The Klever Klub and the Lap of Luxury

Started by Johann Krüger, February 23, 2022, 01:43:41 PM

Johann Krüger

February 23, 2022, 01:43:41 PM Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 08:53:58 AM by noseatbelts
Santo. 2490.

A young girl with platinum blond hair scurries underfoot, weaving through passerby with the practiced grace of a lifetime street urchin. She bumped into one man as if she hadn't seen his expensively tailored suit pants directly in front of her. He looked down at her disdainfully, his overcurled mustache twitching in thinly veiled anger. The girl looked up at him and curtsied with her little rag of a dress. "Jammer, mister. Sorry." And without giving him a chance to scold her further, she disappeared into the crowd.

Once safely away, she slowed and checked over her shoulder to be sure. Seeing no one, she pulled from some hidden place the man's wallet and pocket watch with a grin full of missing teeth. "Hayibo!" She exclaimed in excitement, biting the watch to verify it was real gold. The contents of the wallet were emptied, a hundred Alliance credits in small bills- likely used for small tips for wait staff at the finer establishments on the boardwalk - which could feed the young girl for almost a month. "Dis'n Weber dag."

"You gonna go to the mung, you goose." A strong, masculine voice said from behind her as a hand to match grabbed her shoulder. The girl screamed and tried to fight against her captor, who wrapped her up in his arms and lifted her off the ground. He laughed. "Chill, sss, chill. It's I. Don' choon me an' all."

The girl finally saw who had her and smiled. "Johann! T'ought you was de pote man police."

Johann beamed at the girl and set her back down on her feet. "Show I wot ye find." Careful to keep an eye out for onlookers and anyone with a whiff of authority, it was hard for Johann not to be proud of his younger sister. They were adopted siblings, of course, both orphans and raised on the streets. She was fifteen years his younger and there had been no one else to watch over her. And so he'd taken to showing her everything he knew. She showed him her treasures and he winked at her "Aye Meisie, is kiff. I proud of ye."

"I gonna koop some chow, den I a gut bed. Ain't be hunger no mo'." Meisie smiled up at him and Johann smiled back.

Now came the hard part. "Hear me, sis. Is bad wot I say." He knelt down next to her and knew she would be fine. Meisie was a strong, fierce little girl. But the world was meaner. "I has a go away." He could explain exactly why he had to leave - taking the fall for his boss at the Crown Gate casino and making his bones with the higher ups - but that would likely not make much difference to his sister.

"Waar ye gun?"

The truth was best. "Jail, sis."

The life they led, this didn't seem to surprise her. Many of their fellow street scamps made the trip to the Penal Colonies. Most didn't come back. "How long?'

Johann tried to do some math in his head. "Fok weet. Not long, tink I. Two year?" He shrugged and wrapped her up in another hug.

"Ek smaak you stukkend."

"I love ye back."

Without another word, Johann stood and took one last look at his sister before giving her cheek a light pinch. She smiled at him sadly. They both seemed to know they'd see each other again.

Thirty Years Later

Johann Krüger put boot to Santos soil for the first time in about twenty years as he stepped out of the Hover Cab and into the street. He'd never really wanted to come back. The last time he'd left was after the Indigo Dragon had gone down, and he with it. Strangely enough that was sort of why he was here. There it stood in front of him, or at least the bones of his beautiful winged beast. The sign said "Lap of Luxury" now which he would never admit was a fantastic name for a hotel and casino.

He pulled his sunglasses from his eyes and peered up at her, squinting against the sun but wanting to see her for what she was. "Kakspul." Johann said, the curse in his boyhood tongue feeling strange to him now. He looked at his companion, Xiǎodāo, and translated. "Shithouse. They changed the sign." He returned the rose colored tint to his world, shielding him from the faded glory of his erstwhile dream. "C'mon." They got back into the cab where he told the driver to take them to the second address.

Once settled and away from the target, Johann asked. "What did you see?"
Dialogue Color - Gold


With no nostalgia or memory to add any shine or sentimentality to the rotting carcass of the building, X stared up at it with a mixture of confusion and trepidation. At least, externally. Her hands were hidden in the pockets of her oversized jacket, and she idly ground the sole of the slightly platformed boots she wore into the dirt.

"Kakspul," her companion said. X turned to look up at him silently, brows lifting so slightly it might not have happened at all. "Shithouse. They changed the sign." Glad for the translation, she offered him a shrug and a smile and looked back up at the building once more. Now she wondered what the sign had said before, and maybe what the building had looked like before, or the whole strip itself. As of now, it was barren and depressing. X grimaced at the sight of it. Despite the hint of curiosity tugging at the far recesses of her mind, X didn't ask a single question about its past or the past of her companion out of respect for his privacy.


Nodding, she turned to follow Johann back into the cab, only taking her hands out of her pockets once the doors were closed and they'd pulled away from the building. In her right hand she had her cortex device, strings of text running over it as it gathered information and finally spat out a small image of the building from what looked like the top of a pole. Some sort of CCTV feed, perhaps?

"No patrons, only guards," she told him, shaking her head again. Having come from a Resort planet, it was remarkably simple for her to pick out who was a guest and who was an employee. They ranged in appearance and disposition, but there was always that little glimmer of hope in the eyes of the patrons, even if the rest of them knew they had nothing left to hope for. Those were tougher to spot than the jovial innocents with full pockets and big expectations, but X could spot them all the same.

"Could be rough economy, could be a front," she wagered, eyeing the video feed once more before looking back up at him and raising her brows once again.

Johann Krüger

February 23, 2023, 09:24:33 AM #2 Last Edit: February 23, 2023, 09:33:01 AM by noseatbelts
Johann nodded along to Xiǎodāo's assessment. He knew she would pick up on everything but needed to hear it out loud from someone else. "Good girl. Far cry from it's glory days..." Johann drifted into nostalgia for a moment, uncharacteristic of him but it couldn't be helped in the land of his youth, though it bore little resemblance to the Santo he remembered. "Oy." He said to the driver. "Who owns the Lap of Luxury?"

The driver's eyes shot to Johann's in the rear view mirror. "Fok weet, man. Eish! Som sakeman bizness bought da whole gully. Rippin it all down." The man shook his head sadly, clearly affected by the idea. "Dunno wot me gon do." The driver collected himself and forced a smile. "Wot say? Why ya pull thru to Santo?

Johann smiled at hearing him speak in his old parlance. Speaking it was something else altogether, a taste he had to reacquire. But hearing it was like a forgotten melody hummed by a long dead mother. "Huistoegaantyd." Then, lower to himself but not so low X wouldn't hear him. "Time to come home." The driver exclaimed excitedly and began rattling off about knowing that Johann was from Santo, he could hear the accent, and what part did he grow up in? But Johann wasn't listening. He was thinking about what it meant to be home and what he was doing there. And soon, the more desolation and despair that they past, he remembered why he left. "Just drive, mate. Git I... Get us where we're going. No questions."

The driver quieted down, offering a nod back into the mirror. A solemn gesture that indicated he understood.

Outside of the strip of casinos, they reached an even rougher element of the district, but this one at least had people in it. They all seemed to sense that outsiders, former residents or not, were present and watched the cab as it passed, daring it to stop. Johann wasn't afraid, but he knew they were in dangerous territory. "X, lovey, make sure you stay close to me. You're the deadliest person I know, but there's hundreds of them and two of us." The vehicle stopped and Johann paid the driver.

"Hit a luck, bruv." He said before speeding away.

Johann didn't watch him go. His eyes immediately went to those gathered around the slum looking at them without looking at them. He and X were being studied. Measured. Hunted. Johann adjusted his suit and cracked his neck. This was going to be fun.
Dialogue Color - Gold


X stared out the window as they entered their next destination, the cortex device finding its way back into the deep pockets of her jacket. Her gaze scanned the surroundings when the cab stopped, brows furrowing in thought as she mentally prepared herself and took in the potential dangers outside.

"X, lovey, make sure you stay close to me. You're the deadliest person I know, but there's hundreds of them and two of us."

She nodded, then stepped out of the cab and yanked the hem of her jacket down to settle it into place before shoving her hands into the pockets. Her hand coiled around something in her pocket, but otherwise she seemed relaxed to the observer. Standing beside Johann, almost merging with his shadow, X looked around slowly, a sly smile tugging at one corner of her lips.

"Just give me the go ahead," she muttered to her companion. Unless he told her to do otherwise, she'd remain civil and as non-aggressive as she could, letting him lead the way with the conversations and interactions in a setting he was more familiar with. There could have been nuances she didn't know about and she didn't want to over or under react. Thus, unless he told her to go on the offensive, she'd keep her hands in her pockets and a smile on her face.

Johann Krüger

February 27, 2023, 07:56:27 AM #4 Last Edit: February 27, 2023, 07:59:47 AM by noseatbelts
"Tut tut tut tut..." Johann cautioned, hand outraised to calm his friend. He felt the eyes all around him. Everyone in the city knew they were there and that they had stopped on this particular block. The buildings and the infrastructure were all different; changed from when he was a younger man, but it felt the same. It was unrecognizable yet familiar. He was home. If Johann had been capable of crying, he might have done so in that moment.

And then he heard it. The sound of a blade being drawn against a wet stone. SLIIIINK "Here they come. Don't go for your weapons unless I say so." The sharpening sound was followed by the chop of the blade hitting wood. CHOP He looked at cand found her eyes. "Tell me you understand." More blades sharpened themselves and then chopped. SLIIIINK CHOP "They will come fast and they will come hard. SLIIIINK CHOP "It is an intimidation tactic. They will only attack if they see you as a thread." SLIIIINK CHOP


The roar of an engine and soon motorbikes whizzed by them on either side, inches from collison. The motorbikes ran circles around them, each with a passenger holding onto the driver. They waved hands and improvised weapons around. The sharpening and chopping were soon joined by a chorus of chants.


A crowd formed, surrounding Johann and Xiǎodāo, all shouting and waving at them. The assailants were, by and large, all quite young. Dirty, unkempt, impoverished. But proud and fierce. They had a style to them, bits and bobs, leather, straps, metal. Wild hair in all different colors. Some of them wore face paint. They chanted and swung wildly with improvised machetes or "klevers". A hush rippled through the crowd and the motorbikes zoomed away. The echoing of their engines brought silence and, as if by magic, a woman stood before them. She stared, like a she-wolf sizing up her prey. "Who ye? Why ye come?" The woman sniffed her way to Xiǎodāo's face, an inch from touching noses.

"Meisie, aye, chill sis, it's I."

Like a whip crack, the woman changed targets and rushed at Johann. She was shorter, so had to pull his face down to hers to get a good look, her fingernails filed down like talons. She didn't see her brother in this older man's face, but did recognize the brand on the left side of his neck. She reared back as if seeing a ghost. "Aya bro, it's you. Ya's a krimpie, now. Real toppie, proper old, bruv. Been a long go away." She looked upset. Disappointed.

"Aye sis. Jammer, Meisie. I'm sorry."

She sniffed, deciding it wasn't a big deal, and smiled big. "Ya home now. Ya come when I call, it's good. Come, I tell ya what I schemin'." She paused for a moment, regarding Xiǎodāo again. "She ya skeim?"

Johann laughed and shook his head. "Nah, tis a chommie." He turned to Xiǎodāo and translated. "She asked if we were lovers. I said no. Xiǎodāo... meet my sister, Meisie."
Dialogue Color - Gold

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