Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Paying rent. Part 1.

Anna smiled and waved to the kids as she entered the class room. A thin wiry elf with tightly braided blond hair, she managed to be both aloof and inviting at the same time. The kids she taught at the volunteer clinic in the south eastern Albuquerque sprawl blossomed under her tutelage. Their parents also became open and outgoing in her presence, no matter how shy and recalcitrant they may have been to start with. And yet no one, not even the oldest of volunteers, knew much about Ms. Anna. All questions were answered vaguely and the subject would change deftly to a different topic. This status-quo had been maintained for many years.

"Muss Amma Muss Amma come see my picture!"
"Muss Amma I made you a birdday chard!"
"Muss Amma! Look at how good a babelrina I am!"

"What a pretty picture Mario! A birthday card!? Is it for me Jenna? Is it my birthday? Wow good job Tina, you are a very beautiful ballerina."

"No Muss Amma it is my birdday! I'm dis many!"

And so went the steady daily sounds of the school. A tenaciously peaceful retreat from the bitter poverty and crime filled life in the surrounding neighborhood.

On this Tuesday there was a small but significant difference. Anna's commlink blinked and emitted a small quiet tone into her ear.

"Ms. Velez?" The older troll woman turned from cleaning and looked at her. "Would you mind watching the children please? I have a personal call." Ms. Velez nodded assent and Anna slipped into the quiet empty hall.

A colder sterner Anna answered the comm.

"The status changed. The brothers are out of business."
"Ah. Please arrange a meeting at... 5pm should do. Tonight."
"Yes maam."


The Running Man clumsily dug the commlink out of his pocket. After dropping it once he found the accept button.

"(stupid technology)... Hello?"
"Mr..... The Running Man?"
"yes thats me"
"Rent for this month is due. Please be at the office by 5pm tonight. Is this possible?"
"Yes maam. I'll be there."

Three minutes after the phone call was ended he found the off button.


Anna calmly walked into the room and sat at the head of the table. All of her tenants were present including the four new ones, an athletic dwarf, surly young elf and the quiet human couple.

"As per the terms of your lease, you owe me one favor a month. The favor to be commensurate to your abilities. Unfortunately this month I will be required to ask you to pay rent." Anna smiled sadly at the phrase. "The Brothers Grimm, a local troll gang, is no longer in operation. Until now they controlled the sprawl to the north and northwest and had nominal ownership of our neighborhood. However in the last few weeks they have been systematically destroyed by two rival gangs. The Three Leaf triad to the west and the humanist group, Neighborhood Crime Prevention, to the north."

"My staff tells me that the Three Leaf triad would be amenable to a "peaceful coexistence" fee and I will be asking a few of you to deliver a letter and return with a response for me in this matter. Perkins and Ramirez if you would please accompany Broken that should be enough."

Ramirez, a well dressed, middle aged, male Ork, nodded. Perkins flashed a quick "nodders" text without looking up from the hand sized robot he was fiddling with. Broken just smiled and gave a thumbs up.

"Their trip will hopefully be as exciting as it sounds. For the rest of you however I can guarantee there will be a bit more excitement. The NCP have a strict human only policy. They expel metahumans briskly and any resistance is met with lethal force. This is unacceptable to me and even if I were inclined to negotiate I believe that any alternatives I could come up with will be unacceptable to them.

So we will not be negotiating. I have identified the building they use for their headquarters and where the majority of their leadership resides. We will be executing a multi-phase strike. Termination of leadership, asset liquidation, astral security, response containment, and extraction. As with any activity of this sort anything can happen but we are well prepared to handle the eventualities. Tina is passing out team rosters now, I will meet with the team leaders in a few minutes and then you will meet with your teams and discuss your plans for each objective. In two hours we will meet back at this table and will answer any final questions."

Thanks for all the positive feedback. Yes this -is- my own work, a project of mine to attempt and keep my imagination happy during school. I'm aiming for a 5,000 word short story, and once all my rough drafts are done and the story wrapped up I plan to clean it up and post one big post all neat like. We'll see.

**22 Feb 2010 edited very belatedly to fix commensurate thanks Cap'n John.


Cap'n John's Blog said...

Damm, I believe the word you're after is 'commensurate' (to your abilities), not 'commiserate'.

Miss Anna sounds like a typical teacher, ie., she's not someone you want to piss off ;)

Looking good, Dammerung. Keep it up!

Dawn said...

Only you Kerry. But then again, I spent the majority of my time in grad school writing fan fiction.

sunjun said...
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