Description: Despite his disdain for her methods, Alba finds himself pinned under the thumb of his new employer. Though she spared him the disgrace of taking part in the assault on the unsuspecting NOL strike team, his first task under her command is no less unsavory. With most of the NOL's spare forces taken out of the picture, Kira directs the young gangster to lead his men on an assault on one of the safe houses that has been established for civilians with the intent to capture as many of them as possible. But, while there may not be any soldiers left to defend them, at least one person is present who has the strength to object to this despicable act!
Zach Glen had, after leaving the NOL Compound, set about putting some plans together. There was a driving force behind the recent chaos and he, like most everyone else, had been too busy dealing with the symptoms of the incident to seek a cure. He had time now, and had spend days on the streets following seemingly random clues to get to the bottom of all of this. Lots of thugs, punks, and lowlifes had been sent to emergency rooms and police holding cells in his wake, but Zach had finally made his way to the Black Dragon Casino.
He had arrived just in time to witness the NOL assault on the facility. He watched, waiting to see how things would play out. He knew that the Librarium would not easily or readily accept his help in any case. Zach had managed to save a few of the NOL's soldiers from capture, patching them up where he was able. Once that was done, a phone call what he affectionately called "the home office" was made via a burner phone. He called in a couple of the operatives that he had worked with during his more willing and active monster hunting days: Hibiki, his demolitions expert. Chavez, his information technology guy. And Adele Abernathy, Torchlight Security's field expert in science and technology. They were tasked with attempting to figure out a way past that barrier.
Zach, meanwhile, had bent his efforts towards safeguarding what people he could. His people would come up with answers, things he could *hit*. Zach's role in the squad was to be the leader and the heavy as the situation dictated. He'd let them do their work while he did what he could.
To that end, he had found an abandoned gym, and brought people there to set up what amenities could be arranged. It wasn't paradise, exactly, but it was safer than being all spread out. Zach could watch one building far more effectively than a city block, let alone a city.
All he needed to do was wait for the regular calls from his team to let him know that they were still in operation or, better still, had found a way in so that this could be ended.
Alba wasn't part of the defense against NOL, no. His actual job is far more humiliating. He and his group has been instructed to lay siege to a savehouse, and capture the civillians within. The civilians that are just trying to survive amongst the chaos.
Apart from Kira's instructions, he had given his small group of 20-something hand-picked gangsters a few of his own. Namely, the guns they have been given by the Mercenary Queen are to be unloaded at all times. Simply a tool for intimidation, to avoid killing or seriously harming any innocents. Most of his men and women are capable combatants without them.
And so they arrive, close to the abandoned Gym. About to do a job Alba really does not want to do, he can only hope the captured citizens will be spared. Kira's goal in collecting all these people? No idea. The young gangster lifts up his hand, a signal for everyone to stop, and takes a brief moment to observe the possible entrances.
There is a pause, before Alba gives his command. He looks back at his group, and loudly says. "Half of you, spread around the building and make sure to occupy any and all possible escape routes. The rest, come with me. We're heading inside." They quickly spread out in those groups, following his instructions. Alba himself- with his men in tow, start to walk straight towards the main entrance. Ready to storm inside and do the dirty work Kira has stacked atop him.
The thugs flanking the building trying to find egress quickly learn that the windows are all boarded up, and the doors all locked and barred. It's exactly as if something like this had been expected. Alba makes his proclamation, and as he starts his approach, someone else makes an announcement.
"Nah," a confident male voice declares from atop the roof of the low-slung building. The man is perched on the roof of the gym, peering down with emerald eyes through white hair. "You, and yours, are going to turn around and walk away." The man hops off his station, landing directly between Alba and the front door.
Zach Glen does not, at first glance, look like much. Average height, good build, not carrying any obvious weapons, wearing a blue jacket, jeans, sneakers, and a grey t-shirt bearing a stylized Gundam Barbatos head on it in deep blue lines. His bearing, however, betrays the hints of danger. This is clearly a man who is not afraid of violence, that he is *used* to violence.
"I'll even let you," Zach says, hands open and at his side. He pauses for a moment, and peers at Alba with a bit of curiosity and concern on his features. "In fact... I don't think you want to be doing this right now. Your heart doesn't seem in it."
"No? That is a bold thing to say someone who's this outnumbered." He retorts. "Are you that strong, or simply a fool?" Alba steps close to Zach- his common tactic at intimidation. Though, with all of the oddball fighters he's been meeting recently, is usually quite inneffective.
Alba on the other hand, looks rather flashy in contrast to his cool demeanor. His outfit is dominated by bright dark-red shoes, gloves and jacket. The black underclothing and pants provide a nice contrast with the reds. His eyes are covered by similarly red-shaded sunglasses, but looking under that. A curiosity seems to be strung around his neck- a black collar, with a small box attached to it, a bleeping red light embedded within. A 'gift' from Kira.
Alba's mouth contracts into a frustrated grimace at Zach's statement. For he is right- and on top of that, Alba is apparently very easy to read for this man. He responds, speaking quickly with a angry undertone "Ah, a smart one, are we? You don't know me. Now move, and let us inside."
The dozen or-so guys that initially surrounded the building are returning to Alba's side, ready to follow him in whatever he decides.
Zach raises a hand and wobbles it in a "so-so" gesture. "Maybe a little of both," he says with a lopsided grin, his eyes firmly on Alba's. The collar does *not* go unnoticed, however. "And you're right," he admits. "I don't know you. But I *do* know I cannot let you through. Y'all clearly are not here with good intentions." He rolls his shoulders forward, then backward, without raising his hands. He takes a deep breath, taking a chance.
He points, an indicative gesture more than a threat, at the collar. "Bomb, tracker, or bug?" he asks.
Alba is suprised by this man's bravery in front of his two dozen armed men. "I'm leaning more towards 'fool', to be perfectly honest." He says with a smirk. "You're quite the talker, aren't you? You could instead have decided to launch a surprise attack- or to start evacuating those inside. But then you decide to jump out in front of my entire group for a nice chat. You must be real confident, huh?"
He stretches out his arm towards Zach, and it seems to start glowing a faint lavender-blue. A soft breeze emenating from his palm. "This? It's a tracker. Kira has a sick sense of humor, you see. Now then, enough chit-chat. Move, or i'll blow you through the door personally." His voice has hints of uncertainty in it. Making his threat ring empty to a trained ear.
"I was about to blast you from the roof," Zach admits, "Until I got a good look at you. And evacuating the building would have been pointless, since you have the place surrounded, and these people don't have any place else to go." Zach considers, as Alba starts to show threat. Zach's ear for threat, or lack thereof? Not great. Zach's *mind,* however, is razor sharp, and it is apparent that Alba knows *nothing* of psychics.
A faint aura of golden energy slides down around Zach. He's trying to be non-threatening, but there is no point in not being ready at this point. "It'd be your choice to try," Zach agrees, "But what is this Kira person holding over you to gain your compliance?" Zach considers for another moment. "Who are they holding hostage? You don't seem the kind of person to be in this for material gain."
Zach's questions are getting to him. Making him question his actual own motivations. He keeps his arm outstretched, as he continues. "I.. I.. Goddammit." The energy in his arm doesn't seem to fade nor get stronger. "No such thing as a hostage.. Well, except if you count all of these chumps." He gestures behind him, and a few chuckles can be heard from his group. "Simply the selfish reason of wanting to stay alive. I already got torn to fucking shreds by one of her beasts, and i'm not planning on having that happen again."
Zach scratches the back of his head, a wince of sympathy on his features. "They look like beasts," Zach says, "But they are also people. Slaves, really, to this Kira person. I've fought a few of them. Kira strips their choice from them, bends them to their will." Which is why Zach is offering this person choices. The aura fades from Zach's frame, and Zach extends a hand. He smile on his face seems genuine. "What if you didn't have to have it happen again?"
"I'm Zach Glen," Zach says, introducing himself. Quarter-finalist in the 2019 King of Fighters. Semi-finalist in the 2017 King of Fighters tournament. This is not some random nobody in front of Alba.
"I'm not so sure. I've seen the glee on those wolves as they tore through the streets. Ripping hundreds of innocents apart. We had no fucking chance of stopping them. Lost a few good people of our own." Affirming grunts come from his group. Alba clenches his outstretched fist, before he lets the energy dissipate, considering the sympathy Zack is offering him. He responds "Fine. I'll hear you out. My name is Alba Meira." He tilts his head, and says with a hint of sarcasm. "Nice to meet you."
Zach frowns a bit. "They..." Zach looks away, staring off into the long distance for a moment before remembering himself. He doesn't know how to communicate the fact that these so-called beasts *feel* like people when they die and how he knows from vivid, blood-soaked experience. He smiles, though, when Alba agrees to hear him out. "Yeah. Another time," he mutters more to himself than to Alba.
He gives a "wait" gesture with his left hand as he shakes with his right. "First, let's get that collar off of you," Zach suggests, pulling a cheap cellphone out of his pocket with the free hand. "You were *told* it was a tracker, but no point in taking chances, yeah? I know some people who will be able to help with that." He glances around Alba's shoulder to the crew. "Maybe see about some food for you and yours?"
"Hold on. I want to know your motivation. Why would you help us?" He moves his hand to his face, and takes off his sunglasses. Revealing the silver eyes underneath. "Because you see, i have trouble believing that you would risk this purely out of your sympathy. The moment that collar disconnects, Kira will know. And will likely send someone, or some *thing* after me. Putting you- or anyone i'd be associated with at risk. Besides, food for over 20 people is a lot to spare when it has the potential to run out in these times." He locks eyes with Zack, waiting for a answer.
Zach looks at Alba like he is speaking in tongues. "I'm helping you because it's the right thing to do. If you want a more cynical answer, though, helping you achieves a couple of things." Zach holds up fingers with each point. "First, it saves me a fight. I might have won, but I also might have lost. You look like you know your way around a brawl, and the people behind me cannot afford me losing. Second. Getting you free of Kira removes an asset from thier stockpile, even if they regarded you and your crew as disposable."
Zach grins at the suggestion of someone coming after Alba. "I'd like to see them try that, actually. It'd provide more than a few data points, and that'd be useful." He chuckles a bit, "And I did say *maybe* on the food. Supply management was never a job I had."
Alba looks at the man. There's a brief silence, as he considers Zach's respone. "Fine. I believe you." Alba turns around to his crew, and speaks to them. "Seems we're going with this gentleman over here." He gives a deep sigh "If you decide to go hobbling back to Kira, i won't stop you. I'm sure you'll be payed handsomely for information." The members of his group look around- to eachother. Seeing who will stay, and who'll go back. Eventually, one of his members steps away, she says "Sorry boss, but i ain't risking my skin for this." she mutters some goodbyes to her friends, and start to walk away. Alba responds, with a annoyed tone. "Fine. Have fun." A few more follow after her- assuming Zach doesn't try to stop them. Alba's group now eyes a little smaller then before.
The young gangster turns around again to look at Zach "Looks like that's that. Lead the way."
Zach watches the exchange, his approval of Alba growing as he lets his own people choose. He nods once before pulling the phone to his own ear. "Let us in," he says as he knocks on the door. "All clear."
He gestures toward the opening door, and then calls a different line. "Chavez," he says in a tone indicative of giving orders, "Come on back, bring Hibiki and Abernathy with you, I have something I want y'all to look at." A pause. "I've been told tracker, but no point in taking chances on it. Call Takehiro, see if he can't find us another hide while you're at it."
Zach ends the call. "Thanks," he says to Alba.
Log created on 13:08:11 05/02/2020 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 19:45:57 05/02/2020.