Southtown Syndicate - Investing in Futures

Description: With wounds thoroughly licked and Metro under their sway, the Syndicate can begin to turn its gaze outward once more. Plans of her own prompt stunning media princess Bethany Cale to send for Geese's most trusted bodyguard and confidante, the one and only Billy Kane. Schemes are set in place, and a beautiful story is ready to be told... is the world ready for what's to come?



Bethany Cale's penthouse apartment has a number of advantages as far as places to meet in Metro City, go. For a start, it has a wonderful view of City Hall. It also has incredibly thick, tinted windows, and the finest sound system that money can buy. Combined with some heavy duty soundproofing, it makes a luxurious place to relax. Far better than squallid little dingy bars and such dives, as far as Bethany is concerned.

She'd never have brought anyone from Mad Gear back to her place, but Billy Kane? Well, HE gets an invitation.

The doorman is suitably snooty for the establishment, from the reedy moustache to the tailored red suit, he clearly disdains the fact that *anyone* is allowed into his building, but as he also looks like he hasn't had contact with another human being outside of work in the last thirty years, his discretion is also something of a given. The elevator to the top of the block is quite a long journey too... and it stops for a moment before it actually reaches the top, for Bethany to consent to it continuing.

The doors open directly into the apartment, where the loud music is playing, and Beth is lounging with carefully cultivated indolence on a large leather couch. She's smoking with one hand, and dangling a bottle of beer in the other. It takes a lot of effort to look as uncaring as she does, you know. But it wouldn't do to indicate that she actually cared that she was receiving a visit from Geese's right hand man.

It's amazing to think there are still people in this world who stick by the old adage, 'crime doesn't pay', when it quite patently does. A single glance even at the exterior of Bethany's residence hints at the opulence within, and would set most normal men to either snide sarcasm or covetous lust. The same can probably be said about the woman herself; and whatever else Billy might be, he's still at heart a pretty down-to-earth guy.

The doorman happens to get a faceful of this very fact, as the Syndicate punk swaggers his way up the front steps, resplendent in scuffed jeans and brutally practical boots, his leather jacket left habitually unzipped to bare his sleekly-muscled torso. And that bandanna covering his skull. A nonchalant glance carries none of the upstuck demeanour that the besuited attendant possesses, but carries an underlying vehemence that cows him all the same-- his instinctive objection is bitten back as Kane saunters past without any form of greeting.

His own pockets have become somewhat lined, but he's still a good ol' London boy at heart. These surroundings ill suit him, and he feels compelled to make that very clear. It might be called rebellion - if he's nothing else, he is that - but really it's just an attachment to preserving who he is. To being honest about himself.

Still. Doesn't stop him being a tremendous douche about it.

As Billy steps into the elevator, he's begun to whistle a tune. Where Beth opts for the spandexy opulence of the 80s, he's gone for a blend of the punk movement that sought to kill that very glam lifestyle... and something a little bit sassy. By the time he reaches the top he's half-singing, half-muttering, "Anarchy for the U.S.A.!" In his thick cockney accent, a smirky half-grin on his lips. They're in Metro City, after all.

He breaks off the song as he steps through the doors, just finishing slapping out the drum beat on his jean-clad thighs just as he rolls an idle gaze across the room to settle on the woman who's invited him here. Very pleasant, that. Very proper.

"Nice digs," he utters, pursing his lips in consideration - but notably not of the apartment, his laconic stare lingering around the artfully-sprawled figure of Bethany. "Might be a bit over-embellished for my taste, though, love. Could settle to try for a more, uh..." He chuckles, lifting a calloused hand and running it down over his abdomen, until the fingers catch in his waistband and give a short, sharp tug, "Minimalist approach."

It's true that life in the Syndicate just doesn't compare to what lies outside. But the truth remains; you can take the man out of the East End, but you can't take the East End out of the man. Billy might be honest, but he's honest about being kind of an uncouth thug.

If there is a single truth to Beth, it might well be that she is *bored*. The difference is that where Billy embraces himself, Beth does everything she can to try and hide from that fundamental truth. She hasn't worked for this lifestyle, she just took the money that was offered her. Geese might make crime pay, but for Beth it has largely been trust funds and generous gifts from her parents to fund her lifestyle. She hasn't bothered to look at ways to make crime profitable; she's more than happy to have crime be a fun game. As far as starting points go, Beth and Billy couldn't be much more different.

She casually tosses the bottle of beer at the thug, trusting that she isn't going to accidentally break his nose with it. "I don't do minimalist." She says, as she rolls up into a sitting position. The remote for the sound system shuts it up pretty quick, at least. "Besides. It isn't finished yet. I've got the statue of myself to be commissioned yet."

She ... is probably joking, but her voice is utterly deadpan. She doesn't bother to stand up, either, just gesturing lazily around at the wide variety of places Billy might choose to sit, stand, lean or otherwise continue to exist in her presence. "Would you like something to eat? The fridge is over there." Open plan definitely has its advantages. Not only does it mean that there's few places an assassin could lay in wait, it also minimizes the amount of direction you have to give guests!

"Its good to meet you at last, by the way. I've seen some of your more public stuff. Daddy always said a good man should know how to handle his staff." She's grinning, blowing out a long stream of smoke after her speech in a rather, self-satisfied way. It's the first time she's met Billy, so who knows how he'll take it ... she could be about to take a plunge down to kiss the concrete, if he picks up on the double entendre and decides she's insulting him... but it is totally worth it.

There isn't anything about Billy Kane that's fantastically difficult to figure out. Then again, sometimes that's the real trick isn't it? Seeing what's really there, instead of second-guessing? Especially in the game they're in, all manipulation and cunning, being a forthright individual can be the most off-putting thing. Though in fairness, few people probably guess that the bandanna'd Brit spends the majority of his 'free' time hanging out playing happy families with his adorable little sister.

It's a lot easier to pre-empt his reaction to the thrown beer.

"Steady on," urges Kane playfully as he snatches it from the air, the thick glass slapping into a thicker palm with a dull, meaty smack. It's quickly upended, the contents thoroughly finalized with a carefree gulp. His gaze doesn't leave Bethany for a single beat, though it's only about halfway lasciviousness now-- it pays to keep an eye your allies in the Syndicate. Blunt he may be, and uncultured, but he's not an idiot.

Her offer of food is waved off with a flick of the still-raised bottle, before it's lowered to swing at his side, barely held in a hand otherwise occupied hooking itself through his waistband. He seems happy to stand for the moment, leaning into his heels with an accustomed nonchalance that's likely been his way since the day he took his very first steps. While she puts on a show, he's just... well, the point's been made.

Perhaps more surprising, that he returns that grin with one his own, teeth - whiter than the stereotypical British standard, he DOES earn a hell of a lot of money - flashing as they're ferally bared. "I'm not just good, love, I'm the best. You should come and go a round with me sometime," he offers, "I'm even better when I've got someone worth playin' with. Which ah, reminds me..." He tails off, pausing to crack his neck.

"I take it you've been busy makin' nice with Masters and his multi-media playmates? Maybe we're on the same page already, but-- I want in. Figure I need to get myself back into that spotlight, start turnin' some 'eads." Suddenly he lifts his free hand, sweeping it through the air, left-to-right, his eyes tracking the motion. "Billy Kane, Champion of the Neo League, King of Saturday Night." That grin's positively shit-eating as it flares back to life, his gaze carrying a twinkle as it rolls back to Beth. "Sounds pretty good to me."

Beth's smile falls when Ken's name is mentioned. Truth be told, she hasn't spoken to /him/ directly, either. Oh, yes, she's had her people dance around with his people, get the cameras rolling and the show going on... but the man bores her. Like most horrible people, Beth naturally assumes that Billy's good cheer and honesty are a show concealing someone just as horrible as she is. Ken Masters, though, is a real Family Man. Purveyor of Grade-A Family Friendly Fighting Television. The only thing she hates more is the damned Mouse, who shall remain unnamed for legal reasons.

"I'm playing nice." She says, at last. "My father." What happened to Daddy? "Is happy I'm taking an interest in the businesses again. We're not as big as Masters yet, of course." The words sound positively venemous. All of Beth's sultry good humor has evaporated now that the talk has turned to business. Even Billy's grin isn't enough to make her smile in return.

"But if you want to be the flavor of the month, we can work on that."

She stands up, and starts to walk around the thug, taking him in. He's British, of course. That's going to be a tougher sell than an all-American hero would be. At the same time, it is hardly impossible. Britain and America have always flirted with one another's cultures. Maybe if he started walking with a limp and explaining medical phenomena in his usual style, he could be made to catch on.

She nods, slowly. "You've got a good enough look." She says, at last. "And lets be honest, you're not going to be tomorrow's shining knight. But the public loves a bad boy, too. Most of the networks run using freelance cameramen, these days. I've got a few good ones, and I can assign you a producer. Someone who'll know how to cut the film to catch your good side."

She had been joking around, and she sounds pretty bored at the notion now, really. It is hard to feign enthusiasm for something that she really has no interest in, and if they *do* create a new sensation... then it is going to be lining Ken's pockets as much - or more, even - as her own. Something which makes her pretty nauseous to think about. In fact, as the thought percolates and she really thinks about it, the woman comes up short. Stopping in her steps to scrutinize Billy even closer.

"You'll have to waste a lot of time." She says, bluntly. "Beat up a ton of people who barely know how to make a fist let alone use it. But you'll have to do it... cheekily. No breaking bones and ruining careers."

Something seems to occur to her, then, and she grins.

"You could start by schooling that screechy Muay Thai guy. I bet we could sell THAT footage a thousand times over."

A generally honest manner doesn't preclude the pushing of a few buttons; Billy's not hiding anything in his words, just saying what he was going to say anyway, but it's interesting to observe the reaction both that name - and the subsequent illustration of Beth's familial situation - brooks from the ravishing young woman. Something in the Brit's cheery grin gains a sly edge, mouth broadening into a smirk, as the hand still gripping that beer bottle taps a light rhythm against the dark glass. A sign that he's mulling it over.

He poses quite comfortably for the 'inspection', such as it is, unable to resist a flex of the right arm - fist tightening in the air, leather creaking. He's not a huge guy, but he works out; and he's obviously fiercely proud of that fact, meeting the approval with a short chuckle of likewise appreciation. He knows he's got it, but it never sucks to hear it said by someone else. Especially someone in the biz.

Her boredom doesn't go unnoticed, but he doesn't really care. Least of all now. They're just getting started.

A mute single-shouldered shrug initially greets her blunt summation of the actions he'll need to take; and that lingering fire in his eyes doesn't express any form of dissatisfaction. Kane likes to fight. He likes to know he's good at it, and he likes having a /job/. He's not employed for his rugged charisma. Geese pays him to stay sharp, and keep up an image of strength that dissuades most of the violence before it begins... and the rest, well, that's why he NEEDS to stay sharp, keep fighting. That's why he needs to take names.

"Sagat's pet whelp, eh?" He responds immediately to the first bit of enthusiasm Beth produces, reaching up to rub at his chin thoughtfully, a couple days' worth of pale stubble making it scratch like sandpaper, "Thought you'd be more interested in that kid that's been pestering 'im, the little Chink?" He lets that hang for a second while he reconsiders the proposition, then gives a satisfied nod. "Awright. You've got my number. Tool up one o' yer boys and send him over. We'll get this show on the road. If I need to school a couple o' punks on the way to Adon, though?" Now he grins, again, a predatory thing, "I'll give 'em all the cheek they can eat."

He keeps Beth's gaze momentarily, then immediately saunters off across the room, stopping beside the fridge to set the empty bottle atop it and then bend down to inspect the contents, still talking as he flicks the contents about with a complete lack of concern for neatness.

"So what'd you want in the first place, love? Guessin' you didn't call me 'ere for a social..."

"Quon Chen. Ehn. Film-star-turned-fighter, or the other way around. I *would* like to steal him out from under Ken's nose, but..."

She lets it hang in the air. She's far from stupid herself, and she knows that her use to the Syndicate extends, at the moment, only as far as her connections do. Sure, she's no slouch in the beating people up department, but she's not going to shine with maniacs like Yamazaki on call. And why does she care about being useful to them, when she shows remarkably little sign of being motivated by fame, money, or even power? Well. That's the question, really, isn't it?

"Adon plays the fool. Hell, he might actually BE as dumb as he looks, but I doubt it. What he is, is a name. He won the last League and he keeps getting his mug in front of cameras. He's lost before, but, if you could make him eat his pride on camera, now that will buy you a flash in the pan. It'll be up to you to keep the momentum going after that."

As she says this, she is tracing a loose path around the room. Wandering towards the windows and giving Billy ample time to watch her from behind. When she gets there, she leans against the thick glass to stare down at City Hall. What was it she wanted, exactly? There had been something, hadn't there?

"Mmm. Well. I've got a few things, in mind. But I want to work on something big. Stealing cars was fun, for a while. Playing make believe that we might one day get to trash City Hall..."

She exhales slowly, "Buuut, that's all, childish games. The way I see it, the world loves a good story, and we've just finished being menaced by He Of The Mighty Shoulderpads." A derisive snort follows. Certainly, if Beth had been involved with Shadaloo, Vega's fashion sense would be her primary enemy.

"So lets tell the world a story. All about how the nicest guy in Southtown was set up and betrayed by a bunch of lunatics and hobos, who are probably /communists/ incidentally, and just look what happens the moment he stops being around to protect the weak and innocent."

The... levels of insincerity that Beth's voice can reach, just dripping with poisonous sarcasm, really is quite impressive.

They've all got different reasons for being in this. Kane himself is here to survive. While he truly enjoys a lot of the things he's set to do, it's always on the understanding that this is a job. The Syndicate doesn't mean everything to him, in theory - but Geese commands his utmost loyalty as a friend, and as the man who offered him a permanent way out of the dole queue, provided Billy can keep him alive. That's a powerful motivation to somebody who spent their first twenty plus years of life scraping along for next to nothing.

If Bethany does this because it's interesting, or engaging, like some twisted hobby...

That's her call. Everyone's a little twisted somewhere along the line.

"Ha!" Billy's hard to figure in that regard, until he laughs. If the media princess were looking out for a hint of the monster inside, she gets it as he barks off that single, nasty syllable. There's something disturbing about his laughter that doesn't come through in his manner, usually; a nasal edge that hints at a deeper sort of sadism. That's kind of honest too, in its way. It's not as though he doesn't get a kick from hurting people, no matter how much he tries - and succeeds - in justifying his actions to himself. Why not enjoy what you do?

"That's rich," he rejoins as he stands from the fridge, a carton of milk hanging from one hand and a rolled wodge of some cooked meat in the other. It's probably very classy, high-grade stuff, but he seems intent on just eating it as some sort of terrible, carnivorous tootsie roll. "Lady says she doesn't want childish games, but /stories/ are okay, eh?" Despite the mocking in his tone, there's also still something good-natured in the grin; at least as good-natured as one shark could be to another. "I've 'eard worse ideas."

That summation hangs there as he takes a gnashing mouthful of animal flesh and washes it down with milk.

"Mmf--!" He starts to speak again in mid-swallow, and pauses a little longer, a finger flicked in the air from the hand still holding aloft the dripping carton. "Since this is the information age, I'm guessin' this is some kind of movie or uh..." He grasps for the word, sneering as he remembers, "'Biopic', right? Nobody picks up a good book any more." Billy probably never has. "Seems to me like you'd be hittin' for bloody six by givin' the world cute little Quon Chen in a starring role. Racial barriers, show some political savvy, yadda yadda. I don't trust the Chinese as far as I can throw 'em - that's pretty far, by the way, love - but Howard Enterprises ain't supposed to share that kinda view. Hell if I know, though..."

He grins, swishing the aloft carton about in preparation for another swig of cow-y goodness.

"You're the one with brains as big as yer funbags, I just look good kickin' arse on camera."

Bethany nods her head thoughtfully. There's not many actors who could play the role of Geese. Off the top of her head, there is Fei Long - and good luck getting him to agree to anything like that - and ... well, Quon Chen follows pretty quick after that, really. Unless they want to use a regular actor, but, as she turns the idea over, it sounds more and more appealing. Not just stealing Quon out from underneath Ken, but putting him down as the face of Geese Howard? Oh, now that would be ~delicious~.

"Stories make the world go round." She says, as she turns around. Leaning against the glass, she doesn't seem at all bothered that Billy is eating a haunch of Iberiam Ham and guzzling her gold-top milk. She'd offered him access to her fridge, and... despite the fact that she comes from a very privileged upbringing, she absolutely despises the pretense that comes with things like 'good manners' and 'classical music'.

"We all want the world to make some sort of sense. The media tells us how it is and why. But its all just stories. If you tell people the right one, they'll give you anything you want, and that... is only as childish as the story you tell."

She folds her arms underneath her chest, propping herself up, if it were possible, even more impressively. There's an easy shrug of her shoulders. "Quon might not be the worst choice for the role. Cast some unlikeable douche, Mel Gibson maybe, as Vega, Terry Bogard as played by Ben Affleck. People he can't help but look awesome up against. But, I don't have the big guy's ear, now do I? You, though. He listens to you. If he gives me the green light, I'll start putting something ... worthwhile, together."

She smiles, in the same way one might imagine a praying mantis would smile, before devouring her mate.

"You're wrong, though, Billy. My brains aren't *that* big."

The essence of manipulation lies in choosing who to manipulate. Billy's thought processes are as swift and brutal as he tends to be in battle - there's an instinctive, almost primal quality to them. Without reasoning out the middle, he leaps from point A to point B, assuming the rest will fill itself in. Fortunately, he's what he says he is - hired muscle, albeit elevated to fairly dizzying heights by the significance of his role - and this means somebody else is always there to deal with the tricky parts.

Not that there isn't something to be said for the direct approach.

Billy chuckles. Beth's a wily one, that much is clear, but she's no stranger to that approach herself. Though it comes as response to her deliciously seductive wise-crack, the casual salute he phrases with his milk-bearing hand pays homage also to the wider facts of her existence. He can appreciate hard work, ambition, and conniving femme fatales with curves that make him think /all/ about 'hard work'.

"See 'ow good things 'appen when we put our heads together?" He puts forth as he leans up against the worktop, taking a moment to devour some more of that meat, chewing and swallowing far more swiftly than is recommended by expert nutritionalists. But hey, he's basically superhuman, right? When he's done, he's not got much left of the chunky morsel, flipping the remainder between his fingers as he casts a decidely sly, almost smouldering stare of his own toward the buxom media princess. It takes a half-second to shift from her material assets to her face. "Makes you wonder if we shouldn't do the same with our bodies."

Direct. Approach. He moves on swiftly though, tossing his head and slipping away from the worktop once more. The milk is deposited in the fridge - he's not the /worst guest ever/ after all - and the door kicked shut before he turns back around, sucking a stray drip from his thumb.

"I'll chat to Geese, don't you worry. Got an idea on 'ow to get in the kid's graces, too. Might be we can kill two birds with one stone, give us both some ah, exposure." Another low glance, this one as undisguised as all the others, and slipping even lower to boot. It seems to make him hungry, and he flips the remaining scrap of meat around again, raising it close to his mouth before flashing another predatory grin. "Gibson and Affleck might respond better to your special charms though, love. I'll be in touch. See that you are too, eh?"

With that, he flips the last of the high-grade ham into his mouth and is chewing as he goes to leave.

For all the games being played, he's all business in the end.

Surprisingly, Bethany is not blind; she is aware of the fact that she's a woman and a rather attractive example at that. Billy's interest is natural, and ... well, the only thing he's been hungering for more in this apartment is, apparently, the ham. In the world of fighting, there are precious few females who wouldn't - at best - shut Billy down, and at worst, use towering female rage and indignation to pitch him out the window.

Beth, however, just allows the slightest hint of a smile to touch her lips. "Who knows?" She says, and the smile broadens just a touch more. "We're not deciding our story ahead of time. It could go all sorts of, wild places."

She waves off the rest of the questions about business carelessly, "I'll take care of my end, don't you worry." And, that's that, as far as she is concerned. Her smile remains right up until the time that Billy leaves, and the elevator descends out of her apartment.

Then she sighs, and rolls her eyes. "Men." She mutters, "It doesn't matter if they can punch a train in half or have a billion dollars in the bank, they're always so... predictable."

She flicks the sound system back on, closes her eyes, and fishes her mobile phone out of her cleavage, with a loud yawn.

~The night is hungry, I have to go~
~The Wolf is hungry, he runs the shoooow~

"Yeah. Get me Affleck's people. Set something up yesterday. Don't, argue with me, just do it."

Log created on 12:23:24 05/10/2012 by Billy, and last modified on 18:27:51 05/10/2012.