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Airs and Heiresses
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Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Jul-6-2015 11:19

New York, 1938
St. Regis Hotel
Rooftop Nightclub

"So there I was, staring down a barrel INCHES from death...and I told the man, 'darling REALLY, if you simply must shoot me do allow me to remove my earrings. They are Cartier, you know." Molly Maltese paused to take a sip of her Red Snapper, popping the olive neatly between her cherub lips before gnashing it to a pulp. "And the man was quite flummoxed, he said- I say, is that Riza Hawkeye?"

She rose, the group of rapt men in tuxedos and women in glittering dresses and furs murmuring their protests as she wended through their knees. But the apparition she was quite sure had been Riza Hawkeye had vanished in the crowd of New York socialites populating the exclusive terrace.

"Well, this place is a bit ritzy for Riza." she murmured, fairly certain her old acquaintance didn't make a habit of populating social-climbing fetes. And she reasoned, any time Riza had appeared before it was hardly ever for a pleasant cause. Well, maybe that was unfair. It just seemed she was more the swirl-of-furs-and-stiletto-daggers type than a frothy socializer like Molly herself.

Peering around, Molly saw nothing but the shadowed faces of revelers partially cloaked in the smoky haze. She had just been about to give up and go back to her companions when the most shocking hubbub began. Over on the north part of the terrace, she could distinctly hear the shouts of men and panicked screeching of females. Moving forward, she could just make out..

"Did you see... The Ambassador... who could have... murder! Someone has pushed the Ambassador off the building!" Molly picked up speed, expertly weaving through the crowd of panicked voices. Sirens already began to sound twenty stories below. Just as she grasped the ledge and looked over, an all too familiar voice sounded in her left ear.

"Oh hello there, old friend. Lovely breeze out today."

Before her stood Riza Hawkeye herself, looking utterly unruffled as several ladies fainted behind her.

Replies

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Aug-25-2015 18:12

After watching Vulkie tumble into several rocks on the way down, Riza grabbed Hassan’s head and smashed it hard against the wall three times, then pinned him up by the throat. “You little weasel,” she hissed into his ear. “I knew I shouldn’t have let you live.”

Riza threw a glance over her shoulder, where Molly was struggling to pull Marc upright. Marc’s face was white, and he kept staring blankly at his empty right hand. Suddenly overcome with an emotion she cared not to admit, Riza grabbed Hassan by the hair and half-dragged him over to the railing.

“Move,” she commanded, causing both Marc and Molly to back up. Riza pushed Hassan up against the rail, pulled his head back, and slit his throat. Before blood could come gushing out, she had kicked his body over the railing and off the train. She watched as it tumbled down the rocky ravine, the limbs turning at unnatural angles, until it was out of sight.

“I don’t make the same mistake twice,” she said to no one in particular. She clenched the bloody dagger in her fist and stalked back to her compartment.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-25-2015 21:23

Molly was struggling to pull Marc up and away from the rail, fully aware that he was shell-shocked.

"It's okay... it's okay" she kept murmuring, fully aware that it was not. She couldn't even begin to wrap her head around the idea of Vulkie...no. "Let's just get to bed." Awkwardly she walked with this frozen man back to his quarters and began the steps of stripping off his shirt, tucking him in. She felt as though she had to keep her hands moving, just wanting to dodge around the idea of someone like Vulkie being so vibrant and such a bloody nuisance to being... nothing, in the space of an instant.

Molly gave Marc a final pat on the shoulder and turned to leave when his hand circled her wrist in an iron grip. Surprised, she cast her eyes to him and saw a curiously vulnerable expression on his face, almost as though he were a young boy. Her eyes burned with tears suddenly, and to disguise them she knelt and kissed his forehead, gently prying his fingers loose and giving his hand a squeeze.

"Goodnight, Marc." she said softly and closed the door behind her, wandering into the hallway. For a moment she leaned against the wall, wondering when she had got to feeling kind of old. Not completely old, she still looked damn good thank you, but old enough to wonder if this was all, and if it was- if this was the sum of her life, exactly what was it? In the space of the last few years she had grown to believe that this odd gang of men and women, some still here, some in the far reaches of the world...they were here family more than Jack or her daughter or any shadowy figures from her past had been. Now, with Vulkie...

Molly turned flinty eyes out the window as she began to move along the hallway again, her steps strong and sure. It wasn't often that Molly desired to get her hands dirty, but for Vulkie, she would. She would enact horrific revenge for her friend.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Aug-26-2015 11:35

“Detective Joseph Zeo, I believe?” The shorter of the two men in black suits approached Joseph with his palm extended. Joseph awkwardly shook it without saying a word. The man continued in crisp British accent, “I am Robert Lindel and this is my deputy William Middleton. We are representatives from the Shanghai Municipal Council.”

“Representatives… from which department? The police?” Joseph questioned.

“Well the police is part of our subsidiaries, but I am referring to the Council itself, overlooking all public works, infrastructures and governance within the International Settlement.” Lindel stood taller, although his small frame did not amount to much. “The SMC would like to acquire your help in certain… complications we are facing at the moment... Should we return to the Council hall to further discuss the details?”

“Mr. Lindel, it is getting quite late now, and given the problem you have is urgent enough for you to be able to locate me at this hour, why don’t we save up some time and just head back into the hotel?”

“Very well,” Lindel replied, “as you wish.”

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Aug-26-2015 11:36


The renowned Old Jazz Bar within Fairmont Peace Hotel is unusually busy considering the late hour. The earlier guest appearance of Zhou Zuan at the Dance Hall had drew the crowd and many were still in the mood for more. Joseph easily acquired a private lounge given his frequent patronage to the bar. Priceless Lalique glass artwork lined the walls and the scent of Cuban cigar lingered in the air, a scent Joseph strenuously tried to ignore. His anguish over Zhou Zuan at the opium den was not outwardly apparent, but his mind was a torrent of anxieties.

For someone in need of immediate help, Robert Lindel sure was taking his time. He laid out the accounts of the assassinations around the globe, beginning with the English Ambassador Higgins' death in America, all the way to China’s own Shin Yiu Tzu’s death in London and Qui Lin who was recently murdered in Egypt. Of course he revealed the gory details undisclosed in newsprints, including the dismembering for THE specific organ and the involvement of the Sphinx.

“Ambassador Kerr from the United Kingdom and Ambassador Johnson from United States of America could be their next targets, and we are wary although the security around them is as strong as the Great Wall of China.” William Middleton explained. The deputy has hands too large for his body, and his voice sounded like a bodyguard himself.

“Agents from around the world are flooding into Shanghai as we speak, and it’s going to be a whirlwind: Scotland Yard, FBI… everyone wants a piece of the action.” Lindel continued, “In fact, the group of four FBI agents has just arrived this morning and we didn’t have the time nor the manpower to welcome them properly…”

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Aug-26-2015 11:38

Lindel eyed Joseph carefully for any sign of acknowledgement, which Joseph naturally concealed. Joseph kept his sight on his shot of Vodka he hardly touched, his eyes unreadable. Lindel had no choice but to bluntly lay it out, “Mr. Zeo, we know that you used to work for the FBI. For reasons we will not going into right now, you have ended up in Shanghai for the past three years, and your experience with both the Bureau and our city is invaluable…” Lindel trailed off, but Joseph still said nothing. The SMC representative finally experienced Zeo’s infamous poker face. “These agents will need guidance from a true Shanghailanders in order to maneuver around the city…”

“It’s okay Mr. Lindel, you can say it. You need a glorified tour guide to babysit your visitors from America, I can understand that.” Joseph stated nonchalantly. “Just let me know how much you are willing to pay for the services.”

Zeo’s reply stunted Lindel. From what the SMC had gathered, Joseph Zeo had a strong sense of justice and unbending call to duty. This turned out to be much easier than he expected. Lindel beamed, “Of course, the Council shall pay you handsomely for your assistance, and my deputy here will help you escort our visitors as well…”


M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Aug-26-2015 19:34

Marc sat alone in his little room on the train, gulping what was left of the cheap whiskey he found, ignoring the knocks that came on his door. "Go away!" he would yell. He would pick up the bottle and gulp some more. Why am I feeling like this, he would ask himself. That bastard Hassan was the reason Vulkie had been knocked off the train. So why did Marc feel responsible. "Trust no one," a voice echoed in his mind. Did he let go of Vulkie's hand intentionally, when he was tackled?

He shook his head. "Stop thinking about this," he said to himself. "Vulkie's fine, she'll know what to do." Or was she? These thoughts raced through his mind, and for the first time since Sal's death, Marc felt alone in what was left of this empty shell he called a life.

When he finally drank himself to sleep, he slept through his hangover the next day, and by late that afternoon, it was announced that they were arriving in Shanghai. Altogether, the journey on the train was only a few days, but a few days seemed like months.

The train station in Shanghai was crowded with people from all over the world, coming and leaving. Marc held his back over his shoulder as he stepped off of the train following Riza, who had her own bags, and carrying what was left of Vulkie's belongings.

"I know a place we can stay," Marc said when they left the station, and away from the large crowds of people. "It's not a safe house, but it can be used as a base of operations."

"Any place will do," Riza said, " just get us there.

Marc nodded and hailed for a taxi. He gave the driver the address. It wasn't too far into town where his small apartment had been.

"It's got 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms," Marc said opening the door and taking a step inside. He flipped on a light switch and the room lit up. Unlike his apartment in New York, this place had not been kept clean, and was in the same mess he left it when he last visited Shanghai.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Aug-26-2015 19:36

"Sorry about the mess," he grumbled as Molly and Riza looked at each other. The dust had collected over the years, and had piled up on just about everything that stood. The grandfather clock in the living room next to his small radio had finally quit working, and the radio had collected enough dust, it too, did not work.

"I say we get some rest," Marc said. " Tomorrow's going to be a very busy day."

"I agree," Riza said. "I think it's safe to say we all have contacts in this city, so-"

Marc interrupted, "we split up, talk to our contacts, follow what leads we can get, and then meet back here."

Riza and Molly agreed. They grabbed their bags and decided on their rooms as Marc went into his. He opened up the closet, revealing the shirts he had forgotten to take home with him, now faded and full of holes by the moths that ate through them. He reached up on the shelf, pulling out another bottle of whiskey he placed 5here before he left. He undressed himself and put on something comfortable to sleep in, and then, lying on his bed, he drank himself into sleep one more time.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 20:01

Molly woke early the next morning and began to dress, her mind rolling through her options as she sat delicately on the edge of the bed and rolled stockings up her bare legs. Expertly adjusting the black seams so they ran smoothly up the back of her calves, she clipped her black satin garters to the top and stood. Not one to abide even the idea of a roll of flesh showing, she laced on her favorite black satin girdle, ran her hands over her miniscule hourglass shape and snapped on a demure black bullet bra. Humming a mindless tune, she slipped on a silk chemise over all the hardware and proceeded to wiggle into the tight black walking dress she had selected for the occasion.

The ambassadors were the place to start, she thought to herself as she toed on the smartest white pumps she owned. If she could find the ambassadors that might be targets next, surely she might be able to glean clues on Sphinx’ motives.

Deftly brushing her auburn waves of hair and arranging it in a series of rolls away from her face, she clipped on a circular white hat with a froth of black tulle bows coming off the top and a petite white birdcage veil. A simple white handbag and a dazzling Cartier cuff completed her ensemble. Almost- she paused before she walked out of the room and swiped on her favorite red lipstick.

No one was awake, it seemed. Thunderous snores emanated from Marcs room, and Molly wondered how the very pictures didn’t come off the walls. Wincing in distaste at the boorish humanity of it all, she moved down to the main room and jotted a quick note on a white sheet of paper from her personal pad, scented with roses.

“Darlings, I’ve popped out to rustle up some ambassadors. Marc, you really should visit a doctor for that snoring- you must have some kind of large mammal caught in your nasal passages. Anyway, meet me for lunch at exactly 1:00p.” She wrote the name of a popular and discreet restaurant designed for the upper echelon of Westerners in Shanghai. "Yours, MM".

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 20:34

Molly had a destination in mind as she waved down a taxi. As she lowered herself into the cab, she smiled kindly at the expectant driver and said, “French Town please.”

She happened to know that Ambassador Johnson dined faithfully every Tuesday morning at Le Train Jete, a tiny but delicious French café and patisserie run by French immigrants. He liked to dine with his newspaper and coffee before scurrying to 11:00 meetings with his secretary to debrief on all uninteresting things consulate related. She happened to know this because he had once spent an exceedingly dull hour at a dinner table with Jack and Molly telling her all about his provincial life in Shanghai and pawing her leg.

The taxi deposited her on Avenue Joffre and she glanced at a large clocktower in a nearby square. 9:30. She should be right on time. Adjusting her hat and putting on her most engaging smile, she trotted up the steps of the tiny restaurant and let her eyes adjust as she stepped through the door.

Country French décor, she thought mournfully. She’d look horribly overdone in such a peasant setting. Oh well, one did make sacrifices when they were in Cartier. She let the room adjust to the vision of her, sweeping with her eyes until"bingo.

“Amelia, is that you?!” came a rolling laugh, from a table by the window, and widening her eyes in mock surprise, Molly turned to regard the handsome Ambassador Kent Johnson.
“Kent?!” she heaved her bosoms dramatically for emphasis and allowed herself to be swept up in his arms. “Why it’s been forever, I completely FORGOT you were here in Shanghai… what a chance meeting!”

“I agree, what are you doing here?” Kent pulled out a chair for her and motioned a waiter. “You’ve just got to eat with me, it’s been forever since I’ve seen a friendly face and I just know that beautiful one you’ve got will cheer me up wonderfully with everything that’s been going on.”


Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:01

“Darling, what’s been going on?” Molly looked concerned and reached out her hand, placing it on Johnson’s cheek. This was overkill she thought, but apparently by the sappy gleam in his eye he was loving it. She suddenly recoiled in horror, placing a hand once more to her artfully heaving bosom. “It couldn’t be… a connection to those horrific murders?”
Johnson blanched, shifting his eyes slightly. Molly pressed forward, running her hand up his forearm. “You can tell me… are you… are you in danger? Tell me what’s happening…maybe I can help you. I have friends, connections. Are they after you?” she lowered her voice to a whisper. “Sphinx?”
“How do you know who they are?” Johnson asked, his eyes shadowed with fear. Molly allowed a kind smile to play on her lips. “We’ve been looking into matters- one of the ambassadors, well he was a friend of a friend.” She thought quickly. “We know about an organization called Sphinx but that’s where it ends, Kent. We have no idea who or why or where… the only people who know are the targets. Please tell me if you have information that could help. You have to trust me, before its all too late.”
Kent looked down at his cup of coffee, mulling over in his head. “It’s… I’m embarrassed. I did a terrible thing… I guess in some form we all did. Absolute power and all that. I just… it… I don’t even know if I could tell you.”
Molly gazed at him expectantly, but something shuttered over his eyes- shame. “I just can’t bear to tell you, Amelia. You’d never think of me the same. Just know that I tried to pull information on a higher-up and someone got very very angry. They have a tendency to hit a man where it hurts.”
She cocked her head. “What do you mean by that?”
He laughed wryly. “The wallet…and the groin.” Molly wrinkled her nose at the joke, but the wheels began to turn at the peculiar turn of phrase. She’d heard something described that way… something that hit a man in both his wallet and his groin.


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