A Dull Man


cat_icon.gif diogenes_icon.gif isis2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Dull Man
Synopsis Cat finally meets Diogenes and Isis. The resulting introduction is a little weird. A little.
Date September 5, 2010

Isis's and Diogenes's Apartment, Gun Hill

Bare. Bones bare. This apartment seems built for the simpler functions of living only. The studio room's white walls remain mostly unbroken but for the short list of furnishings within this residence:

A single, double-sized bed sits beneath the windows that look out onto the street below, done up in a plain, black bedspread. To the right stands a larger book shelf, which proves to be a hopeful piece of furniture, for it currently houses only a handful of novels, leaving a greater space for the occupants' intended purchases. Clothes are kept in two beaten and worn, rolling suitcases propped open on the opposing side of the bed. A little desk is set up for the use of a single laptop, while the barren table in the kitchenette is used as the landing place for another notebook computer.

Even this kitchen-area is minimally supplied - cabinets are home to a small set of matching red and black dishware, cereal, and canned Chef Boyardee meals beside a bottle of vodka.

Maybe the occupants of apartment 502 here at Gun Hill are morning people, and maybe they aren't. The truth of that issue is likely soon to be known, because it's morning. In the hallway, a brunette of five feet and eight inches height is knocking on the door. Not so hard as to equal pounding, but not so quiet as to be easily missed either. Then she waits to see if anyone answers.

Hands adjust the backpack and guitar case over opposite shoulders, making the weight balance better and increasing comfort.

At the early morning time when Catherine Chesterfield is knocking at the door of the two latest arrivals to Gun Hill, Diogenes is seated on his side of the sizeable bed, rubbing his hands around the stout coffee mug, catching as much warmth of it as he is able. He is already dressed, and in clothing similar to that which one of the neighbours has witnessed him in days ago: tight grey denim jeans and a white shirt. This time, however, the shirt is buttoned nearly all the way up, with but three topmost buttons left alone.

When the knocks arrive, the young man turns his atypically aged gaze towards the door, as though he could see through the door itself. A dull sigh escapes him and he looks back at his drink. His third cup of coffee this morning. Not exactly a good night, this one. Still, he dutifully rises from the bed, and his bare feet carry him towards the door. "Isis! Visitor! Probably brought another pie and a creepy smile!", he shouts out, one hand still holding the mug, the other gripping the door handle, willfully ignorant of the fact that the woman outside likely has heard every single word.

The door finally opens. Cat is to be greeted by a stoic gaze and a crown of dark messy hair.

"Noooooo…" Isis grumbles from beneath an absurd amount of blankets. She has managed to turn herself around in the middle of sleep, a mane of red hair sticking out from beneath the covers at the foot of the bed. A little hand spider-crawls out, a few fingertips tenting up the sheets and comforter to reveal a single hazel eye. Isis peers out at the morning world with obvious distaste. "Tell the Bible-thumpers I worship Satan, I'm nocturnal, and I'll eat their children's souls if they knock here again…"

Even still, the blanket-cocoon stirs as Isis rolls around in bed. After a moment she's released from their comfy warm clutches with a nest of curls tangled atop her head. She wraps a bathrobe around her nightgown - which happens to been an oversized black shirt with the logo for Nine Inch Nails, before shuffling towards where her roommate has propped open the door. She peeks out around his shoulder, lofting a brow. "Yeeees?"

The brunette facing Diogenes cracks a slight smile when he opens that door, her eyes study him for a stretch of moments before she speaks. "I assure you I don't come bearing pie, Mr. Diogenes." Whether or not her smile is judged creepy is up to him as attention shifts to the five foot ten inch redhead peeking around his shoulder. "Nine Inch Nails," she murmurs, choosing not to comment on whether or not the wearer wants to fuck someone like an animal. "How pleasant you worship Satan, are nocturnal, and will devour the souls of children. My thoughts are rather more tame, they include agnosticism and believing if God exists, such an entity is neither male nor female."

Unfortunately, the peculiar young man lacked any sort of ability to appraise another's appearance within a fraction of a moment. Instead, his lingering gaze is thinly veiled with other gestures, such as - in this case - brushing his hair into temporary submission with his vacant hand, momentarily lowering his chin and concealing his eyes under the palm of his hand. Some might deem it a redundant and unnecessary precaution, though such a concept is unlikely to exist within the man's mind.

His eyes shift between the two women less subtly, however, once he hears of the dangerously religious debate. Initially, it elicits no more than a scoff, and prompts him to walk off towards the kitchenette, leaving the two women on their own. "I appreciate the flattery, but you can skip the Mister", he notes after he takes a lengthy sip of his coffee. "And before you two continue your cat fight, I'd like to hear the reason for your visit, whoever you are. You don't come here with pie, and I somehow doubt you came here to borrow some sugar."

The redhead stares blankly at the visitor for a long moment. Finally, the corner of her lips move to address Diogenes alone, though her words are entirely audible to all. So inconspicuous, isn't she? "She speaks too well to be Bible-thumper or pie-toting, Suzy-home-maker…" she offers, as the man slips away. Isis smiles and looks down at her nighty-shirt. She glances back up to Cat and arranges her fingers to flash the quick rock-on, devil horns symbol with a grin.

"Actually, I'm Wiccan and much agree about the sexual-organs, or lack thereof, of all deities. I just find dropping Satan's name to be advantageous when strangers come a' knockin'." She makes a gesture to welcome Cat inside. What? She called Diogenes mister, she's good in Isis's book. "I'm Joanne, but I assume you know that? What can we do for you?"

"It was mentioned your name is Joanne, as well as one given to an Egyptian goddess of antiquity," she replies while stepping forward so the door can be closed behind her, "and that you're an enigma." Inside, she continues speaking. "I'm Cat," she informs, "Kaylee mentioned both of you to me, said you might have some interests to discuss." She can almost picture how it might go if these two meet their neighbor Joseph, the pastor.

It is not known even to the man himself why he has decided to have breakfast exactly the moment the visitor arrived. Perhaps he needed a constructive diversion to feed his bitter ego, so that his mind could focus more freely on the guest without interruptions of sarcastic remarks. Or perhaps his hunger has simply become intolerable and must be tended to this instant.

Whatever the reason, the mug is placed firmly atop the undersized table, and his lithe form saunters over to the fridge. The essential ingredients of a champion's breakfast - ham, butter and cheese - are tossed upon the table. Bread, which is fetched from the top of the fridge, soon joins the table. "Yeah, an enigma", he snorts. "To everyone, herself included." Well, that strikes out that particular reason why he has wandered off to the kitchen. His efforts to sate his hunger are paused; his hands land far away from each other on the table as his attention turns to the guest once more. "Kaylee? I take it you're the Ferryman… or woman, as the case may be… who was meant to see us?"

Isis moves to shut the door behind Cat, shifting suddenly and uncomfortably at the name of a haunting past. The redhead's heavy gaze can no doubt be felt burning holes and daggers alike into Diogenes's back. She'd managed to keep it secret for so long despite her love for the self-given name Isis. "Joanne," Isis states simply, firmly, and quietly, before moving away from the door with another sharp glare in Diogenes's direction for his want to comment on her enigma-ness.

"Asshole," she mumbles, as she slips past the kitchenette area and spins about, flopping down onto the foot of the bed. She props her elbow on her knee, resting her chin in one hand as the other seeks to tame the mess of her hair into some reasonable state of garnet curls. Her hazel eyes flick their attention between the others in company.

"I could follow along with your chosen Greek motif by calling myself Charona," Cat states as confirmation of her Ferry association, "but to be true there's not just one pilot to that particular boat and it certainly doesn't require crossing the River Styx, though some have taken that metaphorical ride in their time with us." Brown eyes move between the pair in their separated locations.

"I'm sure you also anticipated, along with being visited by someone among us, there might be a need to provide more complete names so backgrounds can be looked at. While we provide shelter for those who have the need, and enlist help from the willing, there are those of non-benign intent who would seek to burrow in and collapse our operation, as well as some whom others would object to assisting."

His cold gaze drops to the floor like an anvil. A few quick nods of his head mark his absent-minded agreement and imply that he is silently mulling over what has been said. It also brings some of his immensely dark locks back down to wreak havoc, which inspires another disciplinary action on behalf of one of his hands that raises from the table. He straightens out, then, and picks up a slice of rye bread. The usual morning ceremony thus begins with him spreading butter on bread.

It is perhaps one of the stranger activities to be in the middle of while sharing confessions as grim as these. "The homeless on Staten a year ago? The small shelter with a neat row of cold corpses? Hardly any leads to this day? That was me. I have also angered local mobsters from Eastern Europe. I have disarmed them and let them live, but the local police has found them dead. I have touched the gun they had with them. It is likely I'll be the one to blame for the murders, but I personally doubt the case will reach across the pond."

A lonely slice of ham is put atop the buttered bread. A slice of cheese follows. Diogenes continues, "The homeless on Staten were a mistake I readily accept. Otherwise, I don't kill. I make myself remembered, but I don't kill. If you have any other questions regarding my background, feel free to ask."

Isis looks to Diogenes as the non-pie-bringer makes a kindly request for their true names. The young redhead tries her best to hide the pleading look in her eyes; eyes whose hazel color tends in her current mood towards a shade of brown. She doesn't want to share, she wants to forget… but, the image of abusing Tracy's power, freezing one of Brian's persons until he shattered - it is stuck with her, either way.

Isis shifts and wraps her bathrobe closed around her, clinging to her silence and her thoughts as Diogenes lays the gory details of his past out upon the tensions in the air. After a moment, Isis shifts her attentions back to Cat. "Kaylee mentioned the Lighthouse. Does that mean Brian works with you?" Those hazel eyes tend back towards a natural green, intense in their request for response. The question does not seem like an attempt to skirt the topic of true identities at hand, but seems the pivotal point of the redhead's acquiescence.

"Brian is among our number, yes," Cat confirms, "more accurately, Brians are among our numbers. In honesty, many among us are opposed to violence, but many others are not, depending on the circumstance. For the most part, even those opposed to violence have proven more opposed to dying if someone attempts to kill or capture them." She pauses here, to consider her next words.

"What you've done in the past is not so much concern as what you do going forward. Kaylee is an example, she worked with Adam Monroe but came to see her need to close that chapter and leave it behind. Others among us were once with the group the Feds say tried to release a virus and played a role in collapsing the Verrazano-Narrows bridge. Those persons chose at the eleventh hour to help defeat that plot, to prevent the virus being released. In short, Diogenes, none of us are saints and we certainly won't expect to be."

By Cat's demeanor, the way her face remains neutral in speaking of such things and her eyes show a slight haunted quality, it's not so much a stretch to believe she too has blood on her hands, has seen horrors. "Still others of us are naturally concerned about the origins of people brought into the fold. While I accept you on Kaylee's word, it would help to know names you've commonly used in the past."

It is not unlikely that the severity of the topic is to some extent ruined by Diogenes casually enjoying his sandwich. His demeanour has devolved from stoicism to what appears to be ignorant indifference. Even after Catherine falls silent, the man lifts the mug off the table to take another two sips of his coffee, and the stout mug is returned to rest upon the table in a manner that is far from hasty. Silence is on the verge of growing awkward by the time he washes his hands clean and dries them with the towel.

Diogenes recognises that such topics are not exactly fit to be discussed over breakfast. As such, it is delayed, and the man steps outside of the kitchenette to approach Cat both warily and curiously. He diligently looks her over, as though he had just noticed her. Ultimately, however, his eyes search to meet hers. "With all due respect, I don't think you understand", he states neutrally with a faint grin that vanishes soon after its appearance. He tips his head to the side. "My real name will give you absolutely nothing. And that is if you actually find my origin."

"I am a dull man. I came to this Earth and I was raised with the belief that I am special. Just like everyone else. I woke up in the morning - like everyone else. I went to school - like everyone else. I had dreams - like everyone else. I am a nobody. And nobodies don't have backgrounds."

Isis glances aside to Diogenes again, but already her shoulders seem relaxed no longer with defeat of being revealed, but with some since of hope for the organization to which Brian belongs. She watches Diogenes's dramatic approach for a long, quiet moment. Finally, she makes an example and pushes up from the bed. The redhead approaches Cat, checking her control on her ability before extending her hand for proper introductions. "The name Isis O'Conner will give you any important information. Joanne King is a disguise Brian was kind enough to give me after I assisted him with some matters involving one Ms. Tracy Strauss." Isis shrugs. "My given name is Kayla, but if your paperwork is good Isis will lead you there. I changed my name in all the legal, proper fashions on that occasion." She grimaces at the rarely spoken name entitled to her at birth and turns back around to reclaim her perch at the foot of the bed.

Truly the only blips that would show up within a lawful background search would be the strangest case of 'Grand Theft Human' as Isis and a small incident of playing with matches and lighting a forest fire at the age of 11 beneath the birth-given name. Otherwise, word of mouth would be the source of tale for the string of body snatchings, accidental or otherwise.

"I'm not hard to look up," Cat states in reply, "being listed as a member of the bar in New York and Connecticut, and as an alumna of Yale University with a Juris Doctorate and bachelor degrees in both music and political science. Within the past year, my name has been in the media as the daughter of assassinated Mayoral candidate Jennifer Chesterfield, and it was alleged during the campaign I was a member of Pariah."

Furnishing more on herself, she states "My extrahuman mojo isn't publicly stated, being registered as tier zero. I'm a woman of very uncommon memory. Some," she forms a slight smile, "say I'm incredibly smart, but I dispute that claim. I'm simply better educated."

It is not particularly easy to resist the temptation of sharing his name as the other two do, despite his stubborn verbal refusal to part with his true identity. Not entirely because of conscience whispering in his ear, but because of particular informational benefits it might yield. Silence floods the apartment once more, albeit for a much shorter period of time, as Diogenes weighs the gains against the losses.

"Which contributes to your overall intellect", the man is quicker to break the silence this time around. "But I am sure you have had this discussion more than once by now, so I will let it be." He clears his throat and tosses his gaze to the side for the briefest of moments. "Back to the matter at hand. The Ferrymen. Do you have some sort of manual? A how-to guide?"

Isis smiles as the woman proves kind enough to share her own background. She seems appeased by the progress of things, certainly no longer bitter with Diogenes for her forced involvement in some strange click of activists. The redhead stretches out across the foot of the bed like some oversized feline, popping her head up in her hand as she watches the pair.

"Suffice it to say, Diogenes," Cat replies, "people will believe what they desire on the subject of intelligence. It's usually not worth the oxygen spent debating it. The Ferry doesn't have a manual or how-to guide, most things are self-evident. Not compromising the network by speaking of its existence too openly, or taking actions which might draw unwanted attention. You may from time to time be asked to help with things which keep the network going, whatever we might need at that moment."

With his hands burrowed in his pockets, the man walks off, taking deliberately slow and reluctant steps towards one of the windows. The departure from the other two is recognised as unintentionally symbolic by Diogenes, but little amusement is drawn from such a discovery. The man leaves himself to witness the outside world through the looking glass, although he listens to Catherine intently, something which might not be apparent until his reply.

"Secrecy I can understand and abide by. As you noticed, it is something I dearly cling to. Not out of spite or contempt, believe you me. I have just worked out a system, and I am not ready to rearrange it." He cranes his neck and a glance hops over his shoulder to regard Cat. "If anything goes awry for whatever reason or under whatever circumstances, the Ferrymen will never be brought up unless I am requested otherwise. But there is another issue I have with such… free-form hierarchy. How do I know that the person contacting me truly belongs to the Ferrymen?" And now his glance briefly jumps to Isis.

Isis's silent attentions wander from Cat to Diogenes. She watches him in a fashion that she does not watch other individuals. She does not search him - there is not scrutiny or attempt to analyze the dark man. They are too alike and yet too different for these otherwise natural attempts. She offers him a half-smile. Her mood does not seem fit to be involved in the third-degree being delivered to Cat. No, she is quiet at peace with the simple knowledge that has been delivered thus far. Brian was a pivotal point of trust in the redheads lifetime.

Isis rolls onto her back and stares up at the ceiling for a moment, only to then lift her hand and trace invisible designs in the air with the backdrop of the plain, white structure overhead as her canvas. She's an odd duck, this one.

"You don't," Cat replies easily, "you either accept I'm from that operation, or decide I'm not, much as I must take you at face value, or not. While we do take cautions to minimize them, there's no way to entirely eliminate risks from life." She takes a few steps toward the door, with intent to depart, but turns back toward them for parting commentary. "I'll speak with the others, and we'll be in contact. Thanks for your time."

Diogenes remains at his spot at the window, much like his gaze remains fixated on the street below. Amusement tugs at his lips in an attempt to bring his usual mocking grin to his lips, but It ultimately fails. He offers Cat a long-lasting glare that is his silent farewell, although it's not entirely difficult that he has many more questions on his mind. The man's attention eventually touches Isis, and then returns to the world outside.

Isis lofts a brow as her absent-minded listening tunes in on the woman's impending departure. The redhead sits up, cocking her head to the side as she lifts a hand to flash a casual peace sign. "By the way, thanks." Her smile is simple and easy as she rises, following after Cat to flick the lock behind her on the door. She turns back to Diogenes. "If we ever get the chance to move, it'll be to the Boonies. No neighbors. Yeah?"

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