Log Title: Vanderpool Intro

Characters: Tomax and Xamot (temped by Doomflower), Major Bludd

Location: The office of Major Bludd on the site of the Colombia base. In this log, he is having a private teleconference with the Crimson Twins via satellite.

Date: June 21, 2007

TP: Vanderpool TP

Major Bludd's Office

A wide desk of dark wood stands ten feet from the door, facing it, with a black leather swivel chair behind it. Within easy reach of the desk is a small bookcase filled with binders and folders. A few grey file cabinets stand at the back of the room and to either side of a window which looks out onto the courtyard of the Command Sector below. A door connects this office with that of the command staff secretarial pool.

When the office is occupied, the desk is usually taken up by a laptop computer and a smattering of papers, binders, folders, and writing implements.

A small square table sits against one wall. There is a green battlemat on the table, arrayed with a number of small figures. On the battlemat, a large golden cube is surrounded by figures of blue-garbed soldiers, black and gold androids, tanks, and aircraft.

Contents: Major Bludd

After the connection is established, Xamot can be seen setting up the webcam on Extensive Enterprise's end, while Tomax is in the background rather rudely escorting a salesman out of their office. It's almost Showtime.

Major Bludd absently drums his fingers on his laptop while he waits for the Twins to get started.

"So sorry for the delay -- can you hear me, Major?" Xamot asks.

In the background, there's some violent-sounding thumping...followed by Tomax returning, straightening his collar.

"No worries," Bludd says, directing his full attention to the laptop's screen. "You're loud and clear. What's this about, then?"

The twins get situated at the webcam. Tomax begins in his usual wry fashion, although there's an underlying tone of irritation there. "We're having...a PROBLEM with asset mismanagement," he says.

Xamot picks up that thought and continues. "We've been the victims of a rather significant embezzlement," he says. "The embezzler gained the trust of several top bank executives, continued the ruse for a number of years as a chief financial officer, and then fled with the assets from one of our top funds. This, as you can imagine, has us..."

"*Not pleased*," they both chime in.

"The asset mismanagement is our burden to bear. However, we share this story with you for an important reason," Tomax continues. "We could use apprehending this individual."

"A significant reward is available if the job is completed to our full satisfaction," Xamot adds.

Of course. It's obvious now. They don't want to dirty their hands with this task.

"What do you know about this person?" asks Bludd. "And what is it, exactly, you want done with him or her?"

"We will send you the entire intel file we've been able to find on this man, who goes by many aliases," Tomax says. As he works on sending over the file, Xamot continues that line of thought. "What we currently know, in short, is that he is a brilliant confidence artist. His cons have been large-scale, and have spanned many years. He has conned the United States Treasury, countless banks in Russia's fledgling democracy, a large-scale construction scam in China, and in more recent years, an infiltration and theft from MI-5."

"The offer is as follows," Tomax states. "We want him *dead*. However, in order to confirm it is, in fact, our man, we need DNA analysis. Therefore, after the contract has been fulfilled..."

"...You are to bring the body back to our office, so we can make the confirmation. At that time, you will be paid 12.5 million in U.S. currency, with a bonus of 7.5 million in Extensive Enterprise stock options for information leading to the recovery of our lost assets."

Major Bludd strokes his beard, leaning his elbow on the desk. "I expect the incoming file will detail his aliases, last known whereabouts, et cetera," he says, the calculator in his mind already hard at work. "I may need some startup cash for travel expenses and equipment."

"That can certainly be arranged. Whatever you require." Xamot left out his usual 'within reason' claptrap -- the twins must REALLY want this guy gone! Of course, it's one thing to rip off another country for millions...but no one rips off Cobra and lives to tell about it!

Tomax nods. "Regarding the file...yes. He has over 350 aliases, used over a 25-year period. The one he was using as our CFO was Leonard Piotroski. But now that he's on the run, he could be using most any name. One thing that may be of assistance to know is that he rarely, if ever, changes his appearance with elaborate disguises. Interpol photographs remain mostly the same, over time."

Bludd smiles at the promise of up-front funds. "That's a good start," he says, sitting back in his chair.

The file displays a Caucasian man in his late 40's, who shows a bit of graying at the temples, but has otherwise aged very well, has a full head of golden hair, and looks anywhere from 10 to 15 years younger, depending on the photographs and angles they were taken. According to the records, he is thought to be originally from Great Britain. And many of his aliases are British-sounding, with a few East European variations for his Russian scams.

"His current whereabouts are unknown, but we have sent you some frequencies to monitor...they are cellphones and other transmissions known to have been used by him," Tomax states.

Bludd scans the file, studying the photos very carefully. "Ah, good," he says at the mention of the frequencies. "Those should come in quite handy." He looks up into the camera. "What was his last known location, and when was he there?"

"Other than his last actual contact at our field office," Xamot says, looking angry at that particular recollection, "We traced one of his cellphones to a flight to Amsterdam."

Major Bludd takes out a small black notebook and a pen and scribbles a few notes into it, nodding. "Late 40s, looks younger, damn him," he mutters quietly to himself as he writes, "blonde, not disguised, cellphone, Amsterdam." He looks up. "And how long ago was this?"

"The flight was approximately ten days ago," Tomax transmits. "Since that time, he's once again disappeared -- likely to stock his slush funds. This has been one reason he's lived for so long and avoided capture, despite his propensity to not disguise himself...he's very adept at covering his tracks." He sniffs with disdain. "This time, he's scammed the wrong company."

Major Bludd adds the date note to his book. He snaps the notebook shut with his left hand. "He has indeed," he smiles.

"Do contact us soon with what you will require," Xamot says. "So we may acquire them in a timely fashion."

"I'll put together an expense list and let you know how much credit I'll need," Bludd says. "You can expect it in a few days' time."

"We are pleased you've decided to accept this assignment," Tomax oozes with a slight smile.

"You will have our gratitude if you can remove this problem," Xamot adds, looking equally slimy.

"We bid you good evening," they say in chorus, and the transmission ends.

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