Of Plastic


benji_icon.gif raith_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Plastic
Synopsis The worth of identity is called into question when Raith and Ryans ask Benji what he's doing on Pollepel.
Date November 29, 2010

Pollepel Island

The room that once belonged to a family, now owned by one man, doesn't have Benji wanting for much. Long hours have been frittered away by books the Ferry have supplied him, two negation drug injections over the course of two days, and restless sleeping. There is a single window, low enough to the floor and cut deep into the wall enough that Benji can fold himself comfortably into that rectangular space, soaking up the last of the sunlight of the day in a huddle. A book— the second Harry Potter, because beggars can't be choosers— is closed and held loosely, neglectfully in his hands, forehead rested against glass and watching the what he can see of the Hudson river.

Feet clad in wool with his boots tucked beneath the bed, he is wearing a spare change of clothing, by now, all slate grey denims, black wool that's comfortable oversized. There's nothing doing for boredom other than books, but most other comforts seem catered to. Which doesn't stop the dark-haired intruder from being piteously miserable.

Piteous misery, perhaps, only compliments the 'ancient castle' experience. Or perhaps it does not. If nothing else, Benji's boredom and even any loneliness he is feeling promises to slacken- if just temporarily- when the lock and hinges of the door keeping him in the room creak, and the door itself opens. Jensen Raith standing in the doorway, however, is likely not the sight he was hoping to see. "Hello, Mister Foster," he says with a smile that, on him, appears just slightly sinister, "How are you doing today?"

Raith steps into the room proper, not only so that his partner can enter after him, but also because it's slightly… well, no, it's not really much warmer in the room than it is out of it. "Hope your voice is holding up, because, well, we're going to be talking to you for some amount of time. Could be short, probably going to be long. Or maybe not, we haven't decided yet." If there is to be more to the pair's introduction, Raith won't be the one delivering it. That privilege he leaves to the other director of Special Activities.

His boots scuff on the floor as he enters in behind Raith, turning enough so that he can shut the door with a firm push of his hand. As it clicks, Benjamin Ryans eyes the shorter man with no real expression, just an up and down sweep of his gaze. "You will help it along if you are honest with us."

Benji's card is pulled out of the pocket of his jeans, with the rustle of his long duster fabric. "And there is plenty for us to discuss. Now — " Ryans flips the card over in his fingers slowly, gaze considering it as he moves a little further in the room. " — after talking to my partner here, I was possibly a little quick to anger the other day." — that was anger? — "I hope you understand what we are faced with here?" His brows twitch up, but nothing more. Unlike his partner, there is no smile or even a scowl of disdain, just those neutral tones.

The amount of people Benji is hoping to see is greatly reduced when factoring in those he expects to see. He does not expect Hannah, or Howard. He doesn't immediately move when the door opens, even if it's a little early yet for dinner and his injections transpire in the morning, but Raith's voice does summon his attention. Embarrassingly, he's been crying — maybe not recently and maybe not much, and right now, his demeanor is as still and impassive as the river he was admiring.

Paperback book slaps against the floor as Benji tosses it bed-wards and misses a few inches short, more out of apathy than a lack of skill. Shifts enough to unfold his legs and set his socked feet against the ground, arms wrapping into a fold across his torso. "A security risk," he supplies. The room is small, which is fortunate in that Benji is easily heard despite the naturally soft quality of his voice. He switches a glance from Raith, then to Ryans, and a small smile breaks compulsively across his face despite reddened eyes. A small shake of his head follows, mute apology.

Howard calls him twitchy, sometimes.

"That's one way of putting it, yes," Raith says. He doesn't move much from his space once the door is shut. Perhaps curiously, he doesn't move to stand between Benji and the door out. "But, the funny thing with security risks is that they have different levels of risk. So how much of a risk are you?" It's a simple question, direct and to the point. "Your ID card is, well, it's a bit perplexing. I would've guessed you'd have higher clearance." Rather than finish this line of question, Raith allows the torch to be passed to Ryans for the follow-up.

Oh dear. The young man is crying. Ryans' stubbled jaw clenches at the sight of those red lined eyes. Even though Benji has a feminine quality to him, he's not a girl by any means. Had it been a woman, it might have actually tugged at a part of him. A weakness of sorts.

"Let me tell you something about myself," the old man in the room starts blandly. "Few months ago I was once a high ranking member of a government organization." Of course, long hair and a scruff chin has taken the edge off that agent appearance. "I led a team for them Their purpose to police evolved kind."

He wiggles the card a little, his hand tucked behind his back as he paces closer to Benji. "I can tell you for certain… I wouldn't put a man this low level into the field." His brows tick up with matter of fact look. "Not to mention, I don't know too many telepaths with such a low level clearance." His head turns a little, even if there is no real emotions a brow lifts. "Care to explain why your out here? What is your mission?"

"If I have such low level clearance then I mustn't have a mission," Benji says in his usual wanderingly light tone, dropping his clear blue gaze towards the ground and digging his hands into his pockets. "Can I go now?" That might be too easy, something he recognises by steering a glance towards the stern faces regarding him within the confines of the room, and one lats wistful look for the door for all that the younger man of the three is not making a move for it. He remains standing on the far side of the space, back to the window.

He tips his head. "I'm here on my own will. And my friends. Did they fire you, Mister Ryans?" Now he turns a look towards the ex-Company man, stare very direct for all that it had been watery some moments prior to this. "Or did you leave too?"

"The second one," is the answer that Raith gives on Ryans' behalf, "Ditto with me. Just, stepped into a cab one day and that was the last they saw of me. Couple more of us like that around here." Still not moving between Benji and the door out, but staying near it, Raith leans back against the wall and folds his arms across his chest. "So, you're here of your own will. Your free will, I'll assume you mean." As he often does, the ex-spy pauses just a moment for effect, before he continues on to ask of his captive, "Why? It's, kind of a strange place to be of your own will, in my opinion." His attention shifts suddenly but casually over to Ryans. "Don't you think so?"

And Benjamin meets that stare unflinching at the question, though after a moment there is a narrowing of those eyes that deepen the lines at the corners of his eyes. Something like a challenge in that gaze. In all honesty, it was a little of both. He walked away from a chance at the Institute and was fired for sticking to his gun with the Company.

He hasn't regret it yet.

For now though, Raith's answer is good enough. Simple and direct. Ben's attention shifts to Raith, giving the other man a simple short nod of his head. "It is. Not the most ideal of locations. Unlike the rest of us, it doesn't seem like you really got a reason to be hiding." He glances at the ID purposely.

"Especially with this job." Ryans gives Benji a curious look now, brows lifting high on his head. It's the closest thing to emotions he's shown so far.

"This job." That goes repeated, faintly, Benji shifting aside to glance out the window and hide that wrinkle of mirth just next to his mouth. Shrugs. "Oh, but I've always wanted to live in a castle."

This facetious emphasis is sugary enough to nearly sound sincere, and Benji itches his nose with a sleeve, huffing a sigh into the wool. He isn't looking at them anymore, less for dramatic effect and more for the fact his skin is beginning to redden again, as it does, the same response he'd had on the pier the other morning. "I want what you all want. To hide and escape. That card grants me one thing, and it's not protection — it just lets me get around with less questions."

He huffs out a chuckle. "Except on Pollepel Island. I was an informant. Under the table. I don't want to be anymore. And I don't want to you to throw away the key just because I'm being honest," and a more genuine waver hits his voice. "I never even wanted to be Registered."

"Lot's of people never wanted to be. What's done is done, though, no going back." Ryans may be careful with his emotions, but Raith is far more casual about his, even if the only emotion he's shown thus far has been partial indifference. "I kind of wish I never joined the CIA, but what's done is done, no going back. So what happens now?" Another pause for effect, the ex-spy even casting his gaze up towards the ceiling, as if he were pausing to actually think about, 'what happens now.' "I don't have a fancy ID card anymore, but I still took a few things away from them. Things I've been putting to good use for ends that I find worthwhile."

Benjamin Ryans can't say the same about the Company, so he doesn't even attempt to echo Raith. He did go back after all, even after retiring the first time. Now would he go back? No. "Whatever we were before is now an asset for what we do." Namely protecting these people.

Those blue eyes watch the young mans every move and twitch. While he's not an expert at it, he seems to relax just a fraction once satisfied with the answer so far. At least the kid doesn't appear dishonest, though Ben doesn't let his guard down either. His head nods to what Raith says, leaving this part to his partner.

The kids registration card is offered to Raith for whatever purpose he has in mind.

Benji watches his card get offered to someone who isn't him once he sees the movement reflected in the window, tension in his shoulders and despite his words about never wanting to be Registered, regret that his ID is being passed around. "Sir," he says, this time to Raith, a hint of a smile on his face that at least seems to warm his voice, "I'm not exactly the CIA." He flicks his stare back to Ryans. "And I never policed anyone."

"Very true," Raith replies as he accepts Benji's card from Ryans, looking it over in his hands. Funny how a simple piece of plastic holds so much power. "But you know, son, there is one more very, very important factor that separates you from us old guys." Pinched between the ex-spy's index and middle fingers, the card, that simple piece of plastic that holds as much power as it does, is moved to a place that, all things considered, Benji would not have expected to see it: Held out in the air in front of Raith not as a taunt or even to scold, but offered for return.

"You still have a fancy ID card."

And now the scary part, Benjamin's mouth actually creeps up a little on one side in a crooked smile as that card is offered over to Benji. Not too far, but enough to be noticeable, it deepens the redeveloping(?) lines on his face.

"Even the smallest pebble can make a difference."

His words rumble quietly in his chest, Ben's eyes shifting to the held card. "Don't matter if you've done anything like he and I. Not everyone has to be a gun toting son of a gun." A hand motions between him and Raith for emphasis. "And you, Mr Foster — You are in a unique position to be of assistance." His head shift a bit to glance at his partner just out of the corner of his eye.

That hand drifts out automatically to take the card, and then— dances back again like it might burn him, brow furrowing before Benji extends index finger ceilingwards in universal gesture. "I think you are mistaken," he says, shifting weight from foot to foot. "I'm in a little room on a little island and receiving unwanted medication. You, Mister Raith, have a fancy ID card. I do hope it suits your purposes." And he turns, then, primly, as if maybe he could dismiss both men by turning his back on them.

Maybe if he had his book in his hands, he'd return to it. But his attention was out the window anyway, and that's where it goes now for all that he is more watching reflections than river view.

All in all, yes, Benji raises a good point: Right now, he doesn't have any fancy ID card, and Raith knows enough not to keep holding it out in the air. A glance is spared to Ryans, acknowledging that, perhaps, this wasn't quite what they were hoping for. "Well, that's a perfectly sensible stance to take," he says, "Things are pretty crazy, after all. I'm going to ask you to, indulge my curiosity, just for a bit. You don't want this fancy ID card, I get that. You don't want it now."

Footsteps accompany Raith across the floor as he walks not to stand behind Benji, but to the side of him, leaning against the wall next to the window. "But somewhere in the past, you did want it. This little piece of plastic with your name on it, it was going to let you do something, something you didn't think you could do. I'm just, wondering what it was."

The look is shared and Ryans head brows lift in an acknowledgment that they did try, even if they kid is being stubborn. He doesn't speak up, only holds his stance, letting the more… charismatic one of the directors take a shot in the dark.

There is only a scuff of Ryans' boots against the flooring as his shifts his stance, with hands tucking into his pockets. Head tucking down he listens to the conversation patiently.

Benji swallows, tucking his chin nearer the collar of his sweater as if he could maybe fold up into himself and vanish like magic and hey, maybe some people have that power. He doesn't. He doesn't have any, right now, and fingernails seek out that injection spot in his arm to itch uncomfortably. There is some long silence, and maybe both men know that sometimes answers take time. Rapid fire back and forth is for television, anyway, for all that maybe they might not want the young man to think very hard.

He does respond, though, before he can be prompted. He's wrestled his voice into something level — almost louder a.k.a a normal speaking tone, losing a little bit of its whispery quality in its even-ness. "I was arrested. And Registered. All of that went away if I was interested in giving information, and— I was.

"They don't let convicts into beauty school," he says, over his shoulder and to Ryans, as if letting him in on a secret. Saccharine sarcasm. "I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mister Raith."

It's with silence that Raith initially answers Benji, spending a few moments looking over the card in his hand. "It gives you power, this little piece of plastic," he finally says, "Power stays with you, if you watch it, but these little pieces of plastic. It's funny. You get one, and you get power. But it gives you a name. This little piece of plastic defines you, until one day, someone who isn't take this little piece of plastic, and puts it in their pocket." And Jensen Raith does exactly that, calmly, casually slipping the card into the front pocket of his coat. "And it's like you never had it to begin with. So.

"What happens now?"

"Beauty school." There is that neutral tone back again, in those words whispered under his breath, not judging per say — just — not expecting that sort of answer. It might also be the same flat, noncommittal tone Ryans uses with his oldest daughter when she drones on and on about fashion and makeup. That is her world, it's not his and perhaps he'll never really understand it.

That is all he says, since Raith has the reins and seems to be saying the right things. Benjamin continues to let him do so, moving to set a shoulder to the wall, eyes watching the younger man.

Despite former declining of the card and the implications it was saddled with, Benji watches its disappearance, eyes hooding unhappily, before he's back to watching some corner of the room instead of making eye contact. The question gains a raised eyebrow, twisting a look back towards the door. "That depends. Is that unlocked?" is asked, dryly, one shoulder lifting in a sort of innocent half-shrug for all that his demeanor is one that is hollowed out.

Defeated, in its own way. You don't dock at an island and expect this to occur, whatever this might be.

Raith's answer back to Benji isn't much better. He looks from the man, to the door, then back to the man and says, "Not yet." He pushes away from the wall and begins to walk towards the exit. Whatever Benji, or even Ryans decides at this point, Raith is finished. "You're in here because we found a little piece of plastic on you. But someone who isn't you takes that little piece of plastic and puts it in their pocket. And it's like you never had it to begin with." The door's not unlocked, or it at least won't be after Raith pulls it opened and steps through it again. But it will be.

When he speaks it's in the gentle tone, words soft with understanding, "Whether this gets unlocked or not, is not up to us… at least not completely." Ryans glances at the door, brows furrowing. "That will be up to the council, but we will give them our report…"

His head turns a little towards Benji again, a brow lifting. "Is there anything you'd like us to add in your defense?"

"My goodness," Benji comments, connecting eye contact once more just to make a glance up and down Raith a trifle more meaningful. His tone is more coy and teasing than particularly scathing when he continues with; "As long as straight answers aren't encouraged or anything." A shakier inhale, moving back to sit on his perch at the window, ankles crossing, so as better to watch both men in the room as this interview seems to broach conclusion.

His fingernails dig against the brickwork on either side as he gives Ryans' question honest thought. "My defense… I'd trade in my defense for you to let Hannah Kirby and Howard Phillips know that I'm alright, if they'll believe you. But if you're willing to be generous and do both for me, then just let your— " A subtle head toss, a gesture of foregoing attempts to find a better word. "— colleagues know that I'm not their enemy.

"And thank you both for being gentlemen," he adds, hesitates, and a little bit of reluctant desperation enters his tone as he adds; "And if you would be so kind as to— I would appreciate skipping the next dose of Adynomine, if I wind up being here as long as that. I won't do anything wrong."

There is a cluck of Ryans' tongue against the roof of his mouth, giving Benji an apologetic look. "I can't guarantee the last, but… I'll let your friends know you're okay and I'll let council know you come in peace." Even though his voice was colorless, there is a twitch at the corner of his mouth to denote some type of humor before Ryans is following his partner out the door.

Maybe it's the fact, Ben has been where the kid has — though he was slightly more welcomed — or maybe he just feels the need to offer a chance. Either way, there is a short nod of his head to Benji before he too slips out the door and shuts it behind him.

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