Messages By Magpie

Participants:

alexander_icon.gif boxer_icon.gif helena_icon.gif isabelle_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif maeve_icon.gif satoru_icon.gif

Also featuring, via bird:

eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Messages By Magpie
Synopsis Eileen interrupts an otherwise ordinary day over the prison in Utah to give warnings, messages, and to collect information.
Date March 26, 2009

Moab Federal Penitentiary


The sun over Moab is not yet the desert death light that summer and parched climate promise to bring in due time, but it is still high and bright, sterile white, completely without malevolent heat. A chill wind slithers through the diamond chain link of the prison's fences, chases what little stray garbage the personnel have left lying around. Cans rankle, rankle; sharded glass clatters. It's a dispiriting place to work but, no doubt, worse to be trapped in.

Maybe you get used to it.

At least there's wind enough to bear a bird aloft by its pinions, thermals rising from the expanses of acid soil and flat stone enough to coast on with relatively little effort. Through more conspiracy than coincidence, the sun isn't the only spectator over Moab Federal Penitentiary today.

"Row row row your boat."

Boxer is at the fence. He is always at the fence, or near enough that he might as well be, blockish head tipped forward against chain link so that the bristle of his steel-peppered hair pushes through to freedom. The clear green of his eyes is focused dimly out on the meet of red sand and grey sky in the distance. Today's recess period is going. Very. Slowly.

Helena is at the fence, and like Boxer, is always at the fence, though she generally sits at the one that rests between male and female side of the yard. As ever, she's looking for familiar faces, as ever, the one face she longs most to see is not amongst those present. Is it just that impossible hope has a sweeter taste to it? She sits on the bench near the basketball court, leaning forward so her hand can curl into the chain links.

Alexander is sitting by the fence, too. As much as he can keep company with someone permanently caged away from him, he does Helena. It is Lucrezia, however, that he's watching with the longing expression of a bear gazing at the biggest honey tree ever. Longing somewhat glossed with incredulity. Like he ever touched her.

Satoru is also generally at the fence, if only because that's where the people he tends to talk to usually hang out. Because of the girl. Not that he has a particular problem with Helena. But he's long since given up on trying to escape by staring out at the horizon, and has resigned himself to the status quo of hanging out with the prisonyard losers. He's presently seated on the ground, leaning back against the fence, legs spread casually as he tilts his head back to look at Helena. "You got a boyfriend over here or somethin', Lena?"

The fence is a good place to be. Someone is walking along it, someone relatively new, and yet manages to blend in just like everyone else. It must be the orange. There's a woman, older than some of the babies shoved into this prison, strawberry hair cropped at the nape of her neck with longer locks ducked behind her ears. A dye job that isn't going to look as chic as it did when she first arrived.

Maeve is walking fingers along the chain links, thin mouth closed tight with a sour look on blanched, pinched features. She too seems to be looking for someone, and comes to stop near the bench - mostly because it interrupts her roaming, and because she can listen to the conversation beginning to perk up somewhere close by. And singing, which is admittedly more interesting than normal words. She rests her forehead against the chain link fence, long fingers clawing into it, and she tips her head to watch Boxer.

Birds are not an uncommon occurrence at the Moab Federal Penitentiary, especially those that are predisposed to curiosity where human beings are concerned. A glossy shape drops out of the sky, alights on the lip of the guard tower and folds its wings, which are the same iridescent green-black as its long tail. Its dark, stout bill angles downward, one beetle-black eye affixed on the fence line below.

Magpies are nosy. Magpies are loud. This specimen refuses to be the exception to either rule and lets out a harsh chatter of wock, wock wock-a-wock followed much a much shriller, more nasal weer, weer.

Lucrezia, by contrast, spends her time in the yard basking in the Utah sun as if she were on vacation at some swank resort hidden away like an oasis in the desert — she's currently stretched out horizontally on the highest bleacher available, long hair hung down over the edge at the end like spilled India ink. She has her eyes closed against the sun's blinding light but remains otherwise lucid and very much in the moment, even going so far as to participate in what conversation might come her way.

Al doesn't remember. He doesn't remember a lot. Someday, a safedeposit box in Zurich will answer all his questions, but today is not that day. So he can look upon a stray bird with a benign eye, rather than stifling the urge to strangle the damn thing. Apparently it's not really occurred to him to ask why he's got those faint scars on his face, or he attributes them to that distant day in Iraq. He raises a pale gaze to the magpie, lifting a hand to point it out to Helena.

Satoru's question snaps Helena out of whatever reverie she was in. She looks almost like she's going to blush - the red does start to creep into her cheeks, but dies quickly as she says with some resignation, "Or something." Sidelong glance is given to Al, and she grins. "You're drooling." she tells him, and lets his finger draw her eye to the bird. Huh.

The magpie spends almost a full minute surveying all that there is to be seen from its lofty perch. More measured and anticipatory than might be expected from such a capricious bird, its gaze moves between the figures scattered around the prison yard before settling upon the familiar shape that is Teodoro Laudani's aunt — familiar not to the bird itself, but instead to the young woman currently in possession of it.

Eileen Ruskin's body is several miles away, unconscious and vulnerable, and yet it's her voice that drifts through the other Vanguardian's head as the magpie launches off the guard tower and flaps toward the bleachers on shallow but steady wing beats. Lucrezia, it says. Look up.

Gently down the stream. That is what should come next, in theory. Instead there's another heavy, "Row row row your boat," Russian accent raking over the 'r's with no apologies made for length. "Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily." Wock-a-wock, weer weer. Thicker fingers curled through the fence in a dull mirror of Maeve's, Boxer turns enough to squint after the magpie with his brows in an unappreciative lean for the interruption. He does not manage to turn all the way back to the outside world before his eye catches on the usual disorderly congregation around the fence that joins the male and female halves of the yard. His staring is about as subtle as ever.

Satoru smirks at Helena but shrugs. "Or somethin'. Right." Not that he really cares either way. Crossing his arms up behind his head, he sits all calm-like until Alex points out the bird… ostensibly to Helena, but there ain't no rule says he can't look too!! And so he does. … And there's a bird. A loud bird. "Bird," he notes, raising an eyebrow. But subsequently shrugs. Birds are a bird a dozen here.

"What am I looking at?" the Italian wonders aloud before butterfly wing eyelashes flutter open and look up as instructed once voice recognition renders an impossibility. Muni— Eileen isn't here, is she? High overhead she spies the shadow of a bird winging its way into the cage called a yard. "Oh, I see," she says to herself, though Helena's certainly within earshot.

Birds happen. And this one does not get Maeve's attention, content to peer through the diamond openings of the fence like a Halloween mask. She tips her head so as to look at Helena and her response of or something, and decides to contribute to the conversation with, "You're looking in the wrong direction for a girlfriend." Helpful. Her accent is mildly Southern, smooth and clear, and her head tilts again towards Boxer. "How's the rest've that go?"

Helena's eyes flick sidelong to Maeve, away from the bird. "You're a little butch for me, but I'll keep that in mind." She looks back to Satoru. "I told you already, he's in Red." And then Lucrezia interjects, and Helena tilts her head slightly to the side. She doesn't want to bring too much attention to the creature, but Lu has her attention.

"I am not looking for a girlfriend. There are big rolly rats in the ground. I have seen them." Traditional incoherence is cast out in much the same manner talk of the weather would be. Possibly with slightly more interest, given the particular subject matter this time around. It takes him a glance or two to register that Maeve is unfamiliar. Unfamiliar and female and talking to him. Uneasy instinct has him looking sideways back at the others.

"Rats?" says Al, cocking an eye at Boxer. "This ain't exactly the Chateau D'If," he opines, momentarily diverted from the magpie by the Russian's comment. "Kinna sterile," Hey, look, another redhead. Maybe she's a relative.

The magpie lands an inconspicuous distance away from Lucrezia, skinny black toes curling around a sturdy-looking section of fence as it gathers its bearings and seesaws its weight from side to side until it finds a more comfortable position to sit in. This perch is much closer to the prisoners than the last, and while it places Eileen within earshot of the woman she's addressing, it comes with additional risks.

She can't stay for very long.

I have a message from Teo, she tells Lucrezia, speaking with startling clarity for someone who's disembodied, but it's for Dean and the others, too.

Blinking, Toru looks over at Boxer. "Uncle Vanya, finally come back to join us again?" He raises an eyebrow. "Here I thought maybe you'd disowned the family." And attention back to Helena. "I wasn't sure if it was that guy, maybe you found someone else, right? You got that damsel in distress thing goin' on, after all."

The fence doesn't really rattle as Maeve leans back, putting her weight on her fingers hinged on the chain links. It's strong, not like the kinds of fences in the parks when you do the same thing. She ignores the comment of butchness with a flick of a glance to Helena, one that takes half a second to look the woman over completely, before swinging that large eyed gaze back to Boxer. "What the hell did the rats do?" It bears asking.

Helena stiffens a little. "I - " she starts to say to Satoru, and stops. I can save myself is what she wants to say, but truth be told, where she is? She really can't. "I worry that I'll see people I know." she tells Satoru instead, which is still true.

The first thing that Lucrezia doesn't do is look at or otherwise acknowledge the creature who's come bearing tidings from Teo. Instead, the former actress affects a casual lean and while she's in the process of stretching out her legs again, she casually offers a few words to Helena from behind a hand that's meant to look like she's shielding her gaping maw from the rest of the world in order to spare them a contagious yawn. "Someone's come to deliver a message," she says subtly, her accent languid and lazy as she stretches out her words.

"They do nothing. Say nothing. I don't know. Only two times now I have seen them — up and down." Low voice falling to a private mutter, he pushes a hand up over his mouth, then all the way over his sunken eyes. For a moment, he looks exausted. Not just dim and distracted, but bone tired. "Maybe now I am seeing things. And my name is not Uncle Vanya, Chinaman." The last is lifted into a louder warning. He is not so much the cheerful retard today.

She had been sitting in the shadows, Isabelle had. Dressed in the horrendous prison clothes, but to Izzy at least she isn't walking around here naked. The woman's long hair spills past her shoulders and she looks up at the sky as she makes her way over to Luca and Hel, she squats next to them and shakes her hair out. The bird is given a glare. Oh yes.. she still hates birds. But other than the glare, Isabelle doesn't do anything else, her gaze falling on Lu and Hel.

Alexander blinks at Boxer. "Prairie dogs," he says, as if proud of himself for remembering the word at all. "That's what you saw. Where'd you see 'em?" he asks, having apparently forgotten about the magpie for now.

Satoru grits his teeth a moment. "And I'm not from fucking China. Maybe I'm tryin' to be nice. Give you a fuckin' nickname, make things seem friendly, huh?" He shakes his head, crossing his arms across his chest. "Man, forget I even asked."

People, more people than Maeve counted on. Bony shoulders hunch a little as conversation flies back and forth in differing trajectories, and finally her gaze settled on Satoru. "Namecalling— " she starts, then stops. Knuckles briefly go white around the fence chainlinks, before she finally releases it. "It ain't nice. Even in this place. Retards. Lesbians. Niggers." She smiles once, widely. "We should all get along."

Helena pushes off the fence abruptly, rising from her seat. Shoving her hands in her pockets, she begins to walk along the length of it, passing by Lucrezia and turning her head slightly in her direction. She understands. She walks in silence closer - but not too close to the bird, seeming to take in the yard though her eyes briefly include the bird in her vision. She waits, seeming to inhale the fresh air.

Alexander asides, lazily, "We're all fuckin' freaks in here, so yeah, the lesser labels seem a little irrelevant." His scarred lid droops lazily, as if to hide his irritation. He settles lazily on the ground, as if tired of standing.

The magpie shows its pleasure with a proud fluff of its white-on-black plumage, feathers rustling like quills in the breeze. They're coming for you, Eileen continues, and she sounds considerably more subdued and cautious than her vessel appears at a glance. I can't say when, or how — only soon. Be ready. Please.

A quick look flicked in the direction of the guard tower confirms that there's still time to deliver the second, more important half of Teo's message. Still, she doesn't wait for Lucrezia to relay what's already been said, preferring to act decisively. Do they make orange jumpsuits in this size? I need you to tell me everything you can about the inside of the facility and what to expect. It's suicide, flying in blind.

Satoru's withdrawal of the nickname and question are met with sullen silence on Boxer's end. His temper is not usually so easily tried. Rather than answer Alexander or Maeve, he looks broodily between them and drags his fingers back out of the fence. All the better to stump off to another section of yard, where he can stare at nothing and talk to himself without having to explain why.

"Then I guess we don't have to get along either," Maeve says, lightly, her gaze tracking Alexander's progression down to the ground. Head tilts, a curtain of reddish-blonde angling over her face as she darts her gaze around the immediate area, before she resumes her prowl around the periphery of the area. She'll probably continue until she rounds right back, until they pull them all back into their respective caves once more.

Same message, different messenger. Lucrezia reclines as much as she can on the bleacher seats, though life at the top makes it relatively hard to lean, as there's nothing to keep her from pitching over backwards should she go too far. It's for this reason that her grip on the bleacher bench becomes white knuckled and tense — no, it certainly has nothing to do with the psychic message being relayed nor the dangerous implications that come with it. She slings a sidelong look down to Helena and asks, "What's your suite number again, bella? I keep forgetting where to send room service. There are so many corridors… I can barely remember my own, only that there's a general green theme."

However, for the sake of being friendly, she then pitches her perfect Italian drawl through the chain-link fence to the men lined up on the other side. "What would you say to a little change of scenery, boys, hm?"

"I wasn't makin fun of him. I was just tryin' to be nice," Toru grumbles, gaze travelling downwards and looking rather like a petulant child. He is one of the younger castmembers in this particular play. "And I ain't a damn freak, y'all can go think whatever you want about your damn selves but I ain't no freak. Ain't nothin' wrong with me."

Helena's eyes drift to Lucrezia, and she goes to sit down next to her. She seems oddly affable, and if the Italian woman does not otherwise flinch, the tiny blonde leans her head on Lu's arm, as if taking comfort in the woman's presence. "The service is crappiest four floors down." she reminds, "In Red. I don't envy Peter his room service at all. Up from that, Orange and Yellow are progressively better, but I prefer to stay on Green with everyone else, even if my quarters are separated from the rest of yours. I wonder though, do you have the double doors on your cell as well? The four inch steel and the sliding bars and the electronic locks? And of course, the smiley camera on the ceiling. I hate taking showers in there."

This conversation is getting….increasingly strange. Al is not as sharp as he once was, and he's never been the sharpest pencil in the box. But he's listening to Helena more intently, trying to meet her gaze. What brought all this on?

Many corridors. Green theme. Eileen commits these allusions to memory and blinks one lustrous eye in a concentrated effort. The tidbits Helena gives her are a little easier to digest — slowly, gradually, she's beginning to form a mental image that she can take back with her and pass along to the others. Thank you, she says, and this time her words are directed at the blonde rather than the older woman beside her. You should know Teo intends on bringing every weapon in his arsenal. Phoenix. Vanguard. Others. Whatever relationship you might have had with them in the past needs to stay there.

Indeed. That was quite an impressive info dump; one that Lucrezia hadn't entirely anticipated though it earns her confirmation with a subtle nod nonetheless. Without hesitation, the older woman lifts an arm and curls it around Helena's shoulder in a gesture that might seem to suggest to the less than chaste-minded that the pair might merely be a few minutes away from what could be the hottest make-out scene this side of captivity. Or not. There is hair-stroking, though, and that's kinda… something.

"Don't be a stranger," she says to no one in particular, eyes now cast down in order to watch Maeve make her second rotation 'round the fence.

Helena seems to nod to herself, affirming something, and then has to turn her face into Lucrezia's bosom for a moment, because she is somewhere between wanting to smile with the brilliance of the sun and a pure hysterical oh-thank-god. It's only a moment though, and after it passes, she pulls her face away, regards Alex. "We'll get out of here." she promises him quietly. "Someday." Some day soon.

His expression is wary, uncertain, like a dog that's been beaten too many times. But he nods to her, solemnly. No questions, yet. He trusts her word.

A moment later, Lucrezia's abruptly remembered herself and says aloud with chin lifted, "I need a priest." Whatever that's supposed to me. "Make my confession for me, would you?" Okay, seriously, who the hell is she talking to?

Satoru blinks, looking over at Helena and Lucrezia… apparently lesbianing it up, then looks over at Alex. And back at Lucrezia. "… What the hell is going on?" He didn't actually hear what Helena said to Lucrezia, but those two are acting weird and Alex is … well, being Alex, but still.

Someday. Some day soon. That's the plan, anyway. Eileen can make no promises. Satisfied with what she's been able to glean, she spurs the magpie back into flight. I have to go now, she says by way of farewell as it lifts off and takes to the air.

Some day soon isn't today. It won't be tomorrow, either. Maybe a week. Two. It's impossible to define what soon means, especially when the person it's coming from may not be entirely trustworthy.

She is, however, good for her word as far as this visit is concerned. I will, she promises Lucrezia, and as the bird's silhouette passes over the men's half of the exercise yard, Eileen's voice rings like a bell in Alexander's ears: Teodoro Laudani wants you to know that you are loved.

And then she's gone.


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Previously in this storyline…
The Wind Cries

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Like Family

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