From The Ashes

Participants:

abby_icon.gif alexander_icon.gif cat_icon.gif claire_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jennifer_icon.gif teo_icon.gif trask_icon.gif

Also featuring:

erim_icon.gif karl_icon.gif melinda_icon.gif west_icon.gif

Scene Title From The Ashes
Synopsis Helena announces her intention to join forces with the Ferrymen, prompting a schism not only between members of the group, but between her and her dearest friend.
Date October 29, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.


Word went out that Helena wanted a meeting. It hit all the PARIAH pings, and so even members that were hiding out elsewhere in various nooks and crannies of New York have made it to the library. Everyone's assembled in one of the larger rooms - not a lecture hall. Chairs and pillows create a sort of theater in the round, where whomever might wish to talk can stand center stage. That's where Helena is at the moment, quiet, with the intent look of someone going over what they're going to say.

As a side note, there's one or two people missing - there are certain caches belonging to the group as a whole that Helena will not permit to be compromised.

It's Jennifer's first time to PARIAH's base, and she's dressed as incognito-ish as one could be for traipsing around a restricted area. Jeans, dark sweatshirt, and hiking boots. She's near the rear of the room, trying not to stand out.

Trask is in his normal "Sergei" outfit, face covered and everything he has picked out a good spot in the middle of the room, so people can stay to the edges and be outside his influence but this way the majority of the discussion can not be pried upon by unseen eyes.

Abby is parked on one of the cushions, cross legged, twiddling with her necklace and looking about the room with curiosity as to who all is there. The young southerner is relaxed, at ease and ready for the meeting to start.

There's a Sicilian in the corner not far from the weather witch, seated on the floor in trousers approximately the color of dust to spare himself embarrassingly contoured patches after he gets up again, a hoodie adorning his upper-body, the hood itself pushed back from his head. His hair is less of a tousle than Abby had seen earlier today, and his post-party headache has faded completely, thanks to the intervention of time and the young healer. He glances through the room intermittently, now watchful, then absent, impatience manifest only in the occasional flex of one hand draped over his knee.

Alexander is frankly lounging like a pasha on the cushions, pose entirely at odds with his faux-homeless garb of faded fatigue pants, long-sleeve t-shirt, and army jacket. He's even smoking - the bluish smoke smells strongly of clove. Like a redneck Caterpillar.

Cat has arrived.

Everyone's here — even the ones that don't usually bow to Helena's beck and call. The ones who chafed at Cameron's agreement with Peter but acceded because Cameron made it — and don't accept the bit of a girl who thinks she can fill his shoes. It's not difficult to spot the faction that doesn't accept her authority — they're grouped mostly together, aside from a few strays, and all near the door.

Three in particular lounge by the wall, with a nice and comfortable margin between themselves and the fringe of Trask's anti-abilities field. Two of them are known to be Evolved — manipulating air and metal — but which two is anyone's guess; they deliberately cloud the issue. Karl leans against the wall, his posture one of studied nonchalance; the orange knit sweater and well-broken-in blue jeans are nicely nondescript. Melinda, of the short-cropped pale blonde hair and heavy eyeliner, sits nearby with her back to the wall, dressed in black, black, and more black. She looks thoroughly bored, probably here only at Karl's insistence. Erim completes the posse, standing with his hands tucked into the pockets of black jeans, behind Karl and about a step and a half from the wall. He's just waiting, inscrutably patient.

Helena gets to her feet. "Okay." she says, taking a look around the room. "We've come a long way. What we started with, was originally concieved by Cameron - and while the ability to destroy a thing gives you power over a thing, our message got lost. A lot of us felt strongly about this, and eventually Cameron was persuaded to forgo violence against civilians. This doesn't mean we're laying on our backs, but our reception has improved significantly since we've started going other directions. And after Cameron's death, I know some of you feel lost." She walks around the central circle, taking in faces as she continues. "Cameron left PARIAH in my hands, but they're small, and we're all going to need each other. The intel I've been getting strongly suggests things are going to get worse before they get better, and we don't have the resources to be who we need to be for our brother and sister Evolved. That can change though…because a few days ago, the leaders of the Ferrymen made me a proposition - to come under their wing, while remaining autonomous in our proactive efforts as opposed to their more reactive and underground movements. We'd have access to their training, their contacts, and their resources." She does not state whether or not she's accepted yet, but instead waits for reactions.

Jennifer listens, looking over to the woman giving the speech. She's certainly in favor, given her past association with the Ferrymen, so she looks about to see what the general feeling seems to be.

Somewhere near Helena, the five foot eight inch twenty-something with brunette hair in a ponytail listens intently. She too is outside the range of nullification here. Eyes move around the room slowly after Stormy has spoken, perhaps assessing reactions of others attending. For once Cat isn't dressed for the stage; tonight's it's a blue hoodie with Yale on the front in white letters, jeans, and athletic shoes. "Interesting," she remarks eventually. "It has potential."

Trask nods at Helena's words, leaning back in his chair his veiled face looks around at everyone assembled.

Alexander ashes delicately in a brass ashtray that he no doubt found in the 9th ring of Goodwill hell, and then deigns to sit up and prop his back against the wall. His posture remains relaxed, but the blue eyes are very sharp. "What do they think they can gain from that, or are they doing it out of pure Christian charity?" he wonders, drawl honey-slow.

There's a furrowing of Abby's brows, unsure of whether this is necessarily a good thing or a bad thing. Gone is the relaxed pose, and she's sitting up stright now, eyes on the blonde. "I second that. Are we /sure/ there's no strings attached, or that they won't turn around and offer us up as a peace offering?"

Teo's been in reasonably good standing with the Ferrymen himself. He's hopelessly domestic like that. A plumber. Some things, both factions need doing; were he to be particularly facetious or truthful, he'd say that was because they're all human. His jaw drops a fraction of an inch, on the verge of phrasing a question when Alexander sets it forth instead. His teeth click shut. He leans back on the wall and his head lolls almost lazily on its stem, looking at the cranky clique across the room. As ever, he had chosen his seat without particular acknowledgment for Trask's proximity.

Karl listens quietly as the teenager speaks, watching her every movement with an intensity that belies the nonchalance. Melinda and Erim are equally silent; Erim with that masklike expression, the young woman apparently unable to decide between disgust, scorn, and impatience. Their clique mutters in the space after Helena's announcement, but each and every one looks to Karl before they speak; and, taking their cue from him, they do not. A sullen silence gathers, but a silence that lets Helena address the questions asked.

"Let's not forget what the Ferrymen have already done for us." Helena is quick to point out. "They've permitted us use of their safehouses, sheltered us, provided us intel, and Wireless has been very generous in assisting us with our communications setup. Whatever else we may decide on, they've given every indication of their willingness to work with us, even after we nearly compromised their safehouse." Karl's posse is only regarded in passing, but those who know her well may detect she is keeping an eye on his menage. "I suspect that some of the Ferrymen's membership want a means to be more proactive, we have the outlook and the means for it. We'd still be autonomous, but with that further trust, we'd be gaining more than we'd lose. Acts of civilian terror are something we'd need to step away from - and to be perfectly honest, with PARIAH so firmly established in connection to terrorism, we may even wish to re-invent ourselves entirely. The current effort we have planned - many of you are involved in it - would be the perfect opportunity to do so. But let me be clear - we are soldiers, not terrorists. Freedom fighters, not murderers. And I think that it would be a mistake to ignore the resources that the Ferrymen have to offer. You ask about how we stop them from taking control of us further down the line? Simple - we walk. That's always our choice. That's always anyone's choice, really."

Alexander nods sagely, letting the cigarette dangle forgotten from his fingertips for a little while, before he grinds it out in the brass ashtray. "Seems reasonable. What're the possible cons, then?" he wonders, eyeing their fearless blonde leader from under his brows. Karl and his folks get a curious look, but he's not going to address them directly, not yet.
Rose has reconnected.

Her expression suggests calm interest, and no words are offered at present. Cat is content to let others hold the floor and take it all in. Like anything else, with her being beyond the range of Trask, all is filed away for later reference.

Teo sits up, finally, rolling his shoulders backward. He's rewarded by a crick of his spine that only he — and perhaps anybody with better than normal hearing — can hear. "It would've been that simple once. Our only tangible resource was bodies. Our membership, loyalties, collective knowledge and knowhow. These days, though, we have a little more at stake. We /have/ more. Things we might not want the Ferrymen to know about, perhaps as much for their safety as us protecting our divergent interests. Wherever those are." He's referring to the basement full of plastique explosives, military-grade artillery, and better than forty-thousand dollars in gold, but he deigns not to specify for various and sundry reasons.

Including the fact that he is not completely retarded. "If they're asking absolutely nothing of us that we've never given them before, I don't see a problem. Hell, more pros than cons— yes, easy. But we need to know that. And if that isn't the case, a few more specifics would be reassuring."

Abby's still a bit twitchy. She's not been here long with PARIAH, and doesn't really consider herself a full fledged member, just someone to be called on. So she falls back to quiet, not caring how close in proximity to Trask she is.
Trask listens quietly, and thinks on the words being given. He makes no commet as yet keeping his eyes on the crowd and gauging thier reactions.

Jennifer scowls a little at Teo's comment. "Do you think they were worried about "more specifics" when they put PARIAH up when they were on the run?" She's not usually confrontational, but implications about the Ferrymen will do that.
Cat

"So that's it?" Melinda asks, bolting up to her feet. "You're just going to throw everything away?" Karl puts a restraining hand on her shoulder, and the woman glares daggers at him, but subsides into angry silence, despite the words clearly caught roiling behind her teeth.

Karl straightens, pulling his sweater down a bit, and looks out over the room. "You know it's not going to stay that way," he remarks, rather calmly. "You'll become a bunch of moles scurrying along the modern Underground Railroad, and surrender everything he worked for." 'He', without a doubt, meaning Cameron. Those sharp eyes settle on Helena. "Well, we won't let PARIAH fail, witchy." It's not said unkindly — but Karl has refused to use Helena's name ever since she took (usurped) command.

"'When the sword of rebellion is drawn, the sheath should be thrown away.'" It has the sound of a quote. Or perhaps a proverb. Karl smiles, the expression thin and sharp. "Consider it thrown." He sketches a bow that is not in the least sincere, turns away, and walks out the door. Melinda and Erim follow, as they always do.

Once the posse have cleared the exit, all of the dissidents rise from their seats and depart as well, in a moderately noisy shuffle of shoes across the floor.

Claire rises from her seat, seemingly as discontent as the others. She turns toward the door, but… she stops. Her eyes follow Karl and his group, but she stays put, left standing amidst a sea of empty seats. Slowly, she turns her head back to settle her gaze on Helena once more. "I don't know about this. They're right. It's not what Cameron would have wanted." That isn't to say it's the wrong course of action. "But… We don't have Cameron to guide us anymore. He isn't here to make sure we act according to his vision." The brunette looks down at the floor and shakes her head.

"I disagree." Helena says. "He was willing to be convinced that we needed was change. That we should be prepared to defend ourselves - to mete out violence if necessary, but no longer as our primary source of influence over the masses or the government. He gave us the chance to try it this way, and now we've got more people rejecting what the government tells them and to question. But even if you feel that I'm not right about Cam's willingness to change, that doesn't mean what they're doing - what the people who just left are going to do - is right." Helena seems completely non-plussed that about a third of PARIAH has walked out. In fact, she seems to have expected it.

"Well, god-dammit," Al sighs, fumbling in his pockets for another cigarette. "I saw that comin'. We are gonna have to change our name, 'cause you just know them Keystone Cops as just left are gonna start trippin' over they own feet in an attempt to kick ass and take names," he says, finding a book of matches that he fusses with lighting. "And…..if we go to violence when we have a choice about it, seems to me we're the terrorists we get named." Uncle Remus there having rendered his wisdom, Al takes his sweet time about getting that second cigarette going. "I'm with Helena," he adds, as if there were any doubt.

"No," Teo answers Jennifer. He doesn't elaborate, realizing both that he's said a lot and that her query, however well-intended, didn't contradict the point he was making — and partly also because the asshat trio is storming out with their militant followers.

Teodoro watches them go without expression, though his hands don't move nearly so much afterward; he's relieved. He's yet to spill blood for this cause and loves to believe he has no appetite for doing so.

He marks Claire's near-departure and change of heart with a slight lift of his eyebrows. Wonders how many would've stayed if they'd known about the truckload of concussive explosion below them. He agrees after a moment, aloud: "Cameron wasn't like that." He doesn't know what to say about changing their name, so he doesn't mention it. The most he ever had to do with that sort of thing was renaming a high school football mascot.

Abby's still frowning, and twisting harder on her necklace, a shake of her head. She remains where she is though. No getting up and going out with the others. "I can't rightly say, that I agree one hundred percent with pair ing up with them, but.. you haven't done me wrong so far, so, whatever you decide Hel, i'll get behind" Abby bobs her head in self agreeance to what she spoke.

Her eyes take in faces as people walk out, starting with Karl and the two with him, then the others. Twelve in all, filed away in memory. Once they're gone, with her ear given to Claire, Helena, and Alexander as they speak, Cat seems to find the time right for her own words. "Terrorism, or even what might be called terrorism, will get us nowhere. People are terrified; that's what got us into this situation. Causing more fear will only make them feel justified and determined to exterminate us."

Jennifer looks about. "Hurting people is almost never the right answer. Nobody wins that route. Even if it's the people behind everything, they still just spin it in the press so you look like the loser. No war gets won without popular support."

A member of the dissension returns to the doorway. "Claire, let's go." The boy with dark hair styled in a bowl cut, holds his hand out to the former cheerleader.

"Just… Just a minute, okay?" Claire weaves her way through the chairs and over to Helena's side where she hugs her best friend fiercely. Who cares if it looks weak or horribly girlish? "I'm sorry." She sniffles miserably and squeezes the blonde one more time.

"Claire."

"Jesus Christ, West. I'm coming." Claire plants a kiss on Helena's forehead before turning to join her boyfriend.

Scratch that. Blatent shock registers on Helena's face - West, she hadn't noticed leave. "West?" she echoes her thought. "West, don't do this. Please. You know what you're planning is going to lead you and we need you both." Claire turning on her makes her actually step back like someone stabbed her in the heart. "Claire, don't. I need you. Please."

Trask actually comes out of his chair as Claire goes, he frwons darkly like he can't beleive it. Then he settles back ointo his chair and shakes his head. apparently noone talks to him about thier plans anymore. still he seems willing to at least hear Helena out.

"Whoa, whoa, whoa. What exactly do you think you're going to accomplish?" Al is visibly biting back anger - it's writ large in the faint flush on his cheeks, and the way his jaw has gone tight on his cigarette. "C'mon back," he says, waving at them. "Please. You all seriously can't think active violence is gonna do us any good. Powers or not, we can't stand out against the mass of normal humanity if they ALL get convinced we're a threat."

She takes a few steps, intending to place herself between Claire and the door and at least slow her down somewhat so others can have their say, get a chance to change her mind. "Cat," she begins, extending her right hand to shake if accepted. "It's a shame we hadn't gotten a chance to meet yet, and now you're leaving." She spares a glance over one shoulder at the boy Claire seems about to follow, then looks back to her. "Are you going to go because you thought things through, or just to follow a guy and do whatever he says without question?"

Blue eyes narrow like sharded ice as the erstwhile cheerleader makes her loyalties known. It surprises Teo less because he thought her any more intelligent than her cohorts, but perhaps less slave to her anger than the others had been. Honest rage, he can almost respect; this seems like something different and he neither understands nor feels entitled to demand. Hel's a different story, naturally. His expression changes when Alexander offers his rationalization: stricken incredulous for a moment, staring at the redhead, before his expression shuts inward, abruptly. He looks to see what Claire will do.

Teo's not the only one looking. Abby is too, frozen on her spot, warily glancing between all the parties of the current discussion. This is not something she's going to dive into, but she's not going to ignore either.

Jennifer looks over at the sudden drama. But she doesn't know West, and honestly, doesn't know Claire. She starts to move towards Helena, who is about the one person she -does- know in this mess. Maybe she can be moral support, if nothing else.

"Go to Hell." Claire scowls at Cat as West steps around the human barrier and wraps an arm around his girlfriend's shoulders protectively, fingers visibly digging into her bicep. "I'm already on Homeland Security's radar," she tries to explain to the rest of the gathering. "I'm a terrorist no matter what. If any of you are seen with me, it'll be your undoing." A shudder runs through the young woman and she closes her eyes in tandem with the deep breath she takes to quell her anger. "The next person to suggest that I'm going my way simply because of a boy is going to get my foot up their ass. I can make my own decisions." It's perhaps understandable that she'd be so upset at the implication, to those that know her at least. Her blue-green eyes snap open again, but her gaze softens as it drifts back to Helena. "You don't need me, Hel'. You've got it all together. You're better at this than I ever was. People actually listen to you. You'll be fine."

When Peter turned her back on the group, Helena could handle it. There were things that needed doing, that still need doing. But Claire, her best friend, choosing to turn her back, well - to call Helena 'broken-hearted' would not be inaccurate. And it shows on her face, and in the way she actually presses her hand momentarily to her chest. Breathe. Count to three. Pull it together, you're a leader, and they won't follow you if you blubber like a baby and beg. So after letting out that third breath, Helena does what she's starting to come into doing best: she lets go of what she loves. "We need you - I need you - more than you realize." she says. "But nothing I say will convince you. You better go" she adds, keeping her voice level, "If you want to catch up with the others." She looks at West. "You take care of her, or I swear to God one night you'll be flying and you won't realize how that stray wind managed to spike you on that cell tower antenna." That's all she has to say to him, to them both, and she turns her back on them. "So I'll be contacting the Ferrymen and telling them we're game." she continues. "At this point, I need a few of you to stay to talk about particulars, you know who you are." Ironically, West and Claire would have been some of the aforementioned.

Trask rises again he walks over to Claire, and offers his hamd. "You take care, you need anything…anything at all you know how to find me."

"Well, fuck," Alex says, succinctly. And then he turns to Helena, and says, "I think we just started a new group. If we're gonna work with the Ferrymen, how about CHARON?" he suggests. ANd he apparently means it.

She doesn't flinch when instructed to go to hell. Cat also doesn't move; she neither permits nor blocks West getting to Claire. Her face is a picture of calm and poise, the eyes looking down, yes down, at the blonde who is six to seven inches shorter than she is. Hostility isn't projected, but she also doesn't seem at all bothered by threats from such a small person. "Pardon me, Claire," Cat offers quietly. "What's one to think? You made your own decision, to stay with us, and as soon as he said jump you changed it."

Her feet move then, carrying her toward Helena; putting the man and woman behind her. Her eyes move from one to another among those remaining. "Did anyone else have that same thought, or am I just crazy?"

"Not my place to say" Abby answers cat, though she shows some concern for those present. She's not one to enjoy seeing people hurt, physical or otherwise. She peels off her hoodie, placing it on her lap and fiddles with the zipper pull. She's one of the ones that's to stay, and stay she will.

Though Teodoro suffers from a distinctly Sicilian tendency toward expressing himself, often even to his detriment, he manages to keep his thoughts on Claire's rationale locked up behind his face for the most part. Offers her a civil nod and a quiet murmur: "Congedarsi." Sympathy warms his eyes for a brief moment before he flicks them away, focusing on Helena.

He'd never thought loneliness had a noise in and of itself until he saw the look on her face. The look on her face. Jesus. And under that, as well, he keeps his face as blank as he can. "Present and accounted for." He watches the self-elected irrelevant parties leave the room, leaving the handful he's somewhat more familiar with. He gives a few of those leaving little smiles, a soft word good-bye. Hearing Alexander, his mouth makes a neutral line. "CHARON has a nice association with 'Ferrymen,' but probably negative ones. The boatman who brings the souls of the deceased across the Acheron, right? If we're trying to move away from the violence, I think death might be the wrong association."

And speaking of associations, he offers Cat a grimace of sympathy. "Logical conclusion. Insulting one, but it was on the table."

As miserable as Helena looks and feels, it's mirrored in Claire's and in the reluctant way she turns away. Just because she didn't walk out the door with everyone else didn't mean she intended to stay. It just meant she felt the need to explain herself before she did.

"Let it go, Claire," West murmurs against the girl's ear. "She'll be okay. You'll be okay. We shouldn't keep Karl waiting."

With another broken-hearted snif, Claire allows West to lead her out.

Trask withdraws the untaen hand and nods once, before frowning further and turning away His eyexs falling on Helena.

Only after they've been gone - and long enough to avoid them hearing what she has to say, and the rest of the remaining general membership file out, does Helena bother to speak again. "You all need to know. It's not something I want spread to the others yet, but Bennet gave me some intel which is part of why I think this merger and access to their resources is important." She pushes her hair away from her face. "The government is moving along with their Evolved agenda faster than being let on. Any day now they'll have tests available that'll provide detection results from just a few drops of blood. Which means yes, they are already keeping experimental subjects - people - as guinea pigs to develop the tests with. Like I said, it's going to get worse before it gets better. I never claimed to eschew violence - and I suspect we'll get our fill."

Al is already a pasty bastard. But he manages the heroic feat of going a few shades paler at that. "Sheeeeeeit." he says, again turning the monosyllabic obscenity into a near aria of unhappiness. It may be a moot point in that he's already registered. "Man, they already oiling the wheels on the cattle cars, ain't they?"

That alone makes Abby pale. "You kid. I pray your kidding. Will they make it standard say.. for when someone is ill and goes in for tests? goes to renew their liscense?

When Claire and West left, with her moving away from them, Cat also took care to make sure she placed some distance between herself and Trask. One hand rubs at a temple and she shakes her head, having trouble remembering the conversation word for word already. Minor details are missing, it's a situation which makes Cat clearly uncomfortable. Once she's clear of the field, her expression relaxes and the hand leaves her temple. Attention is given to Helena.

And she doesn't seem surprised by what's revealed. "Something like that had to be coming. A law was made, there was aways going to be some practical method of enforcement, and it's no news they intend to lock us all in concentration camps."

Teo feels like his mind just blinked. The next moment, his mind goes to his brother. Whereas Alex goes pale, the Sicilian turns ruddy, rage tinging his cheeks and hardening the cerulean depths of his eyes like water fractalizing into ice. He sits up and rubs his sleeve against his nose, muttering a curse under his breath; nothing constructive and therefore nothing aloud.

"I'm going to meet again with Bennet and tell him we're in." Helena says. "I'd like the miracle project to be our first act as the new group. And I'm going to ask him for more intel on the holding facilities where they're doing the testing. I think Teo's right about CHARON…the connotations are all wrong, and what's more, it could link us too easily to the Ferrymen. We're something new." Then, "PHOENIX. For Cameron, for affirming life, and for rising from the ashes. If you guys like it."

Alexander ruffles his hair, what there is of it, with his fingertips. And then grins, albeit slowly and grudgingly. "Well, I'm from Georgia and that's our symbol," he says, stretching. "Works for me."

Abby frowns, has she ever stopped frowning, at Cat's rubbing of her temple and gathering sweater to dump where she sat, she sidles over to Cat to take up position beside her. She leans in, just enough to murmur something and offer her hand to the evolved woman.

The temple rubbing stopped as soon as she got outside ten feet away from Trask, and her expression became void of the distress it had shown, indicating whatever was wrong had passed. Cat glances briefly at Abby when she's whispered to, replying simply "I'm good now. Thanks." Persons who didn't already know her ability might easily guess it's something mental which she's always using and the absence of it was uncomfortable, judging from her behavior near and avoidance of Trask's location.

She's thinking now, mulling over the suggested names. "Charon's too dark. Phoenix. I suggest we call ourselves American Eagles. It's said there are two styles of US Seal for the Oval Office carpet. One has the eagle facing the olive branches, the other faces his arrows."

Teo's features break rank after a protracted moment, his effort at enforced neutrality fading into a thin smile. "I like that," he says. "Buona idea, Hel. I—'m not sure what to make of that, but majority vote," he adds for Cat's suggestion, regarding the woman with mixed concern and bemusement as her headache fades almost visibly with the tension in her slim frame. He isn't American.

He does like eagles, though; he has an Italian one tattooed on his skin, hearkening back to his years of association with the Unione Sportiva Citta di Palermo. "I'm interested in what Mr. Bennet's found," he adds, as if that weren't obvious. He's been practicing with kegs of flour, but really— that's only practice.

Helena nods. "I think we all are. I…can't buy into American Eagles myself - sorry, Cat. But like Teo says, majority rules so if people like it, we'll make it work." Helena momentarily channels Tim Gunn and says, "I don't think there's more that we can do tonight. Does anyone have anything they need to bring to the table?"

"Ah say Phoenix, mahself," Al says, quietly. "And I think we're done. ME, I'm gonna go …..I don't know. Get drunk, or something," he says, eloquently.

Trask settles back into his seat he is silent for a extended period, then finally he speaks up, his words choosen slowly and carefully, like there is something wrong with his voice. The Russian accent is not as strong as it normally is. "aye say Pheonix. Rising from…from the Ashes."

'Whats the timetable for the miracles. I'll need to work out my schedule and prepare for mine to do the most good" Abby speaks up from beside cat, a nod to the womans polite refusal. " I'm not overly fond on either, but phoenix, rising from ashes, fresh start… " Abby nods.

Trask pulls his cap down a little more to cover his eyes.

"Noted, Stormy," Cat replies with a chuckle. "But still, the imagery could be useful to us. It's connected to the country, and to American traditions we intend to preserve. We could get someone to make a version of it, with a phoenix if that's the new name, which has the olive branches and the arrows. The bird faces ahead, one eye on each, suggesting we can take either course."

"And another topic. Tomorrow's protest and debate. It could have value to appear as part of the protest, but I'd counsel against it. There could be video cameras and people reviewing footage to match names with faces so they can be singled out for testing. However… perhaps we can learn if there's a way to hack in and flood any questions submitted online with ones which will embarrass the candidates."

Teo offers a monosyllable of agreement with Abby. After all, they're handling her little operation together; coordination would be essential. His attention shifts to Cat promptly, remembering she's the one doing the first bit of legwork on organizing the hospital trip for himself and the Southerner. When she brings up a new topic entirely, his eyebrows go up and his features go thoughtful. "Embarrass," he says, slowly. "Or make them think. They and everyone who's watching."

"I'm actually due to receive a packet of info on Nathan Petrelli." Helena says. "I may need backup, and while I can't take everyone, one or two people might be good. Depending on what's in it, I'm going to see that it gets to his opponent. I agree that staying away from the protests is a good idea. Though I'm kind of worried the others might do something violent." She looks to Abby. "As to a timetable…as of now, let's benchmark two weeks. Three days before, we'll throw up the countdown. Also, I have another project for you - I want you to pick a room, and convert it into a clinic, or at least a sickroom. Let me know how much and what you need, consider it your space as such. We won't want too much for supply - after what is initially purchased or aquired, Jennifer should be able to keep your stock by duplicating."

Despite his words, Al is still lingering. As if waiting for Helena. Maybe he intends to get her drunk, too. He merely nods safely to the further orders.

There's yet another frown from Abby, something about what Helena said not sitting right with her but for now she nods. "I will" Spoken to their leader. "I'll get a list"

"Let me know sometime during the day what you might want me to do along the debate line," Cat replies to Helena. "Also, does the idea of having our bird eye both arrows and olive branches sound workable?"

From Teo's corner, there's a nod. "Two weeks," he acknowledges. He pushes himself up off his butt, finally, one elbow pinned to the wall. He finds his balance, pulls the hood forward over his head, rubbing knuckles into his eyebrow. He glances over the other PARI— sorry. PHOENIX operatives in turn, briefly, before squaring his shoulders, waiting for any last notes.

Helena first looks at Cat. "I think that's a little over-complex, to be honest. I'd prefer something simpler, maybe almost tribal. Easy for taggers to work on walls." She then looks to Abby. She didn't miss the frown. "What's wrong?" she asks, trying to sound gentle about it.

Abby shakes her head. "Later. Now's not the time" She twists and turns the cross around her neck. 'I should start heading back to my apartment, if we're done here?" She plasters a smile across her face. "Phoenix"

Trask rises and nods, "You know how to contact me Helena..was there anything else you needed me for tonight?

"Still," Cat begins, "the imagery. It says the plain truth. We can be peaceful if allowed to be, but can fight and be violent if forced to defend our survival." She pauses, eyes resting on Helena, before asking "Contact me tomorrow, please. We can talk over what you might need regarding the debate and seeding questions into it."

It takes effort for Teodoro gets his brain around it, but Cat's earnestness wears the notion through the intervening haze of ambient aggravation and fatigue in the end. "Stencils," he says, finally. "You could do the eagles with a stencil. Taggers do it all the fucking time." He didn't need to swear there, but sometimes he forgets. Fortunately for him, Abby doesn't seem emotionally equipped to kick him in the shins for it right now. "It's something to consider. Later?" Later would be best.

He fades into an ellipse after a moment, that turns into silence, blue eyes opening and closing numbly before they shift past Abby, a touch haunted; to Helena, hanging by a golden thread; past Trask, characteristically inscrutable; Alexander, whom he rather wants to shove into a wall for its cathartic value, but the telekinetic doesn't look like he can handle that, in the present. Nor do the others. He grunts, tosses up a wave. "Ciao, i miei amici."

"Later." Helena agrees gently. "I'm good with everything. Sergei - thank you for staying with us. Feel free to bunk up or head out. I'm - " she doesn't really finish, because 'going to cry my guts out somewhere' isn't exactly a very adult statement.

Abby nods, reaching out to punch Teo in the arm gently as he passes her by. A friendly one as she kicks herself up from the wall. "See you all later, leave a list of food needed, i'll see about filling the order" THe southerner reaches up to run a hand through her ponytail and head out.


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October 29th: Angels and Monsters
Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

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October 29th: Hunter and Hunted
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