Third Wheel


teo_icon.gif brian_icon.gif kameron_icon.gif

Scene Title Third Wheel
Synopsis Teo's waiting to Pow Wow with Brian. Brian brings Kameron along for the ride. Kameron feels Awkward.
Date February 24, 2009

The Greenbelt

The Greenbelt is 2800 acres of mixed urban parkland and natural preserves, winding around and between several major communities. The more natural areas are primarily a succession of ridges and boulder-littered moraines beneath the canopy of a hardwood forest - beech, hickory, maples, and oaks in the main, with a variety of less common trees mixed in. At the lower points of the parkland, this forest gives way to wetland, overgrown with ferns, skunk cabbage, lady slipper, and trout lilies. The park's boundaries include a golf course, a cemetary, a friary, a boy scout camp, and a carousel, as well as the more stereotypical nature center and a native plant demonstration garden.

The trees are creaking, clicking, whispering, a susurrating cadence that is too hard to come by in New York state in this day and age. It's afternoon still. The sunlight filters down through the canopy, splotching and dappling the ground with still-skeletal shadows, only the thinnest feathering and dappling here or there to reflect conifers or February growth. The ground, at least, is greenish and brown, empty of snow, barren in the way that promises life persists and comes again, and not that it's finished.

Teodoro is sitting on a bench and exchanging stares with an owl on a low oak bough, before the great bird opens heavy wings and launches off into the still-blue sky. He turns his buzzcut head to watch it go, the beginning of an unrealized movement twitching in his leg. He doesn't get up to follow. He's waiting for somebody.

"Buenos Tardes."

One hand tucked into his coat pocket, the other tucked into the hand of the female next to him. Brian looks down with a somber expression towards his older compatriot. Dressed in a black coat, with a cap pulled low. It's easy to go out when you can have someone watching the kids, especially when that someone is you. Leaving a few of himselves behind, Brian decided to drag Kameron along with him to his super secret meeting with one Teodor Laudani.

"This is Kameron, Teo. Kammy, this is Teo. Say something Teo." Brian instructs, in order for her to get his voice or whatever it is she does. His gray gaze settles on the man, oblivious of owls and dapplings of skeletal shadows. He brings a hand out of his pocket to slap it on top of Teo's shoulder. "How you holding up man?"

Brian's ability of duplicationn is ever so handy. Kammy doesn't feel bad about leaving on her own every now and again. Only not on her -OWN- per se, but with Prince to guard her. She'd been walking all around Staten Island earlier that da, trying to get some information about her missing friend, with no luck. People just weren't talking. Staring, yes. Talking, no. It was only a touch discouraging - at least it would be if Kammy ever let herself be discouraged.

She's even more oblivious to the colors of the world around them, walking along side Brian with the pooch to guide her. "It's nice to meet you," Kameron greets quietly, refusing to look in Teo's direction until she hears his voice. Instead she keeps her head tilted downward at the ground, waiting silently. Prince, the little collie at her side, sniffs curiously at the ground, fascinated by the new surroundings.

The older man gets up. Passes a quick, cursory glance over the woman and her boy, his brow furrowing under some stupendous weight of surprise. Annoyance threatens to tangle with it, but in the end, a long upbringing of inculcated politeness wins out.

"Nice to meet you too, signorina. Brian told me a little about you." Not really. Not her. More about this other brunette with a soft spot for kids — Desree, as Teodoro recalls, but this wouldn't be the time to mention that. He grins; shows teeth. It doesn't look the slightest bit disingenuous, despite the fact that he looks a little more worn than the last time Brian clapped eyes on him. "'M all right, thanks.

"Heard some things have been going well for you, the Lighthouse and shit." The curse trips off of Teo's tongue with the same thoughtless, unceremonial neutrality as 'tree' or 'owl' might have, perhaps at odds with the otherwise socially acceptable set of words he's chosen.

"She can be trusted." Brian vouches, giving Teo a solid nod as if to confirm that yes indeed, she can be trusted. Tugging on her hand he goes to guide her over to the bench that Teo sits. Just so she knows that the bench was there and all, just in case she wanted to sit down. "I used a fake name, like you told me." Brian says a tad defensively. "But somehow Linderman found out. I tried to be careful Teo, I swear to God, I tried to be careful. But.. I guess I'm 'protected' now. I might be in a magazine, but apparently, I'm more protected than the rest of us." Teo might notice a conspicuous lacking of swear words. For Kameron's benefit, Brian has been trying to cut back. It doesn't always work.

"I talked to a guy last night. Said he knows where Abby and Sergei—and Deckard, are. Deckard got into some deep shit, they…" A glance over to Kameron and Brian's lips go thin. He brings up one hand and makes a plucking motion at his eye. "Roughed him up bad. They take prisoners and make them fight, Abby's been forced to heal them. This guy says he could help us spring them loose. Needs an extraction team he says." He releases Kameron's hand, after giving it a little squeeze. Putting his arms out as if offering himself. "I said, I am an extraction team."

Her boy? "He did?" Kameron lifts her head, turning it in Teo's direction, "He's not mentioned you at all." …
Wait for it.

"OH!" Kameron's hand flies to her mouth as she clues in on how utterly utterly rude that seemed. "I-I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that. I mean, he hasn't but it's still rude, and I didn't mean to be rude and -aagh." She presses a hand to her forehead. Kameron really should stop saying words.

She cringes just a -bit- at the swearing from Teo, snapping her mouth closed, stumbling into the initial first step as Brian tugs her over towards the bench. She reaches out, almost bumping her knee into it, and promptly perches on the edge, resting a hand on Prince's head. It's the latter half of the conversation that makes Kameron's blood run cold.

It would be an outright lie to say she understood everything going on, but she does get the gist. It's bad. "Taking prisoners.." She really doesn't want to ask. She's actually rather hoping Cally had made it back to the city and was hiding out, safe as you please, but - it doesn't hurt to ask. "You don't think.." .. "I-I mean -I..still haven't heard anything about Cally but.." She curls her fingers behind Prince's ear. SUrely Cally was safe and sound somewhere else, right?

Jesus. Trustworthy Kameron may be, but it takes more than that to be a person who really needs to hear shit like this. Teo ends up staring rather conspicuously at the blind girl while Brian drills words into the side of his head, a new tangle of emotions working its way through and around the lines of his face. He had failed entirely to take offense to that whole bit about not having been mentioned.

He would have preferred things stay that way, frankly, but what can you do? Drown one dupe, there's still a small army of others. "I heard about Abby and Deckard, but not Sergei. Sent someone to pull at least Deckard out, since I'm pretty sure… as your guy said, he's in deep shit. Unfortunately, there's only so much she can do. Don't think I've met Cally," he adds, glancing back at Kameron. He frowns slightly and then hastens to add, verbally, when he remembers she can't see: "I hope she's all right.

"I don't know if the Linderman Group is going to protect you from the same guys who are enforcing the Linderman Act, or if they're working together on something unimaginably arcane. I think it might be a trap." Teo shifts topics quick as an eye-blink; levels a steady stare on Brian. "I feel like you should talk to Mr. Zarek.

"Get his opinion on whether or not Evolved who turn up there should Register or not. And what the Group's relationship with Homeland Security is. I don't want any kids — or friends of yours," he inclines his head at Kameron, "to get in trouble. Si?"

A little smirk climbs up Brian's lips as Kameron does her usual bumbling and fumbling with words. It draws a rather affectionate and warm glance from him as she plops down on the bench in a flurry of awkward mutterings. One hand lopes forward to squeeze her shoulder, try to get her to relax a bit. Before he looks back to Teo. "I got the equipment Teo. I got my own stuff and everything I saved from the 'big event'." He says with a meaningful look down to his friend. "Vests and everything. If you want me to go in.." He gives a hefty shrug of his shoulders.

Looking over to Kameron, he gives a little sigh. "It's likely Kammy, I hate to say it. But this is their turf, Staten. And this is where she came. John Logan is behind this, I know the guy. Snatches up pretty girls and what not. It's not unlikely to assume that he took her." He gives a little shrug. "She's missing.." He sighs. "If she is with them, KamKam, we'll get her out." Hopefully.

"Yeah. I'll talk to Zarek. I mean.. trap from what Teo? They know who I am, know what I can do. And they haven't taken me. Isn't that a sign? What they're watching the Lighthouse, seeing everyone who goes there? There's absolutely no one around the lighthouse Teo, no surveilance. I've checked, man. You're paranoid." Brian insists, or, Brian is just proud that one thing in his life is working out, and Teo's trying to step on his perfect sand castle in the beach.

That's… it's… it's a conversation that Kameron -reaaaaaaaaally- didn't expect to be privy to. Keeping her head down, facing the dog in front of her, she does her best to -not- listen, and fails utterly miserably. On the plus side, Teo missed her social fumble, which meant he probably didn't think poorly of her. Names are being dropped, really -bad- situations being mentioned, and it's honestly making Kameron the slightest bit uneasy from worry.

Her head turns towards Teo, who's not met Cally, and then Brian, who suspects what Kameron feared. And slowly Kameron turns away again, thoughtful. "I.." See. "Okay.." She takes a deep breath. Right. Her new friend might have been kidnapped off the street and is being forced to fight. Her other new friend is being forced to heal people. Brian's friend was hurt possibly by the same people.

Man, when they said Staten Island was dangerous, they weren't kidding. She is quick to smile, "Right, I'm sure of it." Of them getting Cally out, and the others. The important part was when. As for surveillance around the lighthouse and all those other things - Kameron doesn't say anything. She wouldn't know the first thing about it anyway.

"They know who you are, and what you can do," Teo acknowledges, quietly. "The same isn't necessarily going to hold true for all the kids — or other people who come through your doors. I think you should probably have the place surveilled. Just not by them. And knock a few escape routes through the floor some time. I think it'd be a good idea to get yourself Registered, too, but you can ask Zarek about that.

"Either he knows how much shit he has to protect you from, or he doesn't. You can't seriously think all this shit is over," though the quizzical lift of Teo's eyebrows leaves a margin of query for this possibility. "A couple of your friends are still missing, and I get the sense you haven't told Kameron about that other group of asshole goons they ran into." As if Homeland Security is a group of asshole goons, or Federal imprisonment merely pimp abduction, or terrorism a parking ticket.

"There's a lot I haven't told her." Brian admits, though it pains him to talk about her as if she wasn't right there with them. He would tell her how his friends got locked, up, along with him, and how he was killed.. three times. But this really doesn't seem to be the venue for that kind of talk. His hand goes to rest on her shoulder again. "I will though, I promise."

"Watch your fuckin' language man." Brian reprimands, gesturing viciously at the pretty lady in their presence. "I haven't forgotten, Teo, I'm just saying, Linderman is high up. Maybe he likes what I'm doing. Maybe he's not a terrible person, alright? Maybe someone in this world actually cares about kids."

"I'll ask my contact if he can spot Cally with Abby and the rest. He can move in and out without being spotted. We'll find her Kammy. I promise." Another promise he has to add to his list that he might not be able to fulfil for her.

As quiet as Kameron is, one might think she was offended by the swearing. Or (in)visibly upset by the theories and supposes being thrown around. In truth, she's listening carefully, and thinking. She doesn't believe that these people who donated money are entirely bad - surely there wasn't such a thing as someone -completely- bad. Except maybe that guy who had the virus who died. So in a way, she can see the point Teo's trying to make. Except for the registered comment.

But then, the only one in this little group that knows she's Evolved is Brian, unless he mentioned it to Teo. Which she hopes he hasn't. In fact, when Teo mentions the Registering thing, she almost looks towards him, about to question the wisdom of that, "I -" er… she thinks better of it, and quickly swallows back the words. Only to sputter a short, "Brian..!" at the reprimand. Ironic in her (blind) eyes, to hear her friend scold Teo for his language, by using swears himself. It's almost funny.

She shakes her head firmly, "No," she corrects, "I've told you before, don't make promises like that." The last time he promised her something, it was to promise that he'd find a way for her to see, and we all know how well that turned out. "Cally … Cally will be fine when you and your friends find her," and get her out of where she is. "And besides, it.. ma-maybe she's gone back to the city by now. She might be perfectly safe.." She's not sure she really believes that.

The cant of Teo's head puts his right eye in the shade of a tree bough and he nods. Has nothing for that particular last point but optimistic agreement, which might make some of the people he knows want to shoot him in the face, but he's walked that off before. Chastisement works better; he has the good grace to look embarrassed at all his swears, and mumble an apology, abashed in the face of Kameron's laughter.

"A lot of people in this world actually care about kids. But high up or not, Linderman's spitting in HomeSec's eye. On national newsprint. Look— I don't want to look at the gift horse's teeth, because I think it's a great thing, but… fu— the gift horse might be a Trojan, or else, I don't want it to accidentally, eventually get shot by somebody who thinks you don't deserve to have nice things."

Teo lapses into silence, as if waiting for objection. Patience almost deserts him; he glances at Kameron, opens his mouth to say something else, but manages not to. His teeth meet again with a click.

"So what do you want me to do Teo?" He grins a little as Kameron sputters at him. "Sorry. It was a joke." He mumbles quickly to her, giving her a shoulder squeeze of apology. "Besides talk to Zarek? Give the money back and burn every magazine in the world that I'm on?" Brian asks, arching a brow at him. "Shouldn't we be talking about how we're going to get Abby out?"

"I want to go in and get her. And I will. Do you want me to take others or should I do it alone?" Brian asks. In his preference, it would be him, alone. No one else has to die that way should things get sketchy, and out of anyone he's the most used to death.

How can someone 'get used to' death? Kameron would be pretty skeptical on that topic - and she gets the feeling Teo was -about- to say something, but since she's currently playing the part of the quiet blind girl, she can't ask him about it. There is momentary hesitation, because she really, REALLY wants to ask questions. At the same time, the less she knows, the better, right? "Some joke," Kameron huffs, with a mock offended tone.

It's a teensy bit awkward, and not for the usual gesture of apology. "Um." Brian might prefer to go in on a one (duplicated) man mission to rescue his friends, but Kameron would think it would be safer if other people went with him. Of course… she doesn't have a say in the matter. Good thing! BUT! It looks like the two were going to discuss rescue stuffs, and she was getting a vaguely awkward feeling. Teo might feel more comfortable discussing Plans(tm) with Brian when the 'nonevolved civilian' was out of earshot. So naturally, Kameron feels it necessary to turn towards Teo first. Provided he was still in the last spot she saw him, "Y.. I.. um." egh. She lifts a hand, pointing in a random direction with a hesitant, though genuine smile, "I'll go over there, if you two want to talk." Safely right?

"No." Teo's eyebrow hikes. "I think you should take the money, and find out what strings are attached, and how much they're willing to protect you and the Lighthouse residents from. If he's wants anything that you don't want to give, we take care of it and the kids.

"And anybody else who needs it." A category that tacitly includes Kameron, for whatever trouble that may spell. Given the intimidating portrait that the Linderman Group paints, it is probably some truly amazing species of arrogance that characterizes Teodoro's response, but he doesn't bother to qualify it. By now, he's kind of used to being outnumbered, outgunned, and overpowered, in the same way that Brian's kind of used to death.

They're still alive, and the human capacity for acclimation is second only to roaches. Which some humans might qualify as a subspecies thereof. "Sorry," he tells Kameron, with a rueful crook of his mouth. An audible one. "Don't mean to be rude, ragazza. If you don't mind, that would probably be better."

[ End. ]

February 24th: Help Wanted
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