I was born and raised on the streets of Osiris. My father, Maximoff senior, was an enforcer for the Russian Mafia who fell for Julia, the lovely daughter of a low ranking Italian Don. As part of a truce and business agreement between the two factions, Maximoff joined the Rabecci Family and married his love. They had four children, my older sister Isabella, myself, my younger sister Rosalie and little Antonio, who was less than a year old when my Father died. I know that might sound callous, and let me assure you that I loved my father very much and mourned his passing greatly. But we were Family, and there were always going to be risks.
From the time I could remember I loved heights. I was fearless when it came to climbing up on things as a child, and as I grew older, I would sit on the windowsill of our third floor apartment, or even better, relax on the 8th floor roof. This of course was all against the wishes of my mother, who was horrified that her little bambino was doing dangerous things. My father was also worried, but took a pride in my fearlessness. Like any curious child, I used to ask him all the time about his job, and he would occasionally take me with him when he met with people, dropping off packages, pickup up messages. I know now he never took me on any of his 'serious jobs', but at the time I had no idea just how rough his job really was. By the time I was ten, I was doing some small jobs for the Family as well, things that didn't have a lot of risk and where a child wouldn't attract the kind of attentions my father might.
I don't exactly recall when I first saw Parkour, but I do remember I was enthralled. The Free Runner moved down the street and over obstacles with a fluidity and speed that was almost magical. When I found out that Parkour involved jump up, over and down off heights, I was sold. It took me a few weeks to be able to flag down the Free Runner, who went by the name Twitch. When I told him I wanted to learn Parkour he laughed and told me that I was too young. But he did offer me some advice that I've taken with me. Parkour, and life in general, is about being aware of your surroundings. It's not about being able to look at something and take in its details, but to be able to take in the details without looking, to react at an instant. Once I could do that, the climbing, running and jumping could be developed with training.
When I told my Father about my new 'Hobby' he smiled a bit and nodded. He agreed with Twitch's insight into awareness, and told me that if I could master that, I would be well off in whatever endeavor I would choose to go on. When Mother found out about my interest, she was nearly hysterical with worry, but Father managed to calm her down by enrolling me in Gymnastics. As he said to her, "If he's going to be jumping and flipping and falling, the best we can do is make sure he's got padding." The studio where I was to learn was a fair distance from our home, which surprised me until I found out that Twitch was the instructor. My Father knew a lot of people, and him checking out people I had an interest in was his way of protecting me. By having Twitch as an instructor, Father was giving his blessing to our Friendship.
It was about four months after my twelfth birthday when my father died. I found out much later that it had been in a shoot out with Alliance Agents who were cracking down on black marked medicine. My Mother was inconsolable, and quite honestly I wasn't much better off. The Family took care of all the details, leaving us to grieve. After the funeral, my Mother insisted she was not going to see any of her children suffer the same fate. She sold all her possessions and booked a flight off Osiris to one of the outer worlds. At the time I didn't even pay attention to the destination. All I knew was that I would be leaving all I knew behind for some backwards dust ball without even a proper city. I'd run away before going to that sort of hell.
Isabella knew of course. Big sisters always seem to know. A few days before we were scheduled to leave, as I was packing to run, she came to my room and offered me a choice. I could promise her that if she helped me escape mother I would go to our Uncle Mattimeo. Uncle Matt had left the Family years before to go legitimate, but he was still our Uncle and would be willing to look after me if I was staying away from the Family. He had said as much to Mother at the Funeral. I agreed, happy that Isabella had come up with a plan for me, since I wasn't entirely yet figured out where I was going to go.
On the day of the trip I helped Mother and Isabella carry our luggage to the spaceport. When everything was loaded but my own luggage, Isabella called to mother that Antonio was being fussy. When mother went to assist with my baby brother, I slipped off the ship just as the doors were closing. I imagine Isabella bribed the captain to leave without me, though I don't know for sure what she offered. All I knew was that I was free.
Unfortunately being free does not mean being home free. One thing that neither Isabella nor I realized was that the Uncle Mattimeo didn't want to be contacted by the Family. When I got to the Red Lion Warehouse where he was working as a Cargo Master, I was shocked when I was summarily turned away. The guards at the door wouldn't even give him a message for me. How could he look out for me when he didn't know I needed it?
A random remark from the guards gave me some hope, though he thought he was being funny. He said that I could see Uncle Matt when Carmichael said so. I knew Damian Carmichael was the head of the Red Lion Corporation, and resolved to find him and beg him to help me. It wasn't hard to find out where he lived, and getting to the neighborhood where he lived wasn't a problem. I just put on my best clothes and walked like I belonged there. No one bothered to question me.
Once at the Carmichael Estate I began to get nervous again. The guards at the gate were unlikely to let me into the estate any more than the ones at the Warehouse. They /might/ deliver a message, but would just as likely throw it away. The only way I was going to see the Carmichael was if I didn't get permission. I found a quiet corner near his estate, and waited for nightfall. Getting over the walls of the estates was a lot easier than perhaps they should have been. A garbage truck passing through the neighborhood gave me the height I needed, and an overhanging tree formed the bridge.
My trip over the wall wasn't as stealthy or graceful as I might have liked, and it attracted one of the Patrol Guards. But as luck would have it, the Guard thought I was one of the younger pages from the household, and demanded to know what I was doing out so late. Thinking fast I blubbered a bit and said I missed my Mother and Sister and had been out to visit him. I am sure my blubbering didn't convince him, but the story did. He told me if the Chief of Staff wasn't so busy preparing the house while Carmichael was off Planet, he'd run me up to the Office right now. Instead he gave me a swat on the rear. His parting comment about at least not getting my uniform dirty gave me the last bit of information I needed.
I'm still not entirely sure how I expected to have succeeded in the idea that had been forming in my head. Looking back now, it seems that the pure audaciousness of it all is what allowed it to work. I strode up to the Servant Entrance of the house, and then snuck around until I found the Laundry. I found a page's uniform that would fit me, and then took a quick bath in a laundry tub before washing my under things. As late at night as it was, no one came by to see the noises I made.
The next morning I was up before almost everyone and showed up at the kitchen to see if they needed any help. When the cook asked who I was, I gave my name and introduced myself as a new Page the Chief had hired on to help deal with things. I don't know if it was my last name, or just the fact that the Chief was busy, but the Cook accepted my story and put me to work. I gave the same story to the other Pages when they showed up, as well as the House Keeper that assigned us duties. The other Pages didn't particularly like me, and ended up giving me the worst of the Chores. I didn't mind, as I was used to Chores, and they often had me running around the House, allowing me to learn its nooks and crannies.
I was tempted to ask the House Keeper about sleeping accommodations, but the oldest page took care of that for me, taking great delight in assigning me with a Page who snored heavily. I don't think this was actually anything official, but I decided not to worry about it, and instead took to sneaking out when the snoring started and finding somewhere else to sleep. A hard surface didn't bother me, nor did heights, and I developed a little nest in the shadows of the dining room rafters. I didn't really need a lot of sleep, so I would usually sneak into the Laundry to clean my own things, get a good night sleep and still be up and washed before the rest of the Pages.
The Carmichael was gone for several weeks, and I should not be surprised I didn't make it that long without being discovered. While the Chief of Staff had seen me a few times during my stay, he had been too busy to pay attention to a mere Page, and I had been working. Any time there was a message to be delivered to him I could usually count on being able to get one of the other Pages to do so. But when one of the Pages hurt himself doing something stupid on a ladder, I was sent to get the Chief. And no one else was willing to be the bearer of bad news.
The Chief gave me a long look when I delivered the message, but the news was more important than a Page he didn't recognize. I knew the gig was up, so when the Chief headed off to deal with the issue, I slipped into the kitchen, grabbed some bread and a large bottle of water, and hid in my nest. The Carmichael was supposed to be back in two days, and I could survive that long on bread alone. There was a search of course, but my nest was in the shadows and on top of a thick rafter. There was no ladder or obvious way up, so I remained unnoticed by the searchers, or so I thought.
Hiding in the rafters wasn't as easy as I thought. I might have had food or drink, but my nest didn't have a bathroom. So when night fell I snuck down... and was promptly caught by the Chief of Staff. When he had questioned the Pages, they were more than happy to tell him about what little they knew of me, including that I had no fear of heights. He thought he has spotted me up in the rafters, but decided to see just how I had gotten up there. He was impressed by my audacity, ingenuity and talents, but I was still in trouble.
I admit I didn't fake this time when I started to cry... I fully expected to be hauled off to the Authorities and thrown in jail. I begged him not to do this, and that I just needed to see the Carmichael. His laugh was not kind, but he replied that I would definitely get a chance to see the Master. He took me to a small suite, with bars on the windows and locks on the doors. I was provided my own clothes, as well as food and drink for the next two days.
My meeting with Damian Carmichael was not entirely what I expected after being imprisoned in the suite for several days. He was clearly not happy that a twelve year old had managed to deceive much of his staff. He ordered the tree I had gotten climbed to get in cut down, and had the Guard who let me in transferred to a worse position. The rest of the staff was also chastised by both Carmichael and the Chief of Staff, though no one lost their jobs. I begged to see Uncle Mattimeo, but he never came. I feared that I was still destined for Jail or something worse.
Then Carmichael made me an offer that I still find hard to believe. He offered me a place on staff, first as a Page, then whatever role I would be of service to him in. My actions, while technically criminal, showed a number of talents he could put to good use. He brought in Uncle Mattimeo, who had been listening in on much of my conversations with Carmichael, and was able to confirm that the offer was genuine. Carmichael made a stipulation that I needed to continue with my Schooling when it restarted in the fall. I wasn't too impressed with that condition, but floored by the offer. I would have been stupid to refuse, and I wasn't.
There was some concern in my mind that the chastising delivered to the staff would have turned them against me, but only the House Keeper and Oldest Page seemed to hold any real grudge. The Chief of Staff seemed rather pleased with me, and put my talent with heights to good use. School was harder than I remembered, mostly because the standards at the House were higher than those of my parents. The Chief of Staff approved me continuing my Gymnastics classes, and while I wasn't allowed to use the property walls, I was permitted a 'Free Run' of the grounds in practicing Parkour.
After two years as a 'normal' Page with the household, the Chief of Staff began giving me a task that I was quite familiar with, running messages and packages around the city. The earliest messages were usually invitations or the like, and I was expected to go in uniform. But as I got older, they became more sensitive, and I was expected to be less seen. To help facilitate this, I began to be assigned evening duties at various Red Lion facilities around the city. These 'Duties' were in fact training sessions with company Specialists who helped me expand my talents with deception and fitting in. Disguise, stealth, diplomacy and awareness were all drilled into me. When my reaction times proved heightened, Combat was also added in. I always preferred unarmed combat to guns, and my instructors were more than happy to focus on those arts. The only instructor I disappointed was the one who taught me how to use security systems. I was not really as comfortable with technology as some people my age were, and I really didn't have a lot of interest in his lessons.
Over the next three years, my special tasks for Carmichael became more sensitive and far reaching as my lessons advanced. The only one I am willing to tell you about was a trip to Greenleaf to deliver a large package to a Tailor Shop on a specific day. I made it there, only to find that it was my sister Isabella's wedding, and the gift was one from 'me' to her. Carmichael was insufferably smug when I returned to Osiris after a Month's vacation.
It's been nearly three months since my Eighteenth Birthday. Carmichael has decided that I am ready to move into a more professional role within the Red Lion Corporation. Officially I am a Bodyguard, but I will continue to serve as a Special Courier.
Miscellaneous things of note
- Likes to cook very traditional Italian Spagetti, but doesn't seem cook anything else.
|Red Lion Industries|