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Scene Title Deserted
Synopsis A great mystery surrounds the latest misdemeanors which have ripped Phoenix's four ragtag allies apart. Teo confronts Minea about her professional conduct, during which her professional conduct is good despite the fact she discovers a new knife in her back.
Date January 23, 2008

Brooklyn — A Former Ferrymen Safehouse

Flint Deckard's erstwhile retreat— formerly also a retreat for dozens of displaced Ferry passengers— stands tall and hollow, apartment husks in the middle of Brooklyn. Despite the precious few hours of sleep under him and the mounting pressure of everything guaranteed by Fate and mathematical probability to go batshit loco in the very near future, Teo looks alert enough. There might be something faintly desperate about the way he clings to the specific tasks and professional demands of co-leading and juggling logistics for Phoenix, if you know him.

If you don't, he's just the tall young man in the doorway of the Western tower, moonlight staining his face blue and making uncharacteristically dark stains out of his eyes. His hands are pushed into his coat pockets, his mouth a line as severe and humorless as the graffiti-pocked street ribboning out across the distance of the driveway.

Just as humorless is the woman who's been called out at the late hour with a question of whether she can talk. The kid from phoenix. Can't be that much older than her baby brother. But she's out there, a black well cared for 81 Malibu pulling up to the house and the dark haired woman gets out. For all counts, she looks unarmed, but it's likely a lie. "Teodoro Laudani. I assume, that this is because of your.. friend" Minea closes the door to her car with a thud, sliding key's into the pocket of her leather jacket. Straight to the point she goes.

"My allies. Plural," Teo corrects her with a characteristic absence of rancor, his eyes focusing briefly past the curve of her shoulder and the hood of her car, as if there might be someone to see. There isn't. It's a small side-street, nothing in the way of late night traffic because there is nothing to attract late night visitors. Give or take a few drug pushers, Ferrymen, and other clandestine convergences. "They say they annoy you. Make it sound a little like a conflict of personality.

"Except I'd prefer to think that one of America's lions wouldn't have let something as trivial as that snowball into public fucking gunfire, and prospective jailing for life at the expense of the shit that's going to hit next week. Not to mention Chris wanting you off the team."

Ohhh, someone didn't know about Chris. There's a twitch, a tic to her left eye. "You associate inform you what occured in the market place Caravaggio?" For now, Christian's not being touched. Minea's leans back, sitting slash leaning on the hood of her car, watching Teo.

A shadow of regret flits through Teo's features. Commonplace occurrence. He happens to be breathing too. He wishes she hadn't heard that from him; finds it hard to believe that a verbal confrontation between the FCC agent and his — erstwhile? — partner isn't coming in some way, shape or form, very soon, in any case. Christian tends to be painfully direct. Its simultaneously his curse and saving grace, as far as his friendship with this particular terrorist goes.

Onward ho. "Said his companion tried to pick your pocket," Teo says, glancing downward in nonverbal acknowledgment: won't touch Christian for now. "And then you took out your sidearm, so he snatched your purse, and you beat the shit out of him. Also mentioned 'annoying' you on a bridge at some point. I figure his sketch of events was brief and general enough to be pretty approximate. Your version different?" He lifts his head and the wind rifles through his hair, curls around an already numbed ear.

"I was taking survielence shots of the shoreline on one of the bridges. In case you had missed something. Your associate opted to get in my way, disrupt my shot and then damage my camera. So he got a knee to the groin" Minea draws a pack of stride gum from her pocket, popping out a piece and tossing it to teo, pulling out a piece for herself. "I find it convenient that he told you so little of the marketplace. like what was lifted and how it was lifted" There's a deep breath. "He has a lady friend. Who can turn intangible, and with that, turn things intabgible Caravaggio. She decided to reach into my purse and lift an mp5. Submachine gun that I tote around since I was informed by my .. soon to be former partner that I would need it"

There's enough substantive material in the woman's words that Teo doesn't need the cold to stay awake. His breath goes white through his teeth and fades from view an inch from his face, nearly as bloodless from vessels contracted gingerly from the oppressive climate. "I'm aware the case is that I missed something," he answers, eventually. "I know I'm not one to judge how much property damage deserves a nut shot, so I won't.

"I know it isn't even really my business how the jury would come down on you shooting a woman who was trying to steal a gun, because I don't know. I don't care about the how." He picks his verbal stresses without raising his voice higher than tersely conversational. "I don't even really care about the what or the why.

"You're not a stupid woman, Minea. Even the people who don't like you know that, and I've cleaned up after enough psychotic women to be able to tell. Did you honestly think anything Deckard or his friend were doing, fucking around with you, merited tipping the balance in favor of five and a half billion dead people? He starts a pissing contest— and that's the way you want to finish it?"

"The way I was going to finish it was sending his ass into jail and then getting it out. To make him realize that blowing my cover for shits and giggles, is not funny. Which is what he did. If it was up to my partner, I should have put a bullet in his head right then and there, as well as that of his lady friend. Instead I went for her knee's. How does that figure into it Caravaggio? That she was going for a headshot and I was going for non lethal when she rushed?" Minea shakes her head her tongue darting out to wet her lips her eyes still hard, a slight shake of her head. "But, i'm getting a good picture right about now how things work.

One breath out, and Teo tilts his head to the right. The other question is stalled in favor of a practical inquiry: one that has preoccupied him for some time. He qualifies as a criminal: it's a thing to think about. "How would you get a wanted fugitive from justice out of jail?" the Sicilian asks, simply.

"You'd be surprised what Einliter and I can do Caravaggio. Through legal channels. If I could wipe a fed from records, and fake a death… " She lets him figure it out, studying him.

Teo's pallid eyes flatten faintly with temper, before he blinks them sharp again. "I've seen how your work holds up under tech systems, and I've seen how Christian fakes deaths. I've also seen how brutally fucking effective the Vanguard's frame-jobs are. It doesn't surprise me what you two can do because my people have helped you do it, every other inch of the fucking way. What you mean is: if we could wipe a Fed from records and fake a death. I appreciate that you know he's important to this little opera, but you're going to have to do better than that, signora."

"No, Caravaggio. I won't have to do better than that. Electronic documents still only get you so far. Paper products is still stock and trade when it comes on the spot, sorry, this prisoner is in my custody, here's my documentation, thank you very much we're taking him to a different facility" Minea grabs her keys from her pocket, studying Teo. "What was the point of this meeting? To slap my hands and say bad ISA agent? Because I got that enough today. From muckity mucks who wanted to know what I was doing operating within their city, with this kind of firepower and why a Documents specialist was needed. From my partner who prefers I take out evolveds if they look at me funny, instead of bringing them down as fast as possible, non lethaly, and giving them to the system to deal with."

Minea pushes herself up from the hood of her car "Or were you coming here to see if I'm still interested in playing in your sandbox? If the invitation is revoked then i'll get back in my car and forget you all existed beyond what Einliter trusted me to know, or i'll show up where i'm appointed tomorrow and i'll continue to play nice with the people who aren't trying to fuck me over or is this another pissing match being started, because if so, still not interested in a pissy match. I understand what's at stake. I just hope your associate does too" It's spoken in a even tone, no malice or boredom, nor any cockiness.

Given the amount of bullshit Teo has to deal with on a daily basis with people who prefer to posture than cope with their insecurity or the practical issue at hand. "Paper documents could have gotten you to him, sure. But they run shit through computer systems, tracking prisoners, and it takes days for a transfer to go through — never mind for a criminal with enough corpses and fire to his name that they got half a dozen experts from out-of-state to come and look at the fucking evidence. You and Chris don't own armored vans.

"What the Hell were you going to move him in? Who was going to drive? Or handle the fucking phonecalls? Or make peace with Deckard after his friend got shot up full of holes in Chinatown?

"The point of this meeting was to see if you are a bad ISA agent. As far as I can tell, you didn't fuck up completely, but you came damn close. Same goes for Flint: the stress is douching up his brain, and that isn't an excuse. He's going to need somebody to straighten him out. I know that. But that wasn't the way." Despite the inherent adolescence of dropping as many curses as Teodoro does, there are less than there used to be, and they still issue forward as ordinary as the next conjunction, noun.

"That's— about it," he adds eventually, momentary awkwardness slowing his voice. His eyes shift to study his distorted reflection across her windshield, his brow knit with the suspicion that this is good-bye.

"He didn't put your name and details on the list I got. He left quite a few peoples names off that list he game me of who was who, and what he knew. I'm really starting to see why" SHe sighs, deeply, starting tot urna nd head for the door of the malibu. "He jacked himself off, doing what he did. I did my job. I would have done it if it had been anyone else who in a fit of temper destroyed years of hard work because he doesn't like me. If he had been anyone else I would have left him there if he had actually been arrested. Have your little electronics expert pull up the files of last nights events. You read it. You tell me if knocking him out, at the quickest means possibly and firing off one shot to a woman's knee, when she's threatening me, and has a weapon trained on my head and telling the 'skanky bitch to get the fuck away' doesn't justify me doing my job. Then you leave a message as to whether i'm packing my bag and leaving this town and my partner who see's fit to tell others things that he should be teling me, or whether i'm still getting my gear dusted off and helping you all run in and cover some backs with my gun"

Five fingers splay in the air: something like surrender, strangely enough, though the gesture is lacking one half, his arm still jammed into his other pocket. Teo stares at the woman with the sort of look on his face that caught him a knife in the belly, once, and the eerie and decidedly limited trust of an informant a few days later. Compassion makes a good crucifix. She looks— cornered, he thinks. Or deserted. He knows enough about anger to be able to tell a few of the variations within it.

The realization sinks in, albeit only dully, that Christian Powell wouldn't be the easiest man to partner with. Teo had assumed he was easy to get along with than most — because they wound up friends, but in retrospect, he's given to understand his own perspective is a little skewed by psychological pathology; he'd conveniently forgotten that he's still Christian's one 'real' friend, two months in Manhattan. He exhales. "I don't agree with everything Christian does. I don't agree with—"

His mouth finds a white line. "I'm the kind of guy who may not agree with the sin, but I might still take the sinner out to lunch, if that makes sense. I'm — sorry things have been rough. It's a fucked up time to be a Fed. Or a Phoenix operative. Or— on planet Earth, period. I'll verify what your story, but assuming it's all true, I just need to tell my superiors: you're sure? You stand by every decision you made? No mistakes? Nut shots, kneecaps, public, hacking it alone," as if she could have forgotten something in the intervening minutes.

"It make alot of sense Caravaggio" The key's slid into the lock, turned, taken back out and the door's opened. "I come from a long line of cops and military Caravaggio. If I make a mistake, I pony up. I do the right thing too. Not always the proper thing, and the by the books thing, or even the fair thing. World doesn't need another cheat or asshat looking out for just themselves. I fired at his girl. One shot. To the knee. She wasn't even hit. Can't hit something that isn't tangible. I stand by my actions last night, no matter how much my .. partner thought otherwise. He's a good man, Einliter. Even when he's pinning his me to the wall and yelling. You make sure his next partner has his back like I did. You know my number" Minea's not even waiting for Teo's answer. Just sliding into the drivers seat and shutting her door firmly. The engine flares to life a few moments later, seatbelt secured and she's looking ove rher shoulder, backing the large old car up.

Both columns of light sweep through Teo's legs, swerving a grove of arboreal shadow up against the doorway's hollowed eye. He takes a step, his path falling in rough perpendicular to Minea's driving route, loping toward the distant smear of sidewalk with a grinding crunch of snow against boot. His palm flares up again, briefly, catching the peripheral of her rearview mirror, once. Farewell.

Maybe it's a surprise? not expected. But Minea's hand comes up in return. See ya.

Between Here And There

An hour later, the text rings into Minea's cell. She may not recognize the number, but the content makes it difficult to mistake the sender for any other.

Did a run through of PD procedure. HS would have fucked Deckard, you and Chris in a heartbeat. Bad plan. Do you understand?

Hindsight is 20/20 Comes an answer back a couple hours later.

He might have merely reopened his outbox and backspaced through the first part of his earlier message, in little mood to expend effort toward salvaging anybody's pride. Do you understand?

Affirmative Caravaggio. Does not change what happened

You're right, comes 'Caravaggio's straightforward agreement. Does it mean you would do different?

I'd still have dropped him. Give him to Einliter to play with. Go back to my art.

The pause is longer this time, perhaps weighed down against progress with uncomfortable considerations. By now, Minea probably knows why: there's friendship between her partner— erstwhile partner— and the young man she had met. Then,

Christian would have fucked it up. That's on him. Come tomorrow if you can hold peace?

More important things than elbow to temple right now. I'll be present. 5 Billion people depend on it.

January 22nd: The Ol' Reacharound
January 22nd: Off Hours
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