The Thief’s Gift

December 19, 2014: Fantomex talks with Amanda Waller, Weatherman of Stormwatch, giving her a dangerous gift.

<Somewhere in New York>

Nice corporate office with a large window.



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Mood Music:

Almost every agency has a field office somewhere that is open to the public. Stormwatch's office is similar to that, being a psuedo front to a lesser known company called Obright's Construction. While Obright is an actual company found in the real world and often times funded and contracted by Stormwatch, and the first four floors belong to them and them only, the top two floors are headed by security and Waller, and the floors deep below are headed by something else.

The something else was left for now, for Amanda sat in her office, looking out over New York's skyline, admiring the night time view even though it's absent of stars. She has a tumbler of scotch and ice, and a lit cigarette upon the ashtray, just lit for now, untouched as she stands with her hands pressed and folded against the small of her back.

So Amanda wanted ‘three days’ but Fantomex had business in Gotham involving a leather-clad lady that loves cats. Priorities. Besides, it is always more fun to drop by unannounced. But hey, at least he knocked at the door before stepping in.

Clad in white, armed and somehow he avoided security. Fantomex could be the deadliest assassin in the world. He was made to be the deadliest assassin in the world. He didn’t like the job, so he quit. Now he is the most annoying thief in the world. Loves every minute. There is also a 5 million euro reward for his head. 10 million if alive, not necessarily unhurt. Amanda might have been able to unearth quite a bit of information about him in the past few weeks. But much of it makes no sense.

But he is good at sneaking around. That is evident. “Madame,” he bows extravagantly, “we meet again.”

There is little use of scaring Amanda. Even though Fantomex pops out of nowhere, she turns slightly as if she were expecting him all along. "Jean-Philippe." She states casually, turning for a moment to gesture behind him. "Get the door." She hated open doors. If she were in the comfort of her own home, her doors would be shut and she locked behind them. This is how she slept, and often times, this is how she watched television or the world pass by.

"As you can see, the guards here were expecting you, so you'll expect no muss nor fuss whether I am around. They have you on high alert. In other words.. come and go as you please, but take nothing. I can spend the next fifteen years dismantling your robot and cutting your fingers off by the shave."

Could she? Probably not. But it sounded alright to say. All right indeed.

She settles down into her thick leather chair, hand reaches out to snag the cigarette from it's place, which is promptly ashed and drug upon.

"But that's neither here nor there and I'm pretty sure you're going to take something just to see if I /could/. So lets get down to business."

Fantomex tilts his head, “were they expecting me?… I feel guilty now.” He avoided all the guards! But he always avoids all the guards, even when they would welcome him and invite him for to drink. It is a question of principles.

He is not feeling guilty. That was a lie. “I would never dare to steal from you,” that is also a lie. That she knows it is a lie is alright. He knows she knows it is a lie. “Sacre bleu. I came bringing gifts,” that is almost true. Almost. “And since we are in first name basis, please, lets skip the exchange of threats. How far did you got while investigating me? Has someone out there suggested you had to stop or otherwise showed any interest in your research?”

Amanda shakes her head. "No you don't." There was a slight smile there, but gone within the next few seconds, for she was puffing away on her cigarette which was exhaled by way of plume of smoke through nostrils.
"They were no threats. And I got far enough to know your name. Somewhat. As I tend to believe that when names are given, they are not true. Trust doesn't go that far when it comes to delving deep into old programs. And no one told me to stop. That would have caused me to continue, naturally. But I did of my own accord, so I know enough of what I know to know that you're a valuable asset, and could have been, if you didn't mysteriously 'disappear'.

Those last words were framed with quotation marks, which causes the cigarette to ash and roll down her sleeve. She looked momentarily annoyed, but that too, passes.
"What gift did you bring?"

“Jean-Phillip is a good name. I picked it myself,” replies the man in white, taking a seat in front of the woman. “In truth, Fantomex is my name. I… earned it. Before Fantomex, I had no real name. Just a label. Boring.” He glances at the New York skyline for a couple seconds, “how long has been since the Weapon Plus projects went completely rogue and off grid? You were Team 7, hmm? It was just afterwards or does the US spy community still keep in touch with the Facility, the World and… the other branches?”

"It is." Waller admits. You really can't pass up a good name, especially one that was given to you by yourself.

"That, my dear friend, is way beyond my tenure. I'm unsure when the last project was deployed or how it left the clutches of CADMUS. Only that I know that it was there during the same time I left Team 7 as a whole. We still keep in touch with a small few of our assets and those within our community, though often times it's a call of help that gets us or them to come running."

“It was older than CADMUS. But CADMUS transferred Weapon Ten to Department H. I believe a good number of ‘assets’ went missing along the way,” explains Fantomex. “They have been selling living weapons at the highest bidder for a while. As we talk Weapon Sixteen must be live, or not… depending how you define ‘alive’.”

Amanda listened closely, all the while snuffing the life out of the cigarette with a quick dump and push of the butt to make the rest cringe and curl. The glass of scotch was eyed, then pushed aside with a slight sweep of her hand as fingers lightly play over the top.

"Alright." She states plainly. "Why the history lesson on the programs. Why are we discussing something that I should or should not have interest in?"

It takes her a moment, but one eyebrow raises. "Unless you've located one of the candidates of the program."

“Should know, most definitely. You are the Weatherman, Amanda,” notes Fantomex, gesturing with his hands to the woman. “Weapon Plus has been selling living weapons to any nation willing to pay, Madripoor, Bagalia, Qurac… to any terrorist group with enough cash, Hydra, Hive, Leviathan. Not to AIM, for reasons I will mention in a minute. Ah… now it is under control of an anti-mutant group. Which is doubly malignant given so many of their creations have been enhanced mutants.”

Waller was getting a little bit impatient, her attitude slowly dripping through the veins as she lights up another cigarette just to let it burn.

Fingers tap along the desk, but she remains quiet. Interested, yet quiet all of the same.


"Get to the point, Fantomex."

She could be a real dick sometimes.

Some people have no appreciation for good drama. Unfortunately for Amanda, Fantomex is not one of those. “Patience, madam, I am getting there.” He stands up. “As you mentioned, I am the ‘asset’ that vanished. With memories intact, I have to add. And after stealing several terabytes of their research and business. Me. Weapon Thirteen,” he bows again.

For a moment there, it looked as if Amanda was going to give a few long claps as he introduces himself. Instead…

She lurches forward to press a button that rests upon the com units. "Operation Weapon 13 is a go. Apprehend at any means necessary."

And then she waits.

"Kidding. Do go on." See! Waller can have a sense of humor! With that said, she leans back into the chair again. "However, I have a feeling that this all leads to Weapon Fourteen."

Fantomex laughs, than claps twice, “c'est amusant, Weatherman”. He didn’t seem alarmed, but he was reading her body language carefully. “No. Fourteen is not a particular problem… or at least not much more or less of a problem as your usual terrifying super-human assassin. You know there are many of them loose already, oui? You employ a few in Stormwatch. Deathstroke and Midnighter are former lab rats. Pretty effective killers, I heard. So was Captain America, our very impressive ancestor. Spiritual ancestor Weapon One.” He sits down again. “But I am the product of half a million years of directed evolution. Weapon Plus has learned to bend time, Amanda. In the World construct they compress a thousand generations in a few weeks. They stole the technology from AIM. What they might have done in the last few years since I escaped… now, that does worry me.”

Amanda was glad to lighten the mood, she was becoming incredibly annoyed. To not snap, she must laugh. And laugh, she did. Briefly. In fact, it almost sounded like a cough. But it was there, that twinkle and crease of her eye showed it.

She was well aware of Deathstroke, Midnighter himself of course. Captain America, another study that she planned to add into her books among others who were not apart of the program, but could have been candidates long ago.

There was a little pang of guilt as he spoke those last words, but it was hidden almost immediately.

“And so, I wish the World gone. Weapon Plus too, but that is not a feasible goal for me,” explains Fantomex. “And I think Stormwatch would agree it would be a good thing. The problem is they do have some friends in the US government. In fact, in most governments. The good news is I know who they are, and this is my gift to you.”

Silence, that is all he was really gifted with at the moment. It was very hard to make a move as big as he spoke about, especially if those people lie in the government. Most were stepping stools, some were collegues, some were even decent enough to consider grabbing a drink with and others…

That disciplinary hearing was something she remembered, and it left a bad taste in her mouth..

"I see."

It was a huge gift, a very huge gift indeed. One that she would not readily accept. Not just yet.

"This is a very tempting gift, Fantomex. One that I'm very hard pressed to accept." She stands now, hands pressed upon the desk. "And one that I have to decline for now."

She moves around the desk towards the door, her hand upon the knob as she pulls it open. It was his cue to leave.

"It's not that i'm not interested on what you wish to accomplish and that I'm ignoring the dangers. But a good strategy requires a sound and solid mind. And a well thought out reaction." Meaning, she was going to start digging, doing research, looking at every employee or persons within the senate, for starters. Then connections. Connections that may happen, will happen, could happen, and back it with percentages. This was her own method, her own madness.

Of course, it is a poisoned gift. Senators, congressmen, high ranked military, a governor or two, a couple prominent religious leaders (surprise… maybe not) and a number of retired but still influential men and women. Along the numbers of bank accounts and registers of money transferences, and other kinds of transferences. Tons of ammo, but maybe not enough to win a war if Amanda starts one.

“Now, now. What you do with this is up to you. But… I am believe you will do the right thing. Eventually.” She would be smart to verify every bit of information, though. “Just remember. Time is different in the World. They have more than we do.” He is leaving, yes. But there is a flash drive left on Amanda’s desk.

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