Dearly Departing


chess5_icon.gif elliot_icon.gif richard_icon.gifrobyn_icon.gif wright_icon.gif

Scene Title Dearly Departing
Synopsis Part of a very special ops team meet together to travel to their briefing.
Date April 16, 2021

The Marine Air Terminal is the oldest but quaintest building in LaGuardia Airport, built in Art Deco style with a rotunda now serving as the entry point for those departing from Terminal A. These days, only Jet Blue and a few chartered or private aircraft use it, but the proximity to the water made it the perfect choice for seaplanes and other crafts ready to take off across the water.

Today, that’s also the case.

Walking through the rotunda, a mural encircling the room pays homage to aeronautical feats of the past, and it may feel like one has stepped into the past, but for the few here not taking a Jet Blue flight this morning, they know they are going somewhere else, but not where exactly — a “secure location” is all they’ve been told. Each step toward Gate A-6 is a step away from their lives, no matter how abnormal, and closer to the unknown.

LaGuardia Airport, New York Safe Zone

11:00 a.m.

On the bright side, they all have priority status to clear TSA.

After the security queue, it’s not a far walk to the waiting area. Gate A-6 is at the end and they can look out to see the aircraft from plate glass windows both north and east. It’s a convenient waiting spot, near bathrooms, vending machines, and a bar — while tempting, they don’t really have much time for a drink. It’s unlikely they’ll get tiny bottles of liquor, or peanuts, for that matter, on the Sea Stallion.

Rather than choosing any of the dozens of black vinyl waiting-area chairs, Chess stands at the window and looks out, her head canted and eyes turned northward, where she can just get a glimpse of the water.

“Hey Elliot,” Wright says, pointing to a section of the mural showing the Wright brother’s aircraft, poking him in the shoulder with her other hand. “Elliot look. Look, Elliot.”

Elliot sighs dramatically. “Oh my god,” he rasps. “This is going to be Kill Devil Hills all over again if you keep it up.”

“Avi’s gonna shoot our ride?” she jokes, then poses in such a way as to eclipse some of the painting. “Take my picture.” Her favorite bit of wartime photography was of herself covering up the Brothers part of the placard on their memorial. She kept that disposable camera safe for years before finally being able to develop it. Elliot stops to take a picture with his phone, the only way this interaction will ever end.

By the time they arrive at gate A6 Wright is reviewing the product on her phone. “I’m not sure about the lighting in this picture, and your framing was…” she wiggles her hand, So-so, “At best.”

Richard is deeply unused to actually going through an airport terminal. He owns his own planes now, and even back in the day when he was working for Chicago Air there were no terminals. If anything there was a tarmac on Staten Island pockmarked with bullet holes and explosions.

Those old memories may explain today’s civilian clothes; an old leather bomber jacket, many-times patched and with a Chicago Air logo faded on the shoulder, some old BDU pants and a sweatshirt beneath. Nobody looking for an executive in a suit would spot him, although people from the old days probably would in a heartbeat.

The reflection of the man in sunglasses might be faintly seen in the window that Chess is staring out of as he pauses not far behind her, and chuckles. “I’m going to assume that you being here isn’t a coincidence.”

While Richard looks like he's dressed for an off day - whatever that actually consists of for him - Robyn looks like she just stepped away from the office as she steps into their section of the terminal. Wind swept hair is the only thing that stands in contrast to the professional image she attempts to convey. Cane in one hand, she grumbles as she slides a set of keys emblazoned with the Yamagato logo into her pocket.

Yes, she drove herself, and yes, she is paying for parking. She doesn't seem to mind, though it's hard to tell with her eyes hidden behind reflective sunglasses. She's silent as she approaches, instead glancing over first to Richard and then to Chess, before practically falling into one of the bench chairs.

Chess turns at the sound of Richard’s voice, then huffs a small laugh, and shakes her head. “Definitely not here for Jet Blue Flight 703 to Boston, though I wish I was,” she says wryly, reaching up to tuck a strand of her long blond hair behind one ear.

“Have to admit I’m wondering why we can’t meet in one of your conference rooms or Fort Jay’s, except that from what I’ve seen, they have a flair for the dramatic.” They being the DOE, the US government in general, Gates or Harris specifically — who knows.

As she speaks to him, she sees Robyn dropping herself onto one of the nearby benches, and Elliot and Wright approaching. Chess lifts a hand to identify that, yes, this is where the party is, and shakes her head again with another soft huff of amusement as she recognizes them. “You know all these folks, too, yeah?” she asks Richard, assuming he knows everyone if she does.

Elliot gives Chess a nod hello, happy to meet her under less international-black-ops circumstances. Wright gives a wave of greeting and a Hi before stopping near Richard. “Mr. Ray,” she says gesturing to Elliot, “You can probably guess that this is my partner Elliot Hitchens, who was on the phone with us for most of Sweden.”

Elliot chuckles, adding, “You may also remember me from such security footage as helping someone do acid in your basement. Pleasure to meet you in the flesh.” He extends a hand for a handshake.

“I do, except for— Elliot.” Richard reaches out to clasp the offered hand firmly, though the smile falters a bit, “I… well, good to meet you, glad to have you with us.” Whatever he wanted to say, he pushed it away in that moment, restoring the smile once more, “Seems like you might just be our lifeline when we go through with this whole business.”

“Nice to actually have one this time, honestly. Normally we don’t.”

It says something about his life that he can talk about no-return-trip suicide missions to save the world as if they just happen sometimes.

"Control." Robyn's head swivels slowly to look in Chess' direction. "They want to control the information and presentation." Shoulders rise in a shrug as she tilts down her sunglasses to reveal the peaks of tired, ringed eyes. Her gaze fixes on Elliot and Wright, the two wild cards in this gathering. Richard and Chess she knows, but these two not so much.

"So, is this the Avengers, then?" The edge of her lip quirks upward, a mildly sarcastic tone in her voice. "Wild."

Chess lifts a brow at Elliot’s addendum, then the second one lifts at Richard’s use of the word ‘normally.’ She huffs a short, breathy laugh.

“I don’t think anything about any of this is normal, but that’s pretty much in keeping with the rest of my life, and probably all of yours, which makes me question my understanding of the world normal,” she says, her nervousness showing a little in the way she rambles a bit.

“Also dibs on the cool girl Avenger, if we get to have costumes. She just wears black leather, right? I can do that. No more primary color leotards for me.” She did that for Halloween, after all.
“I’ll break out my stretchy purple shorts,” Elliot jokes. “Unless I can get my hands on some kind of flying robo-suit. Fuck, I hope we can take armor.”

“You’ll probably have to go through with no clothes on,” Wright laments. “Only organic material will make it through. You’ll have to fight the Capri Sun cop robot guy naked. Which I would pay to see.”

“That’s not all bad,” Elliot plays along, “At least in a Judgement Day scenario Capri Sun Man kills my foster parents.” Wright slaps him on the arm. “Too soon?” he wonders.

“Robyn’s probably right,” Richard admits with a tip of his head to her, “It’s all about control. It always is, with these sorts.”

A hand motions then vaguely between others, “Elliot, Wright, this is Robyn Qu— Roux, Robyn, this is Elliot and Wright, our…” A twitch of his lips, “…communications experts for the mission.”

It takes a moment for Robyn to peel herself back up and out of her seat, offering a hand out to Elliot and Wright. "Special Agent Robyn Roux," she offers as a mild correction, like the sort one might get if they left Doctor off their name. "SESA liaison and human light bulb. Pleasure to meet you."

With those greetings offered, Robyn settles back down into her seat and pulls off her sunglasses. It certainly looks like someone had a rough night last night. Or a really good one, depending on your point of view. "So Richard, want to start the betting pool for how fucked we are?"

Chess’ brows draw together in confusion at the quips Elliot and Wright share, but she doesn’t ask. She doesn’t introduce herself, having met everyone at least once, and instead turns to look out the windows again, her eyes on something that seems out of place — a large helicopter, not the sort that usually flies in and out of La Guardia, at least in her limited experience.

Robyn’s words draw her attention back. This time she doesn’t offer a quip or comment, but instead pulls her phone out of her pocket. Her fingers move across the glass swiftly to find the right contact and compose a message. Once it’s sent, she leans against the glass again, one hand coming up to press knuckles against her mouth as she stares out in silence, a dark expression clouding her features.

“Special Agent Roux,” Wright says, accepting the handshake. “Pleasure to meet you. I’m really more of a communications lackey though, this one’s the expert.” She directs a thumb at Elliot, who also accepts a handshake.

“Fucked as far as the thing we’re all not allowed to talk about,” Elliot asks, “Or the thing we’re here for right now? I’d like to believe this’ll be a fairly run of the mill jaunt in an aircraft to wherever the fuck we’re going.” He looks to Chess at the window as he talks, but doesn’t intrude on her solitude.

“So, this is probably the trip where we find out how fucked they think we are,” Richard suggests, one hand scratching at his chin, “Then if we double that… I figure we’ll be around the correct neighborhood.”

He looks out the window as well, noticing the helicopter, nodding a little to himself.

Robyn looks between each of those gathered around her, and laughs. Reaching into her purse, she pulls out her wallet and begins finishing around before pulling out a fifty dollar bill. Holding it up, a crooked and somewhat forced grin forms on her face.

"Fifty dollars someone tries to walk away. That's how fucked."

Eyes brows raise as she waits to see if there any takers on this particular bet. "The thing we're- both, honestly. Both. Yeah, both."

“They think we’re pretty fucked. I’m not sure you can double that,” Chess says flatly. “Walking away might seem like the smart move, but if we fail, it won’t matter.”

She turns, glancing at the bill in Robyn’s hands with weary eyes. She looks like she might say more, but the boarding gate staffer approaches, looking from face to face, and finally choosing to direct his words at Richard, recognizing him.

“Are you here for the private flight out of A-6? They’re ready for you now. This way, please.”

The usual boarding protocol isn’t in use for the private flight, it seems. The young man leads them through the doors and through a tunnel, though there’s no lift that brings them upward; the terminal is at ground level. The end opens out into the sunlight, and the Sea Stallion awaits, doors open for them to climb inside so it can take them to their unknown destination.

While the pilot sits inside the helicopter, Agent Toussaint stands outside to check them in — making sure there are no stowaways who shouldn’t be on the flight, perhaps. “Good morning,” he says with a nod and smile for each of the five faces he’s expecting today. Some even smile back at him.

He won't be here for the return trip, but he doubts they'll still be smiling then.

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