Sunday, 15 April 2012

i am not the law

but I represent justice-

... no. No more quotes. Not today.

Not with what has happened in my rather long absence silence. Not with all the deaths that have happened lately. Not with the recent developments that were dropped on to everyone's collective laps. Not with the Game that has been set into motion.

Some of you have chosen initial disbelief. Denial. I can hardly blame you; it's hardly a pleasant fact to acknowledge, is it? Things aren't suppose to happen this way. People are supposed to die, leave the board, have some sort of... peace? Rest? Because whatever bloody deity is out there knows that we all don't get any of those two things. Requiescant in pace. Ha, what a joke. A divine joke. This universe has already been proven to be quite the cruel master...

... So. I'm not dead. That much is obvious, although I suppose it isn't; perhaps if I had been executed, the information would have been classified, leaving you all to think that I've simply vanished into (come on, "Joseph", focus...)

Yes. So. I apologize for my rather manic disposition. Between the kidnapping and my subsequent trial (by fire), I suppose things have been rather unstable. It only got worse when I got a certain proxy dropped on my doorstep by a face that I never expected to see again. Correction, wearing a face that I never expected to see again. You don't understand until he's right there. Standing right in front of you. You can feel yourself break into a cold sweat, nausea churning your breakfast in your stomach, fingernails curling into your fucking palms in an effort to look at this monster, this THING without turning on your heel and running as fast as you can in the opposite direction.

And the smile, that smile. The grin that spreads too wide as amber pinpricks almost glow out from the shadow of a red hood, inhuman, never ever blinking. Gazing downwards as if you're insignificant cockroach, a bug, no, not even that, you're a speck of dirt, nothing, nothing, nothing compared to-

for chrissakes my fingers will not stop shaking

Nightscream will be alright. Well, for any given measure of alright... there's only so much I can do myself. I'm not a Doctor, after all, so I can only really do what I know how to do and hope that It's body knows how to heal itself. At any rate, it's not DYING anymore, which is a good thing. Don't think I could go through watching another bloody person give up on life on my stretcher...

And in the crossfire of this? Dearie me, my tossing precious reader! Who wouldn't want to hear about my little escapade? My skirt with death, as it were? Though perhaps I'm being a tad bit melodramatic. Seems that despite the horrible experiences I've had with them previously, the Highers DO have some sense left in them. And because I am the generous sort of bloke, I've managed to get the transcript of my informal trial declassified.

Because maybe you all should know what we're dealing with.

Now if you have a memory span greater than a goldfish, you'll recall this particular incident in which I was to be tried and possibly executed for a crime that I certainly was not stupid enough to commit. And while I did state that a Higher up would be coming to the Cafe, at that moment I was not privy to the fact that when they submit your summons, you bloody well go to them. So imagine my surprise when the building I was ordered to report to was a nondescript office tower. Luckily, my impending death meant that I had dressed for the occasion, which of course meant the saddest, most worn clothing I could find.

You must keep in mind that I had no pride left to speak of. No hope. I have observed, recorded, and documented too many of these "trials" to even consider the possibility of my innocence being proclaimed.

I've watched to many people be killed on the spot to expect anything that left me breathing.

And so I walked. And then I waited, no, I hesitated, hovering my hand over the ordinary doorknob, feeling the world bend and twist around me...

"█ . Have a seat. I trust you know the reason that you're here." Maybe some of you know him, maybe you don't. The first Crafter, the first man to figure out how to bend the blank spaces that our mutual employer leaves behind, the man who's looks are a closely kept secret because of who they resemble, and the implications of that... well, I'm hardly going to run my tongue. Call him what you like. Higher up. Highest. But at that moment, he was my judge, jury, and executioner.

"Of course." Three squads confirmed dead, one missing. Nothing to shake a stick at.

"And you realize the consequences of your actions, as well as the scope of the recovery."

"... that would imply, Sir, that I've done something wrong of my own will. And though I feel incredible empathy for those who have lost their lives, I can't hold myself more than slightly responsible."

But as he looked at me with those bored grey eyes, I knew it wouldn't be that easy.

"Perhaps I should be more specific. The actions of your squad, your handler, and yourself. The unauthorized assault. The late reports, the "side-projects"... you're our best and brightest, true, and the only of our best and brightest we allow to see the spotlight."

A pause. I can't remember if he even blinked in the silence between us. And it dragged on. And on. And bloody ON. I was almost sure that he expected me to say something else before he continued.

"█ , I'm not concerned about the recovery, the lost lives, the usurping of authority or the property damage. We have people for that. What I want to know is what happened while you were gone, what they know, and how they intend to use it against us."

I wasn't quick to reply. Out of spite? Shame? Frustration?

"I don't know, Sir. I'm not exactly sure... I remember being taken from the Cafe, leaving the clue behind for my squad, being tased, over and over, but the rest is... blurry. Voices...? I was... in a straightjacket most of the time, and I... Judging from the state of my arms, I was drugged. Repeatedly. With what is anyone's guess. I know for sure that the one who took me was the elusive Daniel Goldstein. And... The sniper...? Trips... a... A colonel...? From the army, I know he's from the army... there's two others, just shady voices, they knew my real name, Sir, I'm not sure how..."

My only chance and I was convinced I blew it. I could feel my eyes close tightly, feel my fingers curl into the fabric of my jeans. Just waiting for the bullet. The killing blow.

"J-just appraising me - J-jesus christ..."

But it never came.

"Mmhmm. We'll have you see the Doctor, see if he can't do anything for you. Are you positive it was Mr. Goldstein?"

"Yes. Completely so. It couldn't have been anyone else with that bloody sneer..."

"And as for the information you divulged... how much of it is... compromising, and to what degree?"

"I can't remember. I don't even recall leaking any information, Sir."

"Nothing at all?"

"No, Sir."

Something in the back of my mind said that this entire spectacle was pathetic, that I was pathetic, that I should be more forceful, that I had nothing to hide. But the terror of waiting to die overpowered whatever doubt I held, whatever sliver of superbia I once possessed. In the face of your own mortality, you'll find that you're willing to do anything in order to live one more minute

Even lie down and beg

The silence that followed was almost painful. The only thing I looked at was my own shoes, trainers muddy from rainy weather, specks of caked on dirt that I hadn't bothered to clean. Cracks in the rubber soles, pulled threads in the laces. I memorized every detail of those damn trainers because the silence must've lasted for hours. I nearly jumped a meter when he finally spoke.

"... You're aware that treason is punishable by death, correct?"

Anxiety welling in my chest. This was it.

"I'm not a traitor! I didn't do anything wrong!"

"Leaked information is leaked information. Three squads are dead as a result."

At that point, I had enough.

"We all serve a suited abomination. Squads die. For all we know, Goldstein hacked the servers like has has before. Perhaps he got the information from someone else while it was en route to the Organization. May I suggest Rhodes or Writer? They seem to preform insubordination like it's a fine art. The leak could've come from anyone. Don't be absurd."

His own eyes narrowed in what could be called mild annoyance.

"I assure you you're far from the first we've questions in regards to this situation, █ , now I suggest you do something about that tone of yours before I change my mind about what to do in regards to leak, and your potential role in it."

I could feel myself shrink back. God damn it all.

"... You do realize, of course, that this is all Protocol, nothing more."

Now THAT caught my bloody interest.

"... Now what, then?"

"Regardless, you're correct. There's no substantiating evidence that you're in any way involved in the information leak. We also cannot punish you for something that wasn't, in technicality, your own fault. Furthermore, you've obviously suffered physically and mentally from this experience. I cannot, with a good conscious, penalize you for your kidnapping."

Chest heaving up. Chest heaving down. I think I barely managed to suppress a nervous giggle.

"Easy, █ . You've been through quite an episode. I suggest you visit the good Doctor, he'll have you checked out. Perhaps he'll even be so generous as to give you some time off. And before you thank me, I'm only acting as I see fit. There's no need."

"A-and here I thought my career was over..."

"There's a reason why it's been decided by myself, Sherlock, and not your Handler. You've been a very valuable employee for a very long time. Had it been anybody else but yourself, my judgement may have been different. But you, my man, have shown nothing but promise and loyalty. I refuse to let you go so easily. 
Good employees are difficult to come by. There's little more to it than that."

"Yes Sir. And... is there any reason, Sir, that the proxy known as  bears a rather... startling resemblance...?"

"That, █ , is a question your Handler may be more apt at answering than I."

... I was dismissed then, albeit ordered to see a Doctor for the re-emergence of my... condition. And that was that, I suppose. But something bothered me...

Are we only making these blogs as... advertisements? Intimidation factors? Why can't I remember any of my time in Moriarty's custody? What was I drugged with? How did my strategies end up in his hands in the first place. What the bloody hell happened? Why bring Redlight back now? Was Writer even aware of that tossing plan? Where is that bastard anyways? Why am I so fucking terrified of the answers to those questions?

... There are men and women behind the curtain, making us dance. With the power to bend worlds with their minds, their money, or even their influence. And most of us only have a hazy idea of who they are and what they want.

We all dance upon strings. I don't think any of us can afford to ignore that fact any longer.

And if I may offer once last piece of advice? Duck, because some sort of storm is on it's way, and you don't want to be caught in the crossfire.

Valete, and good luck. With the way things have been going lately, you're going to need it.


  1. ...You know what, Joseph? I believe it, because it came from you. Maybe that makes me stupid, but...

    Spence, you fucking backstabbing son of a whore. This is how you remember your team? By becoming what killed them? You better PRAY we don't run into each other.

    God fucking dammit.

    1. You grey out these names like we don't know who you're talking about, Joseph. I'm sorry you're so afraid, that they've beaten you down so far your pride flees in the face of your fall.

      You're still useful. Remember that.

    2. I don't know who he's talking about. But then I'm a bear of very little brain. (Also, this isn't a reply to Konaa's comment and should have been put in its own comment-thread thingy.)

    3. The former leader of the Return to Slender crew.

    4. Konaa, thank you. I like to believe that I've built a good rapport is regards to honesty.

      But don't treat this lightly. It's not Fitzgerald anymore. Fuck, I'm not even sure if this thing is human.

      Haha, isn't it funny? I'm the first to usually say "look before you leap"...

      And thank you as well, Amy. Believe me, your words a a source of comfort, especially in times like these. Keep safe. For some reason, I don't see much difference between the two sides anymore...

    5. His new name is Edmund Fitzgerald, a walking disaster in the shape of a man.

      Tried to serve him some coffee in the tradition of Customer Disservice Satisfaction experts everywhere. But he's quick, I'll give him that.

      Try not to let him get to your head.

    6. ... Thank you, Sage. Seems that you do actually try to live up to the title from time to time.

      I mean that with all due respect. It takes courage to comfort the other side; courage that I feel I do not reliably possess....

  2. "so far as my feeble powers go"

    Let me finish that quote for you neighbour.

    1. ... You. You're Trips, aren't you?

    2. ... Damn you to fucking bloody hell. You'll get what's coming to you.

    3. We all do neighbour. We all do.

  3. I'm coming to see you.

  4. Daniel Goldstein15 April 2012 at 10:35

    You're so cute when you're flustered and don't know how to handle something. I think you'll find that all the answers lie within your own mind...

    -Mr. Goldstein

    1. Very Little Effort is required to redact comments.

    2. I'm usually a lot more polite and articulate with my answers, but I feel this is befitting for the occasion.

      Fuck you and your little DOG of a sniper up there as well.

      We'll find you.

      And we will kill you.

    3. A man might take offence at that sort of language neighbour.

  5. Oi. Coffee Guy. You know what happened to Gleeman, Jack, Recluse and Tiger? I mean. Any sign of em? At all? Help a Guy out here.
    P.S. Keep Screamer safe, or I will DROP a safe on your head. And shoot your teammates and their stupid cat.

    1. Isn't anyone going to point out that A DEAD MAN IS COMMENTING ON JOSEPH'S BLOG?!!!

      No questions, no comments, just... "Oh, hey, Star's around?" Fuck that.

      Morningstar, how the FUCK are you able to comment? Breathe? Make terrible jokes? Wait, you did that before... my point still stands! Please tell me I'm not the only one that's asking this..

    2. Amy, no offense meant, but it's hard to understand our side. When a brother in arms resurfaces and you're told to not ask any questions, you do not, under any circumstances, ask questions. You're expected to welcome them back with a warm smile and only a sliver of suspicion in your eye.

      That's all you're allowed to have.

      And Morningstar. Speaking of, good to see you back. The good news is that Nightscream is about as safe as a person can be, at least in these current times.

      ... The bad news is that a lot happened while you were... gone. The post is on the blog, but a man by the designation of "Moriarty" has been hunting down and killing whole squads of proxies with squads of his own.

      We found the body of your replacement. The rest are missing, presumed dead.

      I'm so, so sorry.

    3. Questions are... Counter-Productive.

    4. @Amy: Read. The friggen Blog. And yes. They are questioning it. Even I am questioning it. Maybe this is Hell.
      @Coffee Guy: Oh. They are probably fine. How was my replacement by the way? Was he awesome? Half as Awesome as me?
      Also Tell NS I said HELLOOOOOOOO. And throw birdseed on it. It will know what that means. It is a secret code that means something important. I promise. Now do it. Now.

    5. It isn't just the proxies reading this blog. If it were, I could understand perfectly. No questions asked, loyalty, team cooperation, blah blah blah yeah I get it. Trust me. That's not the point. There are plenty of Runners and Grey Hats that frequent this corner of the internet.

      It IS their job to ask questions. To figure out why a vicious killer is suddenly walking around and commenting again, when he was so obviously killed. I have a bad feeling I know how. Ol' Reddy's using a few of his (predecessor's) old tricks, it isn't that big of a shock.

      But truly! When the lambs lie down before the lions, what are we to do? Just ignore the slaughter that's probably about to happen? Sorry. No. That isn't in my job description. The Runners should be AFRAID, but fuck, not IGNORANT. This is.. ugh. This makes me nauseous.

    6. ... The horrifying part is that this is probably what he is banking on. Clever bastard... god, does he make me nervous...

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. "██████?

      Joseph, are you sure you should be mentioning that name on this--well, anywhere, really?

      -Don't Shoot The Messenger-"

      ... Messenger. First off, I'm sorry for everything that's happened to you lately. It's horrid, and... well. I can empathize with you, believe me when I say that. But if you actually took the time to be cautious, well, you'd see that I never mention our mutual friend by title or name.

      Please. Try not to get both of us killed.

    2. And despite the fact that I must clean out my inbox far too regurarly, my decision to subscribe to comments is suddenly validated.

      See you around

    3. We now know the name thanks to the Messenger's carelessness! Thanks, Messi. <3

    4. Never put anything down in writing, right neighbour? Never know who might get their hands on it.

  7. Oh goody. You survived your trial too. I'm almost jealous. I didn't get to attend mine. But the important this is you're still here and can continue to be a driving force behind my nightmares.

    Say something too intelligent for me to understand, please. I've missed this.

    1. Why would I ever want to cause you discomfort? I have nothing particularly against you, and it seems that I'm going to need all the allies I can currently get.

      And don't envy not being present for your trial. No offence meant, but you'd probably end up inditing yourself, which never proves very productive. I barely managed to avoid inserting my foot directly in my mouth as it stands...

    2. See, it's hard to hate you when you're so incredibly reasonable.
      Are you so incredibly desperate for allies that you'd count me among them?
      I mean, you can call a rock and ally but it's still gonna weigh you down. It'll always be a rock.

    3. The weight of carrying a rock can be worth it if you require such an object to bash something in. Like a lock, for example. Or a skull.

      Crude. Messy. Not much style.

      But desperate times...

    4. I can do crude and messy I suppose...

      I do insist on hating Joseph though. Didn't need a reason before so I don't really need one now.
      So torn...

      Can always do both I guess.

  8. Ah "Joseph", you have me very, very eager to see this storm that is coming our way. My expectations are set very high.

    By the way, did my Eye manage to deliver your present successfully?

    1. I have absolutely no idea what you're talking about, and I still have no idea who you are.

      The fact that you seem to think this literal hell on earth situation is at the very least, entertaining, you're not making me like you any more.

      Bloody fucking hell.

  9. I am glad you survived.
    I would rather you kept that way.

    1. ... I'm quite happy I survived as well. But kept what way...? I doubt you're calling me an imposter; because if you are, well, that would be worrying, to say the least...