Hidden 6 mos ago Post by 13org
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Nina




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"You have a point... Things never go as planned. In part, that's exactly what make them interesting." Nina replied to Croaks, with a smile as they continued walking.

Be it on her job or on her personal life, most of the times, it was always good when things didn't went as planned. Especially on her job... Nothing ever goes as planned for someone who works with information, but that was exactly how the best bits of info were acquired. Her meeting with Croaks could be considered... fortunate. He wasn't a bad man, to be honest, he was surprisingly understanding and good for a gang boss... It was also incredibly funny to see how he went from 'gang boss' to 'paternal figure' in such a short time. She knew she was being far too friendly with him, but so far, he had shown favorable reactions.

"Hm... I'm sure they have something strong as well... In fact, I'm pretty sure he has some that can't be easily found in the combat zones." Nina said with a smirk after she heard he wasn't much of a wine drinker, mentioning that he needed something with a certain spike to forget about that biker they interrogated earlier.

"Oh, don't think too much about it. The information we received looks useless now, but all it takes to turn a bunch of useless information into a gold mine is one small fact to link them all together. Just one small thing." Nina said, with a mischievous smirk on her face.

"People often don't realize this, but all information is valuable." she completed, smiling to herself.

As both of them continued walking, Nina saw a lanky man, bumping on Croaks as he passed by them. The moment she saw that, she turned to Croaks.

"Did he-" Nina started, but was interrupted by Croaks, whom immediately grabbed the lanky man and looked at him with a death stare. It was all it took for the lanky man to give Croaks back his wallet. Almost desperately apologizing himself, the second he gave Croaks back his wallet, the gang boss was quick to fling the poor man into the dirty, toxin-filled river bellow them, followed by Croaks cursing him.
Watching that, Nina couldn't help but laugh.

"Oh yeah... He did!" she said, laughing as she looked to Croaks.
"Not a smart idea... Do they still try things like that with you?" Nina asked, looking to Croaks curiously. He was a big figure from a local gang... Small pickpockets should really know better than to try anything funny with him.

When asked about a plan, Nina turned to him, still walking. Unlike the other times, she had a plan. Well... It was more like a contact, but still...

"So... I do have some contacts. Getting to upper levels isn't that hard if you know the right people. But if we wanted to get to where the rich folk are, it would take some preparation... So we're just going up halfway." Nina said, looking to him.

"I know a guy that has a small warehouse on the third level that often sells products that are pretty hard to come by. Things that, ironically, are very easy to get on higher levels. Plus, he will give me a good discount, since I was the one that told him about a good ways to sneak products from higher levels to lower ones." she continued, winking playfully.

"I can get us there without many problems. I mean... you will certainly stand out... like... a lot... But as long as you stay with me, things should be fine." Nina said, obviously referring to Croaks' clothes & his overall look.

"No offense... Of course." She said, raising her hands, with a smirk. Despite what she said though, it was true that she thought he should try to wear himself a bit better.

After some time, they finally arrived on the checkpoint for the third level.
"Wait just a bit." Nina said, asking Croaks to wait as she went ahead to speak with the guards.

"Hey Eric!" Nina said as she got nearby one of the two guards that were standing right outside of the check point.

"Marcus isn't with you today?" Nina asked when she realized that she didn't know the second guard.

"Oh, hey there Nina. Nah... Bro got a nasty bullet wound the other day after a small discussion with a crazy Ronin. He's fine though. Just his pride that isn't." the man said with a chuckle waving back to Nina.

"Sounds exactly like him. Tell him I sent him a hug. Surely that will make him feel better." Nina said, with a playful wink and a laugh.

"Oho... That'll put him in high spirits." The guard said, laughing.

"So, what's going to be today?" he asked her.

"My birthday. Forgot to make preparations to go to higher levels... At least I thought I could buy some good wine for myself as a gift." Nina said, with an awkward smile. She indeed had forgotten to make preparations to go to higher levels. Otherwise she certainly wouldn't be happy just buying some wine for her.

"Weeell... That and I brought a friend with me. Someone I'm currently working with." Nina said, making a hand signal for Croaks to approach them.

"You should stop walking with those types, Nina. You're too good of a girl for that..." Eric said, with a long sigh after he looked to the man Nina was pointing to.

"As long as you keep him on a leash, fine. Will need to make a thorough check on him though. It's not that I don't trust you... I don't trust him." Eric said, with a piercing stare to Croaks as he approached the check point.
As Croaks approached the check point, he would be able to almost feel the guard's eyes analyzing him and Nina's awkward smile as she made a discreet hand sign for him to behave himself.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Hekazu
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Croaks noted that if nothing else, Nina was trying to assure him of how nothing was useless in her trade. Well good luck to her then. Figures why he or Ribby hadn't become info brokers. He hadn't the patience, and Ribby had that reluctance to throw oneself into things. And hell, if the comparison or ideal was Nina's aptitude, then he wasn't having that either. So nope, that wouldn't be a business to consider if the whole gang thing went under thanks to this crop bullshit and they still had their lives after that. Which alone was enough of a stretch that it actually wasn't all that worth to think of. Croaks dropped the subject there.

But as for information gathering, Nina did seem to have picked up on what the pickpocket had tried, especially so considering she confirmed her own suspicions when the man flew down. Croaks spat after him for good measure. "Some people just don't know their place", Croaks commented on her musings on whether it was sensible at all that a pickpocket would aim for him. "He's either new around these parts, which wouldn't surprise me with how bad he was, or he thinks he can get one good target a week to get along. Forgetting that good targets might kick his ass for his troubles, used to it and all. And look at him, just a gentle reminder given. Nothing ridiculous, am I right?"

Then there was the whole talk about upper levels, how she had more regular access to those, figures, some favours for smuggling being pulled for that and… then came the other part. How he would stick out up there. Croaks slowly turned his attention from their surroundings to her, making eye contact if she was to look his way still. "You figure?" he asked with an almost offended tone. "Anything past level two really is a whole another deal, like I said. Been to three once, same trip got me to four. I'd rather not go back there ever, they'll probably shoot on sight too, but there was money I had to make. Good money too. Got me an' Ribby to business. But that's a story for some other time. We ain't got time as things are." And that much was true. The story would take the better part of an hour, and they'd be on the checkpoint to three long before that. Besides, saying no offence after going after someone like that was just wimp talk. Owe up to what you said. You wanna question the attire of the boss, that's your trouble. Not something two words can get you out of, one of which barely even a word.

But moving on from that subject, they indeed had a bit of a meet-up with the security detail of the upper level. Croaks was asked to wait, and wait he did, leaning against a wall a bit further down the stairs, waiting for the signal for him to climb up. The gangster had crossed his arms, and probably made an impression that wouldn't soon leave the pair of people that had come in the same checkpoint after Nina and him. Probably a couple by the looks of things. The man had looked nervous at first, but as soon as he'd noted his girl eyeing the muscles belonging to the bigger guy, he'd gone on some sort of show off gear, trying to puff himself out and in general yammering something that went right in from one ear and out of the other. Croaks wasn't listening to a word before he felt a kick at his reinforced boot and turned to look down at the guy who was a head and a neck shorter than him. "Piss off", was all that he had to say before he was freed from the waiting, leaving the man to wave his fist after him. Nah, he was too busy going fuck knows where with the info broker for fuck knows why. Oh yeah, he wanted to get on her good side, to get something out of the deal he might otherwise miss.

His approach was met with a disapproving look and a gesture to keep the gun on his back, not in hand. And as for the disapproval, it soon continued to words. That Nina shouldn't hang about with people like him. Croaks stopped at the line drawn on the ground where people were supposed to, and pulled his hands out of his pockets where he'd placed them for the duration of the approach. He showed both sides of them. Empty. "So who's this guy then? Output of yours, or a would be one at least?" Croaks belittled the security guard in return. "Look see, you don't want women around people like me. But you get what she is? An info broker. You think that trade gets you anywhere if you don't go to seedier parts of town? And haven't we met anyway? Croaks, amphibians. Got my card in my back pocket 'f you need to id. Or anyone to dive into that river for contraband. Like that one stash of stun 'nades that one time." That was as far as he would be throwing jabs and hooks, but he wasn't one to just take insults without returning fire. Not to start with, not to let the other guy get in the last word. But the check itself would go by the book, if Eric wasn't going to try and mix things up out of spite.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by SleepingSilence
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How fitting were those words of contempt held tightly like a noose around one's neck? Left hanging in these dwellings to dwell on her sentiment not yet settled while her enemies set to destroy the present she’d presently sought. To truly face her demons, she had to travel where it was said they’d fear to tread. An idea manifested as blood and flesh creatures that wished to bring their own apocalypse to her old home; the Holy Angels Church. Deciding to spend her fleeting time there, as it was the only valuable commodity she possessed, where she planned to pay respects to those loved and lost. Perhaps that was what finally broke her…

Making her descent into madness with every step she took back to being surrounded by desolate loneliness of cold steel contraptions. But it wasn’t lunacy without retrospect, not a blind bestial rage as it had been in the past that made her teeth gnash. The mind was a potent tool for self-destruction, too much pressure and pain building up over a lifetime will be bound to explode. Once told by her pastor that it almost always leads to one of these three things to suffer violence based on who was blamed for these problems; the people, the place or yourself. But it never factored in when it reached a point you loathed all of them. Nor when you inadvertently had your soul sold and your fate sealed like your body was in a coat of fur, along with a darkened helmet to further distant her identity. Despite her information being buried so deeply, the fact she didn’t die that day would soon come to surface. And the facade of anything but a mentally and physically decimated girl, undergoing intense suffering would reach its climax.

Given nothing but silence to scream at, she generously cursed at this blessing for in this moment. Nobody to judge, ridicule, stalk or torture her in retaliation was an opportunity she wouldn’t surrender. She didn’t need to wander far to find the a catalyst for her following actions and it didn’t take long to pry open the locked car door and ‘borrow’ a baseball bat in the backseat. Repeatedly raising it up over her head with both her hands, then unleashing pent up frustration in the healthiest way she could muster up in her conscience that was coated in more blood than the parked cars were with paint. For every skull she wished she’d caved in herself left another dent, with a satisfying clash against panes of glass that reflected her shattered life. Except in this case, she had no intention to pick up the pieces and repair the damages caused.

“Fuck you bastard! When I get what I want, you’ll need more than extensive surgery to rid yourself of the scars. I’ll liquefy your smug face with my own fists! Fuck your manipulative, arrogant actions you’ve done with your slimy fucking fingers. And I swear I’ll fucking break them off if you dare touch me again!”


This outrage lasted a while longer until she was halfway to the point of exhaustion. She removed her helmet and set it beside her, breathing heavily as she laid back on the hood of a car that remained intact. Hearing the softest unnatural sound of someone stepping on debris. Suddenly, she hopped up and whipped out her Beretta’s to fire a single round at the pillar in the northwest corner. The ring of the gunshot echoed as she called out, glaring with intensity and fingers still by the triggers. Did she really get that distracted to allow someone to find her here?

“Who’s there? How’d you find me?”

Unbeknownst to her, the rash reaction had muffled the approaching clicking sound of the grenade tapping against the floor and it was too late to notice it lying within her reach.

BANG!

Her ears screeched and her vision flooded white. The guns had fallen to the floor as she unconsciously covered her eardrums. She drew a quick conclusion, thinking of countermeasures as her body stumbled about like a drunkard. “Dammit, it was a flashbang. But why...”

Making a considerably quick recovery, since it certainly wasn’t the first time she’d been effected. Though by that point she was already brought down to the ground and restrained by several men that rushed out from their positions as their orders had been given. It was no coincidence and they had come prepared, hogtying her to thick chains as they rattled while she squirmed on her stomach. To her own embarrassment, she was even muzzled though she wasn’t blindfolded, able to see garbs very similar to the man she flattened with the motorbike. On top of the fact that they hadn’t killed her made it unlikely that they're the ones that attacked before. Also, allowing her to see would’ve been foolish if she hadn’t already known who was behind this. The woman stepped forward with a cold stare, that bitch of a girlfriend that she ditched at the bar. Her voice was business-like and deliberate as she spoke the fewest words possible to reach her point.

“You look surprised. That’s because you know nothing about me and all the wealth and resources I have at my disposal. But I’m not here to kill you. I’m here for my boyfriend’s sake and this is how I negotiate with someone stubborn. He offered you a chance to kill someone you were after right? But how about I help you take out every single one of them in exchange? If you think I’m not capable of such a feat, well, you’ve already underestimated me once now...and look how that turned out for you.”

There was an intense staredown with a tense atmosphere too thick to cut, as the several men still gripped their firearms in precautious preparation for any conflict. Even when figuratively declawed, her beast-like presence brought an ominous shiver down their spines. It was almost twisted that Scarlett understood the woman’s logic, in that if the woman hadn’t gone to such lengths of coercion she’d be more dead than serious. Something had certainly gone wrong in her head that Scarlett was even considering hearing her out, not that she really had much choice...

After assessing Scarlett's stillness, the woman shrewdly smiled and continued. "Perhaps, we'll actually get somewhere..."
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by The Harbinger of Ferocity
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By the time Theron had got back it was, early? Late? What did one actually call the meekest hours of the morning, well before the sun? That time was the time he had finally finished. Golemeth was someone else's problem now, reports were filed, and his payment was processing. Who knew what that meant in this case, something probably equally archaic. Either way, it was success now, and they were likely to reel him back in at some other time after sending someone else to check up on the little tidbits and facts his brief informant had provided. To him it was any other babble, it had nothing to originally do with the missing mark, but now it could well have everything to do with everyone involved and probably just turned a fair bit of profit for Intellitron. After all, more information meant more bids by anyone involved to get further progress. Everyone and their grandmother seemed to be out to get the people this guy knew and the guy himself.

Having spent the past half hour fixing up the bit of what was a fairly brutalized combat jacket, Theron's fingers deftly worked at fixing and setting the collar again; the entire thing was a far cry from how it started but at least now it wasn't filthy. He wasn't about to let it go either, one way or another it was getting repaired, a fact he solidified to himself as he looked over the wrist mount display; it had a fair share of errors here and there yet kept its sleek dim glow. Nice, classy, nothing garish, the sort of thing that complimented the tinted shades as he popped them back on to the bridge of his nose. With a closing of the door behind him, securing it, he made his way out one of the rear exits of the corp's tower.

Higher level floors? Good luck, guys like him only went there when there were problems. Everyone else was some suit or techie doing who knows what, not the guys rolling in hardware or skirting by in Cylife False Jackets and packing concealed polymer heat. Theron was just happy to not run into anyone or anything else past the back door, other than the supremely obvious security. They exchanged glances but that was it, as anyone wearing a dim cyan trimmed jacket and shades coming from Intellitron at this time wasn't worth the hassle; they would've known if there was an issue, getting through any corp building at peak crime hour was a nightmare for the would-be infiltrator. So by the time he hit the curb, the chimera was home free.

The rest of the way was uneventful, getting back to the hole in the wall and sitting down for even a minute to contemplate everything that went by. Theron couldn't help but pull out the lone folding metal chair he owned and take a breather, a pitiful lamp glowing by him in the musty place. The conditions were better than being some vagrant again wandering around and this was all for the sake of added splicing in the future, the real goal, but it didn't make it any better. Either way, stripping off his gloves and setting them on the meager counter, rubbing his face down with one hand, he remarked to himself that he needed the next big hit, the next big thing the following day. He needed to keep that momentum going, rolling nonstop, bringing all those goods; what he needed was another of Davison's boys. It helped he had more an idea of who that was now, more of what they were up to, but what he needed was a dispatch; going cowboy as a not nearly geared solo was... difficult, stupidly difficult, if these guys were rolling with the tech they seemed to be and had their own fan club grasping for any piece of it.
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by 13org
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Nina




@Hekazu



Nina watched as Croaks approached the checkpoint, silently hoping that everything would go as well as she had planned. Nina was a bit worried at first, seeing how Croaks had a small misunderstanding with a couple just outside of the checkpoint before he came in, but he was surprisingly well behaved. Going as far as to keep his hands off his pocket as he approached the checkpoint. All that changed though when he opened his mouth, asking Nina if Eric was her output and belittling him. It didn't stop just with that though. Croaks continued as he started to explain to him that Nina was an information broken and that she needed to go to 'seedier' parts of the town, ending with even offering him his card, mentioning even that if he wanted someone to dive the rivers in search for contraband.

In part, Nina agreed with Croaks. She was an info broker and she certainly needed to put her nose in pretty messy places to get where she wanted to but he didn't need to return fire to Eric. Again, she understood why he did it after being treated like that, but in that situation, returning the sharp words and stares he received would only get things even worse.

Nina could see Eric's face go red with anger after Croaks word. Things were even worse due to him not being able to retaliate because he was technically still on his post doing his job. In one side, he wouldn't be able to interfere with the check due to personal motives, but in the other side, if Croaks met him while he was not working, things would definitely go bad.

"Eric, stop." Nina said, with a harsh and piercing stare to the guard the moment he saw his reaction.

"He contracted me and he is one of my contacts. I'm working with something that might be big." Nina continued, being incredibly clear on her intentions and being clear that she wouldn't tolerate intrusions on her own work. She knew very well what she was doing and how to protect herself. It was undeniable that Eric had a big brother complex, but Nina knew what she was doing and didn't need to have someone to take care of her.

Despite Eric's burning face, the check went fine. Ending with only a 'hmpf' by Eric as Croaks walked away. Eric and his brother were a handful at times and it was definitely annoying to deal with them constantly flirting with her, but they still had their uses to Nina.

Finally walking away from the checkpoint, Nina sighed heavily after they were far enough to not see Eric or the guards anymore.

"If you thought Eric was irritating and annoying, you should see Marcus, his brother. I'm really thankful he wasn't around today." she said.

"Eric is a good guy once you get to know him better. Pretty chill guy, good to hang around with and drink. Has a bit of an 'older brother complex' but he's pretty decent otherwise. His brother though... Marcus is a fucking annoyance. Has a gigantic crush on me and thinks I'm a small, defenseless girl." she finished, sighing again.

"Oh, Eric is married by the way. Differently from his brother." Nina said, laughing.

"First time I ever seen Eric red like that though..." Nina said, laughing again as she looked to Croaks.

"Honestly, you two would really like each other if you guys stopped to drink together sometime. Eric seems like that when working, but he really enjoys a bar brawl when drinking." Nina said, with a chuckle.

"Well, we're arriving on the storehouse I mentioned soon enough. It would be interesting for you to get to know the owner as well. If you manage to be friends with Eric enough to earn a free pass through the checkpoint, you could go there to buy some pretty interesting items or even sell some stuff, who knows." she finished.
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Hidden 4 mos ago Post by Hekazu
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The heavy boots of the gangster thumped against the third level pavement as he walked alongside Nina. The looks he got from those around here were always an equal mix amusing and insulting. Every here and there a group of solos in trenchcoats with their guns held in clear view gave him a sideways look behind their mirrorshades, but Croaks was pretty sure these were just some local variation of boosters, kids playing tough. A real solo tried to hide their weapons and occupation in at least some way. Hell, for all he knew this Nina could be a solo in a cleverer than clever disguise, but the risks she had taken meant she'd either be some top notch chromed to the teeth monster or just the suicidal info broker she made herself out to be. The latter was a much more likely truth to it all.

The pair was left well alone by most though, many making way or outright changing sides on the road they were walking. Croaks let them be, live in their fear or deal with their disgust. This may not have been the layer people like him was expected, much like this Eric friend of Nina's had made perfectly clear, but he wasn't just some rabble rouser that would have come here to get cheap kicks. He had business out here, be it that he wasn't fully aware of what that business would eventually consist of other than drinking, if anything. Nina's birthday and all, but she wouldn't drag a 1st level gang boss to 3rd level for a friendly outing, now would she?

They had put some distance between themselves and the checkpoint now, the entrance curving away as the walkways curved with the river down below, the only important detail of the moment being how Nina let out a breath she had seemingly been holding in for a fair bit of time. Croaks glanced her way, raising an eyebrow as a sign that he was listening and let her say what was on her mind. And he had been right about there being something, though that wasn't exactly a surprise. That there was someone worse than Eric out there. "He ain't got no respect for the tough life we live down there is all", he shared the source of his dislike for the words of the man, lifting his shoulders up in a shrug with his hands still in his pockets. Wouldn't stop Nina from saying more though.

She went on a bit about the brothers and how Eric still was the more manageable of the two, despite having a big brother complex over the info broker, and then informed him about the giant crush this Marcus apparently had. And how Eric was married on top of all the other differences. Croaks let out a rumbling sound that somewhat resembled a laugh when Nina mentioned the redness for Eric being unusual. "You do seem to collect people who try to look after you, do you? I just do it to see your job through, while they… well, who knows about this Eric fellow, probably just helps his brother out. You get the drill. You've had it for the time you've known them and all 'at", he offered his two cents once again, letting Nina go on about how he might come to like Eric if he gave him the chance.

Croaks lifted his right hand from his pocket and brushed it through his hair, shaking his head. "I don't particularly like bar brawls. Necessary part of things at times, but fuck 'em if I can just not have any. Gets my boys and girls hurt for no fucking reason. You might not think running a gang takes brains by looking at me, but if you had a look at Ribby while we were back there you'd see that we ain't just some boosters who shoot on sight. The amphibians have a place and business. They's my people", Croaks discredited the part. "And if he could keep his wits about 'im, ain't he one of those too good folks, that wouldn't look my way twice if it wasn't part of his job? Half the Night City is people like me though, whether he likes it or not. This ain't an utopia." Croaks not being happy about the society out there was nothing new to hear. But he had his place, and had enough trouble hanging on to that.

The mention of a storehouse they would be approaching caught him off guard though. She must have mentioned that earlier, but had it just passed from one ear to another all the bloody time? "The storehouse…" he mumbled, trying to dig his memory of any memory of it. "Ah, that place. Can't say if my gang could use anything right now. Should've looked to it earlier. I might though, so won't be all going to a waste." With that, he would continue on with her. He felt like going to the bar first, but might as well do the business sober if there was going to be any. And it would not take the pair long at all to reach the storehouse, as had been discussed.

The people here had a bit more familiar a look to them, one of them even looking towards Croaks not only with a look of surprise, but a bit of recognition too. Might have been one of the smugglers that had made use of their services, but there were much too many of those for him to really keep tabs on them all. Could be, could not be. Droopy face though. Weird tattoo. Meh, probably not important. "So what's next?" he asked of Nina. "Get the bullets, a few rapid firing handguns for good measure, and be out to a bar? I didn't bring no gym bag though."

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Nina




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Nina couldn't help but to agree with Croaks' words despite feeling a bit guilty about them. People from the upper levels didn't respect how tough the life was down there... And she was once guilty of the same thing. She remembered how tough it was for her when... well... When her entire life was turned upside down. When Croaks mentioned her collecting people who cared about her, she couldn't help but to laugh.

"Oh, but having 'friends' is an important part of my job, isn't it? It helps a lot that most people see me as a cheerful, happy and even naïve girl and tend to forget that I'm not just an Info Broker..." Nina replied with a chuckle and a mischievous wink.

It was fun on how Croaks, who did not only have that tough appearance of a gang leader but acted like one was slowly acting more friendly towards Nina. She had met him just a few hours ago and now he was following her to a place he didn't know and she did, which was a clear sign that he trusted her. Despite how dumb or suicidal he thought she was, it was undeniable that her way of doing things worked extremely well... Croaks thoughts weren't completely wrong though... While Nina had many people who called themselves her 'friends' the truth was that said 'friendship' was just for her own convenience for at least half of them. But she wasn't going to tell Croaks that, of course...

Nina was honestly curious when Croaks said that disliked bar brawls though. Much to her own surprise, as Croaks continued to explain about why he disliked it, about his gang, his people, it became quite evident that Croaks was more trustworthy than she had previously thought he was. That type of loyalty, trust and how he cared about people who were close to him was something hard to find nowadays...

"Interesting... The way you talk about your crew, how you care about them and trust them... That's not something you can find easily even if you're on higher levels..." Nina said with a discreet smile towards him. Unlike others who worked only for themselves or just wanted money, Croaks was someone she could respect.

When they finally got in front of the storehouse, Croaks turned to her, asking what would be their plans after doing what they needed to do here.

"I did say that they deal with a lot of... 'hard to find' things here at the storehouse didn't I?" Nina asked in a lower tone than before as she continued to walk towards the front door, trying her best to not draw too much attention.

"Alcohol just happens to be one of the least dangerous things they sell." she continued.

"I just need to get some special nanites I ordered and a good bottle of wine and then we can stop somewhere to grab something to enjoy with this wine." she finished, finally getting inside the storehouse together with Croaks.

Inside, the storehouse was just as big as the name implied. Just as they got in, they were greeted by three armed men standing guard nearby a counter protected by steel bars, where a rough looking middle aged man with a synthetic eye quietly stood, waiting for costumers. While at first glance the security wasn't that good further inside the storehouse where products where, if one paid just a bit of attention they would realize that there was literally not a single corner where cameras wouldn't be present and there were armed guards in strategic points. As they walked through one of the long corridors, surrounded by tall shelves replete with pretty much anything one could imagine, ranging from bullets and firearms to cyberware and implants, Nina finally stopped in front of a shelf that was replete with wines, whiskeys and others alcoholic beverages.

"Hm... This one should be fine... It's taste is as good as it's appearance." she said, grabbing a rather fancy looking wine bottle after analyzing a few others.

"By the way, you most certainly wouldn't want to get into trouble here." Nina said as they walked towards the beginning of the storehouse, where the cashier was.

"The security might not look that much, but this place is considered 'neutral grounds' for quite a few gangs, solos & etc. If you try anything funny here, doing anything without being hunted would be basically impossible. Because of that, nobody never tries anything... Everyone knows it's not worth the trouble... That doesn't mean it's safe though..." Nina continued.

"It's a neutral area, sure. Nobody in it's right mind would even take out a knife around here, but still there are a lot of eyes around the Storehouse. You want to get in quickly, get what you want and get out, drawing as little attention as you can. Nothing good comes out of letting others know too much about you..." Nina concluded as they finally got back to the entrance where the same middle aged man was still waiting.

As they approached the cashier, his synthetic eye immediately started moving, scanning both of them before he finally asked what did they wanted.

"These and I ordered a certain canister of nanites." Nina said with a serious tone in her voice.

"Nanites huh... Let me see here..." the middle aged man said, typing in a computer for a few seconds before he turned to one of the guards, obviously saying to keep his eyes on them.

"Order 48F. It's here." The man said, without looking to Croaks or Nina as he walked further behind the counter going to a reinforced door that they didn't even realize that was there previously. A few minutes later, he came back with a steel cannister on his hands, showing it to Nina and putting it inside a small black briefcase and the wine bottles in a regular shopping bag.

"Do you need something?" Nina asked, turning to Croaks as she grabbed the briefcase and the shopping bag with the wine bottles before heading towards the exit.
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