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Dec 03 - 03:40:41
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I need to retire Started by: Revenant on Nov 25, '21 00:13

Feb 23 1938

"I Need to retire"

That's all Duck said, he looked at Revenant with puffy red eyes. Duck knew his stuff. He knew the rules and what it meant to the mafia. Few lived to an age where they could no longer function in their positions. "Until death do we part", marriage wasn't the only commitment that had those words in their vows. 

Hesitating a moment Revenant leaned back in his chair and said, "Explain".

The Duck hesitated, a long time actually. This had to be something big but what and why? Nothing happened that Revenant knew about so it wasn't about the life. What made this guy walk in and basically tell his boss he has to die and wants him to do it? 

While the silence became awkward Revenant thought back to when he officially got to know the guy they call "The Vegas Duck".

 

January 20, 1937

Revenant woke with a start, Shadow was pounding on the door to his room. Standing there with the Wraith twins his face was concern bordering on panic. 

“Something bad is going down, Lady Grudge and the new lookout got winged, shots all over town we need to get out of here NOW.”

Revenant tosses on his clothes and slams his stuff into his bags. He calls the HQ.

“I’m in Vegas doing a few odd jobs, what’s the buzz?”

“Get the hell out of town and back home brother” was the reply.

He hits the door running flanked by his elite guards, piling into a car the motorcade screeches off down the street as more gunshots ring out. The driver, knuckles white with the grip on the wheel, doesn’t blink till they are going through the gate in the private airport entrance. Boarding a spendy charter he didn’t want to take the time for a commercial flight. Chalk it up to the costs of the day and be glad you got off this cheaply he muses. 

Sitting with Shadow near the front he’s tossing back a couple drinks to ease his nerves and everyone is speculating on what happened. Shadow’s pupils finally contracted to normal size when the plane left the ground. He was Revenants best friend. He met him in Chicago as part of the same crew. He looked up to Revenant and they became close friends. When he saw him murdered in the purge he grieved? Then he met Nara S Imhaya at the funeral he offered him a job. Becoming a good friend and trusted bodyguard he proved his worth time and again. Many things had made Shadow wonder about his new friend. The necklace he wore with its purple gem. The way he talked about the old country sometimes. One night they were having a few drinks to wind down and talking about the new guys. Nara mentioned one reminded him of Gary from Gary. 

With a look that was part bone chilling fear, part anger and part mistrust Shadow speaks in a slow low tone. 
“Boss you have been the best boss anyone could ask for. I been your number one guy, I took a bullet for you. I’ll walk with a limp for the rest of my life. There’s something there, something you been keeping from me and unless I can trust you, I don’t know how tonight’s going to end. You never met Gary he was one of Revenants guys, he died with him. How do you know him?” 

Over the following hours Nara told him everything. From the cave on Mount Ararat and finding the cross. His encounter with the angelic being Feowyr. The way it regenerated him. How when his body becomes uninhabitable that fragment of the universe's will creates him another body to live in. He talks about the relief it was to confide in someone this story even he could not believe.

Nara had sent him on a job right before uttering his prophetic final words on a street corner. Telling the worried crowd whatever happened make every tick of your life count. Then ironically becoming a statistic of the absurd war. Shadow was naturally not surprised to get a telegram one day shortly thereafter. He was somewhat taken back by the familiar voice that answered the number he was told to call. Not even telling him what happened could prepare him for seeing his dead friends face again. 

He made his name for himself years before. Quiet and stealthy he would appear when needed and just as quickly fade into the background. From that day on he was Revenants literal shadow. The running joke was he had been sent from God to be with Revenant everywhere. To keep him safe and to keep his secrets. But most of all to always be the one he knew would watch his back. 

The wraiths were two mob orphans Shadow had adopted so to speak. Twins with an eerie sort of mind link they always knew what the other was thinking or feeling. Quiet and subdued they still spoke to each other in a language they created as kids. This was the only family they ever knew and their loyalty to Shadow was almost fanatical.

There were others, the running joke was they were the ghost crew. But rounding out Revenants inner circle was Lady Grudge. Nobody knows how or when they met. Everyone agrees she loves Shadow and he loves her with all their hearts, minds and bodies. Lady Grudge is a powerful blend of opposing energies. She stands at 6 foot 3 inches and is an imposing figure. Graceful and feminine with golden hair and sky-blue eyes. Her every curve sensual and toned but underneath an almost elemental layer of pure muscle. She grew up being told “what a girl is supposed to be like”. She was pushed around and abused untill she got big enough to fight back. She is protective and nurturing to those she loves and as unstoppable as a mother bear towards those who would harm her family. She can speak in a voice that makes you feel like you are being rocked in your mother’s arms. She can also unleash a torrent of curses and verbal flaying that has silenced marine drill instructors. She smokes stogies, reefer and chews Mail Pouch tobacco when shes in a spitting mood. She can hit a bulls eye from 20 feet with a long thick brown stream of practiced contempt. In her own words she will proudly tell you she can “Out drink, out curse and out screw every guy in the room”. She usually follows this with the announcement that she has a male and female spirit and likes to indulge both. 

She had been flitting about barking orders in one breath. Then taking the other breath she turns to, the new guy. Untill everyone gets his name or he makes one for himself that’s who he is. He was the other guy who got winged. Blood has dried on her cheek where the bullet creased her. The tiniest 2-inch line it only bled a little. Enough to look like she was crying blood on that side of her face. The scripter who took a shot at them got too close and too rushed.  Revenant shuddered; he only made her mad. The guy deserved to die but to say she broke him was an understatement. 

Patching up the through and through on his forearm and gently splinting it before tying it up in a sling. In that beautiful voice that made you think mom kissed your boo boo
“There you are my little lame duck, you won’t be flying for a while but your wing is all taped up” 

There was a chorus of chuckles and embarrassment turning his face bright crimson. Then some mafia magic happened.  On the day FDR was sworn in to his second term as president. The first President to be sworn in on Jan 20 and not the first part of march. The 20th amendment was enacted to reduce the time an outgoing president would be in power before the new one took office. It was called the “lame duck” amendment. Revenant reflected on the irony. The first lame duck inauguration would be for a man who overcame his bodies limitations. People with handicaps of any kind were ignored and underestimated by most of society. This man who could not walk is taking the oath to lead the entire country. 

Just like that whatever the civvy turned gangsters real name was he became LD, Duck, or The Vegas Duck forevermore. The Duck who forgot to duck and was winged in the wing. Such is how these things go in this way of life sometimes. 

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Duck pulls out an envelope from his jacket then inhaling sharply a few times hands it to Revenant to read. 

"Dear Sir"

"I apologize for the suddenness of this letter and how I was unable to speak to you directly. And for its lateness, as you may know mail from many areas of Europe is seized and read. Let me begin by introducing myself. I am Robert H Harlan, I was an American exchange student who studied in Marburg, Germany last year. I often visited the town of Wuerzburg and a couple who I met in my travels, Bruno and Frieda Stern."

Revenant paused, Stern is Duck's family name. 

"I regret to inform you there has been great injustice done to these people. Dr Stern has his office seized by the authority of the countries laws and the family was forced to move several times. The last time I saw the family together was on Nov 11 1938. Their apartment was ransacked along with the Synagogues and businesses targeted on the night of violence some are now calling Krystallnacht.  Dr Stern, his oldest son, his brother and his sons have all been sent to a prison called Buchenwald. The remaining family have no place to go and each day more kind people are turning their hearts and eyes away from them out of fear. They have tried every avenue to get out of Germany but cannot obtain visas. I fear for their safety."

"Let me take the time and opportunity to speak freely here. From the time I arrived until I was sent home early for my own protection I have seen Germany become a dark and sinister place. When I arrived home in the US I was amazed at how little people knew about what is going on over there. Let me assure you Sir, the laws and leaders have calculated a plot to deprive the Jewish people of all rights and recourse. They slowly took away more and more freedom then even basic rights and protections. If they live, the Stern family are in a dangerous position. Do not believe what the news prints here. The Jews are not instigating violence they are victims of it. They are not being relocated to places they can live in peace they are being led to slaughter. I have learned from a friend who works as an engineer that the prisons such as Buchenwald are not prisons but places to send people to die. The German leaders are determined to wipe the Jews off the Earth. If you are able I suggest you immediately begin proceedings to sponsor for visas as many members of this family as you can. All other options are exhausted."

"I still don't understand why you have to retire" Revenant said quietly looking back at Duck.

"I am a Jew" He said looking down as if it was something to be ashamed of. "And I have little hope of rescuing my family, I must do what I can and I cant risk the lives and honor of our crew, city and groups."

Nodding Revenant secretly pushed a button under his desk. Duck winced as the barely audible sound of an alarm rings out in another room. Shadow appears with a hand in his jacket clutching his pistol. Revenant makes a secret sign that makes Shadow stand at ease before speaking.

"I need you to get the ghosts together, we have some business to attend to." Then turning to Duck who is shaking at the thought of how this could be his retirement happening right here. "And we need to help explain a few things to Mr Duck here. He's a bit mistaken about a few things."

Looking Duck in the eyes Revenant says sharply "First I do not accept your resignation, and if you try ill be the one who retires you. Am I clear on that?" 

With a small nod from Duck he continues "You have more family than you think and I will be damned if I let you walk away from us to face danger alone. YOUR family is in danger, that means OURS is."

Duck is taking everything he has in him to contain his emotions to a short gasp of air and closes his eyes to hold back the floods rising in them when Revenant stabs a finger at him.

"And one more thing, you are a Jew. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you will never let me see you act otherwise again. The NAZIS are the rats, the vermin, the parasites of humanity. They are setting into place events that will change the world for the worse not better. We are now officially at war with them. I will be speaking to the higher levels of our leaders and getting proper permissions but until then consider yourself as far from done with your work as anyone can be. Am I understood?"

A nod and a glimmer of hope proceeded the tears Duck cant hold back any longer. Revenant begins to write out a set of orders Shadow will distribute. They will need to call in everyone they can on this one. 

 

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Shadow is frowning as he gets out of the cab. He has gotten nowhere with the US State Department. That is the office that handles immigration since the Immigration Act of 1924. If they were fortunate enough to get permission from the German officials the list for a US visa is staggering already. They will have to find another way to get people over to safety.

Lady Grudge's beaming smile lifts his spirits. She had much better luck with her errands in LA. As Shadow kisses her cheek and sits at a table off to the side of the bar they use as a mini HQ as She fills Him in.

Specter enters just as She begins and is obviously excited about a successful result with his missions.

 

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Specter explains he's still waiting for an answer on his mission to Mr Keatings Creatures LV

Specter enters the business then making sure nobody is around says aloud "I'm looking for a pet" While pulling a folded paper out of his pocket. Once again scanning the surroundings he unfolds it revealing what appears to be a grocery list. Flicking a cigarette lighter he runs it underneath and these words appear and then quickly fade.

Mr. K

We have only recently met due to the unfortunate connection our ancestors had. I am going out on a limb in trusting you but I feel that you are the only person I know who can help me with this. I need several animals which must be procured in a very discrete way. They are VERY dangerous so please take extra care with them. I have added any specific info on each one below.

100 specimens of the puffer fish Takifugu, in healthy and good condition.

25 adult male specimens of the toad Bufo marinus. Take great care in handling these as they extrude toxic substances. Along with each specimen I need a Bobbit worm Eunice aphroditois Attached in parasitic symbiosis. 

10 hyla tree frogs Osteopilus dominicensis Again care in handling is essential as they extrude poisonous substances as well as a secretion that is extremely painful to skin contact. 

Obviously this needs to be done discretely and without permits or involvement by government officials. I understand this is a very special request that will involve extra work and I am prepared to pay a premium for this as well as the most expedited means available to get them here as soon as possible. 

Thank you very much and look forward to our successful completion of business together 

Revenant.

As the script fades Specter nods, notes his reply and turns to leave

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Lady Grudge talks about her successful contact with Legendary Reliable Airlines Chicago office.

Lady Grudge waits patiently to speak with the manager. She has given the proper protocol and they know this is a meeting regarding "business". 

She smiles and shakes hands with the representative of the airlines. He is a bit intimidated by her height and crushing handshake but soon meets her eyes and is swimming in them the rest of the meeting. 

"My "Missionary group" needs to secure transport for a special trip please", she says as both smile at the code phrase for mafia crew. "We need to travel from Chicago, LA, and New York. We will return to Las Vegas with a short layover in," 

She pauses and they both look around out of habit even thought they are in a small office and clearly alone.

"A short layover in Germany" 

The managers head snaps up tilting his toupee comically as the cigarette he held in his lips falls to the floor. "Y, yes Maam. I will see what we can do for you." And walking out looking as if he saw a ghost he goes to pass this up the chain. Grudge smiled and chuckled "Looked like he saw a ghost indeed." She thought. 

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Revenant - alas, my exotic pet supplier was Dr_Satan.

I'm gonna have to shut that shop up
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Shadow takes the call with a frown. Revenant is still up north doing his errands. This will put a wrench into the plan as there are not many exotic pet suppliers that are also in the business. 
"That was Mr_Keating, the special pets supplier is retired. We will have to let Revenant know the powder may not be an option." He says with a frown. 

The others share his gloomy mood. The creatures were ingredients for a special recipe one of Revenants old friends knew of. One that would make people appear to die then resurrected in a special state of mind. Science would call it highly suggestive hallucinatory intoxication but the one who gave the recipe to them called it zombie.

They put their heads together hoping to think of someone else who could be trusted to this task.

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