The Price We Paid


cyrus_icon.gif jared_icon.gif

Scene Title The Price We Paid
Synopsis A lawyer and a former terrorist come to terms with the new state of the world.
Date December 7, 2019

An electronic buzz precedes the clatter of a steel barred door sliding open.

A uniformed police officer on the other side of the wire-mesh partition flicks a look down to the plastic badge hanging off of a crisp suit’s lapel, then back up. “Down the hall, first door on the right,” he says plainly to the guest. A sign on the concrete block wall to the right reads NYPD DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS HOLDING FACILITY, BROOKLYN. It’s an old sign, faded around the edges, rusted where the screws pass through the metal of it into the wall.

Jared Harrison has been here before, twenty-seven years ago, when he represented a New York land owner accused of illegally refusing to rent to non-white clients. It was one of those cases that never sat well with him, where he was clearly on the wrong side of the courtroom, and one of the cases he lost handily. It’s hard to say whether Jared intentionally tanked his own defense, but some small part of him has always hoped that he did. Perhaps that’s not becoming of a good lawyer. He’d argue it’s becoming of a good person, instead.

Coming down the halls of this holding facility, Jared turns the corner as instructed and arrives at a battleship gray door with a narrow window in it. His client sits on the other side, hands folded and shoulders slouched, bearded and long-haired, looking grizzled in the way lone wolf terrorists usually do when depicted by movies or television.

According to the charges laid against him, Cyrus Karr is all of those things.

NYPD Holding Facility
Red Hook, NYC Safe Zone
December 7th
10:03 am

When the door to the small interrogation room opens, Cyris Karr sits up straight and levels a suspicious look at Jared. He moves his hands enough for the cuffs around them to rattle and the chain running through a steel loop on the table to clatter noisily. There’s recognition in Cyrus’ eyes, even if Jared has never met him face to face.

“There’s no fucking way you’re my state-appointed attorney,” Cyrus says with a crook of one brow up, watching Jared come through the door and shut it behind himself. In the corner of the room a security camera whirrs quietly. But there’s no two-way mirror in here, just concrete block walls and a steel door.

"You're correct," Jared replies mildly, moving to set the leatherbound folio he carries with him on the table as he lowers himself into the chair across from the man. "I've been retained to represent you by an interested third party. Would you prefer the state-appointed attorney?"

Sharp blue eyes pin the other man in place as Jared awaits the answer. He's here because it's a family request. And Richard asks very few things of him.

Nnno,” is Cyrus’ slurred response, shifting his weight back as he leans against the uncomfortable metal chair. “I’m just— a little surprised is all.” For good reason, too. The paperwork contained in Jared’s briefcase doesn’t paint a good picture for Cyrus Karr’s future. Back when the civil war ended and the interim American government was established, one of the first things it did was offer conditional amnesty to freedom fighting organizations like the Ferrymen, Phoenix, and the like who was operating against the US Government prior to the onset of the civil war. It was meant to be a catch-all grandfathering in exemptions from serious federal crimes under one specific condition: that they’re done.

Every single person exonerated for their alleged crimes against the US Government had to sign documentation indicating that they have agreed to cease all hostilities against the United States and within its borders and to operate within the rule of law. Thousands of signatories from multiple organizations wrote their name on the dotted line and in that one liberating moment signed their own victory statement. It was an agreement that the war was over, that the fighting had concluded, and that it was now a time of peace. Jared’s own daughter had to sign one of those forms before she was released from holding in Kansas City after her interdimensional crossing. Jared had to sign one of those forms for his involvement with Redbird Security Solutions and the Endgame organization.

All the war heroes signed.


“This is about doing a terrorism, isn’t it?” Cyrus asks with a lopsided tongue-in-cheek tone, folding his cuffed hands together in front of himself.

Cyrus Karr and most of the other members of the freedom-fighting group known as the Guardians refused to sign the accords. They fled west into the Dead Zone to build their own lives, to live by their own means, and make a statement to the world that no government was worthy of unconditional trust. Cyrus was seen as a renegade even among his own people, though, and in time he was peacefully ousted from leadership by April Silver and some members of the Guardians conceded to signing the accords. But Cyrus and his most loyal didn’t, out of principle, and perhaps out of spite toward a government that had never done a thing for them.

For the last near decade, Cyrus had been in the Dead Zone and the government had been content to leave him there for the time being. No standing orders for arrest were ever given, no bounties, even when Wolfhound visited them for intelligence there was no bad blood. But now that Cyrus has found himself in the middle of a federal operation, the spotlight is back on him. In theory he could walk out these doors a free man at any time, with Jared backing up his story that he was keeping an eye on the Triad.


“An’ I ain’t signing that form,” Cyrus says with a nod to Jared’s briefcase.

Except Cyrus Karr is an obstinate butthead.

He's not the first obstinate butthead Jared has dealt with. "Well, you do have that option," he replies mildly. "Of course, at that point, there's not a lot I'm going to be able to do for you, but I'll still represent you to the best of my ability and try to keep your time behind bars to a minimum. I don't have a horse in the race when it comes to what you choose to do — my fee is covered by RayTech, the CEO of which has chosen to help where he can due to old ties and loyalties." Richard Ray apparently feels he owes something to the Guardians.

Leaning his elbows on the table, the lawyer tells him, "Look. As it stands right now, we are in position to assist you in getting out of here by backstopping your mission to keep an eye on the Triad. Normally that alone would be enough, but because you got picked up, they're looking too closely at you to get you out of here without signing the form." Of course, what he chooses to do after he signs it is on him. "If you decide you won't, we'll have to play it by ear in terms of pleas and what have you."

Fucker,” is Cyrus’ mumbled response. Not about Jared, but about the system in general. He slouches back into his metal chair, tilting his head back to stare up at the ceiling. “They make me sign that, and I just go back to doing what I was doing, maybe they decide the next time there’s no trial and I just go behind bars.” He lifts his head forward again, looking across the table to Jared, just watching him for a few minutes. It takes that time for Cyrus to puzzle together the connection with Raytech, with Richard’s visit out to the Dead Zone all that while ago.

“D’you know why I joined the Guardians?” Cyrus asks Jared, and it’s an entirely rhetorical question. “I got nabbed, runnin’ from some cops. Picked up by the Company and thrown into a dark hole in the ground for sixteen months. Sixteen months, pops. They had me intubated, drugged so much I couldn’t walk. Hiro Nakamura saved me, showed me I had a purpose. Showed me that the government can’t be trusted.” He taps a finger down on the table. “It doesn’t matter what face it wears, what smile it’s got, it’s the machine and the machine eats people like me.”

Leaning back in his seat again, Cyrus exhales a frustrated snort. “I need you t’do me a lawyer favor,” is the next thing out of his mouth, and it’s clear Cyrus isn’t well educated on the judicial system. “I had an old man with me, Marty Pines.” Martin. But the name is one Jared was told of. “Some alphabet agency sprung him after they booked him, see-saw or some bullshit like that.” SESA. That part, Jared wasn’t aware of. Pines would have been the next person he was to speak to. “I need t’know he’s okay, and if Richie Rich wants t’do me a solid? You tell him Pines was safe, but now he’s in the wind with some government lady named Shaw.”

Cyrus leans forward, resting his cuffed hands on the table. “So, all that said, what d’you think my prognosis is, doc?”

Addressing the favor first, Jared simply nods. "I'll let Richard know. He was pretty worried about Mr. Pines as well — that was going to be my next stop after you."

He does not know why Cyrus joined the Guardians, though he has his theories. Cyrus's words pretty much confirm the primary one. Jared purses his lips as he addresses the rest. "I can't honestly tell you that you're wrong, Mr. Karr." He wishes he could. "I can tell you I spent the years of the war working with and writing the new laws with Ms. Chesterfield and others. And even with the people who I know have the best interests of the country at heart now in charge, I can also tell you that I too am still watchful and wary. But at some point, unless you think full-on anarchy is the answer, there has to be a structure.

"Here's where you stand at this moment. Had you not been picked up in the Safe Zone, it's highly probable they would have just left you alone and ignored you. Because you've been picked up in the Safe Zone, you have two options. Option 1: You don't want to sign the agreement. That's your right. You'll likely be brought up on federal charges linked to past actions, and you're facing significant jail time. It has the potential to be a life sentence. I'll argue as hard as I can to reduce it as much as possible. I may have some favors I can call in to help. But ultimately your refusal to agree to not fight the sitting government as an insurrectionist or terrorist or whatever they call it will result in the judge most likely throwing the book at you as hard as he or she can, just to make an example of you for refusing.

"Option 2: You sign the agreement. It is really nothing more than a statement that you are not taking up arms against the government. You are likely at that point exonerated for all past actions. You go back out in the world with little or no jail time — primarily because I can argue that you were watching the Triad under contract and just in the wrong place at the wrong time when the raid happened. And that you were protecting Mr. Pines because his life was in danger. Unless you're actively planning a coup against the US Government, I'd highly recommend taking this option. It gives you amnesty from past actions— " like blowing up buildings and shit, "—and currently the Guardians aren't acting against the US Government." At least not overtly. "And if such a time comes as revolution is required again?" God help us all. "Well… they'd have to find you first." His tone is a little grim, but he's being honest.

It’s a bitter pill for Cyrus to swallow, the reality of his predicament. In the old days, he smugly waited in a cell for someone like Hiro Nakamura to come and bust him out. But those days are gone, Hiro Nakamura is dead, and the world has moved on past the days of his revolution. Most personally, the world has moved on past the only purpose he’s ever known. That may be part of what hurts him so much about this. The only world that’s ever made sense to him was one defined by violence and open rebellion. He was never a particularly adept leader, never a strategist, he has always relied on cooler heads to make those decisions and now… he’s alone.

Running a hand through his hair, Cyrus finally looks up from the table to Jared. “One question,” he says, eyes wandering the room, not looking for anything in particular. “You’ve been on this side of the table, you signed.” His eyes find Jared again, and it’s only now the older man can see the nervousness in Cyrus’ eyes.

“D’you think this world that piece of paper promises is real?” The question isn’t rhetorical. Cyrus wants to know one thing, and one thing only. Does Jared Harrison truly believe?

He sits back slowly before answering that question. Jared has seen a great deal and it deserves a genuine answer, not a pat 'yes' or 'no.' "I believe they're dealing in good faith," he says finally. "Whether they can ultimately pull off the world they're promising? I wish I had that answer. But I think… that all of us who've lived through the past few years are asking ourselves the same question and wonder if signing it has tied our hands. It hasn't, Mr. Karr." He offers the younger man a small smile. "It's just a show of good faith on your part that you're willing to stand down and let someone try to do and be better than the jackasses who used to be in charge."

True believer? He'd like to be. But somehow, he still feels like he has a weather eye on the horizon. Jared wonders if that ever goes away.

Cyrus fidgets with the chain between his cuffs, looking down at the table, then back up to Jared. “I guess that’s the price we paid for winning the war, isn’t it? Having to watch other people try to… I dunno… hold up what we started.” He sighs, slouching forward and hanging his head.

“Where do I sign?”

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