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Take Someone Out

Slade looked at the prompt for the week with a skeptical glance and shook his head, far too amused. That was one of the politer euphemisms for some of the work he'd done over half a century, and the idea of putting any of that on 'paper' – pixels, really, but what was the difference? -- struck him rather badly even while it did amuse him. He left the records of his jobs – and acidic commentary on them at times -- to Wintergreen, newspapers when the job was meant to be publicized, and word of mouth when it wasn't. Of the three, the only one he'd recommend trusting for information was Wintergreen's hand.

Then again, there was another way to look at that prompt. Logan's show was still running, and he was back in New York again. He checked the time just to make sure they'd have enough, and went to go and see about convincing his wife to go out on Broadway for the night.
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You pass a complete stranger on the street and notice they are crying. What do you do?

That depends entirely on if I'm working, just out for the day, or otherwise busy.

If I'm working, I'd probably give them the widest berth I could -- for some reason, my armor tends to frighten people. It's not as though I designed it that way, or anything. Eh. It's probably the amount of weaponry I carry when I'm working that sends people running the other direction. Civilians, at least. No sense in traumatizing the person worse by putting myself in their face.

If I'm running some errand or another, I might stop to see what's wrong -- I've picked up a quick job once or twice, that way. But then, my six and a third feet of height and the mass I carry tend to be intimidating even in street clothes. It's a minor irritation fairly often -- that being inconspicuous is something I don't do well. If it seemed to be someone that wouldn't be frightened, I would probably stop, at least long enough to ask what's wrong. Rather or not I could do anything about it is... a different story.

Comforting isn't exactly one of my strongest suits. Hell, just ask the Kid about that one.
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Oh, funny.

You know, when I pointed out the theme, I didn't expect it to head here -- I probably should have, given various other topics over the time I've been using this thing...


Well, that pretty well entirely depends on who you ask, doesn't it? As most things do.

There are certainly more than a few heroes who've gotten their hands just as filthy as they consider mine and then gone right back to their bright, shining statures in the eyes of the public and their community, so obviously they would say yes -- but then again, Lord help anyone that walked my side of the line, for whatever reason, that wanted to try and start over, as far as the heroes are generally concerned. Yes, I did hear what happened with Dent, poor bastard. And a few others.

--Oh, hell no, I'm not talking about me. I'm not particularly interested in the idea. I've got a job I'm among the best in the world at, that needs doing.

I'm just somewhat more experienced, than I was at forty -- that my methods and jobs have changed with the times reflects more what I don't want to deal with than any attempt at that.

And, well, the fact that my wife would murder me a few times if I was stupid enough to get myself locked away from her. Let alone what my old friend would do to me. Then, too, there are Joe and Rose to consider. They've had quite enough to deal with, over the recent years.

You ask if redemption is possible... I ask who thinks they need it?

Word Count: 275

287: Prison

Jul. 6th, 2009 04:15 pm
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What, do you simply have a theme these last few weeks? *looks back over recent responses, thoughtfully*

Seems rather obvious that you do. I think even my bastard half-brother could pick up on this one. Logical train from 'fired', to 'broke', to points of legality, to prison... what next? Guess I'll see soon enough.

But back on topic... prisons. Which one, in which country, at which point in time? I've seen the inside of more than a few, had one trashed by a Teen Titan trying to kill me -- I've never been so grateful for damned floodlights in my life; snuck out of one with Superman's help... Really, the American prison system is a cakewalk compared to some of the places I've spent time as a -- guest, let's say -- of a government. And then there's that stint with Checkmate, but the least said about that torture chamber of a cell, the better. One of these days...

It's the chance you take, when you do what I do. One time or another, you're going to not be quick enough, not be careful enough, your opponents are going to be better... whatever. And you're going to wind up taking the consequences for your actions, unless you've got good enough lawyers or the right set of leverage to use to get yourself out.

Just part of the life.

There's nothing I hate like I hate cages.
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Didn't I just talk about this the last time I answered one of these?

Yes, I know I saw Snake go off about this as well, but honestly. Asking this on the heels of the other question, to a group of people that includes both of us and as many other people that skate on the edges of polite society's lines...

Well. It just seems like asking for trouble -- or baiting for confessions, which is an even worse idea. Enough professionals have tried that that the amateurs really shouldn't bother.

When is it okay to break the law? Whenever the situation requires it. Hell, I'd be willing to bet all of you break at least one law you don't even know about every day.

The only law that really matters to me, when it comes down to it, is the Eleventh Commandment.

...What? No, I'm not going to explain. Either you know it, in which case 'congratulations', or you don't – and don't need to.

Though after the release of that novel a few years ago, everyone should.

Word count: 179
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You're asking the mercenary that?

What, do you just want the messy details?

Sorry, I don't break my clients' security. That's the kind of thing that's bad for business. Read any of the publicly available files on me, you ought to get the picture of the kind of work I do. There are ways the better question might be what haven't I done, when I needed the cash badly enough. I'm not going to answer that one any more than I am this, though.

Though I'm rarely flat broke, I do have times my ready cash is far too low. If I'm hurting badly enough, I take quick jobs – fairly low payout, but enough to get me by.

Haven't had to do one of those in a while, though.

Taking that nice long vacation when I wasn't spending a fortune on weapons, ammo, and transportation, and spending the time to do some work with the stock markets early on took care of that for a while.

Word count: 167
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You're fired! Talk about a time you were forced out of something. I don't think so. I've told that story before.

Word count: 10
OOC: Doesn't count, but he flat refused.
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Fluently, enough to get by, or just enough to blackmail someone in? What the hell, I'll answer all of them.

Starting from when I learned them, since that's probably the simplest: English -- and British English, since they are different languages; some German -- enough to insult people in, if nothing else; 'alphabet soup' -- as I tend to call the various military jargons; enough Korean to get by, and enough Vietnamese to get directions, intimidate people, and barter. I know Swahili, Afrikaans, and Bantu well enough to hold a conversation in them, though I tend to keep those fairly under wraps -- so interesting what people will say when they think you don't understand them.

I also speak ASL. To, I assume, no-one's surprise.

Then there's Russian, which I speak fairly fluently, enough French to know when I've pissed a woman off seriously -- and to talk my way out of it; some Japanese and some Khmer -- I'm told my accent still needs work in the second. My Spanish is good enough to get me by almost anywhere they speak it, and I'm picking up Mandarin and Han Chinese both pretty rapidly, these days. Not sure I'm ever going to get the hang of writing them, though.


Picking up the local language is a good trick to have, in my business.

Word count: 224
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Burying me... now that'd really be nothing but a good way to piss me off. Of course, killing me is a good way to irritate me, but dumping me in a grave is really going to put icing on the cake.

See, one of the problems with being pretty much immortal is that whole 'burial' thing doesn't really work. Besides which, I don't normally stay dead long enough to be buried -- and I'm not the safest person to be around right after I've come back, as a few people have learned over the years. Add having to dig my way out of wherever I've been dumped... and there's a pretty good chance what happened in Gotham a few years back is going to look like a cakewalk before I get my good sense back.

We do have a theory running that cremation might stop this whole damn resurrection mess, but at the moment, with Addie and Wintergreen and my kids with me -- I'm not looking for it.

Word count: 169
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I'm about to go start a job.

So at the moment, the answer is polypro socks and skivvies, eighteen pounds of blue promethium-kevlar lined chainmail, twelve pounds of next-generation custom-shaped orange body armor, two pounds of studded collar, my gloves and boots, and the ballistics-cloth mask and briefs that finish the base of my gear. I've been kicking around the idea of a re-design, but the last one ended badly.

Then there's the thirteen pounds of assorted survival and combat gear in the pouches of my web belt, a good fifteen pounds of ammo in the bandolier and other places, upwards of fifty pounds in the MPK, the .38 Special I haven't given my wife back, the MG4, and the M24 SWS, assorted blades, and my sword... and the six pounds of my energy staff. Haven't carried the thing in a dog's age, but something told me to pack it along.

Now... I have work to do.

Word count: 157
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I am now -- too late.

Thank god.

And Rose.

I'm sorry, kaun-srei. I should have known.
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"That's why I write, because life never works except in retrospect. You can't control life, at least you can control your version." Chuck Palahniuk (Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories)

I normally leave quotes and debates on that kind of topic to my old friend -- he's the one that seems to think it would be a good idea to write up my life as some novel. Why, I have absolutely no idea, but making all of his notes and drafts have kept him entertained all this time so it's worth it. I do wonder how much of it he's going to have to scrap, to have anyone believe it or to keep me from levels of embarrassment I don't really want to ever see again.

But... I don't think I agree all that much with the quote. Maybe if I wrote fiction I'd have a different opinion.

--yes, I know you're all laughing at the idea. So am I.

From where I stand, though, life makes even less sense in retrospect than it did the first time through. At least while it's hitting the fan you're not dealing with other people's second-guessing what you do.

At least as far as I've seen, or experienced.
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What question do you most dread?


I don't bother to worry about questions all that much. Waste of time and energy I could spend doing other things. And really, any of the questions about my past that would have easily made me uncomfortable... I've long since answered to anyone that needs to know. The rest of the people that might ask -- would find out I don't really give a damn what they think of the answer, and that I rarely bother with polite lies.

So I suppose the only question I might 'dread' is... hearing "What the hell were you thinking?" from any of the very few people I actually give a damn about the opinion of. Pretty much limited to Wintergreen, my wife and children, or maybe Logan and the Kid -- if I'm feeling generous -- these days. Mostly because it's going to mean I've just done something I probably should have learned a lesson on by now.

Of course, I never did much like hearing it from Frannie, either. The lecture wasn't going to be two breaths behind it, whatever I'd done to make her ask -- and she always did know just how to lay the law down in a way I wasn't going to forget in a hurry.
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"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" (Who watches the watchmen?)

...You know, haven't I made my opinions on this topic (or the like) clear often enough? Do I really need to go into it again? I swear, some days these seem like they're just out to irritate me.

As far as I can see, the answer is rather plainly no one. Including the arm of the government that is tasked with doing just that.

Which is more than obvious by some of the fairly recent situations. Since if anyone had been keeping an eye on some of those holier-than-thou, hypocri --


Trying to make the world run on if-onlys is a damn fool's game.

And despite my old friend's opinion on the same, I'm not sure I'd care to deal with Waller that closely. Especially after some of the other things I've heard recently -- and with a few of the JSA tied up in Checkmate, now -- it's not likely any of that is going to change.

New day, same old broken systems.

Anyone actually surprised?
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272: Pets

Well, Wintergreen already went on about the pups Raven gave us for the holidays and he's doing most of the training with; and Stone made the joke about Logan's shapeshifting abilities (calm down, Logan, I did say joke), so it seems as though both of the routes I might have gone with this one have been taken. My own fault for leaving it so long, I suppose.

Other than the pups from Raven, I never was much of a pet owner. Hunting dogs and working horses I grew up with, of course, and Frannie didn't seem to ever think it was much of a house if she didn't have a couple of cats running around to keep the mice to an acceptable level.

I spent most of my time in the military, then all over the world working... We've never exactly had a lifestyle that would make keeping pets easy, or a decent thing to do to the animals.
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Write about a time you were outsmarted.


Be glad to talk about one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I was twenty-six years old, the year was nineteen sixty-one, and I'd made Major years before. My COs didn't want me going much past that rank -- they'd have to chain me to a desk, and everyone seemed to already know how bad an idea that would be. I wasn't made for a desk job. But things were heating up all over the world, so there was some advanced training they wanted to put me through. I'd had the orders to ship to Camp Washington for a few days, and been there about fourteen hours. We'd finally been set at that first obstacle course -- damn the thing -- and I thought I was just about home free, with how far I'd made it. Tricky course, I already wanted to meet the mind behind it because they'd set up some nice traps, but I though I had it beat. Just had to get through that water and I'd be to the objective... quick check didn't show me anything in it, and --

Best laid plans. I hadn't been in that rib-deep water for more than two minutes when my world went sideways and these strong, fast hands had my gun out of my hands and then had me. I couldn't believe what I saw once I could get the water out of my eyes and here was this soaking-wet woman in uniform standing there with this knife of a smile on her face. "Bang, Major. You're dead."

Yeah. I was. Just not in the ways she meant when she proved just how good she was. Tricky, cunning, brilliant professional.

...I sound like a besotted teenager. I wasn't that when I met her. --Alright, alright. I was infatuated, but I wasn't a teenager anymore. Hadn't been in... over a decade. The topic was being outsmarted, not your lady, Wilson.

We wound up breaking down just where I'd screwed up, how she'd gotten me then, and then she said the damnedest thing. "You're good, Major. I can make you better."

She did, too. Half of the things the Titans have cursed me for over the years, I picked up from Captain Kane, US Special Forces. I have had moments to wish I'd taken the lesson about arrogance and assuming I know what's going on a little more to heart, but then... I am that damn good.

She made sure of it.
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[locked]Start something?

What haven't I started, recently?

Proposing to Adeline at Christmas was... god, we embarrassed Joe so badly, though Rose and Logan seemed to enjoy the event. I still can't believe Raven bought us those dogs – I'm glad Wintergreen decided to take on training them, and that they'd be best off in Africa. I need to be spending more time there, before he finds some way to let these new responsibilities get him in over his head again. Good thing his daughter's there so often.

Work... there's always a new contract coming through, even if I am sticking to the more legal jobs. Someone always wants something handled, something finished off so something new can begin. It's... interesting, trying to put my people and Addie's so that they're not at each other's throats more than they're working together. J's still better than anyone she's got.

Ought to get back into the habit of going to the theater, if I'm going to be in New York so much anyway. Logan's going to have that role soon, after all. Dating my wife again – what an idea? Yeah. Doesn't sound like a bad choice at all.[/locked]
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"The past is never dead. It's not even past."

I would never have guessed.


...Everyone in my home at Christmas, except my daughter, has been dead at least once. My wife (fiancee?), my oldest friend, my son and his lady, definitely myself, Todd, even Logan. All of us have been, at least momentarily, consigned to that "past", "history", "dead" space in people's minds.

And yet we all live. We even have something resembling sanity, most days.

My old friend is hale and strong and has that look in his eye like he can't wait for the next job.

My wife has agreed to marry me again, to be back in my life, in my arms and -- if I set my mouth right -- maybe running at my side the way I wanted her to so badly.

My Joe. My brilliant, beloved son... everyone knows Jericho's story, and yet he is with us again. He's doing well for himself, which is all any father can ask. Don't ever act that much like me again, Joe, I can't take the fights with your mother.

His Raven -- I always expected them to be, and it's nice to be right -- has lived and died so many times that I think they chose the wrong bird for her namesake. Though I suppose given that her powers are more akin to darkness than flame, that at least is correct.

Logan – something so strange in that it was me who killed him, all those years ago. I'm regularly fairly grateful for Troy and the Amazon magics that saved him, these days. He's a good friend, better than I deserve some days. Now, if he would just do something about he and Stone...

And Todd. Most unlikely of all of my guests, I would have said, not very long ago. He's a good boy, though. Half broken by what he's suffered, and almost more by the treatment of his family... but a good young man. If they don't have the sense to see what an amazing gift it is to have him returned --then we will take care of him. Neither Addie nor I can stand to lose another boy so much like Grant. It is not going to happen.

Enough about that.
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Are you kidding?

My life already reads like something out of a damned comic book, I do not need to invite it to be stranger by wanting to be some fictional character. Between the damned immortality and the resurrections -- not that I'm complaining, right now, about those -- and the magic, my life is more than bizarre enough already.

So why wouldn't I just say someone normal, instead of one of the characters that has all of the action and the drama? Pick a character that has a nice, easy life instead of the insanity it often feels like mine is, and say that one?

Because I hate boredom with a passion, and normalcy and I have never really been on speaking terms. Wintergreen, Addie, just don't say it, all right? Besides, I wouldn't give up the life I have right now, my friends and my wife and my children, for anything. Especially not something that ridiculous.
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Ghanima walked slowly around the sculpture sent as a gift from House Jerodme, studying it with intent eyes. Jerodme held a temperate world, and the young ruler of the house had sent a rather unique creation. Other houses often sent massive gifts of precious stone, of rare gems and other such things. But this piece was different, and she wondered what had gone through the woman's mind as she sent it. The sculpture was hand-carved out of a single, large piece of dark polished hardwood, and stood roughly half her height even before she considered the pedestal it rested on. Her Dune-raised eyes made her call the use of the wood extravagant, but it shone under her fingertips with a reflected light nothing else could match, the grain whorled and twisted through the piece as much as the figures it reflected twisted through each other... It was lovely.

It would have been extravagant for the simple Fremen her mother had been.

Suitable and unique for a gift to the God-Emperor and His Empress... it still was.

She would see what her brother might be willing to give to the House in return for this most unusual gift. Just as soon as she made certain that the statue was installed somewhere that Dune's air would not dessicate it. Not her chambers, but... this would do very well in the old botanical garden.


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November 2009

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