Queen of Cups


corbin_icon.gif hokuto_icon.gif lynette3_icon.gif

Scene Title Queen of Cups
Synopsis Corbin and Lynette meet to discuss Odessa Price.
Date June 20, 2018

Fort Jay

Lynette Rowan Ruiz sits in a waiting room in Fort Jay. She's dressed for it, suit and heels and hair done up. A visitor's badge is clipped to the lapel of her jacket. People here know who she is, of course, and as a result, she has a cup of coffee in her hand and has refused some sort of pastry. The front desk people have assured her that Agent Ayers has been made aware of her presence, despite her reassurance that there was no reason to hurry him.

It takes some time, but instead of a secretary coming to greet her, it’s the Agent himself. When she’d notified that she wanted to speak to him, he had extended the invitation based on her reputation and other things. Though he doesn’t recall meeting her himself, he had some contact with the Ferry in the past, even if he wasn’t directly involved except for one late night escape from Roosevelt Island.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Rowan.” Apparently, he’s still calling her by her unmarried name, cause that’s the one that’s more widely known as he extends his hand and offers it to her. “My office is this way. Do you want coffee or anything? I know the Ferry leaves especially early.” She might not have had a chance to get any coffee.

Stopping for said coffee for himself, and her if she wanted it, he leads the way to his office. Which is a clutter of newspapers and notes and piles of printouts in stacks. He’s not the most organized, it would seem. Or maybe he’s just particularly busy.

His guest chair even has a stack on it, which he moves before he nods toward it and rounds his desk to sit down.

"And you as well, Agent Ayers," she says. Apparently, she accepts Rowan as easily as Ruiz, because there's no move to correct him. Could be because Rowan is the name that got her in the door. "I can never refuse coffee," she says with a crooked smile. That ferry really was early. It's against her very nature to be awake at that hour.

She takes her cup and follows him into his office, glancing around at the clutter. It's endearing, by the look on her face. "Thank you," she says when he clears her a place to sit and she takes it without any real comment on the state of things. "And for making time for me. It's appreciated."

“There’s a lot going on, but not enough I can’t spare a little time for a conversation with an esteemed citizen,” Corbin jokes quietly as he plops back into his office chair, the coffee in a mug warming his hands. The mug happens to have a cartoon dinosaur on it holding extender-claws in his little hands and says UNSTOPPABLE. He’s an adult, really.

“So what brings you here and how can I help you?” he asks, as he puts the UNSTOPPABLE coffee mug down on his desk (on the desk cover, not the actual wood), spinning the office chair to better face her and hoping he doesn’t get too comfortable all at the same time. It would not do to suddenly doze off in the middle of the conversation, as happens sometimes.

When one happens to cohabitate with a dream manipulator.

The mug gets a glance. An eyebrow lifts. Eyes blink.

And she takes a moment to look at her own mug more closely because she had assumed the drawing of a fox was there on its own. But no. For Fox Sake is right.

Then Lynette takes in a breath and looks back to him. To business. "There was an article in the paper several weeks ago," she notes, "about war criminals at large. I have been doing some research into Odessa Knutson." Which might go some distance to explain why she's here specifically. "I wondered if you would be willing to discuss her position and history with the Company with me."

Which may seem odd, since usually, that would be his job.

“War criminals?” A low voice comes from behind Lynette, a voice unheard by all but Agent Ayers. Slowly, hands rise up from behind Lynette, reaching around her shoulders in an unfelt grasp. Hokuto Ichihara rises up, dark hair framing her face and yellow eyes cast to the side to regard the electrokinetic. “That's not all that's been on her mind lately. Dark eyes, gold eyes, so many birds.

Slowly, Hokuto steps out from Lynette’s silhouette, draped in a ruffled red dress that trails behind her along the floor. As she walks away from the blonde, she lets one arm brush along Lynette’s back until she can't keep her in reach any more, making a meandering path to Corbin. But at the moment the dream phantom is content to watch, one arm draped around Corbin’s shoulders and her head rested against his. “She hasn't been sleeping well.”

“Odessa…” he mumbles out loud as he tries his best to not look too distracted by the voice in his head. At least Corbin didn’t doze off on her like he has on some of his bosses at times. He doesn’t understand what all she’s talking about, but there’s a hint of a nod from him as he looks down into his coffee. And it doesn’t have to do with Odessa. “I wasn’t stationed down in Texas so I didn’t see her until she moved up to our branch. We had some running office pools about what her ability had been. But I do know she had been raised in the Company. For as long as the records covered.”

Where she had been at first, before the Company, he doesn’t know. “She left before I did.” He actually hadn’t left at all. Like Ryans, he had stuck with it until the Institute had taken it down from the inside. “Last time I saw her was after the Company fell. I was on the run, wanted, and she just had a question. Wanted to know what happened to one of the Agents. A good man. One of the few good ones.” Cause there really had been few good ones left in the end. Certain things had made sure of that. “She wanted to know if he had made it, but he had not. I can get you what was released in the Tribunals— and maybe a few things that weren’t if I dig.”

But he doesn’t know how helpful it would be. “I had money that she was a teleporter. I thought I’d won, too. Looks like I didn’t.” Cause he too saw the article. “Time Manipulation had been Woods’ bet.”

"Do you know why she left?" Lynette sips at her coffee— it's needed. "Is that who she was looking for? Woods?" She hadn't known the name until very recently, and there could be thousands of people with that name in the world, but still, she asks.

"I would appreciate anything you can find. I'm… trying to help her. She wants a chance to start fresh and I believe in rehabilitation." She says this as if it isn't publicly known that she is. "Did you know what they were? When you were there?" This is an unrelated question, and not even an accusatory one. Just curious. She's known a handful of ex-Company who didn't seem the type to fall into what they did. "I'm hoping to find something that would be useful in court. Or, at least, convincing enough to get her some sort of deal. I realize that this is probably the exact opposite of your job, so I will understand if you request that I leave," she says, those last words with a smirk. "But I believe she wants to be better. And I don't think prison does a very good job at mental health care."

Not historically, anyway.

“No, she had been asking about Martin Crowley. He led the investigation department while we attempted to keep going— he died to help many of us escape when the Institute… finally made their move to take us over. Woods had been a field agent who’s been killed in 2008, but he would have won the pot.” With a glance toward something over his shoulder, he looks back and then continues, “She had been one of the Company’s many crimes. I don’t know all the details of how she left, or why, but she had pretty much been the prisoner in the basement her whole life. Pretty much all of us knew that and it had just been one of the many things we had been forced to accept.” Even if they didn’t like it. “I wasn’t personally close to her, myself. I’d met her a few times in passing and went over her file more than once.” Out of curiosity. “Though files tend to have been altered, even with my security level.”

All of this was pretty much public knowledge. “I do know she worked with the Ferry for a time, like some of our other escaped agents. Benjamin Ryans, Lashirah Lee, Liza Messer, included. I don’t know how well any of them knew her. I’m assuming that’s how you knew her. I can say when she met me, she knew who I was, that the current Government would want me, and she did nothing to take me in. I’m not possessing of any ability, so getting away wasn’t really an option.”

Unless he’d managed to call Daphne, maybe. Thinking of whom… he hesitates before continuing, “I might be able to contact someone who knew her better. After she’d liberated herself from the Company.”

Like an afterthought, Hokuto settles her arms around Corbin’s neck from behind as though they were a feather boa. She rests her chin on his shoulder, her eyes lidded partway as she regards Lynette. “Sabra Dalton,” Hokuto whispers in Corbin’s ear, “knows all that the Company ever knew. And you could say…” she's restraining a giggle, “that she can be found ’round the clock!” She then collapses into a giggling heap beside Corbin, her hands sliding down his shoulders as she crumpled into a giggling fit at her own joke.

And as the dreamer in his head starts to laugh at her own joke, Corbin can’t help but laugh as well. At apparently nothing. And rather heartily. This is not a funny topic!! But something seems to have caught him by surprised an amused him. “Sorry, sorry,” he manages, wiping his fingers at the corner of his eyes. He still looks as if he might start laughing again as he starts to dig under some papers. To find a number.

Lynette listens with a slight tilt to her head. Beyond that, there's no other reaction to his take on her situation. Until he laughs. Because that has her straightening up and giving him a strange look. Because this is not something to laugh at. And especially since she's— as noted— not been sleeping well unless it was in an alcohol-induced episode.

"I know them," she notes, eventually, after the sorry, "the former Company people who came to the Ferry." She doesn't correct him about when she came to know Odessa specifically, though, only confirming that she would be able to talk to those people if needed. "Anyone you could get me in contact with that might be willing to help her would be a big help."

But it's clear she doesn't know how to take him. Between clutter, mugs, and odd fits of laughter, her opinion has been shifting by the moment.

“Sorry,” Corbin apologizes cause he recognizes that look. For a moment he glances at his side as if to blame the very air, but then he stops himself before it lasts too long. Because it could be so much worse. “You ever have that moment when you just hear something that— reminds you of something funny. Sorry, I haven’t been sleeping well.” That’s a lie, because he sleeps all too well sometimes. And far more often than he probably should. But he knows she would sympathize with that. Even if he lied.

“Ah, found it,” he pulls out the small notebook, which he flips to a page and then writes down a name, a number and even an address. “There’s one person alive who knows more about the Company than anyone else. She probably knew more than most people who are dead, even.” She knew more than him, he knew that. “Sabra Dalton. She might be able to tell you more about Odessa and what happened to her within the Company itself, maybe even know when she left.” Though from the article one could speculate when she had left in a way, just not events that may have led up to it. “You can even tell her I sent you. I’m willing to take the blame for it.”

As he hands over the piece of paper with the information on it, he segways into a way to ask about things that he shouldn’t know anything about at all. If it wasn’t for a ghost on his shoulder. “Is there anything else on your mind lately that SESA might be able to help you with? Cause you look like you have a lot on your plate.”

The crimson shadow in Corbin’s mind has pulled herself from reverie and slithered up from the floor like a shadow on a wall. She regards Lynette through the ragged fringe of her bangs, jaw squared and brows furrowed. “I remember her,” sounds distant when Hokuto murmurs it, “and I remember her fear.” A gentle smile comes next. “She's stronger now.”

Pale yellow eyes regard Corbin in periphery, one pale hand raised with a single rectangular card between two fingers: the Queen of Cups. “Right front pocket, Corbie. Behind the business card. Give it to her,” and those yellow eyes track back to Lynette. “Tell her it's from an old friend.”

That there's a dog-eared Queen of Cups tarot card in Corbin’s jacket pocket is a mystery, that she somehow put it there is an enigma, and what that means with regards to the line between Corbin Ayers and Hokuto Ichihara is another entirely.

What the actual hell?

Corbin Ayers has to think outloud as he reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out something that he has no idea how it got there. He doesn’t hand it over or pass it along, but he does look at it for a moment while he should be listening to see if Lynette has anything to add to this interview.

"I can understand that," Lynette says, because she can sympathize with sleepless nights, even if hers tend to leave her in a malaise instead. Very few fits of laughter. But it hits everyone differently.

"Sabra Dalton," Lynette repeats as she takes the paper and gives it a look. She's not familiar with the name, but she'll take any help she can get. "Oh, I think I will do that, then. And try not to cause too much trouble in your name," she says with a slight, but crooked smile.

That's probably a joke.

But her expression dips when he turns the questions her way. Is there anything on her mind? The trouble comes in sorting through all the things she's wading through at the moment. Her silence lasts a moment or two too long, and she decides not to bother. "Ah, there's nothing else that needs official attention," she says with a chuckle, "just work, family." The usual. Of course, he doesn't appear to be paying very close attention in any case, so she feels less bad giving him the brush off.

"Agent Ayers?" she asks, to get his attention, but also with curiosity for what he just pulled out of his pocket. "Are you alright?"

The question seems to catch him by surprise, as if he wasn’t quite listening. Corbin hopes he didn’t miss anything too important, but he went back over what he did hear and she said it didn’t need official attention. “If it ever does, I hope you will drop us a call.” He responds to that first, before he’s flipping the tarot card over in his hand and holding it toward her, face up.

“I was told to give this to you. It’s from an old friend.” The Queen of Cups. From his experience with his Hokuto and her cards, she often assigned them to people. And this one now had hers. After a moment he adds on, “Whatever it is that is going on, you’re strong enough to handle it.”

"Of course," Lynette says with a gentle nod. She may still be adjusting to the idea that she isn't supposed to be running around handling New York's troubles on her own and damn the consequences, but she has enough friends in SESA to be able to trust its intentions and help. For now, anyway. "I've got your number now, so don't be surprised if you get a call," she adds, almost like it's a tease. Like maybe in the future he'll be sorry for offering.

When he hands her the card, she takes it, but looks it over with a confused expression. Confused and maybe a little wary. She doesn't know enough about the cards to deduce if this is a threat from a "friend" or not. But that, coupled with his words, draws her into a furrow. "Thank you." Seems like a safe enough reply for both. "I'm afraid my knowledge of tarot is limited, but I'm going to assume this is a compliment," she says with a shake of the card and a hint of a smile. She doesn't mind being dubbed a queen in any case. "So you can tell my friend thank you."

“You're welcome.” Is a disembodied voice is Corbin’s ear, and Hokuto — for the time being — is gone.

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