Everyone's Business


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Scene Title Everyone's Business
Synopsis The future that seems to be foretold in a set of mysterious paintings are just that.
Date June 14, 2011

Ruins of Midtown

Today, the weather is gray and humid; the temperature would be cool if it weren't for the way the air seems to be made out of wet velvet, making clothes and hair stick to skin uncomfortably. With a hood over her ducked head, Tasha rides through the rugged streets of midtown on Colette's motorbike; from a distance she could be Colette or possibly a young man — the dark jeans and gray hoodie make it hard to tell, which is why they were chosen.

With her "academic" summer in full swing, now that her semester has wrapped up — less than stellar grades, but she managed to pass all her classes somehow — Tasha Renard is doing today what she spends many afternoons doing: errands and chores at Grand Central Terminal. After all, she can get around more easily and she's not a fugitive — it's safer for her than those who live at the terminal as a refuge.

After watching to be sure she's not being followed, Tasha makes her way into the tunnel that leads to Grand Central, hopping off the bike and leaving it near the fish mural before heading inside, lugging a duffel bag full of food and other supplies from "civilization."

Inside the main part of the Terminal, Benjamin Ryans is setting a crate with food stuff on the large dinner table. Next to it is another smaller box, which he transfers a box of colorful looking cereal from one box to the other. It's hard to tell what he's thinking, brows furrowed a little, mouth set in a straight line. His clothing looks worn and in need of replacement, but the hair and scruffy stubble makes it work.

Foot steps pull his attention from what he is doing, alert and tense. At least until he sees who it is. "Tasha." The greeting is pleasant with a slight tilting up at the corner of his mouth in a smile. "Just in time." He pats a hand on the edge of one of the boxes. "Got an order for supplies for the Bay House. You up to running them over?" A brow lifts a touch to added to the question.

Moving the duffel bag of supplies toward where they keep the cans and boxes of food for those at the terminal, Tasha greets Ryans with a little bit of a shy smile. "Hi, Mr. Ryans," she says softly. "Sure, no problem."

She sets about putting away the cans and boxes of what she's brought with her, and then moving to where they keep medical supplies to do the same with the small store of over-the-counter medicines, bandages and ointments to replenish the supply at the terminal.

"If they wanna just call me or message me with what they need from now on, can cut out the middle man and I can pick up what they need in town," she adds, moving toward him with her empty bag. "When'd you get in town?" Tasha adds.

"I checked in while I was in town." Since it was kinda his job to keep an eye on what the Ferry has in the way of safe houses. "Offered to take a list." Ben shrugs a single shoulder and moves back to packing the boxes better for travel.

"Got in this morning," he adds as an after thought. "Should see the plants growing out there. Like weeds, already got tomatoes turning red. So there will be some fresh vegetables soon. Strawberries are taking off as well, nice treat for everyone." He pauses realizing he is going on like that. Probably more then he's said in sometime.

"How have things been on the mainland?" he asks.

It might be the longest she's ever spoken to Ryans, and she nods a little dumbly; she never "lived" on Pollepel, except the odd night or two or three. "They're … okay, I guess. I donno if people told you — there's a third kind of robot roaming about so be careful… it looks like a little spider or crab or something, and we think it took pictures… then it kind of changed and spouted fire." It sounds ridiculous, and Tasha snorts at her words, shaking her head.

"Sounds like Sci Fi. 1984, or Fahrenheit 451 or something, right? Also you should probably wear a mask or be careful if you go into town… I think you're… you know. Like me?" Non-Evolved. The way she says it, it's as if it's something to be ashamed of.

"The flu's pretty bad," she adds. She wears no mask and there's no bandana or anything around her neck to suggest she's taken the same precautions she advises him to.

"I've heard about the flu," which by his tone he's dismissing, though her advice is probably considered. The fact that he isn't wearing a mask says he's about as concerned about his own health as she is her own. Maybe it's why he doesn't point out that she should take her own advice. He'd be a hell of a hypocrite. Not that it stopped him before.

Brows furrow as he turns back to the young woman, "The robots concern me more." Easier to miss then the bigger ones, if the little robots ever decided to roam the underground… "It's something I think could be a major concern for everyone." Now that he thinks about it….

"Didn't something about that circulate the grapevine? Along with something else?" So much as happened, that clearly it slipped his attention. He's not pleased with himself at that.

Tasha chews her lower lip for a moment, nodding, then pulls out her cell phone. A few swipes and jabs and soon she has the images of the paintings up, moving closer to him to hand him the phone. "We found those. Robyn Quinn and me? We stowed them in a nearby building, 'cause they were kinda too big to lug back. They might still be there. I'm not sure."

She leans over his shoulder, once he's looked at the main shot of the green photo, the one with the masked faces looming above a body bag, she swipes it to show the others — the blue with a skeletal robotic form standing over what looks like a body, the red one where the two silhouettes stand before a fire, hands and skulls hinted at by vague brush strokes. "That weather dude Trev whatever? He was the one who dropped them and ran… I … I don't think they're really art, you know?"

Given the phone, Ben pulls out a chair and sits while she flips through them. He's silent through it and even swipes all the way back to the first one. Only then does he softly rumble out, "I believe you are right." Experience helps bring him to that conclusion. His finger tabs on the small screen, before looking at Tasha.

"I would not be surprised if that is what is happening right now." The flu he means. Eyes drift back to the phone and he flips to the next, bringing it closer to try and get a good look at details. After a moment, he makes a slightly annoyed sound. "Willing to show me to the real paintings?" he asks, offering her phone back. "I'd like to get a good look at them. Maybe help you get them back here for safe keeping."

Taking the phone, Tasha slips it back into the pocket of her jeans. "Sure. It's on the outskirts," she says, nodding her head toward the door for him to follow.

"It might take a couple trips. They're pretty big, as tall as me. Me and Quinn would barely be able to see the street carrying them, but you have an advantage there." Her brown eyes sparkle as she looks up at his much-greater height as she leads him out of the terminal to the tunnels that will lead to the street, and eventually the building they stowed the paintings in.

It takes some time, but soon Benjamin finds himself standing in front of three rather large paintings. This was much better then squinting at a screen. Arms crossed over his chest, he studies them where they sit propped.

"Green… color for illness. The flu maybe." He's sounds like he's only half talking to the girl with him. "P-p-l-a-u-s… Applause… Studio my son works maybe?" That makes worry twist in his gut, but at the same time it could be someone his son and grandson work with. "It could be the Institute as well, but I haven't heard anything about them lately."

Moving on to the next painting. "Red… fire. Rage, chaos…. war. Bodies burning in the fire." He points to pairs of dots in the background. " Robots maybe? But who are the figures?" Blue eyes drift to the last painting.

"Blue… Night time, which tends to be when we see the robots. Sadness," Ben states as he rattles off stuff thoughtfully. "Robot attacking a woman. Long hair. Light in color, maybe." He sends a sideways glance to Tasha, giving her a small smile. "It's a good find. As cryptic as any painting a precognitive would come up with. I wonder if we can find a way to get close to this Trev guy? Curious to know what other paintings he might have tucked away."

Tasha stands a little behind and to the side of Ryans, head tilted as she surveys the paintings for the third time up close, though she has the details memorized from many glances at her phone. "It looks like a body bag," she points out, the jagged vee of what looks like a zipper closing. "I didn't know you had a son," she adds, but she doesn't pry. Her own relations were secret for a long time, after all.

"I gave the phone we found, that Trev Tea… Teas-something, the weather guy? To the twins. They might still have it. You could probably say you found the cell phone and want to return it to him, or something? You're probably better at that kind of thing than me," she suggests tentatively. "Though he might not care anymore. Probably just bought a new one. Have you seen the suits he wears? He obviously has money to spend on frivolous things." Her lips quirk into a smile.

"Bradley Russo."

Realizing it might sounds out of context he clarifies. "My son that is. It hasn't been known all that long," he explains as he moves to take one of the paintings. He holds it out arms length and glances down the length of it. "Not exactly on speaking terms… I think I'll see if the twins have that phone."

That last coming out of the blue. "Not sure it's a good idea if I go to someone like that either. If Staten taught me anything, it's that I can't hide in plain sight so to speak." Being so easily recognized bothered him. It meant they were expecting him out there. "That was Staten Island however…" Tho he's not all that convinced he'd be okay pursuing.

"Oh," Tasha says a little vaguely at the admission the celebrity is his son. "I'm sorry. I know what it's like not to be speaking. From the other side's perspective, though, I can guarantee you it doesn't mean he doesn't care." Her tone is a little sad and a little shy, her eyes dropping to examine the toes of her Converse.

They come up to rest on the red painting. "I'd do it… I mean, I'm not in hiding, so I can… but someone in the news can prod around and figure out who I am, which might not be good either. Maybe someone else can do it. Quinn, maybe? She was there when we ran into him. He got hit by a car."

She moves to the smallest of the three paintings. "Should we bring them back to the terminal?" she asks, re-wrapping the painting in its tarp.

"Not a bad idea. I'll see if I can corner Quinn soon. Being a celebrity herself, she might have better luck." With care he leans the painting against the wall again and picks up another of the tarps and starts to cover it. "If all else fails, I might be able to ask Nicole." That name should be familiar to Tasha. "Another recognizable figure."

The stiff fabric crinkles loudly as he gets the painting ready for transport. "Grand Central will be the best place for now. If all else fails, I'll find a way to get them to the island and stashed." Harkness would have been a good addition with his personal hidey hole for things like that. "I can probably get two of them, if you'll carry the third."

"I can play a dumb art student if I need to, but… if they look into who I am… It might trigger alarms. Even with the name change." She wrinkles her nose. It's still a sticking point, despite the fact she understands why her father asked her to do it. Hindsight is ever perfect.

She manages to get her hands around the canvas's frame — it'll be a slow and awkward walk, but hopefully the worst they'll come across are some homeless people. "I'll keep my eyes on the left, you the right?" she says as they begin to maneuver the paintings outside. With their hands full, keeping their eyes on their surroundings is all the more important. "The other thing is if that guy is a precog painter… who was he delivering these to, I wonder? A guy like that, he wouldn't just be wandering around here for the scenery."

It's a juggle, but Ryans manages to wrangle two of the paintings to carry back to the terminal. "Especially, carrying three paintings this big, around here." A glance around the broken down city as his lips press into a fine line again. Feeling rather out of place like this, even if there shouldn't be much around.

It'll be slow for him as he concentrates on not falling on his face. There is enough debris through midtown Benjamin might trip. "It is something to ask him. Not that I imagine he'll be very forth coming with that information. Might be a good opportunity to use a telepath." He knows that the Ferry has one. "See what can be picked up. Or someone of that sort."

Ben falls quiet as he moves, paintings lugged along. Even if it slows him down some, he still has to slow up to allow Tasha to catch up to him. "Not that this is really a Ferry concern.: Even if that one green painting worries him. "First concern is that box of supplies when we get back." It's a gentle reminder on where the priorities should lay. He feels a little guilty about that.

The teen has to readjust her grip now and then as she walks, keeping eyes moving to the doors of dilapidated buildings, to the mouths of alleys, to the shadows where any enemies might be hiding. "Right. I'll run the stuff over to them right away," she agrees, though her brows twitch into a furrow of disagreement.

They aren't Ferry business — except that they are, if they foretell the future.

The future — and one as ominous and dark as the paintings seem to portray it — is everyone's business.

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