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Discussion in 'Private Roleplay' started by Niamh O'Rourke, May 11, 2018.

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  1. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh felt her pale complexion flushing in response to the heat of her embarrassment. Lucrezia let the question hang there, what could she offer that executives from a multiplanetary corporation couldn't? It was laughable. Lucrezia wasn't some back alley litigator, she was a world class advocate and not likely to be swayed by a newly minted graduate offering a few thousand extra.

    She bit her lip to stop a retort as the other woman told her she wasn't her babysitter. "That's...not what I meant" she managed to keep her tone somewhat civil. She thought she was a good talker but Lucrezia had the advantage of experience. "I was talking about the trial! I meant, how soon is this all going to be resolved?". Her instructions were infuriatingly vague. To just keep her head down, not talk much, and try to act a bit sorry and human.
     
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  2. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Letizia ran her tongue along the back of the teeth as she considered the documents on her terminal. She had her work cut out for her, that was a certainty.

    “It’s still a little nebulous at the moment, but I can assure you it will be a while yet,” she said without looking up. “Much like myself, Mr. Löwe shall be gathering whatever evidence he can to try and substantiate a case against you. Considering the… state of the site where you worked, he hasn’t much to work with.”

    “If anything new comes up, I’ll have Aysha pencil you in for another appointment. If not, I will call on you for the preliminary.”
    Letizia finally folded her terminal and met Niamh’s gaze again. “Although if everything goes as planned, that might not even happen. The optimal scenario is that we settle this whole unsavory matter out of court. It would be a terrible shame if the tabloids dragged that pretty face of yours all over their main pages, no?”

    She smiled, sweet as ever. “Until then, Miss O’Rourke.”
     
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  3. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    It was not the answer Niamh wanted to hear. More languishing in purgatory while the scales of justice were prepared. She said a silent prayer to the producers of the Remington flamethrower and its fantastic talent for eradicating incriminating evidence. With luck all the prosecuting side would have found was ashes. "And if everything doesn't go to plan?" she enquired, arching one immaculate eyebrow. Her mouth tightened as Lucrezia called her pretty, "I assure you I'm much more than just my looks" was her stiff answer. It'd be much easier to snap back if she was some withered old crone.

    The smile was angelic. Niamh's was frostier than the slopes of Everest. Her teeth were bared but she nodded, slowly rising. Her eyes took in the opulent decor of the office, jealousy gnawing at her. "I'm staying at the Tiantáng. Aysha can reach me there if necessary".
     
  4. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Only years of schooling bid her bite her tongue at the lip she received. Instead she folded herself into her typical conceited recline and watched the girl leave without a word.

    But when the door closed – Zoccola.”

    Letizia allowed a satisfied smile to sweep over her features. Nothing like the pleasant quirk she put on for others, too — rather a proper, smug grin. She tidied her desk with the lazy air of a winner, then rose to depart for the chill of Seattle winter.

    She had a husband and lunch vying for the empty spot in her schedule, and thirty minutes to do both.

    Ah, life. So busy sometimes.

    __________________________________


    Seattle, Dionisi & Shanghvi
    Early April


    The hearing was at five PM sharp. Which is why, of course, Lucrezia had ordered Miss O’Rourke be there three hours earlier. Despite everything – her undeserved self-importance, for one – the girl was smart enough. The lawyer severely doubted they’d need that much time to prepare.

    Then again, experience had taught her there was no such thing as too much preparation.

    She arranged the documents on her terminal and glanced at the clock on the far wall. Three more minutes.

    The meeting itself would take place down the hall, in the conference room they’d added to the floor just for this purpose. For now, though, the pair would remain in the familiar confines of Dionisi’s office.
     
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  5. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh arrived two minutes before the appointed time. She'd initially protested the need to be there three hours before but a few sharp sentences from Lucrezia had impressed upon her the importance of it all. Namely that she wasn't inviting her over for the pleasure of her company, nor was it going to be the older woman's head on the chopping block.

    She'd prepared herself according to her instructions. Demure but not too demure, the right mix of spice and innocence. Black as if for mourning, but Niamh felt like her high collared dress was more suited for a novitiate nun. Her makeup was muted too but just enough to accentuate her natural charms. Her shoes had a small heel, she felt dressed more for a funeral than a trial.

    She swept into Lucrezia's offices like a stormcloud. Her heels clicked on the floor as she was directed towards the by now familiar office. Niamh was beginning to detest the location but she had to admit the Italian witch did seem competent at what she did.

    "Mrs Dionisi" she said formally, before doing a little twirl. She couldn't resist a smirk, "How do I look? Like I'm about to enter a convent?"
     
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  6. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Quite,” Lucrezia concurred after a brief glance from her notes. They were written in shorthand on her terminal, undecipherable to anyone but Mrs Dionisi herself. (And even then, the heavily accented Neapolitan got the best of her sometimes.)

    “Let’s hear it, then,” she spoke again after a spell. The lawyer set down her device and folded her hands in her lap. “When Löwe inquires about your version of the events that led to the research site burning down, what will you say?”

    There was a fine line between a rehearsed lie and a prepared statement. Lucrezia had only missed it a few times before.
     
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  7. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh did her best to sneak a peek at the notes but the scrawled Neapolitan might as well have been hieroglyphics. She gave up and did her best to get comfortable until Lucrezia asked her to sit like she was meant to for the hearing. Straightening up, she cleared her throat before launching into the rehearsed statement.

    Far too rehearsed. Niamh blinked as she was interrupted two sentences in, Lucrezia making a comment to that effect. She started again, only making it three lines further this time before the next interruption. This time it was the tone of her voice. And again, her posture. Niamh's jaw tightened. Lucrezia had bigger things to worry about than her client's feelings, it was important that this was perfect down to the last detail.

    She thought she was going to snap when Lucrezia chimed in to comment on something she'd gotten right three times in a row but forgot on this run through. Or when she'd decided to improvise with a bit of flair and been told to stick to what they'd agreed. Slumping a little in the chair, Niamh took some water with a grateful gulp. "And that time?" there'd been less interruptions at least.
     
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  8. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Better.

    “Again.”


    Her tone was neither clipped nor kind – Lucrezia had shed what little pleasantry she put on for client meetings throughout Niamh’s repeated attempts at sounding genuine. Miss O’Rourke was, of course, succeeding. She was a born liar.

    The girl knew this; Protogen knew this; Lucrezia knew this. They wouldn’t have paid a lawyer like Dionisi if they didn’t think their researcher could worm her way out.

    Between the aristocratic features and the demure airs she was putting on, guilt slid off O’Rourke like water off a duck. Or dirt off a politician.

    As the girl launched into her statement for the umpteenth time, Lucrezia glanced at the clock on the wall behind her. It was gilded, and Swiss, and mechanical. The devil, as she was once told, was in the details.

    (This was true of testimony and splendor alike.)

    One hour left.

    One hour left, and then began Löwe’s bloodletting.

    Lucrezia smiled.

    She could hardly wait.
     
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  9. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh narrowly avoided throwing a strop like a teenager when Lucrezia's only command was to go through it again. No praise for what she'd done well, no criticism beyond the obvious fact that she needed to repeat it. Lucrezia wasn't cutting with her words, just rather blunt. There was a force behind her words that advised Niamh that she better do as told. If I do this then I'm not going to be looking at twenty years. She knew someone like her would avoid the death penalty, she wasn't connected enough to avoid imprisonment if she didn't buck up.

    You're a fuckin' bitch. Her eyes flashed at Lucrezia but she obediently sat up, sighing as she straightened her back and went back into the story again. Two hours down and another to go. If Lucrezia Dionisi had thought two hours sufficient, then she'd not be here so early. Her hands fidgeted nervously, her head dropped when she got to particularly gruesome parts, her voice stuttered in the right places. It helped that she had the sort of face that could have fitted a Disney princess.

    Finally Aysha paged Lucrezia to inform her that Loewe had arrived. The man himself was in the waiting room. A tailored suit that did its best to hide middle aged spread. His face was full and well fed, skin still smooth from expensive rejuvenation treatments. Streaks of grey in his dark hair, he flashed a smile that was too bright and white. "I believe Mrs Dionisi is expecting me" he reiterated to her secretary, "She was the one after all to suggest this time". His eyes took in the decor of the waiting room with a bit of a grimace. "Has she been taking many cases recently?"
     
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  10. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Aysha was well trained. Polite, succinct, and – most importantly – an expert at stalling. She deflected Löwe’s questions while Lucrezia gathered the few things she would be taking to the meeting. Her terminal, the shorthand notes— and Miss O’Rourke, of course.

    “Our guest is here,” the woman announced in a cheery tone. She rose from her high seat and motioned to the side door. It led directly to the conference room, and she always used it in cases such as these. Nothing quite so intimidating than to arrive and be met with your foe already staring you down.

    Cases were won and lost on psychological battles alone – so Lucrezia put on her proverbial war paint, and conquered the chair opposite the door. The wet gray light of late Seattle spring shone onto the table before her, washing the whole situation in an ethereal glow.

    She straightened out her effects on the polished redwood and bid Niamh sit with an offhand gesture.

    Best stay out of the way for the first volleys.
     
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  11. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh rising from the chair betrayed a few nerves but Lucrezia had announced it just as if they were having someone over for tea. She obediently followed her into the next room. Lucrezia sat in her chair, looking like a queen on a throne. Niamh was ordered to a smaller one near the polished redwood table, an afterthought. Niamh sat, seemingly already forgotten as Lucrezia focused on the door.

    Löwe entered with as much bluster as he could muster. A wealthy man, he was still taken back for a moment by the spacious confines of her conference room. It was closer to Versailles than a lawyer's office. His smile was fixed but his gaze passed over Niamh curiously before focusing on his opponent. "Lucrezia, how good to see you again" he said, stepping closer and holding his hand out to shake. His voice was full of forced joviality and fake bonhomie. "A pity that I am here only on business" he said, his eyes flickering to Niamh for just a little too long.

    "How are the children?" he enquired, sitting himself and bringing out his own terminal to look at his notes. "I'd happily talk all day but as we're both busy I suppose it would be best to get down to it. Shall we stick to English or does your client require something else?"
     
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  12. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    She shook his hand and matched his expression; no, mirrored it. The lack of authentic emotion would be uncanny to anyone outside their line of business. For Dionisi and Löwe, it was just another day on the job.

    Lucrezia smoothed over the question like one might iron out a kink in a dress. She pretended to consult her notes for a moment as she replied in a slow, honeyed tone. “I’d have thought you’ve done enough research to answer that yourself, Percival.”

    Looking up with that same jovial smile in place, Lucrezia settled in. Now to salt the wound.

    “I suppose it’s true what they say about age in our profession, isn’t it? Well, nothing for it.” She motioned him on, then folded her hands on the table. The curve of her lips said ‘impress me’.

    Her eyes said ‘if you can’.
     
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  13. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    He forced a laugh though inside he seethed. Not yet forty and looking younger, Lucrezia had a bewitching quality about her. Löwe was a vain man who hated aging. His love of rich living was beginning to show no matter how many treatments he took. "It's the older lion who usually heads the pride Lucrezia" he said, trying to keep his tone light. "I was surprised to find you'd taken this case, no one seemed to know anything until a couple of days ago". Endangering what should have been an open and shut case.

    He looked at his notes for show, he'd read over the case enough to know it nearly off by heart. "Well I am afraid we're looking at quite a serious case here Lucrezia" he said, trying to let some concern bleed into his voice. "We usually hear about people being saved at aid stations, not dying. Some of these accusations are enough to put your client away for years even if she avoids execution. I mean we have reports here of unethical medical procedures, illegal experimentation, murder.

    Niamh sat meekly awaiting to be addressed. Lucrezia had explained to her at length that she wasn't to speak without her say nor volunteer opinions that they hadn't gone over. A little puppet that would do as told. Lucrezia would have happily conducted this all without her client if she could. Niamh was the one weak link that could wreck everything.

    "I just don't see how even you are going to be able to do anything about these charges, it's an open and shut case" he smiled, trying to sound sympathetic for her. As if he was impressed at her carrying such a cross.
     
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  14. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    E’ leonì song estintì, idiotà.

    “Please, Percival. Spare me. Do you think I don’t see what’s going on here?”
    She raised an arch brow. “You’ve been looking for your career case for decades, and now you think you’ve found your holy grail in this poor girl.”

    She swept a finger over her terminal and turned it so the prosecutor could see. “This is my client a year ago. Graduating. Is this really someone you envision as the mastermind of… how did you put it again? Illegal experimentation and murder?”

    “You want to pin this tragedy on Miss O’Rourke because she’s the easiest target here, not because she’s actually guilty.”
    Lucrezia shook her head. “Some blood needs to be let here – I understand. What happened is terrible, but you’re looking at this completely wrong. For goodness’ sake, Löwe, she’s barely more than a student. In the interest of catching the people responsible, however…”

    With a wry smile, she swept some cherrypicked evidence onto the screen. Not even a fraction of everything that Niamh had brought in, but enough to point a finger at Molina and Velasquez.

    “Have you even considered the senior members of the research team? You know, the people with actual power and influence?”
     
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  15. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Lucrezia's tone was perfectly pleasant but it didn't soften the blow when she referred to his failed ambitions. He wasn't prepared for Lucrezia to show Niamh in her robes, receiving her masters. It had surprised even Lucrezia when she saw it. A young bright woman, Niamh looked sweet and innocent there. Not the young viper she had to deal with as a client.

    Löwe didn't look as confident as he had a moment ago. He looked at the picture to Niamh to Lucrezia before repeating it. He might as well have tried to accuse a cheerleader of being a serial killer. He didn't get a chance to make his response. Lucrezia pressed the advantage, she'd parried his initial thrusts. Her riposte turned into an all out assault.

    Lucrezia had the gall to actually sound understanding as she admitted the reasoning behind the prosecution. She gestured to Niamh who was obediently keeping her mouth shut and trying to sit pretty. She was going to get her gold star if she kept it up. Lucrezia's dismissive handwave showed how little she thought of her in this case. Löwe had bigger fish to fry, not some mostly innocent minnow who'd just had the bad luck to be netted.

    "I-well no but-" he began to bluster after her demand about considering other suspects. His face had flushed a bit. "I mean your client's name was top of the list we were given. And the doctor who was heading the project...well he's dead" he said with a helpless shrug. With the grace of a drowning man, he lunged for his lifeline, "I mean you can't say she wasn't there!"
     
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  16. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    “Yes. My client was there, along with… what? A hundred other employees? That’s circumstantial evidence at best, Löwe, and we both know about half of them make a better suspect than Miss O’Rourke.”

    She lifted her hands, leaning back into her chair. “But if you won’t take my word for it, take hers.”
     
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  17. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh gulped as the spotlight went on her. Showtime. Lucrezia was content with her initial attacks, she settled back, letting her client tag in. She coughed to clear her throat, looking down at her hands nervously, just like she'd been told to. "Yes sir, I was one of the team assigned there. Mrs Dionisi is correct, there were over a hundred of us there when you include ancillary staff".

    She acted like someone trying not to fidget. "I was one of the junior specialists there. It was my first project with Protogen". Lucrezia looked content, Niamh singing off the same hymn sheet. "I'm really sorry about what happened there. Doctor Molina was just out of control". She swallowed a visible lump in her throat. "We didn't know any of this was going to happen. We were just focused on vaccinating and treating the wounded. We were there to help people".

    A bad dress rehearsal made for a great opening night. Worthy of her gold star, Niamh got it perfect. Löwe's questioning got nowhere. Even when he tried some more underhand queries, these were calmly deflected by Lucrezia who ensured Niamh wasn't caught on the spot. His bluster became quieter and he seemed far less certain as the story went on. Not quite open and shut, nor a quick finish like he'd hoped.

    He was quietly furious. "Lucrezia, I mean this is all well and good but she still needs to be seen in court" though his tone made it clear he was less than certain about that. Looking at the big doe eyed Irishwoman made him less than confident he'd win with her on the stand. She just didn't look like a killer.
     
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  18. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    She did not rush to rebuff his last assault. Instead she put on the shadow of her triumphant smile, slow and quiet. Lucrezia tilted her chin and met his shivering gaze with her deceptive warmth.

    It made Löwe even more livid.

    “Are you certain that’s the right course to take here?”
    Lucrezia waved her hand at the girl; an afterthought. “Miss O’Rourke is just another victim of this tragedy, and you… you want to put her on trial just to crucify some corporation. The jury will eat you alive, Percival.”

    Lucrezia let a beat of silence pass.

    “But— the people responsible are out there, and they can be brought to justice. With a little help, of course.”

    “That… is what you want, no? Justice for those who suffered?”


    Löwe seethed in quiet. “You want an immunity deal.”

    “I want an immunity deal.” And her voice was liquid honey.
     
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  19. Niamh O'Rourke

    Niamh O'Rourke Protogen Researcher

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    Niamh wasn't even important in the grand scheme of things. Lucrezia's handwave made it clear. Why bother all this time to catch a minnow when there were plenty other fatter prizes up for grabs? She exposed how ludicrous the situation was. Going to all this effort to pin it on someone newly graduated when the jury wouldn't even care. Löwe's teeth seemed to grate as she got down to the meat of the matter. Immunity.

    Niamh was back to her meek silence, letting the professional take over. Lucrezia laid some of her cards on the table, her words were smooth but steely. She was going to get that immunity deal by hook or by crook. "And if you were to get this immunity deal-not that I'm saying you'll even get one mind" his voice was agitated, caught off guard by her bluntness, "What would I get in return for dropping the charges against your client?". He was already entertaining the concept, on that slippery slope. "I came here as a courtesy, I don't know why I'm even listening to this".
     
  20. Lucrezia Dionisi

    Lucrezia Dionisi Hell in High Heels

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    Lucrezia entertained a humoring smile as she listened to Löwe console himself. Deep down he’d already realized she won. She was completely content to wait out the throes of his denial.

    “What charges, Percival?” Her tone was enough to imply the unspoken really all on its own.

    “I’m offering you what you actually want from this case – a target you can pursue to indictment. Miss O’Rourke will cooperate where able, providing you information as well as eyewitness testimony so that the perpetrators may receive due punishment for this heinous crime.”

    From the way his eyes flickered from her face to the evidence on display, Lucrezia knew she had him sold. The girl had played her part well, dabbing at her cheeks with a tissue at appropriate intervals, stuttering through the gruesome sections…

    a delightful execution.

    Which was, incidentally, what awaited doctors Adebisi and Velasquez in the near future. Miss Dionisi worked for the benefit of Protogen, after all. That they had decided to preserve O’Rourke and her talent was simply fortune looking over the girl.

    She steepled her fingers and demanded Löwe’s attention with little more than a gaze. “So. Immunity?”
     
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