Welcome to Marshall, Carter, and Dark Ltd. If you are here, then you have been accepted into our ranks. Congratulations.
A short summary of our organization is in order. We are a club of sorts, and we provide our members with the most exclusive, expensive, and rare experiences available. We are centered in London, with agents all over the world, finding and retrieving items for us so we may better provide said experiences. Those of you here today, sitting, blindfolded, in the audience, are to be our finders, our retrievers. We have selected you from the best of the best, the most able and intelligent of those who have applied.
Allow me to explain your duties. You are to be our field agents. Many of you have connections to other groups that deal with objects that we are interested in, such as the Foundation, The Serpent's Hand, and the Church of the Broken God. We expect full loyalty to our cause despite these connections. Any sign of deviance will be punished.
As you will work on a case by case basis, I will be very broad. Cases, known as Acquisitions, will be assigned based upon personal statistics. You are not allowed to turn down an Acquisition. While working on an Acquisition, you will have access to certain portions of our near unlimited resources, depending on the case. Abuse of these resources will be punished.
You are to apply yourself to the assigned Acquisition with all due haste, while keeping up any required appearances. Under no circumstances are you to reveal that you are working for Marshall, Carter, and Dark. Any attempt to speak about Marshall, Carter, and Dark with people that have not been sanctioned by Marshall, Carter, and Dark will be punished.
This concludes your orientation. Please face to your right and take short, measured steps. Your blindfolds will be removed as you exit the door. Some of you will receive your first Acquisition case. Thank you for your time.
Agent Smalls left the room with a bit of difficulty, his hands twitching at his sides. He seemed to be stepping extremely cautiously, as if afraid he might bump into people that were not there. His trip to the doorway was filled with tension, and a close observer would have noticed his breathing slowing, the gleam of sweat on his forehead becoming a bit duller. Agent Smalls, an up and coming Foundation agent, would have cringed in horror had he actually seen the room.
Mr. Carter watched the man leave the room with rheumy eyes, his breathing carefully controlled. A shriveled husk of a man, battered and scarred, hung from the back of his wheelchair, its milky eyes still showing a vestige of fear. The old man wheezed as he spoke, and the husk wheezed with him. "Was it really worth it? A whole orientation, only for one man?"
Mr. Marshall watched the blindfolded man leave the room impassively. A single, long finger made a sign, and the other men in the audience begin to walk as well, their footsteps echoing throughout the room. Their eyes were blank as they walked, and each bore a shallow but visible scar on their forehead. The co-founder of Marshall, Carter, and Dark cleared his throat, and drank from a glass of water. His voice changed from the cool, detached tone to a more rich, deeper one, one that belied an immense and inhuman intelligence. "Well. He might be useful in the future. It is always good to have investments." He straightened his tie. His chuckle was cold and knowing. "And it is always good to have them with the Foundation. Who knows how useful this one might be? He might even be better than Jenkins."
The empty sound of wheezing laughter filled the room.