To Ragnarok


elias_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

Scene Title To Ragnarok
Synopsis Niki makes contact with the mysterious man known to her only as Loki.
Date November 15, 2010

Northern Brooklyn

New York City has its advantages. The least of these advantages is, absolutely not, that it's big. There are plenty of places to get lost, or to simply stroll past when not being found by people is a priority. A restaurant just east of Fort Greene will do nicely in most cases. Luz, it's called, and it's opened late. All the better for a meeting that should remain at least partially clandestine. Or perhaps not so great, depending on the point of view Niki Sanders takes, but the situation is what it is. Luz restaurant, 9 p.m., ask for Loki, and allegedly, everything would go smoothly. Maybe she'll even get a drink out of the deal? Anything can happen in a place like this that's just busy enough that picking a face out in the crowd will be difficult, even at its easiest.

Every item of red clothing in Niki's wardrobe has been packed away in boxes since word of members of Messiah being gunned down in cold blood has begun circulating. This means her wardrobe is about 80% smaller, and finding an outfit to wear on something she's pretending is a date was a little more difficult. Her little red dress has sadly been ruled out, but substituted for an ice blue dress, paired very deliberately with a string of pearls and matching earrings. She's stepped out of a cab a couple blocks down from Luz - oddly enough a place she'd been meaning to try for a while now - staying alert and watching to see if she's being followed.

She's reasonably certain she hasn't been when she steps into the restaurant. Niki flashes her best nervous smile to the employee that greets her when she comes in from the chill outside. "I'm looking for Loki?" She gives a quick glance into the dining area, trying to look the part of a woman on a blind date, rather than one pursuing a mission of revenge.

The hostess takes a glance down at the sheet of reservations when Niki states who she's looking for, and then turns her gaze back up with a smile. "Right this way!" she says, maybe just a bit too cheerily, before she's leading Niki around towards a table in the back of the restaurant, one chair free standing and a bench against the white brick wall occupied by a sandy-haired man in a sharp looking suit. No one that Niki's familiar with, but someone who has nevertheless already started on a cocktail, the glass filed with deep red liquid. Her approach does not go unnoticed.

"Hey, you made it," he says, standing up plainly to be polite, "Welcome to my temporarily-occupied corner of the world." He doesn't stay standing long after Niki and the hostess- who quickly departs back for the front- arrive. "Not too much trouble getting here, I hope."

"No, not at all." Niki drapes her coat over the back of the chair across the table from the man on the bench before sitting down. "Loki, I presume?" She offers her hand out, brows hiked upward as she's still playing the part of a curious would-be date. "I'm Lorine. Got your calling card in Vegas."

"Loki I am," is the reply that 'Loki' gives to Niki, "And it's lucky for you, really. Not many people get my calling card. Air of mystery, it keeps things a little bit more interesting. Sometimes, at least." Almost on cue, one of the servers comes ambling over with a, "Good evening," to which 'Loki' replies with a nod. "I see you've already got your drink, but what can I get for you?" A question directed at Niki, of course. If she looks to her date-apparent for guidance, he only makes a gesture to indicate that what Niki wants, Niki gets.

"I feel privileged, then," Niki quips with a smirk. When the server arrives, she first glances to Loki, then tips her head up to give her order. "A mojito, please. Thanks."

Once the order is taken and they're left to themselves again, Niki rests her elbows on the table and rests her chin against steepled fingers. "I believe you have some information I've been looking for." She glances away almost coyly. "What do you want for it?"

"Well, I could say 'a million dollars and three Hawaiian islands,' but I gave up extortion. New Year's resolution, and all that." True to his name, 'Loki' is a joker. "No, what I'm much, much more interested in is knowing what this information is going to be used for. I have, uh, issues with people and groups plotting the overthrow and general downfall of the world, so while this isn't exactly 'world ending,' you can see why I'm still cautious about handing it out."

"I want to put Daniel Linderman in jail, if not on death row," Niki replies easily, meeting 'Loki's' eyes. "And it's a good thing you don't want any islands, because I definitely can't provide those." Which is to say she might think she could scrounge up a million dollars in a pinch. "The man is a monster, and he's the reason my son is dead. I want to see him brought to justice."

When Niki begins to speak, 'Loki' lifts his glass of deep red cocktail and takes a long drink from it, not setting it back down again until she finishes. Rather than answering immediately, he fixes her with a stern look for a few moments. "Before Ragnarok," he says, "The other gods chained Loki to a boulder and had a serpent drip poison into his eyes for eternity. So naturally, when Ragnarok started and he escaped, he wasn't in the best of moods and turned on them. I had a pretty good life, working for Linderman. Good money, good apartment, even good care for my poor mother. Everything I could want, no questions asked. All delivered right to my front door.

"In Midtown."

Almost immediately, it might become clear to Niki exactly what it is that 'Loki' wants out of this deal: He's had a pretty big snake dripping poison into his eyes.

Niki nods slowly as she listens to Loki's story. It all makes sense to her. Just another one of Linderman's victims. Someone he used without any regard. "I can promise you, Loki, Linderman will pay very, very dearly for what he's done to our families." Let alone what he's done to them, the survivors. "And if this information doesn't take him down, I will put a bullet between his eyes myself even if it kills me." Her gaze is stony, without pity but not without sympathy.

'Loki' puts on a smile just briefly when the server returns with Niki's mojito. Busy though they are, prompt drink service still appears to be a priority. He doesn't stick around to take a food order, presumably due to a previous arrangement, which may well be for the better. Another few moments pass before Niki's date-apparent discretely reaches into his jacket, withdraws and deposits on the tabletop an ultra-thin jewel case containing a DVD with no identifying marks on it, which he slides over to her before return his hand to his drink. "The originals are in a safe box in Switzerland," 'Loki' says, "I'd rather hold onto them, but if the copies aren't good enough, I can have everything here within twenty-four hours of you notifying me."

Niki's smile appears nothing short of genuine when her drink arrives and she takes a moment or two to drink from it - perhaps more deeply than etiquette usually dictates - as 'Loki' slides the DVD across the table. Setting her drink aside, she plucks up the jewel case to slide into an inner pocket in her coat. "That seems perfectly reasonable to me. I will let you know." In fact, Niki's even impressed. Not that she expected anything less from someone who managed to beat her to Iris Spencer's safe.

"Just a warning though." Always a catch. Thanks, 'Loki.' "I've got enough experience with things like this that I've got a hunch, just a hunch, that this won't go the way either of us wants it to. Even if what's on that disc works, even if you nail him dead-to-rights, this is going to end badly. Just a feeling, so make of that what you will, but when you drop the hammer on that son of a bitch, make sure you aren't standing too close. Linderman's powerful and important and there's not a person on this earth that'll be able to control the damage once things get rolling."

It's like a confirmation - or a proper echo - of all the warnings she's attempted to give about bringing Linderman down to her colleagues. But Niki can only experience the death of her son so many times before she just can't care any less about the consequences of her quest for revenge anymore. This is the third time she's been told that Micah is dead. Enough is enough. "You're absolutely right. I have no way of knowing how this will go, except badly. I can only hope it goes more badly for him than for me." Though sometimes Niki thinks that things could get no worse.

Ragnarok, the Twilight of the Gods, foretells not the end of the world, but the end of the old world, out of the ashes of which a new world will arise, bright and fertile. Or maybe it foretells an end of an old world, and the arrival of a new one. The old world ended with the Midtown Man, and then again with the events that led New York to its current state of affairs. Third time's the charm, they say. The end of one more world before the new one that comes out of its ashes is better because of it. Raising his glass, 'Loki' seals the deal definitely and acknowledge that from this point on, there is no turning back. Can be no turning back. Twilight is coming one more time.

"To Ragnarok."

Niki raises her glass with a ghost of a very grim smile. "Very well, then.

"To Ragnarok."


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