Old Cowboy


eve4_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif ryans_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Cowboy
Synopsis Eve has news for a retired Company agent.
Date September 12, 2018

Ryans Home

Benjamin Ryans isn’t expecting any guests for dinner so the knock at the backdoor in the early evening might come as a shock. Perhaps not, it could be one of his children and many family coming to check in on him with the news that he had begun to divulging to his family but no. It is not a family member at his door and Ryans can tell this as he sees through the glass that a pale woman in black dress stands with a tilted head, waving her hands excitedly with brown eyes wide and shifting from left to right, her fingers twitch and she lets out a snort.

It’s Eve Mas.

A seer someone that knows Ryans informally, a few run ins on the island there was that time they blew up a robotics facility together and Eve had brought an RPG as a gift. That same wild expression is plastered on the younger woman’s face as she presses her face against the glass and makes a funny face, leaning forward as she clutches the strap of her beat up messenger bag, the bag itself swinging like a pendulum and grazing the tops of her scuffed combat boots, holey stockings cover her legs which can be seen from the slits on the side of the dress, she’s taken to making her “battle dresses” again. That midnight black hair is straightened and parted down the middle, the dark circles under her eyes makes her look like some kind of crazy junkie in a dress and boots but Ryans would know those circles. A man that worked with the Company for so long and knows Eve well enough would know.

She hasn’t been resting.

Or she had been but the recent dreams and memories once again spurring her into action, she had a list of actions. Order or no, this was near the top of the list. Operation: Old Cowboy.

“Yeeeeeehawwww! Hellloooooo! YeeeeeeeHAWWWW!”

While he eats well when he has visitors, on his own, Ryans prefers a liquid diet to dull the edges. Curb the parts of him that are not ready to be retired. Though today, however, he’s also making a ham sandwich to go with the glass of Jack sitting next him on the counter.

The knock on the back door is a bit startling. While most people would jump, Benjamin’s instinct is to go still. At least until he sees a familiar face… then it’s only caution that settles into his features. Sandwich and whiskey abandoned for the moment, the old man opens the door and holds it open for the seer. “Ms. Mas. To what do I owe the pleasure of the visit?”

With the cooler weather, the man has opted for a long sleeve navy blue henley and his worn jeans. Maybe he had plans to toil in his garden some, or was… “Might as well come in,” he offers with a small flicker of a wry smile.

A chirped meow comes from behind the seer, though the diminutive sound doesn’t seem right on such a large cat. The big shaggy main coon, moves to run itself along Eve’s leg, before sauntering into the house like she owns the place… which she kinda does.

“Oh thank the gods,” Eve wipes an invisible bit of sweat from her brow, “You're still kicking. I was worried.” The pale woman comes inside as Ben opens the door for her, knocking her boots off outside before she slips in and places her messenger bag on the table. Looking around the room, she looks down at the cat and smiles, “You behave now, your papa and I must speak of important things.” A twinkle in Eve’s eye and then she's leaning against a chair positioned at the table, her posture one of someone that is tired. “Did you ever see Angela after she had a long night of dreaming?”

The oracle had only heard second hand that the man in the room with her worked with the Company back in the day and again just before the civil war, he had fame for it just as Eve had fame for her life before and during the war. There could have been so many Ben’s in the Company yes? But how many close enough to death? How many that would know and had worked with Adam? These are the questions that run through the woman’s head as she stares across at Benjamin. “We rescued them once, a decade ago.” A snort, “Rushing into Level 5, biggest mistake we ever made.” PARIAH had paid the price for that.

Eve, Monica, Alexander, Claire and the others were lucky to get out alive.

There is nothing but confusion at first as the woman’s words seem to make no sense to Ryans. Brows furrowed as hand and arm leaning on the chair back across from her. It’s not hard to see she is tired, lips pressing together for a long moment before he pushes away from the table. “I have,” Ben finally admits to the seer, “I take it you dreamed, little seer?” He asks in a quiet rumble as he retrieves a second glass from his cabinet.

“Whiskey?” he asks, though he doesn’t wait grab the bottle and starts to pour a measure and refill his own glass. “I take it word of my imminent demise has finally started reaching the ears of the Ferry?” It’s a guess of course, brought on by the fact that she says he’s still kicking.

Of course, her comment about level 5 is noted, but he doesn’t seem like he knows what she is talking about. “Whatever you and your PARIAH pals did, that was after I retired.” he picks up the glass and takes a sip, “The first time, anyhow.”

Showing up unannounced was always Huruma's thing, and that hasn't changed much at all; the lack of service makes it much easier to just go with her whims. Unfortunately, the surprises work both ways.

When her field picks up Eve on the edge, Huruma is immediately concerned, for a few reasons. The least of which is that Eve has been a trail of debris the last few months or so. Discretion advice seemed to work for a time. She can hear the loud greeting first, from her arrival at the front door rather than the back. Naturally, Huruma lets herself in just like her counterpart, slipping in silently.

"Good to know it was a mistake. That smarts…" The dark woman shows herself with crossed arms in the kitchen doorway, leaning against the frame. Clothes speak of a casual visit, and her expression is somewhere between suspicion and resignation; she looks up from Eve to Ryans, one brow lifting in inquiry. Is everything okay in here?

Little Seer.

The seer in question blushes at the nickname, holding her hand up to indicate that whiskey would do while she scuffs the carpet with the toe of her boot gently, “No No Cowboy, a dream did.” Reaching to pat at his hand with a sadness and understand in her doe eyes, before she can continue on a familiar face enters the room and as Eve’s brown eyes fall on the darker woman she tilts her head and that ever present Cheshire Cat smile greets the Hound. “It's like you knew I was coming to you next,” is offered in greeting as Eve settles into her seat and stares plainly across at Huruma. “Did the Cowboy here ever come up in conversation with Adam when you two hung out?” There was going to be a more delicate way to deliver this but the arrival of Huruma allows the meat of the situation to be burrowed much faster. Much more blunt. “You’re lovely, so is Niki (I miss Jessica sometimes). The immortal shouldn't have been let loose.” Of that everyone in this room can agree, Eve thinks.

Kill two birds, one stone.

“I've had a..” shaking her head and rubbing her temple, “Few things seen, few things gleaned..” trailing off the seer snorts to herself at the spiral of events. “In my dream, you had a visitor at your grave. An old partner apparently. A dear friend.” Her tone doesn't carry a bit of sarcasm as she speaks of anything Eve seems tired but that smile is planted on her face still, forced maybe even. “Adam Monroe.” She's not done yet.

Huruma’s sudden arrival isn’t surprising, though the does get a flat look. Her feline doppelganger happily greets her with sprinklings of fur all around her lower legs and enthusiastic purring chirps. The arched brow angled his way by the tall woman is mirrored before he places the poured whiskey in Eve’s hand and moves to pour another for Huruma.

Though the mention of Adam as a dear friend and…. partner? This gives him pause and the bottle is set down before he can pour. “Adam has never been a friend or a partner. My first partner…” he trails off, brows furrowing in thought. It’s hard to read him physically and mentally in that moment. “The first partner I- I remember is Claude Rains.” Lately, he’s being reminded more and more, just how much of his life has been cut out of his memories.

Taking a deep breath, Ben gives a huff of amusement at the thought of him and the Brit as friends. The bottle it picked up again and the old man goes back to pouring. “As far as I have ever known he was confined to Level 5.” A glance is flickered over to Huruma. “Until he wasn’t.” His steely blue gaze moving back to Eve. “Thanks to your lot, I suspect.” There is no judgement in those words, he is only stating it as a fact.

“I would have knocked first, but I heard shenanigans…” Huruma answers the flat look with a sheepish one, good-natured but virtually a shrug. Surely given Eve’s prolictivities he can understand! She pauses to lean down and pick the cat into her arms, fingers under furry chin. There’s a look to Eve at that smile, a mild pinch of concern at Huruma’s brow. Perhaps she is right to be, because the question has her equally confused.

“I- - no.” Here comes a large frown for Eve, along with a repeated, “No.”

Which, suffice to say, makes what Eve says next quite strange. No hint of deception in her, serious as can be. Huruma is silent, though of course she looks to Ben for some sort of answer; he seems just as perplexed, and at least humored by it?

“Maybe he shouldn’t have been. PARIAH made its bed… and yet there were many of us that became your allies. I think that it balances out, somewhat.” Yes, thanks to Eve’s lot. Huruma is delicate with saying this out loud, as Eve should probably hear it from her. PARIAH really screwed the pooch on some stuff, but other incidents led to better things.

Eve stares are Ben for a long time, the expression on her face and the emotions mixing visibly, sadness, sympathy. Raising the glass in her hand she takes a tiny sip of the whiskey and feels the warmth trickling to her belly. Then Huruma says her bit and Eve smile softly, “You and Niki wouldn't be out and it's better that you are than not, balance it is. We mustn't tip.” Only dangerously make the scales appear too. The trick was not letting the weight drop fully, was that even possible? There's a look between the women. Eve acknowledges that fact and Huruma can feel it. The pale woman would never gloat but having Huruma on their side well… maybe it wasn't such a fluke. That internal debate is paused as Eve remembers why she's here disturbing a man on his way to the Underworld.

“I'm sorry to say, you gave so much to them. That Company and they robbed you. The loyal one, Cowboy..” Her tone bitter for Ben though they aren't close because what she saw, “My visions and dreams are usually metaphors or symbols. Twisted meanings designed to make me question what is, what isn't.” Designed by who isn't elaborated on. Eve has her own ideas on the cosmos and energy but they would be there all night, “Every now and then I see something quite literal…” Her expression is serious as she looks from the two. “He comes to visit your grave, he was.. remorseful. You wouldn't remember your time together. They ripped your memories and made them new. He talked of things.. of your son. He promised he would tell you one secret the next time you guys met, he wanted to keep his promise.” Though it was like Adam to give that secret to a dead man than when he was living. “He said.. he wasn't good with funerals.” That made sense.

“I..” There is a bit of difficulty in laying this out for them. For Ryans. “It was the 80s if that tells you anything. When you guys worked together.” Eve is focused now on delivering the message, Her tone growing more fevered as she recounts what she saw, “Your last case together, a special one indeed. Grabbing the ones who came from other places, other rivers, not ones like ours. You made them blend when they shouldn't have.” There's no judgement in that statement. It is fact. “One of them..” she stops herself and takes a deeper gulp of her liquor allowing the taste of fire to stop her from speaking.

Ryans is silent and stoney like a statue brought to life, listening and observant. The new glass is set on the edge of the kitchen counter near Huruma. An invitation clearly for her to partake. They were going to need it, so it seems.

It was maybe more disturbing to hear about his own funeral than the fact that Adam was there. A confirmation of what was to come. It causes hiss brows to lower a little in contemplation, to admit to himself that the headaches, might be what he thinks. That the sensations and tinglings, might be the reminder that death hovers nearby. It’s disturbing at least. “My son?” This confuses him, he latches onto this, allowing it to brush away the darkness of everything else. He only had the one, “Bradley.”

Ben sighs heavily through is nose and presses fingers to the bridge. He tries to find something in his memory of those times. But the hole that they left in his memories is too big. Why hadn’t he realized it before, even before others made him aware of it. Lips press into a fine line… Charles. “Richard mentioned an event, something to do with his mother.” They didn’t really talk about it, because the old man is supposed to be retired and yet people are bringing things to him. “That may be the one. The cause for this huge void of memories.”

If Huruma had anything to say before, it is pushed aside as Eve begins retelling what she has seen. It takes a moment, but without taking her eyes from Eve her hand quietly searches out the glass on the counter, exchanging the rumbling frame of the cat without another beat. What she says feels like the truth— it is what she saw, but whether or not it stands to be the real thing is still up in the air.

It certainly sounds like something that Adam would do.

And he is definitely terrible at funerals.

Bradley’s name is invoked by Ryans before it comes from Huruma, her eyes moving from Ben to Eve one more time; the confirmation is only a hushed sound, repetition of motion, lips formed around the name. Huruma’s hand finds the outside of Ben’s shoulder in reassurance, a faint pressure that does not linger for long.

Her eyes hone in on the other woman, razor sharp; the intensity of the moment is clearly to discern whether or not Eve really believes it. Huruma studies her until the mention of the cases- - other rivers- - and the acknowledgement of missing voids. Richard’s name in the mix doesn’t make her any less uneasy. Why does it always circle around to him? Somehow?

“Richard told me about the ‘rivers’. The term, it isn’t quite… right. A web, or a net. Of places one step to the left,” Huruma’s eyes narrow, her voice gentle in comparison to before. “And to the right. Space between.” Rather than prompt Eve to go on, she takes a draw from the glass which Ben has so graciously poured for her, gaze looking to him next, questioning. Should Eve keep going, or is this treading into uncomfortable waters?

Because Huruma will absolutely drag her outside. Knowing that much simply comes with the package.

“They are interconnecting whatever name you have for them.” A wave of her hand and Eve is taking a larger sip of her glass, she’ll try to rest well tonight maybe even shackled herself to the bedpost that seemed like a good idea. “A week before that case occurred..” she debates for a moment but throws that feeling of doubt behind to be lose in the wind, “You buried your Bradley, car wreck. I am so sorry my dear cowboy.” Her expression soft and sorrowful, “But when they crossed over, there was a second shot. Your bosses wouldn't let you have that happy reunion, it wasn't meant to be. They rearranged your mind,” tapping her fingers to her temple in demonstration.

There is a moment of silence as Eve allows that to sink in, “You kept remembering, your son, how you were blessed with another chance but you knew there was another you searching desperately for him. They couldn't allow that to stand. Plus, you punched Bob so hard he lost a molar.” The pale woman keeps eye contact with Ben, “So they removed everything. Your love for your wife, your memories of your son. They considered you a no one he said, a deadbeat..” she frowns. Her tale done she settles back into the chair and lets out a long held breath.

“I'm sorry Cowboy, I don't often come bearing good fruit. Mostly bad apples.”

A lifted hand tells Huruma he doesn’t want her to stop the seer, if there is anything the man has learned over the years from his time in the Company and others… It was always best to hear out the one with the ability to see the future.

Eyes narrow slightly as Eve starts talking, only Huruma can feel the curiosity and surprise. The uncertainty and disbelief. But by time Benjamin sits down slowly at one of the chairs, the tall woman will realize she doesn’t feel any emotions shedding from him anymore. He was in a place he doesn’t go much anymore. The one that lets him focus and not be clouded by emotions.

Seems he might need to have a discussion with Richard again… possibly some old colleagues, like Sabra.

He is like a statue, lost in thought, maybe searching for a shred of something that proves what Eve is saying. “It is alright, Eve,” he offers the seer a smile that holds no real emotion. “Sometimes, we need to know, no matter how bad the news.” There is a pause where he takes a strangely calm sip of his Whiskey. “Was the vision clear enough to tell you which cemetery this was at?” Ryans finally ask quietly, voice devoid of any emotions.

Huruma stays her hands and throwing arm when told, instead quieting completely as they listen to Eve tell the rest of her tale. Ben's shift of skepticism and interest to that hyper-focused drive draws Huruma's own uncertain stare away from Eve, ever so briefly. There is only earnestness coming from her.

The Ryans Mental Vow of Silence is a practiced thing; Huruma feels that intense drive above the rest, drowning out the shines of much else. It is a different sensation than out-thinking a telepath, and Huruma's ability is tested as it clamors after the change, itself a creature of need.

She is stone silent behind him, eyes taken over by the spill of black pupils, encompassing and luring. All of this- - he doesn't deserve it, that is absolute. But to have to find out again? Lose them one more time? There is nobody around these days to drag a mulcher through his mind. Now that he knows, he knows. The drink in Huruma's hand is sipped once more and set aside with a ''clink''. Her silence speaks volumes, more for Ben than it does for Eve; her respect is clear enough, and he knows it is much more than that.

And if it is remotely true…

Of course he wants to find the grave, and prove it.

“All I know is there's an old oak tree there.” Eve says thoughtfully but her gaze studies the older man. “Interesting really, you overcome memory blocks. You're strong.” Eve digs into her messenger bag as she speaks, “I don't know about you..” rummagerummage, “But if I had a guy as gifted as that yellow cupcake that considered me a friend,” out comes two small bags, plastic that she lays on the table in front of her. “I'd ask him for some of that lifeblood.” Sounds like he'd do it.

Drinking down her whiskey in the same motion as sliding the bags over to Ryans, one packed with cannabis and the other with seeds of some kind. “For the pain.” A meaningful look given to the two at the table, half lidded gaze feeling the effects of the drinks she had earlier. Pills? Ah who needed them. The whisper of echoes from that place where the future lives curl around her and she tilts her head back as if listening intently to those words, “Ah right,” nodding in earnest to herself.

“Check with the Mothers. Alice Shaw says if anyone should be looking for Adam Monroe it's you.” Standing slowly with a sly smile, “They know more than what shows on the surface, burrow deep but not six feet.” Her boots scuff on the floor as she shuffles around the table to stand next to the retired Company agent, Eve looks towards Huruma and her sharp sympathy follows, to lose a best friend is a horrible thing. She thanks the Universe or whoever she should be praying too that Gillian was still alive. “I don't know you well but you're quality guy. Classy.” Spreading her hands out in front of her in a bright smile.

“I’ve been dealing with evolved for sometime,” is the only explanation that Ryans has for the strength of his mind and the Company’s need to cut out pieces of his memory rather than alter them. “In truth, I knew Adam as far back as Vietnam… a couple of other of the Company founders as well,” might explain how he ended up being recruited after he got out, “but, I am not sure I’d have called us friends.” There is a slow shrug of his shoulders.

Of course, the mention of asking Adam for blood, gets a flat look. It is always hard to tell what the man is thinking. “I’m not sure I want anything like that, from him, pumped into me.” It igged him out a bit to think of, really. Though, to be fair, it probably happened once or twice. There are too many holes in his early memory.

When the bags are offered, at least Benjamin doesn’t outright refuse them. Finally, a crack in the mask to allow his amusement to shine through as he looks at the offering. He doesn’t say much for a long stretch of moments. Clearly the wheels are turning in the old man’s mind… at least the tumor in his head hasn’t dulled his mind. “Thank you, Eve for telling me. I’ll be taking your advice into consideration.”

Huruma does her utmost best not to laugh when Eve deposits drugs onto the table, though her mouth is not quite as fortunate; a press of a smile sneaks onto her face and brow. Ben seems a lot more amused by it, at least. It even harkens back to talks they’ve had before.

“I told you how it saved me… and I’m no worse for it. He helped her, too.” Huruma tips her head slight towards Eve, lingering offsides a moment more before edging closer. Her hand finds the hard brace of Ryans’ shoulder, a grounding gesture that she hopes is more reassuring than not. The topic of blood drops, shifting when she speaks again.

“There was something else.” Huruma starts, breath caught in a small sigh, eyes flicking to Eve and back to Ben. “Those women,” The Mothers, Eve calls them, “I was going to— I spoke to Richard, not long ago. About— you.” She gives him enough time to listen before going on.

“He suggested I go there too. So I have an appointment. With Ms. Dalton. To see if she wants to— help. Somehow. They have far more of a reach than I do,” A pause, short, “You should come with me.”

Pleased that her gift is well received Eve looks delighted as she begins to make for the door. “Do that, see the Mothers. Chase the truth you deserve it.” They all did in Eve’s opinion. Looking towards Huruma the pale woman dips her head, “Huntress, until next time and Cowboy…” As Eve passes the older man for the final time on her way out she looks at him. There floating above his head an ornate hourglass spins on its axis as black sands drain one by one into the bottom that has a sizeable amount of the dark grain already filling it. It winks out of existence with a pop! That makes Eve jump at the sudden sound that only she heard, the image she only saw.

Trailing her hand long the walls before they settle on the backdoor again, “Live live live live.” He deserved it.

Nearing Midnight

In a dark room tucked behind a shelf in Benjamin Ryan’s basement, a light blazes to life, throwing everything within in deep shadow. They seem to dance and move as the old incandescent light swings on the end of it’s cord. This was Ryans’ war room. When he couldn't sleep, which was often, he would retreat into this room and ponder the things he isn't supposed to get involved with now that he is retired.

One entire wall is covered with photos and string. Words tucked in various places and articles pinned near them. Finger traces along a string slowly.

‘Looking Glass’ What is it?
‘Casper’ Where is he?
‘Charles’ What did you do?

Adam Monroe

The photo below the tag is plucked off the wall, leaving behind a handful of articles about things that could be Adam’s handy work. Benjamin’s brows tip lower as he considers the picture.

Since Eve’s visit, Ryans has been lost in thought. Unable to shake what she said about Adam, about Bradley, and all that time that is missing from his own mind. He had always known that the Company would scrub things, but until that trip down into the ruins of Level 5, he hadn’t considered what might have been taken from him. Somethings were better left buried, but if Eve was right…

“Seem ‘old friend’ you have a promise to keep.”


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