Ring-A-Ding Ding

Started by Pele Kesher, August 10, 2019, 12:58:37 pm

Pele Kesher

August 10, 2019, 12:58:37 pm Last Edit: August 10, 2019, 01:32:35 pm by Pele Kesher
(Picks up after this post and the pre-time skip part of this thread)

Pele's scheme had failed and her mark had slipped right through her fingers. So what was she doing still sitting at this dingy table? Waiting for Marty to return so she could resume charming the money out of his pockets? Likely story. If stepping away from her presence for a moment didn't sober him up, the way his karaoke-crooning friend had leered at her led her to believe he was going to be making fun of him for falling into her trap as soon as they were out of earshot.

No, she was sitting here because she had nowhere else to go. The whiskey and cola she'd turned her nose up at felt suddenly very appealing, and she took a long swig of the drink, not longer caring about looking attractive and ladylike while doing so. She then rummaged through her purse, her fingers brushing against the cool metal of her discarded engagement ring before finding and pulling out her datapad.

She flipped through various channels for Londinium news and gossip, looking for reports of her sudden disappearance. She found nothing; the discussion seemed to be dominated by a story about opera starlet Sonia Deriviere who had a surprise baby on the way. What an inane expression. How could a baby be a surprise? Making one was hardly a subtle operation.

As she continued to browse, her irritation at the vapidity clogging up channels gave way to concern. Cecil was a cold bastard, but he wasn't completely heartless, not when it came to her. If he actually thought something bad had happened to her, he would go to the Feds, and the news would inevitably leak to the media and into the Cortex. The fact there was nothing suggested Cecil knew her disappearance had been no accident, which could be bad. Very bad.

Pele was suddenly seized by a strong urge to get moving. Maybe she could charm some buffoon of a captain to give her a free ride... somewhere. Anywhere. As long as she didn't have to stay in the same place for too long. She shoved the datapad in her purse and downed the rest of her whiskey and cola in one gulp. The dull burn covered by layers of cheap soda did little to calm her nerves.

Tricky

Location: The Backroom

A puff of smoke passed Trick's lips as he rose from his seat and pulled a scroll from his jacket. He tapped the case in his open hand and began to circle the room, as he was prone to do when seeking onlookers' attention. His blue eyes glanced at the door once more as he passed. "I'll save the particulars for when the others get here. Ain't none too sure what's keepin' our friend Aksel, and while I got an idea on the how's and the who's and the when's..." Tricky took a deep breath, though whether for a dramatic pause or due to his genuine consideration of the plan remained anyone's guess, before continuing. "Might be one little kink the plot. We're gonna need a ringer."

"I'll take it from here, Tricky." Johann offered, and Tricky saw no reason to oblige him. That's the kind of thing Johann brought to the partnership: the plan, and who best to execute which parts. Tricky saw himself as somewhere between a public relations manager - which so happened to be his actual day job on Iscariot - and a talent scout. O'Doyle always had a knack for noticing what people could do, and was even better at gleaning how they could do what they do to his benefit. Tricky pulled a bottle of white wine from one of the ice-filled buckets brought to the storeroom for the crew's private 'shindig' after excusing himself from the table. "Why, I can't imagine any good reason for ya not to, Yanny. Matter of fact I was just thinkin' I oughta introduce myself to our friend Martin's long and slender acquaintance. Y'all wanna take it from here, well, I'm much obliged." Tricky offered a smooth smile all around and departed with a nod and wink to Johann as if to say 'thanks, pardner'.

Location: About two steps away from a dingy table where Pele checked her datapad

Tricky slithered up to the table in silence, acting in the exact opposite manner of how he typically entered the familiar scene. Truth told, he was starting to get sick of the place. He'd heard some office chatter about a new club opening up further down the concourse while he waited for his last meeting with Iscariot's operations managers. He hated those meetings. Trick hated any time he risked crossing paths with any of the investor's corporate liaisons. Especially them two blonde fellas. They creeped him the hell out. He shivered silently, and shook his head in an attempt to rid himself of both the mental image and the jitters. Tricky happened to glance down just as Pele was flipping through the latest news, and found further relief in the fact that his own name or any of his assumed aliases never came up. Not that he could see from over her shoulder anyway. As Pele packed up her Datapad and downed her drink, Trick swooped in.

"Awful sorry 'bout your fella scootin' off the way he done, but I'd hate to see you off in such a hurry. Can I get you a fill up? Or I reckon you might join me for some wine. It's on the house." Tricky set the bottle on the table and invited himself to take a seat. He presented the bottle as if it were worth more creds than he could count, but tried to turn the label away from Martin's would-be assailant before she could catch it's unimpressive vintage. Tricky smiled as if the deal were already sealed before whistling to a server passing by. "A couple of glasses me 'n' my friend here. Reckon they oughta be chilled." Trick waited for the server to head off to fulfill his request before knitting his fingers together before him on the table. "Patrick O'Doyle, by the way. Not sure if I introduced myself before. And you?" The answer, if the woman provided one, didn't matter. Tricky wasn't expecting her real name anyway. He sure as heck wouldn't have offered his, were the shoe on the other foot. "So what brings you to Iscariot?"
And in the city it's a pity 'cause we just can't hide
Tinted windows don't mean nothin', they know who's inside

- RUN-DMC "It's Tricky"

Pele Kesher

October 18, 2019, 01:06:41 am #2 Last Edit: October 18, 2019, 04:39:42 am by Pele Kesher
Before Pele could get up from her table and flee the scene of the failed crime, Patrick O'Doyle descended upon her like a devilishly handsome vulture. Her first instinct was to tell him to rut off and be on her way, and she might have done that had her impulsive lizard brain been behind the wheel. However, the realization of her disappearance going unnoticed back home had awakened the part of her that had some sense of self-preservation. There was no telling when she'd be getting a ride off this godforsaken space station; she might as well try to get on the good side of this guy she assumed was the big cheese around here, or at least one in an assortment of big cheeses (each one more moldy and pungent than the last, no doubt). She watched O'Doyle go through the motions of sucking up to her and ordering drinks with a smile on her face you could hardly tell was pained.

"Patrick O'Doyle, by the way. Not sure if I introduced myself before. And you?"

"I'm Shiri," she said, wishing she had picked something else to call herself.

"So what brings you to Iscariot?"

Pele reflected on the backstory she had spun for Shiri -- arriving with her scumbag boyfriend, finding out about his cheating, fighting with him and getting left behind -- and decided to set all of that aside for now. It was a story she'd made up for drunken, horny Marty who had very simple and transparent motivations. This O'Doyle person was a different animal, one that she needed to figure out before getting too elaborate with her lies. Her gut was telling her to keep as much close to her chest as possible.

"The same thing that brings everybody here, I suppose. Wanderlust," she said with a breezy smile and wondered if Shiri would even know a big word like that. She shrugged, her curls bouncing around her pretty poker face.

"Sometimes you just get that feeling you gotta get out there and see the 'Verse while you're still young, you know?"

She placed her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her hands, meeting O'Doyle's gaze like a challenge.

"What about you, Patrick, what do you do around here?"

Tricky

"I'm Shiri."

"Sure. Reckon it'll do." Patrick maintained his practiced grin as the caramel-skinned beauty offered up what was sure to be a disposable alias. The stars knew Ol'Trick went through plenty of them himself. When Trick asked what brought her around, he got just the kind of vague and generic response he expected.

"The same thing that brings everybody here, I suppose. Wanderlust."

Trick's eyebrows rose and his mouth frowned as if she'd just said something unique and profound. Truth told, he heard some form of that same line almost any time he asked. Seemed the only people interested in telling you what they were really doing on Iscariot were just trying to sell you something. Those who belonged to a ship's regular crew were just stopping in to relax, refuel, and resupply. Others were just looking for a ride someplace else. Tricky feigned vested interest as Shiri continued, forcing himself to look past the painted face and bouncing curls. It helped to imagine a deck of cards being dealt out between the two of them.

"Sometimes you just get that feeling you gotta get out there and see the 'Verse while you're still young, you know?"

The server returned with the glasses, both of them feeling more like they'd just been set in a deep freeze for a minute or two as opposed to being properly chilled. Tricky reckoned he'd take it up with Jiyang later, thanked the help and half-filled a glass each for himself and his latest prospect. "To youth," Trick said simply, raising his glass to offer a toast. He sipped the wine, trying not to show his displeasure with a taste more sour than he expected, and left the air open and silent to let Shiri make a move as the game entered its next phase.

"What about you, Patrick, what do you do around here?"

That slow, measured smile returned. "Oh, you know. A little of this, a little of that. Ha. Actually, Shiri - pretty name by the way - Iscariot's HR Department has me on file as a 'Public Relations Representative', and in the case of any, well, incidents it's my job to act as an official liaison between upper management and any Feds might come snoopin' along." For someone engaged in a lucrative side gig such as Tricky's, being the face man on board a space station where the interpretation and enforcement of Alliance law was loose to say the least might seem folly. But the man was on parole, and it helped to have a steady gig with a regular paycheck.

"Sometimes I gamble. But I mingle, mostly, 'n' try to enjoy myself. And I make it my business to know what kind of business other folk get up to. I like to keep a sharp eye out for people with particular talents. I couldn't help but admire your own skill as you went about your business with my friend Marty a little earlier. He's a good boy. Great pilot. Little bit of a smartass, but good for a laugh. No doubt you enjoyed his company, and I have to say I enjoyed watching you work." Tricky watched for any signs of nervousness as he called Shiri out. Wouldn't be worth a lick of his time and effort if he scared her off, and he wanted to keep testing her admirable poker face aside. "So - if you're not in too big of a hurry to pursue that 'wanderlust' - I wonder if you might interested in talking a little bit of business with me. Refill?"
And in the city it's a pity 'cause we just can't hide
Tinted windows don't mean nothin', they know who's inside

- RUN-DMC "It's Tricky"

Pele Kesher

"To youth."

Pele raised her glass reluctantly, taking one of those vanishingly small sips disguised as a larger sip that she'd employed when trying to get into Marty's pockets. The few drops of the liquid that did end up in her mouth, she wanted to spit right back out. It was clearly a lousy vintage that had been improperly stored, but what else could you expect from this place?

She feigned an amiable interest as she listened to O'Doyle prattle on about himself. She'd never had to deal with a crook quite like him before, yet there was something familiar about him that she couldn't quite put her finger on. When he got to the part where he revealed he'd been watching her little mating dance with Marty, the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Managing not to slip out of her role, she smiled in ditzy confusion. A simple girl like Shiri would not know where he was going with any of this this... although Pele didn't really feel like she was playing an elaborate part anymore, just trying to keep the snake at an arm's length at any cost.

"So - if you're not in too big of a hurry to pursue that 'wanderlust' - I wonder if you might interested in talking a little bit of business with me. Refill?"

"No, thank you, wine gives me a headache." It was a blatant lie, but the last thing Pele wanted right now was more alcohol in her system, because she had realized something: Patrick O'Doyle reminded her of Cecil Soavi.

It wasn't just the dark good looks, although the two men were definitely cut out of the same cloth that was tailored to Pele's taste. No, it was the veneer of class and charm that was there to cover up ulterior motives you didn't catch onto until it was too late. Pele in her mid twenties had fallen straight into that trap when she'd met Cecil, and would probably have found O'Doyle attractive as well, even going as far as to give his border world vernacular and rough edges a pass for being romantically rustic. 30-year-old Pele was wiser, and while she certainly found him attractive on a physical level, there was also something repulsive about the man. She wasn't sure what his game was, but she knew he had one.

"Are you a pimp or something?" That would've been Shiri's first thought, and it was also a very real possibility in Pele's mind. In any case, she had felt more offended than flattered when he had complimented her work. Either he thought she had standards low enough to agree to sex work in a dump like this, or he'd caught onto her bluff, which meant it wasn't that good of a bluff in the first place, was it?

Tricky

"Are you a pimp or something?"

Patrick coughed as he choked on his sip of wine, though whether due to the taste of the vintage or the way the question took him completely off guard he wouldn't allow himself to reveal. Once the liquid cleared his airways and found itself down the right tube, O'Doyle wiped the tears welling up in his eyes with a monogrammed handkerchief. After folding the silky blue cloth carefully and tucking it back into the outer breast pocket of his jacket, Patrick worked the cough into a low chuckle. "Absolutely not. I'm afraid you've read me all wrong. Not only would such common work be a low task for a gentleman such as myself, I do believe the Guild would have one of my very favorite Companions make short work of me when I'm at my most vulnerable for attempting such a tasteless thing. Particularly given the fact that any of Iscariot's guests or residents may offer themselves as potential clients at such a proper establishment as The Lady Magdalene at any time."

Patrick looked at Siri's untouched glass and shrugged before pouring himself another glass. He didn't blame her for not drinking it. Tricky found the aftertaste wholly dissatisfying, and barely worth the trouble he went through to swipe it. And yet, for some reason he couldn't quite explain to himself, he took another sip before continuing in a voice like black velvet. "The work I'm offering is far more discreet. For the role I have in mind, you'd never even have to meet our client. Let alone put a hand on them. In fact, you wouldn't have to work on your back at all." Given his criminal past and relatively recent parole, one might think a guy like Patrick O'Doyle had finally learned not to press his luck.

One might be wrong.

"That is... Unless you find that kind of work suits you."
And in the city it's a pity 'cause we just can't hide
Tinted windows don't mean nothin', they know who's inside

- RUN-DMC "It's Tricky"

Pele Kesher

Pele couldn't stop the smug little smirk that passed over her face when Patrick choked on his drink. It was oddly satisfying to see the smooth operator in front of her get flustered, if only for a fleeting moment. The reaction seemed to indicate, however, that her initial assessment was incorrect and he was not, in fact, a pimp. Sure could have fooled me.

A bitter taste rose in her mouth at the mention of the Guild. Or maybe that was just the terrible whiskey and coke, or the even more terrible wine. Either way, she wondered what they were doing in a place like Iscariot. Pele's impression of the Guild was that they were a bunch of uppity snobs who thought they were too good for mere mortals, and you would've thought this dump was below their high standards.

But none of that was important now. What was important was whatever Patrick was asking her to do, only she still couldn't figure out where he was going with all this hot air he was blowing in her direction.

"The work I'm offering is far more discreet. For the role I have in mind, you'd never even have to meet our client. Let alone put a hand on them. In fact, you wouldn't have to work on your back at all... That is... Unless you find that kind of work suits you."

"Well, you're a bold one, aren't you?" she said, still smiling but not amused. "So why don't you boldly get to the point and tell me why, exactly, you're so deeply fascinated with some random girl flirting with a guy at a bar. That's hardly a rare sight, now, is it?"

The woman was quickly growing tired of inhabiting the skin of empty-headed, good-natured Shiri No-Last-Name, and Pele Kesher's impatient suffer-no-fools demeanor was beginning to shine through the cracks. She crossed her arms and leaned back in her seat, staring at Patrick with an expectant cocked eyebrow.

Tricky

Tricky's eyes lit up and he nodded once in agreement to Shiri's inventory of his boldness. He resisted the urge to smile as she finally seemed to be getting a bit more serious about the game they played. "Ah, there ya are." Patrick wagged a finger playfully. "Reckon you're right on both counts. I ain't one to shy away from risk, and if two people wanna get together and see where the nights takes 'em that ain't no business o' mine. Exceptin' when it is my business. Fella you were about to roll over there happens to be on the payroll for a little job I got. Reckon I can cut you in for a might better'n whatever you may have managed to grift off of ol' Mad Marty before the night was out. And I hope you'll take the offer as a compliment to your skills. Drunk as a skunk Martin may be, but he's no slouch. You took a fella like him for a ride - woof - well, his family would never let him hear the end of it. Way I hear it, anyhow."

Patrick smiled as genuinely as he could muster. Everything he'd said so far was the truth, and it would be up to the woman across the table - Shiri, Siri, whatever name she'd chosen for the evening mattered less than her looks and skills - to make up her own mind about whether she trusted him enough to accept the offer or not.
And in the city it's a pity 'cause we just can't hide
Tinted windows don't mean nothin', they know who's inside

- RUN-DMC "It's Tricky"

Pele Kesher

Pele opened her mouth to protest Patrick's implication that she'd been trying to 'grift' anything off Marty, but closed it quickly. The cat was obviously out of the bag, and if she tried to shove it back in now she'd be no better than a baited worm trying to squirm off a hook, surrendering herself to a futile, undignified struggle. She stared at her smiling opponent in silence, pretending to consider his offer but really just trying to figure out what he was getting at. Finally, it clicked.

"You're a confidence man."

Maybe she shouldn't have said it as bluntly and loudly as she did, but she didn't care; it was his own gorram fault for cornering her like this. The sense of triumph she felt for figuring out his game was short-lived, because the revelation raised a whole slew of other questions -- namely, whether or not she wanted to associate herself with his kind.

Her rational brain and lizard brain seemed to have switched roles, with the former now telling her to get up and walk away while she still could and the latter urging her to stay and seize the exciting job offer being dangled in front of her. Or maybe it wasn't her lizard brain telling her to stay just for the sake of thrills. Maybe it was some more sophisticated form of self-preservation that was urging her to not dismiss the offer outright, to explore her options-- what were her options? What was a companion's education good for out here without the title and connections that came with the job? Subterfuge and sex work, mostly, and Pele wasn't exactly itching to become a freelance prostitute on the rim.

"Alright, I'm listening."

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