Author Topic: Partisan  (Read 5791 times)

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Offline Existentially Odd

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Partisan
« on: May 29, 2011, 03:17:15 PM »
Samuel got into the lift and pressed the button for the third floor, swallowing nervously as he did.  There seemed an inordinate amount of saliva in his mouth, considering he didn\'t need the stuff for anything much.  He stared down at the USB stick held delicately between his two sets of fingers, like a golden sacrifice about to be offered up to the Gods.

Well, it kind of was.  Except in this situation, Oligarch for Vampires Vomas Doyle was his God, and the offering wasn\'t so much a sacrifice as it was a rod of victory.  So to speak.

Contained within the small electronic device was the skeleton to a very large beast he and Vomas were attempting to construct together, a project that had lifted Samuel\'s imagination and carried him on a high of intent and determination for two weeks.  Now, tonight, he finally felt ready to present his vision to Vomas for approval, before he began the tedious and intimidating task of scanning and cataloguing every single piece of literature the Oligarchy owned in its impressive library of literature; from their most ancient scroll to the enlightening doodle scrawled on a pub coaster last week.

All of it would be stored digitally, indefinitely, so that it could be kept safe and secure, should anything (perish the thought) ever happen to the fragile originals.

The lift arrived at its destination and Samuel swallowed before he stepped out and headed for Vomas\' office, his steps muffled by the plush carpetting.  Knowing he\'d be presenting the skeleton tonight, he\'d dressed for the occasion (not that what would likely be five seconds\' worth of conversation and a perfunctory nod from his idol would be much of an occasion, admittedly, but it was worthy of effort, in Sam\'s mind), rejecting his usual casual look for something a little smarter.

Wearing black slacks, sleek black leather shoes and a pale mustard-coloured button up shirt (with all but the topmost button done up) tucked in, he looked almost professional.  He\'d even taken a little longer than necessary with his hair, trying to comb it into submission on either side of his head, but he\'d ruined that illusion as soon as he started thinking about seeing Vomas, and had run his hands through it a lot in the past hour.  It was now as ruffled as it usually was, framing his youthful face with wispy, arcing strands and sitting haphazardly elsewhere on his scalp.

As he arrived at the correct office, Samuel cast a glance at the assistant\'s desk, noting that Tansy wasn\'t there.  She was often downstairs in the general offices, gossiping in the cubicles with everyone while she accomplished about four things at once, though he didn\'t recall seeing her when he\'d gone down to collect the USB from his desk.  Samuel admired her vibrance, her easy and confident manner when talking to people.  He also covetted her job, but only in his secret heart of hearts would that little kernel ever be revealed.

Transferring the black information stick to his right hand, Samuel made a fist of his left and knocked twice, smartly, on the closed door that bore Vomas Doyle\'s name on the plate, knowing that if he\'d been mortal, his heart would\'ve been hammering fit to deafen his superior, at this stage.  Lucky he wasn\'t.

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2011, 08:42:31 AM »
Vomas\' personal funds had always been substantial, and they\'d only grown during his time as an oligarch. If he\'d wanted, he could have purchased an island with an entire crew of humans to cater to his every need and still had money left over to buy a couple of yachts. It didn\'t stop him from frowning over the recent report he\'d received of his brother\'s purchases, though.

Somehow, Halwyn had managed to go through the allowance he\'d been allotted before paying for his utilities. He\'d had his electricity and water turned off and he just couldn\'t live like that, would Vomas increase the amount he could charge on his credit cards so he could make a payment? After getting a promise from Halwyn that it wouldn\'t happen again, he had made the appropriate call to increase his limit by several thousand dollars. But then his brother had apparently gone out and purchased shoes (enough that he could go an entire month without wearing the same pair if he wanted) instead of paying his bills. The idiot needed another increase.

He should\'ve known better. Really, he should\'ve. Responsible had never been a word he\'d use to describe Halwyn. Impossible, annoying, impulsive, yes, but never responsible. He\'d lived a bachelor\'s lifestyle for over four centuries, not giving two shits about his future, and Vomas had thought him capable of handling his own funds. Stupid. His desire to bribe his brother into leaving him alone had overwhelmed his ability to predict what happened when one gave a child a credit card with an impossibly high limit.

He rested his elbow on the dark wooden desk he sat at, pinched the bridge of his nose and then took a deep breath. As he exhaled, he heard  knocking, and instead of being annoyed by the interruption, he found he was grateful. Especially when he sought the visitor\'s mind with his own and found it to be Samuel. Now there was a sensible lad. If Vomas had given him a credit card, he likely would\'ve bought books with it.

"Come in," he called, opening a drawer and depositing the credit card summary within before pushing it closed again. As the other vampire came through the door, Vomas straightened and gestured to the two chairs that were situated in front of his desk. "Have a seat."

It appeared Samuel would be staying in Vomas\' office a bit longer than five seconds.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2011, 05:13:30 PM »
Samuel turned back to face Vomas after closing the door and paused, blinking at him.  He was surprised to receive such an invitation - not that his Oligarch was ever rude, per se, it was just that it seemed an almost personal thing to be invited to sit when he was here on business and...

The younger vampire shook his head, telling himself that he was imagining such things and adopted a friendly smile (that somehow came off as quite sheepish, despite him telling himself that of course Vomas wouldn\'t want to spend extra time with him) as he moved towards a chair.

"Thank you," he drawled quietly, his voice almost reverent in this work space.  He\'d been in the office before, but it was generally just a walk in, drop off a bit of completed research or receive a signature and walk out again.  He\'d not sat here.  He did, however, fancy that this little project he and the Oligarch had discussed in a fascinating conversation a little while ago warranted such a thing.  A closer bond, a more intimate relationship.

"I hope you don\'t mind my interruption," Samuel began politely, making it sound like he was a sudden walk-in off the street when, in fact, he\'d been very careful to make the appointment a week ago (nice and early in the evening so as not to take the chance that Vomas would get busy with other, more pressing business and not have the time to listen to his presentation).

"I\'ve done a little work on the project we were discussing and... well, I wanted to show you the database I designed before I got too far ahead of myself and you wanted to change the headings or the search parameters or somethin\'," he explained demurely, holding the USB up for Vomas\' acknowledgement before he gave his wrist an irreverent little flick - like the memory stick was such a silly thing to bother such an important man with - and lowered it back to his lap.  "The skeleton, if you will.  I hope it meets your expectations."

The last was said smoothly enough, but his eyes, shining with respect and interest told a far more breathless tale of hope.  Sam really hoped that Vomas liked it - and liked him, for showing unadulterated enthusiasm for what had quite possibly just been a thought kernel still in the process of developing, for the great man.  It was Samuel\'s way, though, to take everything seriously and do a thorough background workup, throwing his enthusiasm into something he saw as both ingenious (on Vomas\' part) and essential (on the Oligarchy\'s behalf).  What would everyone do if they lost irreplaceable documents?

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2011, 05:59:50 PM »
He held out his hand for the memory stick, and once it rested in his palm, he spun it around and then deftly inserted it into an available USB port.

Two years ago he\'d required a human to show him how to turn on his cell phone, but after that embarrassment, he\'d quickly acclimated himself to the technology available to those working for the Oligarchy. As long as he wasn\'t required to type (though he had the benefit of supernatural speed, he still had to hunt and peck), he would appear to have some clue what he was doing.

"Show me," he said, turning the monitor so they could both look at it and then moving the keyboard and mouse on his desk so Samuel could reach them. His dark brown eyes were bright in their intensity as he looked from monitor to vampire and back again as Samuel situated himself so he might utilize the computer he\'d been given access to.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2011, 06:25:23 PM »
Slightly disappointed that his opportunity to go around the other side of the desk and get a bit closer to Vomas as he opened up his work for viewing had been avoided, Samuel obediently shuffled his chair closer to the desk so he could easily reach the mouse.

Quickly opening the USB one it had installed, Samuel presented his work with meticulous passion, explaining how he\'d begun his plan by envisioning how each section of the Oligarchy\'s library should be catalogued and working from there.  His hands lifted off the mouse and he made frequent eye contact with his Oligarch as he deviated from his showing to explaining how he\'d research various databases such as those in important libraries and using them as his guide.

Once he\'d laid the groundwork, he began clicking, showing Vomas the interface he\'d concocted (simple but tasteful, with an important-looking watermark that he actually wished was the Oligarchy\'s icon in the background) in a deep blue colour, before showing him the links and how he believed they\'d work.

"I kinda\' made up the headings, according to what sort of literature we have on site - the Library of Congress couldn\'t really help me with subsets of supernatural referencing," he told Vomas, shooting him an amicable grin as he uttered a little giggle at his joke.  "But if you have any others that you can think of that aren\'t there, or that you know might be purchased in future, I\'d be appreciative if you could let me know."  He paused to deliver another sweet smile before lifting his hand off the mouse and sliding back in his seat once more.

"Well, that\'s it in a nutshell," he explained humbly, indicating the screen.  "I thought I might print out the tree, now that you\'ve got some idea of the branches and connectors that a query might bring up, and bring you up a copy - whenever you think you\'ll have time," he interrupted himself, holding up his left hand as if Vomas had just raised an objection to such an idea and he had to hastily deflect it.  "Just in case... well, y\'know," he shrugged, "you wanted to make some changes on a hardcopy and leave the programming stuff to me.  I\'d prefer the database be as comprehensive from the beginning, so figured we could both take some time to chew on it, at this stage, and get together again in a little while and see if either of us haven\'t thought of anything else?"

Yes, this date was hardly over and he was already conniving to make another one.  He hoped his motives seemed as professional as they were presented, even though he knew the truth; there was only the tiniest, remotest possibility that Vomas would ever think of something else he hadn\'t, and have something to value-add to the project at this stage.  It was just a good excuse to spend a bit more time working with a man he idolised.

Samuel forced himself to simply sit and wait for a response then.  When he was confident and comfortable, there was nothing that could stop him talking, it seemed, and he was beginning to get a little sick of the sound of his own voice.

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2011, 06:50:11 PM »
Although it was a skeleton, a mere outline of what it would be when complete, it was enough that he could easily envision the database after it\'d been properly fleshed out. And he was impressed. Very impressed. Samuel had taken an idea, some basic parameters, and set up something practical, something he could see even the most inexperienced of their employees using.

He leaned forward as Sam leaned back and took control of the mouse so he could explore on his own. His free hand went to his mouth and he plucked at his lower lip as he clicked this way and that, shifting his wrist only slightly to move the pointer across the screen.

"If I wanted to leave commentary, or a review of one of the texts we\'ve uploaded, would I have a place to do that?" he inquired, lifting his eyebrows at the younger vampire.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2011, 07:01:44 PM »
The way that Vomas plucked at his lip held a very peculiar fascination for Sam.  He found the gesture to be off-handedly confident and erotic, the notion of what that lip would feel like against his flesh (hand... lip... whatever) rather dominating his thoughts until Vomas spoke and he realised he\'d been staring at the man\'s handsome face, rather than what he\'d been doing on the screen.

Samuel blinked himself back to concentrating and tilted his head to give the question (he\'d mostly heard) some thought.  It was easy enough to switch gears when such an idea was proposed; in fact, a thrill went through him despite his mildly distracted exterior, for he hadn\'t thought of interaction with the database, beyond simply perusing the documents, and it was a fascinating proposal.

He was silent for almost a minute and then, when the way to do it came to him, his head straightened and he beamed at Vomas, clicking his fingers and pointing at his companion.  "Sir, you are a genius!" he exclaimed.  "That can definitely happen, though I\'ll have to route to a... a... " he stopped, looking around Vomas\' desk frantically.  It wasn\'t that he was stuttering, it was just that his thinking was going at lightning-speed and he needed to write it down before he lost it.

Without thinking, he reached for the mouse, brushing his boss\' hand aside in order to get to it, open up the appropriate document and start typing before he forgot what he was thinking.  He was looming over the desk in his eagerness to get this out, standing up on his feet and hunched forward - somewhat invading Vomas\' space, but he had plenty more that he could pull back into, if he wanted it.

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 06:25:40 AM »
The typically observant Vomas didn\'t miss the way Samuel had been watching him, but he associated the stare with the fact that he\'d been mindlessly performing an action that even annoyed him. Usually, when he was deep in thought, he\'d touch some part of his face, whether it be to tug at his lip or even at an ear lobe. He\'d tried to snuff the involuntary practice repeatedly, but he\'d only been mildly successful in schooling a habit he\'d had since he\'d been a child.

He purposefully lowered his hand, letting it rest in his lap while Sam considered his question. The second hand, one he could\'ve insisted remain upon the mouse had he exerted even the littlest bit of strength, joined the first when it was pushed away. A battle of wills or strength wasn\'t occurring here, they were feeding off one another, working together like he\'d been able to with only a handful of people, and he wasn\'t about to impede their progress by insisting he be able to control his mouse.

He remained leaning forward, his fingers intertwining with one another beneath his desk while he watched Samuel\'s frantic typing. "I have taken notes... many notes while conducting research on various species and lore," he said, thinking of the additional file cabinet he\'d had Tansy purchase for him so he could store his carefully written thoughts and inquiries for further research. If he\'d been half the typist Samuel was, he might\'ve gone about it that way, but the Oligarch was self-aware enough to understand that he was far quicker with a pen than a keyboard.

"I believe others would have as well, and it\'d be a shame not to have access to that." His usually unhurried manner of speaking gained some speed as he spoke of the true extent of the project he\'d had in mind for years now. "I would eventually like to connect with them, even if they\'re not part of our Oligarchy. Imagine being able to find information from specific regions that may have encountered species we haven\'t yet."

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2011, 06:42:36 AM »
Samuel\'s frantic typing paused momentarily and he turned his head to grin at Vomas.  A shiver ran down his spine at the very prospect of such interconnectedness - mostly because the way the world ran now made it all possible.  Another shiver (more of an overall tingle, really) ran through him as he made eye contact with the other vampire, realising only in that moment how close his face was and feeling awareness flush through him that showed only in the form of a weak laugh, since he\'d not fed in a couple of nights and there was, thankfully, not enough blood in his system to make him blush.

"Imagine being a traditionalist and resisting the rise of technology," he joked shyly, feeling he and his boss to be visionaries in many senses of the word.  He was sure they\'d both met vampires who remained staunchly technologically illiterate simply because they revered \'the old ways\', yet it was obvious to those such as he and Vomas that it was the way into the future.  There\'d never been more possibilities and they were bursting like fireworks in Samuel\'s eyes in that moment, ignited by his Oligarch\'s enthusiasm, their overall synthesis.

For the younger vampire, the moment was electric and he remained poised, gazing wonderingly at Vomas as he envisioned endless possibilities and shared a very rare instance of complete understanding with another being.  One that he was just becoming more and more reverent of every second.  It would take the other man reacting for him to snap out of his starstruck staring, otherwise it might continue an awkwardly long time.

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 07:22:47 AM »
"It would be a shame," he said, repeating his sentiment from earlier. And a most interesting thing happened as he met Samuel\'s gaze; he smiled. It wasn\'t smiling that was abnormal, but when he normally smiled, it was with his lips and rarely his eyes. This time, his eyes went along for the ride, crinkling in the corners to show laughing lines he\'d acquired when he\'d been human.

  "Fortunately,"  he began, breaking their eye contact to glance at the monitor again, a sliver of his smile still tugging at his mouth, "that isn\'t the case."

He leaned back in his chair then, the leather that covered it creaking as he reclined. "When do you think we\'ll be able to start a team scanning all our literature?" he asked, clasping his hands over his stomach and crossing the calf of one leg over his knee. Rigidness was still evident in the way he held himself, but the aftereffect of his smile had made his face less stony. For someone who typically looked like they had a ramrod shoved up their ass, it made him appear a little more relaxed... at ease.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 10:57:44 AM »
When Vomas smiled, an entirely different type of awareness shot through Samuel and he realised that he was attracted to more than just the man\'s mind or his visions; he was attracted to him physically. There was quite a difference between idolising someone because they were kind to you or represented an ideal you wished yourself to be molded towards, and desiring them sexually. Sam crossed that barrier in the wake of that smile and it made him feel as exhilarated as it did anxious.

How stupid. He had a crush on his boss. How cliche. He didn\'t even know if the man he lived four floors below was interested in men or women, yet he\'d just taken the first step along the road to fantasising his preference in the matter. Reality might force another bite out of that apple, but only if the Oligarch ever figured it out. He would do his level best to stop it from happening, that was for sure.

Like water thrown onto a small flame, Vomas\' words quickly doused Samuel\'s reverie and had him sitting swiftly back in his seat, his notetaking forgotten. He frowned worriedly. "T-team?" he queried, cursing his emotions for destabilising his speech. "I... thought it\'d just be... me?"

He was fiercely protective of both this project and the library. That place... its revered literature... it was his territory. The only person he ever saw in there regularly was Ben - a man he\'d mentally dubbed \'Trophy Wife\'; he was the arm candy the Luminary kept around to look pretty and fill no particular position, except to disturb Samuel\'s sanctuary, it seemed. Eventually, he\'d struck up a conversation with the younger vampire and come to appreciate his ardour for research, but his interests were particularly in vampire lore, and Samuel believed himself far more diversely educated than just that. He\'d also come to the conclusion that T.W. was okay, he displayed respect for the resources the library held... and he was just being territorial (though he still couldn\'t think of him as \'Ben\') and superior. It was a bad habit of his.

Now that habit was being directly challenged by the wishes of his idol, too, and he was feeling decidedly nervous about that. "Is there a... rush to get this finished?" he added hesitantly, thinking that that had to be the only reason for needing a team to handle something he\'d do more precisely and just as efficiently by himself. Come on, it wasn\'t like either of them were going anywhere, with eternity to accomplish this task, why push it and spoil the broth with too many cooks?

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 02:04:04 PM »
"A team, yes," he confirmed. "I imagined you could lead a group of two or three to make the process move along a little faster. The sooner we finish cataloging all our books, the sooner we can begin to branch out to other networks."

He understood Samuel\'s desire to work on his own, he really did. If it had been possible to make it so he was the only vampire Oligarch, he would\'ve, but the task of managing all the vampires in the city just wasn\'t something that could be done by one person. He didn\'t agree with all Jake\'s methods, but he did help out tremendously by fielding his share of cases, making it possible for them to address everything that needed addressing within a reasonable amount of time. It meant a loss of absolute control, but he\'d had to resign himself to that.

The cuffs of his black and silver pinstriped button up shirt revealed  the pale skin of his wrists as he reached forward to wrap his fingers around  his ankle. "I\'d like at least half our library to be stored  electronically before the decade is over. Is that feasible if you\'re  working alone?"

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 04:40:47 PM »
Samuel\'s lips twisted to the side, advertising that he was giving the idea some very serious consideration before he answered... and he delayed it just a little bit longer because he wasn\'t sure he liked what he came up with.

"Well, if it was just the scanning, sure," he said, sounding offhanded and casual before his broad shoulders slumped minutely and his hands - still hovering mid-air from being hastily withdrawn from the keyboard - also plopped onto the desktop, palms down.

"But... with all the cross-referencing each volume is likely to require, the tags, links and whatnot... no.  I suppose you\'re right.  To do it efficiently and accurately, I\'ll need some... help," he conceded, through gritted teeth.  It hurt to say it, but as soon as he did, he was resigned to the fact, and he wallowed (for just a moment) in the loss of his solo accomplishment dream, working side-by-side with his Oligarch, consulting exclusively and at all hours with him...

Ack!  Squaring his shoulders, Sam sat up straighter and ran the fingers of his left hand through his hair, causing it to flare softly and frame his face slightly differently.  As his hands came to rest upon his thighs he gave an interested shrug, wishing to appease his superior by reflecting the logical, sensible attitude he had.  "I\'ll take care of the end product and interface side of things; do you have any suggestions for who you wish me to use to do the scanning?"

Some of his current colleagues had hands like hammers and he wouldn\'t trust them to catch a ball, let alone withdraw and carefully scan age-old and gossamer documents that had been meticulously stored for thousands of years.  He hoped Vomas had contacts that were similarly like-minded and appreciative of such a task, that he could trust to show proper care for the documents.  T.W. might even be a potential, if he was interested in doing something that would benefit the entire supernatural community as a whole, and not just himself.

Another part of asking his final question was probing to see how much control Vomas was going to give him, with this project.  He might be team leader, but Vomas would strictly be the overseer and he therefore had his choice of a little or a lot of input.  This would be the first indication of the level of involvement he\'d have, in Sam\'s opinion.

Saccharin

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 06:49:51 PM »
As he waited for Samuel to respond, he became very, very still. Humans, even when they tried their best to emulate a statue (though why they ever did was a mystery), would never come as close to it as Vomas had managed. The only thing that ruined the facade was when Samuel finally did start talking, he blinked.

Soon after, he stirred back to life, his hands falling away from his ankle and his foot returning to the ground.

"No," he said, shaking his head, "I didn\'t. It\'s entirely up to you how many and who. If you need, I could have Tansy compose a list of people with prior experience already employed here. Then I could have them transferred if they\'re not already doing something vital."

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Re: Partisan
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 07:07:04 PM »
Samuel nodded absently as he thought that over, his attention taken from the very-still Vomas to the screen because he felt he was staring inappropriately.  He spied the notes he\'d been taking and was inspired to scoot forward once more, and finish them off.

"I have someone in mind," he murmured as he watched the screen, rather than his fingers.  Just as he was thinking T.W. wasn\'t much of a prospect, however, he remembered a conversation he\'d had with a young, injured werewolf on a train two nights beforehand.  Sable had said he was looking for work at the Oligarchy, and even though Sam didn\'t know him all that well (who did he know well, after all?), he\'d struck the vampire as interested in the relic industry and he seemed like he could be shaped.

"Actually... " he said as he completed what he\'d been typing, reached for the mouse and saved the document to his USB for later perusal.  He didn\'t finish speaking until he\'d closed all of his windows down and had turned to look at Vomas again.  "Would it matter if it\'s not someone currently employed by the Oligarchy?  I know a young guy looking for some work - a young werewolf - that would benefit, and I can train him as I wish.  Would there be funding for employing someone new?"

Samuel tilted his head, offering this variable up cautiously, for he was hardly part of the personnel department.  He wouldn\'t suppose to have the power to hire and fire people based on this project... would he?