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1(V) Striking the Deal Empty (V) Striking the Deal on Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:24 pm



A dim room with a flickering light dial swinging like a pendulum overhead. A mad doctor bent over his patient, ready to inflict all sorts of terrible experiments on his subject to satisfy his thirst for knowledge. The patient's face contorted into exclamations of terror as his body lay at the mercy of an obsessed freak. For the poor victim of this experiment, this may be one of the worst experiences they've ever endured. For Gilbard, this was Friday night. So how did he get to here...

----- a few days ago -----

The newly formed Calico Pirates were flourishing. This was thanks to Jackal's leadership. He was constantly recruiting new members, each one more capable than the last. The team was growing, and it was growing closer. A harmonious gang of bandits were doing well for themselves on the island known as Baltigo. Yes, they were facing many hardships, but each one strengthened them and prepared them for the bright future ahead. But this isn't the story of some courageous struggle or heartwrenching tale or triumphant victory. Nah. Gilbard Noam just wanted to be a drug lord.

The motivation for this was pretty simple. His captain was doing his duty well and pulling his weight. Gil, on the other hand, hadn't really done much for the sake of the crew and had instead been following his own ambition since he landed. For someone that was seen as the unnofficial first mate, he didn't really take that responsibility seriously. The old Gilbard would be incapable of seeing the problem with this, but the new pirate was growing awareness for his comrades and what they needed. Yes, he was treating the crew's wounds when they came up as a ship's doctor should, but there was more that could be done here. The scale of their crew was increasing and so was their reach. This meant that Gil had access to a lot more in terms of resources and influence, but it also meant that the need for support was greater. He had some ideas for improving his craft and creating new inventions, but he decided that having a makeshift clinic in some cruddy bar's bathroom wasn't going to cut it anymore. His crew deserved more and he was capable of providing more if he had the means to do so. If the Calico Pirates were to face the dangerous future ahead of them, then Gil would do all he could to make sure that they were prepared for it.

First he needed a space to work. He dreamt of having a place to call his own like the revolutionary doctor Feldip Dorwin had. If only he could have the benefit of working with all that equipment. The revolutionaries funded him well, that much was clear. At first, he was tempted to seek them out but then he decided against it. He didn't want to be tied down to them. He wanted to have his own lot. It would be too risky to rely on another group so heavily. But he did need a start. So for this, he sought help from the fourth district, the district that dealt with drugs and pharmaceuticals. He had already established a contact here thanks to his previous dealings. He had sold some of his merchandise and impressed one of the district members. He knew that they were hungry for his knowledge. He could bring them a different brand of expertise to the usual doctor that crossed their threshold. His access to sea based resources combined with his years of self experimentation brought about unique products that they hungered for. Gil was sure that he could strike a deal with them if he was to promise to sell to them.

They had given him a good price for his stuff, too. After that day, he had done some looking around and price checking. Everywhere else either didn't care for his pitch or just simply didn't understand how revolutionary his craft was. Yes, the Fourth District was the place to go. He didn't have much experience with the business side of things, but this was a necessary skill to develop for the good of the crew.

After traveling to the 4th District, his contact welcomed him inside his pharmecy and directed him through the back. He was an old man who he had come to know as 'Peck'. Peck handled his guest with care over his manner. He failed to hide his greedy smile. Gil had managed to get from him that he had done very well for himself for bringing Gil's inventions to the attention of the Good Doctor. Now it seemed that Peck was doing his best to attatch him to the fishman for the sake of his career within the district. He threw around words like 'partnership' and 'good will'. He buried Gil with small talk sprinkled with complements but it was pretty clear that to Peck, Gil was simply a tool for him to climb the hierarchy of the district. In response, Gil let him rattle on while keeping cool and reserved. When Peck was finally slowing down and realising that his smooth talk wasn't getting him anywhere, Gil decided to make his first move.

"I am thinking about increasing my future offers to the Fourth District. In terms of quantity, quality and diversity of products." Peck's eyes lit up. This is exactly what he wanted to hear. "However, in return, I am going to need access to your full potential funding." This was a big request, however he didn't doubt that Peck would respond positively to this. The little old man had already convinced himself that Gil was going to be his golden ticket. "I see, I see. Hrmm. Well, what are you looking for specifically? I do have many projects and prospective endeavors on the run, but if the deal is good then I do believe that I can be of assistance." The response was almost mechanical. Gil didn't know who he was trying to fool here. Posture, dilating iris, sweating, constant playing with his pen. Peck was broadcasting these signals through his body language that said 'I am excited'. Like a dog, drooling at it's owner preparing it's meal, Gil was sure that he could ask for pretty much anything here.

"First, I'll need large but private premesis. This needs to be separate from the Fourth District entirely. There I intend to do my research and produce my stuff on a large scale. Then, I'll need the space equipped with the best fittings and equipment that the district is able to muster. Third, I'll need access to some initial funding to get production started. I also look forward to benefitting from the expertise of you and your colleagues, Peck." With each request, Peck's smile drooped a little until it was a thin twitching line. It was clear now that this fishman was not going to be taken advantage of. Peck pressed his hands together. Thankfully, his first thought was of his own career and not of the risk this investment had to the district. While these things were closely tied, the payoff if this worked would be immense if he could wrangle this deal into shape.

"I have some conditions. The location and equipment will remain property of the Fourth District. Once you finish your work there, it will return to the district's control. Anything you produce will be owned by you. However, you must sell at least one of everything you produce there to the 4th District. Funding and further resource allocation can be arranged. Lastly, this deal is my idea and my project. If you want privacy, you can have it, but I'll be your manager and check up on things every now and then."

His eyes twitched up to meet Gil's empty black orbs. Without another word, the fishman raised his hand. Peck took it, hastily shaking it. And so it was done. The deal had been struck. Peck shouted out to his wife who was tending to the customers. "Close down the shop, honey. We're liquidating our assets!"

Soon after the deal was made, the old man known as Peck transformed. He suddenly gained new life. He had put everything on this deal, so he was very motivated to see this succeed. Seeing how he had reacted made Gil realise that he had made the right choice in a partner. After winding him up, his legs almost seemed to spin in midair as he raced off to go sort things out. The pharmacy store that he owned and ran was closed immediately and put on the market the day after. Produce was shifted on at an alarming rate. Drugs flew off the shelves and were shipped back to the District 4 warehouse inventory. The store clerk was fired and a project assistant was hired. When Gil went to visit him the next day, he had compiled a shortlist of properties for them to check out. So today, they were out on the town. But this was a business date.

Walking the streets of District 4 with Peck was a strange experience. He wasn't just a weirdo stranger like Gil, he was a respected elder of the community and successful businessman. Every working man and woman that they came across seemed to recognise him and call out to him. With a precise tongue, he navigated the small talk and left each person smiling while moving on to the business as fast as possible. His new fishy business partner observed him, recognising the usefulness of a skill such as that. Gil wondered if he should learn these verbal techniques as well. It seems like it would definitely be a useful skill for the future.

Soon enough, they had turned up at this grand property. A huge warehouse on the main street. Even Gil was impressed at the sight of this place. It was plenty big enough, but there was way too much footfall for it to be a discreet laboratory. "HAH! You'd be lucky. This is waaay out of your price range." Peck gawfed at Gil and instead walked past it and down the alleyway. Gilbard scratched his head, wondering why he was making fun of him for not being able to afford it when it was Peck that was going to pay for it.

Following him, he came to a stop in front of a stairwell that went into the ground. "Welcome to your castle, good sir." Peck performed a melodramatic bow. Gil scratched his chin, wondering where the old man's brown-nosing attitude had went. He guessed that it wasn't necessary now that the deal had been struck. Sighing loudly, Peck descended down the stairs, his heels clipping on the stone. "You know, you could be a little more excited for this endeavor of ours." Gil followed. He wasn't really too interested in this business side of things, it was simply a means to an end. As long as this place suited his needs, he would be happy.

Arriving in the underground lair, Gil's expression changed from disinterested to intrigued to curious to apprehensive to excited. They arrived in an underground hall. Its walls made of large stone bricks and a subterranean canal built flowing through it. It was dark and dingey, but there was plenty of space. Most people would describe this place as uncomfortable, eerie and gross. But it was more than acceptable for Gilbard. "I know it's not much, but there's plenty of space here. We can hook up dials to power lighting and machinery. This room was used as an access to this canal here so that we could dump our waste here in privacy. No one will bother you here, 'cause no one except the higher ups know of this deal." Gil nodded. "Nice work." It would still be a little while before the lab had been set up, but it looked like he finally had a place to call his own. At least for now.


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