Everyone's Best Interests


ling_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Everyone's Best Interests
Synopsis The day after their underwater adventure, Ling and Melissa talk about Messiah, their lives, and the future.
Date July 14, 2010

Little Green House

After yesterday's…adventure…Melissa spent a good chunk of time outside the house. Working. Really, it was work. That's what happens when you have two jobs and this many people in the house that you need to support. Or at least it works as a valid excuse to keep her from having to answer questions for a few hours. Tonight, however, finds her at home.

Surprisingly, there is no movie on the TV, as there normally seems to be. Instead she's got her legs stretched out, feet propped on the table, and there's a laptop resting on her thighs. Headphones connect from the computer to her ears, so there must be something playing, but what's showing on the screen is a web browser.

Ling Chao has been scarce since the previous day’s excursion down into the waters around Staten Island, but anyone who had seen her could fairly easily tell how nonplussed she was the entire rest of the evening, and even this day she seemed little different. Quieter than usual, more thoughtful, and highly avoidant.

When she plods down the stairs, dressed as proper as she can be given her limited options, it’s likely the first time most have seen her all day. But when she spots Melissa sitting in the living room, her brow furrow, arms crossing as she stares for a minute. “We need to talk,” she says firmly, and it’s clear she has something in mind.

Those words have Melissa looking up, so whatever she's listening to isn't that loud. She nods, pushes a few buttons, then tugs the headphones off and shuts the computer, setting it on the coffee table. "Yeah, figured we might. This about yesterday? Magnes or the ship?" she asks, rising to her feet and motioning for Ling to follow her onto the back patio, before she grabs her cigarettes and lighter. No smoking in the house, apparently.

Ling stands in place for a moment, gaze trailing Melissa out to the patio before following after, albeit rather slowly. “The ship… while someplace I would never want to return, is ultimately nothing worse than some of this bizarre and depraved things I have seen in Chinatown,” she remarks as she steps out after Melissa. She silent for a moment before she looks over, motioning to Melissa’s cigarettes. “Would you mind?” she questions with an arched eyebrow. She’d actually never had to “bum” a cigarette before, as she’d heard it called.

"I've never seen anything quite like it myself," Melissa says, shaking her head, but a cigarette is offered over, along with the lighter. "I need to be careful thought or I'll start developing some sort of psychosis involving skeletons. Not long after we moved in here we found one walled up in the basement. It's been dealt with though, so you don't gotta worry or anything."

Ling scoff, shaking her head. “I don’t care about the skeleton in your… literal closets, Melissa.” The cigarette is looked at disdainfully as she takes it and flips open the lighter. The irony was not lost on her, but she’d picked up the habit during her months of paranoid seclusion within the Corinthian. “Magnes, however, is another matter,” she comments as she takes a drag.

Melissa's nose wrinkles and she shakes her head, looking disgusted. "Magnes is a child who refuses to grow the fuck up and act his age," she says before lighting her own cigarette. "He's got this whole…superhero bullshit stuck in his mind, and the world is all black and white to him. I swear, he still thinks like an eight year old or something."

Childish does not even begin to describe the antics I saw on display yesterday,” Ling intones with her eyes narrowed. “And not just from Magnes. I… believe that you and Peter are the only ones who conducted themselves with any sense of professionalism through that whole ordeal.”

Melissa smiles faintly. "To be fair, Faron didn't arrive until it was over, so can't really accuse him of acting childish. Harrison…" She trails off, shrugging, and takes another drag. "Harrison is young, and innocent in a lot of ways. I'm honestly not sure that he is cut out for this, though he surprised me on our first mission. He was calm, did the job. But…it seems like he had a bit of hero worship going on, and Magnes acting like a dumbshit was a lil' like when you're a kid and you find out Santa's not real."

“Hmph,” Ling huffs, shaking her head with disdain. “Then I trust everyone in this… organization isn’t as childish as yesterday would make one believe?” She glances sidelong over to Melissa, eyebrow still arched. “Because I have made many compromises as of late, but if there is one thing I absolutely will not tolerate, it is having to handle children and such blatant unprofessionalism.”

"I've yet to meet anyone else who is anywhere close to as immature as either of them were yesterday. Everyone else I've met has long since lost that feel that the world should be fair. They do the job they're given. They do it professionally." Melissa considers for a moment as she leans against the wall of the house. "I'd even go so far as to say they're like soldiers. Hell, wouldn't be surprised if some of them have served in the military at some point. So no, you won't have to handle children and unprofessionalism."

“I sure hope so,” Ling responds, smoke from the tip of her fingers beginning to drift and intermingle with the smoke from her cigarette, almost like some sort of natural reaction. “The boy’s view of choosing sides is idiotic. There is no such thing as neutrality, and I am amazed that they were willing to let him leave so easily, knowing that.” She turns to face Melissa . “In the business world, doing such a thing costs one their job and reputation. I can only imagine what repercussions such an action will have for him now.”

Easily. Melissa isn't sure it'll be that easy, but she doesn't say anything. "I promise, everyone else has been very mature about the whole thing. And you are right. You can't be neutral in this. If you're evolved, you're in the war, period. The only choice is whether you decide to sink, or do your damndest to swim, to fight."

Fight. There’s that word again. “You do not strike me as the sort of person who would normally be caught up in something like this, Melissa,” Ling states, suddenly. “The kind to fight, Tell me. What brings you to this.”

There's a long moment of silence, where Melissa just smokes and looks out across the yard towards the harbor. "Well…it's kind of a long story. Sure you wanna hear it all?" she asks, though she doesn't sound adverse to the telling of it.

“If you don’t wish to tell, I won’t force you. I am merely curious as to if you’re in the same situation I am,” Ling admits, staring ahead herself. “One where your life depends on certain things.”

Smiling, Melissa shakes her head. "I don't mind. So, after the Evolved came out of the proverbial closet, and they started all that registration bullshit, I got picked up. I hadn't done anything wrong. No bank robberies, no acts of terrorism, no randomly hurting people with my ability or being open about it. I just did my own thing. Didn't matter. Got tossed in Moab. All because I was evolved and they decided that I was too dangerous to be left among the population."

Another drag and her head leans back to rest against the house. "There was a breakout. Something happened, and I ended up out of the prison, just appeared there. So, of course, I didn't go back. Instead I went to the Ferrymen. Helped keep people free. Moving evolved to safe places and stuff like that. Getting them to safehouses, out of the country…whatever worked. Then I got asked to come here and run a safehouse of my own. I figured why not, and moved here, took partial control of a place called the Den, with another Ferry member."

"When the 510 hit, the Den became the place for the Ferry to bring the sick people. Had several there, including some kids. Like, one girl was three, I think. Then we got raided. Found out after that, that the Den wasn't ever supposed to be a real safehouse. It was just something to appease the Department of Evolved Affairs." She sneers slightly. "Though of course they couldn't tell me that. I didn't like being used, and I didn't like that they'd put so many people at risk. So many kids. So I quit. I couldn't trust the leadership of the Ferry."

Another drag, and the cigarette is put out in an ashtray. "A month or so ago, Peter came to me, told me about Messiah, what they wanted to do, and I joined. Kendall is part of the reason for that. When the 510 hit, he got sick, got outted, and his parents kicked him out. His own parents, just because he was evolved. So I took him in. But I never want him or anyone else to end up in Moab, or someplace worse."

It's not the whole truth, but it is the truth. She's just not close enough to Ling to give the whole truth yet. Then again, she hasn't told anyone the whole truth yet.

Ling looks down at the other woman, watching her, appraising her as she tells her tale. She takes slow, occasional drags of her cigarette, as the smoke around her grows, the smoke from her grows, the tips of her hair having reverted to a wholly ethereal state to match the air around her.

“Hmph. Then I suppose some of what Peter says is true.” One last, long drag, and her cigarette is discarded. “Or you tell a carefully crafted and constructed story, delivered with feigned sincerity. Luckily, I do not believe that to be the case.” She holds a hand out in front of her, palm facing in, eyes narrowed. “There is a reason I worked so hard to keep my nature a secret, as I’ve said before. I suppose that forms part of the reason I’ve decided to go through with this. I am nothing without a reputation.”

A long sigh, and deep breath follows. “But I am also here because I know if I don’t do something, I am going to die.”

Melissa's eyes open and she smiles wryly as she looks over to Ling. "I wish it were a carefully crafted story. Unfortunately, I have proof that it isn't." She steps closer, lifting her chin and pointing to the injection scar she received in Moab. "People who were in Moab have this. They keep our powers negated so that we couldn't use them to escape. Some of us also have these," and then the scar on her neck from the tracker is shown.

After a moment she steps back, her head tilting. "What's the deal with you and this Cong guy? You said he had information you had to have? Is that what you mean about dying? Or is it just the evolved thing?"

For a moment, Ling regards Melissa with a hint of suspicion as she looks at the marks that Melissa bares. Granted, such things could be placed by anyone dedicated enough to go through the process. But again, Melissa doesn’t strike as that kind of person. Not reasily, at least.

“Doctor Cong is a mistake I should have corrected when I had the chance,” Ling intones darkly, eyes narrowed, and she falls quiet for a moment. “You heard me tell Peter that I handled business, for the Linderman Group with the Triads, yes?” Her eyes slide over to look at Melissa in her peripheral. “I was planted into their midst, working for Doctor Cong as a spy. And the Ye siblings running things turned me into a drug pusher, to get a new designer drug out on the street.” This was where things were likely to get dicey, and she knew it. Still, even if Melissa took exception, it was no big deal to her. Perhaps then she finally feel free of whatever power kept her at the little green house.

“I trust you’ve heard of Refrain?”

Melissa nods. "Yeah, I've heard of it. Didn't have much anything to do with it, on either side though. Evolved drug, though, yeah? And Cong made you into a drug pusher? Why? Did he just want the money from selling it?"

“The Ye Siblings,” she corrects, arms folding across her midsection. “Money. Power. The same thing people like that always want. While I have never been opposed to using unscrupulous methods to acquire either, I do not take well to being belittled down to the position of drug pusher.” She snorts and shakes her head, a distinctly cynical tone in her voice. “Of course, their bid for power and their decadence caught up with them at last. Song Ye was murdered, and Linderman and their associates saw an opening. A chance to bring an end to the Flying Dragons and instil a new Triad in power, one they backed.” Her head hangs a big, and she sighs. “And of course, when that opening came, I was there. And I murdered Liu Ye myself.” She pauses, gaze drifting again to Melissa, watching her carefully, gauging her reaction before she continues.

Melissa is hardly one to yell murderer after having recently killed people herself. Besides, she doesn't know Liu Ye, so she just nods. "I can see that. People in power always want more power, and Linderman is hardly lacking in that."

Ling scoffs, shaking her head. “Always. I’ve been there myself, as I’m sure you can imagine. I made quite a bit for that piece of work. It’s where the funds I had you acquire come from, largely.” She falls silent a again for a moment, running a hand through her long hair. “I don’t know if you’ve ever actually killed a person, Melissa. Much less someone at the top of a deadly organization, and seen by his associates during the act. It lends itself to a sort of paranoid reclusiveness.”

Another brief pause and Ling makes an abstract gesture out with her arm. “While I do not know the direct relationship, it was clear to me that Cong was in some form close to the Yes. it’s not hard to figure that he took to such things with anger and regret.” Now she turns to face Melissa again. “What did you see at June 10th?”

“Yeah, that'll do it. I can see why you're worried," Melissa says, nodding. Then she mentions that date, and Mel goes quiet. "You got a vision too? Did you see one of them getting revenge or something? Is that what's gotten you involved? Trying to prevent it from happening?" she asks softly.

“I died.” The statement is made flatly, almost entirely lacking in emotion. “I saw a man I do not know, through blurred and dying eyes, after having been shot. All I know was that he had blonde hair. I, however, believe myself to not be a fool. Nor am I one to allowed such things as my own future to be taken out of my own hands.” Ling extends a finger, pointing to the cigarettes. “May I? I’m sure I can get you more later, if nessecary?”

A cough as she waits, and he ehad turns to look back out from the house. “I am certain that much of this traces back to the Triads, and that somewhere in Bao-Wei’s files, I’ll find what I’m looking for. He even seemed to indicate as much when I saw him, scoffing at my mention of a blonde man.”

"Me casa es su casa," Melissa says, waving a hand at the cigarettes. She doesn't mind sharing. "And yeah, that's one hell of a vision. I saw myself held at gunpoint by some woman I've never met, so I sympathize. But we'll find out what Bao-Wei is hiding, Ling. I'm not gonna let you get killed."

Another snort and amused laughter are the responses Melissa gets from Ling. “Of course not,” she says dryly, still looking morbidly amused. “I had him. That’s what annoys me so about this whole situation. I had him and his entire office at my disposal. And he still bested me. That’s… how I ended up here.” A beat passes before Ling looks back to Melissa, her head tilting and eyes narrowed as she looks at her silently. “Perhaps, then, we are more kindred spirits than I imagined. As odd a concept as that is to me.”

Melissa laughs and shrugs. "Not that odd to me. And if he's working for the Institute, it's not entirely out of the question. They do have negation gas, which takes away a lot of our advantage. Really sucks, too." She sobers. "I mean it though, Ling. Not gonna let him kill you. Or the blonde guy. Messiah won't let it happen. We take care of our own."

Ling wrinkles her nose, chuckling. “I suppose it’s good that I have decided to stay here, then. Clearly, it’s in everyone’s best interests.”Arms cross again, a half grin on her face as she looks down at Melissa. The cigarette handed to her is lit, and once more she takes that first, long drag.

Perhaps this really wouldn’t be so bad.

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