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Uno and Fog: Monarch

May 27, 2019

“I’m not Uno.” I’m watching the nervous systems of all of them for any tell tale jumps indicating they’re about to attack. The two bodyguards are alert and more tense than outward appearances would convey. The gentleman is calm, like a man chatting with a friend.

The man shrugs, “If you prefer to keep up the pretense, that’s fine Mr. Norte, but I assure you I mean you no ill will nor to your. . . associate.”

“I’m alone.”

The man sighs and eases off on the weight on his cane, “I appreciate the sentiment of protecting your ally and attempting to keep the element of surprise but we’re only going to have a conversation tonight, nothing more.”

“And if I don’t want to have that conversation?”

“You’re free to leave, I won’t trouble you, but you will want to hear what I have to say. If you’re implying some kind of violence on your part or your partner’s, well,” he smiles slightly, “I have prepared contingencies for that which involve more than my two assistants here. I favor surprises as well.” No change in his nervous system, if he is lying or worried about it, his body doesn’t show it.

“I’m listening.”

“Very good. I have information that I think you will find valuable.”

“Still listening.”

“I can tell you what you want to know about your mother.”

I think about playing dumb, but I realize that would just annoy him especially since, “you’re the one that led me here.”

“Of course, I have to say I’m rather impressed by the two of you, you followed the bread crumbs much faster than I anticipated.”

“Why? Why go to all that trouble. You could have told me.”

“Would you have believed a total stranger that comes up to you and tells you that you’re mother was known as The Black Death.”

“I’m not sure I believe it now, you could have set up the whole thing.”

“True, I could have but I can see that you know I’m telling the truth.”

“Why all the pictures and mementos of me?”

He seems a little surprised, “Ah, we’re jumping ahead, but no matter. You’re intuitive grasp of things is good, you’re right to assume that I was having all of that collected on you. I’ve been watching you for a long time.”

“I don’t remember ever seeing you.”

“I have a face that is very. . . forgettable.” He seems to think he’s funny when he says that.

“Why?”

“I want you to find her and, failing that I want you to take your mother’s place by my side, to act on my behalf, to be my champion.”

“If my mother worked for you, that means you’re . . .”

Monarch. Your mother didn’t work for me, she was my friend, my most trusted ally, my confidant.”  Monarch had at various times espoused the belief that individuals endowed with gifts were meant to rule over those that didn’t.  A version of both divine right and natural law philosophy.  I wonder what he would make of the old god I had just had the displeasure of meeting recently.

I suspect he would say SHE had no right to rule since she wasn’t human.   Since there was a significant portion of the population that didn’t think we were human either that was where his ideas tended to break down.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the late 80s he had tried to set up a separate country called Basillia solely for the endowed out of territory near the Evening Sea.

It had failed spectacularly.  For a variety of reasons, including internal fights over control, inability to maintain basic infrastructure (no one wanted to do the menial jobs), international sanctions, among a plethora of other things that had conspired against him.

“You don’t know where my mother is?  With all your resources? I find that hard to believe.”

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if I knew where she was.  She may be dead, I don’t know.  I have searched for her for years and failed.  I would like to know what happened to her and who is responsible,” there was a hint of anger in his eyes, “you and your partner seem to be gifted in finding things, and patterns where others don’t.  Which is why I am asking and why I am offering both of you a place in my organization.”

“I’m not interested in taking over the world.”

Monarch grimaces slightly, “I admit to being rash in my youth, but I’m not interested in taking over the world, I want to save it.”  I look at his nervous system, again its impossible to tell if someone is lying, but it is possible to see if they’re getting nervous and he was still utterly calm.

Then again, one can justify a lot of monstrous behavior when you believe in a cause.  Monarch was a monster, a polite one, but he was still a monster.  I didn’t want to think what he thought the world needed saving from, or what needed to be done in order to do it.

“I appreciate the offer, but no.”

Monarch raised an eyebrow.

“No to both.  Whatever happened to my mother, its probably for the best.  And I’m not interest in joining your cause, crusade or whatever you want to call it.”

“Disappointing, but not unexpected.”  He didn’t sound disappointed at all which concerns me, he reaches into his pocket and extract a small card and hands it to me embossed on it is a phone number and nothing else, he looks at me and then glances up and to the right, “when either of you change your mind, give me a call.”

He turns heads to the car, one of his body guards opens the door and he disappears inside with his body guards following.  I watch them drive off.

Once he’s gone, I realize that I can’t remember his face.

 

 

 

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