I still do not own The Dresden Files or Angel the Series or Buffy the Vampire Slayer.Author's Note:
'Tales from Oracle Securities' is a collection of stand-alone and interconnected short-stories set in the same universe as my earlier Dresden-Files/Buffy&Angel-verse fic 'New City, Same Enemy'. The short stories in this fic will mostly take place after 'New City, Same Enemy', though a handful might take place earlier, during or before the fic to explore some back-story to the various Original Characters I created or other perspectives on the events of the first fic.
That all said, while it is possible to read 'Tales from Oracle Securities' without having read 'New City, Same Enemy', I do not recommend it. It would be less confusing, and, in my opinion, more enjoyable, for the reader if they read 'New City, Same Enemy' first.
Additionally, I'm looking for a beta for this fic. If anyone is interested, please contact me, either in a review or through a message outside of the review process.Tales from Oracle Securities
Chapter 1: The EvaluationNondescript Office Building, Marcone's Office
12:03 pm, June 20th, 2003
“I will admit that I never expected Oracle Securities to be a profit-generating institution, so much as a profit-protecting one.” Marcone conceded, looking over his desk at the man seated on the other side of it. “But I did not expect the cost-overruns of the whole project to be as high as they have been. I was looking forward to cutting down on the amount of money I spent on Oracle Securities now that things are finally starting to calm down in the supernatural world of Chicago. And you're telling me that not only do you want me to not
cut back on the costs, but to let you expand Oracle Securities' operations beyond Chicago, and beyond dealing with Wolfram and Hart and the collateral problems it seems to spawn merely by existing?” Marcone raised one eyebrow – just for a moment – then let it fall. “Convince me. Convince me its worth the cost.”
For all his criminal kingpin nature, “Gentleman” Johnny Marcone – Baron Marcone, in supernatural parlance – fancied himself something of a businessman, and in many ways, acted and thought like one, albeit one whose business was primarily on the wrong-side of the law. Wesley pondered the best way to put it for a moment, then spoke.
“At the end of the day, there will always be a disagreement between us, Mr. Marcone.” Wesley said. “You are a businessman, and you approach Oracle Securities from a question of cost-effectiveness. How much money does it cost you to protect your other enterprises from Wolfram and Hart's efforts to interfere with or acquire them, to protect your ability to expand your many...business ventures into new areas, and for that matter, the ability Oracle Securities gives you to infiltrate or acquire those ventures of Wolfram and Hart. How much you spend, versus how much you gain or protect. An inherently logical approach for one in your position.” If a little short-sighted, given the full reality of the situation...
“Myself, on the other hand, for all my many flaws and vices, am not in this fight as a businessman. I am in this because I oppose the forces of darkness that prey on or otherwise seek to corrupt or use humanity, and I approach Oracle Securities from the perspective of how best to use that entity for those purposes.”
“You haven't exactly answered the question, Mr. Wyndam-Pryce. If I didn't know any better, I'd say you were attempting to stall for time with a monologue.” His tone was cool.
“That is exactly what I was intending, Mr. Marcone.” Wesley admitted just as cooly. As much as he essentially worked for Marcone, and for that matter, respected the criminal kingpin, Wesley did not like him. Nor did he really suspect that Marcone liked him either – though Wesley got the impression Marcone liked very few people to begin with, if anyone at all. “But it is entirely true. And here is something else that is true. Oracle Securities' chief power is in its threat, not in its application. Wolfram and Hart has no interest in getting involved in pitched conflict with anyone at the moment, but they will seize any opportunity they see as quick and easy, especially in a theater like Chicago. As long as Oracle Securities looms as a potential threat to Wolfram and Hart, they will have to figure it into their strategic calculus.”
“But, the issue is,” Wesley continued, “that there is a finite limit to just how far you can cut back on Oracle Securities before it stops being a credible threat to Wolfram and Hart and its interests, and thus loses all value as a deterrent. That is a given. But,” he added, “you don't need to keep all of Oracle Securities' assets tied up in and around Chicago all the time to maintain the overall threat and deterrent. And if you're going to maintain a large enough force to serve as that threat and deterrent, you may as well use them, rather than just have them stand around doing nothing. First of all, its good practice for them, second of all, its make you look good in the supernatural world, and third of all, it serves as an example to Wolfram and Hart as to just how good Oracle Securities is.”
“Besides.” Wesley noted. “You can still save money on the whole exchange now that things have calmed down in Chicago. I'm certainly both willing and able to take a substantial pay cut personally – my late father's estate is more than enough to provide for my needs, financially.” He paused “That reminds me. I need to fly over to England soon to sort some things out with the lawyers.” He shook his head, bringing things back around to the point at hand. “Anyway, you could also cut down on our equipment budget. Although it might annoy Baldwin, the fact of the matter is, given the newly calm state of things, we are amply supplied with equipment – ammunition, grenades, guns, et cetera – and only need to cover standard replacement and the like. Massive armament isn't on the agenda anymore, For now. So you, could easily cut the equipment budget by...” He made some quick mental calculations . “57% without unduly undermining the threat potential that Oracle Securities poses, for the time being.”
Marcone considered Wesley's words for several minutes, probably making mental calculations of his own, weighing costs and benefits... “I'll let you expand operations up to within 100 miles of the city limits. Any further than that, and you'll need to get authorization from me. Are we clear?”
“Crystal.” Wesley replied blithely.
“And now that that is out of the way, let's talk about Lilah?”
“What about her?” Wesley asked, unfazed.
“You're sleeping with her.” Marcone said pointedly.
“I am.” Wesley answered. “What of it? So I'm sleeping with the Director of Special Projects at Wolfram and Hart Chicago.”
“Actually, she's the CEO now. She just got promoted when the CEO here was sent off to the newly rebuilt L.A. branch.”
Wesley chuckled. “Good for her. And I don't envy whoever they put in charge in L.A. Since they'll have to work with Angel.” Then he got to the issue at hand. “I may be sleeping with Lilah, but beyond some vague sense of affection – which wouldn't stop either of us from killing the other, if it came to that – that is all that it is. Sex. Really good
sex, but just sex nonetheless. I'm not likely to betray you. You have my hair and blood, and a Valkyrie with which to punish me for any infraction, if you wished to.”
With that, Wesley stood. “I believe that concludes our business today.”
“More or less.” Marcone replied.
“Good.” Wesley walked out.Author's Note:
Okay, so, as I said, Tales from Oracle Securities is a collection of stand-alone and
interconnected short stories set in the New City, Same Enemy universe. I have specific stories in mind for this collection, but I also want to see what you guys want. I have created a number of OCs for NCSE – Abigail St. Pierre, Mark Farrel, Petrovich, Gregory of Arles, Denna Frost, Richard Carlise and Diocletian, to name some of the more important ones. Each one, of course, is a complex character with their own backstory, motives, etc. So, if you want to see more of one of them, then tell me. I'll write a chapter/story for them. If you want to see more of certain Dresdenverse, or Buffyverse characters in this new universe – such as Karrin Murphy, or see how Buffy and the new Slayer Organization handles this brave new world with three vampire courts, Wardens and the Unseelie Accords – then tell me. I'll write something. I may not always write what/who you request (either because I have specific plans for those characters I don't want to spoil, or because I just can't think of a way to write them, or whatever), but only way you find out is by asking.