World War Raith


amato_icon.gif edgar_icon.gif nick_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title World War Raith
Synopsis Alternative title: Two Cocks, One Fight. When Nick brings home news of the newest crisis, the Dispensary becomes a shortlived war-zone between tenuous allies.
Date May 1, 2011

Old Dispensary

Outside, the dawn is lighting the Hudson and the grounds of the Dispensary with its cold gray light. The morning sounds that are routine can be heard, and nothing seems amiss. There is the plink plink plink of the past day's rain dripping still into a rain gutter; the chirps of birds and the higher-pitched squeaks of their nestlings clamoring for their morning meal; the quiet sound of the river can be heard beneath it all, the lapping of water on shore, the trickle of a small creek feeding into it. It's peaceful.

That peace is disturbed by the heavy boots of Nick York as he enters the building and then the room where he finds Raith making breakfast. He'd been on Pollepel, last Raith knew, and he carries in with him the cold damp of the river. Moving directly to the coffee pot, Nick barely spares a glance for Raith at first, pouring himself the hot brew and taking a gulp — black is not how he normally drinks it. He looks grim and weary. Much like he did months ago.

Finally he looks at Raith. "That batch of kids… Benji, Hannah, Nora. I'm guessing that kid that helped out with the bird thing and Eileen too. They're from the future," he says abruptly, his voice flat, his eyes daring Raith to argue with him. "And that's just the start of it."

Raith doesn't even get a chance to say 'good morning' before Nick starts blathering about kids from the future. Or, New Kids on the Block, it's not totally clear what. But it doesn't take him long to parse out what he's just heard and, lifting the skillet in his hand off the stove so his eggs don't burn, he fixes Nick York with a flat look and asks him, very, very seriously, "The hell are you blathering about? Are you drunk?" The ex-spy doesn't allow the question to hang. "Forget it. Sit down, sober up, and start again. This time, try to make sense."

There's a blur of motion that winds its way through the kitchen and Nick's mug jiggles a little in his hand just one moment before the first fateful sip. Black isn't how he normally drinks it and black it's not today! Edgar stands on the other end of the kitchen with his own mug in hand, his coffee isn't black either. Beside Nick, there's a small bottle that's got about a quarter of its milk emptied out. "Though' I smelled breakfast…" he comments jovially before narrowing his eyes at Raith, "I though' you weren't s'posed'teh cook?"

As far as the speedster is concerned, it can't bode well when the man who warned him away from the spy's own cooking is actually doing it. "'Ow abou' you le' me 'ave a try at et? You like … uhm… things that're edible, righ'?"

Compared to Edgar, Amato's own kitchen entrance is painfully slow. He holds his mug in two hands, with one finger wrapped with the string of a tea bag held to bob the thing and encourage steeping. There are heavy bags under his eyes - dark with a sliver of red nearest the pale lash line. For all the speedster's blustering, Nick's frantic explosion of exposition is heard loud enough for the psychometrist's ears. Being only one room away doesn't hurt either.

"Let him, Jensen," he says steadily as he moves to take a chair, looking from Raith to Nick. "Astor," he adds slowly once he's settled himself and laid the mug to rest on the table, one elbow resting to continue steeping the tea. "Time travelers who alter dreams seems like quite the bill to fill, Nicholas. Are you sure?"

The sudden entrance of two more men makes Nick's scowl deepen; he wasn't planning on any public speaking this morning after a boat ride half the night. "Fuck," he manages, taking another swallow of hot coffee before moving to a seat, wincing as he straightens out his still healing leg.

"The dreams are from the future. I think most people were on that page, yeah?" he asks, pale eyes darting from face to face. "The dreamwalker, it's … Benji, the kid at the island. The one we thought was Evolved Affairs back when, back in November or whatever. He's…" Nick isn't ready to quite explain the connection between him and Benji, but he swallows. "Benji Ryans. Delia's kid, from the future. She told me a few days ago, and that he'd be coming to the Ferry. He'd asked her not to tell anyone but she told me."

The flush on his cheeks might say why.

"He and the others that were close to him, they're all from the future, come back to help us, to change shit that gets bad. That's why all the visions, the dreams I guess." He peers at the others. "I never got one. I didnt' even know about 'em til recently."

There's so much more, but he lets that sink in. "One of the girl's is Sumter's. The other Gitelman's. Astor…" He shakes his head and rakes a shaking hand through his hair, then reaches for his cigarettes. "They came out to us because shit's gonna get bad. They need our help."

A sudden torrent of speech interrupts any comeback Raith might have had for Edgar. Instead, he stares at Nick as the younger man explains everything. And stares. And stares. When Nick is, seemingly, finished, maybe Raith surprises everyone by not hitting Nick, or insulting him and demand he start talking sense. He simply, reacts. "I see. Would you excuse me for a moment?"

With that, he very calmly turns, skillet still in hand, walks and then steps outside the side door. A few moments after it clicks shut, the ex-spy lets loose a scream of primal rage that echoes outside the dispensary. And is short-lived. A few seconds later, he calmly returns to the kitchen, skillet still in hand, returns to the exact place he was standing before he left, fixes Nick with a look, and says, as plainly as possible, "Super."

A split second after the door is shut, Edgar is in the cupboards, emptying them of all the food that looks edible. The pickled herring is left in its place. He's just gripped a jar of what looks to be tiny cocktail onions when the scream jolts him and it is sent twirling into the air. Rather than listening to the scream he seems more interested in watching the jar make its slow spiral upward and then its inevitable fall to the stone floor.

It never quite makes it, though, at the last second it appears on the counter beside a myriad of other jars and cans. "Righ' then.. uhm.. I think I migh' let'im finish the cookin', s'posed'teh be a bi' relaxin', eh?" At the very least, Edgar's fast enough to add bits of this and that to the pan while Raith is holding on to it.

Amato fixes Raith with a steady gaze when he leaves, watching the door through the length of the scream only to follow him again upon re-entry. With the outburst, controlled as it may have been, Amato's face grows paler, the lines of age that have started to etch their way into his skin seeming to deepen from some unknown deficiency.

It's only when Raith speaks again that he drops his eyes to his tea, lifting the bag and setting it gently on the worn table so that he can take a sip, letting the awkwardness simply exist for a moment. Once he's swallowed and replaced his mug on the table, Amato slowly brings his glance back to Raith. He doesn't say anything, but with eyes slightly narrowed and one brow minutely arched, there are plenty of questions.

Nick closes his eyes and brings a fist to his temple when Raith screams, then shoots him a glare when he re-enters. "Stop that," he snaps at Edgar and nods toward the table. "Sit and quit fidgeting. You're makin' me nervous."

"The problem," he begins, taking a breath that's a little shaky, and turning to focus on Amato, who seems to be the most calming force in the room in a twisted irony, "is one of the people from their group's apparently gone a bit rogue, and … in the future, apparently the H5 mutates and hits non-Evos, too. Trouble is, this bloke, this Calvin Rosen, he's somehow managed to make it happen now."

His eyes shift to Raith, and then the others. "We need to try an' find this guy." He takes a breath, glancing down at the coffee nervously. "Eileen's… she's gonna call for us to murder him, I think. Just take him out. But I think it'd be better to find him, see if he has information that will help stop this thing from going global, yeah? He's not the one who did it — he's just a part of it. He had to have help. Killing him won't fix it."

"I'll fix you if you don't admit this is a poorly thought-out joke in the next ten seconds!" Backing his statement up with rage, Raith turns and practically throw the skillet at the wall, stomping away from the group.

"The fuck is wrong with threatening nuclear annihilation?!" he shouts, "Why is it always this time travel bullshit?! Goddammit!" The coffee pot is the first to meet Jensen's wrath, knocked to the floor and very possibly spilling its contents everywhere. Even Edgar might be wary about getting too close to Raith, and everyone may well be thankful that he doesn't have an ability he can lash out with. Lashing out normally, at least, seems to have calmed him down, for he stalks back towards Nick. "Fine. We'll find him, but I swear, if something like this happens one more, goddam, time, that's it! I'm starting World War III myself. World War Raith. So sure, we'll find him. But you tell those chrono crossing cunts they're cleaning up their own fucking messes from now on!

"You got that?"

At first Edgar doesn't listen to Nick but as the ex-spy gets a little more animated, the carnie edges a little closer to the table then finally takes a seat opposite the other coffee drinking man. He calmly takes a sip from his own mug, at least so it seems until his eye starts to twitch violently. Coffee might not have been the best idea this morning.

"So, 'ow're we goin'teh find 'im? We go' anythin' on 'im 'sides a name? We know where 'e works? Wha' 'e does?" Aside from the obvious, starting a viral apocalypse. "I can prob'ly run 'round 'is usual places.. Eff we know anyone tha's close teh 'im i' might 'elp."

"Let the next genocide slip through your fingers, Jensen," Amato says as calmly as if he were telling their effectively leader where to leave his dishes so that someone else can clear them. "And the next, and the next. You're the one who wanted to take up arms against the wolves that plague the sheep. There will always be sheep that need defense, and there will always be wolves set to prey upon them." He takes another sip of his tea, staring at Raith as he does so.

But when he swallows, his eyes track to Edgar. "I'm sure we can gather the necessary intelligence. If not from those he came with, perhaps others. It is what we do, Edgar. What we've always done." Then, tracing a line through the air to Nick, Amato arches an eyebrow in a silent offer of assistance. It is odd that Amato, given his behavior over the last few months, is the calm one here. But perhaps it is because the pieces - the images - that plagued him have finally fallen so tightly into place.

"I have seen what happens if these visitors of ours fail. It is worse than Armageddon. Worse than anything any of us could have imagined when we started, Jensen." A shudder sneaks into his voice, pinching his words as they slip past his lips, making him wince with the effort of saying them. "Someday, we'll be gone. And there will be new dogs to guard the flock. Until then…"

When Raith stalks his way, Nick rises, chair scuttling back from him as he narrows his eyes at the older man's words. He's on the defensive, the shouting from the ex-spy making him tense, hands coming up to guard himself should the other man throw a fist.

As much as Amato might be talking sense, throwing him that lifeline of aid, Raith's words break the feigned calm Nick has been trying to force upon himself for days now, and especially since yesterday afternoon.

The hand that's held out in what might be a calming gesture suddenly curls into a fist, thrown up and under in a hook for Raith's chin.

"It's not their fuckin' mess! It's our mess, and everyone who came before us. We fucked it up and their life is miserable and they're coming back to try to fix it, for their sake and ours," he shouts, echoing some of Amato's softer-spoken sentiments. "It's my kid."

Raith wasn't really expecting Nick to strike him, and his reaction is too delayed to deflect or avoid the blow that snaps his head to the side and rattles his brain the tiniest bit. Unfortuantely, the net effect of this is that Raith stops listening to Nick speaking. And stops listening to reason at the same time.

When he whirls to face Nick, it's not to throw a punch of his own, but to raise his forearm up, across his chest, while he drives forward into the other man to throw him off balance and push him back: A half-spear maneuver. At the same time, his free hand grabs for Nick's collar, and he doesn't show any signs that he's going to stop moving forward. Not until he reaches a wall, at least. And at that point, at least one of them isn't walking out of the kitchen without looking less like a man and more like a plate of raw meat.

Or until Edgar decides he's had about enough of it. A blur of motion streaks from his chair to the side of the stove where Raith has left the eggs and the ones that haven't been wasted in the skillet get plucked up and are about to be wasted between the fighting men. The first two are thrown, just to get attention. "'EY!!" he yells, just to punctuate his point. Then the next two are hurled, aimed right at the heads of both men.

When mixing waffles, you always need flour.

Which is the next ingredient.

A couple of cups full are brandished and another dark streak heads toward the two men to receive their dusting. "Stop yer fightin' now before I wollop the both'eh you! An' I won' stop at normal speeds!" All three men get the puff of flour that's tossed up, Edgar not expecting to receive a bit of his own begins a loud series of coughing fits as he attempts to keep yelling at both of them. "You don' treat fam'ly like this!!"

The legs of Amato's chair scrape rudely against the kitchen floor as he springs from his seat, but rather than try to bring a stop to the fray, Amato backs away, heading toward the corner opposite Raith and Nick. Flight is definitely his response of choice, but the stare he fixes them with even as Edgar makes them sticky and white is both cold and judgmental. He doesn't spare a glance to Edgar, but he does arch an eyebrow and address the other spectator with an even tone.

"Perhaps not the best analogy to use, Mr. Smythe."

Stumbling backward when he's shoved, Nick's head collides with the wall a moment before the egg splatters against his temple, and he growls, though he keeps his eyes on Raith — exceedingly difficult when he's powdered with flour. This he ignores as well.

With one of Raith's hands on his chest and the other on his collar, both of Nick's are free — one moves to grasp the wrist of the hand on his chest to pull it in the wrong direction, trying to turn his shoulders at the same time to break free of the grip Raith has on him. The other hand reaches for the chair that had been pushed away with his retreat, to try to shove it into Raith's knees.

As he told Benji just hours ago, he's 'not good at Family' so maybe the analogy is apt — and in his past, family is unfortunately much too often about violence and fighting, an irony that Amato understands.

Nick may be able to ignore the egg and flour, but while Raith can ignore the egg, he catches a cloud of flour in his eyes and nose. Blinded and now choking, his abilites to react to Nick's counterattack is limited, so when he feels it starting, he doesn't try and turn it into his own counterattack, rather tries simply to break free of Nick's hold so he can disengage long enough to get breathing and seeing again. It's not nearly as graceful as he would like, involving a bit of flailing and stumbling as he wheels away. A chair to the knees, even if it sort of missed, will do that. Snorting and clawing at his eyes probably isn't helping matters either, even if the ex-spy does manage to (barely) stay standing.

Edgar grimaces as Raith stumbles around, wincing as he hits the chair and weebles around. He glances around for something to help the man out but decides against tossing any of the coffee in his face. "Maybe no'.. bu' they ain't fightin' no more… at least fer now." Who knows about later. Once again blurring out of sight and popping up here and there, the most he manages to help the older man is to move things out of his way to avoid falling completely.

Then he glances at Nick with a furrowed brow, "Y'don' hit women an' y'don' hit yer family. This is wha' we are… least far as I's told." He jerks his chin up in the direction of the stairs, "She's importent, righ'?" He looks between all three men at this point and folds his arms across his chest in a feeble pout. "Then we should stop fightin' 'til we find this Calvin bloke an' take the time travel bull out on 'im. 'E's one'vem, it'd be called righteous vengeance."

Amato holds back a wince at Edgar's second, perhaps ill-chosen words before he gives in and moves carefully toward Raith, his hands coming out and up slightly as if the man were a rabid dog. "Jensen," he says flatly, "Get a hold of yourself before you do something you will regret." There's no other reason to stay the fist, other than to waste time. "You can shoot soulless pigeons later if it will make you happy, but taking it out on Nicholas doesn't help anyone or anything at the moment."

Turning to look at Nick, Amato gives the younger man a somewhat apologetic look. "You came from the island. Where was this traveler last seen?"

Once Raith wheels away, Nick's injured leg, shaking with adrenaline, slips in the flour and slides out from under him, landing him on the floor. He reaches up to swipe at the egg on his face with his sleeve, then slumps. His jaw twitches with the now restrained anger and other bottled up furies and confusion from the past days.

"Don't call 'em cunts," he says, perhaps a little juvenile in the petulant tone tossed Raith's way. "Benji's my kid. Astor must be Eileen's." He finally looks up, white flour clinging to dark lashes — it'd be comical if it weren't so damn serious. "They're family, too."

His eyes dart to Amato. "I donno," he murmurs with a shake of his head; his voice is breathless and shaky, the anger starting to fade into something deeper and more troubling for him. "But he might be the key to stoppin' this thing. We can't just get take 'em out. We need what he knows."

Another snort, and finally Raith spits out a mixture of flour, saliva and blood from a cut cheek, but that seems like everything. Since he doesn't have an ability of his own, he knows better than to picks fights when Evolved are around who might put a stop to it. Usually, anyway. For the moment, he's either stewing or listening, but even though it's almost impossible to decide which, he is definitely not throwing punches. Or breaking bones.

Reddish brown hair that's powdered white is brushed through with a few swipes of his fingers before Edgar settles back against the wall. Finally quieting after the punches have stopped flying. He glances toward Amato and gives a half hearted shrug of the shoulder before turning his head to look out the window. "'F'anyone needs… I dunno… sumthen… I'll be gettin' more flour 'n eggs." Perhaps visit his neglected wife, with all the talk of family it's gotten him looking a tad guilty.

He chooses not to race out of the kitchen, instead ambling at a slower than normal pace. Stopping here and there to pick up the coffee pot and the skillet. They're dumped on the counter with all the things that the speedster pulled out before.

Squinting, Amato stops to study Nick carefully, as if rewinding the past few seconds to play them back again for the sake of accuracy. He doesn't speak, but he moves to retrieve a towel from a drawer, running it under the tap before he comes close to Raith again, holding it out for the other man to take and clean his face.

Taking in a shaky breath, Nick reaches for the table to help himself up, black boots slipping a little and eyes wincing as he gets his feet under himself and stands. The flour and eggs and, across the room, coffee is glared at, as if they were the cause of his problems. "Whether or not they caused the mess," he says quietly, temper reined in, "we need to stop it if we can. This is bigger than us. I might bring what I know to my work, if I can get anything useful. They have better resources."

He moves to where the broom is kept, to start sweeping the flour — it's something to do, and it keeps him from having to look at anyone. "If you don't wanna help… s'all right. I respect that. I can go my own way." It's a half apology, but also half an offer to leave.

"You'll all be the death of me," Raith snarls, snatching the damp cloth away from Amato and using it to clear the blinding, choking flour gunk from his eyes and nose. "I demand a heli-carrier, or at least a jet if we're going to keep doing this bullshit." That isn't a demand for Nick to leave, or a refusal to help him. Hard to say what it is, really. "How did he alter the virus?"

That makes it official: Raith has a cock in this fight.

The issue of transportation brings to mind comrades long fled, but Amato makes an attempt to hide whatever look of nostalgia or regret may escape into an expression by turning his attention to straightening up the counter. Just when he thought things were all figured out, or at least, to the point where he could retain a decent grip on them, the pieces start shifting again.

"To effect the non-evolved," he answers slowly, repeating the information Nick gave before the flight. But no one can blame either of them for not remembering. "Do we need to know more than that? Unless you propose to counteract it medically." Leave it to Raith to fight with vials and syringes alongside his bullets.

"Engineered it to target us negatives deliberately," Nick offers, repeating Amato's repetition of his words from earlier. A glance is thrown on the 'us' toward Raith that doesn't quite meet the other spy's eyes — since they two are the only two Non-Evolved at the Dispensary. "'Bout twenty days ago, apparently."

The broom seems to displace the flour more than gather it, and he leans the broom in the corner for the time being. "This Calvin Rosen's apparently not capable of doing it himself. That's about all I know, honestly." He finally looks up at Raith, then Amato. "The Ferry's gonna try and get some vaccines going, but they don't have the resources, I don't think. 's why I'll try an' get what I can to my people, without compromising anyone if I can, because they got more money and power to throw at it. But this is a new strain — 's gonna take time, and by then hundreds of people might die."

He glances down at his hand, still a little red from its contact with Raith's chin. "I'm hoping that whoever done it, this Rosen and whatever, that they'll have something to stop it faster than the typical medical response can. If they're given a choice to help us or face the alternative… This is biological warfare, y'know?"

"Which is why I asked how did he modify it." Raith half snaps his statement out. At the very least, he's finished with the towel enough to see. "You don't just say, 'I think I'll modify a live virus,' and then do it. You need a lab. You need to know how to re-sequence genes. You need to know how the virus works, and then you have to change it exactly. You can't do that sort of think with a junior chemistry kit. We find out who gave him the facilities and the money, and we find him. We find him, and then we crank the answers out." Still with the violence, Raith?

"It may not be here, Jensen," Amato points out, giving the words as much of an edge those he is responding to, sharpened by his relatively calmer delivery of them. "For all we know, the entire structure may be leagues ahead of our scientists today. All I can tell you is that Astor's time is devastated by what I can only assume is this weapon. Perhaps it was originally developed then, by organizations and individuals entirely 'off the radar' today." It may not be the case, but it's possible - and it's Amato's job to point out possibilities.

"Of course, that doesn't mean that we do not have leads - institutions that today would have the means to progress in such a fashion. Means and motive." Not that there are many who would want to see those not genetically gifted with abilities dead, unless it was to vilify the surviving majority. Amato squints, and a moment later, his eyes grow wide with an unspoken horror.

"Institute," Nick murmurs. "He was with Institute, they said. But he's rogue, from both the Institute and his friends now. So he mighta had a lab there, and access to scientists. His power deals with metal, so he's dangerous. I guess he has a vendetta against the non-evolved, thanks to the future."

He moves to the table where his coffee miraculously stayed safe from spillage and flouring, picking it up. "The virus did mutate to affect people like us in the future, apparently, but there was time to make vaccines and it sounds like it was pretty much us and them. Those living on grid could get 'em, those couldn't, couldn't." He takes a long swallow of the coffee.

It's not the usual kind of liquid courage, but it might do. He glances over at Raith. "Sorry," he mutters.

For a few moments, Raith is quiet, taking one second more to finish cleaning his face. "Even if he's not with them anymore, we know where to start looking. He can't have gone very far. We'll find him, and we'll stop this. And then, we bury the Institute." Raith has never made a secret of his dislike of the organization. He's also been a strong advocate of avoiding conflict with them whenever possible. "You do what you want when this is over, but I've had enough. We save the world, one more time, and then I'm going to war, one last time."

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