Campaign of the Month: September 2014


The Family Business Turns Sour

There is a time in every person’s life when one has to contemplate their own demise…

It’s a serious moment, for as much as you think your ideas have a purpose, you realize that you, yourself, will inevitably die. How much good or evil can you provide in the time that is given to you? Well, I would not classify myself as a good person, for there are true horrors in my past, horrors that most of my family do share, for it is the cost of doing business. Normally when you grow up, you contemplate what you want to be, what kind of person you will become. But for me, my choice came at the end of a gun… literally.

The name is Slade Wilson, a relatively wealthy businessman who works as a ranking board member on the Vesta Corporation. I don’t know why I am writing all of this down, but I have found there should always be a recording of one’s actions — no matter how dreadful they may be. I sit here, looking out at the swelling city and see a storm on the horizon, a black cloud who’s movements can be viewed my millions.

Slade pauses writing for a moment and stares blankly out the window of his spacious office. He sighs and resumes writing. I sigh to see them, for the clouds are a vestige into my very soul. A soul damned by family. And yet, you could say the beginnings of my tale are on the backs of my parents’ credit chip.

I grew up in the family business, a business full of deceit, treachery, bribery, and death. “The mob” is too cliché a term to call it, and “organized crime” gives the impression of choice, so fairly I just classify it the family business. From the age of 10, I sat at the table with my mother Francine and my father Harold. Francine is the head of the Phoenix Undercity and my mother was always one for theatrics when it came to that bloody name. The Phoenix has, like organized crime, went through many a rebirths, and like the Phoenix it is always reborn from the ashes in which it came. A cold-hearted vixen that takes good pleasure in pain but even more in winning. You could say I learned that the most from my family… There is always a solution to any situation and that no matter the punches your enemies throw at you, always make sure you throw the last crippling blow. A family motto, you could say.

Slade puts down his pen and opens the top left-hand desk drawer of his rare mahogany desk, real wood being at a premium in this day and age. Reaching inside, he slid his finger tip across the undercarriage of the drawer. Slade could hear the mechanical clicks mixed with modern technology which gave Slade a prideful smile when he reached his hand in to retrieve two items. The first was a secure tablet that holds his share of the family books: transaction spreadsheets, contacts of somewhat reliable ‘criminals’, and debts to him personally. He pulls it out and casually sets it on the desk and picks up the pen again.

Our family has a relatively short history when it comes to organized crime, for it was only 47 years before my mother and father set out to turn the city into what they envisioned. A city born on the back of violence, where survival wouldn’t be just for the fittest but the smartest, and this city would change the world, and the worlds beyond…

Slade gives a contemptuous look and a sneer comes across his face as he reaches into the drawer again; he knows he was hounded on against blind loyalty since birth, of which the second item he brought out was a regular reminder. It was a freshly maintained semi-auto pistol with hollow shell rounds. The pistol itself was custom-made from a company called Skyline Advantage, a security company of well-regarded reputation. He rotated the circular chamber, removing the rounds he always kept inside it, checked the chambers for debris, and then reloaded the pistol with the reassurance of long practice. Setting the gun onto the desk, he began writing again, leaving a space between the previous scribing and the new one.

I’ve made many enemies on the back of this gun, including the company that manufactured this gun, and all over a “misunderstanding” during a business meeting on the advancement and distribution of some of Skyline’s more dangerous weapons. The problem was that Vesta Corporation wanted to broker a deal with Skyline Advantage as to the retail sale of a whole range of weapons. The Undercity wanted it so that those weapons would find their way onto the streets and into the hands of my very family. Therein lies my personal problem, because I am viewed as an outsider in my family business, for I joined the Navy instead of joining the family business when I was 17. I still hold some control in the business, but not a very large portion as my parents envisioned I would inherit at this point in my life. They — mother especially — constantly like to remind me of that decision and put me in predicaments like these where I am forced to choose.

I had a business meeting with the head of their weapons division. I held the office at gunpoint… not personally, for I have men for that sort of thing. They brought in a communication device and set it to audio-only in their boardroom full of their board members and some of their family. I communicated with Julius Arnett, the head of Skyline Advantage, and threatened to expose his plans to the city if his weapons made it on the street. At the point of a gun, the message was received and accepted, but a board member, trying to be a hero, kept a prototype handgun in his ankle holster. He succeeded in killing one of my men, but not before a range of bullets penetrated his chest and head. But a stray bullet missed the man and followed into the eleven-year-old girl behind him in the corner and she took the bullet into the abdomen… and eventually died.

Whether it was actually Julius Arnett I spoke to or not, the masked voice has remained a mystery. But in the corporate espionage business, the rumor that surrounded the death of Julius Arnett’s daughter circulated and and pointed to me, which was inevitable. It was my deduction that the rumor was spread by my own family, and after that day, her death was on my hands. It wasn’t right that she had to die for a deal that should never have happened in the first place.

I do not fear death, for I have been surrounded by it for far too long, but It has given me the insight that Chaos only breeds Death.

Slade looks over the letter he has written to nobody, folds it neatly, and places it into the secret compartment along with the family books. After closing the drawer, he presses a button on the console on his desk and speaks.

“Myra, please forward all my calls to my message board, if urgent you know where to reach me. I’m heading out, so if you could bring the hover limo to the back entrance.” Slade picks himself up, secures his pistol to the shoulder holster and buttons his dashing suit.

“Time for my date with mother.”


Basileus Maesenko

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