Salt-Induced Adventures


dumortier_icon.gif kara_icon.gif

Scene Title Salt-Induced Adventures
Synopsis When a local vendor drives a hard bargain, Dumortier and Kara leave with an unexpected amount of work… but with the promise of a new adventure that might be worth its while all on its own.
Date December 12, 2020


"This is highway robbery."

Rather than pepper her sentiment with profanity, Kara Prince lets her words swell with disappointment instead. That, and the beginnings of a scowl which turn her head away from the 'provider' she's come to see.

The air is cool and crisp in the lot she discusses the business she'd like to conduct, joined by Rene Dumortier and the pickup they've driven up from Providence. The hardware store they stand in front of deals a lot in what they're trying to prepare for— the worst of winter. Signs are posted with the latest deals, shovels sit out, de-icers, scrapers, bags of salt…

A stack of the last is what Kara's come to bargain over, appalled by the prices. The cold air does little to mask the huff of breath that comes away from her in a cloud as she shakes her head. "Do you treat all your bulk customers like this?"

Dumortier has hung back for most of the trip, edging on distracted but always ready to be leashed back into the present and away from daydreaming. The thing that tugs him back this time is Kara's growling and scowling, and before she gets too ramped up, Rene is sauntering on over to her side, blue eyes hardening between the store owner and the apparently overpriced bulk, keen on ascertaining the situation before he slides himself into the middle of it.

"That's business, lady." comes the shrug and response from the man outside with them at the front windows. "More people movin' into town, more people needin' it. I only got so much on me, and I don't even supply any crews. The city uses their own and that— calcium chloride shit. They say it's safer." One gets the sense this fellow may be in the 'distrustful of the government' bracket. "Unless you wanna go beg someone else… this's what's here."

The dusting of snow on the ground has turned to slush in the lot already— a slush that Kara's boot kicks about as she shifts her weight from one foot to the other. She wills a more diplomatic air than the polite fuck your excuses that wants to leave her. "And those people could do just fine going elsewhere. It's you who could have consistent sales this winter, guaranteed turnaround. It's you I'm coming to looking to strike a deal here."

She looks over to Dumortier when he approaches, one hand on her hip. The look she gives him is one that pleads for a more tempered voice. Or at least a second one to bear down on this guy.

"I can guarantee this'll disappear even if you make promises you'll be back." Though Kara is given, once more, an answer she doesn't want, at least he isn't being difficult for the sake of it. There are worse people. Dumortier hangs there at her side until the exchange hits a junction of 'two hard heads ready to crack together'; it's that point where the smaller blonde sliiiides in between.

"Alright, alright…" Rene claps gloved hands together and leans forward, looking the shopkeeper up and down, not so subtle judgment behind the smile of a charmer. "If there's no bartering cost," the lead in, a spark in blue eyes and a small toss of hair back over one shoulder, "Then maybe I can get you a little something else for your trouble?"

"Something else?" It's hard to tell why, exactly, the seller's interest looks piqued; it's there, however, a plain puzzling on his features. A small laugh out of him, caught between cautious and thoughtful. What else does he want? "Okay, speak up then, what kind of something else?"

The answer already had Kara mentally preparing to withdraw. Clearly, there was going to be no changing of minds happening. But then Rene claps his hands and stands between them, and perhaps— just maybe— there can be some convincing yet.

When he begins to make his offer, she begins to arch an eyebrow before getting the impulse under control. A poker face was needed here. A negotiation face. She needed to summon that up, and barter with whatever additional pieces Rene was bringing to the table. She gives him a small nod, a silent echo of the manager's question.

"I get my hands on a lot of things. It's my business." Tipping his head, a look goes up to Kara, a casual notation that he is fine with her listening in on a potentially sketchy transaction. She's cool. This is fine.

"So if there's something you've been dying to get your hands on," Dumortier wets his lips and cracks a smile. "I can get it for you. Within reason, of course."

True to a skeptic, the man seems to look on this all with a suspicious expression, cogs wheeling in his head. Rene, seeing this, adds, more quietly, "I have plenty of hook-ups too, if that's your thing."

With a slow quirk of his head, the man shrugs. All right, he'll play ball. "Lots of people looking for chests, lockboxes. I could make a good deal of money off of that." He mulls it and then adds, "Enough that I could afford to give you a discount, if a number of them were to…"

Well, you know.

He looks from Rene to Kara, hands parting.

The munitions chaplain is elsewhere, thinking already. Who knows if she was supposed to speak here, but she does. "What about… lockers?" she asks abruptly, looking back to the manager. "Standing ones. Hauling them would be a significant hassle on our side, but we could arrange a few at a time, maybe." She sees the abandoned school in particular she's thinking of, all while she looks at the manager, brows lifting.

"For a worthwhile enough discount," Kara stresses.

Lockboxes? That's all? Rene can't say he's disappointed, exactly, this is much less time consuming. In a fashion.

"I know a place we can muscle some proper ones up, amie." Dumortier angles a look up at Kara with a crooked little smile. The one where she can tell he does have something up his sleeve. "We could purchase some of what we need now…" He looks back to the man of the hour, masking his emotions only somewhat. "And bring our friend here a deposit on future transactions. How does that sound to you?"

"I'll even stress test the locks myself, free of charge."

In a world more and more likening itself toward a pre-war state, this is definitely the most unusual deal he's come to in a while. The manager squints an eye at them both, slowly lifting a hand in a sign of surrender as much as proposition. "All right— for all that, I think we can work out a discount of 15%." He starts to lower his hand out.

"20%," Kara counters with a small smile. "It's a lot of extra work and travel involved to get you what you want. Says nothing of the gas involved in retrieval."

Squinting that one eye even further, the man grudgingly still offers his hand out for a shake. "All right. Fair is fair." Kara accepts his hand with more firm a grip than expected, leaving him with a surprised expression and an awkward nod to seal the deal along with his part of the shake. "What I've got's what I've got. Take what you need."

Money exchanges hands, and three giant bags of salt are loaded into the back of the truck. When the manager's walked away to warm up inside, Kara looks to Dumortier with a wry smile. "Somewhere between you and I, we make up two halves of one whole people person."

Were one of the more diplomatic— or shrewd— members of the Remnant taking care of the simple transaction, maybe it'd not have been so drawn out an affair. But she'll take any win she can get.

"Good man, you won't regret it." With Kara the one to shake it out, it allows Dumortier a moment to grab a dolly for the bags.

"Between us?" Leaning against the truck and glancing back to the shop, Rene offers her an impish smile. "Ouch! I'm a people person! I just don't like most of them." There's a distinction, Kara. He turns to pop the passenger door open, shying out of the cold.

"So, so. I know a place," As soon as she's in the cabin, the smaller blonde chitters away, hands moving animatedly. "I've been trying to crack this fucking thing forever, and we'll get way more than a few lockers." Because of course he would take advantage of a way to get mandated help.

"It's an old bank. Looked like people had already given up on getting in. From the looks of it, lots of deposit boxes. Maybe a cash flat."

After having hauled herself into the truck, Kara wasn't expecting such an excitement out of Rene. She pauses mid-turn of the key to look at him, one eyebrow raising. Blinking hard once when he's done, she looks forward again and finishes starting the truck.

No reason they can't chat in slightly warmer temps.

"A bank? Why not go pick the bones clean off an old school and call it a day?" She knows why. If this bank truly hasn't been cracked, then…

Her head cants to the side, trying to figure on the effort that could be involved. "Okay, so what do we—" she gestures a hand between them both, "have that anyone else who tried was missing?"

"I trust you not to shoot me and make off with whatever's inside." Said with the utmost, straightest face, even. Rene's eyes are at that excited wideness, bright and invested, smile beaming after he answers her. "And I need someone to help me push the lock back into place because the last person fucked it up and now it's out of alignment." A two-person job, Kara, come on.

"This'll work out great, we'll give him a couple nice ones, keep the rest for the next time someone wants to fuck us in the ass over rock salt." So small, yet such Big Brain.

Shoot hi—???

Kara blinks, wondering how he could think such a thing of her. After all the ribbing over being a wet blanket for pranks, side-eye over her relentless concern for others, even if she gave him side-eye in return over certain other matters.

She sighs. "It's more than a two-men job. We need to bring one or two other people we trust. Now would be a great moment for Byron not to have fucked off, but…" Before Kara can get too lost in those kinds of thoughts, she shakes her head and pulls the truck into reverse. "Hopefully we'll waste a hard-won resource like a bank box on a more deserving barter next time."

Not that this adventure wasn't well-deserving, just that she still feels the trade is woefully unfair to them.

But hey. It's something to do.

Kara rolls a look over her shoulder to make sure they're not about to run in to anyone. "How much money you figure is inside? It'll influence who we should bring along with us."

Her puzzlement doesn't seem to phase him— the concern, for him, is a passive one that came pre-built into his firmware. Sitting back in the passenger seat, Dumortier leans his head back, hands on his knees.

"I'm sure it could be two." Despite her doubt, he sounds convinced— but a fidget in the squeaky seat tells on him. He folds pretty quickly for her. "But okay, yeah, sure, more. I'd been thinkin' about Finn, but he's got that squirt hanging around. If you don't want to, just say it, I won't be mad. Just disappointed."

"Either there's nothing in it, or enough to make it worth the trouble." Rene has no idea. Ha, ha. "I'm hopeful 'cause of the state of it. And it's in an old suburban area closer to the coast, not far from fucked up vacation houses and sunken McMansions."

Finn's a good name. Kara trusts Finn. She seems at peace somehow with the suggestion now that his name is in the hat. Mostly because of the head on his shoulders, and partly because of the luck he carries with him. And Rene's right— he has his daughter to look out now for, too.

"Whatever money we find, we split it 30, 30, 40 with you getting the finder's share of it," she suggests. Better to get such things in the air now. "I'll call him before we leave town. Who knows— maybe we do this quickly enough he gets June something nice for Christmas."

Kara flashes a small smile, accompanied with a glance to Rene before it changes its tone with a rueful shake of her head and a sigh. "I can't believe you're talking me into this," she remarks before bringing them out onto the road.

"You're acting like this is the first time I've dragged you into something." Dumortier gives Kara's elbow a light bump with his own, though of course not enough to disturb the ride. Ribbing, etc. Her numbers get a waffling expression, however, eyes narrowed at the road ahead, math doing circles.

"Alright, fine, 40-30-30. I did need you." And someone like Finn. Rene laughs his troublesome laugh soon after agreeing, a hand drawn over his jaw. "June drives. Maybe we could take her along. I've never tried it, but I wonder if obsidian could be easier to crack…"

Bonding with children means something else entirely for him.

"June drives?" balks Kara without much spurned to it. The munitions chaplain was once a vehicle specialist, and while it pleases her she's not relegated to the role of permanent driver, sometimes it still amuses her the situations in which she's relegated to shotgun.

She shakes her head. "I don't know. We'll have to ask Shepherd what he thinks…"

When the truck bounces over a particularly rough pothole as she guides it through a turn, she winces hard and steadily keeps them on, waiting to feel a sign of instability. Thankfully, no, but… "I swear, some of these roads out here you still need a tracked vehicle to safely pass through."

Eyes carefully on the road now, though, including curves, she settles back into the bench seat to get comfortable for the drive back. It's a hike, although a familiar one. Kara tilts her head Rene's direction to confirm, "Need anything else before we leave town?" Just in case.

"She fixes things, I figure she probably knows how to use'em." Dumortier looks to Kara with an expression best described as duh. It gets duh'd right out of him as they hit the hole in the road. Rene does, in fact, leave the seat when the suspension bucks, hand on the dash.

"That's why I have the wagon. It's slow as shit, but at least I can fix it…" Unlike with cars… which… well. Rene doesn't talk about that. "Nnnnothing I need." The drawn out answer punctuates with a click of tongue against the roof of his mouth, furtive eyes darting from the window to Kara, back again. "Nothing I can't get another time, I mean."

Kara cants her head back the other direction with a short chuckle. "I'm holding you to it, then," she warns as she accelerates toward a dipping on-ramp that will take them to the interstate.

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