Trust the Illusion


rami_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Also starring: Freddie Yancey

Scene Title Trust the Illusion
Synopsis The illusions of people or the illusion of sanity — take your pick.
Date January 1st, 2009


Queens is the largest in area and the second most populous of the five boroughs of New York City. Located on the western portion of Long Island, Queens managed to avoid much of the physical ruin attributed to the Bomb. However, Queens on whole suffered from something far more significant in the wake of the explosion that tore apart New York — Economic crisis. With much of Queens relying on industrial productivity for its commerce, it was the mass exodus of many businesses from the New York area following the bomb that crippled the borough.

With refugees pouring in from the western portions of New York following the destruction of Midtown, Queens was inundated with homeless of all walks of life. Food shortages, coupled with the collapse of Queens business centers and the strain put on local police only furthered what would become one of the most embarassing mishandling of a crisis situation the city had ever seen. Weeks after the bomb hit, riots swept through New York by the panicked populace, this was felt most hard in Queens, where food riots ravaged the businesses that dared remain open. Shea Statium was used as temporary shelter for bomb refugees, and the riots that swept through Queens enveloped the stadium as well, resulting in a remarkable loss of life in the chaos.

Ever since, Queens has settled down from the turbulent weeks following the nuclear explosion. But while its scars may not be as physical as Midtowns are, Queens suffers just as the rest of New York does, under the shadow of that broken skyline to the west and the collapse of its social and economic centers. Queens is now a ghost of its former self, slowly struggling to recover from the damage done.

It's been a long chase already. When Rami decided to tie up his one loose end of a case, he didn't expect the target to put up such a fight. Somehow the teenager made him before he got close enough to apprehend. And with Mahoney out on sick leave, well, his now-former partner can't help him.

It was supposed to be simple. 19 year old Freddie Yancey's power was reported to be highly underdeveloped. Seems the kid's a quick study, because Rami's encountered a series of illusions over the course of the chase that's made his job very difficult. All he was going to do was pose as a video game developer and fool the young man into getting into his car for a 'business lunch.' But the kid was more street-wise than he thought.

That started off a whole chase that has Rami moving down the streets of Queens while trying to remain low-key. Sometimes he thinks he's caught sight of Freddie, but he gets the distinct impression that the kid is playing with him. He's got a bit of a sadistic streak. An earlier illusion almost made Rami shoot a little girl.

It's another little girl who sets a hand on Rami's right shoulder, the touch a cross between restraint (wait a minute) and 'hey, I'm here'. Not that Tamara, at just a couple months shy of nineteen, is exactly little in most uses of the word… yet oftentimes it seems to apply. But now… While her clothes — jeans either secondhand or quite well-worn, a lightweight deep green jacket torn at one cuff, the shirt beneath soft gray — are worn in a fashion that hints at haphazard picks, and the girl's long hair is as neglected as ever, there's a peculiar piercing clarity in the blue eyes that look up at the Company agent. A sense of knowing that is echoed in Tamara's small, almost bittersweet smile. She's the same girl who chatters about leaves and snakes and plays cat's cradle… yet she's also decidedly not. "Chasing the light that bounces on the wall. It's not snakes who're supposed to do that." The humor inherent in that observation doesn't reach her lips, but it's hinted at in her gaze.

Rami swings the small, compact dart gun around and points it at Tamara for a moment. There is a breath or two where he allows himself the luxury of being irritated at himself for not spotting her. But it passes and then he lowers his weapon. Sure, she could be an illusion of Freddie's, but something about her eyes, her bearing, convinces him that she's entirely real. "I don't have time for games, dear. Do you see Freddie?" He doesn't feel a need to describe the boy, given the insight that the girl has shown before.

There's a breath or two where her gaze is sharp indeed. Rami's irritation slides off her as if it were water and she glass; a mirror whose depths reflect something altogether different than what looks into it. The remark about time actually elicits a small, amused smirk; I know you're wrong but you go right on believing that. A more absent-minded touch puts enough pressure on the agent's arm to suggest he lower his weapon, though Tamara turns her head to look down the street. "There's too many shadows." An observation, in the timbre of one musing aloud; it's not a denial. "Whispers without voices." Looking back to Rami, she tips her head to one side, then suits actions to gesture and begins to walk down the street.

Out of the corner of his eye, Rami spots what looks like Freddie moving past. A kid in an orange jacket and a backwards baseball hat who looks a bit thuggish. He raises his weapon and prepares to fire, but then the illusion is gone. His lip curls and he looks around again, the gun lowered. There's not many people around, but there's enough that waving something that looks very gun-like around is a bad idea. "And where is the whisper with a voice, dear?"

The agent watches the girl as she walks away. He doesn't know why exactly, but he starts to follow, though his gaze stays on the shadows, searching for a flash of orange.

Tamara glances over her shoulder; the look cast Rami's way is most decidedly exasperated. She doesn't stop walking, meanwhile. "Listen to the wind the wind and fall off the cliff," the girl states. It's true she could be clearer… but it's a tenuous balance she has to weigh. She huffs, running a hand through her hair and then shaking the blonde strands about. The words she has fall woefully short, and so Tamara resorts to a beckoning flick of her hand. Hurry up already.

There's a few things going on in Rami's mind. One, that if Freddie escapes, it would be fairly easy to capture the boy later with the help of the Haitian. The illusionist has shown himself to be a hot-dogger and a troublemaker. The chances that he'd go into hiding are slim. And two, that if Tamara leads him to Freddie, well, then his suspicions about her are correct. And having that confirmed is worth the loss of his target. So he has little to lose by following her. "I have no idea what you're saying," he drawls wryly and quietly. But he follows her with dart gun held low and eyes peeled for orange jackets.

Okay. Those options aren't options anymore. Tamara stops, turns, grabs Rami's arm, her grip uncomfortably tight but not to the point of digging in. Quite. She stares up at the agent, blue eyes narrowed, the stiff set of her jaw and faint lines to her brow indicating a great deal of strain. "If… you watch… those… those…" She stumbles over the lack of a word for Freddie's illusions; determines fishing for it isn't worth the price. "…you will not… walk away." Then Tamara steps back, her fingers falling away from Rami's arm so she can lift both palms to her face.

Rami is a straightforward, literal man in a lot of ways. It doesn't mean he's incapable of decrypting Tamara. It just means that he's not quite as adept at it as someone with a more creative mind might be. "You're asking that I trust you and believe that none of the illusions are Freddie," says Rami. It's not a question. It's a statement.

Tamara looks through cracked fingers at Rami. There's nothing of the playful girl in her posture; nothing of the child she often seems. The gravity that informed her previous, struggling statement remains. "…Not asking," she says more softly, the words riding on a sigh. Her head snaps around as if looking towards the source of a summons, some sound that wasn't made. "You're late," Tamara says, and then she begins to run. Either Rami will follow — or he won't.

Rami almost doesn't. But he chooses to follow his instinct, and that says that Tamara is the real deal. So he does his best to ignore the flashes of illusions that seem to increase the more he's lead in the direction that Tamara is indicating. He doesn't ask questions, just follows with a sharp, predatory gaze and the dart gun held at the ready.

It should be a dangerously breakneck pace for the girl — for both of them — as she dashes down the street and slips into the alleys. Yet she never seems in danger of colliding with or stumbling over anything. The rasp of her breathing against her teeth is harsher than it would be if she spent the time to work on her physical condition — but Tamara knows her body's limits perfectly, and that will just have to serve here. It's not so much that she's out of shape… but she's no athlete.

In the twists and turns she sets their course by, the illusions eventually disappear; Freddie cannot trick the minds he can no longer locate, and it would take a different power than his to unravel their trail. Then Tamara stops, her head lifting to gaze into the distance directly ahead. Waiting — and not for Rami, as her slightly raised hand suggests. Her eyes are dark, pupils dilated so far the irises cannot be discerned. The alleys may be dim, especially at evening, but they're not dark enough to justify that.

Rami on the other hand, is an athlete, though one who uses his peak conditioning to kill. What he doesn't have is Tamara's ability to anticipate obstacles, so that slows him somewhat. A few times he almost collides with things and there's a stumble or two. When she stops abruptly, the agent is nonetheless breathing in sharp, pulled breaths. He looks to Tamara and notices the eyes, which only convinces him further that following her was the right idea. He raises the dart gun in the direction she looks, gaze searching for a sign of movement.

The dart gun comes up; and though Tamara isn't looking at him, she waves it down. The girl opens her mouth as though to speak — then shakes her head slowly, dismissively, discarding whatever she might have attempted to say. There's a change in her posture as the thing she was waiting for happens; a decision made on the part of their quarry. His decision gives her a destination, and Tamara's off again.

Rami huffs a bit, then once again briefly considers not following. But curiousity has the better of him. He's off at a run again, close on Tamara's heels.

She doesn't go any slower; doesn't surrender anything to the effort of continued breathing or the stitch such headlong running is going to put in her side. None of that's as important as getting where they need to be in time. Through the alleys and back out to a street, but not the same one; it's quieter, the shops on this block not having opened today, the few people who wandered down its length having already moved on. Past one building and around the side of another; and up a fire-escape tucked against it, up which the seeress scrambles without hesitation.

And hot on her heels the whole way is the lanky Company agent. Rami moves with surprising (though perhaps not to her) agility. He may give off the air of a staid businessman or a by-the-books spook, but in truth, he's a hunter.

Tamara steps out onto the first platform of the fire escape, tucking herself into the corner nearest the building. She gestures Rami into the adjacent angle of metal bars, not quite looking at him, not quite looking away; her eyes are unfocused, seeing something other than here. When he's in place, the girl steps nearer, heedless of any such nicety as personal space; she reaches up to guide his arm into the proper placement, although what that means when there's empty sidewalk beyond the gun is anyone's guess.

Rami somehow manages to push his skepticism aside. The touch at first makes him flinch. It's a reflex in a combat situation. But he manages to calm it and allow his arm to be guided. He watches the spot at the end of his dart gun, searching for signs of movement. He doesn't ask questions, doesn't fight her direction. He wants to see how this plays out.

Tamara waits. And it turns out there's a reason she's directing Rami's aim, because the figure that walks down the street and into his sights — cocksure and confident, believing his pursuer is lost, distracted, or otherwise elsewhere — had shed that distinctive orange blazer somewhere along the way, becoming just another pedestrian out late.

Rami doesn't miss shots like that when they're presented. So as soon as he's got a clear shot, a dart is fired off, then a second, just to be certain. Then Freddie folds and slumps to the ground. It takes a minute for the drugs to work through his system and knock the troublemaking illusionist out cold. He walks towards the downed teen and rolls him over to confirm that he's the right kid. That, and to pull the darts out. He looks back at Tamara and watches her for a long moment. "Thank you," he says to the girl, brows arched, expression one of actual thanks, not just feigned. Then he's on his cell phone, requesting pick-up.

Tamara, in Rami's absence, folds her arms over the railing and leans heavily against it, looking abruptly weary. She doesn't seem inclined to leave the fire escape platform any time soon, just bobs her head at Rami's expression of gratitude. She will, however, be gone when the agent's summoned company arrives, likely with as little notice as the seeress can manage to give her audience.

January 1st: All You Need Is Loyalty
January 1st: Firestarter?
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