Deep Down, You Know


doyle2_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Deep Down, You Know
Synopsis Doyle asks Odessa for her help, and finds out more of the truth of the circumstance surrounding her "death" and departure from the Ferry.
Date January 24, 2011

Coney Island

Despite it's name Coney Island is a peninsula, and only formerly an island. This small piece of real-estate is the southern-most point in Brooklyn, with beachfront property abutted by the Atlantic Ocean. A neighborhood of the same name is a community of 60,000 people in the western part of the peninsula, with Seagate to its west; Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach to its east; and the Gravesend neighborhood to the north.

This area was once a major resort and site of amusement parks that reached its peak in the early 20th century. It declined in popularity after World War II and endured years of neglect. Since the bomb, Coney Island has fallen into a tragic state of disrepair, most prominently evidenced by the closing of the amusement parks on the island, notably Astroland and Deno's Wonder Wheel Amusement Park. The latter of those two serves as a rusting and monolithic ferris wheel that overlooks the decrepit state of the island. It's once bright carnation red paint peeling to reveal rusted steel.

Much of the amusement park areas surrounding the beach are now closed off by chain-link fence, though some portions have been battered down by vandalism and portions of the closed amusement parks are now used by gangs and other unsavory figures as meeting sites. With the NYPD stretched to its limits, police rarely have the availability to respond in a timely manner to this small and remote peninsula, making it a relatively dangerous part of Brooklyn.

There are old pictures of what Coney Island once was. It was colour and light and laughter, entrepreneurship turned to the distractions and amusement of America. Foreign heads of state were brought here to see the dream that was this country. Over time the glory faded, as glory does, becoming black and white and sepia photographs and then merely memories… and since the Bomb, only rust.

The daylight spills over the cold ruins of what was once the premiere amusement park in the United States, and Eric Doyle walks along what used to be a roller coaster. He trails a hand along over a rusted rail, looking up at the rotting wood of the tracks with a wistful, almost sad expression. A newsboy cap perches on his head, faux-glasses perched on his nose, and he's trimmed his beard into more of a goatee.

Though she doesn't have to, Odessa Knutson affords Eric Doyle the sound of her high heeled footsteps on concrete to announce her arrival. Wrapped in a red wool peacoat with red tartan gloves that match her shoes, she doesn't do too much to disguise her own appearance. After all, she has a badge, and a seemingly expunged record. "That's a good look for you," she murmurs, coiling a tendril from her ponytail around her index finger. The fringe of her bangs obscures the red patch worn over her eye.

"The daisies look lovely on my desk. How thoughtful." As if she hadn't told him to send them if he wanted a meeting.

A threadbare woolen coat is wrapped about Doyle for warmth in this weather, sturdy workboots stained with mud stopping their meandering as he hears the approach of heels. He turns towards her, a smile tugging up at one corner of his lips. "I'm in disguise," he explains, dryly, moving to step along over, "It's— good to see you."

"You too, Eric." Hands clasped in front of her, Odessa meanders closer to Doyle with a small smile dimpling the scar across her mouth. "But you didn't send me flowers just for the pleasure of my company. Nobody does that." The smile fades. "Is everything…"

She fades off, stops herself. Of course everything isn't all right. "What's happened?" she settles on.

"They should," Eric says quietly as he stops before her, bringing up one hand to brush the spill of her bangs back away from her face — despite the patch — as he offers her a faint smile, hand dropping back to his side. A breath's taken, exhaled. "Nothing's happened. Not, not yet anyway. Look, we've gotten word from a pretty reliable source that this time, the flu's going to be… big. I mean, big, big. Not just that flash and fizzle that happened last time." Brows leap with 'flash' and 'fizzle', the showmanship in him rearing its head.

"We're all illegals, for the most part, Brooke. We aren't— going to have any way to get vaccine, and if one of us gets sick, it'll spread like wildfire." Grim, serious, "The kids'd be killed. They're not strong enough to survive it. I can't let that happen."

"You want me to see if I can get my hands on the vaccine." Odessa nods her head slowly, quickly connecting the dots. Her gaze shifts, peering at some space behind Doyle out of the corner of her eye. "I need to know how much you'll need. I… Even if I can do it, and I'm sure I can do it if the opportunity presents itself, I won't be able to take it in bulk."

Slender fingers rest on the man's shoulder briefly before the trail down his arm. "I suppose if I found out about a shipment…" Her own brows hike up, leaving the suggestion to hang in the air. He called her Brooke again. He always calls her that when he's feeling sweet. It's not something she corrects anymore. The woman of so many names can't fault someone for picking their favourite.

Eric's head shakes ever so slightly at the first — and as she continues, he nods hesitantly. "I know that you can't get it yourself, it'd… be dangerous for you, but I'm sure the… Institute, and the Department, have stores, and'll be moving it." As her hand trails along his arm, it lifts up, his hand moving to slide against hers — palm to palm before fingers close warm over hers. "We can take it from there. I wouldn't ask if it wasn't this dire. You know that."

Again her head bobs up and down with her understanding. "I know." Her fingers, somewhat bulky from the fabric of her gloves, lace with Doyle's. "How do you want me to inform you if there's a shipment? I may not find out until the last minute. Leaving you a voicemail probably isn't the best option. Is there somewhere I can find you?" Odessa turns her gaze fully back on the man, imploring him. "I want to help the network. Especially after what Varlane has done."

White brows furrow, true concern for an organisation she burned her bridge to. "He's joining up with the Institute, you know. I… can silence him, if you need. No one would ever know it was me." Despite (or because) of all that, there's a glimmer in Odessa's eyes. One he recognises all too well. Maybe he's seen it in his own reflection.

"It's… tricky," Doyle admits with a grimace at the mention of where to find him, "I spend most of my time taking care of the kids, so I'm out've contact a lot. I might be— coming back to the mainland soon to start setting up a safehouse, I don't know. I'll check my messages more often." A serious look to her, "If you find out about a storehouse we can hit, too, that'd work."

Then there's a flicker behind his eyes, something that matches hers, dark and twisted. "Tempting," he breathes out, then closes his eyes, shaking his head tightly, "Do you think that they'll… interrogate him about the ferry?"

"They might," Odessa admits. "If I could, I'd volunteer to be the one to do so if it came to that. I don't have anything close to that sort of clout, or experience in that field, though." Her lips purse, displeased by the situation. "He thinks he can do good there. He can't." It's selfish of her to say. "He doesn't have it in him to… be like me."

It takes a special breed of person to walk the line the way Odessa Price does. It's difficult to make real friends when no one's really sure which team she's playing for. (Though the answer is usually her own.) "If your people get sick, or injured… You know you can call me, right? I've been circulating my services on Staten Island. I patch up people, no questions asked." It's how she made the acquaintance of Nick York.

"Running the clinic in Gun Hill was the first truly decent thing I've ever done in my life." Without expecting something in return. "Don't get me wrong. I do good work at the Suresh Center. I help people. But it isn't the same." There's an uncomfortable sort of fidget, and Odessa takes back her hand to scratch at the back of her neck. "Things were bad for the Ferry then… I can't imagine they've got any better now."

"He means well," Doyle admits sourly, "He's just a fucking idiot who doesn't think about the consequences or realistic results of anything he does…" He rubs at his nose, pushing the fake glasses up, a sigh whispering past his lips.

"I know," he says quietly, "We have medical personnel, but if… we can't handle it, I'll let you know. Things aren't good, no. The registration requirements are getting tighter and tigher, and there's rumors of… robots, of all things."

"Figured it wouldn't take your people long to figure out that Midtown is not the place to be." The rumours, and maybe even some of the truth, haven't escaped Odessa's notice. "I have no idea what Ray's up to, but… It's not something you should worry about dealing with right now. Just… avoid it."

A wry chuckle curls Eric's lips into a humorless smile. "I'm not stupid, you know," he points out, "I'm no use against something that doesn't have a human brain. I'm not going anywhere the fuck near there without a platoon under my control or something. But I'm a realist…" Bleak, "…sooner or later, they'll come to us."

"You should…" Frustration wages a war across the woman's face. The battle to decide what to say or not to say. "You should tell me where you are," Odessa blurts out finally. "So I can try and keep my ears open for anything that comes up regarding your location. My employers tend to find me handy when it comes to staging raids. I'd have advanced notice to give you." See? It's only logical.

"I can't do that, Brooke." Eric's fingers loosen against her glove, and his hand falls, his eyes closing as he exhales a sigh, "You know I can't do that. I'm risking enough as it is… if they even found out I was talking to you there'd probably be repercussions."

Anyone else may have asked why don't you trust me? Odessa knows why he won't trust her. Can't is probably more likely. "You ever ask Agent Ryans how he managed to escape from Gun Hill when FRONTLINE and the police showed up? I could have facilitated their capture. I didn't."

"I know… I know." Doyle's lips twist into a grimace, a hand lifting up, "This is the most I can give you. You know that. Don't— please don't make this any harder than it has to be."

Odessa sighs and relents, taking a step back from Doyle. "Fine. I understand. I don't like it, but I get it." She folds her arms over her chest and tips her head to one side. "I asked Varlane to pass a message to Beauchamp. If her answer isn't any different than yours is, then I don't need to meet with her."

The irritation doesn't last, though, melting into something softer. There's just too much concern (and history) for Odessa to allow herself to stay mad at Eric. "I can't pass vaccines, but I can pass on supplies. I… suspect I already was for a while, through Nick York. We… don't do business anymore, though. Eileen put a stop to that." Or so she thinks. "Basic supplies are easy to pilfer. I have access to hospitals all over the city, as well as what we have at the Center."

"I'll take anything you can give," Doyle says with a slight nod, "If nothing else, I'll just… stack it with the Lighthouse supplies. Nobody needs to know where it was coming from." There's an awkward pause for a moment, and then he asks quietly, "What happened? You never told me why you left."

"Good." In the blink of an eye, Odessa's holding out an old Mets duffel that simply wasn't there before. "Gauze, sterile stitching supplies, iodine, alcohol, antibiotics… The basics."

When he asks why she left, she cracks a bit of a smile. "You mean why didn't I seek refuge with the Ferry in spite of my employment with the Institute?" The chuckle is sad, and accompanied by the side to side motion of her head. "Because I was working with Susan Ball. We only ever tried to protect the network. Everything we did was… We thought it was for the best. It wasn't supposed to happen the way that it did. Never trust the fucking government."

The bag gets a brief start, but Doyle doesn't question where it came from; he knows her ability well, as well as he knows the rest of her. He reaches out to accept the duffel, and then just… stops, staring at her. "Susan… you were working with Ball?"

He looks dumbfounded, jaw almost falling open. "All those safehouses— all those people…"

"It was never, ever supposed to go down like that. We only tried to weed out the people perverting the network. The ones turning it into a terrorist organisation." Odessa tilts her head back so she can better peer up the distance between them. "Don't you understand? The Ferry was supposed to be about helping people. Instead, it started to turn into PARIAH. If they'd just stuck to helping people hide in plain sight, the government wouldn't be… doing this to them." Or so she believes. "You start acting like terrorists, and you start getting treated like that."

"And you were any better by trying to hand people over to the government?" There's a flicker of heat in Eric's eyes, his voice raising a touch as he steps closer, jaw setting, "How did you think it was going to go down after you told them where we all were? When you told them were everyone was? You were in Moab! You knew what they were capable of! What the fuck were you thinking?"

"I didn't tell them!" Odessa shouts. "If I hadn't fucked up and gotten myself killed," which is the only thing to call what happened to her at Sea View Hospital, "that move would never have been made." Her arms come out to her sides, fingers splayed in the universal gesture of what do you want from me? "I failed!"

"If you didn't, then Ball did," Doyle replies, nearly snarls back to her, "Which still puts you on the wrong goddamned side! If you didn't like the way things were going, you could've just fucking spoke up, instead of siding with the person that tried to kill us all!" His fingers curl at his sides, but — perhaps surprisingly — she doesn't feel the telltale tension of his power in use. Yet. "You really think the… little bit of shit the Ferry's hit team was doing caused any of this? I'm pretty sure Messiah had more to do with it than that, for fuck's sake!"

"And who would have listened to me? The fucking Vanguard was running the show. They never counted me as one of their own. I was only ever stuck in the middle. Lumped in with the enemy, but not accepted by them, either." Now one of Odessa's hands sweeps out toward him. "Look at you! Even you don't believe me! Do you really think anyone else was going to give two fucks about what I had to say?!" Two steps are taken. Backward. She knows better than to give her back to Eric Doyle. "Susan is a good person. And she's not a killer. That's what I do."

Thump. The duffel bag drops from Doyle's hand to rest on the ground beside him, those fingers crooking in towards his hand with a silent shriek as he reaches out to stop her from backing away any further… and from activating her power. The puppeteer's eyes narrow as he looks at her in silence for a few moments. Then he says, softly, "Susan Ball handed over the locations of every safehouse we had. Dozens of people killed. Not arrested. Executed. Put on their knees and shot. She handed everything over to the same people who put you in chains and gave you to me. How can you justify that and say she's a good person? Give me a reasonable reason why a good person would do that?"

A step closer, a grim and mirthless smile, "Just one. Any one."

"She was lied to. She was betrayed." Not because Odessa knows this to be fact, but because it's what she believes. It's what has to be. The Susan she knows wouldn't have set her people up to die. Wouldn't have set innocent people up to die. "We had the best of intentions, Eric."

You can take the girl out of the Company…

"No." Eric meets her gaze steadily, "How was she lied to? What lie could they've told her, someone on the Ferry council, someone who saw every report, that would've gotten her to hand those locations over willingly, Odessa? What lie?" Steady, merciless questioning as he attacks the base of her logic with an axe.

"That no one would be hurt." Held rigid, Odessa can only express herself with her tone, and her eyes. "That only the people who were pulling the triggers would be held responsible for what was happening."

"That explains the attack on the council," Doyle says, his hands spreading, one still crooked in dominance, "But what about the safehouses, Odessa? It doesn't make any sense at all for her to hand the whole of the network over if she thought they were only going after the leadership." He leans in closer, gaze steady on hers as he says quietly, "But you know that, don't you? Deep down, you know that. You've always found it easier to play the victim rather than admit you were the monster - whatever you say, you don't want to think you were the one who was wrong. You never do."

"If I weren't a monster, if I didn't know I'm a monster, maybe I wouldn't have remorse." Odessa falls silent for a moment, lips pressing together as she sniffles once. "Please… Susan and I made bad decisions, but with good intentions. And I… I made the worst mistake of all…" Her jaw quivers, her breath coming in ragged and a little wet even before the first tears slide down her cheek.

"Tell Eileen Ruskin I'm sorry. I was wrong."

"You had the best of intentions," Doyle replies in nearly a snarl, "She sold us all our for thirty pieces of silver! You can deny it all you fucking want, but you know it's true. It doesn't make any sense otherwise." He glowers for a moment, jaw working wordlessly before he bites out, "Monsters aren't sorry. So you must not be a monster. And there's nothing I can do to you that's worse than what you've done to yourself."

The puppet master's other hand lifts up, brushing a tear from her cheek almost tenderly. "I love you, you know," he says, his other hand relaxing as he releases his power, "But for a genius you're the stupidest goddamn bitch I've ever known."

Those words left to hand in the air, he turns away, reaching with a bend to grab up the duffel bag. "Tell her yourself. I don't plan on telling her I'm still in contact with you. It's none've her business."

When he turns away, Odessa's own power kicks in, and she crumples. Fallen into a crouch on the cold ground, she hugs her arms around her knees and sobs in her little pocket of time. Indulging in her emotion where no one else can see. Like it used to be.

To Doyle, should he look back, she simply stands there, but suddenly with her eyes puffy and red, with a mascara line down her face that seems to have run too dark too quickly. "Be careful, Eric," she begs.

"You too," Doyle says in quiet, almost tired tones as he hauls the duffel up to his chest, as if the snarling of earlier had used up all the heat he had, "I'll be in touch… thanks, for…" A look back, a faint smile, "…for keeping an eye out for the vaccine, and the supplies'n stuff."

Odessa nods her head quickly, a sniff her only reply. She does him the courtesy of walking away, in the opposite direction, just like anyone else.

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