We're Going To Give Them Miracles


alexander_icon.gif anselm_icon.gif cat_icon.gif eve_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jennifer_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title We're Going To Give Them Miracles
Synopsis Helena has a plan for PARIAH's next move. Responses are mixed.
Date October 16, 2008

The Hangar

A wrought-iron fence borders several small garden beds and the stone stairs leading up to the house's front door. The house itself is a structure of old stone - not even concrete blocks, but quarried stone — with natural-color wood doors and window frames. The windows on the ground floor are barred.

Inside, the level is divided into only three rooms. The first is the foyer, with polished hardwood flooring, a freestanding coatrack on either side, iron-dark against soft-amber interior walls. The main staircase spirals up from one corner of the foyer, girded by a wrought-iron railing.

To the right from the entrance is the kitchen. The walls just off from white, the floor tiled in dark gray. In the center of the kitchen is a black-topped island, matching the counters that line the room. One wall is dominated by an eminently modern stove framed by an anachronistic brick hearth. Cabinets above the counters have glass doors; the windows above the sink are framed in light-colored curtains, the illumination they let in adding to the expansive atmosphere.

The dining room takes up the back of this floor. The far wall is brick and stone, with a facade of a fireplace mantle in the center. Interior walls have been painted a tone intermediate between amber and ivory, which is also the accent color in the dark rug beneath the long dining table.

It hit her in the middle of the night this idea, and it took her a while to go back to sleep. When she woke up, Helena sent out messages - she's requested a meeting, but nothing required for the various members of PARIAH, and let it be known that of course, given that they're guests of those that own the safehouse, Ferrymen are welcome. Perhaps what might be most pleasing is the fact that Helena is smiling as she waits for others to turn up to hear what she has to say, something she hasn't really done fully in almost a month. There was rumor that Helena has come up with an idea for their next 'declaration' as it were, but no one seems to know what she's on about exactly just yet.

Jennifer enters the safehouse. She isn't among PARIAH…at least not officially. But she is a Ferryman, and this is their place. The student drops her backpack inside the door, before starting towards the refrigerator.

There's been a warm break in the weather, or so Teo identified, even as darkness falls over Manhattan. The walk up from the highschool in Chelsea was enough to warm him up so that he doesn't need to make a beeline for the kitchen and cobble together something warm to drink. Instead, the young man installs himself on the floor, setting his back to the wall, foregoing the array of empty chairs after having spent far too many hours with his tall frame cramped onto one at his day job. He casts Helena a pleasant nod of greeting, stretches his legs out. Begins to scowl slightly, in that way that young men are wont to do when they're thinking about something very hard, waiting until she's ready to speak.

Most of Anselm's dealings with the Ferryman happen only when those who are regulars at the safehouse contact him for some specific task or carefully worded favor. This is one of those rare cases when Anselm, informed about the meeting by Jennifer, and it is as much a chance to hang around the young woman who reminds him of his daughter as it is a chance to bone up on Ferryman/PARIAH dealings. Anselm enters the safe house with a tray of assorted baked goods - cookies, biscuits, little cakes and the like - courtesy of Christine's need for a motherly activity and outlet. Wordlessly, the professor peels away the cling-wrap and makes the goodies available on the seat of one unoccupied chair before he removes his wool coat installs himself in another with a soft yet bear-like groan of deserved comfort. Unlike Teo, Anselm has spent his day on his feet, and the opportunity to sit is embraced warmly.

Teodoro takes leave of his trance long enough to lumber himself up onto his feet, crouching up and sidling the short to the chair that bears the cookies without coming out of his crouch, as if he might obstruct someone else's view of Helena. He takes one, murmuring a polite "Thank you," from across the baked goods. He settles back into his sprawl right there.

People know where the fridge is, but there's tea in the kettle and cookies on the kitchen table. From her own seat, Helena looks around at the gathered, an excitement on her face that she hasn't worn for a while. "Hello, everyone. Thanks for making it. So you know, the viral video is making for heavy rotation and apparently it's a real buzz. So thank you to all of you who worked on it, PARIAH and Ferrymen alike." Her grin takes them all in and she continues, "I think it's time for another statement, with all this anti-Evolved fear, I think we need to remind people that we're part of the human race. So I have an idea which I think will not only benefit us, but put HomeSec in a bit of a tizzy and likewise do some good."

The college student fishes out a tupperware container with some carrot sticks from the fridge, and then comes back as she hears Helena's voice. "Is there anything that I can do to help?" She moves over to lean against the counter.

Anselm's eyebrows lift in that interested-but-wary expression, and as he continues to listen, he shifts a hand to rest a slightly hooked finger over his lips. He glances to Helena before looking at the PARIAH member again. "Let's here what the idea is first, shall we dear?" After all, rolling the rocking chair over Homeland Security's tail anymore than PARIAH already does could result in rather nasty consequences.

"There is, Jenny. But I'll get to that." Helena promises. "The first step would be an innocuous statement, issued to the media. Pariah, on a certain date is going to…do something. What exactly would stay vague. But you know HomeSec will get all up in arms about whatever it is that's supposed to happen and prepare for a bombing or something expectantly destructive. What we'll actually do? Is going to be something else entirely."

Jennifer looks pleased that there'll be a role for her. "Is the date going to be anything symbolic?" It's just a point of curiosity as much as anything else.

Alexander has arrived.

"I imagine it will be something else aimed at the coming election," Anselm offers to Jennifer before he goes back to studying Helena. "What actual event will take place?" All in all, Anselm isn't convinced that much will happen to influence the political situation enough to sway the anti-Evolved notion that pervades the various government branches.

Helena is seated in the living room, as is everyone else. She's talking earnestly to the gathered, and there's tea in the kettle and cookies on the table in the kitchen. "Possibly the Election Day, but possibly before. We have a little time." She looks around the room. "We're going to give the people of New York miracles." She pauses for breath. "For example? Given enough time and pace so she doesn't burn out, Jennifer could feed a good percentage of New York's homeless. I can alter weather conditions maybe even provide a cleansing rain for the blast zone. We can come up with any numerous things to do, all examples of the beneficence of those who have abilities doing right for their fellow humans." She looks around, almost nervous, to see how people react to the idea.

Al? Looks…..old. But then, he's sort of had his idealism sandblasted off, both literally and figuratively. His expression is oddly sad, a touch distant, but he doesn't disagree. "Go on," he urges her, as he reaches for one of the cookies.

Jennifer frowns just a bit. "Relief efforts like that are going to be a little easier for the authorities to track down though, aren't they? I mean I can make the food, but we still have to give it out to people."

His viewpoint along with Jennifer, Anselm's is an oasis of doom. "If you aren't careful, you'd only be giving the die-hard anti-Evolved fuel for their fire. You'll be putting your own kindred - the people we're trying to protect - at risk." Anselm stands then, letting out a creaking sigh as he uses the chair to help his aging bones. "Don't get me wrong, Helena. It is an idea borne of the greatest of purposes. But these are the days when even the best intentions are punished rather than rewarded." He shakes his head as he begins to pace the room, rubbing his whiskered jaw. "And Jennifer brings up the good point of reality. Do you have the sort of manpower required to pull this off at the scale needed to bring the impact you desire?" The Ferrymen surely don't.

Helena points out levelly, "There's a reason we're having this meeting, guys. It's not my job to think of all the answers, and you yourselves aren't just brainless minions. I'll offer the ideas, along with what I can suggest regarding solutions, but you've all got brains too." She looks over at Anselm. "To be fair every risk we take puts us in danger. Every time we make our voices heard, there's a chance that we'll have to pay for it. But with respect, sir — if we didn't try, if we didn't do, we may as well just all turn ourselves in and sign up for a pretty plastic card and let them herd us wherever they may. I'm not asking anything of anyone that I wouldn't do myself." She addresses the general crowd again. "So if you think we can do this, then yes, let's start talking about how to make this work."

Jennifer looks thoughtful. "We're going to need some kind of communication that Homeland Security can't easily track…or else some means to move before they can get in and out. Or else, we distribute things first, and then tell people. That might be the easiest way. Some of the sites might be found, but the rest should get through.

"I'm honestly not sure it wouldn't merely terrify the unEvolved," Alex says, slowly. "Remember, I stepped up when Petrelli first publicized the existence of the Evolved, and looks where it got me." He runs his palm over his scalp, wearily. "Even with the best of intentions, the pundits can spin it. But we can't do nothing. And keeping silent only lets the slanderers have free rein."

Eve has arrived.

Anselm nods as he glances to Alex. "In order to sway public opinion, which is impossible to do overnight, you understand, you must first play by the rules. This is, of course, difficult for any of us - the rules were authored to be against the Evolved in many ways." Anselm comes to rest beside his previously occupied chair, leaning against its high back slightly. "The only thing /I/ can think of is some sort of relief organization of registered Evolved. Imagine a Red Cross of sorts. Yes, you do things that are beneficial, but in such a way that people cannot ignore its source. You're fighting a civil rights war with fire - imagine killing this enemy with kindness while playing the game?" The professor glances around before he continues, taking a deep breath and donning a voice more often used in lecture halls than in this particular residence. "Registering, I know, is a hurdle. It's a horrible, degrading thing to stoop to - your comparisons in that viral video are all too true. But it is the only way to make the /idea/ of your plan play out the way you want it to." This last is directed at Helena specifically. "I do hope you find some other way — a way that does not risk the dignity and safety of so many." Especially with Homeland Security as only one among many threats. Civilian mobs and bands have been known to be far more deadly.

Helena blinks a little. "I guess I'm not explaining this very well. I'm talking about what would appear to be a random act of kindness, and also an act of — maybe not revolution, but something like it. It's both a good deed and a statement. You don't think we deal with HomeSec and the Company? They're got their eye out for us and we know that. It's sort of like Guy Fawkes Day in V for Vendetta…but instead of a bomb, it's the exact opposite." Clearly Helena's upset, but more at herself for not communicating effectively.

Jennifer nods. "I get it. I can get on the care packages. We put together a box with food and supplies, mark it with some symbol or code, distribute them, and once they're in place, put out the announcement. At least…for my end of it."

It is that this time that a light clicking can be heard as Eve enters the room and nods to everyone. Her hair is in a messy bun and she is wearing a pair of jeans and a black tank top along with boots. Her eyes are bright and her whole presence is one of vibrancy, it would seem as if Eve has gotten some sleep lately. She smiles at everyone, "Hello everyone" she says in greeting.

"Well, nonviolent protest has been an effective means of social change for many years," Alexander muses. "So I guess now is the time to be public."

Teo remains seated on the floor beside a chair with half a cookie uneaten in his hand. Frost-pale eyes shift through the room to each speaker in turn, his features pensive; if he'd been scowling before, the shadows on his face are nigh impenetrable now, weighing the proposition, its magnitude, in his mind. Anselm's statement about Registration elicits a look of mild incredulity, which fades after a beat when Jennifer takes a pragmatic tack. "Those with powers that work very visibly and directly may have difficulty participating without a lot of thinking as to choreographed concealement or exit strategies.

"Or you might run the risk of falling right in line with the ethos of subcategorizing Evolved according to their damage output. Those who have nothing to contribute are likely to be likened to inherently destructive. There's no doubt HomeSec is going to spin this some way, but I'd rather not hand it to them on a silver platter."

"Agreed," Anselm says in the heels of Teo. "As I said, Helena, it is with the best intentions. I just can't imagine that this country - this world - is ready for such a bold move. In in an effort to defend itself and save face, the likelihood of more being hurt is too much of a risk."

"We can be subtle." Helena points out. "No one actually needs to see us doing anything. The works we do will speak for themselves. Do you really think Homeland Security's going to be watching homeless shelters for trucks full of bread? Or for one or two people tucked in a secure spot in the rad zone? When people are expecting doom, and they get miracles instead…" She falters off. "What do you propose we do? We've made a promise to step away from violence, at least against civilian targets. Tagging walls and viral videos help raise awareness, but they're not enough." God, she wishes Cam were here.

Jennifer looks over at the clock. "Oh, hell. I'm going to miss my study group. I'm behind it 100 percent, Helena. I'll start on a shopping list for the care packages. But gotta dash!" And with that, she quickly heads doorwards.

Eve steps forward some and looks to Helena, her gaze intense as if she is looking into Helena's very soul. "I agree with Helena. More needs to be done, the graffiti and viral videos help of course, but we need something more" Eve seems able to put forth more effort into PARIAH at the moment. Eve tilts her head and looks around the room, but doesn't say anything more.

The remains of Teo's cookie is eaten in two expedient bites. Both long hands, bruises still fading from the knuckles, spread above his lap. "I think it's a good idea," Teo says. "Good deeds. Showing that Evolved abilities won't necessarily be wielded for the worst. I don't think it's necessary to prologue it with a specific threat of PARIAH activity. It seems cruel to intentionally engender panic. Maybe exploit a holiday instead? You people have, what, Thanksgiving coming up?" He casts a questioning look around the room, the look about his features and posture of his shoulders equal parts practical and earnest. He's young enough to pull off the combination. "Personally, I'm all for subtlety — safety — and for claiming credit. Both those things seem like bases that need to be covered."

"You're right," Alex says, getting some tea for himself. "I think we could manage enough secrecy that we could get safely away. Have to be careful to leave nothing that's easily traced back to us…." He rises to pace, restlessly.

As more and more assent to Helena's plan, Anselm stays obstinately opposed. "Do what you like with your people, Helena, but unless you get voiced permission from Bennet or Wireless, don't put the Ferrymen's name on this. I'll do my part as I always do in your wake, and I'll admit you have a slim chance of making that work just a bit easier this time, but do not willingly endanger those we've worked so hard to tuck away under society's rug."

Helena remains calm in the face of Anselm's obstinancy. "I'd be an idiot if I didn't take counsel from Bennet and Wireless." she replies. "As it is, she may be essential to this working at all. And only those who are willing to take the risks will actually do so. But by all means, if you've got ideas, if there are things you think we should be doing? Speak up."

Teo twists his mouth, considering the concatenation of the older man's logic. "If PARIAH didn't issue an initial heads-up statement — or threat, whatever you want to call it, the acts of kindness wouldn't be much more risky than the graffiti or the viral video, as far as risking exposure goes. It'd kind of take some of the teeth out of the project," he admits, glancing at Helena. "I'm not sure how sold Helena is on pushing the populace through that particular emotional rollercoaster. I realize that might kind of be the point." He doesn't have to mention it aloud — it shows on his face, that that particular detail makes him more than a little uneasy.

Near the back of the room, having been here listening and not calling to herself, is Cat. Her eyes drift around the room from time to time as people speak, her ears take in their words, and thoughts for the moment are kept private. Perhaps the five foot eight inch brunette in dark jeans and tank top over boots with two inch heels didn't feel the need to comment, given the concensus against registering. She adjusts the guitar case and backpack carried across opposite shoulders to gain a touch of comfort in supporting them.

Eve takes to watching and listening to the meeting going on at the moment. Her hair falls out of the bun and spills over her shoulder but she makes no move to correct it. Eve closes her eyes and it seems as if she is thinking of something, but she hasn't spoken on it yet.

"I'm in," Alex says, very quietly. "If we begin small, and move silently, we can make our point. We can't commit acts of destruction, but we have to do something. The old cliche about all it being necessary for evil to win is for good men to do nothing applies."

That stern and cautious expression doesn't leave Anselm's wrinkled and drawn face as he looks from one consenting face to the next. "Be careful — whatever it is you do. Be careful and keep your own safety paramount. Not all heroes go in with guns blazing, even if their only aim is to drop off a tin of biscuits. Act as though your little baskets are still bombs; treat them with the same care and respect as you would one of your more volatile devices." Anselm rubs his bearded jaw again, as if washing his hands of the ordeal, and shakes his head. "God be with you all," he murmurs on his way to the door, as if he knew such a prayer to such a being was useless.

Eventually, it'll sink into Teodoro's dirty-blonde head that trying to win Dr. Gilbert over to PARIAH's methodology of accomplishing things is a fool's errand. However, it's probably the very same personality traits that brought Teo into PARIAH that have him insistently drubbing the metaphorical door of Anselm's pessimism. He doesn't think random acts of kindness, carefully executed, is necessarily any more dangerous than midnight runs visiting and revisiting Central Park to slap up incriminating graffiti. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite occur to him that Anselm may not think much of the tagging, either. In any case, the young un-Evolved man is momentarily spent for constructive criticism or further discussion. He glances at Eve when she almost says something, then at Alex when he actually does speak. And for whatever reason, he glances downward with a smile, only looks up to give the good Doctor a wordless wave good-bye.

Just as Anselm is exiting, there seems to be some kind of flurry of activity outside. Hollars of a man shouting obscenities fueled by fear come from not far away. And indeed, the elder man is closest to the source, though Helena stiffens. "Alex, Teo." she says, gesturing at the door worriedly. "Folks, we may have to move out, so you may want to get anything you think you'll need if we have to run."

Al has his power. But his power is, well, obvious. So he has something much more subtle…in its fashion. Namely, a little pistol riding at the small of his back. The shouts have him leaving off his pacing, setting his teacup down, and heading for the door posthaste…..though not without peeking out a window.

Eve's eyes widen and she tilts her head at the shouting outside. Eve walks to the window but doesn't peek through. A cold sensation is passing over her and she shakes her head to get rid of it. She doesn't go for the gun that is holster under her pant leg. She doesn't feel as if she needs it.

Anselm has left.

Her eyebrows raise as the sounds reach her ears from outside and Helena gives her instructions to Alex and Teo. Cat sets down her backpack and guitar case. Then the pack is reached into; she pulls out the pistol she took from Agent Woods when he foolishly tried to abduct her and Helena. She first thinks of moving to guard Stormy, but then remembers if there's trouble being between her and whatever target she chooses would be bad. Very bad. So she turns her focus to backing up the men she instructed to take point if needed.

In the midst of grabbing for another cookie, Teo's hand winds up snapping back instead to the waist of his own pants. He's up on his feet so quickly he might not have bothered with the intervening distance, his gait now nothing like the lazy, clumsy loll with which he'd arrived at the Hangar. The ugly black shape of the Para-Ordnance P-104 is pulled out, gripped in his left hand, but kept up. He follows Alexander with a subtle choreography, keeping the man's back at angles complementary to the window, and then the doorway, then the open streetway, perpetually shifting so that neither man is ever in easy alignment with any enemy's line of sight. "See Gilbert?" he asks ahead.

Helena is apparently not going anywhere. She's going to wait for a report from the two men she sent out to see what's going on. The guns being pulled out don't alarm her at all, though she does cast a wry glance in Cat's direction at the protective stance. She too edges toward the window, but approaches from the side to peer out. She's petite enough that she can nudge in next to Alex before he moves outside.

This log is continued as part of SNAFU.

October 16th: The Way to Dusty Death
October 16th: SNAFU
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