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The Things we Do

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Through a bit of investigative journalism, Addison got to know of a up and coming researcher by the name of Athena. Locating this individual was challenging enough as it was, given that information about her was scarce and largely useless. All she could make out from the articles was that she was the CEO of a profit oriented company with an undisclosed base of operations. There was no option for a face-to-face meeting; only a small link with an email address and a chat bot.

For months, the Master Knight sat on this piece of information, gradually seeking out other sources for the materials she needed, until one day, she came to learn of Khan Asparuh's affiliation with the woman that she had for many months, since forgotten about. With renewed interest, she pursued this lead, tracking the group down to a small mining outpost in Genesaris.


She cleared her throat loudly and abruptly from a distance. She spotted no more than a dozen people gathered around the opening of some sort of ore deposit.

"I'm looking for an Athena Romanov," she declared, gradually making her way down a small descent in the ground elevation and stopping several metres away.

@Ataraxy

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There was an eerie crunch of bone as one of the test dolls launched itself straight into the mine's rocky ceiling. For practical purposes, Athena liked the make the test dolls as realistic as possible- and bones were a necessary part of a human. Of course she didn't use actual human bones, merely magic replicas. The sound it made when breaking was, while somewhat unnerving, material to coming up with a correct analysis. 

However, her research into the A01 battery continued to prove difficult. To much energy, it exploded. Not enough, it randomly failed. In the middle was her first though, but seeing the basic jet pack lose control and annihilate the doll into a rocky demise put that thought to sleep real quick. 

One of the female researchers came up to Athena, a mix of curiosity and hesitation colluding her features. "Director, there's... an issue."

Athena glanced at the researcher and then the crashed doll. "Well. Yes. I need a new doll."

"Wha-oh-wai- no I apologize Director Romanov, I only meant that there's someone outside who wants to see you."

She tilted her head. "Who?"

That's where the researcher's face went really red, looking like there were infinite places she'd rather be but in front of Athena at that moment. "We.. we don't know."

"Then send her away."

"She says she won't leave," the researcher said, obviously helpless and stuck in the middle of two intents. Kill the messenger indeed. 

Thinking for a moment and letting the researcher stew for a moment, Athena shrugged. "Might as well, then. Not everyday someone tracks you down to a remote part of Valucre's largest continent." Removing her dirt covered gloves but not bothering to wipe whatever ash was probably on her clothes and face, Athena strode out to meet her guest. "Hello, Ms...?"

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". . . Addison," she replied with a courteous nod. "You're an awful difficult person to track down, Doctor Romanov."

"I've heard quite the odd noise going off in there," she gestured indirectly to the mines. "Seems like someone's finally been able to put Khan's illustrious anger to good use."

She slid her backpack off her shoulder, popping it open and revealing several folders containing almost a book's worth of documents.

"Do you have somewhere which we can sit down to discuss this? Or would you like to stand outside, I certain do not have qualms with either."

@Ataraxy

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"Ha!" Athena barked, laughing at Addison's categorization of Khan's behavior. "Can't make anything if you don't have anything." She wiped smoot off her face, as if just now realizing it was there. Then, when Addison opened her backpack to show all the documents, Athena nodded. "Yes, let's not stay here. You're papers will turn black before you can even think about hiding them." 

Athena led Addison and a group of guards back toward Aurelium HQ; a large floating island. The shadow it cast upon the grasslands below it was no small thing, nor was it lacking in ominousness. 

After a couple minutes passed, they'd reach a small storefront like building. A single clerk occupied the store, yawning in the half way house for adventurers. The moment he saw Athena, his tired eyes opened wide and he snapped to his feet. 

"D-d-director?"

"Going up."

"Yes ma'am!"

Athena led Addison to a small cabinet that opened only to a closet full of bathroom supplies. She closed the door and eyed the clerk who was frantically pressing buttons. No doubt entering the passcode. 

Then a beep and a shuffle. When Athena opened the door again, this time there was an elevator. That elevator would lead them up to the island through a clandestine pipeline and open up on the island's middle floors. When Athena stepped out, Addison may have noticed that the woman was now clean as if she'd been washed to the bone. As would Addison. The elevator sanitized and cleaned everything which entered the research facility. Magic and science out together was a wonderful thing.

"This way," Athena motioned, ushering Addison into her personal office. It was a rather sleek room, one without personal objects and void of pictures. Papers were strewn about the room varying from statistics and numbers to design potentials and analysis. Sitting down gracefully in her wheeled office chair, Athena swiveled to face Addison, who had the option between three chairs facing Athena and her desk. "How may I be of service to you, Ms. Addison? You've come a long way and no doubt put much effort into finding my whereabouts and identity. I assume you need my assistance with something?"

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"Indeed," the Master Knight responded curtly. "I see you have matters to attend to. I shall not devour too much of your time."

She said this with meaning but not intent. If a deal of her satisfaction was not reached, she was prepared to sit for hours in rhetorical debate until either party yielded to the other, or withdrew from discussion altogether.

"Your organisation possesses powerful engines of production, some of the most efficient if I do say so myself," she remarked, taking a brief glance around the room they were in. "Privatized as well. And like any privatized company, you will need funding and customers to continue your research."

She folded her fingers together and looked Athena curiously in her eyes, as if the length of her irises offered some measurement of her character.

"I will be that customer of yours and fund your research with the profits you make from producing some simple goods for me."

@Ataraxy

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"I will be that customer of yours and fund your research with the profits you make from producing some simple goods for me."

Athena raised an eyebrow at the bold statement. The way Addison carried herself and the way she spoke had certainly suggested some manner of higher education and upbringing, but to the extent of an offer to fund or at least contribute a high amount to Aurelium's research? Well, that was quite a shocking offer. Not that the Magess allowed it to show on her ever so calm expression.

The offer itself, however, was very attractive. If they had been in Fracture still, perhaps less so, but without government contracts Athena had been funding much of the companies research from her own pockets. And, while rather deep pockets, not infinite and quickly draining. It was high time she began initiating private and government contracts in the new continent.  

She smiled, mirroring Addison's body language of leaning and folding her fingers together. "That is certainly an attractive offer, Ms. Addison. As you have said, Aurelium is certainly capable of mass production. No doubt of these simple goods you speak of. So tell me, what are these simple goods?"

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"Firearms, uniforms, clothing," she nodded her head slightly with each item ticked off the list. "And. . . This."

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Beneath the stacks of paper, Addison revealed a thick envelope containing what seemed to be a dozen pieces of paper.

"I have various manufacturers producing the firearms, ammunition and other commonplace items, but if I am going to be honest, the standards of their production tools are though efficient, unsafe."

She gestured to the pristine walls of Athena's establishment.

"I was hoping that with your expertise, you would be able to help me pull off something a bit more. . . Volatile- if you would be interested in accepting that risk for a bit extra commission."

@Ataraxy

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Despite her attempt to stop it, Athena's eyes would widen just a little at Addison's prodding of her intended product being volatile. Only the most dangerous, most exciting things tended to be the most volatile. 

Try as she might to refrain the small smile continued to tug at the edges of her lips. 

"Our facilities are a bit more... appreciated," Athena answered vaguely, not bothering to hide the condensation she felt for those nations that only bothered with magic and ignored the beauty of scientific advancement. "I can't say that I have no interest, as volatile substances do tend to be a focus here at Aurelium. The commonplace goods are no problem, but I will need more information about your classified good before I can agree to it."

Although she almost definitely would. Unless it was something with nuclear fission. Eventually that would be something Aurelium investigated more thoroughly, but their relations to weak in Genesaris to work on something that threatening to nearby governments. 

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Breaking off the seal of the envelope, Addison looked on at Athena with anticipation as she slid a document out of the parcel.

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"Prototype grenade," she remarked, turning the blueprint around for the other woman to see.

"Not combat tested, completely experimental and makes use of high concentrations of explosive substances."

She pointed at a clip sitting near the top of the device.

"This pin comes loose, and the weapon has a fifty percent chance of exploding. Every gear, screw, and frame must be in perfect alignment, or the whole shipment will turn into a massive bomb."

She folded her palms together once again, pushing the blueprint towards Athena.

"I cannot assure you that the design is safe to manufacture, which is why I knew that few would opt for this undertaking. However, I do intend to offer your organisation and its men 'risk pay' for their efforts. Two hundred and fifty gold coins per grenade, and for every hundred produced, I'll top up an extra five thousand gold coins to cover the risk of your operation. In addition, I will be paying one hundred gold coins for every set of equipment produced, and another hundred gold coins for every twenty thousand units of ammunition."

She looked the other woman deeply in the eyes.

"What do you say?"

@Ataraxy

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What did she say? Athena had to consciously and physically resist the urge that welled up within her to whistle. That was an extraordinary high payment for such a small object. Although Athena had certainly seen grenades before, even thrown one just to observe the explosion's force herself, she'd never even heard of a grenade with a condensed explosion. Well, at least, not in a hand held bomb. 

She took the blue prints from Addison with barely disguised excitement as she maintained a calm and cool expression. "Hmmm, I see," Athena muttered, reaching over to grab a pen where she made a few marks on the paper. As if having forgotten about Addison, Athena quickly became absorbed in the design. A few minutes passed before she blinked and finally looked up at Addison. "Ah, I apologize. Yes, I believe we can make a deal with that price. We'll have to discuss transportation as it will be best to allow my people to take care of that. We have methods of containing highly volatile material during transport." 

Eying the blue print again, Athena chewed on the back of her pen. "There are certain... changes I'd like to make. Of course we'll demonstrate any changes for your companies approval before sending them. However, if the condensed form of this explosion is battle applicable, I should be able to replace the standard explosion with a variety of similar substances. Magic, even, if down with the right material. Hmmm, yes, I should be able to do that. I wonder have powerful we can make the explosion without risking it going off from a small shake..."

Athena looked up at Addison, her eyes gleaming as she held out a hand for Addison to shake. "Yes, I believe once the finer details are sorted, we will definitely have a deal. I will have our legal team draft a contract and will send it to your company for signing."

Edited by Ataraxy

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Company.

A puzzled and knowing smile etched itself across Addison's lips briefly. Just briefly.

"It's a deal then, Miss Romanov," she gripped the woman's palm and gave it a rough shake. "I look forward to working with you. You are doing a great service to this world."


After bidding the shrewd businesswoman goodbye and taking a brief walk around the mines to check on her rival, Khan, the Master Knight left the establishment, leaving with Athena the plans and blueprints to the equipment.

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Summary: Athena Romanov of Aurelium Incorporated meets with Addison Nacht, a Master Knight, about mass producing basic items and weaponry such as firearms, ammunition, and other commonplace items. They come to an agreement about the price and Addison requests that Athena create a new type of grenade which produces a highly condensed explosion that is magnitudes more destructive than an ordinary grenade. Promising the production of Addison's requested items, including the grenade, the two shake hands. Addison leaves the blueprints with Athena. A contract is signed [of screen] by both parties, making the agreement binding. Transportation to be carried out by Aurelium Incorporated.

Short Summary: Athena Romanov and Addison Nacht create a business deal and agree to a production contract where Addison pays Athena to produce a variety of military weapons and items.

Consequences & Opportunities:

  1. A new weapon is about to enter the world of Valucre.
  2. Aurelium Incorporated has created a production based alliance with a Master Knight
  3. Athena Romanov, the much desired scientist, and her organization's location are now public for other parties to contact thanks to Addison tracking them down.

@King

Edited by Ataraxy

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