An Offer You Can T Refuse
IC date: Spring 54, 1007
OOC date: May 21, 2012
PCs: Mad-Mare, Salty, Jettison, Shanty
NPCs: Rock'em, Sock'em
GM: None

T'was a lovely day at the ol' Harbor. One of those cheerfully sunny, nigh perfect days for doing outdoors work. A sunny day, clear skies, smooth waters, jolly singing, smiling ponies, the whole works. Of course, such days would be more appreciated were things like weather not so well controlled by certain winged folk.

And then, IT came.

A ship. A…big ship. A ship that could have very well have passed off as a fortress had it not been slowly skimming through the waters towards the fair Harbor. An awful, dark grey, monstrocity of an ugly ship. It arrives, and with it a certain..aura of gloom. It certainly Does Not Belong here, a dull grey eyesore on an otherwise bright horizon, looming oppressively over the rest of the pier, as though its very presence was intent to bully the other boats right out.

It arrives, and for quite some time it just lurks there. Taking up space, with hardly any movement from the big blocky battleship, no doubt getting more than one curious look from the local port-ponies. And yet that's all it does, is sit there, for quite some time now. Plenty of time for everypony in the harbor to speculate just what it could be. Who could be inside. Whether or not it's haunted, or full of treasure, or if it's even really there and not some kind of mass hallucination…

Yes, the weather is perfect.

It's making Jettison rather depressed, actually. Buisness thrives when the weather's bad, when there are storms and squalls. That's kind of the downside of having a buisness that's based upon the misery of others…

Right now, the stallion is resting at a cafe, sipping some herbal tea and munching some hay-fries. It wasn't all bad though… clear weather means more 'totally not a pirate' activity. Of course.

The beauty of this fine new day in Horseshoe Harbor is lost on one of it's newest residents… a certain pegasus bard who can be seen walking down to the docks with the unconscious form of Salty, the town's Mayor, unceremoniously slumped accross Shanty's back. "Honestly," he grumbles to himself. "Twice in as many days?! And the same window to boot?" I just finished saving up enough bits to get my own place, and here I am getting vandalized daily by the local authorities… *grumble* *grumble* I'll show you!" Shanty walks to the end of the longest pier and dangles Salty over the edge, with just a few feathers holding onto Salty's back leg. It's at this percise moment Shanty sees the ship for the first time. "Uh, Salty?" Shanty pokes Salty a few more times with his other wing. "You should really wake up and see this…"

"Mrrfle. Zrnngk? Mnuhmuh. Issa wadurr…"

Salty is awake. Really, she is! Just awake enough to be staring unevenly at the ocean below her. Her eyes cross, one rear hoof waving a little in the air as if that's goin to give her better traction. "Pull. Poll— Polarris, where're y…whadd're… Lemme down, youuuu ship…swillin… tea-drinkinin… sonnuva… sonnuvastud!" Oh, yep, now she's swinging her forelegs, trying to put up her dukes, rather unsuccessfully. It's a fairly good chance she hasn't seen the boat, but then, she probably doesn't even have the strength to lift her head at the moment. "Grble."

Certainly reactions were mixed to the ship. Certainly enough time passed that interest waned, the newcomer to the port forgotten like a morning fog. Well, almost. A couple ponies are keeping a wary eye on it, and one of those dock workers happens to be near Shanty and Salty, gaze shifting from ship to the mayor mare and back. "'bout time someone showed up to do something." the worker mutters, trotting off to other dockworker duties.

Then the ship creaked. A loud scrape of metal on metal comes from the bulky boat, a port on the side of the hull opening slowly, gears and hinges squealing in protest. With the open port comes a metal ramp, all the more horrid screeching arising from scraping metal, the end touching down on the dock with a dull thud. A long carpet, royal blue with gold trimming, rolls out the port, down the ramp, to the dock. Then a small set of ponies emerge from the port to begin an easygoing jaunt down the ramp to join the hustle and bustle of port society!

Three ponies, to be exact. One off-white mare, backed by two rather goon-like dark brown stallions, one of which carries an umbrella in his teeth to keep the white lass in the shade. Not that the ship isn't shade enough.

The mare in particular looks downright pleased to be out of the boat. Bright eyes glance about, taking in the Harbor's sights, the gritty nature of sea life, the very faces of all the 'seadog' ponies even. All grins and glitz, wearing dark shades and a feathered hat big enough to make the presence of the umbrella completely redundant. When the group touches down on the dock itself, all three stop. And wait. Like they're expecting something to just /happen/ now that they've shown up.

Jettison winces as the metal-on-metal scrape hurts his ears, jolting him out of his revere. "What the…" He mutters, and blinks a bit more as three ponies canter on out.

He shrugs a bit, and polishes off his fries, before slipping out of the cafe and trotting on over. "Um… hello there. Welcome to Horseshoe Harbor." He looks up (and up) at the goonish stallions, before glancing down at the fancily dressed mare. "The hay are you here anyway?"

Shanty squints upwards at the imposing behemoth of a ship in front of him, (Seriously, the peir he's on led right up to it. How could he have missed seeing such a craft?) when his ears are suddenly assulted by the shriek of metal-on-metal. Shanty's teeth grind in pain as he quickly covers his ears with his wings, trying to block out the horrendous noise. After what seems like an eternity, the ramp protruding from the ship touches down to the dock and everything falls silent. Shanty breathes a sigh of relief, then notices his now empty wings. He quickly glances over the side of the pier, only to catch sight of the last faint traces of a few slowly expanding ripples. "Whoops…"

"WAAAGGGHH," Salty yowls, as the screeching metal cuts through her ears and her hangover. But not to worry there — because she descends with a >sploosh!< into the harbor. Lucky for her that the sound and the chill got her right back up to functioning, as she doggy-paddles — pony-paddles? — back up to the surface.

At last, the mayor gazes up, and up, at the eyesore behemoth of a fortress-ship, and then over at the newcomers. "Oi!" she shouts, as she paddles toward shore with her blue mane sopping wet over her face. "Hey! You! What's with the tin can?" She scrambles up and shakes herself off, flipping her mane out of her eyes. Shanty is spared a wink and a grin, as she pulls up next to Jettison and draws her full height up. Which is…well, average, really. Her gaze flicks to the hat. "… You have a very large hat," she comments, brow ticking up.

Ah! A welcomeing party! The trio of foreign ponies are approached, bringing a cheerful (if fakeish) smile to the white one's muzz. "Well hello there! Are you the local port authority?" Without waiting for an answer, she turns her head, eyeing the green 'corn over the rim of her dark shades. "Handsome stallion like yourself has to be at least a foreman or manager-level around here, mmm?"

And then suddenly there's Salty, shouting and asking questions and looking oh so irritatedly wet! Both goons snort, the white mare, lifting a single eyebrow in obvious distaste. "…Right." she huffs, promptly ignoring what she assumes to be a local drunken bum to turn her attentions back to Jettison. "We're here to see the mayor. We've come a long ways to make a business proposal to this /charming/ place, so if you could just point us in the right direction we'll be out of your mane~"

Jettison blushes ever so faintly at the flattery tossed his way, and he waves a hoof dismissively. "Oh, me? Nah, buisness owner, ya know, all by myself, all that." He rambles just a bit, looking around a bit flustered.

But Salty and Shanty are suddenly there, and he bows a bit towards the older mare, who just so happens to have nearly the same coloration that he does. "This is Salty though, the Mayor 'round these parts. Salty, seems they want to make a deal here. Could be fun." He adds, encouragingly…

Shanty gives a sigh of relief upon seing Salty surface, having almost convinced himself that he should jump in after her to make sure she didn't drown. He winces a bit at the smile and wink that Salty gives after she climbs out of the water, his mind racing through myriad scenarios were she gets him back for his little "wake up call" stunt. As Salty begins to speak with the newcomers, Shanty walks up beside her, listening in to the proceedings but saying nothing.
Salty twitches a grin, at that. "Oh, yes, a business proposition you say?" she asks, her expression just a hint too manic. It's a little scary, it is. "Why don't you just follow me, Miss Hat? Boys, why don't you accompany me? I could do with some fancy guards, and my pirhana poodles are still at the vet." Flicking her tail at the mare, she starts trotting toward her mayoral abode. "So tell me more, tell me more. It involves the ship?"

This is the mayor? The trio of new arrivals make a quick double-take, between Salty and Jet, the white mare grimacing for all of a split-second, masking it right back with that somehow-off smile of hers. Like she's constantly borrowing it from someone and doesn't know how to wear it properly. "Is that so! Well thank you kindly for the information, handsome." she chimes, head bowing. Well mannered, if nothing else! Both the stallgoons dip their heads, following their boss' lead, the trio straightening up to cast Salty an appraising gaze.

As they speak, a pair of small orange pegusi appear from the ship. These two carrying a briefcase, and a box almost as big as she is respectively, both of which get dropped off behind the first trio."My apologies, Ms. Mayor, I'm not used to official political types being quite so up front. Or wet." Her nose wrinkles ever so slightly.

When Salty proposes moving out of the sunlight, and to a more official office-type place to talk, the mare brightens right up! "Oh but of course! By all means, lead the way." She turns her head to her goons, "Rock'em, Sock'em, grab the gifts please~" And then she's following behind the mayor mare! The goons eye each other for a whole moment, before the one with the umbrella snorts at his twin, head held high, trotting to catch up with the entorage to provide shade. The other goon eyes the box and briefcase, snorts, and gets to arranging himself to carry the goods.

"You could say it involves the ship, Ms. Mayor." the mare says as they trot along. "My boss is looking for a new place to set up shop, so I'm here to see if we can't make that happen."

Jettison follows along at the Mayor's asking, listening in intently. That smile is a bit… worrying, but she seems nice enough. Jettison remembers meeting a few other mares that could look a little… off, when stressed or what have you. He eyes the ship a bit, and mmms. "Wait, you mentioned gifts?"

Shanty silently mouths the words "pirhana poodles", an incredulous look on his face. However, before Shanty can turn to ask, the group of ponies begins to walk towards town, leaving him alone with one of the guards from the strange ship. Seeing that the guard is struggling to pick up the large box, Shanty strolls over to the briefcase. "Here friend, let me help you with these!" Shanty leans down and grabs the briefcase's handle in his mouth and then quickly trots off after the departing group, leaving the other guard behind.

"Yes, well. We're a harbor town. We cannot afford to be /squeamish/ about wet." Salty trots them all through town, not bothering to dry herself with unicorn magic or anything. (That would probably result in another townwide disaster, anyway. That'd be the problem, when your talent is chaos.) At last, they stroll up the steps to the mayor's house, and she pushes open the door and nudges a few empty bottles out of sight with a back hoof.

The office is lavish, and disorganized, and it reeks of booze. She kicks a few stools into place and then flops behind her desk, leaning back in her comfy red chair. "A new place, you say? How very intriguing. Care for some drink?"

"Indeed, gifts!" the white mare practically humms, "You can't make business proposals without gifts of goodwill. It's in the rulebook." To Salty, the white mare's smile fades ever so slightly. "I'm not squeamish about wet, Ms. Mayor. It's just not what most normal ponies do before greeting others." Ha ha. Normal. Ho ho.

Meanwhile, as Sock'em struggles with the box, he watches Shanty just…walk away with the briefcase. Making an immediate sweat appear on the goon's brow. If he loses sight of that case there'll be hades to pay! But the box, it is awkward, and takes a few more moments to get loaded up, the goonpony starting a shaky walk after the group. This could take a while.

As the others step into the office, the white mare gives her accompanying goon a nudge, whom then puts the umbrella away. Bad luck to have those things open indoors, after all! When drinks are offered, she gives the closest thing to a genuine grin as she has. Even then it just somehow looks wrong. "I would love one. Surprise me with something good." In the meantime she approaches one of the stools, climbing atop it, and leaning back against the flank of the goonpony behind her. "I do appreciate the hospitality, Ms. Mayor."
Shanty tries his best to follow after the Mayor and her guests, but he quickly looses sight of them in the town's mid-moring hustle and bustle. Shanty can guess that Salty is taking them to her house and tries to find his way there on his own, but the moring crowd combined with Shanty's less than stellar knowledge of his new home town soon has the plucky pegasus completely turned about on a street he has never been on before. With a resigned sigh, Shanty sits the briefcase down and glumly looks around, trying to get his bearings…

Salty leans forward and hooks open a couple of desk drawers, and rummages around. Instead of hearing papers rattling, everyone hears glass clinking, and lots of it. At last, she draws out an old bottle of fine apple cider, mostly drunk, and drops it on the table with a pair of… oh, no, four. Four snifters. (One for each of her own guards, one for her and Maddy. Goons get no booze, apparently.) Wait, three snifters? Where'd that other one go? The one with the comfy kitchen table? Ah well.

Drinks thus poured, she leans back in her chair, much like a throne, and peers at the mare with an indulgent, imperious smile. "Well. It was time for my morning swim," she offers. "At any rate, you're quite welcome, Miss…?"

"Oh! Where /are/ my manners!" The white mare sits straight up, claiming her very own glass, so that she might investigate the drink while she talks. "I'm Maddie, right-hoof mare of Mr. Syndicolt of the Syndicolt Organization." Satisfied that the drink is, indeed, something good, she takes a dainty sip of cider. "…But I much prefer the name given to me by my shining reputation." The next sip isn't nearly so dainty, draining the rest of the glass, which gets clopped right back onto the desktop. "Ah~ And how about yourself, Ms. Mayor?" Maddie asks, fixing Salty with a look through her dark shades. "What do they call you?"

Elsewhere in town, Shanty isn't the only pony who's lost. Sock'em the Pony Goon, and his crate o' 'gifts' is also roaming aimlessly, head bowed in such annoyance. Not only did he lose the group, but he lost the pegupunk that so helpfully swiped the briefcase! Being what he is, he's way too proud to do something logical like ask for directions. Instead he wanders. And wanders. And wanders… Until he finds the edge of town! Hm. He sets the box down off his aching back This is gonna take a /long/ while…

Mad-Mare pages: Do kelpies like shiny gems? :o
You paged Mad-Mare with 'Certainly!'.
Mad-Mare pages: I think Sock'em's gonna get lost in the forest for a bit then~
Long distance to Mad-Mare: Salty grins!

Jettison has slipped on in, and flanks Salty to the left, eyeing around the office just a little. He rolls his shoulders a bit, glancing at the other mook, Rock'em, and gives a knowing nod, one working stallion to another.

He also glances at the variety of bttles around the place. This would explain a /lot/

Shanty peers up and down the currently empty street he is on, but he doesn't see any kind of familar landmark. Not for the first time, Shanty mentally bemoans his inability to fly. That would make finding the mayor's house a snap, but nooooo… He turns his irritated glare back to the briefcase at his hooves. "Well, there's a whole morning wasted." he says to no one in particular. "First my brand new window gets smashed by the town's illustrious mayor. Again. Then I find myself hopelessly lost in this rat's nest of a harbor. Again. All because I try to do the right thing and help a fellow pony try to carry this…" Actually, what was this thing anyway? Well, obviously it was a briefcase, but what was so important about it? For all Shanty knew, he gotten lost lugging around the be-hatted pony's supply of extra socks! Well, for all the trouble this little case had caused him, Shanty deserved to know just what he had been carrying around all this time! Yeah, that's it! It wasn't snooping into other pony's business if he had a right to look! Not curious at all, just getting his due. Yep. Totally.

"… Mister Syndicolt?" Salty asks skeptically, but she has the grace to not go further. (She really doesn't have much grace at all, of course.) "A pleasure. I am the Dread Mayor Saltlick, scourge of the seas and bane to my enemies. Most here just call me Salty." She plucks up her own glass, downing it all with ease, before refilling them both. "And this Mister 'Syndicolt,' what is his proposition?"

And yes. There are a lot of bottles around here. And over half of them are empty. PAY NO MIND.

The briefcase taunts Shanty. All brown and polished, with gold edges and hinges. And a cheap lock that looks like one could break it just by breathing on it. It even jingles when it's carried, with the goodies trapped inside, begging to be shown the light of day! It might even be whispering, "Open me… Open me…"

Or that could be the strange pony lurking around the corner who's obsessed with opening things.

Sock'em, elsewhere in town, has started wandering again. It's such a confusing port town. It's not even that /big/, but somehow Sock'em took a wrong turn down an alleyway and…ended up in a forest. A strange, cold, dank, evil-smelling forest. Just imagine his surprise!

Then there's Maddie, fixing Salty with an incredulous look at the whole 'Dread Mayor' bit. "…Right." she says, for the second time today, looking around the office as though it were for the first time. She's not all certain that wasn't just made up. "Well, Drun…I mean, /Dread/ Mayor Salty, it's like this." Again does she lean back onto Rock'em's flank, making a most convenient rest out of the goonpony. Rock'em, naturally, looks used to this, giving Jettison a resigned look to go with the nod between workponies.

"Mr. Syndicolt has quite the growing business in one of the other ports. I don't remember what it was called before he bought it out, but it's Port Syn now." Maddie begins buffing a hoof, "…But it's never a good idea to have all your bits in one place, so he wants to expand. As it happens, we had a lead that this place would be quite…interesting, so he sent me along to investigate, and make an offer." Here she lifts her head to fix Salty with a gaze, relocating her sunglasses to atop her hat. "Let us buy the harbor and set up a base of operations here, and we'll cut you in for ten percent of all smuggling, contraband, and gambling profits. We'll even make you an official member of the Organization~"

Jettison listens in, and raises an eyebrow as he listens in. He gives a snort, and stamps a hoof a bit. "Seriously, that's your offer? Ten percent is horseapples…" He mutters a bit, and shakes his mane a bit. He's never been one to speak in fancy, and it's clear that he thinks the town is worth a lot more… though apparently he doesn't seem to be too upset about the prospect of being bought out, as it were. His buisness is all in the ship he owns, after all, not in a storefront.

three broken primaries-turned-lockpicks and much swearing later, Shanty lays on his stomach before the briefcase's lock, defeated. "Fine. Keep your stupid tantalizing secrets. Let's find your owner." With a huff, Shanty stands before the case and begins to pick it up, but then pauses. "Well, one more try couldn't hurt…" Shanty raises his wing and yanks out another feather with a small wince. "Fourth time's the charm!" With a grin, Shanty lowers the quill down towards the case's lock. Just as he inserts the feather into the lock, who should walk around the nearest corner but his old friend, the Box Pony! Shanty freezes as the sweating stallion's tired eyes fall upon him…

Salty actually barks a laugh. "Ten percent? My good guard here is right. That offer's horseapples. And anyway, we're not for sale. Should you like to set up base here as a…" She pauses, considering the behemoth of a ship. "…less-than-clandestine operation, you're welcome to lease a building or pay a tariff to occupy part of the harbor. But the Harbor is a free town, and she will be bought by nopony." The mayor lifts the rum bottle again, along with a brow, as she offers it to the mare again. "Even for something so tempting as to be a member of your little…club."

The briefcase continues to taunt Shanty! It would be laughing. Gloating, even, if it could talk. 'Ha ha, I'm a cheap lock and you can't crack me' It probably doesn't help when Sock'em does indeed show up just at the most opportune moment. Sans box. He's lost it. He looks more than sweaty. Ragged, maybe. Wild-eyed, after his brief (and scarring) jaunt into the forest. Nobody will ever know exactly /what/ happened, but it's obvious it wasn't good! And here he is, now watching a pegipunk try and break into his bosses briefcase! Sock'em snorts, lowers his head, and paws at the ground, eyeing Shanty with nothing but raaaaaaaaage…

In the Mayor's office, Maddie lets a long, perhaps awkward silence last between the refusal and explanation of what a 'free harbor' is. The refusal doesn't bother her. She's used to first offers being refused. She's used to having to resort to coercion to get her way.

But 'little club'? That grates the off-white mare! When she finally speaks, it's with a careful tone in her voice, her gaze trailing out the nearest window towards the harbor. Where the fortress-boat is docked. "Mayor Salty… Everything's for sale. It's just a matter of finding the right price. For some ponies it's just not a matter of bits." She waves an arm dismissively, "Sock'em! The gifts please!"

…Of course, Sock'em is busy. So this silence, too, lasts longer than Maddie expected. Just growing aware of a more serious problem than a business refusal, the Mad Mare lets a frown show. Now frowns come naturally to her. Not fake at all. "…I'm so going to skin that colt when I get my hooves on him…"

Jettison sighs as he's called 'a good guard', knowing full well that the Mayor doesn't even know who he is, or likely what he does in the harbor. He lets the silence ring out a little longer as well, before glancing around. "Well… this is fun and all, but I think I need to be… somewhere… less embaressing." He states, without an ounce of tact. He scoots a bit around the table, akwardly, and nods a bit to the other ponies before backing away…

"If I don't move, he might not see me. If I don't move, he night not see me…" Shanty's internal mantra comes to a screeching halt as he watches the other pony lower his head and begin to paw at the ground. "Horseapples." With a yell much less manly that he would like to dwell on, Shanty snatches up the briefcase with a wing before hightailing it down the other end of the street!

Salty lifts her brow higher, leaning back into her cushy, overstuffed red throne. I mean, office chair. "This Harbor is under my rule, and my protection, Maddy. There is no price that can top that." She leans around, looking for these gifts, before folding her forehooves. "I see your gifts are … plentiful," she drawls sarcastically, wry grin on her lips, as she lets Jetti scoot around and out.

"Graaaaaaaah!" yells Sock'em, spurred to charging after the fleeing briefcase-carrying pegasus! Goon pony smash! Woe be to anypony that gets in their way! Just how busy were these streets again?

Maddie's day has just gone sour. It was looking so good, too. Good impression, good talk, good drink, and then… Splat. Like a cowflop. "If they weren't such great muscle…" she mutters, making Rock'em look all too nervous about what the white mare would do otherwise.

Regardless of the setback, the behatted mare flips her head up and mane back, trying to regain at least a smidge of that initial attitude. Fake smile and all. "Can't blame a girl for trying to use the peaceful route, can you? I /was/ going to show you what a mere ten percent looked like in gems, but…" She shrugs helplessly, "I suppose that wouldn't have convinced you either. A pity~" She sounds so sorry to hear it, too! Now leaning forwards in the stool, Maddie gives Rock'em a small kick with a back hoof, turning just enough to murmur to her goonpony. "Find Sock'em, go get the boats ready." Rock'em nods, happy to have an excuse to leave the intensely awkward atmosphere now in the office!

"So, if you can't be bribed, that's fine. It ususally takes a good show of force before anyone takes us seriously anyway." Maddie smiles, as fake-sweetly as she can, to the Dread Mayor, "So. If we can't have the harbor, we'll just have to block it off instead!"

"Blocking it, eh?" Salty asks skeptically. "Well, I see we have a new enemy in your club. This should be exciting! I haven't had a good go for a while. You get a little bored, switching from dread-pirate captain to mayor, I assure you." Yawning, Salty draws up to her hooves again, echoing that fake-sweet smile and offering a hoof for a shake. "I look forward to the screams of your crew!" she offers by way of farewell.

Left! Right! Right! Right! Left! Shanty runs full tilt, taking intersections at random, focused entirely on escaping the much larger and stronger pony hot on his hooves. Right! Left! Right! HAYCART! Shanty jumps at the last second, one of his horseshoes disturbing a few tufts of hay from the top of the cart as he sails over it. He lands with a skid on the other side, and is rewarded a second later with the sound of a large, fast moving object coliding with a much larger immobile object. With a grin, Shanty risks a look over his shoulder, which proved to be his undoing on the uneven cobbled street. His front hoof catches, and with a yell, Shanty pitches forward into a faceplant, the briefcase propelled forward by the momentum of the fall. Time seems to slow as it twists a lazy curve through the air, arcing inevitably, as fate would have it, toward the front window of a certain pirate-turned-public-servant's home…

Such revelations give Maddie reason to pause. This isn't going how she planned at all! Blockades are supposed to instill at least a little bit of nervousness! Not… Not bloodthirst! What kind of town gets a /pirate captain/ for a mayor anyway!? Maddie's pupils shrink to mere dots, though she does have the manners to take the hoofshake. "Ex-pirate! That explains everything." Polite hoofshake done, Maddie turns to leave the office, pausing at the doorway to look back towards the desk, and her…rival? "May we entertain each other, dear Captain~"

As luck would have it, no sooner does Maddie leave the office than that briefcase crash through the window! If only she knew. Even more conveniently, the suitcase plunks on top of the mayor's desk, and *snap* opens up, dislodging its contents like so much bureaucratic vomit. Papers! So many papers! And a short-range headset.

Outside, Maddie passes by an overturned haycart, where Rock'em's already managed to find and help a dazed Sock'em to his hooves. The shouting that happens next could probably be heard all over town, drowned out only by the scrape of metal on metal, as a certain ship retracts its ramp, the troublemaking trio safely tucked back inside.

Salty beams in such a way that her smile does not reach her eyes — but it's there, anyway. "Indeed, indeed," she chuckles. As the mare leaves, she flops back in her chair, levitating a cup up to her lips for a drink — and CRASH. That drink becomes a fine mist as she spits, and chokes in surprise. "Oogh! Id's id by dose," she groans, rubbing her muzzle with a plaintive hoof. Coughing a bit, she squints watery eyes at the papers, newly spackled though they are. "Oooh, whad's dis den?" Curiosity, piqued!

Shanty wakes up to the sound of loud shouts. He groggly raises his head from the cobblestones. Pain. His entire world is pain. Stars fly through his darkened vision, and it feels like his snout has been bucked by Celestia herself. After about a minute his eyes begin to clear, and he just barely manages to catch sight of the his pursuer being carried away by his coworker. The loud shouts are coming from the third forigner, whose constant tirades are aimed at the dazed guard and are colorful enough to make even a seasoned sailor like Shanty blush. After Shanty sees the three turn a corner out of sight, he painfully heaves himself to his hooves and trots over to the window that the briefcase obliterated. "Terribly sorry about the window m'am! I'll find a way…" Shanty spots Salty sitting at a table inside going through the now scattered contents of the briefcase. "Oh, it's only YOUR window. Now we're even."

Half the documents appear to be contracts! Because even evil illegal organizations value contracts for some estranged reason. The other half are much more interesting to browse through. They contain plans for the base Maddie was wanting to construct. Judging by the plans, it was going to be about as subtle as their boat. And then there's a couple small books. One appears to be a ship's log, detailing all the dirty deeds done in the name of the Syndicolt by a certain right-hoof mare. Smuggling and trafficking are no surprise. Other notes on the list aren't so tame for illegal activities. Even notes of slave-trading!

The other book is a small, bound hardcover, with a small blue insignia. An official Syndicolt 'rulebook' perhaps? And then there's the headset. A standard short-range doohicky.

Salty blinks, glancing over the documents a bit, as she peruses their illegal activity. "Ooo, how /inderesdink/," she murmurs, but as she hears a voice, she snaps the briefcase shut, and arranges it under her desk. Looking back at Shanty, she favors him with a wry grin. "Fair eduff, Upstadding Cidizen! Fair eduff." Sniff.

(New BB message (3/13) posted to 'Rumors' by The Grapevine: Blockade!)

=================================== Rumors ===================================
Message: 3/13 Posted Author
Blockade! Thu May 17 The Grapevine

Rumors of a big, grey, bulky ship were the talk of the town for a day. It was loud, it was ugly, and it was apparently full of crazy ponies. Crazy ponies who, depending on who's talking, went as far as to insult and threaten the Dread Mayor!

Some part of this must have been true, for once the big ship left the harbor, several more just like it popped up on the horizon, and began attacking any ships trying to sail in or out of the harbor! It's a blockade!

The ships that get shot at bring reports of a female captain, shouting something about the harbor belonging to The Organization or somesuch. The bottom line? Trading, leaving, or getting to the island is Extremely Difficult right now…

(Phase 2 of the Syndicolt Plot begins! Evil ships block off any easy route to and from the harbor by sailing, and harass anything that crosses their path. Anypony who wants to do something about it, talk to either Mad-Mare or Gamble and we will arrange scenes!)