Las Vegas, Nevada
There were things in Las Vegas that tourists didn’t know about. Places that only the connected, the famous, the infamous, or the extremely wealthy went to. The Club was one of those places. Drinks, low lights, elite clientele, and the illusion of privacy, and the promise of it if you paid enough. The Club catered to everyone, if your price was right. If you asked the right questions in the club, you could get anything you wanted. Sin had been here only once before, on a bender, which had made him fairly wealthy. He’d made ‘friends’ with the owner, a man who shared his particular tastes and excesses, and had given him a VIP membership, in exchange for also keeping the many, many graves out in the desert quiet.
And Sin obliged, because he knew he’d need it. And he’d sent word ahead, with the right answers. He needed a thief, and a good one. Someone who was a professional. Not enough of those in these days and ages. And a good amount of whiskey, and something to look at and maybe take home. But now he had to convince Callister to come along, at 3 AM.
At their hotel, Sin walked up to the boy’s room, knocked once, politely, then shouted. “Cal, I know the porn is free, but you’re going to go blind if you keep watching it alone in there.”
The long limbed young man opened the door. He sneered. “Porn is for the weak. Those who put their faith in God do not need pornogaphy.” He stepped out, closing the door behind him. “Besides, you will not go blind. What is it that you need?”
Sin chuckled, and shrugged. “Going to meet a thief for our next stage of the plan. We need cash, a lot of it, to kickstart your mom’s work. I’ve got a decent job, but I can’t finesse it like a professional can. If you can keep it down on the faith and Sodom and Gomorrah, since we’re supposed to be incognito, it’d be helpful to have backup. Just in case.”
Callister considered through his red bangs. That vibrant shade of scarlet wasn’t dye as Sin once surmised, but was as red as his lashes. The was a noticeable lack of dark lines around his eyes, and Sin hadn’t seen Callister wear the kohl once they left Twin Falls. In fact, the boy had silently wiped his face clean as soon as their car left the city limits, sullenly tossing the wipes out the window.
“As you say. I’ll get changed. I won’t be long.”
He went back to his room and returned wearing a white shirt unbuttoned to the chest and, sweet lord, leather pants, and a collection of belts. There was another collection of buckle bracelets at his wrists. He forwent the guyliner and wore his hair tied back.
Sin nodded. The leather pants, unbuttoned shirt, and belt collection, as well as the buckle bracelets wouldn’t really draw much attention for Vegas at night. Sin nodded. “Good.” Sin smiled, and the two of them hailed a taxi, and took it to the Strip. After a few minutes, they would get out, and walk, past the lights, past the huge amounts of pornography everywhere, the women and men shouting and drunk and tourists, laughing, crying, swearing. Sin reacted and responded to all of them, with threats, double entendres, mocking laughter, and so on. Callister definitely got more than a few cat calls from all sorts, low whistles.
A few minutes later of the walk, and they reached a place where the light of the Strip just seemed to… fade a little. A large, blank looking man, built like a house and a head like a bulldozer, was at the door. Sin made no attempt to engage in any conversation with the man, showing him a small, black, featureless card. The bouncer looked at Sin, then at Callister. “My plus one, for the evening.” The bouncer nodded, and they entered into the Club.
Classy debauchery isn’t a combination that most would associate with each other, but the Club could do just that. Every booth was a hint of something depraved, delightful, and delicious, but just not enough to see, covered by thin screens. A maitre’d bowed and showed them to a table, and a woman and a man performed a long, slow dance in the center of the club. Upstairs, there could be heard the wub, wub, boom of a DJ, and the pounding of more… energetic mayhem. They sat, and Sin looked at Callister. “Order whatever you want.” He looked to the Maitre’ D. “We will be waiting for a procurer of fine things and classic items, sir. A whiskey, for myself, neat.” He looked back to Callister.
Sin noticed something odd. There were fewer people downstairs than usual, and a lot more noise coming from upstairs. Whatever DJ they brought in must be killing it.
Callister sniffed at the attention he got. That was his due, after all. He didn’t bother looking around the club when they got in. Such dens of debauchery were all the same. “I’ll have a beer.” He shrugged, nineteen and indifferent to the types of beer available. He stared at the dancing couple, his expression bored. The dancing couple get a little more…. intimate… oh that’s downright nasty….He heaves a sigh worthy of a man who’s been in many a battle, and muttered under his breath about degenerates unworthy of his mother’s salvation. The little mutter was eaten up by the heavy bass of the club.
There is a thumping noise as someone jogs down the stairs. A figure of average height, wearing a deep blue headwrap that covered his bottom jaw. He also had a long coat of the same color, coated in golden designs with thick white fur around the edges and short sleeves. What little could be seen of the face, appeared to be a skull made of ice with deep black chasms for eyes. He was dressed like something straight out of aladdin, probably a performer of some kind. Hell he even had the poofy pants. What really stood out though….was it looked like under that he had some sort of robotic body. Black and opaque, it was designed to look like muscles. A bright neon teal glowing inside, matching a skeleton…except for the ribs. They wrapped around him on the outside. Despite his bright and outrageous appearance, he moved quietly and gracefully, turning to the bar and speaking with the man behind the counter. “Some VIP up there huh?”
A maitre’d ghosted up to the side of the skeleton man, as quiet as the dead. The bartender nodded, said, “Some new Para, famous. Cute, too.” The maitre’d whispered quietly in the skeleton’s ‘ear’ as it were, and pointed towards Sin and Callister’s table. As for Sin and Callister, their drinks appear in a clink and a splash. The beer is of high quality, on tap, poured to a perfect amount of head. The whiskey is chilled, but not freezing, and of also high quality. There is no label nor indication of what kind of whiskey or beer it is, only that when you drink it… it is damned good. Sin looks up, and around, watching the gyrating couple with pink eyes, before they flush back to purple. He takes a sip, and smiles contentedly… though, something was off. He couldn’t quite place it, but his nerves were acting up.
Callister tasted his beer. It was probably good but he lacked the palette to appreciate it. Instead, he drank half the glass without pausing to appreciate the taste. Sharp, red eyes caught Sin’s unease. It was in the way his eyes crinkled momentarily. He didn’t trust this new disciple of his mother’s…barely liked the man. But he had instincts that Callister lacked. “What is it. You look jittery.”
“Hunch. Something’s off. Could be nothing. Could just be a slow night. But keep your eyes peeled.” Sin said over his glass.
Dellen nodded as the words snuck into his ears. “Of course.” There was a plume of smoke and Callister soon found that someone’s arm was reached back behind his shoulders, as their new friend sat in the booth beside them in an extremely relaxed position. “I can tell you for certain things are NOT slow upstairs.” He said casually. “I believe you fellows are in need of an acquisitions specialist?” His touch is cold.Callister would feel hot to his touch. Whiskey SIIIIIP.
Callister stiffened, a look of outrage at being touched. Then he saw who was touching him and swore. It was a very naughty swear, something his mother would chastise him for, and which he learned in boarding school.
“Get away from me.” There was teeth in those words.
Overheard, as a pair of men passed by, one clutching his head. “I swear that kid did something to me. I feel weird and gross.”
“Yeah, yeah, she was hot. You just had too much stuff, man. Let’s get you home.”
Sin just smirked, and raised a calming hand towards Callister. “Easy, kid. This is our guy.” The kid growled under his breath. He turned to his left a little as the men passed by, quickly, and his eyes narrowed. He shook his head. Business first. “Indeed. I’ve got a job. 70/30 split. I’ve got the information, the lay out, and what should be in the vault. You’re my point man. Estimated value of three hundred million, if we can bargain some of the jewels well enough. Interested?”
Dellen yawned, pulling his arm away and placing both hands on the back of his head, the synthetic muscled arms flexing as the soft glow of his bones dimmed. “Let’s see, 3 hundred mil, divided by 100 times 30…..” He did the math quick. “Sounds reasonable depending on what kind of defences we are facing.” He spoke to Sin, disregarding Callister’s biting glare. “Oh wait just a second…you are the guy who has been all over the news.” There was a grin in his voice, but he made sure to say it hushed enough to not draw attention. “Now this WILL be an exciting field trip. I’m in.”
A scuffle from upstairs. There’s a bouncer… throwing someone out? That’s something you don’t see every day. The man being ejected complained vociferously as he was being collared out the door. “I just wanted to talk to him! I just wanted to talk!“
Trailing behind the bouncer and her cargo, an identical bouncer held a wicked-looking knife with a cloth.
Sin blinked, then grinned predatorily. “Good man. It’s one of Big Time Tony Moretti’s safe house.”
If you wanted a man who could unite every human criminal enterprise, Big Time Tony was the guy who could have done it… until the Legion crippled him, and his enterprise. Now just a shadow of his former self, Big Time still held on to millions, if not billions, in safe houses, banks, and other legitimate businesses, but the will to power for the man was gone.
Sin continued, “It’ll be a tough nut to crack, but worth it. Ten guards, a Francettie Safe, and anti-para security systems. But, you’re as good as the Club told me you were…” Sin shrugs. “Shouldn’t be a problem.” He takes out his phone, and checks something under the table. After a moment, he nods, then writes a number on a small napkin. “This is where I’m staying. Two days time, new guard shift goes in. I’ll forward you the specs in an email, if you’ve got it. Good? I’ve gotta check something upstairs.”
“That’s the third one today.” Dellen mutters as he see’s the loon getting escorted out. “I really DO need to get an email. Use too many burner phones.” He pockets the napkin into his big coat and pats it there. “Make sure to scrape your shoes on the mat before coming back down. Never know what gets on those floors.”
Callister scowled at Sin then turned to Dellen. “Yeah? The wastes of the si-” he bit on his words, remembering to go lightly on the religion. For now. Undercover, like a spy. He could tell a few untruths for mother. “Singularly uncouth, no doubt.What is up there?” He checked his own phone. He didn’t look impressed at the picture. “Right.”
Sin’s eyes changed to bright pink, and he grinned wickedly at Dellen. “That’s half the reason I’m going up there. Been a couple of weeks. Cal, if you want, have a few more drinks. I’ll be back in about half an hour. Otherwise, meet me back at the hotel, and we’ll go over the next stage together.” He nods at Dellen. “You know how to get into contact with me, we can go over the specs then earlier if you don’t have email.” Sin starts unbuttoning his jacket and shirt, and loosens his tie, with a dark smile on his face, and he heads upstairs the the madness…. if no one else says anything.
As Sin ascends the stairs, he is immediately overwhelmed by the wave of lustful energy and smells. Knots of dancers gyrate together, grinding and moving to the downtempo electronic beat. It only takes a little searching to find what he expected to see: a tiny redhead, bare feet gliding just off the floor, freckled face flushed, exuding raw sexuality and beaming with a broad grin.
Sin runs with it. Sin is part of it, as he moves through the crowd, and his demons all come out at once, his eyes blurring into nearly all of the different colors as he just… feels all of them. But mostly lust. A lot of LUST. But he makes his way, smoothly, and he feels that siren call, and rejects it. The Lure is there, and he makes a note of it. He watches it. And gives it the finger. He is no one’s bitch, not ever. But he still needs to make contact, briefly. Not that he cared if this para lived or died, but because er may be the beginning of him getting out from underneath Anathema’s thumb.
He gyrates, and moves, and swishes past, enjoying every minute of it… but Pride keeps him focused. His TK moves a slip of paper, one he’d prepared earlier, but didn’t think he was going to have a chance for a long, long while. The slip flies, floats, and flutters…. and finds its way tucked into Nat’s pants. Difficult, but he’s been practicing. And he continues past her, but that one moment… they might lock eyes. And the demons all say hello.
The look in the Damselfly’s eyes as they meet Sin’s… delicious fear, heavy shock, a flinch, countless other emotions, all heightened by some kind of drug. Ey claps a hand to eir waist where the paper tucked and ey float away from eir partner for a moment, eyes still fixed on Sin as he continued to weave through the crowd.
Ey thumbs open the paper and holds it at hip-level, reading it surreptitiously through a squint.
And Sin’s gone, through the crowd, vanishing. She might have hallucinated it.
On the scrap of paper reads: “We are Seven. Have information. Seek: *Here, there is a scribble of words, numbers and other things. A cipher.*
Clutching the paper, Nat flies up a bit, trying to catch sight of Sin. “Wait! I– I wanted to–“
The Sin is in the wind. Already, he’s moving back downstairs, covered in sweat and possibly other things. To Nat, he might have just disappeared, or hallucinated it all…. except for that scrap of paper.
Dellen gives Sin a finger gun and makes a shooting noise in affirmation as he leaves, before bamfing across the table from Call. “Singularly uncouth? Absolutely. Not much up there for me but easy pickings.” He pauses for a moment, thinking on his words. “Of the monetary kind.”
Callister glared balefully at Dellen. Quite easy, considering his ruby eyes. “I couldn’t imagine any other sort. He empties his glass and ordered another. “Refreshment?” It was more sulky than normal courtesy required, but there it was.
“I bet you’re friend up there could imagine all kinds of nasty meanings.” There was a playful chuckle in his voice. “But alas, those kinds of things aren’t really my thing. Not much of one for the pleasures of the flesh.” He turned his head slightly at the glass of whisky left on the table. “Absolutely.” His jaw bone under his headwrap opened just a little too wide and he downed the whole drink, a haunting “Ahhhhh” coming from the nebulous void inside.
The look the boy gave Dellan said that he expected no less of him, but ordered another whiskey for the skeletal man anyway. His mouth curled sourly. How was he to do his mother’s bidding if he had to rely on such rejects as Sin and Dellan. How was he to prove his worth to her? Callister snorted. “So.” A short start at small talk. “What’s with the body armour?”
“Oh this?” Dellen said, motioning to the opaque synthetic muscle covering most of his skeleton. “It’s to keep most people from freaking out about a walking skeleton made of ice going around. They give me looks like that one you did when I mentioned cum shoes earlier.”
It is a great mystery how he achieved this, but Callister somehow managed to look both revolted and bored at the same time. “Nice look,” he yawned. “You come by it naturally or you steal it off someone? Don’t know who’d be making faces at you. Wouldn’t know anyone who’d want to pick a bone with you.”
“Heheh you know there was a girl who tried to use that as a pickup line on me? It was terrible.” He sighed, kicking his feet up onto the table and grabbing his new whisky and inserting a straw. Now with no lips one would think he couldn’t do much with it, but somehow he made it look super cool. “This look, however, is my own and fits in pretty well around here. How about you? Fan of bright reds I see.”
“Symbolic of the blood I must shed for victory,” he said in a flat tone into his beer. “Symbolic of the fire that must come before the fall, and the brimstone gates to hell that must be unleashed upon the world to bring it to heel. Or whatever. I like the color. Natural eyes and hair.” He drank.
“I believe it.” His teeth bit and unbit the straw, tutting his non existent lips somehow at the taste. “Blood and fire huh? If I am honest I don’t have much of either of those. But I can respect it. Good for you.” His voice was only a little bit patronising. “Afraid I don’t know where to find any keys to hell though, else I would nab one for you.”
“I’ll kick the gates down myself. I don’t need any key. Faith will be provided when I need it.” He finished his beer. “What is that reprobate doing up there? Am I his babysitter as well? Whatever. Excuse me. I’m heading up.” He stood, much quicker than he intended to, the two quick beers making him a little fuzzy. Then armed with a sneer and resolve, he marched up towards the techno beats.
The skull watched him curiously as he left. “I don’t think faith works that way.” He would sigh to himself in a sort of “Just saying” tone as he slurped up the last of his whiskey.
Upstairs, Callister’s nostrils flared as he was assaulted by the sight of writhing bodies, pulsing lights and slathers upon slathers of sin.
So this is where Mother’s new favorite had disappeared to. He was not about to look under the piles of bodies for the man, and turned to leave when he saw the lithe figure dancing in the center of the room. He paused, entranced.
It was a miracle.
He’d lost his sneer.
The red-haired waif twisted in the air like sapient, cabled sexuality, some kind of irresistible lure pouring off their body. For the life of him, Callister couldn’t tell whether the dancer was a man or a woman, but they were definitely paranormal– gravity seemed to have no effect on the pixie-like creature.
Callister was floored. He wanted to go up to the sprite-like figure, maybe talk to her. Him? About what, he didn’t know. What did you talk to girls about? Or boys?
He stared for a long moment then shook himself.
He was here to do his mother’s work. Callister turned, and walked back down the stairs.
He was about halfway down when someone giggled in his ear. Well, not exactly. Just… above it?
“Whatcha got in your pants that you need all those belts for?” The voice was somewhere between a tenor and alto, and Callister caught a faint whiff of sweet, musk-heavy breath. He turned and confirmed what he had already known: the para from the dance floor had followed him.
Callister swallowed, turning and looking up. He tried to speak, his voice thick. “Nothign. I, ur. I like the look.” A flush darkened his light brown skin. “I mean. Not nothing. I like the belts.”
“I like the belts too,” the para murmured, weaving around Cal’s body like a snake and running a finger across the edge of one of the belts. “You’re like… like the protagonist of an anime or something.”
The para looked up at him. Their eyes were powerfully dilated, a thin ring of vibrant green the only iris visible between their pupil and sclera. One could fall into such eyes.
And Callister did. Red eyes into green. “N-no, not an anime. I just like this look. Erm.” What do you do? Name? Name! “I’m Callister. What’s your name?”
“They call me the Damselfy,” the para purred, slowly floating up to be face-to-face with him, “but you can call me Nat…. Callister.” There was a particular emphasis, there, an implication that Callister was somehow special.
Callister swallowed. “Pleased to meet you, Nat. Er…do you want to do something? With me?”
“Why do you ask?” Nat’s breath smelled really… good? In an extremely exciting way. “Did you have something in mind?”
The pony tailed redhead stared desperately at Nat. “Urh,” he said intelligently. “I…do you want a drink?”
Dellen had set a towel down in one of the booths and was watching them with his chin in his hand, saying. “Simply fascinating.” In a sense of awe.
“How genteel!” Nat beams, floating sliiightly away from Callister. “I would love to be treated to a drink, thank you Cal. Is Cal all right?”
“Er..yeah? I mean, everyone calls me Callister.” He followed after Nat like a puppy, waiting for Nat to sit at the bar before taking his seat. “What would you like to drink?”
Nat wheeled in midair, floating just above the barstool. “Sex on the beach,” ey murmured.
Dellen bamf’d next to them, holding two of the drinks in question. “Sex on the beach, for the prestigious Callister and his friend.” The ghastly man mimicked a butler’s voice quite well, and moved with the grace of a servant as well.
“Ooh! Skellington man. I liked you in that show.”
Callister looked relieved. It was just drinks. He barely noticed Dellen’s presence, only taking the drinks for Nat and him, handing one to Nat.
“So. Ur. You like dancing?”
Dellen gives a bow at the mention of his showmanship, gave a slight nudge of encouragement for Callister, and then poofed away again to watch from afar. “Oh I MUST see this.”
“I’m a professional dancer,” Nat said, pulling back on the seductive demeanor slightly. Slightly. “Minor celebrity for it, as of recently. You’ll have to come to my home club if you’re ever in Colorado. I’ll make sure you get in for free… and I’ll treat you to a dance, too.”
“Er. Okay. Colorado. I’ll be there.” Callister obviously had no idea how out of his depth he was. Or what sort of dance awaited him in Colorado. For now, he desperately racked his brain on small talk subjects. “So you don’t work here often?”
“Mmm, no, I’m on a little vacation,” the little para tumbled gently through the air, body moving in languid arcs. Ey turned eir drink while tumbling, taking sips through the straw and never spilling a drop. “But I travel all over, so even if you can’t make it to Boulder… you can find me. Want my number, cutie?”
“O-okay.” Cal fumbled for his phone.
Nat took the phone, entered eir number into it, took a quick selfie to add as the contact portrait, and then kissed the screen and handed it back. Ey leaned forward and whispered into his ear. “Find me.”
Then, suddenly, ey was zipping away, giggling to emself, dropping a generous tip in the bartender’s hands, saluting a bouncer, and out the door.
Callister could still faintly detect eir scent hanging in the air.
The cold hand of a skellington patted Cals shoulder. “Better luck next time sport.” His voice teasing.
“Bwuh.” Callister looked at Dellen, back at the door where Nat disappeared, and back at his drink. “Bwuh.” He took a sip. “What? What happend?”
“You fell in lust my friend.” The skeleton grinned. “Happens to the best of us. Seem’s you got their number though so….it’s not all for naught.”
“That’s good?” The kid looked young and more than a little poleaxed.
“Could be. Will have to call her some time to find out. Not for a while though….else you might come off as a bit ‘desperate’. Give it a few days. Maybe their charms will wear off…” Dellens voice made it seem like some sort of challenge to see if he could remain enamoured that long.
“Er..okay, yeah. Will do that. Think I’ll head back to my hotel. Night and stuff.” He got off the stool, and wandered away on shaky legs.