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The Offer

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Which do you value most: your freedom, or your freedom?

It wasn't said in so many words, or even presented as a question. Instead, it was an offer.

"Listen, listen," Reginald choked, scrabbling at the chain you held tightly around his neck. "You've defeated my right hand man, and you've defeated me." 

Your eyes narrow. Was the Toppat leader attempting to...bargain for his life? Nope. Nuh-uh. No way. Your mission- if you could call blackmail a mission- was to take down the Toppat Clan, and then you'd get a full pardon for your-

"I surrender the airship, to you."


Your grip on the chain loosens slightly, but you still keep hold of the leader's torso. The way the offer was phrased, it sounded more like...he was surrendering the whole clan to your rule. The rest of the Toppats in the cargo bay gawk, seeming stunned by his choice of words, so you assume that's exactly what he just he put on the table. 

Is that how they do things here? If you beat the boss in hand to hand combat, you get his job? Mr. Copperbottom here hadn't exactly put up much of a fight. You actually had to save scum to get past his Right Hand Man, but this guy? He's been running from you for the past half an hour and the moment you tackled him, victory was yours.

The last leader must have sucked.

The cargo bay door fully opened, exposing the group of you to the sight of a helicopter flying just behind the airship. If your hazy vision served, that would be your ride.

"Great work, Henry!" A loudspeaker crackles to life, booming across the sky to reach you. "Now just get him to us and you'll get your life back!"

...But would you?

When you was asked how you wanted to go in, the answer was simple- through the front. Sure, it wasn't subtle, but it was fast. You were just after the head honcho to get that government pardon, no need to make a process out of it.

Now you're being asked how you want to eject from the situation, but you're not so certain anymore. Sure, having a full government pardon for all your crimes would make it so the cops wouldn't be after you and the army wouldn't kidnap you again, but it comes with a certain expectation. An expectation to live lawfully, or if not fully in the law, to at least not do crimes. Maybe you could take up something legally dubious, like bounty hunting criminals for hire. Hell, maybe the government would call on you again to get them someone they were having problems with, and that could be a salary...

It was a freedom. Maybe a bit of a boring one, and relied on you staying out of trouble, but a freedom nonetheless.

On the other hand, you have no allegiance to these military folk. That Charles guy seemed nice enough for the sentence and a half you shared with him, but the two of you had just met. But the offer Reginald has presented is tangible- an entire airship, and becoming the head of the Toppat Clan. The bounty on your head would be ever higher, and since the Toppat Clan are an international thieves guild, there wouldn't be a single place on Earth safe for you. But now, you'd have resources. Not just the change you were able to scrounge from between your couch cushions, or from re-selling the diamond for ransom, but an entire clan at your disposal for heists and adventure...

It was a freedom. Tenuous for as long as you could keep from being caught, but a freedom nonetheless.

The question hangs in the air between the airship and the helicopter. Whatever choice you make, you should act fast- the Toppats won't stare in bewilderment for long, and the chopper might actually start firing on you if you dilly-dally.

You'll learn how to live with the freedom you sacrificed later. For now, you act.