Alec was going crosseyed. The new retinal scanners were excellent...he'd have to give props to Carol and her techies for their work. On the other side of the coin, he was getting somewhat frustrated. The optical read series was almost too fast to posture against. He could do it, but not reliably. He already had two solutions, and one in the works that would very reliably overcome the systems, but the solutions both required grievous bodily harm to a gatekeeper, and the other still required access to both a keeper and imperfect technology. Flopping back out of his backless posture chair onto the floor of his workspace, he said some untoward things about God and rolled back into a standing position over his own shoulder.
Sighing, he surveyed his workspace. All of the world's best mechanical locks were in various states of disarray, having been opened, compromised, overcome or destroyed within acceptable operating parameters. DNA scanners...the same. But this new damn retinal scanner...it was just too fast. Of course, there were mechanical weaknesses, but the scanner itself had a failsafe that made it difficult to overcome and time consuming, which was an irritation. Time would flow, the operative could be put in jeopardy. There had to be a faster way.
Running oily hands through his hair, Alec stripped as he walked to the bathroom. After a quick shower, he dressed in his standard bad-mood fare. Charcoal turtleneck, black slacks tucked in to his black plated tanker boots. Frowning, unsure what to do, he decided he may as well get out of the Domicile. It obviously wasn't helping him overcome the problem. Slipping on his photosensitive goggles, black leather trenchcoat, dropping a couple of chains into his pocket along with some of his...distractions...Alec scooped up his phone right after slipping on his weighted gloves. Walking out of his workspace, he left a message fro Ginnie letting her know he'd be "praying for guidance at the Abby."
Walking past the bouncers, Alec walked directly into the building and to the far side of the dance floor. The music was loud and penetrating, the crowd enraptured and writhing to the law of the sound. Though inspiration could come from unlikely places, he figured tonight would just be an unplugging session. Work was taking over his brain, and that was no way to live.
Letting the beat seep up through the architecture and into his body, Alec let the vibratory state of the building slowly in to his system. His irritation slowly unwound and was replaced with the tapestry of sound and blood that was the Abattoir.
He needed The Abattoir.
The night was slick with recent moisture as he sped towards the bar,like an arrow homing in on its target. This would be a release, a chance to let go of everything that weighed upon him.
Mathias moved past the bouncers without a word or challenge. He was known here,but even if he wasn't the aura of a predator clung to him and prey always recognized it...feared it..and made way for it.
The crowd inside the club was typical..young vampires,drunk on their new state and reveling in their powers...those who had no idea the dark powers they tempted...and those like Mathias,who simply wanted to lose themselves in the Sturm und Drang of it all.
As he moved across the club,Mathias spied an all too familiar face,and one that perhaps sought the same thing he did. I wonder what he is doing here? Mathias pondered And where is his usual companion?
Sidling up to the other vampire,Mathias gave him a short bow.
"Good evening Alec"
Not especially, actually, but that is why one comes to the Abby - to pray for guidance. Well, after a manner. Hit a wall in my pet research project and was feeling like breaking things. Instead, I thought I'd unplug and try to take things a little less seriously. Eternity is a prison if you can't smile.
Leaning back against the wall, Alec rambled.
The altered architecture in this building helps me unwind. The way the sound is contained and travels along the main supports creates an interesting vibratory state when combined with the crowd. Hm. And sometimes it is just good to get moving, I suppose.
Realizing that he didn't really have a point, Alec shut his mouth. Realizing he'd missed something, he asked
So...what brings you out to slum with us youngins?
"Perhaps the Abattoir is not the Oracle at Delphi, but I suppose it as good a place as any to find ones path"
Alec's next comment bothered Mathias. Not for anything he said in specific,just that it reminded him of his oddity in Tacharan. A knight in shining armor amongst the dirty angels...is your halo not smudged as well? He could hear Annabelle's mocking voice.
"In the grand scheme of things I am as much a youth as any I suppose, and I do not consider the company of a friend to be slumming"
He grinning at the smaller man, to ensure he understood the jest it was meant in.
"Like you, I seek guidance..moreso I seek repose from the war which rages in me...and as even the eye of a hurricane is tranquil I find myself at The Abattoir,talking to you."
I got you. Of course, one could also take the other road and say in the long run we're all nothing but the dust of our forbearers and the composition of our descendants. I find it a pretty bleak outlook, but then I am also a thief, not a philosopher. Maybe they find comfort in that sort of thing...but I am too much of a hedonist to consider such a bleak outlook.
Winking, Alec continued, spreading his arms.
Either way, here we are in the Abby, not to ask forgiveness for our sin but to have it burned into us by the tapestry of sound.
Laughing, he dropped his arms and continued.
You like that? One of the more wasted individuals in here awhile back told me that...and explained that the heavy bass beat was to drive it in like the beating hearts of our victims. I thought it was nonsense, so I emptied her wallet and flushed her stash. Not very sporting of me, I suppose, but it served to underline a point and she'd clearly had enough already.
I'd ask what weighs heavily upon your brow, but I think I already know. If you want to chat your way through it, that's cool...but our perspectives are a bit different on things.
Grinning wickedly, Alec looked at Mathias.
Otherwise, this is the first time we've been in the same place without female companionship. Ancient tradition dictates getting shitfaced, making fools of ourselves, others and possibly committing assault on a stranger for saying something about an authority figure, like a politician or a queen or something. Or that's what folks tell me. You'd be more the expert in the ancient traditions part, I suppose, though I probably have the corner on the market of making a fool out of myself.
Chuckling, Alec stretched his arms, half hoping Mathias didn't take that as a request. He'd come prepared, but with the mix in the crowd, he would have rather had brought brass knuckles than just weighted gloves. Nothing like a little bit of insurance should your opponent be both more skilled and fair minded. The getting drunk part didn't sound so bad, but he never enjoyed the loss of control, and the possibility of blacking out and having his amnesia advance was a terrifying prospect, as unlikely as it seemed. Shivering a bit at the thought, Alec swallowed the fright before it took hold. No reason to dwell on unpleasantness.
"We all fall short of the glory my brother, and you hardly corner the market on being a fool. "
He found that the more time he spent around Alec,the more he liked him. Having never had a brother when he was mortal,Mathias could only imagine this is what that felt like. Which made their divergent views on Ellis and what had happened all the sadder.
"While that is a weight upon me, I think tonight I shall be free of that millstone - though I would like to talk to you and Ginnie sometime. No, tonight is to relax,have fun and enjoy ourselves!"
He signaled a nearby waitress,using hand signals to indicate he wanted his usual. A few minutes later,she reappeared with ice filled container with vials of a clear liquid. Lifting one,he indicated Alec should do that same.
"It is considered proper to begin a night like this with vodka. Schast'ya i zdorov'ya!"
He lifted the vial to Alec and consumed the drink in one swallow
I think vodka was the last thing I threw up...no...blood was. Vodka was before that. I have no clue what you just said, but BUDMO*! Ukraine used to be part of Russia, right? So that's as close as I can get, I'm afraid. And for me...SANTE!
Tipping the glass back in one hard motion, Alec felt like his eyes were going to pop out. He didn't usually *start* with vodka. It would make for an interesting night, for sure. Flipping the container upside down, he placed it back on the tray. He'd seen that somewhere, but couldn't think of where through the burn. Probably one of the many movies he had partially watched recently.
So...aside from recent work developments that we are tactfully avoiding, anything new and exciting in the life of the bearded one?
Feeling strange talking with someone while his goggles were on, Alec slid them up onto his forehead. It probably looked strange, but by the time someone got around to saying something he might be buzzing enough to throw a table at them. Gotta love that Liquid Courage. Hopefully he'd have the sense left to stumble away from them before they got back up again.
((ooc: * = Alec's butchered treatment of a Ukrainian toast - "may we live forever"))
He was 9 the first time he saw Kiev, his father had died fighting the Khazar and his body had been brought home for burial.
It was cold, so much colder than Constantinople and Mathias feared his very blood would freeze.
Throughout the centuries,Mathias had always taken time to visit Kiev,and get as close to his mortal descendants as possible.
Mathias snapped out of the reverie, and focused on Alec. He seemed to be taking the vodka in stride, which was a good sign.
"Well life with Shay is always exciting - nothing new there. I am continually amazed how comfortable we are together - it is if we have known one another for centuries."
chuckling,Mathias held his hands up apologetically.
" I must sound like a lovesick schoolboy - So tell me, if you will forgive the prying, what is going on between you and Ginnie? "
Chuckling at the inevitable mention of Shay and Ginnie, Alec smiled.
Well, I wouldn't know about the whole "knowing her for centuries" bit, but I think I get it. My personal analogy is kind of like...kind of like realizing that you'd been living your life without sound and then suddenly you can hear. Initially, it was somewhat overwhelming and very intimidating...a short time later and it becomes so intrinsic to you that you don't know how you lived without it before.
Shaking his head, Alec considered the strange initial growing period, the whirlwind that they had been swept up by. Ultimately, he was still a bit surprised that he hadn't run in terror from the emotion of it all...maybe it was one of those "signs of maturity" that people talked about. Realizing he was pulling a Mathias, he smirked. "Mine probably only took the blink of an eye, though. Most of the drive is clean."
Not pausing to think that the question could be offensive, Alec plowed ahead.
So when do you think Shay will take the step? I know it is a little early to think about stuff like that, but have y'all talked about it?
Raising another vial of vodka,he toasted Alec again.
"To our women,for saving us from a life of being blind and deaf! "
Mathias had to think a moment after hearing Alec's question. No..he cannot be asking what I think he is asking....but what else could he be asking?
Speaking very slowly and deliberately,his gaze never leaving Alec, Mathias spoke again.
" What do you mean...take the step? "
This one didn't burn quite as much, but still had a good trail to it. He'd be able to handle a few more without too much trouble. Most likely.
Confused at Mathias' sudden change in mood, Alec plunged on ahead obliviously, wondering how he'd been unclear.
You know, joining the species. Like what age she would like to be, what places she'd like to see in daylight...things like that. Huh. Or whether she'll want to live out a human life, I guess...like that elf girl from that movie with the midgets?
Alec was still a bit confused why the elf lord hadn't jacked the ring from the human lord and toss it in the lava, but he figured it was probably something that a noble wouldn't consider acceptable behavior, even for the greater good of the world. Stodgy bastard.
His voice was still even, although Mathias had trouble keeping it so. Not his fault,Mathias - not everyone sees this as a curse you know he reminded himself
" Join the species? This is not some club we are in Alec - To join us means giving up far too much than is received in kind. If the opportunity presented itself again would you make the same choice? "
Mathias realized he hadn't clue one regarding Alec's circumstances but who would willingly choose this life?
Setting down the next vial so as to not crush it, he continued.
"No,we have not discussed it, nor do I see us doing so. I am not so selfish that I would damn Shay as I am merely to spend more time her. Who doesn't want to spend forever with the one they love? But part of love is accepting that at some point they will not be around. It is a risk we all willingly take. "
Closing his eyes,Mathias forced himself to calm down. Damn, didn't realize I was so sensitive about that.
"My apologies Alec, you did not know my views on our condition and that was not the proper response."
That's cool. Sorry to touch on a sore subject...but it has the potential for an interesting conversation. I've just not ever known anything aside from the our kind, and humans somewhat baffle me. I'm still studying them since much of our interpersonal interactions are based upon their social mores, but the work is slow for me. I cannot conceive of a human not wanting to make the change unless they were a sort of sun worshipper or scared of the dark or something. That aspect doesn't make sense to me, but I'm also biased, as this is very much what I am.
Stopping himself before he asked the next natural question of "what if she asks you," Alec changed route.
I have a couple of burning questions along that line, but one is unfair given the above responses, so I'll skip it. But the runner up is what is it about our condition that would keep you from spending forever with her? I know a lot of you older folk feel that way...but no one is really willing to talk about why. If you don't want to, I can respect that.
Wondering if Mathias would get into such personal and probably complex conversation, Alec waved over some whiskey. It always struck him as a "pour your heart out to the nearest person" kind of drink. He usually avoided it, but in this case it seemed appropriate.
"Well I suppose this will do as a break from the hard stuff"
The alcohol rolled smoothly down his throat,leaving a warm fire in his belly.
"For me,at least, our condition is itself the reason. I love Shay,and while the idea of spending forever with her is certainly tempting understand what she would be giving up. Freedom,to move about wherever and whenever. Having to watch all you love and everyone you care about grow old and die - worse than that having to lie to them and remove yourself from their life. No,to want Shay alongside me is a selfish wish...I will be content with the time God has granted us,as anyone else."
"For others, I can only guess and speculate. Perhaps the length of time itself scares them - you and I can imagine loving Shay and Ginnie forever, but that prospect is daunting for many. Perhaps they fear the depth and commitment of love - imagine You love a mortal. In the heat and flush of first love you turn them. Suddenly you both realize that it wasn't love, only infatuation - what now? worse yet what if that turns inward and becomes some darker emotion, can you imagine having an implacable foe bent on your destruction for eternity? Someone you loved? No my dear friend, for many it is far easier to hide. A lonely existence to be certain,but an understandable one. "
Clasping Alec's shoulder, Mathias looked him in the eye again.
"I would like to consider you a friend Alec, and if so, then there cannot be a taboo subject - for what is a friend but someone that you keep no secrets from correct? "
Chuckling a bit at the fact that the concept of forever still scared him a bit, Alec wondered if that weren't the out...the real reason not to turn a loved one. Was there some ancient vampire fairy tale whose moral was not to turn your lovers that hadn't been passed down, but was only understood instinctually?
Smiling at Mathias' final sentiments, Alec hoped that it would be so. With the complications that would likely begin for the local clan, having solidarity at home would be excellent...and having Mathias' very different perspective on events would also be welcome. Nodding, Alec made his reply.
I think I figured out the real difference between the elders and the striplings just now. It boils almost entirely down to patience and self-control. They just aren't as valued as they used to be when everyone was bringing in crops and letters could take months to get from place to place. What you say makes a lot of sense from that perspective. The young haven't learned the value of time yet...and probably won't until lifetimes have rolled by and it is easier to see.
Leaning back, Alec stared up into the lights of the club. Taking a quick sip of the whiskey, he asked
So...what brought you to Tacharan? I was adopted into it, not born. No one knew who my sire was or even if I wasn't an accident from a sloppy clanless vampire. They saw my skills and started to teach me to interact in a more human fashion. Probably why I ask so many questions.
Winking, he continued.
My lack of socialization put me at odds with the first clan group that I worked with, so I thought I'd try another. Working out much, much better now...or y'all are just a lot more patient with me.
"It may simply be a matter of perspective. The youth only see the now,what lies directly ahead and the elders see the future and what may be. the trick,as in all things I suppose, is balance. Think too young and one reacts with pondering the consequences. Too old and all one sees is consequences and thus is frozen from inaction. "
He hoped it was a tightrope he walked well enough. Not too young and not too old,Mathias honestly tried to balance things. Honor and duty were unknown quantities these days and yet he was an assassin who possessed both qualities.
Alec's innocuous question...why was he Tacharan? An outcast amongst the outcasts as it were.
Well it had been a night for questions and confessions so far - why hold back now? Not as if the information is classified he thought
"In its shortest I am Tacharan because Ellis gave me a home here. That in and of itself is your answer..now the why of it is a somewhat convoluted tale. It is not a mystery,but neither is it something I have shouted to the mountaintop. I like you Alec,and I see no reason to not tell you the story should you be interested."
Taking another swig of whisky he smiled as the burn traveled down his throat.
"Have I hyped myself well enough?"
Nodding, Alec started to understand Mathias and his reluctance to believe ill of Ellis. A very, very old tie that was most likely tested and true. Well, he hated to provide the means to discredit such a bond...but then that's what sneak thieves and blackmailers did. Hopefully Mathias would navigate those halls of reevaluation cleanly and have a newfound respect for what Simon must be going through, as the betrayal would be so much more bitter from his perspective.
Laughing at the closing quip, Alec laughed.
Ah, well, if we can't sing praises of ourselves, who will? Ok, well, aside from our ladies!
Lifting another vial of the vodka, he shouted
Jesu Christe ,he swore, I think Shay is right. I am too perfect...beginning to annoy myself.
Tragically the vodka never reached his lips, as one of the other occupants of the area bumped into Mathias,spilling the drink on both of them.
The person appeared to be in his late teens at best and was in the current 'urban hip' look of oversized jersey,jeans and sneakers.
"Yo,fuck you bitch!" he snarled,pushing off of Mathias.
Lovely, most likely freshly turned and drunk on his new powers Mathias sighed. This one wouldn't be easy to defuse.
That was what Mathias would normally do. Avoid unnecessary bloodshed and violence and leave peaceably. He held his hands up to the younger vampire.
"Come now..you bumped into me, the least you can do is apologize. Just enjoying a drink with my friend here,we don't want any trouble."
The punk looked and Mathias and snarled,giving him what had to pass for a derisive look these days.
"Yo,damn right you and your girlfriend don' want none o this!!"
The punk's loudness must have gotten the attention of his companions,because 4 other similarly dressed youths surrounded Alec and Mathias table.
"Diamond Dog - these 2 giving you drama?" One of the group asked, bumping into Mathias.
Mathias turned to Alec and gave a chuckle,shaking his head.
"All I wanted was a drink and some conversation..."
((OOC - Picture the punk kids from Blade:Trinity for the youths ))
No, his girlfriend is WAY hotter than I am, and that's saying something. Oh, and it looks like you're travelling with all men too. Guess one salami isn't enough to satiate the DAWG? The hot dawg's got to take it from both ends of the bun.
This had the expected effect. The Dog looked enraged, the other four looked pissed and were intent on him. Mathias would have a clean shot on one or two of the poor fools, now. From a seated position, Alec kicked the table up onto one of the approaching kids.
Blink a sec, Math.
Leaping after the table, Alec smacked one in the face, breaking the packet of bark directly in his eyes. The other was much quicker, and had dodged the face, but the husks made it inside of his bulky coat. Not as good, but it would work in a pinch. Hitting the ground, Alec rolled clear of the group. The one with the itching bark in his eyes, flailed, yowling, and fell over a chair, brushing at his eyes and face, making the situation much worse for him. The other he'd powdered had quickly taken off his jacket, but was scratching madly at his bare arms, yelling about Alec's propensity for sex with females who had children and his inability to determine his parentage. One was climbing up from under the table, one was clearly focused on Mathias and Dog was just standing there wondering where things had gone wrong.
Let's play, then!
Picking up a stray bottle, he tossed it at the tough who was getting up. It smacked him in the shoulder. Alec'd have to practice throwing bottles before the next time he and Mathias went drinking.
((ooc: BAR FIGHT!!!!! WHOOOO!!!))
And the world erupted into slow motion chaos as Mathias' perceptions caught up with his reflexes. Alec had already incapacitated two,some sort of powder leaving one on the floor writhing in agony and another under the table Alec kicked. Another was itching furiously and shouting at Alec, which left Mathias to deal with Dog and another.
All I wanted was a drink and some conversation
Dog was standing by as his friend charged at Mathias, trying to knock him down
A simple drink...is that too much to ask?
Easily sidestepping the clumsy attempt,Mathias hoped that impacting the table would take the fight out of his opponent. Sadly,that was not to be as the punk hopped up. Making what Mathias could only assume his foe thought was a martial arts pose, the punk again ran to attack.
Nothing complex..just a night out for Jesu's sake!
Turning his back on Dog momentarily, Mathias took out Bruce Leroy with a snap kick to the jaw. His new position allowed him to see Alec holding his own against the one wearing bits of the table. Itchy however had recovered and was circling to get a shot at Alec out of his field of vision.
Looking for something,anything he could use,Mathias spied the remains of the bottle of vodka from earlier.
Such a tragic waste he mentally sighed
As he went up a bodylength out of reach, he altered his senses radically. He reduced the normal range of sound input but extended his lower range of vibratory perception and slipped the color spectrum a bit to be more vividly contrasting - all motion would be visible to him. Almost "seeing" the vibrations through the air and along surfaces like ripples in water, he swung from one chain to another, quickly obfuscating from those below him his ultimate goal.
Dog was reaching into his coat, but had no clue where Alec was now. Reaching into the coat was A Bad Thing. Swinging wide, Alec torqued his body as he released himself from the chain, corkscrewing downward. Just before impact, he extended his leg, letting gravity, his weight and the strength of his leg come heavily down on Dog's shoulder. The audible popping sound was the reward for his efforts, and the man wouldn't be using either that arm or the weapon on Mathias right away, but he was still up.
Rolling to his stomach, Alec realised he'd misjudged distance and was rewarded with a VERY potent kick to the ribs in return for the smack on the Dog, which sent him skidding across broken glass and the floor toward another of the thugs. Luckily, it was Itchy - too distracted to stomp effectively, Alec grabbed his foot as it landed on his hip and twisted hard, causing him to slip off balance and onto the floor. Rolling away, Alec lashed out with a weighted glove and connected with Itchy's nuts, effectively removing him from the fight for the time being.
Getting back to his feet, he was aware of quick movement to his right. Ducking and rolling out of the way, he raked himself across part of the broken table, but had avoided a huge swing aimed at his temple that would have ended his night.
Momentarily clear of the fight, he reassessed matters - the one Mathias had kicked was still down, Dog had a dislocated shoulder but looked to be trying to shove it back in place because he'd seen too many movies, one was blinded still by the bark, one was getting back to his feet unstably from the nut shot and one was getting ready to box with Mathias, who looked completely unscathed. Turning inward, Alec knew he had at least one, probably two broken ribs, a bruised arm and an assload of burning vodka glass cuts and wood splinters on his shoulder, back and arms. It looked like Mathias would be able to clean up in short order.
Until Alec saw three more heading toward them. Sighing, Alec saw another two incoming...but he recognized them. One was a merc he'd worked with on a couple of occasions. He'd seen his buddy in the motor pool - one of the mechanics. The mechanic brought a chair down hard into one of the three newcomers, and the mayhem began to spread outward from their initial disturbance.
This could get messy - the Tach in the crowd would scent the blood running and the lust might overcome them. Well, they do call it the Abattoir for a reason. Waiting, Alec kept his senses open, waiting for his next opening. Injured or no, a true Tacharan couldn't pass up an opportunity to pay homage at the Abby like this. In the meantime, he could brush out the larger bits of glass.