Enter the (Richard) Dragon

Summary:
June 27 2014: Jericho meets with Richard Dragon and Melinda may with news of the mildly alarming type. Does he ever have any other kind?

Richard's School

A warehouse converted into a too-good-to-be-true version of a classic martial arts school, complete with reclusive kung-fu master.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
[*None]


The neighborhood of Chinatown in Gotham isn't just a tourist attraction. It's a living breathing locale with its own culture and traditions since the late 1800s. During the day it's active, the markets are open, merchants selling their wares loudly and negotiating with verve. Sometimes there are celebrations or exhibitions of dance and martial prowess. But these things, they are all for the face of Chinatown. Behind the scenes it's a darker place.

Through those smaller roads in the city, the alleys in that neighborhood are barely wide enough for a large car to pass. The apartment buildings are overbuilt and filled with tenants. There are neighbors calling back and forth between the buildings, some shaking out rugs others extending their laundry onto lines.

It's farther back that one would find the old warehouse that once served as a storage facility for an import/export business. Now it still looks like a warehouse, though the windows are soaped over and its two stories are closed off. There's a double door in the front and above that door is simply a word in Cantonese proclaiming, 'Xuexiao'. Or to those that can read it, it says only, 'School'.

*

To be clear, Jericho doesn't like Gotham. He's hasn't visited in some time without getting assaulted, shot at, entangled with irritating NYPD Detectives (cough, Paul Manning) or mistaken for a SHIELD operative (Manning again. He needs to have a talk with that guy). Also, criminals operate a lot more boldly in this city which means he's a lot more likely to run into a hitman who just doesn't care about doing his business in front of civilians. Thankfully none of that has happened. Yet. He's made it down all the way to 'Rick's' place of residence without any trouble at all.

Granted, he stuck to the rooftops most of the way.

A man in strikingly casual clothes - jeans, tan army boots and grey long sleeved army PT shirt - and oh yes, large amber, feathered wings made of light, drops down onto the lot. The wings fold as he glances around then fade.

"Hrm. Think this is the place…"

*

And yet, somehow, May apparently knew Trent would be here. She's leaning against the side of the building near the door with the sign above it, the casual attire the man has seen her in of late replaced by the protective and utilitarian garb she normally wears out on missions.

"You think this is the place?" Without commenting any further, she straightens up away from the wall and turns to open the door. "He's waiting inside."

*

And indeed, when the door is opened it's another world, albeit it not entirely unexpected. At least by Melinda for sure.

That door slides open, unlocked. At the side of it is a set of cubbyholes and shelving where shoes are to be stored. Then, looking inside, it becomes clear that the two story tall building has been converted to primarily a training hall. A large clear hardwood floor area dominates the area, surrounded at points by a few murals upon the walls depicting various animals rampant. At the back of the room is an area that's separated by a screen, whatever is behind it is hidden from view. At another side of the hall is a small shrine or altar with a portrait of a wizened old man. The only other point of remark is a spiral wrought-iron staircase that reaches up towards the only part of the second floor that remains.

And within, there is Drakonovski. He's standing with broom in hand, apparently in mid-sweep when people enter. He cocks an eyebrow and upon seeing Melinda May again he gives her a nod, "Hello."

*

"Rick." He'd gotten his full name during a network sweep during their initial conversation, but as that was how the man introduced himself it seems proper to keep using that name. He glances beside him to May with an amused expression on his face.

"You look almost like you were expecting me." On one level that's comforting. On another… less so. May is the second most frightening woman he knows, and is only in the number two spot because she lacks a lasso of compulsion. A silent prayer goes up that SHIELD never figures out that trick.

"Nice place you have here."

*

Melinda May steps through the door, then closes it behind Trent. She nods back to Drakonovski, then simply crosses her arms and stays by the door. Either she's accomplished what she set out to do here, or she just doesn't want to have to take off her shoes.

*

"Thank you," Dragon is still offering that utterly imperturbable aspect to the world as he looks to both of them, giving a small smile.

"I wasn't expecting either of you in particular." He lifts a hand to rub at the back of his neck somewhat, the smile shifting a touch rueful. "But you spend enough time in a place you start to get used to the sounds."

He finishes sweeping a small pile of dust into a proper circle then walks across the room towards where he left the dust bin.

"As for the place, it serves its purpose." He takes up the bin and starts back across the room. "I hope you have good news."

*

Trent raises an eyebrow at that. "Mmmhmm. Well, I suppose that depends on what you mean by 'good.' I certainly have news. That's why I came on down." He looks down and thinks about taking off his boots… but Army boots are proper pains in the butt to get off so he elects to pretend he's a philistine unless asked.

"First question first though…" He cants his head and glances about looking as if he's taking in the decor, but he's actually doing a full electronic sweep for broadcasting devices. He's already been in one bugged locale in the last twenty four hours and he's not eager to this place to that that list. "Is it safe to talk about this here or do you have another place in mind?"

*

Well, Trent can always be trusted to have a healthy level of paranoia. Though from what May has learned recently, it's pretty well justified. This time, she might actually get to play with some of the fun little gadgets that SHIELD has stashed about. She pulls an object about the size of an iPhone from one pocket and presses a button on its edge. All signals, even radio waves, will be blocked for about a thirty foot radius until she turns it back off.

*

And this place that he's in, it's a wasteland. There's nothing electronic in the building, and apparently there's nothing hidden. The wiring is from the 1950s and it's miraculous it still works as well as it does. There's not even an RFID chip anywhere in the fellow's clothes or wallet, which is pretty strange considering.

Drakonovski tilts his head to look upon both Trent and Melinda. "It should be. I have no alternative venue in mind." That having been said he kneels and scoops up some of the dust into the bin, then wanders over towards the small kitchenette in the back where an aluminum waste basket rests. One foot presses the pedal and it opens its maw and Dragon feeds it the dusty bits.

He turns back to them and sets the cleaning supplies aside. "So please, if you would." He uncurls a hand towards them. "Tell me what you can, at your leisure."

*

Jeri sighs and looks over to May, then holds up his left arm. The circuit traces on it begin to glow blue, extending from his wrist, up his arm, over part of his chest and up his neck, visible even through his shirt. Light flickers over his arm and in a moment a number of headlines are being projected holographically above his arm, each one proclaiming the death of someone.

"Tommy Chen, Guan-Yen Tan and Kim Hu. All top ranking members of the local Triad organization, all assaulted in their homes in the last week by assailants unknown and killed. The police have no leads, but it's thrown local underworld and the Triads in particular into a tizzy."

The projection shifts, now playing CCTV footage of an attack on some kind of temple. Buddhist perhaps? Four attackers wielding blades cut up six men armed with guns surprisingly quickly. "I snagged this last night. Look closely at the neo-ninja on the left." Crimson armor, very distinctive work with his blade. He handily disarms an important looking Asian mafioso type and runs him through. "That was Lu Bao Chu, an important Chinese national also connected with the Triads… with ties to the Yakuza as well. His death will be announced in the papers tomorrow."

Jericho pauses, letting the imagery sink in.

*

Melinda May turns the device off again once Richard notes that the place is too primitive to have any kind of surveillance and returns it to her pocket. She looks at the images as Jericho displays them, committing the names and other pertinent details to memory. It may become important to SHIELD later. Or maybe even now.

Eyebrows raising at the display of technology, Dragon tilts his head curiously and seems on the cusp of asking something. But then he gives his attention to the information being given to him. As he watches the footage he folds his arms over his chest thoughtfully, eyes distancing a touch as he looks on the flickering displays of the various individuals.

"He moves rather quickly it seems," Rick spares a glance for Melinda, but then looks back towards Jericho as the man finishes his statements. A nod is given, "All the more reason to move quickly as well."

*

"I'd tend to agree. My own sources who are familiar with this kind of thing agree that it has the hallmarks of a gang war, and I suspect that is deliberate. Unusual MO aside, without evidence the police won't have any choice but to assume that is precisely what is happening. The footage I just showed you was erased this morning before I came to see you, make of that what you will."

"Whomever that is, it seems to at least fit what little I was able to dig up on the name Red Master. There isn't a whole lot and there's some speculation it's been used by more than one individual in the past."

Another shrug from the hacker. It's not uncommon for monikers like that to get appropriated by those seeking to pin their crimes on a legend.

"My suspicion based on the timing of the hits and the individuals being hit is that this is less a gang war and more the underworld equivalent of a 'hostile takover'. And that makes me nervous. The Triad network in the Northeast is extensive and ruthless. If someone appropriates it largely intact…" Jeri doesn't think he needs to finish that sentence.

*

"Trent, can you extrapolate from the current data and give an educated guess about who the next target will be?" May says this like it's old hat. It very well probably is. To her.

*

What these two individuals most likely don't realize, that for Dragon the big pictures does not seem entirely to concern him. He's not really a hero, or at least does not view himself as one. He is simply a man with a certain sphere of influence that he maintains. This Red Master has entered that sphere of influence and will be dealt with appropriately.

Drakonovski cants his head to the side as he considers his visitors and seems about to say something, but then Melinda takes the words from out of his mouth. Well perhaps not the specific words, but definitely the gist. He adds his nod to grant some measure of emphasis to her questions.

*

"Thought you might ask that. He's already gone after four of the chief lieutenants in the organization. The next most logical targets are finance people. If this is actually a hostile takeover, he'll try to leave the operations intact and just cut the support structure out from under them. That would make the next most likely targets these two men." He displays the pictures of a pair of middle aged Chinese men, one fit and graying, one decidedly not fit. "This is Kenneth Lowe and Chen Yu Chan. Both are in the banking industry and both are suspected of laundering large amounts of money for the Triads."

"There is another possibility however. Rather than gutting the support structure and spend time rebuilding it or attaching the organization to a new one, he may try to make it personal and force the leadership to step down. In that case…" The picture of a sixteen year old Chinese girl pops up. She's rather pretty, in that teenage kind of way. "This is Megan Zheng, eldest daughter of Michael Zheng, suspected head of the Northeast Triads. She's a sophomore in high school, and knows, so far as I know, nothing about her father's business.

*

So, three possible targets. May again studies each image as it's displayed. "What is the timetable on the next potential hit?" In other words, how much time does she have to protect the teen and put surveillance on the bankers?
*

At the mention of Ms. Zheng, Dragon's eyes narrow. He lifts his chin and a certain solemn air touches his features as he declares clearly. "That is his next step. If he has an angle to operate from along those lines then in the past he has chosen to do so. He is in a new land, but he will try to cling to the old ways that have been successful for him before in the past."

As he says this he looks over towards Melinda and asks clearly, "Will your people object if this is resolved without them?" Not that he will lay off his plans, but perhaps will have to apologize more afterwards.

*

Jericho lowers his arm and the blue slowly fades from the circuit traces. He makes an exasperated little sound and rubs at his temples for a moment with eyes closed.

"Sorry." He says after a moment, looking back up at both May and Rick. "That's what I've got right now. Not exactly admissible in a court of law, I'll admit, but that's never stopped me before. May I ask what you plan to do with the information?" He's curious now. Yeah he's got his plate full right now, but if it's something he might be able to help with, he'd be quite willing to do so.

*

Melinda May's eyes flick toward Richard briefly and then she answers Trent. "Get to the girl before the Red Master can and make sure she's safe. Then deal with the bankers if and when it becomes necessary." It's almost like she and Drakonovski are thinking the exact same thoughts.

*

A solemn nod is given as he looks between them both. "Tell me where this girl lives and what school she goes to. I will handle the rest." Dragon seems inclined to take this matter on himself, though when Trent asks him about his plans he tells the man. "I will find the Red Master and we will have words, I daresay."

As easily as that he sets his course of action, though he does need that last bit of information before he sets off on it. Yet his manner seems to indicate he has no inclination to take along assistance when confronting the man. Those Kung Fu Masters, so reclusive.

*

Jericho glances to May as if to ask 'should I really tell him?' "Her family lives in Brooklyn. Nice area, not-quite-penthouse suite."

He digs a photograph out of his pocket with an address listed on the back. "She goes to Advantage, a new-ish private school in the area. Address is on the back of that photo too, though it's pretty hard to miss. Nice new facilities, gated, guarded, whole nine yards. So you're going to… protectively kidnap her? Her dad is a Triad leader, in case you missed that point."

*

Melinda May rolls her eyes at both men. "I will go get the girl. I will take her to a secure SHIELD facility, and it will honestly be for her safety." And, it'll look official enough that the girl's father will hopefully not protest too loudly.

*

Reaching out and accepting the card, Dragon considers it for a time as he focuses on the young woman's image. His eyes narrow as he commits it to memory, then he looks back towards the two visitors. "I believe I may have already met her father some time ago." He offers this small insight into things, but then does not elaborate on what exactly he plans to do.

Richard looks towards May and says calmly. "There may be fall out, however. If you and yours are worried about that, it would be a good time to perhaps ready some preventative measures."

But then she mentions going and getting the girl and they both might get some window into exactly what Dragon is willing to risk to reach his goal. "If you take her into protective custody now, then the Red's men will not make their move. We will be left chasing after the button men and the money with no sure chance of coming upon them directly."

*

The hacker sighs. Neo-Ninjas are not in his lane. At least not unless someone asks him to lend his not digital expertise. Eight years in the army gives you a lot of that. Not that it seems either May or Rick are inclined to ask.

"Any idea how large his crew is? The only eyes I've been able to get on them showed him and his three Foot Clan wannabes." Okay, that's not entirely fair. They seemed like they really knew what they were on about, but snark is after all one of his default responses to when things start to get a bit tense.

"I can try to track their movements. Emphasis on try. These guys are ghosts."

*

Melinda May glares at Drakonovski. She actually glares. "I will NOT let you dangle that girl like a worm on a hook." And here is the main difference between her and the Dragon. She refuses to let innocents become collateral damage. After a moment of glaring, she finally looks at Trent again. "Start trying to track them."

*

Holding up a hand in Trent's direction, Dragon tells the other man levelly. "That won't be necessary. Though I do appreciate the work you have done. I will return the favor down the line." And as easily as that, the man seems to be satisfied with what the hacker has done.

He swings his attention back upon Melinda May and he tells her, "Your presence and your actions further in this matter will constitute another party involving itself. No longer will my actions be viewed as a third party operating within the accepted way. It will come across as an attack upon the League itself. That is more heat than your kind will wish. Are you willing to accept that responsibility?"

*

Jeri nods at May. He can probably try to track them without being noticed. Whether or not he'll find anything is another question. As previously mentioned, these neo-ninja are regular ghosts. The tall vaguely middle-eastern man folds his arms watching the exchange between Rick and May. It also occurs to him to wonder exactly why he has so many strong willed women telling him what to do. Not that he usually argues, because it's usually what he'd be inclined to do anyway, but still…

*

"I'm willing to offer a way to let the Red Master think he's got a bead on the girl when she's actually safely away from anywhere he can reach." It's not that May PLANS to boss Trent around, but things just seem to happen that way. Pretty much every time.

*

For a time Richard looks at Melinda and blinks languidly, it's one of those slow gestures like a lizard considering its next meal. He lifts his chin slightly and then opens a hand. "You are, of course, free to take what course of action you feel will be best. Though if you choose to follow this path then I cannot walk it with you. Our efforts will be separate, though our goals may be similar. If that is acceptable to you then matters are settled."

He again gestures to the side, towards the door this time. "Thank you for your visit and your assistance in these matters."

*

Jericho can take a hint. He nods with a slight bow and turns to exit out the side door. "Sure thing… May knows how to get a hold of me if you need me…" He pushes the door open, murmuring to himself more than anyone else as he exits. "… Mr. Miyagi…"

*

Melinda May turns to glance at Trent as he takes his leave, but doesn't comment on his little parting quip, even if it IS kind of funny. Her attention turns back to Drakonovski once Jericho has left. "What I'm proposing could very well end the Red Master AND keep that girl safe, all in one fell swoop. If you're too bent on your notion of revenge, or whatever, to listen to a pragmatic solution, then… Try to stay out of the way."

She then turns to leave as well, pulling her phone as she does. "Connect me with Deputy Director Hill," she says as the door closes after her.


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