Sentinel Square Cafe

The Sentinel Square Cafe, an unassuming little location in Netopia Net, has a disreputable and somewhat filthy appearance to it. The Sentinel is a hot spot for what most would consider deadbeats, many of them unoperated navis or navis trying to get away from their operators. Here, daily eight hours shows are given by these navis displaying various talents; these are the busiest hours and the time at which Jacques, leader of the NetMafia's Vivarte Family, enjoys visiting the location. To Jacques, understanding the culture and beliefs of every navi, not just the intellectuals to which one is most often exposed by the media, is essential to his strategy. A simple drink here now and then helps to expose him to the thoughts of the common man, but it's only a small cog in his masterful mechanism of achieving his goals.

Unfortunately, this is not the type of place Kismet, a member of the prideful Head Family, prefers to be seen. Apart from the few unpolished gems who perform here, this place is a den of drunkards, a pit of thieves, and worse, a place for navis to assemble to talk about undergoing illicit affairs. Still, wanting to get Jacques on the most favorable terms possible, she has come to this cafe to meet him without upsetting his schedule...

Walking in through the shabby wooden door frame of The Sentinel, Kismet clutched her dark hood around herself to become as inconspicuous as possible. Her outfit wasn't terribly vibrant, but even the midnight blue would stand out against the scenery here. This was a place that most people went not to be noticed, so there was almost a uniform of drab grays and browns adopted by its occupants. She understood that she wouldn't be found here, but she also didn't want to stand out as a little girl amongst all of these down-and-out men.

Jacques was proving annoyingly difficult for her to find in the crowd of shabbily dressed men. This was largely due to the fact that he himself dressed in a very inconspicuous way and also surrounded himself with two others, SPs whom he also called Jacques. She recalled him being unusually tall though and set out to look for a table occupied by three men, at least one of them 6'5." A part of her wanted to just give up and leave, opting instead to arrange a later meeting at another time. When she remembered that her next stop would be the Teksqp outpost, she decided that she really ought to be able to enjoy even such a shady location as this.

After she spent about a minute futilely searching, she was finally signaled to the correct table by the beckon of one Jacques' hand. Grimacing as always, she went to take her seat, disengaging her crystal orb helmet as a sign of good faith. Her comical face, that of a little girl's set into a low scowl, met the Jacques that had called her over with its usual unhidden pessimism. A few flicks of sharp green hair stuck out here and there from her hood. She sat down at the booth, scrunching in to the fourth Jacques. "So first things first... You mind telling me which of you is the real leader?"[font=DokChampa][/font] she asked quietly, keeping her low grimace and raising one eyebrow above her shifty, dim eyes. The scene created was fairly silly; an irritable little girl sitting with three extraordinarily tall men.
The center man, dressed in his typical normalnavi-print outfit and brown coat, raised his hand. He stood out only marginally from the other two at his table, who both looked almost indistinguishable from the rest of the cafe-goers. They remained silent as he spoke to the cafe's unusual visitor. "Ah, Kismet, I hope you didn't have too much trouble finding me, of course," he said. "So, how can I help you?"
Kismet turned to the man, propping her elbows on the table and slouching in an uncharismatic way that made her look even shorter by comparison than she already had. "I'm sorry for not explaining the whole situation to you over the message earlier, but it's a pressing matter that's also quite complicated. I'm sure it has not escaped your attention that OrbitMan, your predecessor, was and is still involved in a campaign that aims to rid the Netmafia of its anti-NP initiative through some terribly radical measures, starting with the disbandment of the Bloodhounds,"[font=DokChampa][/font] she started, glaring in a no-nonsense way into Jacques' handsome visage. "Earlier I viewed all of this as just harmless politics, but now the situation's getting out of hand, even if the rest of the Head Family's not doing anything to acknowledge it. OrbitMan and the Bloodhounds are involved in active threats against each other. The Bloodhounds have even enlisted the support of the Teksqp in counter-intimidating the Vivarte under OrbitMan. I'm not sure if you are aware of it, but just recently Boss Oni, a Teksqp big wig, stormed into his homepage and physically threatened some of your underlings. I imagine OrbitMan probably tried to sweep the event under the rug and keep this out of your view so that you wouldn't become upset, but the time for him to try to push this mafia reform is over."[font=DokChampa][/font]

Finishing up her explanation, Kismet leaned back and turned her head briefly as a loud note came from one of the musicians on stage. She turned back to the major Jacques, keeping her grim expression. "My point here is that the time has come to tell OrbitMan to throw it in. The Mafia is not getting rid of its anti-NP initiative nor its Bloodhound Family and if he keeps on trying to make these kind of changes, we could even experience civil war between the Bloodhounds and Vivarte. I've talked to PantheonMan about it and I'm going to stop in to reason with the Teksqp, but it would mean a tremendous amount to me if you could use your authority to silence OrbitMan. I don't believe he'll refuse a direct order from you,"[font=DokChampa][/font] she requested, crossing her arms as she waited for a response.
As Kismet finished her explanation, Jacques took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly. "Yes, I was aware of such a campaign. As for the incident in OrbitMan's homepage, all I was informed of was that some form of incident had happened. Now, I agree that he's overstepping his authority. However..." He took another deep breath and leaned in closer. Normally he would consider such a gesture unwise, but in this particular establishment it was even less likely to draw attention than looking away from Kismet. "Let's be honest. The Bloodhounds and the Teksqp both are doing nothing for our reputation. The Bloodhounds are...savage, unnecessarily violent, and some of them care little more for their allies than their enemies. As for the Teksqp family...well, you're taking a neutral stance in this dispute, aren't you? You tell me what exactly they're useful for.

"Whether we give up our anti-Netpolice stance or not, my opinion is that we would be better off without one or both families. Now, don't get me wrong, I can and will tell OrbitMan to stop his senseless campaign. However, I'd appreciate it if you consider that before laying the blame for this dispute on my family."
Jacques leaned back again, his expression unchanging.
The bridge of Kismet's nose wrinkled for a moment as she sniffed, a nasty habit she had that revealed her displeasure in regard to a circumstance further than her usual scowl. She leaned back in her seat a little more to gain more distance, as she was particularly uncomfortable with being close to people. "Well, it's clear you've got some distaste for the Bloodhounds yourself. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, as they really only appeal to the outlandishly violent. It's also a valid point, of course, that the Teksqp don't have an immediately obvious role in the Mafia, but all the same we've given them that budget of authority so that we can rely on their support. I really don't hold you all here in Vivarte responsible, but I'm hoping maybe you'll be reasonable, as opposed to a conglomerate formed of our least reasonable individuals here in the Mafia."[font=DokChampa][/font]

She paused and bit her thumb, trying to think of how to proceed. "Furthermore, there's simply the fact that one side or the other is going to need to yield: you guys or the Bloodhounds and the Teksqp. They've got the benefit of majority representation in this, unless you can find another group that will support OrbitMan's cause. I know that I myself will not, as I believe that the Bloodhounds and the Teksqp are both vital to the ultimate victory of the Mafia. I won't bore you with my personal beliefs. Anyways, you have three options:"[font=DokChampa][/font] she concluded, holding up three gloved fingers to emphasize the point and counting them down. "One: let things proceed as they are and face increased group tensions, possibly culminating in an internal war. Two: give up the goose and persuade OrbitMan to stop. Three: find more support within the mafia for OrbitMan's ideas."[font=DokChampa][/font]

As she spoke to Jacques, Kismet's pessimistic mind was grinding furiously. "I should remember who I'm talking to here,"[font=DokChampa][/font] she thought to herself, still biting into the latex material covering her thumb nervously. "This guy is always siding with the underdogs anyways, right? There's no way he's going to commit to silencing OrbitMan and his gang when they're the minority in the argument..."[font=DokChampa][/font] Still, she fixed her cape behind her as she waited for an answer from Jacques. "If there's still no persuading you I'll just have to move on to the Teksqp."[font=DokChampa][/font]
The main Jacques bowed his head and closed his eyes. "You've got me there. For as much as I dislike both families, the last thing I want is a civil war. We already have our hands full with the NetPolice without more infighting." He fell silent for several seconds, considering Kismet's third option. Certainly, finding more support wouldn't be difficult. He knew the Techari family wouldn't come to his aid, certainly not under Altair, but the newly instated Creel family would probably support him, if only to avoid becoming complete hypocrites. And if that didn't work, he could always resort to raising the silent majority, the Mafia supporters who sided with them for their anti-Netpolice agenda but wouldn't speak out against the problems with their chosen side.

It was good in theory, but led back to the problem of starting an internal war. If he let things slide, the rising tensions would probably result in such. But if he raised more support and actively pursued OrbitMan's campaign to disband the Bloodhounds and Teksqp, the possibility of a civil war within the netmafia was almost a foregone conclusion.

Eventually, he looked back up at Kismet. "Very well, I'll concede for now. You'll likely be hearing of this again in the future, but for now I'll have a talk with OrbitMan about this."
Kismet, who had braced herself for a fierce argument, let out an inaudible sigh of relief at Jacques' conclusion. "Well, that's good then. Please get in contact with me if you manage to resolve the issue one way or another. In the mean time, I will go and confront the Teksqp. I'll see if I can change their mind on the matter, but what mind they even have to change is questionable,"[font=DokChampa][/font] she droned, failing to sound thankful despite her words due to her ingrown pessimism. "Enjoy your evening,"[font=DokChampa][/font] she muttered, rising up and drawing her cloak up around her. Kismet had no intention of sticking around the Sentinel any longer than she had to, so she hurried for the door, feeling that her mission here was basically complete.

Before the waiter could come out to start her meal off with some water, she was already gone, reluctantly on her way to the Teksqp base of operations.