A Little Princess


ethan_icon.gif wu-long_icon.gif yvette_icon.gif

Scene Title A Little Princess
Synopsis A girl arrives bearing Kazimir's surname and a prominent case of the I don't take orders from yous. Ethan and Wu-Long haplessly cope.
Date December 17, 2008

Eagle Electric

Most notable business collapse in Queens was that of Eagle Electric, a major manufacturer based out of Long Island City for decades, comprised of acres of warehouses and manufacturing plants designed to produce electronic components to suit all sorts of needs. The western warehouse of the Eagle Electric lot is an enormous and foreboding red-painted building made entirely from sheets of ridged steel. Amidst the grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement and the burned out cars in the parking lot, it seems just as uninhabited as the rest of the area. A large and ruined sign at the top of the office and manufacturing building prominently reads, "Eagle Electric—Perfection Is Not An Accident."

Perfection is not an accident. Yvette considers those words as she's walking through the warehouse of the former Eagle Electric, getting herself a better view of just what Kazimir has been up to these last couple of months. He'd not been putting most of his energy into acquiring a fancy place to live, as much was clear, but then that wasn't really his style anyway. Her eyes crinkle up in a smile for a moment as she brushes gloved fingers against one of the walls. Bodyguard. He'd declared she was getting a /bodyguard/ to be here. If he hadn't been such an awful clod about it, she might have had to hug him. Or some fascimile thereof, anyway. It was a matter for another day. At least, he'd gotten his cane back, and she no longer needed such a superficial reason for coming here. The rest were just details, really.

Stepping around a perticularly uneven spot of floor and heading into the warehouse proper, Yvette starts looking around for other people. Hopefully there's someone around, so she can convince them to show her where everything is, as it were. She could find out on her own, but she'd need to get to know the operatives here in the states if she wanted to have things work as intended. People could be important, that way.

No sound nor glimpse betrays the man watching Yvette until the man produces himself to be noticed. The thin layer of amorphous black fog that had laid close to the striated metal like a patina of existential filth pulls itself upright, roils, thickens, condenses, corporealizes into the shape of a man a split second before color pops out of that deadened blackness. Yellow skin, the whites of eyes, pragmatically short fingernails and a flash of white tooth, scimitar smile, while the rest of him maintains its darkness: hair, irises, the leather panels of coat, nondescript garb beneath, rifle in hand, and then he's peering down at her. This stranger.

One whom he was warned about, doubtlessly, or she would be up one hole in her head — or at least, a fight in her life. Instead, Wu-Long peers down from a gargoyle's crouch, his head rotating slightly on his neck like clockwork.

No sound nor glimpse betrays the man watching Yvette until the man produces himself to be noticed. The thin layer of amorphous black fog that had laid close to the rusted, striated metal that roofs one of the warehouse's numerous shipping containers like a patina of existential filth pulls itself upright, roils, thickens, condenses, corporealizes into the shape of a man a split second before color pops out of that deadened blackness. Yellow skin, the whites of eyes, pragmatically short fingernails and a flash of white tooth, scimitar smile, while the rest of him maintains its darkness: hair, irises, the leather panels of coat, nondescript garb beneath, rifle in hand, and then he's peering down at her. This stranger.

One whom he was warned about, doubtlessly, or she would be up one hole in her head — or at least, a fight in her life. Instead, Wu-Long peers down from a gargoyle's crouch, his head rotating slightly on his neck like clockwork.

Anything different, and Wu wouldn't have been doing his job properly, letting people stroll around in here like they owned the place. Now, the fog itself didn't really attract Yvette's attention, as it looked more like shadow if she saw it at all, but it doesn't take too many moments for her to spot the crouching man on top of the container. Her head tilts to the side, then, eyes sharp but her bodylanguage almost resembling that of a doll on strings. Like she wasn't quite held together right, without there being an actual physical difference to be seen that said otherwise. There was a man up there. Interesting.

She doesn't step forward, but she raises her hand in greeting, fingers splayed wide. A moment later and she's looking around the room again, for more guards perhaps, but it seems a routine thing. She's quickly focused back on the guard in place, rifle, discreet clothing and all.

Discreet when you're hiding in the dark. Badass when you've come into the open, or so Wu-Long prefers to think. It's the whole Wachowski Brothers' Matrix design ethic, built to make other men feel small. Not that he'dve had much trouble with the relativity of actual size, compared to the pink-eyed woman standing at ground level. Wu-Long's eyes seem to hold nothing except her commensurately pale reflection, a ghost on an obsidian mirror. When she waves, he returns the gesture in seemingly unconscious duplicate, his own hand depicted in still further ironic contrast by the black glove that hides the heat and calluses of his hand from the cold light of today.

He returns his head to its upright configuration before gripping the edge of the shipping container. In one expedient motion, he leaps down beside her.

Yvette raises an eyebrow slightly at the smooth jump, and then nods her head to Wu. That wasn't bad at all. Most folks could jump off a container, of course, but the manner in which you did it said a lot about you. And the state of your body. Now, coming closer, Wu might notice that it's slightly uncomfortable standing next to Yvette. There's no specific felt cause, no specific pain either, but just the nagging feeling that something isn't quite right. Maybe he's coming down with a cold, or something. The young woman herself takes a small step back and to the side, making a wide gesture to he warehouse, and then she looks back at Wu. Expectantly.

The instant Wu-Long notices he's coming down with a slight case of— proximity, if not a bug, he frowns. Reaches up to close a thumb and forefinger around his prodigious (for an Asian man) nose, the whites of his eyes flashing conspicuously as he glances down one way she's indicating, before sweeping his gaze back. Usually, when he gets colds, he starts honking first thing. Now, not so much. Releasing his beezer, he inhales once with an audible whuff of air, then cranes his head at the Eagle Electric proper.

"Supplies," he says, after a moment. His voice ruptures the quiet of the warehouse in a manner some might find disconcerting. He notices then and only then that he sort of forgot his good, old-fashioned Confucian politeness, salutations left out. "This place is full of supplies. The usual supplies," he clarifies without real expectation she would find that interesting. When he is speaking in more than single words, his accent emerges, not strong but distinct, a harshening of consonants that indicates clearly that English is not Zhang Wu-Long's mother tongue.

Yvette's eyes crinkle a bit again, when Wu starts pinching his nose and whuffing around air, though she does nothing to decrease his discomfort. If she even can. That might be difficult to tell, after such short an encounter. She nods a bit to the mentioning of supplies, and there's a brief and rather subtle shift in Wu's hormonal makeup. A release of endorphins, a feeling of pleasure. She plays on his emotions like a fine tuned instrument, as they and the rest of him are based on chemical combinations. And so, there's pleasure. A thanks for supplying information.
Her head tilts to the other side, then, eyes studying him up, and then down. She looks at his rifle, up at the spot where he'd been hiding, and then pointedly gazing to other good looking hiding spots before returning her focus back at the man she's.. er. Well, not quite talking to. But communicating with, one might say. Her language isn't just not English. It seems to come from a different rulebook.

"There are two other guards," Wu-Long says, his eyes chasing the girl's line of sight before they return to the origin with a quiescent blink of black-on-black eyes. It's difficult to tell just by looking at his face or studying the posture of his frame that her manipulation had done anything to him, unless you know to watch for the dilation of pupil or have any way of reading the shift of heat across his skin.

That much, he was undoubtedly able to notice. There aren't a lot of things that inspire happiness in the man. Alcohol, his wife, bloodshed. He's a fairly conventional sociopath. "They aren't important," he clarifies, slinging the rifle over his shoulder. He smiles with his eyes the next moment, studying her face for comprehension when he says: "The Wolf is not here."

Yvette rolls her shoulder back in a slow circle, though the crinkling around her eye comes back again when he starts talking about the Wolf. She has her theories on what that might be, and they're appereantly amusing. And while Yvette doesn't really notice those minute details in Wu's skin, she's confident that she got the message across none the less. She knows what she does, and not everyone starts leaping about with joy. For serious.

Next, she shifts to trying to inspire a light sense of curiosity in Wu, and points at his chest. Unless he backs away or tries to stop her in some manner, two gloved fingers prod lightly at his chest. The others weren't important, but he hadn't said much about himself yet either.

Although Ethan is not without his special sense of humor, Wu-Long has never seen anything inherently hilarious about him. As Englishman go, he is not comparable to such characters as Mr. Bean or the population of Little Britain, which he remembers glimpsing on the television a few times on his cross-continental romp in Kazimir's service.

He has funny swears, though. 'Fucking strewth.' Who says that? No one else Wu-Long has ever met. He's left to watch Yvette's expression change with bemused puzzlement, which fails to shift even when she reaches out to touch him and his eyes click downward in automatic instinct though he refrains from retreating from those two dainty extremities. He is silent for a protracted moment. The next, he offers her a hand. "Wu-Long," he introduces himself with simplicity. "I am one of Ethan's men."

Yvette accepts the hand, but puts her second one on top as well, shaking his with both of hers and offering a slight bow of her head. Not to show subservience, but just as a respectful greeting. Wu-long. One of Ethan's men. The latter provided a bit of important information as well, though one she wouldn't be sorting out the details of just yet. Once that is done, she points to her own chest, taps it twice, and then does a quick series of gestures with her fingers.

For those who know these things, it was sign language, american version. She quite simply spelled her first name. For those who don't know? Quick waving of fingers, with a firm nod at the end there. She lets the silence hang there for a little bit, before reaching out to nudge his elbow, and motioning out towards the room again. Further in, looking at crates. It's where we store stuff is not quite enough. The sense of curiosity returns to Wu's insides, as well.

Unfortunately, Wu-Long is not versed in sign language. Thus, he simply watches like a cat while the girl's hands dive and flip around like birds in the air, her fingers like deft wings and wrists thin enough to seem hollow-boned. There is, however, nothing particularly predatory in the attitude of his stare— or at least, not moreso than usual. By now, he might have deduced that this little bird isn't for eating. She might realize, after a moment, that he's considering what level of clearance she has. Not that it really matters: the Eagle Electric's basic setup is known to all personnel.

It's one of their more general locations, even if it is still 'sensitive' by any standard of tactics or legality. "Heavy artillery." He raises an arm to point at the large gray cases there, just a few of them, even as he steps forward with solid tock of his heel on the concrete floor.

"Temporary storage. There are probably some narcotics and stones there now." An array of boxes, organized into stacks like Legos. "Electronics." He nods his head to indicate further back, into the corner blocked by a drapery of tarp and a few empty containers. "Individual weapons. Do you have your own?" He might as well have been discussing golf equipment, how casual his tone is. It's a rote check.

Yvette falls into step with Wu, though she doesn't even try to offer any kind of suggestions as to what her clearance level is. That is something he'll just have to figure out on his very own. Or perhaps ask, though that has the downside of her being able to lie if she'd answer. Which kind of makes the whole thing a moot point. She nods once, firmly, at the question of whether she has her own weapon. It's basic gear, that. Don't leave home without it. In fact, she gets a rather buissness like expression herself, though not as well worn a one as Wu's. He's likely been at this more years than she's run around on her own two feet.

Old guys. What can you do?

She drums fingers lightly across the container with heavy weaponry, looks around the temporary storage and peeks in to where the individual weapons are kept. Notes are taken on exit routes and other things, as well as layout. Then she turns around and nods once to Wu. Looks good. She taps her watch lightly, and looks back at him, eyes glancing to the door.

That gesture could mean a dozen different things because it indicates time. Wu-Long knows a little bit about keeping a schedule. Enough to know that any given member of Kazimir's Vanguard has pending operations and assignments that he doesn't have clearance for. Perhaps finally struck by the vagueness of her preferred method of communication, his eye scales the white curve of her cheek down to where it begins to fade to blue, veiny with something that isn't health. Having already confirmed that she has a weapon, he considers her meaning for a moment.

"Do you need an escort to your next destination?" he asks, mildly quizzical now. Gunmetal clicks below his elbow; he stoops his head slightly, angles a glance out the exit she had motioned toward. Sharp as his senses are, he can't hear anyone coming, notices nothing otherwise amiss. It's his best guess.

It could indeed mean many different things, though Yvette's frown suggests that the one he suggested wasn't the right one. The light shake of her head confirms it. She closes her eyes for a short moment, trying to think, and then she opens them again. Pink focused on him, intently now. It's the kind of thing that could make a guy nervous, if he wasn't made of sturdy stuff. She holds one hand out, palm upwards, and makes a large circle over it with her other hand, palm faced down. Then she points to the place they just explored, holding up one finger.


The light curiosity that tickled Wu's insides before return again, and she holds up two fingers now, looking at him with the same expectation as before, when she had him show her around a little bit in here. The watch is tapped a second time, and she points two thin begloved fingers at him. It's a question. At least that much should be obvious.

Wrong. Wu-Long was wrong. He could be at peace with that if there wasn't theoretically some kind of practical point to pursuing this line of questioning. As it is, he doesn't quite have his knickers in a knot as he peers down between her oddly expressive face and her oddly expressive hands, his brows closer together than they were before, bespeaking the same concentration he would have directed at a mathematical problem, the cold little wheels of a large dark mind clicking and whirring away. Then, "How long have I been here?" he guesses again, his voice crisp in the cold. "What time will I leave?"

Yvette shakes her head at the first part. Nope. Wrong again. At the second suggestion she starts looking a bit more positive, and waves her hand carefully back and forth. Not quite what she was getting at, but appereantly closer. She steeples her fingers and then points at Wu, then herself, before she has two index fingers standing next to each other and moving out towards the door. Let's take this one step at a time, instead of doing it the complicated, complete sentance at once version. Maybe that'll help. At least she hopes so.

Even back during his stint with the People's Liberation Army, communications wasn't Wu-Long's strong suit. He's been doing military work long enough to know a little about a lot of things, mind you, but personalized sign language — less so than encouraging prisoners of war to be, uh. Communicative.

Yet Wu-Long's expression lights subtly as if the overall image he had pieced together out of its parts suddenly slid into focus— only to doubt what he had seen a moment later. He doesn't speak, this time. Merely glances over his shoulder at one distant corner of the warehouse, the corner of his mouth quirking almost imperceptibly, before he takes the first step toward the tall rectangle of the door, his boot ringing, his eyes still on Yvette.

Ah. Convincing people to be communicative. Them are good times. Meanwhile, Wu is rewarded with bright eyes and a huff of exhaled air, as Yvette falls into step next to him and they start heading towards the door. Its not really required of him to speak, if nothing else that would be rather unfair. In truth, though, she's rather comfortable with the silence, here. When they come out through the door she squints again, just for a moment, as her eyes readjust to the light outside and she has a lookt around at the other warehouses in the area. Cars, broken things, a right mess in short. Her gaze returns to Wu's face and she points over to them, eyebrow raised. The curiosity returns to his stomach again, though stronger this time.

Ethan has arrived.

The vehicle makes its turns as it has done so many times before. Steering into his parking place, the engine is killed and the door is opened. Departing from the black vehicle, the keys are pocketed and the door shut behind him. The man who emerges is known most commonly throughout Vanguard as the Wolf. Recognition springs into his eyes as they gaze upon the woman with Wu-Long. Though she is older now. And much less of an enigma now.

Ethan strides forward through the parking lot towards the pair. A little nod is given to Wu-Long, his gaze going to Yvette. "Miss Volken." He says cordially, bowing his head low to the woman. "Welcome to New York. I don't know if you remember me, my name is Ethan."

Standing just within the afternoon's shadow of the warehouse, Wu-Long was studying the derelict vehicles, the wreckage, the abandoned homes and the crooked skyline beyond that, his interest guided entirely by the artificial tug in his gut rather than any real internalized interest on his own part. He's about to comment when he notices the company car.

Cocks his head toward it slightly, indicating its approach to Yvette if she has not noticed it already. He fails, as ever, to be surprised when the Wolf emerges. No; it's the salutation that elicits a reaction, surprise clicked out of dark eyes, a swift jerk of Wu-Long's head toward the woman referred to by Kazimir's own surname, nonverbal. The hostler just realized he was speaking to the princess in jodhpurs. Little oopsie? Big oopsie? Neither?

Yvette nods her head slightly to Wu as the car approaches. A little bit of care wasn't bad to keep around these kind of things. Kazimir was never that good with making friends with everyone, but then that was hardly the point either. When Ethan steps out of the car, though, her guard relaxes the fraction it had been raised. This is a man she knows of, rather well, without actually knowing him personally. This was the Wolf.

When Ethan arrives the discomfort that had been settled into Wu's body lessens somewhat, while Ethan is instead greeted by that same thing. Slight uncomfortableness, like he might be coming down with something. No distinct pain, no specific ailment. Just the sensation that something isn't quite right, anymore, and the closer one gets to Yvette the more pronounced it is. She bows her head lightly to him in return, and then looks back to Wu again. Crinkle in her eyes. There doesn't seem to be trouble here, at least not right now.

Ethan makes no reaction to the sensation that overtakes him. Everything is perfectly fine on the outside, while the interior half puzzles and half rages about the Volken family gift of producing such sensations in others. A deep bow of his head is offered to the woman. Ethan's gaze flicks to Wu-Long for a moment. Then back to Yvette.

"Miss Volken," He intones gently, raising his gaze. "Kazimir has charged me with your protection until your regular security attatchment arrives." One hand raises towards Wu-Long's shoulder. "You have already met Wu-Long, I assume. One of my best and most trusted. I will 'ave 'im watch you as much time 'e can afford, to be your personal shadow." Another glance to his Chinese compatriot. "You'll find 'e is quite good at being a shadow… I 'ave lodgings set up for you, and if you require anything I will be more than 'appy to take care of those needs for you. If I am not available, Wu-Long, knows how to get a hold of me."

When looked at, Wu-Long looks back. When Yvette is looked at, he looks at her too, nothing ostentatious in his mirroring, just the habit of a monster who learned a long time ago how to enact the part of a human being.

There's no visible relief that he isn't due for a dozen lashings of the slave whip or whatnot — but there's been a change, a shift and turn of his weight to place her in front of him instead of at his shoulder, and a faint — almost indecipiherable — receding of the thing that inhabits Wu-Long's skin if not precisely a soul, the deference of a soldier raised and trained in a deeply nepotistic system. He knows how this works. He doesn't mention Miss Knutson or whatever other responsibilities his station obliges him to hold.

Yvette gives a slight nod to Ethan's comment about Wu being good at the whole shadow thing. He'd shown skills with hiding inside the warehouse, that was certain. But as for the rest, there's an eyebrow quirked high and she studies the Wolf up and down carefully, before doing the same to Wu. Security detail indeed. She shruggs, then, shaking her head and body like one getting rid of something perticularly troublesome, like a fly.

When Wu makes that small move to stand a bit behind him, though, she simply takes a small step to the side, putting the three of them arranged as a triangle instead of the variety he'd picked. Kazimir might have his notions, and Wolf clearly carried around some of his own, but that didn't mean she intended to fall into the machinery like a well oiled cog. She continues then with her previous mission. Perhaps having two of them around would make this easier. She points to the other warehouses, not the one she and Wu had just been in and that the latter one had guarded, and raises an eyebrow. Waiting.

Ethan arches a brow slowly at the woman. His mouth opens for a moment, but then closes, at a loss of words. He slowly turns to view Eagle Electric. Tilting his head to the side, he watches her for a moment before, lost in the confusion tries something else.

"«Is there a problem, Miss Volken?»" Russian. It is produced easily enough, and the accent is almost close to perfect.

The Chinese man's voice emerges a moment belated, as if his attention had turned momentarily inward, finally analyzing the flux, the coming and going of Yvette's attention to his own body. "I think she is asking what is in those warehouses," Wu-Long offers. "What this place is." He studies at the point she makes out of the triangle, and wonders to himself at the escalation of the blonde puppies he seems to be inheriting, one by one. Sincerely doubts that the fact that this order did not come from Kazimir himself mitigates the size of the responsibility or the repercussions should he fail.

Yvette shakes her head a bit to Ethan, and is about to stomp off on her own to start doing those investigations when Wu /finally/ gets a clue. Thank God for that. She nods and the crinkle around her eyes returns again, along with an exhaled huff of breath. She's aware these kind of communication styles need to be practised, but sometimes it can be awfully annoying. She waits again, then, looking at Ethan with an expectant air. She might have to walk off yet.

"How am I supposed to know.." Ethan responds to Wu-Long, furrowing his borws slightly. He returns his attention to Yvette, wetting his lips. This may be more of an ordeal than he had origionally thought. "Nothing of interest, Miss Volken." Ethan informs. "They are abandoned." The man says patiently. "Now if you would, I could take you to where you will be sleeping." He motions with his head to the car.

Thusly, a clear contrast between having grown up a son of the Empire as opposed to Communist China. Or possibly variations of sane; hard to tell why Wu-Long is less aggravated by her odd queries than his superior. Though wary of making the assumption that Miss Volken is going to do precisely as asked, he glances back at the Eagle Electric to indicate he is aware he has a job to return to doing. And mentions, politely, "It has been a pleasure, xiao jie." He refrains from shrugging at Ethan, however obliquely. Chicks.

Yvette bows her head lightly towads Wu-long again, and leaves him with that light touch of pleasure in his stomach. Likewise, my good man. Likewise. Then she returns her attention to Ethan again and shakes her head a little bit. She raises two fingers towards him and the car with a firm motion, and then turns on her heel and starts walking off in the direction of the next closest warehouse. Appereantly, this blonde has her own agenda on things.

Ethan's eyes widen slightly as the woman starts to walk off. "Miss Volken." Ethan says, a bit more firmly now. "If it so interests you I will have those warehouses demolished, if they cause you so much concern." He says, starting to step after her. "But please, understand, I have been assigned to watch you, but I am also a busy man. I can't be walking around exploring empty ware'ouses. So if you would please, just join me, and I'll be sure to arrange a trip to these ware'ouses later." Says the Brit, keeping his exasperation in check.

Wu-Long's eyes swivel left and right, a touch furtive as if searching for potential witnesses to shoot, before he fixes his gaze on the intermediate point between Ethan and Yvette. He reduces himself to a supporting character character in the background, straightening his face to an expression of extraordinarily bland attentiveness. Not that he'd been an expressive riot before.

Yvette didn't walk off to get followed, here. But appereantly that's par for the course none the less. So, when Ethan walks after her and expresses his concerns, she listens patiently. Calmly, even, but when he's done she just shakes her head in reply. Verbial eloquence is beyond her, for some very specific reasons, but that doesn't mean she can't be expressive. She holds up both her hands, begloved palms facing him, moving towards him a fraction even. Stop. Then she points to him, the car, and waves good bye with one hand. The notion of witnesses, which concerns Wu, isn't really one of hers. They might see or not. If they are here, there are troubles they can see different and worse from her not following an appointed babysitter around.

Ethan's exasperation is a bit more readable now. "Miss Volken. I am sorry to inconvenience you, but please, understand me, your father will be very upset if I don't manage to keep you safe." His brow twitches for a second in anger. "Please?" It's not often that The Wolf is reduced to begging. And he's not happy about it.

If Wu-Long were capable of empathy, he would probably be exercising some right now. As it is, his jaw twitches pensively. A small stone turns under his foot as he comes up even with Ethan, his voice low, discreet. "Sir. I could accompany her for a brief time if you will allow Doyle and Park to relieve me of watch." Or else offer some verbal explanation for Long Island City, as he has come to understand it, perambulating and conversing through Chinatown.

Yvette bows her head slightly in understanding. Yes, she can see where he'd be inconvenienced by this, but her decision is rather firm on this. For many and sundry reasons. So, while she understand, she is clearly not agreeing with following him back there. Instead, she straightens up to her full height, shoulders relaxed and face still. Wu's suggestion is noted, but in truth, whatever they decide to do isn't really all that much of her concern. They're following Kazimir's orders, which she can understand. But she is here for other things as well, and so she returns to her walk out to the warehouse.

Ethan takes a few steps back, turning to Wu-Long. "Follow 'er. Per'aps you should stick to the shadows." The Wolf informs. "I'll 'ave you covered." He informs, turning his back to the retreating woman. "Welcome to New York, Miss Volken." He mutters, motioning with his head to Wu-long before continuing on his way.

"Sir." Wu-Long gives this monosyllabic confirmation and a simple nod of his head with a faintly wry expression for humor. There's the sound of footfall behind the girl, hard shoe meeting hard earth, before there is no sound at all. The man's become what was ordered from him. A shadow, blacker, emptier of light than any natural blankness cut out of light by an object — but easily enough overlooked as he flows through the air and then into the frostbitten foliage, dogging Yvette's stubborn step.

December 17th: Timelagged
December 17th: Just Read It
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