Dark Impulse Ch. 00byAurora Black©
Author's Note: The main characters (Gabriel Knight, Grace Nakimura) and a couple of secondary characters (Mosely and Gerde) are the property of Sierra / Vivendi Universal and Jane Jensen. Everything else is mine. Okay, moving on...
This project began as a simple fan fiction for the "Gabriel Knight" series of adventure games, but to my surprise, it soon evolved into a huge production. For those of you who aren't familiar with the games, don't worry. Hopefully I've written Dark Impulse well enough that the very few (and far between) references to the games won't take away from the main plot of the story.
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Battery Park City,
New York City
Travis Cooper was a ruthless and cruel son-of-a-bitch, and many would admit that he wouldn't be missed, but even they would flinch at the idea of him dying in such a brutal, savage way.
Cooper stood in the grand lobby of Anami Enterprises on his way out, slowly taking in his surroundings. In spite of himself, he was impressed by what he saw; however, he couldn't help but think about how much better everything would look with his name on it instead.
An emergency shareholders' meeting had been called that night, and it had drawn to a close just a few moments before. Anami had urged the shareholders that their stock in the company was secure, and that the recent slump in business was only temporary, etc.
Yada yada yada...the same ol' shit that I've heard before from other companies that I've invested in. I should have never involved myself with some thievin' Jap anyhow. But his loss of credibility with the other shareholders will be my gain soon enough.
Cooper chuckled to himself as he slid on his black leather trenchcoat and his faded Stetson hat. Even in New York City, which he rarely visited, he always dressed like a cowboy. The only reason why he decided to show up at tonight's meeting - he usually opted to conduct his business over the phone from his sprawling Texas ranch - was because he saw an opportunity opening up for him to execute a hostile takeover of Anami's pride and joy.
I think that I may have convinced a good amount of folks to help me along with this coup, and turned them around to my way of seeing things. Tomorrow I'll get the answers I need to move forward; hell, perhaps by this time next week, I'll be the one conducting the meetings! Ha! Sayonara, Anami, you slant-eyed fuck! This is for the friends I lost in the war, you bastard!
With that, he pushed through the revolving door and into the night, ignoring the doorman's offer to call for a company limo to take him back to his hotel. He'd rather take a smelly old cab than ride in one of Anami's luxurious cars. It was a 10-block walk from the high-rise's front door to the open street, but he didn't care. He wanted to feel the late March breeze on his face, along with the spray of the Hudson.
He looked at his ultra-expensive Rolex; it was 11:45pm.
It's windy as hell tonight. I wish I was back on my ranch; there, I wouldn't have to worry about being cold like this. How can folks tolerate this weather? Pasty-faced pussies, all of them! They wouldn't last 5 minutes on my turf. Shit, my hip is acting up from all this sea spray.
Over his shoulder, he saw a flash of a waving hand. He stopped, turning towards the man who was striding toward him, shouting Cooper's name so he could be heard over the crashing waves.
It was Anami, and Cooper grit his teeth at his approach.
All right, hopefully this will be short and sweet; just smile into this fucker's face and then tomorrow you'll grab his company from underneath him.
"Yes, Mr. Anami? Did you want to discuss something with me?"
Cooper twisted his aged features into what he hoped passed for a decent, friendly smile.
David Anami looked straight into the eyes of the older Cooper, and he paired a face to the rat he'd been alerted to by a reliable source. He couldn't stand the sight of him. He wanted to throw the old man headlong into the river; unfortunately, he had to find another, more diplomatic way to go about this unpleasant affair.
"Let's just cut the bullshit, Cooper. I know what you're up to. Do you really think that you could do a better job than me? I have several branches of AE in 10 countries! This is my blood and sweat! How dare you try to persuade the others against me, try to steal my business! If this is because of your personal problem with me, fine. I couldn't care less. If this is because you're not satisfied with your investment here, then you're free. You can get your money back with interest. But for God's sake, don't screw around with my life's work, or you'll regret it. I'm not that easy to break, I promise you that. You'll be in for one hell of a fight."
Anami was satisfied with getting out all that he wanted to say, so he turned to leave. Cooper, until that point, was stunned speechless; his mind scanned over the people that he'd talked to, trying to pinpoint who could have ratted him out to Anami. And then it came to him.
"It was that goddamned Kilpatrick, wasn't it? Shit, I should have known that he'd run to you at the first chance and tell all! Stupid, brown-nosing Jap pet..."
Anami whirled around, pointing a finger at Cooper. His expression was livid.
"You can go straight to hell, Cooper. Kilpatrick is a very good friend of mine, and he's more of a businessman and a man in general, than you will EVER be!"
Again, David turned to walk away. He was determined to be the better man in this, but what Cooper said next blew away all his good intentions.
"You slant-eyed bastard! You sandal-wearing, fish-farming fuck! Damn straight, I'd make a better CEO than you! You wanna know why, you shit? Because I know how to play hardball! In your place, I wouldn't treat my employees like they were my equals, and I sure as hell wouldn't bend over backwards to please my shareholders like you do. Whenever I see you do business, I CRINGE at the thought of YOU having all this and then passing it down to some damned Jap rugrat..."
Those last three words were enough to enrage Anami to violence. With a shout, he charged at Cooper, thrusting his fist into the old man's wrinkled and hateful face. The old man was knocked down by the force of David's attack, and his arms were thrown up in vain to block Anami's blows.
David screamed at him in between hits, some of his spittle landing on Cooper's face.
"Don't you EVER...talk that way...about my son!"
After another few minutes, Anami stopped himself and was immediately regretful. He hadn't meant to lose control like that, but the bastard had insulted both him and his young son and he'd snapped. He threw himself off of Cooper and finally walked away from the scene. He heard the old man shouting behind him, but he no longer cared what he had to say. He was too worried about what would happen next; whether or not Cooper would sue.
David entered his limo, which had been waiting for him. His driver raised an eyebrow at his dishevelled appearance, but other than that he said nothing. As his limo began to pull away from the curb, Anami looked at his shirt and groaned aloud.
Cooper's blood. Jesus Christ, I'm screwed. I may as well say goodbye to AE forever, because now I've surely given the racist bastard the motive and means to steal my company from me. I could be subpoenaed as early as tomorrow. Oh, God...I'd do anything to hang onto my company. For my wife, for Raphael.
"Kaji, stop the car! I need to take care of something before we go home."
The brakes screeched, and David was out the door before the limo was fully stopped.
Anami ran as fast as he could toward where he left Cooper coughing up his own blood. He was prepared to offer a settlement to the old man, so that not only could he save his company, he could also prevent a lawsuit.
"Cooper! Where are you?"
David looked everywhere for the old man, and in the distance he saw the shadow of a figure on the other side of a group of trees. He appeared to be resting on the ground, his cowboy hat blowing away into the river. Anami ran toward Cooper's shadow, determined to make him listen to his proposal.
As he drew closer, he noticed that there was a multitude of black birds gathered around the area of the trees. Their eyes flashed with the age-old satisfaction of a great hunger. They were flapping their wings against the night wind, cawing rhythmically as one.
He began to feel a familiar sensation of dread gather in his stomach at the sight, but he had to push on.
When he finally found Cooper, or what was left of him, David had to turn away to keep himself from vomiting on the spot. He faced the water; his breath shallow and his face pale with shock. In the distance, Cooper's hat sunk beneath the waves.
Not again. Oh dear god, not again.
But there it was; Travis Cooper had joined the ranks of those taken by the black swarm, the demonic flock. And it was all David's fault.
He desperately wanted to run away, to disappear into the night. He resisted the urge; he knew from experience that it was not the solution. He must stay a little while longer, and he must be thorough. No one must know that he was ever at the scene.
I know what I have to do, Anami thought sadly. He didn't mourn Cooper exactly; he just believed that no one deserved such a fate.
Almost no one, Anami remembered with rage, but he quickly smothered the inner fire.
Those distant memories of another time and place wouldn't help him with what had to be done at that moment.
David took a deep breath and allowed a steady calm to settle over him, blocking out his panic and all other emotions. He removed a pair of black leather gloves from his overcoat pocket and put them on. He stepped over the body of his former colleague, and searched Cooper's pockets for all forms of identification and objects of value: Driver's license, Social Security card, his wallet and credit cards, his Rolex and wedding band, everything.
With these essential items in hand, Anami stepped away from the empty shell which was once a human being. He looked toward the sky, and unwittingly met the gaze of the hundred-strong ravens that were perched in the trees. Their eyes were an impenetrable black, and completely devoid of fear or pity.
At the sight of them, David felt a shudder rip through him. He ran to the safety of his limo, glancing behind him every few seconds to make sure that they didn't fall upon him from above.
He continued to watch for them from his window, all the way home.