A Light in the Darkness, Part IV


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Scene Title A Light in the Darkness, Part IV
Synopsis As befits any important occasion, there are refreshments. There are also a lot of people, which leads to charged political discussions, prying telepaths, and virtually everything except knock-down drag-out fights.
Date August 9, 2009

Suresh Center: Ground Floor

The lobby of the Suresh Center is an open, very well-lit space; the exterior walls are more window than wall. There's a raised half-level on the right side of the irregularly-shaped room as one walks in, carpeted in pine-green, decked with oak furniture and small table lamps; a comfortable-looking space, with actual living plants at the top of the stairs and scattered here and there elsewise. Continuing to the left brings one to the receptionist's desk, a small vending area located just beyond that.

Perhaps the greatest lack in the Suresh Center's design is a large reception room for formal events; it's geared towards community, towards education, towards seminars — and socials like this don't take place in an auditorium. But the staff of the Center have taken this into account.

Instead of being a single large buffet and drink table, the consumable offerings have been scattered around the first floor (allowing for a spontaneous sort of self-guided tour, for those who are so inclined), with a slightly larger proportion at and near the entrance lounge. This area also features the most comfortable atmosphere for sitting and chatting, and it seems that several of the Center's employees are already in the process of doing exactly that.

There's coffee, soda, water, several kinds of juice, tea either hot or iced, and fresh lemonade; a vast assortment of snacks, from the usual fruit, cheese, and vegetable platters to more interesting edibles.

Drifting inside with those attending the reception, Phoebe takes a moment to get the lay of the land before moving further into the lobby. For the moment, her destination is the refreshment table and the coffee. Mind you, there is a small measure of dismay at the lack of alcohol, but it is nothing she can't handle. For the moment.

Not being the sort to mingle, or even to pretend to mingle, Mosha takes up a post nearer to the entrance. Mind you, it is a position that gives him a relatively unobstructed view. Or rather, as unobstructed as one can hope in this sort of environment. Unlike his employer, Mosha expression remains less then pleased, his demeanor definately one of wary expectation of trouble. Needless to say, it is relatively doubtful that very many people are going to attempt to engage Mister Feldman in idle conversation. Those that do will find themselves on the recieving end of a very one way discussion.

Tracy steps in not long after, glancing around to see if she sees any other familiar faces, or Len's face at all. She doesn't, so instead she wanders toward the drink table, giving Phoebe a smile as she reaches there. She asks the person manning the table for a martini.

Upon being informed they do not have alcohol, Tracy is a bit taken aback, but takes a lemonade and just pretends. Government functions are so much better — they encourage intoixcation.

Oh, Len is here. He walks in shortly after Tracy though he doesn't make his way towards the drinks. He'd almost consider this on duty, as anything could flare up and he might have to intervene. He does grab — something off a tray as he walks by the food table. He's not sure what it is, but it smells alright, so he eats it and it tastes alright. All the while, he begins to take mental note of those in the room.

As she walks through the crowd, Megan Young is looking at ease with the brass, so to speak. She snags a drink from a table as she passes it, but her attention is more on who's doing what in the room. She opted not to take the formal tour — she'll get one of those later — but the responses of those who've chosen to attend interest her. The face of the President's PR person is not unexpected, to be truthful, and a number of the city's high muckety-mucks are making the rounds, being seen. They can't afford not to with Evos being the political hot potato that they are. She stands near the table and merely listens for a few minutes.

The conversation is perhaps not very informative; casual talk usually isn't. Did you see how many people there were outside? Yeah. Somehow I didn't expect that many. I mean, this isn't even on Manhattan! Here's the real question — how many do you think will actually show up tomorrow morning? Gossip, chitchat; nonconsequential, unless you work here and have to deal with the flood… or the desert. Megan, being concerned with the medical operation, probably won't.

Len's suspicious consideration of the snack is met with a giggle by a nearby young woman, her garb consistent with a minor office flunky. Probably a secretary of some sort. "You look like you're expecting to run into… I don't know, raw snails or something. None of it's that bad, really."

The order of a martini attracts a sympathetic smile from Phoebe as she accepts her coffee with a polite nod to the person manning the station. It is as she turns her back on the table that she reaches into her purse and draws out a small silver flask. Yes, the flask has whiskey. Yes, she adds it to her coffee. She also, however, passes it discreetly to Tracy. "One should always come prepared when attending these functions, don't you think?" The murmur is coupled with a quietly wry smile and a pointed twinkle of amusement in the Widow Thornton's gaze.

Tracy smiles softly, shaking her head. "Probably wouldn't go well with Lemonade, but it does teach me to be prepared. Isn't that what the girl scouts always say?" Or maybe it's the boy scouts. She's neither, so it doesn't really matter. "Government functions usually encourage alcohol two minutes past noon." She informs the other woman, offering her hand with a bright, political smile. "I'm Tracy Strauss, how do you do."

Len glances down, mostly because he always has to look down at folks due to his height. "Oh, this? Well, you know, you figure that if they have to decorate it up all fancyish, there might be something in it they don't want you to know about." He grins, taking another. He spots Tracy again, though she seems to be preoccupied with something, or someone. "Len Denton," he introduces himself. He asks the young woman, "You know what this is? And if you do, is it something I'm going to want to know about?"

There's a soft snort of laughter from the far side of the table as she hears the question about the food. Megan can't help it. The man sounds like he's fresh off the Texas turnip truck. "Sushi," she offers across to the tall man, helping herself to a piece of fresh pineapple. "It's sushi. There's a terrific crab on the end, though," she gestures down the table.

Being compact, middleaged and unassuming has its advantages. Danko blends, one neutral, smooth-worn pebble among many. The military exactitude of his colorless burr compliments the flawless, close cut of his suit very well. If he's conspicuous at all, it's in how clean cut and put together he is, black over black over black with subtle differences between shades of sable to differentiate coat from shirt from tie. His pallor is less notable in here as well, made distinct by the shadows hollowed into his eye sockets more than it has anything to do with the lighting.

One beat he's a part of the mass milling around undecided at the door. The next he's veered off to bear down upon the table of drinks currently playing host to Tracy And Friends, a smudge of black suit and skull between the shoulders of more substantial visitors. Just in the nick of time to butt in. Politely, at least!

"Vodka," stated to the table of drinks when Danko leans in behind Strauss to retrieve a round of coffee for himself, he looks more specifically to the politician once he's straightened enough to take a sip. "Vodka goes well with lemonade." So do smiles! So he manages one for Phoebe on the far side of Tracy, as resigned about the absence of alcohol as the next person.

Tracy smiles to Phoebe, dropping her hand once the shake is over. "We're all very excited," she says, not surprised at all that people seem to know her. HAppens all the time, really. She'll be here until tuesday. "We applaud their desire for understanding and the spirit of unity."

And then there's Danko, what a funny-looking little man. Still, Tracy smiles, nodding her head and chuckling between them. "I'm pretty sure I haven't had this conversation since college."

When Megan speaks up, Len's attention is turned to her. "Well, that makes a lot more sense then." he grins. "I can assure you this is not trout." He takes another. "Nice little shindig they have going on here.." he draws it out to see if perhaps she'll offer her name. The cowboy moves out of the way of another couple who walk through and may want some of the food at the table.

Megan offers her hand across the table. "Megan Young." She caught his name when he offered it to the giggly one who excuses herself and seems to be enjoying the opportunity to be involved in all this. "I think the directors will be pleased at the turnout," she admits with a smile. "Glad I don't have to be the one organizing this stuff, though. Are you an interested party or a bystander just looking to see what it's all about?"

"Donner. Bruce Donner. …No relation to the cannibals." Coffee swapped deftly from right hand to left to free up the former, Danko offers it past Tracy to Phoebe with a smile marginally less feeble than the first, like he's finally settling into his skin now that he has nice people to talk to. "Didn't catch your name either, though I approve of your spirit of alcoholic adventure. And this is — Tracy Strauss?" Yes? He looks unsure, brows canted as if he fears he might be overstepping his bounds in trying to guess.

"Phoebe Thornton," is offered with a warmer smile and firm shake of her hand. "A pleasure, Mister Donner." In the wake of a firm, no nonsense handshake, she raises her coffee to her lips and takes a slow sip before slanting a glance back at Tracy. "Mmm." Is the noncomittal response to the mention of 'applauding the spirit of unity'. "I have to wonder if in the midst of their applauding Washington has given any thought to the amount of danger our children will be placed in while attending this facility." And yes, she is aware of how that statement might come across, but it has never stopped her from speaking her mind before and there is very little point in starting now. "It is all very nice to pay lip service to unity and equality. Particularly when it is not one's own children being put in potential danger."

Tracy nods her head toward Danko. "Mr. Donner, you are correct." She informs him with a smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you." She doesn't get far beyond the pleasantries before she turns to Phoebe, and the theme of the night begins: ripping on the government. Because what else do people of the world have in common?

"Of course, we'll be doing everything we can to keep people safe. But this facility is not lip-service, as you can see. It is tangible, it is firm and it is real. Money will be going into this so that a greater sense of understanding can be acheived and so perhaps there won't be any more threats from Americans on Americans, no matter their genetic makeup."

"Megan Young. It does have a nice ring to it. Nice to meet you." He stands by and idly watches those milling about. He seems to be keeping an eye on Tracy, as he hasn't spoken to her since they last chatted and that's been several weeks back now. "Len Denton." he responds, in case she missed it when he introduced himself to the lass before her. "There seems to be plenty of interest in this place, that's for sure. Of course, that interest seems to be divided." He flashes her a charming grin. "As for my interest, well, it's mostly professional. You?" He finds himself scooting towards the coffee.

"I work here," Megan admits to the massive cowboy. "I expected the turnout to be mixed, at best," she says. "Seems like we definitely got that." She looks around at the glitterati. "And we have a ton of the hoi polloi standing in this room. Better hope the darker elements don't decide to take tonight to hit us, hrm?"

"I think the question, Ms. Strauss," there's a beat while Emile takes chilly note of Len's approach — he's kind of hard to miss, "is more about what measures Washington intends to take to ensure that the men, women and children who want to make the most of this facility aren't coming here to have targets painted on the backs of their heads. Peace and harmony aren't gonna flood out've this place and infect the population overnight at the behest of your best intentions."

Megan is merely listening to all that goes on, nodding to Len Denton politely. "Of course." Sipping from her glass of sweetened tea, she studies the group that includes Phoebe and Danko and Tracy, her expression thoughtful. The arguments are the same ones in here as outside, just more… civilized.

"Pleasure's all mine." Danko maneuvers around the task of greeting both women simultaneously deftly enough, eye contact evenly distributed in lifeless flashes of shark grey. His grip is firm, formal and too brief to be restrictive. He's shaken a lot of hands. Faked a lot of smiles.

"I think the question, Ms. Strauss," there's a beat while Emile takes chilly note of Len's approach — he's kind of hard to miss, "is more about what measures Washington intends to take to ensure that the men, women and children who want to make the most of this facility aren't coming here to have targets painted on the backs of their heads. Peace and harmony aren't gonna flood out've this place and infect the population overnight at the behest of your best intentions."

"Washington," chimes in another voice; male, older, genially chiding in tone, "won't be doing anything here." The speaker is not nearly as tall as Len; his hair can't decide whether it's going to go gray first or simply disappear, but he's dressed in a crisp suit. He holds one of the small plates provided, half-full with assorted snacks. "David Monette; pardon my intrusion, ladies, sir," he says, politely apologetic.

"It isn't their place to take measures here, particularly since their idea of measures seems to entail effective segregation." He looks to Phoebe and Danko, nods slightly. "Peace and harmony aren't expected; we're all human. There are measures, from the simple fence around the perimeter to security systems and trained guards, and our own Evolved staff members. You ask what will keep the people here safe — who are not, I remind you, solely children themselves — and I assure you, ma'am, that they are no more safe anywhere else in this godforsaken city."

Tracy smiles, much more political than anything else - inside she's not smiling at all. "Well, it's come to our attention that the NYPD is having some difficulties in protecting the city, and the Federal Govenrment will be taking some measures in order to enhance their capabilities to keep them secure." No, she doesn't say FRONTLINE, and there's no inkling in the public administration of that ever being the case. It could be training, it could be anything.

"These things don't happen in a day, we're working toward peace and harmony. We know it's unrealistic to expect no violence and no dangers, but we're trying to do our best to minimize them."

"Ms. Strauss," Phoebe states plainly. "I have more money then you could possibly dream of and I /assure/ you that it did not keep my own daughter from losing her life." No nonsense, no animosity, not even a hint of anger. Very simple, very matter of fact. "I suspect that people are forgetting the basic nature of mankind, but that is a discussion for another time." Another sip of her coffee is taken whlie she glances around the room, her head giving a faint shake. Doom is coming on wings and water and she knows /that/ all too well. She does, however, have the presence of mind to add, "No offense to yourself intended, mind you. Simply that it does not take an Intelligence Analyst to see that the threat assessment for an institution of this nature, in the climate, is exceedingly high." And she happens to have an Intelligence Analyst for a bodygaurd, so. "Of course, I am old and opinionated and could potentially senile, so feel free to disregard anything I say."

She does, however, turn an assessing gaze on 'Mister Donner', one brow spiking slightly before inclines her head in a slow nod of accord. "Well said, Mister Donner." And admitedly refreshing to hear logic echoeing her own being uttered.
At Monette's approach, Phoebe turns unblinking regard his way, her brow remaining slightly arched. "I honestly hope that you are correct, Mister Monette. The point still remains that there is danger and disharmony and to pretend to a 'state of unity' is an unforgivable lie. Peace and Harmony?" A glance is shot at Tracy that brow spiking higher still. "Again, human nature." it is not likely. "I would," is asided to Monette. "Be happy to assign a measure of funds toward firming up whatever security measures are currently in place."

Len stands almost right next to Danko, though his back is towards him as the cowboy speaks to Megan. He fills the coffee cup and takes a drink before nodding. "Looks like you've anticipated such a thing. Security is pretty thick here tonight." Someone then approaches Len, as the tall black man has to lean down to give him his ear. Len's eyebrow arches up as he rights himself. "Well, seems that I'm needed, Ms. Young. If you'll excuse me." He dips his head, and hat, downward politely before he turns and follows the other man out of the room.

Megan is merely listening to all that goes on, nodding to Len Denton politely. "Of course." Sipping from her glass of sweetened tea, she studies the group that includes Phoebe and Danko and Tracy, her expression thoughtful. The arguments are the same ones in here as outside, just more… civilized.

Tracy shakes her head, picking up a new lemonade. This is why they serve alcohol at government functions. "Would you rather we do nothing?" She asks of Danko and Phoebe. "Your arguments contradict themselves, you say that adding security is fruitless and that it is human nature to fight and kill, while at the same time you scold a facility for even trying to change that reguard. A facility, which I might add, that the Petrelli Administration applauds, but it is still not a government facility." She sips her lemonade, imagining it were liquor.

"My understanding is that this firm is privately secured, and should there be any issues with people intent on breaking the law, I am sure the NYPD would step in, as they do in every other instance. Personally I am very happy for the facility. It is education centers like this that are going to make sure that the hate and violence of these times is not carried on to the next. I believe that is possible, although that view might contradict yours, since you both seem content with the idea that it is human nature to behave as violently as the past few years have shown us, and there is no way to stop it. Am I not correct?"

Not at all, says a slight shake of Danko's fuzzed and buzzed head at the implication that Monette might be interrupting. Then again, he sort've wrestled into the conversation uninvited himself. Attention drifting hazily after the other man's plate of mismatched snacks, the shorter terrorist finds a temporary retreat in the warmth of his coffee, one ear turned to the ongoing talk while the other filters after Len being called away at his back.

"No safer, maybe, but certainly less concentrated. Mr. Monette, right?" Listen close enough and you might just hear the camera shutter of a mental picture being taken past another mild sip of coffee. "I know I'm not the only guy here with kids wondering what makes this place any different than a tiger trap with educational programming piped in through the walls. I think you oughta be doing something. Just that whatever it is better be more substantial than a few rolls of razor wire and guys with guns if this place is legit and not just another victimization press conference waiting to happen."

The elder man inclines his head to Phoebe. "The assistance would be welcome," he replies. He glances to Danko, and Monette's face crinkles in a brief, mostly pleasant smile. "It is," he assures. "Making such measures publicly known, however — beyond as much as I've already said — does nothing but invite such people as the protesters outside to circumvent them in rapid order. Silence is in its own way a security measure — otherwise, this building would never have been completed, I am certain."

"Neither I nor Mister Donner said any such thing, Ms. Strauss. I suspect you have already worked out potential arguements ahead of time and are trying to fit this into one of them. Unfortunately, in doing so, you are not actually listening to what is being said." A trait common to politicians in Phoebe's opinion. "What I said was that 'applauding unity' is jumping the gun. While this is an admirable effort, it is also exceedingly dangerous. But, by all means, feel free to interpret that as you like." Another sip of coffee is taken before she adds. "Nor have I scolded anyone," Or care what the Petrelli Administration applauds. "Perhaps in the interest of Education, and with regards to your question, one might take a course in Cultural Anthropology, at least, insofar as the topic of human nature applies. My sole interest in this is to make certain that no one else has to suffer the untimely loss of thier children, Ms. Strauss." And here she looks pointedly at Tracy. "No one should have to feel that sort of pain. Ever."

Turning her attention to Mister Monette, she smiles and slips a business card out of her handbag. "Give me a call when you have a moment to breathe, Mister Monette. I will be happy to have my security person go over your measures and write up an assessment of what needs to be covered. I have no doubt that we can go a long way toward making the center as safe as it can possibly, and reasonably, be."

Tracy frowns. Deeply. She misses Washington, right now, because people outside of the beltway often think they know so much, but know so little. Especially rich people. "My apologies, perhaps next time you should frame your words better so they don't contradict themselves." She offers, ice in her words. "The simple fact of the matter is that this is not a government facility and the government has no intention of swooping in and taking over a private security system in a privately owned building. This is still a capitalistic society."

She pauses to take a sip of her lemonade. "We are applauding the effort at education and understanding, but I personally, and the government in general have absoultely no desire to see any children hurt. Ever. I think that hardly needs to be stated, but for your peace of mind I shall state it anyway. And if I may be so bold, your suspects…" she smiles, not pleasantly. "…are woefully ignorant."
Pursing her lips in the background, Megan slips away from the group.

Interesting… and not terribly surprising that one of the biggest names in New York is willing to put her money where her mouth is on this one. She offers a brief, absent smile to the group as she slides past — she's just staff here and she's not about to step into that debate.

It's a little early to say whether Dr. Salvatore Bianco's decision to affiliate himself with the Center was a bold political move or a mistake. The Mayor's son has been making moves lately to scoot out from his father's shadow, so that everything he does stops being a direct reflection on the office of the Mayor of New York. He's not quite there yet.

He's listed on the preliminary paperwork as giving a lecture series on applying Evolved abilities to medicine, in everything from research, first aid, reconstruction and even gene therapy.

Hence the young doctor is here this evening, dressed in an immaculate (and expensive) suit, escorted by a young woman with dark hair and a tasteful summer dress. Almost immediately upon entering the reception, he's forced into a little circle of glad-handing. He's used to this, and handles it with a smile.

Danko chuckles quietly down past the rim of his coffee cup when the pair of them really start going after each other. He can't help it. Christ, these people. A long last draw of the stuff sobers him up enough to feign seriousness when he's straightened himself out again, empty cup set lazily down on the same table he originally lifted it off of.

"To be fair, Ms. Strauss, it does strike me as irresponsible to promote the effort without taking any responsibility for what may come of it. You scored a win with FRONTLINE — maybe on this one you're afraid of having blood splashed on your shirt if you lean in a little too close."

Accepting the card, Mr. Monette nods, smiling warmly. "I will pass your offer along to Ms. Dove, Mrs. Thornton. Thank you." He nods to the others as well, and steps back a bit; the beverages are not in arm's reach from where he was.

"I believe I was very clear, if one were listening," Phoebe notes calmly. "Of course, on the same token I might point out that not a moment ago you were assuring us that Washington would be doing everything they can to keep people safe. The Federal Government will be taking measures…." No ice in her own tone, at all. If anything, she seems to be quite calm and in a fairly congenial mood. "Be as bold as you like, Ms. Strauss," she affords easily. "It is," she asides in an aside to 'Donner', "Interesting to note how voicing one's concerns in reasonable and practical tones encourages such obvious disdain in President Petrelli's representative." Her coffee finished, she sets the cup on the table behind her. "At any rate, do enjoy your evening, both of you." Inclining her head to Mister Donner, Phoebe offers a smile in parting to Mister Monette before making her way toward the door and her waiting driver. "Are you aware, Mosha," she asides in quietly wry tones. "That Mossad is woefully ignorant?" And with that, she is slipping out.

Tracy shakes her head. She knows what's going to happen soon, and for the first time she's almost thrilled about the idea of a government crackdown. "As I've said, the federal government applauds the goals of this facility, and we're very excited that such brave individuals are willing to step forward toward mutual understand. Of course," She nods her head toward Phoebe. "One cannot expect everyone to be brave, but the people here are doing a brave thing. Should they become threatened beyond their capabilities to handle it," She turns her eyes toward Danko. "I think you will be proud of the men and women of the NYPD and of the Federal Govermentn, if need be, who are willing to step in to protect it. As they are willing to step in and protect all of our citizens." She smiles, allowing Phoebe to leave without much else. What that woman doesn't know about current events could fill this entire facility. Turning to Donner, she opens her mouth to speak, but her phone rings, and she sighs, answering it. "Yes? No, I need the meeting arranged for tomorrow morning, at 8 A.M. With….no…" She covers the mouth peice, smiling cordially to Donner. "Please excuse me." She makes her way out.

Someone Dreadfully Important or even particularly relevant to the building's dedication, Mona Rao isn't — unlike some of those already assembled here. But if this isn't a nifty opportunity to dig up material for some of her latest articles, as well as a nifty opportunity to meet people in general, she doesn't know what it is. The author enters on the coattails of Sal and his ladyfriend, conservatively dressed in a black blouse, gray slacks, and pearl accents at her ears and neck. After pausing near the entryway to scan the group of those already present, she is swift to fill the vacancies left by Phoebe and Megan, the clicking of her heels across the floor lost in the chatter.

Heading right over to get herself a drink is the first thing she does, but lingering by the appropriate table lets her easily spot Danko and several others a short distance away. Without quite staring, she lets her gaze come to settle on the balding man's forehead, both of her hands preoccupied with filling her cup.

"Of course." Brows knit into emphatic agreement, Mr. Donner apparently makes no bones about the pride he takes in the bravery of the NYPD and the Government and anyone else with a gun who takes pleasure in making themselves a pain in the collective ass of the Evolved. Hatred roils and turns in on itself like nitrogen fog across the surface of his chilly brain, trailing after Tracy's turned back without ever reaching his face.

A little something goes out of his eyes, like a light being switched off outside a bar behind last call. Warmth creeps out of crows feet and the unfeeling probe of his glare across those gathered at other tables, fleeting over Mona without quite catching when he turns to pick out another (full) cup of coffee. Looks like he could use it. Especially given that there's no recognition there.

Agnes has been lingering outside, onlooking with the rest of the crowd. She's ducked inside now, not exactly looking like she belongs with the well-dressed guests of the Center, in her vaguely punk-ish outfit and impractical platform heels. But if no one is going to stop her… Ooh, food. She begins to meander over in that direction, having a bit of fun amusing herself by smiling and nodding to the important people she passes, as if she actually belongs here.

Sonny moves from the doorway over to the refreshment table, while chatting politely with one of the glad-handers. It seems wherever he goes, he runs across someone who contributed to his father's campaign who he has to make nice with. He'd rather be talking about his own work, but, well.

He looks away from his chatting partners long enough to sweep a look around the room, checking for familiar faces or people of interest.

The Center is many things; welcoming, or endeavoring to be so, is one of them. Agnes has just that bit of self-conscious look to her that earns her a grin from the woman on the other side of the table. "Psst. Hey. Relax." For her part, the woman is wearing a nice blouse — and black jeans. Relatively new black jeans… but still, jeans. "You don't have to pretend to be like them; it's all good."

Mayor Bianco's kid, only a few feet away. That doesn't go unnoticed in Mona's peripheral vision, but right now most of her attention is focused on a single person. She lifts her now-brimming cup to her lips, idly squinting over it and riiiight past Danko as she does so. Staring is rude, rite. But mental fingers go snaking inwards where don't belong; the volume level in the room is distracting enough that she maybe isn't quite as cautious as she ought to be. For about three seconds, it won't be the scene of the reception in his eyes, but a relived flash of whatever Humanis First-related memory is hiding closest to the surface.

Coffee sipped and found to be an unsatisfying breed of luke warm, Danko's only just managed to set it down next to his empty one when reality plunges away overhead and he's dragged into the depths of his own skull. He's in a hotel room, both hands on the back of his head, elbows lifted while a younger man in a crew cut and black fatigues wires a bug neatly along the buttons of his black shirt. The same one he's wearing now, outline made murky by the fit of a vest and the suit coat over that. Somewhere to his back there's the rattle of a uniquely designed holster…

Then he's back. Grey eyes go black under pressure of pupils drawn wide open and he swings his head around as if slapped, mouth open, chest rising and falling fast. That his eyes fall first upon Sonny's familiar visage is perhaps unfortunate.

Agnes looks over at the sound of someone 'psst'-ing her, a wry smile coming to her lips at the reassurances. "Well, good. I don't think I could pass for one of them, even if I had that sorta shit to wear," she notes with a trace of amusement, picking up a few snacks from the table and critically eyeing a few others. "So, uh, this whole thing's a pretty big deal, huh?" She glances around the space, looking at the actual building for the first time, instead of just the people here. "Guess that's cool." She nods a few times, looking thoughtful.

"Oh, it's huge," the woman agrees. "That's what happens when you try to pioneer stuff, though. Either that or it's a complete flop no one ever hears about." She raises her glass of tea in a salute of sorts. "Here's to success!" Grinning, she walks around the table to join Agnes on the other side. "If you're going to people-watch, might as well make it interesting. What do you think about him?" And then there are yet more pairs of eyes on Sonny.

Helena makes her way out of the elevator, and heads into the reception area. She doesn't act like she recognizes Sal, Mona, or anyone else who might know her in the context of Phoenix or the Ferrymen — and they'd probably have to know her very well to blink twice. She carries auburn hair, brown eyes, and slightly tan, freckled skin pretty well.

After Helena arrives by elevator, enough time passes for it to go back up and pick up another person, one who'd lingered a bit behind. She's in a Brooks Brothers business suit with skirt and pumps which lift her from five feet eight to five feet ten, a brunette with hair pinned up neatly in the back. Cat, perhaps twenty-six, is carrying a briefcase and a now closed notepad. She doesn't let on any indication of knowing people found here.

The physical reaction she elicits from Danko startles Mona, too, the point where she lays a hand roughly onto the table behind her — mostly because she hadn't been expecting to feel it. She breathes in, slowly, and curls her fingers into the cloth, abruptly withdrawing so she can prepare herself to go in without his notice, this time. She flicks her eyes to Sonny when Agnes and the woman beside her do, and then some distance over, to the newly arrived Helena. "Huh." That's said aloud, not bothered to be concealed underneath her breath. Cat, too.

Quick to quash his breathing when an attendant passing with a trio of dirty plates gives him an odd look in passing, Danko swallows down his unease to begin a more deliberate inspection of the individuals still milling around, eating, drinking, talking. A swift movement somewhere around the region of Mona's grab at the table is drilled after in force when Sonny proves to be outwardly oblivious.

Before he can make much progress in the way of picking everyone over there apart with his eyes, Helena passes through the space between them — then Cat. It's the latter who catches his eye, kind've the way stray does catch the eyes of wolves when they stray from the rest of the herd.

Agnes is still fairly oblivious to any rising tensions, glad simply to have someone to talk to. She gives a smirk, lifting her newly-acquired glass somewhat wryly to return the toast. "Always better than failure," she offers in response, shrugging a shoulder. "Though I'll probably skip the whole pioneering thing myself. Seems a good way to get yourself shot or blown up or something, according to those people outside." She gestures towards the doors with her drink, before taking a sip of it. At the woman's question, she glances over at Sonny, frowning thoughtfully. "Like, do I think he's hot or…?" she clarifies, not really lowering her voice.

No sooner has Sonny got his coffee in hand does his phone ring. He pulls it out, frowns at the name that comes up on call display and answers it briefly. He moves back to his date and murmurs something apologetic in her ear. Whatever it is, it involves her staying and him leaving.

He angles towards the door and slips the cell phone back into his jacket, passing by Agnes and the other woman. "Scuse me, ladies." There's a polite smile for the pair that look out of place as he shuffles through the crowd and uses a hand to gently guide one of them out of the path. Then he's moving with purpose. Hard to say whether this was a medical emergency, Ferrymen business or just daddy. Phoenix's phones aren't going off at the same time, so it's safe to say that whatever it is, it's under control.

"All I asked for is what you think," the other woman replies after Sonny's gone past, lips curving in a smirk of her own. "Whatever that is. Me — well, would you want to be stuck in the middle of all those fussy people?" She shudders, turns away, eyes the newcomers. Doesn't bother hiding the fact that she points at them. "Now, them." Helena, Cat. "They don't look like they'd get stuck doing nothing but shaking hands." A slow grin spreads across her face. "Maybe that's who you should say hello to."

Helena, (who by the way, doesn't look like Helena at all), seems quite satisfied with her tour. As she steps out into the reception hall, she takes a look around and - oh hey, hors d'ouvres! With the gaping appetite of the youthful, she starts following a waiter.

She notices being pointed out and the person who did it, in the process of eyes taking in her surroundings as she crosses the area ahead and approaches a table with food. The gesture draws only a curious lift of one brunette brow. Danko too is sighted and committed to memory, that being all it takes, though she doesn't yet register anything hostile about him. He doesn't stand out from the general alertness she has about being in a place for the Evolved with people she doesn't know present. It causes Cat to continue not greeting anyone.

But that doesn't mean there isn't communication. Mona, she thinks in a slightly increased mental volume, play it cool. Too many people around, talk later. Place is interesting. Then she's wandering toward the door.

The next time Mona attempts to dip into the bowels of Danko's brain, it's considerably more gently. No unexpected Broadway revivals of memories occur, this time; she even sends out a very gentle nudge to better ensure his attention stays off her while she's doing it. A subtle tweak of encouragement. Hey look, just keep looking over there at Cat and Hel. And maybe that suspicious-looking punkish kid with the platform shoes, too. That's it. Thaaat's it.

To mask her concentration during this newest search, she takes an extra-long sip from her cup, even letting her eyelids blink closed for a moment. It's all necessarily rushed, so she doesn't get a close glimpse of anything that passes by, but what she does has something in common: it's all pretty graphic. A colorful spectrum of people wriggle and blur by as if fast-forwarded, many of them bloodied and cowed and generally slapped around into submission under Danko's hand. A pleasant head-experience, it isn't.

Cat. Amidst the hubbub of the people around her, she breaks off so she both listen and then siphon out one short, projective message in return. In the meantime, her head is angled away, and she's rummaging around in her purse for something. Don't worry, I know. But I -do- need to talk to you later.

Danko's more pliable this time around. Subtle pushes garner more subtle reactions. His slushy gaze traces from Cat to Helena, recognition just on the verge of dawning when the undertow in his brain takes him elsewhere. Over to the girl in the platforms. Platforms are suspicious at a function like this, surely. …Surely. The more he tries to think about it, the more confused he looks. Maybe she just missed a memo somewhere. :(a

Brows worked down into a harder knit, the man in black scrubs a hand up over the corner of his mouth, gives the room at large a wary once over, and starts to peel off for the nearest exit with a muttered, "I'm on my way out." Something weird going on in there.

Agnes seems a little skeptical as she is pointed in the direction of the other girls, but she does consider it. Taking another sip of her drink, she watches both Helena and Cat for a moment, and as the waiter seems to be leading Helena in her general direction, it's enough to spur Aggie to figure why the hell not. With a shrug to herself, she offers a quick word of thanks to the woman from the Center and then pushes away from the table where she's been standing, heading in Helena's direction. With no real plan on what she's going to do when she gets there, she simply offers an awkward, "Hey," once she gets close enough to be heard over the buzz of the crowd. And she has, it seems, missed many, many memos. But she remains oblivious that anyone is suspicious of her or her footwear.

Helena blinks a moment. Is this girl talking to her. Oh god, she's not recognizable, is she? Sal had done a good job on her disguise! "Hey." she says easily enough, projecting a calm she doesn't feel. Snagging a little bacon wrapped shrimp, she pops it into her mouth. "This place is awesome, isn't it?" And clearly, not just because of the food.

We will, Mona, Cat thinks back. Her pace to the door is slow, letting Danko exit ahead of her, but she's walking through it soon enough, the plan to head for home and write up reports on casing the Suresh Center.

There isn't much left for Mona to do here— and much more that she could be doing elsewhere, relatively speaking. She will wait until Danko gets all the way out before stirring herself uneasily, as well, and also heading for the door. It isn't just the Suresh Center that'll be the topic of interesting reports in the near future. Not if she can help it.

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