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The Offer
#1
[Image: Edgar.jpg]
Zacarías Secada Amengual
El Tiburón, The Shark

“Would you like another, Mister Amengual?” The heavy accent percolated in the mind a moment before the globes of his eyes turned upward. Baccarat crystal sparkled in his hand, empty but for the final warmth tingling his lips. Vodka was never his preference; the best rum in the world came from the shores of his homeland. The woman that served him waited patiently for a response, a slim smile perched on her lips. With hair the color of fire and eyes blue as the ocean, she was a stunning creature, but alien and odd.

“Yes my dear,” he replied. She carried away the glass but Zacarias did not watch the departure. A shadow sank into the cushions nearby. Ever since the ball, the Kremlin fizzed with gossip, but this was only his second return to the fortress since then. One ear to the tune of such shadows was Covas Montemayor, an ally and trusted friend for many years. Given the entourage to Moscow was limited to only his best men, Covas was first among them. He accepted a drink from the flame-haired staffer and leaned near.

The message was simple. “he’s ready to see you.”

Zacarias turned the baccarat glass, freshly glistening with crystal liquid, in his palm one more time. Despite his claim to the finest of Nicaragua, this waiting room of the Kremlin was more luxurious than anything he’d ever experienced home. It would not always be that way. The slums and poverty that gripped his nation would glisten and gleam brighter than Moscow ever dreamed possible.

He put the liquid to his lips, tentatively tasting it again. Rum was home, but there was nothing wrong with vodka either.
“And the offer?”

Covas shrugged. “I don’t know, Zacarias. He’s difficult to predict, but the offer seems to persist.”

The haunt of a smile paused on his lips. It was in that moment, Zacarais knew the future. A deep breath settled in his chest like an anchor. When he took to his feet, it was to straighten his suit. The glass he gifted to Covas. “The future is ours, my friend.”

Zacarias gestured to red-haired staffer, “lead onward,” and he strolled into his destiny.
Only darkness shows you the light.


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#2
*Zacarias written with permission for the sake of time.


That day, the Ascendancy ate his lunch with a drug lord. Well, it wasn’t the first time he entertained criminals at his table. It wouldn’t be the last. Oddly, he honestly didn’t mind the man’s past history. To be fair, Zacarias Amengual inherited a business from his older brother, the deceased Andres. What made Zacarias’ an interesting figure, however, were his altruistic strategies. He addressed social needs in his home country through charitable means outside the regulation of a broken government: strange thing for a criminal to do. 

They shook hands. Zacarias spoke impeccable English, his manners superb.
“I hope you are finding Moscow to your liking.” Nikolai said.

“A treasure of the east, Ascendancy. Your graciousness is unparalleled.” Zacarias’ flattery was well-spoken. Nikolai expected nothing less. He nodded. “What can I do for you, sir?”

Nikolai wiped his mouth, napkin deposited aside. He considered his guest, feeling and prodding with every careful word.
“Your country needs my help. I am here to offer it to you.”

“And I would accept if I could.”

“If you could?” Nik inquired, but of course he knew the answer. Zacarias was not a walking embodiment of the constitution willing to sign itself away to a foreign land.  Zacarias smiled grimly. Message conveyed. “Your businesses are quite vast, Mr. Amengual.” 

“Nothing compared to yours, sir.”

“You are absolutely correct in that comparison. A drop to the ocean, yes.”

This time, Zacarias nodded quietly.

“You inherited your responsibilities, but I find you unlikely to be the sort of man who thinks so narrowly.”

“Indeed. I am an ambitious man.”

Therein Nikolai knew he had an ally.  Zacarias continued, “but business is good. The CCD is my competitor, after all. Our products do not enter your shining borders easily. The return on such difficult investment that are such attempts is negligable. Squalor and hopelessness are my trade.”

“True. Yet you see the success of legalized, regulated industries.”

“I cannot deny your success, Ascendancy. The CCD is a civilized land, but we are not so sophisticated.”

“Mr. Amengual, I want to encourage you to think more broadly than your business. What if you managed more than a single empire isolated to a few thousand miles.”

A brow lifted, Zacarias was intrigued.
“What do you have in mind?”

Nikolai thought for a moment. “Patron of the Americas, Mr. Amengual. The most powerful man in the western hemisphere.”

Zacarias smiled. He liked the sound of that. "How could any man be worthy of such an honor?"

"He would have to prove it, of course. I'll be sending someone to you whose legitimate businesses will serve as your front. You'll need to trust me, as a gesture of faith, of course. Your own empire will blur with mine until such time as a Patron is named. Certainly, you cannot be a Patron of a Dominance that does not yet exist. Dominance IX, Mr. Amengual. Nine Dominions. Do you accept this offer?"

Zacarias could see no disadvantage. The life of a thug was not his destiny. He was to be something greater than the Shark. He smiled greedily.
"I do."
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