Voyage of the Colonel Darvish

Hearts and Minds, Diego is finished

“So in essence, you wish to win the hearts and minds of any outlying community rather than conquer them through military or police action? Excuse my terseness, but even though you may choose a more passive-aggresive approach, isn’t it still a means of acquisition? It isn’t as if you are announcing your existence to the world or area at large. You must admit, and I’m sure this has been considered, but your clandestine existence will put people in charge at unease, and should word spread of this community and the wonderful accomplishments it has fulfilled, officers and statesmen alike will want to acquire your enterprise at any means necessary!

Diego had heard enough, he felt that Ken was just another follower of some lost ideal. Blowing out hot air propaganda so he replied to Ken’s words……

“Now please, I don’t wish to be a naysayer, and I am certainly no governmental lackey or snitch, but you must understand with your continued progress and evolution, it will simply be a matter of time before someone, some entity, will want to take what is yours, seeing the societal and civilized advancements you have made, and I am sure that transition will be bloody and revolting, and it is in this future that I don’t wish to take any part.”

Diego continued, to a now stern faced Ken. “So, and if this delectable cup of tea is any indication, you obviously have a community that is well advanced beyond any other post-war, outlying regions, be it municipal, county, etc., I really am not sure how well I would fit into your future plans.”vDiego is almost delighting in the fact that he has changed Ken’s demeanor. Diego had always been a critical thinker and would take arguments often just for arguments sake.

Ken replies “You are still missing the point Diego,” Ken’s voice turns stern, " We do not wish to acquire anything, we have all we desire. And you are free to serve the military community that you do now. You are free to continue serve the organization that caused this war. Your point about others coming to take what is ours is astute. I am buoyed, by the fact that you say you are not a MilGov lackey, but your complacency within their system says otherwise."

“So if that is your wish Diego then so be it,” Ken replies “We were asking, as we always have, for people to do what is right. And much like the people who have caused this war, the people you still serve, you are free to ignore the obvious. Return to your little hovel, work on the small problems. Other more visionary men and women will fix what you and your kind have caused or at the very least choose to ignore.”

Ken stands and leaves the room. Diego politely but deliberately sips his final, savory drop of the ‘house blend’, contemplating his decision, but perhaps because of his age and experience, his concerns for the future are one of a conservative, and not wanting to change his benign, if not repetitive lifestyle, Diego believes his decision to be a sound one.

“Now, gentlemen. Ladies, Delores, I believe I must get back to lesson plans and finish my grading. Delores, I expect I will be seeing you in class?”

The guards return as does the military officer looking man. Diego sensing it is time to go takes the last sip of tea and stands placing the cup in front of him on the desk. Diego not waiting to be asked strolls defiantly out the door and toward the entrance to the mausoleum. Delores follows first then the 2 guards and officer. Boot heels clacking on the mausoleum’s scarred marble floor they reach the front door.

As the group moves outside into the light of day Diego spins offering the papers back to Delores, “You’ll be wanting these back I suppose.” Delores speaks sternly, " No Diego, we wish people to come to believe in our causes by choice. Put those on a shelf somewhere. If you come to a realization that the Military Complex that runs this area is not the future that you wish to pursue, then use it to come back to us. We want the intelligent, but only if they are willing…free willing."

The two guards board the grounds cart and it ‘putt-putt-putts’ to life, the light odor of burning alcohol exhaust ticks the nose. Diego and Delores climb inside and the vehicle putt-putt-putts away toward the gate. Diego gets out and turns to say “class on Monday…..” But the cart has turned and accelerated away, leaving Diego just outside the gate with the two gate guards eyeing him cautiously.

Diego nods to the guards and turns and begins walking back toward the school. It is about noon, skies are overcast, it is in the mid 50s with a light breeze blowing. Diego grabs the brim of his hat to keep it on his head as he decides to take a meandering casual stroll home.

Cock of the Walk
Maze and entourage head toward Maggie's

The group was out of place in the dilapidated city that was San Francisco. 4 well dressed men and a woman in partial geisha attire, looked comical. They would be travelling only on only Japanese territory so most people steered wide when they saw the group coming. This was not a group to be trifled with by design. When Maze’s uncle had run the organisation the mood was a bit more clandestine, but Yasuda had brought back old ways. Strutting bbraggarts was the official dress code. Not just your attire but the appearance and your entourage.

Maze had a dislike of this. He had always preferred to stay subtle and quiet, he was now forced into a “look at me-I’m dangerous” charade. The group was in fact dangerous, very dangerous, but like a top wild west gunfighter, sometimes there would be someone gunning for you, trying to take your place as baddest of the bad. The group arrrived at Maggie’s, Maze wanted to make sure she would alibi him as to his whereabouts when the Rock Tiwns were killed.

Leaving his entourage behind, he was escorted into Maggie’s domicile. The wait was short as Margaret hobbled into the room and spoke, “What you back here for? We get job done, Yasuda promise payment…you better not be fucking with me.” Maze answered, “No, no, no, Doctor Suzuki. There is a question of where I was yesterday. Seems someone thought I was in two places at once.” “Ahh,” Margaret replies, " Let me guess you in trouble with boss…fuck wrong girl maybe? You dressed up like an idiot so you must be going to see Yasuda….you need alibi."

“You are very perceptive Doctor,” Maze replies “Yes I am just looking for the truth to be told nothing more.” “Yasuda pay, and I tell him you were fucking me if you like” Margaret was crass and louder even than her usual caustic self. “Just the truth, I brought a down payment to hold you over until the rest of the payment arrives,” Maze dropped a stack of Japanese script on the table before her.

“Be tough to lie that you WERE NOT there,” she says scooping up the script, “Have to kill at least six, seven people to shut them all up for that lie.” Maze smiled as Suzuki spun away from him, Suzuki finishing “I let everyone know we were having relations all day yesterday.” Maze looked up at the ceiling and shook his head. He was reasonably assured that Suzuki and the Sea Horse Captain would place him at the docks and on the boat at the time that the Rock Twins were killed.

Maggie spins on her fake leg and disappears down a hallway. Maze heads back out to the party and tells them where they will go next, Alieolies. Alieolie was an trusted errand boy running a bicycle and rickshaw messenger and delivery service. Due to his people being able to move about rapidly and without a lot of question he also did some “listening” on the side.

Maze thought as the group set off again, “For all her bluster and ball-busting, Maze was confident Maggie understood that any problem that would send him down there bearing cash and looking for confirmation en route to seeing Yasuda was something that could bite her in the ass, too.” He worried that If they—whoever the fuck “they” actually were—we’re willing to casually, and messily, clip the Rock Twins, another half-dozen bodies might not be a problem.

Maze had brought his own script to pay off Maggie, he’d worried about any rift between Maggie’s shop and the Organization. That could be ugly. He wasn’t sure it would be prudent to confide in Suzuki about the real driving force behind this little visit, not least because she likely wouldn’t give a shit. But she was nothing if not a practical and prudent old sea hag. She’d protect what she had going here—both for herself and with the Organization, even if she thought Yasuda a clown. “Better the clown you know…,” and all that.

It was less than an half an hour walk until Alieolie’s place

Through the wall
Levi and Jose get through the sandbagged wall

Levi works on a top corner of the plywood. Slowly and cautiously to ensure the cieling doesn’t give way. After an hour he has found out that in fact there is a 2×4 frame that is built with plywood on this side. The other side are orange nylon commercial sandbags in which a frame of wood is holding them into a wall.

He decides that cutting a piece of the plywood out and then attempting to remove the sandbags behind may be the best to see what they are up against. Jose and Levi take turns, one upstairs guarding for awhile and the other working. A rip saw is used to cut away a 1 foot diameter “moon” and then the sandbags are pushed and pulled. They are secured well.

After shoring up the ceiling and boring out part of the wall, and pulling sandbags out. There is enough room for a man to crawl through. “If you see my legs kick wildly, pull me out,” Levi tells Jose, “here goes nothing,” Levi starts worming his way through the hole. He gets just his head and upper torso through and shines his flashlight about.

He is in a 10 foot by 30 foot room. All the walls are cinder blocks. The door that needed to be picked was on one of the 30 foot walls. There is a matching door opposite it. “Wow this is a really good bunker” Levi thinks pulling himself the rest of the way through. Levi yells back through the opening. “Gonna take a look about, but we may need Tie for another door in here.”

Levi enters the room and stands. Jose follows and says he locked the outer door. The deadbolt is hand lockable from the inside. There is nothing on the walls and only a darkened fluorescent fixture on the ceiling. “It is pitch dark, you might be eaten by a Grue” a line from the text game Zork, pops into Levi’s head.

This does in fact look like a blast protection area, and sandbags would absorb some radiation too. Levi and Jose move toward the other metal door, a bit of checking it over then a turn of the handle,

It is unlocked and you swing it slowly inward….

The discussion gets heated
Diego and Acumen Ken converse

“Excellent Diego” Ken replies to you, Delores obviously smiling. “We want free thinkers. Although we do have an agenda and a belief in what is right, we in no way wish to enforce our will. We wish to makes sense to those like us so they chose. You either join and help us voluntarily or move along your way. I will be the first to admit that we were wrong before the war. Not that we didn’t predict that this would happen, but that more people didn’t listen to us.”

“This community is born of that ideal, the old fable of the ant and the grasshopper so to speak. We told the world to stop their ways, and when they would not we told them to prepare, and when they did not we hid in our ant hill and let those grasshoppers around us sing during the winter. That is one thing that we are not, sympathetic. Some may find it ruthless, but it is part of that choice. Follow us and benefit, or do not follow us and do as you please. But you are given the choice and its window of opportunity only remains open for so long.”

“This tea is exquisite.” Diego proclaims, interrupting Ken mostly because he felt Ken was getting blustery. "Wars have been instigated for such palatable revelry. Granted the current military regime is heavy-handed at times, but being the current status quo, it would be difficult to overthrow or manipulate such an entrenched society. Yet, here I am. I haven’t survived because “they”, the powers that be have let me, I survive because of who I am. Narcissistic? Absolutely, but in this day and age, it is the only means necessary for a long and somewhat prosperous existence. "

“Excuse me. Please continue.” Diego sees Ken is listening to him, but clearly has more to say.

“As to militarism we are far from that.” Ken continues. “We do have guns, but would never use them to enforce will. We actually have a rule about discharge of firearms off Coventry grounds. Stalin, Lenin, Hitler they imprisoned or murdered their enemies. We try to merely observe our enemies hoping they do not interfere with our community. We would only defend, never attack.”

“But of course we do not expect anyone to believe our words, we prove by action. Our course was philanthropy before the war and we will attempt that again now that society is re-establishing itself. Our first interest is education and nutrition, building a smart community that is not want of food. This may take many years, but we feel it is in the best interest of our fellow human beings.”

“So in conclusion I ask that you do not trust my words, but come to see this communities actions. Come live with us for a week, or even a month. See and meet our people. Watch our deeds and how we run our society, and watch how we treat those who are outside of our society. If living with us still gives you trepidation, why don’t you just hang out? Come by after class, come by on weekends.”

“The papers that you have will allow you access to most areas of the compound, you may come and go as you please. Hopefully you can work with Delores here on some specific times, because we’d like to show you what we are doing. Agriculture, knowledge, building the surrounding community. Travel with one of our convoys, observe our schools, take a look at our food production programs…and decide for yourself.”

Here Comes the BEEF
Maze gets some muscle

Just before 11am Charlie returned with the two requested heavies. Both formidable men were also dressed in suits. Large of frame and clearly there for business. Again this was tradition within the organization. You always traveled with an entourage. Maze’s was pretty typical, couple a heavies, a doll, and an accountant type in this case Charlie. Charlie informed Maze that Yasauda would see them at his “castle” The family was set up in an old luxury hotel, the base of which was a nightclub and gambling parlor, which was extremely high end. Referred to as The Castle, both due to it being formidably guarded and having odd designs of castle like turrets on its corners.

The Two men Charlie had brough Maze knew both them and their families well. Both had been loyal to Maze’s uncle, both had apologized when they had to shift their allegiance to Yasuda. But Maze knew both men to be men of honor and word. If they said they had Maze’s back then he trusted that.

Heavy 1 was known a 4-Pip, his actual name was Pipu Miazaki. He was an expert with his hands and feet. 4-Pip came from the pips on a 6 sided die as his 2 hands and 2 feet…he could kill you with anyone of his 4 “pips” Heavy number 2 was known as Donk. Short for Donkey. Donk was big tough and never spoke. Donk was a 240 pound man capable of kicking a 6 foot tall adversary in the head, hence Donkey. Donk could also “Hollywood” shoot two pistols at once. He clearly had two large frame automatics under each arm bulging in his suit. This was exactly the correct look for an entourage befitting of Maze’s previous rank, and the proper way to approach an official visit to the head of the organization.

Charlie has left to get Kazumi while Maze went over the details with 4 Pip and Donk. Charlie and Kazumi were back in a half hour. Kazumi dressed in a simpler form of Geisha kimono and carrying a decorative umbrella. Something official and traditional, but slightly more practical for walking. All this ‘theater’ was needed for an audience with Yasuda. When Maze’s uncle was boss, it was business first. Yasuda had a B-Movie gangster flair to him that had a certain silliness and almost comic quality to it.

Charlie dressed in a suit and carried a briefcase. Charlie makes tea and then the group set out for the Castle.

Meeting the Acumen
Diego gets the story

Diego is lead into an area that used to be several small offices. Delores invites him into the office and to have a seat She sits on the other side of a table and begins to speak. “Well here we are…Diego this is Coventry, Coventry 12 to be exact. We are and organized scholarly group who prides ourselves in being the betterment of mankind. We chose the name Coventry due to its connotation of exile. Long before the war burned, we tried to intervene. We were ridiculed.”

Delores continues, “So we took those who would listen and situated ourselves to survive . It did come but we were also forced to realize we were wrong, although only slightly. We thought that the war would be a true destruction of society. We were ready to crawl from the ashes to reclaim the land….but there were still people. Sure the war was ruinous, but not as completely as we thought.” Diego’s mind adds “or hoped” almost like someone else speaking inside his head.

“We were easily able to move back into society, staying on the edges and continuing with our plan to be self sufficient, but society and humans have recovered better than we thought.” Diego’s mind adds “or hoped” again, Delores continues, " So we reestablished contacts with the other Coventries. We begin trading with the outside world and we begin expanding our settlements."

“Eventually we decided to reach out to others who had survived, others who may have called us paranoid dooms-day-ers before the cataclysm, but now that it has happened….you are one. You are one who we are offering admittance to our group. We research our people carefully. For joining coventry is at the expense of all other loyalty. There will be none before our group. But I believe when you get to know us a little better that whatever you may hold dear, religion…country…government you will find us more compelling to pledge allegiance to.”

Diego was mulling over her words and adding the background he’d read. George Soros must have been the financier behind the start of this. Soros had been trying to warn of impending financial collapse and ended up profiteering immensely right before the war. The economy of Britian for a while was shifted straight into Soros’ pockets though currency trading. Easily unethical, probably illegal, but then bombs fell shortly after.

But Soros must have built this network to survive the war and these must be cumulation of his work……

A man in a military uniform enters, apparently some sort of officer. Delores nods to him and he spins back into the hall. He reappears with a slender man in a brown suit. “Deigo,” says the brown suited man, " I am Acumen Ken Branan, I am the leader of Coventry 12 I would ask that you question me if you wish. For I want to go over several items as we consider you joining….."

Diego has a myriad of questions and opinions swirling through his mind, first and foremost, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Although Diego isn’t completely autonomous, he does enjoy more freedom than most of his peers, heck, probably most of humanity, and it’s this sort of comfort and complacency Diego would have a difficult time exchanging.

Religion, government, community, and even companionship are mostly relative terms, especially with upheaval of events in the last 30 years. If Diego has learned anything, formal education aside, is that the only truth that exists and remains constant is the truth of knowing thyself, and this entire situation does not feel legitimate or altruistic to Diego.

“Diego politely smiles and asks for a cup of tea or water being slightly parched from his trek and then asks, Coventry 12? So there are other Coventry outposts?”

Ken the brown suited man has moved behind the desk across from them. He nods and the two military dressed men and the officer leave. Leaving Ken Delores and Diego alone.

The man in the Brown suit sits and Delores stands and leaves the room, presumably to retrieve the water or tea Diego requested. “Yes” says Ken, replying to Diego’s question about more Coventries " We established not only select societies such as these across the country, but caches from which we could draw upon." Diego knew of many groups that grew out of the ashes of America, but this one appeared to be well organized and funded.

Ken continues, " So here we are at a crossroads of what happens with civilization, we can let the pieces fall where they may or we can attempt to influence the transformation for good. We seek not to control or profit, just to guide. This Coventry is successful and sufficient, and by plan we hope to spread that to the surroundings, hopefully the people are receptive, for we will not force anyone to do or believe anything."

“We are presenting opportunities to members of the community to help in the rebuilding of society. The Military government may have been been the iron hand needed when the chaos was here, but the area has stabilized. Again we do not seek to overthrow, just to facilitate the transition back to a people’s government.”

“We want to start at educational and farming levels, before the war this is what our founder George Soros stressed education and the fact that at the time the world produced enough food to get everyone fed, yet famine still existed. Our short term goals are to get an educational system re-established and get a more concerted effort into feeding people.”

Delores returns with platter on it a stainless steel teapot, scorched under from a fire and a porcelain coffee cup with a screen type teaball and a saucer with tea leaves on it. Delores placed the set on the table in front of Diego. “Fong-Hull” she says offering the saucer of leaves to Diego. “After we began farming food, we had a few who worked to grow a trade good, in the last few years we’ve established a tea green-house. It is our house blend”

“Mmm, Diego sips the tea, this ‘house blend’ is quite sublime! My compliments to your horticulturists for a fine job, indeed!” Diego continues “You are espousing all the correct propaganda, but how many regimes in history’s past have started with the same rhetoric? Pol Pot, Stalin AND Lenin, Hitler, every Roman emperor, the list goes on . . .”

Lock picked, time to open Al Capone's Vault

Jose calls Levi downstairs, Levi is a bit apprehensive about taking his eyes off Tie. “Wanna keep an eye on him?” Levi says softly when he nears Jose. “check this door see if you see anything before we open it, I took a look at it and didn’t see anything.” Jose then lowers his voice, “I’ll watch Tie”

Levi is cautious looking over the cracks of the door, no plungers of wires are visible. He spends several minutes as Jose ascends the stairs. Jose hears light murmur of the two men talking

Levi figures someone has to do it and turns the knob the door opens and a musty ‘basement’ smell escapes. Levi pushes the door cautiously and slowly, it moves easily and quietly.

Levi examines the door frame and floor inside. Levi moves his flashlight about “It’s open and I didn’t blow up,” he shouts lightheartedly up the stairs. Jose appears at the top of the stairs and descends “paid Tie and sent him away” Jose had indeed given what he’d promised Tie and Tie had left.

Jose pulls his own flashlight out and scans the area. Jose sees nothing. The door is pushed open and both mens flashlights scan the interior…….The mens flashlight beams waver on plywood. There is a space just big enough to open the door, about closet sized behind it. The closet walls are made of plywood.

Both men look at each other in question. Something is very odd about the room. The way the door opens there would be no way to store anything in this space. The plywood is unfinished and doesn’t seem to be structurally sound. There must be a frame or something behind the plywood walls. A solid 4 × 8 sheet in front to the right and looking behind the door one to the left. The ceiling is a 4×4 sheet of plywood. So the door opens inward into a 4 deep 4 wide 8 high closet. All walls being unfinished plywood Upon closer examination there are indeed many nails the sharp end poking through the plywood. Someone hammered from the other side

Levi and Jose investigate for a bit more and deem the area safe. Levi eventually gets a prybar from his kit and pushes the straight end into the corner and between two of the pieces of plywood. A little wiggling of the prybar and he’s forced a bit of space, maybe a half inch. Shining a flashlight inside there is a bright orange nylon weave fabric seen through the gap.

Levi works at it slowly and cautiously having to put a bit of weight behind he eventually gets a couple inches of gap by using the prybar and his weight, then out comes a bit of sand.

A good shove with his shoulder and a trickle of sand descends from the crack. Both men stare puzzled for a minute. “Blast shield” Levi says. There looks to be sandbags behind this wall. If that blast goes off in the stairway, this might be some protection for someone deeper inside.

Levi is pretty sure there that someone inside put up a plywood wall, basically sealing themselves in. Then they stacked sandbags up against that wall from the inside. Levi uses the prybar on several of the joints. The plywood appears to have a frame of 2×4s behind it and sandbags appear to be in every area stacked and held in place, possibly by the 2×4 frame.

Levi turns and talks with Jose:" You know, this could turn into a decent safe room for your family if we’re careful about pulling it apart. Hopefully, there ain’t a pile of corpses back there, but some hidden treasure! Canned food, working batteries, a pile of toys for the kids?

Diego arrives at the house of the dead

stroll watching a city coming alive. Rickshaws and horse draws carts, people on bicycles even an occasional vehicle.

Diego reaches the outskirts of the cemetery, sees the uniformed guards and slowly approaches. The guards seems to notice you when you are about 50 meters away, They are armed with M16s and move into a ready position as Diego is clearly walking straight toward them.

Diego’s last trepidations disappear, he is now 100% interested in what this organization is. He’s always been a gatherer of knowledge and this has turned into another learning experience.

“Can we help you.” asks the first guard as Diego is now 15 feet away. Diego approaches and reaches in for the paperwork he had. The guards flinch, gripping their rifles as Diego shakes his head “just papers” he says as he produces the folder from inside his jacket and pulls out the red ‘passport’

The second guard moves to a guard shack and Diego can see him crank an old military telephone and speak into it. “I guess we are expecting you” says the first guard as he examines the ID papers that Diego has handed him. “They’ll be here in a minute” the other guard shouts from the shack.

The first guard hands the papers back to Diego, “don’t loose these,” he instructs “The boss will be here in a second.” In a few minutes Diego hears the puttering of an engine and sees a small golf cart like vehicle approaching. It looks like an old maintenance cart with 4 seats in an open cab with a small pickup like bed on the back.

There are 2 men in front dressed in military garb, Delores is in the back. The vehicle stops and Delores motions for Diego to come to it. Diego walks onto the grounds of the cemetery and sits next to Delores.

“Ready?” she asks and nods as the driver applies the gas and the cart put-puts in a circle and heads through the cemetery. The grounds are not well maintained, weeds and gnarled trees grow about the smallish tombstones. They pass a few other military dressed guards and others dong various tasks

The looming mausoleum structure nears and the vehicle stops in front. Diego steps out as do the others and the four of them move toward the front door. There are several other guards who eye Diego, one of them opens the front door as they approach beckoning him inside..

The inside of the mausoleum is “mausoleumly” The walls are expanses of granite and marble as are the floors. Overhead skylights let in light past large hanging fluorescent fixtures which are probably long burnt out emanating no light. It takes a minute for your eyes to adjust to the low light. “This way please,” Delores says leading the way,the two pistol armed guards follow Diego

The entrance is one huge room with passages going off to all sides. There are quite a few people coming and going. All adults and most dressed in the military surplus style uniforms that the guards wear.

You walk straight ahead and see into some of the corridors that stretch away, they are walls of crypts, but the marble facades are gone. The interior is cement “shelves” that used to hold caskets. In their place there are boxes and bags and all assortment of items. It appears the bodies have ben removed and the space now used for storage.

Delores says “We have prepared well for the fall of civilization, what we didn’t prepare for is that civilization would not utterly fall, but would scramble back. A slight change in our plans…”

Jose and Tie arrive at Levis

Levi awakes early and fixes a quick breakfast, he gears up knowing that Jose will be arriving in a few hours, with what he hopes is a way to get through the door. Levi sets out a mostly empty
duffel, some of his trading trinkets, binocs, 100’ rope and carabiners a day’s water.

He is loaded and ready well before Jose arrives several hours later. Jose is not surprised that Jose has brought another soldier with him. A tall red haired, dark skinned man that Jose introduces as Tie, and says he is here to pick the lock.

Tie is outfitted militarily wearing issue woodland BDUs and carrying a short M16 carbine model. levi is a little hesitant of Tie joining them, having some trepidation in his head about someone else seeing their find. But it is Jose’s find really, Levi is just along for the adventure. If this all goes badly, Levi can handle himself.

Tie Levi and Jose moved methodically from Levi’s home near the docks to the interior where Jose’s new house was located. The sky was an overcast grey but no rain fell. Jose was leading with Tie in the middle and Levi a cautious few steps behind. Levi had always been a ‘check six’ kind of guy. Even before his formal military training he’d listened to countless stories of the American soldiers sailors and airmen stationed on Samoa.

As a boy he’d visited ruins of military emplacements and even dove on aircraft and shipwrecks that still remained. Reading books and playing soldier had lead to his interest in the military and eventual enlistment. As a youth, playing a game, being snuck up upon by a friend who yells “bang you’re dead!” had a different meaning when as an adult it was someone actually trying to kill you.

There was some small talk amongst the group. Levi and Jose learn that Tie Hawthorne is the product of Scottish and Indian parents, doctors. Not at all happy about his enlistment right before the war as a combat medic. He’d shipped to Europe and came back on a hospital ship half dead in early 1998. “Saved me from the meat grinder that became the late 1999 offensive”

They learn that he was a spoiled reckless kid, breaking and entering was a hobby, one he was good at. Skills that his parents, the police and eventually the military drummed out of him. Go figure that they would be needed as the world when to hell. His medical training and ability to get into places kept him a useful commodity to the Military Government

After the hike to Jose’s house, both Levi and Jose felt a bit more at ease with Tie due to him being personable, but his past of thievery, would keep them apprehensionus and on their toes about him.

They moved into Jose’s house and to the enterence to the basement. Levi will watch the upstairs while Tie and Jose move dwon to the lock. Tie has some interest in the booby traps and placement, “breaking into secure things is my business” he says. Tie moves to the door as Jose holds a flashlight. “Medeco Maxim” tie says “Damn good lock.” Tie continued ‘You can drill this out and the bolt will still stay secure. By the look of this door we can’t batter it down either. Finese is where it is at."

Tie puts down the leather case and opens it up, there are a myriad of tools inside, pin and tumbler picks, torsion wrenches of all shapes. “This is my baby” Tie removes a mechanical unit that looks like a square pistol with a large trigger. “Czech made snap gun.” he says as he places a bit into it like one would a drill “Cuts major time off working everything loose. Cheap snap guns are more likely to damage the mechanism, this baby shouldn’t hurt the guts of this lock and we should be able to……..” Tie pumps the trigger as his voice trails off in concentration

CLICK “there all done.” He states, “Of course with the other booby traps around here, I’ll let one of you guys open this” Tie places his tools back in the case and moves back up the stairs to where Levi is.

The door is unlocked and ready to be opened. Jose is at base of stairs. Levi and Tie are at top of stairs in kitchen

The Peacock's feathers
Maze gets ready

Maze spends the morning carefully washing and pressing a suit. He had a good collection of pre-war suits, ones that would have cost thousands before the war. Few people had need of suits these days. His Marine corps M9 was a bit big to conceal beneath the sport coat, at least w/o being obvious. He had been a big fan of James Bond movies back in the day and of course had a Walther PPK for his concealed pistol.

He had a good shoulder rig that kept the Walther securely under his left armpit, almost invisible once a sport coat went atop. So today it was a Liana Lee suit, clean English cut of charcoal grey and light pinstripes, and always Marine Corps dress Oxfords. Like he was going to the opera it was several hours of primping and preening….all as is tradition and expectation for and audience with the “king”

Maze goes over what he needs to do about warning the Family about what has occurred. Number 1 is establish his alibi—he was with Maggie at the time as long as she doesn’t lie this shouldn’t be an issue. He is worried about the woman Maggie threw off the boat. This will be Maggie’s to cover up or excuse. The job was done he thinks a trip back to her lair bowing and scraping, they could stop by on the way to the castle.

Maze had gotten word yesterday that his request for a meeting with Yasuda had been granted. He was setting up the meeting as per Yasuda’s rules. Entourage and looking sharp, soe kind of B-Movie Yakuza gangster that had infiltrated the organization since Yasuda took over.

Maze has done this many times before. Polished himself up and presented himself. The level of “seriousness” of the meeting will be determined by how many of your entourage is let into the meeting. The bodyguards will usually be left behind. If it is serious company business then the lady will also be left.

Usually a subordinate accompanies at all time, like a scribe or accountant to remember the facts. In rare cases of extreme problem you would go alone, that’s when it is BIG trouble. Although with a subordinate may not be completely safe. Sometimes when an example is wanted to be set, it is nice to have a witness within the camp of the punished. This way there won’t be spin on the story of what happened.

Maze’s uncle would have had this on the business end of the spectrum, especially trying to clean up after the war. With things starting to calm down, Yasuda is starting to re-establish some of the silly practices like a fresh chicken blood into saki, silly suits and hairstyles. The great Tim is also grabbing onto this, but in a more juvenile way. And as the family spends more effort on this, other more items fall away, like the uniformed color of the sails on the boats.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.