bolivar_icon.gif rami_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Undercurrents
Synopsis A Homeland Security — Company — agent and a cantankerous K-9 officer are drawn together by an odd little girl dog and an even odder little oracle girl. On the surface, things are calm; underneath, racism and bureau prejudice run rampant.
Date December 5, 2008

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

Early morning finds much of Central Park populated by joggers and dogwalkers, taking advantage of the relative quiet to get in their daily exercise. The tourists are still abed, or enjoying an overly expensive breakfast; the people who're going to work are either already there or in transit. The air is crisp and cool, clear skies and soft early-winter sunshine blunting what could've been a bitter edge to the morning breeze.

Seated on grass damp with melted frost under the skeletal branches of a dormant oak tree, Tamara watches a pair of younger teens playing frisbee with a golden retriever, all of them about two hundred and some feet away on a nicely open stretch. The girl's appearance approaches presentable today, a new sweater in autumn tones of gold and brown paired with black jeans that haven't faded to the shade of charcoal yet, blond hair recently brushed out. She holds an immediately recognizable toy in her hands, six sides dotted with smaller squares in random associations of color; the panels of the Rubik's Cube are rotated at a regular, unhurried pace, with no indication that the girl's really trying to solve it.

Rami is at first only a bouncing dot on the edges of the park. But slowly, the Company agent forays deeper into the park. He's wearing black sweat pants and jogging shirt in paneled black and dark blue. He moves at a steady, pumping pace. There is a determined set to his eyes as he moves along. He has no iPod. He is focused entirely on the rhythmic motions of his body as he jogs.

He may be here for his own health, for his own well-being, but the ex-CIA operative is never really off duty. One foot is slightly heavier than the rest as a small weapon is strapped to his lower leg. One can never be too prepared in this new world.

After the first two blocks, the nausea and leadenness of Bolivar's limbs began to burn off in favor of the familiar feeling of muscle strain. Though Nina Lou is as coolly disciplined as ever, her smaller and younger compatriot, the curly-eared spaniel, is excited this morning, bouncing on the end of her leash with energy just short of insubordination. Murmuring and prodding haven't worked to settle her, thus far. Her master is waiting for her to cross that line. He won't check her, scold her until she does.

They get into Central Park, the burn-scarred man in the brown trenchcoat between his great, stalking shepherd and the other. He's armed, himself, though the perpetual scowl that reigns over his brow likely does more to dissuade interference than the occasional wink of the holstered weapon at his hip. The trio perambulates past poorly-constructed snowpeople and yelping live ones, taking interest in nothing or everything until they eventually come to a segment of walkway where Rami and Tamara are beginning to converge.

Bolivar finds himself peering at the blonde girl with the Rubik's Cube, nagged by a feeling so distinct and out-of-place that he fails to notice Logan Rose sniffing in the direction of the approaching jogger. Her senses sharpened by recent training, she senses something slightly amiss with— well. His pants.

Blue eyes watch Rami's approach, the expression around them contemplative, mildly curious. It's a muted version of the regard Bolivar casts her way, an awareness of unplaced familiarity without any actual concern, with the complete absence of a desire to fill that associative void. Click, click; Tamara continues to scramble the cube's faces, even as her gaze shifts to the canines and their handler. She leans forward to rest her elbows on her knees, reflexively tossing that long blond hair behind her shoulders, tilting her head and watching the younger spaniel. "Pushy," the teen observes. "She likes you." Whom 'you' is supposed to reference, she fails to clarify.

Rami is not really observing the faces of the people he passes. If he was, he would note Tamara and he's likely to remember her. For the moment though, he continues his steady, jogging approach. Within a minute, perhaps a little less, he's on the path nearest Bolivar and Tamara. He moves around other joggers and dog walkers.

When Tamara's attention moves from Rami to little Rose, Bolivar's stays on her face, his brow knitted so hard with the effort to remember that the ruined edge of his face kind of puckers with the tension. He remains momentarily unperturbed by the possibility of his intentions toward her being misconstrued. When she speaks, he merely frowns. Raises his free hand, finally, the one snared in leashes remaining at his side, and he reaches into his pocket to extricate a photograph when the spaniel bursts into an ecstatic, fire-cracker explosion of barks. She did it. She found one! She found something.

Nina corroborates this with a whuff that never seems to leave the resonant depths of her vast lungs, and steps forward. Bolivar does look up, then. There's a badge in his hand, abruptly. "Excuse me, sir," he calls out, moving into the other man's path with about as much aplomb as your average strip of tire spikes. "NYPD. Moment of your time?"

Remaining seated, as untroubled by the spaniel's sudden yapping as Bolivar by third-party perceptions of his regard, Tamara merely smiles. She opens her mouth, closes it again, and settles for drawing her knees up to her chest, arms loosely wrapping around them. The cube hangs idly from one hand, its multicolored faces presently forgotten in favor of people-watching — and dog-watching, too. "Long and long away," she says, quietly. Maybe it's directed at them; maybe not.

Rami slows to a stop and leans forward on his knees. He pulls in a series of deep breaths and eyes the dogs. He stands up straight and looks very closely at the badge. Closer than most people tend to. "What can I do for you, officer?" he says rather breathlessly. He speaks in a crisp, British accent. He looks left and happens to spot Tamara. It takes him a moment to remember. Ah, yes.

Rose clinks merrily in tow when her master goes to confront. Her larger compatriot makes less noise, despite being of more ponderous proportions, probably because the length of her strides manage to close the distance without having to frenetically bang up and down on the horizontal plane.

She looks tense but perfectly restrained, the lupine lines of her body rigid. Rose, in the meantime, puts her face to Rami's leg. Bolivar would switch to looking peeved if he hadn't already looked like that, either unhappy with the way his badge was analyzed, annoyed that Rami seems to register recognition of the young woman where he had personally failed, or both. "Are you armed or otherwise carrying restricted substances or items, sir?" his own accent is unmistakably local.

Noticed at last by Rami, Tamara tips her head the other way and regards him levelly. She lifts her free hand and wiggles her fingers at the ex-CIA agent. Hello to you, too. Then the girl hops up to her feet and sets off heading away from the men and the dogs, steps light.

Tamara has disconnected.

Rami straightens his posture. He looks down at the dogs, then up to Bolivar. He can't help but feel that he was stopped for reasons other than the dogs. The colour of his skin, for example. "I am carrying a concealed weapon. But." He reaches into his wallet and flips out official ID. Homeland Security.

Out of the corner of his eye, he keeps watch on Tamara. When the wraith-like girl slinks away without questioning his supposed cover, his curiosity is piqued. Well now. He'll have to make sure to make sure he speaks to her next time they cross paths.

It's hard to tell from Bolivar's face that his inside-voice is saying nasty things about Limey ragheads, but it could be harder. Sparing the darker man's face one hard look, he then drops his gaze to the ID presented to him. His eyebrow shifts upward, almost imperceptibly. An Englishman in the service of this nation? There are stranger things these days, but not by much. His lip moves slightly, not quite a curl; he merely nods his head.

"Agent," he offers, by way of salutation. He steps to the left. Not nearly far enough to clear Rami's path, but the dogs shift accordingly, Rose with visible reluctance. The young spaniel wags her feathery tail and stares upward as if expecting something positive to come from all this. Her scarred master glances over his shoulder when Rami's attention shifts, his frown deepening further when that bright sweater vanishes around the bend.

"Your dogs…" begins Rami in a tone that seems to imply he doesn't want the cop to go anywhere just yet. He turns to look Bolivar in the eye. "…are very talented." He knows that look, the subtle twists on even a scarred man's face when confronted with the enigma of a government agent with his skintone and accent. "How do you train them to find concealed weapons? The scent of gunpowder?" On the surface, this might seem to be an entirely amicable exchange between professionals, but they both know it's anything but.

Generally, Bolivar doesn't mind being rude. Blowing off an obnoxiously congenial Limey raghead who works for Homeland Security is fairly consistent with his MO. However, he hadn't failed to notice that Rami recognized the girl who'd evaded his own recollections, so he finds himself actually entertaining the possibility of tolerating the other man's society. "Yes," he says, and adds a helpful corollary: "something like that. Who was she? The girl with the puzzle cube?" Apparently deciding not to expend energy on any sort of segue, he points after the way Tamara had vanished.

Rami looks the direction Bolivar indicated, then turns back to him. "I don't know." It's -always- hard to tell with him whether the 'I don't know' means just that or if it really means 'you don't have clearance.' The outcome is the same, either way. "She is…odd, isn't she?"

The fact that Bolivar is thinking derogatory things about him doesn't really matter. The cop just happens to be the type of man who does think such things, so he's made that conclusion. Stereotypes go all ways.

"I don't care," Bolivar answers, with the appropriate amount of repugnance one would expect from a cop who thinks he's being lied to. A lie of omission, if nothing else. He doesn't care— that she's odd, that is. He hadn't really noticed. If it is weird for nineteen-year-olds to ignore school, infuriate intellectual puzzles, and mutter inscrutable words at the backs of adults, well— he was a fairly weird nineteen-year-old himself. "She looks familiar. The kind that matters." That sounded strange, and he knows it. He glances down and, finally, ruffles his fingers through his spaniel's curly fur. "You don't know her name?" he presses again.

"No," that one syllable, unambiguous word clips off the agent's tongue. Rami lets it hang there for a moment. "That is what I just said now, isn't it? I don't know who she is." He looks down to the dogs, then up to Bolivar with a tilt of his head. "If there's nothing else, officer. I shall be on my way."

Bolivar's eyes are that weird medium-tone between dark and light that transitions closer to either end of the spectrum depending on the weather or what he's doing with his face. They flare paler now, as he cocks his head. "Rodriguez-Smith," he says, abruptly, offering the man a gloved hand to shake. His tone and manner are, for a moment, thick with unkind irony: knowing someone's name doesn't constitute knowing them. Thank God for that. And then, without particular joy but some inkling like humor, he inquires: "Dog and bone is for?"

Rami's handshake is firm, and he shakes Bolivar's hand with pointed strength. "Hollingwood." Can't get a much more British-sounding name than that. He arches one brow and then murmurs, "Telephone?" like he's not entirely sure that he's making a joke.

Cockney rhyming slang. Bolivar isn't sure whether it's better or worse that the other man's accent wasn't an affectation, so he inevitably settles for worse. "Yep." He releases the other man's hand without expending an unbecoming amount of strength into his grip— mostly because the squeeze he already expended successfully compounded the soreness already lingering in his metacarpi. "You should answer yours," he says, turning away. "Vamos, chicas." The dogs fall in behind him, the spaniel cocking her head back at him with a salutationary flip of her tail.

Rami is not quite sure what that means. It seems loaded. The agent will chew that over in the back of his head. But for now, he just gives the back of Bolivar's head a long look. He's mentally filed the man's name as well. He'll have to pull some folders when he gets back to the office. But for now, he takes a moment to stretch, then starts to jog off in the other direction.

Rami Hates


December 4th: Munin's Down a Well
December 5th: So Just Who Are You?
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