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Catch The Rabbit Started by: Billy_Mastrosimone on Sep 25, '19 13:51

Kina took the lead as Hiram eyed her nervously. Of course Christian would leave her with him. Christian chastized him for his overprotectiveness, but she knew it was all talk. In truth, he liked keeping Hiram around Kina since her promotion. He was like a bodyguard, but better... and that was an advantage, so long as he kept his emotions in check. With any luck at all, she wouldn't have to remind him of her rank today. 

Tapping on the door aroused a grumbling pair of suspicious eyes from behind the grated peep door, "We ain't open ye..." The man's anger trailed off as he sized Kina up, "Well, hello, my little china doll. Tell me those sweet lips are looking for work, cuz we could use your kinda exotic in our shows." 

Hiram lurched forward, fury on his tongue as he prepared to come to her rescue. But the single slightest glance from Kina stopped him in his tracks... drawing a curious look from the man in the club. Without a word, Kina fished a wad of folded bills from her purse and held them up between two fingers, "You're open. Now.

For a moment the man hesitated. Who did this chink bitch think she was? But as his gaze wavered between them, the spark of understanding began to spread across his features. The blue eyes, fine threads - all black, enough money to own the whole street - tossed around like chump change, the commanding airs... the man's eyes went wide as he scurried to unlock the door. "Yes, ma'am. I'm sorry ma'am. I meant no offense, I swear." The man whimpered as the door swung open, bringing him face to face... well, more like face to chest with Hiram. Leaning down, he ruffled the man's hair condescendingly. "It won't happen again," Hiram commanded, moving past the guy before he could even nod his agreeance. 

Pacing the club, Hiram eyed the stages, halls, and bar... his keen eyes assessing the layout and the exits. Kina, staying by the door, spoke with the doorman. "Relax. We've no intention of causing trouble," she reassured him, handing the man Jethro's photo. "This man is a person of interest to our family. We believe he may have witnessed or had a hand in recent events that could have an effect on our holdings. So, if you have any information that might help us secure those holdings, you'd be in our debt." She smiled with syrupy sweetness, knowing the promise of having a favor to call in later would lube any ass holes gears on this side of town. 

"If you would allow me," she crooned, lulling the man into a false sense of comfort and control, "I would like to show this picture to your girls and see if anyone has encountered him. Given his character, it's safe to assume these wouldn't have been pleasant encounters for your workers. And I'd be happy to give them some peace of mind... and whatever small amount of dignity and justice I can... if they have information that might help us track him down." Nudging the picture toward him, Kina nodded as he looked it over. 

"Yeah, yeah,"  the man nodded with noticeable surety, "I know that mug. He's been in here once or twice a week for the last month or so. And the girls ain't too keen on him as of late." Handing her back the picture, he turned and moved toward the back of the building, motioning for Kina to follow, "Gimme one sec. I'll get the girls outta the dressing rooms. Everybody ain't here yet. But I'm sure them that are'll want to talk to you. One sec."  

Pulling up a plush armchair, Kina reclined like an Egyptian queen as the man roused the women - who lined up as if for inspection... more than a few of them eyeing Hiram like a hungry badger, the others nervously fidgetting like inmates on death row. "Alright," Kina addressed them softly, "Deep breaths, Ladies. We're not here for you." Flipping through her still-out stack of cash, Kina handed each girl a $100 bill in turn before handing the rest of the stack to the owner. Returning to the women, Kina handed the picture to the first in line, "Pass that down, please. Each of you take a look. I think you know this man. And, if my suspicions are correct, at least one of you wishes you didn't. My family is looking for him, and anyone that can help us with any information will have our debt." 

Kina and Hiram waited patiently as each woman evaluated the picture, nodding softly as the whispered amongst themselves. After a few moments, a scantily clad black woman stepped forward to speak for the group. "Yeah. We know him. He's always in different clothes when he comes in. Said he like to 'role play'. He was alright for the first couple of times... but the more he came, the rougher he got." Several of the others piped up in agreement, nodding enthusiastically. "He was in here last week. Offered Lydia $3000 for a private session at his hotel. Who could pass up three grand, you know," the woman shook her head. "He mussed her up real bad. Twisted shit. Broke her fucking leg and still had his way. Left the poor girl passed out at the hospital with a stack of cash on her tits." 

Frowning at Hiram, Kina shook her head. "Fucker." Breathing deeply, she rubbed the bridge of her nose before continuing, "Okay. That's helpful. Does anyone know where he took her before that? And might you remember what kind of clothes he wears? Uniforms? Companies? Anything will help." 

The assumed spokeswoman smiled and nodded, "Yeah. We got you, Moll." Stepping over to the bar she snatched a napkin and a pen, writing down an address before each of the girls took turns listing anything and everything they remembered him wearing: janitor's jumper, police uniform, three-piece suit, street clothes, power company jumpsuit, tool belt... a whole list of utility outfits. Obviously this guy fancied himself a master of disguise. But, one girl stepped forward and handed Kina a second napkin. "This is a place off-broadway. They make props and costumes. One of my friends curates there and fixes my outfits sometimes. I saw their tag in a couple of his uniforms. It may be nothing. But if it helps... break his fucking legs." 

Kina smiled and nodded, "Don't you worry, love. I'll see to it that he gets everything that's coming his way. And..." she trailed off, glancing over her shoulder at Hiram as she continued, "We'll see to it that Lydia is taken care of while she heals? If the club will hold her position." Hiram nodded. The owner nodded. Kina nodded, before exchanging hugs with each of the women. 

Heading for the door, Kina handed the owner a card with Billy's number written on the back. "If he comes in tonight, do whatever you have to do to keep him here, and call this number immediately." 

With a firm handshake, the man nodded in agreeance before closing the door behind them and locking it tight. Reaching for Hiram's arm, Kina rounded the corner and headed for the Squirrel. "We should find Christian. I have a bad feeling." 

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Christian nodded to Sam and downed his drink, slipped his jacket back over his shoulder, and stood from his stool. Pulling a card from his pocket, he slid it across the counter. "Big guys, if you have any trouble..." he waved the two bodyguards over. "You're in my part of the city. Let's see if we can't get ahead of any issues."

The bartender looked at the card... "Black Label Legacies, huh? That's got a nice ring to it." Christian smirked, and the two bodyguards exchanged glances. The blue eyes, the black on black suit, that air of superiority? It all made sense now. The Black family...

"Umm, boss?" the bigger of the two men called to the bartender. "You know who that fella is? He's one of them Blacks. You've heard the name Christian Black, right? I think that's one of them, maybe Hiram and what's the other one? Salvatore? Lost their brother Sullivan a few years back in Seattle? They, um... They're a strong alliance for us if you think that's wise..."

Christian chuckled and offered a hand to the bartender. "A pleasure to meet you, properly, Mr..."

"James, James Blunnht. Most call me Jamie though."

"Mr. Blunnht, Christian Black..." It was always fun to watch people's eyes nearly roll back in their heads when they realized he wasn't one of his brothers, but was the head of the family himself... Timmy's uncle fell back in his seat and stared as Christian's gaze landed on him. A wink, and a nod to the two and Christian turned. "Come Sam, we should meet the others and see if they've gathered anything." Christian reached in his pocket again and pulled his money clip, leaving a hundred on the counter.


As the two left the bar James, Timmy, and Uncle Danny exchanged a glance. "So that was Mr. Black himself, hmm?" James asked, tapping the counter. "Maybe it wouldn't be so bad."

Timmy smirked, "They actually seemed pretty nice to be connected..."

Danny shrugged. "I've heard things, boys. They ain't right... But they're good for business. There's somethin' off 'bout them Black boys though... Somethin' strange."

All three men shrugged, but went back to their daily business. Maybe James would call and chat with Christian after all...


As Christian and Sam walked to the car, he noticed Hiram and Kina down the street. Waving them on, he hurried to the vehicle.

"Come, come. Let's go. Sam, take the wheel... We've got an address. What did you two get?"

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Passing the napkins to Christian through the open window, Kina slid quickly into the backseat, followed by Hiram in short order. "We got an address and a possible supplier," she said pointing to each address in turn. "The dancers said he took one of their girls back to this address for some overtime fun some time ago and mussed her up pretty bad. Left her outta commission, and they haven't seen him since. These," she motioned to the various uniforms and companies, "Are all the outfits they remembered him wearing. Said he comes in in different shit all the time. Never the same company." Motioning to the other nappy, she continued, "This place is out on broadway. One of the girls said she was the tag on a couple of the guy's uniforms. Said she thought they might be costume rentals." 

Glancing between Christian and Sal with a notable nervousness, Kina hesitantly asked: "Anything match up? We got something to go on?" She was getting antsy, it was clear. It was time to move... before anything else came crashing down on this city. 

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Christian nodded as he looked over the napkins. "Mhmm. That's the address to the Paradise Inn Motel where the muscle in the Squirrel mentioned our Mr. Springer was staying." He frowned. "And if the costumes are any indication that our man likes disguises, he's going to look like he belongs -anywhere- he goes... We need to hit the motel. Hopefully he's home, but if not, maybe we'll get answers..."

New York 1:15 PM Same Day Paradise Inn Motel


Sam pulled the car into the drive and pointed out a green truck matching the description they'd been given. That was a good sign that they were on the right track.

"Let me out at the front desk, I'll go and see if our clerk knows where our man is staying."

Sam pulled up to the front of the motel and Christian stepped out, Hiram moving to come too until he was met with Christian's hand. "No, stay... It will be easier with one of us." With a nod, Hiram shut the door and Christian stepped up to Sam's window. "Go park, but keep it running. If he comes out, don't wait for me... Just chase him." They exchanged nods, and Sam drove off as Christian walked inside to front office.

"Welcome to Paradise Inn, business, or plea-" The voice trailed off as their gaze looked over the man's three-piece black on black suit. "I'm assuming business..." He chuckled and stood to help.

"How many night you looking for?"

Christian pulled the photo from his pocket and placed it on the desk. "Do you know if this man is here? Name by Jethro Springer."

The clerk looked at the photo, then at Christian. "I can't give that kind of information without a warrant, but suit types should know that..."

Christian chuckled and slid the picture forward. "I don't have a warrant, but I can get one written in your blood if you don't give me what I want. Is this man here?"

"Look pal, I don't know who you think you a-"

Sighing, Christian reached into his jacket and produced one of his 1911s, aimed straight between the man's eyes. It worked as a great pacifier, silencing his prattling. "Just let me see your books and you can keep your head. Otherwise, I can call this in and have your blood cleaned up within the hour, and still get what I want. Your choice."

"Nice to meet you, by the way... I'm Christian Black."

The man slowly backed away and reached for their ledger, patting behind him on the desk until he felt it. Scooping it up, he handed it over. "H-here..."

"Thank you."

With a click of the hammer releasing, Christian put his gun away and scanned over it. "Ah, Jethro Springer. Room number twenty-seven. See, that wasn't that hard now, was it?"

Christian smirked, grabbing the phone from the desk and ripping the wires out of the wall. "And now you can't call and warn him... Just in case."

"Umm... Well... He," the man seemed anxious and worried. "I... I think I s-saw him wa-walking off toward the ... Well I don't know, but THAT WAY!" He pointed south-east... Which really didn't help, because that was the only way to leave the Paradise Inn without hopping the large privacy fence.

"How long ago?"

"Twenty? Maybe thirty minutes? No more than an hour for sure!"

Christian nodded. "Thanks, kid... Get outta here. Just in case."

Turning, Christian headed back outside and waved to the group as he headed for room twenty-seven. As everyone congregated on him he paused a few doors away.

"See that door? Room twenty seven?" he whispered. "That's the room we need. Now the clerk said he saw our boy Springer walking off premises twenty-minutes to an hour ago. That means he could have missed him coming back, or he could be coming back now. Hiram, keep watch. Do something normal in the parking lot... Smoke a cigarette or something, but just keep your eyes peeled."

Hiram plucked his trusty cigarette case from his pocket and nodded with a smile. "Inconspicuous is my middle name..." he chirped, and Tsukina's snappy, "Mmkay Barnabas," made Christian stifle a laugh as they all tried to remain quiet. Just in case...

As Hiram walked across the parking lot and sparked up, Christian looked at Sam and Tsukina. "Now, can either of you pick a lock?"

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Sam turns towards Tsukina-Sakamoto and paused for a while, waiting to see whether she has a response to Christian's question. "I have no experience in picking a lock but I definitely can break down a door," Sam said as he turned again to Christian.

Sam bounced his gaze between Tsukina and Christian to see whether they have a better idea before Sam starts to kick the door down.

"Well guys?"

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Kina, still chuckling over her mad quip, rolled her eyes as she headed for the door. Two bosses with who knows how many years of experience between them... and the WOMAN was the only one who could pick a lock? Shaking her head, Kina reached back and pulled two hairpins from her bouncy updo; a few stray curls unravelling as she fidgetted with the lock. 

It took several tense and agonizing moments, but at long last, the latch popped open with a soft, triumphant cheer from Tsukina. Waving the men over, she held the door to a dingy little motel room... small bed, nightstand, phone, closet, trunk, bathroom. No dresser and - most notably - no windows. 

The bed was made, crisp and smoothe with hospital corners. Not the kind of job you'd expect from a motel maid. Everything was bare. Nothing left out... anywhere. Everything had a place and everything was in its place. No trash. Even the ashtray which, by the smell of the room, got plenty of use was dumped and wiped completely clean. 

Kina arched a brow as she scanned the room. This was unnatural. And that coming from a woman who worked for 'THE Blacks'. 

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Sam could see the look on Tsukina's face as she shook her head at them and made her way towards the door, gracefully pulling out a hairpin from her hair and started to play with the locks. Sam stood guard as Tsukina could focus on the lock with Christian watching Tsukina closely. He glanced constantly down the hallway,  making sure no one was coming.

The lock clicked and Sam's eyes widened towards the door as it creaked open. A quick peek inside as Tsukina held the door open, Sam made sure no one was inside before making his way into the room together with the two.

The place was cleaned and cleared before they got there and nothing seemed out of place except for some used clothing that had been left behind.

"Guys," Sam called out to the two in the room with him. 

"Look at this," he said while pointing towards the clothes. "It looks like our guy changed his appearance again. Probably we should visit that costume store Tsukina mentioned earlier. If we know how he is currently dressed like, probably we could guess where he is right now." Sam look at the two to see if they had any other ideas.

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Christian nodded as he looked to the clothes in the hamper... "We could... Or we could compare against the notes Tsukina and Hiram got about the man's uniforms. If he is wearing one the girls have seen him in, then perhaps we don't need to make that stop. I just wish there was something here that told us where he headed off to... I get a bad feeling we're going to hear about someone else dropping real soon."

Christian rummaged around, noticing the keys on the nightstand. Wherever he was going, it was walking distance or he took a cab... Either was possible. Opening the large trunk at the foot of the bed revealed two trays with pictures and ammunition. Beneath that, a stash of hand held weapons. Assumable that his rifle would be hidden in the truck, Christian pointed the keys out to Sam.

"Go through his truck, see if you can find anything about where he might be headed..."

Christian sat on the bead and looked at the pictures. There were a lot of them at the docks... Pictures of Gavin, but the name Billy was written on it and the boy was circled a few times.

"Well, their information was certainly off by a good few decades. Sorry kid." He sighed and stopped as he came across a picture of another gentleman. "Jim" was written on it and circled like Gavin had been... Looking to the phone in the room, Christian slid over and dialed the Mastrosimone's number...

As a voice answered, Christian spoke calmly. "Billy_Mastrosimone please. It's urgent. Tell him it's Christian... Ask if 'Jim' is anyone important..."

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Sam grabbed the keys and immediately made his way outside, with a touch on Hiram's shoulder from behind, he walks past his brother outside and made his way across street before Hiram could even ask him where he was going. Sam turns the key and the car door unlocks, the door swings open and Sam could see paper scattered all over the floor of the vehicle. Sam sat inside and closed the door as he picks up the piece of paper one by one and starts inspecting them.

A lot of them are about the docks, maps, information, various types of schedule, he scanned through them one by one knowing that they don't have much time to spare. Sam quickly exited the vehicle with everything he found and slammed the car door shut behind him. Walking past by Hiram again, they both exchanged nods before Sam made his way to Christian and Tsukina again.

Sam walks into the room to find Christian in a middle of a conversation on the phone. He looked over to Tsukina and revealed what he found, almost everything he found in the car was something about the docks. Sam flipped through the various brochures and pamphlets to Tsukina to see what she thought about it.

"You think this is another lead? Docks? Maybe?"

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Billy picked up the phone as Tara had given him the message.

"Mister Black. Good to hear from you, my guess is either you've run into a problem, or my little issue is solved. Judging by the question, the problem is still ongoing?" He did not wait for an answer before continuing. "Jim is a man that is partially responsible for what happened to my best friend, the one who lost the eye. He is also a drug runner, and has been tasked with framing me for transportation of illegal materials. I've got people on him now in Philadelphia, but he was at the docks in New York just the other day when all of this went down. My son was keeping an eye on him in fact."

He paused a second to let ChristianBlack take all of that in before he asked a question of his own. "Why do you ask about Jim? What is it that he's done? How is he involved in Gavin's being shot?"

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"He may be a target for Jethro, Billy... He may be the -next- target. I've got pictures here with this gentleman at one of the docks in town, and he's circled. Jim written beside it. I also found pictures of your boy circled with Billy written beside it. Not sure what he'd have to do with Gavin, but would Jethro, or Gioncarlo, want Jim dead for some reason? And if so, which dock does he import to?"

Christian slipped the pictures back in the chest, making sure to put everything back like it was as he paused for Billy's answer...

He pointed at the papers in Sam's hand and waved his hand, wanting to see them. With a quick glance over it, he nodded to them then refocused his attention to Billy's voice on the other end of the line...

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Sam walked over to Christian with the bunch of brochures, pamphlets and schedules he found in Jethro's truck, all have one thing in common which is the New York docks. Sam can feel it in his gut that they were getting close and it would only be a matter of time before they catch up to Gavin's shooter.

Sam spreads what he found across the table, laying them piece by piece next to one another in front of Christian, hoping that Christian could notice something that Sam himself might have missed.

Sam waited patiently for Christian to get off the phone and find out what new information did Christian find.

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Billy nodded. "Lower East side, he stays between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Hell I've used him before when I couldn't get my hands on some specific items, so he knows what Gavin looks like, but I've got my cousin and Dolph looking into him in Philly. He had a very specific job down there and I doubt that guy is coming back. Touch base with them if you want to trap him. If I hear from them first I'll give you a shout." He took a sip of whiskey and then turned back to the phone.

"What about Jethro? Any word on him? How's that hunt going?"

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"Sitting in his room at the Paradise Inn Motel in Manhattan, actually. Going through all of his things. It's why I called. He's got a trunk here with ammunition for all manner of guns, hand and rifle. However, his rifle is in his truck. That's here with us. We've got an open box of munitions for a smaller calibre gun, probably a revolver if I had to guess. Whatever he wants done, it's up close."

Christian stood and looked at the maps. "And we're staring at maps of the docks also... So I'm going to guess that's where our man was headed. Front desk said they saw him walking off of the premises about, an hour ago at this point..."

Christian pointed to the spot on the map where the docks were circled, whispering. "That's where we need to go. Get Hiram, get the car ready. Kina and I will be out shortly."

Putting his attention back to the phone call, he added. "We're fuckin' close, Billy. You want him, or wan't me to just give you a call when we have him?"

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Billy shook his head.

"He's all yours Mister Black. I just want him to know he doesn't get away with hurting one of ours. You make sure he learns that lesson, permanently."

With that, Billy hung up the phone and made to tell his son, and his wife.

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Sam nodded to Christian's instructions and walked out of the room, he knew they had to be quick and had no time to waste. Sam grabbed Hiram on his way to the car and uttered, "Time to go brother, we're getting close."

Sam turned the key and revved the engine and was ready to go with his  head turned towards the hotel and his eyes fixed on the hotel entrance awaiting for Christian and Tsukina. 

"The docks brother, we have a strong feeling Jethro is heading to the docks. He changed appearance again and it can only mean two things, either he's trying to escape or he's moving to his next target. I fear the latter."

Sam sighed as he thinks about what would happen if they don't find Jethro in the time. He grips the steering wheel and plants his foot inches away from the gas pedal as he and Hiram waited patiently in the car.

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"As you say..." Christian hung up the phone as well and looked at Tsukina. Standing slowly, he headed for the door. "It's time to go my dear," Christian nodded and waved his hand to usher her out of the apartment, closing the door and leaving the room exactly as they'd found it. Hurrying to the awaiting Hiram and Sam in the car, Christian and Tsukina slid into their seats. As soon as their doors shut, Sam had them rolling; his foot pushed down on the gas, planting the pedal to the floor.

"When we get there," Christian started, "we're going to need to split up. The docks are a big area for us, and he could be anywhere. Look for Jim or for Jethro... However, I doubt Jim will be there. Billy said something about another crew handling him." Christian pulled out both of his guns and checked his ammo as he continued.

"Sam, if we don't see him right off the bat, then I need you to take the perimeter around the north side of the docks. Hiram? You're with Tsukina. Take the waterfront and work your way in. More than likely, he is going to be either in the warehouse or working the crates on the docks to get close to Jim if he's there. The man is a smuggler moving his product in. Also..."

Christian paused, pulling the slide back on each of his pistols before releasing the hammer carefully so that the guns were racked and loaded, but not going to prematurely fire.

"Do not kill him on any account... That's my privilege. I wan't to take Billy a present. I'm going to go to the foreman to see if he's seen our man. Make sure we know our man's face. That's all we have knowledge of him looking like. He'll probably be in sleeves or a simple shirt, a hat, and slacks... He's gonna look like he belongs on the docks. More than likely, he's gonna know we're looking for him too. ANYONE runs, I want them stopped and checked. Remember, he's armed and dangerous. If anyone asks? This is a union inspection... Maybe we can keep him from getting spooked."

New York 4:02 PM Same Day: Dockyard

Christian nodded to the group as Sam pulled up on the curb a block from the docks. As the engine died, they all stepped out. Christian tugged on his coat and straightened it, rolling his shoulders and his head as his neck cracked. "Everyone has their positions?" With each nodding, Sam headed for the North, Hiram and Tsukina for the waterfront, and Christian headed for the warehouse.


New York 3:42 PM Same Day: Twenty Minutes Before Black Arrival


Jethro checked his gun one more time before jabbing it in his pocket and leaving it there. Slipping in to the dockyard through a few loose boards in the fence, he skipped having to check in with the dock manager at the gate. He worked his way around to the waterfront area and started moving crates and helping off load a boat. One by one he was working his way through the yard in hopes of finding Jim before he ran...

Cursing under his breath, Jethro looked out over the crowded piers and boats. If Jim -was- still here, he'd need to work his way through these boats quickly to locate him... Or...

Jethro turned to look at the warehouse building. He could always go and check the ledger to see if Jim had come and gone already. Too busy right now. He'd need to wait a bit for the foreman to make his rounds first... Turning his attention back to the boats, he walked out onto one of the piers and started off-loading more crates. Still no Jim... Next boat.

Jethro turned quickly to switch boats and ran into a towering man. Jethro was not short himself, so looking up at the foreman was a feat in and of itself... Of course, that didn't phase him.

"Watch it, pal..." Jethro shoved passed, moving to the next boat.

"Hey, buddy. Get back here." The foreman followed Jethro as he worked his way through crates.

"Mother fucker, do I know you? You aren't part of my team, who are you? You with that damn... HEY! Come back! Fuck..."

As the foreman rounded a large stack of crates in pursuit, Jethro smashed the grip of his revolver into the foreman's temple. The gun sliced the man's head open as the force of the impact knocked him out cold. As he dropped the foreman's head bounced off the cement with a resounding *CRACK*...

"Fuck me, Jethro... Really?" He grumbled and looped his arms underneath the foreman's, dragging him further into the maze of crates before leaving him there, blood pooling beneath his head. "Gotta finish this fucking job and leave."

As he walked out of the crates, he noticed a few new faces scanning the docks... Had that fuck called the police? Nah... Suits. FBI? Maybe... Had they come down because of Mastrosimone? That kill would certainly have gotten their attention. Jethro pulled his hat a bit lower and began walking for the gate. Jim would live another day. For now...

Pausing mid-way through the yard, Jethro paused and glanced up to see where those new eyes were, and the blues that locked with his made his heart race... He knew those eyes. He knew them well... Blacks... And they worked with the Mastrosimone's. They weren't a coincidence at all...

Almost as if he couldn't help it, fear or SOMETHING driving him, Jethro took off in a sprint for the gate...


Christian approached the warehouse and waved one of the foremen over. "Yes, I'm looking for this man?"

"What is this?" the foreman asked as he took the picture. "Just who tha fuck are you coming here, looking for my help?"

"Union inspection. I need to speak with this man to make sure you aren't underpaying and overworking these laborers."

"Union? Fuck..." he grumbled. "They're UNIONIZING?!" Handing the picture back, the man threw his hat on the ground. "Ya try an' do right by one fuckin' Mick family, and the others wanna fuck ya, huh?"

"I just need to know if you've seen him..."

"Nah, never...well. Maybe once 'afore. He one of you fuckers trying to get these boys in some labor unions? Probably works for you, huh?" The man grumbled and hollered as he sized Christian up.

"I assure you that both, he doesn't work for me and, you don't want to try whatever it is you're thinking."

Grumbling more, the foreman bent down and picked up his hat. "I'll go try and find him." Christian nodded and grabbed his wrists behind his back as he waited, the guns flashing from inside of his unbuttoned jacket as the man backed away.


Christian wasn't waiting long before he heard his brother's cry...


He was already rushing for the gate... They couldn't let the man escape... Not now.


Hiram led Tsukina around the docks toward the waterfront. They hadn't been their long, but they watched as the foreman Christian had spoken to approached and bumped into a man.

"Ha, that fellas going to get an ear full for not paying attention to where... he's..." Hiram watched as the man blew the foreman off and began wandering off with the big man on his heels. Hiram could hear the yelling clear as day. The foreman didn't recognize him. That was strange, but not unheard of. However, he looked at Tsukina and smiled. "Let's keep our eyes open. He's gotta be here somewhere."

Hiram continued to lead her around boxes and down to the piers to get a better look at all the hands.

"Hey, who are you?" one of the dock hands called out as he pointed at Hiram and Tsukina. "Why you bringin' a chink down here?" Another of the workers looked up and blinked, grabbing a fish and throwing it at the man.

Hiram shook his head, the immediate on set of rage slipping from him as the Asian dockworker defended Tsukina, even if by proximity. Turning back to look at Tsukina, he locked eyes with Jethro and both men had frozen for that split second before Jethro took off...

Hiram gripped Tsukina's arm and pointed as Jethro turned...

"WE GOT A RABBIT!!!!!" he yelled out as loud as he could, Sam and Christian both able to hear it from where they were... Hiram took off in pursuit as well, assuming Tsukina would follow.

"RUNNING FOR THE GATE!" he yelled again as he hopped low crates and rounded others... Hopefully they'd catch him, they were too close now to let him get away...

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Kina paid little heed to the insult as she barreled past the disgruntled dockworker. Something about the confrontation with foreman sparking a tunnel-vision focus as she reached for her gun. Right height. Right weight. Right approximate age... tone, hair. How was Hiram not on edge? Kina tensed as the wind picked up off the water, a keen sense of impending imminence stirring and clawing her senses. Pressing her advance toward the crates, she froze on the spot just as Hiram turned to look for her. 

She saw Jethro. Jethro saw Hiram. Hiram saw everything... finally

A few steps ahead, Kina's pursuit was impeded by the tight grip of Hiram's hand around her wrist. He was just barely able to grasp her as she lurched forward... pulling her back and launching into action in one fluid motion. For a split second, she seethed with outrage. How dare he? But as quickly as it had peaked, her anger receded... like the ebbing tide... as she reminded herself, this was more important. They could discuss his methods at home... in private. What mattered now was catching the bolting bunny. 

Hot on his heels, Kina kicked her heels off as she freighthopped one of the transport trucks that moved crates form the docks to the gate; her precarious grip white-knuckled as she hoisted herself onto the flat bed. Shooting Hiram a mischievous grin as she passed him, Kina hopped down... slightly less than gracefully...  just as the truck passed the gate. A rough tuck and roll, it wasn't the smoothest of landings. Even less so in a dress. But, it was surprisingly effective.

Jethro, still transfixed by Hiram's frigid gaze was slow on the uptake... barrelling over the balled-up beauty mid-bailout. Kina, head tucked, took one for the team; grunting softly as Jethro toppled over her. That certainly wasn't the plan. But, hey... whatever works.  In a tumble-weed of almost comical proportions, Jethro's pistol went one direction, jostle free in the fall. Kina's colt went the other, kicked loose as Jethro ploughed over her. 

For a split second, everything felt like the movies. Time seemed to freeze as both heads popped up. Each watched as the realization of their predicament fell over the expressions of the other. Their glances trailed to their scattered firearms and back... eyes locking for the briefest of seconds in a silent challenge. And then... in the single instant it took to blink, everything snapped back to real-time. Jethro lunged for his pistol. Kina... too smart to think she could beat him on the draw, lunged for HIM. 

Suddenly it was all elbows fists and nails. If Jethro had anything to say about it, this would literally be a fight to the death. And they both knew it. No taboo was off-limits. Nuts, eyes, lips, hair... clawing, biting. Kina... straddling Jethro's back... even had the man fish-hooked for a few long moments before his teeth shredded through the pad of her finger with crushing heat. Shrieking, Kina slammed his forehead into the concrete of the warehouse lot... red-hot blood steaking the back of her hand and trickling down her wrist. 

Grunting, Jethro elbowed her hard in the temple... sending her sprawling to the hot cement. Pained and equally disoriented, they both lay still, panting as the thumping of rushed, heavy footfalls coalesced around them. 

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Sam turns and just in time hears his brother yell out, "Rabbit!!!!" Suddenly everything seemed to be in slow motion around Sam. The place that Sam was standing in, he could see everything. The commotion that was happening at the waterfront and leading into the warehouse, Sam got a good full view.

The sight of a figure darting towards the gate caught Sam's eye, "Running for the gate!" he heard his brother yell out. Sam started running towards them, he could see Jethro running through the warehouse and in hot pursuit was Hiram and Tsukina, however Christian was no where to be seen but Sam knew that he must be close by. 

Sam lost sight of Hiram as he was pummeling through the crowd of dock workers, he saw Tsukina and boy she could run, even Sam had a tough time of keeping up with her. Sam didn't let her out of his sights, and just when Sam seem to be gaining ground on Jethro, he saw Tsukina coming in towards Jethro, hitching a ride on the rear of a transport truck. "Hell no," Sam uttered under his breath.

Sam ran as fast as he could to the two of them and by the time Sam reached them he was already slightly fatigued. Sam found both Tsukina and Jethro sprawled on the floor and as Jethro was trying to get his feet under him, Sam lunged towards Jethro. The amount of force Sam used to throw himself at Jethro caused both of them to slam into a nearby wall. The wet floors didn't help with Sam's balance or grip as Sam tried to pull and crawl his way towards Jethro.

Sam slid his arm under Jethro's chin from behind as he attempts a chokehold on Jethro but he misjudged his aim and got a less tighter grip than expected. Both of them struggling to overpower the other on the floor, Sam could feel Jethro overpowering him as he felt his grip loosening on Jethro's neck.

He looked over Jethro's shoulder and saw what Jethro was actually reaching for, his handgun on the floor. A few good elbows to Sam's ribcage finally forced Sam let go of his grip on Jethro. As Jethro was crawling away on the wet floor, a trailing leg caught Sam in the face, leaving a deep gash on Sam's bottom lip.

He looked up and Jethro was already half turned with gun in his hand, Sam just looked on helplessly as he closed his eyes, accepting his ending, knowing in heart that his brothers will avenge his death.

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Three percussive shots reverberated through the dockyard. Followed by the loud clatter of a revolver dropping to the cement. Panting, dishevelled, and furious, Kina knelt where they had left her - gun raised. Only lowering the weapon as Hiram approached and hauled her to her feet, she swayed on the spot for a moment before collapsing into his support... face bloody and body bruised. 

But, for all her wear and tear, Jethro was far worse for wear. With Sam's valiant intervention, she was able to systematically incapacitate their target with vicious accuracy: one to the left kneecap, one to the right shoulder, and a grazing shot to the hand. He wouldn't be running, shooting, or fighting back anytime soon. Downside... the docks were now a rushing stampede of panic... and she'd been witnessed gunning a man down. It wasn't the most tactful takedown. She was sure Christian would have something to say about it when they got home. But, it was nothing that couldn't be smoothed over with a little sweet talk and greased palms. Early Christmas bonuses all the way around, she joked sardonically under her breath... the whisper raspy and croaking as she gulped against the swelling in her throat. 

 "Kick the pistol this way," she mumbled, split lip already beginning to swell as she gestured weakly to Sam. Gun still drawn, only lowered, she limped up, leaning heavily on Hiram's arm. "He won't be going anywhere. We'll keep him pinned down. Can you get the car?" she asked Sam with genuine concern. 

Turning her dark eyes up at Hiram, she pointed down with a pitiful pout, "Kick him for me." 

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