Dialogue Redux


adel_icon.gif astor_icon.gif benji_icon.gif calvin_icon.gif cash_icon.gif hannah_icon.gif howard_icon.gif

ingrid_icon.gif jj_icon.gif joshua_icon.gif kincaid_icon.gif lene_icon.gif nora2_icon.gif walter_icon.gif

Scene Title Dialogue Redux
Synopsis One issue is brought to light, another put to vote. Others (most) are left to lie where they are.
Date April 10, 2011


The sky is restless but doesn't patter down with rain. There's a volcanic quality in thick grey clouds curdled over a sky gone red and pink in sunset, the matured light peaking between thatches of clogging smog and storm, ever shifting. It casts the blasted New York City in gold-tinged greys, making shadows long and deep, and the escaping light filmy. The wind is still as well, dead and static air that tastes a little of ozone and dampness.

A meeting has already begun, the people upon the rooftop slowly begin to realise.

"And when I got there," comes from the young blonde man, looking defensively conscious in his report, hands shoved into pockets and blue eyes darting around in sporadic eye contact. "It was empty. Like I said already. What more's there to talk about except things got fucked up?"

Joshua is off over —-> there, leaning in his corner upon the concrete ledges and staring sullen out at a familiar landscape.

There are people he isn't talking to walter trafford, and if contributing to conversation means indirectly talking to them walter trafford, then he'd rather decline. His scuffed Horizon armor is worn tonight despite the lack of immediate threat or combat situation, minus the helmet, and his jaw has gone hard and narrow in the tension it takes to do nothing.

Walter Trafford's eyes are narrowed, his gaze slanted accusingly at Joshua's back. His arms are folded across his chest — there's no need for slings or bandages in this place, and he looks no worse for wear than the last time he was in the same room as some of the people on the rooftop. The reality, however, is quite different, and the same can be said of Hannah Kirby at his side.

She's bright and alert, her skin unblemished with no signs of scarring around her throat where she was hung for so long that the rope cut into her skin and froze there. That was months ago.

She senses the tension between the two young men, but cannot decide who's being more obvious about it: Joshua or Walter. Expects that an explanation is probably forthcoming, if not now, then later. She reaches up with a hand to the golden crucifix she wears around her neck and turns it idly between her fingers, listening to Howard's report in solemn silence.

Ingrid is quiet too, if for entirely different reasons. There isn't anyone she'll look at.

Lene's green eyes dart from Joshua to Walter and then to Ingrid suspiciously, though she stands closer to the latter than the former. "How to fix it, is what we need to talk about," she says, voice strong and certain of this fact — that they need to fix this — if of nothing else. Especially not how.

JJ is there, not in his own Horizon armor but in civvies, his baggy jeans and hoodie sweatshirt. He has an object in his hand, something picked up in the rubble, his eyes not seeing the scene in front of him but something from the past instead, the memory of that object in his hands. In the dim light, the tiny shadows of that memory flicker as if reflections of his eyes, playing out for anyone to peer in them — but eyes are not on him.

The only thing reflected in the dark eyes of Nora is the sunset she watches — a beautiful thing despite the ruins that surround them, despite the hint of ash that permeates the air. She is thoughtful and quiet, though she does nod once at Jolene's words.

"What was she even doing there? Of all places," Kincaid says in a tired voice, rubbing his hand over his face in frustration. He's not trying to get near the edge of the rooftop, dressed in rather nice dress clothes, minus a tie of any kind. Dark blues and whites mostly, hair grown out and stubble accumulating.

And he's avoiding being too close to either of the redheads.

Against the edge of the roof, Adel sits with her back to most of them, swinging her feet off the edge of the roof into the air, unworried that it might be dangerous. With a glance over her shoulder at the blonde boy, she keeps her silence other than a small shrug of her shoulders and a smile.

The rooftop also possesses a new statue, in the form of a short haired woman of strong features. The eyeballs of the statue move from one person to the next. "Do you believe the government has her?" the rumbly deep voice asks, the mouth moving out of habit more than necessity to make the sound echo out of the granite form that Cash has taken.

Astor is so sallow he seems nearly translucent in the Hell's-armpit palette of the rooftop. His features are gaunt and his eyes seen too bright in it, gems pitted into the holes of his skull, the curl of his hair seeming more like a figment of the sky above than an accurate representation of texture and color. There's an awful stillness to him that might remind of the way he looks after he's had a particularly bad bout of sickness, or when he's spent too much time alone, which is basically: him as normal but off somehow, the subtle wrongness of a cyborg.

"If they did, Howard probably has a tail," the dark-haired boy says, in a likely unexpected show of stiffly neutral constructive deduction. But don't worry guys! The next instant: "She was supposed to be able to look after herself, at least, even if she was under the impression we were the ones who needed looking after."

Calvin hasn't been here the entire time. But he is here now, apart from the others and roughly opposite Joshua in the long sweep of his coat tails and ginger mane touched tawny gold in the sallow city light. The dress shirt he's wearing beneath is turned high at the collar and his brow is hooded low. Shoulders square, hands at his sides, eyes quicksilver colorless in their tick, tick, tick from face to face to face. Pre-emptively aggressive without having said a word, as restless and still as he is quiet.

The breed of silence from Howard is sullen, shifting a glance from Astor, to Calvin, to Nora, and then at some vague compromise towards the approximate centre of the crowd. "I dunno," grumbles out. "I didn't see anything to tail. Place was trashed but looked like someone's been livin' there for a while. All her stuff upstairs, kept nice. But the whole fuckin' forest went into red alert, so some prisoners must'a gotten out and probably in, because a hunter had been there. I could still smell it."

"Perhaps she took everything and left," says the quiet voice standing a little off to the side without being particularly antisocial. Benjamin has his long armed wrapped about him, pale eyes distant in thought as well as the excuse of not making eye contact with anyone himself. It means he misses cues. "Or someone from Eltingville has it. Either way, it's gone."

Then he flicks a quick glance to Calvin, as if checking to see that he is indeed there, before Benji draws himself up some, as if rousing himself from reflection, dressed in drab wools and cottons, as grey as the clouds and city.

"Sable and my mum are in E-ville," Walter volunteers without tearing his gaze off Joshua. "Delia, Brian and the Logans, too. Dr. Price. If it's not already in circulation, then it will be." He lets one arm drop, the other scrubbing knuckles along the ginger fuzz at his jaw. His eyes hood, tired. "I can maybe take somebody inside. Get it back. But that's only if we can pinpoint who's keeping it and where."

"And only," Hannah adds, "if the damage ain't already done. It's damning for more'n a few of us."

"I could check it out, see what I can pick up," JJ offers, dropping the object into the rubble, his eyes lifting, the moving shadows gone, to meet Walter's as he nods. "If there's anything to be had, of course. Robots don't usually leave good clues, unforunately." There's a wry grin from the amiable young man before he leans back against the wall, one hand sliding behind Adel's waist.

The mention of the robot's scent gets a wrinkled nose and shudder from Lene, the sanguine hues of the sky behind her making her hair seem to glow ruby red. She chews her lower lip nervously. "So if we're compromised… then what's the next step?" is the obvious question.

"I knew Sable was there," Adel says, still sounding cheerful despite the possible damnation some of them face. "If one of them found it, then I know they'll at least go to her about the CD. It is labeled as Mad Muse— they may not be uber-popular, or nothin' right now, but… Things just seem to go that way with us." The brunette twists around, to face them, and to lean against the young man near her.

Kincaid's jaw tightens in frustration, dark eyes drifting to focus on Benji, as if expecting answers from that direction more than any of the others. "So what do we do?"

The statue that is Cash returns to silence, the only sound from the movement of her heavy pale granite body shifting, hand going up to touch the center of her chest, over clothes that seem to be cut out of the same slab as the rest of her.

Astor's eyes have flattened into what look like pupilless holes in his face, his expression negated, turned into a voided mask and non-version of itself. Or he's forgotten that you need the whites of your eyes to look broodingly handsome. Eerie in this light, brittle.

"Before you all are going to decide to do something truly stupid, you should know," he says, his tone acidly neutral, and as ambiguous as a man with as complicated a relationship with 'going to' as he is, "if someone can get me Refrain, I could find it in a few days."

"Anywhere." There's an uncharacteristic flatness to his voice. It sounds like Astor and looks like Astor, but it's been somehow reduced to a simplified shoebox-and-crayon version of itself. Those that walter trafford know him well would probably walter trafford guess that that's resignation. Astor is fatalistic at the best of times, but putting himself in a position that might result in 'oweing someone an explanation' speaks to a rare extreme.

"Sending JJ'd be faster. But I'll get it for you, you lazy fuck." Resignation begets resignation. What kind of shite addict can't even score his own hit? Can't he go blow a trucker for cash or something? The sentiment's carried over sideways in the same irritable look that brushes the issue quickly aside, all slitty eyes and cheekbones.

"We tell the truth."

Questions directed at Benji are inexorably intercepted, then, level address carried dry with reason to all present parties once Calvin's rounded his focus back onto the lot of them. "And take action. Like we should've done from the start."

Whatever Benji had in line for Astor— something about what truly stupid thing might actually lie in suggestion of doping himself the Evo-equivelant of heroin— is silenced by the time there are more words. Good thing, probably, and he takes a breath with the kind of tension that snakes coil with, hands gripping inner elbows harder in his tense fold. His eyes slide close at the suggestion coming from his left, and when he opens them again, he meets Kincaid's look.

Answers, as if the question hadn't been intercepted. "We tell the truth," he echoes, faintly, but audibly — distance is a relative thing, in dreaming. The words have to struggle through clenched teeth. "So that we aren't made out to be liars and all control we had in secrecy," Calvin, accompanied with an icy glance, "is taken away from us. But we vote. Decide together."

"Seriously?" Though that acidic response is from Joshua, to Benji's words, it's Walter who gets hazel-eyed glare. Anger is almost visible, leaping off him like electricity, and a tremble vibrates through the concrete of the rooftop building. "Right. Voting. Here's mine." And with youthful athleticism, unable to afford even his allies and friends a look of apology or recognition, he pins a hand against the concrete ledge, swings his legs up and over, and drops on down to plummet and splatter, the asphalt beneath too far even for his suit to rescue.

Lightning startles through the sky, like a wince. But should anyone look over the side, he's gone.

"Refrain?" This from Walter, and although his voice is quiet, it has a potent quality to it like far-off thunder. He isn't looking at Joshua anymore. Blue eyes snap to Astor, and he can feel his upper lip curling against his will, baring teeth. "What the fuck, Astor? Since when?"

Hannah places a hand at his elbow in an attempt to mollify him, but he roughly shoves it away, swinging up an arm to jab a finger not at the young man in question, but at Calvin, who he's rounding on like a wounded animal. "The hell you will." Tell the truth. Take action. Get Astor some Refrain. Likely, he takes offense to all of these, but it's only one of these points that has his hackles up.

Ingrid is studying Astor's boots from beneath fair lashes. Her emotional response is not as loud or volatile as Walter's — it's there, though, if anyone is looking for it. Chin tucked in against the collar of her coat, she wraps her arms around her middle, fingers clutching hard at her sides as she pinches her mouth together, struggling not to let what she's feeling translate to something readable on her face.

Walter is snarling. Calvin is talking about taking action, and she more than anybody else on the roof knows what that means. Joshua is gone.

She's feeling nauseous.

"We shouldn't go tellin' them everything," says Hannah, "no matter how we vote, but I'm keen even if some things they don't gotta know. Some things is hard to tell, too, and ought'a be left to showin'." The dreams, she means.

"I say no," Walter cuts back in. "All you're gonna achieve is making things harder. If they don't get mad, they won't let us outta their sight. Hell, maybe both. Don't forget how they locked you up, Ben. Astor too."

"Josh," Lene says, too late, turning and scowling as he disappears, her red hair whipping around her face before she turns to look at the others. A worried glance is thrown to Astor, and Lene steps forward to let her shoulder brush Ingrid's. Her lip is worried for a moment, but there's an excited gleam in her eyes. "I vote yes," she says decisively, a nervous energy apparent in the way she pushes the touseled mane out of her eyes. "They're already suspicious and some of us … if we don't tell them soon, they're going to hate us," she murmurs. "For some of us…" And Lene's voice fails her as she swallows.

It's the quiet youngster of the group who finishes the thought. "For some of us, most of us… it's our only chance to know them at all," Nora says, and she turns to look at Calvin for the first time tonight. "I agree," she says, nodding toward him, then her brows furrow. "Maybe. The dreams, anyway, if we can't all… tell them." There's a precarious ambivalence in that vote.

The FRONTLINE man just shrugs. "If it's best, it's best. No one's on to me, so whatever you guys need to do," he says easily.

For an instant, it seems Kincaid agrees with one of the gingers. And other than similar tastes in women, he doesn't expect to agree with Walter often. Or as venomously. At the mention of Refrain, his mouth opens to state a protest, but gets lost under Walter's yells, causing him to settle with a firm nod of agreement, in support of the man who once gave him a quick trip to the middle of nowhere. Refrain is out of the question for him.

The first words out of Adel since the announcement and the need to vote are an exclaimation as she leans over to look at where Joshua has vanished to. "That was so primal." The smile seems contridictory to the general mood, until she looks back over and speaks up, "I mean, Mister Votes With His Boots aside, I do kinda want to tell some of them. So I vote yes."

"Me too," Kincaid simply votes in favor, disagreeing with Walter again, even if he gives Astor a dark eyed glance of worry.

"There are things that we have experienced that they should never have to. Things that certain people should never be told, never be shown," the rumbling voice states a disagreement, or at least a caution. Cash moves a few steps, body heavy against the rooftop and making more noise than her steps would otherwise. "But that does not exclude all things. Each of us will have to say what we feel is best."

Astor graces Calvin with a sidelong look that has no particular change in the set of his eyebrows or posture or even a discernible twitch of muscle in his neck, but probably registers as a souring anyway. Not because of the comparison to JJ, or even the slight regarding his dedication to being a junkie. "So it starts," is one more fat poop-dab of resignation on a long, progressive trainwreck of resignation.

It shifts to Walter— peculiarly enough, in agreement. Not about the Refrain thing now, either, but marking the truth of his captivity. That's it. Nothing else. Arguing about drugs is boring; none of these people are his mom, and what his mom would prefer to do is a subject he has lately avoided disclosing specific opinion on anyway, nor proxy subjects, like the drawing or what K—

"Joshua," is all he manages to get out in that lagging instant before the guy suddenly steps off the roof.

A ripple of surprise through Astor in that instant. Maybe he hadn't seen that coming.

The next breath, he's flowing like ink toward the edge that the other man had trooped off, distracted, looking neither at his best friend nor Benji, especially not Ingrid, and out of everyone, it's Calvin he speaks to: "If you can get it to Pollepel, I'd appreciate it."

Crack, and then he's a murky streak down the ledge like an oil-spill or the runoff from a split skull. Gone.

In even agreement with Benji's logic so far as telling the truth goes, Calvin lacks the necessary restraint not to look self-satisfied when Joshua levers himself bodily off the roofside and plummets into oblivion.

Infuriatingly, he's still sporting the same smug hook at the crook of his mouth when Walter bears down upon him, nose and the scruff of his chin tipped up to accomodate for arrogance height difference exaggerated by pointing and shouting and all of that. He holds his ground. Impassive, even, as Astor trails after Joshua's exuent and then abruptly makes one of his own. He winks sidelong at Nora just before they're down by one more. Woo~.

"You're outvoted," he informs Walter. Honest and plain. "If you spent half as much time surveying the big picture as you do making our decisions for us you might have an understanding of why."

"You'd know." One of Ingrid's hands clutches the edge of the roof where both Astor and Joshua went off, and she raises her gaze to Calvin's face. It isn't resolve in her voice, not exactly, and it isn't an accusation either— whatever it is, it doesn't go any further than this: "About making— decisions for other people."

She looks at Benji. Her eyes are wet. "I'm sorry," she tells him, sounding very small. "I can't."

Walter is a lot of bluster. It's not often he gets well and truly angry; Kincaid will recognize the signs if only because he's been on the receiving end of it most often. His face goes tomato-red, but rather than shouting at Calvin across the rooftop, his mouth goes completely flat.

His chest rises, falls, and he is otherwise still. What's happening behind his rigid mask requires no movement at all.

Calvin could argue. Semantics. Or something.

But he doesn't even open his mouth as if he'd like to once his eyes have checked from Walter to Ingrid: beat red bluster to watery eyes. He's effectively subdued, antagonism stifled into a slow breath and a hollow clamp at his jaw.

The ledge over which two men disappeared— thunder echoing a warning as Astor vanishes, droplets beginning to come down to darken concrete and in Cash's case, granite— is watched by Benji as votes are read and barbs are traded, but it's the cant of his head that indicates attentive listening. Hands lock together.

When peace— or the absence of outright war— prevails, a sidelong glance from Benji to Howard swiftly negates Ingrid's with a venomous, "Don't act like you don't know what I think," and a turn as if maybe the electricity mimic might join the party in dramatic exit, but doesn't end up doing so. Sneakers scuff along the concrete rooftop, simply turning his back on the group to regard a frozen sunset.

For all that Benji proposed truth telling, called for a vote, he doesn't solidify his opinion with a verbal affirmation, mutely dismayed as they're so suddenly down by two, one more important to him than the other, and passive guilt has his attention skidding away from Ingrid's watery look towards him. "Sorry," he near whispers, and a fleeting glance to Walter directs the apology his way, letting him represent all those that voted no. He is taking Howard's response as a yes. Joshua and Astor presumably abstaining.

"You'll just have to watch over us," he adds to the redheaded time ninja, chin lifting a little and trying for a weak smile. He flits one last look to Ingrid, then to Calvin, but addresses the group when he says, "So it starts."

An echo of Astor's assessment, before each one disappears in the finality of decision, even if it's not uniformed — but at least it's done before it can really start to rain.

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