On Quality Of Marksmanship


bao-wei_icon.gif candy_icon.gif rocket_icon.gif smedley_icon.gif

Scene Title On Quality Of Marksmanship
Synopsis Rocket tries to pick the pocket of the wrong Triad… torture specialist's pocket. Fortunately, the cavalry arrives! On a horse. With a twangy gun. Candy isn't very sweet.
Date June 3, 2009

Staten IslandThe Rookery

After the bomb, Staten Island grew to become a haven for undesirables. If the Island is their home, then the Rookery is their playplace. Equal parts gritty and decadent, it boasts dark alleys, bright lights, and every pleasure that one could imagine. Provided you know where to ask, of course.

Some areas have fared better than the rest of the island; some have fared far worse. For each well-tended brothel or gaming house, there's at least one creaky, crumbling structure left over from the days of pre-bomb suburban glory.
The population is considered universally distasteful, even by much of the rest of Staten Island. Criminals, refugees, victims of radiation poisoning… Those who have nowhere else to go often end up here. The most common method of getting out is to have your body dropped in the river, followed closely by being left wherever it is you got killed

Good luck.

Evening on Staten Island can either be a quiet affair, or a complicated one. Never a little bit of either, always one or the other, mind you. Tonight finds Bao-Wei with one of his usual tag-alongs, a wiry young man of about the same height, a tattoo on his neck and short cropped black hair. He also has a scar along the side of his jaw, though half covered by the edge of his hairline. Doctor Cong looks his usual part of someone conducting business at all hours of the day, even if it means taking the time to find a closet of suits that actually fit him. Alas.

They are in the process of exiting a small shop, its windows blacked by blinds, and the only glimpse inside giving a sliver of visibility to what seems like a clinic for alternative medicine. Goodness only knows what they were doing; the two talk briefly in Cantonese as they amble out onto the sidewalk. The younger man says something that he apparently finds just tickling- but Bao-Wei, on the other hand, simply stares back over the edge of his reading bifocals, lips turned down.

Candy is wandering trough Staten herself, most likely blowing off some steam like she is want to do. Or perhaps still looking for the chance to blow off some steam. The woman is dressed in a mini-skirt and tube top as she wanders through the place. That is until she spots Bao. Her eyes narrow, before recognition sets in. Its the old man with the pervy henchmen that wants to "talk" with her. Her eyes narrow a little more as she starts to skulk behind them, just to see what they are up to.

Smedley had to see a man about a horse. Literally. On the other side of the street from Bao-Wei and his companion, the westerner is discussing what can only be presumed to be some sort of business as they stand beside an old horse trailer, hooked to an equally old truck. Inside are a few animals, all making the usual idle horse sounds and smells.
Rocket prefers it when the evenings are quiet. When you're ripping people off, quiet is better: quick in, swift out, flick of the wrist and maybe a mumbled apology, an inoffensive ambling off in a divergent direction— that's the best. Rocket should know better, probably.

His heart is already hammering like a drum in his chest, loud and not quiet, crashing against his ribs fuelled by visceral anxiety. Two nights straight, and he hasn't found a mark with more than a couple fivers to their wallets so he's wound up tight, his round face clenched in on itself in the dark, skin prickling. In his ratty hoodie and jeans, he's a broken specter blowing around on the staticky crackle of sea breeze, something raw about the eyes he turns this way and that. He should know better.

But Bao-Wei's bodyguard isn't acting like the ones that are doing what they should, and the big man looks slow. Tension squares Rocket's shoulders up; his gaze flits at the other Chinaman— Asian loping up, but the look on her face dismisses any notion that they're cohort. His shoe scrapes a stray bit of hay as he falls into position, sets his teeth on edge and his course on easy collision.

There is strange shit in Staten. Prostitutes and things in giant trailers among them- at least, that is how Bao-Wei is seeing anything around him. Weirdness, duly ignored. The normal ones are the ones you need to pay attention to. A face here, a face there, the doctor has to pay attention to them instead of his cohort- because frankly, he is finding this man exasperating. "«You must be new, mm?»"

The wiry young man blinks once, nodding with a jerky, almost jittery movement. Bao-Wei makes a sound not unlike a grumble, though certainly more guttural before he speaks again, looking over the newbie Dragon with scornful eyes. "«I thought as much. Consider yourself out of this role, Shun.»" And true to form, the newbie's expression sinks, happily clueless.

Instead of paying much attention to the poor fellow he apparently just canned, Bao-Wei moves off down the sidewalk(good for Rocket, right in the boy's direction; but that means he also has his eyes in the same focus), letting Shun catch up after a moment of private '?!'.

Candy watches the old prev and his cohort as she walks along with them. Her eyes centered on them for the time being while she plays stalker, or something like that. Its kind of hard to do when you are dressed like she is. She honestly looks like… well, we'll not go into that. Find a nice place that is still close-ish to Bao and his man, she leans against a wall.

Fat old man's sending his companion away. He oughtta know better, Rocket thinks. You don't run alone on Staten Island unless you're actually planning on running. A small smirl tendrils up the line of his mouth into something that looks kind of froggy in its pleasure. He shakes himself loose, a subtle jostle of movement underneath the baggy folds of his clothes. Picks up his clip, cold fingers curling.

He stumbles past Bao-Wei first. The move is surgical in its choreographed clumsiness; he rebounds off the man's belly and dense coat, shoulder hiked and fingers walloping loosely off the flesh of the man's torso, and accompanied by an agile, serrated swipe of temporal manipulation as he pokes through the man's front pocket, on the first take, and before settling on a cobra strike into Bao-Wei's lapel. Bingo: he gets it right this second time around, courtesy of a clever stroke of his ability.

It isn't until he's on recoil that Rocket notices the massive bulk of the Chinese man's hand closed smoothly around his matchstick arm and realizes, a second too late — one crucial second too late, that he shouldn't have wasted that fucking second. His eyes pop huge in his head.

Everyone knows kids are stupid. Bao-Wei would have thought any runt pattering around on Staten Island would be at least one rank of cleverness higher, but as it so happens Rocket does not seem to qualify as such. One deceptively mighty hand grips onto the teenager's thin forearm as he manages to find purchase on Doctor Cong's sheepskin wallet; a second too late, yes, but even if he had not, would Rocket have actually been able to get away? Possibly not.

Just as soon as the boy's eyes pop out in surprise, his arm is being yanked around expertly by Doctor Cong- a twisting maneuver very common in grappling, with a man almost three times Rocket's size behind it. The Chinaman says nothing as he twists, and down the sidewalk, Shun, still pondering whether to follow or not- seems to freeze in surprise. Where'd that kid come from? What did he do?

Candy blinks at the kid that is snared by the Old Perv. An eyebrow raised as she starts to follow along once more. Is the old Perv about to do something… well.. pervish?! The woman is aflame with curiousity as she follows along behind Bao-Wei and company. Her hands at her sides as she walks.

The kid! Came from! Right over there! And he diiiidn't doooo aaaaaaaaaaannythiiiiing, or so says the look on Rocket's face, bug-eyed and mouth twisted ajar as he flips and tumbles about like a particularly small cheesecloth, subject to the whims of Bao-Wei's arms. It soon becomes painfully apparent to, oh, everyone exactly what he'd been trying to do when—

The Triad man's wallet falls out onto the ground, thump, slithering scuffly soft across the asphalt.

Fuckety oops. "Waiwait ahh!" The ungainly squawk is forced out of Rocket's lungs when his arms are bent together behind him, leaving his feet swiveling and scattering helplessly below. "I'm sorry!" he blurts out. "I didn'— I di— 'm sorry, sir! I'm sorry!"

"Did your father not teach you to pick on targets your own size?" Yeah, that was obviously his first mistake. "Stick to whores and bumbling fools, boy." Bao-Wei keeps one of Rocket's arms twisted upside-down-around while his other hand moves to pick up the wallet from the ground.

Only to pull it up and smack the teenager in the face with it; one swift, mocking gesture before yanking the boy up straight. He comes nose-to-nose, brows knitted and mismatched eyes glinting angrily, up close and personal. Cong's voice is at a growl, the anger behind it burning like coals flaring together. It is apt to build, though it does not lose its fire. Ire, in this case. "Perhaps I should cut off your fingers so that you do not make a stupid mistake again."

Candy continues to watch the two as she crosses her arms, enjoying the bit of free drama. She bangs on the door of a ran down shop, an old man coming out. Some money is exchanged, and Candy finds herself with a snickers bar to eat while she watches the show.

The impact to Rocket's face doesn't do much but sting, but he gasps anyway, sets his eyes spinning sideways in their pits. His feet kick and spin ragdoll in the air, battering at Bao-Wei's shins and knees more by accident than any sort of offensive intent.

He leans away. It hurts his arms, while his fingers curl tight, fingernails biting deep into his palms, straining in the opposite direction from both the big man's person but his threats too. It's a bit like pitting a mouse against a string cuff tied to the tailpipe of a monster truck. "No, no! Please—

"I'msorryI'llstickt— to— hookers and bumblebee— bums, I swear I won't—" Rocket's face washes anemically pale. "S-s-s-s-sir, p—please don't do that thing."


Further down the road, Wes Smedley sits bareback astride a horse who is very grateful to be out of his trailer. In his hand is a revolver, and on the ground near horse is a mutt of a dog.

"Boy's learnt his lesson, boss man," Smedley drawls as he urges the horse forward, the dog trotting happily beside. "This ain't no heathen country where they chop off hands. This is America. If he don't get better, he'll starve to death. That's capitalism."

"I could take them off one by one, leave your palms and maybe halve of your thumbs, just so that you are miserable." It is a rare day that Bao-Wei can threaten poor little street rats with dismemberment. He is taking all he can get. A fine tuned distraction comes from the direction of the street, and still grasping Rocket by the arm just like the misbehaving child that he is(gee, I wonder if Liu Ye ever had to fight the same?), Bao-Wei turns his shoulders and head in the direction of a man. A man on a horse. With a six-shooter and a dog.

"And this, my railroad-era friend, is Staten Island." And finally, poor Shun speaks up.

"Not that it matters. Doc Cong would threaten fingers even if this were Chinatown." The wiry man smiles, hands in his pockets, the expression strangely and blazingly white. Not to mention a bit sleazy. He probably does not know that the Doc actually is one to go forward on such threats. Well, he does not know yet.

Candy looks between Bao and the Horseman. She was still deciding what to do, until the Horseman decided to speak up about a 'heathen' country that happened to be where her mother was from. The hydrokinetic's eyes narrow as she looks at the man's horse, yes… let him get a running start. She nods her head faintly to herself as she leans against the building, still chewing at her candy as she waits for something to happen.

"Doc Cong, Doc Cong," Rocket repeats after Bao-Wei and then after himself in asthmatic wheedling. He twitches and jerks in the grasp of the older man like a thing dragged out of the sea, its eyes already too dried out to determine the appropriate course of futile flopping back home. All actions and reflexes that occur now will appear largely fuelled by panic and pure reflex.

Which is probably at least more than a little bit act, given Bao-Wei hasn't done much to him yet at all, but at least he's putting his back into it. Wilting, whimpering; snuffling ignobly in the direction of horse and rider. What else does a ragged urchin thief do when confronted by the Triad's finest and a man on horseback?

Another shot goes off, but rather than fly off into relative oblivion, the bullet buries itself in Shun's shin, and Smedly smiles. "That it is," he says with a nod, turning the horse to the side as he comes closer to the Triads and the unsuccessful thief. "Staten Island's a rough spot, I'll grant you that, but that don't mean we have go about bein' uncivilized. I don't like that I had to shoot your boy, but it didn't seem like you were willin' to listen."

Smedley smiles then, and the dog barks. "How about lettin' him go then. He's done you no harm, and if he fucks up again, chances are the citizens of this fine island hangin' about at that moment won't feel particularly Samaritan."

"AAAGGGGGHHHH." Is all Shun has to say about his shin, collapsing on the sidewalk, yelling in pain and pretty much rolling around in a growing smear of red blood.

Meanwhile, a dozen feet away, Bao-Wei Cong simply stands there with a squirming teenager under his thumb. His eyes narrow at the man perched atop the horse, chest huffing once. "I had a 'boy'? Surely you do not imply that fellow over there bleeding all over the walk?" As if. Fired him a few seconds ago.

Bao-Wei lifts his wallet to tuck it back into the front of his suitcoat, leering down his nose and glasses at Rocket. Considering. But apparently not on Smedley's terms.

Candy eyes the bleeding man on the ground, and she shakes her head a little, before she looks back to the man on the horse, and then down to the puddle covered roadways. A simple smirk comes to her face, as some of the water gathers together and hovers into the air, creating a trip line for the horse. Lets let the American Cowboy have a taste of the streets of Staten, eh? Her eyes rest on them all, still chewing on her snicker's bar and doing her best to look like the water isn't coming from her.
Dude with a gun, dude with a bullet in his leg, water contorting in strange defiance to gravity, holy fucking what. More aware of the delicate balances of power fluxing through the air than he lets on, this leaves Rocket to anticipate the return of his arms without missing or abbreviated piggies. He just needs to keep this up.

Squirming and whining like a kicked dog: which he is, in more ways than one. Twisting, tail tucked between his legs, paws dragging the dirt, stray dander and hay. Rocket doesn't have to make very much effort at all to put on a show.

The horse shifts its weight from hoof to hoof, but Smedley is able to keep the nervous beast relatively still. "So what'll it be?" he asks again, eyebrows lifted along with the revolver. "You let him go, and I'll make sure the next load of juice I ship in ends up at your back door." What sort of 'juice' Smedley is referring to exactly remains intentionally vague.

"Then I very much hope that I do not end up with a truckload of cranberry concentrate…" Yeah, alliteration! Bao-Wei lets go of Rocket's arm, seemingly satisfied with schooling the kid in manners. And who not to try and rip off on the street. The Chinaman narrows his eyes just before his grip slips away and he uses both to straighten the top half of his suit into order. "Make no mistakes or find a new line of work, boy."

Or you know, stick to those whores and bumblebees.

Candy looks at the two as her water stays up, the candybar still being eaten as she awaits for the tension to end, or for the cowboy to wind up on his arse, wichever comes first. For now, however, Candy just waits for something to happen.

"Yessir. Y-yessir, I un-understand," Rocket squawks, floundering as he steps away despite that the asphalt, however poorly maintained in this age of Staten's decay, is perfectly level, and there's nothing, really, to trip on other than stray bits of vegetable and dubious stains. His arms windmill; he stops doing that long enough to rub one elbow with the opposite spidery hand, his eyes huge in his head as they dive between the stoic Asian woman, the massive doctor— Cao, and he won't forget it— and the completely improbable cowboy.

His gaze lingers on the revolver for a protracted moment, before his face goes abruptly red; when his regard skins upward to meet Smedley's face, there's a blurry, apologetic facsimile of gratitude there. Doesn't last, of course. Twisting on a heel, he bolts away into the warren of shabby buildings and horse sheds, his elbows pumping and flailing in zeal. He can't outrace a bullet, but he's giving his damn finest effort at trying.

Smedley nods at the mob boss, then flashes a sly grin at Rocket before the boy darts off. He nods again, and if he had a hat, chances are he would have touched it in respect. "It'll be worth it," he assures, holstering his pistol beneath his long coat before he urges the horse forward.

But the horse doesn't want to move, and after a more violent kick, the horse lunges forward in a sudden jump. A jump Smedley isn't ready for. He is jarred forward, which spurs the horse faster. Unable to hold on without the aid of tack, Wes slips from the horses back with an angry grunt, rolling to the ground and away from the animal. The horse continues for way before circling back around toward the trailer where its fellows still stand imprisoned. "Goddamn nag," he growls before spitting onto the pavement with disgust.

Candy grins faintly as the man goes for a spill, and she lets the water go back to its puddles. She finishes up the candy bar and brushes her hands a little, before she turns to make her way into the night and do whatever it is that Candy likes to do on Stanten Island.

"He does not seem very keen on you, does he? Perhaps you should send him off for glue. Much more useful that way, if you ask me." Now, that was funny, and even Bao-Wei can admit that. A smirk plays on his lips, and he glances back to Shun on the sidewalk before pulling a rather expensive looking phone out of his pocket. Buttons galore. He taps a short message to someone, leaving a note for one of the other redshirts to come fetch this one.

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