Killing Someone Without Their Permission


aviators_icon.gif logan_icon.gif sarisa_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif

Scene Title Killing Someone Without Their Permission
Synopsis Sarisa propositions one of the Vanguard.
Date July 16, 2010

Gray and Sons

There've been worse ideas.

This could quite well be one of them.

It's hard to say how long they've been parked on this particular stretch of street in Brooklyn, watching cars come and go, watching traffic whiz by and the streetlights turn off as dawn's light comes cresting over this affluent neighborhood. Long enough to know that no one has come or gone from the building with plastic-wrapped signage. The address matches the business card currently sitting on the dashboard for Gray & Sons, a watch and clock repair shop. But the front sign that once marked the business has long since been covered up. There's still stenciling on the front windows though, visible between the plywood boards that have covered them up.

It gives the appearance of abandonment quite clearly, but to the two men seated in this car parked under an elm tree shedding leaves onto the hood, there could be more conspicuous places to ask for back room dealings. Considering the fact that one of the two men in the car is now legally dead, following the lipstick marked business card could be the least of his problems.

Though why anyone would consider John Logan to be sufficient backup for a strange situation like this is hard to tell. Maybe Sasha Kozlow sees something in the former pimp and brothel owner that most don't, or — perhaps more likely — dead Russians have few options when it comes to backup.

Whether or not this was a poor decision, Sasha can at least say that he made it sober. Although his blue eyes have always retained Skoll's sharpness, it's the first time in weeks that his body has the dexterity and coordination to match. Brown hair slicked back and beard trimmed close to his jaw, he appears almost presentable, and although his clothes smell strongly of him, their odor is not entirely unpleasant. Either that, or the man in the driver's seat beside him has gotten so used to it that his nose has started to adapt to his companion's earthy musk.

He scrubs a hand over his mouth, lowers his eyes from the rear view mirror and focuses instead on the fresh clip of ammunition he's snapping into the bottom of his pistol. "I am going inside," he announces. "If I explode, you will tell Tania and Yustina for me?"

Logan should probably have been watching the building, and he was, for a while. Then the sun came out, frequent cloud cover edged away and morning angles coming in strong through the windshield, and he's more or less taken to sunning himself with his head tipped back against the leather seat and an elbow resting on open window. His button down shirt is more open than strictly decent, snowy white with evening accents of gold thread and loose cuffs, with silver of a similar shine wrapped around his thumb in a simple ring. The grey dinner jacket pulled over seems more after thought than anything else.

His eyes open again when he hears Sasha start to move, and angles a look towards the man in the passenger seat. Blankly. Then towards the building with a minor hint of doubt. "Yeah. Whatever. You've got three minutes to not explode," he says, head resting back again, fingers splaying, relaxing. "Then I'll check in." Unless he gets bored sooner than that.


A yellow cab comes roaring down the street faster than is legal, disappearing out of line of sight while Sasha and Logan discuss their plan of approach to the building. There looks to only be one entrance, given how squeezed the buildings are together, just those steps up to the front door, lots of visible sidewalk, trees, parked cars; flexible cover is the term Kazimir would've used, a bit outmoded in definition but so was he. It means that the terrain could be both an advantage and a disadvantage, could hide the enemy or help hide you from them.

Now a days they just call that unfavorable odds. Seventy some-odd years ago, colorful descriptions were much more fashionable.

"Two." A lot can happen in sixty seconds. Take, for instance, Sasha popping the passenger's side door open, ducking his head under the roof and climbing out onto the curb. He slams it behind him with enough force that the car is still rocking when he crosses in front of it and strides purposefully across the street at a wolfish lope.

As a general rule, he prefers back doors, but a quick assessment of the building's decrepit structure as he draws closer informs him that he can either choose between the front or the side — if a side door exists in spite of the narrow space between buildings. He risks veering off into the alley to investigate.

He misses radios.

Sss. Animals sneer in this way, baring teeth in a facetious display of irritation at Sasha's form leaving the rental car. Two indeed. Giving a soft sound of annoyance at the slamming shut of doors and other needless displays of aggression, Logan settles back into his seat again and watches the Russian make his long-limbed way across the road. Fingers curling and chin resting upon a loose fist. A little tense at the notion of some unwanted fireworks display, but not enough to bid the other man to forget this whole affair either.

Deceptive architecture allows the alley beside Gray & Sons to look narrower than it really is. Not wide enough to comfortable drive a vehicle down without fear of breaking off the side mirrors, but surely wide enough to walk down. While the front door of the shop looks abandoned, shuttered and windows boarded up, the back door is conspicuously open, propped that way with a cinderblock holding the door ajar. Here out of sight from the traffic whipping down the street, Sasha can see a clear enough way inside even if it's hard to tell how long that door's been wedged open like that.

Were it not for Logan having stayed in the car, Sasha would've had no hope of being alerted to what Logan sees out of the corner of his eyes. Through the spaces of the plywood boarding up the windows, where the stenciled lettering for Gray & Sons can still be partly seen, a shadow moves just too fast and deliberate to be a reflection, pacing around in front of the window in the same way someone who was trying to get a clear look at Logan's car may, a creeping right and left shuffle just barely visible behind the glare of the morning sun.

With Sasha having disappeared around the side of the building, well out of flail arms in warning range, Logan's presented with a choice on how best to proceed.

Sasha's path keeps him close to the building's brick exterior, sheltered by its shadow as he approaches the open door at a sharp angle, pace slowing. New York City isn't Grozny, but his time in Chechnya has given him plenty of experience when it comes to guerilla warfare conducted in an urban environment. This is his element — his ears are pricked and his nostrils flared, senses attuned to the fine sounds of glass, gravel and other debris crackling under booted feet inside the watch shop.

He stops and cants his head a few feet from the door, listening. A leather jacket and washed out jeans provide him with minimal camouflage in the dappled morning light and would be more of a danger if he wasn't holding himself perfectly still. For someone who views himself as an apex predator, he's being very cautious.

Logan doesn't move when he sees something moving in turn. Narrows his eyes a little as if to improve his vision through hazy morning sun, becoming hazier as cloud cover resettles, but at least it tells him one thing — nothing will probably explode. As for how best to proceed, how best to proceed apparently is to trust Sasha to take care of himself while Logan takes out a cigarette from its silver case and touches its end to flame. Then, takes out the pistol from his own shoulder rig to check it's clip in a similar manner that the other man just did.

He can't shoot the straightest, but he can at least handle the things, cigarette's filter firmly held between teeth, a fairy light of orange through the windshield. He gives the Russian his two minutes, or a rough enough approximation that has Logan remaining where he is for the time being.

Rustling winds is what Sasha hears, but only because of a frustratingly curious pigeon taking flight from the rooftop to land down in the alley, cooing and warbling as it noses around like a big winged rat on the old and split pavement underfoot. But once the bird's noises die down, there is something that Sasha can hear inside of the watch shop; the sounds of clicking, at first too subtle to discern against the city grit and backdrop cars, but soon enough becomes more evident to be the sound of typing; keys clicking in that precise and arrhythmic manner.

There's also the faint sound of soft soled shoes on a hardwood floor, the thunk and clunk of slow footsteps pacing around. There's at least two people inside, they'd left the door open, and one of them sounds like they're working giving the typing though neither of them sounds like they're particulary close. Nothing about this situation speaks in Sasha's favor, the timing, the numbers, the location.

With the satisfying snap of a clip slotting inside of a handgun coming with the equally satisfying smell of cigarette smoke, Logan can clearly observe movement inside of the building again now that he knows what to look for. There's at least one other person moving around inside of the building, not making much effort not to be seen judging from how they keep coming up to the windows; impatience is read in their posture and pace, Logan's seen enough people prowling like caged tigers (and a caged tiger or two!) to recognize the movement.

Life was easier when Kazimir Volken was still paying Sasha to stand around and look intimidating. He'd had a broader arsenal, then, and left negotiations to the people qualified to undertake them. People like Volken himself. Salucci. This is a problem that can't be solved with bullets, and it takes a conscious effort to relax the finger resting on his pistol's trigger when he takes one more step toward the open door and leans his shoulder against the brick facade.

If he can hear them, it stands to reason that they can hear him as well. "Have you been waiting for me very long?" he asks the door, but unlike his former employer he lacks the restraint to keep his tone neutral, voice coming out as a low growl edged with quiet irritation. If nothing else, there is no mistaking his accent. "I hope not."

Twenty seconds is a lot like two minutes.

They both have two in them.

Just as Sasha begins to talk, there's activity out the front of the watch shop. Out the silver car steps Logan, his gun concealed— if not as concealed as it could be— beneath the grey formal fabric of his jacket, and his car door shuts quietly in its frame, with a smooth click. He doesn't know if he's being watched, but it probably doesn't matter either way, or so Logan likes to convince himself. Pinching his cigarette between the V of his fingers, he blows out a stream of smoke as he moves at a stroll across the road, at an indirect kind of angle that will still carry him for the alleyway he saw Sasha disappear down.

Once there, his foot steps slow, pistol is eased out of polished leather.

"Come on in," is too chipper to be anything other than sarcastic, but the sound of a distant woman's voice doesn't quite match the tall and square framed man that suddenly intercepts Sasha in the doorway of Gray & Sons. For all that he's a bit round in the middle these days, Avi Epstein is at the very least no longer sporting a fashionable bruise on his face from where Jensen Raith punched him in the eye, the new sunglasses however are a minor consolation prize, though they're not as mirrored as his old ones.

"Skinny, Russian, got a gun," as if he were going over a checklist, Epstein offers a jerk of his head behind himself in the doorway as he steps aside, lifting one thick-fingered hand to sweep dark hair back from his brow. "C'mon in Boris, the tea's gone cold but I'm sure there's some more biscuits or whatever you people eat for breakfast kicking around."

Leaning his head towards the door, Avi looks down the alley, squinting as if that would help him see around the corner. "Your girlfriend coming too or is she just looking demure smoking in the car by herself?" That's a lot of female pronouns for John in one moment of conversation.

Sasha does not have to glance back over his shoulder to know that Logan is coming up behind him. He can hear his approaching footsteps with the same clarity he can hear Epstein's voice. Conflict makes a strange shape of his mouth, and there's a moment where it isn't immediately clear whether he's going to lower his weapon or level it with Epstein's chest and tap the trigger twice, but in the end the barrel is dipping downward, though he does not yet make any move to retire it the holster he wears under his jacket.

Blue eyes flick in the direction of the female voice. Coaxing Sasha into a confined space isn't any easier than backing a wild animal into a cage with a stick. He isn't moving. "I do not like games," he informs the man in front of him, "unless I am the rule-maker. What do you want?"

And Epstein will hear foot steps too, by the time Logan has deemed it safe enough to let his closer presence be known. His voice rings out a few seconds before he comes into view, shadow spilling out ahead of him, boots scraping along meandering steps on the gritty floor of the alleyway. "Interesting venue," cuts through in prim English accent, a step above his Brixton background but as always, it's a matter of time before that fades.

"Has he introduced himself yet, Sasha? Maybe he should. We only know he prefers Revlon's Fire and Ice."

There's a vacant mouth-breathing stare from Avi and over Sasha's shoulder to Logan when he finally sees him round the corner. There's no recognition from the face, for once Logan's reputation doesn't precede himself, but it's more his commentary that has Avi lost for a moment. Struggling with a sigh he looks back to Sasha, wondering how Sarisa talked him into this.

"I don't want shit, but if you don't crawl up in this creepy watch shop the lady who does is going to get up out of her comfy chair and strangle you with some hosery or something, I'm just the doorman." Lifting both hands in a helpless gesture of ineptitude, Avi takes one step inside and offers a gallant wave of introduction for Sasha and company to come in, though even as he's rising from it, Epstein's brows are furrowing in consternation as he pushes up the frames of his sunglasses with one finger.

"Sasha," speaks that femenine voice from before, "I'd appreciate it if we could talk face to face, or if you're more inclined to test Avi's infinite capacity for sarcasm you could stand there and listen to him try and berate you all day, but speaking from experience I can tell you it isn't worth your while."

The typing stops, followed by a creak, though no sounds of approaching footsteps depart that seemingly abandoned store. "Did you bring a friend? I guess I should have been more specific on the invitation, but that's my fault not yours."

"One of you is going to go stand in front of the other because so help me God I am not standing here playing telephone with your clandestine conversations." Avi jerks a look towards Sasha, muted reflections of the wiry Russian in each lens of his sunglasses. "You're a lot taller than the body we doctored up, you look shorter in photographs." Spy humor.

It's likely that Sasha doesn't know what Revlon's Fire and Ice is, but the look on Epstein's face tells him that the observation is a small victory for Logan — and, by extension, a victory for him as well. While he doesn't move inside the shop at Sarisa's request, he does her the courtesy of moving to fill the door's frame so she can see who it is she's speaking with. A jagged tooth of glass jutting out the frame of a nearby window provides him with a view of the Englishman at his back, though it's not to monitor his shoulder blades in case Logan experiences a change of heart and decides to drive a knife between them while he's distracted.

He trusts him more than that. "Watch him," he suggests, jerking his chin in Epstein's direction. To Sarisa: "It is dangerous to be alone. You know this, or you would not have brought your friend, no?"

There isn't much room for Logan to do any following, but he shadows out here in the alleyway, and does as asked by slanting his pale-eyed stare towards Avi Epstein passed the Russian's shoulder. There's a slice of a smile for the older man, but it dims quickly, pistol in hand as he tries to listen enough to what is being said inside. Difficult, muffled by walls and basic trigonometry. He flicks the cigarette in his other hand, sending dead ash and sparks flying to the ground.

"He just follows me wherever I go," is the demure answer from the blonde woman rising up from an office chair in what at the moment looks like a newly refurnished office than an abandoned watch shop. Shark gray suits Sarisa Kershner well, and the vest and slacks pairing of the two seems to give her a more business approach than Avi's leather jacket and jeans routine ever could. That Avi looks like he just rolled out of bed and threw on what he could find likely means that Avi Epstein is probably somewhere in D.C. right now, as complicated as that sounds.

"The world's a dangerous place, one night you go to sleep, the next morning you wake up and you find out you've died." Sarisa's attempt at humor comes off as threatening as she takes a few steps past the glass-topped desk she's appropriated into what was once the scene of Gabriel Gray's descent into psychopathy. "Trust me if I wanted you dead I wouldn't have gone through all this trouble, while some people I work with might appreciate a Rube Goldberg approach to wetworks I think your former comrades in the Berlin bunker can attest to my directness."

Avi's answer to that, of course, is just a big frown and a shrug that implies, I didn't kill nobody before his attention shifts over to Logan over Sasha's shoulder, looking him up and down behind the lenses of his sunglasses. At least, for the moment, Avi's relatively sure that nobody in this gathering is going to up and sock him in the face unexpectedly; deserving or not.

"If you insist on straddling the line, as it were, we can talk from here." Crossing her arms over her chest and leaning her weight against the corner of a white painted wall, Sarisa's chunk heels click against the floor as she shiftles her footing, crossing one ankle over the other. "I promised Elisabeth Harrison that the government wouldn't rest until everyone from Dreyfus' organization was rounded up or killed. I wanted to be able to play the moral high-ground with her when I smack her mouth off next week for something unrelated, that, and…" Sarisa's head dips down into a nod and her hands fold at her stomach, "I'd like to hire you out, off the record. Since you brought a friend it'd be untoward of me not to extend the offer."

Sasha's posture is tense but lacks rigidity. Sarisa will at least recognize that this makes him more dangerous than many of his comrades in Berlin — the absence of stiff muscles around his neck and shoulders ensures that any physical transition he decides to make will be smoother than someone standing firm with a steel rod for a spine.

"You are not as informed as you wish you were, I think," he tells Sarisa. "Charlie and I have made an understanding, but that is my fault, not yours." The corner of his mouth crooks up into a smile that shows his slightly yellowed teeth. "I know who you are, Sarisa Kershner," he adds, "and there will be— conditions, if I am to be accepting this job."

If being the operative word. A glance at Logan's reflection in the glass assesses the expression on the other man's face, searching for some indication of what he should do next. He really shouldn't be the one doing the talking.

But he is the one in the doorframe, and regardless, Logan seems to be letting him talk. Maybe he believes in Sasha's skills. Maybe he wants to see what the other man does. A shaped eyebrow goes up, and there is some defensive posture to the way Logan's spine straightens a fraction as he stops paying attention to Avi and starts looking towards the suit-clad woman stepping up on his territory. As it were. His expression is neutral, but there is steel and ice in it too.

It switches to the back of Sasha's head when the man answers. "Sorry— perhaps I'm the last to know. What job?"

Avi's brows raise at the word conditions and Sarisa can't help but offer something of a smug smile to his insistance. Nobody seems to be answering Logan's question either, frustratingly. "Whatever arrangement you made with the former members of team Charlie isn't actually what I care about, what's right hasn't always been my perogative. What's necessary is a lot more my way, and right now it was necessary to shake you out of wherever you've been hiding to get you to come here."

Unfolding her hands and leaning away from the wall, Sarisa's blue-eyed stare follows Sasha's gaze as far as she can out towards the sound of Logan's voice before she gives up entirely on the hallway conversation and steps out of Sasha's frame of sight, her heels clunking on the hardwood flood to somewhere deeper into the repurposed shop.

Avi offers a look to Sasha, then lifts up one hand to scratch at the back of his own ear as he moves more out of the doorway, still keeping an eye on Sasha and his high-cheekboned consort, but at least being two things Sarisa appreciates; quiet and out of the way.

"I need a doctor, Sasha, and a spy. I'd gathered that you might be able to do both of these things individually or together?" Sarisa's voice carries through the surprisingly favorable acoustics of the watch shop, acoustics that she has yet to realize Gabriel and Eileen tested once before here. She might not have appropriated the building for herself if she'd known.

Sasha takes a step back and to the side, making room for Logan in the door in such a way that it doesn't obscure his view of Epstein. He tracks Sarisa's progress through the shop with his ears rather than his eyes now that she's out of sight, saying nothing at first. Spying isn't something that he has very much experience with, but Grigori's plans worked out well enough— up until the part where Ethan Holden dropped him out a window and into a snow bank, leaving him with injuries that he would still be recovering from if it wasn't for Peter Petrelli's ~healing touch~.

This time he looks to Logan more directly for guidance.

Direction of attention and to some subtle degree, authority, isn't reacted to for a second, long enough to make sure that Sasha isn't about to answer. Nor is he about to say no, apparently, or whatever it is in Russian. Nyet. Nein? This registers, briefly, as subtle surprise in Logan's expression, but it's shelved entirely. A last exhale of smoke is released before Logan is moving passed Sasha, entering the dark mouth of the side door and the musty watchshop, a look up and down towards Epstein before he's seeking out the figure Sarisa is making in the gloom.

"He's not very good at it. Cold hands." Doctoring, supposedly, as opposed to spying. "Shit bedside manner." Logan's gun points nowhere dangerous, aimed for the ground, but clasped tightly and surely, safety on. The scent of smoke and cologne rides with him.

There's a pause designed as if to allow Logan's presence to be settled as something not just there to watch Kozlow's back for him, sweeping a look up and down Sarisa. "I think you're going to have to get into detail about the nature of this offer, Miss Kershner. It's rude, innit, killing someone without their permission. Or that of their employer."

Sitting down on a leather sofa straight out of a cheap Ikea catalogue, Sarisa seems to have arranged this place to her tastes in the time since Gabriel Gray last looked around his old haunt. Sitting with one leg crossed over the other and a folder laid across her lap, she squints up at the slickly dressed and vaguely cigarette smelling Brit coming in ahead of Sasha. "I had no idea that former Vanguard operatives had agents, but I guess everyone who'se a valuable commodity has one these days."

Leaning forward, there's an offer of a hand up to Logan, blonde brows lifted and a smile spread across the shark's face. "Sarisa Kershner, CIA Special Activities and Operations Director of Frontline New York." With her attention squarely angled on Logan, it's up to Avi to offer a grunt of suggestion to Sasha and a bob of his head down the hallway. It's that loving pantomime of get in there, Godddamnit that is so clearly conveyed with cave-man noises.

To say that Sasha is offended on Gabriel's behalf isn't entirely accurate. It isn't even halfway accurate, but he is — at heart — an animal, and animals respect territory if nothing else.

This isn't Sarisa's. The fact that it belongs to someone else, someone that the Russian would rather avoid, contributes to his reluctance to step inside. What ultimately has him venturing deeper into the building isn't Epstein's persistence, but the fact that his loyalty to Logan (at least in this instance) trumps his instincts.

Logan's indifference to the venue is about the same breed as his indifference to shaking the woman's hand. His introduction is far less an impressive string of information and titles, switching his pistol from one hand to the other, as opposed to holstering it, and moving forward to clasp his hand with her's as he introduces himself as; "Logan." Less a brisk shake, more of a squeeze, and as opposed to negation, it's a gentle warmth of serotonin-induced mood altering that accompanies the contact. He usually prefers such touches as parting notes.

It seems a little more necessary to begin early. In the dim light of the converted building, his eyes seem greener than they were a second ago, but bleach out again when he pulls his hand away. "Likewise, I had no idea that the CIA would be interested in doing much more than trapping the Vanguard in boxes. You can see why my friend is a little reluctant."

The only telltale sign that Sarisa's end of the handshake was anything other than what it seemed on the surface is the pinpoint narrowing of her pupils, as if suddenly staring at a bright light. Maybe it was a reaction to the seratonin, maybe it was to compliment the healthy blush crossing her cheeks, but she seems mixed with levels of both smug appreciation and contentment. "Every tool has a use, even broken ones," Sarisa admits as she leans back onto the sofa, "though don't mistake this as a negotiation mister Logan, your friend there is on yes or no footing."

Brushing a lock of blonde hair back from her face, Sarisa turns her attention to Sasha. "You're an enemy of the State, Sasha, or were. That status allows you a certain credit where resistance to the United States Government is seen as fashionable. Now I'm not asking you to do anything outside of the boundaries of your own personal skills, but I am politely asking you to aquiesce to the request I'm about to make, because the alternative finds you matching that news report."

The back door to the watch shop clunks shut and heavy footsteps brings Avi Epstein walking up into the mouth of the hallway, arms crossed over his chest and shoulder leaning against the wall as he casually observes the conversation.

"I need you for two things, Sasha. They're mutually exclusive, so you're welcome to choose the one you're more comfortable with…" Moving the folder in her lap aside, Sarisa's brows furrow together and her attention follows the documents. "Ideally I'd like you to consider joining Frontline," because that has to be a joke. But when blue eyes sweep to Logan, then over to Sasha, it almost seems like she's serious. "We're following an initiative called Operation Einherjar, whereupon Frontline's thin ranks are bolstered by individuals with… colorful backgrounds." Folding her hands in her lap, Sarisa tilts her head forward and then lets it cant to the side.

"It's still a few months out, and we'd need to construct a new background for you to use as a cover while on duty, but your face would be kept from the public under a new article of National Security protecting the families of Frontline operatives." Therein lies the shark's smile. "Speaking of your family… I hear you have some back home, don't you?"

Whether or not Sarisa intends it as a threat, the expression on Sasha's face darkens visibly at the mention of his mother and sister back in St. Petersburg. A callused thumb trails along the edge of pistol's grip, and it might not be difficult for Logan to imagine what the other man is thinking of doing — especially not if he cares to glance in his direction and make a guess at what's happening behind his eyes. His jaw sets, and he is silent.

Initially. "Einherjar," he repeats. "Norse. For naming conventions, a very bad history." It's neither a yes nor a no. The only commitment he makes is to remain in the room and keep his weapon trained on the floor rather point it at Sarisa's head. If he chose to, at this distance, he wouldn't miss.

There is a glance in Sasha's direction, remembering well enough what happens when certain trigger words are used — it doesn't even have to be a threat. Considering the man has a live weapon in his hand, Logan imagines that Sarisa got off lightly. His spine and shoulders make tense lines beneath his jacket, but his expression is tamed into neutrality. It's a simple equation — if Sasha starts loosing bullets, he probably will too. And vice versa.

For now, he's quiet. Maybe because this isn't a negotiation. Or it still is, to him, and better negotiator's know when to be silent and let the other one talk. He can't help a pull of a smirk at his mouth, disbelief at the proposal on the table.

"For now," either Sarisa is a remarkable poker player or severely underestimates the danger she's in right now, "the second offer is the least enticint but also the least likely to put you out of your element. There's a terrorist organization, pro Evolved, operating God knows where in this city called Messiah. They only recruit Evolved members, we have no idea who all of their membership is, but as far as we're aware they have been making a point to recruit Evolved apprehended by the government's detention institute."

Leaning forward on the sofa, Sarisa looks briefly over to Logan, then back to Sasha. "We could arrange for you to be taken, let information slip, and then provide them with an opportunity to pry you from captivity and entrust you into their ranks. All we're looking for are names and faces and locations of import. You're probably accustomed to the operation style, even if you didn't participate in that directly for the Vanguard during your tenure."

Glancing down to the folder again, Sarisa picks it up and leans forward to lay it down on the glass-topped coffee table in front of the sofa. "That's all the information I have on your mother and sister," and judging from his last reaction she tries to bring it up as diplomatically as possible. "If you agree to play ball with us on either of these assignments, I'll see to it that they're cared for. I don't know the exact arrangement you and Volken had, but intelligence thus far indicates that there was some sort of dependency that carried over to Carlisle Dreyfus?"

Blue eyes dart from side to side between Logan and Sasha, and Sarisa looks momentarially expectant before she adds, "If you play along, we'll concede to either help them out however you'd prefer, or leave them alone. Your call."

Sasha lifts both his brows at Sarisa in response to her assessment about what he did and did not do during his tenure with the Vanguard. Skepticism etches hard lines across his face, and to Logan he says, "Miss Kershner is not very well-informed." He tips his head to the side, producing a low crack where his spine meets the base of his skull, and then rolls his shoulders to alleviate some of the tension building there.

Footsteps carry him across the room, closer to Sarisa on the sofa, and adopting a position near Logan's side, he tucks his pistol down the front of his jeans, leans forward and braces both his large hands against the table to put him roughly at the woman's level.

"You do not think they will be suspicious?" he asks. "First I am dead, then I am alive again. Convenient."

She's just part of an organisation dedicated to intelligence gathering, Sasha, don't be so expectant! says a wry lift of Logan's eyebrow in response, but he's otherwise not amused, nor putting his gun away even as Sasha does. Turning side on to Kershner as Sasha strolls up, Logan casts a glance back towards Epstein just to make sure he's still there and not about to tase anyone. His free hand goes out, now, fingertips only just touching just above Sasha's elbow. It is both possessive and protective, the gesture, but one of demand to be heard too.

And he doesn't mind that the other two can hear, when Logan makes this part clear: "You don't need this." Which doesn't mean he doesnt't want it, naturally.

"Terrorists are by nature suspicious, but they're also short-handed. There's a very small population of Evolved, by ratio, to non-evolved in the United States. Their resources are therefore minimal, and you have an impressive — if not somewhat bleak — resume. That your death was faked will feed into their conspiracy theories about black operations and secret laboratories and whatever half-truths they want to believe. You can play up whatever level of ignorance you prefer, and then use your… I don't know, wits or charm to play the rest of the way."

Sarisa sits back, folding her hands over one knee. "I'd like to think it sounds simple enough. You can infiltrate Messiah and report your findings back to me," and that seems pointedly specific, "or you can sign up for the Frontline recruitment, spend two weeks at a training facility in Maryland getting aquainted with a three billion dollar piece of military hardware and maybe do something constructive with your life and your time. Who knows, maybe you'd come to like playing the part of a hero, even if it's for a country that would rather see you dead. No good deed goes unpunished, after all."

Rubbing her palms together, Sarisa turns blue eyes up and over to Logan. "I'd extend both offers to you, mister Logan, but I think we both know I'd have better luck teaching a dog to meow. Unless of course, you'd like to surprise me?"

It's Sasha who takes the initiative when it comes to surprising Sarisa. The energy building inside of him erupts in a thunderous explosion of glass and wood, coffee table abruptly upended. Broken shards skitter across the floorboards and glitter in the half-light even after they've lost their momentum and come to rest.

The driving force behind the Russian is not so easily stilled. He gives the shattered piece of furniture a sharp kick that resonates through the makeshift office, then turns away to pace the length of the room, though he makes no immediate move toward the door that he and Logan came through.

He doesn't agree with the other man's verdict, as much as he'd like to. Heavy footsteps splinter wood and crunch through a sea of broken glass, cutting a swath through the destruction before he doubles back on it. Frustration comes off him in waves.

As soon as that tension comes winding up Sasha's arm, felt beneath Logan's palm, the Brit is pulling his hand away just as the table goes end over end, taking a step back as he watches Sasha pace out his anger. "Perhaps we all need a little time to consider things," he says, voice hard before he breaks his stare on Sasha to consider Kershner. "I don't do well with bootcamp, no — you have to get up far too early. But perhaps there isn't another arrangement we can come to.

"But we are leaving," he adds, spoken not to the man blocking the exit, grip on pistol twitching a little.

For all her years trying to hone that blaise expression of impassiveness, Sarisa does jump in a startle when the table is flipped over. Her blue eyes go wide and while Avi is very quickly reaching inside of his jacket to keep a hand on what is likely an overcompensatingly large gun in his underarm holster, Sarisa's hand is pressed against her throat in what on the outside seems like shock, and in actuality is the means to curl fingers into the white silken scarf that is loosely tied around her neck.

Breathing out slowly through her nose, she raises a halting hand towards Avi, her own brows furrowed and attention squarely on the man who just a moment ago threw a table-sized tantrum through the room. That personality quirk wasn't quite in her files, and it shows on her face. In fact, there isn't much of anything on Sasha in her files, which is likely why this game of hunt and peck has been going on as long as it has.

"You have thirty-six hours to consider my offer," Sarisa finally states once her throat loosens enough to actually speak without sounding startled. Swallowing tightly, her brows lower into a furrow and her lips downturn into a frown. "The number for this business on that card I gave you has been redirected to my personal cell, you can reach me at any time with your answer. If I don't hear back from you," and she specifies Sasha with her eyes, "within thirty-six hours neither of us will likely approve of the aftermath. But I can assure you it will be definitive."

Looking to Avi, Sarisa nods once and for all that he feels they'd both better be served by never having started this mess, Avi takes a step back with feet crunching broken glass under his snakeskin boots so as to get out of the way of the hall that leads to the back door.

Sasha's upper lip peels back around a soundless snarl, shoulders hunched and bristling. The heel of his hand glances off the nearest wall with a resounding thump to punctuate his displeasure before he's showing Sarisa his back and taking the lead. It's fortunate for both men that by the time he arrives at the door, Epstein is no longer blocking it. The same hand that had slammed against the wall finds the handle and thunders it open, admitting a wide beam of morning light into the watch shop.

He has a temper, but it isn't so out of control that he doesn't wait at the threshold for his agent to catch up.

"He's going to be like this all day now," is facetious complaint, out from an easy smile that doesn't even touch the icy and unblinking stare that Sarisa gets from the former pimp, last a couple of seconds before breaking it, some decision made. Logan makes a show of putting his gun back in the holster beneath his jacket, hands splayed in indication of a lack of threat, before he's following the path that Sasha cut in far calmer steps.

Neither Kershner nor Esptein are spared reprieve from parting touches, however— a return of the warm flush from before for the former, fading as fast as it comes, and Avi will feel his heart seem to twist uneasily in his chest in response to needless adrenaline as Logan moves passed him, a nod to Sasha to indicate that he's following, and to go.

Crunching glass underfoot, the scuff of Italian shoes across the hardwood floor, creaking door hinges and distant footfalls on asphalt. That's how Sasha and Logan's departure sounds, in the awkward stillness of Gray & Sons. Sweeping a piece of glass away with the toe of his boot, Avi Epstein tries as hard as he possibly can to keep his internal monologue internal, but…

"So," he mumbles, scratching the back of his head, "that went— "

"Not a word."

She's going to be like this all day now, too.

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