Knight Hunters: Phoenix Reprise

  • So many newbies lately! Here is a very important PSA about one of our most vital content policies! Read it even if you are an ancient member!

Lunatic AI

Original poster

Patchwork Lives

Blue Phoenix was a perfect headquarters for many of the same reasons the Koneko had been; a small, moderately busy venue on the outskirts of a centralized business and entertainment quarter of the city- though in Aya's opinion a bar was infinitely more suited to clandestine meetings and far less suspicious than a flower shop.

Full circle and back to serving drinks...

And while San Francisco gave Tokyo a run for its money in 'studio' apartments at least he had his own place separate from his day job this time.

You could have afforded something a little roomier than this closet though- honestly sometimes I think you deliberately set these jokes up-

Aya washed two codeine down with the rest of his beer and slumped back into his couch, reveling in the quiet. His apartment was on the seventh floor and half a block from the Blue Phoenix, he could see both entrances of the bar from his one window, and had only two doors, the front door and the one to the bathroom. It went a long way towards appeasing his paranoia.

He must have slept- the buzzing of his phone woke him sometime around three in the morning and he tried to remember what time it was in Japan.


"Prodigy. My apologies the Director couldn't call you himself. You received the files." It wasn't a question.

"It's not much to go on." Aya rubbed his eyes. "I've been in contact with Escritoire; she's remained in connection with Komar, and she's been using a self-deleting encryption to email the others. The meeting is scheduled for the Blue Phoenix in two days- Keys is flying in from Mexico- will the Director be live for orientation?"


Aya paused, leaning forward carefully to flip through the folder on his coffee table. "I have some reservations about The Ego. I'm looking at six agents who've vanished trying to bring her back in."

"We're aware of this. The Director believes now that things have settled she will be more inclined to return to the organization."

"She's a psychopath." Aya said flatly. "Why hasn't she been turned over to the police?"

"Sociopath. And at this time there is not enough evidence to prosecute The Ego for her crimes. Also, she is too valuable. For not being Talented, she is the best in her field."

"You're sure she isn't Talented?"

"I.. Yes. We… The Rose and Cross investigated her some years before the former Director picked her up for The Critical Eye. The scans were clean. Even if that has changed, we still believe you are the best choice to make contact with her now."

"Speaking of which." Aya snarled. "Tell your mother if he doesn't shut up and let me sleep the truce is void."

There was silence on the line for the length of a sigh. "I will speak to him."

Aya hung up and glanced over the information Omi had been able to piece together on what remained of Kritiker's west coast operations. The survivors.

Keys- Frank Hector- had been successfully extracted from the situation in Mexico and Aya was meeting him at the airport tomorrow to set him up with a new residence in the city. Komar and Escritiore, Dimitriev and Bianchi respectively, knew of the time and location of the meeting at Blue Phoenix… Aya had had Bianchi email a generic flier advertising the bar's hours to Briggs, coded to get past her spam filer and delete itself an hour after it was opened- Even if she printed it, the only tell it was from Kritiker was the Eye watermark at the bottom of the advert.

Confirmation of other surviving agents was still… pending, but the world does not stop turning because we, for a moment, are overcome.

It was time to get back to work.
Frank cleared customs without mishap, as if he'd be stupid enough to have anything illegal on him. He wondered if the delivery had made it to the safehouse yet as he ran through the tail end of his orders in his head. "..... one of our agents will pick you up ....." words he had waited years to hear. Though to be honest a black chopper in the desert would have been nice, better than cattle class commercial airlines anyway but at least he wasn't dodging bullets and taking orders from druglords.

Flight 213 for Indianapolis now boarding at gate 7.

To be back in the US of A. He could back over and kiss the white tiles but his back hurt enough from the flight. But now All he could do was pick a seat in the arrivals lounge, and wait.
Samantha missed her work. It was something she'd come to realize very slowly, being outside Kritiker for such a time. Not her day job, oh no; anyone could be a psychoanalyst. That was the beauty of it, really, and also the horror. What Dr. Briggs missed was being The Ego, was being able to do anything and everything she could logically perceive as being relevant to the mission without having to actually care. There were ethical boundaries she'd passed long ago, and she did not miss them. Not in the way she missed being able to the utilize their loss.

The woman was sitting at her desk, her office part of the three-room work space that she rented. The first was a reception, leading into a hallway that had two doors. One, into her office, and the second into the room where she interviewed clients. All of her notes were hand-written, paranoia of computers quite a strong claim since she'd met with Kritiker. Samantha had no doubt their hackers could easily access anything she'd try to hide - unless, of course, it wasn't on her computer. So she kept extensive filing systems, everything coded in relation to books, and hand wrote anything that could be hand written. None of that meant she was a technophobe. It just meant there was quite a hard time to get anything on Samantha with technology.

In fact, she had a rather expensive lap top that was used every day. Not extensively. Normally she'd open it, log into her email, and update that hourly. It was only ever used for work, and college in the old days. So, when the email to the bar popped up, she stared at it and noted the hours and the place. By why? Who had gotten her address and how had it gotten past her spam filter? Her first thought was Kritiker, and as much as she tried theories of coincidence and advanced chains of reactions the initial still lingered.

They were getting in touch with her through email? The girl stared at flyer for an hour, where it then just disappeared from her inbox. It wasn't in any other folder, or even her trash. Had it deleted itself? Samantha didn't know exactly how computers or the internet worked - just concepts and basics - but that seemed stupidly hard to pull off. And for what, to give her bar hours? Couldn't they have slipped the paper under her apartment door or sent it through the mail? The psychoanalyst would've recognized the eye at the bottom regardless of its format, and it was bland enough not to mean anything to anyone else. Sometimes, she had to admit, their elaborate set-ups seemed a bit lost to her. Simple, elegant, and controlled was what The Ego would have gone for. Yet, then again, The Ego wasn't in commission.

Grabbing her bag and the sticky note with the bar's address and hours, she left for her car. Dr. Briggs didn't have any more appointments and while she had been researching for a paper, it could wait. As she drove to the Blue Phoenix, she couldn't help but wonder if her imagination was being over-active. A bar? It seemed a bit... What was the term? Cliche was the word. It was cliche to meet in a bar, especially one named after a mythical bird of resurrection. That was Kritiker, though. Fancy and poetic, and almost never functional.

Regardless, their bar of choice was where she arrived and wondered if they couldn't have at least told her a date to show up at. Just giving a store's hours seemed rather... general. Was she supposed to wait from open to close every day until they found her? Damn it, she had a job to do. One she liked only by the novelty of being a psychoanalyst - and for the money, that was important - but a job nonetheless. Again, poetic, but dysfunctional. With a sigh, Samantha got up and out of her car to head in.
Aya had a love/hate relationship with crowds. A good few inches taller than was average in Tokyo, and a redhead to add insult to injury (so to speak), he had never been able to disappear into the masses like he wanted. San Francisco was better for that at least, he didn't feel so awkwardly tall, and as there wasn't such a demarcation between people's private and professional lives even the business crowd wasn't so clone-stamp. And he liked people watching. He'd never had much of a social life and he never would have a family- he'd resigned himself to that- but while moving through the hustle of the airport was a rather painful reminder of that it was also a reminder of why he'd made the choice he had; to stay with Kritiker. He knew he was one of the few who would be allowed to walk away, but more than his own guilt, here he was doing some good for most of these people, even if they would never know.

Even that horrible screeching harpy on the payphone- Aya frowned. He was in unusually good spirits today; he needed to keep his focus. Maybe cut back on the painkillers.

There had never been a picture of Frank Hector on file with Kritiker, and what had survived on him since the upheaval hadn't included more than brief a description. Aya recognized him mostly on instinct- Evil knows evil- the man in the corner chair just felt out of place. Not overtly; he was just another businessman, straight backed and stern looking and obviously waiting for someone; but there was something relieved in his expression. He was coming home from more than a bad presentation.

When Aya was sure he'd noticed him- it didn't take the man half as long as Aya was used to- he strolled over and dropped into a seat one over, dropping a file of real estate information into the chair between them. He didn't smile; Aya had never been into that 'over-casual' crap Yoji had sworn by, but he nodded politely.

"I recommend the penthouse myself, but the office wasn't sure what you'd prefer so the boss sent me with our top listings, along with the Keys if there's more than one you'd like to check out today." He glanced at the lack of luggage next to man's chair; there was only a heavy duty briefcase Aya thought looked like a special commission. "Need any help with your bags?"
"What time was your appointment?"

Making brief eye contact with a middle-aged woman, Juliett Bianchi's fingers typed away at a keyboard. She was browsing through the list of people scheduled to see the doctors today. As usual, she was dressed in profession attire; a nice blouse, a coat and a knee-high skirt. The outfit wasn't the most comfortable, but she grew used to it. Perhaps it was because of all the compliments her appearance got. Normally, she wouldn't worry about how she looked, but skirts made her self-conscious sometimes.

"And it's just you who's seeing Doctor Kenneth today?" she asked, noting that the woman's child wasn't standing next to her. The daughter was probably left at home with her father. Usually, when this lady came to the clinic, she had her appointment shared with her kid's.

"Yes, just me," replied the woman.

With some last clicks of her keyboard, she confirmed the appointment and then told the woman to take a seat until she was called. With a smile that was fake, but practiced so well that it could make a man melt in his shoes. Patients needed to be greeted by a charming, soft demeanor. Some of them awaited bad news; she understood that. Much as it pained her face to smile so much, she was willing to do it.

In just a few minutes, she'd be leaving to meet some colleagues. She looked forward to that; life in the clinic was boring. Being at a computer helped make it less tedious. If only the environment was different, though! But no. Kritiker insisted she stay where she was, in case they required something. Something she was very capable of getting for them.

Taking her briefcase in hand, Juliett signed off of the computer so that the receptionist working after her could fill in. The medical center was open twenty-four hours for both emergencies and appointments. It was a successful establishment, she had to admit.

Once she was in her car, she turned the key and started for Blue Phoenix. It would take some time to reach there...

Her jaw occasionally moved left and right, trying to shake off all the false emotion she forced it to do earlier. Some classmates in the past accused her of being an alien because she rarely said a word and rarely expressed her feelings. That memory made her smirk with amusement; a smirk that didn't tire her muscles.

A smirk was still a smile.
It was almost quitting time at three sites gun store and range. Matthias locked the door to the range. " what're you doing this weekend Tanner?" He asked as he walked up to the counter, tossing his keys on the glass top. Tanner was slightly shorter than average, he made up for it in bulk though. The former Navy Seal looked up at him and smirked. " what i do every weekend." he replied " get smashed" Nikolai was just coming around a corner to hear tanner "I am surprised you can get drunk of the shit you drink" Nikolai was Russian. He was a member of Spetsnaz until he shattered one of his legs, forcing him out of the military.

Matthias shook his head while trying not to laugh. tanner and nikolai were both heavy partiers. they tried their hardest to be drunk as much as possible. they were a stark contrast to Balsam and Carter, the other two instructors at Three sights. They were both former speacial forces too, carter was formerly a sniper in the SAS and Balsam had been an Israeli commando. Three Sights only hired instructors who had been in a military or paramilitary force. Three Sights was famous for letting people try out military hardware, for a small fee, the store also had classes on proper gun maintenance, basic firing, etc.

" Well I think it's time for me to head out." Matthias said stifling a yawn. " see you guys monday." he clocked out and headed for his car. The sun had not yet begun. Matthias had made it halfway to his car when he stopped. he turned around slowly. he had a strange feeling, like someone was watching him intently. he surpressed a shiver and continued to his car. The inside of hios car felt like an oven. he looked around. he still had that odd feeling. As his car left the parking lot a figure turned and walked deeper into the alley.
He arched his brow sliding the top pamphlet towards himself and opening it to pretend to read. Always beating around the bush these types.

"Can't we skip the secret handshake this time. After our last business deal I'm eager to get things settled as fast as possible." he said in a bored monotone. "Though the penthouse does look fit got a drug lord..." he sighed resigning himself to the game these agents always played before giving a fake cough. "Excuse my Weissing but the air on the plane was dry." he dropped the pretense, the game facing run to its conclusion. "Bet really we don't have to make the final decision here, lets keep this train moving."
Fyodor sat behind the counter at the front desk of the blood bank. A desperate looking young man walked in and approached the desk, Fyodor eyeing him disinterestedly.

"Uh.. Which way to-"

"Donations down hall to left. Third door on right." Fyodor interrupted him with the information he knew he had to be seeking. People were constantly coming in hoping to make donations for cash. It might not have been strictly legal, but this place allowed it, desperate as it was for blood this time of year. Most times of the year, in fact.

"Payment subject to result of blood test" he half-heartedly murmured after the young man as he set off down the hall. It seemed like the thousandth time Fyodor had had to repeat that line since he came to work in this place. It was a boring job, alright, but it would do for now. The only bright spot in his mundane routine in this place was that he sometimes got to draw the blood himself. That particular duty probably wasn't one he was legally entitled to perform, but he knew how to handle a syringe, and the people in charge seemed alright with him doing it from time to time.

His other job, though, wasn't quite as boring, and it pleased him that he would be getting back to it soon. Staring down at the phone on the desk, he remembered the strange call he had received a couple hours before. The person on the other end of the line spoke quietly, as if they were in a place, like Fyodor, where non-job calls had to be kept secret. The voice had rattled off and address and then abruptly hung up, but he knew well enough what it went.

He would check the place out when he got off work in a few hours, but until then... all he had to look forward to was sitting behind the desk.
"Excuse my Weissing but the air on the plane was dry... But really we don't have to make the final decision here, lets keep this train moving."

That almost pulled a smile from Aya. It hadn't actually been intentional- he really had been sent with the keys to fifteen different places in case Hector wanted to take a few tours- but years of cloak and dagger had left their mark, it appeared.

Another thing he liked about America. You could say the sorts of horrible things he was prone to thinking and the few who didn't would naturally assume you were joking didn't care.

"Well. It looks like you know me; but I can't exactly go walking up to random strangers and saying 'hello, fellow assassin anonymous, let's take a walk.' There is virtually nothing left on you in your personnel file." He added by way of explanation. "'Fire' in the office."

Hector snorted and stood up. Aya sat forward but his stitches pulled and he winced before he could stop himself. That settled it. The pain of the injury itself he could deal with- previous experience suggested he was past the worst of it anyway- but the medication was leaving him too compromised.

"You're injured." Hector deduced brilliantly, though Aya was sure that was only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Very little had gotten out about his team's - his former team's- little performance since everyone who'd been involved in setting them up had died just hours later, but there isn't much you can to save what's already been leaked even after you plug the holes.

Aya pulled himself to his feet and dug the prescription bottle out of his jacket pocket to drop in the trash. "You weren't the only one to spend the last eight months in hell. Let's go. If you have any bags you can have them delivered."

Personally, Aya thought Hector ought to milk his situation for all it was worth. They were murderers, and the new Director was doing everything he could to put things right for the survivors, but it was still Takatori money, and it wasn't as though there was a shortage of it. Aya had had his Tommy Kaira imported, and he didn't want a big apartment, and he didn't mind his dayjob so much, it was quiet, mindless work with a couple other agents he trusted, but well-

They let her be kidnapped by rogue cultists to sacrifice to Yog Sothoth- they can damn well pay for her education.

Aya stopped up short, staring at where Schuldig was sitting on the bumper of the car across from his, unsure if the man was actually there or trying to make a fool of him again.

Hector saw where he was looking. "What."

"Nothing." Schuldig sneered and Aya dismissed him completely, unlocking his car. "You can pick a place to live on the way. Ask for a car, too. I'll drop you off after the meeting."

When he looked again Schuldig was gone.

He grabbed the paper airplane off the dash and slipped it into the glove box as Hector was getting in. It wasn't like it had the whole rotten story written on it but he felt somehow self-conscious about it anyway.