A Very Bad Idea

October 16, 2014: Shift refuses to back down on his search for Richard Dackleman.

Tin Roof Club

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Mood Music:


It's a simple text message, paired with an address to the Tin Roof Club, sent from one of Kwabena's burners to Jackie Estacado. The Ghanaian looks up from the phone and begins to stuff it away, studying Melody carefully. "He'll be here soon. You have to promise me something dough. Whatevah you see, whatevah you witness, do not be afraid. You'll be fine."

He speaks those words with a cold firmness that isn't without compassion, but exhudes confidence in what he says. Kwabena and Melody are seated in the Diamonds Bar and Lounge area, the Ghanaian perched upon a bar stool with a small glass of whiskey at his hand, neat. Behind the bar, the 'tender is scrubbing down the surface. The club isn't open for business, per say, but the front doors are unlocked, the lights on as high as they'll go. Usually, the bar is dimly lit. For some reason, Kwabena had insisted that this be changed, at least for now.


Certainly, Melody only knows what she asked. Which wasn't much. She was well aware of the 'don't ask, don't tell, keep it to yourself' mantra of her own dealings with Catwoman, so she was keen on keeping a tight lid on this meeting especially when it came to.. well, business. "Okay.." She quietly murmurs, her eyes glancing towards the ceiling, focusing on the waves of electricity that she could see to shut the cameras down. All but one, she wasn't stupid, but just in case she left that one open. For research. Right. Research.

As usual, her image was blurred, extending the same courtesy to Kwabena as she finally turns to focus upon the drink she has upon the bar. Water, filled to the brim with ice that she could lightly crunch on later, full of fidgets and nervousness as if this were an interview that could eventually get her killed. But.. no, it wasn't like that, was it?

A smile gone towards the tender, an uneasy one, her phone soon pulled out as fingers drag across the screen. She frowns a little, then shakes her head. "So, when this is all over, we have to go to Cambodia. I'm trying to sell this guy an idol but he wants to see it first hand. Could use the back up." Her job as a fence is never done.


"Cambodia." Kwabena considers this carefully for a few moments. "Just about time for de Northeast monsoon." He winces a bit at that. "If we can hold off 'til Novembah, when its drier, it might be nice." For a few moments, the Ghanaian pores over stored knowledge of what he knows about the country. The wheels are visibly turning. "I'd like to see de Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap." The Buddhist Temple is the largest religious structure in the world, after all. "Good oppahtunity to clear de soul."

He doesn't acknowledge the danger of going to a place like Cambodia. With Shift at her side, Melody would go untouched.

The whiskey is brought to his lips and sipped, silver eyes maintaining their thoughtful expression. After a few moments, however, they dart back toward Melody, noticing her fidgeting. Head angles to the side slightly. "Is it difficult?" he asks. "Having all of dat infahmation at your fingahtips, metaphorically speaking. It's a lot to process."


"Meat? We eats?" "No fuckshit. Meat has blood. You see any blood?" The first gremlin, dressed like a retro switchboard operator, eyes the display of the phone previously amidst a veritable pile of other phones they're manning in the middle of absolutely nowhere. "Uhhhhh." A testing chew is taken of the handset, marring the edge for what looks like perhaps the eighth time, "Blegh! Thing is CRAP." The second darkling facepalms, dislodging his Lennon-framed shades and dapper hat. Sooner rather than later, the message does happen to get up the chain to the 'boss', and it doesn't take long for Jackie to answer Shift's invitation; he'd been expecting it, after all.

The enigmatic Don simultaneously arrives via the unlocked doors and doesn't; which is to say they never seem to open, but the next moment he's pacing smoothly away from them and into the club like he's just bought the place out. One hand is pocketed, the other thumb hooked in the jacket of his suit, an Italian-tailored marvel of blues and blacksthat seems shadowy even in the amped up lighting. It's notable versus the typical night's motif as a shadowy abode, and while Estacado doesn't miss so much as a half-beat in his step, somewhere in the converted warehouse's shadowy corners and closets several sets of eyes peak out, scoping out infrastructure targets if this goes bad.

Jackie knows and knows of this place, but it's the first time a visit's been business— or at least, business with anyone who operates or operates out of it. He takes his time on the approach, eyes meandering over the place with a somewhat distant grin playing subtly across his features. 'Just walk in and see' is the Jackie Estacado solution to all sorts of mysteries.


"Mm, Cambodia. When I find buyers for Catwoman, I usually have to go far and wide and pay a lot to ship there. This is the first time I've actually been asked to do a face to face meet. I guess this guy doesn't trust my track record." Her fingers swipe away at the phone, her gaze falling upon him briefly. "November?" That.. was a bit far away. But at least she had time to move the many stock that she had. "Okay. Just pick a day. I'm sending the message." Of course, not through her phone. There was a little smile and a lean, her head resting against his shoulders as he mentions Angkor Wat. She had no clue what it is, but she'll go see it with him anyways. It may just turn out to be cool. If, one were into that soul cleansing stuff.

Though, once he questions her, she sits up, her eyes darkening a little bit. She was suddenly reminded of the smooth, the little blackout it gave her caused her to spread far and wide across the world, power like that? Is something she'd probably never feel again.

"There are times when I can't sleep. Like, you know how you're reading something? And you find a word that catches your eye and you want to know the meaning of it so you could understand that passage. So you look up that word, and you find something else interesting. And then you keep going and going until you veer off into another subject all together. Just, imagine doing that a million times over yet sometimes in a span of five minutes." She shrugs a little. "It was real bad after I got them, you know? There were plenty of times when I went into seizures and information overload and shorted myself out. I still don't have self control but, hey! I'm managing. Its difficult, but.." She smiles a little. "That's that little psycho part of me no one needs to see or know about. Aside from the self mutilation to save lives. Which I'll admit, is pretty fuckin' weird. But I don't want to tongue everyone who gets hurt, that's just damn nasty."


"Well, it's Cambodia.Look at de income split, someone with money like that's eidah got a lot to protect, or he's a scoundrel." Shift raises the glass toward Melody in a mock toast. "Here's hoping he's not a scoundrel." For the buyer's sake. "Novembah 7th." He brings up a gloved hand to brush it through her hair when she rests her head against his shoulder. "Make him sweat a little, and tell him you don't do business during monsoon season."

He releases the woman when she sits up, and watches her attentively. He understands the sentiment well. How many late nights had he spent, pouring over information online, even in conventional books? When she mentions doing all of that in five minutes, his eyelids flutter, and the entire idea confounds him for a moment or two. He reaches up to scratch at the back of his head, then simply downs the rest of his whiskey to accept it. "Yeah, well. Would have been nice to know about dat befah you bled all ovah my apahtment." Not that she spilled it anywhere, but. He'd been pretty surprised. "At least I don't have to worry about you getting a scratch."

Slowly, the Ghanaian's eyes turn when Jackie enters. His demeanor suddenly changes, shifting from the relaxed and comforting way in which he communicates with Melody, to that cold, professional demeanor she so often sees. He rises, moves around the bar, and snatches a pint glass from the supply. Then, he moves to the refrigerator and withdraws a jug of milk. The pint glass is filled, the milk replaced, and his own glass tainted by a few spills of fresh whiskey. To each their own, it seems.

Kwabena emerges from behind the bar, gesturing for Melody to come with him as he walks out into the main room, glass of milk in one hand, whiskey in the other. "Nice place, isn't it?" he calls out to Jackie.

For his part, the African doesn't often dress 'up', but he does often dress 'nice'. In this sense, he's got a stylish riding jacket in black leather over his shoulders, a black collared shirt unbuttoned at the top, and a pair of designer jeans upon his frame. Black boots on his feet. Simple, dark, screams mercenary in every sense. He approaches Jackie with a smirk upon his face, a smirk that doesn't quite meet his eyes as he offers the glass of milk to their visitor.


Whatever he (or the little critters crawling around the club's vents) may hear or not hear on his approach, Jackie doesn't engage the pair's planning or commiseration in the least— that would be just gauche. His initial greeting is to take the mug and lift it in silent toast, sipping with the kind of enthusiasm one only gets in this setting from a thirsty man who's somewhat intrigued to know if Shift -is- thinking of turning on him. Usually, Kwabena sets the scenes of their meetings rather poorly lit indeed, see. Estacado drinks deep, and arches an eyebrow in a(n over?) confident consideration of Melody, and then the mercenary himself, more intently.

"Expecting trouble?" He asks, with a nod to the surroundings. "Gotta admit I find your lack of faith.. disturbing." He doesn't bother with much of an impression, just his own heavy Italy-by-way-of-New-York toughguy drawl. Nor does Jackie seem abundantly disturbed; 'course for a guy living his life, that might be a warning sign. In the meantime, he pauses his study of the others to finish off his drink.


"They're all scoundrel's, Kwabena." Melody says matter-o-factly. "It's the type of scoundrel that I'm a little bit worried about." She finally touches upon her glass of water, taking a few quick sips with added ice to crunch on loudly. "Okay, message sent. I'll hold off on booking flights and hotels. It's obvious we can't use our real names and such." When a person doesn't want to be known or found? Rant is on the case!

"Bullet to the head or heart. Or dropped from a high place." That'll at least put her out of her misery as far as she knows. And it was contemplated once upon a time.

As Kwabena turns, her brows furrow, gaze turning towards the front as she watches him behind the bar. She didn't want to look back behind her, but it was an eventual fact that she was going to see his face. So she stands, hands tucked into her jean pockets, one hand wrapped around her phone and the other a pen. Mightier than the sword, they say. Compared to those two in manner of dress? She looked like a street rat sans hat that she usually wore to cover her face. At least her hair looks nice, right? Guys?

She follows close behind Shift, offering nothing but a smile and a brief nod. She had to admire the slickness in which they look, professional, shifty.. but not. It was kinda cool.

She didn't bother in responding to Jackie's question, or his words. In fact, she shuts the hell up. Little does either of them know? She's mentally divided. On one hand? She's there, listening to the two should a conversation start. The other? Facial scans and database searches. She was just that damn nosy.


The ways to kill Melody Kenway. She gets a dark look, as if to suggest that she never speak of such things again.

"Melody Kenway?" Shift motions from Melody to Jackie. "Jackie Estacado." He keeps his attention upon the Don now, and offers a very simple explanation of the lighting. "Melody's already had some few encountahs with yah 'friends'. Didn't want to spook hah unnecessarily. Dough…" He turns to look at Melody. "Thing is, Mel, at some point we're going to need to turn down de lights." There's a meaningful way in which he speaks about this, but a part of him really hopes hedoesn't need to spell it out for her.

Kwabena looks back to Jackie, finally lifting his glass to take an enjoyable sip. It was expensive stuff, not the cheap shit bums pack in their flasks. Meant to be enjoyed, not slugged. "We've got Doctah Falzoni in a closet. Turns out we've got a full history on him, thanks to Melody heah. Family history, medical recahds, e-mail convahsations between himself and his lawyah, his employahs, his grant writers, everything. De guy is as much a victim of Dackleman as anyone else. Kidnapped, police gave up on de search, and he's been cranking more heavily addictive propahties into de nahcotics. Question remains, dough." He looks back at Jackie. "What did you do with Scales?"


There's a lot about Jackie in the databases, most likely. Assuming Rant doesn't have access to the orphanage records, Estacado's criminal record goes back to when he was fifteen, and reads like a laundry list of assault and drug charges. High powered attorneys got him out of the one or two more serious brushes he had, and it wasn't long after that his reputation turned to that of one of the Big Apple's most capable button men. He did short stints here and there, and the underworld buzz is that his career was far more prolific than ever got recorded— until his Uncle decided to have him whacked. There's all sorts of casefiles generated from the extensive guerilla war between elements of the Franchetti Family on one side and Jackie and the Darkness on the other— but the long and short of it is he's a reputed mob boss, now. Moving up in the world; depending on one's perspective.

"Nice t'meet ya. Properly." Jackie does recognize Melody. Poor girl. His.. associates get that reaction a lot, truth be told. A hand is offered to Ms. Kenway, and his glass is set on the nearest flat surface. Shaken or no, a smirk is tossed towards Kwabena, "Like I just let 'em run loose all the time." He rebukes, casually enough. After all, there's a subtantial 'when I can help it' built into his powers. "Get more company tryin' to be all clever and shit. And you got Falzoni?" Beat. "No /shit/." This seems to amuse the hell out of Jackie, "Whoever signed the papers on making that turd official must be pissed right now." Rather than wary, it has a twinge of the gleeful kid on Christmas morning to it. Did we mention Estacado has something of a problem with authority, or was it indicative enough of the police record?

He lights up a smoke and some of the backup scouting the building reluctantly dissipate into shadow and air, a chill breeze rushing outwards through the ventilation system, as if from nowhere at all; the void is very distant, from what Estacado can tell. Speaking of. "Geico?" Jackie rhetorically quips flippantly, "He's whole, somewhere he don't have /shit/ to make into goo and shuts his face about car insurance." He may or may not be rattled and a half by now, though.


Dark look noted, blushed at due to embarrasment, and locked away. Subject of her death is never open for debate ever again.

Though once the introductions fly between the two, she pulls herself together, tucking her mind back into itself so that she could focus on the hear and now. A little smile was given towards Jackie; she didn't know if she should shake his hand, keep her distance, give him a hug? It looked as if she wanted to do all three at once, for a step was taken forward, hand slightly lifted, step taken back, hand lifted, forward again, both arms twitching.. and.. finally? He lifts his hand for a shake and Melody takes it with a little bit of an awkward laugh, compared to what she's found on Jackie, this.. guy is going to get a hug. To show that she's friendly. Extremely friendly to dangerous types and harmless as a fly, yup.

Here she comes, all hugs, hand of his held so that she could draw in and snuggle up close to the big guy who could probably make her cry with just a mean glance.


She lets go of him then, and clarifies on Kwabena's words. "He's not really in a closet. Well, it is. But we made a little room out of it and gave him a television so he could watch it. He's had extensive damage so I have to give him ejections every now and then to make sure he's tip top but.. he's fine." A pause. "Nice to meet you too." Hugs.

Though, there was a blank stare at the mention of Scales, a slight shudder and a cringe. Though that cringe was done away with a half giggle-snort to let them know that she understood that reference.


Maybe not all the time. Kwabena doesn't say it, but it's there in his smirk. He takes a step aside, another gentle sip of whiskey taken while Melody introduces herself with a hug. He simply can't help but be entertained by it, by all of it. Two hardened criminals, one developing into a kingpin, the other a mercenary; and an incredibly awkward and unassuming young woman with numerous abilities, all courtesy of the nanites in her blood. Melody never ceases to amaze him, which might explain the fondness with which he looks at her.

"Mel got 'im," explains Kwabena. "Swept him right off his feet, damn near knocked him into de next county in de process."

He allows Melody to explain what's been done with Dr. Falzoni, the healing injections, the television, things done to make him marginally comfortable without letting him walk away as a free man. "Turns out Dackleman beat de evah loving shit out of him 'til he decided to cook. He's probably going to need plastic sahgery when it's all ovah. Eidah way, he's not really de problem here. It's Scales."

And… it's good to know that Scales is still in Jackie's tender loving care. Kwabena takes another sip from the whiskey, swirling around the contents. He needed just enough bite, but didn't want too much, so he sets the glass down near to the empty glass of milk. "Any chance we can pay him a littah visit?"


It's not the typical response he gets when someone reads his rapsheet. It's a little odder still from someone he's not aware even knows -of- him. Then again, Shift has a big mouth, as it is. Jackie just takes it in stride, lightly patting Melody on the shoulder in turn and taking in the information with a chuckle. "Convince him he wants to help us out, yet?" Either way, "Googuy is our mover an' shaker, coulda killed Dackleman any time he wanted, with the prick's own easy chair." Estacado seems to have a certain admiration for that. "No way he's not one of our leaders— not sure we can trust him even if we flip 'im." He's awfully nonchalant about it for what he's saying. Or seems to be saying. Then again, it's messy work he and Shift have been doing together.

There doesn't exactly seem to be an abundance of shock that this conspiracy wasn't full of eager participants: this kind of nasty shit usually involves some nasty bargains. Jackie just chuckles, a little darkly, at the idea of visiting Scales. "Yea, we could go to him. Not sure you'd like it there any more than he does." For Estacado's it's a little bit peaceful. "But then again, I ain't guaranteeing the state of this bar if we drop him here." No matter how trussed up the mutant is. The guy just has a little attitude problem, is what Jackie's saying. And that whole 'transmutation to molecular acid' thing.


Hey, she got a pat on the shoulder! Yay!

But.. "He doesn't need plastic surgery. I just need to adjust my coding so we can start popping carteledge. It's.. actually kind of weird. I once healed this guy with red and black eyes, he really didn't scream a bit. But this guy.." She sort of stares off, not really sure if they were listening or not. "His screams arehorrible. I know that it hurts and all but, he screams like.. he's literally being twisted and his guts pulled out and.."

*SNIFF* Don't cry in front of people Melody. It's bad enough she did it when that little darkling died.

She really didn't want to meet Scales, that tidbit was kept to herself, but the mention of him being out here in the open? "I think it's better we go inside."


She could handle it, really. She could put on a strong face and whine about it later, as long as the two were there, she's figuring that she would be alright. Anything was worse than endless hours of the whip and silver claws on her back.


"I don't think it's much of a choice," Kwabena offers. "Besides. I threw a bone at him, got him thinking about something. Give him a bit of penance, considahing he feels all of dis is his fault." He shakes his head. Vanilla types and their guilt-claiming.

"Well, Dackleman took out Scales' organization, den some few weeks latah, it's back in action. Mutual trade agreement. Probably intended to melt de bastahd with his easy chair once he'd made his millions." A thoughtful expression comes to silver eyes, and Kwabena turns to lean against the nearest support pole, crossing his arms. There's something he's been considering for a long time, something he's kept inside, mulling over.

"Now dat de supply is gone, price is gonna skyrocket. It's gonna strain Dackleman's opahrations, both locally and globally. Make it hardah to hunt him down and put an end to it all. So, we can let it rot." Pause. "Or…"

Kwabena looks toward Melody, then back at Jackie. "Or we staht production ourselves. Flood de mahket with so much smooth de fucker can't handle his own business. Make it really easy to shake him out and give him what he deserves." It's a bold suggestion, but one Kwabena isn't going to leave hanging just like that. He makes a gesture with his hand, seeking to bring pause to any retorts. "Falzoni is de one who made it so damned addictive. I've already asked him if he could do de opposite; if he could build a supply with something in it. A sleepah agent, dat's de best way I could describe it, but something dat could completely erase de addiction once a certain triggering agent is applied. Such as, a vaccine. From a clinic."

Melody is recommending that they go in. Shift doesn't seem to have an opinion on the matter, at least not yet. Instead, his silver eyes remain firmly rooted upon Jackie. "How much expendable cash do we have access to?" That's a nice way of saying, how much if it can those little gremlins puke up.


"Dackleman's equipment, electronics, cash, some of his people…" Jackie confides simply, something that Shift's no doubt been watching happen, "Any useful bit we carved off,that's mine now." So, he's getting into the Smooth business? "We want to use those pipelines to push and produce a fix to this situation, shouldn't be a problem— but make the problem /bigger/ and you're gonna draw fire from all the other people who already ain't happy about this. Or want it for their own bad shit." He has a lot of trust for secret agents, as established. "Trackin' it to the rest of the dealers, not a problem. Assuming Dickles takes delivery of a sample, we can even ride a new batch straight to him."

Or put some money out on the street— let Dackleman pay for his own bounty. The first things Jackie moved out of each strike: guns and money. The Franchettis are sitting on a stockpile that could start a civil war; or end one. Nonetheless, there's a bit of distracted horror at Melody's tale— it doesn't sound like a situation he'd want to be in. Worse, it sounds like a few Jackie -has- been in. "Jesus." He offers up, evocative and informatively.

"Guess it's better'n staying all busted up." He shrugs one shoulder, and takes a drag off his cigarette, gesturing to the amplified lighting, "This is gonna take more than all the shadows your defenses are casting." Estacado snarks, "Unless you want me to take the lights down for you." Which he doesn't seem to think would be -too- difficult to accomplish; it's possible he's bluffing, too.


Melody settles back and listens, that was until the option of flooding the market with the Smooth had her nearly up in arms. She was ready to pitch a fit until his hand came up, her cheeks flairing to life with little flashes of red and blue sparkles, brows lowering to draw out a fit of anger placed naturally upon her face. "You can't be serious.." Is all she manages to breathe out, her arms immediately wrapping around herself so that she could keep herself -here- instead of going to that place.

The place of possibilities. That place where she could have access to the smooth whenever she damn well pleases. He'll be busy, pushing the drug out into the street with no chance of watching her. Catwoman will have her eyes on East End and dealing with her own problems and.. Melody would be left to her own devices.

Yeah, whenever she wants. Day or night. She could accomplish so much, much more than she could while sober and off of the drug. She'll put Aspect to shame with his hacks, in fact, she could blur the lines of humanity and at the extreme? Be known as a goddess that floats through machines, one by one.. She'd be untouchable, possibly loved, feared all in one. It draws a chill up her spine and causes her to turn away from them to hide the look of hunger from the Aspect.

In her nanite filled heart, she knows manufacturing the smooth would be a horrible idea. But that inner addict craves it.

She nearly tuned them out then, her shaky hand reaching out for the glass of iced water she left behind and went to just now, drinking it down thirstily and carefully dropping the glass upon the table. The mention of the lights draw her back to the now, her head shaking, back to them and hand lifting as to say .. 'I got it'.

That one gesture alone causes all the lights in the place to go out, which sends the 'tender', who was on standby, scrambling out of the door.


"Fire isn't all dat bad," notes Kwabena. "Who will dey be aiming at? Dickle's Syndicate? De Triad? Odessas? Bunch of fucks. But a little chaos tends to pull de weasels out of de woodwork, and when you're de ones behind de chaos, you have de advantage of knowing where to look, what to watch for."

Kwabena tilts his attention toward Melody, watching as the anger comes to her. The cold expression falters, compassion given to her, and not simply because of his radical proposal. She's been through enough already. "With a built in fix, Mel. A way to put an end to it all once we cut off de head."

He looks back to Jackie, sharing his attention with both. "I've already done de numbahs. Based on Scales agreeing to it, den we don't have an import problem. If we can teach de horde how to cut, prepare and delivah it to Dackleman's traffickers, den we don't have a laborexpense. Based on metric versus de cost of funding a cure… and a fixed amount of 50,000 pounds of smooth shipped ovah de next four weeks, we need to come up with $280 million. Given time for de laundering process and setting up de propah non profit and shell organizations to get through diplomatic red tape, boost dat up to about $320 mill. We pull dat off? Den all we need to find is de right charity to drop it upon. Someone with de zeal and resources to set up clinics and get de cure out dere in record time. Red Cross is a bit ovah kill, but I know some people at Nahcotics Anymous."

He turns to watch as the lights go out, flooding the place in darkness. With a wry expression, the African leans up against the pole, crossing his arms again. "Hold on to yah nuts," he murmurs, before reaching out to try and grasp Melody's forearm with a tender touch.

He's recommending that they double down on one of the worst narcotics rings to spring up in recent history. But the end game? Well worth the risk.

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