The Meeting With Mr White

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The Meeting With Mr White

Post by Raya on Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:40 pm



It’s late afternoon by the time you set off to meet Mr White. You mention to the rest of your friends that you’re heading out, without specifying where, but nobody is inclined to enquire further. After the events of New Orleans everyone else seems content to rest up and lay low, recuperating both their wounds and their shattered nerves.

The meeting place is a diner in a car park on the outskirts of town. It was probably amazingly futuristic when it was built in the 1970s, but time has not been kind to the place. The wide car park is mostly empty, the trees bordering the edges in desperate need of pruning. The traffic and the customers have long since moved away, but this place is still somehow clinging on.

Entering the diner is like stepping into a timewarp. The place is covered in a worn white and red decor, lined with not-so-shiny chrome edges. There’s a few customers inside; some truck drivers, a regular or two, a gaggle of teenagers. The waitress at the bar looks like she had her dreams crushed 40 years ago and hasn’t smiled since. A TV hangs from the corner, showing a sports game, and the faint sounds of the radio can be heard from the kitchen area. There’s a lingering smell of freshly cooked food in the air.

Mr White is sitting alone in a booth by a window overlooking the car park, flicking through one of the free newspapers. Opposite him, two cups of coffee are steaming hot on the table; he’s ordered for you already. He looks up and smiles as you approach.

“Mr Keraga, Mr Danischewski, nice to see you. Please, take a seat.”

You squeeze into the seats; the table is bolted to the floor and doesn’t give much room for manoeuvring. The battered red PVC covering squeaks something awful, but none of the other customers even bother to glance up. Mr White folds his paper and puts it to one side.

“We have a lot to discuss. How can I help you gentlemen?”

Raya
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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by TD260 on Wed May 18, 2016 9:36 pm

TD sidles into the seat first, leaving Kyle the open end of the seat. Taking his place next to the grimy salt and pepper shakes and the sugar packets, he gingerly slides the coffee cup towards the center of the table. Mr. White raises one well groomed eyebrow and looks at TD.

"I don't like coffee." TD mutters, before leaning against the inner wall of the booth. His hair was a mess, and as he closed his eyes. The dark circles under them stood out in stark relief to the rest of his face. He sat there for a moment, took a deep breath and sat up again.

"so what are we here for again? It can't be just to enjoy the simple pleasures of a greasy spoon..." TD said, as he peeled the menu off the table and took a cursory look over it.
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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by Raya on Mon Jun 27, 2016 6:48 pm

Mr White steeples his fingers and looks at you both intently.

“Now, gentlemen. The main reason you requested this meeting is that you want explanations. You understand how my gifts and aid work; if I provide assistance, you must correct the debt with the universe by doing something in return. But understandably, you are concerned about the moral ramifications.

“I have alluded to you before…I am trying to make you prepared. Sometimes, in order for good to succeed, evil must be carried out. To use my previous example, you cannot remove a tumour without cutting into flesh and drawing blood.

“As I explained in our earlier meetings, there are moments in the timeline known as lynchpin events. These are events that can drastically alter the timeline, and cause one of two outcomes. Take, for example, the lynchpin event of von Stauffenberg's briefcase. It would either kill Hitler, or it wouldn’t. That single event caused a major divergence in the timeline. Imagine how different your world would be now if the assassination had been successful. This is the importance of lynchpin events: they drastically change the world, either for the better or for the worse.

“Now you, gentlemen, are intrinsically involved in a future lynchpin event. Let me show you the outcomes.”

Mr White retrieves his paper, unfolds it and takes out a supplement magazine, handing it to you. On the front cover- smiling and raising his arm to wave at an audience behind the camera- is Q in a smart suit. He looks a lot older, probably in his 40s, but it’s unmistakeably him. And above him, the title:

4 MORE YEARS President Keraga- A Souvenir History Of the People’s President

Exchanging glances, you flick through the magazine. It’s a souvenir magazine of what appears to be- unbelievably- Q’s first term as President of The United States at some point in the future, issued after his re-election. This revelation is staggering enough in the first place, and reading on brings more and more surprises. After a hard-fought initial campaign, Q takes presidency and introduces a number of sweeping reforms that quickly make major positive changes to the country. The economy improves, major business sectors revitalised. New environmental polices reduce both pollution and the cost of energy. Civil rights make leaps and bounds, the cost of health care plummets and becomes available to all members of society. The charts scattered through show lines steadily going up and down in the appropriate directions, and the one at the end says it all: at this point is time, Q is sitting at a 93% approval rating, the highest yet for any president.

You reach the section regaling Q’s presidential world tour, visiting various countries on diplomatic missions. There’s a photo of him at a table, sharing a joke with the King of England. Another playing soccer with some African children, another shaking hands with a familiar looking Swedish ambassador. The caption underneath reads:

President Keraga receives a warm welcome from his old friend, Swedish Ambassador Karl Kristoffer-Johnson.

The following sections are dedicated to education, health care, manufacturing, military, all the sectors that contribute to a nation’s wellbeing, and extolling the effects Q’s leadership on them. There’s the usual politician photographs that appear every time an article like this is run: Q in a hard hat, Q looking grave at a memorial event, Q looking interested as someone points at something. Turning the page to the science and technology section, you pick out a picture of two people standing in front of what looks like some kind of turbine. The caption underneath reads:

President Keraga meets with the project designer, Dr T Danischewski.

As you take in these developments in silence, Mr White speaks.

“There are two outcomes to the lynchpin event. Using your video game vernacular, this is what you would call ‘the good end’. In the future, Mr Keraga becomes president, arguably one of the most popular in history. His reforms usher in a period of prosperity for the United States and beyond. And not just for the immediate future either. The investments in the science and technology industry have repercussions for centuries to come.” He nods at TD “You may be pleased to know, Mr Danischewski, that due to the extra funding you and your team are able to make such contributions to the field of engineering that, 160 years from now, the first manned probe to Mars is named the Danischewski. And it’s not just your names that will go down in history. Most of your companions will make excellent contributions to humanity, whether by diplomacy, saving the life of someone, or being the ancestor of one destined for greatness. You, gentlemen, are blessed by destiny in more ways than you know.”

There’s silence as you digest this. It seems incredible, impossible, and yet…

“And now, let me show you the alternative.”

Mr White pulls out a smartphone from his pocket, taps a few buttons and hands it over. As you take it a video starts playing.

The footage looks like it was shot on a mobile phone, jerking about as the cameraman moves. From the occasional explicative, it sounds like the cameraman is Relmitos. He’s somewhere in a field at night, the wind and loud rumblings howling in the background. There’s strange lights in the distance, bonfires and ethereal glowing, but he doesn’t stay still long enough to focus on it. You soon see why.

There’s yelling, screaming, and TD runs into shot, looking terrified. He barely makes a few steps before something leaps from offscreen and smashes into him, knocking him to the floor. He flails, trying to defend himself, but the beast is too large to dislodge and starts mauling him with fang and claw. Relm is screaming, unable to do anything to help, and TD’s own screams suffocate into gurgling as his throat is torn out and his struggles cease. The camera clicks and the feasting beast comes into focus. It’s a monstrous pale wolf with a shaggy mane and green eyes.

It’s Raya’s werewolf form.

There’s no time to react to this revelation as a gunshot roars out and a shower of blood and smoke erupts from Raya’s shoulder. She howls in pain, spins, and the camera turns with her; standing there, breathing heavily, is Quaetam, holding a shotgun. You don’t recognise the gun; it’s pitch black in colour, looking like it’s decorated with glowing runes. He’s yelling something, his words lost in the wind, and raises the gun again. This time Raya doesn’t give him the chance of a clear shot; she charges and the two go down, fighting in the dirt, and the shotgun roars again. The back of Raya’s skull explodes and she slumps over, dead. Relmitos finally runs over to Q, staggering back to his feet.

“Shit, Q, are you alright?!”

Quaetam is breathing heavily, the gun limp in one hand, the other clutched to his shoulder. He turns to Relm, and you can see the fear in his eyes. Relm swears softly as he realises what has happened.

On his shoulder, Quaetam is holding back the blood pouring from a bite wound.

The footage ends and Mr White takes back his phone.

“And that, my friends, is the bad end. Ms Swift loses control at the final confrontation, the end result of a journey of lies and moral degradation, and in her madness kills Mr Danischewski. Mr Keraga is able to put her down, but not before she infects him. To his credit, Mr Keraga manages to keep his condition until control for years, and still wins his presidency. Unfortunately, the golden future does not play out the way it should.” He nods at the TV and, despite yourselves, you look.

A newsflash from the future it seems. Quaetam is standing at a podium, giving a speech about something or another. You can see the crowd in front, the flashing of cameras from journalists. Suddenly there’s a gunshot, Q jerks back and collapses. The crowd are screaming and panicking, the secret service bodyguards either pulling out their guns or attending the fallen president out of shot. There’s pandemonium in the hall, then suddenly one of the crouching bodyguards is physically hurled off the stage. A clawed hand slams onto the podium, the monster pulling itself upright. It is- or rather, was- Q, his suit ripping apart as his body transforms and devolves into an enormous, monstrous wolf with dark curled fur. He howls, hurls himself into the packed crowd, and the footage cuts to the emergency broadcast symbol.

“Mr Keraga suffers an attempted assassination,” says Mr White quietly “In our good timeline, he survives, and it actually increases his popularity. In our bad timeline, his lyncanthropy triggers as a defence mechanism. He transforms live on national TV. 16 people in the crowd are killed, 33 are bitten or injured, before he’s subdued.

“What follows is international panic. Everyone now knows that werewolves exist- if they do, what about other supernatural creatures? And if the president can be one, what about everyone else? Your friends, your neighbours, your family? Who else is hiding from you? Literal witch hunts start across the country, lynchings and burnings of anyone remotely suspicious. Law and order break down, society starts to collapse as fear and paranoia trigger a new civil war. And in the confusion…” he pauses for effect “The cult finally achieves their mission.”

The sky outside immediately plunges into darkness, thick black clouds choked with smog and orange lightning. The ground rumbles, splits, geysers of fire and steam erupting outwards. The trees catch alight, burning to husks within minutes, as the earth opens and swallows the cars into unending crevasses. There’s a cacophony of screams, wailing, alarms, howls…and then you see the creatures presiding through the chaos. Some fly, some walk, some slither, all nightmarish forms of flesh and horns and teeth and sinew, demons revelling in their new world, slaked in blood and remnants of souls, Hell made manifest upon the Earth.

The scene immediately snaps back to normal, the blue sky and bright sunshine dazzling, the severe change almost nauseating. People outside go about their business as though nothing ever could happen. The faint strains of the Top 40 play out from the kitchen. A songbird sings from the corner of the roof.

“There is a good future and a bad future, “ says Mr White carefully “And all that separates them is a single act of betrayal. And that is why I’m pushing you, gentlemen. You are the ones who will have to make the choice. You will decide which one shall pass. Choose wisely.”

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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by TD260 on Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:14 pm

TD sat there in silence, staring blankly at Mr. White. He bushes his hair out of his eyes, and blinks a few times.

"You... You're kidding, right?" TD said, his voice thin and weak.

"That's it? There's just... just two options? And we have to betray someone to achieve it?" TD takes a long, shuddering breath.

"Because that's what you said, right? That a single act of betrayal is what swings this from the good ending to the bad one. And we have to choose what happens." TD looks down at the table, picks up the magazine, and quickly thumbs through the pages.

"I don't see Raya in here. Is that what we have to decide? One day we're going to have to decide to kill her, and it's your job to read us the "needs of the many" speech? What happened to Fed? Relmitos and Requiem? Do we kill them too?"

TD tosses the magazine back towards the other side of the table.

"And, on the topic of killing, what the hell was in that video? Why was relmitos filming his friends dying? Where the hell did Kyle get the spooky satan shotgun? Why... why am I the one that dies in the video? In that timeline, did you manipulate relmitos to film it to use it as evidence? What happened to Sah and Fed? They're werewolves too, are they also someone that we need to kill?"

TD shoots a sidelong glance at Kyle, before continuing.

"Look, I know Kyle thinks you're full of shit, but I'm willing to buy the whole "divine machinations" and "greater plan" thing. I can swallow the idea that you can predict the butterfly effect. But this isn't all the variables. Why is our group the fulcrum of history? Why are Kyle and I the important ones? You said you were giving us answers, and yet all I have are more questions! I can already tell you're going to feed us the "knowing about future events will taint your reactions to them" spiel, since they're still undefined events, but surely there's something else you can tell us, if only so we can prepare."

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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by Raya on Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:19 pm

“I told you you would not like to know what the future held, Mr Danischewski. But now that you have that damned information…it is your burden to decide what to do with it.

“Sadly, or perhaps blessedly, a lot of lynchpin events come down to just two options- the event happens or it doesn’t. The Titanic heeds the iceberg warning, or it doesn’t. Lincoln goes to the theatre, or he doesn’t. That is the nature of the world, for the better or the worse- fate decided by nothing better than a coinflip. But, on occasion, you can choose which way the coin flips. And now you, gentlemen, have been given that power.

“It is regrettable about Ms Swift, but this is the way the timeline flows, all converging to that one moment. One thing you must understand gentlemen…lycanthropy is a cancer of the soul. Each cycle it gnaws away at your humanity, until all that’s left is a beast. It starts small, a little sin here, a little morality slip there, but once you start down that slippery slope, once you let the beast gain a foothold…all your best efforts will do is prolong the inevitable.

“Now Mr Kristoffer-Johnson, he is a good man indeed, and I am sure that, with effort, he could perhaps find a way to transcend his condition, becoming something greater than both man and wolf. Mr Preisecker, though perhaps not as noble, certainly has a strong will and sense of self. Provided nothing serious occurred, he could stave off the cancer indefinitely. Ms Swift, on the other hand…

“Surely, you’ve noticed the signs already. How did she retrieve the car keys you needed in Fairview? Little sins, little sins…and I need not remind you how she attempted to murder Mr Preisecker. And when you stay overnight in motels and she insists on her own room…tell me, Mr Danischewski, are you so sure that she stays there all night? What does she do, when not in your company?

“I need not remind you, after the events of New Orleans, that monsters can wear a human face. Beasts can keep up the veneer of humanity for a very long time indeed…but what will happen to you, and to everyone, once that veneer finally snaps?”

He pauses for a moment, letting the implications sink in.

“I cannot give you concrete information of things will occur- I am not, as you would say, an ‘FAQ’. Doing so would also invalidate your God-given gift of free will. Ask Ms Swift about a certain Twilight Zone episode regarding this, she will no doubt put the situation into perspective. As for Mr Dupre having footage this incident, well...the man has pictures of a room full of corpses on his phone. Are you surprised he's filming the end of the world?

“As for you gentlemen being the fulcrum of history…well, why shouldn’t you be? Is it not the everyman who decides the destiny of all? Was it not an unknown soldier who shot King Harold at Hastings? Was it not Patient Zero, who caused the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s? Is it not the everyday folk who save lives, kill men, invent and destroy things? Everybody is special, gentlemen. Everyone is capable of changing the course of history. You, however, are blessed with the curse of knowing you can do it.”

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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by TD260 on Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:27 pm

"Alright then, Mr. White, since you are so fond of the metaphor of cutting a tumor out, is it possible to cut a tumor such as this from ones soul? To find a cure for lycanthropy? Or is it all resting on a coin flip where Raya must die for us to survive?"
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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by Raya on Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:41 am

"You ask for a lot, Mr Danischewski. Curing a child of measles is one thing. Removing a supernatural disease from three of your friends is entirely different. I'm not entirely sure you'd ever be willing to pay that price."

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Re: The Meeting With Mr White

Post by TD260 on Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:34 am

TD slumps back in the vinyl seat and glares sulkily at Mr. White.

"But it is possible, then? And are there other ways to cure it besides you pulling strings?"
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