Fortis Est Veritas


claire2_icon.gif knox_icon.gif

Scene Title Fortis Est Veritas
Synopsis Truth Is Strength: Claire Bennet is sought out by Knox, who turns her preconceptions of the group MESSIAH on its ear.
Date March 31, 2010

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

It looks like something out of a movie, all of the rusted pieces of metal rising up from frozen water like the graveyard of wayward ships. While the northern coast of Staten Island isn't the most mystical place, the Staten Island boat graveyard certainly has a fantastic air about it. Here amidst drifts of snow that rise like dunes of some bleached white desert the derelict hulks of rusting barges creak and groan noisily against the bitter cold of ravaging winds that, as cold as they are, steal breath from those they whip across.

It is supposed to be spring, supposed to be the time when flowers were beginning to bloom and buds were sprouting on trees. Instead, the skies have not been clear for almost a month now and the snow has fallen so thickly that drifts almost twice the height of a person swallow entire ships out here on the coast.

Knee deep in a snow, a lone man waits amidst the frigid cold and decaying behemoths of riveted steel and flaking rust. There's no lapping to the shore at his back, just the howl of arctic winds. Black hood drawn up over his head and leather jacket zipped up all the way to the top of its raised collar, it's hard to recognize Benjamin Washington for who he is— likely what he prefers.

It's in this too-early morning hour when the sun is still a threat of gray light on the horizon that he waits for one young woman to brave the cold to join him, brave Staten Island's frigid coasts to talk.

What about? He didn't say.

There is no real way to sneak up on someone in this weather, especially when the snow is deep enough to go a foot or more over your head. How many people would they find come spring that has fallen into deep snow.

Either way, it will probably take the blonde regenerator that much longer to get out to the graveyard and he'll know she's close by the crunch of snow under heavy boots, the boots she wore through the Apollo mission. There is a comfort in those boots, a familiarity to it.

Her dark blue jeans darker from the snow where it has melted against her skin, her trench coat pulled tight and a black knit cap pulled low on her head, a few strands of blonde sticking out from under it.

Claire doesn't look the least bit happy to see him at the moment, she still a touch irritated with how the whole thing went down.

"You know…" The words, as they pass her cold lips and clenched teeth, almost growl, the look in her eyes less then friendly. "…I have half a mind to punch you, since I can't do the same to Rebel." Blue eyes almost burn with her anger. "Did you know he was going to do that to me?"

"Do what?" Knox turns towards the voice, one dark brow arching under the shadow of his hood. "Claire what in the hell happened out there? I told you to go hit up Lemay during the weekdays and you went and— it was a goddamned Sunday, Claire. I gave you the hours he works thinking you'd show up when he wasn't home." There's a tension in Knox's voice, brows furrowed and gloved hands sliding out of his jacket pockets as he trudges thorugh the snow towards the blonde. "Girl, I was going to take you to meet the boss today, he's really interested in gettin' t'see you, but goddamnit now you got every fed in the goddamned city lookin' after you."

Bringing up one gloved hand to wipe across his mouth, Knox exhales a heavy sigh and turns dark eyes down to the pale snow. "Look, we'll work it out. Boss told Rebel to watch your back, and I think he's going to. But we got problems of our own right now, and we just can't risk lookin' over our shoulders if we brought you in. So for the next month or so, until the heat cools down, I can't take you anywhere near our base."

There is a small snort from the blonde, she doesn't look convinced. "Rebel could have warned me he was in that goddamn building. He should have been watching." She hisses back irritably, hands clench even still deep in those pockets. "Now I gotta go to the Ferrymen to hide and play 'dodge daddy' for a month?"

There is a heavy sigh from the young woman, sends a plume of white skyward, as she yanks her knit cap off her head, leaving her blonde hair in disarray. "Fine… whatever." She says with an angry dismissal, the cap shoved into a coat pocket for the moment. "I got a text to find some girl in the Ferrymen anyhow, maybe…." There is another deep sigh and she waves hand, now sounding ressigned, "Maybe I'll get lucky."

"Rebel should do a lot of things, he doesn't…" Knox's brows furrow, his head shaking slowly. "He doesn't think like the rest of us do, he's like— I dunno, Claire, but he doesn't act like a normal person, doesn't think like one. He's all orders and instructions, but he ain't got a lot of like," squinting, it's clear Knox is struggling to find the right words. "He ain't got a lot of common sense, you know? Or it doesn't seem that way, at least, not in the last few months anyway. He's been actin' all weird."

Moving a few steps closer to Claire, Knox looks askance at her and quirks one dark brow again. "Girl?" There's a puzzled look that flashes across the darkly-dressed man's expression. "I ain't heard nothin' about no girl. Who told you to look for her, your paranoid shadow-buddy or something?"

That gets a surprised look from the young ex-cheerleader. "No….You all… I thought." Claire looks a touch confused, some of the anger draining out of her. A hand dips into her coat and she pulls out her cellphone. Glancing down, she punches through various texts until, the right one comes up and she offers over the cellphone for him to look at the message.

"I got that texts the next morning when I got back." Claire's head giving a nod at the cellphone, frowns drawing blonde brows down, almost with concern. "Is Rebel playing his own game on the side? You think?"

"Girl, Rebel's always been playing his own game. He's got an agenda of his own and Messiah just happens to fit in it somewhere. Bossman only works with him because we need a technopath to get the information we need on things. But he doesn't trust Rebel all the way, and I think the feeling's mutual." There's a cant of Knox's head to the side, eyes flicking back and forth between Claire's. "I dunno what he's been askin' you to do, or what he wants, but it ain't got nothin' to do with what I asked you to do at Lemay's place."

Shifting his weight to one foot, Knox rolls his shoulders with a creak of his jacket's old leather. He takes a moment, then, staring out at one of the rusted ships before speaking again. "Those files you got were people the Boss needs, both of 'em spent time in Mab and are on the run, and he wants to bring them in and give 'em a place to hide and some work to do to help fight against all this bullshit goin' on out there."

Glancing out over his hsoulder, Knox turns his back to the coast, looking inland. "You seen the reclaimed zone yet?" There's a quiet tone to Knox's voice. "They been buildin' out there non-stop since the fall. Got the hospital up and runnin', repaired a bunch of houses, patched up the electricity grid. There's a lot of soldiers out there, and PMC guys. Stillwater."

Knox offers a sharp look back to Claire at that. "Pinehearst bought out Stillwater Solutions whole-cloth when their original owner liquidated the whole damned thing last year. Pinehearst's assets got seized by the US government, which means there ain't nothin' private about that military, it's just lacking accountability." There's a furrow of his brows. "You see what I'm talkin' about now? They got an army down here, one that don't answer to no Department of Defense or nothin'. We're on borrowed time, girl."

Lips press tight as she pulls the cellphone back to her, glancing at the phone. "I'll have to tell Liz. She mentioned talking to her team mate who use to own it." Blue eyes lift from the phone, there is a thoughtfulness to Claire's words. "I know about the reclamation. Did Rebel forward the image of the timetable?" She asks curiously. "Tomorrow is D-day for a sweep of the outer district. They are going to look for the sick."

"If the Institute is involved, I would bet those unlucky enough to be caught, will ended up their playthings. Gregor just loves his toys." There is disgust in her tone at that last bit, the cellphone is clutched tight in Claire's hands, "I warned the Ferrymen… they tend to have people tucked everywhere, so hopefully they can get out of dodge."

"Yeah he sent it to us. Didn't know what to make of it till he figure out what Site 17 was. I dunno what's goin' on, but you can be damned sure if they try roundin' anyone up I'll give them a reason to." There's a scowl crossing Knox's face at that. "I ain't lettin' anyone else get dragged off to no prisons without puttin' up a fight. I don't care how they spin it, 'cause you seen yourself, Claire, that no matter what we do they's always gonna' give us shit about it." Dark eyes narrow, and Knox squares his profile with Claire's, staring down at her.

"You wanna' help out, that'd be somethin'. If I see anyone tryin' t'grab anyone outta' the houses on the south side of the island, I'ma rip them limb from limb. I could use some backup, maybe a shotgun or two t'make 'em nice an' scared?" There's a quirk of Knox's brows at that, and a toothy smile. "What else you got t'lose, girl? They already done gone and taken everything else you had from you."

Glancing down at the cellphone at her hand, Claire seems to be considering what he's asking. Her jaw works back and forth. When those blue eyes lift back up to the dark skinned man before her, they are are empty and hollow, it's a look she learned overseas. Perfected when she stood at the bottom of those stairs, dying over and over again, taking down man after man. This is a woman who has been in the middle of a true resistance and seen the worst of war.

This isn't the Claire Bennet of PARIAH, this was a whole 'nother woman.

"Don't you know Knox? I'm a rifle girl now." There is a touch of girlish innocence to those words, a small wicked smiles on her lips, though it fades away quickly when she adds. "We do risk putting me into their hands and giving them me back to Gregor." There isn't fear there, just certainty.

"But either way…" Claire's cellphone drops back into her pocket. "I'm in. Cause you're right, 'What else do I have to lose?' Not to mention these people can't protect themselves." This was different then just blowing up something in protest.

"Right on Lady Lazarus." Knox notes with a crack of a white smile. "I got a buddy who wants to hand with us, I'm gonna see if Kris wants to run interference while we handle this. He's a teleporter, you met him when we brought you the computer— short, spiky hair, young lookin' with all them piercings? He can't really teleport other people, but he can help us out. I figure we'll have him scout for us, keep an eye on anyone movin' round the south end of the island, then if anybody comes in— " Knox slams one gloved fist into his open palm. "Pow, we hit'em fast and hard."

Cracking a smile and nodding his head once, Knox reaches out with one leather-clad hand for Claire. "Next time you got a worry about us, Claire, or you think somethin' ain't being done right? You come talk to me, okay? There ain't no reason for you t'have t'hide from me or anybody else workin' with us. We're a team, you got that?"

"Get me some body armor if you can and I'm be your energizer bunny, Knox." Claire says with certainty, her hand clasping his tightly, that smile that says 'I've got my hand in the cookie jar' plays on her lips. "Let's just " avoid the mistakes of the past. Try to keep the civilians out of it, keep the focus on the real opposition?" It's her biggest fear really. Her hand tightens slightly. "We're older and wiser now." A smirk touches her lips and she gives him a once over as she teases, "Well most of us."

"Keep me informed of whats going on." Claire says, going back to business, her voice lowering some. "If this kid is a Rebel agenda, I'll keep an eye out, but I'm not gonna go scouring every safe house for her. If he isn't telling you all about her… I don't like that."

"I don't tell you everything…" Knox choses to respond to, rather patently ignoring the energizer bunny comment, because that's just too easy to pick on. "Just 'cause Rebel's got his own secrets don't mean he can't be trusted. Everybody keeps secrets— you, me, your shadow-buddy, your blonde cop friend. Ain't nobody who tells everyone everything, 'cause there's some secrets safer off not bein' told." The squeeze of Knox's hand around Claire's is firm, but not too tight, and it implies what he's always known about Claire more so than anyone else. She isn't afraid of anything.

"Make it back to wherever you're goin' safe, girl." Knox's fingers slowly unwind from Claire's hand, "and remember, we didn't start this war, they did." There's a grim intonation to Knox's words, dark reassurance that he intends on carrying on the battle they started, until one side or the other crumbles completely.

"Strong and Free," Knox reiterates the old mantra, appending to it something new.

"Fortis Est Veritas."

Truth is strength.

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