The Meeting

From the Story Arc: Stranger in the Dark

Next Story in the Arc: Part 2 by Khrushchev (Tuesday, March 08, 2005)

(posted Monday, March 07, 2005)

Meet Donald Grant, a former methods and procedures writer as well as engineer for Crey Technologies widely considered an expert in his field he had won several awards for inventions and held many patents. He had published many works in science journals and tech magazines and had become well regarded as an expert in the field of Cyber organisms and had worked on the Crey Bio-Tech program. Working two jobs he was also a respected professor at the University of Paragon where he taught Russian Studies and had a vast knowledge of Russian Hero’s and their super groups. He had everything going for him but as all good things must end, tragedy struck a few years ago when Grant had lost his wife and daughter in a horrific car accident, the causer of the tragedy had fallen asleep at the wheel and swerved into oncoming traffic, he would never recover from that incident. Grant tried therapy but stopped going shortly in, the pressure became too much for him and he resorted to alcohol. At first he drank only at night but it moved into all day and began affecting his work. He was offered treatment by both Crey and the University but when he refused he was subsequently let go. Forced to move from his upscale apartment in Founders Falls, he relocated to a low rent district in Galaxy City where he mainly worked under the table doing research and other odd jobs to make ends meet. He had received a suspicious email followed by phone calls for some possible work and was told to come to Brickstown to meet his contact.

He did not know who this person was, but was assured they knew him. Instructed to come alone he would proceed with caution. The east end of Brickstown was dark and dirty, part of the seedy under-belly of Paragon, a place most wish would leave, or most convince themselves never existed. A place of cunning and villainy he knew he would have to be cautious. These we’re not his type of people, mercenaries, bounty hunters you name it, they all had a price, the better the talent the higher the price.

The bar was dimly lit and hazy, most sat alone sipping on their drinks while keeping a watchful eye. In the corners deals were going down, each more heinous then the next,
money and what could only be classified as questionable goods were being exchanged.
He walked by each not making eye contact, the place made him uncomfortable and he did not need any trouble. He continued cautiously walking between the round tables, picking up bits of conversations left and right, all the while being watched from a distance. His arm was grabbed by a man sitting alone at the bar itself. The large brute stood up towering over Grant, he had to be at least 6’ 8” tall and looked to be taking a steroid supplement on a regular basis.

“Your required in the back corner, you don’t belong here do you…what’s your business here?” talking through his gritting teeth.

“I suppose that’s for me to find out isn’t it?”

“Don’t play smart with me” he grabbed him by the throat lifting him an inch of the ground”.

“Wouldn’t think of it…”

“Good then we’re on the same page….now I don’t suppose you’re carrying a weapon?” he continued to stare at Grant looking for any type of response.

“None I assure you…”

“Yeah well all the same anyway, I’ll check myself…” he began patting him down, trying to find any conspicuous items, he felt something in his inside jacket pocket. “Well what’s this then?”

“It’s a pen…”

“What do you need that for?”

“To write things with what do you use them for?” he knew that he was pushing his buttons but this was growing annoying and his patience was weaning. “Look are you going to let me go or do I need to…”

“Need to what?”

“Monsieur Grant how good of you to come, please join us” walking over to the back corner the two men sat at a round table, lit only be a couple of melting candles whose wax and melted over the glass containers they resided in. Grabbing a bottle of Merlot, he began to pour himself a glass, “some for you?”

He starred at the red liquid as it filled the wine glass, “I shouldn’t…but my will is weak” grabbing the glass he drank down the wine, and asked for another. “You don’t look like you belong here if you don’t mind me saying”. He said as he pointed to the well dressed man in front of him, “clean cut, nice clothes, manicured, not the sort to hang out here…”

“You’re very observant, I enjoy cleanliness Monsieur Grant, and it is next to how you say, Godliness”.

“Well I can tell you God does not come here, not to this area, so throw me another line, there is a lot of space between you and everyone else here, that only comes from respect or fear, and I am gathering the later” he continued to swirl his glass as he peered around the room making a point to what he just said.

“My name is Pierre Barabe, I have been in this business along time Monsieur Grant perhaps that is why they leave me to my own”.

“Business? What Business would that be?”

“I dabble a bit, in trade of goods, monetary transactions and an intermediary for parties who wish to remain anonymous”.

“Listen, don’t try and bullshit me I’ve dealt with them all, and there is more going on the dabbling”.

“My interests come a source greater than mine, I represent a group of…well lets just say a party that is very keen on re-acquiring some lost property of theirs, and they have asked me to find you because of your special gift?”

“And what gift would that be?”

“Come know Monsieur Grant don’t play stupid it doesn’t suit you, your name is well known in the better parts of Paragon for your Super Group knowledge, your technological expertise, and your studies on Russian Hero’s”.

“That’s fine but why not just come find me themselves why bother with you, what do they gain from talking to you? Who are they?”

“Not who, but what are they is a better question” he paused for a moment as he re-freshened both of their cups, and leaned in to speak closer. “Are you aware of the Rikiti Monsieur Grant?”

“Yes, I mean who isn’t a plague on this city, their intentions are hostile”.

“They have asked to have you get back what they believe is rightfully theirs”.

“Theirs…are you kidding me? Do they plan on giving back the city they crashed into, the one they destroyed? Why not just go get it themselves?”

“You honestly believe they can just go to any part of the city and not be stopped by the hero’s?”

Grant got up and pushed in his chair, “so you’re asking me to be a thief?”

“I am merely asking you to get something for us” Pierre placed a small bound paper bag that was obviously filled with money was pushed across the table.

“Now your calling me a whore” looking down at the money sitting just out of his grasp.

“You need this Monsieur Grant, I now of your financial troubles, while you maybe well regarded, and writing does not pay a lot does it? You are almost broke from your gambling and your questionable habits have kept you from holding a real job” Pierre picked up the bottle shaking it back and forth showing him his drinking addiction. Grant grabbed the money and placed it inside his jacket pocket turned and left.

“Excellent, we will contact you soon” Pierre smiled and began to pour himself another glass, he motioned for the bar tender to bring him another bottle.

To be continued…