Fire + Water


kain_icon.gif ling_icon.gif

Scene Title Fire + Water
Synopsis Kain Zarek approaches an employee of Rapture who's more than she appears, about becoming something far different than she really is.
Date July 3, 2009

Rapture, VIP Lounge

Perhaps being a bartender and waitress wasn't what Ling had in mind for her life, not after her upbringing, certainly not after discovering what special talents she has. But, as the old addage goes, opportunity knocks when least expecting. The sound of her knuckles on the door of Club Rapture's VIP lounge, however, wasn't exactly what the addage had in mind.

From up here, the pulsing and rythmic beat of the dance floor seems like a dull ache threatening to pound its way through the thick walls and bulletproof glass. From up here, the strobe lights and colored lasers that dance across sweaty and undulating forms in the dark recesses of Rapture are little more than vague suggestions of flesh on sweat on rythm.

Rapture's VIP lounge is a place few people get to see when visiting the club, only the privliged and those friends with the club's owner ever wind that rod iron staircase to the glass room two stories up from the dance floor. The VIP lounge is, in many ways, some sleek combination of office space and dimly lit getaway. A glass-topped desk with its back facing the dance floor glows with the light of a flat-screen monitor resting atop it. Black leather furniture occupies the opposite wall, and a reinforced glass floor allows a dizzying look straight down underfoot to the clientelle.

One lonely silhouette keeps company with the shadows of the lounge, face half-lit by the multi-colored neon vomit going on down on the dance-floor below. Stringy, blonde hair frames a square, stubbled jaw, and blue eyes as pale as they are cold finally sweep away from that vista. Somehow, the cocksure smile and quirk of one dark brow as he looks up and down the waitress coming in to the lounge seems to clash against his otherwise grim demeanor. "Well, now ain't you a sight for sore eyes, darlin'."

Kain Zarek. She knows the face, knows that thick southern accent like a bad head-cold. He may not run Rapture, but he's here far more often than the owner is, much to the dismay of the female wait staff. The same drinks are requested up here in the VIP lounge every night — a bottle of scotch, a bucket of ice, and please get the hell out now.

People say he used to be a charmer.

A sigh escapes Ling's lips, as they often do when faced with Kain. Her expression remains as stoic as she can manage, making sure to shut the door carefully behind her as she steps fully into the room. She eyes him for a second, giving him one more moment to get another comment out before she approached closer with his usual order. "Scotch, and ice," she rattles off as she steps forward, feigning a smile. "The same as ever."

Same as ever. It's depressing, in a way, that he's as much a creature of habit as his father had become. Kain's eyes slip shut, head tilting to the side as he exhales a slow sigh, reaching inside of his jacket to procude a metal cigarette case. "Don't go an' take off yet." The case pops open with a click, his thumb rolling one black-papered cigarette out and between two fingers. "Ah've actually got somethin' t'talk t'you 'bout."

Sliding the case closed, Kain tucks the unlit cigarette between his lips, then returns the case inside of his dark suit jacket. "Ah' don' mean t'cme off soundin' like a bit of a stalker, but Ah've had m'eyes on you for a bit…" okay, so maybe he does sound a bit like a stalker. "Professionally," he adds, because that makes it all better.

Motioning to the black sofa with a free hand, Kain produces a lighter with the other, clicking open the top and rolling the flint all in the same motion, creating a blue-gold jet of flame that licks the end of the black-papered cigarette. As he breathes in a hot lungfull of ash, the tip glows a bright orange, followed by two jets of smoke exhaling from his nostrils.

She watches the man for a moment, wrinkling her nose at the smell of smoke, somewhat ironically. Usually, when someone above her wanted to talk, it meant one of two things. THe problem, of course, was that with Kain, she couldn't begin to tell which way this was going to lean. Ling folds her arms across her chest, waiting another moment before taking a step towards a couch - Far be it from her to ignore her boss.

"Oh?" she intones, looking over at Kain as she adjusts her black skirt and takes a seat. She had a hope that, if this wasn't going to be in her favour, that it would be something quick, something that wouldn't prevent her from the customers she still had downstairs.

"We all got bosses," Kain says somewhat obliquely, the cigarette between his lips bobbing up and down with each sylable, "you got yours," he motions out the window with a flippant wave of one hand, "Ah've got mine." Turning his back on Ling, Kain wanders over to the angled glass windows that overlook the dancefloor, reaching up to twist the blinds closed, dipping the room into muted shadows and light spilling only from dingy yellow table lamps that hide the corners of the room. Somehow, that pale blue-purple lightning from below that fades up through the glass floor only deepens that darkness.

"Mah boss is a connected man, ain't much that goes on here in the ol' rotten apple that he ain't got his eyes on. But he's a busy man, so he sends me to handle some'a his affairs." Pinching his cigarette between two fingers, Kain turns around and motions with it towards Ling. "He wants t'make you an offer of employment. You've got talents, girl, talents most people ain't comin' close to. People with gifts like yours, they're in high demand an' all that."

Pursing his lips, Kain regards the glowing tip of his cigarette for a moment before blue eyes flick up to Ling's far darker ones again. "So here Ah'm wonderin', how much do you know about Triads?"

Kain's little speech seems harmless enough, at first. He only speaks truth, after all. But almost reflexively, she narrows her eyes at the mention of her talents. She watches the news, she news what a loaded term that can be. It worries her a bit, honestly, though she avoids letting that show too much on her face. Instead, she quirks an eyebrow, tilting her head to the side just the slightest bit.

"The Triads?" Ling repeats, sounding a little bit annoyed. "I'm afraid I don't, no more so than any other person might," she responds, running a hand through her hair as she glances over at the glass. "I hear some rumors, of course, about Chinatown, but little more". She sits in her seat a bit, drumming hr fingers on the armrest. "You have me interested in what the triads have to do with a businesswoman, though, Kain".

She wasn't lying either, at least not this time. It was an odd question, even if he was just being racially insensitive - something that wouldn't totally surprise Ling in the least. A job, though, something better waitressing, was something she was willing t put up witht hat for, though.

"Ah work for Daniel Linderman, maybe you've gone an heard of him." The sarcasm in Kain's tone of voice is thick and syrupy, it matches the devilish smile of too-white teeth flashed across his face for a moment. But the name Linderman starts to make everything come into sharp clarity and focus when juxtaposed with the Triads. "Danny wants you t'come do some contract work for us, put that fancy trick of yours t'good use," no hiding what he knows about, no feigned ignorance, he plays it up for all its worth. "See, Danny had a deal goin' with the Triads here in the city. They work for him, they pay a cut, and they don't get stepped on. But, see, the ol' boss Chang got himself offed a few months ago by the NYPD, now his two bat-shit crazy kids," bat-shit crazy, he has a southerner's way with words, "have taken charge, and they ain't playin' by the books anymore."

Bringing his cigarette to his lips again, Kain draws in a slow breath, smoke lingering just behind his teeth before it slowly drifts out his mouth, the ember on the cigarette's tip fading gradually. "We ain't sure what they're up to, but it looks like they're makin' a play to take over our interests on Staten Island. Word on the street has it that they burned down a rival business there, an' Ah'm figurin' that's just a start."

Pulling the cigarette away from his mouth, Kain uses it to gesture, letting the glowing ember draw focus instead of his hand as he paints a line of smoke in the air. "Danny's got his eye on you, 'cause you've got everything it'd take to get a foot in the door on Liu Ye's new little regieme. See, he's tryin' t'build an army of special people, but he ain't takin' just any ol' nationality." Dark brows rise up in a see where I'm going expression.

"Pay's five-hundred thousand up front, twenty grand a week, and another five-hundred grand if you finish everything we need." No details yet, of course. "What'dya say?"

"Linderman," Ling once again repeats, looking at Kain with narrowed eyes. It was always an unsettling name to hear, regardless of the context. In this instance, she might have felt a shiver down ehr back if she wasn't a stronger woman. Instead, she eyes Kain for a moment, standing slowly from the couch. After she straightens her attire again, she crosses her arms, taking several deliberate steps towards Kain. "I would ask how you know of my… 'fancy trick', as you put it," she comments, beginning to pace up to Kain's side. She believes it a futile question, however, and instead continues on.

"The Triads aren't a group I ever wanted to get involved with back home. The same is true here." She looks over at Kain, her stoic expression lifting to a sly grin. "I am a businesswoman, first and foremost, Kain. I'm afraid I don't move headlong into untested waters without an idea of what to expect." She puts her back to the wall, looking back out the glass. "What is it you would have me do?"

Grimacing, Kain wags his cigarette back and forth in the air like a chiding finger of a stern parent, "A magician doesn't tell ya how the trick's done, darlin'. Consider Danny like a big ole' white-haired magician." The smug smile that creeps up on his lips fades as he puts the cigarette back where a smile once was, then paces over to the glass-topped desk, picking up a manilla folder in one hand. He turns, eyeing Ling briefly, then walks over to the couch and drops the folder on the seat next to her with a slap of paper on leather.

"We want you to infiltrate the offices of one of the Triad's upper echelon, a doctor by the name of Bao-Wei Cong." A name that has been in the mass-media as of late, a scientist who published a well-recognized paper on the Evolved. "He runs a clinic out of Chinatown, word has it he pursonally tutored Liu and Song Ye when they were jus' tiny ol' engines of destruction, instead'a full grown ones." Breathing in a quick breath of smoke, Kain exhales it through his nostrils in two thin streams.

"His secretary is goin' to be quittin' her job pretty soon," Kain's head quirks to the side, "so there's goin' to be an opening for someone with clerical skills that can go on in and keep his business running. Ah' figure that's right up your alley. But what we really want you t'do, is keep an eye on ol' King-Cong an' whoever else he has dealings with, and keep a running report back to us."

Dark brows lower slightly, and Kain's scrutiny on Ling becomes a little more focused. "You got espionage in your blood, from what Danny tells me, so Ah'm figuring your little smoke n' mirrors trick will come in handy to keep the information flowing, an' ol' Cong out of the loop."

Ling wrinkles her nose, looking Kain in the eye. She was as annoyed as ever by his mannerisms, and still unsettled by the knowledge he exhibited, and by his almost casual reference to Linderman. She is quiet as she steps from the wall, lost in thought as she idly steps forward. On the one hand, it wasn't like she was being asked to do anything she hadn't done before. She was also confident that, even as a secretary, it would be a step up from… here. She had no love for being a 32 year old waitress, not with her training.

On the other hand, she knew she was being asked to mess with the Triad. She was no stranger to working outside the letter of the law, but the Triads were a level she had never particularly wanted to be involved with. She had heard the stories when she was back home for school, when she was still working in China. Rumours, heresay, but none of it pretty. Still, it was simple secretary work on the front, and behind that… she had avoided being caught before, and if she was smart, that wouldn't be a problem this time either.

Taking no more measures to hide what it was clear Kain already knew, Ling finally looks up from her thoughts, once ore staring at Kain. As a steam of smoke slides though the air, she reaches up with her left hand, the smoke seeming to wrap around it as he finger changes, blending in with the smoke. "Do I have any assurances of safety?" she asks, hoping that she wouldn't have to negotiate with Kain, for whatever good it would do her.

Cutting a smile across his face, Kain looks at the way her finger changes, twisting in the smoke and becoming part of that ephemeral blend. "I think you got a pretty strong assurance built right in there," he notes with a nod of his head, "but if'n you want some backup, Ah'll see what strings Ah can pull, put somebody on watch of you, in case things get hairy. In face," the look of a smirk that replaces Kain's smile is unnerving, "Ah' think Ah' know just the big ol' gorilla for the job."

Biting down on the filter of his cigarette, Kain folds his arms and shifts his weight to one foot, watching Ling closely for a moment before turn ghis back to her again, focus shifted towards the windows that overlook the dance floor far below. "So, what'dya say, Smokey?" He regards Ling over his shoulder with a crooked smile, one dark brow raised quizzically.

She finally uncrosses her arms, mirroring Kain's look out to the dance floor as her hand returns to normal. Her reservations, as few as they might have been, have quickly begun to slip away. It fact, aside from dealing with the Triad, it sounded exactly like what she'd been hoping for for a few months now, at least to degree. The secretary job wasn't the business position she'd been craving, but unable to grasp over the last few years, but it was certainly a start. She turns back to face Kain, and once more approaches him with a smile.

"Alright. You have a deal," she replies, giving a slight nod. "You seem to be rather… acquainted with Mr. Linderman," she continues, stopping short of where the man stands. "Do let him know that I appreciate the opportunity."

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