Place Your Bets


cardinal_icon.gif devi_icon.gif

Scene Title Place Your Bets
Synopsis Devi meets the welcoming committee of Staten Island - Cardinal. Business or pleasure? That's up for debate.
Date August 9th, 2009

The Angry Pelican

A stone's throw away from the little makeshift harbor on the foreshore of the Arthur Kill river is this little even more makeshift bar. Little more than a shack, the interior barely fits more than its own stock of alcohol and kitchenware, and the seating spaces are outdoors under a rickety wooden cover decorated with fishing paraphernalia and nets. The chairs and tables are broken down cheap things that look like they've been scavenged from all over the place, mismatched but comfortable with some cushions or blankets thrown over them. The ground is sandy and dirty, as if the beach extends right under your feet, and despite being outdoors, the place is cluttered. Simple alcohol is provided - whiskeys, rums, and beers - without a chance of food, and you'll mostly find yourself in the company of thieves, considering the kinds of boats that dock here.

Devi seemed unworried that her motorcycle - a rather delicious 2005 Ducati Monster 1000, done up in a flat black that seems to consume light rather than reflect it - might come to some ill will in this neighborhood. The woman kicks down the stand before pulling off her helmet and shaking out her long locks, giving one long look of scrutiny to the building.
Her leather jacket is hooked by a finger to dangle over her shoulder by the time she slips through the door, boots beating out a steady pace that when paired with her appeal seems to tug at one's heartstrings. She flashes the bartender a bitter-sweet smile as she's fixed with a dark brew and settles into a corner booth.

The bar may be inside, in that rickety little shack that serves cheap alcohol and broken dreams, but the seating's all outdoors… if you can call it outdoors, shaded by a rickety wooden overhand draped with nets and fishing paraphenalia, including a few harpoons that look like they may've been used at some point on something other than fish. Or maybe that's rust. It's hard to tell, here on Staten Island, and it's not the sort of environment where anyone'd even ask.

Richard Cardinal's sprawled out in one chair, feet kicked up on the table and the chair itself tilted back until his shoulders are resting on the building's side. A leather jacket's draped over a shirt, urban-camo BDU's covering the legs kicked up with combat boots atop the table's precariously-sturdy edge. The bottle of beer in his hand's lowered a bit, letting sunglass-shaded eyes consider the newcomer's arrival, and then her departure from the bar to a seat. His chin jerks up, calling shamelessly, "Nice bike."

Devi looks up from her chosen seat, her fingers already shifting to caress a few short strokes along the mesmeric twists and turns of the Raven tattooed on the forefront of her throat. She lofts a brow and looks over to the vehicle. "'Das'a my baby," she coos, putting on a playful drawl. She rises from her seat then and begins to make her way, uninvited though she is, towards the man, with drink in hand. "Know a bit about bikes, do ya?" She inquires with a purse of her lips and an arc to her brow.
She leans her hip against the seat beside him, giving him a closer skim of her attention from over the brim of her lifted glass.

One foot lifts off the table, dropping down to rest on the sand-strewn wooden flooring before the other joins it, and Cardinal leans forward to rest both arms folded on the edge of said table. "A little," he admits, a smile tugging up at one corner of his lips, "An old friend've mine used to build them… none've my own, though, m'afraid."

"Mmm," she says, turning her gaze back to the bike. "Almost better than sex," she replies with a tone and expression that might have almost been thoughtful - were it not for the crude phrase to which they were applied. A quick moment is taken to steal out a cigarette that had somehow found a way into the tight back pocket of her ebon, skinny jeans. "You should think about it. You'd look good on a bike."
Devi turns back to the man and smiles around the sweetly smelling cigarette, extending a hand. "Devi."

A low chuckle tumbles past Cardinal's lips, the beer in his hand slid off to the side with a casual brush of unfolded fingers before he reaches out to accept the hand with a brief shake. A firm grip, just a hint of clamminess from the cold longneck's condensation, but warmth beneath the callused skin. "I'll take that as a compliment. They call me Redbird." Well, some do, anyhow.
"As far as the other's concerned?" He grins beneath the shadow of the oakleys, "That'd have to be one damn nice bike to live up to that sort've hype."

Devi's grip is that of an alpha female - firm, unquestionable, and as demanding for attention as the art layered visibly on her flesh where ever her orange tank gives way unto the canvas. Her grin tickles up into her angular features as she leans forward. "Perhaps you'll let me take ya for a ride some time," she quips in turn. The innuendo is left hanging as she leans back and turn her attention once more to the sandy street.
"So, Mr. Redbird, what's a man like you doin' in a place like this?" She smirks at the cliché comment as her attention pivots back to the man, the dark glimmer in her eyes relaying that there was much more to the conversation. People only come to a neighborhood like this for so many reasons - she'd learned that was true no matter what state your in.

The double entendre brings a grin to Richard Cardinal's expression, and he leans back once the shake's finished to observe with casual bravado, "I wouldn't mind a chance for a fair comparison there." His hand gathers about the beer bottle again, bringing it up and tilting it her way as he replies, "Oh… just keeping an eye on things. I try'n keep my thumb on the whole pulse of Staten Island. You new in town?"

"We should place bets," Devi replies without missing a beat as the pair continue the parallel teasing alongside their conversation. She turns about, final denoting a true interest of her attention towards the man as she rests her rump to the edge of the table. She tilts her head dramatically to the side, revealing the tattoo of stars spotting around the far end of her brow and letting her hair fall over her shoulder.
"Yeah. That make you the welcoming committee?" she inquires with a lofted brow. "Doin' a fine job so far. Got your finger on anything interesting there?" she chuckles this time, more amused than last - yeah, she could to this all day. She props up her boot on the nearest chair and folds her arms over her bent knee, leaning forward with her beer dangling from her fingers and a trail of smoke slipping from her lips.

"About which comes out on top?" A dual meaning again, playful flirtation threaded through a building point of business in their discussion. The arm not holding the beer folds behind Cardinal's head as he leans back, the chair's legs creaking in protest until his forearm rests against the rickety wall behind to steady him. The bottle's brought up, and he takes a swig thereof before gesturing towards her with it.
"Depends on what you're interested in," he replies easily, stretchign his legs out under the table, "I don't know your game jus' yet, tats."

Devi straightens her head and gives Redbird a look of notable approval for his comeback. "Of course. Switch it up a bit. We'd have to keep things… interesting." She flicks her cigarette off into the sand before her hand ventures back to the ebon avian posed in eternal flight across her throat, fingers spidering over the designs of the feathers as if she had memorized the mark.
"A little bit of this, a little bit of that. The sort of stuff that brings in money and gives out happiness in return." She lifts a hand and tilts her head so that she can look at the man from down the bridge of her sharp little nose. "Ah-ah." She wags a finger at him before scrunching her index finger and pointing to his lap. "Before ya even think it. That happiness comes free and only'ta the worthy. I'm talkin' 'bout other things."

A laugh tumbles from Cardinal at that, "Never had to pay for that sort've happiness in my life, tats, an' I'm not planning on it anytime soon…" He waggles the beer in his hand at her in a playful fashion, grinning roguishly, "…I get your meaning, though." The last of the cheap alcohol's finished off, and then he surges forward, chair's legs clattering to the ground again and beer's bottle thumped upon the table.
"You work for yourself," he asks, curiously, "Or for one've the big boys around the island?"

"Don't doubt it," she offers, allowing her gaze to roam. The man's last question, however, insists a sharp silence from the biker. Devi watches Redbird a long moment, wrist swiveling the neck of her beer to set the contents sloshing lazily inside. She was debating her next response, no doubt. Finally, she sits back and drains the last of her own drink. "Me, myself, and I. I haven't smooshed any toes - but, I've only been here a day. Give me time." Despite the joke, she's not smiling - she's waiting to gauge a reaction as she hooks up a thumb into the low waistline of her jeans.

"You may not have it." The smile's there upon Cardinal's lips, but it's faint, and a sliver of seriousness colouring his tone suggests that he's not joking at all. One hand lifts to scratch under his chin, short and uneven nails rasping to the stubble there before his head dips a bit, eyes reddened from strain regarding her over the edge of those shades, "Things're about to get really interesting on this island, tats. Hope you've got some people with your back, if you're not plannin' to kiss any of those toes."

The biker chick seems to approve of the response, a sly expression tugging up on a single corner of her crimson-painted lips. "Interesting?" That deserves some attention. "Alright, toots," she begins, making a note to play off the own petname she'd so quickly earned. "Don't worry 'bout me. The Ravens my guardian." She grins at the ambiguity of her own statement.

A throaty chuckle answers her words, Cardinal's head shaking ever so slightly. "You'd better hope so," he murmurs, bringing up a fist to rest under his chin, head tilting a little as he asks casually, "So… you want to set up biz here, but you don't know the lay of the land just yet, am I right?"

Devi's boot drops from its place on the empty seat with a soft thud. "And, your just the guy to help me with that, for something in return, yeah?" She winks and digs out her pack of cigarettes once more, this time offering it first towards Redbird, before claiming a cancer stick for herself.

"I could." Cardinal shifts to straighten, reaching over to tug one of the cigarettes from the pack, bracing it between two fingers while reaching into his jacket with the other, digging out a battered old zippo that miraculously still produces a guttering flame when flicked open. The filter's tucked between he lips, and he lights the end, taking a few puffs while holding out the lighter in offering.
Once the zippo's closed again, he brings the narcotic stick from his lips and gestures with it, "I'll make you a deal. I'll tell you what I know about the balance of power 'round here - and, more important, what's comin' down the line - and if you stick around, you keep an eye on things for me. Let me know about anything unusual you see."

Lips puckered round the end of her cigarette, Devi leans forward to accept the lit zippo at the other end, absorbing momentarily the little rush of the first drag before speaking through the soft haze of smoke that trickles from her nose. "That's it?" She looks skeptical, but smirks. "Sounds like your getting spanked in the deal," she teases with a tilted smile and a subtle lofting in both dark brows that makes her eyes glimmer. "Ya got yourself a deal."

"I've got all the resources that I need," Cardinal replies with a scoundrel's grin to her words, brows raising a little, "And money can buy anything that I don't have… now, a good pair've eyes in the right place? That's more valuable than Fort Knox to a guy like me."
Another drag upon the cigarette, his eyes closing behind the shades as he exhales the narcotic smoke in a stir of greyed white to one side. Then to her once more, and he gestures with the Marlboro-wielding hand, "A'ight. There's two big names on this island. The Flying Dragons, and Linderman's people."

A little wriggle pulls Devi's body more rightly up onto the table, her attention diverting for only a moment as she gives the inanimate surface-turned-chair a quick glare as if simply daring the damned thing to break and embarrass her. Her dark gaze returns rightly to Redbird and the lessons at hand as she leans back and supports herself on a single rigid arm. "Touche," she remarks at the first comment. "Haven't heard of either," she admits to the second.

"Same Linderman whose name's on the Act… squeaky clean on the books, got his arm shoulder-deep into politics, his other arm buried into crime," explains the ex-con casually, scratching at the side of his neck briefly before the hand drops back down to the table, "He took down the last've the big mob families here in New York so he could take over. You see someone doin' 'business' here in a suit, chances are he's with Linderman. The other's a triad - they're based in Chinatown, but they're making a big push up through the island, especially with the new kids in charge now that Old Man Ye's dead. Liu and Song. Evolved supremacists, amongst other things."
Then he grins, "Now, this's where shit gets interesting."

Devi's brow pops back up, creeping higher and higher the deeper the criminal rabbit hole goes. The man's last comment draws her in completely, her boots hissing over the sand as she adjusts herself and leans forward. She braces her elbows to her parted knees in what would be a boyish posture, if it weren't made up for by revealing more womanly traits in trade. She makes a little whirling gesture with her cigarette-pinching fingers. "Come on, don't be a tease," she coos.

A click of tongue to palate, and Cardinal's grin widens. "Good things come to those who wait… if you're that impatient, maybe that explains the bike comparison, hm?" He chuckles, weight slouched forward to the table as he watches her through his shades, "Now, this is No Man's Land… the cops won't come here, not at all. The feds will, and they're here. There's spooks on the island, one in particular by the name of Feng Daiyu. More about that asshole later. You've heard of the FRONTLINE program?"

Devi works her tongue along her upper lip in a manner that is somehow thoughtful, impressed, and predatory all at once. She tips her head a subtle degree and points a single finger at the gentleman. "Hey now. I'm a girl that knows what she wants. Ain't anything wrong in that. If you wanna get back to the topic of proving me wrong, well, toots…" She leans back and opens her arms with a grin.
A soft chortle and she's leaning back forward, looking at Redbird from behind the gossamer curtain of pitch-hued locks falling over one dark eye. "Yeah. I've heard it…" The gears in her noggin churn for a moment before a little wink of recognition marks her tattooed features and she offers the man a pointedly questioning glance. "Seriously?"

"All things in their time…" Cardinal's smile fades, then, his chin dipping in a nod, "Seriously. Staten's going to be their… field test. There was that airstrike on the island a month're two back? That was prologue to what's comin'. They're goin' to be hitting Linderman's people and the Dragons, and probably anybody else who gets in their way. So. Three way war."
He grins then, wryly, "You see why I want some eyes on the ground, tats? Things're gonna get real interesting here, real quick."

Devi purses her lips and blows a little kiss in tandem with the man's first comment, before joining him in serious attention and expression for the conversation at hand. She suckles the left corner of her lower lip and pinches it between her teeth, thoughtful for a moment. The biker ultimately offers a simple nod. "Sounds like I got here just in time," she comments as she hops from the table and flicks away her cigarette.
Reclaiming her jacket, a little dip into the leather's pockets returns a card - some old tattoo shop in the Carolinas - with her number written on the back. She offers it forward, pinched between her index and middle fingers. She steps past him then, reaching out to spider her fingers over his shoulder. "A deal's a deal. I'll keep an eye out. Call me when you're up for placing that bet," she teases. Her grin is for herself alone as she makes for her bike.

The card's taken between two fingers, flipped flat-side onto his fingers so he can read it. A chuckle weaves with smoke from his lips as he tucks the number away inside his own jacket, his chin coming up in a slight nod as he observes— casually— "I'll be in touch, babe. Curious as to how many tattoos you might got on that body of yours…"
A grin, as Cardinal pushes to his feet, moving to step towards the door. He needs another drink.

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