raith_icon.gif unknown4_icon.gif

Scene Title Sloppy
Synopsis Raith receives a follow-up phone call on a job offer he accepted at the end of January.
Date February 12, 2010

Somewhere in Manhattan

Only a few more hours to go before the fireworks, and up until the eleventh hour, it very likely that Jensen Raith will be watching, waiting, learning about his enemy. When he goes in with the rest of his hodgepodge team to rescue Joseph Sumter, there will be no room for errors: A mistake means that someone will die. He needs to know everything. This has to be perfect.

But even the quest for perfection has its limits, just as Raith has his limits. A man can only work for so long before his brain begins to turn to mush and he starts to make mistakes. he hasn't made any yet, but he's not willing to start, either, and for the moment, calls it quits, checking into old, unused office space. Another of his many hiding places in New York City. Nothing in any way permanent. Just another place for him to stay for a few hours and rest. The forces that seek to destroy the world may be tireless, but Raith knows, as he silently slips inside and barricades the door behind him, that even if he is not himself tireless, careful strategy will allow him to keep up as the world marches ever forward.

It is the worst time for the phone in his pocket to be ringing.

On vibrate, the cell doesn't make any noise except for the sound of it rattling around in its case — a low buzz designed to draw the attention of the man carrying it rather than anyone who might be accompanying him. He is alone, however, and needs not worry about finding a more private place to converse with the person on the other end of the line.

It isn't Teodoro. It isn't Eileen. His caller ID flashes the word RESTRICTED across the screen.

The phone doesn't even finish its first round of rattling before Raith is retrieving it only to read RESTRICTED. Those aren't usually the types of phone calls he enjoys receiving, but either way, he's going to be stuck with it, either with an active line or a voice mail later. Possibly against his better judgment, he presses Confirm and raises the receive to his ear. "Operator," he says. It's a quick, easy way to determine if he other end of the line dialed a wrong number. If they have any business talking to him, they'll know how to respond.

"Tanya Gibson?" asks a voice in Raith's ear, its gravelly tones made even scratchier by poor reception. Static hisses, pops, blows a sandstorm of white noise into the receiver. It clears up a moment later, though the sound of wind in the background is still distinctly audible beneath the caller's words. "Tell me, Jensen: are you really that sloppy, or are you just trying to make me wish I'd bothered Daiyu instead?"

Ah. This again. "You sure you want to do that?" Raith fires back into his own receiver, "Daiyu's uncontrollable, you know that as well as anybody. He'll turn on you in a heartbeat if he thought it would bring him closer to his own goals. Maybe turn on you even if it didn't.

"Now, what's the problem? You don't like pistol executions? Wanted them to have to use dental records to ID some Jane Doe? Or maybe you wanted something more insidious, sitting around as I spent months working my way into her heart and into her bed only to strangle her with a silk cord?" The voice on the other end may be dragging words across broken pebbles and shatter stone, but as Raith speaks, he pours more and more honey onto his own words, giving them a sort of sweet enjoyment completely in appropriate for the subject matter. "Yes, I think that's the sort of thing you'd be into. It's too bad, really. I don't have the time for that, so you get a hasty double tap in a filthy alley. Them's the breaks."

"I paid you five thousand dollars to put Abigail Beauchamp in the morgue," says the caller. "The very narrow window of opportunity in which we had to act has since closed. Her place of employment is being watched, as is she." In comparison to Raith's dulcet tone, his is growing thick with audible agitation that crackles sharp around the edges. "I expected you to execute this job cleanly and professionally. Instead, you give me something slipshod and reckless. Don't tell me that you survived working under Volken for so long by asking Ramirez and Velasquez to clean up after your mistakes."

"You know, you never did answer my question," the assassin apparent states plainly, voice lacking any of the sweetness it had only moments before, "I asked you what the problem was, and all you've done so far is disparage me. Now, that's a pretty clear sign that there isn't, in fact, a problem and you just want something to complain about. Either you tell me what your alleged problem is, or I'm hanging up. I have work to do."

There's a lengthy pause on the another end of the line and a thin fizzle of more static that tapers out as abruptly as it began. "Beauchamp is still alive."

"See? That wasn't so hard, was it?" It's no secret that Raith is doing this in part to annoying the other end of the line. "I'm amazed that she pulled through, really," he adds, "Two rounds to the chest usually does the trick. If that's the case, then I just need to know which hospital she's at. She's not going anywhere for a while, not with perforated lungs. I'll start taking care of it first thing Sunday. Easy solution, don't you think?"

If Raith is trying to make the caller lose his patience, then he's succeeding — albeit slowly. Another beat of calculated hesitation rings hollow, followed by a second voice speaking in the background, and although he can hear the words that are being exchanged with the caller and can identify the language being spoken as Russian, he lacks the knowledge to translate what's being said into something he can understand with the exception of a few key words.




It takes the caller a few moments to parse this, but when he does, Raith can clearly hear him adjusting the phone at his ear. "You know as well as I do that you shot the wrong woman," he says. "You have two choices: finish the job or move on to another target. It's your decision."

Raith would normally give a sigh of exasperation, but even if he can't understand the Russian- yet- he recognizes names when he hears them, and that makes him nervous on the inside. On the outside, he keeps his voice steady and unwavering. "Who would the next target be?" he asks.

The caller's answer is succinct, and there is something about its swiftness that suggests Abigail Beauchamp is no longer his priority. Two words, multiple syllables, all enunciated with sandpapery precision.

"The mayoral candidate?" Raith asks, "Forget it, hoss. I don't do political assassinations. Too high profile, too much attention. Where's Beauchamp, I'll finish her off."

"That's for you to determine," says the caller, "though I would not recommend making another attempt at the bar. Due to my associate's inability to help himself when it comes to compromising his own integrity," and it's likely he's referring to the owner of the second voice, which Raith cannot place, "it's no longer a viable location. Watch her, track her, verify that she isn't under anyone's protection — I'm willing to give you three weeks to complete this assignment due to the fact that you are not entirely at fault for the circumstances surrounding it."

"Well, that's awful kind of you," is the last bit Raith has to say on the matter. For now. "If there's nothing else, I have work to do."

"Three weeks, Jensen," the caller repeats. "Please don't disappoint."

End call. How enlightening a conversation that was. Enlightenment, however, is the last thing on Raith's mind as the pieces to some larger puzzle begin to slowly come together in his mind. He'll have to worry about the details of everything later. Before all of that, he needs to focus on the raid.

But, even before that, there's one last thing he needs to take care of.

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