amato_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Hermitage
Synopsis Raith tracks down Amato with news and information. And Fury.
Date November 5, 2009

The Greenbelt

The Greenbelt is 2800 acres of mixed urban parkland and natural preserves that have since gone wild, equal parts dying and thriving in the neglect that the borough of Staten Island has suffered. The more natural areas are primarily a succession of ridges and boulder-littered moraines beneath the canopy of a hardwood forest - beech, hickory, maples, and oaks in the main, with a variety of less common trees mixed in. At the lower points of the parkland, this forest gives way to wetland, overgrown with ferns, skunk cabbage, lady slipper, and trout lilies.

An overgrown golf course is home to unkempt grassland and a site for the island's residents to discard junk. The cemetery is similarly writhed with impossible weeds, and contains the smell of an open grave or several. Stray dogs have taken to existing out in its thicker parts, gone wild and dangerous, and there are other dangers too - desperate cut throat muggers have been known to roam the pathways, and an urban legend of a monster lurks in its shadows.

It's not impossible to get through the Greenbelt without harm, and many make such journeys every day - but its no surprise that very few desire to linger longer than necessary in the midst of dead trees, tangled weeds, and the occasional unpleasant surprise in the dark.

A fire sends a tribute of smoke to the dark, smoggy sky over Staten Island. The size of it means that the plume isn't very noticable, especially in the dark wilderness of the Greenbelt. But without it, Amato Salucci would be very distraught indeed.

Seated in the mouth of a cave, the would-be priest is as gaunt and pale as he ever was, dressed in every scrap of warm clothing he has to his name, and then some. A small, nondescript wild animal has been skewered and is now roasting on a spit while the bundled man warms his fingers by the flames.

'Getting away from it all' is only this extreme in a rare few cases. But then hey, when you're a wanted terrorist on the run from the government, and possibly a few other organizations, why fuck around with a tent in the back yard? Going all the way is the only way to do things in these circumstances.

That, of course, doesn't mean that Jensen Raith, having gone through the effort of making his way through the Greenbelt and to the cave with all the care of a man sneaking through a minefield past enemy snipers, is all that pleased by the would-be priest's choice of shelter. When Raith finally comes slinking into view, almost literally appearing from thin air, it's not a wholly familiar sight for Amato. No sharp clothing, and more than that, no long coat. Raith must be getting paranoid, because he's come dressed in dark, forest pattern camouflage. The gun in his hands is not the familiar MP5, but rather an M4 carbine. And the dark shadow lingering just out of plain view that he is visibly unconcerned with is a completely new addition. but through it all, it is still Jensen Raith holding a gun.

"What, no s'mores?"

When Raith appears in his usual manner but without his usual getup, Amato not only jumps away from the fire, but reaches behind a rock for his own protection. His hand reemerges with a Winchester in it, which is soon shouldered. Lucky for Jensen, Amato's reaction time isn't so fast that he doesn't hear the man speak.

A string of muttered Italian is sighed out, and Amato lowers the rifle. "I should not be surprised. You'll push me to the mountains before this is over." Resting the butt of the gun on the rocky ground, Amato rubs his forehead with the tips of a few fingers. "Did you bring something?" A request? News?

"An unexpected compliment, for starters," Raith replies, "Nice iron you got there.

"But, yes, I bring something. A few somethings, in fact, if you're interested in hearing all of them, but first things first. Got us a nice rock 'n' roll band all pulled together. Even got Petrelli to join up, had you heard? That's the mostly uninteresting news. Had any run-ins with Daiyu lately? Had any run-ins at all? I'd be interested in hearing about them, myself. We'll trade. I gave you info, now you give me some, deal?"

"Very well," Amato says dryly, seeming wholly unimpressed with Raith's little band of misfits. Why would the President join them, of all causes? "I can tell you how to catch squirrels, though rabbits are better meals, and I can speak of the writings of scholars long dead before your grandmother was a gleam in a new wife's eye."

Sneers aren't common on Amato's face, especially as of late. But Raith earns one now. "What sort of information do you assume I have, Jensen? I took heed of warnings and moved as far away from threats as I could. And now I will have to move again." Happy?

Raith offers a shrug. "According to our source, Daiyu's gone off the reservation. So, if you should happen to kill him, either by accident or design, that may actually get you on the government's good side. They might be looking for you, by the way, so watch out for the men in black. That's news the first.

"News the second…" Raith adds a very deliberate pause, as if he were trying to build the suspense before he answered, "Is that the government isn't all that interested in tracking us down and killing us anymore. Did you know that? I'll bet you didn't."

"Is that so," Amato spits out of his sneer, taking his position by the fire once again. "And so you are here to coax me back into civilization, hm? Perhaps I like this singular monastic existence. I may even start a garden in the spring."

"In the spring, huh? That's a pretty good idea, except for one minor detail." Raith even kneels down and leans towards Amato, as if he's about to share an amazing secret with him. What he has to say is, unsurprisingly, not all that amazing. "Before the spring, there's this thing called winter, and it wants to kill you. Savvy?"

"There were centuries where men survived in such conditions with little more than I have." Amato resolute, staring into the orange flames rather than at Raith's fire-lit face. "If it is God's will, creation will take me. Was there a third bit of news?"

"Of course," Raith says matter-of-factly, "We've taken over one of the buildings on the island, nice big one. It's not new, nice, or even all that sound, but it's a hell of a lot warmer than it is out here in the wild. Plenty of space, too. So, your call." His secret shared, Raith stands back up, stretching his neck to one side and then the other, working out kinks brought on by the cold. "You get tired of living like an armed bear, there's a spare room. Hermit or not, the squirrels don't care what happens to you. Us bad guys got to watch out for each other, you know."

Amato squints, then looks up at Raith with a suspicious expression. "Bear?" He pauses in thought, his hands still held to the fire. "How do you know you are safe there? You are all together - an easier target at which to aim. Whether it be the government, or Daiyu, or some new terror, we will be forever hunted."

"Well, if living like an animal is your thing, have at it, hoss. But somehow, that doesn't really seem like you. No, I don't really have you figured out the way I thought I did, I suppose." With that, Raith is apparently finished, as he turns to leave Amato alone. But he doesn't even move a single step. "Tell me, Priest-boy," he says, glancing back over his shoulder, "In the head of yours. You know anything about the Furies?"

"The Eumenides," Amato corrects. "The Fates of Greek mythology, who chased down those who had committed the heinous crimes of the culture, such as matricide and patricide." Amato folds his hands and looks to Raith again, considering the proposal. It would certainly be warmer, and food would be easier to come by. Plus, he wouldn't have to read the same few books over and over again. "Why are they relevant?"

"Life as an animal is, well, cold and wild," Raith says, "Life as a hermit isn't much better. But consider this. Rapist lives in Jefferson Park, rapes a few women over there. Reports, if any are filed, go unanswered by the cops. Next day, one of the residents turns up dead in the street. Goes on the books as a hate crime against an Evolved." If Amato follows the news - if he's really able to - that sounds much like an event that actually occurred several weeks ago. "Curiously enough, the cops don't need to investigate any more rapes, because no more happen. Life for an animal is cold. Life for a hermit isn't much better.

"But what would you suppose life is like for a Fury?"

The Winchester's various metal components against themselves is the first sound that Amato makes, his pale hand gripping the instrument tightly as he stands. There are some things that run so deep in a man that no change can rip them out. The same morality that brought Amato into the church and then Kazimir's flock won't allow him to stand idly by.

Amato leaves the fire, built in it's ring on flat rock and moves to stand beside Raith, looking out into the darkness. Shadows dance against the back wall of the cave. "I won't cut the thread," he says plainly. "But I shall measure it, if I am required to."

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