The Visitor


devon2_icon.gif ygraine2_icon.gif

Scene Title The Visitor
Synopsis Devon shows up at the safehouse to share his findings, surprises Ygraine, and shares some news and views of the world.
Date May 31, 2011

Endgame Safehouse

A text had been sent sometime earlier this morning, intended to alert the safehouse of an incoming visitor. Unfortunately, while Devon knows of two people for sure who stay there full time, he only has contact information for one. Thus, relying on Liz to let anyone else know he's inbound or else be faced with yet another firearm aimed in his direction with intent. He won't know for sure until he gets there.

It's a couple of busses to get to the safehouse, plus the walk for a couple of blocks. But soon Devon's arrived and made the journey with care, entering by same route that Jaiden had brought him in before. In t-shirt and jeans, pack hanging from his shoulders, drab green coat slung through the lower part of a shoulder strap, he stops at the bottom of the stairs after letting himself in. "It's Devon," the young man's voice rises to precede him, his gaze focused upward though he waits a good two minutes before beginning up the steps slowly.

Perhaps fortunately, the person who responds to the sound of an arrival is the resident who loathes firearms. Of course, that and her lack of awareness that Devon might be showing up mean that she is rather wary about approaching - and it's only after peer straight down the stairwell, latched onto a wall, that she decides to risk venturing downstairs.

When she arrives, she's showing a great deal more skin than on any previous encounter with the young man - tight denim cut-offs, and a sleeveless top that exposes the messy scars on either side of one bicep, and the still-visible difference in musculature between that arm and the one that was able to remain in use for the past few months. The waist-length mane of dyed hair, the British pallor, and the cyclist's toning are all still firmly in place, however, while the quizzical cock of a head and arch of a brow are distinctive enough in their own right.

"What on Earth are you doing here?", she asks of the visitor, though the words are accompanied by a smile.

The movement from above has Devon freezing in place, not more than two steps upward ventured. His hands lift away from his sides, palms upward to show themselves empty and well away from the firearm at least some of the safehouse's regulars know him to carry. When the movement reveals to be Ygraine, and without something potentially deadly pointed at him, his hands lower to grasp the shoulder straps of his pack. "I could ask you the same thing," he counters with a faint grin. "Ms. Harrison decided I needed to know, since I've been… doing some work."

Ygraine chuckles softly. "I'm on the run, after being used by the Feds to set up the bait for a trap with the intent of getting people slaughtered, then posthumously dubbed as terrorists", she says dryly, before offering a teasing smile. "What I'm doing in a safehouse might be considered obvious. Though I can extend it to offering you an invitation to the glorious luxury of our kitchen and a drink, if you'd like."

A brow arches upward at the explanation. Apparently that's not a tale Devon had heard before, though he doesn't seem too surprised. More like it's taken in stride as he nods, no comments or questions to her existence in the the safehouse. "I was a set of eyes and ears on someone in the Institute," he elaborates, though names are kept out of it. "I'm more periphery to that now, still involved but not as directly. I have another assignment, that's suddenly made itself more important. I told Ms. Harrison I'd report on it when I had details." He pauses briefly, then adds, "She sent Jaiden to fetch me when I was bringing information in last week, wanted me to have a fallback point since I'm in deep in some things."

Ygraine takes her turn to look somewhat surprised, then gestures further up and in, starting up the stairs - seemingly quite unbothered by letting Devon follow the view of the cut-offs unsupervised. "Is there anything I can do for you while you're here? Or should I just ply you with coffee and wait for someone who knows more about events above-ground to show up?"

"I don't know." Devon follows, feet carrying him up the stairs. He glances up, to make sure he doesn't run into Ygraine, but his upbringing is solid enough that the woman has little to worry about. "I don't know what I need to do at this point, honestly. This… next phase has me a little nervous." Or a lot nervous, he's simply packing it away and putting it onto a proverbial shelf so it doesn't show. "Sorry," he amends to subject with a shake of his head. "How're you? I have your supplies, the art things you asked for. They're… not with me, but I can bring them next time I head this way."

"Oh! Thank you. Yes. That would be very much appreciated. I'm very nearly entirely out of various things", Ygraine says warmly, glancing back with a smile. "Can I ask what this next phase might be? Or should I just ply you with coffee?"

"I have a meeting with someone from the Dome," Devon answers readily enough. His brows pinch together, consideration given for what he can tell and what might do better to wait for Liz and any others. "Coffee sounds great," he decides, rubbing the back of his neck. If for no other reason than to occupy himself. "I'm hoping to get information that will help ease the burden of proof for exposing where Humanis First has its fingers."

"That sounds good, and I know that Liz is very interested in it", Ygraine affirms, guiding Devon into a surprisingly well-stocked if still somewhat make-shift kitchen. Certainly, it looks as if decent coffee is very much on the cards. "Grab a seat, if you like. I was going to see about increasing the purity of the caffeine stream in my veins anyway."

"Yeah," Devon agrees. It's good in theory, something the young man has no qualms with throwing himself behind. "It's with Valentin. He's the one who was heading Humanis First's efforts inside that bubble from Hell." The words are punctuated as he pulls off his pack to sit it on the floor and himself on a free chair.

"Oh, yeah. Believe me, I remember him. Never road on his vessel, but I remember him", Ygraine says grimly, before busying herself with the reassuring rituals of pre-caffeination preparation.

With a small nod, Devon falls quiet. His eyes follow Ygraine's movements, watching her prepare the coffee for a couple of moments. With a sigh and a shake of his head, he leans forward in his seat, elbows resting on his thighs. His hands clasp in front of him, knuckles tapping lightly against his chin. "A man who turns people into puppets and I went after him the day the Dome came down," he says into the silence. "Seems surreal to be facing him again after that, even if my intentions are to get information and not kill him."

"Middle management often realise that they're the ones expected to serve as fall-guys by those above them, and can at times be surprisingly willing to spill the beans, for a whole variety of reasons", Ygraine muses. "But do you have any particular reason to think he'll cooperate now?"

"No," Devon admits quietly, "nor do I have reason to think he won't cooperate. My age and inexperience can either work for me or against me. He could be so sure of himself that he'll tell me anything, or so paranoid I won't get more than an empty word or two." His head drops forward slightly, knuckles pressing against his forehead. "Still, got to try. I told Liz I would, and share every detail of my experience in the Dome if it would help her."

"What's… what's the context for this meeting?", Ygraine asks, cautiously curious. "I find it hard to imagine that he's just wandering around in the open too much of the time, unless he's somehow got himself taken off the wanted lists."

"He gave me a place, time, and date." Devon answers, not entirely forthcoming about that information. Likely it's something he'd rather discuss more in detail with the group as a whole or at least with Liz present. "I don't know where he's been hiding. My… contact… arranged the meeting for me, and wasn't particularly willing to share much information."

"And he volunteered to meet you?" Ygraine sounds surprised, rather than incredulous. "It sounds very much as if he thinks he might be getting thrown to the wolves by his erstwhile brothers in arms. Perhaps they are unhappy that he survived."

Devon lifts his head to look at Ygraine again, a faint, half-incredulous grin upon his own expression. "You'd be surprised, considering who my contact is. To them, I'm just a boy with a gun." Which he's inclined to agree with at this point, unmanifested and no solid foundation for playing in politics as he's attempting. "I'm hoping it's overconfidence that I can play off of, but I'd be stupid to rely on that. I company, and supplies; flak vests at least, flash-bang or… something for distraction if I need to make an escape."

Ygraine winces. "Liz and Jaiden can certainly offer more… trained advice on such things than I can. Just take care of yourself, okay? We know for a fact they're willing to use people and throw away their lives."

"Yes, ma'am." Devon scrubs his hands over his face, then stands. "Do you need help with any of that," he asks, venturing a step closer to where the coffee making is taking place. His arms cross his chest, hands tucking beneath his upper arms while he looks on.

Ygraine chuckles, shaking her head. "In all honesty, it's still something of a pleasure to be able to use both arms fairly freely again, and to do things with my hands. I'm still working on building up the strength in the bad one, but as of tomorrow, I should be able to push hard at the regime on that, by the schedule I've got."

"Funny the things we take for granted until we can't use them for whatever reason." Devon grins slightly, one shoulder raising into a shrug. "It's good to see you're all healed, though. Wicked scar, too."

"Not wholly there yet. I still keep reaching for things that I don't even need to think about picking up, and discovering that my arm gives way beneath them. But another six weeks, I think, and I should be back to full strength. Then I can see about getting the arm tattooed." Flashing a grin, Ygraine moves to add milk to her own mug. "Milk, sugar, I'll let you help yourself to."

"Nearly healed," Devon amends with a nod. He takes a mug for himself, nothing added to it. "What kind of tattoo are you thinking about putting on? Like a sleeve? Or just something stylized?"

"I was considering a lock, perhaps, around the outer bullet hole. Work it into the keyhole, maybe", Ygraine responds, tone pensive. "Was toying with the idea of making it very steampunk, but I've not yet come up with a design I really like - and I'm meant to be doing a few portraits, actually. Which is scary enough. I'm not used to getting requests."

Devon's mouth opens to respond, then closes slowly as a crease runs a line across his brow. "…Sorry, if that was personal," he says after a beat. He retreats back to his seat, fingers wrapping around his mug. "A lock is an interesting thought, though."

Ygraine chuckles, shaking her head. "My reasons for the ink are bound up in my life - and my mind. But the designs? They're deliberately visible. I could have them on nothing but paper readily enough, but…. While I liked my dragons on paper, I love them on my skin."

Devon nods slowly, eyes slanting toward Ygraine again. "I guess. I just… Sometimes it's personal or… I just didn't think before asking." He lifts his mug, sipping at the coffee rather than further speak on the subject.

Ygraine laughs, turning to prop her rump against the counter while cradling the mug in her hands. "It's quite all right. Some tattoos are very private for their wearers, but… it took me so long to dare to do anything like that…. I'm delighted to have them now, and glad to have them appreciated."

"Did you design the ones you have now," Devon asks as he lowers his mug again. One hand balances the mug on a thigh while the other pulls open the larger zippered portion of his pack. A package of cookies is pulled out and offered to Ygraine, despite the stock of foodstuffs the house has.

Ygraine nods, her smile somewhat bashful as she leans forward to accept a biscuit. "Yes. I spent quite some time putting it together, before going to an Evolved artist who could make it as vibrant as it was in my mind, rather than settling for that… dulled, muted look that conventional inks have once they're beneath the skin."

Setting the package on his pack, Devon helps himself to a cookie. "You're a pretty good artist," he comments in an aside. "And whoever did it… Pretty cool ability. Doing something artistic with it is pretty awesome."

"I… have technical proficiency", Ygraine says with a sheepish laugh, before delicately nibbling at her own morsel. "I rarely have the kind of spark that raises it anything special. But every now and then an idea not only catches in my mind, but manages to find its way from there to the page."

"Better than I can draw." Devon grins, brows ticking up briefly with the admittance. "I can do a good stick figure. Or abstract, where you don't need any skill, just imagination. Sometimes you don't even need that much, just a chicken scratch on the paper and call it art."

"I never really found over-much art in much of that sort of thing, I admit", Ygraine says with a laugh. "Rather too literally-minded, I fear. I prefer beauty, perhaps layers of meaning, to something that simply exists to cause confusion and pretend that bewildered puzzlement stands in for contemplation."

"For what it's worth, I think you're a good artist." Devon rolls a shoulder into a shrug. "Really. You've got an eye for it." He takes a bite out of his cookie, shoulder lifting again.

Ducking her head, Ygraine smiles gratefully. "I try. My percentage of success is… small. But I seem to manage to create things every now and then that appeal to people. The dragons are my best, I suspect, but I did logos for my former girlfriend's band and for her own work, as well as the art for Liberty. And Robyn was to get a design I made for her put on her back, though…. I suspect that plans for that have been shelved rather permanently."

"Better a small success than none at all." Devon grins, then finishes off his cookie in another single bite. He follows that with a swallow or two of coffee. "By the way," he continues after the pause, with a grin and chuckle aimed at himself. "Thanks for not pulling a gun on me. Everyone else has, I've almost come to expect it."

Ygraine blinks, then laughs. "The most I carry is a taser." She shakes her head, lips tightening. "I've held a gun on one night in my life, and I… had to use it. It's… not an experience I want to repeat. I'd rather use just about any other method I can. Guns make me very, very nervous."

Shaking his head, Devon chuckles again. "Sorry, it's not funny. Or… Morbidly it is, in a sense." He shakes his head again, then looks up to catch the darker look. His own expression reflects understanding, though he still carries a weapon despite issues with the act's legality. "They're necessary, sometimes, but …not for everyone to use."

"Oh, I take my humour black. If I didn't…" Ygraine shrugs, offering a rueful smile. "I'd be safer, at least. Far side of the Atlantic in an institution, most likely - but safer."

"Safer than where I'll end up," Devon muses, his grin losing some of its humor. "Whatever. I do appreciate someone preferring to not threaten me with guns. Though the outcome of that might be preferable to a taser." He cringes at the thought of an electrical current being shot through his body. "Yeah, no. I usually text Liz before I come over, though I still seem to be surprising everyone."

Ygraine laughs softly. "She's not here all the time, and it's quite easy to lose track of who's where in this place. By no means all of us exactly stick to conventional rules of movement. But perhaps we should find some way to at least ensure that people know that a visitor is to be expected, even if not who it might be…"

"I like how you all are aware, though." Devon nods toward the stairway. "Can't get up those stairs without someone noticing it seems like. I think it's fine. Just hope someone doesn't have a nervous trigger finger. That would suck. I'm just a new entity disrupting the flow of the house. Either people will get used to me being here, or…" He shrugs, the alternatives don't really need to be said.

"We're all paranoid. Frankly, given what I was used for, there's no guarantee at all that any of us would survive an encounter with law enforcement." Ygraine ruefully shakes her head. "They fed me information about a couple of people who'd been 'disappeared'. When efforts were made for extraction…. It was apparently a free-fire zone, with experimental weapons systems there in advance to kill as many as possible."

Devon nods slowly, though his expression takes on a ponderous look. He's not aware of the details, nothing beyond what Ygraine has already admitted to. And he's aware of something involving prisoners and Liz's reasons for being in hiding. But it's never been something he'd questioned or asked about. Trusting on faith of a friend and belief in a mission is how he came to this point. "Can… I ask what organization set you up? If you know more specifically?"

"HomeSec", Ygraine responds immediately. "Special Agent Audrey Hanson. Arranged for me to see a memo notifying her of prisoner transport, for the father of a girl I tried to look out for - a retired cop who lived two floors directly below me - and the man who led the team I fought alongside that night I had the gun in my hands, and whom I was able to help in preventing the release of a virus of that would have killed an estimated six billion people. So… someone I respected a great deal. They got the result they wanted, when I passed the information on to people who might do something about it. And then they caught Liz, by slipping her information on a change to the plans I'd seen. But… we couldn't take the risk and just refuse to lift a finger to help people. So… free fire zones and ambushes ensued."

It definitely paints a different picture than what Devon had worked out in his mind, lacking details and having to rely on newscasts. He nods again, still slowly and still with consideration for the information. "That's…" No surprise, considering the agency. "No wonder Liz tried warning me away at first. Man, that's… You're lucky to be alive."

"I went into hiding the night before the rescue was meant to take place. The night after the photo exhibition's formal opening, as it happens", Ygraine says ruefully. "I'd signed over ownership of my apartment, hidden away what possessions really mattered, and then slipped out. By the time they staged hits to go in search of people, I'd been underground for a day. And the others implicated got away as well."

That revelation doesn't really come as a surprise, the finer details neither here nor there in the teenager's mind. He nods, as though understanding the sacrifice, and in a way he does. The presence of the pack is both one foot out the door should he need to run and a cover, should anyone think to look twice. A young man carrying a bag that contains some junk food and a laptop and a digital voice recorder might very well be a college student if anyone thought to ask. "Dangerous world we live in, government's corrupt and the agency that's supposed to be on our side isn't. One day, we won't have to hide anymore."

"That would be rather nice. Especially for those of us who were crazy enough to become extra-distinctive before having to go into hiding", Ygraine says dryly, albeit with a wry half-smile. "At least they timed it for just after I was able to take the sling off, but that was a close-run thing - and I still couldn't actually use my arm for much of anything."

"Hopefully I haven't followed suit." Devon drains the remainder of his coffee and stands to clean out the mug. "I'm sure I've put my head on the chopping block," he continues, setting the cup on the counter. "And I'm fully functional. Thinking about it, about meeting Valentin again after that day the Dome came down, makes me…" He shakes his head, turning back to face Ygraine, nervous. "There's no one else who can go in my place, and I don't even know who to ask to go with, as back up."

Ygraine cocks her head. "You could do worse than ask around here, in all honesty. Jaiden doesn't make a big thing of it, but… he's not just an experienced war correspondent, nor even just ex-military. Liz ran the whole Frontline operation, at least in theory. Thanks to my ability to get to any vantage point, I'm one of the best external surveillance people you could find. It depends on quite what you're after, and where."

Mention of Jaiden and Liz and even Ygraine herself has Devon's head shaking, though not insistently. He understands the need for help, but worries about those on the run further risking their own exposure. A conundrum considering his meetings with Liz began taking place in public areas, though in locations known for their lack of eyes. "I know, I just… I need to be here when people are. Let them know what's going on and start building a plan."

"If not us, then Liz would be one of the best people to talk to for advice on who", Ygraine insists gently. "And Jaiden can offer you a lot of advice on things that have kept him alive in hot spots - whether he was carrying a gun or a camera. Me, I just cheat, and rely on an eye for movement and gaps, really. It's not just that people don't look up, they tend to follow particular sight lines. And I can work around those. But whatever the help you need, we might at least be able to suggst people, or offer pointers."

"I know," Devon admits again, quietly. He drags a hand over his face and hooks it on the back of his neck. "I need to report to Liz anyway. I don't have anywhere I need to be, Studio K is still in lockdown." And his job there is still uncertain at best. "I need whatever help I can get, but it needs to be low profile too. And I'm not manifested, so all I am, really, is a boy. Big scary threat in that."

"Most successful activists and criminals are somewhat educated and physically average, if I remember an old book right", Ygraine points out with another gentle smile. "Caring about a cause and being committed to it often yields more dramatic results than natural talent. But… Studio K's in lockdown? What happened?"

"And we're pitting my inexperience against a man old enough to be my father and has been playing the game for as long as he's been alive." Devon shakes his head, eyes ticking up to Ygraine. "Yeah, Studio K is on lockdown. Ms. Reynolds and her assistant both have the new flu."

Frowning worriedly for a couple of moments, Ygraine then manages a low laugh. "It's not as if worrying will help…. Is everyone else all right? Were you tested for it, or anything? Not that I'm accusing you of carrying it here - that came out a bit wrong…."

Devon's head shakes slowly, brows knitting together. "No, I haven't. I… spent almost a week not… I was staying someplace else, so I wouldn't… I was really careful to keep…" His face pales slightly, fear of the flu striking all over again. "I should… Doctor Brennan has kids…"

Ygraine sighs softly. "If you were staying with a Doctor, then - assuming he's a medic - he should know the risks and have taken suitable steps. And even if he's a PhD or a DPhil, he's likely to be smart enough to have checked."

"No," the teenager says quietly, his head shaking again. "I… just one night, and dinner a few nights later. I stayed with Graeme for most of the time, and a motel before that." Letting out a sigh, he folds his arms over his chest again. "Has… has anyone come through here with it? Really wet coughing, blood? That… sort of thing?"

Ygraine shakes her head. "Not that I'm aware of, though I believe that at least one of Liz's friends might have it. I can't say for sure, however. We don't exactly get much traffic here."

Devon chews on his lower lip, then nods after a moment. "That's…" Not good, but not terrible either. "Sorry," he offers, glancing toward Ygraine then away again. "It's bad. It's… one of the things I'd been working on when Liz brought me here. With the person of interest in the Institute. The fatality rate is really high and… Sorry."

"For all I know, he's got food poisoning. I'm just picking up on a reference I overheard. But…." The Briton shrugs gently. "Hopefully neither of us has to worry about it for much longer. The US isn't the only place that'll be working on a cure, and we can have hopes of other governments spreading the word, at least."

"I hope you're right," Devon says, expression clouding with more worry. Shaking his head, Devon moves to retrieve his pack, tucking the package of cookies away inside before pulling a strap onto his shoulder. "Is… it alright if I wait here for others to show up? I'll go, if you'd prefer, just trying to keep comings and goings to a minimum."

Ygraine shakes her head. "Not a problem at all. We've got plenty of space. Just don't go poking around in anyone's things and you should be fine, I'd imagine. And I can draft you into helping with lunch, if you're still around then."

"Yes, ma'am," Devon answers quietly, "I don't make it a habit to go into other's things without permission." He carries his pack into the main room, finding an out of the way space to sit and otherwise wait. "I'll be glad to help with lunch. And anything else you need."

"Mmmmm. If you really want to help, I could give you a couple of my chargers to work on. They're crank-powered - just wind them up to generate electricity", Ygraine suggests with a grin. "But you're welcome to just wait. For now, I should probably get back on watch…"

Placing his pack on the floor, Devon nods. "Sure, if it's something that needs to be done. I'll just be here otherwise. This room, no where else." Likely he'd even let someone know if he had to leave. "If I could ask a favor. Let Monica and Claire know I'm here, Liz says I'm not supposed to see them yet."

That merits a startled look. "Not supposed to…? Can I ask why?", Ygraine enquires, clearly perplexed.

"It's… part of a test." Devon shrugs slightly. "Jaiden's showing me how to avoid and lose a tail. She wants to keep them anonymous and use them for… seeing how well I've learned. Or haven't learned."

Ygraine blinks, then chuckles. "Interesting. Fair enough. I can post you in an unused room, and stick a sign on the door, if you like. If you want to listen to music to keep yourself company or whatever, feel free. The chargers can run any small electrical device. Just replace whatever charge you use."

"If that would be better." Devon grins slightly, sheepish. He picks up his bag again, dragging it up onto a shoulder. "Sorry, just don't want to break the rules Liz told me. No meeting Monica or Claire until after I've been tested."

A laugh, and Ygraine nods as she flashes a grin. "Quite understandable. I generally don't want to go against Liz's instructions, either. I'll grab you the chargers to keep you busy, and sort out a sign for you."

Smiling faintly, Devon nods. "Thank you, Ygraine," he offers before falling in to follow her. He keeps from studying any part of the layout too deeply when he does follow, the occasional glance toward something that catches the eye but his intent is to not know the place too well, until he's been given clearance to. He knows the way in and out, everywhere else he'll willingly follow.

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