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[Setting] Justina Drive 2

| >>975129
>Black suit seems to not the take the comment lightly, he crosses his arms.

"People cannot be reduced to such simple notions, Miss Akiba, especially not the people who make their lives here; that is what I have learned in all my years of business. It is proper to show respect to this precept."

>He leans forward.

"The message on the board was meant to find Friends of the Demiurge, for my purpose in coming to this city has to deal with him, and his dissapearance."

| >As Black suit is having his conversation, HERMES slowly makes his way around the room, inspecting the papers and tapes in the middle of the room, then later turning his attention to the map.

| >>975198
>The myriad of books and paperss seem to all be written in a foreign language, you wouldn't happen to know how to read yiddish would you? or Greek? The few which are in English seem to relate to something called "The singularity" a lot.
>The map of Glitch City is stacked with notes in Greek, alongside pinned photos and that wireframe as mentioned before.
>Four places are highlighted in marker
>The GC Capitol, Neon, Midnight and Downtown.

| >>975204
>As it happens, HERMES does know Greek, although it doesn't really help him understand anything on the papers better. Instead, he simply commits them to memory so he can add them to the database later.

| >Black suit turns back his attention to Roy and Aikawa.

"Let me start from the beginning, if you don't mind."

>He clears his throat, despite knowing it to be useless, he didn't have a proper throat after-all

"The Demiurge is gone, but of his own will, as of this last week, he has taken his disciple to a secure location which is unknown even to me."

>He pauses

"He is out of options, for LS has now been attacking not him, but his protegé, she is in a way... a weakness to him."

| >Black suit sighs, shaking his head

"Unlike reasonable adults who care not to involve children in our squabbles, LS is very much still immature; he saw the opportunity to interfere and thus forced our common friend's hand."

>Black suit rubs the bridge of his nose

"I had asked him once about an interesting problem to me, A thought exercise: I had asked him how one could avoid foretold ruin. Knowing his answer to that question. I planned for this eventuality in secret."

| >Akiba is still on her phone ever since the man on the other end called her
>She seems relieved it's not Tsu again
"What do you want? I'm a little busy right now."

| >>975292
"Well maybe this might be a bit of a weird question but you do sleep with Tsu so you might know better than me."

>A beat.

"Be honest Akiba... is my daughter gay?"

| >>975293
>Akiba's face twists in abject disgust
"...CN, she's as straight as they come. She can't shut up for two seconds about all sorts of the 'sexy guys' on the matrix or some shit."
>Now she's pissed
"Did you seriously call me just for this shit? I'm going to hang up if you did."

| >>975295
"Huh... I mean- okay look nevermind."
>CN's voice immediately gets more serious.
"No, it's not. I've been told by some others that you seem to be upset about something. I wanted to check up on you to make sure everything is okay?"

| >>975296
>She sends the general direction of Roy and Aikawa a death glare basically meaning 'who tattled?'
"I'm fine, in fact I was feeling great just a second ago, until you called me and took the whole wind out of my sails."
>She seethes
"Now are you done asking me stupid questions? I'd rather not answer any more stupid questions."

| >>975298
"...Akiba, what is going on? I've never seen you acting like this before. Regardless of how I heard things, my concern is still genuine you know. I worry about your wellbeing."

| >>975300
>Akiba's face is slowly twisting into a look of pure rage and annoyance, like an Oni
"I'm in the middle of something important, and I'd rather not have the whole parent-child 'Please talk to me' schtick right now, understood? I might be almost blind, but I'm not someone you need to coddle and worry about. Now please go focus on something else."
>She exhales
"Your daughter is watching a stupid movie, how about going with her? Don't you love Keanu? Oh boy, it's Keanu!"

| >Aikawa and Roy have been sitting together quietly as this entire exchange is taking place-- Roy doing his best to absorb what Black Suit is saying while Aikawa fumes to herself. She's both embarrassed by her outburst, and by Akiba's undue ridicule in front of at least one person who knows /of/ her. Where is this coming from? As far as she can remember, the little vampire wasn't like this on the farm...

| >>975301
"Okay... sorry to bother you then. I'll check up on you later."
>CN does the worst thing he could do. Instead of getting mad or upset, he just sounds... dejected. Nice job vampire.

| >>975302
>Black suit gives you a knowing gaze and nods twice... or well you think it's a knowing gaze; it's hard to tell with his cracked face.

| >>975219
"A-ah, please... continue, Black Suit."

>Roy quickly casts a worried glance over his shoulder at his former housemate. What's going on over there...? It's... making it a little hard to focus--

">>>Hey, y'wanna do the>>>polite >>>thing 'n take that shit out t'the>>>balcony? 'Sruptive's>>>fuck."

>Aikawa booms loudly, crossing one leg over the other as she leans back in her chair. She squints at Akiba out of one narrowed eye.

| >>975306
"Well, with your permission..."

>He once more clears his throat.

"As I have, I took his answer to my quandry in a quite paranoid way, I saw the proverbial writing on the wall and could not deny this feeling of mine. Thus I decided to build a plan in case the worst came to be"

>He stares at everyone within the room in turn

"I am sorry to say that my worries have paid off... soon this city will be a warzone, due to an enemy that cannot be beaten by normal means..."

| >He sighs

"But thankfully, we have an edge, the fact is, that enemy is so concerned with the Demiurge, that he is incapable of seeing anything else as a threat, especially not those who play on a lower field than he does"

>He clasps his hands together

"The only way to stop this madness and return our friend to us, is to use this edge, to foil the steps of his plan and wrestle the power he is abusing from under his very feet, then and only then will Grant be able to face him."

| >He lifts up his head, specifically looking at Gomi and HERMES.

"I am sorry to involve you into this very personal messs of ours, but when I said that I may have uses for help, I meant that I can use all the help I can get. Of course, I will make it worth your while."

| >>975303 >>975304
>Akiba just sighs
>She then hangs up before turning to Aikawa
"Sorry about that, I would stand up and leave if I wasn't distracted though."
>She motions to her cane
"Hard to know where the balcony even is when I'm too upset to think. I'm very sorry. Even to you, Black Suit."
"A warzone, huh? Well, the signs are there. So, what is your plan? I doubt whoever is sowing chaos understands for who they're even playing, so how do we mess them up?"

| >>975316
>Black Suit's grin grows wider, yes now was the time to lay it down.

"It's simple. Our enemy is a liar and an imitator, all we need is to confront him with [Truth]."

>His voice lowers an octave

"If a thousand lies make up a single truth, then it is up to us to face the pile with our own facts, it is in effect a simple matter of stopping him as the count reaches 999."

| >>975319
"... Not sure'm pickin' up what yer puttin' down. You talkin' 'bout'n ambush? Me'n Walker gonna end up bein' the two guys 'n the gift horse costume?"

"Ah-- >>>Trojan horse costume, and--"

"Whatever. Callin' the front. >>>You gotta be the ass; too fuckin' tall fer me t'see 'round."

>Roy turns to Black Suit, clearly beginning to feel worn out from this ordeal. Tired eyes plead the man in front of him to throw him a line.

| >>975339
>Black suit shakes his head

"Rather than the ones within the horse, you will be the envoys who bring it where it needs to be, There is no need for any to be involved with the murder within the walls of Troy..."

>He gets up from his chair

"Simply, I need your help to retrieve some necessary components to begin our preparation, the proverbial wood to build the 'Horse'"

| >>975342
"I'm guessing they don't sell your kind of wood at the hardware store."
>Akiba crosses her legs with an annoyed look on her face
"Are we going to need 10 young wolf pelts from the nearby forest, as well? Maybe a Golden Rod or two while we're at it."
>She seems a little deflated by now
"I have someone waiting around that could help if it's out of the way. So let's hear how bad it gets."

| >>975344
>Black suit nods

"It's the kind they used to manufacture in Flooded, if you catch my meaning. Computer parts, we need computer parts; old parts."

| >>975358
"Flooded, huh? Well, hand over a list of parts to my more... eye enabled compatriots, then, we shouldn't waste any more time, right?"
>She twirls her cane
"I have a terrible feeling about all of this. Something bad is about to happen, very bad."
>Akiba seems stressed, but she quickly catches herself
"Gomi, was it?"
>She addresses the room at large, unsure of where the woman went
"Looks like your skill set will come in handy. Might even turn a hefty profit."

| >>975313
"I'm in this of my own will. If I wasn't, I would already be out of your hair."

>HERMES replies, though he's still looking at the maps and papers.

"Besides, this has already proven to be pretty interesting. You can count me in."

| >>975313

>Gomi listening intently, fiddling with her hands while deep in thought during the conversations.

"Fact a' the matter is, suits. Lived in GC all my life -- you tell me my penchant for hustlin' for old shit can play a part in somethin' big like this; You *KNOW* I'm good for it."

"Took a few tours around Flooded, back in the day -- Might have some of the shit you're lookin' for but if not, I could always use some more excuses for a hunt."

| >>975358

>Gomi opens her backpack and light emits from it for a brief period until a small LCD screen with a face on it uses noisy makeshift robotic spider legs to crawl out of the backpack and onto Gomi's shoulder.

"Can you be specific as to what you're needin', bud?"

| >>975358

>She holds a finger towards the makeshift robot on her shoulder, like it's a stranger's dog and she's attempting to get it to lick her hand.

"Litterbug here's handy; keeps track of my inventory, easily interfaces with all sortsa tech, and cute as a button too o'course."

>She shrugs a shoulder.

"Dunno, where it came from, but I'm not one for details."

>The display shines a bright blue as a " ^_^ " emoticon flashes on the droids display."

| >>975401
"We are looking for an old computer, something made in 1975, lost in the Redmond part of Flooded, atleast, the last time my contacts have heard of it..."

>He pulls out a picture from one of the piles on his desk, confirming it's content before flicking it across the surface of the desk, facing Gomi and the others

"An IBM 1500, Which previously belonged to the ACRAS consortium, it has source code and programs which will greatly help us deal with the plan I am building."

| >>975396
"Thank-you, I am sure your help will be of great use to us, especially with the city being as tense as it is now."

>He bows his head slightly.

"I am sorry it's such a specific part I am in need of, it'll be like trying to find a needle in a haystack."

>He stares at Gomi and her "bug".

"Can you do it?"

| >>975422

>Gomi barks some orders at the droid sitting on her shoulder.

"LB, you heard him! How many IBM 1500s we got?"

>The little machine beeps, before replying in a high pitch "speak-and-spell"-like voice.

"Yes, Pyper! We searching now."

>Gomi frowns.

"It's Gomi, *Go* *Mi*"

>She sighs, scratching the back of her neck and turning back to Black Suit.

"You said it yourself, it's a needle in a haystack but I'll see what I can do. Might as well peep my own inventory first."

| >>975422

"But, while LB here is cooking. Could you tell me. If these old PCs contain valuable data like that, Is there any guarantee you'd still find 'em in the haystack?"

>Gomi's eyes start shifting around as she starts to ramble, essentially just restating the question.

"I wasn't privy to this info til now o' course but who's to say some other scavs like me haven't walked away with 'em already?"

| >>975422
>The lilim simply nods in acknowledgement before turning to Gomi

>>975490 >>975487
"If that's the case, then maybe we can negotiate with the scavs to get the item?"

>HERMES suggests.

| >>975490
>Black Suit nods

"A worthy concern, but fret not, it should still be there, my associates have discovered old signals that originate from it's network chip, it's how we figured out it was in Redmond in the first place, the location is simply not accurate enough for us to pin point it down."

>Black Suit explains

"If our information is correct however, we believe someone who knows a lot about this unit may still be in Glitch City as of this moment, she may be a lead."

| >>975610
>Akiba raises a brow
"And who is this mystery person? I'm betting that since the old terminal's over there and not here, you have some cryptic clue as to who they are, but no concrete proof."
>She takes out her phone and begins typing without waiting for an answer
"IBM 1500, though? I'm fairly certain I heard someone mention that before... who the hell was it again?"
>She groans as the gears turn in her head
>Do your best, vampy


| >>975629
"Now, now, surely my language may be stiff, but I think calling me cryptic is going a bit too far. To prove it, I'll give you one better; a name."

>Black suit picks out his business card holder once more and pulls out a small piece of paper from it, passing it on towards Gomi across the desk

"Elaine Douji, She should be able to point you in the right direction, she apparently possessed the sister unit to the one we need."


| "... Fetch quest."


"Called us here fer a >>>fetch >>>quest. Y'wanna buncha normies t'put t'gether'n oldtech flavored Instacart order for ya."

>Aikawa, please-- they don't call it that here. Use some lame parody name-- "Magic Cartpet", "Basket Task-It", "Trolley Problems Solved"...

"Got that right?"

>She doesn't necessarily have a problem with it, if she's indeed understood correctly. This /is/ meeting them at their level. It just feels weird.

| >>976032
>Black suit rubs the back of his neck, almost uncomfortably aware of the nature of his 'request'

"As much as it pains me to admit, Without this machine, well; there is no starting anything... Without it, Bringing Grant back to us will be very difficult."

>He pauses for a beat

"But of course, the proper job to the proper people, such is another precept of business isn't it? I believe both of you will have enough work as it is... with the way things are going."

| >Black Suit leans forward

"So consider this simply an introduction, as well as reassurance; there is something to be done, and we will do everything within our power to bring back our common friend."

>He taps the card-holder he still held

"I give you my word, for words are my business."

| >>976034 >>976035

"... A'ight."

>There's a process to all things, and it's not like either member of the couple can predict the path this one will take.

"... Y'know anythin' 'bout >>>his friend's gone missin'?"

>That's right... I'm not sure they've even raised this topic with their host, in the panic that ensued upon the revelation that Grant's disappeared.

"Ah, yes-- that's... actually why we came out here tonight, in the first place."

| >>976040
>Black suit tilts his head slightly at the question.

"His friend you say? Could you be a bit more specific"

>He leans back into his chair, thinking.
>Now, which friend was this? The surgeon? The one who had disfigured him? or another yet unknown to him?

| >>976042
"'Tender'n Midnight. Name's Vincent."

>She can't remember his last name at the moment, but it was in that case file. That's what started this little investigation of hers-- that "oddly specific report" of some unsavory happenings in a checkered district.

"Grant makes beer for'm t'sell."

| >>976045
>Black Suit taps the desk with his fingers.
>Vincent, the dead man walking... Trouble.

"I'm afraid it's not a pleasant story to hear. Rather; it's not even a pleasant story to tell considering the meaning of it all."

>Black suit cringes slightly, where to begin?

"I won't sugarcoat it, for both of our sakes: Vincent is dead, he has been dead."

| >>976055
>Aikawa feels her tongue curl up tight and stick itself her hard palate, like a freshly salted snail that some misinformed do-gooder has tried to rehydrate with liquid nitrogen. With difficulty, she manages to croak around her mouthful of astronaut escargot:

"... F-fer... how long-- 's >>>Grant know?"

>Of course he does. What a stupid question. Her lip trembles.

| >>976179
>Black Suit looks straight ahead, thinking.

"A while now. He was the one who hired some cleaners to check up on him. He had been dead for a month when they found him."

>Black Suit shakes his head in disgust.

"Francis, an associate of mine, was the one who tipped him off about the situation."

| >Akiba simply observes the exchange, but doesn't say a word as she studies the tone of Aikawa's voice
>She shuts her eyes and keeps in silence, loss is never easy for anyone, so she simply listens and thinks
>Elaine Douji... the name is unfamiliar and unknown, she'll need to ask Black Suit, but for now, she simply waits

| >>976181
"... Met'm... 'round the time that biomodded lilim'n Midnight bit it..."

>She plays with the fabric of her jeans, bunching the denim stretched over her knee into ridges and valleys within the confines of her clawed fingers.

"... Really him?"

>Or, somebody else...? Could this have been how that LS fucker got the idea to call her out to the underpass? Vincent was Grant's height...

| >>976190
>Black Suit places a hand on the bridge of his (very broken) nose, bio-modded lilim? In his absence it seems the city had been more eventful than he thought. Ten years... seems like he would have to collect more information.

"Sadly, I do not know. As much as I would like to be able to definitely answer you, I believe the only ones who would know are either Francis or the Cleaners who found the body."

| >>976194
"... Can y'hook me up wi'this Francis... when we got time? I--"

>She's switched from picking at threads, to anxiously bouncing that leg. What is she going to do? If it turns out that her willingness to accept that man's kindness led to her near ruin, she'll...

"... There's some stuff I really gotta know. Know't's not the first thing'n our agenda righ' now... can wait-- but I gotta find't out eventually."

| >>976196
>Black suit nods, pulling out a card from his pocket, along with a pen, he scribbles some words on the underside of the paper before handing it over.

"Here, his card, I've also written down his phone number."

>The card is similar to his own:
>Francis GOLCONDA: Sublime research department, Tetragrammaton.

| >Black Suit leans back into his chair after having handed out the card.

"Francis is a good man, but his appearance and demeanor is odd, please don't hold it against him."

| >>976202
"... 'Zat s'posed t'mean?"

>Are we talking "wears shorts year round, even in nard-freezing weather" odd? "James Bond villain with a third nipple on his back" odd? "Interdimensional pianist/biblical angel wombo-combo" odd?

"Jus'... don' wanna be s'prised."

>Or make any wise remarks within this guy's earshot. Mindshot? Grant heard every single variation of "Triangle Face" she'd called him in her head during their first meeting...

| >>976206
>Black Suit paused a second, how much should he say?

"Let's say he has lost his head... in the literal sense of the term; he has no head."

>He chuckles

"He is a good man, but his dedication to his research is... intense."

| >>976209
>... There's a stunned silence from both members of the couple.

>"... That /really/ possible?"

>"Ah, well-- I've heard of a... /chicken/ that survived a beheading-- but, unless Diogenes was wrong about man being 'featherless', I... don't think that's analagous, in this case."

"... >>>What?"

>She says it out loud. She can't help it. Some of the shit that comes out of Roy sometimes is straight up baffling to her.

| >>976296
>Aikawa starts at the sound of her own voice, eyes like those of a deer in headlights upon realizing what's happened.


Roy, on the other hand, keeps quiet-- if he doesn't open his mouth, Black Suit will just think his wife's asking a follow-up question, right...?

>"Will you /quit/ fuckin' sayin' weird shit like that out'n public?!"

>Oh, if /only/ I weren't (Roy) Alexander...

| >>976296
>Black Suit simply nods seriously. He also found it bizzare at first.

"Considering his area of expertise, I'd be hard-pressed to tell you how he accheived such a thing, or why; but it certainly makes a fine showing of his... excentricity."

| >>976364
>"Eccentric" is a very... charitable way of describing a person whose head looks like they put their nose to a /belt sander/ rather than a grindstone for love of their profession. Yikes.

"... Get workman's comp fer that?"


>Roy runs his thumb and forefinger over the bridge of his nose, squeezing his eyes shut.

"He said Francis >>>volunteered to do it."

| >>976440
>Roy gnaws on the inside of his cheek to avoid telling his wife to "knock it off"-- but, because his request goes unvoiced, it also goes unheard:

"Maybe he only meant t'take a li'l off the top-- y'know, got'n a fight with a >>>lawnmower 'stead of a>>>tractor."

>Roy turns to Black Suit, mortified. "Front of the ambulance" talk is for... when you're in the front of the ambulance, not... anywhere else.

| >>976440
>Black Suit chuckled, shrugging his shoulders in an exaggerated motion.

"You should ask him yourself, I myself have never dug too far into his past, such digging often times create unfortunate rifts in-between partners"

>Black Suit says, there's a certain weight to his words, despite his joking, it's clear he greatly respects this 'Francis'

"The path of truth is cruel to those who travel it's passes, especially so in our field."

| >>976443
>The acerbic flavor of Aikawa's wit dilutes and mellows as she's reminded how they arrived on the topic of Francis in the first place. She nods somberly, and places the card with his name written on it in the pocket where she's tucked Black Suit's unmarked business card.

| >>976443
>Akiba finally chimes in again after having listened for a while
"Seekers of Truth always end up gone in some way... or in a body bag. No exceptions to *that* rule."
>She stands up and grasps her cane, tapping it around before nodding to herself

| >>976488
>Black Suit simply laughs.

"They say that Boys ought to be ambitious, I have found through lived experience that even old men can still feel the pull of ambition."

>He stares at Akiba, his broken smile tersely smirking.

"It is simply in our nature, danger be damned."

| >>976524
"I guess making stupid decisions for the kick of it is the epitome of-"
>She makes giant quotation marks with her fingers
>She says the word disdainfully, with a grimace on her face
"No matter, I guess if you turn up as just a head or something I'll at least have some nice things to say at your funeral, though I doubt I'd be invited."
>She smirks

| >HERMES has, by this point, finished looking at the documents, and has given himself a place to sit somewhere within the room, listening in to the conversation and taking more notes within his head.

| >>976695
>Black suit remains quiet, simply staring at Akiba.
>He has said what he needed to say; further words are meaningless between those who will not compromise on their respective paths.

"I am sorry to bore you with all these conversations, allow me to apologize in earnest."

>He lowers his head slightly to HERMES

"Your particular talents may become more relevant to us in the future however, please bear with me."

| >>976695
"Miss Isoue--"

>The time has finally come where Roy's decided he's had enough of this. He's had enough of it more or less since it started, actually-- but, figured Akiba had her reasons, and so he'd let it go.

"I-I'm sorry, but... what are you trying to accomplish, here? What are you... trying to say-- trying to... prove...?"

>If all this ridicule was purely for her own enjoyment, she'd have stopped by now, right? There must be some point...

| >>976834
>Akiba seems to study Roy's tone for a while before her face goes for another sigh
"Are you really asking me that? Well... I guess Cleo was right. People have to talk if you want to understand them."
>She turns to face Roy
"The biggest reason I'm so... upswt and bitchy right now is because of many things. Well, some are personal, but one of them's because of you and your wife."
>She seems... awkward now, embarrassed

| >>976880
"As soon as I walked in here you almost immediately brought up one of my sore spots: my diet. Not only that, but you assumed that I was upset because of it or something."
>She's blushing a little
"To me, Roy, that's... I'll give you an example. It's like if you ate Aikawa's pudding or something and she got mad. Your response is then; 'Why so upset? Is it your period, honey?'
>She's shivering with shame and a little anger by now

| >>976881
"And then when she snarks back and gets more annoyed, your first reaction isn't to apologize but to call her mom to fill her in. 'Ah yes, mama Kawa, your daughter needs some kind words and a warming pad I think."
>By now, Akiba's face is completely red
"Plus I have to sit here and get treated like a child! The only person in this room who's really treated me as something of an equal is oddly enough; Black Suit."
>She finally calms down
"And I am very thankful."

| >>976883
"So no, that last talk wasn't mockery. I'm not human either. I just hate how human-centric language is. Understood? I don't like the guy but I can respect him. I'm just too much of a stupid dumb tsundere, got it?"
>She huffs and looks away, face crimson like blood

| >Black Suit looks from Akiba to Roy, his features trying their best to "soften"

"Do not worry, I was never offended, if she had truly meant to wound me, she would have targeted a much sorer spot I am sure, I believe this is merely her way of showing concern."

>He puts a hand to his neck, scratching the back of it

"Although presomptous of me, I believe the young lady is simply... Caring, in her own way; unnecessary it may be."

>He chuckles

"I can see she cares deeply."

| >>976886
>Akiba puts her face in her hands
"Kuh... kill me..."

| >>976813
"No need to apologize. Believe it or not, I'm enjoying listening to this reunion."

>HERMES simply replies.

"It is very... interesting."


| >>976915
>Black suit nods

"I am glad then. And would prefer to return to the topic at hand, I feel as if I have kept you all here for a bit too long."


| >>977416
>HERMES shrugs, as a kind of a "go on" gesture.

| >>977577
>Black suit nods, there is a hint of thankfulness in his action, he did not aim to dwell on these personal matters between the vampire and her ex-roomates.

"Let us wrap this up with a recap then, after which we may disband our little midnight meet-up"

>He faces Gomi first:

"Miss Gomi, I would like to hire you in an official capacity, acquiring this old PC is the first step of my plan, and saddly I am not at liberty to move freely within the city as of yet."

| >He pauses, before tapping once more the tiny card on hiss desk; the one where he had written the contact information for of "Elaine Douji"

"The means through which you acquire the machine are up to you, but I will make sure the commission I offer is equal to your efforts"

>He adds, before turning to face HERMES

"As for you, Mister Hermes; I believe you are part of a group yes? one which is... martially inclined?"

| >>977578 >>977580
"Yes. You've got a target?"

>HERMES replies, finally standing up.

| >>977581
>Black Suit shakes his head

"Not yet, but knowing the recent leaks of data, I believe force may become another valued tool of my business, I would like to be able to contact you in case your assistance proves to be necessary; would that be acceptable?"

>He leans into the desk, clasping his hands together, a perfectly executed 'Gendo pose'

"My associates may also require your services; do not fret, we are ready to pay well."

| >>977582
"Very well."

>HERMES replies, producing a metallic business card with a dataport on the side and sliding it on the desk towards Black Suit.

"It will cost you -- we're still mercenaries, after all -- but if price's no object, then tell us what to hit, and we'll get it done."

| >>977584
"Money is no object. Thank-you."

>He picks up your card, sliding it within the inner lining of his coat

"Now, for both of you..."

>He turns to Aikawa and Roy

"I am sorry to have so little information to give about your missing friend; but I am certain Francis will be able to help you in your search... as for the plan I am building, I would prefer if you could help, but I do not want to put friends of Grant at any risk."

>He pauses

| "Plus, I believe your jobs will be keeping you busy soon, what with the uncoming storm."

>His tone is dry, serious.

"Please keep yourselves safe, We will do our best in the meanwhile, to resolve all of this."

| >Akiba stands up herself, her face finally regaining it's normal ashy countenance
"I guess I'll look into Elaine Douji and all that. Try and get something going for when shit'll inevitably hit the fan."
>She takes out her phone
"This'll be big, people'll die, and we need to be there for those who won't."
>She turns to Aikawa and Roy
"Be very careful out there, and if you need help, any help, me and the others won't hesitate. So ask if you must, please."

| >>977671
"Well, if you need our help. You know how to find us."

>HERMES says, getting up and walking to the door, looking back at Black Suit, then at Aikawa and Roy, one last time.

"Until next time."

>He finishes, activating his active camo and disappearing.

| >>977578

>Gomi after slapping her little droid on the head to quit searching Gomi's admittedly massive inventory. She debates her options for awhile until she shakes her head and barks orders at the droid, while crossing her arms.

"LB, Remember the name Elaine Douji! It's about time we pound the pavement!"

>The droid answers back.

"Elaine Douji! Elaine Douji! Elaine Douji!"

>She glances back at Black Suit.

"Aight boss, You got it. Anythin' to keep me busy!"

| >>977578
>As luck would have it, Roy /also/ does not aim to dwell on whatever conflict has just been generated between himself, Aikawa, and Akiba. The man knows when to fold. He keeps his mouth shut and resigns himself to grilling his wife later about this phone call the girl received that he was most definitely not involved in.

"Ah-- no need to apologize, we very much appreciate you directing us to mister, um..."

| >>978031
>Roy looks to his wife, who'd stashed the business card in her jacket before he could give it a once over.


"Y-yes-- Mr. >>>Golconda."

>You can see the faintest trace of a nod as Roy parrots Francis' surname-- internally he's repeating it to himself, so as not to screw it up when it inevitably surfaces again.

| >>978032 >>977672
>To say that both members of the couple merely appear concerned upon hearing this "forecast" would omit the nuance of their expressions-- intricacies which are very visible to Black Suit should he watch their faces expectantly. Roy shows unease, apprehension and confusion. Aikawa's worry is interrupted by what looks like realization... and is then slowly tinged with venom. Fitting--

"... You the >>>Viper?"

| >>978037
>The black suit shakes his head

"Please, It's a pleasure... as for this viper you speak of, are you referring to the whistle blower on the boards?"

>He paused, another chord to tune on his corkboard, what if someone had gotten into the mortar systems? Troublesome.

"I'm sorry to say, but I have no idea who they are, my guess is someone related to either Zaibatsu or the GCPD... someone who knows a lot."

>Translation: Trouble.

| >>978040
"'Whistle blower', huh..."

>Aikawa growls as she folds her arms tightly across her chest, gaze trailing off to her left. Trouble indeed. Either he's being generous, or he's telling the truth-- neither possibility is a pleasant one to entertain. If they're really with either organization...

"... It's'n act. He ain't helpin' nob'dy... 's a >>>threat. Not a warnin'."

| >>978044
>Black Suit nods.

"Their tone is far from neutral, that much is certain. I will try and keep an eye out, if I learn anything; I will share it."

>He adds another item to his endless mental checklist.

| >>978044

>Gomi turns tail and begins briskly jogging back towards the elevator, her sneakers squeaking and groaning with every step. She elbows Roy in the ribs passing by, turning around briefly to say her goodbyes.

"Catch ya around, Doc! Whatever happens, I hope *WE* save your guy! Take it easy!"

>Repeated chants of "ELAINE DOUJI! ELAINE DOUJI!" from Litterbug reverberate through the halls, getting quieter and quieter, eventually disappearing as she heads into the elevator.

| >>978046
"... Thanks."

>Aikawa looks to her husband as if to say, "you got anything else to add?" When Roy comes up empty, she rises to her feet-- stretching her calves as she too prepares to head out. Subtly she offers Roy a hand, should he need help steadying himself when standing. He takes it gratefully, and calls after Gomi.

"Take care, miss Py-- ah, Gomi! Please be safe."

>Aikawa chimes in:

"Nice meetin' ya!"

| >>977672
"... We cool t'split, Suit?"

"... Don' be a stranger, 'Kiba."

"We'll be keeping out of harm's way as much as possible, miss Isoue. It's... not as if we don't >>>want to go back to following your advice-- it's served us well, so far."

>Aikawa hums in agreement.

| >>978054
"Indeed, Stay safe out there."

>Black suit waves his hand

| >>978055
>Roy exits the row of seats first, carefully edging his way out so as to not knock anything over with a stray jerk of his knee or twitch of his foot. Aikawa follows. They shuffle off towards the elevator in silence, reserving further conversation about the events of this evening for when they're once more within the four walls of their home.

Total number of posts: 103, last modified on: Sat Jan 1 00:00:00 1696301577

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