|A Fourth Seat on the Council|
You walk into a very large restaurant with high ceilings that leave the rafters exposed. Fluorescent lamps hang from the ceiling, adding light to the place and tables. Windows adorn the sides of the place, looking out onto the chaos that is Twisted. On some of the walls are paintings, photographs, and some holograms of different B-movies, and a number of people who tend to visit the UR as they're singing karaoke. The hardwood bar rests at the back of the place, it's surface polished and shiny and all together spotless (most of the time). Behind the bar are various beverages that are served and a giant mirror. There seems to be an inordinate amount of different drinks. A large stage rests in one of the corners of the restaurant, with an amazing sound system and a few microphones strung about it. Multiple round wood tables are in the room, and a swing door leads into the kitchen. Another door leads to the dance club, and another to the gym. And of course, there's an exit to the outside. A large fireplace rests in one of the walls, with a beautiful stone chimney that flows up and out. A long spiral staircase rests near the entrance to the kitchen, leading to a second floor balcony that overlooks the UR itself. The lights up there are a bit dimmer than those down below.
There have been many days where something extraordinary happened in the Usual Restaurant. Days where dark fiends have risen from the pits of hell to consume the flesh of the living. Days where all-powerful overgods have descended from on high to wreak havoc with the fabric of reality itself. Days where pigs flew, cars walked, and pelicans spoke cantonese. This... is none of those days. Crux Caedon is sitting at a table in the usual restaurant, sipping out of a water bottle. He's leaning back in his chair, with his feet propped up on the table, and a hand resting on the hilt of his sheathed sword. The gloved hand palms the blade with the familiarity of an old friend, and Crux rests with his eyes closed for the moment. Of course, whether they're open or not makes little difference; he always seems to be aware of his surroundings, even if he's sometimes oblivious to other things. "It's so dead in here... I hope something happens soon, I don't even care what it is." Famous last words, Nai-- Crux.
As always Diablo can't ignore an opportunity to be dramatic. Taking advantage of the setup Senior Diablo arrives in a sudden flash of black flames rising up out of the floor. Standing behind him, Caliga, but we'll come back to him in a moment. Senior Diablo looks on at Crux behind his pupil-less black eyes, sipping a wine glass brought along more for effect than thirst. Once the smoke from his flashy-entrance fades the demon smirks, nodding his head towards the advent. "Well… I suppose I owe you a dollar, Caliga. He was easier to find I'd assume." Wait. The devil should know exactly how hard it is to find someone. Maybe it's better not to question moments like this...
A slight chuckle comes from Caliga as he glances at the Advent of Light. "See, no one ever believes me when I say that Crux is the easiest of all of Twisted's denizens to find. He's like a Bright-Lite. Just missing all of the little colored pegs." He nimbly makes his way over to Crux, pulling up a chair directly next to him and quicking sitting in it. "Oh, hiya Crux! Fancy seein' you here!"
With all the excitement and enthusiasm of a rock, Crux cliches. "Oh my goodness. What are the odds?" He shifts his boots a bit on the table, and nods at Caliga once before craning his head back to look at Diablo. "Did you come here just to give Caliga a dollar, or is there somethin' I can do for you, hornball?" ... That makes twice. Twice has he made fun of the horns. He's got an attitude, he does.
Senior Diablo's eyes narrow, the smirk falling from his lips. "Y'know what? Maybe I should just leave you be. Let you and your little pup have a conversation. She's plugged into Hell's library you know. She's eager to tell you ALL about it." Oh yes, he's admitting to Gegoshi whether Crux realizes it now or not. "I came to make a proposition to you, but I get enough attitude from this one already." His eyes glance at Caliga as the word 'this' falls across his thin lips. For a brief moment one eye widens and he turns towards Caliga looking him up and down. "…are you SURE your not somehow related to Mr Jordan? I swear you two are more alike the longer you've stayed on the Council." Huh? What forth wall?
"Nope. I just helped him find a better place, and you know I do so enjoy making you scream in rage when I manage to do something you never even saw." Caliga grins at Diablo before glancing over at Crux, a solemn look growing on his face. "Poor Diablo. He's been dealing with Gegoshi non-stop. I think its managed to make him a bit more tolerable. Its a wonder what a good woman can do to an omnipotent being..."
With a light shrug, Crux shakes his head. "I'll take a request from you over torture any day, Red." He glances at Caliga and cracks a bit of a grin. "Oh? He made her into a woman now, did he?" He turns his eyes back to Diablo with the grin remaining. "I didn't know you had it in you, you sly devil." The two C's should stay far away from each other. Their cooperation is a virtual guarantee of universal collapse. Or a collective pun so large that it begins to develop its own gravitational field, consuming everything in its radius as it gets worse and worse and ... yeah, you get the idea. "...Oh, right. You were saying?"
Senior Diablo is more a bone-yellow than red in color, but that's something else entirely. Gesturing towards one of the empty chairs at the table, he raises an eyebrow seeking permission but because it's no fun to wait he sits down no matter what the response. "Your overgrown pleasure droid is the least of my concerns at the moment, but I'll have you know -she's- become much more manageable since we connected her to the library." He glances at Caliga again with an air of annoyance. Perhaps he's just worried what the man would do when he looks away? "I've gone ahead and asked her to sit on Twisted's new Council instead of being nothing more than a tool. The child Devi has been asked as well, a necessary evil thanks to the Maniac being on the Hell Council - not that people don't seem to flock to her anyways." Running a fingertip over the rim of his glass, it seems to refill itself allowing him to take another drink. "I've also made a proposition to Trinune to sit on the Council. Payment for our Street, you understand. But as Caliga here is a constant annoyance and you two 'work' so well together.. I came to ask if you would join. Surely it would be easier than your other methods of watching me."
"Oh sit down D. Cruxie isn't going to go all batshit psycho on 'ya for grabbin' a chair. It's his girl you have to watch out for." Caliga rolls his eyes slightly at Diablo as the horned demon stands there trying to be polite. He grins slightly however as Diablo lays out his proposition. "So THATS what you were doing down there for so long." He scratches his chin slightly before speaking once more. "So Trini really DID create Twisted Street. You should tell NNy he's right. He'd never know how to take that. Being told that he was actually right. Oooo.. Actually, let me. I have to see that look on his face!" He rubs his hands together slightly, a mischivious grin slowly creeping upon his face. A quick shake to his head brings him back to the matters at hand. "So, you want Crux to effectively be what I am? A token member, that comes and goes as they please, and does what they want? Crux, if you don't take this offer, I'm going to totally tell Kalean how to find your little pocket dimension."
"MY overgrown pleasure droid?" Crux manages a tone of complete incredulity at Diablo's response, and leans back forward once the devil is at the table near Caliga so that the advent can face them both at the same time. His boots are still on the table, though. Irreverent. "Didn't we have this intricate plan on how she was your problem now? I seem to recall you thanking me for it and everything." He snickers a bit at that, and if one has superhuman hearing, they might swear Crux muttered 'sucker' under his breath. But even then, it could be a trick of the wind. ... Aren't they inside? Once Diablo details his request, however, Crux grimaces and leans his head back again. "And what makes you think I'm watching you? I'm in a restaurant, having a drink. Clearly, I am a master of espionage and information. Did you know that ninety-nine percent of scientists agree that water is wet? Fascinating stuff." He takes a swig from the bottle, and doesn't bother looking back at Caliga or Diablo. "You're going to have to do a lot better than threatening me if you want me to sit in on..." He shudders a bit as he manages the word, and sets the bottle down on the table just a little too hard. "...meetings." Yes, who doesn't dread meetings? "Hasn't anyone told you? I'm not afraid of death, and I loathe responsibility. Also, I'm retired."
Senior Diablo is busy ignoring Caliga as he speaks, but nods when Trinune is commented upon. "Johnny has spent enough time both insane and sane, sometimes at the same time. He says many things at random which turn out to be completely true. The dammed do it as well. Usually the comments of the insane are where I begin searching when I don't understand the answers to a situation." He pauses a moment, letting his words sink in. "…tell him if you wish, but I wouldn't be surprised if he has no idea what you refer to." A self-satisfied smirk on his face remains until Crux begins to speak again. Senior Diablo says, "I wasn't threatening you, but after your 'sisters' instigation, I'm allowed a little retribution. What I offer you is simply a chance to keep an eye on things - and don't bother trying to deceive me into thinking you don't do so already. If you aren't, you've pondered it. If you haven't, you will. You are the only person who's managed to simply 'walk' out of Hell without some other plan or purpose in place held with anyone other than yourself - possibly ever. I've never assumed the limit to your capabilities and I find it best to plan for the extreme. This is another of those instances. Sooner or later you'll have a problem with something done regarding the Twisted Street and rather than barge in trying to heroically change things, I'm giving you the option to simply arrive and veto it. I don't expect a Council that sits in a room and does nothing, I expect a Council that goes out and deals with problems when they arrive. Thus the need for the balancing act. Good with bad, powerful with weak. For this 'Street to survive the people who are in control need to be able to help when the people have no one else to turn to." He pauses, letting his words drift across the table. "…unless your too afraid of the concept..."
"Sure, steal my fun. Jerk." Caliga grumbles slightly at Diablo when he comments upon the Maniac, but shrugs his shoulders as Diablo once more becomes longwinded. "Cruxie. You're about as far from being retired as I am with not being a bad father. Isn't that right, 'comrade'? Besides. /I/ need you Cruxie. I've already decided to do my part for the afterlife once again, or else I'd be beating Hornhead over there into submission into giving me that spot on the Twisted Council. A difference can be made. Plus, you'd be far better then I would. I mean, you are the Advent of Light. You exist to be a thorn in peoples side like I do. Or else Kalean wouldn't be so annoyed with all of your interferein' with stuff."
After letting Diablo's speech playout, Crux just laughs and turns his glance to Caliga with a shrug. "Now I'm a coward with a..." He holds up a hand and makes quotation marks in the air with it. "...sister. I swear, you two could teach Extinction a thing or two about being bad with negotiations." He's smirking a bit, obviously he's just playing around and didn't take the 'afraid' comment too seriously. "No matter how you spin it, Heavy D, Little C, you're asking me to sit through..." Another shudder. "...meetings. And you're doing it all wrong, too. See, you have to open with /payment/. I'm going to do whatever I want, whether I have an official title or no. Telling me I'm suddenly allowed to? Not. Payment." He looks to Caliga again, then back to Diablo, before raising an eyebrow expectantly. "Quit holding out on me." Since when was Crux a greedy son of a gun?
Senior Diablo raises an eyebrow in return. "What would someone who seems to have no need of funds want for payment? You don't seem to need money, or power… what else is left? I didn't come to BRIBE you. There are other people possibly more deserving for that seat than you." He stares a moment, trying to decide if this is truly worth the effort or not. In the end his curiosity gets the better of him. "What is it you want, Advent? What sort of 'payment' would interest you?"
"Fine. Sheesh." Caliga reaches into his pocket and pulls out a yo-yo, setting it on the table. "The yo-yo of King Hesanidiotifhegoesforthis. Made entirely from mithrel, with a diamond encrusted line, it was said to have been used to win the war with Deargodwhatthehellamidoing. Its one of my most prized posessions. But you can't have my jewel encrusted battleshorts. Those are far to important. And comfortable."
/Completely/ ignoring Caliga, Crux puts his boots down when Diablo asks what he wants. He doesn't just slip them off the table, he puts them down /through/ the table. Ordinarily this would cause all sorts of mess, but they actually seem to pass through the surface like they were ethereal. They come to rest on the floor just like the front two legs of his chair, and he puts his elbows on the table, folding his hands up under his chin. Obviously, he was waiting for this. "Of course you didn't come to bribe me, you came to ask a favor, and I'm telling you the price. I want the most intelligent people you have working on figuring out how to undo a low-level personality inversion. I want help figuring out how to put Locke back the way she was before Extinction got its mitts inside her head, and I want that help with no strings, clauses, or caveats attached. You agree, I'll deal with your..." He cricks his neck slightly. "...meetings. You disagree? I walk. Clear enough?" ... Well look who thinks he's in a position to bargain. And he drives a pretty straightforward, hard to haggle with bargain, too.
Senior Diablo sits down his drink, his hands crossed Gendo-style as he listens. "Well… if that's all…" Wait, is this really something so trivial for him? "I'll try to tempt you a little further. I'll remove whatever restrictions you haven't already found a way around in Hell. The Library, the Labyrinth… Leviathan." The air seems to grow stale at the mention of the last word. "You can even deal with Xipe Totec himself if your so inclined. If Hell does anything well, it's to tempt with knowledge. You can go anywhere, do anything, and choose anyone you want to help you so long as it is only for this goal you ask for. Once you achieve it you leave Hell well enough alone save for your own morbid curiosity. No digging out any other secrets, and no dragging anyone out of Hell that isn't ment to be." Why would he put so much faith in Crux not to do something horrible? "As long as THOSE conditions are met, I assure you no plans will be made towards you or including you without you knowing about it. Of course, with access to the Library you'd be able to see if I was deceiving you first hand anyways. Just remember… I can not control Xipe or his dying God, and neither should you or anyone else try. Some things are better left alone."
Caliga says, "He'd do as he wanted anyways. Besides. Even if he still said no, I'd still sneak his ass in to get what he wanted." Caliga grumbles slightly as he crosses his arms, glaring directly at the Advent of Light. "I already told you that I'd help you in anyway I can, Cruxie-chan."
Crux looks at Senior Diablo as the devil speaks, and manages the most impressive thing anyone educated has probably ever done. He sighs, unimpressed, at the offer of what amounts to pretty much all the knowledge that exists. It's a /very/ convincing sigh. "Please. You can't tempt me with knowledge. What was it, knowledge of everything said and done since time immemorial? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt." ... It's entirely possible he's not lying. About the t-shirt anyway. "I didn't say I wanted the knowledge. I said I wanted you to get your best people on it. In all of history, recorded and otherwise, a low-level inversion has /never/ been undone. All the knowledge in existence won't help one whit. I want you on this, too, and I want you /driven/, you word-twisting horned devil. And I want it string-free. I don't want /conditions/ I have to meet to prevent you from taking the man-hours out of my hide." Crux folds his hands together, and gets a stony look on his face. "They say never deal with the devil. Forget that. 'They' never met me. If you make a deal with me, you will live up to it, and so will I. And we'll be all friendly. Chummy, even. But if you try anything untoward, I will strike you down with the fury of God's own thunder, and I will strike Him down with the fury of yours, and anyone else that gets in my way will get the leftovers." ... He just threatened the Devil, and he used the G word. ... And threatened God, if one happened to be listening. The black wrap around his left hand pulses with a green light, as if the crystal in his palm were anxious. Crux's eyes don't flinch. "...I assume you can handle that, and maybe a little ego-bruising, since you're pretty much the King around here. You have all of eternity to work off steam because an uppity little silver-haired pissant called you out and refused to be civil. I don't have all of eternity to save Locke." ... Called it like he sees it. Damn. And Caliga's left by the wayside. Poor guy. All he wanted to do was help.
Senior Diablo's eye twitches. "Did I, or did I not say 'choose anyone you want to help you'. I can't guarantee something that has never been done before can be properly orchestrated, but if there IS a way I'm granting you that, WITHOUT you having to second guess whomever I put in place to make your request. I would rather not be in charge of such a venture, I have many things which need to be attended to first - I was created for a purpose after all and betraying my duties is one line I will not cross. Did it even occur to you that with Gegoshi plugged into the Library you could simply have HER access the data you need? Have HER draw out the people best suited for this task?" He reaches into his robes and pulls out the new G-pad given to him and sets it on the table, clicking a few buttons in the process. "Surely something of such magnitude would be easy for her. Unless you'd rather try to knock me down another peg or two first?"
"The Maniac." Caliga's eyes suddenly open wide as he jumps to his feet. "Diablo, the wastelocks pretty much remove unwanted elements, right?" He turns and stares directly at the Devil, looking him directly in the eyes. He suddenly starts to laugh, running his hands through his hair. "I.. I think I have the solution. Crux, accept the position on Twisted's council. Trust me on this. I'll.. I'll explain every last thing to you soon. Very soon. Just please, trust me. This.. this could work. It could possibly work.. I have to talk to Faeruhn... and go to Nameksei to see Moori.. Old bastard is still alive and kicking... Then.. then back to /my/ hell..." He starts pacing around, only to nod his head. "Yeah.. yeah.. This is it."
After Diablo finishes, Crux's stony look changes just a bit, and he wears the look of one who realizes he may have just been a bit more aggressive than he intended to be. Man's got a short fuse, these days. He should fix that, at some point. "...Point taken, it was a cheap shot. I'm under a modicum of stress." He doesn't apologize, just acknowledges his error. After all, he's not /sorry/. The devil was openly trying to tempt him to an overly wordy contract. He's not remotely sorry. But he did overreact. "...But in any case, what makes you think I trust Gegoshi? You think I can look right at you and see that you've not altered her or done anything to her to make her un-trustworthy since we made the switch?" AC-TU-AL-LY.... ... no. He probably doesn't think that. Regardless of whether it's true or not. "...I don't want to second-guess you, but more importantly, I want it done. If I warned you in haste, then I erred, but..." Still no apology, other than an admission of guilt. And then Caliga speaks, so there will probably never BE an apology. Crux listens, and then nods his head slowly, grasping at least some of those terms. "...You're a crazy bastard." That doesn't sound like a complaint, really. Closer to a compliment. "...Fine. I accept Caliga's request, then." He glances at Diablo, and then is suddenly all smiles and geniality. "You and I don't have to make a deal, so we can remain chums. Good pals, right? You want a vaguely warmed frankfurter?" ... The hell? ... Metaphorically?
Senior Diablo sweatdrops heavily, his head dropping down and his body going numb in the process. All that goes through the demon's mind are the images of the dammed souls of his original Hell taunting him and laughing at him for trying to do his duties. This Devil seldom receives the respect he's due. After a moment he shakes his head, reclaiming his drink from the table and taking a loooong gulp of it leaving nothing behind. "People like you…" He stares into his glass wishing it would refill on it's own, "…lead me to drink." Dropping the glass into the ether, he reaches for the G-Pad he'd sat down on the table and clicks a few random buttons until it beeps at him. "Gegoshi? We're going to need the Council chambers restored if that's a possibility…" Without even trying to see if the message is received or not, he tucks it away into his robes which shift slightly, seemingly on their own, like… wings… "Well, if we're done here then I shall be off and let you two decide things amongst yourselves." He offers his hand to Crux to shake. "But if Caliga's idea fails our agreement is still open. I don't make offers I don't intend to follow through with."
"It won't, because I can make sure it works.. I just.. will have to convince Kaldrath to step up if they were to crack.. Yeah.. He could handle twenty one dragons..." Caliga suddenly starts muttering to himself, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a small handheld radar. "So glad I 'borrowed' this from Capsule Corporation. Why didn't I think of this before now..." He grins slightly before nodding once more. "Yeah. It'll work. I'll also have to find Tabitha as well.."
With a headtilt and a stare, Crux ponders for a moment, before reaching out and taking the Devil's right hand. Not off, mind you, just to shake it. It's important to be clear about these kind of things. "You know I wouldn't threaten you if I didn't think you were a scary piece of work. You should take it as a compliment." He's just all happy and nice now, isn't he? God-damned happy-go-lucky Advent. Someone's going to end up killing him in a terrible horrible fashion. ... Again.
Senior Diablo's eyes flash briefly from black to silver as Crux shakes his hand, returning black again afterwards. "No, I do take it as a compliment. But where would the fun be if I admitted things like that all of the time?" He steps away and bows to the two of them. "Good luck…" Once again the black flames seem to engulf him, leaving nothing behind in their wake.
"All right Cruxie-chan. Open your hearin' holes, for its time for me to dump this straight on 'ya." Caliga grins slightly as he causes a slight ripple in the air to appear. "Come on, you're comin' with me. Time's of the essence. If Moori kicks the bucket before I get a chance to talk to him, then so help me, I'm going to blame you for it." He motions for the Advent to follow as he steps through the ripple, heading off to just where ever it is he thinks his plan will work.
Crux stands, and just stares at the ripple for a moment. Then, he unceremoniously dumps a small black cat out of a portal that he conjures just above his waiting hands. It gives a sarcastic sounding 'Nyaaa' before he dropkicks it into the ripple ahead of him. "Off you go, kuroneko. Freeloader." He follows in after a moment, presumably waiting to make sure no black scraps of fur come flying back out the portal. You never can be too careful about these kinds of things.