Well Aged


mika_icon.gif rupe_icon.gif

Scene Title Well Aged
Synopsis Rupert Carmichael reconnects with an old business partner and sets her off on an important mission for Messiah…
Date August 16, 2010

Through the Looking Glass Teahouse

It's a fairly normal day here at Through the Looking Glass, and has been all day long. Customers have come and gone, and Mika, in her favored mid-twenties, has been a delightful business owner all day, earning customer loyalty as she is prone to doing so well. The shop smells of the many delightful varieties of tea that the shop provides, and the warm, cozy atmosphere is like a shelter from the harshness of post-bomb New York City.

This is Mika Iwasaki's little haven, just as much of a treat to herself as is is to her customers. It's peaceful, comforting. A pleasant change from her former days. But she knows that those days won't last. Recent events have made peace for one like her impossible. The terrorist attacks, the new Registration requirements, they make life for the woman a very uneasy thing.

Now, the sun is setting, and she is just seeing her last customer out of the door, smiling and laughing all the while; her keys are held loosely in one hand. "You have a wonderful evening, now, Mrs. Pascua. I look forward to seeing you again on Friday!" The blonde woman offers a wave, making her way out of the door with a cheerful farewell.

"Oh, pardon me— sorry, excuse me." It's the faint edge of a voice outside, after Mrs. Pascua has left, a stranger on the street bumping into her on what should have been just passing by the tea shop. The store is closing, there's no more customers to be had. But tonight, there will be a visitor none the less, as the past comes to catch up with the future in a way that Mika Iwasaki is unused to.

Just before the door fully shuts, there's a jingle of the bell when the heel of a palm bumps into the door's frame. When the door pushes back open, a slender figure stepping into the teahouse dips his head down and withdraws a fedora from its crowning place in such a manner to briefly obscure his face.

It's been well over a year since Mika Iwasaki saw Rupert Carmichael, but when his bearded countenance is revealed behind that withdraw fedora, when his darkly-dressed frame ambles into the tea house and lets the door close behind him with a jingle, it becomes readily obvious that what was once lost, has been found again. "Mika," is offered with a smile and a certain fondness as Rupert holds his fedora to his chest and pauses by the door, "it's been a long time."

In PARIAH Rupert Carmichael was a money-man, a funding figure, a background shadow that did not get involved in the day-to-day affairs. In Shedda-Dinu he was an ideas man, a planner, a thinker, a plotter and a schemer. When PARIAH collapsed in fiery ruin and under the heel of the NYPD and Department of Homeland Security, Rupert went to ground and disappeared off of the radar of surviving operatives. When Shedda-Dinu was disbanded after government scrutiny got just a little too close for comfort, Rupert Carmichael disappeared into Europe for almost a year.

Now he's walking back into the life of one of both of those organizations secrets, a fringe information gatherer and reconnaisence specialist. It seems like once you're in, you're never out.

The petite woman backs up as the slender man stops her from closing the door and slips in, taking a few steps back to allow him room to enter. "I'm sorry sir, but we're closed for—" She's cut off by the man lifting his hat, her eyes trailing to that familiar face, and for just a moment, her jaw drops open briefly, before closing once more. Her youthful face drops into a peculiar expression, one of mixed feelings, and she quickly shuts the door, throwing the key in the lock and locking it. It's only once she's sure that the building is securely locked up for the evening that she turns, peering up at the man.

After a long moment of almost awkward silence, the young woman's face breaks into a warm, almost motherly smile. "Rupert Carmichael." She offers a soft laugh, moving over to the counter to begin her drawer count. "It's not been so long as you think, but time is relative when you hit my age." She casts a warm smile up to the man. "What brings you by my wonderful tea shop? Did you come to try the Strawberry tea, or did you just miss me?"

"No tea, not today," Rupert explains with an awkward bob of his head and a slow sideways stride towards one of the tables. "I did miss you though, Mika, it's been too long, you know?" Pulling out a chair and sitting himself down, there's a look up to the deceptively young woman and a motion of the bearded man towards the chair opposite of him as he sets his hat down on the tabletop. "I actually came here to discuss business with you, because I have some things going on that need very delicate attention, and you are the most delicate handler of things that I have in my arsenal."

Present tense there, not past; Rupert's never really let her go.

"If you're not busy, I have a business opportunity for you, same pay scale as I had you working with back when you were scouting Senators for me in Shedda-Dinu. But, it's going to be time-consuming, so you're going to need to probably make some arrangements with whatever covers you're working these days in order to handle it." Reaching inside of his suit jacket, Rupert removes a bank envelope and slides it across the table to the seat he'd suggested she'd take.

"For considering the offer," Rupert explains with a bow of his head and a fond smile. She knows his business model, she's been working it long enough. Five-thousand dollars to listen to a man talk is a pretty good deal, even if she doesn't take it. But if there's one thing Rupert Carmichael is, it's a persuasive salesman.

"Aha. How did I know that I hadn't seen the last of you, Rupert?" The deceptively young woman sets the drawer aside, and grabbing her glass of iced tea, she moves over to the table and takes a seat, sipping at the amber-colored beverage as he speaks. "You never stay gone from my life for too long, do you?" She laughs softly to herself, watching the man.

She leans forward in her seat as he he presents his case, her brows raised slightly in that calm, delicate manner of hers that remains from her days as a Geisha. She slurps the tea down for a long moment, before slowly setting it down and reaching out, taking the the envelope. It is briefly counted, the money flipped through, before it is set back down with a nod.

"You already know that I'll help you, Rupert. Life has been slow these days, and while I enjoy the peace," She leans forward, peering up at the taller man with those perfectly trimmed brows of hers still raised, "Peaceful times certainly aren't profitable."

"I need you to perform a long-term infiltration mission for me, at least four months, maybe less…" Leaning back in his chair, Rupert withdraws a stack of black and white photographs from inside of his jacket, most of them grainy like traffic surveillance photos, some of them are mug-shots and others are candids that look to have been taken on some sort of battleship or aircraft carrier.

"This man," a mug shot is laid down depicting a brunette man with stubble, light eyes and a serious expression. "Richard Cardinal, he's a former small-time crook who has recently gotten himself into some interesting activities. I know he has an organization of people working under him, from the descriptions I've heard they're self-styled freedom fighters, the kind that try to shift upcoming events to their favor."

Sliding through the photos, there's multiple pictures of Richard and a blonde woman. Pointing to her, Rupert taps the photograph with two fingers. "This is his closest confidant, Elisabeth Harrison. Former NYPD Scout officer, now she works for FRONTLINE. I want to know everything that they're doing, every deal, every side-job, every ally he has and every single place of importance he has."

Intent in his purpose, Rupert leans forward and folds his hands on the table. "I presume he has at least five to twenty individuals under his employ, and that's all the intel I have on his organization. He's a blind spot to a project I'm working on right now, and a dangerous one. What I need is for you to go undercover into his organization, I need you to let Richard think that he has some advantage over you and some power… so I'm going ot need you to compromise your ability in front of him or one of his employees. Engender yourself to him, to his sympathies."

Sliding his tongue over his lips, Rupert taps his fingers on the tabletop. "I need you to pretend that you worked for a group called Messiah, that you did information gathering for me, scouted Evolved talent. Basically that you were a head-hunter, but that you don't agree with our violent ways now. But don't approach either of these people," Rupert taps on the photographs, "directly about work. What I need you to do is play up the role of a defector."

Creasing his brows, Rupert tilts his head to the side slowly. "Harrison lives at Dorchester Towers, she'll be the easiest mark. I need you to have a coincidental run-in with her, like you're running from someone. Maybe 'accidentally' let her see you switch ages, look afraid, need help. Feign weakness to get into their graces, and say that I found out you want to leave Messiah and that you're afraid for your life… maybe— if you get into a conversation with them, tell them that you saw something terrible in that flash moment, something you want to prevent."

Strangely, it's not all that far from the truth.

The photographs are neatly collected, quietly looked through as the man gives her the details of her assignment. The calm, calculating look of a woman seasoned in this level of espionage graces her features, one familiar to Rupert as the face she wears when she is memorizing her mission.

This one is a newer kind of case, far more involved than she generally has been used to. But it's certainly not out of her range of abilities, acting being a particularly good skill of hers. You get good at it when you live a life like Mika does. Or multiple lives, really.

As she carefully listens to her instructions, memorizing the faces in the pictures, and their names to go with it. Once he finishes, she raises that strange, motherly smile up to him, leaning back in her seat and setting the photographs on top of the envelope as she regards the man, her eyes trailing over the lines in his face that have appeared since she last saw him. He grows older by the second, while she is quite free to experience any age she wants, at any time. One day, he will die. Once he's gone, there will be more like him. There always are. But she likes this young man just a little bit more than those who have come before him.

"I can certainly do that for you, Rupert. My pleasure, as always." She lifts her tea, sipping at the amber liquid once more. "You can be certain that I won't let you down." She cants her head to one side after a moment. "I will need more information on Messiah in order to adequately perform, if you would please."

"You never disappoint," Rupert explains with a thin smile, bringing his folded hands to rest in front of his mouth as he hunches forward. "Messiah operates against the government, fighting an organization within it called the Institute. Since the other members of Messiah won't know you by name or face, I've designed the cover identity for you that's kept you away from the public eye. Basically, Messiah fights the government by way of systematically depriving them of their most powerful assets. Severing access to resources or people as pointedly as possible, all while making a public name to inspire others."

It's part Shedda-Dinu, Part PARIAH; a hybrid.

"Your responsibilities would have simply been recruitment. You see an Evolved operative who you think would be promising, hear someone saying something that seems to match our idologo, and you passed their names and faces along to me and I went in on it. If you get asked specific questions about people you forwarded to me," Rupert dips his head to the side, "you can say you recommended Pericles Jones and Faron Mathers. You don't have to know where we're based out of, because you performed anonymous deliveries of information in a couple of drop points across the city."

Rupert tilts his head to the side and offers a smile. "We can say the drop points changed weekly, so you don't need to give specifics there either. You're on a need-to-know basis, which means yu never acted with anyone in the organization but me. You… can feel free to tell them about our prior arrangements with Shedda Dinu and PARIAH, that'll give you some credit. What you mostly need to do, is make it so that you appear indebtted to them for help."

A small, tight smile appears on the woman's face, her expressions resembling those of the elderly more than the youthful, as it were. It's always strange to see her not acting, really, not hiding those old eyes she has. Her head bobs up and down in a slow nod, and she pulls her Japanese-style cigarette pipe out of the bun in her hair, letting her hair cascade down over her shoulders as she places a hand-rolled cigarette into it.

"Interesting group you have there, Rupert. As always, I'm happy to help you out in any way you wish it." She offers an almost mysterious smile. "Consider it done. I will be certain to report back to you once I have made contact and progress." She chuckles softly, lighting up the cigarette as she looks over the man, a thoughtful look on her face.

"I have to admit, it will be very nice to get back to work. I really don't feel right with myself unless I'm decieving somebody." Plus, what's in the envelope alone is enough to pay the rent on her shop for a few months.

"There's ten thousand in it for you, every weak you're on assignment once you get a foot in the door. I'll use our old payment arrangement and the same overseas account, no need to break tradition there." Brushing his hands together, Rupert offers a smile, then reaches inside of his jacket and removes a rolled up bundle of thin red cloth. "One last thing," Rupert explains as he stands up from his chair with a scuff of the feet. "Take this," he instructs, laying it down on the table.

"You do work for Messiah now, cover or not. That scarf is a symbol of membership, every member of Messiah has one, cut from the same piece of cloth. It's easily identifiable by other Messiah members, so I wouldn't wear it out in public, but it's something we all have. So, for a better cover."

The bundle of cloth is taken, the woman's fingers running over the threads fondly. She always did like fabrics. They remind her of simpler times, her true birth and coming of age. Once the explanation is given, the deceptively young woman sets it on the table, nodding slowly up to Rupert. Slowly she stands, oh-so-short next to him.

One of her old-time bows is offered to the man, the woman offering a bright smile to him. "I must say that I appreciate the opportunity, Rupert. And it's always so good to see you. You age so well." She walks over to the counter, pulling out a bag of one of her teas and thrusting it into the man's hands whether he wants it or not. "Make sure you stop back in every once in a while for some tea. It's good for the soul." She offers a warm smile up at Rupert, flipping her hair away from her eyes.

"I'll get started tomorrow."

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