rebel_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Scene Title Walls
Synopsis Benjamin Ryans takes a risk to confront Rebel about the attempted capture of James Alton, and finds himself presented with a question about his own allegiances.
Date May 3, 2010

The Corinthian

In the grand scheme of things, this is the last place he thought he'd have to be.

Seated on a plush bench in the ground floor cafe of the Corinthian New York, Company agent Benjamin Ryans faces the glowing screen of a public internet terminal with something of a flagging expression. The lights in the majority of the cafe are off, only the recessed sconce lamps above the bar where he sits shed any illumination down. The cafe itself is closed, but it's the only public internet terminal left in New York City that's active. It's hauntingly quiet here within the hotel, and especially in the cafe. Nothing here is supposed to remain open for business, but the badge and identity behind it belonging to agent Ryans can get him access to anywhere and everywhere he wants and needs. Currently, all he wants and needs is his email.

Staring at the inbox of a recently established gmail account, Ryans' eyes strain at the glow of the screen, fingers wring together and brows knit. It's a somewhat ridiculous notion, that somehow the entity known as Rebel can hear his own name whenever it's spoken, like some sort of genie or old testament deity. But there sits agent Ryans, near sixty years old and expecting a miracle out of the internet like the Oracle of Delphi. His own daughter, Lucille, had contact with Rebel over something seemingly unrelated. But when someone like this has as much power as Rebel seems to have, is anything truly unrelated at all? Will this work?

Rebel: Good morning, Benjamin.

The message appearing on the screen at that very moment seems like an answer.

There is a whoosh of air as Ryans sighs heavy in relief. He really wasn't sure it would work, but then the old man grew up in a generation where everything his daughters have now was shiny and new. He still remembers their first TV in all it's black and white glory and thinking it was the best thing. Him and his siblings crowded around it watching Howdy Doody.

God, he was old.

Concidering those brightly lit words, Ryans presses his lips in a fine line, before he glances at the keyboard. He was never a fast typist, so it takes a bit longer to get the words typed into the computer screen.

B.Ryans: Good is debatable. I admit I was not sure that you would be interested in talking.

Rebel: We are not interested, but we will talk. You represent a poison in the veins of this world, by association, but that you sought to talk discretely gives us hope.

It's not the first time Ryans has had to deal with someone hostile to the Company, but with all three faces of Rebel in agreement to the Company as a poison, it is a firmly leveled accusation at the very least. No one can say that Rebel does not have his convictions, though whether or not they are misplaced is another matter entirely.

Rebel: What is it you wish to speak to us about, Benjamin? What do you want?

The hostility will be something of a wall in this conversation, but in all his years of Company service agent Ryans has had to deal with more than his fair share of hostility. Some he can solve with a gun or a swift backhand, others that take more delicate measures to rectify. Shooting the computer, in this instance, likely will be of little help.

B.Ryans : Just remember no matter how tarnished a coin may seem, it has two sides, but for the moment we will agree to disagree. And my employers nature is not why I am here.

His clucks against the roof of his mouth as he considers how to proceed next. How do you talk to a entity with three minds? This though makes him frown as he types.

B.Ryans: I know you are the one behind what happened to my daughter. You knew who she was. Used her. You couldn't expect me to really sit back and not take notice. And the fact that you knew about my family also means you know about me.

Settling back in his chair, Ryans looks a bit skeptical as to whether the machine would openly tell him anything. The fact that he knows about his girls bothers him… what could Rebel want with that information.

B. Ryans: So I probably don't have to ask if you were involved with the security failures at the Corinthian… What could a bodiless trifecta of minds and a bunch of Stillwater mercenaries want with Jimmy Alton?

Rebel: Your daughter was opportunistic, nothing more. Her personal data was all over her cellular phone, from billing receipts to your name to email, text and SMS information. You would be surprised how much you can learn about a person by their telephone conversations and emails. All celular companies keep logs of calls transmitted, to which I am able to browse like a catalogue. That you were Company and that she was blood of Company was not known to us until later.

That revelation comes as something of a surprise both because of the content and the frankness of which it is delivered. But it's not until Rebel gets around to discussing the nature of his involvement with James Alton that the conversation takes a more guarded turn.

Rebel: James Alton admitted in a telephone conversation that he possessed an ability to see a fraction of a moment into the future to a young woman he was attempting to court, presumably in effort to impress her. Voice pattern analysis suggested truthfulness. What would anyone do for the ability to know the future, Benjamin? What would the Company do with that?

The surprise over that revelation, brings a lift of both of his brows, breaking that nearly unreadable expression on Ryan's face. "Interesting… small world even in New York." He murmurs softly, before he turns his attention to typing again, brows lowering in concentration.

B.Ryans: Between you and me, I hope not for what has sullied the name of the Company in the past.

It's all stuff Ryans was around for, stuff that he remembers clearly. The fall of Adam… The corruption of it's founding members… The testing. Stuff that the old dog never truly approved of, but he kept going, cause someone had to make sure the world was safe and not those vigilante groups full of fresh faced youths trying to play hero.

B.Ryans: I see your point and I can understand the desire to have him in your possession. You'll excuse me if I am relieved I was able to benefit from his vision since it kept me alive, despite what your men were trying to do.

Glancing up at his own words, Ryans' eyes narrow at his own wording. Then he admits something to the technopath that isn't exactly secret. The old soldiers distrust of the Institute are well known around the Company.

B.Ryans: Believe me when I say… Between the lesser of two evils, I would rather him in our hands then The Institute.

Rebel: My men?

The rhetorical question almost sends a chill down Ryans' spine when it comes up on the screen. The pause between Rebel's thoughts is entirely for the purpose of making the old agent think, make him sweat and make him consider the implications.

Rebel: Agent Ryans, my "men" as you put it were murdered in the basement of the Corinthian Hotel the day you were attacked. James DeVille and Harold Clarke, you will find their names on records as former detainees at the Moab Federal Penitentiary.

Once again Rebel's frankness and openness seems somewhat startling. Though he has only begin to reveal.

Rebel: We were indeed attempting to secure James Alton, however others became involved for whom we have no knowledge of. Do you have identities for the perpetrators? We do not.

This is a deeper rabbit-hole than agent Ryans had first considered.


Ryans looks a touch unhappy, brows dropping as he frowns openly, those names were not the ones of the men he and Doris killed. A notepad is drug closer so that he can jot down the name of the two men. The pen it drop on the pad and he's typing quickly — or at least fast for him.

B.Ryans: So you have no connection to Stillwater Securities? Then why help them?

The worry gnaws at Ryans stomach, brows dropping a hand lifting to run fingers across his mouth in thought. The hand drops away so he can add, a part of him hoping that the answer is yes.

B.Ryans: Did you supply them with information about my family? The man that was going to shoot me knew.

God please let it be 'yes'.

For obvious reasons he doesn't give the names of the men, even if it wasn't a terrorist he's talking too, you just don't go around telling people stuff like that. Hand pressed flat together, tapping at his chin as he impatiently waits for the information.

Rebel: Stillwater Solutions was purchased by a company known as Pinehearst in 2009 following the company's liquidation by its former owner Diego Thulani Smith. Following Pinehearst's collapse, Stillwater's corporate identity was siezed by the United States Government and is utilized as a private military company operating out of Staten Island's reclaimed zone.

That doesn't seem like the no that Ryans wanted.

Rebel: If the individuals were or are Stillwater connected then it is possible they had prior connections to Pinehearst or present connections with the United States Government. The purchase of Stillwater was not a public one, and there is very little documentation that can connect the US Government to Stillwater. However, it would take someone with considerable intelligence gathering potential to connect your face to your name, agent Ryans. Or, alternatively, an inside job. Exactly how much do you trust the Company?

When those words come up on the screen, the seeds of doubt that Rebel instills may be intentional, or they may be entirely coincidental. After all, Ryans was asked to perform that assignment privately by Martin. Could Crowley have set him up? Why?

Too many questions, not enough answers.

Eyes narrow at the screen, Ryans head turns slightly, the doubt is there, but only a tickling of one… though it isn't enough to convince him to look at Crowley as a suspect. The Company is a little light on trust, but he can't see a reason for Martin to throw him to the wolves.

Eyes roll upward to look at the fancy wallpaper of the room, the owner of the place had requested Ryans personally. He wouldn't? Would he? What kind of reason could he have? Eyes drop to the screen in thought, before he types.

B.Ryans: Depends on the people within it.

Comes the short reply to the techopath's question. The Company is more then just what it is, it's made up of many people, Ryan's trust sits only on a small group of people. A very small group since most of this old partners are dead or missing… or on the other side of the tracks so to speak.

B.Ryans: I can't tell you their names, but their files said they were former employees of Stillwater.

A smile twitches across Ryans' lips as he adds.

B.Ryans: I'm sure it is not too hard for you to find out who they are, but I can't openly discuss some parts of the investigation.

Rebel: I was not the one responsible for you coming to harm, Benjamin. However, I will make you an offer.

There's a noise behind Ryans when Rebel's words come up on screen, the clunk of a door opening and a Casino janitor slowly making his way across the floor, dragging a wheeled mop bucket behind him with a squeaking wheel. He offers a sheepish smile to Ryans and then continues onwards out into the hall. The sudden noise was enough to get an old man's heart racing, for all the wrong reasons Ryans would prefer.

Rebel: I will trade you further information for James Alton. I assure you he will not come to harm. It can look like an accident, you needn't risk you standing with the Company.

A deal with a digital Devil; Ryans has done worse in his time with the Company, but never against the Company.

Rebel: Besides, how long do you think you can hold him before the Institute realizes?

A glare goes to the janitor, watching him for a few moments, before turning back to the screen, Ryans' shoulder twitches though at the thought of turning his back on anyone. As blue eyes scan over the words on the screen, the old agent sighs heavily… "I don't know." He murmurs softly, having his own doubts they will be able to keep Jimmy's capture quiet for long.

A trade.

Ryans isn't so certain about that idea, to the senior agent it is like being asked to choose between frying pans. Both just as hot and both just as deadly.

The keys tick softly as he types in the words with some hesitation.

B.Ryans: I need time to think about that, I'm sure you can understand my hesitation. With the weather as it is, I believe I have time.

Rebel: The Devil waits for no man, Benjamin.
Rebel has signed off.

When the Gmail messenger's icon turns from green to gray, Rebel has made his point to Ryans enough. But this notion of a trade behind the backs of both the Company and the Institute for the promise of merely information of an unspecified quantity is somewhat dubious. But there's time enough to think on the matter, but with Rebel having delivered his offer, it leaves Ryans with the unanswered question of how long it will take before the Institute knows that James is in the Company's custody.

And what they'll do when they find out.

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