Retro Vade



Scene Title Retro Vade
Synopsis While following up on the suicide bombing at Central Park, Felix Ivanov gets a report back on the information from Feng Daiyu's phone — it isn't what he hoped for.
Date August 26, 2009


"I saw this girl… nobody else on the news even mentioned her."

Seated on his sofa, staring down into a Dunkin' Donuts coffee cup that's been empty for an hour, Hasid Tal'al looks more worried than confused. The squat and darkly tanned pawn shop owner wrings his fingers around that coffee, dark eyes focused on a six month old copy of Newsweek on his coffee table showing the sundered Verazanno Narrows bridge on the cover.

"She was talkin' to the guy who blew himself up, she was pissed or— I don't know."

It's been like trying to herd cats for the last half an hour, as the man across from Hasid in an old and musty leather armchair listens to his accounts of the suicide bombing that rocked Central Park just under a week ago. Outside of the dingy venitian blinds that shut out the dim light of the afternoon, the borough of Queens is something of a distant reminder to Felix of a home gone, and a simpler time in his life — if there ever was one — a time when he almost could have passed for the father of a teenage girl.

"She got all upset, and threw her arms up and— and the bomber just— he flew into the air and landed on his back away from her. There was some blonde woman there too, and— and that man from the news."

Reaching into his stack of old magazines, Hasid removes a copy of the New York Times — more recent that the issue of Newsweek — that shows a headline about a bank robbery, giving an artist rendition of a blonde man that was spotted at the bank. Then, Hasid draws out another newspaper, one detailing the hostage crisis at St.Luke's hospital, and the same man's description, but this time a name — Adam Monroe.

"I— I'm not one to talk about conspiracy theories, but I think this guy. This blonde guy? I think— I think he's some sort of foreign agent. I think maybe he's a part of some government coverup, you know?"

Yet, here he is, explaining all of this to a Federal Agent. "I know what I saw at the Narrows." He motions to the copy of Newsweek. "I was in my boat that day, I saw the explosion and it wasn't— it was lightning." His brows crease together, "The government blew up the Narrows, and I bet this girl was a government agent too. This is all some sort've conspiracy Agent Ivanov, and— and I won't be pressured into silence. I saw the black helicopters that day— I know the truth is out there."

Why is it always like this, for Felix Ivanov?

It's his fault. Liz is right, it's always his fault. There may be nobility in his character, the sort that leads you to turn yourself in to white-armored stormtroopers so you can be shipped up to the Death Star and try and argue your father the Sith Lord out of his previous professional choices. But concomitantly, there is also that whiny adolescent expectation that you are special, the universe will bend its rules for you to display you like the jewel you are. Nevermind that middle age creeps up, and even this cowboy now has someone back at the ranch to worry for. His nose is untaped, now, and somewhat crooked, though the bruising has mostly faded. Since the only healer he really knows wants nothing more than to desiccate him like a piece of dried pineapple in old trailmix, it'll have to stay that way.

His expression is patient, a little dry. He's got a waterbottle, himself, set by one knee. "I assure you, this Adam Monroe does not serve the US government. He's a wanted criminal. You saw him at the bombing? And you also saw this young woman interacting with the bomber before he died?" He's got a steno notepad on his other knee, pen poised over it. That's what I signed on for. Not glamour, adventure, and achievement, but to pretend I am Rita Skita to a bunch of tinfoil hat wearers. Merciful Mother Mary, kill me now. None of this shows on his face, of course.

There's a cross look that comes over Hasid as he sinks back into his chair, eyes narrowed suspiciously as he gazed Felix up and down. This is — quite probably — the closest he will ever come to interacting with a Federal Agent in his life, conspiracy theories aside. "Yes, she was somewhat short, very thin, long black hair and light eyes. She was shouting at the suicide bomber before he blew himself up, and the way she waved at him and made him fly away— I could feel the wind. But the reports saw it too, everyone there saw it, but no one is talking about it. They say that the man who died manipulated the wind, but no— no I saw it. I saw it."

Looking down into his empty coffee cup again, Hasid's lips press into a thin line, eyes closing. "I was at Belvedere Castle, watching the ducks in the pond, and— and I just— so many people got hurt, and those reports saw the girl, but she doesn't get mentioned on the news, and of course the video tape is mysteriously erased?"

One of his brows kick up. "Don't think I don't know what really goes on in this country Agent Ivanov. I have connections you know— I— I've heard about a special prison for Evolved where people disappear to. I've heard about the secret tests, you're trying to bring back the Nazi experiments from the 40s! This is all tied to Roswell— Roswell wasn't aliens it was Evolved, and you were all covering it up. It all goes back to Hoover, see— I think he was a shapeshifter."

The ring of Felix Ivanov's cell phone could not be any more merciful in its timing.

The first question on Felix's lips is….Which Hoover? Herbert or J. Edgar? Knowing what he knows about his predecessor in the 'vicious little faggot in the Bureau' category, he's entirely willing to believe it of JEH. "I'm willing to believe an Evolved woman was there and interacted with the suicide bomber," he allows, in the tone of a man making a concession. "I'd like to have you look at some image at a later date, see if you can ID the young woman in question?" He doesn't have the heart to spew the usual "Man in Black' platitudes about Moab at Hasid. Let him cuddle his theories. They might comfort him. He looks down at his cellphone, scooped from his pocket. "'scuse me. I'll be in touch with you soon," he says in his most soothing voice. And once he's ducked out, he clicks the answer button. "Ivanov here."

Outside of Hasid's apartment in the dark and dirty hall of the roach-motel he calls a tenement building, the voice on the other end of the line does not sound pleased. "Good afternoon Agent Ivanov, this is Director Chase." Director Chase, as in the Federal Bureau of Investigations. "I recently had a conversation with one of our boys down in the office that you put a track on some numbers from a SIM card related to one of your investigations. It got red flagged and I was brought into a very impromptu meeting with representatives from the CIA earlier today."

The sound of his voice is calm, but the frothing he must be doing on the other side of the phone is terrible. "I've been told to give you an order to back off from your line of questioning, Ivanov. I think you know what to do, and I trust you to follow-through with it." Which covertly means don't go through official channels again or I'll kick you in the head, Ivanov. "The numbers you obtained were highly classified and if you value your pension I'd back off."

Cute Skywalker style whining. Or no. Should he grovel? Should he brazen it out? When Langley comes calling on Quantico, the fur inevitably flies. "Understood, sir," he says, finally, with all the expressiveness of another variety of Agent entirely. He bites his lip hard enough to draw blood, lest his inner bitch bark in such a way as to get him utterly fired. "Permission to make a suggestion, sir?"

"Provided it isn't going to send the CIA back up my tailpipe, yes." But the tone of voice that Director Chase offers is a remarkably thin one, strained with tension and frustration. "It had best be a good one."

"Their man, whether he's DIA, CIA, or Cheka, sir, is ex-Vanguard. And he's shooting up civilians like this is Frontierland. The NYPD will continue to investigate. If they want to keep this contained, they are going to have to suppress that, as well. Which we can do. We've always been able to find a way to claim jurisdiction, even on admittedly thin charges." It's what they do. What they've always done. It's why local cops from the LAPD down to the meter maids hate their guts.

"Make it a Federal investigation. Tell our cousins at Langley we're taking this case to take it from the NYPD to keep it under wraps. Mollify them. That way we don't get anymore boys in blue killed. And then, if you can," Yes, that qualifier is a low blow, but it's galling to bow to the CIA, "See how far this goes. Is this a charade, sir? Are the brick agents down here playing Keystone Kops while we've got Vanguard laughing up their sleeves in DC? YOu and I both know my medal was a joke."

There's a strained sigh over the phone, the kind that Felix knows from a long time of practice and many years of service that this is Director Chase's sign of buckling reluctantly. "I'll see what I can do, Ivanov, and that's as far as I'll go. Until you hear otherwise, back off on this, and that's an order." The venom in Director Chase's voice is, this time, seems more angled towards the CIA crawling around inside of his office earlier. "You stay clean until you hear back from me, and stay out of this."

Which is to say — keep at it, Felix, and hopefully they won't shoot me for this.

A personal spanking. That is flattering. It could've been guys from IA showing up to read him the riot act. But there is the hollowness in knowing that he does act alone, here, and it comes through in his voice. "Understood, sir."

In the moments that follow, there's a moment where his mind runs frantically on, on to other avenues. Shady dark alleys, really, that he can take to pursue this. Phoenix. Liz will know, right? And perhaps….

And for a moment, in his secret heart of hearts, he considers contacting Eileen Ruskin. Passing those numbers on to her.

Despite the late summer heat in the airless hallway, he breaks out in a cold sweat, and with his free hand, crosses himself. Retro Vade.

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