A Nail In The Coffin, Part I


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Scene Title A Nail In The Coffin, Part I
Synopsis More rivals than the Flying Dragons can count on are revealed in an effort to put an end to them once and for all.
Date October 19, 2009


Monday night does not have Burlesque seeing a lot of action. At this hour, the glamour of the evening has wound down, and patrons move in and out of the strip club at a slow trickle. The bar itself is empty of customers, with most having moved off to the various tables nearest the round stage, the waitress a lone figure at its black glass length. She herself is squeezed into a shiny black dress too conservative and impractical to be dancing around on stage in, her eyes shadowed with false eyelashes and a mock bowtie around her neck.

Turning from the bar, drinks platter in her hands, she makes her high heeled way through the dim strip joint and hazy cigarette smoke, around tables, avoiding a hand that goes out to goose her, and onwards towards where a booth is occupied and sequestered furthest from the stage. Her smile is glittery and not entirely insincere as she comes to set down the drinks at the table.

"Thank you, my love," Logan says, a hand out to take away the glass of gin for himself with a rattle of ice in the glass. Slightly too on edge to be particularly distracted by the dancing woman on the stage or even the curves of the waitress setting out their poisons of choice, he instead darts a glance around the occupants of the table as he takes a sip of harsh liquor. He's dressed darkly if not abnormally for him, his shirt of some shinier fabric and a waistcoat cutting his silhouette even more slender than usual, and the splint on his hand glimmers metal and rhinestone in the strip club light.

He's mostly looking at the cat with some amount of disturbance. A feline being an unexpected addition to this meeting.

An honest to god cat, slender and black, coiling around Logan's ankles and purring while rubbing his head up against the man's argyle socks where they show in the space between slacks and shoes. The cat, notably, belongs to Zhao Wenzhuo, the aging and currently scowling boss of the Ghost Shadows Triad. Rarely reported to leave the safety of his Mott Street headquarters, the bald old man rests with hands folded on the table, dark eyes settled on Logan with a look of mixed uncertainty and silent disapproval. Despite the surroundings chosen, however, the old Triad boss seems to have more reservations about the woman seated to John's right, one Ling Chao, that his sources say works for Liu Ye.

"Can we get on with this?" Zhao's voice is a deep one, gravley and grating the way someone who has spent years of smoking should sound. It's not that Burlesque isn't a subtle fortress on its own, replete with Linderman Group security, but the presence of one of the Flying Dragons — even if in name only — has the longtime rival anxious outside of home turf.

A hand is held out to his side, and the purring stops, as the black cat comes padding beneath the table and up onto Zhao's lap, curling up and sitting down on the matte black of his suit. A black beaded collar rests around the feline's neck, with a central white bead bearing a small inscription in gold. The collar, and in part the cat too, is brushed by Zhao's calloused hand, fingers working thorugh the fur at the scruff of the cat's neck. "After the display this week in Chinatown, I am interested in hearing further arrangements from you, Mister Logan. You said that the police would find the Flying Dragons' Refrain shipment, and they did. But they still believe I have allied with them against Mister Linderman." A dark look is shot towards Ling, then back to Logan. "You can see my hesitance in being here. So… if we could focus." He's just no fun.

Ling sits quietly, dressed in a sleek, almost formal black dress very much unfitting of the location - she had known a bit more in advance where this meeting was going to accur, well… it was easy to guess she might not have dressed quite the way she was. She can't help but look more than a little dismayed as she drums the fingers on her left hand across the table, the palm of the other propped up against her cheek. It certainly wasn't her choice of venue, and if it was she certainly wouldn't admit it to it, and it made her uneasy. A glass of wine, already half empty, sits in front of her.

"Please," the woman remarks after a sharp exhalation. "You're not the only one who is… less than comfortable." It was true, she was taking a huge chance simply by being present, or at least she was sure of it. Between being next to a LInderman associate in what some might call a Linderman estate, here she had a ghost Shadow right across form her. Tense barely described how he felt. "I must agree, though. The sooner this moves along, the better it will be for all of us."

Logan's shoulders square a little, sending a sidelong glance to Ling before his hands are dipping into the inner pockets of his jacket. As silver as the clasp on his right hand, the cigarette case flashes in the light as he flicks it open with a thumb, taking out a bone-pale cigarette; a matchbook follows. "Well," he says, clamping the cigarette between his teeth and still managing to articulate around it. One of those genes you're born with. "I think we should all relax."

There's a flick of the match striking, a flare of light as the flame is touched to the end of his cigarette. He has enough thought to angle the sharp exhale of smoke away from Ling. "Perhaps it would be presumptuous to say we all desire the same thing, but we do all have a common conflict." The case and matchbook are both disappeared, pinching the cigarette between two long, almost equally white fingers. "Faking being friends with the Flying Dragons isn't going to benefit either of you much longer."

Letting out a grumbled breath, Zhao leans to one side and rests his chin on his palm, dark eyes narrowed as he focuses on Logan intently. "Are you suggesting that Mister Linderman is finally going to do something about them? I will admit, when I was first presented with this proposition, it did not seem advantageous, not when Chang Ye was still in charge of the Flying Dragons. There was still… something resembling family left in them." A look is given to Ling, even more scrutinizing now before his focus moves back to Logan again. "In light of Liu's disgraceful handling of our ways, I do not feel it entirely inappropriate to reconsider your employer's offer of… amnesty."

Inclining his head with a raise of his brows, Zhang looks down at the cat in his lap, fingers curling into the dark fur again. "I do however have reservations about what Mister Linderman intends to do, and how this arrangement of his will exactly play out." Settling attenton on Ling again, he asks her indirectly, "and as to why one of Liu's women is here, and how many others of the Flying Dragons have these unflattering sentiments of their leader?"

"Hmph." Ling wrinkles her nose in response, reaching down to her glass. She returns Logan's glance, giving a furtive grin as the smoke he blows drifts away from her. "You are a bit incorrect, I'm afraid," Ling says as she lowers her eyes back to Zhao, the nonplussed expression returning to her face. "I am far from… 'Liu's woman'," she corrects, raising a finger. "My work is a bit more complicated than that, I'm afraid."

"Ms. Ling Chao isn't the snake in the grass, here," Logan agrees, with a languid smile across at Zhao. "Rather, she's our snake, in their grass. And has, from what I've heard, been doing phenomenally well." Generous compliment is intended more for the man across from them rather than to her, Logan barely casting another glance as he knocks back another sip of gin, gesturing with the glass when he's finished. "You're correct - Mr. Linderman is looking to do something about Liu and his lot, and what better time than while they're still reeling from being smacked around by the government?"

The rhetorical question is left to stand for half a second, gin glass set back down and Logan's hand remaining spidered over it as he studies the older man across from him. "I think we need to strike them where it hurts, and I'll rely on both you and Ling to tell me exactly where. I'll need help, naturally. Manpower."


Zhao leans back with a creak in his chair, the look on his face uncertain as his hand runs along the cat in his lap. "I have enough men to supplement Mister Linderman, but Liu Ye still has more operatives than the Ghost Shadows alone. I cannot trust the White Tigers or any of the other smaller Triad in the city with the knowledge that I may be acting against Ye's interests without risking the word finding its way to Liu's ear."

Dark eyes settle on Logan, then Ling. The woman is given a second regard, her infiltration seems to earn some modicum of respect — even if begrudgingly — from the old Triad boss. "I can afford you twenty of my men," those dark eyes settle on Logan again. "Twenty and one of my own who is currently within Liu's ranks. His name is Shu, he is a mind-reader." There is a tap to Zhao's forehead. "I told Liu that he was able to detect lies, and that is only a partial truth. I had intended on using him to sweep through Liu's ranks and find traitorous individuals to draw to my own lot, but this may be a faster route to the inevitable end." Breathing in a deep breath, the time it takes Zhao to exhale a rattling sigh is all he needs to affirm his position.

"Consider their aid yours when you plan on striking back at Liu. I can only hope your snake," his eyes settle on Ling, "can tell you where Liu's most vulnerable assets are held, because I have yet to earn that level of confiedence from the young man."

Ling's grin returns, a stray wisp of smoke from Logan's cigarette seeming to find it's way around one of her fingers as she leans back in her seat. "When the time comes, I'll have that information," she replies reassuringly. "It only takes time for me to find what I need, even if I don't resort to quite the same tricks as your Shu may." Her fingers drum once more before lifting from the table, taking her glass of wine. As she takes a sip, she grimaces and sets it back down. "I've made very nice headway as it is, without yet resorting to being a snake, as you so… delightfully put it," she continues, looking to Logan, just a hint of disdain in her voice. "I can only do so much, though."

Twenty. In these situations, the wheeling and dealing Logan partook in often during his time on Staten Island, he has an admirable poker face. All the same, pale green eyes flash eagerly at the offer, and he casts a nod to the older man. He flicks dead ash from his cigarette into the crystal tray set out on the table, leaning back into his seat. "Mr. Linderman will be most grateful to you and yours for your cooperation."

The compulsion to oversell is difficult, a balancing act between securing the deal and making it too saccharine. Logan holds off the moment to flash a canine smile at Ling. "I rather think Master Ye would have even harsher words for what you are, but I'll call you anything you like so long as that information is traded, and we can all~ put this nonsense to rest.

"There is, by the way, something left to be discussed. And that's the matter of a well that might run dry in the absence of the Flying Dragons. A little something called Refrain."

Rolling his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Zhao considers the young Brit cautiously. "I've only heard rumors of how profitable Refrain has become on the streets, none of my men sell it second hand, since we know the lion's share of the profits go back to Liu Ye's pockets. But with the Flying Dragons gone, we could be persuaded to take up the distribution." But, with brows raised he adds, "the production however, I am not certain we have the facilities or the staff for. I know not how Liu has managed to create the drug, the pharmacutical skill needed implies that he has someone with considerable skill assisting him."

One brow is raised, and Ling is afforded a look before his eyes settle on Logan again. "Would your employer be willing to pick up the production himself, and entrust us with the distribution provided that we are given an ample share of the profits, considering how limited our core market is, and how hard Narcotics is attempting to crack down on its sale?"

Ling's grin turns into a devious smile as she leans back forward, releasing her glass and reaching down into the purse at her side. It returns to the table with a short, but discreetly revealed stack of large bills. Steepling her fingers, Ling looks up to Zhao. "Perhaps this can serve as a… small example of how profitable Refrain can be. I can promise, it is nothing to scoff at by any means." This was something Ling knew perhaps more than anyone. "If there is anything you need to know about Refrain, I promise you you will find no better source," she continues, tapping a finger down on the table.

"Bao-Wei Cong, as I'm sure you know, sits firmly in Liu Ye's pocket. I know the man… personally, and he is the one behind the recreation and production of the drug, as far as I have ever learned." Returning to her previous position, she exhales sharply. "I know not the process, nor more of the specifics, but perhaps there is a way to find out. I have only ever handled distribution, so it's hard to say."

Logan stays reclined and silent as Ling speaks, watching Zhao watch her, and gently, eeeasy does it, there's a change in the man's mood, a simmer of goodwill in response to— well. In response to Logan's efforts of willpower, but there's nothing to indicate as such - not even the glow of green eyes, is how subtle it is. It could count for naught, and often has, but you never know what benefits you get when the edges of discussion are softened just that little bit more.

His easy smile has remained throughout, and he makes a vague gesture of his hand at the end of what Ling has to say. "Between Ms. Chao's relations with Mr. Cong and my employer's resources, I dare say such an arrangement is not only possible, but preferable. The Linderman Group would be happy to see profit go to your hands, rather than that of Liu Ye."

He sits forward again, arms resting against the table edge. "I've a shipment worth of Refrain in my possession, liberated from the Flying Dragons a couple of weeks ago and sitting pretty still. I'd be willing to pass this over in honour of a deal well struck." Not that Logan won't keep a generous slice for himself, but no need to mention such a thing, as he looks at Zhao expectantly.

Too long does Zhao ruminate on the deal, dark brows furrowed and lips downturned in consideration. Then, there's something mildly unsettling about the way he looks down at the black cat in his lap, scratching behind one ear. He's looking at it in a way as if conferring with it about what it thinks on the deal. After that awkward moment, Zhao looks back up and nods his head slowly. "Very well, John Logan." His brows crease together, giving more texture to an already weathered and wrinkled face.

"You have a deal. Tell Mister Linderman that he has the support of the Ghost Shadows, and that we will not relent until Liu Ye and the Flying Dragons are wiped out to the last man." Sitting up straight in his chair, the old Triad boss cracks a smile and considers Logan for a moment. "You're a more shrewd businessman than I gave you credit for, you have my considerable appreciation for your negotiation tactics." A look is given around to Burlesque, "Clever." Whatever it is Zhao thinks, it wasn't Logan's idea, but he'll sure as certain take credit for it.

Passive glances between Logan and Zhao, silent as she waits to see where the conversation turns. The smile never leaves her face as she watches, nodding as Zhao speaks. "I'll do what I can on my end, find out what I can. And should you decide you wish to distribute more Refrain, now or in the future…" the woman pauses, pursing her lips. "Then I'm sure something can be arranged as soon as possible." She straightens herself a bit more, folding her arms across her chest. "Is there anything else you wish to discuss?"

The play of smirk on Logan's face widens a little at the compliment with a blink in place of a nod of thanks, back straightening a little. "It has been and will be a pleasure to do business with you." He picks up his glass to knock back the rest of his gin which works to simmer down the conjured feelings of nervous anticipation. It settles with a heavy clink against the table, and he only tilts his head in indication that he has nothing left to offer to the table, focusing his pale gaze on Zhao as smoke continues to leak in a fine tendril from his cigarette.

"Then may I be the first to say," Zhao notes with a raise of one brow, a greedy smile crossing his lips as he looks between his conspirators, "that this day will mark the end of the Ye family, and the end Flying Dragons."

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