Ground Truth


abby_icon.gif deckard_icon.gif teo2_icon.gif

Scene Title Ground Truth
Synopsis Two conversations in which Abigail and Deckard want the truth, and Ghost sticks to facts for Eileen's sake.
Date June 11, 2009


Abby: Sonny says you stole formula. Formula that could give someone evolved gift. Was that what you were offering last night?

Teo: No. There is someone else who can help.
Teo: How is Sonny?

Abby: Not good. You really Teo? Or Just borrowing him? If borrowing, shame on you. Doing what you did to him. If real Teo… Even more shame on you. Who can help?

Teo: In-between levels of shame. Medium?
Teo: I'm sorry for Sal. What should I do?

Abby: Ask real Teo what to do. He knows. You didn't answer me. How can you someone help? Find Case?

Teo: I'll take that under advisement.
Teo: Not Case. It's a little more reliable than him or the Formula, but harder to get to.
Teo: Dangerous. Are you sure that you want to know?

Abby: In for penny. In for pound. Can't say yes to something I don't know.
Abby: Deckard staying with me. Feeding him.

Teo: There's an Evolved woman. Told Helena a little about her. Still working on details.
Teo: Don't let Sal know we have been talking. I don't think he will forgive her.
Teo: I need Deckard soon. To help Eileen.

Abby: I'll try and let him know. Do what I have to do.
Abby: Won't tel Sal. Tell Teo …
Abby: Tell Teo Kudzu

Teo: Everything I told you was true. What's coming, what I'm trying to do.

Abby: It may be. But you shouldn't do what you did to Sal. You could have had him trust you.
Abby: Instead you hurt. Bad.
Abby: No Baloney cake for you. When we get real Teo back?
Abby: Deckard waking. Talk later.

Teo: I don't know.
Teo: Good-bye.

Second Verse

Bullet proof vests are built to be bullet proof. Or at least resistant. Unlike most other vests, they are not really designed with comfort or fashion in mind. Deckard rolls a shoulder against the staunch snug of the one he just strapped himself into, white sleeves rolled to his elbows while he thumbs fresh rounds down against the spring of an unoccupied magazine.

He's not in a basement. He's not even at the Lighthouse. Rather, he has a rickety desk laid out with a bleak array of arms small and large within the dank confines of a long-abandoned elementary school classroom. One that he hasn't visited in several months. But — desperate circumstances. And Brian might have been annoyed to notice such a severe dent in his personal armory, besides.

A pair of black semi-automatics share space with a shotgun and a couple of open boxes of shells and cartridges. There's a flashlight; an open knife. Something from Jamba Juice that is way too fruity for him to possess, much less be interested in drinking.

His hands are bone white in their flash after smudged brass, taut with ill-suppressed tension.

The phone takes this inopportune moment to begin ringing where it hangs its slack weight sequestered inside his pant leg. Served up on the small white window in the front panel, the caller identifies as familiar. Probably expected. Teo's local number, the digits— unnamed, thanks to the relative newness of this particular unit, its predecessor still mouldering somewhere in a dumpster, but memorable— glowing up in frightful geometric consistency to every time it had before.

When Flint's phone flips him over to speaker, Teodoro's voice emerges and that is the same as well, in predictable contradiction to everything Abigail had passed on, of what Salvatore warned told her. "Buona sera, Deckard. Half the guard detail changes over at two AM. The next one at ten. What are we going to do?" Yes, yes he'd had the audacity to say it. We.

There's a clatter across the line where Deckard drops the open flat of his phone a little carelessly onto the desk with everything else, including a wee wooden apple with something suitably sycophantic painted across the opposite side in gold lettering. From there, the mash and scrape of cartridge after cartridge into place continues with practiced fluidity until the magazine is full and he moves on to the next one, eyes bright in the reflected light of an oil lamp at the desk's opposite end. The shadows it casts pool broad and deep, making him appear all the more skeletal against the dull green of the chalk board to his back.

"Sorry," his voice scrapes caustic across the line after a short, distracted delay, characteristically muffled by the distance from jaw to phone, "Who's this?"

Somewhere on Staten, there is a bitty Sicilian boy deflating slightly at this answer. He should have seen it coming: he had. Still, that doesn't make it fun and concentrating on— work tends to be difficult when Flint Deckard is.

Scratch and sigh blow out across the mouthpiece. He cups his phone with half a hand and makes a game of staring down the nearest wall. "It's Teo. I'm Teo. I" am getting my words chopped up and staccato-hyphenated the way that he does when he is trying too grimly hard to make himself understood to actually succeed. "I'm just not the one you remember. There was this clusterfuck with temporal distortion time-travel. I'm literally from the future.

"That— nothing about me changes the fact that Eileen's in trouble. She's in the cells where you and Abigail were locked up before. It had started out voluntary and I'm not sure why, but some shit happened with Cardinal." Honestly, Ghost doesn't even know if Flint would remember Cardinal; he hadn't. "Her honeymoon period with Logan is over, and she can't just phase away like he did."

Pluck, scrape, click. Flint sinks a full magazine down into each of the smaller two guns present. The metallic sound effects of his ongoing work bump and clack harsh across physical distance in place of dialogue while he listens, long face devoid of feeling. He's here, but not really here. One after the other, the semi-automatics are lodged down into place in holsters velcroed into the straps on either side of his vest. The knife follows onto his belt. Plain leather. His blue jeans are similarly mundane, slack and worn against the poke of the flashlight into a side pocket.

"I don't know how to get past the gate. I'm not great with locks when I'm half blind."

Practicality comes first somehow, coldly mechanical while he works his wrist after the sit of gun grips high on his sides. Passable, if not ideal. "What did you do with him?"

It takes the ghost a brief moment to remember which gate the man must be referring to, the layout of the compound— whorehouse— rotated a few times, measured out and compartmentalized into relevant and irrelevant inside his considerable aptitude with spatial reasoning. The west side, down at the cells of course— the slot alley there, at the end of the hallway, freedom separated from its prisoners by a set of rolling bars. Parking area beyond that, before the expanse of street through which the prisoner lorries or periwinkle vans have come in before.

"I can get the gate. But the parking area out there is guarded. The one you'll have to get through and get her out through. There will be more after the cameras..

"I can help," he adds, a little lamely, but steadfast for all that Ghost knows how all of this must sound. He's been thinking about it ever since he came to the Happy Dagger, and it occupied the margin of his thoughts left free by the rattle of Cardinal's terrified, quaking limbs on the floor and Eileen's shrill entreaties, bouncing off the ceiling, through the corners.

He couldn't possibly have failed to anticipate the other question, either, but still the answer is a conversationally awkward few seconds coming. "He's with me." He is about to add, He's fine, but he knows better than to do that when he's talking to Flint Deckard. Instead—

"He'll be fine." Not much better, but there's a page reference to youthful resilience in there, somewhere.

"So far it sounds like nobody you're involved with is fine." There's no bite, there. No flash of teeth or clench at his jaw. Nothing more than chilly observation while Deckard drags his overcoat off the back of a dusty chair to shrug it up onto lean muscled shoulders over vest and guns and rolled sleeves. A flask is retrieved from its inner reaches and tucked into a desk drawer. Leftover ammunition follows it in, save for a handful of shotgun shells that get dipped into a coat pocket instead.

Can I talk to him? What the fuck do you want? Why are you here? Deckard tugs on a pair of gloves, vest-restricted chest falling stiff around a sigh forced out through his teeth. Leather creaks, a ski mask sifts past his fingers and is disregarded. A hard blink and a rankle at his nose later, he slings the shotgun up off the desk onto his shoulder and heads for the door, sweeping up the phone and snuffing out the oil lamp on the way.

"I'll meet you around back at two. Did Cardinal get away?"

The ghost voids another breath out across the mouthpiece. It circles once in stewed silence before he answers, "I can't take credit for all of it." Denial of responsibility. Really, truly. Definitively means it can't be Teodoro Laudani, and even the great artificer is aware of this after a moment, examining that statement from several different angles before he drops it back onto its velvet show pillow. He lost the guilt with the Catholicism. He'd lost a lot more than that, but his renewed sense of entitlement is a subject for a different conversation, if someone doesn't cut out his tongue before then.

"He did. He woke up and I can't sense him here anymore." Unlikely terminology in lieu of answers that Ghost knows that Deckard had, however briefly, considered asking for. "He's in pretty fucking bad shape, though. His boss is looking for him, but probably not the only one. I think he's made some enemies considerably worse than Logan." Something clicks and shuffles: fingers on window pane, restless feet.

You're already there? "He knows about the ability swap. If he's free he should be able to find me on his own." Deckard's voice cuts into clearer and more precise angles when he toggles off the speaker and holds the phone to his ear, left hand trailing free across moldering walls as he tracks his way down a familiar hallway for an equally familiar emergency exit. The clap of his boots across the polished floor rings hollow off the tiled ceiling — architectural details wrought into his memory where middle-aged eyes decline to pick out details in the dark. "I'm on my way."

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