A Moment Of Silence


cat_icon.gif carolina_icon.gif chuckles_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif doc_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jericho_icon.gif mcrae_icon.gif risa_icon.gif shard_icon.gif stef_icon.gif white_icon.gif

Scene Title A Moment Of Silence
Synopsis The Ferrymen and several other Evolved losses through New York City are commemorated by a most unusual gathering on Staten Island.
Date September 11, 2009

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Exactly where land gives way to water at this point of the island's edge is uncertain - first because of the saltgrass growing everywhere, both on dry earth and in the shallows, giving the illusion of solidarity; second for the structures visible in the distance, drawing the eye away from the deceptive ground, suggesting its reach extends beyond its grasp. Even if the structures are still recognizable as ships, and nothing that ever belonged on land.

There are a multitude of them, abandoned hulls of salt-stained wood and rust-pitted steel, dying slow and ungraceful deaths as wind and water claim their dues. Some still appear to rest upright, braced upon the debris of older, lost relics below; others list to one side, canted at an odd angle like someone who just struggled to the surface in search of a desperate breath. There are no hands to pull these hulks from the water, no ropes to save them from drowning; each has been surrendered to the sea, left to the ravages of unmerciful time.

At low tide, some of the closer ships can be reached - not without getting soaked, but such is the price of daring. Never mind that the rotting metal and splintered wood are the stuff of nightmares for any germophobe, definite hazards to the unwary. The more distant ships are distant indeed, beyond the reach of all but the most bold - and are all but submerged besides.

The last of the sun is drooping out of view over the horizon, steepening its the furred mould texture of low tide's sediment into starkly shadowed depressions and coarse reliefs. Ship carcasses jut into view like pit seeds out of the rotted flesh of a fallen fruit, untreed and split by impact with the ground. Below the fishing vessel formerly known the Estai, there's a congregation gathering, of ragged adolescents and a koala-clung baby or two, Ferrymen and its vague alliance of petty criminals and loose women, the fish monger from the dockside boats and a harmless homeless madman dressed in a cheerleader outfit.

They have two, three dozen candles among them, flashlights, sleek green beer bottles, balloons, flowers— some of them made of plant petals and others of wax, candy, bric-a-brac chalices, childish statuettes, photographs of the dead, a fleet of paper boats bent out of wrapping paper and incense stick rafts to carry them out to sea, once the tide comes up. Whenever someone new comes trampling in out of inland Staten Island, people shift to look — the whites of open eyes, upturned, glinting orange in the ambience of firelight, but the mainstay of their attention is on the old white man in their midst. Not quite in his sixties, he's bald or balding and shaven, Caucasian, bulk of solid, laborer's muscle meshed easily with the trace flab of ageing metabolism and decent eating.

His voice isn't hard to listen to. Neither gutturally deep nor absurdly high, coarse enough to keep a man from falling instantly asleep. It doesn't hurt, perhaps, that he isn't sermonizing either. "and Mage was so known because she was something magical, eh? She commanded the respect of her kind. Little kids respected her" a square forefinger bumps upside the chin of a lad with a Sharpied eye on the middle of his forehead, is rewarded with a wrinkled grin. Little kid? "The Ferry's women and men loved her, even if she'd argue it was only for her tea. And that ability of hers."

There's a stilted hush when he says that word. Ability. No gasp of horror or anybody clapping hands over their mouths or the youths' eyes, but it's an open space even among an inherently limited subculture of society, and both media and the variety of social and political arenas reflected in it carry heavier and more oppressive stigmas and security concerns every day. Death and mourning, you can talk about easy— on Staten Island, more than most places. Even the individual good deeds — and those intimated as illegal — committed by those deceased. God knows, there's little objection to be voiced by the dead, and there's very little legal about living here at all, not if you're a grocer selling leafy product or a teller cringing at the counter of what few banks remain well-protected enough to stay open. Mutant, though. Saying you're mutant. Puts a whole other spin on illegal, on doing good, on having friends, and though no greater danger lies here than any other, there's a young mother exchange glances with her friend, wondering why he had to say that.

It's become an insult, almost. One that the old man chooses to ignore. "I'd heard she went down fighting."

Sitting down on the graveley soil bristling with saltgrass, it's the broad-shouldered and bulky frame of Norman White that watches the speech with a scrutinized interest. His forearms rest across his knees, eyes upturned to watch the older man speak to the crowd. For once, his wild and unkempt blonde hair is swept back from his face, revealing that prominent brow and distinguished nose. His eyes are wide, listening as though a child might at his first time in church, but the resonance in Norman's expression is of a man who has heard this before, who expects what's to be said, and seems welcoming of it.

Around his neck, a tiny gold cross glints in the light of the candle poking out of the top of an empty beer bottle driven into the graveley sand in front of him. "He's got a lot to say…" comes the tired voice behind Norman, one familiar enough not to bring the enormous man wheeling around in curiosity. But rather, just a smile and a nod as his eyes shut. Crunching footfalls bring the man known as 'Doc' by his peers to White's side, standing there with his hands tucked into the tattered brown of his trenchcoat, fedora tipped down and head cast to the side. "Getting a heck of a cool breeze off the water tonight, at least— it was cool down by the plant." Doc's eyes narrow, focus downturning to where Norman sits at his side. "It's warm here."

"Bodies," Norman implies, head canting to the side, "heat. It happens." Sure, indoors it happens. "Shh, people are trying to listen," the nordic man notes with a gruff exhalation, lips pressed together in a mildly disapproving frown of Doc's conversational tones.
Public> Manhattan says, "ben folds five?"

Two pairs of feet touch against the soft ground gingerly, before sinking in solidly. The taller of the pair glances down to his company, a small nod granted down to her. After their short flight across the island, Vincent releases Stef's hand and takes a instinctive step away to put distance between him and the girl half his age. Gloved hands find pockets quickly as he soldiers forth.

He finally got his hands on his money, so goodbye to the hole-y jeans and shirts and back to Shard's good sense of style. It's not that he's trying to show everyone he has an abundance of wealth, it's just that he knows how to frame a picture is all. A large black cap sits cockeyed on his forehead, a black slender suit jacket laid over his shoulders. Under that is a crisp white shirt with plenty of purposeful rinkle which is layered by a sharp looking black vest. A golden yet simple cross dangles over his chest.

Closing the distance between their landing zone and the vigil, Shard politely bows his head as they near to those who look their way. And once in appropriate distance he removes his hat and places it against his chest. But his foot pauses as his eyes catch a rather large looking man in the crowd. Glancing over to Stef, he quickly brings a hand up to her. His eyes go to slide to Norman's, his hand coming up as if to say 'Not here'.

With her boss coming into money, the torn clothes are gone from Stef as well. Still looking a great deal like Gillian, she's better dressed, hair pulled back out of her face into a tail, and black short cut leather jacket and nice jeans make up the majority of her attire. It's well kept and new, unlike the clothes she'd been seen wearing other times she'd been out in public.

"Is he following us?" she asks after she notices the gesture made by Shard, the boss, toward the man who… seems to be around many of the times they go out together in public. "He seems to pop up every time we go out. I think we need to get anti-White repellant." Her voice is soft, even amused, a smile showing off her dimples before she looks back at the vigil and tries to somber her expression. It doesn't quite work out well, but she does lower her head a bit and the dimples disappear from her cheeks.

Helena doesn't know where Leo is, but she's a touch nervous about him. She's wearing her hoodie and this time her hair is tucked away, avoiding the bright beacon they make of her. She and Leo had agreed Norman was Up To Something the last time they were all on Coney Island in a similar scenario; as such she's being extra careful, both of what's going on to everyone's attention and the peopole around here. Still, she'd be so much happier if Leonard was actually here.

Though Helena's blonde locks would be more of one, Delilah's hair is still a beacon, of sorts; a patch of red against the otherwise dull shades of background. The old leopard-print silk scarf knotted at her neckline does a good job too. Otherwise, she is actually wearing jeans, and a peacoat overtop. She only looks like Delilah up close, really. It is surprising that the girl can manage to not look like something that the bargain racks at Goodwill spat up.

She has made her way to the docks, only to linger where she does not have to look anybody in the face right away. This is a lot more subdued than she is used to, and somehow it throws her off enough. Delilah actually takes her time in finding a place to huddle quietly and listen, only examining others closely when they happen to move themselves into her vision.

"You should know that she was Evolved." The old whitey straightens slightly above the assembly of peers, observers, half-familiar children and the molten candle-stumps, dead men's faces glossed out on the paper. His voice rises slightly, and the hint of an accent pleats itself in, Southern, though something of the intervening years has worn the specificity of flavor and regional dialect out of it. "You should know it," he stoops his bald head to catch the eye of the woman who'd sought to avoid his, his brow furrowed now under the weight of conviction, "and be proud of it. Margaret Simpson was not only a heroine who upheld justice and the fundamental right of every creature to defend him or herself against unprovoked attack, but was an Evolved heroine.

"She was inspired to do right out of good conscience, the moral obligation to not be an asshole, if you'll pardon my French. However, the weapons she was given to fight the war that she chose— these things were the product of her ability. One she was granted by—" worn fingers pinwheel through the air, touching on generalities as weightless as they are eternal. His eyes pause briefly on Helena's face, the corner that shows limned by mingled flourescent and incandescent light when she's turned to search for her bodyguard and favored companion. "God, genetics, wherever the mathematics of physics… random chaos and intelligent order intersect. Too often these days, the Evolved are the subject of prejudice. Violence, social discrimination, petty insults. The instant what we can do steps out of the fictional page and into real life, superhuman becomes subhuman, one superior trait reducing the rest to damnable inferiority.

"Don't do Mage the disservice of playing along with this. Not on the night that we commemorate her death. And those of her peers." He stops then. Turns up the corners of his mouth in a weary parchment crack of a smile, lifts his hands briefly as if in surrender— like giving up his podium and nothing more. Or else, it's a signal.

There's a raw-boned, dusky youth only a few years Stef's senior standing back, behind the old man's shoulder, coal-colored eyes sharp on the shape of his older companion. He seems to take the motion as a gesture to action, straightening, squaring his shoulders. He opens a hand, and the diminutive points of candleflames separate from their wicks, waft into the air like so many domesticated stars. The Hispanic girl parked at Helena's shoulder frowns slightly, visibly restrains herself from rolling her eyes, distraction snatching her attention sidelong. She meets the young weather witch's gaze by accident, and lifts a brow.

It takes this long for Norman to acknowledge Shard with a quiet bob of his head into a nod, there's no disappointment on the enormous man's face that this won't be devolving into violence, from the looks of things, he's come here to watch and pay his respects. The one thing Shard and White have in common, is that cross dangling around their necks; perhaps in that there's some hope of a common ground between the two.

Doc, on the other hand, is as restless as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Winding out and away from Norman, his shoes crunch and scuff along the ground, eyes following Shard's movement thorugh the crowd, and the company he keeps. Beady eyes peer out just under the brim of his hat, and it's only in this movement that he finds his way to another person waiting in the crowd. Risa, never far from Norman, has herself seated up ona large, round rock near the shorelone, legs folded beneath herself and hooded Alpaca sweater wrapped tightly around an all too skin-and-bones frame. "You buy into this?" Doc asks with that hoarse voice, coming to stand beside the rock. All Risa can do is shift her focus over to Shard, then towards White. Her answer comes with a bob of her head, fingers concealed by the long sleeves of her sweater rolling something unseen between them. Something about Risa feeding into whatever's being served up here draws a frown and a tired sigh from Doc, as his eyes wander the crowd of those gathered again, trying to make some sense of it — of why people cling to someone with an answer, instead of finding it for themselves.

Helena's eyes meet the Hispanic girl's briefly - a face from Moab, maybe? Even though she pulls her gaze away to listen to McRae, she continues to think about who that girl might be. Coincidentally, she also tries to drift away a little, not wanting to be called upon or recognized. Ah! There's Delilah, a friendly face. That's the direction she aims in.

"He likes you." Shard says gruffly in response so Stef. "Or me. Maybe he wants us both." His eyes rest on White for a long moment, a wary gaze until eventually it softens. The nod is returned. It seems natural to him, that respect should be upheld in places where respect need be given. He wonders idly if this kind of system would be honored back in his gun slinging days. Licking his lips he glances back at the oddly familiar old man.

He does note Doc shifting through the crowd, though it is out of the corner of his eye. One heavy hand falls on Stef's shoulder momentarily, reeling her in closer to him and so her back is pointed to Risa and Doc. Just wanting everyone to stay cool, he inadvertently brings a person as close to him as he has allowed since before prison other than emergency situations. That thought makes him slink to the side. Ahem.

"He's not my type," Stef says quietly, keeping most of her attention on that man and his group, even if she's listening to the words said. At least until Shard sets hand upon her shoulder and turns her away from that group. "Fine, fine, I get'cha," she says in a raspy voice, setting her hands into her pockets. "I'll be good." It's a promise, ot at least a statement of intention. With her back to the ones she'd wanted to pay closer attention to, her eyes shift around to some of the others instead.

There's something besides the speech and the chilly September night sitting like a big, beady-eyed vulture sitting on Dee's shoulder; what it is, exactly, is not clear, though the weighted way she stands is much too somber just for this particular occasion. Regardless, when she catches someone inching closer out of the corner of her eyes, the redhead does look over, through the group gathered around and at Helena. The initial look is suspicious, but it turns neutral in a few moments. Once Helena is relatively close, Delilah pipes up, albeit softly.

"Hey Ev." Dee even makes a point to use the foremost alias, just in case. Never can be too careful in the midst of Stateneers.

Near the edge of the gathering, in the back, stands Cat. Her identity is obscured by a Yankees cap pulled low over her face, mirrored shades, and a hooded sweatshirt with no logo or emblem on the front. Entirely non-descript, like the guitar case over one shoulder and the backpack across another which are features that would identify her to Helena and Dee should they gaze her way. She is silent and observant, the visible part of her face stoic in demeanor.
It masks thoughts of having not memorialized someone closer to her who fell close to nine months before while she watches and commits this occasion and the people present to memory. White is spotted, as well as others who were present at the last large gathering. Stef the Doppelganger and Shard among them.

"And now we observe a moment of silence."

A name segues into Helena's mind. Carolina. Moab— orange wouldn't go too well with her skintone, but orange didn't really go well with any of them with the potential exception of one Sicilian who could pull off anything. Carolina's face changes slightly when the blonde turns away, perhaps noticing something furtive about the way Helena carries herself… and the way that Helena bears sharply and swiftly away. Recognition as vague as the atmokinetic's own dawns on Carolina's heart-shaped face. Her features smoothe, eyes shifting to pick Delilah out, after a brief, glitchy moment's extrapolation based off the trajectory of Helena's movement. She recenters herself, goes still, looks at the ground. She might have known Mage, or met her in passing. Plenty of the Ferry's refugees had.

Fire moves in the air, in defiance to the gentle push of the evening wind. There's no rain over Staten despite what the forecast promised, and the firmament overhead winks its flirt to the disconsolate ruin of the terrestrial level below. The flames expand slightly in the air, fill out round like baubles for a Christmas tree, begin to circle, making spirals and aerial constellations about the heads of the revellers, far enough that no one's in danger of a sudden and stinky accident of hair and heat meeting at too close quarters, but near enough that there's a tangible kiss of heat in the chill of evening.

The face of the young pyromancer is intent on his work, upturned, indifferent to any criticism or exasperation that might have come from his peers. There's another boy scuffing up to Carolina's side, gives a smile to him, but he ignores that too. He likes this. He's only playing, but you don't get much time to do that with others, lately.

"And now for beers," the bald man's saying, stooping low over the fire engine red cooler at his heel. There's a can for White, first, flicked over-arm with the sinewy strength of a man who's been active all of his considerable life— and then one flickering a neat arc toward Stef's shoulder. "—Nah, ah, ah," and he stops one audacious eleven-year-old runt from making a running dive at the box. "I don't think so. Not even Lina."

"Hey," says the girl, on cue, instantly confirming the association that had segued up in the back of Hel's mind.

The can is caught with a slap of palm on aluminum with one of White's enormous mitt hands wrapping around it. There's a thoughtful smile, and a nod of his head followed by a snap-hiss of the pull tab being torn off. The way he smiles to the bald man, the way he seems so casual and relaxed here, there's something between the two, a history that likely traces itself back towards those iron bars and concrete walls so many people here have in common.

"He's… drinking?" The question comes from across the way and out of earsot, Risa to Doc, her eyes settled on Norman as she watches the blonde man chugging down the can. Doc glances over, shakes his head slowly, and then turns his attention back towards Shard and the others. "You know, Doc, I— I'm not getting anything here. I haven't medicated either, it's— quiet. I'm… I'm worried Norman might get upset if I— "

"You could poke out one of his eyes and I doubt he'd get upset at you," Doc murmurs, eyeing the cooler uncertainly before casting his attention back up to the young woman. "Do you want one? I'm not much of a drinker, I figure this liver has to last me for a while more." There's a crooked smile and a shake of her head Risa offers as an answer, dark hair falling down from inside of her hood as she unfolds her thin legs and slides off of the rock, sneakers brushing down on the saltgrass below.

"No, but— follow me." That very suggestion from Risa earns a confused stare from Doc, who looks around and over his shoulder and then back again before hustling to follow in the young woman's step, watching her make headway as her eyes follow the dancing flames in the air, a smile spread across her lips like a child at a carnival. And in some ways, this is the sideshow.

A smirk is his only answer to Stef's compliance. Sticking his own hands in his pockets, one hand letting the black hat dangle between two fingers he bows his head. But the kiss of heat forces him to open up his eyes, and glance up at the dance of sparks in the air. A warm smile pulls up his lips that matches the warmth rising up. His eyes flutter close, this is how it should be. This is how it could be. Dark lids flicker open to allow the dark gaze to graze over White. Does the crazy man in the bathrobe have the right idea? Is he an obstacle, a hinderance to the coming greater good?

Glancing down at the beer flicked to Stef, Shard lowers a bit. "Grab me one would you, sweetheart?" And with that the rapper is moving through the crowd. Some might start dreading at this point, one giant in the crowd approaching the other. But when Shard arrives at White it's not with lightning in his hand or a balled ifst it's with a,

Helena seems relieved to have found Delilah. Her unease is evident; she's having second thoughts about showing up. "Hey." she greets Delilah softly, murmuring, "I wish Leo was here." That seems to be all she has to say, even as she watches White and Shard. This time? She's going to do her damndest to keep her mouth shut.

The greeting that Delilah gives to Helena is all for now- her brown eyes have turned upwards to watch the faux will-o'-the-wisps whirling about overhead. At Helena's words she does look back at her, only to sidle an inch closer with silent assurance and a smile. And maybe for just a little radiating warmth other than the passing firelight. "Did you ask him to come? Or do you just feel unwell about a solo adventure?"

"You can have mine. I've never really liked beer," Stef says with a distasteful look at the can that nearly impacted her shoulder. At least she'd been able to catch it before it had, pulling hands out of her pockets in time. Even with that offer, she doesn't follow too close, perhaps waiting til she can snag a second one. A careful eye follows him, though, perhaps even paranoid about who he's approaching. Oddly she doesn't look quite as chipper as she occassionally could. Could be the feeling of the area, which doesn't intoxicate her with the same kind of adrenaline as other outings. After a few moments she does step up beside him and shove the beer she already had at him. "Here you go," she says simply, before looking back at the man who might try his best to shake the world.

Yet the world does not seem particularly disposed toward seismic disruption tonight. The weather is calm, the beer is free, the fire peculiarly harmless playing below the canopy of stars, the ghost ships turned into guardians. Everything is, for once, peculiarly easy. Madge watches the gathering from the flat square of paper she was printed out on, clipped to the handsomley proportioned origami vessel that's bound to take her out to sea in only a few hours. The bald stranger stands beside her, watching the gathering, friends seeking each other out, and enemies — and, not the least of which, also, marking those who leave it, in quiescent, curious assessment. His eyes shift, briefly, even toward Cat.

"Fuckin' un-be-lievable," Carolina's telling the boy beside her, tossing up her hands. "I'm old enough to get dragged by the frickin hair to Moab Fed Pen, locked up for… for— stupid crap and McRae won't let me drink!"

"I think you should use 'Misters' and 'frickin's," the boy answers, beaming at her sidelong. "Straight last names and 'fuck's don't go too good with your voice, you know what I'm saying? Just ends up sounding— really— cute."
It's the alcoholically deprived eleven-year-old's turn to roll his eyes, this time, overhearing that. His voice squawks out something terribly coarse about cooties, and he's swept up under the tattooed arm of a matronly figure, a Ferryman that Delilah might remember seeing once or twice around the Garden. Something else intends to abscond with Delilah's attention, however: a tennis balled flame separating itself from the drove, weaving down through the air to float in front of her milk-fair complexion. It warps slightly in the air, hissing once, twice, stretching like a rubber ball, before stretching a delicately articulated wing out of its amorphous shape, and then a second. It wriggles.

Under the glow of pyrokinetic firelights, White's face turns a flickery orange in the sedate glow. His eyes turn towards the fist, then a frown crosses his lips for a moment. "You're like one of those joke buzzers," Norman says with a crooked smile showing an all-too-sharp incisor, "except the joke is ten thousand volts and me shitting my pants." But then, he reaches up and balls up one hand to bump his own knuckles against Shard's in some sort of strange bonding moment. "I love jokes," he adds afterwards with both brows raised.

Across the creaking and groaning beach of rusted metal and saltgrass, Risa and Doc wind thorugh the crowd, it becomes clear to the older and more fedora-clad of the pair that Risa's wandering isn't entirely aimless ambling about. She comes to a sharp halt, furrows her brows and rises up on her toes, and then settles back down on her heels as she starts to make her way towards that wavering ball of flame that descended from the sky, her wide-eyed interest on something as simple as fire— until she spots Delilah on the other side of the flame. Then, there's something more intent in the Russian girl's expression.

"S'cuse me…" Risa's voice is soft, her brows raised and shoulders curled forward in a sheepish expression of anxious posture. Doc's weathered and looming presence just a few paces behind her seems largely put-off about having to baby-sit. "You— are you alright?" The question is pointedly asked to Delilah, out of the blue, with absolutely no context to it from a complete stranger.

Norman seems unaware of Risa's meanderings, his focus solely on Shard, then Stef, then back again. "Man's got a message," Norman notes quietly, gesturing over to the bald speaker to the crowd, "you remember him from the lockup?" One of Norman's brows rises higher than the other, "really soft-spoken guy, always sat out on the dirt in the hot sun? Peeps called him Shaman, like the old wise-man of Moab." There's a shake of Norman's head, brows furrowed. "He's good people." This, of course, coming from a man who when he's bored flips over cars.

"Thought he looked familiar." Vincent mumbles, ignoring the buzzer joke. Deciding it's not that funny. "I remember him now. Some of the boys didn't like him." Shard goes to pop his can open, giving a sweet smile over to Stef. "Thanks, sweetheart." With that he goes to sit next to White. "But sometimes people fear what they can't understand." The beer is tilted back. Letting out a satisfied sigh he leans back slightly.

"You know I've always heard people say that beer tastes terrible. That it's an acquired taste or whatever. That's a whole 'nother issue why people would force themselves to 'acquire a taste'." A little shrug. "But me: I've always liked beer. I know what I like, and I know what I want."

"And what I want, Norman. Is for people to live. I want to avoid as many deaths as possible. One is too many. So if we're going to do this. This contest. Maybe we should lay down some rules." Shard arches a brow and glances over to the other man.

"He couldn't make it." Helena starts to say to Delilah, when for no apparenty reason, Risa starts talking to Delilah. Yeeeeahno. Helena seems a touch like a high spirited filly, once more starting to drift away, and this time, toward the edge of the crowd. She's definitely not as comfy as she might have been had she had Cerebus here to protect her.

The orange of that winged tennis ball of flame reflects in Delilah's eyes, a speck of fire in a sea of brown iris. She stares at it for a few long seconds, both bewildered and somewhat worried as she scans the air past it towards the one that had last she known- been controlling them. The search is derailed by an unfamiliar female voice, and Delilah's eyes turn towards Risa's approach and almost instinctively her hand lifts up to try and shoo off the wisp by swathing at the air near it. Go away! The absurdity is not lost, and she tries to toss a rising smirk under the mental carpet.

"Am I alright? I- yes. I'm fine." Which is only partially a lie, if the question is about Delilah's immediate goings-on. Dee watches now as Helena edges away, frowning and turning her attention back to the new face. "Erm. Have we met?" Quite a question to ask a stranger, Risa.

Spotting Doc and Risa in the proximity of Helena now, Cat begins to meander that way while still granting an ear to the speaker. She doesn't move in such a way as to seem she's doing anything other than drifting or call attention on herself, hopefully, but she is decreasing the distance between them.

"Means more beer for you," Stef says with a light dimpled grin. In this case she knows what she dislikes and sees no reason to acquire a taste for it either, much as he said. The words exchanged with Norman make her eyes narrow a bit, a worried glance over at the man she's decided to be a bodyguard for, even if she's essentially a groupie more or less. Without any thing in hand, she crosses her arms over her chest and listens in on the conversation, a suspicious glance at the man. Even if everything seems calm tonight, she's still on edge.

Carolina bows her head slightly under the weight of her companion's affectionate hand. They share smiles, which fold inward and then implode into irritable scowls when the artificial barfing sounds of the Ferry child nearby draw their attention. All right, that's just stupid. Uncalled for, you know? "Hey!" Carolina says, starting after the child, fingers outstretched. "Stop that, you little jerk. You know, when you grow up—" She's met by denial, loud and furious, of course, whips her head around in time to catch her boyfriend wiping his face clean into nonchalance and turn his eyes away in some rather pointless effort to appear innocent. The young man notices, only then, that McRae has moved.

Small stones and salt dunes flatten, disintegrate, tumble away under the steady, ground-eating march of the old man's stride. His head is turned, eyes on the curious polygon formed by Risa, Delilah, the Doctor and the young blonde's retreating shape, his attention straying toward Helena most and last of all, but he shifts his attention back to where he's going in time to meet Shard's eye and park himself neatly in conversational proximity to the two other men.

"One of us is interrupting," he says, a smile slanting his mouth. Up closer, the ruche and pucker of scar tissue easing down over his left eye is visible. Despite the intimation of chastisement on his face and in his words, he's turning it into a joke, offsetting the solemnity of it with a slight quirk of his brows. "I'd apologize, but I'm not sure I'm the one who ought to be. Vigils aren't meant to be political. Not even this one. I hope the evening finds you well."

Repelled by the motion of Delilah's fingers, the animate flame is ducking, skittering backward, its tiny bright pinions flaring. Overhead, the others are winking out, vanishing, extinguishing like some microcosmos fast-forwarded through an entire generation of stars.

Suddenly, Shard has more of Norman's focus. "Idealists end up as casualties," White grumbles, fingers pressing into the can he holds with a plink-clink of the aluminum. "But rules— " his eyes narrow, head tilting up to look towards the stars glittering against the black canvas of the heavens above, "— those're usually for games, Shard." Norman's eyes turn, but not his head, regarding Shard with a side-long stare and a growing smile. "Lives aren't games, unless you want to get called a crazy, or a nutter," thick brows waggle up and down.

"Vinny," Norman's eyes fall shut, "it ain't a game, what you'n me are doing. One sees things from that political angle where the world ain't gonna change unless change is thrust onto it. You— you give people more credit than they're worth. You think if we write enough peppy songs, or go to enough protest rallies, that the government's going to up and fix it's shit. When in the history of ever has that worked out, Vince?" Shard's eyes narrow slightly, "War never changes, Shard. That's what this is— it's me, it's you, it's us, it's them." There's a furrowing of Norman's brows, "It's going to come to— " Then old man McRae is sidling up to their conversation, and it's all White can do to grimace away the guilty look on his face. Frowning, his head tilts to the side and eyes drift over to the older man with an apologetic smile.

"Sorry 'bout that… we tend t'get into it." White's head tilts towards Shard with a grin and a raise of his beer, voice a bit lower than it was before. "But yer right, this's your party…" It's not often someone can make White shut up, maybe it's his bald charm."

Conversations are drastically different where Risa, Delilah and Helena are, ones tinged not by conflict but rather by curiosity. "I've met you," Risa says with a hesitant expression, "but— not personally." The somewhat sybillic statement comes with a furrow of her brows, scrawny frame pulls her sweater tighter around herself as she shifts one sneaker down to the ground and lifts the weight off of one foot. "You— you didn't have any choice," Risa says quietly, her lips creeping up into an uncertain smile. "What you did to that man, in the kitchen…" What. "I saw, I felt how— I felt the fear. You have a very distinctive smile," the Russian girl adds, as if somehow the flame red hair wasn't distinctive.

"They'll all pay," Risa notes with a confident, but still somewhat light tone, "those… bigots. I don't know you, I mean— well. But, I just wanted to tell you you're not alone, and that there's people out there who aren't going to let what happened at that building go without justice being served." Listening to Risa, Doc sidles up to her and rests a hand on her shoulder, his eyes wide in that almost parental what the hell are you doing look. Risa glances over at the hand on her shoulder, offering only a thin smile in response, before looking back to Delilah as if Doc's concern isn't really warranted.

"Rules of engagement." Shard says quickly. "That's a real thing, I saw it on History channel. Or A and E, can't remember which, they're just so similar." He glances over at Stef and tries to give her a reassuring look. "If this is a war, your words not mine, then we can have rules of engagement. That makes it not a game and gives it a big boy word that you like: War."

When they're approached Shard looks sheepish as well. Taking another sip of his beer he dips his head apologetically. "My bad brother, you're right." He holds up his beer in salute to the bald man, before lowering it back down. Glancing over at White, he moves to position himself squarely in front of the man. "Let's meet you and I. And talk about this. Maybe there does have to be confrontation, but there has to be a way to save as many lives possible. Let's talk about it at a less memorial-y time." With that, Shard goes to stand up. Taking another swig, "Good seeing you Norman."

If Helena's grumpy about not being viewed as viable to be invited to this meeting of Evolved Founding Fathers, it doesn't show on her face. As she steps back however, she calls out, "Del." And tilts her head in a come on gesture. Strength in numbers, right? A quick look around sees Cat on approach, and this too, she's greatful for. But still, she wishes her Hound were here.

Delilah has moved onto other old wounds to mull over as of late, and it takes a moment of that little fire-critter flickering near her face before she fully realizes what Risa is saying. The hand attempting to shoo it away falls back down to her side, and the girl forgoes any further assault. Dee regards Risa with mild suspicion on her face, unsure of how she was supposed to react. Risa was obviously not there, but maybe she saw stragglers? There's no way to tell without asking, but Lilah refrains from it.

Rather, she waits until the young brunette has finished before smiling back. distinctive smile, if Risa says so. A maternal one- knowing, and all the same very confident, with a replay that encompasses all of any answers. "I know." Helena's voice causes her to look after the incognito figure, nodding once, just enough to be noticed. One second. "Thank you." There's not much else to say to Risa, aside from making sure that the gesture was appreciated, no matter how out of place. "Make sure you keep that attitude." Delilah nods her widening smile more gratefully towards Risa as she turns away to find Helena's trail(and away from the little winged ball of fire, provided it is still tagging along on her personal bubble. That is a very telling little hint there, if there ever was one).

No words are used when Helena meets her somewhere between where they were and are now, Cat opting not to speak and disturb the proceedings. She just stops and waits for Delilah to join them, eyes and ears still observing. Adding to her memory.

"There are such a thing as rules of engagement, yeah. There's whole book shelves on it," Stef says, the topic of war not helping her tense mood, it would seem. "Fuck, whole libraries worth, I'm sure." The idea of them meeting up may not be something she likes, from the glance she gives the dark skin man twice her age (and more if one thinks she'd only been born a few months ago, technically), but no real arguments or demands follow. Not this time.

"And how do you know it's not a big game in the grand scheme of things, anyway?" she asks Norman while they're still close, eyebrows up. "Not saying we're just pieces or nothin', that's dehumanizing, but there are things that happen that are outside anyone's control. And something's not us seems to be controlling it." Unfortunately the things that are uncontrollable include what her idealistic boss is trying to prevent.

"God knows White and I have had our share of disagreements," the old man says, his mouth crooking, wry. He claps a hand down on the broad shoulder of the apparently religious sociopath in question. He lifts his head at Shard, acknowledging his desire to depart in the same breath as he beseeches, "Stay awhile. Have another drink. Two a head 's roughly what Tanja prepared us for, and it's rare you get to sit and speak with your enemy like a civilized gentleman these days, isn't it? Why end the first because you've made time for the second?

"The only thing we ever seem to agree on is where we stand with our non-Evolved counterparts. Which would be: above." Frank as the day is bright. "What we do with that knowledge is about as different between us as night and day. I happen to be a big fan of the 'minimal casualties' situation, myself. I don't involve myself in the politics.

"None of my people do, but I believe it's an honorable thing both of you try. Phoenix, as well." Silver bristled stubble around the cut of his chin catches a glint of diminishing firelight from the sky, makes a crescent of silver lining when he pulls his mouth into a smile. His eyes turn, flitting past the Phoenix operatives present this time without incident, trapping Stef's gaze with his scar-notched eye. "He doesn't. No one knows that it isn't a big game; frankly, I'm sure that it is. But I can't begrudge either your friend or mine trying to humanize the pieces or make sense of what would otherwise seem like random violence. Chaos. I believe that is why we were given these abilities. Control — over physics, beyond the grasp of other animals."

Carolina yanks at the pyrokinetic's arm, and finally he gives up, with a imploding flicker of flame. "Who fucking needs a white girl, anyway? Probably couldn't stuff her cervix back into its hole with a Goddamn shovel," he tells her, under his breath— though not far under enough that a word or two isn't audible on a snatch of wind, his dark brows accented downward in stark ill-temper. She only laughs, a little nervous, more than slightly exasperated, shakes her head hard enough to send her dark ponytail jouncing in jovial parabolas. Raising her arm, she calls out at Shard: "Hey, senor superstar.

"You need a ride out of here?" He looks like he's about to leave. He's famous. She's biting her lip at the chance to show off.

Licking her lips, Risa eyes Delilah side-long and opens her mouth to say something else, right about the same time Doc is grabbing her by the shoulder and giving her a gentle tug, his eyes focused in the direction of Helena and Cat with a narrowed stare, as if he can't quite make out who they are. "Enough, Risa." Doc's voice is lacking in patience, and the whine she gives is something like an excitable puppy being dragged away from a funny new smell.

Pulling her back and away, Doc looks over towards where Shard, White and McRae are gathered, at least marginally relieved that no one is punching anyone yet and this hasn't devolved into gunfire and screaming. He sighs, heavily, and takes Risa by the hand and starts leading her back to the rock she was perched on earlier, like some delicate doll that should not have too much exposure to the elements.

"See?" White nods towards McRae, eyes focused on Shard. "The old man's got a good head on his shoulders, he and I— " there's a smile, "he was the only person in the dark hole I'd talk to. Usually he was too busy talkin' to the trees— " of which there weren't any in Moab or in that region of Utah, "to really hear, so it was kinda' nice." There's a smile offered to McRae, and then a slouch of White's shoulders.

"We can talk, figure things out… I don' mind that, Vince. But you'n I, we don't see eye to eye, an' I don't think we ever will." There's regret, perhaps oddly placed as he did throw Vincent to the wolves at the Pancratium before, but even bipolar people have their upswings. "Rules of engagement… I can dig that," he adds before draining the last of the beer out of his can and crushing it in one hand.

"S'got kind've a nice ring to it."

Helena seems relieved, once she's amongst friends. Turning to Cat, she murmurs softly, "I don't know that we need to be here. Leo wouldn't like it." Yeah, complete bullshit excuse, much? "Do you want to go? They can sort out their problems, we've got our own agenda."

"It makes me a bit uneasy, the way those two seem to drift in your direction, Helena," Cat replies for her alone to hear. They were around the other time we came across these folks. So leaving may be safer." But there's a pause as she glances at the photos of Mage, images of her weapons and those carried by attackers turning to plant material playing out in her head.

It's the same quiet, Helena's ears only voice still when she speaks again. "Delilah and I were present when the woman being memorialized died. I think she was the one who made the weapons turn to plants." That said, she seems open to either staying or leaving at Helena's decision.

"Or maybe our abilities give us even less control. I know it didn't do much to give me any control over mine, at least not until recently," Stef says, though there's an ironic smirk to that statement, whether anyone knows that she wouldn't exist without abilities at all. Certainly hadn't been in her control, either. Or even given her a hint of control over her own enviroment. "Maybe our abilities are just another way whatever is pushing us in whatever direction the force behind all of it wants us to go." Despite the somewhat spiritual quality to her words, she suddenly looks away at the woman offering Shard a ride. Those arms are crossed over her chest again, and the smile turns into something a little less than friendly. "He happens to be my ride, so find someone else, little chickie."

It takes Carolina all of like, three seconds— and Stef's territorial response to deduce that the erstwhile rapper isn't quite done with the conversation yet. Last grain of rice to tip the scales when White's boys trample back into scope of her view, which means she's squaring into theirs— alarming enough that she snaps her attention back around, shoulders stiffened, giving her pyrokinetic friend a squeeze on the shoulder before she begins to pick her way around the bright pieces that constitute the tiny shrine to the dead.

"Hey." The Hispanic girl's voice knocks up against the back of Helena's head, this time. She cranes her head, tries to catch Cat's eyes over the atmokinetic's shoulder and under the obfuscating edge of the lawyer's cap, fingers outstretched. "You guys…" Shyness seizes her, sudden and unwonted, either because Stef left her in a mood or because— she's been hanging out with boys, too long. Cat, Deililah and Helena form a triage of different energy that hits her full in the face the instant she leaves the radius of firelight. Her arm falls, and the wind picks at her brown shirt like nervous fingers. She crooks Delilah a sudden grin, a few inches too wide, too obviously in regret at her friend's lack of manners though she shies away from making a thing of it, given the Englishwoman hadn't. "You're with the Ferry, right? I seen some of you around. I can drop you off at 'most any safehouse on Staten. Couple on Manhattan. Somewhere discreet. If you guys need a go outta here. I'm Carolina, but I think you knew that." Her eyes shade and lock on Helena's paler ones, briefly, optimism tugging at the corner of her mouth.

Shaman is laughing, rolling with White's punches easy. Probably because there's no actual terrakinesis adding crushing tonnage to them. "Trees would have been nice. I've worked on farms all my life. But no," he sighs, presses away the darkness that threatens its flicker through the strange serenity that pervades the gathering here. "Not even the wind carried their voices far enough to reach Moab Fed Pen. For you, miss," he offers Stef a smile. Borrows a moment to nod in salutation to Risa and the other man stepping up. "I'd argue what 'it' gave you was just subtler than you would've wished it was, but there all the same. Congratulations on mastering your ability."

Looking up towards McRae, White nods his head and offers a peaceable smile to the old man, one hand lifted in a salute to his brow. "Thanks, for the beer… and the words, old man." There's a crinkling to the corners of his eyes as he adds, "God bless," to his sentence, and leans back to recline on the sand and saltgrass with his elbows, eyes focused on Shard and Stef, then up to Risa and Doc as they draw near.

For them, it's the beginning of one conversation and the end of another, under starlight. But tonight isn't about them, it's about those who have come, gone, and those to be remembered.

Either Dee didn't hear him over herself, or she has had enough of pinheads to last her for a long time. Possibly a bit of both. Another girl's voice catches her by the ear, and whether or not the other two women turn, Delilah does, her smile still present when she regards Carolina. "Well, I won't say no to a ride. What about you guys?" The redhead nods at Carolina, casting a glance over towards Cat and Helena.

She thinks for a moment, studying Carolina and comparing the face with the extensive catalog of faces in her memory. No matter the destination, she decides shortly after, it's likely closer to where she docked the boat on the way over. "What're you driving?" Cat asks the latina.

Finally, the girl's smile evens keel, finds neat symmetry on her face. She spares a quick glance over her shoulder, at where the Ferrymen, friends, local associates are finally loosening out of their social knot, a few dwindling into the distance, a handful lingering to squat low over the photographs and toy boats. It doesn't escape her notice, that White and his lot are heading off with Shard. She's of a mind to make her own getaway, soon, before the earth takes these boats down and the shove the tide up.

"I drive this." She scrunches her sneakers on the sand, setting herself into a balanced stance, straightening her back. She lifts one tawny-skinned arm up at the barren flat of sand and wrinkling surf, stretches her fingers out. The dewy susurruss of the wind lulls, begins to fail, moonlight bending, faltering, the panoramic stretch of the maritime graveyard warping inward until it abruptly tears open.

A round portal. On the other side, a cramped and dingy gray street opens out, narrow. Cat recognizes it in an instant, though it's only interchangeable and passingly familiar to the other women, the skinny gulf of alleyway back behind the yellow house in Chelsea. They'd set up Pen refugees there. Eileen had brought some of them.

Helena peeps around from Cat, eyes the portal. "Huh." she says. "S'nifty." But she'll hesitate to actually make the jump, if only because well, how does she know it's not a completely alternate universe or possible future? Hey, it's happened!

Delilah is up for adventures, and so the chance that it is some alternate reality doesn't cross her mind(or if it does, it is not a bad crossing). "Ohhh fffffuuu- sweet." The sound from the redhead is impressed, and rather astonished. See something new every day. Hesitantly, she does reach forward to poke at the center, the rest of her tense. "It's like Blink! Only you don't come in lilac…" If the poking does nothing of note, Delilah will immediately gather herself up with a laugh and step sidelong through the rip in the air.

Her thoughts aren't far from Helena's; she wasn't present for that journey but she knows the tale. Cat eyes the portal briefly, then Carolina. "That's certainly more interesting than a Cadillace," she remarks dryly. "You're coming with us, yes?" Plan: keep Carolina close so she can portal back to the boat tomorrow morning. If the answer is affirmative, she steps through.

"W-well. Tonight, I was gonna stay with my boyf…" The declaration stalls out on her lips, stopped short when she bites down. Glances over her shoulder, to where the pyrokinetic and the youth who'd come to her while the Shaman was talking are standing together.

Discussing— something, which then promptly dissolves into faked punches, a headlock. The wind brings a snatch of conversation back to where she's standing and she recognizes a surname, the surname of some— monster truck driver, and she finds herself effectively appalled that she actually recognizes the surname. "Sure. Mi safehouse es su safehouse, huh? I'll be right in, let me just tell them I'm gonna hang out on the mainland a little bit.

"Be right back." She flits her hand up in a wave. Goes to peg her boy's ear with a flurry of words. The pyrokinetic looks back when she points, his gaze contracting into a squint at Delilah's figure through the open gateway.

Something pricks at Helena's elbow. Nothing particularly worrisome, symptomatic, or invasive, merely unexpected: a bit of cold.

Helena frowns a little, lifting her elbow. "Did you feel that?" she asks of Cat. When Delilah steps through, she shrugs, and without further word, steps through the portal. Being away from Norman makes her feel infinitely better.

"It's all good, Carolina," Cat assures. "Just let me know how to reach you in the morning. Need to come collect my boat." Helena's question draws her attention, but the answer is spoken to her back as she steps through the portal. "Feel what?"
Focus goes back to Carolina, followed by another question. "Did something just happen here?"

Powder salt flits away from under the running kick of Carolina's shoes, returning. She slows to a walk, a brisk trot, combing her fingers through the long, dense tail of her hair, and pulls it down around her shoulder with a nervous flick of her thumb. "I don't think so?" she says, tilting her head. Delilah is visible through the mouth of the portal, Helena filtering into view beside her, but neither sound nor light come through with the clarity than it should. "Everything…" Confusion ladders her brow with a brief set of lines. "I don't think anything's going on..?

"Chuckles doesn't mind if I hang out tonight," she adds with something that resembles impatience. Nothing rude. She pushes her fingers into her pockets and holds Cat's attention with a steadily earnest stare. In her face, there's as much of the youth that McRae had pointed out as there is that thready, withering of fatigue and premature stress that so often follows Helena around, lately. "Can I? Would you mind?

"It's been awhile since I was with anyone who— wears baseball caps, or makes jokes about comics. And isn't— a guy."

Letting out a quiet chuckle, Cat nods to preface a reply. "Of course." Then she steps through the portal, and on the other side repeats her question to Helena. "Feel what?"

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