Lies and Fabrications


bf_odessa2_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title Lies and Fabrications
Synopsis Richard and Odessa don't quite see eye to eye.
Date June 25, 2018

The Crucible

The Crucible used to be the Great Kills Holding Facility while Eltingville Blocks was still running before the war began, and before wide-spread riots reclaimed that portion of Staten Island. It was both a prison and execution grounds, newly constructed until it was ravaged by both corrupted DoEA robots and time.

Now, the corpse of the facility is known as the Crucible, and hosts illegal fights between SLC-Expressive individuals who either choose to live off the grid, or visit the ruins of Staten Island to blow off a little steam. There is always a cash prize for the victors, unless you accidentally (or on purpose) kill someone, in which case you win nothing, and are black listed. Consistent winners may find themselves invited to take part in the Full Moon events, which take place during the literal full moon every month. These events see the best of the best fighters square off, and attracts a rowdy audience, with high stakes betting. For regular fighters, its a much coveted opportunity.

It's run by several unsavoury individuals, but is primarily overseen by John Logan, who has some experience at this sort of thing.

A raucous and ragged cheer goes up from the refurbished cells that surround the main arena known to the locals by the apropos name of 'The Crucible' as someone's hurled through the air, lightning-white sparks crackling through the air as the evolved fighter slams into the wall and hits the floor. A moment, then two, before he starts to pull himself to his feet, spitting blood to one side and fixing a luminous gaze on his opponent to the roar of the crowd.

It's a dirty, terrible, unlawful place. Great for someone who's hiding. Which is what Richard Ray's looking for tonight, a dirty baseball cap pulled down to shadow a face that might be remembered by some here, a light jacket pulled on over a t-shirt beneath, worn jeans and workboots. Hands tucked into his pockets as he walks along a row of those cells, gaze flickering here and there from beneath the bill of that cap as he looks for a particular face.

Perhaps that face doesn't look exactly the way he's expecting. Or maybe the differences are precisely the sort of thing he was expecting. Odessa Woods doesn't hide behind the mousey red glasses of Desdemona Desjardins. She hides behind smoky kohl liner and wine-painted lips. A pair of cutoff shorts hugs her hips and backside, a plain navy tanktop half-tucked into the waistband. Her hair is pulled into a high ponytail and teased into a ratted mess that harkens back to the decade her ID says she was born. A cigarette hangs between her lips as she watches the fight with a passive expression.

It's the perfect place to disappear. A patron drinking warm beer and watching with only casual interest blends in well around here. Just not so well as to be unnoticed by the man looking for her in earnest.

It's not the sort of outfit that Richard'd ever seen his Odessa in, and at first draws his attention for entirely different reasons— long enough for recognition to click next, his lips twisting into a rueful line. Shaking his head, the man walks along over to where she's observing the fights, pausing beside her to watch the fight below for a few long moments before he speaks.

"Do they still have the fights where you come from," he asks without looking away from the arena floor and the pair battling, "In some form, anyway? They've always been somewhere on Staten, here. Before this, there was the Pancratium. Gabriel used to fight there when he wanted to burn off some aggression."

"I fought a fight there once. Tried to impress him." A nearly impossible feat when the person one's trying to impress is so impressive themself. "We try to keep things clean back home, but… Everyone needs a place to blow off steam." Which is to say if the Crucible doesn't exist, something like it almost certainly does.

Woods glances to Ray out of the corner of her eye. "There's something wrong with her ability, you know." Fingers flex at her side without conscious thought. One hand comes up for her cigarette to flick away the ash gathered at the tip. Her tongue runs over her teeth.

"That they do…" Richard almost smiles, "That they do."

He glances sidelong back to her, commenting quietly, "There is, which is one of the things I wanted to warn you against. Did you ever know a Darren Stevens, by any chance, on your side of things?" One hand lifts, fingers scratching at the stubble shadowing his jaw as he looks back to the arena's floor.

"Name's familiar." It's noncommittal. Maybe she doesn't know him, because she might put two and two together to make five if she understood the implications. "Why?" Odessa turns to properly look at him now, having grown bored with the fight for the moment. There's something more immediately interesting right in front of her.

"When he was alive, he had the ability to… reverse time on an object, or a person. Could even bring back the dead," says Richard, turning his head back to regard her seriously when she turns towards him, one brow lifting a little, "Only problem is, it'd catch up eventually. Interacted— oddly with your ability, when he tried to save Des." A pause, a shrug, "By 'oddly' I mean that apparently his own power ate him. Something about it— got into her, into you, and… things got weird, I guess. I'd just be careful with it, if I were you. Any luck… and you won't need to worry about it for long anyway."

Christmas shouldn't seem like a long time to wait for someone with a power like hers. Who's lived life at a breakneck pace like she has. But when one waits, it all feels like an eternity.

"That's…" Another drag is taken from the cigarette before it's settled in the vee of her fingers and held loosely by her hip while she works her jaw from side to side, trying to decide exactly what that information is to her, beyond inconvenient. Truth is rarely what anyone wants to hear. Odessa sighs, a stream of smoke making the action visible. "Good to know."

"I don't like all of this either," Richard admits with a slight shake of his head, lips pursing tightly for a moment, "We both have the same goal here. Keep you alive and out of harm's way until we can get all the yous back where they belong. You get back to the people waiting for you, Des gets back to… us."

He glances over to the arena floor, "Anything else you think you might need to know? I've made sure your brother's aware of the situation."

"My brother?" Confusion dominates her expression. She'd only just discovered that perhaps Mateo Ruiz may be her brother. Had only just told Arthur. This stranger knows? The filter of Odessa's cigarette is crunched between her knuckles and she drops it to the ground to crush it under boot, frustrated.

"What do you know about my brother?"

"I don't think that it's a blood relation, obviously, but the two of you…" Richard frowns slightly as he considers how to phrase the relationship, "…were raised together as siblings, when you were very young. After you were taken from your mother." Fingers brush against the side of his neck, head canting a little as he admits, "The two of you connected very strongly once you met. And once we found that memory in your head."

There's a silence that follows Richard's explanation. After several moments, Odessa finally turns fully away from the fight below to face him. "What memory? I don't have any memories of…" And yet, she wants to believe it. They knew the same songs, played them together like they'd been meant to be duet partners their entire lives.

And part of her wants it - needs it - to be a lie. A misunderstanding, somehow.

"I don't have a brother."

"You have lies and fabrications painted on top of other lies and fabrications," is Richard's reply to that, his head shaking, "You can believe it or not, it's your own prerogative, but…" He brings one shoulder up in a shrug, giving her a wry look, "The timeline deviation came well after your childhood. So I know that part was the same for both of you."

He shrugs, "You might not care to acknowledge your connection, but I can assure you, she does. And so does he."

"The Company did a number on my memories," Odessa admits. "You can thank Hiro Nakamura for that." And she does hold the other temporal manipulator responsible for the things that happened to her. She shouldn't be this person. She should have been with her mother.

"I acknowledge that there may be a connection, but I don't have that connection because Mateo Ruiz is dead." Tears sting at the corners of her eyes, her jaw sets against the emotion, mouth forming a tight line. "He was Vanguard," she says quietly, like it explains everything.

As she says that, Richard tips his head up a bit to regard her steadily.

"So were you," he says quietly, watching her eyes for a moment before turning to look out over the arena in silence. "Desdemona was Vanguard too. And Company. Institute. Humanis. Between her power and her scientific skills she was dragged from one group to the next. She went wherever she had to, just to survive. Sometimes it was the only way to escape someone else. Sometimes she would've been killed by the people she worked for if she didn't say yes. She never— " He draws in a slow breath, "She never really had a chance to live her own life."

"I know that better than anybody." It isn't quite an admission that Odessa works for Arthur because the alternative is less palatable, but the undertones are there. It would be a lie to suggest that she's there wholly unwillingly as well.

"Nobody ordered my death for that, though." Not there. Here? That's clearly a different story. "I had a chance to redeem myself. He didn't take that chance. He went into hiding. There was nothing else to do…"

"No," Richard admits, "Not there, they didn't. There, you hitched your cart to a horse than won the race." The fact that it did so by trampling all the other horses to death needn't be mentioned.

He turns his head slightly, regarding her in the periphery of his vision. "There wasn't anything else to do… do you really believe that?"

"The public is safe because we make it safe." Odessa curls her fingers into fists at her sides. "Peace isn't kept by peace. What should we do? Wait for someone to instigate an uprising in the name of Volken? It started quietly before. We couldn't let that happen again."

"'Peace isn't kept by peace'…" Richard gives his head a slight shake, his lips curling up at one corner in an almost-sneer, "Your past isn't the same as my Des, but you're not that different deep down. I didn't fall in love with an idiot. You know the warning signs of fascism, of despotism, the propaganda and all the pretty phrases they use to justify their atrocities. I'd wager you know where more bodies are buried than most. Don't just repeat the party line at me, Price."

He sighs, then, fingers rubbing over his face, "It doesn't matter, though, not here. And I don't have any interest in going to an infinite number of worlds to try and overthrow Petrelli, so… it's all academic from my viewpoint."

"Woods," she corrects, petulantly. It's a small detail to hang up on, and one she wouldn't otherwise care about, but she's feeling vulnerable.

"He's not some comic book villain bent on world domination, Ray." But she doesn't go further to defend her employer than that. Odessa can't. The foundations of her conviction have been shaken. "We all do what we have to do. I do what I'm told will help people." Much like the one he fell in love with, Odessa can be a good soldier. As he said, this one picked the winning horse. Des… didn't.

"All he's missing is the cape," is Richard's deadpan response there, adding after a beat, "Woods."

"There's nobody here that's going to tell you what to do, though," he notes, looking back to her, "And there're records out there to look at if you really want to. Arthur, the Company, a lot of it's a matter of public record now. I'm sure the Trade Commission could send someone over to the library for you, if you're really curious. And there's Ruiz. If you want a second chance to talk to him."

Odessa inclines her head to acknowledge his correction, even at her own prompting. She turns back out to the fight in time to see another brilliant flash of white light that has her moving back a half-step out of instinct. She shakes her head, silently chiding herself.

"Tell him how to find me. I'll meet with him if he wants to meet, but I won't force him…" Odessa's tone is sad again when it comes to the topic of Ruiz. "He doesn't owe me anything."

"Maybe not, but…" Richard sweeps a hand out a bit, one shoulder lifting in a shrug, "…he may feel otherwise. He's still recovering from getting shot, but I'll talk to him."

He offers a faint smile, then, moving to step back away, "Let me know if you need anything, too. And don't trust that weasel Alister Black too far, he's kind of a fucking idiot. Keira works for me, so— she can pass along messages if need be."

"I'll keep that in mind." Odessa doesn't trust much of anyone out here, but her mother seems to trust Richard, and the fact that keeping her intact is what's best for his world's Odessa… That makes him about as trustworthy as anyone can be to her right now.

Grudgingly, she adds, "Thank you."

"I took her in because my sister asked," says Richard, pausing for one more moment to look to her seriously, "But also because I really do believe that most people deserve another chance. She never believed she did, so— I'm going to lay odds that you don't think you do, either. You're wrong."

The brim of his cap's pulled down, then, and he turns to walk back out into the general crowd moving around the Crucible. He's surprisingly good at losing himself in a crowd, too.

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