Alba - False Foes

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Description: Yakuza-Leader of the Aizawa-Gumi Katashi Tairyu invites gang-leader Alba Meira to lunch, and leads with a most interesting proposition.

A message was delivered from the head of a certain Yakuza family in Southtown. A family that has been seeing a rather significant rise within the city's power map in the wake of the power vacuum created by the fall of Duke and the scrambling of the Syndicate's presence that followed.

And this message calls the one responsible for the latter to meet. An encounter like this could perhaps be considered comparable to carrying a lit torch over a puddle of oil, even if so far, FATE and Aizawa-gumi have not clashed. Even if the latter quite blatantly benefited from the actions of the former.

Be as it were, the instructions that came with the request for the meeting were clear enough. A meeting in a closed off korean restaurant within turf that, at least for now, had no claim to it from any one organization or gang small or large. A number of men from either side could be brought to stand guard outside as an assurance against violence (be it from each other or an interfering third party), but with two stipulations. One: The guard has to be able to blend into the crowds or the surrounding buildings so as to not draw attention to the meeting, be it from civilians or other organizations. Two: Only the two leaders themselves may enter the premises.

Fitting with the subtle notion of subterfuge, the restaurant itself holds a sign upon it proclaiming it to be closed off for the evening for a 'private party'. And Alba himself is ushered in rather quickly by the proprietor - an elderly korean woman - who disappears just as quickly as she had first appeared. At least for now.

And as for the restaurant, it's... perhaps a bit lower end than might be expected for a meeting like this. It's not that it is some hole in the wall, no-- but it is not some high-class establishmet where you would need to pay just for the right to enter through the door, either. THe atmosphere is more 'homely' than anything else.

And at the very far end of the otherwise empty restaurant, in a corner booth waits the one who called him here. The vaguely familiar vision of a japanese man with lightly-spiked, back-swept hair in a dark suit.

Katashi Tairyu.
The Second Kumicho of Aizawa-gumi.

FATE had not been making large strides as of late.

Alba's organization had been steadily growing, taking it's place as a fairly important player between the warring factions of Southtown. A partnership with Dahlia, as well as his own ingenuity, had led him take efficient control over Duke's former territory.

It was a satisfying stagnation.

Alba had a fairly good reputation. FATE did care about the city's inhabitants, to a certain degree. Protection money actually gave people protection, rather then it being pure extortion.. Make not mistake, FATE was still a criminal organization- But certain, common practices of one are barred. Drugs and human trafficking are off the table, for instance.

So when the message came, Alba was positive at the prospect, and agreed. Entering the quaint korean Restaurant. Outside, he had left a pair of his own on a café Terrace diagonally opposite of the korean restaurant. A man and a woman, both of a similair middle-age. They looked fairly close- a couple? Alba himself was dressed in a light beige blouse, with dress-pants shaded a dark grey. Rather business-casual. He did however, have his trademark red-glass sunglasses on his face, long hair tied behind his back. Crimson with streaks of black, if he didn't already stand out enough.

The elderly woman hastily gets him insight, whereafter the young gangster locates Tairyu and approaches. He bows, and speaks japanese, very vaguely accented.

"Good afternoon, Tairyu-San. The invitation was appericiated."

The moment the door opens, the Yakuza boss' attention turns. Just enough, at first, to direct one emerald eye to peeking from the corner of it's socket towards the the elderly woman hurrying Alba in -- and then, once the boss of FATE comes striding across the empty establishment, he brings himself standing up.

Turned to face him, a curious little detail will become clear. A small circular badge pinned to the lapel of his jacket with Aizawa-gumi's crest on it. Most criminal organizations that operated under the Syndicate umbrella in Southtown and almost all of the organizations abroad might not have their members flaunt the nature of their organization, but Yakuza-- Yakuza were always different. It was a practice that steadily lessened even among the Aizawa-gumi while they were chained to the Syndicate, sure, but... things have changed. Now, the rare surviving specimen of traditional Yakuza has their members boldly wear that pin again. It is a point of equal amounts of pride and defiance -- as if to proclaim to the world after breaking free from the Syndicate's chains, "Our way of life will not die".

"It is my pleasure to meet you again," Tairyu himself offers to Alba, with a steady tilt into a bow. "I wish I had been able to do so earlier-- considering how much my people have benefited from your actions in the long run."

Straightening back up from the bow, the Yakuza's brows knit together briefly. "And I wish I had... a more pleasant reason to ask to talk to you."

A hand extends to gesture to the bench on the other side of the booth in indication, before he slides in to reclaim his earlier seat. Elbows propping on the surface of the table in between, and fingers of each hand entwining together.

"...We've both grown quite a bit in the last few months, Meira-san," he murmurs, once his counterpart has sat down. "With the lessening of Southside Syndicate's influence in the city after Duke's stake in the organization crumbled, it's not entirely inaccurate to say our two groups are among the most major players in the shifting map. But..."

He pauses, purposefully, when the grey-haired korean woman from earlier wanders over, setting down a tray with two cups, a bottle of Takju, and two bowls of beef salad. It's only after the proprietor has left easy hearing range, that Tairyu finishes his thought.

"...That power map still isn't exactly... stable. There's still a lot of greedy hands trying to take advantage, aren't there?"

"Indeed it is. Last time, both of us had smaller roles to play." He smiles, raising up in tandem with the Yakuza, and sitting down at the gesture. His expression sterns a little when the subject of Duke came up, even though he was not the main focus of the matter at hand. "Better late then never. I do suppose I had been terribly busy for a while as well, gathering and reassembling the scraps that beast left behind."

Alba nods, and smiles at the lady, before she retreats back out of earshot.

"Perhaps not stable. Greedy hands will always be grasping. But thus far, none of the greedy hands have proven to be that major of a problem. Small gangs, thugs- Lowlifes with no skills to back up their lofty ambitions." Though, the man does sigh in annoyance. "Simply quelling their presence takes effort- My people tend to be skilled in combat, and I go to fight regularly as well. I am not beyond that." Nodding, he lifts the bottle of Takju, filling his own cup before offering to do the same for Tairyu, with a telling lift of the bottle.

"How are your experiences in matters such as that?"

"It is... not dissimiliar to how things are with me and my people," Tairyu offers in answer, while his hand drifts to take a cup and hold it out towards that offering lift of the bottle.

"It may not be a kind of problem that threatens either of our groups directly... but it is a problem, still. Right now, it threatens civilians at minimum-- and holds an inherent risk of growing worse. It's an undeniable fact that gang violence in this city has grown significantly after... everything that has happened."

A pause to take a tasting sip of the Takju -- just a small taste. Though it is in bad form to refuse offerings such as this, it is just as bad form to be chugging alcohol in the middle of a meeting of this nature.

"For a time so long that it traces back further than some can even remember, the Syndicate was the monolith of this city. Anyone who lived tied to the underworld *had* to be under their control, either directly or indirectly. That didn't go just for the people who entered our world by choice and greed-- it applied just as much for those who were forced into it simply because they slipped through the cracks of society. Independence and power of your own was simply not an option."

The cup is turned from side to side slightly to let the rice wine within swirl in little spirals, the alluring motion of physics drawing Tairyu's own eye for a moment before his green gaze lifts back up to meet Alba's own. Or at least his shades.

"After Duke was brought down, and his kingdom burned down in his wake, that notion was shattered. And a different message was rung out through all of Southtown for everyone to hear, only to be reinforced by the sight of Aizawa-gumi and FATE both cleaning up the ashes and growing something new within that soil. What message do you think that was?"

"Correct." He agrees, pouring the milky white drink into Tairyu's cup- Setting down the bottle and taking a small sip of his own. "But it is not a problem with any sort of easy solution. The hope is that eventually the fools will come to realize the futility of it." Alba shakes his head, and crosses his arms.

"The Syndicate created an era of miserable stagnation- Duke, and certain other members of it's Hydra cared most about power and profit." From behind his red lenses, Alba looks back- Listening intently to the Yakuza leader's statement and question.

"The message that anyone can rise up with enough will, and power." Alba speaks with simple clarity. "A message that I do not inherently disagree with- Yet ingenuity is even more important. And, well.. Luck. Fate. As much as I would wish to chalk up my success through those three pillars, Luck took a part."

"Truly, you need all. Duke had Power and Will, yet his falling into a trap- His lack of foresight is what got him defeated."


Tairyu takes a rather purposeful moment of silence in the wake of Alba's answer. Almost as if he is letting the words swirl around within his mouth, to feel out every last quality of the taste behind them. A taste he's... not entirely decided on.

It does give the scion of Fate the moment to speak out his thoughts, and the inheritor of Aizawa-gumi a moment to get a taste of the beef salad provided by the proprietor with chopsticks.

Chewing through lettuce and beef both while Alba speaks, letting it linger like he was chewing on the words themselves.

"It's an accurate assessment," he allows, finally. "And certainly the kind of thing I'm sure many have taken to heart... but it is also a rather idealistic take on it. I propose there is a different take on the message that has just as much of a weight on the people in this city."

Chopsticks are swirled in his hands, and smoothly snapped over the salad, supported on opposing edges of the bowl, so that Tairyu might prop his arms on the table once again, and fold his hands together ahead of his lower face as he leans in subtly.

"That anyone with the will and power... can *take* what they want. That's the kind of notion that fuels many of the players in Southtown now, both against our people and in taking advantage of the weak within the city. ... Both notions are what lead many to see both of us as a potential new obstacle to them in place of the Syndicate. An obstacle that could be seen as significantly easier to cross than them. A particular nightmare scenario is someone getting the bright idea to unite all the smaller gangs and upstart organizations... hell, even potential outside actors trying to make headway into this city, all together for just long enough to all take us on at the same time. Be they however foolish or unskilled as you might think them to be, the sheer numbers will inevitably work against us. Even if we would come through on the other side of it... it would still be phenomenally violent. Even one evening of anarchy like that on the street would hurt the people of this city just as much - if not more - than us, and we would lose the civilian trust that I know the stability of both our groups is based upon."

Fingers disentangle, and Tairyu leans back again, pressing his back against the backrest of the bench, while his arms fold up together over his chest.

"And for that matter... Your allegory for the Syndicate was not only much more accurate than my 'Monolith', but also brings up another, potentially grander threat."

Rather than fully elaborating upon that, he gives Alba an expectant look with that -- to see how he picks up on that line of thought.

"Perhaps it is Idealistic." Sighing, he decides to start on his beef salad as he listens to Tairyu's many words. His brow furrows in the middle. But finally when the man is finished, he makes his own responses. "It is a important distinction." He begins, in direct response to each of their assessments of this 'message'.

"Such a scenario can't come to pass." Alba says, in agreement. "The sheer destruction and violence of it is one thing. The potential of such a coalition rising to power is a far greater threat. Many fragmented and selfish group under one wing, all feeling entitled to their piece of the pie- And when once piece is bigger then the other, fights will erupt even between 'allies'"

The gangster takes a bite of beef and chews, swallowing before continuing on. "The Hydra. Duke's downfall was orchestrated in part by another Syndicate leader- The Syndicate had- or still has, significant inner discourse." He mentions the fact- Maybe Tairyu had heard something of the sort. Kain R. Heinlein. The man thinks about Tairyu's final statement, attempting to piece together the subtext: Try as he might, he couldn't come to definite meaning- He looks at the man, the slightest bit annoyed.

"I am afraid you will have to be clearer then that, mr. Tairyu. A hydra regrows it's heads when the cutting wound is not properly cauterized- is that it?"

Tairyu was likely about to say something, after no proper bite from Alba had come. But then, before any sound manages to leave his lips, the german man offers a different suggestion over a particular quality of the mythological creature they had been using as a metaphor.

And over that, his opened jaw clamps shut again, and his dark brows twist into a displeased frown.

"...I admit, I had... not considered that possibility," he rumbles. Disappointed at himself over letting that one particular scenario slip away from his calculations.

"I already knew that another 'head' had been party to it," he admits then. "Which makes me believe that this particular... possibility isn't too considerable, seeing as Duke's connections would have been cut thanks to that, but... Just on the off chance, answer me this: What *exactly* became of Duke?"

"The last I saw of him- After I struck him down, was him being taken away by the police. Right after he got kicked from the syndicate: They restrained him by ways of electrocution, shock rods." He explains. "I had not heard much of him afterward- I'd have to assume he has been locked up somewhere." Sipping his drink, his brow furrows. "So you would have to be right- He should be out of the picture. He must be." His hand shakes, as he grips the cup's handle tightly.

"Though sometimes, I cannot help but fear."

He admits, somberly. "Nontheless, we should not consider it part of this equation. I am very curious to hear about what you had in mind earlier."

"I suppose there's always a chance, if he's alive," Tairyu admits -- though the way he says it doesn't hold a particular sense of urgency to it, no.

"But... yes. What I had in mind. I can't claim to be an expert on the inner workings of the Syndicate's leadership and everything, but... I cannot imagine the heads of this particular Hydra would every be fully unaware of what the other heads are biting down on. Even if that particular thing one happens to be biting on is the neck of another head. And yet... the others did not try to lunge in."

The YAkuza shakes his head and lets out a heavy sigh. "I think the rest allowed it happen because they wanted it. BUt even if they didn't... I am certain at least one of the heads would aim to take what fell from the jaws of the head that was cut off. And with how willful the people having hold of it now are... It would be violent."

"About that particular case, you might not need worry- Because technically, I am that scavenging head." He gives that statement a moment to sink in, as he drinks. "I do not directly identify with the Syndicate, but I was granted Duke's assets on his defeat- Or what was left of them."

Pausing again, he takes a bite of his meal. "And thus far, the Syndicate has shown no interest in making any such attack. Part of that would be because I work together with at one of their most important members. As much as I would not fast admit it, by some metrics I am a part of the syndicate." He sighs, pained. "Of course, I will not become lax. I will keep my ears out and take rumors seriously- Yet at the moment, nothing is outwardly threathening my position."

"Could the same be said for the Aizawa-Gumi?"

Well, isn't this a revelation. Truth be told, Tairyu did expect it to some extent, but yet... actually hearing it said brings his expression to change regardless.

A change of attitude even, perhaps. Eyes lid slightly, brows knit together, and the look the family head of Aizawa-gumi affords to Alba is one that nears on blank.

"It's an easy definition to make by all standards, certainly," he allows in a low, deep rumble of his voice, never taking his eyes fully off of the ohter man.

"I wonder, though. WHere do your true loyalties lie? Be it your benefactor or some other 'Head' of the Syndicate Hydra who comes knocking on the door of this city, demanding property, demanding lives.. What will you do, Meira-san?"

Alba feels that the tension grows, and looks back through his sunglasses. "An important question." And he thinks about it. For a good, few, solid seconds. "And a complicated one, presented in a overly simple way. Killing? No. Not under most any circumstance. Only the most heinous of people deserve such a fate. Yet other things would be a more complicated matter." The german admits, and frowns. "My benefactor would not be fast to demand so, I imagine. If it would be anyone else of the Syndicate, it would take an extraordinarily convincing argument to get me to agree. My loyalties lie in keeping stability, keeping the civilians content while my organization can be successful- I do not care about the Syndicate's wills, inherently."

Alba lets himself lean back some after making his argument, his serious expression softening somewhat. "And if they would attempt to force me, I would fight back- I would defend what I believe to be the best course of action- And I believe you would do the same." With a sigh, he removes the sunglasses. Making his silver eyes visible as he picks up a piece of meat with his chopsticks.

"On the subject of murder, I came extraordinarily close to killing Duke. In the moment, emotions got the better of me- Mr. Bogard talked me out of going down that dark path." Despite the seriousness of his words, he seems fairly calm- neutral.

"And I am glad that I didn't, in hindsight."

Tairyu watches the other gang leader. Considers him deeply. He lets every single word that leaves Alba's mouth linger on his mind, be weighed on some grand mental scale inside of his mind. Every single motion within his body that comes with each word scanned with his eyes, considered and compared against the weight of his voice. Everything studied and weighed.

And at the end of it, once Alba's answer has finished... he lets out a faint breath, and...

Tairyu smiles.

"It seems my worries were unfounded," he murmurs. "And that my first judgement of you was correct, Meira-san."

Leaning forward, his arms uncross from his chest, and fold over the table, instead. THe food and drink both forgotten, and he allows his eyes to close now, for the first time, after all this time of keeping such a close, wary, outright guarded eye on Alba.

"Most people know this city as the 'Capital of Martial Arts'. But this city is also... inherently unfair. There is a reason why people like you and me, and others forsaken by society are in ample supply in this city. People lost and abandoned through one way or another... but at the same time, this city also affords a place to them. Through people like your father, and mine."

He doesn't mean their biological fathers of course, no.

"Despite having no future as anything other than an 'Outlaw', I was still given a place to belong. And I wish for others like me to have something like that, too... Not that I feel any grudge against the people in this city who are able to have a 'normal' life by society's standards, don't get me wrong. Everyone simply has their own place. Their own rights to craft their own futures, in the paths they have been set upon."

Slowly, his eyes open, to level emerald orbs upon Alba once more.

"Ironically, in a city like this, it's exactly people like us who hold the greatest responsibility in affording people of all colors a peaceful life. A city where all traditional authorities are corrupt, it is the ones who live outside the law like us who are left with the responsibiltiy to protect the people here."

Arms unfold from the table, and the Yakuza boss adopts a more firm, upright posture upon his seat once more. And still, now that his eyes are open again, they never drift away from the ones hidden behind Alba's sunglasses.

"When you first told me of your father, I thought already then that we were the same. But looking at you now, I can tell-- we are alike in even more ways. And so... I have no hesitation for the proposal I prepared before I invited you here."

Posture relaxing after that subtle hint of understanding over the other man, he finally allows himself to take the cup of Takju, and pour the entirety of it's contents down his throat. Eyes closing while he swallows the rice wine, allowing it's heat to spread through his body before he focuses on Alba once again.

"Neither of our positions might not be directly threatened as of now, as you said. But the truth remains that the city remains in chaos in the wake of the events that gave us the room to get where we are now. And in that chaos, the threats brew... both towards us, and the civilians under our care. And as you said, there is surely discourse among the Syndicate leadership, and no matter how tied you are to... I assume it's Heinlein, yes? I would advise you to take close consideration of how trustworthy he is, too, but that is a matter for another day... Regardless, there's no telling how long it will be before someone in that mix Hydra heads with their own agendas in greeds decides to spit in that man's face as well and take what became of Duke's hold for their own from a couple upstarts like you and me. Neither that nor the chaotic map of the power vacuum that still exists here can be safeguarded against by the two of us sitting on our laurels on the turf we have now and hoping for the best.

A pregnant pause is purposefufully left there, and taken advantage of by maneuvering the earlier forsaken chopsticks to taste at the beef salad again -- with a rather satisfied sound at that.

"And so... I have a gambit planned, for the two of us to undertake. But it will be... Risky, and require both close policing among both our ranks, and explicit trust between the two of us. Are you interested?"

Alba smiles in return, as the Yakuza Boss makes his judgement. Though he does not speak directly, while he makes the rest of his story. About the city, it's people- And the two's responsibilities. "Everyone deserves a fair shot at life- A chance to succeed, or a even a chance to fail. It is the freedom that matters. I would agree with most." He leans forward, sipping the liquor, continuing to listen.

Though his brow raises at the mention of Kain. "You would assume correct." Alba admits. "And very true. I trust our strength- But if say, someone with the power as mr. Big decides we are an inconvinence, we could very well be overwhelmed. While Kain has assisted me, he believes in the strength of the induvidual. Even if he is trustworthy, his assistance is far from reliable."

Tairyu has many words to say, Alba less- He tends to be of fewer words in general. But to Katashi's words, he seems to resonate. He feels good about them, and feels curious ambition growing at the proposal- Though he does seem doubtful. "You must understand that I cannot guarantee a partnership before I know the details. And while I understand that for the details to be given, you need said explicit trust.. I will need at least a bit more knowledge before taking the plunge- Fragments, if you will."

"But rest assured, that you have my utter interest."

"I would not expect you to."

It would be disappointing, afterall, for the other man to simply jump in blindly.

"It would be... easy to form a partnership. An alliance, even. There are benefits to it, but... I fear it may come with significant drawbacks too. Namely in stoking the defiant spirits of the more violent upstarts just as much if not even more than it would discourage them. Instead of two organizations, a new large, singular one has come along, easily viewed as merely a replacement for the monopoly of the Syndicate. Even in the best case scenario, I would still see both of us ending up... stagnating."

He allows his take on that scenario to be processed for a few seconds, before he continues on:

"Instead, I propose we present ourselves, if only temporarily, as enemies."

His hand is quick to come up, palm open, in a halting gesture to disassuade initial responses to those words alone.

"Consider this scenario. Two organizations wrestling for dominance for territory, with all the other gangs that have sprouted up in Southtown caught between under the lingering threat of violence between the two. Eventually, most would find aligning themselves with one or the other to ensure their own continued prosperity in their best interests. It would not be... a fast decision for them to make, sure, and many could even see the rivalry as another angle for opportunity. However... Were we to agree to this gambit, it would provide us with the groundwork for coordinating an unique way of influencing them further. Let's say that the Aizawa-gumi made a move to pry control of the turf and assets controlled by one biker gang, and FATE happened to intervene, in the bikers' favor... Tell me, what do you see happening between yourself and the bikers after the fact?"

"I do not belief stagnation to be inherently bad- But development is always preferred, unless it leads to the suffering of those uninvolved"

And he listens to the proposal, a brow raising in fascination. "I see. How.. ingenious." He says this with a knowing smirk, making reference back to the previous matter of discussion. "The biker gang would, directly or indirectly, align themselves with FATE, no?" That's his hypothesis, and that seems to be in line what Tairyu is saying.

"And the same would likely happen in the reverse scenario."

He inquires, it's an obvious statement. "Giving both FATE and the Aizawa-Gumi a chance to- for the lack of a better word- control the violence and warring gangs, and potentially grow in the process. That is, if we manage to make it look convincing." Scratching his cheek, he looks upward. Grey eyes leaving direct eye-contact for a moment.

"But as you say, it's a gambit. A thin line to walk. Fights will break out between the two coalitions without our knowledge or direct influence. And it would be a tough, if not impossible task to prevent those. If that escalates into an actually violent, larger conflict, we would have createad the very thing we wanted to prevent."

"And then there's a question if an eventual truce would be accepted by each of the now aligned groups."

"That would be the intended end state when such a maneuver is made, yes," Tairyu confirms with a nod. "But it's just the first move in that process. Still... THe best way to get someone on your good side is to solve a problem for them. We just... happen to also be creating a problem for the other to solve. Kindling that spark to something greater after is just as important."

His head inclines slowly while Alba runs through the inherent risks involved in this particular proposal. Nothing that seems to come as a surprise for the Yakuza himself.

"To an extent, skirmishes will be unavoidable, yes," he agrees. "But this is why I mention the importance of policing the ranks. Establishing hierarchy is important, too-- and making sure that the groups you pull to you do not stop entirely at merely 'affiliation'. Treat them like... If you don't mind me drawing a comparison to the organizational structure of Yakuza... Like branch families. Mostly independent, but deferring to the orders of the head family because they rely on their support and resources. And once the both of us have coordinated our respective growths to a certain point... there will be a natural point of a stopgap for the violence itself."

A finger taps lightly against the table.

"I'm sure you have heard the term 'cold war' before. If we can establish each of our organizations - not just our native ones but the ones attached to them - as significant forces, and roughly equal in strength, the notion of the costs of active conflict outweighing the potential gains can be spread through the ranks. It will simultaneously allow us to keep each other on our toes... and to justify the orders to avoid actions that could light the powder keg. There is, a third benefit to that, too... and that ties, at the end, to your other concern."

All the while he speaks, his eyes remain firmly on Alba still. Always studying. Always watching. To the point that the drink and food both is, once more, forgotten all too easily.

"The threat of two large organizations with supposed tension between them exploding disassuades most outside actors, too. ...Though admittedly even then... only most. Eventually, someone with 'ingenuity' will think to try to play that to their advantage. To manipulate the two to lighting the powder keg and then coming in to clean up what remains. A move in the grand chess game that would almost certainly lead to a checkmate. That is..."

Elbow propped to the table, Tairyu's head turns to rest his cheek to the open palm of his upraised hand, one corner of his mouth tugging up slightly.

"If it wasn't for the hidden alliance among the higher ranks. If we know to expect that, and to look for it... that attempt can even work in our *favor*. Do you know why?"

"You are not wrong..." Alba speaks, thinking. "It is sound advice. Establish a more direct line of contact with the 'branches'. Listening, and listening. All the while he eats a few more bites of his salad, enjoying the tender beef.

"Cold war, hm?"

He does seem to recognize it as a concept, though Tairyu's additional explanation is well appericiated. "It is most clever. I do not consider myself a gambling man, but this feels like a gamble well in our favor." More tapping of the cheek, as he he closes his eyes.

"You speak true. Manipulating two supposedly opposing forces when they are actually working together is like to be in vain. And where it favors us.." He thinks about it a little more.

"For one, it could potentially give us information- Manipulation tends to be based on such, after all. We would inevitably learn of this third party." Another pause, lowering his head- There might be more to it still, though the exact specifics are momentarily unsure for Alba.

"And that information could lead us to perform a coordinated assault- Be that a literal attack or more subtle inner subterfuge- To snuff out the meddling third party."

Tairyu's lips twitch again, in their subtle attempt at edging upward into a smile. It's just barely restrained, but still, it's enough of a hint towards his satisfaction at Alba's reply.

"You are on the right track-- but there is a bigger picture benefit I am thinking of. The illusion of the 'cold war' is effectively an invitation. To draw an enemy we would inevitably have to make that approach-- and as you say, in doing so, give us an opening for intel and a coordinated defense. But more over... Just the fact that they *would* do that has the benefit. Especially if this enemy is another Head of the 'hydra' who cares not that Heinlein has supported you reaching your current position."

The Yakuza's eyes lid slightly, but it does nothing to decrease the bright intensity within the emerald orbs peering right into the greys hidden behind Alba's glasses.

"You said you had a concern about people in our manufactured conflict accepting an alliance. Well, this, Meira-san... This creates a common enemy, especially among those who still feel sour towards the Syndicate."

"I understand."

He comments simply, sipping his drink. "A shared alliance leading to an opportunity to end the ruse, and establish a truce." He rhymes, knowingly or not- probably the latter. He does not seem like much of a poet, or rapper.

"I believe that your explanation has been most satisfying. I agree to this plan of yours, as I believe it is of great benefit to both of us- As long as we each make our moves carefully."

"But I have no doubt you are capable of such, mr. Tairyu- You have shown yourself to be exceptionally sharp, indeed."

"I had a good teacher," is what Tairyu offers in return for the compliment -- attributing the source of the quality Alba has observed to someone other than himself. "Perhaps strange that I learned such things from the same man who taught all my tenets of honor, too, but... Mm."

The Yakuza's hand slips underneath his jacket, rifling through a pocket -- and ultimately coming out with flip phone that gets sent sliding across the table to his counterpart.

"There's one number saved on that. Use it only for that number. Thaat will be your direct line to me. One of my boys who handles tech should have assured it shouldn't be listened in on. I recommend you keep only a close circle aware of our arrangement for the time being."

"And so did I. Fate- Was his name, appropriately." He smiles, reminiscing just a little bit. "He was rather even more idealistic then him, and that's what made him a target for Duke- Anyways." He returns the the matter at hand, his expression sterning up slightly.

And he takes the phone, nodding all the while. "Understood. I trust my people, but I cannot trust all of them to keep a secret.. Rowdy sorts, you see." He stows the flip-phone, and nods. "I trust that the more practical sides of this arrangement will come in future conversation."

"Now then.. I believe that may bring us to the end of the vital discussions. Now it is our actions that will speak most.. And the first of those actions will likely be to finish this lunch." An attempt at a joke, from the young gangster.

"Because it is rather exquisite."

"For the time being, anyhow," Tairyu assures with a deep nod of his head.

And with the point that Alba brings up for the end of the... negotiations, as they were, teh Yakuza boss' lips quirk upwards without any hesitation now.

"Yes, quite," he agrees easily, reaching for the earlier-forgotten chopsticks. "It would be insulting to the owner to let these go, wouldn't it? Especially after we had her close up shop for the evening to accomodate us."

Log created on 08:51:47 07/27/2021 by Alba, and last modified on 14:13:30 07/28/2021.