Not So Relaxing Getaway

The Harrison Estate is a small, very exclusive resort in upstate New York. Geared toward the most wealthy and cosmopolitan of clients, it boasts a dozen suites, a three-star Italian restaurant, gaming facilities, and a full spa with relaxation facilities.

Erected in the early 1900s, the building has been fashioned in the style of a residential villa in Florence. The ceilings are high, the woodwork is lovingly polished, and staff are impeccably attired and well-mannered.

Down in one of the spa's therapy rooms, a large man with thinning hair and a graying goatee is receiving a massage from a middle-aged woman with thin, strong limbs and the sort of tight skin that only comes from too much clean living. As she rubs him down, the woman clucks disapprovingly under her breath in Mandarin.

Just inside the door to the therapy room, two men wearing suits and bored expressions are clearly standing guard. One is tall and broad, with curly hair and an easy smile. The other is shorter and slimmer, with no hair on his head or face. No eyebrows. Not even lashes. It lends him an odd, reptilian air. The smaller man has a briefcase cuffed to his wrist in a fashion that's not terribly discreet.

Monitor and Blue.

This particular set of men haven't been the easiest to trace, had it not been for the information from an employer with more money than he knows what to do with, Vasha may never have found them. Nonetheless they are here, as is she. Dressed in nothing but a robe and a pair of spa flip flops, the South African woman steps into the room with them, parting the two guards like Noah with the Red Sea. Her confident gait enough to push her way through to one of the empty tables near the man receiving the massage.

She gives all three a cool smile before pulling her robe down just past her shoulders and lying on the table next to the other man. Her masseuse is a smaller woman, also of Asian descent. While Vasha enjoys every strong kneads of the muscles in her back, she eyes the feet of the two men, particularly the one holding the briefcase.

There's a lot of eyeing going on in this particular room. Monitor, the larger of the two guards, smiles wider and bobs a friendly nod. Blue maintains a flat, expressionless, motionless posture, but his eyes follow this new arrival closely.

The large man is clearly in charge. He also watches Vasha closely, his lips hovering somewhere between a smile and a smirk, even as the Chinese woman bears down on him harder. "Hello," he says, his Eastern European accent as thick as lentil porridge. "This is nice place, yes?"

"Simply marvelous," Vasha purrs in response. Her own accent is masked enough to be mistaken for a muddled Dutch or some other Western European one. Propping her head up on her hands, she returns Monitor's friendly smile with a rather flirtatious one of her own, a smile that is passed along to the man on the table next to her.

The masseuse peels the woman's robe down to her waist, exposing the entirety of her deeply tanned back to the room. "I assume you are on business then, ja?" She notes, nodding once to the briefcase. "It is not often a guest brings his work down to the spa. It must be something of relative importance not to leave these two elsewhere so that you can enjoy the luxury."

The large man shifts his heavy bulk in response to a prodding command from his imperious massage therapist. "Och," he grunts. "These two? They don't let me piss without one tries to hold it. They take their jobs too seriously. Yes, you hear her boys? You should go. Get a drink."

Monitor is wise enough to stay silent. He pulls his face into a mock-serious mask, copying Blue's stoic appearance. Then, in time with the other man's words, Monitor mouths them but doesn't speak aloud.

"We'd prefer to stay."

Blue's voice is smooth, pleasant, and melodious. The closest he comes to an expression is a brief glare directed at his partner.

"Then you would not care much if I had something brought in?" The woman replies smoothly, her smile is pointed directly at their leader. Her eyes narrow just a little before she delivers a wink in his direction. She is playing up every one of her feminine wiles to the absolute hilt.

Raising one arm, she snaps her fingers to the Asian woman twice to garner her attention. Then her tone changes from pleasant to something much harsher. "Absinthe, be quick about it. Not the regular fare you produce to your guests, I would like the bottle under the counter. The real Absinthe." Then she turns her head toward the man with the goatee and smiles a rather catlike smile. "You must enjoy a glass with me, ja?" The legality of the drink doesn't seem to phase her in the least.

Blue opens his mouth to reply, but before he can, the leader cuts him off. "I will drink, yes. He would deny me that, too. S'rat!" Yellowing teeth are bared in a smile that displays less charm than its owner would care to believe.

Monitor rolls his eyes dramatically. Still, his boyish smile is back in place. He elbows Blue in the ribs good-naturedly and nods at the woman. "Nadržený," says, his voice a low, growling rumble that clashes with his friendly appearance. Still, it's thick with barely concealed laughter.

It doesn't take long before a square bottle is delivered on a tray with four small glasses, four slotted spoons and a small bowl of sugar cubes. To this, Vasha smiles. "Absinthe, gentlemen, as you must know, is one of the last pleasures known to man." Pulling her robe up to her shoulders, Vasha closes it before swinging off the table to a stand.

Each spoon is laid across one of the glasses before a sugar cube is places upon it. Then four drinks are poured with meticulous care. "It is served freely in France and we all know how much the French people enjoy life, ja?" The glasses are passed to each man and then she takes her own, raising it to a toast. "May your days be fruitful and your nights fruitless."

Blue is the only one to decline a drink. He remains as motionless as ever.

Meanwhile, Monitor and his boss both laugh heartily at the joke. They salute her and drink deeply. The potency of the alcohol elicits a small gasp from Monitor, but the old Czech on the massage table seems unfazed. His gaze remains locked on exposed streches of dark, smooth skin. "You are most intriguing," he rumbles. "What is your name? No, I would know everything about you."

Blue gives the handle of his briefcase a hard enough squeeze that it squeaks in protest.

Vasha's own drink is tossed back as easily as the old Czech's and then she places her own glass on the tray for a refill. "You must join me in another, ja? That is the price for my name." Her eyes graze over each of the men as the liquid begins to warm her from the inside. Causing a giggle to slip from her lips. The green fairy works its magic quite quickly.

She waves her hand to her own masseuse, fully expecting the woman to fetch the empty glasses and refill them. Her sharp glance at the woman seems to leave no room for argument, Vasha is a woman who gets exactly what it is she wants. When the glasses are poured again, the round is passed out and another toast raised. "To new friends who will," she pauses and gives a pointed look to the old Czech, "hopefully grow closer as the day wanes."

All Porter knows is that absinthe is a signal. No way to know exactly what's on the other side of that door, though. He's as prepared as he can be. Terrycloth robe, slippers, and a bottle of champagne. He's twisting the foil off the bottle when he stumbles guilelessly into the room just after the second round of drinks is finished.

There are ways to make yourself more difficult to assassinate. One of them is to surround yourself with so many people that killing you requires an unacceptably high body count.

Porter's eyes roam around the room, rapidly taking stock of the occupants. Then, decisively, he aims his champagne at Monitor and thumbs out the cork. It POPs loudly as it leaves the bottle and THUNKs dully as it impacts against Monitor's head, sending him to the floor with his eyes crossed.

"Thought I'd pop in," Porter says cheerfully to the unconscious man. "Also, fuck you. This was an expensive bottle."

With a sharp look from the brunette woman, the two Asian women are sent scurrying before Monitor even has a chance to hit the floor. Ignoring the old Czech in favor of the sober Blue, Vasha launches her tall body into his arms in mock fright. "You must protect me! I am worth a fortune in diamonds!" she cries out sounding a little more drunk than she needs to.

She clings to the bald man, her hazel eyes piercing into his. With her movements, she is concentrating on only one thing. Keeping him a little too busy to reach for his weapon. Not an easy thing to accomplish while only wearing a robe.

Blue fixes his cold, unpleasant eyes on Vasha. He doesn't reach for a weapon. Instead, he grips his steel briefcase in both hands and swings it at her head.

En route to help, Porter is caught be a woman not so easily cowed. The Czech's masseuse. She handsprings across a massage table with a gymnast's grace and kicks Porter in the side of the head, sending him sprawling.

The bottle of Perrier-Jouet falls from his hand and splashes to the floor. All the while, the old Czech watches and smiles.

A steel briefcase coming at her head, Vasha simply ducks forward. Hugging the bald man tighter. Part of it does clip her, part of it clips him as well. She is somewhat unaffected, aside from the yelp of pain. Looking toward him, she growls and shoves him backward.

"Very uncalled for, my darling. I come to you for protection and you treat me this way? What am I to think of our relationship?" She backs up toward the old Czech, her hand held to the battered side of her skull.

"Stars and stripes," Porter swears. "You have a ninja bodyguard?"

"I'm Chinese, dick," the masseuse replies in heavily accented English.

Porter groans and staggers to his feet. He's ready for her when she attacks again, though. A flurry of fast punches are deflected in rapid succession, followed by a clouting overhand right from the spy that sends his opponent crashing to the deck.

Meanwhile, Blue wipes blood from his nose on the sleeve of his suit and shakes his head to clear it. He glances at his fallen comrades and the cowering old Czech. A look of displeasure and distaste crosses his face. With his uncuffed hand, he reaches into his coat and draws a smooth, sleek pistol. Unerringly, he takes aim and fires at the Czech, nailing him between the eyes.

It's very messy.

Blue shrugs and smiles insincerely. "I think that good help is hard to find," he says.

A red splash of blood and brains mars the front of her white robe, staining it. Vasha's eyebrow twitches upward for a moment as she reassesses the situation. Not even a stray glance is passed toward Porter, by her estimation, she might be next.

It's all she can do. With lightning quick reflexes, she grabs the bottle of absinthe and throws the contents outward and hopefully into the bald man's face. Hopefully, it stings just a little.

It stings more than a little. Blue lets out an inarticulate screech and lets his briefcase dangle by its cuff so that he can claw at his eyes. Blindly, he fires his weapon. One shot hits high on the wall; another punches through the ceiling. The third and forth nail Porter high on his chest.

Porter is spun around one hundred and eighty degrees by the force of the bullets. He lets out a single, wet cough and pitches face-forward on the carpet.

The bull sees red.

It's not just the massive amounts of blood.

With a scream of rage, Vasha springs forward with her hand cocked tightly behind her. With all the fury of her father, she flies at Blue and lets out a flurry of fists, not stopping until the man is pulverized into the carpet. Then she grips his head with both of her bruised and battered hands and twists until the crunch of his neck can be heard from rooms away.

Digging through the man's pockets, she find a cellphone and immediately dials emergency with one hand. The other she uses to claw her way to Porter's side. "You will stay. You will not fade." Her voice is quivering with despair. The same shaking tone is used to relay to the operator their location and then she drops the telephone to take the man's head into her lap. "Captain, you must stay awake."

Monitor's eyes open the instant that Blue's close for the final time. The large and cheerful man is cheerful no longer. Snarling, he springs through the doorway and runs out of sight.

Meanwhile, Porter gasps in a deep, painful breath and his eyes fly open. Coughing, he tugs open the front of his robe, exposing an armored vest with two slugs deformed against the trauma plate. "Ugh," he groans, grabbing at Vasha's hand. "They should call these things 'bullet-resistant.' Bulletproof is just misleading."

The woman lets loose a shaking sob when Porter grips her hand. The breath afterward is almost a laugh of relief before she slaps him across the face with her free hand and rises to her feet, dropping his head to the floor. "I swear to everything that is holy, I will kill you should you ever frighten me in such a way ever again."

Rubbing her face with her hand, she smears a little of Blue's blood across her forehead before realizing exactly what she's done. "The briefcase, we must collect it and go. Get up."

Porter winces and touches his cheek ruefully, but it's not as if he didn't deserve the slap. "Nice to know you care," he says, his voice dry.

Chuckling under his breath, he grabs Blue's inert hand and twists his thumb, breaking it with a snap that can be heard very clearly in the small room. The briefcase is removed in a matter of seconds.

"Let's go."

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