Daniel - Daniel Jack Investigates: The Crucible Of Truth

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Description: After his death-defying duel in the depths of the Grottos left the city in shambles, Daniel Jack is forced to flee. But not everyone will let him turn his back from the past. The mysterious Whitney confronts him as the detective hides from the elite special forces of the NOL. There, the stranger challenges him to look upon the mirror of himself, and to truly gaze upon the matters of truth and life. When Whitney forces Daniel to confront his very soul, will our stalwart detective find himself free of the chains that bind him, or will he soon be consumed by... The Crucible Of Truth? (The cover shows Daniel in some strange attic, where old chests and boxes sit around. Daniel's shirtless back is to the audience, but he is looking into a tall, full-bodied mirror. Within the mirror, in the reflection, there is a beautiful blonde woman with tussled hair, wrapping her arms behind Daniel. She is wearing a strapless red dress. Daniel himself looks in shock not at the woman, who is unseen outside the reflection, but at his hands, whose palms are becoming hairy) (45 cents)

It wasn't great for Daniel.

The choices the shadowshaped detective made to this point was supposed to have been the right thing to do. THe best intentions, roads to hell and back and hell. The zoot-suited detective stared from the top of the building, his yellow eyes burning. He could have broken Zach, and made him come with him to Illyria. He had already dragged him around all over Italy. But it was here in Bosnia that he made the choice. He heard what happened to Zach, what Honoka did to him. ANd he let him go. Let him heal. Gave him support. IT was the right thing to do. He had no right to keep draining away his soul and spirit. What the cost of it now?

He was alone.

Oh, there were ghosts and spectres and shadows of regrets. There were always regrets. If one thing was in ever surplus, it was regrets. When Ayame gave Daniel a second chance at humanity, he pratically had to live off regrets. There were plenty of restless spirits in the depths of the catacombs. It made good eating. Daniel didn't eat the dead; no, he eased them. Seduced them, sometimes. But even the unseducable could be eased into the next life. Listen to their pain. Endure it, even. Daniel could take a few lumps. But when you linger in haunted places, you attract attention. Daniel didn't think the depths would have much traffic.

And unfortunately, he got caught.

Rumors were already swirling about the monster hunter and his pet monster. And when Zach left the catacombs, Daniel didn't head over to Illyria. And after the incident in Rome, there were hunters. Daniel didn't know if they were NOL professionals, Hunters, or just lone wolves looking for a quick buck. But they trapped him in the catacombs. Lights, attacks, gunfire, and holy weapons. A real grabbag of stuff. Daniel should have been smarter; but he was focused on the souls, on the easing of passage, and above all, food.

And now there were victims.

No deaths. Ayame made sure of that long ago. But a half a dozen men and women who were going to need medical attention. A phone call to the ambulance and the police; and then, gone. But the timing was awful: violence corrupts the soul energy harvested; he literally lost a meal over this. All his hard work, squandered. And now, as he lurks on the rooftops of the Bosnian city, he lurks, letting the chaos of his incident unfold. A panic. There would be a panic, especially this close to Illyria. He was hungry. It made it harder to think. It made the tempation of violence harder. And despite it, the sleepless detective just growls to himself.

"This evening can't get any worse.

The Balkans. A wonderful part of the world. Old and important since the days of Alexander. A crucible of world powers that has seen the dawning of so many new ages for humanity. And not terribly far from here, the newest is in the form of the state of Illyria. Rogue to some, sovereign to others, either way it was a place where the spark of new politics could light a future flame of world passion.

As with most metaphors this could be taken in a horrific way. A humorous turn of phrase that Whitney Saulder repeats in his mind. He does not enjoy it, so much as find the glaring obviousness of humanity's two-faced deception of self even in the face of it's own self-awareness to be comical in definition.

The cigarette he smokes simply soothes him.

Both, he would contend, add up to what he could call happiness. Or at least what other people call happiness if they so felt such a thing. He was never sure. But with his evacuation from Japan, he had come to one of the other hotspots of Darkstalker activity to see to matters himself. He had pushed with Kolin and the rest of the Illuminati the reality that manipulation around darkstalker and human relations is the key to the future. On one hand, to improve grasp of new power blocs, on the other, to curtail the relations engine of the NOL. The last thing the Illuminati needed, Whitney thought, was a control organization that the public of the world called for.

The Illuminati needed chaos. They needed conflict. How else would people buy into their systems and their securities long enough for the Illuminati to tear it all down so that Gill's vision of a utopia may come to pass?

The questions on how to approach the Illyrian sector were noisome. That was, until he took notice of rumors. Rumors of Darkstalker incursions in the area. Rumors that Whitney Saulder felt good on stoking. It would only take a few deaths. Nothing too obvious, just something enough to bring out suspicions and fears.

And such, he walks along at night, enjoying a cigarette and taking in the surroundings. Whomever was happening on this place was here, and Whitney Saulder intended to find them.

Something was off.

Taking in the ebb and flow of the energy of the city, Daniel could feel something wrong. A disruption. IT's like seeing a splash of a fish, a snake in a pond. A bleakness, a scar, a shadow slipping in between the muck and a rotted log. It's one thing to instigate chaos, even Daniel in his relatively short pseudo-life was beginning to feel disruptions beyond his normal senses. An evil? A darkness? Or worse.

It was the smell.

Something past the smoke. The yellow eyes twist, as he glances down at the sound of footsteps. They were the wrong kind of footsteps. Unnatural. That's how he would put it. Familiar, and unnatural. OUt of rhythm and flow of the fear and terror seizing the city over another Darkstalker attack. He felt like it was bait. Another trap. Slip away, run away, and avoid it. It was so simple. And yet, as the dim light of his crystal keeps cloudy, a peaceful energy within, there was no hostility. That was wrong. He could run away. He could disappear in the night, so no one could find him. But that was the worst part about his situation. He never -wanted- to just disappear. He wanted people.

He falls.

Slipping along the walls, cornering the narrow alleys between the streets. He flows from the rooftop, twisting silently as he eases between the moonlight. There isn't even a rustle, when he moves behind a heap of debris. Slipping on the ancient stones beneath the feet. No sound as he rises up behind the stranger, taking on an all too humanoid form as the lights of yellow eye reignite. "Hey scuzzy." The detective growls from the shadows, the gleam of white teeth against a faceless void.

"Hell of a night to be taking a stroll, you dig?"

It's an odd gait. A shuffle-bump stride with lazily lifted steps that scrape the ground and odd weight on the hip and heel and knee. Somewhere between languid and injured, a harmless and aimless kind of patter to each step that puts it off rhythm. Shuffle, scrape, limp. Over and over again. Whitney Saulder's walk was as manufactured off as everything else about him.

The feeling? The calm and present scar that was his existence? That was all natural. He was never a man that felt attuned to the flow of chi around the world. It was never right. It never felt the way he heard others describe it, or that he had seen shaped by others. Nor did he have the unique nature of Psycho Power. He stood as a pit of both. Discordant in many cases, but here, discordant in the utter calm he has with the night. The utter lack of feeling the flow of the place in fear of things that go bump in the night.

He doesn't feel energy, or aura, just a moment when he hears the voice of another. But it might be for someone else. So though he stops, he takes a long slow drag from his cigarette before letting the smoke roll from his mouth.

He pinches the cigarette between thumb and forefinger, holding it inward toward his palm. With a tug, he half straightens the rumpled and unbuttoned cuff of the blue sleeve sticking out from his short brown blazer. He counts in his head. And then he gives to the fact that there's enough time that the speaker hasn't left so it must be important enough and directed at him to give attention to.

And there he turns around to see the growling shadow and gleaming teeth. The yellowed eyes of a monster in the darkness. Terrifying. Thrilling.

Exactly who Whitney Saulder was looking for.

"Is it?" he asks, genuine, warm sounding, a layer of honey poured over a knife. "I hear there are monsters roaming the night." He puts the cigarette back between his teeth before patting his blazer. Finding a battered pack, he flicks a filtered out and holds it to the Teeth and Eyes. "Smoke?"

"Not anymore." Daniel rejects, palm up.

No claws yet, though the features of the hands were indistinct, as if it was clinging to the shadows. Daniel takes in every detail that the man shared. It was a front, how much Daniel was not aware of. For the detective, it would take a while to dismantled this manufactured doll jolting about on this Balkan night. It was unnatural. Now, Daniel was one to talk. "Wasn't good for my health." Daniel gives a half chuckle, letting it fade into silence. He is quiet for a moment, never breaking his gaze on the stranger. Monsters in the night. He needed to answer on that. "You've misheard, scuzzy." Daniel states, looking past the man, making sure they were alone. "There is only one monster. You know how it is, mass hysteria, a panic." Daniel Jack drops the grin, letting the teeth fade behind his lips. "Real funny thing, to be wandering around though. There are only certain kind of people that works against the flow of a panic. Good people, bad people, and people who are convinced they are above it all." Daniel glances up, his gaze finally breaking. Yeah, kind of all of the above here.

And Daniel decides to skip the formalities.

"So who are you with, scuzzy." The detective states, his ears sensitive ahead, behind, taking in the sensory. "I'm sorry, I know, I'm skipping ahead of the theater, scuzzy. I don't want any more hurt hotshots tonight. If you're NOL, great, you can just walk away with an After Actions report: get bent. Hunter? I don't know, you got that air of a..." He draws in a heavy scent. "Of a killer. But in these times, who knows. But lets skip the whole 'oh I'm a mysterious fellow passive aggressively wandering around' routine. I got enough problems already before dealing with assholes on my ass." Daniel Jack pauses a moment, before making a cough.

"Oh, yeah, I'm the monster that messed up those folks in the catacombs."

And just like that, the cigarettes and pack are gone. Tucked away, mentally discarded as no longer being relevant for the purposes of a conversation. Whitney plucks his own from his lips and nods. His tired, blue eyes look on and over the shadows of the figure before him. He's making mental notes, comparing what has been said with what might or might not matter.

His mind ticks over. Assessments are being made. Darkstalker in the region. Slang user. Former smoker? Talkative. A good enough scapegoat if any. The matter would be to suss out which angle to approach.

"Is there something so unbelievable about an American tourist wandering where they shouldn't? That I might find this village quaint and real and so much more meaningful than my American experience, that I might walk around it with no thought of safety or concern?" The words come out mockingly sincere and punctuated with another long drag of his cigarette.

As he exhales, he commends, "For a creature presenting yourself as eyes and sharp teeth, your dislike for pageantry is ironic, but appreciated." A flick of the ash and, with the cigarette gone, a short flick of the dog end to the ground. "If you must know, I'm here on contract for important people. They call themselves the Illuminati. Take from that what you will." He's honest, seeing no reason to obfuscate for a Darkstalker. It does little to benefit anyone.

"I'm an actuary of sorts. And if you're the one responsible for the goings on here. Well, I'll gladly be the first to thank you."

A balance of careful observation.

Each figure, looking at the other. Building up the dossier, picking and searching for the facts that they were carrying within. Daniel was a lot more open than this stranger. And yet, as the stranger casually explains himself, Daniel kept getting frustrated by the tells. They were correct tells, yes, but they were -wrong-. An intuition kept throwing them off piece by piece. It was rehearsed, and yet, spontaneous. And finally, when he stated his intention to thank him... well, that was the part that broke it for Daniel. He could only respond at first with a blurt.


"Is that your normal speaking voice?" Daniel states, tilting his head, shocked. "Illuminati? I- are you jerking me around?" Daniel Jack looks around now, he couldn't -see- anything, or -hear- anything out of the ordinary. Daniel's presence boils out; shadowy tendrils spreading at the edge of the darkness all around. Daniel himself isn't moving, but the pressure was building. "Look, I don't know how it's possible, but I can -tell- you are telling the truth. You have every tell of telling the truth. And- and you are clearly not telling the truth here, scuzzy." Wasn't an objection, but a statement of fact. "Because you have said nothing but truthful things to me, and I have -less- clarity on what you are doing now, than before this conversation started. Is it the face?"

Suddenly, the maw and eyes change.

Humanoid features; a nose, dimmed yellow eyes, and what looks like a well-groomed mustache over his lip. The fangs are somewhat downplayed, but the horrifying abyss of a visage was gone. The hideous purple zoot suit, however, was all too apparent now. Daniel steps forward a bit, as the shadow tendrils at the edges linger. "Look, sorry about the whole spooky thing scuzzy. I've been on edge, it's been a bad couple of... days? I think its days, maybe. Hard to keep track of it, but it's been very stressful, and I really, really didn't want to deal with some 'oh die monster you don't belong in this world' garbage because I am dead serious, I am this close to getting nasty with someone."

And the six weren't getting nasty?

Daniel Jack keeps talking, palm out, as his presence gets lighter and lighter and more... personable. "Anyways, okay, okay, you are with some... Illuminati. I don't know what that is, and that -bothers- me, but we'll figure that out later. I'm guess creepy secret society, looking to cause chaos and disorder in order to consolidate power, you know, crisis precipitates change and all that. " Daniel actually twists his hand around, as if he was skipping the main mission statements and getting to the meat. "So if I am on the right track, something involving darkstalkers, and with Lord Dohma building that big fuckoff tower in Southtown, probably something to either instigate support for him, or to undermine him. No idea if those six were your six, it would make -sense- if they were, but then again, from your little thank you, sounds like you are more of a professional opportunist than a mastermind." Daniel Jack stops his hand movements, with a point at the agent.

"Feel free to interject with your own observations, scuzzy!"

No lies yet not open. Tired look, blonde hair unkempt from walking and a shuffle of a hand. Walked for miles, or slept in at train stations. All true factually, but not one tells the truth of reasons. That is how Whitney Saulder lives. What is done is true, but purposes and positions are obscured.

His hand, what once held the cigarette, slides into the pocket of his blazer. He stands with a slouch. His clothes, cut large, are meant to rest loose and hide the physicality of the man underneath. Still, he cannot fully hide the rough broadness of his hand, and that's why they move, or they stay hidden inside his pockets.

"Why do you suppose knowing the truth of the matter will make things clearer?" he asks, shaking his head. "To be able to see every side of every question. To be everything, to be nothing long." he paraphrases and looks away as the darkness formats itself into a more familiar shape.

He catches a look from the corner of his eye. "From what I've seen you've been kinder than you needed." He shrugs. He turns. For a moment he corrects his posture, but then it's gone again to the slouch.

He pulls a hand from his pockets and idly scratches at his chin before picking at his thumbnail. His looks aren't always on Daniel. Often he's looking around, but every few words those deep blue eyes lock back onto Daniel. Or, more accurately, he locks onto a spot that might be in the back of Daniel's head.

Once more, accurate awareness that does not have understanding. And a man that's presumptuous, correct or otherwise, is no surprise to Whitney. "You're doing very well without my input," he tells Daniel. His hand slips back into his pocket and he looks out at the distant hills. "I guess. . ."

His pause is long and steady. Dragging out the moment. Holding it for no reason other to pull at the potential that this man, darkstalker, was the type that liked to hear his own voice.

"I guess my only observation is; what do you do with what you know?"

"I'm as kind as I need to be."

A flippant response, but Daniel was easing to the side now, becoming more animated. That would imply he had seen the work. And imply he was looking for the root cause. DEtails, details, but Daniel wasn't pressing on the offense. No, he was just talking along. Different ways to conceal the obvious. Some show nothing. Some show everything. In the sense, the stranger knew what the middle ground ended up being:

The same.

"Not as much as I should." Daniel says frankly. "THat's my problem right now, you dig?" Now, the attention shifts away from Whitney. Daniel -loved- the sound of his own voice, though he wouldn't admit it. "I've squandered my humanity, I've squandered by connections to Makai, I've squandered my love, and I've squandered my allies for a chance to save my love. For what? For nothing, that's what. I could have gotten Zach to come with me to Illyria, you dig? I could have come to the King, the Kings, and pleaded for his help. To find any means to save Dr. Tessitore from the grave. But no, I did the right thing, and instead of beating his head and dragging him there, or manipulating his emotions, I just let him go. To heal, from his torment. And now look at me, I have no direction now, no way forward, and now some asshole like you is coming around to breed power from the chaos. Just a random event, with unforeseen consequences, and unnecessary suffering in the world. What do I do with what I know; well, I thought I knew. And every time I thing I know, I just make things more miserable for everyone." There is a pained silence for a moment. He was on the other side of Whitney; did he walk through the walls? Up the walls?

Or just on the darkness?

"Sorry for unloading personal stuff on you, but you know, actuaries." Daniel quickly makes his apologies. "I'm sure the existential crisises of lonely single Darkstalkers are not the Illuminati's problem." Daniel actually gives him a wink. Was he playing with Whitney? "You know, it took me a while, but I think I figured out what's got me off about you. You are just like a normal person on the street, an American tourist, a quiet man enjoying a quiet life." Daniel snaps his fingers.

"It's an act."

Daniel shakes a finger back at the general direction of Whitney, now making sure to take a step away from the man, giving himself more space. "It's not what you do, it's what you aren't doing. It's uncanny. You only give the tells when you have to, you dig? Expressions on your face, positioning of your hands, you body. Like you have to remember what a proper human being can do. But you aren't pretending to be anybody, but yourself. Like you are wearing a mask of your own face. Even your heartbeat feels rehearsed. I'd think it's rude to call it creepy, but uh, I am pretty sure that's more of a professional compliment with your line of actuary work. It reminds me of, of, well..." Daniel gives a wry smirk, warming up to the cold-blooded Whitney piece by piece.

"You've heard of that championship fighter Honoka Kawamoto, right?"

Flippant, but a truth nonetheless. Whitney finds nothing of note in the Darkstalker. Other than perhaps a more open veracity than others. And at talkative streak that Whitney is wont to exploit for his own gain. He listens, keeping mind to not stare and to not feign disinterest too much in the long talking. This litany of names and supposed crimes comes pouring out of the Darkstalker. It's a flood. And something that could wash over truth in a deluge of information.

Whitney understood the method of social jamming. Be as open as you want to be. Show everyone what you are and be clear about it. That way, they never look any deeper. This Darkstalker was someone that worked on a level similar to himself.

The man was interesting.

"I'm obliged to further the goals of my contractee," Whitney states. "Regardless of apparent insignificance." He digs back through his coat. Letting Daniel go on about the read he finds. There's a pleasantness to the direct reading. A clear cut awareness. But as Whitney draws out a small stick of gum. He turns it over. He looks at this Darkstalker.

The gum gets put away.

The slouch disappears. Just how well he fills out the large suit becomes more apparent. And though he remains with a half-lidded, dark eyed look, there's a new focus on the Darkstalker. One not unlike what he had when his hands were around the throat of a little blond girl from the NOL.

"The Dahlia," he says, and nods. "She was something interesting. Could have been. Only a shame her pretensions are only that. She's just another crime lord. Only she's one that lies harder to herself than the others. I've tried to help her. I truly have."

A slow turn of the head. A consideration of the Darkstalker that's now at his opposite side. "I find it very curious how many people know that name come with a litany of regret. I wonder why?"

Well, sadly, Daniel -always- thought he was interesting.

Underneath the friendly exterior was that hidden ego, that self-absorbed nature. It was easy to hide under righteousness. Of course, as Whitney goes through the motions, Daniel cannot help but smirk. A balance of power in the conversation. He didn't know what Whitney's true intentions were. But as the man fills out, he could begin to see that dangerous power. He liked it on Oswald. He liked power. That was new with the Darkstalker transformation. Daniel didn't have the ruthlessness for manipulation, the drive for it. But there was a flow of control he needed in social matters like this. And then he says the -other- name.

A sudden surge of orange chi over his body.

Rage, bitterness, and of course, helplessness. From the depths of the blackness comes the whirlwind of emotions. Pure and wild. A sore topic. "You wonder why." He states back, as the energy dies down. "I think you know though, if you know of her as the Black Dahlia. Well, think about it. PEople who make the connection, between Honoka and Dahlia and- and whatever she wants to pretend herself to be. Dragon lady or hero or whatever she wants to pretend. Heroine. She saved the world, you know that? And she gave away her little boytoy as a favor for Shadaloo, to let him be enslaved by Vega. Two seperate instances, two... extremes. But you know, people aren't defined by their kindness, right? It's by their cruelty and sadism, their evil..." A concerned growl from Daniel, as he sinks deeper into the shadows of the wall. His center... spreads. Shifting. His shape gone into the shadows. But his voice carries... over? ARound?


"Like you said, what do you do with what you know? Same thing that everyone has done: nothing. Just keep it to yourself. Nobody else will be there to help you, when the perfect princess Honoka decides that in order for the world to be a better place, for the Ainu to have their justice, that you need to suffer for it. It's the greater good. Because what happens when you try and break the wonderful fantasy, when you try and drag the truth about about how awful and horrible of a woman she is? She will pull you apart like a roast turkey. And the whole world will be there, clapping their hands over her latest fall guy, about how awful her victim was, and how justified she is for striking back. I've been killed by the dame at least once, you dig? Mortal Kombat, a whole 'nother story. It's how I got this whole setup?" Daniel reappears on the other side of Whitney, reformed.

It was a kind of pacing, it seemed.

"I wouldn't be surprised if you, or the Illuminati, have been used already to her whims. You know the name, and if the Illuminati isn't engaged directly, it's going to be indirectly. She's not an actuary, you dig? You dismissed her as a crime boss, well, I did that too in Interpol. There's something sicker inside her. She wants control, what sociopath doesn't crave it. It's her fantasy, to be the queen or the empress or whatever. If she wanted to just be a crime boss, then she could be, but no, she wants to be a crime boss, and a beloved actress, and AInu Spangles, and god knows what else. And it's all an act, but there -is- no actress underneath. That's why she probably dumped her lover Zach, I'm not sure about the details. I... I think I should ask her. I'm not sure if you've known what it's like to be treated like property, like a thing. Probably, unfortunately. Sorry about the comment earlier, it's not nice to say to people."

Which comment.

What comment.

"I'm wondering if I should just go and up and kill her." Daniel says, with a building feralness. WAsn't he going to Illyria to save his girlfriend? "That would be the thing to do, right? Only the necessary kindness. TO torture her, to torment her, to make her pay for all her crimes against all of humanity. But is it really just that? See, it's happening. Would it really be the right thing to do? How would everyone react? They would cry for her, and she would be held up as a martyr. I just- I just want to hurt her so badly. The words come out easily. "I don't know any more. You said it, not me. 'what do you do with what you know?' I don't know it's the monster in me that wants that sadistic revenge against her."

"Or is it the last shreds of humanity clinging to the mortal views of justice, you dig?"

a nerve struck by a name. Just as Dahlia quavered at Spangles, this Darkstalker quavered at a different one. Another notch in the belt that something, something big, would hinge on that name. Spangles. Whitney may not feel a thrill, but he finds a reptilian satisfaction in confirmation of his biases.

Whitney Saulder isn't playful. He isn't distracted. He isn't bored and watching a world go by. He's watching the railing of a Darkstalker. And he's watching what he feels is a far greater boon than a simple chance to spark some fires of antipathy. No. Here there was already a conflagration.

He draws out a new cigarette and lights it up, puffing in the dark while Daniel gets his rage out. Now he knows who Zach is. And that adds a new fulcrum point for later. Something to use in the future. A new tool in the box. The Dahlia loved her lies. And she may yet cleave to them if used properly. But for now, disparagement.

"You give her too much credit," Whitney states matter-of-factly. "She's a lie to herself. Afraid to admit that she is just what humanity is; a desperate ape in fear of their own futility. She wants comfort. She wants care. She gets it however she can. And like all people, she tells herself lies because that is what our world needs."

He takes a drag on the cigarette. "She is, unfortunately, nothing special in that regard. But she does have weaknesses. Her own ego, for one. Her need for the lies. The memory of Lightning Spangles." He looks at the smoldering ashes at the tip of his cigarette. Watching them fade from orange to the smokey gray and then to match the blue-black night. "If she dies, it matters little. Another will take her place. The cycle continues. The world forgets. And absolution remains meaningless."

Now the cigarette goes back into his mouth and he looks sidelongs to the finally stopped Daniel. "All you want is cathartic revenge. It won't help you. It won't do anything. However, it is human. Painfully, irrationally human," he tells Daniel in that simple, uncaring, unemotional tenor.

"See, see, that's the thing."

Daniel could sense the hidden monster behind this human mask. He could sense it, in the words he was making. The problem was, for a monster, Whitney was being so clear. It was refreshing for the shadow creature. "I think you are right. We had all kinds of criminal profiles, you know? People who live a lie, who live in theater, are constantly trying to hide from something. Maybe she was groped by a Japanese uncle. Maybe she accidentally killed her parents. Maybe sweet puppy Poopsie ran away and never came home. So everything she does is some- some escape for some fantasy. Playing pretend, except she's making -everyone- play -her- pretend, until the real world becomes whatever she imagined when she was growing up. You know what that is, that someone who so casually and carefully destroys lives, who chooses to be so -pathetic- and self-righteous about it? You do know what that is."

"ANd it's a sadness."

Daniel growls, the shadow beast not hesitating in showing the frustration. "I really feel sorry for her. You know what, take that back to the Illumnati, stuff it in a file, and maybe learn from it yourself. But there is something profoundly sad to me about people who know better who just choose to be bad. Somewhere, at some point, she needed help. And instead of the help she got, she just was put on a path of wretchedness. I don't know, before she let her true colors show, when I was chasing her alias, I felt sorry for her. Maybe she could reform, or change, or whatever. Maybe I could have fixed her. You're right though. It won't help me." The conflagration dies down, if only for a moment. But embers of injustice cling to the memory of hatred. -Something- has to be done. This world isn't right to have everyone part of her fantasy, but... but I think you give her too little credit. Though, uh. 'absolution remains meaningless.' I have a feeling your awfully stingy on credit in general. Make sense in the actuary world. I take it you don't have a very high opinion of people... uh... hrm." Daniel halts a moment. Those yellow eyes squint.

"I don't think properly introduced yourself."

Another pause. % R
"I don't think I properly introduced -myself!-"

Daniel Jack extends a hand out. It almost seemed like his guard was down for a moment. An opportunity of weakness? A ruthless test? An invitation of violence. Or a greeting. A formal greeting. Treating the reptilian creature in human flesh as a person. "My name is Daniel, Daniel Jack, former detective of Interpol." He introduces.

"And you are?"

The monster is there. Watching and waiting. It needs just the right moment to be roused from it's ennui. This Darkstalker was talkative and open, and discussing things and showing just how human he was. He was, for the moment, mentally interesting. Stimulating even. There was something in his pattern of words. Something in the way he spoke. He was deep in the lies. Like the Dahlia, he repeated the talk, but there was an awareness. This was not the perfect lie of the blonde girl; the pure wolf in sheepskin.

This was not the Darkstalker soldier in the fields. Who denied the truth she plainly knew.

This was not Kolin, who believed wholly in the cause of her god, but denied their reliance on the systems they planned to destroy.

This man was in transition. He was seeing things for what they were, and moreover he was nearing the point of admission. In this, he stood as a curiosity.

Whitney pulls the cigarette from his mouth. He flicks ash aside. "The world predicates lies," he says. "I understand the optics; the statement may seem melodramatic or pseudo-intellectual. I'm not attempting to be. The pithiness is just to demonstrate how simple a truth it is. Any defensive rejection of the fact is on you."

Another puff. "There is no such thing as reformation. Not in some grand way. The only true color is that all people are animals. They will do what they can to gain what they need to survive." He looks the other man in the eye. "If you wish to reform her to act the way you want her to, you must make the behavior you want be the most comfortable and beneficial behavior to take."

The embers glow once more with a long pull. "My name is Whitney Saulder," he answers. Not an unknown name, but one primarily attributed to a low level thug and hired killer. As is his wont, Whitney Saulder hides in plain sight for the most part. Though his connections supply an ample amount of false identifications when needed. "As I said, I'm a contractor."

The detective listens, calmly.

The chaos was still around, ebbing and flowing. But for the Darkstalker, it was nice to have companionship. Dangerous companionship, the detective knew. The only thing that was keeping himself from any trouble was both his skill, and the fact it wasn't useful for convenient to rip into Daniel. On the other hand, the detached coldness of the stranger was... disturbing. Creepy, unnerving, professional. And then, as the man refuses to shake his hands, Daniel pulls his hand away. And then, the man reveals his name.

And Daniel snorts.

"What, like Houston?" Daniel says, incredulous. He looks over the stranger again. He shakes his head. "Wow, okay. I guess that answers a lot." He doesn't add any more to that. "I don't think I agree with you, though. Like, I see what you are saying. The world is filled with lies, it's all images, right? It's so obvious now being so... separated from it now. But I don't think people are animals. I've -been- an animal before." Daniel states, insisting it. "I've been nothing but a mess of instincts, with the only joy, the only addiction being the infliction of pain on others. It's not a lot to get me back in that state. I've got means now to deal with it." Daniel toys with the small lantern on the chain by his neck. "And... and... And..."


Daniel needed to correct himself. There was a lot you could do around a guy like Whitney. He knew there was, in his experience. But the not pseudo-philosophy made something clear, with the cynical chill of 'humans are animals.' You -don't- give this guy any intellectual space or breathing room. Any weakness would be ripped into. And what's worse, he would -know- where to hit. Daniel knew it. You kept up a bastion of confidence and iron will. And -never- let your guard down. Daniel was in the moral and spiritual right, he -knew- the line between humanity and animal. He had been there. He knew that Whitney was wrong on every point.

Except Daniel did anything he could to survive.

Daniel's iron will and resolve to his survival. Whether it was the Egyptian afterlife. Where it was the gangs of Southtown and Metro City. Where it was the King of Fighters, where his iron will carried his team to the finals. Whether it was Mortal Kombat, where he did whatever he could to live. Whether it was Fio Tessitore, the spider woman so desperate for affection, that all it took was- no, Daniel loved Fio, that's why he was doing everything to save her right now. That's what you did when someone you love did so much to keep you alive. That's what you do. Daniel knew that, and... and he paused too long, he just realized. ON the ands.

"Shit." He sputters out, yellow eyes looking in dread at the contractor beside him.

"Humans, Darkstalkers; animals."

Whitney doesn't shake hands, the pretense is no longer needed. The friendly faux formality. The dance of awkward shuffles and askance eyes. The distractions and the subterfuge and obfuscation aren't needed. This Darkstalker. This former human. This Daniel. There was no more need for the song and dance and nor was he so disinteresting to keep Whitney's attention from drifting elsewhere. Now he stands, hand cupping his elbow, holding his cigarette in that overhand fashion. His eyes watching and reading the breaking of philosophies and the dismantling of the lies.

Whitney licks the tip of his finger and pinches out the burning end of his cigarette before tucking it above his ear. "You've got lies. The same ones everyone uses. Morality. Goodness. Justice. Mercy. All of them are ephemera. A sugary coating on the bitter pills of realpolitik."

His hand slip into his pockets. His weight shifts a heavier support onto his back leg. His arms are loose, but closed in. He affects casual, but the physical tension in him is palpable. "A slave fights for emancipation, seeking a better station. The slave owner combats to maintain their station. The abolitionist will gain from an emancipated population, through economics, or the downfall of those higher than themselves."

Lightweight, obvious speeches. Big and open, broad and easily assailed by those that already buy into the lie. Whitney has shed some deceptions to hide behind a revelation of himself. He wants time and a distraction, and for this man to feel confident in the motions he's making. Because Whitney's seen a more direct prize.

A quick step closer, faster than someone his size should move. Perhaps not supernatural, but a swift reminder of the athleticism under the rumpled and oversized shirt. He's close now, and his hand is out, and it's close to that lantern. Close to the thing that stands out even more than the odd dress sense. "Do you really think any one of the people here would, or should, throw themselves to defend you?" he asks ominously, reaching to gently touch the lantern on a chain.

"They have."

Daniel was writhing at the reptilian, invisible clutches. Daniel didn't think he had any lies to dismantle. Why would he feel like he did? And when Whitney suddenly surges without the tells, the inhuman yet human movements, Daniel's reaction was like a cloud in the moonlight. THe detective. turns away, slipping aside by about 5 feet. The lantern dangles, but he shields it with his hand- his claw. The shift comes defensively. It was small, almost a necklace decoration. Right now, there was no light within. "Don't touch it. It's important. It's also not -useful- for other people. Not directly, at least. It draws soul energy passively from the dead; it draws it faster if I can ease them into the after life. It lets me not have to, uh, soul drain folks." Daniel tilts his head aside a bit.

"I take it that you haven't had many friends, scuzzy."

Daniel makes his stand on firm ground again. "I've had near strangers come pull me out of hell. I've had enemies come and help me for no better reason just because it was the right thing to do. I've had Fio Tessitore come and save me again and again, save me from the clutches of death and Lord Dohma! There's empathy, and love, and all kinds of invisible connections, right? That's humanity. Not everything's a transaction, scuzzy. Maybe for you, but you're, uh, well." Daniel puffs out his chest, yellow eyes burning.

"I'm not like you."

Have. It's not a certain word. And now that Daniel is showing just what it takes to put him on his heels, Whitney leans into the reaction. Not all manipulation and maneuvering is subtle and soft. Sometimes, brute coercion and vicious reality are needed to influence. He stands where he was, watching the Darkstalker slip away defensively. Whitney remains where he stands, hand held in the air where the lantern once was.

"I'm not so deluded," he dismisses Daniel's insult. Turning, this time his steps are slower and more measured. Now each step punctuates a point, a beat of the moment.

"Tessitore. You've said that name already. Saved you time and again, you said. And now you're trying to drag her back from the grave. Something your lantern there is involved with, by your own admission." He stops his approach. "You're shortsighted in what use means. That trinket is capable of things. Things people I know can capitalize on. Or more simply, it's the symbol of the monster that's been attacking everyone. It may prove useful to convincing them to my employer's ends."

His hands dip into his pockets for one more step closer. "Or more directly, the lantern is something you need. Control of that means control of you. Which, by the sounds of it, means controlling a very useful person. Your 'friends' seem to have noticed it. The Dahlia has noticed it. Your Tessitore noticed it. How have you not?"

"You need to back off, Scuzzy."

The leaning pressure was getting to the detective. Orange chi cascades over his form. It was a threat, a presentation of force. A bit too animalistic now, right? But Whitney was touching on a point. Control over him. The NOL had demonstrated how easy it was to control him; without his lantern, he was nothing more than a ravenous beast in time. A man had to eat, and so did a Darkstalker. But Daniel's expression was fading into the abyss, becoming more inhuman as yellow eyes and white fangs bare. And yet, his claw was on that point of control. A point... away from freedom? He was backing away from Whitney, slipping deeper into the darkness. Luring him in? Or something else, further in the shadows. And then, they reveal themselves.


Shadowy shapes of ghostly figures, shades of previous lives. None of them Daniel Jack. Peasants, knights, freshly exhumed and absorbed from the catacombs. The elderly. The children. And the lonely housewives and widows of countless tombs. Now they were all swimming and flicking in and out of the shadows. The dead, the souls that Daniel eased into moving on... only moved on as reflections of himself. Free, right? Or trapped? Daniel didn't dwell on it, they weren't real. Only shadows of a reality. The attuned might see the spectres too.

More clearly than Daniel even can.

"I-" He sputters. "My friends see the goodness in me! They aren't trying to control me. Ayame- Ayame could have destroyed me. She had the choice, I saw it in her eyes. The same with Morrigan, with Tessitore, with Dahlia- well I mean she did, she just didn't do it well. All these beautiful ladies, they could have destroyed me, and they didn't. I mean, yes, maybe there -is- something that they might appreciate about me." Daniel adjusts his collar, sticking a tongue in his cheek as he averts his eyes. "A mature, confident gentleman with dapper outfits and a charming authority; I mean, I can understand why ladies get so flustered around me. I -like- people though, so there's nothing wrong with letting them enjoy themselves and taking in my affection. If it means I get to get myself out of life or death situations, well, that's just a nice side benefit. I mean, you would understand, right? You're about a haircut and a tailor away from being a ladykiller yourself. That's not ironic, I mean you are handsome." Daniel does a quick count.

"Yeah, you're not much of a compliment person, right?"

Need. . .

A brilliant display. Animalistic in its way. To show off how much a threat something is. Scared and near running. Nerves struck. The Darkstalker, Daniel, seemed certainly on his back foot. Whitney watched as the man slipped further from himself, further into the darkness, further into the other.

Whitney stops. Hs hands come out of his pockets. They set behind his back, clasping in an almost mocking way. Whitney is not a man attuned to things supernatural. The dead are dead, immaterial other than the duration their physical remnants linger. Spirits, ghosts, spectral, none of this matters to him and knowledge of such things would do little more than pique his utilitarian interest. And such, Whitney stands among those things. Those shadows of eldritch pasts. Unblinking, uncaring, unconcerned. And utterly focused on the beast in the darkness.

"I could kill any one of the people in this town. Do you think I haven't because I see some kind of innate goodness in them that deserves continued existence? I haven't because there is no reason to exert myself. I gain nothing from killing them. I lose nothing from letting them live. But I could, and if I did, as far as the world was concerned, it would another victim of the Darkstalker plague."

"I don't speak out of turn. I know people. I don't understand them, but I know them. I've watched brave men who spoke of ideals quail and show me the truth of their fear as the life left their eyes," Whitney says. He pulls his hands out from behind himself, showing them now. "I've seen the frightened let loose and become strong. The only moment that is true is the last."

"And you, Mr. Jack, are afraid of the truth."

Daniel was cornered.

Not physically, he could just escape with the moonlight. Just run away, with his bruised ego and lack of conviction. And then, Whitney will kill a girl, and blame it on Daniel, and then the world would turn. He could escape, he always escaped. And Whitney... he was not that great of a guy anymore. And yet, when he shows it, he shows that lust, that pressure, that sadistic edge... something flares deep in Daniel's heart. He knew people like Whitney all his life, in little ways.

And he knew what he inevitably did when faced with them.

"See, you're sad too." Daniel says, softly. He wasn't going any further in the darkness. He was standing fast, refusing to retreat. He was afraid of the truth, he was never fearless. But that's the saddest thing for himself. When the time came to face his fears, his fears would consume him. But he would still go at it alone.

It's the same thing driving him anywhere.

"What truths do you want? That you could help anybody in this town. Feed a hungry man, teach him to feed himself, bring a hooker away from her pimp so she can be free to pursue her dream of singing in a lounge? Would you care if there was not a speck of goodness or hope in their black little hearts? That they were still people, who needed help? That's the profound sadness, that you think that you have any great insight that you can see how awful, cruel, and meaningless the world can be, and with all your power to take the shape of whatever you wanted to be, you chose to be just as awful, as cruel, and as meaningless it can be. I know that nihilist bullshit, I've taken Philosophy 101. No, that's not the truth you want." You want the awful, and cruel, and meaningless truths." Daniel spreads his arms apart. "How about this then. How the greatest, most awful, and meaningless and cruel truth there is?"

"I lied to her."

A pause.

"I never loved her.

And it rattles like the most hollow echo ever in the history of Daniel's entire existence.

"At first, I did whatever I could to save my skin, and she was so desperate for human affection. I manipulated her at first, and then, I realized how pitiful she was. She sacrificed her humanity for so little. And she was an inside to Makai, and- and I wanted to help her. I wanted to help every single Darkstalker like her, they were all parasites to humanity, both literally and culturally. She threatened me with control, but as long as she felt wanted by me, and I thought I wanted her, then I wouldn't have anything to fear. See? See how easy it is, to gripe and moan about how awful and cruel and meaningless? Incredible, how naked and exposed! You're a real vouyer now, Whitney." He gives a wink.

"Now don't interrupt, because it's not over, because you got more truths coming your way!"

Daniel's form was swirling with orange energy, the lash back washing out. He wasn't attacking, at least, not in a traditional manner. "Because then I was left for dead, and then, I was saved from the brink of death. And I lost my mind, thanks to that rescue. I attacked my allies, my friends, and for what? Hedonistic lust for souls, like the beast you liked. And I justified it then. And then for all she did for me, she made me this -monster-, she was killed by Aranha. I was finally free! See, I could ignore her, and nobody would hold it against me. Not one. Not even Honoka could twist that knife in me, she doesn't know! She doesn't know -jack- about Tessitore, or me, or what was happening. Nobody does. Only person who does is dead, and Lord Tower Demon shit in Southtown, who by the way, is going to absolutely bring that up to me when we inevitably meet, because I make bad decisions with long term consequences routinely! So why, why with nobody in this cruel, meaningless, awful world giving a god damn thought about some dead professor thot who smooshed animals and people together, and how I am responsible for her end?" And Daniel thrusts a finger straight in the direction of Whitney's heart.

"Because then, I'm just that."

"Because in the end, if I pretend I am clean, then I am just cruel, I'm just awful, and I'm just meaningless. Haven't you heard? I'm the ladykiller that takes advantage of poor girls, and squeezes, and squeezes, and squeezes all the life and spirit out of them, just for my own pleasures. Whether in the bedroom, or the crypt, or in the fighting ring. And I just endure it, because I know that truth of truths, I don't want that. And if I let Fio Tessitore stay dead, if I forget her, then nobody would care. Nobody but me. And guess what, that's a truth -you- can understand, can't you? Because all I have left is me, to live with myself, with every single sin and crime and wrongdoing I've done. And if I can't fix that, any of that, then that's all I'll have forever and ever. You get it? Boy, wow, you probably feel the smuggest boner this side of the alps on that wet hot firehose of a truth. But that's. Not. Enough. Because that's not good enough? Maybe it's too good for you?" And Daniel was moving closer to Whitney. "Maybe you haven't had your fun yet. I'll give you another truth, just one more!" And he stops inches away, yellow eyes transfixed into him, as the orange chi cascades around him.

"Whitney's a girl's name, jackass."

Cornering. Cold. Observing. A lifetime spent with white noise. With static. As an infant, he was quiet. As a child, precocious. Such a good and quiet kid. So polite and well-mannered. Friends didn't bring joy. He was never scared of the ghost stories. He didn't cry when the family cat was run down in the street. Other people did. But he didn't. He couldn't. He was, as he thought, broken. He didn't know why he was different. And didn't understand.

Whitney is a girl's name. He heard that countless times in childhood. He never understood. What logic made it a girl's name? What sequence of vibrations defined male and female? At one time, he would explain the background of the name. He tried it their way. To explain the modern parlance is at odds with historical usage. But it persisted. Whitney is a girl's name. One of the first marks that told the young man that he wasn't broken, that the world just lied to itself. And it would always lie to itself.

He still chased thrills. He never found one that struck him. All he could find was that certain things didn't bother him the way people liked to say it should. He could kill. Anyone could, just he was willing to admit that facet of humanity. And so he did it. And in doing so, he got better at it. He never did take enjoyment in it. At best, he found some small contentment in the ever present buzz of the static that had always followed him.

And now, now Whitney Saulder stands and listens to a ranting man. Sad. . . Is that what this man thought he was? The juxtaposition of facts was, technically amusing. But the talk was going long. Whitney picks the pinched off cigarette from his ear and lights it up again while Daniel is exposing his heart to the night.

Slow to burn, Whitney indulges in the base physical pleasure that sating an addiction satisfies. It's hollow, a comforting thought a thousand miles away, but it's the most he can find in a world of static dullness and frustrations. Contentment is the green light across the lake.

Whitney Saulder simply waits. Waits until it's over. Waits until the man has blurted out everything he can. Waits until the 'insult' he's heard since his childhood is thrown at him. He waits. And then, does he answer.

"Do you feel better about yourself?"

The cigarette bobs in his lips. His hands tuck inside of his pocket. He doesn't smile. He doesn't flinch. He doesn't look amused. He just looks at Daniel with tired eyes. "Anyone lived in a pretty how town," he mutters, looking away from Daniel, at the nearby houses with their lights still on. "How many did you hurt because you didn't know their names? How many mattered less than this Tessitore because they never touched you? I care for no one. But the world pats itself on the back for picking favorites? Is that fair?"

He takes the cigarette from his mouth. He turns his deep blue eyes to the yellow ones focused opposite. "It's becoming increasingly apparent that I will not have to take action. You will do what we need you to do, regardless. Once again, your efforts are appreciated."

It was a cheap shot.

If there were better senses of humor between them, maybe they could have laughed. Boys named Sue, and Whitney. But there wasn't a lot of comedy left. But as the last word comes out, and the question is shot right back, Daniel lets it come inside. Lets all his words come inside. That really, both of them were part of a miserable world with miserable people, and maybe they each were miserable too. But there was a difference, Daniel could see. Whitney could see it too, probably. Did Daniel feel better, letting all that pain and misery out, all that illusion to collapse down around him?

D.Jack says, "Yes."

"Yes I think I do feel better."

Daniel says that, nodding his head, his yellow eyes narrowed. It was true. He -felt- better. More now, maybe? He had a sense of direction now, a sense of reality. His iron will wasn't broken, with a hot injection of truth. That's miserable thing, though, about people like Whitney. He liked people. And even men like Whitney had some good in them. Just not, well, normal good. "You know, if you actually liked people, you might have been able to help people professionally. Sometimes not having a connection makes it easier to help people, believe me. But hey, maybe you are just happier pulling wings off the flies of humanity. This might not mean nothing to you, I bet. But it's just for you."

"Thank you."

A grin spreads across his face, minus the fangs. "Now, there's just one problem left." Daniel states. He wasn't backing away. He knew the lights were on. There were witnesses around. But the shadows were enveloping now. "I think you need to skip out. I don't want you killing anybody in this city. And if that means leaving you in a body cast, to quietly think about sad and awful this world is, and how smart and justified you are for figuring it out, well, that's win/win. Your Illuminati gets applaud how awful those Darkstalkers are beating up innocent tourists on the streets, and I get to keep assholes like you from hurting innocents- no, I can't even have the luxury of innocents, can I. Just people. Besides. I don't -need- help ruining my reputation." Daniel pulls back, the shadows drawing away. He adjusts his purple collar.

"I am more than capable of that myself."

The angry red light at the end of the cigarette glows.

What some call good, others would call useful. Whitney knows that he is. He is paid to be. And that, he understands, is the true measure of a human's concern and care. The Darkstalker can talk all he wants about how things aren't always transactional, but Whitney knows if he were to lay it all bare in the sun, that every moment of every life is transactional. Everything else if comforting lies to allow humanity's society.

"I don't think you understand the nature of the moment," he tells Daniel. "I understand you're attempting to negotiate. But I don't care for that. No." He flicks ash aside. "What you need to understand about right here and now is that you do not get to talk, or to confirm, or to use what you clearly consider your greatest talent."

The cigarette comes to his lips again, a long pull, and a longer, slower exhalation. Preserve the moment, present the moment. "I've given you plenty of information. I have told you more truths about myself than most get to know. And so the moment is yours to act upon." He lets the nearly spent dog end hang from his mouth as his hands go into his pockets.

"No promises. No agreements. Only your choice and the consequences from it. Will you attack me? If you do, does it prevent lives being taken? Or have you just deluded yourself to keep your sense of justice? If you attack me and fail, will I kill as example for your mistakes? Or maybe I will simply leave. You need to understand consequences without soft words to make you feel better. Will you allow uncertainty, Daniel Jack?"

Daniel takes it in.

He mulls, he chews. And frankly, Daniel was hoping that it wouldn't come to this. He'd already skip the sneak attack a few times. And yet, Whitney still had a point to prove. He could have let this go. He could leave now. He could do a whole lot of stuff. After all, Whitney could just be a distraction, or he has associates, or as he noted before, fighting Whitney -would- be the trap.

"Look, scuzzy."

Daniel was trying to defuse the situation down. But the detective wasn't going to let this go. Really, he was defusing himself. He eases back, adjusting his suit as he goes some paces back. "Like, gosh, okay, I don't think I'll ever really understand how you think. I'll give you a starting point: You're not going to kill me. Start on that one, and work yours way back. You have a freedom of choice here, Whitney. The whole damn world doesn't revolve around you or your mysterious personal choices. You know you don't have to be a bastard right now. You know it, and you are pretending like you are choosing it. Like what, no promises and no agreements? You understand what that means, right? You have a freedom of choice here, and you're choosing the route that's gonna get into a real knockabout. You're warning me? I'm warning you. You got a choice. I don't got anywhere to go for a while, scuzzy, and I got your scent. Oh, sorry, that's a threat, that really doesn't change the outcomes, right? That's your choice, not mine. No matter how big or bad you are, you're not inevitable, and you're not invincible." Daniel sounded like he was getting ready for a fight. But his tone was actually even, like explaining a fact to Whitney. "You're making a bad choice, is all I'm saying. You really want to be making the argument that I'll need to kick your ass, scuzzy? Because if you really are gonna be a jackal, Whitney, and can't control yourself on this, like you honestly can't bring yourself to make promises and agreements and whatever to save your sorry hide, well." Daniel eases out now, falling into the defensive stance of Todoh-Ryuu Kobojutsu, one hand forward, one hand back.

"We can settle this like men, then."

The second cigarette meets its end.

Whitney passively studies the dog-end and flicks the remnant away. He exhales. His hands go into the pockets of his blazer. And then he turns around.

"I don't care about your dramatics," he says, "Go amuse yourself with Kawamoto if you want to play hero and villain in a morality play of your own devising." He looks dead eyed down the dark street ahead and walks. He walks because he knows what he'll do. He knows what he's said. He doesn't kill or maim for amusement, because it doesn't amuse him. He does it when he is paid to. He does it when it is convenient for a goal. The work had already been done here. And it would only take a matter of observing the situation to determine if the heated passions were worth stoking. Beyond lies, Whitney loathed wasted time or effort.

And so he walks away.

And he walks away.

Daniel Jack actually stretches a neck at that. He was just gonna back off? I mean yes he was being dramatic, but he was just going to blow him off? What kind of fighter was he? Daniel Jack very slowly begins to release himself from the fighting stance. And staring back at him... he can only blurt out the truest statement from his heart. "Damn." Daniel growls, crossing his arms as Whitney strides away.

"What an asshole!"

Daniel sulks a bit, leaning against the wall. He lets Whitney walk away. Yeah, he could chase him. He never would -know-, would he. But jumping the man for running away? After all he did? He... he had a good long stare at himself. He was gonna be staring at that for a while. That his entire structure of morality was built on a lie. And that lie? That he wasn't a selfish manslut. "You know what? Once I'm done with Honkers, I'll amuse myself with the Illuminati I bet! Yeah!" Daniel grumbles a bit, as he begins to sink deeper into the darkness. "Yeah. Just... after I get to the bottom... the bottom of everything else. Yeah." He wasn't going to leave the city just yet. Even if it meant trouble. He needed to know what Whitney was going to do. He wasn't willing to stab him in the back... yet. He wasn't a Honoka, probably. A Kawamoto... A... A... "Honkers. I like that. Even better though." Daniel sneers to himself.

"She'll -hate- it."

Log created on 10:43:54 01/20/2020 by Daniel, and last modified on 15:19:08 01/23/2020.