Gone Upriver


aman_icon.gif ff_silas_icon.gif

Scene Title Gone Upriver
Synopsis Aman drops by Silas' to pass on news about what's happened to Odessa, and the warning she gave him.
Date February 22, 2020

Novelle Vue, Bay Ridge

Aman gave up yelling to check for other persons aboard the ship a while ago. As far as he can tell, no one's home.

It's a nice ship, even if it's… apparently under construction.

"Broadway on Melted Ice or somethin'," he comments to himself, hands on his hips while he looks out over the stage that's been erected indoors. For just a moment he stares out appreciatively over the hard work of others before his hands slide off his hips and his posture droops with a sigh. He drags his palm down his face and mutters a distracted fuck into his palm as he looks around.

There was nothing to do except leave a message, apparently. Because what the fuck else was he going to do? He lands heavily with a hop off the stage, resuming his meander

The inside of the ship and its halls are of interest to him anyway, since he's never been on the water before. Since no one's here, he might as well take a look around. Right? Or that's his thought process, anyway, roaming the narrow sublevel corridors at his own pace.

It's the sight of a familiar bag in one of the quarters that makes him pause. Aman's footsteps drag and then backpedal as he pushes the door left ajar open just a little further. Des. His shoulders settle as he looks over the bunkroom. There's clothes on the made bed— remnants of some last-minute costuming decisions, surely— but the room looks largely unlived in. She must be living entirely out of the army bag.

He crouches at the foot of the bed, opening the sack up with a dragging of his fingertips to peer at what's left behind— because it's all that's left behind of hers now. The first thing he sees is a set of ziplock baggies with free-floating, unlabeled drugs. A faint laugh escapes him. "Jesus." That was what her cousin qualified as care-package necessary? What a choice.

Rifling through, he sees the flash of red in the bag and is pulled to it out of sheer nostalgia, reaching for it and shaking it loose from the rest of the packed back. He holds the red dress by its straps as it comes free from the pile with a whisper of its fabric, settling in on his haunches while he considers it. God damn it, Des. he thinks to himself. What were the odds she'd ever get out again to come back for all this? Was it better off going back where it came from maybe?

He sighs and lets the fabric slip from his hands, shoving the dress back down in the bag with much less care than it initially been stored with. In the process, his knuckles brush against the sheath of the knife she'd nearly stabbed Silas with, and when he digs further, he brushes against what feels like a stack of money. It probably is. With a grumble he comes back to his feet and shoves his hands in the pockets of his coat, eyes closing. "Fuck." he breathes out. "This is insane," he murmurs to himself after. "All of this is fucking insane."

The squeaking of the floorboards gives notice that someone's coming, as it always does — a nightingale floor, Des had called it. That amuses Silas to no end, even now; leave it to Des to find something classy to say about what amounts to a very precisely and deliberately half-assed carpentry job.

Silas had originally planned to just drop off the champagne he'd picked up and leave… but since Des was apparently still here — or had come back? — he figured he'd say hi at least.

He's smiling as he comes around the corner and strides towards the open door.

The sound of footsteps sends the hair on the back of Aman's neck raising. He'd called out for a good while earlier and heard nothing. And this didn't sound like a good old ghostboat creak but the sounds of steps. Good steps? Bad steps? Should he be concerned?

It'd do him well to not get shot or knifed in the face, on the offchance it was the person he was looking for instead of—

the guy who looked exactly like him.

Don't think about things like that, Aman. You're dead one way or another if it's Redd. Just… do the right thing, first.

"Uh, hello?" he calls out. "Someone—? John, that you?" He turns back toward the door, waiting with tension. He remembers all too late there are a number of weapons down by his feet, should he actually need to defend his life here. He only makes it as far as a quick glance down at the bag.

Silas's smile flattens as he sees it's the courier here, and most definitely not Des; there are a number of thoughts competing for headspace at the moment, and none of them are exactly happy.

He lets out a breath. "Yeah," he says tersely. "Yeah, it's me. I'd ask how you got onto my boat, but I guess that's the upshot of being a teleporter," he says sourly.

He thinks for a moment, then steps into the room, pushing the door most of the way back shut behind him, leaving it open just a crack. "Okay. So, Craigslist. Whatcha doin' on my boat? And, uh. Why, exactly, are you goin' through Dorothy's things?" he asks.

Well, his attitude aside, his very specific reference to their last encounter was a definite positive mark toward Silas being himself and not Redd. So there was that. Aman tries to remind himself of that, despite the displeased look directed his way, and the nearly-closed door— and the knowledge he most definitely does not have teleportation to help him out here should this get awkward.

"She called," Aman informs him with a touch of strain, a sign he doesn't really want to be here either. He looks down at the bag again with a shake of his head before clarifying: "From jail."

Then he's pulling a hand back through his hair, fingers undoing whatever semblance of unscruff he'd wrangled into the growing tangles before leaving Kaylee's place this morning. "I don't really know the full of what happened because she didn't have time to explain, but it wasn't something she did of her own will. She wasted her call on me so I'd be able to tell you that we're both in danger." He glances up at Silas out of the corner of his eye. "That your evil twin or whatever escaped PISEC. She said run, and when I asked her for clarification, she said anywhere not the direction of the d'Sarthe Group, so…"

His hand comes away from the side of his head in a shrug. "When I ran into her about a week back, I was dumb enough to ask her where it was she was staying, and she was…" Aman's brow starts to twist. "Anyway, she said it was out here, your boat. So it all worked out and I at least knew where to find you at, but nobody was home…"

But clearly someone was, after all.

"I thought, anyway." he finishes off distractedly.

"Just got back in," Silas says distractedly, scrubbing at his chin. "You should probably be glad you didn't get anyone else. Then again, you know Dorothy, so you'd probably have been alright…" He's rambling a bit, which is a sign of just how much of a tailspin this news has put him in. The fact that he's not giving Craigslist any more shit is another sign of how off balance he is.

"She's alright, at least," he says, shaking his head in an effort to dislodge the fog that seems to have taken up residence there. Come on. Get your shit together and think.

Right. Redd being alive isn't a surprise. Like a bad penny, he turns up, Silas thinks — he's all too aware that that thought is a grim echo of the very same words he'd said to Des earlier, but it fits. Redd working for the d'Sarthe Group isn't a surprise, either. What is a surprise is Des knowing that. He remembers how she'd been dressed earlier — he'd thought she was going out. Apparently he was right. Jesus, Des. What did you do?

"Okay," Silas says, trying to find stable ground again. "Thanks," he says, nodding to the courier — a warning is a warning, after all, and he did learn something from it. "Do you have any details about how she got taken?" He shakes his head. "Wait. Talk later. If Des let anything else slip, they might put two and two together. We should grab her stuff and get the fuck out of here. What's the limits on your teleport?" He's already looking for anything she might've left out; looks like she's kept most of her stuff packed. Good on her.

The sheets, though. Right. Well, he'll need to have Doyle wipe the place down first thing in the morning, anyway; he'll ask him to change the bedclothes out, too, and thoroughly launder the old ones. And I'll owe him some beer for that. Small price to pay; due caution keeps the Feds away.

Aman's expression blanks as he hears that name again— Dorothy. He works over that in silence, wondering what's going on there with the fake name. Or is it that…

Oh, there it is. He doesn't know 'John' well enough to have caught on immediately, but the disjointed bounce between topics starts to give away that he's not as sharpshooting as normal.


"For all the fuck-ups Des seems prone to committing, knowing when to keep her mouth shut is something she's solid on. Half of the shit she said to me was practically in code. Someone has her phone, though, and I don't think it's… I'm not sure it's the fed. If it is, though, I'm pretty sure you're safe, but I'm royally fucked." Maybe that's only a small consolation, though, given the two of them are actively sharing company. Aman winces as he realizes that, looking down at the bag by his feet. He snags the discarded shirt from the bed and shoves it into the army bag before cinching the top of it shut.

Maybe what's in it can still see some use even without its intended owner around. Hell, the spare money alone could help him on his way, let him get by without working for however much longer. Little does he know just how much of it there is in the bag.

But then any chance of recovering his smoothness fades as he registers Silas' question about his teleportation. Right.

"Right," he echoes his thoughts, remembering he needs to say them out loud. He holds the bag by its strap, as clear a signal as anything else that he's ready to go. "The… teleportation."

Looking Silas dead in the eye, Aman shares, "I gave it back."

Silas pads around the room, making a thorough and efficient check. Very occasionally, he'll find something and pitch it towards Aman, but mostly, it seems his first impression was on the nose: Des really had lived out of her go bag. At the news that someone has Des's phone, he pauses in his tracks for a moment… then resumes his search at a slightly increased speed. "She knew Redd works for d'Sarthe, and now someone has her phone. Hate to say it, Craigslist, but you might be better off hoping it is the Feds, considering what the alternative is."

For a moment he pauses. "Did you call her phone from yours? Is your phone still on?" he asks, not bothering to give Aman more than a brief side-eyed glance before he resumes his ransacking. It isn't until that last line of Aman's that Silas actually stops, turning to look directly at the courier. "You what."

"Gave it back." Aman repeats, like a second statement of that fact will make it somehow any easier to digest. He looks away for a moment to do his own once-over of the space, brow knitting at a copy of Mean Heat that's left out. He palms that and works on wriggling it into the bag, too.

Distractedly, he sets the bag down and opens it while he goes on. "My phone's been on airplane since I got to Kaylee's last night, so I think…" But even as he says it, he reconsiders, sliding his phone from his pocket. Aman frowns at it realizing there's not a way for him to separate battery from phone, and instead satisfies himself by shutting it off. Then he's pulling out his lightRadio box to do the same to it.

"Man, fuck all of this," Aman pronounces before he looks back down to the bag, tightening it closed again and pulling it over his shoulder before looking back to Silas. He only does it for a moment, like the direct stare leveled back at him hurts to directly address. "I gave it back. It was a pain in the ass. The guy didn't want it, but that ability's his problem, not mine."

Except now, when it could be a useful tool. The pitch of his voice rises as he argues: "But it'd not really help us out anyway, because even if I had it, I could only teleport places I've been before."

"You've been places that aren't here. Being in one of those would be a great starting point right now," Silas points out mildly… then lets out a breath. "No point crying over spilt milk, though."

No point musing on what the hell Aman's power actually is, either, or applications for it… because if he hadn't teleported in, Silas has got other problems. For one, it's not beyond the pale that he'd been followed here. Not… particularly likely, maybe, but not impossible, either. He pauses a moment to listen for the sound of the floorboards, to watch for any sign of the door moving; nothing just then. Good. He tosses a shroud over himself and Aman anyway, though; better safe than sorry.

"Okay. Hopefully airplane mode is good enough," Silas says. "Let's get outta here, find someplace to talk where we won't have to worry about any possibility of surprise company." Not that he's really sure there's all that much to talk about, really, but being somewhere else now seems like a great idea. He's been taking too many risks popping in here as often as he has, anyway.

It's disgruntled that Aman follows by leading in this case, having no qualms about stepping out into the hall first. He remembers the way back, so he heads the way he came in. "By the way, there a particular reason for your obsession with nicknames, Smiles?" he asks over his shoulder.

But aside from that, he needed to think ahead to wherever they were going to go next. Nowhere further south, nowhere near Staten Island. Not to his place. They could head back to Raytech? Catching a rideshare with his phone off might be impossible, though. He frowns to himself.

"You have an idea of where you want to go from here, though?" Aman figures to confirm before he wastes any more time on those thoughts.

"Old habit," is Silas's terse answer… but even he realizes it's an inadequate response, judging by the sigh. "It's a professional courtesy. You don't want to be tossing around actual names when you're doing shit that could potentially be dodgy, because you never know who might be listening. And… it's a habit that kinda bleeds over, I guess."

As to where…

"Ain't seen a Denny's in awhile, otherwise I'd say there; that's always where you seem to end up when shit goes pear-shaped," he says ruefully. He thinks for a moment, trying to chart a route; slipping through crowds is the better strategy for dodging Redd, and his particular gift makes it easy for him to slip in and out of crowds. "I know a few coffee shops that should serve. You got a safehouse anywhere? I can aim us towards that, if you do. Give you less distance to cover."

Tired all over again as he remembers the lack of sleep he's running on, Aman offers up, "I have to head back across town to Jackson, all the way out to Raytech. Only place I had otherwise was my place, and it doesn't seem safe there. Kaylee Thatcher was going to let me crash at her place as long as I needed to, but…"

It doesn't take a telepath to see what that thought does to Aman, guilt and regret weighing him down and coloring his expression. "I don't know, man. I wasn't supposed to be involved in this shit. I was gonna collect my money and move on with my life."

He sighs, some of his posture restored between that and the light hitting them again as they make their way out onto the deck. Aman squints to see if there's anyone waiting for them out here, or on the dock below. It doesn't seem like it, at least that he can see. "I don't know, maybe I call the guy back up and offer to take back the ability for a while. Say I'm taking pity on him with his situation, willing to do it pro bono for a few more weeks. Though, with my luck, he's figured out teleportation makes being father to a newborn that much easier."

He can't help but let out a small laugh at that. It'd be good if that were the case. Definitely healthier. But only for his case, and not at all in Aman's. "I could use that coffee," the not-teleporter admits, head lolling in Silas' direction.

"Kaylee Thatcher?" Silas can't help but remark. "How — ugh, neverfucking mind how till we're out of here," he growls in frustration. "Alright. I know a place. C'mon. And stick close," he says, moving past Aman to lead the way down the gangplank, eyes still scanning for any sign of an ambush.

The trip through Jackson Heights is uneventful; there are no mugging attempts, despite the number of godforsaken back alleys and desolate roads Silas leads them down. Their destination isn't much better; a coffee shop, he'd called it, but it is definitely not a Starbucks. Definitely not reputable, either, but there aren't any overt bloodstains and the coffee's not half bad.

"Alright," Silas says, pouring a generous slug from a tarnished silver flask into his cup before taking a drink. "So how'd she get taken?"

How the fuck should he know? Aman takes a moment to exhale his stress away rather than take it out on Silas, though, sipping long from his coffee to buy him the necessary amount of time to speak evenly and quietly in reply. "I don't know exactly, but whoever it is got her by surprise. She said she decided not to go out guns blazing and surrendered."

One elbow on the table, he supports his cup with both hands, like otherwise it might be too heavy to bear. It's not just his own mental state he's bearing at the moment. "She said to get a message to you, and then get over to Kaylee's, that she'd know what to do. Her recommendation is I hole up at Raytech, and have a robot posted at the door to see if Redd's trying to pay us an invisible visit."

His gaze shifts back to Silas with gravity. "Which… you know him better than we do. Would that actually work? Or is his ability too complex to be caught by a bot? None of the alarms went off at…" but he stops just in time, only lifting his eyebrows a touch. "—until after we'd left him behind."

Silas lets out a sigh and rubs at his brow. "Makes sense. She'd said she'd wait till I got back, but I guess…" he trails off and shrugs. Just ups the timetable, I guess.

The robot idea, though… that draws a chuckle. "Ha. Smart." He then proceeds to look annoyed with himself. "Ask Raytech for a robot. Wouldn't that have made my life easier," he mutters. Then he brightens. Maybe it's not too late. Kaylee's going with him on that big trip.

"A robot'll work, unless he's got backup. His ability, it's just…"

Silas lets out a breath, considering for a moment. "You know why ninjas always wear black?"

Aman squints. "Because they were initially stagehands?" he offers back out in a bunt. "'Disguised' as stagehands, anyway, and then the imagery just stuck. But they were hard-coded as background noise that way." He draws a face, settling back into his seat.

He figures that trivia takes a back burner, though, beginning to frown at the other thing Silas has said after considering it. "Hold on— what're you saying, it was her plan all along to go get recaught?"

Aman looks as incredulous as he does frustrated by that.

Silas snaps his fingers and points to Aman when he actually gets the right answer to his off-beat trivia question. "Give the man a point. Exactly right."

He frowns a bit as the courier switches trains of thought. "That was what she told me, yes. That after I got back from my… business trip… she was gonna turn herself in."

"I was kinda hoping I'd be able to talk her out of it between now and then…" he says, but the tone of his voice suggests that he is… not confident about that.

Aman sets down his coffee and begins to scrub his face with both hands. It'd not do any good to go off on Silas for Odessa's ideas and plans, but it's a near thing that he doesn't. "It's not my business," he tries to remind himself instead. "None of my fucking business."

But it's clear he's disappointed in some way, even if he hasn't narrowed it down for himself yet.

"… God, I'd really hoped she'd find something good to do with herself. Something to make a fresh start." Both hands coming away from his face, he scowls at nothing. "Just…" And then he looks back to Silas, because he might actually understand this disappointment.

Tongue in cheek, he shakes his head. "But what're you gonna do about it. Right?"

Silas is silent for a moment, his gaze slipping off into the distance. "I think she was," he says quietly. His gaze comes back to Aman. "She said she couldn't keep running anymore. If turning herself in is the first step to coming to terms… that's her decision. The decision we get is what we're gonna do about it, and whether or not we're gonna support her. That's all we can do."

He falls silent for a moment, taking a drink of his coffee… then he gives a thin grin. "Well. That, and try not to get killed. That's important too," he says wryly, taking another drink.

"Try to not die, and in the meantime, get House Points for useless bits of trivia." Aman shakes his head again, making his peace with it all, even if it's not happily done. He sinks back into his seat and lets out a growl of a sigh, looking back up to the ceiling. "… and maybe call that teleporter back and make a deal."

Eyes fixed on a waterstained tile, he muses, "Because even if I get out of town and go home, what if somebody shows up on their doorstep?" A twinge of a frown later, he adds, "Get that ability back, and I've got a plan that doesn't involve leaving my parents to fend for themselves. Just have to grab them and bounce."

Sitting properly again, his head lolls forward so he can pick up his drink. It's clear he's thinking aloud and likely only to himself, but it doesn't stop him from continuing to do it. "Would rather out myself to them as having an ability than deal with… literally anything else that might happen in this fucked up shit. Them being safe would be what matters."

Silas looks to Aman. "Good," he nods, dead serious for a moment… and that's all he has to say on that.

He takes another drink of his coffee. "Anyway. Ain't useless. Like you said — in the old Japanese plays, the stagehands wore black to tell the audience that this guy isn't really a part of the play, isn't here, pay no attention to the guy movin' the props, et cetera, et cetera. After awhile the audience stopped really seeing 'em — 'hard-coded as background noise'. Until one of those stagehands turned out to be a secret ninja, anyway," Silas says with a smirk. Whatever brilliant sonofabitch came up with that one, I tip my nonexistent hat to ya, he thinks. Wonder if I could pull something like that in a play on the boat?

"That's how his thing works. Think about all the stuff you're seeing right now; you've got a whole field of view, but your brain's only actually paying attention to a few things. The rest is, like you said — background noise." Silas shrugs. "His ability messes with the part of your brain that sorts the wheat from the chaff. Stops it from picking up on things."

Aman hms, mumbling, "Wheat from the chaff…" into his coffee before drinking again. It's good information. Terrifying information, but good. "What I'm hearing is, unless I pick up some kind of ability where I can key in on him anyway, teleportation wouldn't mean shit anyway."

So that's pleasant.

"And— that's not how my thing works anyway. Can't just…" He trails off, the brown of his eyes shifting as he snaps back to attention. Silas doesn't need to hear him going on and on about this. Looking back to him, he says a touch more loudly, "Anyway," in an attempt to lay all that aside.

"So what's your plan, after your, uh, business trip?"

"Get one of my friends to formally introduce me and Des in prison, I guess. Maybe get some of my friends together once they're not, you know, tied up in shit and go proactively hunting for Redd." He shrugs. "Other than that? Business. I got a chunk of money sunk into that boat, and be damned if I'm not gonna use it for something. We have to open pretty soon, anyway."

Aman blinks long and then twice more at Silas over the top of his coffee, head tilting just so. "Uh, through a proxy, right? Like you've got a partner who can handle that shit for you, right?"

A beat later, he asides, "Nice setup out there, by the way."

"For which?" Silas asks, with a devil may care grin. It's brief. "In order: one of my friends will probably go see Des at some point, and I'll ask to tag along. Or… maybe I'll just send care packages, I don't know. It'd probably be smarter to do it that way…" he says; he doesn't look particularly happy about that admission.

"Hunting… I've got friends who've got my back for that, but I ain't gonna ask them to risk their necks on that one while I sit cozy. Business… I've got a friend who's been working on the place while I've been out and about; luckily, you didn't run into him. If he's not willing to take a job as frontside general manager…" he shrugs. "I'll check around."

"And thanks. It wasn't cheap." Silas lapses into silence, taking a drink of his coffee and brooding. After a moment, he glances back at Aman. "Speaking of friends, though… how exactly do you know Kaylee Thatcher?"

"You mean how's a guy like me end up knowing a class act like her?" Aman asks with a twinge of a smile. He settles the dregs of the coffee back down. "I brushed into her when delivering a package, ended up getting more than just my pen back from her. When I went to take back what I'd picked up, I gave her my number. She asked me out on a date."

There's a pleasant glaze over that moment, one the courier lives in and relishes for just a moment longer before the lift to his being… lessens. The reality of things that have happened since then filter in. "I don't think I have a chance with her anymore after all this shit that's happened… but it was fun while it lasted. A whirlwind of a few weeks."

Lapsing into silence again, Aman breaks it by lifting up the last of his drink. "Here's to the next few neither ending up in jail or dead," he hopes with a small, if lopsided smile.

Now isn't that a cute first-time meetup story. Silas finds he's grinning a bit despite himself… though he doesn't miss the comment about 'getting more back from her than anticipated'.

He opts not to comment on that at the moment, though. Instead, he snorts. "Ain't over 'till the tide comes in," he says dryly. "Besides. She likes you well enough to let you crash at her place, apparently, so maybe you're not out of it yet," he says, shrugging.

At Aman's toast, he musters a lopsided smile of his own. "I'll drink to that," he agrees, finishing off his coffee… then, with a sigh, he stands. "Alright. I've gotta go… make some phone calls," he says, rubbing at his brow. To Richard, for one, because he's pretty sure Richard is going to want to know about this; to Doyle, for another, because he will definitely want to know, and also because Odessa's room is going to need a professional cleaning ASAP. "You should be clear to get to Raytech from here. Thanks for the message."

Aman only draws a face when Silas says maybe there's hope yet. He goes somewhere, eyes glazing for an instant before he asides, "I don't know, I doubt it. Takes more than a meetcute for real relationships to pan out, and this… this was a long shot to begin with." He frowns to himself before he wipes the look clean. Looking back up, he tips his cup again. "But thanks."

Downing the last of his drink, he grabs the top while he comes to his feet. "Good luck with the phone calls, and—" Aman shrugs one shoulder slightly. "I dunno, maybe consider staying out of town for a good, long period of time yourself."

"Good luck, and all that."

Silas chuckles, but he's said all he means to as far as relationship advice — easy to give advice, a hell of a lot harder to walk the walk.

"Maybe. But I think I've been on the run long enough. Though that's on me, isn't it?" he says, giving a jaunty grin — the fact that this is a variant of what Aman himself said when Silas offered a similar suggestion isn't lost on him. His grin remains, but a hint of solemnity starts to show through it. "Luck be with you, as well," he says, giving a lift to his own cup…

…and then he's slipping out the door, smile already fading; he's got work to do tonight.

Promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep… and miles to go before I sleep.

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