|Elsie||After a day or two of drinking their way around New Vegas, Stockton and his Deputy-ish Elsie got down to business.
This particular business was ... delicate. A visit to New Vegas offered the opportunity to perhaps get the drop on Solomon via his sister, Elsie's Aunt. There might be useful things in the apartment that Elsie had never known about, in the happy times she lived there. Solomon himself might be visiting, although that's highly unlikely. But it's a target that can't really be passed up, can it?
So that's one part of it. The other is simply that, despite the misuse Elsie suffered at the woman's hands, Elsie had fond memories of her Aunt, sister to Jared Solomon himself. Perhaps, just maybe, she wanted to know the old lady was alright.
Naturally, even after her plastic surgery, Elsie couldn't go into the building herself, but she told Stockon the address and let him know the Aunt's schedule, at least her schedule from about a year ago when Elsie still lived there. She'd stay connected by radio from a building across the way. His mission? However he sees fit, to figure out whatever he can about Jared Solomon's sister.
|Stockton||Delicate business wasn't exactly Stockton's fortee, the man was a walking wall of muscle and attitude with guns to match. And yet. With a swap out for a non-marked coat, and a few smudges on his armor and he's just another merc checking things out in town.
With his in helmet vox, he is connected to the Radio Girl across the street. Keeping Elsie a fair distance away from ground zero was a good idea, and the Marshal seemed enamored of it instantly. Even if that meant he was the one who'd be probably doing dirty work.
Cautious steps press against the stairs up into the building that never really stopped being a slum. He's surprisingly quiet for a man his size, keeping low and gluing his shadow to the wall, he approaches the door number he was given with an ear towards the sounds around him.
|Elsie||There is a sudden sound around him. It's the sound of a door opening ... but it's further down the hallway than his target door. Out comes a young couple, moneyed enough but with a sense of party about them that means they'll burn through it all in a few years, if not less. Most of it up their nose or in their veins. A little over than his Radio Girl, but this couple could've been friends with Elsie, when she lived here. The move past the man in the armor with a turning up of their noses, keeping well-clear of the man skulking in the halls. Based on how they're dressed, in nice but slightly frayed clothes? They're heading out to party, tonight.
All else is quiet.
|Stockton||Stockton doesn't really make a face or a sound when they come out. Looking more like some menacing hired goon squad than anything else as he observes them. A soft almost predatorial click leaves the back of his throat when their noses turn up. He's not used to being disrespected now that he wears that badge. But he lets it go. Only the steady breathing of the man coming through the mic when it picks up anything at all.
When they're gone, he goes back to the door and tests the knob. Some people are utterly too trusting of the protections around them. Then again, this is Jared Solomon's sister, bitch better be a bit more crafty than that. It's why he has lockpicks.
|Elsie||He'll find it locked. Crafty bitch, indeed.
But he'll notice the sound of utter quiet coming from within the room. Sure, Elsie told him when the sister usually goes out. But this? This lack of sound doesn't even have the dull hum of a poorly-wired electric lightbulb within. It's true and utter silence.
That could mean a lot of things.
The lock, he'll find if and when he picks it, will be a bit more daunting than a normal door, even in New Vegas, might require. Jared certainly saw to it that his sister was well looked after in that reguard. It'll take him more than a few tries, but save for the sound of some loud fucking above his head, loud enough that even the sounds of partying in the streets below can't cover it, he'll finally make his way in.
Into nothing. The first sight of the room will tell Stockton all he needs to know. There's no light, save the glow from the city beyond that glitters in blues and greens through the window that sports nothing but a thin muslin curtain. The hardwood floors are bare. The walls are bare, even the light fixtures are gone. The flat is rather large, with an entryway, a kitchen, a dining room, and two bedrooms with their own bathrooms attached. This is where Surelda lived with her aunt, where the happiest times in her life were.
And it's empty.
|Stockton||It's a few tries, he hasn't run into a lock this hard in a while, not that the Marshal would admit to knowing how to pick a lock in the first place. But how else is he going to magically appear in someone's room when they're least expecting him? It's all in the theater sometimes. With a few clicks and careful nudges he gets the tumblers to align and jimmies the lock open with some torque. Click.
A look up to the ceiling where he can hear the couple going at it and he just sighs heavily as he pushes inside...to nothing. There's a hiccup on the radio and then his voice comes through, "It's empty, stripped bare, checking for traps," he notes even before he drops low and starts inspecting the floor, the walls, anywhere Solomon might have left a surprise for a tail.
|Elsie||As Stockton sweeps the apartment, he'll find no traps. No lights. Just a layer of dust that settled on every flat surface, which really consists of the floors, windowsills, and walls. Whoever was here is entirely gone.
Well, almost entirely. As Stockton moves through the room, he'll notice that the flashing lights of Vegas seems to cast a shadow out of nowhere across the floor. It's very slight, seeming to appear from the middle of the floor itself, stretch a few inches, and dissappate. If Stockton moves to examine it, why, he'll find that the floorboard has been cut, but not perfectly put back into place. He could probably pry it open with a knife.
Elsie, meanwhile, talks into his headset. "She's gone?" The silver-head turned red-head sounds a little sad about that. "No sign of anything at all?"
|Stockton||Stockton is exploring on careful heel to toe motions, his weight kept centered and down low still. Even the blinking lights of Vegas keep him on edge especially here where someone could be lurking. He checks the walls, the closets, the window sills, everywhere someone could put a mine or a satchel charge. When he's satisfied he's about to call it clear when the lights streak across that perfectly carved board. Too perfect.
"Hang on, might have something," he tells her before crouching down to stick his knife into the board, prying it upwards to get at what's inside. "Otherwise nothing, just dust."
|Elsie||"Dust! So she's been gone a long time..." Stockton knows Elsie's tones by now. She's worried. But worried for a betraying Aunt, sister to her hated Father? Hey, family's confusing, ok?
As Stockton crouches and pulls open the slat, he'll find ... nothing. At least at first. It's just darkness. But then, as his eyes adjust, he'll see there's a little box and a small packet of papers tied up with a string inside. It looks to be an old access point into the flooring where maintenance guys would run wires and the like that's been turned into a hidey-hole. Not a good enough hidey-hole, it seems.
"What is it?" Elsie speaks gently into his ear.
|Stockton||"Yeah, looks like it, an' whoever cleaned up was thorough. But they didn' go an' leave sign they'd left - I mean the apartment shoulda been rented out to someone new by now right?" He's frowning and she can hear it, but he can also hear her confusion and the emotion bubbling up in her voice. "Hold on," he pauses her there.
The board out of the way he reaches into the darkness after letting his night vision goggles kick over. Spotting the box and papers he pulls out the small bundle and replaces the board. "Not sure, looks like shit she mighta hidden, on purpose, maybe not. Not sure." He tucks the package under his coat so that it won't go anywhere and makes to leave. "Still clear? I'm gettin' out."
|Elsie||"Yeah, sugar. You're clear. Couple came out and started fightin' on the street so you'll have to walk past them, but you're all clear otherwise. Meetcha back at the room?" she suggests, going quiet to allow the man to answer. Not before, however, he hears movement on the end of the line. She's already heading that way, it seems, anticipating his assent.
The package he's taken makes some rickety metal-on-metal scratching sounds; the sure sign of caps. The papers? Well, those are just papers, and will need to be reviewed further.
|Stockton||Stockton just chuckles a little to find out the snooty couple went straight to fighting when they got outside. Clearly not everyone's as lucky. So he slips out the door, double checking his six left and right before locking the knob and closing the door behind him. He continues down the hallway. He snoops around different doors. Checks other places. Clearly what he was looking for wasn't in there if anyone else was watching him.
A few minutes later, he is pushing out the door and maybe brushing the snooty fellah's shoulder a little hard as he passes them by. "Meet back at the room," he concurs and then starts his switch back journey to return to the hotel to avoid suspicion or tails.
|Elsie||Boy oh boy are they going at it. It'll come to blows, soon enough, either from her or him. She seems to be the more aggressive of the two for now, shoving the man hard and yelling about how "He just wants to go see that cunt of his," and he's shouting back that his arm candy is a "crazy, jealous bitch, and she should be grateful for what she has." Couple of winners, these two.
The man seems about to test his bravado against whomever brushes him, turning and starting to yell. "The fuck-!" But then he sees Stockton, in all his giant, muscular glory. He thinks better of it, and the moment his woman calls him a "Pussy" he's back to shouting at her.
By the time Stockton makes it back to the room, Elsie is already there. It's a simple room with two beds, a sofa, a small table and chairs, and a bathroom. She's wearing her usual attire of a blouse, corset, and pinstripe skirt, though her feet are bare. She's fretting, clearly, pacing back and forth across the small room waiting for Stockton to return.
|Stockton||Stockton doesn't give the bravado much thought, why would he bother with a lesser man unless provoked. That his woman calls him out on it he just leaves the lovers to their spat. When he reaches the hotel, he's making a quick change in the elevator where he's checked for cameras already. Stepping onto the floor and wrapping around the stairs he makes it to the room and pushes in quietly. No more fretting.
He's reached under his duster and pulled out the box and the packet of papers, "Not sure if these were 'ers or if she left 'em for yah. Time to find out eh?" he moves to the covenient table to set the things down on it. "We can check wit the law, see if they know what came of 'er, yeah?" he's trying to help.
|Elsie||"No, we can't," Elsie says, in a moment of surprising clarity and responsibility. "We start asking, you know it'll get back to him." There's only one him that she could be referring too. "We did what we could. I don't think he'd mess with her; she knew her place with him, yanno? And lived well for it. He might've just had her move somewhere, for her sake or somethin' else." Elsie shakes her head in a forced, but dismissive gesture. It causes her hair to ripple around her. There's nothing more they can do to find Auntie Solomon.
That leaves the trinkets. Elsie goes for the box first and opens it. About 200 caps are in there, which she shakes around to see if they're hiding anything. They aren't. She offers them over. "Getaway money," she guesses. She looks up at Stockton and gives him a reassuring smile, as if trying to make him feel better for her fretting. "Thank you for checking anyway."
|Stockton||That stops his pacing and he just pauses there for a moment before nodding. "Yeah alright, that makes sense," because she's right and he'd know, so he lets that dog lay and die. Well hopefully not literally. "Okay, so she had some caps sittin' round fer a getaway. What's the paperwork? Anythin' good?" It's not like people in /this/ era keep paperwork around, there's not much use to the stuff to most folks. He's finally moved over to the table he's got a bottle of whiskey on, the slightly dirty glass re-used as he pours out a few fingers and knocks it back.|
|Elsie||The paperwork. Elsie was dreading this. She can hardly write, which means her reading isn't that much better. She hears the clink of a bottle on the lip of a glass. "Pour me one, willya sugar?" she asks. She could use the steadying influence, anyway. She undoes the little bundle of papers and opens them, bending over to stretch them flat on the table before her. They've been folded up a long time, and don't want to lie straight.
Now comes the real task. Elsie tilts her head to the side and sticks her tongue out one side of her mouth as she focuses on the scramble of shapes that supposedly make letters before her.
"Le," she begins, sounding things out. She's flushed with embaressment as she struggles through it. "Le ... Let ... Let-ter...Letter," she finally decides. "Letter ... of. Letter of. Innnnnn ... uh .... Intent. Letter of Intent." She read the title, woohoo! She looks to Stockton with a grin, then back to the papers before her. "Letter of Intent. T...th. Th. T and H makes a tha. This. This letter sig...uh...sigun...signi...signifies....that. This letter signifies that the .. uh ... the beah. Beahrer? Bearer. Oh, okay. This letter signifies that the bearer...." It's painful to listen to.
|Stockton||The Marshal doesn't much care what she's dreading, he's fairly convinced that if she gets read everything she will never learn to read herself. Frankly, that's not an option. All a part of bettering yourself, Elsie! His pouring finishes on his own glass again, now going back for the second, he pours two. Sliding back on those thuddy boots now that he's not trying to be quiet, he hands her the glass while she struggles through the words. He offers some help along the way. "This letter signifies that the bearer," encouragingly, leading her to continue to sound out the words as she can. Even so, he'll be moving around behind her so he can lean in and look over her shoulder.|
|Elsie||"This letter signifies that the bearer," Elsie repeats, pausing as she turns to reach for the glass. She's blushing all the colors of sheepish as she struggles through it. She takes a deep sip before setting the glass down and bending over the table again. "is ennnn. Ennnnnti? Enti. Entight-led. Oh, entitled. This letter signifies that the bearer is entitled to .... 150 caps...oh." She stands up straight and looks over at the Marshal. "Sometimes these are given out at smaller casinos if they've had a bad night. It's cash without being cash, as long as you're the right face to collect it." Meaning they couldn't collect on it, even if they wanted to. She flips through the pages. Most read the same: LETTER OF INTENT. But one, in the mix, is different. Elsie screws up her face and stretches the page out, focusing hard on it as though she might move it with her mind.
"Deed of ... Sally? Sale. Deed of Sale." She looks questioningly up at the Marshal again, perhaps looking more for that encouragement.
|Stockton||Stockton nods when she gets it right. He's patient some how, not at all the over bearing and super demanding Marshal that he can be. No, here he's her friend and guide, helping her along as he smiles at the sounding it out. "Entitled, yanno, like them snobby folks," He chuckles a bit darkly. "Okay, so it sounds like it's jus' some debts she 'ad layin' 'round," he nods, and they go through several more and now that she recognizes the words it's not quite as painful. But there's something else. "Yup," he nods, then his head tilts as he quickly scans the rest of the words. Eyebrows, both of 'em scarred and not, lift straight up and he nudges her a little, "Yer doin' great, now read what that deed's fer."|
|Elsie||Elsie gives him a smirk. "I was hoping you'd be so curious that you'd read it yourself." But it's all bravado to cover her embaressment for being basically an illiterate. She leans up to kiss his cheek in a quick peck, then looks back down to the paper. "Deed of Sale. Tha. Thai...no. Thee, this. This dock...dockooo, document. This document mmmmmmmm. Mmmmmmake? Makes. This document makes offfffff. Offfffffik. Offikal?" She pauses, looking up at Stockton for some guidance, then looks back. "This document makes offikal the sally, no, the sale of ..." she squints at the paper. "The bar on..." she reads out some streat names in Freemont, after some trial and error. "Who....whoooever. Whoever holds this dockooo, no. Document. Whoever holds this document is ri....aw fuck me." She groans at the paper. "Rig-hit. Whoever holds this document is rig-hit own...owner of this e, uh, eeeestablisment." Okay, so it's not perfect. But perhaps the gist got accross?|
|Stockton||Stockton chuffs lightly and shakes his head as he sips at his whiskey, "No such luck, sugar," he tells her with a bit of a smirk. That quick peck is taken and he makes another gruff low sound before reading along with her, his eyes kind of taking the words slowly to make sure he's getting them right too. "Official," he pronounces it correctly, despite the english language's terribleness. "This document makes official the sale," he corrects her gently and then reads on as they catch up. "Right, I know it's a dumb damn word, but r-i-g-h-t is right," he tells her before nodding. "Otherwise, good job, and congratulations on ownin' a," he looks up at the name of the business, "Looks like a bar, sounds like a bar at least."|
|Elsie||"A bar?" Elsie asks, bewildered as she tries to force her mind out of seeing one word just as a word and to take in everything that's happening around her. She turns to look up at Stockton over her shoulder, then faces him fully and offers the document over. "How do I own a bar? It doesn't have my name on it anywhere, I didn't see that." No Surelda Solomon, at least she knows what that looks like. She tries to press the document into his hands. "Tell me for sure, willya? I can't own a bar, that doesn't make any sense."|
|Stockton||Stockton takes the document and looks it over again, a quick glance at the seal, the words - the bearer of the document, meaning whomsoever happens to be holding onto the piece of damn paper. The Tribal in him just mutters something about civilizations focus on paper before he looks back up at her and presses it right back into her hands. "Seein' as you are the bearer of that there piece'a parchment, you also happen tah be the owner of that there bar here in New Vegas," he says rather plainly while looking her in the eye so she knows he's serious. "Honest tah whatever you fuckin' believe in, you ownin' that document says you own a bar, so like I said," he grins toothily because he knows this has to be hitting a nerve, "Yer now a proprietor of an establishment...that one," he taps the paper in her hands again and wanders back to refill his drink.|
|Elsie||Elsie takes the paper back, looking at all the different points that the pointed at. It's all just symbols and scratches unless she focuses, and right now she's not focusing. She's sitting. Slowly, unsteady on her feet-like. "I ... own a bar?" Because no, she doesn't believe him. Slowl, those big hazel eyes look up at him filled with disbelief and wonder. "I own a place? Like ... a place of my own? That's what it says, really? And this paper means it's true?"|
|Stockton||Stockton seems to key in on what she's getting at and the bigness of her eyes is not making it a secret. There's a partial smile that grows bigger quickly. "Yes, darlin'. You own yer very own place. It's all yers and ain't nothin no one can say s'long as yah own that piece'a paper. Though yer gonna need a cover story as tah why yer the bearer and it ain't the old bearer." He smirks from the bottle of booze and refills his glass os he can move back to join her. "Name it somethin' you, make it yers. It's a whole new life," he grins at her.|
|Elsie||She's got tears in her eyes when she looks at him again. It's just the disbelief of it all that's knocking her over. She even sniffles, poor thing. And she just looks over the handsome man's face, with his heartbreaking grin and the dirnk in his hand. Oh, drink. She reaches forward to snipe it from him to take a sip if he'll allow.
"A bar ... that's a livlihood. Thta's a way to live, that ain't whoring. That's respectable. Stockton..." she uses his name in this highly emotional moment, turning to look up at him. "You ain't fooling, right? I own a place? I'm ... I'm respectable?"
|Stockton||Stockton allows it but not without a squinting face and a reach out to poke her side lightly in retribution. Terrible retribution! Then he steals his drink back and knocks it all the way down again. "Yes, Elle, yer a respectable business owner. Not that bein' a Deputy wasn't respectable, mind," he points out with just a bit of a tone that says he's trying to feign at being hurt. Course he's rather joyed at seeing her this way, it's a good turn, it's a good stroke of luck. She might actually think she's someone even if she was before, now she'll think it. That's important.|