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Locked away now so you can be free later

You play as Delilah, an unfortunate young girl going through tough times.

=Links and Information=


Thanks to an anon, here is the pastebin of just the text. With threads purposely being misarchived, this should be available and accessible instead:
Melancholic Quest Collection 1 (1-4): http://pastebin.com/hTK0fQmd
Melancholic Quest Collection 2: http://pastebin.com/cX4HC6Q9
Melancholic Quest Collection 3: http://pastebin.com/sTuR8xJv
Melancholic Quest Collection 4: http://pastebin.com/RPwa7nEt
Melancholic Quest Collection 5: http://pastebin.com/DJ71TtFc
Melancholic Quest Collection 6: http://pastebin.com/xxCdZfx6
Melancholic Quest Collection 7: http://pastebin.com/7skcyeX0
Thread 29 (Misarchived as Gorgon Child) http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/700562/
You're still Lawrence
for a bit longer for now

In the last thread you:
> You and Cammy went out and waited for the new target at the electronics store
> Cammy went to wait for him in the back and got surprised by him not leaving alone
> You had to kidnap Wyatt flashier than you wanted, but you got him
> Now you're in an old printing building, Wyatt tied to the chair
> He's mentioned a safe, but refuses to give to the combination
> He's been particularly rude to Cammy and it's the straw that broke her
You come to Camilla’s side, crouching down next to her.

“Go home.”

“I can’t,” her voice cracks, “we are not done here.”

“Call help,” you urge her, “I’ll… stay.”

She starts to look up while drying her eyes, “It isn’t fair to you.”

You smile but you’re not sure why.

“Doesn’t… matter.” You watch the occasional snowflake meet the ice pavement below. It’s cold out yet you don’t feel it at all. “Handle this… myself. Take care...yourself.”

Camilla glares down with a sorrowful look over her eyes, “I’m just tired, that’s all.”

“Go sleep.” You offer out a hand and, after some consideration, Camilla accepts it. “Once ...better. Can… come back.”

She sways in her feet even as you help hold her up. From her pocket she pulls out the kay keys, gripping them tightly in hand.

“You will be stuck without a ride,” she warns.

“That’s...fine,” you nod, “Nowhere...to go.”

“I promise not to be gone for long.” Camilla’s teeth grit against each other as she seems to still consider staying. “Just long enough to… I need to rest my eyes I think. Earlier, I tried to sleep but I felt so angry still.”

Of course you understand how that feels. You sure as hell wouldn’t be able to sleep right now if you were being sent home instead. And so, you take the moment to assure her that everything will be fine.

She promises to send help for Wyatt as soon as she gets to a phone. Trying to figure out who she could get to come down seems to weigh heavy on her mind, but nevertheless she promises to find someone. For now, she shares a password for you to keep on hand. Whoever comes down with the same one was sent by Camilla, anyone else… you’ll have to figure that out when the time comes.

With everything as settled as it can be, Camilla leaves you at the warehouse. Her bag of tricks stays with you, as she quickly explained the various painkillers and anything else you might need to use. As used to the blood as you’ve become, the needles still manage to make your stomach turn.


“...say pal, where’d my girlfriend go?’

You don’t bother looking at Wyatt. Instead, you try to remain focused on carving off the rotten pieces of wood from the plank in your hand. You have to keep busy or that itching in your head will drive you mad. And rather than just hack aimlessly at this like you did at the compound, you figured actually trying to make something recognizable would be a better effort. Or at least, better at keeping you distracted.

Wyatt doesn’t let much time pass before he speaks up again.

“You guys dragged me away from my plans tonight, the least you can do is keep me entertained while I’m stuck here!”

You glare up at him, only to be greeted with a red and now gappy smile.

“So you’re not deaf,” he gives a dry chuckle, “That’s good. Talkin’ to yourself gets a bit boring.”

When you go back to what’s at hand he starts calling for your attention again, enough to make you slam down the block of wood and walk over. Without a word you get down to eye level, glaring at him and waiting to hear what he wants.

“Oh c’mon, no reason to get so mad princess. You’re not the one missing any teeth right now anyways.” His tongue licks over the freshly made gaps in his gums, and for once you see him start to wince at the pain. “I’m getting pretty bored though. Wouldn’t mind ya reaching into my pocket here and giving me one of those ‘Altoids’ I got rattling around in there.”

As soon as he mentions that you’re rifling through his jeans. You do indeed find the Altoid can next to his wallet, leaving the latter to the side for now. When you open up the tin you, of course, don’t find mints inside.

“If you’re feelin’ kind, I wouldn’t mind having one of those slipped under my tongue,” Wyatt says, his voice growing raspy, “They help me relax, y’know? Might get me nice ‘n loose.”

“Combi-...-nation.” you demand.

“Eh, maybe pick another topic sweetheart. I’m actually quite the talker, despite what you might think.” He starts tonguing the dark red gap in his gum again, wincing a bit. “But hey, maybe you’re less of an asshole then I thought. Or at least a fun one. My advice would be to keep your guest happy though, at least if you didn’t want this to be for nothing. Or maybe you do, it doesn’t really matter to me.”

>Give him one of the pills, if it will at least keep him quiet until help arrives
> Ask him if he knows who Delilah is. You need to know if he’s been involved with her
>Ask what all he’s done for Bowers, in case there’s any more secrets you need to know
> ….
>Ask him if he knows who Delilah is. You need to know if he’s been involved with her
Give him one of the pills
>Ask what all he’s done for Bowers, in case there’s any more secrets you need to know
>Ask what all he’s done for Bowers, in case there’s any more secrets you need to know
You pull out one of the pills, looking between it and Wyatt. He already looks ready to take it, mouth opening for you to place it in.

“Do you...know,” you ask as the rest of the tin goes into your pocket, “Delilah?”

He actually looks taken aback by this question. But then he starts smiling again, laughing and shaking his head.

“I been to that fucking murder shack of his,” he wheezes, “Never met the girl myself though. She’s the blondie, right? Kinda tanned, rosy cheeks?”

You nod, trying to prepare for him to start saying shit he shouldn’t. He was more than happy to do the same to Camilla, after all.

“Yes. Her.”

“Well he hasn’t found her yet, if that’s what you’re worried about.” His smile begins to fade now and his eyes remain fixated on the pill you hold between your fingers. “To be honest, I thought it was a kid he lost in some nasty child settlement or something. Didn’t think he would be… I’m not gonna call that shit love. Even a dirty bastard like me knows it’s not that.”

You nod, “Wants her.”

“Wants her [i]back[/i],” he corrects you, “You have no idea how much that guy would go on and on about her being taken from him.”

“She was… not his.” Your hands and teeth clench and you force them to relax. “Never.. was.”

“Listen pal, you coulda fooled me. The way he’s go on and on about her, it’d drive any sick fuck crazy after a while. Hell, I even tried to help him out!” Somehow, despite being tied to a chair and missing several teeth, Wyatt merely sounds annoyed during the story.

“I told him, there’s a hundred girls in this city that he could take back home if he wanted. Blondes ain’t exactly hard to find, and he sure as hell has enough money to convince any of ‘em to suck his cock. Like for fucks sake, he’s got enough in the bank to make any fucking model bend over for him, but he kept insisting on this lil’ kid.”

He motions at your hand, “You just gonna keep warming that up for me or…?”

Whatever help is coming down this way will probably take a few hours. By then he’s sure to come down from this, and if he still hasn’t given up anything useful then Camilla’s backup can figure it out.

You crack the pill in half and slip part of it onto his tongue, which he immediately starts sucking on.

“There we go, just gotta wait for this shit to kick in now,” he speaks with it held under his tongue, “Gotta be honest, I didn’t think I’d end up somewhere like this for that guy. Either I’d get scooped up by somebody pissed off cause I caught them on camera fucking a whore, or the doc woulda found a reason to snap on me.”

“What did...you do?”
“For him? A lot more than I should have,” he scoffs, “If I’d known he was gonna cause me so much trouble, I’d have kicked him outta my store. Shoulda known something was up with the first job he asked from me.”

You have to wait for him to dryly swallow his drug. His head leans back against the back of the chair as he gives a big sigh of relief.

“ People want cameras set up everywhere, that ain’t nothing new. I’ve set ‘em up in some wild places, but never in a doctor’s office.”

“What for?” You swear that, for a moment, Wyatt’s face turns green at the thought.

“You know what he does for a living now, right? Plastic surgery shit, fixing up fucked up faces and all that kinda shit. Think he used to do ‘regular’ surgeries before but…” his droning comes to a stop as, you imagine, his head must be spinning right now, “...to cut to the chase,he first had me set up shit in his operating room. Didn’t think that was too weird, didn’t know why he’d come find me for that. Figured it was just a security set up kinda thing.”

Your hand comes to hold your throat at the thought. “Recorded… surgery?”

Wyatt nods.
“Up and personal shit too. Thought maybe he wanted it for, shit I dunno, teaching? Sure as fuck wasn’t that.” He opens an eye to glare at you, “I might be into some real freaky shit, but I ain’t heard of anyone liking to watch surgery videos like that. He didn’t jack off to them, least I don’t think so. But he tried showing them to me once and he had this look in his face. Was like a kid watching cartoons.”

“Anything… else?” your lips hitch up in a disgusted scowl.

His mouth picks up in a grin, “He pitches in for my little tape selling ring. Well, not mine. I’m just a part of it, getting my cut as it comes. Mostly getting the equipment those bastards need for tape reproduction. Filming equipment, all that shit. Don’t make any of it myself, aside from selling some of the whore house recordings I get sometimes.”

Knowing he’s part of the reason for those tapes going around, you back away in fear of snapping his neck. Thinking nothing more of it, you end up flicking the blade in and out of the knife to keep yourself somewhat occupied.

“Ooh, seems I struck a nerve there,” he whistles while looking up again, “If you’re gonna toss that knife at me, try to miss my face at least. I wanna try to keep that pretty looking for a bit longer.”

You slam the blade shut and shove it away before you do get the urge to bury it in him.

“What else...for him?” you grip the closed knife tightly.

“Eh, mostly renting out equipment to him. Showed him how to use it too. And that shack of his…”

He shakes his head, “Pretty sure every square inch of that place has some kind of camera pointed at it. Said he didn’t want to miss a single second of [i]her[/i]. Wanted to save every single moment he can.”

“Where… is it.”

“Sorry champ,” he chuckles, “he built that shit in the middle of nowhere. Has its own set up for electricity and everything, completely off the grid and in the middle of nowhere. I’d give ya the tape showing you how to get there but I wouldn’t do well in prison.”
Desperate now you tell him, “What if… no jail. Can go… free.”

“And have that crazy son of a bitch after me!” Wyatt shakes his head, “Maybe if you promise to bring his head on a stake, sure. You make him stand trial and he’s just gonna post bail and vanish. And then I’ll still get fucked over. That guy can ask favors from the type of people you better fucking pray never find out where you sleep.”

Wyatt starts appearing sluggish now. Whatever he took must be kicking in. It’s a good time for you to step away and clear your head in the cold for a bit.

Just a little bit longer and you’ll have backup. A little bit of help to make this man stop holding on to the combination. And then you can go back, and you can sleep in a bed again, and your brain won’t be so full of static.

At the moment, you can’t help but feel jealous about Camilla going back.

[b]Player’s choice[/b]

> Go play as Delilah for a bit (come back to check on Lawrence after a while)

> Keep playing as Lawrence until this is taken care of
>Go play as Delilah for a bit (come back to check on Lawrence after a while)
Delilah Time!
Keep playing as Lawrence
>> Keep playing as Lawrence until this is taken care of

Can't say I want to share in Delilah's misery of being forced to do nothing in nowhere for days on end
With nothing better to do than waste time, you take a seat on the ground. Back against the wall. Breath showing as clouds in the cold air. You shouldn’t have, but you close your eyes.

It’s not quite a nap. Closer to not thinking about anything and driving away. When you finally open your eyes again, your limbs feel cramped from the cold. A little more than an hour has passed, and Wyatt still sleeps slumped over in the chair.

You get up, stretching as you walk outside.

Minutes later, a white car pulling up makes your heart stop. Even more so when you recognize the police lights on top. While you try to plan what to do, those fears are extinguished when Crockett’s friend steps out.

You come out to greet Palmer as she stands next to the vehicle and surveys the building.

“Quite the place you’ve got here,” she whistles, “Very welcoming.”

Palmer walks up to you at the door, peering over your shoulder. “That him? Sheesh, after the mess I had to clean up before I was expecting worse from you.”

A sheepish grimace comes over your face when you realize what she’s referring to. She gives a firm pat on the back with a smirk on her face.

“Yep. Got an anonymous tip from Ace about a little scuffle going on over there. Had to pull away from my patrol to check out the little ah, pretty sure I put it down as a noise disturbance’.

You mouth the word ‘sorry’ to her and Palmer throws up her hands with a shrug.

“My job doesn’t usually require so much cleaning,” she crosses her arms and sighs, “I would have almost preferred to stay in the car bored out of my mind like usual.”

You motion at her and whisper, “Why here?”

“Cammy wanted me to check up on you first, make sure everything back there was fine,” she looks through the door again, “Looks pretty quiet here. Not much of an interrogation.”

“Help… for that. Coming.”

“Really?” she raises an eyebrow, “I bet she called that in too. Wish she’d mentioned that, I’d love to know who it is.”

“Why?” you ask at the slight rise of excitement on her face.

“Think about the type of people she ran with before! Maybe it’s someone I’ve seen on our ‘Most Wanted’ lists, wouldn’t that be wild?” A smile still lingering on Palmer's face she adds, “I don’t think she’d be running favors with anyone too vile. Just someone I can maybe pick up a few tricks from.”

As you’re about to question her excitement for such a thing, you’re greater with another pair of headlights coming towards the fenced off lot.

Palmer instantly reaches to her side, the handle of her stowed gun resting in hand.

This car that pulls up is certainly nicer than Palmer’s scuffed up cruiser. Black and speak and sharp, it screams wealth in the middle of this lot.

“Think this is your guy?” Palmer whispers, to which you shrug.
A single man steps out. Though, on second look, you see a small dog that follows right behind his footstep. His hair, just like the car, is sleek and dark while his face is clean shaven. Wingtip shoes and his nearly buttoned winter coat makes him look ready for work.

For the first time recently, you feel the need for a shower and trim.

“Hey there sir,” Palmer greets him. She walks towards the man in an effort to keep distance from him and the door. “I don’t suppose you’re lost right now?”

He stops, stern and gaunt face looking at Palmer and then towards you.

“ ‘Che macello’.” The words roll perfectly off his tongue and Palmer backs up with a confused look.

You step up to her and show her the password Camilla wrote down.

“She… sent him,” you explain.

“Alright,” she nods and looks back at him, “But of a weird codeword. Mind telling us what it means?”

You and Palmer watch as the man is all’s by without a word. The dog follows with, though it sits behind and waits as he looks into the warehouse.

“What a mess,” he speaks quick and sternly, “It’s been a while since I’ve worked in a place this much of a dump.”

“So I take it that you’re Canmy’s friend?” Palmer asks, eyeing the brown fluff on a dog that is staring back at her.

“If you don’t know already then you don’t need to know.”

“Sheesh,” she whispers under her breath, “Think I would have preferred dealing with some kingpin henchman instead.”

“How long has he been asleep?” the man asks. He whips his head around when you take more than a second to answer, “Well? How long?”
Palmer raises her hand at him, trying to motion for him to slow down. “Easy pal,” she speaks up, “Law here isn’t much of a talker.”

“I take it that it’s due to this,” he looks at you with his fingers trailing across his throat, “Unfortunate, but as long as you can listen to instructions. Misses Camilla told me how tough this man was being. So long as he can still breathe, I can get an answer out of him.”

“There’s something about a safe inside his store?” Palmer asks you, “I’m supposed to keep an eye for it when I swing by there. Course, if his pals are there I’m going to have to deal with them first. Might have to flex my badge a little more than I like to.”

“Bring them here,” the man demands, “Another mouth here might get us the Mum bees quicker.

A bit annoyed now, Palmer barely hides her sneer. “And my name is Officer Palmer,” she says in a sickly sweet voice, “and you would be?”

“Are names really necessary here?”

“I guess not,” her lip raises in a forced smirk, “but it’s the polite thing to do, isn’t it?”

The man doesn’t even look at her as she speaks. And when it looks like Palmer might go stomp off, he speaks again in the quick, snappy tone.

“Jones is fine,” he says, “I can take or leave the ‘Mister’ part.”

“Alright, great! Hello Jones!” she rolls her eyes, “It’s almost like I’m talking to a real person now.”

Jones starts slipping on a pair of gloves, “Shouldn’t you be on the way already?”

She looks ready to snap back with some biting words but manages to hold herself. As she starts walking back she nudges your shoulder and motions back to the car.

“Doesn’t matter to me either way,” she says, “but if you don’t want to be left with Mr. Asshole here, you can ride with me. Otherwise I’m going to have to take some baby rookie with me to deal with that store.

> Palmer is going to need the extra help, go with her
> If you stay with Jones you might get Wyatt to crack sooner
> ...
> Palmer is going to need the extra help, go with her
Which isn't trying to be rude to this guy, this is just his bread and butter and we're wont to step on his toes.
>Palmer is going to need the extra help, go with her
I have a bad feeling about this but let's see how it goes.
>> Palmer is going to need the extra help, go with her

This is going to look weird to everyone, a guy like law exiting a cop car with an officer out on a response.

Should he get off a block away and involve himself as a concerned citizen?
Can he borrow a badge to pass off as a plainclothes officer?

A scarf to hide the scar would be ideal, it's too noticeable
You point at Camilla and nod at her.

“Sweet, Law is coming with me.” She grins at you before returning her gaze to Jones as he scoops up the dog from the ground. “And is there anything you need from us or …?”

“I’m sure I would have asked for it already,” he answers bluntly while giving the dog scratches beneath its chin, “It’s better for you to not waste anymore time.”

“Jeez alright, we’re heading out!”

Palmer storms off to the car, grumbling along the way. You look at the man while slowly backing away. “Will be… back.”

“Don’t rush anything,” he warns, “Better to take your time than to run in headfirst. I don’t know how long you two will be gone and I don’t promise to have any answers by the time you get back. But I will be here, and I will get it out of him.”

“Has...friends,” you whisper even lower than usual, “Should… we bring?”

“Might speed up the process,” he nods, “But only try if it's reasonable. Now go, your ride is getting impatient.”

Sure enough you see Palmer standing at the driver's door, glaring over at you two men.

It feels weird leaving a stranger to do this job. But she sent for him, and you have no choice but to trust her choice.

It feels just as strange to sit in the front seat of a cop cruiser. You feel afraid to touch anything inside, though Palmer is more than comfortable stomping and slamming things around.
“What an attitude!” she glares at him once more as she pulls away from the warehouse, “Awfully uptight for someone about to make some pig squeal. Well him and his weird dog can have fun with that. Glad you came along Law, otherwise I would have had to bully the new guy into that seat.”

“Sure it’s… safe?” you ask and point to yourself, “Easy to… recognize.”

“Don’t sweat it,” she grins, “I’ll get you all prettied up before we go inside anywhere. You’d be surprised. A couple extra layers of clothes and a quick course on disguising your body language and it’s like you’re a new man. I’ll do all the talking and you can make sure no one tries any funny business.”

Your heart beats strangely from nervousness. From a desire to stop and actually let your body and mind rest. Between the static prickling your head and the movement of the car, you feel woozy.

“What’s wrong buddy?” Palmer asks as you roll down the window for cool air, “Don’t tell me you’re getting nervous about this now.”

“Not.. nervous,” you answer, “Not well.”

She nods, the flyaway strands of her bun moving as she does so. “I bet so. Cammy sounded really… she didn’t sound too great over the phone. And as little as I know her, she’s done a good job at hiding that.”

“Were...scummy. To her.”

“This guy you’ve been messing with?”

“And his...friends.”

“Right,” Palmer speaks with a growing disgust making her sneer, “Don’t worry, I’m good at keeping my cool. But if these guys are creeps, I’m not so sure I can let them walk away.” Her hands grip the steering wheel even tighter and there’s a strained growl in her words.

You focus on taking in the cool air and clearing your head during the drive. All too soon though, the electronics store comes to sight.

While people remain coming and going through the streets, it’s far less than earlier. And the sight of the police cruiser is enough to send many hobbling in other directions.

Rather than park up front, Palmer drives through the alley and behind the buildings.

“Alright, stay right there. We’re going to get you fancied up.”

Palmer goes between the front seat and the trunk, bringing different articles of clothing.

“Some of these are going to be a tight fit,” she earns while handing over different pieces, “But you just have to make due for a little bit. And don’t bother buttoning up that coat, we both know it’s not going to happen.”

You could tell just from how tight the sleeves are that fastening it shut wasn’t an option. But you bear with it anyways, even allowing her to fasten a scarf around your neck and lower part of your face. Palmer fixes a cap last and nods in satisfaction at her work.
“Excellent. Now remember, keep your face down. Try to keep your shoulders and upper body hunched over, it’ll help you look smaller.” She does the last preparations on herself, making sure her hair is tied back right and her gun is loaded and in place.

She reaches over and holds your elbow, “If there’s anything fishy going on, just grab me like this. Tug my collar if someone tries taking out a weapon. Let’s go.”

Palmer steps out of the car and takes lead. You follow close behind, trying to remember everything she told you. A few times you have to remember to hunch over, but you’ve got it down by the time she’s knocking on the black door.

“If they don’t answer here, we’ll try from the front. And if no one answers, then we can force our way in—“

Palmer immediately returns her attention forward when the knob turns and the door opens as much as the chain allows.

A man peeks through the gap, one that you’re sure was walking with Camilla earlier.

“Hi there,” Palmer greets him with a smile, “We were just wondering if we could ask you a few questions.”

She’s already got her foot in the doorway, preventing the man from shutting it in her face.

“What for?” he growls.

“We had a few anonymous tips from this area earlier today, I don’t guess you’re the owner of this place?”

“I uh, no I’m a friend of his—“

“And he’s not here right now, is he? If so I need him to come to the door immediately. We had some concerted calls about a possible altercation and even an abduction…”
A back and forth starts between Palmer and the man. As tough as he tries to sound, having a police officer at the door makes him nervous. And she’s quick to show off her badge when he asks and takes the opportunity to insist that you two need inside.

“Now, unless you want my partner here to break down the door and arrest you for obstructing justice…” She holds on to the door chair and puts up a scary, warm smile, “I suggest you open this door so we can ask you a few questions.”

“... I’m not alone here.”

“That’s fine, I won’t interrupt you lil’ date.”

“It’s just another friend of ours—“

“Relax, I said I wouldn’t interrupt your date for long. The sooner you talk to us, the quicker we can get out of your hair.”

Without a word, the man closes the door. You and Palmer are left waiting outside longer than it should take to unlock it. The annoyance grows on her face, but he eventually does get it open and usher you two inside.

You notice the red blink of a camera set directly above the doorway, but don’t have time to linger on it. The man leads you through the short hallway, a staircase at one side and three doorways.

He leads you through the one at the end, leading into the backroom of the store. Through an archway, you can see the cash register and glass cases lining the front.

While the back is filled to the brim, it’s all somehow arranged nice and neatly. The other man sits on a beaten up couch, a crowded coffee table at his knees. On it you can make out a phone buried between stacks of tapes, a television and all sorts of VHS players surrounding it.

“What’s going on..?” the man on the couch asks, sounding far more nervous than his buddy.

“We just have a few questions to ask about your friend. I don’t suppose either of you have filed a missing persons report already?” Palmer takes a look at what’s playing on screen. Her nose wrinkles instantly when she’s greeted with muted porn, and she steps away from it.

“Uh, n-no ma’am, we were uh…” the man on the couch starts to stutter and the one who greeted you at the door steps up.

“We figured we’d wait to see if he’d return after a couple hours,” he huffs, “It’s not the first time this happened. Guy has crazy dates sometimes.”

“I bet so…” Palmer tries not to grimace as he removes a notebook from her pocket, “Let me get these out of the way now—“

As she talks, you try to look for the safe. You spot another table back here, tools and the insides of a camera laid across the top. Sleazy as the guy is, this backroom really does feel like a place he did repairs at.

> Stay nearby, search the backroom and storefront
> Sneak back to the hallway, you can check out the doors there
> Upstairs might be your best bet, just go carefully
> ...
> Stay nearby, search the backroom and storefront
>Stay nearby, search the backroom and storefront
>> Stay nearby, search the backroom and storefront

Keep an eye out for a way to turn off the surveillance cams too
You start pacing around the room. Afraid to go too far from Palmer and these men, you want to be able to hear what’s going on at all times.

“I really think all this shit is unnecessary,” the first man grumbles, “He’s gonna come back, and he isn’t going to be too happy about us letting just anyone in.”

“Well, it’s a good thing I’m not just anyone,” Palmer smirks,”and how about some names, huh? Who am I talking to?”

The more frightened man jumps to the question, “I’m Paul and h-he’s Derrick—“

The man who opened the door looks back to Paul on the couch, pissed to hell that he gave away their names so easily.

“Alright and lemme just get that down…” Palmer pretends to write this down, you can see from behind that her notebook is empty. She’s just buying time for you to look for the safe, and to scope out these men. If they don’t know anything, there’s no reason to bring them with.

“Why do you gotta take down our names—“ Wyatt looks from Palmer to you as you start poking around behind a case of tripods. “Hey hey hey, the hell you think you’re doing?”

“My partner is just making sure you guys don’t secretly have him tied up somewhere,” Palmer is quick to direct his attention over again, “It’d be tragic if he were bound and gagged in here, trying to call out for help and never being found, wouldn’t it?”

“I can assure you, he’s not—“

“Yes, but we don’t know that, do we?” The sweet demeanor in her voice turns sickly as she becomes annoyed by the man, “I think it’s about time for you buddy here to speak up. Never know what he might have seen. Right, Paul?”

“I, uh…” Paul has already begun to sweat under the pressure. As he nervously tries to recount what happened on the street earlier, you search the rest of the room.

But as much as you look, there’s no sign of a safe. None on the ground hidden away or placed into the wall. Slowly, you sneak your way to the store front to check there instead.

“—we don’t know that woman no, but we thought she was sent down from one of the clubs…” Paul continues to hesitantly spill the beans as his companion stands there fuming. He glares at the skittish man on the couch anytime he starts giving away details he shouldn’t, and Palmer just nods along.
When you go through the archway, you’re immediately greeted by a long glass case. The cash register rests on top close by, along with baskets and boxes full of everything from energy pills to ‘performance and size’ enhancers. Plenty of nice items fill the case itself, while random and gaudy neon signs cover the inside walls.

While you can recognize that there’s rather expensive equipment in here, you see no sign of a safe. As you continue to check along the wall, you listen to the conversation in the other room.

“—don’t you need some kinda warrant to come in here and demand shit?” Derrick demands.

“Time is crucial in these kinds of matters. Aren’t you worried about the kind of danger your friend could be in?”

“At this point I’m worried about my safety. You can’t just can’t come in here and demand shit from us! Not without paperwork saying you can. I’ve dealt with you pigs enough to know that.”

Palmer’s laughter follows after, one that even you can feel the annoyance carried in it.

“You’re right, I am a pig! And a pig definitely knows when it’s talking to trash.”

“Listen, if you’re going to be acting like some big bitch just cause you got a badge—“

The arguing continues for a moment longer. Then you hear the sound of a chair scuffing against the ground and footsteps moving quickly behind it.

“Son of a bitch- HELP ME!” Palmer shouts and you come running.

Inside the backroom, you see that Palmer and the slightly taller Derrick are fighting against each other. She works on pinning his arms to his back, a feat he fights against with all his might.

Paul, on the other hand, is scrambling to get away from the scene and to the back door.

“Get him!” Palmer shouts before an elbow catches her in the face. She grits her teeth to brace against the blow, but still keeps a hold on Derrick. Her handcuffs balance carefully in her hold. “Don’t let him escape!”

> Help Palmer with Derrick first
> Go after Paul
> ...
>Go after Paul
She knows what she's doing.
Paul is already going round the doorway by the time you start sprinting after. The last you hear from the backroom is an echoing smack. You don’t waste any time to see what happened, and work instead of closing the space between Paul and you.

He’s unable to undo the locks quick enough and you manage to grab him back. As you pull him away he starts to shriek and struggle in your hold. The man manages to flail his body so erratically that he manages to make you hit the wall. You’re still able to pull him towards the backroom-- until he causes the right side of your body slam against one of the closed doorways. The pain that comes from the half healed wound on your shoulder is enough to loosen your grip enough to allow Paul to slip away.

You regain yourself quickly, biting past the throb in your shoulder. But Paul scrambles away quick enough. In his panic though, he ignores the backdoor for the staircase instead. Of course you stomp up the stairs to follow, but your lungs and exhaustion keep you from catching up.

Paul slams the only door up there shut just as you reach the top step. Immediately you rush to push it open, only to be stopped by two secured chains on the other side.

The man shrieks and tries to push the door closed, his shaking hand already trying to prepare the heavy deadlock.

While you’re able to keep the door open, the chains keep you from getting inside. There’s a creak in the wood as you continue to push and the metal pulls on it’s fastens. It’s not something you can get in one go, but if you try a little bit longer--

“Son of a bitch! Get on the ground!” Palmer’s voice echoes upstairs, and you pick up on a wet slur in her words. “Fucking hold still or I swear to god I will--!!!”

“Y-you should go help her!” Paul whimpers, never once letting go of the door. “He could kill her you know! She n-needs your help!”

Behind him, you can make out a bare bones bed. But even more than that, you spot piles upon piles of tapes stacked up everywhere. A row of TV’s lined up along the walls, showing footage from around the store and just outside. And maybe, in the far corner, you just barely make out a medium sized metal container...

> You trust Palmer to win, you need to get this door opened before the deadlock is in place
> Go help Palmer secure her man, you can figure out what to do with Paul later
> This is the time to pull out your gun and start waving it around… just try not to shoot it here
> ....
>This is the time to pull out your gun and start waving it around… just try not to shoot it here
God this is fucking stressful, I love it
> This is the time to pull out your gun and start waving it around… just try not to shoot it here
If ever there was a time. This bastard probably has instructions to destroy evidence, but he won't do it unless he can secure the dead bolt.
If Palmer needs help, she'll say so. She's a big girl.
I fail to see how a gun will help us here. Chains are already keeping Lawrence out and a gun won't make the guy more inclined to open up rather than retreat or get out of sight. Which will get him to stop fighting is for the deadlock....

Right. He can probably kick the chains off the hinges easily enough in that case

> This is the time to pull out your gun and start waving it around… just try not to shoot it here
Your boot forces its way into the space to keep the door from closing. And try as he might, Paul doesn’t nearly have the strength to push you away.

“Are y-you really not going to go help her?!” he grunts, “That’s so cold—“

The man yelps when he catches sight of a gun barrel peeks through the door opening. With your foot in the way he’s unable to close it any further, and you’re able to take aim at him.

He catches sight of your finger inching towards the trigger and tries to hide behind the door. But now you’re able to slide it further toward, stopped only by the chains straining to hold it back. Your arm squeezes through as much as it can to aim at him again and Paul jumps away.

“Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck…!” Paul scrambles to a desk holding some of the television screens. He begins pulling out drawers frantically, in search of something as you stand at the door.

You don’t stand for long. Backing up some, you ram the door with your left shoulder, aiming for the spot the chains attach.

While the metal easily holds fast, the wood they’re held to doesn’t. The chains strain to their full extent and you can make out the sound of wood splintering.

Paul rushes over to the bed and nightstand by it as you brace your grip on the doorway. It takes more than one kick and all of your weight is put into it. But sure enough, the door creaks and gives away as the chain fastens dangle from the wall, chunks of wood still attached.

“G-got it!” Paul exclaims as he pulls out a small handgun from the drawer, “Now you’ll have to stay back or else—“

He bites his tongue as you run forward and bring the butt of the gun against his skull. He drops his weapon instantly and almost follows it to the floor. Pinning him down and restraining his arms back is the easy back, though you’re forced to grab a roll of tape from the dresser to do so.

“Easy man, p-please!” he whimpered as his wrists are bound, “I’ve got kids and a family and stuff!”

You don’t listen to a word he has to say. Palmer is downstairs dealing with the other man and you can’t waste more time.

Paul gets yanked roughly to his feet and pushed in front of you. The man trips and stumbles but you pull him up by the shirt collar each time. He begs you to let him go but you aren’t having any of that shit.

Back downstairs, the fighting has quieted down. There’s an uneasiness in your stomach as you drag Paul back to the backroom.
Inside, you see Palmer sitting on top of a facedown Derrick. His hands cuffed behind him and an occasional twitch through his body. Blood flows freely from her smashed nose and she’s been left with a nasty black eye. But she looks down at her target with a smirk, smiling with blood in her teeth.

“Oh good, you got him!” Palmer stands to her feet as you come in, “I was worried we’d lose one of these assholes. This punk—“ she nudges his side firmly with her shoe, “—got a lucky hit on me. Even managed to knock the taser out of my hand, but once I got it back this fight was in the bag.”

She flashes said taser in her hand before slipping it back into its holster. “Give me a moment to catch my breath,” Palmer leans against the wall, “I’ll be fine, just a bit lightheaded from all that. It’s been a while since I’ve had a proper brawl.”

You force Paul to sit on the floor far from his friend and within sight. He quivers and shakes, even more so at the sight of Derrick.

“Five minutes,” pants Palmer, “Give me five minutes and I’ll be good to go.”

> With the men restrained, you feel confident in leaving Palmer here. Go upstairs to check out that room

> Have Palmer help bring the men up the stairs. Take time to explore the bedroom before leaving

> Better to get these guys back to warehouse ASAP, you can come check out this place afterward

> ..
>Have Palmer help bring the men up the stairs. Take time to explore the bedroom before leaving
Oh thank god that all worked out.
Thank god for the power of gun!
> Have Palmer help bring the men up the stairs. Take time to explore the bedroom before leaving
Can't trust them to behave on their own, but maybe they'll think they can buy leniency identifying stuff upstairs and talk.
You point up and mouth the words, ‘should go upstairs’.

“Huh, is that where you went?” Palmer starts using her uniform sleeve to mop up the blood now, “I guess I did hear a bit of clomping above us. What did you find?”

“Bedroom. Camera...monitors.” You hold out your hands almost shoulder width apart to indicate the size, “A safe.”

Her good eye opens wide, “Is that so? Should we drag these losers up there?”

You nod, walking to the facedown man to get him up. He’s still reeling from what you imagine was several seconds of tasering. His knees instantly buckle from any attempt to stand and he tries to hold his head up. You’re right there to force him upright, just as Palmer pushes the whimpering man before her.

“You can’t… can’t do this…” Derrick stammers in your grasp.

“Maybe you should have thought about that before attacking a pig,” sneers Palmer with her stained face, “You should be lucky that I had to use non-lethal force just now.”

Derrick glares silently as you make him follow Palmer and his friend. Up the narrow stairs you watch as she has to stop, catching herself against the wall a few times. But she manages to regain her balance and continue onward.

Upon entering the bedroom and spotting the monitor setup, Palmer whistles in awe. “Quite the setup your pal has up here,” she takes a closer look at a video feed showing the front street, watching a glimpse of a drunk hanging around near the camera. “Only people I know who go this far with security are usually up to no good.”

You let Derrick fall from your hands, the man stumbling to his knees before collapsing to the floor. The safe is the only thing catching your eyes right now.

Of course the thing is locked right. A large black dial and a set of numbers prevents you from getting inside. You give a brief attempt to see if picking the whole thing up is an option.

Even if you were 100% right now, the safe wouldn’t budge out of place. And with it being nearly as wide as you and half as tall, you imagine he’s fit quite a lot of shit inside.

“Think this is the thing we’re looking for?” Palmer comes and pats the metal top, “Wonder if ‘Mister Jones’ and his weird frou-frou dog managed to squeeze the numbers outta him yet.”

Derrick lifts his head from the floor, staring daggers at her. “I should’ve fucking knew that you had something to do with it. Pig bitch...”

The smirk on her face and the fire in her eyes would make you afraid, were it directed at you.

“Maybe next time you could get some honest work,” she taps her reddened fingers against the safe with a dangerous tempo, “Or at least something less greasy. Stuff that doesn’t make you try to beat a lady’s face in, huh?”

“It’s what you fucking get! Just wait until I get out of this! I’ll make your fucking face a smear on the wall and then I’ll—“
Palmer wastes no time walking over and stepping on his head. “You better start learning some manners while you’re in those handcuffs,” she adds a little more pressure to the step, “I already know you did enough scummy shit tonight. If you want to start making amends, I’d start by saying ‘yes ma’am’ and speaking only when I tell you.”

He spits at the ground and, the type of flash anger you feel familiar with, Palmer delivers a swift kick to his sides. You pull her away, though she seems to have cooled off quickly.

“I’m fine,” she assures you as Derrick curls up on the ground in pain, “Just trying to get him to shut up for a while.” When Palmer finally looks away from him, she asks, “What else do we have in here?”

Video tapes stacked around the room are the most obvious, aside from all the monitors. When you start investigating the piles, dates and names are written across white tape strips on the front. Many have two or three names listed, beyond that not much more information. Palmer looks over your shoulder, pulling one such tape from your hands.

“Oh shit…” she stares at the names on the tape, “I’m not sure who the other two guys are, but this one has the assistant city manager! The one that retired recently anyways. Holy fuck, I wonder who else he has here.”

While you don’t doubt there’s plenty of incriminating evidence in here, you’re sure the tape you actually need is inside the safe.

The rest of the place has the bare minimum for a bedroom and looks more like a security room than anything. You find a closet equally filled with clothes and more tapes. While you realize he has them all stacked up in date order, that doesn’t help you much.

> You know where the safe is now, better not waste time getting these guys back to the warehouse

> Search the room more before leaving, you’ve got enough time to

> +make sure Palmer doesn’t hurt the men anymore before you can get them to the warehouse

> You know where the safe is now, better not waste time getting these guys back to the warehouse
I doubt there's anything here that'll help us, at least immediately. It might be a good idea to get someone to put all these tapes somewhere safe, comb them through and find someone who can be... forced to set things right, but that's neither here not there.
>> You know where the safe is now, better not waste time getting these guys back to the warehouse

Camilla's associates should know a good safe cracker. Palmer should phone her about it and also call someone she can trust to keep this store safe for a couple of hours or at least until they can be relieved by proper criminals. Maybe Brandi can be of help.

I don't want any of their accomplices fouling this up for us.

This store must have cameras, take photos of the tapes just in case

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