Log Title: The Royal Treatment
Summary: Royal attempts a charm offensive to try and net an ally at the GPPI - to mixed results.
IC Date: Tue Feb 19 19:24, 2381
OOC Date: Tue Feb 19 19:24, 2019
Related Logs: None
royalwelch

 

 

"I don't have the energy to actively resent you. Passive resentment, maybe. Latent, like an inactive disease stuck somewhere down in the lungs of most people."

Spice of Life is one of those rare establishments close to the ground, but with an upper vibe. It's right on the border of the ground and the mid-uppers, and caters primarily to criminal types and the occasional richer type walking on the wild side. It's not particularly wild, though. It's smallish - only about fifty seats or so, and drenched in dark wood and rich carpeting. It occupies one of the higher floors of a mid-century highrise - that is, the original building before another hundred storeys grew out of its head. Between the buildings, one can spy the twinkling lights of Golden Town - the shanty village on the now disused Golden Gate Bridge.

The menu includes impeccable cocktails and small plates, and there's a haze of jazz and rich tobacco in the air. The staff have their hair done up in vintage 'dos, including the men who wear their hair long so it can be styled. Either that, or they're good wigs.

It really is Royal's kind of place. Elegance, decadence, but not too far off the ground. He's currently chatting up his server, going over a cork-backed menu. He's wearing a bright peacock blue suit that's classic in cut if not in fabric. It has fibre optic thread woven through it, which means the threads light up subtly and differently as he moves. His invite came to Welch via an ONI method, and just requested the meet in the name of 'improving relations between colleagues.'

* * *

The reply Royal got was terse acceptance and a joke about billable hours. But, acceptance all the same.
The lift releases a small crowd, five or so, with Welch making up the tail - drifting in the gravity of how the place functions, drawing new clients to the host or hostess, then to the bar or tables. He's dressed not in black, but in a suit nearly identical to that which he'd worn to Royal's office (except in a nearly black, navy blue). The jacket, however, is open, over a vest, tie, and shirt. No holster. No gun brought to this upper-lower crust. He inhales, nostrils flaring at the taste of rich tobacco in the air - a reminder to at least one of the vices he carries with him.
He continues on behind the light crowd as he scans the room, looking for a familiar face while he others help him not to stand out. Or maybe they're evidence of another habit, like human shields. When he spots Royal, however, he diverts course, ignores host or hostess to cut right toward the wealthy PI's table or booth, and he takes a seat with an addition of, "Whatever midrange scotch you've got and another of whatever he's drinking."

* * *

"That is a fantastic watch," says Royal as he reaches for the wrist of the young man showing him the menu. "May I?" When the server nods his ascent, he lightly touches his pulse point of the young man's wrist and examines the watch. "An heirloom, yes? Something from the 1920s, if I'm not mistaken. Perfect to wear in this atmosphere, I'd say. Mine's…" He pulls up his sleeve to show his own watch, which is understated, but elegant to those who know watches, with a rich leather band. "…a family heirloom. It belonged to my great-great-great grandfather and has been worn by every Duke of Cumberland since my family…oh, hello." He releases the server's wrist and smiles to the approaching Welch.

"Midrange. Not on my watch. Do him a titch better than midrange, will you? A sixteen or older. And yes, another Old Fashioned for me, cheers, darling." He lifts the cut crystal glass to down his first drink. "Welcome to Spice of Life. I was quite pleased when I found it. One doesn't need to get a nosebleed heading into the sky to find quality these days."

* * *

"I've seen someone earn a hole in their head for toting a watch from the 23-20's," Welch comments, if only to put a damper on things. But he's smiling at the server, the next moment, nodding to confirm the upgrade to one of his proposed drinks. And he turns his attention back onto Royal. "I've drank the equivalent of paint thinner out of jar," he says, as to the search for quality. And he shrugs as he lets his gaze wander to take in their surroundings. "But I'll admit. There's something to be said about having a little more luxury than that in your life." A concession that doesn't do a lot to correct what's already been said. The barrier he's already erected with the server. Whether intentional or not.
"So. Is this the equivalent of slumming it, for you? What's the occasion?" he asks, doubly. "Did you already have your meeting?"

* * *

"I was flattering the young man, and he was humouring me. It's a very nice replica, nothing more," says Royal after the server has moved out of earshot. He does watch the server go before returning his attention to Welch, though. "Ah, no. I've got a meeting with Carnage tomorrow. I gave him the head's up about possible contamination. He doesn't quite believe me, so I'm going to have to go in person to make him take me seriously. You?"

The service is quick. Seems Royal's flirtations have yielded front of the line service. Either that or his credit rating did that. Welch gets his drink first, then Royal's, each on a napkin.

* * *

"And I was getting ahead of any undue attentiveness from staff," Welch says, for his own part in intent with the server - also once they're out of earshot. And his regard shifts back onto Royal, at the detail of the meeting tomorrow. When asked in turn, he shrugs, and answers, "Age old truths. Cops are all about hot donuts and cold cases. I'll be in when they have nothing left to dunk in their coffee and enough empty tables for a briefing." Either Welch just isn't an ex-cop, like so many PIs are - or he just had enough bad experiences on duty to harbour more resentment than nostalgia. More likely the former.
He leans back as his drink arrives. Doesn't thank the server. Doesn't even give him eye contact. Just takes his drink off te table for a testing sip. In no hurry to waste tonight's luxury.

* * *

"Well, sounds like we have plenty of barriers in this case. Let's not add one in each other," says Royal as he keeps his attention on the other man as he sips his drink. "I know what you must think of me. I know what the GPPI in general think of me. But I follow the same rules as you. Same guild regulations, same access. And intend to earn my place up the ranks with closed cases."

* * *

"I don't intend to get in your way, so long as no one's in mine," Welch states, in a sort of tired concession before taking a longer sip of his scotch. And he savors it, simply shaking his head in answer to the rest, before he swallows - lets the burn really build. "You have your presumptions of what I think of you, based on what I've said to get on your nerves," he counters, leaning forward. "But I don't care where you came from. Whether or not you like to slum it with the working class, or need a stranger in rags not to hate you. Hell, I don't even care if you turn out to be a colossal fuck up, so long as we don't piss off the BCPD or a bunch of meths." He lifts his tumbler of scotch. "Good stuff, though; you were right. Definitely worth stepping up from midgrade." He leans back, relaxes.

* * *

"You know, that's the interesting thing. People who think I'm slumming it by being among them must believe they're living in a slum for that to be true," says Royal. "I see it as dwelling in reality as opposed to the fantasy land that is anything mid-uppers and above." Then he looks over Welch's suit, then up, "Well, you're not wearing designer, but I'd hardly call those rags. The cut is quite nice. Another spate of putting yourself down?" He flashes a smile. It's the kind of smile that some people would like to punch off.

He leans back in his seat, aware that this is the opposite of the direction he intended this meeting to go. He swallows another mouthful of his drink.

* * *

"Shit still falls. That's gravity. When you descend to the depths that you and your peers crap on, you're slumming it. Call it my theory of relativity," Welch notes. And he straightens up, some, against the the backrest of his seat as he's inspect, chin lifting incrimentally. A challenging posture. "Sometimes, when you're not part of the slimmer percentiles of wealth, you talk about people who aren't yourself. I'm not wearing rags. And I don't hate you. Call it allegory," he answers, in turn. "Our present stations in life are such that I don't have to kiss your ass or step on your neck. Without such demanding contexts, I'm treating you the same as I treat nearly anyone else."

* * *

"With charm and grace, I see," says Royal with a lilt and a tight smile. "Though I suppose given the situation, even though we do have different clients, it's your ass I should be kissing, yes? I know how much the recommendation or positive assessment of a senior Tracker can help a junior's career." He takes another pull from his drink, then purses his lips to let the alcohol burn there slightly. "I'm curious. I didn't say this meeting was for any particular case-related reasons. So why did you agree to meet me?"

* * *

"As granted by my pampered upbringing," Welch retorts, with no shortage of dry sarcasm. He takes another drink. A quick, sharp swig, as he lets Royal say his piece. Swallowing hard the antiseptic burn of purifying alcohol. "It wouldn't do you much good," he confessses, as to respective ass kissing. "If recognition for your work is what you're after, you're in the exact wrong line of work. And talking to the wrong person." Another subtle shrug of his shoulders within the confines of his suit jacket. "You offered drinks. And like I said, I don't hate you - no reason to turn down the offer."

* * *

"Ah, but you do resent me," says Royal. He says that matter-of-factly rather than as a question. Which is only natural. I chose a profession that many end up in out of necessity. I had the freedom to choose to work. I don't need to take cases to put food on my table. It's likely why I'll never be a particularly good private investigator. Because I don't need to do this. But I do bring a unique perspective to it, and I'm rather good with patterns."

* * *

"I don't have the energy to actively resent you. Passive resentment, maybe. Latent, like an inactive disease stuck somewhere down in the lungs of most people. Evidence of it escapes with they speak," Welch claims, gesturing with his hand from his mouth, like contagious saliva flying instead of the spread of his fingertips. "I don't like it when people just out and say what they want - it's too vulnerable. And I don't like it when people dance around what they mean to say, either. It's too obviously manipulative." A rather wide selection of people. "Don't take it too personally. I already admitted to liking the scotch. And I don't think any who's hungry makes a good investigator. It's talent or obsession."

* * *

"Poetic," says Royal, the syllables clipping off his tongue. "Viral resentment. That sounds about right." His second strong drink of the night is going down easy and fast. That's the danger with top shelf liquor. "I'd imagine I tend to linger at both extremes depending on the circumstances. It pays sometimes to tell people what they want to hear. Or at least, what they think they want to hear. But other times," his lip curls, and he says, "I can't be arsed. My tolerance for worrying about what people think of me, what the papers will write of me, what my family will think of me, grows short. And then I say, fuck it, go on a bender, and get a shot of my bare ass in the news under some scandalous headline."

* * *

"One word for it," Welch says of 'poetic'. And he takes a turn toward the silent for a time, finishing off the tumbler as he listens to Royal say his part. A grunt, toward note of Royal's benders - stress relief. A grunt that sound less judging, more approving; as well as he shows off such positive traits in such public quarters with relative strangers. "Whatever the case. How well we do or don't get on. I intend to make sure both our clients stay happy. As much as you might like to worry that I'd obstruct you, I have a strange compulsion. It involves not pissing off any meths and living through the night. Same as any other night."

* * *

"Rinse, repeat," says Royal before downing the second (?) Old Fashioned. He motions the server over again. "This time, make it a Sazerac, darling. Cheers," he looks to Welch. "Yourself?" Then, "Not pissing off meths is definitely wise. Though I think those on the Ground overestimate how much the meths actually pay attention to anything further away than their own asshole."

* * *

"Another," Welch answers, tapping the rim of his glass. Again, not actually bothering to look to the server beyond the initial assessment paid when he joined the table. Purposeful snubbing. A beat, as he lets what he's about to say sit on his tongue before he says it - while looking at Royal across the table. "My estimation? The meth holding your leash wouldn't care if I blew your brains onto the broad side of the elevator and sent you to the top floor," he admits. "Not that I intend to," he assures the man to which he's already made clear his stance not to be a hassle. "Needless and messy," he adds. "But say I blocked the information you could have got. Closing off your purpose for your handler. I think we both know that my life wouldn't be issue free at that point."

* * *

"Mhmm, I don't think she'd care but she would lose her standing with the Queen, which, archaically, some meths do seem to still care about. Us various mortal family members are mere curiosities with fancy brooches, but the immediate royal family are the gilded sparrows they want to keep feeding. It legitimizes their reign, you see. Even if it doesn't need legitimizing." If Royal is made uncomfortable byt talk of his hypothetical death, he doesn't show it readily. "But in general, yes. The meths care about their proxies as much as a carpenter might care for a sturdy, but replaceable hammer."

* * *

"Everyone needs a hobby. But most purebreds are fluffy dogs on gilded pillows. Meths have a way of escalation," Welch says of the royal family, in response. "But yes. Your status as a tool, replacable or not, ensures that I'm not going to trip you up. If I would have even bothered to, otherwise. If you keep me in the loop, I'll keep you in mine. Simple as that."

* * *

"Simple as that," says Royal. He salutes with the fresh drink that's delivered. His eyes rove to the departing server again. In contrast, he does seem to be paying attention to him and the other attractive staff that flit around the room like maple keys. "Well, I'm glad we have an accord of sorts. Because we are certainly going to be feeling pressure from all sides on this one."

* * *

Where Royal likes to split his attention with the servers, Welch mainly watches Royal or rechecks heir surroundings. He takes his fresh drink and lifts it in kind before taking a sip. "That's the thing about high profile cases," he admits, as if from a position of tired wisdom. "Get drunk, get high, get laid, that's a smoke break. Neither of us are going to be properly off duty until this is done, or too cold to warrant paying for us to spend blank hours doing all of the above and feeling the failure. The ironic thing, this time around, is that the BCPD will be paying for my vices."

* * *

"Which they can hardly afford to do, but the meths will pressure them to do anyway. While all the while, not loosening the purse strings." Royal shrugs. "At least I'm on a separate payroll. So for that, they might actually resent me a little less." He leans forward and smiles. Most of the time his smiles are quite easygoing and charming, but he has a predator's smile as well, and that one peeks through just a titch. "I prefer my sins of the flesh to the chemical ones, myself. Though I don't begrudge anyone their hard living."

* * *

"A little self serviving corruption and a lot of bureaucracy go a long way to making sure a case gets solved," Welch quips. Royal's stated preference of vice finally gets Welch to reassess the staff, turning his head, some, to look up and down the bar. "I'm more of an all of the above kind of indulger," he admits. "Which either makes for one hell of a pattern or an indistinguishable one," he adds, before his regard is drawn back toward Royal and that predator's smile.

* * *

"I find the carnal sins to be more predictable. Drugs, well, I have a lot to lose if I lose this sleeve. So I'm a bit cautious." Says the man who purposefully chose a career path where people could very likely, shoot at him. Compared to his prior career as a history professor and a diplomat where that was far less likely. Royal twists his wrist and the hunk of bar ice bumps off the sides of his glass. "My big question for the evening is, do I try to take home one of the staff, or do I just make my way to one of the Houses?"

* * *

"I suppose that depends on how wide your interests get," Welch says, as to predictability. And as to potential dangers. Both are fitting to the answer he gives, in the era of resleeving. The question that Royal poses, as to the evening ahead, earns a tilt of Welch's head, like he's weighing the thought. "That depends of your ego, I suppose. You'll more authentically 'wow' someone with a lavish lifestyle or physicality if it isn't bread and butter to your target," he says. "Or you can just pay to get what you want. Whatever it is you want, when no price tag is too high. Qusetion of need, for you. Which do you need more, houndstooth? To be adored, or pleasured?"

* * *

"I wasn't exactly expecting a pros-and-cons rundown as I mused aloud about my plans for the rest of the evening," says Royal, though he does look amused rather than annoyed. There's a glimmer in his dark eyes. "Shockingly, I prefer a real human connection when I can get it, but that requires significantly more effort and a bar isn't usually the best place. Even a nice bar with attractive staff. And although you do get some sparkling conversation in the Houses, it is, as you point out, transactional in nature." Then he leans on the table and says, "I prefer to wow with my good looks and charms rather than my nice flat." A beat, "Though it is quite a nice flat."

* * *

"More a curiosity toward your character - which you'll choose, why. And what you think that you're getting out of it," Welch admits, as he nurses that second scotch. Full implication in that 'think' toward what he thinks of the existence of real human connections. That, and the quiet chuckle he uttered in response to the phrase as he straightened his head back up. "Answer me this, then. In regard to those that would wow someone with their 'flat'. If said flat is bought with inherited money, or if it is inherited, does that matter more than if it was earned?" A smirk begins to spread beneath the coldness of his pale blue gaze. "And regardless, aren't those good looks on a sleeve basically the same thing? Whether inherited from your parents or purchased in a resleeve? Property being property. Body, just another belonging?" The kind of thing a Neo-C wouldn't care to overhear, at any rate.

* * *

"Well, I suppose that would depend on the individual. If they were impressed by the acquisition of wealth, or the state of wealth. Some people find one sexier than the other." Royal's gotten to the bottom of his third drink. Or well, at least the third drink in Welch's company. He motions to Welch, then sets his glass down. He stands. "Well, those are all deeply philosophical questions. I forgot how much private investigators are students of human nature and like to dig at these extestential itches. Some, anyway." As he stands, he rebuttons his suit jacket. "Now, unless you'd like to be the one joining me in my posh flat, I think I'll go seduce a waiter. Drinks on me, of course."

* * *

"Maybe I'll tell you my preference, one day. Reason to keep you in paying my tab," Welch tells Royal, dryly, on where wealth earned, wealth inherited, and inherent sexiness mihgt lie. He chuckles as Royal stands, with the answer he gives to the heavy collection of questions possited. "Maybe I was a philosopher in another life," he quips. "I'll get back to you about visiting your flat, when smoke breaks are our only break from the case. For now, I'll let you play at impressing the help with your property." Simultaneously genuine and scathing, as smirk turns to grin. He raises his glass. "I have other promised engagements, for the late evening."

* * *

The one thing about being a wealthy man of status who has chosen to spend time on the Ground - well, he's got a thick skin. If Royal couldn't take those sorts of barbed comments, he would have shuttled off to the heights long before now. "Maybe I'll take him to a hotel and he'll never know if I'm just some corporate suit or something more. Corporate suits aren't exactly a rarity, after all." Not that there's anything corporate about how he holds or presents himself, and it's not like his ONI doesn't give away certain biographical info. "Recreation is recreation, Mister Welch. I don't pretend this is anything deeper." Then, "Enjoy whatever you get up to, then. Or at least be safe about it. But I'd put money down that I'm about to have more fun. Good evening to you."

And with that, the tall, dark-haired man long-legged strides over to the bar and sidles up to the waiter from earlier. It doesn't take much time or much conversation before he's convinced the manager to let the young man off early. And then, both disappear out the door and into a waiting aircab.