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The World is Yours
The memory of the roar of the crowd still sent shivers up Marcus' spine as he dressed, as if the reaction to the Ascendancy's creation of the Arch was merely an appetizer, a prelude to a sumptuous feast.

Bykov and Vladislavovna had seemed overjoyed to find Ascendancy in health, at least in their own way. Neither of them were overly demonstrative unless performing, and their usual reactions always seemed a No, not off. Slow, a hair less spontaneous than a normal person. Calculated. Not that most people noticed. But he had. It was something he struggled with as well. This time, though, the enthusiasm and joy seemed more natural. As if there was no attempt at artifice and manipulation.

And he had found it infectious. Especially when they immediately began plotting how to best reveal the Ascendancy's survival and recovery. They had to balance the pragmatic issues of the effect on worldwide markets and potential rebellions with the opportunity to turn a disaster into something truly amazing.

A compromise had been struck, perhaps not to everyone's liking, but such was the nature of compromises. The sea of people in the square dwarfed that from the announcement. This time, there were not shouts of anger or outrage. Instead, from the walls of the Kremlin spilling over into the Basilica and even the GUM, the hum of prayers and the twinkle of candlelight and tear and fear filled faces held vigil. Guards, police and ZARs were out in force but in truth, there was little for them to do. Around the world in other cities, news and online broadcasts showed the same thing. The world held its breath, unsure of what was going to happen next.

The moment had stretched out tautly, drawn to the very last moment it could.

And then Ascendancy had revealed himself, his face larger than life on the monitors- all monitors across the empire, the world- in bars and in squares and in homes and on wallets and tablets and everywhere they could be broadcast. His whole and hale face, body strong and without injury, such a contrast to the burned and nearly dead images that had filled the hearts of so many with fear for the future.

That roar...the thunderous groundswell, the cheering, the unending cheering and cries of joy and elation....Marcus had closed his eyes and reveled in it, felt it wash over him like a wave, fed on it even as he knew it was not his. Not yet. A smile played over his lips, allowed as it fit the mood of everyone. Allowed because one day, one day, this would be his. Consul of the Consulate on Channeler Oversight. Just a name, now, a position. But he would turn it into so much more. This power before him, flowing from the mass of people, he could almost reach out and touch, caress, could nearly see the currents and threads of the souls of everyone out there as they cast their dreams and hopes and joy out into reality and toward the Ascendancy.

On impulse he seized the Force and allowed the dual powers before him to play, wreathing themselves about each other, the two playing and complementing and strengthening and contrasting around him. He could almost visualize a cloak of it surrounding him, a mantle settling up him.

Now, just a few days later, the feeling still remained, lessened with time, it was true. But the memory of it was still strong. He dressed in a wool suit a purple so dark it was nearly black unless hit with the right light. His shirt was a deep forest green and his tie a gold checked pattern, his shoes a supple plum colored leather. But not his Sigma pin. A new stylized image and pin was being commissioned.

Reluctantly, he pushed away the elation. He needed to figure out how to shape his new Consulate. How to structure it. What its goals would be. And how he could use it. He wanted to get out, to gauge the feel of the people. The Force was fresh on their minds, the existence of channelers. He could watch interviews and talking heads endlessly analyze things- as if they knew what was going on or had a pulse on the groundswell. No, he wanted to judge for himself. To see what was needed and what was expected. It was his goal that the Consulate would be as pivotal and important as that of Bykov and Vladislavovna's.

The spring air was crisp and invigorating as he exited the apartment gates. He wanted to see the monument first. There would be where the crowd was most...energetic. Concentrated.

Edited by Marcus DuBois, Dec 1 2016, 05:02 PM.
Michael prowled around the outskirts of the vigil being held for Nikolai. Rykovi, al'Kaddis and Petrovic walked behind him, trying to act discreet, as if any of the original 8 could do so now. They had grown, they had seen battle, and it had changed them. These three in particular. Allan Rykovi, a most talented young British man, the only Ascendant he truly trusted, the first he could call an ally. Karim al'Kaddis, the Iranian born man who was the most grounded of the Ascendants, a leader and teacher. Michael hoped that Karim would be his second ally, but he had to be sure, for his plans, more certain than any one of the others.

Finally Petrovic. He was certainly not an ally. The young Russian's eyes burned with a fathomless hunger. Others were more powerful, more dangerous, but Petrovic was the most unpredictable, and Michael would keep him as close as possible.

A candle-lit vigil with teary-eyed worshippers surrounding a ridiculous giant statue would have been amusing if it were not so deadly serious. Michael had begun to understand why Nikolai felt like a god.

Unfortunately for his delusions, he was not. That could get him killed. Just like it almost had. If Michael had been there, things would have been different. He should have been there. No doubt Nikolai would hold that against him.

While the great Ascendancy was attacked in his own home by fanatic fools who had gotten their hands on something truly dangerous, Michael and his best had fought a battle unlike any that had ever occurred before. Nearly a score of Ascendant beings wielding destructive force against one another.

In his mind he could already see the flames of war. A new age of war that they had not even scratched the surface of. The possibilities were endless. Those in the Facility discovered new things, new nets and webs to spin for all kinds of purposes. As the numbers grew - they stood now at 32 - he was sure that more would be discovered.

The familiar feeling of the Ascendant power thrust him into the present once more. He waved off the three men behind him as he spotted the source nearby.

With a tinge of distaste sticking in his throat, he strode towards Marcus DuBois. "Good evening,"
he greeted the man coolly. "Sanjay is quiet pleased that he has been allowed to work with you. He will no doubt be of great service."

Michael came to a halt and stood beside the man, turning to watch the crowd. "Were you with the Ascendancy when the attack happened? I regret I was not."
He paused. "We did, however, manage to destroy what was left of Theo Andalain's followers. Things seemed to have worked out well. The Ascendancy looks healthier than ever."
"She saw a flaring halo around his head, radiant in gold and blue. It shouted of glory and power to come"
"No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it."
Marcus felt the feel of menace in the air before he saw the wielder. He was not worried but he was ready. And then he saw Vellas. Of course. Vellas was an irritating man who exuded a perpetual state of being pissed off. The man didn't seem to know how to be friendly with anyone. Not that Marcus wanted friendship- from him or anyone else.

Not for the first time, he wondered at the man's position. He did not seem the type of leader to inspire men to heights of heroism and sacrifice. Then again, Vellas never actually trained him, so he could not truly know. Sanjay spoke respectfully enough of the man and his ability. Underestimating people was a weakness. And it would be foolish to burn any bridges in any case. They would have to work together over the coming years and he expected there would be some friction between their areas of supervision. Marcus was intent on using his Consulate as a power base and that would include security- and not from some other department.

Still, Vellas would not expect friendship or phony amiability. He smiled at the man coolly and inclined his head. "Sanjay is a good man. I complement your training of him. He's very disciplined and a quick learner. He will indeed be useful."

He passed his eye over Vellas' companions, deciding how much to say. They were in public so there was a certain amount of discretion necessary. "As to Ascendancy, yes, I was with him."
He suppressed the wince that came to him. Not from any lingering physical pain. The healer, Jensen James, had been thorough and he felt completely restored. No, but the memory of the pain- those moments where he felt his blood boiling and his eyeballs swelling- there was a panic that he had fought to keep down. All just a memory, that, but there all the same.

Malik wanted revenge. All the power in the world- the full might of the Force at his finger tips- and he had nearly been killed by an EM weapon. He meant to speak to those who were cleaning up the debris, to find whether anything had been left behind. And he had already put out feelers to find out which companies might manufacture them as well has how to procure one for himself. He was determined never to leave that avenue open again.

In fact..."It occurs to me that I may have some information you might find useful. I know the type of weapon that was used in the attack."
He wouldn't say more, not here. "It was unexpected and as you probably know, very nearly succeeded in its purpose despite the power we use. I would imagine that you would want your men trained to defeat such a tool. Or at least how to recognize what was happening and how to protect against it."
He studied the man's face for a moment before turning to the Arch.

Idly, he added. "It is something I plan on studying myself."
He had other reasons to make a connection to the man. Sanjay was showing him some of the weaves he'd learned. But he suspected that Vellas kept a great many close to his chest. He heartily understood. He didn't want anyone to know what he could do or the extent of it. His research with Force-enhanced materials was one example.

Perhaps if they worked together, he might learn more. If nothing else, it was another connection that could prove useful.

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