"Humanity can survive, my friends. But it will take effort and it will take sacrifice. But first, we must rebuild the wheel to study these assailants from beyond. Any piece, any fragment of the Deus Pinnae that rears its head will be ours. Yamata 16 can no longer afford to linger in the shadows. If we must, we will take all of Bastion space in our grasps and ravage it until every metal sliver of the Pinnae is revealed... By any means necessary."
The Gritaven Boarding house was a quaint, two-story building located in the Moors of Bastion, not far from the vespaport. Like many of the buildings the boarding house exterior was made from a sleek, silver material, but over the years the "sleek" and "silver" part of its description faded, taking on a more brown and rough appearance, similar to brick. The Gritaven was home to many mechanics, dock workers, and people down on their luck in need of a temporary place. The previous landlord didn't have a soft spot in his craggy heart for the downtrodden, he preferred to get his money and be done with you. His way of doing things differed greatly from the current proprietor.
Ian Schlip swore as the alarm clock screamed to life from its perch on his nightstand. The shrill sound pierced the comfortable silence that have over taken the room. "Stars and stones," he groaned and kicked the comforter off and laid on the bed, his head pounding in time with the alarm. Pressing his thumbs against his temples Ian focused his will as best he could and let it flow in accordance to his thoughts. The infernal wailing of the alarm clock ceased and a long breath escaped Ian's lips.
A moment later Ian felt his mind start to drift back to sleep but was met by the chirping of his comlink informing him of a message. With a whimper befitting the manliest of bunny slippers Ian rolled over and picked up his comlink, a small ear piece of a brushed, dull silver color, and the thin, matte black bracelet that the ear piece sat within. Ian pressed the ear piece into place and slide the bracelet around his left wrist. "Sync and play." Ian drawled and a soft feminine voice spoke into his ear.
Schlippy? It's Judeth Vizzen. In room two-fifteen? I was just wondering if I could get you to come take a look at a couple things today. I have a guest due to arrive today and would like to have the place in perfect condition. Please and thank you.
Judeth Vizzen, or the "Perfectionist" as Ian's daughter likes to call her, was an older woman(not much older than Ian was) who had been a resident in Gritaven since before Ian had first roomed here, more years ago than his daughter had been alive. She had seen Gritaven from its early renovated days. She also never was late on a payment, was always courteous, and polite. He'd never even heard her swear, something Ian could never say about himself.
Miss Vizzen lived on the second floor near the middle of one of the halls and always had fresh flowers on a wall mounted vase by her door. Something Ian was told began with her old husband before a gang related incident cut his life too soon.
Ian sighed and nodded to himself, tempering his will to get up from his cloud of a bed. It took ten more minutes before he finally placed his feet on the floor, his work boots and a fresh pair of sockets sat by the end of his bed. Compliments of his Psionic abilities. Ian was a Pythian, a human with the ability to manipulate certain things with his will. Mostly he was able to use his Psionics to move and manipulate solid matter. In other words Telekinesis.
The landlord stood and walked into his bathroom, showered, shaved, and pulled on his last pair of clean coveralls and tied the sleeves around his waist. He pulled a black t-shirt over his torso and tucked it into the waistline of his coveralls and finally tugged on his work boots. He'd snag a quick breakfast before getting to work.
Approximately an hour and three quarters later, Ian knocked on the door to Miss Vizzen. "Miss Vizzen, It's Ian." He said into the door. While he waited he looked at the wall mounted vase that held a bouquet of yellow, orange, and red flowers. A color scheme that reminded him of a soft flame. The aroma that came from the flowers though, was nothing less than interesting. It was a scent that Ian had smelled before but didn't have a name for. Miss Vizzen opened the door a moment later.
"Ah, Schlippy." Judeth Vizzen said endearingly. "I'm glad to see you got my message. Come in come in." Judeth Vizzen was very tall for a woman, even by standards for men. She stood around six foot five and weighed maybe a buck forty, she looked somewhat skeletal but her skin was dark as if she had a perpetual tan. She moved with the an unconscious grace befitting a dancer or someone that had been active in martial arts. "Would you like something to drink?" She asked as she disappeared into her kitchen.
"Thanks, Miss V. A glass of perp juice would be grand." Ian replied and walked to the kitchen entrance. "So what were the issues you were having?"
Iradell walked down the exit ramp of the shuttle and joined in with the rest of the crowd that was disembarking the ship. She had to take public transportation from Hedstrom to the Bastion for several reasons. The primary one was that her ship, the Irad, was not a welcome sight in the Bastion. Secondly, her employers did not want to risk bringing the Irad anywhere near the Bastion after her last mistake. Luckily for her though, it was easy enough for the Avarik to give her a new identity and her face was never seen last time around. There were so many people on Bastion though, she probably could have slipped in anyways. It was always better to play it safe, though.
Since it was not far from the port, her destination did not take very long to walk to. It was the Gritaven Boarding house. Iradell arrived at the boarding house early in the morning, about the same time that Ian was going into Mrs Vizzen's apartment. Iradell hid herself under a thick hooded shirt, similar to a sweatshirt, and wore pants that appeared too large for her. She was only 5'6” tall and her body was thinner than a real human beings, so clothing always appeared baggy on her. Despite her stature, her mechanical body was extremely tough and in turn, gave her a surprising amount of strength.
“Hello,” she said as she entered the building, immediately encountering a boy who was sitting on the floor. He had several spaceships scattered around him and appeared to be doing battle. The boy looked up at her curiously, and Iradell removed the hood from her head and squatted down in front of him, flashing him a smile. “I am here to see my friend. His name is Bregand. Do you know this name?”
“He's the big man?” the boy asked.
“I do not know, I have not met him in person,” Iradell answered, shifting her eyes around to see if anyone else was near. There was no one. “He has a beard and long hair.”
“Yea! He lives next to a tall lady. It is really funny because those two are like giants, and this one time I was walking outside and Bregand said that she was the only woman he had met that could look him in the eye and then my mom came outside and gave us treats. Then I saw a spaceship this one time that was blue and white and it had guns on it, but reallllly big ones that I...” the boy began to ramble and Iradell held her hand up towards him.
“Thank you. Where does he live?” Iradell said, knowing if she didn't cut the kid off that he would talk her to death.
“Um... upstairs on the second floor. The one with the flowers I think?” the boy said.
Iradell didn't say another word. She stood and moved towards the stairs, walking up them quickly until she was on the second floor. It didn't take long to find the door that the child was speaking of. Mounted on the wall was a vase with yellow, orange and red flowers in it. This had to be the one. Iradell looked at the room number, room 218. Glancing both ways down the hallway, she raised her fist up to the door and gave it three heavy knocks.
Her face then moved into a practiced smile, so that she would appear welcoming and pleasant.
Ian nodded at Miss Vizzen's explanation of the issues with her living area. "Okay, and that's all you want me to look at?" He asked, rinsing out the glass before sitting it down in the sink. Judeth was silent for a moment, in thought it seemed. Ian waited by the door while she thought, he leaned against the adjacent wall and glanced around the room. Small figurines of creatures littered a few shelves here and there, a zero-g recliner sat off to the side of the room with enough clearance from the wall the turn one hundred eighty degrees.
"No, I think that'll be it." She said with a shake of her head. "Thank you, Schlippy."
Ian shrugged. "I'll just go grab my gear and get to work." He said and turned to the door just a three heavy raps echoed from the door. The timing made the landlord jump in surprise. "Guess that's your guest." He chuckled, feeling a tad silly for his reaction. Without looking through the peep hole Ian opened the door.
"It shouldn't be. She isn't supposed to be here for another two hours." Miss Vizzen said and stepped closer to see who it was.
Beyond the door's threshold was a woman of about average height, she had brown hair that disappeared beneath her hooded shirt, and violet eyes. She wore clothes that seemed a bit big on her frame. If he had to guess he'd say she was around the same skeletal body type as Miss Vizzen. The woman greeted him with a smile, it showed a set of perfectly fitted, square, white teeth.
"G'morning." Ian said politely as he felt Miss Vizzen's presence grow nearer. He stole a glance over his shoulder with a cocked eyebrow. Judeth shook her head in answer.
"Hello, dear. Can I help you?" She asked, ever polite as always.
The door opened and she was greeted by two people. A man and a woman that was about a foot taller than she was. Iradell's eyes moved between the two of them as they greeted her. The smile faded from her face a bit and she took a step into the residence. Though she still looked pleasant enough without smiling, her features took on a more blank appearance that would make her hard to read. Expressions was still something Iradell was working on, they did not always come natural to her, so she often has a blank and wide eyed look about her.
There was a brief moment of silence after Miss Vizzen asked her if she could be helped. Perhaps it was an awkward silence, but Iradell took the moment to look past the both of them and into the residence to see if anyone else was there. Finally, her eyes moved back to Miss Vizzen and she smiled an almost overly-friendly smile at the taller woman.
“I apologize,” Iradell said. “I am looking for my friend, Bregand. I spoke to a young boy at the entrance and he said that it was the apartment with the flowers just outside on the second floor. Perhaps he was mistaken.”
Iradell turned her head towards Ian, who she was standing closest to, and looked up at the man. She assessed him quickly. Unfortunately, she was only given a name and a brief description of Bregand along with his location. Sometimes that was the way intelligence worked though, especially when the people giving the information were not so intelligent. She would make do, though.
“Are you Bregand?” Iradell asked, after studying Ian for a second. “I have never met Bregand in person, but we have had dealings over the extra-net and I was hoping to see him in person today. So forgive me if I seem...” Iradell looked back to Miss Vizzen, the smile staying on her face. “Strange.”
The slim woman said nothing before she stepped passed the threshold. Ian was mere inches from the woman now, her smile faded, replaced by a mask of emotional absence. The woman peered into the room, her violet colored eyes scanned the interior. Once she had apparently finished she gave Judeth a smile. The smile wasn't overtly creepy, but it was a bit too wide and toothy for a regular smile, Ian noted.
The woman spoke. Her name was Iradell and she was looking for a friend of hers, though she hadn't met face-to-face, which isn't unheard of in this day and age. Ian nodded once while he listened, he knew the young boy Iradell mentioned. The lad was notorious for giving out info that was a bit wrong, whether it was by accident or on purpose Ian had never been able to figure out.
Judeth's lips curved into a soft smile, "Sorry, deary," she said, her tone apologetic, "I don't know a Bregand. What room did the boy say?"
Ian thought for a moment and opened his mouth to speak when Iradell turned her violet eyes on him. He leaned back in reaction and to put some space between them. Iradell's eyes were fascinating to look at, all polished reflective surfacing and soft color but they seemed too young yet far more intelligent than he could grasp. She raised an inquiry on his identity and apologized for how she come off.
"Uhh," Ian said brilliantly, "sorry but no. I'm not whom you're looking for." He rubbed the back of his neck nervously. "What ah- what does he look like?"Ian asked taking a couple stepped away from Iradell making sure not to crowd the door way.
"You do seem a bit different but that's nothing to worry your head over." Judeth said with her smile still on her lips. "Come in, dear and have a seat. We'll help you find your friend." She looked to Ian and nodded to the door. Ian gently moved Iradell farther into the room and shut the door. "Would you like a drink?" Judeth offered just as she had with Ian minutes before.
“The boy said the room with the flowers on the second floor,” Iradell repeated, walking a few more steps into the room. The woman seemed welcoming, but she could not help but to notice the looks and nods that Miss Vizzen and Ian shared. Unspoken communication, no doubt, but she also picked up a nervous vibe from the male. Iradell crossed the room slowly and stopped in front of the offered chair, but she did not accept it quite yet. Instead she proceeded to look around the home.
“I do not drink,” Iradell said in response to the offer of a drink. “But thank you for the offer.”
She turned around and looked back towards Ian, who had said that he was not Bregand. Iradell stared him down for a long moment, attempting to read him better. While it was still hard for her to relate to a human at times, she had learned to read them enough that she could tell how they felt by they way they acted. Just as the vibe in the room told her, Ian appeared nervous for some reason or another. Either he knew something that he was not telling her, or he was just the nervous type.
“Bregand is not his given name. He is known by that name in certain circles and he tends to keep his identity hidden. But I know that he is tall with long brown hair and a beard. Older, approximately 100 give or take a few years. If he does not call himself Bregand here, then perhaps he goes by another name?” Iradell said, still standing in front of her seat. Both hands were down by her side and her body was very stiff, maintaining a perfect posture. “It would make it a lot easier on everyone,” Iradell hesitated a moment and then corrected herself. “I meant to say, it would make it a lot easier on me if you directed me to the room of a man that fits that description. I am positive that he lives here.”
Iradell's eyes wandered again, moving around the home curiously. It was interesting to see how people lived. Miss Vizzen seemed to keep a nice household even though she lived in a lower income area. Just because a person did not have money did not mean that they could not keep things nice. Iradell's eyes were drawn towards several pots with different colored flowers growing in them, and she moved over to look at them.
“These are beautiful,” Iradell said, distracted for a moment. Flowers were not uncommon on the Bastion or other places around the universe, but for someone who spent most of their time cramped up in a ship, she did not see them often. Her attention was then diverted from the flowers to a pair of pruning sheers, which were used to remove dead or undesirable portions of the plant away, and Iradell reached down to pick them up. Her eyes then moved to Ian again and she lifted the shears, squeezing the handles several times make a few snipping sounds. “Tell me where to find that man.”
Yet another pleasant smile came to her face as she looked at him over the sheers.
With Iradell's decline of a drink Judeth nodded and watched as the thing female turned her gaze to Ian. Her eyes lingered on the landlord for sometime, with Iradell's interesting mannerisms and way she has interacted so far, Judeth couldn't tell what exactly she was wishing to accomplish. Ian, on the other hand, seemed a bit more nervous than she had ever seen him. She wondered why.
Ian's moved from the spot he had at the door and returned to leaning near the door as he had before. He could faintly hear his pulse in his ears until Iradell turned her eyes to him. The steady rhythm of his heart changed almost immediately. Ian wasn't sure why he was feeling so nervous around the new arrival. The woman stared him and let her eyes meet his, Ian held her gaze for a few breaths until she began speaking.
Iradell gave a description of the man and began to say something that sounded possibly threatening but she stopped and tried again. She was very serious about finding this Bregand. Ian took her description and thought for a moment. "Open file: Applicant Registry." Ian input the information she gave and let the system run through all the boarding house residents information he had on file. By the time he was done Iradell finished praising Judeth's flowers and demanded they tell her where Bregand was.
Ian felt a chill roll through his stomach at the sight of her smile with the pruning sheers. "I'm working on finding Bregand, could you please put the sheers down?" He requested while trying not to make eye contact with her. Her eyes, while interesting, were unnerving him. "While my search is going on I'm going to grab my tools to fix what Miss Vizzen asked me here for. Would you like to join me? Perhaps you'll see him and when my search is done I'll be able to tell you immediately." Ian's offer was to keep and eye on Iradell, despite his nervousness at the moment, he was worried the thin woman might do something to Judeth if she didn't get the information she was looking for.
"My room is on the first floor." He said and opened the door.
((Here you go. I feel it's a bit stale but I hope it gives you some stuff to work with.))
“Miss Vizzen,” Iradell repeated the name as Ian said it. She then set the shears down where she had found them and crossed the room to where Judith was. The woman was much larger than she was, by almost a foot. “Thank you for your hospitality. I will not bother you again today.”
Iradell gave the woman a polite smile and then turned towards Ian, locking eyes with him again as she cross the room to where he held the door open for her. Her brow narrowed a bit and she looked agitated as she passed by him, turning her head a bit to keep looking at him until she no longer could. Once in the hallway, Iradell moved her hands back to her hood and lifted it up over her head, covering her hair and covering her face partially with shadow. She then turned and waited for Ian to step out and shut the door behind him.
“Thank you for being cooperative,” Iradell said as Ian joined her in the hall. She walked back the way she came, heading towards the stairs that would take them back down to the first floor where Ian said his room was. Judging by what he had said and what he was doing, she guessed him to be either the landlord or the maintenance man. “I really am not here to cause trouble for you. My business is with Bregand alone.”
Iradell looked over at him as they walked, her eyes emitting a faint glow in the shadow covering her face. Her eyes, never blinking, looked him over from head to toe before settling back on his eyes. What she was doing was scanning him with thermal vision, noticing that he was warm enough to be sweating. She also noticed that he had a cybernetic arm.
“There is no reason to be so nervous around me,” Iradell said. “You have every right to feel that way, if you wish. Perhaps you should feel that way.” Iradell paused at the top of the stairs, turning towards Ian. “I have never been given information that was incorrect by my employer. Vague, yes... such as in this case. But never wrong. That's why I want to emphasis how important it is that you do not lie to me, if that is what you are thinking of doing. This man, Bregand, is simply not worth lying for. Not only will you make it more difficult for me, you may displease my employers.”
Ian watched as the strange woman walked past him, her violet eyes regarding him with uncertainty, her brow furrowed in an expression that tugged at Ian's gut as less than pleasant. "I'll be back in a bit, Judeth." He said with a small smile and shut the door. Iradell had lifted the hood of her sweater over her head, and stood waiting for him to catch up. She offered her thanks for his cooperation and informed him that she didn't come to issue trouble. That made Ian chuckle, "I appreciate that and believe me, I'll be happy to help you find him so you can chat." He said noticing the movement of her eyes at one step.
Iradell's eyes had a faint shine to them for a moment, one that reminded him of a Pythians' tell. Or a type of scan. He thought as his mind finally started to work like normal. He took note of the lines on her face, the rigidness of her gait, and the alien like feel of her mannerisms. Ian's rational mind told him she was either not more machine than human, or the most disconnected meat bag he'd ever met. With the feeling in his gut he decided on machine, possibly a Promethean or Haphestii of some kind.
Just before the top of the stairs Iradell spoke again, catching him a bit off guard. He noticed then the surprisingly lack of contractions, the eerie way she spoke, cold and matter of fact. Ian watched the woman start down the stairs and i=could only imagine the type of people her employers were. Calm down. You're getting too worked up. He thought softly as he tried to slow his quickening heart rate.
He wanted to wait till his pulse was slower before moving along but he didn't have the luxury of waiting what with Iradell on the move. So with a long, shaky exhale he made his way down the stairs to catch up. "I'm not one to make it a habit of displeasing shadow employers of a somewhat scary lady." He said, and opened the search on the holo-projector on his let arm. A small box screen, approximately ten inches in length and width, appeared above his forearm. "The search is going through our current residents but so far I have no matches." He glanced sidelong to the woman. "When did you receive word to meet him here? Depending on when that was he may have moved out. I've had many people move in and then leave abruptly. If the sear-" Ian was cut off as an alarm sound pipped.
With a few taps on the projected screen Ian made a short "ah" and turned the screen to Iradell. "This is the only person that fits the bill the best. Though he isn't the same height." Ian navigated back to the search. "I'll try for past residents too, this is be a bit longer but if your information is true then he should pop up." Once the search information was input he showed Iradell the search parameters and closed it when she was finished. Ian made a gesture for them to turn down a hallway. "My room is ten doors down on the left."
"What are you after this guy for anyway?" Ian asked after a moment of silence, his curiosity getting the better of him.
Iradell turned her head in his direction momentarily as Ian called her a scary lady, but quickly looked back to the front as she reached the bottom of the stairs. Scary. That was not ever what she intended on being. She was only trying to do what the Avarik asked of her since they had helped her so much. She had not really considered how she would appear to other people outside of her own group. Ian said she was scary and for a moment, Iradell felt bad about that. Before she had the opportunity to apologize or even consider apologizing, Ian spoke up again.
“I was told a few days ago,” Iradell said, stopping in order to look at the screen that he showed her. Ian was being particularly cooperative despite his feelings towards her. She would remember that. “I do not have the exact height, so perhaps that is him,” she remarked on the one man with the matching description, noting his information and room number before Ian changed the search perimeters. When he told her where his room was, she turned and continued down the hallway.
“You can consider me as something of a bounty hunter,” Iradell said, answering his question about why she was looking for this guy. “Most of the people that I have to track down are not good people, so I am given the task of finding them for my employer. As for what specifically Bregand did, I can not tell you that because I do not know. It is usually better that I do not ask if that gives you indication of how unhappy my employer can become.”
Iradell stopped at the tenth door and walked just past it, turning around so that she was facing Ian on the other side of the door frame.
“It is also possible that he is staying with a resident of yours, I suppose. Perhaps he is not the person on the lease. If I had access to any security cameras, I could locate him. Possibly more quickly than your searches,” Iradell said, watching Ian closely as he came to open his door. Again, Iradell thought back to what Ian had said before. She then spoke quietly to Ian as he came closer to open the door. “I do not mean to be scary, sir. I have a job to do just as you do... so I must do it. There are not an option for me to choose yes or no. I simply do.”
A bounty hunter, she said. Ian thought about that and, despite his suspicion of Iradell not being a regular human, wondered how someone so slight in build could be a bounty hunter. Though that mindset is what had earned him some long lasting bruises. He pushed the skepticism away and slowed as they reached his door. His door was plain to look at, simple dark brown door with a wooden appearance, and no number plaque. One of the differences the door he had was that it swung open rather than slid, like most of the others in the building. It was something of a vintage taste Ian had for his living area. However plain the door looked, Ian had gone for a more reinforced door with a stronger locking mechanism.
As Ian make quick work of the lock Iradell voiced another idea. "That's a good idea." He agreed, nodding as he pushed the door open. "I can get you the feed for the exterior cameras. Unfortunately I've been dealing with some issues with the interior ones. I don't have many on the inside but only a third of them are working correctly." Ian stepped from the main room, a rather spartan looking set up, a queen size bed sat in the living room area flanked by two coffee tables on either side. A quaint kitchen area stood off to the right with a bar dividing the kitchen from the living room. Branching off from the living room was a hallway leading to the right. Ian stepped down the hallway and into one of two rooms.
He emerged a breath later with a small bag slung over his shoulder and a heavy duty tool belt, around his waist. With a shrug on his shoulder he slipped the bag off his shoulder and sat it onto the ground. "Archimedes, monitor on." He said to the air and a moment later a large screen of light orange appeared in the center of the room. "Close the door please, Iradell." He said and began tapping away at the small screen that he had open earlier. "I'll open the recordings from three days ago and have them play at a faster rate. If you need me to slow it down or see him, let me know." Ian typed and tapped until eight camera feeds appeared on the large screen. "These are the eight exterior cameras."
Ian watched the camera feeds flash by at five times the normal speed, it was almost too fast for him but he had a feeling Iradell would be able to see what he couldn't. "Hey, do you have any information on what this guy can do? Or are you just going in blind?" He asked as he started questioning the interior camera issue. "What if...that is possible but...hmmm..." He muttered to himself as he tapped away at the smaller screen again and brought up a few static filled screens. "Then just rewind to the beginning of...." The static of the feed began to clear until it begun showing images of children and families inside of the boarding house. He sat in silence as the recordings played.
Iradell walked into the apartment behind Ian and stopped only a few steps in. She stood there with her hands down by her side, glancing away from his apartment only once to flash him a quick and more sincere smile when he said that she had a good idea. But it was only for a moment and she resumed looking over his living quarters from where she stood. Just like when she had entered the older woman's room, she looked around with curiosity. It was still fascinating to her to see how people lived outside of a ship. Her attention was only drawn away when Ian instructed her to close the door and she obeyed, turning and closing it gently until it clicked shut.
“This could help,” Iradell agreed, walking over beside Ian. She removed the hood from her head again now that she was out of sight from the public and her eyes stared straight ahead at the footage Ian had recorded. “What he can do?” Iradell asked, still looking at the screen. “I had not thought about it or made myself overly concerned of it. It does not matter, really. I have not...”
Her eyes passed over the images of families in the boarding house. Men and women returning from work or the store. Children heading to school and then coming back to play. Iradell's thoughts went briefly back to Hedstrom, where she was responsible for quite a few deaths of people similar to this. No one knew it though. No one but her crew and Rastor. It was an accident, after all. Thankfully, Iradell was unable to form tears, or the memory of predatory creatures mauling men, women and children would have brought her to them. Iradell shifted her eyes to Ian, her robotic nature showing very little of the inner turmoil she was facing.
“There,” Iradell said quietly, raising a finger to a hallway on the third floor. A tall man exited the room, turning to kiss a brunette woman on the lips and then he continued down the stairs. “And there,” Iradell pointed to another monitor. It showed the man walking out the front door of the boarding house and standing for a very long time on the corner. Several people approached him and he handed them something before taking what they gave him and putting it in his pocket.
“And here,” Iradell said, pointing to a camera that was on the outside of the building, showing an alley between this building and the next. The tall man was dragging a smaller man with one hand and then proceeded to rough him up. Finally, the taller man rolled the smaller one over and took things from his pockets. The mugging ended and the tall man who fit Bregand's description disappeared from sight. He returned to the woman's apartment a few hours later, stumbling around as if drunk.
“I won't hurt anyone here,” Iradell said, her tone remaining soft. “But he will.” She looked to Ian again. “I made a huge mistake once and I hurt a lot of people unintentionally. I won't do that again. Will you let me take care of this man without... without letting anyone know I was ever here?”
It didn't take them long to point out the man they were looking for. Iradell informed him of the different feeds Bregand was caught on. Ian watched the feeds, following along with where Iradell pointed. By the time the low life had stumbled back into the boarding house Ian had the identity of the renter's space open on the screen. "Leigh Brandish. Age forty-three, single, with a minor criminal record, mainly misdemeanors." Ian muttered, navigating through a secondary window that showed her information. He read over her page a couple times before he pulled up a clear image of Bregand's face. "You're completely certain this is him?" He asked, some heat to his tone.
Ian felt what he described as a mild fire in his belly, as he stared into the frozen eyes of Iradell's prey. He had paler skin than Ian but not by much, a thick, close trimmed beard, dark eyes and along a receding hair line he had faint markings. "He's a Pythian..." Ian spat, memorizing the room number and closed the screens. The holo-screens closed in an implosion like effect as Iradell spoke.
Ian was silent while she spoke, she wanted to do the job her way and leave without anyone knowing she was here. Something about that tugged at an alarm bell in his head. Iradell had come here to do this job and leave, the fact that Ian had met her was coincidental. She didn't have to ask him for permission to do what she wants. Ian wasn't sure but he felt like she would be able to steamroll him should he get in her way. But she asked him anyway.
"Does Bregand know your face? Know what you do?" He asked, a possible plan brewing his in mind. "Because if so, he might have an escape plan in place if you showed up." He thought for a moment. "And he's a Pythian, it's possible he could use Leigh against you. If I let you go alone, how would you handle the situation?"
“He matches the description,” Iradell answered Ian, crossing her arms over her waist. She turned towards him. “Usually if I approach someone and ask them if their name is this or that, then they will reply in a way that I know if they are lying or not. Heat signatures, facial expression and heart rate is not a perfect assessment of lying, but it is an assessment. But to answer your question, I will not fulfill the deed until I am sure.”
Iradell looked towards the screen as Ian looked it over, examining the face of Bregand for a while longer. Rastor had given them no information about Bregand being a Pythian. Her instinct moved towards contacting the Irad and notifying John and Mary, but they were no where close to the Bastion. Plus, any radio contact could be intercepted. Most people lived oblivious or uncaring to the fact that there was very little privacy these days. Ian closed the holodisplay as these thoughts ran through her head and then she looked back towards him.
“I am known in certain circles for what I do,” Iradell said. “But I do not think Bregand is a person that would know my face. Perhaps he would know my name.” She looked around his apartment as she spoke, eyes focusing towards the kitchen. “But the type of person that he is... he knows that he is wanted. That is most likely why he is hiding with this woman – Leigh. I would not be surprised if he had a plan of escape.”
Iradell moved behind the counter and stood in Ian's kitchen.
“Pythians have never been a concern for me, though,” Iradell said, eyes moving to where a cutting board and a block of knives were located. She took a few steps over to it and removed a knife, but it was a smaller one. She reinserted it into the block. “Pythians rely on a connection to the mind. What are they to do when there is no mind to connect with?” she asked, removing another knife. This time it was a larger one, used for cutting meat. She raised it up and looked it over. “What is a Pythian to do if they run into a person with no empathy to influence?” she asked, holding her palm flat and causing the blade to spin. She was gauging the weight.
“How do you cause illusions when my eyes only see what I will them to?” Iradell asked again, her back still to Ian. The blade stopped spinning in her hand and she caught it by the handle. She then reached behind her, lifting her hooded shirt up enough to place it in the waistband of her pants. This also exposed her jet black body underneath the clothing, but only momentarily. Iradell then moved to walk out of the kitchen and back to where Ian was. Her head turned to face him as she walked and her eyes almost seemed to glow as the shadows passed over her face as she looked towards him.
“Pythians have given me little trouble in the past, you see?” Iradell said. “Except for the ones that are strong in telekinetics. They can be a little more worrisome. So if I were to approach these two with the intentions of taking down Bregand, I would first ask if that was his name. When he confirms or denies it, and I will know if he is lying, then I will proceed on my mission to...” she paused, thinking of a bounty hunting term. “Hunt. Leigh will not be in any danger from me, but I can not guarantee her safety if she attempts to assist Bregand.”
Ian listened intently as Iradell voiced her plan and nodded in agreement. It was true that Pythian illusions and mental manipulation were only able to be a problem if their target was susceptible to them. In Iradell's case, she had an major advantage. However, Ian wasn't worried about her. He watched her slip the knife into the waistband of her pants, revealing the black shade of her body. At the sight of the knife he felt a small chill roll over him. He wasn't sure but he felt as if Iradell's regard for life only depended on if they were in the way or not. Collateral damage so to speak.
"I understand that." He said, swallowing a lump that formed in his throat. "I'm not too worried about you. You have nothing to worry about with mental manipulation and illusions. I'm worried about Leigh. She can be effected and possibly controlled by a powerful enough Pythian." He turned this head toward the door for a moment. "Bregand could be powerful enough to make her do things. I would prefer the use of nonlethal means against her, if that happened."
If Iradell sees her as a threat, and I do nothing to bring up that possibility of her being little better than a puppet, she'll drop her. The thought left a bad taste in Ian's mouth. "Leigh is still my tenant. I take care of my tenants." An idea flickered to life in his mind then. "Wait..." he held up a finger, his eyes unfocused as he tried to string together the plan. "How about this, I go up there and talk to her outside her space and when I pull her away you can slip in and you capture him. Would that work?" Ian began to feel a bit bothered by the idea of Iradell killing someone in Leigh's home- his home.
During his plotting he had begun pacing around the room, absently tidying up. "Though I guess I should actually ask, do you plan on killing Bregand?" He asked looking up from where he straightened the covers of his bed. "If he dies here there will be S.L.E.D officers all around and I'll not have any answers but I'll have knowledge of it. If any can read thoughts they'll be able to tell. I honestly, don't like the idea of killing someone. Especially in my home." He didn't know how Iradell would take that but he hoped it didn't end with him being stabbed with his own knife.