Got back from the meeting in one piece. Thanks for clearing the path, Veigar. Came in handy, even if I didn't realise it'd happened at first. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
When I got the message, that Deimos wanted a meeting, I almost didn't go. Seemed like an unnecessary risk, until I realised I could, for lack of a better word, cheat. Turn the risk to my favour. So I went out, but not alone. One of mine, who prefers to go unnamed, followed on. He's a damned good sneak. So I went on the path, sprinted to the next building along and got out into the cellar. Not sure where the people who own the place are, but they're lucky not to be there. Although I have been looking to try something... Nonetheless, the place is empty, So I made it out and went to the graveyard. Felt kind of like when I was a runner, to be honest. Keeping to alleys and side-streets, causing distractions. All those useful little tricks to avoid getting tailed. Didn't get attacked, so it must've done some good. And there was someone trying to follow me; painfully obvious, I gave him the slip on the path. Half of my guys are better than that at following people, it's downright insulting that the guy assigned to me would do such a half arsed job of it. There's such a thing as professional standards, you know?
Anywho, I'm not going to complain about that. Made it to the meeting unmolested, so it's all good. Would've used the path if I'd known it was clear, but I didn't actually read your comment until, like, five minutes ago Veigar. Thought there were still his guys on the path, and carving a path through somebody's subordinates often offends (and people say I have no grasp of diplomacy!). Played it safe, didn't get anyone killed (although at least one's been arrested).
It may seem odd, but I've never seen Deimos before. Apparently he was big even when delta was in charge, but I've never dealt directly with that particular group. Ran some guns for them, back when I was first starting and my only real assets were paranoia and survival on the path, but that was through a middleman. So I only met them by proxy. Dude stands out. Not necessarily because he's a big guy, because he isn't. I mean, I'm pretty tall, but nothing major, and I have a good few inches on him. But he has a presence, like he's been superimposed over whatever's behind him. And he was wearing a suit. It fit with the image he was trying to make, but I've done my homework. There's a reason he's in charge of his group, and it isn't luck. The suit does not a businessman make.
He didn't seem like he was going to speak, so I started.
"You called. Or Emailed. What was it about?"
"One of your scouts. The German, Sigurd. I had some interesting words with him, and now I'm reconsidering this particular conflict. I'll accept your terms of surrender."
"Yeah. Real fucking charitable. But from where I'm standing, we're doing pretty well. How many of your did I get with the carbomb, anyway? I know five died with the sniper, but our bookkeeping is a little scant. Either way, it would appear we're doing better than you out of this, and I'm just getting started."
Thank God for the masks. I don't think I would've got away with that particular line of bullshit unless I had my face covered. 'Course, it wasn't complete bullshit; I did have a plan in the works, and it's going swimmingly. But I didn't know that then.
Deimos wasn't wearing a mask. So I could see something had him riled.
"I'm assuming you meant the trick you played with the Path? I lost a lot of good men to that. You should be thankful that I'm giving you a chance to get out of this."
"Unless you want what happened on the Path every time one of yours try to use it, I'd drop that line of thinking. After all, it happened before, and none of mine were at risk."
Which is all true. That line of thinking could lead to him attacking and absolutely crushing us. Which would lead to the belief that the Path is safe, and since it was nothing to do with us that could have led to the same thing happening again. Twisting logic is fun!
"So here's my counter-offer. Give up, disband your group. Spread them across the other organisations, across other countries. Give up, because otherwise I intend to kill them all."
Now, the graveyard isn't at home to violence. Just isn't done, proxy will not hurt proxy there, or suffer dire consequences. Still, it was amusing to watch Deimos try to convince himself not to kill me for my insolence. He turned away, didn't let me see his face.
That's when it all went to hell; someone fired a shot. Handgun, I think. Not a big gun, but plenty big enough to kill me dead. Possibly, not actually certain about that. I mean, I doubt I'd bleed out, but I probably wouldn't get on so well with getting shot in the face. My eye shows that there are some things I won't heal from. I pulled my knives, and Deimos gets out a goddamn shotgun. Like, an actual sawn-off shotgun under his suit. And I thought I was prepared for a fight.
Needless to say, he didn't shoot me. You can tell because I'm sitting here typing this rather than slowly decomposing. He looked surprised, almost as much as I was. Like he wasn't expecting an attack.
"This is neutral ground, what the fuck do you think you're doing!"
I was somewhat pissed. Some things you just don't do.
But he hadn't. Somehow a runner had got hold of the location, decided to kill some proxies when they weren't expecting it. Fucking cowards. I pathed out, sprinted to the gunshot. Not much cover there, not like a regular graveyard. We don't go in so much for headstones and flowers and the like. The memorials are more personal; a knife here, because he would fight with one. Jeff was a medic, so there was a roll of bandages marking his grave. There was one cross, made of sticks. Guess he was religious.
But on the path, it's something else. Guess there's some sort of resonance, because it was a stereotypical graveyard there. Headstones, statues, mausoleums. I ignored them, sprinted past it all, through rows of graves, covering some 400 metres in half the distance, and jumped back to meatworld. Hard to explain how I knew to jump. Guess it's just intuition, that little voice telling you what to do. Maybe azoth. Either way, it guided me right once again. I landed right behind the runner; a girl, maybe twenty. Odd that I think of her as a 'girl' when she was older than me. Now, I like to think I'm well mannered. Chivalrous towards women. But once you cross the line, it doesn't matter. I didn't give her a chance to take a shot at me, jammed a knife into her side. It stuck. She fired, but I'd moved too quickly for her to aim, caught her off-guard. Guess she thought I'd just run. Not my style any more, so I went on the offensive, jabbing at her with the remaining knife. She stepped back quickly, tossing the gun aside and pulling her own kitchen knife. I gave her a slash on the wrist, she caught me on the stomach. Don't get me wrong, I'm a pretty good fighter, but she had a better reach, and I was somewhat winded from my sprint. She managed to keep at a distance, and backed away. Which was when Deimos blew her legs out from under her. Quite literally, he blew her leg off.
Now, that would normally be the point where I would go in for the kill. But going through her jacket pockets, I found something interesting. It would appear she didn't just get lucky. Or unlucky. Someone had noted down the way to get there, and when. Signed with an initial, -P. And another place and time. Deimos took the girl to get more information from her. And I'm not going to use euphemisms, that does most likely mean torture and rape. So for now there's a truce. Wouldn't say we're friends, but for now we're going to hold off on the explosions and mayhem, so Veigar, if you want to stay we can get some of the supplies we've had on the periphery in now, so feel free to come along with your organisation and make yourselves at home.