Helluland - Domino

Summary:
June 18, 2014: Lara Croft interviews another hired gun to help with an upcoming expedition.

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

This place be fancy, yo.


Characters

NPCs

  • Winston the butler

Mood Music:
None


Lara Croft's stay in New York City's prestigious Waldorf Astoria hotel is nearing an end. But she still has an appointment or two to keep. She's residing in the penthouse with her butler, Winston. The young woman is dressed for a workout in yoga pants and an under-armor t-shirt. Her hands are wrapped as she uses a heavy bag, and awaits the arrival of the mercenary known as Domino.

Winston is puttering about the kitchen, preparing tea and finger sandwiches. He looks disapprovingly at the heavy bag assault, sighs and shakes his aged head, before cutting the crusts off the bread.

*

If Winston disapproves of one tough woman then he's probably not any more thrilled about the sort of company that's being invited over. It's a peculiar invitation, too. Domino's got lots of different means of finding contracts to pursue, though a direct encounter with someone completely unfamiliar in the general merc scene is, to put it simply, most curious.

The woman that arrives at the door is fairly curious, herself. Either being Goth hasn't completely fallen into obscurity or she really does rock the monochromatic look. A plain black leather trench, despite the weather, helps to keep all of the tricks of her trade hidden for the time being, though she doesn't seem to be overheating so far.

"Is this really the right address..?"

*

It's more that Winston disapproves of the sweaty clothes he'll have to launder later, and use of combat practice equipment in the middle of a luxury hotel. He's quite used to Lara being a strong woman. The security camera mounted above the door results in the stooped butler opening it just as Domino arrives. "Indeed, Miss. Please do come in. Lady Croft is expecting you."

*

There's a distant "Uh huh" from the albino as she gives the butler a passing glance, more focusing on their surroundings once the door's opened. She's used to feeling out of place, in part it comes with the territory. Around here, though? Everything's so ..clean. And bright. Far cry from the watering holes she tends to throw her evenings away at. Finding the hostess isn't difficult, either.

Some mercs go for the strong and silent approach. Domino's much more for the point-blank sarcasm. "Looks like you'll be good for the pay, anyway. We're kinda stepping outside of the norm here, you mind explaining what all of this is about?"

*

Lara doesn't cease in what appears to be some form of kick-boxing practice. Between blows to the bag she explains. "Miss Domino, thank you for coming. I'm heading up an expedition at the end of this month, and I am concerned about the safety of my people. As such, I'm looking to hire the best protection in case something goes sideways." She slams a shin into the bag, then stops, grabbing a towel to mop her face. She looks young for a rich adventurer. "Do you have issues with cold weather ops?"

*

(Inherited fortune? Possible that it was self-earned, unlikely but not unheard of.)

"Tough world out there, though I don't need to tell you that," Domino says in a low tone, almost more to herself as she watches Lara go after the bag. With the question about the cold she slowly shakes her head, "Anywhere on the planet's fair game. What size of team are we talking about, how many are going to need covering?"

*

"I have a half dozen scientific and medical personnel that are non-combatants who will need protection, as well as a native guide. I've hired on several other personnel to assist with the heavy lifting, so to speak, like you." Lara drapes the towel around her neck and moves to the dining table, where she plucks up some paperwork to pass to the mercenary. "All the terms are there, if you'd like to review them." The pay being offered is very good, and it includes a clause that Croft will beat any bribe to betray her by a cool thousand dollars with proof of the bribe. Extra insurance. "I can't tell you more about the expedition unless we are under contract, I'm afraid. I have rivals and enemies."

*

An absent nod is soon to follow as Dom accepts the offered paperwork, leafing through it with a lingering glance given to each page. There is no such thing as useless info and if she is indeed going to be covering six people, alongside other armed guards…

"-Several- others?" the albino almost challenges with a pale blue stare. "'The best protection,' for a party of six. Expecting trouble? Because to me this sounds like you're planning on going in hot then exfiltrating under automatic fire."

(That would explain the offered figure, too.) That there's insurance against bribery is certainly noted, as well.

"Not that this is a problem, mind," she offhandedly adds while looking back to the pages.

*

"I didn't become who I am today by being unprepared for the worst possible scenarios, Domino," Lara explains. "But yes, there is a definite possibility of danger. The terrain alone is dangerous." She smiles faintly and settles into a chair at the dining table. Winston appears with tea and sandwiches for the two women.

*

Tea, of course. Quaint, but Dom will accept it all the same. Her social graces are entirely lacking, but heck. Free tea is free tea, and a caffeine junkie is she. "Hard to go wrong with that strategy."

The paperwork covers the important details well, though there's still some matters which linger on her mind. "So you've got yourself a team of fighters, pulled from some of the darkest holes the globe has to offer. Are you planning on leading them all? We tend to enjoy the freedom of doing things our own way. Put enough of us together without someone calling the shots and it can turn into something of a meat grinder. You'd do well to have an established chain of command on this sort of run, particularly so that your less combat-inclined team will know who they should be listening to when someone tells them to get their heads down."

*

This is real tea, English tea, not the swill that passes for it in the Colonies. And the sandwiches are some kind of pricey crab salad in little triangles of crustless bread. Not Wonder Bread either. "That will all be handled before the expedition embarks," Lara replies. "And I'm paying well enough for cooperation that I'm expecting to get my money's worth."

*

Unfortunately, Domino wouldn't really know the difference. She can assume that it's higher end given their surroundings, and Lara's demeanor, but she is notably lacking in culture.

"Here's hoping. I'm gonna go ahead and assume that you don't consider anyone to be expendable except whomever tries to get in your way."

So. She's got a pricetag for a listed number of days with a listed number of critical personnel and an assurance that danger is going to run high. Is it worth accepting?

Oh hell yes, it is.

"I understand you not wanting to go with full disclosure at this point, so I'm going to go ahead and put this out there. Situations like these? It's impossible to over-plan. At this point I have no choice but to trust that you've got all of your bases covered. When I get the full picture, don't be surprised if I make a few suggestions before we get this party started. You're bringing an awful lot of firepower into a crowd, keeping control of the situation is going to be fun."

That said? Pale blue eyes seek out the other woman once more, the paperwork forgotten for the moment. "Count me in."

*

"I don't consider anyone expendable, Domino," Lara confirms. "And I don't shoot first and ask questions later. This is a protection assignment at its core." She hands over a pen for the woman to sign on the dotted line. "But I welcome all advice."

*

Alright, -that- gets Domino to hesitate before putting her name (or what passes for one) on the line. "If we're going to encounter armed resistance and someone else shoots first then don't plan on there being a lot of talking involved. And for your sake, I hope that anyone not on your team has terrible aim."

All the same, the message is received. She won't be the first one to respond with lethal force. She knows which woman is footing the bills for this operation.

Her signature goes onto the form. As could be expected she's no more formal here, either. Codename only.

*

The contract seems precisely designed for just those sorts, with a section for how delivery of payment should be conducted. The law firm of Nelson & Murdock seems practiced at such things, as their moniker is on the letterhead. Once it's signed, Lara explains a bit more, handing the mercenary a folder with some data in it. Erik the Red and his people mentioned finding an island they referred to as Helluland, a place of flat rocks. Recently, a National Geographic reporter uncovered evidence of an actual Viking camp on Baffin Island in the Nunavut Territory of Canada, which historians believe to be the Helluland mentioned in the stories. The climate of Baffin is not far off that of Greenland with plenty of native animals to use as a food source and there are no accounts of animosity between the Vikings and the skraelings, so perhaps there was someone else there at the time. I believe there might be ruins of a culture pre-dating Erik the Red's expedition on 1000AD, somewhere under the ice on Baffin. We will fly to the island and use snowmobiles to get to an area of the Barnes Ice Cap. I believe the melting from global warming may have, at this point, uncovered an entrance somewhere in the mountains."

*

Throughout all of this Dom manages to keep her thoughts to herself, though there's a lot of new information to absorb. History in itself may not be her calling, though she couldn't honestly say that it was outright boring, either. Quite the opposite. Exploration does come with her job and the thought of seeing something as dated as these proposed ruins is, in a word, exciting.

"I suppose global warming had to score a point for itself sooner or later," she jokes in a deadpan tone of voice. "Does this play into why you're seeking out the bigger names in the game, trying to keep collateral damage to a minimum? I'd rather know now before I run the risk of putting a few thirty caliber holes through the vintage scenery."

Very, very cold scenery, it seems. It's probably going to take more than thermally regulated armor for this run.

*

"Precisely. We want to do as little damage as possible, while still ensuring our safety. I like to consider myself wise in that respect. Museums don't pay quite as much for artifacts damaged beyond recognition." Lara chuckles. "Plus, I believe if I destroyed ancient ruins without doing my best to preserve them otherwise, my father's ghost would come haunt me forever." She accepts the contract and places it in a file with the others. "I will provide a great deal of the equipment for the journey and what we will need to get in and out, but I expect you will take care of your own tactical gear and garb. I will be in contact, Domino. I look forward to your expertise."


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