Lessons From Larceny


dumortier_icon.gif kendall2_icon.gif

Scene Title Lessons From Larceny
Synopsis The best way for two government agent trainees to bond after work is to exchange stories over a few drinks about breaking the law… right?
Date June 15, 2021

Cat's Cradle

The room is large, a mid sized stage with tattered curtains hanging around it and two spotlights that face it. There were a number of mismatched theatre seats arranged in a half circle facing the stage, a long dark purple rug running through the middle of them. A chandelier that is sometimes on and only lights up halfway hangs in the center of the room. Even when music is not being performed people congregate around the stage, drinking or smoking. A 420 Friendly sign hangs near a mirror hung up behind the bar.

The bar area has a few mismatched chairs and boxes for chairs. A lone armchair is placed near the bar, the owner usually occupies it when she is in. The bar is a bunch of wood and steel welded together and repurposed as a bar, there is a black glass that is fitted around the middle of often smear from people’s knees and boot heels. A really old television set with a VHS player sits behind the bar propped up on a stand. The bar is as well stocked as you can get nowadays, there’s even an exotic alcohol or two rumored to be under the bar. A modest grill stands in the corner right next to the bar, nothing fancy just greasy food.

In the corner of the room near the stage and its green room door is another door that is usually locked.

It's not the first nor last time that Cat's Cradle has stood against incoming danger; somehow, it's just one of those places that survives. The performers have gone mostly away, though- - most of the music now is radio and karaoke ruled by boos or claps. The atmosphere of closeness remains, thanks to those running the place. If you're still here, you're still a part of it, right?

Sure are.

Dumortier has had his fair share of headbutting and canoodling here anyway; he's right at home sitting at the bar nursing a drink after finishing out the day, even if the smoke outside is making things more and more difficult to move past. What he can't tell the others at the bar, however, weighs on him. What they've got stirring up to stop all of this- - doing something that they once tried out in Providence with less manpower and expertise.

Rene can't deny that he worries- - he got burned once already.

Despite how he behaves at work, Kendall isn't super sociable when he's not required to be near other people; humor is a deflection, after all. Unfortunately for him, he happens to be rooming with the Lighthouse Kids, and they're a good reason for leaving the Lanthorn at times.

After already getting his daily PokeStop, Kendall wanders around outside until the smell of smoke gets too much to handle. Catching sight of a nearby bar, he heads right for it, escaping into fresher air. Once inside, he raises his eyebrows as he catches sight of a familiar blond, and heads right for him, casually claiming the seat next to him. "Sup." Sorry, Rene, your personal space is being invaded.

The fresher air inside smells shockingly like, well, a bar. Still not fire smog. The open and close of the door does bring a wave of outside air, notable enough for some to sneak a look.

Rene manages to see the incoming missile before it gets to him, already angling Kendall's way when he slides into the neighboring seat. A teasing smile, half cocked. "Sup yourself. Come here often?"

"A few times, I'm not really much of a bar crawler. You? Guess you need watering a lot huh." Oh yes, Kendall has jokes. He gives his drink request to the bartender and sets his ID on the bar, casually placing his hand so it's blocked from at least Rene's sight. Who doesn't have a bad ID picture, anyway? "Don't often see people I know when I come in so I don't usually stay long." This is what perfectly normal people do, right? Next he might decide to watch 'a sport' and yell at a TV. Perfectly normal.

"Yes, I need watered constantly and well." He doesn't have a problem, you have a problem. Rene is only as nosy about others hiding things as he can get away with. Just a twee sideeye. He sips at the bottle in front of him.

"If bar crawls mean the same few all the time, that too, yes."

"Well I happen to be staying with a group of kids that range from barely legal to underage in regards to drinking so I have to at least make a token attempt at being a-" cue air quotes, "'responsible adult'." Kendall smirks, sliding his ID back in his wallet unmolested. "And most people who know me would laugh at the idea of me being one, so feel free."

"What, siblings?" For some reason, Dumortier rankles at the passing thought. "Don't sacrifice too much to be the responsible one, doll." No laugh over it immediately weirdly enough. It takes a few moments yet, and when it comes it is a puff of noise.

"You probably don't give yourself the credit you should."

Kendall shakes his head. "Nah, not my siblings. Matter of fact, only two of them are related to each other, most of them were orphans or abandoned even before the war. They were too young to participate so they got shipped off to Canada after Pollepel fell." Spoken with just a hint of lofty disdain. "But when I got back in town and didn't have anywhere to stay, they offered me a room, so I'm grateful. Not sure I belong there though." The comment about selling himself short is just shrugged at.

"Ah." Dumortier breathes out a small laugh again, looking Kendall up and down. "If you're not sure, you might be right. You've got this job now. If the city doesn't burn the fuck down you could find a place." The pressure is there, but only faintly. Rene sounds biased, though, all things considered. Speaking of burning, "Do they have you on any task force yet? For the fire." Passively curious, more like small talk than nosiness.

"Nah, I can't do much more to help with it than any other normal person. I can make it 'go away' all I like but it'll still be there. I can't do anything involving the physical world." Kendall shrugs. "I probably will when people start needing to be evacuated, though. We'll probably need everyone helping with that. How about you? I guess growing more flammable material wouldn't be the best idea though."

"I'm on a front line, actually." Rene frowns into his bottle's mouth, complicated emotions passing over his expression. "There's a plan for me, since I had a bit of success last time I was fighting this same bullshit." Brows up, the smaller blonde waves his drink in a shrug. "Go figure. Hopefully this time I don't turn into charcoal." Even though there's a plan, there's still something that comes out more easily after a couple of drinks; insecurity is a bitch, and so is bitterness.

"This is what I signed up for, I guess." A small grunt. "Not what I had in mind for helping the little guy, but alright. I'll flex."

Kendall shakes his head, frowning down at the drink he got. "Guess you don't need to be told to be careful, huh. Wish I could do more, but unfortunately I'm very limited in stuff like this." More than anything, he sounds frustrated at not being able to do as much as others.

"Evacuation is important. Stubborn people need to go if they need to. I had problems getting that through to people last time. But those were people whose lives were the land, so…" Dumortier rolls a shoulder in a shrug. "If this doesn't work we'll need feet on the ground, yeah? At least I haven't dipped yet. Fucking… moral developments and shit…" He grouses, as if a bad thing.

Kendall downs a third of his drink and grins over at Rene. "Poor thing. Having to follow the rules, and the law. Having to set a good example for everyone. Knowing that even when you're off duty, you still have to behave because you represent the government." Another sip. "Life is rough."

"You say that like I don't still get into shit." He does, just… "It's just less of it. I'm much pickier." Dumortier's defense of any misbehavior is at least honest. He would probably say the same to anyone. "I only have the time to be picky. There are some things way more fun than others." And more legal, technically speaking.

Kendall regards his drink pensively. "I'd like to say it's hard for me too, but I'm insufferably well behaved, I blame my upbringing. The most I ever did was sneak into a casino when I was seventeen. Well, aside from faking IDs for people before the war started, but, well, I'd say that was more because the law was shit and needed to be broken. And it did."

"Nice. Fakes are always in demand, fair bit of change." But from the sound of it, Kendall had a bit more altruism happening. Rene waves down the bar with the end of his empty drink before setting it down with a clunk.

"When I was seventeen I was busy burglarizing. Harassing. Vandalizing. You know, regular kid stuff."

Kendall shakes his head. "Well technically I stole a lot when I was eighteen, but that was because I got dumped out in the middle of nowhere with no money, and there was a war going on. It was kinda rough." Kendall pauses. "Well technically I've been stealing thousands of dollars from some random guy. Still am, actually." Despite his earlier words, admitting that doesn't seem to bother him much.

"Ha, and you don't have your own space? Sounds suspicious. Who is the lucky one? You yank a social? Open some cards? Identity theft is an assumption. Rene, for his part, looks genuinely curious through idle laughter. "I would to swipe a lot of cards from tourists, easy grabs and I didn't have to go 'home'. I cleaned up for a little, didn't last. Got in with new people with better money."

"I met a pro Evo 'hacktivist' during the war and we found a Pure Earther who was donating a significant amount every month to an anti-Evolved foundation. So we just… changed a few numbers, and now he donates to a more worthy cause." Kendall shrugs. "If something happened and he stopped paying, I'd still be ok."

Amusement remains, but there is something in what Kendall says that brings a twist of obscure emotion between brow and mouth. Hard to determine what it is, or why his manner hesitates. Perhaps it is the How.

"That's smart. He probably lost access to whereever its coming from. As long as it doesn't run out, that's cozy."

"Not sure what happened to him, wouldn't even give me his name. Don't think he was even Evo himself, just good at computers. Or maybe he was a technopath." Kendall finishes his drink and gets a second one. Why not. "Taught me a couple things. Don't really use any of it, no real need. But…" Kendall shifts about, then brings a small bag out of his pocket. He pulls out about a dozen different IDs. "Mostly to use as props, I used to have to draw things to make illusions, and even now it helps more if I have something tangible for a more complicated thing." Like fake identities, it seems.

"Heh, like psychic paper." Dumortier reaches up to try and take one for closer inspection. "You can do holographic stamps and everything too, hn? Maybe they should put you in with registrations."

Kendall watches Rene nervously when he inspects one of the IDs. It does look like an extremely close counterfeit, although the middle-aged white guy on it looks nothing like him. Then he narrows his eyes suspiciously at Rene. "Psychic paper? You watch Doctor Who?" Wow, Rene's a closet nerd!

"Hm?" Rene squints between the ID and the arrival of his drink, then back to Kendall. What. "I mean- - not like- - religiously. I'm a bit Eurotrash if you missed that, pote. BBC reruns are better than that new Styx propaganda. If we're talking background noise."

"Well being self declared Eurotrash doesn't mean you indulge in stereotypes. Besides, I thought BBC was mostly a UK thing. Doesn't it mean British Broadcasting Channel or something?" Reaching his hand to grab the ID back, Kendall snorts softly. "Besides, it's plenty popular over here too."

"It gets around." Rene snorts faintly. "I don't mind some stereotypes. Eurovision's shit anymore. I'm not a French National either so maybe trash is a bit far. Anyway, I'm just casually nerdy, don't get too excited."

"Damn. It's more fun to be able to discuss the newest episode with someone." Kendall does look disappointed at that, sighing theatrically. "Ah well, the quest continues."

"I'll give you a break, garçon triste," Dumortier counters with his own theatrics, acting oh so bothered by this show of sadness. "If everything works out in the next weeks," Offers and stipulations coming, Rene grins and leans closed.

"You can pick out one thing you really like to- oh- share? Or whatever- - and I will give you a chance to get me interested. Maybe we actually have something more in common than petty crime, we'll see." He's formed other relations with far less, so why not?

"I, I don't… I don't think that counts as something we have in common." Kendall shakes his head. "The way you describe it, you do it for fun. I definitely don't." Pause. "Also, uh, you probably shouldn't anymore." He is intrigued by the offer, however. "Deal. I'll try not to pick something boring."

"Oh, I don't, I am on the narrow now. Unless it is to serve The People. It probably happens." Rene snickers to himself; he is yanking chains, as one does. Moreso after a few. "Good, good. Boring turns me off." Better start thinking. "Almost as much as that guy." He turns a look to the stage, occupied by a warbly guitar player.

Kendall turns towards the stage as Rene brings his attention to it, listening for a moment. "Oh, is that supposed to be music?" he remarks, perfectly willing to join in with a mild heckling. "Sometimes it's better to not inject too much personality into things." Dismissing the erstwhile performer from thought, Kendall tries thinking of things that are interesting to do that other people might like. "Well how do you feel about video games, beyond being a good target to steal? I got a few multiplayers."

"He's playing it like a teenager trying to impress a girl, and it's working." A wrinkle hits Dumortier's nose, just for a moment. "I guess you need to start somewhere. Maybe not a venue. That poor guitar. I'd never treat you like that." He shakes his head, looking back to Kendall. Injecting personality is the best part.

"Never had the money when I was a kid, didn't really get into it after that. I've played a bit here and there, mostly lazy phone games…puzzles…" Are those considered true video games? He doesn't sound too much like he cares, but. "I've got reflexes, don't get me wrong. Arcades and pinball, you know? Casinos, but that's not much skill."

No commentary on being able to afford things as a kid. "Well if the idea of playing as colorful video game characters from all sorts of games beating the shit out of each other I've got a great game suggestion. Good if you do have good reflexes. Also has an online mode to play with people remotely, but…" Kendall grimaces. "WiFi is spotty at best nowadays." Sigh. "Stupid war destroying everything." As if that's the worst part of what happened.

"I've played a Street Fighter cabinet or two." Rene laughs, sipping at his drink as he considers Kendall closely. "Don't know if that translates." Still. It's something that wasn't there before? The latter comment gets a more audible snort from Rene. "Yamagato's 'net is pretty good, all things considered. They don't break a sweat offering it. Otherwise pony up for a satellite link or running a wire… there's even less optioning out at my country place… but we managed."

Of course it's something he's familiar with! "They're considered 'retro' now, but I've played a few. Not sure if there's many left though except in dedicated gaming spaces. But yeah, same basic idea except you're not limited to just a small area facing each other, it's up to 4 players and a bigger area including platforms above and sometimes below that you can interact with, and if you get knocked off you lose a life. Lots of other mechanics involved too but that's basically it." Kendall is very enthusiastic.

"But, yeah… I'm staying with people, it's not my house, so it's up to them."

"Sounds chaotic." He sounds like he could probably dig that. The game, not the people, but - - "And sounds like you definitely need a space. Again, if it all doesn't burn down." Dumortier shakes his head once. "All goes back to that, huh? My bad."

"Well the problem is I don't want to be rude, they did offer me a place to stay when I was literally living on the streets. Robyn also offered me a place to stay since she's apparently rich and owns a whole block. I'm house sitting for her while she's… Gone." Kendall rubs the back of his head at that, frowning lightly as he remembers that conversation. "For whenever she gets back."

"Psh, if she offered it, move in to housesit. You are way too mild mannered, aren't you?" Dumortier settles for friendly teasing again. "Just leave it all the way you found it, none the wiser, right?" He can't find a reason not to. It pans out to the feeling of, Be free, Kendall, do something for you. Or something like that.

"Yeah, well, not everyone can be a shameless reprobate like you." Kendall retorts with a smirk, then dramatically places a hand on his chest. "I happen to have a thing called a conscience!" A light snicker, and he shakes his head. "But yeah, she did give me a key" and a biometric account for the security system but Kendall certainly wasn't going to tell a self-confessed thief about that, "…so yeah I have, but… Well I dunno. I don't really…. belong anywhere." he stares down at the two now empty glasses in front of him.

"Nothing wrong with that." Some people would probably offer reassurance over finding something, or tell someone they unequivocally belong somewhere. Not quite the case, unsurprisingly.

"If it bothers you I can't really say anything to that. I find a place if I can, wasn't always that way. I was fine, though." Rene does recognize that some people are alright with being alone, yet not with being lonely. "Make your own I guess?"

"I mean I did put my name down for that lottery thing once I was no longer legally dead-" a side effect of that time travel thing Kendall mentioned previously, "but real estate is pretty scarce. Then again, what else is new, housing has always been terrible here."

Kendall sighs. "I got kicked out of my home when I was sixteen because I was Evo, and even before the war started I was in five different safehouses. They kept getting raided, though Pollepel was the worst. Then ten years of being stuck out west without knowing where I was going to sleep each night, it's hard to…" Kendall pauses as he realizes something, a sly look directed Rene's way, "…put down roots. You know?" Smiiiirk.

"All the more reason to take what people want to give y- - oh shove it." Dumortier punctuates this by actually giving his companion a small shove, bobbing his head in mockery. "I've heard them all, smartass. Find new material." Not a chance. Everyone knows plant jokes are easy.

"Low hanging fruit, nerd."

Kendall laughs and jostles Rene back with a laugh. "Oh I don't know about that, you might find some new growth in unusual places, I'll leaf it to your imagination." But yeah, he probably has heard it all by now, but that just means Challenge Accepted. Time to get creative! "You'll get ambushed one of these days."

"Ugh." Dragging his hand down over his face, Rene groans. "Don't push it, buddy. I might have to throw some hands." He angles an exaggerated glare Kendall's way. "My bite is juuust as bad as my bark. Gotta get ready to square up."

Kendall lifts his hands defensively with a grin. "Well so long as you don't mean literally, I'm not into that." Well then. "Not much use in a fight either to be honest, so I'm vine with not starting a brawl." Oops another slipped out, oh well.

"Drat. I'm so into that." Hard to tell if he means it or not, but chances are he does. Rene sets aside his bottle, nose wrinkling just a bit. "Alright, I'm out of puns. I'm too full for it." He pings a fingernail against the bottle, laughing and bringing a fist to his mouth to muffle a small 'urf'. Yeah, no more from him.

"Yeah, don't want to use them all in one sitting. Save some for later." Kendall leans forward, resting his elbows on the bar. "So what do you like to do, when you're not doing the plant monster thing?" He's not certain what Rene was referring to when he said he was 'into it'; was that biting people, or brawls?

"I'm still getting used to not doing so much scavenging. Still selling some stuff at the Hook market, here and there." Rene offers, though he knows that isn't something quite like what Kendall meant. "But, uh, music." Do music. Yeah. "Play, sing, write, the whole thing." It makes more sense now, that prior moment of specific distaste for the guy on stage. "Little bit of other writing. You find things to do without tech, y'know?"

"Oh, that's cool. I'm more of a… listener. My creativity is more with the visual than the aural. I draw, so I understand the bit about low tech. But you should talk to Robyn when she gets back, she does that too and has a pretty sweet studio." Not that Kendall is going to invite people into other people's homes even if he is watching it for them. He'll keep its contents vague too since Rene did admit he was a thief earlier.

Former! As far as Kendall knows. Rene raises a brow at the mention of a studio, interest clearly piqued, at least for a minute. "A studio? I figured anyone who has one anymore is a moneybags. Indie places are far between these days… not that I really record things too much. If I really like it, I suppose I do. My equipment is always second, third, fourth hand." He huffs a small laugh.

"Does partying count as a hobby?" Rene questions out loud, brow now knitting. "Otherwise I do occupy myself with plants… of many kinds."

Well Robyn might not actively make music anymore but it's something she did at one point. And Kendall knows she still has all the stuff; why have stuff if you don't use it? "Well I don't think it's much of a secret that she is, yeah." he remarks thoughtfully. "She used to be a local celebrity after all." Back in the day. "I think partying… might count? Dunno, sounds more like it's own thing than a hobby. And by plants of all kinds, do you mean the espionage kind too?" he jokes. "I thought it was more bugs than plants for that."

Dumortier rolls a shoulder in a shrug in regards to Robyn's local celebrity status; he's unfamiliar with her or her work, unfortunately. "I try to avoid the blackmail stuff anymore, so no. Just the regular kind." Another small huff, then a gesture as if bringing a cigarette to his mouth and away again. "I'm a shortcut for the good stuff, if you need any. I have a few people who come to me for something stronger. Pain can be a bitch."

Kendall thinks that over for a minute, then laughs. "Oh of course, I should've known. It's the obvious route." He snorts softly, shaking his head. "On that note, I inadvertently discovered I can replace a drug myself. I can make people get the nostalgia kick for free without using Refrain."

"That stuff gets you messed up." Dumortier murmurs, significantly less into the mention of Refrain. The sound of personal experience. "Mushrooms are way more friendly. Or, well, someone like you, I guess… " A look up and down, passive in its judgment. "I'm glad the stuff isn't as pervasive as it used to be. Least, to the public. It's fucked."

"That's why I'd prefer to promote my own version, 100% safe to use. Well, for the people wanting it, anyway. It's apparently not 100% safe for me since druglords don't like competition, or so I've been warned." Kendall shrugs lightly. "Had an idea to deliberately draw attention that way but people have been less than enthusiastic about me putting myself at risk like that."

"No need to go further than you should. Everyone has a bullshit limit." Thumbing over his mouth, Rene seems to wince thinking it over. "Trust me, you don't actually want to try and be the 'drug savior' or whatever the hell. Just keep to yourself and low key advertise if that's what you want. Maybe some support groups you can talk to, might actually be able to help someone through cutting it."

"Nah, nah, I wasn't wanting to become a druglord or whatever, I meant like…a sting, or something, bust the ones in charge. But, yeah…it's a bit bigger than what I could probably handle. Helping reduce dependency is probably more my level." Kendall shakes his head. "Though I'm hoping no one gets addicted to what I do instead, that would be awkward."

"I wouldn't worry about that." Dumortier squints, a half smile on his lips. "You seem like the type to not give up on someone, so maybe you can change someone's withdrawal-filled day around." It's as supportive of Kendall's ability-as-replacement as he can really get. You do you, man. Turning on his stool, Rene fishes on the inside of his jacket for his wallet and the cash inside.

Something which Kendall seems to agree with, both the words and the action. "Yeah. Altruistic to a fault, that's me. Pretty boring, nowhere near as exciting as mugging people or whatever." And just as Rene digs for his money, so too does Kendall pull out his own wallet, staring down the bartender until he's noticed. "Maybe sometime you can show off what you can do too." he adds as he burns a hole in the bartender's back. Figuratively.

"Psh." Mugging is beyond him now. Not unless it's life or death, something like that. The rest gets a small squint as Rene debates which 'what' Kendall means- - there's been a few- - but seems to settle on the blander side."Yeah, maybe." It's not a promise, but it's not a dip either. The bartender comes to them in due time, thankfully, which doesn't leave too much of a silence.

Sliding a card over, Dumortier mutters quietly to himself. "Un tel garçon à côté…" He looks back to his erstwhile co-worker. "Catch me after we clean up from the shit hitting the fan." One hopes.

Handing over his own card, Kendall shrugs. "Well better than going out in a blaze of glory, yeah?" he frowns, though, looking towards the door. "Yeah… I think in this regard, I'll leave it at that, it's a little too close for comfort." he admits. "See you around."

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