Duke - Return On Investment

Description: It was a clean, simple job. Rob the Metro City's First National Bank. There should be no loose ends, no big issues. But there was a mistake made. A man had a certain number of assets waiting for transfer from the bank. A powerful man, with powerful connections. And when he learned about how one Geoff Steintz was involve, Duke was going to find him, and bring hell with him...

Geoff Steintz, a German business magnate in the pink pearl market, is quite the afficiando of all things nautical. He may deal in conch pearls from the Caribbean Sea, but he has collected many interesting pieces of art from all manner of pearls, from freshwater Chinese pearls, to the huge pearls of Philippino giant clams, even some ancient Kuwaiti pearls in Arab jewelry. He keeps most of it under lock and key, but if he's entertaining his friends from Metro City's jewelry industry and a few known members of the artistic caste, he breaks out many priceless treasures for display on his luxury yacht, the Falcon. The Falcon is anchored in view of the Metro City skyline, the glimmering towers and glowing buroughs of Metro creating quite the urban backdrop for his guests. And, of course, he has little security, since why would one ever expect a boat in American waters to fall prey to pirates?

It's been a few hours of the party, with an intriguing range of people present. Authors, musicians, business executives, the occasional classy Mafiaso contact, and of course, the servants. They all lounge about the yacht, eating the world class American seafood that has been prepared, from butter crumbed lobster hunks to scallops wrapped in bacon. Everyone is relaxed, everyone has full stomachs, and many people have had more than of Steintz's fine German beer and European liquor. There's a classic string quarter playing on the ship's main deck, their haunting baroque themes piped throughout the ship. And below deck is a small gallery of all the gathered art, the theme of treasure snatched from the deep strong. All together, there's millions here.

The first sign of trouble is when four servants, all of different Hispanic or African-Latino ancestry, disappear from their positions around the yacht. And alongside the yacht, a woman gasps, as a Colombian drug running submarine rises alongside the boat. She begins laughing, thinking it's part of the game. She stops laughing as the top hatch opens, and a man with a green goblin mask climbs out, throwing a grappling hook onto the yacht's rail, the hook pulling taut. Then, the four missing servants reappear with Goblin masks on, submachine guns in their hands. One of them, the tallest, jumps up onto a table as people scream, and he fires a submachine gun into the air. A radio jammer is activated, and the yacht is cut off from communications with the shore.

Steintz, on the main deck with a sophisticated woman with dark eyes in a little black dress, witnesses this. Geoff's eyes bug out, and he backs up, terrified.

COMBATSYS: Goblin Pirates has started a fight here.

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Goblin Pirates   0/-------/-------|

Mistakes were made.

When the Metro City's First National Bank was robbed, it certainly made waves. While the money itself was insured, the issue came around to the two million held for transfer. Ownership became a civil issue, and typically, lawsuits would be du jour. But the trouble was that mistakes were made that affected a single man. A man, who normally would be overseas, who happened to be in town. Who typically expected that his personal assets would be secure. The Metro City's First National Bank now had this man's attention, and so did these Goblins.

It took a great deal of effort, after all, to drawn the attentions of Duke himself.

The Southtown Syndicate enforcer rarely would sully his hands with dirty work. But Geoff Steintz had made himself a notable exception. When word reached him that his assets were stolen, the enforcer had made it his priority to make every single player regret their role in this play. When Mr. Brown tracked down the 'Montreal Mafia' and investigated their role, a place and two names turned up. The place? The Cayman Islands. The names? The first was a German Businessman named Geoff Steintz. The other? The Falcon, the name of his yacht. Duke decided that he would have a night about town, and have a meeting with this Geoff Steintz.

It would be a night they both would remember.

The towering, dark-skinned enforcer was clad in a three piece suit; black slacks, a red vest, and a red jacket. A fur-trimmed cape was drapped over his shoulders. Fixed squarely in the palm of his hand, the towering man kept a mahogony cane beside him. In the other? A glass of brandy. While he nearly opted for the hat, he decided that he would let his salt and pepper hair be exposed. He was mingling suitably; his background given? Owner of the Il Paradiso, which was not a lie in the least. After discussing shop about the next season and its selection, and the dwindling cultural presence of Metro City, Duke had hoped to go up to Geoff Steintz, and begin discuss further business.

But it seemed that Geoff Steintz had other committments.

The goblin-masked goons were coming on. A piracy action... by men in goblin masks. The dark-skinned titan takes another sip of his glass, glowering at the invaders in disinterest. Looking up at the main deck, he focuses his eyes on Geoff Steintz. The yacht was now locked down. It seemed that an opportunity to have a private meeting with Geoff would be coming very, very soon. He didn't have to make his move yet. Let the pirates cull the crowd. Let them do the dirty work. ANd when the time was right?

It would be time for business.

"Nobody move!" shouts the pirate standing on the table, as his submachine gun's barrel emits a haze of smoke from the heat of firing the burst. He lowers his gun and points it at the crowd, sweeping the weapon back and forth, a second pirate standing to his left and pointing his weapon straight forward. To their right, a nautical ladder is tossed over the side of the boat, and another pirate secures it in place. There's a brief discussion in Spanish over the side of the boat, before the pirate extends his left arm down and the pirate from the submarine is hoisted over. The last pirate walks through the parting crowd, directly at Geoff Steintz. "Mister Steintz," he says venomously, a thick Dominican accent apparent. "The keys."

Geoff glares at the man in the freakish green mask, spitting at him. The goblin then swings his gun up, smashing the butt of the weapon into Steintz's face. Geoff emits a weak, deep moan, falling backwards. The goblin kneels over him, searching his pockets, before rising with the keys. Geoff spits blood and turns onto his side, dragging himself away, as the pirate turns around and raises the keys to the treasure over his head. There's a collective cry of victory from the other four pirates. The fifth goblin, of course, has his back to Duke now, having barely noticed the guest, thanks to the limited view of the mask he wears. It does not look like they intend on killing anybody. This shows the professionalism of the raid, since it allows for minimal police presence after the fact.

They had wasted his time.

RThe enforcer was normally a fan of professionalism. This was a perfectly well coordinated robbery. The speed was impressive, the lack of kiling just as stunning. The Southtown Syndicate capo would even consider hiring these men, if he didn't have to make an example of every single one. He was willing to wait to let them deal with the other passengers. But if this was simply a raid, without hostages, without killing, without any progress that served Duke's interest...

Well, it suddenly was no longer in the brute's interest for this raid to continue unopposed.

Duke tucks his cane under his arm, and carefully pulls off each of his gloves. Tucking them into his jacket, he finishes his glass, and tosses it overboard. Returning the cane to his palm, he strides across to the fifth pirate. His impressive was grim, and his stroll was gallant. The other pirates, if they notice it in time, could see that this passenger was about to make trouble. The action, however, might surprise them. Duke would simply lift the fifth pirate up by his next with his one hand. And there, he would just squeeze. Squeeze with the staggering power of the Man that Hell Spat Out. Squeeze with that crushing force...

Until he could hear that satisfying snap.

COMBATSYS: Duke has joined the fight here.

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Duke             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

COMBATSYS: Goblin Pirates blocks Duke's Medium Throw.

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Duke             0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

As Duke strides forward, the pirate on the table, with the best vantage point, shouts in Spanish. The pirate with the keys looks over his shoulder and turns as Duke grabs him, in term to clap his hand onto Duke's wrist as he's lifted into the air. He kicks and struggles with Duke, holding the wrist as his neck is squeezed by that strength. The ring of keys clatters to the ground as the party goers part in terror of the fight - and awe of Duke - giving them plenty of space. As the pirate in Duke's grasp struggles, he thrashes his legs at Duke multiple times, swinging his legs at Duke over and over again, until he's either released or mangled again.

The pirate atop the table pops the clip out of his submachine gun, and pops a fresh one in, this one with red duct tape around it. The other three pirates mimic this process, ditching their regular clips and loading up with red-striped clips. The one on the table points his gun at Duke, but doesn't fire while his friend is tangled up, and the other three take positions at the sides of, and in front of the table, forming a basic firing line to gun down Duke.

COMBATSYS: Duke endures Goblin Pirates' Synchronized Beating.

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Duke             0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

Ah, they had some fight in them.

The sheer presence of the titanic brute was running through the very crowd. Duke was, as it mattered, one of the strong arms of the Southtown Syndicate. As he snatches up his victim, he seemed surprised that he didn't get that satisfying snap. Instead, the man was struggling, kicking him again and again into the towering man's torso. Not small kicks, either, but hard blows, again and again. The Duke's body burns, bruises forming across his body. He narrows his yellow eyes at his victim, taking in a deep breath as he seems to ignore the others.

And then, a rich, deep laugh comes from the enforcer.

"Is this the best from you?" He roars as blow after blow slams into his body. Still gripping the cane, he winds himself back. "Don't worry, I will let you go." With a pivot, he hurls the pirate hard across the deck, straight for the pirate upon the table. He did not seem to need a hostage. The towering brute seemed to be unfazed at all at the guns being loaded in front of him. "I must warn you." Comes the deep rumble.

"I wouldn't be so rash as to mess up my suit."

COMBATSYS: Goblin Pirates blocks Duke's Huge Thrown Object.

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Duke             0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

There's a scream as the kicking pirate is hurled through the air, his submachine gun going flying from his grip as he hurtles at his friend. The pirate atop the table drops down low, ducking with his left hand on the white cloth atop the table, his ally flying over his head. The flying goblin lands behind the table, bouncing across the deck and skidding to a halt. He does not get back up, apparently knocked unconscious. The four remaining pirates ignore their colleague, since none of them know each other's real names anyways. Just codenames, as is the Dungeon Master's wont.

The three pirates on the ground begin to advance as the civilians present crowd backwards, Steintz long gone and disappeared into one of the ship's cabins to hide. They keep their guns trained on Duke, spreading out, with one directly in front of him, and the other two near either rail of the boat. Then, the pirate on the table stands back up, and fires a burst from his gun, each bullet followed by a red hot tracer that blazes in the night, causing a steady pulse of phosphorous and lead to fly at Duke. The vanguard trio stop as the firing happens, apparently having been drilled to handle this possibility.

COMBATSYS: Duke endures Goblin Pirates' Molotov Cocktail.

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Duke             0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

Ah, Willie Ps.

As Duke hurls his victim away, he turns his attention to the others. It was difficult to track them in the darkness. His original victim was gone, out of sight. But the man on the table... he was in the man's yellow sights. Thundering towards him, a spray of bullets come, the volley striking him squarely in the chest. The hiss of smoke and flame erupts up, and Duke stops cold. Looking down at his chest, he could FEEL the pain. For a moment, the man looked like he was walking dead. But there is a rumble, that goes deep into the bones of all around him.

"Now." The enforcer rumbles.

"Now you have made your mistakes."

As the man's flesh smolders, the phosphorous eating through his body, the boss finally slows down slightly. The pain was agonizing, running through him as it consumed him. The titan's arms tremble as they tighten, the Duke's anger coming force. And with it, the deck suddenly illuminates, as a wave of violet-red flames boils forth from his body, from under his sleeves. The raw chi energy roars through his form as he picks up speed to the offender opening fire. With a heave, he unleashes a stomp upon the deck of the ship.

The ship keels hard to the side on impact.

Waves of chi come exploding out in a shockwave, straight for the man on the table.. and everything else around him. If the blast wings him, or forces him off the table, it would lure the titan to follow up the assault with an enrage burst of speed, surprising speed. The pirates had tactics, they had training. But Duke? Duke had power. He was surging across the deck, his free arm wound back, the other still clutching the cane, eyes dead on the offending gunman.

Before unleashing a skeleton-shattering punch aimed right in the solar plexus.

COMBATSYS: Duke successfully hits Goblin Pirates with Seismic Impact EX.

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Duke             0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

The three pirates before Duke are sent flying off their feet, their guns flying out of their hands, as the pirate on the table shifts and shakes, struggling to stay on the table. Then, as Duke comes flying forward, his face freezes beneath his mask, before the fist slams into his solar plexus. The man's ribcage shatters, his body falling to the ground after the savage impact like a sack of meat. He's dead, quite dead. The other three pirates climb to their feet, shaken from the waves of chi, as the people on deck scream and crowd into the yacht's hold, to hide from the chaotic fight.

The three goblins that remain on their feet, despite being shaken from the chi waves, rush at Duke from behind with their bare hands, charging full force with desperate rage. The trio attempt to grab onto Duke's shoulders and neck, and begin kicking and punching him, swarming around him in a triangle. This job went south fast, as they've been completely outgunned. The team is in chaos, merely reacting by instinct, no longer using their training.

COMBATSYS: Duke endures Goblin Pirates' Gang-Up Beating EX.

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Duke             1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

Let them come.

The Southtown Enforcer was unstoppable. He could be slowed, yes. And as the phosphorous continues to chew through his body, he could clearly feel pain. But as he unleashes a single, killing punch into his next victim, he did not care. Plumes of chi energy was cascading from his body, the violet-red energy boiling forth from him as he draws his fist back. On his face was the same grim confidence. As the remaining three climb on top of him, he stands fast, their blows coming. They could feel the flesh give, the body break. Every blow came like a hammer into him; they were tearing them apart. A growl comes from Duke as he raises his arms up. There is a single, boiling rise of the chi energy.

And he throws his arms down.

Another shockwave of chi comes, exploding out from around him. The flames roar out with the slam, tearing apart anything in its path. The explosion of energy rolls out, tearing across the deck again. Tables are blown off the ship, chairs are sent flying. It is as if a bomb erupted right upon the surface of the deck, blowing out, instead of in. The pirates are at ground zero, which may very well be the safest place to be; the blast is going out and forward. If they manage to cling to the body, and not react by going AWAY from Duke... well.

They might be able to survive, at least.

COMBATSYS: Duke knocks away Goblin Pirates with Sledgehammer.

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Duke             0/-------/-----==|=======\====---\1   Goblin Pirates

The three men are sent flying in all directions, two of them sailing over the edges of the boat and into the cold Atlantic to drown unconscious, the last one being hurled across the length of the boat, disappearing from sight in the dark. There's an odd, eerie silence...

"AHHHH!" comes a scream as the remaining thug runs directly at Duke, the scream not meant to startle or intimidating, but to increase the charging man's bravery. He holds a knife in his hand, and he leaps at Duke, attempting to mount him with a pounce, then start stabbing downwards into Duke with the small blade, attempting to find any part of his face possible to sink the knife in as deep as he can.

COMBATSYS: Duke interrupts Gang Warfare from Goblin Pirates with Quick Throw.

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Duke             0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0   Goblin Pirates

Duke stands there, in the dark, as the flames die down.

The enforcer breathes heavily, the smoldering bullets continuing to dig their teeth into his body. It was agonizing. But now, there were none. Two splashes. And one figure that did not land in the water. After a moment, it seemed that the pirates were dealt with. Duke strides forward, scanning around for the three bodies still on the deck.

And then the scream comes.

Duke's instincts take over, as his hands lash out. He grabs the attacker by his shoulders, lifting him up. In response, the blade comes deep into Duke's cheek, tearing him open a glasgow smile in his left. Baring his teeth, he jostles the man hard. Staring into the mask, the enforcer's cheek... begins to seal itself up, the wound closing before his eyes. His arms tightening, he hurls the man to the ground before him, smashing him straight into the deck. There was at least one survivor left.

He would keep him alive.

The leaping pirate is caught mid jump by Duke, lifted into the air as his knife finds flesh. Then, as he's shaken, the knife falls from his hand, and the man's hidden face contorts in terror as he sees the cut close itself. "Madre mia..." he mutters through the distortion of rubber, before he's driven straight into the deck, cracking the wood. He lays there, dizzy and completely outclassed, slowly pulling his mask off and breathing heavily. He's looks up at Duke, terrified and dazed, before his eyes slowly move across the ground to his nearby knife. He suddenly reaches out as hard as he can and grabs it, attempting to jam it down into Duke's foot, the attack so quick and strenuous that it causes him to pass out from exhaustion.

COMBATSYS: Goblin Pirates can no longer fight.

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Duke             0/-------/--=====|

COMBATSYS: Duke endures Goblin Pirates' Intercepting Strike.

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Duke             0/-------/=======|

He should have stayed down.

As the man drops, Duke was ready to let him lay there. But as a last burst of spite, the knife comes, driving into his foot. The thing about his strength was that he could endure countless abuse... but it hurt all the way. Eyes burning with the energy, he lunges down to grab the man in rage. His chest was still burning, as he rips him into the air. He had half the mind to hurl him overboard.

But he doesn't release him.

He heaves him under his arm, carrying him like a sack of salt. Striding across the deck, every step came in pain. His body was still burning, he was in agony. But he had a purpose being here. Bending over again, he picks up the keys that were dropped before with curiosity, he strides across the deck. "Steinz." Comes the rumble as he steps through the ship. He begins to approach the main cabin.

"Do not make me find you, Steinz."

Steintz pokes his head out of the cabin door, still with some blood on his chin. "Wh-what do you want..." he says, terrified, looking at the pirate under Duke's arm. "You...You stopped them...Thank you! I'll give you money...How much do you want?" he says, as the rest of the party's guest huddle in the museum hold with all the priceless artifacts, terrified. On the yacht's bridge, the crew successfully hails the mainland, now that the jammer shuts off from a mysterious source.

In a shadowy room far away, lit only by the latest Apple technology's computer monitors, a slow hand reaches into a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch. A feed is on one of the monitors, of the ship, from a camera planted by one of the pirates. There's a crunching sound, as the mysterious figure crushes some chips in his hand out of rage.

Duke looks around, grimacing.

He had intended to break the German. He had intended to wring out answers from him. He had intended many things to do with the man. But instead of bringing fear down below, he had brought... hope. He ended up saving these people, and saving their wealth. He had not intended to be a hero.

But it served no purpose to start breaking him now.

He would speak with Geoff Steintz later. He would come to him with an open hand, instead of a closed fist. In any case, he would have his prize first, without the police coming. The captured pirate would have some answers... just like what Geoff would have. He would get to the bottom of who stole what was his. And when he found him?

An example would be made.

Log created on 17:43:43 12/22/2015 by Duke, and last modified on 22:39:59 12/22/2015.