CRANK: Salamander #6

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ImpurestCheese

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#1  Edited By ImpurestCheese

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Athens, Georgia - Seventeen Months Earlier

The two thieves swaggered into the youth club, the chest stolen from O'Hare slung between the two of them. Shooting one of the volunteers a dirty look Car-Face took both ends of the chest, and headed into the back room, the eyes of the assembled youths and volunteers watching their progress. Stepping through the door, the pair of criminals placed the chest down in-front of the big desk that took up most of the room. Behind the desk sat a man with a considerable gut dressed in jeans and a dirty wife-beater vest, his long greasy hair draped over his shoulders.

"Mister Socrates, I brought payment for the powers you gave me." Car-Face stated as the greasy haired man got to his feet and walked round the chest and opened the lid.

"I hope this covers what we owe you." James added, as Socrates took a handful of silver coins out of the chest and slammed them down onto the desk. Without a word he put his head out into the main hall and gestured for one of the youths to enter the office. Walking into the office, the copper skinned young man wearing nothing but some chinos and a baseball hat emblazoned with rhinestone dollar signs, glowered at the pair of thieves before turning to look at his boss.

"Check this for me Mint will ya." Socrates ordered in a deep south accent as he slumped back down into his chair. Walking up to the chest Mint took a coin and pressed it against his bare chest, the skin turning green and putrid around where the coin had been pressed against his skin.

"These are useless boss, they contain a large quantity of silver in them but there's a fairie hex protecting them, one that makes them unusable to mankind." Mint snorted, before throwing the coin back into the chest, the metal chiming with the peel of many bells where it landed.

"Where did you get these?" Socrates asked, his words causing James and Car-Face to exchange nervous looks with one another.

"Some guy called O'Hare" James replied, false bravado just about covering the growing nervousness in his voice.

"You stole a fay horde from that goblin." Socrates whispered as he looked on in horror at the silver pieces on his desk. "And you of all people did it McCloud. Are you insane!"

"Fay horde, goblins? What are you talking about?" Car-Face asked, as he watched Socrates take a cane and shove the silver pieces on his desk back into the chest.

"Get rid of that horde now!!" Socrates yelled, his voice sounding over the peel of bells. "Bury it, burn it, give it back to him, I don't care just get it out of my establishment this instant!" He added as Car-Face closed the chest and looked at the gang boss, confusion spread across his metallic face.

"So are we square?" He asked as he picked up the chest and headed for the door.

"Get out and don't f*****g well come back!!" Socrates roared, as dozens of accusing eyes followed the pair of crooks out the room.

"What the hell did we steal?" James asked, his hand resting on his holster as the two thugs left the youth centre.

"No idea." Car-Face answered. "But it strikes me that if Socrates doesn't want to his cut, then all this loot is ours for the spending."

**

21st December 1985, Atlanta, Georgia

Jeremy McCloud felt both guilt and pride as he looked over at the bag containing the Action Girl Blackbox TM figure. After having his funding cut and loosing his job a few years earlier money had been scarce, especially due to the government's mistrust of all its former experimental weapons designers. As such shadowy agents repeatedly made sure any position he got didn't last long.

Still their actions had driven him to desperation, and his prototype acetylene canon had cut through his marks defenses and straight into his safe, and while the coins had looked a little odd, the cashier had accepted them with little hesitation. Feeling the bus come to a stop Jeremy got up and disembarked, the cold wind whistling through his threadbare jacket and trousers, the breeze causing his blonde ponytail to flick around behind him.

Looking back at the Blackbox doll he gasped in horror, as he saw the plastic skin rot and slide down the inside of the box to form a mound of stinking molten slurry.

"That shopkeeper, he must have sold me a defective model!" Jeremy snapped as he slammed his fist into the pavement, his face distorted with rage.

"You're getting what you deserve laddie." An Irish accented voice announced from behind him. Turning round he saw the elderly man with a crooked nose dressed in a brown suit looking down at him.

"How did I deserve this!" Jeremy growled, as the Irish man bent down and looked him in the eyes, pools of forest green staring into eyes seemingly cut from blue stone.

"Well you did rob me, not that I hold that against you being a thief myself." The Irish man announced a smile spread across his face. "I must admit you did a beautiful job cutting into my vault, I take my hat off to you sir."

"You're a cop aren't you?" Jeremy snorted, as he saw the man put a hand on the Blackbox doll's box, silver sparks running up and down the plastic inside.

"Names Mick O'Hare, and consider that a goblin's boon, and a sign of good faith." O'Hare announced as the plastic began to mould itself back into a feminine shape, the reverse transformation of the doll causing Jeremy to gasp in amazement.

"What kind of science is that?" Jeremy whispered as O'Hare shot him a warm smile.

"Science, it's not that, nor is it magic, it's charity." O'Hare explained. "You are a desperate man, and fairy curses feed on desperate men and their loved ones. That said you did outsmart me with cunning rather than force and that should be rewarded." He added, the last words causing Jeremy to bow his head, a miserable expression replacing the amazement he had shown moments earlier.

"I stole from you Mr O'Hare, I don't deserve a reward." He replied honestly, before getting to his feet, the doll left on the pavement.

"Honor, why did you have to have that." O'Hare sighed. "If you return my treasure horde minus what you paid for the doll I will give you what you need."

"Come again?" Jeremy asked, as O'Hare held out the doll.

"You need money, and I have a taste for a little risk in this mortal world. We both obviously have talents so why not use them?"

"I'm not going to do that, not if it means hurting the people I love or anyone else." Jeremy announced.

"Any other conditions?" O'Hare asked. Tilting his head Jeremy returned the warm smile before taking the doll from the Irish man.

"We wear suits." He replied. "If we're going to do this, then let's look good doing it."

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#2  Edited By ImpurestCheese
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stumpy49er

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@impurestcheese: Loved it. Something about villains that just make them so damn entertaining.

Socrates and his youth gang were intimidating enough but then when he became frightened of O'Hares fay horde, that's when it got scary.

O'Hare/Goblin Shark is probably my favorite character in this. He's quite scary. I could see him being a Stephen King character.

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#4  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@stumpy49er: Yeah well Socrates grew up in the early years of CRANK, and while he may be the corrupter of the 'youth of Athens' he would remember the reputation of Salamander I (Jeremy McCloud) and the Goblin Shark (Mick O'Hare). As for O'Hare, well he is one of the fay, they play by their own rules, fortunately for Jeremy he lucked out by beating Goblin Shark with cunning, rather than using force. Fairie forced into something will always look for a way to turn it against their human 'masters'. Luckily Mick has his own code of honour which allows him to see Jeremy as an equal rather than a patsy.

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stumpy49er

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#5  Edited By stumpy49er

@impurestcheese: So considering James and Car Face used force to obtain the fay horde, they could be in deep trouble?

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#6  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@stumpy49er: Oh trouble doesn't even begin to cover what they are going to run into

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batkevin74

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@impurestcheese: 30 pieces of silver and goblins! Nice mix with mythology and people wanting nothing to do with faerie treasures...though a certain indomitable goblin may be interest

And Action Girl...look forward to seeing her, coz if she's got an action figure maybe there's a super person to go with it. As for old meeting new, I look forward to your next chapter

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#8  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@batkevin74: The Action Girl Blackbox figure is a reference to the GI Joe contest we did a while back. And yes fairy treasure is no good to mortals, it always turns into rocks or sand or twigs when the person tries to spend it, although O'Hare's horde is a lot more crooked then that/

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TommytheHitman

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#9  Edited By TommytheHitman

Good first meeting between Jeremy and O'Haire. Car Face is really starting to grow on me. I think this may be the best cast of characters you've come up with Cheese.

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@tommythehitman: Thank, glad Car-Face is loved. I'm glad you're enjoying the characters, hopefully the high quality will continue throughout the series

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@impurestcheese: The fay horde is interesting. Quite curious to see where that goes.

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@cbishop: No where good, stolen goblin silver never leads to anything nice when in mortal hands

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