Consume. Smother your doubts. Be fulfilled.
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Collab Post: Team L | Interactions: Leon Elle Joyner | Location: Orlando HQ
If he was honest, he wasn’t particularly surprised that when he’d been released from the interrogation room the day they’d arrived, Leon had been taken to a room that locked from the outside. He was largely responsible, by first glance, for what happened in Miami, and he wasn’t particularly shocked that the soldier-like commander of the Orlando base didn’t particularly feel trusting and warm towards him.
What did surprise him was how crappy the solitude was. Nick and Francis had both been by to check on him - but ultimately, a blank slate room with a single cot, a screwed-down metal chair, and two wall lamps with plastic bulbs did not give him a comforting vibe. He missed Ket. He needed Ket, and it killed him not to know what was going on… not to know what happened to her. If she was alright. If she was even alive.
Laying on the cot, his eyes bored up into the ceiling as a heavy sigh escaped.
A heavy sigh escaped Luna.
She stood before Leon’s door, frozen, fist held inches away from metal. She had to do this. She needed to. She had overheard from Lucas and his friend Francis that this Leon man had access to significant information. Specifically information pertaining to RIEF and the chip. She might’ve had little motivation to leave her room, let alone talk, for the past few days, but there was no way she was going to sit on her bottom while a solution to saving Vance rested on the other side of this door.
Sucking in one last breath, Luna knocked, just to alert her presence, before unlocking the door and poking her head in. “Um...h-hello? Is Leon in here o-or…?”
Sitting up on his elbows, Leon’s head moved to the door at the knock, a brow lifting at the unfamiliar face that appeared on the other side. For a moment, just a small, brief moment, he thought there was something recognizable about the girl, but brushing that aside, he shrugged, “Sure is… Got nowhere else to be. Don’t think we’ve had the pleasure, Freckles.”
“Um...r-right…” Hesitantly, Luna slipped inside and, quite intentionally, let the door cracked. It was a tiny gap, but that miniscule bit of space managed to ease the tension from her mind, if only a little. She stood before Leon, keeping at least two arms worth of distance between them. “I heard from o-others that you could help me.” Slowly, she held up the tablet she stole from Emmanuel’s desk. “Y-you’re familiar with the ch-chips, right?”
A brow lifted, and he sat up a little straighter, swinging his legs off the cot and letting them fall to the floor. With a soft laugh, he gestured up vaguely to his head, “...Got one of those bastards stuck up here, myself, so… yep.”
“...Good,” she muttered, sitting down in the lonely chair. “I’ve done w-what I could so far, but going u-undercover for a few hours didn’t give me everything I need. I...I need to disable these chips, Leon.” Shakily, she held the tablet out to him. “B-but I don’t think I can hack into th-those things unless I completely d-decode this. That’s where you come in, h-hopefully.”
As she sat, his brow rose again and he laughed with a little more emphasis, “Good, huh? So I’m gonna guess you’re not here to be president of my fan club. Damn.” Elbows on his knees he studied her for a moment, “I have some research… Started it a little ways back, when I figured they weren’t planning on giving us a retirement package. I can show it to you, but I wanna know first… Who got to you? On my team. I can’t imagine it was Manny. Lookin’ at you now, I can see it… the resemblance, but he’s a dick, and somehow I don’t imagine you’re keen to rescue his sorry ass. So who you so eager to fix up?”
Luna bit the inside of her cheek. Of course, she wasn’t eager to talk with this man. She knew that he seemed to be turning a new leaf and that his hands were tied, but then she would see Mac’s face and the resentment burned anew all over again. Either way, she exhaled tiredly, pushing back her curls from her eyes. “F-fair enough, I guess. It’s definitely not E-Emmanuel. I mean...D-don’t get me wrong. He’s family. I’ll always…always love him, n-no matter what, but he doesn’t feel the s-same way.”
She fidgeted nervously, looking past Leon’s head and at the wall behind him. “A-actually, do you know, um...T-Tank? It’s...It’s f-for him.” A hint of warmth filled her cheeks, though the sorrow that followed casted a shadow over it.
Sitting up, Leon itched the side of his cheek with a small grin, “Yeah, I know Tank.” Gesturing to the drawer in the desk a little ways away, he nodded, “In there… Got about a year’s worth of work. Coded… but it’s not a whole hell of a lot of good to you, if we don’t have one of their inputs…”
“Input…” the hacker muttered, her features pinched thoughtfully. Gingerly, she took the tablet back from Leon. “S-sorry, just, uh...one sec.” She rummaged through the drawer he mentioned and displayed his work across the desk. Her eyes instantly lit up, raking over the information like it was the gateway to Hack Haven. “This could w-work,” she whispered, turning back to face Leon and holding up the tablet, “This could be our i-input.”
“Unless you pulled that out of RIEF, Freckles, we ain’t gonna have a whole hell of a lot of luck.” He said with a small shrug.
“No, that’s the thing. I-I did get this from RIEF, right out of Emmanuel’s d-desk. With this gold mine of c-coding you’ve got here, we could find s-something incredibly useful on here,” Luna said, a bit of a rush to her tone. Hope. The first time she had experienced the sentiment in what felt like forever, but in reality only a few days.
His countenance shifted as she spoke and sitting up straighter, he swore softly, “Are you serious?” Leaning forward, the same hope reflected in his gaze as he grinned, “Holy Hell, Freckles! Ace moves. We can actually make this work… and what’s more, I can backtrack that signal… and get us a damn map of RIEF’s underground. Storage cache, weaponry… captives. All of it.”
Luna’s eyes widened more and more as Leon listed off all the awards they could reap from this discovery. Holy crap. Holy shit. This...If this wasn’t a miracle being handed to Rogue in a handbasket, she didn’t know what was.
Shakily, she lost energy in her legs and fell back into the chair, dumbfounded. “Th-that’s...that’s...cheezeballs wow,” she whispered breathlessly. “I, we, this--K-Keegan. Keegan. W-we need to report this to him, l-like yesterday.” For a brief moment, her guarded nature dropped, though it didn’t last for long as she added, “M-maybe it’ll help lighten up your p-prison situation.”
Chuckling, Leon shook his head, “I don’t care if I spend the rest of my life in this ugly box, Freckles. I can save her…” Sitting back, he rubbed his hands over his face, and briefly, his eyes turned misty, “...I can save her.”
For a moment, Luna hesitated, but the pure relief rolling off Leon was impossible to fake. In the end, curiosity and gut-instinct seized her senses. “...Save who,” she asked, cautiously, timidly.
Clearing his throat, he sat up again, “Uh…” Rubbing the back of his neck, he smiled sheepishly, “...Ket. She… hell, she’s my Vance.”
“Really? That’s…” Just the slightest hint of a smile pulled at her lips. “Th-that’s weird. And here I thought Vance and I w-were exclusive.” However, her humor wavered a bit as the name clicked into place. Ket...Wasn’t she in the van with her when they had to track down Finn and Keith? “Ket...Quiet? D-dark hair? Um...black, err, t-tentacle powers?” She did a tiny little flourish with her arms, a half-attempt at imitating squid-like movement before shyness got the better of her.
Looking up, Leon chuckled, “That’s my girl, yeah. Fear inducement. Ain’t as cool as it sounds, either. She lives with it, Ket. Every damn day. Constant fear… anxiety. It’s a walking nightmare, and having a torture-chip in her head doesn’t exactly help. Vance, he used to help her sleep… Would put her out for me.”
“J-Jesus,” Luna said, her mind failing to imagine how crippling of a experience that could be. The exist constantly in fear and anxiety. She herself wrestled with anxiety and panic attacks, but for someone to endure such a thing without pause, day in and day out, only granted sleep with the help of energy siphoning...A shriver raced down her spine. “I...I-I can’t even imagine how terrible that is. Leon, I...I-I don’t really trust you, but,” she locked eyes with Leon, eyes steeled over with bubbling determination, “W-we’re going to take care of this chip. No matter what. And..a-and we’ll get our loved ones out of there, as long you’re w-willing to work with me?”
Slowly, and still with a hint of trepidation, she held her hand out for a shake. “P-partners?”
“Hell, Freckles.” Taking her hand, he gave it a shake, with a sly smile, “You had me at hello…”