The Most Pragmatic Solution


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Scene Title The Most Pragmatic Solution…
Synopsis … is not always the ideal one.
Date April 28, 2010

Greenwich Village

In a time that seems long ago, Greenwich Village was known for its bohemian vibe and culture, the supposed origin of the Beat movement, filled with apartment buildings, corner stores, pathways and even trees. There was a mix of upper class and lower, commercialism meeting a rich culture, and practically speaking, it was largely residential.

Now, it's a pale imitation of what it used to be. There is a sense of territory and foreboding, as if the streets aren't entirely safe to walk. It isn't taken care of, trash from past times and present littering the streets, cars that had been caught in the explosion lie like broken shells on the streets nearest the ground zero. Similarly, the buildings that took the brunt of the explosion are left in varying degrees of disarray. Some are entirely unusable, some have missing walls and partial roofs, and all of the abandoned complexes have been looted, home to squatters and poorer refugees.

As one walks through the Village, the damage becomes less and less obvious. There are stores and bars in service, and apartment buildings legitimately owned and run by landlords. People walk the streets a little freer, but like many places in this scarred city… anything can happen. Some of the damage done to buildings aren't all caused by the explosion from the past - bullet holes and bomb debris can be seen in some surfaces, and there is the distinct impression that Greenwich Village runs itself… whether people like it that way or not.

Many things aren't functioning, with the weather so icily foul and the ground so curs'd with snow, but some things still are. Like newspapers. And the vendor selling them not too far from the Verb on 4th Street in Greenwich Village. A woman of five feet eight inches makes her way to it, money held in a gloved hand. Her mouth and nose are covered by a scarf, her body by a parka with the hood up and drawn tight. Feet are in very wintry boots.

Reaching her destination, Cat looks at the operator and lets out a quiet laugh. "Wasn't sure you'd still be out here. Glad you are, though." She pauses to drink from the coffee cup held in hand, its contents were hot when she left the Verb just minutes before but are now a temperature safe to drink without scalding her mouth.

"Weather's good for one thing," she comments, "cools coffee fast. Just step outside, wait two minutes. I need the usual." New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Times of London, and the one she secretly owns. New Voice Newspaper.

Even in the freezing cold and foul weather, people have a way of fading in and out of the New York street scene as natural as trout through a stream or — pigeons through central park, when they aren't busy freezing to death in the trees instead.

Granted, Vincent's way of coming and going is more fluid than most. He begins as an accumulation of sooty smoke turning slowly over itself somewhere in the blank stretch behind Cat's heels, only to rise up all at once, scratch in an unsteady flicker and flush of tenuous density, and condense again a second time. Whether or not the newspaper man (or anyone else) notices doesn't seem to be of tremendous concern to him.

Also 5'8", he's in a dark coat over a dark suit with a knit cap and gloves to match, as bundled up as he cares to be when he spends most of his time out here as a vaporous entity largely impervius to discomfort. "That's a lot of newspaper."

"Agent Lazzaro," Cat greets a few seconds later without turning around to face him, while the vendor hands over the goods and she pays. "Thanks," she offers, turning away then to head for the Verb and warmer confines.

"It is," she agrees regarding the publications, "but then most people aren't me. Spend a bit of time looking at them, enough to have seen each one fully, and process at a more leisurely pace." Then her head tilts. "You live nearby, I guess? Or you came around to speak with me."

"Doctor Chesterfield." Formality comes naturally, without irony or pause in posture or tone while Lazzaro looks her over from behind, as blase to her lack of a flinch as she was to his initial appearance behind her. "I lie behind stars and under hills. If you're after anything more specific than that you will have to forgive me if I decline; this is the longest I've managed to go without a single leaflet of junk mail."

A half-smiled forced past Cat for the newspaper man's benefit seems to do the trick there. He goes back about his business and so does Vincent, already following naturally at Chesterfield's shoulder. "I'm here to address a few of your extracurricular activies, actually. Specifically the ones involving boats."

"Boats," Cat replies dryly while walking at a pace which allows him to remain alongside as they converse. "I've got one or two of those. A few snowmobiles, and some cars too." She may be speaking in allegory or being serious. Perhaps both. "Does Secretary Praeger wish to borrow one of my watercraft?" She pauses, taking a few more steps in silence.

"Or, maybe, is it Agent Kershner? Maybe both of them." Her tone is musing now.

"While I certainly have no objection to the idea of Agent Kershner's applebottom bouncing along on a seadoo in a bikini, with all due respect, you are having this conversation with me." Vincent Lazzaro. Who may also be in the Department of Evolved Affairs or something like that. Who can keep track with all the acronyms floating around these days.

Curt without ever being outright rude, he's quiet for a moment in his measured pace at her side, left right left. Not quite military, but near enough and short enough to be used to walking quickly. "I was in contact with a man named Brennan about a package I believe is still in your possession. It's my understanding that he's since been compromised."

"Doctor Brennan," Cat replies without betraying sentiment regarding the man, "may have gone on a trip to an institute rather unexpectedly. If so, any package he had may still be on a boat somewhere." Her mind is at work. What exactly were he and Brennan discussing?

"Yes. It's my understanding that most trips to the Institute begin unexpectedly." Patient because he's paid to be — sometimes — Vincent looks Cat over again. Sideways this time, eyes coal black and measuring. "He never told me anything about you or yours. Only that she was being looked after. I had hoped I might depend on you to do the same."

She's speculative for some moments, regarding the man, before apparently opting to cease with the allegory. Cat does, however, ensure there's no one close enough to overhear. Not a hard thing with all the snow and cold, it tends to keep streets void of pedestrians for the most part.

"There's no intention of letting anyone slip into the hands of the Institute, Agent Lazzaro. Though it does present a dilemma. Her sister, it seems, has ability to influence the weather. All of this," she indicates the general frozen status of the city around them, "is her doing. Ostensibly because she misses her sister, and Doctor Jean Luis is doing nothing to stop it. He, to wit, threatens to make it worse unless Liette is returned to him. Added to that, a man named Doctor Broome claims if Liette isn't returned, there will be a general hunting party sent. One that takes no prisoners."

Lazzaro listens as carefully as could be expected. Which is to say: very. Every name, every insinuation. Every communicated threat. Surprise doesn't show often on his Italian mug and it doesn't show there now, contained to a protracted stare and some stiffness to the line of his shoulders while he watches her speak and then for some time after she's spoken.

He doesn't have to spend his time speculating so much as he does choosing his own words very carefully. Very. Carefully. "If worsening weather is the best they have to hold over your heads short of brutality, surely it has occurred to you that the most direct path to Spring is to reunite the sisters."

"Yes," Cat agrees, "the larger question is how to free the other sister from the Institute. I don't believe for any stretch of time it'd be good to return Liette to them. Whatever they need or want her for would be worse than this extended winter. I believe they intend eventually to intern all people with the SLC." She glances at her coffee cup, which no longer holds coffee. The contents have become mocha colored ice.

"It could be they're bluffing as to the weather. I don't believe they bluff about the hunting party. The best thing, I believe, would be if the Fournier girls were publicly reunited with their bio-parents in such a way as to tie the Institute's hands and not result in people being made to disappear."

"Awfully ambitious of them," delivered offhand, Vincent betrays no reaction beyond a lift of his brow. No alarm or skepticism traces into the lines around his eyes. He just watches her, pitchy eyes unfathomable, not unlike a dog too well fed to be bothered with nipping after sparrows and squirrels.

His breath fogs thin in the spaces in between exchanges, first through his mouth and later through his nose when his lungs start to sting. Thinking. "From what Doctor Brennan had to tell me and from the way I'm gradually losing sensation in my extremeties right now, I don't believe anything concerning the weather is a bluff. Unfortunately I have no information regarding the girls' lineage or origin."

There's a papery flip once he's reached into his coat, cold-numb glove rasping at cardstock to retrieve his own name and number. "I have a vested interest in maintaining a better status quo than the one we are currently standing in, and I cannot help your cause so much as I can offer the occasional piece of advice. In this case, I advise that you consider taking action sooner rather than too much later. Also that you keep in mind that the most pragmatic solution is not always the ideal one."

Her features briefly show a thin smile, as she takes the card. "If you like, I'm going inside. Come with me." Cat's steps approach the Verb's entrance, they pause there to see if he'll indeed come out of the cold. "The most pragmatic solution is to serve forth the girl, and deal with whatever comes after as best we can and must. It's not ideal. I would hope it doesn't happen. We do, however, know who her parents are pending confirmation by testing DNA." The card is glanced at and handed back. She's seen the data it holds.

"From your own words, you desire her not to enter Institute hands. Has that evaporated in the face of things?"


For the first time Vincent shows some external ghost of being caught off-guard by news of actual progress via DNA testing while he takes the card back. It's in a knit of his brows, too quick and too questioning to be calculated. Also his, "Then — you must have had some idea of who you were looking for," while he lingers on the Verb's threshold is telling, card still in hand. Mainly because he didn't. And so far as he knows, neither did anyone else.

"Nevermind. I shouldn't." He isn't going in. In fact, he glances over his shoulder as if temporarily unwary of how close he'd gotten to doing so. "I'm glad the girl has made it this far. And while I'd be the last to advocate a prolonged return to her captors, I have arranged for at least one contingency. Unless, of course, you already know where they are located as well."

Which is, unfortunately, about the same time he lifts gloved hands in vague acknowledgement of the fact that she may well be a step ahead of him there too and falls away into smoke.

As she watches the man turn to smoke and blow away, Cat is left to wonder at things. She had earlier decided he works for DoEA and not Kershner, or is freelancing, believing if he's with the Institute as she suspects Sarisa is, he'd not have needed to approach her. Though it remains possible the Institute bluffs and sent Vincent to find out if it worked, she finds it unlikely.

As further evidence to that: his apparent not knowing who the Fournier girls were spawned from. The Institute would know Lorraine is free, though not by whose actions. She realizes this might have been given away if he is Institute, but it goes back to the previous conclusion. Not likely.

What contingency? Where who are located? Questions she ponders, not quite sure of his meaning. In she goes, her immediate task not to memorize those paper but instead to thoroughly advise Noah Bennet and Eileen Spurling of the contact.

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