EARTH The Great Games

Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Claudia Volpe, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Claudia Volpe

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    Claudia regretted not digging into the location a little deeper. It was one of those restaurant with a Web presence that was frustratingly light on details. That was almost certainly deliberate.

    She had come dressed for business in a blouse. Then she had been held at the door whilst they fetched the 'house jacket'. They had then made her wear this from the door to her empty table, before telling her it could not be worn at the table and taking it away.

    Claudia couldn't see the point in making someone wear a jacket from door to table. Then again she didn't get the fucking point of having someone play an actual harp for all six guests that seemed to be spread around the restaurant.

    It was an odd time to be here, half way from breakfast to lunch. A crisp, embossed menu was laid before her. It didn't have any prices. She hoped @Lucrezia Dionisi was paying.
     
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  2. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Nobody offered her a jacket at the door. It would clash horribly with her Armani trouser suit, and, more importantly, probably cost the host his job.

    The staccato of heels on marble hailed her arrival before she appeared around the corner, a vision in parisienne blue that seemed as regal on her as purple did on the kings of old. The dark red of her lipstick was the only slash of colour in her ensemble, drawing the eye like an open wound.

    She waved a server away with a minute turn of her hand and commanded the chair for herself in one fluid motion. That same hand then reached across the table, open and warm in all the ways her eyes weren’t.

    “A pleasure, Miss Volpe.” Letizia smiled like the gesture meant something. “Thank you for agreeing to meet on such a short notice.”
     
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  3. Claudia Volpe

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    She was quite accustomed to politicians and their aides smiling like that. Like a mask that they could slip on before speaking spiteful words from behind it.

    It was the mask they wore when they needed to hide their cowardice too. She could appreciate that when it hit the fan it was the politicians that had to answer to other politicians.

    Why didn't you hold the leash a little tighter on the dog? They would ask. Inaction was a disease that plagued their kind. Couldn't answer for decisions if you didn't make any.

    Lucrezia was sharper than your average career politician. Claudia had already been shown that much in their brief meetings. Back when she hadn't been a politician, but carefully steering a legal ship through dangerous waters. Wasn't a sixty year old man with a large gammon-coloured head resting on a mountain of jowels either.

    The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end.

    "A pleasure," she replied. There was no smile, simply the absence of any negative reaction. Being hired two days a week on a call-off contract to Pinkwater hardly kept her busy.

    "Very quiet here," she observed. She said back down after a very brief handshake. She tugged at her blouse, trying to smooth out the creases that she could never seem to get out with the iron.
     
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  4. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Where Claudia sat rigid and straight-backed in her chair, Letizia had adopted an almost careless slant to her pose. It lent her an air of blithe insouciance, dulling the edge of her gaze.

    “Volpe,” she enunciated slowly, tasting each syllable in its proper pronunciation. Her lips quirked upwards in a genuine smile. “Parla italiano?”

    The dossier on her terminal said no, but Letizia would be the first to admit that dossiers were little more than a compilation of consolation data. Her own excursions into the operative’s past had gleaned much more useful intel, but it wasn’t the sort anyone with half a brain would record on a government-owned device.

    Thankfully, she’d discovered De Oratore in the Oxford university library a very long time ago. Its many halls and shelves still served her well over thirty years later, relegated though they were to colourful loci of a vast memory palace.
     
    #4 Lucrezia Dionisi, Mar 11, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  5. Claudia Volpe

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    Volpe leaned her head back fractionally. Enough to cast a suspicious glance down her nose towards the politician. Her expression returned to neutrality, but she paid slightly more attention to their surroundings. An odd choice of time that she had assumed was more to do with Dionisi's packed diary than anything else. Yet it was also a very quiet hour here. No one sat on the closest tables.

    "Enough from Nonna to have a good rant but probably not for a serious conversation I think," she replied.

    She had the sense that this was a conversation where she wanted every detail to be abundantly clear. Was the request due to missing the language or for privacy? Speaking another language wasn't a sensible protection against a determined threat, but might be enough to protect against bystanders overhearing. She imagined that if this place was frequented by politicians then it was probably also visited by journalists. A few runins had shown to her how damaging reporters could be with a little information.
     
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  6. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Letizia conceded a contrite expression as she settled forward, folding her delicate hands on the table. Only a faint white line remained as a reminder of her latest late husband, nearly subsumed by an even Sicilian tan.

    “Shall we eat first and talk later, then?”

    The restaurant was the sort where a mere thought was enough to summon a server to the table. She smiled and addressed him in French as he offered her the menu. One rapid-fire conversation later, and another waiter appeared to christen their glasses with a crimson wine whilst the first disappeared to tend to their orders.

    “I trust you’ve no issues discussing business on a full stomach, Miss Volpe?” It didn’t hurt that the salon upstairs was that much more private compared to the open expanse of the ground floor.

    Even if four out the six patrons were her personal detail – one could never be too careful.
     
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  7. Claudia Volpe

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    Not even a hint of surprise crossed her face at the exchange in French. Volpe was a little hard of luck recently with no position to her name but she wasn't about to let it show that she felt remarkably out of place here. She had felt out of place on Ceres too - for a very different set of reasons - and had managed just fine. People were just people everywhere.

    "You know where I used to work. Business is a twenty four hour job. Full or empty stomach."

    During one of the mot difficult situations she had marshalled from the ops centre for nearly a full day straight one of their youngest staff members had been told bluntly that his vital job was to 'fetch the fucking pizzas and coffees in.'

    Besides, she suspected that this wasn't the kind of place where she was at risk of leaving with a full stomach. Probably a compressed smear of eight flavours of celeriac on a clean white plate with a sliver of meat on the side. Couldn't complain; the meat here was probably real.

    "You didn't give much of a hint of what that was though," she observed before picking up her glass. Volpe had expected that the wine would taste like any other. To her mild disappointment it was quite spectacular.
     
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  8. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    The please remained unspoken, though the tilt of her head and the patronising twitch of an immaculate eyebrow could well have shouted it into the silence of the restaurant.

    Content to let the last question hang between them, Letizia scooped up her glass as if she were inspecting a work of art. She held it up to the plentiful natural light pouring in through the floor-length windows – a defensive nightmare, judging by the number of profanities spat out by her head of security.

    There were worse ways to die than with a century-old Bourgogne on your lips.

    “As you so helpfully pointed out, Miss Volpe – I know where you used to work.” The ring of her glass as she set it back down served as ample punctuation for the past tense. “Tell me, do you find your work with Pinkwater… fulfilling?”
     
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  9. Claudia Volpe

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    "It pays the bills."

    It barely paid the bills. Despite a reasonable rate they'd only given her three and a half days of chargeable work in the last calendar month. One of those days had been spent reviewing some procedures for carrying out background checks on staff so it didn't feel all that rewarding either. Property was expensive and she still had a mortgage to pay.

    Volpe took another sip of wine. It was a very small sip. She probably could have made the sommelier feint by describing the wine as exceedingly drinkable. However, she felt under even more scrutiny than when she had sat to give testimony to a committee as part of a televised investigation.

    "I don't do all that much for them."

    Had someone checked who her own clearances had last been checked by? It wasn't like she had put the work on her public CV.
     
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  10. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “No, I didn’t imagine you would. A waste of your talents, isn't it? You’re many things, Miss Volpe, but a paper pusher you aren’t.”

    Letizia polished off her glass with gusto that bordered on despair; caught the last drop on the lip of her lip, a pink tongue darting out against a scarlet Chanel.

    Her eyes shimmered like honey as she turned her face into the light. Her gaze slid from the mercenary to the server, his arms laden with entrées.

    “I’ve not told you what this job entails because it’s not a job.”

    And then, as was her wont, Letizia left the woman hanging at the end of a foreboding sentence in favour of food.
     
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  11. Claudia Volpe

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    Volpe was taken straight back to that committee hearing. A horseshoe table around her small desk with politicians attempting to ask leading questions to trip her up. None of them had the stones to make direct accusations at her, though they were frequently slinging mud at each other. They had wanted to direct her towards a path that had her tripping up on her own. Those kind of meetings frayed her nerves more than managing the the standoff at the Centrepoint Tower from the Ops floor.

    She hadn’t decided which way this was going to go. Wasn’t even sure if that was a suggestion there was an off-the-books job to be done or if the woman literally meant this wasn’t about a job.

    Volpe didn’t know all that much about Lucrezia. She was sharp yet put on a friendly face in public. Easy to see how she got to where she was. Like every italian politician of note she had a string of broken marriages behind her too.

    An immaculately presented plate of food was placed in front of her. Tiny little leaves of bright colours next to something that looked like a scotch egg. It wasn’t. A chef who was probably a household name had made something that looked like one out of entirely different ingredients. Volpe looked at it with suspicion and picked up a fork.

    “I’m not in the habit of divulging information on my employers if that’s what you’re after,” she said quietly. Might as well get that line down in the sand now.
     
  12. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    A mild laugh rose from the woman opposite. “I’ve no interest in Pinkwater.”

    She had colleagues aplenty who delighted in hunting down private contractors – usually to squeeze them for ill-gotten intel they condemned in public. Letizia preferred to work with them instead.

    Such a shame that these prosperous relationships were so taboo.

    “I understand you’ve a specialised set of skills, Miss Volpe. You’ve also an allergy to my… breed, correct?”
     
  13. Claudia Volpe

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    “Pfft, just to bullshit,” she replied with a shrug. The not-scotch egg oozed black and yellow when she eased the outside edge of her fork into it.

    “Don’t like my work being interfered with for political reasons. Which is why I’m not running CT command right now I guess,” she replied. That job certainly wasn’t worth the size of the public paycheck. Even if it had come with a particularly fine pension.

    She hoped this wasn’t leading to a dirty job in the belt. “Speak plain and we’ll have no issue. If you can’t do so here then we’ll have to go elsewhere.”
     
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  14. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Then we’ll just have to wait for dessert.”

    For someone whose entire career was wholly dependent on how well she could turn a phrase, Letizia was remarkably comfortable in silence.

    The meals were appropriately fantastic, filled with flavour and soil-grown ingredients. It was only lunch, however, and she had only so much time – she was sparing in ordering a mere three courses.

    “Upstairs,” she said, already rising from the seat. Her detail would guard the steps once they both left, but the salon itself would be four eyes only.
     
  15. Claudia Volpe

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    Now the reason for the location became a little more clear. As expected, she hardly had a full stomach but the meal had been worth however much it had cost. Dining out wasn’t something she had been able to indulge in recently. Even if she walked away from whatever Lucrezia was going to offer she had that at least. Volpe wondered if they let you take the rest of the bottle away.

    A private area was well away from eavesdroppers and the restaurant itself was still quiet. Volpe settled herself down and sat straight. They hadn’t asked her to wear the house jacket between tables this time.

    “Right then, specific skills. Why are they of interest?”
     
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  16. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Letizia perched herself down on a settee and swept an invisible dust mote from her trousers.

    “Because I need you to kill someone for me.”

    Her mouth twitched into a smile that was as indulgent as it was patronising. Her eyes swept across the room before settling back on the woman opposite. She crossed her legs.

    “I require a competent set of hands, an iron stomach, and an invisible past. I require someone who’s seen the dirty underbelly of politics, knows how it works, and knows how to swim in those waters. Not so much to cut through the red tape as… sidestep it completely.”

    Letizia tilted her head to the side. “No bullshit.”
     
  17. Claudia Volpe

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    Took a lot to rock Volpe back on her heels but that managed it just fine. Her eyes widened a fraction and her fingers drummed a beat on the table.

    Killing someone was just outright murder. She had killed people before, but un-sanctioned murder was a very different thing.

    She turned her gaze towards the floor, brow creasing in consternation. A slow nod and she turned back to face the politician.

    “No bullshit,” she agreed. “What kind of person?”
     
  18. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Letizia let out an undignified snort. Her lips split wide into a wide grin.

    “Cazz’, you should’ve seen your face.”
     
  19. Claudia Volpe

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    Hands balled into fists on the table in front of herself. More at her own failure to listen carefully than directed at Lucrezia.

    “I'm sure it was greatly amusing,” she all but growled. Her hands slowly unclenched and went about smoothing out a crease in the table cloth. It seemed so out of place here. So did she.

    “I was half way to working out which political opponent you were going to try and off and how to get you arrested for it.” She gave a shrug. “Italian politics.” It was always a murky thing.

    “My past isn't quite so invisible, though I doubt many people remember me that well.”

    Stop selling yourself short and losing a possible job Claudia.

    “Then again, some of them still owe favours.”
     
  20. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Well, I assure you you won’t be bored. Provided you accept, of course.” Her smile remained, watered down though it was by the cold that now settled into her eyes. The shift in the room was palpable.

    “I may be Italian, but you’ll find my politics rather more… Russian, I should think.”

    “Unlawful murder aside, I meant every word I said. Having a background in the public sector, I’m sure you can appreciate the obstacles I face in trying to do my job as efficiently as possible. The unfortunate drawback of a transparent democracy, I’m afraid.”


    Her lips twitched. “I like getting things done, Miss Volpe.”
     

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