I'm still a hard-boiled detective.
When it comes to getting around unnoticed, there are two ways to do things.
Me, I'm a traditionalist. If I don't have a shadow to hide in, I make for the nearest disguise.
Which is currently why I'm sweating beneath a layer of blue paint as I sit in front of a wagon drawn by a surly kodo stuck a queue at the Gates of Orgrimmar.
When trying to pass oneself off as a member of the Horde, it's an amateur mistake to think that a night elf and a blood elf look anything alike. We're far too tall, far too muscular and far too rough to pull it off. However, with a little string applied to the ears, some creative work tying hair, toes and fingers together and a liberal application of paint, we can pass ourselves off as a race far more used to shadows and muscle.
If you've ever heard a troll's accent slip or seen them walk a little too upright, you might just have seen one of us in disguise.
Regardless, all rogues tend to look alike to the untrained eye: a bunch of mask-wearing thugs in leather. I'm hoping no one will look at me and see anything more than that. So far, my way seems to be working.
"WHAT, PRAYTELL, IS OF SUCH INTEREST IN THE CART IN FRONT OF US THAT IT TAKES AN HOUR TO SEARCH?"
Then there's Vinterson's way.
You may think me mad for letting him stand up on the cart and yell like that. After all, my disguise isn't going to hold up under close scrutiny and the less attention I get, the better. And Vinterson, as far as I know, was only recently downgraded from "war criminal" to a much more respectable "mass murderer."
Even amongst the Horde, he's the stuff of nightmares.
But here's the thing about nightmares: everyone's scared of them, but no one can remember what they look like. People who look at Vinterson quickly look away out of fear that he might just be the very thing they've been told be afraid of.
I'm hoping we can use that to our advantage, if we ever move.
"That's enough," I mutter. "Sit down before they decide to come looking for us."
"It's an outrage is what it is, detective," he replies, folding his hands as he takes a seat beside me. "I'm expected to sit here and cook while they bumble over each other."
He takes a cloth out of his lapel and daubs it gently against his face. I have no idea if he even sweats. Honestly, I don't want to know.
"An insult that goes far beyond simple orcish stupidity. This is an affront to every analytical mind everywhere. I'm inclined to declare this queue to be a crime against efficiency."
"There was an attack just outside the city," I reply. "Higher security is to be expected."
I say that, of course, but when Bomzik gave me my disguise and turned me out on a kodo cart from his hideout in the Slums, I didn't know just how much security to expect.
Standing tall as a goblin can on a stack of crates beside the gate, I see a pair of whirring, clicking goggles sweeping over the crowd. You've probably never heard of the Coterie of Ashes, nor of their chief hunter, Aerstole P. Coppertongue. They don't come out of Orgrimmar much. They like to call themselves security. The rest of the Horde, I'm told, calls them witch hunters.
But I can see the glow behind those goggles. They're looking for enchantments, magic. Had I disguised myself with an illusion knick-knack, I'd be in trouble.
Sometimes, though, it pays to be a traditionalist.
The cart ahead of us is moving. A grunt is waving us forward. I snap the reins. The kodo lows, but does not move.
"Come on, you stupid animal," I growl.
"Such language!" Vinterson gasps. "Were you raised in a barn, detective?" He leans forward, strokes the beast's neck softly. "There, there, Clarice, darling. You move when you're well and ready, hm?"
I'm not sure which is more alarming: the fact that he named it, the fact that he named it "Clarice" or the fact that it's moving.
We come to a halt before the grunt. I hand him our papers. "Bilgewater Salvage," they read. Very well forged. Bomzik, I'm told, has a team of forgery experts for just such occasions.
The grunt, though, is young. He's out to prove himself to Hellscream. He looks up at us with a suspicious glare.
"You're the ones they said would be going to clean up the debris from the blast?"
Another favor from Bomzik.
"Yeah," I grunt. "Uh, mon."
He glares a little harder, like he could see through my disguise if he squinted.
"Is there a problem, dear boy?"
He doesn't see Vinterson. He sees the clean white suit. He sees the polished cane. He sees the big, creepy smile.
He sees the Man in White. And he promptly looks away.
And then, sometimes, it pays to do things Vinterson's way.
Not by the blast site. It's roughly what I expected: a big, smoking hole in the ground surrounded by shattered crates, charred barrels and devastated blockade remnants painted with the blood of whatever poor saps had been close enough to get caught by it.
Rather, I'm surprised at how little there is.
See, if you smuggle a bomb in a cart pulled by a peon, you want it to do a lot of damage. And if you want it to do a lot of damage, you stock it with weapons, bullets, things that will make a big impact when they go flying every direction because of the explosion.
What I see here are the splattered remnants of fruits. Vegetables. Pork.
Swobu was bringing in a food delivery from the nearby swine farms.
Now, Thokk may have been the face of the Great Peon Militarization Movement--I still remember the pamphlets we recovered reading "BE LIKE THOKK"--but Swobu was the brains. And a brainy peon is smart enough to at least know he's not going to kill anyone by slathering them with barbecue sauce.
Which means one of two things: either someone really didn't want him to deliver a bunch of food to Orgrimmar...
...or the bomb didn't do what it was supposed to.
I look around. No grunts in sight. They're busy at the far end of the blockade, trying to keep back a horde of peons who are roaring and waving their picks menacingly. I'm told they've been rioting day and night, attacking the guards and trying to storm the prison to free Swobu.
I wonder if Hellscream anticipated that when he urged them to be more independent.
Absent, too, is my accomplice.
That worries me.
I find him not too far away, hunched over a dark figure, whispering to it softly.
"There, there," he coos. "I imagine you were quite terrified when the bomb went off, weren't you? Such scary noises. Such bright lights. Well, don't worry, darling, I'll take care of you now."
What the hell did he find? A body? Not a body. Please, Elune, don't let that be a body.
"What've you got there?" I ask.
He turns and he smiles at me. There, in a pair of well-manicured hands slipped inside a pair of well-tailored gloves, is a barrel.
A barrel glowing green.
"Isn't it marvelous, detective?" he whispers, as though afraid of waking his new precious baby. "I found it under a rock. They must not have searched it earlier. Look here. No Undercity emblems. And see, the glow is far too bright. This wasn't Forsaken made."
"That means it's..."
"Purestrain, detective. From the Scourge itself."
That explains it.
Whoever planted the bomb hadn't hoped to kill a few people. They had hoped to infect thousands, maybe the entire city. It didn't blow, though. Probably cushioned by all the swinemeat.
Swobu's love of pork may have inadvertently saved Orgrimmar.
And the city will never know.
"There must have been others here to see this," I mutter. "Someone had to have known who gave Swobu the cargo."
"I suppose you could ask the Peon of the Hour himself, if you felt like breaking into prison."
"You're talking like we're not a team." And I'm not sure that I don't like that.
"For the next few hours, detective, we are not. I need to remove this from all these filthy, prying eyes around us and Clarice will be helping me. I trust you can handle whatever else needs to get done in the meantime."
Truth be told, I'm just as glad to have him gone. Now we can get a bit more traditional.
Breaking into Hellscream's prison is no trip down a kobold hole. Guards everywhere. Siege weapons. Who knows how many slavering worgs.
There might be a better way, yet. Or at least, an easier one.
Peons ship food all over Durotar and Azshara. There must be a trade manifest somewhere indicating who ordered what and from where. And wherever there's the word "trade," there's bound to be goblins involved.
What should Enekie do?
1. Break into prison to interrogate Swobu.
2. Sneak into the goblin warehouses to find the trade manifest.
2. Sneak into the goblin warehouses to find the trade manifest.
As awesome (and crazy risky) as breaking into the prison sounds, I vote for 2. Swobu still isn't going anywhere and at worst we can always have him as a backup. Plus we might find something in the warehouse that lets us break in easier!
Also putting 25g down on Lansuer being the villain, just cause.
Edit: Ooo or Tikki, if it's a twist ending!
11/15/2012 08:50 PMPosted by ZietoEdit: Ooo or Tikki, if it's a twist ending!
It's really Enekie. Because the only person who could ever hope to match you in wit, cunning and deviousness... Is yourself.
11/15/2012 08:50 PMPosted by Zieto2. Sneak into the goblin warehouses to find the trade manifest.
Zieto has a point, I vote for 2.
She could either, be all stealthy and make up a plan to go into the prison.
Or she could spend quite some time looking around for something, and maybe cause herself to look like a thief.
I'll be going with 1.
11/15/2012 08:07 PMPosted by Selynth1. Break into prison to interrogate Swobu.
The somewhat direct approach.
agree with my darling selyface about this. Plus a manifest doesn't actually mean that anyone who gave him that had anything to do with the extra present. He could have picked up the bomb and plague from anywhere.
1. Break into prison to interrogate Swobu.
Swobu may not have seen much, but at least he'll be straight about it, and he may have picked up an important detail without realizing it. Dealing with the goblins could lead to a wild goose chase.
I vote for 2, myself.
PS: Ain't nothing wrong with carrying around a teddy bear. Mister Goldfur just doesn't like people, so I avoid letting people find out about him.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
PPS: And it's true. Nobody in the business appreciates theatrics as much as they should.
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