A knock on the door. An expected knock.
"Enter," he said, with the slightest air of arrogance. Had the power gotten to his head? Perhaps. Scotch felt that he was entitled to an air of pride given his position.
In stepped a short, chubby man with an impressive brown moustache and a construction helmet that covered his eyes. He never took off that helmet, it seemed. In his arms he carried some complicated-looking blueprints. He took a seat across from Scotch's desk.
Gregor gazed out the window for a few moments before speaking. It provided him an impressive view of his Martian homeland, with peculiar architecture jutting up all around. Night on Mars was long and peaceful, with the glowing city lights casting a mellow blue tint on the office. "Mr. Farhi, how are things?"
Horatio Farhi furrowed his moustache, but otherwise made no physical movements. "Bitter," he muttered. "Rough, harsh, and demanding. Rewarding, but demanding."
"And the family?"
"I'm doing what I can," he continued to complain. "Mars ain't the kind of place to raise a kid. In fact, it's cold as hell."
"Shame," Gregor replied, turning slightly towards the direction of his guest. "Personal information aside, what say we get down to business?"
[Interval 1-1, no character has been killed]
In a darkly lit basement of one of the many buildings on Mars, Charles Black addressed the revolutionaries of Ares. He was a well-groomed man with neatly combed black hair and cunning eyes. Twenty of his top subordinates were gathered in the room, all listening to the orders they'd take back to their respective forces.
"Our mole in the World Government building has informed us that Scotch will take action in approximately nine months. We must initiate our plans to disrupt his enterprises."
The revolutionaries murmured in agreement. Black gestured to a large map pinned onto the wall behind him.
"These are your targets. Each squad has been given their assigned dates. These targets must be destroyed swiftly and surely at exactly noon UT (Universal Time) on each specified day. The U.M. citizens must learn to fear us and must be swayed from their undying loyalty to Scotch."
"We are the only ones who have not been brainwashed by his regime. Only we can save both Mars and Earth from destruction."
[Interval 1-2, no character has been killed]
As Black's top-ranking officers left the room he headed over to his computer's console. There was an incoming message.
"Randall here. Is this a secure channel?" a voice groaned deeply over the screen.
"Well, we can't really afford to ever use unsecured channels given our situation here, Randy."
"Right. Well, the boys here at the UN can't be too careful. Any slip about this and the political chaos would be ruin relations for decades."
"Yes, Randy, I know. Just cut to the chase. Can you send the supplies or not?"
"The rations are easy enough, we can ship those in through normal trade routes. The munitions will be harder. Scotch would catch on quick, the wily bastard. We're thinking of sending an unmanned shipped and having it 'crash' into Phobos where your team can recover it."
Charles looked annoyed. "That'll set things back a bit, you realize, and things are tight enough as it is. Are you sure there's nothing else you can do?"
"Look, we're already sticking our necks out here. If the public knew that we here in the UK and Brazil were aiding a revolution on Mars, they'd go loco. It'd sour relations with the US and especially Germany, who-"
"Listen, I don't need to hear all this every time we talk. Phobos is fine, we'll just have to push things back a bit. I'll send out Martin's team to recover everything in a week. I trust you'll have everything ready by then."
"Glad to hear it. We'll ship them both out tonight. Hope to talk again soon."
The communication ended. Charles sighed and opened the door. "Martin!"
[Interval 1-3, no character has been killed]
"Randall, contact Beck and tell him to take over Martin's squad for now. He's been incapacitated. Then tell Leroux to meet me here. I'm going after Ellen myself."
He paused for the briefest of moments, silently reprimanding himself. "Grete. I'm going after Grete myself."
Martin was in rough shape. Blood continued to pool out of his wounds onto the floor.
"Boss...I....I'm sorry. She took us by surprise.."
"Don't talk. Save your strength," Black said to his subordinate. "I shouldn't have trusted her. I should've known she'd go after Scotch herself. God DAMNIT!"
Black slammed his fist against the wall in frustration. Martin was attempting to mouth words, but no sound could be heard from his lips. The door swung open and a brunette woman wearing a dark blue coat walked briskly into the room. She had a lit cigarette in her mouth and was holding an advanced assault rifle.
"Randall told me the situation," said Leroux. "I'm ready to go after that bitch when you are, sir."
She looked over and saw Martin bleeding on the floor. "Shit. I didn't realize it was that bad." Leroux set down the rifle and took out a medical kit.
Martin was still trying to say something as Leroux attempted to treat his wounds. Black noticed and bent down in order to hear what he was whispering.
"What is it, Martin?"
Black waited patiently for Martin to form the words; there was no use pressing him in this state.
Martin coughed violently before continuing.
"She's working for the United States."
[Interval 2-1, no character has been killed]
Even a man of great intelligence and foresight such as Gregor Scotch could recognize that in this present predicament, it could all be ended in a second. For as long as it took for his assassin to pull the trigger, Gregor's life was dangling in the hands of Ellen Grete. Were it anybody else but her, it would have been over already.
"It's funny, Gregor," she said with a wicked smile. "Your face still has all the ambition and stubbornness you had when you first came to this planet. Here you are, seconds away from death, and not even a twinge of fear."
"If you wanted me dead, you'd have done it by now," Gregor growled. "Do it now, Ellen. Pull the trigger."
Grete's expression abruptly changed to that of unspeakable rage. "I can't believe this!" she roared, nearly breaking into a fit of laughter. "The great and powerful Gregor Scotch goes out with a whimper!? The man I've respected enough to call my nemesis? This is an outrage! For that disgrace, you deserve death!"
"Pull the trigger, Grete", Gregor said calmly, now taking a step towards her.
Her hands were shaking as she took a step back. "You are nothing to me, Scotch! You are a cockroach at my feet!" She cocked her gun and adjusted her aim to shoot for the forehead. Tears were now streaming down her eyes as Gregor Scotch continued his advance. "I'm going to kill you, right now! I'm going to kill you!" Her back was pressed to the wall and she could retreat no further.
"Pull the trigger," Gregor repeated once again, now mere inches away from her.
With one swift motion, Gregor pushed the weapon aside and pinned her against the wall passionately pressing his lips to hers.
[Interval 2-2, one character has been kissed]
Many years ago, Gregor, Charles, and Ellen had all been colleagues of a sector set aside by the United Nations for the development of Mars.
Gathering a population of willing colonists had been much too easy. People on Earth were enticed by the prospects of being the first to stake land on a brand new frontier. To start the foundation of a new world. To become part of history.
Gregor Scotch was selected as World Governor for the colonies. And for years, Mars ran smoothly without any issues. That is, until Earth started to demand more resources be shipped from Mars. Scotch attempted to stay cooperative with Earth for some time until the demand became too much to handle.
Before the United Nations, Gregor gave an infamous speech detailing the progress that Mars had made.
The Secretary General merely said, "Without Earth, Mars would be nothing. We funded you. We made modern Mars what it is today."
That had been the last straw. Losing his usual self-control, Gregor screamed.
"Without the work of the Martian people, there wouldn't BE a modern Mars!"
The earth demanded for Scotch to be stripped from power. After a week of silence, he made his final announcement to the people of Earth.
"I love Mars. And it loves me. You cannot take away that love."
After that proclamation, Gregor left Earth and never returned.
[Interval 2-3, no character has been killed]
Edited at 2011-03-09 06:34 pm (UTC)
"Run, Gregor," Grete whispered, still locked in Scotch's embrace. "Everybody wants you dead."
A distinct voice echoed through Gregor's head at that moment. A memory permanently etched into his brain.
"Let go of her!"
It was the last time he had been this close to the woman with whom he was currently entangled. Everything became so vivid yet again.
"Let go of her!"
He could feel the warmth of blood on his hands. He could smell it too. He felt the cold, damp avalanche of rain pressing heavily on his uniform.
"Let go of her!"
And suddenly he could see him. Standing about twenty feet away, only a silhouette against the light of the moon. That man who ruined everything. The man who nearly destroyed everything he had worked for.
"Let go of her!"
"Pull the trigger."
Black bolted awake in a cold sweat. The same nightmare he had been having since that night. Even if he'd wanted to forget it, his subconscious reminded him of the brutal truth when he least expected it. As his head began to clear up, he rose out of bed and took a long shower. After, he brushed his teeth, put on his uniform, and headed to the central control room.
Immediately he was approached by a young man in his teens wearing a thick pair of glasses. He gave a firm salute upon greeting Black.
"Higgins," Charles greeted. "What have you to report?"
Charlie Higgins hesitated. His face was cold and fearful, a far cry from his usual excited energy. He looked Black in the eyes and told him straight. "We've lost Martin."
[Interval 2-4, one character has been killed]
Leroux drove quickly towards the World Government building. Black had broken down after Martin's revelation, and it was up to her to stop Grete.
She parked a few blocks away from the building and made her way towards it. Martian assault rifles were easily collapsible. Some Martian anti-gun officials vocalized that hiding weapons was much too easy as a result. And with her assault rifle sitting in her coat pocket, Leroux knew they had a point.
Obviously, walking straight into the building was a no-go. She walked around back and saw a fire escape. Leroux climbed up onto a dumpster and then leaped for the ladder.
At that precise moment, a window shattered from up above and a body tumbled to the ground.
Leroux jumped down and ran over to the body.
It was Ellen.
"Fucking Christ!" Leroux swore. "Did Scotch do this to you?!"
Ellen shook her head weakly.
[Interval 3-1, no character has been killed]
Edited at 2011-03-10 05:53 pm (UTC)