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19 February 2008 @ 06:27 pm
Numb3rs Fic: Vice - Part 14  

Title: Vice - Part 14
Series/Universe: Vice
Pairing/Characters: See Series post
Rating: NC17
Spoilers: Seasons 1, 2 and 3
Summary: Enemies invade Don and Charlie's territory (AU)
Notes/Warnings: Read the disclaimer on my LJ

Saturday, 6/9/07 - Night

"It's a kinship I guess."


"More thinking like a mathematician." Amita paused in the middle of taking the hot rollers out of her hair. "Logicians see the world differently. I understand how Charlie thinks."

"I don't," Nadine muttered, looking up from where she sat painting her toenails. "That boy's a freak. Um, in the bedroom." She looked helplessly over at Robin brushing her hair nearby. "I mean it in the best possible way!"

Robin gave her a reassuring smile and Nadine went back to her toenails.

"He's super busy running the organization with Don of course, but it's nice to spend time together when we can."

"Everyone knows that's how you got the hostess job." Amita smiled until Nadine continued. "But why are you working with the girls and not doing math in accounting? I mean this new kid..."

"I love working at Code!" Amita exclaimed, cutting her off. "Who would rather work at a desk when they could enjoy themselves in the hottest club in town? Besides there's more math and logic involved in hostessing than you guys know. I have to juggle staffing, time schedules and client data on the fly, in my head! It's a great challenge."

"So you didn’t want Kit's job?" Nadine asked cluelessly as Amita quietly bristled.

"I don't think Amita has long-term plans for after Don and Charlie retire," Robin said delicately.

"Oh..." Nadine finished up, screwing the top back on the nail polish. "I gotta pee." She waddled off towards the bathroom just as Millie popped her head in the women's dressing room.

"Amita, I just got a call from our old friend Dr. Patel. He's back in town after a couple of years in India. He asked for you special, booked you for the whole night."

"Millie!" Amita protested, aghast. "I'm hostessing! I don't do that anymore!"

"For crying out loud, Amita! Even I take the odd client here and there still." She preened for a moment. "Some men like a woman of substance. So take one for the team." She turned to Robin. "Robin, can you handle hostessing tonight?"

"Of course. No problem."

"Good. I'll see you up front ten minutes before we open then."


Amita glowered from a distance as she watched Robin greet the VIP guests who approached Code's hostess area. Grumbling to herself, she crossed her arms over her chest as Robin led one of the newer clients to the elevator, slipping her arm in his as she flirted with him.

Amita glanced at the clock impatiently then looked to the door, frowning as the next person to enter wasn't her date for the evening.

While not classically handsome, the man was young and very well dressed, with stylish glasses that spoke of intellect, sophistication and clearly wealth.

The man headed towards the hostess area rather than into the main part of the club and looked around.

Robin, still busy at the elevator with the new client, hadn't noticed him.

Amita slipped out of her funk and into her hostess persona.

"Welcome to Code," she purred. "How might I help you find what you desire?"

The man smiled, giving her an appreciative look. "Oh, I'm afraid my desires are far too esoteric for Code to fulfill."

"Try us," Amita urged, sidling closer and smoothing down the lapel of his suit jacket. "We might surprise you."

"Well, what I'd really like is proof for the Riemann hypothesis, but no one can make that happen, not even Code."

Amita smiled indulgently. "Well, they said that about the Poincaré conjecture and that got proved."

The man looked at her, shocked. "You know about that?"

"Of course," Amita said. "There was a huge to do about it in the math world, especially when Grigori refused the Fields medal for it."

The man blinked at her. "So you're gorgeous and you know math? You're right. I sorely underestimated Code's ability to sate my desires."

Amita did her best impression of a blush. "I have a degree in mathematics and computer science. Women do study math, you know."

"Oh, yes! They certainly do! Only the ones I work with tend to be in their fifties with names like Bertha and Hildegard. You..." He took her hand in his and kissed the back of it with a gallant bow. "You are exquisite. Might I ask your name?"

"Amita. Amita Ramanujan."

"Ramanujan? Like the famous mathematician?" The man marveled.

"Exactly," she said, pleased. "And you..."

Before she could get another word out four security team members surrounded the man and as discreetly as possible pulled him away and out the door.

David appeared at her elbow and nodded to her.

"Good job keeping him from getting any further. Charlie's facial recognition software caught him, but apparently the scans are taking longer than we realized."

Amita looked at him, bewildered. "I just thought he was a potential new client. Was I supposed to recognize him or something?"

"You didn't recognize him?" David's nostrils flared in anger. "Amita! That was fucking Marshall Penfield you just let into the club!"


"Walking into the lion's den like that? Not a smart move."

Everett steepled his hands behind his desk, but standing before him Marshall didn't fidget.

"It went off exactly as planned," he stated confidently.

"So your plan was to get thrown out of our competitor's main place of business?"

"In a word, yes," Marshall explained. "We both know that they're protecting Kittner because they think we'll go after him. I want the focus off him. I want them thinking there's a bigger threat looming and Kittner's too inconsequential for us to bother with. The visit rattled them, I know it did, and that's got them worried about protecting all their business interests. This kid won't seem so important if they think we're going to try to get Code raided for prostitution."

"You should be clearing these things with me in advance," Everett said tersely. "I don't like surprises."

"Yes, Sir. I understand."

Everett paused then smirked a little.

"It was a bold move."

"Yes, Sir." Marshall smirked a little as well.

Everett sat back in his seat, relaxing. "So do you think anything truly useful will come out of this visit?"

Marshall thought back for a few seconds then smiled, a malicious and self-satisfied grin.

"Oh, I think there will be dividends in the future as a result of this evening's foray..."


"It seems..." Don stood at the head of the mansion's conference room table, looking down each side as his management team stared back at him with solemn faces. "We have another active threat besides Edgerton."

He nodded to Megan and sat as she stood, handing out thin folders to the department heads at the table and to Darby Morris who sat beside Amita on chairs against the wall.

"Marshall Penfield walked into Code at 9:23 this evening. Charlie's facial recognition software did flag him, but it took over three minutes for the alert to come through and security staff to respond and remove him from the premises."

"Clearly that level of performance is unacceptable," Charlie said, sullen and tense sitting next to his brother. The expensive pen he was clutching in his hand surely would have broken if it were a mere pencil.

"Trust me, I will be looking into that," David stated, scowling.

"Amita was the only one who spoke to him," Megan continued. "Amita, can you please tell us what you saw?"

Amita stood and approached the table. "He came in alone and looked around like he hadn't been there before. He headed for the hostess area rather than the dance floor so it looked like he knew what he wanted. I approached him and offered the standard hostess inquiry."

"You didn't alert Security?" Don demanded. "Why not?"

"I didn't recognize him, not in those glasses anyway," she amended. "And I have faith in Charlie's facial recognition algorithms." She smiled his way, but he kept staring at the photo in front of him showing Marshall entering the club.

"The facial recognition software is a backup system." He closed the folder on the photo and pushed it away. "It's not designed to do the staff's job for them."

Don gestured for her to continue. "What did he say?"

"Not much," Amita continued. "I gave Millie as close to a word by word as I could manage..."

"It's in the folders," Megan interjected and everyone save Charlie turned past the photo to the sheet containing the typed transcript.

"I want to know what it seemed he was interested in more than the words," Don said after scanning the brief text. "What was he after?"

Amita shrugged. "He didn't seem interested in anything specific, well, other than me. He did look around quite a bit so perhaps he was trying to get the layout?"

"I'm quite sure Tuttle has a full layout of the ground floor of Code already," Don said dismissively. "It wouldn't be hard to bribe someone we don't know to come as a guest and report back." He waved her off, turning back to the folder. "You can go."

"If there's anything more I can do to help..."

Megan ushered her to the door. "We'll let you know." She closed the conference room door with Amita on the other side. "We should deal with Darby next so she can get back out on the street."

"Agreed." Don gestured to Darby who rose and stood at the other end of the table. "We were going to announce it at the next regular meeting," he said to those sitting at the table, "but Megan and I have agreed to promote Darby into Billy's old job. As of now, she's our top operative in the field. Use her like you used to use Billy."

There was a round of nods from the table.

"What can you tell us about any chatter on tonight's maneuver?" Megan asked.

"So far the buzz is split," Darby replied. "Some think it was bold, some think it was dumb. As you can imagine it's divided on camps. Those who support us think it was a stupid move, grandstanding on Penfield's part. A couple actually think he did it without Tuttle's approval."

"I agree," Don said, surprising the staff. "I think it was a big bluff, meant to rattle us. There's no big war coming. They just want us like this - spending our time sitting around a table worrying rather than being out there keeping an eye on our business interests."

"What if it is the opening volley in a war?" Megan asked.

"Then we deal with it. But this just isn't Tuttle's style. He'd never announce a war until after it was well under way and he felt he was winning. For now I'm inclined to believe it means he - or Penfield more likely - wants our attention away from whatever we were focusing on previously."

Charlie sat up straighter, lifting his head. "Kit... He wants us distracted from Kit."

Megan nodded slowly. "We know Edgerton told our competition about Kit so it's not hard to assume that was Tuttle and Penfield."

"That kid doesn't set a toe outside of the apartment building," Don said sternly. "If he's the real target we can't risk it."

"And if he's not the real target? If Tuttle really is planning a major strike?" Megan ventured carefully.

Don nodded to Darby. "You've got your contacts, your informants. You need bribery money? Take whatever you need. If there's any word on the street - anywhere - that a battle is brewing I want to know."

Darby picked up her motorcycle helmet and tucked it under her arm as she prepared to leave.

"I'm on it."


Ian parked his car in the near empty parking lot of a shuttered electronics megastore and walked over to the sole other car in the lot.

He tensed when the door opened abruptly, but relaxed when he confirmed the identity of the man getting out of the car.


"Ian." The man leaned up against the door of his car. "You said you had a proposal for me? Some work?"

"I do." Ian pulled out an envelope, thick with cash. "I want you to do what you do best - take pictures. I want Don Eppes under surveillance. I want to know who he meets with and where."

"I'm only one guy. I can't watch someone 24/7."

"Don't have to. He generally only leaves the mansion during the afternoons and evenings. I don't need you at his house full time - just whenever he leaves."

"This guy's got security, you know that. They're going to know if I tail him."

"You're known as paparazzi," Ian said with a shrug. "He's famous in L.A. so he's used to having his picture taken. They won't give you a hard time if you stay back enough."

Vassily paused, eying Ian warily. "Do I get to sell any pictures of him on the market?"

"As long as they're just of him, well and maybe that parade of whores who work for him."

"Fair enough." He held out his hand for the cash.

"One last thing," Ian said, holding the money back.


"Tell that waiter at The Loft, Alejandro, that you're moving on to a new assignment and there's another photographer taking over for you. Ask him to contact me instead about either Eppes brother showing up at the restaurant with anyone new. Use the special cell phone number I gave you. Not my regular one. And tell him to call me Snap. If he balks and needs a real name make one up."

"Done." Vassily snatched the envelope out of Ian's hand and thumbed through the stack of bills, nodding appreciatively. "Pleasure doing business with you."

Ian clapped his hand over Vassily's, getting his attention.

"This is not some sleazy divorce case. This is important. I expect you to work your ass off to get the shots I want and to send them to me immediately."

"Yeah, yeah," Vassily said hastily, putting the envelope in his inside blazer pocket.

Ian gave him one last glare before turning and stalking back to his car.

"I'm not someone you want on your bad side, Vassily. Trust me on that..."

fredbassettfredbassett on February 20th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
Great to see Vice back. I love my weekly fic fix !!!

Excellent stuff, can't wait to see what happens next .........
Emma DeMaraisemmademarais on February 21st, 2008 06:07 am (UTC)
Thanks! I actually had it all done while it was still Tuesday your time, but I had to run errands before things closed so it was Wednesday by the time I got back. :-(