Category: Requiem


Nick soundtrack is…

done.

That’s right, kids. The Nick soundtrack is finally finished. Who wants a copy?

Unlike the Noel soundtrack, which focused more on issues of sacrifice and the nature of heroism, the Nick soundtrack prefers to focus on the motifs of identity and interpersonal connection. The songs you’ll find on it are about how we relate to ourselves and others, and hopefully show why Nick is, when it boils down to it, emotionally naive. While the album has its fair share of heart-pounders, most of the songs on the Nick soundtrack are very sensual. The kind that make you want to rub your hands all over your body while listening to them.

If you’d like me to bring you a copy at SERE, let me know and I’ll try and have them burned in time. If not, I’ll find some way to get them to you. Overall, I’m happy with how this turned out. I switched out “A View to a Kill” for “The Living Daylights” as I already had a Duran Duran song on there (“Out of My Mind”) and felt that the A-Ha song, while still being a Bond theme, more accurately describes the Vampiric condition, especially Nick, lyrically, with lines such as “Living’s in the way we die” and “Hold the darkness, let it never fade away.” Otherwise, I added some more tracks and played with the order so that they flowed together well.

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My mind is my own, and I will control it’s movements.

I don’t know what it is, but I like the strangest people. A few weeks ago I realized that despite my mission, I’m actually somewhat fond of Salomon and his insanity. I’m sure I can compartmentalize should I need to but what if I can’t? You will.

Roger is very much like that as well. He has a suburban charm about him that is in no way attractive, but soothing none the less. I can remember meeting him for the first time.

Upon moving to South Florida, I managed to find a place to live very quickly so as not to be in the immediate area of the Prince’s control. The small estate on the Intercoastal served my purposes not only by fitting a man of the station I was portraying, but also by cutting off an easy point of access that one might have available to a house that was not bordered on one side by water. The moving vans and newly-purchased furniture had been delivered during the day, so as the sun set I drove to my new Haven.

As I pulled into the smooth slate driveway, I noted that the house should be surrounded by a wall. Nothing too foreboding, but something that would deter causal onlookers, vandals, girl scouts, etc. In my mind I began planning the invisible security measures that wall would entail as I scanned the area to take a more accurate measure of the size I would have to work with. It was in that moment of hesitation that Roger spotted me.

He was wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. The beard on his round face did nothing to draw attention away from the baldness of his head, his hairline having receded to the point of being visible only as he walked away. Socks and sandals with an awkward gait like a robot who had not been gifted with proper knee joints, and he was walking toward me with a simple, toothy smile and his hand stuck out. Trying not to draw suspicion on myself, I smiled as well and caught his hand once it got into range as much to be friendly as to stop his forward motion so he didn’t crash into me.

“Hi there.” He shook my hand with an exuberance I rarely encountered anymore. “Roger Stevens. Looks like we’re going to be neighbors.”

“Looks like it, Roger. I’m Nick Taggart, I just moved in.” With people like Roger it’s always best to mimic the chief aspect of their greeting. In his case, it was stating the obvious.

“Great….great.” He pulled back his hand and wiped the sweat from his palms on his shirt. His desire to be a good neighbor, likely just like his father, clearly overrode his ability to come up with something to say after he’d introduced himself. “So, Nick, what’s your business?”

I continued to smile. If I was to live next door to this person, I’d have to be as disarming as possible, especially considering the fact that plenty of strange things would be happening here pretty soon. I had no intention of breaching the Masquerade, but the landscape of a six-figure a year income community doesn’t allow for much deviation from certain societal norms. I had factored that in before moving here, but the other options for a Haven didn’t provide nearly the benefits that this one did, and I was confident I could find at least one person to represent me to the neighbors as an eccentric rather than a danger. In Roger I saw a face man, though I admit in retrospect that I did and still do find his company enjoyable.

“I’m an investor, largely working in transportation. How about you?”

“Transportation, you say? This must be fate then. I’m the Assistant Director of Operations for Port Everglades. We’re going to be working together quite a bit if you plan to move things through there.” He seemed genuinely happy about this idea. I could see the thoughts in his head of us meeting halfway between the houses, me letting him know what to expect, him signing paperwork to “help a neighbor.” I would have to ask Felipe which loa was responsible for bringing good luck, because they would be getting one hell of an offering from me.

“You’re kidding! This must be fate, alright. Do you live alone, Roger?”

“Me?” He blew air out of his mouth in a half-laughed dismissal. “No, I’m an old married man. Wife and two kids. Shelly, my wife, has my son and they’re picking my youngest up from girl scouts right now.” So much for avoiding the cookie mafia. It’s not like I actually eat the damn things. Oh well, I can afford to outsell anyone else in a year and keep myself in good with a possible new ally. “How about you?”
“Confirmed old bachelor, Roger. No time in my life for a family right now.” Roger smiled as I said this. He wore that knowing, longing look that married men unconsciously master when encountered with somebody who still has the freedom they lack and the youth to enjoy it.

“Well, you should come over and meet mine! We’re having a barbecue this Sunday, why don’t you stop by around noon?” He bent back a little to laugh. Though I didn’t need the air, I sucked a breath in through my teeth as if I had just remembered something. I knew this would come eventually and already had my story planned.

“I’d love to, Roger, but there’s a little problem. You’re…I don’t know. We just met and I’m worried you’ll find it a little strange.” By making it seem as if a lack of acceptance is a fault, I could ensure I would be accepted. “You see, I have this problem.”

His face dropped a little, the genuine nature of his smile replaced with a fearful mask of painted joy. I didn’t need to read his mind to know what he was thinking. “What is wrong with this person? Will it endanger my children? Why doesn’t he want to talk about it? Better say something, Roger, or he’ll know you’re afraid.”

“Problem?” He disguised his fear with a joke, “You’re not a vegetarian, are you?” I admit, he covered himself pretty well. Somebody less observant would have almost thought he didn’t have a moment of hesitation.

“Yea. You see, I have photosensitivity. Basically, it means I’m allergic to sunlight. I can’t go out during the day or I suffer from something called Polymorphous Light Eruption and get these terrible hives…” I added a small shudder for effect. The false smile turned immediately into a genuine frown. While I’m sure he was actually concerned, I’m equally as sure that in a small, secret corner in his brain, there was a party going on thrown by the yuppie-early-GenXer in him that wanted to be nice on a day-to-day basis to somebody with a handicap so he can feel better about himself and brag at the office. That was the part of him I was targeting. He’d rather not question my activities than come off as insensitive to my disability.

Roger raised his harry arm and put a hand on my shoulder. “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. How about this, why don’t we move the barbecue to a dinner time and we’ll grill out under the stars?” I knew then that I had him. “How do you like your steak?”

“Bloody, and I’ll be there.” I smiled and waved as I watched my stereotypically suburban neighbor stumble back to his house, high on life and endlessly proud of himself.

Since then I’ve cultivated my friendship with Roger as best I could. I make sure to bring toys for his kids. I’m nice to his wife and lightly flirt with her on occasion. I attend night-time events with him and his family when I have the time. I never built that wall. And now that Lorenzo needs to ship things into the country, I have somebody who can clear all the paperwork. I’d call this an asset worth developing.

Three cars and a boat passed by. The boat’s owner is clearly on his way home from the chattering teeth, but likely afraid of getting a ticket in a no wake zone and won’t move faster.

I enjoyed writing this one. I didn’t want to extrapolate too much on Lorenzo’s actions, but I hope I got at least close to how he might act in the situations outlined. This was actually an incredible song choice considering what Nick is going through right now, so thank you for selecting it. Now, without further ado, here’s the first of my character meme things. Not work safe.

Continue reading

Audra’s lesson

I will concentrate. My mind is my own. It is Tuesday, November 8th, 2006.

Last night I spoke with Audra and I like where her training is going so far. She found the loophole I left, but now I’ve closed that one and opened another. At one point I will have to start her memory training in earnest, but for now I enjoy seeing how she avoids assignments.

I helped her pack that evening. The advantage of spending time with Lorenzo is that women’s clothes is not a mystery to me. In fact, she has some lovely outfits that would look wonderful on the new alias I’m crafting. I have really beautiful calves and the way the skirts were cut- Back on topic, Nick. Your arrogance will kill you.

She bought another book, like I expected. I didn’t expect her to use the answers in the back, but now I have a better idea of what to count on. So long as there is an easy way out, she will take it. I can use that tendency.

I also wanted to warn you to be careful of yourself. I’ve been you before, and don’t want you to make the same mistakes I made.

She didn’t quite get it. I know that she wanted to, but I still sense that she doesn’t think things like that will happen to her. She isn’t afraid, and that’s what’s really going to get her. I pulled out my picture.

Thought Bubble

There are 83 stars, but only 48 names in the book beneath it. She was confused. Makes sense, I hadn’t explained yet. This is the CIA memorial wall. Each star represents an agent killed during a mission. 48 of the agents are listed in the book beneath, called the Book of Honor. 35 agents must remain anonymous, even in death. That got her attention a little bit, but I think this did the job, Second row from the bottom, seventh from the left is me.

I told her about Budapest and the cafe, trying to stress that the reason why I’m one of the unnamed 35 is because I got cocky. You get confident and then ambitious and then you think if you just go for it you can wiggle your way out of it…I know exactly what you’re talking about. No, you don’t, Audra. Not yet. But you will one day. It was a good object lesson, and honesty was clearly the way to go with this as I had every doubt that it would mean something right now. Hopefully the first time her ego ruins a mission, she’ll think about my star and remember that it could get much worse. You’re getting sentimental. Stick to the facts. Yes, she will fail one day. Yes, she has a lot to learn. So will you and and so do you, and don’t get egotistical like an ideally trained mentor. You will teach her with reasonable expectations or you will not teach her at all. I’m right.

I look forward to seeing how she cheats on the next assignment. They only get worse from here.

And her first acting challenge makes me smile just thinking about it…

No cars tonight, but a plane overhead flying a banner and the sulfur in the water is up tonight. Neighbors also docked their boat too hard. Must have just come back from a picnic on the water and didn’t finish all the hot dogs. Have to tell Roger that if he wants that boat to last a few years, he has to be careful when he docks it.

…..

This is later the same night. Solved it. That’s why I do this.

November 2nd, Conversation with Rose

I will concentrate. I must put myself back under control. My mind is my own, it is under my control. I am not under its. This is November 2nd, 2006.

My discussion with Rose went well. Not as well as I had expected, since the problem still exists, but I feel a little better about it.

Come in and lie next to me, Rose.

No! Wrong part of the narrative. Describe the scene to yourself first.

I was lying on the bed wearing only my breeches. No, “pants.” Speak in modern parlance or you draw attention to yourself. I was lying on the bed wearing only my pants. For some reason I was feeling sensual as well as broody, and I occasionally ran my fingers over my bare chest just to trace the lines of muscle, sometimes imagining my finger as a scalpel, slicing myself open to physically remove the cancerous flaws I’ve been noticing. Rose arrived in a sari, it’s color and wrap making her appear not unlike her namesake.

Come in and lie next to me, Rose. Oh, and please disrobe if it’s not too much trouble.

I wanted her to feel vulnerable, like me. I knew she wouldn’t, but if I could convince myself that her nudity made her less protected, my own lowered defenses wouldn’t seem like such a sin. She raised her eyebrows, but obeyed without further question. I was, of course, absolutely wrong, and felt no more comfortable with myself. Pathetic.

It is good to know that I can speak with my sister. I can speak with most of my family, but there are certain matters of honesty that only Rose would understand or even care about. Derzhava is about modularity. We each have talents, and we go to the appropriate person when those talents are needed. Rose’s most singular talent, to me at least, is that she understands the remains of humanity and my weaknesses. It is ironic considering her own desires, but she does.

First of all, your fiance is annoying the hell out of me. He doesn’t need to know that he succeeded, but he’s going to get himself killed. I thought for a moment that that might sound like it would be me who would kill him and corrected the statement. As much as Chase bothers me some times, I have to at least respect his naive idealism. Besides, his death would hurt Rose, and I don’t know that I could be the one to do that. Unless the safety of the family as a whole were threatened. Then I’d have to live with Chase’s death. Rambling. Back on topic

Secondly, I’ve been thinking about the question you asked me, and I’m worried. I could see that she was finally concerned, not just doing her duty for breaking protocol. Her features softened as I continued. You asked if I’d ever been in love, and the answer is “no.” Not even when I was alive. I’m worried that maybe I’m incapable.

I had said it, but I’m still not sure what it means. I can control anything else I put my mind to, but I cannot grab a hold of love. I love my family. I love Rose and almost smiled as she ran her hand across my cheek, gently trying to sooth my soul by attending to my body. As strange as that may sound, Rose is an expert. But the love she asked about is a complete mystery to me.

I… do not think I understand.You are not Daeva. As I recall, you do not suffer the loss of emotion and feeling that they suffer. No, Rose. No. You have to understand. You must understand that this isn’t about blood, it’s about a fundamental flaw in my own makeup. It’s about not being able to control something. I tried to explain that if I cannot call love to heel, if I cannot control it both backwards and forwards, then how can I control anything?

Rose, am I flawed? Perhaps it is pure pride, but I always thought my flaws were intentional. Misdirections. I lost control of myself tonight. I will need punishment for that. Nia shouldn’t have walked in, but I shouldn’t have asked permission to do my job. Just quietly done it. I used to be able to control my every feeling until this love question came up. Not that one, but at least I was moving forward, not slipping backward. She was a security risk and her presence a crisis until such time as she was cleared.

Security crisis… Ah, you are referring to Nia. Yes, Rose, I’m referring to the childe that could very well be harboring vengeful thoughts about you, about you abandoning her. I was protecting you and everyone else from a possible leak, somebody who might take our precious secrets and bring them to our enemies. You know this. I know you know this. Please, Rose, understand me. Stop complaining and focus. You’ve lost the entire narrative. Think clearly.

Nicholas, this has really and truly upset you. She understood. I thought that she must have finally understood what I was saying. I wanted to be happy, but I was afraid to allow myself that luxury so long as I couldn’t hold it’s reigns. This need to control everything… do you not think it borderlines on madness? There it was. The words I had not wanted to admit, even to myself, but there is no point in total honesty without being totally honest, which is why I told her, I am sure of it, if it is not madness in full already. But it is a madness with purpose. Like Mozart or Lieba Doomb.

There is no such thing as madness with purpose. Madness consumes from within and destroys all that you build.

Then I can only hope to hold it off long enough. I don’t know for what. It’s ironic that my obsession with control must itself be controlled. It is ironic. How can I let go of control when it is so important to everyone around me? At that point she kissed me, very deeply. I could tell that she was bending all of her skill to that one action and, out of love for my sister, I tried very hard to fully let go. But again, when she asked what I thought about when she did that, I had to be honest and replied, I felt pleasure and wanted to let go, but I also heard the cat walking by outside. And the air turn on, and the click of a light going on in Lorenzo’s room. She laughed. In a way it was amusing, my kissing an undoubtedly beautiful creature and worried about the air conditioning. But it was also troublesome.

By the end of the conversation I could honestly say that I felt a little bit better, but the very knowledge that I couldn’t make myself immediately feel totally better reduced the effectiveness of the whole thing. Another Catch-22.

Nick, I have a request of you. Come to Tampa with me some time. I want us to spend some time together, some time doing… nothing. Yes, Rose, I will visit you in Tampa and try to do nothing. I don’t want to be locked away or entirely free. I want control, and I hope you can either help me fulfill or quench that desire.

12 cars and a lost semi-truck outside. 2 boats, three air cycles, and an upload to the server. Temperature didn’t change any more than 3 degrees one way or another. The nights are getting cooler.

OOC: OK, I realized that I hate pure stream of consciousness, so I’m using some stylistic choices to differentiate between dialog (italics), Nick admonishing himself (bold), and just his thoughts (normal script). Let me know if it’s too confusing and I should try something more standard.

I set my mind in motion

My mind is my own. My thoughts are under my control. I will control my mind and think in reasoned, measured sentences.

This evening I will fly to Milwaukee. It pains me not to be with my family directly, but I can serve them better in my current position. “The unknown threat is the most dangerous.” Remember that. Never forget that.

I’m going to have to speak with Audra. These problems are out of control, and while Julian’s inability to relate to her is mostly to blame, if she doesn’t take control of her pride, she will be destroyed by it. I’ve seen it. I almost was it. She is too talented to waste on herself, and I cannot let her self-destruction bring anybody with her. Remember both of those reasons, they are your stakes.

Waiting on Salomon and Dante doesn’t sound exciting in the slightest, but I believe that I will be able to slip into the places that I need to. If I can somehow get into the meeting of the Trust, I believe it will what was that? Cat outside. that it will reveal something important.

I trust that the Crone will have some sort of new information regarding Inanna before the end of the the week. She is too quiet, and this sort of gathering is too much…lost concentration. Remember to punish yourself later. too much of a temptation, even if only to pass along a message. If she is still interested in that fu…Chase, my sire’s influence runs deep, then there’s a possibility that his marriage to Rose might put her in trouble as well. At least I can openly help her. Can’t help my sire, but I now have an in-road to Ethan and Audra due to my position in the ASC.

Remember to breathe when in the company of mortals. Grey Taurus was the only car passing by the window during this session, year 2000. They end their production today. Lost concentration twice, almost thought incorrectly. End session.

OOC: So, the format I’ve decided on for Nick posts is that you’re getting inside Nick’s head while he basically meditates and puts his thoughts in order. Parts of this will be stream of consciousness as a result, but I think that readers will have the best opportunity to see how Nick sees the world and events around him. Let me know how it works out.