... no. No more quotes. Not today.
Not with what has happened in my rather long
Some of you have chosen initial disbelief. Denial. I can hardly blame you; it's hardly a pleasant fact to acknowledge, is it? Things aren't suppose to happen this way. People are supposed to die, leave the board, have some sort of... peace? Rest? Because whatever bloody deity is out there knows that we all don't get any of those two things. Requiescant in pace. Ha, what a joke. A divine joke. This universe has already been proven to be quite the cruel master...
... So. I'm not dead. That much is obvious, although I suppose it isn't; perhaps if I had been executed, the information would have been classified, leaving you all to think that I've simply vanished into (come on, "Joseph", focus...)
Yes. So. I apologize for my rather manic disposition. Between the kidnapping and my subsequent trial (by fire), I suppose things have been rather unstable. It only got worse when I got a certain proxy dropped on my doorstep by a face that I never expected to see again. Correction, wearing a face that I never expected to see again. You don't understand until he's right there. Standing right in front of you. You can feel yourself break into a cold sweat, nausea churning your breakfast in your stomach, fingernails curling into your fucking palms in an effort to look at this monster, this THING without turning on your heel and running as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
And the smile, that smile. The grin that spreads too wide as amber pinpricks almost glow out from the shadow of a red hood, inhuman, never ever blinking. Gazing downwards as if you're insignificant cockroach, a bug, no, not even that, you're a speck of dirt, nothing, nothing, nothing compared to-
for chrissakes my fingers will not stop shaking
Nightscream will be alright. Well, for any given measure of alright... there's only so much I can do myself. I'm not a Doctor, after all, so I can only really do what I know how to do and hope that It's body knows how to heal itself. At any rate, it's not DYING anymore, which is a good thing. Don't think I could go through watching another bloody person give up on life on my stretcher...
And in the crossfire of this? Dearie me, my tossing precious reader! Who wouldn't want to hear about my little escapade? My skirt with death, as it were? Though perhaps I'm being a tad bit melodramatic. Seems that despite the horrible experiences I've had with them previously, the Highers DO have some sense left in them. And because I am the generous sort of bloke, I've managed to get the transcript of my informal trial declassified.
Now if you have a memory span greater than a goldfish, you'll recall this particular incident in which I was to be tried and possibly executed for a crime that I certainly was not stupid enough to commit. And while I did state that a Higher up would be coming to the Cafe, at that moment I was not privy to the fact that when they submit your summons, you bloody well go to them. So imagine my surprise when the building I was ordered to report to was a nondescript office tower. Luckily, my impending death meant that I had dressed for the occasion, which of course meant the saddest, most worn clothing I could find.
You must keep in mind that I had no pride left to speak of. No hope. I have observed, recorded, and documented too many of these "trials" to even consider the possibility of my innocence being proclaimed.
I've watched to many people be killed on the spot to expect anything that left me breathing.
And so I walked. And then I waited, no, I hesitated, hovering my hand over the ordinary doorknob, feeling the world bend and twist around me...
"███████ . Have a seat. I trust you know the reason that you're here." Maybe some of you know him, maybe you don't. The first Crafter, the first man to figure out how to bend the blank spaces that our mutual employer leaves behind, the man who's looks are a closely kept secret because of who they resemble, and the implications of that... well, I'm hardly going to run my tongue. Call him what you like. Higher up. Highest. But at that moment, he was my judge, jury, and executioner.
"Of course." Three squads confirmed dead, one missing. Nothing to shake a stick at.
"And you realize the consequences of your actions, as well as the scope of the recovery."
"... that would imply, Sir, that I've done something wrong of my own will. And though I feel incredible empathy for those who have lost their lives, I can't hold myself more than slightly responsible."
But as he looked at me with those bored grey eyes, I knew it wouldn't be that easy.
"Perhaps I should be more specific. The actions of your squad, your handler, and yourself. The unauthorized assault. The late reports, the "side-projects"... you're our best and brightest, true, and the only of our best and brightest we allow to see the spotlight."
A pause. I can't remember if he even blinked in the silence between us. And it dragged on. And on. And bloody ON. I was almost sure that he expected me to say something else before he continued.
"███████ , I'm not concerned about the recovery, the lost lives, the usurping of authority or the property damage. We have people for that. What I want to know is what happened while you were gone, what they know, and how they intend to use it against us."
I wasn't quick to reply. Out of spite? Shame? Frustration?
"I don't know, Sir. I'm not exactly sure... I remember being taken from the Cafe, leaving the clue behind for my squad, being tased, over and over, but the rest is... blurry. Voices...? I was... in a straightjacket most of the time, and I... Judging from the state of my arms, I was drugged. Repeatedly. With what is anyone's guess. I know for sure that the one who took me was the elusive Daniel Goldstein. And... The sniper...? Trips... a... A colonel...? From the army, I know he's from the army... there's two others, just shady voices, they knew my real name, Sir, I'm not sure how..."
My only chance and I was convinced I blew it. I could feel my eyes close tightly, feel my fingers curl into the fabric of my jeans. Just waiting for the bullet. The killing blow.
"J-just appraising me - J-jesus christ..."
But it never came.
"Mmhmm. We'll have you see the Doctor, see if he can't do anything for you. Are you positive it was Mr. Goldstein?"
"Yes. Completely so. It couldn't have been anyone else with that bloody sneer..."
"And as for the information you divulged... how much of it is... compromising, and to what degree?"
"I can't remember. I don't even recall leaking any information, Sir."
"Nothing at all?"
Something in the back of my mind said that this entire spectacle was pathetic, that I was pathetic, that I should be more forceful, that I had nothing to hide. But the terror of waiting to die overpowered whatever doubt I held, whatever sliver of superbia I once possessed. In the face of your own mortality, you'll find that you're willing to do anything in order to live one more minute
The silence that followed was almost painful. The only thing I looked at was my own shoes, trainers muddy from rainy weather, specks of caked on dirt that I hadn't bothered to clean. Cracks in the rubber soles, pulled threads in the laces. I memorized every detail of those damn trainers because the silence must've lasted for hours. I nearly jumped a meter when he finally spoke.
"... You're aware that treason is punishable by death, correct?"
Anxiety welling in my chest. This was it.
"I'm not a traitor! I didn't do anything wrong!"
"Leaked information is leaked information. Three squads are dead as a result."
At that point, I had enough.
"We all serve a suited abomination. Squads die. For all we know, Goldstein hacked the servers like has has before. Perhaps he got the information from someone else while it was en route to the Organization. May I suggest Rhodes or Writer? They seem to preform insubordination like it's a fine art. The leak could've come from anyone. Don't be absurd."
His own eyes narrowed in what could be called mild annoyance.
"I assure you you're far from the first we've questions in regards to this situation, ███████ , now I suggest you do something about that tone of yours before I change my mind about what to do in regards to leak, and your potential role in it."
I could feel myself shrink back. God damn it all.
"... You do realize, of course, that this is all Protocol, nothing more."
Now THAT caught my bloody interest.
"... Now what, then?"
"Regardless, you're correct. There's no substantiating evidence that you're in any way involved in the information leak. We also cannot punish you for something that wasn't, in technicality, your own fault. Furthermore, you've obviously suffered physically and mentally from this experience. I cannot, with a good conscious, penalize you for your kidnapping."
Chest heaving up. Chest heaving down. I think I barely managed to suppress a nervous giggle.
"Easy, ███████ . You've been through quite an episode. I suggest you visit the good Doctor, he'll have you checked out. Perhaps he'll even be so generous as to give you some time off. And before you thank me, I'm only acting as I see fit. There's no need."
"A-and here I thought my career was over..."
"There's a reason why it's been decided by myself, Sherlock, and not your Handler. You've been a very valuable employee for a very long time. Had it been anybody else but yourself, my judgement may have been different. But you, my man, have shown nothing but promise and loyalty. I refuse to let you go so easily.
Good employees are difficult to come by. There's little more to it than that."
"Yes Sir. And... is there any reason, Sir, that the proxy known as ███████████ bears a rather... startling resemblance...?"
"That, ███████ , is a question your Handler may be more apt at answering than I."
... I was dismissed then, albeit ordered to see a Doctor for the re-emergence of my... condition. And that was that, I suppose. But something bothered me...
Are we only making these blogs as... advertisements? Intimidation factors? Why can't I remember any of my time in Moriarty's custody? What was I drugged with? How did my strategies end up in his hands in the first place. What the bloody hell happened? Why bring Redlight back now? Was Writer even aware of that tossing plan? Where is that bastard anyways? Why am I so fucking terrified of the answers to those questions?
... There are men and women behind the curtain, making us dance. With the power to bend worlds with their minds, their money, or even their influence. And most of us only have a hazy idea of who they are and what they want.
We all dance upon strings. I don't think any of us can afford to ignore that fact any longer.
And if I may offer once last piece of advice? Duck, because some sort of storm is on it's way, and you don't want to be caught in the crossfire.
Valete, and good luck. With the way things have been going lately, you're going to need it.