Necessary Precautions


corbin2_icon.gif vincent2_icon.gif

Scene Title Necessary Precautions
Synopsis Vincent visits unannounced to enlist Corbin in a supposedly personal effort that's nearly as ominous as it is inscrutable.
Date April 7, 2010

Ichihara Bookstore: Loft

Unlike the rest of the bookstore, the upstairs hasn't been packed up, despite the many books that lined the shelves. The only thing missing, would be the previous owner's clothes, which he packed up and has sitting in the basement, waiting for him to decide whether she would want them donated to charity or not… A suitcase sits against the wall, containing his clothes and personal possessions, and two laptops are placed on the desk. One the store's and one his own. The snow piled on the skylight blocks any hope of seeing the stars, even if the clouds would leave.

A light is shining from the desk, showing that the person who lives there must be up. Either it's battery operated, or the bookstore still has power. Everything else is shut off.

But, despite the light on, Corbin's not awake. He's laying back on the bed, a book open nearby, the pages splayed, with only his hand remaining between two pages to mark his place. It looks like he fell asleep reading one of the many books left behind in the small loft.

The light flickers.

Not because the power source is waning, either. Something's passed before it — a stir of leaves on the wind, or a cockroach amplified in scale by its nearness to the source. Except that there are no leaves. No wind or cockroach, either: this particular shadow is sourced in itself. A smog of black and grey that smudges over warm light like volcanic ash, inky tendrils coiling and coalescing into something nearly human near the foot of the bed before it plunges down flush to the floorboards. Under the bed, around a leg and pillared up again into a black suit, squared shoulders and an extended hand reaching to neatly retrieve the volume splayed open under Corbin's fingers.

Vincent glances at the contents before he bothers looking more seriously to the owner, brows level and expression unfathomable as the vapor he has a habit of vanishing into. "Rough night?"

From the fact he didn't bother to undress, it could imply a rough night. And it was. Life flashed before his eyes a few times during the night. Corbin jumps a bit as he hears the voice, starting into awareness as he pushes himself up, hand squeezing in confusion. It smells different then when he went to sleep, and for a second he wonders if he should check the furnace. But the surprise guest takes precedence.

Especially as one recognized for the Department of Evolved Affairs. Even if he wasn't a Company Agent, he would have known that, based on his previous cover as a reporter.

"What are you doing in here?" He asks, rubbing a hand over his face and through bed wraggled hair. The clock tells him he wasn't asleep too long, at least.

"Knowing me," says Vincent, "and I think you do," the book in his left hand turns easily over his latex-gloved fingers and flops neatly shut, kind of like its own little punctuation mark, "something untoward but important nonetheless. Now."

Now, and he whisks out of sight again as fluidly as he initially appeared only to rush back into existence at the lit desk, "I've done some research, Mr. Ayers, and you strike me as the type of man who is more apt to do what is right in place of doing what is intelligent or — government policy." Flop. Lazzaro lets the book fall onto the desk, where he fingers a pair of papers only to squint after the suitcase instead.

"Would you agree?"

That has the potential to be a loaded question. Corbin looks up at the man, hand slipping down from his hair to touch at his bearded cheeks and chin. They could all use a trim, from the look of them. A year or two ago, he would probably have said that he wouldn't betray the government, but he knew he wanted to do what he thought was right. That much hasn't changed. But now—

Now he's willing to make phone calls in blatant disregard for the government agency that had been ready to descend on Roosevelt Island.

"Yes, I would have to agree," he finally says after those few moments, voice whispered and hoarse as he starts to sit up more, blue eyes staying up at the man, rather than looking down.

Vincent nods, not really having expected an answer to the contrary, loaded question or not. Latex tapped absently at exposed paper, he thinks a moment before stirring restlessly away. Vapor curls in his wake, stirred like dust away from his shoulder where the solid majority of him smudges in the dim light. Not entirely solid, then.

"I'm more of the mind that 'right' and legal are analogous and probably always will be. However." His left hand turns itself over into an absent gesture indicative of vague exception to an as of yet undefined rule, "Occasionally there must be an exception to solidify the rule. I believe that something unfortunate is going to happen very soon, with a potentially morally undesirable outcome. Does the name 'Liette,' mean anything to you?" Vincent's glare fixes blackly on Corbin's lighter eyes as he asks, raking after truth either way the Company agent opts to jump.

There's a hint of relief in the exhale that follows that question. It's so small it could just be an exhale, to someone without a trained eye for watching responses. "Afraid it don't," Corbin speaks in truthful tones, without much more of a pause than to breathe. Blue eyes watch the light play with the semi solid man, as he pulls his feet over the side of the bed. Not to get up, but to sit facing him better. It also allows him to not have to look up as much.

"Imagine before you leave it will, though," he adds, as he moves his hand away from his beard to reach out toward the book held in latex covered gloves.

"Yes and no." Less promising. One brow nudged lower than the other, Vincent scratches idly at the side of his nose. Back to thinking again, and back to looking over the loft like someone who isn't used to seeing a living space that looks like it's been lived in. "Not before I leave, but in the near future, perhaps. Some of your associates are involved with her, and tangentially, so am I. She's a kid."

Apparently, that's all the explanation he feels is necessary too, because he doesn't move to offer anymore. On to the next thing, this time with a back step from Corbin's readjusted sit that wobbles dangerously towards the possibly not entirely sober end of the grace spectrum. "I need…two things from you. First and foremost, your word that this conversation never leaves the walls of this apartment. Or. Actually it shouldn't be brought up again here, either. You know what I mean."

"Yeah, conversation never happened. I can deal with that," Corbin says, voice still tired, and could be part of him wishes the whole thing were just a dream. Then again, his dreams aren't much nicer. The place doesn't just looked lived in, from the papers still piled on the desk, it's practically a mess. The sheets don't look like they've been washed, the pillow is well used.

There's the sudden sound of tiny feet pawing up the stairs and a white head with absurd black markings peeks in, eyes bright and catching the light.

"Well, looks like it may be between me, you and the cat," he says, bending over to pick up a sock and toss it at Gabriel. "Shoo." The cat makes a cranky meow, and takes back off down the stairs.

"Who's the kid and which of my associates is involved with her?"

Vincent's eyes soak light like crude oil, reflecting nothing, save maybe for flickering, flame-tongued suspicion. Even of cats.

He leads a strange life.

He remains (mostly) three dimensional though, head turned to expose the narrow scar chisled in lengthwise over his temple and past the ear until the cat's padded footfalls have well and truly faded.

"I don't know as much as I should, and can't disclose as much as I know. Only that she's currently being protected by the Ferry and may soon be lost even to them. The second thing I need from you is a tagging injection to be set up by you with an alias in the Company's system. I will do the best I can to see that it's administered before it's too late."

He's still watching the top of the stairs as he speaks, brow knit and jaw set.

"That's…" His connections with the Ferry. Corbin sighs a bit, hand going to to cover his face as he rubs some of the sleep out of his eyes again. This isn't what he hoped it would be at all. "Any connections I have with the Ferry don't exactly trust me too much. I might be able to get an isotope injection for you, but those kind of things aren't used as often since we stopped bagging and tagging."

Now there's other people to do that. He's half surprised they haven't just taken their entire system from them, the way everything else seems to have been.

"If she's just a kid…" His hand lowers, to look at the man, or as much of him is there, and not the door. "What do you mean they might be about to lose her? What do you need her trackable for? I need a good reason to do this."

"I know. They don't trust me either. Comes with the badge. Christ, this place is a mess." The last out at a mutter, Vincent solidifies enough that light ceases to filter through the smudged edges of his cuffs and collar, providing the brief impression that he actually intends to start cleaning while he's here.

He doesn't.

"I mean what I say. Nothing more or less. She's being raised like a lab rat and sounds to have suffered a fair amount of potentially irreparable psychological damage already accordingly. If you need a good reason, personally I'd consider the possibility of retrieving her from the source of said abuses to be a solid one."

He speaks as clearly as he can considering various blanks and vagaries, voice level and expression much the same for all that he continues to keep a certain distance between them. "You will have to believe me when I tell you that you have nothing to lose. Times are changing, Corbin."

There's a long pause, before the space of the tiny apartment suddenly gets a little smaller as Corbin stands up from the bed, immediately moving to his shoes, to kick them out from under the bed. "All right," he simply says in response, not giving any clarification about what made him agree. Times are changing. And people need to change with them.

"I'll get you the injection set up as soon as possible, I'll try to get out there tonight, so I can set it up and get it back tomorrow. I don't want to drive in this weather, but…" Really no choice. The weather just isn't going away. And the sooner he gets out there to set everything up, the sooner he can get the man what he needs.

And the sooner the girl will be protected from whatever she's being threatened by.

"Got a line I can call when it's ready? Or somewhere to drop off the injection?"

Much as before, Vincent nods, oddly grim for all that Corbin's compliance is theoretically good news. "Good," he says after a beat, eyeline cast down and aside after something on the floor before it lifts and he reaches to extract a business card from a pocket within his coat.

It's flicked down onto the foot of the bed without particular flourish, devoid of fingerprints as any rectangle of compressed cardstock could hope to be. Then he sighs. "My personal cell. I'll pick it up myself. Please notify me once the signal goes active. If the signal goes active." His brows skirt up at that, resigned, and with a look that balances the border between utterly worn out and grateful, Lazzaro makes like a puff of smoke and furls blackly out of his own tangible presence.

"Sure know how to make an exit," Corbin mutters as he watches the smoke appear to replace the man who's making his only lingering presence in the room be that single card, and a mission. Slipping into his shoes, even before the smoke has disappeared, he reaches to pick up the card and stuff it into his wallet for later usage. "I'll call," he says, though he doesn't know how much of the man's senses linger. Some powers he likes more than others—

This one he actually finds intriging. Not that he'll say so outloud, as he goes to find his coat, and get ready to make the long drive in the freezing cold.


After he leaves extra food for the cat.

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