Risky Business


deckard_icon.gif elias_icon.gif

Scene Title Risky Business
Synopsis Deckard slinks out to buy pot and finds Elias waiting for him with coffee instead. Surprise! It's okay, though, because he just wants to talk, and he doesn't even mind that much that Deckard insists on pointing a gun at his head while he does it. What a swell guy.
Date December 12, 2008


Before the bomb, Chelsea was most known for being "gay-friendly," home of the stereotypical "Chelsea Boy." It was a place of culture and art, of eclectic ethnic restaurants and cutting-edge performing arts studios.

One of the last places in Manhattan to be reopened to the public, the streets of Chelsea almost give the impression of an urban ghost town. Many buildings are dark, inhabited only by the homeless, if by anyone at all. Their walls have been tagged with graffiti, the windows broken; forgotten cars line the streets, slowly rusting away. Close inspection reveals that their interiors have already been gutted of anything valuable or useful.

Housing in Chelsea is quite cheap; it therefore doesn't stay on the market long, despite the potential threat of residual radiation. The population has become a mixture of all ethnicities, desperation being their thread in common; those who have the money to live elsewhere do. Culture seems to have been washed out entirely on the neighborhood scale, survival taking vast precedence over art.

Deckard has been shopping. One, it's cold. Two, it's necessary to keep up certain appearances and Miles kindly threw out his old hat, coat, and gloves. The new ones are pretty much identical to the old. Grey knit cap pulled down over his ears, black sunglasses, black knit gloves, and black overcoat.

The steady fog of breath that drifts across graffiti in his wake is disrupted by an occasional cough, and he pauses under the festive red glow of a stop light to spit down off the curb. Sick, or just generally feeling crappy. Either way, what few unsavory types are willing to brave the cold and snow are less willing to brave the potential for infectious disease, and his trek down the sidewalk for a pre-determined meeting point goes relatively undisturbed.

It may be all the better that Deckard has that slight cough that deters others from venturing too close. It lowers the odds of someone perhaps listening in on the business he is about to conduct. But at the same time, when that meeting point comes into view, it's devoid of anyone else standing in it, meaning the man will have to wait in the cold and the snow before the meeting will commence.

Nearby but still far away, up on a rooftop looking on through a telescopic monocle, is Elias de Luca, well aware that whoever Deckard expects to meet down below, is not who will actually meet him. But for the time being, he stays up on that rooftop, nearby but still far away. If Deckard has stopped walking and can be more effectively caught by surprise, maybe he'll be less likely to simply turn and bolt.

Or maybe more likely to open up with a can of mace. Crime is dangerous.

Well that's…inconvenient. Bad business, even. Deckard's brow furrows a little when it becomes apparent that there is no Ralph waiting for him on the corner in his usual michelin man hoodie. His scuffing footfalls slow his approach, but fail to halt until he's actually, officially there. And Ralph isn't. Is he…hiding in that dumpster over there? Nope. Is he…frozen to death in the gutter? Deckard's attention lowers down to the snow-sludged cement between his feet, and his clean-shaven jaw swings forward into a jut. No. Not there either.

Up on the rooftop, Elias can't quite figure out why Deckard would think to look, of all places, in the gutter, but whatever. He's here, and that's what counts. Stowing the monocle in the pocket of his coat, and checking on the status of the other item he has with him, he sets his thoughts into the space around him, and like magic, he's down in the street, behind Deckard and several feet away, his arrival heralded not only by the gentle movement of air, but also by the crunching of snow pushed out of the way to make room for him.

It's more likely his face than his choice of attire that Deckard will recognize, because a nice suit was clearly too cold for this sort of weather. Rather, Elias has opted for a dark, heavily-lined snow jacket, leather gloves, thick wool pants, a scarf (of all things) and of course, his black leather tanker boots. He's armed, not with any sort of actual weapon, but perhaps appropriately; Elias has come equipped with dual-wielded paper coffee cups, completely with cardboard heat jackets and white, plastic sippy tops. How professional.

Deckard's head tips, taking note of footfalls more than he does the breeze. He is, in fact, so cripplingly unsuspicious that when he turns to grate out a chilly, "You're late," he manages to focus on the coffee cups before his attention narrows more sharply upon the skeleton holding them. Fight or flight? He opts for 'freeze,' which is altogether unhelpful, both in getting him out of this situation and in pretending that he doesn't recognize Elias.

The freeze lasts longer than it should. One second, two, and his right hand snaps under the lapel of his coat after the handgun snugged warm into the thick hoodie layered there. Aaah.

"Whoa, whoa!" Elias says the instant he realizes what Deckard is reaching for, "Easy, I'm here on personal time." Both his hands are held out to show that he doesn't have a weapon of his own, except for the twin coffee cups. All the same, he's ready to shunt himself back through space if the arms dealer really, truly isn't in the mood to listen to anything he has to say. Hopefully, that isn't the case, but you never know.

For some reason, Deckard is not convinced. The gun is out in the time it takes Elias to get his coffee hands up, and the safety is off. But no bullet holes, yet. Actually murdering people really becomes a logistical pain when you're already wanted for murders you didn't actually commit.

Jaw hollow and face stark with pale tension, the wiry man doesn't so much as blink behind the shield of his sunglasses. A quick glance aside, down, up, and around seems to suggest that Elias is alone, but not all of the Vanguard he's met show up on radar all the time. "Do genocidal maniacs get vacation time?"

"Not really," Elias replies. He doesn't relax very much, not yet. Not with that gun practically in his face. "But with the way things are right now, this is basically sleeping on the job because they can't watch everyone or enforce, you know, the rules. So, long story short, uh, call this a fact finding mission, or something. Coffee?"

"Fact finding mission." Skepticism lines in past existing strain, and almost as if he's aware of it, Deckard reaches his left hand up to push his hat down a little lower over his brow. "I don't speak in facts. Only riddles. Like Rumplestilksin." Did Rumplestilskin speak in riddles? Fuck. Who cares. He hefts the gun a little higher at the offer of coffee, as if offered a land mine instead. "No thanks."

Elias gives a slight shrug. "Suit yourself," he says, taking a sip of one of them. At least he can appreciate a nice, warm cup of coffee on a cold day. "There was a thing that happened to us pretty recently," he continues, "Just thought you might want a heads-up, but everyone thinks it's your fault."

"I follow the news," says Deckard, whose skepticism takes an uglier turn towards anger at that. "Family of four shot dead, building burned, others die in the chaos. Making it out to be some kind of elaborately bungled robbery was a nice touch. Thank you. I appreciate your craftsmanship." His voice has all the bite of the grey snow that fills the space between them, offensively cold, damp, and dirty. To make matters worse, his finger brushes off the trigger guard and seems briefly inclined to pay a visit to Mr. Trigger himself.

Ah yes, that. "Let's be perfectly clear on two things," Elias says, before immediately correcting himself, "Three things. One, this is a messy business, you knew that, moving. Two, I had nothing to do with that, and I'll get to why if you care enough to ask. And three-" He interrupts himself, just so he can have a little more coffee. Two sips should do enough to keep him warm a bit longer- "Three, I'm one of maybe two of us who honestly believes that it was both uncalled for and way, way out of proportion to the rest of the situation. Everyone else, basically, blames you for a non-insignificant chunk of our funding pulling a Houdini on us. I do too, don't get me wrong, but this leaves us with two possibilities, as I see it.

"One, maybe you didn't snitch, in which case, certain among us really fucked up. Two, maybe you did, and if that's the case, certain among us, still fucked up. So either way, really, you've been unjustly targeted. You follow me here?"

"You…people…are…psychopathic assholes who deserve whatever you get ten times over regardless of what I have or haven't said." The muzzle of Deckard's gun tips along with this recitation, or summary, or whatever it is, and his increasingly numb fingers dance once along the grip. "If I snitched and say I didn't, you will torture me until I confess otherwise. If I…didn't snitch and say I didn't, you will also torture me until I confess otherwise."

"Hey, from where I'm standing, we stepped on your foot first," Elias replies. His voice takes on a slightly harder edge with what he says next, as if by doing that, he might somehow increase its truthfulness, or maybe even it's truthiness. "If you did snitch, I'd say it was a completely rational and justified thing to do. Let's face it, making you wear a damn wire when you went out and about during the day and threatening you with harm if you didn't. Honestly, what pisses me off? Is the fact that everyone else is somehow surprised that with all the enemies we've no doubt made, that something bad happened to us. Now, all I'm saying, is that if it was you, I hold nothing against you. But that's me. I'm the only sane one."

There is no trust or understanding to be found on Deckard's person. He remains rigid, an occasional shiver suppressed to a closed rattle about the region of his skull and shoulders. "I'm not a psychologist or anything, but I feel fairly confident in informing you that you're not a sane person. Consider it a personal favor." Look! They're already exchanging gifts. "What do you want?"

"Well, first was to apologize for the giant clusterfuck all this has become. I'd apologize for everyone else too, but that'd be lying." And Elias is not in the mood for lying right now. "Second, was to establish that, just between you and me, I have no hard feelings against you. We doing alright here?"

"Never been better." The next shiver rustles all the way down his arm to the gun. Following along a twinge of paranoia, he checks over his shoulder again. His feet set themselves a little wider apart, taking an inch off his height while his left hand tucks itself under his right pit. "What happened to Ralph?"

"Ralph? Oh, right, that guy. He's probably buying himself a hot tub, or something." It's not exactly a committed answer that Elias gives, but it's sure a heckuva lot better sounding than saying that Ralph is probably trying out his new boat at sea. "Really, he's fine. I came here to apologize, and roughing up your guy too badly would sort of undermine that, you know. Least I hope he's your guy and not someone else's. You plan on pointing that thing at me all day? I can teleport, if I wanted to mess you up, I would've smashed a cinderblock over your head as soon as you got here."

"He's my drug dealer. Not my guy." Defensive, a little, Deckard displays no inclination at all to put his gun away. "And I know what you are. I figure if I have it in my hand waiting and I pull the trigger enough times, I might have a shot at hitting you while you blink around like a fucking fairy." Emboldened by the threat, which is a weird reversal, Deckard straightens himself up enough to take a step forward, gun still raised. "You didn't come here just to apologize. I'm freezing my balls off, I'm not getting stoned tonight, and I don't like you. Tell me what you want or I'll shoot you in the knees so that you have teleport around on your fucking hands."

"Geez, fine." Looks like all it took was a little pressure, and Elias changes his tune. "No one knows how to get along anymore. Look, we're on bad terms with some of your buddies right now, and shit's going down real soon. Consider that your official heads up, in the event that bullets start flying around." And there it is. "And if you're that pissed off about your failed drug deal, I guess I could hook you up with some codeine or vicodin or something."

"What makes you think I have buddies?" Curious tip of the head there, followed by something that almost resembles a glimmer of interest at the mention of alternative produce. The latter, at least, is shaken off quickly. Taking candy from strangers: always a bad idea. Especially when they're BFF with Wu-Long and Ethan.

"Buddies… okay, 'buddies' is way to strong a word." On this, it's very likely that both Elias and Deckard agree. "On bad terms, with people who know you. My warning about the bullets remains unchanged. Anyone you know that's in a dangerous line of work, like Home Sec. or counter-Home sec.-" Which is probably terrorism- "It'd be smart to stay away from them for little bit, maybe, 'til the dust settles. Who knows, maybe leadership will get shaken up a bit, change the way we do things around here."

"But they feed me and iron my clothes." Mock plaintive, Deckard slowly lowers the gun. very slowly. And not all the way. It remains pointed at the slush between them. He also glances down to make sure he still has five fingers, because at this point it's impossible to tell by feel alone. "This some kind of wacky attempt to win back my favor? I didn't actually do a very good job for you guys."

"Like I said, I'm here on personal time, not business, and that personal time is growing short." Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Maybe Elias really just hates cold weather as much as he claims to. "And not for nothing, if you can think of any more ways you can inconvenience us that maybe won't cause us to lose copious amounts of money, please consider putting them into action, because our boss is out of control. But if anyone asks, you didn't see me here, and I sure as hell didn't see you here. Capisce?

"…" A shivering, shuddering breath breaks the elegance of the calculating pause that trails Elias's last statement, and Deckard brushes his wooden thumb over the safety. Left hand extracted from its nice warm pit, he fumbles it into his coat and fishes for a flash of white paper. Then a pen. The barrel of his own gun used as a support, with some awkward shuffling he manages to scratch down a 10-digit number. When he holds it out, it's without eye contact in a pretty transparently, 'I shouldn't be doing this,' kind of way.

Elias catches a glimpse of the number when it's held out to him; he can guess what it is, although from only a glimpse, his guess might not be accurate. But he doesn't look at it. Just as quickly as Deckard has it prepared and handed over, Elias takes it, palms it and calmly but quickly shoves it into his jacket pocket for later review. The only reason he's even taking a chance with this impromptu meeting in the street is because he knows that no one in Vanguard knows where the arms dealer is, and there's no way that either one of them could have been followed; completely impossible.

"Something comes up, I'll drop you a line, or something," he says. Does this make them partners now?

Deckard just nods. It is a swift, nervous thing, at odds with his earlier show of knee-busting badassery, and he steps back quickly enough that he might still be fearful of Elias teleporting him (Wheeeee! Crunchpopsplatter.) off the nearest rooftop. "Sure." A hoarse cough and another glance over his shoulder later, he finally pushes the gun back into its holster. Maybe as long as Deckard tops?

Elias nods in reply, taking his own step away, although it's less away and more towards a darkened space between buildings. "Hey, if you see Brian Fulk-" Possibly a familiar name- "Or his boss or whoever, make sure they're taking care of my girl. Lot of people'll be pissed off if she comes back all busted up. But you didn't hear any of that from me." And with that, he turns and starts walking away. He did what he came to do, even if he took his time and meandered while he was doing it. Now, he has to get back and make sure his people haven't blown something else up, and started eating each other's toes. Crime is dangerous, but the cleanup is also worse.

"Your girl?" The question mark there is an honest one, complete with a puzzled work of Deckard's jaw once Elias has already turned to go. Conspicuously, Brian Fulk gets no such confusion.

Rather than go his own way immediately, he lingers there on the corner and extracts his PDA, stylus and all to start poking out a new message for one Mr. Ralph. "If you're still alive, call me so that I can kill you." Send.

December 11th: Rules of Engagement
December 12th: Been A While, Sailor?
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