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Messages - Billy Breene

1
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
June 11, 2020, 02:06:39 pm
"Hey!" Billy said, not quite sure how Sloane figured out Flora's line of work so quick. Then again, though she'd never admit it, she took after Will like that. Sharp as a tack. He squeezed her back then guided her to arm's length. Hesitation filled his mouth instead of words as Billy tried to explain himself. "This... is... not a brothel. The brothel was downstairs. This was Flora's personal room and her customers were not allowed up here. So it wasn't technically a lie. "And Flora's nice, you might like her if you give her a chance. You'll be safe here. There's a pistol in that drawer there. Not that you'll need it. She pulled it on me once, but it was just a misunderstanding." He would have laughed if it had been funny. "She shot me." Now that was funny. "Not too bad. Just grazed my thigh." Billy neglected to mention that he was naked at the time. He thought that was for the best.

He was starting to see shades of the Sloane he knew from waves over the years as she grew older. Being so much younger that the brothers, catching up seemed like it had taken forever. Billy gripped her by the shoulders and hunched to her eye level. "Look, I'm gonna be square with you, Sloane." He used her given name and realized he really did have to be honest. "I have to go kill Rodrigo. Kill him before he causes any more trouble. And he will cause more trouble." Billy straightened, the admission of his commitment to murder tasted strange on his tongue. He'd killed a lot of men by this point- five, or was it six? - and maybe folks who were currently fighting in the Unification War could claim more but that was different. There was no cause that Billy had fought for other than fame and fortune, and quite a lot less of both than he'd reckoned when he left home.

He'd hesitated to do what needed done in front of his sister before, afraid of what she might think of him if she knew. Well, Rodrigo was right. Now she got to find out. "You have to stay here out of trouble. He won't find you here." Billy said. "I mean, it's really unlikely." He rested his hands on his gun belt and looked at his sister, realizing he wasn't helping. "I just don't see any way around it. Unless you got a better idea?"
2
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
June 09, 2020, 09:01:03 am
Billy made a face. A face of many complexities that only one who truly knew him could decipher. This face said many things, but Sloane could immediately decipher that it meant he thought she was crazy. "Slowpoke. Listen to me." He waited until her blue eyes met his green. "This ain't your fault. Rodrigo is fffuu-" Watch yer language wit'cher sister! "-ull of reasons to want to get to me. If it hadn't been you, it would have been me, or Ma or Da, or Will or Willy or Willem or Flora-" A cough from just beyond the door indicated that their host was listening in. "What I'm gettin' at is; Rodrigo's a bad, bad, bad, bad man. He used to be my friend, but now he's not and he's pretty sore about that."

He was explaining it to her like she was twelve, which Billy realized was around the last time they'd had a talk sort of like this. He'd been gone a long while. Looking at Sloane now, even in her slightly fragile state, Billy saw her as the grown woman that she was. Outside of sociopaths swinging knives around, he figured she could handle herself. She was going off to college soon, anyhow. She better be able to handle herself. Even so, he knew it was his job as big brother to protect her. "Okidokey." He reached over and mussed her hair. "I gotta go. You stay here-" Another cough from outside the room. "-I'll clear it with Flora!" He said loud enough for the cougher. "And I'll be back soon." He grabbed his gunbelt from the floor and wrapped it around his waist. "And if I ain't, which won't happen, but if it does you go straight home and tell Willy what happened. But I'll be back. Probably." 3-2-1 he counted in his head. Here comes the argument...
3
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
June 08, 2020, 10:04:53 am
"Whoa whoa whoa hey now, it's okay. It's okay. You're safe." Billy was beginning to worry for his sister. She'd had attacks like this as a child, but never so forceful. He and the other brothers had done their best to make sure Sloane would be ready for whatever the 'Verse might throw at her, knowing that they couldn't always be around. Now, of course a kidnapping by a sociopath with a vendetta against her most handsome brother is a thing that would shock even the hardiest of souls. But this seemed like something else. "Shhh..." He said, trying to calm her. "Here, have a glass of water." Billy reached to the bedside table where he'd left her a vessel for drinking. He slowly handed it to his sister - Flora would kill him if it spilled on the mattress - watching her carefully.

A moment to take a sip and collect her thoughts. "You're at my friend Flora's place. You were lights out, had to get you someplace safe, and home was too far away." He said, only partially lying. Flora's was, in fact, closer to Malarky's than Celtic Republic Shipping HQ, but not by much. Billy was avoiding taking her home as long as he could. He wanted to get this business with Rodrigo over with before Sloane went gabbing to their Dad about Billy putting her in danger. Even with his outlawing supposedly behind him, Billy was still on thin ice with William Sr; Billy didn't see cause to rile him up further.

"You gonna be okay, kid?" He said.
4
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 29, 2020, 11:23:22 am
Some time later...

Billy leaned against a wall in a wooden chair, his guns hung from their belt off the back. The room he was in was dark, though the glow of the window coverings indicated it was still day time. It was a cozy room, with little room for anything other than a few dressers, a wardrobe, and a large comfy bed. In the bed lay Sloane, asleep. Billy's eyes were likewise closed, his breathing easy and still. If one didn't know better, it might appear that Billy had fallen asleep watching over his little sister, but that couldn't be, could it?

As he slept, the door to the room creaked open ever so slowly, spilling light from the next room inside. A hand appeared, holding a gun, and led a body inside of the bedroom. Rodrigo's face was the last thing to appear. With a wicked smile at his sleeping foe, he walked over to the bed and picked up a pillow, placing it over Sloane's face. His gloved hand pressed down as Sloane began struggling. Rodrigo lifted the pillow to reveal that it was Billy beneath all along. "There you are." He said, his pistol raised and pointing dangerously at Billy's face. Rodrigo pulled the trigger.

The leaning, precarious as it was, could only last so long as Billy's subconscious took his imagination and ran wild. "No!" Billy said, shaking himself awake and from the chair in one quick movement. The chair crashed to the floor as Billy reached for whichever of his guns was closest, trying to find where Rodrigo had gone in his sleep addled state. It only took a moment for Billy realize what had happened, but it was too late.

A woman appeared at the door, pushing it open, her big brown eyes wide with concern. "What was that?" She said. Seeing the state Billy was in, she figured it out. "Did you fall? I told you not to lean back like that. You better not have broken my chair." She bent down to investigate it. In doing so, she picked up Billy's cortex pad from the floor and glanced at it. The woman, who had told Billy her name was Cinnamon when they met but was actually called Flora, handed the device to Billy. "You've got like ten messages on there."

Billy picked himself up off the floor. "Yeah yeah. I'm fine by the way." He said and looked over to see if his ruckus had woken up Sloane before glancing at the messages. All of them were from his brother, Willy, no doubt about him and Sloane disappearing. "That's not good." He left them unread for now and stuffed the device into his pocket.

"You said you'd only be here a few minutes." Flora said, crossing her arms over her chest. "I don't mind seeing you-" Her face softened. "-You know that. But if you're in trouble I can't afford it." At his insistence, Flora crossed the space between them. Billy wrapped his arms around her as she rested her head on his chest. Before he could whisper sweet nothings or sweet somethings or sweet anythings, really, she cut him off with a kiss. When it was finished, probably prior to Billy's desire, she said, their lips an inch apart. "Billy Breene. You get your pi gu out of my room or I'll kill you myself." One more peck on the lips and Flora sashayed out of the room, a coy glance at Sloane before she did.

Billy took a deep breath. "She's a pepper." He said under his breath, trying to clear the amorous thoughts from his head. He cleared his throat. "You awake, Slowpoke?"
5
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 28, 2020, 08:17:40 am
Finger tensed on the trigger, Billy found the six pounds of pressure required to take a life suddenly far heavier than it had been since he'd taken up the mantle of an outlaw. His aim was on Rodrigo, but his eyes were on Sloane. The Breenes were no saints. Running a shipping company in the 'Verse rustled up some scrapes. They had enemies though, as William Breene, Sr. liked to say, "Not for long." Somewhere deep down, Billy knew that Sloane knew. Knew that he was a thief and an outlaw and a murderer. That he was not a nice man. That he had deliberately sought out that life and relished in it up to and even after having to lay low because the heat was too high. That he longed for its return. His finger tensed on the trigger and Billy knew it would be so easy to kill Rodrigo. That it was the right thing to do. But while he knew that Sloane knew, he didn't want to be the one to tell her.

"C'mon Slowpoke. Let's go home." He said, reaching for her. Susanne's hammer stayed pulled and her barrel still pointed at Rodrigo, daring him to make a move as Billy helped Sloane to her feet and held her close as they backed out of the room.

Rodrigo let them go. "This ain't over, Breene." He said. The certainty of his words were clear that this truce was temporary. There was an unspoken agreement that involving the family had been a mistake, and until it was rectified, there would be a sort of truce.

"I know." Billy said. Once clear of the door, he turned, his arm wrapped tight around Sloane to guide her quickly out of the bar. They stopped only to pick-up Sheila, and left Malarky's behind, the bell above the door marking their exit.

Rodrigo was slow to step out into the bar proper. The look on his face was not one of vindication. He had not won this battle, not even close. He now worried about letting Billy go. He sidled up to the bar and picked up the bottle of gin, popped the cap off and let it fall to the floor before taking a full-throated gulp of the liquor. He smacked his lips as the gin burned his throat and smiled. "And now... phase two."
6
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 27, 2020, 11:11:11 am
Billy was off the stool in a flash. So quick, in fact, that he left Sheila where he'd set her on the bar. Stopping short of the door, he contemplated going back for her, but he had Susanne to keep him company. Afterall, it could be a trap. Rodrigo wasn't above lying to get what he want. To be fair, neither was Billy. He pulled the gun free and reached for the door. One. Take a deep breath. Two. Susanne at the ready. Three. Door open. Billy swept the room and saw that it was just Rodrigo standing there with a knife and Sloane on the floor. Susanne, cocked and ready, wanted to shoot Rodrigo on sight, but a desperate cough from Sloane drew Billy's attention downward.

"Don't. Move." He said, the warning clear. If Rodrigo moved, something was going to happen. Okay, maybe not crystal clear but one could guess what Billy meant. He wasn't exactly a subtle guy. The gun held in his left hand, pointed at Rodrigo, Billy knelt and cupped Sloane's face with his free hand. "Hey there, Slowpoke. It'll be okay." He remembered when she'd have attacks like this when they were kids- hell she was still a kid in his eyes. "Just breath, Slowpoke. In and out. That's right, through the nose." In as calm a voice as he could muster, Billy shot a dagger of a glare at Rodrigo. "What did you do to my sister?"

"Listen, man." Rodrigo said, holding his hands up in innocence. "I barely touched her." Billy looked at the bruise on the side of Sloane's head forming, then back at Rodrigo."Alright, well, she hit me first." Annoyed, he continued off-hand, pleading his case. "I think she's just scared or somethin', I dunno."

Once Sloane's breathing began to even out, Billy rose from his crouch, gun still trained on Rodrigo. "Any last words?" Billy had always wanted to say that, and now he had. He pulled Susanne's hammer back, his aim more forceful and earnest. This was the end.

Rodrigo's hands rose, but he smiled. "You really gonna shoot me in front of your baby sister?"

"You gave me no choice."

Rodrigo shrugged, still smirking. "Maybe. Maybe I do deserve to die. Maybe I deserved to die when you shot me three years ago." He paused, raising his eyebrows. "Maybe you did, too." Rodrigo's eyes, dark, foreboding, fell on Sloane. "She know what you did, Billy? She know who you are?"

Billy hesitated.

"Didn't think so. Well now she gets to find out, huh?"
7
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 26, 2020, 02:23:17 pm
Billy guessed that Rodrigo had a knife to Sloane's throat. While painting with blood isn't a medium that is done with just one instrument, Billy knew Rodrigo liked knives. Always flipping them around on his fingers, tossing them up with a flourish and catching them, daring their razor sharp blades to slice their master. With a knife to her throat, Sloane would be dead quicker than Billy could pull a trigger. He put Susanne away. "Come on out, Rodrigo. We'll have ourselves a drink. Maybe cool off a bit." He noisily pulled a bar stool out and sat upon it, reaching wildly across the bar top for the first bottle he could reach. Gin. Billy made a face. "You like Gin, don't you? I don't. Tastes like floor cleaner." He reached for another bottle. Whiskey. Good stuff, too. Aged scotch, or so the label said. Billy remembered that Malarky's didn't often serve what was in the bottle. He poured himself a drink and shot it back.

"You drinking out there? When you going to take this seriously, eh? I got a knife to your baby sister's throat, man."

It burned like hell, not altogether unpleasant but not like how you want aged scotch to taste. Billy didn't much care. Billy settled back onto the barstool and poured himself another drink, this one for sipping, which he did. "Now, I'm a whiskey man, you might recall."

"Cāo nǐ!"

"Language!" Billy said with a smile. "Rodrigo. I'm not going to come in there, because if I see you holding a knife to my baby sister's throat, I won't be able to help myself but shoot you. You come out here, though." He pulled Sheila and set her on the bartop, ready and quick to grab. "No knives on throats. Maybe we can talk this out."

"I come out there, you'll shoot me."

"You think I won't shoot you in there, cuz I damn sure ain't comin' in there without The Sisters."

A moment of silence before Billy could hear sad laughter trickling out from the back room. "The Sisters? Your guns? You always were a Tā mā de báichī. Poser wannabe jackass."

Billy didn't like that, resting a hand on Sheila as if to cover her ears. "You take that back!"
8
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 26, 2020, 08:13:18 am
Sam Malarky's, as rough a dive as Billy had ever been, sat smack dab in the center of New Dublin and was frequented by men who didn't care about watered down liquor and stale beer. They just wanted a place to get into trouble. Fights were as common as spilled drinks and it was here that Billy and Rodrigo had first shared both. Well trouble had come knocking today. Literally. The door was locked and the light out front with the owner's name in green neon was turned off. This was an unusual state for Sam Malarky's to be in, and Billy's hackles were on the rise. "Sam!" He said, pounding on the door. He cupped his hand around his eyes and peered inside, trying to make anything out through the tinted glass into the dim of the bar. "Sam! Open up!"

Billy saw movement at the back of the bar. A shard of light quickly extinguished as the door to the back swung open and closed. Out of the shadows emerged a balding man in a bartender's apron, a towel draped over one shoulder. "I'm comin' I'm comin'..." Billy could see him muttering under his breath. The proprietor made it to the door, undid the deadbolt, and cracked the door open. "We're closed-" He said, cutting himself off when he saw who was standing at the door. "Billy. Um. Long time."

"Closed? Sam. I've been coming to this place since I could walk. My family has been coming to this place since it opened. You never close." Billy said.

"Well I'm closed today. I ain't feelin' well. Go away, now." Sam said, and tried to close the door.

Billy slammed a foot in the way and gripped the door jam tight. "Sam."

Sam knew what was coming, but kept it up anyhow. He wasn't sure why; stubbornness maybe? "What, Billy?" He said, his eyes down at the ground.

"We've known each other a long time, Sam."

"That we have."

"Since I was a tyke, like I said."

"Like you said."

"A lot of good times."

"Good times."

Billy leaned in close for this next. "Sam. Look at me." The bartender's eyes, reluctant at first, danced their way up to Billy's baby blues. "Whatever Rodrigo's paying you, I'm sure it's a lot. I mean, not a lot a lot, he's not a rich guy. Terrible with money when he has it. You 've seen him spend his paycheck in one night on beer, right?"

They shared a laugh.

"Well, I'm not going to pay you to let me in. I bet I can't beat what he put in your pocket. You let me in or I kill you." There was no humor left and with one look, Sam knew Billy was deadly serious. His grip softened on the door. A smile crept to Billy's lip until he heard Sloane's scream from the back. No more mister nice guy. Billy shoved his way into the bar, knocking Sam out of the way and to the ground. "Sloane!" He said, calling to his baby sister, his aim narrowing on the door Sam had appeared from. A sound to his right, where Sam had fallen. Billy pulled Susanne from her holster, cross-draw on his lap, and shot Sam twice in the chest without looking. The bartender dropped the scatter gun he'd found behind the bar and clutched at his wounds, falling out of site, presumably dead. "Told you, Sam." Billy said, focusing back on the challenge at hand. "Rodrigo. You're next, amigo!"
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Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 22, 2020, 10:47:53 am
Cobblestone met boot as Billy ran as fast as he could to the park where Sloane was known to steal away to. He skidded to a stop, a frantic glance to every direction. "Sloane!" He said, cupping his hands around his mouth, though he knew no matter the volume she was unlikely to hear him. Rodrigo would guess that Billy knew where to find them, and would have been long gone by now, even though Billy arrived at a full sprint. Speaking of which, his heart thrummed in his ears and his breath labored in his chest as his body became sticky with sweat. "Lā shǐ! Cāo tā mā de gǒu shǐ." He wanted to kick something but there was nothing. He wanted to punch anything but he found only strangers looking at an outlaw with a foul mouth. He wanted to rip and tear and shred and bite but frustration and failure were all he had. His little sister - baby Sloane with the big eyes - was dead and it was his fault.

He saw Sloane's bag, a small pile next to a nearby bench. And close by, her cortex pad, smashed. It wasn't much to go on - nothing at all, really - but it was something. She had been alive moments ago. She could still be alive now. But Billy had to think, which was never one of his strong suits. Where could they go? Where would Rodrigo take her? Rodrigo had met Billy in New Dublin when they were both younger, recruiting the would-be outlaw to the Scarecrow. They'd become fast friends over the years, Breene being the youngest on board but Rodrigo was only a year or two older. The day they met was so clear to him. Billy, shirking his chores, dreaming of a more exciting life, was drinking at a dusty bar in the middle of the day. Rodrigo had walked in and bumped into Billy, making him spill his drink. A fight ensued and, by the end of it, they were drinking together and Billy left New Dublin that very night with his new friend.

Billy knew where they were. "Malarky." He said, and took off.
10
Prologues / Re: Dangerous Consequences
May 21, 2020, 10:52:09 am
"Ye better get dem crates loaded up 'fore I get back. Should be two hours or so. No dawdlin' now, Bill. I mean it." His father had said an hour and fifty minutes ago.

Leaving Billy in charge had been Breene the Senior's first mistake. Leaving him with some easily duped crew hands just after payday had been the second. Billy Breene squinted down at the cards in his hands and liked what he saw. He glanced down at the pot between him and George and Ellory and liked what he saw even better. It was almost too easy, gambling this way with guys that dumb. But Billy wasn't picky. He grinned and set his cards back down before him on the makeshift table they'd made from one of the crates they were supposed to be loading up into the good ship Bobby Sands. "Well, boys. Check." He said, full of confidence.

George looked at Ellory, unsure. "Gee I dunno. Whataya think El'?" The mustachioed dope showed his friend his cards. Ellory scratched at his stubble, looked at his own cards, and then back at George's.

"Hey!" Billy said. "That's cheating!" The idiots looked at him. "No doubling up. Look at your own damn cards." Way too easy.

"I fold." George said after a look from Ellory.

"Me too." Ellory said after a look from George.

Billy sighed. "You guys..." Saved by the bell, or rather the ring, Billy looked at his cortex pad and saw an incoming message from his baby sister, Sloane. He started to get up, leaving them to the game, but changed his mind at the last second. "Better get to work before my dad gets back. If this isn't done he's gonna be real mad at you." Fearing the retribution of William Breene Sr they scattered and began loading the crates. Billy, one hand on the cortex pad, the other stuffing the money on the table into his pockets. "Hey Slowpoke." Billy said, using his old childhood nickname for Sloane in greeting. "What's up?" And then he saw her face. "What's wrong?"

Before she could answer, the video jostled as if changing hands and a familiar face filled the screen. "Hey, Billy." The man said with a devil's grin. "Long time."

Billy went stone cold. "Rodrigo. I thought you were dead."

"I know you did. You shot me."

That was how Billy remembered their last meeting. His old outlaw crew on a boat called [/i]Scarecrow[/i] had just run a progressively worse run of bank robberies. When some of the crew opted for a lay-low policy, hotter heads prevailed and bullets were exchanged. Billy was the only one who walked away. "Why don't you tell me where you are so I can do it again?"

Rodrigo laughed. "Where's the fun in that?" The feed ended.

Billy jumped into action. He grabbed his guns, hanging casually by the belt on a nearby crate, and quickly wrapped them around his waist. He couldn't be sure, but he thought he knew where they might be. Sloane had a place she liked to go and read. And if Billy knew Rodrigo, which he did, they'd be on the move fast. He stopped short before taking off, and turned back to George and Ellory. "Uh, I'll be right back." One more thing. "Don't tell my dad." If William Breene Sr knew his one and only daughter was in trouble and that trouble was because of Billy's outlaw past, once Sloane was safe he'd kill Billy for sure. He had to take care of this himself and do it quick.
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