She sat in her office, phone in one hand while the other typed furiously across three keyboards.
“Five million, Scarlett. Make it happen.” Amelia hung up before the laundry list of objections had a chance to start. She didn’t know why Johnny had made the request for cash. Ultimately it didn’t matter. She trusted him implicitly, if he’d asked for a billion dollars, she’d of figured out some way to make that happen to. Of course sums like that took some creative accounting to cover, but the ledger from last quarter was solid, so there was plenty of room for discrete withdrawals from here and there to make up the sum. Amelia knew Scarlett was clever enough to find those gaps and exploit them without raising too many eyebrows.
Amelia paused to open a line to Kasha. “How is he doing?”
The falcon spirit took a moment to reply. “Morgan is with Alex right now. And he’s doing how one might expect.”
“What’s Johnny up to?” Amelia asked.
“Tending to the wounded.”
“Let him know I’ll be on my way.”
“No.” the spirit answered. “Elder Lao has requested you remain at Silicone Lupus and complete the tasks he has laid out.”
Amelia didn’t even bother to respond as she cut the communication. She’d been left out of the loop, on purpose, again. She understood why. Since she had a piece of the enemy firmly lodged in body from which the bastard could see and hear everything she did, she was an operational security nightmare.
Being left out still pissed her off.
Her office door opened and without even looking up she said, “Janet, I told you I wanted no interruptions this morning.”
“And I’m certain she would have followed your directives, but she seems to have stepped away from her desk for a moment.”
Amelia looked up sharply. “What the hell are you doing here, Severns?”
He took that for an invitation, entering the room and closing the door behind him. “I thought we should talk, Elder Stoneburn.”
“Get bent, asshole. I’m busy.”
“This is important.” He persisted as he took a look around the executive suite. He noted the décor was tasteful, if a bit sparse. Furnishings were of a high quality and more modern than most CEO offices he’d visited. Amelia’s desk was filled by computer screens, multiple keyboards which he noted she typed on separately with either hand and didn’t seem to ever miss a stroke. There was a small framed photo on her desk. Her children when they were young, he recognized. It was really the only personal touch.
There was a sideboard, fully stocked with liquor of various types and a box of expensive cigars. Severns figured that must have been placed there for when Morgan came to visit. Amelia didn’t strike him as an aficionado. He walked over to it and surveyed the bottles. Expensive, tasteful, well curated. He picked up one of the cut crystal glasses and gestured to her. “Drink?”
Severns ignored the last part of her statement and poured himself an aged whiskey. He took an appreciative sniff. Very nice. Drink in hand he crossed the room to sit in the guest chair directly across from where Amelia was working.
“Maybe I wasn’t clear,” she started.
“You and I have a common enemy, Elder Stoneburn. I’m here to propose a temporary alliance.” He interrupted.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Nor do I care, Chuckles. Get. Out.” Her words held a note of finality to them.
“I can see the invisible hand of the enemy all over you, Elder Stoneburn. His fingerprints are as clear as mine are on this glass.” He held the whiskey up to the light to illustrate his point.
“I have no idea what you’re going on about.”
Severns lowered the glass and gave her a thorough once over. Amelia remained as emotionless as possible, even though she wanted to squirm a bit. Morgan had a way of looking at a person like that. Must have been a Silverfang thing.
“Elder Stoneburn, despite your rather obvious distain for me, I am also an Elder in the nation. I am not easily fooled or deceived. I know you’ve been in direct contact with our mutual enemy. I think it likely that contact has been recent, perhaps extremely recent.” He let that thought sit and watched her carefully.
She was good, he had to admit. Very few tells, but there they were. He was on the right track.
“What do you want, Chuckles?”
“The same as you, I suspect. To put our mutual enemy in the ground for good.”
“You have no idea what you’re even getting yourself into,” she scoffed.
He sat the whiskey down on her desk with a definitive clink. His eyes darkened as his shoulders rolled forward. “I know more than you think. I know this little ‘accident’ that has sidelined your alpha and the King himself is part of a bigger play. It’s a distraction to keep eyes off of the real plan.”
“Fine, I’ll bite. What’s the ‘real plan’?” she asked
“That’s what you and I are going to find out.”
“You’re nuts, Severns. I’m not working with you. I’ve got a pack.”
“A pack that’s been consistently leaving you out. A pack that keeps you at arm’s length and has very grave concerns about your motives and actions. A pack that doesn’t fully trust you.”
“Bullshit.” Amelia dismissed his words.
“Is it?” He wondered aloud. “If so, what the hell are you doing here while your pack is in dire need of all of the help they can get? I’ve heard they are calling in favors from other septs because they need manpower, and yet here you are, sitting in a high rise in the city.” He saw the blow landed true.
“You don’t know anything about us.” She bit back.
“Now who is speaking bullshit?” He replied. “Your pack is very well known, and I’ve studied you more than most. Besides, I know I speak truth on this.” He said.
“You look into a crystal ball or something?” she mocked.
“No. I am…afflicted in a similar fashion to you. I can sense the enemy in you, and if you were paying closer attention, you’d be able to sense it me as well.”
Amelia turned to face him. She removed her glasses and set them aside. “What did he do to you?”
“You mean besides murdering my pack, ruining my reputation, casting chaos and instability onto my cairn, and forcing me into an untenable position? Not much, I suppose.” He picked the whiskey back up and drained it with one swallow. “I’ll give your alpha this, he does have exquisite taste in booze.” He rose to his feet to pour another.
“Cut the crap, Severns. We’ve all seen hard times. Your sob story is nothing new.”
“No, it is not.” He agreed. “But this particular enemy we share, he has a way of getting into your head. Of course, you’re already familiar with that, so I’m not telling you anything new. He also has a way of getting into your body.” He rolled up his sleeve revealing what at first glance appeared to be a scar no different than anyone might collect over the years. But as Amelia studied it closer, she recognized the symbol.
“You’ve been marked by Him.” She spoke it as an accusation. “You’re compromised by Him.”
“I hardly think you’re one to throw stones, here.” He replied.
“My situation is different.” She replied.
“Uh huh.” There was a touch of mockery in his tone.
Her face grew red. Whether it was anger or shame that was winning out, Severns wasn’t sure, but he understood the feeling well. He softened his tone. “What I am saying is that you and I are in the same boat, whether we prefer it or not. No one trusts us. No one wants us to be a part of sensitive operations. No one will work with us. We also share the same fate of having been carefully selected by this particular enemy. I’m certain there’s a very considered strategy behind all of that. Unlike the generally random nature of our enemies, this one has a very specific vision.” He gestured to the bottles again and lifted an eyebrow to see if she would now accept a drink. This time she agreed.
“So what’s this nut job’s vision?” Amelia wanted to know.
“That’s the million dollar question,” he responded as he sat a drink in front of her. “We figure that out, then we can know his next moves. If we know that, then it’s a question of marshalling resources and executing a plan.”
“This guy can’t be killed.” Amelia stated flatly. “He’s got some kind of magic that makes him immortal. He’s immensely powerful.”
“I’m sure that’s true. But, with that kind of power comes hubris. With hubris comes carelessness. With carelessness comes opportunities for us to exploit.”
“You’re out of your mind, Severns.” She stated flatly.
“Does that mean you’re in?” He gave her a winning smile that reminded her enough of Morgan that she laughed.
“It means I’ll think about it.”
“Fine, don’t think too long. We don’t want to tip our hand. Like it or not, we’ve already started down this path, and we’ll probably only get one shot at our mutual enemy.”
“Morgan and Johnny will be pissed.” She mused.
He nodded in agreement. “Rightfully so. Good news is that they’ll pin the blame on me, so you’ll be fine.”
“You’re awfully cavalier about a couple of guys who’d hardly be heartbroken if they had to put you in the ground.”
“I am not. I’m just realistic about the current state of the battlefield. I cannot win their true alliance, and I’ll certainly never have their affection.”
“So what do you want from them?” She asked.
“Nothing. That’s why I’ve come to you instead. You are perhaps the only Garou alive who can help me obtain what I crave.”
“And what’s that?” she wondered.
He studied her once again in that thousand yard stare of his before responding.