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  #51  
Unread 15th of November, 2009, 10:09
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For just a moment, Tian glared at the bodyguard; she must have expected that of him already. The guard didn't notice, however, before she recovered her composure. He must have earned the job on his loyalty, because he he clearly didn't earn it on his competence.

"I've been paranoid enough, these days. On this business, I'm only too eager to get started." Tian passed the card to the bodyguard, and bid Ewan goodnight. "Only five days. This should be an interesting team..."
  #52  
Unread 17th of November, 2009, 02:23
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Ewan was tired, but otherwise feeling good about the team he had put together so far. The one outstanding gap in the team profile was that tactical was missing a driver, someone to chase down people who didn't want to answer questions or get the rest of the team out of trouble should things go south.

Emily had provided a number of possibilities, but Ewan had nixed the majority of them for one reason or another. Professional drivers of the sort that he wanted tended to be a touchy lot, and most of the ones that he would talk to would be wary of anything even resembling a government run operation. That was why Ewan found himself walking into an underground restaurant, KPop blasting from the speakers and the smell of Korean barbecue filling his nostrils.

Ewan walked over to the bartender, noted the heavy with the shaved head and semiautomatic ill-concealed in his pants standing by a back door marked "Private." "I'm looking for Sung," he said, passing three fifty HK notes across the bar top.

The bartender nodded, and gestured with his head toward the backroom.

Ewan pushed off the bar and walked toward the door. The heavy stuck his arm out. Ewan thought back to the days when he'd light up a cigarette and put it out in the idiot's eye. He must be getting old. "Tell Sung that his British uncle has come to pay a visit."

The bodyguard stuck his head in the room and a rapid fire exchange of Korean followed. "You can go in," the bodyguard said in badly mangled Cantonese.

"Ewan, you old British dog, come to drop pearls of wisdom before the oriental swine?"

Sung was seated at a table, three other people sitting with him. There was a stack of cards on the table, but no one was dealing. Sung's shirt was open, and Ewan saw the mother-of-pearl handle of Sung's treasured revolver. "I came to see you about a job. I need a driver."

"What? Are you getting too old and blind to drive yourself? It's all that whiskey you drink. You need to drink more soju!" Sung had switched over to Mandarin. His compatriots didn't take their eyes off of Ewan, and he knew that one wrong move on his part would end up with his blood all over the back door.

"I'm putting together a team. High risk. High reward."

Sung nodded, lighting up a cigarette and blowing the smoke out toward the ceiling fan that spun lazily over the center of the table. "The racing circuit has been hit hard, what with this damn plague. I'm guessing you don't want me for a racing team, huh?"

Ewan shrugged. "It's more like what you've done for me in the past, only more so."

Sung's mouth turned up in a grin. "Leave it to you to ruin a perfectly good business opportunity for me to run medical supplies. All right you British asshole, considering that if I turn you down you'll get some Chinese grandmother to do your driving for you, or even worse you'll try and do it yourself. I'd cry myself to sleep if my favorite kojangi got himself killed in a high speed chase."

Ewan flipped a card through the air. Sung caught it easily.

"Ma Tseng's. Details are on that card."

"Want me to bring the soju?" Sung asked with a laugh as Ewan left the room.
__________________
Ewan: Tell me, when you drove up, did you see a sign outside that said "dead ninja storage?"
Kat: No, I didn't...
Ewan: Do you wanna know why I don't have a sign like that? Because storing dead ninjas, isn't my business!
  #53  
Unread 2nd of December, 2009, 14:17
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Ma Tseng's

Something that was a little bit more than mist but not quite rain fell on the busy market street below, fogging up the windows and obscuring Ewan's view of the front door. He resisted an urge to rub condensation off the glass, instead checking his watch.

9:55 PM. They didn't know each other, so they wouldn't know to stagger their approaches. He hoped they didn't come in all together. Some of them spooked rather easily, and it would be beyond conspicuous if he was wrong and the building was being watched. He cracked the window, letting a cool breeze waft in, along with the rapid chatter of a man speaking in Cantonese, probably from one of the TVs in the news kiosk downstairs.

Ewan cocked his head, listening in the semi-dark to the program while continuing his vigil. Local news was on - the Triads were at it again, but authorities weren't clear about what, for once. His brows furrowed irritably; he was rarely out of the loop, but he didn't know what the Triads were up to either.

He started as two figures approached the door - the hulking shadow was unmistakably Mr. Hobb, but the slighter one could have been Kingsley, Winters or Macer...it was hard to tell in the dim light, which was fine by him since it meant any unexpected watchers would have a hard time telling either. They looked surprised to see each other as they reached the awning at the same time, but recovered quickly. Hobb opened the unlocked door and they both quickly entered.

He turned to nod once at each of them (the slighter one turned out to be Kingsley) as they reached the main room - Ma Tseng's wasn't all that big, and after hours with half the lights out it seemed even smaller. All the employees were gone, of course, so the light almost-rain tapping against the window and the man on TV were the only sounds any of them could hear. Wordlessly, the two newcomers settled down in booths near Ewan's and waited.

They didn't have long to wait. The others were filtering through the crowd now. Ewan was pleased at their punctuality. Perhaps they weren't a bunch of fuck-ups after all.

Preston Cody came up the stairs next, followed by Katsuri. Macer arrived just as Katsuri was settling in next to Samuel (there really weren't that many booths, everyone would be practically elbow-to-elbow soon), followed by the hacker McCoy. Sung Hwan Kim strolled up to the door next with a bit more confidence; he'd certainly been here before.

Last to arrive, right at the 10:00 mark, were the gangsters. Somehow Ewan was not surprised to see them all arriving together. Siu-Juen preceded Tian Au slightly, opening the door just before she would have walked into it. The handsome bodyguard began following her up, but he stopped abruptly at a stern look and instead turned into the news kiosk, disappearing from Ewan's sight.

He closed the window and turned to face the assembled group. The gangsters were still getting settled at their own booth, but most eyes were on him, and the air of expectation was palpable.
  #54  
Unread 3rd of December, 2009, 02:07
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"I want to thank all of you for accepting my invitation to attend this little informal gathering," Ewan said, "especially on such short notice and with the little information that I felt comfortable giving at the time that I met with each of you. I'm sure you all have questions, but just to be clear I might be as short on answers as you are."

Ewan rubbed at the bridge of his nose. "Some of you are professionals, used to this kind of cloak-and-dagger nonesense. Some of you are true outsiders, wondering just what you might have stepped in just by being here. The short of it is that I was hired by a coalition of government officials calling itself International Directive 73 to put together a team. The main objective of this team will be to discover the original source of the Contagion virus and reverse-engineer it. The coalition felt that it was better to operate outside of the usual boundaries and bureaucracy placed on more traditional government agencies. They wanted a group able to bend and break the rules as necessary without having to wait for explicit authorization. In short, they wanted a group with a certain moral laxity. No warrants, no due process getting in the way, and no filling out forms in triplicate every time you discharge a firearm."

Ewan smiled slightly. "Of course, they also want complete deniability. We run afoul of local law enforcement, we are on our own to pull our asses out of it. We will be backed financially, though nothing as official as custom forms and requisition papers. We will be functioning, for all intents as purposes, as a terrorist cell, though with a very anti-terrorist basis."

Ewan paused, wishing he had thought to pour himself a glass of water at the least, though what he really wanted at that point was three fingers of Laphroaig. "There are other cells, each functioning in one of the ground zero cities that Contagion was released. As far as you are concerned, the only people you should be talking to about ID73 are currently in this room. If you decided that this isn't for you, now is your time to make up your mind and there is the door. If you do decide to stay, we have a bit of work to do. First and foremost is establishing a base of operations." He looked over at Macer and McCoy. "You'll need to let me know what you need as far as equipment goes, and I'll see that our backers provide it. We'll be operating as two separate units, tactical and operations. I'm sure it won't take much for you to figure out where each of you will end up. I'll be running point on the operations side."

He paused, waiting to see if anyone was going to leave.

"Before we get to the questions I can see burning in your eyes, I think some introductions are in order. Your name and specialty should suffice at the moment, no need to be airing your dirty laundry, and just to keep things fair, I'll go first."

"My name is Ewan Doyle, British Military Intelligence, retired. I was active for thirty odd years here in Hong Kong and South East Asia, with a focus on security. I've kept my finger on the pulse of things, and my ear to the ground. My specialty is coordinating efforts to maximize efficiency. I have little tolerance for amateurs and absolutely none for young pricks haring off on their own. I can only help you if I know what you are up to. I don't care about your background, just in how well you can do your job."

Ewan looked over the room, wondering how this group could possibly take on the Ashes of Adam and trying to keep the doubt from touching his eyes. He was glad he had decided to keep the lights dim.

"Now, who wants to go next?"
__________________
Ewan: Tell me, when you drove up, did you see a sign outside that said "dead ninja storage?"
Kat: No, I didn't...
Ewan: Do you wanna know why I don't have a sign like that? Because storing dead ninjas, isn't my business!
  #55  
Unread 3rd of December, 2009, 02:58
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Kate was acting disappointingly bubbly. She had been fighting not to grin like an idiot from the moment she came in, but after mention of the virus had completely failed, and was now reminiscent of that overexcited, know-it-all teachers pet who really wants a chance to answer a question.
Oddly, she didn't seem to think of introducing herself, instead glancing around at the others to see who would go first.

Hobb sighed, glancing at the blond American girl, before starting. "Samuel Hobb. I've worked with the Yenma organization in Japan for twelve years. They have a similar way of working as this... directive, although on a much smaller scale. My specialty is..."
He pauses. "Let's say my specialty is hitting things. Properly."
  #56  
Unread 3rd of December, 2009, 04:28
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At once, Siu-Juen chuckled, and coughed harshly. "Sounds cool. Me, I shoot things. Shoot things, find things, do things with things. Whichever."

He scratched his left cheek, reaching just under the filthy bandage over his left eye. He was noticably unsettled when he pulled his hand away, and saw the dry blood under his fingernails. "I'm James Ng—as in James Bond—a hands-on man. No specialty; just point me where you want me. I'll get something done."

Last edited by LeadPal; 3rd of December, 2009 at 04:50. Reason: can never get the wording quite right the first time
  #57  
Unread 3rd of December, 2009, 04:39
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A coin flicked up and around his knuckles as Preston sat through the brief. He was a little pissed that the bar at Ma Tseng's was closed up. He followed the conversation with feigned disinterest, watching as the new boss established his control, kind of like a dog pissing around the outside of his domain to mark the limits of his boundaries, and, hopefully, to erase the scent traces of any other pets who had visited the area. As a metaphor, Preston thought, that one actually wasn't too bad, and was actually more apt a description than anything else he could come up with. Damn, he needed a whiskey sour or something. As the silence dragged on, perhaps becoming uncomfortable for some, Preston began to feel a bit more at ease. He saw the twitchy fidget-pants chick and immediately pegged her as some sort of book nerd, the kind of girl that he had always detested in schools. When she didn't pipe up and the big black guy did instead, he was a little amused by the situation, but not all that surprised. Being big and black in Hong Kong was almost ostentatious, and standing out from the rest of the crowd did not lend one to being the quiet squirrely type.

Case McCoy blanched at the mention of warrants, then looked at the two Asians who had entered the room last. He was quite sure that he was wanted by authorities far less than the Triad. If, that was, the Triad hadn't paid off all the authorities to begin with, and judging by the svelte build and handsome dress of the woman, he was pretty sure that was high on a probability spectrum. Crunching a few numbers in his head, he mathematically accounted for her as a sort of face entity for the crew. The hacker glanced around at the others, particularly the white guy in the trench coat. That one made him a little nervous as he played with the coin. That kind of dexterity came with one kind of person--the Wild West outlaw.

When the Asian guy spoke next, Case was set back a bit. This guy evidently had seen some recent violence, but his talk of guns wasn't as unsettling as Case thought it would be. He glanced back to his trench-coated comrade and saw him shift a bit when gunplay was brought up. That's it, though Case, he's definitely the wetwork. It never even crossed the hacker's mind that he was assigning movie roles to each "character" in turn. He had internalized so many gangland films to mind that he didn't even think twice about placing people in roles without much more than a hunch to go on.

After James had spoken up, Preston actually felt a bit threatened: how good was that guy with a weapon? "Preston Cody. Wetwork."

Last edited by Mercutio; 3rd of December, 2009 at 04:41.
  #58  
Unread 3rd of December, 2009, 20:46
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Still grinning, Kate noticed everyone seemed to be glancing her way. She again made an effort to "be sneaky," like it was all some big joke of people playing at being spies, although she failed to be anything but conspicuous.

After Preston introduced himself, she spoke up. "Uhhuh, hiiii! My name's Kate Macer, I'm a microbiologist, I specialize in virology, retroviruses. I think you can guess why I'm here. Um, I got my second PhD, from Harvard, when I was 17. I've been researching Contagion since the first outbreak. For some reason, can't imagine why, nobody seems to give me any funding."
It's entirely possible that some sarcasm was involved. She glanced at Ewan. "Stuff, equipment? Um, here, one sec..." she began searching through a mediumish purse/bag for something "I can get some equipment from my place, gonna leave most of it for Andy to work on, though... here."
She passed him a few sheets of paper, absolutely covered in technical jargon and minutia for desired equipment. Some stuff was recognizable, but a lot of the names for the companies, or even the equipment, was incomprehensible.
"Um, I kinda went overboard with that list, a lot of it is stuff there isn't any legit supply for right now. All the good stuff is already in use by bigger names. Definitely don't need everything there, either. Lot of overlap. Just tell me what you can get a hold of and I'll figure out what I actually need, then."
  #59  
Unread 4th of December, 2009, 01:16
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Sung looked around at the other gathered "guests." He had to admit to himself, he was somewhat impressed by most of the others. For an old dried up round-eye, Ewan had put together an interesting team, and it seemed that quite a few of them would be able to do more than hold their own if things got loud. That was good. It meant there was a greater likelihood that they would get shot at first, giving him a chance to get to a vehicle. Sung knew that once he was behind the wheel of a car, there wasn't much hope of your ordinary person catching up with him.

"I'm Sung," he said, flipping back his jacket to reveal the mother-of-pearl handle of an oversized revolver tucked into a shoulder holster. "I drive better than anyone here."
  #60  
Unread 4th of December, 2009, 01:28
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Now that a few others had spoken up (and at least one of them wasn't a cold-blooded murderer), Case decided it was his turn.

"My parents named me Case McCoy. I prefer Sh1mm3r. Guess I saw "The Matrix" one too many times. I'm the computer guy."
  #61  
Unread 4th of December, 2009, 08:34
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Looking both emotionally and physically drained, Alicia looked around the room as each took their turn at introductions. The smoke from the cigarette she just ground out hadn't finished dissipating yet as she lit up another. She took a long draw and exhaled slowly as she thought of what to say.

"My name is Alica Kingsley, I specialize in getting information. Analytics, surveillance, infiltration, that kind of thing."

............

Kat was looking down at her hands picking at a piece of skin that hung loosely from the side of her finger nail. She listened to each in turn as they touted on about who they were and what they could do. The bubbly blonde know-it-all rubbed her the wrong way. The skinny creep of a guy with the coin also bugged her. She hated repetitive motion, the same thing over and over again. She could feel the prickle of anger edge its way down her neck. Kat's heart sped up and pounded in her ear. She took a deep breath and reminded herself that it would do no good to lose control here, she needed this gig to get out of the tight spot she was in. She went back to listening to all the others as they spoke with self important pride of what they did. If this was a contest to see who had the longest dick, she could play too. Without looking up from her hands she began to speak.


“My name is Katsuri, but people call me Kat because I am sneaky and fast.”
“And I don’t like people,” she added after a short pause.



“Basically my job is to get in/get out or take you down without getting caught. I am good at this. I prefer using a sword. I find guns impersonal. I want to be close enough to see the light leaving your eyes.”
  #62  
Unread 4th of December, 2009, 23:46
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Kat was still speaking when Ewan stood up and moved a slight distance away. He pulled something from his pocket that looked like it could only be a phone and started to talk into it. While he talked, he lit up a cigarette, its end glowing cherry red int he dim gloom of the closed restaurant.

An edge crept into his voice as he talked ont he phone, until finally he flipped the phone closed and put it back in his pocket. Kat was finished talking by the time he was done.

"So."

He pressed his fingers to the bridge of his nose. "That was our employer. Seems we might be on sooner than we thought. She didn't give me the details, but it looks like it will be tonight. Me? I'm tempted to tell her to go jump. We aren't set to order take away let alone actually stage an operation."

He paused, taking another long drag on the cigarette. "I'll leave it to you to decide. I won't think any less of you if you feel you aren't up for it. I'll spin our employer a line. They don't exactly want us dead right out of the gate."

He turned to Tian. "I'm sorry my dear, that we didn't get to hear from you, but we have fifteen minutes before I know the details. So... why not tell us a bit about yourself."

Last edited by Darius; 5th of December, 2009 at 02:58.
  #63  
Unread 5th of December, 2009, 08:01
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Tian had been taking the names of the other members on a heavy, tan stationery note. After receiving Ewan's attention, she carefully slid it into her purse, and replaced it with a second note, blackened with a half dozen addresses in simple, delicate Chinese.

"Thank you," she said. "My name is Tian Au. Those of you who have been in Hong Kong for long enough may have already heard of my work in music, but more likely you'd know me from the tabloids; the bastards at East Week particularly love to slander everything I do.

"But that's obviously not why I'm here." Tian scanned the gathering deliberately, commanding attention. "My real talent is navigating Hong Kong's corruption. I help the Bank control the Triad, and the Triad helps me control the Bank. And so far, the Bank can't get the Triad to control me. I find it's a very profitable arrangement.

"Unfortunately, neither group would trust me if they knew that I'm working for a third agency, particularly a group of terrorists. Although my resources will be limited, I should have just enough to keep us above the law.

"For example, I can provide the team with a headquarters." With a single manicured nail, she slid the note on her table in Ewan's direction; he approached her booth to take it. "These are the most secure properties I own, or can acquire. A strip mall, an apartment building, even part of a townhouse complex; they vary in size wildly, but every one is larger than this restaurant. Some of these buildings don't even exist, officially. Confer with your superiors as you wish, and decide which is most practical."
  #64  
Unread 5th of December, 2009, 08:16
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Ewan folded the piece of paper and placed it in his jacket pocket. He forced a worn tired smile on his face. "I like that idea a bit better than using whatever crap locations ID73 is sure to send our way. The apartment building may work best, but I think we'd all want to see the locations in person before we decide on any one."

He paused, then stepped away again, answering his phone. When he returned, the lines around his eyes had deepened and a fresh cigarette was pinched between his lips.

"Alright, we have our first assignment. An american tanker was just boarded, and the shipment of Contagion immunizations it was carrying was lifted. We need a team of five individuals to track it down. Those five will be posing as a Chinese Military Commission unit. The real unit will be delayed for a time. I'm only asking for volunteers, but there are only five cover identies available. Your first stop will be the harbor where the five surviving crew members are waiting to have their statements taken. Any and all necessary force has been approved for this mission. All that matters is that the immunizations are secured."

Ewan paused. "In the case of more than five volunteers, I'll make the final decision. As for myself, I'm too damn old for field work, so I'll sit this one out."

Sung raised his hand. "If these boys are hiding in HK, you are going to need someone with speed to chase them down. Good thing I decided to bring the car tonight. Might need it." He tossed off a sloppy grin. "Pretty sure I'll need the little boom-boom too." He reached into his jacket, produced a flask, and took a long swallow. "Good thing I brought the soju too, eh old man?"
  #65  
Unread 5th of December, 2009, 08:38
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Hobb stood, walking calmly over to Ewan, making surprisingly little noise.

Kate was still hyped up, but again didn't seem to even think to consider herself an option; her interest was in who else would go.
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Unread 5th of December, 2009, 08:46
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"I know the docks, and I know the army," Siu-Juen said, though he added "sort of" in Cantonese. "I can probably figure who did this, find where they are. And then, shoot them. Then drive away."
  #67  
Unread 5th of December, 2009, 09:59
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At Ewan's words Kat finally showed some interest. She was tired of the small time jobs she was pulling now that she had to lay low.

Finally a chance to use my skills again. Her thoughts drifted to the katana strapped on her back.

She looked Ewan straight in the eye. "Count me in."
  #68  
Unread 5th of December, 2009, 12:26
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Preston smiled. The thought that any of these people could pass as Chinese military, even on first glance, was amusing but, he supposed, not impossible. He was a little surprised to be headed out on assignment already. The handshakes from signing up with Ewan were still warm and they hadn't even figured out logistics like places to live, but here they were getting ready to head out. He shrugged and sort of half-raised his hand.
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Unread 5th of December, 2009, 12:46
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Ewan looked around the restaurant and smiled. "This first part is strictly information gathering," he said. "You get the information then you come back here, understand? These identities are only good for the harbor area, and they'll be done once the real CMC shows. Once you are done there, we'll run through the information together, as a team. Then we'll show the bastards."

He once again dialed the phone. "I've got our intel team. Four men, one woman." Ewan gave her the basics.
  #70  
Unread 5th of December, 2009, 13:54
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Emily's smile was evident across the cellular connection.

"Excellent. I will have some equipment - along with the cover identities and appropriate personal effects - dropped off at the address you gave. The gentlemen I am sending are at your Ops team's disposal for requisitions and labor while your permanent base of operations is set up. Do you need real estate or have you picked something?"
  #71  
Unread 7th of December, 2009, 02:17
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She continued without pausing.

"Never mind that. 'Brent'-" the fakeness of the name was apparent even without getting to read Emily's facial expression, "-will have a list of the locations that I've secured, and you can make a decision then. Just make sure your Tac team is prepped. I will call you with other developments."

The line went dead again.

[To be continued in another thread]
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