2010-01-01: Super Savings



Date: January 1, 2010


There's no better place to save then at Walmart

"Super Savings"

NYC - Walmart

It takes a little over an hour for the truck to make its way through the city to the point marked 35J on the map. Every aspect of this rescue appears to have been planned carefully in advance but the wild card is the recent escapees' sense of time. Or, more accurately, the sense of paranoia that had Tiago driving around in crazy zigzags to throw off any possible pursuit. But now, here they are, coasting into the immense, snow-dusted parking lot of…Wal-Mart. Where you can save money and live better.

Lena is huddled down in the passenger's seat as Tiago eases the behemoth into a parking spot. The problem with Super Centers is they're open twenty-four seven, and there's some light traffic going in and out of the store. The last thing the shell-shocked brunette wants is for anyone to get a lucky glimpse of her orange jumpsuit. Nevermind the tint on the windows.

"This is…" She pauses, takes a shuddery breath, checks the map again and then flicks a look over the immediate area. Her eyes are swollen, the tip of her nose red. "This is it. I guess."

In the parking lot, Gene resides. He is in his beaten up car, though the liscene plates have been changed. He's dressed in his usual 'undercover' clothing: a navy blue hoodie and blue jeans. Once he sees the truck pull in one his GPS tracker, he steps out of the car, merely offering the truck a wave. He doesn't state names for now, deciding at this point in time that it would be… unwise.

Tiago is a paranoid little bugger. But then again, is it really paranoia if the government really /is/ out to get him. He expresses his distaste for the store they're driving into with a wrinkle of his nose. "Dude…I guess…hidin' in place sight's the best way ta go?" He offers out with a frown, trying to inject some logic in Gene's random choice of location while he gingerly scratches at his neck - over the patch of skin he had been injected with. "Does he…does he /really/ want us ta get out of the care lookin' like this? I - oh, there he is." Immediately, the car revs to life once again, and instead of traveling in the freezing January weather, in their conspicuous prisoner's garb, he maneuvers the vehicle to drive up to the man. Only then does he fumble a bit with the car door, instead of opening the door, pulling down a window. "Hey! Hey…d'you think it's smart for us ta be here righ' now? It's real…lots of people 'round here." He is so scared of possibly being caught again, that he completely forgets his manners. Life saying 'thanks' when someone essentially rescues him from captivity.

"He maybe brought clothes," Lena remarks absently, leaning forward with one hand on the dash, the other poised to return the young genius' wave. After all, everything else about this rescue has been planned to a 'T'. And she's far, far too exhausted now to quibble over details. As the truck is manuvered closer to Gene's car, she spends a moment in carefully and deliberately refolding the map before shoving it back into its compartment. Then she scootches up on one knee, giving herself the boost needed to see over Tiago's shoulder, through the window.

"Hey." A smile's impossible right now, it would look strange on that pale, peaked face, but Lena does cover the ground missed by her partner. "Thank you."

With that, Gene gets out of his car, making sure to bring out a cardboard box that is opened up. Inside is Lena's clothes that he got her awhile ago, along with some of her… stuff. You know, the things women need to wear. Hopefully, Gene got them from Jade or Sydney or there might be some awkward coming up. Tiago has a pair of his clothing as well, though it is not nearly as 'superheroy'… Which may suit Tiago just fine. As he hands Lena box which has the blanket to change under Gene mere turns around, keeping an eye on the parking lot.

What with the hell they've gone through, being proper is the last thing on his mind. He is tired, broken almost. So much so that he doesn't give the instructions a second thought, already opening the car door and stepping out to offer the faintest of smiles to Gene, before traveling into the the car to change. Just like that, no question, no comments, no nothing.

You know things are bleak when Tiago doesn't even threaten to castrate Gene if he DARES peek in on Lena changing.

Lena would settle for Sydney-style club gear at this point, so long as it wasn't blaze orange. She waits until Tiago's out of the way before accepting the cardboard box and retreating back into the cab to perform the necessary switch. Modesty is also less of a concern for her; far more important is changing into something that doesn't smell like prison.

It takes a few minutes, but finally she emerges from the cab. Laces tied, gloves drawn on and the hood of her own sweater pulled up to hide every strand of wild, dark hair. The box has been shoved back behind the seats. Lena's silent at first, alternating glancing at the car to check for signs of Tiago with scanning the parking lot. Her hands are tucked under her armpits, as if the gloves didn't provide enough protection against cold. Or touching. But then, quietly, "Did your robot make it?"

At Tiago and Lena's silence, the young genius figures their time in the care of the feds was as enjoyable as his own. Of course, this means he doesn't even mention it. At this late an hour there are few people around and none are in even remote range of hearing. Still, he keeps his tone low.

"No, he didn't. Made sure the fed couldn't gleem anything off of him though… And in the end, I can always build another Arnie when this is all said and done. I never expected an Evolved that could stand toe to toe to a combat model like that… He got you guys out though and that's the important thing." There is an awkward pause as he looks from one of the pair to the other. "…Hungry or anything?"

Eventually, Tiago stumbles outside of the Bumblebee wannabe, his brows arched and contemplative as he examines his new clothing. He takes special care, exaggerating the time spent looking it over, feeling the fabric of it easily. It's so…different. And the man has recently resolved to appreciate all the stimulation life has to offer, lest he lose the opportunity by being captured once again or dying. Slowly, with his back stiff and almost uncomfortable straight, the man steps out of the vehicle to watch Gene with hallowed eyes that switch over to Lena once given the chance. "Yeah…yeah, food. She needs food. I could do with somethin' myself too, I think…"

Beat. "Gene. I've got ta say…thank you. For comin'. Not that I didn't think you would but…really, you didn't have ta. And that you did, means a hella lot. Listen, they got stuff out of us. Tortured us an' all, and I aint tryin' ta say it wasn't our fault, or excuse our behavior or nothin', 'cause I'm not but…I'm sorry. I am. I really, really am. I wish I didn't - but they were…nah. There aint no excusin' it. We jus' gotta - we jus' gotta move. Everyone. I need ta get in touch with everyone, get them out." A bit frantically, he runs his hand down the side of his heavily grizzled face as he assumes the role of communicator for both the former prisoners.

The loss of Arnie is accepted with a faint nod. Rest in peace, big guy. Lena's grateful, even if she isn't showing it. "They've been…been scooping up the dangerous ones. The murderers. The shrink said. Don't know who he was, they kept us all separated," the brunette says softly. A face is made when Tiago interjects an answer before she's able to on the matter of dinner, and she slowly shakes her head to negate the request. "I'm not hungry. I couldn't, right now. I…just want to hide." Somewhere with lights that turn off. Preferably with a soft bed, and the opportunity to sleep till spring.

But necessity is the mother of compromise. Or maybe it was invention. Either way, Lena's willing to bow to make everyone happy. "I can lay down in the back if you guys want to hit a drive through. Tiago can make calls, on the way. The townhouse…" Yeah. She swings a look off towards the brightly lit store, squinting to hide the expression in her eyes. The decision is left to the menfolk.

There is a long pause. A year or so ago, Gene would have flipped out at the idea of being ratted out… Anger, fear, mentions of moving to Mexico and going under the alias El Geno until things smoothed out. The only response is a deep breath in, a deep breath out. He rubs his face in his hand as the gravity of the situation continues to weigh upon him. This is not what most twenty-one year olds have to deal with. "You're gunna need to tell me EXACTLY what you told them. I'll leave the calls to you… That needs to be the first thing. If they busted me out, it is likely the first thing they are going to do is go after them, figuring that you'd be going to them or me for aid."

Gene pulls out his PDA, looking at it to see if there is some urgent alert that doom is looming. Considering he doesn't find it, he assumes for now he is in the clear. "As for the government… Of course they'll get some of the bad people. Like that guy that fought Arnie likely was. But you can't throw out the baby with the bathwater. People can heal, tell the future, save lives, stop crime with the gifts they have…" The Geek God figures Lena isn't looking for answers, so he just mutes himself. "In any case, if you guys want the truck, it's yours. If you want to stick with me, we'll just dump it here. I'll clean it of evidence while you guys get some food in the area. Sound good?"

Tiago is calm, collected in the face of Gene's disappointment. He is prepared for worse, and truth be told? Rather apathetic to it, convinced as he is that there was no other choice. That anyone who /didn't/ rat would have to be a heartless bastard. "They were goin' ta kill her. Lena. They were goin' ta kill her, unless I named names. I held out as long as possible, but they were goin' ta turn her into a vegetable an' kill her." With this justification in play, he falls silent, trying to recall the information given. It's difficult, considering that day was shrouded in pain, and every day since then has been one of constant uncertainty, hopelessness, and emptiness.

"I…I gave 'em your first name. Gene, 'cause I didn't know your last. Don't tell me it, either. If I don't know, I can't give it, if they ever catch me again. I think we should do that - no last names, no nothin'. I said…I said I didn't know what your power was, an' then she zapped Lena so…so I said it had somethin' ta do with technology, I think. I didn't know where you lived - somewhere in New York City, I said. An'…" Beat. "Oh! That you communicated with that special radio thing."

He glances over to the truck, his expression clinically thoughtful, and with a slow nod, he turns back to Gene. "I wanna take the truck, if it's cool with ya. It - they don't know 'bout it? They can't trace it, yeah? An' yeah, lets get the food."

"First names only. They got first names only." Lena's hardly about to get defensive about the fact that they spilled, but she does slip that one point in. It's important. And thinking about it is quickening her breath in a way that is not at all fun. Her shoulders hunch up, her head comes down and she leans against the side of the truck while trying to get her breathing under control. It hangs in a fog in front of her face. "We…they…it was. Wasn't. Everything. Wasn't everything, but enough. The townhouse. It isn't safe. And…and Sydney's last name. They know that. But not Eric, or…or Bert. Or Jade. Her boss though…her boss. And that Tracy lady. Strauss. Wynn. I tried to…to spit out people they knew. Rebel. Pete. If you hadn't got us…"

It takes a moment before control is affected again. Control of a sort. Lena's shaking from more than the cold when she straightens up again, eyes huge in her face as they shift from Gene to Tiago. "Where are we going? We can't separate. We…we don't have anything. Anywhere to go."

"I see." The fact that technology and his first name were linked together means that it is only a matter of time before they realize the escaped terrorist with the technology bit is at it again. In the end, he knows they will come for him. It's just a matter of doing the most damage and being one step ahead of the game.

Gene looks toward Lena as her eyes open wide. "It's gunna be okay, Lena… You're just gunna pick up some food. A black truck is a pretty vague thing to look for and the truck didn't have plates." Gene moves toward the front of the truck, pulling out a liscene plate from the holder, making it so the front is facing the outside, making it readable once more. "Now it does." His attention shifts over toward Tiago, who seems to be the one wanting to leave. "If you guys want to stay with me, you can. I don't think they've found the place yet. Right now, we just have the issue of safety in numbers, but it's countered by the fact that it will likely be easier for them to trace us if we stay together. Whatever we do, we'll need to get to a payphone and warn our friends. They deserve to know the government is after them."

Tiago is firm, stoic and unflappable where he stands. He seems to have aged so much during the stint in the AP's control. No longer is he the eager puppy endearing in his enthusiasm and general good will - but now he stands disciplined and strong. At least - he was. Some things, not even torture and prolonged periods of solitude can beat out of him: the moment he sees Lena recoil and panic, the man is walking forward towards her, gingerly attempting to wrap his arms around her. Gingerly because it's a gesture that he is no longer used to offering, and for he fears smothering her. "Hey. Hey - it's alright. Everyone will be…we'll call everyone. Now. They can't act so quickly - not even the government can make miracles happen."

As for the fear on her features, he purses his lips. "No one's separating. I just want the truck, Lena. We're goin' ta be…well, we bounce around alot. Between houses an' shit. I want to have somethin' that's mine, that we can stay with even if we gotta move again - I wanna keep the truck. Okay? That's all…" With this explanation given he heaves out a sigh. "Let's go. Now. I don' like the idea of stickin' still for long, an' I wanna get 'er somethin' ta eat. You look sick, Lena. An' you were real light."

Lena gets her hands tucked under her arms again, darting looks back and forth between the two men as if she doesn't quite entirely trust what they're saying. It's not easy, fighting panic. But eventually the message works its way into her tired little brain; they aren't separating, there's still a safe place to crawl to and perhaps most importantly…if people need calling, no one else has been snatched yet. "Okay. Okay," she says, hitching in a steadier breath and relaxing, just a little, under the arm over her shoulders. "We'll get something. I can eat later. I just…I just want to sleep. After we call. Okay? Okay. I'm…I'm going to sit down again. I'm sorry."

It's abrupt, the way she slips Tiago's arms and hauls herself back into the cab of the truck, crawling along the bench seat to curl in the corner against the door. Once there, she pulls the hood further down over her face and gets her head between her knees. It's good others are coping. She's not.

There is another bout of silence as Gene merely observes the conversation going on. Government is scared of Evolved, they do stuff like this. Evolved get scared of government treatment… The young genius shakes his head. The Alpha Protocol has to be stopped soon, but the 'How' is the question that plagues him. For now, he was able to rescue his friends, but trying to keep them safe and rescueing them later isn't going to work… And it isn't the best soluation as Lena and Tiago have learned the hard way.

"Here, take my watch… If there is trouble, just do the same thing you used to do for the old one. If you need me, I'll be right here," Gene states as he gives a light toss to the watch in the cab. I'll see you both when you come back." Figuring the two need some alone time, whatever they decide, the young man merely moves back toward his damaged car, climbing into his car without another word. No speeches today it would seem.

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