That Animal


alister_icon.gif zain_icon.gif

Scene Title That Animal
Synopsis … might be a little more trouble than she's actually worth.
Date March 4, 2018

Staten Island Trade Commission

The Staten Island Trade Commission is the headquarters for a smuggling ring based on Staten Island. It is a six-story brick warehouse with aged, copper-framed windows, situated on Arthur Kill. Floors one through four are utilized for storage, sorting, and holding purposes, while the fifth floor acts as a sparsely-furnished office where the business' bookkeeping, finances, and businesses deals are arranged. The sixth floor is Alister Black's private residence: a loft-style penthouse with an open layout that sometimes leaks in spite of his best efforts to repair the roof.

The property is surrounded by a ten foot tall razor wire fence on one side, and brackish water by the other, allowing boats to unload shipments directly onto the docks after they’ve been cleared for approach by the armed guards via radio.

It's afternoon, and Zain has been invited to Alister's penthouse, provided with the utmost hospitality in a large glass of brandy.

Alister walks around with his glass, motioning to a carpet he has some people hang up on a makeshift clothesline they've set up in the middle of his living room. "A little cat urine never hurt anyone. This is a persian rug, some cleaning and you can auction this thing just fine."

He looks over at Eileen the Ocelot, narrowing his eyes as it just violently hissses back at him, and swipes at his heavily clawed up couch arm.

The brandy is swirled in his glass.. and it keeps getting swirled as Alister speaks. Zain is busy staring at the rug. The expression on his face is clear disgust, not because of the brandy but because of the subject of the rug. He's standing a little ways away from it with a handkerchief at the ready in his free hand. Right now, he's silently cursing the fact that nosegays have fallen out of fashion. He needs one. At least he remembered to spritz some cologne on himself, which is what the piece of cloth smells like.

Slowly, his eyes slide to study Alister, not ready to make the judgement call as to whether the man is truly sane or not. "I can't decide whether or not you're being serious," he says. His accent is British with a little Pakistani thrown into the mix, very distinct and Zain takes great care to speak in a distinguished manner. He passes Alister a whisp of a smile and steps closer to the rug, holding the kerchief over his nose to stay the smell. When he speaks again, his words are a bit muffled, "And whom do you expect to clean it? Staten Island isn't well known for its rug cleaners and I am certainly not going to make the attempt."

"Find some Evolved person with an ability that can clean the rug, find someone with a steamer, surely you have connections." Alister walks over to the rug, then motions to it with his free hand. "Listen, you have a lot of money to gain from this rug. Surely a man of culture such as yourself are well aware that any cost in cleaning it will barely put a dent in the overall profit you'll gain once you've sold it."

Zain steps back from the rug and removes the kerchief from over his nose and mouth. When Alister speaks, there is a slight narrowing to his dark eyes that doesn't seem the least bit friendly. "I'm afraid you do not understand how I work. I buy product that is ready to sell," he says smoothly, his voice and mannerism a complete 180 from the hard look in his eyes. "If someone wishes to buy a carpet that has been pissed on, that is what I supply to them. I have yet to meet such a customer."

But… the tanned man doesn't slam down his brandy glass and storm off. Pulling a card from his pocket, he holds it between two fingers in Alister's direction. "I will give you concession," he says in a low tone. "I will auction it off and take a commission. I will not sell this directly, it is not up to the par of my usual stock. I do not clean rugs, I also do not find people to clean them. Not unless it is my feet making the things dirty in the first place."

"I'll accept your concession. I apologize for any offense." Alister takes the card, then slides it into his blazer. "It is nice to know, at least, that you have standards. I'll keep this in mind if I'm ever thinking of buying something from your auctions."

He takes a sip of brandy, slowly walking over to the window to watch his workers. "In truth, I'm not much of a big spender these days. However, I take an interest in anything with high trade value, anything that can increase the reach, wealth, and power of my business."

"No offense taken, my good man," Zain says with a smile. "I do hope that you become a regular attendee at the auctions, you never know what you might find that's to your liking." Maybe even an evolved person whose ability is cleaning… maybe even a non-evolved person whose ability is cleaning. It could really go either way.

"I do have some particularly striking items this month that you may find useful." Pistols, but it isn't said out loud. "And my contacts are always on the lookout for items of interest." He takes a sip of his brandy and lifts his chin to Alister as his eyelids droop lazily, "I would so very much like to add you to my list of contacts, after all, I'm certain you have quite a number of things you wish to move without having to put your face to the product."

"It is always difficult when you have hot items of particular interests. I have many, many boats, but there are things that one simply does not find worth the risk, despite their high value." Alister turns around to face the man again, taking a sip. "Tell me something, Mister Zain. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in the future?"

"My goals?" Zain's half lidded gaze is now complete with a single arched brow. "I am a simple man, my goals are not lofty." At least not by his standards. "To enjoy my work, which I do. To amass enough wealth to live comfortably, which I am. To spur the economy of Staten Island and I suppose by extension all of New York, which I feel I can accomplish."

He takes another sip of his brandy and swallows it, followed by a hissing intake of air. "I don't wish to be bored, Alister," he says in a light tone. "May I call you Alister?"

"Of course. I'd like to think that we're equal." Alister looks Zain over, as if carefully sizing the man up. "Staten Island is not a hopeless thing. The people need the… illusion of structure. I named my company the Staten Island Trade Commission to give the idea that there's still some sort of authority, despite my lack of true influence."

He motions the brandy glass to Zain. "If you want to spur the economy, we need to make more people feel as if they can safely participate in that economy. I believe that we should join our resources, create a government, and provide a bubble of order that they people will crave and support."

Hunching over to sniff at his brandy, he perhaps smells a vast complex world of scents, or simply just some alright brandy. "More safety for things like the Staten Island market, a sort of taskforce, with uniforms. No one who will shake down the everyday criminal, but people to protect our holdings, our resources, and any resources that are valuable to us."

A government?

It's almost imperceptable, that shiver that runs through Zain's body but he likes to think that he hides things rather well. In this case, a kind smile is graced to Alister before the older man waves a hand through the air. "Governments are entities that are better suited for people that aren't me," he says in a light tone. "I like to consider myself more of a libertarian or something of the sort. They make red tape and rules that I don't like to follow closely enough." It's why he isn't in the Safe Zone, why he politely declines Logan's invitations to poker. Not because he doesn't have the face for it.

"Besides," he continues in a lower tone, leaning in conspiratorially to Alister, "if we organize that much, don't you think it would draw attention? I don't like that much attention."

"I like to believe that managing to run a government would only draw rather profitable attention. Though I can understand your… hesitation." Alister laughs in amusement, sipping his brandy and walking around, Eileen suddenly knocking over a bowl of fruit. Thankfully a metallic bowl.

He ignores it.

"The Libertarian ideal. A free man doing free things, seeing the product of his back breaking labor." He turns back to Zain, smiling. "It's nice to have simple goals. Though myself, I believe that systems are in place to benefit those who can properly navigate it. There is only so far that pure back breaking labor can take you… society needs order, structure, so that you have something to build upon when creating your tower."

"I will tell you this, Alister," Zain says as he takes a last sip to drain his snifter. Then he glances around to find a surface to place the empty glass on… but the closest one has that animal near it. So he crosses the room, giving the hissing beast a wide berth, and places it onto a different table. On his way back, he's even more careful to avoid the animal than before. Because now it's hissing at his very passing.

"As I was saying," he says after he clears his throat, "you have great and lofty ideas for this place, this island. I wish you good fortune in your endeavours, but I will caution secrecy. You do not want the government of the country to come here to make demands, above all else, cut into our profits by legitimizing them and taxing them." Not that many facets of his business could be considered legitimate.

"Yes, I will certainly take your concerns into consideration." Alister says while heading right where Zain left his glass, to place his own there once the last of his drink is finished off. "I will also be attending John Logan's next poker game, I believe. He seems like someone I have much to discuss with."

"But for now, I'll have someone prepare and take the rug to you." he assures, then offers the man his hand. "It was nice meeting with you."

Zain's smile widens as he takes Alister's hand and gives it a firm, not aggressive, shake. "When you are finished having it cleaned, please get it delivered to the address on the card," his jovial tone has a careful edge to it, because the animal is still in the vicinity. "I will expect you at the auction and have an invitation delivered, you will want to see the items there. I believe thirteen of them would interest you quite a bit."

With that, he tips two fingers to his forehead and pivots on his heel. He shows himself out, after asking one of the armed guards downstairs to kindly give him directions. He doesn't want to snoop, after all.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License