Angular Trifecta 46: Cultivating Influence


Boyd’s Penthouse

The steady stream of rain was warm – not quite the sticky humidity which could create an uncomfortable sauna effect but also not the freezing kind either that chilled bones and caused people to dash across parking lots for drier circumstances.

With the windows shot out at this height, the ensuing deluge only seemed like it was directionally driven – pouring through the jagged opening as a free flow that intercepted the malicious plume in its tracks, smothering the surrounding danger. A rather large consolation to still having to deal with the mutated version of a Galaxy Bloc soldier, Mexico, Corinna, Jocelin, and General Canoy would each surely take the prize which allowed them to more thoroughly focus on the continuing standoff.

As with any rain, the weather made Mexico contemplative. The gray skies and the pitter-patter of the forceful droplets pelting all in their reach with a moisturizing precipitation were good for either thinking or sleeping, and the latter was inadvisable at this point. And although the apartment was spacious, Mexico never felt more confined in all his life. Those first thoughts centered (interestingly enough) around how best not to become cornered when he worked his way around the furnishings, often throwing a few objects like lamp posts in the path of a chaotic pursuer to try and slow it down.

futuristic-cityDancing about with the erratic purposefulness of a fairy, the mini Deew managed to sprinkle its dust and leave that toxic residue wherever it went. If positioning was a half circle with the window being north, Mexico stood to the east, the General just finished climbing backward over a sofa to the south while keeping her eyes tied to the biological weapon’s movements, and his intendants headed west in spacing this dire situation out as they were not about to engage in any sort of hand-to-hand combat with that thing. Everybody’s weapons might have been an option, but caution in wielding them had gotten the best of them because there was no understanding the foe or what might happen to either further incite it or cause it to perhaps spread and become twice as problematic if the laser power were to somehow fail in its responsibility to bring that thing down completely. Hesitance was intelligence on their part since no time had been allotted for fear.

But the thought of this – the absurdity of the situation and its contemplation was what most intrigued Mexico and froze time as he engaged in it. For one thing, he had been in hairy situations before because of Boyd, so he did not blame the Enforcer for the current predicament, but it was this dire circumstance that deserved a bit of extrinsic analysis. What else was there to do? Sure, holding that LUNC out front threateningly (in an attempt to hold that approaching mutated Galaxy Bloc soldier at bay) looked dashing.

But seriously: In these cases, Mexico was just the bait (as seen on the rooftop earlier) to lull his pursuers out into the open where Corinna and Jocelin would be able to adequately gather their opportunity to administer kill shots and finish off the threat. He really had no other business in having a LUNC as his confidence in wielding the weapon happened to be about as fabricated as his competence in wielding any weapon for that matter – almost like one of those guys who thought that holding guns made them tough. However, there existed a certain earnest recognition of the ploy which kept him grounded, alive, and usually from getting killed.

Even as far back as when Boyd was trapped in that car with Jocelin bearing down on the Enforcer, it was asserted that Mexico was a thinker – not a fighter. He never did his own dirt. And the most powerful rarely, if ever, did. Influence peddling was an art form like any other.

Some needed to regress themselves back to the childish medium of throwing a tantrum and cussing (which also highlighted and suggested likely mental instabilities) when trying to overtly impose their influence. The problem that these types rarely ever realized and had no chance of understanding was that getting their way in said instance could only get them so far…and no further. This was not the proper way to do business, and to be truly successful in such an endeavor, Mexico knew for a fact that influence thrived off of advocacy. He could yell and scream and get his way in the moment, but the people who would have the power in that scenario were the ones that acquiesced in order to get him to shut up, so which side ended the match with higher blood pressure and thus the loss?

There were others that happened to be much more adept at influence peddling that those who were being influenced by them had little idea about the hand of coercive guidance. Government leaders, the star-studded crowd, and even editors fell into this group.

Which high-ranking government official ever pressed their own trigger pad? Yet, people willfully hopped into the trenches on their behalf.

Why did the occasion of an entertainment icon having a child hold such conveniently exposed significance when it was just a normal everyday occurrence for everybody else? Personal lives were magnified for the purposes of them remaining relevant.

As the gatekeepers of ‘quality’, why would an editorial staff put out anything that did not measure up to (or compete with) a certain ‘standard’. And how would a readership which was subjected to a centuries-long bombardment of what was ‘widely’ considered to be ‘good’ or ‘classic’ know any different?

These examples were more of the influence that Mexico continually sought where his various and increasing advocates would become extensions of his will. But there was yet another angle to this.

It was worth mentioning that Mexico began to work his way back on over toward the west side of the penthouse which took him behind General Canoy and leaping over a coffee table in evasion. The biological weapon, which had seemingly honed in on his specific destruction initially – dragging itself along the floor by an awkward vegetation-flailing pursuit, hesitated when coming (plant) stalk-to-face with the General. The distances stood out at about three yards measuring between them, and neither moved – matching the eerie eyes of the co-opted Galaxy Bloc soldier’s body that dangled in disconnected parts via the mini Deew’s melded grasp.

Mexico almost misjudged the landing when he saw that slight pause in the unprovoked hostilities out the corner of his eye which took enough of his eyes off the return to his feet to cause a bobble and a stumble to a stop. Sensing this possibly imperiled situation, his intendants began to charge on over to his side – weaving around the apartment-matching pool table with (the insistence of a protective order added to their) ease. But he was not concerned for his own safety in this moment – looking over his shoulder to gauge General Canoy’s response. It was going to be the next moment which concerned him. And that meant: Far down the road.

The General barely flinched and only began moving backward when she noticed that Mexico caught her not being startled by the biological weapon’s stalled advance. There were no coincidences in this universe. He was witnessing the third flavor of influence peddling which had to do with a burgeoning part – a coming into one’s own (power), and that bid opportunity for him to perhaps oversee its development or provide guidance at a minimum. General Canoy had something to hide.

“Get back,” happened to be her weak attempt at pretending like she did not know what this chaos was all about. The General flung her free left hand backward to emphasize the order and cautiously worked her own way around the coffee table, the couch still between her and the mini Deew.

If for nothing else, the respect in deference as seen from the biological weapon’s nonexistent eyes assured Mexico of General Canoy’s culpability. He had no idea what that thing was, but it sure knew who she was and refused to attack because of this familiarity.

“What the he– did you do to my apartment?” Boyd’s voice said discreetly into Mexico’s Ear-To-Mouth Com. It was unclear as to whether or not the Enforcer intended that to be a gibe or general discontent for the current state of affairs. The Class V Fighter made use of its vertical takeoff and landing thrusters to steadily descend to the height of the shot-out window in a powerful hover state.

A dismissive and yet disbelieving sigh was all that Mexico could offer in response. He would be having words with Boyd a little later regarding this, and they were not friends.

The Enforcer followed up his previous statement with an advisory, “Incoming.”

Turning to his right as Corinna and Jocelin finally reached him, Mexico lurched back for the General and forcefully tugged her out the projected firing range of the Class V Fighter that now graced the open window. All four of them headed for the nearest wall to the west and the furthest achievable place away from the target. Apparently stunned by the thought of advancing against General Canoy, the mini Deew just stood there – unsure of itself but ripe for the picking off.

Boyd had considered sending a missile the biological weapon’s way for extra, added effect, but there was no containing the brunt of the blast radius, so he opted for lasers instead – saving the missiles up even on a rainy day. The Enforcer moved his thumbs to the respective ends of the ‘L’ and ‘J’-shaped yokes that protruded out his ship’s control column and pressed the firing buttons to unleash a blistering onslaught of lasers in the mini Deew’s direction which smeared any memory of its botanical existence up against the south wall while Mexico, his intendants, and General Canoy braced against the searing heat of in-one’s-face obliteration.

Grateful for Mexico’s assistance, but pushing away from his clutches in order to stand up against the intruder’s fighter in visceral rebuke with her laser rifle drawn and aimed, the General shouted, “You!”

“That’s not a smart move,” Mexico advised with his hand extended outward and placed atop the laser rifle for the purposes of guiding the weapon downward. “Claro, the superior firepower on that ship has us at a bit of a disadvantage.” It was also ironic how General Canoy seemed to be so gung ho on going up against Boyd when she had been all but nonexistent when matters came down to dealing with the biological weapon just now.

There also seemed to be some recent history between the Enforcer and her, but for as much as the General tried to pretend like they were mortal enemies, Mexico knew far better than to believe that she was being forthright about those particular strategic leanings either. This was definitely a guarded person of interest to not only observe but watch out for. Even that mutated thing was aware of this fact.

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