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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.


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.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:02

"A woman." She breathed. "A woman masterminded this."

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:12

Kent was of no more use to her after his little revelation, but now Molly had an idea. If he wouldn't tell her himself, then she would have to find out what he had been mucking around in that brought him into contact with a woman, particularly one who might be around influential people. A mistress? An affair? Or worse, a paid professional? To know, she would have to have a look at his little black book, or identify his secretary and get her talking.

He made his excuses shortly thereafter and left her at the table, heading off to his meeting. Molly mulled for a moment, sipping her own cup of tea as she gazed out the window, admiring how the sun hit her auburn hair attractively in her reflection. Then suddenly she started, for she noticed there was a man staring at her from the back of the restaurant. She turned to look curiously, locking eyes with a green-eyed man. A cursory glance told him he was probably American- green eyes, dark hair, Caucasian and well-built to boot. He had that tough sort of look that told her he was in the criminal justice field in some way, and his suit, though practical, was not expensive.

"Can I help you?" she asked directly, raising her eyebrows. He blinked, once, twice, cleared his throat and then pasted the oddest smile on his face and walked towards her.

"You look familiar." he said, then seemed to rethink this tack. "You're very pretty."

Molly's eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch higher. "Thank you."

He scratched his jaw, gazing out the window for a second before returning his piercing green eyes to her. "You know the ambassador?" Molly could practically hear the overlay of his thoughts as he spoke... what's your interest in the ambassador? I know you from somewhere...

"Are you a cop?" she asked kindly. He started, and then set his jaw.

"FBI. Who are you?" He wanted to know, but Molly tilted her head, eyeing him. "You already know, don't you? You must be tailing the ambassador."

A muscle in his jaw twitched.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-26-2015 21:16

"I'm protecting the ambassador...while we work on this investigation." He leaned forward, dark brows furrowing together as he stared at Molly. Bored with this tack, she let her eyes trace the full and broad curve of his shoulders. Heeellloooo...

"I'm Molly Maltese." she offered her hand and a 100-watt smile, fluttering her lashes for effect. "And you are?"

He took her hand, hard callouses pressing into her soft white fingers. "Ed Carlyle." He didn't let go of her hand, rather tightened his grip slightly. "And I know you took a piece of evidence from the crime scene in New York, Ms. Maltese. I would appreciate you giving it back to me...NOW."

Molly's smile disappeared and her own eyebrows drew together in consternation. "Well, how unpleasant of you. You obviously never learned any table manners, Carlyle. I don't have the evidence you speak of, and even if I did, why would I give it to you?" She taunted him with a slight smile, daring him.

Ed Carlyle
Ed Carlyle

Aug-27-2015 11:19

Edward sat down and leaned back in the chair, staring blankly in Molly's face. "I'll be more than happy to have my friend here, Stanley," Edward waved,"perform a search on you." Stanley walked up behind Molly.

"How incredibly rude of you Mr. Carlyle," Molly snapped. "I think we're done here." She stood up to walk away, but Stanley placed his hand on her shoulder forcing her back into her chair.

"We're not done, yet," Ed snapped at her. "I will also be more than happy to charge you with holding evidence from a crime scene, contaminating a crime scene, two of them, actually. Stanley, what was that creepy guy's name? The older guy who owned the brothel back home?"

"Leo? Leo...something, I don't know..Morelli? Mironi? "

"Wait, hold on now-" Molly started, but Ed cut her off.

"Molly," he said calmly, "Your finger prints, and Marc's finger prints, and another set of finger prints, which I can only assume belongs to another friend of yours, were all over the place. When we dusted it, it lit up like a Christmas tree."

"That makes you guilty by association as well," Edward said. "Do I need to continue?"

Molly remained silent.

"I'll make you a deal, Molly," Edward said. "We help each other on this case, and I'll clear your name and your friend's names of any charges that would be brought against them. Ambassador Johnson is in danger, if he's not already dead, from some political faction called Sphinx. And I know that you know, it's no new news that we need to stop this.

He poured a glass of scotch and took a drink, as Molly continued to drink her tea.

"The choice is yours, Molly. What'll it be?"

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Aug-27-2015 15:11

Riza awoke obscenely early to the sun shining straight in her face. She stuffed her head under a pillow and cursed the early sunrise in Shanghai. Squinting at the alarm clock on her bedside table, she saw it was only half past 5. With a groan, she reluctantly got up and began to make preparations. Today would be a busy day.


*Unknown location*

Riza rapped smartly on the door. After a moment, it opened a crack.

"Ni yao shenme?" a rough voice growled, a single yellowed eye giving Riza the once-over.

"I'm here to see Long."

"Ta bu zai--” He paused. “He-he not here," the man said in halting English, shaking his head. Riza continued to stare with arms crossed, observing him. He was betrayed by an unconscious rightward flick of the eye.

"I'm not leaving until I see him," Riza said calmly.

The man made to close the door, but Riza jammed her foot in the doorway. "Wo gen ni shuo," Riza said through clenched teeth, "I'm not leaving!"

As he tried to forcefully push the door closed, Riza grabbed a dagger strapped to her leg and thrust it into the man’s eye. He screamed and backed away, slamming into the wall behind him, clutching at the bloody spot where the sharp instrument protruded.

“You can keep that.” Riza smirked as the man scrambled out of the open doorway, a look of terror upon his face.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Aug-27-2015 15:11

On the right side of the room, a narrow corridor was visible. Riza carefully peeked over the side, but perceived no other presence. However, a yellow triangle of light could be seen on the ground at the far end, stealing through a door that was partially ajar. She walked down to the end and pushed it open.

Sitting before her on a polished redwood armchair was an older but well-groomed Chinaman in a Western suit, drinking a cup of green tea. He registered no surprise when she entered; instead, he gestured to a chair opposite him and smiled.

“Ah…you’ve grown into a beautiful woman.” His eyes traveled the length of her body, coming to rest on her face. “And capable,” he added, nodding toward the doorway.

“You owed my parents a debt,” Riza stated bluntly, “which I intend to collect right now. Tell me everything you know about Sphinx and what’s happening to these ambassadors.”

“Very well.” Long set down his cup of tea. “Now where shall I begin?”


An hour later Riza departed, her head swimming with new information. She would have to tell the others right away.

Molly Maltese
Molly Maltese
Old Shoe

Aug-27-2015 18:11

"I declare." Molly seethed. "You drive an incredibly hard bargain Ed, but I'm sure you already know that. You've got me between a rock and a hard place... I will of course gracefully accept your offer to work together, along with my friends."

Ed nodded at Stanley and he released his grip. Molly daintily finished sipping her tea and pulled out a pad of paper from her purse. The scent of roses filled the air. "This is the address of my current abode if you have need of me. I'll need to keep an appointment with my friends-- I suggest we all gather this evening and hash out what we know. I'm sure if we all work together, we can make quick work of this." She passed the page across the table to Ed.

"I suggest you follow after the Ambassador and ensure his safety. I'll be going now." She rose, running her hands slowly down her dress to smooth her curves, throwing a wad of cash that more than covered her tea and meal on the table. "It was a pleasure, gentlemen. Oh, and Stanley..."

Suddenly she snapped up the teacup from the table and smashed it into the side of his head as he gave a startled yell. Pressing forward, he looked deep into her furious cat-like eyes, burning with rage as she hissed, "if you ever lay one of your fucking sausage fingers on me again I will see to it that you, your children, your wife, your goddamn great-aunt Betty are ruined. You do not know who you are messing with, I PROMISE you."

Whirling, she clipped out of the restaurant, calling over her shoulder, "apologies for the cup! My hand slipped. I'm sure the bills will cover it."


Fuming, she hailed another taxi and gave the name of the meeting place in downtown Shanghai. It was nearly time to meet her friends, and she was anxious to tell them about the possible lead.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Aug-27-2015 18:25

The dented service bell on the check in counter gave off a skewed tone when Zeo pressed it. A young Chinese man came out from the back, "May I hell you?" He asked politely. Zeo was so used to the bad accents in this city he didn't even smirk anymore.

"We are looking for a gentleman of the name Edward Carlyle. He and his companions should have checked in some time yesterday." Deputy William Middleton inquired.

The boy ran through his record with his index finger slowly down the list of English names. Suddenly his face lit up with recognition and uttered something in Shanghaiese to himself. Zeo looked to Middleton. Despite being in Shanghai for years, with a Chinese girl friend as well to say the least, Zeo still failed to learn much of the language. Some people simply did not have the talent.

"I think he mentioned something about a temper?" Middleton replied weakly. So, a special agent of the FBI with a bad temper... Has the Bureau deteriorated since he left? But then, Zeo went another wrong way himself in handling his own emotions. He decided not to judge.

The young man collected himself and replied professionally in English, "I am sorly, Mister Carllie and his companions are not in their looms. Would you like to leave them a message?"

Carlyle went to work early. "That's okay. We shall wait here then." Zeo decided.

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