Target: Dark

Meetings with The Queen were never face-to-face, as far as many who worked and lived in her kingdom knew at the very least. Everything was done through an intermediary. Men and women with secure tightbeam transmission links would be her "mouth" often standing in for her at various meetings of the upper management. Anything less was dealt with by her lieutenants, except for The Wendigo due to him being more of a rabid dog she let loose to cause havoc when she so desired.

Which was why Marcel was so utterly scared and curious when he stepped into her chambers. Marcel was a merc for hire. An assassin, most would say. He was the best at what he did. Marcel had started out as a Citra-Corp "security consultant" which was a PC way of saying he was a corporate assassin. The job had its perks. Good health and dental. Which was needed what with the cybernetic upgrades ranging from arms with friggin endurium blades hidden in his wrists to the layer of bullet-proof metamaterials they'd woven into his skin. Though nice, he had soon decided to go independent and expand his clientele beyond one single mega-corp. And soon he found himself on The Crimson Queen's payroll. He may have traded one evil entity for another, but The Queen paid more and provided him with a steady stream of pretty sim girls for him to play with as he saw fit.

It was the best gig he'd ever had.

Even still, when he saw The Queen, sitting in a large and comfortable-looking leather wingback chair set against a large transparent aluminum window with the dull evening sky pouring a warm reddish light into the room, he was terrified.

The Queen was beautiful. With long brown hair that flowed like dark water down beyond her shoulders. Her skin was tanned and flawless and much of it was on display as she wore a white gown with red trim complete with a plunging neckline that went well beyond her navel. Her eyes were light brown as well, almost gold in color when the light hit them the right way. And they watched him with a focus very much like that of a big cat assessing its prey.

Her smile was sharp and her deep red lips curled. "Thank you for coming, Marcel."

He lowered his head in fealty. The man-servant at the entrance had told him that submissive behavior was preferred when speaking to The Queen. He did not speak. The man-servant had warned him not to speak either...

"I've called you to my home to discuss a very important job with you." The Queen spoke. Her voice smoky and seductive. "A fool has put a hit out someone I'd prefer stay alive a little longer. I need you to take care of the bounty hunters who have been tasked with carrying out the hit."

Marcel remained silent.

"You may speak, Marcel. Honestly, the damn servants around here love to scare every person I bring in..." She sounded amused and annoyed at the same time.

"Who am I hunting?" Was all Marcel felt was necessary to know.

"The contract was given to a piddling little bounty hunting company called 'Dark Bail Bonds.' It looks like a new one given the only employees are the founders. A father and daughter..." Her words trailed off and she smiled... a hint of irony flitted behind her eyes. "Jack and Joanna Dark... I want them eliminated immediately. I don't care what methods you use. All I care is they be removed before they attempt to ruin my Game..."

So it was The Game... Marcel had heard the stories. The Queen had a pet project she kept tightly under wraps. Rumors abound on just what it was she was up to. That it was a secret project she was developing with her chemist, Lanstrom. A super-dragon or an army of human-dragon hybrids (though many thought that one to be silly). Others noted funds being funneled to strange things like personal trainers and teachers. Inspiring rumors she was training her supposed successor to the throne. Though Marcel had never heard of an heir being born... There were some in The Kingdom he'd met who claimed The Queen had been with child at some point... But they had been old booze hounds who liked to tell crazy stories of their time in The Queen's service. Marcel had no interest in rumors and horror tales.

"It will be done, my Queen..." Marcel said firmly. Suddenly he found The Hand standing before him with a datapad. That goddamned ghoul and his weird cybernetic suit and helmet... He hated The Hand. Marcel accepted the datapad and turned on his heel.

Before he left The Queen's chambers The Queen spoke up again. "Good hunting, Marcel..."

And once Marcel had left The Queen turned to The Hand and said: "Bring in the next one..."

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