This forum uses cookies
This forum makes use of cookies to store your login information if you are registered, and your last visit if you are not. Cookies are small text documents stored on your computer; the cookies set by this forum can only be used on this website and pose no security risk. Cookies on this forum also track the specific topics you have read and when you last read them. Please confirm whether you accept or reject these cookies being set.

A cookie will be stored in your browser regardless of choice to prevent you being asked this question again. You will be able to change your cookie settings at any time using the link in the footer.

The Corner
Marcus stared at the stainless steel ball on his desk. Night had long since fallen, long dark shadows that reached and spread out until they bathed the room. There was still enough ambient illumination from the lights outside- the twinkling stars and nebulae and suns of the universe that was Moscow under the leadership of the Ascendancy.

And yet Marcus could only see the cold metal sphere, so very ordinary- a large stainless steel ball bearing- and yet so much more. He basked in the pride that he couldn't help but feel at what he had done. He seized the Force and gently on flows of air lifted the piece again, let it turn suspended in mid-air, its silvery surface a warped reflection of his apartment and the lights from outside.

With a flow of spirit and earth he once again pierced into the great lattice, past atoms, electrons and nuclei, deeper and deeper, beyond quarks and nutrinos and muons until finally he could see the faint rings of energy that were at the heart of all matter, the discrete shapes that were the finest pixel resolution of this vast super-computer the universe existed in. And they resonated at his touch, vibrating now with their own power, in response to his own.

He smiled. So simple a thing, useless in a way. And yet...the promise it held. Already ideas were beginning to form, new avenues of research to pursue. The promise of power seemed to pulse in time with the ball that floated before him.

Marcus had message the woman from that charnel house- the hunter who had become the prey- and left the sword hidden in a safe location with instructions where to find it. He would contact her again. She owed him. And he had questions, questions that had been stoked by his visit to the Almaz. It had been a productive visit. He had made an 'ally' of sorts with Cavelli. The man thought to use him but that was acceptable. If he was careful, he would never learn who was doing the manipulating. And he had the beginnings of a new mystery. Cavelli would eventually give him the information he wanted there too.

But Almaz itself...he felt a slither of excitement deep within at the memory of the place, the smells of smoke and blood and sweat causing his nostrils to flair. Malik wanted to go there again. He wanted to fight. Though of course that could not be. Not in public, anyway. But a hunt was in his future, though. A purging. Malik seemed to calm at the promise. It would hold him. For now.

But the sword had eventually yielded up its secrets. The Force resonance he had discovered in its lattice work of atoms had been a mystery. How had they been 'activated' or entangled with the Force? It had taken him days and reams of paper, reworking his Tau algebra, manipulating his eigenvectors in every possible combination, until he saw the simple truth, the relation to his discovery of the mutability of spirit's vibration eigenvalue in Vellas' weaves at the Christmas party. It was a matter of using threads of spirit in a carefully worked out pattern so that their vibration matched that of the metal.

On paper it was perfect. But it had taken him nearly a week of concentrated calculation and dozens of failures before he'd worked out the accurate mechanics of it. Each iteration, however, each pass, had helped, had allowed him to refine the equations and gave him a better understanding of what was going on in each eigenvalue in the vector.

Finally, it was done. The stainless steel ball now resonated with the Force, seemed to draw on it. He had tried to compress the ball with earth and fire and air and it only seemed to strengthen, as if the very act of compression caused it to draw on the Force. Idly, he considered taking it somewhere outside where he could well and truly use all the Force against it and see how it held up. But the equations wouldn't lie. He could see the thing was indestructible.

Mostly useless, in and of itself. Oh sure, he could think of a host of engineering applications for such a thing. Machinery that didn't break down? Parts that didn't wear out? And as a weapon, of course. But he had no interest in sitting in a factory and manufacturing Force-enhanced objects- which would be necessary for such an enterprise. He had come here to rule. No. But the fact that the thing was now Force-enhanced hinted at more possibilities, most only vague and nebulous. But given enough time...he would find a more advantageous use for this.

And he would contact the woman again. He wanted to know more about the sword and who made it. The thing seemed to convey a sense of great age, a weight of millenia. And yet...was there someone else out there able to manufacturing these things?

After another hour of mediation, he rose. His legs were sore. He'd been inactive too long. He slipped the ball into his pocket and put on a heavy black wool coat. It may be the beginnings of spring but it was late and the wind would be a knife. He let the door latch behind him and walked down to the exit, passing the guards at the doors who nodded at him respectfully.

The park lay before him. A walk would be good.
It was a rare thing that saw Hood so deep into the heart of Moscow, outside of the necessities of his day job, of course. Pervaya liniya Security had quite the laundry list of clients, mostly in civilian sectors, but there were still a few who frequented the offices and departments around the Kremlin.

He was dressed well enough to not quite stand out, save for the black-and-grey shemagh he wore around his neck like a scarf; no high-end designer neck rag for him. Near-mirror polished black boots; not dress shoes, rather serviceable duty boots. Black suit and grey dress shirt, all made of camera-and-thermal baffling fabrics, a common-place material among socialites and movie-stars. Of course under that was his usual accessories; bullet-proof soft-weave body armour, revolver, inconspicuous belt pouch with spare loaded cylinders. Even a pair of leather gloves, which sat neatly folded over one knee as he sat with one ankle resting on the opposite knee, arms spread wide over the back of the bench. And of course a good great coat to help keep the wind at bay.

It wouldn't be quite accurate to say that the cold breeze didn't bother him, but he was an outdoors kind of man to begin with, and made a point of acclimatizing to the worst the weather of the season had to offer. Hence why the furnace in his abode was only run to keep the water pipes from freezing.

He hadn't come to the park for work, however. Day or night job, truth be told. Personal business, but business still. He had finally bridged the gap between the hit squad that had come after him all those months ago and so rudely interrupted his reunion with Spectra, the satellite corporations and fronts, the scapegoats and fall-men, to the originator of the order to have him killed.

There were rules to the shadowy games that the rich and powerful played, rules that were in place to avoid the embarrassment of police investigations and that frowned heavily upon personal vendettas. Especially when those vendettas failed so extravagantly. Of course, as muddy as the incident had been on the reputations of those involved, Pervaya had come out of it without a speck.

Hood sat at a park bench, perusing the rather interesting data-packet that had been 'anonymously' delivered to his Landwarriors by some passer-by. Using the short range wireless ghost router in his pocket, the transmission from the Kremlin clerk to Hood's device would be relatively untraceable. The information was interesting; what the clerk had provided him with was probably enough to rather significantly sully Mr Marveet's reputation. A familiar name, considering Hood's past encounters with the man's estranged son.

Well connected, rich, arrogant, and by all signs a royal douche-canoe. Bringing the man down a few pegs, all on the down-low of course, would be quite the pleasing endeavor. The man had broken some very important unwritten rules, and had to be reminded there were consequences when throwing lives away over something as petty as being one-upped in the game. It wasn't his fault that Mr Marveet had chosen second-rate pawns rather then reaching for the top shelf, which was exactly what Marveet's opponent had done when hiring Pervaya Iiniya Security to retrieve a stolen daughter.

Only part of Hood's attention was devoted to the info packet displayed inside his Landwarriors; the rest was given to surveying his surroundings. The passers by were, rarely, tourists, and more commonly employees of the surrounding government offices out for some air between whatever mind-numbing mounds of BS paperwork they were slogging through.

Few really paid him any attention, a fact that he was entirely comfortable with as he absently pondered his next move. Surely Mr Marveet had finally become aware of the fact that someone was looking for him. Whether the man had learned it was Hood or not was another matter, but it only promised to make his next play all the more entertaining. Few were really worthy of note; an attractive woman from time to time, but otherwise just the faceless masses that kept the bureaucracy running. Surely important in their own little worlds, but not so much so as far as the public interest was concerned.

Some he recognized; info dossiers of potential or past clients of Pervaya, others as faces on the news. Those that recognized him in return offered, at most, polite nods of acknowledgement in passing, quite the consideration towards one so far below their station in society.
The narrow walkways in the park were free of the ice-melt salt they had used back in Chicago. This close to the Kremlin, it simply wouldn't do to have salt stains on your shoes or the cuffs of your pants. What they used instead, he didn't know- nor did he really care, for that matter. Clothes were what mattered. They projected the image of yourself you wanted the world to see. They were a tool, as useful as any words he might speak. It all depended on how they were used.

Absent the tell-tale crunch and pebbly feel under the soles of his feet, his walk was quiet. He was in a contemplative mood. The lights of the park cast some illumination along his path, but it didn't matter where he was going. He'd just needed to move.

The wind was calm but the cold still sliced at his ears and bare head. It didn't bother him. He appreciated the contrast with the warmth of the rest of him that was provided by his long heavy black wool coat. Opposite sensations born of the delicious merger between temperature extremes that produced a flow of energy. It was always that way. Only in the uniting of opposites could energy flow and be used. It was a law of the universe. Yin and yang.

So....back to the issue at hand. He was aware of the stainless steel ball in the pocket of his pants pressed against his leg. It only weighed a few ounces and yet, it was a ball pregnant with potential. Opposites would be the key. Now that he knew he could use a very specific and intricate thread of spirit to alter the matrix structure of the metal, causing it to draw on the Force itself to maintain its structure, he needed to go on to the next step. He wanted this metal to do something other than exist.

The idea that had occurred to him before, complex conjugates and their use in describing the flow of electricity, returned to him. Something was there, the key. Something about i. So far, the tau algebra had been incredibly useful, but lately he was increasingly running into problems. Exploding infinities kept popping up just as he got his equations closer. It was frustrating. He needed the tools of complex analysis to tame them. But to do that he needed a bridge, a way to convert his matrices. There had to be a way.

He sighed and slowed as he approached one of the trees near a bench. Men were coming down the walk. Marcus surreptitiously watched them, noticing the way they walked. Two of the men were deep in whispered conversation. The third man was alone seated on the bench. His clothing was relatively normal except for what appeared to be a large scarf around his neck.

Marcus waited for them to pass.[/i]

Edited by Marcus DuBois, May 5 2016, 03:17 PM.
Hood's perusal of the info packet was momentarily disturbed by a passing conversation. Two Moscowvite pencil-pushers openly chatting about things likely best left to behind closed doors. While nothing they were openly discussing was entirely secretive, the opinions they attached to the topic were the sort that could ruin their careers, should anyone who overheard them cared, of course.

There was an accepted level of corruption in the system. So long as it was kept quiet and an honest effort to keep it from getting out of hand, it was usually ignored. Especially when those involved were particularly highly placed. So as the two pencil-pushers walked past, their choice of topic was poorly placed but entirely amusing to Hood, who was reading about the very incident of tax evasion on the part of a one Mr Marveet.

The usual story of satellite and shell corporations, money laundering, 'misplaced assets' and insider trading. The two men were actually complaining about how challenging it was to process the associated paperwork in a manner that didn't raise too many warning flags. How inconsiderate of him to make their jobs so difficult, covering his ass, that sort of thing.

Hood just smirked, a predatory flash of amusement that, should one have been able to see his eyes under the dark Landwarriors, still didn't quite touch those emotionless orbs, and his muttered comment was barely audible, sharp with sarcasm and casual disdain, "Fucking jackass."
Marcus caught snippits of the two men's conversation and couldn't help but smile. Scion Marveet. Sounded like he was in a bit of trouble. Marcus held no affection for the man.

His memory of Scion's deliberate snubbing during his dinner with Elouera returned to him. It had seemed so pathetic the way the man went out of his way to do it. Marcil indeed.

Well the man was rich and connected and likely this 'scandal' would touch him only peripherally. It was not as if it was a surprise that the man, and those many levels under him, would have questionable activities. Capitalism was not noble. It was pragmatic. It was the purest expression of evolution. The survival of the species. What could be gotten away with would be gotten away with.

There was a simplicity and predictability to it that could be accounted for. Likely, the Consulate in charge of finance factored corruption into their projections, a bleeder valve and lubricator that allowed the economy and those who led it to maximize their efficiency.

Still, the man on the bench snickered. Marcus couldn't help but laugh to himself. "Indeed."
Hood didn't actually turn his head to Marcus; he had noticed the man approaching, had recognized the face. Back to those info dossiers Pervaya required its employees to stay brushed up on. High profile people were the companies desired clientele, after all. Marcus DuBois. A fellow American, he supposed...if he still identified himself as American, it would be an accurate statement. Ascendant Leadership Sigma Program intern to Mr Bigwig himself. To Atharim Target Numero Uno. And so, -probably-, one of these 'reborn gods' himself.

Which, at the end of the day, meant about diddly to Hood. What did matter, at the moment, was the mans agreement with his muttered character-study of Scion Marveet. "Good afternoon, Mr DuBois."
He waved a hand dismissively, warding off any thoughts that DuBois should have recognized Hood in return, and there was no hint of discomfort or sycophant airs to his tone. Just a simple, noncommittal greeting.. They might have met in passing from time to time, but he wasn't consciously aware of any time they had actually met. Of course, that was because he wasn't aware that Marcus had been in attendance at Almaz the night of that little incident.

"Now, I have personal reasons to be less then impressed with Mr Steel Magnate's social skills. But, I assume he hasn't exactly impressed you either?"
It was more statement then question; if someone as highly placed as Marcus was willing to openly agree to a less than diplomatic view of someone as important as Scion Marveet, it seemed quite likely there was some bad blood going on.
The man on the bench who so eloquently summed up Marcus' own feelings turned to him and addressed him by name.

His time at the Kremlin put him in close contact with two kinds of people. Those quisling career bureaucrats who curried favor with whomever they thought could help them along, ready to stab anyone in the back at the drop of a hat. These sycophants were pathetic in their attempts to get into ones good graces. And then there were those powerful men and women who were equally ambitious, if not more so- one did not arrive at the Kremlin without a heart healthy and full of ambition- and would also stab anyone in the back the moment they felt it to their advantage. The difference was, of course, they would not lower themselves as they did it. Pride.

This man exuded something that was similar, though only time would show if it was real or a facade. In any case, the man's comment deserved a response. It had made him laugh after all.

He adopted a casual manner, but not overly friendly, especially given the subject matter. Of course, he would be careful. Marveet wouldn't be disappearing any time soon and he did have clout.

He smirked with a short grunt and allowed the disappointment he'd felt that night to color his words. "The one time I met him in, I was not impressed. I expected more from him. Or rather, I did not expect such weakness. I was disappointed."
And that was as far as he would go.

He looked down the path at the now distant figures of the two men whose conversation had triggered this meeting. "Those two are fools, however. Functionaries can be replaced very easily. And if their discovery- and its embarrassing implications- gets to Marveet's ears, that will happen I am sure."

He looked back at the man and smiled in a friendly manner. "You know my name. And I know we've not met. You don't have the look of anyone on staff either. You are?"

Edited by Marcus DuBois, May 7 2016, 07:26 PM.
Hood smirked. Somehow, he wasn't surprised that the high-and-mighty Scion Marveet rubbed people the wrong way. Especially ones he probably perceived as not worth the effort. Ones like Political Science majors from the US. Hell, he couldn't even judge a worthwhile hit squad. So of course the fool would have stepped on the toes of someone, if Hood hadn't missed his guess, who could make the mans death look natural causes. Hell, Hood just planned on embarrassing the idiot, and he was well aware he was a fucking monster.

"Ah see, that was your first mistake I suppose. Someone like Scion, he got where he was through money. Probably a lot of bull and bluff. He lives in a world of pencil-pushers and investment bankers. White collar twats that are easily intimidated. Look forward to the day someone who isn't afraid of lawyers and economic embargoes takes him down a few rungs."
Someone like himself, and the predatory grin that flashed as he said it probably spoke volumes to his thoughts on that matter.

Hood produced a card from an inside pocket of his trench. Outdated, certainly; he was probably the only employee on Pervaya's payroll that actually used the damn things still. Most made use of their Wallets. But there was something oddly satisfying about having an expensively embossed business card that he found oddly appealing. Probably because he liked the way people tended to tense up when someone like himself reached into their jacket.

John White. Pervaya Iiniya Security. A phone number and website. He held the card out for Marcus to either take or dismiss as was the man's perogative. Someone like Mr DuBois had little need for private body guards, in all likelyhood. Besides the personal power and the likely small army of government agents tasked to keep the man safe, there was the added suspicion of brain-exploding magic God power bullshit. Which, in Hood's opinion, seemed like it would take a lot of the challenge, and with it the pleasure, out of most tasks.

"No. Not staff. Although I've haunted a watercooler or two in the past."
Matter of fact, there was one at the company office. Not that he spent much time there, but he had to talk to the company lawyers far more often then his employers probably would have preferred. On the other hand, he was good enough at his job that those talks were usually short, and never because he was facing criminal charges.

"And as for those two pencil-pushers, I doubt they will be stupid enough to actually bring whatever they found to anyone's attention. They wouldn't be working in Moscow if they didn't know how to ignore the flagrant corruption around here. Hell, more likely they'll try to curry favor by helping to cover it up."
He wasn't particularly worried about offending Marcus with blatant accusations of corruption in the system. People didn't find employment in Dominance I if they weren't able to turn a blind eye to a few things.

Edited by Hood, May 8 2016, 11:04 PM.
The man spoke frankly. Marcus liked that about him. Of course that did not mean that the man was not also calculating. Case in point, the use of the business card when electronic ones were much more prevalent. More to the point, the man watched his face as he reached for his card. There was a deliberateness to the movement. He almost smiled at the gesture. The man liked to put people off center- to see their reaction. Yes, he was calculating.

Marcus took the heavy card and read it. John White. Pervaya Iiniya Security. Security. Of course. The conclusion was obvious, the way the man worked. He smiled inwardly. There was that power imbalance again, the universal producer of force and movement, only here at play in humans just as it was in weather. The thought was momentary, though, and he focused on the man.

There was something familiar about him. Marcus seized the Force so that he could see more clearly, the lamp lit darkness suddenly becoming lighter and the man's features much sharper. Definitely familiar. He cast back his mind, trying to recall where he had seen him before. The image of the man came to him, hair a matted mess, sweat and blood on his forehead locked in combat with a 'man'- one of the "monsters out of nightmares" Cavelli mentioned.

Malik, feeling a tinge of jealousy, smiled knowingly. "Mr. White. Of course. I have to congratulate you on your fight at the Almaz. It was an excellent performance. "
He allowed himself to show his feeling a bit more. "A part of me wanted to do the same thing. But unfortunately..."
he shrugged and indicated where he was, "I don't imagine the Ascendancy would appreciate a new appointee being involved in a public brawl like that."
More importantly, though, such public incidents- even at a place as discreet as the Almaz- could hamper his political aspirations.

Still, the emotion remained, stoked by the desire. The hunger stirred in his heart. Order. Soon, he thought to himself. Stillness came to him.

He thought again about Marveet and this Mr. White and a question occurred to him. "Did Marveet engage your services?"
That would explain the dislike. A security consultant was close his client and often saw much that could be useful.

Edited by Marcus DuBois, May 10 2016, 07:02 PM.
Hood let out a sharp bark of laughter, and had to nod in agreement. "Yes, and I suppose the PR department would be pretty pissed with you they had to up the makeup budget to cover a few bruises."

He shrugged then to dismiss the complement; the fight had been, to his opinion at least, a bit of a let down. He had been expecting a bit more from what was supposed to be one of Almaz's better contenders. Not their best, of course; Hood was too much an unknown to let be in the ring with the big coin earners. Not yet, at least.

"Quite the unpleasant business that evening. Had higher expectations. If I wanted to watch bum fights, there are places with far better booze to do it at."
He of course had a good idea of what the two 'men' had been, but at first glance they may well have appeared to have been little more then drug-wasted homeless men. His tone was entirely dismissive of the two men; he had fought one of the pair, and put the crazed fellow down easily enough. Monsters like those were used to dealing with regular humans, after all, not ones who knew how to handle themselves.

"Now if you want a good fight, and not the 'social stigma' bullshit that goes along with it, Pervaya has a few skilled 'instructors.' Controlled environment, write it off as self-defense training or some other BS the PR twats will be able to stomach."
He grinned then, finding Malik's last question, apparently, quite amusing.

"No. Mr Marveet actually hired the competition. Twice. And was burned for it quite embarrassingly both times."

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)