After settling into my office on Picon, I set out my shingle and waited for the phone to ring. And waited. And waited. And waited. I was starting to wonder if I had made the right decision to leave The Firm, when the story found me.
I was in my office on Sunday just catching up on the various licenses and contracts I had to hold, when I heard footsteps climbing the stairs. Knowing the night watchman didn’t start his shift untill 8, I called out into the hall.
“Someone there?” I called out. A gravely voice returned my call. “Hey Reporter man you interested in a story?”
“I am always for the story. Enter.” In walks a man dressed in black, military style boots, wearing a mask over his face. I saw the mask and reached for my pistol in the desk. “What is this?” I asked.
The masked man steps in, one hand on the hand cannon on his hip and announces “well I got one for ya, and some interesting photos.” I relaxed slightly. “Have a seat.” He walked over and sits down in a chair, tossing over an envelope. Seeing the mask, I ask “Sandstorm?” “No, in the interests of keeping my identity to myself.”
I pick up the envelope. “So what are these?” I ask. “You probably hear there was an attempt on an admiral last night. The are shots from Ole Betsy before the incident.” I stiffen again at the reference to the attempt on the admiral’s life. “Yes, I did hear of that. Near miss.” I pick up the envelope and scan the photos a minute. They were scope shot stills of people in the streets last night right before the assasination attempt. I could not make out people in detail, just military uniforms. The sight of the crosshairs on the people ran a chill down my spine.
The man looked away as he leaned back in his chair in defiance. “Yeah well I coulda taken out the hit team, but I’m not ready to make myself known. I have a mission myself and those fraks were amatuers.”
I scanned the man’s eyes looking for a tell. “Interesting. What’s your stake in this?” “Drivebys are only good for taking out groups” he said, shaking his head. “As for my stake, well to say this – it’s in the interest of getting business back to normal. My..ahem… employer’s business is being disrupted by the unrest. I’m here to…settle things in my own way.”
I leaned forward in my chair quickly, startling the the man. “You aren’t from…The Firm…are you? because I told them I would not let them interfere with my life anymore.” He leaned back in his chair. “No I’m not from The Firm,” betraying a bit of a Tauron accent. “And I’m not here to interfere with you unless your the one forming the issues.”
“I am just here to tell the story” I replied. “That part of my life is over…I hope.” Long silence as we studied each other. “So what do you want from me?” “What do you think of the pictures? I want you to let those causing this stuff via your words know that if things do not settle down soon, there will be a much larger mess till cooler heads prevail.”
My eyes narrowed on the masked man. “I can’t make out who the people are in these shots. How do I know what this represents?” “All those shots were taken of military personnel before the event last night. The point is no one except the news is safe. If I had wished, that would have been nearly a dozen dead naval and marine personell.” I could tell in his voice he meant it.
“Every terrorist group has its cause. So what’s yours?” I said. “Like I said, I only seek to get things back to a more stable point, and I’m not a terrorist. I’m just the nameless servant of a powerful business man who’s tired of profit loss.” I leaned back in my chair. “So how do I do that without sounding like a nut? No name group, no name ‘individual’, and what is ‘back to normal’ anyways? And what does the military have to do with any of this?”
The man nearly stood up, clearly anxious to make his point and get out. “As in these fools in the populace realizing that they are at more risk without the military warhounds here than they are with them around. My Boss’s enforcers will arrive soon and people will start disappearing. As for what to call us, just say an ‘interested party.’ We have many stakes in this world, including shipping. We work with the military and the civilians, and right now business ain’t too good.”
I take a deep breath. “I see. What the hell, business is slow here too. I have the power of the press to protect me. I will tell your story.” The man’s eyes smiled. “On one condition.” The smile vanished. “That you give me first shot at any information your ‘group’ is involved in.” The smile returned, almost a smirk under the kerchief.
He chuckled. “I’ll even send you pretty pictures if there are any.” “I will take that as a yes.” I replied. “Yes, press coverage will make things more fun.”
I motioned to my doorway. “If you need to reach me, drop a note to the mailbox outside my office. I will get it.” He nodded. “You’ll get them.” I looked out the window, and seeing the streets start to bustle with weekend shoppers, I said “Now go before the guard makes his weekend rounds.”
The masked man chuckled again and left without a word. I picked up the envelope again and scanned the pictures. Someone was doing a double take on the people trying to take out the military. What’s that old saying? ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend?’ Somehow I didn’t think they shared the same goal. Definitely a conflict of interest.
As I turned on my laptop, I was most concerned about how to explain this to the military police that were sure to hit my doorway once this went public.
Mercury ReImagined is the ongoing story of the Human Race’s struggle for survival from an enemy so close they can feel it. Join the struggle by visiting Battlestar Mercury and make your mark on history. So Say We All!
Battlestar Galactica® is a registered trademark of Universal Studios, Inc.®
Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. No infringement is intended.
Like what you see here? Subscribe to Doug’s column FREE and get email alerts whenever he publishes a new article.