Hard Boiled – Episode One: A New Day 1.46

silvatarJenna stepped from the shadows of the rooftop across the alleyway; dark gray duster billowing slightly with her movement, gloved hands coming together in a slow, steady, clap. “Very nice. Although that bit at the end almost made me have to yak.” She moved closer to you, offering a hand. “Silhouette.”

Bluewolf was cautious, but nevertheless extended his hand to grip hers. “Bluewolf.” They shook once, allowing him a cursory inspection of this newcomer. Beneath the duster she wore leather utility trousers, solid gray, SWAT style, with a single-handed crossbow hanging from the belt. A bulge on the opposite side indicated at least one other weapon. Her brief top would probably be functional, if it the temperature wasn’t hovering just above the freezing mark. The lower half of her face was covered with a bandanna-type mask, like the horse thieves from any old western flick. Her piercing blue eyes stared at him beneath the dark blonde hair that capped her average height frame.

Jenna shook the hand, nodding once. She commented dryly, “Not as functional as I like, but it does the job. Once it even distracted the bad guy in combat…” She took a step back, crossing her arms subconsciously. “You okay? That taser shot looked like it hurt.”

He glanced down at the bracer that Kardiac penetrated, “I’m fine. More of a case of shock-surprise than shock-pain.” No verbal sparring, his mind was too jumbled, “So what do you want?”

Straight to the point. She studied him silently for a moment, trying to decide which path to take. Did she play him straight, or try and pull information. He’s so conflicted. It’s obvious he doesn’t want to kill Kardiac. Why did the Organization select him? They have other operatives….Shifting her weight, she answered persuasively, “I want to talk. ” She paused a moment, meeting his eye. “More specifically…to talk about The Organization you work for.”

Apparently tonight is surprise Bluewolf night, he thought. He had felt the subtle push against his mind, however brief. Telepath? Was she sent by the Organization to keep tabs? Maybe she was his ‘backup.’ He shrugged, “I really don’t know much about them. I get a phone call; they give me some instructions. Up until a few days ago they only had me doing surveillance type operations.”

“Why you?”

“That’s where things get a little complicated.” He wasn’t feeling the urge to hold anything back, but he wouldn’t hand her his life on a platter either. “Let’s just say I’m good at what I do. But what I don’t do is kill. Because of that I have more than myself to worry about now.”

Jenna stared at her quarry for a moment, tilting her head to the side. “What do you mean… Kardiac?” She watched Bluewolf, assessing which way this would fall. He might be useful, but if innocents are in harm’s way….

“In all honesty, yes.” His visored gaze never left hers. “He’s good, but I don’t think that I’m the only one in the Organization with,” he paused, “abilities.” He paused again, pursing his lips, then continuing, “I also have a few ‘acquaintances’ that are potential targets.”

“What do you think will happen when your bosses find out you’ve welched on the job?”

“They’ll send someone in to clean up. Both of us, and anyone else who happens to be in the way, I imagine.”

Jenna looks to the ground, arms uncrossed. She begins pacing. “That could be a problem – a big one.” She mutters quietly, stopping in front of you. “You have no idea why your superiors want Kardiac, do you….”

“Not a clue. Like I said, they just call me…” The alarm bells sounded, “This time they had me meet with the director. Or at least he was supposed to be the director… What do you know?”

Jenna stopped short, “You’ve met the director?” Indecision warred inside of her. This could be the chance they needed…the break in the organization. If she could get the name, face, anything…they could start running their programs. Ah well, I hope I don’t have to remove him from the operations. Silhouette straightened, glancing about. Her instincts assured her they were alone. “Follow me…”

It could very well be a trap. But there was something in her reaction that told him otherwise. “Lead on, MacDuff.” Yes. Gut feeling, this woman, whoever she was and whomever she worked for, was one of the ‘good guys.’

Jenna led Bluewolf back to her house. She wondered just how closely he read her resume. Housetop to housetop, she moved, her companion easily keeping up with her. Ah yes. More costumed vigilantes with superhuman prowess. She brought him to the balcony outside of her apartment. Sliding a card in the wall, she murmurs, “Welcome to the web, said the spider to the fly…”

The area of town she lead him seemed familiar for some reason, though he couldn’t remember ever being on the exact street. She motioned for him to enter first, smart move, and as he did he caught the scent of lavender… Oddly familiar, but he figured flowery shampoos were popular with women. Kaye had quite the collection sitting in the shower, around the tub, and under the sink back at their brownstone.

The apartment is dark and cluttered. The faint smells of lavender and spring rain mix into a definite feminine scent. Underneath the sweet was the twist of the something not so sweet. It’s familiarity pulled at Wolf, but he was hard pressed to put a finger on it. As he stepped inside, lights come on, revealing boxes strewn about. There was a smaller kitchen, set up, in the back and a sofa / loveseat in the middle of the floor. Pulling her mask off, Jenna said “Welcome to my home. We need to talk”

Bluewolf had become a master at not allowing very much emotion to show on his face while ‘in uniform,’ but when Silhouette revealed herself as Jenna Roberts, KenTech’s new Security Management Officer, he couldn’t help but stand in the midst of the cluttered apartment, mouth agape. It took him a full minute to recover before he was able to speak, “Yes. I think we do.”

Jenna’s grim facade broke, and she motioned to the sofa. “Have a seat. Want anything to drink?”

Bluewolf sat on the edge of the sofa. Hell yes he wanted a drink, a strong one, but that would have to wait for later. “Water’s fine, thanks.” He heard the clinking of glass from the kitchen, and the slight gurgle of water being poured from a jug. She came back to the living room, handed him a glass, and sat pensively on the opposite end of the couch. “I suppose you should start off,” he said, taking a sip.

“My real name is Jenna Fairchild. Silhouette is a moniker I adopted recently to try and straddle the world of vigilantes. I came to the city looking for you to evaluate how deep you were in the organization, and whether or not I would have to remove you.” Steepling her hands, she added, “After the scene tonight, I’m thinking not.” Standing, she continues. “You employers are unscrupulous – but you knew that. They also have some very questionable ties around the globe, but more specifically around the city.”

He was feeling more and more uneasy. How much does she know? It can’t be a coincidence that she shows up here for a job at KenTech, and then poof she’s tracking down all the costumes in town. He had several theories as to the reason the Organization wanted Kardiac removed, and decided to play some of them out. “I’m guessing drugs, for one, along with other facets of organized crime. Kardiac has slowly become a thorn in the side of the local drug kingpins, but I think the picture is bigger than that.” He leaned back, the businessman taking a little more control, “So are you here to offer me a deal?”

She smiled, laughing a little. “Ah, ever the businessman.” Moving into her kitchen, she walked into a closet. She returns with a file in hand. “I don’t believe in subterfuge when lives are on the line. Right now, yours, your Fiancée’, Kardiac’s and whatever female he is seeing are in trouble.” She tosses down a file. “Alphonse Begnini.Local Mob Boss. He’s into the standard things – prostitution, drugs, etc. Right now, the theory is that Kardiac has become a liability and that might be one of the reasons. Kardiac also has a contact within the police. While I don’t know who it is, your people might – and that could be bad.” She begins pacing. “Your people have ties within the police in town. Chances are, they know who Kardiac’s friend is. That’s another threat. Unfortunately, I don’t have a calling card for him, so you’ll have to do.”

Bluewolf reached up and depressed the releases for his helmet. It was obvious that Jenna knew exactly ‘who’ he was on all counts, so the least he could do was get comfortable. He looked at her, and she gave him a half smile, like she’d been expecting him to reveal himself, then thumbed through the various memos and photographs in the file. “So how am I supposed to know that this isn’t some elaborate chess game? You government folks all run in the same circles, do you not?” He closed the file and sat back once more.

“Because, unfortunately, I’ve put you in a position where you have to trust one of us, and I haven’t threatened to kill you – or asked you to kill anyone else. If you talk to Kardiac, he’ll verify Begnini is a mob boss in the area.” She resumes her seat, steepling her fingers again. “The Organization is very much, as you said, a shadow organization. I need to figure out what its true agenda is – which means I need to get more information. ” Rubbing her fingers, she frowns slightly. “From what I’ve observed, Kardiac’s power is electricity – and inherent, not device driven. It stands to reason, then, that with proper training, he can stop and start his own heart.” She muses out loud, “I wonder….” and stops, looking Bluewolf in the eyes. “What proof has your superior’s asked of Kardiac’s death?”

Aaron shrugged, “They didn’t really say, though I imagine some sort of physical evidence would be in order.”

Jenna looked disgusted, “Like a body part or something?”

“Well, photographs can be manipulated, as I’m sure you know.” His eyes narrowed in frown, “I see where you’re trying to go, but I doubt anything less than a body in the morgue will be satisfactory. That, and I have no way of contacting them, they always find me.”

Jenna stands, pacing as she thinks. “Tell me about his lady friend. Is she normal? Superhuman? What type of variable is she going to be in this scene?”

“A best I can tell, she’s normal. I don’t have a metahuman detector built into my helmet yet, there’s a guy I know in upstate New York who has one, but he’s real secretive and stays holed up in his ‘School for the Gifted,” he chuckled. “No, his lady friend relies on gadgets and wit… and good looks. Seems to be a competent thief, so she probably has a good technical head on her shoulders also. I just can’t say how much of a wild-card she may be.”

“Thief, eh? Report her to your bosses yet?”

“No, but I’ll bet you a month’s salary they already know about her,” Bluewolf also considered the fact that his suit may have been monitored. “And I doubt that I’m their only pair of eyes and ears in the Garrison,” he added.

Jenna nodded. “So you kill Kardiac and have his girlfriend steal him back.”

Aaron frowned again, “I’m not sure I’m following you there. What would that accomplish?”

“You ‘kill’ Kardiac. This removes suspicion from you, keeps you a player. Kardiac’s girlfriend steals the body, thereby covering up the fact he’s not really dead – and it would allow us to see just how far their influence ran, and what other costumed people they had in their pocket.”

Aaron stood and began pacing also. There was a lot of room for error, and the plan would require next to impossible efforts of coordination. But it was just so far out there that it might in fact work. Time was going to be a major factor, they couldn’t be certain how long the Organization would wait before bringing in a new agent, so they had to get things moving soon. “Tomorrow, have your team do a complete sweep of the corporate offices and the lab. We need to make sure there are no leaks to cover the business side. Hit them before they hit us from that direction, calling it industrial espionage so there is no question when we go into background checks. From there, I’ll get in touch with Romeo and Juliet and make the appropriate plans.”

Jenna nods, “Romeo and Juliet need to get public. They need to be seen together, working – or something. We also have to ascertain if Kardiac can actually stop his heart. If he can’t, I have a friend who can POSSIBLY do it, but I don’t necessarily want to bring him in yet. Meet with your director, find out about back – up. Who would they send.” Standing, she reached over and grabs a piece of paper from the table. “This is a secure line..you can get in touch with me any time – day or night.” She scribbles a number down. “Make sure your fiancée’ is either very close, or away when we do this. I can pull strings to get her a public lecture somewhere, if you want. I hear New York is nice this time of year.”

Aaron shook his head, “She’s on a dig somewhere south of the border. If you can get someone down there to keep an eye out, I’ll feel better.” He took the note and slipped it inside a compartment in his bracer. Then he reached to his belt and pulled out another stylized wolf head shaped comm link, tossing it to Jenna. “Seems like I’m handing these out to everyone. Secure channel if you need to get in touch with me ‘after hours.'” He picked up his helmet and crossed to the balcony door, glancing at the clock. “Get what sleep you can, I get the feeling we’re going to be running hard for the next few days. I know I can handle it, but I can’t have you falling out on this.” Before she could reply, he bounded off the balcony into the early morning dark.

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