Lie of Omission


benji_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif nick_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Lie of Omission
Synopsis Benji receives an unexpected welcoming party upon his return to Pollepel Island.
Date November 28, 2010

Pollepel Island

It's early, with a silvery fog rolling off the Hudson river in a way that's slow as treacle. It fades out a horizon, melts into an ice cap sky, and there's frost on the grass once you get past the rock and sand of the scraggly coastline. Wood is approximately the same colour as iron, and there's a damp and heavy thud of rope flung over the side of the tugboat and landing on the dock. Engine killed, leaving the ambient noise to the lapping water and birds in the trees. Moving stiffly from cold rather than injury, Benji goes slowly, and relatively quietly.

The vibe of someone who does not wish to attract attention. His boots find the dock surface with cat-silence, coming to awkwardly crouch as he ties up the boat in weary, if practiced motions of someone who's been around seafaring vessels enough to drive one on his own and tie it up again. Sweeping hair from his eyes with a sleeve, he casts one somewhat wary glance up towards the sky, as if anticipating something coming out of it — in this case, it might just be the sun, which is a single hazy eye beyond an overcast cloud cover.

Maybe it's a little higher than he'd hoped it be.

Another small vessel sits still and silent nearby, a speedboat moored to the dock, the mist and a few yards' distance making it seem as empty as the rest of the area. That is, until suddenly the dock creaks as Nick rises from where he sat slumped with a gun on guard duty. Blue eyes narrow on Benji's form.

"Benji, is it?" Nick's voice comes low across the length of the dock. The gun in his hand is stowed in the waistband of his jeans. "You get the okay to come and go on your own? I'm guessin' not."

Time to get some air. Finding out that the girl you treated and felt like was your daughter actually was your daughter is kind of rattling and not at all at the same time. Whatever emotion it causes, has convicted Ethan to seek shelter outside of shelter. Wandering away from the castle, the Wolf's eyes fix on Nick. He's heard of this fucker. His kind of not but sorta son.. in law. step in law son. Something like that. His eyebrows furrow at the man, though he makes no move to approach him.

Folding his arms over his chest, the Wolf will be content with watching the other men from a distance for now. Pulling his jacket up a little bit, Ethan goes to take a seat on a nearby stone. Reaching into his jacket pockets a few things are pulled out. A knife is flourished neatly, as a small figurine appears not too long after. It's a bird. Tough the bird has a giant block-y head and not much of a left wing. But it's bottom is just awesome. Putting knife to wood, Ethan's focus diverts to his hobby more than the two weirdos.

Benji startles — to his credit, this only manifests as pausing what he's doing and twisting a glance in the direction of that low voice, blinking stupidly towards Nick before ducking his head and finishing off the hitching knot around the dock cleat, silent. A sharp tug has him finishing, a vapory sigh escaping him, soft and sharp. "Maybe not, no," he admits after that prolonged pause, voice as quiet as it was when they met in the kitchen. He pushes himself up to stand, and closes his coat around himself a little tighter as he ticks a glance over Nick's shape made a little hazy at the edges by thick fog.

He doesn't take Ethan into account, not right away if at all. "I'll extend my apologies to the management," sounds sincere, anyway, save for a wry twist of a tired smile.

With Benji not seeming to pose any danger, Nick gives a short nod and a shrug of his left shoulder before pale eyes turn to scan the line of the water, squinting to see through the hazy mist, then giving a shake of his head when he can't see past a few yards.

"You were careful? You're sure no one saw you coming or going?" he says, a jut of his jaw toward Benji as he reaches into his pocket to pull out his pack of Capstains, tapping out one of the sticks and bringing it to his lips, a cheap plastic lighter following to light the cigarette as he inhales. "You're not Ferry, right? I think those of us who're guests are sort of supposed to stay or leave, but not come and go, just for your information for the future, keep you out of trouble with the 'management,' yeah?" he says, tone neutral and helpful. "I get a pass of sorts, getting some supplies and all, but you should get permission next time. Probably."

Fingers linking together, Benji stands relatively tall and quiet as Nick speaks, politely attentive even as a shade of warm starts to creep up his neck, making his skin gone pale in the cold a little mottled. "No one's following me," he affirms, with quiet confidence, even as he sends a glance back towards the indistinct river, then following his gaze along the fenders of the tugboat. A rueful tip of his head. "But, um— yes, you're right, I'm not. I suppose I'm not very used to asking permission for things.

"It won't happen again," he finishes, a vague splay of his fingers, before he takes a step leftwards, with an air of can I go now?

Wings crackle, claws snap and in a flurry of rumpled feathers a goshawk lands on the pier, its talons hooking into a wooden post that Benji's boat is tied to. Its beak parts around a shrill hiss that warns the young man to stay where he is, posture as threatening as the sound it's making. Eileen rounds the corner a moment later, descending the steps that curve around the castle bluff. They're old and crumbling, and small pieces of rock tinkle down and splash into the water at the bottom, though the Englishwoman's footing is sure.

The tips of her fingers skim along the stone wall to her right, guiding her down the path, but if she should trip and stumble, she isn't alone.

Not but a step of two behind Eileen, the tall and silent form of Benjamin Ryans follows Eileen's much smaller one. His boots crunch against the the stone of the steps, the mist seeming to swirl away in retreat from his from his duster clad form. There is is no reading the older man's features as he follows her, only that neutral expression that always seems to look a little sad.

An Ak-47 is held in one hand to his side, barrel pointed to the ground. His other hand is kept free so that should Eileen need it, he can assist her. He is after all enough of a gentleman to do such a thing.

His gaze is directly in the direction of that dock and the figure on it, Benji is in the old man's view. This potentially could be a bad thing, but… there is no way of knowing, that Ryans is expecting the potential of trouble.

It's like Napoleon with his private guard- Eileen, slim and short, flanked by Ryans and Huruma, both tall and always looking as if they're going to spring at any given moment. That is the job, however. They need to look intimidating, even if it does not take much more than a stare. Huruma stays half a pace behind Ryans, as to not upset the stairs; one hand is on the stone wall, the other hanging down by her own rifle, a perpetual object for all manner of patrols.

Her field, though choosy, is able to pick out the two down at the docks, and the third that they will probably pass right by. She's familiar with them by proxy, for the most part- there are not even a hundred singular minds on the island, it has not been too difficult to at least discern the outlines so far.

Blue eyes dart to the bird on the post and Nick's brow arches a bit, but he nods to Benji. Sure, he can go — though it doesn't look like it'll be far. He nods to the three figures coming down the dock toward them. "Looks like we got company, and you can test that whole Catholic motto. How's it go? 'Better to ask for forgiveness than permission,' somethin' like that, yeah?" he says with a half crooked smirk, offering the cigarette pack to Benji as if a smoke will help make up for what's about to ensue.

"Don't got any liquid courage on me, but a bit o' nicotine might help, if it's your poison," Nick says amiably, though there's a new tension in his shoulders, a muscle twitching in his jaw.

This bird is going to be the best wooden bird on the island. Small woodchips fall from the knife, slain. Making a small collection of shed wood on and around his boots. His knife pauses for a moment as he takes in the approaching three. A small smirk forms on his lips. The irony of his daughter, once the little tiny, kind of annoying spy, now the big boss is not lost on him. Another stroke of the knife against the wood. Glancing down to the dock and then back up to the approaching three.

Lowering his gaze, the Wolf dips his head and continues to carve his small figurine. Glancing over to Nick offering the cigarettes, Ethan gives a light sigh. It has been a couple of days since he ran out and…

"Boy!" He yells out, motioning to his mouth before making the universal smoking signal. He motions for the younger man to come to him.

The landing of the bird and its hiss has Benji giving a breathy sound of surprise, twitching away from it in an aborted step. That's about as far as he gets, sending a look towards the three approaching figures with a focused stare that crosses by their faces as they come into view. Then down towards the blocky shape of automatic weapon in Ryans' hands. He gives a whisper of a nervous chuckle, coming from a somewhat compulsive grin. Ah, life. "No, no thank you. I'm neither Catholic, nor smoker."

He doesn't say more to Nick, as the younger man is called over; and doesn't step off the dock, risking a glance out the corner of his eye towards the shape that Nick's speedboat makes in his blurred periphery, without actually turning his head. Lifts a hand, there, his fingers bare and palm sheathed in wool. Benji waves with a musical motion of long fingers.

"Good morning," says Eileen, and she does not have to speak very loudly at all for her voice to be heard in the pristine stillness of the morning. There is frost glittering in the trees and on the rocks, the shoreline a narrow beach of tiny incandescent diamonds. Spiderwebs are fat and heavy with dew.

Alone, she does not cut a particularly intimidating figure in comparison to those in her company — and it's her company that gives her any real physical clout. A navy coat worn over a gray sweater and long, dark skirt appropriate for the winter are not necessarily the clothes of a partisan leader, but here on Pollepel Island definitions are loose.

She steps out onto the pier. "We were beginning to worry."

"Should alert people when you plan to leave." Ryans observes softly, from where he stops next to Eileen, his voice calm and rather flat. His hair brushing across his forehead lightly, threatening to get in his eyes. He steps further out on the dock, his attention seeming to divert to the boat. It is after all the Ferry's boat. "We need to know these things… Keeps the blood pressure down."

His gaze shifts towards Benji now, brow twitching up in a questioning way. "I imagine you had a good reason for taking off like that?"
Huruma follows only partway onto the dock; she hovers back, as if to watch them easier. One hand slips into a pocket, thumb hooking over; her gaze travels past her shoulder towards Ethan, just for a moment, before going back to those gathered nearer Benji. Erring on the side of caution puts that spray of mental fiberoptics around to test and watch all of them. Though she, nor anyone else, has gotten outwardly threatening, the possibility remains.

If you don't start none, there won't be none. Talking is fine.

Nick's eyes narrow at the holler of boy but it gets him out of Eileen's proximity which is still a space much too tense and much too difficult for him to occupy. With a sidelong glance, he offers Benji a sympathetic smile. "G'luck," he mutters, ducking his own head as he makes his way past Ryans and Eileen, giving a little nod as long legs stride swiftly toward Ethan.

Once there, it's like he sheds the cloak of uncertainty and propriety he'd worn near Eileen, his eyes narrowing at the older man even as he holds out the pack of English cigarettes. "What're you carving?" he says, with a nod to the wood bit.

The bird is laid down rather than the knife. The offered cigarette taken freely. Slipped into his lips, the older man grunts his thanks. Placing his fingers around the cigarette he leans forward slightly and awaits the lighting. Looking over to Eileen, Ethan pauses for a moment before returning his attention to Nick. "York, right?" He mutters without answering the man's question.

The bird is taken back up after he is lit. The knife put back to the bird he continues to carve again, "It's a fuckin' elephant." With that, his eyes flit to Eileen. After a moment he can't help but let out a little chuckle. Taking a puff he peers down at his wooden figurine.

Benji doesn't look the kind to start none, at least, or know how he might go about doing. That. His hands link back together in front of him, shoulders curling in against the cold, and more anxious on the inside than he seems like on the outside. He says nothing to Nick's words, watches the other man head over to Ethan and out of the line of fire so to speak, before Benji sighs out steam and glances from Eileen to Ryans, ignoring Huruma for only the fact she hasn't spoken.

"It didn't occur to me," he says, defense and iciness lacing through his naturally quiet voice. "But yes, he," and he tips a nod towards Nick, "kindly informed me that stealing's against the rules. Turns out." He turns a look towards Ryans, hesitating, before he explains, "I wanted to see some friends. I haven't, since the 8th." Invoking the terrible day that drove them all out here.

He'd find more sympathy inside the castle walls. Out here, the chill is unforgiving. So is Eileen. She looks to the goshawk perched on the post and the goshawk looks back with its ruby eyes, pupils sharp and disparaging. Feathers rustle, gleaming like razors, and the bird shifts its weight from foot to foot.

The information it has to share has Eileen's chin lifting. She had been prepared to ask Ryans to perform a cursory exploration of the boat to ensure Benji didn't bring anyone back with him who might be able to evade Huruma's detection, but the bird insists that he is alone. Boarding it isn't necessary.

More importantly, it would be a waste of their time. "And where do these friends of yours live?"

"Well, hopefully, you won't forget next time. Those rule are in place for a reason," Ryans rumbles out with all the air of a lecturing parent. How often had his girls heard that tone growing up. "And believe me it is not to ruin your fun… or what have you." He gives it a flick of his fingers, cause the important thing is that there are rules.

"And trust me when I say… you are not the only one in that situation, he adds after a moment. He's then glancing back at Eileen, as her question is valid one after all, since these friends of his could be a risk, even if the young man is not.

"York, yeah. Or Nick," Ruskin says with a raise of dark brows, curious as to how the older man knows him. But then, more people know his name than vice versa, thanks to the rumor mill and some of the island's residents' unfounded faith in Nick's heroism and bravery. He nods to the carving and says, "And here I was gonna guess a tyrannosaurus rex. Nose is a bit short for an elephant."

It's hard to tell if Nick is kidding or not, and like Ethan's, his eyes dart down to where the others stand before returning to Ethan's face. "And you are?" he asks, lifting his cigarette back to his mouth for a long drag — his short stint as a non-smoker didn't last, apparently.

"And your dick is a bit short for a—" Fuck. He promised he would leave Nick alone. And not hassle him. And so instead of finishing the insult or redirecting it, Ethan simply drops it alltogether. Just like he had never even started talking. The knife dances around the figurine nimbly. Much easier than it had done even just a few months ago.

"A grumpy old man." Smoke flows out of his nose. "You can call me Wells if you feel so inclined to talk to me. Which I rather you wouldn't, just so that's clear. But if you need to, you can call me Wells." A puff is taken. "Thanks, by the way." He gestures with his knife to the cigarette.

"The mainland," is offered, tentatively, a little bit of a duh tone to that as Benji switches his stare towards Eileen, escaping Ryans' lecture mostly by ducking his head and redirecting his attention. A beat, then he concedes a specific; "Harlem. Look, I— I didn't intend to go on a joyride, I just didn't want to be an inconvenience. But lesson learned. I'm— I'm going inside now." This conversation is already about as long as it gets, for Benji. Nick and Ethan's conversation is sort of a comfortable and casual whitenoise to the scene, but—

The bird would make anyone nervous, and Benji is no exception. He offers his hands in an open-palmed gesture of surrender, before attempting to follow the same path Nick made in mincing steps for the shore, and ultimately, the warm corner he had claimed for himself within the castle.

"A lie of omission is still a lie, Mr. Foster," Eileen says, and although she allows Benji to pass her and Ryans, he does not reach the end of the pier where Huruma is waiting before a tilt of her dark-haired head is gesturing for the other woman to hold her ground and block his path. "I'm not an advocate of full transparency myself, but I expect a certain degree of truthfulness from other people.

"Unless I'm mistaken, I believe you have a registration card in your coat pocket that you used to gain access to Roosevelt Island during your little adventure on the mainland. If you'd be kind enough to show it to Ryans, this will all go much smoother."

The old man even steps out of Benji's ways, allowing the younger man to pass him. His blue eyes follow the boy's movement, with only the slightest shift of his head. It allows him to corral himself for trio, less work for them… hopefully.

As the situation is explained, Benjamin steps from the smaller woman's side, a hand lifting palm up for the item. Two finger crook in a gesture that clearly demands that he hand it over. The ex-agent's expression is dead serious, just one look will tell Benji he's not getting out of this easily.
Huruma watches for what seems to her to be a very long time between Eileen's tension and Benji's sort-of surrender. It's enough to gauge the latter, when he says what he has been doing and where he had gone. There isn't anything that tells her that Benji is being misleading, and that faint desire to just- go inside, he's done- is quite clear. Regardless of what Huruma can wordlessly understand, however, she does have a job here.

The tall woman's expression physically empathizes as she sidles a step to the side, to stand in the center of the pier where it meets ground. Huruma's own wish is that he doesn't make a fuss about this- it's like a pat down- one of those things that you'd probably need to do at some point anyway. Better sooner than later, Benji. You have such a pretty face, and Huruma would just hate to mess it up.

The insult brings another furrow of Nick's dark brows, and his jaw tenses — if this were a bar, or anywhere on Staten, he'd probably be swinging a fist at Ethan's face, but instead he simply snorts and steps aside.

"Not inclined at all," he mutters as he turns away, a more British-accented "Tosser" added under his breath as he begins to head back down to the pier, his destination his speedboat once more. Apparently people are sneaking on and off the island, and he can keep himself away from the maddening crowd inside and make himself useful by keeping guard at the docks — at least until he's too cold to stand the elements any longer and is forced to head inside to warm up.

Nick comes to a stop just behind Huruma where she blocks Benji's path. He looks at Ryans' outstretched hand and then to Benji, curiously, having missed whatever the other man is being asked to hand over.

A light chuckle emits from his throat as Nick retreats from him. The knife is thrown into the ground abruptly as Holden straightens to take out his cigarette for a moment. Tilting back his head a small smoke ring escapes his lips and soon dissapates in the cold air. Grinning at Nick's back another short bark of a laugh exits his throat. Placing down the bird that is progressing quite nicely, Ethan looks up to watch Benji and the lollipop guild. The very scary and intimidating lollipop guild.

That gets a shrill spike of anxiety and surprise, silent to anyone who can't otherwise hear such things, Benji whipping a look back at Eileen, mouth parting in an expression that's all offended even as he glances from moored tugboat, to idle speedboat. Back to Huruma, and then Nick's shape appearing just at her shoulder, shying back a step with frustration making steel beneath his usually soft expression. "I thought this island was for people who were sick to death of being asked for cards," he states, more prim than aggressive.

Delaying, too. But. There's not much to do about it, unless his Registration card says Powered Flight or Spontaneous Gills. It doesn't. This Ryans will be able to tell, when Benji finally relents and digs out his wallet, handing over the card.

Benji Foster, Tier 1, Telepath. A Department of Evolved Affairs seal makes a stamp that's different to the usual, familiar to Ryans' eyes as a low level clearance.

The card is taken without much force, even as it's snatched from Benji's hand, eyes not leaving the other until he takes a step back. Only then does Ryans let his gaze drop to the card. His immediate reaction, only Huruma gets through her ability, is a cold sinking feeling.

He moves to Eileen side, with card in hand still. His head ducks down and he murmurs softly, presumably telling her what is on the card, since she can't see it for herself.

Then he rounds on the younger man, holding that card up, held between two fingers. "Why are you out here?" He demands, his voice just as cold as the air around him even if his neutral expression manages to stay in place, though it's probably cracking at the edges.

Eileen's throat is tight, and it's a good thing that Ryans is asking the questions that fury prevents her from squeezing past her teeth. She places a hand on his arm as if to still his own temper, but her touch is frigid, brittle. What happens to Benji now depends entirely on what he says next — or what he doesn't.

Huruma isn't as good as a telepath, when it comes to specifics, but she knows enough to look to Benji for an explanation when she feels Ryans' sinking feeling. It surely can't be that bad, really? She is still rather on the fence about this.

The laughter from behind him only serves to make Nick clench his jaw all the tighter as he surveys the tense scene in front of him. He glances at Benji with narrowed eyes, regarding the other man, then looks to Eileen and Ryans.

"I can take him off the island if you need him outta here," Nick offers, frowning a little as he studies Eileen's angry expression, then darting a glance toward the card, wondering what words on it have everyone so very tense.

Ethan's good mood is dampened by all the grumpy faces over there on the dock. Especially at Eileen. Pushing himself off the stone, the bird is scooped up and dropped back into his jacket pocket. Bending, the knife is plucked from the ground. Making his way down the pier, the Wolf watches the crowd quietly. The blade slides in and back out frequently. Playing with a blade isn't threatening, you can still be ready to stab someone in the face without seeming like a looming creepo as long as you're playing with the weapon. Then you're just lighthearted.

There is the distinct impression that Benji isn't entirely sure of what to do, confronted with a pretty simple question, in some ways, even if it's delivered on ice. He twists a glance back to Nick, and an exhale through his nose plumes draconic steam in a small, exasperated kind of gesture. It's the other man's comment that spurs him to finally respond, quiet voice stammering out — although that may just be the cold. "I needed a place to go. Th-that's. That never changed."

If he's missing some backstory, it's made clear in that he doesn't deny his involvement. That or skipping by the topic seems like the cleverer thing to do. He goes silent and reserved rather than launch into explanation or fite fite fite, shifting his weight from foot to foot

Anger is broiling under the surface, slowly furrowing his brows, as he watches the kid squirm. He doesn't know whether to believe the kid or not, which has him hazarding a curious glance Huruma's way. Even so his hand curls around the card, so Benji can bank on not getting that back anytime soon.

"That doesn't change the fact of who you are and that you are here." Ryans growls out softly, the deep rumbling of his voice not hiding the possible threat there. But then, he glances at the council woman next to him, her hand keeping the older man at bay for the time being.

"You can escort Mr. Foster upstairs to the Sawtelle family's room," Eileen tells Nick, "and ask them to sleep with the Cluttons tonight. If there's not enough room for their things, put them into storage." A subtle shift in her demeanor and the angle of her chin indicates that the next words she clips out are intended for Ryans, a thread of venom woven through them, wet and dripping. "I want him placed under watch. No communication with any of the others except for Jensen and yourself.

"We have a small supply of Adynomine in the infirmary with Nurse Young. See to it that he receives one dose now and another in twenty-four hours."

Huruma is more keen on watching the elder Ben at first, trying to glean what she can from what little she is actually getting, via clues. Seems that the little guy hid something he shouldn't have about himself. Whatever it is, it is hardly Huruma's personal problem. Eileen and Ryans have the issue with whatever it is. Huruma only knows that right now, Benji is experiencing a fresh mixture of panic and dismay, seemingly caused directly by Eileen's orders.

"If you've nothing t'hide, there is no reason to panic." Her smooth voice speaks up, finally. She does offer the young man a small gift of serenity overlapping at his anxiety, partly so hopefully, he can cooperate easier.

"Sawtelles. Cluttons."

Nick repeats the names of the families he doesn't know, punctuating the two names with a nod to show he'll fall the directions given by Eileen — he'll just need to ask around once inside the castle itself.

He then turns to tip his head in the direction of the edifice to indicate Benji should lead the way.

"C'mon," he says, reaching to touch Benji's shoulder to nudge the other man forward, then drops his hand to rest upon his gun just in case the quiet telepath tries something. That it might be a mental push to eat a bullet from his own gun doesn't escape Nick's imagination — neither does the notion that that risk is probably why he's the one elected by Eileen to play escort. Of course, Nick isn't that much of a fan of his own life that he's not willing to take the risk.

"Don't touch me," is quiet demand of Nick, for all that the touch to Benji's shoulder was fleeting. Polite. But Benji isn't having a good day, and it's with a velvety severity that these words are delivered, a sharp-as-needles glance upwards before he turns his back on Eileen and Ryans. A little left-field. He also doesn't bother asking for his card back. Huruma's verbal assertion that he held any panic for the notion of being negated— or drugged, maybe, should he not know what Adynomine is.

But he sure isn't asking. Linking his own hands behind his back, Benji goes to move as Nick does, towards the looming castle.

There is a snort nod to Eileen's instructions, his face doesn't reveal anything of his thoughts on the matter. His distrust of all government organizations, pretty much means he probably agrees with her. His blue eyes moving to Benji to gauge the kids reaction to the news, before growling out, "Consider it done."

Benji's registration card disappears into the Ryans' pocket for further scrutiny later and safe keeping. The telepath won't need it and the ex-agent needs his other hand free to cradle the rifle.

As they start out, Ryans decides to follow to make sure nothing happens to Nick. He'll stop someone he trust along the way, asking them to alert his partner in this insanity, Raith, and the negation drug they will need. Right now he doesn't trust to leave anyone with Benji alone.

Never trust a telepath.

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