Deadlands: Anastasis & Wormwood
Eugene blinks his eyes to come out of his daze, his mind lost to the past, thinking about the blow he had suffered from the engorged worm creature. Taking a glance at the English breakfast tea he considers the luxuries he now allows himself. As he brought himself back to the present he hears a knock on his compartment door. Everyone should be resting; he wasn’t the only one who had suffered at the hands of those creatures. He runs his fingers through the veil between two worlds and pulls deflective substance around him as a precaution. He notices its shimmer in the narrow mirror on the wall. Carefully he approaches the door and glances through the peephole, gently swaying with the train as it rocked to and fro. He sees a familiar figure through the door, it’s Tucker.
He opens the door, inviting him in. Tucker says “Can we speak privately for a moment?” before brushing past into the tiny room. Tucker’s eyes sweep around the compartment while his hand rests lazily at his side, gatling pistol glinting in the low light.
“I didn’t realize you were traveling to Denver as well Tucker. Business there?” Eugene asks.
Ignoring the question, Tucker remains standing as he said, “The agency has had their eye on you for some time. As for business, this was the fastest way to get there.” Eugene sits down, not entirely surprised at Tucker’s comments given the long conversations the two had been having about the beings that roamed unseen across the U.S. since the end of the Civil War, and maybe before. Eugene, after all, had been doing his own homework, and he had long ago suspected the Pinkerton Agency was merely a front for a smaller, more discrete and specialized unit, like the Agency. Their recent conversation about the experimental serum coming out of Deadwood had turned out to be a tense, but enlightening evening confirming many suspicions they both had about each other.
Tucker continues, “As you may have surmised, the Agency would like me to invite you to join them with an immediate promotion to a grade 1. It is highly unusual that someone should skip grade 0 but, as I mentioned previously the agency has had their eye on you for some time. They would have brought you into the fold sooner but balls were dropped and missions were left uncompleted. Several members have been disciplined appropriately, especially in light of your excellent performance with this latest series of events.” Eugene nods appreciatively. He did indeed guess that the Agency might offer him some work. But this seemed like it was turning out more official than he planned. That was probably good. And the promotion wasn’t lost on him.
“While employed with the agency as a Grade 1 agent you will receive a stipend of $60 a month along with additional support and backing. In return it is expected that you will use the utmost discretion when handling matters involving unnatural things. Furthermore you should limit the use of your, talents. Should you violate any of these terms, your contract with the agency will be terminated. Do you have any questions?"
Eugene takes a moment to think while pouring himself a whiskey. Before Eugene can answer Tucker says “Good, you should expect a package in the mail from the agency shortly after you arrive in Denver.”
A little abruptly, seeing Tucker’s hurry, Eugene commented while I put the cap back on his whiskey. “I don’t recall signing a contract, Tucker.” Ignoring Tucker’s arched eyebrow, he continues, “but I don’t think that will bother anyone. I understand the need for discretion. We discussed that the night we debriefed the Deadwood incidents. And I do try to make sure I don’t draw unneeded attention. It’s not good for me, let alone the Agency – I understand. But I do hope my employer understands I may need to use my special abilities on occasion, despite witnesses even, on the rare occasion. Up until now I’ve taken some care in cleaning up my messes, but I’m sure some people whisper. Hope that’s not a problem.”
Tucker eyes Eugene carefully, giving away very little. “I hope so too. Regardless of the past, you now have your employer to consider. The Agency can not share its most sensitive material with agents who attract a lot of attention.” Eugene smiles. Now there he is. That’s the Tucker who knows how to play his poker hand.“What about my allies?” Eugene adds as he sees Tucker’s hand go to the doorknob.
“They can know that you’re in the agency.” Tucker responds. “But the less they know the better. You may continue to use them to aid your investigations if you wish. You were selected specifically due to your experience in law, knowledge of the occult, and general quick thinking. Your ‘friends’ seem to be only able to muster a few of those qualifications.” Eugene reflects on that with a sip. This was good for him. There was no controlling Min, and it gave convenient cover for Eugene’s spells. Even more so with her death and subsequent resurrection. But it might also be bad. The Agency may eventually want him to moderate their behavior. He’d cross that bridge when he got there.
Tucker watches Eugene’s face for reactions, but finds only hints of agreement and anxiety. After a moment Tucker resumes, “As I was saying, expect your first package from the agency your first day back in Denver, if you have any further questions you should contact your superior. Additional information will be in you first package. Good luck Agent Guest.”
Without hesitation Tucker swiftly left the room. Eugene realized he had never given him an opportunity to reject joining, perhaps that had never been an option. In either case, both he and Tucker know that Eugene had been looking for a partner to expand access to his own resources and information. He was tired of working in the dark, while behemoth organizations, like massive trains passed by him. Time to shine a light on them.
When Eugene received the package in Denver he finds it to be heavier than expected. Brown with twine and a yellowing label, simply addressed to Mr. Guest, and inside he finds a badge, a gatling pistol, and 12 bullets. 6 of which are silver. The badge looks like small notepad. It’s plain on the outside but on the inside it is a rather ornate agency stamp that could prove difficult to duplicate.
There is also a tiny note that reads, “Welcome. Please use these tools wisely.” He intended to get himself into trouble. But that’s what he was good at. They were no doubt counting on that.