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Deal 1161 Preview

Root and Branch:
Roots: Fish, quill, and Puppet
Branches: Stagnation, Clumsiness, and Indoctrination

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Deal 1160: Snowballed

This wasn’t a life for just anyone, but it was a living at least. Rushing from town to town, job to job, identity to fresh identity. It takes a toll, and fairly rapidly.

Needing to always be careful to not let the current identity slip and reveal is hard enough. But it needs must be done. In every town I visit, there is someone who knows things, who is planning something, who may be susceptible to a delicate touch if the right weapon is available. I am the weapon. I am the light touch.

I am deployed to calm the waters and prevent the storm, to safeguard the peace.

I haven’t missed yet.

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Deal 1158: Bats

Choices abound, as usual. They vary in quality from the best that can be had to the worst imaginable, with all plausible outcomes falling far away from the extremes.

This time they had gone to far. Their only way out was to go all the way through. And survive.

Meanwhile, the juggernaut began to flex its muscles in court, burning all possible avenues of retreat, narrowing the path.

In its wake, the possibilities evaporate as if never there, as the choices we would prefer evaporate before our eyes.

That brings us to this moment as we stand with the stolen loot in hand in the lobby of the bank, surrounded by police with nowhere to turn. Our plan had been simple. Pull this last heist, and then use the proceeds to obtain transportation away. Far far away. Somewhere we could outrun our previous choices, and live free for a time.

Instead, here we were. The fires we set to cover our escape were already burning and we had to be out the door and moving in seconds for it all to work.

Then it all went pear-shaped. Or perhaps it always was, and this was just the moment we realized it.

Our carefully planned retreat was blocked.

Blocked by a man dressed all in black, wearing an improbable black cowl and cape. And yet, somehow, he seemed to carry it off.

“You know who I am,” he said, “and you are coming with me.”

What else could we do but set our weapons down and agree to face our fates.