The Black Dragon - Black Dragon R4 - Obscured By Clouds

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Description: Alba and Kain go plotting on a jet plane.

A simple text message pops up on one of the throwaway handsets that links Alba to his pursuit of Duke Burkoff; that links him to Kain. It's a time, twenty minutes out. There might be some puzzlement to the meaning of this enigmatic information, at least until Meira realizes that a car service, an unassuming grey sedan, pulled up nearby with nigh perfect punctuality. The driver is professional, polite, and to a trained eye like Alba's clearly trained for combat, precision in every motion as he gets the door.

The man has no useful information for Meira, however; at least, none the professional is looking to share. Instead, Alba is treated to a cordial but uneventful trip, obeying traffic safety controls every step of the way, directly to the rather expansive grounds of the international airport on the outskirts of Southtown.

Rather than heading to the main terminals and the interminable security checks, the vehicle heads past a different security checkpoint, driving right out past innumerable private and corporate hangars to a small luxury jet waiting, engines running, on the tarmac. Alba has enough time to climb the stairway, and for it to close up behind him along with the hatch, before the plane gets underway.

Inside it's well appointed, with only a quartet of luxurious, spacious passenger seating typical of many craft, the rest of the space occupied by a finely appointed bar, a small area cordoned off for fighting that's incidentally adjacent to the emergency exit, and a posh sitting area arrayed around a table.

It's at the last that one might find Kain, subtly reclining in one of the comfortable seats. His initial greeting is simply a nod, gesturing to Alba to occupy another seat of his choice as the jet builds speed and smoothly lifts off, forcing Meira to mind his footing. These people fight on moving trains; he can handle it.

The uneventful trip passes without so much as a word towards Alba's driver, as he simply looks out the window. They arrive at the airport, and after that, the luxurious Jet. The young gangster walks up the walkway, briefly admiring the richly-supplied and decorated interior before giving Kain a nod in response, easily keeping his balance while walking over towards him. He takes a seat so that he's opposite to the Pyromancer, the black leather sinking slightly down under his weight.

"Kain." Alba speaks out, as a simple greeting. "It is good to see you. I gather that means we'll put motion behind our plans." Alba looks the blonde-haired crimeboss in the eyes from underneath his usual red shades. He is dressed in black under-clothing and pants, with a bright red jacket and shoes. His usual garderobe, but perhaps not one Kain has seen him wear. "I do wish to ask an initial question, is the Jet simply a device of privacy, or is it actually taking us someplace?." Alba asks, tilting his head slightly to the side as he leans back into the comfortable seating.

The airport, then Southtown shrinks behind them as the small, sleek jetcraft soars skywards, breaking cloud cover in moments. Clear of the immediate air traffic control airspace, a device built into the table is activated, powering up with an audible hum. It's only once this is done, several minutes passed in silence, that Kain responds. "I suppose, speaking literally, it is inherently both." The statuesque blonde muses with subtle tones of humor.

"The purpose in this particular journey is the former, however-- even if someone were to directly wire this jet, both transmission and recording equipment become substantially easier to detect or obstruct at this altitude." For numerous reasons, some a bit technical-- Heinlein doesn't launch into that topic. When they first met in the bath house, the eavesdropping of the Raven Guard was part of the equation; at this moment, it behooves Kain to have a zero percent interloper ratio.

"But yes, the moment is now. As you may already suspect, success here demands more than application of overwhelming strength; partly because Burkoff wields plenty of that as well. If this turns into a massive grind of attrition, we have only failed by a lesser degree. Have you ever been hunting, Alba?" It's a question for context, more than anything, because either way Heinlein immediately illucidates the point, "The first lesson is to always understand one's quarry, their instincts and habits, their //nature//."

The minutes pass in a somewhat tense silence for Alba, until Kain cuts through with his voice.

"I have never been hunting specifically, no. But i understand what you're saying. It is similair to a fight. If you can predict what your foe will do based on your existing knowledge of said enemy, you will be at a significant advantage. It is only logical." He confirms and explains. "Duke has a desire for power, and is rather hot-headed. The fact that you're leading into this topic has me guessing that you want to set some sort of trap for Burkoff. Or more broadly speaking, to strive to handle the conflict as fast and efficiently as possible." He states, with a level of confidence in his voice.

"You possess a great deal of knowledge about Duke, And that is no doubt why you have chosen now to strike. What have you been organizing, and what factors make it so that this is 'the moment'?"

"Very much like a fight." Kain confirms. It's unsurprising that Alba follows the relation, but it certainly makes further segue easier. "More to the point, I trust Burkoff to trap himself. Were I to strike directly and immediately in full force, Duke would recognize the true nature of the threat against him and respond accordingly." It's only a puzzle if one does not have the solution. Kain smiles slightly, slyly.

"If, however, he thinks underlings and upstarts are rebelling against him, trying to cut //him// down, he will respond with force and fury. He will respond personally, and commit fully to that fight-- seeking to crush insubordination outright, in totality. It has served him well in the past; or so Burkoff continues to believe." In truth, some of that carefully quashed foundation has already come back to bite Burkoff; a phenomenon that's about to get far worse.

"We have enough eyes on Duke to strike near his actual location; that will be your part to play. Draw him out, make him mad, drive him to strike hard at your insurrection." Kain smiles slowly. "From there, well-- do you know what defense in depth is, Mister Meira?" In addition to the battle to come, Heinlein continues to quietly take Alba's measure in synchronous context. This too is certain to be relevant to their victory.

"Understood. Taking advantage of his habits indeed." He responds. "And I'm glad i get to confront him directly."

With a slightly bepuzzled look, Alba eyes Kain. "Though i have to admit i'm unfamiliar with that term. Care to explain?" He gestures towards Kain with a open hand.

"The general idea is that rather than a single, hardened point, your defensive plan involves multiple phases of fortification, bombardment, and mobile fallback positions. In this case, we're seeking the aggressive counterpoint. Once you draw out Duke the job becomes escalation, and delay. Hurt him, make him press on, never let up the pressure." Not long enough to give Burkoff an opportunity for a Fatality input on those poors souls lucky enough to be right in his path, at least.

"By the time Duke realizes the depth of his peril, most of his reinforcements will be... quite unavailable. Wound him, exhaust him, engage him repeatedly, drawing all his focus for as long as possible-- you'll have several powerful assets outside yourself... and then we'll put him down."

Or, optimally, Duke will fail at the gauntlet arrayed before him already. But Heinlein hasn't survived this long by being optimistic. The blonde mastermind gracefully leans forward to pour single malt into leaded crystal, one for himself and one for Alba. His own is lifted in bemused toast, "Do try to be smart enough to survive what you're doing out there; don't underestimate Burkoff."

"He will be seperated from his men, and then we launch a repeated assault to wear him down over time. If we get that opportunity, it'd be the best we could ask for." He carefully takes a sip of the Malt, another wholly unfamiliar alcoholic drink. He shrugs of the initially unpleasant taste, and continues. "I won't underestimate him, that man is a beast." his face turns to a pained grimace, as he looks down towards the veined marble. "As much as I want to personally end him, I'm no fool. His strength outweighs mine tenfold. He managed to kill Fate, after all."

His eyes steer back up "So i will certainly require the 'assets' you mention. And I'll fight him to the very best of my abilities, naturally." Another hesitant sip of his drink.

Kain chuckles softly, darkly. "Once Duke has engaged your strike force, I would not expect //him// to stop assaulting //you// until one side or the other is spent." It's a subtle difference-- but an important one, when it comes to applying their resources wisely. When it comes to avoiding the kind of attrition Duke can inflict without forethought and precision; perhaps even with ample amounts of both.

"It will fall to you and I to ensure that Southtown has a better class of vice, moving forward. If you have questions or concerns, now would be an ideal time." At the end of the day, neither of them gets very much safer, or more secluded. It's a stark contrast to what that upcoming night will bring.

Log created on 11:21:37 07/04/2020 by K', and last modified on 22:27:11 07/05/2020.