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 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]

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PostSubject: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:09 am

Ethan Kelly straightened his jacket as he got out of his personal vehicle. It was a nondescript sedan he owned personally for conveyance when he didn't want to be associated with a particular faction or corporation. He had a couple of them, garaged in various parts of the city. He kept his Paladin and New Dawn company vehicles at their respective corporate apartments, where for the most part they gathered dust.

The Dripping Cup was a small little hole-in-the-wall that served a decent cup of coffee and had a good arrangement with some baker in the city since it had fantastic danish. Ethan had been here once or twice, usually for clandestine meetings. Its small size and simple layout gave few entrances for additional trouble to hassle him, as well as a large amount of potential collateral damage for the agent with a conscience.

Fact of the matter was Ethan wasn't worried about the person he was meeting today.

In fact, he was more shocked to have gotten a call from him the other day. Ethan had called him two or three times to just chat and hang out, which would seem strange to most. They had only been together on a couple of jobs, but the covert operative business was a fickle one. It was important to keep up on your contacts.

Even if they did work for a different team.

The thought made Ethan smile as he sat at the small circular table. He kept his jacket tighter on his body, not trying to let his pistol show. No reason for his friend to think the meeting was hostile. The pistol was a trick of the trade, and essential for his job as a bodyguard on his current assignment. Sipping softly on his coffee as sweet smelling steam rose from the cup, Ethan waited and thought about Blue.

What a strange turn of events indeed.


Last edited by Ethan Kelly on Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Mon Jul 16, 2012 8:30 pm

Vincent stood hidden in the shadows of an alley about one hundred feet from the Dripping Cup, watching Ethan park his vehicle and head inside. He wasn’t sure why he had called the other man back. There had been mention once of the two of them getting together for a drink or something months ago when they had first crossed one another’s path, but then Vince had been sent away for some extended training. He had been gone from Librium for almost two months and now that he was back his superiors were itching to get him back into the field again.

He had been surprised upon returning to his apartment to find not one, but three messages from Ethan. Vince wasn’t sure what to make of it. The two of them had been on two missions together, and both times they had been competing against each other. The first time, on the roof in the slums, Ethan might have saved Vince’s life. There had been a fifty-fifty shot that Vince could have escaped the Terran Guard who had been holding a blade to his throat, so in Vincent’s mind that meant there was only a fifty-fifty shot that Ethan actually had saved him that night. The second job had been a protection detail, and Ethan had ended up being one of the assassins that Vince had to protect someone from. He wasn’t sure whether Ethan knew that Vince knew about his involvement in that job. Ethan had no way of knowing that for a brief moment Vince had been able to see him clearly despite the fact that he was at sniping range.

Those two times crossing each other’s path, and he wanted to have coffee? Vince was skeptical, but still he had finally returned the call. Regardless of what Ethan actually wanted, or more likely what Paladin wanted, he could be a contact, and contacts had to be cultivated.

Vince stayed put for a few moments after seeing Ethan enter the coffee shop, then he stepped out of the alley and made his way to join the Paladin agent. He had left Excelsior back at home, deciding that the massive sword wouldn’t be useful in this meeting. That and he didn’t want to deal with the odd looks the greatsword drew.

As Vince was crossing the street his phone started ringing. He looked at the caller ID and sighed; all he saw was a string of pound signs, meaning that the caller was Emily, Vincent’s handler. He was probably going to get in trouble again very soon. He stopped before entering the Dripping Cup, standing in front of the large window and answered his phone. After all, it would have been rude to do so inside when he was supposed to be meeting with someone. “What is it, Em?”

“Vince, Mistress Eve and Master Dawn have been looking all over for you. They seem rather upset that you haven’t reported in since we returned five days ago.”

“Tell them I’ve been busy and I’ll pencil them into my schedule.” In the background, Vince heard angry voices yelling. He recognized the voice of Mistress Eve and could only assume Master Dawn was there as well. The fact that he didn’t hear them until he had spoken means that their anger was probably directed at his statement and that meant he was on speaker phone. “Emily, didn’t I ask that you tell me when I’m on speaker?”

“I’m sorry, Vin. They insisted, and ordered me not to tell you.”

“They’re not your superiors, remember?” That brought more yelling in the background. Since they could still hear him, his next statement was directed at his superiors themselves. “Mistress Eve, Master Dawn, I will report in this evening, where I am sure that I am going to get an earful for my current insubordination. At the moment, however, I’m out to lunch.” With that he hung up and put his phone back in his pocket, then walked into the coffee shop.

As he entered he immediately began burning iron and steel, quickly making tabs on the sources of metal in the small room, including Ethan’s gun. Vince wasn’t surprised to find Ethan armed, nor did he expect Ethan to be surprised when he noticed Vince’s Gemini daggers at his waist. Vince’s customary smile was in place as he walked towards Ethan, shaking hands with the other man before sitting down at the table.

“Hello Ethan. I was rather surprised to hear from you. How’ve you been?”
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:23 pm

Ethan watched over his coffee cup as Vince answered his phone and spoke for a couple of moments before hanging up and entering the coffee shop. His timing was pretty perfect, making Ethan assume that Vince had actually gotten there first and had staked out the place. It wasn't really a concern since Ethan didn't see Vince as an enemy...not yet anyway. Sad fact of the matter was the covert operatives usually, at some point, had to go toe to toe with one another.

Ethan stood and shook Vincent's hand and motioned for him to sit. They exchanged pleasantries and Vince expressed surprise at hearing from Ethan.

Why surprised? I do believe we decided we would get a drink at some point. Now is as good as ever. I assume you've been out on assignment since you didn't return my calls?

That was to say, his personal contacts hadn't heard word of the man out of Umbra since a couple of days after Ethan failed to pepper that informant with bullets. As Vince relayed whatever story he was going to give Ethan, he relaxed in his chair, sipping his coffee with interest. Remembering that Vince had asked him about his own activities, Ethan began to spin his own tale.

Myself? I've been undercover at New Dawn. Something to do with one of their researchers, got to steal the technology, et cetera. You know the drill with those types of missions. I'm currently working as her personal bodyguard, keeping her safe from some fake threat we planted in New Dawn's brain.

Ethan smiled at his friend. Well, he was a contact at this point...but he would get to friendship, Ethan was sure.

How long have you been back in the city? Any grand plans for your homecoming?
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Tue Jul 17, 2012 8:32 pm

Vince ordered a cup of coffee as Ethan began speaking. His coffee arrived within moments and he took a sip before he answered Ethan.

“Out, yes. On assignment, not so much. I discovered a new skill a few months back and decided to head to Elyria to do some training with the Courts. I thought it would be a good idea. My bosses, however, were less than pleased that I didn’t inform them of my plans until a week after I had arrived in Elyria. Apparently they frown upon their enforcers making that kind of decision without consultation.”

Vince took another sip of coffee as Ethan began talking about his life the past couple of months. He nodded along to Ethan’s story; he did indeed know the drill. It was similar to what Vince had been doing the last time he had seen Ethan: protecting someone for technology and information, although in Vince’s case the threat had been real.

Vince had never done a protection job that made him a bodyguard for more than a couple of days, nor did he really want to. The time and effort didn’t seem worth it, especially in Ethan’s case where the threat wasn’t even real. Whatever he was out to steal had to be of the utmost importance, which immediately made Vincent very interested. He kept his interest to himself, though. It would be rather rude to begin asking about specifics of another person’s covert op.

“I got back in town almost a week ago. My only plan now is to not get killed when I finally report in to my superiors later tonight. I’ve been dodging them all week, mainly because I don’t want the headache they’re going to give me. I’m sure they’ll throw me into something dangerous as soon as they can as a punishment for skipping out on them, but what can you do?”

Vince took another sip of his coffee. It was nice to be able to sit and chat with someone besides Therim. The dwarf was Vince’s only real friend, but he was gruff and only cared about his metalworking most of the time.

“So, tell me about this woman you’re protecting from nothing. I’m guessing as a personal bodyguard you’ve been spending most of your time with her. I hope she’s good company, or life has to be pretty sucky for you right now.”
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:41 pm

Ethan chuckled as Vince regaled him with tales about his trip to the Courts and his new abilities. He was intrigued by the additions to his skills. Mainly since he had never truly discovered what Vincent could do. Vincent had never told him, and the Paladin agent could only guess what the man could do, bouncing all over the place like some sort of wayward magnet.

Avoiding your superiors? Now that is a dangerous proposition. Would you like me to deliver some personal effects to someone should you not survive your meeting? He teased, but it was all too much of a reality in the espionage world.

It was then that Vincent asked about Blue. Making some crude comment about the body-guarding. Either he was making fun of him or just didn't approve of the deep-undercover job, Ethan couldn't tell which. Either way, he didn't mind talking about her...just nothing too specific.

My "client"? She's a technopath and a lead researcher over at New Dawn. Working on some various things for them using some sort of mana-related powers. That seems to be Paladin's main interest, as of someone like her would document her ability.

She's...interesting. Bit of an attitude, likes to pick fights, but it seems like shes beginning to respect the reason I'm there. Its making life easier with her, it lets me give her more room to do her own thing.
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Wed Jul 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Vince let out a small laugh at Ethan’s question.

“I can only avoid them for so long as it is, what with the GPS they’ve always got on their enforcers. But if they do decide to kill me, I wouldn’t mind my blades not being locked up by them. I’ll leave the specifics to you since you so graciously offered your services.”

Vince sat back and listened to Ethan talk about his ward, sipping on his coffee. He wasn’t surprised by Paladin’s interest in the woman if she was indeed a technopath. The way technology had been advancing while entwining itself with mana was nothing short of remarkable, and an ability to work with machines and mana seamlessly would be interesting to many people.

“She likes to pick fights? I’m sure she was less than pleased when she figured out that you were going to be around twenty four hours a day. Most people are when they are in that situation.”

There was something nagging Vince about the way Ethan was talking about her. He wasn’t griping, or complaining about what he had to do. Every other person he’d met who’d done full term bodyguard service had always had complaints of some sort. It was inevitable when you spent every waking hour with someone who, in most cases, didn’t want you around to begin with. The only time he’d talked with someone who didn’t complain about the situation was when they were emotionally involved with the person they were protecting.

Vince decided to throw a line and see what he caught.

“Well at least she’s coming around. That’s when you have to make sure you don’t get attached to her.” He kept his voice casual as he talked, but made sure to note how Ethan would respond.
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:49 pm

Ethan raised his coffee at Vincent's trust in him for his blades.

I would treat them with the utmost respect, my friend. Should you die, just contact me, hehe.

Vince seemed to know what things were like for clients under constant bodyguard. That meant either he did that for a time, or knew people who did. The fact was, Blue was none too happy about the arrangement at first. Obviously, that changed once their relationship had really come in to being...but that wasn't for Vince to know. No need more people with thoughts of Ethan Kelly being emotionally compromised.

Oh...she hated me. I grew on her though. Had a great plan to get her in my good graces. I hired this mercenary company to attack us when she was digging through the dump...don't ask. Either way, they were supposed to attack, I fight them, kill them, etc. Win her respect. Someone enforced them and almost got me killed...

Ethan grumbled as he took another sip of his coffee. Vince began to speak again as he continued to drink his coffee, it was lukewarm at this point...his personal favorite.

Well at least she’s coming around. That’s when you have to make sure you don’t get attached to her.

Ethan nearly choked on his coffee as the word "attached" came out of Vince's mouth. Coughing as the sweetened dark liquid flew down his trachea, leaving him sputtering for a moment while he caught his breath.

Who said I was attached? Why would you use that word?
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:13 pm

Vince mentally sighed as Ethan started choking on his coffee. He really had wanted Ethan to take the comment better and not go instantly on the defensive as he did once he was able to speak again.

“I was merely commenting on the possibility. It can, and usually does, happen anytime that two people of the opposite sex are with each other for long periods of time. I didn’t say you were attached, though your reaction pretty much confirms it.”

Vincent couldn’t help but think of the consequences that Ethan might have to face if he was actually emotionally compromised as Vince now believed. It would lead to big trouble with Paladin. What would happen if the megacorp decided they couldn’t make use of this woman, and ordered Ethan to eliminate her? Would he do it, or let himself take the flak and possibly be hunted down by his old comrades? The whole situation could lead to any number of disastrous endings.

Vince also realized something else: if he wanted to be a friend to Ethan, and he realized that he did, then he was going to have to go along with whatever the other man wanted to do. There was still a chance that Vincent was wrong, though.

“Ok, Ethan. Please tell me this situation isn’t as bad as I’m beginning to believe it is.”
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:26 pm

Ethan hated when fluids went down the wrong pipe. He coughed and sputtered for a moment, trying to regain his breath. Finally, with a strong clearing of his throat, Ethan sat up and patted on his ribcage softly, indicating he was ok. Vincent seemed to almost roll his eyes before he spoke.

I was merely commenting on the possibility. It can, and usually does, happen anytime that two people of the opposite sex are with each other for long periods of time. I didn’t say you were attached, though your reaction pretty much confirms it.

A bit of worry and dread crept in to Ethan for a brief moment. Worry was a very, very bad thing. It was something that never really went away in these situations until it was fully resolved. That something always liked to fester and burn away at your soul, making life nearly unbearable. Now, Vincent thought he knew what was going on...that meant questions. Questions that no agent wanted to face, especially Ethan. The last thing Ethan needed was for Vince, the closest thing he had to a friend, moving toward doubt on Ethan's ability to do his job.

That in and of itself was a death sentence in their profession.

Ok, Ethan. Please tell me this situation isn’t as bad as I’m beginning to believe it is.

Ethan took on a very serious, doubtful look that he directed at Vince. The situation isn't as bad as you think it is.

Its not like we're dating or anything like that. Its just a professional relationship that's finally getting to the point that we are comfortable with one another. What's wrong with that?


Ethan moved quickly to change the subject.

Fact is, someone screwed me over. You looking to jump in on a minor revenge operation? That is, assuming Umbra doesn't hang you from their radio tower by your toes.
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Mon Jul 23, 2012 8:16 pm

Vince waited for Ethan to speak and hoped that the other man denied what Vince was insinuating. He wanted to believe that Ethan wouldn’t put himself in a position that would probably lead to his death, and so he took Ethan’s denial at face value when it was spoken despite his instincts telling him that Ethan was probably lying.

“There isn’t anything wrong with a professional relationship, so long as it stays professional. Even then, you have to be careful to keep her at a distance or she may become too attached to you regardless of how you feel. That would cause problems as well; as I’m sure you’re well aware. I’ve seen good men walk down that path, and it never ended well for them. Hormones and base instincts don’t usually care what your mind thinks or what your circumstances are.”

Vince took another sip of his coffee, which was quickly approaching the line between lukewarm and cold. Ethan was changing the subject, rather quickly, but Vince didn’t object. He didn’t think this would be the end of this particular conversation but Ethan was obviously uncomfortable with the topic, which only reinforced Vincent’s doubt in the denial. It wasn’t his place to judge or interfere, however, and unless he was asked he was going to keep his thoughts on the matter to himself.

Vince managed a smile again at the thought of hanging from a radio tower by his toes. Unless said tower was made entirely without metal he wouldn’t have much trouble getting out of that situation. Not even his superiors at Umbra knew how his ability worked, so they wouldn't know how to keep Vince from toying with all the metal around him. They knew some of what he could do, but not the full extent of his powers. They never asked, and he never bothered to tell; his work got done and everyone was happy. Only one person knew everything, and that person was a stubborn dwarven blacksmith who had worked with Vincent’s grandfather to work out the details of the power over fifty years earlier.

“I’m in. What exactly happened? You hired someone, but someone else paid them more to do the opposite?”
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:08 am

Ethan did his best to not roll his eyes at Vince's lecture about the dangers of emotional compromise. He had heard the lecture before from dozens of folks: the initiation to Paladin Covert Operations, his handler, his inner monologue, his mirror self, and now Vince. It was pretty much the same words every time, good men were lost, blah blah blah.

Blah blah blah blah great danger....

Vince finally smiled at his offer of a job. Just the two of them.

I’m in. What exactly happened? You hired someone, but someone else paid them more to do the opposite?

Ethan nodded. That's what it appears to be...but, you know exactly how many times things in our business are as they seem. I don't think the person who hired this particular mercenary gang did it by accident. A group he or she knew I would trust enough to lower my guard for the instant it would supposedly take to kill me? I'll believe that when my suit doubles as a cotton candy dispenser.

Taking a long draw on his coffee cup, Ethan finally shook it, looking in the tiny sip hole. Noting that his cup was empty he casually placed it on the table and continued. My major issue is that they know me, and aren't too happy I called New Dawn's tactical team down on them. I think one guy got out to tell the tale.

Smiling at the thought of the New Dawn team's arrival, Ethan continued.

We just need to find out who hired them. I think a violent arrival would be in order...don't you?
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:22 pm

Vince listened as Ethan briefly explained the situation, chuckling at the thought of a suit being a cotton candy dispenser.

“I agree. The chances that this was done accidentally are next to nill. The question becomes who did it, and who were they after; you, or the woman? Perhaps there actually is a danger to her that neither Paladin nor New Dawn knows about. Or is someone trying to take you out of the game?”

Vince sat back and drained the rest of his coffee as Ethan continued, musing about the situation in general. Mercs were loyal to money only, but there was usually a small degree of loyalty to the employer of the moment if only to keep a good reputation for the mercenary company.

“Them knowing your face is a big issue. They won’t want to let you stay alive after they double crossed you. It’s bad for business in the mercenary world. They will need to take out any witness, or word may spread and they’ll find themselves out of a job. Whoever bought them out from under you like that must have increased the price significantly in order to get them to agree to a backstab.”

His smile widened.

“Violent arrivals happen to be one of my specialties. Do you have any idea at all about who might be behind this?”
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Wed Jul 25, 2012 1:13 am

Vince replied to his thoughts with some of the ideas that Ethan himself had thought of previously. It wasn't so much repetitive, but helpful when someone else confirmed your suspicions. Blue would never be able to put this together; she didn't know the industry. Then again, telling her about how he hired the mercenaries that had tried to kill them probably wasn't the smartest of ideas.

Violent arrivals happen to be one of my specialties. Do you have any idea at all about who might be behind this?

Ethan smiled. He already knew the answer to it, and Vince seemed to as well.

I have some ideas, mainly revolving around jealous co-workers in the office. The New Dawn job was a pretty big one. I wouldn't even put it past my handler to doing this, but then again...

...There is only one way to find out.


With that, Ethan leaned in and explained a plan of blasting their way to the top of the mercenary gang that he had hired. They had burned their original client, they were out of the hierarchy. Ethan would get in touch with Mercenary leaderships, explaining the situation so it wouldn't call out a full gang hit on either of them. He figured he would see what Vince thought before they planned more. Besides, it kept the conversation off of Blue and the New Dawn job.
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:04 pm

As he asked his question, Vince was throwing ideas around in his head as to who may be out to get Ethan. He nodded as the other agent spoke.

“If it’s a jealous agent, he’s probably new. The veteran agents would have learned by now that jealousy won’t get you very far in our profession. And if you can suspect your handler of this, I think it’s time to get a new handler.”

Vince paused for a moment as his thoughts veered to a new direction.

“Is it possible that your cover in New Dawn is blown?” Seeing a dubious expression on Ethan’s face, Vince hurried on. “Hear me out. Is it possible that someone at New Dawn served with you in the past and knows you’re not who you appear to be? They may have just jumped at the opportunity to take you out without having to reveal themselves to you, thereby protecting the company and sending you on a chase after someone else if their plan failed.”

Vince nodded again. There was indeed only one way to find out. He listened as Ethan leaned in and began giving him a quick sketch of a plan. It was a simple plan, but it was its simplicity that would probably make it work.

“We’ll have to be thorough with this betraying group, obviously. We don’t want them to come after us on their own after going through the trouble of keeping the other mercs out of it. Which merc group was it that burned you? Emily might be able to get some information on who their recent clients have been, depending on how careful they’ve been.”
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:42 am

Vince seemed to listen with an open mind, not speaking while Ethan laid out his ideas and his plans. The other man nodded and seemed to contemplate the thoughts on every level, he was a true analytical mind when it came to operations. He didn't think that it was a jealous agent, especially most jealous agents were green, and green quickly turned to blood red when you invested too much emotion. Vince also mentioned getting a new handler and Ethan had to chuckle at that.

I've never liked the handler I got assigned for this mission. He has his mind on finishing the mission to any conclusion. He doesn't care about stealth or investigation from the Terran Guard. Its not like I could just torture Blue, steal the technology, and...kill her. That's just way too sloppy for this kind of operation.

Is it possible that your cover in New Dawn is blown?

Ethan raised an eyebrow, obviously doubtful of the idea that he had been compromised. The ID he had was perfect, and the military records were even switched. Nothing was going to blow the op.

Hear me out. Is it possible that someone at New Dawn served with you in the past and knows you’re not who you appear to be? They may have just jumped at the opportunity to take you out without having to reveal themselves to you, thereby protecting the company and sending you on a chase after someone else if their plan failed.

Ethan's mouth dropped. He hadn't thought of that. But....who?

I don't think that's possible. No one looks familiar, and I have pretty good hard drive on me...I mean memory. Blue doesn't really let anyone in to the lab, and I spend the majority of time there with her. She isn't exactly the social butterfly type.

Vince nodded, seeming to raise eyebrows everytime he mentioned Blue's name. Ethan didn't seem to notice, using her name had become second nature to him. It may well be his undoing.

We’ll have to be thorough with this betraying group, obviously. We don’t want them to come after us on their own after going through the trouble of keeping the other mercs out of it. Which merc group was it that burned you?

Novacore Mercenary Corporation.

Emily might be able to get some information on who their recent clients have been, depending on how careful they’ve been.

Ethan smiled at Vince. So...there were women in his life. Who knew?

Emily huh? Sounds cute. What's her story?
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:31 pm

Ethan had answers for everything that Vince threw on the table, and luckily those answers did make sense to some extent. Vince agreed that Ethan's handler sounded like a massive ass.

Its not like I could just torture Blue, steal the technology, and...kill her. That's just way too sloppy for this kind of operation.

Vince did notagree with that, however.

"Well, you can't do that now after investing the time you've put into the op already; you would be suspect number one. You could have done that instead of going undercover, though. Isn't that exactly what you did to Dr. Kuniyah the night we met in the slums? Tortured him, took the information on his Avian vaccine, and blew up his building, killing not only him but all of his neighbors who were unlucky enough to be home. That could have been an option instead of going through the lengthy process that you're doing."

As the conversation went on, Vince noted every time Ethan mentioned her by name. Even among friends you didn't mention names or other details about your ongoing ops, and Vince and Ethan weren't even truly friends yet. It seemed that the other man didn't even realize he was doing it. If he had been talking to anyone else her name alone would be enough to find out who she is and what she does, therefore possibly revealing Paladin's interest in her. If Vince was anyone else he would be setting Emily to research this Blue as soon as he left this coffee shop. Hell, he might just do that anyway. Knowing what the other Corps might be up to was never a bad thing even if there was no intention of acting on it. He didn't mention any of this, and didn't react to her name with more than a raised eyebrow that Ethan didn't seem to notice. By abruptly switching the conversation topic earlier, Vince was sure that Ethan didn't want to talk about her too much and reinforce the thought that he might be compromised.

Talk turned to the mercenary group who'd burned Ethan, Novacore. Vince hadn't heard of them so he guessed they were probably new on the scene or small time. Umbra often hired mercenaries as bullet fodder on assault ops to clear the way and keep attention off the Enforcers who were sneaking around the back side.

Vince pulled out his phone and dialed his handler once again. He hoped that Eve and Dawn weren't still hanging around her. That would have made it hard to play this hand close to the chest.

"Yes, Claymore?" Vince stifled a groan. She had reverted to calling him Claymore, which she only did when she was angry at him these days. She probably had gotten a lot of shit from the two Enforcer heads for not convincing Vince to come meet them now.

"Em, I need all the information you can find on the Novacore merc group, especially any recent clients of theirs you can find."

She hung up without another word. Yup; definitely angry with him.

"Emily, huh? Sounds cute. What's her story?"

Vince had to laugh a little bit. Of course Ethan would jump on the mention of a woman in Vince's life after Vince all but accused him of being emotionally involved.

"Emily, if that's actually her name, is my handler. She assigned to me very shortly before I left for Elyria. She was the only one who knew I was there from the beginning, seeing as how it's her job to track me. She seems nice enough, once I was able to knock the formality out of her. Never met her in person; I only do that when I want a new handler."

Vince gave his empty coffee cup a shake, as if doing so could put another sip back into it. His mind was working on figuring out what to do about Novacore. Ethan had said he took out a fair number of them when he called in the New Dawn tac team. That meant they might be recruiting to bolster their numbers again.

"What if I could get into Novacore to find information about them? Would you be onboard with that?"
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Wed Aug 01, 2012 12:40 am

Vince explained more about this "Emily," his apparent handler. Furthermore, he explained his particular policy regarding handlers: if they were gonna meet face to face...he was going to need a new handler. Ethan nodded, seeing the wisdom in Vince's words.

Alright...the guys got some ideas. I should make some adjustments to my way of doing things.

What if I could get into Novacore to find information about them? Would you be on-board with that?

Ethan raised a single eyebrow in quizzical interest. He hadn't thought of that. It was a rather genius idea. The New Dawn Tactical teams had really done a number on the mercenaries at the dump...nearly all of them had been killed. Ethan could probably guarantee that none of the captured ones had been freed.

That's actually a great idea. You could get in with them and see what kind of operation and such they have going. Once we know who we need to talk to...I can come in and...introduce myself.

The smiled that came from Ethan was creepy to say the least, maniacal at worst. He always enjoyed a good clever operation, and it seemed like they were about to have some real espionage fun.

What did you have in mind, exactly?
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:26 pm

He could tell immediately that he’d gotten Ethan’s attention, and it hadn’t been the first time he’d done so since they sat down. He pegged Ethan at probably nine or ten years older than him, and Ethan had obviously been in the covert ops game at least two or three times longer than Vince had. Vince felt a surge of pride that only a young man who has impressed his elders in the business could feel.

Ethan wasted no time catching on to what Vince had in mind, either, and he obviously approved of the idea.

“If the ND team did as much damage as you say they did, Novacore is hurting for members. If word has gotten out about them burning a client, their membership isn’t going to increase much for quite a while. They will have to start taking anyone who’s interested regardless of whether or not they normally would, or disband."

"I’m sure Emily will be able to get me connected to their recruiter without a hitch. I go in, start asking the right questions to the right people, and we get what we need to know. All we need is a name, really. Then I either tell you where they are so you can crash their party, or we get them to a spot of our choosing.”


It was a simple plan really, though Vince knew that plenty of things could go wrong. What was life without a little danger, though?
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PostSubject: Re: 20 Questions with an Old Friend (Vincent) [COMPLETE]   Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:55 am

Ethan nodded as Vince explained his theories behind his plan. He had to admit it, Vince was a good covert operative and he thought tactically. That explained why he was probably alive. Forward thinkers and planners made the best operations, and if you could think on your feet as well, you were nearly unstoppable.

I go in, start asking the right questions to the right people, and we get what we need to know. All we need is a name, really. Then I either tell you where they are so you can crash their party, or we get them to a spot of our choosing.”

Ethan smiled warmly at his friend. This sounded like it was going to work, and that he was going to get the answers to the questions he had.

This sounds like quite the good plan Vince. I can have a special phone dropped at a predetermined location, give you direct access to me. Anything sent out of it comes directly to my phone and my phone only. Once you find the information you need, call me and we will set it up.

Ethan rose from the table, tossing the empty coffee cup in to a trash receptacle. He turned back to the Umbra agent, facing him with a coy smile that Ethan liked to wear. It made people wonder what you were up to, a perfect distraction.

You're lucky kid...if you weren't so loyal to Umbra, I'd scoop you up for Paladin in a heartbeat. Good luck out there, I'll be in touch.

Without much fanfare, Ethan walked out of the coffee shop. Looking both ways, he headed west to his vehicle. It was time to get back to his primary job.

[/END]
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