|The Dangerous Powers of Sudoku|
You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluorescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the floor and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and holograms of different movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR - caught as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the restaurant, surface polished and shiny and all-together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are the various beverages that are serveed, and a giant mirror. There seem to be an inordinate amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung around it. Multiple round wooden tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's an exit. A large fireplace nestles in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second-floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.
The multicolored mollusc meanders into the restaurant with a slow ripple of the alarmingly blue undulatory sheets. Serenity slides off to the side of the door, but pauses there for a moment of indecision while looking toward the bar, the tables, and the door to the dance floor.
The door opens a few moments after Serenity enters, and the woman who dropped out of the sky the other day steps in. She looks much different today, no longer sporting her orange prison jumpsuit. Today, she sports a knee-length white dress, loose and billowy. She always liked this on other women, so she figured she can pull it off now; her raven black hair is pulled back into a messy bun, which somehow works, and she's even got a necklace on. It's weird, dressing all girly.
Dante slips into the UR in a flourish, whipping his trench around. Yeah, he's sexy and he knows it. He sips over to the bar as well, sliding past Kenzie to get to his usual (Ha! EVERY time!) seat in the corner. "ExCUSE me honey." He hops into the seat, it tipping neatly over to one leg and balancing there. He signals a nearby Skutter for his usual 6-pack. "Thanks bud!"
Blue-green eyes follow Kenzie as she walks past, but Ren continues to linger by the entrance for a bit more people-watching before piloting the suspended mass of water away away from the spot. Dante's destination apparently makes up Ren's mind. After he takes a seat, Ren raises a 'wing' to wave a couple alarmingly blue sheets out of the water for him, then flows over towards a spot at the bar between him and Kenzie. "Hello!" Ren rasps cheerfully.
The woman blinks a few times, glancing over to Dante with one brow raising slightly, before collecting her glass of amber liquid from the bartender. Serenity is offered a similar raised-brow glance, before the woman takes a long draught from her glass. Honey, psh. It'll take some time to get used to being treated liked a woman, on top of BEING a woman.
Dante offers a wave to his secretary and partner. "Hey, partner! How goes it?" He pats the seat next to em and gestures at a beer as he pops one for himself. "Still on the wagon?" Eh. To teach their own. *gulp*
The doors of the UR are thrown open as Johnny decides to make a random appearance. His clothes seem to be torn in various places and blood seems to be visible in random splotches. With an obvious scowl, Johnny approaches the bar, giving everyone a few feet of space and places both hands on the bar. "You!" The bartender on duty blinks. "Cherry soda." His eyes narrow. "...now." Hurriedly the drink is placed before the maniac who suddenly smiles warmly and nods as he yanks the glass off the bar, turns, and flops into the first chair of the nearest table. Throwing his boots onto the top of the table, he leans back and tries to enjoy his soda. It's worth noting the barbed hook and bit of chain dangling off of his footwear don't seem to belong there.
Serenity slides into a gap between barstools to 'stand' by the bar. "My day goes well, if perhaps a bit less eventfully than some." Ren looks a bit puzzled by the figure of speech, but continues cheerfully, "Our wagon's rolling smoothly along, so far, it seems. You and I still need to talk sometime about advertising strategy." Johnny's sudden appearance gets an inward 'blink' of the eyes and a quick glance across the restaurant for possible exit paths, but in the end, Ren stays put and looks back to Dante.
Oh! Today is an interesting day. The fish thing that makes her wonder if this isn't some weird illusion, a guy who looks like he was pulled straight from a video game that Kenzie used to play, and now some bloody, somewhat frightening looking fellow with blood stains on his clothing. Lifting her glass, Kenzie rotates in her bar stool to lean her back against the bar, glancing about and generally people watching, as it were.
Dante huhs. He taps his chin. "Advertising....strategy....yeah. Ok. Let's...strategize..." He notices Ren getting a tad nervous at J's appearance. He glances J over for a second with a slightly familiar look, but he just shrugs it off. He then whispers over, "Hey, Ren. Don't worry about it. It's ok."
Johnny glances down at the hook in his boot after downing about half of his glass and sighs. Reaching out he yanks the memento free and throws it on the table. "What the fuck is that guy's problem? I do my job!" He tilts his head to the side and side-glances at the empty chair beside him. "...and you can just shut the fuck up. No one asked you." Going to be one of those nights, isn't it? "Yes, but it was RHETORICAL! Fuck. He's the fucking S&M King of Hell. I get it. Don't fuck with 'Needles'." Johnny groans, letting his gaze drift up to the rafters as he throws his head back. After letting out a sigh he seems to notice Kenzie out of the corner of his vision. Straightening up, Johnny glances back at the trio at the bar and simply asks, "What?" Was anyone even looking at him? Meh, too late now.
Serenity, in fact, is trying not to look at Johnny while he's talking to the empty chair. Ren nods to Dante. "I'm not convinced it is, but your presence is encouraging." Ren then goes on (still not looking!), "Now, the main aspect of the business that I wondered about has to do with people and non-person beings. Animal-catching involves a rather different set of ethical guidelines than police work, no?"
Blinking a few times, Kenzie allows her gaze to roll up to the ceiling as she takes a sip of her scotch, as if she is really enjoying this. Well, she kind of is, scotch is a wonderful thing. She's not looking at anything! Just sitting here, listening to Dante and Serenity strategize, and staring at the bloody man as he rants about the S&M King of Hell. Routine stuff, promise! Sip, sip...oh, look at that, Kenzie is out of scotch. She promptly orders more, because scotch is always important.
Dante blinks. "Ethical....uh, well. We weren't really supposed to be huntin' animals...or most people, although I guess that depends." He ponders...shrugs? "Do ya think opening ourselves up is a better way to rake in the bucks? That's...getting to be more important these days." At J's 'outburst', if you will, he just peers back over in a casual manner, remarking. "Relax, bro. You're just startlin' the people is all. Not everyone perceives everything the way everyone else does, ya know?"
Drawing his dagger, Johnny shakes his head at Dante. "Well maybe they fucking should." He starts to twirl it around his hand like a gunslinger spinning his pistol. "Maybe the world would be better off knowing what kind of shit goes on in Hell on a daily basis, huh? Maybe people SHOULD know about the demons and the S&M guys and their stupid 'Rip your soul apart' quotes and how these fuckers are just /waiting/ for someone to screw up - because there's enough assholes down there right now getting anxious about the time of the year that I'm up to my eyeballs in crap being spewed into the ether." It probably won't do any good to point out that no one is likely following this rant. Apparently one of the things in his head gives it a try and Johnny shakes his head at the empty chair and sighs, "Never mind. I should have brought my sketchbook or something. I need to quit bringing my work with me or some shit." Seeming almost dejected, Johnny suddenly gets up and walks over to the stage, finishing his drink along the way. Finding the karaoke machine, the maniac starts mashing buttons on it until music starts playing. Don't worry, he's not singing. He goes back to his table afterwards. Apparently he just wanted some background noise.
Serenity looks over to Johnny as Dante addresses him, eyeing the dagger in particular as Johnny replies. Ren looks uncertain and remains uncharacteristically quiet until Johnny gets up. "Hhh..." Ren continues, "I may have misunderstood the purpose because of the time you attacked that flying being. In fact, I'd suggest a narrow focus, or at least some visual indicator of the role that you're performing- a uniform or hat or some such." Ren glances about, "But perhaps we should talk later."
Dante snorts. J's little rant doesn't phase him. He's dealt with more insane than this, actually. Demons/Devils of the lower 'castes' tend to classify as flat out 'insane' themselves. They don't think like humans do. He offers a finger point in J's direction afterwards though. "Yeah. I think you got it right there. Keep work and play away from each other. That's how I do it, anyway."
"Tends to work out better when you follow his advice," Kenzie finally speaks up, taking her freshly refilled glass of scotch from the bartender and sipping at it. Then, she opens up the violin case, pulling out a sudoku puzzle book and pen. As Kenzie's eyes turn a glowing white, these promptly float over to Johnny's table, gently settling down. "Try that. It's fun, and it'll get your brain working. Either that, or you'll get pissed off at it, which happens to me as well."
Johnny raises an eyebrow at the levitation act and stares at the book and pen. "Um... Thanks?" He flips a few pages trying to make sense of it, turns the book upside down and frowns. "I think someone sold you a bad crossword. This one is all numbers." He's never seen sudoku.
Dante watches the floating Sudoku puzzle. He can't really do much other than offer a shrug at that one. People do weird shit around here. Kind of comes with the territory. J seems to have calmed down again, for the time being, so we're all good here. He flicks the cap off of another beer and chugs it down. That's what he's here for, after all.
"It's Sudoku. You basically want each box to have numbers one through nine, and also each individual line." Kenzie stands, moving over to Johnny and leaning over, flipping it to a beginner puzzle and pointing out a square. "Easiest way to do it, go by number. Look for all the ones, see if there is a spot where they don't intersect and there's nowhere else that it could be." She points at another square. "Making this the box where the one goes." She grins. "I'm probably not very good at teaching how to do it, I just got really good at it in prison."
Johnny stares at it like it's in another language. "Oh, I hear you on the prison thing..." He frowns. "I don't think I've done basic math in a few millennia." He stares at it a few more moments and shakes his head. "Okay, maaybe I could figure this out, but not tonight. Not after the stupid fight I got into with 'Spike: Lord of Leather Pants' a little while ago." He glances at his empty glass and stands, "Tell you what, next time I run into you, I'll make myself figure it out." Johnny stares at the page again. "And maybe I can find something worth exchanging for that information." Why is he suddenly so focused on a puzzle game? The maniac leans over and points at one of the squares. "A three maybe? Hmmmm...."
Dante never got into that shit himself. Numbers made his head hurt. He chugs another beer. That's more his style. He covers a brief yawn and glances around the UR. Why is he still hanging out, anyway? Ah well, beer, he supposes.
"Keep it, and make sure you have it figured out next time you run into me. I collect this, it's a nice way to calm down my mind sometimes." Kenzie smiles, sipping at her scotch as she watches Johnny. "Nope." She points at another three that interlaps with the box that Johnny has pointed out. "Try the next row to the left." She smiles, before glancing over at that quiet Dante. He looks like that one video game...what is it?
The maniac sticks out his tongue comically as he stares at the page. "Alright, alright. I get it." He hums briefly. "Thank you! I appreciate that!" He grins mischievously. "You might have just saved someone's life!" Uh oh. Still grinning Johnny makes a step or two towards the door, pauses, turns, and bows. "Johnny C. Friends call me NNY." He looks at the page again as he straightens up and his grin widens. This won't end well.
Dante hrms. Yeah, giving this guy stuff to do is always a ifty proposition. Oh well. The good Senior needs him around, so whatever. One worry at a time. Dante catches the head shift from Kenzie and glances over, raising a beer in a form of greeting...before chugging that one too.
The woman shrugs. "No problem. Use your new Sudoku powers wisely..." She smirks, and waves to the man. "Gri-- err, Mackenzie Mihangle. Just call me Kenzie, though, it's easier for all parties involved." She returns to her seat, turning to peer once more at Dante. "Breathing might be a beneficial thing to do. You know you can acchieve the same effect of inebriation by sipping a good scotch, right? Much less bloat and dehydration." She raises her scotch, sipping at it with a smirk.
Johnny nods his head at Kenzie and then vanishes out the door. Mischievous cackling can be heard as he goes past the windows. Whatever he's come up with, it can't be good. He's enjoying himself far too much...