A Black Deal


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Scene Title A Black Deal
Synopsis Asi engages Gideon d'Sarthe in the hopes of obtaining something she can't even use in the ARM facility siege… but it's something maybe her other self could.
Date July 2, 2021

It's been several days since the Ohio River Fire ended similarly to how it started – on water. The East River down to the Narrows were alight until shouted down by Siren technology, and the scent caused by it lingers.

A black, acrid thing. It's only a hint on the air now, but a persistent one nonetheless. Asi's intensely aware of it as she faces down Staten Island, hands on the railing of the ferry bringing her over from the Safe Zone. Her eyes dance along the shoreline, at how much more structured it seems than even a year and a half ago when she…

Her hand tightens into a fist that rests against the railing.

No. Not she.

But no one else she meets today has to know that.

Asi turns back to the Mantis she'd rode aboard the ferry, straddling it in preparation for them to dock.

d'Sarthe Group Complex

Staten Island

The deep blue sports jacket Asi wears is unbuttoned while she sits and waits to be seen– black slacks and a pressed sleeveless white blouse making up the rest of her fashion. She wears no heels, black loafers pressed to the ground. When she turns her wrist over to consult the time of the thin watch strapped there, the secretary notes her immediately.

"Mr. d'Sarthe will be with you shortly," Ms. Mun tells her.

Asi's eyes flit her way with only a slight raise of her head before she offers a polite, practiced smile of socialites. Skills she rarely employs, much less enjoys tapping into. "It's no trouble at all, miss. It's me who's arrived early."

It's a sizable miracle that Staten Island lasted as it did against the lick of flames and the smoke and oil on the water. Thanks to coordinated efforts between the Group and (often)begrudging locals, their shared home was spared the spitroasting.

Things have burnt around the edges and here and there on the inland, due to loose embers and creeping oil slicks mixing with old boats and the ramshackle nature of some of the impoverished communities. The same ones who aren't so keen on accepting the presence of d'Sarthe or his gentrification- - which he always assures isn't.

He is there to help, remember. The first things he can help are the people- - jobs are easy to create when you wish to rebuild as they do.

It's not so bad. Money has been moving on Staten again, even if it comes with the curled fingers.

Gideon's schedule is nothing if not on time; not long before it is Asi's set appointment, a small group of suited people make an exit from the corridor beyond the lobby and waiting area. They sound quite deep in discussion, albeit in a Quebecois French as they make a clipped exit.

Rather than alerting Asi to her time, Ms. Mun has little chance to form the thought before Gideon himself exits from the hall beyond, as if to see off the previous visitors—

— save that it seems as if he is simply making certain that they leave. One hand unbuttoning his suit jacket in a moment of dissipating heat, the older man turns his attention to the present. His silver hair and beard are, as always, groomed into familiarity, blue eyes sharp as they land on Asi. Whatever had been clouding over him a moment before is filtered away by a sunnier expression.

"I believe you must be next. Come along, miss Tetsuyama." Along with this peculiar fetching of her, Ms. Mun simply gives their visitor a one handed shrug. Go on.

Asi comes to her feet quickly, offering Ms. Mun a polite nod as she's handed off, and then she's turning to face Gideon properly. "Mr. d'Sarthe," she greets him cordially as she approaches. "I appreciate your time, even though I regret it has to come on the heels of…" A moment is taken to consider the departing party as, "less pleasant visitors."

She offers no hand once she's close enough to, merely follows after to wherever she's lead.

“Anything is better than being bothered by vultures,” Gideon pauses only long enough to offer Asi a brief handshake- which she is free to take or not- before escorting her back down the corridor to his more private territory. “Not that I would remotely equate you with them.”

That he has no fear receiving his own guests speaks to power; one shoulder edges against the door to his office before d’Sarthe sweeps it open with the same hand, almost flourishing.

“Please, have a seat. Make yourself comfortable.” A small grinding whisper comes from the occupied flight cage in the corner, where she is met by the watchful black eye of a feathery cloud.

Pierre’s presence is almost a third in the meet, what with his scrutiny.

The offered hand is accepted when it's given, a nod accompanying it. Asi steps through into the office, her eyes sweeping it once in observation.

This isn't ground she's ever tread physically, and so she takes a moment to regard the surroundings– including their erstwhile spy– before moving to the seats for guests. While she has a non-professional interest in the bird and its behavior, she's here on business. When she sits, her gaze turns tellingly toward the cage once more before she returns her attention to Gideon. "I'll do us both the favor of being as brief as I can with this. We're both busy individuals."

"That said, my having come here is on a private matter, not one tied with Wolfhound." Asi presses her lips together in a smile that's not a smile, and a brief one at that. She presumes either he knows who Asi Tetsuyama is on the surface, or he's been told at the very least. "That being said, they do know where I am, who I'm meeting with to discuss my business." Her hands spread momentarily in a gesture of humility before she clasps them again over her knee. "I frankly don't know if it's a matter you could assist me with, but I'm told you're a resourceful man."

The skeptical watch of an animal is in many ways worse than knowing you're under technological surveillance. What goes on behind that beaded look is a mystery. Setting himself quietly down into the straight-backed chair reserved for seeing more casual guests, Gideon's attention is now fully reserved for her, and what she brings next.

"So I hear." His smile is a curved one, amused despite its calmness. "The last few weeks have tested us, and I've seen a lot of clever solutions from my people. Would be remiss to claim it for myself." d'Sarthe leans back and folds his hands. "But in this you did come to me- - so what can I do for you?"

"If there are certain supply lines or caches you were made aware of in your company's acquisition of Staten…" Asi sees no reason why not to get to the point. "I am interested in obtaining up to two doses of amphodynamine." She delivers as much without so much as a blink of self-consciousness for her request. "I'm of the mind that my continued legal presence in the United States is contingent upon my ability to perform under pressure, and to be honest, I've been stretched thin lately."

"A request through formal channels is likely to be turned down, but there's an occasion coming up I'll need to be at my best for. A chemical edge would give me greater assurance walking into that situation."

Mouth flattening into a line, she wonders, "Before going any further, is obtaining a dose discreetly something you could assist me with?"

It's not a small request by any means, and it is more the reasoning than the content which has Gideon propping an elbow and leaning his jaw into the backs of his fingers. A distinct lack of judgment, and yet there's something about the gesture that feels guarded over the matter- - already, that is.

"I can imagine those formal requests never go quietly, either." One of those things that tends to become a bigger thing. While Amp is no Refrain, there is always a whisper around SLC-adjacent drugs.

"I take it, whatever you need it for, you can't simply get outside help. I do understand the strain of being stretched thin." Perhaps not quite as much as someone like her, at least in this particular department. "Per your need, I can help you."

When Gideon fills in another reason why she's not keen to go through this in a legal capacity, all Asi can do is tip her head in a gesture that signals he's on the right path there. She supplies delicately, "The date it's needed by is rather soon. I'd need to have it in hand within a week's time."

Hardly a beat passes before she looks up to Gideon directly, brows arching. "I'm aware that's no small ask. Accordingly, I'd be remiss to think it's a favor money could be thrown at." The fold of her hands shift more properly to her lap. "It's why I would like to offer payment in kind. A favor to return to you after the need for the Amp's use has come and passed."

"It would come with the caveat that I will not do something that will jeopardize my standing with the government here, as I am certain that is not something you would either do for me." Asi doesn't smile, but there's a sympathetic glimmer in her eye in that moment. "But I believe it would be only fair to reward a flex of power with one of my own. Investigatory work, information retrieval… something along those lines seem perfectly fair, to me. It would come with discretion, naturally."

"You ask for silver with copper in your pockets." The idiom is unfamiliar, but it seems more of an observation than scorn; it's something that could mean anything, tasting almost paternal in the afterwards. "It just so happens that I'm anticipating some openings," Gideon sits forward an inch, brows lifted and inspection mild for all that they speak of.

"I wouldn't dream of stealing you away- - you have duties to perform- -" A small curve to his smile lends d'Sarthe's expression a feline jest. "I could absolutely use your talent while I seek to fill new roles. Sideways expansion tends to come on the heels of realizing how much you rely on certain people, wouldn't you say?"

Asi may not know precisely what the idiom means, but the cynic in her can infer. Under normal circumstances, this wouldn't be enough. But now, perhaps, isn't normal for any of them. No matter the circumstances, she'll take it. Her head dips in an acquiescing nod to his inquiry. "The larger you grow, the stronger a base you need if things aren't to topple," she answers him mildly. She gets it, even if she wouldn't under normal circumstances encourage him in particular. "I'd be happy to help perform extended background checks and the like."

"And the like." Gideon murmurs in repetition, adjusting his posture to one more rigid. His manner shifts to a more weighted consideration. "Good. That's excellent to hear. God knows that I'll be needing someone with a jeweler's eye before long."

"While I won't explicitly ask you to keep the information to yourself, I would nonetheless appreciate discretion should you be asked where you found it. If I make too many exceptions for favors, well…" Both of d'Sarthe's brows lift, a second of levity in the midst of a serious annotation. "Then I've got a line out the door for Quid Pro Quo, and my stock is limited."

"You're the exception now because I know that I'll need you. I'm just the lucky man that you came to first."

At the request for discretion, Asi courteously and deeply nods her head. "Of course," she assures. "I intend to keep the very topic of having it discreet in the first place. I would consider its use a last resort option in the first place, one whose existence much less use should be a carefully guarded topic." She listens on placidly enough, taking the information given with a thin smile.

"I'm glad that this is a mutually agreeable situation, then. You have my thanks for the accommodation." Her head quirks just slightly to the side before she asks, "How soon could we facilitate handoff? I can work to create flexibility in my schedule, but a target window would be useful."

"How soon?" Gideon raises his brow, expression seemingly rolling the answer around in his skull before it comes to rest. "Once I make some calls, I hope. Your timetable is quite… stringent." He does, however, seem amused by this very fact. That Asi felt confident enough to stride into a meeting and request an item rarely seen by even government agencies.

But, someone is always willing to pay- - in some way- - and by nature that will always make the world go 'round.

"I'm sure you are the type to never ask unless you need, so for that much I hope this is as worthwhile as you think."

Rather than answer immediately, Asi only smiles. She thinks ahead to the life-and-death situation that awaits in Czechia, about how the ability to quickly and deftly subdue a system may make all the difference when riding that dangerous line. They're all doing everything they can to arm themselves and make themselves as knowledgeable as possible about what they face…

This is just her contribution to it. Her adrenaline shot to the leg to get her other self active quickly if other measures fail. Or someone else, if they're doing better off than she is.

"It will be," she answers.

It will be needed, even if only for the peace of mind of having that option.

It will also come at a cost she can only hope to pay off if something goes wrong– and one she hopes her self with their ability can forgive her for in the end. Sometimes the darkest of deals come straight from the heart of necessity.

If nothing else, she's sure the other Asi will remember the last time she came to Gideon d'Sarthe like this.

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