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Scene Title Kings
Synopsis Raith Jensen sets up a covert meeting with a former co-worker in the CIA. A deal is struck.
Date October 19, 2009

Williamsburg, Virginia

Out of the night an into the light is the state of affairs for most patrons of Churchill's Pub and Grille, one of the places to be when you happen to be in Williamsburg, Virginia. With a population just around 12,000, Churchill's is one of the only places to be, at that. Despite this, it's a well-sized establishment, able to accommodate several hundred people on a given night between its wide floor space, tables, counters and booths. The lighting is good, warm but not blindingly bright, and the air is alive with the sounds of music and the din of chatter. But there's a particular booth in the establishment that stands out, located at the back and slightly below the level of the rest of the floor.

That booth is the reason that Jensen Raith chose Churchill's. In the back of the establishment, obscured from the entrances and exits, and out of the line of sight of all the windows. Rather than the low tops of many of the other booths, the backs of the seats to this one meet right against actual walls extending all the way up to the ceiling, with an exterior wall rounding out a third side of the booth. Jensen Raith is sitting at that booth, nursing a pint of Stone Pale Ale (all the way from out west), because it is impossible for anyone but a ghost to sneak up on him; anyone who wants to, be they server, patron or other can only approach from one direction. And that, coupled with the size of the crowd, creates a layer of armor against mishaps, and right now that's exactly what he wants.

Especially considering that any moment now, a certain mishap from his past will come walking through the door. And then, things are sure to get interesting.

As far as mishaps go, the man with the callsign King of Pentacles is a fairly bumpy one. The last time Jensen crossed his paths, it was in South Korea in 2004, two ships passing in the night, old soldiers sharing war stories as much as spooks can do in a foreign country. They had both been assigned to observe seperate sites in North Korea, and given their line of work. Jensen was certain he'd never see the man again. But from what he knows of him, his life is a story of brutality and unforgiving relentlessness, something of a fox-hound that never got tired of the hunt. It happens every so often in that line of work, becoming so comitted to it that returning to a normal life seems unpalateable.

That's how it is for both of them, in a way.

The gleam of the house lights on mirrored aviator sunglasses is an easy way to pick him up out of the crowd, he's always had them, calls them lucky. Maybe they are, given that he's about to walk in on a meeting with a surviving member of the Vanguard that — on paper — wouldn't benefit from shooting him in the face the moment he opened his mouth.

Unshouldering his black jacket, Aviators, as Eileen called him, looks far more casual than he did the day before. Slate colored sweater, jeans, workboots, he could be any other dipshit in this small town. Coming down the steps into the booth, he offers a too-friendly smile, but no offer of a handshake, just sliding in to the booth's seat like this isn't anything out of the ordinary.

"Man," he says with that pearly0white smile flashing, "you know how long it's been since you and I've shared a beer?" He looks down to the coaster in front of him, then waves a hand up to try and flag down one of the waitresses. "What's it been, four or five years? How're you doing?" Large hands fold on the table, shoulders hunch forward, and his head bobs in a repeated nod with that shit-eating grin.

"Oh, you know," Raith replies, raising his hands in air up to shoulder-level, palms facing the ceiling in a half-hearted, noncommittal shrug, "Work work, work work work work, work work work. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter where you go or what you do, you can't get away from it." With an air of finality, his hands go back down onto the table. "Ever.

"Listen, sun's down and we're inside, so how about you take those glasses off? Maybe that shit flies out West, but back East, it makes you look like a total schmuck. You should know this by now. Anyway, doesn't matter. This-" a pointed finger indicates a small, metal box mounted on the wall, sporting what looks to be, for all intents and purposes, the call button out of an airliner- "Is the coolest fucking thing. Give it a press, and bam, server. You don't even have to fight your way to the counter anymore. Pretty sure it's to encourage more drinking." And without further fanfare, Raith's finger taps against that same button. "What is it, again? No, no, I can remember this…." Five years is a long time to remember someone's favorite beer, as the rapid snapping of Raith's fingers would indicate. "It says to me… Fat Tire. Yes, no?"

Only for a moment do Aviators' eyes go up to that button, half expecting Jensen to explain how it is an elaborate series of tubes and wires that detonates an orphanage full of nuns if he so much as sweats too much. A call button for a waitress however is more delightful than the other option. "Your memory ain't failing you. What were we drinking that night, scotch out of paper cups?" There's a raw laugh at that as he looks over to the young woman that comes over, finally tipping ihs sunglasses off the bridge of his nose and folding them down on the table.

"Gimme an Octoberfest," he says simply to be contrary, "and another one of whatever it is he's having." Two fingers waggle in Raith's direction, and Aviators sits back with a creak of the plush leather cushion behind him, hands folded over his stomach. "So…" his brows furrow, voice trailing off as the server departs. "This is a pretty shit situation you've got yourself in, to be frank." He looks back to Jensen, head quirked to the side.

"Up until about four months ago I had a task force set up and all but signed the death warrants for you and all of your buddies. SAD and NATO ran a joint operation in Germany back in the spring and rounded up some of your buddies in a bunker below Berlin. After they found a Russian warhead down there, the President was practically throwing money at us to find the rest of you and have you all lined up and shot."

One dark brow raises, and Aviators rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "Then back in June, administration changes go through, and we're bringing one of the captives in as a mole to hunt down the rest of you here in the states. July rolls around, and we're supposed to suddenly call off the kill order, because the President gets cold feet."

"Four weeks later, I find out that the President and his advisory staff has formed a seperate task force, dissolved my office, and put me beneath a younger SAD operative named Kershner." A name that, remarkably, isn't familiar to Raith. "We change Daiyu's flight plan, he's meant to observe and report your locations. Plan is to round you all up one by one and give you some forcible enlistment or a bullet, depending. Daiyu goes rogue about a month ago, and now I'm up to my fucking eyebrows in terrorists and shitheels trying to find him." There's a tired sigh, and Aviators shakes his head. "Your name is on a list up in my office right now, under subdue and apprehend, where it used to say shoot on sight." He squints, head cocked to the side, "You've been in this business as long as I have, Jensen. You know this isn't business as usual. So maybe you can see why I'm coming to you now?"

Without an immediate verbal reply, Raith raises his glass up in a mock toast, "To sensibility." Occupying himself momentarily by swallowing down more of the dark, bubbly, hoppy liquid, it's clear that Aviators, that the King of Pentacles isn't the only one who saw meeting up as the sensible thing to do. "Terrorism's not really in vogue these days," he says, "It's expensive, and time consuming, and unless you have some agenda to push, you're just some asshole who likes to blow things up. You can do that in the backyard with fireworks. No." On cue, Raith thumps his glass back down on the table. "Vigilantism is where all the action is these days. And being a vigilante means I'm NYPD's problem, not yours. Be great if it was that easy, huh? But, we've both been doing this long enough to know better, no. We have to do things the hard way, as always. So-"

Raith pauses just for a bit when the server returns with the drinks requested. With a nod and a thanks, the conversation resumes as soon as it is once again just the two of them. "Speedy service, tonight." A missed beat.

"Where was I?"

"I think you were trying to butter my ass," Aviators adds with a quirk one of brow, taking his bottle by the neck and considering the label before looking back to Jensen. "You know, before we go down this road any further… I'd really like to know something." He pauses between that to take a swig, then settles the bottle back down on the coaster. He uses a coaster, Sylar would be thrilled to know. "How the fuck did you get caught up in all this? I mean, I know a bunch of guys who just dropped out after Midtown, just went home to be with their families, or found out they were one've them and couldn't deal with it and ate their guns."

"You didn't ever seem like the cracking type. So what was it that drew you in? How'd the King of Swords wind up being company to an honest to fucking god original-recipe Nazi and some bugfuck bioterrorism plan? I liked you, Jensen, as much as anyone can like someone in our agency. How the fuck did that happen?"

Raith pauses for a moment in consideration of his answer. Ah, yes, that's the ticket. "You remember those idiot 'Army of One' commercials they were running about, ten years ago, I guess? Kids got psyched up to be an army of one and suddenly discovered they had to work with people. Not at all what it was implied to be? Same deal." Another pause, another draft from his class.

"Man explodes, and between the blast, the precursor, the activation, and the fallout, basically takes the whole city with him. Well, a thing like that gets a guy thinking. 'What if someone else out there explodes and I didn't do anything to stop it?' Then, you hear a rumor that someone is doing something about it. You follow up, and because you're such a fucking badass, they sweep you right up to the top. After a while, though, you figure out something's wrong, and when you figure out exactly what's wrong, it all goes to Hell in laundry hamper, and luckily, plenty of other people figure out that somethings up and did something about it before the world ended." Again, Raith offers a weak shrug.


Rubbing one hand over his forehead, Aviators takes up his beer and takes a long drink from it, bottle tipped u and bubbles plunking up to the top before an exasperated breath comes out and the bottle thunks back down to the coaster. "So you're saying you smelled what was cooking and got out of the kitchen?" One dark brow raises. "The report that got sent to us from military intelligence didn't have your name in it anywhere. We had some filing from DIA, scared the shit out of people, and it went across my desk about a week after the Narrows blew to high hell. Did Dahl just not know about you, or were you so far out of the kitchen you didn't even know the oven was on fire?" The metaphor is getting cloudy at that point.

"Fuck, not like it really matters now." Aviators rolls his shoulders and wipes a bead of condensation off of the dark brown bottle neck. "I'm here as a courtesy to you, and hopefully a courtesy to the people you work with. Kershner wants them, all of them, for something going down soon. There's shit about to hit the fan that has me spending two nights a week on a fucking plane playing pattycake with people at the UN alongside the Vice President." A sidelong stare is offered to Raith.

"I wanna' know if you're going to play ball when you're asked to, or if we're going to need to round up each of you one by fucking one the hard way."

"Well, let's look at this realistically," Raith begins, tossing back the rest of his drink in one go. One left to work through. "If we do things the hard way, let's face it, it'll be messy. When things get messy, accidents happen, people get shot. Now, I know, that you know, that I hate getting shot. And the best way to avoid getting shot is, of course, to avoid situations where that might happen. So, I'll play, depending. I mean, do you really need all of us? How about, I give you Holden and Petrelli, and you know what, maybe I can scare up a couple others, too, and I keep the rest. I get done what I want done, you get done what you want done, everyone wins, we buy drinks and go home happy." As if to make this overly-optimistic projection even more insanely optimistic, Raith raises both his hands. Double thumbs-up, failure impossible!

"Petrelli?" There's a squint of the other spook's eyes at that, "What fucking Petrelli? There' isn't a Petrelli on any list I've been given." A suspicious look is offered to Raith because — you know — that is the President's last name after all. "Look, this isn't up for bargaining, Jensen. This is your mess that you're going to clean up, that's the way Kershner wants it, and I'm not going back to her without a definitive answer one way or another, even if it's just your word on things." A look is given deeper into the bar, then back towards Raith.

"The United States Government is going to be going after the Vanguard. All of them. Every single last one left on the face of God's green earth, and they're starting with the ones here in America, which happens to be you and your friends. You're all the only ones who aren't consigned to death warrants, because you're going to be the ones delivering the death. I don't know how the fuck this sounds like a good idea to anyone," he looks over his shoulder again, then back to Raith. "But you aren't the first one we picked up. The whole plan with Daiyu's a complete fuck up, and I guess they're trying a different approach."

Someone's approaching the booth. He'd been at a table across the dining room when Jensen came in, and now he's on his way over to the singular entrance, announcing his presence. Dark jeans are tucked over patterned leather boots, a black motorcycle jacket, curly black hair cut to chin length, clean shaven and bearing an eyepatch over a terrible scar. "Maybe if I can't get you to play along, he can." There's a jerk of one thumb over his shoulder as the man comes walking down the stairs, pulling a cigar from his mouth with a puff of smoke.

"Hola, senior Jensen." Dark brows go up, and the one brown eye remaining in Rico Velasquez' head levels on Raith. "Spot me a beer?"


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