OOC: I've finally settled on a new fourth character, so I'm going to attempt to set him up within the next couple of posts, starting with this one. I realize no one has any interest in reading through a massive IC like this, but some things I just can't seem to summarize quickly. After a number of revisions, this is the short version.
IC: (NPC - ???)
The man who called himself Garret Glenn strode into the coffeehouse with a vexed expression, though no one so much as glanced in his direction. It took only a fraction of his power to ensure that, but in his current mood he would rather have made them all writhe with pain. He may, before everything was said and done.
His coffee was waiting on the counter by the time he reached it, and he picked it up without so much as glancing at the employee who had made it. The man offered him a courteous nod anyway; formalities were to be observed, even if Garret was in a foul mood.
It was quite simple to find the man he had come here to meet; the bone-jarring discrepancy in his senses that told him that the older man sitting in the corner simply wasn’t there was signal enough. It always unnerved him when someone possessed an immunity to his powers; when you could sense everyone’s mind, could feel it the way you could see or touch them, meeting someone whose mental presence didn’t seem to exist was disorienting.
The man looked up with a mildly surprised expression when Garret sat down across from him. He had a grandfatherly appearance, with a mischievous twinkle in his green eyes and noticeable smile lines around his mouth. It was impossible to tell what color his hair had been before it turned pure white, but his face looked like it had been ruggedly handsome in his youth. He was still handsome now, technically, though in a much more mature way.
“Can I help you?” he asked, his voice laced with a soft rasp that emphasized his age.
The sour thought that Garret had mistakenly assumed that this was the man he was looking for simply because the man was immune to his powers crossed his mind. That was another hazard with people immune to mental persuasion; you simply couldn’t tell anything about them. The life story of everyone in the room lay at his feet, but this man was an enigma.
“If you aren’t the man who was so desperate for my attention that he left a very pointed note in my hotel room – the room he didn’t have a key to, I might add – then I am incredibly sorry for bothering you,” Garret said irritably.
The man laughed, emphasizing both his smile lines and the rasp in his voice. “Quite direct, aren’t you?” he chuckled. “I must say, I had expected more from you, Wiper. The way you have both the League and the Coalition on edge, I expected a man with more … presence.”
“Don’t call me that,” Garret said, grimacing. “That name was given to me by the simpletons who hunt me. I cannot say that I like it any more than the connotations that accompany it. Now I demand to know, who are you, and how did you find me?”
Garret expected that the sly smirk that had settled on the man’s face was his natural expression; it seemed to fit him like a glove. “I’m a fan of your work,” he said, evading the question. “As for how I found you, well, even a void leaves traces. A hotel room booked, with no record of payment or name registered. A flight seemingly filled, though the manifest shows the plane is one passenger short of capacity. There’s a trail a mile wide for those who know what to look for.”
After a moment, Garret nodded slowly. Up until now he had been banking on his slights being overlooked; clearly he would have to be more careful from now on. “You took something of mine,” he continued. “I want it back.”
“I only took it because I knew your first instinct would be to run,” the man replied. “It’s very hard to have a conversation with someone who won’t meet with you.”
Garret leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. “If you want to talk, talk. I’ll decide if it’s worth my time.”
The man inclined his head graciously. “Your work in the field of memory alteration is unparalleled. I’ve made a hobby of studying those whose minds you’ve reconstructed, and quite frankly, it’s awe-inspiring. You can build entire lifetimes from scratch, change the very fabric of a person’s being. But what I have yet to see you do is transfer the memories of one person into the body of another.”
Garret fought to control his eyebrows and failed miserably. “Why on Earth would I do that? Creating new memories for a person is one thing, but giving them the memories of another who clearly knows that it isn’t his body? The illusion would shatter the first time he looked in a mirror, if the paradoxes didn’t unravel his mind completely.”
“And if he were aware of the tampering?” The man was very earnest now, leaning forward with a gleam in his eyes. “If you left him knowledge of who had wanted his mind placed in another body, and why? What if you took the mind of, say, a SuperHuman, and put it in a powerless body?”
Drumming his fingers on the table, Garret took a sip of his coffee. “You seem to have given this a lot of thought,” he said finally. “I take it you have personal reasons for this, and a candidate already in mind.”
“Naturally,” the man replied. “And I would be more than willing to give you whatever you wish in return.”
And that was what he had been waiting to hear. Garret stood up, making no attempt to do anything but look down his nose at the man. “I’m afraid I’m going to decline. My abilities are not for sale, nor do I meddle in the personal affairs of others. Now if you would be so kind as to return what is mine, I’ll be off.”
The man shifted in his seat, a stubborn cast to his jaw. “I hardly think that something you stole qualifies as yours, you know. Perhaps I’ll hang onto it until you’ve had time to reconsider.”
With a stern frown, Garret reached his mind across the coffeehouse, to each of the minds that were already being subtly told not to look into this corner or listen to what was being said. Every patron rose to their feet, and those already standing turned with them to glare daggers at the man who thought he could haggle with Garret Glenn.
“My patience is at an end,” every mouth said in unison. Garret never so much as quirked his lips. “You will either give it to me now, or I will take it from you. Be grateful I won’t take more.”
The man looked around impassively; had Garret not known better, he would even have said the man seemed satisfied! “All I ask is an old-fashioned favor,” he said quietly. “You do something for me, I do something for you.”
“The only thing I ask of you is peace,” Garret snarled, his expression mirrored on the faces behind him. “Give me what is mine, and never let me see your sorry excuse for a face again.”
“Perhaps if I told you who I am, and what I can offer you, we can come to some form of agreement,” the man added, ignoring Garret’s temper.
As the man continued to explain, Garret found his anger cooling. After a moment he sat back down, the rest of the coffeehouse resuming their lives without remembering a second of what had just occurred. The prospects of what the man suggested were intriguing, to say the least. If he could deliver on his promises…
When the man finished speaking, Garret smiled darkly. “Perhaps I am interested in performing a memory transfer…”