2019-11-02 - Jailbirds of a Feather


Some crooks gather to form a group.

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Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: {$date}
Location: Coney Island, then some dive bar.

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Coney Island becomes more and more deserted as the season shifts into winter. There's the threat of ice on the boardwalk far later in the night and the drift of leaves piled into corners are brown and wilted rather than their brilliant earlier colors. Ambrose is dressed warmly in his brown field jacket overtop a thermal turtleneck in black. His dark jeans and equally dark combat boots make him not immediately discernable to the passing glance in the sparing lighting of the area itself.

He puffs into his gloved hands before he reaches up to adjust his navy-blue stocking cat down and partially over his ears. Curls of brown hair slip loose about its edges.

"I am moving to ruddy Florida as soon as it can be managed," the British master-thief grouses to himself, his accent rounded from time spent in the deserts during his youth…those one-hundred and thirty-plus years ago. His cerulean-blue eyes idly scan the area around them. "Enjoying your pretzel then?" A glance over to his cohort is accompanied by a bare smirk. Dimples nearly show; the angle of the overhead lighting nearby accents five'o clock shadow unshaved.

It's a grand contrast between the pair. Where Ambrose blusters and yearns for the heat, Lena is not dressed in much more than what would be considered normal for her. Black skirt, knee-high boots, loose shirt and not a jacket in sight, the girl walks calmly by his side. She felt cold, surely, but things were becoming…different. As she strides along with him, matching his gait, the girl has a plate of food before her. On it is a still warm and steaming funnel cake, atop it a cinnamon-sugar pretzel. At the question of her enjoyment, she side-eyes the man with a smile of her dark lips, each bud speckled with spice and sweet crystals. Cheek full, she doesn't speak, but chews at the hunk already in her mouth. The answer is yes.

At length, she swallows it down and licks away any residue. "Don't be such a wimp, Pretty. We'll get out of the cold soon. I'm just looking for my contact and we can all go…have a chat."

A mere few weeks ago, Ford would not have considered this at all. Super villainy and associating high profile criminals was not really something he was interested in. But New York was steadily becoming worse, by his measure. And a number of close encounters had finally convinced him that he needed at least a few allies in low places. So when a fellow lowlife at the chop shop mentioned that he knew a guy who knew a guy who knew a lady with some remarkable talents, Ford's interest was piqued… and briefly lost when those "talents" were explained. But after some extra thought, he put the word out that he was at least willing to hear this woman out.

As he wasn't entirely committed to the idea just yet, Ford thought it best to arrive already in disguise. He opted to keep it classy (this was Ford, after all) and threw up his personal illusion to look like a bit of a mousey guy. Dirty, messy black hair, thick horn-rimmed glasses, and a gray suit outfit to try and make himself look casual, but comfortable. Of course, what he was really wearing was much more casual, but for this meeting, he was fine with this. It gave him an unassuming look about him. Honestly, he probably looked more like he belonged in a newspaper office than organized crime.

As Lena and Ambrose approached, Ford was leaning calmly over the railing looking at the water below. Awfully dark down there… he adjusted the blue hankerchief he had sticking out of his coat pocket, his cue to this woman that he was the guy she was looking for. Now it was just a question of if she'd show up… he looked up and glanced about to see if he might could spot her. Not that he could even begin to guess what she'd look like…

"Puh. I refuse to suffer the season unnecessarily." With a sniff of derision, the Jackal then continues to scan the boardwalk sprawling around them. Few others are out and about this late, all mostly bundled of their own accord. Without fail, Lena is the least covered at first census of the pedestrians present.

"And what did this young man claim he would be wearing as a sign? A handkerchief was it? How quaint," Ambrose comments. "It would work for a signal, I suppose." With hands now in the pockets of his jacket, he continues walking along. As his eyes slide across the expanse of boardwalk again, ambient light flickers through his pupils in a flash of nightshine-red, betraying his inhumanity.

"You're in New York and winter is coming. You…suffer or get the fuck out." Lena comments with a passive shrug of her shoulders. Her voice is steady, soothing in its own way, but at most thickly apathetic. "Hey, you know many people that wear those anymore? That aren't assholes, I mean." Pause, "and I do like blue." She muses, smirking and pressing her own dimples into her cheeks.

Another hunk of bready goodness down, she finishes off her pretzel and starts to pull apart the deep-fried string cluster of her cake. It's a feat all its own that the powdered sugar doesn't wash across her black attire. Spotting her mark, she makes her way in his direction. Before long, she simply stands there, judging him in silence with a once over. "If you're the speedster outside of his red pjs, I'm going to call complete and absolute bullshit." She grumbles, eating a bit more of her treat. A glance to Ambrose, she looks back to Ford. "You the grease monkey?"

Ford seemed to snap out of his trance as he looked up from the water to the woman addressing him. He blinked a couple times, glancing up and down before smiling and nodding his head. "I am indeed that grease monkey… in that I enjoy being dirty and a bit of an animal." he asked, smirking and he leaned an arm on the railing. "I'm guessing you're the gal the guys were mentioning?" His eyes roved over her once more. "…they did not do you justice when they described you."

Ford extended a hand to shake, before realizing that Lena was a bit preoccupied with holding a funnel cake. So it smoothly shifted to his presumed competition, Ambrose. "Name's Ford. Best mechanic in New York, at your service." He introduced.

Is this the mark? By the young woman's behavior and her prompting look over to him, Ambrose surmises as such. He remains markedly aloof with a calculating slant to his lids. His dark eyebrows rise a touch at the banter flying back and forth.

Ambrose's eyes fall to the hand extended to him and then rise back to Ford's face. Polite, his voice and its volume: "A pleasure, Mister Ford. Lieutenant Atherton, of Her Majesty's Army." He returns the handshake with polite pressure beneath the supple leather of his gloves. Given the fabric between skins, the Bane doesn't slip to bite at Ford's palm and fingers. The master-thief's hand then returns to its pocket and Ambrose goes back to allowing his regard to wander over Ford's person with the self-same guileful attention as earlier.

"They probably didn't do my 'justice' because they wanted to keep their teeth." Lena explains half-heartedly. Names given, introductions made, she finishes off her cake and folds the paper plate in half. Tossing it in a bin, she suckles the sugar from her painted fingers, dries them on her skirt and offers her hand out. "Snart. To save Pretty here, we can go somewhere to talk inside. I'm not against good drinks and making merry." Pause, "I'm also curious what these guys said. Can't have people talking the wrong stuff, y'know?"

Of her majesty's army? Ford tossed Lena a slightly concerned glance, before shaking Ambrose's hand. "Nice to meet you Athe." Ford responded, shortening the name already. "A pleasure to meet you both. And, please don't break my heart and tell me it's Mrs. Snart." Ford quipped, before nodding and waving his hand for Lena to take the lead. "Ladies first. I never turn down a chance for a strong drink."

Wherever Lena led, Ford followed along, hands behind his back as he spoke. "Nothing, but good things, I assure you. How did they put it? 'A vision in ice'? 'Dangerous as she is gorgeous'? 'Hard to pin down'. Along those lines. Shall I stop there, or should I share a few of the angel comparisons?" he asked, arching a brow sidelong at Lena. "And all of them frustratingly vague. Never really explained what you could do, but I'm guessing it has a lot to do with ice and cold. And I'm afraid nobody mentioned anything about your friend." He leaned back to Ambrose. "My apologies."

Behind and to Lena's left, the Jackal ghosts along, content to listen and observe for now rather than intrude into the conversation at hand. After all, so many little things slip from the tongue when one's dealing with new parties interested in perfidy.

Ford, for his comment, receives one of those slowly-revealed Cheshire Cat grins. "They would not have mentioned anything about me…by my personal choice, of course. I am not offended."

"Buttering you up good, were they?" Lena rolls her eyes, the compliments sliding off her back like water on a duck. "No, it's not Mrs. Snart." Turning a corner, she walks the pair down another block or two before ducking them into a simple bar. It wasn't shady, or underground, more so just late and hole in the wall. Inside, it's warm, muggy almost, with the heavy aroma of smoke and booze filling the air. A few TVs are running by the bar, covered in cages so the screens can't be broken. A number of sports related programs play out while some music whispers in the background.

Lena upnods to the bar keep before settling into the booth of a back table. At least that was somewhat cliche. "Have a seat, Greasemonkey and we'll have a chat. Lord Prick, grab a seat, too. I'll buy the drinks."

So, at least one person was fool enough to get involved with said Lord Prick. Maybe Ambrose didn't mention that he'd invited his husband….or maybe Kent's just taken it upon himself to show up unannounced. He's in a dark topcoat over blue dress shirt, dark slacks. He doesn't *look* particularly sinister, really, as he ambles towards the Jackal. Sleepily expectant, honestly.

"Icy. I love a challenge." Ford mused, smirking wider as he placed his hands in his pockets, following the duo into the bar and taking in a deep breath. The smoke. The alcohol. The lingering scent of ladies. Nothing ignited Ford's predatory instincts quite like a dive bar. His eyes immediately found one of the TVs displaying a race, quickly checking in to see if number 26 was anywhere close to the lead. It wasn't. He was hardly surprised - that was such a gamble of a team. But they certainly enjoyed throwing parts together and rolling it out.

Grabbing a seat, Ford leaned back in his chair and exhales. "So long as it's digustingly strong, I'm not picky about my drinks, so long as it challenges my liver to a fight." Ford explained, before tilting his head to one side. "So, heard tell through the grape vine you were looking for some talented folks for an opportunity. Care to elaborate, or should I start with my first of 20 questions?" he asked. His eyes swiveled slightly to the tall, dark, and mild-mannered sleepyhead approaching. Just how many did this girl invite?

"It's Lord 'Entitled' Prick," Ambrose comments towards Lena. "At least get the insult correct." How dry, his words, desiccated in the manner that only the Brits can accomplish. As he goes to seat himself in a chair tucked to the outside of the booth, he pauses and looks up as if like an animal hearing something on the wind.

Turning in place where he stands, his eyes unerringly flick to the bar's entrance and to the entrance of a familiar face. His smile appears slowly yet again, but there's a fond note to soften it rather than leaving it gleaming and toothy. "Well…well…well…and look what the dog turned up." This deliberate greeting floats to Kent through the low-lit atmosphere.

A hand rises and curls gloved fingers as if to further direct Kent over to their small company. "I will let Miss Snart explain the manner as to our gathering," he asides to Ford even as he pulls over another chair for his other half.

"I don't mind 20 Questions. I do mind if you can't hold your liquor. Strong, sure, but if you're dying in a gutter because you were trying to play tough? Well, that's just sad." Watching Ambrose react, shift, move, she glances toward Kent and smirks once more. "Oh sit down, I'll call you whatever I want." Should the Snorlax Gent come closer, Lena will lift her fingers and give him a wave as well. "Have a seat, Pretty Number 2, we're about to have a tea party."

Drinks are ordered, drinks are set on the table, and with a roll of her shoulders, Snart rests back and eyes the trio. "Stay or don't, I don't care. I've been putting the word our recently about attempting something within the darker places of the city. A…union, I suppose. A group, small, that brings something back where it use to be. I called it a better class of criminal to Heatwave and he liked the sound of it." Pause, she swallows, expression stoic. "Long story short? The world is crawling with supers, Gods, who knows what else. Lower rung beings don't stand a chance anymore. I'm not a trusting girl. I don't know how this will work if at all. If I think leaving you behind will save my ass, I'll more than likely do just that. But…if we're going to survive, we have to do something about it."

Definitely a little dreamy, Kent's expression. But the gray eyes are keen, nonetheless. "Pretty Number 2? I've been promoted?" He has a languid English drawl, which surely no one present is in the least surprised by. "And I loooove tea parties." Managing to make 'tea parties' somehow sound obscene.

He seats himself at Ambrose's side, having not removed his coat. Her mention of super spoiling their fun has him looking very dry indeed, but he doesn't comment. Only arches his brows, promptingly.

"Trust me. I need something strong." Ford replied. It wasn't tough, not to him, anyways. He needed the extra kick to actually feel anything. The trouble with oni senses were that when it came to taste, he needed a lot to actually satisfy it. "So Pretty 1 and 2, and the Ice Queen." Ford said, keeping an apparent roll call of the group, best as he could.

As Ford's drink arrives, he takes a hefty swig of it. Ahhhh… finally, something with some kick! As the alcohol hit it's mark, Ford listening in on Snart's discussion, arching a brow as she wound it up. That was… inspiring, truly. "Not exactly the smoothest way to suggest a cooperative, wouldn't you say? 'I will dump you if things head south' doesn't really roll out the welcome mat, after all." Ford mused, taking another swig before sitting back in his chair and humming. "…not that you're wrong. Frankly, far as I'm concerned, anyone of those showboating supers is an absolute nutjob. And cause more dangers than they solve. So I will agree with you on that. Something has to be done. A little loose alliance for those of us who are not as… metaphysically gifted, shall we say?" Ford asked, leaning forward on the table. "So we have the concept. Any rough details, or is this more of a 'see who's interested' sort of deal? Codes of honor? General rules? Qualifications?"

There's an elaborate roll of eyes at the roll call. "Call me Jackal, please…" Long-suffering, the tone, as if he knows the simple respect won't be awarded. With arms loosely crossed at his seat, Ambrose looks between all present. Gin was his order, on the rocks, and it arrives with icecubes clinking on glass. He doesn't sip of it just yet.

"A loose alliance may be imperative starting out, given the lack of trust present in all at the table. It is wiser to cut ties and remain alive than to go down with the ship." His eyes slide to Lena. "Indeed, Miss Snart, what are your rules and qualifications…?"

"I'm not trying to be smooth, I'm telling you the truth." Lena explains without a hint of remorse. She looks it, too, the type to drop someone without hesitation or second guessing. Her own drink, for now, is some amber liquid that is let untouched. To Kent, she winks, "Oh, baby, you can be upgraded more if you'd like." It's that line that at least has a sliver of sultry husk.

Now back on topic, she nods. "I'm not sure on rules yet. Getting feelers out, seeing what people's issues are. What they're looking for. We should have codes of conduct, though. Can't be better class of anything if you're nothing but a monster." Reaching for her glass, she gives its contends a swirl. "A guild, maybe." Scoffing, she looks at their present sitting area. "Round table."

He blinks, slow as a cat, at that. "Indeed?" Kent wonders, tone arch. "Do tell." But the flirting is really only ancillary - he's got nothing to offer, beyond, "All I can think of now is the Guild of Calamitous Intent."

No drink for him, at the moment. "What is is ultimately intended to accomplish? Merely keep superpowered beings from interrupting our reindeer games? Actually dealing with the more troublesome ones?" Three guesses what 'dealing' with means, beneath the layer of euphemism…..and the first two don't count.

Grateful as he was for the drink, Ford sat in quiet contemplation. After a moment, he hummed as he took another sup. "Fair enough. But that's going to make working together slightly more difficult, in my book." Ford was having his misgivings about the whole matter. If he could be dropped at a moment's notice, there really wasn't a ton of incentive to throw his lot in if it was going to be thrown aside when troubles started up. But he could be persuaded, if the gallery of rogues proved competent.

"For my part, I'd be in it for the profits. I have bills to pay and a growing wish list to satisfy, and actively hunting down supers is a good way of getting targets on our backs. But if they cross us, and encounter an unfortunate accident, I'll toast to it. One less psycho off the streets."

"Troubles should be removed one way or another, yes, though not without addressing pertinent risk. I would not, for example, ever be convinced to take on one of the famed Avengers." Ambrose suckles a canine tooth in passing. "Perhaps…despite the fanciful nature of the suggestion, a 'round table' might be best. It encourages all present to remain present and acknowledges their thoughts on matters," the Jackal muses before he sips at his drink.

"My personal interest in such a guild would not be profits. It would be to relieve boredom and advance my own cause, which…thankfully will have little to do with the guild itself. Consider it a side hobby of my own."

"Rory and I thrive on doing what we want. Getting what we think we deserve and never had growing up. We enjoy the chase, though I suppose that might not be something everyone wants." There's a struggle there in the girl's pale eyes, her hands still toying with her glass before she finally takes a drink.

A bubbly giggle answers Kent's reaction to their 'group'. "No, I…best way I can sum it all up is allowing those like us to have support. There's no changing what we are or why we do what we do, but there is the ability to make sure we keep our necks. Don't pick fights, but don't let someone else finish them, either. Support your…companions. Don't snipe the helpless or harm needlessly."

He's old enough to remember the days of the Five Families, is Kent, though New York wasn't his stomping ground. "It sounds," he says, more slowly, "Like a treaty. A way to keep us all from stepping on one another's toes or calling down fire upon our collective heads. Some of these vigilantes are tragically indiscriminate." Looking at you, Frank Castle.

"And possible support - presenting a unified front. Because at least with some of these lesser powers, clever, organized mortals can be a genuine threat." Not that he's a mortal, but…

Now Ford could get behind this philosophy. Lena had regained Ford's interest with that proposed code of conduct. It fit in quite nicely with what he had in mind himself. Nothing to provoke the heroes, but if they crossed them. "And arrogant." Ford chimed in at Kent's assessment. "A reckless showboating limbed by self-righteousness. A very dangerous combination, if you ask me." Ford stated, taking another hearty swig of his drink. How he was able to not immediately start regurgitating it was impressive.

"It sounds like a loose network. Lowlifes and criminals with… decent talents having each others backs. If we need extra muscle, we know who to call. If we're being targetted, we unite and fight back, best as we can. Don't act like jerks. Don't draw fire. Don't stand in each other's way." Ford mused, laying it all out. "…not a shabby plan. What do we call it? The Loose Alliance of Lowlifes isn't precisely a ringing name… but I don't think we'd be so daring as to call any of ourselves super villains either, so Super Villains Anonymous won't work."

With a sigh, Ambrose leans back in his chair, listening still. Kent earns himself a pleased glance; it sounds terribly similar to their days spent running the underworld of the Scarlet City of Shanghai. Old memories float up unbidden and twinkle through his eyes.

"Why not a treaty, yes — why not a guild or network, whichever the terminology may pan out to be. We need not name it yet should there be other invitations to extend…?"

"I've had a few run ins with the Speedster. Pun intended, but we figured that out. Things are a bit more advanced out there now. Supes are forming groups of their own, after all. There's only so much we can do." Pause, "I can do, with Mick, I mean." The bruises and bang-ups were just additions to the issues. Another sip, and then downing the rest of her stout glass, the girl sets it aside and clears her throat.

"If we going to do this, act together, work together, we do it right." As Ford questions about a name, she smiles and looks toward Ambrose and Kent. "I was thinking Rogues."

"So many of them can't resist jumping in feet first. Little spider people here, the bat folk over there…." Kent's voice sounds annoyed. "But yes, they gang together, so must we. Super villains….." His scorn is infinite. "IT's just the flipside of the same clownish coin, the longing for fame…." A tip of his head for the suggested name.

A glance back at Ambrose - clearly thinking along the same lines. He did end up undisputed king, but only of the foreign concessions, wisely leaving the mass of the city to the bigger Chinese gangs.

Ambrose's own dimples faintly appear at the name suggested. "Why not. It sounds appropriate. None present would truly rub elbows with the Queen unless there were a diadem to lift…" Is he joking? Regardless, the master-thief chuckles behind his smile, the sound curling up almost like a purr.

"Let us be Rogues then…and perhaps meet at the Rogue's Table?" A pun on the earlier suggestion of 'round table' and how the Jackal is amused at his own pun. Half of his gin disappears just like that in self-congratulation. "We may rest comfortably in our niche while the super-villains earn their infamy and consequential beat-downs followed by time behind bars."

"Agreed. It's not concrete, but it's a start." She nods, lifting her glass or a toast even if the vessel is empty. "To the Rogues." Huzzahs all around, she sets the glass back down and exhales a held breath. "I'll work on getting a place to meet, I suppose. Some safe houses along the way. I have a few." Already, her mind was churning. "Perhaps we should…set up a job. See how we act and react to one another, together. No point in being a union if we can't even work well to pull off a job."

"To the Rogues, indeed," Kent agrees. His smile is almost wistful, really. As if he looked back over all that span of time to those distant, glittering days….and a bloody, prolonged courtship. His hand finds Ambrose's, squeezes it firmly. "Indeed. A trial run sounds good."

"To the Rogues," Ambrose echoes quietly as he lifts up the clinking remainder of his drink to the table as a whole. Killing the rest of it, he sets his glass down within its condensation ring and slides his tongue idly over his lower sip.

"Something simple to start, if we are to take the measures of our cohorts," he agrees. "I suggest another meet yet, as to ascertain any new members as well as exchange suggestions as to the task. No need to decide which hand to play when one doesn't have a full deck of cards, hmm?"


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