delia_icon.gif tania_icon.gif valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title Serum
Synopsis The Government comes calling to collect on their favours. They don't call ahead.
Date May 26, 2011

Eltingville Blocks: Brick House

Night has recently descended, and with it comes a truck with three men climbing off of it, out of it, and setting off in the direction of the brick house that stands as home to four individuals. Towards the north-east, Saint Clare's is lit up and drawing in its business, and from the upper levels, the glow of Miller Airfield outside the bounds of the Eltingville Blocks can be made out across the stretch of the docks. The immediate area is quiet and shadowed, otherwise, with the sickly pale halos of street lamps, the darkness of houses still unpopulated in the immediate area, and the pressing glow of windows in the house Delia and Tania occupy.

The Men aren't in at the moment, which, modern feminism would point out that especially in these genres, doesn't signify an absence of strength. Michal Valentin prefers the simpler equation that it does, actually. And even if it didn't— he is flanked by two, men in a mix of uniform and plainclothes, Stillwater Security contractors in their kevlar, weaponry, and jeans.

He himself is an affable presence, with no visible weaponry on his person, standing at a grand 5'8" with strands of grey-white wiring through brunette, peppered at his temples. His jacket is brown leather, scrappy, his hands ungloved, and he knocks jovially against the front door, and pushes back a sleeve to observe the time. The two guard dogs he's brought with him in the form of contractors both automatically go to lean against the wall on either side of the door.

Having returned to the house just earlier today after nearly a week away, Delia hasn't explained where she's been. She looks like death warmed over, to be generous. Dark blue circles under her eyes denote a lack of sleep, in her case too much of it, against the orders of the doctor that she works for. When the knock comes, she looks up and out the window over the sink… that leads to the backyard and not the front. She's tired.

She takes her time finishing the last dish when the knocks sound through the house. Drying her hand on a tea towel, she moves down the hallway and peeks into the living room at Tania before finally getting to the door. It's locked, of course, so it takes a moment to open it.

The man there is no one she recognizes and there's a twitch of her eyebrows before she backs up, still holding the handle firmly. "Uhm… Hello? Can I help you with something?"

Getting close to the house, one can hear the sounds of a rather well-played harp. It's a gift that gets a lot of use there in the house, especially since Tania doesn't have anything like a job to otherwise occupy her. She hasn't harassed Delia on her little vacation, although there may have been some gentle prodding to eat something or rest.

Unfortunately, the knock cuts the music off, as the younger of the females looks toward the door. She doesn't get up, opting not to argue with Delia getting the door. But she does watch, curious and maybe a little worried. Tania, too, is very aware of the fact that the men aren't home.

Valentin peers up at Delia from his position on the upper most stair to the door, scanning her features, and it takes less time than that for him to know exactly how has answered the door, and it draws a compulsive smile across his face. He gives a sharp nod, which could be a mute yes to her question, but more accurately, it serves as a wordless cue — blind to it, Delia's firm grip on the handle suddenly has more pressure and force to deal with when a contractor places his shoulder against the wooden surface and shoves his way inside, regardless of whatever injury it might cause to the other person on the other side.

The second pushes his way in ahead of Delia, and Tania will see him first as a pointed rifle guiding his way — he moves passed the dreamwalker to sweep his evaluating eye around the space, squaring on Tania sitting by her harp. It's there that his aim freezes, his expression impassive — just doing his job.

The one who shoved open the door is reaching a gloved hand for Delia's arm, to push her aside as well as to stop her from doing anything like running.

When the door is wrenched out of her hand, Delia yelps and grabs her wrist to rub it. Other than her feelings, she's unhurt by the sudden slam of the wood against plaster. Her breathing quickens a little as she passes a panicked look back to Tania but after two, she holds it. "M-mister Logan isn't here," she stammers, not fighting the grip on her arm. Contract soldiers are still soldiers and guns have a habit of terrifying her. "He's out, if that's who you're looking for."

Her blue eyes are wide as she stares at Valentin, figuring him to be the leader of the trio. The other two seem to be flanking him so according to all the rules of vampire movies, he must be the leader. "U-unless you're looking for someone else?" They could be looking for Luka, the illegal semi resident.

The sight of the gun has Tania up out of her seat, but when it, and the man attached to it, turn her way, she freezes, her eyes sliding closed as if to take a moment to pray. Or maybe she's hoping they'll all be gone when she opens them again.

Which, of course, they aren't. But she looks over at Delia, nodding at her words. Whoever they want, he isn't here! Of course. She doesn't vocalize the agreement, but mostly because guns, and soldiers, terrify her as well.

Last inside, it's Valentin's obligation to turn and shut the door behind him, as well as securing the locks in his wake. A few steps to the side take him to the window, out of which he peers into the street before grabbing the edge of the curtain, and dragging it closed after him as he moves. "I am not here for Mister Logan," he dismisses, a kindly tone in his voice, mingled with the accent of his heritage — Slovak, to be very precise, but his syllables are precise, confident in his English. "Your name is Delia Ryans. I wanted to talk to you. And you are?" He's stopped by the harp, on the other side of Tania, a hand placing on its wooden, swooping frame and lifting his greying eyebrows in conversational query.

Meanwhile, whether she is compliant or no, Delia is guided into the living area with that gloved hand on her wrist. With a glance from Valentin, the other takes his rifle off of Tania and moves for the immediate rooms, making quick work of clearing them of anyone else, headed for the staircase after a series of hinge creaks, doors banged wide open to eliminate surprises.

Since he asked so nicely.

"O-oh.." Delia emits quietly as she's moved into the living room. The man's tone of voice at least eases her fears somewhat, at least he seems friendly. She sits on the sofa, tucking the hand that isn't held between her knees and gripping underneath one of them. "Can we get you anything? Water? Tea? Uhm.." Whatever beer Logan has in the house. "Cookies?"

She flits a quick glance at Tania and presses her lips together. There's no signal, the older redhead isn't a boy scout, she hasn't prepared for every contingency. "I'm registered— " she offers quickly, "Mister Logan helped me with it. I have all of my ID in my backpack… I'm here legally."

Conversely, Tania does not relax. Not with the man locking doors and closing curtains. And when he comes her way, she looks down to her bare feet instead of at him. There's plenty of hesitation after the question put her way, but she does, eventually, settle on answering with a quite, "Tania."

When she looks up, it's not to look at Valentin. It's to look over at Delia. Nervous. But she gives her one of her small smiles in an attempt to be reassuring.

There's the dance of rough fingertips scoring across harp strings, making a jangling thread of rhythmless music, and a small, throat-deep sound at the name Tania, before Valentin dismisses her with a look towards Delia. "Yes," he agrees. "You are here legally, with your identifications. Your legitimacy. All charges placed against you dropped by the Department of Evolved Affairs, and a nice home to live in. You would be mistaken to imagine that a— an Evolved such as yourself, would have the power to do all of that for you. No, my superiors tell me it is time that you pay them back."

Footsteps thud back down the staircase, the soldier returning from his sweep. "No one else here. I locked the animals in a bedroom," is a bland report, coming to stop at the mouth of the stairs, gripping his rifle to point it lax at the ground.

Valentin nods, then moves, finding an armchair to fall into relaxedly, ankles crossing, and then dealing Delia a smile. "You can keep your refreshments. What I want is a conversation about the Ferrymen," he says, simply. "And the whereabouts of your father. My files say the two things go hand in hand. You can help too, if you like," he invites Tania, digging into his pockets for a pouch of tobacco.

Her stomach does a flip at the topic of conversation and she passes another look at Tania, this time one that's more apologetic. "She doesn't know anything about them," Delia supplies for the younger female. "They're my— " She lifts one shoulder in a shrug and looks down at her feet, grimacing a little as she tries her best to tell a lie. "They're the weight around my neck, not hers."

Taking a deep breath after the first one is delivered, Delia lifts her eyes to stare at the Russian man's knees. Her shoulders roll forward and her back hunches a little as she looks back down again. "I don't know where my dad is, I never do. He sort of just…" she lifts one of her hands into the air and whirls it around, searching for the right word. "… goes wherever. Even when I was running, he didn't spend much time with me." All of this is the truth, however many holes are in it, and much easier for the young woman to relate.

Just as Tania opens her mouth to try to lie about not knowing a thing and what are the Ferrymen anyway, Delia does it for her. And knowing herself to be a terrible liar, she lets that stand for her instead of trying to do any correcting. Although, when it occurs to her that Delia may not even know she knows anything, there's a little furrow of her brow, but that's as far as she goes, reaction-wise.

As the other woman starts to answer about her father, Tania just slowly reaches for her chair to pull it to her side of the harp and sit down. Like the harp would make an effective shield at all. Her fingers reach out to touch the strings, not playing them but more like… checking on them in the quake of some stranger touching them.

"But you will know where the Ferry shelters its own," Valentin supplies, glancing up from where he is rolling up his homemade cigarette, a filter included more for the sake of structure than health. Licking the edges of the paper closed, he rolls it between yellowed fingertips, tiny fragments of leaf escaping out the tip to litter on his thighs and in the edges of chair cushion.

He leans forward to find a lighter in his pocket. "The way this will work is that no one talks for anyone else," he requests, an apologetic slant to his tone. "Tania, «do you know about the Ferrymen?»" It's Russian that he uses. Despite not knowing her name just previously, and nothing about her that identifies immediately as knowing the language. His smile could be encouraging, depending on your point of view, and he glances at Delia to include her back into the exchange. "Houses, hiding places, the holes in the walls that the mice slip through. Anything would be valuable." The two soldiers he's brought with him simply stand, ready and waiting.

"G-Gun Hill," Delia says quickly, shaking her head just a little. Her eyebrows knit together, turning upward at the inner edges. "I was in a coma after the eighth… they kept me at a garage in Brooklyn before moving me to Redbird. I woke up on the side of a highway— somewhere in New Jersey, I think. After that I stayed with my brother until I moved in with Mister Logan." The quiver in her voice is just as easily attributed to fear as fast thinking.

"The garage has a safehouse under it…" she supplies helpfully and quite truthfully. ".. I didn't get to visit too many places except the garage, Gun Hill, and the Lighthouse." She doesn't risk returning the man's smile except a twitch of the corner of her lips at one side. "I'm sorry, I don't know more than that."

Tania looks back down to her feet, maybe to the strings now and them, anywhere but at the men now filling the house. Especially the one asking questions. It's clear that she knows the language when that question is posed to her, because she tenses up again. Uncomfortable. She shakes her head, still not looking at Valentin as she answers. But she is fidgety, fingers and feet seeming to have a hard time staying still.

Valentin flicks his lighter in a burst of flame, heat crumpling the dangling leaf of tobacco into black and embers, browning the paper and occupying more of his interest than Delia's answers. Once he's done, exhaling peaceful clouds of smoke in measured gusts, he allows thick silence to wind through the conversation after Tania's headshake and Delia's verbal offerings. Fingertips scratching through his greyed temples, mouth twisting, before he glances up at the soldiers and gestures towards Delia.

The closest of the two moves first, only letting his rifle swing on its strap once he's close enough to grab her in a rough fistful of hair and the back of her shirt, tugging her onto her feet and pulling her into his sturdy frame and kevlar-clad torso. She's a tall woman, but not as much as the soldier. The other preemptively levels his rifle towards Tania, but lets it drift again after Valentin shakes his head no.

"I will be clearer," he says, generously. "I am not looking for places we have already found. And I do not believe the entirety of your monster trafficking network to flow through a single garage and basement." He gets to his feet, extracting what appears to be a syringe of some unknown clear fluid, needle capped, cigarette delegated to the corner of his mouth to flutter ash onto his collar and shoulder as he speaks around it. "Will you give me your arm?" His hand is already darting out for it, thumbing off the needle cap.

There's another yelp and a whimper of fear as Delia is dragged to her feet and held against the soldier. Seeing the needle, she tenses, straining her muscles tight to the point of shaking. "T-they don't— but I don't know anything— They don't tell people everything. Especially me… I'm not with them anymore, I'm with Mister Logan. I never did anything important for them."

She doesn't give the man her arm, preferring to allow the soldier who has her pinned extend it for her. "I don't know anything!" Squeezing her eyes shut, she keeps tense, willing any tears or sign of weakness to push deep inside of her. "Please please please don't hurt us…" More specifically the tall redhead herself.

While Tania is content to huddle behind her instrument while soldiers and guns start shifting around, when that needle comes out the girl lifts onto her feet, hands resting on the top of the harp. "«What is that? Don't— She doesn't know anything,»" the girl starts, pleading, "«Like she told you.»" She looks between the soldiers and Delia, uncertain about what she should do here. "«You don't need to do this.»" Whatever this is. She may not know, but it doesn't look good.

"«Perhaps if I held a gun to the head of your brother,»" Valentin suggests as his arm pinches a grip around Delia's elbow, "«you would be more talkative, Tania. It can be arranged, if you like.»" Glancing down at the limb, the quivering strength of muscles as the redhead braces for the needle prick, he hesitates, before glancing up at her, than the soldier over his shoulder. "Hold her, please." Gloved hands switch their grip, holding onto her shoulders as Valentin backs up a step.

For a small Slovakian, there is a wiry, economic strength when he clocks a punch across Delia's chin, hand then coming out to shove her head back against the shoulder of the man that pins her immobile, and plunging the needle into her throat.

The drug that creeps into her system— should he succeed— is more aggressive than a truth serum. Better compared to a psychoactive.

Though the muscles in her neck are rigid, she's never broken a needle at full strength, let alone her weakened condition. The punch distracts her enough that it plunges in without difficulty, perhaps a fortunate side effect (other than simple satisfaction). The burning pain brings tears to her eyes that flow freely down her cheeks. Had Delia the ability to wipe them away, she might, instead of giving him the satisfaction of seeing her cry.

Her heart races with fear, which only goes to spread the drug throughout her system faster. Slowly, her head bobs, as if too heavy for her neck to support until it hangs and she is staring at her socked feet. There's monkeys on them, monkeys that dance when she wiggles her toes. All of them laughing at her hubris and mocking her with bananas held high in triumph.

"M-monkeys…" she manages to mumble. To anyone not looking at her feet, it's a telltale sign that the drug is starting to work

"«My brother can take care of himself,»" Tania says, but this time she does look at the man. Because she's got to scowl. It doesn't seem to be persuading her. Perhaps because she believes her brother would come out of it just fine.

But when he punches Delia, the skinny, frail thing actually comes over to give him a shove. It's not soon enough to stop the needle and, really, it's just not very effective at all, but standing still and watching it happen wasn't in the cards apparently. "«Leave her alone!»" Plus, she's a little upset.

As the drug takes hold, Valentin is patient — patient enough that he can concentrate, for the moment, on the skinny Russian dealing him her shove which, while it doesn't topple him, it does has his cigarette tumble to the rug beneath their feet. His attention whips to her, that affability shed to reveal something much steelier and icier beneath the surface, easy smile gone and eyes flint. A hand snaps out, as fast as a viper, to find a grip on her throat, and lever her back into the harp she'd been given. "Carrier," he sneers. "There is still a place for you in the world, but do not be arrogant. «You're only a step away from being the same breed of freak as your family.»

"Take her away," he snaps at the soldier with less to do, and the rifle aims towards Tania's torso, and gestures for her to move towards the nearest door.

For Delia, the world is coming apart like wet cake, losing seconds of time, extending others, gravity shifting somewhere between her feet and the man behind her, gripping her arms. Valentin dips a hand into his jacket, coming out with an anklet. He crouches down, gripping onto Delia's calf to secure the thing around her long ankle, standing up again with both hands coming to place to either side of her jaw, to lift her head and look at him.

Friendliness once again gentles his expression as he peers into her eyes, blue and blue. "The Ferrymen network, Delia. Where do they take their wards? Where does your father go? What are they to you, that they abandon you here with me?"

The woman flinches too slowly when the ankle is snapped on, watching it waver from a height that's too high for her to be used to. Like wearing glasses for the first time and looking down. Everything looks so foreign, out of place, and through a fish eye lens. When her head is lifted and she watches Valentin's lips move, the sounds that hit her ears seem to be spoken through water. She catches a few words but the one most clear is the one she fears most of all.

Delia draws a breath and any defiance that she might have had at the beginning falls away as she lets it out. Her heart aches in her chest and threatens to drop down into her stomach to be digested. Her breathing turns a little shakey and threatens a sob. "S— ss— saw him…" she starts with a whimper. "Came to visit…"

Tania goes wide eyed when her throat is taken, fear quite clear in the young girl. She might have been close to death quite a few times, but not often because someone is actively trying to hurt her. That's a lot scarier. When he lets her go, she stumbles, coughing as she uses the harp to steady herself.

Stepping back toward the door as the gunman directs, Tania can still manage a scowl, even though she's starting to cry a bit herself. "«You are a monster,»" are her parting words to Valentin, before her gaze falls to Delia as she starts unlocking the door again.

Early night time yawns chilliness into the room as the front door is yanked open once she's done with the locks, Tania pushed out into the open air and down the stairs with the soldier behind her. He lowers his rifle only to grip his hand under her arm, and tug her along towards where their truck is parked on the curb. His other hand is used to open the door to the back, and as he moves on in, he drags her with. The door will slide closed, sealing off her final view of the brick house.

The living room is quieter, now, Valentin tilting his head as she speaks, without looking back to check on the progress of Tania and the escorting soldier, front door swung open and left there. "Visit," he repeats, as if knowing the affect of the drug, and giving her verbal anchor to cling to that train of thought. "Where? To where, from where? Where does he go?"

There's a buzz from the cellphone at his belt, but it only gets a glance, keeping his hands where they are, and his attention squared back on her.

"M-mother's day, gave my mom flowers… I didn't get flowers…" Delia's voice is turning to a whisper, try as she might to succumb to slumber, Valentin's talking keeps her from falling completely. "I didn't even get a visit from my… she never got me flowers… s'okay though… I'm not really her mom, am I?" The skin on her forehead and cheeks is damp and clammy with perspiration, her breathing turning shallow and rapid instead of deep and meditative. Still, she struggles to stay awake and somewhat lucid.

"Dad gave my mom flowers… I dunno where he goes. Said not to tell Brad… not to tell Brad something.. I can't remember." Bleary eyes roll upward to focus on Valentin's face, or make the feeble attempt. One drifts off to the side while the other closes halfway. "I dunno where he goes… somewhere in Queens maybe… I dunno…"

"You do not need to do this. I can just go to my brother. Where are we going?" Trucks and soldiers, it's bad juju. But Tania is, ultimately, easy to bully and that hand on her arm is a pretty decent catalyst to get her into the truck. She does watch the house until that door closes; worried for Delia. Worried for herself.

The soldier isn't paid to talk, and he doesn't. He isn't the one with the answers Tania seeks, and once they're inside, he sits opposite her — as impassive as any tin man, with his rifle balanced across his knees. There are handcuffs at his belt, and they're not used. As long as there is no real struggle, they don't need to be.


Queens is the largest borough in New York City, and Valentin's eyes are flat, unimpressed, but information is listened to and stored. It can be picked apart later. His fingers slide through her hair a little as he steadies the sit of her head on her neck as he listens, before retracting, taking his cellphone off his belt and turning his back as he answers it. The muttered words exchanged are too low for Delia to catch, whether lucid or not, and the quick dialogue ends soon enough. "Leave her. We're going." The soldier glances around as if for a place to deposit the drugged dreamwalker, and at a scathing glance back from Michal Valentin, he pushes her towards the sofa to tumble into it as she may.

Both men leave the house at swift clips, although Valentin deals her one more glance back before he disappears out the door. Through the windows of the truck, Tania can see diminutive Humanis Firster stride on out of the house, soldier in tow, but no Delia Ryans.

Without the soldier for support, Delia's legs are either unable or just plain unwilling to support the rest of her body. She stumbles forward a few steps but falls shy of the sofa, her head hitting it along the arm before bouncing off. The room spins around in a circle before she falls in a crumpled heap and she doesn't get up again.

There's one long sigh of air out through the young woman's nose before she curls into a fetal position. She blinks, slower and slower, finally her eyes close to the wavering images around her. The gold of the harp is the last thing she tries to focus on before her own escape.

There's no fight from the girl sitting across from him. No, she just pulls her legs up to her chest, bare toes curling around the edge of her seat. And while she is most definitely scared, she seems to be holding it together until she sees those men leaving without Delia in tow. It's just in her nature to assume the worst. That Delia isn't there because she's gone, not just asleep. Tania brings her hands up to cover her face as she sobs quietly to herself, trembling and rocking herself there in the back of the truck.

The doors of the truck seal closed, in contrast to the front door left open to allow moths and the sound of the engine to drift in through to the first floor. A dog whines and noses at a shut portal upstairs, and by the time the military vehicle is pulling away, it'll be some hours before anyone else approaches the house, or Delia regains herself enough to shut and lock herself in.

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