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Collecting the Sheep

Posted on Wed Nov 27th, 2019 @ 11:19pm by Unknown & Jonas Barstow & Alden Loxley & Chin Yee & Abigail Preston

Mission: Mission 1: Gearing Up
Location: Persephone, Warehouse District
Timeline: Evening/dark

The universe was a vast expanse, filled with a myriad of sounds, sights and other attractions. Every person, corporation, and government entity was clawing for attention, to be noticed. Lights, sounds, colors, effects; each was used to draw an individual in, bring a sort of meaning or purpose.

That's why, for four different people across Persephone, an additional signal didn't go noticed. It was innocuous at first, a quick flash of light and color at the edge of a viewscreen. However, it quickly became more overt. The make and models of their weaponry. A still image of them, captured from afar. In some cases, their full name. Each attention grab was specifically targeted to the individual, ensuring they would stop in their tracks and pay attention, if only for a few fleeting moments.

There was a thread running through each message, however. A single identical message. It was a location, a warehouse located besides the docks. And they each had roughly half an hour to get there.

At some point dancing with Jonas, Abigail noticed the same pattern, the same frame appearing here and there on the screens and in the reflections of screens that were visible to her. It was unlikely it was visible to others, so brief, so fleeting. But Abigail with her awareness keenly honed during her time as a pilot, picked up on it. And when she did, it came with simply a message and the time of a half an hour. She waited for the dance to end before she made a deep feminine bow to Jonas.

"I am sorry but it looks like I have to go. Maybe we should meet later, Shwai?" She asked Jonas.

Jonas looked at her sideways for a moment. "Uh, yeah, sure, we can meet up later, Bao Bei (sweetheart)," he said, as he stopped dancing. "Enjoy." He left the stage and went back to the table where they had been earlier. Jonas picked up the pitcher of least what was left of it...and chugged it. Warm as it was, it was still beer. He wiped his mouth with his sleeve before heading to a food vendor to grab a bite to eat.

As he took his first bite, he looked up at a large screen next to the entrance. It was advertising the festive and the next events of the day. There was, however, a slight difference at the right border of the screen. There was something...he wasn't sure, but there was something there, on the edge of the screen. He shook his head and looked back at the vendor who'd just sold him the chunk of meat. On his screen, was playing the same advertisement. And the same...flash...flash of color. It happened again seconds later but this time he saw an image of himself with his weapon drawn. He was about to shrug it off when an image of an official-looking file came up. That should never have happened. Never. The whole thing took only a matter of seconds. Frustration mixed with anger as he balled a fist around the chunk of meat.

Chin had glanced up from his beer to see Abigail somewhat distracted while still on the dance floor. And then he saw her turn away from the twisted hair dude, which he thought was also odd. She seemed to be enjoying herself. He realized that something has come up and Chin felt he needed to keep an I on her, well at least watch her back.

Jonas' attention had been gotten. It was then that he saw a location. Growing up on Persephone and having recently taken a job at the docks, he was familiar with the area. He was still somewhat angry and balled his fist around the stick that held the meat. He ripped a piece off with his teeth and chewed it voraciously. An hour and a half...maybe that would be long enough for him to calm down before he got to the warehouse. Or maybe not.

He’d dutifully sat in the passenger seat of the guy’s speeder and answered a bunch of questions. And while the other man - Davis as he’d introduced himself - took his notes, Alden had kept half an eye on the Cortex screen in the vehicle’s console. It seemed to be glitching pretty nastily. Alden flinched as Davis softly sighed, gave the console a hard smack with the heel of his hand, then returned his attention to his personal device.

The glitch got a bit more personal after that. It spat out data in super brief flashes of text.





And two six digit numbers. Then it cut back to a music station and played him a few bars of a song he knew far too well.

Ice water taunted Alden’s veins, but he memorised those digits until he was allowed free from the speeder and back out into the world. Then he checked his own device. Seemed that these coordinates led to a warehouse, which was all kinds of confusing and odd. But also too intriguing not to check out….

So, he went via Teasel’s place, grabbed his gear, some more ammo and a ballistic mesh vest (which he put on under his shirt). Then Alden headed off in the direction of this warehouse, mooching via the older section of market just in case anyone was trailing him. It felt… weird… but he kept his pace nonchalant and even paused on his way through to make a couple of purchases from a ramshackle secondhand goods stall. A lovingly battered acoustic guitar and a comfortably worn-in jacket. It all added to the noise of his journey.

With the guitar slung over his backpack and a lazy approach to this new development, Alden wandered into the general vicinity of said warehouse and adopted a position where he could semi-covertly watch the building for about ten minutes before considering walking any closer.

Abigail went back to the Drunken Duck initially and made twists and turns in the back alleys to ensure she was not being followed. Well, she was. But it was just Chin, so Abi decided not to fuss about it. She still had no idea what was his game exactly. Was he a stalker or a psycho, or just was guided by some weird sense of honor... she couldn't say but if come to worse she was confident she could deal with it.

Eventually though, she turned toward the warehouse. Coming into the alley near the warehouse, Abi was surprised though to see Alden. She thought of sneaking up on him but decided against it, not to startle him.

"Now, that is a surprise to see you here." She said quietly closing in on him.

Chin snuggled down between a large crate and the building it was next to, with all of his senses heightened, yet limited in the darkness of the evening. He had found this whole situation odd, and even wondered why he was even getting himself involved. Back at the Festival, Abigail had paused in a strange way, after which she soon left. Chin was concerned and had followed her discreetly, back to that place from the previous night. He just figured she needed something. He continued to follow her, keeping to the shadows of the evening. He was quite good at this, yet was also no fool. She must have seen him at one point or another, but made no reference in his direction. And now she was down a ways and across the alley from him.

Chin was then very surprised to see Alden. He thought, What is this? Some kind of unspoken jù jí {congregate}? Abigail seemed to be looking at a large warehouse across the street. He wondered, What could have drawn them to this location? He chuckled silently when he realized Abigail looked like she was not going to contact Alden, but watch and wait herself.

Jonas knew the area decently enough, but not so much this specific warehouse. As he crept down the side of a building near the back alley, he patted his favorite sidearm as it rested in its holster and shouldered his sawed off, double-barreled shotgun. Sure, it was crude and older than some of the other long-range weapons he could've had, but it got the job done. And it wasn't a favorite. So if he lost it, he didn't care. The bandolier across his chest held the resupply for the shotgun and his gun belt carried the ammo for his pistol. He pulled a piece of jerky from his pocket that he'd picked at the house and chewed, partially hanging out. He came into the alley and noticed two other people close by. What in the... he thought. He couldn't exactly tell who it was due the darkening evening. And the fact that they were in an alley. He ensured his shotgun was loaded and held it at the ready as he slowly approached the two shadows.

Her voice pierced the quiet semi-darkness before Alden was visually aware of Abigail. As he realised exactly who had wandered into the scene, he shook his head slightly and smiled.

“Hey,” he said, keeping his voice low. “You stalking me?” She might not have been able to see his face clearly, but Alden’s grin coloured his tone enough for her to tell. As he turned to face her, he caught the motion of movement behind them both and called out to (Jonas) the purposeful shadow.

"Two against one, friend," Alden warned in an amicable tone.

Abi kissed the air toward Alden.

"Chin also tagged along." She waved in some general direction where Chin should be on her instinct.

Jonas smirked even though it couldn't be seen in the shadows. "Well," he said in his deep voice, "I reckon it'll be a fair fight then."

Abigail sighed.

"Let me guess, you got a message to get here? What was it? Something on the screen?" She asked in matter-of-fact tone as her face became serious. She was observing the warehouse carefully.

There was no verbal response from Alden in regards to either Jonas’ statement or Abigail’s questions. He hadn’t followed her indication of Chin’s position, he hadn’t raised a weapon in anger against the darkness. Without discussion or deep thought, Alden had immediately begun his next move, out from cover towards the warehouse. He shifted into a flat-out run as he crossed the open space and aimed directly for the nearest visible entrance.

Jonas recognized Abi's voice and lowered his weapon as he approached the group. Then, and rather suddenly, the one he'd nicknamed Rodeo took off running. As he neared Abigail, he spoke. "Hope I didn't scare him off. But he's got a good idea. Whatever the reason for all of this is probably in that warehouse." During the festive, 'professions' never really came up. But the fact that someone like him was here with Abigail and Rodeo was something that didn't escape him. "Maybe we should back him up. Or at least see if he ran into a locked door or something."

Abigail winked at Jonas.

"The last one is a loser." She announced and rushed forward after Alden. She run staying low and looking around carefully. Her hand was near her holstered Sig but for now she was not pulling her gun. She glanced over the shoulder to check if Jonas was coming.

Abigail moved from the cover to cover and then sprinted to join Alden at the entrance. So far, so good, crossed her mind when she reached the wall of the warehouse and calming her breathing stopped next to Alden.

"Hey," he said as she joined him, then Alden shot Abi a grin and looked back towards the alleyway to see what Twisty-Hair Giant and Chin would do.

Chin observed the events before him with curiosity. He watched as each individual moved swiftly and discreetly across the open black expanse to the front of the large warehouse. This whole situation was baffling to him. He didn’t know if they were trying to break in. Was this a heist? Asking himself, Should I join them? Is it really worth it? That was when his eye caught the line of crates on the left side leading to the warehouse, thinking, Maybe they do need a back up. He felt very confident to that regard, so swiftly and discreetly, Chin made his way. Using the shadows of the crates, he crept along in the darkness to the corner of the warehouse.

Jonas shook his head...last one, huh. This Abigail sure was something else. And since the both of them made it over easily enough, Jonas decided not to sprint from cover to cover. He was once again with the group and took a minute to get what bearings he could of the area. "Well I say let's just go on in. We've come this far. But not without a plan. Whaddya guys think? Abi takes point 'cause, well, distraction. Me and Rodeo cover you left and right when we open the door. I'm open for suggestions."

"Rodeo?" Queried Alden with a tilt of his head towards the Big Dude with the Pretty Hair. "Oh," the mental penny dropped and he grinned. "You shouted at me - the dance... Nice." He considered this plan for a millisecond."No, I'll go f...." he started to say, but Abi interrupted.

"I'm in." Abi nodded and moved past Alden, pulling her gun out from her holster, checking it before standing on the other side of the door.

"Who's going to open it?" She asked looking at Alden and Jonas and then meaningfully at the door handle.

"I will," Alden conceded, as he noted both Abi and Jonas already had their weapons drawn. "You guys ready?"

It was at this moment that the warehouse doors began to open of their own accord, allowing a sliver light emanating from the street lights into the otherwise darkened interior. And as it illuminated the interior, it reflected off of the right eye of the figure standing there.

As the doors settled, not opening more than a few feet before halting, the assembled mercenaries were able to take in the man before them for the first time. Garbed in a deep maroon overcoat, emblazoned with a golden crest, he stood roughly six feet in stature, hands folded neatly behind his back. A gleaming rapier, its scabbard studded in precious jewels, and a chrome laser pistol glimmered in the light.

After taking a few moments to look them over, he turned his attention to Alden. "No, Mr. Loxley, I do not believe that you are adequately ready."

For the tiniest of seconds, Alden simply froze with his gaze locked on the newcomer to this odd party. “Wow…” he whispered. After one hell of an entrance (well, technically exit) the nice man in the super expensive outfit addressed him… by name. This was becoming a worryingly familiar theme this visit to Persephone and surprise jolted into defensive humour by way of a reaction.

“That’s a very pretty weapon, Shiny Stranger,” Alden told the man with all the sparkly stuff. He canted his head to the side and offered a lopsided smile, but his hands stayed at his sides, where this guy could see them. “Did we bring guns to a sword fight?”

Abigail instantly pointed the gun at the unknown man as he appeared in the door, while she made one step back slightly to the side to have a good line of fire on the Fancy man without endangering Alden. For a brief moment she was thinking about charging in and knocking him down, but the laser gun stopped her. It was a while since she had seen something like that, and she was very much aware that these guns came always attached to influential people. Beating one right off the bat, seemed like a bit overreacting. Her finger remained on the trigger though.

Holding her SIG pointed at the man Abigail waited for him to finish the dramatic pause, entrance or exit or whatever he was doing and get to the point. Outwardly though, aside from a predatory tension of her muscles, as she was ready to act, she gave the man a half-seductive, half-taunting smile, with the tip of her tongue playfully appearing in the corner of her mouth.

Jonas kept his shotgun pointed at the man and his finger resting on the trigger. Maybe that sword was just for looks or maybe it had spilled some blood, but Jonas was more concerned with what he couldn't see. "Seems like you have one up on us, Fancy Pants. You know our names, but we don't know yours."

Chin made his way quickly across the front of the building, stopping from time to time in the shadows of the crates stacked there. By the time he arrived near the door area, the door had already opened and the group had met a tall man wearing a long reddish coat. To Chin, he seemed rather confident before the group, even with Abigail and Jonas having guns leveled at him. Chin crouched there silently in the shadows back 10 meters or so. It was an odd feeling. He really wasn’t sure why he was doing this. He should be out there trying to find this Stanton character.

On the ground, the tension only continued to build, as the stranger simply smiled. "That you did, Mr. Loxley. And even if this did turn into a gunfight, I'd wager you're rather outmatched."

He turned to the other two, showing little concern for the weapons trained on him. "Trigger discipline, Mr. Barstow, Ms. Preston. Wouldn't want you to get twitchy. Especially my compatriots." He gave a small nod, and at once, three ruby-red lasers illuminated the air around them. Two were concentrated on the armed individuals in front of him, and a third seemed to shine toward a nearby rooftop.

The man's right eye flared for a moment, shining brightly, as his brow furrowed, seemingly scanning the rooftops for where the laser was pointed. After a moment, he smiled. "Ah, I was wondering where he was." He raised his voice, allowing it to boom through the alleyways. "Mr. Yee, if you would kindly join us?"

Chin had been concerned when he saw the laser pointers on the individuals in the group he came to protect. But then when the tall man in Red called for him by name, Chin was quite shocked, but somehow knew that this was a very intelligent and capable person. Slowly and cautiously, Chin Yee stood and walked slowly out of the shadows and made his way to stand next to the group and gave a slight greeting bow of his head.

The unnamed man then turned his attention back to Jonas. "Manners, young man. I haven't introduced myself yet. And I shan't, not yet. If you must refer to me by some ridiculous moniker, you may call me...your Benefactor. Now, as I previously stated, I would appreciate it if you would holster your weapons. After all, these are only my compatriots with non-lethal rounds."

The red lasers confirmed his concern about what he couldn't see. But the non-lethal rounds were an odd ammo to carry at this time of night. "Never been accused of having manners before," said Jonas to their...whatever he was. "And I'm not right sure that I personally need a benefactor, Benefactor. But if that's what you wanna go by, then so be it." He eased his finger off the trigger of his shotgun and, while holding the stock, laid it over his shoulder.

For once, Alden kept quiet as the stranger addressed them all in turn. He remained just exactly where he was, taking that opportunity of his extreme close proximity to take a really good look at this powerful human conundrum while the man conducted his business. His business of putting them all in their places. He paid close attention to that tech-rich eye, but noted the man’s mannerisms too, the way he spoke, the way he moved. That confident surety that he was in complete control.

Red lasers didn’t cause Alden any real concern, it was the rounds that followed them a person had to worry about and if he’d wanted them all dead - well, this guy could have done that easily enough. Still they did make a heavy point look real pretty.

“Non-lethal?” Alden couldn’t resist asking, after Jonas and this ‘Benefactor’ conversed. “Well, ain’t that intriguing… what exactly is it you want from us, mysterious benevolent stranger?”

For Abigail it was wrong on so many levels. Or maybe it was just her free spirit that didn’t like to be reined by some fancy dressing Wang Ba Dan in such way he was trying to do. She kept her gun aimed at the man for a while longer, waiting for others to react, and only when Jonas lowered his weapon, she slowly put her SIG back in the holster.

Not entering the conversation, with her face neutral, though eyes coldly assessing the man, Abigail remained in her place, muscles tensed and ready to pounce. Be it at the Fancy Pants or to duck behind cover.

Chin stood his ground and remained quiet, but the words that he heard began to pass through his mind, Benefactor . . . Benevolent Stranger . . . Compatriot. He confirmed, at least in his mind, that this man was not here to hurt them. Non-lethal rounds. But he felt that this man in red had somehow drawn them here and possibly needed their skills. With exasperation Chin thought, What did I get myself into? Chin realized that running was probably not an option.

The Benefactor, unmoving from his relaxed position, merely nodded as the weapons were withdrawn. He merely shrugged at the comments directed towards him. "I am the Benefactor to a great number of people, Mr. Barstow, and I should think that you would want to join their numbers."

He then turned to them. "What I offer each of you is an opportunity. A job, if you will. Long term, even. And it will take the simplest form. I just need you all in the right place at the right time."

The man smiled. "Each of you seek different things out of this craziness called life. And it just so happens that I can offer those things to you. A clean slate for one of you, platinum. One of you wants revenge, and the other might find some catharsis in our line of work. Plus, two of you want to pay tribute to someone you lost, in one way or another."

In that entire time, his gaze hadn't changed, ensuring that he did not give away who was who. However, he was assured that the intent of his message sunk in. "Those of you who want out are welcome to leave, right now. After all, I'll only take volunteers. Feel free to stay here and discuss it amongst yourselves. Just know that the clock is ticking, and I won't be offering this opportunity again."

His right eye glowed for a moment, as his eyes darted from side to side. Then, the door behind him began to grind open once again, stopping at the same small opening it did before. "I suppose I'll see you inside. Or I won't." With that, he turned his back to them, and proceeded inside.

Well didn't that just smack of foreshadowing something way worse, or way more interesting, than he'd expected on this beautiful rock. Alden took in the pretty words, in particular 'right place and right time' and he shook his head slowly. This was a bad idea, wasn't it? And yet... He wasn't exactly legging it in the opposite direction. He did look side to side at his companions, just taking in their facial expressions for a second as he mulled over this decision.

"Fuck it," said Alden with a gentle shrug of his shoulders. And without any further overthinking on the situation, he followed the man into the warehouse.

Chin looked curiously to Abigail to see what her response was going to be.

Abigail simply shook her head and looked at Jonas and then at Chin. What she saw and heard was not good enough for her.
"I am not going inside,” She announced to them deciding already that she was not following Alden. "This is way above the level of complications I consider fun." She shrugged and stepped back. Abi was unconvinced by the offer, especially considering her last job. Part of her attention was focused on the roofs around. Whoever was hiding there with lasers, possibly attached to weapons, was likely to be still there.

Jonas watched Alden enter and then turned his attention to back to the other two. "Well, I reckon that's your choice, Abi. I've never been much of a joiner, but I'd like to hear what he has to say. Especially if the pay is good and it means gettin' off this rock. You two pretty faces can stay right here if you want." He turned and followed Alden and the Benefactor inside.

Chin’s eyes followed Jonas as he walked toward the open door, then turned back to Abigail. It seemed to Chin that she was not going to participate. Chin didn’t like the idea that this ‘Benefactor’ knew all about them, and he gave them very few details to base an important decision. Looking down with concern and consideration, Chin knew that this meant getting off this rock and further away from the Reinhearts. There was a major trust factor that needed to be dealt with here.

Looking up at Abigail, “There definitely are some questions that need to be answered.” He paused to let that thought hover in his own mind before adding, “But we won’t get those answers standing out here.”

Abigail looked at Chin, her usual taunting grin returning.
"Then go ahead. I am returning to the festivities." She gave him a lazy salute and began moving back, watching the roofs and other potential places where someone could try to ambush her.

Chin remained silent as he soon became alone. He finally turned and walked through the doorway into the warehouse.

For the three men who entered, before them was a largely empty hanger, devoid of most contents. A few shipping containers dotted the perimeter, which was barely illuminated by the dim light cast through the windows. The entire structure probably sat 75 feet high, and a few hundred feet deep. What undoubtedly drew their attention, however, was a single beam of light, piercing down from the ceiling like a beacon. And standing in that light was the stranger.

Here, in this much more illuminated cone, they could make out his features. A tall, handsome man, seemingly unburdened by the weight of the world. His maroon overcoat was matched by gloves of soft leather, seemingly dyed to match. He had one gleaming gold eye, the light reflecting off its surface, while the other was green and piercing. As they entered, he gave each man a subtle nod.

"It is unfortunate that Ms. Preston seems unwilling to join you. Alas, we will proceed without her. Your job is simple, gentlemen. Wait here. In a few hours time, a ship will be arriving to drop off cargo. The name of this ship is the Geronimo, and her captain is Clayton Stanton. When it arrives, you shall join his crew. Do what he asks you to do, and you'll get paid like a normal member of a ship of that caliber. What will earn you a far greater pay, however, is the additional duty I task each of you with."

"From time to time, I'll reach out to you, and ask a few questions. For answering them truthfully and honestly, and by ensuring the captain remains unawares, I will pay you handsomely. Fail to do so, or reveal your connection to me, and you forfeit the money, not only for yourself, but for all three of you. A pretty simple arrangement, I believe."

Mr Mysterious liked the spotlight on occasion it seemed. Alden let his gaze wander about the edges of the scene as the well-dressed potential patron spoke, but if there was danger in here, then like it had been outside, it was well concealed. It didn’t make sense, not right now at least, as to why this ship’s captain would take on three (or four) strangers, and Alden frowned at their intended work - spying. He didn’t like the sound of that. But then, at least Mysterious was upfront about that, he supposed. He turned his attention back as the showman stopped talking, then immediately looked to Jonas.

“Abigail’s waiting outside?” Alden asked, curious. She and Chin had been actively seeking out this Stanton character only yesterday. He didn’t answer the question of the job itself just yet.

Now that this man was in the light, he didn't look like he belonged on Persephone. Or any world farther out than Persephone. "Yeah," Jonas said to Alden, "she's still outside. Didn't want to come in. Though, about his offer..." He turned to face Fancy Pants. "Gettin' some pay to get on a ship and off this rock is good. But I've never been one to spy. If you could get hold of what I saw on that cortex screen, you know that. I don't spy. Frame ain't quite built for sneaky anyway." He hesitated a moment. He knew his real line of work and if the others were here, he had a suspicion of theirs. "You got somebody you want pushin' up daisies and not have it trace back to you, then I'm your man. So long as you can pay. That said, what exactly does 'handsome pay' look like if it means turnin' on this Stanton fella?"

Chin had not been surprised by the spectacle of the man in red standing in the single light from above. He seemed to Chin to have so far a flare for the dramatic. That gleaming eye made him truly curious, but not enough to ask. He agreed with some of Jonas’ comments. Looking to Alden, Chin reported, “Abigail left. She said something about going back to the party and this not being . . um, a fun situation, . . or something like that.”

Looking from Jonas to Chin and back again, Alden considered their words. He had to respect Jonas' honesty, the idea of such a subterfuge far less attractive to Alden than the thought of a - at least relatively - honest living. Of course, at this point, he had no idea why this Stanton needed to be spied upon, but the truth was unlikely to come from this particular resource either. For now, Alden would play along, see where things led.

"I'm just gonna check if she's still out there," Alden noted, realising that he had no means, other than her room at the Duck, by which to reconnect with the young woman. "We have a few hours, right?" He asked the man in the spotlight, then moved to check outside.

The Benefactor turned to each man in turn. "No one said anything about betrayal, Mr. Barstow. Just information. Ideally, I believe you all will end up quite aligned."

He then turned to Alden. "Yes, I believe you still have some time. However, I'd recommend being here when the Geronimo arrives."

Chin was surprised that Alden was going to leave. The Man did say ‘wait here’. By the sound of those words, Chin didn’t think that was going to be an option. Chin’s eyes had grown wide with astonishment when he heard that the ship Captain’s name would be Stanton. Everything did seem to be coming together. Chin wondered what kind of magical power this Man in red had to know all their secrets. Yet the secret he was asking of them was great. A secret for money. Information for money. Maybe this is how the man in red accomplished the many seemingly magical knowledge.

"I won't be long," Alden promised. She'd probably tell him to get lost, but he needed to at least pass on the information. "I'll be back." He cast his glance over the others briefly and mustered up a smile. "Besides, I can pick up some road snacks on the way back through the festivities..."

Alden’s last comment about snacks brought a slight up-curve to the left side of Chin’s mouth. Chin had been surprised that Alden was going to leave at all. ‘The Man’ did say ‘wait here’. By the sound of those words, Chin didn’t think that was going to be an option. Chin’s eyes had grown wide with astonishment when he heard that the ship Captain’s name would be Stanton. Everything did seem to be coming together. Chin wondered what kind of magical power this Man in red had to know all their secrets. Yet the secret he was asking of them was great. A secret for money. Information for money. Maybe this is how the man in red accomplished the many seemingly magical knowledge.

After Alden left, Chin looked to Jonas, uncertain what to say or how to respond. If one of them let on about this secret, according to the Man in Red, then all would suffer. This would be a pact among their three against a man that Chin really didn’t know and possibly the others not know as well. Chin’s father would call this a manipulation of the masses. One had to ask, in the end, who would cause the pact to fail. Did they have the right to hold this secret against their boss? Chin further asked himself, ‘just who would be his boss after this moment?’ It was a conundrum that he, Alden, and Jonas would have to discuss and finally agree.

Jonas nodded. "Well, no betrayin' is a good thing I suppose." He also noted that Fancy Pants didn't answer his question about what handsome pay looked like. And for a mercenary who lived for the next payday, it kinda chaffed him. But he accepted it for the time being as he watched the others go off for their own business. Well, Alden go off on business. The little Chinese man who hadn't talked much hung around. As for himself, Jonas pulled a couple crates against a wall and made decent seat. He pulled a cloth from a pocket and sat down to wipe his favorite pistol.


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