A Waste of Time


alejandro_icon.gif trask_icon.gif

Scene Title A Waste of Time
Synopsis There's good news and bad news. The good news is that Trask is alive. The bad news—
Date February 1, 2009

Somewhere on Staten Island




Three perfect, if succinct, words that describe Trask's current surroundings. As the world gradually comes back into focus for the first time since he took a plunge from the Verrazano-Narrows, the Phoenix operative will find himself in a small concrete room — perhaps ten feet by ten feet in size — with three solid walls and a set of steel bars for the forth. There's enough light for him to make out the cot on which his body has been deposited, as well as an old porcelain toilet and sink in one of the far corners.

If Homeland Security plucked him out of the water, then there have been some serious budget cuts in recent memory. Nearby, the beady black eyes of a sewer rat watch him warily, gleaming with a quiet but feral sort of curiosity.

Trask moves drowsily. He rises and rubs his head, then starts to check his pockets, to see exactly what has been taken. The biggest clue that he is not in homeland hands? He is still wearing his winter gear. He would have been switched to a prison uniform if the government had him, no matter how secretive. He moves to the door, to check the lock, just to be sure, and then begins taking stock of the "Cage".

"«You're wasting your time,»" comes a low, strained voice — presumably from the cage next door. Trask will immediately recognize the language being spoken not as English, but Spanish. "«There's no way out unless they let you out, and you're in no shape to be fighting, friend. Rest awhile. They'll come for you soon enough.»"

Trask drops into Spanish himself, he has conversational Spanish, not necessarily native fluency. New York High School education, coupled with years on the streets. "«Who is they?»"

"Banditos." There's a wry hint of amusement in the speaker's tone, and he can be heard to stand, shoes scuffing against the concrete. "If you would like," he offers, voice sounding stilted as he switches from one language to another, "we can speak in ingl├ęs. I am told I could use the practice. What is your name?"

"Gerard Harris." The speaker tests the name out on his tongue, a low chuckle bubbling up. Trask's room doesn't have much except for the cot, the toilet and the sink, though he'll also a small wooden crate that has been overturned with a blanket thrown across the top of it to act as a sort of makeshift chair. The rat that was watching him earlier gives a dismissive flick of its whiskers, squeezes its small, slick body through the bars and scampers away, claws skittering against the pavement.

If only it was that easy.

"It is good to meet you, Mister Harris," says the speaker. "I am Alejandro Herrera."

Trask says, "Well Mr. Herrera, tell me what you know of these Bandito's of yours? How many are there? What do they look like? Are they Armed? When do they bring us food?" "Harris" drops to full interview mode, his Army and Police training over lapping as he begins running scenarios in his mind.

There's a pause, as Alejandro takes the time to play back Trask's questions in his head, carefully picking the words apart to ensure he understands what is being asked. "Many," he says finally, "there are many. They are led by a man called Muldoon, I think, but he dresses well and does not speak the same. A woman, Zhang Mu-Qian, brings us our food. I have not seen her today."

Trask says, "Does many mean you have seen 10, or 50, or 100? Do they have uniforms? Do they look military?' He smiles a little, "I'm sorry, I just want to know what I can, to be prepared like they say in the scouts." He checks under the bed, and begins to check the seams of the walls, and look for bugs. "Do they let you out to exercise at all? How long have you been here?"

Another pause, this one longer than the first. "More than ten," Alejandro says, "but less than fifty. No uniforms. My sister tells me they are not soldados — the government does not treat people like this, like rats. Why do you ask these things, Gerard? Do you plan on fighting them when they come for you?"

Trask says, "Your sister is here? Do you know how many others they or holding, or why?" He waits a few second as he thinks over their questions. "Are you planning on not fighting them? On letting them do whatever they want?"

"Slow down, please," Alejandro implores gently, "I am still learning, and you speak very fast. I tried to fight them in the beginning, much like you are thinking of fighting them now, but then they took my sister from me." He lets out a slow breath. "If I do not cooperate, they say they will kill her — I am sure you can understand."

Trask says, "What happened when you fought? How….how far did you get." Switching to Spanish, "«What did you see?»"

Alejandro is probably glad for the switch, for his answers come much quicker when he's speaking in his native tongue. "«Not as far as I would've liked. They have guards with guns, guards with abilities. They take us out a few times a week and make us fight like dogs for a crowd. Some people place bets, others spit on us. It's all sport to them. We aren't people — we're animals.»"

"«Where are we?"» asks Trask. "«Where were you when you were taken? People come to these fights? How many People? The guards with abilities, what abilities have they used in front of you?»"

"Too many questions." Bedsprings creak on the other side of the wall, and Alejandro sighs, presumably settling back onto his own cot. "«I'm very tired, Gerard. These are things you're going to learn soon enough for yourself, on your own time. They don't just take anybody of the street for their games. We can talk more tomorrow — if you're still here.»"

Trask hmmmms softly and moves to his own bed, maybe taking Alejandro's advice, he thinks a moment, "Alejandro, when I get out of this, if I can't take you and your sister with me, I will be back for you, one way or the other."

Alejandro doesn't offer Trask a verbal response except for a snort, and even that is muffled against his pillow. He falls silent, saying nothing, and lets the sound of rats scuttling through the pipes and the walls fill the silence between them.

February 1st: Hell'd Be An Improvement
Previously in this storyline…
Take Away Everything

Next in this storyline…
Back on His Feet

February 1st: Back On His Feet
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