Finding A Bloodhound


keira_icon.gif tsai_icon.gif

Scene Title Finding a Bloodhound
Synopsis When an old business partner goes missing, Keira finds an unlikely ally in the search.
Date October 19, 2018

The once-clear sky has given way to dense clouds and drizzling rain over the last several hours. Inclement weather like this tend to put a damper on polite business, but what's happening today is anything but polite. The Rookery — Staten Island’s infected cyst — isn't a place for polite business or polite people. They live across the river, they have their reasons for living where they do, and the people of the Rookery have their own.

Amid the refuse of the Rookery is Nuojin He Jia, a business perched on the east coast of the Rookery, both a Cantonese restaurant and launderer — of money and linens equally — that operates off of a biofuel generator powered by waste oil from their deep fryers. They're on the list of food buyers from a black market produce business operating out of the Ruins of the Bronx, and buy the bullets for their security from a Ukrainian arms dealing outfit that just so happens to be the topic of Keira Ryans’ interest today.

The back of Nuojin He Jia is a crowded loading dock and kitchen, needing no board of health certifications. Tattooed men with expensive guns and cheap haircuts watch the back where fish is cut alongside cocaine. This is one of the major supplier points for cocaine in the Safe Zone, where groups like Keira’s get their supply in exchange for food and information as well as hard-earned cash.

That this is also a Ghost Shadows Triad operation goes without saying.

Today, Keira’s here on business. Personally.

Nuojin He Jia

The Rookery

October 19th

8:12 pm

Keira,” comes the gentle and maternal greeting from the second floor stairwell. From her spot by the bay doors of the loading docks, Keira can see the Triad boss Wai Ching Tsai, a white-haired woman with a grandmotherly demeanor and a reputation for both politeness and a damningly frustrating telepathic gift. Keira’s never had the pleasure before.

“Have a seat,” Tsai says with a fond smile on her way down the stairs, motioning to a wood block table with a few votive candles burning in glass sconces lighting it up. There's no chairs, just a pair of wooden bench seats. “Lai women de keren cha,” she says to a cook, who hustles to fetch ceramic cups and a tea kettle.

It’s not often that the one-eyed shapeshifter makes personal business trips — normally, a few of her boys are sent this way, with instructions to bring her back some chow mein and the supplies for the week. Business is good — she sells her food, she gets coke to sell to those who want it (and she may, on rare occasions, snatch an eight ball out of the supply for the occasional all-nighter), and life is generally good.

Right now, however, her mind is on other things. She knew Kalik, and his disappearance has been bothering her, scratching at the back of her mind like those stupid but terrifying little electric rats that he was so obsessed with. She was one of the folks who believed him — one of her (former) employees was the one responsible for the flyers that caught the man’s eye.

Tsai’s gentle greeting pulls the slender tattooed woman from her thoughts, her gaze moving from the tattooed men and the fish and that lovely white powder to the older woman upstairs. The gentle matriarchal demeanor puts Keira rather sufficiently at ease, though she’s always on edge. One does not become the leader of an organization without a healthy amount of paranoia, which is why Tanith or a pair of her men are always found within shouting distance.

“A pleasure,” she replies as she closes the distance between herself and the table, settling onto one of the bench seats after waiting for the older woman to be seated first. Respect for elders is key — especially when that elder is a boss with the Triad. Keira has her own fond smile on her face, despite the mess of thoughts behind that smile.

Tsai comes to sit at the table, her every movement deliberate and slow. When she's settled, tea is brought over and ceramic cups that must be a family heirloom for all their quality, are set out; one for Keira and one for Tsai. “You've come a long way since you were a blunt instrument leveraged against Gideon d’Sarthe.” It's Tsai’s way of asserting herself, showing that knowledge is her purview.

“But we all change,” Tsai adds, lifting up her cup after it's filled. “Change is the natural state of things.” She takes a sip first, a show of honesty and good intent. The Ghost Shadows are known for employing poison liberally.

“When I heard that our mutual acquaintance had gone missing, I listened.” Tsai takes another sip from her cup and then sets it on the table. “He was in the middle of business with us at the time he went missing, which has put us in an unfortunate situation with his employers. It's all very delicate.”

Reaching into a pocket inside of her blazer, Tsai withdraws a piece of paper with a string of numbers on it and sets it face down on the table between she and Keira. “This is the last known address he was seen at.” She doesn't remove her fingers from the paper. “It is mutually beneficial to us that we have what is ours and you have your acquaintance back.”

Tsai pushes the paper forward. “Know that there is a condition to this knowledge. We need something from you in return. Something that should be simple for someone of your… newfound talents.” Tsai’s brows raise slowly.

Ah, there’s that pesky telepathy that Keira has heard so much about. As the tea is poured, Keira nods her thanks to the one who prepared it, lifting the delicate cup and inhaling the aroma of the tea. She doesn’t drink tea often enough, so it’s with no small amount of pleasure that she takes her first sip — a tiny one, of course, rolled around in her mouth briefly before it makes its way down, and only after she watches Tsai take her sip.

“I have come a long way from those days, yes,” is her reply, a genuine smile on her face. She knows quite well to show utmost respect to Tsai — the Triads are not a group of people that she wants to be on the bad side of.

Change…that is, indeed, something Keira is familiar with. Her remaining blue eye slips down to the paper as it is slid across the table, brows raising slightly as she takes in the explanation. “That does sound unfortunate.” And her desire to help find the fellow rather promptly puts the Triads out of her mind as suspicious folk.

That blue eye returns to Tsai’s face. Keira doesn’t reach out to take the paper yet — instead, she tips her head toward the older woman. “And what would that something be? There are…conditions to my newfound talents, but I’m sure that can be worked through..” She doesn’t name those conditions — she’s quite sure Tsai will figure those out on her own, just as she figured out the worries about Kalik.

“SESA found Kalik’s latest shipment,” Tsai explains, inclining her head toward Keira. “Presently, the weapons are being held in Fort Jay for processing as evidence, but they will be transported by cargo plane to their central office in Kansas City eventually, as is procedure. I need you to recover the cache,” and Tsai spreads her hands, as if it's that simple.

“In exchange for that paper, you're agreeing to recover the guns Kalik, and return them to our safe-keeping. Whatever happens in the interim is your prerogative, Miss Ryans.” At that, Tsai lifts up her teacup and takes another slow sip. “If this goes well, perhaps you can replace our acquaintance in business transactions. The world is full of unexpected opportunities.”

For a time, Keira remains silent, quietly contemplating the implications of this exchange. No longer is she the woman of brash decision-making — at least, not often. She raises her brows, staring down at the paper for a moment.

Then, that blue eye raises slowly to Tsai’s face. “I need a few other things if you want this done right,” she starts, lifting her tea cup and taking another sip — still not reaching for the paper yet. There are arrangements that need to be made.

“To start, I need a new face.” Hopefully, Tsai understands the implications of that one. “My other ones are all wrapped up in my business, and for obvious reasons,” she explains, “I don’t want SESA on my tail.” That’s always been a stipulation of her ability use. “Someone who…won’t be missed.”

She lifts the cup, taking another polite sip of her tea as she waits for a response to her request.

“We live in a world of disposable people,” Tsai says with a raise of her brows, teacup lifted to her lips. She's silent just long enough to imply that's all she's giving. “You've come such a long way,” Tsai echoes, setting her tea down again, looking down at Keira’s cup, then back up to her. “I look forward to your success.”

Tea finished, Tsai looks to the open loading bay doors leading out to the alley, they back to Keira. “Unless there was anything else?”

Under normal circumstances, Keira would politely inform Tsai that there is no deal, and then she would be on her way. However, this is not a normal thing — this is the Triads, and this is has the potential to be a very lucrative business deal with a very prominent organization in the crime world.

And one of the key components of Keira’s personality is her great love of money. Not to mention, with the talk of the NYPD coming back, allies are likely to be just as valuable as the currency that Keira deals in.

She can find someone who won’t be missed. This is Staten Island after all.

After a moment of silent contemplation that Tsai is likely privy to, Keira takes a breath through her nose. She quietly finishes the last of her tea, before setting the cup down gently next to the piece of paper, then her fingers come to rest atop said paper.

Then, she’s pocketing the paper and raising to her feet, offering a small smile to Tsai. “I look forward to my success, too.”

“Then, Ms. Ryans,” Tsai smiles, “we are of one mind.”

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