15383/To Meet a Mafioso

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To Meet a Mafioso
Date of Scene: 27 July 2023
Location: Streets of Gotham
Synopsis: Red Hood tracks down the rumors of a new Mafioso boss, and starts out with Santo Cassamento, who gives him a warning and a lead too. Only the new boss is an old friend.
Cast of Characters: Huntress, Red Hood

Huntress has posed:
Since Jason Todd handed back 'Pino Bertinelli', aka Benedict, to the Cassementos, there's been no sight nor sign of him. It's not much of a leap to guess he's likely as not ended up six feet under or in the bay with some concrete shoes, though. Thing is, Helena Bertinelli has also been absent -- not in her apartment, her phone switched off.

And then there's the rumors.

They start out kind of wild and unbelievable. Someone's clipped the head of the Panessa family, Tomaso Panessa -- Helena's uncle, and the family that stepped up after hers was wiped out. The wilder rumor comes later, that it was a Bertinelli that did it, and that the Bertinelli family is back -- and claiming all of the Panessa's territory on the East Side in Gotham. It's making all the mafioso very nervous, and intentionally or not, it's created an extra level of violence out on the streets of Gotham.

Whoever's at the head of this, though, they're keeping a very low profile and a tight inner circle. Of course, there's more than one way a vigilante can go about securing an audience with the head of a mafioso family, face to face...
Red Hood has posed:
Violence is Red Hood's bailywick so it will come as no surprise that the vigilante is right in the midst of the increased violence.

As things escalate over the course of the week since 'Pino' was returned, Hood has been targetting any and every street level punk, thug, pimp or dealer with even remote ties to to the mob no matter what family they may work for. Whether he's just taking out some anger on the low hanging fruit or choosing to do some house cleaning from the bottom up in an effort to get someone's attention? Well.

The longer it goes the worse it will get, clearly.

And that is what Red Hood looks to discuss with the head of the Cassamento family. He is certain it is a conversation that only he is interested in having.

Sitting in 'the' chair in the Cassamento's mansion, the one where all the business is conducted, Red Hood waits, feet propped up on the Don's desk. He has a date book open, flipping through the pages out of boredom.
Huntress has posed:
Santo Cassamento is one big guy. Once he was tall and muscular, but in the years since his ascent to the head of the family he's just put on more weight and lost muscle, but he still looks like he could give someone a good beating.

Footsteps, and voices. "..and call Mario, get him on that problem in the south side, wouldya?"

The door to Santo's room bangs open, and the man himself stops, eyes widening with a second's alarm, then narrowing when he determines it's a vigilante. They -- at least the ones associated with Batman -- don't kill, so he relaxes incrementally and fingers untense from their reflexive reach towards his holster. "Boss?" someone asks behind him.

"I'm good," Santo says. "I'm not to be interrupted." Then he closes the door and walks towards the sideboard. "Drink?" he asks, casually, like this sort of thing happens all the time.
Red Hood has posed:
"Only if you have an emergency induction port" comes the droll reply. Given it's a cultural reference Santo is probably unfamiliar with unless he was a gamer a decade ago, it probably means 'no'.

"How's Benedict these days? You got him impersonating any other personalities to stir up trouble?"

Red Hood doesn't move. He keeps his spot in the big man's chair and continues to idly flip through the pages of the man's date book. Obviously nothing incriminating would be that openly accessible unless the man were remarkably arrogant, it's just the needling of someone rifling through your personal things as if they had every right to do so. Getting under the skin.
Huntress has posed:
The blank look on Santo Cassamento's face suggests that, no, he was definitely not a gamer in his youth. "I'm guessing that's a roundabout way of saying no. Was wondering how you'd manage with the mask, anyway," the Italian mobster shrugs, and splashes out a generous amount of whiskey into a glass, taking his sweet time savoring it.

The mention of Benedict merely makes him laugh. "I'm keeping him busy. He's out of town, on a job." Santo could be lying. Probably is. "Why, you got some personal beef?" His head tilts. "Ah. You were the kind, generous soul that dropped him off along with the video, huh?"

It's certaintly annoying Santo that the vigilante's making himself at home, though he's doing his best to hide this. The slight flare of nostrils gives him away, though.
Red Hood has posed:
"Nothing personal against Benny, no. Just call it professional courtesy. I promised I'd check up on his well being." The reply is as glib as the excuse that Benny is on an out of town job.

"So, Santo. Niceties about Benny aside, how've things been going? It's funny, you know? Benny works for you and, apparently, decided to pretend he was a Bertinelli. And now the stories on the street are that the Bertinelli's are back and taking over Panessa territory. That's pretty choice turf, isn't it? The kind of turf that would spawn more than one hare-brained scheme so you can slip in and expand without taking any heat, right?"

Red Hood doesn't move his head which makes it difficult to know if he's reading through that date book, or if he's watching Santo from behind those softly glowing red optics.
Huntress has posed:
"That don't surprise me. It's what I always hear about you vigilante types. Always lookin' out for the little folk, eh?" Santo snorts, clearly disbelieving. "How about I leave a message for him, let him know you're sweet on him?"

There's something interesting going on in the mafioso's demeanor as Jason speculates aloud. "That'd be a dumb move to make. I'd catch a lot of heat from all over." And yet... yeah, Santo's smirking, like he's the smartest fucking guy in the room right now.

"You know though, I heard the same as you. The Bertinelli's are back. Me? I figure good if they are. Much as Franco Bertinelli and I didn't see eye to eye," that's an understatement, "He always played everyone fair. And he was old school. Not like this new breed. No loyalty." Santo scratches at his chin. "You want to go hi, say welcome to the neighborhood? Be my guest. You didn't hear it from me, but you can find them out a place in the East End near that old Franco's Wine Bar." Santo clearly just wants the man gone from his office. But there's also that smirk, so he probably just be sending Jason into a trap.
Red Hood has posed:
When isn't a destination given to a vigilante a trap?

Red Hood listens and pauses as Santo tries to play like he's ahead of the game.

"That so?" Hood still doesn't move his head but what he does do is reach his page turning hand to take hold of three pages from Santo's date book and slowly tear them from the binding. Closing the book and tossing it casually on the big man's desk, Hood folds the pages and tucks them into his jacket as he stands up.

He turns and walks toward the balcony's french doors then pauses.

"Just remember, Santo." He turns and points finger guns at the man's head. "I got in here while you have been home with your most favored guards and dogs assuring you of your family's safety and the sanctity of this beautiful house." He turns his back again, but calls over his shoulder. "It'd be a shame if you did anything stupid enough to make something... happen to them." The tone of threat is one learned at the side of the scariest man in Gotham. Only there's an undertone there that suggests he just might do something more than threaten the man.

Then the large vigilante disappears as if he were never in the doorway to begin with.
Huntress has posed:
There's a narrowing of eyes from Santo, but either there's nothing he considers incriminating in that book, or he thinks it better not to challenge the vigilante, since all he does his grip his glass, knuckles whitening. There's a thunderous look in his eyes at the threat. Clearly not something he deals with well. "You ought to be careful who you're threatening there, Red Hood. Never know what kind of secrets I got, the kind of lives I can destroy. And believe me, if I go, I'm taking others out with me."

How much of that speech gets out before Red Hood disappears is anyone's guess.

Whatever his faults, Santo Cassamento's directions are on point. Next to the mentioned wine shop is a mansion that practically bristles with security. Cameras and motion sensors; patrolling guards. There's no dogs, but that's probably the only difference between his and Cassamento's security. Just as with there, it probably won't be that difficult for Red Hood to penetrate.

The mansion itself is a three story affair overlooking a pool and sculpted gardens in the back yard. The first floor is full of common areas, the second floor has some bedrooms, store room and the security camera. On the top floor, more bedrooms and meeting rooms, one set in old Italian leather chairs, figures in sharp-dressed suits sitting and standing around drinking alcohol and chatting. It's guarded by a pair of stiff expressioned young men.
Red Hood has posed:
Arriving within a block of the location, Hood parks his car in a dark alley and takes to the rooftops. The East End has many faults but some of its historic houses and buildings are still things of beauty. It's no wonder Cat Woman tends to linger in the area.

Scanning the property from across the street, Hood considers his approach. The lack of dogs makes the chess match a bit less complicated. About the only thing humans smell is dinner or the pulp mill up the shoreline if the wind shifts poorly.

Moving in, Hood makes his way toward the mansion with intention to find a good observation spot in the rooftop shadows. From there he can deploy a surveillance micro drone to hover just outside one of the meeting room's windows so he can listen in.
Huntress has posed:
The whole vibe is weird. These are definitely experienced monbsters, most Capos, and yet they seem distinctly unsettled. This isn't the relaxed, easy conversation one might expect in like company.

"This whole thing ain't right, Bobby."
"I won't shush, this ain't the way things are done."
"You're too young to remember that's how they did it to the Bertinelli's. Can't complain about a reaction when it was caused by the same action."
"What, are you some fancy scientist or something now?"
"Nah, just someone who wants to keep earning a good paycheck."
"Where's the boss anyway? We been waiting around for ages."
"I dunno. Downstairs, I guess. Just drink the liquor, wait patiently, and keep smiling. You'll live longer."

There's some discussion of potential places to push territory, but they're halfhearted and quieten down quickly. Mostly they just seem to be waiting around.
Red Hood has posed:
Red Hood remains concealed for the moment. He may not be a mobster but even he can sense that something is off with this meeting. Just what that means will have to play out in its own time. While he waits, he launches a second drone to scout the rest of the house. About the diameter of a boutique coffee shop lid when deployed, the device is whisper soft and covered with a nonreflective coating. Not impossible to spot but difficult without knowing where to look. With a tap on his, uh, Red Phone... he programs it to map the perimeter of the house and scan for occupants. Adding the second display into his optics he attempts to monitor the situation. Oracle always makes this seem so easy to do.
Huntress has posed:
There are other figures throughout the house. Some seemingly sleeping, others walking around. He'll track a pair walking up the stairs and joining the meeting before he spots them.

"Quieten down, everyone," the guy out in front says, "Boss is here and wants to say a few words."

"I get that things have been... tumultuous recently." Jason knows the voice, but it can't be, right? "Rest assured they will settle. I have had sit down meetings with the rest of the five families, and an understanding has been reached." Helena Bertinelli paces deeper into the room, passing by the window, and moves to the far wall. She's dressed in an all black pant suit and jacket outfit, her hair braided away from her face. Her gaze passes over the various different figures there, taking in their varying demeanors.

"Over the next couple of weeks I'll be meeting with each of you individually, and laying out plans. If you follow them to letter, you'll find yourselves much better placed than you were under the Panessa leadership. If you step out of line, though... you think you can't work for a woman? Well," a fleeting smile. "Let me know now and we'll take care of that."

Silence in the room, stretched to awkwardness as she waits.

"All right. Go out and make us all some money."
Red Hood has posed:
Jason Todd listens. Somehow he'd had a gut feeling who the 'Boss' was going to be. The question still remains as to what her goals, her end game and intentions are.. Whatever his thoughts or opinions of her methods, whether or not she's actually turned and chosen to join the Family after all of her professed hatred and intention to bring them down, he remains hidden. This wasn't going to be the right time to get the answers he needs. But it certainly has provided some interesting intel.

Recalling the second drone since the target of its scans so helpfully entered the meeting room, he remains in the shadows to listens as her cadre of officers seemingly prepare to leave.
Huntress has posed:
"What now, Boss?" That's the man that come in with Helena, gazing at her, his expression otherwise neutral. The way he positioned himself against the others, it wouldn't be hard to guess he's her consigliere -- or acting as it, anyway.

"Set up the meetings. You know the men better than anyone. Those that are known to have a beef... see if you can schedule an overlap so they run into each other with adjoining appointments."

"Is that wise? That's going to create friction."

"That's the point. They're going to be looking at each other, not me. I won't tolerate any mutiny, or they'll go the way of my uncle."

"As you command, Boss."

And then they're walking out, parting ways, and the room falls silent.
Red Hood has posed:
Frowning, Red Hood listens. He wanted to go down there and confront her. But this time, this place. Even with his frustration at the situation it just wasn't smart. Even his brash instincts can see how it would put them both in danger.

He waits for the floor to fall silent. Returning his drone, he silently enters the house and locates what he is sure to be The Boss's office. He pauses for a moment, looking around, then moves to the desk. After another moment of thought he disappears out the window, closing it behind him and fading into the Gotham night. Somewhere else criminals are going to receive the expression of his frustration in brutal fashion.

Left behind, in Helena Bertinelli's mob office, is a single taser round. Sitting on end in the plush office chair.