10692/City Fall: at the beginning for organization

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City Fall: at the beginning for organization
Date of Scene: 10 January 2020
Location: Victor Sage's Gotham Office, The Narrows
Synopsis: Shredder shows up at Vic's office for a bit of a chat
Cast of Characters: Question, Shredder
Tinyplot: City Fall

Question has posed:
It is business as usual for Vic Sage, KBEL's resident investigative reporter for the Gotham branch. Which pretty much consists of just Vic, especially at this time of night.

Currently Vic is found sitting behind his desk in his office as he preps his latest expose on the 'revolving door' of Arkham's criminally insane, typing away at the old vintage typewriter with heavy metal frame and big brass keys. He is dressed as he normally is, the grey suit and tie tailored to fit his somewhat muscular frame. Fedora and trench coat hanging on the coat rack by the office door.

Shredder has posed:
    When he arrived might be mildly unclear, but someone has entered the office. Someone tall, but incredibly quiet. His presence seems to be no more than one would expect of cat. The lock's picking is even quiet, only the slightest squeak of the actual lock indicating that the security is being currently breached.

Question has posed:
The squeak of the lock to the office isn't something most people would notice, but Vic isn't most people. Sometimes he is The Question, and the Question notices little things like that.

But at the moment Vic isn't in his guise as the faceless vigilante, so he 'doesn't notice' the intruder...it is just pure coincidence that his feet shift slightly to allow him to spring up and defend himself if necessary.

The rapid clacking of keys fall silents as the typing stops. Vic takes a break, lifting the steaming mug of coffee into his hands and taking a small sip, his eyes peering ever so slightly over the rim of his mug as he sips.

Shredder has posed:
    Along with the clacking of keys, all sounds stop from outside the door. Then it opens. The figure is dark on the other side, and ceases to remain hidden. Clad in black, about six foot tall, a mask over his face, and steel bracers on his arms and shins. A scar can be seen over the left eye in what is revealed of the skin.

    "Mr. Sage." The voice? The voice is decidedly familiar. It's the same voice which ordered the executions that night in the Sacred Martyr Church.

Question has posed:
Vic's gut clenches reflexively at the sounds of the voice, memories of pain and of scars that are still fresh. Instincts kick in and Vic starts to rise from his chair, to go on the attack...but somewhere between the first instinct to fight and finishing the act of moving the words the man in back said click into place. He called him Sage, not Question. He doesn't know...

Vic reals back like he was startled, the coffee spilling down his front as he exclaims, "Holy shit!" He stumbles, catching his foot on the leg of his chair, and falling back down into it as he stares at the figure in front of him as the coffee mug falls and shatters onto the floor. "Fuck, you startled me. I thought that door was locked."

Shredder has posed:
    The theatrics receive a non-existant response. "It was," comes the answer. No attempt to hide that he picked the lock. He ignores the broken mug completely, simply walking around it and into the room, then gently closing the door behind him. It clicks shut. Now it's locked again. "I have been reading your works," he says. "I have come to speak with you about them." No polite request of whether he may enter. No request regarding whether Vic is willing to speak on the matter. He behaves as if these things will in fact take place, and as if some agreement had already been reached on the matter. "You have a distinct penchant for stories about the underworld in Gotham. A dangerous career choice in this city, don't you think?"

Question has posed:
Wiping at the coffee on his front, Vic sighs and blots away as best he can with a discarded napkin. It doesn't do much.

"Any career choice in Gotham is a dangerous one, Mr...?" he pauses, waiting to see if a name is given before he continues. "Hell, the act of breathing in this city is liable to get you a lung full of Joker gas or fear toxin. Walking down the street is taking your life in your hands. Speaking out and pointing out the corruption in Gotham, or the goings on about the underworld elements of isn't any worse. Or so I thought, anyway. Till now."

Vic tosses the napkin into the trash where it falls with a wet 'splorch', and looks again to Shredder. "Is this the part where you threaten me about some story I am working on, or rough me up because of a story I wrote? Because if it is, let's just get it over with. I have a deadline."

Shredder has posed:
    No name is given. "Not necessarily," the Shredder answers. "The group I represent is not interested in 'roughing people up', as you put it. Anyone who is a threat is removed. Anyone who is an asset is protected. Which places you in a unique situation, for your category is ambiguous at the moment. I read your article on the Sacred Martyr Church. I find it intriguing that you could acquire such footage."
    Hands are folded behind his back, and he paces casually around the broken mug. "It seems that you disagree with the consolidation of the underworld power in Gotham, somehow presuming that it would be a bad thing. Are you sure of that?"

Question has posed:
Vic snorts, "I disagree with consolidation of power in general. The rich get richer and the poor die. It doesn't matter if it is the underground, or the Wayne foundation. You give someone, anyone, all the power then those under it suffer."

Vic kicks his feet up onto his desk, and takes a more casual pose as he starts to undo his tie. "All consolidation of the gangs in Gotham would do is set up for a bigger gang war. Instead of small gangs battling it out for territory, you would end up with bigger gangs fighting for larger stakes of land, or bigger yet you have the one 'gang' of Gotham that then the one 'gang' of Hub City comes in and tries to take over and then you have the entire city a warzone. It doesn't solve the problem of gang wars, it only magnifies them exponentially."

Vic watches Shredder as he paces around, keeping an eye on him at all times as best he can, to be ready 'just in case'. "As far as the footage from the church, I have my sources. Security cameras in the church that people didn't know about, not on the main circut. Slip a few bills to the right people and you can get your hands on all sorts of things...this IS Gotham."

Vic pauses for a bit, and turns to look towards Shredder fully, "It's not like you have anything to worry about. All my bellyaching doesn't change anything. Even if I do change a few minds, the majority of the people here don't give a fuck, so the quo remains status."

Shredder has posed:
    "Do not lie to me," comes a sharp warning. "You received your video from a couple of interlopers," the Shredder says specifically. "One of them is dead, which leaves only one source." Perhaps one blessing, the Shredder thinks that the Question died that night. It certainly should have been a fatal wound, if not for the quick medical attention. Of course, that medical attention wasn't given at a hospital, so it was off any books that he could pry access to.

    "Your writing may have more impact than you realize," he says. "And you may be able to use that impact for more than you understand. You are correct, the laws of probability and the distribution of power dictate that larger gangs mean more gang wars." He stops pacing, and pivots to face Vic directly.

    "Unless one gains power rapidly enough. You see such things occur in business. America has a unique strategy of trying to impose law to prevent monopoly, but monopolies are inevitable. The question is the nature of the group who gains monopoly. The power will consolidate. It always consolidates, like fluid mercury, without direction, yet always moving unto itself. So power will be attracted to more power."
    "I think you understand this," he observes with narrowed eyes. "So on to the nature of why I do not simply come to eliminate you. My group seeks order. In New York City already, there are fewer muggings, fewer home invasions, and fewer violent crimes." Well, reported ones at least. "It came at a cost, but now peace is closer for that city than it ever has been. Because it is ruled not by the people, but by those who know how to weild power to ensure their peace. Strong. Decisive. This city will fall into the grip of the Foot Clan. It is as inevitable as mathematics itself," he accounts. "The only question that remains is whether that consolidation will come at the cost of many lives, or of the few. You wish to see your Arkham villains removed. You wish to see the streets safe from viscious toxins. You even claim that it is hard to walk down the street and expect survival." There is a smirk. "Your caped vigilantes are villified by some and deified by others. But what have they changed? They change nothing."
    "It is clear that you have ties with vigilantes, your possession of that footage solitifies that. How you use your connections, that is what will determine your future, and the future of your city."

Question has posed:
"I didn't lie." says Vic as he looks to Shredder. "I slipped a few bills to someone and I got the tape. Where THEY got it, I don't know. Maybe they got it from whomever you are talking about. I never said the person I got it from was the original source. I was pretty sure they weren't. People rarely approach me with footage like that directly."

Vic tosses the ruined tie onto the desk and listens as Shredder goes about his ranting, waiting until the megalomaniac is done. "Wait? Your saying that footage came from one of the Bats? Really? Man if I had that kind of access I wouldn't be in this shitty office in the Narrows."

Vic sets his feet down and spins his chair to face Shredder, "So, just for the sake of argument, you and your clan of feet take over the Gotham underworld. That doesn't make what I said any less true. Sooner or later one of those other groups like the Brotherhood of naughty mutants, or the Evil League of Evil or Court of Sparrows or any of the other globally recognized organization of kooks are going to come in an try and take control, and when that happens...and it will happen...chaos is going to just rain down into the streets."

Vic shrugs and stands up, "I'm still not sure what you are expecting of me. I don't have the access you think I do to any of these caped kooks. I'm just a reporter man. I put my pretty face on TV and spout off for a half-hour and maybe some people listen, but if you are asking me to start rooting for the bad guys on my show...well that just isn't likely to happen. Not that it would make any difference one way or the other."

Shredder has posed:
    There is a cold narrowing of his eyes as Vic retorts to his explanation. If he has corrections to Vic's claims, he doesn't reveal them.
    "The Batman insists on a certain heirarchy of illegal justice in the city," he observes. "While Ra's al Ghul made his doomed attempt at destroying the city, I watched as they coordinated their counter-offensive. It required a heirarchy to operate. One that centers around the Batman. They are a gang of idealized misfits which impose their morality on others with as much fascist fervor as any dictator ever could. You already root for the 'bad guys', Mr. Sage." he makes a quote in the air with his fingers. "The Bats are only mildly different from those they oppose. I ask that you start rooting for what may be in the best interest of the city. Continued bloodshed, I would argue, is not."

Question has posed:
Crossing the room over towards the coffee machine, Vic shrugs a shoulder. "Forgive me if I am skeptical. It is in my nature to question the validity of such statements without digging into the story myself. I only have your word, which you have to admit is biased, about the crime rate statistics in New York, and I would be a shit reporter if I just took your word for it. But let's say you are telling me the truth, that because you took over the crime in New York, the rates that the public see are down...it's still crime isn't it? Murders, Assassinations, theft and everything in between. You amass power for a reason, be it financial or due to some form of megalomania where you must be ruler of all, when is it enough? Why do you need New York AND Gotham? I don't see how one person would need so much."

Vic starts to pour himself a new coffee, and looks over to Shredder, "Care for some coffee, or tea?"

Shredder has posed:
    Of course, he'd have to remove the mask in order to take part in a drink, something he is not about to do. There seems to be a chord struck, though, with the cordiality of it. "No, thank you," he says simply. "The burden of leadership and power is not for benefit the one weilding it, but for those who rest under the one weilding it. It is not a question of why one person would need so much, but how many people need that one person."

Question has posed:
:nods as he finishes doctoring his cup to his liking, taking a tentative sip to test it.

"But do the citizens of Gotham need to have anyone in power at the seat of corruption? I know, you are going to say that regardless of my thoughts on the matter that there will always be someone on that seat, and multiple people trying to usurp that throne. I'd be more interested in seeing if your theory would work on someplace like Hub City, where the corruption is so entwined in the city that I don't know how it hasn't burnt itself down to the ground. A place like that may benefit from a string hand like yours. You would be an improvement." he says with a bit of a snort.

"Look, lets stop beating around the bush here and just get down to it. What is it you want from me. Do you want me to do a series on how I think that we should let the criminal organizations in the city unite? Because I can tell you that isn't going to happen. I'm not sure what else you want from me here, if it isn't that. Or maybe I am just not smart enough to figure out what it is you are wanting from me, I fully concede I am not the smartest took in the shed so maybe I am off base here, but you tracked me down for a reason, and I doubt it was just to ask about that church footage. You could probably care less about that publicity."

Shredder has posed:
    "I want you to pull attention elsewhere," the Shredder answers. "You need not support me to help me. Simply distract." He turns and starts to walk toward the door. "Remember, threats are eliminated. Should I have desired, you would already be dead. You are being granted clemency, Mr. Sage. I suggest you think carefully on whether you should take it, lest I visit again." The threat, of course, is not thinly veiled.

Question has posed:
"I'll think about it. Or I will go on my next show and tell them all about this little chat. Or maybe I will do neither, I guess we will just have to wait and see." Vic snaps off, cradling the cup of coffee in his hand. "I guess you will just have to watch the news to find out whether or not you need to come back and kill me." If the threat bothers Vic, it doesn't show. "Let me know ahead of time and I will brew some tea. Green Jasmine sounds like something you would drink."