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Scene Title Payload
Synopsis Sleeping minds open to something new together, while the sky opens up to something terrible and ultimately familiar.
Date March 5, 2011


The sounds of construction almost drown out the sounds of the traffic.

This is not only because there isn't much traffic — condensed as it is here, with cars jockeying down the narrow roads, this section of city is small and so the rumbling of engines and wheels on the asphalt is a local cacophony. The construction is more widespread, with cranes making silhouettes against the horizon only seen past the buildings. There's a tower being built, erected tall and seemingly made more of scaffolding crawling with workers than actual foundation. A more finishing building has an entire side that is a billboard, a projection slathered in moving video and vibrant colour across its glassy side.

It's heading into the later hours, but on this late fall day, the sun is stretching on a little longer than the dead of winter. A crispness on urban air, a damper sort of cool. The wind whips through the street, tousles hair and scarves.

Bradley Russo is descending down the stone-cut stairs of an office building, a heavy kind of anxiety clamping his heart that's gotten to be such a part of him now that it's like getting used to a missing limb. His suit is of expensive make, a three-piece design, a tie that's flipped out of its silver clip to slither in the wind, like the American flags raised at full mast. There's a phone earpiece looped around the shell of his ear, settled inside. "…talk later when you're not acting like a martyr. You love New York, remember? You can't leave now. We'll go over your contract again in the morning." A male voice, at once familiar and unfamiliar, just like the make of the street.

He needs a taxi, or to end this call with agent or lawyer or whatever it is to call for a car. Or—

Down the street, a bus stop shelters people from the oncoming spitting rain that threatens to downpour into something more substantial. Elisabeth Harrison is seated in the middle, feeling more tired than she recalls being in a long time, her long hair kept down and partially tucked into her scarf, arms bundled protectively over her midsection, coat heavy, as if colder than the mildness of the fall dusk. There's a crinkle of plastic, a woman with her shopping, rushing to make sure she's at the bus on time.

Time. Odessa knows something about that, the bag dangling from her hand as she heads down the street, the feeling of having one eye as familiar as the strange shoes she wears.

Dropping her head back slightly, Elisabeth reaches up in a casual motion to shove a lock of hair behind her ear. She glances down the road wishing the bus would hurry up. It's not terribly unusual to see any number of people walking down the streets, but a woman with an eyepatch is always a little more in the obvious realm than some others and her blue eyes stop on the form of Odessa. She offers a nod of acknowledgement but simply leaves it at that for the moment, too tired to be bothered with pleasantries.

There's an impatience in his steps as his head shakes, even if the man on the other end can't hear him, "I can leave if I damn well want to— " is the contradiction Brad insists into the phone. He lifts a hand to wave down a cab before peeking up into the fall sky, he actually enjoys the feeling and distinct smell of the cool in his nostrils. "— fine, fine. We'll have a meeting and work it out, but number one rule of the biz, and I'm sure you're more than aware, is you keep your talent happen. And no, this isn't a 'show me the money' moment, so please don't yell it into the phone. That's just degrading.. for both of us," his next cranes as he peeks down the street, that distinct feeling that he has somewhere to be lingering in the very air he breathes.

There's a pause in his conversation as he waves his hand again, an attempt at getting the attention of any cab, but then he shakes his head quickly. "Look, I gotta— " he frowns. Calling a car requires patience. His eyebrows arch as his gaze turns to the bus stop down the street. Stilted steps drive him towards it at a slow pace, he'd still rather hail a cab…

There's something about a tall pair of designer heels that make a woman feel confident and in charge. Odessa feels both those things in a pair of Louboutins that bring her halfway to six feet tall. Even though most people would call the mid-calf boots with their purple fringe detail absolutely ridiculous. (They are a bit. A bit.) They don't match her yellow dress by any means, but they do complement it. If you happen to like the combination of purple and yellow. Odessa does, as it happens. The cardigan she wears to ward off the chill is a perfect match.

The dress is a mid-thigh length affair trimmed in a band of white at the bust, and accented with black that wraps around her ribcage and curves up to wrap around her throat like a collar that covers the ugly raised scar there. It's meant as much as the patch over her ruined left eye (a black thing adorned with reflective silver stars) to avoid horrified or piteous looks from people. And also to provide her with a relief from her self-consciousness.

Arriving at the bus shelter, she ducks inside and only then does she actually notice that someone's noticed her. And while Odessa's is a rather distinctive image, that doesn't mean she doesn't recognise Elisabeth Harrison. "Afternoon," she murmurs politely, content to leave it at that as it looks like Liz might prefer not to converse.

Once seated, Odessa can check the contents of her shopping trip, to make sure nothing fell out in her hurry. The magazines are fine. The bottle of wine, a hopeful addition. But the most obvious thing brushes its fur against her knuckles where the bag is clasped — the orange fake fur, anyway, of a plush lion that stares up at the world with amber-coloured button eyes. The wiry whiskers sewn into white muzzle.

A taxicab is cruising to the curb as if it had heard Russo's wish, but before he can change his immediate plans, there's a woman already darting towards it, all angular features and blonde hair pulled back severely. Immediately, he feels his heart lurch in his chest at uneasy, repulsed recognition — until he sees he is mistaken. It's just someone who looked like her. No matter, though, the stranger is slipping into his taxicab just as the passenger that was within it steps out.

Claire Bennet struggles with her suitcase, her movements and expression impatient. It rolls after her once she unsticks the handle, a petite woman with dark hair in a ponytail, whipping with the wind that seems to have a life of its own. Her clothes are casual, rough, almost street, and dog tags swing out from her collar.

"…dinner with Madam Secretary next week," says the voice in Russo's ear. "You got that invite, right? She wants to talk to you about your, uh. Your future. Next year, specifically."

The traffic runs thick, a bellow of a horn from an armored army vehicle that slots into the world as naturally as the rest of the vehicles on the street. There's the click-click of something mechanical just above Elisabeth, and a glance shows the spider-like little robotic camera that crawls up the side of the stop's shelter, perhaps five inches in diameter. A brief red light flashes in her eyes, and then when Odessa's head turns, in her's as well. When it moves on, there's a small feeling of relief — more in Elisabeth's heart than Odessa's.

Elisabeth will find her hands wandering protectively towards the bump at her abdomen — not noticeable beneath the bulk of her coat, not near that pop stage yet, but there, like a weight of responsibilty.

The ticking of little feet behind her makes her tense. Elisabeth hates that sound. Hates it. The red flash in her eyes makes her flinch and her head whips back around immediately to look away. Her fingertips play across the small, hard bulge as she watches the armored vehicle trundle by. She shifts her weight on the bench trying to ease the ache in her back. She'd stand up but that would merely make it worse, not better. What she really wants is to lay down. A nap sounds like heaven. She watches people and traffic with a wary eye, ever watchful, ever cautious.

A hand actually presses against Russo's chest, while the sour expression creeps over his features. His lips press together tightly, causing them to whiten under the strain. There's a nearly lifeless paleness in his lips and face as he eyes the blonde woman, breathing a little easier once citing his mistake. His eyebrows knit together tightly as the hand moves to the earpiece in his ear, pressing it tighter. "I got the invite," he replies flatly as once again he extends an arm to hail a cab. Despite himself he continues on his route towards the bus stop, waving all the while.

"What does Madam Secretary have to say about my future, anyways?" Brad asks while his gaze turns towards the passenger who'd exited the taxi, a silent acknowledgement before his eyes cut to her bag. Brad inhales a laboured breath before releasing it slowly, "What about next year? You know how I hate surprises." his grin takes on a nearly grim quality, somewhat sardonic.

Taking a moment to lean in again to quickly pay the driver, those dog tags clicking softly, giving a tight smile. "Thanks," she adds before shutting the metal door with a squeal and solid click. Claire doesn't even watch it leave, turning to make sure her bag is still by her feet. "Okay…" Time to get this show on the road.

A figure standing not far from her, grabs her attention. Claire glances at Russo, giving him a bit more genuine smile then the cab driver. "Hey," is a polite greeting to him, while she fishes a piece of paper out of her front jean pocket. It's unfolded as the smile slides off her features, blue eyes narrow as they scrutinize the address written on it. Hopefully, she can find this place before the jet lag hits.

Claire pivots a little as if trying to get her bearing and lay of the land, eyes lingering on the construction she can see and falls to the armored vehicles. Her jaws tenses slightly, uncomfortable.

Odessa brushes her fingers fondly over fuzzy faux fur. She pokes the plush lion's little nose with an affection in her expression, catching herself and withdrawing her hand from the bag. Her features are quickly schooled back into something colder. This only becomes easier to do when the spider-esque camera looks her over. Necessary evil. One would think she would identify. (Perhaps she only does with the unnecessary.)

Claire's gaze snags, then, on the sight of another spider-like robot currently climbing up a nearby streetlamp, and compulsively, she turns her back to it with a small feeling of dread and irritation both. There's a feeling of strange vulnerability — strange for her, anyway, seeing as she hardly every does.

"Just a little something called the mayoral elections. I guess she thinks you've been a good boy, B-Rad." A pause, then: "To be honest with you, maybe that's what this city needs. Things are going to get tough and they could use a recognisable face, you know?"

Speaking of that recogniseable face.

Russo's eye snags on something familiar and colourful, forcing his attention away from Claire and upwards towards the projected billboard in all its vibrancy up the glassy side of the building. As soon as he does lay eyes on it — and that much for anyone who does — the sound sort of supernaturally echoes in his head, and it's not alarming, just like the little camera bots aren't alarming.

One of the longest running political talkshows, straight from the heart of New York…

It'd be cringeworthy if it wasn't normal, the sight of himself smiling whitely into the camera, a grizzled quality to the beginnings of beard down his jaw, crows feet stamped next to his eyes, a distinguished and early sign of age. Bradley Russo, your advocate. His tie of red and gold, flashy backgrounds, a timestamp for this week's airing, and Russo's stomach knots strangely, suddenly. He misses her terribly.

The advertising is blocked from view from Elisabeth and Odessa by the time the bus is finally rolling to a stop with a squeal of brakes, a huff of steam. It has its fair share of advertising too, up the side — a Department sanctioned medication, Negoxan, the image of a smiling Caucasian nuclear family, the whole picture dirtied with urban grime, and it won't get a second glance. An older gentlemen who'd been waiting as long as Elisabeth glances to her and offers: "Need help, ma'am?"

She will feel immediate panic. Can he tell? Does that mean the robot could tell? She'd been careful—

The thought process is interrupted by the feel of something rattling. Almost like an earthquake, but no, it's from the sky — the slow whining scream of engines from above and the way everyone hears it and feels it in their bones means that everyone is briefly united. Some people in the street stop to glance upwards in confusion, towards the sound of something coming.

Shit. Elisabeth is damn good at a poker face, and she very quickly looks up at the man with a smile as she gets to her feet, forcing herself to move gracefully and as if her feet are not hurting. "Thanks for asking, but no…" The sound of the drone, though? Fuck, she has a moment to think. And then she's sidling around the man who spoke to her, trying to slip around the front end of the bus to dart through traffic and hopefully lose herself in the crowds. There is an urgent need to flee. Now. Quickly. Before that drone gets close enough to actually ID her. Runrunrun.

"Mayoral elections," Russo repeats into the phone with a nearly smug smile that dissipates underneath the tight knot in his stomach while his smile falters. Swallowing hard, the television personality tries to push passed it— passed what he sees, and, God-willing beyond that heaviness he carries with him. "Are you kidding me? She seriously wants me to run? That's amazing! Forget contracts, we're going into the big leagues, my— " his words cut off while distraction draws the host's attention from the phone up to the sky.

A part of her wonders why she decided to come back as she keeps her back to that robot. Claire knows she can't keep standing here too much longer, one of them is going to manage to find her and take a picture of her face. She's already inching away from Russo and trying to get away. The address will have to wait.

The whining makes her nerves ratchets up a notch, but there is the sight of a person… just a glimpse of…


Claire would recognize that woman anywhere. Eyes narrow sharply as she watches her for a long moment, before the regenerator's legs have her moving that direction. The tags bounce and clatter as she picks up her pace to follow her, with only a glance hazarded skyward. The bag she carries weighs her down a little, but that doesn't keep her from following Elisabeth through the crowd. The question crosses her mind, What the hell is she doing?

Shopping bags in hand, Odessa wanders out from the shelter and tips her head upward slowly, tilted to the left instinctually to accommodate her monovision. The ground rumbling beneath her spindly heels naturally has her nervous, but it's a cavalier edge of curiosity that draws her out of the shelter and whatever perceived safety it may provide.

She goes staggering back, avoiding toppling over when Elisabeth darts out of the shelter and rushes past her. Odessa follows her with her gaze, watching the traffic. She transfers her purchases to one hand and holds the other extended before her, index and middle fingers working in circular motions in a curled sort of grip. The threads she feels winding around her digits are invisible, but no less tangible to her. A sharp tug is all it will take…

There's a squeal of car brakes as Elisabeth cuts her way through traffic, drawing more attention to her than she probably would have wanted, but better than being rundown as she takes off in her attempt to lose herself in the crowd as that noise grows bigger and bigger. And then too big, a substantially more powerful machine behind this engine than what she initially pictured — and more of them. Casting darting shadows upon the city, three great, winged machines zoom blackly through the sky, cutting too close for comfort and seeming to make the entire world vibrate.

Jet planes, only different, that dichotomy of familiar and unfamiliar to the sights of Claire, of Odessa, of Elisabeth and Russo. More organic if certainly robotic, a strange whining quality to their engine, and they fly like their thought process comes from what powers them as opposed to a pilot within them. They scream through the air, and Elisabeth is not the only person moved to flee, Russo briefly jostled, and his earpiece fritzes as the robotic jets—

Zoom overhead.

Tangible relief that whatever it is they're after is not within city limits, in varying degrees, depending who you are, Odessa's guard dropping back down and Elisabeth's initial panic staving away. But then the direction sets in — northish, in relation to the hazy fall of the sun — and it's the audiokinetic who can feel a more sympathetic fear cresting within her chest. The sight of missiles as thin as pins at this distance.

The impact of an explosion on the horizon blooms fire in the distance, a murmuring gasp shifting through the crowd as people get out of their cars to simply look.

Relief feels like sickness…

Volume XIII: Crossroads

…and lingers by the time they're sharply tumbled into wakefulness in the dead of evening.

Brooklyn: Red Hook: Textile Factory 17

Bolting upright in her bed, Elisabeth's heart is racing. There's a thunderous amount of vibration going on around her, and at first she's not sure she's even awake. Until the rattling of windows and the tinkling of a glass breaking in the women's bathroom brings her eyes around to the nightlight she leaves burning even here in this room. Breathing heavily and sweating, she finally realizes the vibration isn't an earthquake…. it's her. And she is so damn afraid that she can't stop it yet.

Manhattan: Upper West Side: Dorchester Towers

The knot in Bradley Russo's stomach has him ripping the covers from atop him with a start. Frantically he scrubs his face, clearing sleep from his eyes as, in one swift movement, he grasps the garbage disposal next to his bed. Promptly, the contents of his stomach are ejected amid noises of dry heaving. Second later, the metallic bucket is lowered to the ground. "I hate blondes," he reaches for a kleenex from the box to wipe his lips, "and bad sushi." He rolls back onto the bed.

Queens: Long Island City: Skinny Brickfront

She is in a tangle of blankets as she wakes up, Claire blinks bleary in the small place she stays. Brows furrow as she tugs at the blankets from around her, needing to be free of them and on her feet. There is a flutter of nervousness through her stomach as she paces across the room.

She wraps arms around herself as the cold starts to sink into her skin, causing goosebumps to prickle over her skin. Though it's hard to know if it's really from the cold, or the sick feeling of stalking her friend… but not cause she was her friend and wanted to protect her.

Claire runs fingers through her dark hair, glancing at the faint light working it's way through the slates of wood. She didn't like that feeling at all.

Roosevelt Island: The Octagon

Wakefulness for Odessa comes from the sounds of explosions on her television set. Bombs dropping on Pearl Harbor. Blearily, she sits up from where she had been sprawled on her sofa, and presses the heels of her palms against her eyes, no patch to obstruct the one scarred over and without vision, being alone in her apartment. Eyeliner and mascara smudge on her hands and her cheekbones as her hands drop back into her lap. She snaps her fingers, but nothing happens.

She blinks at the coffee table until it comes into focus, reaching out to grab a remote control and shut off the television set. Her head is throbbing. The ache in her bones is a dull one, persistent. It's a constant reminder of what she's without. It may be psychosomatic. As a medical doctor, Odessa can't completely discredit it as a possibility, but it's the sort of thing that would be better diagnosed by her psychiatric counterpart, Bella Sheridan.

The mere thought of that name has Odessa reaching for the coffee table again, this time for a syringe. She removes the plastic cap with her teeth and flicks the side with her nail as she briefly presses the plunger to ensure there's no air to cause complications. The needle easily slides past her skin, adding a fresh mark to join a pair of others near the bend of her elbow. The evidence is dropped haphazardly into a bin at the end of the couch. Her supply is low, and stealing more isn't the option it used to be. She's promised herself it's only for emergencies. For the really low times.

Like all promises Odessa Price tends to make, this one is easily broken.

The embrace of morphine is a comforting one, familiar. It eases her into a haze where pain exists, but is something separate from her. The physical pain.

The coffee table is pushed out of the way with some care, though not an abundance of it, in favour of curling up on the black shag on her floor. With her eyes closed, the deep carpet reminds her of the feel of dreaded orange locks, against the backs of her fingers. And consequently of harsh, but no less undeserved words.

Then of orange fur, and butterflies in her stomach.

She cries herself back to sleep, one that's dreamless thanks to the blessing of opiates.

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