At What Price?


martin_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title At What Price?
Synopsis Martin tracks down Odessa to drop the largest bomb since Aught-Six.
Date May 24, 2010

The Rock Cellar

A comfortable place, located in the basement of 14 East 4th Street. The red brick walls are covered with memorabilia from various icons of rock and places in rock history, creating a feel similar to that of a Hard Rock Cafe.

The left wall has two bars separated by swinging doors which lead to and from the kitchen. Directly across from the entrance is a two foot high stage with all the equipment needed for acts to perform there. The right wall has three doors marked as restrooms: two for use by women and one by men.

Thirty square feet of open space for dancing and standing room is kept between the stage and the comfortable seating placed around tables which fill the remainder of the Cellar.

The lighting here is often kept dim for purposes of ambience, and when performers are onstage the place is loud enough to make conversation difficult. Just inside the door is a podium where location staff check IDs and stamp the hands of those under twenty-one with a substance visible under UV lights at the two bars and by devices the servers carry. On the podium's front is a sign with big black letters that just about explain it all: If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll, You're Too Late Now!

The borrowed apartment? Boring. The abandoned bar beneath the apartment building? Totally appealing right now. Odessa Knutson has decided to get up and test her legs by riding the elevator down to the closed-for-business Rock Cellar where she may just be helping herself to a glass of whiskey mixed with cola and grenadine. Shhh. Don't tell the owner.

She's dressed simply in a loose, black jersey knit dress, an empire waist ensuring the lightweight fabric isn't unnecessarily snug around her midsection. A red scarf made of satin is tied around her neck and matches the pair of four inch stilettos on her feet. Abby would probably have a heart attack if she saw her patient walking around in those shoes, but as always, Odessa believes she knows best. Standing at the bar, rather than sitting on one of the stools set up there, she sips at her drink, singing off-key to herself and the empty bar. "I'm ever so lost… I can't find my way. Been searching, but I have never seen a turning, a turning from deceit…"

The jingling bells aren't musical accompaniment to Odessa's singing, but rather the sleigh-bell chime above the door to the Rock Cellar. The bar isn't properly open for business, but locks and doors and all manner of privacy issues don't much stand in the way of the long-haired man shouldering his way in to the bar quietly. Martin Crowley has looked better, felt better, and certainly felt taller.

With one arm bound into a sling and that arm in a cast, Martin Crowley certainly looks like he's been in better shape. Walking slowly into the bar, glasses fogged up from the change in temperature and wind-blown snow dusting the shoulders of his jacket, he seems to know why he's here. The black leather folio held under Martin's good arm might be part of the reason, or more likely the bright red folder contained within. Odessa knows the type, Level 5 security clearance documentation, Director's eyes only material.

He needn't really give a greeting, but Martin does offer something of a tired smile. It creases wrinkles at the side of his face where he's bruised purple and yellow, one of his eyes bloodshot red and a bandage across his lower jaw.

The chime of the bells has Odessa whirling from her position to face the doorway. Of all the people she thought she might encounter, Martin Crowley was not anywhere on that list. Like a frightened animal, she flattens herself back against the bar, staring warily at the man.

Unassuming though he may be, it takes a moment or two for that - his condition - to register. "Martin?" Odessa's wide eyes are full of confusion. By the way they dart to the shadows, the Senior Agent (as far as she knows) can reasonably assume that she's searching for signs of the Haitian. Today seems to be a day of unexpected visitors. Especially the type that would shoot her in the face just as easily as stab her in the back. "How did you even—"

"The receptionist at the front desk told me you'd come down…" is what Martin's coy answer is, though obviously not answering the core of Odessa's real question. There's a tension and a fire that's been burned out of Martin Crowley, a heated frustration that he had with Odessa the last time he'd seen her that's all but died away and been snuffed out. He seems broken, in a way, Martin's presence far less the cocksure agent and more a humbled man reminded of his own mortality.

His approach to the bar is a slow one, eyes sizing Odessa up and down, before he settles on the bar stool beside where she stands. "Can you make me a Gin and Tonic?" is a request too honest to be coming out of his mouth, and the thin folio he lays down on the bartop in front of himself has a weight to it that is not wholly material, a weight of secrets.

"I'd make it m'self," he adds, a smile half-forming across his bearded face, "but I've not got the 'ands for it today." He raises the one shoulder with a sling crossing it in reference, then turns to stare across the bar to the mirror opposite of him, getting a good look at his battered countenance.

The look on Odessa's face isn't entirely nonplussed, but it's close. Nodding somewhat numbly, she makes her way gingerly around the length of the bar to come around behind it and mix Martin his drink. "Here," she murmurs when she hands it to him, pulling her drink closer to her and sipping at it before she makes her way back around to pull up a seat next to the man.

"You look like hell," Odessa remarks bluntly. She looks like death, so maybe she's allowed to make that observation. At least her skin isn't a shade bordering on grey anymore, but it's still not anywhere approaching healthy. Her eyes slide from Martin's form to the files he's carried in with him, though she makes no move to reach for them, nor does she ask about them just yet. Martin has only ever explained things when he's wanted to explain them. "You aren't here to kill me," she decides, though there's still a hint of questioning in her tone, "so, what brings you here?"

It's a long silence between the time when Martin is handed his drink and when he finally speaks. He nurses that Gin and Tonic, keeps it cradled close in one hand, staring down at the folio in front of him. "I was going to," Martin murmurs, looking up over the frames of his glasses to Odessa on the other side of the bar, "kill you, I mean." Ice clinks in Martin's glass, reminding him he's holding it.

"When all was said and done, Agent Sawyer was goin' t'be given orders t'put you down. Rene was going to make sure it went through, an' tha' was t'be the end of one of the Company's mos' embarrassing problems." Namely, Odessa. But the look on Martin's face isn't a proud one, or even truly a guilty one, he just looks very tired.

"Then, m'partner turned on the Company, tried t'kill me…" There's a twitch of Martin's brows at that, and he lifts his glass up, letting the ice clink against the sides. "Then they took away m'job, gave it t'someone else, an' left me babysittin' other agents… a glorified desk job." There's a crease at the corner of Martin's eyes, and he stares down into his drink.

"A'found out… that th' Company might've had something t'do with the bomb, with tha' explosion, with her— " Martin's voice hitches in the back of his throat and he lifts his glass up, taking a sharp sip before settling the cup down on the bartop, leaving a ring of condensation where it settles.

"Plans changed." Releasing his glass, Martin pushes the folder in front of him towards Odessa, never looking up at her once. "Take it."

"I figured as much," Odessa muses. "You knew I knew you were going to try and kill me, didn't you?" She can't quite bring herself to smile at that. "I would have left you be. I don't want you all dead. I just want to be left to live my life, such as it is." Can't imagine why Crowley's partner would have turned on him.

"Never did like that Paulson prick." Whether she's being entirely serious or not is up for debate. Odessa simply brings her drink to her lips and watches Martin with a level gaze, even as he pushes the folder her way. "I'm sorry about your fiancée," she tells him. He's not the only one capable of digging up dirt on an individual. After a moment passes, she turns her attention to the file given to her, opening it.

Two photographs are paperclipped to the top page, both unfamiliar. One of them is a surly looking man with a square jaw and short cropped hair turning gray at the sides. He looks to be in his late forties and the picture itself is reminiscent of a driver's license photo. The other is of similar quality, but a woman perhaps only in her early thirties with coal black hair and soft-looking blue eyes. She's smiling, that sort of smile that implies both happiness and a gentle nature.

"I've had that sitting in my apartment for a good five months…" Martin admits in a hushed tone of voice, drinking from his Gin again, motioning towards Odessa with it. Beneath those photographs is an incident report form, a Company file that Odessa is markedly familiar with. At the top it lists a serial number, a stamp of clearance and then describes something so clinical as Case #147212.

"Two Company agents, Eric Thompson an' Claude Raines were working on a string of killings that 'ad taken place in the New York and New Jersey area from 1981 to 1984. I think… this case here," Martin once more gestures to the folder, "was from '84 when the killings stopped. Sometime in April, I think?" April 8, 1984.

"They were persuing a serial killer…" and as Martin speaks, Odessa's eyes are tracking the same words across the page, "killing special people, splittin' their heads open an' takin' out chunks of their brain with a scalpel. They'd finally tracked 'im down to an industrial park outside've Hoboken, scared 'im out of 'is den… they found a whole bloody brain in a jar there. Rains an' Thompson tried t'track 'im down but weren't successful…"

Flipping the page over as Martin takes a sip of his drink, Odessa finds more photographs on the next page, of the man shown before with the front of his head smashed open and blood running down the gory hole in his brow. There's a woman reaching out for him, her scream frozen in celluloid as two unseen men are trying to lift her heavily pregnant body off of the floor.

"They found the aftermath of 'is last victims two hours later. The man," Odessa's eyes skim over his name, "Colin Price had been the victim of a bag an' tag three years prior. He was a telekinetic. The woman, Rianna Price was nearly nine months pregnant when she was attacked, tried to defend 'er husband. The attack forced 'er into labor, she died at a hospital under Company care a day an' a half later."

Martin lowers his glass down to the bar, then looks up to Odessa silently. His lips downturn into a frown, and as he adds his next words, Odessa turns the page to see the picture of a newborn baby in an incubator. "They managed to save her daughter."

Really, there's not much more else he need say.

Odessa doesn't understand what she's looking at at first. Doesn't understand why she should give a flying fuck about any of this. About some goddamned victim of… Maybe this is the Sylar copycat? The man who gave her the still-healing wound on her forehead. Her fingers come up to scratch around the area absently as she listens and reads.

In truth, she knew from the moment she saw Rianna Price's blue eyes.

Tears fall from Odessa's eyes and she only just thinks to press one hand to the point of her chin to keep them from falling on the file and staining the pages. "Why… wouldn't anybody tell me?" Her voice is strained. She's trying so hard not to lose her composure completely. She fears if she begins full-on sobbing now, she'll never stop again.

"I don't have those answers…" Martin admits sadly, staring down into his drink, "I don't have any answers, really. I know what I've showed you there'll just give you more questions, but— I had to." Furrowing his brows, there's an obvious tension in the agent's voice, and as he lifts up his glass it's to take a long and deep sip from it.

The ice clatters and clinks against the side of the glass, and when it comes down to settle on the bartop again it's empty, save for a few drips at the bottom and the remaining ice cubes. "Sometimes knowing's worse…" Martin admits with the tone of voice of someone who'se experienced it, "but I can't give you any more than what's there in that file. What you do with it after that… it's entirely up t'you. You're not my problem anymore."

In all the file, there's one very important thing for Rianna Price's daughter that is missing. "She passed away before she could be asked…" Martin offers quietly as he slides off of the stool, looking from his empty glass to Odessa, then away to the floor. "Odessa's a nice name, though."

Odessa stares at the file, flipping through it for more pictures — less gruesome pictures — of her parents. "They had to have had family," she reasons. "Someone has to know."

When she realises the agent's about to take his leave, Odessa's hand snaps out to grab his good arm in as much a vice grip as she can manage in her own weakened state. "Martin."

"I know who the Midtown Man really is."

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