Left Knows Not


benji_icon.gif ingrid_icon.gif jj_icon.gif

Scene Title Left Knows Not
Synopsis …what the right is doing. Three people of seemingly different allegiances have a conversation about a common goal.
Date February 5, 2011

Roosevelt Island

Pressing a fingertip against the barrier edges makes a sort of— E.T. phone home effect that has Benji huffing out a disbelieving sound, briefly wide eyed at the illumination it creates under pressure, as he tips his head back to try and see the curve of the massive dome. It's going to be messy, one would imagine, when it finally breaks down — all that snow up above could possibly kill a man. Retracting his hand and inspecting the pad of fingertip, rubbing away the slightly grimy residue that comes off with it, he steps back and beside Ingrid, scanning a glance towards the nearby patrol of soldiers who are on edge since the near-riot and the exploding rescue boat of this morning. But not so much that people aren't allowed near the barrier itself, where it writes its thin blue line through the street.

They stand near the mostly bisected chapel, which blocks off some of the wind that those within the Dome don't actually need to worry about. Benji Foster is bundled into warm wool in the form of a coat and sweater beneath that, jeans with damp cuffs going frayed over boots — dull colours and a dull presence, jaw a little rough with the need to have shaved this morning, and a scar still developed at an angle to his eyebrow.

"It's bigger in real life," is all he thinks of to say, glancing down at cellphone in Ingrid's hand. Not talking of the cellphone, obviously.

Down the street toward that barrier trudges a weary looking, but otherwise healthy JJ. With no heat, even with plenty of beds and plenty of bedding, sleep comes hard and leaves one waking achey and brittle feeling, muscles sore from curling into a ball. There are plenty of toiletries, courtesy of those who are cut off from their houses, but showers are more difficult to come by; water lines were cut, and what was in the reservoirs, without heat, is frozen. Thus, JJ is sporting his own sparse beard that makes him look younger if anything, given its patchy nature, as the electric razor he'd been using ran out of battery juice.

Vanity isn't his concern, luckily.

When he sees the two, he raises a gloved hand in greeting, and breaks into a jog toward that divide. His face breaks into a wider grin as he gets closer, though there's a tension in the eyes of worry. It might be bad news they are here to bear, after all.

"Hey," he says, bringing a hand up against his side for a moment before the fuzzy feeling has his fingers closing back in to a loose fist. "So we got a roll call? Anyone else missing besides li'l ol' me?"

Soldiers make Ingrid Raines uneasy even with the registration card she carries in her purse, which she wears over her shoulder with a gloved hand splaying protective fingers across it. The purse, like her coat and the heels on her small feet, is red, but this is as far as the similarities go; her outfit, although coordinated, is composed of many different materials and textures, including wool, faux leather and whatever it is fake designer shoes are made of. She's not sure — it's nothing she's ever read in a book.

Unlike Benji, she hasn't the courage to touch the barrier and stands half a pace behind him, her lower lip caught in her teeth. The breeze on their side of the dome tugs flyaway strands of wispy blonde hair from a loose bun at the back of her head that will have completely loose by the end of the day. She's glad she missed the bus this morning. If she hadn't, she'd have made the earlier press conference like she was supposed to. "I haven't heard anything from Kincaid," she says, "and Wally can't find Astor, but you know— you know how he is."

At the sight of JJ, Benji stands more to attention — more meerkat and prey-like than soldier-esque in comparison to the men in their kevlar, fatigues and rifles that don't get much more than a wary glance from the young man. JJ gets a quick wave, as if he needs some kind of cue to pick them out, open palmed, fingers splayed, before it drops again to link with the other. He glances towards Ingrid as she responds, standing close enough that his arm brushes her's.

"Howard is off on his own again. But Nora has her vision back," Benji says, gently, and with a warm smile that says the thank you that doesn't actually need to be spoken, really. It would be assumptive. "She's staying with Calvin for a little while, but we can do a— a head count the next time she's radioing around."

Pale eyes scout JJ up and down, some hesitation before he asks, "How are you?"

JJ's brows knit together with worry at the names and uncertainties that go with them, but it's countered quickly by a toothy grin at the good news Benji delivers, and he nods earnestly. "Thank you for going in my place. I'll make sure I tell Dooley thanks too when I get out of here… I wasn't sure she'd show, without me, but she's good people," he says, nodding happily.

His green eyes flicker from Benji to Ingrid and back. "I'm all right. Trying to be organized and civilized and all, you know. Like maybe carrying around a clipboard'll keep us from becoming Lord of the Flies or somethin'. Not dim enough to try and carry a conch shell, even if I could find one. Pierce'd probably be the one to throw me off the cliff if I did that," he says with a smirk. "It's not pretty, for sure, but there's food and there's shelter, so it could be worse. We've been through worse. We'll get through this."

He sighs and glances up at the top of the dome, no longer clear. "Tell Adel I'm okay, okay?"

"She'd know if you weren't," says Ingrid, and she lowers her gaze to the ground, shying away without scraping her feet. Shoulders tuck in. Her chin touches her collar. Eye contact is something she still has problems with. "That's something you feel. Inside.

"The night my dad died, my mom just stopped doing what she was doing and locked herself in the bedroom without saying anything to anybody. Didn't come out until we got the knock at the door." She forces a tight smile. "I'll tell her for you when I see her on Thursday. They're having a party at Miss Chesterfield's old place in Greenwich for Miss Quinn. Glass Wonderland, you know. It's really all very exciting."

Glancing passed JJ's shoulder, Benji takes a breath, holds it, lets it out in a silver wisp of steam, a short sigh. "Well. If anyone can, sir." Get through this, he means, tucking chin in to dart his stare downwards as Ingrid speaks, head canted a little as he too listens to the news of celebration, even on days like today, with the sky gone bruise-grey and the atmosphere so tense it might as well be electrified. His own Registration card, tier one, telepathy, is ready and waiting in his pocket.

His news mostly starts and ends with: I had a concussion and then I got a kitty. But this is the kind of thing he shares to guilt certain individuals, or to Ingrid, if it's the latter thing. "Time is ticking," he says, after a moment, near quiet enough for the wind to steal his words completely. "Someone's going to come out on top when this is over, and it needs to be us. Is there— anything to find?"

JJ's dark brows lower as he listens to Ingrid, an expression of sympathy and also gratitude on his face, before he simply nods, clearing his throat then smiling. "Thanks, Ingrid," he says softly.

Green eyes return to Benji, and his scowl returns a little at the pessimism, though Benji'd likely call it realism. "Someone has to have a power that can turn this thing off. Just because we've never seen anything like it doesn't mean there's no one who can't do something about it," he says, tucking his hands into his pocket and turning to peer over his shoulder at the length of the street stretched behind him. Turning back, he shakes his head. "I didn't get much useful when I was looking the day it happened. No clear images. I donno who I'm looking for. But I'll keep trying. My guess is whoever did it has to be inside, right? I mean — if the thing is a sphere, which they seem to think it is, then it'd have to be done from inside, wouldn't it? I'll keep my eyes out for anything suspicious, but … as small as this sliver of land is, it's still pretty big. Someone could stay hidden if they wanted, pretty easily. Lots of nooks and crannies. You hear anything on the outside that might help?"

"I've been reading the reports as they come in. The ones above my clearance level, I mean." When Ingrid looks up again, she chooses to focus on a point somewhere past JJ, instead of addressing him directly. "Private military contractors inside have been ordered not to kill anybody because the working theory right now's that the dome is freestanding. Some of the higher-ups have been making noise about our working relationship with the Institute and whether or not their people know something they're not telling our people, but I'm getting the impression that the feeling is mutual.

"Nobody knows what's going on. Not really."

It's Ingrid that has Benji's attention, these matters coming out as they stand here with JJ rather than repeated ones, and he listens carefully, tensely. There's a huff of a breath at the news of the PMCs resisting killing anyone— who'd'a thunk it— and his hand travels up to itch nervously at the grain along his jaw, creating new, temporary red marks where there were ones in prior itching. "Freestanding, and very valuable," he adds, his voice hesitant, and the beginnings of a blush beginning to work its way from neck to ears.

"They want him. Or her," he adds, eyes rolling. They don't know. "And I think you should— you should try and do what you can to make sure they don't. I mean." There are people who are better at this than Benji is, words halting briefly, tripping over his tongue, and more aware of Ingrid standing next to him than every before. "It would be nice if everyone could live through this," he adds, weakly, a sort of stare across at JJ as if to ask him to figure out what he means without explicit detail.

"In a time of secret wooing, today prepares tomorrow's ruin. Left knows not what right is doing. My heart is torn asunder."

The murmured words from JJ are almost too quiet to reach the two on the other side of what might as well be the world, that thin and nebulous divide between them. "Yeah. They've already done enough segregating on this island without throwing it under glass so to speak. Whoever did this'll be popular — on all sides."

His eyes drop for a moment before rising again to meet Benji's once more. He nods, eyes twitching just a little. "That'd be nice, yeah."

He looks at Ingrid again, eyes softening. "Tell her good luck for me. Did they get the name for that from this thing?" He nods upward. Glass Wonderland. "Or just the kid's book? Good timing, if just coincidence."

Ingrid lets out a breath of laughter — or an attempt at it. Whatever it is, it's weak. "Nothing to boost CD sales like a national tragedy, huh." Her hand drops from her purse and finds her pocket. She presses just a little bit closer against Benji. "I found some stuff on the Frontline-OS project, too. While I was looking. Colonel Heller over'n Staten Island's been working real close with the Department, but he can smell the blood on the water, too. If you can get them away from Praeger, make sure nobody in your unit knows where they're going. Even the nice ones like Miss Dooley. They're recruiting and—

"Not exactly in the way you'd think. I have some stuff for Bid— Benji to take back to Pollepel Island when he goes."

Blowing out an exhale, Benji takes this round to— not speak very much at all, hands clasping in front of him and studying the ground as Ingrid talks. Lifts his head, though, at the mention of the name Heller, pale stare sharp and wondering as he watches her profile throughout. As fearful and watchful as an antelope, with the mention of the Colonel akin to shifting grass in the distance. "Okay," he agrees, gently, and presses a smile at her, curiousity not straining enough to demand detail right away.

"Not much I can do with my unit in here," JJ says, brows dipping as he looks from Ingrid to Benji and back. "But I'll do what I can."

He sighs, shoulders rising and then falling, looking a little defeated by worry and only the smallest glimmer of good news. Maybe the headline of finding a kitty would have helped, after all. "See if anyone can locate any of our Lost Boys, and I'll keep an eye out for them too. I'll check for text messages, like I said, once a day, say at sunrise, and if you hear anything one way or another, or if I hear, I'll do the same, okay?"

He studies them for a moment. "It's kinda dumb — I mean, I never see you anyway, on the job I'm on, but being in here?" He glances upward and back to the two on the other side of the barrier. He sighs, shaking his head, and giving a wry half smirk. The words go unsaid — he feels all the more separate, all the more alone.

"Thanks for coming," JJ offers instead.

"Good luck," Ingrid offers, and as soon as the words are out of her mouth she regrets them. Not because they sound insincere coming from her mouth, but because it's all she has. Another smile, tighter than the one before it, and her free hand snags a stray piece of hair. Tucks it behind her ear.

There's a moment where it looks like she might make an attempt at something else, no matter how feeble, but she ends up succumbing to silence instead.

Sympathy draws Benji's eyebrows together, knowing a taste of this from Pollepel Island — but no where near this dire at the same time. Though she thinks they aren't that great, Benji lets Ingrid's words stand — they sound a good enough blessing to him. His own gesture is more silent, a kiss traded from the tips of his fingers to the barrier leveled near JJ's chest, a shimmer of blue at the touch, and a smile that suggests that JJ may laugh at him, if he wishes to.

Taking Ingrid's other hand in his own, Benji steps back and away from the chapel, casting one final look to the soldiers nearby, back to JJ, before headed for the north bridge unencapsulated by the Dome.

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