What have you got to say for yourself?

There were all kinds of tales of the strange things that vampires could do; worse yet there were the actual inherited memories that proved that those tales were mostly true. Holding a mulo for any length of time was something they rarely wanted to do. Still it was something that the R'asa expected to do more of when they started moving into the cities. Vaughn and The Legion had set up numerous holding cells and interrogation rooms underground in Nachton.

He nodded to the guards at the entrance as he made his way down to the first holding cell. In the outer room Vaughn found Antoine and another Legionnaire watching the cameras. Leaning over his friend's shoulder he could see the younger looking vampire inside.

"How many darts did we hit him with?” Vaughn frowned at the prone form on the screen.

"At least a dozen according to those that swept the area clean.” Antoine shrugged slightly. "We are not sure how many of those went through.” He nodded to the holding cell. "He was wearing armor.”

"That wasn't entirely unexpected. It still seems to have taken a awful long time to bring him down compared to the other one.”

The Legionnaire chuckled and said. "Well the other one was just wearing a suit.”

Vaughn dropped into the chair and shook his head. One was dressed for battle and the other wasn't. "A bodyguard?” He raised his chin in the direction of the man on the cameras.

"Could be.”

But the other man, the one who had been giving commands to Therese said he had been ordered not to release her and this guy said he was there to make sure the commands were dropped from Therese. That made him more than a bodyguard and the first person that Vaughn intended to deal with. The bastard in the suit would just have to wait his turn.

The other Legionnaire pointed to the screen. "He's starting to move.” The soldier looked up and rubbed his hand. "If you need help convincing him to be cooperative then a couple of us would be happy to oblige.”

Antoine hid a smirk and found something fascinating about the far wall.

"Explain.” Vaughn saw that the man's hand was an angry blotchy red. He raised his eyebrows at the obvious allergic reaction.

"Silver dust, silver plating, silver blades.” Antoine filled in, slowly turning back around to look at the cameras, "The guy was a veritable one man arsenal.”

"It'd be damned convenient if they had their own allergy.” Vaughn muttered. He hated silver dust with a passion beyond most werewolves. It was what had killed his father.

"They do. We call it sunlight.” Antoine shrugged again. The mulo were certainly 'allergic' to that; it was true.

"To bad we can't make weapons out of sunlight.” Despite what shows like Underworld would have the masses believe. They had yet to breed a super wolf either. Damn they needed to step it up.

Vaughn looked at the man with the silver rash. "We will start with other methods of communication.”

Pushing the button that projected his voice into the cell, he spoke calmly. "I trust you had a nice a nap.”

Amir 11 years ago
Amir struggled back to consciousness slowly. There was no mistaking the effects of a sedative... everything felt slow and foggy and strange. His mouth felt as if he'd been sucking on cotton balls. He blinked a few times, trying to rid himself of the knockout sparkles behind his eyelids as his surroundings slowly came to him. He was in a small cell of some kind. He felt a shiver travel up his spine; this was the last position he wanted to be in again.

He tried to sit up as a voice echoed into the room. He succeeded in raising himself on one elbow. That would have to do for now. He scowled at the words.

"So this is how our werewolf friends return a gesture of good faith," Amir snarled. "Do you think to release your precious little curator this way?"

He was pissed, and rightly so. Had the wolves let them be, Therese would be freed and they would all have gone their own way. It hadn't had to go like this at all. If they thought his waking up incarcerated and muzzy from drugs would help their case and get her freed sooner, they were terribly mistaken.

He missed Mara and Jin horribly; he was far more shaken than he would let on. They knew where he was though. They had to. All he had to do was keep himself and Bao alive until they got them out of there. Amir didn't give a flying shit about the woman Therese. He wanted his child back in one piece and she could have all the freedom she wanted.

Amir waited for his captor to speak again. He didn't expect to have a chance to explain his presence at the loading dock; the judgement had already been made and passed apparently. All he could do was listen to whatever they had to say to him. He briefly wondered if they thought that having taken him and Bao captive meant they were negotiating from a position of strength? In retrospect, it might have been a bad move on their part. They'd all have to see how the cards played out.
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
Vaughn raised his eyebrows at the words the vampire uttered and then turned to look at Antoine. "Did we have any vampires on our Christmas card list?” He did not recall ever considering any of the mulo to be friends with perhaps the exception of Alfarinn but that was tentative at best.

"Non, You didn't even send me a Christmas card.” Antoine reminded him.

"Oh, damn. Sorry, Bird, Etta used to do that for the family.” He patted the Frenchman on the shoulder. "Next year, I promise.”

Antoine snorted and shook his head. "Buy me a drink and we'll consider it forgiven."

Vaughn nodded; he agreed that a drink with a friend was better than a card.

Pushing the button, he responded to their prisoner's question. "I am not sure what you consider friendship but it never involved manipulation and murder when I spoke of it. Perhaps vampires have a different definition.”

Where did this guy get off feigning some position of moral superiority? The bastard in the suit mentally and physically abused Therese for months and for some reason they expected her pack to just take it on faith that they were suddenly going to be nice and put everything back the way it was. We're sorry. We promise we didn't break her. Here she is, good as new. That wasn't even possible.

"I cannot say for certain that it will help her at all but I did not plan on simply trusting the man who tormented her for months, perhaps years” They did not know how long the suit had held her and she couldn't tell them...yet. "to simply fix everything and leave her alone. I do not plan to find out the hard way some time in the future that he had lied and she was still under his control.”

"So, why should we trust you to be any different from him?”

Antoine muttered something about all mulo being alike. They were all willing to lie to their own mothers and probably eat her also.
Amir 11 years ago
Amir rolled his eyes behind closed eyelids. This wolf was an asshole. Nothing like a good prejudice to make you think one stupid action by a member of a species is representative of the entire species. Nevermind that he certainly had done his fair share of manipulation and murder, but they weren't accusing him - just Bao.

Opening his eyes, squinting in the dim light of the metal holding cell Amir pushed himself upright and sat, noting that they had politely relieved him of his silver-lined clothing. It left him feeling slightly undignified in a tee shirt, shorts, and socks. Well, whatever. He had been in far more humiliating situations. He felt his chest tighten as he recalled being in Xephier's prison, starving... starving and trying to drink dog's blood every few days to survive. He didn't want to go there again, but he couldn't let it show.

He turned his face upward toward one of the cameras on opposing corners of the cell. He listened to the man speak, an expression of disdain upon his features.

"So because one man has given my kind a bad name, the rest of them follow?"

He laughed dryly and gestured with his hand.
"Never mind, I know the answer to that. And you're right, the man in question did some things that should not have been done. Those weren't his orders. They never have been. I will not excuse his behavior."

He shrugged his shoulders.
"All the same, he belongs to me. I will answer for his actions and take his punishment. He is my responsibility and clearly, I failed."

Amir didn't have to lie for that bit. He did feel responsible for what Bao had done, in a way. The child emulated the father. He shouldn't have, but he had. And Amir might have seen it coming if he'd paid more attention.

All he really wanted now was to bargain, to get Bao out of this situation however he could. That was what mattered. He didn't know if they would go for it, not when anger was so evident in this man's voice. He did have to try, however. As for why they should trust him, he couldn't answer that. Trust was an abstract concept and these people didn't know him. If they weren't willing to trust him even so much as an inch, there was very little he could do to change their minds.
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
Antoine snorted at the vampire's next words and Vaughn silently agreed with that sentiment. One vampire's action? The entire werewolf species had more than one reason to distrust the mulo and very little reason to believe any of them.

"I have only met one vampire whose actions suggest that there might be honor amongst your kind. If you would like to prove to be another exception to that experience then I would appreciate it.”

The next piece of news from the vampire in the holding cell was interesting. He said that the suit had not been given orders to do what he had done to Therese. So why did he do it? The man then said that the suit belonged to him. Like a vassal, servant, slave, lover? Perhaps the suit was just an underling of some kind but that seemed unlikely. Vaughn personally had plenty of people who reported to him in his career but he was not willing to die for most of them. He woulds accept a lot of responsibility for his people but torture and death was a bit much. So there had to be something more about these two. The young looking one did try to escape with the other so perhaps they were lovers or very good friends.

He sighed and said. "I have no quarrel with you. Your friend, on the other hand, I have a few issues with.” Vaughn turned to Antoine and spoke quietly in French. Antoine then turned to the other Legionnaire and asked him to go on a coffee run.

Once the other man had left the room, Vaughn continued. "I do not know if you have ever had children. I understand that your kind cannot have them as we do but perhaps you still know what it is like to have a child.” He could not say how old the young looking vampire was but the other man, who did not seem young despite his appearance, took orders from this one. Perhaps very long ago this vampire had been a father. "I love mine and would do anything for them. When someone threatens them then I will stop at nothing to remove that threat, permanently. And if they are harmed...” He let that drop and explained where he was going with this story. "Your friend killed my unborn child, Sir. So, I have to wonder what kind of punishment you think that deserves.” Vaughn could not see himself harming this one in place of the other; his grief and anger was too personal to accept a proxy.

His first priority was the Therese. The dead were beyond their efforts but the living could still be helped and cared for. "However, my first concern is Therese. This man means much to you if you are willing to die for him so I think that if you are willing to do as you promised then I would be willing to let your friend live. Is there any way to be certain that she is free?" He knew that he was asking this vampire to be honest with him but something in the man's ready apology for the other's actions and acceptance of their wrath suggested that perhaps he would be honest, at least in this.
Amir 11 years ago
Amir frowned again at Vaughn's words, for he did recognize the voice of Nachton's mayor. He did not like having his honor questioned. While he had done a great many things in the past that these wolves would find reprehensible, he had always tried to act honorably. It was a sore point, however, for his own personal honor had definitely been seriously compromised by Subira's two-thousand-year mindfucking. That served to make him even more determined to prove he was a creature of honor, even to these werewolves, whose opinions he did not care about one way or another.

"I can only prove it if you give me the opportunity." He said it somewhat grudgingly, hating the idea of having to prove himself to them, but they certainly did have the upper hand at the moment.

He listened to Vaughn speak, thinking to himself that Vaughn would have plenty of quarrel with him if he realized who Amir was. For the sake of honor, he should probably come clean about that too. He didn't want to be caught in a lie when he was bargaining with his child's life.

"You should have issues with me," Amir said, looking up at the camera he'd been speaking to. "I have committed crimes against your kind for years. While the thoughts were not my own, the actions were done by my hands. They are red with the blood of your people. And I cannot tell you that if my family asked it of me, I would not go to war again."

He would; again and again. Amir couldn't lie about it, but if this man were thinking rationally he would understand. Amir was what he was and the werewolves were what they were. Vampires lived on blood. Werewolves were inedible. T have both races living together could only lead to conflict. It wasn't personal for Amir, not anymore. It was simple biology. They were never meant to be friends. Never allies. They would eternally be in conflict with each other, and as strongly as the people felt about their own kind, Amir was loyal to his own.

He listened to the soft French as Vaughn asked the other man to get rid of the third. The big man sent the other on a coffee run, to which Amir responded by muttering, loud enough to be heard,
"A vanilla latte would be nice, you know, for those of us who just had an involuntary dirt nap."

Honestly, if you were going to pin someone with half a million sleep darts, you could buy them coffee when they woke up.

He listened as Vaughn continued to speak once the third man had gone. Steepling his fingers below his chin he sighed and furrowed his brow at the tale Vaughn spun. He didn't doubt the veracity of it, and truth be told, the mayor might as well have been singing Amir's tune for all the parallels and commonalities his words evoked.

After Vaughn finished speaking Amir reached up and pinched the bridge of his nose.
"I have had children," he said. "Many years ago. You might not believe it to look at me but I was a father."

He held his scarred arms out to the camera, revealing the grey ash-burned chevrons that covered them.
"This was what happened to my family. I have carried them with me always. As strongly as you feel for yours I feel for mine, and Bao is my child now. Apply all of the above, all of your sentiments, to him. That is how I feel."

Amir would not allow Bao to be harmed... not if he could help it. He'd take 'alive' however, since as long as he didn't receive a pile of dust in a box, Bao could be fixed up. He would try to save Bao from as much pain as he could, though. This man, this wolf, was not unreasonable. Bao had acted rashly... stupidly... and had brought them to the brink of war. If they couldn't settle this, though, war would most definitely happen. Amir did not think Anantya would abandon one of their own, no matter how poor his decision. Vampires had certainly done worse in their long lives.

He furrowed his brow again, moving his hand away from his face and looking up at the cameras, perplexed, when Vaughn mentioned an unborn child. He thought about it, and lifted his shoulders.
"I don't know. It would depend on his motivation. It doesn't sound like something he would do willingly, but up until a few days ago I would also have said he wasn't Commanding any of your people."

Children... they didn't always listen.

He nodded again when Vaughn mentioned Therese. Amir considered that problem, too. He had no guarantee that once Therese was freed these wolves would also keep their word.
"To be certain she was free would depend on the Commands Bao has placed upon her. If she is freed, she will be able to act for herself, to do anything he has told her not to. I don't know exactly what that is. I can... help you ensure she is entirely free."

It was difficult to make the offer. He felt like he was betraying Bao somehow.
"I need some reassurance that you will allow Bao to go free, but I think, perhaps, we might be able to reach an arrangement."

((ooc: Vaughn's words courtesy of Vaughn himself.))
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
The man in the cell spoke of proving that he had honor and Vaughn was certainly willing to let him do that. He raised his eyebrows as the mulo then asked for a vanilla latte when the other Legionnaire was asked to go on a coffee run. Antoine looked at him, he shrugged and nodded.

"You know I almost think I like him.” The Frenchman said when the other man had left the room. "He has...how is it said? Attitude?”

Vaughn nodded but refrained from giving his own personal opinion on this vampire. He would wait until the man had kept his word to give his seal of approval. However, he would admit that so far the man had been reasonable, especially after they made him a pin cushion, and honorable for the sake of someone else.

He listened to the man speak, frowning when he mentioned the many crimes that he had committed against werewolves. The man in the cell said that the actions were his but the thoughts had not been. Vaughn looked over at Antoine, who shrugged and looked disgusted, and then back at the cameras.

This man had been controlled, like Therese, by someone else? The vampires would do that to one of their own? It did not make sense to someone who lived for his pack and who valued freedom above most everything else. The man suggested that his actions were commanded by someone who felt they were at war with the werewolves. Perhaps the man in the cell was old, old enough to have done these things when their two species had been at war. Someone felt he needed to be commanded to commit violence and Vaughn wondered why that was so. Was he a superior warrior who had no reason to fight the packs? Someone must have felt very strongly about it to force him to do such things. He was not sure that it excused the guy, especially since he said that he might be willing to do it again if necessary, but Vaughn couldn't fault him for being honest.

The vampire then explained that he had been a father and then showed some primitive tattoos on his arm that obviously had great personal meaning. There were a lot of them and Vaughn suspected that each one was for a death remembered. The man then explained that the suit was his child. Well, he supposed that explained why he would be willing to die for the guy, even if he did not agree with what the bastard had done.

The vampire said that he did not think that Bao had killed his child on purpose. Perhaps not but throwing Therese down a flight of stairs was not much better and he had certainly meant to do 'that' on purpose. "Perhaps we can ask him and find out.” Not that he expected the suit to tell the truth but Vaughn had a few questions for him anyway.

The Legionnaire came back in carrying four cups of coffee. It was not anything as fancy as a vanilla latte but it was excellent despite its lack of frills. Antoine did not suffer bad brew. Vaughn took two and then turned to Antoine and the other soldier.

Nodding to the button, which Antoine obligingly pushed, he said. "I am going in there. If I start behaving strangely then shoot him.” It went without saying that if the vampire attacked him that they should do something about it.

His friend looked less than thrilled with this plan but he nodded his understanding. "One wrong twitch and I will take care of him.”

Vaughn stood aside while the cell door was opened and then entered the small room. He held out one of the cups of coffee. "Your people have my people. I want them back. They and Therese matter more to me than revenge on your son.” It was not a difficult decision to make; it might be more difficult to live with. So long as he had his people back safely and Therese was free then he would deal with his regret at letting the suit go. "That is the assurance that I will let...Bao leave with his life.”
Amir 11 years ago
Amir fixed his dark eyes on Vaughn as he entered the cell. He made no move toward the wolf, in fact, surprising himself with how easy it was to restrain himself. He had to admit he had wondered - would it be natural to feel the urge to attack after Subira was gone? After thousands of years spent killing? But no. The urge was not there. There was some anger, anger at being in this situation and frustration with his own inability to effect the changes he wanted to but no overwhelming desire to fight. It was a relief, to pass that personal test.

The other man held out a cup of coffee to Amir. Amir gave a wry smile and took it slowly, still sitting on the floor. He wanted to pose as little threat as possible but he also wanted to hide the fact that the drugs they'd pumped into him still had him feeling a little out of it. He wasn't normally a big coffee drinker but he liked it and it had the added benefit of helping rid himself of the cotton-mouth effect.

Lifting the cup in a salute of thanks, he sipped at the hot drink carefully then rested the cup on his leg as the negotiations began.

"Therese will have her freedom. I promise you that. It was never intended she lose it. Bao will suffer additional... disciplinary action... for taking that matter into his own hands."

Amir had no qualms there. He had ordered Bao himself to drop the Commands on the bitch.
"You will have your answers as well, if you like. I admit to some curiosity of my own as to my son's motives. He will speak truthfully if I am there."

The 'or else' was implied. Amir was angry with Bao, still, for getting into this mess. He did trust Bao to tell nothing but truth, but if necessary Amir would Command it of him. He wanted to know every little detail. He needed to know every little detail if he were to avoid this sort of thing happening again.

"In return for Therese's freedom you will set Bao free, in reasonable condition. Preferably a few steps up from 'alive,' if you would."

Amir arched one eyebrow at Vaughn. He did not doubt that the man wanted to take a few pieces out of Bao's hide. Hell, he had backhanded Bao hard enough to break bone and he still wanted a few shots for all the bullshit his child was putting him through. He would not fault them for injuring Bao... whatever petty retaliation they wanted, physical injury was a light burden for a vampire. If it made Therese or Vaughn feel better, so be it.

"With the two of them thus freed, there should be no further need to hold me, and therefore no further need for us to hold your people. You may exchange the two of them for me."

His priority was getting Bao free. Amir might complain to himself but he loved his family, no matter what idiotic things they did. If he saw Bao go free, his work was done. If Vaughn decided to change his mind and keep Amir hostage after his two wolves were released, Amir would at least know Bao was all right.

He couldn't see any reason for that to be the case; after all, Vaughn had already stated his grievance was against Bao, not Amir. But they were only just now beginning to dance upon the fine line of trust. Amir would rather risk his own safety than Bao's.

He very much hoped they could resolve this quickly... the oppressive walls of this cell were crumbling in upon him and very soon he would be hard pressed to hide his growing agitation from anyone. He was also thirsty, from the effects of the drugs he imagined, and the passage of time since his last meal. Being stuck starving in a complex full of werewolves was like a dehydrated sailor on a raft in the middle of the ocean.

"Will that solution meet with your approval?"

They would both get what they ultimately wanted. Amir took a sip of his drink and then looked down. Raising one eyebrow he regarded Vaughn calmly again and added, with one side of his lips twitching up,
"Perhaps it's asking a bit much but I don't suppose you have a pair of sweat pants lying around?"

He would love to have his jeans back but he highly doubted that would happen. Perhaps they had some spare clothes around; they were werewolves after all. Surely someone must have been caught naked on occasion, maybe often enough to have a few spare sets hanging around.
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
Vaughn raised an eyebrow at the news that the suit would be disciplined for his actions. He wondered if that was because of what the man had done or because he had been caught doing it. The R'asa were not saints, at least not most of them, and he could understand if there was a certain moral ambiguity for people that were not of their own. He felt that way about the pack and those outside of it; though, he would find it more difficult to cause harm to a Kadzait. The other werewolves were cousins, if not brothers, and he felt protective of his kin.

Taking a sip of the coffee, he nodded to the man. "A few steps above alive is likely manageable. Once Therese is freed then she might feel differently but I will keep her from doing serious bodily harm.” He was fairly sure that if he had been treated the same way then he would be wanting this Bao's head on a stick and he would be determined to place it there himself. "I make no guarantees for her actions after he is free. Though she will probably stay away from him.” If she chose not to then Vaughn might not be inclined to stop her. "I am sure that once he is away from here that you can protect him from any personal vengeance she might have in mind.”

He nodded in agreement with what the vampire said about holding him in exchange for their other men. "Agreed.” It might also be the thing that kept Therese from trying to kill Bao out right. If necessary then he would explain that they have Guillaume and that they need to give the suit back in order for the mulo to safely return her cousin.

The vampire then asked for a pair of jogging pants. Vaughn looked down at the man and then raised his eyebrows. "Of course.” Aside from noticing that they had disrobed him because of his armor, Vaughn had not really paid much attention to what the vampire was wearing. He was very accustomed to seeing people in different stages of undress and it hardly registered that his attire, or lack thereof, might be uncomfortable.

"Follow me.” They weren't on the pack grounds so there was not as much in the way of supplies here as there was there but it also served as a safe house and a meeting place for some of their businesses. There was bound to be some clothes here of various sizes.

"Bird, do us a favor and get a vehicle ready.”
Amir 11 years ago
Amir nodded shortly at Vaughn's words. "Very good," he said softly when Vaughn said he would keep Therese from doing serious physical harm to Bao. He suspected his idea of serious and Vaughn's might differ, but he didn't know how much experience Vaughn had with his kind. He wouldn't harm Therese himself, if she did attack Bao... he would simply interpose himself until Vaughn could restrain her if she got too zealous.

He did laugh at the idea that he would protect Bao afterwards, a short harsh laugh.
"If Bao cannot protect himself from the wrath of, pardon me, one werewolf that he knows he pissed off, I'm not sure how much help I'll be. I will, however, do my utmost to make sure they simply stay away from each other. He will not seek her out again."

That, Amir was certain of. Even if he had to Command obedience from Bao his child wouldn't mess with the weres anymore. The very idea of doing to Bao what had been done to him was repugnant but he tried to tell himself his reasons were better than Subira's. It didn't help much.

They agreed upon the order of freedoms and rights, and Amir was satisfied that there was no more haggling. He wondered how Jin would feel about the fact that he hadn't murdered anyone yet (look Jin, I'm negotiating!) and reflected that the killing might just be easier but it was certainly messier. Of course, Jin knew what was going on here... and with Mara and Evan loose he might know where they were. Hell, he could be here now for all Amir knew, blended, ethereal. Amir didn't think for a moment Mara or Jin would have let him waste away in a holding cell after what he'd been through last summer. The thought comforted him.

He stood when Vaughn said to follow him, his legs wobbly from the drugs. He didn't bother to hide the fact; in fact, he exaggerated it a little bit. Let them think he was more off-balance than he was. He didn't think anything was going to come to a fight but if it did he'd rather they underestimate him first.

"By all means, lead on. Let us see what answers we can extract. And, of course, as soon as possible, your Therese will be free."

It wasn't because of a sense of fairness he wanted the wolf bitch freed... it was because Bao had no right to her. No right to mess with the wolves at all when that wasn't his job. He'd made a complete mess of it. Amir was still seething over it. He wasn't sure Therese or Vaughn were the greater threat to Bao's well-being right now. He might want to stay in his cell.
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
Vaughn nodded and made no comment. He thought that perhaps it would be Therese by herself who might want revenge on the bastard but that might not be all. This had not become a whole pack endeavor because he did not want everyone in the R'asa to know that the woman that he was dating was being controlled by a vampire. There are many who would be angry on Therese's behalf and there would be some who would think that the best solution was to kill Therese just to be sure she was no longer a threat to the pack. And some of those might be inclined to take it into their own hands. Still, of those who did know, there might be those willing to pursue the suit once he was free. Guillaume immediately came to mind but also Antoine; the French Legionnaire seemed to have a soft spot for his countrywoman.

Once they had found a pair of sweat pants for their new vampire friend, they went upstairs. Vaughn had laid Therese down on one of the small beds in the back room upstairs. She had been awake for a little bit and had been given something to drink, presumably by the same Legionnaire that had fetched the coffee. He felt a twinge of guilt for having ordered her shot with a tranquilizer dart. Hopefully she forgave him.

"I hope you are feeling better.” He said quietly as he stuck his head in the room. "I apologize for the heavy handed tactic earlier but I did not want you to be injured.” Or have to injure someone else.

Reaching out a hand to her, Vaughn smiled. "We are going for a ride to see...Bao and have this thing finally finished.” He turned to the vampire with him. "Bao's father... I am sorry, I do not know your name.” He smiled somewhat chagrined. It had not been on the important things to discuss list at the time. His own name was fairly well known in Nachton so he had not thought to introduce himself either. "He and I have managed to come to an agreement. He assures me that he can make sure that you are well and truly free of the commands placed on you. In return we promise to let him and Bao leave here alive.”

When Therese reached his side, he whispered softly in her ear. "I promise to be with you the entire time, My Dear.” He would not have her go through this alone.

Outside there was a black SUV waiting to carry them to their next destination. He yielded the front passenger seat to their vampire ally and took one of the back seats (the one directly behind the vampire) so that he could sit next to Therese and place her as far away from the vampire as possible.

As they made their way to the next holding station, Vaughn made a mental note to make sure that both places were marked as potentially dangerous. The vampires would know where those were and he did not doubt that the stations would be watched from now on.
Therese 11 years ago
The black out had been very unexpected and waking up had been -extremely- disorienting. This was not the loading docks, not the Arch, not home, she had no idea where she was. Where the hell had the mulo taken her and why was she alone? She hadn't approved and had fought back panic. Fortunately she hadn't been alone very long at all and quickly brought up to speed. The disorientation had lasted a bit but after a glass or two of water that had started to clear.

No one had said so in so many words but Thérèse could only assume it was on Vaughn's order. There was an odd combination of anger and understanding. She hated not being able to fight her own battles and was cross about not being able to stand and fight. But she understood that because of these commands she was an unknown element and a danger to the Pack. Ultimately she was grateful that she'd not had to make this decision and that Vaughn had done what was right for the Pack.

The waiting, however, was driving her slightly crazy. Typically very patient she'd given into nerves and frustration and was pacing. She'd tried to put herself back together, at least some what, but between the tranquilizer dart and now trying to burn off nervous energy the efforts were only half successful.

She had a profound sense of relief when Vaughn appeared. Thérèse wanted nothing more than to hold him, to hide in his arms, but she didn't even dare smile. This wasn't over yet thee wasn't anything to smile about just yet.

"Non, do not apologize. In fact, thank you. That saved me a great deal. Next time I may take issue though."

She did smile, just a bit then. Thérèse doubted that she'd ever be in this particular situation again, at least she hoped that was the case.

Taking his had she closed the distance between them before coldly eyeing the other one, the one who'd come with her keeper. If she didn't know better he looked harmless, still she half snarled when he was introduced. There was a great deal she wanted to say to this creature who had created that monster but she could not articulate it and so chose not to speak to the unnamed mulo at all, only stiffly nodding her understanding and agreement. She quietly squeezed Vaughn's hand and although she'd had first hand demonstrations regarding how well the mulo could hear she turned and very quietly answered Vaughn.

"Do not let it any nearer me than is necessary."

But she put up no resistance or argument when they all got in the SUV. She was not putting this off any longer than she had to.

As they drove away she again quietly sought Vaughn's hand. The Back of the SUV was dark, no one would ever see but she wanted confirmation of his presence even as she looked out the windows to try and determine where they had been.
Amir 11 years ago
Well, it wasn't much but it was nice to not have to traipse around who knew where in a tee shirt and boxers. Holding his coffee and sipping it occasionally, he followed Vaughn to where apparently Therese was waking up from her own dose of nap-time.

He listened to Vaughn speak, ignoring the part about his name and simply stating,
"I can," to affirm that he could, indeed, make sure Therese was freed. The bitch's response to him made him less inclined to offer a name, even though if they did attempt to look him up with it they would find nothing useful, just a college enrollment and a few innocent references to a school-aged youth here and there. Amir's job was more easily done when invisible and Anantya had the tools necessary to make that happen.

Therese murmured softly to Vaughn but Amir's ears picked up the words anyway. He shrugged mentally to himself and gave no indication that he had heard her words. He didn't care about the bitch one way or another, he just wanted Bao back.

As they left the room, however, he said,
"My name is Amir."

That was good enough for them both, and if the bitch really wanted her freedom she could afford to find her manners, honestly. He wasn't expecting friendliness or anything stupid, but if someone was offering to give you your freedom you could, perhaps, make an attempt to not completely piss them off before that happened.

Sitting in the front of the SUV he drank his coffee absently. He didn't bother to mark their location terribly well - yeah, he could find it again and maybe he would, but Vaughn did not strike him as stupid or overly trusting. Amir doubted there would be any reason to visit the place any time soon. He did take a few mental notes, though, just in case there were similar places nearby. It wouldn't hurt to know where the potential hide-outs were.

Mainly he focused on trying not to be hungry. He didn't know how long he'd slept but he suspected it was plenty long, and his last meal had been over a day ago. Since his stay at Xephier's he had re-learned some sort of discipline, with Jin and Mara's help, but pushing the hunger to the side made him anxious and irritable. Being stuck in an SUV with a bunch of potentially aggressive werewolves was not helping either.

If they didn't finish this business quickly, he was going to do something stupid and they couldn't afford stupid right now. Bao had done enough of that for everyone for a few decades.
Bao 11 years ago
He was still alive. Bao was fairly certain that was a positive. Of course, he didn't know how long that would be the case. However, he had no idea where or what had become of Amir. That thought terrified him. If anything had happened to his creator Bao would be both beyond furious and totally lost. While his world didn't center around Amir, it was anchored by him.

The drugs they had hit him with had let his imagination run wild and Bao was rather on edge. He hadn't even noticed, or worried about the holes the darts had left in his suit. Although, it had crossed his mind that perhaps this hadn't been his best wardrobe choice ever.

He sat perfectly still his mouth dry, trying to determine exactly how much of an effect the tranquilizers still had on him, his eyes closed and waited for something to happen. Certainly this violated several laws and quite possibly the Geneva Convention, but he wasn't certain about that, but he also knew that the two species didn't really abide by those conventions.

This had not gone well.

There was no way around that. He was rather disgusted with himself. He knew better, he was to old and too careful to have let any of this happen. But here he was.

Trying to ignore his current self loathing Bao worked on prioritizing. First he had to find out what had happened to Amir. Second, assuming Amir had been taken as well, he had to negotiate his creators release. Alternately if something had happened to Amir there had to be retaliation. Third, he had to get out of here and ideally never see a wolf again. Fourth, he might need a vacation or to re-evaluate his life.

Even he didn't understand why he'd made such a bad choice. Something must be wrong with him, something beyond a midlife crisis. First his horrific excuse of a turning of Pakpao and now this. He was obviously falling apart at the seams.

He'd worry about that later though.

Bao took a deep breath and continued to wait. He didn't even move when he thought he heard voices outside. He had his priorities, he would act on them once someone bothered to show themselves to him.
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
Vaughn led his small group into the building, past the guards and down the stairs to the underground area. He greeted the two R'asa down here watching the cameras as he had the two up top. It was not that he expected the vampire inside the holding cell to be trouble but he knew that thev Vyusher could find one of their own who had been taken and so the mulo might also have that talent, perhaps the ones who changed shape. Vaughn suspected that it was only a matter of time before the vampires found where they had taken their people; it was part of the reason he had split them up originally. The added guards were more to watch for rescue attempts but they were also there in case the vampire displayed some extra talent that they had yet to experience that might help him escape the underground room.

Glancing at the cameras showed the vampire still wearing his suit and not looking much the worse for wear. "I am guessing he had not robbed a jewelry store of all its silver before the meeting?” Vaughn turned to Amir and arched an eyebrow.

One of the Legionnaires seated in front of the cameras shook his head. "No, we got lucky. He only had a silver ring on him.” He grinned up at Vaughn, clearly having heard from the other team about all the things they had to confiscate from their former charge. The man then coughed and turned back to his post. "Right. You want me to open the door?”

"It would be helpful.” Vaughn agreed. They could talk to him out here but he was not sure whether or not Therese had to be close to undo whatever it was that the suit had done. Amir was also with them and that might help them get straight answers. It might give the man in the cell cause to lie but they could always change tactics if this one didn't work.

The Legionnaire buzzed the door unlocked and Vaughn stood by while the other two entered the cell. He then followed, shutting the door behind him. It locked with a solid click. Finding Therese's hand, Vaughn pulled her close. The small room had become rather crowded.

"We have come to an agreement, Amir and I.” He nodded to the other man. "Before you leave, after releasing Therese, I would like some answers about this situation.”
Therese 11 years ago
Her keeper looked far too calm and composed for all of this. He was just sitting there and as near as Thérèse could tell as comfortable as if he was in his own home. She stared at him in morbid fascination, oh she loathed him with every fiber of her being but there was some small satisfaction in seeing him held for a change.

Both eyebrows raised and she turned to the other mulo, Amir, curiously when the Legionnaires said he only had one silver ring on him. Thérèse wondered if that was his doing. She knew that he had always worn several rings and carried a silver chain whip. Perhaps he had scaled back as a sign of good faith.

She took a deep breath before following them into the little room. It was the first time she had willingly sought his company since he had done this to her. She held Vaughn's hand and resisted the urge to push in front of him and try and protect him from this monster.

Perhaps there would be some closure in his answers. Truthfully though, she didn't care any more she just didn't want to be part of this any longer, this whatever it was.
Amir 11 years ago
When Vaughn turned to him with an eyebrow raised after commenting about having robbed a jewelry store Amir simply tilted his head to the side and shrugged his shoulders slightly. The corners of his mouth tipped up slightly, however, as he raised his coffee cup to his lips again. You didn't bring oil to fight a fire... Vaughn surely understood the reason for the armor he'd worn. He didn't feel bad about it.

As they entered the room he felt his nerves tighten and fray as the door closed behind them. Once again he was trapped. At the mercy of the wolves. They could betray him at any point. Amir didn't trust Vaughn's word, any more than he expected Vaughn to trust his. What choice did any of them have though?

Outwardly he showed no sign of conflict. He tucked one hand into the pocket of his borrowed sweats, sipped his coffee as if he had no cares, and nodded his head to Bao in greeting. Amir ignored Therese as he had done for the most part since they had retrieved her. She meant nothing to him, except that clearly they could get to Vaughn with her. A useful piece of knowledge but irrelevant unless they needed some leverage against the mayor.

"First things first, of course," he said. He raised his dark brows at Bao. "I release you. And you will release Therese, as I promised on your behalf."

Bao's word had suffered with Amir. His child had concealed this from him when it would have been important for him to know. He was deeply disappointed in Bao. Perhaps he should send him away for a little while, let him cool his heels in Zimbabwe or somewhere remote.

"If you would," Amir said, indicating Therese. With a little effort of will he dropped the Commands he'd placed upon Bao himself. They had been hastily issued and very straightforward. No layers of logic, nothing difficult.

"Your freedom, madam."
Bao 11 years ago
If it had just been the wolves Bao would have stayed seated. That would have been a sign of respect and, despite his current situation, that he wasn't quite willing to give them. Amir, however, was with them and that was enough to inspire Bao to get to his feet. He was, however, tremendously relived to see his creator. He looked relatively well, unharmed, at the very least in one piece and not being coerced.

He was, however, rather surprised to see the Mayor. Not something he would have expected apparently these creatures had a stronger network and more influence than he thought. He inclined his head slightly not quite agreeing, but at least acknowledging the request. He had expected that. Of course any idea of misleading or vague answers was completely out of the question with Amir standing right there.

He would like a cup of coffee though.

It was an odd feeling, Amir's commands dropping. It had only been one direct, simple command and yet there was almost a palpable sensation as he was again in control of his decisions. For a moment he wondered what it would be like for the curator.

There was also the question of what she would do. Even under his command she'd made several notable and significant attempts to harm him. Undoubtedly, she still harbored those feelings he doubted she would be a graceful winner. It seemed as if the mayor was her superior, perhaps he'd keep the she wolf in check.

There was nothing but hate in her eyes tough. So... perhaps not. Regardless, Bao did not ask for any protection or assistance. Nor did he hesitate to drop the commands. Amir had made it more than a little clear, Bao thought while flexing his jaw, how he felt about this matter. There was no point in using finesse to remove the commands, he used a sledge hammer, shattering them all in a few words.

"You are free. None of my words hold any power any longer."

No sooner had he finished those commands than there was a large wolf and very large teeth going strait for his throat. It didn't seem proper to attempt to strike her this time, so he only moved out of the way. It had been a very fast very solid attempt, the only thing that saved him was that he had been anticipating something like this, that and the other men in the small room were apparently equally prepared. While she didn't seem content with the one attempt and Bao watched her wearily it occurred to him he'd never seen this side of her.
Vaughn Emiliano 11 years ago
The suit seemed fairly unruffled by the whole experience. That was annoying. It made Vaughn want to punch him at least once. Of course he was a politician and knew that the surface expression meant nothing on some people. Amir also looked fairly calm, standing there in his borrowed jogging pants and sipping his coffee. However, Amir wasn't the one who had thrown Therese down the stairs. Besides Vaughn suspected that 'the kid' was old as dirt.

Releasing the commands appeared to be a very simple matter. There did not seem to be any catches and slippery catch phrases that left Therese partially under his control. If that was not enough proof then the fact that he could see his girlfriend changing the very instant the words were spoken from the suit was another good indicator.

He took hold of her, having no fear of grappling a snarling werewolf. Yes, she might hurt him but he would recover. Vaughn doubted it would be very serious; he wasn't the one she wanted to kill.

Therese snapped and snarled at the suit and looked ready to lunge at him again. Vaughn moved between her and Bao and the knelt down in front of her. Placing his hands on either side of her head, he stroked her thick grey fur. "Look at me, Sweetie.” He smiled at her. "You don't want to eat that. They taste nasty.”

Growing more serious, he added. "Punch him if you like. You have every right to and I won't stop you. But they have several of our people and I have promised that he will walk out of here alive. So, for the good of the pack, I will keep you from using him as a chew toy. It is the decision that I had to make.” In other words, he would like to kill the man also, and had fully intended to before several of his people's lives were at stake.

Looking over his shoulder at the suit, he said. "If I ever find that you have harmed another member of my pack then I will hunt you down and kill you myself. And from now on, Mr. Hoang we will be keeping a much closer eye on you.”

He moved so that he could look fully at the man who had been tormenting Therese. With his arms still wrapped around Therese's shoulders, Vaughn asked the question that had been first few on the list of many that he wanted answers to. "So tell me, why did you do this to her? What did you want? Why Therese?”
Therese 11 years ago
Her stomach twisted as she did her best not too look nervous, to stare the bastard down. Challenging him to not do as he'd been instructed.

That was it? Thérèse was both alarmed and insulted it was that easy for him to remove the commands. A few simple words and she could feel ... it was light weights being removed from her. She had intended to remain calm and logically test memories and responses to see if there were any remaining commands. However, she also had more than a little pent up anger. Instinctively she threw herself into her change, in record time, and did what she'd wanted to for ages went straight for the monster's throat.

She would have had him too, even with the agile side step, if Vaughn hadn't intervened. Thérèse looked at him and growled and then past him to the vampire bearing her teeth. As angry as she was though she did listen. She wouldn't hurt the monster, not badly enough to do any permanent damage, not if the stories and memories were true. Even if she didn't take his throat there were other, less damaging parts of him he would miss.

Letting Vaughn stroke her for a second longer, enjoying that comfort Thérèse debated remaining in this form. But she couldn't speak as a wolf and someone had to verify or contradict the mulo's story and she was the only other one who had been there. Heaving a long suffering canine sigh she shifted back, she'd worry about clothing in a minute or two.

"My blood. That's what this all started with. Although, I never understood why.”

They hadn't had to tell her why, not really. His commands at first had been very simple and he'd almost always had her forget the encounter or sleep through it. Which meant that even with the commands lifted she didn't have much memory of the event.
Amir 11 years ago
The result of Bao's dropped Commands was not surprising to anyone in the room, Bao included. Amir smoothly stepped in between the lunging wolf and his child, even as Vaughn intervened. Amir held his arm out but Vaughn caught Therese before anyone connected violently with anyone else.

Amir did his best to ignore the private talk happening between Vaughn and the bitch in wolf form. After a minute or two she heaved a sigh and shifted back. Amir gave her a measured look and stepped away from Bao.

He raised an eyebrow at Bao when Therese said initially it was about blood. Amir had questioned Bao about his dubious connection with this scientific experiment on several occasions, and had come to the conclusion that he didn't understand Bao's fascination with this and he would stay out of it as long as Bao didn't get into any trouble.

Well, now Bao had really put his dress-shoe clad foot in it. Amir's expression didn't change but he had no doubt Bao could ascertain his thoughts. This was poorly done, on many levels. Bao would have to answer not only to the wolves but to his own kind for this.

"You would do well to answer these questions fully," he murmured to Bao. "We will discuss it further later, however."