Percival, the Mastermind
Percy, formerly the heir of a Fortune 500 company, sat alone at a greasy airport bar, half asleep at eleven in the morning. He stared into the glass of scotch he’d been sipping at intermittently and absentmindedly tapped his long fingers along the bar.
“Attention all passengers, please be advised,” A voice too perky for the time of day and the setting began to speak over the intercom. “Flight 450 to Vasselheim has been delayed an additional three hours due to inclement weather. We apologize for any problems this may have caused, and have a nice day.”
Percy groaned. If he didn’t leave this bar now, he would most certainly be drunk on another flight, which was never a good idea. Patting his pockets, he began to look for his wallet, which, of course, was nowhere to be found.
“Of fucking course.” He rummaged through his pockets again.
“Put his drink on my tab,” A voice comes from the far side of the bar. A woman, maybe mid-thirties, with long blonde hair tied away from her face, stands at the other end of the bar. She tosses down a twenty- more than enough to pay for the drink, and downs her own drink in a fell swallow.
“And who might you be?” Percy cocks an inquisitive eyebrow.
“Someone who needs the skills of Percy De Rolo, Private Eye.” She walks in to a more comfortable speaking distance. “Allura Vysoren. I’m-”
“Oh, I know who you are.” Percy shakes his head a touch. “CEO of Cloudtop Avionics, and advisor to many a government ear in Tal’Dorei. My only question is what you want from a PI like myself.”
“A… friend of mine has been missing for the past few days,” Allura takes a few glossy photos from her cream-colored handbag. “She’s got a penchant for trouble.”
“You want me to find her?” Percy sighs, beginning to walk away. “Look, lady. I don’t work fidelity cases, and I’m sure your girlfriend isn’t cheating on you.”
“It’s not a fidelity case.” She says. “She’s a cop. And not my girlfriend, but that hardly matters right now.”
Percy takes in the details, the possibilities. (There was no way Allura wasn’t dating this cop “friend” of hers, there was far too much longing in her voice, not to mention the tinged redness around her eyes and nostrils pointing to a recent cry.) “If she’s a cop, why aren’t her co-workers doing the thing you want me to do?”
“They’ve given up,” Allura explains. “Say she went after someone she couldn’t beat, too powerful. You, on the other hand. You can pick up where the law leaves off.”
“I can’t do this, not on my own.” Percy scans the photos, looking for clues. “She was last seen in Emon?”
Allura nods. “You don’t even have to look for help. I have a crew, some of the best. All I need is for one honest man to keep them on track. How much are you making with your standard PI work? Double it. That’s what I’m paying.” She passes him a folder, which he takes a moment to flip through.
“You’re insane, you know that?” Percy shakes his head. “This is never going to work.”
“It’s the best shot I’ve got,” Allura says. “Are you in?”
Despite his intentions for the day, Percy found himself leaving the airport, on his way to meet some of the wildest criminals Exandria has seen in a long time.
Greyskull Keep, a property owned by Cloudtop Avionics, was to be their home base. Percy didn’t know what to think, but he certainly did not expect the vast skyscraper that loomed many stories above the majority of buildings in Emon. He thought through the team again, they were clever, but not the ones he would have chosen. Loitering outside Greyskull, Percy got to work.
His first step was to get a computer wiz, and not the one suggested by Allura. This was to be his team, he’d pick who he wanted. Percy produced a slim phone from his coat pocket and sent a quick text to the hacker he only knew as Tempest. They’d done work for him in the past and would meet up with him (he hoped) for the amount of money Allura was offering.
The thief he had less of a say in. Despite having run into them along the underbelly of Tal’Dorei, he had not met the twins in person. Allura’s notes said one of the two should be at a nearby cafe in about an hour. Last step: the team needed some serious muscle. He didn’t really know where he could get any, but Allura had a few ideas.
“C’mon, Tempest.” He muttered, checking his phone.
“Hi there,” Someone taps his shoulder. He turns, taking in the young woman standing there. She gives a small wave. “Percy?”
“Tempest?” He asks. “I’m impressed you came to meet me in person.”
She smiles. “You got it. For that much money, I’d do almost anything.” She tucks a lock of bright red hair behind her ear and adjusts the big laptop bag on her shoulder. “Well. Tell me more about the job.”
“We’re meeting another member in a little while.” He relaxes slightly, having another person in the group was much easier. “But we’re down some muscle unless you know of someone.”
“I have an idea.” Keyleth scuffs her shoe on the ground. “I’ll meet up with her after we get the thief.”
“Great. Here’s what I need you to do.”
Vax, the Thief
It was hard for Vax to sit without his sister. But this was part of the protocols they had initiated for contact for a new job: no working for the same person twice, constant communication on and off the job, no blackouts, and only one scouts a job, the other keeps a wary eye.
“6 o’clock, Shitbird. They’re coming in now.” Vex’s cranky voice comes in through his ear. She wanted to meet the mark this time, but Vax beat her to it. Besides, they wanted a thief, not a con.
“Good eye, stubby.”
“Are you saying you didn’t catch that?” He can practically hear her smirking.
“I’m saying, good eye.” He catches a glimpse of their contact. “Now hush.”
“Good afternoon.” The young man says, and Vax can hear his sister practically sigh.
“You didn’t say he was cute!” She hisses.
“You know, I saw a mockingbird in the park today.”
“What color was the mockingbird?” Vax takes a sip of his coffee.
“Black,” Their contact takes a seat, pulling open another chair for the young woman next to him. She takes the seat, removing her aviator sunglasses to reveal hazel-green eyes.
“Must have been a raven.” Vax extends his hand. “Vax. A pleasure to meet you.”
“Percy.” He shakes, grasp firm. “This is Tempest.”
“What can you tell me about this job?” Vax leans back in his chair. “I normally don’t take corporate jobs. They result in espionage charges, which I like to avoid.”
“Funny, I’d think the world’s greatest thief would be able to avoid charges.” Percy takes out the folder Allura had given them. “We’re helping the law, rather. Bailing out a dumbass cop who got in too deep with the Orthax crime family.”
“And why do I care about a dumbass cop?” Vax looks through the photos.
“Because her girlfriend has deep pockets.” He smiles. “Allura Vysoren is desperate for her back, and she’s paying for this job. Enough to fund many many more of those long rip jobs your sister is so fond of.”
Vax’s eyes narrow.
“She stays out of this, you hear me?” Vax leans in. “You wanted a thief, I will do it. But she stays clean. This whole thing reeks of bad ideas and a setup.”
“Great!” The redhead smiles, and Vax would be lying if her tone didn’t soften him just a little bit. “Now we go get our muscle, and we can begin.”
Pike, the Muscle
A hospital was maybe the last place one would expect to find Captain Pike Trickfoot, former medic to the Tal’Dorei Armed forces. Most who knew her from her military or mercenary days didn’t know more than the small bundle of rage, which made Sarenrae’s Children’s Hospital such a good hiding place for her. She let her guard down, however. That was the only explanation for the ragtag group to be able to sneak up behind her while she was listening to embarrassing pop music and mopping puddles.
A soft cough was what startled her, and she whirled around, pointing the handle of her mop into the neck of a young man standing behind her.
“Pike!” Hearing the familiar voice, Pike sighed, just a touch. “We need your help.”
“What do you want, Tempest?” She asked, dropping her mop and pulling out her earbuds. “I patch you up one time, and you think you can come to me for free care?”
“We are in need of your… special skills.” The dark haired man eyed her. Shorter than average, with white hair and scrubs that were likely covered in someone’s blood, vomit or other bodily fluids, she was hardly intimidating.
“My special- Tempest.” Pike sighed. “Or whatever the fuck you want to be called. No. I’m past that, and I won’t do it, especially not for whatever server you want access to or shit you want to steal.”
“What about for true love?” Tempest, Keyleth, whichever name she was using, turns on her puppy dog eyes.
“Don’t pull that shit, I will use your real name, I have no qualms about that.” Pike crosses her arms. “What do you mean, true love?”
“Don’t tell me you don’t believe in it?” Tempest looked aghast. “We’re rescuing someone, Pike. Her girlfriend wants us to find her.”
“She’s a cop,” the man she had threatened with her mop speaks up. “In too deep with the Orthax crime family. We’re going to get her out.”
“What’s the take?” Pike narrows her eyes.
“I’ve seen what you make in a year,” Keyleth says. “Double that for about three weeks work. Plus a vacation to sunny Kraghammer.”
“Kraghammer is 90% underground.” Pike sets the mop against the wall. “But I’ll go. Not as muscle, but you’ll need a healer if you’re dealing with a missing cop. Won’t be pretty.”
“That’s all well and good, but we still need-” Pike cuts of the white-haired man.
“I’ve got a man for you. We go get him, his cut comes from mine. He’ll be your muscle.”
“Fine by me,” he says. “I’m Percy, this is Vax. You know Tempest.”
Pike snickers. “Tempest. Yeah. I’ll check out for today, get some time off, we go get Grog.”
Grog, the Muscle
There was nothing in the world Grog enjoyed more than a good fight. Maybe a good drink. He nodded his head intently, even though Pike was talking to him through a cell phone.
“So, we’ve got a job.”
Grog kept nodding.
“Grog, buddy. You gotta tell me if you’re up for it.”
“Oh, right. Yeah,” Grog cleared his throat. “How much was it, again?”
Pike repeated the number, and Grog cleared out his ear, clearly, he hadn’t heard that right.
“Grog, it’s more than seven.”
Percy, hearing this, became more than a little concerned. “Pike, are you sure about this guy.”
“Hey,” She presses the phone to her shoulder. “You need 200-odd pounds of muscle to hit things with, this is who I have. Don’t ask him to plan and we’ll be set.”
Percy nods. “Tell him we’re picking him up in 15.” He leans against the seat of Pike’s black sedan, waiting for her to finish the call. Percy’s full of a restless energy, and his brain is going a million miles an hour.
“Focus,” He says to himself. “Focus. You got this, think.”
Percy begins to plan.