A Measure Of Trust


ash_icon.gif melissa3_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title A Measure of Trust
Synopsis Peter meets with Ash and Mel and the trio talk about Messiah and the Institute and the problems they're already facing.
Date June 15, 2010

Howland Hook Facility

On the surface things are never what they appear to be, such is as the case with the Howland Hook Facility. Covered by the pretenses of legitimate construction work and maintenance, the bustling railyard and freight port is filled with people in these early afternoon hours following the construction crew's lunch break. Rumbling diesel engines on bulldozers and cranes create a humming backdrop where sharp alarm chirps from backing up dumptrucks and the shouting conversations of construction workers form industrial symphony.

Away from the touch of sunlight and away from the noise of the Maxwell company's work, Messiah's movements beneath their feet are like that of a well-organized ant colony. The basement level of Howland Hook's administrative building contains a narrow labyrinth of damp, concrete corridors and low-ceilinged rooms lit by hanging lamps and rife with the stink of mildew.

The imagery is evocative of World War II resistance fighters cooped together in bunkers planning their war against the Nazi regieme, perhaps that historical juxtaposition is intentional. For two members of Messiah — Ashley Williams and Melissa Pierce — this place is where they have been summoned to on this particularly sunny Tuesday, down the rusted metal stairs and into the damp concrete hallways to converse with the man who is, arguably, the heart of Messiah's operations.

Peter Petrelli might well live here, if appaearances aren't entirely deceiving. His personal space down below the administrative building isn't quite as inglorious as the barracks that serve as temporary shelter for some Messiah members, it looks more like a field general's bedroom. With an old, weathered writing desk pushed up against the wall near the door, Peter has his back to the doorway, arranging books on the shelves on either side of the desk. A folding cot with disheveled blankets and a long black jacket thrown across it rests against the opposite wall, and a kerosine lamp hangs from a hook on the ceiling.

It's perhaps in the details of the room that the Devil dwells for Melissa though. That she sees a snow globe on his desk is perhaps a subtle sign, the two people inside the snow-globe ice skating, and if she looks hard enough there may just well be a collection of the other gifts she'd sent to Peter scattered across the room.

He's nothing, if not sentimental.

She's only been to the Howland Hook facility twice, so it took Melissa a bit to find the right room. But she managed to find the place eventually, and pauses before the door. Given the warmer weather, she's dressed more like her old self; a black corset and a black skirt made of layers of thin, transparent fabric. Even her hair is as it was when Peter first met her, the black streaks back.

There's a quick knock, just to let Peter know she's there, then Mel opens the door and steps inside. She stops just a few steps in though, staring at the desk. No, at the snow globe, and her lips curve in a smile that's more sad than anything else. But once she's seen that, she looks around, trying to spot anything else familiar. It seems more important to her than anything else. Even the information she brings.

Ash has been to the facility quite a bit since that night of the announcement. Though he's not been down to the basement yet. He got the message, and came from the barracks, making his way down to the place Peter has come to occupy. When he spots Melissa t the door before she makes her way in he arches a brow at the sight of the woman, but says nothing, stepping up to the door, and following her in when she steps within. He then stops, and waits, his arms crossing over his chest, his eyes looking the place over, a slight nod of approval from him, but no words yet, just his presence.

"Sorry for taking so long to really get in touch with both of you…" Peter comments as he turns to look over his shoulder at Melissa, then past her to Ash. "It's been— I've been busy the last few days with everything going on." Pushing a book with no title on the spine up onto the shelf, Peter turns around and crosses bare arms over his chest. As he walks, the light from the lantern catches on dark stains on his black tanktop, old blood permanently marking the tanktop's fabric. "First thing's first…"

Holding up a hand to imply wait a moment, Peter makes his way over to that messy cot, lifting up his jacket and reaching beneath it for a folded up bundle of red cloth. He turns it around in his hands, then looks back to Melissa and crosses the distance of one side of the room to another, then holds out the folded scarf in one hand. "Sorry it took so long, normally we cut them before hand, but…" Peter offers a lopsided smile. "These scarves are all cut from the same piece of cloth, every member of Messiah wears one in some fashion or another. There's a cell phone wrapped up in it too, it only connects to one of our operatives, a technopath named Rebel. You say the name of a Messiah member you want to talk to and he connects you to them. The phones can't be tracked, but they also can't place outgoing calls except to members of Messiah."

Peter's dark eyes drift from Melissa to Ash, then back again. "Welcome, officially, to our side…"

Melissa looks back to Peter when he starts talking, the sad smile fading. When he approaches with the scarf she looks at it for a moment before she takes it, and her lips twitch. "I'll have to break my monochromatic rule," she murmurs. "And yeah, I've heard of Rebel." And from the tone of her voice, she hasn't heard anything good.

The phone is slipped free and dropped in her pocket, and the scarf gets wound around her waist and tied loosely on one side. "I've always been on your side," she says with a shrug, glancing at Ash, then back to Peter, before she begins to move around the room slowly. She doesn't touch anything, just looks for now, and avoids looking at the two men again.

"So what's the good word? Can't just be the scarf, I'm guessing," she murmurs, pausing in front of the desk, though she's not looking at it at all.

Ash watches Peter approach the woman with his length of red cloth, a slight smile twitching his lips at the sight of it. He remains where he's at while they're doing there thing, quiet and observant. He shifts away from the door, taking a couple of steps into the room, eyes casting over to the books curiously, seeing what perhaps, their leader reads. "Rebel is our big brother in a way Melissa. He saved my life. Guided Kris, Knox and Claire to me when the Institute came for me. I reaped a toll on their teams, but they'd have still gotten me. I'd be sitting in a lab being dissected if it wasn't for Rebel and I assume…" he turns his head, his eyes resting on Peter. "Mister Petrelli." He watches the woman move around before his attention pulls back to Peter. His own scarf is wrapped around his forearm from wrist to elbow as it normally is. "I'm wondering that too, but I'm patient."

"There really isn't much to explain," Peter admits after letting his stare drop down from Melissa's. "I mean… Ash is right about Rebel, he's our eyes and ears, keeps us safe and keeps us informed. What we do?" There's a look up to Ash, then over to Melissa. "It's pretty much what you're probably already thinking by now." Pacing away from the pair, Peter reaches up to scrub a hand at the back of his neck, then slowly turns and rubs his hand over his grown in beard, looking back and forth between the two again.

"The Institute is our primary enemy, but they're backed and funded by the government. It isn't a battle we can win with words, so… we're going to win it with blood. There's high-ranking members of the US government who are important administrators behind the Institute, we're going to kill them. These are people that kidnap people like us off the street, kidnap people like my friend Eve…" Peter's brows furrow together as he looks down to the floor, then away to his bookshelves.

"We're not going after innocent people, they're not our end result. We're going after detractors to our cause and people who sign the checks that fund murder machines like the Institute. We're going after the policy makers, and if anyone gets in our way…" Peter shakes his head slowly, "that's a shame, but we have to make sacrifices."

"He also uses children for his own ends. One of those children was under my protection," Melissa says absently to Ash about Rebel. "I've been dying for a chance to talk to him for months now, even though the reason for it is moot now. The girl is…gone," she murmurs, sounding sad.

When Peter mentions the Institute Mel turns to look at him again, arching a brow. "You know about them? Good. I was wanting to give you information on them. Had a chat with one of the Ferry after she sent a box of guns over, just in case. But how much do you know about them? Do you know where they're located? Who runs it?" There's a long hesitation, before she asks softly, "Do you know who they've taken?" She really doesn't want to bring this person up, but she's not a bad person, not really. She can't leave someone to the Institute.

She distracts herself by continuing her exploration of the room, now running fingers over something here and there. A book, the bed, the snow globe…

Ash does not seem the slightest bit put off or upset by what Peter is saying, it's a belief that Ash ascribes quite faithfully to. He attempted to make something of himself on his own, and he failed, but now he's found exactly what he was trying to do before. The man's eyes flicker over to Peter when he's done, then to Melissa as she speaks as well.

"Yes, he does. He uses what he needs to to get the job done Melissa. If he doesn't, if we don't, then who will? We can't leave it up to other people to do the dirty work that we don't want to do. We have to make the future brighter for our kind, not leave it to others." He folds his arms over his chest again, his nostrils flaring a little bit as he breathes in slowly, listening to her questions. His head turns, eyes traveling to Peter. "Are we going to rescue the ones they've taken? I understand if we can't, but I would prefer not to leave our kind to their scalpels, tests, and projects." He works his lower jaw a little bit, but goes quiet then, waiting for Peter to answer the questions. He finds a spot of wall to lean back against, the big man's eyes watching the leader of Messiah.

"We're going to rescue everyone once we know where they are, the second we find where they're keeping captives and can come up with a plan, we're going to hit them so hard that they'll know just how wrong choosing to start a war with our kind was. The Institute— whoever— they'll know Messiah and they'll know that they can't just walk over us…" Furrowed brows lead Peter to look down to his feet, then slowly up to Melissa.

"We know they exist, the Institute, thanks to Rebel. But, we don't have any concrete information about where they're based or the exact number of people they have. I've heard stories, but none of that comes with any real proof. I don't know if all the men in those white biohazard suits are all a part of the Institute, or if that's a Homeland Security thing. We can't just assume, but in the end it doesn't matter… anyone who does this sort've thing to us is going to pay."

Breathing out a deep, heavy breath, Peter furrows his brows and looks over to the snowglobe on his desk, then up to Ash, then Melissa. "You were… talking about Liette, back there, weren't you?" There's a hesitant expression on Peter's face, a nervous one. "She… there's a lot of things she might have been able to tell us about the Institute. A few months back Rebel tried to recover her from her handlers, I know he had you help. But, things didn't go according to plan and now any intelligence she did have is moot. We were going to try and use her to gather information about their base of operations, have her lead us right back to them. The plan was to have a psychic hitch-hiker hop into her consciousness and follow her back to their central facility, then weasel his way out once inside and…"

Peter shrugs slowly, "There's no way they'd take that risk now, so… we have to try other avenues of approach. I don't blame anyone for doing what they did, we were secretive— by necessity— and…" Peter's brows furrow subtly, his dark eyes settled on Melissa. "You've got to understand, Rebel's pretty certain that someone inside the Ferry works for the Institute. We can't just… tell them everything."

Melissa sighs and shakes her head, and she moves towards the bed and flops down onto it, leaning back against her elbows. "Okay boys, have a seat for storytime. Because this may take a little while. I'm gonna tell you everything I know about the Institute. Both what I've been told and what I've seen for myself." And she's not looking forward to it.

"Yes, the girl I was talking about was Liette. She was one of a set of twins. Julie and Liette. They could gather powers, and keep all of them for a length of time, even trade them back and forth. A few months, Liette said. And I saw her use several abilities, so that's fact. Another fact, she was being used by the Institute, her and her sister both. They did experiments on them. One of the scientists was…well, Liette called him her dad, but I seriously doubt that's what he was. Adopted, sure, but real father?" She shakes her head. "No chance. It was Liette's sister who most likely caused all the fucked up weather we had the last few months. She missed her sister."

"Rebel did ask me to help her, sorta. I was standing on the street and he sent texts to this other woman on the street, to get me to take Liette. We kept her after that. Then, a month or two ago, the Institute raided a safehouse, looking for Liette. They used negation gas, and just stormed the place. If it weren't for a well placed helicopter on the roof, they'd have Liette, me, and half a dozen Ferry members, maybe more. As it was, they took a few people."

She falls silent for a moment, staring at the ceiling. "A few days ago I got a package from one of the Ferry members. Guns and ammunition. I asked why, and was told Ferry members were disappearing. Yesterday I set up a meet with the one who sent the package. It's not just Ferry members disappearing, it's all sorts of Evolved. Anyone with an ability they want to study. And she gave me the information she had on the Commonwealth Institute, and promised to keep me informed."

"They're headed by a man named Simon Broome. More, they've gotten into most every branch of the government. They're not sure about the Department of Evolved Affairs, but they're hopeful Praeger's not that dumb." There's a long pause, then, "If either of you know the name Rasoul, you might understand this better than I did, because apparently it's his work they're continuing. Something from Madagascar. The negation gas, pregnancy farms…" She glances to Peter, "and a formula to give Evolved abilities to the non-evolved." Which seems to put her in a grim mood. "Rasoul used to work for a man named Kazimir Volkan." Except she doesn't go into his background like she did with others.

"Apparently they have at least one facility in Massachusetts though, and probably one here in New York and other major cities. And…I got a name of someone they've taken." She looks at Peter again, but this time she watches him closely, studying his face as she gives the name. "Gillian Childs."

Ash lifts his head a bit, having been staring at the floor while both people spoke. The name Kazimir pulled his head up. "I've heard that name quite a few times, but no one has been willing to tell me anything about it." He frowns a bit more, then goes back to staring at the floor for the time being. The name Gillian earns another curious look from him. "Yet another name I've heard tossed around some." He pulls in a slow breath, then lets out in a long sigh before he lifts his hand up, running fingers back through his hair slowly. He looks at Peter, watching the man, eyes narrowed in focus as he shifts against the wall, not nervously, but most angsty, impatient. He's not a sit still sort of guy. "How do they find us?" he asks softly. "I've been wondering this for a long while. They seem to come out of thin air and take us. I was living in an abandoned house after I got back from being out of the city. I didn't tell anyone I was back, I didn't go to any stores during the day time. They had no way to know where I was, yet, they came right for me."

There's a silence that comes over Peter, long after even Ash has finished talking. With his back to he and Melissa, Peter just brushes his fingertips over the binding of the books stacked up on his shelves absent-mindedly. Bowing his head, Peter's brows furrow and his lips downturn into a frown, shoulders slack and head turns to the side with focus angled down to his feet, then across the floor, then up to Melissa when he bobs his head into a slow nod.

"Kazimir was just a man…" is all the answer Peter finally gives to Ash's question, "he's gone now." Letting his hand fall away from the bookshelf, Peter turns to look around the room, then lifts his hands to rake back his bangs and draw his fingernails across his scalp while breathing in a slow breath. It's exhaled out his nose as a sigh when his arms come down and another slower nod comes to pass. "I don't know how they find us…" Peter finally admits, "maybe it's surveillance, maybe it's through spies, some sort of tracker Evolved, maybe all of the above, I don't know. That's something we might've been able to figure out, but the opportunity's passed."

Turning away from the bookshelf, Peter walks slowly across the room, looking over to Melissa with an askance stare. "Who told you they had Gillian?"

Peter's answer about who Kazimir is has Melissa's brows arching. She knows who Kazimir is, she's had several conversations about him in fact. It has her watching him for a full minute before she shrugs. "Maybe they have someone like Rebel on their side. And with all the abilities that Liette and her sister can take, there's no telling what they can do at any given moment. As for Gillian…it was Eileen." The fact that Abby knows as well is something she's keeping mum about, however.

Ash shakes his head in a slow fashion to the statement that Kazimir was just a man. "men don't live on in whispers and stories, in legends and tales of horror. Villains, heroes, Gods.. live on that way." His lips lose their color as he presses them together into a thin line, eyes closing as he thinks over that statement. "Why as it passed? Why can't we find out. If it's electronic all was have to do is get Rebel access to their networks. If it's Evolved then maybe we can do something about that? Spies will be harder unless we can… wait.." He arches a brow. "Kaylee." He states simply. "She can find spies." He is quiet after that, glancing to Melissa, then back.

"No," is sharply thrown at Ash the moment Kaylee's name comes up, his eyes wide and an almost startled look crossing his face. "No she— she's Ferry, they might be compromised, someone might be watching her. No." One hand smooths along Peter's mouth, brows furrowed and a briefly haunted look flashes across his face before he dips his head down and casts his eyes to the side, looking to the door and then back to Ash and Melissa.

"Opportunity's passed because last I heard Liette's memory is ruined from something that happened in the Ferry, plus whatever protocols she might've known would've been changed by now. We had one last chance and it didn't work, so… we're pursuing other angles, which once we have our plans finalized we'll act on. Rupert's got that angle under control, and Perry…" there's a narrowing of Peter's eyes, "Perry's probably gone to get someone we're going to need."

Turning to look at Ash and Melissa, Peter's brows crease together and his head dips down into a nod. "We're clear on spies, our house is clean. I trust Rebel and our security to scrutinize people and keep up to date on things. Other organizations, we can't trust that any number of them haven't been compromised. Our work stays within our people, because the moment we start telling everyone on the outside our plans, start telling other people our members… thats' when things break down."

Mention of Kaylee has Melissa's eyes narrowing. It seems as though there's one evolved that Mel wouldn't mind seeing disappear. But it's Peter's reaction to the name that has her looking…defeated almost. But the look passes quickly enough that the other two might not see it. But after that, she doesn't speak either, just remains there, lounging on the bed as if this were a social get-together rather than a serious discussion.

Ash arches a brow slowly at Peter's rather forceful comment. "No? You're willing to use children, you're willing to kill whomever gets in our way, and… no?" He crosses his arms over his chest slowly, his eyes narrowing at the man, his face hardening. "And if it's because you'd like to protect her don't bother. I watched her order trained and armed men to kill eachother and themselves. She's more than capable of doing something like hunting out spies." He listens to the rest, but it's the initial statement that he's focusing on. His eyes glance to Melissa for a moment, then back to Peter before he raises a brow as he realises that that's exactly what he's doing, protecting her.

"You weren't listening," Peter comments softly, "Ash, it's not— " there's a hitch of his voice, brows tensing and Peter's lips creeping back into a grimace. "She's a part of the Ferrymen, she's not Messiah and she hasn't been recruited for a reason. Kaylee is a part of the Ferrymen, she's… I don't know, Rupert and Rebel both don't want her here for whatever reasons. Maybe it's because of her past connections to Adam, maybe they know something I don't. But I trust Rupert to make the right tactical choices for us, because he's been doing this longer than I have and he knows the field."

Swallowing tightly, Peter shakes his head. "Don't take this as me just off-handedly dismissing your ideas, Ash, but I know Kaylee and trust me it— if she should've been here she would've been. She's not Messiah, and anything she knows might wind up in the wrong hands. There's a spy in the Ferry, somewhere, and the fact that Gillian was captured is proof enough to me of that. Until they clean their house…" Peter shakes his head again, "we can't be sure. I won't risk the rest of us, even if I trust her."

When Melissa speaks again, it's in a quiet voice, and without looking at either man. No, the snow globe seems to hold almost all of her attention. "There's one thing you're forgetting, Peter. Maybe they aren't looking for specific evolved. Maybe they're just finding any evolved they can. Think of the attack at your mom's house. Where I got this," she says, sweeping her hair back to show the scar across her forehead. "How did he know we were there? How did he know what my ability was? You know someone who can sense abilities, and identify them. We both know you do."

There's a long pause, then on a sigh she says even more quietly, "Pins and needles."

Ash blinks several times at the mention of past connections to Adam. "The same past connections that I have? I helped him hunt down those founders as well. I stood there and watched him kill them. I helped break into Pinehearst as well. I saw you in a damned wheel chair there. If you're going to say no, then I want a valid reason for no. Not your feelings, not statements that others don't want her involved. I want a reason. This is a war. There is no room for feelings and sentiments."

His head turns to glance to Melissa, then back again to Peter. "I knew her. Haven't seen her in awhile. But I knew her quite well myself. Considered her like a little sister." His jaw tenses, twitching a bit, he's irritated, and it's pretty obvious.

"Maybe, but we're just guessing. Maybe that's how it is, maybe it's an answer none of us have really figured out yet. If we go on guesses we'll be no better than PARIAH was, and while they had spirit, it didn't carry them far enough." Peter's brows furrow together and his head shakes slowly. "You're right that maybe it's an idea we haven't considered, but until we actually know what it is, all we're doing is a mental exercise… I'm fine with that, we just… we can't act on it."

It's only once Peter's answered Melissa's thoughts that he turns to look up at Ash and furrows his brows thoughtfully. "Ash, she could be a security risk. That's the answer, that's all it takes. Rupert isn't comfortable with having her here, and he's our tactician, I don't need to question him because he's been at this longer than I have and he's done a good job of it. Maybe in the future, maybe then we can talk to her, but right now we're playing it safe. That's a valid answer, and I'm going to stick to it."

Furrowing his brows and looking to the side, Peter eyes the snow globe on his desk thoughtfully, then turns to look back to Ash again. "You can still be friends with her, Ash. There's nothing… there's no reason not to, but she's not a part of Messiah, not right now. Just be careful what you tell her, because while Kaylee is probably trustworthy, ther'e speople out there who could use what she knows against us. Psychometrists, people that telepathy is no proof against. We play it safe."

Melissa continues to not look at either of them, still staring at that damn snow globe. "So we work to find out more. The Ferry will keep me informed of what they know about the Institute, and I'll do what I can to figure out where Liette was taken. Even if her memory was messed up, she may have something she can tell us, and she knows me. More than that, she trusts me. I'd get Rebel looking to see if he can find the location of the Institute's facility in Massachusetts. If we can capture one of their people, we can get more information straight from the source."

She sighs and falls back on the bed, hands folding over her stomach. "One other thing though…The Ferry thinks that the Institute is responsible for all the visions people had on Thursday. And with all the other stuff they've done or are suspected of doing, I really can't put it past them. Especially if they have someone with a power like Gillian's. All they'd need is for it to be used on one of the girls, and then they would have that ability. So be careful if you see them. You're safe, Ash, you don't have something you can use on them, and negators are safe, but most everyone else?" She shakes her head. "I trust Liette to an extent, but not her sister. Not after she put us through an icy hell for nearly four months."

Ash folds his arms across his chest once again, muscles tense beneath his shirt. "And? I don't know Rupert. I don't know you. I know the people I've fought besides and with. Which isn't either of you. I don't give a shit if you trust his word. I don't. Once his word has led us to some victories, or gotten us out of some hot shit, I'll trust it, the same goes for you. You can't expect to pull a bunch of us who've been fighting together and expect us to blatantly trust you. Claire and them fought with you before I know that much, but the new guys like me?" He arches a brow at him, his arms remaining crossed over his chest.

Ash's head turns, eyes flickering to Melissa with a slight nod of his head, but no words offered, his lips tight his eyes even tighter, narrowed.

"Don't forget we saved you from the Institute, Ash." There's a look of surprise on Peter's face. "I don't know why you're taking this so personally, why you don't think we're on your side or— I don't know. This isn't a one man job. Rebel's the one who intercepted the Institute's radio chatter, Rupert is the one who helped mobilize Kris, Claire and Knox to go out and get to your location. Rupert's the one that recruited Knox and Kris… The fact that you're standing here today, with us, is because of everyone's combined effort, Ash."

Peter looks to Melissa, trying to gauge her own reactions, wondering if he's making any sense at all. Peter then looks back to Ash, walking up to him quietly, trying to offer something of a smile. "We're a team. We've been a team since you got rescued, since you followed Rupert's plan to hit up the vaccine raid, since he followed my advice on how many trucks to hit. He's already— we've already accomplished a few things, Ash, and we're going to do more. I know you don't know me personally, but all I ask is that you have faith in me. We both spent time in Moab, we've both been fighting our own wars…"

Peter offers a hand out to Ash, brows lifted in a symbolic gesture of trust. "I'd like to know that you've got my back as much as I've got yours."

"We've all spent time in Moab," Melissa corrects, though she still isn't looking at them. Isn't the ceiling just so preeeeeetty? "You may not trust all of us individually, Ash, but can you doubt that we want the same thing as a whole? And it's not such a bad thing they're asking. To wait on recruiting…your friend." She doesn't seem to be able to say Kaylee's name. "And soon you will have fought with them, so you'll be able to trust them." All of it is said absently though, as if her mind is somewhere else, and her mouth is on autopilot.

Ash looks at Peter as the man speaks, giving him his attention. He may be ticked, but he's not rude, well… usually. His arms uncross, his hands tucking into the pockets of his pants. "I'm not taking it personally. If you can't handle me asking these questions, what makes you think you can handle everyone else that's going to ask them? I want to fight. But I'm not going to fight with people that tell me just to accept thier answers as truth. I'm a soldier, but I'm not a stupid soldier. I do believe you're on my side. But you've yet to give me a reasonable excuse beyond that the Ferrymen are compromised. I'm not a drone, that's not good enough for me."

He watches as the man approaches him, Ash's feet not shifting an inch, his eyes secured on the other man's face as he talks. "Up until now we didn't know who was at the top Peter. We got our stuff through Rebel, a source we all came to trust with time. You can't expect to raise your hand, let everyone know you're the leader and expect immediate trust and acceptance." He sighs, his head twisting back and forth a couple times, eyebrows furrowing. "I wouldn't be here if you didn't think I'd have your back Petrelli. But, do you have mine?" He doesn't take the hand yet, but he's also not ignoring it, he's waiting for a reply to that question.

His eyes flicker to Melissa and he lifts a brow. "I'm not talking about recruiting Kaylee. I'm talking about using her to find out who is a spy and who isn't. More like keeping her on retainer than anything else. I don't want her involved in the fight either, but catching spies is something she can do." He nods his head a bit to her. "Yes, soon. But not yet. Right now we're supposed to trust on faith, and faith is something I Have none left of after what I've seen and heard." He settles his eyes back on Peter then. "I'm not walking away from this, so don't think that's even in the options for me. But I want some clarity."

Peter looks down at his hand, lets it dip a little bit and stares at Ash for a moment. "I saved you because I remembered how strongly you fought at Pinehearst, and because I didn't want you getting arrested by the Institute. I don't know what it'll take beyond keeping you safe to make you think that I'm on your side Ash, I don't know what other kind of answers other than that it's a pertinent risk to our organization's security to tell Kaylee anything or work with her. I can't give you answers I don't have…"

His hand stays out, brows furrowed and head tilted to the side. "That you wear the scarf means you're one of us Ash, you're family. I'd fight for you to the end, just like anyone else here. We're not in this for our own personal gains, we're in this to prove that we're going to make a difference, and that means trusting everyone on our side. I've watched out for you, we all watch out for each other, it's a brotherhood."

Peter looks from Ash to his hand and then back again, lifting it up slowly to the position it had been in before his falter. "Kaylee waits for now, for Messiah's security, until we know we can use her for help without compromising us. For now, let's focus on the assignments we have coming, and focus on getting to know our brothers and sisters in this group, because that's what we need to start treating each other like. Every man for himself… it isn't going to work if we're going to win."

There's a crooked smile on Peter's lips, crooked not in a smirk but in the way his lips just are. "Do you get it?"

Once more Melissa falls silent. It's odd really. Mel likes to talk. It's hard to get her to shut up under normal circumstances, but it seems her mind is working too much for her mouth to jump in. However, when the scarf is mentioned, a hand moves from her stomach, to toy with the scarf hanging from her waist, as if it's a worrystone. Or maybe it's a touchstone.

Ash stands there, still and silent. He blinks, and he breathes, but nothing else the entire time that Peter talks. He shifts a touch, from one foot to the other, pressure in his leg altering as he stands still, keeping the blood flowing regularly. When Peter finishes with his hand back out Ash takes the other man's hand. His palms is rough, calloused, from training and practice with his weapons. He takes the other man's hand, firmly, but there's no challenge in it, just a firm grip and a solid hand shake. "As I said. If you couldn't answer me, you'd have a hard time in front of you when others demand the same questions." Mel might recognize this annoying little habit of Ash's, to press people beyond the point of necessity to test them and their reactions, to see if they hold up. He steps back after getting his hand back and looks at the other man then. "Not to sound ungrateful, but with some of the powers of the people you have here, why me? My power is rather bland compared to most. I can see why almost all of them would be an aid, but how am I? Other than experience and lack of concern with killing."

"Why not?" Is Peter's crooked-lipped answer, one brow lifted slowly as he shakes Ash's hand. "You're a soldier, Ash, you're a man who fights and knows his limits and pushes them. You're stubborn, you're strong, and you got Rupert's attention somehow. That's good enough for me…" then with his eyes cast down to the floor and brows furrowed, Peter adds, "and you got Sylar on our side." That's when the handshake naturally disengages, and Peter offers a dark-eyed look back up to Ash. "The fact that you got him to agree means a lot of things, but I know he'd never have listened to me. We— have sort've a history together."

Turning away from Ash, Peter walks past Melissa and back towards his desk, then pulls up a photograph from the desktop and walks back towards the pair, turning it around and showing the mugshot of a square-jawed man in his middle to late 40s with round spectacles and thinning hair. "I think this man's going to be your first assignment… both of you. I'm not sure who'll be assigned with you, but it'll be a four-man team. We have reason to believe that he's being held by the Department of Homeland Security at a facility in Washington, and once we confirm that it's where he's located, we'll be needing to extract him."

Looking back and forth from Melissa and Ash, Peter arches one brow. "He's a magnetokinetic, one powerful enough to generate an EMP burst that could black out all of New York City. I think you can see why we might need his help…"

Sylar? Oooh buddy, that has Melissa coming to attention. She half sits up, expression hard, eyes fierce. "What? Sylar? Sylar is in Messiah? The guy who fucking tried to cut my head open? Are you fucking nuts?" she asks, going from thoughtful to pissed in .07 seconds flat. Let's hear it for misinformation! Alas, that anger also means that she doesn't look at the mugshot or really listen to Peter's words beyond Sylar.

Ash cocks a brow upwards at the mention of Sylar. "He approached me before I joined. When I was trying to go it alone and see if I couldn't gather a group to me to do what Pariah did. He knew what I was up to, and he came to me and told me he'd keep his eye on me and that if I needed his help to let him know. Told me how to contact him, and where to contact him at. Seemed like a good reason to contact him, bring him in?" He chuckles slightly, though the mention of them having history doesn't seem to surprise him. "A lot in this city seem to have history." He mutters, though the picture being brought over his his attention, the man's head tilting down, eyes scanning the picture over, taking in every detail of the man depicted in it. "Yes I can…" he starts, then stops as Melissa goes off. An amused expression is turned on her. "He's been part of this for a month and a half? Two months? I recruited him myself. We all have history and pasts. I know what he's supposed to have done. But you know what? We all have our problems. He's a soldier, able to fight, kill, and kill well. He can aid us."

Sure, there's a groan from Peter. His eyes fall shut, a wince crosses his features and when his eyes open he's affording Melissa a mild look that all but says could you please calm down? Lowering the photograph and curling it partly folded in his palm, Peter gives a shake of his head and rubs his forefingers across his brow. "No that— that wasn't Sylar. That was someone named Samson, I heard he was Sylar's father or… something. I've got it on good faith that Sylar had nothing to do with that attack, but that his father has a power similar to his. I'm— willing to believe it. None of what happened to me really— really felt like what he'd do."

Peter furrows his brows, head tilting to the side and tongue rolling over the inside of his cheek. "He's a soldier…" Peter echoes, recalling the frozen wasteland of Antarctica and the vision of Sylar laying bleeding to death in Eileen's arms. Swallowing noisily, Peter shakes his head and looks over to the snow globe again, then to Melissa. "He's one of us," is as far as saying you can trust him as Peter is willing to go.

"Was there anything else?" It's not as though Peter's trying to be dismissive, but at the moment it looks like the things he wanted to address have been, and he probably has another life to pretend to lead.

There's a long moment where Melissa says nothing, but is obviously tense. Finally though she eases back, gaining control of herself enough that she doesn't accidentally hurt anyone. There are a few slow, deep breaths before she nods. "Alright. And two things from me. One, what's the name of this guy we're going to grab? And the other…Sorry, sorta private." She glances at Ash. "No offense."

Ash lets Peter calm Melissa down, he himself turning his head to glance back over to Peter's books. "Whatcha got over there? I do a fair bit of reading myself, though here lately been tough with no bookstores or libraries open and such." He twists his neck, head turning enough to glance back at the leader of Messiah. "There were a few other things yeah." He admits, then laughs softly at Melissa's statement about something being private. "None taken, though it's just gonna have to wait if that's how it is." He offers her a snarky smile before speaking to Peter. "I'm worried about Magnes Peter. He was never whole hearted into this. Seemed to think it was some kind of… game, despite me telling him exactly what we were going to be doing." he hesitates on his next statement. "He's a good kid, but he's a security risk. He was a cop at one point, and he doesn't have it in him to murder people." He is studying the floor at the moment, not liking having to bring this up. "I like the kid but…"

The shelf is a mis-matched jumble of things, from science-fiction novels to dictionaries and select volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, odd jumbles of books in no particular order covering a myriad of topics not particularly useful to a burgeoning terrorist organization. Most notably though are the collections of Shakespeare's work, a whole shelf devoted to his plays and stories. The question about the books doesn't get an answer from Peter, but the one about Magnes does.

"Rupert said he wanted to talk to Magnes about things…" Peter off-handedly mentions, "I think if anyone can talk some sense into Magnes it's him, being a history professor's given him a way with words. I don't disagree with you though, I never understood why they chose to recruit him, but I trust Rupert's judgement on that, and maybe he sees something in Magnes that I don't. But I do know," there's a look over to Ash again, brows furrowed in thought, "that when push comes to shove Magnes will fight for what he believes in, he just needs to realize it. I know he's killed people when it's necessary, he just like to pretend he's above it. I think Rupert will straighten him out. If not… we'll cross that bridge when we come to it."

Peter seems to have forgotten Melissa's question about the name.

"Magnes…" Melissa shakes her head. "He's weak and strong all at once. He'll fight, yes, but I don't know if he's up for this level of fighting. Not to mention that he doesn't know how to keep his fuckin' mouth shut. But if you trust Rupert…" She shrugs. "You're the boss, babe."

Ash listens to Peter, but he doesn't seem satisfied with the man's reply. He offers a slight nod, but it's pretty clear he's just doing it so that it doesn't turn into another argument. He'll most definitely have his eyes on Magnes. "Yeah, he claimed he'd killed people as well. But he also told me directly to my face that he wasn't willing to sacrifice everything. he said he had too much to live for to do that." He shrugs his shoulders, slowly, the man not happy, but not willing to argue either. "We also need to have some kind of meet and greet. Everyone needs to get to know each other so that we can work together better. You're more willing to take a bullet for the man next to you when you know them. I tried once before to get the people I knew to do it, but they kind of ignored the idea. I also wanted your permission to start up some training courses. I was training Magnes, though he seems disinclined on that idea now, and I'm training Harrison starting tonight. Figured while I'm at it I can help train others."

There's a nod of Peter's head to the notion, though there's something unusually wallflowerish about how he seems to shy away from volunteering to get everyone together. "You're more than welcome to try and arrange that, Ash. I know most of Messiah was locked down by the weather a few months ago, plus we were…" there's a wave of his hand dismissively in the air, "spread out."

Turning his head to the side to regard the door, Peter looks forlorn about something, but the expression passes as he focuses on Ash again. "As far as training goes, most of the people here in Messiah have the necessary skills for the job, but if people come to you or seem interested, by all means, give them a hand. There's a guy that Perry is bringing in from Buffalo, a mechanic, who might benefit from a little exercise." That much is said a touch cheekily.

"Getting everyone in Messiah together in public will be hard, but you're welcome to buy some beers and bring them back to the warehouse after the construction crews close down for the night, throw yourselves as noisy a party as you'd like. It might do some good for morale."

"Harrison's gonna be getting some gun training from me as well. Who's this mechanic though? What's he do?" Melissa asks, absently twirling a strand of hair around her finger, blonde hidden by black, then appearing again a moment later.

Ash glances over and gives his head a little shake. "Tried once, probably wont' bother again. That's why I suggested it to you, or someone else to do it. I'm not the sociable type, nor am I very amiable. I'm a fucking pain in the ass to get along with." He laughs lightly, amusement twisting his lips at the corners. "And I know many have skills. But, Magnes claimed he had the skills he needed. Then he stepped into the boxing ring with me. I went easy on him, real easy, and still beat the hell out of him, because he wasn't willing to go the extra step. To take down an opponent with the intent of killing you, you have to go that extra step, even if it means you being injured, you don't die, and that's the key. He didn't understand that, still doesn't, but I tried." He shrugs his shoulders a bit, then turns, heading for the door, though he stops and glances to Mel. "Everyone should have a session with you, help adjust them to pain. It might save someone's life when they can shrug off the pain of a bullet or knife would because of you."

There's an askance look from Peter, a lopsided smile, and a tip of his head into a nod as he laughs. "He's a mechanic," Peter reiterates, "he repairs things." Sure it's sarcastic for an answer, but it's the first sign of levity Peter's offered since the meeting began. Coming over to his bed, Peter tugs his jacket up from it and shakes it out for his phone, tucking it in the back pocket of his slacks before walking over to the chair by his desk where a blue paramedics jacket is hung over the back. Pulling it off the chair, Peter slides the thin coat on and zips it up, looking back and forth between Melissa and Ash.

"His name's Faron," which is to say it's a weird name, "and his father was a pretty big thing back in PARIAH, he died fighting for them against the NYPD." Rubbing one hand at the scruff on his chin, Peter offers an askance look to Ash that implies how sociable he isn't as well, then grimaces. "I have to get to Manhattan, I've got a shift to run in my rig, so if you have a question for me, Melissa, you can ask it if you can keep up with me while I walk out to the Rookery."

Turning dark eyes back to Ash, Peter lifts one brow and tilts his head to the side. "You've got permission to train whoever wants it, Ash. These facilities are all yours, you know the clear buildings, feel free to set up whatever you need here, and if there's some hardware you need, text Rupert and he'll get it."

Melissa's brows lift and she glances at Ash. "You want me to hurt our own people?" She grimaces and shrugs. "Doesn't set well with me, but I can see the logic in it." Not that she seems happy about it. Then she slides off the bed and nods to Peter. "I can keep up. Besides, I know your partner, remember?" she reminds, lips curving a touch.

Ash glances over to Peter and gives a shallow nod before he pulls open the door and slips out of the room ahead of them both, though he stops in the doorway and looks back at Melissa. "If it saves one of our lives, it would be worth it wouldn't it? The shock of a bullet hitting you can be intense, as can a stab wound." He shrugs his shoulders slowly. "I can't say I /like/ the idea by principle, but if it will save our lives, then well… I'll be the first to volunteer." With that he offers her a false smile, and hikes up the stairs out of the basement room.

Shaking his head as he watches Ash leave, Peter offers an askance look to Melissa with both of his brows raised. "For an unsociable guy…" Peter admits with a hushed tone of voice, "he sure does like to talk." There's a crooked smile there, and Peter nods his head in a jerk towards the door. "Come on, and keep up if you have something you want to talk about."

"I've got a lot to do."

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