Take Off Your Shirt


alec_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Take Off Your Shirt
Synopsis Helena speaks to Alec about joining Phoenix. She asks to see one of his scars, and he takes off his shirt. (She did not ask him to do this, okayz?)
Date May 29, 2009

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Exactly where land gives way to water at this point of the island's edge is uncertain - first because of the saltgrass growing everywhere, both on dry earth and in the shallows, giving the illusion of solidarity; second for the structures visible in the distance, drawing the eye away from the deceptive ground, suggesting its reach extends beyond its grasp. Even if the structures are still recognizable as ships, and nothing that ever belonged on land.

There are a multitude of them, abandoned hulls of salt-stained wood and rust-pitted steel, dying slow and ungraceful deaths as wind and water claim their dues. Some still appear to rest upright, braced upon the debris of older, lost relics below; others list to one side, canted at an odd angle like someone who just struggled to the surface in search of a desperate breath. There are no hands to pull these hulks from the water, no ropes to save them from drowning; each has been surrendered to the sea, left to the ravages of unmerciful time.

At low tide, some of the closer ships can be reached - not without getting soaked, but such is the price of daring. Never mind that the rotting metal and splintered wood are the stuff of nightmares for any germophobe, definite hazards to the unwary. The more distant ships are distant indeed, beyond the reach of all but the most bold - and are all but submerged besides.

The boat graveyard is dangerous enough, but at night, it's almost more so, if one were to actually try and venture out toward the boats. Helena's not quite so foolish. Still, the night is cool without freezing, considering it's the beginning of summer. Hel is perched on an abandoned crate, slightly recessed so that she's not obvious to the eye, but someone actually looking for her will be able to spot her. She seems to be alone, a petite girl with long blonde hair somewhat hidden under a trucker's cap. She makes no sound, just watches the area around her expectantly.

Cool nights are good for people like him. Cool nights mean it's soooo much easier to pic up a person's heat signature on appropriately modified hunting scopes. Admitedly this one isn't attached to a rifel, cause guns are for people to stupid to plan ahead, but it gets the job done. Through the boneyard of lost and forgotten Alec walks straight towards Helena, guided by the voices in his head that watch from afar with the gizmos and gadgets he favors. He stares at her as if he could see her, his path never wobbling uncertainly. He stops a bit away, "Either you're who I'm here to see or I'm thuroughly embarassed and will just have to buy you a drink in appology for ruining your alone time." he calls out.

"I'm who you think I am." she says simply, without bothering to say who that is. "I have to ask, what is it about you that tends to give Liz such an aggravated tone? Did you piss in her Wheaties?"

Alec winces, "Uh. My ego tells me to tell you that she's pissed I beat her at her own game. My less testosterone driven senses tell me to say that it's because I betrayed her trust and endanged people she cares about by proving that she is after all human and therefore fallable." he shrugs, "Truth might lay somewhere between the two, but I'm guessing it's closer to the later then the former."

"So if you betrayed her trust," Helena muses thoughtfully, "What did you do to earn it back? Why would she agree to arrange this meeting? What is it you think we can do for you?" We. Who does she mean, we? Oh, he knows.

Alec chuckles, "You?" he asks, "You've got nothing I want." he answers honestly, "Not really. For you to do something for me I would have to have a desire or need that you could fill. You don't." he pauses, "That was a lie." he sighs and walks closer. Not threateningly, just closer so he's not talking loudly, despite the fact that his 'people' have the meet under a close eye. He takes a seat on a crate. "What did she tell you about me?" he asks first, one imagines from his tone this explination may take a moment.

"Why bother lying to begin with?" Helena volleys back, without answering his question.

Alec barks a laugh, "Habit."

"Habits are dangerous." Helena notes, "But then again, I'm not without my own. Liz didn't tell me much at all, only that you wanted to meet with me. If Liz bothers to ask me to meet someone, I generally assume she thinks it's worth my time."

Alec nods his head, "I just assumed she was sending me out here because it would be an easy place to hide a body." hence, watchers! Hooray for trust! He takes a breath, "I'm an engineer and I'm a genius. Not like Stephen Hawking or anything, but I'm smarter then your average bear. I like science, numbers, math, and in these things are the makings for an excellent engineer. And an excellent theif. I happen to be both. I've had a nice long life built around the simple concept that security is everything and the only thing that buys security is money. It's a cynical world view, but it works for me, and it's led me to a sort of… ethical code. Calling it moral would be incorrect, but it is ethical. Part of that code is a basic dislike for bullies." he shrugs. "They bully people. You stand up." as if it were that simple.

Helena can't help but grin a bit. "I've been known to bully people." she tells him. "Harrangue them, tell them to suck it up and do what needs doing. Not everybody likes it. Not everybody can handle it."

Alec smirks, "That's cute." he shakes his head, "I'm not hear to measure my dick, I'm just telling you I can do more then fix squeeky hinges on safe houses in the ass end of the city. Which currently, is what you people have me doing."

"That's fortunate, since I don't have one and would prefer not to see yours." Helena says. "I'm just trying to let you know that I can be impatient, bossy, expect a lot from people, and not everyone's able to work with that. You want to work with us, and trust takes time. Do you have any particular problems that you particularly want to tackle? Any questions about our operation that I may be able to answer at this time?"

Alec chuckles a bit, "Knew I should have gone with the charming rogue bit instead of the brutal honesty thing. Rogue will always get you more chicks." he ponders her other words carefully, "Currently me and my non-Evo self remain off anyone's radar, which is the way I prefer it. So I've no issues to tackle on my own, as for your operation? Curently no, though I suspect they'll pop up with alarming and annoying regularity at the many layers of your onion peel away."

"Can you tell me about the sort of security work you do? Helena asks. "Your background? Were you in the service?" Now it's a job interview, apparently. Her ankles cross daintily, all she needs is a teacup she can hold with her pinky out.

Alec shakes his head and while she gets all dainty, he slouches a bit on his crate, drawing one leg up so his chin can rest on his knee. It's an unconcious thing, the sort of shielding body language one sees from people when they talk about things they don't like to, like crossing of the arms or covering of the mouth with a hand. "I don't do security work, I do unsecuring work." he grins a bit at that, "Engineering a building, depending on the client, usually comes with the added frustration of trying to create a building that can house a certain amount of security. Sadly, security is always a trade off. The more secure your building, the harder it is to get out and away, the less secure, the easier it is to run from." he waffles his hand in the air, "Finding the right balance is always rough. I can get into just about anywhere with proper time to plan, and I can build solid security into nearly any structure, though it's easier if you start from the ground up instead of trying to add after market stuff. And no, I wasn't in the service, I was in the system. Different kind of war all together."

Helena smirks a little that, nodding her head in agreement to the last sentiment before her expression grows solemn again. "How many of our safehouses have you inspected?"

Alec eyes her, "Enough to know the term 'safehouse' is generous in a way that were it food you could feed the African basin to bursting for a year."

Helena's eyebrows go up. "You really consider our network to be that large?" she asks dubiously. "It doesn't really answer the question in any solid way, either."

Alec sighs, "It wasn't a size in literal terms I was speaking of, it was in figurative metaphorical-Look. Your safehouses, the crappy ones I've seen, only seem to be safe because no one knows where they are. Once compromised there is nothing about them that's protective or secure. Annonymity is admitedly the first line of defense, but it's hardly the last."

"And which ones have you seen?" Helena inquires relentlessly.

Alec sighs and lists off a series of addresses that range about the city. He's right, they have had him fixing squeaky hinges in the back end of nowhere.

Helena nods to this. "Those aren't so much safehouses as waystations." she says in agreement. "Little more than crash space in case of an emergency. Who did you report to? Your contacts in our organization. I'm just - it's curious that we've never met."

Alec chuckles a bit, "Liz mostly, and through her I met a young man who asked me to take my shirt off." he holds his hand up at appropriate height and gives a spot on description of Teo, "His name was Italian or Greek or something. Started with a 'T', usually I have a spot on memory but frankly I hadn't slept in two days at the time."

Helena's eyes come up. "How long ago did you meet Teo?" she asks, her voice suddenly gone cautious.

Alec shrugs, "Um. Month?" he runs a hand through his hair, "It's been awhile."

"And the last time you saw him?" she pursues, insistent.

Alec brow quirks, "I take it this has to do with the text message from a few hours ago?" he asks, "That was the last time I saw him. He wanted to see some scar of mine and then left shortly there after, just to make sure I wasn't lying."

"A scar? Where?" Helena asks, cocking her head. "Under your chin, right here?" she touches where her neck and shoulder meet.

Alec shakes his head and points to his back on his shoulder, "Why do you ask?"

"Because I might know what it's from, and I'd like to confirm it." she says, starting to clamber down from her crate. "May I see it?"

Alec can't help but laugh at that. Something about that statement seems to amuse him, but he shrugs and stands, turning so she can see his back as he shucks the shirt he's wearing. Which leads to all manner of scars except perhaps the one she was looking for. He points to his shoulder, "This one. It's from a stove that my foster mother pressed me against when I was young." he states shamelessly. Sure enough, the scar is an inward curling spiral, faded with time and slightly distorted by his obvious growth since then, but still easily recognizable. It's hardly his only one. Long thin ones, small puckered ones, burns, cuts. Plenty of scars ranging through his life, though most seem to be very old, even the thick ropey one along the inside of his wrist running nearly to his elbow in an irregular line. "That what you were looking for?"

Helena looks faintly bemused, takes a few steps back. "You can put your shirt back on." she says. "Right now, best I can tell you is, you'll hear from us." she says. "I want to talk to Liz about you before I go any further. "You saw Teo a couple of hours ago, you said? Where was he?"

Alec blinks, "No. I said I saw Teo a month ago. I said I received a text message a couple hours ago asking me to avoid him and report his possition should I stumble across him." he puts the t-shirt back on, which BTW sports the words 'This is my boom stick!!' and a picture of a man with a shotgun and a chainsaw for a hand. "I imagine he fucked up somehow."

Helena cocks her head a moment, funny, but that guy looks kinda like Conrad. "Something like that. I do hope he's okay, though." She nods. "You have one of our phones, so like I said, give me a day or two, and you should be hearing from us shortly."

Alec nods his head, "Hurry up and wait. Gotcha. It's a good thing I'm rebuilding a city, otherwise I'd be bored out of my mind, and trust me, that is /never/ a good thing."

Helena smiles faintly. "I've learned that rushing into trust is spectacularly unwise." she says. "If the choice is between your boredom and our security, guess which I'm going to pick."

Alec laughs a bit at that, "Remember you said that once you get to know me better. You'll laugh too." he adjusts his shirt and turns to go, "Nice choice of meeting spot by the way. I prefer clorinated water and swim wear as forms of security, but this isn't bad either. I'll have to remember it in the future."

Helena snorts. "You know, I have no idea if that's a compliment or a cri - " she pauses mid-sentence, and looks up at the sky in bafflement, it having gotten colder, with a sudden onset of rainfall. "What the fuck?" she exclaims in surprise, and then mutters, "Gillian." She looks at him. "Gotta go." she says simply. "It was nice to meet you, Alec." With that, she simply starts walking away, not looking like she's in a hurry, but not stopping, either.

Alec blinks and watches after her, "Um, what's a Gillian?" he calls out, confused as all hell. He's half a mind to have her tailed… But. He's trying that new… trust… thing. Frankly, from where he's sitting he can't understand why everyone is so enamored with it. Doesn't seem to have any benefits that he can tell. Hrmph!

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License