aviators_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Pokerface
Synopsis Eileen approaches a survivor from Bravo-One about what the government did to her. He offers her an exchange in return…
Date December 3, 2009

Mandritsara, MLF Bunker

The first thing Eileen is going to do when she gets back to New York City — if she gets back to New York City — is take a hot bath full of scented bath salts smelling fragrantly of English lavender and jasmine. She'll cocoon herself in fresh cotton and spread out to dry in the dappled sunlight enhanced by her bedroom window, a goose down pillow at her head and clean linens at her back. For now, she has to settle for cold water and stale clothes that don't fit her body as well as they should. She's adjusting the cuffs of her borrowed shirt when she enters the planning room in her bare feet, fresh out of the shower, pale skin contrasted by the damp, dark hair curling at her temples and the at the nape of her bruised neck.

Without the use of an x-ray machine, she has no way of knowing how serious the fracture in her wrist is — only that it's serious enough for a splint and gauze bandages held in place by a conservative amount of medical tape. Supplies are running low. Neither she nor anyone else can afford to use more than the bare minimum.

Incidentally, it isn't the subject of supplies that has brought her here this evening. She'd convinced herself it was, but no sooner does she cross the threshold than the true reason for seeking out the room's solitary inhabitant begin hissing sibilant doubts into her ear.

"You stupid little piece of shit." It isn't quite what Eileen would prefer hissed into her ear, even if she isn't the target of the voice's ire. In the jaundiced light of the MLF bunker's planning room, the CIA operative that most people know as "Aviators" stands hunched over the ping-pong table that has become a makeshift center for the meeting room. Maps of the Malagasy countryside are spread out over its surface, and atop them the touch screen of a SatCom device sheds a pale illumination up from the maps.

Tapping a pencil on the map, Aviators focus is down on the paper, brows furrowed and head bowed as he examines two circles drawn lightly on one of the maps. Noticably, there is a long wire plugged in to the SatCom device, and that wire trails out the door and somewhere down the hall.

"What do you want, Ruskin?" Comes the belated greeting Aviators offers, peering up over the frames of his titular glasses. "I really don't have time if you're here looking for a quickie," he adds with the same brutal smile as Jensen Raith.

Eileen's eyes are focused on the maps rather than Aviators' face. If she remembered that smile in the context that it's been flashed now, chances are she'd be more unsettled than she is now — fortunately, the most she can recall of Jensen Raith is the image of tension pulling taut the muscles in his neck, shoulders and back as he argues in low, gravelly tones with a man introduced to her as Velasquez. She couldn't tell you how many years ago that was, or where she was even stationed at the time. According to Gabriel, her memory isn't something she can trust.

As she comes up on the table, she trails her fingers along it, dragging her nails over the frayed edges of the maps and filling the room with the abrasive rustle of paper coupled with her footsteps on concrete. When she lifts her eyes to his face, she's scrutinizing him from behind her lashes, expression serious, mouth set into a flat, unimpressed line. "How long does that usually take?" she asks. "Fifteen?"

"Are we talking about time or your age?" Aviators looks up more fully, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Nevermind, I'm busy." Reaching down when Eileen comes close, Aviators turns off the screen of the SatCom, blacking out the image of a progress bar that reads "uploading" and a percentage just over fifty. Looking down again, Aviators' eyes show only the muted reflection of Eileen's face in the dark shields of his sunglasses, but it's clear he's leering.

"Don't walk around barefoot, there's parasites out here that'll bore up through the skin of your feet. Last thing you want is to be shitting out a fist-sized clump of worms, that'll make the malaria feel pretty g— " His brows tense, and he leans in to look at Eileen with a squint. "You're not sick?"

"No." Eileen stops opposite Aviators, and although she apparently lacks the sense to wear shoes below ground, there's something very incisive about the way she's keeping an entire table between them. She lays one palm flat on it and leans forward to meet him, dog tags glinting on the silver chain she wears around her neck, her broken wrist folded across her midsection.

When you're a mere sliver above five feet, it can be difficult to assert yourself, but asserting herself is exactly what Eileen is doing now, even if her body's guarded posture is not as dominant or as intimidating as she might like. "I was talking about time," she says. "This won't take more than five."

Whatever this is, it doesn't involve mounting the table or taking off her clothes, because she does neither. Instead, she reaches across with her injured hand and carefully removes the glasses from his face so she can better gauge his reaction when she asks very softly, but very pointedly, "What did you do to me?"

"I didn't do anything to you…" Aviators mutters distractedly as he slides a ruler across one of the maps, and begins using it to draw a straight line, then make tic marks down along it at even intervals. She can feel his eyes on her when he stops drawing, brows furrowed and motions stilled. There's silence, as much as can be had down here. Silence accompanied by the ever-present humming of the lights and the distant noise of the resistance members trapped here underground.

When Aviators does finally will out a response to her, it's only after he's drawn another line connecting another circle, it looks like he's making a triangle on the map, even if a lop-sided one. "What do youthink I did to you?" It's asked more with curiosity than anxiety. Mostly.

Eileen occupies her hands with the slow, measured motions involved in folding the bows shut. She places them down on the table but does not take her fingers off them in case he has any ideas about attempting to take them back before this conversation has arrived at a conclusion she can feel satisfied with. As tempting as it may be, she does not divide her attention between the map and the man making marks on it. There will be time later for idle speculation later — this may be the only opportunity she'll have to corner him alone, and if she gives him so much as an inch of space in which to breathe or wriggle his way out…

"If you didn't do anything to me," she answers him, her voice steady and painstakingly even, though it isn't clear how much longer it's going to remain that way, "then tell me what it is you had done. I don't want to turn this into a game."

It's strange, with his glasses off, Aviators almost seems like a different person. All square jaw and heavy brows, dark hair, there is an easily passable resemblance to Sylar, but slightly less bearlike in his countenance, it must be the nose. "I didn't have anything done to you…" Aviators murmurs, no need for raised voices at this proximity and certainly not with this topic at hand. The last thing he wants is to earn the enmity of Eileen's attack dog who might be listening in.

"But I'm fairly sure a smart girl like you might be able to understand where there's a give and a take to negotiations." One dark brow lifts as Aviators says that, a smile creeping up on his lips. "See, you're not holding me at gunpoint, there's no falcons down here, and all you want is to take." Pursing his lips before spreading them into a toothy smile, Aviators then asks, "What're you going to give to me to make it worthwhile for me to tell you anything?"

"I've cooperated," Eileen says. The resemblance between Aviators and Gabriel does not go unnoticed or ignored — it's something she's observed before, and while it makes this more difficult than it should be, she at least feels less vulnerable than she does trying to make sense of her reflection on his glasses. "I took your deal, I agreed to work with Sylar, and I kept Sanderson alive in the absence of a real field medic when I could have recommended Bennet put a bullet in her head to put her out of her misery. It would have meant for food and medication for the rest of us, but I didn't, because as selfish as I am I also understand the necessity of having an authority figure out here."

She removes her hands from the table, and the glasses with them. "You're my superior. I shouldn't have to give you anything. I'm your responsibility, not the other way around."

There's a derisive laugh at Eileen's attempt at reasoning with Aviators, something that seems almost as difficult to manage as reasoning with Gabriel. "Cooperation is the why and how of you still breathing, Ruskin." His eyes narrow, drift down to the folded glasses, then back up to Eileen. "Look…" his voice takes on a deeper, more coarse tone as he begins circling the table to move the obstacle out from between he and her. "Ruskin," his eyes narrow at that, "you want to get out of this shit-hole alive, you're going to have to keep playing ball with us, so the fact that you've played nice-nice with your team doesn't matter a hill of shit to me."

Aviators rests his hands on his hips as he walks, one brow arches as he gives Eileen's approaching form a more intent regard. "So it comes back again, what're you going to give me in order to tell you what I know about what happened to you?"

Behind her lips, Eileen presses the tip of her tongue against the back of her front teeth, straining against the urge to say something she knows she'll regret. In the end, her head prevails over her heart and her throat contracts around an uncomfortably dry swallow as she watches him maneuver around the side of the table. There is an urge to maintain the distance between them, but it's outweighed by a comparable desire to either affirm or deny Gabriel's accusation.

More than anything else, she wants it not to be true. Coping with Gabriel's paranoid delusions about what may or may not have happened to her while she was in custody is easier than struggling with the possibility that he might be right — and Aviators' behaviour is doing nothing to assuage her fears. "Why don't you just tell me what you want?" she asks. "If I think it's a fair trade, I might be willing."

"Well, for one I— " The beep that erupts from the SatCom device elicits an askance look from Aviators, then back to Eileen. A smile creeps up on his lips, one finger wagging back and forth in the air. "Time's up, pup." Dark brows lift, and Aviators looks down to his sunglasses, letting out a chastising tsk as he reaches to take them back. "I've got something important I need to do right now, so why don't you go wander off and make yourself useful to someone else. Then, maybe later tonight me and you can go for a ride in one of the trucks topside… I have some, ah…" one of his shoulders rolls slowly, "scouting I need to do. You can come with me, we can make a date of it."

Reaching for the SatCom, Aviators doesn't so much as turn it back on as he does unplug it from that long cord. "Maybe if you're friendly 'nough, you'll find out everything I know?" Looking back to Eileen, Aviators' smile is a bit more knife-like now, sharp in its cruelty to her situation.

Eileen surrenders the glasses without protest, allowing Aviators to work them easily from her fingers. Friendly is not a good word to describe the way she's looking at him when he turns back to her. She has no words, or at least not any that wouldn't earn her a verbal rebuke or a reprimand in the form of a slap across the face, and so she lowers her eyes, pulls away from the table and heads out the same way she came in: silent.

If she was willing to compromise with him before, it's probably safe to say that she isn't now. As her footsteps carry her from the meeting room and into the hall outside, she lifts her chin, squares her shoulders and shapes her body into the perfect picture of composure before she rounds the nearest corner and starts making her way back to the room Team Bravo has claimed for itself.

Funny how it only takes five minutes alone in a room with someone to make her wonder whether or not this is worth it where a plane crash, malaria and several days of being lost in the sopping Malagasy jungle have all failed.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License