rules that guide this place are so very strict. You have no idea the hoops I jump through." His hands spread in mock sorrow. "Really, I am sorry."

"That's not true." That's Jade and she shoots him a glance. "You've got your hands on both sides of the water and we need to get to Mercy."

"If it's that urgent then I'm sure Longbow could arrange..."

"There's no time," she cuts in. She runs a hand through her hair, tangling the short silk. "Zero, we need this favor."

He leans forward then, an odd motion for a man without his feet on the floor. A part of her wonders how he accomplishes it. "Come now, that is not a favor! That is asking me to commit professional suicide. You are lovely, my darling, but no skirt is worth that." His eyes flicker to the hem of red swirling above her toes and she has to grit her teeth.

Jade makes a choked sound and for a moment she wonders if he's about to do something rash. She puts a hand out to hold him back, feeling finally the trembling tension of his muscles. No time to worry about it.

"No, it's not. Zero, we're not stupid, don't treat us like we are. An exchange of favors then if you like."

It's not her imagination that his eyes sharpen, a look of sudden interest flickering across his mobile face.

"Favors! Well, why didn't you say so? Perhaps we can find something to talk about after all. Friends helping friends is what it's all about at Pocket D."

"Friends? C'mon, Zero! How many times did we fend off Snaptooth for you?" Jade is up on the balls of his feet, she can feel it.

Zero shakes his head. "I am sorry. I mean, if I granted every request that came my way..."

Stasis snarled in frustration. So close. "But you grant them."

Zero looks back and forth between them, his face inscrutible. Then he smiles, like they've passed some sort of test. "What you're asking... perhaps it is possible." He holds up one slim finger and winks. "For a price."

"Name it already."

Zero leans back a little by some strange alchemy and regards them for a moment. She was starting to feel like some sort of prize heifer beging sized up for slaughter. It was not a comfortable feeling, not at all.

"Ah, but something of this importance.. to break the rules! Delicious but oh, so dangerous. How do I put a price on that? I mean, my very livelihood. Shall we say even my life, should this come to the attention of certain interested parties."

Stasis felt her shoulders tensing. She was going to throttle the guy in a minute, would he just get to the point already? She flexed her fingers, letting the ice crack away to fall to the floor. She hoped it wasn't noticeable.

"I'm sure you've got that problem covered," she said dryly.

An amused chuckle was her response. "Truer than you know," the man said. Without warning he clapped his hands, leaning forward again with an eager expression. "So. Stasis Kiss would owe me a favor. So young, but not so many like you, yes? I can think of..." He waves a hand as if to brush a fly away. "No matter. I am sure something will occur. And you, Jade Rooster. Most excellent. Do you want to know what the Tsoo whisper about you? No?" Whatever expression was on Jade's face, she was glad she couldn't see it from her angle based on the smirk on Zero's face. "Ah, thought so. I am sure that can be a conversation for another time. Yes, yes. Young but rising. Let me think. Passage for two..."

"Six."

That finally earns them an expression of surprise. "Six? What is this, a holiday jaunt?"

"Mo. If it was a holiday, I would have packed my parasol."

He laughs and claps his hands again. "Touche, my sweet. Six it is. Then I think for that passage I have the right to demand six favors then. Three from you and three from him."

"Not going to happen." Jade takes a step forward, his hair glinting dully in the diffused light. "I have a good idea what the Tsoo are saying about me. I'm worth more than you're offering."

Zero smiles and nods, maybe expecting that answer. "Perhaps, perhaps. Then, if not a favor, perhaps something more... tangible might be in order."

That didn't sound good at all. She looked at him, floating there.

"What kind of tangible?"