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Metro: Beyond
Kaella Corvus

Cat Eat Dog World

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"Fuck, it's cold out here right now," Kaella huffed as they moved quietly down the tunnel, "feels like the air is moving more than usual," she observed while adjusting the worn, fingerless gloves over her hands. They were treading quietly down the track line, making their way to the next major station - and looking for an opportunity to lift a few bullets in the process. There were usually merchants and travelers moving about on the ring line. She and Vanja had developed a knack for targeting such sorts over the years. One posted a distraction, the other lifted. Kae had learned a lot from her mentor over the years, even if Van wasn't that much older. 

This time was Kaella's turn to distract, if anything came available. But for now it was just a quiet walk in the cold, listening to the ominous echoes of the tunnels. They were each on the alert, just in case a stray nosalis came bolting through - or some other such danger - but so far things were quiet, "And I'm starving," Kae tacked on for no particular reason other than to hear something more than the unsettling background noise of the tunnels. 

@WisePenny

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Kaella was right. It was cold. And drafty. And dark. And all the other things that made this job uncomfortable at best. Nobody who had better options was skulking around in the dark of the in between metro areas on foot. But they were not two people with better options.

 

And they were both hungry, for that matter, having been scant on supplies in the last couple of weeks. Vanja, being the oldest, skipped a few meals to make sure the kids still growing had more to eat. She shouldn't have been surprised that Kae copied her, given how often it happened, but she couldn't help but wish her partner in crime had fed herself better before this risky chore.

 

They wouldn't normally go this far afield, or after a target as big as a full trader outfit. They usually went small- local market stalls, picking pockets, maybe slipping in an unlocked door to slip a few valuables and some food left unattended on a table. This wasn't the biggest risk they'd pulled, but it was up there, and Vanja was on edge this far from the family. 

 

"I know," she said quietly. "We'll get you fed soon." She cracked a grin as their footfalls echoed softly in the empty tunnel. "Might even be a decent distraction, eh? See if we can't get somebody to chuck some mushrooms at you while I see what else they have in stock."

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Kae wrinkled her nose a little at the idea, "They always throw the old rotten ones, though," she grumbled, "the slimy ones that stink to hell." 

Of course if that was what it took at times, she didn't complain... well, not much. It was hard not to grouse a little when one didn't duck fast enough a few times, "I just hope we come away with something decent. Easier to keep the kids out of trouble when their bellies are full.:" 

@WisePenny

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"Yeah but if you act all grateful for the rotten ones and make a big deal out of it, I can nab all the good ones," said Vanja. And at that point she figured that anyone who couldn't stand a little generosity deserved to be robbed anyway. 

"Don't I know it," she agreed. "I swear we've got a couple delinquents on our hands. If Mica doesn't shape up he's gonna get into more trouble than we can get him out of." But then, they'd both been 14 once. It was hard not to have a little bravado.

The pair slipped down the dark, empty tunnel until Vanja stopped abruptly. "Light source up ahead," she whispered. A light source could be anything from a patrolling soldier to another traveller taking a rest. And Van would rather stay on the safe side about approaching. 

 

@Dragon

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"He really does push it som-" 

Kae stopped abruptly when Vanja indicated the light ahead. She licked her lips as they both trailed to a pause, squinting to try and make out who it was, "We're gonna have to get a little further around this bend," she murmured, "I can't see anything but the light off the walls." 

They both started to creep forward again. Kaella was careful not to kick anything underfoot. It was possible that whoever was ahead was harmless, but not really the most probable. Her default assumption was always that any adult was a threat until proven otherwise. But that was just the sort of self preservation that came from thieving for a living, and ducking around in the shadows avoiding the less than savory types that would take advantage. 

"I think its just the one person," she whispered as they got a little closer. 

@WisePenny

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The light source took them from cautious but casual to full on sneak mode. Vanja dropped into a crouch, feeling conspicuously tall as she frequently did in moments like these. They moved slowly, footfalls coming in measured, deliberate paces. Heel to toe, slowly, careful not to crunch over broken glass or trip on rusted metal.

The light source, whatever it was, had a slight flicker. Probably not fire, though a gas lamp wasn't impossible. More likely a battery or electric current skipping in and out. Shitty old tech, odds were, repurposed five times over already. The flicker revealed a hint of a shadow cast on the bending tile and concrete wall.

"Yeah," she agreed, "I think just one. Masculine?" So not a troop patrolling. Probably not a trader, either. Might be a merc, or a solo guard from a station. "Might be more ahead though." She dropped her crouch even lower, slowing to a crawling pace, trying to catch any other shadows before they rounded the corner and had to face them.

 

@Dragon

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Being the smaller of the pair, Kaella crept forward a bit. She kept to the deepest shadows along the wall as she tried to get around. 

Finally she got a pretty good glimpse. She held up her hand to signal Vanja to stop. Several long moments of quiet followed as Kaella squinted, "Looks kind of like a soldier," she murmured, briefly biting back her lower lip, "not wearing equipment, though." 

She pressed herself a little closer to the wall so Vanja could get a look over her shoulder. It was hard to tell what the man was doing out there. He didn't seem to have a focused direction - more kind of wobbling along the wall. 

"I think he's drunk," Kaella whispered after another moment, "look at the bottle." 

@WisePenny

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Vanja craned her neck over Kae's shoulder. She couldn't get quite as good of a look, but Kae's assessment seemed spot on. He was fairly young, looked in shape, but didn't have a kit on. At least, not that she could see. It was always better to assume people were armed though; bad things happened when you took the lack of an obvious weapon for granted.

The thief leaned back, pressing into the wall behind them. She turned her head, whispering close to Kae's face. "Feel comfortable distracting him?" she asked. "It's that or turn around and go back. We can't get around him." She thought for a moment, strategizing on the fly. "If you can get him facing away from where we are now, I can get behind and grab his bag and back out." She didn't mention that having his back towards her would also be the best position to hit him hard; they both knew it, but if they could avoid violence, Vanja preferred it.

She paused, giving her surrogate sister a concerned look. "Only if you're comfortable. We can back out and find something else." The day she forced any of her family to do anything was the day she hoped they'd just kill her.

@Dragon

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She tapped her fingers silently against her knee cap as she continued to observe the man, contemplating the risk. As effective as the tactic often was, it was always risky. Kaella preferred not to rely on luck when they came up. 

"I think I can do it," she answered after a few seconds spent considering everything from what the man seemed to have on him, down to the way he was moving, "he looks pretty unsteady. And all the young ones are horny idiots when they get a good buzz rolling," Kaella whispered. She was also assuming he was drunk enough to have let his guard down - why else would he be out in the tunnels, alone, with no readily available firearm? 

She shifted a bit as she prepared to stand, "Plus if he even notices you lift it, I don't think he'll be able to chase us." 

@WisePenny

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Vanja nodded, taking Kae at her word. If the other girl said she could handle it, she could handle it. She knew her own limits by now. Mostly.

"Alright. Get him facing away from me and keep him that way til I'm clear. I'll be right around the corner. If it sounds like he's following you, I'll run and stash the bag, and we can come back for it later." She paused. She always felt anxious letting someone else take the objectively riskier job. "Be careful. Scream if you need me and I'll be right there."

Shr pressed back, watching the shadows and a sliver of viewpoint on the man, making sure she held still enough to go unnoticed. And as soon as Kae was on the move, she looked around for something heavy enough to chuck at the guy, just in case things went very wrong in a hurry.

@Morrigan

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Richie had left Tonka in the market, telling her that he was going back to quarters when really he bought a fresh bottle of vodka and headed out into the tunnels with his pistol tucked into the back of his waistband. He didn't care to bring much else and strapping his holster on seemed like a pain in the ass. He kicked a few rocks as he wandered further down the tunnels to get out of sight of the groups of people that were staying outside of Oberon, inside of the tunnels, just for the safety that the place provided.

That his parents provided.

Even that he felt bitter about. They could take care of everyone the fuck else but couldn't even find them. Well the fact that they were here and never found them was the problem. He felt like everything else was important to them but not their own damn kids. He'd started to feel it a long time ago but never said anything to Seth or Tonka about it.

Taking another swig he nearly lost his balance stumbling into the wall where he decided to stay for the moment. It wasn't until he heard the shift of rocks that he looked up. He reached into his pocket for a flashlight just to realize he'd left it in the station. "Who's there?"

@Dragon @WisePenny

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"Yep," she nodded once as she slowly stood herself upright. 

Kaella took a moment to compose herself a bit for the task. She pushed her fingers back through her hair, fluffing it a little and pulling in stray strands. After she reached to tug down her shirt more toward her cleavage, adjusting her bust to appear a little more prominent. In her experience, it made everything a lot easier if one distracted a man to their chest right off the bat. 

She took in a slow breath, stepped out more toward the middle of the tunnel and then started walking, There was no attempt made to conceal her presence, now, and by the time she was moving fully around the bend the stranger was demanding to know who - or what - was there. 

As his voice echoed from the walls, Kaella came to an abrupt halt. This was something of a game - whores didn't troll the tunnels, so she couldn't move right up on him like she could have in a station, "H-hello?" she called ahead tentatively, reaching for her flashlight and switching it on - intentionally shining it right into his eyes. 

@WisePenny @Morrigan

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Kaella moved the light down just a little, still on his face but no longer intentionally blinding him, "Sorry," she murmured the apology as she came a few steps closer. Right then her primary goal was to move past him, and get him turned with his back to Vanja. After she'd managed that, the next part of the distraction could start, "You startled me is all." 

@Morrigan

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Had he been a little more sober he would have questioned that. Especially since the light came on just to shine in his face. "Yeah, well you lost?" he asked them shifting on his feet, his face titled up to try to keep the light out of it as best he could.

@Dragon

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