What is this, a crossover episode?
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(Notes: The messages coding is cute, but given that there are only three messages exchanged, I don't think you need that at all. Kind of unnecessarily breaks up the flow of the piece.

Overall… solidly written for the most part, but I still had some questions. Why was Rhianne chosen? What was her actual role in the Foundation? Who/what are the Attendants of Requital and what's their beef with Ambrose? What's the point of all the side characters besides Marius, and what is Marius's relationship to Chaz beyond "partners")


You know your duty. You share our vision. We both seek to protect mankind from that which does not belong. Do not hesitate. I will show you where to find your quarry. These curators of the forbidden have evaded your rightous judgement. I will bolster your strength.

….

Rhianne Watson violently turned over once again, clawing at the blankets. Shuddering as static began to lift errant strands of hair from her head, she woke up.

Groaning, she rubbed the sleep from her eyes and shook her head. Tossing aside the tangled ball of blankets, her attention was rapidly brought to the small ball of orange fur, glaring at her from the end of the bed.

"Good morning to you too, Tab." She flashed an uncharacteristic smile at the irate cat. "I guess I had that dream again, huh? Let's get you some breakfast."

She wandered blearily into the kitchen and fumbled through the shelves until she located the tins of food. She scooped out the contents into a bowl, and set it down on the floor. She glanced up at the wall, her corkboard to-do list cluttered with notes catching her eye. Her eyes settled on the recipe card sat at the bottom, sent by her grandmother, and she thought briefly about dinner. After another few minutes spent watching the small creature consume its meal, she shook herself awake and returned to her room to prepare for work.


(Note to fix: there's a fair bit of action between dialogue for Chaz, but not much for the other characters to distinguish or develop them much.)

The sound of cutlery hitting tables filled the reasonably sized restaurant, while the "Grand Opening" banner overhead hung proudly. Below, Chaz Ambrose looked over the island kitchen that dominated the floor space, nodded, and breathed deeply. The smile dominating his expression was as visible as the banner above him.

Of course, in true chef's fashion - right now he was racking his brain with how to make use of the new herb from their favorite supplier.

Across the empty restaurant from Ambrose, Marius glanced up from a variety of bills and receipts.

"The healing property is useful, but we require far too much for it to be economical. We need to balance expenses with revinune."

"The fact it actually makes thoughts audible is unextpected." Chaz nodded, scratching the idea off his notepad. "Maybe we make that the feature? At low enough doses it could help you remember things. Could be a hook?"

Scratching his chin Marius stared out the window.

"Maybe. We should consult with a focus group, see if that's more good than bad."

Chaz stewed for a while on that, quietly preparing the kitchen for the grand displays that he was confident would be forthcoming.

The door was soon pushed open by a nervous-looking man, and the two partners inside glanced up at him. Ambrose's face broke into a wide smile as another person wearing a white apron entered his establishment.

"Hey James, how're you looking forward to your new workplace?"

James Smith ran his eyes across the back wall. Then scratching the back of his neck, he rested his gaze upon the open kitchen in the middle of the building.

"A bit exposed, isn't it?"

"Why that's the idea! Cassandra- you know Cassandra? She recommended that we splice a little bit of pizzazz into our cooking, make a real show of it! And since this restaurant is so far away from the safety of Three Portlands, I figured it would be a nice change of pace for our best former anartist!"

"I guess. Oh. Hi Marius."

Marius looked up from the ledgers and recipts and nodded.

Chaz led the now uneasy chef to his workstation, talking all the while about how wonderful it was to be in normal reality for a change.

"Speaking of which," Marius interrupted his partner's tirade. "We should hire some guards. We're far more at risk of the Foundation than before."

"You worry far too much. Foundies shmoundies, and the Gocks are worth cocks." Chaz waved away the concern, too excited for the day ahead to pay much mind to the point. "Regardless, we open in ten!"


(note: again, not much actual development of the other characters here and there's just straight dialogue exchange without anything besides the talking words. It's understandable that Rhianne is apparently the focus, but if you don't give some details to the scene and the people she interacts with, the setting as a whole feels a little dull and difficult to visualize.)

Watson removed the key from her car's ignition and leaned back in her seat.

Popping open her glove compartment, she retrieved a compact mirror and examined her reflection. Brushing aside a few errant strands of hair from her forehead, her hand stops abruptly against a faint bruise clearly visible in the mirror.

"Fucking anartists…" She growled, throwing down the mirror and punching the dashboard. The faint smell of burning leather and plastic rose from her knuckles, and after a moment she relented. She picked up her mirror again and forced herself to smile at it. It wasn't convincing, and she threw it aside again and clambered out of the vehicle.

Minutes later, she was striding through the halls of Site-34, avoiding eye contact with as many of the ADJECTIVE TO GIVE TYPE/DESCRIPTION TO ASSIGN TASK FORCE OR DIVISION personnel she passed as possible. This eventually became an impossible task, however, as she spotted Agent Janssen speaking to a new recruit in their task force (WHICH ONE?). The recruit saw her first and quickly made himself scarce, freeing Janssen to wonder over.

He stood there in the hallway. The mute and sterile tone of the room contrasting with the swagger of the (description) member.

"Hey, looks like you're spooking the greenhorns again. Had a lot of that since the tent debacle."

"Is there a reason for you to be bothering me?" Watson's eyes flashed the same dark orange as her hair for a moment, before returning to their usual shade of brown.

Janssen just held up his hands and shrugged.

"Alright, calm down, can't a guy just foster a healthy working relationship with his coworkers?"

"Get back to work, Gary."

Rhianne left the confused agent to his own devices and continued down the hall to her shared office.
Just as she rounded the final corner, she spied at a streak of sky blue hair from over a cubicle wall waiting for her near the entrance.

"Ayup Watson, how is?" Researcher Midaeus called out in her familiar English accent and offered a small bottle of dark black liquid, her back against the dividing wall.

"Hey Krona."

Rhianne's tired and irritated expression lessened a little as she accepted the drink, and she studied the person in front of her. Krona's lab coat was unbuttoned and clearly unwashed for a few days, and though her eyes were hidden behind a large green visor, her expression was almost as pleasing as the alcohol she offered. Almost.

"Isn't it a little early for rum?" She asked, handing the drink back to the researcher.

She retrived the offered the beverage, eyeing her collegue. A mischevous grin lurking on her face.

"Nah, never. Ain't gonna get shitfaced anyway, so what's t'harm?"

"Hah, fair enough. See you in a bit, yeah?"

"Sure. I found this interesting new place over off 7th street. Should be able to provide some amusement."

With her mood improved, Watson entered her office and set out for a days work.


(note: might want to give some more information on this task force, since I don't really know who Rhianne is or what she does for the Foundation at this point.)

Watson turned her gaze slowly from a neatly finished set of files to yet another stack. These compliments of Janssen's incompetence caused her to groan. Her stomach repeated the sound. She shook her head, stood up, and made her way out into the hall. There weren't many crowds in this part of the facility, and in short order, she had passed the staff canteen and stopped by her locker.

She glanced to either side before opening it, ensuring that nobody was watching her, and slowly pulled the door open. Instead of being greeted with the previous day's leftovers, however, she caught sight of a single note sat in its place. She reached for the scrap of paper, casting a suspicious eye around the vacant hallway, and inspected its every word.

On one side, a set of coordinates Watson knew to be very close to Site-34. She turned the note and saw a single word rendered in golden letters bordered by red.

Ambrose.

Her eyes flared orange for a moment as she looked upon it, she reached her other hand into her pocket for an emergency evidence bag.

She murmured under her breath, "Jassen, this is why you always carry supplies with you."

Before she drew her had from her pocket she stopped and the orange burned in her gaze anew.

This is your chance. Bring no one else. This is your burden. This is vengeance. Remember I am here to aid in your quest.

Rhianne crushed the note in her hand not noticing the paper blackening or the whisp of smoke escaping her fist.

Glancing to her left, she spotted Agent Janssen cavorting with yet another untested recruit. She ground her teeth together and for a moment stepped towards the pair.

She shook her head and grabbed her coat.


Chaz was enjoying his light lunch; the burger was just as juicy as it looked, and the fact that he could taste the sight as well was an added bonus. James had been doing an outstanding job with his fellow chefs, putting on a show with every dish that'd make the Circus proud. Ambrose himself was still quibbling over the list of ideas for his new ingredient, perhaps a stew? Or some manner of pot roast could benefit from the additional herb?

Glancing out of the window as he tapped his chin, he spied a woman with blazing red hair and brilliant orange eyes standing outside in the street. His gaze lingered, for perhaps a moment more than he thought was proper, and he forced himself back to attention and refocusing on his meal.

The woman snapped her fingers and the entrance to the restaurant became a volatile vapor.

The snap drew Chaz's attention before the explosion threw him back. Nearly blinded by the critical mass of flame, he heard Marius emerg from the back room.

The stout Norwegian man crossed his arms and stood in the path of the oncoming thaumaturge.

"I take it you're Ambrose?" Watson faced down her target with fury and fire. She called out to him again without waiting for a response. "You will pay for what you did!"

"You are making a mistake." Marius slowly unfolded his arms and slipped his hands into his pockets.

"I will make you suffer! BURN!"

A cacophony of noise echoed throughout the restaurant, causing all inside to flinch and recoil.

"Get in line," Marius stated, dropping the smoking handgun from his charred hand.

Chaz approached the fallen attacker cautiously and knelt down next to her. Blood pooled on the ground around her.

Ambrose shook his head, "Holy shit! Is she?"

"She passed out from shock," Marius announced.

The chef looked at something he'd picked up from the kitchen and now held in his hand. Carefully, he stuffed the brightly colored herbs into the thankfully clean wound.

"Why did you do that?" His baffled business partner watched suspiciously.

"If she's alone, I want to know why. If she's not, then I don't want whoever sent her to be after us." Chaz stood up, and with Marius's help began to carry the near scolding and thankfully fully unconscious assailant towards the back room. "Let's see if that secondary effect does us any good."

- (Critter skimmed after this point, will need to go over from here further and deeper)

The woman in the chair before them eventually stirred, her eyes moving slowly beneath their lids. Both Chaz and Marius waited tensely for any sign that the plant working its way through her system was taking effect as advertised.

"You are weak. But, the Attendants of Requital will value your sacrifice. Use the final spell and take as many of them with you as you can. Burn them."

"The fuck was that? That stuff's meant to make her thoughts audible, is it not?" Marius gripped tight the weapon in his hands, occasionally flicking the safety on and off.

"It said that it would make, quote, 'every thought in your head audible,' be careful not to get tongue-tied with Doctor Wonder-"

"I know, Chaz, but this is still not her thoughts. Not the same thoughts we heard earlier."

"Ambrose, you have one chance. Kill her or everything you have worked so hard on goes up in flames. Let her go and she will be able to track you anywhere now that she has seen your face."

"Fine by me." Marius stood up and lined up the firearm's sights with their captive.

Watson opened her eyes a crack and glared up at him.

"I knew you were a monster…"

Chaz gripped his partners arm and gritted his teeth.

"No."

"Chaz? You cannot be serious.

"NO!" Ambrose pushed the weapon aside and angrily stared down at the armed man. "I will not stoop to that level. I am a chef dammit, I will not be an accomplice to murder!"

Marius held a stern expression for a moment, before breaking eye contact and handing Chaz the gun. Pulling a small spray can from his back pocket, he nodded to Chaz.

A single spurt from the can was sprayed into Watson's face.

"What was that?" Ambrose asked, cautiously.

"Something I picked up last time we were at the Bazaar. She'll have a bit of a cold for a bit, but she won't remember any of this."

"I should hope not."


Rhianne put a hand tentatively to her warm forehead and winced. Slowly pulling herself free from the cat sat atop her chest, and hobbled down the stairs into the kitchen.

As she coughed and sniffed, she caught sight of the bowl of steaming beef stew sat on the table. Glancing to the recipe card still pinned to the corkboard, her attention was drawn to the buzz of her phone on the table.

A low battery notification advised her to find a charger. After doing so she unlocked the device to find her messages already open.

You:
I think I came down with something, sorry to duck out on you.

Krona:
No worries, try not to work yourself to death, eh?










If you keep coming in when you're ill, you'll just end up giving it to me!

Hesitantly, she sat before the meal. Taking a cautionary spoonful of roasted meat and vegetables, she determined that it was good, and her mind was taken back to enjoying a similar flavor with her grandmother in Scotland, many years ago.

As the memory faded, she started to feel a bit better, and greedily consumed the remainder of the stew.


"There we are." An smiling Chaz Ambrose stopped and stood among the smoking remains of the island kitchen, rolling a fist-sized ball of polished marble between his hands, his feet avoiding the still smoldering banner. "I told you I'd come up with something."

Marius lowered the damp cloth from the burn on his forehead and looked at Chaz's fist as it clutched the ball of stone, now trembling slightly. The frown on Marius's face deepened and he took a tentitive step towards the smoldering banner.

He looked at his friend's shoulder and began to lift his arm, when he instead turned away and re applied the cloth to his injury.

"And I told you we required additional guards."

"She will be okay, won't she?"

"Bootleg amnestics always come with complications."

"That isn't what I meant."

Marius considered this for a moment, before squaring his already stocky jaw.

"Whoever these ghostly Attendants are, I doubt they'd use the same pawn twice."