"No," Erika groaned from exhaustion, draping her arms around Yasmine as her remaining strength left her and sank into Yasmine's body. "But it's a start, because you're cute, you really love me, and I really love you. That's as good a starting point as any. Right now, though, I'm soooo fucking tired. I need you and Jane to hold me in our bed...once we have someone get it down from the roof." What she didn't say was that this was because she thought she might end up having nightmares.
"Looks like I didn't need to be summoned this time," Jane chuckled. "Let's get you to bed, babe. I'll be your furniture mover for tonight," she then said. Upon which she leapt onto the rope and hoisted herself up on the roof to do just that. Erika ended up crashing on the guest bed, so while Jane moved the main bed back into place, Yasmine snuggled Erika in her arms, then carried her to the main bed once it was restored to the bedroom. Then, as promised, both Jane and Yasmine spooned Erika until she fell asleep.
As that was going on, two very different people were plotting vengeance on Yasmine. Perhaps the knowledge that she had these enemies as shadowy threats would haunt Yasmine's dreams tonight, or perhaps her own sins would.
In any event, Shiloh's first night as Deirdre had been draining for her, and she was about to find an alleyway to curl up and hide in, perhaps in a nice dumpster like the one where she'd found the padded armor that she'd fixed up to make her costume with some of the money she’d gotten from Yasmine’s buyout of Brona’s. This money, in addition to securing her coworkers’ futures as planned, had helped her at least look like become a superhero like a comic book or some shit, only without any powers of her own.
Then, however, the unhoused Indian man who she had seen in the parking garage and had gotten beaten by Yasmine came across helped her find a secret, unsanctioned shelter to sleep in. He also spent his last pocket money on getting her tea and a croissant from a nearby French cafe. This simple gesture restored at least some of Shiloh's faith in humanity, and got Deirdre out in front of more people, many of whom recognized her from her bold actions on TV, but many of whom did not.
And then, unbeknownst even to Deirdre, who normally had her pulse on the dealings of the underworld, lurking in the shadows was a new figure calling himself Toussaint. He had styled himself after Toussaint Louverture, the famous Haitian general often known as the George Washington of the Caribbean who had spearheaded the Haitian Revolution against France in 1804. Even though he had none of the finery of that long deceased commander, he had studied the rules of war. One of which was that you let your enemies fight each other...
Yasmine fell asleep next to the only two people in her life that mattered, even through her recent wake of violence and rage, even though someone could attack them in the night and murder them all, and even though Yasmine had surrendered a lot of things to this mystery person, all of that faded away as she gazed upon the two most beautiful women, she had abused and broken and nearly killed both of them, but they stayed with her, they stayed and professed their undying love. That was all Yasmine needed. She was to have a child again too, and at her age, this was exciting and terrifying. Yasmine drifted to sleep, worry and happiness in her brain as she dreamed of their future.
The next morning, Erika felt a lot safer than she had been, despite not getting a lot of sleep, because of that lingering question, about whether Beetle was her real father...but then again, what did it matter now that he was dead? Didn't she want to, as she'd expressed last night, move forward? But then Deirdre hung over all of that. Stupid heroes. The way you survived in this city was to go with the flow, and the flow had brought her to Yasmine.
And with so much undeniable beauty surrounding her, and a warm bed for her to rest between them (the first she'd seen in years), Erika really couldn't complain, could she? So now she decided to give both of the women who were protecting and loving her the best they could despite their flaws a little something. Her dexterous fingers gently explored the slit of Jane, the woman who had helped fuck her through her immediate grief, and then she decided to give Yasmine a proper blowjob to the finish while hovering her hips over Yasmine's face.
Meanwhile, Shiloh had had to run from the shelter when the IBRS raided it on an anonymous tip, killing the Indian man who had shown her such generosity on the Council's orders, and slept the rest of the night in an abandoned restaurant instead. It had been cold, so cold, and dark, but she'd survived the night with only minor chills and aches, and she decided this location in the heart of town would make as good a base as any for when she was ready to strike again.
Yasmine had some fantastic dreams, all of them were sexual, a room full of faceless women, and she fucked every single one of them, all at once there were dozens of copies of her fucking these dozens of women. Then all focus was lost, and re gained again, before her, one of these women stood, Brona, her long lost encounter the one that had gotten away, by a hail of gunfire none the less. Then Brona started dancing for her and riding her cock like she had imagined it would be. Then focus was turned to the entire room again at the moment she orgasmed in her dream, she awoke, orgasming in real life, too shocked to notice immediately the cause, all she could do was moan and writhe in pleasure.
“Morning, sleepyhead,” Erika smiled. “Hope you had a nice dream.” Then she showed Yasmine’s cum in her mouth and shared it in a kiss with Jane.
Meanwhile, Shiloh woke up groggily from a very different dream scenario. She'd been surrounded by whispery voices that told her, "Connor's close," and "He loves you." But whenever she tried to get close to his shadowy visage, the voices would get angrier and tell her things like, "You've forgotten him already," and "You've let down Erika, and Michael, and Beetle, and everyone who ever loved you, and yet lemmings keep lining up to have sex with and die for you, when you don’t deserve it!" and "You whore! You want his mother and want to ruin her life too?! You're disgusting!" And then she'd woken up.
"Mmmh, cant get enough of my cum in your belly?" Yasmine said as she stretched. "So ladies, what do you want to do this morning? Since Jane is now no longer in my employment and Erika has seem to gone the way of Jane and fallen madly in love with me."
Maury voice: "Beetle, you ARE the father!"; Plus, Erika meets DeirdreNew
"No, I really can't get enough," Erika grinned. "And yes, I have."
"Well, I can think of one thing we can do. The test results for Erika's parentage came in...brace yourselves," Jane said.
Erika closed her eyes and held Yasmine tightly, hoping that this wouldn't change anything despite it already having threatened to.
"Bartholomew Mulgrave, age 43, New York, New York, blah blah blah...is a 50% genetic match to Erika Chambers," Jane sighed. Then silence purveyed the room as Erika stared off into space. "How are you feeling?" Jane then asked, her face sunken with worry.
"I...don't know, okay?" Erika wondered as she started crying. "What am I supposed to feel?"
"Whatever you need to," Jane said matter-of-factly.
"I need some air. No, more than air. I'm taking courier jobs again," Erika said.
"But the baby-!"
"Will be fine, I promise. I just, I need my own thing right now. Away from all this craziness, and away from the IBRS before they take over the contract and try to make me into a prisoner. If I don't keep running, I- I feel like I'll shrivel up from fear, grief, anger...so much. This is how I feel alive. How I've stayed alive."
And as she ran at increasingly high speeds (but kept the BioJack link online for Jane and Yasmine to at least know where she was, in addition to a Neo Varangians helicopter that would keep her safe for a few more hours), with a lot more screaming and grunting than usual, she couldn't entirely be mad at Yasmine. Yes, she killed Beetle, the man who Erika never got to tell was her biological father...but Erika understood why, and hated that she did. It would be so much easier to hate Yasmine, then terminate the pregnancy and slip away as a shadow, one of many in the courier line of work who would die, anonymously and alone, at the end of a needle or the bottom of a bottle if they were lucky enough to avoid a bullet.
Unlike Connor. And Michael. And hopefully not Shiloh.
She was in Japantown nearly an hour later when a woman in red armor came up on her feed, probably drawn by the sound of her crying, and asked in an electronically distorted voice, "Are you alright?"
"N-No..." Erika sighed. "Wait, who are you?"
"Deirdre," the masked woman said. "I'm...or I was, a courier, like you. I know how hard that life can be." Not any easier than punching cat burglars, would-be murderers and attempted rapists, Shiloh thought inside that armor as her knuckles throbbed through the gloves.
"No, that's not it. I'm pregnant, and I don't know if I want to be with the father," Erika lied in order to protect Yasmine's identity.
"Well, is he or she still around, and more importantly wanting you back?" the would-be heroine asked, knowing there were many women with such equipment in this town.
"Oh, don't worry, I'm not trying to tell you what you should do, one way or the other. It's your body, and your life, my friend," Deirdre said, and placed Erika's head on her shoulder. "But I've seen too many people not have a choice, and have to raise a baby alone, or give them up for adoption, or get cut open by baby farmers who then turn around and sell them on the black market." This was a choice that, unbeknownst to Erika, Deirdre- nee Shiloh- was contemplating placing upon herself as a last resort with the last remnants of Bartholomew Mulgrave, with the genetic material that Shiloh didn't know would make Erika's half-sister or brother if allowed to grow within her.
"I...uh...I'll really think it over, so that whatever decision I make is the right one," Erika said.
"I'm sure you will. Now, stand. Us couriers always stand. And run until you can't any more..."
"...because your body is a weapon, and the key to using any weapon is practice and focus," Erika said. "I remember the spiel. Every dropper gives it to new runners."
"There's something else I've learned. No matter how many times life- or Yasmine Legato, in my case- knocks you down, you have to get up. I will die on my feet fighting her with every last breath, rather than live at her feet. That is a promise. Now promise me that you'll find someone who loves someone as gorgeous as you in the way you deserve, whether that person is your baby daddy or not," Deirdre said, cradling Erika's chin.
"I promise," Erika said, closing her eyes and letting a tear loose, feeling touched by Deirdre's sympathy even if she couldn't hate Yasmine. Then Deirdre was gone.
When Erika ran and left, even though she promised she would be safe, and protect the baby, grief and remorse struck Yasmine like a cement truck. She cried for hours, not because Erika had left, but because she had killed someone she loved, "I'm so sorry." Yasmine whispered, "I'm so......fucking......sorry." She did the only thing she knew how to do, she poured herself a glass of wine, and then another, and then another, and then another, and then, one last glass. She stood on her balcony, contemplating death, over and over. She argued not yet, another glass, just one more glass, and that somehow saved her. She ended up slumping over and falling asleep outside in the cold on her balcony. Dreaming of that moment over and over, the moment she killed Erika's father. "Its all your fault!" he would shout at her in her dreams, "You killed me, and now, shes going to die out there!" he said, "You don't deserve her, you don't deserve Jane, do us all a fucking favor and give yourself a lead lunch, just fucking put a gun in your mouth and pull the trigger." Over and over the man in her dreams taunted her, told her she had ended Erika's life and so she no longer deserved to live. Everyone she loved had left her anyway.
Jane didn't know what to do, or how to feel either. She just sat there in stony silence and let Yasmine pound back glasses of wine, all words sucked out of her soul. Regardless of whether Yasmine deserved her at that moment or not, Jane decided as her fiancee fell into despair, that she would be there for her. For at least Yasmine had seen the video of Erika's BioJack, had seen her mortal enemy who had recommitted to destroying her in front of the mother of her child, and not immediately flown into a rage. So, Jane did the only thing she could, and held Yasmine through her drunken stupor on what Jane hoped would be their marriage bed and then her nightmarish convulsions.
And then two alerts appeared on her phone. "Thank you for purchasing lifetime VIP protection from IceBurgh Resort Security. Your Protection Services ID# is 237004." Boring, deleted. But then the other one caught Jane's eye, and made her gasp.
"Yasmine, babe, wake up," Jane said as she tried to shake Yasmine's drooped shoulders. Then she hated to do this, but decided to slap her awake. "Darya says that none of the two soldiers- one of whom is her boyfriend, by the way- who just woke up from the hospital got a good look at her. But Darya also got a message from the Bummock Sector 5 Morgue that...that Brona's body has been found. And somebody named...Amaranta? I think, is there trying to claim the reward for finding Shiloh, because she's declaring that Brona was also Shiloh. It wouldn't surprise me that a desperate young woman would become a stripper after fleeing underground, but we need to get down there right away, and get Erika to help identify the body."
"Huhhhghh." Yasmine said, smacking her lips together, her mouth was terribly dry and she reached for the glass of wine, took a sip, then spat it out, "WHAT?" She stood up, "Ooohhhh my head." She wobbled on her feet, "Mmh, yeah, just gimmie a sec-" The noise that followed was a retching sound as she leaned over and puked in a nearby trashcan, a more sober Yasmine sat back up, holding her forehead, "Lets go..." she said letting out a moan of displeasure, "Coffee and water on the way, I'm so cold." she said, holding herself, "Get me my jacket?" she asked Jane.
"Shiloh/Brona's" body is identified by Erika, Jane, Yasmine et. alNew
Jane had coffee printed out for her, and got her jacket without a word. She then begrudgingly let the IBRS bring a helicopter rather than her guys and gals in the Neo Varangians, feeling powerless as she couldn't tell them where to go, only suggest where they should drop the two of them off. All she could do was call Erika and ask her to meet them there, with urgency in her voice; for her part, Erika reluctantly agreed. And then, once they were gathered in the same place, they all descended down a secret IBRS elevator away from the public to sneak into the morgue.
And then Amaranta, wearing a bikini (since she'd come from a tanning salon) and grinning seductively at Yasmine, explained the whole story of how she heard that Brona got a lot of money, figured out from watching her videos that she looked suspiciously like Shiloh, her ex-partner in crime, and then confronted her and got into a brawl for her efforts (minimizing just how one-sided that fight had been, or that Erwin and Amaranta had tried to blackmail her). Then her smile turned to anger and grief as she pulled off the sheet to reveal a face that looked very much like Brona and Shiloh to her, and angrily recounted how Shiloh tortured her and Erwin and left him to die at the hands of the Romanian mafia to try to bury the truth; Amaranta herself had only lived by playing up the innocent, battered woman card and then sleeping with one of the mafiosi, and shuddered as she related that.
Then she chuckled that she was glad Shiloh was dead, and concluded by asking for the million BurghBucks reward, an assertion to which Erika responded by yelling, "I loved her, you piece of shit!" and then started swinging her fists at the taller woman as the IBRS soldiers that Erika had opposed for so many years watched, faceless and unmoving.
Yasmine stepped between the two of them, "ERIKA STOP!" She shouted, "You wanted me to control myself, and now I am asking you, to remain calm, and think, and I mean really think, you knew Shiloh better than any of us, take a look at the body. Tell me if its her." She looked up at Amaranta, "If she validates that it is, then we will check one last thing, and if its proven that she is Shiloh, you will get your reward." With all of the technology in the burgh, it was entirely possible for someone to make someone else look a lot like someone, but one thing could not be faked and thats a biojack imprint, if Erika connected with the dead body, they would know for sure.
Erika breathed out all her frustrations slowly, and wiped her tears as her heart was lifted a little by Yasmine's kindness towards her, and the crime boss's even keel in this situation. Then she squeezed Yasmine's hand for moral support before speaking.
"Sorry Amaranta, it's just been a very long morning, and I really don't want that to be my best friend on that slab. I hope it isn't, even though it looks exactly as I remember her looking," Erika said. This girl would also look a lot like Brona to Yasmine. Then Erika got out her BioJack cable and was about to plug it in to both her port and the port on the girl with the silver hair to find out if it was her true love who was now cold and lifeless, after touching the clammy skin to turn her over respectfully.
Suddenly, gunfire sang at them, two of the Resort Security mooks keeled over from gunshot wounds, the morgue operator- the only other person who could identify the body- was riddled with bullets in his office, and the legs of the mortuary table were shot out, spilling the unidentified body onto the ground and cracking the dried out BioJack port.
"It's the Romanians! Take cover!" one of the remaining soldiers cried, as Jane unfolded and then lifted a light machine gun with one hand and started laying down covering fire, while wordlessly urging Erika and Yasmine to run after Erika threw the sheet back over the body to protect their modesty, whoever they were.
"Yasmine does not run!" She said pulling a compact pistol out from under her dress she began firing in the direction of gunfire and moving out of the room with Erika, once she had seen her out safely she came back, staying low in the room she made for the security guards, who had much bigger guns than a pistol she grabbed a full auto rifle and kept firing, hoping to hit something, as the gunfire was coming from outside of the building. "Jane! We have to leave......together, I am not letting you die here!"
"You're too important to me to risk," Jane said after one of the guards tossed Yasmine a rifle. "Go! If God wants to take me today, then he can suck his own white-bearded dick, because I'm not dying before I marry you, got it?!"
"Oh, I'm sick of all this soap opera bullshit. You can keep the reward money for all I care. I just want to live!" Amaranta said, then dived out a back window that had been shot out, only to be turned into human Swiss cheese by crossfire between the IBRS and Romanian thugs. Her last words, "Erwin...I'm coming, baby..." as her eyes were glazed over by Death's relentless, icy hand. Then the Romanians advanced, getting dangerously close, when they were fired upon from behind by a mysterious group of people wearing red armor in Deirdre's style.
"No one else dies on my watch!" Darya demanded. Next, she shouted to other people, such as Antonio, who Yasmine would recognize as primarily being strippers from Brona's, "Deirdre Division, we are vengeance! We are the night! Let's show these asshats what happens when you kill Brona!"\
Antonio then shouted, "For Deirdre!"
This rallied everyone, including Jane to charge from the building, and then fire from protected positions such as columns or overturned cars, tightening the kill box and forcing the mafiosi to deal with two separate streams of fire.
"And I am not leaving you either!" Yasmine shouted, then she made a mental note to speak with Antonio, he had said her name Deirdre, he knew who she was, she radioed Jane so it would be absolutely clear she was heard, "Jane, after this is over, I need to have a little talk with Antonio, don't let him leave." She said, as she found her own cover and kept firing.
Deirdre defeats the remaining Romanian forces that ambushed Yasmine and co., but something/s lurk in the darknessNew
"Uh...belay that order, Yas! Antonio's KIA," Jane cried, as Antonio was shot clean through the head and slumped against the column. Then Darya got shot in the gut and laughed as blood streamed out her mouth and down the breasts and body that some had called too fat to be attractive. But then she smiled as bullets whizzed by her, thinking of the two who had treated her like a human being, worthy of being intimate with.
"This is for Brona and Yasmine, you bastards!" Darya yelled, then pulled the pin on a frag grenade filled with metal ball bearings as crude shrapnel, charged behind enemy lines while screaming at the top of her lungs, and took out three of the Romanians with her when the explosive went off, blowing massive holes in their bodies and the attackers' numbers.
This inspired Erika to take a machine pistol, scramble up a column, and then jump and wall-run between columns as she rained death on the Romanians, further sowing chaos.
And then the remaining half dozen Romanians were backed into a corner and huddled by broken down concrete barriers, where a shadowy figure lay in wait in the rafters, and then knocked them out with a series of punches and kicks that chained into each other at lightning speeds. The Deirdre Division laid down their weapons to avoid shooting the hero that inspired them to mobilize to clean up the underground in the first place, while the Resort Security were in awe of her raw power and studied her tactics, wondering if perhaps they were dealing with a super soldier like Jane. Erika, meanwhile, confirmed that Deirdre had been a courier, as speed and precision melee strikes, preferably from a great height, were the weapons of choice for those who parkoured through the shadows of the underground and across the glossy mirror's edge of the surface.
"It's over. Cease fire, everyone," Deirdre now said as one remaining IBRS bullet landed in the wall behind her head, and the surviving, distrustful Resort Security troops leveled their guns at her while the Deirdre Division pointed their own guns back at the fascist enforcers of the corporate police state they despised.
"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't paint you across the wall for threatening my fiancee and our family, you self-righteous fuck," Jane snarled as she finished reloading her machine gun, which would tear anyone to shreds in under a second.
"Because, as you saw through my eyes, Deirdre showed kindness to me when I was in a dark place," Erika said as she stepped between Deirdre and Jane, knowing Jane wouldn't risk harming Erika, as well as her and Yasmine's fetus.
"It was no problem," Deirdre's mechanized voice said beneath brown hair and brown eyes. "But that's not what I was going to point out. Whatever our differences, I will never hurt anyone innocent in this, like Erika, or kill anyone. Now, we need to get to the surface, or at least to an inhabited Bummock neighborhood, and fast."
As the commotion from the gunfight died down, everyone heard hungry growling from...something. Or some things. It was hard to tell, but no one wanted to find out what had been drawn to the sounds of death and the smell of human blood.
Yasmine saw Erika step between Jane and the woman called Deirdre, "You!" She said, leveling her gun at the woman, then she heard the growls, and she walked up to the woman, "We need to have a nice, long talk after this is over." Yasmine turned to Jane, "Do not let her out of your sight." She glanced at Erika, "Oh this means you too." She meant to have a long talk with all three of them, Jane had done her duty, so it would be more a talk of thanks, but the woman called Deirdre who had threatened to destroy her entire way of life and burn it to the ground had now saved them and Erika had stepped between her and Jane and saved Deirdre, there was a lot of explaining to do, she felt betrayed, saddened at the loss of so much life, all on her behalf, and Darya, poor Darya, her last words were Yasmine's name, "Jane?" she said, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I just want it to stop, those people died because of me, not you, nor anyone else here." The gravity of the whole situation hit her, "Here, Deirdre, let me give you what you want." she said and put the barrel of the rifle in her mouth and pulled the trigger, it clicked, out of ammo.
Deirdre debates Erika and Jane over how to address the wrongs Yasmine has doneNew
"Let me be clearer with you," Deirdre said. "I don't kill anyone, or want you to die. If I did, you'd be dead already, and the world's entire military wouldn't be able to stop me," Deirdre fumed with the rage of the massive geothermal furnace that warmed the entire IceBurgh. "I want you to live with the pain you've caused so many others, who are suffering in silence. I'm just the first person to try to do something about it by hurting your precious wallet, and by calling you out in public for it."
"And she's already suffering in turn!" Erika cried. "She'll have to live with the fact that she killed Beetle, that she drove Connor and Shiloh away. She's trying to change, for me, for our child. What more could you possibly want from her?"
"From the woman that has everything, has been privileged all her life, and exacts retribution on anyone who crosses her?" Deirdre asked after pausing for a moment to alter the equation now that her beloved best friend was pregnant with what would be Connor's half-brother. To say the situation was messier than she'd thought when she decided to work with Beetle to create Deirdre was an understatement. But the stubborn Irishwoman in her refused to go easy on them.
"That's not true! We both grew up poor in North Carolina as kids," Jane said.
"So? Now she's wealthier than almost anyone or anything in this crapsack world save the billionaires who lit it on fire to fuel their greed like she has, and the Resort Corporation that continues to hold us all prisoner. Do you think that I care about her backstory, when she's trampled over thousands of people to get where she is, and has used her power and wealth for hardly anything but self-aggrandizement? Her little 'Gaia Park' playground, a PR move dedicated to a world that people fucked over long ago, is driving people underground. Her apartments were built off the ruins of the only affordable housing in the city. Her mall crushed small businesses under its boot."
"She's bought and refurbished Brona's and Domna Despina, taken in Erika when she threatened to kill me, and protected and loved Erika and me for months," Jane replied.
"Mere band-aids on the wounds Yasmine has left. Besides, it seems that Yasmine's MO is to use money to buy her way to being a good person. Buying a couple small businesses, bribing a courier with money and sex to sell out her friends, and making a baby to replace the son she lost are not enough to wipe the slate clean."
"So what are you saying?" Erika demanded, as she stood back, stunned at Deirdre's accusation. "That she sell off her entire company? Resign as President and CEO?"
"No, because she would still have more money than God whether she got a golden parachute from the Board of Directors or some of the proceeds of any sale," Shiloh said. "If she gives up Legato Industries without taking a cent of the blood money she's earned, then that's a start. But she would still need to actively find and address every wrong she's ever done, and that will take a long time, and I will watch her carefully."
"Then how will we live?" Erika asked, clutching her stomach in fear.
"You were a courier once, and you can be again," Deirdre said, trying to encourage Erika.
"That's no life for anyone," Jane objected.
"It was for Connor, and Michael, and Shiloh, and you Erika, and me, and every other courier that the rest of the IBRS is attacking and killing in cold blood right now in Yasmine's name, looking for me in order to put my head on a pike and enforce the status quo. It was a poor life, but these couriers are and were free, and just trying to make a simple, illegal yes, and also hard, but honest life for themselves and those they shared their hearts with," Deirdre riposted, anger rising in her voice as she remembered her little family of misfits, just trying to survive in the margins.
"Besides, Jane, you make your own money as the commander of Neo Varangians; probably more than enough to live comfortably, Even though your mercenaries have blood on their hands and have acted brutally before, and I will watch you and them closely, they aren't the worst PMC I've ever heard of either, so I could be persuaded to leave you alone if Neo Varangians became the only source of income for the three of you and the child, and Yasmine put in an honest day's work and continued to not just apologize, but show her contrition with actions. Then, perhaps, Erika would have a choice about whether to be a full time mother or a courier, or both, or take some other job."
That left Jane without any words, while she mulled over the terms of Deirdre ceasing hostilities.
"I will conclude this conversation by saying: Yasmine, you have to decide what's more important. Your money, or the people you so claim to love. Either you give up your empire voluntarily, or I will tear it down piece by piece. At some point, on a day of my choosing, after observing your actions, I will convene another meeting with you to hammer out the terms of the surrender, and if I don't like your answer, I restart this war. Am I understood?"
"I can't....." She said, rising to her feet, "I can't give it up, not because of greed, or power, or anything else that comes with the insurmountable pile of money I have amassed. It has nothing to do with that. I can't give it up because it's all I have left of Jessica. It's everything to me. Its the last memory I have of us, of something we built together. I won't give up my empire, but I can change it. It will cost me dearly to shut down all of the less than palpable operations, but let me rebuild this city instead. If I shut down all of my businesses, this city shuts down. Let me re direct my efforts. I've lost so many people that I've loved. Please, let me be at peace, let me change." Yasmine begged.
"Oh, boo hoo. If philanthropy from enlightened capitalists was enough to fix the world, we wouldn't need to live on an artificial iceberg. I've lost people I've cared about because of you, and no amount of charitable contributions is enough to change that," Deirdre snarled gruffly, even as she felt for Yasmine, remembering how Connor said his father bore the pain of his mother's tragic death. "Anything illegal that I destroy is basically an insurance and tax write-off for you that allows you to launder your ill-gotten gains. Even your legal enterprises are built off the backs of many an underpaid worker. And even if you could build more of the city in a better manner than you have before, this city is fundamentally corrupt as long as a corporation motivated only by profit'- meaning the Resort Corporation- "rigs the entire system in its favor and those of its allies, into an oligopoly. And they control many more IceBurghs than this one."
It was the legal business that would suffer due to demand for Yasmine's products, goods and services dropping from fear of a Deirdre attack until Yasmine truly changed, Deirdre briefly thought, but the jobs of those who shared in Yasmine's wealth, and thus were complicit in every single one of her crimes, were not her concern. However, as she was going to go into more detail about all that, she heard the distinctive "YAROOOOOO!" of a pack of lurkers as they began feasting on the flesh of the dead, and the rapport of gunfire in a rearguard action by Deirdre's Division and the IBRS, working together to survive.
"We'll discuss this when we're not being hunted," Deirdre said. Then she picked up a double-barreled shotgun from a Romanian and blasted away a frog-tongued lurker. "Yeah, I said I wouldn't kill, but that only applies to people. These are animals- worse, monsters that understand nothing other than the craving for human flesh. It's them or you, and as long as you're still human, I choose you. Now, let's get out of here, shall we?"
"Then work for me." She said, taking a step forward, "I vow to purge this entire city of any illegal businesses, mine or any others." She said, her chest swelling with a new found confidence, "All you have to do is help me. Ill give you whatever you want, whatever you need. You were a courier like my Connor right? Tell me something, before we start running for our lives. Did you, did you ever see him or meet him, I am just seeking to know what his last few hours were, I just want some closure. You have to understand that. Please?"