Sharp-Focus Perspective


gillian_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Sharp-Focus Perspective
Synopsis Gillian supplies a few truths, some tactical, some that would be paranoidly unbelievable were it not for the fact that, yeah, you'd think the Company and Petrellis could be that dysfunctionally evil.
Date March 23, 2009

Ferrymen Safehouse

A message down the proper pipes told a certain Phoenix leader to make his way to the safehouse that he put Gillian in after a phone call from a mutual acquaintance. As the early morning hours begin to pour sun in the windows of the safehouse, the dark haired woman is sitting against the wall, flipping through a book. One of the few books that she grabbed from the house she shared with Tavisha. A yellow cat is curled up asleep beside her, lazy as ever, though he might move to find one of those patches of light soon. Flipping through the pages, she waits for the leader to show up, one leg held out in front of her, while the other knee is folded upward.

Dressed in dark colors, her hair falls into her face at the sides. Every so often she casts her eyes up to look around, as if expecting to see something in the shadows. Never does. Not since she made her decision.

Footfalls outside. Creak, creak, the weight of a full-grown man distributed across floorboards that settled, along with the rest of the old building, over fifty years ago. There isn't a lot of stealth happening.

That might be reassuring to even the most paranoid fugitive of Homeland Security's interpretation of justice. "Gillian?" Creak, creak, thump. After a moment, Teo's head hangs in through the doorway, pallid eyes flitting to the black-and-white figure oblique against the wall. Bleached out by the grayscale contrast of the morning sunlight, she looks like an ink drawing. "Buongiorno. Good reading?"

[Gillian(#488)] In this case, a paranoid woman welcomes the noise. Footsteps are more than she heard when her dead sister came and sat beside her in a lobby yesterday. Gillian closes the book as he asks about it, but does not get to her feet, looking up at the tall young man who would be considered handsome in most circles. Including her own, really. The Italian has it's own kind of charm. "I've read better. I know you're busy, but this is one of the priorities. I think I can help with the break out— more than I thought I could. More than just super charging all of you and making your jobs better." Get straight to the point. She doesn't even realize she's using their term for her ability at the moment.

A hand goes up to run through her hair, pushing back long bangs from her face. Looking up helps them stay pushed back.

Teo doesn't like being looked up at, though, neither physically nor in any extravagantly theatrical metaphorical or hierarchical sense. He doesn't like using furniture, either. It all works out well: he crosses the floor with the same thumping cadence of boots, seats himself across from her in a graceless sprawl of man-sized limbs. Casual, in a way that belies the interest that instantly highlit his features at word of the breakout.

Of her helping, the implied new advantage and edge they're granted by her cooperation. Advantages and edges are always good to have. Phoenix's numbers are reduced, morale— proportionally strained, resources an unreliable and changing pool constantly adjusted by the possibility that Homeland Security is going to find them out. This is promising. Enough to distract him, almost, from the smarting ache in his left arm, bandaged, long-sleeved, pocketed, and pharmeceutically numbed as it is.

Straight to the point. "You weren't interrupting a damn thing. What's up?"

"I think my ability can counter the supression drugs that they're probably being put on," Gillian says, moving to stand up a bit as she does. The book is put down. Maybe. Probably. But she can't say what she really wants to say. Definitely. She hesitates a moment as if she's trying to figure it out. "Anyway, I can increase people's abilities, right? I've done it before, a lot, and I'm pretty sure it can work to break what's happening to them. Especially Peter, but any of them, really. I think Peter's would be more permenant, though. Like if I boost him once he'll be like he was never on the drugs at all…"

She rubs a hand over her face. "Fuck. I just think it will work." And she doesn't seem to know anything else to add on to that. "Either way, I'm in on it. You're taking me. If it doesn't work, then whatever your original plan is would still hold, but I think it will."

Though Teo is by nature a kind and trusting young man, he is also reasonably intelligent, pragmatic, and paranoid. Particularly when it comes to— you know. Attacking a Federal penitentiary facility designed by Company agents specifically to keep docile the most dangerous Evolved criminals in the States.

Teo's eyebrows tilt down toward his nose, eyes narrowing around a squint. He can't remember speaking to her about suppression drugs, though it's not a difficult conclusion to have come to. There is certainly logic to support the probability of powered augmentation to counteract chemical negation, but now she's talking about Peter, and struggling around saying something…

A twinge in his arm reminds him to blink. "Uhh." His free hand flexes down through the air, a gesture like following gravity to a solid, balanced center, steadying himself against a rocky tide of thought. His mouth tightens, before Teo's features adopt a ruefully quizzical expression. Not to doubt her, but— "Are you leaving something out, signorina?"

"Yeah, who isn't?" Gillian responds in one of those 'duh' voices. There's a moment before she continues, though, letting her hand drop away from her face. Like this man here, she's also reasonably intelligent, but there's some things that are unusually difficult for her. And lying in this case is not easy. There's never been a time when she augmented someone on drugs like that, and there's no way she can think of that she'd know it would work. Other than her own gut instinct. Which is what she's going with. Too bad her gut instinct is vague and prone to error.

"I think it'll work." There is one argument she can think of besides her gut, but she had been hoping she wouldn't need to use it. "Peter can regenerate. I shot him a bunch of times and he always got back up. And I know that when he attacked me, he seemed to get stronger when I augmented him, when he was split between two bodies. He looked weak when I turned it off, and stronger when I didn't. I don't know if it's the same. The other Peter, the Agent one, had said they were weaker apart. But with me boosting one of them, they were stronger. So I think if there's drugs keeping him down, I can get around it."

But she wouldn't have thought that without something else…

"I think the hardest part will be convincing him to leave the prison with us."

No, she wouldn't have thought that without something else. She isn't talking about accelerated metabolic cycling, she's pausing in odd places. She has a brilliant idea, even for a smart girl; an idea no one, not even Catherine or Anne, never mind Teo himself, had even begun to entertain, never mind stock such wholehearted conviction in.

"Signorina—" Oh how he hedges. Don't want to be rude. Give the wrong impression, alienate her, contrive a test, be some sort of arrogant, audacious asshole. Teo sits forward, his arms on top of his knees, watches her watch him through the haze of painkillers and second thoughts. She looks very certain.

'Duh' wasn't the most faith-inspiring answer to that question, nor Peter the greatest of his concerns. "If you told somebody we're going to Moab, I need to know about it."

That's a simple answer. Gillian shakes her head, letting a lot of the awkwardness drop away. "I didn't tell anyone." There's not a lot of information she could have given. The name of the facility? She doesn't remember it. The location? She has no idea where it is. She's not even completely sure when they're going, just that they are going to go after them eventually. Sooner rather than later. "I didn't even tell Gabriel. Though I'm going to have to tell him something when we do end up going. I can't just vanish without him wondering where I went."

She wouldn't do that to him, especially not right now. It's not something she would have told him directly, though. And not something she told Goodman either. He already knew.

"Funny enough, I'm hoping to bring Gabriel," Teo replies, after a moment spent searching her face with some clinical figment of curiosity. "I'll have to ask if the other Phoenix operatives are willing to let him come along, but I think we'll need him." There's no need to mention, he's sure, the remote possibility he might make his plea irregardless. There are many ways into Moab, Utah, and many objectives that require conclusion there.

If nothing else, Gabriel Gray would do a far better job drawing fire than any Phoenix operative, no matter how much the press demonizes them. "I should give you his number today." Closing his eyes, Teo squeezes them once before reopening them. Drags blunt fingertips down his jaw, feeling his nails snag on stubble there.

"Would you just — please — fill in these lies of omission so I don't have to jerk around pying and triangulating some paranoid delusional shit that approximates reality?" A wrinkle seats itself between his eyebrows, wearily earnest. "If what you're saying works, I won't freak out. Swear. Please?"

"…are you kidding me?" Gillian says when there's mention of possibly including a man who she has every reason to believe half of Phoenix would rather beat in the face than allow to help them. "The last time I trusted you guys to help me pull him out of the fire— Gabriel, not Peter— your negator decided it would be a jolly good idea to punch him in the face repeatedly right after he got unpossessed by the guy we were supposed to be stopping. He was helpless and that guy just beat him in the face for no reason other than to hit him."

There's a reason she hadn't contacted Phoenix for so long after the bridge collapsed and everything was finished. She had been pissed off at a certain power negator taking vengeance into his hands when her deal was that they'd leave him alone. "Gabriel might actually be able to help more. There's a chance he can use my ability the same way I can, and if that's true, and if I'm right, we can disrupt what's keeping their powers restrained even better. And your damn right you should give me his number today."

But there are lies. Omissions, at least. "I've been really honest with you in the past, so can you just…" Damnit. "Someone approached me a couple weeks ago. They didn't mention Moab, they talked about me, my ability— someone with an ability like mine— the Company, who was chasing after him. They are trying to help fight against the Company and they knew about me, and what I could do. I didn't tell them anything they didn't already know."

It is very odd to be sheepish about recruiting serial killers to one's superheroic crusade, but Teo is sheepish now. "'Course I'm not kidding you," he replies, scratching his face some more. "I remember hearing about Sergei.

"I'm sorry he lost his shit. They'd been in a fight earlier. Gabriel would've put him in a wheelchair for half a year and desk work for the rest of it if I hadn't made a deal with the Company to get him healed. Sergei let his personal feelings interfere, but he's a professional most of the time. He's better than that. It won't happen again."

Teo shuts up in order to hear her speak. Thinks about what she says. Unthinking, his good hand closes, opens again. Closes, opens again, like a fish gasping for air. The pain is radiating full force up and down his arm; it's difficult to keep his features schooled, but it would be harder if there weren't amply distractions, considerations that require his attention.

"This guy have a name?" he asks, blankly.

"Yeah, well, it better work out differently," Gillian says, looking a little withdrawn for the moment. The punching in the face thing really put her off. But then again this hiding things isn't going to well for her either. She frowns visibly at him as he schools himself, then shakes her head. "He said his name was Goodman. Roger Goodman. And he works for a company known as Pinehearst." He said not to lie if asked directly, so she drops the lie.

"I went alone, I didn't mention it, because if it was a trap at least you'd only lose me. I even waited a few weeks before I went. And they didn't come in and grab me, either. But the deal is…" There's a long pause. "I think he's working with Peter's father. And that's why they want Peter out of there. He said that the Company— the guys who you have dealt with before? He said that they— and Peter's own mother— set him up to blow up the city. Set him up to be the bomb. Used him for political gain. And hey— isn't that exactly what they got? One son blows up the city, the other son becomes President under interesting circumstances… And the super secret Company has a lot of power— power it uses and abuses."



—everything in perspective. Or takes everything out of perspective, Teo doesn't know. His brain is not equipped to deal with things of such proportions. His eyes close and open several times in what might pass for comical surprise. That makes sense. Doesn't make sense. Somebody's lying, maybe. Not Gillian, he's almost entirely sure of that. He levels his gaze on her features, his own stiff with curiosity, barring that slight crease of acknowledgment when she mentions the Company, a faint startle at Goodman, a sharpening of pupils in the pale of his irises when she mentions Pinehearst.

Hana hadn't given a company name. Didn't want him to pursue it, probably; doesn't trust them, no doubt. "Hnuh," he says, after a protracted moment. "Fuck," after another. Eventually, he remembers to blink; he doesn't remember to be angry that Gillian put herself at risk. After all, he's the one who's been sitting her homocidal boyfriend. "Well, we can check if your ability really counteracts the suppressant drug. That's one thing that's actually verifiable."

"Everybody and their father wants me for something," Gillian says with a shake of her head, looking toward the sleepy cat. Life would be so simple being a cat. Too bad she's stuck just being herself. With so many people wanting something from her. "I think going to Pinehearst was a good decision. I know you don't trust them, and you probably shouldn't. He didn't think you would anyway. But I don't see any reason not to. The dude— teleports or something. Disappears and goes somewhere else in a purple light. If he really wanted to take me, he could've done it, and there's nothing I could've done to stop him."

That doesn't mean it's not a trap, but… her dead sister told her she made the right decision. And a dude in a bed on a resperator… She shakes her head, rubbing her hand over her forehead. "I want to kick Peter in the face for putting everyone through this, but mostly I just… have a feeling. It feels different from when Vanguard tried to use me. It feels closer to what you guys did. I think they have the same kind of goal."

And if they don't, she'll look stupid sometime in the near future. "He did most the talking. I didn't have to tell him anything." That's pretty true. "If we can test it out, then let's test it out— with someone not you, I guess."

A meaningless motion goes through Teo's fingers. His good hand. Neither dismissive nor entirely idle. "If no one had a use for you, you'd probably be frustrated at the opposite thing," he offers, with half a smile. Speaking from the perspective of one who has, indeed, enjoyed the existential crises of puberty once before.

The mirth fades out under the sand blast of Gillian's rationalizing. Without real intent, he follows her gaze across the room to where her feline companion is basking in the sun. "Come to the meet tomorrow, please? We'll pitch it to the crowd, see who's willing to give it a try. I figure Brian's probably the most practical, since we could shut one of him down without harming the others, and you two have worked together before.

"Make sense?" The cellphone comes out of Teo's pocket and he punches in the button string with an expedient thumb. There's a twitter, a .MIDI chime when the Gabriel's new contact number rings in to her phone.

The phone just happens to be under the cat. It lifts it's head up and looks around as the sleep has been disturbed, but Gillian just glances at it. "Go back to sleep, bum," she says, even as she bends down and fetches her phone from the coat the cat has laid on. The phone that Phoenix provided, not the phone that was provided by Pinehearst and Goodman. That's somewhere else. For the moment. "Yeah, I'll be there. It makes sense to use Brian. I've boosted him before, so he knows what it feels like. Not all the others do."

And they've worked on a more personal level than just a mission, too. They talked. For a while. She doesn't mind the multiple man, even with his talk of orgy and all male dancing lines.

"Thanks… for helping with Gabriel."

"'M pretty sure I'm about to look a lot too mercenary to offer words of gratitude to," Teo answers, good-humored in that apologetic way of his. "But you're very welcome. 'M glad about you two. Being together.

"That's probably heartless too, to somebody out there. Maybe you're brother." He drags his heels toward himself, pushes up into standing with a press of knuckles into the floor. There is a protest from his arm. A loud one. Parts a low curse from his lips, almost spat, stiffening his shoulders around sharp angles briefly. He swallows, blinks twice, drops his gaze ostensibly to study the coil of furry cat for a moment. In truth, he's steadying himself.

"I was sorry to hear about Victor, though."

"I don't know what's going to happen with Gabriel," Gillian admits after a long moment, looking at the 'mercenary'. There's something sad about the way she says that. "I don't even know if you can consider us together. The guy I was with didn't even remember me. Now he does. And I don't have the slightest clue where I stand with him anymore." She didn't know when she went onto the bridge that night, when she bargained for his life. She knew when he had amnesia, but that's gone. "It'll depend on what happens when I call him, I guess." She looks down at the phone, shaking her head as she puts it into her pants pocket. There's something unsteady in her breath, a shaking inhale. "He should've stayed in California. It was safer out there," she mutters about her brother, before she drops back down to sit on the floor with her book.

"I told you what I had to tell you." More than she'd intended to, but she's not really in the mood to make up stories when called on things, especially when she doesn't have to. She wouldn't have been protecting herself so much as someone else, either.

If one is going to overshare with somebody who has mercenary inspirations, it might as well be Teodoro Laudani. He's a nice guy, for a terrorist. Asks for favors instead of accruing debts, can forward telephone numbers and go through safehouses like nobody's business. And it really isn't, is it? His business.

"Thank you for telling me. I can understand why you thought it might be better to hide it." Strains trust and shit, doesn't it? Not that she isn't invited right in to confer with Phoenix again tomorrow, for what that's worth. There's a beat's pause. "I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me if you were going to see him again. Goodman, or anybody from Pinehearst." His feet drag the floor in brief increments; long strides, slightly lazy.

"He was going to kill me if I didn't put you somewhere safe," Teo notes, after a moment, a darker shade of cheerful. He might even be trying to be reassuring. "That's fucking romantic, isn't it?"

"I guess that's one version of romantic," Gillian says with a raspy laugh. Her voice is always raspy, the laugh is even more breathy than normal. She looks up and smiles at him, lopsided, almost ironic smile. "I guess for your sake I should be extra glad it wasn't a trap. Someone as good looking as you shouldn't be murdered cause a reckless girl ran off without saying anything." It would appear she finds the bossman attractive, and isn't afraid to say so right now. "Gabriel should've known better than to think I'd stay out of trouble, though."

Considering she's not managed to stay out of trouble since the first time they've met… how would she manage to stay out of it now?

"I'll let you know if I go to see them again. I'm not planning to. Not for a while."

There is an unbalanced, ungainly urge to thank her for her compliment, but Teo has been a good-looking man's man for awhile and he knows better than that. There's half a smile canted back along his shoulder. He's swiveled sideways in the rectangle of the doorway.

From this angle and the shifted trajectory of the sun, she's become less of an inked outline and more of a silhouette, dark in a nimbus of yellowing light. "He's probably hoping you'll practice what you preach, bello," he replies, genially. "Stay good?

"Looking it, at least." A long fingered hand darts up in the air, tosses off an easy salutation. In this lighting, you can't even tell whether or not he gained a shade of pink or three. The better for leaderly dignity, on an exeunt note.

"Flirt," Gillian calls him on it, whether she can see any shade of pink or not. "Fine. I'll try to restrain recklessness for your sake. Especially since I won't be much use in Moab if I'm on the wrong side of the wall." Now that she knows the name of the place, she's able to say it more. Chandra, the yellow cat, finally uncurls and moves to nudge into her lap, demanding her to pet him. The demands are given into, and she adds, "See you tomorrow, Teo." He doesn't get any silly nicknames, at least.

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