War Economy, Part I


jimmy_icon.gif ryans2_icon.gif

Scene Title War Economy, Part I
Synopsis A gambler and an agent pair up to save two young lives, but what's at stake is more than either of them put in for.
Date May 19, 2010

Fort Hero

For all that has happened in the last twenty-four hours at Fort Hero, James Alton has weathered in considerably well. Situated in his hospital room slash prison, he's cooperated with the Company's operatives in every request they've made of him. His eye-witness account of Luke's escape was above and beyond what a man being held largely against his will should be considering "fair play."

It isn't until some twelve hours after the incursion into Fort Hero that Benjamin Ryans finally finds the time to check on this particular ward of his, and only because a nurse came to get agent Ryans, telling him that Jimmy had something "important" to tell him. It's just prior to noon when Ryans' sour expression and tired eyes are seen through the window into Jimmy's hospital room, and he's not in his usual smug position of amusement, not laid back on his bed reading a forty year old copy of Omni or National Geographic.

Today, Jimmy Alton looks worried.

Pacing back and forth like a caged tiger, Jimmy is running one hand through his hair when the door to his room clicks open, muttering to himself. Turning sharply at the sound of the door opening, he practically leaps towards Ryans, both of his hands waved up in the air. "Ben!" Jimmy bleats out, a frantic look on his eyes.

"Oh God, you're alive!"

From the sound of it, Benjamin Ryans isn't going to get any sleep today after all.

"Rumors of my possible demise are greatly exaggerated." Is the tired, but still slightly amused, rumble of Ryans' response as he steps into the room, letting the door slowly shut behind him. His hands are held up in front of himself to ward off the other man, lest he accidentally hit a heavily bruised area.

Though a little stiff from the battering his midsection took the day before, Ryans has found salvation in the form of painkillers. Nothing to muddle his perceptions, but enough to dull the ache that comes from every twist and stretch of his muscles and tendon. Thanks to that, he doesn't seem to move like a man who had a computer monitor telekinetically chucked at him, as long as no one decides to touch the injury of course.

"I'm here as you requested."

The sooner he finds out something, the sooner he can go fall into the cot he's been occupying in the last several day, when he's not venturing out to deal with his girl.

"No, no you— you don't get it— " Jimmy slaps both hands on Ryans' shoulders as if to make sure he's really there. "I figured it out, Ben. I figured it out! How it all works, this ability I— " happiness and pride quickly decelerated into an expression of grim certainty. "Ben, I saw you get killed. I saw you— you and this red-headed girl in a gunfight, there were these guys with ski-masks and guns, just like at the Corinthian, but— "

There's a tension in Alton's voice as he shakes his head. "Ben, Ben I saw them gun you down. I only got this like— this flash of things, but I saw it, I actually honest-to-God saw it happen. Ben we've gotta figure out who this red-headed kid is, we— we've gotta do something!"

Red-headed girl…

Ryans stares at Jimmy for a long moment, not even when Jimmy smacks his bruised shoulder does the older man flinch. His world seems to teeter slightly, threatening to spin. It takes sheer will to just stand there.

Pulling his jacket out on one side, Rynas pulls out a wallet. As he opens it, his eyes fall to the worn brown leather surface, his badge flashes silver. He can't keep his fingers from trembling though, as he open the bill part of the wallet, searching for something.

Finally, a small picture is pulled out, one of those images from a photo booth, not terribly recent… but the girls in it shouldn't look too different. There is worry in his eyes, as he offers over the picture to Jimmy.

"This… this her?" He asks faintly.

Both of Jimmy's eyes go wide, and it's that dawning look of horror on his face that makes it harder for Ryans to keep composure. "Yeah…" Jimmy admits in a hushed tone of voice, "yeah it— that's her. I saw this one too," he points to Lucille, "she was already dead though, I dunno she was just— " there's a wave of Jimmy's hand, "there was a lot of blood, everything was moving fast I— it was hard to make out the details. What I mostly saw was you, because that's how it works."

Tense at Ryans' expression, Jimmy takes a half step back and tucks his hands into the pockets of his pants. "Ben, we— who're those kids? Ben if they're in trouble 'cause of me I…" he looks away, brows furrowed and jaw set, guilt painted across his face.

"They're my daughters, Delia and Lucille." Ryans offers up, fingers already tucking the image away into his wallet again, to keep it safe. "The only thing I have left after Midtown took their mother." How he can keep that calm demeanor is anyone's guess, but it's cracking at the edges, before long it'll break all together. The news that not just him, but his girls die… it has his jaw clenching and his throat working to keep the bundle of emotions down.

"I have agents protecting them, even as we speak." The senior agent tries to ease his own fears saying it, wallet settled back into that inner pocket. "And we don't even know handing you over will prevent it." He points that out, giving the younger man a matter of fact look.

"There is too many questions and not near enough answers." A sigh of frustration slides out through his nose and a hand rubs along his forehead.

"Ben, Ben— you don't get it I— I was trying to see where you'd be tonight because I wanted to talk to you about… about what's been going on here. But when I got to really… really thinking about it, like I used to try and think about what cards were coming up next at a Blackjack table or which slots were hot, Ben I saw this. This happens, this is happening." Both of Jimmy's brows lift up and his head shakes slowly.

"If these are your girls then you need to keep an eye on them yourself not— not trust someone you work with to do it!" There's a wave of Jimmy hand in the direction of the photograph. "Look, all this started when those guys tried to grab me, they wanted me for something but they didn't want to gun me down. Unless you have a better idea of where I can go other than right into their hands…" Jimmy taps the side of his head, "What I saw is going to come to pass."

The look on Jimmy's face implies a certain severity, a certain nervousness. "I'm not— I'm not selfish enough to want to see two sweet kids get— " his voice cuts off and Jimmy turns slowly, rubbing his hand across his face. "Ben…" he offers his back to Ryans, taking a step away. "Ben, I lost my whole family in Midtown. My parents, my wife… my son…" running both hands through his hair, Jimmy slowly turns around, shaking his head as he does. "I haven't had anything for three years, nothing but booze and gambling. I lost— I lost everything."

There's a faint tremor of Jimmy's chin, and he looks away from Ryans. "I didn't die in Midtown, because I was playing poker with some low-life shitheads in Brooklyn instead of being at work like I told my wife. I had a problem with gambling, Ben. But— but after I lost them… I didn't have anything else. Ben this— this thing I do is all I have left. If I can use it to save somebody's life… if I can trade what little I have left for someone else— shouldn't I?"

Staring at Ryans, Jimmy shakes his head slowly. "I don't know what else to do, except— except hand myself over to those thugs that're looking for me. You can't keep protecting me or they're just going to keep going after your family to get to me."

A hand comes down on Jimmy's shoulder, the other, going to the man's other shoulder, the grip is firm, fingers pressing just enough to forcing the younger man to look at Ryans. The older man's voice is rough, with held emotions, "Look at me, Alton." Intense blue eyes search Jimmy's. "I joined this organization to keep being a soldier and protect my country even if in secret. To keep the evolved hidden to allow them a normal life."

"Years made me stay and now I do this job for people like you, who need to be protected." Hands fall away from Jimmy's shoulder as he continues. "I work to stop the people that want to take you… the people that would hurt innocents. Just because the evolved are out in the open doesn't mean that you don't deserve to be protected still."

Taking a step back, Ryans presses lips together in thought before adding, "You may think you have nothing left out there, Jimmy, but that is just because you won't look past what you lost." A finger taps the pre-cog on the chest, as he points out. "What you gained… was another chance at life and not to be used."

The senior agents views have changed significantly over the years and more so in the recent months. A hand grips Jimmy's shoulder again, a determined look on Ryans' face. "You forget… I'm not just one person." Look at where they stand, within Fort Hero, surrounded by agents. "Give me a couple of hours. If I can't round up help, we'll…." The old man voice fades, his eyes casting to the side for a moment, studying the tile. He isn't sure what else he could do, but to bend would admit defeat.

Finally, he just says again, "Let me see if I can round up a team."

Brows furrowed, Jimmy watches Ryans intently for a moment, taking a step over to slap a hand on the old man's shoulder again, still oblivious about the bruises. "Well," he notes in a quiet tone of voice, "hey— look at it this way. Two people's still a team, right?" Jimmy's lips creep up into a smile, a little self-deprecating and a little anxious.


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