Broken Glass


avi_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif

Scene Title Broken Glass
Synopsis After years apart, Lynette comes to the Bastion to ask a favor of Avi Epstein.
Date March 12, 2020

The Bastion
Phoenix Heights

March 12th
8:09 am

Lynette has not had much reason to come and see the Bastion since Wolfhound moved in and she's honestly not sure what to think of it now that she does have reason. Her experience with military operations were… ramshackle at best. This at least seems more purposefully put together than she was expecting.

She made an appointment, but she remembers enough about Avi Epstein to not expect punctuality, exactly. But luckily, in the years since the war, she has learned a certain amount of patience and has found a comfortable spot in the lobby to wait until he comes to fetch her. No storming through doors or demanding anything. She even brought her own entertainment in the form of an old copy of La Muerte y La Brújula that appears to have been read over and over again, with well worn edges and a beat up cover. It's just a short story, though, so perhaps she has some faith in Avi after all.

The Bastion doesn’t look like much from the outside, a run-down brick building in an old world fort architectural style. It looks like even less inside. The floor is bare concrete, the ceiling has been stripped down to the rafters with wiring left hanging and exposed. None of the actual ceiling-mounted lights work and construction floor lamps stand around inactive. It doesn’t even seem to have electricity of its own, judging from the diesel generators in the foyer. Heat is also something it lacks, making concrete and brick radiate cold.

The Bastion is quiet in the hour of morning that finds Lynette here, with most of the hounds either on call with the NYPD or still up in Rochester. Avi’s arrival to the ground floor from upstairs is well-warned. Lynette can hear his footsteps through the ceiling in the way old houses keep no secrets. When he comes downstairs, he isn’t the man Lynette last saw during the tail end of the Civil War. Gone is the knee brace from the injury he sustained in Cambridge, gone is the limp that came with it. Gone are the Aviator sunglasses and the perpetual stink of cheap beer and sweat. Back is one of his eyes. He neither wears an eyepatch nor has a glass eye.

“Your last name changed.” Is how Avi greets Lynette after all these years. “I didn’t recognize it at first, the hyphenation. Your email also had a lot less profanity than I was anticipating.” He smiles, awkwardly. “Sorry about…” he spreads his hands, indicating the last decade and so of their scant interactions.

Lynette doesn't do much to hide her surprise seeing Avi more in one piece than she remembers. Usually war and mercenary work leave a person in worse condition, rather than better. But it passes in a blink, replaced with a smile. They live in a world of wonders, after all, and she'd much prefer seeing him better than worse.

"Yes well," Lynette says as she stands up, her smile turning crooked, "I'm respectable now, more or less." Even if it means less colorful emails than she might have sent years ago. If they'd had emails on Bannerman. She waves away his apology, because it isn't necessary. And because the lack of communication went both ways. "I wish I was just here to catch up," she says, her own apology. She never does seem to just catch up with anyone from the old days. "This old wreck of a building have anything resembling privacy?" she asks, playful tone covering a more uncomfortable one as she inches closer to her reason for coming.

“Not really, but neither does a tomb.” Avi admits. “Fortunately for us, tombs and drafty old buildings are largely empty.” He jerks his head in the direction of a hall off the foyer. “C’mon, we can use Francois’ office.”

Avi doesn’t really so much as stop walking as just briefly slow when he passes by Lynette, then carries on with her down the hall and into a sparsely decorated ground floor office in the building’s round tower. There’s a plain desk and a wooden chair behind it and one opposite for guests to sit in. Neither chair looks comfortable or new. Avi opts to stand instead of sit, moving to one of the narrow windows, looking out at the street.

“I don’t know if you can afford our rates,” is Avi’s cheeky way of fishing to see if she’s looking to hire personal security, “but I suppose I could give you the friends and family discount.” Even if she is neither.

"I guess the dead don't need privacy," Lynette says, with a crooked smile, "Something to look forward to." She follows along, waiting until they reach the office to speak again. There is a glance toward the chairs, but she doesn't take one, either. She leans against the desk instead, letting out a wry sort of laugh at his fishing. "Oh, I definitely don't and luckily don't need to at the moment. No, I'm here mostly for information. Maybe a favor. I have a client who is in a… well, I was going to say unique position, but I'm afraid it isn't as unique as I might hope. They were put through something your group is familiar with. Gemini? It seems like it was built around all the… subjects having access to a particular person's blood or they start to deteriorate. I was hoping since Wolfhound handled that you might know if there's a doctor still alive who might know an alternative treatment. Or a way to reverse the process. Or at least let them know if there really is no… hope."

Lynette lets out a sigh there, shaking her head a little. "I know it's not exactly orthodox, trying to get a consultation with a criminal doctor, but I'm not sure what else to do about it."

The weight of the topic presses a sigh out of Avi. He leans his back against the wall beside the window, arms crossed over his chest. This draft old castle of a building shares more than one similarity to the old Bannerman’s Castle, and being that the last time Lynette Rowan saw Avi Epstein was in that very building, it makes this reunion all the more harrowing.

“We never had much intel on Gemini. Not that we retained. There were a handful of researchers we pulled from Sunstone who were familiar with it — Schwenkman, Allen, Maddox. Former’s dead, latter might be too. Allen got intercepted by Shedda Dinu on her way to prison, don’t know what became of her.” As Avi rattles off those names, he scratches his cheek and considers alternatives. “Morrison died in Praxia, far as I know. Cong is…” Avi waves a hand in the air, “fucking Godzilla’d into the ocean for all I know.”

Making a noise in the back of his throat, Avi leans forward and scratches at the back of his neck. “There’s Yeh. Yi-Min Yeh, former Vanguard.” He squints and looks up to Lynette. “She’s decent. Uh, probably in fucking prison though, I think she turned herself in to the feds.”

“Oh!” Avi snaps his fingers. “Have you met Asi Tetsuyama?” He asks rather abruptly, holding a hand out to a little below his shoulder. “About this tall, Asian seasoning Hana Gitelman?” Jesus fucking Christ, Avi.

Well, it's a lot of disheartening news, as Avi begins to list off the people she will not be able to contact about any of this. An eyebrow lifts at the ex-vanguard casually thrown in, but a laugh quickly follows. "I suppose ex-Vanguard people truly do run the gamut." She married one, after all. Not that anyone needs to know that. Of course then Avi keeps talking and Lynette closes her eyes and runs a hand over her face. "Honestly, Avi, does your organization not have sensitivity training? Or have they just given up on you?"

She takes a moment to let out a sigh, though, because she had hoped to get a little farther than this. But it is what it is, and she'll take what she can get. "Would you be able to get me in contact with Tetsuyama and Yeh? Assuming the latter is able?" Her head tilts a moment, an internal debate bouncing through her mind before she speaks again. "This client of mine, you should know that they told me they did some awful things. In the name of survival, they say. Normally, I would just ask you all to come in and sort it out, but seeing as they're dying anyway… I think perhaps they're living their punishment. However, if we work this out for them and they're not carrying a death sentence, I'll probably have to call you again." Her client wasn't specific about her wrong doing, but it isn't hard for Lynette to assume some of the details. "It doesn't look good for them, as things stand, though."

Avi shrugs. “Takes all kinds, I guess.” It’s hard to say if he’s talking about himself or Lynette’s client at first. “The less I know about whatever the fuck they did the better, probably. Lotta people did fucked up stuff during the war. And I know it’s not some Humanis First piece of shit, not in your house, so…” He’s willing to trust Lynette is still the same woman he knew all those years ago. The same woman he’d heard stories about during the war.

“I can give you Tetsuyama’s contact info,” Avi says, fishing around through his jacket to retrieve his cell phone. He scrolls through until he finds Asi’s number, then brings it up on the screen and sets it down on Francois’ desk for her to copy.

“As for Yeh, like I said she’s in prison. I don’t know who best to reach out to there, maybe DHS?” Avi wobbles his head from side to side. “But it sounds like you might want this off the books if there’s a warrant out for them or something.” But then he considers the recommendations, looking from phone to Lynette. “Have you thought about going to Richard? Raytech? They’ve got a division researching this kind of stuff, that’s where Doctor Mengele — Sheridan — ended up after Albany.”

Maybe he’s trying to instigate something there. Maybe not.

"No, not some Humanis First piece of shit. Or, if it comes out that that's the case, they'll wish they knocked on someone else's door." Lynette does believe that people can change and she hopes that for all racist assholes, truly. But. Somewhere away from her is where they can do their personal growth.

She pulls her phone out, too, to copy Asi's contact information, but she nods along as he continues. Because it's likely she does need this to be less than official. "If Miss Tetsuyama can't help, perhaps I'll end up needing to contact DHS, but— Well, it's obviously not my preference." After all, she came here first. But, when he mentions Bella's name, he can see her shoulders straighten, tighten, and she spends more time than needed looking at the pair of phones long after getting Asi's information. Her mental gymnastics to push through that moment are kept internal, but it takes a few moments before she's able to look up to Avi again.

"I have no doubt that Richard would do all he can," she says with a smile, even if just a small one. "I'll keep it in mind."

That is her diplomatic answer as far as where Doctor Sheridan ended up. People can change. Far away from her. It's odd to think too much about, since Bella set her on the path that ended up where she is now. But she would have preferred a different path to get here.

She lifts her phone in a sort of toasting gesture, "Thanks for the lead. I will contact you if… the situation progresses. You know." If someone needs to be arrested, she means.

“Yeah,” Avi says in a mumbled tone of voice. Jaw set, he considers something with his eyes cast to the side and brows tense.

Hey.” Avi barks way too loudly, and it’s that awkward yelp of a conversational change that feels weirdly unlike him. “Uh, Rowan.” He’s visibly struggling to comport his thoughts. “Your— business. House. Uh, the— Benchmark.” He looks back up at her, tongue pressed to the side of his cheek, “is that like, invitation only? Like— do you need to be sent there by… a doctor?”

Avi clears his throat nervously. “How does— all that work? If someone— like a subordinate— needed. Help.”

Lynette lifts an eyebrow at the bark, turning more his direction. She looks, for a moment, like she's ready in case he's about to say something offensive (again), but curiosity wins out over assumption. Professional hazard, these days. But her expression softens when he goes on.

It's for a friend, of course. She hears that a lot, too.

"No, it's voluntary. We get some people recommended by their doctors, but it's open for walks-ins, too. There's usually a consult with one of the doctors about what their needs are and how to handle any treatment needed. People check in if they have to, but we have in-and-out appointments, too. Sometimes we even set up appointments off campus. You know. When privacy needs to be high enough that someone won't be seen walking in the front doors. I try to make it easy. And flexible." Her hip leans back against the desk as she looks over at him. "Your subordinate can call me direct, if it needs special handling."

Avi makes a noise in the back of his throat, then nods and steps away from Francois’ desk. “I’ll walk you out,” is how he very directly ends that conversation. It’s his way of signing a compact with her.

Lynette’s business is her own, and Avi’s business is his own. These are the terms of their arrangement, ones Avi is willing to live with.

Even if he doesn’t realize what he’s just done.

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