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Headhunting (Wild Hearts)

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No city in the whole of Ursa Madeum represented the renewed growth ushered in by the reign of Emperor Titus than the capital city itself, Andelusia. John supposed it only made sense that any rot should be purged from the heart of a nation; a bastion from which to usher in a new reign of prosperity. While under the rule of the Tyrant King, the city had descended into squalor, except for the very small portion that the man would have to look out his window and see. Now, the streets were pristine, and the buildings had begun to regain their previous splendor. New shops were opening up by the day, such as the coffee shop he now sat in with one of his newest employees, Oxidus Zurrok. After paying for their drinks, he began to fill the Troubleshooter in on why they were there.

"So you know of course that the Wild Hearts were founded in Taen. You may not know that we also like to expand with the Veluriyam Empire, and one of our newest markets is right here in Ursa Madeum."

John took a sip of his coffee before continuing, "For a while we were unopposed, but now some new players are after our market share. They call themselves Feel Good Inc. led by a man who calls himself, and I am completely serious, Dr. Happy. The good doctors actual name is Dr. Vincent Prospero, a famed chemist from Terrenus proper. His product is admittedly quite good, and if we don't act quickly, we may have a real problem here."

Draining his cup, he leaned forward, "That's where you come in. Me and you are going to convince Dr. Prospero to partner with us. If he resists, I will have you persuade him to do otherwise. Understand?"

@Laughingmad

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Oxidus nodded in response to John. "Dr. Happy... that's an interesting choice for an alias. Well, I'm sure it won't be too difficult to make him understand why working with us is his only option. If talking doesn't work, I have a few alternative methods in mind that should prove to be rather effective." Oxidus downed his coffee in one gulp. Not the best thing he'd ever tasted, but it suited him far better than alcohol of any kind. "So, where exactly is this Dr Happy? I imagine he won't just be hiding in plain sight."

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"You are partially correct," John replied, "He snapped up a decrepit piece of waterfront real estate on the docks, cleaned it up, and made it look like a legitimate shipping business. Perfect for somebody importing and exporting drugs. Follow me."

A quick walk through the streets later, the duo found themselves standing across the street from a building with a colorful sign declaring it as, "Worry Free Shipping." There was a chain link fence surrounded the front, with a gate the only means of ingress. Manning the gate was a bored looking guard sitting in a booth, seemingly dead to the world. John looked at Oxidus, and smiled.

"Security seems pretty loose huh? I bet you could just stroll right in."

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Yeah, I bet..." Oxidus walked up to the guard, looking him over and waving a hand in his face. When he got no reaction, he shrugged and approached the gate. He got firm grip of it and pulled back sharply, easily ripping it and part of the fence away, and tossed it aside. "I doubt they'll miss that very much." He walked through the newly made opening. "Okay, that was too easy. Surely he's set some kind of trap in case someone comes in uninvited." Oxidus looked over the entire area, trying to spot anything that looked strange or out of place.

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John watched Oxidus work and upon seeing him rip the gate off its hinges, he silently began to count in his head; getting to thirty seconds before determining no one was coming. Once this was clear, he walked over to join his employee, but stopped when he took another look at the guard in the booth. He walked over to get a better look, and on a hunch, took the guards pulse, finding it to be gone, and the mans skin cool and slightly clammy. A quick search of the booth revealed a spilled cup of coffee that he picked up and put to his nose. Through the strong scent of the coffee he also smelled something familiar; the metallic tang of a poison.

"Interesting." 

The crime lord walked over to the main building and forced the front door open; only to be welcomed by the sight of dead bodies, and the smell of the same poison he'd detected back at the security gate. Looking around, he saw a number of the same coffee cups around, leaving no doubt in his mind what happened. When Oxidus walked in, he would turn to him and speak.

"Search the place. If the Doctor is here, I want to know about it."

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Oxidus' sharp eyes spotted nothing out of the ordinary, nor could he hear any sounds of approaching footsteps. He scratched his head in confusion at the utter lack of resistance to their forced entry. The whole situation seemed highly suspicious. Oxidus followed After John to the front of the building as he forced the door open. The strong smell of poison and sight of dead bodies lying around were a bit overwhelming at first. "Well... this explains why getting in here was so easy."

On 1/15/2019 at 5:20 AM, danzilla3 said:

"Search the place. If the Doctor is here, I want to know about it."

"I'm on it. I just hope he's not a coffee person." Oxidus entered the building, stepping over bodies as he walked the halls. Around every turn and through every door were more bodies. He checked them all over, checking to make the sure the doctor wasn't among them, until at last he reached the top. "I've turned this place inside out, and I just keep finding more bodies. If he's still here, he can only be somewhere on this floor." He began searching the top floor hoping to find the doctor, preferably still breathing.

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"A reasonable deduction."

As he ascended the stairs, John listened for any signs of life from the upper floors, only to be rewarded with silence for his efforts. Of course, this did not preclude the possibility of assassins; who would be trained to get in and out while making a minimal amount of noise. But that didn't scan with the dead bodies down on the lower floor. If someone was trying to assassinate the Doctor, they were doing a poor job of cleaning up after themselves. Perhaps they didn't care if they were caught? But if that was the case, why not go in guns blazing? Things weren't adding up, 

Reaching the top of the stairs, he approached the sole door at the end of a small hallway, and directed Oxidus to stack up on the right side. From inside the room he could now hear heavy breathing, and the sound of papers rustling. He kicked in the door to be greeted by the sight of Doctor Feelgood stuffing the contents of a safe into his briefcase.

John grinned, "Dr. Feelgood I presume?"

The man froze for a moment, panic spreading across his face before he closed the case, and hopped out the window behind him.

John gestured to Oxidus, "Retrieve him won't you?"

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"This reminds me of a cheesy action movie I saw on TV once." Oxidus jumped out of window after the Doctor and pinned him down quickly. "Self-defenestration is a dangerous way to exit a building. Well, not for me, but you know what I mean." He picked him up and slumped him over his shoulder, then retrieved his briefcase. He tossed the briefcase up through the window first, then leaped high enough to grab the window sill with his free hand and pull himself and the Doctor in.

"The Doctor is in!" Oxidus set about closing and locking the window before letting the Doctor down from his shoulder. "That should deter any further attempts at escaping. I'm sorry we have to do business so aggressively, but we want you to work with us, and you don't have a say in the matter. So... what do you have to say to that?"

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"W-w-work with you?!" sputtered the Doctor, "You got it all wrong man! I'm tryin' to get out of the business!"

"Ah, that explains a few things," John spoke, sauntering towards the terrified man, "Like who it was that poisoned the office coffee pot."

Doctor Feelgood avoided the crime lord's gaze, "I-I don't know what you're talking about."

John laughed, "There's no use denying it doctor. I can smell it on you! I bet if I had my associate here turn out your pockets we'd find the substance in question wouldn't we? Should I have him do that?"

"NO!" the doctor blurted out, retrieving a glass bottle of some unknown liquid from his coat pocket and throwing it at his feet, "Okay man, you got me, I did it. Why do you care?!"

"Oh, I don't," John said nonchalantly, "If anything, this saves me the trouble of having to kill any of them who disagreed with the change in management. But it does leave me to wonder why you would decide to get out now?"

"Why? Because of you!" said the doctor, "I heard some crazy motherfucker from Taen was coming for my head, so I told the guys we should pack up and move to greener pastures. But they wouldn't hear it, and they threatened to kill me if I ran!"

"I see. Well it's you're lucky day my friend, be cause I'm not after you're head; just whats inside it."

"W-What?"

John crouched down before the man, "You see, I hear you make a good product, and I want to pay you generously to make that product for me."

"Generously?" asked the doctor cautiously, "How generously?"

"Quite! For one thing, you'll get to live to the end of this conversation. After that, I assure you, that you'll make at least as much as before, more with my distribution network."

The doctor swallowed, then nodded, "Well... you drive a hard bargain. I accept."

"Good!" John pulled the man to his feet and put his arm around him, "Let's go talk numbers. Oxidus my friend, would you mind sticking around until the clean up crew gets here? You can meet me back at the cafe afterwards"

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"Sure, I don't mind hanging around for a bit. I'll see you later." After John exited the room, Oxidus fished a small device out of his pocket. It looked mostly like a cellphone , but it's shape vaguely resembled rounded segments of an insect's body near the sides. It had angled, jagged stripes of bright neon yellow and green separated by thinner black stripes, and a lime green colored symbol resembling a backwards "2" with a long tail that crossed through a short vertical line. "Power on." With his command the screen lit up and displayed a background made up of brightly colored geometric shapes, mostly covered by numerous app icons.

Oxidus passed the time browsing the web until the aforementioned clean up crew came around, and absconded through the office window. He continued playing with his device the whole way back to the cafe, only looking away from it after walking through the door and joining his employer. "Hey boss, now we have the doctor on our side, where do we go from here?"

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John sat at the same table he and Oxidus had sat at earlier, a fresh cup of coffee in his hand as he waited for his employee. To his right, Dr. Feelgood sat nervously clutching his own cup, eyes darting from the crime lord to the Troubleshooter. Gesturing for Oxidus to sit down, he took a long sip of his beverage, and smiled at his employee's question.

"First we'll take the good doctor back to Lunaris, and get his set up with a new lab, and new assistants. After that, we'll spread his new product around our established supply routes along with our usual merchandise. While that's happening, we'll talk to the doctors distribution network in the area and inform them of the change in management. They'll either come on board... or take their leave."

He flagged down a waiter, "But for now, we simply enjoy the local cuisine. What'll you have?"

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SUMMARY: John Wilder and Oxidus Zurrok travel to the city of Andelusia to investigate a new drug dealer who is eating into their market share. The two travel to his hideout to find that all of the doctors men had been poisoned, and catch up with him just as he is about to flee. Doctor Feelgood doesn't get far before he is dragged back to John by Oxidus. The crime lord explains his plans for the doctor and his drugs, and the man agrees to work for him.

SHORT SUMMARY: The Wild Hearts go looking for a rival dealer in Andelusia.

@Csl @Ataraxy

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