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JL| Danielle Atarah, Kalina Zett | Earth Syndicate | Reconstruction, Pt I: “We’re Fucked”

Posted on 241708.27 @ 9:30pm by Danielle Atarah

Mission: Non-Plot Log
Location: Earth

"Fuck," Zett rose so fast from her chair, it flung backwards, rotating wildly and hitting the wall behind her. Dani startled, lifting herself from her perch on the sofa in the office, her eyebrows raised. The Trill grunted, took an angry breath, and walked, briskly, towards the elevator, grabbing her black leather jacket on the way.

The jacket.

The jacket that made her look a little less like a friendly rainbow-haired neighborhood Trill, and a lot more like the head of the crime syndicate that she was. Dani blinked for a second, alarmed, her mind digesting, and then she jumped up and rushed to join the woman, straightening her own shirt, as if she could ever mimic the deadliness that poured out of the woman next to her with any sort of wardrobe adjustments.

"What’s going on, Z?"

"Trouble." Zett noted coldly, holding the doors for Dani, her face hardening, her eyes cooling, her entire demeanor magically transforming, chilling Dani to the bone.

Dani’s first instinct was to wait, here, in the upstairs office, for the woman to come back. That was what she usually did; her instinct to continue ignoring the other side of their current existence - the cold, calculated, lethal side - burning in her mind like a torch. She blinked, considering for half a second, and shoved it away.

No more lies.

She walked into the elevator and Zett let the doors close, the little box moving swiftly towards the basement. Dani took a worried breath, looking at the Trill with concern. Zett closed her eyes for a moment, waiting for the doors to reopen. When they did, she opened her eyes again, and Dani shuddered.

The blue eyes of the woman next to her shone with such cold lethality, she looked like she gained 5 inches in height just from the aura alone. Dani tried to hide her alarm. Whatever is about to happen, there would be others present. If she is a part of this side of the story, she needed to stop looking like she was a silly little prop to the leadership of the syndicate. She cleared her throat and found herself more than a little terrified at how easy it was to externalize her determination. All of the playfulness and cartoonish merriment she was ever known for slipped away, vacating itself in favor of a serious, furious, glare. It wasn’t Zett’s level, but it would have to be enough.

The two women walked out of the elevator and into a dimly lit corridor Dani recognized it by its purpose, though she’s never been there before. Doors peppered it on both sides, heavy and locked. A whine was heard from the farthest door to the left, and then a huff, and another whine. Zett stopped in front of the door and gave Dani a quick cold look. This was the last chance to bail out, Dani knew. She appreciated the Trill recognizing the opportunity to ask, even through her current obviously furious "on the job" state. Dani couldn’t decide if she was terrified or fascinated.

She didn’t bail. Zett opened the door and walked in. The whine intensified, morphing into a stream of panicked words that barely resembled a sentence.

"Boss! Boss, it wasn’t me, I swear I just took a look, I didn’t do nothing, it wasn’t on purpose, I gave it back…" Dani could barely make up the rest. A small man with blood-stained clothes kneeled on the dark floor, his face a mask of pain and panic, his eyes pleading. Two of Zett’s burly goons stood next to him, not even bothering to hold him down anymore. There didn’t seem to be much of a reason to, in his broken state. Dani swallowed and slid into the dark corner, watching the scene unfold.

"Gareth," Zett sighed that name, walking slowly around, giving the kneeling man an appraising look, reminding Dani of the 50’s gangster movies she used to love. Except for the smell blood and sweat that permeated the room.

"Ms. Zett," Gareth whined, and Zett, who truly didn't like that title, narrowed her eyes at him, but said nothing. "I I I," he stuttered, "I didn’t do nothing, I didn’t, I was just there, it wasn’t me, I was just--"

"You were just stealing from me." Zett noted coldly, calmly, a fact, not a question. Dani shuddered again, realizing this would not be the last time tonight. "What did you take, again?"

"I didn’t, I didn’t--" Gareth started, gesturing wildly, but his words cut short when one of the goons shoved him back down.

"Fifty bars of gold pressed latinum." A cold male voice offered from the other side of the room. Dani looked for the source, recognizing the owner immediately. Aldus Smith, Zett’s long-time right-hand-man and head of her security, stood casually in the darkened corner, his expression almost bored. Dani knew him well; well enough to recognize the slight edges that slipped, the underlying expression hiding behind the facade. He was worried. Dani found that incredibly troubling.

"Two hundred slips." He continued, and the man on the floor started crying. "And two pallets of automatic hologuided projectile rifles." He finished, and Dani finally understood the initial urgency in Zett’s voice, and the deep lines of worry around Smith’s eyes. She had to swallow her reaction, but apparently failed; Smith glanced at her, and then back at the kneeling man, biting the side of his lip. His gameface was incredible.

"Rifles," Zett repeated, looking down at the bloody man.

"No, no, you don’t understand, I wasn’t taking anything, I was just…"

"Rifles, Gareth?" Zett repeated, and kneeled down to face the man, her calm voice barely covering the bubbling rage underneath. The two goons tightened their posture, readying themselves to any reaction the small man would attempt, now that Zett was so close to him. Dani didn’t think any of that was necessary; the idea Gareth was going to do anything other than cry and, possibly, piss himself, was in the realm of pure fantasy at this point.

"Stealing from me," Zett whispered, "that’s bad. But rifles, Gareth? Two pallets worth?" Her voice broke at the end of the sentence, letting the rage through. She caught herself and took a breath.

He was trying to speak, to answer, but Zett’s expression shut him up. He whined, instead, shaking.

"If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought you’re planning a war." Zett hissed, staring at him.

"Or a coup." Smith offered quietly.

"No… no, not me, no." Gareth whined, shaking his head violently. "I wasn’t trying, no, I would never..."

Zett glanced up, and one of the guards kicked the man again, slapping him out of his babbling whines. She turned her eyes back down and stared at the terrified man. "Who."

Dani swallowed, watching. Gareth shook his head again. "No one, no. Please. I have a family, see. I… you can’t…"

"You have a girlfriend every other tuesday, and your parents are dead," Zett spat, "stop fucking around. Who told you to steal from me? Who’s planning a war?"

"I don’t--"

"You do. You didn’t do it for yourself," Zett tilted her head, as if thinking, "did you? Is it you who is planning a coup? You want me dead, Gareth? You want to take over the organization?" She reached for his arm and he flinched, falling backwards, "are you the one who is plotting against me? You know what that would mean, don’t you, Gareth?"

"No," if there was any energy before behind the man’s voice, it was completely gone now. He stared in horror through blood-shot eyes, and Dani wasn’t entirely sure if he was shaking his head or just simply shaking.

"Well, it sure looks like it’s you. Money… guns… from my own fucking storage. My own house. You have some balls."

"It… it wasn’t for… I…"

"And after you got promoted, no less," Zett continued, not taking her eyes off him. "You know I’m going to have to do something about this. You know I can’t let this go. You were plotting behind my back, Gareth. That’s not just stealing, that’s fucking treason. I can’t let go of treason, can I."

He started crying again, his words an unintelligible jumble of syllables.

Zett sighed and rose to her feet slowly, shaking her head in disgust. "You’re not that smart or that big of a fucking fish to have planned this on your own. Someone sent you. Someone that is plotting to destroy what we are building," she gestured, as if they were in a construction site, building the eighth World Wonder. "You’re going to take the blame for this treason, is that what you’re telling me? You think whoever sent you to steal from me is worse than I am? You think they’ll get to you before I have a chance to get to them, and pull their testicles through their mouths?"

"I can’t," Gareth swallowed and whined again. Smith moved, but Zett stopped him with a gesture. She took a breath, turning impatient. "Listen closely, you piece of rat shit, because I am losing my fucking patience." She turned and took a frustrated breath, anger bubbling. "If you think whoever sent you is about to barge in here and stop me from tearing you limb from limb -- slowly -- until you tell me what I want to know, you’re much stupider than even your mother thought."

"No," he whimpered, "I can't…"

Zett looked at her burly companions. They didn’t seem to need any explanation; they grabbed the sobbing man by the shoulders and dragged him up roughly. Zett shook her head, then shrugged.

"Fine. Make it slow. Make it visible. Dump the body in the bay." She turned, and Dani was about to protest, unable to hold herself through that kind of a ruthless action, but before she could, Zett looked up at her, directly, intentionally, shaking her head almost imperceptibly, raising her hand with a ‘wait’ gesture. Dani swallowed, looking at the people in the room, trying to decide her next actions, hoping Zett knows what she was doing. So far, the scene seemed way too close for comfort to what Cardello used to do. She didn’t like this at all.

"Jorin! Jorin!" The main squealed before any of the goons could even attempt to carry out their orders, and Zett, still looking at Dani, nodded knowingly, a trace of a cold knowing smile decorating the edges of her lips; ‘see?’. Dani did see. Too closely.

"It was him, it was Jorin, I swear, he… he’s the one, he… he’s building his own syndicate, he got his own crew and… and locations and…" he started shaking again, "I didn’t have a choice, he was going to kill me," he looked at Zett pleadingly, "my cousin, I have a little cousin, I swear, he… he was going.."

"Don’t give me bullshit, Gareth. He offered you lots of money and you thought he was going to win," Zett stared at him. "Where were you going to take my money? Where were the guns going?"

"He… he says you’re weak." Gareth mumbled, speaking about Jorin seemed to fill him with some amount of confidence, "you and… and... your new rules," he looked at her accusingly for a brief second, his confidence rising enough to allow him the courage to do that, at least, before Zett’s glare shut it down completely, and he shuddered, whining again.

"He has people," he repeated, weakly now, the confidence replaced by apologetic whimpering, "he has connections. He’s been working with the Martel Consortium, he… he says they back him. He’ll… he’ll…"

"What is he doing with Martel?" Zett couldn’t hide her alarm. Smith neither.

"They are backing him. They want their market back, he said he’ll give them access again after… after you shut them out."

Zett took a breath, glanced up at Dani, and back at Gareth. Dani paled.

"Where were the guns going?"

"He’ll kill me."

"I’ll do worse." The room’s temperature dropped two whole degrees, and Gareth shuddered again, shaking, his legs giving out so quickly, the two muscular men holding him had to forcefully plop him up to prevent him from crumpling to the floor.

"Eh," he whined, uttering a stream of unintelligible words again, and the looked up, trying to use his legs to stand. "Helsinki," he whispered, broken. "The warehouse in Helsinki. I was supposed to send the guns there."

Zett glanced at Smith. Smith blinked slowly, his eyes hardening even more than before.

"And the money?"


Smith whistled. Zett gave him a sideways look. He shook his head. The broken man started sobbing. Dani stared, frozen in horror.

Zett nodded finally, thoughtfully, and turned away from his form. The guards let go and he finally fell, like a rag doll, to the cold floor, muttering apologies and prayers, begging. She ignored him, looking at Smith, nodding once, and then, finally, turning the cold blue ice of her eyes to Dani, freezing the smaller woman’s blood in her veins, gesturing at the door.

"Please, please, I told you, see? I can be loyal, I can be. I can tell you everything else, I can!" Gareth sobbed, from the floor, looking between the two who were clearly the figures of authority, besides Zett, in the room.

Dani swallowed and followed Zett’s gaze, moving her heavy legs towards the door, turning to leave, the implications of the entire event - and the news they’ve all learned - rushing, fragmented, in a dazzling whirlpool.

"What do we do with him, boss?" One of the goons asked, the ‘boss’ said with emphasis, as if to teach the broken man on the floor how to properly speak the language. Zett paused at the door, about to speak, but then stopped herself, looking ad Dani again, then nodding. "Keep him company for a while. Gareth and I aren’t done yet."

Dani nodded, approving, noticing with a large amount of relief that Zett was considering her moves rather than acting impulsively. Whatever will come next, they needed this now.

And they will need this even more very -- very -- soon.

- - -

Kalina Zett
The Boss
(Yet-nameless) Earth Syndicate

Danielle Atarah
(Yet-nameless) Earth Syndicate


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