Lucia M. Largonel awoke in the depths of a holding cell. It was not an official prison, to her relief. Instead the cell had been designed originally for holding large herd beasts, and still smelled of Mal’ie spoor. Next to her were the ten children.
She tried to move, and shooting pain went up her leg and her arm. Her left leg had been stomped by someone large, and was swelling up. Her right arm had been broken, whether by a second swing of that baseball bat, or by the fall and landing after being struck in the face.
Lucia reached up to her jaw, and felt splitting pain. The jaw was broken, and she was able to painfully ask the kids, “Are you okay? Did the bad men hurt you?”
One of the kids pipped up, “They hit us with bats and brought us all down here.”
Spitting out a tooth she replied, “Where is here?”
The child muttered, “Under one of the Caravan shops in the Merchant district of Dumbar. The one owned by an old smelly man named Gree Benson. What should we do Lucia?”
“We will wait for now, child,” said Lucia, “My master Ryuk knows where we are, and he and his rabble are coming to save us.”
Part 1: To Save the Day, or to Be Lucky not to be Shot!!!
Ryuk was wishing his day had gone better.
Not to be unrealistic, it had been a pretty good day so far. His rabble had reported to him Lucia going missing within moments of it occuring. The rabble had even tracked the thugs who took her and the kids back to the 99s gang.
Getting into Dumbar had been a little challenging. By tapping into his ally Childeen Blackheart, Ryuk had snuck his team into the colony by way of an Academia survey ship. Its credentials covered for his Kasanthians getting into town.
Information getting had been the smoothest Ryuk had ever experienced. His supporter Leyana Coque had been a regular in the Dumbari underground scene, and knew of a bar owned by a vlahadassi named Twitch. At Twitch’s Bar, they met with a bartender named Ehud who gave them the skinny on the 99s operations in Dumbar.
From him, Ryuk learned he had two options for negotiations for Lucia’s return. One was Liancour du lathe, a militant who had little respect or time for Kasanthians. The other was Mina Roren, Yildor Roren’s own daughter, a former EEF Goliath, and the 99s weapons designer. The bartender told them the only reason Mina would meet with them is she has had previous dealing with the Kasanthians in the past and wouldn’t shoot Ryuk on sight.
Ryuk accepted it, and with his Quantum Legion bodyguard Grant, and with Childeen Blackheart himself undercover, the trio headed for the Manor district to schedule a meeting with Mina Roren.
Being informed by Blackheart that they should leave their weapons at home, the team disarmed themselves to not send the wrong message to the 99s subcommander. Unfortunately Ryuk decided to try and sneak his weapons into the meeting. He had hoped if he did not convince Mina to support him with words he could aggressively negotiate with weapons.
Ryuk made a terrible tactical error. The 99s were not a syndicate one went into “aggressive negotiations” with. Their members were true zealots and full supporters. They killed the families and friends of their opponents and would not stop until “respect” was restored.
Arriving at the Manor of Mina Roren was when everything went wrong. But anyone who knew anything about negotiations would have know it. When Ryuk tried to sneak his weapons into Mina’s manor, the Shadow Wards there shut down his shadow cocoon, spilled his gear including a Pavillion tent all across Mina’s foyer, and made it obvious he was trying to sneak in weapons to a closed door meeting.
Mina quickly saw she wasn’t dealing with a negotiator who was above board, and trusted Ryuk even less than most Kasanthians. He had come into her home, smuggling weapons to kill her if she didn’t give him what he wanted. Mina had no patience for people who would disrespect her home in such a way.
And that is when Ryuk’s day got really bad.
In a way, he was lucky the entire 99s gang didn’t attack him and kill him the moment they saw that he had tried to smuggle weapons into a meeting with their boss. Only the quick talking of Childeen (in disguise), and Grant the Quantum Legion promising to take on a mission on Mina’s behalf saved the lives of Ryuk’s subordinates.
But nothing would stop Mina from adding a Death Mark to Ryuk for the 99s. Mina even promised to return Ryuk’s apprentice and the children, knowing once they left Dumbar, Ryuk would be hunted by the 99s Syndicate across the colonies.
Ryuk realized two important lessons in that moment.
Lesson one was never send your people to disrupt an opponents political campaign when you know nothing about that opponent.
Lesson two was don’t assume you can sneak weapons into a negotiation, and that negotiations go better when you don’t offend the other party before the negotiations begin.
Gathering together his pavilion tent and beginning the ardous task of stuffing it back into the shadow cocoon, Ryuk counted himself lucky not to be dead. His mistakes had nearly killed him, Childeen and Grant, and had gotten a death mark on him that would be hard to fix.