IC scene with Miasma Edit
note: parts of the OOC conversation have been trimmed
Miasma wonders if he set the bar too high but the way his fixer was going on about the pay these guys were offering was enough for him to take a first step into the big game. It was either that our outright theft, and he didn't want to do that even to other criminals. He still had a respect for the law abstractly even if it was all gone to shit in every conceivable way or jurisdiction. He knew he had to get over it, and if this failed next time he might be a bit less paranoid, but even though he wasn't meeting them as 'his other self' old habits died hard. If you made someone work for it, it showed they wanted it. It was also just best practice in a world full of the crazy and freakish things he had to deal with. Stepping from the hat shop where he was he moved towards the table in question and sat down, right on time.
Nor is he alone in his punctuality. Even as he approaches the table, so is another figure. Dressed in an executive-style business suit, the woman-- late thirties, perhaps early forties-- is only slightly slower to arrive than he, and gives him a pleasant smile. "I hope," she says, as she glances up with a squint at the bright sun and back to him, "that you are the gentleman I'm here to meet. And that you wouldn't mind if we move somewhere less in the sun," she adds, and it's obvious why-- in the sun, she's so pale-skinned that it's almost blinding, which paired with jet black hair and blue eyes is quite striking. She's more handsome than beautiful, with a strong jawline and high cheeks, but there'd be no missing her in a crowd. "Are the theatrics important to you?" she adds with a hint of mischief in her tone that's kept strictly out of her expression. "Crows and trees and midnight; quite poetic."
Miasma is pretty sure she isn't a vampire. He doesn't have a prejudice against them but has learned that they can majorly fuck with you if you're not prepared. He's curious about the albinism but nods, "Ever hear of Van Halen and M&M's?" He motions towards a nearby Retro 80's cafe that he had as a 'quieter place' to talk in case something like that was needed. He smiles at her smile, light, polite and casual but he is careful himself.
OOC*** Wyrd says, "Sorry, didn't mean to imply albino; she's just quite pale."
OOC*** Miasma nods
OOC*** Miasma says, "the point of the chip btw is that it needs both chips but can be verified independently as you'll see in my pose :D"
"I'm afraid I don't have the pleasure," the woman says, taking a shaded seat at the table without complaint. She tilts her head, listening for some moments to the music, then nods in evident approval and returns her attention to him. That professional smile returns, though there's more personality in it than you get in most executives, and offers a hand. "Marian Byrne," she says. "Since we're not actually in business together yet, please call me Marian." Though the gesture is of an invited handshake, the chip is visible nestled in its slightly cupped palm.
Miasma says "Good evening Ms Byrne, Miasma Bloodlight, pleased to meet you." He takes her hand and shakes it. "Old band, from the same era as this restaurant. They insisted that a candy called M&M's was put in their dressing room but had all the brown ones removed. Seemed minor but their sound setup was meticulous. They knew just walking in if the venue had read it or not. Pleased to meet you Marian," he verifies the chip, assuming it is right, his contact the fixer and his ally in Internal Affairs can verify the number they see (in case of a mental illusion) down to 32 digits. If it confirms he nods, "and the exact phrase please? Not just the highlights?""
"The pleasure is mutual," Marian says, and her eyebrows rise in approval at his explanation. "I and my employers understand very well the importance of clearly understood and mutual contracts. I believe we will get on very well." She smiles at the request, the crow's feet at the corners of her eyes implying that she is perhaps a little older than she immediately appears, nods, and recites the code phrase quietly. The chip is unquestionably the correct one. The approach of a server draws her attention, and she tips a nod to Miasma. "Please order as you like, my employers will be reimbursing. A Guinness," she adds to the man, but with a tone that reflects her regret a moment later as he admits they have none. "Ah, well. It's never the same here. House coffee, then."
Miasma has one of the richer beers in the middle of the range, not the most expensive item but not the worst either. He also has a burger and fries, very specific but knows how to order it so they get it right. He smiles and nods, "They do have good coffee. As a former cop, you know where they serve it right, none of that synth stuff. By all means, please tell me more about yourself. Do you mind if I?" He takes out a wide spectrum jammer that would foil most conventional analogy and digital listening devices.
Marian inclines her head. "It never hurts to know who has quality," she says, and something in her voice says it's not the coffee she's talking about now. She orders no other food, but leans back in her chair with her fingers laced loosely on the table. "Not at all, whatever makes you comfortable," she says to his question. "I'm recording our conversation for my employers. If that bothers you, I'm authorized to make a simple vocal report. What would you like to know?" she adds. "I, personally, am merely... an evaluator, shall we say. I have extensive education in psychology and profiling. I am here to determine whether you're a good fit for our hiring purposes. You may ask any questions you wish. I will answer to the extent I am allowed."
OOC*** Wyrd says, "As a side note, they will have run a background check on him. Not horribly extensive, but sufficient to be familiar with pretty much anything a major Corp would be able to find out about him."
The not eating thing sets off alarm bells but if she is a powerful enough vampire to survive direct sunlight he has bigger concerns about this than normal. Looks like he is headed full bore into 47 territory but it was likely given the pay rate. "No, though if it works while this device is on I'm truly impressed. I suspect you have access to milspec stuff then. All the better. Let's start with what they value. What makes them do what they do. And then segue into why that applies to what they want me to do and then what it is they want me to do. I like history; stories. I like to know the history of a situation going into it. If you have supplementary data for me to review on my own, I'll provide a contact email but I would like to hear your perspective on it."
[... details omitted ...]
OOC*** Wyrd says, "They won't have done footwork yet, though it may come up later."
Marian touches beside one eye, then her ear. "Cyberware," she says. "Direct record link to my personal datastore. Your jammer would be blinding me if it were going to be a problem." There's gentle amusement in her tone, but the sharp awareness in her eyes never dims. She is watching and evaluating. And also heavily adulterates her coffee with cream, and tastes it with evident appreciation; if she's a vampire, she's one of the odder breeds. The cup now laced between her hands, she cocks her head and considers him. "Gracious, you do ask a lot," she says after a moment, the humor strong. "They want to hire you to explore a pre-Fall ruin and retrieve any 'odd' items you might find," she continues. "My employers are collectors and researchers; I don't have clearance to provide any kind of extended history. I was under the impression you had been informed that their existence has a certain illegality to it within the city, and that you would expect a certain amount of reticence in details. I am most certainly authorized to give you more details about the assignment itself, however, and may be able to answer *specific* questions about my employers."
Miasma nods, "So, that kind of employer. I had thought so. Sure, I can do that. But I'm going to want really specific definitions of 'odd' I mean, like what I feel about it or gouche or cliche...but that will wait. If its a primary mission I like to get granular. I have a few thoughts on that. I like researchers, reminds me of my grandfather. Sure..." he considers, "do your employers consider themselves the good guys? Are they in it for the money? Are they researching for its own sake, the betterment of mankind? Aligning the stars and bringinb back great Cthulu?" He considers and nods, "Lesee....so....I don't mind if your employeers are 'illegal' but I'd really just flat out say not a fan of our neighbors to the south and east. A private consortium is fine, I'm not getting involved between great powers because I've seen too many 'clean up the evidence' jobs. I have more questions but let's start there.
This time Marian's scrutiny is longer and thoughtful, coffee sipped several time while she chooses her response. "So far I believe our inclinations are in alignment," she says at last. "We are not," she continues with that tiny eye-crinkling indication of amusement, "fans of Cthulhu. I don't believe I can answer your question directly, since I'm sure most people with a goal consider themselves 'the good guys,' and the answer becomes moot. They do. I believe they are. Money is a useful but tangential possible outcome. They are assuredly not associated with the NAE, although they prefer to maintain a neutral posture as much as possible. Odd," she adds thoughtfully. "Odd may be difficult to provide you extensive details about, since this is in large part a discovery mission. My employers are not altogether sure what to expect, only that there is good reason to expect."
Miasma says "Interesting. That heavily implies that 'illegal' methods of discerning the location are involved. Is this a solo mission or will I be working with a team? Are there known hazards at the site and if so are they equipping me/us or should I plan on doing that on my own? How isolated is the site? What kind of physical environment? How long will I need to supply for and what is the expected duration of the time I spend on location?"
This time Marian's smile isn't the subtle, businesslike one, and is approving. "There will be others hired," she says, "but whether or not to work in teams will be up to you, as we don't feel that introducing personality conflicts or... conflicts of interest, shall we say, is conducive to a good working environment. We're naturally hoping you'll work well with some of the others, but will not force you to interact." Sitting forward now, she settles her forearms on the table, turning the cup idly between her fingers. "I will answer every one of these questions," she continues, tone businesslike again. "However, I must have your verbal agreement that every detail I provide to you for the rest of this conversation will be kept in strict confidence. My employers are not inclined to have it sold out from under them and be forced into a confrontation with other potential... hunters."
Miasma grins, "This is the first interview like this I've had but I know enough to know that loose lips sink ships. I assure you, I will not go all Slugworth on you. Though that is another question...should I be expecting rival factions in the same location and if so, how should they be dealt with?" Her social skills are likely high enough to figure out that this question is multi layered.
"I need to repeat this," Marian says, her eyes on him. Now warned, he might note the glint of 'ware, the slight tightening of a lens inside one eye. "You agree that you will maintain silence on every aspect of this mission that I communicate to you, from the point of your agreement? My employers will consider this a binding contract, and will respond in kind if the terms are broken. I dislike having to be so blunt," she adds apologetically, "but I will not tell you this isn't a threat. You are free to walk away with no consequence."
Miasma nods, "You've answered the right questions. I'll keep the contract." Of course, if she says she plans to start smashing in the heads of children with enchanted socket wrenches he will confidentially suit up and blow up their headquarters, but he clearly agrees to keep the contract and is, strangely, not threatened by it. Not so much that he doesnt doubt that they can bring considerable power to bear so much as he is a man with nothing to lose on borrow time.
Marian's smile returns in full, and she settles back again. She catches the server's eye, requests a menu, and considers it a moment before saying, "The fish and chips, please," and returning it to him. Once he's left immediate earshot, her attention returns to Miasma. "We will be attempting to avoid hiring *true* rivals for the expedition," she says, "but you may at some point end up in proximity to types with whom you are... less friendly. Any actions *any* of our contractors take which are deemed to be endangering to our purposes or our other employees will be treated as breach of contract, with appropriate response. Does that answer your question in that regard, or do you need any specific clarifications?"
Miasma says "Yes. I mean if I think Team B has someone in there, should I shoot them? If Team A goes off the reservation, how far before I shoot them? Will I know who is on Team A? I'm telling you, you want us to know this well in advance because communications go down, get jammed and Jurassic Park happens. I get not telling us top secret details but rules of engagement should be contracturally defined and well defined before we even start."
"Not a concern," Marian says lightly. "You'll all be aware of each other. There will be a central...." She pauses, considering, and decides on, "Camp. If you have reason to believe one of your co-workers is acting against our interests, we will certainly expect you to communicate that to us, as a simple extension of your own serving our best interests, but we would very much prefer you avoid shooting each other unless in actual self-defense. In which case, we'll have to evaluate the situation and respond appropriately." She gives one delicate one-shouldered shrug. "As a law enforcement officer, certainly you understand that it can be difficult to anticipate every possibility. We don't *expect* there to be any kind of large-scale conflict, and we will certainly not tolerate one between our contractors."
Miasma nods, "Oh sure, but basic rules of engagement work just fine. A chain of command in case the camp is nuked would be ideal as well. I'm serious. When this kind of stuff is involved I don't believe in leaving out contingencies. You can't plan for everything but I find it dumb not to plan for the ones you do know about. I'll be bringing recording gear just in case. I recommend it as optional in your starting package, but so far this sounds good. What about known environmental hazards?
Marian tilts her head, then nods. "Much of this will need to be discussed on site," she says, "when the individuals involved are all accounted for. We'll develop the necessary plans then." A server refills her coffee and she nods her thanks as he goes, reaching for the cream. "Now we get into the meat of the thing," she says then, smile at her eyes. "The place itself." She relaxes in the chair, crossing one knee over the other with casual precision. "We have become aware that before the Fall, a group of magic-users came into information which led them to believe that the end of the world was imminent." She makes a gesture and wry smile; a 'well, and you see what happened.' "They were very well-funded to begin with, and in order to ensure this, they devised a plan: they would establish a community in the safest location they could manage, and gather the best and brightest of both their own people and other individuals with the necessary resources to make it happen. The location they chose is known as Point Nemo - the point furthest from land of anywhere on earth."
Miasma says "Huh. That sounds...like the kind of thing that would go horribly wrong. But OK. I'm listening." He can already tell he is out of his depth here but willing to go along. He can't tell others about it but if it sounds too insane he can still decline the job. "Also what about salvage on things you guys don't want?""
Marian chuckles her approval. "We think it may have," she says, "but information is limited, which is part of the reason for the expedition." Her fish and chips arrive, and she begins picking them apart delicately to spare her suit crumbs. "However, the best we have so far, save for satellite images, are the reports from before the Fall. As far as we know, quite a number of hand-picked people were invited to live at a man-made city constructed at the Point, one deliberately made to appeal to the richest of the rich. We have laid hands on a few scarce brochures which were apparently distributed to those deemed acceptable, in approxiately 1980. We believe the twenty years between then and the Fall went approximately as the builders planned, creating a luxurious and largely self-sustaining utopia at a point under no government and a thousand miles from any natural land. We have certain rumors to indicate that this group was, while allowing the merely rich to live there, actually using the location as a space for magical research. We do not know what they might have worked on; when the Fall came, all communications with the Point were lost."
Miasma says "well, there is your plan going off the rails right there. If your utopia is based on money piles you get the biggest pile of shit that money can buy not survivors or decent folts or intelligence just the people able to pile up the most shit but I can see why your employers are interested in it. You didn't answer the question about salvage they don't care about. So they used the chumps for an excuse to delve down into the mines of Moria. We all know how THAT ended don't we? So, there's a balrog and a dragon's hoard. Sounds fun. Is there a backup extraction plan? Preferably three or four backups?"
"You ask a great many questions," Marian comments dryly. "I can only answer a few at a time. If salvage is important to you, we will make it part of your contract. We have reason to believe there are survivors," she adds, but one eyebrow lifts as she adds, "We are not, however, certain of it. Remember that rich folk require services provided by the relatively poor; we fully expect that there were many hired staff. Whether they or their descendents-- mundane or otherwise-- remain alive is an open question. Extraction is, as you may guess, logistically awkward. We have established fuel dumps on ships at several points between the Point and each of its three nearest landmasses, permitting aerodyne travel that is the primary option. The ships themselves are an evacuation possibility. However, the non-mundane options available to my employers--" She hesitates, considers, then simply shrugs. "Don't work."
Miasma says "I'm a cop, its what I do." He grinned. "It isn't critical but if I run into something..neat, yeah I'd like a few potentail souveniers." He nodded about survivors, "Mundane options are just fine. I'll send a list of potential suggestions for redundancy in extraction protocol. This is the kind of thing that, like I said, sounds pure Jurassic Park but seeing dinosaurs is worth it. This has my interest, and if you have a data download rather than my playing spanish inqusition that will do just fine. Did you have more questions for me?"
"I think you'll be disappointed on the dinosaurs," Marian says, a trifle dry. She offers her half-emptied chip basket to him, time-honored 'here, want one?' gesture. "Point Nemo is notorious for being one of the least biologically diverse ocean locations. Even fish don't live there. A natural oceanic vortex previous biodiversity, although it does keep the weather quite stable. We'll prepare downloads for you," she says with a nod. "Your extraction suggestions are most welcome; we're hoping a wide variety of contractor experience will help with the inevitable surprise issues. Your profile didn't indicate any explicit connection with non-mundane methods, but I feel I should warn you that my employers' resources are somewhat impacted by the location. We have an initial team on location, and it appears that the use of such abilities has side effects. We're making some effort to hire those who depend less on such capabilities."
Miasma takes the last chip. Sure, why not? "It was a metaphore," he shrugged, smiling. "Now the lack of fish concerns me, can't put my finger on why. And I'll keep my suggestions low budget, but something I suspect you can afford. Nothing James Bond, just something that might give us a fighting chance if it goes all Krakatoa. Given the types of people who run around LATMA its something you plan for as an eventuality....some of them like to blow shit up almost compulsively. Even if its nothing but lots of rafts buried unto the water with a buoy that can be summoned, having four or five of them would make me very happy.
"Please assume we can afford it," Marian says, still with that wry edge. Setting aside the remains of her food, she laces her fingers and lays her palms flat on the table, studying him now. "Which brings us to the question of your compensation. You've expressed interest in salvage, which naturally we'll consider so long as what you retrieve isn't of explicit interest. I would caution you to remember, however, that the location is pre-Fall and non-combative. We suspect some residents were technical researchers and developers, but we cannot assure you that any technology found will be significantly in advance of what was available at the cutting edge in 2000. Also, my employers' resources extend in directions quite outside mere monetary reward. They are, in fact, accustomed to paying in alternative currencies, according to an individual's needs." Her smile lights again, a sudden thing. "So I would invite you to consider very carefully: What do you want?"
Miasma says "Rich people like rich people things. We'll see," he smiled, "I'm not expecting milspec hardware. And I have to bring it back AND prevent the others from seeing it since who knows what they might do after we're off the payroll. As far as what I want..." he considers, "That's a very complicated question. I want to up my game. Money is the easiest way but that's not the only way. I think you're going to find me useful and I think as we learn more about each other more things might be discussed as I find them for you." He considered, "But I'm also paranoid and cautious, like you. Let's start with money. Maybe introductions to people you also use as suppliers...people who can get me things that I could never find with my own level of street contacts. I can get money. Access is another thing entirely"
Marian nods consideringly. "We will provide you a written contract," she says, "and allow you to amend it as you choose. When we come to a conclusion we both find acceptable, you will be hired. It will be an explicit contract, so we will need to discuss what constitutes introductions, appropriate people, and the types of contacts and 'things' you're interested in. However, these would be appropriate and acceptable terms for my employers, not out of character. We will produce and provide that documentation for you at whatever contact point you desire, most likely within a few days. If you've come up with more questions or something specific you want at that point, we can discuss it then. Will that suit you?"
Miasma nods, "It will."
"Then I believe we're done here," Marian says, applying a napkin before she rises and offers her hand. "It has been a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Bloodlight. I think we'll see each other again soon."
OOC*** Wyrd says, "Is there any of this log you want edited out before I post it?"
OOC*** Miasma says, "Nah, its great"
OOC*** Wyrd says, "Spiffy. Now I just have to get the others to show up. ;)"
OOC*** Miasma says, "thanks for the rp :D"
OOC*** Wyrd says, "Likewise. Think this'll be fun. ;)"
OOC*** Miasma says, "me too :D