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JL| Danielle Atarah, Kalina Zett | Earth Syndicate | Reconstruction, Pt II: "Royally Fucked."

Posted on 241708.29 @ 4:58am by Danielle Atarah

Mission: Non-Plot Log
Location: Earth

"Well, fuck." Zett rushed into the office like a tsunami, just barely managing to stop in front of the huge viewport, placing her palm on it, pressing it to lean her head in frustration on an outreached arm.

"We have loyal crew in Frankfurt." Smith said, measuredly, "I can get--"

"FUCK." Zett repeated, cutting him off. He bit his tongue, nodding severely.

Dani bent towards the sofa’s armrest, leaning her weight into it, stabilizing herself. Her legs felt weak, weightless, but her chest was heavy, shifting her body in a dangerously precarious tilt forward. She placed her arms on her thighs and took a breath.

"He’s working with Martel," she muttered, shaking her head.

"They must have been more pissed than we realized," Smith nodded, "after we dismantled their smuggling operation."

Dani looked up at him, nauseous. "Children, Smith. They were smuggling fucking children. We had to dismantle it."

Smith shrugged. "Apparently, they found an alternative that will not be so disgusted by the prospect."

Dani’s stomach churned. That was her operation, her insistence, they wouldn’t have even started anything with the Martel Consortium if it wasn’t for her; she just couldn’t bare the thought that anyone would be doing these things at all, let alone on Earth, under the mighty Federation’s noses.

"Are you seriously saying we were supposed to just let them--"

"If we had, the coup wouldn’t have had the resources it--"

"They were smuggling children, we--"

"Enough." Zett called, not all that loudly, her voice crisp and balanced and as cold as ice. "It doesn’t matter what would or wouldn’t have happened; if it wasn’t Martel, it would have been someone else. We knew we could have problems when we took over. We knew we’d have opposition. Now we need to crush it."

Smith nodded, immediately letting go of the previous argument. "We have a loyal crew in Frankfurt. We can set our grounds there and be mid-way between Helsinki and Bucharest. Get in en masse, nip this in the bud. If Jorin was waiting for the money, they can’t be ready to mobilize yet."

"I want him dead." Zett noted, and Dani’s blood froze just from the tone of her voice.

"I’ll make sure we get him to you."

"Whoever sided with him, too." She looked at her right-hand man, and he nodded in agreement. "Them, their families, we can get--"

"STOP." It was Dani’s turn to call out, furiously, with a shockingly clear cut voice. "Stop it, right now. We’re not going to start a fucking war in the middle of fucking Europe."

Zett looked at her, as if only now realizing the implications of the conversation. Her eyes softened, but only a little, only as a result of the gaze, only at her, and not quite all the way.

Smith cleared his throat. "We’re already at war, Atarah. You’ve heard what he said. It’s only a matter of time, and only a matter of who takes the first shot."

"That’s what Cardello used to say. We got rid of him, remember?"

"He wasn’t wrong." Smith pointed out. "Not in these things."

"Yeah, he was," Dani shook her head, strength coming back to her limbs, blood rushing through her body and filling her back with energy. She lifted herself up and stood tall, looking up at Zett with furious determination.

"I’ve learned a lot of history, Z. A lot of history about organizations like ours; how they rose -- and how they failed. They’ve all had this fatal flaw that started small and grew to destroy them." She paused, as if expecting someone to guess what it was, "arrogance. Fucking arrogance. They were rushing, impulsive to react, expanding too soon or too fast or cheating in their taxes--"

"What?" Smith blurted, but Dani ignored him.

"Cardello was making the same mistakes at the end, you know that. We didn't take over just because there was an opportunity, we saw the end, we saw where he was taking us, and it was going to get us all killed."

Smith didn't say anything, Zett's eyes became thoughtful. Dani continued, encouraged by her conviction, by the agreement in the silence around her.

"If we go, guns blazing, to the middle of civilian Europe, for fuck’s sakes, we are going to get a lot of people killed, including us. We are going to get the Federation so high up our assess it won't even matter we hold the keys to the syndicate anymore. Nothing will matter."

"We can't let them live, Atarah. They're people with determination, knowledge, and grudges, and these things are extremely dangerous in our business."

"What are you going to prove by setting out to murder the whole clan right in Federation stronghold, Smith? You can't dangle bait in front of a shark and not expect your head to be bitten off."

Smith smirked at the analogy, but the smile had the spice of appreciation in it. He was listening.

"Killing is the easy way," Dani spat, and Smith let out a sarcastic scoff. "We kill, they kill, someone comes up that kills better and bigger, it never fucking ends. We will always stand here at the end of the day thinking who next thinks they can stage a better death match, a bigger scare, who can get more people to kill ours before we kill theirs. That's how Empires fall, Zett."

Zett sighed, skeptical but listening. "so what do suggest?"

"We don't need to kill them." Dani gestured, looking at Zett. "We need to fucking crush them. Completely. Like bugs."

Smith said nothing, for the first time, his eyes showing a level of interest. Zett remained thoughtful, listening as well.

"We need to crush them so decisively and completely, that no one, for years to come, will ever dare rise against you. Death would be better than crossing the mighty Zett, because if you cross her and the syndicate, you end up wishing she'd have killed you."

"And how do we do that, Sun Tsu?" Smith asked, but his voice was surprisingly without malice. Dani glared at him, but a smile, cold and dark, spread on her face, and this time it was Zett that took note.

"We cheat."

- - -

Kalina Zett
The Boss
(Yet-nameless) Earth Syndicate

Danielle Atarah
(Yet-nameless) Earth Syndicate


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