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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-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.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Aug-28-2015 16:53

"Detective, it's good to hear your voice again," Governor Tse-Hsu's voice crackled through the phone. Marc had remembered where his old office was and so that was his first stop. Luckily the phone still worked.

"High Philosopher, I'm looking for some information on a gang called Sphinx. I was wondering if you could help me out with that."

"As always," he replied. "Be careful with them. They're more than just a gang. Sphinx has been around for many many years. Currently being ran by a woman.'"

As Lin Tse-Hsu spoke, Marc wrote down what he was told.

"Sphinx takes part in political assassinations mostly, with an occasional kidnapping. I know they have spies everywhere so you need to be careful to about whom you socialize with."

"Does Sphinx run brothels?" Marc asked.

"Sphinx ultimately owns a network of Brothels. That's how they earn the majority of their income."

"I have one more question," Marc said. "A suspect I talked to a member of Sphinx said to look for a guy named Jack. Any ideas who that might be?"

"I'm sorry, Marc, I really don't. Unless Jack is short for Jacqueline. As I said, Sphinx is run by a woman. I can find a name but it'll take some time. Perhaps we can meet later tonight when I find something out."

Marc thanked him and hung up his phone. He pulled out his old black clay pipe, and lit the tobacco. If Sphinx owned a network of Brothels, that means the ambassadors could afford sex. But there would need to be a reason for them to be assassinated like that. Brothels were also a place where secrets could be shared amongst people. Knowing too much could get the wrong person killed. But being mutilated like that meant one thing now. Vengeance. But for what. Marc nearly choked on the smoke when it slapped him in the face.

Blackmail. They would Blackmail someone in Sphinx. Possibly the organization's leader. Sphinx put a hit on the ambassadors, and mutilated them.

M. Lacrimosa
M. Lacrimosa
Sleuth About Town

Aug-28-2015 16:55

The million dollar question now was, who is leading the organization, and what secrets did they learn to black mail them? He grabbed hat and headed out the door. It was getting close to time for them all to meet back up.

Ed Carlyle
Ed Carlyle

Aug-28-2015 17:57

"Stanley, what the hell happened?" Jasper asked when everyone met back up. Jasper Mayfield and Thomas O'malley split from Ed and Stanley to follow up on some leads. Ed and Stanley also followed up on a few leads but in the end it proved useless. That was until he finally met Molly Maltese who agreed to work with him. The truth was, he was so quick to jump on that train, he didn't bother to ask where to look in Shanghai. He would have to start from the bottom.

Edward didn't know anyone in this polluted, stinking town. But it was so alive. Ed had never seen a town like this. He hated it here but at the same time he loved it.

"I'll be fine," Stanley grumbled . The slices on face finally stopped bleeding. His face would forever be scarred.

"Where do we go next?" Edward asked.

"Got me," Jasper said. "My Shanghainese is very awful. But I was able to turn up The Consulate General of the United States. That's where the Ambassador is staying."
Edward nodded.

They made their way back into the hotel, when they were greeted by two men.

"Edward Carlyle?" One of the men asked.

Ed smiled at Joseph. "My God, it's been too long." He reached out and shook hands with Joseph Zeo.

"Edward, this is Deputy William Middleton ."

"Pleased to meet you." Edward said shaking his hand.

"This here is my team, Thomas O'malley, Stanley Mellish, and this ugly guy with a face only his mother could love, is Jasper Mayfield."

After the introduction, Edward informed Zeo of everything that brought him and his team to China.

"Ambassador Johnson is in danger," Ed said. "Would you happen to know where the Consulate General of the United States is? We believe that's where is staying."

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Aug-28-2015 19:19

Riza and Molly were sitting at the kitchen table sharing a pot of tea when Marc's distinctive footsteps echoed in from the direction of the front door.

"--absolutely no manners!" Molly concluded, setting her cup down.

Marc entered the room with an eager look on his face. He had news.

"Have a seat," Riza said, toeing a chair aside. "Molly was just telling me about her eventful morning."

Marc fell heavily into the chair and began to relate what he had found out. Sphinx running a worldwide network of brothels. His own suspicions about how ambassadors acquired sensitive information and were blackmailing the head of the organization. "And the head is supposedly some woman."

At that last part, both Molly and Riza's heads snapped to attention. "When I met with Ambassador Johnson this morning," Molly began, "something he said made me sure that the head was a woman. He knew more that he was willing to divulge."

"Interesting," Riza mused. "I was told that the head of Sphinx is suffering an identity crisis, of sorts. I don't know her real name, but she likes to go by 'Jack.' She's currently residing somewhere in the city center of New Delhi."

"We'll have to head there next," Marc announced, standing up.

"Hold your horses," Molly said, freezing him with her gaze. "We're not done here yet. As I was just telling Riza, I ran into some positively rude gentlemen--actually, 'brutes' would be more appropriate--this morning after my meeting."

"What happened?" Marc asked.

Molly proceeded to recount what had occurred, particularly vilifying a man named Stanley Mellish. "Oh, and they should all be here this evening," she concluded nonchalantly.

"Here? You gave them this address?" Marc demanded.

Riza Hawkeye
Riza Hawkeye
First Nomad

Aug-28-2015 19:20

"It's a good thing," Riza said. "We have the advantage if we need to make a quick getaway." She ran a hand through her hair. "Let's see what they know...though I don't think we have any intention of sharing any of our information." Riza and the others shared a knowing glance.

"In the meantime, I think it would be best if one of us tailed Johnson's secretary as well. Who wants to volunteer?" Molly inquired.

"I'll make the necessary preparations around here," Riza suggested, looking around.

"Then I'll go tail the secretary," Marc said. "We have at least six more hours until the meeting and we could use all the information we can get. Any idea where Johnson might be right now?" he asked Molly.

Joseph Zeo
Joseph Zeo
Tale Spinner

Aug-29-2015 18:20

“The Consulate General of the United States has always been at the old Kalee Hotel on Jiangxi Road,” Middleton replied, “but with the Japanese constant attack on the northern Zhabei District the past decade, it has finally moved to the Development Building on the southwest corner of Jiangxi Road and Fuzhou Road two years ago.”

Shanghai really hasn’t been as peaceful as it used to be when Zeo first arrived. Anything could happen nowadays. “It’s still a peaceful area, I’ll take us there.” Zeo stated.

“Do rest assure,” Middleton added, “that the SMC has assisted in providing additional body guards around the US Consulate given the recent assassinations. Nothing can get pass our line of defense so the Ambassador is quite safe.”

Somehow that statement made Zeo all the more giddy.

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