A Literal Underground Railroad


abby_icon.gif darren_icon.gif melissa2_icon.gif tony_icon.gif

Scene Title A Literal Underground Railroad
Synopsis Darren Stevens, in an attempt to run from his past deeds, finds himself in a most unlikely place…
Date March 31, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

"You're kidding…"

It's the first thing Darren Stevens says once the blindfold drawn around his eyes is removed, and his long, blind march through the cavernous subway system beneath Midtown's ruins comes to an end. Ferry protocol on new arrivals and unvetted ones requires a certain unforgiving approach. But it's sheer disbelief when Darren Stevens is standing on the edge of the subway playform beneath Midtown at the glowing orange security lights and the railway directly at his fore.

"…A literal underground railroad."

There is no irony in those words, only the more literal definition. He has to blink, just to check and make sure he's truly seeing what he's seeing in front of him, before turning to look back over his white clad shoulder to Melissa. "We're under Midtown, aren't we?" It's an astute enough estimate, where else could an operation like the Ferrymen work out of sight and mind. The breathy laugh Darren gives accompanies a slow shake of his head. "So, what, I just stay down here for… God knows how long? I need to get out of the city, maybe even the country…"

Scrubbing one hand at his mouth, Doctor Stevens offers a look over his shoulder towards the fish mural painted on a nearby wall, squinting at the depictions before looking back to Melissa. "Can you help me do that?"

Melissa looks a little amused at his first words, and she nods. "Yeah, pretty much. That's what I do. I help people like you get out. It's sad really, how people reacted to the evolved. Even parents abandon young children when they turn up testing positive for SLC," she says, shaking her head, voice sad.

"You can stay here as long as you need. And if you want to get out of the city, that's easy enough. The country…that can be done too, it'll just take a little more work. But if that's what you want to do, I'll make it happen," she promises. She keeps with 'I' rather than 'we'. With an operation like this, caution is not a bad thing.

"Yeah it's…" Darren's voice is distracted sounding, looking down one of the tunnels towards the sound of voices, then back to Melissa, "Yeah it's tragic." Reaching up a gloved hand to rub at the back of his neck, the doctor takes a few scuffing footsteps towards the edge of the rail platform, staring down towards the tracks and the gravel, then back over towards Melissa. "Exactly how many people do you ship through here? I'm finding it hard to believe that this just— works— without the government finding out about it?"

Hes nervous, visibly so, those jittery looks and quick snaps of blue-eyed stare towards any sound of movement, like he's expecting someone to have followed him all the way down here. "I'll stay however long I need to, but— you promise me that I can stay here." There's a furrow of his brows. "I don't— I don't want you suddenly changing your mind at the last minute; I want your word."

And just to add to those jitters, there's a faint whistling from somewhere, up above. 'Over the Hills and Far Away'? Who whistles these days, anyway?

Melissa smiles and shakes her head. "I won't change my mind. I promise that you can stay here, until we can get you out, someplace safe. Someplace where you can be what you want to be, rather than what they want to be," she says, staying where she is, rather than shadowing him.

"There are enough people coming through here, and places like this. It works. It's not always easy, but it works. And so long as it does, I'll continue to help." The whistling has her half turning and glancing towards it. Her hand slides beneath her coat, to rest over her pistol, but it's not drawn yet. She does know people who like whistling, after all.

Whistling at least seems to be the least of Doctor Stevens concerns, and as he stares down at those tracks, his attention drifts back up to Melissa. "I'd prefer it if people here didn't know who I am." Which immediately crosses his mind at he notices his name tag and white labcoat. A hitched breath hisses in the back of his throat, and Darren's quickly taking off his name tag and sliding the jacket off of his shoulders, rolling it up and looking around before making a hasty approach to the benches at the platform, adjacent to which are old trash bins.

"Just— Call me Steve or something, anything just— not doctor." The balled up jacket is tossed in the trash, and Darren slants a look back over to Melissa. "This isn't so much about what other people want from me, but— you know— let's just go with that for now, yeah?" Blue eyes glance down one of the lit corridors, then back to Melissa. "Are there beds down here?" He's praying that there are.

Tony starts working his way down, through the tunnels. Over the Hills turns, slowly, into 'Tie my Kangaroo down'. Assuming you recognise this particular Australia gem of the musical world.

Melissa nods. "Steve it is. I won't do anything to let on. I'll do everything I can so that you can be left in peace until you can start a new life." Oh, she's curious. Very curious. And it shows on her face, but she doesn't pry, not yet anyway. "And yes, there are beds. They're not great, but they'll keep you off the floor until I can get you someplace a bit more comfortable."

Melissa glances back to the whistling, and she frowns a little, until Tony comes into view. Only then will she relax and take her hand from her pistol.

Only once the sound of whistling and footsteps becomes clearer does Doctor Stevens notice the dark-haired man making his way down through the same stairwell and corridor that he and Melissa had just emerged from. When Melissa eases up, Doctor Stevens does his best to reciprocate, though all of this is just new enough to be worrisome. "Left in peace…" he echoes, nodding his head slightly before looking up anxiously at Tony's approach again.

"Who's that?" Darren asks in hushed confidence as he steps closer to Melissa, the way he keeps his attention leveled on Tony as the man approaches seems indicative of his unease in this situation, in these wholly unfamiliar surroundings.

Tony says, very gravely, "Elliot Ness. I've come out of retirement." He nods to Melissa, "I mean, I reckon I could convince as Mulder, but you know, maybe I should try for Scully?"

Melissa rolls her eyes at Tony. "This is a friend. Occasionally an annoyance, but a decent guy." She motions then at Darren as she looks back to Tony. "This is Steve. He needs a place to hide, so be nice until we can get him out, hmm?" Her words are accompanied by a sharp look. Yes, no harassing the poor guy.

A hand is laid lightly on Darren's shoulder. "It'll be okay. Just relax a little. There are no demands on you here." She smiles at Tony, "Could you show him to where the beds are? Maybe introduce yourself?" Because she has a phone call to make!

Tony reaches into his pocket, and gets out a torch. "Uh. Hi. Call me Tony. Or Elliot. You know. Whatever." He flicks the flashlight on, and waves it around, "Uh… the beds are down here, I reckon. Don't expect it as a comfortable place to bring someone. I mean, forget it with Mel, anyway, but generally. Pretty beat up, you know?"

There's an askance look from Darren to Melissa and back to Tony again, and the vacant stare the Doctor gives implies that he has no eartrhly idea what Tony's getting on about at all in regards to his facetious introduction. "Right," the doctor states with a nervous smile, the way that would be most acceptable to nod and smile to any other crazy person that someone could bump into on the streets of New York.

When it seems like Melissa's going to be leaving him with Tony, Darren tenses up again, and his white-gloved forefingers brush over his thumb on each hand. "Don't— Don't take too long." Darren insists of Melissa, before offering a look out to Tony. No hand is offered to shake, perhaps the gloves have something to do with that, perhaps he's cold, perhaps he's just an asshole.

"I don't— I don't plan on bringing anyone down here." Doctor stuffy here doesn't seem to have a sense of humor.

Melissa smiles and gives Darren a reassuring squeeze to his shoulder. "I won't be long, I promise. I'll be there in just a minute. Just need to grab a few things for you. I want you to be as comfortable as possible."

Tony shrugs, "Well, you know. Whatever." He grunts, "So. Are you hiding down here, or something?" He gestures, "Look. Bed there. The roof's not been so good further down that tunnel, so y'know, unless you wanna sleep in the wet patch, I wouldn't go down there." And he gives the new boy a quick glance, to see if there's even a flicker of a reaction to that one.

It's like Darren isn't even liftening, one arm wrapped around his muidsection and a hand lifted to his mouth, white-gloved fingers lightly brushing over his lips as he stares vacantly down at the bed in the small, dark concrete room with the other four or five mattresses and blankets all piled up. Never mind that Refrain junkies were detoxing in there just a few scant months ago, but as Melissa said— a bed is a bed.

"Mmn, yeah that's… alright." Darren murmurs in clear lack of having been paying any attention at all, staring at the glow of the flashlight on the wall before offering a somewhat nervous blue-eyed stare up towards Tony, realizing there's been an awkward silence between the two after a moment. "I— I'm sorry were you…"

Melissa waits until they're out of earshot, then she hits the supply room to get a few things for Darren. Of course, while she's pilfering for the Ferry's newest guest, she's dragging her phone out and sending a text to Abby. Get to GCT.

Tony says, "Was I….. was I President of the US?" He grins lazily, and gestures, "You realised?"

He grins, "Was I what? C'mon… ain't gonna guess unless ya spit it out."

"Nothing." Darren distractedly murmurs, rubbing a hand over his mouth and shaking his head as he steps into the concrete room, looking down at the cold beds and then up towards the cracked ceiling. He looks over his shoulder towards Tony again, offering a distracted smile before slowly shaking his head and stepping forther into the room. "I ah… could you just," Darren waves one gloved hand slowly in the air, "Just give me a little time to wind down?" His brows furrow, blue eyes unfocused as he stares down at the ground again, and then slowly slouches down to sit on the corner of one of the mattresses… head in his hands.

Thirty Minutes Later

For all that Grand Central Station once seemed like a busy place during the detoxification of the rescued people from Doctor Sheridan's lab, the bitter cold and six foot high snow that buries the ruins of Midtown has cut down traffic to this safehouse considerably. Only the longest and most winding subterranean routes to Grand Central are safe to traverse, due to the untended ruins and dense snow making it almost impossible to cross the ruins without a snowmobile, and that detreacts from the stealth normally required.

It's down here in these damp confines that Melissa Pierce has brought Doctor Darren Stevens, a fretful and fidgeting man who insists on going by an alias while contained down here. Having sequestered himself in to one of the makeshift bedrooms in the safe house, Darren is wholly unaware of the impending arrival of a former healer at Melissa's insistance.

Surprises like this are never taken well.

Melissa wanders back to Darren, carrying a blanket, a bottle of water, and a bit of food. "Hey…I know it's not the greatest living space, but unfortunately, nice buildings are generally harder to hide from the government," she says with an apologetic smile.

She moves over to him, setting the pile of stuff down on the bed. "Thought you might want something to eat or drink. I'll show you where both are kept soon. Once you're settled a little more," Mel offers.

Tony has moved out, into the corridor. A lurking presence. Almost looming, even. Specially with the odd shadows his flashlight casts. But he's giving the nervous guy a bit of space, at least. And he's amusing himself with a small bit of paper, twisting and turning it in his fingers.

"Mel?" That's the call that heralds the uniform wearing blonde, EMT jacket with it's collar nor turned down, duffel bag over shoulder, stethoscope still hanging around her neck. Whent he text came, she begged family emergency, and found another to take her shift. She had been in the middle of an argument about how if god meant for them to all be vegetarians, Cow's wouldn't a) taste so damn good or b) Be as harmless as they are. They'd have spines like porcupines or spit poison, or something. She and the vegan don't get along and it was a good thing that Peter got told that he had better be coming back when he'd called.

"Mel?" Had to be important if she was telling the blonde to come down. "They said you were down this way" There's… Tony and that's a puzzled look. "Mel inside?"

"Thanks," Darren offers quietly with a furrow of his brows, head tipping down into a slow nod. "Look I— I appreciate everything you're doing for me…" his voice is a hushed one as he looks up to Melissa, to the blankets she's set down on the bed. "I don't know how long I'll need to stay here to be honest, maybe not long. Maybe I'll need your help getting out of the country I…" Doctor Stevens reaches up, rubbing a hand over his mouth, eyes casting askance towards the door, then back to Melissa.

"Can you get newspapers or— radio or something down here? I can't get any cell phone reception." Of course not, his phone isn't boosted by Wireless like most other Ferrymen operatives. All those questions though fall to the wayside when he hears another voice and movement headed down in his direction, and Darren's eyes divert up towards Melissa in silent question.

Who the hell is that?

Melissa smiles and nods. "Yeah, I can get you some newspapers and something. I know boredom is a major risk of hiding out." She glances towards the door, then back to Darren. "Sounds like another friend of mine. Her name's Abby." And now she's silently happy that she didn't mention Abby's name before, when talking about her former-healer friend.

"Don't worry, she's nice. And you can trust her the same as you trust me." Mel smiles. "Though I still have doubts about how much of that you have for me."

Again she looks back to the door. "I'm in here, Abby. With a new friend. His name is Steve."

Tony shrugs a little, "Hey Abby. Couldn't keep away, huh?" He leans back against the wall, secure in the knowledge that the ultimate stain remover to get dust off jackets is to be an illusionist. "Mel's in there with her new friend. I'm just here as the muscle, you know? An', the entertainment. And I'm kinda confused as to what else."

"You know me. I love the men" That in and of itself is a joke of a sort. Abby's face pops around the corner first, hair up and pulled back in a french twist with no make up, just the blonde EMT soon followed by the rest of her. "You didn't say whether someone was hurt so I came right away and brought my gear… You shoulda sent for someone else though Mel, I can't just drop everything at a hat. It's not like the bar…"

Why is Steve familar looking? She can't place it, but he's niggling at her.

"Hey Steve. I'm Abigail. Abby. Whichever makes you more comfortable. What's the problem?" She's looks very much akin to how she looked when coming out of the rooms in the hospital when she was the miracle healer at St. Lukes. Tired, little worn around the edges.

"Beauchamp." Darren breathes out as he sees Abby walk in thorugh the door, somewhat startled by the juxtaposition of seeing a familiar face down here. "I— I know you." It's like finding out that someone among your close friends was actually a member of the Taliban for how surreal this whole scenario is. Slowly rising up from the bed, Darren just stares silently at Abby, head shaking slowly as he reaches up to brush one gloved hand over his brow.

"I— You used to work at St.Luke's as an on-call healer, didnt you?" Darren's brows furrow, and he glances to the doorway, teeth worrying at his lower lip before just ending that trail of conversation there entirely, tucking his hands into the pockets of his slacks and shaking his head. "I'm— sorry I shouldn't be…" he makes an unbecoming noise in the back of his throat, "if— if you don't all mind I'd like some privacy, just— I have a lot on my mind right now?"

Like avoiding difficult questions.

Melissa breathes a quiet sigh of relief at Darren's reaction. Good, no freaking out. She glances between him and Abby for a moment, before she nods and smiles to the healer. "Of course. It's been quite a day already. You need me, just holler. And if I'm not around, anyone here can get a hold of me, alright?"

Mel moves towards the door, giving Abby a look and mouthing, "We'll talk outside'."

Tony is outside, and glances towards Mel, as she emerges. He tilts his head to one side, looking from woman, to woman, to twitcher. Then back to Mel. He pauses, then finally manages to vocally contribute, "So. Not needed as muscle, huh? So… anything you _do_ need me for? And if you tell me I'm going for a nice trip to Canada with…." He taps the side of his head, in the international sign language for 'Nutzoid', "… then I'm gonna cry."

What the people at the hospital know that wasn't the directors or the like is that one day, they were told she was unavailable to heal. No explanations as to why but not to call her. "So this is your mysterious doctor" Realization dawning on Abby as to who it is that Melissa gone and brought.

"Yeah, that's me" She doesn't stare back, just nods to him. "I used to, feels like a lifetime ago. Don't be sorry. I guess Mel's offered to get you away from folks who want to use you like a battery. You'll be safe down here, it can be a bit claustrophobic but, it's good" And he's asking people to leave. Which is another thing that's understanding.

"Hey Mel, yeah, I'll talk with you outside, give me a moment would you?" Which is a 'no, not leaving quite yet' sort of thing as she passes her bag off to Tony to put down outside and moves in towards Darren. There's an offer of her hand. "Don't worry, it's okay to touch me. I won't do anything to you and i'm pretty sure you won't do anything to me and if you heard of me before then you'd know that… I really don't touch people and shake hands often"

"I'd rather not." Darren comments, looking down at his gloved hands, "if you don't mind." Clearing his throat, the doctor's fingers lace together, blue eyes angled up towards Abby. "Your… friend, she— offered to help me, yes. I've, ah, I've got some problems back at the hospital that I'm probably going to need to get away from, but I 'preciate the offer… I'd— I mean I'd heard rumors about a group like this, but never anything concrete."

Wetting his lips, Darren stares down at his lap and breathes in a slow breath, shoulders hunching forward. "I didn't want this ability…" he finally notes in a hushed tone of voice, "I never asked for it, and now I can't— there are so many people who've tried to contact me. I had a family…" he brings a hand up to his forehead, fingers stroking over his brow, "a family from Spain contact me asking me if I would heal their son of his cancer. They offered me— the money they offered me— " Darren looks back down at his hands.

"I got into an argument with oneof my co-workers about it…" Though the doctor doesn't specify why. "I'm… I'm sorry if this is something of a burden for you an' yours. I'll be out of everyone's hair soon enough, I hope. Maybe… I'll be lucky and all this'll blow over."

Melissa nods to Abby. Yeah, she understands. She pauses at the door to glance back at Darren and she smiles at him reassuringly. "It's not a burden, Steven. I offered to help because I want to help anyone who needs it. I'd do it again right now if the situation presented itself." Another smile, then she steps outside, motioning for Tony to come with her as she leaves Darren and Abby alone for the moment.

Tony takes the bag, and of course, being Tony, starts to unfasten the various fastenings and have a peek around inside. He follows Mel, quietly, for once

"There will be people from all over the world and it won't get any easier." She takes her hand back, no offense showing on her face at all as she brings them around to behind her and clasps them together "And you could make a killing off of it or get killed over it. I got kidnapped over it. Spent a month on Staten Island and well" That's neither here nor there. "I had planned on stopping in and… seeing how you were doing, how you were taking it. Adjusting. Will you take some advice from me? Some that… looking back, I wish I had before I ever… healed anyone?" The blonde quietly asks offering a shake of her head.

"They like to keep it that way. A rumor, until you actually need them. Some people this is their life and others, like myself, we're just people who get called in for certain things, like helping patch folks up. Help them get back on their feet. Are you going to be okay? I'll leave you alone if you really want to but, I mean really, are you going to be okay for the next few hours? If you've really changed your mind, I can take you back. We can write it all off as you went to meet up with me to ask how the healing thing works, how to balance the two"

He doesn't look like he's listening, not entirely anyway. There's something worrying at the back of Darren's mind that's keeping his eyes unfocused and stare distant. "I'm…" he has to hesitate because it takes Darren that long to realize what she'd said, even if only in part. "No I'm… I'll be fine. Look I just, I'm sorry." Darren's wandering stare slowly settles on Abby. "I've got a lot on my mind right now but, I— I think after what your friend Melissa talked to me about, this is probably the best option for me. I— I really don't want to go back to the hospital, not… not yet."

It's like he's constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. "I just need a few days down here to lay low for a little while and see what happens." Looking back down to the floor, Darren's expression is one Abby's seen before, that haunted nervousness of someone who's being weighed on by their conscience, someone burdened by their own guilt. "I just— I need some time."

Melissa moves into the foyer area, plopping down on a couch and stretching her legs out. She didn't get answers, but she did a good thing, and that's comforting, anyway. So now she's just going to wait and let Abby deal with him, healer to healer.

"So not fine. But that's okay. Listen, I'm going to see about making some coffee down here and what else they have. Cause I'm down here and I'm prooobably going to be down here for a bit too. Could do with a few days away from life as well. So. I'm going to go see what Mel wants and then see about us getting you some food, whatever else you need" She chances it, doing something that others did to her how many times. A hand moves to squeeze his shoulder quick then let go. "It's not the end of the world Doc. I survived having the ability. There's people who have been in your shoes before. It will be okay. May take time but.. but it will be" She turns then, heading for the door. "Want me to close it or leave it open?"

There's a hopeful, wordless smile at the mention of coffee that implies a pre-emptive thank youf or getting him a cup. Maybe it's the EMT uniform that makes him think he's entitled to ask her for one. But when Abby turns towards that door, all Doctor Stevens can do is watch her silently for a moment. not having the heart to correct her about surviving a similar ability. All he can do is offer her a weary smile, and add the one thing that a raise of his brows can't convey.

"Closed," Darren offers in hushed quality, "I'd like the door closed."

It's easier to hide away from everything that way.

Door closed. Out of sight, let the man have his needed quiet time. Off to where Mel and Tony are she meanders before leaning against a wall and looking to the corset loving woman with an expectant look. "Just leave him be for a few hours. He's overwhelmed. By this, by healing. He's got a bunch of pressure on his shoulders and he doesn't know how to handle it. That's what I got right off the bat. I think there's more though, but you're not gonna get it out of him right now. He needs to relax first"

Tony finishes having a quiet look through Abby's bag, clips it shut, and hands it back to her. With a cheerful grin, like he'd done nothing unexpected.

Melissa glances up to Abby and she nods. "Yeah…and I'm not so sure what he does is entirely healing, based on something he said at the hospital. And he still…there's a lack of control. He didn't realize he'd done anything to me, or even what he did," she says softly.

She leans forward, elbows resting on her knees. "He was upset enough to agree to come with me with very little conversation. I still think he's afraid of something more than his power. Because of it, maybe, but not it directly."

Melissa's gaze flicks up to Abby. "He doesn't want who and what he is spread around. He's going by Steven for now. And I think it's best if we leave him be for the most part, unless he wants to talk to someone. You though…I think talking to you will help, since you have at least an idea of what's going on with him."

"Mel, I was twelve when I first healed something. A bird of all things" She takes her bag back, slinging it over her shoulder and frowning that Tony went poking through it. "But.. Yeah. I can stick down here for a few more hours, they have a kitchen set up somewhere leftover from when they had the Refrain people here. I'll make him some coffee, something to eat. I have to head topside to check in and… I gotta get a hold of peter and work" She's going to follow through with Teo's other request. Might cost her her job, or it might not. Depends really on what the people who are protecting her have to say in the end.

"Should you have brought him here though? I mean, this isn't the first place to bring folks Mel. You shoulda brought him to over by Columbia or to uhhh, hell, Cat's place. or even the bar. You could have stashed him there. I can see not bringing him to the Den" You don't bring a healer who at the least, needs a break, to a house full of sick people.

"Yeah, no way was I taking him to the Den. And I don't know of all the places around, Abby. I didn't go there expecting to be bringing him with me. Not after the way he acted last time," Melissa says with a faint grimace, running her hands through her hair. "This was the first place I could think of that would be safe for him for a few days. Staten Island isn't safe, the Den…out. And couldn't get a hold of Joseph for his place."

There's a pause, then Mel nods. "Yeah, I gotta get a hold of Peter too. Probably for very different reasons than you, though. So if you talk to him before I do, tell him to give me a call?"

"He'll be coming back to work tomorrow. He swears. I'll let him know to call you" Abby promises "And well, he's here now. That's all that matters. He may just need a couple days really away from people wanting him to heal non-stop" There's a glance back towards his door then back to Mel. 'Okay, I'm gonna go make coffee and then… we can.. I don't know. Do something. I gotta make some calls too"

Melissa nods. "Yeah, he might. Though he did talk about maybe leaving the city or the country," she provides. "And yeah, I've got a few things to do too. Somehow I've adopted a teenager who's got the 510. and there's Jerry."

"I got the next two days off. I can play keep an eye on Steven" Adopted a teenager. "Jsut wait. Soon you'll have more strays" Abby points out, letting her voice linger as she disappears in search of the room bearing the coffee. Time to make friends, focus on something other than the Russians and her… issues

Melissa looks pained. "More…strays? Really? One sixteen year old isn't enough? Man. Okay, I'll be back after a bit. I need to do a few things… including get a stiff drink."

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