"Tess, for the umpteenth time, no, I do not want a drink," I object, narrowing my eyes a little.
She crosses her arms, "Aw, you're no fun Lorraine."
"I beg to differ on that one. I don't need alcohol to have a good time. Plus, I'm still plenty entertaining when I'm sober."
Someone chuckles from behind me, "I'll say. Ya ain't half-bad ta look at neither..."
I sigh, "Hi to you too, Jinx."
He sits next to me at the bar, and Tess starts on getting his usual while trying to keep from laughing.
"Not that I'm not overjoyed to see you," I start, "but why are you here? Didn't Krew send you out on an 'errand'?"
He smirks, "I can always count on ya ta be happy ta see me, eh Sweetheart?" When I don't answer, he goes on to answer my question. "The boss-man sent me to whack some guy. Tried to cheat him or somethin', I dunno. But when I got there, the guy was already dead!"
Tess slides him his drink before looking at me, "Torn didn't put a hit out on anyone, did he?"
I shrug, "Not that I know of."
Jinx takes a long swig of his drink and smirks again, " 'Ey, less work for me ta do. Whoever took 'im out is okay in my book."
I give him an odd look, "For all you know, it was a serial killer. I'd watch my ass if I were you."
Tess giggles, "I think Jinx does that enough for both of you."
I roll my eyes, "Not surprising."
"And what's that supposed ta mean?"
I smirk, "It means you're a perv."
I just laugh at him, grinning when Jak comes in. "Hey Jak! Daxter!"
The ottsel hops from his best friend's shoulder onto the counter, "How's it goin' peeps?"
I resist the urge to roll my eyes again when Tess immediately starts petting him and whatnot.
"Jaky boy! How ya doin'?" Typical Jinx.
"Been better. Torn's had me running all over the city on some goose-chase," he answers.
"What?" I ask, wanting an explanation.
"Reports keep coming in about people turning up dead on the streets. Some of them were Underground members. I was supposed to dig up info on the murders, but there was nothing to find. They were all shot through the skull."
Daxter speaks up, "And lemme tell ya, none of 'em were very pretty..."
I sigh, "When is a bullet to the brain ever pretty?" I turn to Jinx, "Is that how you found your guy?"
He nods, "Yeah. Guess I take back what I said about 'em bein' alright wit' me..."
"Good call," I remark, getting up. "I'm heading home. See ya later guys."
Jak stops me, "You sure you should be walking around by yourself?"
I sigh once again, "I can handle myself in the open. I'll be fine. Besides, my place is just down at the end of the port."
Jinx finishes his drink and gets up, "No worries, Blondie. I'll see 'er home."
I eye him warily, "...Why?"
He flashes his signature smirk, "Lookin' like you do, I wouldn't be surprised if ya attracted this freak in the five minutes it takes ya ta get home from here."
Another sigh, "Yeah, 'cause look at what's already following me around at night..."
"I take offense ta dat!"
"You were meant to." I make my exit and go right, not seeing any reason to jack a hoverbike just to go a five-minute distance. Of course, Mr. Cancerstick isn't far behind.
He falls into step with me, "Why ya gotta be like dat, Raine?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Ya always put me down when I've been so nice to ya. I don't get it."
I laugh, "Being nice and being a womanizer are two very different things, Jinx."
He smirks (does he ever stop doing that?), "Ain't my fault you're fun ta look at..."
"Well it is your fault that you run your mouth. That's what'll get you slapped. Ask Daxter; he's got the same problem."
He sighs, "Whateva you say..." He looks up ahead and scowls, "Don't look now, but here comes your stalker."
I smirk, "Worried about a little competition?"
"Like hell I am..."
"Out for an evening stroll, Lorraine?" asks the stalker, a.k.a. Erol.
"Just heading home," I reply in a fake nice voice.
He eyes Jinx, "And who's this? Your charity case for the week?"
The blonde glares, "Watch it, Stripes..."
I put a hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him down. "If I say yes, does that mean I get a week without you?"
He chuckles, "Feisty as ever. Sorry, but I just can't seem to stay away."
Jinx growls at him and grabs my hand, "Find a way. Let's go, Raine."
I allow him to pull me towards my house, not really feeling like dealing with Erol, the bastard of all bastards. Once he's out of sight, I remark, "Jinx? You can stop pulling me now."
He stops, glances behind us, and lets go of my hand. "Why do ya even bother wit' dat guy? Ya know he ain't nothin' but trouble."
A laugh escapes me, "And working with the Underground, along with being around you and Krew, isn't just asking for trouble?"
"Aah, that's different. We're your friends. That guy's the KG Commander! Ya piss him off enough, you'll end up wit' his boys on your tail!" he warns.
I wave it off, "Nah, he wouldn't do that. He'll find another poor chick to harass if I keep turning him down. His obsession with women is unbelievable, kinda like someone else I know..."
Jinx smirks slightly, "If I didn't know betta, I'd say ya were talkin' about me."
I start walking again, "Good thing you know better then."
He shakes his head, catching up to me. "I'm serious, ya know. Ya really need ta be careful around him, aright?" He slips his arm around my waist and tugs me closer to him, smirking again. "Wouldn't want anythin' ta happen to ya, Sweetheart."
I just shake my head, "You're such a flirt."
He grins, "I must be a damn good one then, 'cause you're smilin'."
I shrug, "That doesn't mean anything."
He chuckles, "Sure it don't, Babe."
I sigh, "Jinx, I let you get away with just about every nickname, except that one."
"I know. I just like gettin' a rise outta ya." He pauses, "...I know Sig's already told ya this, but ya really oughtta find someone, Raine."
'Here we go again...' "Why? To ward off the creepers?" I joke.
He sighs, "I don't get it. Ya could have any man ya want, but ya turn down any guy who asks ya out!"
I shrug again, "It's always some random person I don't know. Why would I go out with someone I know nothing about? Besides, I'm always either with you, Torn, Jak, or Sig, and like hell any guy would come near then."
He gets that grin on his face again, "Can ya blame us for bein' protective?"
I laugh, "The only really 'protective' ones are you and Jak; Jak 'cause we're like brother and sister, and you... you're just you."
"What? I think that's a good reason," I defend, smirking a little. We get to my place, and Jinx lets go of me.
He looks at me, totally serious for a change. "Just think about what I said, aright?"
I sigh, "Okay, fine..."
"Good. And ya know," his trademark smirk comes back, "if ya don't find someone ya like, ya always got me."
I roll my eyes at the comment, "Don't remind me."
He laughs, "Ah, you'll come around."
I just shake my head and go inside, and Jinx walks off back towards the bar. I lock the door with a sigh, "He's such a pain in the ass..." I go up to my room and collapse on the bed, muttering into the pillow, "Stupid, bomb-happy, womanizing..." and on like that until I fall asleep.
I'm jolted awake by the sound of my communicator going off. Scowling, I grab the thing and answer, "What?"
"Gear up, Lorraine. I need you on a scouting mission," comes Torn's voice.
I squint at the clock, "At 4 A.M.? Where's the fire?"
"Jinx is missing. He's not answering on his comm. link, and no one's seen him since he left the Hip-Hog last night."
I go wide-eyed and practically jump out of bed. "God-dammit, I warned him!" I start strapping on weapons, totally awake. "I'll find him so I can beat the hell outta him myself!"
"Good enough for me. Jak's already out searching; go give him a hand." The link cuts out there.
I sigh, "Great. Jinx, if you're not in serious trouble, you will be when I find you..." I rush outside and hop on my zoomer, revving off at full speed. I turn the link on and try to get a hold of Jak. After a few seconds, he responds.
"Jak, where are you?"
"I'm about to head into the bazaar."
"Good. Get over to Brutter's stand. I'll meet you there in a few minutes; I think I might know how to find Jinx."
I put the comm. link on standby and speed towards the bazaar, doing my best to avoid the KG. It takes me all of six minutes to reach Brutter's, where Jak and Daxter are waiting.
Jak looks at me, "So what's this idea you've got?"
I turn to the lurker, "Brutter? Remember that thing I gave you to keep safe for me?"
He stops to think. "Hmm... Oh, yes! Lorraine says to put in safe place until she ask for it! And Brutter did!"
"Right, and now I need it. Is it here?"
He nods vigorously, opening up a beer barrel. It's empty though, save for my machine. Brutter takes it out and hands it to me, "Here you go!"
"Thanks." I turn it on and start messing with the buttons and knobs.
"What the heck is that?" Daxter asks, looking over my shoulder.
"It's something Vin and I threw together. It can track, locate, and/or crash and system used for communication. I'm hoping that Jinx has his link at least on standby, wherever the hell he is..." I explain. I punch in the code for Jinx's communicator and pray that it works.
"It looks like a messed up attempt at a TV remote," Dax comments.
I sigh, "It's made for function; it doesn't have to look good..." I jump at the loud beep the machine emits, "Got him!" The screen lights up, displaying a map of the city. I zoom in on the spot it's indicating, "He's somewhere in the slums... C'mon, follow me." I hop back on my zoomer, waving back at Brutter, and Jak & Dax do the same.
"Alright, let's go," Jak prompts. With that, we're off, flying though the bazaar and past the palace. We don't even remotely slow down until we're close to the spot on the locator.
I get off my zoomer, Jak following suit, and start looking around. "The device can't zoom in close enough to give us an exact location. We'll have to search, but Jinx is around here somewhere."
"I think I know where to start," Jak says. He picks something up near one of the buildings, "...This is his gun."
I look from him to the gun and sigh, "Well, that's not a good sign... Let's go." I draw my twin blaster pistols as a precaution.
Jak catches on, pulling out the morph gun before leading the way into the building. "Raine, there was something I didn't mention about the murder victims. I didn't think it was important at the time."
"And it's important now?" I mutter, following him down a hallway.
He sighs, "Their families reported them missing less than a day before they turned up dead. They all had a lot of cuts and bruises, but the shot to the head was what killed them."
I bite my lip, "...Why are you bringing it up now?"
"You know why. If it's the same killer who's got Jinx... We might be too late."
I narrow my eyes, my grip on my pistols tightening. "No way. That bastard won't go down without a fight."
He smirks, "Good point." He stops at a door where the hall ends, signaling me to be quiet. He opens the door enough to look inside, then goes inside completely.
I sigh upon entering the room, "You've gotta be kidding me." The room's empty. Freaking empty.
"What's the scanner say?"
I check the screen again, "We're on target. Damn thing must be busted."
Daxter finally speaks, "You mean we came to this creepy place for nothing!?" He hops off Jak's shoulder onto the floor, making a "thud" sound that sounds... strangely hollow.
I perk up a little, glancing at the floor. "Dax, move." I kneel down, knocking on the wood and getting the same hollow echo. I look up at Jak, "You hear that?"
He nods, looking down at the floorboards. He stops at a gap in one, like a piece was broken off.
I slip my hand into the space, pulling the next board up. To my surprise, a huge part of the floor comes loose, folding up like a hatch. I smirk, "I bet I know where to go from here." I pick my guns up again and start down the stairs, Jak and Daxter right behind me. I creep down the corridor to where some light is shining in through a door. I peer inside and see a figure at one end of the room, but their back is to me, so I can't really see them. I look towards the other side of the room and gasp quietly.
Lying on the floor, beaten and unmoving, is Jinx.
"What do you see?" Jak asks me quietly.
I take a breath and try to steady my voice. "Someone's in there, but I can't see their face. And... I found Jinx. He's hurt pretty bad, and he's not moving."
"Can you tell if he's alive?"
I try to calm down a little, looking closely at him. I can't help but smile a little when I notice something. "There's a gash on his arm that's still bleeding. That means his heart's still beating."
"Yeah, well, it won't be for much longer if we don't do something," Daxter comments.
I turn to Jak, "For once, you get to do the retrieving. I want a shot at this psycho. Get Jinx out of here while I deal with whoever's over there."
Jak nods, "Ready?"
I click off the safety on both pistols, "Ready." Without a second thought, I throw the door open and run in, "Eat plasma, you sick bastard!" and start shooting at them.
The person, who turns out to be a man with multiple scars on his face, yells in surprise and tries to shoot back at me.
Jak runs in and gathers Jinx up off the floor, only glancing at the man for a brief second.
Once he's up and halfway out of the room, I decide to finish what I've started. "Keep going! Get him back to HQ! I'll catch up!" I call, still shooting at the guy relentlessly; he can't be holding on by much now. I only stop shooting when Jak's footsteps are gone.
The man slumps to the ground, dead.
I double-check to make sure he's done with, then slip my pistols into their holsters and look around. There's a small counter, a set of knives laid out, and a few handheld guns. I find a paper tacked to the wall and read what's written.
Here are the names and photos of the ones my officers have identified as Underground members. I leave the means of their demise up to you. Your payment will be delivered to you upon completion of the task.
I glare at the paper as though I could make it catch fire. Beneath the written message is a list of my comrades, Jinx's name and photo among them, and the majority of the names have been crossed out. Ripping the paper from the wall, I tuck it away and start on my way back; up the corridor, then the stairs, through the hallway, and outside onto my zoomer. I make a B-line back to HQ, the anxiety starting to set in again. When I finally park in the alley, I all but jog down into the room, only to find Samos on his way out.
He seems depressed, which is never a good sign. "I've done all I can. If he's going to wake up at all, it will be very soon. If not..." he trails off. He sighs, patting my arm, "I'm sorry, my dear."
I nod, "Thank-you, Samos." As he leaves, I stand near the bed where Jinx is lying.
Torn comes up behind me, "Hey. You okay? Jak said there were a lot of shots fired down there."
"I'm fine." Remembering my find, I take out the paper from the basement, "The dead Underground operatives weren't random. They were targets assigned by Commander Jackass. ...Jinx was next on the list." I hand it over to Torn. "The civilian murders were just cover-ups to throw everyone off."
He looks over the list, sighs, then says, "Good work, Lorraine. ...Listen, I know this isn't the best time, but I've got something to take care of with Jak. It's just a quick recon mission; shouldn't take long, but I want you to stay here and watch over Jinx." He pauses and, at my silence, adds, "It'd mean a lot to him if you were here when he woke up."
Staring down at the blonde, I respond, "I know. Go ahead, I'll stay."
"Thanks, Raine." He glances down at Jinx, "...Maybe when he wakes up, you two can have a little heart-to-heart." He only smirks at my half-glare before heading out.
I let out a breath and pull a chair over next to the bunks. Once I'm situated, I look him over more closely. Most of the smaller cuts and bruises are gone, though there are traces of the more severe ones, and the gash on his arm has been bandaged.
I sigh, "And you were worried about me. Ironic, isn't it?" I cross my arms, 'I'm gonna completely destroy Erol if I ever even see his face after this. If Jinx doesn't pull through, the commander's a dead man.'
"Aah, what the hell hit me?"
I jump, coming out of my mental rant. "You're okay!"
He looks a little surprised, but tries to cover it up, " 'Course I'm okay. Why wouldn't I be?" He looks around, "...What're we doin' at HQ? I thought you went home."
"You don't remember?"
He seems to be thinking hard. "...I remember walkin' back ta your place wit' ya, but afta that... I got nothin'." I guess I must look pretty distraught, because he eyes my face before saying, " 'Ey, what happened? Why do ya look so upset?"
I roll my eyes and, being mindful of his remaining injuries, sit next to him and embrace him lightly, replying, "You had me scared half to death, that's why..."
Obviously surprised, he looks back at me with even more confusion than before. "Raine, I dunno what you're talkin' about. What happened?"
"Jinx... the guy who killed all those people on the streets... you were next on his list. Erol hired him to kill off our friends."
He blinks, taking everything in. "So the Underground was the target... Who was it?"
I shrug, "Some guy named Thane. He got the jump on you after you left my place last night, when you were alone."
"Huh... How'd they find me ta bring me back?"
I smirk, "If by 'they' you mean Jak, Daxter, and me, 'they' used a tracker to find your communicator's signal. You were beat up pretty bad, but Samos healed you as best he could."
He looks seriously surprised. "You saved me?"
"Technically, Jak did. He got you out while I turned Thane into Swiss-cheese."
"Remind me ta thank Blondie later..." he trails off. "Ya know, I thought ya hated me. I can't believe ya risked your life ta help me out."
I can feel my blood rushing to my face, "...Well, whether I hated you or not, I wasn't about to let you die. Besides, Torn told me to help Jak find you, so that's what I did."
He smirks, "You're lookin' pretty red in the face there, Raine."
He laughs at my response, "If I didn't know betta," he grabs my hand, "I'd say you're fallin' for me."
I actually smile at that, "Good thing you know better, then." I pause, my smile fading. "...You really thought I hated you?"
"Sweetheart, I dunno what ta think. I figured what wit' your always snappin' at me an' all, it wasn't a bad guess."
I look down at my lap, trying to formulate my response. "Jinx, I could never hate you. You definitely make me mad sometimes, but I don't hate you for it."
He chuckles wryly, "You're one hella complicated broad, ya know that? If that's true, then how come you're always so pissed off at me?"
"I get pissed off because of your constant flirting. You know me better than just about anyone else, so you know that when guys hit on me because of my looks, I get frustrated. That's how it's always been."
To my surprise, he chuckles. "An' here I thought ya were smart..." At my obvious confusion, he continues, "Contrary ta popular belief, I ain't just some bomb-happy thug. If ya think the only reason I've been after ya is 'cause of your looks, you don't know that half of it. Sure, you're real easy on the eyes, but you're tough, too. You're damn good with a gun, and ya gotta be one of the nicest girls I've eva met! An' I've met a lotta girls in my life, Sugar."
I roll my eyes at that last part, although my face has to be bright red by now.
Smirking at my expression, he nudges me, "I think ya owe me an apology, Doll-face."
I sigh, "Yeah, I guess I do. ...I'm sorry, alright? I'm just used to men hitting on me 'cause they think I'm nice to look at. I never thought you were serious when you said stuff like that."
"Normally, I'd probably be ticked off if ya said that, but I guess I can see where you're comin' from," he comments, "so I forgive ya. An' I guess I owe ya one for findin' me before."
"No you don't. I told you, Jak's the one who got you out of there. If anything, you owe him."
He smirks, "But if ya hadn't been helpin', I might not have been found at all."
I sigh again, "You just like bugging me, don't you?"
"Ya know me so well, Raine." He sort of hesitates, "...So, now that ya know I wasn't just messin' wit' ya... ya think ya might consider bein' my girl?"
Smirking, I look up in fake-thought. "Hmm, I dunno. I mean, are you sure you wanna tie yourself down to just one girl?"
He copies my expression, "Ya know, I asked myself the same thing not too long ago. I figured ya were worth it."
My smirk becomes a smile, "Well... I guess we'll find out, won't we?"
He grins, "Really? Ya mean it?"
I nod, "But only if you can prove that you can handle it. That means no more skirt-chasing. As long as you don't flirt with any other girls... I'm yours."
He sighs, "I think I can pull it off. Just promise me that I can clobber any guy that tries ta move in on ya."
I laugh, "Deal."