Author Topic: A Mysterious Employer  (Read 3413 times)

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Offline Trillian

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A Mysterious Employer
« on: September 06, 2019, 09:16:25 AM »
Standing at an impressive six three, the young man in his late twenties moved through the streets known as the Brazilian Quarter. There were four blocks and four main streets that made up the not-quite-square square of the poorest area in the city, but countless alleys. Wearing light blue cotton drill pants and black linen sneakers, they looked like blue jeans and boots to the people assessing him. The roughly hewn hemp shirt was the colour of wheat and nothing like what the inhabitants of the Quarter wore.

Passing flickering street lights or spaces of dark shadows where lamps had been vandalised, the young man cast his eyes over the graffiti that plastered every wall and door. A short step led to people's apartments or into private clubs or small businesses. A teenager standing at the mouth of an alley saw the young man approach and perked up, hoping that the good looking guy would be a customer. A closely shaved head turned towards the teen and grey eyes looked him over before dismissing him. The teen grunted and went back to leaning on the wall as the young man passed by.

After a few more steps he pulled a card out of his pocket and checked the address. He put it back into his pocket, loose and without a wallet, and continued on his way. Not long after, he arrived at a door. It stated itself as 'Rebel Rebel Investigations' and it matched the name on the card. His heart beating a little faster as he thought about what to say, he reached for the handle to let himself in.
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2019, 09:29:42 AM »
When my door opened, I'd just been in the middle of deep and important thoughts. No really, I was! The case of Project Twilight had presented me with a few twists already, but the fragments were starting to come together. I tossed a bouncy ball against the plain looking walls of my office, leaned back in my reclining chair. The cyclical pattern of the ball hitting the wall and being thrown was helping me focus. I'd fed from a drunk bum early in the night so I was just tipsy enough to work.

When I heard the door open, I caught the ball one last time and straightened my chair. The look on the guys face told me he had the right door. I stood.

"Hey," I said gruffly. "Welcome to Rebel Rebel. What can I help you with?"

I really need an assistant to do this part. I thought about hiring Zeph, but we'd just end up fighting and fucking the whole time. I wore my normal shit, leather jacket, tank, jeans and my motorcycle boots. A cigarette burned lazily in a plastic ash tray. The guy didn't look like a local. This would be interesting.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2019, 09:43:16 AM »
The young man stepped in, his heart continuing its fast beat like he'd gone for a light jog. Instead of sweeping the room he focussed his gaze on the man before him, assessing the way he'd sat up in his chair to attention. The lights buzzing overhead were ridiculously bright after coming in off the night street. He blinked a few times to adjust his vision.

"Hi. Thanks. I'm here to hire you," he said. His gaze fell on the cantilever chairs in front of the solid oak desk and he became aware of a weird smell in the room. Old books, mould and death. The latter wasn't as bad as it had been at Tess' place but still lingering enough to make an impression. Maybe a mouse had died in here?

Wren's nose wrinkled before he made his approach and pulled back a chair, sitting down on it after a cursory glance at the seat to make sure there wasn't anything on it.
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2019, 11:53:17 AM »
I turned on professional mode, and sat when he did. I'd shake his hand at the end, if we had a case. There was a glass pitcher filled with water and a glass on my desk. I poured some for my new client and placed it firmly down on the table in front of him. I shut my laptop so he'd know he had my undivided attention. Don't be too shocked. I told you I value my professional reputation. It was hard to get a read on the guy yet. I decided to withhold any judgement, and just listen to what he needed.

I grabbed a small black notebook and ballpoint pen. After clicking it and opening the notebook, I looked up at him. "What needs looking into," I asked, not ever being able to stomach statements like, what sort of matter may I assist you with, or other such bullshit. My tone was professional and impersonal.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2019, 12:18:20 PM »
Wren looked at the glass of water in front of him but didn't reach for it. He said nothing as the laptop was closed and then the detective turned to face him directly. The other man was still busy, reaching for a notebook and ballpoint, then he finally addressed Wren for information.

For a moment Wren just looked at him, collecting his thoughts for what he was going to say, centring himself. His palms lay flat on his pants atop his legs as he thought about the piece of paper in his pocket along with the wad of money he was supposed to give this fellow upon acceptance of the case. First payment upfront, all cash.

"There are two parts to the investigation," Wren recited. "The man and his company. We're more interested in what's going on at the company but the owner obviously dictates its direction." He took a breath and expelled it calmly. "The man is Damien Evans. The company is Aquillia Industries."

He watched the notepad, to see if notes would be taken.
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2019, 12:54:59 PM »
Now this sounded like a case, and who was this employer? He didn't look like the corporate type, but then again maybe he was GT Dave, and the CEO of Supernatural Kombucha. However, the we language hinted that he wasn't acting alone, which meant that their were others who were interested in this Damien Evans. Aquillia Industries rang a bell, but I couldn't place it at first. What was it they did? Glass? Biotech? I'd definitely overheard something about them at the Luminary when I dropped off cards. I made a note of the big names, but nothing else. My eyes never left the employer.

"And I'm guessing you want me to find out more about their glass and biotech," I said, playing off my limited recollections as informed knowledge. "And you suppose Mr. Evans is what, cheating out his stockholders?"

It was a wild stab. It was the normal reason money types looked into one another, but I already knew that was wrong. Any PI off the street could've solved that one. Fuck, the police could've handled a case like that. My services were special and I had a reputation for being discreet. It's important when you're hired by monsters that you don't shine a light on them, ya know, unless someone pays me too.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 01:32:42 PM »
At first Wren nodded even though he didn't know what 'glass and biotech' meant. Then came a guess.

"No," Wren said, then stared at the detective for a long moment, regathering his thoughts. Argh, he was terrible at this. The payment offered for delivering 'important messages with discretion' had seemed too good to be true and of course it was. There weren't many jobs that he could do without certification though. Speaking multiple languages counted for nothing without paperwork or at least some kind of degree behind them. And he was 'unskilled' at everything except for being a druid, and there wasn't much call for that in terms of drawing wages. So now he was being paid by a voice on the phone who'd sent him a letter that had a lockbox key at the central post office, and instructing him to check it, with his first 'mission' of a kind. It seemed easy enough - hire a detective (Drew Sullivan, card included) to look into some rich guy (Damien Evans) and his company (Aquillia Industries), pay in cash, make sure to mention the points listed, memorise them don't read them out, don't mention the company hiring Wren (Mad Hatter Incorporated).

He had to regather his thoughts. He'd recited this conversation all day in his shoddy apartment, getting it right. It had sounded smooth and together in his place, alone, but then walking into the Quarter and finding this door and entering this room had made it super real and espionagey and he started double-thinking about what he was really doing. But he was just hiring an investigator to check something hinky out, wasn't he? It seemed harmless.

"No," he said again, and got himself back on track. "Aquillia Industries is trying to find a cure for vampirism. I want to know if it's true, how close they are, who else knows about it, if they're going to sell it, and if there is interest outside the supernatural community for it, like human government or military."

All that practise had finally paid off. Wren didn't remember saying 'we' earlier. He would've cringed at the slip up.
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 01:48:07 PM »
He'd officially earned himself a PI. My first instinct was to disbelieve the very idea of a cure. I'd been told that this state I found myself in was permanent, but suddenly I could just be human again? Did I even want that? It made me ask the question though, and I imagined every vampire in the city would ask themselves the very same thing if they found out about this. This was some good ass shit. I made notes in a short hand code I know. It worked off the principles of telegraphy and Morse code. Mostly I wrote about the specifics avenues of inquiry, writing the one word start of the metric. The words written were:

Truth
Close
Knows
Distribute
Interest - the man

I had more questions. Exactly because the potential to weaponize this shit was so high, as the employer noted from mentioning human governments, I wanted to know more about why he wanted this information. It wasn't uncommon that my clients felt their motivations weren't important to my work, but I often solved cases knowing them, not without. You see, they often had skeletons too, or it was personal. I wondered what it was in this case and thought to ask.

"And you are," I said unceremoniously. "A concerned human who just cares so much about us vampires?"

I was about to see this guy's capacity for sarcasm. Based on his two monotone no's, I didn't expect it would be high. Just so he didn't miss my real point, I added it.

"No seriously, who is hiring me? You?"
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2019, 02:10:33 PM »
Wren realised he hadn't given his name at the start, so preoccupied with getting the information out there that he'd been reciting all through the day. So focussed was he that he'd stumbled over the introduction part. It had been meant to come in with the hello but somehow he'd fumbled and he'd been caught off-guard, ambushed by overly bright flouros and a weird smell.

He opened his mouth to supply his name after 'and you are' but closed it again when the detective supplied his own version of an answer. Then he pushed for more information. This was something Wren had practised at home, but he put a spin on it to get his name in there.

"My name is Wren Maddoc, and since I'm the one giving you the money, that's the only name you need to know."

He felt rather embarrassed saying something that sounded so hostile in hindsight that he couldn't help but apologise after a very short moment.

"Sorry."
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2019, 02:17:09 PM »
"Well then I hope it's a lot of money," I replied, raising my brows and folding my hands neatly in front of me. I looked this guy over. He didn't look quite terrified, but this was clearly not his element. The question was, where did he belong? How had he ended up here? His shirt read something rustic, certainly not the city. Even GT Dave wore silk. The reply was hostile, but it made me smile all the same.

"What's your stake in this Wren," I asked, trying to sound as close to kind as I'm capable. Zeph said I'm nicer than I pretend to be. I told him to shut up about it. I didn't know if I could help this guy, but he was clearly some in between. He'd given his name. If he was the real employer he'd never give up his own identity just to conceal his colleagues. It was an informative contradiction. 
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2019, 02:21:37 PM »
Wren shifted, not happy with the way the conversation was being pushed. He chose to ignore the second question and answered the first, which had technically not been a question but certainly a necessary segue.

"You don't look like you charge a lot of money for what you do," Wren said, glancing around and wrinkling his nose again. Someone who charged a lot would have a better place, surely? Mind, Wren lived in a shithole too but he didn't care about his sleeping area because he spent most of his time outside. Maybe this guy was the same. "But I do need to know what your rate is?" he asked.
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2019, 02:33:00 PM »
I laughed at the accusation. The guy struck me as a fellow minimalist so I felt his dig was only geared at my brashness. I pulled out a standard contract.

"I charge hourly, plus expenses," I explained slipping Wren the paperwork. I doubted he'd end up signing it, but my rates were all clearly laid out. It also specified that I kept the first half no matter what I found, as long as I provided proof I'd conducted the investigation. If I did find answers to the central question I got the second half, and that didn't mean meeting every single condition. I only had to meet the threshold of answering the main line of inquiry. I wrote down in the box provided, "cure, AI, DE."

"I tend to brief once a week, unless I have a major update that can't wait. Also, I reserve the right to drop the matter at any time, as long as I refund the money paid. If I'm working for baby snatchers I'm out. It's a condition of your employer's anonymity. Even I got standards. How do I contact you, and don't say you'll just show up. I work better when I'm not being micromanaged."

I was curious if he'd sign or not, and purposely didn't ask for the contract back just in case.
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2019, 02:40:13 PM »
Wren took the contract as well as a pen from the desk and signed the paperwork with only a brief glance at the amount. The initial fee for overheads was in the thousands but he'd been given cash to pay for that. The hourly rate was impressive as well but now that he was earning his own wage, it seemed fair to his new perspective. He would've thought it a lot of money only a week ago.

Wren stood and took out a fold of hundred dollar bills, handing over the amount he thought of as 'deposit' even though it was 'overheads'. Then he sat again and filled out the phone number for the new phone that had been sent to him (having to check his phone settings for it) and also an email where he could send updates. The email was a generic one from gmail; wrenmaddoc@ but nothing that he could access for himself. His employer, as Drew had mentioned, managed that account.

"Send everything you find to the email. Call me if you need me to come in and give me things," Wren said.
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Offline Black Philip

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2019, 02:53:43 PM »
I took the information, and placed the card with the phone and email inside my notebook.

"Anything else," I asked, leaning back in my chair and folding my hands behind my head. My eyes were inquisitive as they stared at Wren. The people hiring me rarely went to these lengths to stay away from direct involvement. This suggested influence, and the full cash payment of my overhead suggested more than enough money. I would've guessed it was the Black Prince that hired me, but he sent the rodent to deliver his requests.

Damien Evans. Who the fuck are you, and if it's true, why do you want to find a cure? Do you believe we're all cursed like the Cain worshipers, that we are the result of one man's folly? No, that couldn't be it. He seemed to be a man of science if he was doing this through a company. The religious types had the Golconda myth, and the Duskborn had that story about killing your sire. The truth was nobody had the answer so far, so why not science?

I listened for Wren's answer. Sometimes clients surprised you at the end. I'd heard them called door knob confessionals. Would Wren offer me one?
Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
- Kurt Vonnegut Jr.


Jake Benny Kyle Lisa-Joe James/Jimmy Tess Tyler Apep Ari Lacy Mithras

Offline Trillian

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Re: A Mysterious Employer
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2019, 06:52:13 PM »
At the prompt Wren thought back. He hadn't managed to say everything fluidly as he'd rehearsed, so thought back now to make sure he hadn't missed anything. Of course, he could text later, but he wanted to get it right.

"If you discover anything else of interest at Aquillia Industries, if you could please report on that too," he said, then he was at a loss. How does one wrap up a conversation like this? He had no experience of business matters.
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HALFLIGHT : Graille Min Sayer :