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Scene Title Radio
Synopsis Deckard makes contact with the Ferrymen network once more, in the wake of terrorists fleeing scattered due to the events of the 8th. Confessions are made on both ends of the conversation, some more relevant than others.
Date November 26, 2010

Hotel California / Pollepel Island

Travel through the desolation of Midtown is, conveniently — a lot faster when you have a horse. That is how Flint is in the topmost levels of the Hotel California a mere two hours after departing from his more domestic digs in Chelsea, and also why he smells like horse. Simple glasses seated low on his nose, he sits at a desk with an oil lamp at his left hand and the moldering manual for the old tin box of wires and battery acid that comprises the installation's communications equipment at his right, which he has never actually had cause to use.

But that was before he stopped talking to the Ferry and before November 8th and before attempts to contact anyone he could remember the phone number of came up entirely empty.

Bella does not know that he is here. She does not know that there is such a thing as the Hotel California.

A message sent out, a message received and an unconvincing argument over whether or not a Joseph Sumter is available to speak to a John McClane later, Flint has set to pouring himself a dusty glass of whiskey while he waits.

It's something like fifteen minutes before Flint gets a response. While Joseph is not exactly waiting around for a call, the island he resides upon is not actually that big, for an island with a castle. They find him sharing tea and company with a pair of miserable refugees, who require five minutes to be eased out of counsel before Joseph follows helpful Ferryman back towards the radio set up. He carries his tea with him, a deep vessel of earthernware, milkless and sugarless.

Staticky attention, at first, and then just kind of— digital and tinny sounding, but unmistakably Joseph's voice. "Hello?" If he has any idea about who John McClane is, it's not translating as audible certainty.

"Hi," says Deckard. There's a pause while he takes the first sip, chilled Jack Daniels swirled slow behind a push of warm air fogged steady through his sinuses. "It's me."

Again, there's a pause, his thumb depressed stiff over the button to send forth a constant stream of static crackle while he clicks a pen, scuffs his initials into dust settled on the desk and recaps the whiskey more slowly than is strictly necessary.

"I can't find anyone."

From Joseph's end, a sigh will come across as more static than an exhale. Thus it probably won't communicate that all important small measure of relief — for who it is, and who it isn't.

"Hey." Joseph nods towards the one other guy in the room, that everything is okay, waiting for the click of a shut door before settling a little more into the uncomfortable wooden seat. "I didn't know you were looking. Everyone's— a little bit of everywhere right now. How are you?" Where is less important, at least for now.

"I wasn't." Past tense. Toes splayed in his boots against the insufficient warmth of double-layered socks, Flint mirrors Joseph in a deeper slouch into his seat, glasses stripped away and deposited back where he found them. Next to the World's Best Boss mug and a framed family photograph, the occupants of which he's already had plenty of time to put cigarette burns through.

The pause that stretches this time is longer still, enforced by his domination of the 'speak' button. Joseph is physically not allowed to interrupt while he nudges phrasing mistrustfully from one side of his skull to the other.

"I thought I was working for the government," is the best he can come up with in the end, more statement of fact than apology. "They told me I was deep undercover."


The first opportunity Joseph gets to communicate is taken up by this: a short and sharp question that is more bewildered than accusatory. It takes him a second or so to realise that he is returning the favour of stilted communication by not releasing the button, but doesn't do so immediately. "How do you think you're workin' for the government? You're— " A criminal, a terrorist, or at least a friend of several of them. Joseph hesitates, then makes believe he cut himself off there, crackle of white noise cueing Deckard's turn to speak.

Fleet on his feet enough to fill in the blanks, Flint lifts his glass for another protracted sip. He clicks the pen again, trips his middle finger carelessly over the power switch. Procrastinates for as long as it takes his own implied blindness to unsettle less than it does. Too deeply interred to sting. More like an ache.

He gives up before he's finished the glass and before the sensation ebbs, dimly aware that it probably won't. He was stupid to believe maybe it was true. Joseph won't actually say so, so he will just think it extra hard at himself while he ruminates. Which is for a while, we've established.

"They messed with my head. She told me." She. Told him. Flint hesitates again, on the cusp of all or nothing honesty that hikes resignation into the lines etched flat over a lift at his brows. "We're sleeping together."

The radio does something weird there that can be roughly assumed to be Joseph being indecisive about speaking now or later, the flutter of faulty decisions and then silence again as the pastor rolls black eyes ceilingwards and tries to think. About what questions are worth asking over the radio. What questions are worth asking Deckard. He takes a long sip of tea and tries not to think about the fact that the default would be asking Sheridan.

His voice comes to life again. With tired sarcasm. "No we ain't." And report is denied Deckard as Joseph keeps a hold of the conversation. "I see. Okay. You're— you're okay, now? You sound okay. I, uh— "

Joseph glances around the barren room, the steam rising off his tea being the most dynamic thing within. "I got arrested for a bit. Lots of us did. 's why you can't find us."

Yes they are. :( So wound up in long-suppressed and deeply self-involved guilt is Deckard that he doesn't initially catch the redundant 'we.' Or the sarcasm. He's left to retract automatically inward in the creak and groan of the structure shifting constantly all around him for upwards of two or three minutes before it occurs to him that Joseph made a gay joke.

His brows knit together after a beat, the long hollows of his face turned uncertainly aside. It has been a long time since they've talked. It would've been funny in a kind of ha ha no but seriously way if he'd caught it right off and said, We could be, but as things are another extended silence is probably pretty telling.

He refills his glass. Warily.

"I'm okay. How long were you in for?"

"Coupla weeks." No elaboration on how he's no longer there — if it was something so simple as being out on bail, Joseph would. Probably state as such. He shifts uncomfortably in his own seat, as if he'd rather be pacing and standing, but being attentive to equipment dictates he doesn't. "On the 8th, sort've thing. If— " Wait. She told him. Joseph's finger remains frozen over the button for a good several seconds as he skips back to that information he'd very willfully pushed away from.

Kind of like trying to banish mental pictures of Bella and Deckard sleeping together. He sounds suddenly angry, over the radio. As much as a Joseph can, anyway. "How long did she know?"

A couple of weeks is enough, Deckard feels, whiskey set aside after a swallow so that he can push a gloved hand into the sink of his eye socket. He does not ask what for or why it was only that long, left to draw his own conclusions behind a sweep of his spectral stare through the Hotel's oppressive murk.

Joseph has changed the subject. Also. He sounds kind of mad now.

"I dunno." He doesn't. "It's complicated."

"Flint." Nothing comes after that, though. Mute exasperation. Like Joseph feels it's the kind of thing Deckard should know, should want to know. Presses receiver against his brow around when he's drawing on what could be an endless supply of patience, when it suits him, before cutting the issue free like a particularly wild seacreature on the end of a straining line. "Yeah. I guess so," he agrees, energy drained from voice, switching to passive.

He scratches nails through his dark hair. "I can come by. Soon, probably. Just layin' low for a while. I ain't— " A slight whisper of voiceless chuckle, like he's admitting something he hasn't yet. "I ain't real sure about what to do next."

Patient, passive acceptance in Sumter's voice is more readily recognizeable than sarcasm.

Flint fidgets accordingly, tension pulling subtle at his shoulderblades on his way to sinking deeper still into his seat. Dust drifts when he shifts, old cushion springs adding their shorter-lived, higher-pitched shriek to a poltergeist wail from abused girders and sunken floors.

He stares hard enough at a paperclip to ensure that it will never have children.

"She wasn't sure what I'd do." When he found out. Which isn't actually something she said, but. He finds a stapler to look at instead.

"Okay," is as close as Joseph's going to get to an, I miss you. Unfortunately there aren't really enough lines to read between, either, especially with the rough of his voice distracted while he works past rust to pry the stapler cover back one-handed. "I don't know what to do either."

"Guess that won't be a bad place to start then." Optimism isn't a bad thing to have, whether it's spoken in a little room in a castle on Terrorist Island and still feeling the aches that came with the convoy raid. Or whether it's transmitted hollowly down scratchy radio lines and received in the rotten insides of a blasted skyscraper in the near-wintertime. One might argue it's the best place for it.

"You still have your place?" Joseph isn't good at code so he's not going to try, just leaves blank spaces for Deckard to fill in himself. A hand comes to clench and hang around the crucifix pendants he wears, the four spokes digging into his palm, smoothly reassuring gold plates and glass. He does at least supply; "With her?"

"Yeah." Still there. Still making rent with help from the occasional looting, or. Robbery at gunpoint. Worth it, he feels. So far.

Left hand spidered comfortably over the open wick of his lamp to soak warmth funelled through the glass, Flint sighs past the receiver, scruffy jaw burrowed back into the flared collar of his coat. Not so much a creature of the cold, for all that some of his more terrible behaviors have demonstrated a tendency to thrive in it.

"Things have been quiet."

Bushy eyebrows go up, which is communicable over radio only by the pause that goes with that gesture. "Really?" is vaguely ironic, from Joseph, glancing around the (very quiet) room. "I wouldn't really know. Seemed t'get awful loud to me for a while, there." His tone suggests he'd leave it there until passing the transmission back with a lift of his thumb, but keeps it in place he second guesses, and adds, "I'm glad you made contact.

"Thanks. Should I tell 'em, about…?" Either seeking permission to do what he should do anyway, or implying that maybe not. Maybe even Southern bake-sale gossipy instincts can be stifled for the sake of Deckard's— therapy.

Deckard is quiet again for a while before he wagers an indirect, "Probably not."

It is hard enough to vest any trust in a violent offender without the knowledge that he is playing house with someone who would turn over, cage and dissect most of them as soon as look at them.

That isn't really fair, he thinks a sluggish beat later. She has been nice to him. She probably wouldn't do that, really.


"Sorry I wasn't there."

"I surrendered. Much my fault as anybody's." Joseph isn't sure why he said that, actually — it's not really reassuring. It doesn't forgive Deckard necessarily. It only sort of shares blame. But it's one of those things he hasn't admitted until now, no one else in that room save for a kid who probably doesn't remember him, and Faye Crawford.

He adds, "That night, I think everyone was where they were s'posed to be."

The radio only shares itself over for a second before Joseph is depressing the button again. "If you want into the network, I can set somethin' up."

Breathe in, fog out. Flint lets his eyes dim to watch the way his breath condenses and drifts, rising faster in some places than others. Hopefully his the horse is not standing out in the wind. There was cover. Horses are smart enough to get behind cover. Being preoccupied with this distracts him from being preoccupied with other things that he does not want to think about more than he already has.

Surrendering is not technically worse than killing people, but Flint frowns to himself all the same. His silence is faintly (but still ludicrously!!) judgmental. That was wussy thing to do, Joseph.

"If there's a need," comes later, gravelled with an unholy glance after the bolster of the HC's nearest storeroom. "She's going back to work, soon." So he'll have more time. Like. A lot more. He sighs again. "Nothing here has been disturbed."

It takes Joseph a moment. Here. The same length and quality as Deckard's silence just prior, if less weighted, only thoughtful. Memory surfaces, and it's been a long time, hasn't it? He glances the receiver over in his hand, as if it were an alien artefact that he's not quite sure how it got there, actually, when really he's the artefact he's not quite sure how he got there. There is no indication that Deckard's faintly, ludicrously judgmental silence registered for what it is. Because it's radio.

And Joseph is pretty sure he did the right thing. It's a gift that comes with being religious. "Great, I'll let the others know. I'll see that you get what else hasn't been — jus' not right now." Obviously.

"Okay," says Deckard. That is something, then. For him to do. Maybe. If Joseph can keep another one of his secrets.

He's back to looking at the stapler again, ribs fanned out slow under the lift and sink of layered clothing. No scarf, though. Scarves are not manly, to his recollection or taste.

"You know where to find me."

"Yeah. I will." Find him, that is. Joseph tips tea cup to view the luke warm dregs within, unappealing. He is more thinking about how to sign off than whether he wants more chamomile. Over and out sounds like playacting. Goodbye seems stilted and formal, seeya seems stilted and informal. What he does say isn't much better; "And I'll keep you in my prayers."

But it's informative, at least. He sets down the receiver, then.

Deckard rankles his nose, the prospect of being kept in ~prayers~ sitting awkwardly in his lap, draped like an octopus out of water. Unwanted. But he doesn't want to touch it, either.

He stays slouched in silence instead. Whiskey and lamp and a blast of static that's second-thought and cut dead before he can snipe anything back across the channel.

Instead he will finish drinking. And maybe hole up somewhere for a nap before he rides back out of Midtown.

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