A Paine To Watch


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Scene Title A Paine To Watch
Synopsis A memorial service for the victims of Humanis First. Nobody dies. Nothing explodes.
Date July 07, 2009

It is the late afternoon when people begin to gather in New Rochelle; winding their way through uptown and to the suburban neighborhood that usually does not see this kind of activity. They park along streets, and taxi through. Delilah first put out the anonymous word thinking that if she were lucky, at least a few people may turn up that she could perhaps even chat with.

What was a few people turned into a few more, and a few more, and then a few more. By the time that Delilah actually arrives at the even she stirred up with a few choice notes on the backs of leaflets is now officially an event, it appears. One that seems to have blocked off part of the street, even though the people seem to be trying to stay out of they way, actually for once being courteous. The gathering is quiet for what it is; a couple of hundred people milling about one particular building and gravesite. The site itself seems to have garnered what looks like a colorful mound- when in fact it is simply a crowd of flowers and such left behind. Pictures too, of the people that were injured, or of the people that died. Some have even gone so far as to include anyone else taken by fault of Humanis First over the past months, or suspected to have been murdered. What was intended as a gathering for the people used in the words of her leaflets has turned into a peaceful vigil against the very force that happens to be Humanis First. Against the very force that began what they supposedly stand for, and in defense of Thomas Paine's old words, taken on a modern ride.

Luckily, everyone is getting along with everyone else, because the only folks here agree on one thing- the loss of life is sad, no matter who you are. The gathering is reserved, and as the sun is filtered orange and pinkish red behind the clouds, from somewhere in the crowd, there comes candles. Passing themselves out, practically. The Memorial has evolved into a Candlelight Vigil.

Taking her time on the fringes of the crowd, which still seems to be growing, Delilah is one of the first on the outer edge to take the offer of a candle. She is dressed in black- a black skirt, flats, and a black, kimono-sleeved blouse that gives ready space to a single gold necklace and a splash of color in its pendant. A fiery-colored bird. Her hair is down, tinted more orange and yellow in the setting sun. At the very least, she is not the only one with hints of the motif.

When Max Quinn announced his intentions to come to the memorial, Paramount's insurance agents nearly had a fit. But he knew most of the people who died. Two of them, he'd worked with on previous films. He feels like someone from the movie should be here. His agent and the producer tried to convince him to just send his condolences, but Max was adamant. He's not exactly used to being any kind of celebrity. Not that he's really done anything worthwhile. And at the moment, his name's more likely to ring a bell than his face.

The stuntman is dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt and dark jeans. His hand is bandaged and there's a spray of scrapes across his face from shrapnel. There's a dull ringing that bubbles in his ears. He's carrying a large bouquet of flowers and a signed card from the set which he moves forward to place with the other offerings.

While not an active participant, Isis was still an avid follower of the news. The stories of the latest tragedies had touched her as all those before had, a fact that never showed on the little redheads ever practiced and maintained mask. It seemed unfair that she most often did not meddle in these public affairs. So she makes an exception today, making a point of arriving to the gathering ahead of time. Black slacks, pitch tank, ebon gloves and a small, onyx, leather jacket - only the locks of her scarlet, vivacious curls seem to conflict with the somber attire. She shifts to allow a few people ahead of her despite her early arrival, taking a backseat to the event in favor of giving room to those closer to the fallen during their lives, and to keep herself carefully from coming into contact with anyone around her, gently taking a candle offered to her with only a softly muttered, "Thank you."

No matter how buried under a hectic, occupation-centered life Mona may claim to be, there is always room to make time for events such as these. Like so many other like-minded people, the writer is here now to go through the motions of paying respect; the fact that she had known none of the victims personally doesn't matter. Her arrival had only been a few minutes ago, and she had taken a position on the edges of the throng to show for it, looking a little windswept. In a crowd of so many, she doesn't stand out: she too is dressed darkly, garments consisting of a black pea coat, a dark-blue blouse beneath, and dark jeans. Coincidence happens to place her quite close to Delilah, who she briefly glances up and over at as she quietly accepts her own candle. Her hair lifts and blows over her shoulders, slightly, and she tucks a lock behind one ear. The atmosphere isn't loud, but — so many thoughts. Perhaps it had been a mistake to come out here.

Closeby, Mona gets to see the tints of gold brushing over Delilah's eyelids, shadowing her gaze as it stays downturned while she even helps Mona light her own candle, wordlessly. She's an open book, as far as telepaths go; thoughts of Humanis, thoughts of her writing for Phoenix, mixed snippets of things from the past few weeks. Leaving it to Mona to actually sidle along if she so chooses, Delilah wanders the doxen or so feet closer to where the mound of offerings are growing- and where Max is leaving his own- Delilah hovers close enough nearby to be able to see the card he leaves with the bouquet.

She looks aside to him once he does, candlelight already flickering off of her brown eyes, and the small bird below her collarbone. "You're from the movie set?" Her voice is hushed, as to not draw him any attention he may not want all of a sudden.

The card has the Paramount logo on the front, and the promotional logo for Multiple Man beneath it. Inside are the signatures of probably fifty people. The words are crowded together and overlap onto the back cover. He tucks it in such a way that people can read if they like.

Max turns to Delilah when she speaks to him. He lifts a fist to his mouth and coughs briefly. "Uh, yeah. Studio's set up a memorial fund. The uh…" he looks back towards the growing pile, then awkwardly shoves his hands into his pockets. "…they were good people. Just doing their jobs. Didn't deserve to go out like that." He casts an almost paranoid look around, as if he's afraid of being cornered by the press.

Isis watches the small shift through the crowd, following Delilah's motions that aligned the woman's dark, chocolate-hued gaze upon Max, as well. She watches the duo with idle interest. Her own thoughts, if picked out from among the mess of the crowd are… troubling. They hint at a contained unsteadiness that seems to contradict the very calm appearance of the little redhead - first sadness, the hollow thoughts of sorrow for those have died, which is quickly fed into rambling thoughts of anger that do not show on the girl's soft features. Her shoulders lift and lower in a deep sigh as she turns her sights down to the small candle cradled in her gloved fingertip.

Mona mouths a barely audible 'thanks' at the younger girl, briefly holding out her candle so as to make it easier to light. Her glance, only casual at first, sharpens in a reserved, watchful way from her shadowed face; images of Phoenix, including both work that Delilah had accomplished and several of the associated people with the organization, flit through her mind for her to palm through leisurely. She doesn't have much time to exclusively concentrate on them, though, as she silently follows just behind Delilah's wake. "It's good of you," she says at Max in reference to his studio after listening to the short exchange, and a hushed pause. "It's terrible that it should've happened to these people— or anybody. Nobody deserves." She lets this trail off abruptly, voice reflecting a fresh wave of tired sorrow; probably no need to finish.

It's likely that some part of the press is on the way, but nobody so far with cameras and microphones. Delilah stands by Max at the now mountain of pictures and posies, the candle in her hands wavering only slightly in the air. The redhead puts a hand up beside it, coddling it much like anything else to her. "You're quite right." Delilah answers, after listening to Mona and Maxwell both. A universal agreement, wherein she does not specify the target of her words.

For Mona, at least one rather interesting tidbit- Tommie Paine, the leaflet's author- the pen name is Delilah's, of course.

The gathering itself seems to simmer quietly, a blob of people in the middle of suburbia that murmurs and mutters around each other. Some people, like Max, knew someone that died; at least one family is here too, and it appears to have been them that began passing out the candles in the sherbet-colored sunset light. Now littered with dots of flame, the street is only half clear, some of the local law having come to at the very least, put up some wooden blocks. And of course, eventually, here comes the local news van, shiny white against the dull gray of the road outside the Paine House.

Maxwell is starting to look a little agitated. He ends up meeting Isis' gaze for a brief moment before glancing away and down to the memorial. He rubs at a spot on the back of his neck and winces as the sting of a cut is irritated by the movement. When Mona approaches, the stuntman's shoulders tighten. He offers her a small smile. "All we're trying to do is entertain." Her words bring up memories of the van exploding, of fire and ringing in ears, of people laid out like the middle of a warzone. Midtown didn't really need to see more death.

The stuntman glances to Delilah, then takes a moment to consider the memorial, then backs up to allow more people room to approach the growing pile. Now the predominenant thought in his head is 'oh god I hope no one recognizes me.'

Isis flashes a quick, half-hearted smile in Maxwell's direction, the expression the sort that is easily and quickly forgettable, offering among kind enough passersby on the street. She lifts her head, the halo of her scarlet locks catching the light as she turns to note the arrival of the news vans. She shakes her head disapprovingly and looks back to the memorial. The dark, velvet fan of her lashes fall to kiss her cheeks as she closes her eyes. While certainly not religious, it does not hurt to think on and even in some manner pray for these lost souls and that is precisely what the little woman does.

Black seems to be the color of the hour. Convenient for people with a preference for an absence of color. Convenient for Emile Danko.

He's dressed in matte shades of sable and ink from collar to dress shoes, all crisp, flat lines and pressed planes across the flat of his shoulders and the compact knot of his tie. Suit coat buttoned, hands in his pockets, he exudes confidence the way hagfish exude filthy snot: chin lifted, spine straight, shoulders at ease. Face sunken and pale over the neat lift of his collar, he makes no apologies for his lateness past a polite nod to the few on the fringes that glance his way when his footfalls scuff closer and his somewhat limited stature becomes more readily apparent to those nearest. Can't have everything.

For all the somber sadness and quiet reflection, there's a steel, predatory edge to the graze of his mind across the skulls he makes his way past, a younger, darker woman at his heels. Someone offers him a candle. He takes it. How nice of them!

Blink, blink. Now this is kind of interesting. The Tommie Paine flash is picked up from Delilah, as well as Maxwell's explosive imagery and his exceedingly strong desire not to be recognized. One really doesn't need to be a telepath, though, to recognize the agitation quite visibly wracking his frame. Mona sends a brief glance the stuntman's way as she sees him tighten, her question one of outward concern; she slows in her step. "Hey. You okay?"

Like some others, she raises her eyes at Danko and Aude as they arrive and move closer to the heart of the gathering, wordless.

No uniform for Aude, not when she's tagging at said shaved skull's heels. A candle accepted as well, Aude advances in tandem with Danko, long dark fingers twining round the taper in her hand. Solemn, quiet, dark eyes roving back and forth across the gathered crowd.

Delilah subconsciously follows Maxwell as he takes a step back to let people around him, a hand lifting from her candle to gesture at his facial injuries. "You were there." That makes Delilah feel some pride for him- usually when a non-entity sends well wishes, it isn't so meaningful, is it? Condolences are one thing- someone that was there is another.

The van that pulls up across the road rolls to a stop, and one of the seemingly lazier cops goes to make sure that it is actually a vehicle of a news station. Someone has an eye, thank goodness. The done-up field reporter steps out with the cameraman, and they remain on that side of the road while she makes an introduction to the camera. Live feed? Quite Possibly.

"Fine, fine. I was just kinda close when that bomb went off. Nerves are sort of frayed." Max offers another fleeting, twitchy smile to Mona. Eye contact with Delilah is brief, but it's long enough to confirm that yes, he was there.

The sight of the news van has him veering subtly off in the other direction. His agent asked only one favour. If he was going to be stubborn and go, then avoid the press. He's not exactly prepared to handle them. The media doesn't have much interest in a stuntman. He has to remember he's more than that now. He's the star of a controversial movie that terrorists attacked. That thought is at the forefront of his mind. "I…should probably go."

Another soft sigh to lift and lower the gentle curves of her shoulder and Isis opens her eyes. She purses her pale lips and blows out the candle in her hand. The little redhead takes a long moment of momentary peacefulness as she watches the wax cool, only to turn her gloved fingers more tightly around the little wax stick and turn away from the memorial. She begins to pick her way through the crowd - a slow going process when she must first mutter a quite and repetitive "Excuse me," and wait for people to step from her path before moving on, taking every precaution not to make a scene on this most serene and somber evening. Her direction aims her towards the fringes of the crowd, towards Danko and Aude, actually. Her thoughts read a softly tempered 'I've come. I've done my part. Poor people…' as she moves on.

"Pity, isn't it?" All these soft bodies and feeble minds milling around in close contact and not a single bomb to fold them over like paper dolls. Brows canted up at an angle that can't quite force itself to be sincere, Danko keeps his voice down to a respecful murmur, candlelight playing wan yellow light off the sharp cut of his suit when he finally draws himself to a halt to better survey those gathered. The setting sun casts red across the backs of his shoulders, but only for as long as it takes a taller pair behind him to shift sideways enough to plunge him back into cooler shadow.

Misery, misery, misery. The lifeless grey of his eyes passes from face to face, probing cold where his mind can't in search of unease. Fear. Anything that might make a person worth committing to memory. "Such a waste." Isis's approach earns a more direct inspection, softened by a more sympathetic lilt to articulate brows on his way to glancing sideways at the flower pile.

"A very big pity" Aude's words are echoe'd, clutching the candle and looking appropriately sad for the event. A glance to Isis and then she's looking around once more. Wondering who all is evolved, who isn't, if they are, what can they do? There is quite a turn out. "Press is here" A discreet and subtle pointing of her chin towards said press.

She arrives in her customary way, drifting toward the street from above at the back and keeping to the fringes of the crowd. It was a short enough journey to make after work ended for the day at Biomere. Maria doesn't seek to call attention to herself there, but neither does she seem worried about being seen to hover there and watch briefly. Her face is unhidden. The Persian-Hispanic woman, clad in a blouse and pants suitable for work in an office, watches what transpires in front of her. Then her eyes close for a moment, she crosses herself. When the eyes reopen she's rising again, at a slow enough pace not to generate wind in her wake, and heading back to Manhattan.

"Oh, god. It's okay. I understand," is Mona's sympathetic-sounding reply at Maxwell, after listening to his explanation and a tiny attempt at a smile. "You can relax here. Nothing's out to get you." Hers is either a completely oblivious reassurance, or a pointed reference to—

Oh, and what have we here. Aude's thoughts are honed in upon, with Mona lowering her eyebrows slightly and wondering to herself why someone would be looking out for Evolved now. How interesting. Her eyes shift towards Danko's pale-skinned form next; it doesn't take much more than a brief, mental skim to identify him, at least, as a happy Humanis buddy. She stays silent.

"At least you did come, right?" Delilah smiles, and almost moves to follow Maxwell another step, but her attention is drawn away by the van that pulls up across the road. She peers curiously over the top of heads at them, and the brunette speaking into the camera's lens. The redhead is distracted enough by the van and the sun(which has shone through the clouds and has spilled orange over the couple of hundred folks at the vigil) that Max probably has time to step away.

Unease? Fear? Danko is out of luck, save for Stuntman Max, who is uncomfortable for other reasons. For the most part, the crowd is respectfully demure, and introspective when it counts. Feeble minds, Danko calls them, but strong, resilient faces.

Isis arranges another false, empty half-smile for Danko and Aude when they glance her way, tipping her body to slide through the last finger of the crowd. She stops, her body visibly easing as she is free of the close-knit press of mourners and caring visitors, pausing long enough to turn back and look a last time upon the gathering with a more serene, appreciative smile for the group as a whole that has come to support one another in the time of sadness.

And Maxwell does indeed take that opportunity to slip away, but not without a polite smile to the women he was conversing with. He walks off briskly towards a parked nondescript sedan. Strange, that doesn't look like a car that a guy like him would drive. And there looks to be someone in it waiting for him. He doesn't look like the kind of guy who'd have a driver either.
Max only gets halfway to the car before his luck runs out. Someone recognizes his picture from the paper and mumbles to someone else. The rumour spreads pretty quickly through the crowd. The star of that movie is here.

The smile Danko forces for Isis in return is the kind of mislead corner of the mouth tugs that has a tendency to make babies cry. Fortunately, there are none in close proximity. Unfortunately, he feels a pair of eyes on him and the steril trace of his glare brushes sideways to lock onto Mona with near automatic precision.

His expression is hard to read at a distance — maybe polite inquiry, or interest. She's not a bad looking woman, after all. It's more what's behind the skullish sink of his eyes that's the problem. A flicker of instinctual suspicion that ghosts more naturally over into a look after Max's retreat and Delilah's linger. Hm. "See anyone you know?"

That's to Aude in a private aside, too quiet to be easily overhead and innocious even so.

"Just that guy from the movies. No one else. Never seen any of these people in the precinct" just as quietly whispered back, the pair looking like they might be exchanging quiet, private words of sympathy and mourning. "Multiple man?"

The only look Mona returns as she locks eyes with Danko's glare is a slightly bemused one, maintaining innocence by way of obliviousness. What?

Maxwell manages to get to the car before anyone actually cuts him off. He drops into the back of the sedan and the car rolls away from the scene. Then he picks up his phone and calls his agent. "Casey? I'm fine. You can put away the whiskey, all right? Not a scratch on me."

With that last imparted smile, Isis turns her back to the crowd and turns her boots to the sidewalk, taking a casual pace to her retreat from the dark, sad atmosphere that clings around the memorial and setting herself towards a long walk back home.

Only a short time after Maxwell slinks away, does Delilah actually hear who he was, by the whispers of the crowd. Oh, well. That changes everything. He was the star? It means a lot more for him to have come himself. She turns to Mona as her peripheral vision notices the woman's stillness, an inquisitive look registering on her features. But, she doesn't need to ask, with the 'what's she staring at?' filtering through the fog.

"Ballsy of him to show his face without protection," says Danko, who is here…showing his face without protection. None that's visible through the flat press of his suit, anyway. Candle still in hand, he looks back to Mona for just a few seconds more, inquiry met with inquiry. One brow tips up a notch or two higher than the other, very nearly warning, and off he sinks deeper into the crowd, Aude in tow.

Like a puppy on a leash and with candle still in hand, she follows, Aude, dark curls disappearing in with the rest of the crowd who's come as the flyer dicated.

Once Danko has broken the stare and moved off, Mona shifts a little and shakes her head, lifting her gaze to watch the last of Maxwell's sneaky journey out. The whispers around her concerning the man's identity are listened to without comment. "No wonder he was so antsy," she comments aloud, half to herself. Then it's her turn to let her glance hover at the people about her for a few seconds before she, too, melts into the crowd — in a different direction. Duty calls, and now that she's done what she came here to do, she feels it's best to answer.

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