fedor_icon.gif jake_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Half-Hinged
Synopsis The safehouse door and everyone behind it.
Date March 2, 2009

Staten Island — Inland

TXT: On the piling furthest from the dock, on the slip the Polikarpov is moored to is a box. Its tied firmly to the piling just beneath the waterline at low tide, so you may have to dig around. Cut the line free and bring me the box, its not more than ten pounds, and is a black waterproof case. Do not open it. Bring it to the Island, 10:30 local time. The address will follow, enter through the backdoor and proceed to the basement. I will be alone, and I expect the same from you. -Fedor

At 10:30 in the morning, Eastern Standard Time, there's a knock on the door dispensed off the free hand of a young man who's carrying a box — not more than ten pounds — balanced on his hip with the other. He's clad in the usual mix of old clothing and sturdy threads of indeterminate age, cotton weave and denim, no holes or stains but scratches and the comfortable, worn-soft texture of age.

He does not look particularly uncomfortable at coming to a clandestine meeting behind a shabby old derelict in the worst part of town, and that might be because he's armed, guns and knives restored. Either that, or because he's doped up on a little pain medication, still. There is no wavering note or stagger of uncertainty to the drub-drub of salutation his knuckles mete out on the building's cracked and blistered door.

There's no movement, no sign that anyone is home. The door simply swings open, only half supported via its bottom hinge. Inside it was, well sort've what you expect. The cabinets have been beaten up, and pulled off the wall to lay scattered on the otherwise rather filthy floors. The wallpaper had been half stripped off, and the basement door was completely torn free and discarded in the hallway beyond. Still though, nobody comes to investigate the knocking.

Predictably, Teo first reaches out to grab the edge of the door, to help support the weight groaning against only half the appropriate amount of hinges. His eyes fly wide with surprise before narrowing around a faint grimace. Merely sore. He hikes his shoulder where the strap of his green messenger back has started pulling wrong against the grain of stitches, steps in across the grimey floor without looking down at the creak of boards.

"Dyedooshka Volk?" His Russian accent isn't flawless, but it's good, apt, with the little-boy words on a grown man's voice. Grandfather Wolf, because he doesnt' figure the old spy would appreciate some bumbling baby terrorist running around and shouting his favored aliases wherever he goes. Three treads in, and there's a .45 out in his hand; he tilts his head to and fro, looking for some sign of life. Any. "Zdraast vooee che?"

Fedor just frowns, he frowns hard in fact. "I'm no wolf, and I'm nobody's grandfather. Young man."The voice seems entirely disembodied, like a phantom's whisper. "I'm in the basement, like the message specified. Now get down here before you make any more noise."The voice was, different again. Young and masculine this time, but then again who could expect to find Fedor in the same shape two times in a row these days. World was a dangerous place to get familiar with.

"Mi disp — 'm sorry." Teo's voice comes from the top of the basement stairs, this time, every note contrite. His footfalls bump down scarred wood and his shoulder bumps into a wall. He makes his way down with surety of foot that probably has more to do with a certain degree of youthful overconfidence than acuity of perception of or familiarity with the way ahead. "Brought you your box."

He was young and lean, looking every bit like he belonged on top of the skateboard that was leaned against the wall beside where he stood. Sixteen, maybe seventeen. There was a jacket, long shorts, hoody, ballcap and all the other details that make a skater look like a skater. "Hey bro."It flowed out of him, it sounded entirely for the world like he was just as young as he looked.

"And thanks, I didn't really think I'd need it but things change. Its hard out here for a pimp, you know?"He leaned in, reaching out to snag the proffered case. "I'm about to start in on the objective, my observational period has ended. Any developments on your side of the pool table?"

Teo nods, midway through turning his head along an inquisitive arc, peering through the room. "Buongiorno." Those words flow out of him with as much fluency and grace. After a moment, he looks at Fedor again, a second once-over of those bizarrely youthful features, partly because he's curious and unsettled, and partly because he's trying not to stare too hard at the mysterious box and the contingency plan it implies.

"Not hard enough for John Logan," he replies, wryly. He drags blunt fingernails down the back of his head. "Some shit happened. Somebody got caught looking for another prisoner down below the Happy Dagger, and she was moved to the warehouse where all the fighters are kept. Sergei's — residence's been confirmed there.

"I have the address, and there's a guy who can turn his body into a shadow looking around there now. I think you two should probably do to coordinate, but I'll defer to your expertise. People are talking about doing a raid, and there are a lot of bodies who'd be willing to go. But I'm pretty sure we need more information— about physical layout, the fight business, Muldoon, any other owners.

"Precedent situations. What kind of men they're like. How they'd retaliate and to what kind of attack, what they'd let slide, what they can't. I know it's a tall order, but…"

There's a nod, as Fedor opens the box with a soft clack. Out comes a shotgun, a -very- small shotgun to be precise. "Physical layout is easy peasy, I can give you security protocols, where they put their guards, where the cameras are and all of that jazz by midnight tonight. What sort of people they are, well thats a little more difficult. I dont think our time frame supports that amount of research Teo."

He racks the little shotgun a few times, before stuffing it full of slugs and shrugging out of his jacket and hoody. Theres a strap, with a quick release on the very back of the strap. He loops the stap around a shoulder, and then its on with the hoody and jacket. Like magic, the little gauge vanishes entirely. "A shadow guy, goodness doesnt that sound interesting. Tell me about this raid though, where are you hitting, what are your goals. That sort of thing, give me the rundown."

"You have a few days, and reputation is important to them," Teo says by way of objection, straightforwardly. "Talk to a few people, I'm sure they'll remember if somebody ever tried to break into the cages, steal Muldoon's shit, or shoot up the Happy Dagger before — and what happened to them. There's different ways the raid could be pulled off. More people, less people, more transporters or more heavy-hitters, it depends on what kind of force makes sense.

"We just want to get people out," he answers anyway. "Subdue whoever or whatever needs to be subdued, get the captives, get the fuck out. There are a few screaming dark poetry about revenge, but I figure they can do that later, afterward, after Phoenix is out. What the fuck is that for?" he asks, next, Teo's eyes finally drawn irresistibly to the miniature shotgun. He blinks in the dingy light.

Fedor smiles softly"Killing people Teo, thats what its for. When you shoot someone in the chest with a twelve gauge one ounce slug, there is no ER on the planet that can save their life. The hydrostatic shock, turns the human heart and lungs into something the consistency of pudding. Its terrible of me to say, but at close range there is really nothing more impressive."Fedor liked shotguns period to be truthful, he liked any and all of them in every format imaginable.

"Well, dont do a raid. I can assume, from the inconsistencies when I was following you around that you either have access to a teleporter or some sort of portal maker. If this assumption is correct, then why dont I go where these people are and barricade the room. I send a text message, you teleport like four people in to hold the perimeter. Then we take the people, teleport them out and leave a large gasoline bomb. Its destructive, and makes it look like we're hiding some physical means of entry or other form of overt evidence. Shy of destroying them utterly, you'll want to wage an insurgency style sort of war."Fedor shrugs, hiding his eyes under the brim of his ballcap. "I mean lets be honest, Phoenix is not a resistance or a real terrorist organization. Your a political organization with some militant members, right?"

There's a cant to Teo's head, balancing the man's suggestion with the other thing. "Some days out of the year, we're a militant organization with some political members, actually. This isn't just a Phoenix project," he adds, a slight grimace adding temporary lines to his face. They fade in an eye-blink. "There are a few other people with stakes in those prisoners. That sounds like a good plan, signor. If the physical geography and security detail make sense. If not, four people probably might not be enough.

"And Sergei can't be teleported; he has a power negation field around him. That's his ability. I've heard there's a pharmaceutical suppressant out there, somewhere, but I don't know anybody with their hands on it." Not yet, anyway; he has no idea how Hana managed to acquire the chemistry. He lapses into silence, studying the weapon in the older man's hands for a moment protracted enough to feel somewhat awkward. Then, slowly—

"Do you mind me asking who..?"

"Whomever needs killing, I dont have anyone in mind but you know a twelve gauge is very versatile"He unloads the box, exposing a plain white one which reads simply that its less than lethal."There are plenty of badasses that can rip me apart if I try to go Rocky with them, and this is the real world. I've been stabbed, beaten, thrown off balconies and well a whole list of unpleasant things have happened. When I put a rubber ball into their chest at ten feet, they're curled on the floor in a fetal position vomiting and coughing up blood. And after I've interrogated them, I can shoot them too unlike a taser. A slug will go through an armor plate, armor glass, an armored person and kill the man standing on the other side. "

But hey, theres an important topic on hand here!"Does his power work, if I knock him out? Can you give me up to six riflemen, who understand discretionary warfare? I'd text you with a number, and then you'd teleport with that number to my location. Do you need a cellphone picture to get where I'm at, or a videomail?"

A shadow flits through behind Teo's face, either uncertainty or distrust— maybe a little of both. He's too busy thinking to answer for a moment, his eyes on the floor, roving restlessly past pocked and stained concrete, then up to the naked plumbing at the corner of the ceiling.

"Sergei's power doesn't stop working unless he's dead." His shoulders hike upward under his jaw: not an option. "The repercussions are as important as getting the job done, this time. Paramilitary genocidal cults, we can evade. Entire networks of street criminals, the people who own this island? I'm not so sure."

A beat's pause. "Four, maybe five off the top of my head and a few people with ranged abilities which might work just as well or better."

Fedor nods softly "Well heres the truth of the situation Teo, we'll not know what sort of people we're dealing with until we see them angry and if I participate in the rescue then we loose that in the short term. So heres what I suggest, you get four people together and tell me when. I'll get in, supply your teleporter with whatever you need and then I and one other will fight our way out the backway into a pre stashed car with Sergei and we'll escape like so. The Gasoline bomb will keep anyone from following too closely, and any power that would allow them a boon would be counteracted by Sergei."There's the plan in his eyes at least.

"Afterwards, we can entertain the idea of spying on them to learn about them. If they already have your people though, the window for study is completely gone and you've nobody but yourselves to blame for that. Now is not the time for thinking this out, now is the time to moving quick and smart and learning from our mistakes."

"You were going to be that window for study," Teo points out in blunt terms, though he restrains any annoyance or evidence of temper. "Now you're packing a shotgun, talking about what you'll know by tonight, and talking about doing some shit with gas bombs.

"No offense, signor, but all that stealth and finesse you were selling earlier seems to be conspicuously absent." He sounds like a fucking SAT vocabulary book, he realizes, his word choice oddly disjunct with the rough-hewn, casual grammar that connects them. "It'll be at least three days before people are ready to go.

"If you can't learn anything constructive about Pancratium's reputation and history in those days, I…

"I'm trying not to ask what you've been doing with the intervening time. I know I must seem very young and rude right now," and getting progressively more agitated, despite all of the mental energy Teo's dedicating to not just losing his shit where he's standing, "but I would appreciate your understanding. If it helps to clarify my stubbornness on this whole thing, it might help you to know — Felix got involved. Not my doing. But I don't want the fucking fallout to hit too many people."

He lifts his hands almost defensively "Relax, will you? I can tell you plenty about the place, but I need time to get inside and tell you about the man. You seem to be under the impression that I can easily change my face, and that men who run an evolved fighting ring dont expect some evolved with a dynamic face to try and eventually get close to them. This started out with me getting Trask and Mr.Gray out, and now your talking about a raid. Its not as if my timeline has remained intact you know, nor that my work is easy."Fedor shakes his head softly.

"You seem very stressed, and I understand your frustration. I am former KGB Teo, I am not James Bond. I cant nail the girl, kill the bad guy and use my wristwatch to save the goodguys at the same time. You told me I was coming here to save one person, and make sure another was safe. I've made preparations to do that, not to facilitate a large-scale rescue. If thats what you wanted of me all along, then you should have told me that before I began this operation. I change faces Teo, I do not read minds."

It's awful, how often Teo's temper is showing these days. It was better when he was fucking everything in sight that had a decent ass, probably; a small and relatively harmless outlet for misdemeanor which prevented him from going all teeth and snarling hate at every other thing that's going sideways. Virtue doesn't suit him; the improvement in sexual conduct is oddly proportional to the dearth of his temper. It takes him a moment to apologize, but when he does, it's in an even voice, with a steady breath. "I'm sorry. I know. Or I think I understand.

"The raid is news to me, too. I didn't know all of these people would wind up in the same place, or that so many others were going to have to get involved. The events that led to those captures were all…" a motion of one hand in the air, both to characterize scattered insanity and dissmisive. "Fuck it. Do what you're good at. I'll text you the shadow fella's number — I'm sure you'll both have to make a few decisions on the fly. Other people can do the other things.

"With any luck, neither your nephew nor anybody else has to die after all this. There's one other thing." Which he fails entirely to elaborate on, until at least he's given permission by the old spy. He looks at Fedor in silence. Hesitates, visibly. Unbecomingly, for a leader of Phoenix, but hopefully Fedor hasn't figured he's that.

There's a pause, and a frown. Fedor reaches across to gently pet at Teo's cheek, Fedor's own expression wasnt anger or discomfort it was pity. "Relax alright Teo, your a good kid. I would tell you, if you were doing something wrong. Your doing just fine so far, I have the very highest of confidence in you. Dont sell yourself so short, but by the same measure dont wrap yourself so tightly. Tell me the result you want, and give my number to your shadow friend. I can make this work alright?"

"All our people get home so we can go to war, some of their people die, and all this bullshit fucking ends." Tall orders. Teo can't, apparently, figure out how to make short ones.

His features darken visibly at the brush of the younger — older — man's hand, embarrassed twice over at the spark and ugly mark of his own temper. Wrath is a sin. And also unprofessional or something, Teo doesn't know; he's just a kid trying to get the kid who should be doing all this stuff back so he doesn't have to. "Grazie. Thank you. I— uhm. There's another thing. Maybe afterward, or if you have an evening where you're just waiting — I'm sorry, I know I'm asking a lot.

"Feel free to say no." He gets like this; sheepish apologies, disclaimers, suddenly in overabundance after a brief flare of chagrin, temporarily inundated by rue. "There's another metamorph I know who wants to try and get involved. Maybe not in this month's shit with Staten Island, but eventually. I was wondering if you'd speak with him. See what he's cut out for. What he could do, whether he has potential. I value your opinion and experience."

For the life of him, Fedor wanted to assume Teo wasn't talking about Miles. "I'll take care of it, don't you worry your cute little head. Now before we go any further with this second request, which I don't really mind, is his name Miles?"His brows lifted as he raised his hand to almost playfully comb a thumb over Teo's Scalp before finally breaking contact. "I suppose you may not know him by that name, but he's a somewhat younger fellow with an ability very much like my own I assume?"

Jake has arrived.

There's a noise of heavy boots the begins after a door upstairs is allowed to carelessly slam itself shut. The boots go down the stairs and a man in forest-camo trousers with a sleeveless black shirt comes down with two large bags slung over his shoulders and some aviator's shitkicker sunglasses propped on top of his buzzcut head. He gets all the way down to the last step and walks toward Fedor, seeming about to say something.

One can tell he's about to speak because he takes a moment to shift the copious wad of dipping snuff in his mouth around. Because you don't waste the juice.

Instead of speaking to Fedor, though, the man takes a quiet look at Teo. Head. Torso. Shoes. Back to head. Glance at Fedor. "'the fuck's this?" he asks.

Oh, you know. Two guys and a shotgun conducting clandestine business in the basement. Teo's face has managed to go perfectly pink and utterly, neutrally blank at the same time, sort of like someone just rollered paint originally intended for an infant girl's nursery wall down the front of his head while he was distracted by reading the fine print on a tomato juice box. There's sugar in tomato juice. Who'dve known?

"Nnno," he inputs, in the brief conversational lull that ensues of Jake deferring to Fedor's apparent authority, awkwardly. He squares his shoulders. "'S not Miles." And then, "Hi."

Fedor frowns, overlapping. "Tuco, your early."Theres a sigh, but its not like he's gonna scold Jake. Well he could, he has and he wants to but he knows by now how little scolding Jake accomplishes. "Teo, this is Jake. Jake, this is Teo. Jake is my very good friend, he's helping me."and then he turns back to Jake. "Teo is the leader of the terrorist organization we're palling it up for, they want to do a raid now. I figured you'd be excited, as it seems there is a high likelyhood for property damage."A faint little smile

"Now, with introductions taken care of. Teo I want you to promise me three days of your time, for something very important I cant disclose until your atually there. It doesnt have to be now, but for three days I'll need you and you wont be able to communicate with your people back here. Its -vital- to our future cooperation, we'll do this after I meet our new little friend and we can talk about it then alright?"Its doubtful of course, that this is the first time Fedor's made this speach to people over the years. Usually however it had something to do with trying to buy exocet missiles or a nuke.

Jake's mouth opens in an Ahhh expression and he nods to Teo. "Sup?" Now they're buds. Then he says to Fedor, "Got the shit you wanted, but one of the tripods has a trick leg. I can do a ratjob on it this time but we're gonna have to get new one." And that's all he has to say about it. So Tuco, or Jake as it were, sniffs and looks around as if for something. Apparently it's a trashcan, because when he sees one nearby he leans over it to spit a watery stream of brown liquid in there. Mmmmmm…

Neither staring nor making faces seems particularly polite, so Teo does neither, between all the spitting and the term leader, or the vocabulary decision behind terrorist. "Quiet day." Apparently he isn't the only one who got patchworked into an incredibly ungainly, motley group of people.

Never mind. Yes, he's capable of paying attention. After a dilatory moment spent just short of swivelling between the two other men, his head finally clicks back into configuration to look at Fedor. "Three days starting now?" he asks, mildly incredulous, a knot in his brow, already wrestling with the logistics of effectively taking a — what. Long weekend? "Or after the thing with Muldoon and his little troupe of douchebags?"

Fedor waves a hand dismissively "after this, if you absolutely need to bring a friend or three we may be able to work it out. You pick three days, tell me a week in advance and I take care of everything else. Now, why dont you just tell me about this prospect of yours?"Fedor reaches across to toss a white box of 12guage rubber 'rockets' to Jake. "Teo here, brought me my little guage so you dont have to head over to Jersey for it."

Jake must have incredible peripheral vision or (as is more likely the case) keeps a close and surreptitious eye on the other men in the room, because he was ready for the box of rounds "Good deal." he says, standing there with both bags hanging from him while he sticks a thumb in the box' edge to open it and check the contents. His eyes play badminton between Fedor and Teo for a moment, but apparently he's got little to say just now. Probably because there's a stranger in the room so talking to Fedor isn't so wise yet, and Fedor's doing business so talking to Teo isn't really his place yet.

"Connor Kinney," Teo replies steadily, having marked down the whole thing with the apparently sponsored vacation in his head. "Licensed doctor, 's done some work helping unregistered Evolved refugees stay hidden or get out of New York. Doesn't like the Linderman Act. I've never really thought about how to — use?"

Stupid fucking word. "A metahuman for any kind of tactical situation, and the guy's sure as fuck never been in one. He's all right in capacity as a medic, but he wants to do more. Normally I'd say No and leave it at that, but I figure you'd have more experience with —" a quizzical flux goes through his eyebrows, before a quizzical shift takes his eyes between Jake and Fedor, in turn. "Everything."

Fedor shrugs "And so you want me to what, teach him how to kill people and in general be a combat medic or do you want me to just see if he's got a pair?"he was just a touch unclear on that point there. "But no I don't know him, does he need a job? I could use a medic on staff, we have to have a registered nurse or paramedic present when we transport organs anyway and frankly Teo."Fedor leans in, like he's sharing a secret"Its a pain in the ass, like no teasing its positively a pain in my fucking ass."

And there's Jake nodding along, because it is a pain in the ass to transport organs. He doesn't like that work. "Doctors all eat cock too." he offers while checking out one of the 12 gauge rubber rockets, as if that's exactly why it's a pain in the ass.

Well, that's potentially horrifying. Teo squints sidelong at the metamorph in question, as if trying to determine whether or not that is some kind of joke — apart from the playfully exaggerated overture of quiet, except evidently it isn't. "If he's got a pair, if he's a good enough liar, or could be, to help with infiltration and shit.

"He doesn't need a job, I'm pretty sure, but we could probably l—" Fff. Jake's comment elicits an overly abrupt and somewhat confused silence, a furrow in Teo's eyebrows. Stop, start. "He might agree to help you out. I'm not sure. He's kind of a… I don't fuckin' know. If it's black market trafficking, I'm not sure he has the fucking stomach for it, but he could probably help if he would."

Fedor waves his hand dismissively at that "I dont do anything on the black market unless its very loud, or very quiet. Organs on the other hand, are very squishy and I dont get into that business because lets be frank its extremely distasteful. Now I'll talk to your kid, and see whats going on. In the mean time, me and Jake are going to get things ready so that I may provide you with timely video and stillframe intelligence."He pauses there, lifting up a finger to bring Teo to a similar pause. Then theres some fiddling about in his backpack, to produce another disposable cellphone. "Give this to your Shadow guy, my number is the only one on there and it dials a different phone from ours."he glances a touch between Teo and jake, was there anything he was forgetting?

Jake looks up at the appropriate time after putting the shotgun shells back in their box and makes a detonator motion with his hand, the old fist and downward-pressing thumb. "We blow this Muldoon guy too or just kinda kick his ass, read him a story, cup his nuts for him, what?" Shrug. He's been standing there with those bags hanging off of him all this time as if it doesn't bother him at all.

"Leave 'm alone. For now," Teo replies, after a brief, haphazard moment spent wondering if he's supposed to answer that or not. He fits his hand neatly around the phone that's given to him, and acknowledges it as well as his summary dismissal with an obliging bob of his head. "I'll send you Kinney's number soon as I've spoken to him. Thank you, signor. You too, Jake.

"Good luck." He steps back without any apparent thought for stealth, his weight falling into his stride with a slightly ginger scrape of rubber sole on flat concrete, the canvas bag over his shoulder banging once against his hip. It probably weighs about a twelfth as much as whatever Jake's carrying. Despite the mild physical discomfort in undercurrent evidence to all of his movements, he takes the stairs up two by two, as a boy is wont to forget his physical limitations.

There's a silence in the basement for a minute, before Fedor finally speaks. "He's a pretty good kid ya know, but holy fuck does he try and micromanage. Very new at all of this, so anyway we have a big operational shift. We're supposed to do recon on the place, and then there will be some sort of a raid. He said no losses on our side, some losses on their side and the safe return of the captives. So we cant go too crazy, which seems less than wise but this isnt out party."

Theres a low shrug, as he parks his ass on an old workbench, adjusting the strap of his mini-gauge for a moment. "Ok so, you were telling me something important. Theres a busted tripod, did you break it?"

"Yeah, that ain't no fuckin terrorist leader, man." Jake says after he watches Teo take the steps double and leave. That would seem to conclude any objections he has to the job, though. Because a poser's money spends just as well as any supremacist's, revolutionary's, or jihadi's. And one way or another Jake draws pay from Fedor so he's not worried even if this guy rooks them somehow. He manages to sound defensive when Fedor asks him about the tripod. "No I didn't. It just doesn't stay extended and…whatever." Then he drops (carefully) the bags of gear. Apparently he's gonna have to show Fedor what he's talking about.

But also it's just as likely Fedor's pulling his leg.

March 2nd: The Ten Foot Squid
Previously in this storyline…
Not Pleased

Next in this storyline…
Mutual Friends, Mutual Acquaintances

March 2nd: Something to Hold On To
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