Treading Air


fedor_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Treading Air
Synopsis Fedor has a few offers and an unexpectedly difficult question, and Teo goes around Felix to get the thing done.
Date February 20, 2009

New Jersey, Teterboro Airport — Hangar

Luckily for all for all involved, there isnt much fixed wing traffic going on at this hour. Theres a small crew working still of course, but the engine overhaul on a learjet and the investigation of some electrical ghosts has the trio of men entirely engrossed in there duties. Fedor sat quietly, he'd rather busied himself as well only in his case it entailed the transfer of some new maps to his Twotter's GPS. Just in case he decided he needed to go back to the bush, you know whenever. The Twotter and Fedor's own Mig are squeezed into a back corner of the hangar where the fact that neither see much use right now, is made readily apparent.

He'd sent the invitation not really knowing if Teo would respond, which normally might have been a source of some considerable inconvience. Tonight however he needed to be here sort've reguardless, so he'd left instructions on how to get through terminal security without needing to flash ID and of course where to find the Chicago Air hangar. He'd left a secondary access door open, which was conviently enough placed just fore of where Fedor's personal airforce was parked. Old men needed their toys though, and Fedor especially perhaps.

Air strip. Teo hasn't been on a plane in years, partly because he doesn't like the idea of flying very much: water is more his element, though he understands that sky travel is necessary to… the way the world works, whatever that means. Not his world, mind you. For an expatriate, his interests are fairly local. He's loping along the concrete and exhaling white condensation into the night, a figure in drab trousers, hoodie, jacket, shorn head left conspicuously bare to the elements. The hangar's lights pick his face out, angular features and pallid eyes, a pleasantly blank expression breaking to offer smiles to the crewmen he passes by.

Once your out of the terminal, nobody really seems to pay anyone else much mind here. Cept Fedor that is. He spots Teo early on of course, but then again he was looking for the guy. So he sets his laptop down, picks his coffee out of the crew passage and slips down the little stairs built into the twotter's side. "Hey Teo."Comes a chipper tone, all smiles and fresh coffee. "I wasn't sure you were coming, why don't you step aboard."He's just in his vest and shirt for the moment, unwilling to soil his favorite suit jacket. Not that this black suit was that different from his six other black suits.

"I'd honestly rather not," Teodoro replies, his head tilting against the rim of his jacket collar. He angles a stare across the glass of windows, the cabin chamber and vessel's handsome nose, great rotors. "No offense, signor, I don't fly very well. And I think my sensei would… kick my ass for doing something that careless.

"I still don't know what it is you do." Despite this, he saunters up, long-legged and sincerely smiling, his head sweeping underneath the long broad shadow cast by the plane's wing. "You know. How you've managed to—" piggyback through bodies, form-shift, maintain vitality, "survive all these years. Though I realize 'm kind of— going out of turn." He pushes his hands into his pockets, shoulders up. He doesn't glance through the hangar again; he pegged where people were at. "You had something else you wanted to ask me, signor?"

"Yeah, well hey the sky aint for everyone. No problem, but hey anyway."He pauses to reach back inside and fetch his jacket. "Anyway, I wanted to make sure you got the deposit box before we go any further. I'd rather not spend what I havent already given you."He slips said jacket on, taking a moment to adjust his cuffs and collar before nodding to a nearby workbench where a coffee machine happily burbles away. "oh and, I have some open slots here so if any of your people need some gainful employment I may be able to help there too."

Studying the underside of the wing, Teo counts bolts and intervals before they stop back at the shape of the old man who still doesn't look it, never looks it, every time he looks. "I got it," he reassures Fedor, turning up the corners of his mouth. "Grazie. I tried to leave you a message to that effect. Money's still there, if you'd like to get it back. Or I can get it back to you, if you like. You've been very kind and generous. And I'm about this close—" forefinger and thumb span a fraction of an inch, "to making a crack about you and Felix not being genetically related, but I realize that'd probably be rude." His hand falls. Reinstalls itself in his pocket, and he sets his heels apart. Waits.

He waves a hand dismissively, but to Fedor its hardly a small manner. So he left the money, is all he can ponder for a moment or two. "I'm not generious, I'm fair. You just arent used to it, I'm fairly certain dealing with a fair hand went away about the same time as the Mig-17."Fedor pauses, adjusts his tie self conciously. "I thought for awhile about what I could give you to let you know who I was, so you would have some basis for understanding. I find context grows more important as I grow older, so lets not worry too much about the economy of things. I just want to know, why your doing this."

"Phoenix is an organization which objects to the Linderman Act and the American government's other unconstitutional decisions that affect the Evolved. Contrary to popular bullshit," a slight sneer curls Teo's mouth, but he schools his features back into some semblence of disciplined the next moment. He straightens further, his back ceding a quiet pop of vertebrates alignging. "We don't use terror, but we do defend ourselves with violence.

"One of our concrete plans is to attack Homeland Security facilities that are being used for illegal experimentation on and imprisonment of Evolved abductees. There have been complications. Mostly involving HomeSec not doing its fucking job keeping this country safe from actual terrorists — so we did it for them. And now we're paying the fucking price."

"I see, thats all very interesting but I had surmised all but the last part for myself. I didnt ask why Phoenix was doing this, I asked why you were doing this. What I supplied wasnt support, it was context so I'm looking to add context to you in turn. I know where Felix is from, and I know what he's primarily composed of but I dont really know much about who -you- are and how you got wrapped up in all of this."Well and goodness, how very interesting that very last part truly was indeed. Positively curious, perhaps he still had an excuse to blow shit up.

When the old man clarifies, the young man looks sort of confused. The expression suits Teodoro about as well as his spitting, cursing temper had a moment ago, as at home there as his reading face or his most authentic apologies. He doesn't think it matters. Context. Phoenix is the context. Manhattan fucked up with smoking holes, viral apocalypses, and unchallenged government crimes is the context, and he a mere superficial detail. He doesn't object, though he looks for a moment like he might.

It makes sense to him, that Fedor would want to know who he was dealing with. As of yet, as far as Teo was aware, he was the only available liaison between the erstwhile spy and this band of what he must regard as righteously angry children. "Because it's right, because I'm… useful," he decides, instead of needed. "I have a few things to make up for. God wants me to.

"And because…" he has grace enough to be embarrassed about this part, coloring faintly; he glances at the striated iron of the hangar's far wall. "I was a cowardly asshole this time last year. Figured I'd rather help a terrorist group build bombs than let myself and the cash register girl die in the hardware store I was working at. Stupid story."

It wasnt Phoenix Fedor was concerned with right now, it was putting Teo in context. Young men were curious things these days, which was in no small part due to the fact he was supposedly a young man himself right now. "You know the most important part of that story, I belive is the fact your alive to tell it. Doing evil to save your life, is nature ensuring you survive long enough to learn from your mistakes. Doing nothing is cowardice, so I think if your doing this thing for penance you probably need to get into a new line of work." Fedor's face is expressionless for a moment as he sort've internalizes his own words on a short delay, before he offers an almost apologetic smile. "You'll need to kick me next time I take off on these little grandfathery episodes, its a byproduct of my age."

Clearing his throat, Fedor turns to walk quietly towards the rear of his plane. There, he points across the hangar to a series of long shelves holding what look like big glass basket balls. "Those are what we called a foreward looking infra red pods, The air force often calls them a pave penny pod. In any case, they're very sharp cameras you mount on an aircraft. Very high magnification, we use them for survey work and search and rescue when we're on rotation. Do you know what you and I could do with those?"Its a silly question of course, he already knows the answer to his question but that would be simple and there must be a minimum amount of difficulty.

"No," Teo replies, a beatific smile on his face: a diligent pupil standing before his imminently qualified teacher. He doesn't know what they could do with those. Has a thousand ideas, mind you, but he's willing to take the correct answer from the man holding both the equipment and the grading rubric. A beat, and he scratches his fingers over the roof of his scalp. Sheepish. He admits, belatedly and out of order, "I've been thinking that for a little while, too, signor. Other lines of work. I take you under advisement."

And goodness that elicits a smile. "Flying is optional."He notes quickly. "Well, do you know why spy satelite photos dont have clouds? They use a mixture of devices, but one of the biggies is infrared. I have helicopters and fixed assets crossing the city constantly, and thats if we just wanted to passively scan things. Think of real time, long linger, high resolution study of your target. I can follow cars too if I know about it ahead of time, but this is all very short term."he pauses a moment, turning his gaze back to Teo. "Do you know much about the Falklands war?"

Succinct as his verbal reply had been, Teo shakes his head this time. He doesn't know much about the Falklands war, though the idea of electronic espionage interests him as it's frequently wont to, these days. His eyes sharpen, flatten, then brighten again. "Ah— first. I'm sorry to interrupt my ongoing education, but there's another thing I wanted to talk to you about.

"Less with the blowing shit up, and more with the… restraining yourself from doing so. I was wondering what it'd take for you to break off your — promise to Felix. That debt you owe him: murdering Gabriel Gray. I'm given to understand it probably goes back to before him, but I know you personally think of it as a waste." He studies the old man's framed in the plane's round-shouldered doorway, his expression flattens out, goes quiescent.

"The British used a lot of commercial air lines to secretly spy before things started, so they knew where everything was when the shooting started."A rumor is what Fedor repeats, one even he can't prove but he certainly does believe it. Still what follows is a transition that strikes our favorite pilot out of the blue. "I had a gun to my head, I had dug my own grave. You know what it tastes like, the anticipation that your at your end? His grand father ensured I'd be around long enough to tell you this story. My own family line ended in Finland, which makes Felix the closest thing to a blood relative I have left."

He steps just a touch closer, he edges just a hair and lowers his voice a hint of an octave. "I want you to consider your words, extremely carefully Teo. They deal with a very important promise to me, and a debt that took me away from the only happiness I have ever known. If it was so trivial an affair, I would have stayed in Alaska and I would have let myself age into a grave. I came here for that, so you consider the gravity of what your talking about. Then you ask me."

Blue eyes as close to colorless as the sky over Finland meet Fedor's regard and the Sicilian's features go still. Seconds tick past. Somewhere further away, a crewman slams a toolkit shut and hits a light switch, inundating one corner of the hangar in shadow. Teo stares at the old man for a long moment. He doesn't like that answer, that much is obvious: a sharp line in his brow, temper sawing at the back of his thoughts, grating, rattling. He hates this.

Collecting weapons, reminded every time he opens the cache to add one, of how empty it's become and how high the cost of every single addition. "Fuck it," he answers, then, softly. "Never mind. Mi dispiace. I understand. Honor first. If you…" a frown. Reckless; he's always offering people help. "If you want to go home at some point, though— I know people who could help you get your old identity back. Face, form, everything. If you didn't have it completely and visibly destroyed. Just let me know when."

"Its a damned distasteful thing, a terrible decision on his part but one made with earnest belief that he knew the weight of things. He's a funny boy, Felix. He reminds me of his grandfather so much that sometimes I forget the two arent the same, sometimes when I go through my change things dont copy over. I'm never certain if its age, or my nature to forget things. This is the sort of thing I did for his father, but you know that now. Dont you."Fedor inhales deeply, before slowly letting it out. He felt weak.

"I dont want to do this thing, but this is not a situation in which I have much say. I dont get to refuse, I dont get to defer. I surrender some measure of self determination in trade for a past kindness. Your a very young man, you probably just think I'm being proud or stubborn. I'm sorry for that, I know its very frusterating. Now, if Felix told me that would be different. Now, I suppose you dont want me to do anything because you fear this man will kill me?"

Teo's expression hardens over fractionally, the artless retreat of a talentless liar with too much stake in keeping the truth secret. Again, no offense meant. It's a complicated kind of life to lead. "That. I don't want him to kill Felix, either. And I'm not sure he deserves to die. It's complicated. He's being framed for the worst of his crimes, and struggled with special conditions that no court in the world could deal with. He started to change, too. To control it.

"It doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure arguing is only going to make shit worse. Felix is a stubborn bastard. I already spoke to him. There's nothing to be done, I guess. You all have your duties. I have the luxury of conceding to my conscience, I guess." Luxury, though it doesn't feel like one. Teo shakes his head, once, dismissing that subject into the past tense. He says, "Falklands."

There was a long silence before he sighs "I play a very long game Teo, I look at things in terms of decades these days. I never made any promises about when, but you'll need to work on Felix. If he's infront of me disarmed and hurt, I'll kill him. I wont go after him though, I wont hunt him and I wont look for him."he nods, diverting his gaze from Teo for a moment. "Just give me something to do in the meantime, so I dont have to worry over hiding my free time from Felix. Is this fair?"

"Yes." Teo's consent is instantaneous, flooded with relief, color emerging out of the gaunt pallor of a young man otherwise stretched too thin over high and pointed stakes. "Yes. There's enough to do. On Staten fucking Island, especially. Too far out of the NYPD and National Guard's jurisdiction.

"Thank you." His shoulders are squared and chin lifted, uncharacteristically soldierly, momentarily that much less the thug. There's a jolt of unrealized movement in his elbow; he'd almost run up and hugged the man. "I'll figure something out for Felix. It's harder for him now, with his face all over the papers, but there are ways. And later, if your loyalty allows it and it suits your ideology, HomeSec could use a few more enemies."

Another smile. "They already have one, I'm offering to be a low flying spy satellite for you Teo. If you want, and can help we could steal and assemble a gunship or maybe a light strike aircraft. The morale effect of an air strike, is incredible. You've never been shot at from the air, but I assure you it makes you feel absolutely defenseless and unprotected." There's another roll of his shoulders. "Just tell me what you need, and I'll tell you what I can and cant help you with. I'm offering to help, aren't I?"

Apparently. Which is probably why he's suddenly being subject to the look that a discerning marketeer would give a gift horse, though the next moment Teo does look abashed. "What happened to growing old in Alaska?" he asks, after a standing silence. Selfless concern and paranoid hesitation happen to align this time, leaving the young thug to squint upward on the brink of accepting the offer in all of its spectacular generality, fire and air all.

There's a wave of the hand dismissively. "I already left, I cant go back. I'll be damned if I came all this way, to sit around and do nothing. If I'm here, I may as well make myself useful and get to doing something right? Its not like I need to work here Teo, I do it because I want to not because I need too and its not as if there arent other excellent pilots who need the money."

"All right." Teo tucks a smile in on his face, conceding this with a dip of his head. He can understand that. Live with purpose, die with dignity. If there's time left over for old age, that'll come when it does. "I think I understand that, too.

"Well as a kid can, anyway. I'll get with you and Felix about doing some work, soon. I think he's getting stir-crazy, sitting pretty on the mantelpiece next to his stupid fucking trophy. He got all…" A long forefinger and thumb flit up and down in front of the Sicilian's face, describing contours. "Bitchy-faced. We'll work it out." If for no greater reason than because he has to. Failure isn't an option.

Truly Fedor cant help but chuckle at that, lovers spat. "I would be far better off, without being tied at the hip to Felix. He's FBI and, well I've been doing this long enough to be more suitable with working next to someone who hasnt been taught by someone else. Do you understand where I'm coming from, someone I can teach to do things in a way they haven't taught since even I was a boy. That way, we don't have family politics and bad feelings."

Probably, if Teo knew the phrase that crossed Fedor's mind, he'd be red in the face and mumbling something ignobly. For lack of any telepathic talent, he's left to look merely good-natured at the laughter that godson elicits from godfather, and tilt his head when he begins to describe the schism between them. It makes sense. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a lot of schisms between it and everything else. "Yes," he answers, quietly. "Without Felix, then. It will be sorted. I should go soon." The lack of segue warrants a slight smile of apology. He tips his head back to stare up at the plane's broad chassis. "Are you going to fly tonight, signor?"

Its a loving stroke, like the head of a good horse. His fingertips trace lovingly across a flap overhead"No, I wont be. I really want to, but I just don't have anywhere to go. I haven't flown the Twotter or the Mig"he indicates to the big red and white checkered plane parked yonder"since I got here, I've been using the time to overhaul them but they don't really need it. Neither of them ever ask for much, just someone in the cockpit paying attention. Its all anyone wants right?"he nods towards the door"I'll let'cha sit in the pilot's chair if you want, we cant do any flying but maybe your fear is a product of unfamilarity?"

Teo's refusal, when it comes, is genuinely rueful. "I'm sorry, I really do need to go. Maybe next time. I'll see about introducing you to some people. Some more aerially inclined than I am. They—" his eyes flare wide for a moment, retroactively remembering, and he does color this time. Albeit only faintly. "Felix and I, messing around. No one knew about that. I'd appreciate your discretion." Given the talk of air strikes, yachts, plane rides, and violent anti-establishmentism so recent, it feels profoundly odd to make this social stipulation, but he holds to it. For his peace of mind; for the little wolf's career.

He lifts a hand, almost defensively. "Nono, don't worry. I'm a gentleman Teo, as I said I apologise for being so nosy in the past. I dont plan on spreading anything about, it would be very inconsiderate on my part and furthermore I believe his mother would murder me. You havent met her, but its best that you dont."

Acceptance is marked off with a nod of tacit trust, or at least an intelligent awareness that there are more important things. Like not being murdered by Mrs. Ivanov. Teo's right eyebrow pops upward and threatens to wrench completely out of joint. Wordlessly, he takes that to heart. "Non problema. Thank you for your time." He stoops his shorn head, a slight obeisance of approximate gallantry, and straightens. "Good night." Teo swivels back toward the hangar's vacuous maw to the night's open air, offering one long-fingered hand in wave, before he reaches back to pull his hood over his head.

February 20th: What You Want
February 20th: Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps
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