Description: Sagat invites Juri to meet him on an artificial beach in Dubai, join him in enjoying the fruits of years of crime, and consider how they might continue to live exactly as they choose-- with or without Vega's shadow looming over them.
Unfortunately for law enforcers the world over: crime pays, and it pays excellently.
Money is not novel for Sagat: his former title brought more than enough wealth to suit imperial tastes. Most of it sat at the edges of his perception, safely handled by accountants while he concentrated on what mattered most: /keeping/ his title. Now and again, when the press tides were high, people would come to him with racks of nice clothes to choose from, to help him maintain an appropriately regal presentation; the costs probably came out of his winnings, but the details mattered about as much as the clothes themselves did. Ditto the increasingly elaborate training facilities he honed himself in: as long as they were constructed to his specifications, what they /cost/ was irrelevant.
/Enjoying/ money is novel for Sagat.
And judging from the boozy grin stretched across his lips as he sprawls across every inch of a deep violet, velvet chaise in black trunks and an unbuttoned black and orange silk shirt, he /really/ enjoys it. He's set up beneath a white tent in an outdoor lounge; a blue velvet rope lines the perimeter, marking off exactly where the beach stops being a playground for the idle rich and starts being /his/. The usual security's been given the day off; they do not appear to have left their clipboards with the half-masked, black-garbed men with guns posted near the edge. Violet drapery falls just behind the rope, giving the space a dim, intimate atmosphere fit for flickering firelight even though it's noon; said firelight's provided by standing torches throughout the lounge, including two framing the chaise that's been arranged to have the best view in the house. Plush, wavy chairs of varying sizes and piles of pillows offer other sitting places, and there are maybe a dozen and a half swimsuit-clad men and women taking advantage of them.
Speaking of the view:
"Her stance is WEAK, Blue: open your eyes-- pay attention! SEIZE your moment--!" Sagat roars over pounding bass music towards the fighting ring several yards ahead, in the middle of the lounge. Cordoned off by nothing more than black, gold-banded rope, it currently holds: a panting, lightly sparking woman with a busted nose and a bright blue slingshot stretched exactly where it needs to be and not an inch further, showing off intensely sculpted muscles; a karateka whose gi is too short and too tight to cover her thong-clad bottom or most of her chest; several drops of blood from the woman Sagat's yelling at; and a /lot/ of dirham notes. More shower the ring as Sagat cackles, then takes a big draw from the hookah hose tucked near his arm.
Juri was invited via encrypted email to show up around noon, and she's the only one. The others are people who wandered by, heard the spectacle, and caught Sagat's eye enough to earn their way past the security. There's a bar set up on one end of the lounge, hookah rigs positioned in easy reach of furniture clusters, and a wait staff in gold bikinis and briefs running champagne and assorted other party favors between them; for most of them, this is enough to balance out the looming risks associated with hanging around a former world champion who grew increasingly, publicly unhinged after being humiliated at World Warrior before just-- vanishing; and his armed security thugs.
It shouldn't be hard to figure out which of the one white, thrumming party tents on this artificial beach is his.
Juri enjoys a beach invitation, because it's very comfortable to go barefoot. She always likes to have her toenails painted bright. She's in one of her typical tie-on tops and billowing white pants as she stalks the perimeter of the scene toward the velvet rope. She finds herself a cushion to sprawl onto, not so far from Sagat, and for a moment, just watches the proceedings. Then she sits up, tucking one leg underneath herself and putting her chin on her hand in a thoughtful gesture. "Sex AND violence? So glad to see we have the same ideas about entertainment."
Juri makes a come-hither gesture to one of the waitresses, who pauses just a moment at the predatory look in Juri's gaze, before realizing that's just her general look and walking over with the champaigne tray.
Sagat in turn just lies there enjoying the show and taking another puff for a beat or two after Juri speaks.
Then he turns his head just enough to set his eye on a guard posted on this side of the drapes, raises a mammoth hand, and--
-- not only does /he/ rush to begin clearing out the extras, a brisk radio crackle means the other guards do too. Blue's a sparking ball crashing into Green (green gi; black belt) as other beautiful people are hustled out, but once she recovers she just-- stands there, half in stance, half not, attention split between her reeling opponent and the emptying lounge. As the last few sets of sandals part the tent, she's pushing a hand nervously into static-spiked blonde. Is it-- is it over? Does she pick up the--
"/Well?/" he rumbles as his eye falls upon her.
(The smoke billowing from his mouth as he does: high-grade cannabis.)
"Middling talents, but they have their charms," he then says as Blue lunges back into the fray. He drops the hose into his lap so he can seize another trailing from the rig nearby; it's long enough to be offered to Juri. "You came; good. There's business to be discussed, Shadaloo's presence here is soft at best, and these men have families." To someone else - /from/ someone else - the last might sound superfluous or sentimental; not so from him, to her.
"And /they're/ being paid well enough," he thinks to add with a broad, ringward gesture and a murmur.
"Where do you see yourself in a year?" he then wonders while bringing the hose towards his lips again. "In five? Ten?"
Juri lets the entire question run out, but then she barks out a laugh. "Ha!"
She takes the hookah pipe, and draws from it. It does take the edge off, though she doesn't always like losing her sharpness. "What kind of ShopRite job interview question is that? I'm alive for now."
Juri shifts again, pulling her leg out from underneath her, and resting that elbow on her knee. She inhales from the pipe one more time, then puts it aside. "I want to fight people who burn to destroy me. In one year, I'm going to be stronger. But in ten years...."
Juri watches to see what the fighter in the arena will do, distracted just for a moment by thoughts of taking one of them on herself. In what capacity, well... there's more one way she can show a girl a good time...
"I had better be DEAD. Or else every other fighter in the world will be." She laughs again, more dryly.
"Your 'now' is that of a tool of the Shadaloo cartel."
Sagat lets it linger for a beat. A last-second forward flip leaves Blue with her legs cinched around Green's neck while the two tumble to the sand. Green did her best to fend her off with a palm strike, but Blue's motivated by being yelled at /twice/. /And/ a broken nose.
"I believe that Vega's /incapable/ of seeing the cartel as anything other than a collection of tools to use as he will, when he will-- that he doesn't care an iota about it, nor its membership beyond their usefulness to him."
Green /screams/, thrashes, and threatens to spill, sending auburn flying every which way. It continues for a solid couple of seconds until she manages to wrench an elbow back into the side of Blue's neck and skull, 'encouraging' the shapely thighs crushing the air from her body to let go.
"I've believed this since my earliest days within it, and I accepted it; what do I need with his /love/ when I have his resources? But:"
A burnished brass goblet full of brandy's brought to his lips.
"Consider the implications: Shadaloo exists to benefit him; it was built and structured around that specific purpose. Without him..."
The organization functioned after Vega died-- vanished? during Mortal Kombat, but it ran at a low ebb... and /most/ of its efforts were pointed towards making Vega whole again, then setting the stage for a grand return.
"Chaos," he suggests after a sip. "Not so bad for you, I would wager... but even /you/ benefit from people to /find/ burning spirits for you to crush, don't you? From having the resources at hand to enjoy yourself - how/ever/ you may see fit - when you wish to unwind from doing the needful."
Green didn't stop with the elbow; now she's mounted and throwing haymakers that crash against Blue's forearms, leaving bruises.
"Forget 'where': /how/ do you want to spend however long you have left? As a hound ready to be dispatched at Vega's whim? Or a /hunter/, primed with the means to seek death when and wherever you desire?"
Juri of course, fully intends to kill Vega herself. She almost has to lick her lips at the thought of it, though she instead goes for the drink in her hand. She sips, and her mouth forms then into a snarl.
She wants to kill Vega, but can she trust Sagat? She does not want to trust ANYONE.
Her lips curl up and find a smile. "So what are you saying." It's a question, but the inflection turns down flat at the end. "You think you want to take over the organization yourself? You want to point Shadaloo in the direction of pursuits other than..." Juri looks a little disgusted... "Worshipping just one person. And his self-serving ambition."
Juri takes another sip. It is not necessarily then that she finds her courage, exactly... it is then that she remembers she doesn't care so much at all if she ends up living or dying. So she speaks her mind. "I despise Vega." She doesn't look at Sagat, her eyes still out on the battlefield. "That enough answer for ya?"
It's not entirely a secret. She has no reason to love him, and has raised her hand to him before.
"I don't care about Vega," Sagat evenly replies, "and I don't particularly care about Shadaloo, either, except as a collection of resources. I /do/, however, care very /much/ about maintaining my continued access to those resources; whether guaranteeing that means deposing him entirely or subverting enough of the cartel to give myself--"
He pulls his attention from the fight to focus his gaze on Juri.
"-- /our/selves something that can stand without him is only important insofar as determining what we'd have to /do/."
A wad of dirham's retrieved from a little pile beside the chaise. He tosses it to Juri then returns to the fight, just in time for Blue to summon a crashing bolt of electric chi from the air above Green, leaving her disengaged and smoking.
"What would you do to him, given the chance?" he then wonders. The grin spreading over his lips is /probably/ not Vega-related, but maybe he's fronting about not caring. "You've thought about it, haven't you? Long and hard."
'Ourselves' causes a brow raise from Juri - on her real eye, that is. Then money is tossed her way... she slides it back behind her with a finger. May as well.
Juri bites the side of her lip. "First, I'd take out his eye." Here, she can't resist a little pointing gesture toward Sagat's eyepatch, though, both of them sort of have this particular afflication in common. "After all, that's just Biblical. But then I think I'd break every bone, and then I'd EAT his heart." Sounds gruesome, but said without flinching, slight emphasis on the active part of this act. She may be entirely serious. Her tongue flickers over her lower lip as she gives it serious consideration. Whether such a ritual would make her power stronger is ultimately immaterial to her.
There's no flinching from Sagat, either. Sagat is, in fact, still wearing an amused look inspired by Juri just doing the practical thing with his gift.
"Maybe we'll be able to arrange it, once the pieces are in place," he evenly offers.
The sentiment's punctuated with another enormous handful of bills hitting the ring. The forecast in the Tiger Tent called for intermittent showers, so rain there shall be.
"The hierarchy proper is volatile, in terms of how it might take a shift like this: FANG is a coward and wouldn't dare; Bison and Balrog would go with whomever kept paying them to do what they enjoy. /You/, however... have the power and will to be a worthwhile ally, and you /despise/ him. So we'll keep this limited, for now: finding soldiers and scientists who'd like to explore their options... or can be convinced that they'd like to. Securing outside assistance is worth considering: his new pet psychic," the Scarlet Dahlia, of the Akatsuki-gumi Yakuza, "is a potential wildcard with an organization all her own, and there may well be free agents worth considering if we find ourselves in need of extra hands."
Sagat and Juri first met years ago at an underground fighting ring. The regulars were doing their best to torment her for having the gall to be better than them; Sagat put a stop to it out of sheer disgust. He won the fight that followed - of /course/ there was a fight - but her hunger for violence left a mark; a memory. Underground fighting rings are not novel; meeting an opponent in one with the strength to stand up to an inhuman Dictator...
"A combat circuit," he suggests, grin spreading while Green and Blue lapse into desperately grappling, rolling, and smoldering around the ring, "could make a useful tool for scouting talent, don't you think? And Vega - to the extent that he'd /care/ - would probably appreciate it, to the extent that he /can/, even if he knew; more women and children to play assassin for him, potentially."
He glances towards the Prototype Doll for a beat.
"He's always on the look out, after all."
Juri goes again for the pipe, since it's there. She takes a longer hit from it than before, holding it in her lungs before letting go.
"Then again, so am I."
She looks back at the fight between Green and Blue. They both have their appeal, but what she really enjoys is that they're getting vicious with one another. Too bad they'll both be too beat up to be a worthy opponent for her afterward...
"I'm getting itchy. If you've got any fresh girls on deck, I'd love to go a round or two. If we're going to scout for talent with fighting, I'll test a few of them PERSONALLY."
"Something I've learned, these past few years:"
Massive palms clap together twice. Green and Blue both snap towards rolling thunder; the former's got her hands around the latter's neck. An index finger extends towards one of the drapes.
"There are ALWAYS more girls!" he cackles while they briskly scramble around to collect cash before limping away. "We'll find just the right pair to scratch whatever itch you've got."
He, too, takes another, long hit while guards hustle after the fighters to grab two more from another, less ostentatious tent set up nearby.
"Just make sure we get my money's worth out of them," he rumbles while grinning her way.
Log created on 19:13:42 01/23/2019 by Sagat, and last modified on 15:57:39 01/24/2019.