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Stranger in the Court


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Ding had been going through a fast paced few weeks. Creating a shadow corporation and documents out of thin air was no easy task. This was not the first front setup by intelligence, but it certainly was harder to do so in Europe. Most areas of the world had plenty of unstable and chaotic regions. Europe was the exception. Creating something here was something else. Nevertheless he was quite confident his cover would hold up for now.

He was Quatre here. He was the face of a European mercenary unit, Amalgem. It claimed to have a history of intervention in Africa and North America. Additionally the unit was known for being able to procure armaments from various sources around the world of decent quality and able to get around export restrictions. In this line of work, it was advantageous to only be known to those who you wanted to get contracts from. So lack of history was a sign of professionalism, so long as they could show they had the resources to back things up.

His aides had called ahead to Paris requesting a meeting with whomever was in charge of defense, but the success of the call remained... to be seen. The new nation seemed to be scrambling to get things together. So once again, it would be based on his ability to talk his way up as high as he could.

"Quatre." a voice said. Ding paused for a moment before looking up, his eyes concealed by his sunglasses. He looked at the man as he felt the car he was traveling in stop outside the front gate of the Palace of Versailles. His blond hair was styled, and he was dressed in a navy blue bespoked suit. He looked at his golden cufflinks and sighed. [i]I look god damn ridiculous.[/i] he thought to himself.

The man sitting across from him in the limo smiled, "You look sharp." he said.

Ding seemed uncomfortable, "Indeed, the part of a shady arms dealer seems to suit me..." he said.

"You mean successful arms dealer?"

"Same difference." Ding chuckled. "I look obnoxious as hell."

"Yeah you look perfectly german..." the man replied, getting a chuckle out of Ding.

Ding exited the car, walking forward towards the gate with a briefcase in hand. His eyes were firmly fixed on the building before him, as if he was expected. He moved like he had all the reason in the world to be there.

Predictably guards moved in front of him to stop him.

"Bonjour Monsieur. Je m'appele Monsieur Quatre. J'ai un reunion avec Ministre de Militaire. Je represente un syndicat grande armements. Je suis presse." Quatre explained quickly as he stepped forward once more to be allowed to pass.

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The Captain at the gate looked at the man with a blank stare for a moment before cracking a smile. "Monsieur Quatre, eh?" He turned to another one of the guards. "Mister Four," he said before turning back around. "Forgive me, Monsieur, given that you're coming from an armament and your name is synonymous with a number it's hard to take this seriously. Sounds more like an action novel than real life. But I will ask Minister Desnoyers if he has a meeting with you." The Captain walked away for a moment, into a small booth and dialed ahead into the palace. After chatting for a moment, the Captain came back out and nodded at Quatre. "Apparently you are expected, I would be happy to escort you into the palace myself as my round is over. If you would follow me Monsieur."

Quatre was guided through Versailles by the Captain, but the palace seemed more as a ghost complex than an actual palace. The fountains still rippled beautiful streams of rainbowed water into the sky and the gardens were still perfectly kept, but no one was around and the gravel pathways were empty. Even once they arrived inside, the gilded halls of the palace echoed eerily as they walked towards the east wing where Minister Desnoyers kept his office. "My father," The Captain began to speak as they neared the office. "Was an Imperial Guard when Empress Zelle ruled decades ago, the palace was much livelier then. What's going on now, I'm not quite sure. I'm sure you've heard the rumors, Monsieur, that her body was resurrected. There's someone out there posing as the Empress, but I don't believe she's back from the dead. Thad kind of stuff doesn't happen. You know?"

Finally arriving, the Captain bowed and knocked on the door. "The Minister will be expecting you, please, just go in."

Desnoyers office was brightly lit with a chandelier hanging above and the thick velvet drapes drawn back. There were a few cabinets with priceless china inside and the soft sounds of Mozart drifted out from a record player on the far side of the room. Francois Desnoyers was an older man, beginning to bald with small glasses that rested on his nose and a mustache that hung low over his mouth. He wore a black suit with a red sash underneath, running across his shirt. As Quatre walked in, Desnoyers smiled and walked over to the record player, shutting off the music before extending his hand.

"It is a pleasure to meet you Monsieur and I appreciate you coming on such short notice. Your company, Amalgem, said that we might be able to strike a deal given France's maturing state and with enemies on all sides, we could use the extra help. What did your superiors have in mind for our meeting?"

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"I am a number." Quatre said to the man's question about his name, "a name is but a title, and in this capacity I am the fourth, in a series you do not need to know about." with that he ended the conversation.

As he was escorted through Versailles his eyes made their way back and forth. While he would appear to be a !@#$% bag wearing his sunglasses indoors, the true reason was that they blocked his wandering eyes, a dead give away of a man at least looking for some sort of intelligence.

He chuckled at the comments about the dead Empress, "Well you know, our Kaiser is supposedly the same man, after almost a hundred years. So I guess anything is possible." he quipped.

As he entered into the room, Quatre sized up the man who was before him. He seemed to be somewhat beyond his years in Quatre's opinion. He likely was an old hand, rather than a dynamic visionary. In other words he was not the power behind the military, but just an administrator, nevertheless he was a step.

He extended his hand shaking the mans.

"Truthfully." Quatre began, "My authorities gave me carte blanche authority to do what I want and negotiate what I want. I am a man of results and they trust me to get them. Amalgem is a highly capable organization, and we believe we can be of use to France and help it jump out of its infancy into the future.

In that regard I can help you in multiple areas. Equipment is the most obvious, but you know equipment, is ultimately worthless in the hands of amateurs. My true strength, is something much more important, it is in my people. Amalgem can provide you with soldiers, sailors, and air men who have see the battlefield and can train your men, as well as function as a silver bullet force. This is of course... for a price.

We don't come cheap, but protection of this level, rarely does."

Quatre walked over to the window and looked out, "I also must insist on a condition. I be allowed to speak with and work directly for your leader. I've never had the pleasure of working with a dead woman before."

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