EARTH Suits and Subtlety, or How to Cheat at Chess

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Lucrezia Dionisi, Aug 27, 2018.

  1. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “You don’t much like being tethered to our authority, do you, Ana?” It was a statement worded as a query, like so many of her questions. Letizia could hold a dialogue without any input of the other person, and often preferred it that way. Others could be so… frustrating sometimes.

    But not this woman. They shared a way of thought, if not the modus operandi.

    “So what is it that has really brought you all the way back home? I daresay you aren’t often drawn here to tend to matters personally.”

    Oh, she’d a good inkling of what it was – there were some new bills on the table in her department in the light of recent events, many of them unfavorable to enterprises like FrontierCorp that thrived on shirking regulations and low supervision.

    But damned if she’d show a single of her cards. She simply took another sip of her drink and gestured one of her figures forward.
     
  2. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    "I don't much like being tethered to anyone's authority Lucrezia" Anastasiya corrected gently, making her move. She settled back on her seat and regarded the other with a small smile. "If we were on Mars right now my feelings would be the same. As they would if Venus, Pluto, or Mercury had rulers".

    She laughed a little, "Oh I can't claim it was just to see you? You are correct, I'm back here twice, thrice a year if I have to. But some things do require my attention. Though I think you're well aware of some things looming on the horizon that will be of some interest to me. Troubling things, but bills and proposed laws always are aren't they?"
     
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  3. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Her brow arched to utter the amused ‘no?’ that oozed from the tilt in her posture. Letizia seemed to all the world as a reclining predator luxuriating in the shade after a sating meal. What exactly she’d dined upon was hard to say – and, perhaps, best left unsaid.

    “You ought to try it in more pleasurable circumstances sometime, darling,” she offered in a glib tone as she leaned forward to top off her glass. “Perspective is everything, after all.”

    Settling back in with a pleasant smile, Letizia sipped from the tumbler cradled in her left hand. The chill of the vodka infected the metal band around her ringfinger, and she had to resist the urge to take it off.

    “Depends on where you’re sitting. And from my side of the table…” she trailed off, gesturing to the chessboard between them even though she clearly meant anything but. Even so, it was an apt enough metaphor – a victor had yet to emerge from their opening gambits.

    Letizia was a patient woman.

    “How’s your seat, Ana?”
     
  4. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    A small laugh came from Anastasiya, not sure if she'd heard the other woman right or not. She resisted the urge to give a sharp reply, tact was better in this case. "Yes, perspective is everything I suppose" she said, with a small shrug of admittance.

    "My seat...can be uncomfortable at times. But a bit of discomfort is to be expected. And it's good that it is. I don't want to become guilty of getting slothful or too comfortable now do I? Keeps me on my toes". A finger came to her lip in thought, "What's that saying there is? Not the size of the dog but the fight in it? That hunger keeps us sharp".
     
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  5. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Much as she liked to vaunt the absence of her strings, the mogul before her nonetheless bit back her verbal riposte.

    What was the fierce bite of a muzzled dog? Little else but a source of amusement, Letizia decided as she settled her focus and intellect wholly on the blonde. Slowly, the layers of pretense – the visit, the drink, the game – were all peeled away, revealing the rich lifeblood of her profession.

    Information. Secrets. Knowledge.

    It was all she could do not to lick her lips.

    “Is that your way of saying you’d like to dine with me again, Ana?” Letizia looked up and smiled that serene smile. “Would you like that? Keeping your teeth sharp on government meat?”
     
  6. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    Anastasiya shrugged. "It's always a pleasure to dine with you" she said, smiling back. She could be serene when she wanted to as well. The smile became a bit more forced as she went on, "I don't always need government meat" she reminded, steel lining her voice. "I'd enjoy dinner but I don't require charity".

    She leaned forward now, "I keep hungry out of choice, it's not from scarcity. My teeth are sharp enough as you can see. But if that is an invitation to dinner, why I gladly accept".
     
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  7. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “That’s lovely to hear, Ana,” Letizia smoothed over the serrated reply as she leaned her chin on an insouciant hand. “Would you like to sit on my side of the table, then?”

    “You’d be surprised at how much difference the view makes. Even if the meal is the same.”
    She tipped her head towards the door. “Shall we?”

    No time like the present, after all.
     
  8. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    Another shrug. "It can't hurt to try I suppose". Anastasiya rose with leonine grace, waiting for her hostess to join her. "I'd be delighted to accept, though I'm curious to see the difference the side makes".

    She ignored Lucrezia's courtiers, the usual entourage preparing to accompany the woman. Assistants swarmed her, bleating about appointments due, plans they had scheduled on the planner, matters to attend to. Ana let her deal with them, a few deft words and dismissive gestures enough to send them scurrying or leave mollified.

    "I see they don't like things happening unannounced" she observed, amused at the individual reactions, "Are many of them new?"
     
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  9. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “It doesn’t matter what they like. It doesn’t even matter what I like, Ana. This is a business. If they cannot show the necessary capacity for adaptation…” she trailed off with a sharp smile that was sure to be understood. They were both human vultures in their own way.

    “Hardly. The captain may change, but the crew stays the same. I may be a bitch, darling, but I’m not so arrogant as to presume I understand the minutiae of this department as well as they do.”

    The ride from the building was swift enough, taking the pair to the small, if luxurious upscale part of New Hague. Letizia calmly dismissed her personal detail once they crossed the gilded threshold of the Altan Ord. A maitre d’ quickly negotiated a quiet spot for the two women, and then they were being escorted upstairs for a panoramic vista of Earth.
     
  10. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    "Yes what is that they say about the administrators who stay while the heads change? The political opposition are only the opposition in exile. The Civil Service is the opposition in residence. A necessary evil you have to put up with".

    Lucrezia's status ensured their travel was swift and unimpeded. Even the restaurant made way for them, granting them one of the most choice seats in the establishment. Anastasiya savoured the view for a few moments. "A view as exotic as Titan in some ways" she mused, "I don't think I could tire of it".
     
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  11. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “So it’s true? Distance makes the heart grow fonder?” What a quaint exchange of adage and phrase, their conversation. Letizia turned her eyes away from the blue planet with the question; settled them on her unlikely companion instead.

    Anastasiya Tershchenko. Corporate tycoon. Her neighbor at the table.

    Not opposite.

    Beside her.

    Well, she thought with a private little smile, life does take the strangest turns.

    “Now that we’re here,”
    away from the prying presence of the offices, on the same proverbial side, eye to eye and close enough to share body heat, “do you think you could perhaps loosen your tongue a little, Ana? I’d hate to spend a lovely dinner extracting what you want from me.”
     
  12. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    "Out of sight, out of mind. Far away hills are green and all that" Ana rattled off. "There always is a bit of sentimentality with our home. And she is home to us all. Even the Belters and Martians have to admit that".

    She professed surprise at the query. "But of course! Ask away, you'll find me an open book Lucrezia" she said with a winning smile. "It is a mixture of business and pleasure so we can discuss whichever you prefer first".
     
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  13. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    An open pamphlet, rather, she thought as she sipped the complimentary wine. Or better yet, a picture book.

    God, but these corporate types were all so transparent. Letizia made herself play into the same stereotypes – batted her lashes, wore low dresses, flashed pearly whites – and inevitably one of them worked. People wanted to be loved and appreciated. Especially people in this line of work.

    The only skill keeping Deputy Undersecretary Dionisi moored despite the uncertain political weather of tomorrow was her self-awareness.

    And the money.

    “Business, please,” she spoke softly for their closeness (for the gravel in her voice). Her eyes flicked up from the menu to the magnate. “I prefer to end my evenings on a pleasurable note.”

    They ordered swiftly once the waiter materialised next to their table, and then Letizia settled in to listen with a minute smile and a rapt gaze.
     
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  14. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    Anastasiya ordered before she got down to the nitty gritty. "Well your wish is my command. You're aware of these proposals to institute tighter regulations on commerce in the outer planets? Myself and a quite a few other free traders are not in favour of them".

    She took a sip of her drink. "It seems to be purely reactionary based on the recent political events there, a form of sabre-rattling with Mars. I'm back here to lobby against it. Profit margins are slender enough as it is. If these proposals pass then there might be anarchy out in the Belt. No company is going to continue operating if they're at a loss".
     
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  15. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Free traders…” Letizia echoed, finger gliding along the rim of her wine glass. “Are you not operating in UN territories? Are you not based in UN territories?”

    She turned her gaze slowly, slowly, and sought out those piercing green eyes. There was a smile lurking at the corners of her lips; like a lion in the high grass. “But… I am not indifferent to your concerns, Ana. I used to run a business myself, as you well know, and I realise the economy is not nearly so black-and-white as the policies make it out to be.”

    After an enchanting first sampling sip of the excellent vintage – a chemical clone of the prodigious 1961 Chateau Latour – Letizia set down her glass and spoke again. “I could see to it that the level of supervision be toned down at the expense of higher customs tariffs.”

    Big corporations evaded taxes like politicians evaded responsibility, and both sides traded bribes like candy.

    “If you think you could make up the difference, of course.”
     
  16. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    Lucrezia seemed to enjoy reminding her just who controlled the Outer Planets. Her voice was sweet but the words were quite direct. Anastasiya bit back a scowl, "De jure yes" she said, "De facto? I mean they might be blue on our maps but there's plenty of red and grey blotches mingled in there. Your military seem more concerned with squaring up to the Dusters than they do policing UN territory. Why else are companies like Star Helix, Pinkwater, and CPM employed? You saw a luxury resort on Titan, the majority of the Belt is far less palatable."

    She could have won an oscar for that expression of sympathy she now offered. Vague promises suddenly solidified as Lucrezia revealed what she could do for her. Even the phrasing at the end was a challenge. Oh no, she wouldn't shame her friend by saying she couldn't afford it. But she knew there'd be no humble backing down here. "I could make up the difference" Ana said, trying to avoid her voice going up in delight. She opted for a casual tone, as if it was of little consequence.

    "But that would depend on how much these tariffs go up". She knew Lucrezia would take her own cut though the layers of deception in between would ensure even a thorough investigation uncovered nothing. "And I'd be happy to throw in something extra for such a friend in my time of need".
     
  17. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Oh, no need to bother. I’m sure there will come a time where you will be in the unique position to lend me assistance, Ana.” Letizia graced her with another smile over the rim of her glass, brown eyes dancing in the low light. “Until then, consider it but a favor from a friend.”

    As if to prevent anything more being said on the subject, the waiter appeared with their dishes. She sampled the appetiser with delight, those keen eyes closing to savor the flavor.

    “Now let us talk of more pleasant things, darling. Tell me, where do you take your vacations? I’m looking for new recommendations outside my… usual circle.”
     
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  18. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    Another smooth smile and she was still hooked. Lucrezia was smart, she wouldn't ask for something now but she had made it clear that for the next while Anastasiya would be in her debt. It was irking because she mightn't be in the position to refuse it when the time came around to repay her.

    "Of course" she said with her own smile, "A most generous friend". The conversation was halted there, Lucrezia politely but firmly switching it to non business talk. "On Earth? Well it depends what I'm in the mood for. There is the family estate in Ukraine but we keep a lodge in the Urals for summer. I enjoy there for riding, hunting, fishing".

    She ticked off one finger on her hand, "But if it's for the sun I do recommend one of those resort ships in the Caribbean or Pacific. It's like an artificial island but they move it according to the season and inclement weather. I find a week of heat, swimming, sailing, and fine dining is the perfect panacea. Where do you prefer?"
     
  19. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Oh, I’m predictably Italian I’m afraid. Hotter climes suit me perfectly, while your homeland… well, I’m sure it’s not nearly as cold as it used to be before we destroyed our environment. Still, the sun and sea are a balm for the weary soul, wouldn’t you agree? Quite unmatched—”

    A server appeared in that moment to deliver the next dish and pour their glasses full of the accompanying wine.

    “—except for good food and better company, of course.” Letizia smiled with genuine delight for once as she closed her dark lips over a generous forkful. “Caribbean you said? Suppose I should make early arrangements then. Time does fly by in office.”
     
  20. Anastasiya Tereshchenko

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    "I wouldn't call it cold so much as bracing. It's actually quite pleasant in summer" she said, "Agreed, it's my first port of call after any rejuvenation treatment".

    She sighed in delight at the taste, "Now that was worth the journey from. Early arrangements? They'll always have a suite or two free just in case someone of consequence shows up at the last minute. You should be rewarding yourself, the work will wear you out otherwise. Let me know the dates you plan to try it out".
     
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