|The Great Mabase Mystery|
A broad window opens out to view the City Ruins. A large desk is near the wall, with a comfortable looking chair behind it. That must be the Editor's desk. Other smaller, lesser desks fill the rest of the room, allowing for other people to alter articles before handing it in to El Editor.
Well, leaning back very precariously in a poor excuse for an office chair is an equally shabby looking Trilby Trang. He's got that typical stubble that says he's worked too much overtime, a lit cigarette and hand tapping against the desk. Oh yes, he's been listening to the phone ring for a while now. But he has a bad feeling that it's that crazy lady who has been ringing him up with a conspiracy about how there's an invisible zombie plague rampaging across Twisted's streets now. Stealing people's thoughts. This would be the fifteenth call today from her, and he's not falling for it. But no one else is dealing with it. Damn it, why are they so understaffed? In the end, his foot accidentally knocks the phone off the hook when he gets up to get a coffee- and noticing it dangling... he swears and reluctantly puts it to his ear. "... Hello? Invisible zombies?" A droll tone in his voice.
A soft chuckle can be heard from the other side. After a moment a very calm, collected voice begins to speak very carefully and clearly. "No, not yet. We'll have to add that to the list though. Seriously, though I need to speak to the person who wrote the article called 'Twisted City Warzone' awhile back. Trilby Trang, I believe. He is indeed available, is he not?"
Trilby Trang reaches up with a hand and tilts his hat, settling back into his chair and resting a well worn shoe on a drawer handle. "Ah, I remember that story..." It was one of the last before the news completely dried up, Trilby thinks to himself bitterly. What a slow news month! "... He's speaking right now. Got a complaint?" There's been a few about it. But hopefully it's more news! He tries not to get his hopes up, but it's tough. He's ready to lead with a dead end story on a man who claims he can predict Twisted's weather patterns with a few sticks, a bunsen burner and a black pig.
The man continues, "A complaint? No... Mr Trang, I have a proposition for you. You may recall I wrote a letter in response to that about the true name of this city in which your very offices are located." He pauses briefly as if to lick his lips. "I believe there are reasons why the name of the city is being withheld and if you'll give me a moment of your time, I believe I can prove them..."
Trilby Trang hears the lip-licking and has an eerie feeling if he goes and follows this lead, he might get jumped in the red light district. o O ( Do I dare take that chance? ) Well, if he doesn't get a good story soon he'll be working the district, so it's a moot issue. "Real name of the city, eh? Sure, sounds interesting. Where did you want to meet? And your name?" He reaches out and grabs a notepad and a pen, putting out his cigarette. Let's see what lady luck has thrown him this time.
A long pause is heard as the man thinks things over. "Albert Wesker, former head of the Raccoon City Police Department S.T.A.R.S. Unit." He almost seems smug as he announces that, but then what does he have to hide? "As for a place to meet, I could be outside your offices if you prefer. Right now, in fact. Anywhere else is fine as well..."
Trilby Trang has a puzzled expression on his face that no one else can see. S.T.A.R.S? "Skimpy Teen Avengers Righting Society.... Raccoon City?" Perhaps the Raccoon is the magical pet. Trilby reaches up and rubs his eyebridge. Wait... he's been chasing vigilantes far too long. Perhaps it's a regular special division. "... I'll be right down!" Slamming the phone down, kicking off the desk, almost tripping as he rushes to his feet and runs downstairs. Or at least a normal person would. No- Trilby opens a window and jumps right out! "The news never sleeps!" If Mr Wesker is on the street below, he'll notice a man hit the ground with a cracking noise and tumble to his feet, hastily dusting himself off. Ever heard of stairs?
Wesker may not already be waiting below for him, but as Trilby dusts himself off a tall man wearing a black trench coat and sunglasses seems to appear from the shadows cast by neighboring buildings. Putting away a small cellphone, Albert begins to clap. "Brilliant entrance, a bit hap-hazard, but I must certainly say my opinion of you is changing." Adjusting his mirrored sunglasses, the mysterious man then offers a hand to shake. "Albert Wesker. I believe we spoke on the phone?" A sly grin crosses is lips as he waits to see if the offer is taken.
Trilby Trang grabs onto his hat - or is it his head? - rather pointedly as he then looks over curiously at the clapping noise. He then raises his eyes as Wesker talks, as if absorbing each and every word. To be expected. He reaches out a hand and shakes firmly back. This fellow looks shady... but sometimes they're the best sort. "Trilby Trang, though you already know my name. You're much younger than I expected." What did Trilby expect in those few minutes between talking upstairs and during the leap?
"I understand you want to talk... about the true name of the city?" Whipping out a notepad and clicking the pen. Doesn't waste any time, does he?
Wesker's eyebrow is seen arching above the upper rim of his glasses, "Impressive indeed." As Trilby gets right to the point his smile widens, "Yes... I do." He gestures for the reporter to walk with him and begins setting off in a seemingly random direction at a slow and easy to keep up with pace. "Old habits die hard, you see. When I arrived on Twisted Street I began investigating. I had to know the nature of this place I'd found myself in, and of course as any good detective I began to look beyond the surface. Where I come from there where a number of competing pharmaceutical companies such as Tricell, the Umbrella Corporation, or Medical Mechanica. There where always... suspicious incidents related to the companies that would come across our police reports but never anything we could do more than speculate about. That's what lead me to redouble my efforts when I should behold a Medical Mechanica emblem etched into the sides of some of the buildings in the ruins..." Eager to talk, isn't he? It's hard to judge if he just gets that carried away, or if he is just starved for human contact. At least he seems confident about what he goes on about.
Trilby Trang walks of course with Wesker as he's furiously scribbling each and every word, though he takes the time to look up at him and not every now and again. Inwardly, he's cursing. o O ( Damn it, he's using such long words to explain everything... the readers will never understand him if I quote him directly! ) Time to ask questions, chewing on the end of his pen for a moment. "... Not similar, exactly alike? How many have you found around the ruins?" Trilby doesn't seem to mind if Wesker talks at length. In fact, he seems to encourage it. In Trilby's mind, it's interesting... but it hasn't completely gripped him yet. These marks could have been set up by a Medical Mechanica member who visited Twisted and set up shop, after all.
Wesker smiles again at the question. "Enough to cause concern. Medical Mechanica was often eager to make itself known, to portray itself as a friend to the general public and often it's products reflected as such. The puzzling part was that we could never put together a list of any employees of the company. It was clearly there, and it's products would find their way to the stores and markets, but there was never any evidence of anyone signing for them. We could never deduce why there was such a need for secrecy." Pointing towards a random building one can clearly see the letters 'MM' etched into the building above eye level in a small circle. "Their hand was in everything they could manage. Health products, charitable donations... they even produced medical robots to help in homes and hospitals. But if no one was collecting any money for them, and no one was producing the product, why bother with it all?" Crossing his arms, Wesker shakes his head slowly. "There where only four factories on my world which represented Medical Mechanica, so I began asking about those cities here. Curiously no one seemed willing to discuss the matter. In fact, when I mentioned Medical Mechanica people either refused to speak with me further, or had never head of them to begin with..."
Trilby Trang continues to write diligently and has scant moments to decipher what Wesker is telling him in between madly recording what he's saying. Still, it's very... odd. There's so many questions to ask. "... So this company, Medical Mechanica, was distributing and running public relations... a nice face... yet there was no one collecting profit and the business operations were near impossible to discover about? And they've got markings here... and people are being evasive about the topic." Seems like the natural conclusion is a little incredible... but this is Twisted. "... So, I assume this was not the end of your investigation?" Mr Wesker sounds like a resourceful man to Trilby, like he's stumbled onto something big already.
Wesker has to wonder why someone like Trilby Trang doesn't just carry around a tape recorder, not that he's going to slow down his speech or shorten his sentences for anyone. "Would you simply leave things as they where without pursing the truth to it's fullest extent? Understanding the truth is one of the things that drive me, and I suspect you as well. Going with what I knew already I continued to research everything I could before I made a discovery. There is lore here which talks about someone who stood up against Medical Mechanica on one of the worlds that connect to Twisted Street. A so-called Pirate King called Atomsk who got in the way of their plans and nearly destroyed a city in the process." He pauses to glance at the spot he's been leading Trilby to. A wall of stacked cars and debris blocking the entrance to an alleyway or something. It's not the kind of thing that would warrant attention in a place like this. "The city became a focal point in a massive wave of energy caused by Atmosk's wake and the Medical Mechanica building was nearly destroyed in the process. But from what I can find, the city in question shortly vanished from the map for reasons no one seems to understand..."
Trilby Trang is writing in wonderful shorthand! Or... looks like scribbles. Which is disconcerting for anyone peering sneakily over his shoulder to see if he's accurately writing down what they're saying, or just making it up. It looks closer to Egyptian than any real language. Then again, it's Twisted, he very may be writing in ancient dialects. How old -is- Trilby, anyway? No one can remember when he arrived... or how he's survived this long acting as he has. "... Atomsk?" Sounds very 'Twistedesque'. You start to realize after a while that Twisted has it's own strange dialect and naming rules. And themes. Sort of like a culture for this unique place touching all worlds and times. "... So, if I'm following things correctly, you believe this is that city?" It seems not to far a leap that the history of that city and that Wesker was offering him the truth of this city leads to said conclusion. "Did you find out anything else?"
Wesker smiles, "Oh yes. If I'm right I've found proof that this is indeed the city in question." He adjusts his glasses again as he places a hand on the wall of junk before them. "The Medical Mechanica buildings all shared a common item. They all resembled giant irons, irons that when in use bellowed large amounts of steam in the sky like a dense fog every few hours. As the stories go, before Atmosk's arrival there was so much fog that it hid the sky from view at all hours of the day, disorienting those that lived there, making them believe their lives where worthless..." He turns his head towards the reporter and his eyebrow arches once again. "Tell me, Trilby... have you ever seen anything quite like that?"
Trilby Trang hmms and stops writing all of a sudden, bringing his thumb and pointing finger to his chin and stroking it rather thoughtfully. "Yes... yes... there's fog in some of the city, and a lot of people think their lives are completely worthless... wait... no, that could be any city's slum district!" Shaking his head as he's caught up in the romantic fantasy of it all, tilting his hat and staring at Wesker again. This time he expertly spins his pen in his hand, rolling over his fingers. "... While there's a lot of old things in the city ruins, I've never seen a giant iron. It /could/ have been moved, but something that large... you'd imagine it would leave its mark. Most of the city base structure is intact. There's no giant `iron burn', so to speak." Damn, so much for a good story. Trilby curses his luck. Another invisible zombie.
Wesker's smile resurfaces as Trilby gives his answer. Balling his free hand into a fist he turns and smashes it into the stacked garbage blocking what reveals to be another street as the chunks of ruined cars and rusted metal are blown out of the way as if hit from a wrecking ball. Looking over his glasses, his face hidden away from the reporter behind him, Wesker's smile widens as they gaze upon a ruined building resting unevenly in the broken rock around it. From here the river which runs along the park is clearly visible as if one could simply swim over to it on a warm day. Stepping forwards to inspect the building closer, Wesker pushes his glasses up and speaks aloud. "Hidden to make people forget.. a building without doors or windows lifted and dropped from a height greater than the Tokyo Tower. Mr Trang? Welcome to Mabase..."
Trilby Trang is interrupted from his cursing as Wesker smashes away all that rubble, the first shock, that makes him almost drop his pen as it flies- he instinctively catches it between two fingers. "... Whoops! What are you...?" His shock is suddenly compounded as he turns around and stares with wide eyes, tilting his head up so his view is obscured by his trademark rimmed hat. "... Ah, that's certainly new." Trilby keeps a professional air. No, not quite, he's excited the more he looks at it. The thrill of something unknown, revealed, exposed. The love of any journalist. This will make a great yarn. "... Mabase... damn, I'm going to need to get a construction specialist in." To you know, substanciate the story. But even a layman can see this is no normal structure. Seems Mr Wesker wasn't a crazy man with a penchant for dark alley dress after all. "Hidden to make people forget... who would hide such a thing? And for -how- long?" Gives him the chills even thinking about who, or what, might be involved in hiding something this big.
Wesker tilts his head as he listens, finally shaking his head at a surprising loss for words. "THAT is unfortunately as far as I've gotten. After all this I'm still no closer to understanding what Medical Mechanica IS or where it came from." Crossing his arms again, the black clad man turns to face Trilby. "...and that is also why I've chosen to come to you. I hope that by exposing this city for what it truly is, we might finally start getting some answers. I've become a bit of an admirer of your work, so of course you became my logical conclusion as to who to share all of this with. Perhaps between the two of us we can finally unlock this great mystery." His face is awash with seriousness. Only someone who actually knew him would see how strange it is for Wesker to be asking help from an outside source, especially a member of the press. However his sudden show of strength is equally odd.
Trilby Trang seems to flip the pen around and slips it into the binder of the notepad, then slipping it into his jacket pocket. He then pulls a cigarette packet out from another, tapping it and putting it in his mouth... before glancing over and offering Wesker one if he smokes before putting it away. He pulls a lighter out and lights the cigarette, looking thoughtful all the while at Wesker. Not quite cool, but energetic. Enthusiastic. "... An admirer? Well, unlocking mysteries is my job, of course. People in this city and elsewhere on Twisted are desperate for answers. They've been deprived of what comforts and support networks they have, thrown into a harsh world were fiends walk along ever changing streets. Knowing this city, even a little bit, might make it that much more livable. Knowing about the place you call home. That's /invaluable/ for those who have lost everything." Inhaling and breathing out, a deep breath, before pointing at the monolith. "... Medical Mechanica, I've got a few sources. I'm sure I'll be able to ask around and dig up something. With something to work off, I can guarantee you we'll find something out - even if it's that there's nothing to find out at all. Which I doubt, given the appearance of that damn thing." And then he pulls out a card from a pocket, handing it to Wesker. It's got a private number for a work mobile.
Wesker shakes his head at the offered cigarette, but nods at the conversation as he listens. Taking the card he tucks it into a coat pocket. "I'm a big fan of surveillance. If something happens on the streets, I've probably got footage of it somewhere. If you find something and find you might need an ally, just yell my name in the streets and I'll likely be there." He gestures towards Trilby's jacket pocket. "As far as what I've told you and shown you... feel free to take credit for it. I assume you understand the power of anonymity. But if I can help somehow, I'm more than happy to." His watch beeps abruptly causing his face to frown angrily. "...and now it seems I must leave. Something urgent requires my attention."
Trilby Trang drats. Anonymous. That means Wesker doesn't want to be quoted openly. Ah well. Trilby nods and tilts his hat at Wesker, "Something urgent, eh? Another time." He's got to get busy on this new information. Who to start with first?
Wesker watches his companion walk off before taking one last glance at the Medical Mechanica building and narrowing his eyes at it. "...what secrets do you hold?" The air ripples around him and suddenly he vanishes...