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."@13org