The Future


lancaster_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title The Future
Synopsis Vincent and Lancaster almost discuss it.
Date September 20, 2010

An aquarium

The aquarium hasn't actually opened yet.

There is an investigation ongoing, you see. One involving possible claims of an unregistered Ichthyotelepath wreaking havoc on everything in the shark tank that isn't a shark.

Even now bits of fleshy white drift lazily through the circulating current, an occasional glitter of spent scales dazzling under cold light after the sluggish turn of a Sand Tiger's tail. The great, sprawling window of the tank is more or less blue; darker green here and there behind the guard rail that does little to reduce the number of greasy handprints smashed against the glass.

The observation room is blue as well, heavy saturation blacking the otherwise sooty grey of Agent Lazzaro's suit while he waits. And watches, manilla file folder poised against the rail in his right hand, briefcase anchored under the turn of his left into his pocket. Somewhere behind a near wall there is scraping to round out the occasional clap of a hammer. Evidently this has become a costly enough problem to warrant the introduction of covert cameras.

Lancaster's shadow glides ahead of her, a lot more quiet than the clap of her footfalls as she meanders down the mildly sloped ground, having managed to find a pair of arguably feminine boots that fit her, a minor heel and a pointed toe, with a denim hem stuffed into the tops of it of slate-grey jeans. Snow-white button up beneath a leather jacket, thick enough to withstand the chillier edge of the fall winds, or maybe motorcycle riding, though her hands a bare and currently tucked into pockets.

Her brows lift in hey of greeting, the light tone of her windswept hair seeming to soak up the aqua reflections from the tank, the watery illumination that bounces off equally blue wall and floor. "Howdy," seems a valid greeting, eyes of a lesser blue dancing from Vincent's darker stare to manila folder.

"This place is cursed. Or at least flagged as a site of pre-Petrelli Evo activity. Someone fucked up the underwater tunnely thing, took a month to get it safe again. It was written up as an earthquake. By an idiot."

Even a minor heel is enough to dwarf Vincent even more than usual, which is probably not the reason he looks back and sideways to her boots first. The issue of height difference likely does not factor into his approval. Or the delay between him noticing aforementioned boots and then noticing the rest of her. His grip tightens subtly around the folder's crisp edge and he clears his throat, already dark countenance shadowed further by the passage of something ominously toothy and torpedo-shaped.

"The entire city is cursed, by that standard," isn't the cheeriest of return greetings, for all that it may be the truthiest. "I was hoping you could look at something for me."

She comes to a halt of amicable distance, click click go heels of settling in place. "Is it flammable?" Not really a question posed for the sake of real answer — though in some circumstances! Maybe. Not this one, with all this water looming around them in the form of giant blue blocks with shadows drifting through. The bracket lines of a smirk indicate jest, Lancaster holding out both hands, now, fingers wiggling in invitation of gimme. She sees that file, raises Vincent a peek.

"Potentially," says Vincent in a dryly foreboding kind of way, brows level and the rest of his expression much the same. There's no smoking allowed in here, obviously, but the regular CCTV is disconnected to accomodate the upgrade and he could use the buzz, so. The same movement that grants her the file folder retrieves a box of cigarettes from his pocket. Also a lighter, so that he can do his thing while she does hers.

The folder itself isn't very thick — home only to a few matte printouts far from photograph quality. They're more like enhanced screen captures, actually. Something that looks like a coffin lying open in the snow. A close up on various tubes and other intricacies built into the interior. A blurrier shot of a pale woman with bat-like arms outstretched, long fingers threaded through all manner of IVs and wiring. Her face is a mess of deliberately distorted pixils.

And speaking of faces, as Vincent kicks that first full of smoke out through his sinuses, he is watching Lancaster's very, very closely.

She might be expecting to read, the way lines write into her forehead when confronted instead with imagery. More telling than what she expresses is what she doesn't — for instance, Adrianne Lancaster does not look confused by what she's seeing, and there is a quick and telling dart of her eyes from corner to corner, to find a date or mark, citation, something, before she squares her focus back on pixilated face. Displeasure curls her lip, and with a matter of fact gesture, she goes to flick through the rest of the captures, glancing over their blank backs.

"Cool movie," is wry, flat, not yet looking up at him.


More glad for the cigarette than he had hoped he would have to be, Vincent rolls it from one corner of his mouth to the other instead of blinking. A few seconds more of too-intent observation and his eyes slide boot black back onto the shark tank. He looks more serious than she's likely seen him before. Also more worn out, which may be becoming a theme lately.

"I wasn't aware they'd made it into one."

"It's gonna be a blockbuster." With a papery whisper, the file is shut, clamped closed with strong fingers before Lancaster casts a teeth-showing smile at the DoEA agent, gaze narrowed enough that it's difficult to see eye colour through unpainted eyelashes, although her focus is very intent now, in turn. She fans herself with manila folder, absent and thoughtfully at the same time, as she considers the definition of weariness in his expression, his posture. "Where'd you get it, Vince?" sounds like a serious question in turn.

Ash tapped carefully off onto the crest of the rail rather than down onto worn carpet, Vincent just looks at her. There's little in the way of white around his eyes, hooded brow, heavy lids and long lashes of his own blotting out hard edges and detail alike. He doesn't seem happy, for all that the corners of his mouth never actually turn down.

Damnit. Lancaster's mouth goes into a line, and there is a twitch of manila folder— that is followed by her thwacking it down on bald head, papery thwip! just loud enough to bounce back at them, although not enough to rival distant sounds of camera implanting, or the grind and whine of some machine that— god knows, keeps the water cold or warm or fishy. One of the photographs drifts free.

"Fine, you ask questions."

Vincent flinches.

He also collapses automatically into inky vapor and reconstitutes again in place nearly as quickly, irritation more bleakly himself when he has eyes with which to give her a dirty look sideways and holds one hand out as if to request the file back. Because she can't be trusted not to hit him with it. Clearly.

"How long have you known?" seems like a decent starter, more accusatory in nature than it is in tone. If only because he chooses that precise moment to plug his cigarette back into his mouth while he eyes her.

Lancaster isn't sure she wants to give it back!! This can be seen in the talon grip of her fingers on the cardboard, enough to bend it, and the way she's not giving it back and all, though she has no particular worry about the copy lying flimsy on the ground of the aquarium. Maybe not until she knows where it came from, or maybe never, or maybe just doesn't see his hand out for the folder over the glare she's giving him. At least, Vincent isn't starting to smoke. Of the non-nicotine kind.

"How long have you known, shortie?" is an attempt to deflect some iota of blame, for whatever there is to be accused of. Knowing seems bad enough. "All this shit's as new as Petrelli's administration, maybe a little greener. I got some idea about it when I jumped enough hoops not to get penalised for setting things on fire, which was, oh, early 2009, which is when it got into swing."

Lancaster isn't sure she wants to give it back. In the unlikely event this is because she hasn't seen his hand yet, Vincent keeps it there, steady and square, little hairs black at the turn of his wrist save for where the usual scar wraps pale towards his knuckles. His own glare back at her set like flints of obsidian into his skull, he listens the way people do when it's important to hear and examine everything. Because it is. Important.

His free hand draws the cigarette away again.

"Tiers can be reorganized. Standards adjusted. Rewritten." Something she's surely had time to think about on her own. He certainly has. "I've known for a couple've months, Butter Roll. Long enough to know no one has any intention of telling me."

She could make him jump for it, but that might also land her a punch in the kidney, and she doesn't want to have then kick his nose with her pointy boots. The folder is now flopped over, wiggled up and down, but ultimately there for the grabbing without much theatre involved. "This is the Department of Defense's little project," Lancaster points out. "Before Evo Affairs got its own office space. It was meant to be dealing with the containment of people who can't be easily contained, after their first crack at it failed and stopped existing. I don't know much, so stop looking at me like that.

"I will say that if they're getting sloppy enough to leak their information far enough to come full circle, it's really not my problem."

Vincent does not look likely to stop looking at her 'like that,' ears swept back from his skull at a disagreeable point and spine straight despite the tired suspension of his shoulders. "You realize we're discussing a potentially significant proportion of the Evolved population being filed away into six-sided boxes," he presses after a beat, file reclaimed while eye contact is stolidly retained. "You realize that."

There is a flicker of something reflected in steel-blue eyes — kind of like resentment, but where it's directed is up for interpretation. A pause that slings weighty between them, a restless sort of pace to the left, back to centre, predatorial unease.

"Their first try got razed to the ground by Evolved terrorists, back when it was just bars and bad food. Hundreds of criminals got scattered across the country, some somehow across the world — I was part of the round up when they started shooting up flags overseas. It was a nightmare." Her hands, empty, clean, turn out. "I want to say this is their reactionary bullshit to a severe fuck up. You think I like it? Come on. Guy like you, you've probably taken a look at my Registration history, the bits that aren't in some little metal safe somewhere."

"Adrianne," says Vincent, flatly, reasonably, almost imploringly — although imploring for what, exactly, is hard to tell. Most likely even a severe globetrotting fuck up is not enough to warrant such a literal take on the idea of pigeonholing a problem. He scratches his thumb along his temple and snuffs his cigarette out against the railing with the same hand. This is somehow much more fucked up than he imagined it would be.

He's done the reading, as she says. No doubt in the up and down glance he gives her before he stoops to collect the missing page from earlier. "Do you think Praeger knows?"

By time he's straightened up, Lancaster has managed to wrestle in the urge for full blown pacing, and has her arms folded, fingers fanned and clenched on either inner elbow. "There's a lot that man knows," she notes, sudden glibness, gaze switching away to look at the fishies herself, this time. It probably doesn't have to do with the direction of her power. Probably. "But I dunno. I'm not good at politicians."

The capture goes into the file. The files goes into his briefcase, silver latches clicked open clack clack one after the other so that he can slide it in amongst more mundane material. A largeish ray glides flan-like across the glass, oval wings undulating all aflutter. One of only two remaining that hasn't fallen victim to the suddenly excessively viscious sharks.

"Did you see anything? In June?" is a departure. Likely related, owing to the way he's focused on the process of closing his briefcase more slowly than he opened it when he asks.

"Just the future," is spoken dismissively, leaning back on her heels to angle him a quick grin. Teeth misaligned a little when Lancaster juts jaw sideways, somewhat, gaze sweeping him over again. "Nothing any man is meant to bear witness to, and I'll leave that to your imagination. Also something about responding with a fleet of FRONTLINErs to the New York situation. What are you gonna do now?"

"I'm not sure," is an honest answer. Lazzaro slants a half smile back at her, not all that happily, and levers his briefcase out of its rest against the railing. It feels heavier than it did when he carried it in. "I could buy you a cup of coffee."

A line creases between her eyes when she makes a face, but it gets smoothed out by a rub of her hand up her cheek, long fingers creeping a digit along the bridge of her nose. In terms of next moves in response to people-coffins, clandestine fuckery and politics— coffee probably isn't the worst step one. "Affirmative." Lancaster casts one last fascinated glance towards a piece of fishy entrails bumping gently against the glass, before moving off the way she came with the expectation she's not walking alone.

"Okay," says Vincent. Okay. He falls into step after her at a shorter clip that is also faster by necessity, killers of the deep abandoned with little more than a distracted glance back before they are officially off. To get coffee. Dread briefcase in tow.

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