Things of Value


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Also featuring:

kaydence_icon.gif mischa_icon.gif

Scene Title Things of Value
Synopsis Kain and Linderman have a heart-to-heart.
Date September 28, 2008

Linderman Building — Linderman's Office

Pacing back and forth like an expectant father in a maternity ward, Kain Zarek is not the picture of calmness and complacency. What normally is a relaxed smile and a casual posture has been wholly replaced by a nervous expression of discontent, drawing the corners of his mouth down into a frown, and furrowing his dark brows. The sandy-blonde haired agent of the Linderman Group stalks the hall outside of Daniel Linderman's office as he has for the last twenty minutes since his arrival. With his hands stuffed into his pockets, shoulders rolled and that distasteful look, it's clear he's not pleased about the meeting.

"This is all Mischa's fault." Kain spits out in a frustrated tone, "Ah can't believe Ah got mah ass called down here because of this. Ah can't believe that little pain in the ass went straight to Danny!" He waves one hand towards Linderman's doors wildly, shooting a strained look to his equally endangered partner in crime. "C'mon, the two of us sell her up the river without a paddle and we can wash our hands of this whole ugly thing." Kain seems wholly prepared to throw Mischa under the proverbial — or perhaps in this case, literal — bus.

"Ah can't believe you were stupid enough to shoot yer fool mouth off to a reporter, Zarek." As it always does around those from her father's home of Louisiana, Kaydence Lee's accent thickens in mimicry. "Ah only tried to cover up yer mess, so don't go actin' like I'm in this boilin' pot right along with ya, 'cause Ah ain't."

If Kaydence weren't in the pot, would she really have been called up to Linderman's office at the same time as Kain? Before she can further defend herself, a soft click interrupts the detective's train of thought and causes her to turn her head toward the door as, slowly, it creaks open. A moment later, out steps Mischa Christinel, her face so pale she looks as though she might just faint. Her dark eyes shine with tears, mascara streaking down her cheeks and into one corner of her mouth, and for once she has nothing to say to Kain when she sees him standing there. Instead, she lets out a solitary sniffle, wipes the snot from her nose and simply steps aside to make room for him.

"Mr. Zarek," murmurs a soft voice from inside the office, "come in, please."

All of Kain's puffed up arrogance fades when the one woman he knows is tougher than nails is reduced to tears. Dark brows scrunch up into an expression of abject confusion as he watches Mischa step aside, and then hears that ominous voice beckoning him in. He immediately looks to Kaydence, equally mortified by the sight of Mischa, and then gapes blankly at the dark haired woman as he considers his options. For a moment, the thoughts of merely eating the barrel of his pistol here in the hallway do cross his mind, he can't even begin to imagine what had to be said to upset Mischa so much, to break her of all people down to that degree.

Kain straightens, It's all her fault anyway. He tries to convince himself his treatment might not be as bad, it's a false sense of security that he carries with him, even as he leaves Mischa and Kaydence to the hall, stepping through the door with a nervous look in his eye, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

By its own accord, the door closes behind Kain and, automatically, locks itself. Security is tight up here, and not only because Linderman holds a lot of money and power — he's also registered with Homeland Security as a Tier 0 Evolved, and there are a lot of people in New York, not all of them rivals, who would like to see him dead. He sits behind his desk, his cheeks, rosy and full of vitality, if a little redder than usual. Although his outward appearance is calm, anger permeates the air around him. It's a good thing that Kain, unlike the secretary who operates the front desk downstairs, can't read auras; Linderman's crackles with dark energy and, if Kain could see it, would make him even more frightening to behold. "Sit."

Kain's eyes wander around the room for a moment, hesitant footsteps carry him across the room, and his posture is much like a highschooler called down to the Principal's office after getting into a fight. His shoulders slouch, and all of that arrogant machismo completely deflates from him under the stern and firm presence of Daniel Linderman himself. Kain knows how much he already owes this man, and now he's gone and made the single biggest blunder of his whole career.

With nothing more than a compliant nod, the southerner circles behind the chair, then finally moves to settle down in, like an anxious cat circling its favorite pillow before getting comfortable. Once set in the chair, Kain's posture looks anything but relaxed, with his back awkwardly straight and his jaw set, as if ready to receive a punch to the face.

Linderman swallows, hard, rolling his tongue around in his mouth while he searches for the right words. When he does speak, his voice is as soft as ever, though it lacks the compassion that makes him so well-liked among the employees who haven't yet experienced his more sinister side. "Tell me what you know about a Miss Danielle Hamilton," he says.

Kain shifts uncomfortably in his chair, that isn't exactly how he expected this to start out. "Ah, well…" One hand reaches up to rub at the back of his neck while his head inclines down, eyes averting from Linderman as he collects his thoughts. "Met her outside'a the building a few weeks back, snoopin' around." He tries to make it sound as though he was doing work from the beginning, not just womanizing. "Mischa an' I got a hunch something 'bout her might be up. So Ah' decided to… you know, do what Ah do." He looks up to Linderman with a crooked smile, but when he sees Daniel's expression it fades quickly. "She gave me some cover story, and slipped up soon enough when Ah' got a call from her phone. Had a contact pull up her info for me, an' found out she was an investigative reporter." He tenses his brows, looking back down to his lap.

For a moment Kain was about to continue with the rest of his escapades, but as he considers the wording of Linderman's question, he decides against it. "S'about all Ah' needed t'know, that she was a problem." He looks up, one brow raised and a grimace fading onto his expression, praying that was the answer that keeps him from eating a bullet tonight.

"I'm very disappointed, Kain, that you didn't come to me first. Hamilton could have been… dealt with, before she developed a contingency plan with her friends and family. As I've already told Mischa, I don't trust Miss Hamilton not to go to the authorities." Linderman folds his hands, one on top of the other, and rests them upon the desk. "Old habits die hard. For now, I have her working public relations with the city media, so it's in her best interest to help us a maintain a clean image. All that said," he pauses, letting out a slow breath, "I don't trust her. If she discovers that our organization isn't to her liking, there's still a chance she might go to the authorities with her recording. If that happens, you and Mischa will need plausible deniability."

Kain hangs his head at Linderman's assessment, nodding slowly to the point. He knows right now, the worst thing he can try to do is defend himself without being asked to, it's like dealing with his father in a way. Minus the alcohol. As the topic seems to shift slightly, Kain's eyes lift back up, hands still gripped to the arms of the chair like it was going to fall through some devious trap door any moment. He listens, intently, and there's a thoughtfully cunning look that crosses his face again. Once more he's caught off-guard, not expecting the path of conversation to veer quite in this direction. There's a wince, ever so subtle, at the notion of plausible deniability. There's a lot of ways that can go for him.

Linderman must have spent a lot of time thinking about a suitable punishment for Kain, because he doesn't hesitate before dishing out the sentence. "I want you to spend the next three months volunteering in the children's ward over at St. Luke's," he says shortly. "You won't be compensated for your time, and I fully expect you to keep up with your regular duties, but a little community service will make you look better in the eyes of the public. Organize fundraisers in the Linderman Group's name. Donate your services to the hospital. Do what you do best and use your charisma to your advantage, but please — for your own sake — do not make an ass of yourself this time. This business won't be held responsible for your mistakes."

There's a look of discernible confusion that comes over Kain's face, eyes widening and mouth gaping at the request of him. "T-The Children's ward!? You've — " He bites down on his own tongue, wrenching his mouth shut as he settles back down into his seat from the slight rise that had given him. Chewing on the inside of his cheek, Kain nods slowly, frustratedly, but in the end the punishment could have been far worse, and far more final.

"Yes… Sir." His mumbled agreement comes after the last remaining vestiges of his pride are thoroughly beaten down by the notion of having to deal with so many screaming children, the one thing in the whole world Kain loathes above all others. He nods again, slowly, understandingly. Then, after a moment of deliberation, "What 'bout Hamilton?"

"I'll be keeping an eye on her," Linderman assures Kain. "A very close eye, as a matter of fact. She's nothing you need to concern yourself with, but if things change — you'll be the first to know." He unfolds his hands, placing both his palms flat on the desk's surface. Already, the excess colour in his cheeks is beginning to fade; if Kain had anything to worry about before, he doesn't now. As far as his employer is concerned, the matter is settled. "You have always been a valuable asset to me," he adds, a final note, "but remember: not all things of value are irreplaceable."

September 28th: I'm In

Previously in this storyline…
Trying Plan B

This is the end of the storyline 'Deconstructing Daniel Linderman'.

September 29th: No One Expects The Russian Inquisition
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