Honoka - The Duke and the Empress

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Description: Duke of the Southtown Syndicate and the Akatsuki Empress -- or is she now the Scarlet Dahlia? -- meet to discuss means of curtailing the escalating violence on their territorial borders in Southtown.

There was not peace.

After the Yamaguchi Yakuza collapsed, the remains of the great gang was divided. IT was not a peaceful divide. It was not a proud divide. But it ultimately became an honorable one. Half of the gang found itself absorbed into the Southtown Syndicate, an attempt to restore its honor. The other half? Drawn away piece by piece by the Akatsuki Yakuza. And with it, the territory of an entire gang was split between two gangs. What should have come was the war.

Instead, it was the Shadow Council.

It was not a peace. It was a cold war. Accidents would happen. Arguments would come. Members would make mistakes. Or should have made mistakes. There was a building rage within the Southtown Syndicate over the lack of mistakes. Mistakes had to happen. Mistake MUST happen. It was the orders on high. And yet, there was not mistakes. Only words.

And then, something happened.

It wasn't a mistake. But something did happen. What did the new report say? 67 people and 32 injuries with 12 still in critical condition? It had the makings of a mistake. But it wasn't. And that was a dire warning for the Southtown Syndicate. Mistakes were a controlled substance, something that was to be owned and doled out. Mistakes could not be actual accidents. Answers had to come quickly and accurately. The Southtown Syndicate would send the invitation to the Akatsuki. It would be official request through the grapevine.

To talk about mistakes and accidents.

The site of the meeting would be a nightclub in the business district. A quaint place, where bored businessmen would entertain themselves with hostesses. It was trendy without being fashionable. Sterile and, most importantly, neither in the pocket of Southtown Syndicate nor Akatsuki. A neutral site for neutral people. The table was already set up, around a nice oblong table, black. Each side would have a maximum of eight bodyguards.

Duke had only two.

The dark-skinned crime boss was dressed in a dark suit of black against red. The salt and pepper'd haired man was sitting grimly. To his right was a white-skinned man in a brown suit, holding a briefcase, wearing a set of black glasses. To his left? It was seated a Japanese man in a cast, and covered in stiches and bandages. The crime boss himself was not smoking, not drinking. His two men were thirsty... but they would not act before their boss. Duke just sit solemnly, yellow eyes drifting across the club. The time was set. Their arrival was soon.

There was an accident that needed to be resolved.

The Akatsuki leadership structure is pretty clear, on paper. There is a leader. And beneath the leader sit a number of his top-level executives, each of whom has full authority over his or her branch of underlings among different regions of Japan. But -- curiously unaffiliated with any of the power structures is the Yakuza clan's advisor.

Basking in the glow of the Red Moon is the Scarlet Dahlia.

She was understandably concerned by the news. Ninety-nine problems, and not one of them -directly- related to her -- and yet, it is undeniably the -mandate- of a yakuza organization to be concerned with occurrences within their territory. This incident didn't happen on Akatsuki territory or Southtown Syndicate's -- but the escapes were committed upon them both. And a response is demanded.

It would not escape notice when five people enter the club at once. Four wear black suits with charcoal pinstripes -- and one of whom carries a large folio of some sort. The fifth, shorter figure is the Dahlia herself, wearing a white dress, a white inner vest, and a black and white jacket. The Akatsuki advisor and her entourage make their way to the bar -- pausing just long enough to take note of the crime boss and his two companions before making a quick detour to the bar.

The woman formerly calling herself the 'Empress' will be partaking of a drink this time: Shochu, neat. It isn't ready yet, but she makes it clear where she and her retinue will be headed.

The Dahlia wears a faint smile on her face as she meets Duke's gaze, hands dropping to her sides as she offers the Syndicate boss a stiff bow. "I would like to thank you for the opportunity to meet face-to-face again. It was a shame that the situation got so... tense at our last rendezvous. I trust you are doing well, present emergency notwithstanding?" Her tone flirts in the dead man's zone between temerity and timidness -- she knows full well what Duke is capable of, and yet, she is not -quite- committed to bring it out in full force yet again. There is, after all, work to be done.

Duke's eyes meet the Empress with a glower.

The yellow eyes sear across the room. They lock on as the woman makes her bow. He does not speak yet, no. Duke remembered very well their meeting at the Shadow Council. And what ruled then, ruled now: The only thing keeping Duke's rage in check was reprisals from the council.

But Duke chose a meeting for a reason.

"Let us cut the pleasantries, Empress." The crime boss rumbles. "I am not interested in pretending to be friends. Do you see this man here?" Duke motions at the injured man at his side. "A survivor. I had hoped very dearly that the individual who splintered his arm and left him falling from a 1 story drop at the mall was in fact part of your doing. Unfortunately for me, as the Akatsuki has demonstrated again and again, you would not make such a grave mistake. Your men... do not make mistakes. They are restrained. Calm. I had hoped for you to mistake."

"But someone else has made that mistake for you."

Duke fumes a moment, twisting his neck. Small flickers of crimson-purple energy pour out from his suit. "A third party, a psychopath, is causing problems in contested territory. I had expected that a third party would take advantage of our... quiet neutrality." Duke snarls at that comment.

"What do you know about this incident.'

Dispensing with pleasantries seems to be something she's much in favor of. She drops the false pretense, narrowing her eyes into a more opaque expression to match her inscrutable mood. And as the serving girl walks up behind her with a drink, clearly aiming to surprise her, the psion calmly extends her waiting hand to her left, palm up in expectation.

Only once she accepts the cup of shochu does she finally have a response: a patient relaxation of her features, and a brief sigh. The serving girl skitters away with no small amount of paranoia.
Her men -did- make a mistake, but she opts to leave that mention for later.
"A third party, fourth party, possibly a fifth party." She raises the cup of shochu to her lips, while the man opens the folio out onto the table. Three photos are presented.

The first photo has a timestamp printed on the front -- one day prior. "This charmer has not been clearly identified, but he is most certainly a psychopath." The picture shows... a man with a scar on his face, holding up a minigun and aiming it directly at the camera. "Appears to show no compunction against killing, possibly even gleeful towards it. He is also freakishly strong, as you can see. The gun had been fired not long before our arrival."

The Dahlia draws in her breath, gesturing to the second photo -- a wider shot of the same warehouse. "Jumping ahead to the -fifth- party, this man spoke with me about some sort of -mission-, some objective. It was important enough to necessitate killing three of my more junior associates. That said, I was not able to inquire further, for the reason you see in the first photo. And I -never- kiss on the first date. That said, I could not gain information on this man's associates. "

Her lips pull into a rather obvious frown as she moves to the third photo -- a surveillance camera freeze-frame, badly blurry. It shows a woman in purple, kicking in a rather extravagant fashion -- tae kwon do, perhaps, or possibly taikyokuken? "And the fourth party. A thorn in my side for quite some time. Does the name 'SIN' bear any meaning for you?"

The Dahlia curls both hands around her cup, imbibing another sip of her shochu. She is eager to hear what Duke might have to offer here.

"I believe SIN is something we all experience."

The crime boss rumbles, the faintest hint of a smile at the corner of his lips. "As far as organizations go... I know how I can find out swiftly." Nagase was, after all, very successful at finding out details. Duke does dwell on that woman for a moment. There was something familiar about her. But Duke could not identify it. THe crime boss's shadow of a smile was gone now. That just left the other two.

He looks at the pictures, carefully.

"A mission. A Psychopath. And a woman." He growls. "Three targets. They could be working together. They are not working for my organization. And for now, I doubt they are working for yours." Duke is silent, carefully calculating, carefully considering. Duke steeples his fingers together, interlocking them. "It looks to be our mutual interest, at the moment, to work together."

"What can you offer?"

When Duke smiles, it's... almost hard for the psion to -not- smile back at him. Thus, she allows herself to relax. Good humor -- something that she can appreciate from the man who had been so determined to sear the flesh from her bones the last time they spoke.
She doesn't let the shochu send her into a fit of all-out hysterics, though.

When Duke states that the two are working together, the Dahlia lifts one hand from her cup. "They are not working together. From what I can gather, the woman from SIN -- the organization, of course -- had two... 'men'" She indicates the word with air quotes.

"I apologize for the vagaries, it was rather difficult to extract meaningful information from him, he communicated with all the tact and wit of a -child-. But, judging from his dim wit and his strength, he clearly needed the 'men' for parts. Heat signatures check out."

She nods quietly, twirling her finger about -- acknowledging that her tangent may have already drawn on too long. "Anyway. The 'men' seemed to be the mission objective. The woman kept two from him, he couldn't get a hand on her. She kicked him a lot. In the mind."

She taps herself in the forehead, pointedly. "There's one obvious lead, with that knowledge." And she grins -- baring her teeth in a demonstration of whose widely-menacing grin she's talking about.
It does not last long, before she makes a pointed and irritated frown. "S'pose that means we'll have to talk to -him- about that one."

She takes a sip of her shochu before continuing. "The simpleton thinks he cowed me into leaving him alone. Like I said, first date. I've been keeping tabs on him, at a distance." She nods her head to her right-hand man, who slides a flash drive onto the table. "I'm just not sure how much more use he has to us. It's the -other- attackers we want. The murderers. The city needs their heads on stakes for the panic to die down, mmm?"

"We'll distribute the work on this, then."

"The psychopath... will be my people's business." Duke smolders, looking dead on at the woman. "I will not mince words. Your Akatsuki has not proven itself in this cold war with power, but with discipline. But the likes of this... individual can not be dealt with using honeyed words, careful restraint, and precise action. This requires power. And our organization is well equipped with lone psychopaths."

In fact, Duke had one specifically in mind.

"Psychopaths only understand power and their own sick urges." Duke rumbles. "But the rest of them... require a softer touch, a tighter grip." Duke scowls hard, as he considers the other woman's skills. And how well he learned of them first hand. "You're talents in... converting people into your cause is recognized." The crime boss narrows his yellow eyes, a flare of energy bursting up from around him in a flicker. "You settle with the lead, and I will capture the psychopath. Our friend will not be useful without his hammer, and that hammer will not be useful without his craftsman. That will allow us to narrow down on the third target. And as for her..."

"We will solve that problem when it comes."

The Dahlia's face gradually grows blank as Duke's smoldering analysis of her organization's strengths and weaknesses is brought to light. She... acknowledges that she has a ways to go to catch up with this man's side of the house on sheer might; after all, the Syndicate's strength was the main reason she needed the Yamaguchi's manpower to begin with.
She gives a slow nod, though, when her talents in swaying people are acknowledged. And forges a faint smile -- not so broad as to risk triggering the crime boss's infamous anger, hopefully. "I like the way you think."

The Dahlia finishes off her shochu with one last gulp. Her cheeks are pink, but not fire-engine red like many of the natives would be after such rapid consumption. After drawing in her breath, she adds, "I will check around with the Southtown PD after this, see if maybe they've picked up any newer leads. And then, we'll hit the streets."

She allows one of the bodyguards to relieve her of the empty cup, while another settles the bar tab -- without sharing a single word. People skills.
"Once we serve the heads to the city for them to place up on pikes, we can get back to profitable business like usual." The lady in white tips her head towards Duke, offering him a polite curtsy. "If there's nothing else, then, it's probably best if I get started."

"Then we have a deal."

Duke was not well suited for finesse. But he was adjusting. As the woman finishes her drink, the man in brown suddenly clears his throat. Duke straightens his back, responding to it. A cue of some kind. "You will do your business, and I will do mine. But before you get started?"

"A warning."

Duke runs a hand to the scar on his neck, nodding his head to the man in the brown suit. "My advisors have told me that this all could be a ploy for my people to let their guard down, and to give your people an opening. Fortunately for you, the only evidence of this is your reputation. And a damning reputation it is." Duke releases his neck. "As long as we both are hanging together, we will work together. But if I catch wind that this is a trick serving to benefit you?" The crime boss tightens his fist into a ball, a spasm of energy overflowing from it. "Damn the Shadow Council."

"Do you understand?"

The Dahlia frowns, at first -- noting the subtly guarded emotions that usually precipitate in some sort of ultimatum. Most of the tusukur's abilities have been acquired through direct experience, and as such, she doesn't have a -specific- knowledge of what signals lead to what -- but she does have a pretty good idea.

When she actually hears what Duke's concern is, though, the Dahlia actually flashes Duke a grin.
An honest one, at that! Her sincerity is communicated by direct eye contact, not the false sincerity of liars who look down at their feet instead.

"There's no trick. No game. Good people died for stupid reasons, on -our- collective turf. And if anyone, even a Shadow Council member, turns out to be behind it..."

The Dahlia shrugs her arms to either side, spreading her hands wide. "Then punishment should befit the crime, wouldn't you agree?"

"I do."

Duke didn't trust her. Why would he trust her? Her empire was built on trust. Why give her another stone upon her foundation? And yet, he had no reason to not believe her. "But I consider the Shadow Council only a formality... I will personally oversee the punishment." With that, Duke rises up, taking his ebony wood cane from underneath. The injured gangster steps aside, while the man in the brown suit steps out. Duke looks down on Dahlia. "I have my eye on you."

And with that, Duke strides towards the exit of the club.

Log created on 21:07:47 07/21/2016 by Honoka, and last modified on 19:21:30 07/23/2016.