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Pieces in Play

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INV ONLY Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 May 29th 2022, 4:47 pm

From the illuminated window of the Vigil Gallery, Eli could see into the dark of night that fell upon the street below. The old saying about New York being a city that never slept was only half-true, something that he earned after living in the city most of his life. Sure, heading to the hotspots and nightclubs, there was life, pulsing, thriving in the city. But places like this quiet little section of the city did sleep, or at least most of it did. The street outside his window was dark and still, only the occasional movement from a car and the shadows that wavered in its headlights.

That was all, though. Just quietly resting while the rest of the city thrummed.

It was something he came to like about this part of city. It was out of the way, but not too out of the way. It wasn’t some seedy part of the city where one would expect to find crime, yet it wasn’t in the center spotlight where all eyes would be on you. It was a quiet neighborhood with quiet, simple people. In terms of acting as a cover, it was perfect, but even more than it was just a place that Eli could work without interruption.

His gallery seemed to blend in with the rest of the street. It was obvious, a gallery of photographs by him and others, but it wasn't made to be defensible, it wasn't made with a vast array of secrets and hidden passages or rooms (although there may have been one or two), and it certainly didn't look like the front that a villain would use. It at large display windows in the front, a pair of double doors and a revolving in the center that were only locked with a basic store lock. There was a security system and cameras, but no higher quality than what any gallery might have. It had to be simple, though, anything more than what it was would make it too obvious and bring too much attention to him. It was his little slice of home.  

Slowly, he let his chair spin away from the window so he could once more turn his attention to the work on his desk. Piece, albeit it slowly, were moving. It would be a long while before his plans were realized, but at least things were moving. He just needed a couple more pieces before things would get going. The problem was always as it was, though. Finding the right one? It was rare that the right piece would ever just arrive on his doorstep, no…he could never be so lucky, he would have to search them out, test them, and then move them to where he needed them.

It was exhausting, and it made him want to make like the rest of the street and sleep, and yet there was still so much to do before he could. As he worked, a tired voice from above murmured something and his went up to see the staggering form of Mimi who was making her way to the bathroom. He smiled in that same, thin and sly line that it always made its way into and nodded. “Evening, I'm surprised to see you up.”

There was another murmur and then she was gone into the bathroom, leaving him all to himself. The glow from the computer illuminating his face as once more he began to type away, researching the next phase of the plan. “Who will it be…?” He murmured to himself, letting another breath escape him.
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord May 29th 2022, 10:38 pm

Somewhere in a space beyond time and understanding something moved.  It was an awareness that might consume the world, a will that could extinguish stars, a power to dwarf galaxies.  It did not hate humanity for they were too small to hate.  It acted with goals inscrutable and unknowable, its very being the death of causality.

And it fucking kept interrupting Alexis' morning tea.

Some unknowable thing stirred, and Alexis Ada Lovelace was plucked from her comfortable leather desk chair and deposited without ceremony in a darkly lit office where a man worked at a computer terminal.  

There was no melodramatic expression of power when this happened.  No bright flash of energy, no whiff of sulfurous smoke, no thunderous explosion.  One moment Eli had simply been alone in his office, and the next a tall woman in a dark business suit and with a cup of English breakfast tea was there, sitting across from him with an attaché case at her feet.  She had a half-eaten scone in her hand, which she sedately dipped in the dark liquid.  

"You have the look," the Adjunct began, "of someone that has far too much work and far too little time."  Her teeth tore into the damp crust of her pastry, chewing thoughtfully.  Her voice was pleasant in an inoffensive way, like a news anchor or HR Representative.  It was the kind of voice that could tell you a story about a cat that rescued a little girl and how a common brand of hand sanitizer can kill you.  

She swallowed and flicked a crumb off the corner of her mouth with a manicured nail, sharp and perfect.  A slow smile spread across her lips, and it was the very devil's.  "That happens to be something I can help you with."
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 June 12th 2022, 4:55 pm

Seemingly, almost to match the lack of display in the power that brought the Adjunct here, Eli didn't react all that much to their arrival. His eyes didn't drift away from his computer monitor, his fingers didn't stop typing, there wasn't even a hint of tension in his shoulders by the sudden intruder into his home. It wasn't that he wasn't surprised, he honestly was...wishing rarely brought anything to reality and to arrive in such a manner was...well, surprising. He just didn't let it touch his face, make it seem as though he had expected or at the very least he couldn't be bothered with unannounced guests.

Slowly, after a moment or two, he stopped typing and looked over to his guest, smiling in a strange way. It wasn't sinister, but it wasn't kind either. It was sly, knowing, a thin mark that traced over his face. With a casualness that betrayed the strange situation that they were both in, he shrugged, folded his hands in his lap, and then leaned back in his chair, leveling his gaze at her. His eyes glowed a faint blue color as he began to try and read her, her powers, her weaknesses, what made her...well, her.

"Too much work with little time? That's most people, I'm afraid, so I am wondering what makes me so special." He remarked in a tone that matched that casual posture. "Of course, to arrive unannounced, without an appointment, or...you know, without anything of a warning to your arrival...that doesn't really set the stage for a good partnership." He opened as hands, as if shooing away the notion, "But I'm not so stuck up. If it is help you're offering, though, there are two things I have to ask." He would pause for a moment, a hand gliding over to the keyboard and being ready to type anything she said, "What's in it for you? And what do you think you can do for me?"
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord June 18th 2022, 11:32 pm

Though Alexis possessed many skills both clerical and technical, the ability to project an air of confidence when she was inwardly having a meltdown was one that she valued most. Her mask had been well-worn lately, but the sessions with her new therapist and the strange shift she had noticed in her own psychology had allowed her to fix it firmly back in place.

Inwardly, however, that meltdown was well in progress.  There was some speculation that Eli might be a metahuman or have some device or artifact that allowed him to compete on that level.  Though Alexis now possessed backing that would make most threats blanche, showing up spontaneously in the middle of the night often got one shot rather than welcomed.

This was not a situation that Alexis relished.  So, she decided to fall back on the old standby of making herself useful.  Not only did it help control her mounting anxiety, but it gave her value to the man in from of her.  A man she was not unfamiliar with.

Eli Vigil had been a name that had been on her desk; scrawled on a note sent to her by an old contact.  She had been resting her elbow on that very note when the transition happened.  Was that some quirk of the teleportation?  Physical contact with an abstract representation of the individual.  That seemed unlikely, considering how previous events had transpired.

Alexis brought the rim of her teacup up to her lips as her perception of time began to slow down.  Each breath Eli drew took an hour, though she was similarly constrained.  The images flickering over her eye, however, were not.  Her mind was spun up to better approach the speed of her computer as information began to spool out.  

The name and physical statistics weren’t anything remarkable. Eli was a fit, young man and rather handsome in Alexis’ opinion.  The relatively spotless record combined with the rumors of association with criminal factions spoke to a person who was careful to keep their record spotless.  Even the city’s District Attorney had a few parking tickets Alexis was aware of.  Had she included him on her ‘team’, she’d recommend a few minor violations to make his record more believable.  

There was the faintest vibration from her briefcase as her computer used her strange connection to access local systems. Raw computation power was pitted against the safeguards Vigil had put in place. Alex began to run through her entire suite of hacking programs as time began to resume its normal flow for her.

By the time she swallowed her next mouthful of warm tea, she was in.  A tiny 8-bit representation of Alexis was sitting in the corner of Eli’s screen, mimicking her motions. A small message box appeared above the tiny avatar.  

...Adjunct Online.
...Good Morning, Mr. Vigil.
...You currently have 2 issues pending.
...
...1.) Zoning Violation
...The number of Fire Exits in the gallery are currently below the minimum required by New York State law.  As it meets the age requirement, an application can be filed to reclassify it as a Historic Building.  This would allow a waver to existing Fire Code regulations to be filed.
...Proceed?
...YES/NO
...
...2.) Hostile Buyout Attempt
...I have found 4 inquiries by a local developer (Marco Flores) regarding current loans, debts, and other financial obligations owed by one Eli Vigil related to this property. He filed an application two days ago to have the building condemned as a public hazard, siting dilapidation and a hazard to public health.  Several monetary payments have been noted being made toward local Health and Safety Inspector, George Nicols, from Flores.  I speculate Nicols will site violations and recommend foreclosure. Flores will then make an offer on the building at below market value. A record of their financial transactions can be made along with an anonymous tip to the Health and Safety Board to halt the investigation.
...Proceed?
...YES/NO


Alexis places the teacup back in its saucer and began to nibble on her scone again, smirking with satisfaction to herself.  Her dimples, deep and lovely, show their full force to him.  “A bit of a flex, I know,” Alexis said, her eyes bright.  “But I’ve had a trying few months and it is good to be able to deal with problems I am familiar with.”

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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 June 26th 2022, 5:01 pm

That faint blue color didn’t so much as flicker as his new guest began to try and work something out. He was still trying to pick up on any abilities and weaknesses he could, trying to know exactly what this person could do. There were special cases where he couldn’t gleam anything, but it was still worth the effort. As it stood, he could only read a few things about her. Either she could move through space unnoticed, through some form of teleportation, or she could move unseen, invisibility or something of the sort. Phasing was also an option, but that didn’t seem likely.

Part of his curiosity was sated, at least, when an image of the woman appeared on his computer. Slowly, he pulled his hand away, and instead watched with a playful nature as the tiny image began to speak. There was a thin smirk on his face as it began to…solve some of his “problems”. If the goal was to impress him that would remain to be seen, if the goal was to give a small display of what she could do, well, it wasn’t the worst. It showed she was willing to work in his favor, which was good, but in the some boat…

He would reserve that thought for later.

He took a long sip from his glass as he watched the tiny avatar work through finding fixes for his problems. Already his mind was working what potential this…being could do for him. There were already a few plans coming together on how he could use that, and then a few other places in different plans he could use an ability like this. His face remained the same, though. A thin, plotting smirk, and a slightly narrowed gaze.

He would wait until she was done with the whole process to turn and properly acknowledge her. “I don’t know if I would call that much of a flex.” He admitted, taking another sip from his glass. “It certainly is a demonstration of what you can do, not everything I am guessing, but it also shows that you are willing to do things in my favor, which, well…I can’t really say no to something like that.” That was a blatant lie. He absolutely could, and he had on several occasions, but it was good to give people slack. “I do actually have some workers coming in to put in the extra fire escape on Tuesday.” He considered, then shook his head, “I’ll probably still keep them on though.”

It couldn’t hurt to have the extra fire escape and it drew less attention. His eyes did flick, for a moment, back to Marco’s name and he couldn’t help but snicker a bit. “And I can’t say you didn’t just save me some time in dealing with him. I had something in store for his plot, but that just made it all the easier. Thank you for that. I appreciate that your demonstration came with a sample of what you could do.” He folded his hands in front of him, no longer focused on typing. Nothing he had to write down would matter if she could see it. The whole point was that he’d delete it afterwards, but if she had access.

In a rhythmic pattern he began to drum some fingers on the desk, thinking. “You still haven’t addressed any of my other questions yet. Why me, first of all? You could help anyone and I am curious to know why you have chosen me. Second, you’ve addressed what you can do for me, but I am guessing we’re moving onto the part of the conversation where you tell me what I can do for you.” He considered for another moment more before going on. There was one more question he had, but it was a debate on whether or not he should ask yet.

He would wait, for now.
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord July 4th 2022, 10:50 pm

Somewhere along the line this had become an interview.

Alexis leaned back in her seat, looking like a cat that had eaten the canary. Asserting her frame onto the conversation allowed her a measure of control, which tamped down on her anxiety. Vigil also knew she had some measure of power here, even though he had yet to show any of his cards.

The fact he was aware of the plot against him was no surprise either. You did not last long in the cutthroat environment of New York real estate without being somewhat canny. Alex felt a swell of delight bubble in her chest. It was so nice to meet new people that displayed such competence.

Now, her smile was a great deal more genuine, and her green eyes almost glowed with eagerness. She tamped down on it, however. While she could appreciate him for his ability, it was always better to be careful with such people. She gave a casual gesture toward the ceiling.

"Originally," Alexis began, "I had intended on reaching out to you for a few favors. Though I am capable of being where I wish, both in cyber- and real-space, there is more to this game than simply being where you need to be."

The teacup and saucer disappeared, and manila envelope took their place. She placed this on his desk carefully. She could have put the proposal electronically on his computer, but this seemed more polite. There was pushing boundaries and there was flaunting them.

"You were on a short list of names I possess that might be worthwhile as a contact for my employer," she said, by way of asking his question. She tapped the file on his desk. "These are some documents and brochures I'd like you to look over. Steelheart Industries is reaching out to independent operators in the spirit of mutual aid and benefit. We are well funded and are currently beginning several product lines an individual like yourself may be interested in. We also offer services, such as transportation, emergency extraction, magical countermeasures, and information security."

"Are you interested in joining the Steelheart network of affiliates?"


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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 October 2nd 2022, 1:56 pm

The relaxed nature that so well defined Eli stayed firmly where it was, though there was something else there. A slight easing of his shoulders. It was a small, barely noticeable motion, but it could be telling all the same. Maybe his guard was down or perhaps it was more assured that things were going his way. Perhaps he was just lowering his shoulders as he got comfortable. At the very least, he did seem to lose that slight edge he had.

Another bit of the mystery was solved as she spoke on. Perhaps that's why his ability was working as well. It had to do with technology? Though she herself seemed rather organic. His power kept on going, trying to pick up anything at all from this woman, hoping he could gleam some weakness or further explanation of power, though now he was putting aside hope and ready to accept that this might be a blank case.

His head tilted at the word employer, but he didn't interject, not yet. He waited for her to be finished, though the idea of someone employing her was interesting at the very least. He reached over to grab the folder now, giving it an idle look over. Even after she had finished speaking he took a few more moments to quietly read and appraise the documents. Once had what he needed he looked back to her with that small, slight grin. "Money is rarely an issue for me. I don't need more than what I can make in a few days of work. What I much prefer to deal in his favors. Favors for favors." He took a moment to pause and think, his eyes darting back to the folder for a moment. "I am curious about the product line you mentioned. Though...with all that said..."

His voice trailed for a moment before he went on, "You've answered the why of it...more or less. I am on a short list of people, fair. I'd still like a few more specifics, but I will accept that answer for now. I can do things for your employer...this network you're trying to build. But you still haven't answered, not fully, the what of it. What would I do. You said you wanted to contact me for favors? What kind of favors?"
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord November 11th 2022, 8:04 pm

The exact nature of Adjunct's power began to become obvious to Eli's senses.  Adjunct's power operated as a form of 'psychic networking', causing the metahuman to alter herself based on the needs of those connected to that network.  It was subtle; like a line of tiny threads stretching off into the unseen distance.  Adjunct conjured a fresh cup of tea from the ether, then arched an eyebrow at Eli.  "I'm sorry, I am being rude.  May I offer you a cuppa?"

With the activation of that power, one of those thread seemed momentarily stronger.  The link suffused with psychic energies, it seemed to allow her a subtle warping of reality.  Even her connection to Eli's network system seemed to be drawing off some connection.  To the... suitcase at her feet?  It was about the right size for a laptop case.

"Let me begin with a few offerings regarding or recent product lines in addition to a list of our services."  

"We offer a line of personal protective anti-magical ordinance, ammunition, and explosives.  All proprietary, of course," Alexis said with a winning smile. "Using newly discovered resources recovered from the Boston Magical Zone, we have been able to create some truly effective countermeasures to the mystic arts."

"Our research in that field as also unearthed some interesting narcotics and soporifics, as well as some startling effective analgesics.  We have also developed a compound that allows rapid, complete regeneration of damaged tissues."

Alexis waved her hand on the table.  A high-tech looking grenade, a trio of tranquilizer darts, and a jar of ointment appeared on a small, elegant side table next to her.  

"Unfortunately, I do not have a brochure in hand with me.  You'll understand that several of our new offerings have some... questionable legality stateside.  Please take these free samples as a show of our friendship," said Alexis, the world's most effective Avon lady.

"As for services we offer, those are more complete at this time.  Our Silver Affiliate package offers 24/7 access to Adjunct services, including basic OpSec. Instant, though limited, access to any market we have currently available to us. And legal protection for your enterprises.  We also offer an array of banking services and saving plans."

"Our Gold package goes further, allowing instant monetary transfers into the material resource of your choice - gold, oil, whatever."  Alexis' smile was all dimple as she did a finger-twiddling wave.  A large barrel of crude oil appeared next to her, along with three bars of gold resting atop the drum.  "We also offer limited access to our teleportation network to all areas we currently have in operation.  We also offer a one-time personal extraction from any current... liability to which you have found yourself entangled."

"Our Platinum package offers all the above services with no limitations on frequency of use, though if you wish to smuggle something like uranium or a fission bomb, we will claim oversight discretion.  In addition, a slush fund of 10,000,000 Euros will be made available to you, to be used completely at your discretion."

"Finally, and I only mention this because you seem an intriguing individual, our Diamond package involves all of the above, save I will make myself available through an array of abilities I have manifested.  In addition, I will form a limited psychic bond with you, allowing me to understand your needs and desires without you having to even express them to me.  I call this the 'I Dream of Genie' option."

Alexis had another sip of her tea, watching Eli for his reaction.

"The favor trading is one of, ah, circumstances and the closeness of our relationship.  Silver affiliates are asked for minor things - make introductions, obtain the name of someone, that sort of thing."

"Our Gold members will have a little bit more expected.  We may need certain people 'spoken to', or certain jobs handled.  Think of this our ability to access your manpower for lowkey tasks we have need of."

"Platinum members will be expected to represent Steelheart in a number of matters, commensurate with the resources we have invested in them.  We do not believe in abusive relationships, but we will expect more... strident efforts on our behalf.  If you take my meaning."

"As for the last option?  Mm, that is one I do not offer to everyone.  If I may be frank, Mr. Vigil, you and I are individuals operating in a world where Gods stride. The only advantage we have is mutually beneficial relationships. I am willing to form such with you because I do not perceive you to be a man who throws away resources lightly."  Alexis has another sip of her tea.

"And just so you know.... I'm a 'Ride or Die' sort of bitch.  You want me on your side.  You have no idea what I do to people who jeopardize my friends."

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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 December 11th 2022, 4:32 pm

Eli settled into the back of his chair as the woman spoke. Winning smiles and any small gesture didn’t seem to get much of a reaction from him. Instead, he just sat, and his chair slowly spun him around and around. If not for his eyes, lingering on hers, it might’ve been a safe assumption that he had not been paying attention to a word she had said, yet…as he stared at her, it seemed as though he had followed along perfectly. Exactly how he felt on all of it, though, would be another story. His face would be…hard to read. He smiled in a neutral, sort of resting way, hard to tell if he was pleased or if that was just the default of how he looked. His hands were folded on his lap as he had spun, not even twitching or making any form of gesture as she spoke. He just seemed to be…relaxed as she spoke, never surprised or overly drawn in or interested, just…that neutral smile.

When she had finally finished he set his feet down on the floor and his spinning stopped. His hands rose and then folded over the desk as he looked her, those eyes still never leaving her own. Finally, he let out a small laugh. “It sounds like a pyramid scheme. These tiers of memberships to buy in at. Honestly, you might want to think of doing some rebranding there. Some who hear this are gonna think that and back out. People, when they realize that what’s being sold to them is part of a scheme, will usually back out.” He gave a small dip of his head, “Bit of free advice there. If people think it’s a pyramid scheme will back out because of everything they’ve heard of it.”

He raised a hand and then two fingers, “My second bit of advice, which plays into the first, is this all does sound like a con. Memberships and so forth, you’re assurances of being a ride or die sort of bitch…you haven’t really offered much backing. Personal testimonies, You’re a stranger who dug up information about me and my home and my business. And then you’re trying to play up all these memberships. You want to do a business model where people come to you instead you coming to people. It’s good to reach out to people, but at least have a reputation that people know so they can refer back to something other than just your words.”  

He settled back into the chair, still not having given a direct reply yet and the slow spinning resumed until the back of the chair faced her. “This is a world where gods walk, they walk among us, and in some cases, we are them. You’ve come here to offer me a place in your organization, offering me these memberships and these rewards…to be honest with you.” The chair spun again until he was facing her and now a thin smile grew, “I have literally no interest in any of those rewards at all. I have a team of people who does what I need them to, I think having too much money is a bad thing, I like to travel and have means to get places quicker if I need to, and for the most part I have enough connections to fill in the blanks.”

He rose a finger, “Though, with that said…” He started, his voice trailing a bit, “I don’t much care for a physic connection. That is a bit too much for me, but…I could always use someone of your abilities. You have talents that could me along and I do acknowledge that. So…with that all said. Perhaps we can come to a different arrangement. You can keep every other resource you have and instead you can help me with a few jobs here and there and…well, I can pull strings where you need them pulled. I can send my team out to handle different tasks you need done, or…if you need a read on a specific Meta, I’m more than happy to do any of that.”
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord December 26th 2022, 4:11 pm

There was a brief pang in her chest as Alexis listened to his refusal. She was curious as to why that was, but decided to reflect on that later. Instead, she decided to take his critique at face value and revisit her words. Her eyes flicked back and forth briefly as she mentally selected a few commands.

...Replay Feed - Time Index: 534 to 726.

Her perception of time cycled down as Alexis reviewed the fragment of conversation. Alexis was nothing if not a professional. Though it had taken her some time to learn, failures were merely learning opportunities. She revisited her pitch and winced internally at the vague promises and high pressure sales techniques she utilized to make her offer. It was obviously the wrong approach.

It dawned on Alex as well that she had made several fatal assumptions regarding her role here. Though her sudden appearance had startled Mr. Vigil, he himself had never been out of control in this situation. And while Alexis might seem to have control of his personal networks in her ill-considered power play, Eli had never once given any indication he was in any danger.  

Why then the sting of rejection? If Alexis was proud of one thing, it was her sheer competence. It had something she and her psychologist had unpacked a while ago. It was something she admired in others, almost pathologically.

So to have this competent and capable person reject her stung. He had never lost control, while Alexis had. Beyond even this situation, she was plagued with a host of doubts and insecurities. Her most recent mental breakdown during the xeno-expedition was only evidence of this.

Eli had something she craved - control. Control of his life, control of his circumstances. Alexis' desperate need to prove herself to whomever she met with that sort of presence bred a perverse inner loathing that made her try all the harder to be the perfect little worker bee.  And here Eli was, summarily judging her and the proposal and not having any of it. Probably wise, given Alexis' proclivities.

I appeared in your life. Value me. Notice me, Senpai. She could practically hear her eyes roll at her own behavior.

Alexis felt herself let go of her need to impress him. Her pretext for making herself too valuable to kill out of hand was just that. She had indulged in her own need to make people she admired respect her. Not the greatest of sins, perhaps, but it did make proper fascists out of people.

As the time dilation let go of Alexis, a change came over her. She lost the sharp, almost aggressive edge from before.  Her poise and polish remained - she could look refined at the bottom of a cistern - but the 'bullshit' was absent.  

She rubbed at the corner of one eye and said, "It was a little much, wasn't it?  To be frank, when I came in here unannounced, I was scrambling for a reason for you not to kill me out of hand. I didn't lie about the recruitment offer, but I shelved you in our 'No' category. You're just too high-shelf."

She laughed at her own antics and shook her head, looking suddenly very tired. "Thank you for the feedback as well. I confess to having very little experience in a sales environment. Because of my skill set, I'm often used to solve problems."  Alexis gestured to Eli's computer. "I've been a makeshift IT department, Human Resources, Acquisition and Logistics Associate, Manager, Secretary… God knows what else. But I've never been a Door to Door Saleswoman." Alexis said with an amused twinkle in her tired eye. "Maybe I should apply to Avon and get involved in a real pyramid scheme."

"And... I simply must I apologize for insulting you," Alexis held up her hand. "It was that. I came into your life and insinuated that I could fix it for you. I assumed you to be the mask and not the person behind it. I've been on the receiving end of such treatment myself. I'd be a right hypocrite not to call myself out on it."

"Forgive me, I am rambling and I have already taken up too much of your time. Your proposal is fine. We'll exchange information and we can discuss from there."


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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 January 8th 2023, 3:07 pm

Eli looked back to his computer, not needing to see the wide range of emotions that passed through Alexis. It was a bit predictable. His words didn't carry much of an edge to them, at least in his tone, but they hit home in a different way that wasn't entirely intended. He didn't really intend anything by them because he didn't really care how this woman would take his advice. At the very least, it seemed as though they would stick and maybe that would help along the way. Owe him one down the line perhaps.

It was a shame she was like this. This all told him more about her than anything else had said. Of course, when she did speak that only confirm these thoughts and deductions. If she could do away with all of this then maybe she'd be someone more interesting...someone that could liven things up. But she wasn't there, not yet at least.

Either way as she began to speak again he turned his attention back to her. He offered a shrug in response to that opening, indifferent to it. He gave her a nod, "That is pretty accurate to what happened, yeah. Though I try not to kill people who barge in. It's boring and bad for business to kill potential clients like that. You'd also be surprised how often that villains do this kind of thing. I probably pay my secretary too much for scheduling meetings." He opened his hands in a motion and gave another shrug, "Probably for the best that you do if my offer isn't appealing enough."

"And that is my job. I provide information where it is needed. I figured a sample of what I do would be beneficial to us both. Though, you didn't insult me. Honestly, that would be quite an accomplishment. I don't really take offense to anything. Some might call that indifference, but I am sure there are better words for it. I don't know them, but I am sure they are there." He gave another wave of the hand, "And do whatever you please, it's no difference to me."

"For the offer at hand, you know my services. I provide information, I have small team willing to do a number of jobs, and if there's a hero causing you problems I can offer up a few ideas of how you might handle them. You, from what I understand, can offer me access to information that may be hard to come by and as a potential task doer? Does that sound right to you or are there anything aspects to this that I'm missing? This can be a give and take sort of partnership. You ask me for something, I ask you for something, and if it all works out and can fit in the schedule we do so. I feel like that is a simple sort of deal."
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord February 6th 2023, 10:55 pm

From what intelligence Alexis had on Eli, she was sure he had some ability to measure the powers and potential of another. Whether or not he had some sort of undocumented ancillary abilities was interesting, but not really salient to what Alexis now considered.  

Alexis had made a hash of this meeting. Rather than coming off as a mysterious power-broker, she was certain she had portrayed herself as a needy intern desperate to land this job.  The comparison made her smirk, although briefly. Still, there was no teacher like failure, and Alexis filed these lessons away for later unpacking.  Her psychiatrist was going to have a field day.

"I could give you a lecture about Stoic philosophy if you'd like.  If you've not studied them, I think I might die of shock." Alexis smiled and let out a little sigh.  "I envy that ability, however. I've never been able to let go of anything. No slight too petty, no hill too small to die on."  She laid her elbow against the arm of her chair and rested her chin against her knuckles.  

"I'm open to that sort of partnership. However, as you're more than likely aware, my power grows from relationships. Nothing so tacky as romantic feelings, of course, but I might someday manifest a power because of our interactions. Though we may try to keep our interactions simple... well, I've been known to die on petty hills."

Adjunct looked at Eli fully now, and elbow still perched on the arm of the chair. As she watched him she began to rub her thumb over her fingertips. Sparks of some strange greenish energy began to ripple down her fingers. As she spread them, arcs of brilliant energy began to run between her digits.

"Let me give you a taste.  Not in that gauche drug dealer way.  This conversation has been surprisingly fruitful.  The least I can do is offer you this."

"For my own desires, you understand," she said with a sigh.  Part of the ever present weariness began to show on her face. "The world is getting so hard for people like us, Eli.  With these agencies and organizations telling us how to live our lives.  I was a coward and scampered off to a safe exile in Somalia. You are here braving the lion's den with nothing but cunning and stoicism.  I admire that."

"Let me give you something to help.  No strings," and on saying that, she offered her hand to shake.
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 March 2nd 2023, 6:28 pm

Eli finally stood from his chair and stretched his back. He would move out from behind his desk and over to a tall, standing table and look down a small book and make a quick note. He didn't make any indication that she should stand with him, but from his new place he would look at her and shake his head, "We suffer more in imagination than reality? No, I am fine of stoic philosophy. Maximizing positive emotion, reducing negative emotion...sounds boring honestly." He said with a sigh.

He would move back to his desk, sitting back and looking back across from her. He nodded, already having gathered that from her ability as it was. Regardless if was an actual aspect of her power, he could tell by the way she spoke that the formation of relationships was important to her. She had tried hard to form one with him and while she didn't fail she didn't start on a good foot. Regardless he gave a small bob of the head, showing that he at least was following her.

As the hand came to him, he'd raise both of his up, almost in a surrendering position. He let out another small laugh and for a moment it seemed like he wasn't going to shake. In fact, he didn't. Instead, he shook his head and then looked past her. It would be now that a shadow of a...not small, but not big figure loomed over her Alexis. There would be a young woman, maybe just past her teen years. She was thin, a little short maybe, and her hair was snow white. She was smiling, but in a way that seemed almost unsettling, like she was already too interested in Alexis. Her eyes also carried that same unsettling vibe to them, a bit wide, staring hard at the moment.

There wouldn't be anything hostile about her stance, but the look in her eyes still seemed a bit dangerous. It was then Eli went on, "Not for me, no thank you. But my employee here certainly could use a boost. I'd love to see what she could do with your power in her hands. Her name, at least to you, is Mimic Me. She can mimic people's appearances so long as she has made physical contact with them or has an article that belongs to them."

Mimic Me gave a wave of her hand, "Hi! It's so nice to meet you, it's been great listening to you two talk." She extended her hand towards Alexis, expecting the shake that was just made to Eli.

"I often don't do things myself, I leave them to agents of mine like Mimic Me here. If people were to be boosted I'd prefer for them to be part of my direct team. There's her, Clockwork, Doppler, Blight, and Polaroid."
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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by elephantlord April 15th 2023, 1:42 am

There was a part of Alexis that knew, deep down, that this man would not accept it. The energy crackled there between her outstretched fingers, emerald and enthralling, ready to give whomever it touched the power to play on a level beyond what they were currently capable of. Strangely there was no pang in her heart at the rejection, no bitter tears. Her conversation with Eli had done wonders for holding a mirror up to her own insecurities. It wasn't contentment, she thought, but rather a ruthless gauge of where resources could best be spent.

And in the end, hadn't her declaration of compassion for the 'small players' had been somewhat insincere? Alexis found that, more and more, Dabbler's influence was coloring her opinions of others. People were but strange, fleshy dolls that demanded too much of her time. Those things she wanted from Eli - genuine connection, his control, his ability to just let go. Weren't they just personality traits she coveted? She was scared of that growing sociopathy. Eli would bring a steadiness to her psychology she desperately craved. In the end, though, he was the easy solution. This aspect of her powers, the morphing of her personality, couldn't be solved by giving into it.

It had been a productive conversation, if not for the reasons she had sought. But how to handle the situation she had currently landed herself in? Alexis had no great desire to give this to an unknown. Plus she was in a miserable mood and had a headache. This entire interview felt like the last time she had tried speed-dating.

The energy did not dissipate, but neither did Alexis move to clasp hands with the woman now in her presence. Instead, she regarded Eli coolly. She didn't bother with outrage or anything so childish, instead remarking, "I didn't offer it to her, or an entire team of people. Renegotiating on me now?"



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INV ONLY Re: Pieces in Play

Post by Nate6595 April 30th 2023, 3:49 pm

With a practiced patience that was more natural for the information broker, Eli simply folded his hands over his lap and continued that thin grin of his as Alexis did not grant his staff with her power. He let out a single laugh and shook his head, giving that dismissive wave of his hand. “Heavens no, but by all extents and purposes, my staff, these skilled individuals that work for me are me. Not literally, but they act as my hands. Any sort of deal you make with me is made with them, anything you grant them is granted to me. We are all in it together.” He explained.

The girl, Mimi, moved in like a shadow towards Alexis. While her expression was cheery, almost painfully so, there was something dark in her eyes and in her movement. Her arm kindly wrapped around her far shoulder and brought Alexis into a side huge. The motion of it was quick and quiet, almost unnoticeable, like a snake striking its prey. Then, she smiled at Alexis, a wide open mouthed simper that invited her in. Her eyes glimmered. “And we all really do appreciate it!” She piped up in a cheery, youthful tone. “Helping us all out like this means you’re essentially one of us, and we always got each other’s back.” She gave Alexis probably too hard of a pat on the back to accentuate the idea.

Eli gave another lift of his hand and Mimi backed up, still grinning like an idiot. Eli leaned back into his chair, cozy there and spun around until its back was to the two of them. “If this is a problem for you, I understand entirely. Though, do remember you came to me and if you didn’t know that all of my staff and I were extensions of each other than, well…you will need to do better research the next time you come to deal with someone like me.”

There was a small flick of Mimi’s wrist; her expression never once changing from that innocent, wide grin. Her hand reached for something tucked away at the hem of her shirt, but before she could draw whatever it was, Eli turned back around to face the pair. Mimi seemed to freeze in place and Eli went on talking, “The choice is yours, of course. As another business person I certainly understand if you would like to back out.”
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