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Scion: Rise of the Fallen - Scion [Hades]: Money, Money, Money!

Dave ST

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Nervously Saul Gunderson fiddled with something his hands. The briefcase by the side of his chair held information that he was not particularly thrilled about having to deliver to who was widely known as the “Meanest Bitch Ever”, a title she didn’t earn by being pleasant, especially when it came to her money. Once again he tried to look up at the massive offices two other occupants, but his courage had forsaken him.

From their lofty perch, about three decent sized steps Adriana Dionekou, the world’s richest person and her right hand man, simply known only as “The Agent” or “Her Agent” impatiently waited for Mr. Gunderson to begin his report. No one knew who The Agent was, his history, background and criminal record all came up empty, he didn’t even seem to possess a Social Security Number, but he’d been serving Mrs. Dionekou faithfully for the better part of fifteen years. If she made a deal with the Devil to earn her vast wealth and empire, then people were pretty sure The Agent was Satan’s messenger boy.

To her left he stood his hands patiently clasped in front of him. His expression was as devoid of emotion as that of his employer as he slowly freed one hand long enough to push his thin, wire-framed glasses. “Now, Mr. Gunderson.” His voice seemed just loud enough to suit any situation and no one ever could recall hearing him ever raise it. “Please, for Mrs. Dionekou, repeat the contents of your report, aloud.”

It was uncommon for anyone; especially an auditor to be asked into Mrs. Dionekou’s office, in fact, only a handful of employees at D.I.S. could even attempt to guess about what she might look like. Mr. Gunderson’s day was not going well. “Uh, w-well…” He tried to find the words, but the simple silence was intimidating. “A-as you k-know… I uhh… d-did an audit…” He fumbled for words but the woman’s gaze was piercing.

The Agent quirked an eyebrow as the sweating, round man could barely talk straight. “The bottom line Mr. Gunderson, start there.” He stated in a grim monotone.

“Uh, well, uhh… the bottom line?” IT was obvious the man may suffer a heart attack at any moment brought on by sheer stress, but he managed to compose himself and simply blurt it out. “F-four point two billion dollars. All of the investments within the last three years, and their investors, have seemed to, um… vanished. It’s gone… the money is gone, um, ma’am.”

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The grand figure, an implausible sum for all but a few of the world's financial elite, would have elicited a number of reactions from anyone else. Tears, shouts of rage and disbelief, suicidal exclamations or threats of homicide might have filled the handsome, spacious office littered with priceless antiques in the way that middle-class housewives collected porcelain figurines and mass-marketed bric-a-brac. The very chair in which Saul seemed about to wet himself was once owned by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, a fact which was not lost on the dour-looking woman seated behind an enormous hand carved desk.

There was a brief pause following his stammered admission, a moment of heavy, foreboding silence in which the CEO of Dionekes Investment Securities glowered at the pudgy auditor, her dark, stygian eyes boring into him with the precision and relentless malice of a dental implement.

"And where, precisely," she inquired silkily, almost conversationally, "has it gone? Money, Saul... may I call you Saul?" She continued, without waiting for an affirmative response. "Money does not simply 'vanish' into thin air. It must come from somewhere, and it must go somewhere." Another brief, infinitesimal pause, those dark eyes flicking surreptitiously toward the man to her left before settling again on the red-faced lackey. "Three years is a very long time, Saul. Don't burden me with the details of why it's taken you this long to catch up, just tell me where the problem is, and why it's still a problem, and not a footnote on my morning memo next to, 'picked up your dry cleaning and hired another valet.'"

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  • 2 weeks later...

Saul Gunderson felt his overweight Jewish heart about to fail on him. This woman was Satan incarnate the way she could just deliver every line with such a calm and emotionless manner stunned him. Al Pachino had nothing on her, and he didn't see this ending well for him. True enough tough Saul Gunderson was her highest paid bean counter and surely Fate had a sense of humor placing the Jewish man in the business to explain he'd lost money to the fallen god of wealth.

"T-that's just it, ma'am..." He paused and sorted through his briefcase for something. Surprisingly it wasn't nitro. He produced a thick folder with frayed edges and all manner of Post-its and loose notations on scrap paper. It was pure chaos sandwiched all together between two slices of failing order. "O fall the investors that 'disappeared' one of them left enough of a data trail that I was able to trace it back to a sister corporation. To spare you all of the legal babble..." He offered the folder to The Agent who'd came down to collect it. "Someone went through a lot of trouble to launder all the money to an account that belongs to a soft drink company named 'Solis'. They're based out of Los Angeles... all of the info is in there."

"The main reason I compiled all that information, ma'am, is I can not act on it legally without your approval." He pushed his glasses up on hia nose and waited expectantly for an answer.

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A long and uncomfortable silence reigned in the spacious office, broken only by the rhythmic tapping of its owner's short, impeccably manicured fingernails on the desk. Her gaze was fixed on a point somewhere above Saul's head, and miles distant from Seattle.

Suddenly, and without warning, she slammed an open palm on the polished wooden surface and rose from her seat.

"Well, then, Saul m'boy, you have it! Act! Legally, and with my approval!" When the startled and beleaguered auditor only stared at her with wide rabbit eyes, she frowned, waving her hands. "Go, go! What are you still doing here? Go get my laundered money!" As Saul fumbled with his briefcase and his dignity, she spun about to regard her Agent.

"Ah, and that reminds me. My dry cleaning needs to be picked up. And see that my private jet is ready! I'm going to Los Angeles."

"Sir, we don't have a landing strip," he replied calmly, seemingly nonplussed by her sudden outburst.

Nodding thoughtfully, she amended, "Then ready my private helicopter! I want to be in my private L.A. by this afternoon."

"Sir, I'm afraid that we haven't made that particular acquisition as of yet," her constant companion reminded her.

She was halfway to the bronze elevator doors before she paused, regarding him somberly over her shoulder as Gunderson struggled to push the call button before she reached it.

"Names. Get me the names of the people responsible and make it happen."

"Sir, they have a government-"

With a brusque wave of her hand, she dismissed the Agent's argument. "That's never mattered before, now, has it?"

They continued to go on like that as they stepped into the waiting elevator, leaving Saul Gunderson, bean-counter, to stare after them. When the doors closed, he could only sigh in relief.

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  • 1 month later...

The private helicopter say idle on the pad as the refueling crew prepped it for the second leg of the trip to Hades 'about to be' private Los Angeles.

The Agent looked hardly amused as he held his cell phone away from his ear, sparing him the ranting of a rather irritated governor. As always his stoic and emotionless expression didn't change.

"I'm aware of it's annual net worth, sir." He said calmly in his monotone voice. "Which is why I had the offer faxed to you."

The volume did the small hand set no justice as the yelling came over the line. "Nine hundwed and turty beelyun dollars is insulting ahnd yoo know it! Ah've no tyme fah these jokes!"

"Either you consider the offer, sir." He replied calmly, undaunted by the screaming Austrian governor. "Or Dionekes Investment Securities will simply buy up the city from the outside instead of starting, politely might I add, at the inside. Politics is much like running a business, sir. To put it bluntly, this is a take over. Whether it is hostile or not is up to you, entirely. Rest assured, by the end of next fiscal fiscal year D.I.S will own Los Angeles, one way or another."

Suddenly the screaming stopped and an eerie silence fell over the immediate area. Savoring every bite of her bratwurst the CEO of D.I.S. gingerly chewed and gave a proud nod at the Agent for his exceptional negotiation skills.

Patiently the Agent stood there, his face never changing expression or emotion. Finally the silence bored him. "Excellent, it obvious that you understand the situation. We'll be in Los Angeles in two hours, meet us at The Bar, 5851 Sunset Blvd. You bring a fresher attitude, sir. We'll bring a check."

His phone clicked shut and Hades grinned from ear to ear as she swallowed the last bite of her lunch. "Well done." She mock applauded. "I think I want to have your baby."

The Agent simply bowed his slightly with humility. "Nonsense, sir. I'm but humble servant. Please, allow me to have yours. It's the very least I can do."

"Hmm, yes, excellent point." She nodded her head slightly whilst stroking her chin. "Get with R&D."

"We're an investment company, sir." He corrected her politely.

"Then invest in an R&D department!" She she raised her hands slightly and shook them, then swiftly snapped her fingers several times. "Come on my old friend, you have to be think fast in this business."

"I'll look into it, sir."

"...No, wait. On second thought..." Here, Hades considered the ramifications of the gods' incessant booty-waxing, and the faint hope that he might briefly return to his true form one day before existence is nullified. He weighed the potential risk of becoming, er, fertile himself against the hilarity of the potential consequences of Zeus's indiscretions. "No, go ahead. Make it happen."

The Agent was already on his cell phone as they approached the chopper again, the low hum the engine slowly warning them it'd be time to leave soon. "It's happening, sir."

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  • 3 weeks later...

"Sir," the Agent began once they were airborne, "we should discuss our strategy for-"

"Yes, yes," the CEO of DIS replied, sighing as she slumped back against the padded seat, ice clinking in her glass. "The priority is, of course, getting my money back. We also need to determine who had the audacity to take it, and whether or not they're already on someone else's payroll."

Her constant companion arched a blond brow ever so slightly. "You're considering the possibility that hiring the perpetrator would negate the need for them to steal, or at least put them in a position to be under constant observation."

"Absolutely correct, as usual," Hades smiled, an expression that would have been mildly unsettling to any outside observer. "That's... rather a lot of money, and I want to know where it's going, and why, and if the naughty little cur who got their hands on it can be bought. Something like hiring one of those, ah, those computer people, Agent, what were they called, again?"

"Hackers, sir?"

"Hackers, yes! Like hiring one of those hackers to oversee data security." Hades paused for a moment, sipping her scotch as she considered something. "We did that already, didn't we?"

"We did, sir," the Agent confirmed tonelessly. "He recently filed for independence from his parents to avoid them leeching off his paychecks for their mortgage."

"Ah!" She brightened at that, chuckling delightedly and taking another sip of the amber liquor. "Smartest fifth-grader I know. He'll do well, I think," she mused.

As the brief, companionable silence became something deeper and more prolonged, punctuated occasionally by the sound of a quiet feminine snore, the Agent of Hades quietly opened his laptop and began researching Solis in earnest. Everything must be ready by the time they reached Los Angeles.

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  • 1 month later...

Hades enjoyed yet another glass of scotch as the Agent made sure everything was in order. The limo ride was a comfortable one and she found later that her penthouse had an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean except for the Holiday Inn not far from her that really blotched up the panoramic view of what could normally be a breathtaking sunset.

Twenty minutes later her people in talks with the proper channels on when the Holiday Inn could be dozed. She was going to miss that hotel, but she loved sunsets so much more.

She had just settled down to where she and the Agent were prepared to go over the compiled data (she didn’t rust something like this to anyone but her and the Agent) when the phone rang. She perused the information while half listening to the Agent answer the call.

“Sir.” He handed the phone to her. “It’s a man named Auric Broder. He says he knows about your loss and can help. I thought perhaps you should handle this.”

She knew Auric. Almost every immortal did, if they were in the right circles. They weren’t buddy-buddy, but on occasion he’d often sent her helpful e-mails concerning certain business deals she might consider investing in. Auric was as close to an immortal fixer and information broker as one could get.

What could he have to do with all of this?

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  • 1 month later...

It was rare that the fallen Lord of the Underworld took "personal" calls, much less from anyone not intimately involved in the operation and administration of her business. That Broder had been so direct in contacting her piqued her interest, however, and she accepted the phone from her constant companion with only a moment's hesitation. If Auric Broder knew about the theft, there must be some angle she'd missed; Hades would have to reassess her estimation of the situation's magnitude, or at least the ripples it was causing.

"Mister Broder," the entrepreneur all but crooned into the mouthpiece as she crossed her feet on the ottoman, half-empty glass of scotch in hand. Solicitously, her Agent moved to the suite's landline to order another bottle from room service. "What an unexpected pleasure. It's been far too long, and I have so missed our little chats." Hades paused, taking a long sip of the frigid amber liquid before continuing. "Shall we continue with the pleasantries," she asked, feigning a tone of diffident disinterest, "or shall we get straight to business?"

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  • 3 weeks later...

"I can give you Zeus, Poseidon and Hera." Broder didn't waste any time with his offer. His voice was like a dart that shot right through the receiver and into Adriana's attention span. "But for my first trick, I'm going to give you back Godhood."

"I'm listening." Hades replied, sipping her scotch and savoring it's taste as it set her throat and stomach on fire.

"People don't like you Hades, it's a fact. You're a a god of death, darkness, the Underworld... all the things people fear and want to avoid, but not me." She could hear the jingle og ice rattling in his own glass opposite her own. "I've, despite our differences, respect you, because while you might be cut throat, you're an honest cut throat. People always know where they stand with you. So here's my deal: there's something big going on in the Realms and it needs to be stopped. I'll shatter your curse and get you up and running again and you and a few other Fallen are going to put the respective Elder Gods in their place."

"Questions? Or should I fax over a contract for your legal department to go over?"

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"My legal department?" Hades replied, audibly incredulous. "Aphrodite's tits, man, they're the best money can buy!" After a moment's consideration, the fallen lord of the Underworld added circumspectly, "Ah, my legal team, that is; she's all natural. Catchy slogan, though." There was another pause as she finished the last of her scotch, a crystalline tinkling and a muffled sigh of contentment accompanying the final sip. "...and that's precisely why we'd never find the contract, or a paper trail leading to it. No, no," she muttered, waving her free hand in a dismissive gesture Broder knew was implied even if he couldn't see it. When Hades spoke again, however, there was no hint of distraction in her voice, and even the affectation of casual skepticism was underscored with a keen and incisive edge. "I would be very interested, however, in hearing of your plan to break a curse that hasn't wavered in the intervening centuries."

Ahhh, Pride.

"And just who, old friend, will be joining us? I do hope the location for our little clandestine rendezvous is appropriate; perhaps an abandoned warehouse near the docks? A decommissioned missile silo? Ohhhh, let me guess: an empty cargo container on a trade vessel just offshore?" The bitter mockery slicing through the phone was enough to leave a faintly toxic aftertaste even on Broder's tongue as a millennium of failure, regret, and soul-crushing disappointment spilled freely from Hades's lips. It was enough, he knew, to drive even a god a little mad... and Hades was somewhat more than "a little."

"I'll go," she said more neutrally, weighing her options. Her brothers and that frigid cow had to go. Could Broder really pull some act of divine prestidigitation to make it possible? After a thousand years, Hades doubted it, but this little proposal might provide a distraction from the monotony of conference calls. Besides, she mused, it would be worth it to see whether or not others of the Fallen truly lived up to the moniker. "You haven't disappointed me yet, Broder, so consider this my RSVP. Just tell me where, and when."

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