The Canyon gets its name from the towering skyscrapers of the finance district. As the heart of Titan, you will find offices, government centers, and courthouses towering above the flats. Most of the street level space in "the valley" is given over to upscale cafes pubs and restaurants and as such, it's one of Titan's safest and most patrolled districts.
"That way, I think," Emily wasn't sure. Erich was right, anyway. The shoes were killing her as it is, and the docks were far away.
"A cab is a good idea," she said and made her way to a street where they could hail one. "Titan is the most active after dark, Mr. Hamer. I have learned that much by now." And tonight was a sure proof of that, she thought to herself wearily. It was a good thing that she didn't need to be at work the next day, although she was doubtful that she would make it even the day after that. Loosing my job may be the least of my worries. How did I get tangled up in this?
It didn't take them long to find a taxi. The thin stranger needed some convincing getting into it, but eventually, all three of them were sitting in the backseat of the cab.
"Where to?" the cabby asked.
"The Midnight Society, please," Emily replied politely.
"You got it," if he was surprised by their destination, the driver didn't show it. "If you don' mind me saying so, missy, you're a bit over dressed."
"I know," Emily forced a smile. "My... uh, my boyfriend just wanted me to see where he worked. It was a spur of the moment sort of decision, you see."
The driver just shrugged.
(OOC - I will continue this the the Docks thread, seeing as we are headed there now)
Boy, is it late, Ted thought. Why do they always have to give the new cops the red-eye shifts? He knew the answer. It was because the older guys felt that sending naïve young officers on fools’ errands was funny. He hadn’t been in Titan City for long, only long enough to complete his police training. He had grown up in New York, but Titan was something else. Especially the people. Speaking of which…
"Hey fella! You alright? It's the middle of the night, you know the chuck wagon don't open til morning. Maybe you should try the Midnight Society a few blocks down, over by the docks. Fella, you hear what I said?"
There was some idiot standing next to a boarded up coffee stand. He looked startled. Ted stood there for a minute, waiting for the man to leave. What a nut, Ted thought. He turned around and continued on his beat, pondering the thought processes of veteran policemen.
The moist night air was pushing against Ted's face and he couldn't tell if he was building up a sweat, or if he was just walking through a fog. Pulling out a handkerchief, he patted at his temples where his hat met his thin sideburns.
Compared to Time's Square, Center City Titan was a ghost town, especially in the Canyon at night. There were still a few radios left playing in the open office windows, keeping the janitors and overnight crews company, but the place really cleared out after six, especially on the weekends. It was safe as a tomb.
He'd only been on for two hours, but a the thought of a cool drink kept him moving towards the Type & Ink on Edison Street. His pen was running a little low, and it was the only place still open that sold his brand.
In 1931, Prohibition was in full swing. You tell it, though. The number of bars in Titan City was enormous. Their existance went virtually unchecked. Type and Ink was just the one that Ted decided to walk into. It wasn't unusual to see police officers breaking the law they had sworn to protect at the Type and Ink. But tonight, the bar was inhabited only by a few late shift workers on break.
The small bell on the delivery door gave out a brief call, signaling Ted’s entrance with the chang of a typewriter reaching the end of its carriage.
"Why, good evening, officer."
The doorman was a slight fellow, all knees and elbows with a slight gut held back by an ill-fitting waistcoat, and his pencil-thin mustache gave him the look of a teen who had just discovered facial hair the previous weekend. The entire look would have been comical if it weren’t so late. "Can I interest you in a tonic?"
Inside the office, a few dark tables had been set up to flank an oversized executive desk, all hand-carved from mahogany. Behind the desk, another man, somewhat older than the corpse who answered the door, was straightening up in his chair. He had dark brown locks slicked back against his scalp and a wartime buzz on the sides. Ted recognized him immediately as Gideon Matthews, owner of the Type & Ink.
At first, Ted thought Gideon might have been wearing gloves, an unlikely fashion statement in the middle of summer, but then the older man lit another oil lamp and Ted could see where the black ink stains faded into his forearms beneath his rolled shirt sleeves.
Like cockroaches, a table of four made a quick exit when the lights were raised, and Ted could see the familiar faces he was used to.
“What can I get you, Teddy? We have coffee and tapwater, but I don’t recommend the coffee.”
"Aren't I a little old to be called Teddy, Gideon? And I'll have the tapwater, straight up. I've got a long shift tonight." Ted had been a regular at the Type and Ink since he started his job at TCPD. Many of the faces he saw in the establishment were familiar. Some of them he had even taken in to be processed. He harbored no bias against them. He had no right to, he was breaking the law himself. "Dankbarkeit und Weizen gedeihen nur auf gutem Boden," as his grandmother liked to say. "Gratitude and wheat prosper only on good soil." Wisdom from the Fatherland.
From inside a deep drawer, the old man behind the desk opens an unmarked bottle and pours two shots. He tips the thimble to Ted and throws the crystal clear liquid back in one quick motion.
"This new shit don't burn as much as it used to, but I still don't recommend letting it hit anything that can still taste."
Raking his tongue along his top of teeth, he produces a small packet of tobacco and rolls a cigarette.
"If you want a chaser, I won't hold it against ya."
"You hear Hoover is still riding with the Drys? If this shit keeps up any longer, this whole generation ain't ever going to remember what real liquor tasted like; not like this bathtub hooch, but the stuff you would be proud to share with your friends."
"I had a case of Scotch, real uncut Scotch coming in from New York Harbor last night, but it got taxed before I even laid lips on it. The way I hear it, Gentleman Jack's mooks snagged it right outside Coaltown."
"What's this world coming to, Teddy? That's what I want to know."
"No honor among thieves. Eh, Gideon?" Ted replied as he tipped down the foul-tasting moonshine.
"Listen, Gideon. I heard tell of some big operation. Trying to crack down on bootleggers. If I were you I'd keep my head down for a while. At least until things cool down. Like, you said, I don't know what this Hoover is going to pull."
Just then, and strange noise, coming from outside, caught Ted's attention...
"This whole damn town is trying to pull itself down, I tells ya. Ain't nobody's content wit what they got anymore. It's like everyone just went batshit at the same time and forgot to let the rest of us in on the joke."
Sirens peel away the quiet layers of night, one block at a time, and Ted can tell they're getting closer to his beat, which is no good. He can't be caught spending his night in a bar, especially when he's on duty and the Constitution says there's no such thing as bar anymore. His first thought was to get back to his callbox and check in, but it's still three blocks away.
"See what I mean?"
"You's need a phone to check in? I got one in the shop."
The old man grabbed what looked like an axe handle from underneath the heavyweight desk.
"Ain't none of you mooks better get any ideas while I'm gone, capiche? I'll be right up front. Bones, watch the door."
The gaunt man nodded, and Gideon guided Ted to a narrow, ciderblock staircase that lead to a dead end. He pushed his knobby, black-stained hands against the wood paneled wall and slid it aside, revealing the back of Type & Ink's warehouse.
"Phone's right there in the office."
Ted walked to the telephone and picked up the earpiece in one hand and the mouthpiece in the other. "Operator, plug me into Titan City Police Headquarters, number twenty-one."
"Putting you through now," said the voice from the earpiece.
"Beckmann, badge number 1728. Reporting to Watch Officer Lieutenant O'Rourke."
"Beckmann! You were due to report in half an hour ago!" roared the heavily-accented Irish voice from the other end.
"Sorry, sir. Won't happen again, sir."
"Damn right it won't happen again! Where's your head, laddie? Get back on the beat. And don't slip up again. Report back in an hour." The phone went dead.
"Listen, Gideon. I've gotta get going or the boss will have my ass in a sling. One for the road?"