Components, Part II



Also Featuring

cassius_icon.gif harper_icon.gif knight_icon.gif

Scene Title Components, Part II
Synopsis Leonardo Maxwell is brought out to Staten Island under false pretenses.
Date April 1, 2010

Southern Staten Island

It's a miserable night to have come out here to the southern edge of Staten Island. Even if it's only been to the regions of the island with plowed roads and retruned infrastructure, the President of the Maxwell Development Corporation was called out to personally inspect the status of renovations being put forth on the residential neighborhood north of Miller Field where the National Guard has situated themselves on Staten Island.

Arriving by Ferry, Leonardo and his ersewhile magnetokinetic bodyguard are afforded transportation to the construction site with an armed contingent of Stillwater Security mercenaries. In the armored SUV they've piled in to, Leonardo is met by Maxwell Development Corporation's chairman of the board Daniel Knight, a weary looking Wall Street suit that has only the bottom line and the top dollar in mind when it comes to the future of the Maxwell name.

"Leo…" He always tries to smooth things over on a first name basis, "I wanted to talk to you again about a couple of ideas I had for the future of the company, while we're headed out to the site." The back seat of this SUV is fashioned after a limousine, with seats facing one another, so that Knight is seated opposite of Leonardo and his bodyguard. "It's a bit of a drive out to the construction site and I just— I wanted to see if you'd changed your mind at all about those investment options I mentioned at the last board meeting?"

Abandoned and desolate streets of Staten Island continue to roll by out the tinted windows of the shared vehicle, and Leonardo can see his own muted reflection in the dark glass. "Now I know you're not interested in giving over control of the company, but the investors I've been speaking to are extremely interested in donating a sizable portion of funding to our endeavors, and I just think…" There's a hesitant smile creeping up on Knight's lips. "I'd like to think you might be open to change in the company, rather than just… maintaining the status quo?"

It's the same argument they've had time and again, of Knight wanting to leverage control of the company from Leonardo in order to sell off large sections of Maxwell Development Corporation to outside investors and private interests. Sure, it would make billions of dollars for the company, but result in less and less control of Leonardo's own holdings. Control isn't something he readily relinquishes.

Which may be why he's out here tonight, driving in the dark of the evening through the streets of Staten Island, just to see the status of a project with his own two eyes.

"Absolutely not." Leonardo says at the same time as he holds up an index finger to quiet Cassius before he even says anything. "I have plans for this company, and I certainly do not intend to whore parts of it out to investors who'll do nothing more than open hotels and shopping malls. I have a vision, and that vision is repairing this city and rising it up to Utopian status. I can't do such a thing with my company divided in such a way." He straightens the tie in the middle of his black suit jacket, not looking at all pleased by the subject being brought up again.

"You know your father was an idealist like you." Knight notes with a tiny ghost of a smile that seems almost more like a half-formed grimace. "He was…" There's a slow nod of the chairman's head as he draws in a slow breath, reaching up to swipe one hand over his thinning hair before folding his hands into his lap. "That's fine, if that's what you want to do. This is your company, Mr.Maxwell," he always uses surnames only when he's tense or upset, "and far be it from me to tell you how to run it."

But. Leonardo can always feel the inevitable but of any dropped argument with Mr.Knight.

"But when I helped your father run this company, things were done a little differently. I understand you have ambitions, but Maxwell Development isn't going to survive for another ten years if you keep running it the way you are. There's money hemmorhaging out of this company on projects that aren't even on the books half the time."

Knight breathes in deeply, then exhales a frustrated sigh. "But I understand if you've made your choice. In fact, I would've been surprised if you'd gone any other way than this, you're so much like your father it…" Knight's feigned smile comes back again, and it's clear he's carefully choosing his words. "It's clear to me how far the apple falls from the tree."

"There's a clear difference between my skills and ambitions, and my father's. One, I took the company from under my father's feet and he didn't even have the foresight to see it coming, two, my goals and plans and use of the company's funds are often with long term goals in mind, things that will pay for themselves when the time comes. I would not do anything if I thought it would actually kill the company." Leonardo crosses his arms, giving the man a stern yet confident stare, not smiling nor frowning, he simply looks like something completely sure of his convictions. "Perhaps the people you have looking into things need to be replaced with people who are capable of looking ahead."

Pursing his lips, lifting both blonde brows, Knight offers a somewhat scrutinizing look to Leonardo, watching him over the wire frames of his glasses before just snorting out a laugh and nodding his head. "Truer words have never been spoken," the chairman opines with a motion of both his hands out to either side, "I couldn't have said it better myself Mr.Maxwell." Over Knight's shoulder, the SUV's driver offers a nod of his head that indicates — as does the slowing of the vehicle — that they've arrived at the location.

When the SUV comes rolling to a stop, an unlit suburban neighborhood marked with Maxwell logos on vinyl banners across their roofs are a sure sign they're in the right area. "Here you go, sir. let me get that for you…" Knight offers, leaning to the side to pull open the back doors of the SUV and step out, one foot on the baseboard and one on the ground, balancing himself by the handle attached to the inside of the roof.

Looking out over the development, he smiles back into the SUV, then steps out fully so that Leonardo and his boyguard can follow. Even on cursory inspection, the grounds of this neighborhood are still within visible distance of the Reclaimed Zone's floodlights, and the distant glow of where electricity still flows is a long shot away from the very empty and hollow feeling these snow-dapped houses offer.

"You know, Leonardo…" Knight says as he steps away from the SUV, looking out over the buildings. "When you offered to participate in the redevelopment down here, I thought you were out of your mind." It's a frank statement coming from the usually agreeable Knight. "But then I got to thinking about the bigger picture— the long view— like you were saying." He turns, motioning back towards Leonardo as he climbs out of the SUV.

"The government's got… a lot of plans for this area of Staten Island, and you were pretty sharp getting in on it as fast as you did." Knight's brows furrow, eyes settled on Leonardo before he paces another few steps away from the SUV. "But I thought about that a little more, I thought about your choices and just… where you're taking things and you know— you know what I realized?"

Knight turns around again, wagging one of his hands in the air as if tapping on the ephemeral point his conversation is trying to make. "I realized that you're not entirely the idiot your father was, but… your vision?" Knight's brows lift up slowly. "It's just as limited by your own self-importance."

Leonardo's standing there once he steps out of the SUV, casually straightening his tie as Knight speaks, not even giving the man any eye contact until the other finishes. Raising his head, and another finger to keep Cassius from speaking, he suddenly points to one of the banners. "Who's name is on that banner? Mine, I trust you can see. I've earned my self-importance, I've expanded this company far more than my father intended to. I know what I'm doing, I intend to see it through to the end, you just seem to be stuck on this dead horse of yours and it causes you to doubt me."

Knight actually turns, he actually pivots and looks up at the builting to check who's name is on the sign, then looks back with a roll of his shoulders and a huff of steam out of his mouth in the cold night air. "That's corporate branding Mr.Maxwell, and that's not your name on that banner, that's your idiot father's name." Tucking ihs hands into his pockets, Knight looks back at the sigh again as he takes a few more steps out from the SUV, and it's about now that both Cassius and Leonardo note that the driver hasn't gotten out yet, and the other two SUVs of private security haven't arrived yet.

It's cold here— dark and cold and they're alone. The revelation comes too late.

Cassius hears the snap of a silenced weapon being fired and is able to react quick enough to throw both of his hands up into the air. The world ripples around his palms as a distortion caused by waves of electromagnetism shudder the cold night air. But the slap of something hitting him in the chest causes one knee to buckle, and the bodyguard to stumble backwards, slamming up against the side of the truck, staring down at a white-tipped dart sticking hilt-deep into his shoulder. "Ss— Sir." He slurs out as he slides down the back of the truck, and three more loud snap, snap, snaps of silenced gunfire ring out.

Whatever it was that hit Cassius it wasn't ferrous enough for his magnetism to effect, but even as reflexive attempts of Leonardo's ability radiate outward like an aura from him, the impact of one dart into his chest between his second and third ribs burns like being stung by a bee. The second dart hits him square in the side of the neck, and another in his right thigh. Leonardo's arms feel heavy already after the first dart, but the other two have him crumpling down in a weakened state against the car beside Cassius.

Knight offers a crisp smile, reaching up to straighten his tie as he watches the two fall. Floodlights come on from the street adjacent to them, lights mounted atop enrmous armored white vans, casting long, lumbering shadows of men in white plastic suits with black visored masks, rifles carried with shoulder straps slung over their bodies. "What was it you said…" Knight begins, approaching where Leonardo and Cassius were tranquilized. "About your father, never seeing it coming when you stole the company out from under him?"

The blonde chairman of the board offers a knife smile and a roll of his shoulders with an exhilerated growl of excitement. "Irony, thy name is Maxwell."

"Should have killed you…" Leonardo says with labored breaths, leaning against the SUV on his knees. He stares up at the chairman, pure and utter murder in his eyes. "Going to kill you…" He can barely control his ability right now, but the SUV shudders and crackles as the paint falls to the ground in a mixture of large and small chips, then the roof and the door of the driver's seat spring forward into a large mass of jagged spikes, all aiming to rip the man apart.

But he passes out, slipping into unconsciousness as the spikes stop a mere few inches from impaling every inch of his body. Close call.

Were there any moment closer when Knight could have felt the threads of all his hard work slipping from him, it's when Leonardo strips metal from the SUV and nearly turns him into a smug pincushion. Breathing hitching in the back of his htroat, he staggers back, one hand clutching his chest and a shuddering exhalation coming with a burst of steam from his lips. There's a weary, tired groan there, and when Knight's eyes settle on Leonardo's form again, it's only to watch those white-suited men approach his prone form cautiously, one of the men holding a metal canister with a biohazard symbol on it tightly.

"He's all yours…" Knight breathes out the words as he works his jaw from side to side, tugging at his starched collar as he looks at the gnarled strips of sharp metal laying in the snow. His tongue runs over his parched lips, and blue eyes nervously flit to where the back of one of the vans is splitting open and a massive plastic and metal sarcophagus-like container is sliding out on a hydraulicly manipulated ramp, lights flashing on along one side.

"Mister Knight?" Comes a voice from behind the van, and a tall, well-dressed gentleman in a black longcoat with a bluetooth headset in one ear approaches the still somewhat stunned chairman. "We're going to take both Mr.Maxwell and his bodyguard, if you don't mind? I know that wasn't part of our prior arrangement, but I think in this case it might be necessary to facilitate the cover story."

Knight nods his head rapidly, wiping one hand over his mouth and looking at those metal strips. There's visible, palpable fear in his eyes as he looks from them, then up to the man that's talking. "Yeah that's— that's fine get rid of both of them. Does this…" Knight's eyes wander amigst the crew, then back to the man with the earpiece. "Does this seal the contract deal, Mister Harper?"

Glancing at Knight, there's a quirk of one of Harper's brows and a slow shake of his head as he watches the men in the white plastic suits lifting up Leonardo on to a backboard and carrying him towards the coffin as it splits open and releases pressurized gas into the cold air. "I think this seals the deal… yeah. Mr.Maxwell won't be a trouble to you any more, and I thank you for coming out and letting us know about him." There's a look from Harper to Knight, and a smile. "Now I'd take this as your cue to leave, and stick to the official story."

Knight nods, reaching up to straighten his tie. "If there's one thing I've learned in this business, Mister Harper… it's how to stick to a story."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License