Half-Sail Ahead


joseph_icon.gif maxwell_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Half-Sail Ahead
Synopsis Joseph and Teo come to pay the Ferry's latest guest a visit, to talk shop, and find that Maxwell's already begun to consider closing his.
Date September 4, 2009

Ruins Of Midtown — A Safehouse

Or a derelict with a door in it.

Stir-crazy. That's a good term for how Max has been the past few days. He managed to get a few calls out on the disposable cell phone that Leo gave him. Thene he got into a heated argument with his agent and fried its delicate electronic guts.

The bombed out building is structurally sound, its walls still straight and mostly intact, the room he's staying in surprisingly liveable despite an absence of electricity and running water. It's as comfortable as a self-imposed, camp-like prison could possibly be.

A few times, he was prepared to leave, had his bags packed and was all set to return to the fragments of his life. But then his stomach clenched and he was forced to turn back. Hard to tell if that was a stomach pain related to his ability, or just at the thought of trying to decide how to sort out his life.

At the moment, he's seated on a camp chair, staring at a hot plate as tomato soup bubbles and forms a pale red skin. He fiddles with the dial to turn it down to the proper heat. It's like being in college.

Feet in the hall, suddenly. No one knocked until now, a fist drubbing along the wall as Teo tramples in, closer, his strides roping out long, one subsequent to the next. "Mr. Quinn?" It isn't a shout, but the deathly quiet that presides over the ruins of midtown make even the Sicilian's voice sound louder than it is in the stagnation of abandoned spaces, dust and slow-degrading concrete. "Friends of your chauffeur here. Two of us. Don't shit your shorts or anything: we're friendly."

He'd been about to say 'unarmed,' of course, but lying's a sin and rarely does his conscience press so close as when there's a pastor semi-literally breathing down the back of his neck. There is a retroactive desire to do something about the swears, but it's too late for that, and late in the evening besides: maybe Joseph is too tired to've been paying attention, anyway. He skirts a ragged hole in the steps and cranes his head around the scabbed plaster of the corner before slotting his body out.

If Joseph is getting accustomed to the company of this ragtag group of terrorists, activists and criminals, it manifests in a lack of rebuke for swearing, silent tolerance. He can say unarmed, though his hands aren't free. A cooler box filled with fresh food as opposed to the storage of cans that comes standard in these situations is carried by its plastic white handles, stretching his arms taut but not slackly, strength in his shoulders.

Boots, jeans, a sweater are all appropriate clothes that he wears for his excursion into Midtown, the small, golden crucifix pendant on the short, thin chain around his neck flipped free of his collar and twinkling in the half light. He only offers a smile rather than words, at first, as he turns the corner.

Funny that even the knock and the entrance of the two men doesn't put Max on-guard. He probably should be jumpier, more paranoid, but the Humanis First bombings were targetting the movie, not him specifically. Sure, they might have enjoyed it if he had been collateral damage, but if he was the target, there were more direct ways to take him out.

So instead of twitching or reaching for the bread knife Leo left him, he stands slowly and switches off the hotplate. He's hoping to god he doesn't EMP that sucker out. Fortunately, it's old school enough to not have a microchip, and therefore less likely to fry with a small charge.

The former c-rate movie star has mussed up hair and a few days' worth of stubble on his cheeks. "Well, I'm guessing you're friendly if you managed to find me and aren't wearing rags, pushing a shopping cart and raving about the end of days." He quirks a tiny smile, but it's a tired one. "And uh, it's just Max, all right? I don't think anyone in my situation is a 'mister.'"

"Your humility is weird, man," Teo says, always one for diplomacy. He is the first into the room as a matter of course, but eases out of the way promptly that the other Ferryman can step in with the cargo in his hands. Casts a pale eye through the room, briefly, nothing particularly churlish or arrogant about the expression seated across his aquiline features. "I'm Ian. Another friend of ours found this place a few months ago.

"It's good to see someone's making some use of it, although I take it—" off the scarred walls, onto the fastenings of the nearest bag in its heap, discreet but nevertheless out of place in the derelict. He almost finds inspiration there, but not yet; a packed bag can mean anything in their constituency. Leaving the country, going home, guns or books or an inexpertly concealed bomb. "You were going to go?"

"Well, I don't rave 'bout the end of days. But we can avoid the topic if you want." Moving past "Ian", Joseph shuffles to find a decent enough spot to place down the cooler, a quiet and dull thud of something heavy, and a slight shift of things inside squeezing against each other. Opening the lid and unpacking would be counterintuitive, so he leaves it along from there. Dark eyes immediately start taking in the space, as if checking to see if 'livable' is Deckard's standards, or normal people standards.

His assessment being, it could do with some improvement, but. Sure. Livable. Teo's words get a glance, puzzlement switching from him to the other young man in the room, as Joseph fidgets with his shirt cuffs. Not offering his name yet, listening with an inquiring raise of his brow.

"Why's it weird? I mean, hell, the only reason anyone knows who I am is because of the shit surrounding this." Another crooked smile appears on Max's lips. He reaches for a bottle of room temperature bottled water. Like a good host, he offers one to each of the visiting men. "Can't be a movie star when you haven't starred in any movies."

The smell of tomato soup hangs in the air of the camp-liveable space. There is the musk of human-without shower lingering with Campbell's culinary creation. Not the most pleasant scent, but understandable. A week ago, he had a jaccuzi soaker tub. Life's funny that way. "So uh, are you gentlemen here to evict me, question me? I'm guessing you didn't trek all the way out here for the ambience." It's a friendly wisecrack rather than a caustic one. Hey, at least he still has a sense of humour.

"Way I was raised, 'mister's just polite," Joseph points out, a smile accompanying it. "It ain't reserved only for famous people. But that aside, you can call me Joseph, and it's nice to meet you."

He's moving a little around the periphery, drawing towards the more damaged areas of the room, whether that be water, age, fire, any of those elements that erode away perfectly good corners and edges of buildings, from the inside as much as the outside. "And no, we're not here to evict you— sorry if that ain't quite what you want to hear," is a mild joke. "We— did want to talk to you, though. 'bout the reasons why you're hiding out here, what people'll be wanting from you."

"Cat came by, Leo too. I know I need to get back out there, try to sort this shit out. But I can't do that until I stop having stomach spasms that choke electronics." Max puffs up his cheeks and sinks onto his bed. Aside from the camp chair and another one that doesn't look safe to put weight on, those're the only places to sit.

"Or at least stop having them by accident. But it's like trying to make hiccups come and then trying to stop them when they do. I'm not having much luck. And…" He makes a bit of a face. "I have no idea what I'm going to do yet. Register, probably. Then I have to sort out the insurance stuff with the movie being cancelled. And I have a feeling it wouldn't be safe to hop a flight to LA as was my plan. Annnd…uh, my agent already informs me that they will be 'going other directions' with the projects I had lined up. And I have a feeling no one'll want to hire a guy who could zot out a half a million dollar camera."

The corners of Teo's mouth turn up, reflexively, at talk of manners, but he doesn't say a word unkind or otherwise about that. Having installed himself by the wall, he listens to the exchange between the other man with his best facsimile of manners, keeping his peace in tidy presentation and his hands and toes inside the yellow lines. "Your agent is probably going to want you to stop by the NYPD precincthouse in a few days, too," he offers, finally. "Make a statement about what you experienced during the attack, and be reasonably available in case there's follow-up.

"Doesn't sound like a bad plan to me, otherwise. Except— with a shorter timeframe than you may think you have." Dark brows incline on Teo's face; he glances over at the pastor, in the style of a coworker who finds his comrade in corporation's opinion equally valuable. "Last thing you want is a subpoena tagging along on your new Registration record and Humanis First! with an addendum of additional excuses to spare the country another legal throwback."

Joseph nods along with Ian, though he keeps his focus on Maxwell. "I know you're still gettin' a handle on your power, but you'll want to Register before someone makes you if it comes down to that." He leans the small of his back against a kitchen counter, his hands resting on its edge as he shrugs at the younger man, kindness still present and manifest in tone of voice, searching gaze and mild smile. "It's not our time we're worried you'd be wasting. How's that goin' for you, anyway? Your ability?"

"I think the spin my publicist is putting on this is that I sustained injuries during the attack and am recovering in an undisclosed location. I know I have to go back to civilization soon. Plus," Max's nose wrinkles. "…won't be long til I can't afford the publicist anymore. I uh, sort of already budgeted for money I haven't gotten yet. And am not going to get." He's been living in LA, and this was his first big payday. He doesn't exactly have a nest egg. "And with the movie a bust, the studio has no reason to protect me or my reputation." He's no longer an asset to be sheltered.

"You know what the funny thing is?" He exhales a whuff of laughter, runs fingers through his hair and looks up at the two men. "I'm relieved in a way. Being a leading man wasn't what it was cracked up to be. I just wanted to do stunt work, but it seemed stupid to pass up a chance to star."

He closes his eyes for a moment, then looks to Joe. "I haven't made anything blow up in a day or so. Then again, there's not much to blow up around here. I'm just worried that if I go back into the city without having a handle on it, I'm going to end up hurting someone."

That's not a funny thing as far as Teo's aware. His brows incline slightly, the saucy skepticism of— potentially— a Sicilian man whose former star-crossed romantic interest took a spontaneous roll in the hay with the current conversationalist with his 'weird humility' and all. Not to be a jealous douchebag about it, of course, Teodoro Laudani has always been cursed with far too much grace for that, but the apparently-not-quite movie star has set himself up against standards a little higher than he really knows. Fortunately for everyone involved, the one mutant's esteem for the other isn't overly relevant to the cause at hand.

Exigent circumstances breed the sort of brotherhood that is as impersonal as it is powerful. "Your publicist can only hold them off so long without proof that you're incapacitated or something— a little more or less melodramatic than your current living situation, I think. When are you planning to Register?" A slight slouch takes up his shoulders, makes the question casual: ballpark date, no blood oaths to be sworn here.

Joseph takes the time, as both men talk, to look towards Teo once more. It's not as though the Sicilian's reactions are particularly important - maybe just interesting in reflection. The corner of the pastor's mouth twitches in a smaller half-smile than befpre, and his gaze dips down towards the floor, shoving his hands into the pockets of his sweater.

Actors. He angles a look back at Maxwell, silently inquiring as to Teo's questions.

"As soon as I go back? I don't know. Look, I'm…the kind of guy who goes and does what people tell 'em. Hit this mark, say this line. Back in my Army days, it was 'shoot these guys, protect these ones, shine your shoes.' These are some pretty, uh…hefty decisions. Bigger than I've ever had to make. So uh, you know. Open to advice, here," Max flashes a smile, though it's all Hollywood. His eyes don't hold the warmth such an expression should have behind them. "Not to pass the burden for my life-changing decisions on to a pair of strangers or anything." He waves a hand, then leans against the wall and rolls his eyes towards the ceiling.

"I suppose I'm sorta using this 'no power control' thing as a way to delay going back, huh?" He breathes in, slowly. "Okay. Uh. So, one way or another I'm getting out of here within the next two days. Whether I can control my power or not. I'll get myself doped up if need be. I don't want to become a fugitive."

You don't even have to be a Mossad-trained ninja or have a particularly bright electric lamp available to be able to see through that smile, but Teo doesn't try. "Alternatively, there are a few HomeSec guys who work closer to street level. I think—" unless bagging and tagging is still in the works, "they might be able to come and do your intake privately, outside of a precincthouse, if you'd prefer that.

"With the conspiracy theories these days, though." Teo offers the man a slight grimace of sympathy: he doesn't envy the man's situation, whether or not he regards it as a step up from movie stardom or otherwise. The expression fades back to neutral after a moment, and he regards Maxwell in a reasonable facsimile of pleasant silence. The silence part would be true to definition. Pleasant remains debetable, givent he circumstances. "'S there anything else you need? New disposable phone, clothes? I can run courier if you want to send somebody word by hand."

"I brought some fresh foods too, I know living off luke warm canned stuff isn't really makin' your life any more pleasant. It'll keep for long enough," Joseph adds, with a glance towards the cooler. Sensing a cue, he takes his weight off the counter, shrugs at the other man. Rue is obvious. "I don't like encouraging people to Register, but you shouldn't— make this whole thing worse for yourself based off an ideal that ain't particularly practical at this point in time. But it's your choice. They brought you here so you had one." His boots scuff the floor, as he starts making his way back towards where Teo is situated.

Maxwell Quinn really isn't much of an actor - not with words anyway. He can make the audience believe a lot of things with his body and the way he moves. In many ways, he is a violent dancer.

He considers Teo's words and sucks a little air between his teeth. "I'd uh, appreciate a new phone. Leo brought me clothes. But I don't think you want my agent or publicist knowing your face. They might hound you. I'll phone one and have them meet me. Other than that," one shoulder lifts. "My career's over. I can see that. So salvaging my reputation isn't really, uh, that high of a priority, to be honest." He sounds resolved, but one would guess it's mostly a front. "People'll forget about me after the story's died down. And hopefully I can get on with my life then. It's the meantime I'm not so sure about."

He snags up the bottle of lukewarm water and swallows a mouthful. "Didn't realize that New York was full of so many good samaritans. I suppose it'd be looking a gift horse in the mouth to ask why you're helping."

He looks to Joe and blinks. Hm. "I…uh, well, I'm planning to register. That's what you do, right? It's illegal not to. And besides, people already know. People who're not going to the press only because they're still on my payroll."

"On the bright side: if you Register, it's not like the gift horse is going to have anything to bite you with," Teo points out genially, offering one hand up in a wave. He moves to excuse himself, in much the way that the pastor is taking his cue. Ducks his head, once, courteously. "I'll bring you a phone. Maybe you can call the cops ahead of time, let them know what you're worried you might do to their equipment or whatever the fuck. Shouldn't be a problem. Or not more'f one than being a fugitive.

"And you're welcome." There are, possibly, too many teeth in the smile he offers the former starlet then. He turns away, steps down into the hall with his hands in his pockets, his boots biting faint prints into the accumulated dust and grit of the hallway. Slows his stride as soon as he hears the pastor's tread after him, shifts off a few inches to the side, allowing the older man a margin of his own for movement.

As Maxwell addresses him, the pastor tips his head aside at that response, his focus on the actor narrowed and thoughtful - distant, in a way, thinking of conversations outside of the room. Still, he doesn't respond - inevitably, "Cat" will lay it out for him. He has two days.

For now, Joseph just nods his head towards the younger man, and moves at a quick pace towards the hallway, stepping in time with Teo. It's almost as chilly as it is inside than outside, the temperature making no shift as they move for the front door. "He seems nice," is the pastor's assessment, as he pushes it open into air that only seems a little dryer. It's a way to walk to where his car is stashed, and the street is empty of everything.

At the very least, Teo doesn't stomp when he's operating off reflexive territoriality runoff from a personality that he has gone through strenuous moves to convince the world and himself is no longer actually his. It is separately and obnoxiously absurd to think that his more facetious sins and vices came from the more supposedly virtuous of his predecessors. He closes his eyes briefly, squeezes them, reopens. Manages not to trip and fall and die on any of the protruding nails or crooked lines of the steps as they descend, squints up at the gray light beyond the ramshaackle maw of egress.

"Not really fair of me to not think so, I realize," he acknowledges, at length.

That gets a glance in the time it takes Joseph to translate, but a small, dry chuckle eventually ensues, the same volume and apology as his foot steps scraping the concrete sidewalk as they go. "Don't think I've ever met a movie star before," he adds, presently, managing to beat back the instinct to meander rather than stride with all the pace one should when headed out of Midtown. He twists enough to glance back at the house, with its heat peeled lack of paint, the cracks, the damage and iron structure keeping its dubious mass together. It's not a place anyone would want to live in. "It might not be his fault humility is weird."

"Humility isn't always weird. His humility is weird. I'm being a little bitch," Teo adds, by way of concession, never mind that his choice of verbiage probably makes a statement that was meant to apologize for being objectionable even more objectionable. He keeps apace of the pastor easily, despite that, making no physically grandiose statement about subliminal desires to alienate the man, but that doesn't have to be true for him to remain rather obviously— off-center, in some sense.

Teodoro Laudani's usually pretty nice about stuff. Like the fact that everybody's a little weird, himself not the least of all. He stares across the blank street, counts the charred yellow stripes that split the road into two ways, bobs his head two, three times, with his step. "I think he's gonna be all right, though. Hope so."

"Unless he can't get his ability under some kind of control and they start chalkin' it up to a higher tier, and unless his friends can't cover for him properly. Like Flint said the other night. But he could be fine. I— " An impatient sigh escapes Joseph, his arms folding around his torso as he walks. "He'll be all right if he can figure out he's in danger of not bein' all right, I think. He wouldn't be out here, otherwise, but— "

The pastor shrugs, and offers a regretful, slightly abashed smile. "You heard him. He— talked a lot, didn't he. I wasn't rebuking you, by the way."

Nyehhh. Teo decides to do something disgustingly boyish to relieve the pressure of having to behave like a grown-up when he doesn't wanna, so he rubs his sleeve under his big Finnish nose a few times. "Thanks. I've never seen you rebuke anybody," he adds, after a moment, pausing to finally click a glance over at the pastor, a brief token's amusement at no one's expense. "I don't know what I was worried about." He smiles for a second, maybe two, enough to sink its sincerity through, before he drops his gaze at his feet. Kicks his way over sharded pavement. "Seems like his control is getting better.

"I think if he makes some humility noises about enrolling at the Suresh Center or something of the like, he should be all right. I think there are a few of us working in and around the Center as it is. He'll get the support we wanted him to have." Let it never be said that one's flaws and graces can't coexist in the same situation. Teo's eyes blank slightly. "But you're right. If it comes to that, I guess we know where the lines are. And who's on what side."

There's a short amount of silence. Joseph, perhaps, unsure if he was right about that after all, or if it was what he was getting at, but ultimately— he nods. It seems like the right thing to do. Then, another smile, the abrupt kind that happens when a memory sparks and it amuses you. "Seemed a little strange, didn't it? All that arguin' about principle and what we would and wouldn't risk to let 'im have that choice and it didn't seem like he even realised anythin' about principle at all. He's gonna Register anyway, because it's illegal not to."

There isn't judgment in Joseph's tone - resignation, maybe, and some bemusement. "I mean, not like the alternative is easier. It's not. Duckin' and hidin' and getting smuggled into Canada to escape it, for no real reason other than it being wrong. But I guess that's why we have principles instead've practicality, sometimes."

There's a cant of his head for agreement, and Teo's eyes thin around a smile. "Boy isn't a categorical terrorist yet, or have any other— visible defects of character that would push him into the mythical echelons of Tier 3. The taste for solitary hermitage was kinda cute, I guess. I d'no." Pale eyes disfocus fractionally on the distance of tarmac. A billboard with a peeling Calvin Klein underwear model makes a gap-toothed skull out of what would otherwise have been a delightfully dirty pout. "Maybe he's lucky he's somebody.

"They'd have a harder time turning him into a vegetable experiment than they would Joe the intern out of community college." He doesn't know why he's talking around the principle, perhaps disconcerted by Joseph's protracted pause of uncertainty or else unable to shore it up with conviction of his own, but that's what he's doing.

He leaves it unspoken, where it can preside over the background in the seeming likeness of certainty. There will be Ferrymen here for Maxwell Quinn if conventional civil justice leaves him stranded. There will be Ferrymen here for any Evolved in need, should conventional civil justice leave them stranded. "You ever actually been to Canada?" he's saying, then, casually and just as wearily thoughtless, the question unconsidered, innocuous on first pass. It's not likely Joseph will make a second for another few hours, at the very least. "I went just the other month. I think you'd like it.

"Like Tennessee: it has good mountains."

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