ruth_icon.gif tris_icon.gif

Scene Title Downtime
Synopsis While familiarising themselves with their environment, Tristan Bentley and Ruth Crow Dog wind up familiarising themselves with each other.
Date August 16, 2009

Textile Factory 17

Situated on the banks of the Hudson River in the Red Hook neighborhood, Textile Factory 17 was once a part of a greater industrial complex in New York in the late 1800's. The building itself has that distinctive architectural look of an industrial revolution factory; constructed primarily from aged red brick, Textile Factory 17 however has one defining trait that sets it apart from the other factories in the area, an outer wall that surrounds the factory that closely resembles the bailey of a castle more so than an industrial complex.

The Factory complex is made up of seven distinct buildings, all having been abandoned since the company that owned the mill went bankrupt thirty-six years ago. The factory, warehouse, commons and shipping buildings all sit in derelict condition, having been cut off from the majority of New York's homeless due to the heavy gate that cordons off the facility from the nearby roads.

While it rests clearly in public view and is considered a historic landmark to the Red Hook neighborhood, time and circumstance has not allowed the factory to be refurbished for other purposes.

Clear, sunny, warm, and terribly humid — an eminently typical summer afternoon in New York. Especially down here in Red Hook, not so very far from the shore. There are construction crews in the background, an immense brick building in the foreground, and a lone woman sitting in its shadow, her hands folded across her knees. She wears a black tanktop and camo-printed pants, dark hair loose. The breeze is too faint to do much to it. Head canted slightly, her attention seems to be focused on some of the nearby shrubbery, what was perhaps landscaping once upon a time but is now just so much untamed brush.

There's a sudden slam, gunshot-like, that reverberates through the peaceful silence. A door banging into its frame, metallic and harsh. Before ears can completely clear of it again, there's a creak of hinges, and it repeats once more. It's a test, and not terribly unfamiliar. Tris isn't particularly a quiet presence.

A moment later, he's moving into sight from the shadow of the building, not dressed so unlike the woman perched across the way. A T-shirt with torn off sleeves, fitted camo pants with the hems tucked into solid boots, scuffed and leaving prints in the gravel and dirt. Upon seeing the presence of the seated woman, he pauses, clear blue eyes going wide in something like boyish guilt, a glance over his bared shoulder, then back to her.

The crooked smile is kind of apologetic, as his voice when he calls a, "Sorry, didn't know you were out here," over.

The gunshot-slam sets off a riotous clamor. Bird voices, this time, the raucous complaints of three different blue jays. Two of them flutter out of the shrubbery towards the top of the building, favoring altitude and its presumed safety; their plumage is grayer, less elegant than the classic blue jay; they're young. The third flits to Ruth's shoulder instead, turning one black beady eye on the man who emerges. Once he's in sight, the avian proceeds to chew him out in the fashion only jays can accomplish.

Ruth herself regards Tris for a long moment, one corner of her mouth tugging back at the jay's harangue. She murmurs seeming nonsense syllables, dark eyes narrowing slightly with the expenditure of effort. The bird grumbles to silence. "I usually am," she reminds Bentley. "Where were you going in such a hurry?" Since presumably there was hurry involved somehow in making such a clatter with the door.

"Nowhere," Tris says, focus narrowing onto the nearby bird with faint distrust, as he ambles on closer. "I was practicing." Swiveling on a heel so that he might take in the building— an unusual set of headquarters if he'd ever seen one but, I mean, whatever— he gestures vaguely towards it. "I have the front entrance and the side door coming up from the basement figured out, working on the garages. Give me an hour of nothing else to do and I'll have this whole place down."

He raises a hand to scratch at his jaw, cleanly shaven, which is more than can be said when he's first arrived in New York City. There's still a scar at his brow from the eyebrow ring he'd taken out. One of those signs that speaks of how he never thought he'd be back in fatigues. He glances to the nearby birds. "Friends've yours?"

Ruth tilts her head back, looking at the smaller figures watching them from far above. "Eventually," she replies. "It takes a lot more than an hour to train them. Especially when they get startled." There's no rebuke in her tone, although the words were probably chosen with such in mind. Ruth transfers the jay to her hand, the bird's feet clinging tightly to her finger as the woman levers herself up from the ground.

"This one's a little further along," she continues, extending her hand towards Tris. "…Don't try to touch him. I can't promise he'll stand for it." Well, she could, but Ruth has something else in mind anyway. She returns the whole of her attention to the jay, adjusting the feel of her ability's projection, the emotions she seeks to imprint on the bird. "This is Tris," Ruth says, with all the formality of a meaningful introduction; not that the bird understands the words, but as a focus for her intent, they work well.

The blue jay tips its head and peers at Bentley, warbling a seeming question.

It's not hard to train doors. Guns, perhaps. Knives, even more so, but the mechanical open/shut of a doorway— the work is practically already done for him. Birds, though. Animals. The burly blonde soldier lets hesitation cross his features, back straight and a glance shot back behind him, as if expecting to see Spalding come striding on out just in time to see Bentley be introduced to a blue jay.

Like a fucking fairy Disney princess. Still. He knows his manners.

Tris steps on over a little closer, managing to banish back the awkwardness threatening to prevail. "Yo," he tells the bird, a hand lifting as if maybe he'd try to touch the jay, like the way you would greet someone's pet, but hesitates halfway, remembering her warning not to do exactly that, and so his hand hovers in a limb between them. "He knows words?"

Maybe Tris can be trained, too. Not touching the bird is a good first step. Especially when said bird eyes the hand as if it might have teeth, and sidles as close to Ruth's wrist as it can get without actually leaving its perch. "Not as far as I can tell," the animal telepath replies, tone somewhat distracted; her concentration isn't on the conversation. "Though I've known jays to learn some before." Lifting her hand above her head, Ruth directs the bird to leave; it does, swooping back into the bushes with a jay's distinctive bobbing flight. "Point is, he knows you, or will after I reinforce it a bit. The others, too. First hurdle in defining friend versus foe." Something doors, guns, and knives can't do on their own.

Tris's hand falls to his side as he watches the jay's journey away into the overgrown greenery, his hands coming to settle on his waist as he watches the last of the leaves rustle into place from their swaying disruption, then back to his colleague. "My mom had a cat," he says, after a pause. "Little shit hated me. I don't even know. Like— dogs will make an effort, even if they hate you. Especially if you got food. They'll come around now and then. But cats it's just like— you're dead in their book, you stay six fucking feet under. Friend versus foe nothing."

The heel of his boot scuffs against the ground, his arms coming up to fold, his weight rocking up to the balls of his feet. Ever restless, ever energetic. "You've been doing this for a while, right? Talking to animals as part of your duties?"

"Cats are tough," Ruth agrees mildly, watching Tris fidget in place. "I don't work with them often. Dogs… there's a couple strays around, still half-wild. If you see them, please try not to spook them too badly." She'd really appreciate it; makes her work that much easier.

The woman, far more reserved in manner than Tris, turns her head at his question, regarding him obliquely. After a moment, she nods, a cursory dip of chin towards chest. "Yes. A few years." The timbre of Ruth's tone doesn't invite further questions, but it's not emphaticly forbidding either. Probably to her detriment. "Since before they had a name for it."

His mouth twists into a smile - sardonic in execution, somewhat removed from otherwise expressive sky blue eyes. He thumbs away a drop of sweat from his brow; nods once. "Then I guess this can't be so weird for you," Tris says, and he glances towards where the iron gate seals the property within the looping fences, where weeds grow up amongst wire and wood and brick, littered with aged graffiti, but it's not the walls he's focused on when he raises a hand.

The clang of metal might do something to scare away even more bird life, but it's some distance from where they stand. They won't be able to hear the sound of a lock coming apart, but Ruth can both see and hear one of the doorways flinging back, the grind of its hinges, although perhaps mercifully, it doesn't bash crudely into the fencing attached to it, momentum slowing thanks to some invisible force.

"Almost forgot - I got that one too," Tris notes, hand lowering, looking back at her, a flicker of a smile. "Shit like that got me kicked out the first time, but here I am. I guess you had the whole… mysticism thing working for you."

"Life is weird," Ruth informs Tris. She slides her fingers into the pocketsof her pants, gaze sweeping idly across their surroundings. "But no — compared to when I started, this is not so strange." Not even when Tris decides to show off, the woman looking towards the gate in accordance with his gesture, the direction of his attention; her expression is thoughtful. "Can you move it more slowly from the beginning?" she asks curiously. Doesn't just leave the conversation there, his subsequent comment requiring further response; Ruth shakes her head slowly. "'Mysticism'. No. They spent months trying to figure out how I ticked, and when they finally decided the ability was a useful mystery sent me to be retrained in intel so I could apply it."

There's no magician's hand gesture this time, only a glance towards the gate, and gently, as if eased shut by a loving groundskeeper, the gate creaks to close. It settles gently back into its frame with barely a whisper of metal meeting metal. "I could rip it off its hinges too," Tris adds, and it's relatively hard to tell if that's an exaggeration, blue eyes twinkling with overgrown mischief. "Which I guess is the kind've thing I'm here for. So I guess I know that if there's a birdie on my window sill in the morning, it could be you?"

Ruth looks askance at Tris's statement — but not knowing the particulars of his ability, she can't refute it no matter how much she doubts the assertion. It's the mischief in his expression that feeds those doubts. "Maybe," the woman replies. "Sometimes it'll just be a bird." Her smile stretches, mischief expressed in a more subtle fashion; more sly than Tris's energy. "Odds are you won't be able to tell."

That elicits a chuckle from Tris, appreciating the fact he's got on that one. "I'll master the art of curtains," he says, and takes a step back, a glance up at the bright, sunny sky. Hell of a lot cooler than what he's used to, clammier too, but sunlight is the same all over. "I'll let you get back to saying 'hi' to everyone," he says, with a nod towards the bushes. "Stray dogs and bobcats and whatever the hell else hangs out here. If you get bored," and now he's headed for the door at a casual saunter, "I'll be in the basement. There's a bunch of crap down there Spalding wants me to get a grip on."

'Grip' being a rather understated but perhaps surprisingly apt phrase about the particulars of his ability, and he flashes her a smile as he adds, "And you can get nervous about a guy who can shoot rocket launches with his brain. God knows the Army totally did. Until recently."

"Couple cats, a lot more mice," Ruth comments in reply. "Foxes and — well, you'd be surprised if you knew." There's a lot of life around where it's least expected. Never mind the ubiquitous birds. She turns to face Tris squarely, an economical pivot of feet that the rest of her body must follow. Watches him stroll towards the door, a faint smirk tugging her lips to the side. "You play cribbage, Bentley?"

He pivots, though doesn't necessarily stop walking - continuing his pacing back facing her even as he moves for the building. Tris' hands go up, palms open in a shrugging kind of gesture. "It's not a hobby, but yeah, sure, I play." He chins ups to her, mirroring her smirk back at her, if brighter. "Why?"

Ruth chuckles softly. "Why else?" she asks in riposte. The answer should be obvious. "If you're up for a game later…? I have a board."

Yeah, stupid question Bentley, and his mouth draws into a mock-rueful smile as she spells it out for him. But of course, there's always the fact that perhaps he wanted her to. "I'm so there," Tris promises, with enthusiasm that's both mildly, knowingly sarcastic (it doesn't get any more exciting down at Red Hook, right?) as well as genuine, the latter of which is communicated more in the smile that comes afterwards.

A hand goes up, arcs in a slight wave, as he steers his body back around and for the door, tossing a, "I'll catch you later, Ruth," over his shoulder.

The woman inclines her head in response to Tris' wave; doesn't watch him go, but turns away as well, looking at the run-down buildings of the textile factory, the equipment of the construction crews, the black vehicles with their FRONTLINE emblems and a new coating of dust from all the work going on around them. Those will have to be washed, soon. But her attention doesn't dwell on the vehicles; Ruth soon returns to her seat, closing her eyes, listening in a way ears alone don't quite allow.

Their current idleness, this time granted for practice, for wearing the rough edges from their unit, won't last long enough.

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