Description: In the conference room of Hotel Southtown, a team gathers. One, a monster who has slipped her leash. Another, a giant who is trying to turn his life around. And the last, the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America. Thrown together by fate and a whimsical organisational schedule, the trio discuss what opportunities have brought them together ... and more importantly, the ground rules that might let them function as any kind of team. Also, there's pizza.
The enormous conference room at the top of Hotel Southtown is impressive. Enough seating for fifty, all the facilities needed for state of the art presentations, and even catering. There's jugs of water, orange juice, coffee, even a plate of decent pastries. Amusing, then, that all of this has been put together for the benefit of... just three people.
Perhaps surprisingly, Juri has gotten here first. The woman looks VERY different to the one that has likely crossed Goldlewis' desk in reports over the years. Rather than her usual provocative fashion she's wearing a traditional dobok in white and purple; the uniform of the classic Taekwondoin. Her hair is down, rather than mimicking the devilish horns she usually favours. And perhaps most importantly of all... she's wearing an eyepatch. A simple black one, which covers the deadly eye for which she had been so famous.
Juri had, in fact, infiltrated the conference room a full hour before the meeting was due to start, and in that time she'd done her own sweep of the place. Her paranoia runs deep. This entire project is a gamble for her, showing her face - even as relatively disguised as it is - after her recovery from the beating she'd taken and her narrow escape from Shadaloo's clutches. She hadn't found anything, though. Not a single bug. And she couldn't sense the presence of any other psychic forces who might be trying to spy on this meeting. Either Shadaloo were keeping their distance, or she's not as good at watching her back as she likes to think she is...
Of course, she's not about to let her new teammates know about her stress. She has a reputation to maintain. So now that she's done what she can, the young woman has taken the seat at the head of the enormous table and put her feet up on it, insolently eating one of the cream pastries with a mug of steaming coffee right at hand. If this is going to work, they need to know who they are dealing with right up front; and say what you like about Juri, she knows how to make a first impression.
Perhaps ironically..Abigail is no stranger to places like this. It's been awhile but..years ago he served as Mad Gear's top enforcer. Not exactly Belger's 'Right Hand Man' per se.. the guy didn't exactly have that but he was the biggest muscle Mad Gear had. Bigger then the Andores. Bigger then Hugo. Stronger. Madder. So as the top heavy he had an entire major section of the city under his thumb and was chief of THe Bay Area.
He's still called 'CHief' to this day even though he's supposedly reformed. 'Supposedly'.
His business is legit though, despite misgivings by former enemies and needling by rivals but setting foot in a rich dedicated conference room seems to be the thing of a bygone era.. Let alone one set aside for him and not someone else he's henchmanning for because, let's face it, CHief or no..he was a Henchman.
So when he finally arrives there is an odd air of him being comfortable with it all. Nevermind the fact that he's some eight to nine foot tall monstrosity of a man, built like a roided out version of the Hulk with inexplicable strength to match, or so they say. The room practically shakes and trembles well before the main doors are pushed upon by arms big enough to treat tires like armbands even if they are devoid of them at the moment. In fact, he's dressed more casually compared to his usual fair. Facepaint is absent but a big thick beard frames his massive bulldog of a jaw and his maple-leaf mohawk is abit more grown out. Still has the Mad Gear print tee shirt on as it swells and strains pitifully against his movements.
And then he sees Juri and his mouth opens slightly in surprise before shutting in a brutish irrate set. "So it -is- you!" He points a finger thicker then a vienna sausage her way as he treads heavily towards the conference table. The *BOOMS* of his footfalls shaking the floor. "...Don't get all nuts on me! This is business!"
The room shaking doesn't unnerve Juri much. She had expected it. There's only so much that reinforced floors can do against the kind of meathead she's been pitched to work with here. Well. Like it or not, she IS working with him, and for all his many, many, many ... (many) faults, Abigail wasn't completely useless. The guy is a force of nature. One powerful henchperson to another, she might never admit it, but there's a level of professional respect there. He lacked the kind of ambitions she had, but in terms of raw power... well. She wasn't in any hurry to see which of them was on top of their game these days.
Her smile grows into a predatory grin as he jabs his finger at her and makes his protestation. A low chuckle rolls out of her as she flips herself up to her feet and stretches, carelessly discarding the half-eaten pastry into a waste basket.
"Isn't that supposed to be ~my~ line, Mr. Mad Gear?" She teases, "Mnn, take it easy. I'm not here to make trouble. We're all ~friends~ now, right? Heh, who would have imagined, you and me helping to shape the next generation of... brave, young, fighters."
There's dripping sarcasm in her voice, as though she's daring Abigail to take issue with what she's saying. She gestures, vaguely, at the table, and the chairs set around it. She can't really blame him for being suspicious, though. It's a reaction she's come to expect from pretty much everyone who has any idea who she is. And why would it be any different? She's a killer. A monster. She's beaten half the fighting world black and blue, or worse, in her long career. Her reputation is a bloody stain that she's never going to be able to wash out. So she might as well not even try. It's not as though she could be convincingly sincere as some sort of good person; better that she just try to convince her erstwhile teammates that she's the kind of monster they want working with them rather than against them.
And that's something she has a decent amount of experience with.
"I'd say you should take a seat, but let's be honest, that's not going to end well for anyone. Kind of funny that both of US got here before the money did though, huh? Or do you think this is a sting?"
There's that glimmer in her eye. She'd protested that Abigail was the crazy one, but there's no mistaking the glint in that violet eye of hers. She's not beating that 'nuts' accusation any time soon.
"And if it is, Big Boy? You ready to fight the US Government with me?~"
"Huh. I got a shop to run. I'm a company president, remember?"
A meaty hand snatches up an entire water-cooler jug from its resting place by its comrades and he holds it i his grasp as if he just picked up a bottle of Evian.
"Taxes, payroll, you know. Grown up stuff. I can't go fightin' the government. They'd revoke my liscense!"
But he does allow a slightly bemused grin to crease his features as if reconsidering and he comes to a stop near the windows to look out over the skyline of Southtown. "Then again.. I -am- thinking about branching out more internationally so..I guess we'll see!"
A finger flick pops off the seal on the jug and he brings the whole thing up to his mouth to begin to chug. Loud, noisy and rumbling in his actions but thankfully not messy. Half of it is already gone before he pulls it from his mouth with a loud *pop* and he turns slightly to look Juri over more closely. He seems at ease with her, despite his past interactions. EIther that or he maintains a good poker face. She might not be in any hurry to test his power but he's got a long memory and so is in no hurry to test hers...
"Well if you're gonna behave and all I guess we can work together and all. Kinda funny a US secretary's all into this though. I heard he's a big guy." This said with the casual confidence of knowing that no matter how big Goldlewis is... He's much bigger.
"Whatcha think's gonna happen?"
Juri watches the large man's antics with the water jug with an openly revolted expression. Ugh. "Seriously? You couldn't bring your own bottle or something?" Though... obviously he couldn't use the normal sized glasses. The man is a giant. He even made Sagat look like a reasonably sized human being. If he were anything less... well, he wouldn't be in the position that he is, would he?
She walks around to the other side of the table, not looking out at the city but rather turning her attention to the conference room itself. As though it might contain some of the secrets that she's expecting to unearth through this little project.
"Well. Let's see." She says, "First, I imagine you and I will get a lecture from Uncle Sam all about how we're lucky to be working with him and how he doesn't trust either of us so we better fall in line. Then we'll have an argument. Probably be some shouting. Someone might even get hit with this thing."
She raps her knuckles twice on the enormous conference room table.
"Eventually, we'll figure out some sort of compromise and understanding. And in a few weeks time we'll have a crop of hopefuls to whip into shape. A few weeks after that, we'll be fending off whatever demon is lurking in the shadows waiting to steal the fruits of our labour when we've finished growing them into something worth taking."
"Hey! I thought these were for us!"
Abigail protests along with a gesture at the now empty water jug in his grasp. His hand spasms and like tinfoil, the jug crumples up and compresses down to the size of a small ball, vanishing into the depths of his meaty hand as he grins at Juri.
"..I was thirsty!"
He tosses it up and down like an idle baseball as he ponders her words though and then finally, oddly gently, sets it down onto the conference room table and then flicks it across the room with a meaty finger. It thud violently against the wall..shaking it and rattling the hanging pictures.
"Sounds about right. I dunno though.. Still eyeing these newcomers. Not seeing anybody stand out just yet. You?"
He reaches forward and lays a heavy hand on the back of one of the sturdier chairs as if debating on if he's going to try and sit his gargantuan body down or not and put the seat to the test.
"I guess we're about to find out..."
"Shouldn't we like, arrest them sir?"
"Well I mean you are aware of their crimes before-"
"Which for the purposes of this event, we are going to overlook. If they break the rules during the event, well, that's what our little talk is about. But for now, amnesty for past crimes."
"But she just went going through the building like she owns the place isn't that trespassing?
"She's getting comfortable with the place. That's a positive, means she's less likely to start a fight and level the entire hotel."
%"What about Abigial? I mean he's huge!"
"Oh, uh, sorry sir, I mean he's big- I mean he's- MAD GEAR! And well he has a history of violence."
"They both have a history of violence. And trying to arrest them will just lead to violence in the current events. I want this to be a good experience, and I am willing to give some second chances, as long as we keep things in order."
"Sir, the big one just drank up the water cooler. Like, the entire jug."
There is a pause of silence, interrupted by a groan of frustration would give Prometheus envy on the ordeals for a better humanity.
It's the deep rumbling of every step that truly telegraphs Goldlewis this time. Not as big as Abigail's footsteps, maybe, but it was a slow, steady rumble. The door to the conference swings open, revealing a large, wide-set man with a white hair and a thick beard of the same color. He wears a brown military-style jacket laden with badges on the arms, a pale shirt with stars on the collar, a deer skull necklace, brown cowboy-style chaps, a yellow tie, brown gloves with horseshoes on the tops and thick boots. In one hand, a stack of pizza boxes three feet high. In the other, clenching a thick chain attached what seems to be a giant coffin, sealed with a big '51' on it. He looks between Juri, and then Abigial, his expression restrained. "Apologies for my tardiness. There was a payment issue with the pizzaman."
Goldlewis begins to head towards the side of the table with Abigial. He pauses a moment, look down at himself, and then Abigail. He looks over to the Juri side of the table, and considers as well. He gauges the spot closest to him, and decides to stand for the moment. Coming to the front, he slams down the strange coffin to his side. "I'm pretty sure y'all are aware of who we are, but I'd like to at least take care of the introductions as a formality. I'm Lieutenant General Goldlewis Dickinson, Secretary of Defense for the United States. Now, before y'all get worried, I'll say this up front- I've joined as a sponsor in the New Fighting Generation not on behalf of the United States, but as part of a more personal and independent organization. Less paperwork and congressional hearings involved, believe me. I'm not gonna sugarcoat this, hoss. I am hoping to help recruit young fighters to act as vanguards in coming together globally to act against the outlaw organizations in the world. As the New Fighting Generation organizers has deemed fit to have us organized into teams, I will act in the spirit of good will and sportsmanship in coming together to work together in helping the fresh new fighters in guiding and mentoring them." It was a beautiful speech, sure. He starts dealing out the pizza boxes like cards.
"So what can I call you two, and what brought you into this whole sponsorship deal."
Juri opens her mouth to answer Abigail - only to stop when she hears the approaching footsteps. Well well. At last, it seems like the final piece is here. She runs a hand through her hair, flicking it insolently over her back as the second giant man enters the room. Abigail is helpful in that way; he helps make everyone look more reasonable by comparison.
"Is that so? Doing a little extracurricular activity, huh? Interesting."
Juri flicks open one of the pizza boxes and helps herself. As signs of good faith go, it's difficult to picture a better one. Nobody who gives away free pizza could ever have really bad intentions, and he'd even brought enough she was pretty sure Abigail would be satisfied.
"If we're doing introductions." She says, through half a mouthful of stringy cheese, "I'm Juri. As for why I'm here..." She swallows, wipes her mouth with the back of her hand, and looks between the pair of them with her one good eye. Her tongue slides out over her lips before she answers. Hnn. This was always the question, wasn't it? How many cards to play, how many to keep closer to her chest.
"Let's not pretend you both don't know who I used to work for." She says, bluntly. "Me and the old Boss had a ... let's call it, a difference of opinion, about my position in the organisation. I thought I should be in charge. He thought I should be dead."
Did he though, Juri? Did he really? There's an involuntary spasm of her eye. She can remember those last moments so damned clearly. When he ripped out her precious Feng Shui Engine and left her to bleed out amongst the rubble. But... had he REALLY thought that would be enough to kill her? Or did he let her get away to lick her wounds? Did he still have some horrible plan for her? Did he just... not... respect her, enough, to finish the job?
"Tch. Point is, there's no way this little project is going to finish up without the bastard trying to get his hands on some of these amateurs. I'm not going to let him do that. Call it revenge, call it spite, whatever."
She turns to face Abigail directly, then. "And to answer your question, yeah, there's one. The Swiss Miss, Genie. If my hunch is right, she's going to be target number one. Innocent. Raw, unrefined power. And pretty. She's EXACTLY the kind of girl he'll be drooling over."
The distaste drips from her voice. She hated That Man more than anything. Feared him, even. But respect him? No. There was nothing about the Lord of Shadaloo that was worthy of respect in her mind. Only contempt.
"There's another kid, too. Kubo Daisuke. He's not part of the project but I'll be helping him figure out his stuff too. Might be a useful training partner when we've got our crop together. He's going to be hanging around me anyway so he might as well make himself useful."
"Your situation with your former employers is... unverifiable."
Goldlewis's tone is firm and steady. Strict. He helps himself to some pizza as well, but the words hang in the air. The coffin almost seems like it pops open. It almost looks like long, amorphous limbs snap out. And it almost looks like just as swiftly, they close with what almost sounds like a hiss. But what is verifiable is that now there were two folders. One was very notably more than 3 feet tall, while the other was very notable less than 3 feet tall. Goldlewis looks at Juri firmly from behind his unpatched eye, as he reaches for the taller of the pair. "This has been scaled down for declassified purposes, but is necessary to share if we are going to cooperate. My immediate concern right now isn't what the psychopath in the cute hat is going to be doing with a pretty innocent thing." He flips it open, and it folds nearly all the way back as it goes into the middle. "You have a long rap sheet, Juri, and most kids who hang out with folks with your kind of story end up with their faces posted on a milk carton. There's revenge, and there's spite, and there's whatever whim that strikes your fancy at this moment, and your past shows that your fancies is some of the worst that group has ever put out." Goldlewis folds his hands in front of him. "Now there's a bit that's come out that does show that you are on the outs with the leadership, but the circumstances are all unverifiable as I said. You might be looking for revenge and spite. Maybe you are looking for a way to get back in, and snatching away some potential victims for him to hollow out would let you get there faster." He leans forward a bit, leading with his open eye at Juri.
"Maybe you just want to impress the man and make him feel sorry for insulting you, and get back to your old ways."
Oh hey. He -is- pretty gigantic. Abigail's impressed and it's hard to impress him when it comes to scale. You have to be at least a 'Marduk Class' to even register. Anything less then that gets a disapproving 'pursed lips' that would make Miranda Priestly nod in approcal. At 'Zangief Class' You might get him to blink twice. You need at least 'Hugo Class' For an 'up nod' in appreciation and. Goldlewis falls in line easily in that category.
And then there's food. Huge strength, guts and good taste in food. He's got his vote!
The strange balance of this odd grouping isn't lost on him thoough. As Goldlewis speaks he stays quiet and instead looks to Juri, back to Goldlewis, to himsef and then back to Juri again. Then he finally notes: "..Yeah okay this is wierd." Then the limbs snap out from that big coffin and Abigail just sort of deadpan stares. "Yah. Wierd..' he muses and then finally speaks up.
"The names Abigail...of Abigail's Scrap Metal! Best car moddin', repair shop, junk shop in the world!" He waves a hand absently, "I thought I'd 'give back to the community' by, you know, sponsoron's omeone who can beat people up really good. Plus htey'll look good in the new tee-shirts I'm designing!" Alot of the rest of what was discussed just sort of *WHOOOOSH* right over his head though.
"Oh, I'm not going to deny it." Juri says with a casual shrug of her shoulders. "You'd have to be an idiot to trust me. And I DO do what I want, when I want. That was true when I worked for Him, it'll be true when I'm working with you two as well. That's just the way it is. But I brought something for you, and it's better than pizza."
From inside her dobok she produces her phone. It's definitely hers; the bright pink case has her traditional hairstyle moulded into the top. That kind of custom job isn't something you can pick up just anywhere, you know? And without apparently giving too much care to it at all, she tosses the device across the room, towards Goldlewis.
Notably not AT him. See? Progress.
"I've had that with me every day for the past year and a half. I'm not an expert, but I'd bet your friendly spooks can pull all sorts of interesting data out of that. And when you give it back to me, I'll keep it on me for as long as we're working together. After all, if the Old Boss comes knocking ... I'm gonna need the cavalry to come running."
That... is also a pretty big admission from her. The two men may not appreciate how much, but actually acknowledging that she might need help? That the pair of them might BE help, on her level? All but offering to LET herself be bugged and tracked? It'd have been unthinkable even a short time ago. But it's amazing what months holed up in a safehouse slowly willing your bones to knit together again can do for a girl's sense of perspective.
"Oh. And I already wiped my selfies, so don't go getting any pervy ideas."
Wiped the selfies.
Goldlewis could feel a migraine already coming on. Juri's.... everything, even when she wasn't being exactly hostile, was an affront to every sense of law and order that existed. "I'm going to believe you when you say you are not working for them." He says, rubbing a temple as he picks up the phone, inspecting it. "But rest assured, if we are going to be working going forward, there will be absolutely no involvement from those groups." He pockets the phone. "You'll be protected, just like every body in this tournament will be protected to the best of our ability. But I will warn you this once. If I catch wind that you are involved with any kidnapping or worse with the fighters? Any Kubo Daisukes or Guinevere Bouvier or what not turn up missing? I'll know who to find."
He looks across on the other side of the table.
"Now you're not out of trouble either. Abigail's Scrap Metal sure, but also one of the former 'chiefs' of the Mad Gear Gang of Metro City, working to control Metro City with an iron fist." He opens the other folder. "On top of a long laundry list of assault, battery, mayhem, acts of banal Canadianism, and a general maliciousness that's almost as long as Juri's resume here. Though not quite as big." Was that a dig? Some territorialiness between large men? He slides some rather unflattering, suspiciously low resolution He shows a picture of what looks like a somewhat smaller darker-skinned Abigail, with terrible white leopard print and white slacks, looking ready to charge a knife-armed Cody in the Bay Area. Or maybe, a knife-armed Cody was about to attack him. "Now that's a long time ago, and there's some signs that maybe, just maybe you and your friends have reformed." He slides over another picture. It shows Abigail in a tender muscled embrace with some strange man in a ripped tuxedo down at the harbor, while the entire gang looks on. "There's signs of both of you being reformed. And I want to help you commit to that." Goldlewis softens his voice. "Now, your friend Juri here wants to help out folks like Genie, or Daisuke. Like a big sister deal. What about you, Abigail."
"Who is it specifically you want to help?"
"Hey I'm a -legit business operator'. Sir." rumbles Abigail, sounding chagrinned now as he lowers slice of pizza, At the picture of the knife wielding Cody charging at him in his less..stylish days he rumbles out, "Self defense!" even as Goldlewis continues his rap sheet. He bristles at the Canadianism remark and interjects at the end of it, "My gang days are in the past and my friends work for me and earn a legitimate living, eh?"
Oh the irony. He studies the picture of that strange meat on meat hug and then just sort of reaches down and slowly slides it away from him and off to the side.
"This aint complicated, Mr. Secretary.. I figure I've got some experience. I'm a Neo League champ, World Warrior Finalist, ectera, ectera. So here's me giving back, eh? I see someone who I think has some potential I'll lend 'em a hand. I got the money and it's walking advertising for my brand. Why's it gotta be all deep?"
He shrugs, rolling his boulder like shoulders and squaring up just a little bit more as he settles back into a relaxed stance. Seemingly inflating slightly as blood rushes through his physique. Bigness challenge accepted.
"B'sides.. If -she's- asking for help..that sounds pretty serious. You aint fought Juri before. I have. She could kick both our asses and wasn't big on acting like she needed nobody before so ..hearing all that now I figure I'll hang around this for abit.."
Juri smirks at the threat, as though she really couldn't care less at the prospect of being hunted down.
As Goldlewis turns his attention to Abigail and, just as she'd predicted, tries to lay the law down with him as well, she can't keep the insolent grin from her features. She helps herself to another slice of pizza, chewing it as Abigail gives his answer ... and accurate assessment of her current state. Or at least part of it. It doesn't hurt that he pays her the compliment, either. It's not like she gets those often.
"Don't go getting the wrong idea, either." She drawls, gesturing with the slice of pizza. "I don't give a damn about Daisuke, Genie, or any of the others in this competition. I'm not doing it because I want to HELP them. I'm doing it because I want to HURT my old boss. If that means teaching a bunch of brats who don't know Psycho Power from Yoga how to use their power without melting their brain... well, that's just a happy coincidence."
That grin of hers is just so damn infuriating. Redemption? Tch. Like she believed she could ever be redeemed. Or expect anyone else to believe she could even want it. With the blood on her hands, the most realistic option is to just accept that she's damned and kill a few more monsters with her on the way down. She's no guardian angel; she's an untamed beast who has been backed into a very dangerous corner.
As Abigail bristles, Goldlewis instinctively biggenings back.
For a moment it does seem there was even going to be a show of force taking place between Abigail and Goldlewis. It takes some Korean barbs to draw him back to the room. And oh yes, it was infuriating. Goldlewis had half a mind to send someone with Juri's attitude on latrine duty for a month, with the caveat that she was almost certainly going to make even MORE trouble the more anybody tried to keep her well behaved. But as Abigail mentions how dangerous Juri is... well, he noticed the fact she was still wounded. He didn't want to mention it out loud, especially around Abigail, but as long as she was happy to hiss and snarl, she didn't have to make any desperate attempts to protect herself. It's much more useful to keep that appearance up. "Well yes, she does have a history of being one of the world warriors, and if she has given you trouble..."
"I will be mindful not to get on your bad side, JUri."
"But you both don't have to be so think just for yourself on this." Goldlewis says softly, taking the picture back from Abigail. "There's a lot the next generation can learn from you. For better or worse. So this is what I'm going to do." He puts papers back in, and the folders all together. And picking them up, he thunders over to the side, and drops them both into a small wastepaper basket. "Tabula rasa. Blank slate. What that means, is that I am going to pretend both of you are as sweet and innocent as the day you were born. What judgements I make are based on how you act going forward. We will work together as a team, collaborate as equals, and we will help each other with each others respective partners." Goldlewis turn back over to the others, arms behind his back.
"Do those terms sound acceptable?"
The slightly larger behemoth bristles again. Managing to inflate even larger. A vague hint of red hue boiling into his skin tone. No where near a full on display of Max Power, but his tee-shirt strains pitifully, some seams starting to unravel as he fumes.
"Let's get one thing clear.." The old Mad Gear Chief in Abigail rears up slightly. "You said it yourself. You're not here on behalf of the US government but on a personal project, yeah? And we signed up for this not to be grilled by an official of a country that aint even the country we're doing this matter in, eh? So in short...you aint got no more authority in here at the moment then either of us. We're equals. So I don't really care if you blank slate it or not."
His sausage thick finger wags at Goldlewis and then Juri as well, "You both treat me like an equal I treat you like one. I don't care what judgement you make of me as long as we either come out on top or if we lose that we have a good time losing. But I aint here to lose. I Forgot to mention I was a King of Fighters champ also, eh? You're not working with some thug off the street anymore.."
Indeed, looks can be decieving. He still has the bearing and markings of Mad Gear. It's his history and there's no question he's a brutish buffoon. His fighting tactics equally brutal and playful as he toys with a world that's like cardboard to him. But there's grit underneath and to underestimate Abigail is to do so at ones own peril as many have discovered.
"So clean slate it for all I care or don't. Just don't weigh down this partnership..." He then cuts his full glance to Juri and he offers her a grin, "Looks like your prediction was on teh nose...so I guess we can get down to business now.."
It's a word that sets Juri's teeth on edge. And the more the pair use it, the more irritating it gets. There's definitely a dark aura around the woman as the pair bluster, make concessions, negotiate. To get to a position that she doesn't believe, deep down, is true. Equals? Equals? There's no such thing in this world. You're strong, or your weak. You're on the top of the heap or you're just another loser. Trash. To be dominated and toyed with by your betters. Her lips curl back to bare her teeth - and it takes an effort of will to force all of that back down. It's like swallowing bile.
She KNOWS where these thoughts come from. He'd wanted a monster born in his own image and all his clever little eggheads had given him just that. It makes her sick. So sick, in fact, that the second slice of pizza is discarded with barely a nibble taken out of it.
Deep breath. Suck it in. Let it out. It's not that deep. She has to remind herself, this is what she WANTED. It's actually more movement than she'd expected on Goldlewis' side, and more respect from Abigail than she could have asked for. She reached out. They've taken her hand. Not trusting, maybe, but more than she deserves.
"Of course it was." She says, feigning cheerfulness, "I AM psychic, you know? What kind of tutor would I be for our brave young soldiers if I couldn't even see how THIS meeting would go?"
She slides herself up onto the table, and then along it, coming to rest closer to the pair and leaning backwards to regard Abigail upside-down, grinning.
"I do have one question though. You're not interested in the Pig Girl? She seemed pretty hyped about the chance to get to rep your merch. Not that I have ANY idea what we're supposed to teach some hic who swings buckets at people."
With that business handled, thus came the part that mattered the most: his actual job.
"Pig girl?" Goldlewis repeats back. After Abigail's own dressing down against the officer, the hefty American realizes that the two might actually be further along on the actual work of sponsorship than he was. "Well hell. I apologize, I haven't been briefed on all the individual participants." He strides up to the table, and looks at the table and... then to the coffin. "Is that the one named Nixie? One of the sword users?" The general raps his knuckles on the coffin. There is no response. Goldlewis brings a hand to his ear, gritting his teeth as he touches something. "Well uh, Pig Girl. Is she, well, who is she, and what is she on about." For someone who had control of the room not a few moments ago, Goldlewis was suddenly caught off guard and off balanced.
And for now, until his little friend wakes up, at the mercy of his two teammates.
Well - Goldlewis didn't bite back. Abigail nods his head, quietly reworking his opinion of the man but is distracted from that bit as he fully registers what Juri said. His poker face breaks, revealing visible surprise and the fact that..he probably has not read much on the newcomers or been paying attention to the interviews after all. "Uh." is all he manages to get out before leaning forward only to realize that Goldlewis is jsut as off balanced as he is. This helps..a little bit..but still leaves him out there to give Juri an answer.
"I mean. You know..I don't want to just..make a snap judgement and all. You know how it is. Yeah? Let's see how well she does. Pig girl eh?"
He's been called something like that. And worse. So there's additional connection there.
"Who else?" he rumbles, trying to prompt Juri for more information and then, "I mean..and how the hell is this supposed to work? Are we suposed to throw down with the other mentors? Who else is out there?"
Juri's infuriating grin comes back when it turns out that she has the best info of all her teammates. Not... that that's surprising. Unlike them, she has literally nothing better to do than concentrate on this project and nothing else. She's made it her priority for weeks at this point; wanting to make sure that she caught any warning signs about Shadaloo interference early. So far, nothing, but that doesn't mean much.
"Chevy is Pig Girl. Raised on a farm. Uses a stick and buckets. Likes cars, so she's a big fan of you, buddy." She says, jabbing her thumb towards Abigail. "Genie I've already mentioned. Psychic powers. Spoiled rich brat. Chun-Li is her idol so we're gonna get on great."
She purses her lips, and then gives a rapidfire rundown of her assessment of the remainder. "Hawksley. Irish guy with a fiery temper. Showboater. Thinks he's a lady's man. I'd eat him alive. John Doe, can't get a read on the guy, something rotten about his entourage so keep an eye there. Kenzo, tech wizkid, none of us are eggheads though. Ayala is some sort of boneheaded primitive. Ichika's a brat who someone gave a sword to for some reason. Same deal with Buford but he's got at least ten years and a few hundred pounds on her. Coco is Muay Thai and Mommy issues. Djamila's a blind stripper which... gotta say, I'm interested in how she's sensing things, that has promise, but. She fights with a damn stripper pole. Really. And lastly there's Sarah. Tryhard DJ."
She waves her hand after all of that, adding in a somehow even more dismissive tone, "Oh and there's a couple of Darkstalkers but let's be honest, what are WE going to do with THAT mess?"
She doesn't address how the group is going to get a say in which ones they wind up with - she's just dropped a ton of info, after all. They can circle back to procedures. The bit of the project she cares about the least.
Goldlewis waits by the coffin door, as he listens and observes the exchange take place. Abigail asks the important questions, and to his surprise, JUri gives some important answers. "An excellent summary, Juri. I appreciate you are prepared for this." Also a little worried, but he had agreed to keep things at face value. "I wouldn't write off those Darkstalkers though. While there is a natural tendency to treat Darkstalkers as cryptids, they are usually people like you and me. Or even aliens, that is, if aliens existed. He knocks on the coffin again, giving a louder cough. "The other teams are somewhat concerning as well. While I do not exactly endorse fighting it out with the other mentors, I was briefed on them in detail before.
"Team Blaze, the main two members look like is Mitsuru Tokugawa and Yuri Sakazaki, a pair of well connected schoolgirls. Not concerned about them. But the third member is a one Gouki, that's Akuma, who is a very dangerous and very powerful fighter. I have tabs on him, and major concerns about what he is doing. I do not want any of you starting fights with him, the man is a walking WMD. The school girls are probably fine but, be mindful of the wrathful demigod and any of his friends."
"Team Thunder is bringing the same to the table with practical demigods getting involved. Ayame Ichijo, some kind of shrine maiden I believe, is paired off not only with the physical god Raiden, but one of the semi-hosts of these event, the 'Demon Queen' Lyraelle. There are circumstances around it now but it's another group with an agenda I can't imagine."
"And that leaves Team Metal. Zel, Dr. Moondyne Mouse, and Minal "Mint" Panesh. Zel and Moondyne seem to be working for Arctel, which is a concerning development. A lot of seedy connections with that corporation. Minal Panesh works for the Marine Corp though, she might be able to keep an eye on them. I have -notes- on what are the risks in detail as well as other organizations that have expressed interest in sponsoring like Illyria but-" Goldlewis starts tugging at the coffin door briefly, before knocking again.
"With that selection, which of the participating fighters and sponsors are most likely to get engaged?"
Abigail basically doesn't even hear the other names after Akuma is mentioned. "That insane...hado this and satsuki-metsu-ryu-pyscho-whatever nutjob? Ugh.. I fought him once. He kicked me through a building and then cut the entire thing in half after I pounded on him a few times."
so there's history there. if nothing else, it should be clear Abigail has some experience under his belt even if it's being kicked around by beings that wield far more mystic and chi energy then he can.
He just doesn't get the stuff, which begs the question, some might ask, how he's gotten as far as he has. He doesn't really have a fighting style. Seems to be playfully swatting or knocking people around with finger flicks half the time, or hurtling them into the sky with a flick of the wrist no matter how large they are the other time - and then the rest literally pounding earthquakes into the ground or knocking people across city blocks with rolling punching bag like punches --- So maybe you -don't- want to actually train the guy into legitimate martial artistry considering what he's doign with raw brute strength.
Which may also ask the question..how's he gonna mentor anyone. "Uuugh.." is not a great answer. "Watch out for him." he finally concludes.
"He's all about power and finding worthy opponents. Super violent and hey, I know violence." The other names finally do some registration and he muses, "Mm...I think I know Mint. She's good with gear.. Not a bad person. Raiden's involved eh? I heard of him. Didn't he threaten to destroy the world once? We were runnin' security for the UN.. I always was like 'Aint Zeus gonna complain? Where everybody else at?!' when that happened.."
So he has ..some...informatio to decipher there if not much.
"Arctel. Now that IS interesting." Juri muses. Her assessment of the students was quick and dirty; Goldlewis' breakdown of the other teams was more involved, and there were more connections there than she'd been able to make. Oh, she had her opinion on the so-called 'Gods' that were involving themselves in all this, but she gives a little wave of her hand. "When it comes to the other teams, it's not what we see that's worrying me. Gouki, Raiden, Lyraelle... eh, they're all ~dangerous~ but so what? We're ALL dangerous."
She flashes a smile at that. Aliens and Darkstalkers, Gods and Demons, she might have taken her beating and been knocked down a peg, but she obviously still considers that she has what it takes to hang in such rarified company.
"What worries me is that we don't have the usual movers and shakers. Where's Shadaloo? NESTS? The Syndicate? This sort of thing is right up Strolheim's alley, but Krauser's too busy to send one of his pet psychos to watch the kiddies? Hell. I was SURE that we'd be seeing some sort of sponsorship from Ultratech and the NOL. But no, nothing. The closest any of us have to REAL backing in all this are us through Uncle Sam here." She jerks a thumb to Goldlewis, "And Metal, through Mint and Arctel."
She sighs, shaking her head, and drops heavily into a chair. "I don't buy it." She concludes, "Either everyone in the world is busy chasing another prize that we're missing, or they're going to wait for us to figure out which of these students is actually worth a damn, then try to steal them out from underneath us. No way the Powers That Be have the patience to sit this out right the way to the end, and it makes me nervous that I can't see them laying their groundwork from the start."
Actual..concern...colors Abigail's voice as he stares at Juri. "..You? Concerned?"
It's a mild wake up call here for him. Moreso then anything Goldlewis has said. He narrows his eyes in thought and then folds his arms - struggles to really. HE's so massive that it's abit of a fascinating fight to watch the bulk of his body collide with itself monstrously as he casually makes the gesture and then relaxes his arms against his torso somehow.
"I didn't sign up for some clandestine, behind the scenes, manipulative..mumbo jumbo. I don't like it but yer probably right.. You wanting to do something about it?"
He arcs an eyebrow at Juri, still frowning "If someone comes and tries and takes one of the students you got an eye on or who signs up with us.. we pound 'em into the dirt yeah?" His mindset is ultimately not to far off from hers. One gods blast of lightning is another martial arts flame kick as far as he sees it. They're all annoying.
"I mean.. there's not much else to it. Unless Uncle Sam wants to use his resources to dig a little deeper and get his CIA, FBI, Omega Sector guys ivnolved?"
ONe of those three is very much not real and might have been in True Lies.
Goldlewis tugs his beard thoughtfully, glaring towards his coffin briefly for a moment.
"I can't tell you who is investigating this and why, but I can tell you what may be going on. As of right now the main concern are unknown infilitrations acting on behalf of these groups, either knowingly or unknowingly, or more concerning, that they will simply bypass the whole dog and pony show with sponsors and just grab folks when no one is looking. And as Juri here has highlighted, the targets might not be the folks being sponsored, but the sponsors themselves." He nods at Abigail. "It's what's being done in the shadows, not being done in the hotel. Now for folks who are not part of the event, who are causing trouble?" He reaches over to grab a pizza. The coffin lid finally opens. A pizza disappears, specifically the one that Goldlewis was targeting. The officer sighs.
"Those are perfectly fine for a good ol' fashioned tusslin'."
Juri grins at Abigail when he shows apprehension at her concern. It's not a nice look. All teeth and a predatory glimmer in that one remaining eye of hers.
"I ~did~ sign up for clandestine, behind the scenes, manipulative, mumbo-jumbo." She says, unable to keep the light teasing out of her voice. "But that's okay. You can leave that to me and Uncle Sam. And yeah, if anyone tries to mess with what's ours? We'll grind their bones to make our bread."
Maybe a little 'joke' at the fact that she's working with a pair of giants, there. Probably. Actual cannibalism is one of the few crimes not on Juri's rap sheet, so it's either a metaphor, or she's just not developed a taste for it yet.
"I'll try to keep tabs on the other teams, too. There's no way they'll trust a tip coming from me in the circumstances, but I don't trust any of them except Thunder to be thinking about the bigger picture... and I'm expecting Lyraelle to grab the Darkstalkers. You'd have to be really stupid to try and mess with that."
She leans back on her chair, the heel of her foot connecting with the boardroom table as she rocks apparently-precariously and looks up at the ceiling.
"As for how we get our team, there's gonna be a draft. We all get one pick per round, if we pick the same person as another team we make a pitch and the student makes the final choice. We know we want Genie and probably Chevy. How about you Uncle Sam, anyone you want to put in for your first choice?"
Right, leave that to them. Leave the spy stuff to the spies..even if one is a nearly six hundred pound boulder that's a US official and the other a ballistic missile cosplaying as a korean martial artist.
After all, they'll need someone to make the badgets and kit out the car. Visions of flame throwers, rocket boosters and ejector seats come to him in a flash along with the specs and numbers necessary to make it work. Especially an ejector seat. Gotta have two of those.
A batterign ram in the front grill..yeah. That's ideal and--wait. Abigail blinks himself out of his brief descent into engineering madness and pulls his attention back to the here and now., It was teh coffin that did it. HE stares at it as if daring it to open again but then returns his mind to the actual meetings contents. "Chevy and Genie for sure yeah. I dunno if that Buford fellow's our speed or not. We're already looking a few hundred pounds over the scale but he does have a cool sword. I could outfit it with something to make him draw it faster....er.. Anyway.. The cave girl. She might be wild but she also probably has a lot of power and stamina and is probably smarter then she lets on. Dont' discount 'er."
Technically, there may have been some asterisks around the subject of 'Not actual cannibalism' when it comes to analysis on Juri's track record. %
As the favorites are presented, Goldlewis folds his hands in front of him. "Well it's more than just who has the best toys or is the biggest or who has the most potential for me. It's about who has the biggest potential for good and service to the general welfare of the world. Of those who look to have the heart for being part of a greater good..." And finally, -finally-, a folder finds its way in front of him. "About damn time, we're gonna have a little chit-chat later." Goldlewis mutters under his breath, and he cracks open the manila folder. With a quick browse, he nods his head.
"Ichika, Genie, and... Chevelle were the primary stand outs as being naturally guided to a greater goodness. After that there are the folks who seem a little more selfish, but have potential with proper discipline. Hawskley, Kenzo, Coco, Tamaki. And there are the ones I have no idea what to do with. John Doe, Djamila, Nixie, and Buford. Of the overlap, Chevelle and Genie seem to be the strongest choices for either of you, so we should focus on those two ladies. We should meet with them independently as needed. I'd put in my third as Ichika, she seems just like the kind of young lady that would want to bring the kind of changes this world needs. Genie, Chevelle, and Ichika." He releases his hands, gesturing to Abigail and Juri respectfully.
"Does that sound like a plan then, pardners?"
Juri makes a face at Goldlewis' criteria. She should have guessed that he'd have very different considerations to what she and Abigail considered important. Not that she was overly impressed with any of the choices on offer, really. Even Genie was a practical matter. She suspected the girl was going to resent every moment of her tutorship... but that's just how training goes sometimes.
"I can't say she stood out to me." She says, "But, sure. Sword Girl or Cave Girl. I guess we can work with those as our number three and four picks. I think we get four overall, but chances are high that we're gonna face competition from the others on some of these. So long as we get Genie, I'll be satisfied, and if we don't..."
She lets that hang in the air. Just what ARE you going to do if you don't get what you want, Juri? Surely nothing awful.
"... anyway. How much I can teach any of these people is down to them. That's not something I'll know until we get them in a room. Interviews and match recordings are fine, but none of that will help if they run screaming at the first test."
That smile of hers is... truly malicious.
"Aint you putting a lot of expectations on these folk?" Abigail counters to Goldlewis, "If you come at them with a pitch to recruit them into some sorta, I dunno, military operation..or whatever..you might run somma them off. Yer revvin't he engine to hard and driving into the redline already. THese folk didn't sign up for this, far as I can tell, cause they wanted to catch a bullet in their teeth for Uncle Sam or the UN."
Abigail spittin' fire maybe. Or at least making an attempt to bring some of this down to earth.
"Besides, if you base it all on just how honest they look to ya..you might miss someone who maybe -aint- all that honest but -would- be a good fit for..I dunno..defendin' the world. Maybe I'm selfish but I'd fight to, I dunno, save the palnet or whatever. I kinda -live- here."
He leans over to look over the papers, "Anyway, that sounds good t'me. Somebody might surprise us though so I'd say keep our options open. Our main two are a sure thing though. We run off the road anyone who tries to steal 'em from us and hit 'em with the max horsepower!"
"I'm the Secretary of Absolute Defense of the United States, hoss. My job is practically having expectations." And being let down from them, but he keeps that part out. "I'll keep myself in the..." He struggles with an automobile phrase. "The passenger's seat on this one. Let you both take the wheel. I just want to make clear that we are going to keep down the screaming, especially if we don't get what we want, and the..." Goldlewis squints his good eye at Abigial more than Juri. "And the off roading with the engines. I don't want to see any mudding down outside the hotel." He collects up the remaining folders. "That's all from me then. I trust that you will have civil meetings, and I won't be hearing about any unfortunate rumors. We all don't have to be meeting with these potential recruits all together after all." He won't really be keeping his eyes off these two. Mostly. But as a General, he was used to letting the rank and file doing the actual footwork. The towering officer begins to hoist up the Coffin by the chain. "I'll catch you around when they start having Team Frost step on up."
Log created on 02:11:08 05/01/2023 by Juri, and last modified on 05:09:05 05/18/2023.