Rough And Ready

cody_icon.png jake_icon.png oz_icon.png peyton_icon.png shane_icon.png thea_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: A Dark Alley, Las Vegas

When: Date Here, Time Optional

What: Information gathering is a dangerous business. Luckily a ragtag band of… decent Samaritans step in.

Nighttime in Vegas is something else. A beacon in the desert, the Strip shines and glimmers, promising endless pleasures and dazzling entertainment.

Of course, that's the Strip. And the light from that beacon sets the shadows deep around it, letting darkness cover all manner of sins. And far less appealing ones than the city is famous for.

It's not a great area of town, this nearly abandoned stretch between dive bars, marked by the meth-thin hookers and nearly dead homeless. The street lamps are out or broken more often than not, leaving just enough ambient light to see shapes and specters ahead. And tonight, it's the silhouette of two figures dragging a third into an alley. They must have their captive's mouth covered, since he is kicking and screaming, but muffled.

Muffled, but very distinctive.

The doors to one of those bars open, a blue-collar man turning the blue collar of his coat up against his neck, protecting from the cold and prying eyes. Shoving his hands in his pockets, he glances quickly one way and the other, before setting off down the sidewalk at a quick pace, a very slight weave in his gate.

Jake's headed directly for some kind of destination, mind set on getting there quickly and without trouble…until he stumbles across trouble, passing the alleyway. His pace halts and he glances up, blinking at the two men, and the captive first. A look glances over his face, like he knows he's just stepped into some REAL big trouble.

It's pure misfortune that brings Cody to this area tonight, and the stocky midwestern giant is plodding down the street a little cagily. Even if she used to be a cop, hanging around this side of town was not ideal, and being this lost, even less. Still, she manages genuine friendly smiles for the hookers as she passes, and offers her dinner leftovers to a homeless man, and adds a few brownies from her purse to another. But she stops dead at the same time Jake does, only a few feet away. "Fer pete's sake," she mutters, and with a metaphorical rolling up of sleeves, she runs through her cop knowledge.

Being born in Vegas is the same as being born in any other town, save for the glitz and glamor. First, you think it's better than anywhere else, and second, you think you know better than anyone else about it. For whatever reason, cutting through this part of town is a nice timesaver on Peyton's trip back home from the school campus. Since she's listening to an iPod, it takes a second for her to register what's going on when she passes, but she stops at the small crowd, and turns to look. She reaches to pull out an earbud, staring at the spectacle. "What…the…fuck." Everyone thinks it; she says it.

He doesn't often venture into these shadier parts of town. After all, what kind of mark on the mayor would be made if his son was known to frequent such dark places riddled with crime and violence. But that doesn't stop Zan from going anyway, given a mind of his own and free will to boot. Besides, these dark places are where raw life is happening, the dregs of society have nothing left to hide unlike the white collar world he lives in. With camera in hand, the teenager walks confidently, recording all manner of downtroddenness. Including turning the lens toward the sounds of trouble and zooming in.

The picture is difficult to make out through camera lens, but in all fairness, it's not that easy with the human eye, either. As Zan records dark figures scuffling and crowding, the pair of assailants notice their gathering audience. And while the female of the pair drags their new friend back, the male steps forward, toward the mouth of the alley.

"Get the fuck out," is growled in a deep voice as Oz steps into better view. Close shaved hair, dark tattoos, a general malice in his demeanor. And blood on his knuckles, for the observant. It's splattered wetly against a black coat, which he doesn't seem to mind them witnessing. He also doesn't seem to mind his face becoming clear enough or the camera to make out in the terrible lighting. But the way he looks right at it, he's noticed it's there.

Jake takes a step back when that man takes a step forward, brow furrowing. He glances at the others around him, looking a little bewildered, wondering what one is supposed to do at times like this.

Cody blinks as she notices Zan and his camera moving forward, and hisses, "Wouldja put that away?" But oh, too late, as Oz steps into the light, and she scowls, whispering toward Jake and Peyton and supplying an answer: "Call the police, quietly." To Oz, she does nothing … yet, but she does grip her purse.

That loose earbub dangles over a shoulder while Peyton fumbles in the back pocker of her jean shorts to get at the phone. There's something to be said for the iPhone: if you're seeing a crime, wouldn't it be easier to have your mp3 player and phone in one device? It takes a second for that to go through her mind while she punches in 911 and lets it connect. "Yeah, uh…hello? Yeah, so, I'm calling to report this crime," she whispers into the phone.

It is too late by the time Cody's warning gets through, Zan's already got a full shot of Oz and a few seconds of the goings on further down. But he listens, lowering the camera though it's still actively recording. His movement is more to the side, taking him toward the mouth of the alley but at the corner formed where it joins the street.

"Yeah, call your cops and get the fuck out." Oz makes a quick move toward Peyton, a sudden jerk in her direction, although he seems to be aiming to scare her, since he doesn't make a grab for her.

Zan's camera catches the sight of the woman throwing a punch at the captive's face, but once he lowers it, it merely records the sound of fist hitting skin, of blood splattering on pavement and the groans as wounds are added to.

When Oz makes a grab, it's or Cody's arm, possibly electing her the ringleader of this little gathering, as he jerks her closer to whisper in low, dangerous tones. "Get them out or they get to join my friend back there." It's a tight grip, enough to leave bruises by morning.

Jake 's uncertainy deepens at the command from Cody, hesitating before patting his back pockets, checking for his phone. When Oz steps forward and grabs Cody's arm, Jake gives a halting lurch towards the man, like he's about to try to force him to let go of the Midwestern woman, but immediately thinks better of it. His deeply furrowed brow may become permanent, before long.

Cody's brow joins Jake's in furrowing as she eyes Oz at his grab. "Now relax there, fella," she says firmly, reaching for his wrist to grip it, though not pull it away. "If you would kindly unhand me, and that gentleman back there, I'd really appreciate it." Scared? Yes. But she's good at not showing it, instead staring Oz in the eye.

The scare tactic seems to work. Peyton gets a good jolt and takes an awkward step backwards. Getting her feet tangled together, she takes a spill onto the nasty, hot sidewalk there…and her phone clattering a few feet away. The thin, tinny sound of the operator can be heard over the speaker, asking if everything's alright.

Zan, eyes darting between the sounds at the far end of the alley, to the man and the group at the mouth, slowly lowers his camera onto the ground by its strap. It might not pick up any visual, but the audio works. And it might be he's forgotten it's running in the few seconds between lowering it originally and tensions rising. When Cody is grabbed and the focus is on Oz in earnest, he takes his chance to run down the alley. After all, Cody seems to have that well enough in hand, the other guy - the one finding himself at the business end of a fist - sounds like he might need more help.

For a moment, it looks like Oz just doesn't know what to do about Cody's turn of phrase and general niceties. It's enough to give Zan a clear run down the alley while his attention is fixed. But, of course, he turns a moment after to watch Zan passing him.

"HEY," he shouts as he shoves Cody in the direction of the wobbly Jake and turns to run after Zan. He's not fast enough to stop him from seeing a pretty Asian woman bloodying her own knuckles on Shane's face. The bartender's been worked over, cut and bruised and definitely not going to be in any shape to pour drinks any time soon.

But that's the only impression Zan has time for before Oz tackles him to the ground, the pair of them slamming against the concrete unkindly.

Jake awkwardly catches Cody around the shoulders, his sturdy form stumbling back just a single step. He glances down to the woman under his hands, though his eyes widen to see Oz going for the tackle. "Hey!" he barks out, roughly pushing Cody aside before he charges into the alleyway. His heroic charge is shortlived, as he pauses before the two on the ground, his uncertainty coming back…and he grabs at the back of Oz's coat, trying to drag him off the teenager.

Cody oofs, as she knocks into Jake, and turns. "Oh, heaven ta betsy, I'm so sorry! Y'know, you get a little shove and everything goes flying— whoop!" As Oz goes shooting after Zan, and Jake after Oz, Cody yanks a hand into her purse and pulls out a taser — a very nice taser, in fact! Very high quality — and goes running after. She moves to the side of the alleyway, trying to get good clearance on Oz. "This is your final warning!" she shouts, then asides to Jake, "When I say go, yer gonna wanna let him go. Just so y'know!"

Peyton hauls herself up to her feet, skinned hands and all. Dusting herself off and slightly-the-worse for wear, she retrieves the phone and completes the call, giving the nearest intersection and all that. By the way she looks across the street and takes a step, then stops, and keeps looking across the street, it seems that she's unsure whether to bail or go help.

Zan grunts, a heavy sound forced from him as he's tackled from behind. He hits the ground, Oz an unpleasant weight driving him into the asphalt, skinning hands and elbows and knees. It doesn't stop him, for the moment such trivial pain is ignored in favor of kicking himself free, turning and writing to get the man off and launch himself at the woman.

Oz is hauled off Zan and he gets to his feet for the sole purpose of turning to throw a punch at Jake's stomach. And it isn't a normal punch, either. Oz hits with force, his hand feeling more like a lead pipe than flesh and bone. It's enough to send Jake backwards.

But it also gives Zan the freedom to get to his feet, but by the time he does, Thea's ready for his launch and she lunges gracefully out of the way, her hands only touching him as he starts to pass her. She helps along his momentum, sending him head first into a piled of foul smelling garbage bags.

It really seems like no one is listening to Cody's warnings. But Peyton gets a good view as the scuffle breaks out while she chats to the operator.

Jake is putting his hands up defensively when Oz comes in, and he tries to block the punch, a look of horrible anticipation on his face. It hits solidly, like a lead pipe slamming into a brick wall, and Jake urks in pain, stumbling backwards. He barely manages to keep his feet, doubled over and face converted in a look of pain. He looks up at Cody, then down at her taser. Well? Any day now!

When Oz punches Jake, Cody winces, taser still leveled at the offending man. "Oooh, that looks like it hurt," she says, quite unhelpfully, but catching that look, she's reminded! Right! And she turns to hammer the button and release the electrifying cords into Oz's body. "I warned ya!" she shouts.

Since it's looking like they have things under control, Peyton stands firmly against risking life and limb to help out. The sounds and sights of the brawl seem to be attracting more and more folks, and into that little crowd she blends. Hand over her mouth, she just stares without knowing what more to do!

There's little attempt to stop himself from faceplanting into the garbage. But Zan wastes little time in trying to get out. He's on his feet again, half heartedly brushing the foul smelling clingers on from his shoulders as he starts toward Thea, a glance angling toward Shane before the woman gets his full attention. "C'mon, take Jughead over there and go home. He's had enough and I don't want to have to hit a girl. —You are a girl, right?"

"You underestimate him." It's all Thea says, from her stance in front of the beaten Shane below her, a hint of a smile coming to her lips as Cody fires.

The buzz of electricity follows the prongs as they rush Oz and latch onto the fabric of his shirt. For a moment, arcs of electricity shine over suddenly odd looking skin, before it goes out just as suddenly. And Oz, there in the dark alley, grabs the wires tangled in his shirt and gives them a yank.

"That was my favorite shirt." And now he's grumpy.

Out of the alley, Peyton stands with the spectators, some of them too blitzed out to know what's going on, giggling and stumbling over themselves. A fragile homeless creature crouches by the wall to pick up the camera, turning and flipping it this way and that before it disappears into his coat.

From somewhere a bit off, there's the clear sound of a whistle cutting the air, and both Thea and Oz look to one another and start to back off toward the back exit of the alley. Maybe they're taking Zan's advice.

Jake straightens up awkwardly as the prongs his Oz, rubbing a hand over his stomach and looking rather concerned and distracted about something. What could be distracting him from a fight and a mugging? When Oz just shrugs it off, though, Jake comes back to the real world, giving Cody something of a panicked look. Uh oh, now what? "Uh, hey…" he says, holding up his hands again, "Let's just hold on a second…" The look on his face says he's not entirely sure where he's going with this, or why he's saying it.

Cody's eyes widen. "Ohhh, sweet Aunt Jemima, that's not good," she breathes, and she grabs for her phone to dial in one hand, while she rustles in her purse with the other. She turns sharply in surprise at the whistle in the air, though. Huh?

As the fight just kind of stops, Peyton gives a bit of a shrug. It was a weird little brawl while it lasted, but from what she can see across the streetthe two instigators seem to pull up at that whistle. That being that, she figures there's no point in hanging around much more. It's easy enough to slide into the bar crowds and continue on home.

A look ticks toward Oz when the taser is fired, and Zan's face pales a little when the man just pulls the probes from his shirt and walks off. His attention returns to the woman, a look of almost shaky confidence leveled on Thea that doesn't waver again until the whistle sounds and she and her buddy walk off. The boy's gaze follows them, cautious, while his feet take him closer to Shane, a hand up offered to the stranger.

There's good fortune in the air tonight, at least for some, since the assailants don't appear to be making a return trip. Shane, however, doesn't seem to have shared in the luck. When Zan offers a hand to him, he moves mostly fueled by stubbornness. His hand his bloody, slippery, but he takes hold of Zan's all the same. But he mostly relies on the other man's strength to get him up. His other arm is held close to his body, his face is a mess. Were he a little more vain, that might upset him more than the rest of the damage. But he isn't, so he'll mourn his broken arm more than anything. For the moment, he just focuses on standing. And breathing. But there's an odd glance around at the others; a bit of a puzzle, they are.

Jake lets out a slow breath as the two just scurry away, running a hand back through his hair in bewilderment. He gives Cody a half-smile, "Good shootin'." Shane and Zan get a bewildered look before Jake goes to help, slipping an arm around Shane, taking over for the younger, less solidly built teenager. "I got 'im. Hey," he says to Shane, "We're gonna get you to a hospital, okay? You just hang on. Where do ya hurt?"

Cody smiles cheerfully, though a bit harriedly, at Jake, and puts the phone to her ear, turning away to have a quiet conversation. But it's kept very brief, and before long she's over at Shane's side too. "Oooh, that looks bad, fella. I think a hospital is just the place for you." She looks over at Zan, and adds, "You shouldn't go charging off into criminals like that! You coulda gotten killed! But, to be honest, it's a good thing y'did. This guy mighta not survived, ya know."

Zan lets Jake take over holding the man up, after all, it'll be hard enough explaining to his parents why he smells literally of garbage. The blood is another thing all together. Still, he looks like he might jump in and help the guy should Shane crumple again. "Yeah, well you all weren't doing anything and the guy was getting his ass kicked," he responds, looking at Cody for a moment. "As you said. Someone had to do something more than just talk."

Shane lets out a laugh, which is really just more of an amused exhale, at Jake's question. "Mostly at the casino tables," he mumbles, since it sounds more clever than 'everywhere'. But his smile is grateful as he leans on the construction worker for support. He's not arguing his need of medical attention, at least.

But he does shake his head a bit, wincing at the movement. "You guy's shouldn't have done that. Pissing those guys off." He stands as a bit of evidence as to why not, perhaps.

"Y'can get killed jumping in like that," Jake says, brows furrowed at Zan, "Plus, y'don't know if this guy didn't deserve the beating. Uh, no offense, man. But, y'know… Vegas an' all…" He shrugs one shoulder with a what-can-you-do? flair.

He chuckles at Shane's answer, "Well, at least they didn't break your funny bone, huh? Yeah, probably shouldn't've. But, in for a penny and all that… Least nobody had to get any more, hurt… who th' hell was whistling, though?" He looks to Cody, like she might have the answer.

Cody pats Zan on the shoulder a bit. "Well, that's what the young are for," she grins. To Shane, she shrugs. "Sir, I used to be a cop. I don't mind getting involved for the good of fellas like you. And anyway, the cavalry are on their way. Shouldn't be a problem." She gives him her most confident, certain smile, but Jakes question and expectant look get a confused shrug. "Shoot, I donno! I hoped you knew."

"Could've gotten killed just talking to that guy, too," Zan points out, frowning. He looks at Shane, shaking his head. Typical adolescent, either he's aware of the dangers and doesn't care, or doesn't care enough to consider the risk he just took. "Let 'em be pissed off. Who were they, anyway?"

"They were La Vida Mala," Shane says, and apparently he assumes they all know about Vegas' local gang, because he doesn't elaborate. Who they are individually doesn't seem to matter. But he dips his hair toward Jake at his observation, "No offense taken." It's a fair enough point.

And back up of one form or another comes, the sirens announcing their incoming presence telling which one is getting there first. Shane looks toward the sound, then toward the end of the alley where their audience is scattering at the noise. Even the ones unable to focus on much else know that particular sound.

Jake pales at the name of the gang. Zan can see the look of a man who knows /exactly/ what Shane is talking about. "Fuck!" Jake glances back the way Oz and Thea went, and starts to herd Shane gently but quickly towards the sirens. "Look, I'll drop you off with the medics, but then I'm gonna make myself scarce. You two should do the same," he says to Cody and Zan, giving them a serious look. Especially Zan. "La Vida Mala is bad news, and you don't want to get caught up in them. If you don't already know that."

Cody frowns deeply. "Oh, sugar, that's bad news." Somehow, the way she says 'oh sugar,' it's like one would say 'oh shit.' But she nods. "Let's get you to medical attention, sir, first thing. We'll work out the rest after." And with that, she starts to guide the group, taking up Zan's abandoned post as second crutch.

"Shit." Zan cringes, shaking his head when the gang is named. How's that going to look when his father finds out? Might be a fate worse than what the gang could dish out, judging by his own expression. His eyes squeeze closed and his hand, the one not covered in sticky blood, drags over his head to the back of his neck as he lets out a sighed, "Damn it," following the sirens. He sticks with the group until they're near the mouth of the alley, breaking off to collect his camera.

Shane merely nods at the group of them, understanding the sentiment well enough. He lets them get him to the ambulance that arrives, pausing only long enough to press a bloodied picture into Jake's hand before he passes out in the hands of the EMTs. It turns out to be of a girl in her late teens that looks enough like him to be family. His way of explaining things, perhaps.

Unfortunately, for Zan, by the time they get out of the alley, his camera is missing, lost to the body of hungry and drugged.

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