Testing Hostile Waters


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Scene Title Testing Hostile Waters
Synopsis A voluntary guinea pig for an experiment of her own devising, Tasha tests her own forged paperwork at Roosevelt Island to see how safe it is — or isn't. She reports her findings and makes a friend in the process.
Date October 2, 2010

Roosevelt Island

Foot traffic is light on the Roosevelt Island Bridge, especially since the Department of Evolved Affairs has set up camp on the Roosevelt side of the span, checking the paperwork and ID of those who want to access the island. Cars make up for most of the traffic, but today Tasha is one of the commuters, approaching from the pedestrian pathway. Her small figure is protected from the damp and chilly day by a lime-green peacoat, a complementary contrast to the rusty orange hue of the bridge's girders.

The officer manning the pedestrian checkpoint looks surprised to see the young girl, and he sets aside the newspaper he'd been reading since his job is so much lighter than those manning the vehicle lanes. "Can I see your license and registration, miss?" he says lightly. The word registration has an entirely new meaning these days — but since Tasha's not in a car, there is no ambiguity here. "And what's the reason for your visit?"

"Sure. I was looking for a job, actually, I heard there are some shops on the island that need people, since a lot of people left with all the changes," Tasha murmurs, reaching into her purse and then into her wallet, pulling out the two documents. While both are identical to her official driver's license and Non-Evolved registration card, including her actual and correct vital information, they are forged — this is a test of the system.

She hands them to the officer, trying not to look nervous. To keep herself from chewing her thumbnail or some other anxious thing, she pulls out her iPod, scanning through its apps as if she's utterly bored with this process. The best case scenario is that he simply glances at them and hands them back to her — if that's the case, then the cards she made for others will pass muster. Delia could possibly continue to work at the bookstore, and —

The officer swipes one of the cards, she can't see which, through a small machine with a small screen. He frowns, and tries again, then wipes the strip on the back as if to rid it of grime or fingerprints, and tries again. His brows dip lower into a deeper scowl and he sets that card aside to try the other. When the same happens, he peers up at Tasha. "Lemme see if it's just my machine, miss."

Tasha shakes her head. "No, I think they're messed up. My ATM card won't work any more either — I think it's because I had a wallet with a magnetic clasp. Someone told me that demagnetizes them," she offers helpfully. "I need to get them fixed."

She hopes that will get them both handed back, but Tasha has a feeling that the same excuse repeated by someone else might not fly. She wants to retreat, to say she changed her mind, doesn't need to look for a job on this island at all.

"Hold on," the officer tells her, reaching for a walkie talkie and muttering something to the other side, something about a pickup and 'questionable.' Tasha tilts her head, brows knitting together as she waits for him to finish and for the squawk and babble to come through from the other side, rogering his words.

Once he's through, he shrugs apologetically to Tasha. "Never had both cards fail before, miss. I could type 'em up manually into the system, if it were one or the other, but both? It's not that I don't believe you, but I just gotta do my job, you know? Make sure you don't use that wallet no more, though, all right? It'll just be a few moments."

A few moments is a very few, and suddenly two more officers approach the checkpoint, speak in muttered voices to the first, and then nod to Tasha. "This way, please, miss."

It's all so cordial as she is led to what amounts to a squad car, put in the back seat and driven to the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. Tasha is quiet in the back seat, and she can't hear through the bullet-proof-glass divider the few comments they murmur back and forth in the front seat, though a couple of glances from the driver into his rear-view mirror lets her know that they are talking about her.

Once at the small station, they open the door to let her out, and lead her inside. She is brought to a small room and told to wait, while they run her information in another office. When she is alone, Tasha's eyes close and she breathes deeply. If they can tell her documents are forged, what sort of trouble will she be in? The originals are identical — she's not trying to pass herself off as anything she's not. Birthday, name, evolved status: it's all the truth. It's only the documents themselves that are counterfeit.

Finally, one of the two officers returns. Sturgeon, according to the name on his badge.

"Natasha Renard-Lazzaro?" he asks, holding out the two cards for her to take. "I'm sorry for the delay in your visit. I hope you understand. We're just trying to make sure that the island is a safe place, which means that we need to know who is coming and going. If you do end up working on Roosevelt, I'm sure you will appreciate that sort of commitment to your safety, right?" He flashes a smile. He clearly believes that she would.

Tasha takes the cards, glancing at them, before shoving them back into her purse. "Of course. I'm sorry I wasted your time because my cards weren't working," she says, using her acting skills from the years in drama to try to sound apologetic. Really, she is frightened and a little angry — not at him but at the system. She expected typical governmental inefficiency and indolence.

Go figure. For once the government is doing its job and doing it well.

"Are you by any chance related to Vincent Lazzaro?" Sturgeon asks, holding the door open for her, since she is free to leave.

It's easy enough to deny being a Renard or a Lazzaro when she's using one of the names, but with the two bridged together with a hyphen, as it is on her legal documents, the evidence is stacked up against her. There's no use denying it when anyone who knows either of her parents knows their link to one another.

"Yeah, he's my father," Tasha says, making sure to smile and appear proud of this fact. "Sorry for the trouble, Officer Sturgeon."

"You have a great day, miss Lazzaro. We'll make sure that there's no problem with your cards when you leave today. Make sure to get those replaced, though, especially if you do plan on working here," Sturgeon says as she slips through the door.

The business that she came to conduct completed, Tasha spends a little bit of time browsing around the few shops on the island, grabs a coffee and bagel to waste a little more time, selecting some cookies from the same bakery to bring back to friends at Gun Hill, and then grabs a cab to get back home. The sooner off that island, the better, in her mind. It's a prison — perhaps a goodly one, as Hamlet might say, but a prison all the same.

Gun Hill

Carrying the consolation prize, a bag of cookies from the Roosevelt Island Bakery, Tasha knocks on the door of Delia's apartment. Nervously, she chews her thumb nail — she hates to be the bearer of bad news, and unlike Hermes, she doesn't have winged sandals to make her feel any better about having to prick a hole in someone's balloon of hope.

Tasha doesn't have much of a wait as Delia steps the few paces from her kitchen to the front door adjacent to it. The redhead's hands are wet but there's a surprised expression and a bit of a smile on her face when she sees the other woman. "Oh hey… uhm.. come on in, I was just cleaning a little bit. Uhm, I made some iced tea."

The apartment that the brunette is led into is still quite bare. The furniture in the livingroom consists of nothing more than a book case filled with romance novels and medical journals, and a futon. "Have a seat, sorry about the…" Delia looks around a little bit and hums nervously, "I've been too busy to go shopping." It's been her excuse for everything lately.

"This is clean, if you were about to apologize for a mess, silly," Tasha says, smiling as she glances around, an amused brow arching at the juxtaposition of bodice rippers next to surgical how-tos. She wouldn't have taken the redheaded Amazon for a Harlequin reader, but then everyone has their guilty pleasures.

"I brought some cookies," she says, handing the bag to Delia as she moves toward the futon to sit. She'd stopped at her own apartment first to get rid of her lime-green peacoat, so now she's in just skinny jeans, black Converse low-tops, and a Muse t-shirt. "I did that thing we were talking about last week? I sort of got caught up in school work and other stuff all this week and didn't have time, but today I went over to Roosevelt and —"

The nervous babble is cut off and she simply shakes her head solemnly.

Smiling, Delia reaches for the bag of cookies and peeks inside. It's been almost a month since her last visit to the bakery and she's prectically salivating at the contents. "Thank you thank you thank you…" she breathes as she inhales the aroma of cookies. Raising her head from the mouth of the bag, the redhead's cheeks glow with a bit of a blush. "Sorry, I'll get a plate! Did you say yes to iced tea?"

Delia's dressed in a pair of oversized sweat pants that look like they belong to a man and a t-shirt that could be a castoff from the same person. Frumpy might be a good word for it. Her hair's tied into a loose ponytail at the name of her neck but enough of it has fallen loose that long tendrils frame her face.

She's not wearing any socks or shoes. "How tight was security?" Delia finally asks as she returns with a plate full of the cookies and a glass of amber liquid for Tasha. She sits on the hardwood floor in front of the futon, hugging the knees that are tucked against her chest.

"Oh, I got some for Colette and me and Tam, too, so you know, you can eat these or share with your dad or whoever," Tasha says, though she reaches for the glass of tea. "Thanks," she adds, taking a swallow to buy some time.

It's only now that she's far from the "public safety" building that she realizes how much trouble she could have been in. It's only now in the safety of Gun Hill that she realizes how much she'd risked, and her hand shakes a little as she sets the glass down. Somehow she manages not to slosh the contents.

"You can't go with the counterfeit documents, not if they don't process," she manages to say in a neutral voice, doing her best not to show her fear. "They ran them, and because they both didn't swipe, they pulled me into the station, then ran them through their computers I guess. It was fine for me, because… I have a profile on the system, and it matched my documents. But for you…" Tasha shakes her head again.

"I'm sorry," she whispers, but then she adds earnestly, "I'm going to talk to someone to see if they can do that other thing for you — to get you a real name and real social and you can register and get a real job, okay? You shouldn't have to hide just because of your dad or whatever. It's not fair."

g it in half before putting the remainder back on the plate. She takes a bite and chews it thoughtfully and then turns toward Tasha with a smile. "It could be worse, right? I mean… the Institute could have me and I could be shoved into a metal coffin until I die."

There's a silver lining to every cloud, this one is no metal coffin, she's got one part of her family, and she doesn't have chlamydia in her throat. Taking a deep breath, she lets it out in a long sigh and purses her lips together into a thin line. "A job would be good… or at least some way to become legitimate. I could find a community college somewhere and get just enough to get into the board exams. Then I could run the clinic downstairs without feeling guilty."

Tasha's eyes drop at the mention of Delia's father, a little pang of … jealousy?… at the relationship the two seem to have.

"Did you ever … did you know what he did for the Company? Did you agree with it?" she says, mostly to her feet. Her own relationship with Vincent Lazzarro seems to have been euthanized, put out of its misery — that is to say, she has none, not after he walked smoked out of her mother's office because she dared to ask what the government was doing to stop the world from crumbling down.

Shaking her head, Delia looks down at the floor and then gives a sheepish glance up to Tasha. "No, before mom died he said he worked at the paper company. Then he stayed home with me until last year.. that's when he started working for DHS. I didn't find out what he did until .. well just a few months ago." She smiles a little and shrugs her shoulders lightly, as if excusing her own ignorance to the issue.

"I heard about the bad stuff that they did, but I trust my dad. I don't think he did anything that hurt people, I was in his head when I found out a lot of it… He was trying to save innocent people. What does your dad do?" She's not even sure if the other woman has a father anymore, but at some point she's sure that everyone has had a father.

"In his head?" Tasha says, tilting her head curiously. She doesn't know what Delia can do, only that she's evolved. She shrugs to the other question. "Stuff I disagree with, for the most part. We haven't really talked in a long time. We don't really see eye to eye," she says vaguely, but at least honestly. Enough people know who her father is that she doesn't want to lie to direction questions about him — it's very likely at some point Delia will find out, and she doesn't want the redhead to be angry at any untruths.

"Dreams, I go into people's dreams when I'm asleep. I was in his guilty conscience when I sort of confronted him." Delia states in a rather frank tone, giving the brunette a little smile. Taking another bite of her cookie, she chews it quickly and swallows. "There's a lot of stuff that's happening that I don't agree with either. Nothing's ever perfect but I'd like to think that for the most part, people are trying to do what's right. Maybe your dad is like that, like my dad. He does a job that he doesn't want to do because he doesn't want someone else to screw it up."

The last bit of her cookie is held between both of her hands as she breaks it into two more pieces, popping one of them into her mouth. She chews it just enough to not be rude when she continues to talk, "Like… I don't like what my dad did for a living. I hate that he did it, he'd still be doing it if he wasn't on the run. But he's better than what I hear about the institute, I don't think he would pump me full of refrain. And… he doesn't hate me because I'm evolved. I guess that's the biggest thing."

Both brows rise at the admission of Delia's ability. "Wow, that's… gotta be kinda creepy sometimes. Dreams are weird," Tasha says quietly, wondering if Delia's ever been in her subconscious sleeping mind — her dreams are often frightening, with images that she knows must have come from that night that she can't remember, the night she almost died on Staten Island.

"My dad might like me better if I were evolved, to be honest. It'd at least give us something in common." She shrugs, and stands. "He thinks he's doing the right thing. But he doesn't approve of what I believe in, and what I believe in is more important than having him approve of me." There's a slightly defiant rise of her chin, but it is belied by the slight quaver in her voice. "I should get going. I'll try to find out about the other stuff for you soon, Del."

Laughing softly, Delia nods and pushes herself to a stand after popping the last bit of the cookie into her mouth. "yeah, they are weird," she says as she chews, "But sometimes they're nice… I met my boyfriend in a dream." The joke isn't lost on the redhead as she walks the other woman the short distance to th door. Opening it, she gives Tasha a bright smile and leans against the edge, half covering her face. "Thanks for coming over… Maybe you can again? It's nice to have someone to talk to that isn't a friend of my dad's… or someone from the clinic."

"Sure!" Tasha says, brightly, happy for the invitation. "And I'm sure I'll need your clinic services sometime, since we're kinda, well, trouble magnets, Colette and me, but it'd be nice to know you outside of it, too. Come on upstairs if you ever just wanna chat and get away from stuff. We're in 404, Cole and Tamara and me."

The petite brunette smiles at the taller woman once more, the sorrow of moments ago, talking about her father, past like a cloud in front of the sun, and she heads down the hall toward the stairwell. The bad news was delivered, but the messenger wasn't killed after all, and may have even made a friend in the process.

Sometimes, the benefits are worth the risks we take.

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