Here's what I want to try, here. I'm using AJ Trent, since I can count on Rigil to reliably "contribute" to the posting process, and since he has a more detailed background than the others (Ahem!...), I have more of an idea what to do with it.
The scene is AJ at home, a day or two after having arrived back at Tamborro (the campaign proper, however it goes, will be some time later). I want Rigil to write a sentence or two (or as much as he wants) to set the scene, and I will be continually adding to the post as things happen within the scene (not real-time, of course).
So, in the immortal words of the Merovingian, "Let us see where zis goes..."
Dramatis Personæ: AJ Trent = Steve Bacic (Ref:Andromeda) Grimm = Hugo Weaving (Ref:Matrix, Agent Smith, but dressed like Morpheus)
Last Edit: Dec 19, 2008 16:00:00 GMT -6 by Gigermann
Notice: If you find yourself feeling offended by something I've written, it is extremely unlikely that I actually intended any such offense—please allow me the benefit of doubt before you respond. If you still feel the need respond to a perceived insult, please let me know, in specific, how I could have rewritten my post in an unoffensive manner.
Post by Rigil Kent on May 31, 2005 15:14:02 GMT -6
Someone was at the door.
AJ Trent opened his eyes, the last vestiges of the dream already fading from memory. It had been a good dream too, one involving the wife - ex-wife, he had to remind himself sullenly - wearing nothing but a smile and those sexy black stilletto boots she wore on...special occasions. Pizza had been involved somehow and there had been a zero-gee bathtub. He wished that he could remember the particulars; it was a damned sight better than most of the dreams he had.
The door chimer buzzed again, incessant and more than a little annoying. Trent shot the door a pissy look as he rolled into a sitting position on the bed. Around him, the wall-paint flickered into an endless starfield, making it appear as if the entire room was suspended in the hard vacuum of space and not in a thoroughly crappy neighborhood of Tamborro Station. On the rare times when he had company, the malfunctioning wall-paint had caused no small amount of problems. Even before they split up, Julie had refused to stay overnight; though she'd never admit it, Trent knew that waking up to nothing but a starfield had freaked her out. She had liked it at...other times though. Not for the first time, he reflected that the woman was absolutely insane.
Again the buzzer sounded and Trent contemplated throwing a boot at the door. He glanced at the chronometer: 0336 Local. Merde, he thought to himself, what fool is about at this time? Staggering to his feet, he glanced around the clutter without noticing much of it. Dirty clothes were piled in a corner, awaiting laundry day, and his personalized vacc-suit hung next to the door, each piece carefully brushed down and cleaned. A briefcase was propped up against an immaculately clean area; copies of official documents were carefully set in four distinct piles. Compared to the rest of the clutter, the area seemed out of place.
Locating his favorite firearm, Trent assured himself that a round was chambered by touch. In his more alert moments, he hated that the pistol was necessary, hated that he couldn't answer the door without having a weapon at the ready. At the moment though, he barely thought about it. Fatigue still clung to him as he staggered to the door; in the fraction of a second after he hit to 'Open' button but before the door curled open, two things occurred to him.
First, his sleep-starved brain reminded him that he hadn't even looked to see who it was at the door; for all he knew, it could be that hitman who lived down the corridor or even one of the trio of impossibly gorgeous women from across the hall. Second, and quite possibly more important, he realized that he was stark naked.
The door slid open. The silhouette at the door spoke, in a familiar, slow, dark but oddly-cheerful voice. "Good afternoon, Mister Trent. Welcome back." The silhouette strode past him into the apartment, as if he had been invited to, though he most certainly had not been. "I see you are...dressed for company." Trent could hear the sarcastic grin on Grimm's face.
For a long moment, Trent stared at the man. It had to be a dream. He hoped it was a dream. No, he prayed that it was a dream. Every time that Grimm had entered his life, things got out of hand. Sometimes people died. Or things exploded. Quite often, relationships were shattered. Every single time.
A flash of memory erupted behind Trent's eyes. In the space of a single heartbeat, he was taken back ten years. He could still smell the stench of the cell, could feel the cold air circulating through the recyclers, could hear the tack tack tack of distant jackboots marching on marble. The fear that had nearly overwhelmed then swelled up again: they were going to hang him tomorrow. A "short drop and sudden stop" for crimes against the Republic, crimes that he had no memory of. His head still pounded with agony, the aftereffects of psionic deep scans conducted by telepaths who honestly didn't care if he survived unscathed. Tomorrow, it all ended.
He snapped back to reality as the door hissed shut behind him. Grimm was here, studying the room intently as if it could provide the answers to all of his questions. What the slithy hell does he want now? Trent thought darkly to himself. He glanced around and tossed his pistol - Winona - aside; he wasn't concerned about it discharging - not around Grimm, not if the man was actually what he suspected. "It's three-thirty in the goram morning, Grimm," Trent declared. He grabbed a pair of shorts from the laundry pile, drew them on in a quick motion. "Some of us like to fraking sleep."
"The hour you speak of is irrelevent...simply a measurement." Grimm's apparent study of the room failed to reveal an acceptable seat, and he resigned himself to stand as he had every other time he had visited. "The hour no more defines time than a meter defines an object...it is merely a description that allows the human brain to communicate his perceived reality. On the same planet it is both midnight and noonday simultaneously, so the hour actually measures one's position in space rather than one's position in time...so it is afternoon...depending on where you're standing, of course."
It was always hard to tell with Grimm, whether he was that...arrogant or if he just liked screwing with Trent's head. The look on his face never changed, nor did the tone of his voice; whether he was discussing Confederacy politics or astrogation theory or commenting about the weather, he always sounded amused and condescending. An adult explaining to a child what the color blue tasted like. Trent would have thrown anyone else out. But not Grimm.
He owed Grimm. A lot.
"Be that as it may," Grimm continued, "I just happened to be passing through...just an 'old friend' in the 'neighborhood,' so to speak. I wondered how your latest 'venture' went, so I stopped by to see for myself. So tell me, did you find treasure or troubles?"
"A little of both," Trent replied as he wandered over to the briefcase. "And since we're standing right here, it's still three thirty in the fraking morning." He grabbed the Ozrahd coin that rested atop the leftmost piles of documents and tossed it to his guest. "Here."
It was the same coin that Sabo had showed Trent and his associates when he had conned them into venturing to Antichrist and, as soon as he had seen the thing, Trent knew they would be heading that way. Grimm had mentioned an Ozrahd coin the last time they had spoken; it had been a riddle or a metaphor or something else equally cryptic that Trent promptly forgetten about. Until he saw the coin. Events had a tendency to do that around Grimm and AJ had long since stopped wondering about it.
He had no idea if Grimm even wanted the coin but thought its presence might at least prove he was listening. Mostly.
Grimm glanced at the coin in his hand, and pocketed it as he spoke, wandering over to the corner of the apartment that passed as a galley. "It would seem that one often finds trouble in the same crate as treasure..." he said, as he fumbled around the sink and produced a coffee pot. "...and generally in equivalent amounts." Trent was pretty sure he had raised an eyebrow at the condition of the pot, even though Grimm's back was to him. "However, I have no doubt that the details of your experience are far more interesting than your response would suggest. Enlighten me, if you would, mister Trent."
Last Edit: Jan 12, 2006 16:42:56 GMT -6 by Gigermann
Trent raised an eyebrow in surprise. Each time he had interacted with Grimm in the past, the man had known more about the recent past than he should. This display of...ignorance was completely out of character. Is this some kind of test? he wondered to himself.
"We ran into an old...associate of Steg and Tulk's, a guy named Sabo." He watched silently as Grimm began to make the coffee, resigned to the fact that he would get no sleep tonight. It was mildly disturbing that his guest knew exactly where he kept the filters for the pot; he even knew to use exactly two and three-quarters scoops. "To make a long story short, we found Antichrist, stole a pirate's treasure, pissed off the pirate, and turned over his black box to the Confederacy." He grinned. "They were pretty happy about that."
Darker thoughts emerged then, flashes of the unexpected bloodlust that he had experienced around the Tohre-Chi; it had been completely out of character for him and, even now, he couldn't explain the sense of fury that swelled up within him at the thought of the creatures. I'm no xenophobe, but this is clearly not natural. Could it be related to the missing time? His eyes naturally drifted to the four piles of documents; more and more, he was starting to suspect that the Tohre-Chi were involved in the Normandy's disappearance. His thoughts buzzed in the familiar pattern.
With a start, he realized that Grimm was standing before him, a steaming coffee cup extended. He had been so lost in thought that he had heard neither the coffee pot finish nor Grimm's last comments.
"What?" he asked, suddenly embarrassed and sure that Grimm would make a biting comment about his lack of attention.
"I was reciting a poem in Latin, because I knew you were not paying attention...," Grimm commented bitingly, "...but now that's behind us for the time being. I was going to say that it was certainly a good day for the Confederacy, since, as I understand it, Captain Titas had received an anonymous comm, not four days prior, telling him not only the location of his quarry, but providing his navigator with a course so precise that it would take them to within a few hours of their destination, without which they could not have achieved the element of surprise. How fortunate for you that he acted on that information so promptly, else you might not be here to enjoy your profits."
Trent could almost detect a smirk on Grimm's face...almost...but he knew Grimm well enough to know that if he was involved, he would never admit to it.
Grimm continued, "However, although you did escape with the pirate's, no doubt, ill-gotten cargo, I'm sure you are aware that not all treasure is 'silver and gold'...or whatever elemental compound society deems valuable these days. It can be said that self-discovery is a more valuable treasure than all those things. So tell me, then...what mysteries have you uncovered about yourself? Have you found purpose among the crates of lümpe and fine cigars?"
A long moment passed as Trent considered his reply. He knew that Grimm could outwait him, past encounters had taught him that, but he didn't know how to proceed. Grimm already knows more about me than I do, he grumbled to himself. He studied his "guest" with hooded eyes and wondered...
"Who are you, Grimm?" he asked suddenly. It wasn't a new question and he fully expected to get the same answer; this line of discussion had turned into something of a tradition between them. If they spoke and Trent did not query about Grimm, who would prevaricate or give some nonsense about a friend helping out, something would be wrong. "I mean, who are you really?" He had a few theories, most being little more than guesses, but he always came back to the knowledge Grimm possessed, the intuitive understanding about how Everything worked. It always brought to mind stories he had heard the Navigators tell. Stories about a Society. A Society of Wizards...
Grimm was definitely smiling this time...if you could call it that; something about his facial expressions always seemed...forced. In fact, everything about him seemed out of place. "I am the mirror, in which your true nature will be revealed," he replied, without missing a beat.
Trent blinked. Once. Twice. Again. He had asked the same question a hundred times in the ten years that he had known Grimm. Never before had he received such an answer. His mind spun as he responded to Grimm's original question, churning over the new data.
"I learned that I hate Tohre-Chi." A mirror? Mirrors cast reflections and Grimm looked nothing like Trent. At least physically. He had found they shared a sense of humor, though Grimm's was slightly more quirky. And more...subtle. Maybe he meant it like a metaphor? "More than I should. Don't know why. You probably do though." What did he mean by 'true nature'? "Not that you'd tell me. As to purpose, I'm not so sure about that." A 'true nature' had to mean something was hidden. Or secret. Trent had no secrets. None that didn't include how much he missed his wife - ex-wife, he reminded himself. "We're talking about making some changes to the company but nothing's set in plasticrete yet." It had to do with the Normandy. There was no other answer. "Maybe broaden our horizons, start doing some pirate-hunting. Tulk really likes the idea."
Grimm nodded, as if he already knew how Trent would respond and was simply waiting for him to do so. "So you've taken your first step into a larger world. And what of your new-found wealth? Have you made any plans yet?"
Last Edit: Jun 23, 2005 18:50:52 GMT -6 by Gigermann
Post by Rigil Kent on Jun 23, 2005 17:53:19 GMT -6
Trent considered the question. What would he do with the wealth? As he pondered his sudden change in financial status - something he realized that he not yet done since returning to the Station - his eyes wandered around the cramped apartment. He could afford a new place, a bigger place, one with functional wall-paint. As if mocking him, the wall flickered, becoming the endless veil of stars once more.
No, he thought to himself. This is home. The only thing missing was his wife - ex-wife, he reminded himself for the billionth time - and she had made it clear that she wasn't coming back. A sigh tried to escape him but he covered it with a yawn. He glanced back at Grimm and answered truthfully.
"I have absolutely no idea." Trent almost grinned; he had known Grimm long enough to recognize that the odd man wanted something. "Got any suggestions, vieil ami?"
"It sounds like you could use a vacation...take some time off to think about your future...your company's future." Grimm paused momentarily, to allow the idea to settle, and continued in a very school-teacher-like tone, "You know, the Independence Day observance is coming very soon. You could take the ship down to Midway and observe some of those traditional multicolored low-yield explosive devices...I understand they are quite amusing."
"That reminds me..." he said, as if he hadn't planned to change the subject all along. "You are aware, I'm sure, that the month of July is named for the Roman emperor, Julius Caesar. I also have no doubt that you are aware of the fact that it has been long believed that the Roman Empire of Terra had been 'influenced' by early Præxian colonists. But what you may not know is that, somewhat recently, it has been revealed that the Præxian explorers not only influenced the culture, but are now believed to have inter-bred with the indigenous peoples of the region, thereby contributing to their genetic makeup. With that in mind, considering the nature of Præxian political culture, a Terran of documentable Roman or Italian geneology could conceivably lay legitimate claim to the Imperial throne, given that all Præxian explorers have historically been of their 'noble caste.' Of course, I'm sure the Imperial Senate would never recognize such a claim, but the possibility is there...and all those would-be Emperors live out their lives completely oblivious to the potential they have inside them."
With that, Grimm strode toward the door.
"Wait a goram minute!" Trent's brain was spinning and, this early in the morning, that hurt. "You can't just drop a bomb like that and walk out!" He took two rapid steps after Grimm. "You're not trying to tell me that I know someone...or am someone...who could be the Imperator!" He blinked. Again. "Are you?"
As the portal slid open, once again silhouetting him in the doorway, Grimm turned his head back to respond. "'Imperator' is only a title, a position...a description, if you will. I am merely speaking to the unrecognized and unrealized potential in all sentient beings. It is, of course, up to you to discover what your ultimate destiny is for yourself. I would not presume to spoil the surprise."
"Good day, Mister Trent." The door slid closed behind him, and Trent was, once again, alone. In the moment that followed, two things occurred to him.
First, the coffeemaker Grimm had used to make the coffee had not been functional for several months. Second, and quite possibly more important, the last time Grimm had made coffee Trent was unable to sleep for three days.
Last Edit: Jun 23, 2005 21:38:21 GMT -6 by Gigermann