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Crime
Romance
GENEPUNK
Writer ViridianMind
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  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
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A - A - A
#1
1. Aiden
ViridianMind
Aug 19, 2018
0
4
17
19 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!OJO8KhF6C1nTjRuQO5Aiposted on PENANA

“Mr. Timber,” Aiden said as he walked into the room. The doors closed behind him silently. The office was large; ice white walls, dark furniture, and glossy black linoleum floors. A fireplace popped and wheezed on the left side of the room, while a large mahogany desk sat in front of an imposing window. Timber was standing on the far side of the room looking out the window. The day was bright and blue, the late summer sun high in the sky.copyright protection17PENANA0RHkiSvsZ8

            “Yes?” Timber turned from the window. “Ah! Mr. Blackwell, good to see you. I was glad to hear that’d I’d finally wore you down.”copyright protection17PENANAAOSoWCGCJi

As Timber walked away from the window, the glass tinted, causing the room to shift slightly. The curve of the ceiling began to let light in through a series of well-placed skylights. The bearded man moved toward Aiden and reached for a handshake. When he was denied, he gestured Aiden into the room. Timber approached a section of wall that extended and folded out into a small bar. He rummaged through a small refrigerator.copyright protection17PENANAD7bXZGNOLo

“I only agreed because you made it impossible to deny,” Aiden sighed. “Which is not intended as a compliment.” He ran a hand through his silver hair, cropped short and shaved on one side. Small luminescent filaments could be seen beneath the shaved hair and pale skin. They glowed a dull white.copyright protection17PENANA6LgO5yGB1G

“Can I get you something to drink?” Timber began with a smile, “Maybe a snack? A snack always does one good; puts me in a mood to talk business.”copyright protection17PENANAJBuC0reH3Y

            “One does not dine on food and drink in hell,” Aiden said, the man’s youthful appearance doing well to buoy the weight of a much older intellect.copyright protection17PENANAZH6bE5RsTD

            Timber let out a guffaw. “As shrewd as ever, eh?” he said pulling an apple from the small compartment. He inspected it, then placed it back in the fridge. “Please, sit, Mr. Blackwell,” Timber gestured at one of the armchairs in front of the desk.copyright protection17PENANAR0o7OuGv6I

Aiden made no move to sit, but instead studied the room. Two real leather armchairs, a well maintained Persian rug, a solid mahogany desk the size of a small dining table, a fireplace insert, and hunting trophies about the hearth. The room itself shifted on some unseen axis as well, the light and shadow playing along the walls proved as much. Timber flaunted his wealth. Everything in the room was real, neither grown or modified. Though there was confusion, a direct disconnect between function and finesse.copyright protection17PENANAbPkGsl7H2b

“This little meeting of ours is–“ Aiden began.copyright protection17PENANAF2SMexR60L

            “Don’t you worry, Mr. Blackwell,” Timber interrupted, picked an orange, looked it over, then smiled.copyright protection17PENANAJSL8ZACG6I

“No one will be any the wiser. No matter the outcome. I’ve taken precautions.” Timber said in a stage whisper as he placed a finger over his lips, his Irish brogue putting in mind a trickster. “All hush hush, cloak and dagger, eh boy’o?”copyright protection17PENANAphyJY055H7

He began to peel the skin of the orange. “See this?” Timber said, holding up the fruit. “The wind in our sails.” He dropped portions of the skin on the floor. A small circular machine ejected from an unseen cubby. It let out a satisfying garble and pip of feedback when it rolled over the orange rind.copyright protection17PENANAgn999nG1tG

“The first of our many joint ventures. Seraph Enterprises, AccuCorps, and many other bodies working together for the common good,” Timber beamed. He dropped another bit of the orange peel on the floor, the small cleaning machine gobbled the it up with a click. Timber seemed to approve, giving the small device a knowing smile.copyright protection17PENANAMdyyly9Xff

            “A government funded venture, if you’ve forgotten, Mr. Timber,” Aiden said dully, “Though, if I’m correct, a bit before your time.”copyright protection17PENANAGExfovftAX

            Timber raised an eyebrow. “A bit. At least that’s what my Wikipedia page says,” Timber laughed, he pulled a wedge of the orange from the bunch and popped it into his mouth, chewing loudly. A silence fell, only broken up by the pop and crackle of the fireplace and Timber’s loud chewing.copyright protection17PENANAARlK0u8GvC

            “Mr. Timber?” Aiden asked, pulling a small glass-like rectangle from inside his coat. He pressed his thumb to it. It glowed a dull white for a moment and Aiden’s eyes glazed over as if lost in thought. The lines through the right side of Aiden’s shaved head glowed brighter. He could see the money transfer as thoughts in head. It was as if it were his own thoughts.copyright protection17PENANAniPWQavZ8K

            Timber gave the pale man a look of acknowledgment.copyright protection17PENANAePpL4NgkhR

            “What am I doing here?” Aiden sighed. “My Cell’s telling me large sums of money are being added to my personal account. Why would that be I wonder?”copyright protection17PENANAiSIDCJ8LpD

            Timber swallowed the mashed fruit. Juice dribbled into his beard. “Because I don’t believe you will be leaving here without giving me what I want,” he said, popping another wedge of orange into his mouth, biting down so the orange wedge split violently. The bar slid back into the wall, just as Timber returned to the center of the room and sat on the edge of his desk. The window behind him became less dim, letting in more light. The room began to tilt, revealing the cloudless blue of the sky.copyright protection17PENANAnNWcJMnfMw

            “The money is an insurance,” Timber said. “Whether you agree or not, though I imagine your board of directors may think otherwise. Your company stock has raised by 40 points since we began our conversation too.”copyright protection17PENANAZ1loNqc3Kt

The break in conversation allowed Timber to pull out a similar glass object from his pocket. It glowed a soft red as he pressed his thumb to it. “Oh look,” Timber said with a wink. “Now it’s up another 50. I imagine people will be selling it off to make a quick buck.”copyright protection17PENANAV2lEGYnOJN

“I suppose you have something to do with this?” Aiden said through thin lips. He could feel the anxiety rise at the top of his spine. A tension waiting for release.copyright protection17PENANAs6AojkbHzX

“You really are paranoid Mr. Blackwell,” Timber said, his eyes looking in no particular direction. “Paranoid for no reason if you ask me. You’ve had a good year. This is only a mark of your success. Whoever buys your stock will be very happy indeed. All things considered, I thought you’d be ecstatic.”copyright protection17PENANAdzYzYMZbPK

“If I wanted to be happy, I’d have my security detail come up here and bash your teeth in,” Aiden said, looking about the room again. “And I’d very much like to make that happen. The ICA won’t be happy about this little stunt of yours.”copyright protection17PENANAELN0ptZNhJ

“Dutifully put, Mr. Blackwell,” Timber said, spitting a seed out onto the floor. The cleaning bot whirred toward it. “So why did you come to see me, not just to marvel at my office I’m sure? Not to threaten me with those layabouts you call armed security, eh?”copyright protection17PENANAAJQb79wjR5

“I’m here because of your intention to expand into my market,” Aiden said, placing his hands behind his back. “Your predecessor and I had an agreement – “copyright protection17PENANAg5FfED1EOR

“Which is now moot,” Timber said, picking at the last bits of rind left on the orange. He pulled free a slice, looked it over, then tossed it to the cleaning bot. It devoured the wedge with a few pips, a click, and a small spirt of juice. “The old bat is dead and I’m in her high chair. You all will just have to deal with it.”copyright protection17PENANAptDcu2GtQX

Timber placed the orange on his desk, then turned his head toward a few plastic-like sheets on his desk. They glowed with fiber-optic light.copyright protection17PENANAdqH3BPc784

“You’re walking on thin ice Mr. Timber. AccuCorps has weathered worse than you,” Aiden said with a smirk. “You’re biting off more than you can chew.”copyright protection17PENANAdp9TFOxHtm

“I’m certain I haven’t,” Timber said turning quickly toward Aiden. He had a big toothy smile. His neck muscles tensed. “Maybe you should check in on your security detail, eh?”copyright protection17PENANAySPb5keMO4

Aiden looked distracted for a moment, then pulled out his Cell. His eyes dilated for a moment as the information pooled into his head as if they were his own thoughts.copyright protection17PENANAK1vr47hheq

“You’re crazy,” Aided said, looking up.copyright protection17PENANAlsPvlvjScN

            Timber raised an eyebrow and produced his own Cell. He paced about for a moment, his thumb on the device in his hand. “Maybe so,” he said picking up the orange and tossing it to the cleaning bot. The little robot tried its hardest to devour the fruit but gave up after a while. It let out a pitiful whine.copyright protection17PENANAeKG4WMpbyd

            “Or maybe I’m the only one who isn’t,” Timber said. “You think the Cloud cares what it uses? What people can do now that every bit of everything is now public? We’re lazy and arrogant to think this is all apart of a greater and more elevated humanity.” Timber laughed, deep and resonant. “And you have the nerve to call ME crazy?”copyright protection17PENANAgifMKjT1B8

            “Then what is it you want?” Aiden asked, working hard to keep his composure, he was, in spite of appearances, a man of stature in the corporate community.copyright protection17PENANAsXBhsWMMPZ

            Timber smiled and crossed his arms. “Well there’s always things I want,” he mused. “Most of the time, I get it. No fuss, no mess, just on my desk like a cup of coffee. Only a thought away. No sanctity for my privacy and no desire mis-communicated. Just pop a steaming cup of shit on my desk.”copyright protection17PENANAz4Kf9G1ySA

Aiden was losing his patience. He was expecting a quick end to these deliberations. He expected to get his way. Instead, he had this menacing feeling in the back of his head, just behind the eyes. He pulled out his Cell, scrolling through mind after mind to see if everything Timber was saying was true. People were selling AccuCorp stock, and every bit was being bought up by subsidiaries of Seraph. He couldn’t raise his security and the money in his private account continued to grow. Then it hit him. Everything was gone, everything was being sold to Timber, then the money was funneled into Aiden’s private account. The ICA wouldn’t care if Timber shot him dead; they’d congratulate him on catching a greedy CEO who was lining his own pockets.copyright protection17PENANAM9S1VClPEW

            Aiden felt the threat wash over him. He could feel the anger rising in his gut like a fire. He was going to lose AccuCorps and there wasn’t anything he could do about it. What hurt most was the idea of being bested by Timber.copyright protection17PENANAX6Tyomvb8l

            “I’ll be sure this is all made public,” Aiden spat. “You can’t do this to me! You’re nothing but a filthy code-monkey, Timber! A pathetic excuse for a man.”copyright protection17PENANAaHpUXyBZ7u

“And I’ve beaten you at your own game, Mr. Blackwell,” Timber smiled, big and happy, eyes leering with a dark intensity. “I’ve been nice in the past, offering money, bargaining chips, sometimes treating you to dinner with no intention of getting in those size twenty-eight pant at all by the way. So instead of foreplay, I decided to just fuck you over and leave you to Corporate Affairs.”copyright protection17PENANAzTErUz4gpJ

Timber’s lips curled a bit, quivering to reveal his canines. The man’s arms were crossed and his shoulders lax. But his neck and jaw shuttered and quivered, revealing a startling amount of definition. “So, I have no more use for you,” Timber said plainly. He shifted his jaw, it seemed to unhinge and then set itself back in place.copyright protection17PENANAdnP7WetspB

            “You’d really do this?” Aiden said, leaning in. “You’ve robbed me of everything, made me a pariah, and now you’re going to kill me?”copyright protection17PENANANAjcvhL6gS

            Timber blinked, then smiled. “Maybe, though that depends on a few things.” Timber said rubbing his chin. “No, I think you’ll do well as a puppet, running your office in Detroit as a Seraph shell. That is if you’ve got the stones for it, eh?” Timber pulled out his Cell and activated it. The doors to the office swung open as two men in black suits carried a young woman into the room. They dropped her between Aiden and Timber. She wore a black dress and high heels. Her hair fell below her shoulders like molten silver.copyright protection17PENANAAPLehGOmXe

            “Remember that I made much kinder offers in the past,” Timber said, his voice stern and cold. “Eh, Butcher?”copyright protection17PENANA5aBVhy9K0z

            “Fucking animals,” the woman protested.copyright protection17PENANAmNaG0FXLLe

            “Eladna,” Aiden blurted. He tried his hardest to not sound surprised.copyright protection17PENANAEm3qBl7qH4

            “Daddy?” Eladna replied. She smelled of liquor, vomit, and expensive perfume. Even though she was Aiden’s daughter they looked the same age.copyright protection17PENANAFNehIvPSgP

            “Oh yes,” Timber mused, leaning back against his desk playing with his beard for a moment. “Daddy dearest. Though I imagine you think of him as more of a bank account, eh lass?” Timber let out a snort. “A shame, so much wasted potential. Though I must say the resemblance is uncanny. Lots of ‘treatments’ for you, Mr. Blackwell? She could be your sister! Haha!”copyright protection17PENANArDDBkEhhp2

“Who the fuck are you?” Eladna said, clamoring to her feet. She was tall, taller than her father by about four inches, but not quite as tall as Timber. The high collar of her dress was only matched by the plunging neckline that stopped just above the navel. She was always said to favor her mother but had the silver hair that was her father’s by right.copyright protection17PENANAv4pzu1VBrC

            “Oh, I like her,” said Timber, bemused by the spectacle. “Though you don’t seem to have her on any kind of leash, eh lad?” He inspected his nails, then bit at his middle finger.copyright protection17PENANAF7pUo8qd0H

            Aiden reached for his daughter, “Dearest, did they hurt you?” he said, looking over her. Some scrapes and bruises. Most notably on her knees. Shame washed over him. Eladna had always been a point of weakness for Aiden. Everything he wanted for her, everything that was hers by birth was wasted on alcohol, street drugs, and nights with strangers. She was a stain on his legacy; a tear in an otherwise immaculate tapestry.copyright protection17PENANA3skH4EllWK

            “The fuck d’you think?” Eladna snapped. She let out a small belch. Then slurred a few words before sitting in one of the armchairs.copyright protection17PENANAosPO1kPXVh

She was still drunk. Aiden guessed she was on Arex as well, a synthetic bastard of hallucinogens and opioids. There was nothing he could do to help her, she was somewhere else with everything that was in her system. There was none of him in her character. None of the cold intellect, the posture, or the decades of burden that Aiden wore with pride. Blackwell’s old steel eyes only matched Eladna’s in color. Where Aiden’s were intense, Eladna’s were alight with levity. Though now, they were clouded over. Unaware of the danger she was in.copyright protection17PENANAzBoZwM8W08

            Aiden pushed toward Timber but felt himself pulled back. A conflict between the deep anger that now raged in his system and the urge to keep his daughter safe caused him to falter. It was obvious, and Timber preyed on it with extreme prejudice.copyright protection17PENANAD3BYKGD51A

            “No more bark?” Timber said with a shrug. “Now I suppose you’ll go belly up for me?”copyright protection17PENANAQq2Fe4031V

            “If you think for one moment that I am beaten then you are surely mistaken!” Aiden yelled, his hair tussled and falling from its well-groomed position. “I will break every bone in your body unless you give me back what is mine!”copyright protection17PENANAkBxJB3vJ0v

            “I will have everything,” Timber said in a low voice. He wasn’t smiling now. His lips were lax, his eyes locked on Aiden. There was a hunger in those dark brown eyes, a ravenous spirit.copyright protection17PENANASEzuDkahpb

            Aiden looked over at his daughter, then at Timber.copyright protection17PENANARgCUWQZWU1

            “What do you expect to happen?” Aiden said. “Hmm? What more can you do to me?”copyright protection17PENANASfCpYdtuXu

             Timber’s eyes squinted slightly as if to bring something into focus. He leaned in a bit, bending at hip. “You know what’s at stake.” Timber look at Eladna, then at Aiden. “Someone has to run the Seraph branch in Detroit after all.”copyright protection17PENANA0Q8zkMTu3j

            “I will do no such thing,” Aiden hissed. Eladna attempted to pull off her heels and succeeded with only the right one. She slumped into the chair with a huff of frustration.copyright protection17PENANAGVziPv8Pr2

            “Well someone has to leave in that body bag an’ it’s not going to be me,” Timber quipped. “Maybe this will help?” Timber gestured for Aiden to check his Cell, he did so.copyright protection17PENANAQjhtJfGdKE

In a wash of emotion, he now knew the stakes. His legacy, or his daughter. His pride or his blood. Regardless of his choice, everything would come crashing down.copyright protection17PENANAHKuPjOBdiF

“What about the fate of your security detail?” Timber laughed. He barred his teeth. “No matter what I’ll have my teeth into AccuCorps by the end of the day even if I have to chop you both up myself to get what I want.” Timber clenched his jaw, sharp canines and angled teeth flashed as the man growled like a beast. His neck and shoulders shaking with the tension and anticipation. His eyes flashed, catching the light from the skylights causing them to flash like the eyes of a beast stalking its prey.copyright protection17PENANAwYA5hqBpf2

 “T-that’s not an option,” Aiden snapped. “Surely we can negotiate better terms.” He was grasping at straws, but Timber wouldn’t move an inch, his eyes locked on Aiden, who let out a huff of nervous laughter from behind a wry smile. Blackwell rubbed the shaved half of his head.copyright protection17PENANAs6mKz60gjK

“Fine.” Aiden said, stumbling over the words.copyright protection17PENANAU0upQNdr0w

“So?” Timber said, his jaw relaxing.copyright protection17PENANA7xvHCM8dcn

“Fine!” Aiden yelled.copyright protection17PENANAgFtDp2Jpj2

“Then make your choice,” Timber replied. He played with his beard, rubbing his chin as if in contemplation. “Your only child, Heiress to AccuCorps and all its holdings, or the man who built the Company from nothing.” Timber pulled his hand from his chin and began tapping and scrolling through his own Cell. It glowed a sickly red. He smiled, then placed the device on his desk.copyright protection17PENANA9d2DCSrQks

His eyes trained onto Eladna. “How much would you be willing to do to save your legacy from a roll of the dice in the genepool like dear sweet Eladna,” Timber mused.copyright protection17PENANAnrZS9BFhPS

            “Daddy?” Eladna said, standing from the chair. She seemed to have caught the last bit of the conversation and looked confused. Her face was pretty, high cheekbones contoured to the slope of her jawline. But she looked like a pouting child, her lips and mouth puffed out and sloped down. If Aiden was certain she was going to get any older in appearance, that pout would not age well. It wasn’t far from Blackwell’s mind that this would be the last time he saw his daughter in any way this all played out. Eladna’s brow furrowed, irritation showing through the creases around her eyes and at the edges of her mouth.copyright protection17PENANAF6x9JWctlv

“What’s going on?” Eladna sighed. She sounded tired and not altogether.copyright protection17PENANAvuIy8lrzcM

             Aiden typically showed little emotion for maximum effect. A lesson he had learned from his father, and presumably his father before him. He thought, when faced with a hardship great enough, it would break down those walls. A wash of thought and emotion rolled through his head. A morbid sense of pride in being bested and anger at the person who bested him being Timber. A long denied paternal sense of protection for his daughter which was then outmatched by the shame Eladna brought him. He was mostly angry, at Timber for creating the situation, and Eladna for making the decision hard. But deep down he was ashamed of himself for not seeing this coming. He buried it all, deep behind his eyes and in his gut.copyright protection17PENANA1ze0snC7Fs

“How?” Aiden asked, taking off the jacket of his suit. The slim blue of his shirt contrasted his pale skin. He tossed the jacket over on one of the armchairs. “I assume you have something prepared?”copyright protection17PENANA0kyxuiuGMP

            Timber shrugged. “You’ve got two hands, don’t you?” He raised an eyebrow, curious to see what would happen. “As does she.”copyright protection17PENANAbikURsfi2r

            Aiden turned slowly toward his daughter, whose facial expressions were one part confused, two parts drunk. A garnish of fear as an olive to a martini.copyright protection17PENANA531j4tGGAm

            He walked over and took his daughter by the hand. “Eladna,” Aiden said, trying to muster some emotion, or the sense of parental duty. He found only contempt for his daughter for how she shamed him. How she wasted everything she was given.copyright protection17PENANA9BHI8b1CRN

            She looked down on him, a haze in her eyes, dark circles and glitter folded in each bag. Lipstick smeared but still visible. Underneath it all was his daughter, the same bright-eyed girl as she’d always been.copyright protection17PENANAs25MXWfcfh

            “Daddy what’s going on, I’m scared,” Eladna said, stepping back a little from her father, unsure of the situation. It was in her right, the last coherent thought she’d had was slamming back her fourth lemon drop at some nightclub in London. The next feeling being that of a cold bathroom floor on her knees. A mixture of saliva and pre-cum. Now she was here, facing her father, a mild lucidity returning.copyright protection17PENANAEklFDp9k6J

            “Daddy?” Eladna asked, worry washing over her.copyright protection17PENANAHfkoXtzY6q

            It’s not as if Aiden hadn’t killed people before. The hooker who’d tried to blackmail him in his early years of corporate fame, the father of his wife’s love child, that love child as well, and subsequently his first wife for her infidelity. His second wife had died while giving birth to Eladna. The Firster who’d broken into his office in Detroit. By no means did Blackwell consider his hands clean, only that it was soiled blood he’d shed. Nothing compared to the swift crack of his daughter’s neck in his hands as she bent down to hug him. Her expecting an embrace, him not knowing if he had the physical strength or mental fortitude to break her neck in a fashion that would kill her without incident.copyright protection17PENANALytRlqOAD4

            She fell to the floor in a heap. Aiden rolled up his sleeves, kneeling down over his daughter. She began to twitch and move in a series of spasms. She was alive and suffocating, blood slowly filling her mouth and lungs. Aiden wrapped his hands around her neck, and when he found that fruitless. He fidgeted over her, trying to find some way to end her life faster. To make her suffering less. Trying to push her from where she was to somewhere else.copyright protection17PENANASiodY2C7nJ

Aiden moved between compassion and anger for the girl. His demeanor fading as the levees in his mind gave way. He felt everything he had ever felt for Eladna.copyright protection17PENANAR4YctVF2UL

            Aiden began to beat her, his fists clenched tight enough that his nails dug through his own skin. With each hit, he felt bone and skin give way to softer tissue. Hysterics filled every movement now. He stood and stomped on what remained of her head and neck, crumpling it to a flaccid heap of meat and bone. Her silver locks dyed pink, then red, then black. Only when nothing was left of her head but a mass of mixed tissues did ‘Butcher Blackwell’ fall back onto his ass. A pool of thick blood began to form as the last spasms of Eladna’s heart pushed more and more blood from the stump of her neck.copyright protection17PENANAtGkXyFnmg1

            Blood soaked Aiden’s blue shirt, it looked black against his pale complexion. His knuckles were broken, his clothes stained black, and bits of flesh clung to his shoes.copyright protection17PENANAq8jPmhRYpf

            Timber began to clap, slowly. “Well done, lad,” he said in a jovial tone, putting his hands on his hips. He checked himself for blood and found the only thing he might need to replace were the slippers he was wearing, which were now in a spreading puddle of blood and other bodily fluids.copyright protection17PENANAIgkGsNC8Qw

“Well now I know why they call you Butcher!” Timber let out a small huff. There was a moment where Aiden thought Timber would show some semblance of pity, maybe even sympathy for the situation he was in.copyright protection17PENANAUkdehLUF7a

The takeover of his main office, the security detail downstairs dead, what choice did he have? Timber had a different mindset though. “Now that’s all said and done, I say we celebrate our impending merger.” Timber said. He pulled out his Cell. It glowed a dull red. Over the speakers came a raucous tune from the end of the 1970s, a song over 100 years old. Timber sang along, loudly, from the heart in a deep off-key voice. The cleaner robot began to garble over the spreading pool of blood. It let out a pip of satisfaction.copyright protection17PENANAGyi0nEifDH

             I come home in the morning light/copyright protection17PENANAvlYP2qDEyt

            My mother says “when you gonna live your life right?”/copyright protection17PENANAbtNpH5aBKi

            Oh Mother dear we’re not the fortunate ones/copyright protection17PENANAMrR4rfJJun

            And girls they wanna have fun/copyright protection17PENANArZJpPLQsqp

            Oh girls just want to have fun/copyright protection17PENANAWCSK2APdbz

54.166.141.69

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Comments ( 4 )

Lawrence Kinden - As a first chapter, it nicely sets up Mr. Timber as a villain and the animosity between Mr. Timber and Mr. Blackwell. 

I have two critiques. First, the back and forth between our narration referring to Aiden Blackwell as either Aiden or Blackwell is confusing. At first I thought they were two different people. If Mr. Timber is only going to be refereed to as as Timber, then referring to Mr. Blackwell just as Blackwell would make more stylistic sense. 

Second, you're hiding your worldbuilding. Obviously Mr. Blackwell has cybernetic enhancements. There's hints that everything is public (though Blackwell threatens to make this meeting public). The Cells (why capitalized?) seem to be more impressive than our modern smartphones. And yet you don't get into any of that. When Mr. Blackwell gets his far away look, what exactly is happening? We don't find out his security detail is dead when it happens, only at the end. I assume Blackwell's looking at a HUD or video or something, but all that interaction with technology is hidden which, for a SF story, seems strange. 

My favorite bit is the cleaner robot. That's a particularly interesting detail amongst all the threats and violence. I'd have thought it macabre but fascinating if the cleaner robot tried to clean up the blood at the end. 

-LK
1 week agoreply

ViridianMind - Thanks so much man! Ill get to those edits right away. I did think about going into detail about the CELLs but thought against it. I didnt want  big info dump in the first part of the story. Ill be sure to work out something suitable.

And you're so right! I played with the idea of the cleaner robot cleaning the blood but went against it because the originak draft had the robot break down. Thanks so much man! Dont be aftaid to PM with anythings else you want to add, critique, or just tall about.
1 week agoreply

Lawrence Kinden - @ViridianMind, I understand not wanting to insert an infodump. A quick of description of what Blackwell is seeing/hearing when he's getting information I think would give us enough to understand without making it feel unorganic to the moment. 

I remember the robot couldn't clean the last bit of orange. I got the impression it had gone back to its cubby to dispose of the trash. Maybe I misread.
1 week agoreply

ViridianMind - Thanks for the suggested edits!
1 week agoreply

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