Conspiracy and Ninjas


bella_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Conspiracy and Ninjas
Synopsis No, really.
Date January 16, 2011

Ninja New York

No, really. Google it.

God the Advocate can go to hell for a while, Magnes doesn't even want to think about it more than he needs to. Instead he invites two women who are pretty high on his people to treat to an awesome night out list. He brought his car just in case, asking them both to meet him at Ninja New York if they don't want rides.

He stands outside of the restaurant, not wearing his fleece since they'll be going inside soon, waiting in an unbuttoned black suit jacket, a blue Three Dalek Moon shirt, some dark neatly fitting blue jeans that don't over-saturate his blue colors too much, and a pair of red Chucks. They're not late, but he was sure to arrive a little early.

Home long enough to change into something more comfortable, a pair of well insulated leggings and a wool skirt of a conservative grey, burgundy blouse and a coat to shield her from the cold. She's even sporting the beret, since most of the heat leaves through the head, as popular wisdom would have it.

She was not aware she should have come dressed like a Kunoichi.

Bella has her purse with her, and when she walks up, low heels clacking lightly on the sidewalk, she glances at the awning Magnes stands under. "Oh my God, these really are the end of days, aren't they?" She turns a smile towards Magnes. "Where is this woman you've been praising so highly? Please, please let her be less insane than Dr. Blite. I'll work with the woman, but she's unhinged and we both need to be ready to handle that."

Odessa Price doesn't step off a bus, or out of a cab; she simply seems to appear about half a block down from the restaurant, walking toward it with her gaze wandering her surroundings.

Either her attire is exceptionally appropriate, or exceptionally crass. At any rate, Odessa is garbed in frills and pale, but sunny yellow. The style is known as Gothic Lolita, and it includes puff sleeves, satin bows, poofy, ruffled skirts, and shiny, white patent leather knee-high boots that only show the faintest bit of salt and slush around the four inch platforms and spindly six inch stiletto heel. Her white hair has been pulled up on top of her head into two shaggy pigtails and secured with yellow bows.

At 5'8" in her boots, with about another inch put on by the style of her hair, Odessa isn't hard to spot as she approaches Magnes and Bella, only a couple inches shy of the former's height and somewhat towering over the latter more than she does at work. For a night out, however, it's about par for the course. The patch over her left eye, mostly hidden by the sweeping fringe of her long bangs, is a simple white thing, but if one gets a good look, they'll note the button eyes and the pink nose meant to make it resemble the face of a bunny. It is the year of the rabbit, after all.

"I thought this would be an interesting place, I wanted to take her somewhere that would express my personality. Dr. Blite is very nice, but she makes me a bit afraid of being myself. I don't think that's healthy, is it?" Magnes spots Odessa approaching, then quickly nudges Bella. "Look, it's her! She's, like, just look at her. Totally my type. She's something right out of Cobra Command…"

He waves her over when she gets closer, then offers his hand. "Hey, 'Dessy! This is my friend, Isabella Sheridan, but I don't think she minds Bella since this is an informal night to relax." He looks back to Bella, then nods to Odessa. "Bella, this is 'Dessy."

Oh, you can't be serious. This is so ridiculous, Bella doesn't even feel shock. It's more like a strange uncanniness, a momentarily disturbance in equilibrium.

Maybe it's just 'Dessy's outfit.

Bella makes eye (singular!) contact with the other doctor and, after a single unsettled moment further, her lips quirk into a very, very small smile, on the side of her face pointing away from Magnes. So it's solely for Odessa's benefit.

"I see. Magnes, are you- uh- sure about this one," her pale blue eyes flick up and down Odessa's petite but platformed self, "you don't know where she's been."

"Bella?" 'Dessy greets with some confusion in the lilt of her voice. "You're his friend?" It sounds like an insult to Magnes' ears. Like a note of derision. And after the crack about not knowing where she's been, it may have been.

But then a wide smile breaks out across Odessa's face and she reaches out to hug her friend - the one with red hair - tightly. "Oh, Bella. I'm so glad you're here." That sounds absolutely genuine. She stands back after the socially accepted length for public-in-the-street hugs with her hands on the not-actually-shorter woman's shoulders. "I didn't know you knew Magnes."

Magnes tilts his head, a little confused about the animosity at first, and then the two are hugging and it's all okay! Yay! "I didn't know you two knew each other!" Exciting!

He motions for the entrance, already reaching out so he can slide the wooden door open. "I'm paying for everything, so order whatever you both want. This should be fun! But, how do you two know each other, anyway?"

The hug is returned, with just a little less tightness. Bella has a slightly different, more repressed standard of what constitutes too much public touching. She can't help that she was raised to be Protestant bourgeois. "It's an unexpected but welcome surprise," Bella agrees, "I'll admit that I sort of dread having to meet new people. Most human beings are pretty much unbearable. You're a pleasant change of pace in that regard."

With the door held open, Bella makes her way inside, speaking over her shoulder. "We work together," she explains, simply enough.

"Colleagues," Odessa agrees as she follows Bella inside, passing Magnes holding the door. "If I'd known you were coming, Bella, I wouldn't have worn pigtails. Swear to me you won't mention this to anyone. I'll never hear the end of it if it gets back around to Cal', I'm sure of it." There's a good-natured roll of her eye with a small smile. Maybe she really wouldn't mind taking a little grief from Cal', whoever that is.

"I've decided that I'm probably not going to appear on the Advocate anymore, but just work behind the scenes. I thought it'd be nice to celebrate." Who is Cal' indeed! But Magnes isn't the sort who's subtle enough to simply hint and peck at such a nagging question. "Is he your boyfriend or something?" he asks with just a hint of 'that would be very bad for Magneses if it was true'! If an entire sentence can be a feeling.

Then when they've entered the feudal Japan-looking restaurant, a ninja jumps out from above! "Hai!" he yells, crouched, then stands up straight. "Magnes Varlane? Let me show you to your table."

"I'd be interested to hear the answer to that question my- ah!" The descent of the ninja takes Bella by surprise, causing her to make a short gasp, heart skipping. Easily startled, apparently. She smiles thinly, swallowing an embarrassment that causes her cheeks to burn slightly. This is why she'll never be put into field duty.

"This really is- something else, isn't it?" Bella says, a little unsteadily, glancing over at Odessa.

"Jesus Christ." Odessa doesn't appear to have moved from where she stood, but where her purse had been zipped securely closed before, it's now open. She perhaps just about took drastic action. Odessa Price does not like surprises much these days. Certainly not in the form of people getting the drop on her, no matter how literal.

At the questions about whether Cal' is her boyfriend or not, colour floods the young woman's cheeks. "That's… personal," is the answer she opts for.

Oh dear god it's true! Magnes' mouth is open, which can possibly be attributed to the ninja dropping in, and certainly not some terrible mini-anime version of himself yelling in his head. "Oh, yeah, and these are my guests!" He tugs on the sides of his jackets as they're led into the lounge portion of the restaurant, and occasionally they'll see something run by out of the corner of their eye, or two ninjas fighting on a small rooftop. But finally they come to a modest dining table, and he pulls a chair out for each of them. "I see." Bella is honed enough to know that his 'I see' is one of potential disappointment at Odessa's revelation. Not that he didn't hear about a guy before, but he thought he was just being rejected at the time!

"This place makes me feel so… old," Bella says, looking around. She offers Magnes a smile, half apologetic. She doesn't mean to insult the place. "It's actually totally fascinating, Magnes, thank you for this. But I had no idea. This- well this literally seems like a pipe dream. I swear I've heard things like this suggested by people who were blazed."

The psychiatrist takes her seat, setting her purse under her chair. She takes the menu in hand, scanning the pages. Looking for the beverages on offer. "Yes it is, 'Dessy. I'm still going to want to hear about it. If not now, then later."

Odessa frowns faintly as she stows her own purse under her chair, taking her seat. She glances down at the menu she's plucked up, but frequently peers up at Magnes even as she tries to decide what she wants. Perhaps what she wants isn't actually on the menu. "Later," she agrees to Bella, because there's no avoiding it.

"You're not old at all! You're not even ten years older than me. It's just that we're in the future, and in the future we have feudal Japanese villages for restaurants." Magnes offers a toothy smile at the red-head, looking over his own menu. "Let's just go nuts and order the most expensive things on the menu. They have these great sounding four course meals that all come with desserts." He constantly peers over at Odessa himself, but he tries to do it when she's not looking, something no man on Earth is good at.

This isn't something Bella has ever seen. The patented Varlane charm. She observes the interaction with some interest, and a touch of watchfulness. Though she must break her vigil to consider the menu again. "Warm sake and the Kunoichi pres fixe," she says, almost business-like, "Magnes, I'd like to say I'm proud of your unrepentant outspokenness. You can stay behind the scenes if you'd like, but I'm glad you at least did that much." The issue of the Ferry's allegedly being put at risk, as they are a set of people she doesn't possess enormous sympathy for, clumped in with the 'people who maybe kidnapped and threatened me with torture' category, is not one that Bella spend a lot of time being worried over.

"Rainbow roll and ginger ale for myself, I think." When the topic turns from food and back to Magnes' and Bella's appearance on the Advocate, Odessa falls silent. She watched the show, and frankly didn't like what she saw. She turns to Bella with a serious expression and tells her, "You can't just go throwing your authority around like that. Especially when your badge isn't legit." She keeps her voice down for the sake of their privacy. "You've seen what happens to people that The Powers That Be want to just disappear. Do you wanna end up in an underground cell or worse?"

"It's not that I'm sick of being outspoken, it's just becoming exhausting. When you said Iago, I thought you were talking about the leader of Argentina's Vanguard. He's dead now, but I was a little freaked out. I think I need to distance myself from thinking about these things too often in a public forum." Magnes raises a hand, and suddenly the ninja jumps and rolls across the floor, standing up and yelling again. He takes their orders, and off he goes, jumping and flipping.

"I'm not drinking alcohol tonight, I have to drive." There's another glance to Odessa, his cheeks flushing as he awkwardly offers, "Ah, uh, I could dirve you home if you want." Then, as an aside to Bella, "You can have a ride too."

"I can take a cab, it's quite all right Magnes," Bella says, smiling her appreciation but not wanting anyone to know just where she lives. That's her safe if somewhat unsafe space. "And I don't know to what or whom you are referring, but I was talking about Iago from Othello. Which if you haven't read, you should.

"And Odessa, please, don't worry about me. If they were going to do something, they would have already," and maybe Bella is right, but maybe she isn't and it's a little crazy to risk it, "I'm still useful, and the least they can do is let me complain. I doubt it will do much good anyways."

"I have my own transportation," is supplied quickly by the woman in pigtails. She also isn't drinking. "But thank you." Odessa is rounding on Bella again, leaning in with a frown. "You complained on national television. I've been told that most people who complain about their jobs in front of an audience where it can get back to their employers get fired. Do you have any idea what they'd do to you in this case?" Dark blue gaze flits from Bella, to Magnes, then back to Bella. "I'm pretty sure your little display tonight bordered on treason."

"I'm sure Bella will be fine after I speak with my father. I have to go to Doctor Blite and ask her about the proposal, but I don't think she's getting disappeared any time soon. That said…" Magnes reaches over to lightly touch Bella's shoulder, nodding. "You should probably try to be a little safer. I know I'm not the best example of it myself, but I don't want anything to happen to you, and I'm sure 'Dessy feels the same."

"Oh, what?" Bella says, sounding suddenly a little peevish, lips thinning a it, "they're going to put me in front of a tribunal and charge me with sedition? I'm not even Evolved." Of course, Tracy seemed to make significant eyes when she mentioned Refrain- something she did before she was under official government auspices. "I'll be fine. I just- want my one small fucking freedom. This is America, goddammit!"

"I don't think this is the America you grew up in, Bella…" The be careful goes unspoken as Odessa turns her gaze down to the table, perhaps just a little defeated by how sure of herself Bella seems to be. Or maybe the idea that because she's not Evolved that it somehow means she's less worthy of prosecution. Being SLC-Expressive already makes Odessa more worthy of persecution in the government's eyes. Despite how very new to the way the world works, Odessa already knows she doesn't like what she's been seeing.

"And what about you?" The ire is turned on Magnes now. "You just gave the government a good reason to start harassing everyone you've ever been associated with, so they can find the Ferry. Even the people that aren't speaking to you anymore are going to be under suspicion." Odessa doesn't actually know if there's anyone not speaking to Magnes right now, but she can guess. "You watch, your friends will start disappearing."

"My friends have always been disappearing, and I'm going to take care of this anyway. It was my mistake and I have ways of solving them." Magnes watches as their drinks come, sat out in front of them as tiny bubbles rise as if the drinks were poison, then the ninja is flipping away again. "This is not the most pleasant discussion, considering I think of things like this most moments out of the day, even before I said what I did."

"You won't get much sympathy for any of that gaggle of fanatics from me," Bella says, with a archness that is maybe just a little unsteady, "I think both sides of the fence here are absolutely detestable. There's a sadistic streak that runs a mile wide through all these creepy little clubs." She peers at her drink for a moment. Poisonous emanations? Comforting. "I admit I've mostly given up hope for coolers head to prevail. I figure… keep your head down, hole up in the safest structure you can find, allegorically speaking."

"So you went on a talk show and spouted your thoughts to a national audience? C'mon, Bella." Odessa rolls her eyes (presumably both of them) and lifts her drink to her lips. "The Ferry is about helping people find better lives. It's just… been perverted lately. It's still good at its core." The fact that Odessa cares may be somewhat of a shock. Her gaze shifts back to Magnes again. "Do you still speak to Abigail Beauchamp?" she asks in a quiet voice.

"For another week or so, at least. But soon I won't be talking to a lot of people. Being with the Institute means I have to cut a lot of people out of my life, and be prepared for people to cut me out of theirs." Magnes sniffs at his drink, then takes a few sips, eyes on Odessa at the moment. "If I want to make the world better at all, I'll have to make sacrifices. It wouldn't be the first time I ended up losing a lot of friends, but, it's necessary. I'm probably going to end up kicked out of the band, and when that happens, the only people I'll really have are Bella and Doctor Blite."

"She runs a dessert shop," Bella observes for Odessa's benefit, and nearly adds 'not far from where I live', but then substitutes it for the less personal, "in Chelsea. I imagine you can still find her there." Which you can't, not anymore, but Bella doesn't exactly keep up to date with this sort of info. "And genuinely, Magnes, I don't know why you felt compelled to join up with the Commonwealth Institute. I mean, I'm happy to work with you, of course but-" she makes a face, trying to think of how to word this, "well, given the choice between bloody handed realists and bloody handed idealists, it really feels like you'd do better with the idealists. I mean that as a compliment, I promise you, however oblique."

"I don't… think she'd want to see me," Odessa admits. "She didn't seem thrilled the last time." The woman's scarred lips pull into a tight smile. "Do you think you could pass a message on to Beauchamp on my behalf? Just… Tell her I want to connect with the organisation? On their terms." A glance is flickered to Bella. "I don't really have to tell you to keep this information to yourself, do I?" The fact that she's mentioned the Ferry in front of Bella at all, with the indication that she agrees with the bloody handed idealists is a clear vote of confidence in the other woman's discretion, of course.

"Yeah, sure, I'll only be able to see Abigail one more time, so I'll let her know then. But as far as where I belong…" Magnes shakes his head, leaning his elbows on the table, staring down into his drink as he addresses both of them. "I don't fit with the Ferry. I often disagree with the leaders, I'm never quite sure on what their motives are, and I don't understand how anyone can change the world by being wanted. At least with the Institute, there's a chance for me to actually use my skills and abilities, make something of myself, exercise the resource of my father's position, and somehow make a difference. I know what kinds of things the Company has done, I've seen things I wouldn't even think of telling either of you, but I want to think that there may have been something to my father's words, and see another side of the spectrum for myself. If that means giving up my friends and not being completely happy, then it's a sacrifice I have to make."

Oh, super. This sounds to Bella like Odessa building a life raft. That is how she conceives of such connections and contacts. Double agent work scares her too badly to even really consider. A number of different options flickers through Bella's mind, many of them orbiting around the central thought 'could that life raft carry two?' The psychiatrist lapses into temporary silence, one maybe meant to convey that discretion, one maybe just reserved for consideration.

"You think you disagree with leadership now? You will butt heads with the Institute like nothing else you've ever faced before, Varlane." Odessa stares down at her own drink, a small and rueful smirk to her lips. Bella's silence, however, prompts an uncertain look to the red-haired woman. Bella wonders if Odessa's life raft can carry two. Odessa wonders if Bella's planning to sink that raft.

"Even so, I'd rather learn this first hand. There's a very good chance that this will be the largest mistake of my life, but what do I have to lose? That's the way I view this entire situation. Sable is the last stable thing of value that I have, and I don't think she's going away even if I do get kicked out of the band. But other than her…" Magnes shrugs, sitting back to watch a show of the ninja returning with their numerous meals, putting on a bit of a show with smoke bombs in food, katana, and numerous other ninja antics!

He politely nods to the man, and soon returns to the discussion while he looks over the rather unfamiliar but highly elaborate first course. "If I can't make a difference, if I get kicked out, or even if something happens to me while I'm in the Institute, it's nothing we didn't see coming, right?"

Odessa's glance is caught, and Bella returns it with her own look of mild confusion. Honestly not sure exactly what Odessa is uncertain about. Her own discretion so thoroughly assumed, she forgets that it isn't necessarily evident to all others. Still, rather than leave Odessa empty handed, she offers the other woman a smile after a moment has passed. Reassuring in form even if lacking substance. She'll ask Odessa what's on her mind later. When there is less chance of being eavesdropped on by a warrior of the shadows.

"Magnes," Bella says, directing her attention upon the man once more, "I can't speak authoritatively on your social support system, and it seems as if you've made your decision already so… I'd suggest moving ahead with full confidence and commitment. Just… be careful. And please, consult with me before making any other large decisions? I will be happy to help you tread lightly in the Institute, you'll just have to work on your impulsivity," something Bella knows about from personal experience and practice.

The medical doctor (as opposed to the psychiatric one) nods her head in agreement. "Bella's right. Even if she did show a lapse in judgement," Odessa needles gently, "she's still the person you should trust. And listen to." Under the table, her hand reaches to rest on Bella's thigh, just above her knee.

"I'll be sure to consult you. I guess if you can handle me calling you whenever I have a new crush, you'd be willing to help with life decisions." Magnes grins slightly, though starts to wave his hands a bit. "I mean, not that I have any recent crushes or anything!"

First and most pressing question: whose hand?

There is a momentary flicker of startlement, mingled with something like shock but with a milder flavor, and then Bella's expression tames itself. A delicate hand with a light touch. Possible identities narrow out of momentary confused potentiality into just one. Bella reaches out to take her drink first, her other hand moving moments after to find Odessa's, fingers curling, giving a small squeeze.

To be quite honest, Bella's not sure what the touch is meant to communicate, but when it doubt, respond with positivity and comfort. She feels as if that's not a bad rule of thumb. Discreet as the contact is, she doesn't otherwise acknowledge it, eyes still on Magnes.

"You are welcome to keep me updated as to the particular coordinates of your desire," Bella says, a touch wryly, "I know as well as anyone how much those really influence our decisions, however selfless or simply calculated they may seem."

Odessa's gaze on Bella seems merely because the other woman is speaking, but she laces her fingers with her contemporary's and squeezes back. "Just… Be careful. And tell them nothing about the Ferry. Don't say you know anybody who's with the network. Don't say you know anybody who was in the network. Don't say you know somebody who died that was in the network. If you want to protect your friends? You'll suddenly forget you know anything at all about the Ferry."

After all, that's Odessa's preferred method.

"Don't worry about that, I'll be careful. I'm just trying to see where this goes, and if somehow something good will come out of kind of starting fresh." Magnes looks from Bella, to Odessa, then back to Bella again. "Ah, uh, I'm sure Dessy's not interested in that, we can discuss it later."

"This is all of this," Bella says, a brow arching, "not exactly the best dinner table conversation. I suggest we leave the subterfuge to our hosts, and just enjoy the meal," she takes a sip of her drink, sets it down, before craning her neck. Trying to search corners of shadow for their server. "Any way we could get a carafe or three of sake?"

Odessa cracks a grin, shaking her head. Shaggy white pigtails brush over her shoulders. "This is why you're my best friend, Bella." One more squeeze and Odessa disentangles her hand to give the other woman her space again. Magnes is treated to a somewhat wary look that doesn't last long before it's replaced with a soft smile. "I wish you luck. I hope you find whatever it is you're looking for."

"I hope I find out what it is I'm looking for." Magnes finally starts getting into his meal, smiling up at the two. He'll steer the discussion somewhere more pleasant, since this is a night to relax. "So, I don't think I told you that I used to wear glasses…" And so begins the story of how he stopped wearing them!

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