" Some said Jack Quartz, vivisectionist and educator, was to the Americas what Moriarty was to Britain. You were well advised not to suggest the equivalence in either’s earshot. I knew Quartz was still smarting over Moriarty’s Surprise Valley Gold Mine coup, a foot set in his sphere of influence.
Quartz had supposedly secret treaties with the Unione Corse and the Camorra in Southern Europe and Dr Nikolai and the Si-Fan in Asia.
Outwardly, Moriarty and Quartz maintained courteous, professional relations; each would refer petitioners departing for foreign shores to the other.”
I’m going to make some food then I’ll be back.
Leave me asks/anons/etc to help get my muse back?
i wanna be dat curl on the nape
"Pack a bag, Jack.” Jim says, taking a leaf out of Quartz’s book and schooling his tone into something much more casual and conversational. He is still seething with anger, but it will do him no favors to go showing around this chink in his armor; parading around with his weak point exposed. Anger may frighten a lot of people when it is directed at them, but others benefit from it. Quartz belongs to the latter camp, and Jim is aware enough about it to clamp down on his emotions and bottle them up for the sake of saving his own skin. Or at least avoiding adding insult to injury, as the case may be.
"Once we’ve got a trail, we’re going along for the ride." Most of Jim’s belongings may be on the floor, but his computer is still safe and sound. He checks the last account he’s still got active, just to be sure it hasn’t been touched, and clicks away to begin pricing airline tickets. Without all of his resources he is, for the first time in the latter half of his life, on a bit of a budget.
"I don’t trust you. I don’t trust your men. If you want a job done right you’ve got to do it yourself, as the old adage goes. Archaic, but there you are." What’s frustrating is that with all accounts closed except for one, all staff on temporary leave and all operations suspended, Jim has got nothing to do. Nothing to do but wait.
Wait, and spend time with the only person on earth who knows exactly what he’s going through.
Jack resented being called by his first name, but he didn’t say anything, “I will, Jim." He said, with just a hint of coldness in his voice. Just a hint, nothing too obvious. Moriarty had seemingly regained control of himself. And although Jack let it slide, he couldn’t help but feel slightly smug about it all.
"i don’t trust you either." He said, coolly, "And I tend not to get involved with things like this, but, as you said, if you want a job done right…" He trailed off, holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder as he checked his account. He sent an encrypted email to his second in command, demanding is presence and then straightened up. "I don’t want to spend any more time with you than I need to, and I know you feel the same. So when we’re wherever we need to be to get this bastard, I expect professionalism."
He was talking as though to one of his employees, but he needed to assert some kind of dominance. He was the one stranded in a different country. The country that Jim Moriarty ran. He was the one at a disadvantage, whether or not Jim was going to play on that, he didn’t know. But he did know he had to be careful.
All Quartz really has to do is begin talking about what it is the man used to do; there aren’t a lot of people who can manage the things that Michael Howard can accomplish, and by the time the name is uttered, Jim is already coiled tightly and ready to spring like a trap. There comes through the line the sounds of several heavy objects being shoved off of Jim’s desk, and while Quartz isn’t able to see the destruction, he’ll know it for what it is.
Within moments it goes quiet again, and when Jim speaks, he is just as calm and collected as he had been before receiving such an unfortunate shred of information. It hardly matters, as his rival had witnessed (in a manner of speaking) him in a moment of weakness. Anger and rage aren’t commonly recognized manifestations of vulnerability, but they are to those who make a living exploiting them.
"One time," Jim says, inflection blade-sharp, tone dripping venom. "I used him one time." Whether he hired the man before or after Quartz did will make quite a lot of difference when deciding just how wrathful he ought to be. It might not actually matter in the long run, but if Howard had managed to get any information on Jim directly from Quartz, Jim isn’t sure he can even last long enough to struggle through this before he puts a bullet in dear Jack’s brain by himself. No snipers needed for this particular task; if he’s been compromised so seriously by this man, it will be personal.
"We’ll need to get some eyes on him, if you’ve got any left aside from the ones in your own head." Jim had kept his best, which means they have wide and varied skillsets in addition to a specialty or two. Combined with some of Jack’s men, surely they ought to be able to locate one man. His expertise is with coding, not espionage. Identity fraud would be a piece of cake for a man like Howard, however, which means he could probably eliminate all traces of himself and hide in someone else’s shadow if he sensed that he was being caught up with.
Jack heard the sounds of things being thrown to the floor. Ah. Obviously he’d hit a nerve. So it was him. The angry outburst passed quickly, but it had happened, and although Jack’s mind was busy thinking about the ways to bring Howard to his knees, he couldn’t help but revel slightly in the reaction he’d got out of his rival.
Especially when, after a moment’s silence, Moriarty’s tone was so acidic. He’s furious, Jack couldn’t help but think. So he’d used him once, which made it look like Quartz had done the most damage. He tried to think of something that could have happened which would turn Moriarty against him even more, but he’d barely had contact with the hacker, he tended not to deal with people personally, although if his information was right, neither did the Irishman on the other end of the line.
"Yes." Jack said, his own voice calm, as a dig at the other man, "I’ve still got a few left, don’t worry." The dig would have been enough to make him angry under normal circumstances, but he wanted to have the upper hand, he wanted to feel like he was winning. "I’ll get my best man on it, he’ll be sure not to tip Howard off, he could disappear if we let him."