Protection Racket
Roleplaying Log: Protection Racket
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

A member of the Brotherhood has a few words with the owner of Shakedown.

Other Characters Referenced: Colossus
IC Date: February 07, 2019
IC Location: Shakedown - Mutant Town
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 08 Feb 2019 15:55
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's still early hours at Shakedown. The heavy velvet curtain has been pulled back to fold the cafe at the front of the space into the club proper. Seeing as it's a weeknight and there's no special event on, it's relatively chill. The lights in the main space haven't even been lowered yet. The DJ has started to spin, but it's mostly slower paced dancehall hits for the moment. There's still a good two dozen people, most of them younger, the majority mutant.

Rictor is behind the main bar, taking stock of the bottles to make sure he can fill everything up before the weekend. He's also pulling glasses out of the dishwasher and lining them up behind the bar. As things get messy, they'll switch to plastic, but they start out with the classier (and more eco-friendly) option. He's dressed like the rest of the staff, in basic black, though he's got a button down dress shirt rolled up to his elbows rather than the plain black tees of the male staff and bouncers. He moves efficiently and gives quick answers to his staff, all the while serving anyone who happens to come up for a drink.

Security is relatively tight, in that anyone underage gets slapped with a magical bracelet that makes an awful noise if they touch alcohol. It's a compromise to give young people a place to hang out while preserving Shakedown's liquor license. That arrangement might not last as the crackdown on registration comes into full force. Besides that, there are bouncers both intimidating visually and ones meant to be underestimated. But they are kind, they are accommodating within reason and they are very aware that vulnerable people come here to find community and relax.

* * *

There are eyes and ears everywhere in M-Town. Most of those eyes and ears report back to certain people.

Or certain established groups.

Like The Brotherhood.

Rictor's scuffle with a rival gang was seen by those various watches on the streets and that fight was reported quite quickly back to The Brotherhood. Eventually the information made its way up the chain of command and hit the ears of the various Lieutenants of The Brotherhood.

With one of those being Joanna Cargill. Frenzy. A known Brotherhood associate. Leader really.

While early in the day, that doesn't seem to matter to Frenzy as she steps inside the Shakedown. She pauses just inside the doorway to assess the area before her, her flat gaze traversing the interior. Her attention only pauses when she lays eyes upon Rictor and seeing him behind the bar, Joanna steps forward again.

"Afternoon." Comes her polite enough greeting, as she arrives at the bar.

For those within there's recognition, most know who she is, all move out of her way.

* * *

Shakedown endeavors to be the Switzerland of inter-meta politics. Which is to say, Brotherhood members are certainly not banned, but the bouncers are on the lookout for anything that looks like active recruitment within its walls. The same rule extends to the X-Men, though they don't tend to go trolling for new recruits.

The earpiece in Rictor's ear alerts him to Frenzy's entrance the moment she walks through the door. He eyes her as he dries off a glass and sets it on the bartop. "What can I get for you?" he says casually, in a way that attempts to treat her like any other customer and not someone who might be here to start something.

* * *

What can I get you.

There's silence from Frenzy for a moment as she battles a terrible sense of deja vu. How many times for how many y ears did other bartenders say such things to her; right before she ordered as much liquor as she could.

And while she was prepared for him to say such a thing, it doesn't stop the feeling of wanting to order whiskey. It's a battle that she'll always have to fight, sadly, but for this particular night she perseveres against the alcoholic inside her.

"Nothing." She finally says, an arm being leaned against the bartop.

"Heard you ran into trouble a bit ago. I'm here to see what happened."

* * *

Rictor cracks a grin, but it's not an expression with a lot of humour in it. "You heard, did you?" He reaches behind the bar and pulls out the nozzle that dispenses various types of non-alcoholic fizzy drinks. He scoops a pint glass half full of ice and fills it up with water that he sets in front of her.

"If you heard, then why do you ask? Then it seems you know what happened." Word does get around, especially when the owner of a place like this walks into work with a black eye and cuts. Even though he didn't say much about it, people talk. "Nothing that hasn't happened a dozen times before."

* * *

The cup of ice water is given a brief look, then ignored by the very tall Bruiser of the Brotherhood.

His rather non-humorous grin is met with one of Frenzy's own. It's a half twitch of her mouth, as she nods. There's only a hint of irony to her voice, as she replies, "I did."

His next question prompts another look from the woman. An appraising look now as she considers the man behind the bar. She hadn't expected him to ask or say such a thing. Rarely do people push back at Frenzy, especially when they know who she is.

"I like to hear the story from the person. Get the facts. Word from the street can sometimes be misinterpreted."

It's those last words of his, however, that cause the woman's expression to turn flat again. "It's the last time it'll happen. We protect all in Mutant Town."

* * *

There's a lot of people pretending not to look at them right now. Some are doing a better job than others. Some of the larger bouncers make no secret of the fact that they're watching. But everyone is definitely going to the other bars for their drinks right now.

"And what is your fee for this protection?" says Rictor with a roll of cynicism in his voice. Spoken like a man who has lived in many a corrupt place, where protection money was extorted out of entire neighbourhoods. Still a few places like that in New York, in fact.

He's still not being forthcoming about his attackers. It seems unwise to point someone like her in any particular direction unless you're ready to deal with what happens next.

* * *

Oh she knows they're being watched and when she sees the bouncers looking her way, she makes a point to meet their eyes.

There's warning, challenge and amusement seen within her dark brown eyes.

Once those looks are sent the Bouncer's way, Frenzy returns her attention to Rictor.

His question about fee brings a pull to her mouth, a frown that dips her expression downward. "Out there -" Possibly meaning the world of humans versus mutants, "There'd be a fee, but here in Mutant Town the protection is free. We're here to keep all of us -" Mutants." - safe. If someone bothers you we can handle it. If you have a problem send it my way."

"We don't take likely to people breaking our people or our home."

* * *

The bouncers at least, don't seem looking for a fight. Bouncers who want to brawl don't last long at Shakedown. Rather, the objective is to keep the peace and, well, protect their boss if need be. Though given the rumours about his powers, he's no slouch in a fight.

Rictor leans on the bar, hands shoulder-width apart. If he's intimidated at all, he's hiding it well. But he's also not being smug. He's a man on his own turf, and he's acting accordingly. "Do you protect metas as well? Or does that extend only to those with the X-gene?" His clientele is both, after all. "The rumour mill moves slowly, it seems. SHIELD apprehended my attackers. But I didn't press charges. Why bother? As you know, there is rarely justice for our kind. Especially these days."

* * *

"All those who are different." She states evenly, so yes, metas are protected.

The mention of SHIELD prompts a look of disgust from Frenzy. Though she's quick to tuck it behind her more typical stoic expression, but for a brief minute it was definitely there.

"I'll assign several watchers outside to keep tabs on you, on your places of business and your apartment." So it seems she's done some homework before she came here. "If they see any sort of trouble they'll notify me immediately. Then the help arrives."

The mention of justice causes the woman to snort, "Justice in the courts won't work, but whoever picks a fight with us -" Which he's now included in, "Will find justice being served by us. Not the courts."

* * *

"You know I am friends with the X-Men, yes? That one is employed here?" Rictor means Piotr. "And still, you decide you want to watch me, to protect me?" He shakes his head slowly.

"I don't ask for this. I've always taken care of myself." And everyone else around him, though he'd never brag about that. "I don't want this place to turn into a war zone. We need a place to unwind, where everyone…" he puts emphasis on that last word, "…can feel safe. And the humans who come can see that we aren't so different."

* * *

The oblique mention of Piotr brings a look of amusement to Frenzy's expression.

"Yes, I know the Tin Man works here." She tells, "Nothing in Mutant Town gets past The Brotherhood." Which is the truth, not with Wanda's watchful metaphysical eyes always around, nor the network of runners and spies they have on the ground at all times.

"And while he has a punch, we still take threats to our kind and our people seriously. So, yes, you will be protected."

Not a question there.

"No one asked for any of this and yet, we still have it every day." She says solemnly, before she snorts a sound of derision, "It's already a warzone, Rictor, even if you can't or won't see it." A look is sent out to the crowds that are around, trying so hard not to look as if they're watching and listening.

"And while I find your generosity of allowing humans into your establishment naive, this is your business. A business ran by a mutant, which means you are under my protection."

* * *

"I have seen a real warzone. This is not it. But it has the potential to be." Rictor looks around and worries the edge of his lip. "If you are genuine in this desire to protect…" he cants his head. "…but I do not want protection, but peace. I want this place to be a haven as long as it possibly can. A place for all my patrons to relax, to enjoy themselves, to build community. Inside these walls, I control my own security. What you choose to do outside…" he gestures vaguely towards the street, "…I cannot control. Will your Brotherhood give me that respect?"

* * *

A look levels upon the man at the mention of real warzones.

"So have I."

Is all she says to that. Even though she's technically an ex-mercenary is anyone ever really an ex-merc? No, not really.

Idly, the woman folds her arms across her chest as Rictor speaks and when he finishes, Frenzy casts her glance toward the bouncers again. This time she's really looking at them, versus trying to intimidate.

It's only when her eyes return to Rictor that she speaks. "The Brotherhood is always respectful." Jojo states, "You take care of problems on the inside and we'll handle the ones on the outside, but -" Because there always is one, "If anything from the inside boils out on the streets we're coming in."

"Do we have an understanding?"

* * *

"If you come through my door, you come to help restore order, not to make it worse," says Rictor. It clearly troubles him to think of the day that Shakedown becomes a flash point. He's not an idiot - he knows that day is coming.

He takes a deep breath, jaw tightening. "And I need you to ask me if I want your help if I'm attacked or this place is attacked. Don't use me as an excuse for escalation."

* * *

She considers his words for a silent moment, her expression inscrutable for those few minutes that she's silent.

"I don't ask for permission." She states, "But - I will give you time to settle any differences you have before I step in. Once I step in, however, that's it. Whatever the problem is will be ended swiftly, whether you like the methods I use or not."

"We'll only escalate if those causing the trouble does."

And here she frees a hand and extends it toward him, "You have my word."

* * *

"I have no fight with the Brotherhood. But if you do something that threatens my staff or my patrons, you may create that fight. And this is not a time for us to be divided."

Rictor looks her in the eye as he looks at that hand. A little smirk appears. "I can't shake your hand, Frenzy. This whole bar will think I have joined your Brotherhood if I do this. What I want is peace, and for all who are different to live safely. This is your goal as well, yes? Then we don't need to shake. We just need to understand each other."

* * *

"Mutants should never be divided." She agrees, though that's not necessarily an agreement with him per se.

And while he doesn't take her hand she doesn't seem too put-out by it. Instead a corner of her mouth twitches upward, "They already think that, Rictor." She advises, but she drops that hand of hers.

"We have an understanding." She adds, though she doesn't necessarily touch upon whether The Brotherhood wants peace or not. "I'll have a handful of watchers posted in twenty minutes. If something specific comes up you can call me on this." And here the woman produces a small little flip phone and while she could simply lay it atop the bartop, she instead skillfully hides it next to the glass when she reaches over for said glass for a moment.

"After each use toss it. We'll send another over when needed."

* * *

"Depends on the they," Rictor counters. It's true that he's known to use a much heavier hand than the X-Men. It's also true that he is openly anti-establishment and has no trust in the police, or SHIELD or any government agency. He has also not, to anyone's knowledge, ever killed anyone, nor has he gone looking for a fight. Anyone who actually knows him would put him squarely in the middle, whereas anyone who doesn't know of his current and past friendly relations with the X-Men could easily mistake him for a member of the Brotherhood. It's a fine line to walk, and he knows it.

"I hope the people you assign to follow me around enjoy discovering all the gay mutant haunts and places I go with my Grindr dates," he says with a sparkle of mirth in his eyes. "That, and me running around town buying napkins and chicken wings." He eyes the phone, but he knows how this works. He'll squirrel it away smoothly in a minute.

* * *

A faint blip of amusement enters her own expression and gaze, when Rictor finds some mirth with this situation and conversation.

"Perhaps then -" She states, "- you'll inspire the next generations of restaurateurs."

She pulls a wallet from her pocket and from it she pulls a small stack of dollar bills. All of it is placed upon the bartop, "For the water and the time."

"Remember twenty minutes and they'll be out there."

* * *

"You do realize your offers to help sound exactly like a threat, yes?" Rictor looks at the money on the bartop. "This will go towards the Meta Legal Defense Fund." He watches her to see what her reaction to that might be.

And then, he clears the water away and tucks the phone away too. It's not likely he'll ever use it, but he doesn't dump it right into the trash either.

* * *

She could say something cute or coy when he says that first line, but Frenzy isn't like that. Instead she just says, "I know."

His mention of the meta legal defense fund barely brings a flicker to her expression, "Seems kind of pointless to put it towards something that will lose, but your choice."

She straightens from the bar now, "Let us know if you need anything, Rictor. I'll check in personally every week to see how you fair."

* * *

"Come for 90s Night. It's a good time. Wear neon," says Rictor with a point and a cheeky grin. "Otherwise you're gonna stand out."

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