2010-03-10: Death Becomes Her



Date: March 10, 2010


'Bless her heart, she risked herself to try and save me. She looked good doing it, too.'

"Death Becomes Her"

The Cigar Bar

For most people, after work is a time to relax. If they work. Lately, Cody's been busy trying to get some semblance of a new life together. Part of that is trying to stay away from home and away from her room mate. No need to worry the poor woman into an early grave with speculation at this point, she's unstable enough as it is.

Sitting at the bar, there's a glass of port in front of her beside a well worn notebook bound in a soft camel hide. Her long brown hair flows loose down her back with a single braid trailing through it at the back, presumably to keep the hair pulled off her face. In one hand, she has an unlit cigar, the other carries a red pencil (the kind used for editing). She's alone and dressed in an impeccable grey suit that was bought for her. She actually looks like she fits in among the wealthy businessmen that frequent the place.

So does Max. Then again, he does fit in here. His dinner jacket has been tailored to accent his broad shoulders and trim abdomen, his boots are freshly polished, and his goatee has been meticulously trimmed. Even his gloves, an extinct affectation, are as costly as as they are supple. He wears his trappings with casual disdain, as if offended that mere mortals could not provide better.

Still, he's smiling. He loves this place.

There's no pause at the sight of Cody. No sign of surprise at all. He drops languidly onto the stool next to hers and orders a Glenmorangie 25. While it's being poured, he quirks an eyebrow in Cody's direction. The smile is still tugging at his lips, leaving him with a faintly amused expression. "You look ravishing," he says by way of greeting.

Turning to look at him, Cody's lips twitch a little as though she's not quite certain how to respond. She places the unlit cigar into the ashtray and turns slightly to face him. Her legs are crossed at the knee, providing something for her to rest her newly freed hand on. "Thank you, you look perfect, as always," she replies, her voice a little muted in the noise of the bar.

"I was hoping you'd show up, it's been too long." It hasn't, really, but she's been itching to talk to him. She had been looking him directly in the eye, but they drop to his shoulders and then travel down to his chest before darting back up again. "But it can wait until breakfast, if you're up for that."

When Max's scotch arrives, he gives it his undivided attention, holding it up to the light, swirling it about, even snuffing the scent in. Finally, he takes a sip and lets it rolls across his palate. A moment later he lets out an appreciative sigh. "Delectable," he murmurs to no one in particular.

The glass is eventually set aside and Max's attention is returned to Cody. He acknowledges her compliment with a small nod and a slight crinkling at the corners of his eyes as his smile widens. "One tries." His rolling basso profundo cuts a contrast to her softer, higher voice. "As for you… I've done some truly depraved things - some of them to you - but I draw the line at sleeping with a dead woman."

Picking up her glass, she takes a sip of port and languidly swipes her tongue over her lips to wet them. "Mmm, that's too bad." She says, once again fairly quietly. "So you heard then, that I got my pink slip." The organization has a funny way of handing out walking papers, hence her sudden disappearance. "It's actually only one small part of what I wanted to talk to you about."

Placing the glass back on the bar, she keeps her fingers on the rim and twists it to and fro before finally letting it go. "They have plans for you, Swan. I wanted to warn you about them, that's the only reason why I'm here." Because she's warning and not congratulating, it could be assumed that she doesn't find these plans in his best interest.

That eyebrow is cocked again, this time in arched curiosity. "I thought it a bit odd that you'd come out from under the radar for a shag. I put it down to my cutting good looks." Max flicks an imaginary hair back into place with a flick of one gloved fingertip against his forehead. Despite his primping, there's a seriousness to his tone when he continues. "You sound vexed, my dear. Unburden yourself. Tell me more."

The brunette eyes him very carefully before parting her lips to speak again. She gives him a twitch of a smile and a half shrug. "You're worth coming back from the dead, what can I say?" Cody's very calm and collected as she trades the quip with him. Her eyes travel over his frame and there's a wistfulness about her expression, something that doesn't disappear when she poses her question. "Max, how much do you value your freedom?"

Speaking of disappearing, there goes Max's playful attitude. He scowls impressively and steeples his fingers into a triangle. "Enough to spend a decade leaving a trail of dead bodies rather than be taken in," he replies blandly. "You know, I can't say I care for the route this conversation is taking. Why don't we get right to the point?"

"I found a file, they have you slated for another protocol. I also saw the collar they designed for this particular protocol." She reaches out and places her hand on his non-metal one and squeezes it lightly as she squints her eyes just a little. "I like you a little too much to see you go there." Letting go just as quickly as she reached out to him, Cody turns toward her book and pulls out a loose slips of paper. She uses two fingers to slide it across the bar to him.

The show of affection catches Max by surprise. He tries to squeeze Cody's hand in return, but he's too late. An odd, regretful expression creeps across his face that he can't quite account for.

"Hmm? Oh." He snags the paper and pulls it closer, scanning it with eyes that are accustomed to digesting reports and retaining the important bits. "What? What's this?" His casual tone is belied by other notes. There's interest there. Scientific curiosity. Anger, of course. And something darker. Something sinister.

"Those are all of the programs that I've found out about so far. Even if it's just a name. The file I found said you were a prime candidate for Zeta and then to Kappa." Cody's still looks directly into his eyes as she speaks to him. From the book, something else is pulled out, an old color photo of a middle eastern man. "Remember when I told you I was held hostage by a man last year? This is the man. His name is Adham Sayf Udeen…" Her voice dips to a near whisper as she says the man's name and in order to allow Max to hear her, she leans closer to him. "He was looking to buy human weapons. Later, in a video, I heard him talking about Kappa Protocol."

Sliding off her chair, the woman moves close to the giant mass of muscle seated next to her and slips her arms around his shoulders. "Please be careful, Max. Don't let them put a collar around your neck."

Max blinks once. Twice. Then, heedless of the decorum that he normally prizes, he stands, folds Cody up in his, arms and pulls her against his chest. "I won't," he promises. "I'm getting out while I can."

Difficult decision, that one. Max has made it his life's work to study the Evolved animal. The resources he could've had at his disposal if he'd spun the situation properly… But no. He's danced with that devil before.

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