The Boys are in Town and the Chips are Down

Somewhere in the back of his mind Gladstone was aware that he had at one time had a very serious threat made against something precious to him.  Namely his own personal self, he had been told in no uncertain terms that if he ever returned to Las Vegas that there wouldn't be enough of him left to ship home in a champagne flute. 

 

But... somehow he was here.  He stared out at the skyline from his high roller suite.  SHUSH had pulled some strings to get him diplomatic immunity (so to speak) and now... well, he was here, in one piece, no nutrabullet or champagne flute in sight, and it was weird.  Jacob had given him the broad strokes of what the plan was over the phone but insisted that they meet here to go over the specifics.  Jacob had called him. HIM. To help. Gosh.  Something about a poker game... well, specifically winning a poker game. It only made sense that he'd been tapped to help. He was unstoppable in his element, and boy was this ever his element.   But even still, he was nervous.  The last time he'd been here hadn't been great toward the end, what with the threats, and the last adventure he'd gone on with Agent Mallard had left him... well... he wouldn't like to repeat the last leg of that little trip anytime soon. Not to mention that temptation and Vegas went hand in hand. And with a good thing waiting for him back in St. Canard he was feeling the pressure.  He was going to have his work cut out for him to behave himself and not fall back into old habits.

 

Now... all he needed was Jacob to show up-he self consciously fixed his cravat- and for even a hint of the no doubt sexy international intrigue he was about to be tossed into.

 

But hopefully not too sexy.  He put his hand to his forehead.  Oh.. he was screwed.

 

    • DarkwingPsycho
      DarkwingPsycho

      They had to dodge and weave through any patrons who had remained, trying their best to ditch any would-be pursuers.  Jacob nearly slammed into her when she stopped, still holding her hand.  His leg was beginning to give off a dull but insistent ache from all of the running.

      "My car is outside, but valet has the keys," he remarked as they turned and started again.  "We'll have to improvise."

      As they charged into the lobby, they were met with another handful of gunmen.  These guys were definitely not casino security.  Jacob released Eve's hand so that he could shift his cane enough to get at his gun and start firing.  A bullet whizzed past his ear, and he tumbled sideways in order to get behind one of the ornate sofas.

      Briefly he looked around to make sure that Gladstone had found cover as well, then popped up and fired a few more shots, hitting at least one.

      • Gladstone Gander
        Gladstone Gander

        Gladstone had indeed gotten behind cover with his half of the sister act.  Autumn was not as chatty as Eve but was better armed. For each shot that Jacob fired off hers would punctuate his practically in perfect alternating blasts. The gamblers were frantically running and screaming away from the fire fight, casino security would have to respond to the situation soon and then they'd be flanked which would not be ideal by any standards. 

        Bullets punched through the sofa making fibers and stuffing fill the air like dust motes in bright light. Eve tucked the parcel under her arm and leaned around the sofa opposite Jacob angling a careful shot that ripped through an enemy's leg.  With the three of them laying down fire they were making a dent in their opposition Jacob's skill taking down more targets than the others but he couldn't really be surprised. They weren't, well, they weren't him.

        "Would you mind if I hotwire your car?" Eve shouted over the pops of gunfire then frowned at something beyond him.  "...what is he doing?"

        Gladstone had snuck away from Autumn and was moving in a crouching run back to the casino floor. He ducked behind a slot machine and caught Jacob's eye and held up an index finger, just a sec.  As soon as he had an opening he sprinted off out of sight.

        "G-man-" she glanced at him. "What's your real name? It feels stupid to keep calling you G-man now that you know my name." 

         

        • DarkwingPsycho
          DarkwingPsycho

          "It's Mallard!" he called over to her, firing another couple of shots that met their target.  "Jacob Mallard..."  He paused long enough to flash her a suggestive grin, then moved to another angle and fired again.

          He moved carefully nearer to her.  "My car is too far from her to be of any use.  Take the first one you see, we only we need Gladstone.  Why don't you and Autumn handle the car situation?  I can cover you and make sure I get him out safely."

          He pulled out his SHUSH card and handed it to Eve.  "If we're not out there in three minutes, leave without us!"

          • Gladstone Gander
            Gladstone Gander

            “Well,  hello Jacob Mallard,  Eve Poe, I’d shake your hand but you know-“ She rolled her eyes as she loaded another bullet into the tiny gun. “-shootouts.”  She accepted his card and smiled at him. “Three minutes? Is that all you need?”  She winked and tucked the card down the front of her dress. Lucky little piece of cardstock.  “We can handle the car, any preference as to color? I like a nice dark black, kinda like those eyes of yours.” Which she held her own on. “Don’t be long I’ll miss looking at you.”

            She slid out of the cover of the sofa with... well cat like grace and her sister was her mirror image. They moved almost exactly in unison on opposite sides of the room toward the door.  They were nearly there when a new sound exploded through the wide open space. An engine revved and there was a sudden stream of people scattering to the four winds as a car drove straight through the casino floor, coming into sight in a controlled slide. The dazzling  navy luxury car accelerated toward the heart of the goons who were forced to retreat outside in a panic. The car was kicked into a tight turn doing a complete one eighty in front of the entrance, where it stopped, tire smoke hanging in the air like fog.  The driver's window rolled down and Gladstone popped his head out. 

            "Someone call for an Uber?" 

            "Where-?" Autumn peeled herself away from the wall to rush to get in the back of the car.

            "I won it. Saw it on the way in..."  Of course you did.

            • DarkwingPsycho
              DarkwingPsycho

              My, my...this kitten could purr.  Jacob smirked at her alluringly, enjoying her banter despite the bullets flying (or did that make it better?).  "The blacker the better..." he crooned to her, then gave her a wink before she moved out.

              Jacob slid a second gun from the back of his pants and stood up, firing rapidly to give the cats cover.  That is, until a giant car slammed through the casino.

              "What the devil?" Jacob said, lowering his guns.  As soon as he caught sight of Gladstone, he grinned.  "Quite an entrance, my boy!" he called, gathering Eve and seeing her into the back before sliding in to shotgun.  "Now then.  Let's take a drive around the strip, shall we?  And we can discuss business."

              • Gladstone Gander
                Gladstone Gander

                The car reversed through the glass casino doors, narrowly missing the cowering gunmen and Gladstone cut the wheel hard, lining them up with the road before he shifted into drive and with a creeping smile slammed on the gas. The car took off like a shot and only accelerated faster and faster as the lights became blurs.  The busy stretch of road was navigated with pinpoint precision, cutting in and out of cars, barreling through narrow spaces, every light flicking to green as they approached.

                Yeah Gladstone was a bit of a speed demon. There was a high pitched squeal from the back seat and Autumn put her hands on the goose's shoulders from behind and shook him lightly.

                "Faster! Faster!"

                "NO!" Eve clung to her sister, looking petrified. "Not faster!"

                "I heard three fasters!" Gladstone said happily and pushed his prize harder.  "So ladies, what exactly is going on here?" He glanced at Jacob. "I feel like I'm missing quite a bit." 

                "KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD!" Eve shot her hand out to turn his head straight ahead again.  "Cassidy Pierce hired our sister Trixie, he owns the Silver Horseshoe. "

                "We're triplets." Autumn purred in Gladstone's ear, but sent Jacob a sly look out of the corner of her eye.

                "She was supposed to clear out the competition but she called us in to help, we'd all pretend to be 'October' and hit everything at once. Autumn would play cards as a distraction, Trixie would take care of security, and I'd get into the vaults. He hired her, and therefore us, to clean out certain items, she didn't ask too many questions at first, the money was too good."

                "But Trixie-"

                "Trixie was curious.  Turns out we were robbing the mob for  the mob. An internal struggle for power which would wind up in Pierce's favor once he had all the minting supplies his rivals were hiding in their coffers or had secreted in the vaults of unsuspecting casinos for safe keeping. Of course he would know that we'd found out what he was doing if we stopped..."

                "But Trixie-"

                "Trixie  wanted out.  It was too big and she was sure she could talk her way out of anything."

                "She does have a silver tongue."

                "But all that happened was she was held captive and despite how careful we thought we were Pierce knew about us and called us in.  Told us if we wanted her back we had to finish the job. This was the last thing-" She patted the parcel. "But it's a trap. I know it is.  He wants to sell us down the river.  Shoot us down, take what he wants and then place the blame on us, keep his good name and bolster his cred as being the one who stopped the thieves." Eve leaned forward slightly so that she could put her hand on Jacob's bicep. "We haven't seen our sister in a week. What are the odds that she's even alive at this point? In your professional opinion." 

                 

                • DarkwingPsycho
                  DarkwingPsycho

                  Jacob gave a sidelong smirk to Autumn at the "triplets" comment.  He wasn't fazed by Gladstone's driving, in fact he was subtly impressed.

                  "So he's holding your sister over your head to finish the job he originally hired her for, and you suspect he plans to kill you both anyway and take the credit for stopping the plan that was his to begin with."  A beat, then a glance back at Eve.

                  He put his hand over hers and squeezed it a little.  "He needs her for the leverage.  Have you asked to speak with her to make certain she's alive?"

                  • Gladstone Gander
                    Gladstone Gander

                    "We have, he refuses." Eve frowned. 

                    "She's not dead." Autumn locked eyes with the agent. "We would know if she was. We'd feel it." 

                    Eve didn't look convinced.

                    "So-" Gladstone drifted around a turn, sliding between two oncoming mac trucks perfectly and continued on at breakneck speed. "-they were trying to follow us. But I -think- I may have lost them." There was a crash from somewhere far behind them as a car smashed into the side of the second truck. "So, your sister may be dead. They want you dead. Now they probably want us-" he motioned to himself and Jacob. "-dead. I'm sensing a trend here." 

                    "A little morbid isn't it?" Autumn reached over his headrest to muss his hair but he sunk in his seat to get out of her reach.

                    "What are we supposed to do? Blast in the the Silver Horseshoe and steal your sister back?"

                    "I-" Eve faltered, the hand beneath Jacob's stroking his palm with her knuckles lightly. "-don't know. I was hoping you could help us come up with a plan Jacob? You are the fancy SHUSH agent after all?" Please?

                    • DarkwingPsycho
                      DarkwingPsycho

                      His hand moved away from hers as he considered.  "If he's trying to make it look as though all of the casinos are targets, then I should have an easy time of it going in and 'selling my services,' as it were," he mused.  "It was either his casino or the one we just vacated for our surveillance, so it wouldn't be suspicious as to why I'm there."

                      • Gladstone Gander
                        Gladstone Gander

                        "That might work... except for the giant fire fight we just got in." Autumn frowned. "He was the one who sent them. It's not like Eve and I can waltz in there with you.  Not like this anyway." 

                        "I can probably get you in." Gladstone offered.

                        Both cats looked at him in confusion.

                        "How?"

                        The goose shrugged with a frown at Jacob. 

                        "Heck if I know but if I want to get in there the universe will provide.  Probably." He drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. "I just want to underline the probably. My luck is fickle sometimes." 

                        "So, Jacob would go in alone, try to get to where we need to go solo and we'd... trust Gladstone's luck to get us inside too?" Autumn said skeptically.

                        "No.  Jacob will come bearing a gift. Cassidy will have to see him.  He'll have me." Eve looked at the drake. "Think about it.  You come offering your services with half of what he's already hunting for.  I don't think it's asking too much that you're a decent liar. You work for the government after all, no offense of course. I think you could make it very convincing.  Do you... think that could work?"

                        • DarkwingPsycho
                          DarkwingPsycho

                          "Was he on that wire, too?  If those were his men, how did he know there was even interference to your theft at all?"

                          When Eve mentioned her plan, Jacob thought it over for a few seconds, then nodded.  "That seems fairly solid, depending on how reasonable Mr. Pierce can be."

                          The elder avian looked to the driver with a gleam in his black eyes.  Women, danger, stolen cars, cold hard cash, mafia dealings...he was in his element.

                          "To the Silver Horseshoe, Gladstone.  We've got a cat to corral..."

                          • Gladstone Gander
                            Gladstone Gander

                             

                            The Silver Horseshoe was not at all the fanciest casino on the strip.  Far from it.  But it WAS trying the hardest.  It was a mishmash of themes, a rodeo east meets west with a few dashes of European "class" peppered here and there.  The overall effect was if someone let a magpie decorate a skyscraper.  All gilt, all glitz, all glitter, and not a scrap of taste or coherent thought.  But it was done in such excess that it was impressive in it's own right.

                            As Gladstone was anything but inconspicuous, Autumn had insisted that they separate before they arrived at the casino, she'd disguise the gander and herself to pose as tourists to attempt to gain entry to the lower levels where Trixie was being held the last they saw her.  

                            Which means that Eve and Jacob were together. Now... how was he going to handle this?  Handcuffed and lead in roughly? Or... she'd feign unconsciousness and be draped across his shoulder? Despite what was at stake, Eve was excited to see what the handsome older man had planned for her. 

                            • DarkwingPsycho
                              DarkwingPsycho

                              Based on what he knew of Cassidy, Jacob believed the man's style would be more the former than the latter, but rather than use handcuffs he went with a more traditional silk rope - with a trick knot of course should things get hairy.

                              With her just head of him, his arm on her upper arm and leading her, they moved toward the offices near the back on the second story.  Jacob had a gun to her lower back for effect.

                              "SHUSH," he said evenly to the two guards outside of Pierce's office.  The man might not know style or cohesive design, but he knew how to keep up appearances.  "I need to see Mr. Pierce.  Now."

                              • Gladstone Gander
                                Gladstone Gander

                                The door opened without either guard moving.  A sunbear in a burnt orange suit, black shirt and white tie loomed in the doorway. He grinned, it was a forced humorless expression.  Eve made a show of attempting to struggle. 

                                "SHUSH you say? I am Mr. Pierce but please call me Cass, to what do I owe the prestige of an agent in my casino? I thought I wasn't next on the hit parade.  And may I ask..." his eyes fell on Eve. "What the young lady has done? Oh.. but where are my manners, do come in."

                                 

                                He moved away from the door allowing them entrance to the gaudiest office that had ever existed. Light caught every shiny surface, of which there were many, making it seem like they were walking into a solar flare. Cass motioned to a chair for him to deposit... himself? Eve? ... into as a guard reached in and closed the door behind them with a thud.

                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                  Jacob had style, but he wasn't one to linger on the design choices of others.  Rather than sit, Jacob stood with Eve before the desk.

                                  "As you probably know, I am one of the agents assigned to investigate the string of casino robberies, the most recent hit being at the Casino Corral...where I apprehended this one."  He pushed Eve forward roughly.  "Apparently there's another one.  She got away with something in that vault, and I assume your casino is next.  I'm here to offer my services in the way of putting that cat in the bag."

                                  • Gladstone Gander
                                    Gladstone Gander

                                    Cass looked from the agent to the cat.  He grinned again, only this one was genuine, a real slimy smile.  

                                    "Did she tell you that my casino was next did she?"

                                    Eve narrowed her eyes at Cassidy.

                                    "And what if I did? You knew we were going to come for you- you overstuffed, over dressed, classless, glory grabbing-"

                                    The bear stood, took a fist full of chips from a cup on his desk and threw them hard at the girl. She shut her eyes tight as they connected smacking her in the face and flying off in all directions.  

                                    "Should have put a gag on her Mr. SHUSH,she's got a real mouth.  So, what are these services going to cost me? Because I've got the best security detail on the strip, I don't know if I even need your specialties. Your cargo however... I'll pay handsomely for her. Name your price."

                                    • DarkwingPsycho
                                      DarkwingPsycho

                                      'Yes, perhaps you're right," Jacob mused, giving Eve a glance that was minutely suggestive.  "I should have stuffed her mouth with something..."

                                      He turned his attention back on Cassidy and started sauntering around the office, leaving Eve to her own devices, although he still had his gun out just in case.

                                      "Oh, the benefit of justice done is enough for me..." he said slowly with a sly tone to his voice.  Then he turned, standing just in front of the door he'd recently entered through.  "Although I must protest regarding the girl...she's not for sale."

                                      He reached out and locked the office deadbolt, turning the gun on Cass.  "However, I wonder what the local mobs will say when I let them know that you're a sellout."

                                      • Gladstone Gander
                                        Gladstone Gander

                                        The sunbear blinked at him slowly as he processed the situation. 

                                        "So..." his eyes slid to Eve who had freed her hands from their lose bindings. "-think you're clever do you."

                                        She smiled and gave a small shrug.

                                        "And what exactly are you getting out of this 'SHUSH' boy? Got a thirst for some kitten milk?  Well it's a shame you did't come earlier, I had a perfectly good one making the rounds downstairs but I think she's been all used up." 

                                        Eve's fur stood on end as she hissed, claws instinctively springing from her fingertips, without thinking she pounced, blocking Jacob's shot with herself. She slashed at the bear's face leaving two long gashes before he grabbed her with one massive hand and bashed her bodily against his desk.  She let out a strangled gasp before he lifted her up and slammed her down again. After the second impact Cass reached into an open desk drawer and pulled a pistol. He pointed it at the agent and opened fire.

                                        • DarkwingPsycho
                                          DarkwingPsycho

                                          Jacob would have fired at him, but Eve was in the way.  He grit his teeth as he slammed her down against the desk, still unable to get a good shot.  When the sunbear reached for the drawer, Jacob knew what that meant and was already moving into a roll.  He could hear gunshots trailing him, and he picked up the chair Cass had offered.  The ugly furniture piece was flung right at the casino owner's head, meanwhile Jacob then dove sideways to get a better angle and fired at the bear's shoulder, hoping to make him drop the gun.  For good measure, he also shot the bear in the thigh, just missing an artery.

                                          • Gladstone Gander
                                            Gladstone Gander

                                            Well his hopes were answered. The bullet tore through Cassidy's shoulder and the gun clattered to the ground.  The other shot punched through his leg taking him to the ground with a roar.   

                                            This of course resulted in the guards flinging themselves against the door trying to ram it open.  It would take a few minutes but the door was rattling hard enough for the agent to know it would come down sooner rather than later. 

                                            Eve made feeble little gasping sounds, her eyes slightly out of focus and her hand pawing the air in Jacob's direction. 

                                            • DarkwingPsycho
                                              DarkwingPsycho

                                              Jacob got to his feet and stood over Cass after grabbing the sunbear's gun.  He put an unsympathetic foot on the leg he had just shot.  "Where is Trixie?"

                                              • Gladstone Gander
                                                Gladstone Gander

                                                The bear let out a low rumbling growl.

                                                "Trixie who?" he snarled, all teeth flashing in menace.

                                                Eve regained her senses slightly her entire body aching. She rolled onto her side disturbing the papers that littered the surface of the desk. Getting herself into a partial sitting position she narrowed her eyes at Cass. 

                                                "D-don't think you can get away with this." She wheezed.

                                                "Get away with what? Where's your proof?  You came into my office and attacked me and when I was about to defend myself this upstanding gentleman here shot me. And then you start flinging these accusations around?  What's a guy to do?"

                                                The door rattled on it's hinges, near to breaking.

                                                "Jacob-" Eve looked from the door to him for guidance.

                                                • DarkwingPsycho
                                                  DarkwingPsycho

                                                  "You want those plates?  We want her."  He stepped harder onto the wound, not giving Eve even a glance.  "It ends here."

                                                  In the back of his mind, Jacob knew he was in a corner.  Perhaps he had been a little rash, should have played out the game a bit longer...

                                                  He only hoped Autumn and Gladstone were faring better.

                                                  • Gladstone Gander
                                                    Gladstone Gander

                                                    Eve watched as Jacob leaned into the bad cop role, was it a role? Anxiety was mounting inside her.  This was falling apart. Was Trixie alive? Were either of her sisters alive at this point? How much longer would she and Jacob survive if that door burst open? This was her stupid plan and it was going to get both of them killed. She slid off the desk wincing and Cassidy glared at her. In one swift motion she threw herself on him with no regard for Jacob or whatever else may happen. Tears spilled out of her eyes as she pressed her mouth hard against the bear's shaking like a leaf, kissing him as if she were drowning and he was holding her last breath of air inside him refusing to relinquish it. 

                                                    "Please- please let my sister go. I don't care what happens to me, or the stupid plates just-" She inhaled sharply as his hand took her by the scruff of the neck. "-let her go, let Agent Mallard go. No one has to know about this. I'll do whatever you want just..."Her voice was cut off by heavy claws sinking into either side of her throat.

                                                    "Alright." He snarled his eyes on the SHUSH agent and trying to ignore the foolish gift he'd just been given. "So here's what we're going to do." 

                                                    The door burst open and the two sentries leveled their weapons on Jacob.

                                                    "You're going to put that gun down 'Agent Mallard' or I'll rip her throat out before you can land a shot. Then my friends here are going to take you down to my little workshop where we can figure out exactly-" His eyes slid to Eve, making a show of admiring her indecently, before he smirked at Jacob. "-what we are going to do with the two of you." 

                                                    • DarkwingPsycho
                                                      DarkwingPsycho

                                                      Jacob couldn't stop the look of surprise and disgust quickly enough as Eve kissed Cass.  But when he gripped her throat and the door burst in, he knew this was it.  With a clenched jaw, he dropped his weapon and put his hands up.

                                                      Fine.  You win.  For now.

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