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[Harley 2] Auditions and Introductions

 Post subject: [Harley 2] Auditions and Introductions
PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:34 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2005 7:15 am
Posts: 865
Location: Somewhere on the fringe of the Hive
“I’m not sure what you’re getting at Harley. I’m not dressing up and playing a clown!”

Harley found herself getting annoyed. She was having a really hard time explaining exactly what she was thinking. Jes was large for an Escher. Her 1.7 meter frame was layered with thick muscles. In most of the other Houses one might take her as strong of body, but weak of mind. Not so, Jes and her sister Dea were technically savvy and knew how to do “stuff”. But for someone so smart, Jes sure was dense.

“You should have seen them Jes. The cameras couldn’t track ‘em! They were everywhere at once. ; Beautiful,” Harley said and let her voice trail off.

“Then what are you talking about?” The muscular Esher sighed as she put down the bolt assembly to the heavy stubber she was working on.

“We start with getting a bunch of lasses together who are open minded and are willing to learn things. I want our new gang to be able to slip into a downhive settlement looking like we’re just a bunch of entertainers, all the while we’re scoping them out and picking their pockets. You remember that traveling freak show when we were snot-nosed juvies?”

“Yea I remember. They got shut down by the Guilders right after that slag-bucket of a scavvy got lose and destroyed a small factory before the Enforcers took it out. But what does that have to do with what you’re talkin’ about?”

Harley shook her head, “yea, well, not like those freaks Jes. I’m saying like dancers and jugglers. I’m not talking about trying to be like some pretty little up-hiver who couldn’t smack a Van Saar in the face, I’m talking about deadly cats that can dance circles around their prey and strike from any angle.”

“Yea ok, I could buy that… but Dea and I ain’t exactly light of foot.”

“Yea, but you guys can contribute in other ways. My benefactor helped me do a little research on those… what did she call them… Eldar something-or-other. Anyway, some of them dress all in black, and wear masks like this.”

Harley pulled her hand out from behind her back and extended it towards her friend. In her hand she held a mask. Jes took it and was unable to conceal her grin. It was a boney death mask with accents to make it look more sinister.

“Quin says their heavies wear these and suits to go with it. We won’t have any fancy suits, but we can deck ourselves out in other ways. ”

Jes ran her olive colored fingers over the mask, feeling the contours and creases.; “So, Dea will have one too?”

“Yea, sort of a calling card for you both. How soon do you think we can round up some more girls?” Harley said.

“Come on”, Jes said, “I know a few who are itching to get downhive. I’m sure Tanna and Malina can get us a few more heads to fill in the gaps.


“Alright! Zip it!” Jes yelled above the din. Dea moved to the opposite side of the small shack that made up “The Swill Pool”. The “Pool” had once been a moisture condenser mounted on the roof of the dome somewhere far above. When it crashed to the floor during a hive quake it didn’t take long for the locals to strip it of all salvage, leaving a surprisingly intact shell, which in turn became a small building in the middle of the street. An odd location for a building to be sure, but in the “no man’s land” between Escher and Goliath territory in Hive City, nobody was going to move it.

The volume barley dimmed until a tall strapping woman walked through the front door. She wore black knee length boots and skin tight pants. The pants were half yellow, half red with each leg a different color. On her hips she wore a synth-leather belt and holster, the latter was strapped to her right thigh, the deep brown a sharp contrast to the bright yellow fabric below it. The holster was empty. On her torso she wore a bright blue sleeveless half-shirt revealing chiseled abs contoured biceps. Both of her arms were fully extended at a slight angle out to her sides. In her right hand she held a spotless bolt pistol. Her left hand grasped a lethal chainsword, currently idle. On each wrist she wore a wide fabric band in the colors of the opposite leg. Around her neck she wore a thick bright orange choker that matched the color of a trim plush mowhawk on the top of her head. The choker was studded with small spikes spaced a few centimeters apart. It was impossible to determine the woman’s facial features as they were concealed behind a full face mask in the shape of a wicked grin. The mask was painted all in white. A slightly pointed nose and bright red lips surrounding an exaggerated toothy smile. Over the left eye was a bright green diamond that extended both above and below. As all eyes turned to the newcomer the masked woman thumbed the throttle on the chainsword which immediately belched out a throaty roar. When the reverberation from the sword died down there was not a voice to be heard.

Harley looked over the assembled mob and nodded slightly. Not a bad assortment. All told four women had responded to Dea and Jes’ overtures of adventure and profit. Just as she was ready to speak, a second group of women entered from the far end led by Malina and followed up by Tanna. In between were just three juves, but that wouldn’t matter. The Underhive had ways of making you grow up quick, or it would cut your life short. One way or another they wouldn’t be underfoot for long. Harley nodded again, satisfied with the turn out. In all there were now eleven women ready and eager to strike out and seek their fortune in the Underhive.

Without a word both Tanna and Melina vaulted on top of separate tables. Each woman drew their sword and pistol. Slowly, and in wide arcs, they each began to gracefully swing their swords with the pistols in counter balance. As their routine continued the cadence got faster and tighter. All the while both women deftly danced and launched simulated attack strikes with sword, pistol, and feet. Just as the tempo began to seem unsustainable both dropped into a feline-like crouch with their outside leg fully extended to the side, their pistols full extended above their legs and their swords pointed down and to the outside behind their respective owner’s heads ready to strike. Right on cue both Dea and Jes spewed forth a cloud of flame from their mouths, which burned with a dull whoosh and caused the women to duck involuntarily.

“Now that we have your full attention,” Haley said as she slowly lifted the mask from her face having holstered her weapons during her ganger’s martial display. “I don’t know what lies my girls here have told you, but we’re obviously not aiming to be like all of the other House Escher gangs.” She paused for dramatic effect, and to assure that she still held their attention. “We will move from settlement to settlement entertaining those wretches. We will distract them from their miserable existences, all the while seeking opportunities to strike out in the interest of House Escher.”

Harley let her eyes wander from face to face and could see that she was making an impression. She nodded over to Jes who pulled out several crates out from under the bar. As the Heavy plopped the fully loaded containers one at a time on the table she threw open each lid. Inside the first were a seemingly random assortment of pistols, the second contained several swords, axes, and other melee weapons, the last one held brightly colored clothes. No two outfits were alike. Several of the Escher moved to start picking through the crates.

“Not so fast ladies,” Harley shouted. “There are some things you need to know first. First, you have to earn our calling card.” She looked directly at the three juves as she held her mask aloft for emphasis of what she was referring to. “And that includes the House Escher calling card,” this she said as she reached down with her free hand to lift out a sword from its crate. She then held that aloft for to make sure she had made her point to the juves. “But no matter what your role in our little Troupe, you are a part of the act.”

“Each of you will learn to both dance and how to perform acrobatic routines. You will learn to juggle, pick pockets, and any other act I can dream up. We will move from settlement to settlement to perform our little act and bring some cheer to the miserable existence of those wretches. All the while we will keep our eyes open for opportunities and strike out in the interests of our glorious House when the timing is right. If this is not your cup of wildsnake you may take your leave, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”

Haley let several moments pass as she looked into the eyes of each of the women. None made as much as a twitch.

“Very well then, welcome to the ‘Troupe of the Masque’.”

"Always mystify, mislead, and surprise the enemy; and when you strike and overcome him, never let up pursuit." ----- Thomas Jacskon

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