2007-07-30: The Cats Who Came Back

Starring:

DFNiki_icon.gif DFBenjamin_icon.gif Felix_icon.gif Emery_icon.gif

Summary: Another day in S*Y*N. (Don't I know you?)

Dark Future Date: July 30th, 2009

The Cats Who Came Back


Outside the S*Y*N Club, New York City

Around the corner from Times Square, a tall, black building stands. Everyone knows what it is, even if they don't know the gritty details. It's the underworld - but here, the underworld is on top of the world, or at least on top of New York City. Obelisk-like, its gleaming surface is the cleanest and least damaged building in the area - that is to say, it doesn't have a scratch on it older than a month. It's one of the most striking skyscrapers in the city. That's what being powerful and rich gets you: nice things. Remember that, kids of the past.

As night falls, the neon sign outside the building flickers to life. S * Y * N. It's elegant as a neon sign to a grand scale den of iniquity can manage to be. The neon shines onto the pavement below, giving it an otherworldly pink-red glow, a beacon of temptation in the grey, torn apart city.

Beside the Sydicate's illustrious headquarters is a drab, scorched brick building; an eyesore, in comparison. The two structures form an alley. Music cuts the relatively eerie quietude of Times Square as a door opens on the club level of S*Y*N from the alley: heavy, pulsing electronica.

Once upon a time, Benjamin wouldn't have been caught dead in an area like this. Oh how times have changed. Older, greyer, colder, the man approaches the alley with purpose in his stride. He's been sent to do a job, even if his employers are crumbling and collapsing in on themselves. The S*Y*N tower earns no more than a courteous glance. It's a fixture of the NYC skyline, a symbol of what this country has become in just two short years. Quiet, with no partner to converse with, as that policy died the day humans were forced to camps, he makes for the alley. On alert, yet acting casual as if he belongs here, he's on the lookout.

The door that opened is at the far, far, far end of the alley, metal and black; in contrast to the building itself, however, its paint is chipping and peeling away, but that's a detail only available up-close. Matches the dirty, dismal alleyway Benjamin heads down. The vivacious electronica - so loud, inside must be deafening — is shunned by the shutting of the door, and it grows muffled.

The body shutting the door is that of a woman in a short, fitted mockery of a real trenchcoat; black, with a hint of vinyl shine or similar, it seems to be about all she wears, save for a pair of tall black boots. One is shoved up against the door as she leans against it. Very long, severely straight hair, golden blonde, hangs free. There's a cigarette in one hand, which she drags on, a glass of liquor in the other. Obviously, she works here. Smoke-break, not that anyone cares if you smoke inside. She notices someone in the alley and looks down its length.

Blue eyes lock on Mr. Winters. He knew this woman once upon a time, and then she, like so many, disappeared. Niki Sanders.

Benjamin catches a glimpse of Niki, surprise registering on his face. The surprise promptly disappears as he heads in her direction. This isn't who he was sent to fetch, but it is a development. The woman has been off the radar for two years. It no longer feels strange to him to feel so detatched. Niki was a friend once, now she's a target. Something to report back on now that he's seen her. There are no smiles as he greets the woman, "Niki.. It's been awhile." If that is the name she's going by these days. Hard to tell with someone afflicted with multiple personalities as she is. "Good to see that you're doing better for yourself than some."

The blue eyes that stare down Benjamin are encased in black kohl and heavy, glimmering eyeshadow the colour of the sky tonight: dark, grey. "If you're here on business," she says, bringing the cigarette to her mouth again. That's new, at least to Benjamin's view. Her lips are glossed, pink. "You can forget about it. Trust me: they don't care." It doesn't matter what's in the woman's glass, because she tosses it aside like so much useless trash into the rest of the alley's refuse, promptly breaks eye-contact, turns, throws the door open, and steps into the club. The music has since melded from electronica into something a little darker and heavier. The sound of its base fills the narrow alley in the blonde's wake.

Benjamin could stop Niki in her tracks. It would be as easy as blinking nowadays for him. But he doesn't. Instead, he follows after her into the club. "Who won't care?," he asks, even as he doesn't fully expect an answer. It's loud. The noise is deafening, and Niki's personality, assuming this is Niki, seems to have spiraled further than his own. As to being here on business, he does not comment on this. It's probably best to ignore the remark and move on.

S*Y*N

Chaotic at first glance, the main level of this massive, ebony New York skyscraper is a full scale den of iniquity. A red carpet catwalk, in deep crimson, is the only way inside the inner sanctum: from there, everything spreads out. Club, bar, casino — it's all wide open on the same, massive level. Dancefloor, bar, gambling, places to sit and scheme and plenty of things to watch, it's all here. Dark reds, rich purples and black dominate the decor, giving it a boudoir feel.

In front of a silver-curtained wall is a prominent stage with three distinct catwalks, all illuminated from underneath by a glowing white light, all affixed with metal poles. S*Y*N does not skimp on the strippers. Rock music intermingled with heavy electronica from the club section resonates into every atom of the place.

No one checks the doors to monitor who goes in and out, but security slinks through the club — some obvious, some not so much. Violence erupts every now and then, but rarely does anyone blink an eye. It gets taken care of. Winding stairs of black metal lead to the second floor of the club where things presumably get a little hotter and a little more illegal. There's also an elevator up there, but it's manned by very imposing security and seems to require security check passes to enter, or at least the go-ahead from the intercom beside it.

Welcome to the Syndicate's headquarters.

It's fortunate that Benjamin is already pessimistic this evening (or is it this year? This past two years, maybe?), because he doesn't get an answer. The figure he follows has a head-start and she knows where she's going - obvious, by the sure way she strides through the club zone. Using the mass of dancing bodies and the harsh strobing of the lights to her advantage, she winds her way through the ground level, section by section. Club, casino, bar. She's easy to lose, and what's more, certain parts of the crowd seem to block Benjamin's way should he try, swallowing her up.

Benjamin's expression remains blank as Niki is easily lost in the crowd.. and the subtle group effort that could very well be a coincidence in blocking his path. Either way, he doesn't press the issue or seeks out an alternative manner in which to follow after Niki. Everyone outside of the Company has their issues with the man, with valid reasons. Instead, he turns and leaves the way he came in order to tend to the business in which he is here on.

The last glimpse of the blonde long since gone, she resurfaces from the varied crowd in the vicinity of the gleaming, massive black bar, and doesn't look over her shoulder to see if Benjamin is anywhere nearby. Apparently, she assumes he's not. As she strides along the outer edge of the bar and its many stools, she slows near the end and the man on the very last seat vacates. She takes his seat. Still with the cigarette she had in the alley, she crushes it in an ashtray and murmurs something in clipped tones to the bartender.

Felix is just figuring another long and tedious bit of grilling an informant. At least he's being wined and dined, as it were. As the mafioso in question leaves, handful of bodyguards in tow, Felix leans back in the booth he's in, and regards the shot of vodka before him with something almost like distaste. The dancers are summarily ignored. The two years of the war haven't been kind, but other than looking somewhat disproportionately aged and a little bit thinner, he's much as he was before it went south.

Emery comes into the club, why? The world will ever know and now here he has a parade behind him. Really, there is an orange and a black and a grey cat behind him…persians that look as mangy as their owner and he has a cigarette dangling from his lips as he looks around and looks back to the cats. "Well! C'mon, we 'aven't got all freakin' day 'ere…" He mutters to the cats in that accent. - Cats? in a club? He is still near the entrance. "Well ye said ye 'ad to piss, now COME the bloody 'ell on, it just be a club…"

The blonde at the end of the bar probably works here; her attire makes it an easy guess. A black faux trench that shines now and then when the light catches it, shorter than an average dress, let alone a coat. Black boots with towering heels. After a few brief moments, she gets up, flips a length of long, golden hair over her shoulder - its line shape made severe, by the lines of her coat - and observes the various patrons of S*Y*N with an entirely impassive stare. Before long, she leaves with long, purposeful strides upon those high heels toward the far back behind the stages.

'Don't I know you?' is the oldest line in the book, but it's on the tip of Felix's tongue, attention caught by Niki. Where do I know you from? He's frankly staring, but it's much less lustful than a cop's curiosity. He's distracted enough that the entrance of the menagerie goes unnoticed, for the moment.

Emery rubs his hand over his face before sighs and looks to the cats before looking back to the club and then back to the cats and then back to the cats and he turns to face the door with his hands on his hips. "What is it now?" He listens to the cats mew and he throws his hands up. There is nothing to see here.

That's when Felix clues in. Cats, huh? He turns a little in the booth, peering past its edge. Clearly, this isn't part of the floorshow.

A man who can only be security (the fact that his dark t-shirt is too tight on account of how very large and muscular he is give it away) starts to linger around Emery and his… friends. "They do something they shouldn't, someone's getting catgut for Christmas."

Emery freezes and then glances towards this 'security man' with a thoughtful expression on his scarred features and he idly scratches his cheek before whistling sharply, causing the orange cat to jump into his arms as he cuddles it to his chest and he just stares at the man, left eye twitching. TWITCH TWITCH. But he finally replies. "Ye have got to be kiddin' me." He nods towards the catwalks. "…I thought ye'd be use to pussy…"

What, homeless guys get in with no cover charge? Next time, he'll have to show up in a grubby army jacket, rather than a suit. Felix is just watching, rather as if he's wondering who he should hand the tip to.

"…" That would be the security guard staring at the Irishman, unamused. It's not every day someone tries to bring cats in here. Who does that? He humours Emery the way someone would coddle someone they thought was mentally… unstable. "Keep them off the floor."

Meanwhile, more normal activities go on around S*Y*N; dancers work the stage, people gamble nearby, and a man is being dragged from the elevator and forcefully led to a highly secured door near the stairs by two men in suits. Their conversation rises and falls over the chaotic din of voices and varied music. "… even find him?" "…boss has… up there… say it can find anyone in the world." "…tie him up for awhile."

Emery sniffs and turns his nose up before shrugging and whistling to keep the others close to his legs as he wades/limps/waddles towards the bar and he sighs, shaking his head.

That's enough for Felix - he rises and takes care of his fraction of the tab, though he's caught for an instant by that fragment of conversation, narrowing his eyes for a moment, before turning away.

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