Dreams And Idles

Kassandra enters from the hallway.
Kassandra has arrived.

Johan is, dressed in a tee-shirt and blue-jeans, surrounded by a pall of smoke, emerging from the hallway. One assumes he maintains an office back there perhaps. He glances to the door as Kassandra comes in. "What can I do for you, Silk?" he asks, moving to the kitchen area.

Kassandra finds a convenient place to drop her coat, absently brushing her hair from her eyes. "Good afternoon. I got your trix mails, they were quite interesting. I understand you and Aladriel had a talk yesterday that precipitated the lie detector tests?"

Johan chuckles quietly. "Something like that. She came, asking me some questions, and in return, I asked as single one of her." He reaches in to the cabinet, pulling out two tumblers. Then, in to the fridge for a carton of orange juice. He pours the tumblers full, then slides one over to Kassandra. "I asked if she had a romantic relationship with Lilith. I don't care who fucks who, but I care when emotions are involved. Makes things in the field messy. She gave a dodging, tricksy little answer… and I told her I wouldn't put her in the field with Lilith. Then, the polygraph thing. I responded in the best way to show her how unreliable and easy to fake a polygraph was.. and to call her a liar, but more funny."

Kassandra snags the glass, tipping it towards Johan before taking a sip. She responds, "Well, emotions do have an impact in the field, but not always a bad one. After all, you have some feelings for Alexander, no? He is your friend, and that creates a bond between the two of you. It could be a deficient, or it can make you both quite capable of acting and reacting in ways that exceed what just another person on a team might otherwise enjoy."

Johan nods to Kassandra, taking his own glass. "There is a bit of professional egotism here, I suppose. Myself and Alex have trained for years in combat situations, with brothers in arms. Neither of us is going to become fixated or unable to function in the field if one of us is hurt, in danger or otherwise harmed, which is the danger when a mate or lover is harmed. THe emotions of the heart, brotherhood and philos, are -integral- to unit cohesiveness, while the emotions of the loins, love and eros, are errosive to it."

"Perhaps so. I can attest that you likely don't have anything to worry about with regard to Lilith and Aladriel having a romantic relationship. They are just good friends, as near as I can tell." Kassandra takes another gulp of her juice, regarding Johan. She seems to be in a very good mood, perhaps one of the best that he has ever seen the usually quiet fixer in. "That being said, I do think she is having a romantic relationship with someone. I am not sure that it is a problem for any missions, any more than Lilith and Aladriel's relationship is necessarily a problem."

Johan nods to the woman, setting his glass down. "Mr. Michaels and Ms. DeWinter's relationship is known to me. I keep it in mind when I plan my missions. Is there another relationship of which I am currently unaware? Weeko? Katral?"

Kassandra shakes her head, "I believe Weeko and Katral are having their own relationship, as well as one with virtually anyone who walks within ten meters of them. They are quite .. enamoured with sex."

Johan rolls his eyes. "Yeah, I was 20 once too. A loooong time ago." he takes a few gulps of the orange juice before setting it back down.

Minos enters from the hallway.
Minos has arrived.

Kassandra is currently standing near the counter with a glass of juice in hand, talking to Johan about God only knows what.

Minos walks in and lets out a low whistle. "So -this- is how the incredibly wealthy live. Nice place, Kassandra, seriously."

Kassandra shakes her head, "Not my place, I am just visiting Johan here."

Johan glances to Kassandra, raising a small grin as he pours a third glass of OJ. "It's mine." He admits. "I'm getting ready to move on from Thistlewood Canyon. To much heat, to many memories. Time to die, whot whot."

Minos says "Oh. Well, pooh. What's up?"

"We were just discussing relationships." Kassandra raises an eyebrow at Johan's plans, nodding quietly, "It seems it is the season for change. The last few months have been pretty hectic for us all." She sips her drink a moment before responding to Minos. "Well, I needed to talk to you both. Lilith suggested that I shouldn't, but in this case I believe my judgment outweighs hers."

Johan settles back, moving one ass-cheek to a stool to lean on it. He slides in to 'attentive' mode.

Kassandra gives a look to both men before continuing, "I thought I should be open with the two of you rather than sneak around like I had something to hide. I don't think that would work, given the whole spy thing, and I find it somewhat distasteful to have to do at my age anyway." She takes a quick sip of her juice, continuing, "I am seeing Aladriel."

She moves on before that has a chance to sink in, "In other news, I have found traces of rumours about a possible artifact, "Rhongomyniad", that I am looking into. It is moving from research into a possible mission.

Johan sips his juice. "So." Says Johan, not skipping a beat. "How much did she pay you to say that?"

Kassandra looks at Johan, for a moment a look of genuine hurt passing over her features before walls slam up, sending her expression to a cool neutral. "Whatever makes you think that she would have to pay me to say that?" She frowns faintly, tapping a nail on her glass, "Or are you suggesting that such a thing is just unthinkable?"

Minos blinks. "Damn it, Kassandra, and here I had such high hopes for a relationship with you." He also sounds serious…and not at all sarcastic, either. He pours himself a scotch - there is little doubt that Johan wouldn't've stocked his Glenmorangie. He pauses, caught for a moment in analyzing the odor and color for aging impurities via his olfactory senses, then continues, "Unless, of course, you are given to polyamory, which is not terribly uncommon in this town. As well, I believe that Lilith was, or is, also engaged in a relationship of some sort -perhaps solely prurient -with Ms. Cindel. In any event, do you believe it will affect your operational effectiveness in any meaningful manner? Or were you merely attempting to ameliorate concerns arising from rumors?"

Minos uses big words! He is zmart!

«Auto-Judge[]» Johan (#799) rolls Intelligence + 3 (Psych) (to Kassandra) for "Oh dear lord, let there be a tell, a twitch, something to give the game away :)":
1 1 2 2 2 3 4 5 5 10 10

«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence (to Johan) for "Me see all":
1 2 2 2 4 4 8 11

«Auto-Judge[]» Johan (#799) rolls Willpower:
1 2 5 8 11 23
«OOC» Johan says, "If someone wants to see through it, feel free to roll a 24 ;)"
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "I can roll 24, I belive I can fly.":
2 2 3 3 5 11 11 14
«Auto-Judge[]» Minos (#5291) rolls Intelligence vs TN 24 for "I might just do it!":
2 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 10 = 0 Successes

Were Johan a lesser man, one with a will less steeled, a mien more fluid, surprise would have just genuinely scrolled across his features. Perhaps a mote of disappointment, though in what fashion it was directed, would have been unclear. Instead, his features cool, granite like. "I'm sorry. It was topical to a discussion yesterday I had with her, regarding those questions she was asking. This is an unexpected development." He remains quiet, letting the personnel manager du jour, handle the interrogation while he turns to the fridge to put the orange juice away.

Kassandra stares into the depths of her glass a moment before answering either, "I do not know, Alexander. I would like to think that it wouldn't affect things, but I am not foolish enough to readily believe that. My purpose in this was to inform you both so that you didn't find out via rumour and gossip; I owe you both that much."

She continues after a beat, sighing, "I'd even say that it might help me with the missions, or at least the BIG mission of preparing for the Scourge. I .. if I don't care about anything at all, then I don't care what happens. And that is where I have been for a very, very long time. I've closed myself off to everything, and that isn't really conducive to saving humanity or even good healthy living."

Minos nods pleasantly enough. "Well, I, for one, am glad to finally see some humanity from you. I have always had this impression of aloof unconcern from you, Kassandra. I am hardly the sort to devolve into common prejudices or stereotypes, but your demeanor, as businesslike and professional as it has been in almost every other situation in which I have encountered you, went a great deal towards forwarding the common misconception of elves in general as aloof from the concerns of lesser races." He smiles to take the sting out. "Congratulations, then, on your quest to find happiness; I am pleased to hear it and wish you naught but the best." He raises his glass.

Cranberry-orange relish, canned.
Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Vitamin A 192 IU 4%
Retinol 0.0 mcg
Retinol Activity Equivalent 11.0 mcg
Alpha Carotene ~
Beta Carotene ~
Beta Cryptoxanthin ~
Lycopene ~
Lutein+Zeaxanthin ~
Vitamin C 49.5 mg 83%
Vitamin D ~ ~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) ~ ~
Beta Tocopherol ~
Gamma Tocopherol ~

Johan scans the information on the backs of his condiments as he buys time for his initial annoyance to pass. Information asborbed, information processed, full dietary suggestions output, matrix data compiled… return to center. "Anyone want something to eat?" he asks, pulling out a package of bacon and eggs.

Kassandra raises her glass in toast to Alexander, commenting "I … thank you, Alexander." She covers the pause, taking another gulp of juice. She looks to Johan's back, letting out a faint sigh, forehead creasing as she looks back into her glass, "That would be lovely, thank you." She withdraws a bit more into herself, the tell-tale signs on her face indicating such. She shifts gears, throwing up another blind, another distraction. "In any case. Rhongomyniad."

Minos cocks his head. "I'm sorry, I'm unfamiliar with that name. Or word. Does it have something to do with the robot thing at the Apple and Snake? I am not really clear on what the story is with that; Lilith gave me her account but it seemed odd. And I'll have some too, please, Johan."

Johan turns to the stove, setting the bacon and eggs down. He glances over at Kassandra. "It's a good match. Your obvious ability and wisdom matched with her power and joi de vive. You can benefit from each other. Congratulations on finding it." He says, offering a nod to Minos as he pulls down a pan.

Johan pauses a moment, remembering something. He reaches for a block of cheese in the fridge, and some more vegitables. "POrk. Not so good for some."

Kassandra brightens at Johan's assessment, a radiant smile crossing her face before she can contain herself. She takes a moment to compose her thoughts and calm down, remarking afterwards, "Rhongomyniad is mentioned in Culhwch ac Olwen," and with that she mangles the Welsh a bit, "A story that connects with a certain English king from some time ago who once owned a magical sword that I understand the Foundation was interested in. Rhongomyniad is a spear of the same person, and from what I understand has certain abilities beyond that of a simple weapon."

Minos chuckles. "The bloody Welsh need more vowels." He continues, "Right, I'm not up on every little bit of magical gewgaw the Foundation wants, but that sounds like us. What about it?"

"You daft bull." Says Johan as he starts to chop the vegetables… "It's a lead on the sword of stone."

Johan then shrugs. "Depending on the version of the mythos you follow. In some, Excalibur is the sword in the stone, and in others, it's separate. As she said, Arthur welded three weapons. A dagger, a spear as was customary of pre-Christian celts and the sword, which was a more roman innovation for gaullic warfare."

Kassandra chuckles, "Indeed. I thought that the Spear of Arthur might be able to help us find Excaliber. Or at least be a feather in our caps to the head office. My sources tell me that there were rumours of it being in the States as recently as ten years ago. I am doing some more digging on that, and trying to verify." She shrugs, "I would have forwarded this up the ladder to someone in England, but the rumors of it being in the New World seemed to almost say "Come look for me, Watchers."

Minos says "All right, so, let's do this thing then. It may predispose the Laughing Man to help us if we can find his sword."

Johan nods to Minos as he serves up, for Minos, bacon and eggs, then a vegitable/cheese/egg scramble for Kassandra. He himself, takes eggs and a bagel from a bread-nook before he makes his way back over to the breakfast bar. "So then." He says with a grin. "Where's the lead pointing?"

"I'll step up the intensity of my searches, then." She sniffs the food, flashing a smile at Johan for remembering. She pauses with fork in hand, waggling it towards the southwest, "There were rumours that it had gone into the House of Smoke and Light, which I am told is a name one of the tribes has for the Grand Canyon or some such. Another rumour speculates that it is in disguise and currently in a museum, possibly in CalFree. There are a few others, leading towards private collectors. I am trying to discern truth from fiction before mobilizing the troops."

Johan nods to Kassandra as he moves to put some cream cheese on his bagel. No, its not a euphimism. He offers a smile back to Kassandra when she expresses her thanks, but then turns away to think it over. "There's a so called Excalibre directly below us about 500 feet, in the museum here. I don't think its real. SOmehow, I just don't think the fucking Casino shelled out for an actual artifact. As to the others… let me know if I can help."

Minos says "Given what I know about DIMR researches and expeditions into the Excalibur area, I am of the opinion that it is likely either in a private collection or otherwise completely hidden. Disguised items are often thoroughly investigated. That doesn't mean you should not investigate, it just means that I find that area unlikely."

"Indeed. Given the number of active magical beings currently walking the face of the Earth, I am sure that someone might have noticed some mystical geegaw sitting in a museum case or in a casino. Still, I'll have someone go look just to be safe. I'm leaning more towards a private collection, myself, and that is where I am throwing the majority of my resources into. But, I thought I'd let you know that I may need to use the red phone and call people to go get it, and I'd rather it be us than some collection of diseased misfits that lurk in the bars here. We are a little stretched for resources at the moment, so it seemed to bear discussing."

Johan mulls it over, chewing thoughtfully as he sits back down. He takes a sip of the orange juice, clearing his pallet before gesturing with the bagel. "Or, worse, one of the Tir's. No offense to elven kind in general, but the last thing we need is some kind of goddamn Arthurian claims as well to spark up a new wave of anti-elf sentiment."

Kassandra eats for a moment, covering her mouth with her hand until she clears that bite, commenting, "I forgot to eat today." She laughs lightly, shaking her head and commenting "I have no lost love for the great Tir empires. The majority of elves I've met from there, at least that believe they have God-given right to lead the world, seem to believe that I am an abberation due to my height. So if it is there, we will definitely be going to get it."

Johan sips the orange juice again, offering a nod to her. "The problem with the Tirs, is exactly that. Racially based governments are doomed to fail because simply put, they work on principles of exclusion that can only be enforced with enough force, including brutal repression. In the age of magic and technology, well, look how well the Native Americans did against the vastly superior United States. It's a bad model for nationhood."

Minos says "Bugger the bloody Native Americans. They're more given to repression, however subtle, of non-Indians than the US was of Indians prior to the SAIM movement."

Kassandra agrees, "Exactly. Combine that with the attitude of superiority and you have a situation that many others, even other elves, find disagreeable. The Tirs may have information from another Age, but that means they need to find a way to adapt to today rather than trying to live in the past, or make everyone else do so. Most people, especially those in the UCAS and CAS, find the 'kiss my ring' attitude insulting."

Johan nods to both of them. "Repressed becomes repressor, abused becomes abuser. It's standard psychology. Have you ever been to an anglo reservation, Minos? Horrible. I was born when the United States was still a coast to coast superpower. I remember watching the break up as a boy and being very confused. It didn't make any sense. And soon, you will have the Tirs facing that situation, when enough people are pissed off enough. Already, you see it happening in Tir Tairngire, where they don't have the benefit of isolaton that Tir Na NOg does."

Johan says this, not looking a day over 30.

Minos says "Tir na n'Og is hardly as isolated as it thinks it is, and it gets worse every day for them. I know the lay of the land there, though, should we need to go. Haven't talked to many of those contacts in years…and it was back when I was human…but there's no reason I couldn't find out more about the networks we have left there should I need to. That might even be a good idea, for future operations." He pauses, and says, "Hm. I don't believe I've ever mentioned my spotted past to you before, have I, Kassandra?""
Johan offers… "I don't think we've ever really discussed anyones specific past in detail. It gets complex."

Kassandra spears another bite, chewing and swallowing before she continues, "I do not believe you have, no, Alexander. But then, we've all kept our various pasts out of the conversations. It makes things a little less depressing, that." She laughs, taking a drink before remarking, "Plus, I'd have to lie and then remember the lie. That gets so tedious."

Johan chuckles, watching Kassandra for a moment before he turns to Minos. "So then. Tell us about your sorrid history in the undercity of Belfast, making halfer porn for drug money…"

Minos says "Well…" he pauses, eating some food, "I used to be a human. I was in the British Special Operations Branch. I was assigned to infiltrate the New Ulster Revolutionary Movement in Belfast. Terrorists, Orangemen -that's the non-Irish folks who miss British rule in Northern Ireland. They had an irritating tendency to attack British politicians who weren't fighting tooth and nail against cooperation with the Tir na n'Og government. I wound up, at one point, jumping on a grenade that saved the Queen's former nanny. Got knighted for it- you're talking to Sir Alexander Murphy, KMV." He drinks some orange juice and says, "Got assigned after that to Diplomatic Services. Was there when Dunkelzahn's limousine exploded; caught in the magic backblast, I expressed as a minotaur. All my cyberware and bioware popped out of my body quick and painful as you might've imagined. Almost died; the Foundation put me back together again.""

Johan bows his head formally… "Sir Humpty-Dance."

Minos just rolls his eyes. "The English don't like trolls as knights. Much less minotaurs. Let's just say I'm still officially welcome in the UK, but they really prefer it if I stay over here in the States and don't mess up their idea of genteel, human nobility."

Johan nods. "The file's I've had access show that King George IV was infact, a troll when he was smothered by the palace staff on order from the Prime Minister."

Kassandra listens quietly, nibbling on her breakfast, "That is a very short-sighted way of thinking for them, given the work you'd done in the past." She shakes her head, working to finish her breakfast, "Just another example of the sort of thinking that starts wars and battles over nothing. Skin color. Some horns. All of it for naught."

Johan sets his food to the side. "The world is full of people who see the tips of their noses, lead by people who see the radius of their grasp. They are unable, or unwilling, to look 10 feet beyond to step out of the way of the truck driven by someone who is blind."

Kassandra nods slowly, working on the last of her breakfast. She groans and slides the plate away, shaking her head. "People are pretty simple creatures: they want what they want when they want it. Anything else usually escapes their notice or concern."

Johan chuckles quietly. "I've made a lifetime out of ignoring personal desire for the bigger picture. It's served me well in my professional life." He takes the plates then, moving to put them in the sink. The maid will get the clean up later. "I really do wish you well with Ms. Cindel, Kassandra. Don't overlook the personal, because you're right. It keeps us human."

"I hope it does work out. It seems to be anyway," Kassandra pauses, toying with her glass, "I've spent much of my ignoring everything except the bottom line, what sort of scam I could run or how much I could make off someone. I haven't spent any time on being a person. That is somewhat sobering after this many years."

«Auto-Judge[]» Johan (#799) rolls Willpower + 3 (Acting comp):
1 2 2 2 3 3 5 5 5
«Auto-Judge[]» Kassandra (#9777) rolls Intelligence for "Not so fast, monkeyboy.":
1 2 5 5 8 9 11 11
«Auto-Judge[]» Minos (#5291) rolls Intelligence:
1 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 5 7 7 9
«Auto-Judge[]» Johan (#799) rolls 5 for "Marcus":
1 2 2 2 3

Johan wipes off his hands on a dish towel. "Quite so, Kassandra." He says, offering her a smile. "If you both will excuse me. I have a meeting in Colorado Springs I need to get to. Stay, enjoy the amenities. MArcus will get you whatever you need."

Yes. He is either lying or concealing, or otherwise being shifty. Go figure.

Minos glances oddly at Samuel, but doesn't say anything. He continues eating his food, not in any hurry to leave.

Kassandra arches an eyebrow, nodding, "Try to stay out of trouble then." If she notices anything, she keeps her mouth shut, although a faint wrinkle of her forehead indicates she is either troubled or has a headache.

Marcus enters the room, glancing at his watch. "Your car's downstairs, Sir. I didn't have the time to detail it. I'm sorry the meeting was pushed up." he offers the keys to Johan as the other man moves past him.

"Thank you marcus. Make sure my guests are as comfortable as they can be."

With that, Johan departs.

You paged Minos with 'Alex would know Sam has a meeting with a mid level draco person, but its not till 6pm, and theres no notice it was pushed up.'.

Kassandra watches Johan head out, mentioning quietly, "Well. I seem to have upset him, or else the relationship does." She frowns at her glass, as if the object had personally been responsible for whatever is going on.

Minos looks at Kassandra and says, "I won't pretend to know what's going on in -his- mind, but I can tell you how -I- feel," he says, eating his breakfast some more. "You are outstandingly beautiful, and outstandingly competant. The pheromones don't help matters, either, especially from the male perspective. Now, I've got Lilith, and I think she's wonderful, but…she's not complete, in and of herself. She is competant at what she does, yes, but you're a tremendously intelligent, incisive, capable, and professionally competant woman in addition to being dead sexy. That you were cold and aloof made it easier to fantasize about you at a distance but did not encourage thoughts of a relationship; knowing you have a softer side, I find myself wondering if it would have been possible to see that side myself, had I made the effort to seize the day." He finishes his breakfast and adds, "I should point out that that in no means detracts from the genuine nature of my good wishes for your relationship with Aladriel, merely that it adds a touch of the melancholy wistfulness to my views when I contemplate you in this new light."

Kassandra looks up from the glass to Minos, a slow blush creeping up. She shakes her head, remarking "I suppose I should be somewhat pleased that I was able to project a facade well enough that it made everyone think it was reality." She muses quietly, lost in thought for a few moments before continuing, "I thank you for the compliments, Alexander, although I think that you sell Lilith short. I am not sure what you mean that she is not complete, however, so I cannot speak to that." She sighs, shaking her head, "As for what might have beens, that I am afraid is one of those things that always haunts us. Should we turn left? Right? Would things be different if I took just one step further, said that one little thing. For me, it was a whole host of little things that led me to this point and to this relationship. It .. is hard to explain."

Marcus starts to bus the kitchen… "Frankly, I don't think I've ever seen the Boss upset, out of sorts, frustrated or otherwise anything but what he is. I do not think I've ever seen him display emotion save for his daughter."

He clarifies.. "Real… emotion, that is."

Kassandra glances to Marcus, nodding soberly. "I may have just been imagining things. I'm not at the top of my game at the moment, too many thoughts scattering in my head."

Minos has a small smile cross his lips and says, "I don't mean to sell her short; I think she's fine. It's mostly that I find you attractive in a different manner, and more compatible to my interests, you see?" He glances at Marcus, his brows wrinkling in disapproval. "I won't bloody well tell you you're wrong, mate, but as his employee and his manservant, I do not believe he pays you for sharing your views on his emotional status with other people. You've been watching too much bloody old Batman movies." He seems quite cross.

Minos apparently has some issues with butlers. Likely why he thinks Nikodemus is a bit of a twit.

Marcus shuts the hell up, realizing the British troll is correct. "Sorry. You're quite right. I'll be about, if anyone needs something."

Kassandra eyes the interaction between Marcus and Alexander, one eyebrow raising. She continues as if the interuption and disagreement hadn't happened, "I don't know. Lilith has her walls up as well, probably for some of the same reasons I do. And I am having these bloody pheromones removed, they are a source of no end of problems." (rephrase)

Minos says "You don't need them removed; you need to be able to turn them on and off. I am uncertain if such a method exists." He pauses, then says, "I think we both just admire you. Lilith is a complex, wonderful, intelligent, and excellent partner in her own right. I'm not really selling her short. But I am not exactly a monogamous individual, you know…" he smiles, "and I'd still love to take you out to dinner. Hell, you and Aladriel and Lilith and…ah, well. There are those who think I'm led around solely by my lust. They would be wrong. I am merely highly appreciative of strong, intelligent, beautiful women, and I've run into three of them lately, between you, Lilith, and Aladriel. It confuses me."

"Sadly, I haven't been able to find a way to turn them off, so they may be coming out. It is hard to talk to people and not know if they are listening because they want to or because they don't have any choice. Althought, that wasn't a problem until recently." She considers, shaking her head, "In any case, I'd be glad to go to dinner with you and Lilith and Aladriel, I think that could be a lot of fun." She taps a nail on her glass, listening to the tone before speaking, "I have to say, I am very monogamous." A pause, "Well. I am now, anyway. I didn't date before, so it wasn't an issue. I just .. I don't know. I can't explain with getting all sappy, and Lil has already considered strangling me."

Minos smiles. "Be happy in your sappiness, Kassandra. I'm not monogamous for a lot of reasons- and I have to say it helps me in my relationship with Lilith- but mostly because…after I almost died, and went through becoming a minotaur, and saw Dunkelzahn die? I resolved to love as much and as strongly and as often as I could, all of those who touched my heart, and all of those who are worthy of my love." He shakes his head. "And now you've got me sharing the secrets of my heart with you. I don't even talk like this with Samuel. We spent twenty years in the Machine together, he and I."

Kassandra nods, "Pheromones. See? They are evil. EVIL!" She laughs, which is an odd thing to hear from someone who barely spoke for the last several months. "Still, there is something about Aladriel that just touches me and I cannot explain it. Maybe because she wasn't pursuing me, or she treated me like a person and not as Super Silk the Fixer or some untouchable Goddess on a pedestal. I don't know, and I am not going to dissect it. I am going to enjoy it for as long as I can."

She hesitates, then says quietly, "I even asked her to just up and leave. Me. Considering retiring and just sitting on a beach instead of playing with money."

Minos says "I have a soft spot in my heart for Aladriel, too. She manages to balance the burden of having killed more men than I have with a truly bubbly, childlike personality. She's faced many a thing that would leave others fall down with a strength of spirit that can still maintain a childlike sense of wonder in the world." He pauses. "She will have you enjoying doing the right thing instead of the profitable thing sooner than later, you know, Silk. She's my ace-in-the-hole when it comes to being the White Hat of this organization." He smirks."

"She has made me consider things I had not before." Kassandra sighs, nodding to Alexander's commentary. "She .. I don't know, she makes me want to do better things with my life, to help people instead of just blindly do whatever I want to make money. She makes me laugh. She makes me smile. She makes me want to live life instead of stay holed up somewhere waiting for whatever." She pauses, shaking her head as she can't find the right words. "She makes me care."

Minos says "We all find our souls somewhere. That's one thing that worries me about Samuel. With Benedicte flaking out on him, he's only tied to his daughter now, and he's a man who needs multiple anchors to this world, you know?"

"Exactly!" She smacks her hand on her thigh, "That is what it is like, an anchor to make you realize what is important. It is hard to care about the world when you don't care about anything. When you are so walled off from humanity, you start wondering "Why should I bother with these people." And that, that cannot be good for our mission, for living, for growing as a person."

Minos nods, drinking some orange juices. "I had the distinct honor of knowing Dunkelzahn before he died. He filled me with enough of his…hope for the world, that…look. Here's this millenia-old dragon. Everyone in the world, these immortal elves, these other dragons, they're wandering around doing things that make the place better for *them*. He…what is it that makes someone that old, that ancient, see such things in humanity that he goes against his own people and everyone else to do what he has done, what he did? I was never so much impressed by him, and his will, as I was when I read not the big bequests, not the philanthropic ones that did Big Things. Everyone rich does that, Aztechnology sponsors charities that help orphans, for crying out loud…but the way he paid back some guy whose ancestor loaned him a coin. The compensation he gave to someone whose car he inadvertently crushed. He saw the details, the individual people in the world, as well as the big picture, and he truly cared about them." He shakes his head. "A lot of people view me as some sort of rah-rah cheerleader that can see no wrong with the Draco Foundation, or with Dunkelzahn, but that's a load of shite. He was…fallible, he wasn't some perfect Godlike creature who made all the right decisions. But he was filled with…humanity, even if he wasn't a human." He shakes his head. "And then there's love, and then there's children and then there's…so many things. And it's really, really easy to wall yourself off. To not pay attention. But then someone catches your eye who makes it worth it. And now I'm babbling."

"Babbling a bit, but there is some good ideas in there, and things to think about." Kassandra sighs, shaking her head. "I don't know. I knew I needed to talk to you two so that you didn't wonder why Aladriel and I were playing footsies at meetings or whatever, and head off the problem now. I can say that I don't expect it to be a problem, but … I am not convinced that Johan thinks the same. We've had this conversation before, although about different people."

"I know I am not going to do anything to compromise a mission. I know I am not going to allow Aladriel to get hurt. I don't see those two items coming into conflict, and if they do, I'll deal with the situation if it comes up."

Minos shakes his head. "Kassandra, Samuel worries too goddamned much. He's a former CIA guy who sees all sorts of things. Sometimes life works out that way—but his being caught up in a web of betrayal leads him to a paranoia that's a liability. We make a good team, he and I; and often he makes me out to be the dumbass…but there's a reason I tend to handle the ultimate decisions personnel-wise. I realize you'd like his approval, but he's got years of not being comfortable with such things. The thing I imagine he's most concerned about is not how you'll interact with Aladriel on a team. That sort of personnel issue, I'm sure of your ability to deal with and so is Samuel. Rather, the concern is what you might do, or she might do, if the other dies on a mission. Unit cohesion breaks down a great deal in such situations, and one death can very rapidly spiral into the entire team's."

"Maybe so. Of course, unit cohesion breaks down if anyone you care about dies. It happens to military units who don't happen to have people romantically involved. I imagine if you got shot and taken down, he might pause." She considers, "Or maybe not. Still, yes, I'd like his approval, but I don't NEED it. I consider him a friend despite both our paranoias and foibles. If I thought that Ally and I were going to cause a problem, I'd fix it. But I am not going to choose between her or the mission, or the mission and being a complete person."

Watchers Internal Memorandum

From: Clemens
To: *Watchers(Core)
Re: Field Work

Effective immediately, no operations shall be undertaken in which the following personnel are on the same field operations team.

Kassandra Depaiva and Aladriel Cindel

Alexander Murphy and Lilith DeWinter

Kika Elo and Karl Lindstrom.

Missions should be staffed with this in mind. Any objections can be addressed to Mr. Murphy.

Kassandra says in Arabic, "A faint beeping sound alerts Kassandra, who leans to snag the secretary from her purse. She hits the right keys, the right icons, bringing up one of a dozen encrypted mailboxes. She eyes the information on the screen for a moment, the colour draining out of her face. She stares at the screen for several long seconds before saying in a loud voice, almost a scream, "Damnit! I am going to kill him!"" (for English speakers)

Minos looks at Kassandra and says, "What?"

Kassandra scowls at Mr. Michaels aka Mr. Murphy, handing him the secretary wordlessly, her hands shaking slightly.

Minos reads it and shakes his head. "Now that there, that's our lad. I'll tell you what happened, there." He looks up. "He was feeling emotional, so he went into power-withdrawal-super-chilly-secret-agent-mode, and then he did his mathematical calculations about actuarial statistics and force composition and cohesion and, using his great knowledge of small unit tactics and organizational psychology, determined that the effectiveness of the unit would be adversely affected by those with emotional attachments being on the same mission." He pauses. "Which is a load of bollocks on a shadowrunning team, which is what we *are*, not a military nor an intelligence team."

Kassandra stomps her foot, an act of pure childishness, her voice not constrained by her usual dulcet tones and word games, "I am not some God Damned child to be lectured to by Daddy and told who I can and cannot work with! This is completely and totally unacceptable." She takes the secretary back and smashes it against the counter before dropping it on the floor and stomping on it. "Fie!"

Marcus pokes his head in… But wisely, oh so wisely, says nothing.

Minos says "I'll take care of it." He then takes out his pocket secretary and composes a brief note.

Kassandra doesn't even answer Minos, nor does she likely see Marcus who is wiser than many. But then, he's worked for Samuel so is likely to have seen people behave like this. She stomps the secretary again for good measure before picking up the broken pieces and tossing them in her purse. All the while she keeps up a steady stream of gibberish in another language, none of which sounds very good and is likely something very foul.

Marcus eyes the bull. Eyes the stream of… stuff… from Kassandra. Then the bull again. "I shall order you a new personal computer." He says simply, moving to the cleaning closet to fetch the dustpan and broom.

Watchers Internal Memorandum

From: Alexander Michaels
To: *Watchers(Core)
Re: Field Work

First: It's Michaels, not Murphy.

Second, belay Mr. Clemens' latest message (the one to which this refers). His assessment of the situation which led to this decision was reached based on a faulty analysis of unit morale and cohesiveness in the specific situations and purposes to which the Watchers unit is based upon, and such restrictions, given our overall force composition, would do more harm by limiting our tactical adaptability in terms of overlapping skillsets than it would do positive good by reducing the chances that our team members will be adversely affected by supposed emotional entanglements.

In other words, we believe we're all professional enough to behave appropriately despite who we might be bumping uglies with.

Minos shows Kassandra his computer, with the message he just wrote.

Minos says "Don't break mine, unless you want to buy a new one for me."

Kassandra jabbers on in the foreign lingo, waving her hands and going to great lengths to express her displeasure to the world. It is unclear, unless the listener has spent some time in a Bedouin market, but she seems to be describing all sorts of horrible things about Samuel. She breaks off her litany of complaints to the gods to scan the screen of Minos' computer, grinding her teeth and winding down, her voice dropping from glass-shaking volumes and cat-fucking screeching levels. "I cannot believe he manufactured some excuse to leave and then drops that note." She utters a few profanities in Elvish and Spanish, mixing the two languages together flawlessly.

Marcus opens his mouth as he moves over to clean up the mess. "He could have sent it while he was standing in front of you. Would that have made it more palatable?"

Minos looks at Marcus and says, "He could also have bloody well consulted with me -his ostensible partner in leading this shindig- before writing it, and, moreover, he could have NOT BLOWN MY REAL NAME TO EVERYONE."

Kassandra gives Marcus the sort of look one might save for some witless Italian buttonman on the street, "He could have simply talked to me instead of skulking off and then dropping a fucking letter." She hits every fricative in the word fucking, her eyes narrowed as she works to get a handle on her temper. She glances to Minos, "This .. this is going to be a bone of contention. Go get him laid or something so he is in a better mood. Find him drugs, get him therapy, something." She balls her fists, clenching her mouth shut before she screams, and STILL manages to emit a sound that pierces eardrums.

Minos shrugs. "That's not as easy as it might seem, Kassandra; he's *picky* about who he has sex with."

Marcus eyes the bull again. Then Kassandra. He dumps the remains of the poc-sec in the trash, before turning back to the others. He doesn't say anything, simply watching.

Kassandra scowls, "That is wonderful. I am sorry that opsec is more important than my happiness." She glances to Marcus, visibly getting a hold of herself, "I apologize, I should not take my frustrations out on you, it isn't your fault." She glances to Minos, curtly adding, "I am going to go find Aladriel and see what she wants to do. We'll sort this out and let you people know our intentions." She starts towards the door, liberating her jacket from where it lays on the couch, "I should have known better than to expect anything else."

Minos says "There's no need to worry about it, Kassandra; I just reversed his decision on the matter. Now it's a fight between he and I."

"Ms. Depaiva…" offers Marcus, a leading greeting, that indicates he wishes to say more, but will not until so allowed.

Minos's eyes twinkle, as a little movie plays in his mind: Kassandra, punching Samuel in the balls.

Kassandra shrugs into her jacket, "Forgive me, Alexander, but I'll worry about it. Aladriel is probably having as much a fit as I am right now, and I imagine Lilith will not be pleased. We are not little tin soldiers on a battlemat waiting to be moved." She adjusts the jacket, noticing Marcus and then looking back at him, tilting her head, "Yes?"

Marcus eyes Minos, then looks back to Kassandra… "Mr. Clemens just filed for divorce from his wife and sent his child to live with relatives in Europe, despite what I am sure were deep personal feelings on the matter. I don't know -what- you people do. He won't tell me, and I take it as part of the tutelage I receive from him. But. I know whatever it is, he places the operational security of that objective or goal above -everything-. Your happiness, his own happiness."

Kassandra looks at Marcus. She looks at Minos. She starts to speak and then closes her mouth again, her expression clearly indicating that whatever was going to come out wouldn't be pleasant. She takes a clensing breath before trying again, "I appreciate that he is going through some personal issues, and that he feels he needs to take these steps for the almighty mission. That said, I am not him. If he is willing to sacrifice everything, so be it. I am not quite ready to give up on the smallest chance to have a life that doesn't … that .. " She trails off, biting her lip and looking back to Minos.

Minos looks at Marcus and says, "Now, Marcus, there you go again. Bloody hell, doesn't he pay you to be discreet? I'd no idea he'd filed for divorce and it sure as bloody hell wasn't your job to tell me." He pauses. "That being said, I've no doubt of his loyalty or his goals. I've the same. I merely disagree with him on implementation, as I do in this case." He puts his jacket back on and says, "And Marcus, while I appreciate your loyalty to Samuel, shut the fuck up in the future. I now know that I can not, ever, say anything that I don't want repeated to anyone in your presence. That disturbs me. If I were your employer, I might well kill you for that—but I'm not. And he won't hear of it from me." He looks at Kassandra and says, "'Tis time for us to go. You need to relax and help Aladriel to relax, and I need to consider what will happen next."

Marcus nods to Minos. "Perhaps. For a man who is the bodyguard to the woman he's sleeping with, you seem to have odd ethics about boundaries between employers and employees. Do have a good day, Mr. Michaels."

Minos smirks. "Marcus, I am not her bodyguard. I portray myself as her bodyguard solely because -I do not want people to know we are sleeping together and thus make her a target- . This works a great deal better than you might think."

Kassandra stares at the floor, keeping out of the battle. She also looks to be trying desperately to get control of herself, her colouring still very, very pale.

"I am astounded by your cleverosity. Good day, Mr. Michaels."

Minos places a gentle arm around Kassandra's shoulders and guides her out the apartment.

Kassandra lets herself be led out, sniffling slightly and wiping at her eyes. She says nothing as they leave.

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