The Next Move


eileen_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title The Next Move
Synopsis Magnes comes to the Remnant for advice.
Date July 15, 2010

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

It's been a while since Magnes has been to the Boat Graveyard, in fact, the last time he was here, it was to meet up with the same individuals he's waiting for right now. He's crouched down in one of the dead boats, watching the area with binoculars as he waits for Eileen and Raith. He's wearing all black, a black long-sleeved shirt with leather gloves, black jeans, and black sneakers. He called Eileen and asked her to bring Raith, as opposed to calling Raith and asking him to bring Eileen, he thought the first would produce better results.

He's waiting and hiding because, well, Russian training is starting to make him a bit paranoid when it comes to clandestine meetings out in the open and potential enemies watching. The rooftops have been checked for snipers, but one never knows.

Magnes isn't left waiting long. He is left waiting, but not as long as he could be: For people that are probably more cautious and paranoid than he is, they arrive in a timely fashion. Raith comes into view from out of the dark night and twisted mess of old steel and garbage first, giving the area around Magnes' hiding a quick look over (even though he's likely already scouted it for an ambush), before glancing back over his shoulder and stating simply, "Clear," to whoever is behind him. It must be Eileen, as neither one of them is in the habit of changing the conditions under which they meet someone unless they think it's a trap. And this rule holds true even in a graveyard where the dreams of fishermen lie alongside their ships.

In contrast to his usual behavior, Raith doesn't come bounding into the clear space between dead hulks with the casual contempt he affords most situations, but instead waits. Apparently, calling Eileen first means that she is in charge of their side of the meeting, and that means she gets to approach Magnes first, even if he has yet to make himself visible.

Eileen emerges a moment later, dressed in neutral shades of gray belonging to a high-collared dress with dark buttons worn over a double-breasted coat of light wool, leather gloves and a pair of boots with tapered toes and flat soles that leave very shallow but distinctive prints in the damp sand.

Moonlight glances off the handle of the cane she carries in her right hand, symbolic of a man that Magnes feels he knows very well but won't recognize in the wolf head's dead eyes. The next time it touches down, she's drawing to a halt half a pace behind Raith, her posture guarded and delicate chin raised. Her caution is understandable to the few who know where she's been the last two weeks and why, but the Englishwoman has always been vigilant. There's nothing unusual about this behaviour.

Standing up slightly, he starts to lowly hop from boat to boat, easily noticable by Eileen and Raith, but barely making a sound or shaking the boats. He lands in front of them, legs bent slightly as he looks from leg to right, then clips his binoculars to his belt and nods to them both. "Hey, glad you could make it. Um, I kind of need advice. See, I left Messiah yesterday, and then I met with Peter today. I smoothed things over with him and Rebel, but I doubt other people are going to be too happy about me leaving. Rupert's already spoken to Elaine and tried to get her to be sympathetic to their group, so I have a few suggestions, but first I'd like to hear your thoughts on the situation."

Raith's response to all these revelations is to say nothing and do nothing except shift his gaze briefly from Magnes to Eileen, and then back again to the second youngest among the three of them. And still, he says nothing, either not totally sure of how to react, or waiting to see what Eileen has to say about it before he puts in his own two cents. He might be as good as a Ferryman, but that doesn't mean he's in the loop on everything that's happening with its operatives and its enemies.

Eileen is silent for the time it takes Raith's eyes to move between them, though hers remain fixed straight ahead, watching the space that she imagines Magnes to occupy based on the familiar sound of his voice and the whisper of smooth gravel beneath his boots. Eventually, her lips curve around a faintly rueful expression and she lowers both her brows at the same time as her lashes, her pale irses eclipsed by shadow. "I wish you'd been given more time with Kazimir," she says finally. "Have you ever played chess, Magnes?"

"A few times, I play a lot of strategy games. Why?" Magnes asks, offering Raith a slight nod in greeting, then slips his hands into his pockets to listen to what Eileen has to say. He trusts her to know what to do, so she's the last person in the world he's gonna interrupt.

"You have an objective: to capture the other player's king." Eileen traces her thumb along the wolf's upper lip, which is bared to expose a mouthful of snarling teeth, each individual point crafted with masterful precision, and when she drags the edge of her nail across its gums, it produces a minute clicking sound. The leather of her gloves creaks. "This is the one secret you don't keep from your opponent because his objective is the same as yours. The only way for you to achieve your goal is through a meticulous sequence of moves that corresponds to your game strategy and keeps him from being able to guess what you're going to do next.

"It's impossible to win a game of chess by advertising these moves in advance. Do you understand?"

"I understand." Magnes' eyes are wide, taking in every word like an apprentice being taught by his master. Except Eileen is the hot oddly intelligent stoic magical girl who's inexplicably younger but smarter. "But, what are you getting at?"

"Imagine you're a ruthless terrorist commander," Raith chimes in, implicitly saying to Eileen, 'Let me try.' "Someone in your cell says they don't like how you're running things and tries to leave. They know how you operate, where your bases and safe houses are, who your other operatives are, and what some of your immediate plans are. As a ruthless terrorist commander, do you think you might now have a very serious operation security risk on your hands?"

Raith's question is largely a rhetorical one. Eileen doesn't let it hang for more than a few moments before she's following up with a much gentler, "If you can't convince someone to see things from your point of view, it's best that you keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself so they can't be used against you later. Had you come to me a few days ago, I'd have told you not to quit. Being a part of Messiah gave you an intimate understanding of its structure, and if you disagreed with the way Petrelli and Carmichael were running things, you could have used inside information to sabotage their efforts from within."

"I'm sorry, I just… I thought I was doing what I needed to do. And anyway, I did sabotage one of their missions, and they had a conversation recorded between me and Veronica. Peter and Rebel played it for me, so I just told them the truth of how I felt. I didn't lie to them, I laid it out, I mean I didn't go telling secrets, but you know what i mean. It seems like everything is fine, but I'm really suspicious, I'm a lot suspicious lately since Sasha started training me. He gives… lectures, with examples." Magnes shivers a bit at the things he learns from the Russian, then gets back on track and nods. "So what should my next move be? Too late to change the past. I think we need to do something about Messiah people just waltzing into Gun Hill."

"Next, you should start keeping in mind that Mishka's brain is halfway to Tuna Helper. Trademark. And maybe instead of worrying about Messiah people waltzing into Gun Hill, you should worry about the possibility of being seen with Ferry operatives. You know, people that you might tell secrets to. People that have to be silenced before word gets back to the people in charge." Normally, this might be the part where Raith takes his sunglasses off to emphasize how serious he is. Tonight, however, he's not wearing any, meaning he's already serious. "By quitting Messiah, you may have just made yourself radioactive. You know what I mean?"

"Jensen." It's not quite a reprimand, but Eileen's meaning is clear. Enough. Her thumb comes to rest between the wolf's ears and she purses her lips into a thin line that conveys both sympathy and disapproval in equal measure. "I've spoken with Carmichael," she says, "and he's given me no reason to believe that he's foolish enough to compromise Messiah's relationship with the Ferry by targeting its operatives whether he believes you're feeding us information or not. Our support, if we choose to give it, is too valuable to risk losing."

As for the safehouse— "By forbidding Carmichael from setting foot in Gun Hill, we expose its importance to the network. It's possible that he already knows, and safest that we operate under the assumption he does, but there's nothing to gain from turning him away at the door. Even if we were to refuse him entry, he'd find some other way of contacting Elaine.

"There is no next move. Not yet."

"And, you probably don't know yet, Raith, but I joined the Ferry as an infiltration mission for Messiah. I was supposed to take Liette back to them. So they already know who I'm with." Magnes sighs, a mixture of relief and exasperation, looking up at the not-so-clear sky. It's never clear in the city, even when it is. "Alright, no next move, so… I just go about like everything's normal? And, are you going to keep me in the loop? I know by now my loyalty to a group is probably questionable, but you never have to question my loyalty to you, Eileen. I look up to you, I didn't just wanna date you for the stripper outfit. I trust you and your judgment."

Magnes isn't the only one who trusts Eileen's judgment, if the fact that Raith isn't going on the attack at the mention of Liette: Even he must admit to slowly growing attached to her. But trusting Eileen's judgment or not, he doesn't let Magnes off without a warning, raising two fingers to point to his eyes before he redirects them to point to the younger man. After that, he raises both his fist and curls his fingers to form fists, causing his knuckles to crack as he does. It's as clear a warning as anybody could hope to receive.

"Dispose of your phone," Eileen suggests. "There's no reason for Rebel to stop monitoring your communications now that you're no longer a part of Messiah. If anything, he's going to be watching you more closely. If you have to speak with someone like Sawyer, conduct the meeting face-to-face and don't tell them any more than they absolutely need to know. In the highly unlikely event that someone from Messiah asks to see you, be it Peter, Carmichael, or anyone else — even Claire — come to me first."

Wind catches the branches in the trees where the shoreline meets the sparse forest beyond the graveyard and momentarily shifts Eileen's attention from Magnes to something unseen in the dark. Whatever it is, it must not be a threat because she isn't stepping behind Jensen for cover in spite of the tension winding its way through her small, svelte frame.

"I can promise that I'll do everything in my power to keep both you and Elaine safe," she says, "and to share with you any information I learn that I feel is important for you to know. As Kazimir did for me."

"Thanks, Eileen. And I didn't bring my phone, I know better. I learned about Rebel's limitation while I was in Messiah, so it's been a little easier to talk. See, he can only be in electronics that can receive information, so if you simply unplug a television, or keep your computer on but don't plug it into the internet, provided it doesn't have wi-fi capability, he can't get into it. That's why on the last mission, one of our objectives were to put a virus into a computer, before I sabotaged it for Veronica." Magnes begins his slow ascent into the air, but idles a bit in case Eileen has more to add. "I promise, Eileen, I'll follow your orders to the letter. Oh, and I'd like you to meet with Elaine when you have the time. I think Rupert's made her a bit sympathetic to Messiah. If she's going to be sympathetic to a group, I'd much rather her join the Ferry, and I'd like you to, well… put everything into perspective, so she understands why she should stay out of Messiah."

"Leave it to her," is Raith's plain reply towards the floating Magnes, "You worry about staying out of trouble. I mean it." He doesn't add or do anything else. Not even fold his arms across his chest. The surest sign, if anything, that Eileen is the one presently in charge of things, not him.

Eileen acknowledges Magnes' request with her eyes rather than with words. Going blind hasn't detracted much from the expressiveness, glassy though they are. There's nothing left to say that Raith hasn't said already.

Magnes stares hard into Eileen's eyes for a moment. He's been blind in one eye, and has seen quite a few people blinded, but he'll ask questions another time. "Good night, I have to Rebel proof my apartment." are his parting words, offering a wave, then flying up until he's vanished into the night sky.

Up, up, and away. And all that occurs to Raith to do at that moment is to turn to Eileen and inform her, "The more that kid learns about not getting us in trouble, the more he sucks at it. I think we should erase his memory. Logically, this will turn him into the greatest one-man spy agency the world has ever known. And maybe cause him to stop dressing badly, but I'm not counting on that one."

Memory erasure is perhaps not the best thing to joke about in Eileen's presence. She turns her head to fix Raith with a look that comes off colder than she probably intends.

"Oh, don't be so British." Ha. Raith gives one final glance around and, at least for the moment, is satisfied.

"Let's go home," is the final thought one what they ought to do for the moment, and the ex-spy places a hand on his companion's shoulder to beginning guiding her away from the graveyard of ships. "Gabriel's going to get cranky if we're gone too much longer."

The hand on her shoulder is something Eileen initially allows. Using Gabriel as an excuse to return to the Dispensary is a little less forgivable, though she doesn't resist except to raise her cane, using its grip to knock his wrist away as she turns, dissolves back into shadow.

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