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Old 08-23-2012, 03:02 PM   #1
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Scion: The New Gods (IC)

The world, rent asunder. But no one else seems to notice. There are monsters running amok, vicious deaths that go unexplained, but have all the earmarks of the things that haunt the mortal psyche.

The world is in danger.

Even as the eyes of every person turned to watch people compete for glory and honor, even with every eye in the world on London, the murders continued. Finally, even a fool could tell that the whole thing was becoming more and more desperate.

Gabriella
Gabby smiled as the tearful couple left her office. This was a day when work felt good. Mr. and Mrs. Overpeck had thought their dream of having a baby of their own was futile, and that she wouldn't live up to her reputation. She didn't begrudge them that - it was hard for people sometimes to reconcile the young, dark-skinned woman with the famous doctor that they'd seen interviewed on television.

But they'd gotten good news today, and that made her feel good. That was what being a doctor was all about, in her opinion.

The office door opened again, and Marta's head poked in. "Gabby, there's . . . someone to see you."

That tone of voice, the diffidence in her manner, told Gabby all she needed to know about the visitor. She sighed. "Right. Send him in, Marta." The taller woman nodded and back out. Gabby could hear her talking rapidly in a language she could understand if she chose. It wasn't English, certainly, or Spanish, but she could have spoken it if she wanted. Instead, she closed her eyes and tried to mentally prepare herself for talking with her father.

He walked in the door, imposing and a little off-putting. His hair was long, hanging almost limply around his shoulders, but his eyes burned with an intense light. His face was handsome, but sharply so, and his skin was so pale that he almost looked like an ivory sculpture topped with obsidian. His outfit, however, was impeccable; a neat tailored suit in deep charcoal grey, a necktie the color and sheen of fresh blood, and a gold Rolex at his wrist. "Good morning, Gabriella."

"Papa." She inclined her head slightly. This was rare, though not as rare as she might like. He'd been to see her several times over the past few months, checking in and instructing her in the required sacrifices, something that she'd been entirely unsure about doing in the modern world.

Xipe Totec smiled at her then, and dropped into one of the chairs in front of her desk with a feline grace. "I've got a job for you," he said without preamble.

"Another one?" Gabby started to shake her head, and then stopped. It was a bad idea to just shake your head without hearing a God out. "What is it?"

His lips quirked. "The couple you just helped. The woman's problem wasn't natural, was it? She wasn't born barren."

Gabby bit her lip. She shouldn't talk about patients with other people, but . . . he wasn't normal people. "No, it wasn't. She'd been using some kind of cosmetics that had managed to damage her cells to the point that . . . ."

"No, it wasn't the chemicals in the makeup." He smirked at her, and Gabby was reminded forcefully of how much she hated this side of him. "There was something else in there."

"What? If it can cause this much damage just from topical application, it shouldn't have past trials!"

He shrugged. "I have no idea. But you can find out - I don't have the time." He produced - from out of nowhere, she was certain - a pot of face cream. "Here's the start of the maze, mijo. Find the end."

She was more startled by the Spanish he'd used than his apparent ability to make things appear from nothingness. He'd berated her early in their 'relationship' for using Spanish, the language of brutes and rapists, he'd said. Gabby stared at the jar for a moment, then looked back up. He was already gone, vanished without even walking through the door.

Picking up the jar, she studied it. Aphrodite's Glory was the brand, and it made the promise that the user's skin would "be so smooth and firm, even the Greek Gods would envy it!" Gabby snorted and tucked it into the pocket of her lab coat as she walked to the door. "Marta, he's gone. Send in the next patient, please. I'd like to get out of here before midnight."

Kenji
Now that the Olympics are over, there's a curious feeling in the city. London is sort of melancholy at the best of times, and the postpartum depression the city seems to be feeling makes it feel even worse. There's less work, less fun, fewer parties, and certainly less excitement. But your walk today has you feeling better than you have in a few weeks.

Having worked for the security of the Olympics, you made contacts and friends that are more than happy to point you towards positions that might be suited to your particular skill set. This interview is for a company in the heart of London, one with branches all over the globe. If Lloyd's is willing to hire you, you could travel anywhere, do anything you wanted to.

As you reach the building, you get a strange, familiar feeling of being watched, but not by someone hostile. An older man, clearly Japanese as well, gets out of a cab near you and nods. "Good morning, son. How are you doing today?" He'd holding a packet in his hands, and holds it out to you. "I've got a . . . sort of gift for you. I hope it helps fill your time." You don't recognize him at first, but something about the way he speaks . . . it's possible he's your father in disguise. He could also just be a crazy Japanese guy, but that's somewhat less likely.

Jason
Extreme sports are pretty much done here, there's little reason to stay in London for you. Except that June told you to stay here until you were contacted, and that might not be a good enough reason.

She wasn't your mother, after all. Hell, she's a step-sister, at best, and not that much older than you in any case.

But she was the representative of your patron - you can't bring yourself to think of her as 'Step-Mother', or just 'Mother', which is what she'd said you could call her.

You lean over the railing of the rooftop you've been sitting on. This wasn't the place to think too much about that. You had some downtime, between selling your photos from the Olympics and trying to see what might be waiting in the next two weeks to six months, since you have to have some kind of income even if you don't know when you'll be able to leave.

You heave a deep sigh and stretch one last time before starting a parkour run over this small London neighborhood. The roofs weren't terribly tall, but they were arranged in a way that made your urban escapes invigorating. As you fling yourself over the ledge overhanging a set of windows that face in on someone's living room, a voice speaks just behind and to one side of you. "God, don't you ever get tired of doing this?"

As you turn, June is standing there, looking around with mild interest. "I suppose," she says, her aristocratic nose wrinkling, "it's nice to get a workout, but really. You couldn't just go to the gym, like a normal person?" She looks incredibly out of place up here, in a deep teal business suit, her blond hair secured in a tight bun. Her deep blue eyes look at you, and she sighs. "Anyway, let's get the business over with. Mother has a job for you." She drops a satchel on the rooftop and steps back. "The info is all in there, you know how to get in touch if you need to." And with that, she turns and hops off the building you're on, bounding away into the city.
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Old 08-25-2012, 11:46 AM   #2
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Kenji

Kenji's mind spinned even as he walked towards the building, having that strange feeling of being watched, albeit by someone without hostile intent. He cleared his mind of all thoughts he had, regarding his future job, the recent decline of interesting things after the end of Olympic Games and the general situation around the globe and turned.

Seeing the stranger of japanese origin, who somehow seemed quite familiar, Kenji smiled and bowed respectfully, before answering in fluent japanese.

"Good morning father. I am doing quite well, heading to a job interview at the moment. To be honest I was not expecting you but this meeting brings joy to me. Your presence honours me and I keep your gifts close to my heart. I trust that this one will fullfill its intended purpose"
, Kenji continued, as he unwrapped the package.
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Old 08-26-2012, 10:28 AM   #3
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Jason was glad that he stuck the landing after June nearly made him jump out of his skin. He turned and glared at her; his scars and wild hair making the expression profoundly effective. "You never get tired of sneaking up on me; it's only fair I give you the chance to enjoy your job."

June was a beautiful woman who looked soft, curvy yet delicate, with honey blond hair and eyes the color of the deep sea. How she'd gotten up onto the rooftop in that suit without rumpling it was a mystery; as to how she'd found him.

At her gym comment, he grunted and raised a hand to trace one of the scars that went down the left side of his face. "I'm not a normal person."

She wasn't here for small talk or to visit, which was a shame. He thought it would be nice to get to know June, and it might help him if his patron ever turned on him. Not that she'd ever do anything like that. But this trip was all business. She set the satchel down and then was off; bounding away almost as easily and covering as much distance as he could. "Hey, wait a sec, June! Damn it" He called out after her, "You never just visit anymore!"

For a half second, he considered chasing her down. He could do it. But what would it prove? And he might need to chase her down for real at some point, best not to show that he could until he needed to.

He turned around and vaulted back up onto the roof; not that he needed to, a simple hop would get him up there now, but it was more fun and stylish to do it this way. Jason picked up the satchel and gave it a light shake before he walked over and sat down on the house's chimney, plopping the bag onto his lap and opening it, "Let's see what you've got for me, "Mom." You always get me such nice things."
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:04 PM   #4
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Kenji
The man smiles at you. "I am sure," he says in fluent Japanese, "that you will. Be well, son." And without another word, he turns and walks away, melding with the ebb and flow of people so well that even your trained eyes lose him in a matter of seconds.

Inside the package is a marketing flyer for a cosmetics company, a few security photos of women leaving a large factory, and a USB drive. The flyer is written in Japanese, and seems to be a test print for the company. The writing on it translates loosely to "Heavenly Beauty of Amaterasu! Use this cream twice per day and see the most glowing complexion of a goddess in the mirror!" along side pictures of smiling women that might have some Asian in their ancestry, at best.

The photos all appear to be of workers at the factory, all of them wearing what look like standard coveralls. They are all women, and every single one of them is almost movie star beautiful.

The USB drive is . . . well, a USB drive. To find out what's on it, you'll have to hook it up to a computer. It's a fair bet that a private computer would be best.

Jason
The satchel is a little heavier than it looks, and something rattles inside of it when you shake it. As you open it, the smell of something like old blood wafts up briefly before vanishing. You reach inside - cautiously - and pull out two small vials, a receipt, and a set of crime scene photos.

The photos show a dead woman who would be very beautiful except that her eyes are missing. She appears to be lying in an alleyway, most of her covered by garbage. A few photos are of her without the trash covering her, and she is dressed well, but not richly.

The receipt is from a local drugstore, for three items: A jar of Aphrodite's Glory, a prescription cream for psoriasis, and a bottle of iron supplements. It is charged to the card of one Mrs. Linda Overpeck.

The vials hold two different things. One is a silver of rock that is labeled simply, "Rectory Square". The other holds what looks like a patch of snakeskin and a pair of small fangs.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Jason had made his way back to the hotel in a more direct route than he usually would have taken. His face was bleak when he leaped from the rooftop of the department store across from it to land with surprising lightness on the balcony to his room. It wasn't the best move, really. Anyone looking up would have seen making the impossible jump, but he didn't care. He needed to get working on these clues now.

A woman was dead and he knew her. Not by name, only by sight, but he knew he'd seen her several times lately. And now she'd been murdered and her corpse mutilated. Had she been in danger when he'd seen her before? Had her killer been hunting her even then and he missed the signs, caught up in the spirit and glory of the Games?

The thought made him furious. With himself, even more than her killer. If he'd have noticed something then, maybe she wouldn't be dead. But she was and he couldn't help her now. All he could do was avenge her. Vengeance wasn't something he was really into; but this cried out for it.

It took an hour of flipping through his pictures before he found her. There, and there, and at several other events. All with the same guy; Genardo was his name. He'd actually met the guy and talked to him a few times during the Games. He was always at the events sponsored by that beauty cream. He remembered seeing the woman on Genardo's arm and checking her out, thinking she was a looker.

The beauty cream...same stuff as was on the receipt he'd been given. Was the dead woman Mrs. Linda Overpeck? She didn't look the way he'd expect someone with that name to...or someone with psoriasis that would take that kind of medication.

Only one way to find out.

He printed out a few photos of both Tomas Genardo and the dead woman and put them into the satchel along with the rest of the items there. Then he went back out onto the balcony and took a deep breath of the stinking city night air.

There was a killer out there already. Now there'd be two.

Jason leaped out from his hotel again to the building opposite, sailing over the wide street below. He hit the rooftop running; going across like this he could beat any car that wasn't a cop car across the city. Time to visit the drug store and see what the people there remembered. After that, Rectory Square.
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Old 09-01-2012, 05:06 AM   #6
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Kenji

Kenji smiled and bowed respectfully, watching his father getting away into the crowd.

After glancing a bit on the contents of the package, he closed it and proceeded inside the building. An interview was awaiting for him and one which might prove very important for his future occupation as a professional security advisor and specialist. Yet he could not contain his curiosity and rapidly increasing anxiety for the contents of the package and their full meaning and importance. Whenever he had a visit from his divine parent, it certainly meant something serious was happening. And he would see this to the end.

He took one deep breath, forcing those thoughts from his mind, to focus instead on the task at hand. It may be a demanding way of life, but that is the burden of responsibility that comes with a Scion's destiny. To live a double life, to combine a normal way of everyday living, with periods of extraordinary, clandestine, mysterious and reality-defying activity. Demanding indeed, yet strangely appealing, he thought to himself, and a slight grin formed on his lips.

Proceeding inside, he took a moment to greet the security guards in the entrance and talk to the receptionist, a young lady of brown hair and fair complexion, letting her know of his arrival and of the appointment he had with the relevant company department, that was in charge of human resources.


"Good morning miss. The name is Tanaka. Kenji Tanaka. I have an appointment with Human Resources manager in about 10 minutes. Could you please confirm it and see if there are any changes perhaps?"


The receptionist smiled, nodded and typed something on her computer. Suddenly, her expression changed and turned to Kenji, with an apologetical look on her pretty face.

"I'm very sorry Mr. Tanaka. I can see that you have an appointment indeed and it is valid, yet I'm in the unfortunate position to inform you that the manager, whom you were to meet, had an urgent change of plans, literally at the last moment and due to reasons that concern the company's interests, he is absent today. Due to the very short notice of this change in schedule, we were not able to inform all the individuals who had an appointment today, in time. I'm afraid that we will have to postpone your meeting as well, if that is not terribly inconvenient for you".


Kenji's face twisted in a skeptical look for a moment, before smiling warmly to the lady in front of him once again.

Under different circumstances, he may even be slightly offended at the company's inability to let him know in advance. He might even consider if such an unfortunate occurence was a minus to his future occupation plan in this company. But not this time. Not when he was already itching to discover the contents of the recently delivered package and see what his father's latest "gift" had truly in store for him. And well, he just couldn't get angry at a young and pretty lady, who was obviously quite stressed herself, by being told to cancel an appointment in the last possible time, in the face of the person involved and with practically no excuse.

Besides, she's so cute when embarassed, Kenji mentally noted for a moment, and in any case, my upbringing and personal rules would allow me nothing else but proper behaviour towards her.

"Do not worry miss. There is no problem at all. Just a minor inconvenience one might say, but most certainly nothing to dwell upon. It is my understanding that in such companies, those kinds of emergencies might occur most often than would be desirable, but what hopes do I have to cooperate professionally with such a company if I cannot understand the various necessities involved. Besides, your polite way of informing me of this occurence, as well as your pretty smile, have made this visit quite worthwhile. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have other business to attend to and I should leave. Please, if it isn't much of an inconvenience to you, re-arrange the appointment at a time that will suit the company schedule and inform me, when it is set. Have a nice day miss".


With that Kenji bowed his head slightly and exited the building. After securing the package in the storage compartment of his motorcycle, he leapt on it, started the engine and drove away into the streets of London.

*******

After arriving at his hotel room, Kenji had a shower to refresh himelf, a small meal, according to his careful nutrition regimen and then proceeded to open the package, taking out its contents one by one and carefully studying them. He lay them on a table, while powering up his laptop and opening a map of London and his dossier of notes, to begin their evaluation.

Firstly he examined the flyer. He was amused at the cosmetic's name. He had not seen her in person but he doubted that any cosmetic would ever make a lady reach the height of divine beauty that Amaterasu possessed. Still though, it was well-thought for it connected the product with the ancestral heritage of its target group, all while exploiting their desire for a beautiful visage, smooth skin and general vanity.

The fact that they'd choose to release such a flyer only for a specific group of tourists seemed strange at first, but then he reasoned that perhaps the company had made sure to release those flyers in various languages, to make them all the more appealing to people of various nationalities that were attending the Olympics.

The other peculiar fact was the actual models depicted. Given that the company had even printed the flyers in japanese, they could possibly secure the services of certain well known or at least up and coming asian models. The once in the flyer only vaguely hinted at any asian heritage. He was not an expert in how the modelling industry and the marketing companies worked however and so it would have to suffice for the time being.

Second in line for examination was the set of photos. Now, these were more interesting, and not only from an admirer's of femaly beauty point view. Even though - come to think of it - that exact point of view was the one that discerned the peculiarity of the scene. Kenji had seen factory workers before in his life, and in different countries. None ever looked so pretty as those in the photos, let alone all of them. Ladies endowed with such beauty in their characteristics and stature would definitely find a much better job elsewhere, whether in the movies industry, in various modelling companies etc. They simply did not look like factory workers, or at least not of any factory that Kenji could picture and could plausibly belong in the real world and not in some
fantasy of his.

And then, there was something else. Studying the ladies on the photos carefully, Kenji's trained eye discerned something else that they all had in common, besides their factory coveralls, their beauty and their apparent jobs in a factory. All of them had a strange expression in their faces. It seemed almost predatory and this unsettled the young Scion quite a bit. Additional investigation would be required.

He noted on the map the factory's location, making sure to look up on the area a bit later and find out as much information as possible about it. He'd probably pay the area a visit himself, but after all items were evaluated.


Plugging the USB drive to his laptop, he opened the relevant file and discovered that it contained two subfiles. One was audio and one was video.
His interest already running high, from what he had already seen, and his mind racing to fathom why his divine patron would be so interested in a new cosmetic product and some - admittedly far too pretty for their station - female workers, Kenji opened them in succession.


As he opened the audio file, a voice filled the room. A female voice most certainly. From the general tone of the conversation and the various remarks, the other speaker should be a man. The female voice stated that she would need to see more results and further tests before deciding what to do. Then a door could be heard closing and the woman spoke again, apparently to someone else also present. Her words sounded like some sort of covered threat, for she stated that hopefully that would shut him up, otherwise things would have to be done the other way.

Kenji's mind kept evaluating what he just heard, while replaying it several times, to make sure he didn't miss any bit of information that could possibly be gained from it, and also in order to make sure that he remembered properly the female voice in case he'd hear it again.

Next was the video file. That was quite familiar, for someone in Kenji's line of occupation, for it depicted a scene from one of the stadiums in which the Olympic games took place, just a few days ago. Having worked as a security advisor and in certain cases bodyguard during the Olympics he grasped immediately the surroundings. He looked closer, as the video continued and almost gasped. The video was not focused on the games but instead on the spectators' seats. And not just on any seats. It focused on the royal box, the place from which members of England's royal family watched the events, when they chose to attend them.

As it became obvious, the focus of the video was a lady, dressed most elegantly and in a very expensive manner. Tall and statusque, her appearance almost radiated a commanding presence upon her surroundings. Her mere presence in that place spoke volumes of her status and prestige and Kenji was more than certain that she was certainly a figure of considerable importance. At first, she seemed relaxed and quite friendly with the other occupants of the box, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton. Suddenly, a young man approached her and whispered something in her ear. This must have upseted her evidently, for the next moment her facial expression changed radically, she spoke briefly to the two members of the royal family and then left.

Judging from the fact that those two files were contained in the USB drive, one could reach the conclusion that the voice in the audio file belonged to the woman in the video file. It certainly was possible but could not be confirmed at present. He should first discover the identity of said lady, then see if he could match the voice to her. Hopefully, given the fact that admittance to the royal box was permitted to a select few and also that the royal family's attendance of Olympic events was strictly scheduled and monitored, with some further investigation certain things could be confirmed.

Kenji also decided to call his supervisor in the Olympics security and inquire about that event, in order to gather additional information and confirm that lady's identity, based on her presence in the royal box.

He took a deep breath, organized his notes once again and reviewed them. A call to the security supervisor, with whom he had a fine professional relationship, through which he was recommended for the Lloyd's company, a visit to Stepney Green, near Rectory Square to check on the factory, some additional research on its exact nature and on what company is behind it. That and also some research on the company that produced this new cosmetics .

His father was right. That package would most certainly keep him busy and quite interested for the days to come.

Last edited by Thunderus : 09-02-2012 at 06:17 AM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:07 AM   #7
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Gabriella
The lab was quiet - it was after hours, and the staff had all gone home, with two exceptions. Gabby perched on a stool, her heels on the floor beneath her with one bare foot hooked on the rung of the stool. Her eyes were fixed on the viewer of the microscope in front of her, and she was frowning in vexation.

The door opened and Marta walked in, holding her purse in one hand and a small piece of paper in the other. "I'm going home," she said abruptly. "I made a list of things you need to pick up on your way home, don't forget them." Her face softened a little, the normal sternness replaced by concern. "Go home, Gabby. Get some sleep, it's not going to go anywhere tonight."

Rubbing her eyes as she took the paper, Gabby sighed. "It's important, Marta. It has to be, otherwise, He wouldn't have bothered." She glanced at the paper, than smiled wryly. "I shouldn't bother asking how you know I'm out of peroxide and nail polish remover, should I?"

Marta grinned at her, then turned and walked out the door. "You know better than that by now. Don't forget to get them, you'll be mad at yourself if you do!" She waved as the door closed behind her.

The dark-haired doctor tucked the paper into her pocket and bit her lip. She felt like there was something she was missing here, but . . . if she hadn't found it in the past 2 hours, she wasn't going to find it tonight. And maybe a good night's sleep would help her get perspective. More clues other than a jar of face cream might have helped, too.

She stretched and slipped her shoes back on. There was a drugstore on the corner, she'd stop there and get the things she needed. Having made the decision, she flipped off the lights in the lab and headed out.

Jason
The drugstore is much like most of them you've been in. Well-lit, clean, and almost deserted right now, since it's after the post-work rush. The pharmacist remembers Mrs. Overpeck - she had other prescriptions that she picked up, most of them from a Dr. Moya. He also tells you that she is not the woman in your other pictures. You barely have to twist his arm at all - he's a gossip at best.

He is also willing to point you to where they keep their stock of Aphrodite's Glory, telling you that his mother-in-law swears by the stuff. As you make your way over there, a striking, dark young woman walks up to it, one of the plastic baskets over one arm with a few bottles in it. It looks like she is frowning at the display.

Kenji
You're able to reach the security supervisor easily - the call goes through the switchboard at the company he's taken a job with easily. "Kenji! Great to hear from you, how did Lloyd's go?"

As you explain what happened, he sounds surprised and a little dismayed. "I wouldn't have sent you over there if I thought they'd do that kind of thing. Well, at least you had something else to do," he says philosophically. "Now, what can I do for you? I assume this wasn't just to berate me over Lloyd's lack of manners," he jokes.

Asking about the woman gets you an immediate response: his voice goes sober and serious very quickly. "Molly Duncan? The woman that was at most of the track and field events, in the Royal Box?" He pauses for a moment. "She's an heiress, I think. I know she's got top-end security clearances, mostly because she's got top-end money." It sounds like he's shuffling papers around. "Umm . . . yeah, here she is. Recently started a company that's taken off like mad, a cosmetics business, looks like, called Aphrodite's Glory. She had money before that, though, it's how she started it." The man coughs slightly. "I hope that helped some?"
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Old 09-06-2012, 04:22 PM   #8
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The shop clerk was almost ridiculously helpful. Some of the information he'd given Jason was probably borderline illegal for him to share with a civilian; the prescribing doctor, for example. He wasn't complaining though.

So the mystery woman wasn't Overpeck. Who was she then? And if this wasn't her, why was he given the receipt from Overpeck? Where was she?

He wandered over to the display of the cosmetics in question; not really sure why. They wouldn't tell him anything he didn't already know. But why not take a look? He stuck his hands in his pockets, plotting out in his mind the route he'd take to get to Rectory Square.

Then he saw the girl.

Wow. Good on you, London.

She was a curvaceous beauty with a figure that made his eyes linger and his pulse pick up. Her long dark hair fell almost to her ass in sleek, silky locks, and what skin he could see was a smooth mocha dream. Her eyes were dark, very dark, and her full, plush lips were in the prettiest frown he'd ever seen as she glared at a rack of cosmetics. The very ones he had been pointed towards.

Lucky him, right? Yeah. Sure it was luck.

Jason cleared his throat softly as he approached, not wanting to startle her. Especially given his appearance, that could result in an ugly scene; he looked pretty wild and scary looking. "You don't need any of that, beautiful," he said with a smile, "but if you need to have it out with this stuff, I think you can take it. I'll distract the clerk for you if I can buy you dinner tomorrow night."

He stopped well out of arm's reach of her, again trying to set her at ease. And give himself some space just in case she was more than she seemed. His godparents hadn't raised no dummy. "My name's Jason. Interested in Aphrodite's Glory? I'd stay away. There's something strange about that stuff. And like I said, you don't need it."
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:52 PM   #9
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Gabby bit back a grin. He was bold - this wasn't the first time she'd been asked out by someone she didn't know. It was, however, the smoothest line she'd heard in a while. "I know there's something off about it," she said in a soft voice. "That's why I'm looking at it. I've got a jar at my office that I can't figure out what's wrong with it."

Her lips curved into a bare smile. "And I'm smart enough not to consider myself close to Aphrodite's glory - I've read the myths." A small joke, and if he was worth taking up on the dinner invitation, he'd get it. Of course, it wouldn't matter, in the long run. She worked long hours, and her 'other job' was even more time-consuming. She didn't have time - might never have time - for a relationship. Even though he was awfully cute.

But she held out her hand - he seemed sort of afraid of being too close to her, which in her experience said that he didn't have much interaction with people that was positive. Most likely because of the scars on his face. "Dr. Gabriella Moya," she said, giving him a bright smile now.
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Old 09-07-2012, 04:20 AM   #10
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The young Scion smiled, hearing his supervisor's comments.

"No worries. You couldn't know what would happen and we both know quite well that company emergencies tend to happen sometimes, and at the worst possible moments on top of that. I do not mind at all.

As for the information you provided me with, it most certainly is very helpful. I knew that I could count upon you for a swift and precise answer. It is good talking to you again. Thank you once more. We'll be in touch in case something else comes up. Bye for now".


Kenji hang up and reviewed his notes. The woman in the video had a name after all. And she was the owner of a cosmetics company on top of that. Now the flyer said "Heavenly Glory of the Amaterasu" and not "Aphrodite's Glory", but perhaps this was due to marketing localization of said product. In any case, some more information digging would be in order.

He opened his web browser and tried to find information, both on the lady and on her company, as well as on the names of its products. If a connection could be confirmed, he'd probably go out and check to see if such a product was on sale, in a nearby store, in order to have a sample for future reference.

Then he would head on to the area where the factory was located, in Stepney Green, near Rectory Square. It had been some time since his last small trip via motorcycle, in the streets of London and he'd enjoy it. That and also a chance to find out more about the place with those strange female workers.
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Old 09-09-2012, 09:41 PM   #11
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Jason shrugged, a grin on his wild features. She wasn't scared of him at first look or wasn't showing it if she was. A nice and unusual start either way. "So the stories say, but I've never met her to compare." He shrugged again, "But I bet you don't want to play Paris so I'll let it go."

He took her offered hand, "Doctor Moya, it's a pleasure." He didn't bother to hide the slight widening of his eyes or the flicker of recognition at her name. "My name's Jason Trigonoplos."

The son of thunder held her hand for a brief moment; soft and warm but strong. Very firm grip. "So, this'll sound creepy and or crazy but I actually would like to talk to you about something. I'm looking into these cosmetics and the company behind them." He released her hand and put his own into a pocket, drawing out a picture of the mystery dead woman and Tomas Genardo. "It's a pretty happy coincidence bumping into you like this. I don't suppose you know either of these people?" He held out the photo for her to inspect.

"I also know that a patient of yours purchased some of this cream here," he jerked his thumb at the display, "a few days ago and was wondering if you've heard from her since. Mrs. Linda Overpeck?" He held out his hands in a gesture of acceptance, "If you can't or don't want to talk about it, patient/client stuff, I understand. But if she's taking this she might be in trouble. Big trouble, and I'd like to find her or figure out what's going on before that."

"Anything you can tell me, Doc?" Jason took a half step closer, but no more. It was probably risky just to be in arm's reach of her. "I already know one woman's been hurt because of this crap, and I don't know if time's a factor or not."
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Old 09-16-2012, 11:22 AM   #12
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A quick search gives you a pretty clear idea of the lay of the beauty cream land. Aphrodite's Glory's, according to the BBC News, is expanding its market. Their first target is Japan, since American companies have been reluctant to import the products without it having cleared some of the checks that the FDA requires for cosmetics.

The Japanese product line that Aphrodite's Glory is going to begin distributing is called Heavenly Glory of Amaterasu, and the company's website says that the change in name is entirely due to the localization - it was believed that people in Japan wouldn't connect as well with the Greek goddess.

There are several places nearby that sell the product. Most of them are local boutiques, who have carried the line of cosmetics for years (and still have a few products that are exclusive, mostly lipsticks and nail polish). There are drug stores that carry it as well - the closest is near a more medical district of the city, across from a pub you've spent some time in.

Jason & Gabby
Gabby studies the pictures for a moment, then shakes her head. "I'm afraid I don't know either of those people, Jason. The woman looks sort of familiar, but I can't place her at all."

At his next question, she blinked. "Linda Overpeck? She was using this cream, but . . . she isn't anymore. It was interfering with her health, and I told her to stop." She wasn't fully comfortable even touching on that much of her patient's privacy, but his statement made her even more happy that she'd told the woman to stop using the beauty regimen. "She's fine now, as far as I know."

One of her eyebrows quirked. "Are you with the police, Jason? I mean, the pictures, the cautioning words . . . my guess is either police, or a PI." Or, she thought wryly, someone like her. That wasn't likely, however.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:08 PM   #13
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Another dead end on the pictures but it wasn't all bad news. Linda Overpeck was alive and apparently doing all right; though the cream had been harmful to her in some way? "Was it an allergic reaction or...wait, I take it back. Sorry. I know you're probably pushing doctor-patient confidentiality with what you already said." He slid the pictures back into a jacket pocket, "It's good to know she's all right though, Mrs. Overpeck. Not everyone mixed up in this stuff is."

Her question about him though was a tricky one. He was asking some questions that were very suspicious. Jason could lie; he was pretty good at getting people to believe him. But he'd also given her his name. Five seconds and Google would tell her that he'd lied if she bothered to check on it.

The truth was right out, however. He already looked crazy enough with his hair and his scars, wearing a loose jacket, a Black Flag t-shirt, scruffy jeans, and a pair of stomping boots. Telling her he was on a mission from a greek goddess wouldn't do any good.

"I'm not a cop, no. I'm looking into this matter for a private, concerned citizen who brought it to my attention." He paused and felt a quiet urge to say more. "She's a relative in, ah, higher authority and she has me do some PI kind of work for her from time to time."

He shrugged, "Anyway, it looks like this lead's pretty much a loss for the case, but a win for me." Jason grinned at the dark skinned doctor, "I got to meet you, after all. Thanks for your time Doc."

Guess it was off to Rectory Square. He'd rather have taken the pretty physician to the pub for a drink but people were dying. No joy for him tonight.
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Old 09-16-2012, 02:45 PM   #14
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She smiled at him a bit. "I've got a relative like that too. My father can be a bit . . . demanding about what I do for him." Gabby tilted her head, studying him intently. He didn't seem like a normal gumshoe, and maybe he wasn't. But it was so hard to tell in this kind of situation.

Then, suddenly, there was a flash of light in her eyes and she could see a scene of herself, sword in hand and dripping blood. Next to her was a man in jeans and a jacket, fists clenched in rage; on her other side was a tall Asian man holding a pistol in one hand, and a long, curved sword in the other. The sound of hissing filled her ears, and she tried to get a better look at the men on either side of her. Scars, and dark hair, and then . . . . She was leaning against a set of shelves, one hand clapped over her mouth, the other knotted in her hair, legs trembling and breathing heavily, as though she'd run a marathon.

Gabby slowly pulled her hands away, looking at Jason with a shaky smile. "I'm sorry, that . . . almost never happens." With an effort, she pushed herself away from the shelf and combed her fingers through her hair. "Look, Jason . . . I'm going to ask a really strange question, I promise I'm not insane." She took a deep breath, and asked, "Are you . . . related to anyone who's a lot older than they seem? Like, say, several millenia older?"
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:35 PM   #15
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One minutes she was talking about her father, in such a way that made Jason wonder if she wasn't like him, and then the doctor's eyes went wide but sort of blank and she stumbled back into the shelf of Aphrodite's Glory products. She let out a strangled cry in some language he'd never heard before, the wild looking young man unable to catch the words precisely.

She clapped a hand over her mouth to muffle the cry as it became a scream and then she almost buckled, leaning heavily on the shelf. The doctor was panting, a hand in her hair, and she looked up at him with eyes that were startled and yet seemed to understand.

What...the fuck was that? Was she epileptic or something? Could you be a doctor and have freak outs like that? Well, maybe if she wasn't a surgeon.

Her question surprised him, "Millenia...uh, well." He looked around, "Look, uh, maybe we should have this conversation elsewhere. The shop clerk's giving us a nasty look and he might call the cops." Wouldn't be the first time they'd been called on Jason since his real father had visited and handed him off to Hera. "But for right now, let's say that I'd never bring up the age of the lady I work for, but you're on the right track."
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Old 09-16-2012, 04:23 PM   #16
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A smile formed in Kenji's lips, as another piece of the puzzle fell into place. It seemed that both names referred to the same product. Heavenly Glory of Amaterasu was Aphrodite's Glory after all. And even more so, the product itself wasn't up to the standards of the USA market for cosmetics, which might hint at some potential risks regarding its safe usage. Maybe that was what the discussion between the lady and the other man was about, when they were talking about further tests that had to be conducted. That would have to investigated at a later time though.

Now, he should proceed, as planned, and acquire a sample of said product, for further analysis. That and also survey the area near Rectory Square.

Without further delay, Kenji shut down his laptop, wore his uniform and went outside. He started the engine on his motorcycle and went on into the night, heading to a drugstore that he remembered, which was located near a pub that he used to go occasionally for a drink.

As he accelarated, he felt the cold and damp air of London on his face. He closed his helmet and went forth to his destination.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:19 PM   #17
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You arrive at the drug store, parking your bike easily in the lot outside. Inside is quiet, only a few shoppers in the aisles selecting items as you walk in. It's easy to find the area set aside for beauty treatments. There are two people standing in the aisle, a tall young man with distinctive scars on his face and a dark-complected woman. She seems a little shaken, and he had a hand extended to help her.

You get within earshot as you hear her ask, "Are you . . . related to anyone who's a lot older than they seem? Like, say, several millenia older?" in a diffident way.

He blinks at her, then replied, "Millenia...uh, well." He looks around, "Look, uh, maybe we should have this conversation elsewhere. The shop clerk's giving us a nasty look and he might call the cops." He takes another glance around. "But for right now, let's say that I'd never bring up the age of the lady I work for, but you're on the right track."

Everyone! (Yay, we're all together for now!)
Gabby looked up at Jason, took a deep breath. She shook her head, not to disagree but to clear her thoughts. It would be great if these flashes of prophecy were more predictable. It didn't happen often, but when it did, it took a lot out of her. "That sounds . . . like a great idea. This is hardly the place to talk about our families."

Out of the corner of her eye, she caught a glimpse of an Asian man several feet away. Her eyes narrowed. "I think he should come with us," she said, her voice more sure than the words were. She shifted on her feet to face the other man. "Excuse me, sir. Are you looking into this," one hand gestured to the shelf of Aphrodite's Glory, "as well? If you are, I think the three of us should talk."
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #18
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Jason turned to watch Dr. Moya approach the newcomer. Who the hell was this guy? How did she know what he was doing here?

Of course, she might not. She did ask him if he was looking into Aphrodite's Glory, not say that he was. The guy was dressed in a uniform that Jason didn't recognize but he didn't need to. He'd seen guys like this before; every move he made, the way he looked around said he was well trained, highly paid muscle. For who was the question? If he was looking into this stuff too, who was he doing it for?

Most of the time he saw guys like this, they were private guards for some strongman or drug lord. He didn't get the same feeling from this guy but then he shouldn't just trust to that.

Jason watched him carefully; his eyes keen and his face in a sort of relaxed smirk. "You're pretty enough for two guys, Doc, but I got to say you should ease into the threesome aspect a little more smoothly."
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:55 PM   #19
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Kenji looked around, while moving to the section of the drugstore, where the cosmetics were on display. He saw a young woman of darker complexion -and quite striking looks admittedly - conversing with a young man, of athletic build, as was evident, whose face appeared to bear distinct scars.

His eyes darted left and right, sized up the two individuals and were moving to scan the shelves, in search of the cosmetics product he was looking for, when he heard parts of their discussion. Relatives of an age counted in millenia, sounded quite odd, to Kenji's ears, certainly didn't seem like a normal discussion subject between two young individuals. Then again people had strange beliefs, and who could know what they meant. Then cops were mentioned, and the need of any further discussion to be continued in a private place, and Kenji's interest was piqued.

As he was approaching, the young lady suddenly turned to face him. Kenji wasn't a man to be surprised by sudden movements, even those executed by pretty ladies, whose appearance would make him observe certain parts of their physique more than others, dulling thus his reactions. What she said though, surprised him, quite genuinely. How could she even presume that a stranger might search for a certain product. Even more so, for this particular one.

Kenji nodded and approached the others, in response to her invitation for further discussion. He smiled - politely, as was his habit - and slightly bowed to the lady and to the young man next to her.

"Good evening, miss. Good evening sir. To answer your question, I am as a matter of fact looking for this very product. Forgive me if I sound a bit rude though but do you know me from somewhere? Please don't get me wrong, it isn't everyday that I'm addressed by a lady as pretty as you - if you don't mind me saying - who wants to talk to me, but all this sounds a bit strange. I'll play along though, say that I'm not a stranger to peculiar situations and accept your suggestion to discuss this further, provided at least that I could know your names. Mine is Kenji. Nice to meet you, I suppose".


Listening briefly to the man's remark, Kenji turned to look at him, then at the lady, who apparently was a doctor, and even slightly blushed, before regaining his composure.

"In terms of physical beauty, you truly are exceptional miss, even exotic for the western world standards, if I might make such an observation. I was under the impression, though, that we were about to discuss something regarding this cosmetics product, of which I think you have no need by the way, and not your sexual preferences, just yet, though one does not necessarily exclude the other"
, he added, with a smile, to break the proverbial ice.

"If you need to talk, someplace else, I know a pub nearby, in which I'm a regular. We could have a quiet corner on the upper floor for ourselves, if you'd wish".
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Old 10-01-2012, 10:23 PM   #20
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Gabby smiled at the two of them. They were being so careful, and that was very good. She knew that there were beings that could recognize what she was - what she suspected them to be - and not all of them were friendly. "That sounds like a great idea. I think . . . well, I think we all need to talk. I have a few suspicions, and I believe that we might be able to provide a context for a lot of puzzle pieces."

She reached out hesitantly and touched both of their shoulders. As she suspected, she felt a tug, something that she'd learned was important. They were linked, somehow. Even if it was temporary, they were meant to be something to each other. "And I've a hankering for a pint and something fried and bad for me. Let's head over there, hm?"

~ ~ ~ ~

The first floor of the pub is as loud and boisterous as any pub in England. The second floor, however, is much quieter. There is a pool table, the walls done in a warm, dark wood, and a smaller bar than the lower floor. The metal fixtures gleam dully in the light, and the tables are topped in well-worn wood.

Gabby, Kenji, and Jason are sitting around a table in a quiet corner, away from the quartet of builders that were playing a friendly game of pool. Each of them has a glass in front of them, and a basket of onion rings and fried fish sits in the middle of the table. Gabby grabbed an onion ring and crunched into it, swallowing as she said, "So, we're as private as I think any of us want to be, talking about family. So, let me ask again, gentlemen. Are either of you related to someone who's . . . far older than most people live?"
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:01 AM   #21
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Kenji smiled back at Gabby, even as she hesitantly reached out and touched his shoulder. He enjoyed her soft touch as well as her uncertainty in doing so. He was most certainly not bothered. On the contrary, feeling the soft hands of such a pretty lady on him, tended to have a calming influence on his already troubled mind.

*******

The pub was as he remembered it. The usual rash, the noise, the various patrons drinking, talking, created to his senses, some sort of continuous white noise in the background. Thankfully, due to his particular training and due to the many hours he'd spent in there, during the past, Kenji was able to block out most of it, almost effortlessly. The fact that the second floor was much more quiet, certainly did help. It also ensured an increased privacy as was his initial intention, when he proposed it, as a place to hold this unexpected meeting.

Kenji took a sip from the glass before him and listened to Gabby carefully. As soon as she finished her question, he smiled and nodded.

"Indeed, fair lady. As strange as it may sound, I am related to such an individual. As is obvious my heritage is Asian. It was though, only a few years ago, that I learned of my exact and true origins. I was studying in Europe and my parents, who were in Africa, were killed. Sortly afterwards, I received a letter - an invitation to travel to Japan and meet an uncle of mine, who was a person of considerable importance in the East. When I met him, he went forth to reveal that he was truly my father and that was the least of the surprises that awaited me.

I've always been fond of mythology and the stuff of legends were my favourite stories as a child, but to be honest, I never expected to be a part of such things. As it turned out though, my real father - Hachiman is his name in case you've ever heard of him - did claim to be around much longer than most would ever imagine and his arguments were quite compelling I assure you".
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Old 10-03-2012, 12:51 PM   #22
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Jason felt good in the corner table; stout walls at his back, few people around, and plenty of things hanging on the walls that would make handy weapons. Not to mention the pool table. Few people knew how much damage a well thrown pool ball could inflict. The fried fish and onion rings didn't hurt either.

He tipped his chair back as the alluring Doctor Moya spoke up and repeated her question about their relatives. He considered a few options. He was pretty sure what she was getting at but how open should he be with it? He didn't know who or even what these two were. It was entirely possible this was all a trap that the good Doctor had arranged, luring him into the pub where she might have allies waiting. He could hedge around, like she was, or even try to move the conversation past the topic and onto their apparently mutual investigation into Aphorodite's Glory.

...Fuck it.

Before he could answer though, Kenji beat him to it and ended up surprising him. The guy laid it all out on the table and it didn't seem like he was lying. Though he could just be really good at it. Still, it was a lot more forthcoming than he expected from anyone wearing a uniform. They only ever wanted to get information, never give any.

But part of what he said stuck in Jason's mind. Not a useful part either. "I wouldn't say real father." This might piss Kenji off but Jason didn't care. He was giving this Hachiman way more credit than he deserved. "A real father raises a kid, teaches and shelters his child." His left hand had risen unconsciously to run down the scars on his face. "Your real father is the one who took care of you. Hachiman's your biological father." He paused. "Mine is the same way, though he's loaned me out to his wife instead of taking orders from him directly."

"I have a minder who gives me assignments, she pointed me to this Aphrodite's Glory stuff. The guy behind it is involved, somehow, in one murder with some pretty specific mutilation post mortem." He hesitated and pulled out the pictures he'd showed the Doctor, as well as those of the man with her. "This woman ended up dead; she was at the Games with this guy, more than once. That's what I'm trying to find out about. The cosmetic angle isn't one I'm on, other than that this guy is part of the company that makes and sells the stuff."

He put the pictures on the table for either of them to look at. June might chide him for being so open with strangers this way but he hated being sneaky and all the cloak and dagger politicking that his patron, or would it matron? Anyway, that Hera seemed to enjoy so much. "So, that's my part of all this."
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:26 PM   #23
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Gabby sighed, a little relieved. They were all, at least on the surface, on the same side. It was risky, for any of them, to make the statement of what they were. "I'm . . . also one of us. My father is Xipe Totec, the flayed god of the Aztecs." She blushed a little. "It sounds silly to say that - I mean, this is Britain, not the Americas, but I suppose when you're a deity, you get around."

She shrugged and took another bite of the onion ring. "My father came to see me today, and told me that," she lowered her voice, just loud enough for them to hear her, "well, I shouldn't even be telling you this, doctor-patient privilege and all." Gabby looked around, then licked her lips nervously. "Linda Overpeck, the woman you asked me about, came to see me because she couldn't get pregnant. After doing some tests, I suggested she stop using any non-prescription ointments or creams. Including Aphrodite's Glory."

Her fingers twined together on the table. "After she did, I noticed a decided improvement in the state of her cells - I won't bore you with the details. Papa came to see me today to . . . encourage me to look further into the beauty products." Her cheeks reddened even more, and she said, almost apologetically, "His requests have the force of a command, given . . . well. My family."

The dark-haired woman took a drink of her beer, then tapped her fingers on the table idly. "I've been wondering what it was that caused the problem, and now . . . a woman is dead. And she's linked, somehow, to Aphrodite's Glory. This is troubling. Very troubling." Gabby shook her head. "Well, what kind of leads did you have so far? Seeing the pictures . . . well. It's pretty horrible, isn't it? I'll help however I can."
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Old 10-05-2012, 02:27 PM   #24
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Seemed like the doctor was relaxing a little now. He did like the way things moved when she sighed, he had to admit it. Though any man with a pulse would; a fair number of women too probably.

He didn't know much about the Aztecs or Xipe Totec specifically, just that the Aztec religion had involved human sacrifice. Even if they were on the same side, he should probably still be careful around the good doctor.

She was also being pretty forthcoming. The implication of what she said was interesting. Aphrodite's Glory somehow damaged her patient's cells in some way? Plenty of chemicals could do that...but they'd all get caught by the FDA or whatever the British equivalent was, wouldn't they?

Unless someone pulled some strings. Or whatever did the damage was magical; it might not even show up on normal tests if it was.

Jason quirked his eyebrows, "Linda Overpeck was my biggest lead. When I got this case, I was given a few more things...but I don't know what they mean." He pulled a handkerchief out of another jacket pocket and then set it on the table, unwrapping it. Inside were two small glass vials; one was labeled "Rectory Square" and had a small silvery rock in it, the other some scaly skin and a pair of thin, curved teeth.

He tapped the labeled bottle, "This is the only other lead I have. No idea what this rock is or what's at Rectory Square but that's were I was going to go after the pharmacy." Jason actually picked up the second vial and frowned at it, "This confuses me completely. The skin looks like snake skin, and I think those are fangs, but I don't know what it means with everything else here."

He shrugged, "I thought maybe it had to do with the way this woman," he indicated one of the photos, "died. A "Speckled Band" kind of thing, you know? Sherlock Holmes? But it doesn't look like that from the crime scene photos I was given."
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:36 AM   #25
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Kenji listened carefully, as both Gabriella and Jason, went forth to reveal their divine parentage and involvement in this strange case, concerning the cosmetics product, named Aphrodite's Glory. A descendant of an Aztec god and another of an undisclosed yet deity. Things were perhaps more serious than his initial estimation. It seemed that his own divine parent's comment was precise and true as ever. This would be a case to keep him interested and occupied for quite some time.

He smiled at Jason's remark.
"You are very precise and right of course, regarding the parental classification. Be that as it may, he was there for me when I lost my parents. I honour the father that raised me as his child, may his soul rest in peace, and I honour the one that stepped up to reveal himself and brought me into this new way of life".

Then he looked at the photos of the mutilated woman as well as the two vials that Jason laid on the table.


"It is certainly disturbing"
, he said, after a few moments. "Hachiman, my father, also provided me with several pieces of the puzzle, surrounding this product and I had already begun my investigation before I met you. This is what I have deduced so far. There's a product on the market, that much is evident. It is not safe to use, that is also evident, from what Miss Moya already discovered. Said product is also about to be released - if it's not on shelves yet - in Japan as well, under the localised title Divine Beauty of the Amaterasu. It cannot be released yet in the U.S. market, since it had some trouble meeting the relative standards according to the relevant regulations that apply in cosmetics there.

Based on my clues, which are in my laptop, and also on some photos I recently received, I found out who the owner of the corporation behind this product is. Her name is Molly Duncan and she was quite rich, top-end money as my contact put it, even before starting this cosmetics company, which incidentally had a great deal of success this far. I also have a recording of her, arguing quite strongly with someone else, over some additional tests that need to be done and further results to be seen, which might be related to our product of interest. In addition to that, I have a video recording which shows her receiving, what I'd presume to be disturbing news. Now, it may be unrelated to our case, but I seriously doubt it".


Kenji pauses for a moment, taking another sip of his drink, retrieving the photos from a large pocket on his uniform and facing Jason, before continuing.

"Rectory Square, you said? I think I may be able to tell you what is in there. See these photos. They are - supposedly - photos of factory workers. You see, Rectory Square is located in Stepney Green, an industrial area of London. Due to that fact it was deemed unfit to hold some of the Olympic events recently. Anyway, those are factory workers, according to their uniforms. All of them female, which might raise a couple of eyebrows, but also exceedingly beautiful for women of their occupation, a fact which certainly raised my eyebrows".

"To put it simply", continued Kenji with a slight grin and a wink, "the only factory that women of such model-like physical attributes and visage would belong, would be one in my fantasies. Certainly not in any industrial zone of any western world metropolis. And there's even more to it. An even closer and more meticulous examination of said pictures, reveals another common trait between those ladies, in addition to their common occupation and beauty. Their facial characteristics bear a disturbing expression, almost predatory. I do believe there's more to this. It may take some time, but I have the feeling that if we cooperate, we'll solve this puzzle quite well. After all, the mere fact that our divine parents are interested in this, means that there are certainly serious things at stake".


He smiled genuinely, looking again at Jason and Gabriella. For a moment he contemplated how it would feel to be in the place of this onion ring, touching the velvet lips of doctor Moya. Then he tried to push this thought away, occupying himself with drinking a bit more of his beer and eating something as well, awaiting their answer.
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