A Hierarchy Of Needs


adam_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jericho_icon.gif mcrae_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title A Hierarchy Of Needs
Synopsis A young activist is drawn to Fresh Kills Harbor by uncertain weather, a criminal mastermind by mention of the name of another, and a young charity worker by the means of escape. All meet the cultists, and have a little conversation.
Date September 16, 2009

Staten Island — Fresh Kills Harbor

Situated at one end of the Arthur Kill, this small harbor has clearly seen days of better and more frequent use. Though it's little more than a network formed by a few creaky docks and causeways, it's still more than suitable to tie up for those who have business on the Island. Invariably, at least one of the ports is taken up by a houseboat covered in seagull shit. A thick, greenish layer of bilge scum floats on top of the water and clings to the hull of every passing vessel. Welcome to Staten Island. If you have baggage or cargo to unload, there are usually a few layabouts at the Angry Pelican, which is just a short walk away. Just be sure to ask for a clean glass and keep one hand on your wallet at all times.

It's cooler than the meteorological predictions said it would be, and the air over Staten Island is mottled with fleecy swathes that boil shapelessly without proper promise of rain. It's making Jericho uneasy without giving the pyrokinetic anything he could actually put his finger on, his predisposition toward arid heat no doubt a side-effect genetically pre-programmed alongside his ability.

"Anyway," he says, always one for eloquence. He rounds off the end of a fifteen-minute tirade with a succinct summary: "Cracker bitches." There's a running clatter of ridged rubber soles on semi-petrified dock wood, drubbing the salt-scarred grain. Jericho's black curls bob up in a mad 'fro against the velocity of his enthusiasm, until he brakes on a halt, sharply, sends a beer can flying, ringing into the sea, at the end of a neatly-delivered kick.

Ten feet behind him, there's an older man walking along at a more sedate pace, though anyone with deeper experience with the martial aspect of things would be able to recognize that though his movements lack for adrenaline-charged bluster, his balance is better, and there's surer strength to his khaki-clad legs than to his counterpart. "Sometimes," McRae says, smiling faintly, "I think our familiarity isn't only a good thing. 'Cracker bitches?' Why would you say that to me? I married one."

Jericho almost walks into the wooden post of the fence. Winces, turns, his mouth half-open in an apology that the old man waves away benignly.

The weather didn't feel right, and Helena was handling some transfer issues, hence being on the island. It made her feel unsettled, as the weather is prone to effect her mood, and it was enough to prompt her to slip away and see if she could…follow the feeling, for lack of a better word. Her grey hoodie keeps her hair and some of her face covered; she knows how to walk so she doesn't stand out from the rest of the downtrodden, but something is somehow leading her here, to this spot.

Adam is also walking with someone. There's actually a few someones, but the other someones are much farther back taking care of something. "It's just not worth having a presence on Staten anymore, Michael." he says to the younger gentleman, "On the other hand…I really don't like it when people think they can push their agenda in my area." he sucks in a bit of breath between his teeth. "I don't know, what's left on Staten? You've got these escaped Moabites fighting for position. Some Phoenix graffiti artists..yeah? Even most of the criminals are abandoning the island.." he pauses and turns as if he was going to ask Michael his opinion on something and then looks up and notices Helena. He also notices McRae and Jericho, but he does not know McRae and Jericho. "Well, Michael, look who it is."

After doing some work with Shard, Peyton's more than ready to head back to "civilization." She came in torn, non-designer jeans and a an old green sweatshirt that belonged to some boyfriend or another, but she still looked too clean to really fit in with most of Staten Island's residents. After being put to work in unloading and delivering supplies to the needy, she now looks like one of the needy herself. Her face is smudged with dirt, her jeans and sweatshirt grimy. She walks with two of Shard's men, typical wanna-be "thug life" types with good hearts. She smiles and gives them a wave as she walks down to the docks to find her boat. They watch from a distance to be sure she gets on one of the boats that will return her to safety.

At the epicenter of Helena's awareness, there's the two familiar faces from the other night at the graveyard. Ferry refugees, she'll know by now: Carolina'd had a little to say about them. From the Pen, too. Wrongly incarcerated, but hadn't they all been? There's nothing of them outwardly that tells a morbid tale about where they'd been or why they'd ended up here.

"And I haven't forgotten what they did for us," Jericho says, finally, in a gentler tone of voice. His wiry shoulders slump slightly under the fabric of his shirt, and he waits until the older man has drawn up even before falling back into step. "Hell of a network though, isn't it? We've seen like— four houses, five? 'Magine what their switchboard looks like. Makes you realize how many of us there are, what we could do if we found some kind of unified purpose, if enough of us got together, if we trained.

"Not saying we could outgun any of the world's major military forces, but…"

"I'd leave that to the Heavenly hosts," McRae answers, dryly, before a beat's pause and a glimpse of blond— two doses, and the odd trio formed by Peyton at one point draws his attention. There's a blink, a figment of concern at the tension taut in the air between the younger atmokinetic, and the other whom he does not recognize. "…And perhaps the burning bird." Jericho's mouth stops halfway open again, though this time in aborted objection. He follows McRae's gaze.

Adam may notice her, but generally Helena does a good job of keeping herself unnoticed until she wants to be seen. Adam's been around a long time though, and you can't fool all of the people, all of the time. Oh, well! As it is, her attention's on McRae and Jericho, two faces she remembers. Is there some kind of bond between those who were held in that pseudo-concentration camp? Maybe. Jericho gets a nod that's even respectful for all that she arguable falls under cracker bitch. But it's McRae she walks up to, looks straight in the eye and asks in a hushed voice, "Are you doing that?"

Ironically, Adam and Michael would stand out the most. Adam doesn't change to come to Staten. He relies on his reputation and men to make it not matter. But they stay off to the side as the various small groups and people start to meet up. Helena apparently gets to meet this McRae and Jericho, not that either of them have released their names. And then there's pretty white girl with two thugs. At first, she doesn't get a second look, then something makes him glance back again. He frowns and nudges Michael gently in her direction. Michael, himself, doesn't appear to really make her out until Adam murmers, "Hospital." and then…it makes sense. They chased her…tried to shoot her, sort of. A good time was had by all.

The girl's halfway down to the where her boat should be when she sees Adam. Peyton freezes and does her best impression of a deer caught in the headlights. The two thugs look at one another, unsure of what to do. Nothing seems wrong — the boat's just not there, but then that seems to be par for the course. She's frozen in place, unsure if she should keep going to the correct dock or turn and run back to her thugs. Clearly, the thing to do in such a moment is to stand there and do nothing. Maybe if she stays still enough, he will go away.

Weather witch meets old man Winter. Who— belatedly realizes what it is he's been doing, glances up at the cloyed and clammy firmament overhead, pale brows lifting on his forehead in something like apology.

"Ah— I'm sorry about that," he answers, which is like a yes, but even if she hadn't read it as such there's crow's feet laddering in around his eyes, smile-bright. It's instant, the easing of the air, his ability ceding the delicate molecular weave of barometry to the permanent spring that follows Helena Dean around like a most loyal companion. Perhaps moreso than most of the tangible ones she keeps, these days. "Yes. I've been in a mood. And you would be Dean. I think I saw you the other night." He offers her a hand, leathery from calluses rebuilt since he'd gotten out of the Pen. His fingers are cold.

Jericho pipes up, his voice in lazily raucous discord over the gentler notes of his companion's voice: "So what did you, Lina and the other chicks do the other night? Braid each others' hair, skimpy pyjama night? She wouldn't give us details." Which may well mean: she'd refused to give him details. He lifts two black brows, gives his best smirking facsimile of curiosity, despite that his attention is obviously divided. Between the conversation happening here and—

That's a lot of thugs and princesses sniffing around each others' territory, over there.

Helena accepts the hand, shaking it. "I've never met someone like me before." she says. There's wonderment there, kept in careful check because trusting people? Yeah, that has so not worked out for Helena of late. Her eyes drift to Jericho. "Well, you know. It was all truth or dare, drunk dialing, and rom-coms." Her gaze is inevitably drawn back to McRae. "Are you with Norman?" she asks, point-blank and plain as day.

Adam isn't really close enough to hear the conversation between McRae, Jericho and Helena, otherwise, he would definitely drift that way. Norman is always an interesting subject. Instead, he tilts his head at Peyton and her thug bodyguards. You see, Adam Monroe is sort of like a cat. When he is presented with a scared bunny, he really has two reactions. The first is suspicious curiousity; why is that bunny just sitting there like that? After that initial suspicious thought hits his head, he then begins to consider, 'Do I play with this bunny until it dies?' He purses his lips and his eyes shift from side to side, scared bunny or Scooby Doo? Bat with paws or slink. Decisions, decisions. In another universe, Adam puts on his smile and makes his way down to the docks to push Peyton's buttons. In this other universe, he might even just pull out his guns and shoot her and her friends. Madness ensues, the world burns, Adam is amused. But in this universe, Adam starts to walk casually, with Michael a few steps behind, towards the head of the Scoobs and her mysterious new friend. In this universe, the world waits to burn for a little while, at least.

The socialite-turned-rebel bites her lip, chewing it nervously as she watches Adam wander toward the other group. She turns to look that way, too; she takes that moment to practice her power, to see from Adam's perspective. They say you can't really understand someone until you see the world through their eyes, but Peyton finds that all that does is shift the focus. Same view, different window. She frowns and pulls out a cell phone — it's a tell-tale sign that she's not from around here, as that phone is all sorts of shiny and new. She texts quickly, trying to get a hold of the boatman who is supposed to be here any moment now.

"There aren't many of us," the older man agrees, shaking her had solidly, his grip firm but nothing particularly menacing. "It's nice to meet you." Even, it seems, despite her rather frank queries! He is, perhaps, one of those doddering old gents who tends to appreciate that sort of thing. "No. But sometimes, Mr. White is with me. Which I believe: is a different prospect entirely.

"We come from a common perspective about the place Evolved hold in this world, even if it's not a place that society has caught up with for the most
part, yet. Who's your friend?" His eyes are lifting, turning toward the approaching regenerator and his loosely-coordinated pride of thugs. The scar down his eye tugs closer, smile, the picture perfection of easy, friendly serenity. 'Friend.' He'd noticed an exchange between them earlier.

So had Jericho, for that matter. He's bristling already, his slim shoulders hitched up in rigid geometry. Dark eyes flick back and forth, between Adam and the girl now bustling wildly across her phone, stung into this flurry of movement the instant Adam turns away. "He's leading a troupe of muscleshirt dudes and turning all the girls off," he points out, lip curling. "What more do we want to know?"

"But if Norman's with you, than you're the one encouraging this 'war versus humans' thing'." She desperately wants to ask questions - does McRae feel the way the sky churns as she does? Can he call down rain and lightning? Make mist, or a clap of thunder? Is his connection like hers, a source of joy that is almost painful to be without? So many questions, which Helena doesn't ask.

"My friend?" she asks in puzzlement, turning to look around, maybe see who McRae's talking about.

And, Helena turns slightly to see her favorite person. It's Adam…and Michael, the Andy Richter to Adam's Conan O'Brien. "Oh, hello Helena." he smiles a bit towards her and strongly resists making a Scooby Doo reference, "How the graffiti is going well." he turns towards McRae who looks to be more revered than Jericho, "Hello, my name is Adam…how do you do? Friends of Norman? Nice guy…crazy though." he pauses, "You seem a tad less…." he pauses, "Foaming at the mouth? A bit of an odd partnership. But, I suppose if he interacts with you, you must have been in Moab, yeah?" he tsks, "Ashame."

Now that Adam's far enough away, no longer watching her, Peyton heads to the end of the dock — the one she's supposed to be getting picked up at. She holds the phone to her ear; her eyes dilate as she tries to see from the perspective of "Buddy," the name of the guy who's supposed to be here picking her up in his motor boat. She shakes her head. Nothing. Dark. He must be napping. She frowns as the phone goes into voice mail. Apparently he's not picking it up. "Buddy. It's Peyton. I'm waiting to be picked up." She doesn't trust the random boats for hire; who knows who they could be working for? Buddy's trusted but apparently not reliable. She sighs and turns back to make sure her thugs are still there, watching her.

Distrust is loud on Jericho's face as the Englishman looms his shadow over the trio, despite that he is actually, technically keeping his mouth shut for the moment. He keeps his arms crossed over his chest, raw bones and lanky contours stacked in an austere pile of negative sentiment, not the slightest bit at odds with the smirk that curls the corner of his mouth. He rests his eyes on Michael for a few seconds that tick almost audibly below the droning dirge of the wind, before he shifts his eyes over at Peyton.

"I'm going to see how she's doing," he says, the tawny-skinned point of chin jutting at an angle, skewed, to make the words as much for the regenerator and his companion as for the atmokinetics. There's but an eighth-beat's pause as he waits for some signal from McRae— a slant of his gaze, a tilt of his bald head— before he shoves his hands in his pockets and lopes past. When he tugs his slender digits free again, there's a Zippo lighter showing a dull slice of gleaming between his fingers. Idle fidget, he flicks it with its thumb. Flink. Flink.

McRae watches him go for only about— two, three strides before allowing his attention to be drawn back to the small knot of individuals that he finds himself ensconced by. He can guess at the bubble cauldron of questions that Helena's forcing herself to clamp the lid down on, and so much shows in the narrowed twinkle of one bright eye, askance, even as he offers the regenerator a hand, too, for shaking. "I don't approve of the war on humans— I try to avoid violence in dealing with anyone unless self-defense calls for it. Something you and I have in common, I believe.

"But I can understand why Norman would do it which is, I believe, something else we both understand to a point. They started this war.

"It was a shame." That, he says to Adam, with a hefty pump of a handclasp if the regenerator would concede to do it. Below them, dock wood creaks above a drowsing school of fish, and cloud cover unravels like smoke signals in the air. "Hello. And you are? Also not slavering?"

Helena turns a cool gaze on Adam, and goes silent. Shrieking about or to Adam in this situation won't do any good, though instinctively she seems to situate herself just a touch more between him and McRae. She's not worried about doing anything to Adam - after all, he'll survive. But after a moment, she inquires, "What do you want, Monroe?"

Adam holds up his hands defensively to Helena after the handshake, "Oh, calm down there scrappy doo." he says to the smaller female. "I was just out for a walk. Isn't it such beautiful scenary?" referring apparently to the trash, debris and garbage all around him. "Didn't realize this was your territory now." he turns to McRae, "She marks up buildings with graffiti to show her turf. It's…" he shakes his head, "Intimidating." But then, he looks over Helena and starts to talk like she's not there, "Sorry…little banter. I think the bird has a little bit of a crush, yeah." then he pauses a moment, "It was, indeed. You should thank that girl sometime." referring to Helena as if she left, "She and her pacifist cohorts killed a lot of people to break you and Norman out." then he pauses. "But I'm so ahead of myself, aren't I? My name is Adam. As for whether I'm slavering, that depends on who you ask. I prefer to think of myself as more of an ends and means gentleman personally. Can I ask who you are?"

Peyton's arms are wrapped around herself tightly, the cell phone (pink and glittery with those stick-on rhinestones) clutched in one hand as she stares across the water, trying to will Buddy the boatman to suddenly appear zooming over the surface. Without realizing Jericho is on his way to apparently talk to her, she tries to see once more from Buddy's perspective, her eyes dilating until the pupil takes up more space than iris. Everything looks a little blurry but there's a slit of light — maybe Buddy's waking up. She pushes redial on her phone, bringing the sparkling pink phone up to her ear once more as she stares blindly out over the harbor.

"Hey." The salutation brings one of the thugs' heads whipping around, and Jericho lifts up two long-fingered hands, palms out, surrender! entirely at odds with the razor-cornered parameters of his grin, not quite a sneer, and the lighter thumbed neatly across the hollow of his hand. "Down, Fido. Just trying to get a word with the mistress— won't do her any harm or bullshit, I promise. Fuck," he tilts his fingers outward, a miniaturized shrug. "I probably have better breath than you mofos do. What's the story with that dbag?" He turns his curly head. Gestures back, over his shoulder.

He probably doesn't mean the bald old bird or Helena's stalwart figure, the smallest out of the four.

"My name is David McRae." The man who owns that name and the coarse, comfortably gravelly voice that speaks it leans onto the dockside railing, the burly point of his elbow propped up on the inch's breadth of wood. His callused fingers swerve a gesture at the girl in question: "I'm aware of the debt I owe to my fellows in Phoenix. I never did get a chance to thank them, so thank you, Miss Dean. I believe Providence sent you, but Providence likes to share credit with honorable people."

Helena regards Adam levelly and slightly incredulously, then turns back to McRae. "That's Adam Monroe. The man who put Refrain on the street, courtesy of his new Triad business partners." How does she even know that? "Could I talk to you about this," she makes a vague gesture, skyward, "When we're not likely to be interrupted?" And it behooves her to give ol' Jericho a grin, even if he's too preoccupied with Peyton's thugs to see it. She adds to McRae quietly, "You're welcome. And I still maintain people wouldn't have gotten hurt if the government wasn't corrupt. But placing the blame where it's convenient instead of where it should be isn't anything new." She shrugs.

Adam leans against a railing, "Neither does putting away one's values when it's convienant. People have been doing that much longer." he regards David McRae as apparently the man is having two separate conversations as neither part of Adam or Helena seem keen to talk to each other. He pauses as he studies the man, "Providence." now there's a word he doesn't hear much out of religion, Rhode Island or life insurance policies. So, Mr. McRae is the religious sort, is he? He goes quiet now and just watches and waits for further questions.

Peyton turns at the sound of Jericho's voice behind her, forgetting she's not looking through her own eyes — damn habits die hard. She gives a shake of her head and closes her eyes; when she opens them, the pupils are back to normal. Her brows furrow, and she hangs up the phone. Buddy's not picking up anyway. Maybe his cell phone is on silent. "Hey," she replies back, a little warily, but there's no where to go unless she wants to jump into the rather uninviting water. Her eyes flicker over to where Adam, Helena, McRae and Michael stand talking before moving back to Jericho.

There's a slight stoop to McRae's domed head, acknowledging both blonds' words without quite admitting to agreement with either. "You might never have attacked Moab Federal Penitentiary if the government weren't corrupt in visible ways, but that's a loaded term in a complicated time. You made a choice. Or your people did. And I thank you for it, though I regret all of the casualties that had come from it. I'd very much enjoy discussing the weather with you, some time soon. I'm usually here, or Lina or Wireless can get word to me."

His eyes shift back toward the regenerator, watching Adam watch him for a moment, before a smile quirks in, like a thread yanked taut in the seam. Apparently, he has no particular desire to allow Adam his preferred passivity. "And what does a gentleman who brings psychologically crippling narcotics into the streets for my fellow Evolved value?"

"Limey must be some distracting motherfucker, if you didn't hear my question," Jericho says, cocking his head. He's clopping up closer, his gait an easy trot on the ends of his faintly gangly legs, Zippo still playing loosely in the loop and kink of his sandy-tanned fingers. There's something mellifluous about the incessant energy of his hands and feet: not particularly elegant, or graceful, but self-assured. "I'm Jericho."
[Helena(#375)] Helena tips her head in acknowledgment to McRae, and beyond their initial exchange, seems to have little else to say. Hands get shoved in the kangaroo pocket of her hoodie, and while instinct might lead her to retreat and withdraw, she opts to stay, turning to listen to Adam's reply, and for the moment resolving to let the discourse flow around her. Maybe she'll learn something.

Adam chuckles a bit at the way he's addressed. He responds, "I don't know about /crippling/." as if the semantic exaggeration was a nice word game. He takes in a scent of garbage filled salt water and says, "I didn't bring the narcotic to the street. I brought it to the Chinese and they brought it to the street." he seems almost as if he'll go on, then gives a wink to Helena, clearly to get under her skin. He turns fully to McRae, "I value a great number of things, Mr. McRae." he mms, "I like Manchester United football club. Wonderful team, that." then he pauses, "And I enjoy peace and quiet." which Helena might take to mean an empty world, "But to be quite honest, I think what I most value," for now, "is when people rightfully take their place at the rung of the hierarchy they belong."

"Oh. Sorry," Peyton murmurs, cheeks coloring a little. Her eyes go to take in her thugs, who look ready to move if anything should go wrong, but seem content enough at the moment to watch how things play out. "I don't know who he is, but I've seen him before. He and that other guy with him, they were shooting at us when we tried to get away from some crazy guy shooting up a hospital. So yeah, I'm not really happy being in the same place as him and wondering why my freaking boat guy isn't here at the time we agreed on." She flips her hair out of her eyes, and despite the dirt smudging her nose and soiling her clothing, it's a decidedly Diva-ish sort of gesture. She doesn't offer her name. "He's not a friend of yours, is he?" she asks, perhaps a bit belatedly.

"I'm not a Nietzchean, Mr. Monroe," McRae answers smoothly. It sounds like objection— and it is, on several levels, but there's no mistaking the spark of raw interest, behind his weathered-framed eyes. "I don't have much interest in emphasizing the individual as the social unit. At the same time, I know there's merit to thinking so. Just as White's tactics have merit, too. So," a large hand reaches out, dropping a light dab of contact on both Adam's shoulder and Helena's. "Is Refrain the main reason you two don't get along? The difference between profit and principle? You'll have to forgive an old man's curiosity. I've caught up a lot since getting out of the Pen, but there's still a lot about this chessboard and its rules that I'm not familiar with."

Jericho lifts both shoulders and then drops them again, a poin~ted shrug. "You don't really belong here." It isn't a question. "Not with your bodyguards, your shimmy-shimmy bubblegum Barbie phone, your fucking fingernails, expecting boats to be punctual around Staten Island or the hymen pink with the blushing." There's a quaver-beat's pause, and the brash, wolfishly confrontational audacity of his word choice and observations suddenly give way to a smile, no teeth, but it goes all the way up to his eyes, pleased for better or for worse. "Or maybe that's why you fit in. You're here. And you weren't looking at your phone, were you?"

Helena looks faintly incredulous, like…McRae's trying to put together the Evolved equivalent of a Mid-East peace treaty. She doesn't answer him, though. Instead, her eyes drift to Adam, curious to see how many ways he can possibly insult her and Phoenix in whatever explanation that he offers.

Adam considers the question for a few moments. He glances at the hand on the shoulder as McRae acts like the fatherly type. There's a momentary pause where he considers indicating to McRae he might as well be a teenager to Adam and then shakes his head, "Oh no. It's much more complicated than that. They think the worst of me. It hurts me, really. But, I think in the end, we have similar goals. But as I said, I'm a means and ends gentleman and they're more…you know. Not? Unless it suits them." he pauses and leans over to McRae and whispers, "Also, I think we used to date. I don't recall, but it's possible." it ends in a bit of a chuckle and Helena could clearly hear it. "No, we'll never get along, Mr. McRae." he says, "Or respect each other, I'm sure. It's only our similar goals that I think keeps us being violent with each other…or…you know, my being violent and they frowning at me disdainfully."

The little socialite is used to being criticized. After all, she used to hang out with people like Lindsay and Nicole and Paris, actually by choice. But her jaw still drops and her eyes get wide, then narrow into angry slits as she stares at him. She shoves the offensively pink phone into her jeans' pocket, then glances down at her very short navy-blue polished fingernails. "Fuck you, too," she tosses back to him. "What, I'm supposed to buy a new phone just for coming to Staten Island? Wouldn't it be better if I spent my money on something more useful, like maybe bringing over some supplies with me every time I fucking come over here to try to help out and make a difference?" She hits her forehead with the palm of her hand. "Oh, man, why didn't I think of that sooner?" Of course, that is what she's doing over here today. "You're right, I don't fit in here, but I don't fit in there any better, and fuck me for trying to help and maybe make a difference." Well, at least Adam's forgotten for the moment.

The wind flips black whorls of hair into Jericho's eye, and he has to push it back with his fingers. "All right," he says, after the long, vacuous, slightly awkward moment that Peyton's counter-attack leaves in its wake. "So. Now that you've revealed that you're a bleeding heart mutant whatever the fuck trying to salve your conscience by juicing charity from the cock or— whatever," he waves his other hand around, indicating either her burly male entourage or the island at large, quirks a stark black brow down at her. "You gonna tell me your name, or what's a guy gotta fuckin' do?"

McRae could probably lend the ornery youth some advice, but he is all the way over here. A rowboat fisherman flicks at his peripheral with a single point of lamp-light, bobbing past them some yards away and the dock rumbles and sussurrates comfortably beneath his feet. Their feet. The chop has lessened with the wind. Despite how he'd termed his apology earlier, however, there's no visible change in McRae's mood. "It seems that Miss Dean would dispute the commonality of your goals." Judging from the look on her face. You know the one: it's currently trying to eat the skin off of the surface of Adam's own.

"Where on the hierarchy do you think you belong? Is it social, political, or are you referring to the rank we wear in the eyes of God?"

"I do," Helena says with a certain calmness, "But I also know better to engage with this sort of thing. It's been made plain he doesn't take me or Phoenix with any sort of seriousness, and I've got better things to do than to convince him. And he's the last person on earth worth convincing. He can think what he likes." She shrugs.

Adam crosses his arms, "Such, such mean spirited words. All I ever tried to do was make you proud of me." he says to Helena. But then he turns to McRae, "Where do I think I belong? Well, people rarely ever believe they belong anywhere but the top. The truth is, what I think doesn't matter. Call it God, or call it nature, eventually things start to sort themselves out. And the only thing that keeps the hierarchy from taking over are people who won't accept what they see with their own eyes."

Peyton rolls her eyes, as only women between the ages of 12 and 22 can do quite so artfully, but she pushes her own hair out of her eyes when the wind picks up. "I don't consider myself a mutant, for your information," she says, lifting her chin haughtily. "But my name's Peyton." If she's going to be coming out to the island on any sort of regular basis, it's probably best not to make enemies. She has enough of those that she doesn't even know personally on account of being Evolved. "You said you're name is Jericho?" her head tilts, as she offers one of her hands for a shake.

The girl's hand is taken and shaken. Jericho's hand, unlike his older companion's, doesn't have old calluses on it. A couple new ones, but even then. There's ink stained in under the rim of his index fingernail, but he's soap and paper grain rather than farmland weathering and Shamanism, a creature as unlike the third point of Helena and Adam's triangle as he is like him in the ways they're proudest of. "Yeah. Jericho. I go by 'Jerry' a lot, but the old man uses the full thing. I just met your hospital shooter today, and I'm already pretty fucking sure you don't have to worry about any friendship burgeoning there."

That statement halts on an awkward note, as if interrupted. Jerry's glancing back over his shoulder, a scowl notching down in his brow. All right. That kind of undercuts the validity of his response, his friend palling around with mister douchebag— "I don't know why he collects assholes like that, but he catches them like shit does flies. Brings out the best in them, I think," he hastens to add, as if in an attempt to explain himself. Then there's a beat's pause. "Except for me."


"I mean: I know why he keeps me around, not… fuckin'…" He finally faultlines into silence, grimaces a moment, a figment of good nature finally peeking out behind swarthy complexion and a pathologically dark humor. "You work for someone too?"

You'd have to be blind not to notice that every other word out of Adam's mouth is baiting for the younger blond, and there's something about McRae's aged but effulgent regard that leads one to think that he isn't — all that blind, even if every other word out of his mouth is the makings of some ludicrously deluded, impossibly simplified peace treaty. "I'll counter that," he says, finally. "There are many things you can do with greatness, against, to, and for the small. I haven't taken sides in this war, and I don't intend to:

"I'm no General, never mind a King. But I'm willing to lend a hand to a good cause and defer to a good leader. You can sit your hierarchy in that, Mr. Monroe." McRae grins. Broad. His teeth are even, only faintly yellowed from a long history of tea and cigarettes more recently quit, but they're even, strong enough to break a hand. He claps a sturdy palm on Adam's shoulder, a gesture of incipient salutation.

Helena still doesn't have anything to offer here, not when the conversation's so specifically aimed at baiting her. So she continues to remain silent, watching the two old men - hey, Adam is old, even if he doesn't look it - converse, listening to what they have to say. Her nose wrinkles faintly, a question in her head, but not on her lips: who's in the natural hierarchy? Well, she has an idea of who Adam thinks belongs there.

Adam considers Mr. McRae for a few moments. His words are a tad enigmatic, though they seem rather conciliatory for a peace maker. I mean, if Adam wasn't so obviously a war monger. He pauses for a few moments, "Well." he says, "I'll have to keep that in mind." he smiles towards him for a few moments and then says, "But, I've supposed you've had to have similar conversations with Norman." he turns a moment towards Helena. He tilts his head for a moment, "You shouldn't be out here without your bodyguard." he doesn't seem to be making a threat, though anything out of Adam's mouth might sound that way. "You're probably target number one on Humanis First's list."

"Work's one word for it, I guess." Peyton hasn't really worked for anything in her life. Behind her, a speedboat comes into view, zipping over the water and heading for the dock the two stand on. "I'm helping Shard with some things," she admits. "If you know who he is." It's probably more than she should be admitting to perfect strangers, but despite Jericho's trash mouth, or maybe even possibly because of it, she finds herself liking the tall and brash young man. "I make it over every few days, help him out, bring some supplies if they ask me to." She hears the boat, and turns to look over her shoulder. "Finally… that's my ride, Buddy the unreliable."

She takes a couple of steps down the dock, then glances back with a flirty smile — funny how quick attitudes can change. "Buddy has my cell phone number, should you ever want to get in touch with me." And Buddy's a Staten Island regular, who makes his livelihood ferrying people back and forth. With that, she heads to the end of the dock that Buddy pulls up to, the portly man standing to help Peyton climb across the dock and into the boat without taking a spill in the drink. She gives one more wave to Jericho before the boat pulls away, heading back across the water.

Other attitudes last longer, but are inherently mercurial, and maybe that's all the same. "Don't get raped," Jericho crows across the water, grinning. He leans over the edge of the dock, waves like he's brandishing something: moonlight catches off the Zippo in his hand, flicker and flash like farewell in Morse. On Staten Island, getting Buddy the Staten Island regular's semi-reliable availability and connection is like a number on a napkin. Hard work. His smile dims slightly as he straightens again. Shard. Yeah, he's heard.

White's painfully mortal nemesis. Enemy of a friend of a friend, makes her— what, he doesn't even fucking know. Flink-flik. The lighter claps shut between his palms as he comes stalking back to the other four, his features thoughtful and wary, still.

McRae half-turns, mid-stride, puts his arms out in a shrug that goes all the way out to his hands. "What can I say that you haven't already heard?" he asks Adam, wryly. "Or seen for yourself? I like conversation." Even with trees, or so the rumors had gone. "Take care of yourself, Mr. Monroe. Miss Dean. I hope to see more of both of you soon."

"Good-bye." is all Helena can think to say, a bit wistfully, to the older atmokinetic. It's hard for her, not to be blinded by the hope of someone who understands her capability. Her gaze flicks to Adam speculatively; she undoubtedly does not believe he is evincing concern because he cares. Her chin lifts in a nod to Jericho, and without further word, she moves off - she's about at her limit with being infantalized by Monroe, and she's got other people to see. The girl's pretty good at disappearing, so unless Adam goes out of his way to stop her when she starts moving, she'll be gone and out of sight in fairly short order.

Adam glances up as he hears 'Don't get Raped' which is always an interesting little good bye to another person. It's good advice too. He glances towards McRae, "You take care of yourself, Mr. McRae." then he glances at Helena and she starts to huff off in her own way, "Take care of yourself, Ms. Dean." he says to her back. He chuckles to Michael and then makes his way off in another direction. He comments to Michael, "Oh, I'm going to be the talk of their clubhouse tonight."

Jericho falls into step with the old man. This time, their respective gaits are coordinated well, matched in length and celerity. When Jerry glances over his shoulder at the trio behind, the wind draws one tendril of dark hair across his cheek, hiding the corner of his mouth: he might be smirking again. He turns around, murmurs something that doesn't quite carry. McRae's answer does. "She'll be fine." Coming from an atmokinetic decades her senior and just as mad as the rest of them, God knows whether or not that was meant to be reassuring, or should be.

The fisherman flings rope up to the piling, hauls himself in with a ragged shout for signal; coarse green nets rasp the whisper of sand down the throat of an hourglass, and the light goes out on the second floor of the corner building with a violent spark of a bulb breaking. The soothing of the weather doesn't do much except to emphasize that there's very little rest to be found in the terrestrial, sentient and living.

One last wind salutes them both with a whistle, and then they're gone.

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