The girl sat pale and stiff in her chair, looking intensely yet distantly towards the chessboard. The teenager, couple of years older than her and entering his first tournament, moved his knight to menace the girl's queen.
"Are you sure that's what you want to do?" the girl asked distantly. The teenager stopped. The touch rule was in effect but his fingertips were just brushing the tip of the knight's mane, he could still retract.
"That approach leads to a checkmate in 4 moves," the girl said. The teenager looked over his shoulders to see his parents watching him intensely. The girl's mother had wandered off somewhere to make a phone call and her father was nowhere to be seen. Only her brother remained to watch her. The teenager looked back towards the girl, who had fixed him to a spot with large green eyes. The teenager took his fingers off the black knight. He moved. And then he moved again. And then he couldn't move anymore.
The girl had trapped his king in a double check between a rook and a bishop and he could only capture one of them. As the teenager's parents clapped him gently on the back, telling him that there were still plenty of time to raise his game, the girl sat still in serene contemplation of the game as her brother approached to congratulate her.
A few benches over, a couple of figures looked on. The Irishman pointed towards the girl and the boy. "That," he said. "Is what I want. Or will you tell me that it's impossible, Thomas?"
The impeccably dressed men peeled his mouth back to show off his perfect dentures. "Dearest fellow, you know as well as I do that nothing, absolutely nothing, in this world is off-limits..."
The Auctionhouse is a well-known and popular Gentlemen's club located both in the noiome and physical locations throughout the world, enjoying exceptional popularity among the elites of phyles such as Shengen, Atlas America, Qeng Ho, and New Atlantis, as well as various other A or B class phyles. Membership to be in one of the clubhouses are zealously guarded and often expensive. Its team of coders and analysts as well as physical security force which constantly police their own dedicated nodes mean that members of the Auctionhouse can enjoy privacy and protection from media and blogosphere attention while inside the Auctionhouse. What kind of scandalous behavior that the various popular figures do inside the Auctiohouse clubhouse is the subject of many rumors inside the blogosphere.
The Auctionhouse is famous for its daily auction of famous artwork and curiosities newly found or long thought lost. While details of what exactly is sold inside the Auctionhouse is rather unclear, members often emerge as proud owners of priceless 15th century paintings or 10th century manuscripts, among more recent curiosities such as the first prototype las-rifle ever created by Heckler and Koch. Documentation regarding ownership of the new curiosities and artwork are impeccable and completely legal as far as the Consensus legal department can be bothered with.
The Auctionohouse has never been formally accused of any criminal activity before in its 60 year history.
"I don't understand what the Auctionhouse can possibly want with being involved in... human trafficking, of all the damned things."
"Well then, you don't understand what the Auctionhouse is at its core," Jack said, sipping his cup of hot chocolate. Cindy walked by and dropped 3 packets of sugar on the table. "Tell me," Jack said, opening all three packets at once and pouring all its contents into his cup. "What do you think the Auctionhouse is?"
"A gentleman's club acting as a front for a large inside trader's ring with an added twist of being an illegal fence for stolen items for the benefit of its more amoral and greedy members."
Jack chuckled. "No, you do not understand. The insider trade ring is nothing. It is in fact, a front for the moneylaundering and item fencing service the Auctionhouse do. The real money and business is in the auctions themselves. You see, terrorists, despots, and criminal organizations worldwide pull shit like robbing banks, selling illegal programs and weapons, human trafficking and kidnapping, etc etc and sit upon a pile of credit and money that they can't do shit with because the Consensus will bend them over a desk and probe their prostate with a large interphylar subpoena. So what do they do? They use the money in a dark privatized corner of the noiome like the Auctionhouse to buy things like curious collector's weapons and artwork. All properly documented and thus, guaranteed value. Auctionhouse gets money and credit it can argue that it acquired legally and honorably and the criminals take the goods and, I dunnow, hang it up on their fireplace or sell it on their own for a quick legally acquired cash and money of their own. It's amoral and corrupt and criminal to the core and you'd better remember that."
Persons of Interest Edit
Robert Loveless, a member of House of Equity in New Atlantean phyle and a man of Irish descent and Thomas, CEO of World Industries Organized, is known to be the co-owners of Auctionhouse. Both have declined to comment upon what goes on within the Auctionhouse, citing privacy of members as being their top concern. Both have declines to sell their shares in maintaining control of their respective organizations and Auctionhouse.
"Aren't you related to Robert, Jack?" Mary said suspiciously. Lee nodded. Jack shrugged. "“I do not have much love for the old man. He’s been absent most of my life. Him and my damned mother. Alice and I relied on each other more than we ever relied on them. Now he thinks that he can just come by and decide that the best thing for Alice would be to wipe her exocortex and pump her full of NP drugs without a fucking care? Fuck that. I’m putting a stop to it and I’m running to a place where I know he will never find me. For that, I need him to be preoccupied with dealing with something else.”