Not So White and Black


devon2_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Not So White and Black
Synopsis Odessa delivers news of her meeting and the one she's arranged for Devon. Then the conversation turns more serious than snide and well-intentioned warnings are delivered.
Date May 29, 2011

Central Park: Belvedere Castle

Constructed from the same stone as the Vista Point which supports it, Belvedere Castle seems to rise out of the earth itself. The miniature Gothic castle is easily visible from a distance, courtesy of both its height and the American flag fluttering from the turret's pinnacle. Its windows overlook views of Turtle Pond, the Delacorte Theater, and the Great Lawn. The interior, however, is anything but Gothic; the halls on both floors are filled with telescopes, microscopes, paper-mache birds, skeletons, and feathers, all laid out as parts of an interactive exhibit. In the Henry Luce Nature Observatory, visitors can borrow binoculars, notepads, maps, and guidebooks with which to study the wildlife of the park.

Devon had been fortunate enough to be out this morning, on his way to buy a coffee and check in at the studio, when the call came in. It wasn't expected, but curious considering the caller had been the topic of conversation at least once in recent days. The open line was kept short, the young man agreeing to a meeting place, public of course. Once the call was ended, he set his phone up to record the conversation before slipping it away in his pocket and his feet carried him away to Central Park.

Taking a round about route to get to the castle, Devon surveys the area first. In t-shirt and jeans, pack hanging from his shoulders by both straps, he passes easily as any other pedestrian that makes his or her way through the park. During his route, his hands slip into his pockets to manipulate the recorder on, but once he's found the actual meeting point, or at least the entrance to the castle, his hands have come free again. Mostly. Fingers wrap around the padded straps, resting just in front of his shoulders. He waits there for Odessa, with his back to the structure, watching the grounds spreading out and away from him.

Odessa doesn't keep Devon waiting for long. Belvedere Castle is one of the first places she made a point of finding areas in and around to conceal herself. She doesn't simply step out of a shadow or anything so impressive, but she does slip out of an alcove and ascend the staircase after the boy has passed by, joining him in their meeting place after only a minute.

It's her day off, so she isn't dressed sharp for work. It's much too hot for that, in her opinion. A red and black plaid miniskirt and tank top might be a little behind in fashion trend, but it beats the heat. And leaves no question about concealed weaponry - she has none. The red glittering heels on her feet are just a conscious acknowledgement of a dream she once had long ago. "Right on time," Odessa muses as she steps around him.

Alerted first by the clack of heels, Devon's head turns to regard Odessa. He regards her for a moment, taking in her appearance in a way that suggests he is looking for weapons rather than leering. Brows raise over the red glittering shoes and the corners of his mouth quirk into a slight grin. "Welcome to Oz," he asks in some mild form of amusement, eyes lifting to meet hers. "Should I be watching out for your sister, too? —Of course I'm on time."

The woman smirks, "You have it confused. I'm not the Wicked Witch of the East." Hopefully a house or portion of Moab won't come down upon her head to prove her wrong. "I'm Odessa Gale, the small and meek. I'm not a witch at all."

A soft chuckle passes her lips and she moves on to the reason they're here. "I've arranged the meeting you requested." She tugs aside the strap of her tank top from her shoulder and unfolds a piece of paper from around the strap of her bra. Then, she refolds it in quarters and holds it out for Devon. A date, a time, and a place. "I only managed to arrange it last evening, in case you thought I'd been holding out on you."

Extending a hand, Devon takes the paper. "I'll believe you melt when splashed with water before I believe you small and meek," he returns mildly, "you'd be more convincing if you had a small dog." He unfolds the paper and glances briefly over it, keeping his expression quite neutral. If he has any thoughts on the information, it's well hidden. "Thank you, Doctor Price," the young man continues after just a short pause, folding the paper and tucking it into his back pocket.

"If I'd thought you were holding out on me," Devon says as he lifts his gaze to Odessa again, "I would have called sooner. As it is, thank you for passing on my request." He's polite, even a little sincere in his gratitude.

"I used to have a cat," Odessa begins, then catches herself. "Oh, that's a witch thing, isn't it?" She shrugs. No matter. She withdraws her hand, pulling her top back into place and smoothing over the fabric absently after he's taken the note. "You're welcome," is offered politely. "Tell me something, though… What exactly are you hoping to accomplish? I only ask because you may not be barking up the right tree…"

"If you have other names of people who are affiliated with…" Devon pauses taking the moment to come up with a better word than the pseudonym Humanis First while glancing beyond Odessa to search for listeners in. "…Those who'd as soon kill me because of an unfortunate difference in my blood. I'm all ears. I'd love to know who else out there might have my name on their list. But my reasons for Valentin? I think I deserve a right to know why." As well as gain information for Ms. Harrison's quest. "—Come to think of it, I'd like to know why you were there. With him."

"Don't let him fool you. He'll take the credit if you give it to him, but Valentin was not the maestro behind that unfortunate situation." Much like Devon, Odessa doesn't trust that there aren't people listening in. Especially after what happened to Yana. "I will say you want to look higher than him. As to why it happened… I'll let him explain it to you." Whatever reason Valentin wants to give.

"As to why I was there," Odessa spreads her hands out in front of her, palm up in a sort of shrugging gesture. "I'm curious to know what you think my reasons were. I do love to know what's said about me in the rumour mills."

"Names," Devon says, his tone lilting up to express importance to that one word, "are more important than being told where to look. If it wasn't Valentin's idea to manufacture the Dome or try to destroy it using an Evolved as a bomb, then who was?" He hooks his hands in his shoulder straps again, giving once more that one-shouldered shrug. "I can't determine what your reasons are, Doctor Price. I'm not sure what it is you had to gain by helping him except for more notoriety of yourself. You're SLC expressive, if I remember correctly, yet working with someone who… to be blunt, wants to eradicate the entire Evolved population."

"Not until you can show me you aren't recording this conversation, sweetheart. I know you media types are quite fond of that." That, and she was told he'd done so, "I'm not about to get myself executed by citing names." Odessa smiles tightly. "You remember correctly. I didn't do what I did for Humanis First, which is the most prevailing rumour I've encountered. I was there because Valentin asked. Nicely. We were there to end the nightmare we'd all endured. We were ready to go home." Then she clucks her tongue, amused.

"The last thing I need is more notoriety."

"What nightmare have you endured," Devon asks, head canting to one side. As for recording devices, he lets his pack slip to one shoulder and digs into the smaller front pouch. A digital recording device is produced and shown to her, completely powered off. "This is completely off record," he offers with a shrug. "I have little to gain but my own notoriety by sticking my nose where it isn't wanted, and I'd like to keep my contacts anonymous so I can continue using their knowledge." It's all a lie, an actor's farce, but delivered so smoothly and with evidence that he might not be recording anything at all that it'd be difficult not to believe. "So, what nightmare, and where's home, Doctor Price? You mean to believe that God has put aside a special place for you after breaking one of His own commandments? I'm not a scholar of Levitical law, but Thou shalt not kill must include SLC expressive humans as well."

Odessa actually laughs, one hand across her stomach as she bends slightly in the waist but doesn't quite double over. "Says the boy with the gun! You meant to kill him, Devon. What does that make you?" The mirth fades then. "I didn't kill anyone on that rooftop. You and your friend Eric are the ones who attacked us. You put two bullets in my friend. You meant to kill him." And Eric Doyle about put one in her skull. He meant to kill her. As it is, she's got a nice scar across the top of her head that styles her hair over to hide.

"I know you do not believe you were the only person trapped in that Dome who wanted out. Who found it an awful experience. It was a nightmare. I was at the Suresh Center when it was attacked by Humanis First." Odessa's gaze narrows. "I did what was necessary to bring down the Dome. And I don't give a damn about what your God thinks of me."

"That makes me a boy with a gun." Devon tucks the digital recorder back into the pouch, zippering it shut once his hands are free. "Your friend meant to kill, though, and you guilty by association. I've heard of your background, your …work for the Institute." Pulling his pack back onto his shoulders, he looks at Odessa, brows lifting. "We got intel from one of Valentin's men what he was planning to do. It made sense when we found you two standing on that rooftop. If you did what was necessary to bring down the Dome, then why consort with Valentin? Why side with a man who'd order the deaths of innocent people dragged from their houses in the dead of night?"

"And what work do you think I do for the Institute?" Her face is a mask of curiosity. But behind her eyes, anger burns. Not directed at the boy, but whoever's spilled the beans on her activities. (And she suspects it's Yana Blite.) "Those deaths were regrettable. Unfortunate. Overzealous men on an ill-advised mission. It had no bearing on my decision to help bring down the Dome." Odessa crosses her arms under her chest, stance slanting to show annoyance. "What is it you've heard I do for the Institute."

"Ill advised mission or not, it was an attack on a group of people for no reason other than they had a gene other people don't." Devon raises his hands, fingers wrapping around the shoulder straps again. "What about those who were physically taken to be made examples of, not just dragged out to be executed?" He's speaking of himself and others he knows to have been captured. Those scars on his wrists weren't self inflicted. "Were those just overzealous men on an ill-advised mission too?" He shakes his head, feigning a lack of want for an answer to his question. "Let Valentin tell me himself. For you, I'll trade. Names first, and then what I've heard you do at the Institute."

"And if I hadn't acted, the Dome would have stayed up much longer than it did. I'm not saying you didn't suffer, but it would have continued if I hadn't done what I did. The truth always has two sides, boy. This isn't a black and white issue. It's all shades of grey." The carabiner keychain hooked to the belt loop at her hip has a pen on it, and she uncaps it, shaking it a few seconds to get the ink ready to write. Odessa presses the tip to her right palm and scrawls something there. Then, she holds out her hand for Devon to see.

Georgia Mayes.

"Now tell me."

"I'm well aware of the shades and layers of the issue." Devon watches her write, studies the name for as long as the hand is held up. Once more he shows no surprise, he'd suspected that one since hearing the voice on a newscast. "Do you have proof," he can't help but ask, only just keeping his tone neutral. He'd ask to photograph her hand, but second thoughts give him pause for that request. "I've been told you're a geneticist. That you're… assisting another doctor with a vaccine."

"Only word of mouth," Odessa admits. "Burden of proof is on you. If you can find it, so much the better." Then she licks the pad of her left thumb and starts rubbing the letters off her hand. "I'm a physician. Genetics is only my secondary trade. I've been assigned to assist another doctor to develop a vaccine, and I'm making good progress. Unfortunately, the virus is mutating very quickly. It leaves no opportunity for mass quantities to be made. Anything produced now will be obsolete in virtually no time at all. It makes it difficult to control the spread of this disease."

A rare moment of absolute honesty shows in Odessa's face. "I have a very… strong interest in seeing this disease eradicated. I'm doing everything in my power to see that happens."

Devon nods, accepting that she wouldn't have proof to offer. Or does, but won't, that likelihood has to be considered as well. Still, nothing he's prepared to or won't press. "I'm interested in seeing that vaccine made, too," he states quietly, perhaps more compassionate than Odessa has seen him. Hey may be Evolved, but he's got friends who aren't. "You sure you trust the other doctor to hold up their end of the deal," he asks, still quietly and very serious. He won't mention names, but he's fairly certain that Odessa knows he's speaking of Yana Blite.

"Yes. I trust them." When Odessa took ill, Yana took care of it. She trusts that will come around again. "I'm working as best as I can with what I have. We both are." She watches Devon's face for a moment. "Don't judge me so harsh, little boy. Someday, my past will catch up with me and I will pay for all the wrong I've been trying to make up for in my life." Someone should maybe have instilled in the girl that two wrongs don't make a right. "When that time comes, I hope you'll remember that I've done what I can. Be careful on this quest of yours, Devon. There's still time for you. You don't have to finish walking this path you've started down."

Devon's expression remains mostly neutral, a slight creasing in his brow though that could be for any reason. No, as he's wont to do, he keeps a cool expression, collected in this setting. He nods after giving her answer some consideration, he doesn't share the same views especially concerning Yana. However, his lips quirk faintly over her warnings. "Is that a threat, Doctor Price," he asks, a brow ticking up. "Or have you taken an interest in my wellbeing?"

"It's not a threat," Odessa's quick to clarify with as much sincerity as she can muster, a shake of her head. "No. I'm serious. I've been down this road. People have done you wrong. Entire organisations have done you wrong. Don't let it twist you like it has me. I don't know any other way to be anymore. I don't know how to live without that conflict."

That brow raises higher, Devon letting a silence hang however awkward it might feel while he gives serious regard to Odessa. Funny how that warning can come from one side of the line, and the very same from the other. "It's real simple, Doctor Price," he offers, sincerity in his tone. "You stop fighting for yourself." He doesn't bother to elaborate, his ideals regarding the fight scoping well beyond just revenge for himself and his losses but encompassing the larger picture. He drops his gaze to glance at his watch, then looks back up at Odessa. "Give serious thought to what side you're on," he tells her in those same quiet but serious tones. There's no threat, just advice for consideration. "For what it's worth."

"I'm rather fond of the fence." The one she tends to sit on, metaphorically. "Neither side is right one hundred percent of the time," Odessa advises. "Be careful, Devon." And it's her that turns to leave first, making her way for the staircase.

"You'll have to choose some time," Devon says to himself as Odessa leaves. He watches her depart, and once she's out of sight his phone comes out of his pocket. He stops the recording, that crease in his brow deepening slightly. Once the sound file is saved he next thumbs through his contacts until he comes to a number. As he presses send, the teenager moves to watch the stairs, the phone lifting to his ear. "Need a ride," is all that's said when the other end is answered. After the call is ended, he finally begins his way down the stairs, eyes wary and watchful for followers.

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