The sun started to set as the four angels stood outside of a large brownish building, with a massive steel door barring the way.
“This is the Sandbox?” Gem asked unsurely as she looked at the others.
“Yep, let’s go in.” Tifa marched up to the door and banged as hard as she could on it. A small metal slit opened as a pair of hard eyes looked out.
“What’da ya’ want?” The voice was as hard as the eyes as Tifa growled back fearlessly.
“A drink, now open the door before I kick it down on your fucking head bitch.” The slit slammed shut as Yuffie chuckled and nudged Tifa.
“You really know how to woo a girl Tifa.” Selphie shook her head as Tifa just smirked, waiting to see what her comment bought her.
“I don’t think she’s going to let us in.” Gem spoke up as multiple locks suddenly began to open. The door swung open as a large black woman stood on the other side of it, frowning. Tifa walked up to the woman still smiling as the others tensed and waited for the fireworks to explode.
“You really want to do this ya’ skank ass bitch?” The woman cracked her hefty knuckles as Tifa lurched forward and hugged her. The dark-skinned woman hugged her back and laughed, knowing she had freaked the others a little.
“How goes it Mo?” Tifa asked with a laughing tone as everyone relaxed now.
“Good, Good girl, you know how I do, ya’ girl Paine’s upstairs ya’ gotta keep tha’ bitch in check for real, already told her ass once.” The others chuckled as they passed by the bouncer and headed up the stairs. Gem could hear loud music and chatter coming from just ahead as Tifa turned around. Both Selphie and Yuffie groaned, knowing she had something to say as Gem gazed up at her.
“Yuffie go to the bar and start a tab, Selphie, look for Paine and the sisters, Gem, I want to speak privately for a minute.” At the end of her sentence Yuffie and Selphie were gone as Gem looked at Tifa with an unsure look. With the others gone, Tifa took a deep breath and began to speak.
“Gem, I know you got a lot of stuff going on in that head of yours, but please don’t say anything to anyone about you being “The Red” There is a huge bounty on that name and these people around here wouldn't think twice about guttin’ your throat and trying to collect…”
“What about Paine and the others?” Gem whispered quickly as she felt like a burden to Tifa now.
“Ivana and Lulu when we get back, but not to Paine… She had a bad experience with that name so please just play it cool and everything will be fine, ok?” Tifa put a hand on Gem’s shoulder as Gem shrugged it off.
“What happened?” Demand was soaked in the red head’s words as Tifa’s grimace.
“Gem…” The petite girl glared at her mentor as Tifa saw a hardening look in the young girl’s eyes.
“Stop dodging my questions Tifa I’m fucking sick of it! Now answer me!” Tifa held out for a moment as she shook her head.
“Her family was killed by Red; she was living in a bad part of the city when a firefight and explosion ripped throughout the complex she was living in. Her mother, father, and two sister were in the apartment next to where it went down, she had been at the store when it happened, she wasn’t the same after that, I met her a couple years later at an orphanage when they still had them, she was so lonely…” Tifa paused as she looked at Gem who had lightened her eyes.
“I think you get the picture.” Tifa cleared her throat, turned and headed to the noise. Gem’s heart swelled in her chest as she watched Tifa disappear and then quickly follow. It was strange, she had not thought about where or how the others came to be Angels, it was never brought up and for good reason. Gem stepped into the dim bar as she looked around. All walks of life seem to be crawling the bar as Gem spotted the others and headed for them.
“There’s our little RED!” Paine yelled drunkenly as she got to her feet and held her glass high. Yuffie and Selphie grinned as Tifa drank her beer quietly and continued to talk to Meg and Jo. Gem smiled shortly, sitting next to Selphie as the brown-haired girl handed her beer.
“So what have you heard?” Tifa looked at the sand sisters seriously as Meg shook her head.
“Not good, something is going on out there, Gus’s outpost was destroyed and nobody knows what happened.” Meg explained as Jo nodded.
“A rouge gang or cult maybe?” Tifa figured as Jo shook her head.
“Gus had the strongest outpost and any group stupid enough to attack it would have to deal with 50cal. Auto-turrets, you’d need 50 merc’s armed to the teeth.” Jo continued. “On top of that we only found Gus and his old lady, their yard was spotless, and they didn’t even gut the place, everything was still there 50cal.’s and all.” Tifa found that strange indeed, a gang or cult would have taken anything not bolted down, then rip out the bolts and not a single killed attacker? No way.
“Besides that, there’s a big sign up job going around right now, the GOVs paying big bucks to get mercenaries to clear out a number of the old cities…, 4# and 5 # are cleared problem is everyone’s gettin’ the panties off but only a few are really making the sweet fuck, A week ago Starky’s whole group was found dead in their semi outside City 3# and Mire’s group is missing along with the Clutch boys.” Jo leaned back as Tifa listened intently.
“The worse thing a lot of other groups haven’t come back to the other outposts either, 10 in all and only 4 have made the mark.” Meg pointed out as she sipped her fruity drink.
“So the pay keeps going up, and groups are getting wiped out?” Tifa frowned viciously as she knew clearing muties was hard enough, but having to clear a city was complete madness without an army.
“Yep, and I seen some GOV spooks earlier, looks like you girls are next, with Sin and Joe’s lot too.” Tifa grumbled at the other groups as she finished her drink. Ivana had hired out to the GOV before, and they paid exceedingly well for the Angels to join their ranks, but after hearing the sister’s side which was the best info in the waste, she became standoffish, a rare and dangerous feeling for the right wing of the Black Angels to have.
“Enough talk, lets drink!” Tifa couldn't do anything about the future but she could do the present and fuck the rest! The others yelled and raised their glass to the partying and drinking that was about to commence.