Tony viciously suppressed the urge to kill the human garbage in front of him as he downed another celebratory drink of beer. The fat whale with a swastika tattooed onto his neck and teardrop tattoo under his eye that sat across from him belched again, both adding to the already oppressive air around them and tested his resolve.
The air inside bar was thick with smoke, cheap beer, and sweat as his “brothers and sisters” threw up another wave of drunken salutes and cheers. With the way the bar’s old, wooden tables and chairs seemed to jitter and shake and as feet stomped and obnoxious music blared from large speakers hanging from the walls Tony might have genuinely worried about attracting the attention of cops if he didn’t know this was one of the very few truly “safe” neighborhoods left for the White Boars. The people that lived around here were either cowed by fear or practically members themselves, local cops that do patrols were bought off or sympathizers, and finally, this very bar was owned by one of the White Boars previous “lieutenants”.
Tony hated these people, even as he smiled and patted the fatty on the back for winning a drinking contest, but he couldn’t deny that whoever was pulling the strings for these puppets knew what they were doing. Fortunately, it wasn’t constant incessant whining and bigotry, otherwise he probably would have broken by now, but the images, attitude, and occasional rants would ware anyone down that wasn’t already drinking their particular brand of kool-aid. It’s just that Danny-the-fatty was especially egregious about how much of a shit-stain he was.
As he got up and excused himself from the drinking game with some of the older members he reflected on how he was honestly a little glad that the cops here avoided this bar, cause any conflict with regular law enforcement would probably end badly considering the fifteen Supers that were still here and showing off to impress their groupies. He took careful stock of all of them, from the boy that could transport entire groups of people using fog to the creepy guy that could freeze people, trying to avoid thinking about how young some of them were.
His eyes lingered for a second or two before shaking his head, smoothing back his dyed blonde hair, and approached Francis instead. Approaching and trying to get all buddy-buddy with their new strike team might catch too much attention, but schmoozing a little with who was effectively their second-in-command was practically expected.
Out of everything, though, the hardest part of his job was across the room and talking quietly with the creepy guy with silver eyes that could freeze people. “Brian”, the person Francis reported to, and an Advanced Mind of all things. The guy hadn’t told him directly, but after seeing the large man use telekinesis to crush an upstart it was a nigh-certainty. And because he didn’t know Brian’s range he was forced to keep his thoughts marshalled until he was certain that the Super was well away from wherever he was.
Carefully keeping what he saw as just observation and only actively thinking about buttering up Francis and getting drunk, he approached his drunk and bald superior with a smile.
“Hey, man, this party is getting pretty wild just for punching out a few Heroes!” Tony had to shout over the music as he approached.
Francis half turned on his bar stool before giving Tony a cheerful smile. “Nah, man; Everyone’s been working like dogs recently. A little celebration after taking out a rival and beating a Hero is just what the gang needs.”
“Understandable.” Tony said, and he did understand. After hounding the Greens for weeks now, killing another of their prominent leaders would really put them on the defensive. As for “beating” one of the Heroes… Tony guessed that whoever that glowing guy who had smashed through Trap Master’s armor was impressive, and it certainly looked so on the video one of the members had taken and spread after the fight, but hearing about how she’d nearly killed him afterwards with a gas trap made it a really hollow victory.
He let those thoughts slip through the cracks though, occasional internal snark was far more believable and less suspicious than obviously fake obedience after all.
“Still, a lot of our Supers have started hanging around here. Don’t we usually keep them in different districts? I know for sure I saw that duplication chick in the richer parts of town and not near these slums.”
Francis snorted. “Yeah, Dinah doesn’t like being away from all her cushy shit, but…” He seemed to drift off and hesitate before just shrugging his shoulders. “We’re gonna start something big soon; we’re going to try and off Styx and Land-shit’s intern.”
Tony’s eyebrows rose a few inches at that, nothing fake about his surprise right now. Those were two of the premier local Hero teams in his city, he’d practically grown up with those teams watching over the city. He’d heard of Styx too, hell, everyone had since that interview but most influential of all, he’d seen Styx work. Tony knew the Supers arrayed in this bar weren’t all that the White Boars had at their disposal, so he could look past the sliver of fear he held in regards to the Pristine Strikers to realize that, while these guys might not win, he could see them killing at least one member in a fight… if they caught the Hero team off guard.
This was huge. The weeks spent hanging around and schmoozing with these wastes of space finally paying off. But all he had now was some vague confirmation of an attack using a group of Supers whose powers he had a barely cursory understanding of. The lack of understanding wouldn’t change, he wasn’t that good and the Supers were too secretive, but his boss would expect more than just a vague warning; she’d want details, something she could trade for favors.
So, with a deep breath, Tony prepared to do the only thing he could honestly say was a trained skill of his; lying.
“Tell me you’ve got a plan for when then at least.” Tony laughed. “I’d rather not accidentally be in the neighborhood if one of our stronger guys melts a street.”
Francis snorted before downing another beer. “Shit, course we do. Not any exact date mind you and Land-shit won’t be any trouble, we’ve got a perfect counter to them; but were smart enough to wait till the weather clears and only do it during the day. Styx hasn’t revealed much, but it’s pretty fuckin’ obvious that fighting him at night is suicide.”
Tony nodded in understanding and plastered a smile across his face. He called over the bartender, ordered another round of Francis’s favorite drink, something called an “Adios Mother Fucker”. Just as Francis began to get well and truly shit-faced, his attention turning more prominently towards one of the more attractive women of this little gathering, Tony slipped away.
He had to stop and mingle for minutes at a time as he approached the exit, even a brisk walk might give things away. But he eventually, after verbally fellating one of the Supers that would be used in assault, some arrogant bitch that seriously called herself “Gaia”, he excused himself and walked out of the shoddy little bar and into the dingy parking lot in the back.
Tony didn’t quite run, but no one that saw him would call his gait merely a walk as he rushed to his grey, inconspicuous gas-guzzler and got inside. Then, just as he turned the car on and excitedly took off the bug he had on him; Tony slipped and thought about how he’d be rewarded by Olivia once he reported back.
And, with wide eyes, Tony knew he’d blown it.
With a start he put his car into drive and sped out of the lot and onto the street, tires squealing with the reckless urgency of his driving. And it was very fortunate for the young man that he had acted with swiftness and fear born of experience.
Because had Tony left even three seconds sooner, his car would have been in line of sight of Brian as he telekinetically blasted the Bar’s entrance into splinters and his life would have met a very long, tortuous end.