Minutes Over and in Moab

Participants:

alexander_icon.gif boxer_icon.gif cat_icon.gif django_icon.gif fedor_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Minutes Over and in Moab
Synopsis While two people conduct recon from above and distant, prisoners talk during Yard Time on the ground.
Date February 22, 2009

Moab Federal Penitentiary


Recess for the kiddies, aka yardtime for the inmates. Women flood one side of the yard, and the men the other, spilling out into the expanse of space made available for their outdoor use. Helena is of course amongst the throng, and heads for her usual spot.

Boxer already has his spot. He is at the fence today, the butt of his regulation orange jumpsuit already dusted red with desert sand. Probably because he is sitting. Broad shoulders tented back into chain link too robust to have much give, he sits with his square jaw tipped scruffily to his chest, green eyes dull as ever. If the sketch of his finger through the fine dirt is any indication, he has decided to play tic-tac-to. Against himself.

Oh goodie. Time, yet again, to go play outside with all the other little boys. This is just Django's favoritest thing ever. Look, see how excited he is as he ambles across the yard, hands stuffed in the pockets of his jumpsuit, muttering irritably about the damn food. Is a little ketchup really that much to ask for? Cheap bastards. You'd think they were running a prison or something from the way they treat the inmates. It's just plain uncivil.

Finding Helena with ease, he makes slow progress towards her, scuffing his feet and kicking up little clouds of dust, occasionally stopping to have a few words with guys here and there. Seems like he's making some friends. Or something. At least, none of it seems hostile. As he strolls past Boxer, he gives a little two-finger salute, even though the other Russky has no idea who he is. The big man that talks to himself is famous. Finally reaching Lena's little section of the fence, by her favorite bench, he slaps a palm against the fence in the standard greeting. "Yo. What up, darlin'? No singin' today?"

Helena looks up, smiling faintly. She rises and puts her hand against the fence, briefly touching her palm against the metal wiring and Django's own skin before letting hers drop. "No singing." she says. She seems distracted, thoughtful. "You been okay? Twelve, or whatever he's calling himself, leaving you alone?"

Alexander has been quiet. He's getting as bad as Boxer, tending to drift off into little reveries while looking out to the horizon. Not mopy, not depressed, per se. But more and more vague. And there are times when it's clear he's confused as to just -when- it is, as well….presumably, only his former rep for violence keeps the others from harassing him. Helena, at least, he remembers from day to day. He's sitting off by himself, a little ways from Helena, and merely nods to Django as he approaches.

"Hello," says Boxer to the salute, accent leaning upon each syllable heavily enough that the simple greeting is nearly broken into two words. He's managed to catch the motion of it in his peripheral vision without actually looking up. It is an intense game, after all. Two broken lines against an infinite circle. Chi against Omicron. X against…O. Which did he draw last? Brow hooded over the beginnings of a slow frown, he tips his head through his effort to count. But then, it matters which one he moved first. A low, unintelligable mutter ends in a sweep of his splayed hand over the makeshift board and a turn of his ear to Django and Helena's conversation. Tic-tac-toe is stupid.

It's rock steady inside the MiG, just over four hundred miles an hour isn't very fast for our MiG but it's plenty quick to keep the engine from any nasty vibrations as well as generate sufficient things stable and smooth. "ETA to target the observation zone is one minute, get your shit ready. Are we generating good angles back there?"

It's been a solid six hours of flight time, with the MiG stuffed so full of fuel that it had nearly gained its weight half again. Taking off had been no small amount of drama but now they were here and they were running fuel light. She was fixed on bearing and altitude, but her gaze was focused upon the big beautiful multicolored GPS display. Magnificent technology, which didn' distract Ingrid from scribbling fuel estimations on her knee board.

Django seems disappointed by the lack of song; Helena's singing has become something he looks forward to every day. One little bright spot in the dark recesses of this oubliette he's been cast into. But he says nothing, just frowns slightly, then shrugs. "Nah, man, we're cool. Like I said, we got our shit sorted out the other day. Had a little chat in the cafeteria and talked it over, agreed on a truce."

Alexander's presence is acknowledged with a curt nod in return, then the Russian puts his back to the fance and slides down it to put his butt in the dirt. "Somethin' on your mind, sweetheart?" he querries her, looking out across the yard, past the other inmates in their uniform, orange jumpers, and off to the mountainous horizon. Stupid fence, breakin' what would otherwise be such a pretty view. Oh, and also keeping us in here.

Alexander's arrival is greeted with the same gesture, the outstretch of Helena's palm before she nods to Django. "That's good." she says, and lets her gaze slide over to Boxer. "If you're going to eavesdrop, you might as well just come over and participate in the conversation, such as it is."

"We are," Cat's voice replies. She's alert and ready at the FLIR gear, eyes on the display and focusing in on the ground below as they have been since takeoff from Chicago Air at zero dark thirty, six hours earlier. "Let's see what tricks we have to take out on this concrete box they think they can keep my friends in," Cat mutters behind the helmet.

And as the prison enters her view, ten miles distant, she begins taking pictures of anything and everything she can make out on the ground.
Alexander offers her a wan little smile, but there's a question in those strange pale eyes. Probably the same one that keeps coming up. What day is it? And very rarely, what is this place?

The MiG's wing lifts just a touch, as Ingrid rolls on the stick and rudder. Delicate nuances any other pilot might miss. The Flir's autostabilization is about five degrees, but today with Ingrid in the front seat Cat needs to use absolutely none of it. "Roger, beginning run."

Idly chewing the inside of his cheek, Django watches the odd interactions of the other people around him, full of tone and nuance and saying almost nothing. He's a little displeased about his question to Helena being ignored, but again, he mentions nothing of it. Instead, he draws a deep breath, lets it out slowly as he turns to watch Boxer for a moment, then turns the other way. "Oi, Alex. -ander," he adds, just in case the other fellow doesn't like being called by a shortened version of his name. "What'chu up to, son? Anything exciting happening in your neck of the woods that looks exactly like every other 'neck of the woods' around here?"

It's done just the same way as she did on the first pass by the prison, much earlier in the day, when it had still been dark enough to use infrared. Cat keeps the shutter going, generating image after image. There it is below her.

The old highway, the winding dirt road. The towers and the guns, the airstrip, and the building's roof. Then the yard with its occupants in the orange jumpsuits, divided by genders down the middle of the recreational courts. "Keep your heads up, we're coming to get you," she comments with certainty in her voice as the offensive spectacle unfolds and is committed to both her memory and the photographic record of the machine. There are a number of details they'll be able to make out on the ground when the photos are printed and enlarged for review.

While doing this, she also makes a point of zeroing in on as many faces as possible.

"You are always so suspicious. Prison yard spies and mind invaders, all conspiracy, all the time," says Boxer to accusations of eavesdropping, effectively confirming that he is, in fact, dropping eaves. His right hand curls into the sand, fist turned lazily over to sift the stuff over the distorted remnants of his earlier attempt at personal entertainment. He doesn't actually look at her, or Alex, or Django, more outwardly interested in the way the wind kicks through the trickle of sand through the lines in his palm. "You are going to end up like Commander Crazy, talking to yourself in your sleep. Explosions. Rolling heads."

"We're on the yarn, five by five. We have two minutes left at my mark, and now we are…mark"This was really not as simple as Ingrid made it look. Holding an aircraft level was easy, but smoothing out the full amount of inherent turbulence in real time at an angle, at low speed in a Mig-21 is no small feat. "Hows the picture back there, remember to stay wide. We need a fix on any structures outside the prison itself. "

"Who's Commander Crazy?" Helena asks in faint amusement. But then when Boxer goes on about explosions and rolling heads, she pauses and stares at Boxer. "You're talking about Peter Petrelli? He's down in Red. How do you know what he says in his sleep? He's in some hole."
"I'm not crazy," Alex says, but there's a definite lack of convicton there. But hey, he might talk in his sleep, hedoesn't know. He looks to Django. "Same as it ever is in here," he adds, with a shrug. "The days kinna run together."

"I don't know anything about President Petrelli. He is some big man in a suit with eyebrows. I do not vote." On account of being in prison all the time, presumably. Temporarily out of sand, Boxer dusts the remaining film off on a bent knee and looks sideways at Alexander, judgment naked in halcyon eyes until he finishes his dusting. He is crazy. "'Vinnie' is Commander Crazy. All night he kept me awake. 'Ambush, ambush, I must kill everyone.'" His impression is a poor one, faux-British accent falling well short of acceptable parody with its grudging flair. "If it happens again I will show him an ambush. …Just between us, I mean. Maybe do not mention to him—"

"Mark," Cat confirms when Fedor declares hers, making sure they're in synch on timing. She's already been taking footage on this pass; it continues on. "Pictures are good and clear, just like this morning, Ingrid. There are some bits on the ground around the place I don't recognize, maybe they'll be familiar when you and others look over the take from this operation. Or I'll research and find matches so I know what they are myself," she informs the MiG-21's pilot. Her eyes never leave the display, lest she miss some detail being committed to both records being created aloft and ten miles distant from the prison.

"Most of the people I couldn't get a fix on faces for, but some I did," she reports some scant seconds later. "They think they can keep people locked up here.

They've got another thing coming." Cat, being who she is, has a Judas Priest tune running through her mind then.

"Roger, we have good clean air. Reading only expected traffic up here, nothing on radar anyway." The thought had occured to Ingrid, several times in fact. The MiG-21's radar had never been a point of pride for the Russian Air force, and even after its continual stream of upgrades it still wasnt great. An F-22 could be anywhere, and the poor MiG would never see it. Granted, it wasn't too difficult to plot the relative locations of every F-22 in the fleet. If the numbers were real, which Ingrid doubted they were. So she keeps a sharp eye, leveraged between her intake temperature and the radar set. Ready to bolt at the flash of a missle alert.

"Wonder where he served," Al says, musingly. Speaking of people with flashbacks - none of his have happened in the yard. But nearly six years of learning to deal with PTSD, right down the tubes. He keeps waking up assuming he's in a prison in Iraq, though it's really the wrong sort of desert.

"Not President Petrelli, Peter Petrelli." Helena says with gritted teeth. She shows a flash of possibly unexpected irritation, a small drop in her capacity for hope. There might be ways to get down to Red level, but no way to communicate with those inside. She gives Django and Alex a brief, vague smile that doesn't meat her eyes, and pushes off the chain link fence, as if she's going to drift away.

"…His name is not Peter?" As immune to gritted teeth as he is to cold winds and odd looks, Boxer finally twists enough to lift a brow at Helena over his shoulder…only to see that she seems to be leaving. A private sigh later, he stretches his bent leg out long opposite the other and looks blandly back at Alex.

She's gone quiet now, in her airborne seat, as the prison is left behind them. Cat continues to focus on the ground below but is no longer capturing photographic images once they're clear of the facility. She has time to contemplate, and the visor of her flight suit helmet conceals the emotions felt then.

The irony isn't lost on her, that an American patriot needs the assistance of an Eastern bloc pilot in a Russian jet fighter from the Cold War era to gather data her organization will use to restore the freedom of persons in prison without trial, some of them sent there for the noble act of defending humanity against a dire threat and overcoming it. It's humiliating. The knowledge of it draws mist into her eyes.

But there is also a smoldering determination to her concealed features, as these thoughts surface. This is not how it's supposed to be in her country. Ever.

Soon she will return to Moab with help, and there will be retribution.

Ingrid would of course argue she was more Soviet than she ever was Russian, but that's a rather complicated subject and hardly one to get into right now. The MiG slowly rolls off its bank, leveling out for a moment before granting Cat a victory roll. "Alright, we've passed observation range. Returning to Teterboro at best legal speed once we change radar. Can we go ahead and declare our operation a success?"

"I heard what you said." Helena replies, pausing in mid-drift. Abruptly, she balls a fist and bangs it against the fence. It's the first time anyone's seen her lose her cool. She just stands there, breathing and trying not to cry. Aww. Is lil' Hely gonna sniffle like a little girl?

"O-kay," is all Boxer can think to say, bristlebrush head sifting audibly back against link when the ginger boy fails to come up with an effective subject change. Seeing as the subject of the President is making Helena all weepy, it seems one might be in order. "I saw a big rat the other day. Very round. Fat. No tail."

None of those thoughts were given voice, and won't be in the pilot's presence. As Ingrid's voice is heard and the plane does that victory roll, Cat replies in a solemn voice. "Recon achieved successfully. I'll download the footage when we're on the ground and print it off at home to share with the team, giving you your own copies as well. Acceptable?"

And as they head east, there may be a faint contrail in the distant sky visible to those on the ground.


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Previously in this storyline…
There's Always Hope

Next in this storyline…
The Wind Cries

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