[align=center]Red as Crimson
Chapter 1: A New Power[/align]
Roy was on time like usual to the office. As he entered he noticed that things were a little hectic today. The phones were ringing like a bomb went off in downtown Tokyo. His assumption was not far off. As he approached the door to the back offices the woman at the front desk got his attention. “The director would like to see you Roy.” She said. He gave a nod in response and continued on his routine with one difference. Instead of stopping at the fifth floor where his office was he had the elevator take him all the way to floor eleven, the Director’s Office. Stepping in he heard the Director on the phone. From the sounds of the conversation he was talking with another unit of contractors.
“Just make sure his price is paid in the most domestic way possible. I am not responsible for your faults. Alright, good-bye.” He hung up the phone and turned his attention to his new guest. “A Roy please have a seat.”
“Another price wreaking havoc on your nerves sir?”
“It is nothing compared to others. I just do not want the police to be held accountable for damage to public property. Anyway I brought you in here on a more pressing matter.” The Director said handing him a folder with a picture attached to the front.
“This is Mao Xai, from the Chinese Syndicate. Last I heard you were not meddling in their affairs, at least not the leading families.” Roy said opening up the folder. On the first page there was a big red stamp of the Tokyo Police emblem. “Oh I see.”
“Yes he died early this morning. Around three his bar buddies were shot and killed, and him, he was stabbed through the chest with a knife along with the killer’s calling card. It was the ace of hearts.” The Director said sliding Roy a pistol.
“What is this for?” Roy asked.
“Things are bound to get hot during this mission, you will need more than your powers as a contractor to handle it.”
“What will you have me do?” Roy asked now intrigued that even the Director was worried about him.
“With Mao Xai dead the Chinese Syndicate has no leader. The only one that would know where to find Mao and assassinate him and his body guards with such precision would be an inside man. The families will war over this and I am willing to bet Pike will also take this opportunity to strike.” The Director got up from his chair and looked over the city with the sun rising over the buildings. “I do not tell many people this, but in this gang war I favor Pike more than the Chinese. They have a far cleaner code and only mess with those that hit them first. Sure their acts are illegal but I believe getting an American Pike member into PANDORA labs would be harder than getting Chinese in. With half the Tokyo scientists pulled out they could slip in easy with one member.” The Director said returning to his chair afterward. “Roy I want you to aid Pike in their takeover of Tokyo.”
“Director, you know what this might get you into.” Roy said calmly.
“I know and it is our only choice at this point. We can fight Pike later but for now we must choose the lesser of two evils. You will be taking the train over to the east side of the city, Pike territory. You cannot fail me.”
“I understand. No need to fret sir.” Roy got up and turned toward the door. He opened it about half way before looking back. “Mr. Todayoshi, you should get some rest.” Roy proceeded to leave and headed directly for the train station.
Per usual, Song Mei had been sent in her father's place to clean up his messes and take care of business. She was surprised that there weren't more guards in the area, since this wasn't exactly a nobody she was meeting with. It was Mao Xai himself, leader of the New Syndicate. Everything rested on this man's shoulders, and should he be terminated she knew that it would open one giant can of worms.
She stood quietly in his presence and waited for him to finish speaking. When his eyes finally fell upon him she felt the same disgusting knot in her stomach that she got with a lot of men. The look of hunger mixed with wild lust upon her form. She was used to such looks, but it didn't cease to unsettle and irk her to a point. Putting on a calm expression she suppressed her feelings and nodded. "The Song family is per usual thankful for your generosity, Mao Xai. You always hold us in your best regards. We shall have the goods delivered to the unit within the month, and clear the deficit we have"
"I have no doubt of that, my dear" Mao replied with a grin as he lightly touched Mei's hand, causing a sickening chill to go down her spine. It was all she could do to contain herself and not lash out at him. Her father was such a coward and a pathetic man in all reality.However, he was also very greedy and would do whatever it took to reach the top. She had grown up and learned to accept this over the years, but it left her rather bitter inside. Mei had to do what she had to do, though, and had little choice in the matter. Her eyes fell upon Mao again as they continued to speak. The tension in the air was obvious, but the two held the natural cool air to make things 'appear' at ease even if they weren't. Perhaps he knew? Perhaps not. Soon, soon though this would be over.
Mei stood under a flickering lamppost at the moment. Her phone had just began to ring and she was listening to the voice on the other end. "...did you get out of there?" the person asked. Mei nodded her head even though the person couldn't see her "Yes."
"And you followed the orders?"
"All went well?"
"Very well..." the conversation continued for a moment as more information was diverged for her. Mei listened carefully and finally there was a pause as she responded once more "Very well" she said and then hung up the phone with a click. The light flickered above her a moment as she reached into her pocket and took out a cigarette lighting it and taking a long drag. A droplet of blood dripped from her body somewhere and landed on the ground, but she ignored it. Turning she left and headed back toward the base.
Mei was busy wrapping a wound on her arm in her room as her phone rang again. Sighing, she clipped the remainder of the wrap and pinned it in place before answering. The conversation was brief as she listened. "You're sure?" she said as a frown spread across her face, "how long--I see...understood. They've been contacted? Very well." Ending the call she sighed and stood as she rubbed her face a moment. "Shit."
At that moment information was being faxed to her as she went to the fax and took out the papers, skimming over them. Mao Xai had been murdered around 3-4 am that day. This was going to open a can of worms they didn't need to deal with right now. She knew an all out war would soon be on the horizon for the New Syndicate members, and with the whole Hell's Gate incident this was not good. A meeting for the Song family and supporting members was going to be held at 7:00 am to discuss their plans of action. Her father had sent what little information he was willing to diverge. Of course he wouldn't be attending, instead she would be there in his place. "Lazy bastard." She muttered as she turned to get herself ready. So much for sleep.
She wanted nothing more than to be in the small meeting room with the supporters of the Song faction sitting around a table discussing their plan of actions. Or rather yelling among one another. Before the meeting she had had the luxury of receiving their new Contractor and Doll, taking the doll to a nice morning meal before arriving at the meeting. The doll was named Kotone Aimi, a female of about 19 who possessed the ability of metal control. She was an interesting individual but didn't seem to harbor many feelings, but that was expected of a doll. The contractor was a Kane Lai. A man who seemed much to keen on business and that was it, almost distant as well. From what she gathered from the files he was a Gravity manipulator, though she was curious as to what his price was. She'd dealt with enough contractors to know that each had to pay some price to use their abilities. Aimi and Kane sat on either side of her during the meeting looking rather impatient.
The TV was blaring for part of it as the reports were already streaming about Mao Xai's death, as well as his second hand man. This meant that the position for head of the New Syndicate was up for complete grabs. The way the system worked this meant that the head of the most influential syndicate members would gather together to nominate people for the position. It was supposed to be somewhat of a democratic way to do things and prevent bloodshed upon such a massive group, but everyone knew it wasn't going to end like that. They would have to go in with great caution. At the last meeting of the great families to elect a new leader, Mao had won leadership simply by brute force at the time. It hadn't gone well with some but what were they to do?
During the meeting something else had bothered her. The police had reported a calling card at the scene of the crime. An ace of hearts. Why did that sound familiar? She frowned some but figured it would come to her later. Right now she had other things to worry about. Once she was sure everyone knew their part in this mess, she stood and dismissed them. She had things to get ready before the REAL meeting. Lack of sleep was also written all over her face. When everyone had left she stepped aside to meet with Kane and Aimi privately as well. Since they hadn't had much time before the meeting to discuss what each was aware of, she planned on doing it now.
"So, were you given any information?" she asked, both shaking their heads. Mei sighed some, "wonderful." She rubbed her temples a moment as she diverged what little information she knew about what was going on. "I don't know what my father has planned for you both, but he should be in contact with you soon. As for myself, I am to attend the meeting of the families at noon, and you can expect shit to go down so I'm assuming he'll probably have you on standby. Just...be ready for anything" she said and dismissed them to do what they wanted. Time for her to see if she couldn't get a little sleep and more preparation for the upcoming events.
Airi was nearly knocked to the floor as the door she was resting against was flung open. A young man seemed apologetic as he helped her to her feet and hurriedly continued walking. Airi glided along behind him, her wide amber eyes watching his movements.
As they continued further down the street, Airi tugged gently on his sleeve. "I... was told to meet... you? Where are we going?" she bit her lip slightly. Her mouth turned down at the corners a little as she watched him, quickening her steps to keep up.
Aimi smoothed her skirt, the delicate billows of fabric at the base of her dress sparkled in the light. "Information? Hardly any... Standby? Of course," her tone was melodic and high, but emotionless.
Aimi brushed her hair behind her ear as she gazed up at the pair near her. More stress, more worry and politics for her. Still, this was all just a part of the plan, vengeance on everything unworthy, wasn't that the goal? Her mind sang with pleased melody, but emotions hardly showed. A twitch at the corners of her mouth belied what could have once been a smile.
Just before Kane was called in, he prepared himself.
"A shame. But this is serious business, today is not a day I can head to the beach. I have to be prepared to use my power, prepared to fulfill my price." He thought to himself. He gathered up his rotten whale flesh and tossed it into his blender. He poured it into a water bottle and stashed it in his pockets, not taking a single drink of it as he had to save it for when the time was right.
He looked disgusting at the smell in the room and the smell of the bottle. "I hate my price. I can't wait to get a chance to rise up in the ranks so I can make my own schedule. I can take days off whenever I want..And most of all, I won't have to drink this disgusting blend!"
He made his way to the meeting and heard Song Mei mentioning that him and Aimi would be on stand by.
Kane disliked being on stand-by, he liked missions, he liked knowing he'd have time to relax but when you were on stand-by, you had to be prepared to go immediately. Thus he couldn't relax and recline. As soon as he was dismissed, Kane was thinking up his next move.
Kane stayed in the area where the meeting was held for a bit longer. He looked at Aimi and sized her up and remembered the details about her. "A Doll with the ability of Mental Control. Kotone Aimi is her name. We'll work well together. I just wonder what sort of mission they're going to send us on and what is going to happen within the New Syndicate hmm. One thing is for sure, it's going to be ugly."
Mei had jetted out of the syndicate back to her private quarters as soon as she could after speaking to Kane and Aimi. Her first order of business was to clean herself up. She needed to wash the wounded area out from earlier and redress it. Sighing, she changed out of her clothes and turned the shower on. Stepping under the waters, she let it wash over her body and cleanse her of everything. Her muscles, for the first time in a long while that day, finally began to relax a bit. She winced some as the water hit her wound, but it was a good sting. Washing up she emerged from the shower and was just drying off when her phone rang. Wrapping her towel in place and making sure she wasn't still bleeding, she reached for her phone, "hello." She knew before she'd even spoke who it probably was, and the voice on the other end confirmed her suspicions. It was a short convo, and all she did was listen before the line went dead. Closing her phone, she tossed it on the bed as she sighed heavily and continued to get herself dressed. By 8:45 she'd gotten herself dried and changed, and re bandaged her wounded arm. Grabbing a few quick supplies, mostly her easily concealed weapons and extra ammo, she slipped from the door to head out again. No rest for the weary...
Everything was about business and building yourself. 25 minutes after she'd left the syndicate HQ she was at one of the 'supportive' member's quarters gathering information and supplies. Things seemed to be running smoothly, but one never knew. All relations seemed shaky at the moment and no one was to be trusted. She had a schedule to keep. She would need to be to the train station by 9:50 to keep things on track. After all, the heart of the entire operation was going to happen at 12 that day when the giant syndicate meeting would be held. More than likely she would be one of a few, if not the only, female attending.
Glancing at the man before her, a light overhead swayed back and forth "Do you pledge your allegiance to us, Shimizu Ichiro?" As the light swayed one would see her hand extended with her gun held in firing position at the cowering man. His body guards were nowhere to be seen.
Emmaline Griffin Emma glared at the people as they passed by her, filing out of the train like a swarm of honeybees. She found them so inexplicably irritating. Something about people frolicking about with something to do made her angry. Why was she the only one that no goals in life? Curling a strand of her dark blonde hair, Emma sighed and stared at the faces coming out of the train. One of them was supposed to be meeting her or something. She wasn't sure, really, what he looked like, but she didn't really care. If he didn't show up, she could go do whatever she wanted and make the boss angry. Oh, how she loved making the boss angry.
She sighed again, leaning back into the wooden bench that faced the train. She didn't seen anyone that was looking for someone else. These stoned face people were all considering their next five minutes of commute to wherever they were going. Emma knew this because she could read their faces.
Yawning, she adjusted the huge black bow of a headband in her hair. It was sort of an inner symbol of Pike. If this contractor was truly coming to find them like the boss said, he shoudn't have any trouble knowing who she was.
The train came to a stop and Roy got off looking around the area. The place was flooded with busy people none of them looking like they gave a care in the world about anyone else. Looking past the crowd he saw a young girl with a large black bow. She was most likely the one, the informant sent from Pike. Apparently working with them was something the police wanted to keep highly under wraps. To keep with the program Roy used the disguise of the crowd to turn invisible. He snuck behind the young girl and reappeared bowing. “Hello young miss, I am Roy, you would not happen to be the one I am supposed to meet?” He asked. Knowing the answer he continued on. “I suggest we get moving if you are. Things are about to get dangerous.” He said with a smile.
Emmaline Griffin Emma's delicate face scrunched up into a frown the minute she felt Roy's presence. She seemed even more annoyed to hear him speak like some authoritative contractor. She hissed through her teeth, crossing her arms. For now, she'd comply, only because Pike was at stake & not really because she gave a damn about this man's orders.
She whirled around on her heel sharply and glared at him, "You can call me Griffin, Roy," she replied. She didn't seem interested in his formalities, "You wouldn't be a true contractor if you couldn't handle danger, mister." she added as-a-matter-of-factly, turning to walk in the direction of the meeting place that had been designated for the purpose.
"Walk fast, will you? I already wasted enough time waiting for you to show up," she muttered as she took quick footsteps towards the small coffee shop. She didn't like the idea of this meeting at all. She'd been hoping he was going to be late so she could ditch the entire mission on that excuse. Boss's anger was quite entertaining, to be honest, but now she was stuck. She'd have to chat with this annoying gentleman type after all.
As long as he didn't treat her like a child, Emma thought, she wouldn't have to ring his neck.
’Brash little girl isn’t she?’ Roy thought in his head. The mission would be difficult if he was to work with this difficult case first. Although he had to remember she was a contractor and like any contractor easily annoyed at formalities and other such human gestures. For Roy it was common practice to give respect to someone he did not know, but that just put him in an awkward position here. He had no trouble keeping up with the girl as she seemed to have her mind on other things. Rather than question her about it he just followed her to the coffee shop.
The silence was in rather unsettling and Roy still had not talked again to his supposed partner. Usually when people worked together it was good to know each other’s strengths. Although, when looking at her she still did not seem to be in the mood to talk. Roy decided it was best to view her abilities in battle, but, that could cost them. Opting out for the safer path Roy spoke up. “So what can you do? I heard that contractors powers are often related to their attitudes and emotions that they claim not to have. So what are your true feelings and emotions? What do you do with your powers?”
Emmaline Griffin Emma was finding this situation more precarious by the minute. Roy was not only boring, she thought, he was annoying. He seemed to want to talk, something which Emma wasn't quite accustomed to. She rolled her eyes, leaning forward as she spoke to him very straightforwardly, "I'm sorry for what you might've hoping for, Roy, but I just follow orders, whether I like them or not. I don't believe in emotions & neither should you, unless as a means of fufilling duty." She stood up, glancing at the nearest watch,
"I believe that it's about time we got on the train. We have places to go, don't we?" she raised an eyebrow, as though she were glad to have pricked his credibility with something he hadn't noticed.
Kane had went back to his quarters. He realized he had to gather a bit more whale juice.
"I can't afford to run out of it during a mission." Kane thought. He gathered some more whale meat and tossed it into the blender once again. He looked around the room and noticed he hadn't anymore whale meat left.
"Perhaps I best..Order some..Or go out and get some myself...Hmmm.." Kane began to ponder his options. It would be rather time consuming to leave the area, go to a market and return. It could also mean wondering into the Tokyo Police worse case scenario. It might just be easier to order some whale meat online.
He determined, "Ordering it is best....That way can remain here and not be at risk for being late if I am called upon."
He turned on his computer and began the process. It was rather dull however, there no interaction with other people when it came to ordering things online but Kane didn't care for such interactions, he only wished to know those he was working with. He had no desires for love or friendship, just to make business partners essentially.
The girl was sure touchy about things like emotion. For such a young girl to think such things at that age was nearly unbelievable. Yet, Roy had to keep in mind that she was a contractor and emotions were still hard for her to understand. Instead of arguing who had the position of leader, Roy just followed Emma onto a train. They headed directly for the east end.
Once they arrived Roy was the first one to step off. Looking around there did not seem to be too much activity on the streets yet. That was a slight relief. ’Today is one hell of a day for infiltration.’ Roy thought to himself. He went over to a bench as Emma followed. “So you would not happen to have a doll or something with you? It would make finding the location of the Syndicate’s meeting a lot easier.” Roy said knowing full well about the meeting that would be taking place. The cops were not completely in the dark about the system of the two groups. “If not I suggest we go our separate ways, if we find the place we will be sure to meet back there.” Roy said feeling the tension from Emma rise. Over the next two and a half hours Roy would search for information and end up stealing a janitor’s outfit to infiltrate the Syndicate’s HQ.
She didn't know how long it had been since she'd gotten any real sleep. She would gladly just find a comfy couch and pass out then and there, but there was no rest for her. As she'd thought, things were already heated around the streets, even in the free zones. Not only was she stuck on round up crew, she had to also do errands for the pathetic parasite called her father. He might wear the title of the Song family leader, but everyone knew the brawn and mostly brains behind it all was Mei. It was good for her in some areas, as that meant that most didn't mess with her. Yet it was quite the chore because she then simply became her father's lackey, when it should be the other way around.
There had been various reports of other killings that were starting to occur, but none of the names really concerned her much. It was just the fact that they were members within the New Syndicate who had some potential sway to possibly winning power in this rat race. Letting out a long drag from the last of her open packet of cigarettes, she answered her phone again. "It's been taken care of...I understand"
Another wound, another day. God she hated her life some days! Not to mention that she'd nearly gotten into a scrap with the damned Tokyo Police. Cursing her rotten luck in all this, she emerged from her bathroom once again nursing wounds. Her body was tired, sore/pained, and all she wanted to do was catch a little shut eye. Yet she knew all too well that wouldn't be happening until AFTER the meeting was settled. Yet, something was still bugging her about everything.
Shrugging off her shirt a bit, she glanced at the new wound. She would probably have to get stitches later for it, but for now a patch job would have to do. Finishing that up she checked on the other wrapping she'd done and was satisfied it would hold. Putting her shirt back on she grabbed her gear again. Her mind was working quickly now. It was already 11:00. She had an hour before all hell broke lose for real, and she had a very ominous feeling about this ordeal. Taking out her cellphone it was her turn to dial numbers. She contacted Kane and Aimi first to make sure they were ready to be on call. Then she made a quick call to start a chain to the others of the information. What needed to be known to each would be known to each. That was that. A few simple phone calls. Hurrying out, she took her own mode of transportation to get to the building, her bike.
Arriving at the large building, Mei glances up at the monstrosity, "well...here goes" she muttered and glanced around as she moved quietly toward the entrance. The first floor was almost like some sort of large business firm of sorts, but she knew better. That was just the front. The higher floors were where the real shit was going to go down. Recapping the information in her mind, she moved quietly toward the elevators and entered alone. Those attending the meeting would have special cards that would allow them access to the needed floor. She knew coming alone was a high risk, especially since most others would be attending with body guards and possibly multiple members (not to mention she would probably be one of only a select other females) but that was their risk. Least this way the Song family would only lose one individual, but she planned on staying alive through this one. Allowing herself to relax some and stay collected and calm, she began to mediate on all the events unfolding to the moment before her. The crappy elevator music started up as the ascent to the Syndicate's future loomed closer and closer...