cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif kain2_icon.gif laura_icon.gif

Scene Title Professionals
Synopsis Kain Zarek plans a meeting of his compatriots to try and induct one more person into his plan to bring down Daniel, but first offers them up a "test" of their loyalty first. It— mostly goes as planned. Somehow.
Date June 6, 2010

Linderman Building

High above the streets of New York City's Financial district, the offices of the Linderman Group's public relations department reads like a wanted list of felons and men of questionable morals. John Logan, Robert Caliban and Kain Zarek all share this spacious marble-tiled floor just below the offices of Daniel Linderman himself. It's the latter of the three that is the only one in his office on this Sunday evening, when the majority of the group's employees are home and away from the offices, even Kain Zarek's secretary isn't behind her desk today.

It's in this very subtly decorated, gray-walled office that an unusually open-faced meeting is about to take place. Situated behind his desk, slouched back in his chair and staring down to the glowing ember on the end of his lit cigarette, Kain seems largely disconnected from the item on the agenda, his mind elsewhere despite the fact that two of the three people who are supposed to meet with him today are already on their way to his office.

Elizabeth Harrison and Richard Cardinal aren't the two most likely people to be in this particular building, given their extra-curricular activities. Seeing as how this is Kain's first meeting with Harrison that he can even recall, there's a certain expectance of formality and introductions that he has shirked for something more dispassionate and distant.

Beside Kain's desk, a painting rests on an easel, covered in a white cloth that hides everything but its dimensions; familiar in shape to those who have witnessed the symbolic artistry of Roderick Sweeny. Heavily lidded eyes lift up from the twisting trails of smoke that Kain has been focused on, settling on the blonde FRONTLINE operative coming through his doorway. Richard Cardinal isn't just strolling around behind her, but Kain knows him well enough by now to expect that he's either not far behind, or already here.

Several awkward moments after Elisabeth enters the office, Kain's attention seems firmly leveled on her, and his brows crease together as he leans forward and knocks the tip of his cigarette off into the ashtray in front of him. "Well, ain't you a sight for sore eyes, darlin'? You got Dickie in your pocket or is he off figurin' out where our sticky-fingered pixie is?"

Elisabeth is dressed casually, if warmly. The weather outside is not conducive to wearing anything but jeans and a heavy jacket. Her blue eyes are shuttered, cautious. And she tilts her head. "Sticky-fingered pixie?" she queries mildly. "I'm afraid I haven't the faintest idea what you're referring to, Mr. Zarek." She smirks then, amused at something. Perhaps the idea that for a while there, she had cleavage shadows that no one was the wiser about. "I'm sure he'll be making his appearance any moment." Her voice ought to be familiar to him, though they spoke only once just after Cardinal's apparent demise — she'd told him she was the one in charge. "A pleasure, I'm sure."

The shadows cast by the covered painting shift to one side, and Richard Cardinal takes a casual step out from them, wisps of darkness peeling away to form garments and flesh. "I'm right here, Zarek," he observes casually from behind the other man, his head canting to one side as he looks down with a crook'd smile, "You didn't think I'd be terribly far, did you…?"

The conspirator's rather well dressed this evening, a dark pinstriped suit over a white shirt with a flared collar done in a somewhat modern style. He must've burglarized somewhere upper-class, if not gasp actually purchased it himself.

"Sticky-fingered?" comes a voice from the hallway that's familiar to two of the room's occupants. She sounds sincerely offended — until the pixie in question walks through the door, blue eyes glinting with impish good humor. "Sticky-fingered?"

Despite the rising protest in her immediately-prior statement, Laura grins at Elisabeth in passing — "Now there's a face I didn't expect to ever see here! How'd you get mixed up with the swamp rat?" — and offers the unfamiliar Cardinal a less broad but more than prim-and-proper polite smile. Then she walks up to Kain's desk, leaning her hands against its edge and peering down at him from a height that isn't as loftily scornfull as Laura makes it seem. She can do that — while he's sitting. "I assure you, Zarek, I haven't stolen a thing from you— " Slow, mischievous smile. "— well. Permanently."

Her innocence defended, Laura flops down into one of the empty chairs, leaning back and steepling her hands in front of her chin. "So! You summoned? What's the occasion?"

"When it rains, it pours…" Kain admits with a shrug as he looks across his desk to Cardinal, then over to Laura with one brow lifted. "Well now, shorty," and that's leveled at Laura, "you might just be breakin' that record a'not stealin' nothing permanently from me sometime soon. But that's neither here nor there right at this juncture." Motioning for Laura to close the door, Kain pushes his rolling chair back and slowly rises up from behind his desk.

A look is offered to Elisabeth, one that conveys little other than a momentary scrutiny given their tangential familiarity with one another. "Dickie," Kain nods his head to Cardinal, "this here's the little lady I told you all about. Her name's Laura Morgan, security consultant for the Linderman Group and a— you know— familiar face." There's a crooked grin offered at that comment, and Kain begins to circle around his desk with his cigarette pinched between his fingers.

Breathing in deeply, Kain walks to the front of his desk and winds up leaning back to sit up on the desk's corner, waving a hand dismissively around the room. "Laura, this is Liz Harrison— you probably seen her on TV or somethin'," and then blue eyes level on Cardinal, "an' this here's Dickie," because that is Kain's very grown-up name for Richard.

"We was gonna' talk to you about a little business arrangement, but Ah'm of the mind that ol' Tricky here might be the best feller t'fill you in on the ins and outs, y'know?" There's a raise of Kain's brows as he offers an askance look to Cardinal, testing those conversational waters.

The last time Elisabeth laid eyes on Laura — well, the past several — have been in the professional capacity as a security consultant. To have seen the woman's face in the small painting that Richard has on his phone has rattled the blonde a bit, but it's also made her curious. And brought to mind a number of possibilities for the future, to be honest. Laura and Richard may in fact have quite a lot in common, from what's just played out before her. For now, however, she simply smiles at Laura's cavalier entrance. "Hello there, stranger," she greets with a smile, closing the door behind the other woman and sealing the room with a silence bubble that most will not even notice.

"We're a bit more acquainted than that," is Liz's only other comment to Kain on the introductions, though to Laura she replies, "Let's just say we've got a few friends in common." A rueful quirk of her lips gives away her amusement on the matter. She leaves it to Cardinal to explain all of their presences. Six degrees of separation her ass.

At the 'familiar face' comment, Cardinal exhales a bit of a snort. "Quite familiar," he admits, a smile tugging up to one corner of his lips as he lifts his chin up in an easy nod back to Laura, "Richard Cardinal. Nobody calls me Dickie who isn't bucking to get thrown out of an upper story window." He doesn't look directly at Kain when he says that in utter seriousness, and he's wearing shades, so it's hard to tell if he's joking. He probably is.

"I used to do the occasional work for Danny-boy myself," he admits, turning to regard the covered easel for a moment before glancing back over his shoulder with a smirk, "Sounds like the same sort you do. You ever met Roddy? Troll, lives downstairs, does a lot've painting?"

'Shorty' doesn't perturb Laura in the least — especially since, with the subject of business on the table, such games are relegated to a distant second place. Though she does arch a brow in Richard's direction: guarantee his words on the subject of nicknames have been noted, and probably not in the 'I'd better not do that' fashion. "I know," the woman says plainly, lack of pride in her tone suggesting she really does know, "everyone in this building." Her head tilts in the direction of the covered easel. "Take it that's one of his?" Blue eyes flick towards Kain; but whatever her second thought is, she doesn't speak it. Some things, Laura doesn't want to know.

Rising his shoulders in a shrug, Kain offers an unusually goofy smile to Laura, his head tilting to the side and brows raising while his cigarette remains tucked in one corner of his mouth. "That's about the size of it," Kain admits after a moment, the cigarette bobbing up and down slowly as he speaks. "You know how ol' Roddy's paintin's go, a little touch of surrealism, a dash certainty and a whole lotta' room for interpretation. Funny thing is, he painted you." There's a lift of Kain's brows again as his fingers pinch the cigarette out from his lips and brandish it towards Laura.

"Well, he's gone and painted a few other people too… but," there's a slide of Kain's blue eyes over to Liz, then Cardinal, before Kain finally slides off of his desk and offers an askance look to Cardinal, motioning to the painting with the same cigarette laden hand. "Go on ahead, you got'cherself fingers now, use 'em. Ah've done that dramatic reveal more'n enough times."

A sweep of a gloved hand curls to the edge of the sheet, and Cardinal sweeps it dramatically away— fabric rustling and sweeping off the long-dried oils of the painting to reveal the classical piece to the open eye as he steps to one side. The man's gaze falls on Laura's face, watching her as she takes it in.

She's seen the miniature version, but obviously this is the first time Liz has seen the larger version of this prophetic painting. Her blue eyes take in every detail, her arms crossing over one another as she stands there looking. Pursing her lips, she murmurs thoughtfully, "I'd have to say there's not as much room for interpretation in this one as in some."

Laura looks at the painting as it's unveiled; flicks her gaze to each familiar face in turn, her own both first and, finally, last. If Cardinal is expecting shock or awe, he doesn't get it; instead, there's a glimpse of the calculation Laura bestows upon things like important contracts. You know, the ones where you not only have to read every word but know them well. And in the end, she turns not to Cardinal, but to face Kain, blue eyes piercingly intent. "All right," she says. "I've seen it. Now say it."

"What exactly do you think that means?" It's answering a question with another question, and Kain knows just how obnoxious that can be, but it's what he initially — and rhetorically — poses to Laura. It's not long before Kain's cocksure swagger takes him over to the painting in question, pointing Laura out carefully next to an inscrutably devilish figure perched beside her white-clad frame. "Because it looks like you're sittin' on the sidelines, watchin' it all go down…" Kain looks up from Laura's painted countenance to the blonde herself, "but Ah' don't see you interferin' either."

All of the lightness and jovial nature slips from in that query, and it's these rare moments of seeming serious lucidity tkat is a reminder that Kain Zarek isn't just a booze-hound or some uneducated red-neck from the backwaters of Louisianna; he's a life-long hardened criminal, who now happens to be connected with something that may well be so far over his head it's in orbit.

"Ah' wanna' get your opinion on this here piece'a fine art," Kain finally adds at the end, bringing his cigarette up to his lips and taking a long, luxurious drag off of it before exhaling the smoke out his nostrils.

Richard just leans against the wall near to the painting, absently gathering up the sheet that was draped over it; folds moved over one another in idle gathering, his gaze hooded as he watches and listens to the pair that're buried far deeper than he and Elisabeth in the business of one Daniel Linderman.

Slanting a glance at the human shadow, Elisabeth shifts her weight slightly with her eyes going back and forth between Laura and Kain. She remains out of the way, though, merely letting the two have at it for a moment.

She responds, first and foremost, by getting up out of her chair. "I think you play a dangerous game," Laura remarks soberly, "having it in this building." Linderman's own office is just a floor above… which may or may not relate when the woman abruptly turns her back on Kain, stepping in the direction of the office door.

Nodding his head slowly, Kain rolls his tongue over his cheek and offers a thoughtful look to Laura. "All the best cons happen right under somebody's nose, you know that just as good as Ah' do." Picking up the cloth from the painting, Kain drapes it back over the easel and frame, then crosses his arms and looks back to Laura, letting his tongue slide over his teeth slowly in consideration of her.

"There's a good chunk of more paintings, all'a the stuff Roddy's done over the last few years, and Ah like t'know what kinda' game Ah'm gettin' into before Ah' play it. Thing is, Roddy don't remember half'a the shit he's put down with that brush'a his, which gives us somethin' of a problem. Danny done went and moved most of Roddy's paintings outta' this building after Zoe passed away," and the mere mention of her name as a shadow of something resembling emotion crossing Kain's face briefly.

"They got sent out west," and this admission of Kain's is news to Cardinal and Elisabeth as well, "to a secure holding area inside of the Corinthian, down Vegas way, right on the ol' Strip." Crossing his arms, Kain tilts his head to the side and quirks one brow up slowly. "Ah'm lookin' t'hire you t'do a good ol' fashioned art heist. 'Cause Ah'm willin' t'bet you installed that security system…" Kain's lips creep up into a smile, "didn't ya?"

"I think we've shown it to quite enough people at this point, Zarek," Cardinal observes in quiet support of Laura's words, "I should get it the fuck out've your office tonight."

That's all he says, though, before looking over towards Laura; dark eyes alight at the idea of an entire holding area of prophecies. He doesn't get entirely excited just yet, though, as he watches for the security expert's reaction.

Elisabeth's head comes up sharply at that, blue eyes narrowing on Kain Zarek. Laura's part in all this… well, that's already pretty clear to her, if you want the truth. The sly little comment about being sticky-fingered and not stealing anything permanently from Kain, both of which she filed away in the back of her head, are essentially confirmed by this request on Kain's part. "You either already know what's on them or you have a damn good idea that we're going to find something useful. It's too big a risk to try it for a fishing expedition. And if all you wanted was to see them, we could merely send Richard in with a camera without involving her. So….,"

Elisabeth moves from her quiet, still stance finally, her tone and her smile dark. "What exactly is it that you think getting the paintings in person is going to net us?"

Her immediate reaction is, one might say, short and to the point. Laura pivots on one foot, takes one step forward towards Kain, regarding him levelly from across the room.


No, she didn't install the security system? "You have nothing — nothing, Kain — that outvalues what he has already paid." The glance she gives to Cardinal and Liz is at once both assessing and dismissive. "And I doubt your partners change the balance there," the pale-haired woman continues. "You're free to doubt my morals; I've never laid claim to any. But my ethics?" This time, she's actually offended.

Abruptly, her demeanor shifts, a hint of mischievous nature resurfacing. "On second thought, go ahead, keep being offensive." The corners of her mouth tug up, just a bit. A frighteningly gleeful bit. "I'm sure Manny would agree you look marvelous in pink."

Shifting his weight to one foot, Kain's brows furrow and blue eyes level squarely on Laura, chin tilted up and jaw set crooked. There's a look offered over to Liz that comes with a slow close of his eyes and a roll of his tongue over the inside of his cheek, as if to imply you missed the point. When his eyes open again, Kain's looking back at Laura again. "That was cute'n all, the whole pink pants thing, but let's just say that it don't matter what Danny's done gone and paid for you, 'cause from the look'a things here…" Kain nods his head towards the painting, then looks back to Laura again, "them's the winds of change in action."

Leaning away from the painting, Kain takes a few slow strides across the floor towards Laura, looking over to Cardinal briefly before settling himself squarely in front of the short blonde. "Ah'll lay it out plain and simple then for ya. You do this fer me, an' Ah owe you. You don't do this fer me…" Kain breathes in slowly, then tucks his hands into the pockets of his slacks. "Then Ah' know what side'a the fence you'll be standin' on… S'all Ah'm sayin', darlin'."

Kain looks down to his feet, across the floor and then tracks his stare back up to Laura. "Ah' need you t'know right here'n now, whatever Danny's gone an' paid you for your work… that money's got blood so thcik on it that yer fingers' are still red from touchin' it, an' Ah' ain't in any different'a boat. Eventually…" Kain's dark brows furrow, "eventually people gotta' pay what's owed."

"Zarek." Cardinal's already shaking his head before the other man's through talking, taking a step forward and dropping a hand to fall to his shoulder in a subtle press, "All due respect, we're all professionals here, but you're a professional've a different sort than me and short, cute, and blonde here - let me handle this for a minute."

The other hand lifts up to sweep the shades from where they're perched upon his nose, eyes squinting briefly as he adjusts to the light of the office, a faint and wry smile crooking to his lips, "…I'm guessing you're not the sort to break contract. I can respect that. Professional ethics'n all, like you said. After everything goes down…" A glance to the hidden painting, then back, "…you going to be willing to work with the new management?"

Well, now… that's a novel approach. Interesting. Elisabeth simply shuts up. Seems the best course of action at the moment.

Laura shakes her head at Kain — and doesn't dignify his lack of listening comprehension with a reply. Complete and total disregard, as she turns towards Cardinal. Kain? Kain who?

Her chin lifts as she considers the shadowmorph. "Long as the pay's commensurate with the job," the thief informs him, shrugging her shoulders. "If you pull off your little coup." It doesn't sound like she really cares one way or the other, when it comes to that — standing on the sidelines, indeed.

Kain gets nothing. Cardinal got an answer, and that's the sum total of her regard for him right now, too. But as Laura finishes her interrupted departure, quiet Elisabeth has one heartbeat in which to recognize and process the glint in her eyes before the imp sidesteps, plants a kiss on the older woman's cheek, and promptly skips back out of reach with a mischievous grin. "See you, lady," she says, before disappearing down the hall.

But Kain had better be keeping a good watch on his office and apartment from this day forward, yes indeed.

There's been a handful of times that Kain Zarek has been so out of his element as to be left blunderingly confused, and typically the assaults of Laura Morgan onto his person have often been the responsible party for those situations. From the day he came into work wearing nothing but a pair of salmon colored (his definition) slacks to right about now, Kain is beginning to see that pattern.

Staring out the doorway after Laura's retreating form, Kain shifts his weight from one foot to another, tilts his head to the side and then offers an askance look to Cardinal, then Liz with a squint then then down to his feet before reaching up and rubbing one hand at the back of his head.

"Does… ah…" Kain mumbles, brows furrowed and blue eyes flicking back and forth between Liz and Cardinal again.

"Does anybody wanna' tell me what just happened?"

Once the door's closed behind the thief, Cardinal turns on his heel to regard the other man with a look for a moment before reaching out to smack the back of the other man's head, Gibbs-style.

"If someone's agreeing to stand on top of the fence during a conflict that you need to keep secret," he points out, dryly, "You do not try and push them over to the other side, Zarek."

Gobsmacked. That's Elisabeth's expression. She manages to school it into neutrality before looking at the two men. And then she simply shakes her head. If someone asks you if you're a God, you say YES! The irreverent thought just makes Liz chuckle to herself, because that's exactly the tone Richard just used. "Good to meet you in person, Zarek. I'll be looking forward to see which shoe you're chewing on next." She offers a quicky, mischievous smile of her own. "Nice pants, by the way."

"Actually…" Kain offers an askance look to Cardinal, "Ah' need t'keep that little picture one more day. Ah' got one last person who needs t'look at it before you go an' lock it up in your little museum bat-cave whatever it is you do your work outta'." Kain's brows scrunch together, his head quirks to the side and eyes settle on Liz before turning ti look at the office door, and then back to Cardinal.

There's a hesitant smile then, and a tilt of Kain's head to the side as he adds in explanation:

"Ah' gotta' see a pimp."

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