The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 2 - A Shot Of Reality[Toggle Names]
Description: Already suspicious of Jezebel Faiblesse and her increasingly unstable behavior, Falke tracks the actress' young 'friend' to a bar in Mexicali to deliver a warning-- not about Jezebel, but about Shadaloo itself.
On the other side of the checkpoints separating Jezebel and B.B. Hood's beach picnic from the world, in a bar full of loud, drunk tourists, Bulleta's waiting out the evening with a bottle of vodka and a moderate hope of obscurity. Rather than immediately fly home after her meeting with the Shadaloo agent and risk being tailed some distance back to safety, she opted to spend a day or so disappearing in Mexicali first. She's wearing thick-framed black glasses, a loose red and gold blouse, a pleated, knee-length black skirt, and sneakers. Thanks to several long hours in the mirror, her hair's been plaited into a crown around her skull that's shot through with a few hot pink streaks, while her face shows the subtlest touches of painstakingly applied makeup meant to keep the bartenders from looking twice at the ID that says she's old enough to be here. The seat beside her is taken up by a sizable wicker basket; now and then, the stool creaks beneath it.
After finding a cheap hotel to sleep in, Bulleta didn't leave her room much; even with glasses, fake IDs, and makeup, there are only so many petite American girls with picnic baskets wandering around the city... but after her first full day of alternating between staring at walls and trying to do a little CQC practice in the cramped confines of her room, she decided she may as well risk adding to their ranks for a few hours. She's been perched on her stool for half an hour, or two shots; she's spent that interval not-so-idly watching the crowd and keeping to herself.
This close to the seat of Shadaloo's power, a diligent agent interested in tracking their comrade's date would likely have plenty of options for picking her out of the masses, even with the constant flow of traffic across the border.
As B.B. Hood knows Jezebel is not exactly the most well adjusted person to put it in a nice way. Her actions getting more erratic as she seems to be going down the path of self destruction. For the most part Shadaloo could overlook what she was doing, but now it seems she might be trying to use the organization for her own personal gain. Vega hasn't caught on yet, but it is probably only a matter of time. People are onto Jezebel and one of them already had people keeping an eye on the mad agent.
Falke had suspicions of things after her mission to kidnap Hayley. She wasn't a target that made sense and after a few things the young lady said Falke decided to look more into the matter. Someone had been fussing with records and they haven't exactly been covering their tracks well. Despite this Falke isn't going to waste Vega's time and deliver a report without it being one hundred percent correct. That is why she has had other Shadaloo agents keeping an eye on both Hayley and Jezebel.
Given Hayley is in a cell it isn't like she will be going anywhere, but it is more to make sure Jezebel doesn't meet with the young woman without Falke being present. Not that she has to worry about that since Jezebel is a safe distance away and apparently up to other things. A meeting with what seemed like a young girl. One that has been tailed, but left to her own devices as the agents resposible to reporting to Falke keep their distance and are in place to only update her if B.B. Hood ends up on the move.
B.B. Hood is enjoying a shot or two when she might notice the figure moving to settle down next to her at an empty chair. Falke is dressed in jeans, t-shirt and bomber jacket as she gets the attention of a server to get her a Mojito. She waits a few moments until her drink is delivered and she leans slightly to the side. "I am sure you knew you were being watched during your little meeting. I would like to know what you really want from Jezebel Faiblesse."
'I am sure you knew you were being watched during your little meeting.'
Bulleta goes stiff and tastes razor steel. Her jaw barely, /barely/ works as her eyes slide towards Falke's seat. Not one of the guards... so either this woman clocked her from the belt match months ago, she was hidden somewhere... or someone's reporting to her. Regardless of which, Falke's asking her questions - kind of - instead of trying to kill her, so Bulleta relaxes a little while turning her head fully towards the woman and giving her a lingering onceover. Some seconds later, turns away to pour another shot as a small, but pleasant smile falls into place.
"What do /you/ want with Jezebel Faiblesse?" she quietly wonders. "She's... mmh."
The smile gets a sad twist as she drains the shot, then turns her eyes Falkewards.
"She's not /doing/ too well, is she?" B.B. Hood whispers. "Kind of... kinda edging into 'danger to herself and others' territory. It's sad, it's /tragic/... she used to really be /worth/ something. But now? I..." The teenager's eyes briefly fall as she bites her bottom lip.
"I dunno, I thought, with all the stuff in the news, maybe she'd be doing better than she /had/ been-- and I figured if she spent some time with someone who cares about her... well, I figured it'd be that much better for her, right? But... I mean, she was just, she was so tired, so... /broken/. Desperate for something, /anything/ to cling to..." With a long sigh, she turns long enough to pour herself another shot, then meets Falke's eyes.
"Not... not like I've got to tell /you/, though," she softly says. "You were... watching us, after all. Whoever you are; whatever she's worth to you, however concerned you might be about her, that you'd watch her."
Bulleta is probably save from any sort of attack. It is too crowded and given the way Falke is relaxed she probably is going to keep a conversation rather than causing any sort of trouble. She is listening, but she is also observing her surroundings. The place is a bit loud which helps cover up the exchange they are having and she remains a bit leaned in to make it easier to hear what is being said.
"Consider this more a cordial warning more than anything. It isn't Jezebel that might bring you trouble, but the fact the people she works for.....who I also work for." The last part is said with a slight bit of disgust. Someone perceptive like Bulleta would catch it for sure. "I did a little research into you on my way here. You are used to danger, but this is less danger and more trouble you probably won't want to deal with. How much is the contract?"
Looks like she knows at least the line of work the younger woman is in, but not the full details. Shadaloo has a pretty extensive database on anyone that has proven to be a good fighter, though Bulleta has seemed to have been good enough to not have a lot of information beyond the basics. "I am unsure if any money is worth getting involved with Shadaloo."
It isn't a threat. If anything there is more a look of concern. Falke still for the most part is herself despite all the harsh training she has had to suffer through since she was a good. She serves because she has to. It is best for her to play the good soldier and not draw attention. Even this sort of meeting might be risky, but she could at least make an excuse as to this being part of her report on why she is investigating Jezebel's more recent actions.
"Her actions were easily overlooked, but now she is starting to get bold and more deranged. People that she feels that scorned her are getting pulled into something they have nothing to do with. Some deservingly gaining her ire while others had no idea just how twisted Jezebel has become."
Bulleta /does/ catch it. Perceptive or no, she's lucky Falke let her disgust slip /before/ abruptly mentioning a contract, because after... her head's filling with alarm bells while her sad mien crumbles. Her profession and preferred SOP mean walking a fine line between being known and not, so while she works hard to minimize the amount of personal information about her floating around... there are only so many petite teenaged bounty hunters with a resume full of dead or captured monsters to their (assumed) names in the world. An agent of a global criminal cartel is exactly the sort of person who she might expect to have heard of her; the timing is no less awful.
But they /are/ in a public place.
And Falke /does/ sound like she's warning her out of concern, more than anything else; it's not the kind of warning gives if one's just going for intimidation, figures the Huntress.
It takes a couple seconds of narrow-eyed staring before she trusts herself to respond, just the same.
"She's /super/ deranged," Bulleta lowly agrees. The smile returns - barely, with a palpable edge - and she turns fully towards Falke. "She's abso/lute/ly at risk of-- well. /Trying/ to screw with Shadaloo's operations, and she might be more resourceful than anyone would /expect/ her to be." Propping her elbow on the bar, Bulleta gives that a moment to sink in before leaning in and continuing:
"It's not a small contract. And you might be right: it's probably not worth crossing Shadaloo over. But take a second, think-- ask yourself: 'What /does/ Shadaloo want with Jezebel Faiblesse?'"
The shot she poured while trying to give the operative a show gets carefully nudged across the bar.
"'What's she /worth/ to them, at this point?'"
Bulleta pulls the bottle to herself and tucks it close without taking a drink just yet.
"I feel like, maybe if we put our heads together... we can /both/ get something out of helping Shadaloo with its Jezebel problem, but that's just me; what do /you/ think, Mysterious Stranger?"
That is a question Falke has asked herself several times when it comes to Jezebel. She assumes they recruited her because of her name value combined with the fact she was easy to recruit at the time. In the end has it been a good payoff? Falke was usually performing other duties so really didn't care. Now that she is being pulled into this mess by being the one to bring in Hayley she has more of a reason to see just what Jezebel is into.
"It is at a point I think she won't be with us longer. Or alive much longer at that. Our leader won't be very happy if he finds out she has been using Shadaloo resources for her own personal gain. She is becoming a liability to say the least." She eyes the shot and reaches to take it and idly taps at the tip of the glass. "I don't believe they are going to pay you to do it when there are others that are gladly do it for free." Bison and Balrog both come to mind there. In fact she already heard of Bison's last dealings with Jezebel and he probably wouldn't be against a round two.
She finally lifts the shot to her lips and takes it before setting it back down, her face contorting just a bit at the bitter taste to where she takes a sip of her mojito to chase it. "Believe me. I do this because it is my duty. If I were to turn a blind eye I would be punished as well. I guess in my case at least I might likely live." Sometimes surviving is all she can do. Shut up, do the job and play the good soldier.
She turns her attention back to Bulleta and she gives a shake of her head. "I prefer to work alone. As for a name? Just call me Freya. Calling my Mysterious Stranger makes me sound all too interesting given what I do." More than likely not her real name, but at least it is something to go on. "I am guessing you are hoping for me to find a way to get Shadaloo to look away while you collect on the contract?"
Bulleta sips when the other woman shoots, sans bitter booze face. Her smile grows and warms as the operative seems to be on the same page regarding Jezebel; by the time she gets-- /a/ name, if not /her/ name, the Huntress has leaned in until her face is just a few feet from Freya's.
"I just need time and an opening," Bulleta murmurs, well beneath the drunken din and pulsing music. "The beach was crowded. Obviously." A wink.
"I gave her something to help her distract some of her guards, so we could meet privately in a few weeks. To... 'plan'" a couple fingers stretch from the bottle's neck to gesture appropriately "her 'big redemption mission' in Tijuana," the heart of Shadaloo's child trafficking operation, according to Jezebel. "You don't need to turn a blind eye to /anything/, just... let Jezebel do Jezebel for a while; you're not her handler or anything, are you? So you just, you do what you're doing /now/: you do your job, maybe you look into her on the low... and in a few weeks, when you 'suddenly' 'discover' she's gone off the grid to do god /knows/ what, guess who gets to take point on finding her with a slug in her head and a bunch of incriminating evidence?"
Smiling broadly, she attempts to tap the tip of Freya's nose with her index finger.
"Someone who gets more room to do her duty - or whatever /else/ she might wanna do - because she did such a good job of handling an unruly asset, /that's/ who~!"
Drawing back a bit, Bulleta fills the shot, then takes a longer drink from her bottle. After wiping the back of her hand across her mouth, she grins broadly.
"You /could/ just wait for /them/ to solve their problem themselves - like you said, it's gonna happen sooner over later... or /we/ could buy /you/ some room to breathe by reminding 'em of how /loyal/ you are. And we won't even have to work together, /really/-- just a message here or there, to stay in sync."
For the most part Falke remains silent while listening. If anything the plan being given by Bulleta is....frustrating. Good standing? More freedom? It is obvious the younger woman doesn't fully understand the inner workings of Shadaloo. Why would she? In the end Falke is just a tool to Vega and little else. Not that she would want praise from him at this point. Maybe when she was younger there was the desire to be praised, but now she more just wants him to forget she exists.
She leans back a bit when that finger looks to tap her nose."You seem to at least plan ahead well, but in this case I don't think you fully understand things. It wasn't really me caring about if Jezebel is taken out by you or one of our operatives. It was more warning you that keeping down this path is going to draw attention you really don't want. Jezebel dies and from there they look into the how. Vega may not care about Jezebel, but he might be interested in the person skilled enough to gain her trust and kill her so easily. Vega does enjoy a good killer and well let me say most women that are brought into Shadaloo rarely end up themselves when all is said and done."
Bulleta as a whole may be safe. Falke doesn't really sense that the girl has any sort of ability to use psycho power, but his whims are strange and she finds it better safe than sorry. "Someone may come after you. Perhaps not right away. There are other things to take care of, but down the line you might cross paths with me again in a less friendly meeting or someone far worse than I. Someone perhaps far worse than what you usually hunt."
Shadaloo knows who Bulleta is. Her professional ID is a matter of record, out of necessity; mix that with the information she's provided Seijyun and Howard Enterprises, and a cartel agent with a bit of patience could piece together more than enough to make her life difficult, if they wanted-- could show up at the front door of her apartment in Southtown, if they were really of a mind to find her. Kasukabe's safer, of course... but how long would it take someone who /really/ wanted her to cast the net outside of Southtown and realize that the ryokan she's staying at isn't as defunct as it should be? Bad enough to have an eventual - nigh on inevitable - raid from Kira Volkov's forces hanging over her head; how would Dahlia feel if Bulleta brought /Shadaloo/ to her doorstep as well?
She assumed that Falke was strictly warning her to avoid Shadaloo's wrath, but the possibility - the /threat/ - of being forced to bow before /another/, madder, infinitely more powerful dictator than the Black Dragon is /significantly/ more complicated.
Not complicated enough to wipe the smile and friendly demeanor away, but enough to inject a some sobriety into them, certainly, as she visibly deflates.
"I /don't/ really know how Shadaloo operates," she quietly acknowledges, "you're right; thank you. But I've put a /lot/ of work into making her trust me, like me... and I already promised her to the client-- and that was /weeks/ ago. Months, really; /before/ she showed up on the news, delusional and babbling about Donald Trump." Frustration - genuine, from the depths frustration - bubbles out towards the end and the girl's eyes fall from Falke's.
"What'd you find when you looked me up," she softly asks, "My name? My skillset? Some stuff I've killed? It's not-- /not/ about the money; I /want/ the money. I have done-- a /lot/-- for that money, already... but I made a promise, Freya. I'm an /idea/ to most people who know about me - a name, a skillset, some stuff I've killed - and if I can't follow/through/ when I promise them things... they'll just forget about me and move on to the /next/ idea."
Blue eyes flick to a hand that's gone white around the knuckles. She releases the bottle, shakes her digits out a little, then snags it from the bar for another shot straight from the source.
"I'll think about it," she quietly allows afterwards. "But why do you care if a bounty hunter gets forced into Shadaloo?" The girl rolls an eye Falkewards to give her another lingering onceover, then a small puff of air escapes her nostrils.
"Women and Shadaloo... warning from experience, I guess, huh?"
Falke finds her gaze moving back around the bar as she listens. She can understand the situation Bulleta is in, but at the same time she might not have ever taken the job if she knew just what she was getting into. It isn't a good place to be right now for the hunter and Falke knows that. With a bit of a sigh she closes her eyes.
"I shouldn't care. I was trained not to care. I am a killer, a tool......and it is frustrating. You have some freedom in the fact you could walk away from it all if you really wanted to." She glances over back to Bulleta when she is taking a pull from the vodka bottle. "It is a pretty detailed profile. Shadaloo is always watching and keeping tabs. If someone has any sort of reputation of being a good fighter in some form or fashion there is a file. That doesn't mean you will be a target, but well.....if you cross a certain line we are sure to have as much possible info gathered as we can. We have varying levels of agents. The goons you saw are pretty much just street thugs. The one tailing you and feeding me information is obviously better trained. As for why I care....I never did answer that."
Maybe she is just starting to hate her own position in life. Maybe there is a bit of a rebellious streak wanting to come out. One she has to keep in check unless she wants her brain melted by Vega. "I think I am still trying to find that answer. All I can do is give a warning. In the end you got to make the choice on what to do."
She sets her mostly empty glass aside along with some money to pay for it before rising out of her seat. She adjusts the bomber jacket some and nods to Bulleta. "I can't linger much longer. I must head back to my post. I will still have someone tailing Jezebel. I have someone she wants and I want to make sure I am there if she decides to pay the person a visit. You are a smart woman. Don't rush into things and give it some thought."
Log created on 19:53:41 08/09/2018 by Bulleta, and last modified on 13:41:32 08/10/2018.