Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Agent Profile - Diego

The Duck here. Tayrn is out, so I figure now is as good a time as anyway to put up this exciting profile of Diego.

For those out in the field; kind of sucks not having you around. I mean the Car-Puchin is still here; but he's not what you would call a great conversationalist. Tarkus and John Sexton are out doing some kind of errand for Tayrn, who looks like she's aged about 15 years in the last two weeks. I don't even hard the heart to steal Mr. Oliphaunts liquor. I'm reduced to buying my own. Anyway take care of yourselves, sort out Mr. Lao Mao and get back home.

And bring Diego with you. I'm sure you all know that Diego is pretty young. Cuban kid who grew up in Miami. I don't get the impression his home life was all that wonderful, and he ended up running with some gangs for a while. Fortunately for him he tried to rip of a kung fu master.

In most cases this would be very bad luck; but in his case it turned out to be good luck in the long run. The kung fu master, who presented himself as Alanzo Fuego, soundly kicked Diego around, but recognized a bit of talent in the kid. So brought him back to his Dojo for further kicking around. Diego proved a talented student and studied happily with Fuego for a couple of years. Then one day (a couple of weeks ago actually) Fuego's Dojo was burned to the ground with Fuego inside. Kind of mysterious.

We'd already had our eye on Diego for various reasons, and so we made some contacts. When the tournament came on the horizon, we stepped up our recruiting. I don't know if the kid understands what the stakes are or why this important. Mostly I waved the $16 Million in his face, which seemed to work.

A couple of interesting points. The first record of Alanzo Fuego's existence was a drivers license application dated four days before he encountered Diego. As far as we know he sprung into existence at that point.

Secondly, his martial arts style is widely practiced by servants of the Fire Pagoda in the Netherworld. For those unaware, the world used to be ruled by four siblings who were powerful sorcerers. They were driven off, but have maintained an existence in the Netherworld, where they plot their return. The Fire Pagoda is the home of one of these siblings, an all around bad dude.

I'm not saying that any of this adds up to anything; we don't know. And there's no evidence of any connection between Diego and the Fire Pagoda. But it's something to be aware of.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Field Report - The Value of Research

I have been doing some work on Molly O'Shaunessey's friend Jean-Christophe Reynard; although I'm told he is going by Jean Batista during the tournament. His cover identity is near flawless; you can't find anybody at his work or among his acquaintances who has a negative thing to say about him.

On the other hand I have definite confirmation that he is a member of "Les Freres de Sainte-Acacius de Byzantium" or, in English, the Brothers of St. Acacius of Byzantium. St. Acacius is a martial Saint, having served as a roman legionnaire before his conversion and martyrdom. They are a secret society, obviously connected with the Catholic Church but not directed by the papal Seat. They have members in Italy, Switzerland and Spain as well as France.

This is where things get interested; they were apparently founded sometime in the late 1840s by an a monk known as Fra Lipello from Turin and his aide, a Chinese convert to Catholicism named Li Seung who had traveled west. Li Seung apparently brought to Fra Lipello the idea of a "Righteousness Society" which was nothing more than a group of warriors to protect innocents and encourage proper behavior. Such organizations were one of the threads that eventually became the Tongs and Triads of China.

However, many of these Righteousness Societies were also just what they claimed to be. Honest men who sought to teach righteousness and defend the innocent. These more benign societies were often under the thumb of the Guiding Hand. And as it turns out, Li Seung was also a member of a Golden Candle Society and was almost certainly a mole for the Guiding Hand.

For those who don't know much about the Guiding Hand, they are kung fu Confucianists from the 1850s. They are pretty good at what they do, and they genuinely hate the Architects of the New Flesh, the Lotus, and all the other nastys we come into contact with. On the other hand, in an ideal world, China would be the center of the world with all us other nations regulated to third world tributaries. A Woman's place would be in the home and impropriety like, say, drinking a lot would be harshly punished. So while we can ally against similar enemies, it's best to remember that we don't really get on with them.

Anyway this doesn't mean that Jean Batista is openly an agent of the Guiding Hand; from all I've seen that seems unlikely. And it's clear that he would have just as much desire to destroy Lao Mao as we would. But it is something to be aware of.