Morning in the bustling hive of lack of activity that is the Cornucopia Of Excellent Goods at Low Prices. Harry is currently putting the finishing touches on a poster, with a sharpie in his hand and a look of intense concentration on his face.
The front door opens, the bells jingle, and a gust of damp chill air ushers in a soft cloud of white to combat the mustiness with the smell of asphalt and snow. Into the shop shuffle two prospective customers. Olga's enshrouded in an ancient army jacket that carries its own mustiness with it, but otherwise her clothes and even the 'kerchief wrapped around her head are in impeccable condition, a little mismatched but at least clean and new and trim. There's a faint show of anxiety even in her sharply curious eyes. Basil enters a step behind. They halt just a second before strolling in, Olga at least looking much more at the merchandise than the few people there.
Basil keeps mostly to himself and merely follows in Olga's wake, keeping close, but not close enough to trip her up or get in her way. He seems a little on edge with his back up and his hands halfway wedged into his pockets, his eye looking from left to right. The people in the store, the windows, the exits, Olga and Harry are what he primarily focuses on.
"Good Morning!" Harry greets, coming from the counter. "Welcome to the Cornucopia of..." and then he catches sight of Basil. "Oh," he says. "I suppose..." he looks at Olga. "Oh." A long pause. "Well, you'd better come into the back room, then."
The greeting makes Olga smile, but the gesture is awkward, lopsided, and it only tilts further down as he pauses and breaks off. "Y'must be Harry," she says, trying to sound pleasant, her voice touched by cigarettes. "Yeah, it'd be best, I guess. Nice place you got here." The platitude is easy and she seems if not honest at least hopeful; she picks up a little ceramic bear balancing on a ball, and looks it over approvingly, as if to reinforce her assertion.
"Guess so." Basil agrees easily enough, starting to shuffle in Harry's direction. He looks at Olga and the bear in her hands, then back at Harry, clearly waiting for him to lead the way.
Harry leads the way back behind the counter, and into the back room, which is almost a big a mess as the shop. He points at a couple of stools. "So, I can guess what you've come to see me about. I was just planning to go and see a Philodox about it."
Olga follows after Harry as soon as he heads off, remembering to put the bear back as she goes, adjusting it carefully and with a kind of distracted fondness. "Hi Dave," she greets the massive man at the counter at the back, apologetic and smiling awkwardly, before joining Harry in the back room. The way Harry begins the conversation catches Olga by surprise but she tries to conceal it with a pursed lip and a glance away. She offers an ambiguous "Yeah?"
Basil bows his head as they walk past the large man. As soon as they are in the back room, Basil drifts off to a corner ( cluttered or not ) and stands with his back to it. "What about a Philodox? They usually ain't much use." Basil chimes in, looking at all the odds and ends in the room he can without moving.
"Well, yeah, but there's been a crime comitted, and it's my duty as an honest member of the proud tribe of the Bone Gnawers to report it." Harry leans forward. "Somone," he whispers, "has broken the "Submission to those of Higher Station" tenet of the litany." He nods, looking very serious.
Olga, completely lost, merely asks "Yeah?" again, trying to sound interested rather than confused. She does shoot Basil a glare at his comment, but it's half-hearted and habitual and she barely even seems to notice she's doing it. Most of her attention is on Harry. "Okay, who?"
"Just get on with it. No need to fart around or anything. Shoot." Basil tells Harry, gesturing in a circular 'go ahead' motion. He doesn't seem to take notice of Olga's anger, or perhaps he's just grown used to it.
"Me!" Harry says. "Because I ain't joining a pack I'm being forced into. And I'm reporting our glorious leader as well. It's disrespectful to run roughshod over one of the sacredest parts of being a Garou. Packing is a joining of spirits, not a convienient filing system. And anyway, I was happy enough. I am not the packing kind. And I'd *never* belong to any pack that would have me as a member. So, in short. It ain't happening."
Olga's confusion turns to a smile which she also tries to hid, though she has a harder time of it it being both sharper and less intently concealed. She shoves her hands in her pocket with a sort of finality. "Well! Alright. I couldn' agree more. Y'are a Sept member, though, right?" she asks, falsely jovial, slightly tentative. "You gave chiminage and all that?"
Basil takes out his smokes and lights one up, playing with the lighter even after he's done. He just lets Olga talk, focusing in on the plastic plaything and the flames it generates instead of the Garou.
"Paid up, signed up, regretting it," Harry says, with a little nod. "Even my little posters haven't got any reaction. What's a Ragabash supposed to do to annoy someone around here?"
Olga pulls her big hand from her jacket long enough to jerk a finger in Basil's direction. "Ask him," she answers, drily, "he's an expert. So that was you, eh? Good on y'. I know what you mean - Kas was a great Elder, but's like the power's gone to her head. But it's always viva la revolucion until la revolucion gets in, and then chop off the head of the counter-revolucionaries, right? I agree nobody - _nobody_ - got any right to put you in a pack. But hear me out."
Basil lifts his hand up when Olga turns her eyes in his direction, trailing off as he replies. "If you have to ask... " Aside from that, the Ahroun keeps silent, only occasionally looking in Olga's direction.
"OK. I'm listening," Harry says. "I'll give you a fair hearing, but I'll tell you straight up that the following things will not work. 1) Appealing to my better nature. 2) Appealing to my sense of duty to Gaia. 3) Threats." He flashes a grin that encompasses both of them. "Having said that, fire away."
Olga's smile disappears, replaced by a thin straight line barely visible beneath her hook of a nose. When she speaks her voice is clipped, straightforward. "Kaz never said," she begins quickly, "she never said, so far as I's heard her, `Harry, Olga, Basil - you guys pack`. No. That's right, right Basil?" she asks the man next to her, even going so far as to turn to him despite the fact that she doesn't stop to wait for an answer. "Right. She said `you guys look into the sewers`. So you can stick it to her, take her at her word, and do as she says without doing what she wants. Right? And then there's the fact that, your duty to Gaia aside, s'obvious you respect your duty to Luna maybe a little _too_ well. You piss off the wrong people you gonna want the Sept's protection. That means you gotta serve the Sept: chiminage ain't a one time entry fee. This ain't a threat, s'just the way things are. 'Sides, cleaning up the sewers is in everybody's business. Yi once had a Dancer claw its way up through her toilet somehow _while_ she was taking a dump. You think of that next time you drop your pants and crack open the Sunday paper." Her face stays even, her voice calm. It's given like a business proposal, though there's a driness in her voice as well, a sense almost of drudgery or distaste. "That's the spiel."
Harry nods. "Wow. That contained both two and three," he says. "And probably one, as well." He looks at Olga for a long moment, and then sighs. "Oh, alright. Against my better judgement, and I don't know what use I'm going to be, I'll help out. But no surprise packing!" He nods. "Do you want the little ornament?"
Olga's smile bursts out again, and she lurches an arm out of a pocket to smack Harry approvingly against the shoulder. "That's' the spirit!" she proclaims. "We'll figure out something. What're your specialties, eh?" The question takes her by surprise, and she looks around herself as if she expects to see it sitting there. "The bear?" she asks, after a second. Her smile gets broader, sillier. "Yeah! Hell yeah!"
"Well... You're a Ragabash, so you can do Ragabashy-things. And Olga's a Theurge, so she can whisper to spirits and get them to look into shit or something. And I'm as subtle as shit in a slurpee, so I can sit on my ass." Basil yawns broadly, then takes out his cellphone to check the time. "Thought it would be later."
"You can have the bear," Harry says. "And yeah, I'm quite good at getting into places and finding things." He grins at Olga. "But, like, next time, could you leave your semi-trained ape behind, at least until he learns not to pick his flies off in my house."
Olga speaks quickly, her voice more hushed and fiercer, drawn through teeth: "Now boys," she says, cautiously but not really knowing to whom to direct her voice, "we're all on the same side here."
"Olga, you think an insult like that even comes close to bothering me with all the shitheads in this Sept that piss on me constantly? Please." Basil stands up straight and lifts one hand, casually brushing off both shoulders. "I'll see you back at the Odeon." He jerks his head at her, spares a glance at Harry, then turns to walk for the door.
"It appears I have some competition before I can claim "Most Annoying Garou In The Sept" Award that's rightfully mine," Harry observes. "That boy is trouble on a stick. And he'll come to no good end."
Olga tosses Basil a nod of her head as she leaves, a delicate and strained smile. She waits for him to go before she turns on Harry: "You shush," she says, her voice no longer hissed but sharp and voluble, matronly and quick. "He's trouble but a'right but don't you go prophesyin' evil on him. That's bad luck. Bad mojo. Anyway," she continues without stopping, her voice dropping and losing its edge, "the first thing I want to do is just figure out the geography down there a bit better. You got maps of the city - walking maps, like?"
"Yeah, and I can lay my hands on better ones," Harry says. "Hey. Do you want sewer maps? City Hall will have them. I can see what I can get? No guarantees reality will match them, mind - I mean, even without interaction with the oogly-boogly."
Olga's cheeks rise, her eyes light. "Hell, yes. If you can get your hands on 'em, that'd be the best thing possible," she says, obviously quite hopeful and impressed. "I'm also thinking we'll want to go down to the sewage treatment plant and see what the hell's going on down there. If the sewers're as full of Wyrm shit, pun intended, as I'm told they are that's where it'll all be coming out. So're you into a little infiltration, eh?"
Basil has disconnected.
"I can make doors open occasionally," Harry says, flatly. "I'm not a ninja. I cannot ninge. I do not sneak, I do not hide. If I see a gun, I tend to run away. But a little bit of breaking and entering is needed, I can do that."
Olga's lips purse, thin and disappointed, and she thinks on that briefly. "So breaking into the city's main sewage treatment facility, likely guarded by armed rent-a-cops, where if you're caught they'll figure you for a terrorist poisoning the water supply, s'not exactly up your alley," she concludes, roundly. "Fair enough. You'll see if y'can get those plans though?"
"Well," Harry says. "It depends on whether or not I get some kind of protective wall between me and the rent-a-cops. Say that Ahroun that wandered out a while back." He grins. "I'll get onto my contacts."
Olga grins mildly, and then snorts in deeper amusement. "Sure. And I'll let you know what we plan to do at the treatment plant. Y'can sign on or off then," she says. "I'm gonna get going, leave you back to your store, start marking down manholes, leave you back to your store." She starts towards the door, but turns back, curious, her chin raised and her mouth slightly open. "Speaking of walls," she asks, "that mountain you got working behind the counter, he kin?"
"He's my cousin," Harry says, with a nod. "Yes, he's kin. That's Dave "The Midget" Hall." He stands up, with her. "He's good at carrying things, but he's got no clue about sales."
"`The Midget`, eh?" Olga asks, amused, her lips twitching. "Cute. Thanks for your time, Harry, I appreciate it," she says, as she opens the door. "I'll be back in, say, a week or so? Without the boy." She holds the door open for him and passes out into the store proper.
"I never did catch your name," Harry says. "But I think I've worked it out." He flicks a salute at the Theurge. "Oh, by the way, soup at the back door, most evenings."
Olga stops in the middle of one of the aisles, in the process of pocketing the dancing balancing bear. She bows or curtsies or something, it's graceless and a little unclear, she lets her thick hands float out awkwardly in front of her. "Grand Duchess Olga Sergeevna Borodin," she introduces herself, full of a strange mixture of pride and sarcasm. "At y'r service. Bye, Dave," she calls out, waving quickly at the man behind the counter with one hand while the other shoves the statue in her pocket. She heads for the door and then out into the street.