Blue S Schmooze

[14:21] <Minaplo> [The HIC were not the only ones holding an emergency meeting after Ikari's assassination.-
[14:22] <Minaplo> [They arrived at a secret place, coming from secret places via secret routes. Lives shrouded in suspicion and paranoia made these people good at travelling without being seen.-
[14:23] <Minaplo> [They assembled in a windowless room, around an imposing and majestic mahogany boardroom table. They were the heads of the four most powerful crime organisations in Paris-2 (and by extension, France).-
[14:25] <Minaplo> [There was no official name for this meeting. It was a 'criminal council' nevertheless. The mafia don; his brutal rival, the two of them glaring at each other across the table. The old Portuguese matriarch, queen of European arms smuggling; and the neaveau riche, the parvenu, the upstart, the information broker, the one who lived on the internet, his wealth as intangible as smoke.-
[14:27] <Minaplo> [The atmosphere was tense. There were four guards- one for each head- who stood behind their masters, shifting uncomfortably. It wasn't just the rivalry and mutual dislike. There was fear and anxiety in the air.-
[14:28] <Minaplo> ["So Ikari is dead." Said the mafia don, his black hair streaked with grey, an expensive cigar clenched between his teeth. "As you all know, this makes things… Problematic for us."-
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["NERV is gonna crack down on all of us." Said the don's rival, who unlike the don was a young man, clean-shaven, his hair sharp and straight, his face angular and cold. "They're gonna think we did it."-
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Did we?" Asked the Portuguese matriarch, who had been offered- and accepted- a cigar from the don earlier.-
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["I sure as fuck didn't." Said the don.-
[14:30] <Minaplo> ["Nor I. The Camorra knows better than to agitate NERV." Said the don's rival coolly.-
[14:31] <Minaplo> ["I've nothing whatsoever to gain, madame, from Ikari's death." Said the broker, the youngest of the four. He took off his gold-rimmed glasses and polished them. The other three looked at him as though he were an impertinent child.-
[14:32] <Minaplo> ["I have, of course, taken the liberty to ascertain details on the attack, and I can say with over 90% certainty that no mere criminal would have the capacity for such a task."-
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["And how-" Began the don- but something interrupted him. There was a knock at the door.-
[14:33] <Minaplo> [The four heads turned to look at it. No one was supposed to interrupt them.-
[14:33] <Minaplo> [Another knock.-
[14:33] <Minaplo> ["What the fuck do you want? Open the door already." Snapped the don to his henchman.-
[14:42] <Minaplo> [The henchman quickly hurried over, pulling the door open.-
[14:46] <Minaplo> [Standing in the doorway was a tall man, thin- in a strangely dangerous, wiry way. He was wearing a full suit- white shirt, black button-up vest, coat and all. He wore a fine-looking fedora on his hat, which hid most of his brown hair. He had bright, almost unnaturally blue eyes, and his hands were covered by fingerless gloves. He tapped his foot against the floor. "Geeeeez. 'Bout time. What, you couldn't find the door or something?"-
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Who the fuck are you? How did you get in?" Snapped the don.-
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Oh, what, me? You invited me."-
[14:46] <Minaplo> ["Like hell I did."-
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["Right, sorry, was just testin'. I let myself in." Said the man, sliding into the room smoothly.-
[14:47] <Minaplo> ["How?" Asked the don accusingly. "I had twenty men on guard."-
[14:49] <Minaplo> ["Yeah, well, it's eighteen now." Said the hatted man with a wry smile. "Oh, no no no no, I didn't kill them, if that's what you're thinking. I just put them to sleep. And broke their arms. And fingers. And legs. And a few ribs. They were very rough and tumble. A credit to Mr. Big, here, no doubt." Said the man, tipping his hat respectfully to the don.-
[14:53] <Minaplo> [This did not impress the don. In fact it did the opposite. "You didn't answer my question. Who the fuck are you?"-
[14:53] <Minaplo> ["Can any man truly know himself?" Asked the hatted man with a smirk, leaning against the wall. "You are in the presence of a bona fide information broker. Why don't you ask him?"-
[14:54] <Minaplo> [The don turned his gaze to the impertinent broker, who was staring at the newcomer levelly.-
[14:56] <Minaplo> ["He's the one called Mr. Blue." Said the broker. "Led an LN cell here in Paris-2 until NERV took him down. Presumed dead when the prison wagon he was being transported in was driven into a Berlin-2 NERV outpost at 180 km/h loaded with 500 litres of gasoline and 11 kilograms of plastic explosives."-
[14:56] <Minaplo> [There was silence at that. The broker took it as his cue to continue.-
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["Before that he was a freelance mercenary- and before that he was part of NERV's-"-
[14:58] <Minaplo> ["Alright, alright." Said Mr. Blue hastily. "No need to get into the backstory- the basic details are quite enough, thank you. I am Mr. Blue. I am, as you can see, not dead."-
[14:59] <Minaplo> ["Yet." Said the don. "Do you know who you're dealing with?"-
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["Sure do." Said Mr. Blue cheerily. He clicked his fingers at the don. "Alessandro Parrino, head of the Parisian Mafia."-
[15:00] <Minaplo> [He clicked his fingers next at the don's rival. "Roberto Costa, head of the other Parisian Mafia-"-
[15:00] <Minaplo> ["I'm not Mafia, you scumbag."-
[15:01] <Minaplo> ["Right, sorry, he's Camorra. That's like, totally different. He's Neapolitan, you know, comes in three flavours." Said Mr. Blue, winking at the information broker.-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["This lovely lady, of course-" He clicked his fingers at the arms smuggler- "Would be Rosaria Alves, matriarch of Europe's largest arms smuggling ring. You're looking surprisingly alive, Ms. Alves, considering last I heard you were too ill to leave bed…"-
[15:03] <Minaplo> ["People spread rumours." Said Alves smoothly. "They are fools to do so, but what do I care?"-
[15:23] <Minaplo> ["Quite." Said Mr. Blue nonchalantly, turning his gaze on the broker. "And let's see. Nerdy face, bling bling specs, red hair and a stupid cravat- you must be the one they call 'The Brofessor'- or should I say, Michael Leon?"-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["That's-" The Brofessor frowned. "That's not my name."-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Yeah it is."-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["It's not my name!"-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Mikeymikeymikeymikey-"-
[15:24] <Minaplo> ["Shut up!"-
[15:25] <Minaplo> ["Enough!" Said Don Parrino. "I don't care who either of you are. Tell me why we shouldn't just kill you and toss you into the Seine, eh?"-
[15:26] <Minaplo> ["Well." Mr. Blue paused, cracking his knuckles. "See, a coupla weeks ago, I may have accidentally-on-purpose pitched a member of NERV's elite commando strike team off a balcony."-
[15:26] <Minaplo> [There was a stunned silence at this.-
[15:27] <Minaplo> ["You're not helping your case." Said Don Parrino.-
[15:30] <Minaplo> ["I say we toss this scumbag out onto the streets and let NERV pick him up." Said Costa, folding his hands together.-
[15:31] <Minaplo> ["Ok, see, that's not nice. I came here looking for a place to lay low, potentially invite you all to a lucrative business venture, and you're bein' all threatening and stuff."-
[15:32] <Minaplo> ["Besides, I set explosives around the exit, linked to a dead man's switch." He patted the space over his heart.-
[15:32] <Minaplo> [There was a pause. "You're bluffing. You couldn't have trapped -all- the exits." Said the Brofessor.-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["I sure did, Mikeymike. I trapped the one under the cellars, the one behind the sitting room fireplace, and the one behind the false bookshelf in the library."-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["… You're bluffing." Said the Brofessor again.-
[15:34] <Minaplo> ["If I'm bluffing, Mikeymike, then how come I know 'bout the exits?"-
[15:34] <Minaplo> [There was a pause, which Mr. Blue took as his cue to speak.-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["Also, the sneaky little punk I pushed off the balcony had the foresight to put a thing in my hat. A bug. I turned it off, of course, but it'd be pretty easy to switch it on and bring halfa NERV down on your heads. Real easy."-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["How did he do this thing?" Asked Alves.-
[15:35] <Minaplo> ["Well, see, he helped capture me, and he stole my hat like a little bitch. I had to get it back, of course."-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["… You killed him to get back your hat?" Asked Costa with a frown.-
[15:36] <Minaplo> ["No, I didn't kill him, I pushed him off a balcony. And even then gravity pussied out and only crippled him for a few months. Anyway, you underestimate the importance of my haberdashery, dear sir."-
[15:37] <Minaplo> ["You mentioned a business proposal." Said Alves curtly. "What did you have in mind?"-
[15:37] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue grinned. "Oh, I knew you'd be interested, oh yes. Always a good head on her shoulders, that Alves-"-
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["The proposal, please." Said Alves with a slight frown.-
[15:38] <Minaplo> ["Ok, ok. So, how would you all like to be filthy stinking rich?"-
[15:39] <Minaplo> ["I'm listening." Said Parrino cautiously.-
[15:40] <Minaplo> ["Two billion francs for each of us." Said Mr. Blue confidently.-
[15:42] <Minaplo> [That got their attention even moreso. They all seemed to lean forward a little at that. "How?" Asked Costa.-
[15:42] <Minaplo> ["Easy." Said Mr. Blue. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a collection of photographs, which he scattered across the desk.-
[15:43] <Minaplo> [Four of them. One of them was of Aline Blanc at a cafe; another was Aline Blanc swimming; Blanc on a bus; Blanc reading a book.-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["We abduct a pilot and hold 'em for ransom."-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[15:43] <Minaplo> ["That's ridiculous." Said Parrino. "That would get us all killed very quickly."-
[15:45] <Minaplo> ["Maybe, if you're stupid and screw it up." Said Mr. Blue. "Mind if I sit down?" He didn't wait for an answer, instead plopping down in a chair, his feet up on the table. "It won't surprise you to know that NERV's vaunted MIB division- Section Two- have plans for dealing with kidnapping and ransom of pilots. Mikeymike, if you please?"-
[15:47] <Minaplo> [The Brofessor glowered, then turned to the rest of the table. "S2 is devoted to prevention more than anything. But in the event that a pilot is kidnapped, they will carefully assess the situation. If they truly have no idea where to find the kidnapper or the target, and the kidnapper seems willing to hold his or her word, they will accept the ransom deal… Although the kidnapper no doubt earns their lasting enmity."-
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["We're too overstretched as is- this is way too much heat." Said Costa.-
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["No no, I know. Between local security already crackin' down, and the Spectre-"-
[15:48] <Minaplo> [Everyone- bar Mr. Blue- flinched.-
[15:48] <Minaplo> ["We don't say that name here." Growled Parrino. "It can hear you when you say it."-
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["What, no shit?" Asked Mr. Blue, leaning forward.-
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["It's been known to happen." Said the Brofessor.-
[15:49] <Minaplo> ["Whoa." Mr. Blue paused.-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["Spectre Spectre Spectre!" He shouted to the roof.-
[15:50] <Minaplo> ["You're an idiot." Snapped the Don. "What if it did come down, eh? What, you think you're capable of taking that thing on? It's not even human."-
[15:51] <Minaplo> ["Considering that I was captured by a moustache and its human, a geeky technician and a strangely pretty teenage boy, I cannot really offer you any certainties." Said Mr Blue slowly. "Still, it'd be kinda funny…"-
[15:53] <Minaplo> ["Until we all died." Muttered the Brofessor.-
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["You don't actually -believe- that whole Bloody Mary crap, do you, Mikeymike?" Asked Mr. Blue lowly. "Anyway. Back to the deal, because I can see Mr. Camorra gettin' all cranky. Now, this is how it works. Firstly, we gotta set the Spectre up as having been real naughty."-
[15:55] <Minaplo> ["… What do you mean?" Asked Don Parrino slowly.-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["Like, what if we set the Spectre up as killing Ikari?"-
[15:57] <Minaplo> ["How would we do that?" Asked Alves.-
[15:58] <Minaplo> ["Hello! Hello! We have an information broker here!" Said Mr. Blue, pointing at the Brofessor. "Do your thing. Information broke. Or whatever it is you call it. Spread the word."-
[16:00] <Minaplo> ["The Spectre's good, but it hasn't been going after S2 especially, so they've mostly not bothered too closely." Said Mr. Blue. "But after this they'll be swarming the city looking for the Spectre. That gets both the Spectre and S2 off your backs. And then you kidnap a pilot, say- 'Grrr, if you attack us we'll shoot the pilot' and the next thing you know, you're all very, very rich. And I know it's been a lean year for most of you."-
[16:01] <Minaplo> [There was a heavy pause as they considered this.-
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["It could work." Said Parrino, still sounding skeptical. "Does it have to be Blanc?"-
[16:01] <Minaplo> ["What? No no no, 'course not. If nigh-albinos aren't your thing, then…"-
[16:03] <Minaplo> [Mr. Blue flung something onto the table. It was a risque, 'special catalogue' figurine of Yanmei- kneeling provocatively on parted legs, skirt hitched up, shirt undone. It teetered for a second, landing awkwardly, before tottering over.-
[16:04] <Minaplo> [And finally, Mr. Blue reached into his jacket and pulled out a piece of lined schoolbook paper. On it he'd drawn a frowny face with glasses and long black hair, labelled in black marker as 'Sera de Pteres'.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["That's not a picture." Said the Brofessor.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["You know, with observations like that, no wonder you're an information broker." Mr. Blue tossed the sketch onto the table.-
[16:05] <Minaplo> ["What about the other one? Weiss." Asked Costa.-
[16:06] <Minaplo> ["Nah, he's small fry. He's replaceable, so they're only willing to pay half as much for him."-
[16:07] <Minaplo> ["Then we kidnap whichever target is easiest." Said Costa. "Which one would that be?"-
[16:08] <Minaplo> ["Mmmm." Mr. Blue rubbed his chin. "Hard to say. Blanc's, heh, more brains than brawn, but she doesn't tend to take risks and stays in 'safe' areas."-
[16:09] <Minaplo> ["Zhang is…" He held up a see-saw hand. "I hear she's pretty dangerous, her house is wired up with more guns than your average armory- but, she has an obvious weakness."-
[16:10] <Minaplo> ["Bellamy." Said the Brofessor suddenly. "Kidnap her child and she'll turn herself over willingly."-
[16:11] <Minaplo> ["Attaboy." Mr. Blue tapped the Sera sketch. "De Pteres is a street rat, he knows the city too damn well. He'll be hard to find and hard to pin down when we do, but on the other hand his constant movement means S2 has the shits keeping up with him."-
[16:14] <Minaplo> ["Hmm…" Parrino rubbed his chin. "If S2's properly taken care of, then Blanc's the best target, otherwise de Pteres or Zhang…"-
[16:15] <Minaplo> ["And if S2's too much for us, then we can take Zhang's child and bypass them completely." Said the Brofessor thoughtfully.-
[16:16] <Minaplo> ["Either way," Continued Mr. Blue, "Someone gets kidnapped. Right? Can we agree on that? Are we all in? Men- and women- of honour and all that?"-
[16:17] <Minaplo> [There was a pause. The council-members glanced at each other cautiously, each of them balancing avarice against self-preservation- and also acutely aware that if one of them backed out, their rivals might grow richer whilst they stagnated.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> [And Mr. Blue made it sound… Easy…-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Alright." Said Don Perrino. "I'm in."-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["As am I." Said Costa immediately after, glaring at Perrino.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["Then I am, too." Said Alves.-
[16:18] <Minaplo> ["I'll join too, of course." Said the Brofessor.-
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["Great. That's real great." Said Mr. Blue, grinning broadly at them all.-
[16:19] <Minaplo> ["Really, really great."]

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