But We Still Need A Drummer


len_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title But We Still Need A Drummer
Synopsis Len adds Teo to his merry band of men who are Humanis First bound.
Date September 12, 2009

The Nite Owl

Some new mayoral campaign is trying to express the deepest of truths on the billboards. Portraits, patriotic colors and sans-serifed bold weights, vast concatenations of alliterating slogans. Strength, Solidarity, New York State. The cross-town subway train went past a sequence of frames that depicted jet fighters swooping down and yanking the vaporous white of cloud barometry into delicate cursive letters marketing the vote. A bus goes by with one candidate's face lambent across its iron hide like war paint. Teo watches it through the plateglass with his chin perched on his fist, a cup of coffee warming the curl of his hand, cutting an inconspicuously interchangeable figure in gray jeans and an orange-rimmed brown shirt a few threads too dense for the summer weather.

He is thinking of nothing in particular, having concluded most of his thinking regarding the upcoming appointment set some three, four hours ago. It's the way that Hana Gitelman taught him to center himself, calibrate his nerves, prepare his resolve, in a future that won't now ever come to pass; ironically, it's the method that Hana Gitelman had honed under the tutelage of the Company's finest operatives. It's important to bring no waste or excess to the table. Important, also, to be able to be pleasant at the Night Owl. Every Phoenix operative, present or former, owes their fellow bird that much.

The Nite Owl is not entirely foreign to Len Denton. It was here that he met with Detective Harrison and the man he has has deduced the identity of, but still refers to him as 'Cranston,' mostly out of courtesy. Perhaps at some point, names will be exchanged. As with the man he is meeting with today, he has already been told who he is, however, Len will refer to him as the name he was given.


Len speaks as he enters the diner. He stands out like sore thumb everywhere he goes. One would think that this would hinder any sort of secretive meetins, but Len Denton is cut from an entirely different mold than the others who work for him. He relies on them for the undercover and the secretive, while he himself pulls the strings in the background. He doesn't mind his name being out there, and if he were to be honest, if something were to happen, he'd prefer it be to him, than one of his own.

The window holds no concealment for the tall cowboy as he drifts into the booth and glances outward to see where the other man is looking. "It's about that time. We won't be able to avoid the unkept promises and false pretense that will be showering us here soon." He comments as he turns his attention towards Teo. "Hopefully, we make it that far. That being said, you have my attention."

"Mr. Denton." If Teo were being entirely Teo, he'dve said signor, but that word is discarded even in the presence of a crooked boyish grin and his popping up, onto his feet, half standing, in polite deference to the arrival of the other man. He gestures with his hand, squints his eyes around a reasonable degree of sincerity. Other times, he isn't Hana Gitelman or anything like her, not by a long shot. She'd favor a sniper rifle over a throwing knife, for that shot. He merely offers a handshake. "Bianco did us all right.

"I mean." He picks up a shoulder, drops it in a half-shrug, wry. Behind him, the door clinks as the last of late lunch patrons finally takes his exit, leaving the checkered floor empty of all reflections except for a bored waitress waiting Len's signal, and the two cheerfully mismatched men themselves. "Up to and including being a public demonstration in how people who wield the real power and influence wouldn't be politically moderate or Mayor. I can buy you a coffee or we can talk about terrorists. Preference?"

"I may need a little coffee to go with my terrorists." he beckons the waitress over, she pours coffee, then he summarily dismisses her. Privacy would be in order here and they do not have Harrison around to ensure they are not being overheard. "I do have one other enlisted to aid me in my mission, you may already know him." It's speculation, but in the end, that's all he has. "Shadow guy." Len leans back in his chair. "I'm thinking that we could use at least one more. Perhaps even a fifth if we can find someone who will take care of us if something goes bad." Healer perhaps, or someone to at least pull the trigger if they have to put someone down who's far to injured, maybe. "After what happened to Harrison," and he still doesn't know a hell of a lot about that, "I'm not willing to put any of my own people on this. It's why I'm doing it myself. You all are coming to me, so I'm assuming you want in."

Len reaches for his coffee, though he doesn't drink from it yet, just cradles it in his hands. "We're not dealing with amatuers here. The guy leading this thing is a professional soldier. A trained killer. I fully expects some of us may not walk away from this one, just to be blunt with you. But if we can get this dirtbag off our streets, we can go back to the way things should be." Whatever that is.

"I know of a few healers. I'm in the process of looking for another, and I'm given to understand that most of our acquaintances, respective and mutual, tend to understand that there are fates worse than death. And also that euthanasia's never exactly Plan fucking A. Resources shouldn't be a problem. You have anything on the forensics I'd asked about?" It's a test, if not an important one: a check might be a better term. There are few NYPD reports that lie entirely outside the spectrum of his inquiry.

Sharing is nice, insofar as the Sicilian doesn't expect to go without meeting Len halfway. He drags his coffee mug a few inches closer to himself and yanks a flap of napkin down from its holder, dabs at the ring that the drink had left streaking meltwater on the table-top.

Len expected that he'd want something. "It would be a mistake to move in on him prematurely. And without plenty of backup. It's why I wanted to get together a team. I have been warned of trying to take him alone." He begins to talk about what he knows to have happened at Museum, who was involved and how it was Minea Dahl who initiated the failed capture of Danko, which may not have been known. He also throws a few extra tidbits about Danko's military service, to include bits about him not being entirely stable. "There is someone we should probably get our hands on first. William Dean. Reports say he's not entirely the sturdiest brick in the wall and could actually be the weak link."

"He's out of his fucking mind, it's true. And father to the leader of everybody's favorite terrorist knitting circle, Phoenix, which you've probably figured out by now. I thought my family was complicated." Teo's eyes thin slightly, kind of a smile. Except, you know, not really. The tissue square crumples in the crease of his hand, something quieter, considering about the light behind wintry blue eyes, rotating simple cordiality out. Len's answer is satisfactory.

Oh Minea. "A few contacts of mine actually have caught a reasonably tactically-savvy surveillance team watching one of their locations.

"I'm not completely sure they're Humanis First!, but they aren't novices, and Evolved are involved with the maintenance of that site, so it's one place to start. Tailing them, maybe catching them. My contacts may already have a plan in the works, but it's possible they'd be willing to corroborate or hand over stuff you have the resources to make better use of afterward. Good to have so fucking common an enemy, I guess."

"They're spending alot of time kidnapping evolved citizens and being their lives generally miserable, if they aren't Humanis First. Not many have the balls to kidnap a cop or a federal agent." Len only then brings his cup up and drinks from it. The coffee is good. He's had better and not paid for it, but it serves its purpose for now. "Shadow guy had an idea about how to flush out Dean. It sounds.. twisted, but plausible. Something that'll make the Dean family Thanksgiving even that much more unbearable." Cardinal's idea for using Helena to flush out Bill Dean is explained, though Len adds. "I haven't heard back from him as to whether or not she's aboard with the idea, but I think it's the only way to do it. They'll try to stop her if she threatens to expose Billy Boy to the authorities. All we need to do is be there."

Of course, this could fail miserably too, which'll put another evolved individual in their hands.

There's a grunt, sort of like gargling laughter. Teo shakes his head, glances askance at the waitress fussing with her cellphone. "I'm one hundred fucking percent sure the people who took Special Agent Ivanov are Humanis First!. I'm telling you that there's another potential source of intel on the terrorist bigots. We can try both, of course. I don't know what Dean will be up for, but if you can give me some logistics on your proposition I can give her my two cents.

"Unless you're more of an embarrassment to your job than your rank would lead me to believe," there's a brief show of teeth, coyote mirth, no real disrespect intended, "you already know that Helena values my opinion on various matters. I may be able to back Cardinal up, though of course, I'm gonna look pretty closely at any risk the girl gets put in. She isn't a criminal punishable by any jury of peers I can think of, or a sacrificial lamb."

Offended? Len? Hardly. He's been called worse. In fact, he tends to like to come across as.. less than competetant on occasion just to throw people off. "I'm just a grunt, same as anyone. Just not the type to put my own crew at risk, without putting myself at risk first. I don't often dust off the spurs and get my hands dirty, but I think this here calls for it. I'm not looking to give them another advantage. It's why I figure that if we take out Dean, we have a little bit of leverage on them.

Len places the cup back on the table and leans back, reaching up to push at the brim of his hat, lifting it out of his eyes. "I think we need to get Cardinal, a couple of others, and sit down and work this through. If we were going to find them, we'd have found them by now. We're going to have to flush them out. We can't sit on this any longer, so if you know of anyone who would fit the bill and be able to help, give them a call. We're going to need them."

"Small problem, sir," again, with the tacit no offense intended, a slight smile pleating crooked onto Teo's features. "There are a lot of others interested in this fight that likely aren't going to want to meet you. It's one thing, giving you forensic evidence you can bring to your psychometers at the labs — see if someone can pull a face or a memory of a location. It's another having one of the Company's bad boys— or former, whatever you're going by now, share coffee.

"Guess I'm pretty weird for my kind." By his kind, he might mean unregistered Evolved, terrorist affiliate, wanted mutant criminal; it's a toss-up. "I need to know what your operational priority is. Do you essentially want to catch and cuff one Humanis First! higher-up, have a trophy to nail on the wall and salve your conscience, call justice served? Or is that step one? Are you're willing to lend a wider set of resources— your contacts, your authority, to a bigger project? There's some of us with other stakes in this clusterfuck. Revenge, eliminating as much of the bigot brigade as possible, recovering innocents. And FBI agents," who are not innocent, "and don't honestly give a rat's about Dean himself."

A grin spreads across Len's lips to match the one Teo is giving him. "Let's say that those who I work for are not sanctioning the action I'm willing to take. To be honest, I don't think they have any interest in Humanis First. So, you could say I'm operating all by my lonesome. I have no resources at my disposal, other than what I can pull out of a computer or a file cabinet. I might extract a little information from one of my agents if it happens to cross their paths in one of their own investigations, but for the most part, this is all off the books."

"When this is all over, everyone walks their seperate ways." Len reaches into his pocket and pulls out a couple of dollars and tosses them on the table to pay for his coffee. "My concern is making Sergeant Danko pay for his crimes. If he happens to be strung up to a tree, and someone he's tormented happens to cross his path when I wander off to take a leak, 'fraid there's nothing much I can do about something I don't see."

A pale eye follows the rolly-rolling path of the coin across the table. When its thin edge weaves to a halt and falls in a clinky clatter, Teo looks up again. If he's disappointed at the news that Denton's gone cowboy and no longer as the Company's vast armies and caches to bring to the table, he decides not to look it. He sits back. A fleet of taxis draws a brief flicker of mustard yellow light across his cheek, as he drums his fingers thoughtfully on the table-top.

"I like what you have under 'goals,' and the end game scenario," he says. "But I'm curious: how much are you willing to risk smudging the books if, say, it turns out your badge is going to get you places or to people that the rest of us wouldn't find an audience with?"

"I'll use what's at my disposal, trust me on that. As long as it doesn't tarnish who I work for or my own reputation. It's not going to do me, or you, any good if I lose that badge, right?" Len slides from out of the booth. "And as I said, I'm not putting any of my people at risk. As it is, we are stretched pretty thin. I'm all you get. I'll use what I can without compromising myself, but in the end, all you should expect is what you see before you."

He tucks his thumbs into his front pockets and gives a shrug. "But don't worry, I still have an ace up my sleeve if we ever need any further information." Minea Dahl is a loyal employee and does what she's told. She can squeeze water from a stone if it'll get the job done. He tosses a card onto the table. "Here's where you can reach me more directly, if you come across anything. I don't need to know who they are, but we'll need a couple more folks."

The healer and..

"This band still needs a drummer." Len turns and walks out of the diner.

Though there's only a black brew of coffee at hand, Teo offers the cowboy's back a toast. By way of salutation, a promise follows Len out and into the street, lancing through the swinging angle of the door: "Sure. I know a couple guys who know their way around a big stick."

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