A Darker Shade Of Pale

Details and a record of the characters exploits, successes and failures within the Parallel Worlds.

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A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:37 pm

A Darker Shade of Pale

Night had fallen over the island, the shelling had stopped and relative peace reigned once more as the locals began sifting through the wreckage of their town, mourning their dead and cursing the American warships in the harbour.

Up the hill, on the road out of town a blinding white flash from within a small room outlined the non-descript but heavy door that barred entry to it.

A moment later the door opened and a figure emerged, a mere shadow in the blackness.
Dressed in a long black top-coat, tight fitting and with a tall collar like a mandarin jacket at the top and flowing like a cape below the waist it hid most of what the man wore beneath.
Only the bottoms of his black pressed trousers and his high gloss sturdy shoes could be seen.
His manner of dress was far out of place but the figure didn’t worry about that.
The man, tall, dark haired and handsome, surveyed the site of the farriers from behind dark glasses.
The place was mostly craters filled with debris now, after the Americans had nigh-on flattened this part of town.
In complete silence the figure picked his way across the site and as he departed the area, so th crickets started their chirping again.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:38 pm

Captain Edwardo Delanzo rubbed at his tired eyes. It had been a long day, fraught with danger and mayhem and his body was worn out from the constant deluge of adrenaline. Despite his tiredness he didn’t think he’d see much in the way of sleep tonight.

The morning had started early with fighting against the insurgents becoming bogged down near the docks.
The Americans had stayed out of it, keeping their own guard on their holdings and dissuading the locals from going anywhere near.

But then the civilians had kicked off, rioting in the streets and suddenly the American ships were blasting everything in town.
Ignoring the near decimation of his town, what bothered Captain Delanzo was what was it that had set the civilians off?
He felt sure that if he’d been out with his men he’d know, but he hadn’t been. Instead he’d been in the saloon trying to assess the strange old American with the metal and glass contraption over his eye.
The strange device appeared to be grafted to the old man’s face. Delanzo had never seen anything like it, and that encounter bothered him more than any other event.
In fact it wasn’t just the American, it was his two strange Australian companions too.
All three were dressed in such an unusual manner and were so out of place that he would not have been surprised to find them cowering in a corner. But the three men seemed completely unbothered by the battle raging around them. That was except for the brief moment when the American took down eight of the insurgents with his pistols in the mere blink of an eye.

That strange eye kept re-appearing in the captain’s thoughts; it was just so “other-worldly”. The captain wasn’t even sure that was a real phrase but it seemed to suit.
As he sat at his make-shift desk he wondered if the trio had been spies. They had appeared shortly before the shelling started. In fact the dandily dressed one had arrived at the saloon mere minutes before the rioters. Had he and his companion instigated it?
And now there was no trace of any of them, not even amongst the dead. Were they resting easily on one of the big American ships still moored in the harbour?

Delanzo decided he’d have to report this to his superiors. Perhaps there would be more Americans sporting these odd additions dotted around the Southern Americas?
Would there be a prelude to attack? It was something else for the captain to worry about.

There was a knock at the door and a runner came in, sweat glistening on his brow in the candlelight.
“Latest report from the east quarter, Captain.”
Delanzo took the offered scrap of paper and read the hastily scribbled note. One hundred and forty three dead recovered from that quarter so far.
The officer shook his head in disbelief.
“Tell the sergeant to stand down until morning,” he said and returned the corporal’s departing salute. “And corporal, send Private’s Hernandez and Morales to see me will you?”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:39 pm

A shadow moved silently through the dark night, an electronic map of the town overlaid on his vision so he knew where he was headed. The shadow carefully avoided the areas lit by the still burning fires.

Two US Marines picked their way through some of the buildings not blasted by the navy.
They moved carefully from room to room, their rifles at the ready searching for anyone who might have been involved in the days attacks.
Both men were nervous in the darkness, aware that anyone could be lurking in the building ready to slit their throats.
With relief they declared the building empty and made their way to the door which lead out into the alleyway.
Corporal Tom Bruce stepped out into the narrow lane between this and the neighbouring house and collided with a figure in the blackness.
He leaped backwards bringing his rifle up but the move was too slow. The figure moved with uncanny speed at the off balance marine and set something hard and cold against the man’s temple.
“You okay, Tommy?” came a voice from the doorway.
The shadowy figure scowled at the newcomer for making this into something the figure didn’t really want it to be.
He pulled the trigger on the near silent pistol pressed into the marine’s head and at the same time gestured with his free hand at the second marine.
Tom Bruce’s lifeless body slumped to the floor and the other man shot forward at incredible speed, slamming into the wall opposite with such force that he was stunned.
A knife swept across his throat, ending his life before he regained any awareness of his surroundings.
With a sigh the figure turned away from the dead men, genuinely sorry for what he had had to do.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:40 pm

Privates Hernandez and Morales stood to attention before their captain.
“Relax,” Delanzo said in a friendly tone. “Tell me your thoughts on the events of this afternoon. I want to know what you thought of the strange men I the saloon?”

A little nervously the taller of the two men spoke. “Senor, we have been talking about them, after the fighting was over. They were very strange indeed.”
“Have you ever seen or heard of anything like the older man’s eye contraption before?”
“No senor. It gave us both the creeps.” The other soldier nodded in support.
“Describe it to me,” the captain instructed.
The men looked nervous again. “But captain you saw it too!”
“Yes, Yes, but I want to make sure I remember it correctly. Let me write down your words.” Delanzo reached for a pencil.

“I’d rather you didn’t,” said a dark shadowy figure from the outside balcony.
All three soldiers looked up in surprise as the oddly dressed man walked into the low light
Delanzo went for his gun but stopped as searing pain erupted through his head causing him to double up, clasping his skull.
Both privates were distracted by their captains predicament and didn’t notice the strange man with the dark glasses move behind them.

Two indistinct clicks and ‘phuts’ were all that marked the men’s deaths as they were shot in the back of the head.
Both bodies remained standing as though held by an invisible force; which they were.
The dark figure put away the silenced weapon and gestured at the bodies which slowly lowered to the ground.
Delanzo slumped in his chair, his head fit to burst. His mind reeled from both the pain and the incomprehensible way his men’s lifeless bodies were somehow lowered to the floor.
He noticed the mysterious figure half shrouded in shadow.
“Why?” he croaked.
“Because you were unlucky.”
Pain, greater than before pierced the captain’s skull again and he spasmed. Then another wave came and blood trickled from his ears.
Delanzo’s body shook for a moment before its life too slipped away.
The figure moved to the desk and took the small black notebook.
He read the captain’s detailed recollections of the American’s odd attachments and the strange Australian.
Pocketing the book the figure stepped out into the night and floated eerily to the ground.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:41 pm

Closing the sturdy door the man pulled a brass key card from his pocket and placed it into a slot just below a round green-glowing screen.
He glanced at the small black box with the digital timer on it. The device would make this portal explode in on itself, ripping apart its connection with temporal and trans-dimensional space.
The resultant explosion would take a fair part of this side of the hill with it.

The locals would guess and wonder at what could have caused it. But not for long.
Once the barman was discovered crucified in his own saloon with American Marine paraphernalia scattered about the resultant chaos and general anger should remove the giant crater from the forefront of the minds.
Those two events should then be enough to place any memory of the strange old American into the realms of obscurity.
Thus, his job was done.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Oct 11, 2011 9:42 pm

A quick flash of white signalled an arrival in the main hall.
A red light flashed and a klaxon sounded alerting everyone within the complex of the portal activation.
The Main Hall was a round room with what resembled empty guard-huts or perhaps old police boxes with the doors removed, lining the walls. Each one contained screens and dials and levers.
Above each box, upon the paisley patterned wallpaper was a plaque stating the name of a destination or series of destinations.
From the box marked Munro 2 stepped a man in black and wearing dark glasses. His shiny gloss shoes were tarnished with mud as were the bottoms of his trousers.

Armed men in blue and black military style uniforms rushed into the room, fanning out ahead of another man.
Of average build, Julian Mammott had a mop of red hair with chin whiskers to match. His suit showed him to be someone of standing though the darkly dressed newcomer did not find the style to his liking.
Victorian fashion always struck him as being overly cumbersome and a bit too starchy.
“You’re back sooner than expected,” Mammott said waving the guards into a relaxed posture.
“Luckily for you!” the newcomer’s Scottish accent broke through slightly.
“Err – Quite!” Mammott gave a nervous laugh and watched as the man began to leave the room, then stepped in alongside him.
“Did all go to plan?” Mammott asked jovially.
“What plan?” the man replied sternly.
“Well, you know….” Mammott found himself awkwardly uncomfortable around this man.
The figure stopped and turned to face the station controller.
“I had to kill more people than I intended,” he said flatly.
“You tell Reynolds…” the man began.
“Lord Reynolds,” Mammott interrupted automatically and instantly regretted the correction.
The man stared at him silently for what felt like an age.
“You tell Reynolds,” the man repeated calmly, “to exercise more caution next time. I don’t like having to clean up after people who should know better.”
“But that is your job,” Mammott naively protested.
“NO – it isn’t.”
There was a pause and the man moved off again. “You just let Reynolds know; once or twice, okay – shit happens. Any more than that and I’ll look at cleaning him up instead.”

Mammott, a native of Etheria had grown up in a world with a strong and defined class system. The threat against a member of the aristocracy didn’t sit well.
“I…” he started to protest but stopped himself.
The man had also stopped and he concentrated on the door before him for a moment before the lock clicked open.
It was the door to the executive suite.
Now this was well outside protocol.
“Agent Black, what are you doing?”
“Getting cleaned up,” Black replied. “Then I’m going home.”

The statement sounded final.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:16 pm

Calico – Quantum 6.
Divergence Point: 1912 – The Russian Revolution fails to overthrow the Czar and the Russian royal family remains in control. The Soviet Union never comes into existence. The relative peace and stability in Europe fails to escalate tensions between Germany and her neighbours. The Great War occurred in 1943 and lasted over ten years with the defeat of the Germans and Italians.
Current Events: There are two democratic capitalist superpowers in existence; America and their close allies, Russia, both waiting and watching in a cold war with Communist China. In the mean time, powerful corporations rule the roost.
17:45 hrs June 5th 1999

“I’ll drive!” said a tall dark haired man dressed in a dark tailored suit and equally dark sunglasses, holding out his hand. He wasn’t smiling.
“Like hell you will,” replied the shorter slightly balding man with him. Boris Karkarov had only got the new Ferrari yesterday and so far he hadn’t taken it out for a spin. There was no way he was giving up this chance so that he could let the hired help get all the pleasure.
The suited man, Dennis Barker raised his eyebrows as if to a petulant child.
“No! Not today Barker. We do not have work today so it I’ll drive.” He stared at the American as though daring him to object. He glanced momentarily at the bright sun sitting in a pale blue sky.
“I have forgotten my sunglasses,” he said throwing Barker the keys. “You may start her up and bring her to the front doors.”
A hint of a smile flicked at the corners of Barker’s mouth as he pulled the car door open.
Boris had taken no more than twenty paces when he heard the engine purr into life. A second later his ears were assaulted by a huge explosion, the shock wave throwing him to the ground.
When his senses returned he rolled over and stared in horror at the roiling fireball that was once his brand new sports car.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Feb 04, 2012 11:19 pm

Detective lieutenant Dan Marcowitz of the Chicago Police Department slammed his fist down onto the cheap interview room table.
“Dammit, man! We’ve got you on camera planting the bomb, you really can’t deny it. Now I just want you to tell me why?” the detective yelled.
“I didn’t do it!” Peter Eddington said once more, his voice exasperated and pleading.
Marcowitz pointed at the screen, the black and white image frozen, Eddington’s face clear for all to see. The image had been stopped just moments after the bomb had been planted.
“That’s you, Eddington!” he said calmly.
Eddington shook his head. “No!”
“Oh Christ, you know, you’re right!” Marcowitz suddenly said stepping back from the table, his hand to his forehead in mock horror. “That’s not you is it? That’s Santa fuckin’ Clause!”
He was back at the table, both hands out wide and flat on the surface supporting his weight as he leaned in, his nose almost pressing against Eddington’s. “You think I’m fucking stupid? That’s you on the screen and the sooner you just admit that, the sooner we can get on with the rest of this shit!”
“Detective!” a warning tone came from a man in a light grey, rumpled suit, sitting next to Eddington.
Marcowitz gritted his teeth and glanced at the greasy haired lawyer. He backed away from the suspect.
“Mr Eddington, let’s start this again, shall we? The face on the screen, do you agree that it is yours?”
Eddington looked to his lawyer who nodded silently.
“Yes,” the young man admitted.
“Hoo-fucking-ray!” Marcowitz threw his hands in the air and span on the spot to face his fellow investigator, Sheila Warrick who rolled her eyes.
“Then you’ll also agree that’s you planting the bomb then?” she asked.
Eddignton shook his head. “I really don’t remember doing it,” he said in a flat yet resigned tone.
“Oh good god!” Marcowitz’s shoulders slumped.

The scene on the TV paused at the press of an icon on the pad that Graham Luxton, Infinity station commander for the US gateways on Lambert 3 held in his hand.
“Your thoughts?” Luxton directed the question to a woman sitting at the opposite side of the table from him with a similar pad in her hands. She wore the blue and silver uniform of the Infinity Patrol.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:24 pm

“None right now, should I have?” Susan Wallace leaned forward her hands locked together on the tabletop as she looked back at the handsome Luxton.
“Karkarov is an important contact here on Lambert. He has a lot of influence in the business world and has proven to be very useful to us. So far the local police and even their security agencies have not been able to uncover a culprit.
Wallace knew there had to be more to this and as much as she hated these little power games, she deigned to play along. “Eddington not our man?” she asked dutifully.
“Guilty as charged, caught red handed. But there was no motive whatsoever, in fact for him even if he hadn’t been caught it would have been counterproductive for him - he’d lose out big time. On top of that he has no recollection of planting the bomb at all. He’s not the only one either. Zenith Corporation sold four hundred million dollars worth of shares it didn’t intend to for a rock bottom price. Zenith’s CEO knew nothing about this until he started getting irate phone calls from the shareholders.”
“I take it Karkarov is Zenith’s CEO?”
Luxton Nodded.
“How did it happen?”
“Alex Jackson; a mid-level finance manager for Zenith, on the fast track for promotion, great prospects and one of Karkarov’s favourites.”
“And you’re going to tell me Jackson doesn’t remember doing it?” Wallace put in, beginning to see the picture.
“Correct,” but he remembers being elsewhere. In fact he was able to describe events at a function Karkarov was throwing, as though he had been there, but the Corporate Watchmen have him on CCTV not only in the building, but entering the Finance Director’s office. Zenith’s own IT department have him recorded as logging in on that PC moments before the transactions took place, then he used the Director’s personal Log-In to instruct Marcus Raiminov Financiers, Zenith’s brokers, to sell the stock. Neither the Watchmen, nor our own people have been able to find a link between the director and Jackson.”
“Doesn’t rule out some dodgy scam between the two though,” Wallace pointed out.
“Agreed, but we’ve had Jackson, Eddington and Director Tulton on a very advanced polygraph and they’re all telling the truth,” Luxton countered.
“Or they believe they are telling the truth,” Wallace said. “You think there’s something odd going on?”
Luxton nodded. “Could be nothing out of the ordinary. Karkarov’s an asshole, so this could be one giant conspiracy. Could be industrial sabotage. Or then again, there could be some outside influence at work. Either way Karkarov is a very useful tool and I could do without losing him.”
“Okay, Graham, I’ll get hold of Central and put forward your case, see what they can come up with.” Susan Wallace stood and shook Luxton’s hand flashing a friendly smile.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:56 am

Boris Karkarov sat at his desk reading through a report on Zenith’s current financial status. It didn’t make for pleasant reading, but then it was what he had expected after the recent fiasco with the shares.
The official investigation was on-going and all shares and monies had been returned to normal, with compensation pay-outs to boot. However, confidence in Zenith had taken a knock and several of the shareholders had bailed out. Again, it was something he had expected and so was not overly concerned, but the sharp downturn in profits did make and unpleasant looking valley in the otherwise ever increasing slope of his profit and loss chart.
A knock on the door drew his attention from the disaster in his hands to the stark glass and chromes of his office. “Ya?” he called. Patricia Price, Karkarov’s PA, poked her head around the door. “Mr Mavin to see you, sir.”

Paul Mavin was a man in his late thirties with a thick head of jet black hair and cleft chin. An ex-US Marine with the body to prove it, he was now Karkarov’s head of security at Zenith. He was also Karkarov’s primary link with Infinity.

Mavin, in his usual dark security uniform, came into the room with a strikingly beautiful woman. This immediately grabbed Karkarov’s attention. The Marine introduced Susan Wallace.

“And what can I do for you Miss Wallace?” Karkarov sleazed as he sat in his high backed leather chair.
“Stay alive would be a good start,” Wallace said bluntly, soliciting a surprised look from the overweight Russian. “I am, shall we say, in charge of regional security for one of your major backers, Mr Karkarov. It has come to our attention that you have been having a spot of bother.”
“Well,” Karkarov tried to brush the comment aside. “Nothing I can’t take care of. Which company did you say you work for?”
Wallace smirked. “Not a local one, but one with much to offer you, Mr Karkarov.”
The penny dropped. At last, Karkarov thought. “There is nothing to worry about Miss Wallace.”
“On the contrary, Mr Karkarov, some of my people are concerned. Time and collateral have been expended, making you a prized asset” A prized ass more like, Wallace added silently.
Despite himself a glow of self-importance washed over Karkarov at her words and Wallace grimaced inside. The easiest way to manipulate these corporate types was through their ego.

“So what are you doing here, Miss Wallace?” Karkarov inquired.
Leaning back in her chair, crossing her long slender legs, she said sternly, “I want to make sure you are taking these threats seriously. You have been targeted twice now, and we don’t want there to be a third time lucky for the perpetrators.”
“Twice?” Karkarov inquired seeming surprised.
“Yes, twice. Some tried to blow you up, as you are well aware. When that failed or perhaps in addition to the previous attempt, they tried to ruin you financially. Now although the culprits have been arrested, we think there is more to it – that there may be someone looking to force your corporation into a position where you will be vulnerable to take over. This would not be good for us.”
Karkarov sat up straight in his chair. “Miss Wallace, I take threats to my life very seriously, and threats to my company even more so. However, I am a great believer in letting the experts do what the experts are paid to do and have left the investigations to the appropriate bodies. But if you and your organisation feel there is still an underlying threat then I must bow to your expertise. What should I do?”
“Be vigilant. Mr Mavin has increased your security detail and I am sending in an investigator, of sorts, to look into this situation more closely. I trust you will be open and co-operative with him, if I know him he’ll be digging around in all your dealings, Mr Karkarov.”
“Zenith deals with many sensitive clients, Miss Wallace, so I may be tied contractually in some areas with regard to how much I can share with this man.” Karkarov smiled.
“I understand that, but his is not just anybody, this is one of my organisation’s experts,” Wallace said.
Security issues were going to be an issue, Karkarov knew and he told Wallace so.
“You may have to come up with something, because I can assure you that our agent will be probing, trying to weed out your true adversary.

You stupid bitch, Karkarov cursed mentally. Someone poking around his business and his life without so much as a by your leave? He didn’t like that idea of it one bit.

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