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Something Rotten in the Air

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Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Guest on Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:48 pm

The train was scheduled for arrival at 9PM. It was a few minutes late, to Ayden's displeasure; the wheels still hot as it ground to a halt, he stepped off of the carriage with a sigh, clutching with him two briefcases, one in either hand. Each held valuable equipment in, both essential to his profession.

It wasn't long before Ayden's brisk walk took him through the familiar foyer of Central HQ. He took a long, deep draw of breath in; the musty stench reminded him of Spade, of Jay, of Nikolaus... of beer. He'd have to see the two Generals and the Colonel whilst he was down here, before he left tomorrow - Stuka himself would probably be awake. The assassin was familiar with his sleeping... irregularities.

However, he had far more urgent business to attend to beforehand. A meeting had been organised with the Chancellor himself at 9:30; swiping back a leather sleeve to check his watch, Ayden smirked. The minute hand was still hovering over and around the 'IV', indicating that he was around ten minutes early. Another long draw of the familiar air, and black heels tapped on the fine floor of the headquarters' upper floor as he moved through the corridors briskly.

The silver-haired General came to the exterior of Reinhardt's conference room swiftly, and with a serious expression upon his face, raised a hand as the secretary began to speak, waving it brusquely. "No forewarning necessary. I have an appointment with His Excellency," Ayden explained with a brief smile, though the secretary still appeared to regard him with a touch of apprehension and fear. That was usual. An aura of death seemed to linger about him with a bad smell. "I'm a few minutes early. Shall I wait inside?" No answer came. Oh, well.

Ayden stepped through and pushed the door open, shrugging; the baroque desk was fine, and it appeared that the Chancellor was taking very good care of his flash new conference room and office. It was certainly accommodating, and luxurious; a steady, sloping whistle revealed his admiration as he allowed gloved fingers to drift along the expansive desk's surface, and finally rap his knuckles twice on it.

He furrowed his brow and took another, long draw through his nostrils, pausing as he set himself back upon the seat. His saliva tasted bitter, different; the air in Central was thicker than the thinning oxygen levels of the tough-shelled Briggs, this much he knew from his time there. But a stench followed it around, almost entirely unnoticeable, but very much present; he put it down to placebo, and took a seat down in the chair across from Reinhardt's widened desk. The smell soon faded. The surface was ordered neatly with stacks of papers and an ornate desk lamp. Nothing but the best, of course...

A giddy chuckle, and Ayden regarded the room once more, his piercing gaze slashing a rapid zig-zag across its entirety with another spurting giggle. He rested his hands upon the chair, seemingly laughing for no reason whatsoever; when he paused mid-motion, froze entirely, as if stuck in time and limbo itself, entirely locked in clutch. His lips were still pursed, ready to laugh, his irises no wider or thinner than they had been but a moments later.

And with that pause, he recognised the scent, again. It appeared to be following around, lapsing in and out of presence, snaking into his nostrils with tendrils of dissatisfaction. Something was rather... awry. That's when, finally, a look of recognition struck his pallor, and taking a long, deep, wide draw of the room, nostrils flaring, a grin slipped up onto his face. Revelation had come, sweeping, and bringing with it a madman's uneasy smile and a brief statement.

"There is," He remarked matter-of-factly with a mutter, his face slipping back into neutrality. Ayden took another long sniff of the air, and nodded slowly, bobbing his head, as if to ascertain the fact. "...something rotten in the air."

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Hans L. Reinhardt on Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:56 pm

Hans was in a grumbly mood. It had been a long day and it wasn't over yet. He had been in meetings since eight o'clock in the morning, almost non-stop. Putting a country back together... AGAIN... it took some time. Lots of budget meetings, worries about finding necessary food and medicine. The devastation could've hit more of the country, yes. But they were still reeling from everything that happened in the past few years. It was damned frustrating, seeing Amestris so torn apart. But today some headway was finally made. They had some plans laid out to get the country's economy back up and in turn, the people's slightly shaken morale. And all Hans wanted to do was go home, pour himself a stiff whiskey and put his feet up. But he had one more meeting to attend to tonight. And why in the hell did it have to be so late? Oh, right. Because he had no other time to fit in Brigadier General Derocha today. Luckily the man had been more than accommodating. Hans' driver pulled up to Central HQ and Hans pulled himself out of the backseat with a groan. He had been sitting far too much today with not enough time to stretch his legs.

He walked into the quiet HQ and up the three flights of stairs. The evening secretary, Denise waved at him. He smiled down at her. “You go home, dear. I'll lock up once I finish with my meeting.” She nodded, gesturing that the man was already inside. He glanced down at his watch: 9:27. Hm. The man arrived early. Good marks there. Hans rolled his shoulders and stretched his neck from side to side. He pushed open the door to his conference room, noting that Ayden had taken a seat near the big chair at the end of the table. Denise had thoughtfully left the desk lamp on for him, as well as the overhead lights. The blinds were pulled down and stacked on the table were the files he had briefly been over the day before. After all, when a soldier requests a meeting, it's only fair to do some research first.

Hans walked down the side of the room, putting his own briefcase next to his seat. He came around to Ayden's side, reaching out his hand. “Brigadier General Derocha. Thank you for being so flexible with meeting me tonight. What can I do for you?

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Speaks fluent Amestrian (teal), Cretan (greenyellow), Xingese (goldenrod), and Creig (cadetblue). Is learning to speak Aerugese (bisque), Drachman (silver), Esparian (plum), Rouenian (Gelemortian Dialect) (lightsteelblue), Cerisian (lawngreen), Ishvallan (chocolate). (Can at least speak a few words in each.)
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Hans L. Reinhardt
CHANCELLOR SUPREME

Posts : 86
Points : 133

-Case File-
Level: 2
Rank: Chancellor
Writer: Csi

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Guest on Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:30 pm

The Chancellor's office was fine indeed. A touch of Mozart playing in the background, a fine glass of Merlot; and all would have been good. Things were a mite too quiet currently; but it wasn't long before heavy-set footsteps resounded outside, and the door opened, Reinhardt entering. "Brigadier General Derocha. Thank you for being so flexible with meeting me tonight. What can I do for you?" Ayden smirked to himself, his face still hidden from Hans, before he rose to his feet, pivoted, and put on the broadest, most perfect faux smile of the day.

"It's quite alright, Your Excellency," Ayden spoke with a light smile, extending his hand gently. "Really, I'm a creature of travel, and a connoisseur of journey, if you will; it's of no trouble, this business of moving from North to Central." For the assassin, it was a brief spiel; after shaking the man's hands, the pair both took their respective seats, ready to get to the meat of the matter with it all.

There was a lot Ayden could tell from Hans by shaking his hand. Firm grip, heavy strength, and definite tension in those muscles of his. Slow, paced, diplomatic upwards and downwards strokes; he was just as much a master of body language as he was the art of speech. Had Ayden been a man with faith in talking to get points across, he would have believed there was no better candidate than the good Chancellor himself; unfortunately, the murderer did not resign himself to such petty 'ideals'. A world should be dominated by he who has ability to seize it.

"I'll cut to the chase," A brief grin as the pair took their seats, Ayden drifting back into the centre chair once more. "I've come to you with a proposition, Your Excellency," The silver-haired alchemist spoke delicately. It showed ego to ask your superior of a promotion, especially so in the world of Generals, one of pedantry and simple wordcraft. "One of position, and one of... information,"

Here, the Brigadier General's smile curved into something wicked, something beyond simple happiness and beyond simple diplomacy. It wasn't entirely visible; but the smile's curvature was devilish, as if Ayden knew that this particular step would entice the man. He let those convincing, shark-like pearly whites of his show, and continued to speak. "You are a man who has a certain... fixation... with weeding out corruption within the State Military's ranks, no?" That brief smile settled down into something more calm. "I can respect this much, Your Excellency... it seems a noble cause," Ayden stated.

"But..." Here came the spice to sweeten the pot, so to speak. "It is undoubtedly not an easy goal, and this much I recognise, sire," Ayden commented with false notes of regret laden heavy upon his voice. "Which is why I wish to assist you in your conquest, noble as it is." There was the kicker. "I will help you with your goals and follow you, Chancellor, to the very end. But, on the other side of the blade, there is something that I wish for you to do for me."

He made a sigh, and leant forwards, interlocking his fingers and letting stray locks of silvery-white hair brush them. "My resources only stretch so far being Briggs' alchemical specialist," He spoke. "I can give you information now; but it would be limited. At best." Another sigh that curved half-into a smile; but a pleasant one. Ayden was no fool. "Should you see fit to expand my resources..." He held up his arms, as if the notion was simple. "...then I shall be more than able to expand the amounts of information flowing in, from 'negligible' to 'healthy'." A dry chuckle, and Ayden pushed himself forwards, in a daring and bold move.

"Your Excellency..." A smile. "Remove me from my post at Briggs... and make me Alchemy Specialist of the entire country." The proposition was out there; it was plain as day, clear as crystal, as simple as simple could be. He would remain at Briggs as a base of operations, technically under Tsukino's command, but his net of things would be expanded, and his alchemical task force hopefully increased by twofold. But what Ayden wanted? Above all else, above all material gain?

Another star on his lapel.

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Hans L. Reinhardt on Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:54 am

After Hans had greeted Ayden, he took his seat. He crossed one leg over the other and picked up the file closest to him. He flipped it open and skimmed through the short page of notes he had taken from reading the full file on Ayden Derocha underneath. The man was good at being a soldier, although he did have some... peculiar tendencies. That became slowly apparent to Hans as Ayden proceeded to offer him a proposition. His voice was innocent enough, but the wicked smile on his lips betrayed him. His tone changed with each stage of the proposition... it sounded mildly rehearsed. Hans felt his formidable temper rising and he stamped it back down. It would do him no good to bat around this young kid, just because he thought he could manipulate the Chancellor.

As Ayden finished speaking, Hans rose from his chair. He began to walk slowly down the length of the conference room. “First of all, cut the 'your excellency' and 'sire' crap. If you had come in hoping to win me over, then using exalted titles is not the way to do it. Chancellor is sufficient.” Hans reached the end of the conference room and smartly turned on his heel, beginning to walk back. “Secondly, this is not some bartering game. Ending military corruption should be the goal of any soldier within the military, especially any general. But that does not mean you use whatever inside information you have just to gain yourself a new position.” He stopped in front of Ayden's chair, looking down at him. “Promotions are given on merit and proof of a job well done. If you believe that you've done well and deserve to be the alchemy specialist for all Amestris, then prove it. Tell me why you think you deserve it.

Hans stared down at Ayden a moment longer before sitting back down in his seat. This bartering crap rankled him. Of course he wanted to cut down on corruption in his military; it disgusted him that it had gotten so out of hand in the first place. However, having someone who would pass on information for a price screamed trouble itself. He would not become accused of giving away positions for information. The corruption would continue unless his men and women took it upon themselves to give themselves up or speak up about wrongdoings they saw. But not at the expense of advancement. Ayden could choose to give him information if he so wished, but he would not get a promotion on that alone.

.....................................................................................................................................



Speaks fluent Amestrian (teal), Cretan (greenyellow), Xingese (goldenrod), and Creig (cadetblue). Is learning to speak Aerugese (bisque), Drachman (silver), Esparian (plum), Rouenian (Gelemortian Dialect) (lightsteelblue), Cerisian (lawngreen), Ishvallan (chocolate). (Can at least speak a few words in each.)
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Hans L. Reinhardt
CHANCELLOR SUPREME

Posts : 86
Points : 133

-Case File-
Level: 2
Rank: Chancellor
Writer: Csi

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:41 pm

"First of all, cut the 'your excellency' and 'sire' crap. If you had come in hoping to win me over, then using exalted titles is not the way to do it. Chancellor is sufficient." Ayden arched an eyebrow. Not one for the formalities of life, was he? Interesting... very much so, as a matter of fact. A slender smile crept onto his face, and he inclined his head gently, assuring the Chancellor of his understanding and letting the large man continue.

"Secondly, this is not some bartering game. Ending military corruption should be the goal of any soldier within the military, especially any general. But that does not mean you use whatever inside information you have just to gain yourself a new position." Ayden almost winced. He'd hoped his spiel wouldn't have gone down as badly as this, but the opportunity was far from lost, yet. Their talk was only just beginning. It seemed Reinhardt's reputation preceded him, however; he was a man who would get things done, and that was exactly what Amestris needed, so the newspapers and tables full of politicians would say, despite the powers behind either one never having shed a fluid ounce of blood in their pathetic lives.

Careful not to let the serial killer mask of his personality shine through, using what little diplomatic skills he possessed, the facade was kept up, though a crack began to show in it when the formality had been blasted down. "Promotions are given on merit and proof of a job well done. If you believe that you've done well and deserve to be the alchemy specialist for all Amestris, then prove it. Tell me why you think you deserve it." Oh, that was mean. Difficult to answer correctly, too. If he got too egotistical, he'd get turned down; but if he undersold himself, the General would lose confidence in him and possibly even demote him. It was a fine line the veiled assassin was walking, a fine line with less-than-ample faith in both its and his own stability.

But the General made his play; possibly one of his most daring yet. After a brief moment's silence, he stood to his feet, and removed his jacket. None of his weapons were strapped in aside from the Children at his ankles, and a bandolier of throwing knives at his chest. He wasn't trying to threaten Hans; if he wanted to convey a message of overkill... this entire meeting would have gone a whole lot differently. Shrugging off the jacket and pinning it atop the chair with a handful of fluid movements, Ayden then slipped off his gloves and set them down upon the surface in the conference table. His arms were bare save for the ceramic combat plate serving as bullet-resistant body armour, not as battered as one would respect. Finally, the assassin unstrapped the vest, and set it down upon the chair, the weight of it all apparent as he moved his arms far more sluggishly than previous. Ayden Derocha, the assassin General, was standing in his leader's conference room, topless.

Tucking in the chair and continuing his display, head held high, finally, the silver-haired warrior spun around, making his back wholly visible. The reddening of the tattooed tissue had long since faded, but it was prominent enough. A huge tattoo, snaking down in tendrils from his neck and covering the entirety of his upper back. From there, his shoulders were bare, but at his elbows began a pair of identical spiralling pieces of body art, twisted with the palms towards Hans so he could see Ayden's alchemical magnum opus in its entirety. These arrays were Xingese in nature, alkahestric, and twisted all the way down from his elbows to his wrists. Two more circles, these differentiated, sat carved with ink onto his left and right palms. Finally came the last, but most definitely not the least; in size, perhaps, but definitely not in effect. Inscribed upon the pads of both forefingers was a miniature, tiny transmutation circle.

"In Esparia," Ayden began to speak, the conference room's dim light illuminating his frame, lanced with pale ribbons and the makings of faded scars. Dozens of silvery crosshatchings lined his back, each aged in variety. Not a single square inch of the man's torso skin was untouched by ink or scar; and all of it had been brushed with a firm layer of pain. These scars lining and trickling across his torso were all he had left of a memory, of another life; some were, of course, from his escapades in the years since... but... most... "I would be executed on the spot for showing this, Amestrian citizenship or not," His voice was quiet, solemn, sombre. "As you can see, Chancellor, I haven't just dedicated time to something I consider my art, my calling. I haven't just dedicated research. I have willingly given up my entire body, my visage in its entirety, as a testament to my life's work," A deadly silent pause hung in the air, carrying just as much sting as any words could. "The summary of it sits before you, on my skin. And I would gladly cover every square inch I could find if it would take me even another few years' work in the right direction,"

Tension in the air was thickening. Hans had probably had enough. With that, Ayden picked up the ceramic plate, and fastened it back on. "Alas, however," The gloves came next, slipped back onto slender, lithe, and almost elegant fingers - despite what they'd been used for - with a perfect fit to guise his body art. "Alchemical research is of the same nature as any research. It's touch-and-go, at the best of times, Chancellor," The jacket stayed hung on the chair, and, quietly, the assassin-General sidled back onto his.

A quick cough to clear his throat. "One hundred years ago, our State Alchemist program was the magnum opus of the world's alchemical battle-forces," Regretful sighs took the air next. "Our being unique was threatened and shook, seized by the Cretans, persecuted by the Esparians, and alchemy has become no longer a science, but a simplistic tool that even the most uneducated of buffoons can harness." Then, finally, Ayden locked eyes with the Chancellor, his mouth pursed, a tongue waiting within, ready to strike in silvery speech. Those twin azure pools met Hans' eyes of a deep brown. Not vibrant, but... calming. And that was when something wild, something wicked, a forest fire on a minuscule scale, flared in Ayden Derocha's eyes, like an inferno desperately straining against the bounds of a forest or a jungle.

"I don't need this position. Amestris needs this position. Someone needs to reconstruct the State Alchemists back up to their former glory," A smile, as subtle as the silver-haired killer could muster. "Given the recent destruction that racked the country... I'm sure an effort to rebuild not only on a physical scale but a militaristic scale would impress our allies and demoralise our enemies just as much," Hands interlocked and thumbs desperately lashing against each other, Ayden becoming... almost... impatient, he spoke a single last time before flipping the serve back over to Hans. "I simply think that I'm a fit enough candidate for the job... one who sees alchemy for what it truly is."

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Hans L. Reinhardt on Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:36 pm

Hans sat back, waiting for Ayden to say something... anything, really. He hadn't exactly looked dejected when Hans called him out on his play but he didn't exactly looked pleased that it hadn't gone over as planned. Apparently he had decided on a new tactic, and Hans watched as Ayden stood and disrobed his upper half. He raised an eyebrow as Ayden stood topless in front of him. Strange technique... Hans other eyebrow raised up to join its mate as Ayden turned his back on him. Hans had never been one for tattoos. He didn't mind them, really. They were never his thing. But tattoos for fun and tattoos for alchemy-related endeavors were two very different stories. And Ayden's story was one deeply tied with alchemy. Even as he spoke, there seemed to be a whisper of reverence in his tone. Ayden loved what he did, that much was very clear.

As Ayden clothed himself and took his seat, he continued his explanation of alchemy. Except now it was not so much about his love of it, but rather his disdain at what it had become. Hans wouldn't exactly say “buffoons” could harness alchemy... it was a difficult subject, no matter what thing you were trying to manipulate. Hans had attempted to learn the basics of alchemy once before... that kind of science was a little bit beyond him.

It appears that Ayden's goal went beyond the Alchemy Specialist of Amestris... he wanted to utilize that power to build up the State Alchemy program. Now, that was an interesting thought. He mused for a moment or two after Ayden finished speaking, tapping his chin. “Well, General... You have proven your merit. Admittedly, in an unorthodox way.” He allowed himself a dry chuckle. “I can also respect your wish to rebuild the State Alchemy program. I think this is something that we can further work on. I'd like to have a list of ideas of how you want to work on the program.” He stood up, rolling his neck from side to side. “In the meantime, Major General. I think you'd best order new business cards.

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Speaks fluent Amestrian (teal), Cretan (greenyellow), Xingese (goldenrod), and Creig (cadetblue). Is learning to speak Aerugese (bisque), Drachman (silver), Esparian (plum), Rouenian (Gelemortian Dialect) (lightsteelblue), Cerisian (lawngreen), Ishvallan (chocolate). (Can at least speak a few words in each.)
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Hans L. Reinhardt
CHANCELLOR SUPREME

Posts : 86
Points : 133

-Case File-
Level: 2
Rank: Chancellor
Writer: Csi

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

Post by Guest on Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:00 pm

Hans seemed taken aback enough by his display. Now that was progress. A response came quickly through the Chancellor's surprise. "Well, General... You have proven your merit. Admittedly, in an unorthodox way." Ayden shrugged, and swiftly nodded with a smile curling upwards upon those pale lips of his. Unorthodox, to him, meant unique. Unique meant he was memorable. Memorable people became powerful.

"It's the only way I know how, Chancellor," He retorted with soothing tones upon his voice, calmed enough now that his spiel had works. Taking a long, deep breath, he finally put himself back at ease, and waited for Hans to continue speaking. Today had been productive, and he'd get back to North City easily before the clock chimed midnight. They were just about done here; the assassin could feel it in his bones.

"I can also respect your wish to rebuild the State Alchemy program. I think this is something that we can further work on. I'd like to have a list of ideas of how you want to work on the program." Well, that was to be expected that Hans wished to oversee him personally. No matter. Ayden had worked with boundaries before, and he was positive he could again. But for now, the most important fact standing out from the rest was cunningly enough the simplest: his new position was in the bag. The smile curling upwards swept into a long grin, and the General bowed his head.

"Oh, by all means," Ayden didn't mind Hans' wish to interject into his plans. He could probably weave them into the ideas he had, and make them work in tandem. The man was smart enough - they were probably thinking along the same tracks at some points, though it was clearly obvious that it was entirely for different reasons. "Have them sent to my office in Briggs, and I'll scan over them and send proposals down to you in no time," The silver-haired warrior did his best to speak in a reassuring tone, as unusual as it was for him, cerulean eyes scanning Hans up and down one final time. Perhaps this man would be a fitting Chancellor after all; perhaps he was more than just a petty politician, and far more a substantial man than he'd initially thought. Or, perhaps, it was all just a facade; but in that case, they were both just as guilty of lies as each other.

No... the man wasn't lying, or even putting it on. He was pleasant, strong, fair, kind, and strict all rolled into one. A perfect leader; and one whom Ayden had made his mind up about. Hans Reinhardt now commanded the General's respect, for what it worth. "In the meantime, Major General. I think you'd best order new business cards." Azure irises widened further and the slaughterer arched both eyebrows. Well, that was good. And their business here was concluded, as succinctly as possible, not minutes after he'd entered the room proper. Smiling and bowing his head, Ayden took to his feet and pulled his jacket back up, pulling it on and letting it hang loose over his slender frame, open over the hardy, convex, refractive material of the ceramic vest underneath, his personal health insurance policy.

Tucking the chair back in, it all became fully clear to Ayden. Hans was a man of doing over speaking, and a man who cut to the chase, got to the point; there were no convoluted ideals, and he didn't deal in bullshit or charades. In some hypocritical way, the silver-haired Cretan-Amestrian knew that in the tiny, minuscule patriotic sector of that shrivelled blackened organ he called a heart, that was exactly what Amestris needed. Without a doubt, he knew fully now that Hans Ludwig Reinhardt was the man for the job, and one who wouldn't let the power go to his head.

Of course, he couldn't say the same for himself. Energy was crackling at his fingertips, the lithe fingers within those black gloves twitching backwards and forwards, Ayden appearing very much like a ticking time-bomb. The tension was visible, and had been ever since Hans had uttered the magic phrase denoting the assassin's new rank - Major General. Bowing his head once more, he spoke as briefly as he could, making a swift movement to check his watch and slapping on a false smile. "It's been a pleasure to meet with you, Chancellor, and I'm sure we'll be seeing a lot of each other over the coming weeks, but, alas, for now," Ayden sighed. "I unfortunately have a train to catch."

With that, Ayden finished up the polite charades, shaking the man's hand, before finally turning on his heel, and barrelling straight for the all-too-familiar corridors of Central HQ. But, before he did so, he froze, turned to Hans, and uttered those two simple words that could change everything, with a hint of purity beneath his pale pallor finally present. "Thank you." A smile sat upon his face wider than ever before, and there was a spring in his step that hadn't been there when he'd come in. Briskly traversing the steps and winding staircases, he began his speedy descent through the dimly-lit military base-of-operations, before, finally, pushing open the foyer's double doors and standing in the cool July evening night air, exhaling, freezing mid-way down to the ground, and looking up to the star-dotted sky. Major General Derocha.

He liked the sound of that.

[EXIT THREAD]

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Re: Something Rotten in the Air

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