Heavy Weights Weigh In

Minos looks up and stands. "Mister Lucciano. I came to apologize to you and in the hopes we could chat."

Pulse watches the taur for a minute, then nods. "We can speak, Mister Michaels." A slight smile. "I'm not my brother. The head's a little bit more level, despite what you might hear about me and women." A sensible boxer?

Minos smiles himself. "Mine too…despite what you might hear about me and women. We're both lusty men; we both attract vast numbers of women; and we both fight well—and face-to-face, where a man's blood splatters your skin and you can feel his breathing as he falls. I think that makes for much more in common than I have with your brother, who prefers to do his business through others, machines and humans alike. I wonder, sometimes, if he views the people any differently than he does the drones." He pauses and says, "But I did not come here to insult your brother; I wished to begin by apologizing for insulting him and arguing with him, and you, in your domain. It was rude and disrespectful of me to do so here, of all places."

Pulse watches the minotaur again, watching carefully as he explains himself. He nods. "Understood, Mister Michaels." He looks towards the door. "Would you care to walk with me? It is very cold, but some things are better discussed while walking. It fits the meme properly, I suppose."

Minos chuckles. "Are we going to smoke cigars and hide from hidden FBI watchers as well?" He falls into step beside you.

Pulse grins. "Maybe," he says, hitting the doors.

You walk over to the large double doors of the Bare Knuckle Gym, push one open, and slip outside. The large door then quietly shuts behind you

Warrens - Quincy and Buckley

The intersection of Quincy and Buckley used to be a thriving crossroads of trade, before the Treaty of Denver made the area pretty much worthless. Now the corner gasoline maxistations corrode, but still serve the traffic heading east and west along the thoroughfare. The old stores are mostly home to squatters using the storespace for shelter, but some stores remain open to serve the people that pass through this area.

You say "So, Mr. Lucciano…I suppose the question that I'm forced to ask here is, essentially, are you your brother's equal, his superior, or neither in the organization in which you both enjoy membership? This colors the nature of the conversation I'd like to have with you, or I wouldn't presume to ask."

Pulse nods to Minos as he walks out. "I like the cold," he says. "It helps me think." He walks, running a hand through his hair, pausing to look at the ruined laundry mat. "My brother and I aren't alike, not nearly as much so as I first thought. He…" He pauses. "He reflects badly on what the Luccianos should be. I've been trying to… slowly… seperate myself from him in the eyes of Denver. He's still my brother- and I'll protect him and my family to the last- but I can't do buisness like he does." He stops, looking up at the sky. "And neither," he says. "I'm half Irish. I'm just… a friend o' his, instead of a friend o'theirs. What I have here I've carved out with my own fists and fighting, without help from no families no where."

Minos arches an eyebrow. "And that puts you in a unique position to understand, then, what it is Miss DeWinter wants." He follows you down the cold streets, his breath creating gusts of steam. "It must be a hard row to hoe, being his brother and not being a part of that thing of his, to use a euphemism."

Pulse nods, not looking back at Minos now. "He's always been the family's Prince. I'm a bastard. It is the way of things." He falls silent for a minute. "I spoke badly, earlier. I… she won't be under anyone's thumb. I've Spoken for her to Joey, and, if you'll accept my terms…" His voice trails off. "I'll personally pay joey the money he asks, his… protection money, your better buisness money. In return, she'll take my friend Rosie and her girls off the street, clean them up. Those that want to stay can find work, those that don't can leave, of course." He rubs his head. "And that's the end of my involvement in it. She doesn't have to be beholden to anyone: I'm effectively buying her independnce in a way that he'd let only me. My friend Rosie gets to be warm the rest of her life. That's all I want out of this."

You say "You and I are in the same position, it seems," he smiles, but not happily, "for you, it's Rosie; for me, it's Lilith." He pauses and continues, "You know, ultimately, all she wants is freedom, and she's willing to pay for it. You don't need to pay for it. What she wants is to make a single payment as a consideration for the competition in the area, that's not a problem. She'll negotiate boundaries and territories and clientèle. She'll even entertain using the family as providers for services she has no interest in but her clients may desire. But she won't be beholden to them. And that seems to be the problem your brother has. He has to feel like he's in charge. He doesn't realize he's not the biggest boy on the block in this city." He reaches into a pocket and takes out a cigarette, lighting it. "He told me to fuck off today. I asked him for an apology, and he laughed in my face. I about busted his nose, but I stopped when I realized where I was." He takes a drag, and blows out smoke, then looks at the cigarette and says, "I fucking hate these things.""

Pulse lights up a cigar. "Do you?" He asks. He turns to look at the stars. "Of course she won't be beholden to him. Nor to me. I was not going to tell her of the payment… just going to promise that she'd be free from interference. It seems the easiest way to keep the peace. Joey is… easily angered.. but I can usually focus and deflect it, when given the chance." He rubs his face. "Is 65 thousand an acceptable number? I can make joey accept it, and get her to leave him alone. I've put other irons in his fire already."

Minos contemplates this and admits, "Sixty-five grand is acceptable. A hundred and twenty grand is even acceptable, though it's a bit much; the point really isn't the amount, but the principle. Joey wants to be the Man. He wants her to kiss his pinky ring and come to him when he calls. She won't do it and that irks him. That I have the temerity to point out to him that, hey, I have powerful friends too; that he takes as a threat." He takes another drag from the cigarette, exhaling. "If you can hold him back, that's fine. We'll arrange the payment through you; it's not a big deal. We want to work with the flow, not go against it, but also not become a part of it." He takes another drag and says, "Yes, I do hate them, but they're very calming in their own way. I know a lot of women like that, too." He smirks.

Pulse laughs. "You're telling me," he says. "Bloody women. But what's a man gonna do?" He shrugs. "Well, Mister Michaels, now you know my secrets. I am distancing myself from my brother, and I am not part of the Mob. I just know some people." He turns back to the troll, breathing in deeply of his smoke. "Though I have to say… I am enjoying talking to you more than I do most."

You say "Like I said, Paul, we've got some things in common that I don't have with many other folks. Makes life a bit easier." He puffs on his cigarette again. "I'll share some secrets with you as well. The one thing I hate about the cold is that it irritates my hips. The cyberlegs, they're insulated but never quite as well as flesh, and they're metal, so they get colder…" He chuckles. "Also, I work for the Draco Foundation directly. Not exactly a huge secret, but I don't really confirm it that much. Samuel Clemens is a close friend of mine. He's prepared to set up a meeting between me and Don Inocenti if this thing between you and I doesn't work out." He pauses. "And here's a secret that you don't know: Lilith DeWinter is a bit more than my employer when I'm not working for the Foundation, although I do take on bodyguard work outside of the Foundation to keep my hand in. She's my lover. And I'll fight for what she wants very, very hard because of that.""

Pulse nods. "I assumed as much." He picks his next words carefully. "And I assume, knowing her profession, that you're not a jealous man. Which is good." He leaves that where it lies, letting the implications reveal themselves. "This thing between you and I? It's working. Lilith remembers the Old Ways. Out of respect for that, if nothing else, I would do what I'm doing." He gestures towards the gym. "Come. We can return now. What's been said has been said: we can return to things ears can here now, and find some relief for your legs."

You say "If I were a jealous man, Paul, I'd hardly be dating someone in her line of work…and the reason I came to you about Selene was to see if you were a jealous man as well; and I'm glad you aren't." He falls into step next to you again, back towards the Gym. "I trust we can keep that bit between us, about she and I; it's a great deal more beneficial to our relationshiphers and mineif we're seen as employer and employee rather than anything else. Though I may've blown that with my heated defense of her with your brother." As you enter the gym, he asks, "So under what circumstances, do you think, would it be acceptable for me to break Joey's nose?"

Pulse grunts. "Honestly? Never. I don't have a personal problem with it, and I understand you have powerful friends… but Joey would react badly. People would die unnecessarily." He opens the door for you. "And while you may very well be able to win such a conflict… breaking a man's nose isn't worth the lives it might cost, don't you think?" He follows. "And yes. He could be that hot headed."

You walk over to the large double doors of the Bare Knuckle Gym, pull one open, and slip inside. The large door then quietly shuts behind you.

Bare Knuckle Gym - Main Floor

Pulse steps through one of the large steel doors opens and enters the gym.
Pulse has arrived.

Minos pitches his cigarette out before entering the gym and once the door is closed he replies, with a sigh, "That's about what I figured. Thing is, he's the sort of guy who's going to persist in being what he is until someone takes him down a peg or until he catches a bullet to the brainpan and, while killing people may be his bag, it's not something I take any particular pleasure in doing—nor would the retaliation from his family be worth incurring, even if I were. But it's a pleasant dream. Maybe you should kick his ass for him; he's not going to kill you."
Pulse nods. "I've thought about it," he says with a smile. "One day I might. But he's like me…" he says, winking. "He won't get involved with a fight he thinks he might lose. Why do you think I haven't invited you into the ring yet?"

Minos smiles. "Because it would be a bad thing for your reputation to lose a fight in your own ring. However, I'd love to spar with you in a situation where it's purely skill versus skill. You've taken on unaugmented trolls before and won; mostly, it's my augments that make me a tougher opponent than those men. I can't cut off my legs, but maybe we can come up with some sort of way of fighting that balances the scales a bit…better than my combat-drug-induced frenzied battle with Mafen." He shrugs. "I suspect that based solely on skill, we're evenly matched; that's why I want to spar with you, I just don't know how to compensate for some things. I could turn off the strength augmentation in my legs…let me give it some thought." He grabs a bottle of water from a rack and takes a drink from it. "But before we get into that discussionwhich I think is a lot more fun than the one we've had to havelet's figure out the plan of action here. You'll talk to Joey, I'll talk to Lilith, then Lilith will talk to you, and we'll work out the final payment arrangements and go from there? And if Joey won't see reason, you'll let me know so I can arrange the meeting with Don Aspanu?"

Pulse laughs. "It's not your strength that worries me, Alex," he says with a smile. "It's your reputation. I hit very hard, but I can't match an RPG round for power."

Pulse nods. "Agreed." He holds out a hand. "An accord, then?"

Minos shakes your hand. "An accord, Paul." He pauses, looking slightly confused and asks, "Do you mind if I call you Paul? It really feels odd to call you "Pauly", like I'm talking to a younger nephew or something."

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