Sake Runners (Game Thread)

Sake Runners

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4:32 AM, September 29th, 1922

The weather on September 29th, 1922 was bone-chillingly cold and unremarkably, cripplingly wet. It wasn't raining - or snowing for that matter. Rather, the city was covered by a dense fog which served to obscure everything beyond fifty feet. It was the kind of day which was best spent indoors around a warm flame and no where near the docks.

Yet, that's where they were. Hours before the sun would rise above the mountains and forests to the east, clearing up the fog with its bright light and - hopefully - warming heat, they were preparing for their "fishing trip". Any fisherman could tell you that the best time to make a catch was in the wee hours of the morning when the the sun was just rising, and they were there to ensure they got a very very VERY large catch which they could sell for an even larger profit.

The small team of "businessmen and businesswomen" sat at the edge of the docks, waiting for the signal that everything was ready.

*Flashback*

7:12 PM, September 28th, 1922

"... This delivery is of significant value." the Underboss said, quoting her master. The room was warm and well decorated. Japanese paintings lined the walls of the eastern-style mansion displaying acts of strength, valor, and honor (though little in the way of law). Light poured in the room from paper lanterns concealing the electric lights which generated the luminescence. A long table sat in the middle of the room, stretching from the sliding door entrance to the opposite end. At said opposite end, a large chair obscured by a thin silk curtain - just think enough that the occupant was unidentifiable. Beside the leader of the Takahashi family, the families two under-bosses sat in wait on cushions. On his left was the tall and imposing figure of Sinclair the Cleaner and his right the shorter but no less intimidating form of Tsuki the Enforcer. It was the later of the two who spoke, parroting the words of their hidden master.

"The product will keep our many establishments stocked through the end of the year. As such, failure will not be tolerated." she said, her face remaining passive through the conversation. "Sinclair shall lead you. The exact method by which you make the delivery is up to you." she finished

*End Flashback*

They'd been on the docks for nearly an hour before the signal appeared; three bright flashes of light through the fog from a ship off the coast. The Sake, Moonshine, Whiskey, Opium, Heroin, and all manner of other "fish" were ready for delivery. Small boats roared to life as they set about their tasks - protection, distraction, muscle, or any number of a thousand other requirements - and the job was underfoot.

4:32 AM, September 29th, 1922

=Sinclair=

The early morning's of Temperance Bay, particularly around it's namesake, were god-awful affairs. The cold went right to the bone, and the fog made it hard to see clearly for farther than a few feet away. Overall, it seemed that no one short of insane, or with extremely important business, would even bother being out in this.

All in all, that made it perfect in Sinclair's eyes, particularly since his group was a mix of both. He pulled his overcoat a little closer around him, even with the contingencies tucked within, and hoped for the coming sunrise. He couldn't stand this fog, or the cold for that matter. The latter was always a complaint, but the former...

He took a sidelong glance at his compatriots and hid a small smile. Well, the former made it hard to watch his comrades show their stuff.

*Flashback*

7:12 PM, September 28th, 1922

"... This delivery is of significant value.".

His sister spoke as she sat at the right-hand side of the head of the Takahashi Family, looking the part of The Enforcer even in an elegant kimono. He sat at the left-hand, knowing that he wasn't the man of Honor, but instead the one tasked with the Family's dirty work. All in all, he felt it was appropriate, and he didn't feel anything was wrong with it, more than content with his place in the Family.

He sat back, relaxed as he looked over the few that they were giving this assignment.

"The product will keep our many establishments stocked through the end of the year. As such, failure will not be tolerated. Sinclair shall lead you. The exact method by which you make the delivery is up to you.".

He looked over after a moment, then nodded. He couldn't think of anything else to say, particularly since his sister said it so succinctly. Not only that, but they needed to be focused, and he wasn't about to ruin that.

*End Flashback*

After an hour passed, the signal finally showed through the slowly-thinning fog. A trio of flashes came through, causing Sinclair to stand, having been sitting on one of the few benches that lined the docks. Their shipment was finally here.

"Alright boys and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it.", he said with a small smirk, striding up the pier to meet the boat itself.

Tsubaki shivered involuntarily, pulling her coat closer to her slender body, shifting on the wooden crate beneath her as she did. This weather was not doing much for her mood.

Why did I agree to this again? Oh yes, a look at the goods, and hopefully a pick of the cut.Her lips curved up in a smile. That should be worth something, right?

Lights appeared in the fog, and she hopped off the crate, grateful that the wait was over.

Their boss, Sinclair, was already heading towards the boat. "Alright boy's and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it." He told them as he did.

Tsubaki hurried towards the boat as well, hoping to get this over with as soon as possible.

"Alright boys and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it."

The cold air kept her nice and icy - alert for anything that could. As for the fog, that simply gave Caprice more to cut through. Still, her heart wasn't really in the assignment. Get goods, deliver goods, then whatever - that was all there was too it. Sure, the prospect of violence loomed over the horizon, but that wasn't really enough to get her heart racing. Besides, that bulky coat of hers was more than enough to erase the bite of the cold. Her eyes narrowed, why was she being sent on an assignment like this? Of course, Foxface was just dumb muscle. Assigned simply to ensure that any competition met its end on the end of her blades. Nevertheless, dumb muscle didn't question their superiors and she stayed silent, only uttering a, "Of course." in acknowledgment to Sinclair's statement. Caprice moved when he did, following every step and staying close by the Cleaner. Almost too close.

'I wonder if I can prepare some sashimi today; after all, we're at the docks, and the fresher the better.'

"Alright boys and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it."

"Aye aye, Sinclair-san."

As the boat pulled up to the dock, its hold undoubtedly packed full of all kinds of deliciously intoxicating contraband, Kinoko made to follow the underboss. Truth be told, the mechanic was delighted that their wait was finally over; the absolutely frigid morning wasn't exactly doing wonders for his disposition, and it felt like his toes were going numb.

Still, the promise of some good exercise brought a smile to Kinoko's face. Even if it was simply carrying the cargo back over to the truck, a bit of heavy lifting ought to put some life back into his bones, and it meant that they were that much closer to getting off the docks and out of the freezing air.

Though his heavy overcoat impaired his movements to a certain degree, the mechanic did his best to stretch out a bit and get his blood flowing as he trailed after Sinclair and the other family members. Pulling a muscle would put quite the damper on the day, after all, and he still had plenty of items on his to-do list. Like breakfast. Breakfast would be nice, once they had everything here tucked away.

"Alright boys and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it.", he said with a small smirk, striding up the pier to meet the boat itself.

"Alright, I'll get into position." Said Knight as he picked up the Mosin-Nagant leaning on the bench. He buttoned up his coat as he walked towards the cannery. He was glad he didn't have to lift anything today; it was cold and he muscles weren't what they used to be.

He thought about what he would do later today, he didn't like having to get up early. Perhaps they could all go get breakfast together, it had been awhile since they all did something together, though Knight may just care a little too much about the people he considers his "Family"; they were all he had after all. This is all assuming everything went smoothly of course, but things had been going well lately so he wasn't worried.

As he opened the door to the cannery he made his way to the second floor thinking in this foggy weather this would be the best place to provide over watch. He stuck his Nagat out the window and awaited trouble; hoping there wouldn't be any.

"Alright boys and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it."

With that Claudia clamped her pocket mirror shut, no amount of powder to make her look any better this morning. She felt positively dreadful. It was cold, dark and wet and she was hungover. Why she had been dragged along on this little escapade escaped her, but it was what the Takahashi family wished so she complied. All in all she felt she was being punished for something.

With a sigh she got up from the bench and followed the rest of the group, it was funny how little she fitted in with the rest of her "family," although this morning the humour was lost on her. She was sure she was being punished for something.

"And what am I to do Sinclair?" She said, glancing at her nails. She had just got them done.

The bay's cold air pierced through Yukiko like a dagger, however it failed to illicit a response other than her hugging her haori tighter around her body. It was more out of habit than actual perception of the temperature; being instructed to work this job with 'others' meant that she had to put on more of an effort than normal not to upset the group's dynamic.

"Alright boys and girls, lets get the goods safely tucked away. We don't want any competition making off with it."

She replied with a silent nod accompanied with a cracking of her knuckles. As per normal, her kama were stowed on the rear of her belt in their sheaths, though she was ready to handle them at a second's notice. Yukiko's fingers, much like the rest of herself, had grown increasingly numb. The loss of tactility was hardly a concern though, as unlike how she assumed everyone else treated their weapons like tools, hers were no less an extension of her body as the fingers which held them.

As the boat slowly pulled into the docks, Yukiko found the silence that hung over the bay unsettling. She wasn't sure if that meant that it was too quiet, the 'calm before the storm' as it were, or if this was actually how downright boring places like this tended to be.

I hope I get to kill someone today

=Sinclair=

As the others of his group moved to follow, Sinclair couldn't help but notice one of their number, Caprice, keeping a little closer than necessary to him as she followed. Though, he hardly minded. Then Claudia spoke up.

"And what am I to do Sinclair?".

He paused mid-stride, and turned with a thoughtful frown, glancing at her for just a moment. He could understand her reservations about heavy lifting, since he had his own... Quirks. Like making sure none of his suits got bloodstained, particularly since blood was almost impossible to get out of any decent cloth. But, his expression changed to one of satisfaction when he realized he had something she could do that was right up her alley.

He reached into his overcoat and pulled out a small pad of paper, tearing out a page and handing it to her. "You could do inventory. Normally I'd do this myself, seeing as the Takahashi Family hates to get cheated, but this will save your hands from moving cargo, and it means the packing should go all the quicker.", he told her with a smile.

Turning back to the ship as it pulled in, he stepped aboard and slipped his hands into his pockets. "Always a pleasure, Masuo-san.", he said as the ships Captain stepped forward.

The burly Japanese man chuckled before speaking fluent English. "You mean it's a pleasure to see the Sake I have aboard.", he said.

"So, it's all there?", Sinclair asked.

Masuo nodded. "Of course, though you'll make sure regardless. I'll leave your men to it.", the Captain replied.

Sinclair smiled and nodded in return, before motioning for the others to follow him to the cargo hold. As soon as he stepped down, he grinned more widely at the sight of the crates just waiting to be distributed. "Always a pleasure.", he murmured under his breath before bending down to pick up the first crate marked for them.

"Lets get these in the truck.", he told them, before he started to haul it up and out of the hold itself.

"Lets get these in the truck." Sinclair told the group, before moving to lift a box himself.

Tsubaki frowned at this. She was not built to lift anything heavy... but she knew better than to argue with her boss.

With a heavy sigh, Tsubaki moved towards the boxes, while looking for someone she could possibly convince to do her work for her.

Smiling as his boss and the boat's captain talked business, Kinoko stepped towards the edge of the docks. Any minute now, things would be all set, and it'd be time to-

"Lets get these in the truck."

As Sinclair gave the order, the mechanic grunted in affirmation. Side-stepping and nudging past the rest of the family members with a muttered apology, Kinoko appraised the cargo hold and its contents. "Heheheh," he chuckled, his smile broadening as he looked at the boxes arrayed before him. "Good, very good!" This much booze would keep the Takahasi's establishments well-stocked for quite some time, assuming it was all the good stuff.

With a grunt, Kinoko bent down and scrabbled for a grip on a pair of crates, hefting one under each arm. The telltale clink of full glass bottles within assured him of their contents. Not bothering to articulate much, the mechanic did his best to edge past his companions and back onto the vessel's deck, and from there back to their truck. There were a lot of boxes, and there was no sense in dilly-dallying.

As the silhouettes of his family members passed him by he gave them each a wave. As he continued look out the window with his Nagat his mind wandered.

In this fog it would be difficult to tell the bad guys from the good guys. Well, technically we would both be bad guys. Thought Knight to himself as he watched and waited, hoping something would happen to break up the monotony of watching people carry crates around.

Time passed slowly as the boxes and crates and kegs were moved from ship to shore. Though manpower was hardly an issue, it just took time to move material in such terrible conditions; such was the nature of the work.

After nearly an hour of movements, the goods were nearly stowed away when Knight saw movement in the fog; barely within his range of sight. He had barely a second before bullets tore through the fog, smashing into the side of the truck sending a ringing sound throughout the docks as the metal bullets clanged against the metal of the vehicle.

It wasn't easy carrying the goods to the shore, but Tsubaki somehow managed by sticking to some of the lighter boxes and kegs. Everyone else seemed a bit tired and impatient due to waking up so early, so she probably wouldn't get anyone to do the work for her.

Suddenly, shots rang out, forcing Tsubaki to dive behind a crate for safety. Cursing to herself, she drew her trusty pistol and cautiously peered out behind the crate, trying to see where the shooting had come from.

Kinoko was midway between the dock and the truck, one last crate held tightly against his chest, when the shots began to ring out from somewhere in the fog. Cursing loudly as the gunfire filled the air, the mechanic did his best to set the crate down gently - or at least as gently as he could while diving headfirst to the ground. The telltale crack of glassware told the man that he apparently hadn't been gentle enough. Sinclair-san wouldn't be happy about that.

Half-shouting, the mechanic let out a stream of mangled English and Italian, his angry tone slurring the words together into a nigh-indecipherable mass of vowels and contestants. Still, that same fury made it quite easy to understand his meaning, and besides, one could still pick out a few choice phrases here and there. Kinoko, had he not been trying to get behind the shelter provided by his beloved truck, would've been particularly proud of the, "Vaffanculo! Pezzo di merda!" He'd learned those just last week, and had been looking for a situation he could use them in.

Through a combination of crouching, rolling, and all-out sprinting, Kinoko eventually managed to put himself on the other side of the family's truck, putting a bit of solid cover between himself and the shooter(s). But while he was relatively safe, every little bullet that pinged into the vehicle, leaving either a new dent or hole in its wake, stoked his anger higher and higher.

Keeping his head below the windows, the mechanic all but wrenched the cab's door open, stuck an arm inside, fished around for a minute, and drew out a solid, sword-length hunk of polished wood. Firmly gripping the bokken in his right hand, Kinoko set his back up against the truck, took in a deep breath, and, somehow making himself heard above the gunfire, roared, "ALRIGHT! WHO SHOOT MY CAR!?"

=Sinclair=

Sinclair supposed that it shouldn't have surprised him that things transpired the way they did. After almost an hour of moving cargo from the ship to the moving truck, gunfire erupted from the streets as the group were about to load the last few crates up.

As soon as he heard the first gunshots, he dropped the box that was in his hands, thankful it was opium and not alcohol, and rushed to take cover behind the truck. He should have figured that they would have been attacked around now: After all, most of their illicit goods were conveniently loaded onto a truck, ready to be driven off on a whim. It didn't take long for the Takahashi mechanic and driver to join him behind cover, and he took the time to draw his pistol even as Kinoko pulled his bokken from the cab.

"ALRIGHT! WHO SHOOT MY CAR!?".

"Don't take this the wrong way, Kinoko, but I'm more concerned about us than the car.", he said while making sure his Mauser was loaded.

Then, hoping that none of his own people were in the line of fire, he reached around the corner of the truck itself and fired blindly, emptying his pistol's magazine in short order. He sure hoped he managed to hit something, despite the fog.

Bratatat... bratatat.... bratatat....

Shots from the fog. Caprice immediately dived into cover as the adrenaline began to course through her body as the tuplets pierced the tired morning silence. At least she had didn't have Kinoko's bad luck, having just finished loading a crate when somebody began to cause a ruckus. Finally something a little more interesting than moving boxes. However, the damn cowards were hiding behind the fog, using that itself as cover. Caprice cursed. It would be a waste to try her luck and throw one of her knives into the cloud of grey. They were oh-so-precious. Consequently, she made a mental note to fetch some throwing knives after this little mission was over. Lots of them. Perhaps sheer quantity would make up for inexperience. Nevertheless, Caprice decided to taunt the bastard, hoping it would lure them out. Then they would be sliced and diced, then they would know not to mess around...

Lapsing into Japanese and rolling her 'r's in the rough, masculine fashion she shouted a few words into the fog, "Koshinuke yarou! Ii kagen ni shiro!"

As a bullet plinked of the side of the cannery Knight returned fire on the figures he thought were enemies. He wasn't trying to actually hit the silhouettes as much as tell his comrades of their location. He should have brought a MG.

Knight began to scan their flanks hoping that they had left themselves open and the melee fighters could get in the fight. He was fairly sure that Kinoko yelling in rage about his damaged car, and Knight would be happy to oblige his comrade in getting revenge.

And that is when Knight wondered something. Who are these guys?!

As the bullets flew overhead, Tsubaki fired back as best she could. But with all the fog, she couldn't tell if she was hitting anyone or not.

Click. Click.

Now out of bullets, she began reloading as fast, muttering furiously as she did. Tsubaki glanced over to where her "companions" were trying to fight off whoever was shotting at them.

"Hey," she called out, hoping the other shooters wouldn't hear her, "Anybody got any extra ammo? 'cause I think we might need it soon!"

Just when Yukiko thought she was about to die of boredom from standing around doing nothing, suddenly there was cause for excitement. Others who had been a bit more proactive in their task were forced to drop their goods, before scrambling to hit the decks or find cover, as the sounds of gunfire pierced the heavy air.

Their enemies weren't stupid, having taken advantage of the poor visibility caused by the thick fog to most likely compensate for their own deficiency, either in numbers or in skill. Clearly they hadn't realised what they had gotten themselves into.

"Koshinuke yarou! Ii kagen ni shiro!"

She heard as someone cursed at the attackers, most likely trying to draw their fire in some form of a diversion tactic. It was either that or they were real fuckin' stupid.

"Baka..."

It was unlikely that the shooters even knew how many of them there even were in this fog, yet alone where their precise locations were. Any attempts to try to tactically out manoeuvre them in this weather would be fruitless without first being able to ascertain their own whereabouts in relation to them.

Yukiko couldn't have cared less.

Taking her kama from her belt, she was quick to affix the length of chain she kept complementary to her weapons. Within seconds her scythes were transformed into kusarigama. All she needed was an opening...

 

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