A Tiger Without Teeth


heller_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif

Scene Title A Tiger Without Teeth
Synopsis Griffin strikes a bargain.
Date October 13, 2011

Holding Facility

They told him he was being relocated to Eltingville.

They lied.

It has been three weeks since Griffin last saw the sky, or felt the early autumn sun on his face. Instead, he's been basking in the cold fluorescent glow of solitary confinement with only four concrete walls and the nurse that delivers his daily dose of negation drugs for company.

The medicine - or at least that's what she calls it - runs slow and thick through his veins, making him feel heavy, lethargic, with only a rudimentary understanding of the passage of time.

In a way, it's been a blessing.

On the 22nd day, at the appointed time, the door to Griffin’s cell booms open and footsteps that sound – at least to him – like they’re coming from the end of a long corridor fill the room. When he opens his eyes and wills them to focus, a broad-shouldered man with eyes like a hawk’s is sitting across the cot with his large hands folded neatly in his lap.

Griffin’s visitor wears an officer’s uniform of some kind. The fabric is stiff, halfway between green and dark gray, and looks like it might be rough to the touch if Griffin could only lift his hand to reach out. He can’t.

"You look like shit," says the stranger.

He learned a long time ago to never believe a thing they say. He's a wanted terrorist. He's killed people, both with Messiah and now the Ferry. He's never been shy about showing that distinctive face of his, even when he's trying to hide in plain sight. Serves him right for leaving Pollepel. Serves him right for thinking he wouldn't — nay, couldn't be caught.

This isn't all that unfamiliar, really. Moab gave him a tiny slit of a window, but he was also given drugs that left him much more aware than he is now. In some ways, the quiet and solitude is nice, in contrast to the blood and mayhem that have been his life since his escape from the desert prison. This is a fair consequence for all of the blood on his hands — both the physical ones and the mental ones. He deserves everything that's coming his way — after all, he's lost count of how many people he has quite literally ripped to pieces.

In other ways, the drugged solace is horrifying and torturous, his mind constantly doubling back to Nadira, the soon-to-be mother of his child. Is she alright? Is the baby alright? Is she still even pregnant, or did he miss the birth of his second child? Will he ever even see the face of or know his second child? Probably not, the way things are going. Is Owain okay? They were just starting to make progress with him after Marjorie died, and now he's alone with the Ferry. In those rare moments of clarity, these are the thoughts roaring through his head like a freight train. He can only cling to the hope that Nadira and the baby are find, and that Owain will be okay on Pollepel.

He obviously doesn't respond much to the visitor, to start, aside from slowly opening his eyes. Sluggishly, Griffin takes in the visage of his visitor, examining first he uniform, then struggling to focus on the stranger's face, feebly attempting to discern if he should recognize this face or not. "I probably feel worse," is his slightly slurred response to the statement, eyes blinking heavily as though the very act of doing so will help him fight off the sedative effects of the negation 'medicine.'

There's a hazy sense of familiarity that causes the hair on the back of Griffin's neck to stand on end when he tries to place the stranger's face, but then the man forces a tight smile and the feeling is gone. "Don't know about that," he replies, "but it beats not feeling anything at all, wouldn't you say?"

He reaches up and rubs the side of his hand along his jaw, which is covered in fine, sand-colored stubble that matches the thinning hair on the top of his head. "Griffin Mihangle. Or is it Calum Stewart? You people have so many aliases, it's hard for my people to keep track."

"You have a point," comes the slurred response, Griffin blinking his eyes blearily a few times as he continues to examine the sandy-haired man, searching his brain for where he might know this fellow. "Though feeling nothing could be a blessing for some." He attempts to wiggle his fingers a bit, if only so he can rub at his face. He fights the sedation for all he's worth, for what little it does to help his situation. Would it be too much to ask to be able to sit up to have a conversation?

"The former is correct, but I'm sure you already know that by now." He blinks blearily, briefly turning his green eyes up toward the ceiling. "Is all the sedation really necessary? Moab had better drugs, to be sure…" He swallows, Adam's Apple sliding down and back up, before turning his gaze back to the man. "You'd think you guys would want a killer like me to be more aware of my solitary confinement."

"A tiger without teeth is no tiger at all," the stranger replies. "You're a widower, as I understand it, of your own volition." He lets that hang in the air for a minute, as if he could make the words tangible by letting them sit there, unaddressed. Then: "It was an accident, of course. That's what your lawyer would argue, if you had one."

But you don't, he means.

"We have a file on you as thick as your arm. Your wife. The Company. Moab. Messiah. We know about everything. Even Ms. Karim. Or is it Mrs. Mihangle now?"

An amused smirk sluggishly makes its way over Griffin's face at the mention of his widower status. "Power manifestation is a bitch. Not that I don't blame myself. I really wish they'd had anger management programs when I was at Moab…" He trails off, images of Cindy trailing through his brain. "If I had one," he echoes, a lazy shrug rolling over his shoulders.

A look of brief confusion passes over his face upon mention of The Company, but the conversation goes too fast for his drug-addled brain to do more than catch briefly on that hint — mostly due to the mention of Nadira. That definitely gets him, his green eyes widening slightly at the mention of the woman carrying his second child. The poker face wins over shortly after, though he has mustered every bit of alertness he has to focus on the man now. "Figured you would," he replies, a frown setting lines into his face.

After a long pause and a dry swallow, Griffin continues, "And to what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?"

"I could have you killed," says the stranger. "Load your body into the incinerator. No one would ever know, or ask any questions. Your names, both of them, would remain on our wanted list for an indefinite period of time, but that doesn't help me. And it doesn't help Nadira."

He reaches into his coat and produces a plain brown paper envelope, unmarked. "It's isn't a matter of if the Ferrymen are exterminated," he says, "but when. Maybe she gets lucky. Maybe they'll have run her and the child over the border by then. Maybe. However, you and I both know, Mr. Mihangle, not to make life-altering decisions on the basis of maybes. Are you still listening?"

Oh, he is definitely listening. Really, all he had to do was mention the one little ray of light in his life to get Griffin to pay every ounce of his attention to the man and the words that come from his mouth. He has a good poker face, but the bitterness and hate can't help but glimmer through in his intense gaze upon the man. "You could indeed have me killed," he replies in a markedly colder tone. "And I certainly wouldn't blame you, I'm not exactly a shining example of an Evolved citizen."

Green eyes narrow slightly, as Griffin musters enough will power to lift his hand, only to run it down his face as if to wipe the sedatives away. Not that it helps much. "Is that really a question that needs to be asked? You have my attention…and my cooperation. There's really no need to beat around the bush." He shifts a bit, as much as he can manage, to position himself the tiniest bit more upright. "So spit it out," he growls through his teeth with a soft but angry edge to his voice, "what is it that you're after?"

"You're going to return to the Ferrymen," says the stranger, "and you're going to learn as much about the people in this envelope as you can. I want the names of all their leaders, and the locations of all their safehouses." He lays the envelope down on the cot in front of Griffin. "You're going to do it without getting caught, and without drawing any more attention to yourself than is necessary to ensure your success. In exchange, we provide you and your family with new identities and a tidy little bank account. A fresh start. Untraceable."

Those fierce green eyes turn downward to the envelope, staring long and hard at it as the 'request' is laid out for him. For a long moment, he simply stares at that envelope in silence, thoughts racing through his head. So they want him to betray the Ferrymen. He could refuse. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, right? So many Evos count on the Ferrymen for safety. Women, children, the old and infirm…he's helped them all while working with the underground group. What he should do is angrily fling that little brown envelope off of the cot, spit in the man's face, adamantly refuse to ever betray all of those people. His people. His kind.

But then, his thoughts return to Nadira. To the unborn child in her belly. To his son Owain, who has already been through far too much. To the thought of them all living a happy life. A safe life. As a family, no less. Getting a house, sending the kids to a real school…not having to murder people in order to simply keep those he loves from being murdered. Cooking dinner, mowing the grass. Building that chicken / duck coop he always wanted to have. The kids could grow up normal, not in the middle of a war. Those deep green eyes stay upon that envelope for a long moment, silence ringing out from the incapacitated telekinetic.

Slowly, a wobbly hand reaches out…and comes to rest upon the envelope. "If…if I comply…" He pauses, eyes still on the envelope. "My family and I won't ever be bothered again by you or your people again." Slowly, he turns his gaze back to the man. That part isn't a request, it's a statement. "You will create a wall of paperwork and red tape between the Mihangle family and your war."

"Naturally." The word leaves the stranger's mouth like a purr. "On the other hand, if you try and warn them, or assist them in any way, I will find you. I will find her. And I will find your children. Both of them."

He hesitates, rolling around the rest of the threat in his mouth, then swallows it when he decides that it isn't necessary. He's made his point. "As I said, it's a matter of when, not if. Think of this as a mercy. You're just expediting the inevitable." The stranger rises, unfolding long legs to reveal his svelte soldier's frame. "The nurse will be in shortly with your clothes and the belongings that were on your person when you were apprehended."

He extends a callused hand. "Do we have a deal, Mr. Mihangle?"

Is he truly about to do this? Is he really about to betray the organization that has done so much for him? What would Nadira think of him if she knew? What would his children think if they found out later on? But then, the idea of a normal life for his children is such a sweet idea. Owain could get into some therapy to help him cope with the loss of Marjorie, and with the sudden uprooting of his entire life at the age of ten. He and Nadira's child could grow up without ever having to know the terror of this horrible war he's been dragged into — without ever having to see the horrors that Owain has had to deal with.

He never wanted to be a hero. He never wanted to be part of this. All he ever wanted was that stupid American dream. A house. A wife. Happy children having a happy childhood. The idea of worrying about paying the phone bill sounds like heaven compared to what his world has been for the past eleven years.

That intense green-eyed gaze lingers over the stranger's hand as the man deliberates for an uncomfortably long moment. He sluggishly raises his hand…only to hesitate, his poker face disappearing for a moment to reveal a troubled expression. A guilty expression. Then, resolve takes the place of guilt, and he reaches out, clasping the man's hand firmly and turning his green-eyed gaze to meet the man's blue gaze.

"We have a deal."

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