What We Owe To Each Other Part I


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Scene Title What We Owe To Each Other, Part I
Synopsis The unthinkable happens when Avi Epstein brings Devon Clendaniel along on a clandestine arms deal…
Date September 30, 2018

Ferrymen's Bay

NYC Safe Zone

"So what I'm saying is, always keep an eye out."

It isn't often that Avi Epstein needs a hand for a resupply run to the Safe Zone, but when he informed Devon Clendaniel that they'd be retrieving some heavy ordinance from a private arms supplier, it felt more like something Avi wanted to keep off the books. It's one of the reasons why they drove down from Rochester in Avi's beat up old pickup truck rather than using the Katsch, or flying out in the Tlanuwa.

"Places like this, some yokel with a longarm's more likely to pick you off because he thinks you're moving in on his turf." Sitting in the passenger's seat, Avi has graciously decided to let Devon drive the battered old truck out to their meeting site on the far end of Ferrymen's Bay near the border of the Safe Zone and the ruins of Queens. It's a desolate, broken down section of the world even for the Safe Zone, where the military police rarely patrol, where squatters lay claim to buildings that will eventually be torn down and rebuilt, where illegal drug and weapons trafficking happens, sometimes directly under the noses of the military police.

The sidearm holstered at Avi's hip is familiar to Devon, he'd seen the hand cannon of a revolver on several occasions, but rarely in recent memory has Avi had much cause to fire it. Today, he seems to be expecting trouble.

"Hey, that's our turn," Avi points out a dirt road going off of Jamaica Ave into a forested park. "Pull in and take the first left, there's an old dirt lot that used to be a little league field. Our seller's out there."

Being called on for a side mission of the under-the-radar sort was a bit of a surprise. It always is, and not in any sense that Devon is unaware of them happening. He’s sure they happen a lot more frequently than even he’s aware of. But it’s not a common thing to be wrangled along on the more clandestine projects. The idea of it was intriguing, even if he was a little nervous to be going with Avi — he didn’t know the old man all that well, after all.

For his part, most of the drive was spent with asking little and saying even less. He was good at listening, and so when instructions were given, the younger man would nod and carry on or ask for occasional clarification. Even now that it’s his turn to drive — a task he takes far more seriously than it likely warrants — he’s still listening to the advice, eyes ticking over to look at Avi sometimes.

“So what do you need me to do,” Dev asks as he takes the turn. “Specifically, I mean.” He can handle being a lookout, an extra set of eyes. He’s armed, after all, almost never leaving home without his own semi-automatic handgun. “If things go south.”

“Priority one,” Avi explains as he unholsters his revolver and pops out the cylinder, making sure to load it with bullets from his right front pocket. “Make sure I don't get my ass shot off. Provided that’s peachy-keen, you move on to priority two,” and at that Avi holds up two fingers with one hand while he slaps the cylinder closed with the other. “Make sure we get the package.”

The road Avi directs Devon to take is a little-traveled dirt road that cuts into an overgrown and untended park on the neighborhood’s outskirts. The coast isn't that far away now, but beyond the vine-encrusted chain link fence and the walls of hedges and trees, it's impossible to tell. Dusk feels more like nighttime here, with long and deep shadows cast across the ground.

The first left, as Avi directed, takes he and Devon into a spacious dirt lot the size of a football field, wide open but surrounded by a darkly forested perimeter. A faded baseball diamond rests below an equally beat up black pickup truck parked over the pitcher’s mound. The driver’s side door is open, but no one is immediately visible.

Nnnh,” Avi vocalizes, nose rankling as he looks at the truck. “This… doesn't look good.”

Dev eases off the gas and onto the brake as the field opens up around them. He lets his gaze wander more widely, taking in their surroundings with finer attention to detail than he would have were he still driving. He brings the truck to a full stop several yards from the other, frowning slightly. “Maybe… they’re just communing with nature,” he hazards to guess in response to Avi’s unease.

With one hand, he rocks the lever into park, but leaves the truck running for the moment. With a twist in his seat, Devon looks over his shoulder — he could always back out of the park if they needed to get away fast. Then, facing forward again, he leans into the steering wheel for another, hopefully better look at the opened door. “Should we go check?”

“Might as well,” Avi says as he cocks the hammer back on Wilby and pushes open the passenger side door, dropping his braced, wounded leg out first and then swinging the other around the scuff a heel into the earth. “Try not to concuss anyone unless you're sure they're going to pull on you.”

Stepping away from the passenger side, Avi braces his enormous handgun in a two-handed grip and starts ambling around his supplier’s truck, pointing down at the space under the vehicle. The radio is still on inside, though the volume is low and staticy.

Following suit, Devon pushes open his door as he turns the key to shut off the ignition. The warning gives him a little bit of a pause, and he looks over his shoulder at Avi, a brow ticking upward. “Right,” he deadpans, but he keeps his voice quiet. This whole road trip might be off the record, but he should try to not piss off the older man by getting mouthy.

He climbs out of the driver’s seat and follows Avi’s lead. His firearm is draw, but not held in obvious readiness to fire. As he approaches the truck, Dev first stares into the open door then angles himself to get a look toward the bed of the truck.

As Devon is approaching the truck, Avi eyes the driver’s seat. “Clear. Cab’s empty, keys are in the igni— ” A sudden thunderous crack of a high powered rifle reports, loud enough to send birds scattering from the trees. In Devon’s peripheral vision he spots Avi just drop like a sack of stones to the ground. No scream, no groan, just down. As that horror is registering on Devon there’s a second shot a beat later from a lighter rifle and Devon feels a sting in the back of his right leg where he's struck.

Remarkably, Devon’s leg doesn't give out, which feels like a stroke of good luck amid the chaos, until someone sits up in the bed of the truck. Black body armor, a balaclava covering their face, black BDU’s. They have a baton in one hand and a taser in the other. It crackles, loudly.


The first rattling crack pulls Devon down instinctually, half ducking before he realizes what’s happening. He scans his surroundings, firearm raised into readiness, it isn’t panic that sets in at first but that calm preparedness of being in hostile territory. Even as Avi crumples, he keeps his movements in check, ready to respond to new threats.

He’s not expecting it to come from behind, with a surprised grunt, he twists slightly to clamp a hand over the sting in his leg. A look goes from searching the area from the shooter to Avi, just a quick visual exam for signs of life or blood that’s interrupted by the crackle of electricity. Gun raising again, Dev turns to face the newest threat while his feet carry him closer to Avi.

As Devon’s hand drops to his leg where he's been struck, he realizes why his leg didn't go out. He wasn't hit by a low-caliber bullet, he was hit by a dart. His fingers find purchase over the tasseled end, grab the metal cylinder and pluck it off like a bee. As Devon turns with gun raised at the new threat on his way around the truck to Avi, a second attacker lunges out from under the truck. Hand fast on Devon’s ankle, taser up against the back of the knee.


Devon’s leg drops that time, and the young man crumpled to one knee, then with another taser strike down to one hand. The reflexive outward push of his ability to give him distance from attackers comes back hollow, like a muscle unable to be flexed. He's been negated.

Focused on this new discovery, Devon is immediately set upon by the man who was in the bed of the truck. The figure drops down, grabbing Devon’s wrist and wrenching his gun from him. The man under the truck tases Devon again, and begins unfastening zip ties from his belt.

This was a trap.

Yelling becomes Devon’s first response, the wordless and guttural sort that comes with surprise and pain. His knees hit the ground first, and he half twists so he can turn his firearm on the new threat as the first shocks of pain recede. The second strike stalls that thought. Muscles clench involuntarily in response to the taser, slowing any further reflexive answer that he might come up with. His ability being one of them — rendered gone — becomes an unnerving note.

He finds sensibility a little too late to save himself from being disarmed, but he manages to offer a little resistance before his gun is wrestled from his grip. Dev makes an attempt to grab that guy’s ankles, a last ditch effort maybe trip him that falls short as pain shoots through his legs and again temporarily seizes his muscles.

Hands grasp at boot-covered ankles, and the masked figure standing over Devon presses a heel down onto his chest. Fingers paw and grasp at slippery fabric, and from his vantage point on the ground Devon can see Avi laying face down in the dirt, unmoving. The second figure crawls out from under the truck, zip ties out, and wrestled with Devon to restrain him. The other man, older if the wrinkles at his visible brown eyes tell anything, pulls a black bag from a cargo pocket and fights with Devon to pull the fabric down over his head. A zip tie goes around ankles, wrist, and to a less tight degree neck.

Devon is thrown into darkness.

Then thrown into the bed of the truck.


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