Robert wandered back to his Cell alone that night, his mind racing with questions after the evening he'd spent with the other "Guests". What had Wolf meant, "how long you've been here?", part of Robert wanted to go and bang on Woods office door that minute, how much was the Doctor keeping from him? Robert passed through the "living" area, all three wooden doors shut, behind one he could just make out the sound of voices arguing, he pressed his ear to the door,
"OK, I SHOULDN'T HAVE MENTIONED HIM, BUT YOU DID IT FIRST, EL!",
Wolfs voice, they were shouting,
"THATS NOT THE POINT!", Eclipses turn,
"IN THE PAST HOUR YOU NEARLY BLEW EVERY THING THE THREE OF US HAVE WORKED SO HARD FOR!", her voice softerned,
"Look I know how you feel, Wolf, I really do, him being here has upset both of us and frankly if Barri wasn't brain damaged he'd probably feel the same way, but the Professor has never done anything without a good reason, we will have to wait and see what he has planned for this one, God Wolf, did you really have to tell him he wouldn't last?".
Robert pushed his ear closer to the door and tried to listen but their voices had become to faint through the heavy wood, nothing. He looked around the corridor, trying to find a decorative glass or something in a cabinet, anything he could use to amplify their voices, then, heavy footsteps from behind him, in the guest room, Barricade, returning from the bathroom. Robert turned on his heels, although he felt sure he could have "blagged" his way out of a confrontation with the mindless hulk, he couldn't ignore the sensation he'd felt earlier when Barricade and he had been locked in eye contact, there had been something there, something Robert wasn't planning on messing with till he understood more of what was going on.
Robert reached the door to the cell area just as he heard the guest room door open and close, he pushed himself through, holding the door as it swung shut, to stop it slamming. Robert strolled the hundred yards or so between the corridors exit and his cell, enjoying the stroll. When he arrived back at the cell, the door was open so he walked in, but if everyone was now in bed, who was going to lock it? Would they really allow him to have it open all night, to wonder the "Hospital" freely? Just as he had finished thinking it, the door slammed shut of its own accord, and he heard a lock click into place,
"Damn thing must have a circuit control?", he thought out loud to the room.
Taking off his new clothes and depositing them into the wardrobe, remembering to take his now rather crusty socks off too, despite the cold of the cell floor, Robert then made his way to his small, dirty bed and sat on the edge, turning to stare at the small window in his cell wall. It was an amazingly clear night, not a cloud in the sky and a full moon shining down on the world.
His thoughts went back the guest room, the huge stained glass dome, he had meant to see what the effect was like with the moon shining through, but had completely forgotten, not that he really blamed himself, so much had been said;
Woods always taking something different from them, something he obviously felt was very important to them.
The question Wolf had asked, "Has he told you how long you've been here?!".
Who the mysterious "He" was, this "last one" Wolf had mentioned, who Robert felt sure must be the same person Eclipse had mentioned when he'd first had a meeting with Woods, "He was like you, came in full of himself, took the Professor nearly three weeks to knock it out of him!".
And, there was now one more thing bothering Robert, it hadn't really registered at first, but now he stopped to think about it, when Eclipse had fled the guest room, Wolf had called her "El", and again while they'd been arguing in the living area. It was probably just a shorter way to say Eclipse, but then it didn't really make any sense? Robert sounded the name out in his head,
"E C L I P S E ", then the nick name " EL?", he shook his head, it still didn't sound quite right but was not high on his list of things to get some answers to.
Robert lay back against the pillow, swinging his legs up onto the bed, it felt cold, but the night had taken a lot out of him and sleep was catching him up quickly. He looked back out the window, "bout half ten?" he thought out loud, if he fell asleep now, he'd be awake at three again and for the whole night. Insomnia had suited his line of work perfectly, while the assortment of "goons" he'd kept in his private room at the hotel used chemicals like cocaine to keep themselves awake, Robert had never found all night deals and meetings a problem, now however, in a new world where he had little else to do but contemplate, the insomnia was starting to become an issue, he covered his face, rubbing his eyes,
"If I don't get out of here soon I'm going to go stir crazy!", but before he even had time to wonder if perhaps he already was! he fell fast asleep.
Her body felt warm, her back pressed against his chest, the perfume of her hair sending his sense of smell wild! Robert lay under the cool light silk sheets watching Abi's body moving up and down, her gentle breaths the only sound in the room, even in the middle of the city, the traffic outside had stopped hours ago, buses completed their routes, taxi's now avoiding the drunks trying to hail them and vomit at the same time and the cars that raced past taking people to and from work had reached their four hour break, before it all started again at five am.
Ten floors up, in the Penthouse suite of the Regent Hotel, Robert Farrel was an untouchable king. He had gone from being a drunken dealers runner, to one of the most secretly powerful men in the city. Employing over five hundred people, most of whom had been brought into the country illegally, selling and distributing weapons, drugs, pirate movies and stolen technology, IPODS, Laptops and DVD players. Roberts public front was in real estate and his two night clubs, "Silks" an evening club popular with wealthy young business men seeking company for the evening, which could usually be provided by the secret "escorts" working the floor, Robert employed the beautiful young women he had helped enter the country illegally, from Poland and Slovakia, before they entered the European Community, to Iran and Iraq. Wealthy men fueled up on cocaine and Champayne would literally pay thousands for girls Robert was paying pennies employ.
The second club, Into The Night, was designed for customers looking to let their hair down, after a long week of working, his customers want beer, pills, dancing and casual sex with an overly drunk girl. The club was raided after three girls complained of having their drinks spiked with a date rape drug, other customers, good, honest people, complaining that the man on the bar had been offering them drinks and,
"other things you won't see on the tariff!".
The Police, as always, found nothing, in a world where money is the only true power, certain high ranking officers of the city police force could be bought, especially when your influence on the street can quite literally control crime. When the local law enforcement came under investigation for ignorance and corruption, Robert made absolutely sure the streets were as quiet as possible. Of course he had competition, rival gangs cutting the own junk on the streets, selling it cut with rat poison, or in some cases white sand to add weight to each wrap or bag, which had led too random cases of collapsed lungs cropping up all over his patch. Then there were techno thieves, pimps and arms dealers, all trying to make a business on his streets. This was a mistake.
Connor Bradford was an adult now, the nervous, jumpy kid who'd followed Robert into that apartment that afternoon was long dead. Robert thought it had actually been that day he'd changed, Connor had been so quiet after dumping the body, after that he'd lost some of the spirit he'd had before, oh he still liked a laugh and a joke with the boys, but his sense of humor had become slightly twisted, and his jokes usually involved making a spectacle of someone, either buy hurting them, or making them hurt themselves, this was not always funny either, but no one would dare not to laugh, no wanted Connors attention on them, in a room of fifty people, forty-eight hardened criminals, some of the most terrifying people in the country would force themselves to laugh at these sick displays or torment, all but one. Robert.
Pubs emptied, housing estates turned into ghost towns and silence fell when ever Robert Farrel had sent Connor Bradford out on a "visit", six words that sent a shock down the spines of everyone with half a brain,
"Roberts sending Connor to Visit you!",
Robert very rarely left the Regent, business meetings could be held in his suite, the ones he'd rather conduct with witnesses, the very public glass fronted restaurant of the hotel came in very helpful, no surprises. There had to date been fourteen attempts on Roberts life, each one, he had narrowly escaped, for some people, to narrowly. Each time it was Connor who had been sent to "visit" those Robert believed most likely to be responsible, Connor would always return with some small trinket to show off to his boss, a signet ring covered in blood, a particular item of clothing or jewelry associated with whom ever he was "visiting", then sometimes, he went to far.
Connors temper permanently hung in the balance, when docile he could be friendly, funny, even charming with those he had business dealings with, but then he gets angry, then he looses his temper and you know your dead. The head of the city's most vicious football firm once described Connor as,
"The most furious fighter I ever saw, the man's like a razor, he cut's through anything and anyone who's thick enough to get in his way, I seen hard, I seen proper dangerous and I seen killers, but nothing can match that boy!", Robert responded with what was meant to be a smile, but as usual it was little more than sneer. The fact was, Connors new reputation was making him nervous, before long he'd be more feared than Robert, and then, well, it was Robert himself who had taught Connor how to deal with competition, or when someone was standing in your way.