Checking On Something



Scene Title Checking on Something
Synopsis After leaving an awkward situation, Edward goes to check in on an important asset.
Date November 10, 2011

The Hub

The corridors beneath the Ravenswood Power Station — more commonly referred to simply as ConEd — are labyrinthine for many reasons. One, because little critical thinking and planning went into the early subway and sewer layouts of the old New York City. There are old, rusted doors in arched alcoves everywhere down here, many of which lead to crumbled tunnels that would have connected to subway lines, sewer entrances, or power junctions no longer in need of maintenance at the end of the world.

But past the incinerator room, there’s a corridor there’s a padlocked door by a sign that reads Water Purification, one that everyone knows is locked for good reason, one that only Edward holds the key to. It’s not as though it’s a secret what’s behind the door, he’d told everyone. He’d made a big, public speech about it with the words sacrifice and duty drummed out by Allen Rickham, like a stage performer’s hype man.

The lock comes undone, and Edward slides it into his jacket pocket as he steps beyond the water purification room door. The small room beyond is about the size of a closer, with a narrow hallway lined with copper and lead pipes that extends two hundred feet in a straight line away from the power station. Edward picks up an oil-burning lantern from an old rusted metal drum on his way by, lights it as he walks down the damp brick corridor. Up ahead, the sound of running water elicits a faint smile. In his other hand, Edward is carrying a tray of food. Two pieces of bread, three slices of fried meat of questionable origin, a few canned potatoes, and a Snickers bar. It’s a more robust meal than most people in the Hub get.

At the end of the hall, Edward arrives in a wide circular room with a metal grate floor. The sound of rushing water emanates up from below, a cistern connected to the Hudson River. Here, there’s old tools by the pipes, wrenches and blowtorches, welding masks, and a bevy of twisted and broken piping that miraculously have water flowing through them somehow, water that doesn’t spill out of the gaps in the pipes as they feed into the Hub beyond.

At the far end of the room there’s another metal door and another lock. But Edward isn’t concerned with that one. Instead, he turns and heads for a set of stairs that winds down around a corner, into a concrete-walled room where the bent and twisted pipes originate from.

There’s another door at the bottom of the stairs, not locked. Edward pulls it open just enough to look into the small room beyond, where streams of water slowly move up from the cistern through the air like snaking tentacles, slithering their way into the old pipes that ruptured long ago. There’s a silhouette in the corner of the room, a hunched figure with eyes closed, long hair and a beard that hides his face. Both of his legs are missing at the knee, pants tied off into knots there. Edward walks in, and the man doesn’t look up. Slowly, he takes a knee and lays the tray down beside him. There’s a faint ghost of a smile from Edward, and he looks to the rat that the man is cradling in weathered hands.

“Do you need anything?” Edward asks, and the man in the concrete room shakes his head slowly. Blue eyes look up to the water, then back down. There’s a haunted expression in Edward’s eyes, a nod, and then he slips back out of the room and quietly starts to close the door. “See you tomorrow, Jaiden.” The door shuts with a soft, metallic clang.

Exhaling a steady breath, Edward ascends the stairs again and heads toward the locked room past the water purification system. Back up the stairs, he heads to the locked door at the end of the hall and takes out his ring of keys. “You still alive in there?” Edward asks through the metal door. There’s a muffled response from the other side.

Go fuck yourself.

Edward cracks a warm smile, unlocking the padlock and taking it off to add into his pocket with the other. As he opens the door, Edward slips the keys into his pocket, leaving a few on the ring to dangle out against the side of his jacket. “It’s good to see you’re still in strong spirits. I take it that means you haven’t come down with anything…”

There’s a man in the room, sitting in an old barber’s chair repurposed from past salvaging runs. He’s sitting back against the chair’s cushions, a black bag hooding his head. As Edward shows himself in, the man does nothing to remove the bag. But he does seem aware of Edward’s presence.

“Is this business?” The hooded man asks, and Edward’s brows raise as he inclines his head into a slow nod. “Alright, but, you sure it’s ok for me to go out into the Hub without the drug?” The question from the hooded man elicits another, different measure of Edward’s brows down into a thoughtful position.

“I think it’s safe to let you out. I want you in the general population, I think… you’re more useful there than here right now.” Edward’s answer elicits a turn of the hooded man’s head beneath the bag. “I need you back in your own head, and I need you to keep an eye on our new guests. Which means… introductions are necessary.”

The man with the bag over his head exhales a slow sigh. “So,” he mumbles, “what about— ” Edward cuts him off.

“He’s less important now. I need you to sensory hijack a new arrival. Blonde, mid thirties, I’ll introduce you. I need you to make sure she isn’t plotting a coup. She has… predispositions to knee-jerk justice, and I have a feeling if her story about leaping in a…” Edward splutters out the words, “black hole are any indication, some impulse control problems when she thinks the chips are down.”

Slowly, the man in the chair pulls the bag off of his head and runs a hand through sweaty hair. Dusky blue eyes look up at Edward, pupils adjusting to the lantern light. He scrubs a hand over his mouth, tongue over lips, and looks around the room as if for the first time. “What’s her name?” He asks, bringing booted feet to the floor and slowly pushing himself up to stand.
“Elisabeth Harrison,” Edward notes with one brow raised along with a hand. No questions yet, it implies. “She’s traveling with a young man named Magnes Varlane. But he’s— my concern.” Edward’s eyes track up to meet the other man’s, and one corner of his mouth twitches as he considers something among the possibilities.

“I have a feeling she’s going to be very interested to meet you, Dave.”


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