Re: [5e IC] Sunt Venatores Venationem

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« on: <05-18-16/1231:04> »
Behind the curtain

<<5 DEC, 2074 1430>>

Sister Rebecca sits on a makeshift bench outside the sacristy.  She had been told to wait there by a newcomer, introducing himself as Archbishop Contee, a think, dark-skinned man with high cheekbones and intense eyes.  "I'll be with  you in a moment, good Sister," the Archbishop had said, leading Marcus into the sacristy, leaving the door ajar.  She tries not to listen too much to what is being said within, a sense of decorum demands it, but at the same time she can't help but think that what is going on inside is, to some extent, for her benefit.

"And we're smoking now, are we?" the Archbishop demands.  It's not much of a question.

"Father, it's trying times here, and I have--"

"Put yourself in a position to judge while you have left the plank in your own eye, yes?  No, these hunters with whom you have possessed your thoughts with, with whom you have taken a trusted and valuable member of this flock and turned her into, into what?  A saboteur?  A common spy?  And for what?"

"These 'hunters,'"
Marcus stammers, "They are not holy men.  They are thugs, little better than gangers, or shadowrunners.  Their means are deplorable, their tainted spoils go to drink and drugs.  Even Sister Rebecca was tempted by their use of combat stimulants.  Reveling in death and discord."

"Yes, their spoils.  That's what it comes down to, isn't it?" the Archbishop questions.  "Your methods have been quite kind to the coffers of the church.  And leadership has let you slide, taking their thirty pieces and accepting your platitudes at face value.  But brother Marcus.  Today is a new day.  You are relieved of your post here."

Marcus protests, "We are so close.  Our efforts are holy, and with just a little more time I could--"

There's a pounding on the table, which makes Sister Rebecca jump in her seat. 

"Do you question my judgment?" the Archbishop asks.

"No, Father."

"You are relieved of your post. You will take pilgrimage to Saint Josephine's.  I think three months will be sufficient.  Do you think you will need a longer period of reflection, brother Marcus?"

"No, Father."

"Good.  You are relieved.  Walk in Christ, good brother."

Marcus exits the sacristy, his face red and fists clenched.  He avoids Sister Rebecca's eyes, and she resists a smile as he stomps down the stairs.  It's as if they were children again, with this tantrum.  Only now, she feels that she may have a friend in the church.  She is called into the sacristy, and enters obediently.

"Good afternoon, sister Rebecca.  My apologies to keep you waiting for so long," the Archbishop says, extending his hand with a simple silver and onyx ring for her to kiss. 

"I'm honored, Archbishop Contee," the sister replies.

"I trust you heard our exchange?"  The sister's face turns red with shame, but she stammers out a yes.  "Good.  There is no cause for alarm, good sister.  I have found brother Marcus' methods to be lacking in the love of Christ.  I know that you and he were close, but I have decided that it would be better for the church, and better for each of you if you spent some time apart.  I trust that you will follow my guidance in this matter?" 

Again, Sister Rebecca is able to stammer out a yes, surprised at the feeling of relief that washes over her.

"Good," the Archbishop nods in approval.  "I am taking you off your present assignment.  Ours is not the way of the money-lenders or of profiting from death.  I fear of its diminishing effects on the spirit.  I've read your dossiers on the hunters.  It seems you are fond of them?"

"Yes, Archbishop Contee.  I've only known them for a few days, but they are in real danger.  If I could only stay for awhile longer, I may be able to--"

The Archbishop shakes his head, and Sister Rebecca falls silent.  After a deep breath, he continues, "Even earthly love will pass away in the world to come.  It is our efforts that will love on in this world, and our souls which will transcend even those.  Your efforts are required in the California Free State.  I have arranged transportation for you with a group of other sisters in service to our Lord who will be traveling by bus in one hour.  Say your goodbyes via comm, and report to sister Ann in the soup kitchen.  And sister Rebecca, I trust you will find my leadership less capricious, though no less firm than brother Marcus'.  I hope the fact that you will be reporting directly to me, your Archbishop, and not a lay member of our church will inform you of how valuable you are to our mission."


<<5 DEC, 2074 2000>>

Rose Delayne sits in her apartment in western Puyallup, the plaster peeling from her walls.  She isn't thinking about that right now, or her space heater that's on the fritz.  Instead, she's juggling between the four trid screens she has linked into her home console, and the very unusual comm-call she's on which originated overseas. 

"And why do you think that he'll pursue this line of investigation? . . . Oh, yes, family honor.  Family honor for a family which has disowned him? . . . Oh, you're absolutely right.  I couldn't possibly understand."

She minimizes three windows on her trids, and pulls up a complicated picture of a double helix, which she breaks into parts and enlarges to read more easily.  One sequence in particular catches her cyber eyes.  The labeling is all too familiar.  It's the gene that's the reason why her eyes are so obvious, and so expensive, costing more than the console, the apartment, the five trids, and her Honda Spirit combined.  And forget about trying to find a doc who trades in that kind of ware who will work on a ghoul.  It was murder.  Extortion and murder to be really hyperbolic about the whole thing.

"Yes, I see.  And how did you get my number again? . . . Well, you can't blame a girl for trying.  But look, I get my ten K just for taking this call, wiz?  My reputation is certainly worth a lot more, and if you won't give me something to work with, I'm not sure that I can help you.

"Ok, so he's heading this way, out to Seattle.  And you think he's likely to check on this address? . . . Yes, the dossier really is something. . . Yes, I'll destroy it once we finish this call.  I am a professional."
  Rose shakes her head, and looks up at the plastic tarp she's stapled to her ceiling in order to keep the rainwater off of her gear, while the voice prattles on from the other end.

"The thing is, you've chosen a very inconvenient time to have your family emergency," she breaks in.  "Our little community is dealing with, well, an issue I'll say to be equally vague, and as such there aren't many people I trust right now.  More than that, there aren't many who will trust an outsider right now either."

Digging deeper into the dossier, Rose looks up the ownership information on the storage unit.  She lights a cigarette -- about the only thing that gets the taste of human flesh out of her mouth -- and chews on the filter before it hits her.  She double checks to make sure, inspects the file once more for tampering or recent edits, and takes a screen shot.  A little insurance never hurt.

"I may know someone.  If anyone's still solid, it's him.  Call me back in forty-five.  Not on this number.  There, I sent you pin. . . Yes, happy to help.  Forty-five.  Not a minute sooner."

She ends the call, reboots her comm, and pulls another from a pile in her desk drawer.

<<@Mercer [Nevermore] I just got some dirt on Sunrise.  You still interested?  I've also got a guy coming into Tacoma solo, with a major grudge against these guys.  Not a hunter.  But capable, if I'm to believe what I've heard, and so far it checks out.  I'm getting paid on the other end, so this one's gratis, if you owe me one?  Interested?>>

End of Chapter One
« Last Edit: <05-23-16/1158:35> by rednblack »