Get a Room!

  • IC2

     adamu updated 1 year, 1 month ago 2 Members · 24 Posts
  • mercy

    Member
    March 16, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    Al
    Early Friday Morning, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Lei Tung smiles. “Actually, it is quite possible to get by with only a rudimentary knowledge of the differences in the symbols. Any tourist who can remember the symbol they are looking for should be safe.” He shrugs. “In all truth, the tourists are too important to the area to be bothered. They pretty much have free rein to go to any of the shops without being hassled.”

    He nods after Al’s last question. “I suppose such a thing is possible, especially in these troubled times. The best defense against that is that almost every person in Chinatown already knows which shops belong to which Triad and lieutenant, so the problem should be small. A traditional response would be to visit the offending soldiers and deal directly with the problem. As I am sure you are quite aware, these seem to be very non-traditional times and I am not quite sure what Song Ai’s response would be. She cannot afford to ignore such a challenge to our authority, though, and I am certain that she would have an appropriate answer to the question.

    384

  • adamu

    Member
    March 16, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    With those words, Lei Tung told Al everything about the situation he really needed to know. He’d already tipped to it, but only with his brain. It hadn’t really sunk in. But here was this guy that knew the turf better than she did, knew the men better, knew the business better. But he was bound and determined to follow her lead. Hesitant to do anything without her say so.

    Yeah, the guy had explained himself to Al already. But now Al figured it went deeper than the man’s talk of loyalty and ancestors. This guy was sticking around because he knew Tanya, Song Ai, whatever, he knew she was his future. He might not know what that future was, or if it was good or bad for him. But that didn’t matter because he had sensed the raw inevitability of it. This guy could milk the wealth out of the locals, he could bilk the tourists, he could wage a constant war of attrition against rival criminals. He could do that his whole life. Egg Fu, he could play politics, invest some money, win some battles in the Tong councils, get filthy rich. He could do that his whole life. And Al himself, he could kill these guys until they lined the streets knee-deep. He could do that all his life.

    And none of it would ever change anything.

    It was all what was already happening. Had been happening. They were just playing along with the system.

    Only Tanya was thinking of a way out. It was the definition of Quixotic. But it was a chance versus no chance.

    Al smiled and nodded and kept pretending he didn’t hate the guy for the rest of the tour. He learned all he could, because it would all help him keep her safe.

    He’d already figured her heart was in the right place, and on that basis alone he’d pledged his support. But now he saw a glimmer. No more than that. But a glimmer of hope that she might really be on to something.

    He ended up back at the casino, secured his truck. Secured his room. Slept for two hours. Got his shit together and turned on the trid. Decided not to call the little lackey Tanya had arranged for him. Didn’t call room service either. None of that was safe. Hell, he wouldn’t even stay in the room if he didn’t have to be nearby. Stole someone else’s breakfast off a cart when the waitress was serving another room.

    She was going to do something. And the closer she got, the more pissed some unsavory or another was going to get. So he concentrated on staying alive. So he’d be able to keep her that way.

    He ate, watched the trid, and waited for anything she might need.

  • mercy

    Member
    March 17, 2019 at 1:08 am

    Al
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Al’s room phone rings just before noon. “Al? Hey, it is Song Ai. If you have not already ordered, would you like to have lunch with me? I can be in the dining room in five minutes. I have a table held for us and would enjoy your company. I would like to discuss some of of what I expect to happen at the meetings this weekend. I would like your input and any advice you feel you can give me. So, lunch?”

    385

  • adamu

    Member
    March 18, 2019 at 10:27 am

    “I could eat,” Al replied. “Down in a tick.”

    He grabbed his weapons and used his pass to access the service stairwell down to the basement. Stored the long guns in the Gaz. Then went up and found Tanya at her table in her Song Ai guise.

  • mercy

    Member
    March 18, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    Tanya nods at Al as he approaches and slides into the booth. She points over to the buffet line. “Thank you for joining me for lunch. Please help yourself and we can talk while we eat.”

    386

  • adamu

    Member
    March 18, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Al didn’t have to be told twice. Just because he’d upped his resolve a notch, having gone from mocking indifference to guarded commitment and now to earnest alliance, none of that meant he didn’t feel like eating. Besides, he expected it would be a pretty one-side conversation. Her head was all deal-cutting and politicking and kingmaking, none of which was his purview.

    His job was keeping her alive and other miscellaneous errands, a role he expected would take on increasing importance the more headway she made toward her goals.

  • mercy

    Member
    March 18, 2019 at 8:43 pm

    Al
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai was checking the reports sent in from Lei Tung and the hotel security chief, Han Lan. She frowns slightly at the projection of cost and time to get the casino back to operating efficiencies but was pleased at Lei Tung’s report that he was already interviewing to fill the slots on Fu Shing’s personal security detail.

    She smiles up at Al as he sits down. “Thank you for joining me, Al. I would like to go over some of the issues I expect to see this evening and tomorrow as we try to get Fu Shing selected as the new head of the Triad. I do not expect it to go easily or without any danger to Fu Shing or myself and am hoping that you can give me some advice on how to mitigate the threat.”

    387

  • adamu

    Member
    March 19, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    “Well, ya mitigate threats by keepin’ ol’ Al around. Course I’ll allow the last time we showed up fer some supposed meet with these assholes things din’t hardly go ta plan. An’ long as the powwow’s in a place not of our choosin’, ain’t nothin’ ta stop ’em pullin’ the same shit again. As I see it, the trick is that Egg Fu wants somethin’ from these folks, wants their approval. An’ ta be they boss no less. Other hand, only thing they all want from him is ta be dead an’ out’n they hair. He’s weak, embattled, shacked up with a newcomer, an leanin’ on said newcomer fer financin’….Now I’m assumin’ y’all have some sorta master plan fer gittin’ these fellers ta want him, of all people, ta take the Rickster’s place. But it ain’t like he can promise ta make ’em a heap lot more loot, since yer actually cuttin’ one cash cow after another out’n the business model.”

    He stuffed his mouth full of cheese and mushroom omelette, but did not stop speaking. “So assumin’ he’s got somethin’ ta offer the group that none o’ the others has got, then ya wanna cut the risk, yer gon’ need ta give ’em all a preview. Once they smell a benefit from the meetin’, they’ll lay off. But since they probably can’t imagine what he’s got ta offer ’em any better’n ol’ Al can, yer gon’ need ta dangle somethin’ before the meet. Ya lose some dramatic effect, but ya maybe stay alive long enough ta make yer pitch.”

    He moved on to sausage, cutting pieces and spearing them together on his knife with bits of home fried potato. “Or…ya really wanna cut the risk, ya eliminate the competitive element altogether. Consider – all these Chinamen wanna be the boss. But fer Egg Fu, what’s ta be gained? If he let’s the different groups keep makin’ they nut the traditional child-whorin’ drug-pushin’ way, they’s happy an’ he gits a piece, but that pretty much flies inna face of all we’s tryin’ ta do here. But if he tries to stop all o’ that, it takes all his energy an’ eventually gits him ousted or killed. An’ even if’n he somehow changes they ways, then the taxes he takes off’n ’em is so much smaller, what’s the point even? Nah, ya ask ol’ Al, they don’t want him as leader, an’ he don’t wanna be it neither. Better thing ta negotiate for is independence.”

    It was hard to make out a word he was saying the way he was stuffing his mouth. But if he noticed any impediment to his speech it was not apparent as he moved on to a stack of Belgian waffles. “See, ya git this hospital goin’, there could be big benefits fer all the 88s. But the time until payoff is a lot longer than these cats gon’ be willin’ ta go hungry. An’ then ya got the risk – big payoff possible, but massive loss even more probable. They ain’t signin’ on if he’s the leader an’ that’s the only game in town. But…if it’s Egg Fu doin’ that in his own little fiefdom, might not be too tough a sell. Plus side, it don’t interfere with they own operations. Whoever comes out on top gits less tax, but they also then face less competition. An’ when Johnny Law or Mothers Against Whatever starts makin’ noise, they can point ta the hospital thing fer an air o’ legitimacy. Egg Fu remains a nominal member o’ the 88s, mostly fer pertection an’ so they don’t lose face, an’ they commit ta pertectin’ his territory an’ his project. Then once the hospital starts payin’ off, they git a piece o’ whatever action Egg Fu still gits. Low risk, ever’one a winner. If yer askin’ ol’ Al, anyhoo.”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 19, 2019 at 6:58 pm

    Song Ai
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai watches Al eat as he talks, with some sort of mild fascination at his technique. She shakes her head as he finishes and smiles broadly at him. “Al, that may be sheer genius and it is certainly well worth looking into. I had not given that path a look, but it seems that I should. Thank you. Still some risks, but less than under the other plans. There may still be a lot of people hoping that Fu Shing fails, perhaps even actively encouraging failure, but this will leave the rest of the Triad alone, or so they think. The benefits of what we are doing will still happen and others will see them, bringing about some additional changes over time.”

    Song Ai raises her glass to her companion in a salute. “This solution will also let us keep the casino in his area. I guess I need to do some additional planning and bring this idea to Fu Shing for his approval, but I do not think he will object too strenuously. I would ask that you still accompany us to the meetings, if you have the time and the inclination.”

    388

  • adamu

    Member
    March 20, 2019 at 6:05 am

    “Inclination? Ol’ Al’s in it ta win it, kemo sabe. I’ll be there with bells on. Now what can ya tell me about the venue?”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 20, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Song Ai
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai smiles at her companion as she sips some of tea. “The venue? Because this is business that the whole Triad is involved in, the meetings will be held at the Triad Master’s house. In this case, Rick Wu’s place. Even in his absence, he will have a presence, just because of where the meetings are being held. The Lodge Master, who has been conspicuously, and appropriately, neutral in all of this so far, will sit in on the meetings and offer his wisdom. The house itself is a large, three-level structure in the middle of the 88s area. Normally, there would be a number of Rick’s house security at the front and scattered throughout the building, but I am unsure who will be providing security tonight. Normally, an attending lieutenant is allowed to take three of his security personnel with him, so that is what I was planning on………………..you, me, and one other. The conference room is in the center of the house and we can expect additional security at the door and perhaps inside as well. In my opinion, I would think that Rick may make another try at Fu Shing there.”

    389

  • adamu

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 7:35 am

    “Heh heh, sure Rick may try, since the pussy won’t be there hisself. An’ sadly, I ain’t heard from our robo-freak friend. But yeah, however good ya make yer pitch, ever’ minute Egg Fu’s still breathin’ is egg on the face o’ Rick-a-Dick. No pun intended. Even if the rest like the idea, Ricky’ll be against it. An’ what better way ta reassert his dwindlin’ authority than be takin’ out the Eggster right there in front of ever’one. So yeah, I’d agree the meet might not be peaceful. Silver linin’: Ricky drops the ball, his loss o’ face may be irreparable, an’ with him out’n the equation, yer ideas could sail through. So who’s yer third sec guy?”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 21, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    Song Ai
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai nods. “We are thinking on the same page, which actually scares me a bit, as it means I am starting to think like you. I am hoping that Rick makes another stab at us. So far, he has failed at every attempt to remove Fu Shing and has lost much face over that. Another failure could indeed have him end up in an untenable position if he tries and fails again. I am looking forward to the challenge. I do not expect the attempt to come from the Lodge Master, as he has been strictly neutral in everything so far and I do not see him changing now, but I will be watching him just in case. I am more concerned for young Han Xui. He is the eldest son of the man you kidnapped and whose place blew up. He is young for his position and could be easily swayed to support Rick as his father had done. He is the most likely candidate, but either of the other two lieutenants could be involved, although I really believe that Xang Chin will remain a supporter of Fu Shing. I saved his life a few days ago when Rick tried to have Fu Shing killed. We were travelling in a convoy from a meeting and the hired mercenaries mistook Xiang Chin’s car for Fu Shing’s and used a rocket on it. I stepped in and killed the mercenaries and so Xiang owes us a debt. I would expect at least a warning if he was involved in anything tonight.”

    390

  • adamu

    Member
    March 22, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    “Fair enough. Now I done checked an’ the plans ta Rick’s house ain’t public nowhere. But you been there, right? Ya think you can CAD it out with me? Leastways the parts ya seen?” Al asked, pulling out his link and connecting it to the table’s display. “An’ our third sec guy – ya keepin’ that a surprise?”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 23, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Song Ai
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai nods and begins feeding her memories of the building into the ‘link so it could be displayed. She pulls from her photographic memory and fills in the details of each room as they build the picture of what the building looks like. While doing this, she answers Al’s question. “I do not really have a third person, yet. I was going to let Lei Tung pick one of his more promising people.”

    391

  • adamu

    Member
    March 23, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    “I was thinkin’ the same thing. Standard stuff, don’t put all yer top people in one room. Leave someone solid back at the fort in case someone pulls an end-run. I won’t argue it. Other hand, ain’t a single other person in yer employ I’d be more sure couldn’t be bought, an’ you know they’ll try that. You got a lot ridin’ on this meet. Sometimes puttin’ all yer eggs in one basket’s actually yer best play. Yer call, natch.”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 24, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Song Ai
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai considers this for a few moments then nods. “So you are suggesting that I take Lei Tung with us? That would indeed be a bold move, but it may be the strongest one.”

    392

  • adamu

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Al shrugged. “Yer call, hon. Thanks fer this,” he said, tapping the work he’s saved on his comm. “No tellin’ who’ll be where fer sure, but at least with this I can plan some expeditious exfils. Since I’ll assume the members o’ yer sec team’s allowed arms, I’ll wrangle some stuff up ta make that easier.”

    He pushed some jelly from his whiskered cheek into his mouth, belched, and pushed his plate away. “Anything else fer now, or shall I git to it?”

  • mercy

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 8:45 pm

    Song Ai
    Noon Friday, 29 November, 2075, Chinatown, Seattle

    Song Ai shakes her head. “No, I think that covers it for now. I need to brief Lei Tung about coming with us and then go find Fu Shing to bring him up to speed on our ideas. I will let you know if he has any problems with it, but he does need to prepare what he wants to say to the assembled Triad leaders tonight. And, yes, it is expected that the security teams will be armed, but you should be cautious about what you bring in, as copious amounts of explosives would be frowned on and most likely taken away. Again, thank you for your help .”

    393

  • adamu

    Member
    March 25, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    “Copious? Whatcha take me for? Comes ta combustion, ol’ Al works with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer. Hook up with ya later fer a huddle afore the big show.”

    The little man slipped out of the booth, whirled on a heel to doff an imaginary hat at Tanya, and continued the spin until he was facing the exit and continued on his way.

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