Saturday, 26 May 2012

In Which We Go To Meet The Boss

I don't know what it is about these people and their suits. The handlers that is. You see enough of them and you get the impression it's a kind of fucking uniform. Real corporate.

Anyways, here comes the new boss, same as the old boss

I've visited the Cafe loop before, the new year's thing was nice up until people forgot that they were supposed to be having a good time. They've all got a different sort of... flavour to them. Loops, I mean.

The Boss, Joseph, Sherlock, whatever you want to call him, is sitting at a table in the back waist deep in paperwork, scowling. Off to a fantastic start. Straighten the tie up. Cough, good plan.

We manage to make what passes for polite conversation for all of a minute before getting this gem

"I'm not your boss. Ever seen the Tall Gentleman for yourself, Lister? That's your boss. And that's the funniest joke of all."

Now, I've seen old Tall, Gaunt and Faceless. He likes the woods well enough, doesn't he? You don't really forget seeing him, but I've seen him often enough.

"You're the man with the papers. You're the one that gives the orders. Way I see it that makes you the boss, boss."

"I've read your file. Quite the up and coming Agent it seems. But you... requested to be transferred here, to my understanding."

"Some sort of problem boss?

"Simply wondering about your motivations, Lister." He gives this sort of grin. It's not friendly. "Everyone knows that each division is at odds with the others. We all almost seem to practice a silly sort of elitism. So you'll have to forgive my confusion - but why would such an asset choose to head a squad like this...?"

It's true. I asked for the transfer here. It was too quiet in that little corner that I was stuck in, and that's all you'll hear from me on that subject.

"You want the honest answer or the shit one boss?"
Whatever you might hear, some of us who don't deal in this blog garbage do actually keep our ears to the ground. Surprising, I know.
"You decide. But I assume you've been told enough about me to know which choice is the right one, and which choice is going to make working under me quite possibly the worst experience of your entire life thus far."He's read my file, I've been... is briefed the right word? I think so, in any case, briefed regarding Sherlock.
"Well, when you put it like that I don't rightly believe that there's what you might call a 'right' answer."

I take a seat at this point, and start drinking, dry throat is unpleasant as I'm sure you know. "I mean, if I give you the shit answer odds are you being you would know right? And the honest answer doesn't quite seem like your thing. So, if you don't mind boss I think I'd rather keep my mouth shut." A little more drinking. "If it's all the same to you."

"..." He stands up, walks past me "Don't let the rest of the squad intimidate you. I think you'll fit in here just fine."

"Well, the creepy fellow's been transfered, as I understand it, and the angry one's a turncoat. So I don't think I should have any problems with the rest."

"Ronin doesn't like anybody." That, at least, gets a bit of a laugh. Which is good, last handler I had was a humourless, religious son of a bitch. "But he usually does as he's told. Just keep your wits about you. That being said..." And he some how manages to pull a houdini with my hip flask. Right out of my damn hand. Haven't seen that trick before.

"You've been promoted. Act like it. If any of them die, I'll be making sure you get the harshest hearing possible." He gets real quiet. Very serious. "Understood...?"

"Clear as mud boss." I get up and get ready to leave. "Only, could I have the water back?"

He stops for a second, and brings the flask up like it's just been dipped in raw sewage. So I take it off him and put it back where it belongs. Useful thing, a good hip flask, and I'm kind of fond of this one. It's like a good knife. You take care of it you've got nothing to worry about.


"I'm expecting your completed transfer paperwork on my desk early tomorrow morning. Otherwise?" He didn't like mentioning the next part. "Make yourself at... home."

I think this will do just fine.

(Door Closing)

Dear me Sherlock, what on earth have you been doing to poor "Photographer"? Torture, I'm sure you of all people couldn't possibly condone that sort of thing. Regardless, he's an absolute shambles. This will take ages to fix. 
I've taken the liberty to post his farewell. It seems only fair. 

Preparations complete for transfer, awaiting finalization of orders.
It has been Pleasant working with Baker Squad.
Believe I will miss ... this.

Fiametta, I have taken Hamish with me, I hope that you do not mind. Perhaps if you let "Joseph" look he might find you another cat.

"Joseph", believe you will exceed Expectations. I am still indebted to you regarding the sniper. Took the liberty of fixing the blog for you. Hope you don't object.

Janitor, has been an honour working with you.

Ronin, try not to perform more Inadvisable Actions.

. . . . . -

Saturday, 19 May 2012

you are the one fixed point in a changing age

But there's an east wind coming all the same; such a wind as never blew on our battlefield yet. It will be cold and bitter, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it's His own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared...

... What a crock of shit.

I'm having trouble renewing what amounts to "blind faith" these days. Though I've never been one for abandoning my own paradigms and throwing caution to the wind in the name of belief, it's certainly proving difficult to summon anything more than a sliver of hope. Sunshine? Is that supposed to be a bloody joke? This conflict is getting darker than it's ever been, and yet the Tall Gentleman stands, forever unchanging....

And what a forecast of doom and gloom we've had lately! If anyone wears a hat of grey in this moralistic spat, I'm sure they've been finding recent developments rather entertaining. They're also a giant prat, if anyone's asking, but that's besides the point. Analysis of information is slow and on-going, because it seems that we have about five false feeds for every legitimate one (and yet the Organization refuses to acknowledge that there's even a chance of an infiltrator within our midsts! Truly, every single day they find new ways to astound and surprise their ever so loyal employees.); because of that, it is up to whomever has a speck of free time to bite the figurative, but possibly soon to be literal, bullet and sort out what is true and what isn't. As talented as some of us are, humanity has its limitations, though I'm sure some of you out there have doubts to how much humanity we of the Tall Gentleman possess.

Humanity is certainly a topic, however, that I'd rather not bring up at the moment. My trip to examine the workings of a Cult town were, at best, disturbing. If anything, they're efficient, but you'll have to excuse my disgust for a system that is effectively Battle Royal de-fictionalized, with additions of A Clockwork Orange and perhaps a little sliver of Dr. Joseph Mengel.

Yes, it is that bad. Not that I didn't have warning; granted, "Maybrick", (alternatively Tom O'Harra, one of the only other Handlers in the Hyperion District; that being the one I belong to, of course) did offer some words of advice before I set off.

"You're not going to like what you see, Sherlock." Was the first thing I heard upon going into head office to pick up my orders; a bustling place, looking completely like a normal, busy office space. Granted, I wasn't exactly privy to the fact that the female voice I was currently hearing belonged to Ms. O'Harra herself, nor was I made aware that Ms. O'Harra was, in fact, a Miss. I felt myself whirl around, instantly on guard, hand hovering on my combat knife beneath my coat. Facing me was a tall woman in a perfectly tailored suit set, hair pulled into a truly impeccable bun, not one strand out of place.

"Oh? And why is that...?" I must admit I raised an eyebrow as I zeroed in on a stack of paperwork tucked under her arm - and the signature that was on it. The issue of her identity now reasonably solved, I was able to finally focus on her response.

"You're not exactly known for your lack of emotional response in situations like these." She sighed, not even looking at me as she set down the stack on one desk, not even pausing before she picked up another. "I know every little dirty secret about you, after all. Well..." She stopped, holding up an overstuffed file. "I know whatever is in this thing, anyways."

I have to admit, I didn't actually expect her to abuse her position, if you could consider such a thing abuse. Everyone in the district knows that Tom - my apologies, "Maybrick" - is almost the unofficial office junkie out of all of us. Certainly, it would be impossible for the other Handlers to function without her, as her assistance is what keeps the district organized, up, and running; but the thought of her using her power to get the scoop on the rest of us didn't even cross my mind. In hindsight, this was incredibly stupid of me, and Ms. O'Harra must have recognized my shocked expression. Her short tut was enough to snap me out of my contemplative daze; she took to straightening my loose tie, signalling to another office-attire clad proxy (or at least I assumed them to be proxies; after further study, I have concluded that may not have been the case) to go get something, a short wait later, revealed to be coffee.

"That being said, you've got an annual due in fifteen days, three reports due in seven, and two sets of transfer paperwork that need to be in as soon as possible. That's on top of your progress reports on the Moriarty issue and the write up on your current mission." Her expression softened as I reacted to the reminder with wide eyes and tense shoulders.

"... Hey, relax, alright...? [REDACTED] and I will help you through this. I should call you Bambi, for heaven's sake..." My breath hitched, and she turned her head; I caught crow's feet on the edge of her eyes. "It'll be fine, Holmes. Trust me."

And with that, she tightened my tie with expert efficiency, and the moment was gone. I muttered a "Thank you" and "I'm sorry, It'll get done soon" under my breath, and walked out without another word.


I think the overwhelming normalcy of the Cult was what surprised me the most. Because I've seen what, or more accurately who was a result of such a system, I, perhaps, expected some sort of, I don't know, a coliseum of sorts? Perhaps a picturesque village, complete with total silence and patches of rust upon the ground that, yes, may be blood? No, the place I was lead to certainly looked... ordinary. Instead of horrible visions of horror and suffering, I was instead treated to what seemed to be a well built and rather nondescript compound. Trees flanking all sides of the camp aside from the road outwards, it almost seemed like a resort, or vacation spot. Somewhere you'd take your elderly parents and kids.

But the air of this place... it's hard to describe as anything other than completely wrong. Like it's too thick to be in your lungs, like it's crawling down your throat, invading you, drowning you; and the light seems oversaturated and unnatural, casting over everything, as if it was a stifling blanket that made every single surface look painted, surreal.

That was simply my initial impression. What followed was somewhat unnerving; though it certainly was fascinating in a morbid sense. I was shown around the compound by Deus, the current leader of Cult Operations. "I, of course, only hold any sort of sway if you so allow it, Sir." He offered as we walked, but I informed him that I wanted little to nothing to do with this place. He gave a robotic nod, then proceeded to enthusiastically describe each and every torture that they put their trainees through in each area.

I saw the "Nurturing compound"; rows upon rows of blank faced, swollen bellied mothers, seemingly unaware that they were effectively cattle.

I saw the trainees themselves; either scrawny, almost feral in nature, or unnaturally calm and expressionless.

I saw the execution grounds, the nooses on trees for those deemed not good enough to be of service, the bloodied axe and chopping block for those who broke the rules, the single concrete wall marked by bullet holes, for those who could not be controlled or killed by simpler means.

All while Deus chattered in my ear, telling me of the great "Servants of God" they've produced, how much pride they have in their work, and how effective their methods are.

I met Harpole, who watched over the trainees most, a young man with a bright smile and dead eyes.

I met Sycora, who would regularly send trainees to their deaths, her full lips constantly drawn into a thin line.

I met Fairfax, who cared for the cattle and catered to their every need - which never went beyond food and water.

I met Costanzo, who existed solely to break the trainees who rebelled; a man with so many scars on his arms that the raised white skin almost made up their entirety.

It's truly difficult to understand the scope of this operation until you see it. They need none of my help or guidance. The system is self sustained. They live, breathe, and produce; thinking nothing of consequence or morality. And the proxies sent to us from such a place will fight until they die, or will be able to weave worlds out of nothing. It's truly amazing, in my opinion.

It will be allowed to operate as usual. I will do nothing to stop it. The Organization, after all, needs soldiers, and who better to die in a war than those who grew up wanting nothing more than to die...?

... and after I left

I turned

and puked.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Fuck You, I'm Out

I got my new fucking orders today, straight from the upper ups. I'm to be removed from Baker Squad and placed with... some other random fuckhole, it hardly matters, does it?

I told them all when I signed up for this bullshit, the only reason I was ever here was because of the Boss. He's the one that recruited me, after all. I tried to knife him in an alley, and he laughed and told me he could use someone like me on his squad. Told me about the tall fucker, asked me to come work for him. That night was the first and only time I ever saw the thing, and so I went along.

One of three men I've ever respected. One's dead, one's been taken from me now, and the third... well, he probably doesn't like me very much anymore. Funny. I almost had a life here. Guess that can't be allowed to fucking happen.

For the record, the Boss doesn't know that I'm doing this. At least not until I put this post up. He's got enough shit on his plate, I'm not gonna stick him with my bullshit too.

Boss, do yourself a favor and... I dunno, go find yourself someone to kill. It's theraputic, and you could use something to calm the fuck down. I wish I'd been a better part of your team. Maybe then I could've stayed.

As it stands, as soon as this post goes up, I'm a defector, bitches. Making my own way in the world again.
Fuck you all.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

a child has done this horrid thing

... because that is what has caused this inscrutable mess. Children. The games of immensely powerful children, children that know nothing of morality and have not even entertained such a concept, children that hold lives in their hands in place of pieces, children that produce startlingly effective results...

Ha, is that not the most terrifying thought you've ever had in your life?

Pol Pot once employed children as security guards, not for the nation's enemies, but rather to "protect" it from its own people. He, I figure, assumed that a child is perfectly honest and would not hesitate to do as it was told. A child has no idea what pity or mercy is. Children only know what they are ordered to do.

I suppose that's why the whole Writer situation has gotten me fascinated, albeit in a morbid sense. As of nine days ago, he's been officially designated as "Absent Without Leave". Yes, one of the most notorious and hated Crafters in the Runner's pathetic and rather short history is currently off the grid. How, we're not exactly sure.

But I'm almost certain as to why.

Seven days ago, I myself posted a classified document on this blog. The simple reason for this was because I now could. Yes, I've been promoted to Handler by some sick and cruel twist of fate. It is a position that I neither had expressed any interest in, and for some reason, this catapulted me to the front of the running. And though there are positives, such as having most gag orders become optional for me to follow, not compulsory, and having free and unrestricted access to most of the Organization's database, such perks are also followed by me suddenly having to take responsibility (or, alternatively, Handle, if you're a complete bloody arsehole) for three Squads in the division, hand out assignments, and, of course, finish paperwork. And dear sweet tossing hell there is a lot of paperwork.

On top of that mess, the fact that Writer has gone on a little bit of unpaid bloody vacation means that I'm the premier Crafter in my own and surrounding divisions. So that, of course, means that I'm left constantly flitting from place to bloody place maintaining the Loops that that fucking git left behind and attempting to build my own, which is proving to be bloody well fucking IMPOSSIBLE.

Ah, yes, back on topic. It would seem that my previous assumption was absolutely correct; Writer was duped, and he was duped badly. According to the files I've gotten my grubby little fingers on, he was told he would get his glorious Teller back, and, well... we all have seen the end product of Spencer Fitzgerald.  It's a shame, but for some reason, I'm having trouble summoning a great deal of pity for our favourite psychopathic stalker. That being said, we are no longer responsible for Writer's actions. There will be nobody sent to give him hugs and a hot cup of milk in the event that he loses (or has lost) his figurative mind. You all have been warned.

If you see him, run.

... so what does this mean for the Squad as a whole? Photo's getting transferred to another division, the rest of the Squad got promoted, and we're bringing in another Squad leader because I can't do the job myself anymore...

Next week, I'm going to be visiting the cult under my jurisdiction. I can't say I'm looking forward to seeing the grisly operation for myself, but all is fair in love and... the line of duty. But something about effectively manufacturing servants for the Tall Gentleman just doesn't sit well with me. Perhaps I'm over thinking the issue. Perhaps there's no place for such feelings in my position anymore.

I'll suppose it's something to discuss with [REDACTED] - my apologies, one of the three other Handlers in my district, including myself. He is the one that "provided" us with Photographer, and has also been the one in charge of my ongoing psychiatric assessment. That is something that I'll discuss later.

With the Cafe only now housing its regular residents and awaiting another, we're, of course, being left to clean up the mess that Moriarty's man made and process the information we have gotten from this ordeal. Until then, it's classified; which means that even if I WANTED to keep all you bloody gits informed, I very well couldn't until the report is cleared for public consumption, like we're worried that it will be too much for your faint little hearts.

Jesus. I can't take this.

So yes, the job is about as mind numbingly tedious as I expected it to be. Big surprise. But we're all alive, and we're in one piece; which is damn good these days, considering what's been going on.

Stay aware and alert. That goes for all of you. I can't see this getting better anytime soon.

Slán agus ádh mór oraibh. Let's hope nobody dies; the paperwork might bloody well kill me.