PHD #331: Who Watches the Watcher
Who Watches The Watcher
Summary: Sawyer tracks down Piers Rene-Marie and confronts him. Or tries to.
Date: 23 Jan 2042 AE
Related Logs: Ebb and Flow (Kincaid gives Sawyer a lead and she follows it. But not the way he planned)
Piers Sawyer NPC Polaris 
Living Quarters - MV Elpis
The freighter has living quarters sufficient to accommodate around 800-1000 people, divided up into rooms of varying sizes. Each room holds multiple sets of bunkbeds, most commonly housing between 10 and 20 people, none housing fewer than four and some as many as 60. For each bed, there is a locker of some sort. These rooms take up several floors, and are arranged around a central 'courtyard'. Each floor has at least one common room, outfitted with scavenged couches and televisions, separate heads for men and women, and laundry facilities. The rooms are pretty barren — plain military-issue bedding on the bunks, and nothing currently adorning metal walls or floors. The lighting is unforgivingly fluorescent, and there is a constant soft hum of generators and ventilation systems in addition to the other noises common to areas housing hundreds of people in relatively close quarters.

There is also a galley in a room off the living quarters, with a kitchen of its own, churning out food served in a buffet line much like on Cerberus. There are a few long tables that match and then a smattering of others of all shapes and sizes, the chairs equally mismatched as they are arrayed around them.
Post-Holocaust Day: #331

Piers may have been an easy man to find, the options of ships he could be on were limited of course, and then he is a rather public figure among the civilians. The finding was easy, it was finally getting an opportunity to meet with him that was the difficult feat. She doesn't even have to check her notes to know which courtyard to turn off on, nor which doorway to approach. There was great care and preparation taken before she came up here, her hair is perfectly coiffed, her make-up artfully done and an outfit chosen of a skirt and expensive stockings. Now she just has to run the gauntlet of lackeys.

Lackeys who let her through with surprisingly little resistance. A few of them glance at her backside — and, Gods, those stockings — as she passes, though only one of them is blatant enough to try and make a grab at her when he thinks she's not looking. Another pelvic-thrusts in the air to muted guffaws, his oiled blond hair shimmering beneath the corridor's dim light. It goes on like that for three or four minutes before at last she passes through the maze of rooms and courts into the inner sanctum of the man, the accountant, the legend: and Piers Rene-Marie doesn't disappoint when he sees her, swooping to his feet in a flash of black hair and flowing blue scarf. "My dear Madmoiselle Averies," he says, sketching an exaggerated bow. "I wondered when I'd see you next. Did you like my little show? Please! Sit, sit." Snapping his fingers in the air, the man summons a pair of chairs from behind his desk, carted over by a particularly large man who might be his bodyguard.

It's hard to keep one's composure when you're literally waltzing into the lion's den in high-heels. There's a slight lift of her chin that's not arrogance, but confidence and the facade doesn't break even as she suffers the slings and arrows of the lewd bunch. Without so much as a breath of hesitation, she approaches the man and lays a soft hand on his cheek, doing that pretentious little air kiss on both sides of his face that was so very common on their home Colony. "Piers. You know perfectly well when you'd see me next." She offers him a sly smile as she turns, artfully slipping into one of the chairs that's brought out for her without so much as an acknowledgement for the man who brought it. Her attention is on Rene-Marie alone. "It was you, afterall, that sent me the tip. Looks like you're doing quite well for yourself."

Not so fast, Averies. Piers' nimble hands move toward her face as he attempts to plant a real one on those lusciously lipsticked lips, though whether he succeeds or not he'll leave up to the woman. What a gentleman. It's only after that ritual greeting is exchanged does he drop to his seat with a flourish, propping up one sprightly leg over the other to reveal stylish socks beneath the cuff of his pressed silken suit. "That'll be all," he says, jerking his head toward the door. And without a word his silent guardian stomps over to the hatch, closing it behind him with a clang — and then the two of them are, at last, alone. "Pardon his manners," Rene-Marie continues, a gentle smile creasing that handsome face of his. "Bob doesn't talk much. And — ah. You might say I'm surviving." His smile turns decidedly less gentle. "Most unexpectedly."

The kiss is not something Sawyer shies from, returned with a sense of familiarity and a softness of her body towards him that eludes back to that evening that they shared nearly a year ago. Once they're both settled in their chairs, her palms smooth out the material of her skirt around the curve of her thighs. "I didn't come here to see Bob." The journalist intones lightly. There is a pause in her words, long enough for her head to cant quizzically. "What do you mean, unexpectedly?"

"I didn't think that lout Pewter had the presence of mind to let me flutter around like this, to be perfectly honest." After all, even Piers can find it within himself to be honest. He withdraws a perfumed handkerchief from the breast pocket of his suit, dabbing at his lips to remove what vestiges of makeup might remain from his reciprocated indiscretion. "Did you?"

"Is that what this is all about then? You're going to see just precisely what you can get away with before people are pushed too far?" After her question Sawyer takes a moment to look around his little establishment. "What /is/ your game, Piers? Inquiring minds want to know." And by minds she clearly means her own, for not a pad of paper or a recorder has appeared as if she's here to take a statement.

"Game? A-haha-ha!" It's a laugh that would sound fake and insincere coming from anybody but Piers. "My darling girl, I do wonder what's gotten into that head of yours to make you think I'm interested in manipulation for manipulation's sake. If I wanted that, I'd simply tell April and May and June and Autumn about each other and see how many would still be willing to — ah — ahem — my — you know." Feigned awkwardness about that sensitive subject masks the deadly serious intent in his eyes, which don't ever leave Sawyer's face. "Is it so hard to believe that I'm after the same thing as you?"

With nothing like a drink or cigarette to occupy her hands with, Sawyer has to restrain herself from her nervous fidget. Her fingers raise to her hooped earring, twisting it in it's dangle before there is a toy of a strand of hair. "So many conquests, so little creativity in a naming scheme." Her smile never falters, it just remains that subtle curve as if they are sharing a secret. "What is it, praytell, that I'm after?"

Piers notices the fidgeting, all right, though he's too gracious to say anything. Instead, smiling that infuriating catlike smile, he fiddles with one of the aquamarine tassels on his scarf, as if emphasizing that he's got something onto which he can hold. "A man can't presume to tell a woman what she thinks, no?" he wonders. Not explicitly, at least.

Sawyer steels herself with a breath that she cleverly hides by shifting her weight to draw one weight over the other at the knee. The toe of her shoe gets hooked around the line of her calve, and the hem of her skirt is once more pressed down. "And yet you can presume that our motives are similar. Without a little light shed on the subject, I'm afraid you're leaving me in the dark. Unless, of course, you mean to say you've gone in to the journalism business."

"I think you hold quite the stranglehold on that, don't you." Piers' smile doesn't falter. "And I'm not fool enough to tangle with a woman like you, my dear girl. You are — how do you say — formidable." Pronounced in the proper Virgan way. "Quite unlike the rest."

"Flattery always was your strong suit." It's hard not to just get lulled into that silver tongue of his, but Sawyer stays the course. "How long were you in the pocket of the military, Piers? So what happened, you served your purpose in pulling the wool over QUODEL's eyes, and then you were forgotten by the organization you once served? Pity that little thing called a Holocaust had to happen and ruined whatever great designs you had."

"So you found out about my wondrous skills at massage." Rene-Marie stands with yet another flourish, moving with the sinuous grace of some great danseur. And then he's behind her, his soft hands resting on the back of her chair, his fingertips just this far away from the fabric of her blouse. "I must say, I was pretty proud of myself. It took work to make those numbers look right for Fleet HQ, but then again — " Sawyer might hear the disdain in his voice, though she can't see his face. "Then again, it's said that only an artisan can draw forth beauty from the hardest marble." His thumb draws a line from the nape of her neck to her shoulder, its touch feather-light.

Goosebumps rise in wake along that trail he pens with his thumb. Beyond a slight turn of her head, however, Sawyer stays as still as that marble he so described. "You had even me fooled. And then months later when your name came up again, I thought it was some grand scheme to skim the goods and sell them off at the next port for profit. I had no idea you were such artiste." Despite the polish of her voice to scrub it of the tell tale Virgan accent, she still pronounces some words in the familiar tongue. "It's only a matter of time before the information gets out. It's only a matter of time before I publish it."

"Ah." A smooth and gentle exhalation of air, that, which won't do Sawyer's goosebumps much good when the man's warm breath brushes against the back of her head. "And what good do you think that would accomplish, my brave little reporter?" Piers' voice is — amused? — even as he replaces his thumb with his hand, which moves to unknot the woman's taut muscles with surpassing skill. "Am I supposed to be quaking in my very, very expensive shoes?" His left hand joins in, working as expertly as his right. "Let me tell you a little secret, mm? I don't know what goes on aboard that ship, but here? In here?" He bends down so his lips are right next to Sawyer's ear.

"Nobody gives a shit."

Sawyer's head lulls forward at the massage from his fingers, muscles like putty beneath the steady massage of his fingers. The tickle of his breath releases a velvet 'mm' from her throat that makes her words a bit lethargic as she responds. "I'm not here to intimidate you, Piers. I'm here to try and figure out what you're doing. And what will become of you when the people you're trying to whip into a froth against the military find out that you are, in fact, one of the military."

She's tense, all right, but that's something with which Piers knows how to deal — and something with which he is very quickly dealing, as a point of fact. But it helps him immensely to know that, before she entered, that calm and confident facade was precisely that. Which might help explain, at the very least, why he's so tender in his ministrations.

This is, after all, a place where she should feel safe.

"You know what I always liked about you, mm?" he wonders idly. "You're — how does it go? — you're idealiste. Sometimes I wonder what it'd be like to see the world through those eyes. But then," he continues, "I wouldn't be looking at the world. I'd just be looking in mirrors all the time. No?"

Sawyer lifts an arm across her chest, her hand laying on top of his to stop or at least pause the gentle knead. "Don't you already?" She says smoothly to the comment about the mirror. "So tell me then — educate me Piers — how is it that you see the world now? When the numbers you're manipulating are no longer inventory of cotton swabs and lightbulbs but people."

"For someone so smart, you can be so dreadfully simple sometimes." Piers sighs theatrically before extricating himself from her grip, one hand rising to loop that eternity scarf back over his neck. "Fine." That tenor of his becomes light and airy. "Condemn me. But you and I, Sawyer, we're no different at all. Or what do you think you're doing every time you publish in one of those — journaux?"

"You're doing it the wrong way." Maybe it was their upbringing, where they take all little Virgan children aside and teach them how to make getting to their feet look so effortless, but the difference is, Sawyer does it in heels. "I present people with fact and let them decide for themselves what the answers are. You are praying on their weaknesses, their fears and their insecurities. You are forcefeeding them this propaganda and they are lapping it up because they are starved. Your manifestos are going to lead to an out and out riot. There were children on that stairwell, Piers. Did you think of them? They could have been injured."

Piers could do it in heels too if he wanted. He just would prefer not to. And as for the children? "Nobody's too young to see justice being rendered, mon cherie." And with perfect grace he reaches for her left hand, pressing his lips to her ring finger in a single loud smacking kiss. "Besides, it's not me you should be worried about. We're not the ones with guns."

Sawyer has no qualms about her hand getting kissed, and when he releases it, her fingers snag the loop of his scarf to drag it off its drape. "Ma petite fleur, the men with the guns are the ones keeping us alive. And they have the training and more importantly the rules to keep them in line. I'm all for a civilian government to be formed, but I'm not going to stand by and let you stage a coup d'etat."

Piers swats at the woman's hand with playful abandon, grabbing the scarf's other end before he moves closer to her body. And with a few quick motions he's wrapped the rest of it around her waist, his hands resting ever so gently on the curve of her hips. "I love it when you talk dirty like that," he half-hums, half-growls, and then he has the cheek to tap her on the tip of her nose with his index finger. "Do what you must. I can't stop you." No guns, remember? "But ask yourself this, my incomparable flower. Qui surveille le surveillant?"

Sawyer is trapped in the swag of his scarf, hands lifting to rest lightly on his chest. "You're forcing my hand, Piers. Organize this peacefully, respectfully and I'll back down. Continue on this vein and I'll do everything in my power to slam you down. The truth will come out one way or another, and you're going to be fed to the very wolves you've created." Even though the words are heavy-handed, her voice is soft.

"You know," says Piers conversationally, his left thumb and forefinger tracing the delicate contour of the woman's wrist, "I think I've never seen anything quite as gorgeous in my life." And then, gently, he kisses the top of her head — tall as he is, reaching isn't terribly difficult. "Would it make things better if I said I missed you?"

"Do you know…" Sawyer's eyes drift from his eyes downward, taking their sweet time in their progression down to his hand. "…how absolutely infuriating it is for you to constantly try and schmooze your way into changing the subject?" Her hand lifts from his chest, her thumb nail dragging down the curve of his bottom lip. "And you know that I never get too close to my story."

Piers' laughter is all air and pleasantness. "I think, Sawyer, you're just a little jealous — ow!" As her nail digs into his lip. "Jealous that, while you've been slaving away beneath your Admiral's yoke, in one bold stroke I've managed to electrify our brothers' and sisters' collective imagination. But elan was never your style, was it. A pity you haven't changed your mind." And with that he whirls back to his chair, looking not in the least disappointed that she's made off with an article of his clothing. "Keep it as a souvenir," he advises gaily. "I've plenty more where it came from."

Sawyer follows him back over to his chair, leaning over him to twine the scarf back around his neck. One final tug has it a little too snug. "It always did look better on you." Does she mean the scarf or the modus operandi? "What is it your after, Piers? Do you want the presidency?"

"Don't be silly," says Piers, who loosens the scarf with a tug of his own so it rests more comfortably around his neck. And then, looking her in the eye, he smiles that artless smile. "I want only what you want. No more, no less." Clap clap go his hands in the air; creak goes the hatch. "Bob will show you out. It was ever so nice to see you again. Don't be a stranger!"

"Mon chou doux, even I don't know what I want. But I know what I do for a living, and therefore, I'm sure you'll be seeing more of me than you really bargained for." Sawyer affixes Bob with her best smile. "C'mon, strong and silent."

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