Wednesday, 20 March 2013

St. Patrick's Day

A knock.

"Hello, Mr. Holiday, it's Turtle."

I leap up to open the door.

"You wanted to meet Mr. Justice?"

I try to look behind him.

"What, is he here?"

Turtle frowns.

"Um, no. I'm sorry. I'm here to take you to him."

"Ah. Okay. Let me just grab something and we'll go."

I run down to my room and take a pen-mounted recording device, then return to Turtle.

"Alright, I'm ready."

"Mr. Holiday? May I ask what you just grabbed?"

"Just a pen in case I need to write something down."

I don't think either of them would actually mind me recording this, I just want them to be candid.

"I don't go anywhere without one."

"Okay. I just needed to be sure it wasn't some sort of weapon. I don't think Mr. Justice would like it if you were to assassinate him."

A pause.

"N-not that I'm implying you would, of course."

"It's fine. I'd be paranoid if I were in Justice's position."

He leads me downstairs to a waiting cab.

"The drive's about half an hour."

We climb in.

"So,  Justice makes the rest of us hunker down together, then lives half an hour away?"

"He oversees more than just this division, and he needs to be closer to where Mr. Jacob and Ms. Tempest live."

"I suppose that's reasonable. How is Jacob? I haven't seen him in some time."

"He seems to be doing well. I haven't been around long enough to notice any significant changes."

"I keep forgetting how new you are. I guess that's what happens when you're suddenly getting orders from someone who wouldn't have even approached you on the schoolyard five years ago."

"I don't think Mr. Justice was in school five years ago."

"I meant you, Turtle. I haven't seen Justice in person since before he was Justice."

He nods and falls silent. The silence remains for the duration of the drive. At the end, we pull up outside a small, modest-looking house. Turtle pays the fare, hesitates, then gives a tip. His genial expression becomes indignant as he watches the cab drive off.

"Shouldn't have even tipped him. He never would have stopped for me if we hadn't specifically called for a cab."

I'm surprised at the sudden anger in Turtle's voice.

"That's a strong statement. Did he say something to you?"

"Oh, no. They never say anything. Never to your face."

He stares after the cab until it disappears around the corner then turns back to me, all smiles and professionalism again.

"Well, here we are. This is where Mr. Justice and I live."

"I have to hand it to Justice, he's not as extravagant as that cantankerous old fart, Eternity."

Turtle unlocks the door and leads the way inside.

"I never knew Eternity–"

I note the lack of honorific.

"–but Mr. Justice doesn't really care much about how things look. Also, he doesn't really leave his room much. Secretly, I think...I think he's probably really sad and lonely."

"I think that happens to a lot of architects when they see what they've finally built for themselves."

Turtle nods.

"One second."

He wanders off down the hall and knocks on a door. It opens and I strain to hear a muffled exchange of words. Turtle comes back.

"Mr. Holiday? He's ready to see you now. Right down that hall."

I stride down and push the door open. The room inside is small, probably the smallest room in the house apart from the bathroom, if I were to estimate. A wooden desk and chair are at the forefront, like in any office. Justice is sitting there in a simple black robe, the hood pulled over his tattered eyes. Behind him is what appears to be every other room he could need, except, again, the bathroom. His bed (more of a military-style cot, really) is off to one side. To its left is a small dresser with his personal items on it. On the other side of the room is a small table covered in matches, scented candles and incense sticks. None of them are lit, but there's a faint hint of eucalyptus in the air.

Under his hood, Justice has a slight smirk.

"Welcome. Holiday, is it?"

"You know it is, Justice."

"You wish to discuss something?"


"Well? Speak."

"Since you took over, we've had two things go wrong that needn't have for which I am blaming you. The first is Ratatoskr. If you'd let me screen him like all our other recruits and brought him into the fold where Cardinal and I could be kept abreast of his activity instead of giving him remote access to our servers, he never would have caused the trouble he did.

The second is Fracture. I don't think I need to tell you how stupid it was for you to let your personal feelings about TE-119H influence your actions. However, at the point where you were doing that, you should have at least one of your sweepers involved in the mission. It's not like either Cardinal or I are inexperienced and we definitely wouldn't have let that crap with Moth happen if we'd been on the job.

Now there are ten bodies hanging over your head because you've been playing your cards too close to your chest. Care to explain yourself?"

He's silent for a moment. Then he sighs.

"Ratatoskr unfortunate miscalculation. I gave him a degree of freedom believing it would be safer than dramatically uprooting his life to move him here. His reaction to the Master was unexpected and unfortunate, though that mishap ultimately solved itself.

As for Fracture...Tempest and I, among others, both feel that he is a threat to the organization and our way of life. While I admit that I may have some bias regarding T-119H, Fracture's retaliation was in response to Nee-chan and Theta's interference. We intended to aid those who would obstruct Fracture. Nee-chan and Theta were...enthusiastic in their aid, and Fracture's reaction was not one we expected. Again, an unfortunate miscalculation, and one with much more tragic consequences.

It may please you to know, however, that we have arranged a truce. Neither side can risk an incident like this again, and while Fracture's actions certainly feel like a declaration of war, it must go unanswered. We cannot be fighting our own."

"I am pleased to know this, and your points are fair. However, you've dodged my question. Why are you keeping Cardinal and I out of the loop? I'd like to remind you our job description also includes preventing fuck-ups, not just cleaning up after."

"We did not feel it was relevant for you to know at the time. Considering what happened, that was, perhaps, an error. Unfortunately, the past cannot be changed, but we will reevaluate our policy regarding what is and is not important for the future."

"You didn't feel it was relevant to include either of your sweepers in a covert ops mission against a hostile force? That's your answer?"

"We did not. It was, as you said, a covert ops mission. We wanted to involve as few people as possible."

"There's your problem. You've confused "possible" with "necessary"."

"Again, it was an error. An oversight."

"Fine. Have you found a replacement for Verde yet? Zombie is falling behind on work filling in at the Warehouse."

"We have narrowed our candidates down to two and expect to reach a decision this week."

"Good. I look forward to vetting him or her. A less pressing issue concerns Photographer. Virgil and Meridian are dealing with the increased workload more than adequately since Mockingbird bit it, but I'd still like an idea of what we're doing with his partner, even if it's just to know he's being sent elsewhere. Keeping tabs and all that."

"Tempest and I are still discussing that. We have been focusing more on a replacement for Verde."

"Understandable. I think that's everything unless you have anything you'd like to discuss with me."

"No. Again, I apologize for all that has happened."

He pauses.

"Holiday, wait."


Another, longer pause.

"Do you envy me?"

A third, even longer pause.

"No, but I don't pity you either."

"I can tell you don't think highly of me.  I wouldn't expect you to.  I never thought highly of Eternity.  But I need you to understand my position.  You can criticize my decisions, but you do not want to be the one making them.  You do not want to be a broken man responsible for giving orders to dozens of people.  Please understand."

"I understand. That's why I criticize  Eternity heard no voices other than his own and his reign was a travesty. You may think yourself responsible for the upsets we've had but you're not. You were just the catalyst for a long-overdue reaction. You're better than he was. Eternity denied his own failures and limits. You acknowledge them. That's why I criticize. Because you'll listen and you'll improve.

Though you're right. I don't think very highly of you."

"I understand. I don't think very highly of me either. You're dismissed."

I salute and step out of the office.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Balance of Harms

Alright, so, update time, or something. I dunno if anyone reading this (if anyone is still reading this) has heard of the Free Market, but if not, fret not, for here beginneth the lesson: they're something of a rival organisation who serve the tall dude through freelance contracts rather than the organised cell structure we adhere to. For reasons that remain unclear to me, because neither Tempest, Justice nor Turtle has seen fit to tell me why, we had been tacitly tolerating their presence on our turf as long as they didn't interfere with our operations.

At some point along the way, this relationship broke down (allegedly the tipping point was a request on the part of the Free Market's "leader", Fracture, to observe a husk called TE-119H, with whom Justice has a personal connection) and Justice thought it appropriate to go all Iran-Contra on the Free Market's ass and sent Theta and Nee-chan to free two of their enemies, Picasso and Moth, which resulted in the loss of two of the Free Market's agents, as well as eight husks.

Note that Justice decided to do this without consulting either Cardinal or me, which probably plays some part in how amazingly fucked up a simple covert ops mission became. I can't say for certain if having Cardinal or me on mission control would have helped, but I can guess with a reasonable degree of credibility that yes it fucking would have. For one thing, I definitely wouldn't have let Moth spill the fucking beans on our involvement.

This last bit is the most pressing. Fracture was not happy to discover what we did. So displeased was he, in fact, that he sent over some of his own agents to the husk warehouse, where they proceeded to murder Verde and Mockingbird, as well as eight husks, and left weighing scales hanging around their necks to let us know exactly who the retribution was aimed at. Sufficed to say, I am now somewhat less than pleased, especially since I know I'm the one who's going to have clean up Justice's mess.

I feel that I may have to go have a chat with Ol' Blindy.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Just Came Back From The Hospital...

...where I left Muad'Dib.

That five month gap in updates? That almost half a year when there was virtually no word from anyone here in the New York cell?

He. Took. My. Laptop.

We had to scale back operations due to only having one sweeper on hand. Holy shit, what a moron. Apparently he borrowed it to play WoW because his wasn't powerful enough and somehow fucking forgot when half our cell's ops got cancelled because of it.

Personally, I feel I was completely warranted in what I did. Sure, Justice sent Turtle to reprimand me or something but I'm still on the job, so obviously they didn't disagree. Maybe I went a little overboard. Perhaps I didn't really need to kick Dib to the floor and then smash his face with a door until he needed reconstructive surgery to breath unassisted.

But, regardless, I have my laptop back and that's what's important.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

For Now, At Least

Justice has taken myself, Virgil, Meridian, Theta and Nee-chan off the hunt for the rat, as predicted. Cardinal and his trackers are still on the trail but Dullahan and Calliope have been taken off notice. It could be a while before the rat gets caught, so it's business as usual for the rest of us, which should keep people off my back for a little while.

Oh wait, nope, I live with psychos. Dullahan is still complaining that he hasn't gotten the chance to eat in a while, like it's my problem to solve. What an unbelievable dickbag. I'm surprised that Justice hasn't cut him loose. He may be a bit of an idiot but he's a lot more principled than Eternity ever was, so you'd think he wouldn't want someone like Dullahan hanging around, but I guess he's changing. Settling into the role.

I might try and get a review or something up here soon. I never wanted to dwell on all this stuff too much anyway.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Quiet Hunt

So far, so stale. The rat hasn't left much of a trail, ironically by eschewing his tech in favour of some good old-fashioned fugitive-on-the-run-style shenanigans. Even with four trackers on his trail, it's not been easy and it's breaking the flow of our mojo (read: disrupting normal operations), which Justice isn't happy about, so Virgil and Meridian will probably be getting called back in a couple of weeks, leaving Cardinal in charge of cleanup for now.

Meanwhile, back here in beautiful New York, New York, I have to deal with constant house visits from Dullahan, because he's sick of not getting out to work, Calliope, because she's sick of not being able to talk to Virigl, and that imbecile Turtle, because Justice wants daily updates but apparently can't trust me to just give them to him in person. But can apparently trust a complete outsider to not fuck up our sys-OH WAIT.

Okay, I swear, that's the last time I'm bringing it up. Moving on. No more gloating.

So yeah, my apartment feels like Grand Central at the moment. In addition to the above, we had Nee-chan in earlier, complaining that someone was in her apartment without her permission. Next thing I know, that Roger kid is gonna drop by asking me to requisition him more torture victims or, who knows, Helios might rise from the freaking grave just to come bother Theta and I about something.


I might be in a bad mood.

Friday, 17 August 2012

And We're Back

So if you were reading this blog before we went dead, you might have seen me expressing my reservations about the new "messenger", Ratatoskr, being outside the group while still having access to our systems. Well, turns out that, as per usual, your ol' pal Holiday was completely fucking correct. The piece of shit found out that the tall dude, y'know, exists (something which Justice apparently decided wasn't fucking important to tell him!), lost his nerve, killed our systems and went on the run while we had no way of contacting him!

Well, sir, as you can imagine, since we got back online there just two weeks ago, we have been pissed, especially since the process of putting all our shit back together revealed that the damage was definitely sabotage. Once we ascertained that Ratatoskr was the source, Cardinal and I were put on the job with each of us handling a tracker team - he has Photographer and Mockingbird, I have Virgil and Meridian. Whoever finds him first will dispatch the corresponding hunter team - Dullahan and Calliope are with him, Theta and Nee-chan are with me.

In keeping with his general behaviour since he took the helm, Justice hasn't bothered to show his face, instead conducting all his business through Tempest and Turtle. The former is intimidating and authoritative (especially so for a 16-year-old) but Turtle is not and it's hard to take him seriously. Especially when Cardinal and I have gear-shifted into maximum-fucks mode. In fact, I wouldn't have even stopped to make this post if not for the fact that I wanted to gloat about being right. And I was.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

A New Door

Sorry for the gap in updates, I once again have a good reason though. Justice decided there needed to be more cohesion in the group, less of a distance between the operatives. We have to be closer so that we can work more effectively, apparently.

He made us move into the compound.

Okay, so it's not the most horrible thing he could have done. But, y'know, there was more than one reason I enjoyed living with Theta. I wasn't just that his chronic fuck deficiency when it comes to my organisational skills meant we got along swimmingly. There were other benefits like, oh yeah, being fucking miles away from the all the crazy people. I mean, I'm the one who has to deal with the consequences of their batshit ways on a regular basis, so I've had a very good idea of why I shouldn't want to live near them.

Now, I'm in the same apartment complex as them. I'm still living with Theta but now I'm neighbours with Dullahan of all people. I'm not even going to pollute your minds with Dullahan's crazy, but, believe me, this is not a guy you want to spend any time anywhere near. There's a reason he lives on his own, let me put it to you that way.

And, on top of that, I have to meet with another new recruit, some dude called Roger who's apparently going to be working for Zombie. Which seems strange to me because Zombie has never exactly been noted for his inefficiency. Why does he need an apprentice? I don't know what Justice is up to but he ain't making a lick of sense. We have to stick together but a hacker with access to our networks (probably) doesn't even have to be a part of the cell, our best caretaker gets replaced with a nervous piece of shit while our best interrogator has to take on an's bullshit, frankly, but he's the boss and I'm not.

My appointment with Roger is starting in an hour, I need to prepare my materials. I'll update again soon.