Next Time, Shoot First


hana_icon.gif hector_icon.gif iago_icon.gif

Scene Title Next Time, Shoot First
Synopsis Two men come to a meeting that isn't the meeting they thought. They have information Hana Gitelman wants.
Date October 25, 2009

Rio Negro Province, Argentina

It's a cigar he has caught between thick fingers, smoldering away in the semi-light with ashy smoke billowing whenever he draws a breath from it, shallow and quick. Recently lit, with only half an inch burned away, it's a point of illumination as shadows around them begin to lengthen. Iago leans back against a car, which has concrete bricks where wheels used to be and spiderweb cracks over its glass windows, an elbow hooked back on its rooftop. His stance his casual, and the stare he has to spare in glances around the setting is lazy, near sleepy.

Nothing out of the ordinary for him. With the street mostly empty at the angle of town, despite the fine hotel not a block away, the urban landscape is a mix of concrete, shadow and metal. Boarded up stores, a shifted barricade at the end of the road preventing traffic, though pedestrians make fleeting figures moving through the area to get to sections of city with more life.

His all black wardrobe does nothing to camouflage him, too sharp and too dark for the indistinct shadows that define the street. If he's armed, it's all kept within the confines of his jacket and pockets, his hands free of weaponry - unless the cigar counts. Which, in the past, it has.

Clop clop clop clop clop. That's the sound metal horse shoes make against cracked pavement, with a brief seague into clopclop clop clopclop clop when they're kicked up into rounding the corner at a lazy canter. Why is Hector on a horse? Why not? Can't hotwire a horse or put one on cinderblocks, can you? The beast of burden in question is handsome if not particularly large, pale buckskin taken on a bluish grey cast over dark hocks in the fading light. It smells of warm hay and sweat. And money.

Which is fitting, you see, because the goatee'd man astride him looks like money. He is wearing small, rectangular rose-tinted sunglasses that he should have taken off an hour ago, and a tan three piece suit. The only concession he's made to the fact that he is on a horse are that the bottom portion are breeches-like and the tall black boots he has thrust into silver-cast stirrups, comfortable in their heel-toe set when his ~pony~ jounces to a somewhat scattered halt short of the car and walks itself in the rest of the way.

"Nothing down thataway either. The usual couple've crackheads and whores pawing after handouts."

Dark jacket and pants blending into the shadows, hair braided back so it's out of any possible way, an Israeli woman watches from the lee of a building that has seen better days, its brickwork cracked, windows shattered by stonethrowing vandals, door boarded over haphazardly, as if several planks had been torn out. She holds no obvious weapons, but they're there; blackened against the hour, those that need it, because Hana Gitelman intends to have the element of surprise.

Not necessarily to use it in the obvious way, however; she could. Two people, one on a horse; a great big distraction, that, which she could use to advantage. She does consider it. But she's not here for them; only for their information. So far. Which means that, once their sweep is completed and the pair are waiting with nascent impatience (presumably), all Hana Gitelman does is detach herself from the building that has been a protective shadow and step out into the edge of the street.

"Good evening, gentlemen," she says calmly, her accent decidedly not from any Latin country.

Hector gets a look, where he's perched on his horse, one of boredom and acknowledgment. Whether Hector expected him to find anything or to find nothing at all is a mystery. Good news, bad news. His mouth flattens out into a line, before he's bringing the cigar back up to it, a slice of teeth catching against it before the sound of foot steps, too close for comfort, snag his attention.

Taking his weight off the car, cigar smoke dispersing into the evening. A troubled look, now, somehow manges to work it's way into Iago's generally impassive expression, until white teeth shine in the coming night time in a slice of smile. "Buenas tardes. Herrera sending little girls to run his errands, now?"

"Er," says Hector, rather as if he's considering tacking, 'Scary foreign lady lurking in the shadows,' onto his list of local curiosities at the last second. Instead, despite briefly gone a bit squinty-eyed, when Iago doesn't spook neither does he, and he eventually opts for a loftier, "'ello," while his horse flicks his tail and noses its muzzley lip against rusty car bits to kill an itch and other things that horses do.

Fantastic highlighting job and taste in boots aside, there's nothing all that extraordinary about him or his steed, save perhaps for the prominant, stylized V scalded into the animal's rear. Iago isn't pulling out any weapons and so neither is he, even if he does tip his sunglasses down the bridge of his nose to better squint down the street over his shoulders after any other unexpected company.

The woman's smile might be a trick of the light, except there isn't really any to speak of; a smooth pull of lips up and then back to neutral, acknowledging Iago's remark and refusing to take offense at it. "Hererra is otherwise occupied," Hana allows. She looks back at Hector, a small twitch of expression meeting his lack of eloquence. Could be amusement, but it dies before it fully forms; in the end a note, and not much more.

"Some business in Neuquén," the woman elaborates, shifting her gaze back to Iago; and while her accent in general is anything but Hispanic, she pronounces the city name as a local might. "He would have been here, but then, it never was his errand in the first place." She's fearless, apparently; confident. Either a 'good' sign or a very bad one.

A slice of a glance is cut towards Hector, as if to confirm that he did sweep the area checking for people, right. Despite having missed this one. The question is not given voice, and Iago isn't really expecting an answer. Good sign, bad sign. He moves away from the car, now, towards the middle of the empty street, with his steps at an uneven kind of gait that could communicate a limp, an injury, subtle though it might be.

He's moving around her, separating himself from Hector and horse both. The dead smile keeps, as lifeless as an overturned fish in a stagnant pool. Iago spreads his hands, cigar and all, in a gesture. "A shame. I had looked forward to seeing him again."

The cigar is kept a hold of even as, swiftly, his hand ducks into the interior of the jacket to pull a pistol and swing it's aim towards her. Only somewhere between before and now, does his smile fade into a grim line.

« I might have missed an alley or two. Herrera is more rocket launcher to the shoulder than 'lurk under a dumpster,' don't you think? » inquired after Iago's back in curt German, Hector heels his mount 'round into a hoof-crossing turn at Hana's front that's probably a little sharp for the animal's liking. Left hand kept to Western reins, he tucks his delicate glasses away into his suit in the turning process, effectively masking anything else he might be grasping for in his study drawers suit coat from easy view until his pistol is out as well, and having it visible becomes the entire point.

Most people would be bothered by having two guns pointed at them from completely opposite directions. Hana doesn't bat an eye. Her own hands remain down, not splayed in any I mean no harm fashion, but held almost neutral. Almost. The casual curl of fingers against her side masks the black hilt of a knife — just in case she needs it soonest.

"Another day, no doubt," she remarks to Iago, turning her head enough to watch him on the periphery of her vision. "Provided you make no… ill-advised decisions in the meantime." Like doing anything more than just pointing that pistol her way.

The pistol remains steady, and Iago's arm has strength in it. No sway or hesitation, even if he does not squeeze the trigger. Whether he doesn't care as to what Hector is doing, or he trusts him to act without signals, Iago keeps his attention focused on the woman in front of him, his aim somewhere towards her chest. Neglected in his other hand, the cigar smolders away. German isn't replied to, only listened to.

Eyebrows lifting, it's with thinly veiled impatience that he asks; "What do you want?"

"…Just to be clear, are we to assume that shooting you is ill-advised, or — the other way around?" Polite inquiry from on high. That's Hector, who is packing an oddly antiquated revolver for all that his stout construction seems to be quite literally littered with all manner of unusual electronics. And an iPhone. Very fancy.

The horse lays his ears back; pricks them forward. Lays them back again and sidesteps restlessly into a stir of breeze up the scarcely occupied street. "Also," he tips the lazy wield of his weapon vaguely Iagowards, "what he said."

Hana smiles at Hector's words, though facing Iago as she is, the expression may be hidden from its cause. It's a thin, dark expression; nothing pleasant about it, though it might glance off the seeming of polite. The smile is one answer, all by itself. "Information," the woman says simply, to resolve the other question. "I'm… looking for someone, and I have reason to believe you know where I might find him."

There's a click as the gun is cocked, as if it were a tick of a clock that records how much time Iago is willing to give this conversation. Nothing else is particularly openly hostile, his posture that same kind of casual with which he addresses the world at large, including Argentinean stand offs or waiting for a meeting to begin. The gun angles a little in gesture.

"I am not a patient man. Quién?"

There's a second staccato click from the other direction, where Hector sets his mouth into a flat line and his horse shifts his weight and yawns carefully and sets to wrapping its tongue loose around the sweet iron of its bit. They're missing happy hour. :/

Hana continues to regard Iago steadily; her answer is even, measured, and brief. "Carlos Mendez," she supplies.

Something shifts, about as intangible as a new smell carried by the wind, and it's certainly not the stink of horse or distant urban fumes. Iago's aim remains steady for as long as it takes for him to dust off that particular name from his memory, and he doesn't shift his weapon even when a wide smile, if dubious in its sincerity, writes across his face. "Why didn't you say so?"

The cigar comes up, a shallow drag taken from it, and by the time smoke smoke is billowing into the stagnant dusky air, the pistol is lowering too. "Trying to catch a prophet, senorita?" A glance to Hector, and a brisk order in that same German, « Keep that on her. »

« Because she's fuckin' dodgy, that's why, » supplied unhelpfully in a British accent that does at least take some strides to find all the hard edges native to a more German tongue, Hector nudges his horse into another sidestep and muffled cloppy clop progress that takes him from three to rest at a more comfortable five o'clock round her back to Iago's twelve round the front.

For a few uneasy seconds man and horse are close enough for the warmth falling away from buckskin hide to be tangible through the chilly encroach of evening. Then he's up over the curb and out of reach again on the sidewalk opposite the one where he started, cold revolver leveled solid across the grip his left hand retains on leather reins. "If 'e were here he'd tell you you'll get your braid shot out through your face in a big tufty mess if you try anything."

There's another one of those thin smiles as Iago exchanges the pistol for the cigar. Her reply, however, is directed towards the man she doesn't turn towards — the one on the horse. The one at whose proximity she manages not to twitch or otherwise try to relieve the prickle between her shoulderblades, the instincts that protest having an enemy at her back. "Fortunately, I can figure that much out by myself."

Dark eyes blink just once. "Actually, I'm not interested in catching Mendez. There won't be anything left to catch when I'm done." The words of her last sentence carry a hint of snarl in their tone; the first time she's shown something other than perfect aplomb in this little encounter. Hana raises her chin slightly. "All I want is that information," she continues, in a more detached voice. It's a simple, small request. "Then I'll be out of your hair and never come back. So tell me, Mr. Ramirez — what do you want for it?" Whether the woman expects him to surrender the information easily — well, for all he knows, she might.

Iago and visible reactions are two things at a great distance. There is no visible acknowledgment as to that distraction in her demeanor, the flicker of a snarl, but he does undoubtedly catch it. Scratching his jaw with the barrel of his pistol, his nose wrinkles, mouth twists. "I have money. I have allies. I have a nice hotel to go back to. There is nothing in this wide world, senorita, that you can offer me."

Now would be the time they shoot her dead, but Iago's pistol never lifts again, after it had nudges against his bristled jaw. He ashes the end of his cigarette, takes another lazy breath of it, smoke curls out his nostrils. "Except, perhaps, to never come back, and that when you leave here— you make Carlos Mendez a dead man. A deader man than what he'd have the world to believe, si?"

"No tenemos una piscina," reminded this time in half-hearted Spanish, just in case Iago has forgotten and is not intentionally striking the one item he knows they do not have from their list of potential things that this strange woman might somehow provide them, Hector is rapidly losing interest now that it seems they might arrive at some sort of peaceful accord after all of this. With the creeping around in shadows and the flashy guns and the dick measuring.

His horse, at least, has settled into dull-eyed patience now that the wind has picked up enough to keep the worst of the flies off. He has sweet iron. He has the promise of a warm stable soon. The stout man on his back is not wearing spurs, and has in fact taken to scratching idly after atwitch somewhere up under the flop of his mane in surly silence. Life could be worse.

A crooked smile, little more than a tug of one corner of the Israeli's lips, greets Iago's declaration of nothing. She doesn't dispute it. The smile straightens out as he continues, still but a hint of grimly pleased expression. "Done and done, Mr. Ramirez," Hana replies. She glances just far enough aside to catch Hector in the edge of her vision, now that it seems like they may all even walk away from this; it isn't a stand-down, no change in posture or muscle tension to support such a thing; what she allows is a slight mental step back from the edge. The breeze tugs at the end of her braid but moves it little. "Where can I find him?"

"Cierra la boca," is calmly, if firmly stated in Hector's direction rather than Hana's, only indicative in the way his voice raises and sharpens like iron against stone, because his eyes don't leave the immediate point of interest. "I don't have information on Mendez on me," he points out, drawling and subtle in its sarcasm, fingers curling around the edge of his jacket to open it slightly as if to display empty pockets. "But I do have it. We keep track, as much as we find it— " A pause for word consideration, before his lip curls on, "difficult, to sneak up on one such as him."

The pistol is finally holstered, and he makes a gesture towards Hector with his cigar wielding hand, indicative of let's roll. Iago tucks his other hand into his pocket. "Why don't I forward you this information, senorita, down the same lines you contacted me, eh? You get rid of a thorn in my side, and if I see you again, I shoot first, ask questions after." He takes a step away. "I hope you like Suriname, this time of year."

No one likes Suriname, at any time of year.

'No, tú.' …Hector does not quite have the gall to say. He complies on both counts in perfect silence, actually, jaw clamped with a resentful, broody little sideways touch of light eyes and lowered brows and finely bristled goatee that's near impossible to pick up in the dark unless one should be on the lookout for such things. They don't ~tenemos una piscina~. 'If you'd listened to me the first time,' is something else he doesn't say when his mount backs up another step and a half, nostrils dished out into an uneasy flare after the sudden seize of tension clenched in through the bend in his master's knees.

Hammer let off with a careful carry of thumb over cool metal, he directs the horse into the start of a retreat and the nose of his revolver down past the lapel of his coat. One (1) somewhat dirty look is carried back over his shoulder at Hana in its deliberate drag and sink in time with lazy equine pacing, strongly indicative of the smaller of the two men's opinion on outsourcing murder, particularly as it relates to people who make a ball and cup trick out've one of their contacts and wait for them in the shadows. But a look is just that: a look, and his progress for Iago and the street puts her on the ass end of his horse soon enough.

Looks are like words: they don't hurt much, unless you let it happen. Sometimes it's impossible not to let; tonight isn't one of those times. She has what she wants, or near enough; the agreement is the first step, and if the second isn't followed through… Hana also has a slightly better measure of the two men, having seen them in person, and she won't be forgetting it any time soon. Or maybe ever. The woman inclines her head to Iago, affirming the terms of their agreement. "You won't see me," she assures him, also disengaging from the meeting, retreating in the direction from whence she came.

Given the manner of her entrance, that isn't as reassuring a reply as it could be.

Hana Gitelman walks back through the dark alleyway, the hilt of a black-bladed knife resting easily in her hand. She rubs her thumb over the leather wrapping, then unbuttons and pushes up the jacket sleeve, sliding the weapon back into its concealed sheath. Her gaze lifts to the dark sky, to the threads of digital connections more felt than seen. Just because she's waiting for information from Iago doesn't mean she can't also do some (more) searching of her own.

Carlos Mendez, cross-reference: Suriname.

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