Mister Fail-safe


raith_icon.gif amato_icon.gif

Scene Title Mister Fail-safe
Synopsis Amato informs Raith that he's getting careless. Raith gives Amato some advice of his own.
Date August 18, 2009

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Exactly where land gives way to water at this point of the island's edge is uncertain — first because of the saltgrass growing everywhere, both on dry earth and in the shallows, giving the illusion of solidarity; second for the structures visible in the distance, drawing the eye away from the deceptive ground, suggesting its reach extends beyond its grasp. Even if the structures are still recognizable as ships, and nothing that ever belonged on land.

There are a multitude of them, abandoned hulls of salt-stained wood and rust-pitted steel, dying slow and ungraceful deaths as wind and water claim their dues. Some still appear to rest upright, braced upon the debris of older, lost relics below; others list to one side, canted at an odd angle like someone who just struggled to the surface in search of a desperate breath. There are no hands to pull these hulks from the water, no ropes to save them from drowning; each has been surrendered to the sea, left to the ravages of unmerciful time.

At low tide, some of the closer ships can be reached — not without getting soaked, but such is the price of daring. Never mind that the rotting metal and splintered wood are the stuff of nightmares for any germophobe, definite hazards to the unwary. The more distant ships are distant indeed, beyond the reach of all but the most bold — and are all but submerged besides.

Staten Island has its uses, just like the mainland does. For Jensen Raith, Staten Island is useful right now to hide out on until he's recovered from the previous evening's shenanigans. At least until he looks less obviously like someone picked him up and threw him down the street. The last thing he needs, right now, is to look suspicious to the police. This is the main reason why he is on the island, but another, smaller but equally important reason is because of a scheduled meeting. One with Amato Salucci, although Raith is a bit fuzzy as to the purpose of the meet. He doesn't care. If Amato has something to say, it's probably important. Important is the only type of word that comes out of the Italian's mouth.

Keeping things familiar, Raith sticks to the boat graveyard where he's met Amato so many times before. It's ground that is both familiar and neutral to each of them. The perfect place to meet. Also keeping things familiar, Raith is wearing his coat and toting a suppressed MP5 as he waits out of sight. The only thing that's unfamiliar about him is the purple bruise on the side of his face, just barely peeking out of his hair and whiskers, and the bandage on his forehead. Raith's been busy.

That much was obvious to Amato even before he scheduled to speak with Raith, and the bruise is simply a mark in the favor if certain theories. The Italian is dressed down by his Vanguard standard, but his open-collard shirts and jeans have become his normal wardrobe. Tonight only his own long coat, the same that carries quite a few old bloodstains, is the only piece of Volken-era memorabilia he wears.

"So," Amato's voice rings out as he comes into view, stepping along the remnants of a hull. "What did he do?" The tone is overly casual - almost cocky - and a sarcastic sort of smile curls onto the man's pale face as he nears his comrade. "What was his crime? I don't remember seeing it listed in the bit of ink he got. Do you remember, by any chance?"

"Pretty general question, that one," Raith replies. Deciding that there's nothing to freak out over, he allows his weapon to simply hang by its sling from his shoulder. If he needs to, he can quickly bring it into action, but as it stands, there's no immediate need to. "You mean Manfield? From last night? Of course there wasn't a mention of his crime. You have to get caught before they report your crime, so allow me to ask you the same question I asked Eileen. How many women would he have to rape before someone finally did something? Two? Ten? Or do you think that anyone would do anything? Call the cops, grab a baseball bat, anything? Go on, Amato. Give it a guess. How many do you think he did?"

"How many do you know about for certain?" Amato counters, seemingly unphased by Raith's tactics. "Though I must say, bravo manipulation of the poor girl's sensibilities. I'm sure she'll thank you every night when she says her evening prayers." Amato's hands dig deeper into the pockets of his coat as he stands sentry-like on what remains of a bow sticking up from the soft earth.

For the moment, at least, Raith seems content to focus the conversation away from Eileen, and on the other matter at hand. Flatly, and without fanfare, he simply says, "Two, the first one almost six months. Report made, never pursued. Second one, no report. Had to piece that one together with second-hand info. Maybe there was a third one I don't know about, but two for certain." Flat, cool, and unapologetic. That's how Jensen Raith rolls. "Siete soddisfatto?"

"You're on a steep and unsteady slope, Jensen." The professionalism has slipped for a moment, but Amato's face remains placid, his stance relaxed, his eyes on the cityscape across the water. "You ought to watch your step a bit better, or you'll be as ravenous as Ethan Holden. I'm personally not a fan of rabid wolves." Turning, Amato fixes his pale, icy blue eyes on the larger, armed man he came to meet. "As a courtesy to me, do a bit more research before you start blazing your guns about?"

Raith keeps quiet for a moment. "Sure thing," he finally says, "I'll just head out into the city, ask people if they've committed any crimes against humanity, how many times, and were they ever punished for it. Or maybe I'll just ask you to go door to door, shaking hands and taking notes. Will that work for you? Oh, wait, that's right. It's completely impractical to do that, never mind that some of us are wanted by the government. Never mind that in this city, when you get away from the offices and the fancy suburbs and the money, the rule of law is only a suggestion. So if you have any ideas to quickly and accurately identify the worst of the worst around here, then please, speak up. I'd love to hear about the last rapist that you caught and took care of. Maybe I'll learn something."

Amato simply smiles. "It's already begun," he says with a small sigh and shake of his head. "Pride. You want me to pat you on the back and say 'excellent work' or something akin to that. It won't happen. Yes, you killed a rapist. I'm not denying that. I am however questioning your methods in assuring that he was the man. I don't know what you did, but I urge you to take care. Be methodical. Slipshod work is going to end this whole operation before it even has a chance to get off the ground. We're not as well-funded or manned as we once were, and yes, we're in direct opposition of quite a few fingers of the law." Squaring his shoulders, Amato looks back to the city once more. "All the more reason to be as cautious as a surgeon. So yes. Perhaps next time I wouldn't mind double-checking. Call me a fail-safe, if you like."

"Alright then, Mister Fail-safe," Raith says, approaching Amato at a casual pace, as if both of them had all the time in the world to do anything, "You want to make sure we're getting the right guy next time? How about this. We'll stick to small game for a month, while I gather more information, pass it off to you, and then you verify that the guy I have singled out is, in fact, the right guy. And when that's all said and done, we'll count up how many people we might have saved by moving sooner. Sound like a plan? I think it does. A pretty good one, in fact." Without waiting for Amato to vocalize a response, Raith walks passed him and towards the rip in the hull that they both used to get inside the rusting hulk of the ship. But, of course, Raith can't simply leave. Not without a parting shot to leave Amato thinking about, well, about. It's short and to the point, and hangs around only as long as Raith does, perhaps leaving more questions than even Raith himself does.

"Watch out for the Meat Man."

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