The Elephant in the Observatory


berlin_icon.gif des_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title The Elephant in the Observatory
Synopsis Berlin addresses it.
Date January 4, 2019

Sunspot Observatory, New Mexico

The trip to New Mexico hasn't gone as planned. Berlin isn't sure how she feels about how things have gone at the observatory. On one hand, she didn't end up killing anyone and that's not terrible. But on the other, she watched a serial killer slip away from her and that's much worse. Not to mention that he took the time to issue her a threat before leaving. The matchbook sits like a weight in her pocket and she's hyper aware of its shape against her torso. She'll figure out what to do about that later.

For now, there's one other thing that's been sitting at the edge of her attention. One other person she's been keeping part of her attention attuned to. Everyone in Wolfhound knows Odessa Price's face, after all. And her list of crimes. It's been difficult, though, to find a moment with Richard alone since they set out. Or Odessa alone, for that matter. So she waits until the others have filtered out of the room, busying herself with checking the crates— not something that has helped her mood, as it turned out. But even so, she doesn't come in hot when she finally gets the pair of them together, without other people milling around.

"Can we talk?" she asks, her attention moving between Richard and Odessa.

As Alia and Kaylee are going through the old crates left by the Institute - to ensure there aren’t any nasty surprises packed away - Richard’s been going through the papers left by his other self, his mood turned pensive and somewhat gloomy in the wake of what they’ve found and what’s occurred there.

He looks up from his brooding research at the question, a brow lifting… and then he notices where the look has moved, to the temporal manipulator and back, a wry smile tugging up at the corner of his lips. “Oh. Yeah. Probably should.”

This is what the exile has been dreading since she learned who Richard had invited on this expedition. It pays to know who's on the roster of government-sanctioned bounty hunters when there's a warrant out for you. Odessa reaches up and straightens out her glasses on her face. She looks meek and vulnerable…

But Berlin has read her file.

"Yes," she murmurs quietly, agreeing with Richard. "I suppose we should." Lost in her thoughts, Odessa stares off into the middle distance for a long moment before bringing her gaze back to Berlin.

Berlin pulls the door shut behind her, stepping into the room more purposefully. She looks over at Odessa, apparently unaffected by the vulnerability there. She has read the file. More than once. But, too, there's nothing like hate there, either. "I'm not here as Wolfhound, officially," she says, eventually. Her gaze moves from Odessa over to Richard, "But I can't just do nothing, either." Her brow furrows as she looks at Richard. It's probably the first time she's had regret over a potential arrest. "I'll have to report it, at least. Seeing her. Even if I just tell Avi— " A frustrated exhale follows. " —He'll tell Hana."

It's something she learned the hard way, how dedicated Avi is to his job.

“I appreciate that you waited until we were done, at least,” Richard allows, a slight smile tugging up at the corner of his lips, “Hana will— I’m afraid— have to be disappointed about losing a bounty.”

He holds up a hand to with-hold protests, “Not because she’s roaming free, but because she’s not. I’ve already negotiated her surrender directly with Director Kenner— as soon as we have the travellers safely through the portal.”

A wry look is slanted over, “And they are not going to hang you, Des, before you start in on that again.”

"I'm facing down my last few days of freedom." In truth, it's something of a relief to know that the running will come to an end. Odessa lifts her chin, not in defiance, but because it helps her muster more bravery than she actually feels.

Her gaze shifts to Richard's, narrowed faintly. She'd rather he didn't share her fears with anyone else, but she'd be foolish not to consider the possibility. "Tell them if you have to. You're doing necessary work." Maybe it comes as a surprise that she wants to see her former comrades apprehended, maybe it doesn't. Odessa looks away again. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry you were put in this position."

"Oh," Berlin says, letting out much of her tension on a heavy exhale, "oh good. That makes this a lot less awkward." Still a little awkward, considering who she is and what she does. And what Odessa did. She looks over at the woman, her head tilting curiously as she looks her over. "I've dealt with a lot of the Institute leftovers. And Humanis First leftovers. Not many come in willingly these days. I don't know why you did what you did or why you're different now, but I hope you're sincere about this."

She glances back toward the shadows on the walls— more specifically, to where she was standing when Samson approached her. "I don't want to have to tell them I let everybody get away."

“They can hardly blame you for that slippery sonuvabitch…” Richard scowls in the direction where the old man was not long before, shaking his head then as he looks back over towards Berlin. He reaches over, a hand brushing to Des’s arm as he says quietly, “I took her in after the war. She’s been doing good work, to help people.”

No excuses given for her past deeds. Just her current ones.

It is awkward. Odessa glances away as Richard's hand brushes over her arm. "I've done what I could with the time that I had to undo some of the wrong I've done." The regret is clear in her tone and her expression – the choices she made during the war aren't ones she's proud of.

"I promise you won't have to go turning rocks over looking for me when this is over," she assures Berlin with a slim smile.

"They won't be mad," Berlin says with a wry, crooked smile, "just disappointed." In truth, her superiors have been understanding about her trip ups lately. But she is still glad not to have to test how far that understanding goes.

She looks between Richard and Odessa, but there is a nod eventually. She spent time convincing ex-Institute people to do something good with their lives; she understands the urge to balance out bad deeds with good ones. "It sounds like you have some people who will speak for you," she says to Odessa, "I haven't see them take anyone to the gallows and we've brought them some real winners. There's gonna be a lot of questions, though. Marathon questioning."

It's meant to be reassuring. It's just a little unpracticed.

Her fingers pull the matchbook out of her pocket, out of an urge to move to the less awkward topic at hand. "Have you heard of someone named Astor Loukas?" She doesn't have to look at the name— it would be hard to forget— but her eyes find the threat written there to linger on instead.

“If they haven’t been hanging anyone, do me a favor and shoot Pete Varlane if you find him,” Richard says a bit deadpan. Speaking of real winners. Then he’s stepping over to Berlin to look at the matchbook, his brow furrowing a little, “No, never heard the name… Des?”

He glances back to the woman, then to Berlin, “Did you find that here?”

“I’m as prepared as I can be,” Odessa responds to the idea of the questioning to come. It won’t be easy, but the right thing rarely is, in her experience. Fortunately, she does find the assurance helpful. It doesn’t erase the tension, but some of her anxiety ebbs - for now.

To the name, Des shakes her head. “No. I’m not familiar with that one. I’m sorry.” She flashes a fleeting smile. “I’d offer to do some digging, but I imagine you’re much better at that than I am.”

"Officially we have to apprehend him along with the others, but I'll keep it in mind," Berlin says, humor lacing her tone. Dark humor, but still.

She frowns a little when neither of them have heard the name before, but it's true that she can manage the research to find out. "No," she says to Richard, "Gray gave it to me. It's who he wants me to heal in exchange for bringing us here. He added a threat, too, for good measure." She rolls her eyes there, as if this were some typical annoying old person thing.

“What the hell?” Richard’s brow knits in confusion at her explanation, glancing to the matchbook, back to Des, then to Berlin again, “Gray doesn’t care about anything, except maybe his son, who the hell is this Astor…? Must be an alias for someone.”

He shakes his head, “Well. Whoever it is, I can’t imagine it’d be as bad as healing him.”

Des’ mouth quirks up in a wry grin. “Threats are just his language.” There was a time where she found that alluring in some fashion. It’s amazing how quickly everything flips once she’s the one on the receiving end of the threats.

There’s a nod of her head at Richard’s assertion. “Whoever it is, I don’t think they can be worse.” Although Des almost crosses her fingers.

"I guess I have some homework to do," Berlin says, looking the matchbook over again before putting it back in her pocket. "See who it is I'm healing." There is an itch at the back of her mind, that maybe this isn't a person at all, but a trap of some kind. But that's been a running theme for her lately, so she pushes that thought to the side. Paranoia. Maybe healthy paranoia, but still.

"I'll let you know if anything interesting comes up," she says, presumably to Richard, "but hopefully it'll be in and out and over with." Best case scenario.

“Let me know,” Richard says with a tip of his head to Berlin, “I got you into all this, after all, and even if it didn’t play out the way I thought…”

His nose wrinkles up in a grimace, and he looks around the room, “We’ve got a lot of work to do, though… and we should get you back to the Safe Zone before I get Hana crawling up my ass about kidnapping her people.”

“That’d be good,” Des remarks about getting back to the Safe Zone. Her grin fades entirely in the time it takes her to finish speaking. She turns toward the exit, her gaze going distant.

“I’ve got some goodbyes to say.”

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