To Hurt Them


odessa4_icon.gif valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title To Hurt Them
Synopsis Plans are laid in a strike against the Institute.
Date August 13, 2011

A Motel in Massachusetts

Summer is pulling to a close. It's already raining.

With enough room at the arcology to house a small sustainable population, Odessa doesn't actually need a place to stay, while she is here in Massachusetts. The motel room isn't for her, but she was given the name and the address and told to wait for him there, and unusually enough, Valentin is late. But better late than never. Headlights sweep across the room fronts of the open urban motel, cut out by the time he's parked, the sky up above a burned red where the sun has sunk and a stormy grey roiling to darker tones directly above. The car door is snapped shut with a gunshottish crack, and it's with more care that he handles a briefcase of leather and hard plastic.

He seems distracted, thoughtful, a cellphone at his belt and dressed in mundane cotton and denim. Rather than look for Odessa in the window, at the door, or on the porch, Valentin instead just moves for the assigned room while twisting a look behind his back, as if cautious of being followed. But then again, if he truly thought he might be, he might not make such a show of it, in the same way he doesn't salute Heller in the open, or take a lot of care to conceal his weapons. Though he is unarmed at the moment.

Sort of.

Odessa isn't. Unarmed. When lights sweep across the window - not for the first time this evening - she reaches for the knife concealed in her knee length boots. Pale and scarred fingers wrap around the handle and pull ceramic blade cleanly free of leather holster. To her credit, she doesn't jump at the sound of the shutting car door.

While the man she's here to meet was likely careful about being followed, it's much more difficult for Odessa to avoid the same these days. A lack of familiarity with Massachusetts in general, coupled with the need to use public transport means she leaves more of a trail than she would like. Rigid in her seated position at the foot of the bed, she watches the door intently.

Reaching blindly with her free hand for the leather satchel that rests behind her, she pulls it closer so its weight is settled next to her hip. An empty comfort of sorts. When the handle twists to allow admittance, she stands. The results of this conversation will likely mark her first act of intentional betrayal against the Institute. Forgive her if she's nervous about being caught in the act. Or set up.

And if all goes well, her first act will be the only act.

Inside, Valentin moves first to set down his package — carefully — onto the kitchen counter, and glances for the windows. They're already covered. An air of clandestine secrecy doesn't feel today like cloak and shadow, code words, mysterious rendezvous. It is a little claustrophobic, with a sense of urgency that is akin to a missed appointment, and silent for now as Valentin keeps his back to her, digging out a second cellphone from his pocket and setting it next to the briefcase. "These are the only things you will need, on the day," he says. "You may want to do yourself a good favour, and not open the briefcase. Oh, of course— "

And from inside his jacket, he takes out a folded over piece of paper, an administrative looking print out. "I do not expect you to be stopped by security, but give them this if you are," he says, only just then looking back at her, as if to check that she's listening.

The knife isn't put away, but it's held more loosely as Odessa steps forward to join him, set aside after only a couple moments thought. She reaches into her bag and retrieves a thick folder, filled with copies of files pilfered from the Institute. They're set on the counter as well, nudged more his way, with a simple explanation. "Records I couldn't risk with a courier." Further evidence.

"What's in the case?" Odessa feels she has some right to know.

There is zero hesitation in the papers being taken, Valentin flicking them open and pacing away from both woman and the case. "An explosive device," he says, as blue eyes take in what can be taken in with the sampling perusal of the information he's been given. "You will be able to activate it yourself, but it is quite a simple mechanism — it is meant to be. It should cause enough disruption, among others, to do what must be done. I will show you where to place it, and where to go, and what time to make it go off. And then, you must stay with the patients. If they remain, remain. If they are evacuated, you insist you go with them.

"You will have help, after that, but I cannot disclose to you much more than that. Do you understand?"

The briefcase is eyed suddenly more warily, as one is wont to do with items that can and will explode if not handled delicately. "Yes, I understand." Odessa retrieves her knife then and ducks down to slide it back into her boot. "If, for some reason, I am unable to accompany the patients, what would you have me do then?" Failure isn't an option here, she reasons, but that doesn't mean there aren't alternative courses of action that could still spell success.

Valentin, finding a place to lean his back against the wall, doesn't answer her at first. He is reading. But he is also thinking. The lack of immediacy in his answer indicates a certain lack of contingency plan in turn, and probably not because he— or whoever is signing off on all of this, if any of this is earning a signature at all— hasn't thought of everything.

"Then you should evacuate with your colleagues, or allow yourself to be put under arrest, if it comes to that. It would be— " The pages rustle a little as Valentin gestures loosely, trying to find the right word in whatever language is available to him. "Honourary. The Department knows who has assisted them in this task."

Arrested. Half turned from Valentin, Odessa runs one hand over the surface of the briefcase while her jaw sets tight. She had better not get screwed on this. Her track record dictates that she most likely won't come out on top in this, but she is nothing if not willing to try, try again.

"Very well," Odessa grants, face all careful neutrality by the time she turns back to face him. "They're going to suspect my involvement," she then poses. "This is a definitive strike?"

"It will end when you key in the code into that," and Valentin points towards the phone, "along with the coordinated efforts of others. Believe me when I say, that I have done you a favour in allowing you the benefit of being on this side of the line being drawn." He smiles, in that sudden way he does, his voice richly grand as he urges her, "Don't worry! It will work out in the end! Besides, I thought you would be quite enthusiastic, to hurt them with your own hands."

"Don't mistake my caution for lack of conviction, Michal." Arms folded across her chest, she rests her hip against the counter. "I'm not ungrateful. I realise you didn't have to include me in any of this at all." Though there is a twinge of doubt that settles in.

Odessa's lips curve into a small smile, shy almost. "I will be glad for an end to this." An end to the Institute, to faking loyalty. "Show me what I need to do."

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