On Sinking Ships


satoru_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif

Scene Title On Sinking Ships
Synopsis A series of lessons on the perils of bad judgment and naïveté.
Date June 4, 2009

Staten Island

Discontinuity. The feeling one gets when the world is in one place during one heartbeat.. and another, the next. Not the peaceful transition of sleep but the sudden, unnerving switch of consciousness from one state to another and back again.

Such as when one passes out from power over-use in Tucker's Pawn Shop and wakes up laying in the back of an open van that offers a lovely view of the sky, the water, and a twenty foot drop down to Fresh Kills Bay. At least the van's a good ten feet away from said drop.

A group of three guys in matching jackets are hanging out at an old picnic table nearby eating sandwiches, while at another table closer to the back of the van, Cardinal's settled in with his own dinner. The wrapper's spread out fluttering lightly in the breeze, his fingers curled about the slightly-stale bread of the hero as he takes a bite, the juicy condiments swelling a bit at the sides to trickle down over the meat and lettuce. Setting it down as he chews and swallows, he reaches over for the can of beer set beside the briefcase that he claimed held the money, bringing it back to his lips to take a hearty swallow thereof.

Power overuse along with the stress of being on the wrong side of an encounter with Mortimer, at that. A guy can only take so much in one day, and discovering a new aspect of his ability was apparently enough to push Toru over the edge.

He'd spent the first couple of hours of his unconsciousness fairly silent and still, but eventually eased into a state of distressed sleep. Lots of twitching and whimpering, whining for someone named Kazu, interspersed with angry grunts. When Cardinal took the briefcase, he tried to hold on to it, and once it left his grasp, he hugged his arms around himself. All very telling to the boy's relative maturity level.

Eventually, though, as the day wears on, his dreams get a bit more violent, culminating in his growling something in irritated Japanese, punching the floor of the van, and waking up with a cry of pain. Then looking around at his new surroundings and—

"—What is this, where am I?" He's disinclined to actually step out of the van yet, instead rolling onto his other side to look out the door.

At the question that's called from inside the van, Cardinal looks up from his beer. "Hey," he calls out, casually, "Out here." A paper bag's shoved towards the other side of the table, and he notes, "Got an egg salad out here if you're hungry, man. I know a lot of power usage does that to a guy."

Toru is … pretty dubious about that offer, though he does cautiously pull himself out of the van. Wavering a bit as he stands, he leans against the door frame, but hesitantly walks towards the table regardless. As he approaches, he pulls a pair of long, fingerless gloves from his pockets, putting them on, then stops a few feet away from the table. "Thought you only did soup, yo." Yeah, he remembers seeing Cardinal there.

"Look, is this some kinda freaky trick or something? I fixed your friend's hand, you got my money there, we're even." A frown. "I ain't gonna let you gimme cement shoes or nothin' if that's why we're out here."

"I would've just tossed you off when you were out," Cardinal points out with a slight roll of his eyes, shades set off to one side as both hands close around the sides of the sandwich, picking it up again and settling it in his hands, "Take off, if that's what you want. Or have a seat, I'd like to talk to you for a minute. Up to you."

He runs his hand through his hair, scratching the back of his head once he reaches it, then finally lets out a sigh and, lolling his head back, rolls his eyes. Very impressively juvenile, but nonetheless, "Aight, aight, whatever." Toru trundles over, dropping himself with a thud on the bench at his apparent place setting, and digs into the bag to pull out the sandwich. Egg salad's not his first choice, but he hasn't eaten for a while. "You're pretty much the only guy back there wasn't an idiot anyway," and a good thing he wasn't awake to hear Cardinal ask Tuck if he should kill Toru. Taking a bite from the sandwich, he mumbles, around a mouthful, "Sup?"

"Sorry about Mortimer," observes Cardinal in rather dry tones, pausing in the conversation to take a hearty bite of it, taking his time chewing before gesturing with it towards the young man, "When I asked him to go pick you up, I didn't realize he was quite that crazy. I'll have to make sure I only send him after people I don't want in one piece, in the future."

"Yeah, er, didn't he say something about wanting to use me again sometime?" Toru frowns again as he continues eating, not really taking heed to whether there's food in his mouth when he talks - though he does at least make sure it's mostly covered. "I.. the fucker shot a harpoon at me. He's following me in a van and he shot a harpoon at me!" He almost gets worked up, there, but settles himself down after a moment. "Then he starts running after me and does it again and I jumped out of the way, then he does this flash bomb shit and hurls a net and got me with a fucking stungun. You didn't think to ask him how he planned on doing shit?"

At the explaination, Cardinal actually grins - shaking his head slowly, he admits with a vague gesture of one hand, "You don't ask questions in this business, man. You were alive and in one piece, which is how I asked for you. Can't really argue with his methods, might be a little fuckin' weird, but…" One shoulder lifts in a shrug, "Could be worse, right?"

An eyebrow is lifted at that, and Toru actually stops eating for a moment. Swallowing slowly, he just shakes his head and replies, "You just say that when it's you he's doin' it to, dude." He shakes his head again, resumes eating, and finishes the food up in short order. Wiping fingers on the front of his shirt in a manly fashion, he cracks his knuckles and asks, "So is that all you wanted, yo?"

"If that's too much for you to get over, kid, then this isn't the life for you…" Cardinal sets down the sandwich, brushing a few crumbs onto the wrapper and flashing over a smile. "Nah. That was just small talk. I wanted to ask you why you're working for John, actually."

Toru hrmphs at that. "This's been a long month, aight? I figured your friend there was with this Monroe dude who sent some big black chick to kick the shit out of me a couple weeks ago, and man, it's just.. shit like that you don't really expect, it's hard to get used to this evolved shit going around." He shakes his head, waves a hand back and forth. "I wanted a job roughin' people up and he had an opening."

"Monroe." A faint snort of breath from Cardinal at the mention of Adam, his fingers curving around the can of beer once more. It's brought up, and tilted towards Satoru, a finger pointing with it, "You do have a knack for jumping onto sinking ships, don't you? Look. Logan's the old guard here on Staten, and he's runnin' out of friends, and fast."

Blinking at that, Toru tilts his head off to one side, a confused expression growing across his features. "What do you mean, sinking ship? Monroe was some crazy dude who wanted to take me to Japan and when I decided I didn't wanna fuck with my people he sent a chick to beat on me, he doesn't have anything to do with Mr. Logan." But ultimately he shrugs. "I don't see what your problem is with him, he's runnin' a business, yo. You gonna deal with people, you gotta make a few bones."

"True enough," Cardinal says with a shrug, gesturing again with his beer can in a vaguely circular gesture, "Thing is, to do that kind've business here on Staten, you need support from somebody a little bit bigger." A brittle smile, "And he's not going to have any for much longer. I'm not saying you should take off, hell, it's just a job for you. But…" He arches a brow, looking to the other man, "…tell me something. Were you in Moab?"

The nonchalant facade is broken by that last question; Toru seemed fairly apathetic about the rest, but once the name of the prison is spoken, he tenses up significantly, clenching his teeth together and balling one hand into a fist. Realizing how obvious the response was, he then "casually" moves to rest his elbow on the table, setting his head on his hand - covering up a particular tell-tale scar - and lies terribly, "What is that, like Woodstock or something? Never heard of it."

At that reaction, Cardinal can't help but quirk a smile up at one corner. "Yeah, you were," he replies, leaning in just a bit, the beer set to one side as he rests an arm on the table, "Helena just put out a video interview. Gave a shout out to a bunch've people from there. You were one of 'em. Unless you know another powered 'Toru' that acts like someone just fuckin' tased him when it's mentioned."

"It's a common fuckin' name, okay?!" Toru punches the table, further proving Cardinal's point, and turns to glare off to one side. "What the hell business is it of yours, anyway? Some girl makes up a name on a video, whatever, she probably was mostly friends with some Russian guy anyway!" He runs a hand over his eyes, which have actually started to tear up a bit from thinking about all of this, and abruptly snatches up the briefcase and stands up. "Fuck this shit, I'm outta here, man."

"Sit the fuck down." As the fist slams into the table, Cardinal leans back - fixing the osseokinetic with a sharp glare for a moment before noting rather dryly, "You might've happened to notice that you had some fuckin' air support during that whole fucked up escape, kid."

Satoru sits. Then stands up again. Then slowly sits back down, briefcase on his lap. "I don't fucking want to talk about it, okay?" An angry sniffle there, and he wipes his eyes again. "It never happened, I don't wanna talk about it, and it's none of your damn business."

"Whatever, I'm not a fuckin' therapist," Cardinal shrugs, one hand going to the side of his neck as he cracks it lightly - to one side, then the other, before offering back to Satoru the faintest of smiles, "Just keep that in mind when you decide what you're gonna tell your boss when you get home, though."

"I don't get where you guys figure I think Logan's my best friend or whatever," Toru replies as he stares down at the table. "Just a job, like you said. He trusts me kinda, and I figure he oughtta know when people are roughing up his help, right? Part of the job." And, a shrug later, "I mean I don't figure he cares about my feelings or any shit like that but he doesn't tell me to shut up, neither." Let's just not mention that Toru usually seems to feel better when Logan's around.

"You hang out around Logan for very long, kid," Cardinal says with a snort of breath, "You will be. That's his power. You ever wonder why his whores're so happy about what they are?" The can's waved vaguely, "You work with John, Toru, you sign your soul away. He'll take it a little at a time."

"It's their job, yo. I don't think Logan's evolved." A combination there of denial and ignoring hints. "Look, man, I'm thinkin' you just don't know what kinda guy I am. You're just another in the line of adults tryin' ta save me from this terrible life I'm leadin' or some shit like that.." An idle handwave. "I ain't a Christian, yo, I don't got no soul."

"No, you're a fuckin' idiot who thinks I am," Cardinal replies with a rough snort of breath, "I don't give a shit about you cleaning up, kid. I've got a rap sheet a mile long and more time behind bars than you ever fuckin' had. No. I give a shit about your boss." The last of the beer is tossed back, and he sets the can down heavily on the table, leaning forward just a bit to fix him with a flat, cold look, "If you want to be one of the bodies on the floor when we come for him? You go right the fuck ahead, kid. Personally, I'd suggest you take a fuckin' vacation and come back when there's less stupid criminals in charge of shit down here to work for."

That much at least does seem to get Toru's attention for a moment; he does, at least, look properly surprised at the little revelation. "You coulda just said it like that, yo," he replies, quietly, after a moment's hesitation. "…Look, man, whatever, okay?" He does at least seem somewhat effected now that things have been spelled out for him, and a decrease in his general sarcastic tone shows that. "Just.. I gotta get back, man. I shoulda been back ages ago." A pause. "If that crazy guy hadn't picked me up I woulda been over at the shop anyway, y'know."

"I was showing you a little consideration," Cardinal says bluntly, "Because someone that I occasionally work with thinks she's a friend of yours. You don't wanna take that, fine, don't take it." A rock of his body eases back from the table's edge, his slightly bloodshot eyes watching Toru's face, "You can tell John whatever you damn well want, but you've seen some've our set-up over at Miller. And, much as you might not want to talk about it, you've seen us work. John has his sleazy-ass power and a bunch've fucking whores and thugs for hire. Think about which horse you want to put your money on here, kid."

"Look, man, Helena.. I ain't seen that girl in ages. Not since.. y'know." Toru shrugs, waves his hand. "I mean if she thinks we're friends, I guess that's cool and all, it's kinda weird…" Given a few things that happened during their stay. "…I just gotta…" He shakes his head, frowns, and stands up again, gripping the briefcase tightly. "I gotta go." A long sigh there, and he gives a quick glance around the area. "Which way to civilization?"

There's a shrug from Cardinal as he picks up the sandwich again, bringing it up and pausing a moment at the question. "Hit the road," he gestures vaguely towards it, "Turn left. Rookery's a few miles that way. Plenty've time for you to think whose side you'd rather be on when the streets start runnin' red and there's no fuckin' cops to stop it."

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