Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Meeting

The Meeting

I called my client and informed them that I had the money, and that the price of its safe return was a seat at tonight's meeting. In fact, I told them they could keep my fee as well, minus expenses already incurred. They seemed a bit upset by all this but I didn't leave them with much of a choice. 

This time I didn't put on a $50 slutty red dress. I went out a did a bit of shopping...after long hot bath of course. Can never get rid of blood fast enough. I strolled along the city streets doing some window shopping. I finally wandered into a small shop. I found them a bit uppity at first since I had on no makeup and my hair in a simple bun but when I explained that I had a last-minute invitation to a ball with my boss who gave me his credit card they suddenly felt interested. Of course it was my own credit card, but I like to keep a few with different names on them.

I didn't even bother to look at the price of the long flowing dress. I figured it may be a little over the top for what seemed like a professional business meeting, but in my line of work it always helps if people think of me as a dumb piece of arm candy for some wealthy executive.
I found a picture online of what I looked like tonight just a little bit. My hair is a little lighter now, I've got paler skin, I have a lot more muscle tone, and my dress was a lot better. OK there are a million things are different between us but you get the idea.
From Just a HitGirl For Hire
I then proceeded to a hairdresser, one of the finest in the city. They worked on my nails as well. One of the hairdressers asked if I had blood in my hair and I told her it was ketchup from my nephew. It's always a challenge to keep my hair looking good because when I'm not on a case, I'm working out six hours a day at least.

I arrived looking a bit like the picture above, except I had transferred the money from the blood-stained sack it was in to a large messenger-type bag. My client spotted me and waved me over to a private room.

"Do you have it? Is this everything?"

I nodded and handed him the bag. I looked around for any sign of trickery. He dumped out the contents on a table and he and an associate rifled through it. Finally they stacked it all up and placed it with some other bags, apparently their whole stash.

"I hope you know what you're doing with all that money," I commented. "Tell you what, looks like your muscle is a little weak. Let me hang with you tonight in case anything goes down."

The biggest guy in the room erupted. "Boss! You hear what that bitch just said? You want that I take her out?"

"Shut the fuck up," ordered my client. "Don't you hear anything? She just eliminated this Death Storm character and wiped out a whole room of men by herself. Why Miss Galistina, we'd be thrilled to have you."

"But I want a cut," I continued. "Nothing big. I keep your heads up above water for the night, protect those assets back there, and you cut me in for say, 2 points."

My client glared at me and then at the pile of money in the back. "We lose anything, will you insure our loss?"

I know my net worth. If most of it wasn't ill-gotten gains, I'd be somewhere in the top 1000 richest women on the planet. I could have brought the $100 million myself given enough time to liquidate it. Although with this financial crisis, I'm not quite as wealthy as I once was, especially after my government seized some of my assets after I resigned. Yes I could live out my life in comfort on some desert island, but I'm still young, I'm still looking for Mr. Right...or at least Mr. This Week, and I still look out for my country, like I'm doing right now. Maybe deep inside of me I hope that I can back in their good graces, and do the work I really want to do. But I digress.

"Of course. For a 2% fee I'll definitely cover your losses. But only if the loss occurs through my incompetence, not yours."

My client nodded and smiled at me. "Good. I've always wanted to escort a beautiful lady to one of these events. Someone not my wife of course." We shook hands, and then he held out his arm for me. He outwardly seemed like a kindly old man, perhaps someones grandfather. I'm sure if he had grand kids they must love him.

We walked out of the room and his associates wheeled the cases of money behind us. I looked all around the stately reception area but spotted no immediate threats. I did notice plenty of stares at me, and a few cameras. I didn't mind if they discovered my identity. I had so many that I couldn't even keep track. I just looked like a hired escort, so hopefully they wouldn't pay me much attention.

We rode the elevator up to the penthouse. As we exited I appreciated the great view of the city while still keeping an eye out for threats. A team of security people whisked us. I didn't carry any weapons detectable by such devices, but my client's people had to "check" some of their devices. No phones or cameras or recording devices were allowed.

We were led into a long wide ball room that contained a ring of tables around the periphery in a big 'U' shape. Some men led us to our designated spot, and some women even more scantily clad than I took our drink orders. I looked more like the wait staff than the couple of older well-appointed women seated around the room. I scanned all the participants of the room. I recognized business leaders, politicians, bankers, military men, and leaders of crime families, like my client. We sat with the money between us. I whispered in his ear as I recognized people, and he filled in some of the blanks for me.

The women served us drinks and a few appetizers like chicken satay, tea, beef broquettes, crab-stuffed mushrooms, and leek soup. It all was delicious and I felt half starved from my ordeal today. My client looked at me a little funny but I'm not one to turn away a good meal. Heck it could have been poisoned or compromised but you gotta live. And I figured this payment was only the first, so they'd want us to come back alive.

Right before the start time, all the hired help and security people exited the room. Apparently this was to be a remote presentation since one of the wall lit up with a standby message. At precisely 10PM local time, the wall lit up.

"Welcome, my friends," said a women whose face dominated the entire two screens. She looked vaguely familiar. "My name is Carrie Park. I'd like to introduce someone."

Damn! I could see it now. She's had a lot of work done. I clutched my handbag tightly, feeling like ripping down the wall. She cost me my position with the government, as well as my boyfriend. She ruined my life and forced me to work with scumbags like Death Storm. No government would take me, although I could never see working for any of them. 

"This is Xyllan Daijiro. Here's the spelling." A dark-skinned man looked into the camera. My quick assessment noted his shaved head, body art, goatee, faint scarring, muscular body, and deep piercing eyes. He placed an arm around Carrie and kissed her cheek. I couldn't place him, but his features suggested he hailed from somewhere in Indonesia. 

"Mr. Daijiro is the mastermind behind the operation, while I've provided most of the financial backing to date. I'm so sorry to have crushed the world's economy in order to finance this project but I hope you'll see the results are worth it. We have asked you all here today in order to invite you into our group. We're calling it the Clan of the Wise. We have come into possession of the greatest power the Earth has ever known. Completely indestructable, and capable of utter destruction. It's the perfect weapon. We're offering you a limited time offer to join our clan. You'll be part of the new World Order, one that together we can claim. But first, a demonstration."

The second screen filled with a video while Carrie narrated. "This morning, a number of attacks were attempted on our stronghold. Behold, see those jets? Noisy aren't they? Here they come circling around for an attack when...Oops! Guess they should have set their auto-pilots."

I watch in fascination and horror as I saw the jets veer off course, crashing into the harbor and surrounding lands. 

"Maybe they try some more coffee next time," said Xyllan. "Hard to keep awake during attacks I guess."

"That's not all. Cruise missiles? No problem." We witnessed some grainy shots of missiles plunging into the ocean harmlessly. I couldn't tell if the footage was real until the camera pulled back to show some of the burning wreckage of the jets. "We can disable any attack. Of course, on the other hand, we can also turn our defensive system to a more offensive setup. Watch this footage taken in Shizuishan China a couple of weeks ago while still testing this weapon."

A scene unfolded before me the likes of which I've never seen before. I saw a brightly colored stadium with people walking around outside, perhaps waiting for a match or event of some kind. From the periphery of the picture I could see that the camera was mounted on some kind of vehicle. In a moment, everyone collapsed onto the ground. The camera panned around. Carrie spoke up and mentioned it was a remote-controlled camera. Cars and busses smashed into each other. For a minute we saw no movement whatsoever. A buzzing sound crept onto the video and the camera began searching it out. A small plane flew down over the stadium and crashed into a nearby building. For another few minutes nothing stirred. The camera caught various columns of smoke from around the city. 

After about five minutes, while we all talked in hushed whispers, a couple people began standing back up, looking dazed. More and more of them woke up. A lot of them covered their heads with their arms as if they were in extreme pain. The camera zoomed in on one fellow who faced the camera. At first he seemed dazed. Then his eyes began to focus, and his face grew contorted in rage. He hands flexed and his breathing increased. His eyes grew wide and he bared his teeth. He screamed and launched himself at another person.

We all gasped as the people in the town began attacking each other. They beat and bit and pounded away, mostly using their bare hands. As the camera scanned around I saw people ripping each other's throats with their teeth, women beating on each other with obviously broken arms, oblivious to the pain, and I don't even want to mention what happened to the small ones. 

"Turn it off, turn it off," screamed one of the women in the room. "It's horrible!"

"This will be all of you if you do not join us," Carrie practically screamed. She thankfully ended the video. 

Even I felt shaken up. I mean, I've never seen anything like that before, except in movies, but not really. I'd heard rumors about Shizuishan having some kind of quarantine but I thought that was SARS or some kind of virus. 

Carrie continued. "The best part is that the effect is only temporary. After an hour or so the survivors come out of their rage...only to find everyone around them dead!" She laughed like a little girl and hugged this Xyllan fellow.

I felt like jumping through that video screen and strangling her. How could she destroy my countrymen like that? Who the fuck does she think she is? And what the fuck have I been doing wasting my time on petty assassinations when people like her are allowed to exist? I know what my mission is. I am going to kill Carrie Park and end this threat forever.

"Now, all of you here have graciously bought in to the first round of my organization. We'll be collecting the money as you leave. Now for the next round. All of you have some special areas you wouldn't want to see destroyed. Maybe your parents live there. Maybe your children. Well I've done the research, and I've assigned an area to each one of you." A list scrolled down the screen and my client grabbed my arm. 

"My grandchildren live there," he said, his voice trembling a bit from the shock of the video.

"Here's the deal. For the next round, whoever has the lowest bid will have their assigned place destroyed. That means you don't have to have the highest bid, just better than the next guy. Fair, right? At the next meeting on the 16th, we will all meet again, and whoever brings the least amount of money will pay the consequences. If I feel like you've been colluding or fixing the price, everything on that list is forfeit. And even if your bid is too low, say less than what you brought tonight, I'll destroy you too."

Carrie stared down at her monitor and her eyes grew wide. "What the...wait a minute." On the second screen I saw a shot of our room, and the camera began zooming in on me.

"Who the fuck brought her to this party? Ellie, you bitch, you get the fuck out of here!"

I rose and pointed a finger at a camera. "You'll never get away with this, Carrie! I'll hunt you down and kill you!" A couple of men grabbed me from behind but I kept up a torrent of invective against the figure on the screen. "I will fucking cut your throat! I'll rip out your guts and gag you with them!" I said some more things in Russian as the men dragged me out.

The jumped on top of me in the elevator and pinned my arms behind my back. They practically carried me through the lobby and threw me out on the street. And to top it all off, I think I broke a nail! 

I may be offline for a day or so. Next time you hear from me I'll be on the other side of the world, trying to save it from this madwoman. 

Posted: Sunday, November 9, 2008 @ 11:48 PM

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