Mr. Dark 5

By: Lauren Landish

"Han Faoxin, daughter of Han Gaotan, is the third generation of her family to control the Asian crime syndicate in the city. One of the things that made her control so different from her father's is that she's been able to cross the cultural lines that divided the various Asian groups. While the Yakuza aren't happy about it, being mostly locked out, she created an amalgamation of Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and independent Japanese criminal groups that gave her total control over anything coming into the city from eastern Asia. She doesn't have control of the Middle Eastern groups, but has a good working relationship with them. Considering how relatively young she is, she's been considered next in line when Sal Giodano retires for taking control of the entire Confederation."

Sophie looked closely at the picture I had of her, the only picture I knew in existence of Faoxin that tied her to criminal activity. "Is that.... is that you next to her?"

Blushing, I nodded. "Yes. Just before she took over from her father, Faoxin and I were.... well, it was complicated."

"How so?"

"This isn't the conversation I thought I'd be having with my fiancée," I said sheepishly. "I guess you could say that while Faoxin and I weren't exactly dating, I was more than a hook-up to her as well. Perhaps you could say I was one of her steady boys for about a year. She had a penchant for younger men."

"Really?" Sophie said with a smirk. "So she was the one who taught you all those ancient Asian bedroom techniques you use on me. I'm not sure if we should kill her, or send her a thank you card."

I groaned and shook my head. "Note to self, hold off on discussing prior partners until after breakfast."

Sophie leaned over and kissed my cheek. "Don't worry, I'm not jealous," she said. "I can see from the picture that this was years ago, you could pass as a high schooler almost. And since you and I came together, you've been nothing but a loyal, wonderful boyfriend and lover. It's not like I expected that either of us came into this as pristine virgins. Although I do have to say one thing."

"What's that?"

"Faoxin, she's quite beautiful. It's kind of good for my ego to know that I can tempt you away from such a beautiful and powerful woman. How old is she anyway?"

I laughed and stood up, pulling Sophie to her feet. "First of all, you are far more beautiful than Faoxin," I said, kissing her nose. "Not just on the outside, but far more on the inside. That woman is as evil as she is beautiful, trust me on that. Now, before we discuss anything else, we're getting some breakfast, and then we have to put in our daily appearance as Marcus Smiley and Sophie Warbird."

"So how old is she?"

* * *

That night, up on the third floor of what had come to be known as the Smiley Building, if such a grand name could be given to a four story converted warehouse in the industrial district near the docks, I started the more difficult part, which was prepping my hit. The key to my plan was using a mix of styles. If each of the four hits were done in my preferred manner, a long range sniper shot using a heavy caliber rifle, I'd leave too consistent a trail, one that could be assigned to an individual. That individual was most likely me, since both Lynch and the Confederation knew I was active in town again. That was the last thing I wanted. I wanted the Confederation looking at each other and Owen Lynch first.

Sophie and I had agreed on one thing, and that was I needed to do the hit on Faoxin. There were a lot of reasons for this. First of all, while I had a picture of Faoxin, it was older, and I had enough memories of her that I could pick her out easily. Secondly, with Sophie taking at least one of the four hits, I wanted her to use her best skill, which was the long range rifle shot. While she wasn't as good as me, with the setup we had agreed on for the hit on Illyusas Petrokias, she didn't need to be, taking only a three hundred meter shot. That left me to focus on Faoxin.

A long range shot wouldn't work for a hit on Faoxin anyway. The key to her effectiveness was that, like me and Sophie, she lived a double life. Most of her communication with her soldiers was through scrambled voice calls. While she spent lots of time around her territory, she didn't advertise who she was. In fact, I knew at least three times she had gone into various clubs or massage parlors she controlled as nothing more than either a customer or even an employee.

During the day however, Han Faoxin lived under her Americanized name, Alexa Han. She was a high school teacher, who for ten years had taught advanced placement history at William Henry Harrison High School. Trust me, if she had been my history teacher, I probably would have paid attention a lot more in class. I don't know if I would have scored any better on my tests, but I would have certainly paid attention in class. I'm sure her students, at least the male ones for sure, were the same way.

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