Unexpected Changes

The sun has freshly set, and a fire roars in the study room of Aspanu's home. He enjoys a glass of wine, sitting in a red leather chair in a stately recline. While the visit has been pleasant, it is clear he has something on his mind, his gaze wandering often back to his reflection in his cup. Now that he's invited Samuel into his study, he asks, "Son, I believe you mentioned an urgent need to speak with me in private. You have my undivided attention.", crossing one leg over the other as he seats himself comfortably.

Samuel bows his head as he enters, a box of fresh cigarillos tucked under his arm. "My friend." He answers, stepping forward as he comes to have a seat. The cigarillos are set to the side. "Once, in the city of Venice." Says the man as he settles down. "There was a market manager by name of Fausto. Fausto… ran a strong market, but he was an impolite man, he chiziled his customers and beat, threatened or otherwise alienated those who would be his friends. The Doge of course, knew little of these things for the market man, Fausto, belonged to another crest. And yet, that crest bore the Doge honor." A pause as he breaks out two cigarillos…

"This created a problem, for Fausto, called and claimed and told his customers that he spoke with the Doges authority. He never said it directly, but he had people say it for him. Had them… act in ways that hurts the power and prestige of the DOge. Now, eventually, people struck back at Fausto. And fausto was wounded. But the war it caused, brought the attention of the Emperor. Fausto put the Doge in an unfavorable position."

Steepling his fingers in front of his face, Aspanu takes a deep breath, "I assume that the fable is in reference to Joey Luccianno?", his expression darkening somewhat. He nods, "I've been told what happened. He has been less of an asset most recently. I'm starting to wonder if the powder is getting to his head.", shaking his head. He continues, "But if there is more to the fable, I'd love to hear it.", smiling a bit before he takes another sip of his drink, eying one of the cigarillos expectantly. He notes, "I apologize for being so drab in conversation. Recent events have been quite taxing on me.".

Samuel nods to the man, as the man drops the pretenses. Aspanu must be secure in his privacy at the moment. "Starks, as his street name is, is long in the tooth. He is powerful, but he is hated. This damage to Simpsons watering hole is proof of that, in conjunction with the attack on starks's freight business and his other holdings. The FBI are involved, as you may expect. I wish… permission… to use my skills and abilities to sever the ties that do exist in the darkest places, between you and Lucciano. Lucianno has threatened my family. He has threatened those I work with and he threatens you, Aspanu. I have contacts in the FBI and the Company. I will see that Mr. Lucciano is not on the streets much longer… He is paranoid. Irrational. Powerful. Unpredictable. He is not stable."

Aspanu notes, shaking his head, "He's been hung out to dry as it is. If the cops get wise, he's standing to go down the river for a long time. I'm not worried about him talking. He's not /that/ stupid. But he knows a good deal, enough that if a mage got hold of him….", his dramatic pause insinuating drastic consequences. He continues, "As you said, larger parties than the family are starting to move. I wonder what damage control /can/ be done. Lucciano, despite his best efforts, is useless to us now. A liability, even.", hanging his head slightly.

His expression brightens as he asks, "Can I ask you a favor, Son-in-law?" with a smirk that dictates it's not going to be one you are likely to be enthusiastic about.

Samuel bows his head. "My friend need never ask a favor of me, for the moment I know it, it will be done. Before you ask though, I wish to understand explicitly, if it will be displeasing to you for me to undermine and remove Mr. Starks."

Aspanu holds a finger over his mouth for a second, "I need to speak with him first, which should be soon. As in an hour or so. I want to look him in the eyes, and hear what he has to say for himself. He's made a fool of us all, if he seems to be acting irrationally when I speak to him….", another dramatic pause, "You may not have to worry about it.", staring Sam directly in the eyes.

He notes, "I want you to help try to salvage his operation. As in take the keys. He will not be able to work for us right now, and someone needs to oversee the reconstruction of Franky's. Plus, Luccianno, despite his abraisive behavior, held off a lot of would be enemies, with his brutal tactics. I have it on good word that KE will be "Cracking Down". We need to cool off. This is going to be expensive, but that's how it's gotta be if we don't want to take the risk of losing it all.", sighing, looking very frustrated. He notes, "Everything that I… That we've worked for, is at risk. I don't want a lot of movement right now. When the heat has died down, we'll have retribution.", nodding slowly.

Samuel raises an eyebrow. "To be clear. You wish me… to take… control of Mr. Starks affairs?"

Aspanu nods, "For the time being. I'm just talking babysitter duty here, keep it quiet. I don't even want people outside of this room to know. Use an assumed identity, I'll make the needed arrangements.".

Samuel nods slowly. "I will… need your verification and backing, through Simpson, for an outsider, one Julio Giovanni Falcone… to take the reigns, but I shall. This is not my desired course of action, but my friend, you have need.. and I would not refuse you."

Aspanu notes, "The tables may yet be turned my friend." with a confident smile. He notes, "And be assured your loyalty will not go forgotten.", sipping his glass of wine. He notes, "I'll have the appropriate parties informed. For now, act under the pretense the operation is, as always, one-hundred percent legitimate.", standing to warm himself by the fire. He asks, "Falcone? Is that name inspired by anything?

Samuel shakes his head. "Just an alias I use now and then, when I need to move unseen. No records attached to it, so he is 'clean'… I will have a SIN purchased in a few days to match it… unless your people can assist in that."

Aspanu nods, "I can help, but only sparingly. I don't mean to cut creds, but the amount of laundered funds I have available is limited, thanks to certain investigations.", sighing with annoyance. He passes over a credstick, "I hope this helps.".

Samuel looks down to the SIN-Stick. Programmable, modifiable…. he can put his own details in, and it will propagate itself in the systems… "I will, offset the cost of this, my friend." He does not give Aspanu a credstick. That sort of thing is Gauche between friends. Instead, he will give it to one of his men on the way out. "I am… very grateful."

Aspanu comments, "And I to you, for giving me some time with my lovely granddaughter. She'll grow up to be a fine young woman someday. I think she could make old men out of both of us when she hits her teens.", laughing, walking with Samuel to the doorway. He gives a serious stare, "Keep yourself alive. No matter what. Dead men can't rebuild drek.", then winking and smiling.

Samuel does not, ever once, try to overpower Aspanu with bravado or attitude; Nothing like that. A meeting between friends, not business partners. The cigarillos are Cuban, quite nice. "I'll bring Viviana around next wek for another visit, if you like… I'll visit the ruins of frankies, I'll force the issues need."

Samuel turns, and moves from the room.


Three days later

Aspanu waits in his study once again, enjoying the funny pages of the flimsy plastic newspaper. His chair is pointed toward the fireplace tonight, casting an orangey-yellow glow over him.

Samuel enters the room, pausing at the entrance, his hands folded in front of him. He awaits being acknowledged, a polite, respectful posture to him.

Aspanu turns in his chair so his head can be seen, "Please, come in. Pull up a chair, soak up some of this warm fire.", gesturing to a slightly newer, squeakier and less broken in red leather chair. He is enjoying the cigarillo you left for him last time, "I'm getting to see so much of you these days.", with a chuckle.

Samuel smiles quietly, offering a nod as he steps in to the room. "THis meeting, my friend, is.. I fear… much less cordial. It is with regret that I must tell you I cannot in good faith or conscious, steward the businesses of the Rattos that Mr. Starks oversaw before his actions caught up to him. I bear you love in my heart, Aspanu, but Mr. Starks is continuing to gather data and intelligence on people who owe -me- loyalty. He continues to make himself a threat. As you no doubt heard, I brokered a peace between them. It was in good faith. I no longer possess that faith and will, I am very sorry my friend, take steps to -restore- the faith I have in those who look to you with

Aspanu 's features wrinkle with concern, the comment left him taken aback somewhat. He takes a moment to collect his thoughts, looking down into the funny papers, "I'm not an… Unreasonable person. It's only natural to expect certain things. Men with power sometimes confuse the possesion for the devine right to implement it at any given opportunity.", clamping this cigarillo in his teeth. He shakes his head, "His superiors are still begging for his life. There are so many intrests at stake here. I can't outright call a hit on him. I hope you understand.", a dramatic pause, "But I will not allow retribution on a man who simply meant to protect those dear to him, who has shown the mob respect. Such a man, in this situation, would have to use his own resources, however.", giving a single, approving nod, the glowing fire reflected in his eyes.

Samuel nods to the Don. "My faith in you, Don di Denver… is as ever, unwavering." He takes two steps back, not turning his back, but making to leave his friend in peace and further undisturbed.

Aspanu smiles, "Keep warm, my friend.", raising the cigar in a wave.

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