Old Ground


brian_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Ground
Synopsis Retracing old ground, revisiting old haunts, and here, have a little horrifying news about Abby, too.
Date February 12, 2009

The Old Dispensary

On the outside, this sprawling multi-level complex has not seen use in many years, its walls covered in greenery and stone exterior and glass windows showing evidence of disrepair. Surrounded by a chain link fence, a drive leads from the street to a large dock, and around the back one can expect to find more sprawling greenery that eventually leads to a concrete drop off into the Atlantic Ocean.

Passing through the chainlink fence and into the dispensary will reveal that the aged and crumbling outside is a facade. The loading dock is kept clear for the most part of everything save vehicles and supplies, though a section has been quartered off and transformed into an open workshop. The dispensary itself has been transformed into something akin to a makeshift dormitory, complete with common areas, a sizable kitchen and eating area, with various rooms converted into bedrooms for the residence. One room has even been set up as a makeshift clinic, amply stocked with supplies.

The back lawn and garden of the dispensary is surprisingly well tended, green and lush during the right months. Vegetables have been planted in accordance to season closer to the building, though someone has indulgently planted a plots of flowers - notably sunflowers - here and there. Further out, the ground drops a little and makes it to a concrete edge from which opens out into deeper water of the Atlantic.

Lunch-time over Staten Island sees Teo wiping a last crumb and trace of avocado off his cheek on the back of his wrist. A solitary seagull punctuates the sterile white vista of a thinly clouded sky, winging its way somewhere inland: to a garbage dump, most likely.

There's a light machine gun over his shoulder. It's shape and bulk are black as aggression itself. It looks either at odds or perfectly at home with his shaven head, the costume of jeans and scruffy sweaters that adorns the rest of his frame, boots chapped from abuse and age. The weapon itself is overkill, or so he hopes. Better safe than sorry.

"The library got invaded. HomeSec. Hana caught a few faces, but no one who ranked high. This place seems okay—" he jerks his head at the chainlink. The building that sits quiescent amid sawgrass behind it. "But I guess somebody has to make sure. How are you feeling?"

All the younger man has brought is a pistol. His eyes wandering the dispensary warily as they walk through. "We barely got this place before we have to ditch it." He mumbles, glancing over at him at the news of the Library. "If they could get to the Library, what's stopping them from getting here?" Brian asks with a little frown.

"Good enough. I talked to that guy— Sonny. He was reading the same book I saw you reading." He waves his hand dismissively as if that doesn't matter. "He's helping me get this place set up out here, for the kids."

There was a very pointy piece of floor over there, which is why Teo trips, catches his balance with a crooked shuffle and cough under his breath. "Yeah," he mutters. As if it doesn't matter. Why would it? It's a good book. A lot of people have read it, and many more still will, unless humanity collectively loses its soul. He works a key out of his pocket, twists the padlock open.

Kicks open the door. "What's stopping them from getting here is that they don't know about here." Teo eases a long leg in, cranes his head through the close space.

Looks up into the corner, where a small camera is perched, its round eye pointed down the narrow hallway, silent, the red recording LED long since blacked out with a permanent marker. His mouth curls at the corner. He offers Hana a wave and saunters in. "Kids?" he asks, glancing back. "How many you have now?"

His gun hangs in his hand limply as he follows Teo in, glancing about hastily. Though the older man is given a long glance at the weird coughing shenanigans. "How do we know that? If they knew about the Library. What if Alexander or Hel.. or me gave us up? They have telepaths, man." Brian notes as he walks in after Teo.

"Two. Joejoe, and a kid named Bai-Chan. He can stick to walls. It's cute." He says with a little smile as his thoughts drift off to his two boys.

"We don't. But they haven't been checking out Cat's workplace, and Matt didn't manage to make Abby tell them anything about me. And in three weeks, HomeSec hasn't been here yet. There seem to be limits to their investigation. Seem to be," Teo repeats, an extra note of irritation to his own tone: he knows how that sounds. "We had the same surveillance set up here, just like the library. I'm not sure we should come back.

"I'm thinking about pushing the date we come out of hiding back until we have some idea of what Hel, Al and you might have told them, too. I don't know. I don't know how safe we should be playing it. This is a good spot. Don't want to give it up…" He's rambling a little, maybe, his voice low between compressed teeth. He glances through one doorway, beelines toward the industrial sized kitchen. "What do you think?"

The kids seem, briefly, to slip out of his mind. It's only when he yanks the chrome door of the fridge open that he's reminded. "I like that. How old are they?"

"It's.." Brian gives a little frown. "I'm upset you made Cat a lieutenant."He mutters. "Just because she talks a lot, doesn't mean she should be put in charge. It'll go to her head. I guarantee you I'd be handwashing her panties or something if you didn't make me lieutenant too. Ygraine could've done it.Or.." Or who? A little frown. "I dunno man. How can we be sure in today's world? They could have a technopath or something, this could be a trap. Maybe they want us to come back here, and then they'll catch us all. They could have this place wired right now." Brian says, scanning the place. "Maybe we could like.. do a sting operation or something. Set a trap against a trap, or something."

Food isn't touched, or doesn't appear to be — what's left of it, anyway. The listening device tacked down outside on the refrigerator's wall is still there, apparently intact, or at least what Teo can tell, skimming a hand down the steel. "Last I recall, Ygraine was busy throwing her hands up in the air and complaining Christian ruined Edward's plan by dying off-schedule.

"Cat's what I have. She talks a lot, throws in more ideas than she can use, is sometimes confident to the point of cocky.

"Halfway decent counter-balance to you and me. By herself, she'd probably fuck everything up, but that goes for all of us. I think." He pulls back, glances up at the younger man, past him, watches the outline of a moth dead inside the ceiling light. "I'll reconsider it if she starts treating people badly. Let me know if she does, eh?" Brushing his hands off on his pant leg, he tilts his head.

Sting operation. His brow furrows. "That's a good idea. Rig this place to blow, keep a minimal number of personnel here. Enough for Anne to carry out, station Anne here… Is that what you mean?" A quaver-beat's pause. "Not a technopath. Photokinetic illusionist, maybe. It's possible."

"She—" A little shrug. "That was really selfish. What Jennifer was doing. One of the most selfish things I've ever seen." Brian says, angrily, waving his hand around which also means he's waving his gun around. "It was all I could do not to flip my shit right there, man. I can't believe that. She's not feeling involved? We just had a guy die, people get taken, another guy die. And the world almost ended, and she's not feeling involved?! What the fuck, man, seriously." He seems pretty frustrated. "Yeah. Or me. I could make it seem like there's a buncha people here.." A little shrug. "Me and Anne, could probably work." He suggests.

"Joejoe's seven. Bai-chan, doesn't speak very good English. Do you know where I could find like a Chinese dictionary?" He asks, tilting his head at the other man.

Having a handgun waved around in your face, even if it's on safety — is it on safety? Teo had assumed — prompts a little flail from the Italian, who looks mildly horrified until the nozzle ends up elsewhere and the attached arm goes inert again. Relaxes, then, with a sigh, grating his knuckles across his eyes.

"I was pretty fucking amazed," he agrees, his voice a gravelly mutter. "Some part of me thinks I probably should've tried… arguing her down or something, but I think if the facts can't hold themselves up in this case, there isn't enough intelligence in her head for me to work with, period, and I don't need her bad enough to—"

The next instant, Teo shuts up, goes still. Dropping a hand from his face, he manages to meet Brian's gaze for a quaver-beat, before an uncomfortable shrug moves through his shoulders. "That was a shitty thing to say," he mutters. "I'm sorry. That sounds perfect. You and Anne. If you could set that up, that would be great. I could use a dupe or two for something else, though."

He motions with his head toward the doorway, starts to angle his strides that way. "I own a few Chinese phrasebooks and a dictionary if you don't mind secondhand shit. Mandarin, Cantonese, Shanghainese — what dialect is he speaking?"

"It's understandable man. If she's going to do something that selfish she's obviously an idiot. I mean I liked her and all, but what the hell. I wish Ygraine would put her in her place, and I can't believe Ygraine was all holding her hand all support-y like while she quit. Seriously. She wants training, Diego was around training, and Hana. Come on." He spits.

"Yeah I'll set it up. What do you need?"

"Aw shit, she told me what it was. What was it.. I'm pretty sure it was Mandarin. Shanghainese? That's real? I thought there was just two." The young man mutters.

Guilt will be a few minutes alleviating, and continues to weigh in Teo's tone: "Si, no problem. I'll get you the books. It's a beautiful language— I hope you enjoy it."

The hallways scroll past them horizontally, taking in the echo and rebound of Brian's voice around clean corners and over floors that haven't been sitting stale long enough to accumulate dust. This place gets a lot of sea air. Teo's gut tightens, briefly, remembering the last conversation he'd had about that. Conrad threw his voice all the way across the Dispensary while they talked.

It's all fucked up. "I need— I'd like," he corrects himself, with some difficulty, "if you could help look around for Abby. She's been kidnapped or some shit. 'Bout a week ago, by some asshat who owns a… periwinkle blue van. The cops figured out they came into Staten Island, but all the little side streets and shit here— they lost the tail, can't ID the owner off the plates." Teo points his eyes steadfastly elsewhere.

"I just wanna make the kid happy, dude. I never understand when people say languages are beautiful. People are beautiful. Language just.." he waves his hand, the one without the gun as if to articulate himself. "Expresses that."

Brian's eyes go wide as he stops still throwing his hand out to catch Teo's shoulder. "What?!" He asks, his voice completely alarmed. "She's—" Damnit Abby. "She was going home." He says pathetically. "She's at home. I saw her the night before she left." He says in protest, attempting to make it not real. "How—she— Magnet was supposed to be with her. Have we seen him?" Brian was supposed to take her to the airport. And maybe if he had insisted, this wouldn't be a reality.

The poems are all wrong: shared pain isn't half pain. The ludicrous toxicity of guilt Teo's feeling finds a mirror in the look on Brian's face, when he's halted and turned toward the younger man. The Sicilian blinks hard; has to fight the urge to glance away. "She isn't at home.

"I called. There's enough blame to go around. Magnes isn't answering, either. I don't know what happened to him. I got a psychometrist to look at the site before the cops, but all she got was pretty fucking vague. The van. Stupid color, and that's it.

"I'd appreciate it— Abby'd appreciate it, I'm sure," he squeezes his eyes closed, opens them. "If you could spare an extra pair of eyes while you're walking around. Deckard's looking, too. And the cops. Although this place is a little ways out of their fucking jurisdication," he acknowledges, his jaw tightening.

Brian is obviously flustered, he shoves his gun into his pants as he takes a few steps back. He turns his back to Teo, placing his hands on his hips as he tries to process all this. "We agreed that I was going to take her. But she had to let fucking Magnet.." He starts pacing, and his tone sounds like he's talking more to himself than to Teo. "Why—Why didn't she let me take her? Why didn't you tell me before?" Brian asks angrily, bringing a hand up to his forehead.

"You don't have to fucking guilt me into it Teo!" He practically yells, hopefully Homesec isn't here. Or they would be in big trouble. But it seems like Brian doesn't care. "Of course! Of course I'll be looking for her. Why didn't—" He doesn't even know what he's going to ask now. "Do we have anything else?" He breathes, his tone going soft. "OTher than the van? What street they were on? Anything?"

"They picked her — them? Up just in front of Confucius Plaza. Maybe Magnes too. I wasn't—" His teeth click shut; Teo refrains, somehow, from grinding them. Ducks his head, briefly, in apology. "I wasn't trying to guilt you. Mi dispiace. I only just found out what happened. I only just figured it out. I made a mistake. There's nothing else. Not yet.

"I haven't able to think of anything else. They're looking. People are looking." His sentences get shorter when he loses English, his verbal and mental agility wilting as he's left to simply clutch as closely to his meaning as he possibly can. "All I know about is the van. Sounds conspicuous enough but it's really… I don't know. If there are witnesses, I guess the PD will put out notice soon.

"Liz'll find out. I'll let you know." He drags four blunt fingers down the line of his jaw, turns on one boot. Takes another step down the hallway. A second. Looks back.

Stepping back he leans against the wall, tilting his head back. An aggravated sigh is let out. "So we go to shops in Chinatown. On the street, ask which way they went, we can use your psychometer or whatever to like track em down, couldn't we? Isn't that the first thing that should have been done?" Brian asks, shoving away from the wall. "We shouldn't get the cops involved." Brian growls. "We should find her ourselves."

"We also have to find Trask." Teo closes his eyes, briefly. Wearily. They burn just a little. "And Helena, Alexander, and you. We have to outrun Homeland Security. She's a Registered healer, Brian. A citizen of America. Your government has to be fucking good for something, just this fucking once.

"We'll try. I don't think the psychometrist can do more, though. She works better with old shit. Objects. Bike was the only thing I could think of. She can't just touch the roads or whatever. Plus, she's Linderman's niece or god-daughter or some crap. Linderman— you know, that corporate crime boss fuck, and I don't want to get any closer to him and his bullshit than I have to.

"The cops figured out what autoroute they took to get onto Staten Island. We can probably get that, but… fuck, I don't know. It's been a week. Figure we should focus on finding the van, who needs healers. Get the damn PD to do their job." His expression goes bleak with temper for a protracted moment, He shakes his head, pulling the AR-15's strap closer to him over his shoulder.

"No police Teo." Brian practically growls. "You want them to find her just so they can lock her up again?" He asks increduously. Pacing the room again, he gives one look over his shoulder at Teo. "I'm going home." Wherever home is. "I.. gotta pray." He waves his hand dismissively.

A long-fingered hand closes on Brian's arm, with more strength than Teo is normally wont to show— anyone, really. It stalls the ex-Mormon one step, a hefty jerk, before he abruptly lets go, flinches back, embarrassment and apology loud on his features. "I'm sorry. But that's bullshit. Lock her up again? Either the cops will be competent or they'll be fucking useless, but they aren't the ones tearing Abigail out of her life.

"We have a lot of different kinds of enemies, Brian. It'd be good to know the shades." He squares his shoulders, back striaghtening. Inclines his head, agreeable. "Ciao. Thanks for coming."

February 12th: The Origin Of Second Lieutenant Planet

Previously in this storyline…
The Origin of Second Lieutenant Planet

Next in this storyline…
Making a Name

February 12th: So That's Where You Are!
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