Santa Monica, Sunset Office Park.
Later Nicole's apartment.
"She's fucked." The latina girl's tone was so utterly dismissive it was almost impressive, and it made the large man leaning over the maps at the opposite end of the table chuckle even if it didn't make his eyes wander up away from the maps. After a minute his tightly braided haired head tilted just slight to the right, and wide black shoulders shrugged under a cream colored sweater.
"Mm, probably. We know what she has."
The other woman pacing and talking quietly into her smartphone stopped halfway down the table, her heeled feet turning to face the two men sitting at the opposite end of the table as the latina, "Has anyone heard from Eva?"
"I thought she was heading down the coast?"
The other man, the latino with the long black hair and slender frame, comfortably lounging in the over-priced leather conference table chair finally spoke up from the laptop he had been focused on, "Yeah."
The dirty blonde haired woman took the phone away from her mouth again, staring at the man for further detail. He smiled, finally, and the woman looked behind her. Standing in the door way was the tall Central American born woman with the dark hair and beauty that one associate had described to Rachel as 'uncomfortable--no one should be that pretty, you know?' Yet there she was, her beauty tempered by the clothes she wore: a black tank top, a black leather jacket that barely reached her waist, and dark denim jeans. "What the hell are you guys doing?" Words accompanied with the hint of a smile.
Yanci, the younger latina at the opposite end of the table as the two men, spoke first, "Dre and I are plotting the downfall of Tara Kearney."
The deep, low, voice of Andre followed: "Nothing too overt. Quick strikes designed to sow confusion and display just how vulnerable she leaves her people. Her strength is the people that fight for her, but all she really has are Brujah broods. With our PMC assets, the Ghoul Squad alone should have maximum effect on Tara's essential groups. Right now we're planning three hits: one by Ghoul Squad on her Oceanside compound, one by the former Commandos on her North Island property, and the third my own boys down closer to the border."
"Can you contact the Sabbat along the border?"
"Tijauna? You mean Cicatriz?"
"Who's the one in LA y'all have been watching closely forever?" The Tremere with the long dark hair popped his head up again, wondering aloud. The dirty blonde, Rachel, placed her other hand over the mic of her smartphone to answer quick and quiet.
"That's Leila Monroe."
Andre snorted laughter back, "The bitch that thinks she KNOW
LA but don't even know about us? Yeah, that one."
As much as it seemed to amuse Andre, Yanci seemed less so, "The bitch that thinks she has the 'connections' in Hollywood."
"Why do you need me to contact the Noddist Bishop?" Eva finally had to cut them off and ask, chuckling as she interjected.
"He's been locked in a fight with Tara for a while now," Yanci began to explain, and Eva was able to pick up the thread of thought from there.
"Ah. Use the Sabbat to weaken her? What are the chances he'll do that anyway? How does that help you keep San Diego?"
"If the Sabbat really wanted San Diego, they would have gone for it by now. They're too focused on the East Coast." Andre's deep tone sounded more or less bemused by the suggestion as he dismissed the idea of real Sabbat challenge to San Diego. "He'll know when we start hitting Tara, but it won't be actionable intelligence because it's all going to get to him via word of mouth delay."
Eva had started watching the dirty blonde Ventrue Rachel as she paced and talked and talked and paced and talked, entirely seperate from the conversation at hand. When the pacing brought Rachel back by Eva, the elder Kindred snuck her right hand out of the leather jacket front pocket and tapped Rachel's passing elbow to get her attention. Only when she had Rachel's pretty brown eyes did Eva speak, "What's up?"
"Vannevar Thomas," she whispered, again holding her other hand over the mic on the smartphone.
Eva's face contorted in sudden confusion, "Thomas has gotten stonewalled at every turn in Los Angeles for real influence and/or power. The Ghouls in government we've already disposed of the day he made them, and Hollywood refuses to even acknolwedge his existence, let alone his self proclaimed Princehood...?"
Again, Rachel covered the mic on the smartphone, and her eyes took on a harder gaze, "I know he's already losing."
Eva gave a bark of laughter, incredulous, "Uh, yeah, badly."
"Well...he can always be losing worse." The Ventrue shrugged, casually, before simply continuing on with her pacing and soft influence peddling on the phone to ensure the absolute and utter destruction of Thomas's reputation within SoCal.
"Does he even know who's behind his incredible bad fortune in LA?"
"Not from what I hear," Mateo, the Tremere with the long dark hair, spoke up without looking up from the laptop this time, "we have a few low ranking Tremere in Seattle that have secretly joined the Digital Draculas, they feed us information via Masika St. John. We know from hacked bank records that Vannevar is spending more and more as his answer to getting stonewalled here so far."
"Los Angeles is already flush in money, stupid ass," Andre's eloquence made Eva smile, and Yanci and Mateo snicker. The phone in her pocket gave a soundless vibration, beckoning Eva to remove it and see who was contacting her. And whether they were contacting Eva, or if they were contacting the 13th Generation Toreador thin-blooded that was popular among the Caitiffs, Thinblooded, and Anarchs in the city like the ones under Jenna Cross. The number that popped up, however, even made Eva blink a few times. She never did accept the call, instead pressing the red button to dismiss it.
It was the girl. And if the girl was reaching out to her...
"Shit. I have to go. Wrap up Tara Kearney as fast as you can, let me know how that one goes. Rachel..." The dirty blonde stopped and turned to look at Eva, leaving the elder with a smile. "You just keep hurting Vannevar. When he's ready to cry uncle we can make a move."
"Oh! One last thing, any objection to my approaching Corbett?"
The mental math of that took a few seconds for Eva, "...okay, just be careful with that one. And work fast, we're running out of time." Everyone at the conference room table looked up when Eva spoke those words, and stared. She knew things they did not, and that was about the extent with which she wanted to concern them with what was coming. There would be time for her to give them the rest of it and to re-focus them, even if not much, and Eva felt the pull at the back of her mind to remind her. "Let me know if something happens."
She waved to the front desk attendant, Courtney, a UCLA Law student who needed the money and thought she was working for some kind of organized crime organization. Close enough
, sometimes, Eva couldn't help but think as she slipped into the elevator and started to ponder just how exactly this was going to go. From the reports of her little spies a Garou had gotten involved on her behalf; and if that was true she knew exactly who and exactly why. And it made her grin, even if the rest of the report did the opposite: a Gangrel? If Eva got involved at all she might be breaking some Gangrel tradition.
But this was a city Gangrel, and she had seen the guy before, a cretin that drifted from Vancouver to San Diego and back again finding victims. He was supposed to be some kind of priest for some kind of Sabbat pack, but the pack had been picked apart over decades and he was the last one. Sabbat didn't make it any better, given the Gangrel's loner state in the greater scheme now. The apartment complex didn't take too long to get to, and was less a complex and more of a small collection of buildings. It wasn't new, by any means, but it wasn't old and run down either.
It was affordable, and anything near downtown Los Angeles that was affordable was a minor coup of real estate. There were a number of construction workers; it wasn't hard to tell from browsing the vehicles parked in the parking lot or peering at the little porch in front of each apartment, or their back balconies. She walked around the apartment complex a few times, finding at most an old latina woman in an old dress that spoke in her direction about God. Eva ignored it. On the third circle around the building Eva hoped to the second story balcony, the sliding glass door was an easy thing to silently get past.
Eva smelled the woman immediately, in the bedroom. The apartment was frenzied in places, there had been by Eva's estimation at least one solid freak out in the apartment since the woman returned with a new kind of existence. They couldn't stay, Eva sighed, knowing what happened when newly turned Kindred stayed in places that had been "home" just nights before: they got caught and killed. But she couldn't just walk up to her and demand she pack. Instead the Toreador found a chair in the liviing room that faced the little apartment hallway that led to the woman's bedroom, and sat down, waiting.
Listening to voices only she was hearing right now. Voices that didn't seem to know she was listening. Voices in the ancient blood.