Down but Not Out


gael2_icon.gif liza_icon.gif

Scene Title Down but Not Out
Synopsis The erstwhile Company man relates his latest war story.
Date October 14, 2010

Gun Hill — Rooftop

Situated atop the Gun Hill apartment building, five stories above street level, the rooftop of the tenement building overlooks the Bronx's gritty urban landscape. A single stair access leads out onto the smooth concrete rooftop surrounded by a three foot high red brick wall with a masoned top. Ventillation pipes and a chimney that connects to the singular fireplace down in the basement rises up from the concrete rooftop, though the chimney's old brick is crumbling and weathered.

A pair of old sun-bleached folding lawn chairs are situated out on the roof along with a plastic cooler, while white sacks of loam and soil are set next to large lengths of scrap wood, a box of nails and a few carpentry tools; a project in the works.

The roof of the apartment building has become a recurring hang-out spot for Gael since he started hiding out there. It's got a decent view of the streets below, it's out of sight of prying eyes - at least the garden variety thereof - and it offers a break from his own four walls and the sparse furnishings within.

Tonight, he's sacked out on a full-body-length plastic lawn chair next to the pile of construction materials, staring up at the sky, one leg stretched out at an awkward angle.

"You okay?" Liza questions as she notices him, the door to the inside shutting behind her. Seems that he's not the only one that's found the roof as a good haunt. Today, it wasn't to look at the sunset, but it was mostly for the night air, hugging her arms a bit as she peers over.

"I'm—" No, he isn't fine, he winces visibly as he turns to face Liza. The leg doesn't appear broken, but there's a bulge near the knee, gauze wrapped around it beneath the fabric. "I'll be all right," Gael manages, once the pain subsides again.

In his calmer moments, she's known him to make dry understatements from time to time. This is one of those moments. "Benjamin and I just got back from a long trip earlier today…"

There's a skeptical look as Liza glances at his knee as she heads over before she peers over the edge of the roof. "Did it go well? I suppose it wasn't without it's little problems." She points out, peering at his leg. Yeah, she can sympathize with the leg injury thing. Most definitely.

"Oh, it was full of problems," replies Gael, running a hand over his face. "And I got off pretty lightly, all things considered. But we did what we set out to do." Leaning forward, he rolls the pant leg up to check on the bandage, letting it fall back into place after. "How much did Ben tell you? Anything?"

"Nothing really." Liza moves to sit down, back against the ledge that rounds the roof. "But you're alive and that's always a good thing." It's more than they can say for a lot of people they knew. "And you did what you set out to do." She smiles. "So… it went well, either way."

Someone needs to tell the story. It's a damn good one. And if Benjamin hasn't, then Gael is certainly willing. "The Institute was about to hack access to our tracking satellite," he explains, beginning at the beginning. "Worse than that— reconfigure it for GPS-level accuracy. No one that they had a whim to experiment on - or push out of the way - would have been safe."

Liza's bright eyes go wide at the suggestion. "That's like having Big Brother watching 24/7… that'd be near unstoppable. You wouldn't be able to hide anywhere. You stopped them from hacking the satellite, right?" She questions.

"You remember that Chinese satellite that supposedly blew up on the launchpad? That was us. We had a microwave emitter, but it didn't make on" - Gael winces at the memory, tangled up with the thought that he almost didn't make it on - "but it turned out we had a spare. And if the Institute knows how to hack into a cloud of vapor, then they deserve to play Big Brother."

"No one deserves to play Big Brother, or even God like that." Liza's lips curve into a frown as she focuses on Gael. "You think they'll try and retaliate? That could have been a huge advancement for them. Losing something like that…? I'm sure they're angry."

A dark look crosses Gael's face. "If they knew where we were, then they'd be coming after us anyway, just because we didn't roll over for them back in August." What he lost that day— there's a reason he spent most of the intervening time crawling into a bottle.

"All this does is force them to start over from square one— gives us a few more years to finish taking them apart. At least the ones who've been calling the shots."

He's not the only one who lost a lot that day. Liza frowns, fiddling with the hem of her shirt. "You think that we can take them down? I mean, after everything there's only a handful of us. What's to say they won't find us? They have resources. At this point, I don't know what we have left. We're hiding out. This is not something I ever even thought would happen…"

Gael shakes his head. "Not by ourselves," he admits, "but we're not alone, either. There are other groups who see the Institute for what it is, and have resources of their own. It won't be easy, even then, but it will be possible if we cooperate." It's a big if.

An if is all Liza needs for some hope. "Then we can take them down. I'm not about to sit around and let them get away with what they did. If there's a chance… then we should take it and we should fight and we should show them they messed with the wrong people."

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