Brave New World


cesar_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Brave New World
Synopsis Cesar interviews Tasha about the recent food thefts. He finds out it’s not just kids who are a little nervous about him.
Date March 12, 2018

Red Hook Law Offices of Renard-Lazzaro

However Cesar has managed it, given the less than reliable phone line infrastructure these days, Agent Diaz comes calling upon Tasha at her choice of meeting locale. He comes dressed for an interview of a more professional setting, regardless where she’s chosen, on account of it being official SESA business. But the man retains a relaxed, calm air as he takes out a handheld recording device, checking its contents before he slips it back into his pocket. Then he knocks gently, identifying himself out of pure habit. “Miss Renard? It’s Agent Diaz, from SESA.”

The Red Hook office is more for matters of the SZC than it is for her attorney work, though sometimes those two things overlap. Such is the nature of civil and legal work that Tasha has made her life’s work. The office is small and hardly posh; it’s mostly spartan, holding only a desk, an office chair, two chairs for guests, and a file cabinet, a book case. There are items that hint at Tasha’s personal life, but not many — a framed photo of Tasha with two other young women, a photo of herself as a child with what probably are here parents — No, definitely her parents, given it’s VIncent Lazzaro in the photo.

The petite brunette rises from her seat to open the door for her visitor rather than calling for him to let himself in. “It’s Renard-Lazzaro these days, actually, Agent Diaz,” she says, not with an air of admonishment but with an air of pride in the name. “But feel free to call me Tasha. Come on in,” she says, tipping her head up at him. “Can I get you anything? Water, coffee?” She gestures to the chair for him to sit, but leans against the file cabinet to wait for his answer to the question.

“Tasha, then,” Cesar says as he removes his hat and steps inside. As with many a first time visitor, surely, the man sweeps his gaze around the room once before easing into the seat. “Coffee would be fantastic, especially if you have some sugar and creamer,” he answers, a ready smile pushing through. The photo of her and Vincent gets a second glance; not too many photos he’s seen of the Homeland Security Secretary are of him in such candid, personal moments. In fact, probably none of the photos he’s seen of the man. “Thanks for agreeing to meet with me,” he adds as she goes about brewing. “The agency has a lot of us hopping.”

“Sure. I can’t promise it’s not stale and the creamer will be powdered, but we have some stored away,” she says, about to slip out when he thanks her for meeting with him. “I’m sure it does. I’ll be right back, Agent Diaz.”

She disappears into the hallway, but it’s not long before she returns with a cup of water for herself and a cup of coffee for him in a paper cup, the kind with the fuzzy texture and an abstract zig-zag on the side. She sets the cup in front of him, before reaching into the pocket of the oversized cardigan she wears to pull out a couple of sugar packets and a powdered creamer packet. There’s already a wooden stick in the coffee to stir it all with.

The hostessing done, Tasha moves back around to sit in the task chair on the other side of the desk. “The coffee might be a few hours old, but it’s hot, so there’s that,” she says apologetically.

Nowadays, there’s no sad cup of coffee. “Thank you,” Cesar says with genuine gratitude for the drink and even looks a little eager to add in the powdered additions. He waits until she’s settled and comfortable, though, before tearing open the first sugar packet. “If you don’t mind, I’ve got a recorder,” he says as he pulls out the old handheld device, looking over it. “My pops gave it to me way back when, when I thought I was going to be a crack detective.” He sets it down beside the cup of coffee, then also pulls out the typical note taking pad. There’s a moment taken to sip, but that’s good enough for now. And then it’s off to the races, taking down the usual statement info before moving on to the topic.

“When did you first hear about the food thefts?”

“You still may be. Probably didn’t think you’d be looking into pantry thieves, though,” Tasha says with a chuckle. If she’s nervous about the device or the notes, she doesn’t show it.

The first question is met with a tip of her head and she turns to glance at a calendar that’s pinned to a bulletin board. “The day after, I guess — which would be…the third, I guess?” She lifts her shoulders. “I don’t generally deal too much with the food stuff, but the watch found out and let the rest of the co-op know.”

His notes are jotted with a shorthand, and Cesar looks up with a crooked smile. “Not like anything I’ve - or most of the guys I’ve worked with - have heard of though. The … methods… used were really unconventional.” So those who have been hearing have heard. “Considering what you’ve heard, what’s the thing that stands out to you about it?” A couple of fingers snake around the coffee cup, bringing it to lips.

“The methods…?” Tasha echoes, her lips curving into a smile. “I’m not sure what you mean by that, other than that it was most likely done by an SLC-E individual, who had a way of getting in and out without breaking doors or unlocking locks. There’s a few abilities that could probably do that. I’m not sure I’d call them unconventional, given that these abilities are natural, if unusual.” Her tone is playful, but there’s just the smallest hint of admonishing as well.

His question makes her lift her brows. “I didn’t hear or see anything unusual that stood out to me that day or before it, but I can think of a couple of people I’ve heard of who might be up to the job.” She reaches for her water to take a sip, before asking, ““What sort of abilities can you think of that could possibly get into a locked room and out without leaving any trace?”

“Trying not to make assumptions,” Cesar says as he sets the cup down to continue writing, glancing up to meet her gaze when she takes on that playful-ish tone. When she poses a question to him, he takes his coffee with him as he leans back. “Phaser is the ongoing pool, but it doesn’t explain how… where… the stuff has gone. To move that much product?” He drops into a certain lingo, catches himself, then clears his throat. “I’ve heard about teleportation, too.” But he seems ever skeptical. Reluctant to immediately call it. “One of the really wild theories is they’re stashing it in some alternate dimension.” His brows furrow as he picks up his notepad again, pen tip sitting on the pad. “Who comes to mind?”

“Well. We don’t know how many trips they made, do we? Most phasers I’ve known can bring at least a few objects with them, or even people,” Tasha points out. “I don’t know. All I know of are a few people that I don’t know well enough to rule out, you know?”

Despite the fact she’s a lawyer, she still sounds a little young. She leans back in her chair, and glances to the hall. “I’ve heard about a kid who hangs out in the market that can walk through walls. I don’t know him. A tween, 11 or 12 year old, italian. I don’t know his name, but some of the other little kids have talked about him.”

She picks up her mug, fingers brushing over the ‘T’ that’s embossed in its ceramic. “There’s some teenage girl, homeless I think, that can teleport. We heard rumors that she was pickpocketing in some other markets, but I don’t think she’s been caught doing it here. Tuck might know. Tall, brunette, skinny. My partner helped someone who might be the same girl, but I’m not sure if it is or not. Teleporters, though, that’s pretty rare.”

The scribbling on the notepad is quick even though he’s got the recorder on. And it even looks like he’s taking down Tasha’s words seriously, not with the same airs as he treated the theories of his office pool. When she mentions a teleporting teenage girl, though, Cesar looks up from writing and a brow lifts. “Maybe. I’ve seen one at the market. Her friend’s quick to defend her… control.” He throws in a couple more notes, pen tapping on the pad.

Tasha taps her cup and nods twice, before speaking. “People with abilities, they’re used to being on the defensive. You mean well, I feel, or I wouldn’t have told you what I have. A few years ago, I wouldn’t have, but it’s a brave new world. We want to trust that agencies like SESA have our best interests in mind. I have friends in it, so I do trust that, but not everyone knows the people I do.” She picks up the cup to take a sip, then sets it down again. “And you’re a little intimidating,” she adds with a grin. “No offense.”

In the middle of a sip, Cesar pauses and then sets the cup back down, eyes looking down at the mid-dark liquid inside. “That’s the goal,” he says regarding SESA, “the idea that everyone gets a fair chance at justice and being who they are.” His brows jump up when he’s told he’s a little intimidating, and that makes him loose a laugh as he sets the pen down on the pad and reaches over to turn off the recorder. “Well now I’m used to getting tall, dark and handsome most of the time.” That’s a joke. He doesn’t really get it most of the time, but he’d want it to be. “Really though, what do you think about this? What’s to be gained from stealing food from… everybody?” he asks less in an official agent capacity and just musing aloud. “So much for brave new world, for some.”

Tasha shakes her head. “People are still just people. Food is basically money and power right now. It could be someone just wanting to get as much of that as they can, or it could be someone trying to screw over the innocent people in the Safe Zone. I don’t know which it is, honestly. If it’s any of the kids — they probably are just trying to get some semblance of control in this world, you know? Or maybe someone’s using their power in an exploitive way. Either way, I’m glad you guys are working on the case. Just…”

She fiddles with her mug, thinking for a moment. “If it’s one of the kids, go easy on them, you know? They’ve grown up in a pretty scary time. We have resources to help them… if they have nowhere else to go. They’d benefit from second chances, I think.” It’s probably not in his job description to decide that; it is in hers to fight for it.

People are still people. Cesar nods to the statement, although he looks disturbed with the notion of those people - kids, even - exploiting their powers or being exploited. At her request to go easy, should the suspect or suspects be mere children, he exhales a long sigh. “Let’s hope to God it’s not going to come down to that,” says the man as he reaches over for the recorder to check before placing it back into his pocket. “But I’m sure whatever the outcome, the most important thing right now’s making sure we catch ‘em before another cache goes missing. No matter what.”

Easier said than done, of course. Cesar pushes up from his chair, gathering his notepad and tucking it away as well. “If you hear about anything else, let me know. Call me. Er. As long as the phones are working.” The infrastructure of the area still being worked on, he realizes that it’s not always reliable. Once he’s standing at full height, it’s true, he can look a bit intimidating. But when Cesar puts his hat back on, he pushes it to a slightly more jaunty angle, and then holds his hands out as if to display to Tasha, see, he can be cool. Not scary. Right? “Better?” he queries her.

“Right, just want to be sure everyone’s being fed. Especially those who can’t afford better,” Tasha agrees, standing when he does and tucking a strand of hair behind one ear. When he asks if it’s better, she tips her head curiously, not sure for a moment what he’s referencing, before she realizes what he means; her smile grows wide as she shakes her head.

“Your smile’s a more important accessory than a hat, especially if it comes down to one of the kids. Good luck, and thanks for helping us out,” she says, moving to open the door for him.

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