The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 2 - Grist of the Mill

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Description: Under Kolin's orders, Whitney Saulder organizes a meeting to ascertain the capabilities of the Illuminati's newest potential asset.

From a data center in Mexico, to the bright climates of Sunshine City. Information has come from Illuminati sources, drip feeding what they care to let others know. Favors now for favors later. A statesman's game more than a criminal organizations. A goal that, in the immediate, isn't about wealth or material gains.

A game that amuses Whitney Saulder. Though he would be quick to remind that he does have much material gains in his work.

A message, digital, from a burned phone, sent to the man known as Rashid of the Turbulent Wind. All it consisted of is a set of coordinates and a message that "I know Helen. We should speak about your friend." Along with it a photo of a chess piece. Spy games, silly things, but all part of the production as far as Whitney is concerned.

His shoes scrape and shuffle along grated catwalks as he waits. He chews gum, cracking it loudly. He drums on the safety rail. Fidgeting, making noise, being obviously present in the great skeleton of the titan of American Industry. He wants to be found, heard, to not present a sneaky threat. To be what "Helen" most certainly was not.

Whitney Saulder wants to be approachable. He has to be.

The information that Rashid gained from the mysterious woman ended up giving leads. Information on where his friend may actually be. It seems that the dangerous deal he made at least has paid off to an extent. Of course the price he will have to pay is still up in the air. He doesn't know when he will be contacted again and what that woman will want him to do.

Then comes the message. He gets a name to go with the woman's face. Probably not her real one, but at least Helen is better than no name at all. But who is this person contacting him? Is it someone already coming to collect the favor that is owed? He isn't sure he wants to really find out. He has important things to do such as go to the last known location of his friend.

Though that will take planning and that is why Rashid was in Sunshine City. He has been working with Interpol about a strike on the labaratory where his friend might be. And if they don't help? He will have to figure out a way to do it himself. The location he was given in the message is not too far off so perhaps against his better judgement he goes to check things out.

He doesn't tell Azam about where he is going. If there is danger he rather not pull his friend into it. He is willing to risk his own life, but the lives of others is another matter. Dressed in street clothes the Arab approaches, his gaze moving about while keeping an eye out for anyone lurking in the shadows looking to leap out and attack him.

Silence at first. Then a tap-tap-tapping. And then silence again. Whitney Saulder watches from the catwalks, lit from above by the bleaching sun. He hides not in shadow, but in the blinding light. He smiles, though it's a crocodile's grin. Taking his gum and sticking it under the railing, he calls down to the man in search of knowledge.

"Rashid of the Turbulent Wind," Saulder's sonorous voice echoes off the scrap metal remnants of the aging factory, "You've come, and you've come alone. I cannot thank you enough for showing such trust in me and trust in your own individual agency." He claps, once, twice, three times.

"Ask whatever questions you have," he calls, leaning on the railing, looking down like a preacher from his pulpit. "I'm here to help you, but there's also so much that I want to learn about a man so hellbent on helping their friends."

Ragna nods.

He thought he was doing well and keep an eye out for trouble, but it doesn't seem to be the case. Whitney got the drop on him and Rashid is lucky the man wasn't in the mood for a fight because he could have done some serious damage. The Arab turns about as he raises a hand to try and shield his eyes and get a good look at the man speaking. "I seem to be at a disadvantage once again. Everyone seems to know my name, but I do not know yours."

He glances about then he bounds over to a wall where he leaps and kicks off of it to launch upwards where he almost seems to land on the air itself and push off to vault over the railing and land a few feet from Whitney. Now that he is on even ground with the other man he feels a bit better, but it is easy to tell he is a bit on the tense side. He can't be blamed as he isn't sure just how deep he is getting pulled into something he rather not be a part of.

"I do not trust you and that is exactly why I came alone. No one else will get hurt due to me making a bad choice." he replies and eyes Whitney in a dubious manner and stays silent for a few long moments as he debates on what he would really want to ask. "Why the interest in getting me out here? I doubt Helen is the name of the woman in question, but it is better than having no name to put with the face. Are you working with or for her?"

An advantage of knowledge. An advantage in time. An advantage in height. A series of advantages that add up to so much and yet so little if the intent of the day has nothing to do with actually using said advantages. Because, despite all apparent advantage, Whitney can use little of them to get the thing that he actually wants; an understanding of who Rashid of the Turbulant is.

The man in his rumpled suit watches, dull eyed and still as a lizard on a wall, while Rashid acrobatically proves and provides the first example of the kind of physical talent that he has. Simple, direct, and did not even require a single fist to fly. If only, Whitney thought as Rashid lands nearby, others within the Illuminati were so patient as to let people hang themselves.

Whitney Saulder smiles placidly, clapping gently when Rashid alights onto the catwalk. "Impressive," he says, "If only I had such talent. But, creaky knees." He bends his knees slowly, a visual display of nothing, but something to just put the idea in Rashid's head.

He steadies himself, however, and adjusts the cuffs on his sleeves. Fidgeting to distract attention. "I'm not trustworthy," he admits, "Too cagey. Too interested in others. I understand. Sometimes, in my line of work, with the kinds of people I work with. You have to be." Saying things, not saying things, leaving the air full of pointless non-admissions. "I wanted you out here because I enjoy the privacy. Like you, it's safer and no one besides ourselves will be hurt if something goes wrong."

Concern for fellow man established, Whitney contines. A hand on the railing, the other gesturing out to the skeletal remains of the old factory. "If she calls herself Helen, and we call her Helen, and the name allows us to recognize who she is, then what difference is it if the name isn't the one on some government document somewhere?" he asks. A shake of his head, he doesn't expect an answer. "I'm her actuary."

Feats of Rashid's skill aren't too hard to come by with his participation in Saturday Night Fights as well. Despite the goofy and somewhat dorky personality he often shows he has proven he is also a well trained fighter. Not many can say they could go up againt the likes of Andy Bogard and come out on top. It is all about just how skilled Rashid is and if he has held back at all during his fights.

He listens and remains slightly tensed just in case things do start to get heated. He is doing his best to make sure no one else is around and possibly creeping up on him while keeping most of his attention on Whitney. While he thinks the knee comment is something of an obvious lie and then his statement of not being being trustworthy type pretty much confirms that in Rashid's mind.

"Actuary? Most tend to work out of an office, not call people out to a dangerous part of a city where gangs roam." He hasn't run into gang trouble yet, but Rashid has looked into local news as well as Interpol files. Sunshine City is not a good place to live for sure. "Very well. What is it you want? I have much to do I feel I am only going to be talking in circles with you if I remain."

"Consider a situation like the one you're in," Whitney turns and puts his hands on the railing, looking at the aging factory, "And the one your missing friend is in, Rashid." His fingers worry on the railing, sliding up and down, stopping to grip. "I am only here to help assess that you're the right kind of person for what we need. That, in helping you, we don't risk you or others."

Whitney turns and offers a half gesture toward Rashid. "I need to know how much you truly care about the road that lay before you. There are many men who wish to be heroes, but luck the heart to follow through on their ideals." His dead eyes stare cold and forward. "Can you show me, Rashid? Or will you walk away and wait for my associate's request?"

Rashid for the most part stays quiet. It is rare to see him in such a serious state, but this is one that warrants it. It is just more proof that the deal he made out of desperation may come back and bite him. Folks like Helen and Whitney are not the ones he would like to be associated with, but if it brings back his friend to safety then so be it.

"I am no hero." he finally says. There is times he would like to think of himself as one, but in the end he is just someone who has had a lot of luck on his side that has kept him from being being killed. "I don't fully know the path ahead of me, but I will go forward for her." She means too much to him not to push his limits. "I made a deal with Helen and I intend to pay her back, but I do not wish for help beyond what was already provided."

He does not want to owe the group that pair are part of more than he already does. He has Interpol and he has a location. All he can hope is his friend is still there and he can rescue her. Then....only then can he really take time to step back and maybe settle down for awhile. "I just ask you to stay out of the way. I don't want help nor do I want to be hindered. I must do this the way I feel is right. Feel free to call me a fool. I already know I am one."

Whitney invited Rashid to a quiet place. His group is secretive. But he has yet to make any outward threat, nor do anything but assist. Though he has admitted Rashid is in the right to not trust them. And the man, growing bored as he may be with the timid and tepid nature of the heroic individual in front of him, keeps most of his attention back toward the aging skeleton of American Industry.

"You're humble," he says. "Most cultures would consider that in and of itself an heroic trait." He doesn't smile so much as his lip moves in an upward direction. "And you're so very quick to want to help your friend, and yet you struggle with your need for individual freedom. A fascinating dichotomy."

"Go on. I've learned enough of what you're capable of. You'll do well, or you'll fail. In the end, it won't matter." Whitney Saulder turns to walk away from Rashid, hands going into the pockets of his trousers. "Your profound selfishness is remarkable, Mister Rashid. I haven't seen someone like you in quite some time. I hope it serves you well because I believe it will prove very, very entertaining."

It is a confusing meeting. Was he really called out here for such a little conversation? Was this some sort of weird test? Much like Helena this man is leaving with more questions the never knew that needed answers. He just grimaces as he listens and then gets called selfish.

He opens his mouth as if ready to say something in response to that, but instead it closes a moment later and he just watches Whitney walk away. Is he really selfish in wanting his friend back? If it is that is a rare time when being selfish is okay isn't it? If Whitney's intention was to put some doubt in Rashid it looks like his job is complete.

Rashid lets out a sigh and he slumps a bit while closing his eyes once Whitney is out of sight. "Life can never be simple." he murmurs to himself before re-opening his eyes and taking one final look about. The area is dangerous. He should move on before he does find someone looking for a fight. He has matters to take care of anyways. It is time to pack things up and leave Sunshine City and head back to Mexico once more. Hopefully the information he found will be correct and this whole mess can finally come to an end.

Log created on 11:07:53 07/29/2018 by Whitney, and last modified on 12:53:30 08/03/2018.