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World Of Irkalla

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World of Irkalla!

"I'm just sayin' that gettin' the boss riled up is like playin' games o' chance with a D'Arby brother. It's real dumb and you shouldn't do it ever."
"Yeah, you've said that a couple of times before, but who's the one who ends up pissing him off? Not me, so that leaves only one person left, doesn't it?"

Somewhere in Irkallan China, in a flashy yellow tinted high-rise building marked with a massive H, two blonde people were walking down a hallway. The first was a blue-eyed cowboy with a wide-brimmed hat and some type of poncho, cigarette held between his lips. The second? A super-heroine, albeit by a rather loose definition of the term. More accurately, a borderline narcissist with despotic tendencies, in a supersuit. And a big sash, for whatever dumb reason.

No use dancing around it, we're talking about Hol Horse and Carol "Captain Marvel" Danvers, respectively. The two approached a double-door, one that had the very audible sound of one side of a telephone argument. Must be the boss that Hol mentioned prior.
"So, Hol. What do you think it is this time?" Carol asked, placing her gloved hands on her hips.
"I reckon it's that Vogel fella or whatever his name is." The cowboy pulled his cigarette to the side of his mouth, only using said orifice. He's got that going for him if he ever loses his gunslinging skills.

Carol smirked, before speaking again. "I'm going in. Follow me or you're a coward, Horseman!" With that, she stepped inside the boss' office.

".. and I don't give a shit, alright?! .. Yeah, and you can shove your shares straight up your ass, Dane!" With that shout, the phone was hung up (more like thrown onto the desk) and the man turned around towards the door.
"Kiddos, I tell you.. that Dane's gonna get his ass strangled someday. Preferably by me." That's as much of a greeting they'll get from Handsome Jack, CEO of the Hyperion Corporation, and direct rival of Dane Vogel and his Ultor Corporation.

"Ain't likely to happen, boss. Did'ja see the size of his bodyguard? That thing's gigantic!" Hol dared to say, which got him a damn near death glare from Jack.
"So.. what did Dane do this time, Jack?" Carol asked, subtly rolling her eyes in anticipation of something stupid.

"That jackoff tried to get me to hand over a portion of my assets. Seriously, does he think I'm lame-brained or something? God damn that smug shithead pisses me right the hell off!" The CEO is clearly mad right now, and his anger is certainly not quelled by the fact that he can see the Ultor high-rise out of the window behind him. That damn orange tinted, sun-logo having prick.

"You want us to do something about it? I could use the workout." Carol seemed pretty excited at the mere possibility of fighting Dane's guys.
"Not gonna need that, at least not this week. If anything, he'd just send his guard-dog and his bounty hunter directly at me. Or make my asset values plummet!" Thank you Jack, for keeping your eyes on the prize.
"Gotta agree wit'cha, boss. It'd be a helluva bad situation for all of us, for sure." And there's Hol, with his very necessary addition.

"For now... we'll just stay here. And plan something. Maybe.. maybe we could get into contact with that group I've been hearing about lately. Hol, would you like to go track somebody down?" Jack started to smirk.
"And who would that be?" Hol's eyebrow raised.

"His name... is Tony Montana." The Handsome One replied, his smirk growing as he starts to put his plans into motion.

Chapter Text

"Mhm. Yes, but look, Jack. If you want, I'll give some of my shares to you, get us on equal ground and all! ... Yeah, and you'll- shove them up my ass, yeah. Have a good day, Jack."
Dane had continued talking even after Handsome Jack had angrily hung up on his side of the line. Dane prides himself on seeing things through, which hasn't been a very difficult thing for him ever since his arrival in Irkalla, and his establishment of the Ultor Corporation soon after.

Jack, however, was another beast entirely. He was basically an overgrown, petulant child with ambitions of tyranny. And worst of all, he thought of himself as the hero! At least Dane Vogel is honest with himself, and knows he isn't the good guy! Which probably makes him less bad than Jack is.
"So. He's being a little bitch again?" Asked the bounty hunting cowboy sat in front of Dane.
"Well, if you wanna say it like that, then sure, Erron. I'd rather call him a manchild but that fits him too." Answered the CEO who pays his fees.
Meanwhile, next to Dane, stood an imposing behemoth. An easy 7 feet tall, always wearing the same Deutsches Afrikakorps Greatcoat every single day, neckguard constantly turned up. An M43 officer's cap with a Totenkopf symbol above the rim sat atop his head. All of his attire was in shades of greens, which wasn't either Dane or Erron's favorite, but god damn it, they weren't going to complain. They knew better than to talk shit about Captain Hans Günsche.

"What are you gonna do, then?" Asked Erron, once again. He crossed a leg over the other while doing cool little tricks with his revolvers.
"I'll call an acquaintance, that'll get in contact with another acquaintance. Sure, I could just contact the second acquaintance right away, but Jack is probably listening in and will try to sabotage him. My first acquaintance, however? Jack won't dare to fuck with him."

 

Meanwhile, somewhere else in Irkalla, in an unassuming bar, a rather odd fellow sat alone. He seemed just barely above the age requirement for entry. He had pink hair, yellow eyes, wore a light-colored sweater that ended just before his midriff, and was idly playing around with a small frog he had found earlier while taking his daily stroll around town. In the bar, he could overhear some sort of conversation. A man tried to get some people to gamble, seemingly, telling them that if they liked to gamble, he was their man. That winning some, or losing some, was all the same to him.
The boy could swear he had heard some type of heavy metal guitar riff after the man said those words. But before he could contemplate this strange phenomenon further, he heard a telephone ring.

"Yes, hello? Boss, is that you?" Asked the boy, when in his brain he knew it couldn't be him.
"No, Doppio, this isn't your boss. It's Dane, Dane Vogel. You know, CEO of Ultor?" Dane sounded like a man who had to explain one specific thing to a child every single time they interacted. Which wasn't really that far off when it came to Vinegar Doppio.
"Oh. Well, what did you want to talk to me about, Dane?" Despite the initial disappointment that had come upon the Italian man, he still cheered up surprisingly quickly. Always a positive one, that Doppio.

"I wanted you to come into contact with Gage, tell him about some things. Like how I need the help of his new friends." Dane stated, basically matter-of-factly.
"But.. why not just directly contact Gage? You have his contact info too!" Doppio was just confused, honestly. Poor boy.
"Because Jack would go after him, but he won't go after you. Jack might be insane and delusional, but he isn't crazy enough to get himself into trouble with the mob." A.. rather sound plan, honestly.
Doppio adjusted himself in his chair, tippy-tapping his free hand's fingers against the table. "Fair enough, I guess. Did you want to talk about anything else? I'm more or less free the whole day!" Oh, what a good boy he is. It's like if Xefros was a mafia underboss.

"No, no. I'm fine. Oh, wait, I do have a question. What are you talking to me from this time?" After Vogel asked that question, Doppio looked at what was held to his ear. It was the frog he was playing with earlier.
"A frog, actually. He's really adorable, I should show him to you the next time I come over! Oh, I'm sure Hans will be all over the little guy, I know how much he loves all the small animals out here!" Doppio was genuinely brimming with excitement. To him, Dane, Hans, and hell, even Erron were his friends. And to be fair, they didn't dislike him either. He was a welcome breath of levity in their lives whenever he came by the Ultor tower.

"I'm sure we'll all love him very much, Doppio. But, that'll be all for now. Don't forget to call Gage like I asked!" With a warm goodbye afterwards, one that Doppio reciprocated, Dane ended the call, leaving the boss-less underboss of the Passione gang to his task.

Back at Ultor headquarters, Dane looked around his table, noticing his radio was playing music. But not the one he likes. "What exactly is this, guys?"
"Last Train Home, by the Pat Metheny Group. From '87." The cowboy casually filled in the info to his boss.
"Well, can you change it to my song, please?" Dane asked, accidentally sounding more irritated than he really was.
Erron shrugged, before changing the song playing on the radio.

It started playing Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants to Rule the World. Dane's self-proclaimed theme song.

Chapter Text

After Dane hung up on Doppio, the Italian left the bar, his cute little frog in tow, held close to his weird sweater-thing. Once he made it outside and started walking away from the town, he started to dial numbers on his phone... or, in reality, booping the frog on his stomach where numbers would, in theory, be. Passing by two guys on their horses, talking about some sort of race and singing some sort of song about pizza and mozzarella, Doppio's phone finally started ringing, confirming that he indeed got the line.

Meanwhile, in some undisclosed location, a man in a wheelchair was polishing a Barrett M95 .50 cal rifle. The room was relatively well-lit, but there's room for improvement. Much like how there's room for more guns. Rows, racks, shelves, the room is absolutely loaded with firearms. Even some bow and arrow sets! As he put the rifle down on its bipod, looking it over to see if he missed a spot, the man's phone rang nearby. Wheeling over, he calmly picked up the communications device. "Yeah, you've reached the office of Gage, how may I help you? If this is for an order, you need to come by the place yourself-"
"Mister Gage, it's me, Doppio!" The Italian's peppy voice chimed in, interrupting Gage's dialogue. The man seemed to lighten up after hearing the voice from the other side of the line.
"Oh, hey! 'Sup, buddy? You got something you want to tell me?" Gage looked over to the Barrett he left on the table. Someday, somebody'll be able to afford this thing.

"Yes, actually! Well, more like Mister Dane wanted to tell you something. He apparently needs the help of your... um, new friends, he called them." Doppio just sounded confused, Gage could tell that much right away.
"Oh, you mean Tony's guys, right? Well, it just so happens that I'm about to have a meeting with my web of contacts about that, so why don't you come on in?" The weapons dealer looked out the small window in the room, seeing the odd, studded pant-legs of Doppio standing outside of his... house, let's say.
"Come in? What do you mean?" Doppio is still a confused boy. Gage liked him, sure, but god damn, sometimes he was really dense.
"I know you're there, man." He would facepalm, but that'd be more trouble than it's really worth.
"Yes, on the phone!" Holy shit, how is this guy a mafia underboss?

"No, I- Doppio, I can see your legs from my window, you're right next to where I am as we speak! Christ, look around yourself when you talk on the phone, guy!" Gage is getting just a little exasperated right now.
A silence fell upon the line after that. "Oh! What do you know, I am outside! Heh, sorry. I'll be right in!" After that, Doppio hung up, and made his way around to the descending staircase leading to the entrance of Gage's place.
Rapping his knuckles against the door, the adorable mafioso didn't need to wait all that long before the door was opened, bringing him (nearly) face-to-face with Gage. With a nod, he was led inside.

And right into a meeting of several... unique people, let's say.

Chapter Text

If there was one thing certain in Doppio's mind right now, it's that he was being proper styled on by like, 90% of the people present. And they probably aren't even trying!

The minute he had entered Gage's abode, he was greeted by a host of peculiar people all around a table. One of those people, a horned rancher of some kind, was sitting next to a literal sleeping giant of a Rough Collie (you know, those Lassie dogs), with a twig in her mouth like this was Lucky Luke or something. Next to her, a man was wrapped from head to toe in bandages, obviously worn and torn, and the same could also be said for his ballistic vest. Didn't seem to bother him all that much, as he simply sat there, reading what Doppio recognised as the King James Bible in one hand, while holding an ornate, engraved M1911 pistol in the other.

On the other side of the table, a pale woman in casual clothes adjusted the strings to her... bass? It seemed to also double as a literal axe, if the sharpened edges of the instrument's body were real, and not just an illusion. Next to her, seemingly completely oblivious to his surroundings, an old man with a headband and a plaid jacket took in the sights of the room, in utter wonder at the sight of it all.

At the opposing edge of the table from where Doppio stood, there were two other men. One was dressed like a consummate professional, calmly waving to the new arrival as he enjoyed a glass of water. The other... seemed straight out of a black and white gangster picture. Probably because he was literally in black and white, as in there was only shades of grey on his entire body, skin included. Was Doppio's frog-phone poisoned? Because this is absolutely not normal.

Nevertheless, he still sat down, and was soon after joined by Gage who wheeled into an empty spot next to him, before clearing his throat. "Alright, so guys, this is Doppio, the guy I've talked about before. He's my contact in the ranks of the mafia. I know some of you may have a problem with that, but trust me, he's the sweetest guy." Hearing that this new guy, with his cleavage window in a sweater, was with the mafia, the man in black and white raised an eyebrow as he took a drag from his cigarette.

"Wait, is that what the mafia looks like nowadays? Did you guys just... ditch the pinstripes after I died or something?" The man had a very distinctive voice, one that can only really belong to one person...
"Come on, Humphrey, you should know that styles change with the times! After all, you're the info guy among us." Thanks, guy next to him, for confirming what I was about to say. So, that's one down, but who are the rest?
"McCauley, now ain't the time ta get in one a' them spats with Bogart!" The rancher spoke up, before turning towards Doppio. "I'm Skylla, by th' way. Them two are Humphrey Bogart and Neil McCauley." The friendly lady was going to keep talking, but the bandaged man next to her took the lead in her stead.

"Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. That is to say, those who are trustworthy will be willing to criticise their allies, whilst those who don't are not to be given any trust. Nor any quarter. I am Joshua Graham, and the woman next to myself is Skylla Koriga." The man spoke with such a calm tone, it made chills run down Doppio's spine.
"He almost always opens with a biblical quote. It's slightly worrying, honestly." The pale woman, whom Doppio only now noticed had two holes in her neck, stopped tuning her bass, and turned over to look at him. "I'm Marceline, and I'm also technically the queen of vampires down here. Mostly because there's not that many other choices, after all. I'm one of the only daywalking vampires down here, apparently." There was a bit of snark to that statement, but she seemed pretty chill about most things.

Which leaves only one guy left. The old fart, who just now seemed to snap out of his reverie. "What? Oh, shit, I must have gone on a trip again. You the new guy? People call me The Truth, but you can just call me Truth. No need for formalities with me, man." He sounded like he's been on a Parts Unknown-style world trip of banana-bonkers drug use like five times over.

Gage then clasped his hands together, looking at his assembled network. "So! Do you guys have anything to report?"
At this point, Doppio simply listened along. Marceline talked of some blond, British vampire stirring up some trouble for her, Bogart reported some of the goings-on of the Roman and American Empires, thanks to conversations he overheard and sometimes inserted himself into with ease thanks to his force of personality. Meanwhile, Graham spoke with conviction and a hint of worry about some of the smaller religious communities being targeted by malicious forces, a feeling that Skylla echoed, but on a much smaller scale. For her, the malicious forces simply targeted her to get to Gage, at least, that was her theory.

On the other hand, Truth didn't say anything, and Neil only brought up some possible ideas for his big, final heist. The one that'll have him set for (after)life.

All in all, a pretty productive first meeting.

Chapter Text

"North latitude, 28 degrees, 24 minutes, West longitude 80 degrees, 36 minutes...
Go there and wait for the New Moon...
That's when Heaven will come."

If that isn't the most cryptic beginning to a day ever, I don't know what is. When Toffee awoke this morning and went outside to check the mailbox in front of his... let's say modest abode (basically a mud-brick house, in all honesty), he only expected to find the usual nonsense of a political flyer or two, usually ones left over from the last campaign season. Not what seemed like instuctions taken right out of somebody's private documents, telling him to go to a specific spot in Irkalla. Who would even want to seek him out? He's of nearly no importance in the grand scheme of things, an ironic fate for a man who tried to conquer the universe before being vaporised by the spawn of the person he hated the most.

Straightening his red tie and slicking back his dark purple hair, the Septarian (a humanoid lizard creature, for those who don't know) made his way towards the coordinates indicated. What would typically lead to Cape Caneveral in our world instead led him to a mansion. A rather extravagant one, at that. Made of terracotta, in the Fatimid style of architecture, it stood three stories tall, surrounded by a wall and adorned with four towers on each corner of the main building. On the wall's gate stood a falcon. It shot Toffee a death glare, but the Septarian paid it no mind.

Entering the premises, Toffee made his way inside, and ignoring the weird butler with an impossible bee-hive hairdo and stupid facial markings, he climbed the stairs. If there's any sort of "New Moon", he'll have to get on the top balcony, he deduces. The final room approached, and the humanoid lizard man pushed the double doors open, revealing... some sort of bedroom. Or, well, coffin room.

Sure, there were tables, bookshelves, a fireplace and a few chairs, but there was still a coffin there. Slightly worrisome, but it's probably just some sort of excentric touch, much like the falcon and the... entire mansion, let's be totally real here.

Just as he was about to turn back and leave, upset that he wasted his time like this, the room's temperature dropped a good few dozen degrees.
"So, you decided to show yourself, Toffee." A charyyysmatic voice sounded out, as Toffee simply stopped dead in his tracks. "You seem rather interesting, no doubt about it," it continued, as footsteps made themselves known in the room. Somebody else's footsteps.

Letting out a sigh, Toffee turned around to try and spot the source of the voice, and what he saw... was something he had never seen before. A walking wall of muscle, face initially framed in shadow, but with shoulder-length blond hair. A scarred neck, and a... star-shaped birthmark on the shoulder? Is... is this guy just shirtless? What the fuck?
"Who... what are you?" He asked to this man.
"What am I? You ask this to I, DIO, with a straight face?" So that was his name. Dio.
"Kind of just did, yeah." Toffee's no longer really feeling the whole menacing vibe that there used to be around this guy. You sort of lose the menace once you refer to yourself in the third person.

"Heh, not that it truly matters that you get an answer right away. What you shall know, however, is that I seek to hire you." Right to the point, then.
"And what makes you think that I want that? What, did you just expect me to fall into your arms because you sent me directions from your diary via the mail?" Come to think of it, how did Dio know where Toffee lives? Best guess is that he had that falcon from outside scout it out. Makes sense.

"Because I, DIO, know that you seek power, much like myself. You seek to regain your status, a status you lost from your crushing defeat at the hands of Star Butterfly. Much like how I, DIO, seek to do much the same, to climb my way back to the strength and immortal power I once possessed before being killed by Jotaro Kujo." That brat will pay, they thought almost in unison without being aware that they both thought the same thing at the same time. "And I, DIO, can provide you with the ways to obtain that. To reach your personal Heaven, under the New Moon." The blond beefcake walked towards the balcony, encouraging Toffee to follow, which he did.

As the night's light bathed the Septarian and the Stand-user vampire, Dio looked towards the multiple moons of Irkalla. "This world shall be ours, Toffee. I, DIO, guarantee it to you."
"Say no more," Toffee replied. "Because I'm in." His grin was eerie, and now that he could properly see Dio's face, he had an eerie grin as well.

Chapter Text

Having people from all times and worlds together brings about several odd pairings. One of those odd pairs is today's subject.

"Just.. pull it back. Slowly, gently.."

On a quiet night, something that grows increasingly rare for the Crew, half of the group stayed up. Among them were Equius and Dammek, who took this opportunity to spend some quality time together. And what better way is there to do that than by helping your lowblood boyfriend (or matesprit, whichever system you feel like implementing at the moment) learn how archery works? There's no better way, just saying.

"Okay, two things, Equius. Firstly, why are you making this so... oddly sensual? And second, are you just using me as a proxy so you can fire an arrow without breaking the bow?" Asked the little antler-horned revolutionary.
Equius thought of his answers briefly, before speaking up. "Yes, I am using you as a proxy. But I do want to teach you how to practice archery. And... what do you mean, 'oddly sensual'? It is an experience of the senses, yes, yet your statements are slightly confusing."

"Equius. Man. You're literally pressing up against me right now to mimic holding the bow. I can feel your breathing down my neck on a near constant basis. And I swear to Gog, if you say something about how I wasn't complaining about that the other night, I will kick your bulge back into your body." Woah, okay, calm down Dammek, please.
".. Just pull back and release it. It'll go off correctly." After probably taking a breath or two, Dammek did as Equius said, and wouldn't ya know, the arrow flew directly towards the stationary target set up in front of them!

Meanwhile, Tony Montana and Otis B. Driftwood, defacto leaders of the Crew, sat nearby, watching the aliens do their thing. "Man, they really good friends, don't you think so, Otis?" Tony seemed pretty proud as he said that. Like some 'that's my boy' sort of pride.
"Tony, don't take this the wrong way, but you've got a fuckload of shit left to learn. Especially about how that isn't just them being friends." Wow. Leave it to the serial killer redneck to keep shit real, huh.

Chapter Text

At some point, after Zebruh Codakk had pointed members of the crew in the direction of those distribution warehouses, Hoxton had come across a nice little collection of vinyls. Despite the writer personally not getting the appeal of vinyls, Hoxton sure gets it. That crispy sound isn't something you can get on disks, despite disks being much more convenient and portable, but shush. However, he doesn't have a record player. Lucky for him, he does know somebody who does have one; Rip van Winkle, their local sharpshooter vampire Nazi. So, that day, he asked the peppy, nice lady if he could borrow it, and she agreed. Mission accomplished!

The next night, Hoxton took that record player outside, hooked some rudimentary headphones to it, and put on David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, an absolute classic. Nearly every single song is a feast for the ears, and even if they aren't a feast, the other songs are still great! So, needless to say, Hoxton was in a good place right now.

But not for much longer.
Zorin Blitz, the other vampire Nazi of the crew and Winkle's girlfriend (kind of a long story), woke up absolutely fucking livid that night. Why? Because she felt that somebody had taken something that was close to her love's heart. And that will not do. Rolling out of her side of the bed, still fully clothed because she's fucking nuts, she strapped on her combat boots and stomped her way out of the room, down the stairs, and out the front door of Zebruh's mansion. Towards the gardens, where that fucking thief must be.

A few more steps, and the fucker came into view.
It was that British guy... Hoxton, was it? Anyway, the guy she shared a smoke with a few weeks ago. Still, how dare he?!

Meanwhile, Hoxton was up to "Ziggy Stardust", the 9th track of the album when, out of the corner of his eyes, he saw an overly tattooed psychopath barreling down the garden towards him with pure fury in her eyes. And yes, that includes her lazy eye. For once, it was focused, and it was horrifying.
"HOXTON, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!" The heavy German voice came through perfectly clear, even over the music in Hox's headphones.

Taking the needle off of the vinyl and putting his headphones down on the nearby garden table, the heister got up, only to get bulldozed to the floor by the butch semi-Aryan madwoman, holding his throat in her gloved hand.
"You stole meine Liebe's record player, you British filth!" Oh, she was maaaad.
"I didn't steal shite, you mad fuckin' wanker! I asked Rip if I could borrow it, and she agreed! Just check with her, Christ!" Hoxton has never been this defensive about something thievery related. I guess that means he didn't actually steal it, otherwise he'd just plainly admit to it.

Letting go of his throat, Zorin got up, storming back to the mansion. A few minutes later, she came back, sighing. "You were right. I... apologize, Hoxton." She managed to get that out! Granted, it was through gritted teeth, but still!
"Eh, it's nothin', mate. I've had plenty fuckin' worse happen to my arse." The Fugitive got back up on his feet, dusting himself off before taking his seat at the garden table again. "Now, if you mind, I'd like to finish my Bowie record, thank you."

The two exchanged smirks, and each went back to what they were doing before.

Chapter Text

Several years ago, on the outer edges of the Irkallan China region, some then-recently arrived folks from Japan decided that, if they were to live in this odd, foreign land, they might as well make it like their former homes. As such, they got to work building what would become a relatively small state, one highly reminiscent of feudal Japan, comprised of a good handful of colonies. And today's story takes place in one such colony.

When Yoshikage Kira was dragged into the afterlife by the ghost hands in Reimi's Alley back in 1999, he was told by the girl herself, who happened to be the very first victim of the serial killing salaryman, that despite not knowing exactly where he was being taken, she knew that he would not get the chance to rest in peace there. However, she ended up being wrong, because while he was torn apart by the hands before properly dying, he ended up in a rather comfortable place. It seemed to be feudal-like in nature, from what he saw here and what he remembered being shown and written about in the school books from his youth. Nevertheless, this place turned out to be absolutely perfect for him! He could finally live his quiet life, free of conflict, meddling kids, and marine biologists who can surprisingly throw some hard punches.

Today was no exception, as Yoshikage Kira strode through the village square, wearing his usual outfit of a green button shirt with white stripe pattern, a periwinkle colored Valentino suit, and a brown and light-blue tie with a column of cat-eared skull emblems. Stopping at a merchant's place of business to buy a sandwich, which he then carried in a brown paper bag that he brought there himself, he continued his walk through the village, before stopping at the closest gardens, sitting by a tree to eat while contemplating the beauty that surrounds him.

"This village... so beautiful. Is there any place prettier than this? There can't be." Chew.
Unfortunately for the man, his day was about to get slightly more complicated.

In the distance, he could hear some odd honking noises. Noises that grew louder with each passing moment, causing him to sit up from his comfortable lean against the tree and look around behind himself. What he saw... seems to be a clown.
One dressed in loose loungewear, faded facepaint, long horns on his head, and to add a turd-cherry on the shit-sundae, he had the biggest mane of hair Kira had ever seen. Infinitely more ludicrous than Jotaro's hat which melted into his hair, or even Josuke's dumb pompadour.

"Did you seek something of mine?" Kira began, in Japanese, his native tongue. Obviously, the clown didn't catch that, considering the ensuing outburst of something along the lines of 'motherfucking what did you say brother' or whatever it was.

Straightening his tie, Kira switched to speaking in english.
"My name is Yoshikage Kira. I'm 33 years old. In life, my house was in the northeast section of Morioh, where all the villas were, and I am not married. I worked as an employee for the Kame Yu department stores, and I get home every day by 8 PM at the latest. I don't smoke, but I occasionally drink. I'm in bed by 11 PM, and make sure I get eight hours of sleep, no matter what. After having a glass of warm milk and doing about twenty minutes of stretches before going to bed, I usually have no problems sleeping until morning. Just like a baby, I wake up without any fatigue or stress in the morning. I was told there were no issues at my last check-up." More confusion and swearing from the clown. "I'm trying to explain that I'm a person who wishes to live a very quiet life. I take care not to trouble myself with any enemies, like winning and losing, that would cause me to lose sleep at night. That is how I deal with society, and I know that is what brings me happiness. Although, if I were to fight... I wouldn't lose to anyone." He had a very cold tone of voice, one that didn't raise even once during his entire speech.

Hearing that, the clown got in a fight-ready stance, producing two clubs from behind him, somehow. To that, Yoshikage Kira only had two words...
"Killer Queen!" Despite the other not being a Stand user, he could ever so faintly see the outline of a humanoid figure coming from behind the human, with its arms crossed at the wrists. A figure with what seemed to be... cat ears.
Before the horned being could muster a proper response, Killer Queen rushed towards him, unleashing a series of punches. Each of them connecting with their target. Soon after, it returned to its user's side.
And there the clown was, laying on the ground, panting heavily and coughing up purple-hued blood. "Motherfuck... WHAT DID YOU JUST DO." He yelled out, mostly bewildered by what just happened.

"I did nothing. However, my Stand, Killer Queen, attacked you. But that's not all. Killer Queen can erase you at any time. For you see, Killer Queen can turn anything it touches into a bomb. And Killer Queen... has already touched you." That can't be good.
And indeed, it was not good. Seconds later, Killer Queen pressed its right thumb onto its index finger's middle phalanx, causing a click noise. Immediately afterwards, Gamzee, as the clown was called, felt something travel through his body, before he suddenly exploded.

Of course, nobody except Yoshikage Kira saw that, and, thinking that his encounter was now over, he simply left the premises, sandwich in his bag as he re-arranged his blond hair.
Unbeknownst to the killer, it turns out that one cannot simply kill Gamzee Makara. Indeed, the clown didn't actually get erased, as Kira claimed Killer Queen would do to him. He was burned, sure, and his clothing was damaged to a noticeable degree, but he could manage with that.
What he couldn't manage, however, was the fact that a few minutes later, he blew up again. And again, and again, and again.

 

Hours later, during the night, at a certain terracotta mansion, two figures stood on the highest balcony, when their eyes were drawn to somebody who kept exploding and letting out strange honks, and another sound. Something that sounded halfway between a howling laugh and a wailing sob. The more humanoid figure casually jumped from his spot, shortly followed by the other, more reptilian being.
The clown, as they could now see, was covered in scorch marks, damn near crying blood from the sheer pain he was enduring. With a shake of his head, the human figure answered the clown's visible pleading for help with a few words.
"ZA WARUDO! Toki yo tomare!" After he said those... odd sounding words, time quite literally grinded to a halt. In this currently stopped time, the very buff man summoned a golden spirit from within himself, which then lifted the clown from the ground, bringing him within arm's reach. Afterwards, the man simply touched the clown's chest, before The World, as his Stand turned out to be called, placed the clown on the ground once again. "And so, time flows again."

When time resumed, Gamzee was no longer in a state of constant explosions. He looked up to his savior, who only smirked. "Who are you... motherfucker?" The clown asked, his verbal tic getting in the way of sounding grateful.
"I am... DIO." Dio showed his fangs to the troll on the floor, before iniating a chorus of evil laughter from himself, Gamzee, and his reptilian associate, Toffee, who had stood stoicly there during the whole interaction.

 

Later still, Gamzee leaned against the wall in one of the many rooms in Dio's Mansion, clearly unwell. But then, from another corner of the room, came another voice. One he hasn't heard before.
"Now, I may be blind, but even I can see that you're not in the best shape." Gamzee turned to the source of the words, and saw a man, sitting on the floor, with dark, unkempt hair, blank eyes, and dressed simply. A t-shirt, trousers, shoes, a headband, two somewhat large earrings, and a drape over his shoulders. A jeweled cane was next to his ear, and he smiled in Gamzee's general direction.
"Let me introduce myself. I'm N'Doul, and I'd like to welcome you within the ranks of Lord DIO's underlings."

Chapter Text

A day or so after Gamzee was more or less recruited into Dio's ranks, he was tasked with learning the ropes of facing Stand users, because, since most of Dio's entourage uses them, it's a given that more will show up. After all, Stand users attract other Stand users. N'Doul was tasked with training Gamzee, and once Dio was done fixing the troll's burns and his torn-up clothing from all of Killer Queen's explosions, the two left the mansion.
("No underling of I, DIO, will be caught looking like shit," the vampire had said before letting Gamzee go, ignoring the fact that he was also putting on green fucking lipstick while saying those words.)

Sitting down near a town, N'Doul aimed his head in Gamzee's general direction. "Okay, so today, I'll teach you how to evade Stand attacks. You brought the Faygo bottle like I asked, right?" The clown honked in confirmation, causing N'Doul to smile. "Good. Now, open it!"
Gamzee did just that, and the very moment the lid was taken off the bottle, Geb, N'Doul's Stand, burst out, having slipped inside earlier in the morning. The clawed tentacular hand tried to swipe at Gamzee's face, but right before it could slice into his flesh, he managed to dodge his head to the side, making the water-based Stand miss the target. N'Doul didn't actually expect the cuss-happy clown to dodge this early on in the trials. "Well, damn! You're impressing me, Gamzee! But we're not done just yet. Next, you have to try and outrun Geb as it tries to attack you."

Giving the clown a ten-second head start, N'Doul then sent his Stand after the other underling of Lord DIO. Gamzee did pretty well for the first few seconds, but then Geb tripped him up, causing him to fall face-first on the ground, quite literally biting the dust. Suffice to say, N'Doul had a hearty chuckle at that.

The day continued as such without any real change, except for a pause at around noon to have a bit of a breather and a snack. Eventually, once the sun started to set, N'Doul brought Geb back to the Faygo bottle that he had carried it in, and started walking back to Dio's mansion, with Gamzee following closely behind.

"So, how the mother FUCK do you get these Stands?" The clown genuinely wanted to know, because so far, almost everyone he's met down here has one, yet he doesn't.
"From what I know, you're either born with it, or you obtain one through getting pierced by a Stand Arrow. But... I've heard Lord DIO talk about a Stand that can take a person's Stand away and give it to somebody else... I believe it was called Whitesnake." N'Doul had a bit of an ominous tone of voice when speaking about this Whitesnake.

"Color me mother fucking interested, my brother." Oh no, Gamzee's grinning ear to ear. May God have mercy on our souls.

Chapter Text

The American political identity hinges, at least partly, on the presence of the White House. Naturally, when U.S. citizens started to organise themselves into a properly represented nation in Irkalla, they simply had to recreate James Hoban's neoclassical palace, residence and workplace of the President of the United States of America. What would they be without the White House, that masterpiece on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Granted, it's not on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue down here, but my point still stands.

At the desk of the Oval Office sat a rather peculiar looking man. Well, it's more his hair that's peculiar, honestly. His long, light blond hair curls at its ends into several thick, well-defined rings, which begs the question of how the hell he maintains it. Now that I think about it, his outfit is a bit odd, but nothing too outrageous, consisting of a smooth uniform beneath an overcoat, the latter having a slightly pink hue to it. His hands had gloves, with some sort of net pattern on their upper halves.

The man was calmly writing something down on this morning, likely in his diary. The following is an except of said writings:
"It has been close to a month since President Dwight David Eisenhower and Vice President John Fitzgerald Kennedy went missing. The two were scheduled to meet with representatives of the Roman Republic, but have gone MIA on the way there. At first, we thought the Romans might have had a hand in this, but their own representatives went missing as well. We now believe it to be the work of an unknown third party. As such, thanks to the line of succession, I was placed into the seat of President. I was the 23rd President in life, after all."

A knock at the door brought him out of his writing, and he decided to be a cheeky little shit to the person behind the door. "Come in!" he said, before grabbing the nearest American Flag, wrapping it around himself and vanishing from sight. When the door opened, a military man, who seemed well-past his prime, considering he looked to be in his late 50s, entered. "President Valentine?" he asked, shifting around in his protective STAG body armor to try and find the president. Looking up, he found him falling from the ceiling, causing the dark green armored man to fall over from having a 48 year old guy dropping onto him.

"Dojyaaa~~n!" The little phrase left the leader of the free world, followed by a slight chuckle as he looked towards the understandably upset STAG commander. "Oh dear, I'm sorry Cyrus, I shouldn't have done that to you." Getting up, he offered a hand to Cyrus, who took it and was swiftly helped to his feet by Funny Valentine. Nevertheless, both of them gave each other a military salute when Cyrus got back on his feet. "Did you want to tell me something?" Valentine asked.

"Well, actually I did have something. Lieutenant Muldoon and his federal agents might have found a lead on Kennedy and Eisenhower's situation. You want to send out Blackmore to see into that, Mr. President?" Cyrus Temple might have a gruff voice, but it was filled with respect and dignity when in the presence of President Valentine.
The latter shook his head. "To be truthful, no. Blackmore's a fantastic asset and assistant, but his Stand, Catch the Rainbow? It's practically useless if there isn't a torrential downpour occuring. Poor boy. And the rest of our forces can't deploy with enough manpower, as loathe as I am to admit it." Cyrus nodded throughout, but he still has no idea what the fuck a Stand is. Or how they don't have enough forces to send out.

"Then, what do you want to do?" Asked the older man to our handsome President.
"I assume you've heard of Tony Montana and his allies, right?" Cyrus nodded, not sure if he's going to like where this is going. "I think they could be of great use to us."

With a plan forming in his mind, Valentine sent Cyrus off a few minutes later, but not before leaving him some parting words. "Cyrus? Thank you for your service."

Returning to his desk, Valentine concluded his diary entry:
"Montana's cadre of combatants shall be able to elucidate this matter. On this, my heart and actions are utterly unclouded. They are all those of Justice.
- Funny Valentine."

Chapter Text

It's been a few days since Doppio had met up with Gage's friends for the first time. Since then, he's spent a fair amount of time with each of them: reading Bible verses with Joshua, helping Gage to inspect the merchandise, tending to the farm with Skylla, talking about criminal goings-on with McCauley and more general happenings with Bogart, and generally lounging around with The Truth. However, his best friend in the whole lot turned out to be Marceline. She was more relaxed and jokey than the others, even moreso than Truth. And unlike Truth, she isn't the type to go on about weird conspiracies and such. Nor does she smell like a one-man drug farm. No, she actually smells pretty... nice? Like apples and such. And she always seems to have a song on the mind, ready to be strummed on her axe-bass.

Of course, don't mistake all this niceness for attraction. They're just friends! Besides, she has a girlfriend already. Either way, that's not the focus right now. What is, is that today, Doppio was the one who woke up with a song on the brain. It was strange, because it wasn't the usual kind of song he'd listen to. It sounded... oddly futuristic. As if it came from 17 years in the future, at least in his eyes. A relaxed kind of song, one that would fit young voices well. But somewhat melancholy, too. As if it was partly symbolic of a city losing their hero. Maybe Marceline will know what's up with this!

Rolling up to the vampire's abode, the Italian gently rapped his knuckles against the front door, before making his way inside. "Marceline? Are you here?" He called out, his cute little accented voice echoing softly through the house. Then, he felt something tapping him on the back.
"Yeah, I'm here." Marceline seemed to have just woken up, considering how baggy her clothes looked. "'Sup?"

Sitting down, the underboss shared his musical thoughts with the queen of the vampires, which she seemed to understand.
"Yeah, that does sound like a song I might know... not usually in my repertoire, but I could give it a go..." Picking up her bass, she started strumming, before eventually singing;

"Every time I'm walkin' out
I can hear you tellin' me to turn around
Fightin' for my trust and you won't back down
Even if we gotta risk it all right now, oh..."

And then, almost as if he knew exactly what to do, Doppio sang the next part;

"I know you're scared of the unknown
You don't wanna be alone
I know I always come and go
But it's out of my control..."

Finally, the two sang the chorus together;

"And you'll be left in the dust, unless I stuck by ya
You're the sunflower, I think your love would be too much
Or you'll be left in the dust, unless I stuck by ya
You're the sunflower, you're the sunflower."

 

Once they were done, Doppio still didn't know why he woke up with that song on the brain. But it felt nice to let it out like this, with his friend.

Chapter Text

The lights shine down upon a tall, horned, gaudy clownish fella. But not the spotlight he's used to. No, instead, he's in an interrogation room, at a table too small for him. Like, you know how adults look like when sitting at the kiddy table? That, except he's just really tall and the table is made for regular people. Why don't they make tables for taller motherfuckas, he thinks to himself, right before his reverie is broken by a hand slamming down a folder onto the table in question. Trailing from the hand to the face, the clown sees a weary man, blond hair and green eyes, a man who clearly hasn't slept in fucking ages considering how hard the crow's feet are pawing at the corner of his eyes.

"You know why I have you here, Xoloto?" The man asks, adjusting his brown jacket with a stern look on his face.
"A' course I do, playa. Keepin' a brotha down, know what I'm layin' on ya?" Came the answer from the clown, who seemed perfectly at ease in the moment. And clearly, it made the human rather upset.
"Marvus, I'm not here to play your dumb slam poetry games. I know you're meeting with some known criminals. And I'm not alone in this, for once." From the shadows, another man came. This one looked even worse than the first, with long white hair topped with some weird serrated headpiece, a dark overcoat with laces crossing his chest, long dark bell-bottom pants, and oh hey, look at that, dark black shoes. Look at this goddamn edgelord. He looks like he goes to Hot Topic to buy their whole stock of My Chemical Romance merch on a weekly basis.

"This is my partner, Abbacchio. It's thanks to him that we have true, honest to god legal proof that you met with one known as Cable. Real name, Nathan Summers. Mutant, can travel through time to a certain extent." The more sensitively dressed man said.
"Really, Pardo. You don't have to, as the kids say, 'flex on them'. And we both know that I do more of the legal work here. You just go out and punch random criminals and take pictures of suspects without them knowing." Abbacchio sighed, crossing his arms in front of his chest. Pardo turned around, frowning pretty hard.
"Kids? The hell man, you're like 21. You're exactly 14 years younger than me, fuck outta here with that bullshit. And besides, it's not like you're free of suspicious shit. Remember The Teacup Incident, from a month ago?" Marvus had no idea what the Teacup Incident was, but he knew it couldn't be anything good. And Abbacchio rolling his eyes and sighing again was confirmation enough of his intuitions.

"Can we get back on the mothafuckin' track, brothers? I gots me a gig to head to in a couple hizzidy-hours and I sure as fuckidy fuck don't wanna keep the homies waitin', you feel?" Once again, very much chilled out, this Marvus fella. As if on cue, Abbacchio opened the file, showing how much information the two had digged up.
"All known accociates of Summers are here. Tony Montana, Otis B. Driftwood, John Marston, Jim Hoxworth, Rip van Winkle, Zorin Blitz, Grell Sutcliff. And the list goes on, and on. How do you feel about fraternising with drug kingpins, serial killers, Nazis, outlaws, career criminals, and other such filth?" Pardo stared right at Marvus, before the latter returned the stare, never losing his smile as he replied.
"What if I told y'all, both of y'all motherfuckas, that you didn't have to be chained by fate? That y'ain't gotta kill peeps to get attention? That 'they' don't got control over ya? What if... you could be the fuckin' masters of your own damn destiny?" He then looked right at Abbacchio. "It ain't set in stone, Abbacchio. Not anymore. But sometimes, you gotta put on ya big homie pants, and make the hard fuckin' choices to change shit. The Godkiller knew that shizz better than anybody." Now, both of the detectives were intently listening to the clown. Confused, yes, but listening nonetheless.

"Those criminals? Yeah, they tryna stop them from coming back. Because if they come back? We're completely fucked." In those few words, Marvus' tone went from casual to dead serious at the literal drop of a hat.
"All of us."

Chapter Text

"Talk, kid. I'm giving you ten seconds to speak up before I end you."

In a warehouse somewhere, a man in a trenchcoat holds a pistol to a troll's face. Sprawled all around are bullet-riddled corpses, bodies horribly mangled by gunfire, blunt force trauma and several dozen stab wounds amongst all of the unfortunate victims. The one responsible is, as you can guess, the man holding the pistol. A man-sized wall of death, 6'3" with a gruff voice, and most notably, a black shirt with a white skull in clear view of anybody who has the unfortunate fate of seeing him. His name is Frank Castle, but most know him as the Punisher. A former Marine, currently a vigilante with one clear goal in mind: rid the world of all crime, definitively and brutally.

"A-Alright chief, don't gotta hold that gun to my mug, you dig? I don't know any of these cats you sent down river there. I-I wanted to meet somebody by the fair-grounds, but I got stood up, imagine that! Who'd turn down a handsome fella like me, right? Crazy cats and dolls out there, man..." the terrified troll said, hoping to at least get some sort of a reaction from Frank. No dice. Mostly because Frank Castle is physically unable to emote, but shush.
"I didn't ask for your life story. But you seem to be telling the truth. I can smell when somebody's innocent or not." (Much like how dogs can smell evil.) Frank's voice never rose above a hushed growl, but with how piss-your-pants scared the grey-skinned, horned youngster was, he could only focus on the one-man war on crime.

Frank grabbed the other by his white shirt's collar, pulling him to his feet. "Don't think you're getting off that easy, though. What's your name."
"C-Cronus Ampora, chief!" The alien, Cronus as it were, responded as fast as he could. Castle still had his pistol trailed on him after all.
"Cronus. You're going to help me. I'm looking for a few people, and one of them happens to be of your species. Alternian, but a troll nonetheless." The vigilante reached into his coat-pocket, pulling out a photograph. On it, an aristocratic blueblood oozed arrogance and hypocrisy. "You'll help me find this man. Zebruh Codakk is his name."

Minutes later, Frank Castle and his new associate Cronus Ampora left the warehouse. Seconds afterwards, it went up in flames. The only thing left intact amongst the ashy remains and corpses was a note addressed to Irkallan police.
"Hey, Abbacchio. You ever see this shit happen before?" A blond police detective said to his partner, who mulled the scene over.
"Yeah. Probably a matter of the criminal underworld. Mafia, gangs, whichever. But... this kind of note was almost always found at the scene of the crime when I showed up. If you paid attention to the briefings, you'd know who we think left them, Pardo." The silver-haired edgelord replied.
"Alright, Pissmeister, who is it then?" Manny Pardo snarked, as Leone Abbacchio stood up, showing the note to him.

A skull, with the initials "F.C." beneath it.
"The Punisher. He's come to resume his crusade."

Chapter Text

"I'll be alright, Tony. I'm just heading outside man, don't worry too fucking much over silly shit like this!"
The sun was shining on Irkalla today, but one man wasn't feeling very sunny. Otis B. Driftwood, one of the first members of the Crew, and the first to wake up in the afterlife. Behind his bushy beard, so bushy in fact that it hid most of his mouth and the surroundings, he had a frown.
He's been that way for some time, now. Ever since the battle of New Gettysburg, the serial killer-turned-occasional voice of reason had less than joyful thoughts. Not without reason, of course. But to better explain his inner turmoil, we gotta get back to the past, and see part of the Battle itself.

---

"Yeah, nobody fuck with us! Look a'dem run!"
Tony yelled victoriously as he and the Crew beat back the first assault on the abandoned city, with cheers from his compatriots. Xefros and Dammek hugged, Hoxton pulled off his heisting/protection mask, while Rip van Winkle held onto Zorin Blitz with a smile on her face. Rip, that is. Zorin is just nodding, emotionally detached from anybody here that isn't her fellow German vampire.
"Do you believe that we can afford some rest? I think some of us need it more than ever," questioned Grell, nursing her injured body back to health.
"That'd be really appreciated, for fucking sure. Yo, Tony, what do you think?" Otis spoke louder, trying to get the Cuban's attention.
"Huh? Oh, yeah, you better believe it! Carajo, shit got rough here..." Montana walked away from the blown-open doors, turning his back on the Automaton which died near the steps. Or... seemingly died.

As it turned back online, Equius saw it slowly raising its arm-cannon. Seeing that it was pointed at Dammek and Xefros, he made a dash for them, grabbing onto Dammek and diving out of the way.
"AGH-! What the hell, get off!" The young revolutionary tried to struggle out of the blueblood's grasp, but it was no use. "Xefros! Run!" He called out to his moirail, trying to get the boy to move.
Unfortunately, it was too late.

BLAM.
With one final blast before truly expiring, the Automaton blew a hole clean through Xefros Tritoh's chest. Right where his heart was. There was nothing the others could do.
The young rustblood was dead.
While everyone dropped into silence and sobs, one man was not having it. Tony Montana, utterly livid, turned around, cocked his M16 and charged towards the already dead Automaton.
"YOU FUCKIN' MARICON! I GONNA FUCKIN' KILL YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!" The Cuban screamed at the top of his lungs, unloading his assault rifle's entire ammo reserves into the machine's head, caring not that it was already absolutely dead. He needed this.

Meanwhile, Equius looked over the lifeless body of Xefros, starting to feel... guilt? Over letting a lowblood die? This... this isn't right. Dammek looked at him angrily, bashing on his chest before relenting and holding onto him tightly, sobbing into his shoulder.
Winkle fell to her knees, unable to hold back her tears. Xefros had shown everyone nothing but kindness, yet he was the first to fall? How is this fair, she asked in-between sobs. Zorin tried her best to comfort her partner, but she was truly heartbroken. Nothing the emotionally-stunted Blitz could help with.

Grell fared better, but was still visibly shaken by this unfortunate development. Hoxton was also upset, but mostly showed it by muttering curses to himself. Otis? He was staring blankly into the horizon, his heart sinking further with each passing moment.

Death was nothing new to him. Hell, he alone killed over seventy people during his life on Earth. Why was this any different? Maybe it was that he had started to grow attached to these wackos and losers. He had confided in the Signless some time prior about how guilty he felt for leaving Tiny Firefly alone at their burning home, in his final hours of life. The alien messiah was very understanding, but even he was surprised when Otis admitted to considering the Crew somewhat like a family.

Now, he felt that... he failed his family again. And the Signless had gone AWOL some time before the Crew went to New Gettysburg. For all he knows, the guy might be dead as this happened. If that was the case? Otis probably wouldn't be able to take it.

---

Sure, a week later Xefros came back to life, ten years older than when they had last seen him, but... there was still no sign of the Signless, pun not intended. He wasn't the only one affected by his absence. Grell, on her side of things, had hidden it well, but it was no secret that she had fallen for Troll Jesus. Yet, now he was gone.

Otis was sitting on a bench, outside of the limits of Zebruh's mansion. At a moment like this, he wishes he had some sort of music player, so he could listen to "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd. He never got the chance to share his musical tastes with the Signless. If only he was at the campfire after the final wave of enemies at New Gettysburg, he could have listened to Otis' rendition of Glen Campbell's "Southern Nights".
Looking to the horizon, he thought he saw somebody walking towards his position. Shit, I'm starting to go nuts again, he thought. Hallucinating him coming back? God, you're a wreck, man.

"Otis? Otis! Is that you?"
Or... maybe not. Driftwood stood up, seeing the silhouette getting closer and clearer. That cloak, that skin-tone, that voice... those horns. There was no doubt about it: this was his friend, the Signless. Finally back, after what seemed like an eternity.

Running towards him, he saw that the Signless- no, Kankri, had his arms wide open. A hug? Oh, fucking gladly.
"Fuck... man, I missed you so much, you wouldn't fucking believe it!" He had genuine excitement in his voice, looking up to his alien friend with a tearful smile.
"Oh dear... did I miss something, Otis?" Kankri asked, honestly confused at this out-pour of emotion from a man he knows isn't prone to them.
"You've got no idea, Kankri. I've really gotta catch you up to things..."

---

Otis wasn't the only one who saw Kankri come back. A certain red reaper was watching from the mansion's window, a smile on her face. But that's a tale for another day...

Chapter Text

"Ah, another fine day! Perfect for fortune telling, right Avdol?"
A month ago, in the town of Thorndale, a business opens for the day. Vision 8fold, a fortune telling and divination outfit ran by two rather peculiar individuals.
One is an Egyptian man, a friend of the Joestar family and user of Magician's Red. The other is a Sylph of Light, a woman with a knack for exposition. A literal exposition fairy, if you will.
"I'm inclined to agree, Aranea. The weather seems fine, and the city streets are bustling with folks from all over. I'm sure we'll have plenty of customers." The man smiled softly, looking out the window of the abode he and the troll operated from.

As it turns out, Avdol was right! Plenty of people came to have their future foretold, and a hefty profit was made. A bit more than enough for the two of them to live for the next few months. However, as the day started to come to an end, one man came into the parlor, looking like the shiftiest man to ever shift. Thick beard, some weird glowing center-piece on a bandolier, being shirtless otherwise, fingerless gloves on both hands, gauntlet on his left forearm, and sporting some knifes on his person. But his most striking feature had to be the metal plate on his face, and the red cybernetic eye contained within.
"Oi, I'm here for a readin'. Heard this here's a right spiffy joint." The thick Australian accent came through loud and clear, as the man let himself fall on the customer's chair, putting his feet up on the table. Much to the annoyance and disgust of both Aranea and Avdol.

Nevertheless, the Sylph put on a cheery face and pressed on. "We do try our 8est. Welcome to Vision 8fold, may we have your name 8efore we 8egin?"
"Name's Kano. So, you blokes can read the future, yeah? Bleedin' brilliant, then!" He got his feet off the table after some silent prodding from Avdol.
"Well, yes, that is our 8usiness after all. So, Mister Kano, I'd like you to present your hands to us, so we may read you." Aranea still had her warm, welcoming smile on, which prompted Kano to give in to her demands. With his hands opened, the Sylph and the Stand user read his palm. Well, the latter did most of the work, while Aranea dove into her nearly endless internal library of exposition, getting out the metaphorical Book of Kano.
"You've done... a great deal of questionable things, Kano. A lot of deceit, 8ackstabbings, double-dealings, you name it, you've done it." Kano couldn't help but grin and nod, feeling proud of the bad things he's done.
"Nonetheless, you've escaped judgement for several years, only recently dying from what I can tell. Admittedly, of all the possible outcomes, the one that ended up 8eing your undoing was likely the least painful. In so many realities, you end up tortured 8efore dying. Compared to that, a headshot is nothing." Now, Kano got a bit more sour. Grumbling something about tossers and other such words.

"Nevertheless! Your future seems much 8righter than your past. Which is good! At least, from what I can tell." As Aranea spoke, Avdol got out their Tarot deck, shuffling the cards for a good minute, before cutting it into three, and placing them face down.
The first card to be turned over was the Emperor. Concentration, focus, making hard choices. Avdol cringed a little, remembering the time Hol Horse shot him in the head.
The second one was the Chariot. Determined, ambitious, with goals clearly set. This one brought a smile to the Egyptian's face, bringing back fond memories of Polnareff.
The third and final card was Death. Kano was almost brought to a state of panic, but he was quickly calmed down through the combined power of Aranea and Avdol telling him it wasn't about literal death, but rather important change in your life.

With that done, and the services got paid, Aranea closed their little business for the night. But as she headed towards her room to rest, Avdol accosted her.
"Aranea, I worry that we might have facilitated an evil act back there... this Kano, he gives off a truly despicable aura... almost as bad as Dio, but without the charisma." The Stand user couldn't help but shiver at the thought.
"Oh, come on now! Sure, he's done 8ad things, 8ut those are in the past! I'm sure everything will be fine."

Little did they know, Kano was about to pull off the highest profile kidnapping Irkalla had ever seen.

Chapter Text

At the Watering Hole, Nova Pompeii's second best bar, two blonde people were standing near the counter, conversing with the waiter and amongst themselves.
"So, Carol, whatcha gonna get today?" The cowboy asked, cigarette firmly held in his mouth.
The woman in red and blue shook her head, before speaking up. "I don't think I'll take anything with alcohol in it. Still recovering, one day at a time. But you'll probably get something, won't you Hol?"
"Yup, probably a Bud or somethin'-" Hol Horse's musings were cut off by the front doors being pushed open by another cowboy. A much less colorful type, however, and with actual visible guns!

"Bartender! Gimmie some Jack Daniels, and get my pal something strong, don't matter much what it is. You ain't picky, right Hans?" The gravely voiced outlaw turned to the 7 foot wall of a man flanking him, who shook his head in response to the question.
Carol Danvers decided to walk up to the two, all stanced up, and looking them up and down. "What do you think you're doing here? Don't pretend like you aren't Ultor cronies. You trying to impede on Jack's business or something?"
"Nah sugar, I ain't here to do anything of the sort. Just visiting my favorite saloon with my pal." The cowboy tipped his hat to Captain Marvel, which got her pretty miffed for whatever reason.

"Did you just... gah! I can't believe I have to deal with you jerkasses, doing shit like that and perpetuating the straight man's patriarchal ways!" Meanwhile, Hol Horse was taking a few steps back, knowing that not getting involved is the wisest choice right now.
"And that there's where yer wrong, lady. Neither of us are straight. I'm bi myself, while Hans over here is into guys." The silent titan behind him gave a slight nod, internally thankful that his greatcoat's upturned collar hides most of his face, since he was blushing a little at the moment at such a casual dropping of his proclivities.
"Whatever! You aren't going to silence me today, scumbags! HOL!" Well, there goes his silent escape plan. "Put a quarter in the jukebox, and cue up Just a Girl."

With a sigh, Hol Horse did as Carol ordered him to, putting his money in the machine sitting at the back of the bar before cueing up the No Doubt song that Danvers holds in high esteem. As the song started to build up, Carol went in for a hit on Hans, punching him in the face.
Or at least, she tried to, but ended up with her fist caught in his hand. Which was followed up by a casual yet stiff punch of his own, which sent her flying into the wall next to the jukebox.
The impact even stopped the song premptively, before playing the next song on the rotation: Word Up! by Cameo.

As Carol propulsed herself out of the hole her body made in the wall, the Ultor cowboy walked his way over to Hol Horse. "I'm Erron Black. Like I said to yer... probably not-friend, I ain't here to meddle with Hyperion's affairs, no matter what she wants to believe. I'm sure you're more reasonable that that crazy broad, right?"
"Hey! Just because she's less than rational don't mean you can just insult her like that! Get ready t'draw, pardner!" Hol held his hand out, summoning his Stand, Emperor, before taking aim at Erron and shooting two bullets.
But before it could hit the cowboy, he had drawn his revolver out, shot twice, and directed his bullets to clash with the Stand-made ones. Erron can't even see Stands, but he still knows what to do when faced with a showdown of this sort.

Meanwhile, Danvers still traded blows with Hans, yet her punches seemed to lack the impact they would normally have! Had she lost her touch? Or was this man just too quick for her? Doesn't really matter, considering her next punch actually landed! It even sent his cap flying and blew off part of his cheek!
Unfortunately for her, as he went to grab his cap, his cheek regenerated, and as he adjusted the cap back onto his head, he... growled? This can't be good.
And it was not. The next thing she knew, he had rammed into her at inhuman speeds, carrying her back into that hole he had created earlier, sailing past the on-going, evenly matched gunfight between Hol Horse and Erron Black.

The next few seconds were a blur for Carol. One that mostly consisted of fists connecting with her face. Erron noticed this, and after deviating one of his bullets to hit Hol Horse in the foot to incapacitate him for a little bit, yelled at Hans.
"Hans! For cryin' out loud, stop it! We ain't gonna turn this place into a crime scene! Let her go, and let's scram!" Hearing his comrade's voice, the taller man ceased raining punches on the heroine, got back up to his feet, and backed off.

---

Erron fished around inside of his pockets, getting out a little bag of money he then tossed at the bartender, as compensation for the damages. Meanwhile, Hans took the time to write a message on a napkin for Carol to read once she could, y'know, see properly again.

"Ms. Marvel,
I apologize for my behavior today. But it's just not nice to accuse people of... doing whatever it is that 'patriarchy' thing is. Hopefully this fight can serve as a learning experience for the both of us. I wish you a good day.

Captain Hans Günsche."

Chapter Text

After having let the Crew crash at his place and host a dance made specifically to bring Grell and the Signless together (long story), Zebruh decided that it was about time for them to hold up their end of the bargain. Namely, to hit some distribution warehouses trying to step on his business. Despite making their general dislike of him very clear, Tony had no choice but to accept it. With that, he had to send some of his Crew members out there.

Alongside himself, the chosen few were Rip van Winkle, Zorin Blitz, Xefros Tritoh, John Marston, and Gine. The latter was less than enthusiastic about this, considering she doesn't much like to fight, but maybe... maybe today would be the day she'd meet back up with her husband!
This thought is what pushed her to soldier on, even as the raid went sideways in almost record time.

"Fuck me! How the fuck did these motherfuckers know we were comin'?!" Montana cursed to himself and anybody close-by, which turned out to be Xefros. Despite the training he got during his 'death', the troll couldn't do much to help, since they were basically pinned.
The only thing keeping the attackers at bay was blind-fire from Marston, Zorin and Tony, while Gine hid in a corner, dreading the increasingly likely outcome of them all dying here today.
If Bardock was here, we wouldn't be having this problem, she thought.

-----

Now, we've already established that Gine isn't an average Saiyan. With a power level of 500, she's pretty weak by their standards (but still perfectly able to whup human asses, don't get it twisted), and her aversion to fighting doesn't do her any favors. Hell, even Raditz, at a power level of 1500, was called a weakling! Either way, the point is that Gine isn't your average Saiyan. And neither is this one.

Some weeks ago, a low-class Saiyan warrior woke up near a town. He can't really remember what the place was called, something like Hope Town, but then again, Hope was scribbled out to some degree, so he's not really 100% sure what it was called. The warrior walked into town, and soon after that, he got into a fight with an Ottoman Turk soldier. The Saiyan called the Turk a coward for using a weapon to defend himself, which sure enough prompted the Ottoman Turk to drop his arms. Bad move on his part, because the Saiyan basically obliterated him. Sure, he got pretty badly hurt, but he was able to walk out of town under his own power. His pained walk ended in a field, one filled with frolicking horses and such. At that point, he passed out, but what he didn't expect is that two... aliens? Two aliens picked him up and carried him to a house.

During his coma-like state, which lasted like a week or so, the man had visions, as he had in his last few days alive. But this time, instead of seeing the destruction of his planet and flash-forwards of the life his youngest son would live on Earth, he saw a rather colorful cast of characters: a freakishly strong, sweaty grey guy... a small but foul-mouthed man with a reliable firearm... two tall women with a literal thirst for blood... some woman in red with a motorised saw... two guys who, despite looking like Hell, are kind-hearted and look out for their friends... and wait a minute, is that Gine with them?!

That brought the Saiyan out of his coma, in a cold sweat. The two aliens who had brought him in were shocked that he would come to so very suddenly, but they were happy that he was still alive. "Dam buoy, we were worried ta shit 'boat ya.. you alright?" Asked the first one, who seemed rather keen on making aquatic puns as often as possible. The other, who seemed a bit more meek than the other, but not by much, spoke next. "Yeah! You were pretty 8adly roughed up out there. The hell happened?"

The man looked to them, before speaking up for the first time in weeks. "The usual. Fighting. It's the only thing Saiyans are good at, anyway." Looking around himself, he spotted his Saiyan Battle Armor, his headband, and his scouter laying on a nearby table. Holding his head in his hand, he spoke again. "Where am I? And who are you?"

After some more exposition, about Irkalla, the fact that all of them are dead, the names of the two who had brought him in, so on and so forth, the Saiyan stood up from the bed he was laying in, and talked again. "Why did you do that?" A simple question, which warranted a simple enough answer.

"8ecause it's the right thing to do! Right, Meenah?" The other nodded. "Shore thing, Vriska. Love ya, gill!" Some kissy-kissy cutesy shit went down afterwards, which prompted the Saiyan to go on a.. rather violent sounding rant.

"There is nothing about this whole scenario that doesn't make me so disgusted I want to violently vomit out my own internal organs. I despise you both so intensely that I can't tell if my vision is blurry from my near death experience, or from my unforgiving rage. If allowed, once I'm back to full health, I will gut you with an honest to God smile on my face, and then proceed to paint the home I built with your bodies with your very blood." What followed was him grabbing his shit in silence, putting his armor, headband and scouter on, blasting the front door open with a Ki Blast, before flying off. Attempting to find those he saw in his visions.

-----

Back to the current day, Bardock's flying brought him near a warehouse off the edges of Nova Pompeii. Tapping his scouter and looking towards said warehouse, he detected some rather middling power levels. Hell, the strongest in there was 500! Wait... 500... he knows just one person with that power level.
"Huh, how convenient..." He muttered to himself, before landing a few feet away from the front door. Charging up a Ki attack, one stronger than before due to this door being made of metal, Bardock proceeded to let it rip, blasting the door off its hinges and right onto some hapless fool indoors. The other gun-toting enforcers turned around, distracted by the sudden explosion and the dust it kicked up, giving John Marston just enough time to tap into his Deadeye, aiming at the enforcers' hearts and heads before hitting each and every shot, fanning the hammer of his revolver at impressive speeds.

Despite this, some still remained, but not for long. Zorin jumped out from behind cover, while Winkle hopped down from a nearby pile of crates, both of them tearing into a handful of gunmen quite literally, with blood spraying in several different directions. After all, they are vampires.
Within a few seconds, all enemies were eliminated.
"Um, Tony? Can I ask... what the hell just happened?" Xefros was just outright confused by the turn of events. At least he didn't die again.
"Carajo, I don't fuckin' know myself, mang." The Cuban answered, before turning his eyes to the settling dust and the steps ringing out.

His revolver at the ready, Marston slowly approached the person who seemed to have saved them. "Now, I ain't pretendin' I know what your motive for savin' us was, but if you ain't a hostile... then I'd suggest you raise your hands." The newcomer wasn't very impressed, however.
"What do you think you're gonna do with those... primitive weapons? Do they even shoot lasers?" The 'savior' spoke to them, which prompted Gine to leave her hiding spot and run towards him.

"Bardock! Oh, honey, I've missed you so much!" Jumping right into the man's arms, Gine was happier than the Crew's ever seen her be. "Guys, this is Bardock, my husband!"
Well, guess that explains it. This will be an odd walk home, for sure.

Chapter Text

"So... not only are you telling me that we're staying at some Frieza-clone's house... but in your timeline, I didn't take a stand against the real Frieza?"
The trip back to Zebruh's mansion was physically uneventful, but there was quite a lot of talking done. Bardock was caught up on the goings-on of the Crew, and how different the timeline Gine hails from is, when compared to his own.
"No! Well, only to the second statement! You still tried to stop his attack, you just didn't... do it the same way as in your own timeline! As for the first thing, yes... we're kinda stuck living here for a bit."

As the Saiyan couple sat in the lounge, a certain soldier came by.
"Hopefully, we get to leave soon. I don't think I can handle staying in that prick's general vicinity for longer than a few more hours." The man stopped near the chair right across from the couch the other two were seated on, before taking a seat in said chair. "I'm Cable, by the way. I haven't met a lot of people with superpowers down here, especially not flight."
"Nothing really that special. Any Saiyan can do it, but thanks nevertheless." Bardock shrugged, leaning back in his spot.

---

Meanwhile, in a corner of the main hall, Tony and Equius were busy trying to figure out the workings of a CB radio. Their only real experience with such a thing was at the abandoned police station in New Gettysburg, when Nannusaric called in. Back then, they had to fight off the warlord's hordes as they converged on the ruined American town, but now there was no such pressure. Nobody was going to call in and ask for the Tome of the Dead.
"You gonna be tryin' all day, mang? Or are we gonna be havin' progress any fuckin' time soon?" The impatient Cuban tapped his foot, sighing pretty heavily.
"Please, Montana. It would greatly help me if you'd cease these comments as soon as possible." The Alternian horse enthusiast tuned into various frequencies, to see if anything worked. But before he could do much of anything, a call came through of its own will.

"Hello," an accented man's voice spoke out, attracting the attention of the other Crew members. As they all gathered around the radio, the man continued. "My name is Locke. I work for Napoleon Bonaparte. Yes, the very same emperor of legend. Due to your recent actions in New Gettysburg, Napoleon mandated me to come into contact with you. As you can no doubt ascertain, he is quite impressed with your feats. Thusly, a proposal; would you be willing to lend your hand in helping a man out? I can supply you with intelligence, opportunities, and material regarding said help. Further, you will be heftily rewarded."

A pause for effect, as the united cast looked back and forth at the radio and then themselves. "So? What do you say?"
"Can we trust this guy? I mean, I don't know about you guys, but I've personally never met a nice South African," Otis whispered to his allies, before finally, Hoxton made his way to the front of the gathered lads, and put his face up to the radio, answering with a grin.
"We're in Locke, ya soddin' wanker."

"Ah, Hoxton, friend! I'm glad to hear your voice! Watookal, you guys can head to Nouveau Verdun first, in the Kingdom of Valois, and we'll have some people find you and bring you to Napoleon's Camp. And, please do make haste, yeah? Chop-chop!" And with those cheerily spoken words, Locke signed off, leaving the Crew to prepare for their trek.

Chapter Text

For the Crew, today is a hell of a good day. They get to move on in their quests, and they get to leave Zebruh's mansion! A lot of them have been waiting for a reason, any reason, to finally get the hell away from the guy. Him and his wannabe Casanova macking attempts towards everyone, regardless of orientation or interest, were really wearing their nerves thin.
For Zebruh, today sucks. For... basically the same reasons. The Crew has repeatedly made their dislike of him known. And now that they aren't borderline obligated to do his bidding, what's stopping them from kicking his ass?

He'll simply play it safe, as they pack their things and get ready to move on. Check on them every now and again, try not to offend any of them, and all should be good!
Walking down the halls, he noticed Otis' door was open, and he decided to let himself in.
"Otis? How's-" He spotted the man, sharpening his knife on the delicate guest bedroom furniture! What an inconsiderate prick! "Hey, what the hell are you doing?! Don't you know how expensive this all was? And to think, I allowed you to have that party the other day!" Just as Zebruh finished talking, Otis stood up, rushed the troll, and pushed him up against the wall, knife at the ready.
"Listen, ya Malibu middle-class Barbie piece a' SHIT, I'm tryna work here!" This prompted a confused spluttering of 'work' from Zebruh.
"You ever work?! Yeah, I'll bet you have! Scoopin' ice cream to yer shit-heel friends on summer break! Well, I ain't talkin' about no goddamn white socks with Mickey Mouse on one side and Donald Duck on the other."
Zebruh's in deep shit now.

----

Meanwhile, Zorin had finished packing her Mauser pistol and backup pair of pants into a bag in her room, before Winkle asked her to check up on Arthricia. Despite grumbling some choice words, Zorin still walked out of the room, travelling down the hall to the cat alien's room. She gave two knocks on the door before Arthricia told her she could come in.
When she did walk inside, she was treated to the sight of Equius working on some sort of power armor, with Arthricia looking over his shoulder at a safe distance.

"What's going on in here, exactly?" Zorin isn't familiar enough with either of them to really know what's happening between the two, but they're glad to fill her in.
"Ah, Equius stopped by to try and fix my power armor before we left! Oh, right, I haven't told you about it, I came to New Gettysburg during you guys' fight against Nannusaric by flying with this armor, but it short-circuited mid-flight and I crashed in front of Minister Soon's Manor there. Remember him? Soon? Of the Yi Dynasty? Well, whatever, this thing's a nice piece of work, but Rick's programming is pretty fucking shitty." God, what a motormouth.
"Please, Arthricia, do refrain from using such a vocabulary. Simply because the Rick human's programming and assembly techniques are sub-par isn't an excuse to make usage of vulgar words," Equius interjected, before putting a few finishing touches on the suit of power armor. "There, it should be in working order now."

"Great, now we should probably start to leave. I think Driftwood is about to flip his shit-"
Just as Zorin predicted, Otis was indeed flipping his shit, right on schedule. Throwing Zebruh out of his room, following him to the floor while still holding a knife to the troll's throat, Otis was still ranting.
"Boy, I bet you'd stick your head in fire if I told ya you could see Hell! Meanwhile, you're too stupid to realize you got a demon stickin' out your ass going 'Holy Miss Moley, got me a live one!' It's gotta take a real fuckin' special kind of dumb fuck to just keep hitting on everyone, no matter if they already told you they don't swing that way, like I've told you personally like five fucking times within a handful of days!"

Realising that his little scene attracted the attention of everyone in the mansion, Otis looked around, before stepping off of Zebruh. "Well. Ain't we just having a fucking hoot? Fuckin' Christ... Step your ass up already, Codakk."
Dusting himself off, Zebruh avoided eye contact with Driftwood as best he could.
"You guys keep an eye on his ass, and if he does anything while I'm putting my shit in a box, you have full authority to put his shit in several boxes, if you catch my drift!" With that, Otis got back to packing in his room, mumbling something about how the only real privilege is money.

----

And so, having made a scene on their last day here, the Crew proceeded to leave the premises, but not before the Signless gave Zebruh just... the single most biting look of disapproval ever seen.
All in all, today was a good day for our heroes.

Chapter Text

The travel began for our Crew, and it wasn't going to be easy. As it were, there were many hours, days even, worth of land to cross before they could get to Nouveau Verdun. Sure, they had Bardock, Gine and Arthricia flying a few feet ahead of the rest to keep a watchful eye out, in case someone was to approach, but the whole trip was quite exhausting. Their rations of food weren't going to run out any time soon, considering they had at least 19 days worth of it, but that didn't take into account the more particular tastes of some Crew members. Namely, Zorin and Winkle, who were getting tired far faster than the rest. The former was currently dragging behind, slowly approaching upon Hoxton, one of the only members of the Crew other than her dear Rip whom she tolerated.

"Hoxtooon. I'm hungry." She lazily drawled out, prompting the Brit to turn around.
"Fuck do you want me to do about it? We have food, you wanker, use that," he said, before Winkle decided to join in pestering him.
"But we're vampires, Herr Hoxton! We don't eat food like humans do!" Despite her almost permanent smile, Rip was definitely starting to feel the effects of blood withdrawal.
With a heavy sigh, Hoxton started to roll up his sleeve. "Soddin' shite... alright, you needy bastards. Just don't suck out my whole fockin' life-force."

Before the two could dig in, however, a certain cowboy interfered. "Woah, now. Ain't nobody gonna drink Hoxton's blood today, ladies." Ah, good ol' John Marston. Ever the watchful eye of the group, despite his slowly fading vision. "Besides, y'all can use the first aid kits we got. Those got blood bags in 'em, right?"
Despite how tempting Hoxton's blood was right about now, the two vampires knew Marston was right. They had, what, 16 bags of medical supplies? What's one or two less?

----

A little over two days later, the Crew had finally arrived at the gates of Nouveau Verdun.
"The fuck you talkin' 'bout, pendejo?" And Tony's already getting miffed.
"Monsieur, je ne comprends pas ce que vous me disez." The man at the gate, presumably a guard, spoke seemingly only in French, which is very unfortunate, since the only ones who speak even a little bit of French happen to be the Germans, and the one British lady.
"Please, Grell. Could you at least try to talk to him?" The Signless tried to convince his significant other, and eventually, she relented. Stepping up to the man, she spoke in accented French, asking him to let them into the town. After paying 200 dollars to enter, which is really nothing considering their pockets are lined with over 10 thousand dollars, they finally made it inside of Nouveau Verdun.

A truly bustling town, the Crew were in awe of all the people coming to and fro all over the place. Many of them seemed to be well-educated people, likely from the 19th century forward. So that means Grell can relate to them a little easier! Wonderful!
But what truly matters right now is finding the spot where Locke is supposed to meet them.

"Friends! Over here!"
Well, that mystery's solved. Locke was standing right around the corner, in his full fatigues for whatever reason. Waving the Crew over, he first went in to give Hoxton a handshake, followed by one to Tony. "I didn't know you brought Tony Montana, Hoxton!"
"Wait, how do you know me? I don't remember havin' people in South Africa-" Tony's confused inquiries were shushed by Hoxton, who explained how this Tony didn't survive the shootout in his old house, so he doesn't know about the adventures Locke had sent the PAYDAY Gang on.

After some more explanations and introductions, Locke entered a seemingly abandoned building, before leading the others to a tunnel dug inside.
"Oh, last time I got inside one of those, I got attacked by a giant scorpion and nearly died in a meth lab explosion after that! So, no bloody thanks, sir!" Grell was pretty understandably against this, but since majority rules in this world, she followed.

As they wandered the tunnels, Locke talked some more to his new friends.
"Once we get there, I will introduce you lot to some of my own friends. Aside from Napoleon, of course. We should be close, I can see the path ahead a bit clearer!"
After a few more minutes of this, they finally arrived in Napoleon's Camp.

"Ah, a nice breath of fresh air after a deep plunge, eh friends?" Locke's accented voice was light and jokey, but the Crew knew that this was going to be quite the eventful series of events facing them.

Chapter Text

Locke led the Crew through what is, despite the name, more of a town than a camp, filling them in on the intentions of Napoleon Bonaparte. In brief, he's planning on taking the entire Kingdom of Valois.
"If there's anything you can say about Napoleon, is that the man sure likes to dream big!" Locke said, laughing a tad to himself as the Crew exchanged confused and worried looks amongst themselves. "Watookal, he wants to make sure you're up to the task first! A rather large shipment of war-ready supplies are going to make their way to one of Bonaparte's enemies. What is required of you lot is to intercept said shipment!"

"Okay, but what's in it for us, huh?" Tony had to step up, not wanting to get him and his allies killed over table-scraps.
"At least two hundred dollars, cash. I'm sure you'll want American, and not my stash of Krugerrand, yeah?" Locke smiled, eliciting a chuckle from Hoxton. Little do they know, a single gold Krugerrand is at least worth one thousand dollars. "But before you go and do that, let me introduce you to a friend of mine."

Taking the lead once more, Locke walked amongst the camp, eventually entering a tent near the edge. "Gage, friend? I've got some people who I want to introduce to you."
The Crew were then treated to the sight of a man, rolling towards them in a wheelchair, a sniper rifle in his lap. "Yeah? Oh, it's those guys. 'Sup." He nodded in Hoxton and Tony's direction, since he also knows about them from his prior life. "What'll it be? I've got quite a selection."
Before he could get much further, Zorin pushed to the front of the group, placing both hands down on the table where most of Gage's merchandise was displayed. "I want a scythe, now." When she realised that everyone was glaring at her, she added a half-hearted 'please' to her demand.

----

After buying a scythe for Zorin, and a Sterling L2A3 submachine gun for Dammek, since his M3 Grease Gun was starting to come up short in the face of tougher challenges (or at least, for the sake of giving this gun a practice run), the Crew proceeded to the spot where the shipment will supposedly make a rest stop: a rather deserted road, midway between Nouveau Verdun and Persephonie.

From atop a nearby hill, Winkle kept a watchful eye for the shipment, while Tony and the others tried to figure out their plan of attack.
"Okay, so I been thinkin'. Some of us gonna go down there and place some explosives, then we go back to hidin'. Signless, you gonna stay down there, and when the shipment people come, you distract them, bring them away from their shit, and then we'll blow it up when you at a safe range!" The Cuban seemed pretty proud of his suggestion, but some weren't very pleased.
"That's a soddin' unnecessarily dangerous plan, Tony. You really wanna risk our own Personal Jesus like that? And why do you wanna blow their shite up, anyway? Shouldn't we take it, and bring it to Napoleon instead?" Hoxton's suggestion got more approval than Tony's, which kinda rubbed him the wrong way.
"Alright pendejo, we gonna try it your way this time. But if we fuck it up, it's your fault. Okay?"

----

Having cleared up all hesitation, the Crew sent down Xefros, Arthricia, and the Signless to stand on the road. From the bushes, Zorin, Hoxton and John Marston were ready to jump out and open fire if the guards of the shipment tried to pick a fight.
At the hilltop, ready to run down if shit got dire, were Tony, Otis, Equius, Cable and Bardock, and of course, Winkle was still acting as the sniper/spotter.

"Here they come!" Winkle said to her hilltop comrades, who relayed the message through handsignals down to the bush people, who then relayed to the 'bait'.
As the wagons came closer, the crew spotted something rather unusual about the people guarding them: not only were there the usual military personnel and cavalry of years gone by, there were also some... odd looking guys. Masked luchadores, in fact, all wearing green to some extent. Nevertheless, the plan remained set in stone, and so the Signless waved his arms at the convoy of wagons, prompting some of the masked men hanging from the sides to signal a stop.

"Ah, hello there, good sirs!" The troll spoke up as some of the men approached him. "May I interest you in a sermon? Me and my... disciples here would like to spread the good word, but we have a lack of people to preach to."
Some of the luchadores seemed a bit sceptical about this, considering how these guys are just standing there in the middle of the road, but they decided to agree to listen to him, at least for a little while.

As they followed Signless towards the empty field next to the road, the others of the somewhat armored convoy weren't expecting a grenade to be launched at them. The explosion went off some ways away from the actual target, but the real intent of this was to provide a distraction for Arthricia and Xefros to go in and attack.
Laying down a barrage of bullets from an AKS-74U assault rifle, the teenage cat alien howled a battle cry, trying to strike fear into her opponents. Meanwhile, Xefros made good use of the training he got during his temporary death, sidestepping the attacks of several guards, before making quick, lethal cuts with his short sword.

Meanwhile, the Signless tried his best to take down the handful of luchadores that followed him in non-lethal ways, hitting them on the head with the butt of a Glock, or taking out their knees with his sickle. Unfortunately, one of them caught him off-guard, sending him to the ground. Now at the remaining masked man's mercy, his only hope was that one of the others noticed.
And indeed, Winkle was the one to notice. Taking aim with her Jezail musket, she pulled the trigger, sending her bullet flying directly towards the luchador's head, blasting a hole clean through.

After a few more moments, the guards had all been eliminated, and the Crew could take all the loot they wanted! Of course, Kankri had to take a few minutes to compose himself after seeing a man's head damn near explode right before his eyes, but aside from that and a few bruises, all was good!
Napoleon will surely be happy.

----

"IT'S MY FUCKING REPUTATION!"
However, a certain masked man, well hidden in some other city of the region, was not happy, considering how he was having a fistfight with a stone wall and winning.
"Come on now, I'm sure you'll find yourself some more guys to hire, and I'm sure your business partners won't be up in arms over a simple ambush like that." The other man in the room, one in a white and red suit and orange hair, contrasting with the other's black and green suit, tried to calm the taller one down. "Killbane, come on, you know I'm right. Do you really think that I'd be lying to you?"

The far taller individual, now identified as Killbane, stepped up directly to his orange-haired 'compatriot'. "You'd better not be, Torchwick. Or these hands will be the last thing you feel. And your dying breath won't be an appeal to God, or a message of love to your family, if you even have one... it'll be 'Thank you, Killbane.'"

Chapter Text

"Hey, all I'm saying is that the proof is in the fuckin' pudding, Tony. My plan worked, we got the stuff Napoleon wanted us to get, why are you gettin' yer knickers in a twist?"
"Because you takin' my spotlight, man! You not a leader, you not trustworthy either!"
"Mate, I've been literally nothing but trustworthy from the moment we first met! Who was it that had the idea to make those improvised bombs in the police station, when we were getting overrun by Nannusaric's forces? Me! Tony, please man, you're acting out!"

As Hoxton and Tony got into a scrap over who deserves credit for the War Wagon heist's success, Equius stood by the sidelines, pondering.
What is my purpose in this group? Really, do these people need me? What have I done lately worth any merit?
As he pondered, the troll started walking away, and as he did, a song he had overheard playing on Winkle's record player some days ago... started playing in his head.

 

There's a mountain, and it's mighty high,
You cannot see the top, unless you fly.
And there's a molehill, of proven ground,
There ain't no where to go, if you hang around...

While the others were looking on at the argument the two hotheads were having, Dammek had seen Equius move away. So, he followed the other troll, finding him near the top of the hill. "Hey man... are you doing okay?"
"Am I truly needed, Dammek?" Equius had the same low tone he always had, but it sounded more sorrowful than the usual. "I... I'm only good in close-quarters, and even then, Hoxton has a better overall approach to it."
Seeing his matesprit in such doubtful, low spirits, Dammek had no choice but to sit down, and try to comfort him.

Everybody wants to sell what's already been sold
Everybody wants to tell what's already been told
What's the use of money if you ain't gonna break the mold?

"Come on, Equius. You are needed! You're our tech guy! Sure, Cable's got his robot augmentations, but he's only got a basic grasp of how to make guns. He couldn't have fixed Arthricia's power armor, but guess what! You have!" He tried patting the other on the back, but realised that would be a terrible idea considering the other's rampant sweating issue.
This seemed to cheer the other up at least enough to bring his tone back to normal. "Thank you, Dammek."
After a few moments of looking down from the hill, and exchanging sly glances at each other, Dammek spoke up. "We should probably get back. They'll need you to carry those wagons back to the camp."

Even at the center of fire, there is cold
All that glitters ain't gold.

----

Once the Crew had walked all the way back to Napoleon's Camp, Locke presented them with a large buffet, which he said was prepared by Anthony Bourdain. Apparently, Napoleon himself had commissioned the chef to make the best food he could possibly prepare in honor of the Crew's success. Pretty nice, but Bourdain seemed to not much enjoy how unrefined some of the Crew's tastes in foods were. Still, he respected them, and they respected him, so he doesn't have reason to complain.

After the buffet was over, Tony was intercepted by Locke, accompanied by Gage.
"Montana, my friend, Gage wants to introduce you to somebody quite important!" The South African was, as always, cheerful and friendly, but the Cuban was sceptical.
"Okay, who it be then? Come on, show him to me."
After a few moments of walking, a certain man in a trenchcoat and fedora came into view, lit cigarette between his fingers. A man literally in monochrome, black & white colors, one that Tony recognised immediately.
"Humphrey fuckin' Bogart?!"

Chapter Text

"You know Locke, when you told me he was a fan, I didn't think he'd freak this hard about me being here."
As Bogart calmly talked with the South African, Tony was currently pacing back and forth, damn near hyperventilating! His idol, his inspiration, one of his informal English teachers, was right there before him!
"Holy fuck, man, this is blowin' my fuckin' mind. I mean... Humphrey fuckin' Bogart! The man himself! Shit, you gonna have to meet the others, I can't wait!" As Tony rambled on, almost jumping in place, Locke and Gage gave Bogart the okay to follow Tony for the night.

----

As they walked back to the others, Tony couldn't help but speak up. "You know, I don't mean no disrespect, but... I gotta admit that I expectin' somebody taller." Bogart simply rolled his eyes, pulling his cigarette away from his lips briefly.
"Never heard that one before. 'Sides, could say the same about you, kid." Now, normally Tony would blow up on somebody for saying that, but since it's his favorite actor, and pretty much his favorite all-around human being saying it, he's taking it in stride.

After a few more moments, they entered the banquet hall, where the others had remained this entire time. "Oye, guys! We got Humphrey fuckin' Bogart in the place! Bogie, these guys are my Crew." As Tony proceeded to introduce everyone, one by one, Bogart gave each of them a curt nod and a handshake.
"Hey, Tony? Why the hell are you such a big fan of this guy? Didn't he die like... way before you came to America?" Of course, Otis coming to fuck things up.
"That's right bloody rich comin' from the guy named after a Marx Brothers character." Surprisingly, Hoxton became the voice of reason for once, probably just for the opportunity to antagonise Otis a bit.

"Anyways, you guys mind if I sit down with you? Got some things to tell that'll probably be interesting to hear." Bogart's question was met with universal approval, and thus he took a seat at the table with our heroes.

----

After the banquet, Kankri was sitting in his room, trying to sort himself out after the events of the War Wagon heist, more specifically how he had to witness a Luchadore's brains splatter at his feet from one of Winkle's bullets. So, when he heard a knock at his door, he was a little startled. "Um, come on in!" As it so happens, the one who came into his room was Winkle herself.

"Mind if I... have a few words with you?" The woman had a quiet, gentle tone to her voice at the moment. "I'm... sorry about earlier. But, in my defence, that man was about to kill you! It was either he died, or you did, and we both know that it's better he die instead of you." Despite how morbid it sounded, the Signless could understand where she was coming from. Ultimately, the non-issue was resolved with a few words between the two concerned parties.

"I understand that it may scar you, but... I simply wanted to help." With a smile, Winkle departed from the Signless' room.

Chapter Text

Bogart took a drag from his cigarette before pulling it away from his lips and tapping the tip on the ashtray, as the assembled Crew waited for him to begin talking.
"... Honestly, I only have half the info. So, if Locke would be so kind as to start us off...?" The Hollywood legend turned to look towards the former Murkywater employee, who shuffled closer to the table.
"Ah, sorry friends, I forgot. Okay! So, Napoleon's got another mission for you ladies and gentlemen. He's getting ready to move onto the Kingdom of Valois, but he needs some money to bankroll the campaign, yeah?" Locke started, before Bogart picked back up.
"So, on his behalf, I've found a Valoyard noble, one with excessive wealth to spare, who's been giving Napoleon some trouble by paying the other side." Locke unfolded a map, and Bogart provided some pictures of the noble's plot of land and the fortified plantation mansion said noble resides in. "This cat's made his fortune in agriculture, but it isn't from grain."

"He's been making it from shittons of very strong weed."
Tony couldn't help but scoff, making the others look at him with cocked eyebrows. "Pfft. Weed? That's pussy shit, mang. Tell me when we gettin' real shit in here."
Bogart sighed, looking right at Tony. "There's thousands of dollars at stake, Montana." That shut him up.
"So, the plan is to send you there, with intent to buy, and from there, we'll guide you over earpiece."

----

"You know, I'm actually glad I kept Zebruh's suit. He might be scummy, but his fashion sense is going to come in handy for once!"
The Signless adjusted the bowtie on his 'borrowed' suit, as multiple other members of the Crew were being fitted for suits of their own. Sitting it out were Winkle, Hoxton and Tony, who already wore such clothes.
"Can somebody remind me why we're humoring Bogie and Locke on this? Because this shit fuckin' sucks," Otis complained, shifting awkwardly in a white tuxedo.
"Driftwood is right, for once. I hate this so much..." Zorin sighed, her outfit barely fitting her muscled frame.

"Come on, Otis. You won't be amongst those sneaking around, so will it really kill you to entertain this plan?" Kankri rolled his eyes, before giving Otis a pleading look.
"Yes, it is gonna kill me! I've calculated the amount of variables at play, and they're at the exact number where they become a hazard to my fuckin' health!" The frustrated redneck fumed, before taking a seat on a nearby chair. "Fucking hell..."

Meanwhile, Grell tried to aid Arthricia and Gine with their fitting situation, but since neither really have a grasp on Earth customs, it became a struggle and a half to get them to understand the necessity of wearing dresses.
"I'm sorry, but... we never really wore suits or dresses on Planet Vegeta, Grell!" Gine tried to explain her confusion, and eventually, after a little while, both sides understood their plight better. They still ended up wearing dresses, though.

----

An hour after the fitting, they packed their weapons and money before boarding a large stagecoach, big enough to fit the whole Crew. Once they were all seated, the stagecoach began moving, and soon after, they blended into a passing caravan without arousing suspicions.

Ten minutes into the ride, Hoxton reached into the bag he brought, and pulled out a portable radio. "Any of you lads wanna listen to some jams? Locke had a couple of tapes, and he lended them to me for the trip."
Most of the Crew agreed to listen to the songs, whatever they may be. John Marston was the first to pick, and after some hesitation, he settled on some Bruce Springsteen. Starting the tape off was Born to Run. Despite not being familiar with the man at all, he quite enjoyed the lyrics and music.

30 minutes into the ride.
"Right, now that Marston's tape is over, who else wants to pick?" Looking around, he spotted Zorin's hand raised. "Yeah? What's your pick, man?"
The German reached over and poked the Guns N' Roses tape. "This one, Hoxton."
"Fockin' yes, mate!" Hoxton smirked, before putting the GNR songs on, with Paradise City playing first. "You a fan of them, Zorin?"
"Ja. Mein personal favorite song of theirs is One in a Million." The buff vampire responded, looking proud of herself for saying that.
The Brit sighed, shaking his head. "I'm gonna choose to forget you sayin' that, if you don't mind."

1 hour into the ride.
Once the hard rock was over, Tony was the first to pop off and ask for a tape.
"Oye, you got some Hall & Oates in there, mang? I'd like to hear some a' that right about now." His confidence was very obvious in his statement, which means he'll be at the top of his game during the actual heist.
Not wasting a moment, the British heister put the requested tape in the radio, and starting the recording was You Make My Dreams, as half the stagecoach started grooving and singing along.

1 hour and 30 minutes into the ride.
"Ach... how long is this ride going to be?" Zorin drawled out, increasingly annoyed at doing nothing. And it doesn't help that she wasn't particularily fond of the Signless' choice. Huey Lewis and the News. Naturally, Hoxton took notice of his friend's behavior, and proceeded to entertain himself with it.
"Take it you aren't a fan?" The vampire answered with a groan. "Fair 'nuff, but I honestly think Huey and his guys really came into their own with Sports in 1983, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost." Hoxton had a grin on his face after saying that. But Zorin didn't seem to catch on. And neither did Bardock, who decided to vocalise it.
"The hell are you going on about?" Hoxton then turned around, and sighed.
"Nevermind, you wankers wouldn't understand the joke anyway."

----

Two hours after their initial departure, they had finally arrived at the noble's plantation mansion. Activating the earpieces given to them by Locke before they left, they proceeded to exit the stagecoach, dusting themselves off and putting on their most non-threatening expressions.

"Okay, friends! You're about to enter the premises. If things go tits up, I'd rather you not shoot civvies, yeah?"