Vigil: a character driven sci-fi RP (Started/Open)

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Leon Florzeni, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:10 PM

I feel my heart beat slightly increase, and I slowly turn around hoping for the best. Noticing its not Boss, I respond to the woman talking.

"Hello, my name's Leon, I hadn't had the chance to look at the menu yet the Pizza Burger seems like a weird concept to me though"

"Yeah," the waitress nods her head sympathetically, "It's apparently a classic dish served to drunks... I mean, 'alcohol-specific impulse control deficit' customers."

She pauses for a moment to look behind her sheepishly.

"So... umm...," her smile wavers a bit, "Anything I can get you?"

I became a little suspicious of the woman because of the way she paused and changed her tone.

"Ummmm, anything you would recommend?"

"Hmm... I'd go with the chicken club sandwich or the Lower Vigil Steak, you could even get an omelet with your choice of ingredients if you like."

"Seems like the chicken sandwich is a good choice, yeah I'll go with that."

"Good choice sir," she picked up the menu from my table with a thin smile, "I'll get that for you right away. Oh... would you like another coffee?"

I responded

"Nah, I don't need another coffee. Thank you by the way. So, I noticed Mr.Gibson-Wells is eating here you planning on meeting him or something?"

She tries and fails to contain a quiet laugh.

I give the waiter a strange look.

"What's um, what's so funny?

"Sorry sir," she looks back at me with a completely neutral expression, "My main job is with him and his family. This place is a part time job to help pay the bills."

I felt my face attempt to contort into a stupid look of surprise; I tried to keep it straight.
"You work with Mr. Gibson-Wells? So do a way I work as a secretary for his legal department. It's nice to meet you!"

She beams at me after a second.

"Nice to meet you too Mr..." she offers me her hand.

I accept her hand shake offer.
"Florzeni, Mr.Florzeni. Pleased to meet you. Do you work in Northstar?"

"Uhh... sorry Mr. Florenzi, but I'm just his daughter's governess..."

Then, in a hushed, whispered tone, "Truth be told, Mr. Gibson-Wells usually pretends that I don't exist."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. Is it any fun taking care of his daughter?"

"She's a bright young lady," she goes on, "A little shy though; I'm trying to help her out of that shell she's built up around herself."

As she says that, her eyes seem to unconsciously flit in Mrs. Gibson-Wells' direction.

I ask her if something is the matter.

"Is everything okay?"

"Hmm? Oh fine, just fine sir. Thank you for asking. Well... it's been nice chatting with you, but I'd better go bring your order to the kitchen."

And with that, she heads for the kitchen and shouts my order when she gets there.
I then check to see where my wallet is to prevent another mishap where I don't have it in time. I fail to find it.

OH PERFECT! Now how will I pay for the sammich!?

Michelle Daniels, District 14, Tramway 1445, Lower Vigil. March 20th, 2455. 12:10 PM

I paced around the platform, one arm crossed over my chest while my other hand played with my ear stud as I waited for my tram. Every once in a while, I'd pat the special part of my jacket that held my sidearm just to make sure it was still there. I didn't need to check for my shotgun; that was practically taped to my leg, hidden by my baggy jeans. So long as nobody bumped into me, at least. Both were deceptively easy to reach through special pockets. Good thing, or it'd defeat the purpose of having a gun.

Thank God, it's time for lunch, I thought, checking my watch for the third time since I walked in four minuets ago. Geez. What ever happened to cars? Those looked practical and efficient. Instead, I'm stuck waiting for damn trains all the time. Ugh.

I took out my phone again and wrote up a quick message to the brass, telling them I couldn't find anything new and that I was going out for some lunch at a local cafe while I was out. I also asked if anyone wanted anything, even though I knew they'd most likely already gotten some takeout or something. It was probably pizza, too. They always seemed to get pizza while I was out. It's like they know I love it, and they want to torture me or something. Whatever, I'll just get some for dinner later. That'll show 'em.

I never cared for tramways. Too many tight-packed people, too dirty, too many bright, colorful, brainless advertisements telling me things I didn't care about. My special optical implants didn't do the "dirty" part of that any favors, either. I counted no less than twenty-seven gum wrappers on the floor--nope, twenty-eight.

There's a perfectly good trashcan not ten feet away from you, idiot, I yelled in my head. A headache started forming. I could only pray it didn't turn into another migraine. I wasn't sure how many pills I had left.

Finally, my tram showed up. I wasted no time getting aboard and finding a seat that didn't have leftovers on it. I crossed my legs and waited to start moving again...


Lionel Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 11:55 AM

Once we had ordered I sat back in my chair and observed the café lazily. The place was fairly typical: shining metallic tables, faded sun umbrellas, laminated menus, a small playground far over on the other side. Overall it wasn't bad, a little down-market from the sort of places I usually ate but according to one of Sophia's friends the food was worth it, plus it was cheap as anything. I noticed that my wife seemed to be distracted by something.

"Is everything okay dear?" I asked gently, placing a hand on her palm.

"Sure, I'm fine," she replied briskly, swatting away the question like an unwanted fly. For the last few weeks she hadn't been her usual bubbly self, but whenever I broached on the matter she changed the subject, or just clammed up entirely. I didn't know what to think.

"Papa, Papa, can I go and play over there?"

Charlotte has evidently noticed the playground too.

"Sure little C, just say where we can see you," I replied quickly, not wanting my chain of thought to be broken. It looked like I was out of luck that day though as no sooner as my daughter had scampered off, a man wearing fashionable glasses and suit approached the table.

"Eeehhhmmm, excuses me sir. But do you happen to be Sir Lionel Gibson-Wells?"

"Yes, although I haven't had the pleasure to be knighted yet, Mr..." I replied with a warm smile, though inside I was fuming. Could I never have a family meal in peace? I had to keep up a pretence of friendliness though as I didn't recognise the man and I couldn't risk alienating a useful ally or a member of the press.


Charlotte Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:00 PM

I bounced off to the playground, putting a skip in my step as I went. It was quite small but there only other kid around so there was lots of room. I ignored him since he was a boy and all boys except Daniel are annoying. I slid down the slide a few times and then started hanging on the monkey bars, one of my shoes fell off but I didn't care, I just kept on hanging on. Maria says I'm good at these because I don't give up on stuff.

Isabella O'Connor, Causeway 457, District 14, Tramway 1445, Lower Vigil. March 20th, 2455. 12:00 PM
The squeal of rubber scraping across tile eminated from my boot as I skidded around a corner, replaced shortly by the steady, rhythmic clopping of my boots. I sighed, music to my fucking ears, sounds like the rotors of my first helicopter.

I dodged around a bearded bewildered bystander who's look of utter surprise caused me to giggle as I danced passed him. Even so, I cursed aloud as my stomach gave a sickening gurgle, why the fuck did you skip breakfast, cried her stomach, Do you want to pass out?!

"I'm sorry! I had a 5 AM sortie," I cried as I danced between two people, instantly regretting lettingy hair down as it whipped into some poor lady's face. I just kept running, not even bothering to slow down to apologize, if I didn't eat soon, I would start passing out.

Isabella O'Connor, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:10 PM
Salvation, salvation was upon me, I could smell the faint whiff of foods wafting from my habitual café, they knew my order and would promptly serve it to me, I just had to make it through the door. Foot fall after foot fall I could taste the food already, and I reached out for the door.

Only to trip and curse aloud as I felt my vision dimming and my coordination shutting down, the last thing I saw was the door as my body crashed into at, pushing it open with the force of my body and producing a terrible crash.


Sophia Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:00 PM

I was touched by my husband's concern but of course, how could I tell him what was really on my mind when he was part of the problem? I prepared myself to be badgered further but I found myself saved by some European who picked that moment to come over to our table.

"Eeehhhmmm, excuses me sir. But do you happen to be Sir Lionel Gibson-Wells?"

"Yes, although I haven't had the pleasure to be knighted yet, Mr..."

"I have heard that the British are thinking really hard about that sir, but my apologies for not introducing my self. I am Laurens van der Wal. I work for the current ambassador of the Netherlands. I was wondering if when you have time, you could meet with the ambassador Margriet Naaktgeboren. She would like to talk with you about how you could help our government with your products."

Having known him for over a decade, I could tell Lionel had been on the verge of waving away the embassy staff member until the possibility of a business deal was brought up. His gaze gained a new intensity and he signalled a waiter to bring over a drink for Laurens.

"I am honoured to hear that your government is interested in my business, is Ms Naaktgeboren free tomorrow by any chance? My appointment times will be very limited when that wretched court case begins so a sooner meeting would ensure there are no delays in your order. What sort of products is your government interested in?"

At this point I tuned out the conversation, business talk bored me and I spent much of the next ten minutes watching Charlotte leaping around the playground, wondering what sort of game she was playing. I would have gone over to the play area bench for a while but Lionel didn't like me leaving him alone at the table, something about his image or so he said, so I stayed put. I noted that there was another child in the playground, a blond boy of about six and briefly wondered whether letting Charlotte play partially unsupervised was safe, but I then reassured myself; she was a smart kid after all, she surely wouldn't do anything that stupid? I turned back to the table and still finding Lionel and Laurens in conversation, settled for checking my phone for any status updates.

William Gavel, Golden Fleece Way, District 11, March 20th, 2455; 11:30 AM

"I can't fucking believe you live here round here while I'm stuck in the Salt Flats." I'm walking through a nice-looking neighbourhood with Jodin - a 'colleague' of mine - after a pretty horrendous shift. He wanted to take the tram but I had insisted that a walk would do us good.

He's silent for a while - apparently admiring the clean buildings - before he shrugs at my comment apologetically. "I got rich parents... they help me out, I guess." He's got a thick accent. Eastern European, I think. We pass by a couple of kids throwing a ball and I smile casually at them. They grimace nervously and move away. After the fifteen hour shift I just experienced, I probably look a little unsavoury.

I glance back at Jodin, he's pulled some keys from his pocket so I assume we're almost at his place. "If your folks help you out then why do you put up with the shit we did tonight?"

The stupid bastard simply smiles. An enigmatic smile that I've actually started to hate since about 2AM. Suddenly, I feel something hit me on the back. I whirl around and see the kids from before running down an alleyway. I call for them to get their stupids asses back here but it's no use, they're not going to. I pick the thrown ball up look at Jodin; the stupid smile is still on his face.

"Fuck you, Jodin." I say, pushing the ball into his chest. He takes it and laughs softly.

"Ignore the little pricks, eh?" He says, patting my shoulder. "Fucking rich kids living here don't have any respect." He steps up to a small green door and slips the key into the lock.

"You're a fucking rich kid, Jodin." I bark a laugh. "I bet you were a little bastard when you were younger..." He just gives me a look that suggests I'm right. "Well," I begin, walking past the door as he opens it. "I'll see you next time, perhaps."

Jodin stands in the doorway, tossing the ball up and down. "Alright chef, I'll see you." He pauses and watches as I pull my coat closer against the drizzle. "You should go home and sleep. You probably worked harder than any of us."

He's probably right but I like to walk these things off before sleeping. It's a hell of a lot easier to drop off that way. I just shrug and wave to the guy as I walk on towards District 10.

William Gavel, Outside Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:10PM

The cobwebs are starting to clear as I walk past some yuppie café. When that begins to happen, I usually get hungry. I'm not entirely sure when the last time I ate was. I have quite a lot of credits after last night's proceedings so I think I deserve to splash on a relatively decent meal. Besides, I always enjoy checking out menus and working out how I could make it so much better - a continued habit from a former life.

As I'm checking out the menu in the window, A woman comes sprinting past and stacks it straight into the café door. The sound of the impact is quite breathtaking....

"Fuck me." I say, crouching next to the woman. She has striking red hair and is attractive enough to be worth at least a little bit of attention. "Are you ok?" I offer her my hand.


Lionel Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12.10 AM

The conversation between me and Laurens continued swimmingly, I could sense a deal was on the horizon. A waiter brought a bottle of red wine at my request and enthusiastically I poured out a glass of wine for each of the table's members. Perhaps a little too enthusiastically as a moment later Sophia had left the table in a huff, her dress stained with a patch of bright crimson. I followed her apologetically to the bathroom, cursing my excitement over what Laurens had told me.


Charlotte Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:15 PM

I sat on the bottom of the playground's slide, looking up at the sky and wondering about the clouds. I didn't notice that the blond boy had mounted the equipment and was sitting at the top. He called down to me.

"Oi, get out the way!"

"No!" I replied indignantly, I wasn't going to get out the way for some stupid rude boy. He decided to go down the slide anyway and kicked me right in the butt! This made me even madder so I tried to hit him in the face but that made him even madder too and he started pulling my hair really hard. I looked over to our table but Mama and Papa weren't there any more. I didn't know what to do until I remembered what Maria told me to do if a stranger was hurting me so I screamed so loud that everyone in the cafe looked round to see what was happening. I really hoped one of them would stop him, it hurt so much!

I clawed at the boy's face and he stopped for a moment, so I could reach into my pocket and clutch with my fingers at the panic button thing that Maria gave me. I pressed it four times extra hard, she'd have to come now.

Maria Taylor. Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th 12:16 PM
Four consecutive beeps from my pager told me that Charlotte was in trouble. Without hesitation, I dropped what I was carrying and ran outside to find someone's brat picking on Charlotte. Poor girl. I ran to her defense shouting, "Hey! Yes you! Leave her alone!"

Once I was within arm's reach of the boy, I deftly decked him in the stomach - just hard enough to wind him, but not hard enough to bruise him, and pulled Charlotte away from him, hugging her close.

"There there," I whispered into the small girl's ear, "It's okay, I'm here. Calm down. He's not going to hurt you."

That didn't seem to be working, so I started humming Charlotte's favorite lullaby while I picked her up and took her back into the restaurant, careful not to bump into the young man helping an apparently unconscious woman off of the ground.

Isabella O'Connor. Care sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455. 12:10
Pain. I know this sensation. I've been with pain for a long time, I've known it all my life. And yet, its still crippling me. Okay, get a hold of yourself woman, you need to get up and get some food, that will help. Just go through the checklist. Sit up, check, pat yourself down to make sure all your limbs are there, check, Victoria cross emblem still attached, check, examine your surroundings, oh look, there's someone here offering his hand to you. Should I trust him? He doesn't seem like someone I could trust, but then again, take some god damn risks girl. Wait, hang on, fight through the cob webs and pain, he's saying something. Oh, okay, he wants to help, he wants to know if I'm okay. "I..." Oh fuck, don't stutter, dammit, "I think so."

I blinked, making sure to look myself over to double check myself for damage while I awaited his reply "You sure? You seemed to stack it pretty hard... You in that much of a hurry?"

I would have answered, but in the fraction of a second before my reply, my stomach beat me to it, letting loose a long, low rumble that seemed to last for ages. I paused for a moment, fighting down an embarrassed blush before stammering out "Very much so."

Well, he's grinning, is that good or bad? Bah, not worth fretting over, I can handle myself. Okay, looks like he does want to help me, he's offering to help me. And here comes the snide comment... "Here, lemme help you up," or not.

Alright, you're up, steady yourself girl, think and get steady, is he still holding your hand? No, okay, good, now just put your hand on that wall and steady yourself. OW. OH FUCK OW. Head. Pain. Oh shit, okay, just massage the temples and hope it goes down, say something, or he'll start to worry. "T-thanks," oh fuck, stop the stammering.

Okay, pains dying down. Okay, better make eye contact. Wait, he's standing awkwardly, why the hell would h- "You heading in? I'm heading in, if you'd fancy joining me."

Uh, fancy? I don't... Look, just play along, you need food.

Isabella O'Connor. Care sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455. 12:15
"Know anything good to eat here?"

No, I come here because the food sucks. Okay, seriously, stop the snark, I know your head hurts, but keep it together girl, you could always do with more friends. "Most of the menu is good, in fact, I'm going to order half of it."

God dammit, now he's go- "Half of it? Fuck me, you really are hungry..." -ing to to th- "Has that blow to the head turned you into a glutton!?"

GOD DAMMIT. Fuck it, fine, laugh at your own stupid joke dude, I don't really care...

"I think I'll let you order for me, if you think everything on the menu is good," ... Okay, so he thinks I have some taste then... Wait he's leaning into whisper something... "I don't want to eat half of the menu though."

Fuck it, laugh it off girl, just laugh it off. Ugh, I might as well explain myself while I have this golden fucking opportunity. "I'm hardly a glutton, I have this... Condition, I need that many calories to function. Also, pick something randomly from the soups, they're all pretty good."

Wait, what, he's smiling, what the hell, does he think I'm joking, he thinks I'm joking... "A condition? Is that what we're calling it nowadays?"

Fuck it, might as well just drop the bomb shell now and get it over with. "You misunderstood me. I have, well, a mutation of sorts. I experience time differently, in the time you said that, I read the entire menu. You'll also notice that this café doesn't have flourescent lights, because they flicker on and off rather than shining constantly, and I can perceive this, and it's really fucking annoying. So yeah, my body uses up calories at such a rate that I need to eat that much."

Well, that certainly shut him up... Crap, he's not believing me... Okay, I think he's just processing things, okay, I think he's done making random noises and here he goes. "Sorry, I am so fucking tired. I've not slept in... oh, a while. Can you repeat what you just said?"

Screw this, just chuckle, shrug and offer to show him. "Let me put it this way, I live my life watching the world in slow motion. I have to slow myself down to talk to you in a way you can understand. Just watch me fly in the lower city sometime, then you'll understand."

"I'm finding all of this difficult to digest..." You don't say? Try living with it. "You - a woman I've just met..." I don't think he believes me... "Have a - um - condition where you see everything in slow motion. And you suggest that I watch you - and remember I'm quoting you here -" are you making air quot- he's making air quotes, "fly in the lower city sometime."

Holy shit, can this guy laugh loud, ugh, I think my ears are ringing a bit... Okay, looks he's done, and he's going to talk again "I am so fucking tired. I must be delusional...." Really now? "Ok, ok... who are you really?"

The fuck, are you blind?! Okay, okay, just point to your flight suit, captain's insignia, name tag and my victoria cross. Fuck it, explain it to him, just in case. "I'm a military pilot, attached to the VPD, I mostly provide transport and aircover for the grunts."

... Okay, what the hell is with that stare... Great, he's sighing and such now, I don't think that's a good sign... "I'm sorry... This is far too much for me right now." Wait, what? Why the hell do you look like you want to bolt the fuck out of here right now? "Um, so..." Wait, wait, did his voice just crack? Holy shit, he's nervous, that's not a good sign... "Isabella." Well at least you can read. And wow, that forced smile looks so convincing, fuck me, either this guy's got something to hide, or a fetish for military women. Either way, he's creeping me out, and if its the later, better keep a weapon on me... "I'm starving. Can we order now?" Fucking finally.

Leon Florzeni, Care sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th 12:22 PM

I find my wallet finally on the floor for some reason and see that the waitress had walked back inside holding a little girl. Maybe this is Lionel's daughter. I wonder what's going on.

Better not ask her about what happened or I could make a big mistake! Wait, what the hell am I doing with the hand I got the wallet in!?

I look back down at my hand and thankfully find it in my pocket with the wallet.

What am I? Five years old!? Aren't I supposed to be more responsible with my belongings or something? No one likes a clumsy man Leon, watch yourself.

I go back to drinking my coffee.

Yep, he was right. This place has amazing coffee. Next time I'll make a friend to bring along with me if possible, I don't like being alone. Hold on, where did Lionel go!? I wasted my time finding my wallet and missed my chance to get rid of Boss!? This can't be happening! Ok, ok...Just stay calm. Maybe he'll come back. He probably wouldn't leave his daughter behind with the governess while she's working somewhere else. please come back, please come back, PLEASE COME BACK!

Michelle Daniels, Care sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th 12:25 PM

I finally walked into the diner, and out of that damn rain. It never stopped raining here. There was some bullcrap explanation for it, but I didn't care what it was. I just wanted it to stop every once in a while, like when a murder took place outside so it would stop washing away my evidence. That'd be nice, right?

Whatever. I shook the water off my coat and placed it on the back of a chair in the back of the diner, trying not to draw attention to myself. Being a woman more than six feet tall with cybernetic eyes tended to make that a bit tricky, but hey, nobody was hitting on me yet. That was something.

I allowed myself a tiny sigh as I dropped into my seat, facing the wall for maximum "I don't want to talk right now" effect. I always liked this diner. They had good coffee here. I almost lived on coffee anymore. Too many murders took place at night, and I was never a "morning person". Also, for some reason, murder sites didn't affect my appetite anymore. Maybe I was getting too used to it. Or maybe I was just that hungry. I dunno.

Crap, I thought, reaching into one of my coat's interior pockets for my pill bottle. The headache's back. This one's gonna turn into a full-blown migraine, I know it.

I popped two pills and sat for a bit, admiring the din of the customers. Murder scenes are too quiet. I needed some noise...

Sophia Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:20 PM

"Come on dear, I'm sorry I spilt it on you, let's not ruin a nice lunch..." Lionel said meekly behind me as we both walked back out of the bathroom. I strode ahead coldly, I wasn't going to ease up just yet, besides his clumsiness I couldn't believe that he'd interrupted yet another family meal for the sake of his business.

"Don't pin it me, you spoilt it when you started talking to that idiot Dutchman, you could have asked him to call you later you know!" I snapped back.

"Well you should have said something, I'm not a mind-reader..." he muttered back as he always did, pretending to the innocent one in all this. Why could he never admit he was wrong?


404 Error Name Not Found. Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:20:15 PM

I'd done my task well, none of the real players in this berg noticed me. I doubt even the waiting staff would remember my face. Then pen in my ear let me hear the argument broiling just outside the women's restroom. I checked the layout again. Hmm... looked like the hallway to the bathrooms - the women's in particular - was obscured from every table's field of view. I suppressed a grin. That's shitty design right there. This was going to be far too easy.
I lifted my pen off my ear, twisted it to the left twice, to the right three times, and to the right again seven times. Then I whispered into it, pretending to examine the menu more closely all the while.

"Target found and in range," a moment later I got confirmation to proceed. I adjusted the channel on my pen again, "Mrs. Rabbit, you are clear to proceed, exploit any fear or weak-point you can from the Mrs., don't care how really, just get Mr. Gibson-Wells into the women's restroom without making a scene."

I put the pen back to my ear and looked around, no source of possible complication found.


Leon Florzeni, Care sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th 12:22 PM

A flash of inspiration came to me as I watched the waitress take Mr Gibson-Well's daughter further into the café.

Wait, that means the boss and his wife haven't left yet... they must be in the bathroom!

I leapt up from my table and stumbled towards the hallway, ready to meet them when they returned.

"Please be right, please be right!" I muttered under my breath, furtively glancing at the bend in the corridor where I knew they would come back out of. I leant against the wall and picked up a leaflet so they wouldn't guess that I had deliberately waited here.


404 Error Name Not Found, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:24 PM

"Be advised," I whispered into the pen, "A rogue element is wandering into the target zone. Repeat, rouge element is wandering into the target zone. HQ recommends we just nab him as well. I'll set off a distraction. Should get everyone out of the building."

With that, I walked up to one of the younger - and more gullible - waitresses. I told her I was here for an interview. She pointed me to a second hallway leading to the manager's office. I went down it, he wasn't there. Probably out for a smoke break or something. Perfect. I fished through my pockets and took out a lighter. I set it on the desk for now. I opened every desk drawer and file cabinet I could find, yanked them all out of their sockets, dumping all of their papers and files onto the floor.

"Bit of an old-fashioned fuck, ain't he?" I doubted I'd find anything worthwhile at a two-bit joint like this but... I quickly searched through the scattered scraps and folders for anything of interest. Found something. Grabbed it and shoved it into a large concealed jacket pocket. Then I picked up the lighter and set everything else ablaze.


404 Error Name Not Found, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:25 PM

"Affirmative Mr Rabbit," I replied and switched my receiver wristwatch into the "off" position, sucking the last out of the milkshake I was nonchalantly sipping from. I then stood up from my table and walked casually towards the bathrooms. In the hallway ahead of me I saw the nervous man my colleague had mentioned, glancing furtively towards the women's restroom almost as if he was setting up an ambush too. Thankfully he was so focused on who or what he was waiting for that he didn't even see me flitting like a shadow up towards him until it was too late. With one strike of my hand the man crumpled in a heap at my feet. I dragged him unceremoniously by the collar towards the women's toilets and dumped him by the exit.

I put my ear against the wooden door and was rewarded by the sound of a man and a woman arguing. This had to be them! Aware that any moment I could interrupted, I seized the opportunity to pull a balaclava from my handbag and onto my head before shoving open the door onto my targets. I found myself pointing my gun straight in Mrs Gibson-Well's face. Her and her husband were struck speechless, their mouths quite literally hanging open. It made me incredibly satisfied to see that fat fuck without a smug smile on his face for once.

"Down now, or she get's it!" I ordered Mr Gibson-Wells. He blinked for a moment and then knelled down, shooting me a look of pure hatred. I smiled back through my balaclava, glad he didn't recognise me. I handcuffed him and pushed him roughly to the floor, then I turned to his wife. It was then I realised she was holding something small and shiny in her hand... without even thinking about it I lunged for her arm and twisted it, letting the tazer fall to the ground.

"You'll have to do better than that Madam," I told her curtly as I pushed her onto the floor and hand-cuffed her too, of course the stupid bitch was crying now. "You better stop," I warned her, reminding her of the pistol in my hand. She quietened down a bit, enough for now, I could always gag her later. I dragged the unconscious man in join the other two hostages and clicked my wristwatch receiver back on.

"Mr Rabbit come in, all three elements safe and secure, over,"


404 Error Name Not Found. Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:25 PM

Fucking a... what's taking this shitty alarm system so long? There's a fire going... the window is closed... what the fuck? Oh... not much smoke... somehow... must be getting into the vents. Hmm... no... don't want to get anyone killed just yet. Must be one of those shitty 'air-content' based alarms. Hmm...

Oh well... when in doubt...


Pull the damn switch and run. Bit juvenile but oh well.

"Mr Rabbit come in, all three elements safe and secure, over,"

I grabbed my pen and whispered into it, "Mrs. Rabbit, the distraction is set, head for the nearest back exit and meet me behind the restaurant. Last camera check confirms that the alley behind it is clean."

With that, I quietly stalked out the back door and waited for my partner to arrive.


404 Error Name Not Found. Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:26 PM

"Roger that Mr Rabbit,"

Reaching into my hand-bag, I pulled out two sacks which I planted on each of Mr and Mrs Gibson-Wells heads. I decided to forgo this formality with the bystander, he was unconscious after-all. I then pushed the husband and wife up onto their feet and and slowly made my way out the back entrance of the café, gruellingly pulling the third hostage along behind me. I regretted knocking him out cold now I learned how heavy he was.

"You could do with eating a few less cakes fatty," I told the slumped man. I kept checking my back, expecting to see the police descending on me at any time but thankfully my comrade's diversion seemed to have worked. After the tensest minute since I'd joined the movement, heck my life, I finally stumbled out into daylight where "Mr Rabbit" was waiting.

"Come on, what took you so long?" he exclaimed but I could see the grin behind his balaclava.

"You try herding these three dregs, you piece of crude!" I said in mock offence and lightly punched his arm.

"Let's get out of here," he laughed, taking the unconscious man from me.


Charlotte Gibson-Wells, Café sous le lueur d'espoir, March 20th, 2455; 12:26 PM

I kept holding onto Maria, I wasn't really upset anymore but she felt nice and warm and I like her. She reads me stories way more than Mama does. After a while though she put me down.

"Let's take you back your parents now little C, they're probably wondering where you are!"

I nodded and together we went back to our table, but it was empty.

"Where is Mama and Papa?" I asked Maria, squeezing her hand.

"I don't know, maybe they..." the alarm went off then and so we had to walk outside, I was still wondering where they were. I couldn't find them in the crowd though and Maria couldn't either.

"Huh, how strange," she said, looking all around.

Northwestern Times - Memorial edition - April 7, 2455

[The camera pans away from a closeup of Chris Navidson, a fairly attractive red-head in her late 40's, she's wearing a pair of casual slacks and a business jacket over a thick synthetic wool brown top. She's wearing her hair in a loose bun, and instead of earrings, she has two different kinds of pens wedged on top of her ears. She has very little makeup on, but what little there is serves to brighten up her almost bone-pale face. As the camera pans out, we can see more of the lavishly utilitarian set, but not her guests.]

Navidson: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, tonight marks the close of the 60th anniversary of that terrible day when the Oil Spill Riots truly began. Though many details of the riots are still coming forward, even now; all of Vigil is taking this day to step back and reflect on the tragedy of darker times. Today, many of us in Vigil have taken a visit to the Oil Spill Memorial Gardens to honor loved ones, while others came along to continue their silent protest of this iconic landmark just a few blocks from the Central Spire. With me tonight is one of the key benefactors behind the Memorial's funding, construction, and design, Lionel Gibson-Wells, and his family. Welcome to this evening's edition of The Northwestern Times, Mr. and Mrs. Gibson-Wells.

[The camera pans to the left and the Gibson-Wells family come into view. Lionel is in his 60's but to someone from the past would appear like he has barely passed 40, his expensive suit and golden accessories belay his wealth. His hair and eyes are dark, unlike his younger wife whose fair hair is causally coiffed around her pale face, eyes a brilliant blue. Her dress is elaborate but doesn't cover too much, leaving exposed skin in all the right places. Sophia and her husband are evidently used to being in the limelight since both sit comfortably and openly. Their young daughter Charlotte on the other hand sits quietly between her parents, eyes downcast and legs tightly together as if she's trying to take up as little space as possible. She looks like she's barely five though so it could well be her first time in a studio. She has the inky black hair and eyes of her father but the snow white skin of her mother.]

Sophia: We're all so happy to be here tonight, thank you for inviting us!

[Navidson shakes hands with Lionel and Sophia, greeting Charlotte kindly]

Navidson: So, Mr. Gibson-Wells, for viewers who might not be aware, exactly what was your involvement with the Memorial Garden's construction?

Lionel: Well Chris, the Northstar Foundation, which funds charitable projects all round Vigil, donated about ten percent of the money raised to fund the construction of the Memorial Garden. We at Northstar were all very gratified then when the committee overseeing the construction of the garden voted in favour of us being contracted to carry out the majority of the building work, with the planting and gardening left to volunteers.

Navidson: Hmm... would you say that you were heavily involved with the project, then?

Lionel: Yes, I would say that.

Navidson: Interesting, so what was the idea behind the Garden's design? Namely, the central fountain statue of The Lone Rioter stretching her arms up towards the sky... or was it the Ceiling?

Sophia: The committee felt that iconic figure represented the spirit of riots most, didn't they dear?

[Sophia looks lovingly at her husband and puts her hand on his. She is clearly happy to let him do most of the speaking. The small child between them remains silent, the conversation is currently way over her head.]

Lionel: Oh yes, in that one figure is captured the urgent struggle for a better life, and at the same time, futility of the riots in achieving that goal.

Navidson: Yes, but why her in particular? Is it simply that she was the first Rioter, and the first one to fall? Or is it because she frequently held your company responsible for the events that would eventually spark the riots?

Lionel: Well, since the riots occurred before Northstar corporation came into existence, I feel no further comment is needed in that field. If she held my father responsible on the other hand, then perhaps there is merit to that argument. That particular woman was picked because she was the quintessential rioter, justifiably enraged at the unfairness of her situation and yet through her actions ultimately only ended up destroying herself. We at Northstar recognise that Vigil still has far to go on tackling inequality between our richest and poorest citizens, hence our many charitable projects across the city.

Navidson: Your father? You are referring to his involvement with the triads and the syndicate?

[For a moment Lionel looks visibly flustered but then returns to his former cool persona. The smile on Sophia's face has vanished.]

Lionel: Those are the sorts of accusations that tail anyone with a lot of influence... accusations which for the record were never proven!

Navidson: And... you're not denying that many of your father's assets were reincorporated into Northstars? That many of the same employees, even some that were suspected of being directly involved in events that sparked the Riots...

Lionel: Of course! But putting conspiracy theories aside, there are clear records of those assets being legitimately earned through my father's share of the family's cybernetics business, records which are publicly available in the Vigil Municipal Library for you or any of the viewers at home to check at any time.

Navidson: As for the Lone Rioter's accusations... it is hard to see her as being off-base in this, most of her family were among the first to drown when mobsters, allegedly hired by your father, attempted to extract oil from underneath Vigil's foundations and...

Sophia: You've already heard his reply, it's not going to change just because you keep repeating these terrible accusations!

[Sophia is seething with anger, both Lionel and Chris look mildly uncomfortable. Charlotte continues to stare at the floor. An awkward silence is descends upon the studio.]

Navidson: So, what do you make of the controversy surrounding the memorial?

[Lionel laughs briefly and appears to relax again]

Lionel: When you've been in the public spotlight as long as I have Chris, you come to realise that whatever you do will have some controversy around it. Why, I could announce today that I was awarding every citizen in Vigil a million dollars each and I can guarantee you someone somewhere would protest against it!

Navidson: Then, how would you answer those who argue that the statue's design is simply another insult hurled from those in Upper Vigil to those in Lower Vigil? Specifically, those that say that the Rioter's up-stretched arms were a symbolic way of trying to remind everyone in Lower Vigil that many of them depend on Upper Vigil for their income?

Lionel: People will try to find symbolism in anything to further a political point, I assure you if I really wanted to insult the lower city then I wouldn't do it by making a statue of all things.

[Lionel winks at the camera]

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