Janie S Recruitment

Samuel is seated at the desk, a large bank of flat-screen monitors all feeding data across their faces. A Trid plays a news channel and in the background, there sounds to be classical music playing. Other than the large computer, it appears to be a Spartan office. "Ms. Blair." Says Samuel, turning in the high-backed leather chair to face the woman. Behind him now, the screens go blank.

"WE've met before. Have a seat. Would you like something to drink?"

Janie glances around quickly as she walks through the door, eyes flicking to each corner as if reflexively checking for a possible ambush. Paranoia is a survival trait for people in her line of work, after all. She looks at Samuel, then nods as she recognizes him and sits down. "Soda will do, thank ye," she replies.

Samuel nods, standing up from his chair to walk over to a small bar set in to a recessed panel in the wall. "Relax. You're not in an inquisition, I'm not here to make you paranoid. My name is Samuel Clemens." He says, dropping a few ice cubes in to his drink. "You may have met me as Scrimshaw once or twice. I find its useful to be able to move unobserved through the world occasionally. Ice?"

"Old habits die hard," Janie shrugs, then shakes her head. "No ice, thanks. Vixen said ye might've somethin' ye needed my help with?"

He does not put ice in the second glass, pouring out a copious amount of cola. "Help is perhaps the wrong term. You've met Alexander, yes?" he asks, looking over his shoulder to her. "Tall man, looks like a cow?"

Janie nods. "Goes by th'name o'Minos on th'streets, as I recall. I've met him once or twice." She smiles slightly. "He's easy t'remember.

"Thats the one. He's a good friend and he's also spoken for you. Two solid recommendations." He pauses then, bringing the glasses back, setting one in front of Janie while he sits on the desk. Not returning to his chair, he's got one hip up on the desk, the other leg supporting him. "I have some questions, though."

Janie nods. "Shoot."

HE sips his drink, looks to be scotch, for a moment, considering the woman. "The ork, Weeko, her background and her child. Tell me about them; What you know."

Janie nods. "How much'd Alexander already tell ye?"

Samuel smiles slightly. "Enough that I have a good handle on the situation and want to hear what you know in your words."

Janie nods again. "She's a physical adept; Th'man in charge o'th'orphanage she grew up in systematically abused her until she ran away." She sips her soda, then continues. "She hooked up with Katral a while ago, an'got pregnant; sometime after her pregnancy set in some kind o'residual… somethin'… from th'man who abused her started affectin' her, probably targetin' her children."

Samuel thinks that over, his eyes watching the way she talks, the way she speaks and the effort she puts in to her words. "Is that all you know, no details, no specifics, no personal theories or ideas?"

Janie shakes her head. "I assensed th'affliction; it's some kind o'inky blackness - I've never seen th'like. It's undoubtedly malignant, but other'n that I've no idea what it could intend…"
She trails off, then continues. "We investigated th'orphanage; somethin' on th'close order o'a third o'th'children have th'same affliction. Th'man's office contained a Lodge dedicated t'murder an'blood magic, lined with th'skulls o'th'kids he's murdered…"

He nods slowly, thinking that over. "What importance, if any, do you attribute to the middle of october, 3113 BC?"

"Start o'th'previous Age, supposedly when Atlantis sank an'magic stopped workin' f'r about five an'a half thousand years," Janie replies promptly.

Samuel quirks an eyebrow. "And where do you draw this particular theory from?" He asks, no hint of approval or disapproval in his voice.

"Accordin' t'most sources, Ehran th'Scribe's work _Long Cycles_ is th'closest to authoritative on th'subject," Janie replies. "O'course, that's /still/ takin' one man's word f'r it that he used t'be around back then; most o'th'Great Dragons were supposedly around as well but they're not very outspoken about it - an' it's not th'kind o'question interviewers ask…"

Samuel chuckles quietly, offering a nod. "Ehran the Scribe is what I would all a credible source." He says with a smile, moving back to sit down in a chair next to her. He's not wrong, but he's also not giving the whole story.

Janie nods. "I'll take y'r word f'r it," she replies. "Why'd ye ask about th'date?"

"Curiosity. Understanding. The usual's." He shifts tacts then, leaning back in his chair. "I'm going to need to take a few hours with some of our magical experts, with Weeko… but Minos has reason to suspect we may need to do something more… spectacular. I'm going to get a Matrix-based investigation of her childhood and its circumstances underway, but in the mean time." He exhales.

"Minos is offically employed by the Draco Foundation while I maintain a contractor based relationship. They like to outsource some of the more controversial aspects of their duties as outlined by the will. Tracking down blood mages, destroying hives, making sure that the magical threats that awaken with the rising levels of mana are contained or held at bay long enough to allow humanity to -be- ready for then."

Janie nods, listening. Her body language is still somewhat guarded - a part of her that will likely never entirely let its guard down - but definitely attentive. Her eyes widen slightly toward the end of Samuel's explanation. "I'd heard theories an'rumors to that effect, especially with regard to th'appearance o'th'Shedim… But then, if there's one thing th'origins o'magic have, it's lots an' lots o'wild theories an'rumors. Neither th'Elves nor th'Dragons really talk much about it where th'rest o'us mere mortals c'n hear…"

"Of course not. Any more than we hear the real minutes of a board meeting for a major corporation. Attendant to that, is the long term scope of things. Let's be real. If there was a great secret, do you really think in this age of mass media, if they let it slip, that it wouldn't be all over the matrix and scream-sheets in half a nano?" He shrugs then, standing up and moving over to the wetbar. "Of course it would be. And if it was scary enough… in the blink of an Eye, every great dragon on earth would be hunted and gone. They are powerful, but as shown, they are not invulnerable. Drink?"

Janie nods. "True enough; I guess I just don't like bein' kept in th'dark even when it's f'r my own good. I'll get over it…"

Samuel nods. "I've spent my entire life…" Says Samuel, pouring himself a drink consisting of cranberry juice and vodka, hold the vodka… "Working in the intelligence community. Not a shadow-runner in the mercenary sense, but as a cog in a greater machine, doing things for reasons I did not understand, but held the ideal that they were for the greater good." A pause as he gestures to the bar. "You never answered me as to a drink."

"Another soda, please," Janie replies, then nods again. "Workin' t'try an'make th'world a little better, a little safer than it was… I guess that's th'best we c'n do."

"For the time being, yes." He says, pouring her another soda, forgetting it would seem, he got her a drink when she came in. Old men get forgetful. "Are you capable of following an order or dictate, putting in to the person giving the order, the trust to accept it is for the greater good even if morally reprehensible on a personal level?"

Janie considers this, then shakes her head. "I c'n follow orders if need be, but I won't do it blindly. I'll trust th'person givin' th'order t'be honest with me, but if he asks me t'violate my personal code o'ethics I'd hope he'll respect them an' me enough t'at least let me know th'reason f'r it."

Samuel nods slowly, chewing the answer over. It's honestly given and doesn't just say 'YES SIR, POINT ME AT THE KITTENS!'. He seems to like that, as his body posture shifts. "Trust me, when I say, if I ever ask you to do something, I operate on a one-butt rule." He sighs. "Let me explain. As I said, Minos is the one who gets to be the knight in shining armor. He's the face, the guy who talks to the nice folk." He says, sipping his drink to wet his mouth. "When all is said and done, he leads the surviving children out of the school." He looks to Janie. "I'm the one who goes in and kills the 93 children who were impregnated with insect spirits. Morally reprehensible."

A pause. "And yet absolutely necessary. My one-butt rule is you can always, in times of non-mission critical moments, ask me about the mission. My answer will be one of three things. A direct answer, need-to-know, or classified. If I feel you need to know, you will be told. If it's classified, it means its so far above my paygrade, I'm just doing what I'm told and I have no information for you beyond what you have yourself."

Janie nods, giving the explanation careful thought. "I c'n live with that," she agrees eventually.

"We don't always like the jobs we do, Miss Blaire." A pause as he sits down in a chair next to her. "But we take comfort, in a way, from knowing that our efforts delay the inevitable by just a fraction longer."

Janie nods again, sipping her soda.

Samuel watches her for a long moment. "Do you have any specific questions for me? I'm inclined to agree with Alexanders assessment of you."

Janie considers. "Ye've been - as far's I c'n tell - honest, an' so was Minos," she says eventually. "An' t'be frank in return, I've wanted t'do a little more with my life than just petty theft an'dirty jobs f'r corporations that'll keep th'status quo an'grow fatter on th'misery o'others… t'somehow make an actual difference in th'world."

One hand brushes almost unconsciously at her throat, fingering the welt of scar tissue hidden under the shirt she wears. "More'n that, I believe I owe th'Foundation a personal debt. I'd like th'chance t'make good on it… An'finally, Weeko still needs help; ye seem t'be th'ones with th'best idea o'what's been done t'her, so again, workin' with ye would be a good idea."

Samuel nods slowly, thinking that over. He never seems to speak with haste or rapidity, his words always slowly paced out and deliberate. "It's why I got in to the Intelligence world in the first place. I did my tour with the Corps, but I wanted something more than shooting people, something more than grunting around a battlefield. I wanted to be something better, do something better. The age of warfare, for the moment, is over. It's the age of the dagger again."

"F'r now," Janie replies. Even to someone as close to the streets as she is, the signs are obvious that the balance of power is ever a tenuous one, and there are those who would not mind toppling over the board in order to profit from the struggle. It's human nature, after all…

He nods. "For now. The nature of humanity is to squabble. To fight. To divide. Take piles of rocks and divide them unequally, then fight over that division. We are animals, in that respect, as all living things. Our survival and our well being, over that of others. I wish could argue with the psychology and anthropology of it, but it has produced us, you and I, and armed us, to look to the future in a way no one ever has had the ability to do… in nearly 7000 years."

Janie nods. "f'r better or worse, conflict's in our blood. If our ancestors hadn't been prepared t'fight to survive, we wouldn't be here now… An' it might well be that th'reason our ancestors did it better than everyone else's ancestors was because they could think ahead to th'next battle f'r survival before th'neighbors showed up on th'doorstep."

Samuel nods. "Thats exactly correct, but you knew that. To quote the vernacular, life is survival of the fittest, and I intend to ensure that those I work for, are the fittest to survive, when survival becomes the ultimate question."

Janie nods again.

"There's one more thing," Janie remarks. "My lover, May - even if I don't tell her outright I'll be workin' f'r ye like I intend to, she'll figure out somethin's up soon enough… An' I don't think I'd be able t'persuade her not t'try an'help as well."

Samuel quirks an eyebrow, mentally calling up Janie's file. The file scrolls past his visiual field. "May. Shaman, seductress." He says, almost casually. "How you handle your home affairs is no concern of mine so long as she does nothing to jeopardize our mission. The information you learn on any operation with is -is- strictly need to know, classified and otherwise not for consumption by anyone outside of the group, lovers included. If she respects you, she will respect your privacy."

Janie nods. "She knows how t'keep a secret," she replies. "An'I'm sworn t'Fraternity; if I think her not knowin' somethin' might put her in danger, I'd share it."

Samuel thinks that over. "Much of what you learn will put her in danger, if only tangentially, like knowing a plane crash in inevitable. I would ask for your consideration on what constitutes danger, and only relay the information that puts her in -direct- danger. I understand your oathbonds, your desires and your love." He pauses, exhaling. "But there are greater things afoot than simply us. Can you appreciate my position?"

Janie nods, unhappy about the prospect but accepting the situation.

Samuel nods then, offering her a sympathetic smile. "Alright then. I'll confer with Alexander and we'll speak again soon. I know he has a specific mission in mind for you in the near future of an interesting nature."

Janie nods. "I'm sure th'file ye have on me has my address an'phone number on it," she replies.

Samuel smiles. "Actually, no. My file on you is very sparse. I know where you hang out, so I don't think finding you will be at issue." He offers a hand over. "Welcome aboard, Ms. Blaire. I hope its a good fit and you can perform as Minos expects."

Janie smiles back and shakes it. "We'll see. I'll do my best."

Samuel shakes firmly, then produces a business card with a phone number on it. "Use it sparingly. It's my personal line."

Janie nods and takes it. "I will."

Samuel walks Janie to the door then, the meeting effectively over. "If you have questions or concerns, drop me a line. I'm usually available."

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