Around The World In 80 Boxcars


abby_icon.gif alexander_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Around The World In 80 Boxcars
Synopsis The operatives of _phoenix leaves their marks on the world and each other.
Date November 2, 2008

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

a small bucket of chilli from a waitress who mentions Abby's taking care of something in the back. He has scuffed jeans on, a sweater underneath the cowhide jacket and a Para-Ordnance P-104 tucked in underneath the sweater, a duffel bag slung over one shoulder, full of innocuous papers and aerosol paint cans. He isn't the most inconspicuous terrorist in the world, but at least his appetite is comparable to that of the next twenty-five-year-old overgrown mutt of a man-child. It lends the subterfuge credence?

Abby's done what she needed to do in the back, making her way to the front. Ratty jeans, bulky sweater, warm jacket, prepared to head out when the waitress on shift pulls her over to point to Teo. A smile to the redhead and Abby takes up the seat next to him. Passwords first, and then she asks, "Hey T. To what pleasure do I owe this?"

Mouth being full, he initially just waves the handle of his fork hello. Which is probably a good deal less unsightly than flapping the other end at her. When he clears his passageway, he gives the young woman a grin that has nothing lodged in his teeth. "Buona sera," he greets her. "I thought you might want to go for a run today." The strap of his bag scrapes down his shoulder; he offers her a look in, as if verifying to a gym partner that her sweats and iPod were available. As if.

"I could go for a run. Be a good thing to do before I turn in for the night. We can wait till your done eating though" She grabs a spoon from behind the counter and dares to try and steal a scoop of his chili. "It's not too cold yet for a run" She flashes a smile at him, thousand watt.

Her thieving hands are given a look that probably could have shot lazers out of those scintillating, striated blue irises if Teodoro was capable of generating enough hate to power something like that in his brain. Alas, he and this one have been getting along morbidly well for the past few weeks. "You'll lose that hand," he offers by way of threat. He stuffs his face with a last couple bites— leaving more than a little bit left, thanks to the Owl's generous proportions, should she care for more. And then he picks himself up. "How've you been?"

"Tired. But good. Keeping busy. I have some time off and will be taking it, so.." Abby doesn't try to steal the rest of the Chili. "COme on, CHili's on me, lets go for that run. I'm off shift and want out of here. If I smell french fries one more time I may go beserk and start… I don't know, preaching on a corner and screaming psalms at people" She winks at him, collecting the cheque and passing it to the Waitress.

While normally, Teo's impoverished enough that he'd box the rest to go, he seriously doubts the carton would survive the next couple hours. So he only winds up giving it a long-faced look as it's taken away. The next moment, he changes the expression to a grimace. "I never have anything against free food, but that's going to get embarrassing if you keep it up," he remarks, pulling himself up. "I owe you drinks.

"'Hair of the dog' aside." He straightens his jacket with a yank of a hand and leads their way out. "Get in touch with Samir yet? And—" he winces at himself slightly. Non-sequitur for the win. "Sorry, curiosity got the better of me, but. Do you have a favorite psalm?"

"No, no favourite. I like many, love many, there is always something for nearly every situation and I promise that the next time, i'll let you pay for your meal" Abby lets Teo open the door and heads out. Letting him do something chivalrous and feel better. 'As for Samir, no, not yet. I haven't managed to get ahold of him, but i'll keep trying. So, where are we running to?" She digs her hands into the pockets of her pink jacket.

Chivalry is always a good fit for a son of Italy. Though to be fair, it doesn't look bad on Abby either. He plays the part of the gentleman, lets the door swing shut behind her with a clack of metal hinges. Flipping a glance over his shoulder, he casually confirms there's no one in earshot before slipping into talk of business. "On the corner of Broadway and Worth Street, there's a freight yard." He raises a finger, as if ticking off the numbered points: "Seems like a good distance and," second finger, "I like the idea of flying the phoenix across the country by rail.

Abby looks at him while they walk, blonde brows rising. "I"m not the best artist Teo. But, Sure. I have nothing to do tonight. Might as well" She nods her assent before gesturing for him to lead the way. "How you doing? Find anything new to make explode?"

"I'm not an artist at all," Teo replies, by way of comfort, his smile going crooked. "And I definitely need somebody to watch for nightguards." He shortens the duffel strap with a jerk of one tongue and a push of the buckle, sets himself against the ball of one foot, and sets off at a good clip. Even with the density of civilians returning to roost, Chelsea isn't too crowded to navigate or talk through. "I'm all right.

"Trying to figure— some stuff out— or mostly just waiting. Family," he waves a hand, abstract signals to indicate crazy shittiness. "Karl and his guys. Red paint is— our publicity stunt, and the way we've been using it—" painting over the old graffiti, "makes it look like the— old tribe is dead. Those assholes are going to need — their own comeback. I hate thinking about it."

"Can't please everyone. It was bound to happen, that some people with a more non violent turn of things as opposed to the judicious applications of those weapons. I feel for Helena, but I am sure that we will be able to distance ourselves from the PARIAH that is now, to the Phoenix that we are to become" There's a grim smile at that. "But overpainting, that is good. will garner attention and show that the two are not the same:

The two part around a woman pushing a pram, loop around lampposts and cut a loose right around a corner, giving any turning pedestrians a careful berth. "You're right," he agrees. You can't please everyone. His breathing's coming easier now. "But it's a fucking irritating schism: knowing terrorism's gonna happen, and who's going to do it, and sitting on that knowledge. I know the last thing we want is for those stronzo to wind up in HomeSec's custody," given they have sensitive intelligence on Phoenix, "but it still pisses me off.

"Overpainting is good," he acknowledges with a nod. "Out of the ashes." A beat's pause, filled with many more of heart muscles pushed into high drive. Then, "You seemed upset at the — end of the meeting." He gets the sense there was more going on than the split between PARIAH and PHOENIX, but he doesn't elaborate, letting her brush it off if she wants to.

"Comes something reforged from fire, made stronger than before and better. Fire is cleansing, and we don't need them. The miracles, the miracles will help, I am sure of it. If it could be done, I'd almost say that we should find a way to get me in to heal one of the agents who were shot at the presidential debate. Instead of a kid. but I don't think Hel would go for it" Abby frowns though, when Teo asks, looking over at him. "Did I?"

Teo blinks at that suggestion, his eyelids almost clicking audibly. He shoots her a look of incredulous approval, and narrowly evades steamrolling a schoolchild. Recovering his balance in the next three long strides, he says, "That's f—" He catches himself. "That's brilliant. You should run it past Hel. I'll hammer out logistics with both of you, if you need." There are more people the further they move beyond the radius of Chelsea's destitution and minority caches; makes talking harder. He answers her simply: "You did," and leaves it at that.

At least until they reach the freight yard. Dusty concrete, rust-edged rail tracks, chainlink rigged with a few cheap electric lights that drone from faulty wirework, the yard is hardly the most difficult location to penetrate, in tactical terms. Graffiti is already rife on the few cars standing idle there, the plywood boards shutting in a few of the ground floor windows.

There's a fat gentleman watching the fence. Sort of. He has a chair and a flashlight and walking shoes. Mostly, he's using the chair. Teo stops in a shadow and exhales. He'd shrugged off jacket and sweater somewhere along the way. "Hel tried to ask, you didn't seem to want to talk about it."

'Nothing to talk about" Abby murmurs, keeping voice pitched low. "No, wrong, there is. But it's tupid, and it was bound to happen. She asks once and then, instead of asking just assumes" She takes off her own jacket, turning it inside out and putting it back on, a black lining on the inside. "I'm not registered because I am sure if I was, my life would not be my own and I would be expected to run myself down every night, healing people who were deemed important enough"

Teo wipes sweat off his nose. Blue eyes rove the yard, reassessing the perimeter and mapping it against what he's seen of the throwback kids running through here and the rent-cops switch shifts and take their beers beside their handheld radios.

Nevertheless, he's listening, and intently; when he looks back at her, there's stillness in his eyes and a clarity to his frown that signal as clearly as fire that he'd even managed to do a little thinking about it while his eyes had been elsewhere. "It was an easy assumption to make, but a bad one," he agrees, quietly. He holds her gaze for a moment, then drops his to work the bag open. "'S it help to know, you get to be the one who deems who's 'important enough?'"

"Somewhat. I just.. I don't want to be stuck in that room and it's expected that i'll do such whenever anyone gets a cut, or hurts themselves. I'm not a nurse, or a doctor. Just a waitress from Louisiana. Was just then, that I was upset. Not so much now. I know that if I say no, that Helena would listen. Besides the bird what else are we writing?"

She gets a smile instead of a worded reply: glad you're less upset. You won't find a lot of so-named terrorists who aren't idealistic in their own ways, but Teo isn't naive enough to think they won't have to make sacrifices of comfort or principle for the cause. "I don't know," he says. He hadn't thought about that much. The chainlink sketches diamonds on the edge of Abby's face and blocks a smarting beam of light from blinding him in his right eye as he considers this, head craned around the corner. "If you let me lift you, we could make a really big bird. Is there anything else you want to write?"

"I'm light enough, and words probably, our new name" She reaches down to rummage for some of the can's. Just like that, the topic is closed and onto something else. "How about you, how are you with everything that's happening. Are we going for stylistic or are we trying to paint a decent looking phoenix?"

"For all you complain about overexposure to French fries, yeah," Teo answers, far as her weight goes, a lopsided smile that fades to serious in a moment. He pulls a few cans out himself, ditches a gunmetal blue one in favor of a bright orange, and follows her line of sight out. The one guard in his folding chair is bobbing his head to some song on an FM band; the notes reach their corner faint, tinny, barely recognizable as Bon Jovi's 'Wanted Dead Or Alive.' "I'm pretty happy with the ship Hel's running.

"I get the sense we're heading for some fucking rough waters soon," with HomeSec's pens of kidnapped Evolved, progress of research, the elections looming ahead, "but that's different. And I figure I'm as ready for that shit as I ever will be.

"Stylized or realistic is up to you and your skills, eh?" The can teeters to and fro in his hand thoughtfully. The next wintry breeze that wafts by is almost welcome, after their run. "Ignis lux et veritas, firelight and truth— play on an existing phrase. Ignis aurumn probat — fire tests gold, adversity builds character. Ignis internum, fire within. Any of them resonate with you?"

Abby has a red and a yellow can in her hand. "The last, or the middle. I prefer the last though, more appropriate" She murmurs, a peek around the corner to the guard. 'So, how do we intend to get around that guy. This one of those things where I get asked to flash my chest and distract him while you run past behind him?" There's a smile and it seems abby is getting into this all. Nothing like graffitti after a hard days work.

Security is shit around here, which probably accounts for the amount of vandalism that delinquents get away with — but when HomeSec wants your head on a plate or leashed to a lie detector, caution doesn't hurt. A series of cheap lights and staticky cameras overlook the half of the freight yard closest to the loading dock and control center, the other side watched by the lone guardsmen and protected by a chainlink fence.

It's on that side that Abby and Teo stand together, concealed by the shifting and standing train cars themselves. There, they consider the prospect before them and the chaos of the past few weeks. "Ignis internum then," he says, nodding. "It's spelled how it sounds." A staccato pause: he peers at her face. Grins abruptly. "Nice to see you again. I think we should do the main thing on that one." Red car there, already chapped and edged with chunky letters. Sealing his bag, he closes his fingers on the chainlink and to start and climb.

Alexander has arrived.

There's a flickering shadow in the deeper shade of the trains that lie silent on the sidings. And it resolves into the vulpine grin and pale features of Alex, who comes creeping up, wearing worn out Chucks - much stealthier than boots, when there's no snow on the ground. HE says nothing, but flashes a little handsignal of recognition, before he's in whispered earshot.

"No ladies first?" Abby whispers teasingly to Teo and soon she's right behind him, fingers clasping the fence and pulling herself up and over, careful of any barbed wire that may be at the top. The flicker of movement makes her still, freeze on her descent till she recognizes alexander. "Company, good kind. Now it can be a really big bird" The southern bell murmurs to Teo as she gives a little hop and falls to her feet the rest of the way.

With a faint scuffle, Teo lands on the other side of the fence. "I'm taking point. That's kind of like being gentlemanly," he volunteers, abashedly. He gets his balance back pretty quick, raises a hand to mark Abby's descent when he catches the motion out of his peripheral vision. Wheels around so fast he probably would've done his ankle in if they weren't accustomed that much abuse and worse. He hears Abby's reassurance before he sees Alexander and winds up scowling. He mutters passcodes in lieu of a salutation, before throwing his spraycan overhead at Alexander's head. He fishes another out for himself and stalks off to the train cars.

The can stops in midair, halfway to Alex, and then drifts over to him more sedately. Al salutes, and comes trotting along to settle in a little behind and to the left of Teo. Admiring the view, perhaps. OR just out to irritate the Sicilian.
[Abby(#506)] Abby plants a kiss on Alexanders cheek. "I think he's mad at you, or just really really focused. Come to help paint?" She holds up her can, shakes it as quickly as she can before starting off after Teo to keep pace with him. "What was it again Teo?"

Like most of Teo's emotions, confusion doesn't tend to last long before either his temper or his sense of humor win out. It's a veritable tug-o'-war taking place on his face between those two, and hard to judge which one is winning out. The run had left him feeling warm enough already; now his ears are getting very uncomfortable. "You're why people hate faggots," he whispers at the other man, exasperated. He swivels mid-step to speak to Abby. "'Ignis internum.'"

Whoa, whoa, whoa. It is only the locale and the situation that keep Al from launching into Teo, either verbally or physically. But he bites back whatever his original reply was going to be after a visible struggle, and says, only, "Fuck you, paisan. It was a joke, be a man about it," in tones of clear irritation. But he gives Abby a kiss on the cheek in return. "I sure have," he whispers.

"Language! lady present!" There's a roll of eyes to both men and a threatening gesture with her can to spray them both. "Which one first? Have one picked out Teo?" Her mood improving as they go, up for the tagging. "Hel okay with this?"

Al's retort either has the intended effect or the opposite one. Teo can't read him very well at the moment, his attention divided between half a dozen things and explicitly ignoring half a dozen others. Guilt elbows him in the ribs and his temper pokes him in the eye. "Then it was a shitty joke. Maybe you should be less of a dick when you tell them, paisan." Fortunately, Abby's a little gold-topped bubble that keeps him buoyant. Crooking her half a smile, he turns back around.

Stops in front of the dark red car, tips his head back to stare up its flat, chapped sides. He sends the faintest haze up to mark off the center for the bird's head, chest, tail-tip— with a tall enough margin to fill in with letters, then the tops of its wings. "That seem about right?"

Alexander peers at Abby for a moment, as if she'd spoken in some unintelligible language. And then he blushes, though it's not really visible in the dimness. "Sorry," he says, actually b owing a little, even as he turns his back on Teo to scout out other trains to tag.

"It's okay, I keep having to say it, It's like everyone swears these days" Abby mutters, patting both the men on their shoulders and looking up at the bird beginning to take shape. "I have the words, you tall men can take care of the bird until you need me. How was your day Alex?" She casts her eyes up to him, tucking her escaped tendrils of hair away from her face and with an uncapping of her can, starts to write the proper words beneath the bird.

Back in Sicily, everybody swore. Or— well, almost everyone Teodoro associated with. For emphasis, mostly, and his countrymen tend to be emphatic, if nothing else. Teo starts to map out the avian's body, effervescent orange feathers arching away from the trunk of its torso, flattened as if by the pressure of fast flight through atmosphere. "Hel doesn't know about it," he adds belatedly, and keenly aware that the reply is belated. "This is pretty ordinary business." The graffiti, he means. Not cultivating enough awkwardness to atomically freeze the atmosphere. He shuts up when it is Alexander's turn to reply.

"Well enough. Made some good money," Al says, grinning to himself. He's got one hand thrust into his pockets….and then eyes a flat expanse of wall, out of the reach of normal human artists. "There," he says, with decision, and starts picking his way towards it. HE doesn't climb up himself, but sends the can drifting up on its own. Let's see if he has sufficiently fine control to create a grafitto, Sorcerer's Apprentice style.

November 2nd: Remonstrance and Requital
November 2nd: Nice Try, But No Forgiveness
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