The Razor


ruiz2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Razor
Synopsis A member of the Ark security team meets one of the residents.
Date October 11, 2011

The Commonwealth Arcology

The A-Ring holds many families, children with parents, adults, young adults, children who need some supervision, adults on their own— some who come and go without any supervision. And some who have arrived recently, some who have been there for what might seem like forever. The whole place tried to give a semblance of comfort. Plants distributed in various places so the white sterility was broken up by life. The common areas offered games for the residents as a reprieve, activities.

In an attempt to make him more cooperative, Ruiz had been put into the A-Ring population, given more freedom, a nicer room, a better view (if still white and sterile). Still just as watched, and negated more often than not when not being tested, but it gave a semblance of more freedom. He knew it. But at least he got to visit the park and exercise. In this case, his exercise of choice would be to swim. He'd changed into trunks in his dorm, brought a towel and his bag along and left it near his 'guard' and proceeded to swim laps.

At the end of one such lap, he tags the end, stops, looks up, dark eyes spotting something, or someone? that causes him to pause.

It may be her off hours, but Veronica is never truly off, not while she's living at the Ark. She just isn't getting paid for this time. She's getting out of the nearby therapeutic jacuzzi, there on orders of one of the physicians to help the mobility in her shoulder — the same one she's dislocated in the past, the old injury acting upon account of a new injury, courtesy of Roger Goodman a few months back.

Clad in a black tankini, water drips from her slim form as she moves to where she's left her towel, picking it up to wrap around her body. Her hair, mostly dry but for the tips, she gathers up and winds a ponytail band around. As she does so, her dark eyes scan the area, giving a small nod to the guard who watches the pool's sole swimmer.

Instead of continuing his laps, Ruiz lifts himself up with a muscular arm and uses a knee to pull the rest of his body out of the water, leaving water droplets until he retrieves his towel from the bag and starts to run it over closely cropped hair and beard. "Haven't seen you around," he offers with a slight grin, that doesn't quite touch his eyes. There's something there that doesn't quite fit, as if he's hiding something, or trying to hide something.

She's been around people who had things to hide more than once.

He glances past her, but sees no guard, of course, she does not have one, and his dark eyes settle on her again, ignoring his own plains clothes guard. Or his leash, as he likes to think of it.

When the swimmer pulls himself out of the pool, Vee tucks the end of the towel into itself so it stays wrapped around her, her dark eyes moving to the stranger. "I tend to only use the pool when most people are asleep," she says with a lift of her shoulder. "I'm a little early today. I hope I didn't interrupt your swim." She tips her head in the direction of the apartments. "I'm leaving soon, so you'll have the place to yourself again if you prefer." Her tone is amiable, polite, and a tiny bit distant. It's her default voice in the Ark, when talking to the staff and patients here. She isn't here to make friends, though she's always open to allies — she just can't exactly advertise it. "Ruiz, right?" She's seen his dossier, of course, though she doesn't usually have much to do with the residents in A Ring.

"You're early, or I am. Either way," Ruiz responds easily, keeping focused on her as his eyes slide over her movements, noting the shoulder and the way she stands. "You didn't interrupt. I've swum enough," the statement almost has some humor to it, but it carries a hint of seriousness, even so. That she knows his name doesn't exactly seem to take him by surprise— many people within this strange place do…

But he still nods, "Right. And you're Sawyer." Her reputation precedes her? Perhaps. After a moment, he offers her one of his best smiles, even if it still holds a big of forcedness to it, "If you have the time, perhaps you could walk me back to my room instead of this walking stiff of a leash I happen to have today."

That he knows her name does surprise her. She lifts a brow, studying his face to determine if she's seen him close enough for him to have read her name badge. Because it's not on her at the moment. "I'm heading back to that area myself, so sure, but he'll probably have to follow as a chaperone," she says lightly. She isn't carrying her weapons at the moment, being off duty. All she's brought is herself, a towel, some flip flops, and yoga pants, other than what she was wearing in the jacuzzi. She should probably tell him no, but she's gotten help from unexpected people in the past.

"Do you memorize the names of all the staff?" she asks, picking up her yoga pants to step into, one foot after the other. "Or have we met?"

There's a small break as Ruiz moves away to grab what little he brought with him from his room— a small bag which honestly just included that towel and a pair of flipflops that he slips onto his feet as he answers her question. "I only remember the names of the pretty ones." It's an easy response, one that's plausible. But doesn't quite ring completely true. Then again, he could also just be flirting. Who knows.

"But no, we haven't officially met," he adds, as he moves closer to the still damp woman, now in yoga pants, ready to start the trek back to the room that— is not much of a room really. He nods toward the guard and adds a somewhat louder, "Come along, Leash."

"Mmm." Veronica looks like she doesn't quite believe that response, her dark eyes studying him as she steps into her flip-flops as well. She glances back at 'Leash,' to give him a sympathetic look for the generic and less than complimentary nickname. "He's not pretty enough for you, I take it," she says lightly. A small joke.

When she's not working, she usually moves at a fairly quick stride that couldn't be called rushed, but could be called purposeful. Off-duty, she seems to meander a bit more, slowing down to help fill the hours spent in the Ark — a prison for her in a way, if a self-chosen one. Today, she lets him set the pace.

"I'd say nice to meet you but I am sure you'd prefer it to be in different circumstances," Vee says lightly. "I can't say I'd blame you.

"Not my type," Ruiz dismisses said leash, though it could be the man's purpose as much as opinion toward the looks or personality. After all it's not as if this escort had engaged him in conversation or banter. None of them had when he tried the first few times. Eventually, he gave up after a few minutes and took to calling them potentially unsavory nicknames. Leash being his favorite. Even if…

"Could have been better," he adds with a nod, not going to argue, but not clarifying what his preferred circumstances would have been. There are surely so many. He leads the way, since he's not sure she's memorized his exact room placement in the A-Ring, going toward the too white, too bright halls, no doubt making whoever cleans them crying cause he's leaving a few water droplets behind. And not caring that he does. They get to mop it up. His little bit of defiance. Today. "But if I wasn't in this situation we likely would not have met, would we?" he asks, with that ironic grin.

"There's a silver lining to every storm cloud," Veronica says with sort of feigned cheerfulness. "I've learned to not assume anything when it comes to coincidences and time and place. Not very much is coincidence, I don't think. But who's to say we wouldn't have met some other way? At Starbucks. At the gym. Running in a marathon. Surfing in Costa Rica." Things she's done, and may or may not ever do again.

Well, Starbucks is probably likely.

She glances back at 'Leash.' She's used to the chaperones of certain inmates as she chats with them, and they seem to tolerate her doing so. Of course, she outranks most of them, even if they aren't necessarily her subordinates. The guard is far enough back that she drops her voice a little as she turns back around to face front, not turning toward to Ruiz when she speaks. "Reason you wanted to talk to me?" Her voice is low. Not quite conspiratorial.

As they walk, Ruiz seems to be distracted, and not by the woman in the swimsuit next to him. He watches the walls of the hallways, the doors as they pass. The halls are fairly empty this time of day. He too, like her, tends to take his time in the pool when no one else is around. Most of the residents are sleeping or resting. Though the artificial light still shines brightly in the halls. "Suppose there are other places we could have met," he responds absently. Yes, he's definitely preoccupied with some thought or another.

It's her softer words that draw his eye back, an incline of his chin meeting her words, though he does not slow in his pace, though for a moment his fingers flex and unflex. "Something I wanted to give you once we reach the room." His tone is even quieter.

Her brows knit together. Every fiber of her being that runs on instinct is telling her this is dangerous, accompanied by every cautionary tale given to young girls and women of going home with unfamiliar men. And then there's her training. But she's long ago given up on following that to the letter and running on her own hunches and intuition as well.

The problem is, she doesn't really know which of the inner voices to listen to these days. So she simply opens herself up to trust — just a little bit — because sometimes help comes in the most unexpected ways.

She subtly nods as well, letting him lead the way. She doesn't know which room is his. He is simply a face in a file folder and some facts. Mateo Javier Ruiz, age 35. His power has something to do with portals, but they don't have any other information on him from the outside world. He's listed as uncooperative. That is about all she knows about the man who walks beside her.

When they arrive at the door, the security guard, dubbed 'Leash' steps forward to swipe a keycard to unlock it, willing to stand outside as Ruiz motions the woman in, continuing to towel himself off. His 'suite' isn't much of a suite. It's one of the smallest ones, to be honest. A bed, a desk, a table, a chair, a bookshelf with very little upon it. They haven't given him much to bide his time yet. "I'd offer you something to drink, but they haven't stocked my fridge."

In fact, he doesn't even have one. Some of the rooms have kitchens, but his they bring him his food on a tray for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He does have a bathroom and a styrofoam cup dispenser, so it's not as if he'll run out of drinking water.

He steps over to his bookshelf instead, perhaps to retrieve whatever it is he wanted to show her. Something he'd hidden away from his doctors? A passage in a book?

Veronica glances up at the guard as she steps into the room. It's a sort of tacit, 'I won't tell if you don't,' sort of look. She stays fairly close to the door, because entering with no qualms would look strange to their chaperone. And there are still some doubts prickling at the back of her neck.

"Thanks. I'll just wait til I get to my own. I'd offer to share, but, you know. Bills to pay," she says lightly, as she studies the books on the bookshelf, perhaps looking for a hint as to what this is about among the titles.

The books on his shelf seem eccletic, and worn, and somewhat old. As if he'd chosen them out of the library and brought them back to his room. Everything here, even his swimsuit, belongs to the Arcology. Some would argue even he belongs to them, really. Ruiz's hand slides over the books, after he makes sure his hands are dry, skipping over By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept, The Illustrated Man, The Man In the High Castle and finally settling on The Stars My Destination which he pulls out and steps toward her.

"I understand. I don't imagine the Institute pays very well," he says quietly. Though one might wonder where exactly he heard that particular name when he's suddenly moving, slamming against her sore shoulder with his arm, the book dropping to the floor as he tries to press and hastily retrieved razor against her neck. A razor he'd salvaged from the shaving kit they'd allowed him.

The sudden motion in her direction has Veronica already moving into a defensive position, but Mateo Ruiz has the upper hand, being larger and stronger than she is — and armed, while she is not. Her hand comes up in time to catch his wrist, holding it back to keep him from slicing her jugular.

"Galvotti!" she cries to the 'Leash,' as that's the man's name, even as she headbutts the man who's trying to kill her, her strong forehead coming in contact with his mouth and nose.

Galvotti appears in the doorway with his stun gun drawn and aimed at Ruiz. "Drop it, Ruiz," he says first, giving Ruiz the chance to do the right thing — and also because tasing him might make him slip and do what he's threatening to do whether he actually wants to or not.

Not too much taller, but Ruiz certainly has some muscle mass. And he doesn't have a messed up shoulder, which is why he went after that initially. But still, jars him right in the nose and mouth, blood spurting out as the cartilidge dislodges and he barely keeps from falling backward as he curses something in Spanish under his breath. Eyes dart toward the guard, the taser that's pointed at him, and then the woman he holds the razor against, bloody teeth clenching.

It's a very tense moment before he spits blood and steps back, hand releasing the razor as both go up, defiance in his jaw, and hatred in his dark eyes.

All for one Veronica Sawyer.

It's been a few months since someone tried to stab her. She was getting used to the peace and quiet of the Ark, even if she knows she'll be putting her life on the line soon enough to destroy it.

Veronica stays for a moment, still against the wall she'd backed up against, her heart pounding for a moment as she stares at the man staring her down with so much hate. Once, after such an attack, her own dark eyes would have mirrored his. Tonight — assuming he hates her simply because she's one of his keepers — they are full of apology.

She swallows once, then bends down to grab the book and the razor. "Sweep his room. No more sharp objects. He can go to the barber when he needs to shave," she says, her voice a little thick, as she turns to leave the room.

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