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One Last Hurrah : Chapter 1 - The Service (IC; Semi-Closed)

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Cylarn
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One Last Hurrah : Chapter 1 - The Service (IC; Semi-Closed)

Postby Cylarn » Tue Feb 17, 2015 6:16 pm

1645
Exxon
Charlotte, North Carolina
June 4th, 2015


GREENE'S BEEN HIT!

FUCK! THEY'RE EVERYWHERE! FALL BACK!

Boy, what are you doing?


"Hey, boy! I'm talkin' to you!"

In an instant, Cal snapped back into reality, his head turning towards the sound of the voice that was confronting him. The responsible party was an older white mechanic, probably in his late-50s. His unkempt beard and grease-stained blue jumpsuit contrasted heavily with the bespoke tailored black suit and the clean-shaven appearance of Cal, who was en route to Willie's viewing after having stopped for some coffee in Uptown. He made eye contact with the man for a moment, examining his rather frustrated reaction. As he did so, he could smell the rather nauseating odor of gasoline, as he was filling his 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe with gas.

"Got enough gas?" the mechanic asked.

Cal pondered on the question, and looked down at the nozzle, which was clearly filling the vehicle with more gas than necessary. The fuel ws leaking from the gas tank, making a gurgling sound as gas leaked down the side of the Tahoe and onto the ground. He didn't notice until now that his hand was firmly clenched on the handle, pumping more gas than necessary.

"SHIT!"

Cal immediately released the handle and jumped back, as an ashamed, embarrassed expression took over his face. He looked towards the mechanic and gave a sigh, before looking back at the gas tank. He was truly embarrassed; he thought he had brought his PTSD under control a long time ago; his Army service had exposed him to all sorts of scenarios, but it seemed that Willie's death had undermined all of the progress that he had made. Cal himself was with Willie the day he died, as he was in charge of the diplomat's security during a hostage exchange in Somalia that had gone terribly wrong. Everything was going good as Willie skillfully negotiated for the release of the American aid workers that had been seized by a local Mogadishu warlord, but suddenly, someone fired a shot. Cal swore it wasn't his guys, but it didn't matter when his lifelong friend suffered a round through his right thigh. Gunfire erupted, and while they had managed to evacuate Willie, two private contractors had been killed in the firefight, and Willie died of internal bleeding just as they had made it to the extraction zone.

It had been a week since Willie's death, and Cal had spent most of it in a grey room in the Harry S. Truman Building in D.C., undergoing his "evaluation." He was grilled with an endless series of questions from not only his superiors in the DSS, but from Secretary Kerry himself and even some members of Congress. Willie was earmarked to become the US Ambassador to Somalia; he was truly the most effective diplomat for such a job. The evaluation reflected the Foreign Service's opinion on the matter; their best diplomat was dead, and they needed to pin the blame on someone. He was constantly accused of having ignored blatant security risks, despite his pleas that not only had he been given a restrictive security ROE, but the personnel that he had requested had been severely limited. In truth, he had no idea who had spoiled the exchange, but he had a feeling that he was going to be thrown under the bus. The DSS had placed him on administrative leave, and there was talk that a Senate Hearing was to be convened in order to get to the bottom of the situation. His involvement had largely been kept hush-hush by the DSS, but the world knew of the incident.

Cal shook away his pondering thoughts, and focused on the situation at hand.

"Sorry, I...uh...zoned out there," he said rather meekly, uncharacteristic of him.

"Well, don't start up your car till you get to the end of the road," the mechanic said. "I've been fuckin' with AC compressors all day, and the last gosh damn thing I need is for the whole gas station to go up in flames."

"Wouldn't want that, sir."

Cal put up the device, and looked towards the monitor on the gas pump, which read that he had spent $95.35 on gas. His credit card couldn't take much more, and he gave a sigh as he took his receipt and balled it up, throwing it into the nearby trash can. He hopped into his vehicle, and rolled well away from the pump before finally starting the vehicle up.




1700, Myers Park

The Greene family had lived in the affluent Myers Park suburb for as long as anyone could remember, given that Willie's parents were rich, affluent citizens of the city. As Cal drove down the road, he looked around at the large homes, well-groomed environment, and expensive cars, vividly remembering how he and the group would raise all sorts of Cain for the residents, whether it involve rolling houses with toilet paper or bashing mailboxes while barreling down the road in the ancient Town Car. Cal cracked a smile as he remembered his youth, and he wondered if anyone from the old group would be attending the viewing. He had seen Bran a few times in recent years, most notably during the night of the election in '12, when he, Willie, and several of the others had shown up to support the candidate. He hadn't seen Angela since the past year, when he arrested one of her co-workers in Johannesburg, when the contractor had fled prosecution in the US for soliciting a murder. He hadn't seen Callum, Manny, or Lilly since their high school reunion in '11. He hoped that the whole group would be there, and he was thankful that no one really knew that he was there the day Willie was killed.

As he turned onto Willie's street, he was almost immediately stopped by a police officer, who was standing out in the middle of the road to direct traffic. The street was absolutely packed with cars, belonging to friends, family, and others who had wished to express their condolences and say good bye to Willie. At both ends of the street, officers were assisting the mourners with parking. There were throngs of mourners inside and outside of the large home that the Greene family resided in, and Cal wondered how they could be outside in the 89-degree heat of the afternoon. Soon, the officer motioned for Cal to park at the curb, and the DSS agent nodded. He quickly parked his car and climbed out, looking over at the Greene house. His heart was beating rapidly, as he became almost overwhelmed with guilt. No one knew that he had anything to do with Willie's death, but he couldn't help but feel staggering pangs of guilt. He felt responsible for his friend's death, and now he had to not only face Willie's parents and offer his condolences, but he had to come into contact with Willie in the worst possible way.

With a bottle of Dewar's Blue Label Scotch Whiskey in his right hand, he strode towards the front door. Sweat was beginning to run down his face, from his own nervous attitude rather than from the heat. As he approached the front door, everything around him became a blur as his eyes focused on the door that he had opened so many times before. He didn't know if any of the mourners outside were trying to talk to him, but all of his focus was on the impending scene. His right hand made contact with the handle of the door, and he slowly opened it as a breeze of cool air hit him, though it did nothing to curb his trance. His eyes scanned the room, and they immediately singled out the coffin sitting in a parlor connected to the living room. The velvet-lined coffin was positioned at an angle, and inside sat the lifeless body of Willie. The mortician was truly an artist, for it looked as though Willie was simply sleeping, wearing a well-tailored black suit with an American flag pin on the lapel. The parlor was practically a shrine in memory of Willie, as wreathes, pictures of Willie, and other memorabilia commemorating his life adorned the room.

Cal's heart skipped a beat, and he remained frozen in place, his eyes glued to Willie. His face was devoid of emotion, but beneath this exterior was the eruption of emotion, barely bridled by Cal's exterior. His eyes did not see Willie; they saw the crowded market in Mogadishu, with a group of militants standing guard over several hooded hostages, and Willie standing out in front of him, speaking to the militants. He could vividly see one of the contractors pushing a handcuffed prisoner in front of the diplomat, just as an outside force brought him back to reality.

A hand touched Cal's shoulder, and while such a sudden gesture would quite possibly merit a violent reaction, he was familiar with the grip on his shoulder. He gasped silently, and slowly turned his head to see a man dressed in a Char-Meck Police Dress Uniform. He knew this man well; he was Lewis, Cal's father and a Captain in the Char-Meck PD. They say that parents have an innate sense of when their children are troubled, and Lewis could quickly see that his son was deeply affected by the scene before him. His grip grew firm, and he led his son away from the parlor, outside of the house to the patio overlooking the large pool that had been the site of many a cookout during his youth. Upon exiting the house, Cal felt pressure lift from his body, and he took a deep breath before he embraced his father in a tight hug, fighting back tears.

"Hey, I don't want a hug, only the scotch," Lewis said, which induced a chuckle from his son, who pulled back from the embrace as he offered the bottle to the father.

"Thanks back there, Dad," Cal said. "It's not easy seeing him like that, in this house."

"It's never easy when you have to bury a childhood friend, son," Lewis said. "You look like shit right now, you know?"

Cal looked away from his father, and saw his reflection in a nearby window. Indeed, his face was drenched in sweat, and his hair was becoming affected by the perspiration. He wiped the sweat from his face with his hand, before his father offered him a rag. He took the item and finished the job, before taking another deep breath as he turned towards a table that bore refreshments.

"I need a drink," he said. "It hasn't been a good day."

Cal reached into the large ice-filled bin on the table that contained a number of expensive beers, highlighting the Greene family's wealth. He grabbed a cold bottle of Imperial Stout, and quickly opened it before taking a long swig of the beverage. Lewis raised an eyebrow at his boy, who was gulping down the beverage.

"The last thing you need is to get trashed here," Lewis admitted. "Don't drink too much of that stout."

Cal stopped drinking the beer, and looked towards his father, giving a smirk as his eyes moved down to view the label on the bottle.

"Dad, it takes a lot of beer to get..." Cal said, trailing off at the end as he noticed that the beverage had a 9% alcohol content, which meant that knocking back a bunch of stout would be a bad call of judgement. "Holy shit, 9%?"

"Yes, son," Lewis said. "So don't drink too much."

"Says the guy who only wanted to take my scotch," Cal retorted.

"If you were 20 years younger and you had said that, I would have popped the shit outta you for saying that," Lewis said, giving a smirk at his son's comment.

The father and son began to laugh for a few moments. Cal loved his parents, especially his father. As a boy, Lewis had introduced his son to the outdoors, and to this day, Cal enjoyed hiking, hunting, and pretty much anything involving the outdoors. Lewis also had a sense of humor, unique for someone in charge of Char-Meck's Violent Crimes Division. The two began to discuss things, though Cal made sure not to tell his own father of his involvement in Willie's death. It was at that moment that he realized that he needed to say goodbye to his friend.

"Hey Dad, I've gotta go back in there," Cal admitted. "I have to talk to Willie, you know?"

"I know," Lewis said, giving his son a warm smile and a pat on the back.

Cal gave a nod, and made his way back inside. His head was clearer, and he paid more attention to the living room. It was of a modern suburban design - large, with a number of expensive furniture items. The space, and the kitchen were absolutely crowded with mourners from all over. City and state politicians, government officials, city officials, college professors, and all other sorts of affluent citizens were in attendance. Children played with one another amid the conversing groups of adults, largely unaware of any true significance that the event holds. Pictures lined the walls, telling of a range of stories involving the adventures of the Greene family, Willie especially. As Cal waded through the crowd, he noticed Willie's parents speaking with his own mother, Alice. His parents and Willie's parents were inseparable friends, going all the way back to the first few days that the Calhoun family had spent in the US. Saying goodbye to one's first real friend was a daunting task, especially for Cal.

He soon found himself face to face with his old friend, staring at the well-dressed corpse before him. Taking a sip of his beer, Cal stepped forward, and took a deep breath, before whispering silently to his friend's body.

"Willie...this is all my fault. I was in charge of security that day, we should have seen this coming. Now, your blood is on my heads. The blood of the first friend that I ever had. My God...neither of us thought it'd go down like this...

Fighting back his brain's orders to collapse in pure despair, Cal had to leave the room immediately. He pulled away from Willie's coffin, and strode quickly into the kitchen, where he gave a breath of relief and decided to take another sip of his beer before he had to speak to Willie's parents.

More people were due to show up, and Cal was already about to break down.
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Krytonus
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Founded: Feb 20, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Krytonus » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:29 pm

Callum


Six days earlier

"Hello? Yeah, I'm Callum O'Neill. What's u- I'm sorry? Willie is...? And you're completel- Right, thank you, th-thank you so much. Yeah. I will. Damn, next week? It's a stretch but... I'll find a way for Willie. Yeah, no, no my car is good. As soon as I get on the freeway, I'll be... Yeah. God... Thank you for telling me. Uh-huh. Yeah, thank you. Bye. Bye, bye. Bye." Callum put the phone back into it's slot, tears welling up in his eyes. He stumbled to the living room of his little apartment and sank down into armchair he'd gotten second hand last year from the man with one eye. He shakily grabbed the remote and switched to the news, where he was met with Breaking News headlines. The main story was about negotiations in Somalia. About Willie.

Callum turned off the news.

The present

Callum took one last look at his almost impossible-to-manage hair in his tiny Golf's flip-down window before attempting a faked smile, failing, pulling on his top-hat and clambering out of the car. He needed a new one, really. His old 2008 Volkswagen wasn't doing him any favours. He took a quick stretch, savouring the abundance of space before straightening his purple tie and heading into the house, trying his best to keep his composure. It didn't help that he hadn't been here for at least ten years, and now fond memories were flooding back to him. He remembered so vividly the smells, the sounds, the sights of the memories. They swirled and grabbed at him like cold tendrils, sending icy shivers down his spine. Callum ducked to the left and hurled into an out-of-the-way bush. He quickly wiped his mouth and opened the door, nodding to various guests and people he'd never met, bumping into them occasionally and muttering a quick apology until he made his way into the room. The walls were adorned with pictures of the Greenes and of Willie. In the centre in a very nice black coffin lay the man of the hour himself. One of Callum's best friends, the one who had brought them all together and saved his sorry ass time after time. More tears pushing forth, Callum pulled out a faded, slightly stained photograph of them all in an old-school style diner after a day of go-karting. Callum remembered it all perfectly, how he'd ordered a knickerbocker glory purely because it sounded like an underwear milkshake, how he hated cherries and tossed it to one side, how there'd been waaaay too much food, and how when he'd gotten home he had hurled all over the front yard... They were such ordinary memories, but now that memory was special, because it had Willie. There would be no new memories with Willie Greene, not ever again, so it was a special memory. It was one of the only pictures Callum had, but he didn't mind. It belonged to Willie now. Callum placed it gingerly on a shelf with some other photographs. Finally, he turned to Willie and pulled off his hat. You were supposed to take the hat off, Callum thought. It didn't matter. Willie wouldn't mind anyway. Callum looked down again at the corpse of his old friend. The mortician, whoever they were had done a good job, anyway. He looked... Like Willie.

"Willie, man. You didn't deserve this. Nobody deserved this. You should have been the president. Not... Not this. See you on the flipside, man. I... I know I didn't see you much... But I am gonna miss you. I am. Well... See you around, Willie. See you... Around." Callum awkwardly whispered. For a guy who wrote books, we was not good at that sort of thing. He pulled out a tissue to wipe his eyes, put the hat back on and escaped that sad, sad room to the kitchen. He quickly grabbed a glass of lemonade and took a deep drink, gasping with relief. As he looked back up post-gulp he noticed none other than one of his old friends Cal. If he was correct, he hadn't seen Cal since 2011. He took another sip of lemonade and made his way up to him, faking a smile to likely no avail. His eyes were probably red too.

"Hey, Cal. Good to see you, even if the conditions aren't... The best. H-How are you doing?" He began, grasping for words.

You wrote a book! Use your words!
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Senkaku
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Founded: Sep 01, 2012
Father Knows Best State

Postby Senkaku » Tue Feb 17, 2015 8:55 pm







Minsk, Belarus
Two and a half years ago





Arkady was walking quickly, hurrying down the sidewalk towards the gaping entrance to the subway. His coat was pulled tight around him, to keep off the frigid winter air and driving snow that was flying sideways in the wind, and the whiz of dozens of cars flying by drowned out all other noises. Between the wind, the snow, and the streaks of brilliant light where headlights and taillights were flying by, he could hardly see, brilliant blue eyes squinting and eyelashes catching the occasional snowflake as the flurry intensified.
"Arkady, they're two blocks back still, relax. The train is almost there." The voice of his fellow operative, Katya, was like a whisper in the buffeting storm of noise produced by the hundreds of automobiles whizzing by.
"Got it. I'm entering the station now," he said, pushing through the glass doors into the near-empty subway station and making a beeline for a self-serve ticket machine. The roaring wind and engines quickly ceased- indeed, the station was almost eerily quiet. He quickly tapped his way through, swiped his credit card, and snatched the ticket out, proceeding deeper into the deserted station.
"There's almost no one in here," he mused idly, as a few women hurried past him on their way out. Hurrying down the stairs, he noticed a faint buzzing in his ear.
"Katya?"
There was a distinct thud, and then her voice crackled to life as he hurried onto the platform, the train coming into view down the tunnel.
"Fucking take that, you pig-fucking son of a Byelorussian whore." There was a loud crash, and then Katya's voice came through again, stronger. "Arkady! Get out, now! It's a setup!"
Arkady spun as the train thundered towards the platform, his head rotating in desperation to look for the enemy.

Two burly men in trenchcoats were coming down the stairs towards him, and two more were moving from the end of the deserted platform.
"Jesus, they've got me trapped," he muttered to Katya, and set down his briefcase.

The man on Arkady's left, coming down the stairs, raised his hand, and there was a sharp crack as the train came to a stop. The Russian staggered, a fine red mist appearing in the air next to him, and fumbled at the back of his pants.

His pistol made no noise as it drove bullets deep into the center mass of the two men coming down the stairs. The ones behind him were too slow to react to his lightning-fast draw- the Russian spun, and while a few of his shots went wide, they were enough to make the uninjured man dive for cover as the train doors opened.
"Katya. Car."
"I'm right outside."
Bleeding, hand clasped over his side, Arkady staggered up the stairs and stumbled off into the driving snow.




New York City, New York
Seven days earlier






"Dan, if Lockheed doesn't want to listen that's their problem, but I really don't think we should refuse their money. They could be a valuable client, and look, we provide them advice. They don't have to listen to it- what? Alright, have a nice night. Tell Lisa I said hi. Yeah, talk to you later. Bye." Arkady glumly hung up, tossing the phone aside, muttering curse words under his breath.
Well, fuck Dan. Now these damn forms, and then the prescription application... ugh. I'm gonna have to stay up late tonight. He shoved the finished paperwork to the side, grabbing the next stack-
How the hell did that get there?

There was a photo of Nina, perhaps four by six inches, sitting wedged between two nondescript manila folders.

Arkady clenched his jaw, putting the picture to the side- and then swore, sweeping his hand across the desk, sending papers everywhere, and left the room.
From the office, one could hear a distant pop as a bottle was uncorked.



New York City, New York
Six days earlier






Arkady set down the razor and peered at his face in the mirror, tilting it back and forth, looking for even the tiniest imperfections as water dripped down his back. His skin was a little on the dry side, and there were crow's feet under his eyes from staying up too late last night. He shivered- the cold shower had mostly driven off his hangover, but his lithe frame was not optimized for heat retention.
Satisfied he wasn't permanently disfigured, he dabbed a little ZitZap on a few minor bumps, and headed into his bedroom, throwing on jeans and a t-shirt- he didn't feel like doing much today, and he had the day off of work.
His phone started vibrating, and he sighed, abandoning the top button of the shirt's tiny little button-up section at the top and reached over.
"Hello? Yes, this is Arkady. Oh how- excuse me? Willie... you're not- Jesus. Thanks. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I can book a flight this afternoon and fly down then; of course, of course. Christ. Yeah. Alright. Alright. Thank you. Bye."
He sat down, feeling slightly numb, and opened his CNN app.
BREAKING NEWS: AMERICAN DIPLOMAT IN SOMALIA SHO...
Jesus Christ. Elliot will be irritated.




Arkady was sitting next to a middle-aged man on a bench, in the middle of Central Park, while the other fellow fed the pigeons clustered in front of them. The weather was mild today, quite pleasant, and Arkady appeared to be checking something on his phone.
He was not.
"Why did you signal me, exactly?"
"I have to make a trip. Out of town."
"Oh?"
"Charlotte. A friend died. I'm going to his funeral."
The man Arkady knew as Elliot chuckled. "Courteous of you to tell us this time. Where was it last time? Vancouver?"
"Fuck off."
The older man raised an eyebrow. "As you wish. Just keep me appraised if the situation changes."
Arkady stood up, gritting his teeth slightly. "I'll be in touch, then."
Elliot said nothing, and Arkady walked off.



Charlotte, North Carolina
The present






Arkady stepped out of his cheap rental car, a Honda Civic, giving a quick glance in the mirror to check his hair and skin. Like anyone will care at a funeral, you dumbass, he thought to himself, heading up to the house. The weather was far too hot for the dark suit he was wearing, but it was a minor discomfort that he could put up with.
As he headed up the front path, Arkady felt a faint sense of nostalgia, to the happiness and memories he'd experienced here and in this city, back in high school- but that felt like an eternity ago, now. The little warm glow was quickly drowned out as a wave of unhappiness hit him, thinking about what a life Willie could have led- what a life it would have been, too.
Then again, he knew the risks, he thought in an offhand, cynical way, before feeling slightly appalled with himself for his callousness and lack of grief.
He headed into the house, where, predictably, half of the pictures of Willie in existence, with or without other people, were hung on every available surface. Now that he was here, Arkady felt strangely detached- sad, yes, but hardly grief-stricken.
He maneuvered his way through the crowd of mourners, turning his narrow frame sideways to slip through the crowd, before standing next to the coffin, peering in.

His first thought was that the mortician had done an awfully good job on him. Arkady didn't know how he'd been hit, but he assumed head or chest- and he didn't see any evidence of skull fractures or a collapsed chest or anything of the sort. Willie, in almost all respects, besides the unnatural stillness and pallor, was much the same as Arkady had last seen him, if a bit more aged.
He stared down at the dead corpse, feeling emotions roiling in his chest- faint revulsion, sadness, guilt, regret. Arkady was silent, simply staring down at the corpse for a few moments, his eyes like glittering blue ice.

After a moment, he gave a very tiny snort, and headed into the kitchen. I need something to drink, I can't face his parents sober right now. Thank God they didn't see me come in, I'll talk to them later.
And there was Cal, and Callum. Cal had a beer in his hand- thank God someone has their priorities straight- and Callum was sipping some lemonade, looking teary and somewhat pathetic. Arkady hadn't seen either of them in some time, but he could hardly just brush past them and pretend they were strangers.
"Hey," he said in a slightly subdued voice, nodding to both of them. His face, as usual, could have been carved out of ice- totally unreadable- and he gestured to Cal's beer, refraining from any tear-filled sniffles about how sad it all was or bullshit like that. Arkady simply wasn't that sort of person- and besides, Cal hardly looked like he needed anything to push him over the edge. "Any more of those in the fridge?"
As he waited for the other two to register his presence and respond, Arkady found himself idly wondering where his mother was, because she would doubtless be here. I forget to tell her I was coming down. Shit.
Last edited by Senkaku on Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:50 pm, edited 12 times in total.
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The Emerald Dragon
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Founded: Jan 30, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby The Emerald Dragon » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:24 pm

"Well... well shit"

When John had heard of Willie's untimely passing he'd immediately requested the leave that he had been entitled to for several years. It was given to him, especially when he explained his situation to his commanding officer and several members of the recruitment bureau who came to request why such a... valuable member of the military was leaving so suddenly. The flight over about three days back was a vague blur in his mind - memories of flight attendants, coca cola and poor quality food was all he could remember. To say he didn't want to remember this was a stretch: he'd looked up to Willie as role-model in high school and really didn't want to attend to funeral... but he had to.

Hurling himself out of bed was almost a superhuman effort, which in the process he managed to hit his hand on the bedside table which caused him to briefly suck in air sharply. After getting from the bed, he entered the shower and let the cold water and essence of sea salt wash over him - almost like he hoped it would cleanse him of this burden. Then he got dressed, putting on a charcoal-coloured suit with a red tie and white shoes. With that done, John put on his watch, grabbed his wallet which contained around 250 dollars and walked out of the hotel.

"Yo, taxi... need a ride to this address, thanks" John said quickly, he looked far too eager for this.

"Ah, heading to the funeral of Mister Greene are you?... poor sod" The middle-aged taxi driver replied, a genuine look of sympathy perforated his tanned features.

John replied with a weak nod of the head... this was going to be a LONG journey.

...

Unfortunately, it wasn't the long journey that John had secretly hoped for; within minutes he was there at Willie's funeral. Thanking the driver, and paying him double the fare John stepped from the vehicle. He'd pay respects to his friend later, but first he wanted to find the gang and have some emotional support.

Didn't take long....

Entering the room, John's throat felt like it was being weighed down by a ball... a ball of worry, sickness and stress - maybe Willie was silently watching from above, and mocking him. Then he saw Cal, Callum and Arkady.

"So... is there any beers for me?..." He said, his throat dry and painful.
Re-packaged in a fresh, eighteen year old addition! British and contagious, your will hath been served.

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Chrysaor
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Posts: 416
Founded: Dec 13, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Chrysaor » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:21 am

"Absolutely everyone will be there" Manny said as he ushered the girls into the minivan. 'Are you sure you're not coming, Mom?"

His mother - Mercedes Esparza, was a tough, stout, dark-skinned Latina woman who walked and talked like she was a twenty-something bachelorette, instead of the nearing-sixty grandmother of eight that she was.

"If I ever set foot in that part of town - which I won't', they would definitely mistake me for a maid." the older woman quipped, hands on her hip. "I'm sure I wouldn't want that."

"If you say so." he shrugged as he never expected her to come anyway. She'd never liked Willie and the gang, even though they were Manny closest friends. They were troublemakers and spoiled young brats she said, they would ruin his life she said. In a way she was right, they were troublemakers. But the troubles and pranks they got into were memories Manny would cherish for life and for it they would all came out as better people.

"I'll stay home and watch the dog." Mercedes turned around and went back inside. The Bistro was closed today so it was just his house. It wasn't much. Just an average sized, brick building in the middle of the city with a neon sign on top and 6 happy people inside. It wasn't much but Manny owned it, and to him that's like having white picket fences.

"Manuel! Hurry up, we're already late." his wife shouted from the car and he ran.

The drive was quiet, the twins were asleep in the back and Zoe quietly drew in her picture book. It was as if the children sensed his loss and decided to be good for once and for that he was appreciative. Penny his wife - a petite Greek woman with thick brown hair and hazel nut eyes, looked at him sympathetically. She didn't know Willie personally but she knew him from all the stories her husband told so she knew this was tough on him.

They arrived at the Myers Park suburb some 20 minutes later. You could smell the money in the air and instantly Manny felt worse. Even in his borrowed $200 suit, he and his family still stuck out like a sore thumb. He kept his head down as they walked through the crowd of mourners surrounding the Greene household but he could felt the stare on the back of his head. Maybe mom was right he thought, they probably think we're the help. Manny brushed off that thought, they were at the front door now. Memories of teenage years that seemed a lifetime ago came rushing back. He missed Willie and he missed the gang. Though everyone went their separate ways and most went on to bigger and better things than Manny, he still considers them dear friends. It had been years since their last reunion and he was glad for the chance to see them again, though if only it was under better circumstances.

He had Monica on his left arm and Zoe was holding his right, his wife meanwhile held Maricruz. The four of them walked slowly through the corridor, admiring the splendor of the decor. At the center of the parlor was the coffin, and Willie was in there.

He'd read the news, he knew the man was shot in the head but after whatever the mortician had done, Manny could have swore he was just sleeping. At this sight, the grief Manny thought he had digested was awoken. This grief, this...bereavement was ennobling but crushing nonetheless.

His gaze were fixed on Willie for some time until he let out a quiet sniff. His hands shook and his eyes were wet. Monica looked at him then at the corspe with a curious wonder.
"It just had to happen to the best of us huh?" he muttered to no one in particular. "I'll always miss you buddy and I should have been there for you." Manny let out another sniff, he was almost sobbing now. "I'll never forget what you did for us, for my family. We could have never be where we are now if it weren't for you.."

Penny put a hand on his shoulder, and he sobbed. A few moments passed.

"Take Zoe's hand for me." Manny told his wife. "I need a moment."

She nodded and took their daughter's hand. She was always the most understanding and supportive person. Manny use his free hand to wipe away tears on his face, but he knew this wasn't enough. He needed a drink. He didn't care that it was like he'd been crying. Manny made his way through the house and into the kitchen, daughter still in his arms. But then of course, as fate would have it the gang was already in there.

He walked up the men, slightly embarassed at his shabby appearance but happy nonetheless. "Hey guys, how long has been already?" he said with a smile.

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
Posts: 2570
Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:46 am

1400
North Carolina State Legislative Building
Raleigh, North Carolina
1 June 2015


"Yeah. Yeah. Chuck, I hear you. I get it." Ruth Paxton was leaning against the wall of my office, arms folded, smirking at me as I spoke into my desk phone. Or, rather, tried to speak; State Senator Charles Seward didn't seem inclined to let me get a word in edgewise.

"Chuck, I understand your concerns." As my frustration built, I could hear the Appalachian twang of my father's family seeping back into my voice. Most of the time, I sound more like my mother's kin: my accent is neutral, educated, upper-class. It speaks of old money and Ivy League schooling. But every now and again, I get frustrated, and the nasal drawl of the Blue Ridge Mountains creeps into my voice once again.

"Chuck, I get it, all right? Look, I know I haven't been in office long, but I'm telling you, this doesn't have to kill your approval ratings. There are homeless people in Jacksonville too. Would your constituents rather have them OD'ing on the steps of the rec center or spending the night in safe shelters?" I rapped my hook impatiently on the top of my desk, and sucked in a deep breath. "No, Chuck, I'm not soft on crime. That ain't - that isn't the point here. I'm a Christian, and I'd rather help my fellow human beings put their lives back together than leave them to make their own mistakes unaided."

The response was barely coherent, but the gist of it was clear. I nodded. "All right, Chuck. All right. I get it. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I hope you'll change your mind, but if not, I'll see you in the Chamber. Uh-huh. Okay, so long."

I dropped the phone back into its cradle and massaged my temples with my good hand. "Christ, but talking to that man is like slamming your head into a brick wall."

Ruth continued smirking, arms folded. "I told you we wouldn't get him."

"So you did," I agreed ruefully. Ruth was an old comrade from Civil Affairs; we had spent years together out beyond the wire. Civil Affairs teams in Afghanistan always had a couple female members, to talk to local women. But Ruth was a whole lot more than an intermediary; she was a skilled doctor and field surgeon, and she had saved more lives than anyone else I knew. Of course, I'd also seen her kill a Talib with an entrenching tool in Bagh-e Bala.

She was supposed to be in the Humvee with me that day. I think about that a lot.

Anyway, these days Ruth is my chief of staff. Given that I'm a first-term state senator, that basically makes her chief intern-wrangler. And since half of my interns are college girls who think that I'm handsome and a warrior and hurting on the inside and just need some feminine healing, I'm glad as hell that Ruth gets to deal with them rather than me.

"So," Ruth continued, "what are we going to do?"

"I don't know," I admitted. I stood, and started to pace back and forth in front of my desk. "The votes are out there, Ruth," I muttered. "I can feel 'em. There's one GOP senator who's wavering, just one, somewhere in this building. And if I can get him on our side, then suddenly this bill is bipartisan, and all the Blue Dogs who are afraid to side with us against the GOP will come on board, and we'll have a majority." I waved my hook in frustration. "One vote. I can feel it, Ruth. Maybe it's not Seward, but it's out there."

"If you say so, Cap," Ruth replied dubiously. I smiled briefly; Ruth still called me "captain" when we were in private, and though I knew it was probably inappropriate now that I held political office, I couldn't help appreciating the reminder of my service even so.

I turned and grabbed the remote control for my office television in my good hand. Watching the news occasionally lets my mind wander, allowing me to free-associate and come up with solutions that might otherwise have proved evasive. Ruth knew me well enough to recognize what was going on, and said nothing as I flipped through the channels to CNN.

On the television screen, a coffin draped in the American flag was being unloaded from a transport jet. I felt my jaw clench, and cast a glance at Ruth; her eyes were suddenly glued to the screen. We had both seen far too many friends come home in boxes like that one for such a scene to leave us untouched.

The newscaster was recounting an attack on American diplomatic personnel in Somalia. "Two private contractors lost their lives during a gun battle in Mogadishu yesterday, as did William Greene, one of the State Department's most promising young diplomats...."

I abruptly turned off the television. Ruth looked at me, and I could see the remembered pain in her eyes. But whatever she saw in my face made those eyes suddenly go wide. "What is it?" Ruth asked.

"I - um - " I pointed at the television, then paused, momentarily speechless. "Huh."

Ruth nodded ruefully, and turned away. I am a private person, perhaps more private than I should be. Ruth understood me well enough to know when she was being pushed away.

"Ruth." I shook my head. "Wait." I didn't want to tell her, not exactly. But I didn't want her to leave thinking I didn't trust her, and that was more important. I have few enough people left, now, who care about me. I can't afford to lose the friends who remain.

Ruth paused in the door. I sighed, and scratched my jaw gently with my hook. "I - knew - William Greene. Willie. He was a friend of mine back in high school. Long time ago now."

"Oh." Ruth looked temporarily wrong-footed. "I'm sorry, Cap."

"I haven't seen him in years," I said hurriedly, and then paused, wondering why that had been my response. So as not to show pain, I realized, so as not to show fear. To make myself look strong.

But the reality was that I genuinely did not feel the grief that I expected. I felt a vague, numb pain somewhere in my chest, like a toothache under the fog of painkillers. That was all: a kind of anesthetized surprise.

"I'm still sorry," Ruth said quietly.

"He was a good diplomat, I heard," I remarked. "Smart guy. Studied at Harvard, Oxford. Lots to look forward to." I shook my head. "Hell of a thing."

"Hell of a thing," Ruth repeated softly. Her eyes were far away, and I knew that mine were too. Civil Affairs operated so far outside the areas of secure American control that when the Taliban came calling, we were always on our own. And so the casualty rates were high. Jim Henderson, IED. Barry Lewis, mortar bomb. Mark Brockwood, bullet to the leg, bled out waiting for the chopper. Patty Stevens, kidnapped and beheaded in some godforsaken cave.

Willie Greene, shot dead in Mogadishu.


"Yeah," I said quietly. "Hell of a thing."

* * *


1710
Myers Park
Charlotte, North Carolina
4 June 2015


The low-barrier shelter bill - excuse me, the "Secure Sleep Act" - was up for a vote in another two weeks. My honorable colleagues, especially those on my side of the aisle, were in no wise pleased by the idea that I had to go and attend the funeral of a friend from high school. Daniel Blue, the State Senate Minority Leader, had told me: "Son, you're too young to have any old friends dying."

I'd laughed that one off as best I could. God knew it wasn't true, but that wasn't Senator Blue's problem. Just one of those things.

So I left Ruth in charge of running the office - she did most of the work around there anyway - and I drove up to Charlotte. I knew I was probably going to end up missing my weekend with Roger, and a part of me was kicking myself about that. I was going to have to listen to Danielle tell me how I didn't care about my own son, and that - well. That got under my skin more than I like to admit, maybe even to myself.

I had been going to take Roger fishing, and then we were going to work on the old Rolls that my parents had purchased back in '97, and I had this recipe for largemouth bass - pan-fried, with fresh morel mushrooms and a butter sauce made with lemon and garlic and herbs - that I'd been looking forward to trying. And instead, I was pulling up toward the end of the street on which Willie Greene's childhood home had stood, my hook securely, well, hooked around the wheel and my right hand on the gear stick.

The street was crammed with cars. It was a nice neighborhood - good upper-middle class homes, nice cars, well-kept lawns. The people who lived here didn't have family money like my mother - my parents' house was no larger than Willie's family home, but it sat on a five-hundred-acre estate outside the city - but they were prosperous and hard-working. I had always liked this neighborhood, and felt a little bad about the hell we had all raised in it back in school.

The day of the service, it looked like half of Charlotte had come to the Greene residence; there was a local police officer directing traffic in the middle of the road. I had never in my life seen most of the people who crowded the sidewalks and the lawns, sweating in the summer heat. All of a sudden I felt very uncomfortable, and I remember thinking that yes, maybe this is how Willie would have wanted to go - but when my time came, I didn't want this kind of circus around my corpse. Just a few friends, that's all, and a quiet plot of land would be enough for me. That would be more than that which better men than I had ever received.

Rather than try to navigate the press of dozens of vehicles and pedestrians, I parked my Ford Fusion Hybrid (politician - I had to drive American; Democrat - I had to drive a hybrid) a few blocks down the street and walked the rest of the way to the house. I wore a plain, well-tailored black double-breasted suit, a white shirt, a black tie, and a white pocket handkerchief. I had left the American-flag lapel pin back at the office. This was a funeral, not a campaign event. Still, a few people recognized me as I walked toward the Greene home - it's the hook, I think, the hook became very well-known during the campaign - and I did a bit of desultory handshaking, from which I managed to escape as quickly as I could.

Eventually, I found my way to the Greene home, and opened the door; a blast of cool air hit me in the face. I could see Willie's coffin in that little parlor off the living room. An incongruous sense of deja vu washed over me; all the years that had passed since last I had set foot in this house seemed to fall away, and for a moment I expected to see my left hand, whole and perfect, at the end of my arm again.

It wasn't, of course. The steel hook glimmered in the summer sunshine. I closed the door behind me and moved into the living room.

I could see Cal standing near the coffin, a bottle of beer in one hand. Callum was near him, an awkward smile on his face, clearly trying to start some sort of conversation. Arkady stood a little further away, facing the other two men, his face as cold as the Russian winter, and John was near him, looking like he was about to break down. Manny stood directly over the coffin, his family a short distance away. Both Callum and Manny looked like they had been weeping.

Distantly, I wondered where my own tears had gone. I tried to remember when I had last wept, and realized that it wasn't since before they had boxed me up and shipped me back to Walter Reed. Since then - nothing. Perhaps I should have been more worried about that.

With a brief nod to my old friends - strange that they are all still so recognizable, for all that we've ended up all over the world - I walked up to the coffin and glanced down at the body within. Willie looked absurdly good - probably better than I did, I thought. My eyes were dry as a bone.

I said nothing at all. There was no point. A corpse could not hear me.

After a long moment of staring at that waxy face, I turned to the living. Of them all, I had only seen Manny and Cal recently. Cal had shown up on election night back in '12, when I had won my first race; Willie had been with him then. And I saw Manny all the time; I went to his restaurant whenever I was in Charlotte. Of the others, Callum was out teaching school in San Francisco; Arkady was working in New York with some kind of tech firm; John was serving in the IDF. I hadn't seen any of them in years, certainly not since I'd left the Army.

I realized, with a vague shock, that this would be the first time many of my old friends would see me without my hand.

Not knowing what to say to Arkady or Callum or John, I turned to Cal and Manny. "Hey guys," Manny was saying with a shaky smile, "how long has it been already?"

"Too long," I replied, my voice deep and rich and confident - the politician's voice, I realized with a flicker of disgust. "It's good to see you again, Cal - and in one piece." Cal had gone straight from the Rangers to the Diplomatic Security Service, and a part of me couldn't help but wonder if he had a sublimated death wish. I turned to Manny. "How's your family?" I asked. It was an honest question; I always saw Manny's wife and mother and two beautiful daughters around the restaurant. "Well, I hope?"
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
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Whittington
Senator
 
Posts: 3653
Founded: Nov 10, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Whittington » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:01 pm

1800
NBC Nightly News Studio
New York City, New York
1 June 2015


"QUE MUSIC"

"QUE LIGHTS"

"SERENA, YOU'RE LIVE IN 3, 2, 1...."

The lights in the studio dimmed ever so slightly, providing the right amount of light to accentuate Serena's features and make her green eyes pop. Ever since the Brian Williams debacle, Serena, alongside with Lester Holt had taken over Nightly News in his absence. Brian had been suspended for six months and there were rumors circling around of his return, however, Serena knew that he wouldn't be returning.

Luckily for her, she just signed a contract to co-anchor with Lester Holt for every future broadcast, starting at the beginning of July. Serena wanted the lead anchor spot, but to share the stage with Lester beside her was more than enough. Especially since the program will now be called "NBC Nightly News with Serena Bradbury and Lester Holt." Many would have assumed that Lester would have been billed first on the title, he's been around longer, but everyone thought Serena's name going first flowed more, and Lester, being the gentleman he is, agreed.

"Good evening, I'm Serena Bradbury and these are tonight's top stories." Serena said as she shifted to camera two. "Malaysian Airlines has filed for bankruptcy, which has led to a halt in payments that were promised to the families of those who lost loved ones on flight MH370." Serena then turned back to camera one as a video played, allowing her to fix her hair for a moment." NYPD and the District Attorney's Office is currently investigating the brutal ambush on the two officers who were attacked in Central Park last week. Since body cameras were implemented earlier this year, NYPD has been able to identify two of the five suspects."

Serena looked up at camera one and began to read the teleprompter. Shortly before they went live, there was word of an attack on diplomats in a foreign country, there wasn't much to go on at first, but more information was coming together.

"We start off with a developing story. We learned only moments ago that two private contractors and a US Diplomat were killed in Mogadishu. The US diplomat was in Somalia to negotiate the release of aid workers when a fire fights between the two sides erupted." Serena said as she read line for line." The names of the contractors haven not yet been released, as officials are waiting to notify the families, however we have learned that.." Serena paused for a moment as she saw her best friend's name flash across the teleprompter. She wanted to die at that moment, but had to save face since she was on air." William Greene, who was fast tracked to be the US Ambassador to Somalia, was killed."

There was more to report, but Serena couldn't carry on so she improvised, and luckily the studio caught on." That's all we have at the moment, we'll have more to report at details come in." Serena said as she moved to camera three. "When we come back, we'll hear from one of NYPD officer's who was ambushed in Central Park."

The lights in the studio dimmed as they cut to commercial and Serena stood up, yanked off her mic and swiftly made her way to her dressing room. As she walked off the set, Lester Holt made his way to her. "I've got this. Don't worry. I'm so sorry." Lester said as he gave her a hug. Serena forced a smile and nodded and continued on to her dressing room.

When she made it inside, Serena closed the door behind her and on her assistant who waited outside, deterring others from checking on her. Serena turned around, back against the door and slid down to the ground. She placed her hand over her mouth, as to muffle her cries, but they could clearly be heard on the other side of the door. She had lost her best friend.

1720
Myers Park
Charlotte, North Carolina
4 June 2015


Serena sat in the back seat of a blacked out Bentley that was parked across from the Greene home. She couldn't go inside, not yet at least. Serena had come back home to Charlotte a couple days ago. The initial trip was already was planned, for her father's birthday but now she was in town for her best friend's funeral.

Last night, Serena and her family had a lovely small dinner for her father at her grandparents Myers Park mansion. As they left the dinner and headed back to her dad's home in Foxcroft, they passed the Greene residence. All the lights were off, except for one, Willie's bedroom. When they drove past, all the memories came flooding back to her. Serena had her first kiss in that house, in Willie's room. She smiled for a moment, thinking about it, she was so nervous, but Willie was calm, confident. He was extremely gentle, tender, sweet.

Serena stopped thinking about, not wanting to cry, but the tears came away. She wiped them away with a tissue and looked out the window. She saw Brandon walk into the house and figured she better get a move on to. She reached into her Hermès bag and pulled out her compact mirror and lip gloss. After applying a layer of gloss, Serena smacked her lips together and slipped back into her black snakeskin Christian Louboutin stilettos as the driver came around and opened her door.

She walked up to the house and went inside and saw several familiar faces from all over; the country club, parties, school, the news, family and friends, people she loved, people she couldn't stand. Serena wanted to get it over with and she passed Brian on her way to the parlor, where several were paying their respects to Willie. There was a line so she waited patiently.

As she waited, she fiddled around with her pearl bracelet, a gift Willie had given her on her 21st birthday. They were a simple strand of pearls, tied off by a small pink bow, her favorite color. Serena wore it often as it was one of her favorite pieces of jewelry.

Serena finally made her way to the wake and couldn't bare to look down but she mustered up the strength to do so. He looked handsome, like always. Serena had been to a handful of funerals in her life, but this was her first wake. It was odd to see Willie lying there in that coffin. It seemed so wrong that someone like him was taken from the world this soon. Serena bent down over Willie, put a loose strand of his hair back into place and kissed him on the cheek. "I love you Willie. Always."

After wiping away her tears, Serena turned around and searched the room. Across the way she spotted Cal right away. Over the years, Serena kept in touch with Willie and Cal the most. Cal was like the big brother she never had but always wanted, and Willie, well, he was just Willie. After spotting Cal she quickly realzied her was surrounded by the others, Manny Callum, Arkady, John and Brian.

Serena made her way to the guys and greeted them with a warm smile. "Well it seems that most of The Masters of the Universe has assembled." She had taken a spot next to Cal and gave him a quick peck on the cheek and patted Manny on the back.
Last edited by Whittington on Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Cylarn
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14639
Founded: Nov 25, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Cylarn » Sun Feb 22, 2015 10:48 am

As Cal came to the conclusion that the only way to ward off his own sorrow was to drink it away, he was soon joined by Callum. He gave a slight smile to the man, though the guilt riding on his shoulders prevented him from smiling anymore. He made eye contact with the man, and decided to use a white lie.

"I'm...good," he said, before taking a sip of his beer. "Been a while, man. Heard you're a writer now. How's that?"

Truth be told, Cal didn't feel the desire to talk. He loved the group, but deep down in his body, he was becoming overwhelmed with emotion. He was baffled; he had survived all sorts of horrors, and here he was, unable to handle the stress of losing his best friend. He was losing his ability to function with everyone, and he began to feel sick to his stomach. The numbers only increased, as Bran, Arkady, John, Manny, and Serena soon joined the group, surrounding and compacting him. He was feeling compacted, and he was slipping back into the light-headed state from earlier. To the others, his face was completely blank and he looked god-awful.

Cal couldn't handle the sickening feeling in his stomach, nor the light-headed feeling in his head. Without a single word, he nudged away from his childhood friends, and briskly made his way to the bathroom, shutting and locking the door behind him. He put his bottle up on the sink counter, and immediately fell to his knees, tears rolling down his face as he looked down into the toilet. He began to dry-heave, clenching his fists as he braced himself against the painful body action. A stream of vomit was soon ejected into the toilet, and Cal held his head over it, waiting for more vomit as his stomach began to burn. He had buried friends before, but he realized that this was an entirely different scenario. He had lost his closest friend; the first friend that he had ever made after moving to the US. Feeling a little bit better, he leaned back against the wall, breathing heavily.

"Damnit," he said, his English accent slipping out as a result of the stress. "Damnit, damnit, damnit, damnit. They probably think I'm a fucking chump. Alright...I'll go give my condolences to the Greenes, and then I'll fuck off. No sense in forcing myself through this torture any longer."

After cleaning himself up and regaining his composure, he left the bathroom. Before he could begin looking for the Greenes, a tall, older man stepped in front of him. Cal's eyes grew wide, as he realized that he was confronted by Harry, Willie's father. The old man had fought in Vietnam, and he and Lewis had been partners in the police before Harry went into municipal politics, Not to mention, he had also been a Center in the Davidson College men's basketball team, having used his connections to get Bran an acceptance letter. He smiled at Cal, and offered his right hand. The two men proceeded to shake hands, though the old man noticed that Cal's hand was shaking.

"Mr. Greene, sir, I don't know what to say," Cal said, struggling to find the right words.

"It's not a good day, Cal," Harry admitted, before reaching into his jacket pocket to reveal a CD. "Willie's lawyer gave this to us. He had left a note, saying that he only wanted you, and Bran, and Serena, and everyone else to read it. In private, as well. You can go into my office, watch it there."

Before Cal could even say another word, Willie forced the disk into his hand and broke ranks with Cal. Wonderful...

Cal made his way back into the living room, approaching the group as he waved the disk.

"Guys...Harry just gave me this..." he said. "Come on, we're going to watch it in his office."

Without waiting for a reply, Cal departed for Harry's office. The room itself was lined with large bookcases, bearing all sorts of tomes and knowledge. It was a very professional-looking study, with a large oak desk, two wooden chairs on one side of the desk, a leather office chair, a fireplace, various certificates, diplomas, and relics, and a 32-inch flatscreen TV with a nearby Blu-Ray player. Cal strode inside as the first one, and placed the disk in the disk drive of the Blu-Ray player. He then walked over to the table, and sat down on top of it, waiting for the others to come in.

He had no idea what he was about to watch.
Last edited by Cylarn on Sun Feb 22, 2015 4:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Recipient of the Best Crime RP'er Award and the Best Crime RP Award for 2013 in P2TM. Recipient of the Best Crime RP'er Award of 2014 in P2TM.

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The Emerald Dragon
Senator
 
Posts: 4708
Founded: Jan 30, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby The Emerald Dragon » Sun Feb 22, 2015 5:52 pm

4th June, 2015

In the room of a home, on a sad day - a young man was thinking... thinking hard.

John's sad pitying was abruptly interrupted when Cal left the room, the stomach-churning and vile sound of vomiting entering John's eardrums moments later. Hearing the disgusting sounds of his friend's bodily action caused John's face and body to turn white, white as sheet to be in fact. In all honesty, John was quietly considering making a break to bathroom himself - his head a mess of conflicting feelings and fractured memories of Willie from High School. So many joyous times, over quicker than the blink of eye; back then he had been too eager to head to University and had stopped thinking of his friends completely, thinking the day of the graduation would be the last he saw of them.

...

Now, standing in that room surrounded by these friends whom he hadn't seen in years - he realised how much he now yearned for the good old days of 'blissful chaos' when the world was just one big rollercoaster of laughs. That wishing was a futile effort now though, as a friend lay dead and another was chucking his guts up like a frog. Still... maybe he could grieve quietly when the funeral was over and just get over it one step at a time. That would work, that would really wor-

"Guys...Harry just gave me this...." Cal said, having gotten rid of the tension inside him and looking far paler, he was now holding a CD?.... it couldn't be.... could it?

"Come on, we're going to watch it in his office."

'Fucking hell... please Cal, no...' John thought miserably, a river of tears threatening to erupt from his face at any moment.

Still, he followed.

Cal entered the room first - striding in, projecting a weak aura of painfully obvious pseudo-confidence. He sat on a table, placed the disk in the blu-ray player and waited for the others.

John weakly followed, limping like a fox with two broken limbs - he wasn't going to break down further. Sitting on a chair and John fixed his gaze to the television, trying to block out the presence of Cal lest he break down completely and become an incoherent wreck.
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Rupudska
Postmaster of the Fleet
 
Posts: 20387
Founded: Sep 16, 2010
Scandinavian Liberal Paradise

Postby Rupudska » Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:42 pm

Gwoza, Nigeria
2 June 2015
2:30 PM local time


Ah, the romantic life of a mercenary. All the action of a soldier, with the intrigue of a spy and the romance of a noncombatant.

What utter bullshit, thought Angela Velasquez as she crouched next to the door of a shell of a building, not far from the edge of the Local Government Area known as Gwoza. The Nigerian and Cameroonian governments had grown quite tired of Boko Haram's shit, and perhaps in part due to the delayed assistance from military hypergiants like the United States or the EU (which weren't expected to arrive in the area for another two months at least), and thus had turned to private military companies.

Like the Hannibal Corporation she worked for, for example. For the past six hours, it had bee helping to mop up the remaining resistance in the city, alongside Nigerian forces. Fighting had been... well exactly like how Angela had expected it to be. Brutal, quick, spontaneous and ugly. Though with the superior technology they had on their side - thanks to Hannibal - the losses of government and PMC forces were minimal.

Only seventeen had died, to BH's 137, along with an exploded technical.

It had been twenty minutes since Angela had heard... well, anything. The post-battle quiet always felt unnatural, like the quiet after a thunderstorm. Making it worse was that it was often hard to tell if the battle was over, or if it was merely a lull in the fire. The familiar sound of a Hannibal-owned G-Wagen approaching answered her question. It wasn't exactly the most RPG-proof vehicle, so they usually weren't brought out until most of the fighting had ended, or all of it. Judging by the silence, Angela was willing to think it was all over.

She cautiously peered out, and upon spotting her employer's logo on the side of the vehicle (and familiar faces inside said vehicle), came out of the building she was in.

"Hey, Raikov. I guess the party's over, then?"

"That's right, Angela," said the somewhat girlish-looking Russian driving the Mercedes. "We're pulling out of the area, starting today, so that the Nigerians can set up some proper defenses in the area."

Angela smiled, sliding into one of the passenger seats left. "That's good, that's very good. Maybe we'll get out of this shit hole soon."

"You'll be getting out sooner than later, Velasquez," he said, handing her a newspaper. One article on the front page was circled with a red marker:

American diplomat William Greene in Somalia shot dead


Angela grabbed the newspaper and read the article, both parts, over and over again. It was impossible. Willie may have not been the type to be surrounded by a wall of bodyguards 24/7, but he wasn't reckless. He only ever hired the best to protect him, after all.

"And I assume that, because of this, the boss is putting me on temporary leave, just in case?"

"Just as a precaution, yes. Can't have you snapping on us, after all."

Angela wiped what was very definitely not tears from her eyes, before handing the newspaper back to Raikov. "You're an ass, Raikov."

"Nonsense! If I were an ass, I would be too in love with myself to do anything!" He withdrew a pair of plane tickets, along with a funeral invitation. "Your flight leaves tomorrow morning, you'll be there with plenty of time to spare."


1710
Myers Park
Charlotte, North Carolina
4 June 2015


Angela didn't own a car, not in the United States. At least not technically. The bright blue 2013 Mustang GT she had bought for when she was in the States was legally owned by her parents, though it was only she who ever drove it. It was a manual, of course.

The street was full of cars, the majority of them big luxocruisers. Jaguars, Mercedes, and Cadillacs everywhere, and not a parking spot in sight not occupied by a fire hydrant. Finally, after six minutes of searching, she found one sandwiched between a Buick and a Tesla Model S... unfortunately it was quite some distance from the actual Greene estate, so Angela had some walking to do.

Good thing I brought a water bottle, she thought as she half-walked, half-jogged the entire way there. In her tailored, charcoal black suit with green shirt and black tie. It was indeed a good thing she brought a rather large water bottle, as she was already sweating by the time she reached the Greene estate, about two minutes after Serena.

A thousand old sights and sounds greeted her as she entered the Greene estate. Everything seemed so familiar, but in a detached way. The way the floorboards creaked and gently gave under her weight when pressed, the way the pictures and paintings on the walls were arranged - though right now there were obviously a lot more pictures of Willie than she remembered.

And there, in an open casket, lay William Greene himself. Angela was impressed with the mortician's work: Had she not watched the CNN report on YouTube on the flight into Atlanta, she would have thought he had been struck dead.

She shook her head, trying and failing to find words to say in that situation.

"Willie, I-"

Nothing. Her words got stuck in her throat, tried to squeeze past, and only managed to ensure their failure at getting out. Again, she tried unsuccessfully to hide the fact that she was crying, this time by pretending to cough into a handkerchief. She soon spotted Cal heading into another room, and she followed him just in time to hear him announce that Harry Greene had given him something.

Cylarn wrote:"Guys...Harry just gave me this..." he said. "Come on, we're going to watch it in his office."


That must be his will,she thought. Wordlessly, she followed Cal into the office. To put it plainly, she no more knew how to address her old friends, Cal especially, than she did William. But she had a feeling she would be drawn into the conversation.
Last edited by Rupudska on Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chrysaor
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 416
Founded: Dec 13, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Chrysaor » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:36 am

Reverend Norv wrote:"Too long," I replied, my voice deep and rich and confident - the politician's voice, I realized with a flicker of disgust. "It's good to see you again, Cal - and in one piece." Cal had gone straight from the Rangers to the Diplomatic Security Service, and a part of me couldn't help but wonder if he had a sublimated death wish. I turned to Manny. "How's your family?" I asked. It was an honest question; I always saw Manny's wife and mother and two beautiful daughters around the restaurant. "Well, I hope?"


"They're fine and they're all here." Manny flashed a genuine grin, showing appreciation at Bran's concern. "Thanks Bran."

The other man was always a solid guy, reliable - a good friend to have in such trying times and Manny was glad for his presence. He was happy to see everyone else of course, but the vet was one of the few who really stuck around. After graduation, most of the group went on to bigger and better things than Charlotte, than people like Manny. It was their lives of course, he was happy for them and never once resented their choices. Nonetheless, it still felt good to see Bran's face now and then at the restaurant, especially since the man himself was now a big shot. In fact, he was probably the only one who'd seen Manny's family before.

Ahh his family, he loved his family. They were his reason for living and the mere chance to talk about bought some light into what could only be one of the gloomiest day in his life. He propped up the 2-year old girl in his arms and waved her little hand at the gang.

"Say hello to daddy's friends Monica." he said. "And everyone, this is my daughter Monica."

"'Ello dadda friend" The girl mumbled as she stared nonchalantly at the group of strangers.

"My wife and the other 2 girls are in the guest room right now. If you all could I'd love for everyone to meet." he beamed optimistically.

By now the rest of the gang were trickling in through the door and into the kitchen...Serena, John even Angela. It had truly been too long since he'd see all their faces in one place. How strange and sad that the group which he considered to be the joy of his boyhood personified would at long last be united at a funeral.

Soon, they all fell into a comfortable banter of small talk and catching up. This person went here and that person did that, they had all accomplished so much. Manny was oddly proud that he's associated with such an amazing group of people. In his joy, he didn't even notice Cal's sudden absence.

Cylarn wrote:Cal made his way back into the living room, approaching the group as he waved the disk.

"Guys...Harry just gave me this..." he said. "Come on, we're going to watch it in his office."

Without waiting for a reply, Cal departed for Harry's office. The room itself was lined with large bookcases, bearing all sorts of tomes and knowledge. It was a very professional-looking study, with a large oak desk, two wooden chairs on one side of the desk, a leather office chair, a fireplace, various certificates, diplomas, and relics, and a 32-inch flatscreen TV with a nearby Blu-Ray player. Cal strode inside as the first one, and placed the disk in the disk drive of the Blu-Ray player. He then walked over to the table, and sat down on top of it, waiting for the others to come in.

He had no idea what he was about to watch.


Before he went in, Manny called out for Penny who was chatting with a female friend in the living room. He told her Harry Greene wanted him and his friends to see something of Willie's, something personal and sent Monica to Penny's arm. He muttered an apology and dashed back to the impressive looking study - which belonged to Harry if he recalled correctly, where the others went to. Manny closed the door behind him just as the disk rolled into the Blu-Ray player.

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Whittington
Senator
 
Posts: 3653
Founded: Nov 10, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Whittington » Mon Feb 23, 2015 8:31 pm

Serena joined the others in the office to watch a video Willie had left behind for them. As she made her way in, memories of years ago flooded back all at once. Harry always told them to never go into his office, it was his workplace after all, but the gang always managed to sneak their way in there, over and over again.

When Serena was around 13, Willie told the group how his dad kept a big box of these infamous Cuban cigars locked away in his desk. Apparently they were hand rolled by some old lady, but she wasn't any old lady, she was the queen of cigars, or so he says. The batch of cigars his dad had stashed away was one of the last, for the old woman had died a few years ago, and the cigars were basically "priceless." To Serena, a cigar was a cigar, her grandfather never smoked, but her father would light one up with his buddies from time to time as they exchanged stories of their deployments.

One night during a sleepover, Serena used a bobby pin to break into the desk drawer that held the coveted cigars, she took only one, and the gang took turns taking a few puffs from it in the backyard. Willie smoked it like he was some sort of cigar aficionado, but Serena took one puff, inhaled, but didn't exhale, and it sent her into a coughing fit that had the entire group laughing.

It was like it happened yesterday, but now they were here once more, in the office, not sneaking in to steal cigars or build a fort, but to presumably watch a video will their best friend left behind. As the other's took their palaces, Serena chose to sit on the edge of Henry's desk, legs crossed, arms folded, one hand carrying her Chanel clutch, the other a bundle of tissues, God knows that she was going to need them in the next few moments.
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Senkaku
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 16615
Founded: Sep 01, 2012
Father Knows Best State

Postby Senkaku » Mon Feb 23, 2015 10:04 pm






Moscow, Russia
Six years ago





"Anyways, that's why everyone's scared of Professor Burov."
Arkady chuckled, sipping his beer as the floor thrummed with the powerful bass and voices filtered in and out of his ears in the dim light. He snorted, shaking his head, and Alexei laughed.
"Unbelievable, right? Tiny little old man like him..."
Arkady snorted again. "Jesus Christ. I can picture him storming Kabul, for sure," he said, grinning, to which Alexei also snorted.
"I didn't believe it when I first heard, but it is true. Alpha Group officer. He's dangerous, man."
Arkady rolled his eyes. "I bet either of us could outdrink him, though. You wanna go do some shots?"
"Good idea. I don't have any vodka in my room."
"No vodka? What sort of Russian are you?"
"Says the American," Alexei fired back good-naturedly. "Anyways, I need to find Natalya, and she likes the brand of tequila Nikolai brought."
"Alright." The two young men began to weave their way through the crush of people in the different rooms, towards the table where a vast array of different types and varieties of harder liquors had been set up, along with at least three hundred individual short glasses- many of them full.
"You ever done flaming shots?", Arkady mused, looking over as they walked.
"Let's not. I want a drink, not an esophagus transplant."
He snorted. "Alright."
"Alexei!"
Both of them turned as Nikolai weaved through the crowd towards them. "You looking for Natalya?"
"It was an excuse to get a few shots, but yeah," Alexei quipped.
"Oh, you've found her then, never mind," Nikolai smiled. "She was over there last I saw her."
Arkady and Alexei had just downed a few shots of vodka when Natalya, Alexei's girlfriend, showed up with one of her friends.
"There you guys are. Me and Nina have been looking all over for you," she said, taking the shit that Alexei offered her. "Oh, Nina, have you met Arkady?"
The girl next to Natalya tossed her wavy black hair back, out of her face, with a little flick of the neck, looking up towards Arkady's face. "I don't think so," she said with a shy smile, and extended a hand. "I'm Nina Akulova."
Arkady managed to prevent his jaw from dropping, but was completely dumbstruck. Nina, in his opinion, was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen- but he managed to extend a hand and stammer out, "Nice to meet you. Arkady Semyanin."
Alexei and Natalya glanced at their friends, who were staring at each other and generally looking smitten, and exchanged a significant look as the conversation awkwardly shifted onwards.




Charlotte, North Carolina





Arkady bit his tongue in worry as Cal staggered off like a dog that had taken a bullet to the pelvis, wincing a little as he heard him throwing up quite loudly in the bathroom. He managed to force a brittle smile to his face and participated in the little bit of small talk, feeling his smile become real as Manny's absolutely adorable daughter said hello to them all. It was pleasant- if somewhat surprising, given their high school days- seeing everyone so happy (for the most part) and hearing that they were all doing things they loved- or, in the case of Bran, had an odd relish for, but that was beside the point.
But the big shock had been seeing Bran, in the flesh, with one hand.

Oh, he'd heard about it, at length, while he had been in Astrakhan visiting his grandparents- but the incident had slipped out of Arkady's memory quite swiftly, and he'd quickly been back in his normal routine.
But there it was- no fingers, no nails, just a gleaming steel hook, like Captain Hook from the fairy tales or some sort of eighteenth century sea-dog. He managed not to stare too much, but it was certainly a surprising reminder that not everything had gone perfectly for his friends in the last few years.

And then Cal came back in, and Arkady didn't even feel sadness about Willie or surprise about Bran- he just felt bad for Cal. The poor guy was a mess, even more than John or Callum, and it was impossible to not feel sorry for him.
But Arkady had an odd sense of foreboding as he followed him into the office to watch the video.
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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:25 pm

Before Manny could answer, Serena had arrived. I liked Serena; I always had. For one thing, our families moved in similar circles; we both came from Charlotte's elite, the class of people who had mansions on the edge of town. But for different reasons - the fact that my mother came from the North and my father from the Appalachians, and the hard reality of Serena's race - neither of us had ever been exactly like the other old-money families of Southern gentry that surrounded us. And Serena, like me, had been serious, hard-working, good with her schoolbooks. Unlike me - I was always running off to boxing tournaments or foreign travels - she had been popular, too: head cheerleader, homecoming princess, yearbook editor, beloved by all. Yet somehow, and despite her ill-advised fling with Willie, she had still always seemed clean-cut, possessed of an abiding decency that impressed me.

I had kept briefly in touch with her during college, but after I went to Afghanistan the first time I had lost contact with Serena, along with most of my other friends. I remember reading a headline story about Serena a few years after, in between trying to explain to Danielle why I did what I did, and who she had married. Serena had exposed some corrupt city councilman. Shortly afterwards, I started seeing her on the news constantly, reporting from the Middle East. At one point, she was even kidnapped by a terrorist cell, but managed to escape.

I had seen enough friends kidnapped in Afghanistan - a few Americans, but mostly Afghans who had possessed the audacity to work with Civil Affairs teams deep in the mountains - to know what a kidnapping meant. I sent some flowers to Serena's hospital bed, and bought her a membership at a boxing gym in New York City. After such a traumatic experience, I thought, the most important thing was regaining a sense of yourself as powerful and capable of agency; it had been that way for me after losing my hand. Boxing had helped me in the past; I hoped it would help Serena.

I left my name off the gifts. I always wondered if Serena had known who had sent them.

At any rate, I had seen Serena pretty regularly after that, showing up to her parties on Martha's Garden whenever I could, and watching her on the news as she became one of NBC's top anchors. She had made good, just like I'd always thought she would. It made me happy to see it.

Serena gave Cal a peck on the cheek, and patted Manny's back. "Well," she announced, "it seems that most of The Masters of the Universe has assembled."

I chuckled briefly, and immediately felt an irrational pang of guilt; I was literally laughing over Willie's corpse. So what? whispered a voice at the back of my mind. He can't hear you.

For some reason, that thought only made me feel even more guilty.

Cal looked terrible. His face was blank, pale, almost greenish; his eyes were unfocused. I had gone through Army Special Forces officer training, and I recognized that appearance: Cal looked like a man struggling through the last hour of Selection, or even a man trapped in the depths of SERE school. I felt a flicker of concern - I hope he doesn't die right here, something like that - and I was about to step forward when Cal suddenly excused himself and fled to the bathroom.

At the same time, Angela walked in; I thought dryly that it was just as well that those two didn't meet. I was mostly just...disappointed in Angela. She had served, like Cal and me. I'd even run into her once in Afghanistan. I had always worried about her, distantly, though I knew that it was beyond my power to help her. She never seemed to talk to anyone, to have any friends. I knew Cal talked to his father. I talked to Ruth, and a few of my other Civil Affairs buddies. When the horror surged up so that you felt like you were standing neck-deep in it and the water was rising, we had people who could keep us sane. Angela, as far as I could tell, didn't.

And then she had joined a PMC. As I heard it, Cal had almost arrested her once. Like I said, I was mostly just disappointed. I had thought better of her.

But then, to my surprise, I saw that Angela was crying, and trying badly to hide it. And it moved me. Somewhere in the depths of my soul, I thought: Then it's true. There is hope for us all, in all our brokenness.

If Angela could cry, then maybe someday I would be able to cry as well.

Scarcely a moment had passed since I had finished asking Manny about his family. The restauranteur turned to me with a huge smile. "They're fine and they're all here," he replied. "Thanks Bran." Manny hoisted his tiny daughter higher in his arms. "Say hello to daddy's friends, Monica." he told the child. Then Manny turned proudly to the group. "And everyone, this is my daughter Monica."

"'Ello dadda friend" The girl mumbled agreeably.

"My wife and the other two girls are in the guest room right now," Manny continued enthusiastically. "If you all could I'd love for everyone to meet."

I smiled quietly to myself. I thought of Roger, and the weekend that I was supposed to have been spending with him, fishing and hiking and cooking and tinkering with cars. My son. There were days when I felt like Roger was the only unambiguously good thing I'd ever done. And there were days, too, when I felt like I had failed him - him and Danielle both - in ways that I would never be able to atone for. And so when I looked at Manny's beaming face I felt love for the man - and in spite of myself I felt envy for the family that he had managed to preserve while mine had disintegrated.

Before any of us could take Manny up on his offer, I saw Cal striding back toward us with a determined step, holding a computer disk in one hand. I gave Manny a small smile. "Perhaps another time," I said.

Cal arrived, brandishing the disk. "Guys...Harry just gave me this..." he said. The man sounded bewildered, exhausted. "Come on, we're going to watch it in his office."

Sure enough, we all crowded into the office of Willie's father. Since we were both in local politics, I had spent the last few years working with Harry, and I had always liked the man. A soldier, a policeman, a real community man. We didn't always agree on politics, but we had lived similar lives and ended up in similar places. We'd even both gone to the same college, and I owed my admission to Davidson in part to Harry. By the end, I realized, I had felt at least as close to the Greene father as to the son.

Cal bustled around Harry's office as we all found places in the room from which we could see the television screen; I leaned against the wall in a corner from which I could see all the windows and the office door. Old habits die hard, especially if they were once a matter of life and death.

Cal put the disk in a Blu-Ray player, and cast an anxious look at the rest of us. Serena was sitting on top of the desk, and I suddenly saw her in my mind's eye: thirteen years old, working at the drawer of that same desk with a bobby pin, retrieving a cigar as her prize, and falling into a coughing fit as soon as she had taken a drag. I felt one corner of my mouth twitch upward involuntarily, and then I turned my gaze to the television and nodded.

"Well," I announced, "let's see what Willie had to tell us."
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Sun Mar 01, 2015 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
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Cylarn
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14639
Founded: Nov 25, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Cylarn » Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:48 pm

The rest of the group soon filed into the room, and everyone took up a space within sight of the TV screen. Cal sat down in one of the wooden chairs, the remote held in his right hand. He did a once-over around the room, looking to make sure that everyone was present. He gave a sigh, and pointed the remote towards the TV.

Do I really want to watch this?

Before Cal could truly process the answer, Willie appeared on the TV screen, sitting in his rather comfortable D.C. office. He looked just as well as he did in the coffin, and he wore a weak smile on his face. On his desk was a picture of everyone, taken at their high school reunion. Willie's eyes read some sadness as he looked towards the camera, his hands clenched together. Cal sat up straight, watching on as Willie began to speak.

"Hey guys, it's me," he said. "I-uh-I hope y'all are all doing great, and I know that...the reunion was not quite how I planned, my apologies. Luckily, the country club has decided to drop the charges, though they did ban all of us for life. Cal, Francesca is back on the market, by the way."

Cal cracked a smile at the mention of the reunion, which now seemed like just another of their exploits. It was almost 4 years ago, when their high school graduating class had gotten together for their reunion. Everyone was more or less the same; Willie had brought along his attractive Brazilian-Italian trophy wife, Francesca da Silva-Greene. She was some high-end Italian diplomat who flirted too much and paid little attention to Willie, which boded well for Cal, especially following the end of a long relationship with one of his fellow DSS agents. While the group frolicked, Cal and Fran traded looks, until they snuck away and did the deed. Willie - already drunk by the time they came back - immediately called Cal and Fran out, who were also blitzed. Cal and Willie got into a fight, prompting almost everyone else in their graduating class to get into a fight, although it was quickly broken up by the country club's security, and luckily no one was arrested. Cal was just happy that he and Willie mended their friendship.

"Anyways...I'm making this video because I'm about to do something really important, and you'll hear about it soon enough. If you get this tape, then I probably failed, because...I'll probably be dead. I'm not afraid for my life; I know what I'm doing, and I know that y'all understand. I've put in a request to DSS asking that they assign Cal to watch my back on this mission, because I have a shot of making it back with him watching my back. But, let me get on with it. This isn't a will, because I already made one. This is a request that you must accept, to put my soul at rest. I want you to take my body, and I want you to put it in the Town Car. I want you to drive that Town Car out to the middle of the Mojave Desert, and I want you to set it on fire with my body in the driver's seat. I...I honestly cannot explain it, but if you had the dreams that I had, you would understand."

"I know it sounds peculiar, but do not tell anyone until after it has been done. We NEVER asked our parents for permission to do anything, so why start now? This is my wish, not my parent's wish. Guys...I love y'all. Do this for me. One last adventure together, and you know what the best part is? You won't have to hear my annoying voice."

The footage ended after Willie's final message, reverting to a blue screen. Cal stared at the screen in confusion at what had just happened. Not only had Willie practically revealed that Cal was with him in Somalia, but he had just made the most outrageous request known to man. Cal slowly pulled himself to his feet, looking around at everyone in the room.

"Guys..." he said. "Did Willie say that he wants us to shanghai his body and burn it out in the desert? I'm not the only one who heard him say that, right?"
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Whittington
Senator
 
Posts: 3653
Founded: Nov 10, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Whittington » Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:07 am

"We have to do it." Serena said matter of factly.

Though Willie's request might seemed odd, even outrageous to those outside of the group, it made sense to Serena.

A Town Car was usually a status symbol for the elite; it was classic American elegance, a way to get from A to B while being wrapped in leather and polished wood. However in the hands of a few rowdy teenagers, it was a completely different machine. It was a home away from home, an escape, a getaway car, a place to hide your stash, a concert hall and at times, a place for the guys to get hot and heavy with the flavor of the week.

Their junior year of high school, Serena and Willie made their relationship public. What had started as a summer tryst turned into first love, one that would only last a year and a few days, but still a love that one would never forget. You never forget your first.

Homecoming night, after the big game, the gang got ready at Serena's house. The girls got ready in her room while the guys got ready in the library. The boys had won the big game, with credit going to Willie for making the touchdown that tilted the scales in their favor. It was like something out of a movie.

Serena could have driven herself and Willie in her new BMW, but they opted to go in the Town Car with the gang, it just seemed right. When they pulled up to the dance, Serena and Willie stepped out, hand in hand, looking like a million bucks. Though they weren't Homecoming King and Queen, being Homecoming Prince and Princess was just as good, and it wasn't a competition when they were nominated to be on the ticket. The group danced the night away, somebody spiked the punch and teachers had to keep pulling kids off each-other because they didn't tolerate any sort of "bumping and grinding".

Later on that night, Willie and Serena sneaked out the back and found themselves at the Town Car. No, they weren't going to have sex in the back seat, Serena was too much of a lady for that, but Willie wanted to do something else with her. They sat on the trunk, Willie's arm wrapped around her with her head on his shoulder.

"Hey, Serena, look what I got." Willie said with a devious smile as he took a joint out of his jacket pocket.

"Really Willie? As if." Serena said channeling her inner Cher Horowitz.

"C'mon babe. Don't be like that. I do it all the time with Cal."

"And I'm not Cal. I don't do that sort of stuff."

"Babe. Please. Just once. I'll never bring it up again." Said with that smile.

Serena glared at Willie but softened her look and gave in. She could never say "no" to him. Especially when he smiled like that. Willie lit up the joint and took a few hits before passing it to Serena. She took it away from him ever so gingerly, as if it would make her manicured hands fall right off from just touching it. Just like the cigar from when they were 13, the joint sent Serena into a coughing fit. Willie laughed so hard he had tears in in his eyes and in turn, it made Serena laugh. She tried it a few more times and eventually got the hang of it. As the joint dwindled into a roach, Willie took it from her and took a a big hit and held it in. He placed his hands around Serena's face and pulled her in for a kiss, and let the smoke escape from his mouth into hers. He said it was a "shotgun", something he always wanted to try with her. Willie ashed the roach on the trunk, leaving a slight burn and flicked it into the parking lot. He pulled Serena in closer and the two just sat there, laughing and smiling the night away.

Serena enjoyed the end to their night. Willie never asked her to do it again, like he promised.


"Guys, we have to do it. It's what Willie wants." Serena repeated.
Last edited by Whittington on Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
" People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf"

Pro-Gay Marriage, Pro-Gun, Pro-Freedom, Pro-Capitalism, Pro-Military, Pro Law Enforcement, Patriot. AMERICAN

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Krytonus
Minister
 
Posts: 2096
Founded: Feb 20, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Krytonus » Mon Mar 02, 2015 3:04 pm

"Huh." Callum managed. He wasn't exactly sure what else to say. If that's what Willie wante- had wanted, then that was fine by him.
"As long as I don't have to sit in the middle, I'm game. Might even get a few ideas for my book." He ran a hand through his mass of curly hair and sat back in the armchair he was sitting in, letting out a long sigh. He remembered the reunion like it was yesterday. He was one of the only ones to remember the details, considering he didn't drink. He smiled, looking back over the memories. The town car made sense too, and Callum had many suprisingly fond memories of being squashed into the back with the gang on Spring Break roadtrips and countless parties. He liked that car, but it would be a tight fit. They'd barely ever fit in when they were kids, and now they were all adults, it would be pretty damn difficult, especially when you add a coffin into the mix.
The Irishman who doesn't drink, nursing a Pepsi in the corner of The Pub.



I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong.

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Reverend Norv
Minister
 
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Founded: Jun 20, 2014
New York Times Democracy

Postby Reverend Norv » Mon Mar 02, 2015 7:32 pm

"Hold on," I growled. I could feel myself starting to lose control of my voice; the smooth politician's baritone had turned rough, flavored with the nasal drone of Appalachia. "Everyone just - hold on. Okay?"

I took a deep breath, trying to process what I had just seen and heard, running Willie's last message over again in my mind for clues as to how I could explain what had just happened.

I hadn't been at the high school reunion four years ago; I'd been in Afghanistan at the time, trying to organize an educational scholarship program for rural villagers. I later found out - irony of ironies - that my Humvee had hit an IED the same day as my old friends had met at the country club. While Cal had been screwing Willie's wife, I had been laying in the smoking wreckage of my vehicle, trapped under the mangled bodies of my friends, slowly bleeding out from a dozen shrapnel wounds. While Willie and Cal had been turning the reunion party into a brawl, I had been staring at the gleaming whiteness of exposed bone where my radius and ulna had ripped through my sleeve, and I had been listening to the utter silence of the Afghan wilderness. I had been feeling my blood slowly leak out like the contents of a punctured water balloon, and feeling the weight of Jake Tanner's slowly cooling dead flesh as it pinned me helplessly in my seat, and waiting to die alone.

Alone.

Fuck. I forced my mind back onto the present. God damn it. Focus.

So Willie had known what he was getting himself into when he had gone to Somalia. He had known that he might not be coming back. And he had asked for Cal to provide security, which meant -

Which meant that Cal had been with Willie when Willie died. Which meant that Cal had been responsible for protecting Willie when Willie died. Which meant that Cal, at some level, had to be blaming himself for Willie's death.

All of a sudden, my old friend's erratic behavior made a lot more sense.

And then, of course, there was the kicker. The real point, the point that I was desperately trying to avoid thinking about. Willie wanted us to steal his body, put it in the town car, drive the car to the other side of the country, and set it on fire with his corpse inside it. And he wanted us to keep that whole plan a secret, even from Willie's own parents, for reasons that he couldn't explain but that had something to do with dreams.

Honestly, it didn't sound like Willie. It was weird, mystical, prophetic-dreams mumbo-jumbo. For all his faults, Willie had always had his feet firmly on the ground. But worse, this last request of his had the potential to alienate all of us from the rest of the Greene family, make us wanted criminals under a dozen different laws in a dozen different states, cause a public scandal, and leave us all disgraced at best and in prison at worst. It was the sort of craziness that could destroy our lives in a matter of hours.

So actually, on second thought, it sounded exactly like Willie. I let out a single, disbelieving guffaw of laughter, and shook my head. "You son of a bitch," I muttered under my breath to the empty air, and despite myself, I could hear the rueful admiration in my hushed tone.

I took a deep breath, and when I spoke again, my voice had returned to normal: the deep, clear, ringing voice of an officer and a politician. I felt a sense of comfort wash over me. I am myself again.

First, I turned to Serena. "Look," I began, "I know how much Willie meant to you. To all of us. But that doesn't mean we have to do this." I let my gaze pan over the rest of my old friends. "Willie is dead, folks. He's gone. That body in the other room isn't him any more. Whatever debts we owed him can never be paid, not now. Stealing that cadaver and smuggling it halfway across the nation isn't going to change that. It won't make Willie rest easier in his grave. He's gone."

"Moreover, we need to be clear on what this - adventure - would entail." I took a deep breath. "First of all, Willie's parents would never forgive us for stealing their son's body out of their home without telling them why. The whole Greene family would hate us till the day we die."

I raised my eyebrows. "But more than that, let's all remember: stealing a dead body is a crime. Moving a dead body across state borders is a crime. Setting a car on fire is a crime. And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. If we get caught doing this, we will all go to prison. Manny will lose his restaurant. Serena will never work in front of a camera again. I'll be finished in politics. Our lives as we know them will be over."

"Willie was a hell-raiser." I gave a crooked smile. "We all remember that. But let's just hold on a moment, take a breath, and think about this. We're not kids anymore. We have lives of our own, and responsibilities. And I'm a long way from sure that we would be right to throw all of those things away in order to fulfill the last hell-raising request of a friend who is already beyond our ability to help in any way." I raised my hands - well, my hand and my hook. "At the very least, we should think about it before we make a decision."
Last edited by Reverend Norv on Tue Mar 03, 2015 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
For really, I think that the poorest he that is in England hath a life to live as the greatest he. And therefore truly, Sir, I think it's clear that every man that is to live under a Government ought first by his own consent to put himself under that Government. And I do think that the poorest man in England is not at all bound in a strict sense to that Government that he hath not had a voice to put himself under.
Col. Thomas Rainsborough, Putney Debates, 1647

A God who let us prove His existence would be an idol.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Cylarn
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14639
Founded: Nov 25, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Cylarn » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:43 am

Cal remained silent, as his friends expressed their views. It seemed that Callum and Serena were hands-down in favor of fulfilling Willie's wish, without regard to the consequences. Cal didn't know what to think. On one hand, he felt responsible for Willie's death and there was the belief that he had to make things right with the friend that he had failed to protect. On the other end of the spectrum, Harry and Vanessa Greene held more political clout in Charlotte - and the entire Piedmont region - than Bran did, not to mention the fact that they'd lose their livelihoods. Everyone had worked hard to get to where they were in life, and to brave numerous trials and tribulations only to lose it all in some brazen, reckless, sick adventure was hard to comprehend.

Bran voiced Cal's concerns spot-on, though he opened up discussion on the topic, so Cal decided to chime in. He crossed his arms, and his eyes scanned across the room.

"Even if we showed them this video, they would never agree to it," Cal said. "We all know Harry."

Harry Greene was one of the most feared politicians in North Carolina. Following his two tours in Vietnam as a grunt, he had attended Davidson College, earning a degree in Sociology before spending the 70s traveling the world as an employee of the State Department, interviewing civilians in conflict zones. In '84, he and Lewis Calhoun got their start in the Charlotte City PD, starting out in Patrol before working together as Detectives. He retired as a Lieutenant, and he ran for City Council as a Republican. From 2010-2012, he was Mayor Pro Tempore of the City of Charlotte. He has remained on the City Council since then, his Conservative rhetoric withstanding both the left and the far-right. He was infamous for his unbreakable morals and his harsh temper when tested.
✎ Member - ℘ædagog
If you are serving the US and its allies right now overseas, thank you for what you do.
Recipient of the Best Crime RP'er Award and the Best Crime RP Award for 2013 in P2TM. Recipient of the Best Crime RP'er Award of 2014 in P2TM.

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Whittington
Senator
 
Posts: 3653
Founded: Nov 10, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Whittington » Tue Mar 03, 2015 3:44 pm

"You're right Cal, we do know Henry but we also know Vanessa." She said. "We all know what Henry has accomplished, what he's capable of." Serena said, standing up and walking towards the front of the group. "However, behind every strong man, there's an even stronger woman. Vanessa is Henry's right hand woman, his everything, she's his backbone. Does Henry wear the pants in the house? No. Vanessa does." Serena said rather bluntly.

Serena had always known Vanessa Greene to be a kind yet strong woman. Whenever she walked into a room, she lit it up, everyone looked at her, she just had this presence around her. Vanessa was like a mother to Serena and it can be said she loved Serena as much as she loved her own son, and she loved him deeply. Though Henry had been at the forefront of his political endeavors, without Vanessa, much of it would have never happened at all.

"Listen guys, Henry has always valued Vanessa's input, from what color to pain the powder room to what issue to tackle at the City Council meeting. Vanessa loved Willie, he was her pride and joy, her everything. Of all the people in the world, she would be the one to fulfill his last wish." Serena said with conviction.

She leaned against the wood paneled book case and played around with the pearl bracelet that Willie gave to her. He meant the world to her, he meant the world to everyone, and she wanted to see his last wish through. "I know we all have a lot at stake if we go through with this. We would be putting our careers, families, our lives at risk for this. But let me ask you this. Do you think Willie would do the same for us? If we had asked something like that, if we asked for the impossible, do you think Willie wouldn't do everything in his power to grant us that last wish?" Serena asked the room.

"If you think he wouldn't, then get out." She said coldly before continuing on. "You can be damn sure that Willie would pull through if it was one of us. I know I haven't thought all of this out just yet, but maybe, just maybe, if we appeal to Vanessa, she'll get through to Henry. Even if we have just her support, that's all we need. We owe Willie that."
" People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf"

Pro-Gay Marriage, Pro-Gun, Pro-Freedom, Pro-Capitalism, Pro-Military, Pro Law Enforcement, Patriot. AMERICAN

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Chrysaor
Chargé d'Affaires
 
Posts: 416
Founded: Dec 13, 2014
Ex-Nation

Postby Chrysaor » Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:28 pm

Manny didn’t know what he would see after he closed that door but whatever he expected, it wasn’t this. Willie wanted them to do…what? Being reminded of the whole high school reunion fiasco was already bad enough – that was when Manny received a black eye for his valiant, but ultimately futile, attempt to break up the fights.

But this…Manny couldn’t help himself and let out an inappropriate giggle as Willie narrated how his dead body would meet its fiery end. This was surely a joke, there was no other way around it. Any second now his friend would quit his grim façade and laughed at how stupid they all were. He would laugh at how easily everyone fell for his silly, simplistic and pointless post-mortem prank. He would, he must…but then the video just ended.
Manny still couldn’t wrap his head around this new development. He had a headache now – thanks Willie, and his hands went up to his temple. In the hazy background, Serena and Callum were already enthusing about how they could please Willie one last time. Some people never really change. Bran and Cal were more somewhat reasonable but Serena was once again rallying the gang to follow Willie’s wishes. He had to speak up.

“You guys are not seriously considering this, are you?” his face was still in his hands. “This is not another prank he wants us to pull. This is a crime, a major one!”

“I know Willie meant a lot to you Serena - he meant a lot to all of us, but he is dead. You know I’d do anything for the guy and I would do it under other circumstances but this just isn’t about him anymore.” Manny sighed, feeling no small amount of conflict himself. “The body belongs to his family now. This isn't our choice to make and you heard Cal, Harry would never have it. I’m sure even Vanessa can’t help us.”

“So what’s left, huh? Stealing his dead body?” Manny shook his head. “We can’t do this to his family.”

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Senkaku
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 16615
Founded: Sep 01, 2012
Father Knows Best State

Postby Senkaku » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:10 am






Outside Qiqihar, China
Four years ago





"Good enough. The Chinese'll never ID him this way," Arkady muttered as he finished pouring the acid over the man's face and fingers. He wrinkled his nose slightly at the awful smell as the acid smoldered and smoked its way through teeth, retinas, fingerprints- anything and everything that could identify the man, besides his DNA. But his DNA was useless, without a match in the criminal database to check in against.

Lin, his nose also wrinkled, nodded assent, kicking the man over into the ditch and throwing a few shovelfuls of earth onto him. "That should do. Throw his legs over there, so it's harder to tell."
Arkady nodded, heading to the back of the van and pulling out the two limbs, like severed branches. He chucked them into the ditch a few meters away, and Lin shoveled some dirt over them too until the whole bloody, acid-scorched mess was passably covered up.
"I'll signal Moscow. Let's get back and shower," Arkady said, looking under his fingernails at the dirt and blood that had collected there.
"Agreed," Lin said, sounding relieved. "I'll drive."




Charlotte, North Carolina






Arkady coughed as Willie finished and Serena interjected, spluttering on the last few sips of his beer in surprise. He set it down, eyes wide, and managed to clench his jaw to avoid shouting what the fuck?! more loudly than would have been comfortable. Once he'd managed to collect himself, he started running it through his mind, wondering not just what Willie could have possibly been thinking, but what everyone else was- and what it could mean for him.
Well, if we got caught, I'm done. They search my apartment, I'm convicted of espionage and executed or life without parole. So no. And to do this just so Willie feels like his last wish was somehow fulfilled? Last time this group of people was all in a room together apparently they started a brawl.
He pondered that for a moment. Arkady hadn't been at the reunion four years ago, he hadn't even been in the US. While they were probably driving to the country club, Arkady had been busily garroting a man in a deserted restroom, late at night, in downtown Qiqihar. While they'd been turning the party into a drunken mess of fistfights, he'd been busy chopping up Roman Belomestny like a log, burying his arms here, then his torso there, then his legs a little ways further, or pouring acid on his eyes and teeth and hands to remove any identifying traces the Chinese MSS could use to find him.

Finally, though, Serena started grating on his nerves.
Stop thinking about Manchuria and pay attention or else Serena will convince them all to go through with this. Willie was a little different and you may never understand him, but... Jesus.
"This is insane," Arkady said abruptly.
"Seriously, just think about it. Not only is it deeply wrong and highly illegal, apparently the last time most of us were in a room together a country club got half-destroyed, at least from what I heard. Can you imagine all of us packed together in a car- even that's just illegal, we can't all fit-, with a rotting corpse? Let me be clear, Serena- Willie was our friend in high school. He meant a lot to you, to all of us. But we owe him nothing, and it's idiotic to say we do."
Last edited by Senkaku on Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Athrax wrote:
Gauthier wrote:How many times a month did Kennedy visit Dallas?


Only once. He got a mindblowing reception though

The Nuclear Fist wrote:Just try and find a seat without getting your bollocks stuck in a light socket.

Lunas Legion wrote:That's NS for you. It has 2 speeds; a rape train with no brakes or brakes with no train.

Diopolis wrote:
Conserative Morality wrote:Sanders/Trump 2016

Mexico will pay for our universal healthcare!

The Empire of Pretantia wrote:
Dogmeat wrote:The strobe was a little much.

But then the beat dropped and it was just perfect.

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Whittington
Senator
 
Posts: 3653
Founded: Nov 10, 2012
Ex-Nation

Postby Whittington » Wed Mar 04, 2015 3:21 pm

Frustrated with how it seemed nobody had Willie's back, she grabbed her purse of the desk and proceeded to walk out on everyone, before stopping in her tracks and turning to Arkady.

"Arkady, if it wasn't for Willie, you would have been put in the ground a long time ago." Serena said coldly, referring to Arkady's failed suicide attempt. The moment she said it, Serena immediately regretted it, but instead of apologizing right away, she opened the door and walked through the crowd and up to Willie's old room.

Serena walked into what seemed to be a time-capsule, a shrine to Willie's life. Nothing about it had changed since Willie left for college, it was all the same, it was familiar and it brought a strange sense of comfort to Serena. She took a seat on the edge of his bed, tossed her purse aside and with her eyes closed, hands resting in her lap, she took a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale.

She opened her eyes and look around at the room, pictures adorned the walls and fireplace mantel, posters were hung on the walls with scotch tape, Vanessa always hated that, the "Homecoming Prince" sash hung off the desk chair and on the nightstand were two pictures. One was of the whole gang at their high school graduation. They were all in their cap and gowns, diploma's in hand, smiles and a look of victory upon their faces. In that moment, hey were as care-free as they have ever been. The other picture was taken years ago, at a charity event hosted by Serena's grandmother, the same one where Serena met Willie. They looked so young; Serena was wearing a light pink top with a white lace skirt, a little strand of pearls adorned her neck and Willie was wearing a white polo shirt with blue shorts and they were covered in mud with a smile on their faces.

Things were so simple back then.

Serena's eyes then locked onto Willie's high-school letterman jacket on the floor beside her. It had always hung on a wooden hanger off the bedroom door, but perhaps Henry or Vanessa cradled it in an attempt to be close to Willie one last time. Serena walked over and picked it up in her arms and held it close to her, Willie had always looked so good in it. If anything, Serena wore it more than Willie, even after they stopped dating, he always offered it to her at the games so she would be cold in between cheers. She didn't want to let go of it, but she gingerly put the jacket back onto it's hanger, brushed the shoulders a bit and hung it on the door.

She had to make it back down to the wake so she grabbed her purse and walked out of Willie's room and began to make her way down the stairs, but Serena couldn't face the group, not yet, especially after what she said to Arkady. So she took a seat on one of the steps and played with her pearls, thinking of what to do next.
" People Sleep Peacefully in Their Beds at Night Only Because Rough Men Stand Ready to Do Violence on Their Behalf"

Pro-Gay Marriage, Pro-Gun, Pro-Freedom, Pro-Capitalism, Pro-Military, Pro Law Enforcement, Patriot. AMERICAN

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Senkaku
Post Marshal
 
Posts: 16615
Founded: Sep 01, 2012
Father Knows Best State

Postby Senkaku » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:51 pm






Sochi, Russia
Three years ago





"This is so nice," Nina said with a grin, taking off her sunglasses and opening her eyes fully beneath the shade of the umbrella.
Arkady cracked an eye to look up at her as he basked. "It is, isn't it?"
She kissed him on the cheek. "Well, you found the plane tickets and got us a discount on the hotel, so thank you. This is just what I needed after that project."
"I think we both needed some decompression," he said, chuckling, as she sat down next to him. "I was just about cooked too. Hell, we were fighting over spatulas."
She laughed. "Hard to believe. I will now concede I should've used the wooden one."
He shook his head, smiling. "You wanna go out for dinner, or get room service?"
"We should go out. I can drink campari until I can't stand and everyone can laugh at the pretty drunk girl and her boyfriend," she said playfully, shrugging. "Because why not?"
He laughed. "I don't understand how you can even touch that stuff, it's like cough syrup."
"Well, you don't have to like it, you just have to find another way to get drunk. If there were only campari, no other alcohol, would you drink?"
"Of course I would," he grinned. "What sort of question is that?"
"True. I'm going to nap, d'you mind putting the umbrella down?"
"Not at all. So a nap in the sun, then maybe a short swim, then we go out to dinner and drink irresponsibly?"
Nina smiled. "Sounds good." Arkady stood, folding up the umbrella next to their chairs, and then went and laid back down.
"Arkady?"
"Hmmm?"
"I'm glad we're here. Really glad. And I love you."
He smiled, eyes still closed, as they unconsciously took each other's hands. "Love you too."




Charlotte, North Carolina






The Russian recoiled at Serena's vitriol like he'd just had a scorpion thrown at him, his bright blue eyes widening in shock as she stormed out, hurt casting a shadow over his finely sculpted face. It was not an expression he wore often- no, Serena had cut him to the bone with her little jab. He swallowed, taking a shaky breath, still processing what Serena had said- but as all his friends knew, more often than not, a hurt Arkady had much in common with a hand grenade without a pin.
Then, not surprisingly, anger, like a dark mask, filled his features, his jaw clenching, shoulders tensing, fists contracting, visibly shaking with fury, his pupils even dilating slightly- but he managed to resist the temptation to lunge after the bitch and slash her throat with his broken beer bottle, which he also resisted the urge to smash against the desk. His grip was tight enough to leave a spiderweb of cracks, though, and he set it down gingerly, his shaking hands a little unsteady. All his friends could surely see Arkady's sudden rage- it had all the characteristic body language, for one, but those who knew him, as everyone here did, could see it especially in his eyes.
Arkady's eyes were the kind of blue that seemed a little unnatural, as bright as the sky, usually warm and mischievous and innocent-looking. But when he was angry, they seemed to change color and brighten, turning a different shade of blue more akin to the turquoise brilliance of Baikal ice than the deeper shade of the skies, and they hardened, too. It was something invisible to most, perhaps a trick of the light or the imagination- but now they seemed to positively glow with fury, like frigid, luminous sapphires or chips of ice or aquamarine.

"I think it's very clear," he said in tones colder than the Siberian winter, "that Serena is perhaps a bit unhinged by grief." His icy voice was absolutely level as he continued. "Hopefully she'll calm down and see reason once she gets a grip on herself. If you'll excuse me for a moment." He walked briskly out, clenching and unclenching his jaw, and headed into the bathroom a few doors down the hall, locking the door and putting his hands on the sink to steady himself before looking in the mirror.

There was a moment of silence, and then he swore, smashing bottles and toothpaste tubes and everything off the counter, flinging his beer like a baseball at the wall where it shattered into a million tiny pieces. His kick was enough to dislodge the porcelain top on the toilet; thankfully there were enough people around downstairs talking that it merely registered as a dull thunk, unworthy of notice, through most of the house. The porcelain broke into several chunks, sending smaller fragments skittering across the floor, and Arkady smashed a plastic case of razor blades against the floor as well, sending the glittering steel edges all across the floor to mingle with the other debris.
He paused for a moment, looking around, still shaking, and spotted another case of blades. Trembling, he picked it up too, hurling it against the wall to shatter apart, and for good measure smashed Vanessa's electric toothbrush against the sink with enough force to dent the spout, shatter the toothbrush's casing, and send the battery and other debris flying to ricochet off the walls.

He paused for a moment, looking around him at the debris of his sudden outburst, and realized he was close to tears- but that was the least of his concerns. Well, I just destroyed an entire room. Shit. He fumbled for his wallet, taking out all the cash he had in it and counting it quickly. Best I can do. He left it on the counter, then picked up the plunger- still standing, somehow- and, as he walked out, propped it against the badly dented doorknob to block entry into the room, before heading outside.
Serena was on the staircase, but Arkady didn't even look at her on his way out.
Last edited by Senkaku on Thu Mar 05, 2015 5:22 pm, edited 7 times in total.
Instagay

Athrax wrote:
Gauthier wrote:How many times a month did Kennedy visit Dallas?


Only once. He got a mindblowing reception though

The Nuclear Fist wrote:Just try and find a seat without getting your bollocks stuck in a light socket.

Lunas Legion wrote:That's NS for you. It has 2 speeds; a rape train with no brakes or brakes with no train.

Diopolis wrote:
Conserative Morality wrote:Sanders/Trump 2016

Mexico will pay for our universal healthcare!

The Empire of Pretantia wrote:
Dogmeat wrote:The strobe was a little much.

But then the beat dropped and it was just perfect.

User avatar
Cylarn
Postmaster-General
 
Posts: 14639
Founded: Nov 25, 2011
Left-Leaning College State

Postby Cylarn » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:51 am

What Arkady failed to realize was that sounds of him ransacking the Greene bathroom could be heard throughout the house, especially by one Anne Calhoun, as she walked down the hallway towards the bathroom. Anne was Cal's mother, and she was born and raised in Southern Rhodesia, back when the British ran the nation. She was an intelligent, strong woman, if somewhat mean. She had survived 3 gunfights, 5 bank robberies, and 1 kidnapping by ZIPRA militants, and there wasn't much in the way of force that could phase her. Back when the group was younger, most of them were physically and emotionally afraid of her, because she was more than willing to wear their tails out (spanking), her kids or not. Anne and Vanessa were best friends, with Anne being the tough one and Vanessa being the caring one.

The aging woman's eyes saw the door to the bathroom open up, with Arkady quickly walking out. She knew more than enough about body language; her husband was a cop, her son was a cop, and when you're a bank manager at a major Charlotte bank, people-watching becomes a part of the job. She could tell by the man's body language and his quick stride that he had just gone through an ordeal, and the end of the horrid sounds only confirmed her suspicions. It lso wasn't uncommon for bank customers to tear up bathrooms when they've just found out that their home has been foreclosed on. Before Arkady could get to the stairwell, a small hand with a firm grasp grabbed him by the upper arm, stopping him. A pair of steely blue eyes made contact with Arkady's, and Anne gave a serious expression to the young man.

"Arkady," she called him, speaking with her Rhodesian English dialect. "What can you tell me about that horrid sound from earlier?"
✎ Member - ℘ædagog
If you are serving the US and its allies right now overseas, thank you for what you do.
Recipient of the Best Crime RP'er Award and the Best Crime RP Award for 2013 in P2TM. Recipient of the Best Crime RP'er Award of 2014 in P2TM.

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