This was last posted seven years ago. Reposting to go with my last Gaiden post.
Dogs of Hyland Pt 1
“Are you telling me that there is no market for the Arachnid automation, Mr. Dresden?”
Orlando’s lips grew thin as the words slowly simmered in his mind. “I wouldn’t say that. Although we don’t have a massed-produced product, we’ve established it as apart of the Hyland brand–as much as Seraphim is for Hill, or Dracofrom is for Scande. The annalists tell me if we develop the Arachniforms further in limited quantities, we can market them as luxury items.”
One of the men leaned back in his wooden chair as he stroked his white beard. Although they wore suits and ties, the faced of the panel members seemed to reflect the oil paintings hanging in the Hyland Museums. Orlando smiled broadly as he examined the men before him quietly. The lengthy pause was something that Orlando had to become accustomed to as it seemed to be a cultural norm with them.
“I think you nullified our concern about the matter,” spoke one of councilmen. He was younger then the rest–his hair was dark brown and greased back and his face seemed leathery from years in the sun. “Thank you for that.”
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity,” spoke Orlando with a modest grin. His hand rested on a small moleskin notebook. “Now, if time permits, I would love to take a moment to address you about the multimedia facet of my enterprise. My concern is–”
“I’m sorry Mr. Dresden, but I feel that may be a matter which we would like to schedule a conference for. It would be something that I feel might need our full attention,” spoke the house member with the thick white beard. Orlando put the notebook in his jacket pocket.
“Understandable. Thank you.”
The old man adjusted his papers before him and crossed out a note on his paper. “That should be all for today, we look forward to hearing about your continued service on the matter, Dresden.”
Orlando nodded. The council members stood. Remember, thought Orlando, these men were once Kings.
A dog sat beneath three metal tubes that were welded to form a bench. It was slightly to the side of the stairwell. Small craps of newspaper littered the floor around him as if the area below the bench was his den.
“Hey Dog,” spoke Orlando as he approached the mongrel in thew subway. The dog’s head jerked up and looked at his direction. The executive took out a treat from a pouch on his messenger bag and placed it before the beast. It lapped it up with a long pink tongue and slumped its head back down onto its paws.
He knew the dog was happy, but mongrels of Hyland never wagged their tails. He walked down the subway terminal. The urban stray dogs were half wild and appeared shortly after the Great War, he was told. They originally lived in the cities to the north but now seemed to have made their way down to Trianable.
“There are four kinds of dogs in the Hyland cities,” explained a soldier to him once as they talked on the subway ride, “first you have the ones that are almost wild. They are almost like wolves claim a large area to themselves. Then you have the one who are not as smart, they run in packs and will be friendly to the scrap yard guards and the patrol officers like me. Samerter still are the beggars who have made it down to the subway and sit. They only move when they know you will feed them–they remember your smell.”
“And the fourth,” spoke the man as he leaned in and pointed to the subway door, wagging his finger, “the fourth are the smartest of all. They’ll actually get in the subway and go for a ride. They aren’t like the loners, the followers, or the beggars–they know if they follow the flow, they always be food waiting for them.”
“At least the kept the cats away, am I right?” chimed in Orlando, patting the man on the back. The soldier let out a loud guffaw that reverberate with the rattle of the small copper train car in the dim circularity. “Yeah, you’re definitively not a loner stray, are you friend?” spoke the soldier with a toothy grin.
Orlando tossed the notebook into the small black trash bin in his desk. He looked out the window of his office briefly at the small pond in the middle of the industrial park. The lake was iced over and the trees were bare.
He st down at his desk and tapped his monitor on. With a gesture he retrieved his address book and selected a number. The monitor rang.
“Hey its Olly, you still on for tonight?”
“What? I thought you said you were going to run late.”
Orlando sighed. His eyes lingered on the woman’s face displayed on the screen. “Yeah, I was hoping to get them to jazzed about constructing the new media pipeline I was telling you about. But all they wanted was to talk about their silly giant robots.”
“Well, just keep at it I suppose. They’re like kids to these things Olly, they don’t quite grasp this new world. Pops came to visit me in Trianable the other week and he said it spooked him so much that he doesn’t want to leave his villa ever again.”
Olly spun a coin around his fingers, “Yeah, this stuff confuses me too at time. But listen Jean–I can still get us seats at Molti’s tonight if you’re interested.”
“Oh–Can’t. Sorry. One of my clients is taking me out tonight.”
Orlando’s fingers fidgeted and flicked the memory coin across the room. “A client, eh?”
The CEO’s face lost its usual grin. Jean giggled. “Yeah, a Tasnican. He usually stops in to pick up things for his boss’ girlfriend, he tells me. Not really my type though–real stoic and quiet guy. You have nothing to worry about sugar.”
“I guess I’ll take a raincheck then. Maybe tomorrow, or later?”
“Call me tomorrow. Or stop by the shop.”
“Sure thing Jean. I’ll let you go.”
“Thanks, talk to you soon.”
Orlando adjusted his tie and took off his jacket and placed it on his desk. “Well,” he muttered to himself as he leaned back into his chair, “this day is a bust.”
Dogs of Hyland Pt 2
"Its going to come down hard tonight, murmured the bartender to Orlando as he gulped down a beer. The businessman loosned his tie some more, unbuttoning his collar. Half his body froze as his back was open to the snow, while his foot pressed against the heater for balance in the narrow alley that served as a bar.
“Maybe you should close early friend,” spoke Orlando as he turned half around to see the first snowfall. A older man with a white bard and a goat-like face jabbed him in the ribs.
“Not gonna let you shut this night down for me mister. This is the best little pisshole in all of Hyland. I’ve been to each and every one to know that!”
Orlando laughed lightly to himself, “I still have a few decades to catch up to you with that, my brother.” He motioned to get the man another beer. “But the way things are going for me as of late, I’ll might catch up sooner then later.”
"That’s the way things have been since the Great War. Modernizations–mechanizations running the horses off the roads and leading the land to the dogs. "
“Yeah? I was born in the south–”
“Your accent is a dead giveaway, if not the fancy suit.”
“–and we used to walk everywhere. Too many hills and jungles. Then the Tasnicans come and come with their hover cars and their airships, and suddenly I’m not that little boy running teas by boat. I’m a produce mogul. This was when I was seventeen.”
“Sixteen I was up north killing Ticonderians. Conscripted army,” chimed in the goat-faced man. His words felt heavy to the ear and sank into Orlando’s gut. He was on the second drink and Orlando gestured for more. The wind picked up slightly enough to sway and rattled the string of decorative lights that draped across the roof of the bar.
“Yeah? No wonder they hate us so. I was located mostly in Trianiable by that time, though I still have a home back in Canto.”
“You dress like one of those prissy Trianable yuppies. Always nice to everyone because they can’t buy your soul like a Tasnican can. That false hospitality sickens me.”
Orlando shook his head is disbelief as he looked down at the worn faded counter top of the bar. He kicked the heater. “I could buy someone’s soul.”
“You keep buying me drink, so you’re halfway there. But you’re not Mister Sider-Krupp. You’re not King Kuat. You’re not Big Diamond.”
“I was Big Diamond.”
Orlando pushed his drink away and pointed at his drinking partner, “I worked for Diamond. Five years. I was CEO for a few months. Gave it up to help out my adoptive mother country.”
The goat man looked the businessman over. He huffed a deep breath and froze as he exhaled.
“You’re new money, I can tell. But your eyes say you’re not a prissy yuppie. The bullshit about being a king of Tasnica is a bit of a stretch still.”
“It makes no nevermind,” muttered Orlando. “I’ve peaked. That’s life.”
The old man rubbed his beard then spat. “Truth” he muttered.
“Hey I got something for you.”
The old dog raised its balding crown slightly. The beast knew when to make the effort from the small of butcher paper and meat. Orlando kneeled down and placed the chop before the dog. It whimpered politely as it tore the meat with its incisors.
Orlando patted the dog on its head. He looked up at him with its one good eye and growled. The businessman sighed as he stood up from the spot by the old dog’s garbage tin and walked down the stairs to the subway car.
The subway car came. It was still morning, and the car was crowded. Orlando looked down at his phone, checking the time. He looked up and out the subway window to watch the tunnel tiles fly past the window. Then, a large deep growl of an blast a permeated through the tunnel. The tunnel lights went dark. His car jerked, then ground to a halt.
The light of his phone screen flickered on. A red marquee scrolled across the screen. Orlando’s grasp wavered slightly as he stared at the message.
SHOCKING: EXPLOSION IN TRIANABLE SUBWAY STATION. SCORES PRESUMED DEAD.