A Healthy Profit


eileen_icon.gif logan_icon.gif

Scene Title A Healthy Profit
Synopsis Eileen cuts a deal with an old business associate and sometimes enemy on behalf of the Ferry.
Date December 27, 2010

The Corinthian: Chambery Restaurant

Dinner was a creme brulee a la vanille and a martini, the debris of both accompanying Logan at the bar, with the dessert finished and the drink still being worked on. Empty white porcelain is set aside at Logan's elbow and getting picked up by helpful help by the time Eileen Spurling is being shown where to go — not at a reserved table for two, but where the lanky Lindergoon has taken up a spot at the bar where, typically, people wait for there tables to be emptied or enjoy an after dinner brandy. He is doing neither of these things.

He is also smoking. It's all about who you know. The smoldering cigarette is left neglected on a glass ashtray, Logan's attention currently focused on the two olives pierced through by a toothpick, using a canine tooth to puncture one and remove it. Gin-soaked fruit flesh is savoured in a couple of crunches before getting swallowed, the last twirled as Logan manipulates the thin wooden needle between thumb and index finger. One leg crossing the other, he's dressed well, mostly because he has to be. His jacket is set aside, the restaurant more than warm enough to compensate for the winter outside. A waistcoat cuts a slender and handsome silhouette of his torso, white shirt peaking between it and matching slacks, braces visible where they button at the small of his back.

There is otherwise something unkempt about him. Grainily unshaven, blondeness duller than usual, and no vain touches like manicured nails or guyliner for this occasion. Overtired and clearly distracted with thinking too much. Eileen has seen him like this before.

And Eileen likes him this way. In sharp contrast, her appearance is more dignified than she probably deserves with the lifestyle she's been living, but the military is on the lookout for a wild-haired young woman in wool and leather with a rifle slung across her back, not the petite figure that approaches the bar in a dark blue dress a few shades removed from indigo and a string of pearls at her pale throat. She wears her hair swept back into an elegant bun at the nape of her neck and adorned with a solitary gardenia clipped neatly in place.

It's been a long time since she's had the luxury of being able to wear fresh flowers in her hair. Her smoky make-up, lip stain and the floral perfume clinging to her skin and clothes are all indulgences too, and it would be a horrible lie if she told someone that she didn't sometimes enjoy dressing up to play ambassador for the Ferrymen. There are some things certain little girls never grow out of.

She hangs her heavy winter coat, fur-trimmed and speckled with snow, on the back of the chair beside Logan's and helps herself to a seat at the bar. "You look like a fox," would be a compliment on its own, but Eileen does not usually deal in compliments, which is why she immediately follows it with, "that stuck his nose in a blackberry bush and got a mouthful of thorns."

By the time he can hear her footsteps padding to join him, Logan is letting olive drop with a plink back into his martini, a hand going to a pocket in his waistcoat like he were retrieving a lighter. There's a flash of silver around the word thorns, appropriately, and a metallic sliding sound as blade is flicked from handle with a nudge of his thumb. It doesn't get pressed to Eileen's throat, doesn't go in to bury in her gut, but it does hover between them both, loose in his hand, piercing tip pointing in accusation towards her face.

The bartender looks askance, but like he didn't ask Logan to put out his cigarette, he also doesn't ask him to put away the knife. There is nothing immediately threatening about Logan's gestures, only the silver gravity blade held where it is giving that idea.

His mouth twitches at a smile at her criticism. "I liked the one about the canary better," he says. "How'd you know to find me?"

"Mutual associates," Eileen answers, and she would be more perturbed by the knife if she and Logan weren't in public, and if it was the worst weapon he's ever wielded against her. It isn't. "The woman acting as a vessel for your ability belongs to the same social circle that I do. You'll be pleased to know some of us are spitting blood."

But apparently not Eileen. Her voice is silky with mirth, and the corners of her mouth curl into the thin, feline kind of smile that's shared between two people who can appreciate the same secret even if she doubts that Logan is as happy about this new development as she is.

No more absinthe green eyes. No more strange feelings in her gut. "I hope you're not going to poke me with that?"

Fucking figures. Figures that 'Casey' would be in the thick of terrorists, playing operator. Figures that Eileen would be the one to finally state it plainly. "Just toying with the notion that if I start slicing the people who know from nose to groin, she might learn to shut her fucking mouth," Logan says, voice dry in its quiet, permanently pale eyed stare tracking down that described path before his back straightens some, and the knife drifts away.

The blunt side of it catches against his own jaw to press it closed, sniffing once as he sets the closed knife down by martini glass, picking up this latter thing to sip gin and vermouth. "Fortunately for you, you people've a head start," he says once wetting his mouth with the acidic mix, tongue running along his teeth.

Eileen's response to the trail Logan's eyes take involves crossing her legs and allowing the heel of her left shoe to dangle invitingly, except there's nothing really inviting about Eileen when she's being cold like she is now. Fortunately, she's reached her facetiousness quota for the evening, and in the short amount of time it takes her to order a glass of white wine from the bartender, the quiet cruelty in her expression has gone, replaced by something more solemn and sincere.

Somewhere nearby, there's a crackling flutter of what sounds like wings, then silence. On the other side of the restaurant, a cellist is setting up to provide the restaurant's patrons with some live music, and although Eileen seems to glance in the musician's direction when he begins to tune his instrument, the majority of her attention rests on the man beside her. "I've my reasons for coming here," she says, "and schadenfreude isn't among them. I want to discuss business."

"You said," Logan agrees, with a side long glance to her, more of his attention on his drink than on her, and only a sliver of it for the live music playing. The second olive is peeled off the wooden stalk, eaten, downed with more gin and vermouth that's cloudy with the same oily, salty stuff the fruit tends to bleed. "'f course, that was back before your colleague and I had this little problem." Going on a month ago, when he'd taken for granted the ability to switch off the powers of the fighters in the ring.

Make women (and men) warm to him, too, without having to put effort into it. He finishes off his drink, and shakes his head when the bartender raises eyebrows in gesture of offering a second. Or third.

"You sure you want to do a thing like that?"

"As sure as I am English." Eileen places one hand on the counter, bare but for the shimmer of gold on one finger, and slips the other under her chin. "With New York City under martial law, there aren't as many people willing to work with us as there used to be, and although I've a few smugglers I can trust when it comes to moving supplies from place to place, I foresee difficulties in acquisition."

The bartender returns with her wine, and she thanks him with a lift of her chin rather than her mouth or her eyes, slender fingers taking the glass by its stem. "Kain Zarek is dead. Daniel Walsh will inevitably turn on me because of what I am. If I can't go through someone I can trust, then I'd like to go through someone I know."

Picking burned down cigarette stub from its resting place, Logan isn't immediately bringing it to his mouth as he listens, rotating the cylinder between his fingers and watching ash break away and fall. Talk of Zarek and Walsh, of all people, hike up his eyebrows, tilting another side long glance until Logan decides she may in fact deserve his full attention, and he turns to face her, settling further back on leather clad stool so that crossed legs don't knock into her.

"Better the devil you do," he agrees, with the same silky tone of voice he might use in such meetings. Now an inhale and exhale of smoke. "What sort of acquisition could a man like me do for a bird like you? We can talk here."

"Guns and ammunition to start," Eileen says, and while Logan assures her that they can safely talk, she does so at a very low volume, "but there are certain supplies that I've not been able to find on the market. The kind that need to be taken rather than sold. Vaccines, Amphodynamine, Adynomine. There are shipments controlled by the Department of Evolved Affairs that are destined for Miller Airfield on Staten Island, and once upon a time I might've been able to rely on my colleague to pick a suitable target.

"That's obviously not an option for me anymore, now is it."

"Obviously." Knuckles grind itchily against the underside of his jaw, Logan very absently wishing he'd clean up a little more if only for personal comfort as opposed to impressing the well to-do little terrorist he happens to be in a business meeting with. Days of impressing her with his appearance are long since over. Her own is taken in practically for the first time she settled in place, which probably means she has his attention, now, seeing more than just where he'd put a knife and noticing the melting snow in her draped fur-trimmed coat, the flower, the pearls. "You dress like a granny."

Just so you know, says the fox with his nose in the thorns. "Guns is a volatile little business these days. One dealer dead, another with an exploded building. I'll see what I can do if it can be done at a distance. As for the other thing, I want a cut of what you take. You can have the vaccines." The other things. The -mines. Logan has always had a special relationship with those.

Eileen wrinkles her nose at Logan's assessment of her appearance. Suffice to say, 'granny' was not the descriptor she was aiming for when she assembled her outfit, but it's also not the first time she's been criticized for her tendency to dress in styles that are sometimes decades out of fashion. She enjoys her cloche hats, frilly lace and antiquated pieces of jewelry almost as much as Logan enjoys designer labels.

A sip of her wine disguises any personal affrontedness — though she has to remind herself that Logan isn't the man she's interested in enticing with the way she dresses — and she sets the glass down on the counter with a gentle clink of glass on marble. "I have more use for negation than I do amplification. Fifty percent of the Amphodynamine is yours, and twenty-five percent of the Adynomine. That's a healthy profit."

It is a healthy profit, which is maybe what has Logan's pale eyes narrowing a stare across at Eileen, his unease mute and thoughtful before he slants his attention to empty martini glass. He turns it against the surface of the counter, before twitching a nod. "And of the guns, do you wish to cross that bridge when it comes about, or do you have something else to bring to the table?" Now he meets the bartender's eyes and offers a smile, sliding the distinctive glass across for it to be collected.

"I don't mind distance," Eileen says of the guns and ammunition, "what I do mind is being cheated, and let's be honest with one another, John: it's easy to cheat someone out of their hard-earned money in this political climate. As you said, it's volatile out there, and not just where the arms dealers are concerned." Her mouth tightens, lips taut as if she could trap them behind her teeth for a little while longer like a caged animal to better assess just how dangerous they are before setting them loose again on the conversation.

"We've not much. Our network can afford maybe sixty percent of Zarek's asking price at present, but if you help to arm us, I can do more than present you with a cut of the drugs. Information is worth more than bullets, and with my ability you can obtain a fair amount that isn't digital."

That gains a cut of a smile, a chuckle that flutters dryly in his throat but doesn't get much farther. His attention roams towards where his martini is being fixed at respectable distance. "There's a fair amount that is," Logan says, but it isn't exactly argument, his voice musing, strained. "Your colleague ever tell you about it? It's not like any one thing. Like sight isn't any one thing, hearing— cheers." Cuts himself off as his drink is delivered, a bland half-smile and he takes that pause to have a sip.

"I want information on who did this to me. Unit Zero. FRONTLINE, and who they work for, and answer to. And I want to know more about her. She told me her name was Casey, but that's gotten me as far as nowhere. And money, of course, but we'll keep the expenses to what's necessary, shall we? I think I know someone who might be interested in a contract and will give me a discount."

Eileen's brows arch upward at the name Casey, and there's a moment where it looks like she might correct him, but in the end her loyalty to Hana wins out over her need to appease Logan and complete the deal. Her answer is neutral, carefully-worded. "She sometimes goes by Wireless," she says at length. "From Israel, originally. I'm under the impression she's ex-Mossad. Dangerous. On my very short list of people I try not to cross."

That Logan is also on this list goes unspoken. Whether or not he'd derive any pleasure from it, she's not about to risk it. "As for Unit Zero, I'll look into it personally. Ferry's not the only group I run with."

At the news that he's shagged an Israeli assassin government spy person— twice!!— Logan aborts a sip of vermouth and gin so that he does not choke on it, a sharp look traded towards her far duller gaze. He still has bruises from discussions earlier that day, and a sort of physical memory of his own siezing muscles and temporary paralysis with her eyes burning demon brown-gold, and it does all sort of click into place enough that he doesn't accuse Eileen of pulling his leg with bells on.

Okay then. "Wireless," he repeats, tasting vowels, edging a fingernail along the wide rim of his glass. "Alright then. I'll be in touch about the guns. And the drugs. When will you want either?"

"Soon," is both a blessing and a curse insofar as it doesn't give Logan a deadline to work with. "What we have now should last us a little while longer, but I don't want to get in the habit of waiting until the well is dry to go divining for more water." There was not much wine in Eileen's glass to begin with, and it does not take her much effort to finish it, or to pinch open her clutch purse and pay for her drink. She doesn't ask for any change when the bartender takes the cash from between her fingers, and her body language effectively conveys that she does not expect any. The tip is fair, as she tries to be.

"I do appreciate this."

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