ON1 and the Demon


asi3_icon.gif gideon_icon.gif

Scene Title ON1 and the Demon
Synopsis On the eve of the operation to steal back the Cestus prototype, ON1 makes a play to help with another job she's planning.
Date December 30, 2019

Howland Hook Terminal

Staten Island has seen better days, as everyone knows, but the horizon is looking up. While the MPs have started venturing inward, and criminals coagulating in certain spaces, the little kingdom that Gideon D'Sarthe has mapped out is reaping benefits- - legal by paper- - of the changes. In practice and in public he is doing a service to the island. In a way, perhaps he is. The Ghost Shadows aren't exactly bosom buddies, despite the quiet truce of established territory.

It was no news that Gideon was absolutely delighted at the news of the December raid of a Triad warehouse. The real estate owned by his group spiked in value, and Zhao was totally out of his hair now. Good fucking riddance.

Now he's got to worry about his successor, of course, but just maybe there will be a snippet of satisfying time between here and there. Just. Maybe.

"Take Matthews, see what DuBois can give us for it." Two feet perched on a footstool, Gideon angles back at his steel desk, one hand drumming the surface. The sounds of a conference call are interrupted by an abrupt noise, pitchy and warbled- -

"La-la-la-la-la-la- hhhhhh- - Salut, bebe?"


"Shush…" The sound of an admonishment comes as Gideon slides his other hand across the desk to deposit two padding feet and a bundle of white feathers. The cockatoo gambols across the surface, dragging beak along table. "It's nothing. Matthews. Lawyer. Today, merci." The call ends with the click of thumb to button, and Gideon turns his gravelly drawl to the prancing bird, now tapping its beak against a glass bead paperweight. "You love to make a fool of me, don't you? You know better…" His hand moves out. The bird taps its way over and snakes under the scratch of fingers, big black eyes shining.

A chime shakes its way into the quiet moment, phone vibrating against the table. Glinting eyes turn to scan the lit screen. It is not a number he knows- - not a number at all, actually.

He taps. Red, menu, block, delete.

That's the thing, about receiving calls from numbers that aren't numbers. It doesn't seem to stick.

For it's moments later that the phone begins to ring again. Who knows the actual number, if it's the same or different.

But the screen lights up again with a polite insistence: ON1 calling

Rising from his seat is aborted early. Gideon frowns, mouth twitching in a fine line as he looks to the phone on his desk. Knowing how the world around him functions in the days of now, he links his hands, elbows on the tabletop, steely look set on the blinking of the cell.

Pierre, crest up, taps over to the phone and leans in to pick it up with grabby beak and probing tongue. The bird prompts Gideon to answer it, setting once again aside on speakerphone. Recording everything in your own office- - it has its perks.

"Come on, then. Spit it out."

Brusque, at worst.

"Good afternoon, monsieur d'Sarthe."

Polite. But that doesn't count for much.

"I apologize for reaching out directly, but there's someone who I believe works for you that I need to get in touch with." The voice on the other end is feminine, light but precise. Like a scalpel. "I believe I have something he has been looking for, but he himself is quite difficult to get in touch with."

She lets out a quiet chuckle at that.

"Perhaps you would be willing to put me in touch?"

Professionalism goes a long way.

"That would depend… entirely on what you need," D'Sarthe runs a hand over smooth white feathers. A faint grinding picks up on his mic. "And who this someone is." Fingers scrub light against the bird's neck under the downy surface. "Everything has a price. I'm sure you know that. You sound experienced…"

That, and appears to be. The contact is not typical. The manner is. She must have a way about her. So many do.

Far, far away in a half-lit room, Asi lets her eyes lid. "The someone opts to call himself Redd," she explains. "I simply need an introduction. A time to call you back, or a phone number of his. From there, his decisions are his own."

She tilts her head back, eyes closing the rest of the way. The detached expression she wears is at such a contrast with the confident lilt of her voice. "I was thinking favor for favor. There's an infestation on Staten Island at the moment. Perhaps the MPs, one might argue, but with them you're trying to stay on good terms. Other established parties, though, foreign ones…"

Asi tsks. "They took a hit recently. But it wasn't at home."

"Put me in touch with Redd," she ventures, "and perhaps give him a few days off should we come to an accord, and I can assure you I can twist an arm off of that party I spoke of."

Mm. D'Sarthe sighs through his nose, running tongue over teeth. ON1 has to wait.


"You mean Zhao?" He questions. Of course, he expects so. "There is certainly a market as for the rest. I tend to do a lot of arm twisting, myself…" A distant twinge of amusement in that smokey voice. "On the off chance I'm mistaken, please, enlighten me."

No answer as to Redd.


"Between the loss of another major Refrain operation," Another? "Twice and in as many years— they will be hurting, yes. And that is not even counting Zhao's arrest." ON1 is nonplussed at having to elaborate. Gideon went first, so she'll politely follow suit and speak more directly. At least, to a certain point.

"Given how many degrees separated we are, there's no chance of this reflecting poorly on you when the Ghost Shadows take another hit to their pride and their assets. I don't intend to go easy on them." The tip of a cigarette is tapped end over end on the table before her, too soft to be picked up by the phone as it makes its rotations. "Their injuries should give you leverage to continue your own agenda in confidence. Even with the Ghost Shadows' head chopped off, it will still take the Americans time to deal with the rest of the body. It will put their eyes elsewhere for a spell."

A beat passes, and Asi pauses in her idle movements. "All I need is Redd," she reminds him. "For the use of his ability in a heist I'm planning. Between his experience and mine, it will be a short job." The filter of the cigarette is pinched between her fingers, rolled delicately. Any follow-up is left hanging in the air unspoken.

Much to the credit of his reputation, Gideon is silent as the woman on the other end goes down the list of notations and requests she possesses. He asked for directness, and he can respect the fact that he has gotten it. Dancing around when you want to trade information is a waste of everyone's time.

He does not miss her reference to the Americans. So she's a foreign entity, it seems.

"I'm not worried about performance. Of course it would be short, if we know the same man." A faint breath of a chuckle reaches her, even if the noise itself does not. In the background of his speech is a rasp avian noises, mimicking amusement, brief but close to the receiver.

"Any freelance work he decides to do, he needs to run past me." But of course. "Oni, is it?" D'Sarthe leans back in his chair, considering the air in his office, bright eyes unfocused in the drift of thought. "I like the way you pitch things. Respect goes far, cher…"

"I can send you the information to one of his recent burners…" The implication is that Redd keeps several on him; it won't work twice, but she can hash that out with him.

"Très obligé envers toi," the oni replies smoothly, as if this is a favor the demon is doing her out of the kindness of his heart. "I'll be sure to inform him I've reached out with your blessing." Asi pauses a beat, eyes narrowing at nothing. Of course she understands that d'Sarthe needs to keep tabs on this particular tool in his kit. It's why she'd reached out to him directly.

Or that's the excuse she'd now provide. Of course it was a matter of respect that propelled her.

Her voice is pleasant as she adds, "My contact information will be forwarded to you shortly. Send over the number today, and unfortunate news about the Ghost Shadow Triads' operation will be along to you not long after."

Redd knows how to handle himself, if this one is playing at something. Gideon won't have lost anything if she fails to deliver. No skin off his nose. Redd will simply torch the bridge and move on.

It's how it always goes. Something more jovial moves over D'Sarthe's voice, an eerie shift.

"I'll be waiting."

Her way of contacting him says more of her than anything else has; she has a means, finding him, on one of his personal lines. This one in particular… close to the collar. Impressive, though not fully convincing him it isn't abnormal.

"À plus tard." is the final note before the call disconnects.

Asi closes her eyes, nostrils flaring in silence marred only by a sharp exhale. She reaches over to the keyboard on the desk beside her, a pre-prepared correspondence shooting off to d'Sarthe's work email from one she'd set up particularly for this purpose. A tap of a key is all it takes.

She swallows back her reservations and reaches for a cheap lighter, swiping it off the desk's surface to light up the cigarette that's been waiting for her ever so patiently. The first flick of the lighter merits only sparks, but the second thankfully produces flame. When she exhales out forcefully again, she glances back up to her screen through the resulting smoke, the plans for the Nuojin He Jia heist still open for view.

Reaching out had been a gamble, but it was good that d'Sarthe had agreed. Otherwise, the hit already planned for tomorrow night would be entirely out of place. Asi rolls her jaw and looks down, resting her elbows on her knees as she loses herself in her thoughts for a while. When she makes it back to thinking about the phone call she'd placed just now, a quiet tone leaves her, a flicker of guilt visible in her eyes.

"Sorry," she says softly to the air, in lieu of the apology making it to the person it belongs to.

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