Brass Face

From the Story Arc: The Lecture

Previous Story in the Arc: Wrong Hero by Comrade Hero (Tuesday, April 17, 2007)

Next Story in the Arc: Unstoppable by Comrade Hero (Friday, April 20, 2007)

(posted Tuesday, April 17, 2007)

“The viral agent was effective. My client would like to secure a great deal more.”

The Fake Nemesis may have been incapable of displaying emotion on its polished brass and steel faceplate, but the mechanical voice that answered in reply was full of pride.

“Of course. The result was inevitable, my dear Rack. I assume you have the payment I requested?”

Rack could never tell if he was talking to the real Nemesis or a pre-programmed imitator. The Fake Nemesis’ were capable of leading the forces of Nemesis on their own, competently pursuing the inscrutable goals of Nemesis without compromise, mercy, or distraction.

Rack couldn’t help but respect the effective system of leadership and deception that Nemesis had established. It made assassination attempts virtually impossible as no-one really knew which brass and steel body contained the maniacal brain of the Arch-villain.

Two Warhulks flanked the sides of the Fake Nemesis, an expensive show of power and a poor attempt at intimidation. Rack calmly opened the large briefcase and placed it on the brass table that kept the two parties apart. The Fake Nemesis didn’t bother even looking at the contents. Sophisticated internal sensors were already busy analyzing the suitcase’s contents, and assessing the whether or not the parts contained within were genuine.

The Fake Nemesis finally nodded.

“Very good, my dear Rack. You have upheld your end of the agreement. And Nemesis always honors his.”

The Warhulk to the left of the Fake Nemesis lurched forwards towards the table and placed a slender brass cigarette type holder next to the suitcase. Rack stepped forward, closed the suitcase and placed it in the waiting claw of the Warhulk. Rack picked up the brass holder and pocketed it inside his vest. To open it and check the contents would have insulted the Fake Nemesis, or worse, the real Nemesis himself.

Rack stepped backwards from the table, and bowed slightly. It had taken him some time to secure the components for the Void Hunter Rifle. The Void Slayers were exceedingly reluctant to part with such technology and the Council had bluntly turned down Rack’s request to buy one at a rather inflated price. The Council had refused the carrot, so Rack had waved the stick.

In the end Rack had simply intercepted and stolen a container of Void Hunter Rifles from a Container ship and executed the unreasonable Archon commander and his entourage.

Rack had presented three Void Hunter Rifles to Arbiter Daos, kept two for himself, and provided the last one to Nemesis. He had earned credit from Arachnos, a useful weapon for himself to use against the troublesome Kheldian half-breeds in Paragon City, and fulfilled his part of the agreement to Nemesis.

“A pleasure doing business with you, Lord Nemesis.”

The Fake Nemesis raised his hand in a dismissive gesture.

“Mutually beneficial, my dear Rack. You are now permitted to leave.”

Rack mouth twitched in a snarl behind his mask as he nodded.

“Thank you, Lord Nemesis.”