Death Warrants


bennet_icon.gif danko_icon.gif

Scene Title Death Warrants
Synopsis There aren't 14 this time. Not yet, anyway.
Date June 29, 2009


Danko's Bunker

Beneath the melted glass and ash slagged crust of Midtown's firetorn but navigable fringes, an open span of fifty year old concrete bunker hunches out of sight and out of mind. Once abandoned, boxes of ancient crackers left to moulder and metal drummed water left to leak, the facility has found new life at the will of Emile Danko. Metal runged steps descend at an austere angle from a steel hatch hidden from prying eyes by the scrap melted to its exterior, the first empty room cold and cramped under a string of sickly yellow lights. From there it branches off, stunted into only a few blocky rooms north south east and west, some darker than others.

Cardboard boxes line a wall here, groundwater drips black through a cracked corner of the ceiling over there. Voices distorted by muffling humidity and an unreliable echo play damp off the walls, quiet despite their tendency to carry.

In the largest of the rooms, straight ahead, a single man stands stooped behind a rickety-looking computer chair squinting into duel monitors, more comfortable on his feet, apparently. Short. Fuzzy. Bald. He's in all black, boot toes to coller, with the butt of a sturdy-looking gun jutting away from the bend in his hip when he clicks the mouse and the light from the monitors switches from white to blue in its play across his skullish profile.

It's not usual for a contact from Danko's network to want to make a face-to-face meeting, especially not given the work they do. But when word came down through the loose and disorganized network from one of Humanis First's most vocal supporters that sensitive information had to be delivered, it was difficult not to at least want to hear him out. Time is precious but bullets are cheap, if things turn out sour.

The clink-clunk of footsteps coming down the iron ladder into the bunker sound a good distance away from the hatch entrance to the structure. Concrete walls echo the sound all the way down to the room Emile has isolated himself in. There's something that's always nerve-wracking about first time meetings, on both sides of the spectrum. This informant, unnamed as he is, has been invaluable to Humanis First, but it's clear that since he has chosen to contact Emile rather than Samantha, something has changed.

The sound of hard-soled shoes make loud report on the concrete hall all the way to the room danko is in, and it's only when the metal door creaks open and an awkward, bespectacled man in his early to mid forties steps in that Emile Danko finally gets to see the face of this mysterious figure.

Or one of them, at least.

"I hope I got the right bunker," he notes with a nervous smile, pushing up a pair of horn-rimmed glasses up the bridge of his nose, clutching a manilla envelope against his chest. "I'm, ah…" As he steps fully in to the room, the surprisingly tall but lanky man casts a flitting gaze around the boxes and damp concrete, "My name's Noah," he states with some uncertainty, "I…" one hand motions with the envelope, "you probably want to just get down to business."

At the sound of footsteps filtering dank through the sluggish drip in an adjacent room, Danko clicks free of an ill-designed message board, leaving behind twin slates of featureless black in the place of more traditional desktops. A slow breath and a glance to his watch later, he exchanges his mouse for lukewarm coffee only to lower the squat brace of the mug (black) before he can sip. Grey eyes turned flatly back down upon the band of his watch, he buffs a blunt nail over a speck of brackish red worn in between silver links, then picks up where he left off, letting the full of his weight sink lazily against the kink stooping for so long's wired into the base of his spine. He needs a better chair. They're harder to find than you'd think in the burnt out corpses of the nearest office buildings. The wheels don't do so great over the wreckage either.


Mug set down again seconds before the thick of the metal door between here and there creaks its way open, middle finger brushing idly over the dust of fine red across the end of his right thumb, he takes in horned rimmed glasses and a nervous air at a remove that falls somewhere in between skeptical and blackly amused. This is the guy? For his part, he doesn't look any mightier at a small distance than he does up close, even with claustrophobic lighting glancing bright off the dome of his skull and drilling black at the pits of his overshadowed eyes.

"Boy," he starts after too long a pause, voice as musty as the concrete they're surrounded by, "this is going to make for an awkward conversation if you didn't." It's almost like a joke! One corner of his flat mouth even winds up a little, like it's thinking about smiling but can't quite work up the energy. "Danko. Nice to finally put a name and a face to the driving force." Just — not nice enough to elicit any actual sign that would indicate as much, apparently. He lifts his chin at the envelope, signaling a vague yes. He would like to get down to business.

Managing something analogous to a nod, though too shallow and quick to be anything more than a cursory bob of his head, Noah takes a few steps over to a table near where the computer is situated. He motions to it, as if wordlessly asking permission to make a bit of a mess, but then begins unfastening the folder and laying out photographs without any real agreement on Danko's behalf.

"These photographs were taken several months ago at the Verazanno-Narrows bridge, courtesy of Homeland Security's traffic surveillance cameras." Black and white images of individuals on the bridge are laid out one by one. "It's from their private inquisition of the terrorists who destroyed the bridge." Heavy, weighted words. Slowly, Noah begins to lay dossier files down next to the photographs. "These are background checks and records on the ones I could pin down. Names, faces, projected whereabouts."

First and foremost, Noah motions to the image of a young, light-haired woman standing on the street. "This," he then flips to a black and white mug-shot on the dossier, "is Helena Dean. Ringleader of an organization called Phoenix. A bunch of pro-evolved lunatics." He taps his fingers down on the picture of the dossier. "HomeSec got her rolled up in some prison of theirs out in Utah. But her terrorist buddies busted her and a bunch of other sociopaths out."

Danko nods his lazy permission, every movement wrought down to the necessary minimum on his way around to Noah's side. Shoulders slack, posture lax in its predatory confidence beneath the matte leather of his jacket, he takes his time in tracing the line of images laid out black and white, one frame at a time, one face at a time.

At the formal introduction of Helena Dean and mention of 'some prison of theirs' out in Utah, Danko looks sidelong and…up, as nearness and vertical limitation requires, brows canted at an angle that falls somewhere short of flattering and stays that way even once his eyes have fallen back to a dead grey rest on Miz Dean. "She was interviewed recently. On the internet."

On the internet. Mouth thinned out in its hollow-jawed frame, he's silent for longer than he should be on his way to reaching for the photograph in question. "I didn't think she was serious."

"If you could call that trite an interview," Noah notes with marked discontent, and not entirely dishonest discontent either. "Normally I would have mailed this intelligence to Samantha — she's been my go-to contact for a while now, but she's gone silent and she never fulfilled my last task I sent her. So, I'm worried that she might've gone sour on us."

Noah narrows his eyes slightly, lips pressed together in an awkward expression as he slides the next dossier out. "This one… this one I'm not sure if she's alive or dead." He doesn't sound entirely like he believes his own words. "Her name is Catherine Chesterfield. Registered with the New York Bar — a lawyer. She's all over the map as far as residences, her family's house burned down a few weeks ago." He notes as if he had something to do with it, smirkingly. "I'm not sure if she survived the fire."

The next file is drawn out with a noticeable tension of his brows. "This one has been a real tricky pickle to find." For more reasons than one, and also — tricky pickle? "His name is Teodoro Laudani. I'm not sure what his ability is, but he keeps his lot with the Phoenix crew, so he's either bound to have one or is just as worthless since he's on their side." Noah's eyes flick up to Danko, brow raised. "Dean controls the weather — wind and lightning, stuff like that. I'm not sure what Chesterfield's is." It's a lie, of course, but how could he explain away the knowledge.

"I dunno any Samanthas worth a damn within the organization." Distracted with Dean, Danko stands up a little straighter on the end of a long drawn breath — to no avail. He's lucky to top out over Noah's near shoulder, ashen gaze slow to filter back to the broader spectrum of potential victims being splayed out all in a row like cereal boxes on a shelf. Captain Crunch and Count Chocula. Helena's face is flopped down with in a haze of vague resignation partway through the delivery of Chesterfield's dossier. If a bunch of twenty year old freaks have decided on careers as martyrs, who's he to piss on their parade?

"If you have a photo I can do some sniffing around on my own. See if anyone's noticed anything." Again his eyes lift and linger on Noah's profile, lifeless as the concrete they're standing on in perpetual, prying search of the gears clipping and grinding along in the fine muscles in the other man's face.

No question about it. This guy really wants these Phoenix kids on a platter.

…He also just said 'tricky pickle.' Greyed out brows leveling out into a look that suggests The Hunter's already convincing himself that what just slithered into his ear couldn't have possibly come out of Bennet's mouth, he scrubs a hand idly over the pristine military buzz he's sporting, callouses sifting near soundlessly against colorless fuzz.

"No guesses on abilities for the other two?"

"Not really, no. Dean keeps the company of a telekinetic," Noah notes with a side-long stare given to Danko, considering that he doesn't know Samantha after a moment, one brow rising slowly. "I don't have any intel on him though," he waves dismissively at the papers. "This gives a rough outline of where they're usually seen, but I don't have anything concrete," because that would be too convenient. "They'll make a good message, given how public Dean has gotten herself. I'd prefer if their deaths could be made as much a spectacle as possible. If we show those freaks that their little icons can be brought down, it might put some of them in line, or make more of them pop their heads up."

Glancing at Teodoro's image again, Noah's lips press together in a thin line. "Be careful with Laudani. I have a feeling," an unspokenly accurate feeling, "that he's the one who's been picking our people off one at a time. But that should also put an exclamation point next to his name." Noah's brows rise slowly, "You really don't know Samantha?"

He just can't quite get over that.

"I don't throw in with people I don't trust." Translation: No Danko doesn't know 'Samantha' and the fact that he doesn't is increasingly evident in the dry ice flatness of affect about him, all the way down to the way dirty light bounces grim off the leather at his stiffened shoulders. Not only does he not know, it annoys him that he doesn't and some guy who says things like 'tricky pickle' does. There's a tightness at the corners of his eyes — a harshness to the way he draws in a breath through slightly flared nostrils, matter-of-fact. "Sounds to me like you might benefit from re-evaluating who you trust with what." The accompanying asshole is silent while he meets Noah's stare, unblinking beneath a cynical tip of one brow.

"I'll start with the reporter. See where I can get from there." Touch, touch. Cold fingertips pad idly across the white matting on one of Cat's photos on their way over to Teo, who he tugs over a few inches closer to himself.

Back to business.

The too-proud smile on Noah's face comes with a bit of a nod, again little less than a distracted bob of his head before he has to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Good, good.' Narrowed eyes flit from the dossiers back to Danko, "I'll be in touch, probably in a few weeks if I get any more leads that might be useful to you." But obviously, there's no call me if you have a problem, the relationship has never worked that way.

Casting a crooked smile to Danko, Noah glances towards the door, then looks back to the shorter man. "I'm hoping this all works out, Danko. But you seem like a man who knows how to get down to business." The sick, knife-like smile Noah gives to those words is sharper than it should be, almost predatory in its presense of baring teeth more than just smiling. He edges his way around the table, to the door, fingers lingering on the metal.

"Oh and, Danko?" His brows raise, "It was a pleasure meeting you."

There's nothing of pride in the way Danko pushes one photograph over onto another to reveal the one beneath, and so on while Noah initiates his retreat. No more than a garbage disposal finds anything to take pride in while it gnashes and grinds its way through spent eggshells and moist clods of uneaten food.

"We'll be here." Nothing royal about the 'we,' — there's a shadow that's been hovering just outside the open portal since Noah arrived, at ease in black fatigues and a dirty blonde buzzcut and an AK-47 slashed across one shoulder. Another set of heavier footsteps crosses the same room when Noah glances to the door, out of sight and long gone by the time it's open again to allow inspection of the bunker beyond.

Faded head tipped in arrogant acknowledgment of his quietly fanatical dedication to the prime directive, he doesn't look up from his perusal of the information Noah's leaving in his clutches until the larger man is almost out the door. "'Pleasure's all mine." Look. he even smiles — a similarly nasty slash of a thing that involves no teeth and doesn't come close to reaching his pale eyes.

When the door to the room comes to shut as Noah departs, that dull and hollow clunk of metal serves as punctuation enough to their meeting. Ultimately, it is the irony of Teodoro Laudani's arrival in this timeline that facilitated these events, by attempting to undo the very future he fears the most, he not only accelerated the eminent demise of so many of his closest friends…

…he may as well have signed their death warrants.

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