After The Ball Was Over


abby_icon.gif cat_icon.gif conrad_icon.gif edward_icon.gif elvis_icon.gif helena_icon.gif rickham_icon.gif

Scene Title After The Ball Was Over
Synopsis Phoenix and the President Elect regroup.
Date December 19, 2008

New York Public Library

Some time has passed since the events out in the streets of New York amid the falling snow. They'd retreated here for shelter to regroup and have still injured people tended to. Things are therefore a bit calmer for the moment, with the two guests left to talk among themselves for a short time. They're not being ignored, just not actively being held in conversation or watched over. People are nearby, if they needed or wanted anything it'd just be a matter of speaking up.

The five foot eight inch brunette who'd been with the weathermaker is off on her own. Cat had removed her coat and carried it with her, taking a seat on the floor in one corner of the main area. She's in view of both the President-elect and MIT physicist, her eyes focused on a wall.

"I miss you," she says quietly. "Guilt's not so much anymore, not altogether what you asked, but on the road there. It was a weird night, Dani. We set out to prevent the President-elect from being assassinated, and here he is, our guest, along with that scientist from Harvard. Edward Ray." She chuckles a bit, then lowers her head to rest on her hands. Were anyone to watch her have this one sided conversation, he would see there's more to this woman than the cold relayer of facts, just as she said to the MIT man on the way here.

He still hasn't transformed back to his fleshy self, and Rickham's metallic form rests hunched like a living version of the Thinker on an old wooden bench overlooking what was once a reception desk for the Library. His dark, hematite-colored eyes stare vacantly. Bereft, now, of Matt Parkman, he's given to silence. Having insisted that Abigail Beauchamp tend to the more fleshy and wounded Homeland Security agent before himself, Allen now watches the other guest of Phoenix mill about the library.

Edward is fascinated, by the library itself, by the very idea of utilizing a place of knowledge and learning as a base of operations for a counter-government movement. He stands not far from where Cat quietly speaks to herself, holding a heavy black-sleeved book in one hand, open to the middle with a fascinated look in his eyes. Occasionally, he'll look up from the pages to Catherine, then back down again. Once she quiets, though, he's determined himself to keep the conversation going. After all, the odds are good that any silence now would be terribly awkward.

"You'll have to forgive me," Edward says in a humble tone, "I — If yoou introduced yourself while we were on the move, your name's slipped my mind." He strolls over, having shed his winter jacket due to the warmth of the heating systems running in the Library, now only covered by a brick red alpaca sweater and his khaki pants, soaked from the knees down in snow. "I — I'm starting to ease up a bit. This — This all was a bit more than I had expected." With a flexing of his fingers, he slaps the book closed and sets it down on the edge of the reception desk. A copy of Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time." There's a faint smile, and he offers a still gloved hand out to Cat. "Edward Ray, professor of particle physics at MIT." She already knows, but it's only polite. "And — It would seem I can add radical liberal to that now." His laugh is nasaly, awkward and almost chuckling.

Conrad's going to kill her.

Once he wakes up, once his bones are set and he's up and ambulatory, Helena's fairly certain Conrad's going to kill her, not just because she involved him in this mess, but because they're in the Library…and so is the sleeping form of Matt Parkman, telepath and HomeSec flunky. For a while, Helena just stayed in her room, blanket up over her head, and did her best to sleep and not think about what went down. But reality must inevitably be faced, and so she rose, did her best to get ready for the day, and spent some time in the kitchen cooking a breakfast for the some twenty or so who took up residence and general loitering around the library. Plus special guests. Leaving it the employee cafe, she finally trudges out to the main hall, taking in who's placed where from the top of the stairway.

She stiffens a bit when spoken to, perhaps annoyed with herself at having been seen indulging in an expression of grief and loss by the man who came across them outside the Deveaux building. It's shaken off soon, as Cat stands and turns to face the scientist. Her hand comes out to meet his and shake once. "Doctor Catherine Chesterfield, Yale '05 and '08," she replies in a steady voice. "Cat will do, though. And I could debate you on the radical liberal claim, Doctor. It could just as easily be radical conservative." Her hair remains in the ponytail she tied it into before heading out to the streets, her clothing is a hooded sweatshirt with jeans and winter boots. Her eyes have a sadness to them, something perhaps she held out of them when it was neccessary to focus and tend to business at hand, which crept back in with the absence of stress.

"There's not much that's conservative about what I decided to do today, I think. But I'm not a poly-sci major." There's a bit of a crooked smile as Edward reconsiders something, "Yale, was it? I won't hold it too much against you." He lets out a chuckling laugh, shaking her hand politely before tucking his hands into the pockets of his khakis, he just can't seem to shake off the cold. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to do more earlier," Blue eyes track over to Rickham's metallic form, just sitting there in thoughtful silence, and Edward lowers his voice some, though not enough to prevent him from being overheard, it's more out of some misguided attempt to be considerate. "I — I knew this was going to happen. His revelation?" Edward raises one brow, turning his statement into a question.

"I — I think I might have gift, like him, like Miss Dean." Blue eyes track to one side for a moment. It's a fair question to wonder both how he knows Helena's name, and how he knows she would have been the right person to question about this. "I can see things — probability?" One brow arches, "I don't see the world like everyone else does, not — not anymore." There's a faint smile, and he leaves it at that. "But if I view a situation, I can project possible outcomes based on theoretical events and get a strong estimate as to how they play out. Though, my projections are only as strong as my information. I — I had predicted that Rickham's presidential candidacy was covering something up from research I had done, it… it was a simple matter to deduce what it was." To his credit, Rickham doesn't look towards Edward when he's spoken of, he — like a statue — remains motionless. Not even breathing.

"I had projected the events of the attack, of…" He shakes his head, "My predictions assumed that Rickham was outed on national television, and that he would lose his office." Blue eyes drift from Cat to the metallic man, then back again. "Seems that may be exactly what happens." Given only four hours have passed since the attack, and the lack of many televisions down in the Library, it' no small wonder that Edward is unaware of the media blackout, courtesy of one Hana Gitelman.

Helena pads down the stairs, giving a look to the pair that's inexplicable as she passes, moving to step into the visual path of Rickham. "You…should be able to switch back now, sir." she says to him awkwardly. "There aren't any null zones here." Not at present, anyway. Her eyes dart back to the pair, and she looks at Rickham searchingly, since he's so still Tenatively, she reaches out a hand to gingerly try and touch his arm, as if to confirm that he's turned into a statue.

"Conservative can be defined in several ways," Cat suggests, "there are social conservatives, and political conservatives. Those who believe that government is best which governs least. Labels can be applied in so many ways, really. To paraphrase the Bard, what's in a label? They who are tagged radical liberal, by any other name, still are just people who won't sit still for being locked away in concentration camps." Her eyes study him for a moment longer, then drift over toward Helena reaching out to touch the sculpture-like incoming President, before returning to the professor. "I'm not worried about his future," she replies. "And I suspected you had some degree of predictive ability from the way you talked, telling us the Deveaux building would hold up." A slight grin forms. "Let's see if your powers of probability lead you to what mine is. Or what I hold that doctorate in."

Rickham looks up with those dark, metallic eyes when Helena transposes herself between his vacant stare and the spot in space he wasn't entirely focusing on. There's a quick narrowing of his eyes, more scrutinizing than anything else as he takes the young woman's appearance in. Outside of her winter gear, Helena looks far younger and far more fragile than he had imagined. She's just a kid. Her fingertips touch metal on his arm as cold as ice and somewhat rough to the touch, textured like old and worn rod iron.

"I can't shift back yet." His voice still has that hollow, empty and metallic sound to it, and to demonstrate just why, he pulls open his shredded suit jacket with one iron hand, revealing a series of diagonal scars in his metal torso some two inches deep, trimmed on either edge with a thin bead of cooled molten metal. "My assistant" He refuses to believe the woman he's come to know, "She… did something to me. It was like a laser-beam, I've… I haven't ever been hurt before, like this. I'm not sure what will happen when I change back, and…" He closes the shredded jacket, "The girl, the one with the southern accent? She can't use her power on me when I'm like this, I'm afraid of what will happen if I shift back. If my heart is sliced in half or…" He shakes his head with a grinding steel on steel sound. "I told her to take care of Matt first. He's the most critical one to me right now. I need him.//"

Edward listens to cat with mild fascination, one hand pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose with two fingers. "That all depends," He notes with a bit of a crooked smile, "As to whether or not you're the daughter of Mason Chesterfield or not." Something of a knowing smirk crosses Edward's lips as hus blue eyes peer through his circular glasses towards Helena and Rickham, watching them both with considerable interest.

"I never got your name." Rickham's hollow, metallic voice is spoken with a weighted softness, of a man given a difficult choice, and one he does not wish to have to make. "I know… I know you and your people don't want their security comprimised, and what I've done — I've brought an agent of Homeland Security here, and I as well." Hematite colored eyes peer down to the floor, looking away from Helena. "I owe you." The man who is on his way to ascend to the Presidency, owes Helena? If only Cameron were here to hear that.

Fortunately for Conrad none of what he busted last night was in his legs. With exaggerated ginger movements, he staggers in (if staggers is even the right word) from one of the dark rooms where he's been Knocked The Fuck Out, to use a medical term. "Summun tell me whaddafug happened." he mutters, obviously kind of out of it. Walking only hurts because his upper body has cracks in it that have to support the weight. Breathing hurts because of ribs. But all of it'll probably be just fine ultimately. Perhaps with the most care he's ever demonstrated in anything, Con sits in a chair and looks at his compatriots. And the new entourage. And the statue. "Who's Mr. Liberty there?" he asks with muted sarcasm.

Helena looks over at Conrad, who is so totally going to kill her. "The President Elect." she says. "We're going to need Abby, and maybe Ben too, and don't you start getting cranky at me about pulling her into things." She looks back up at Rickham. "I'm Helena Dean. I'll let the others decide if they want to give you their names. And there's a lot you need to do about what's being planned for this city, and this country, and the world. As if some tiny blonde thing and the raggle taggle band she's part of could tell the President-Elect about what's going on in the world.

Elvis eases on in with a dry cough, walking her Triumph off to one side before flicking down the kick stand and peering about the place. She's conviently missed the bit where Helena explains who the man of steel is, no for the moment she's more concerned with Conrad. She flicks her visor up, using a gloved digit to scrape the icy crust thats formed free before she bothers with actually doffing her wildly painted Italian lid. "Hey Helena, Conrad." For the moment deciding to leave her bandana over her face, as she rather focuses her attention on Conrad. "I brought medicine."she states, plainly. Biker medicine.

"That's me," Cat confirms. "What does that tell you about the ability I hold, if any?" Her back leans against a bookshelf, fingers coming to rest on a volume there. She pulls it out and reads the first page while waiting for his answer. A bored expression shows for a moment after just the one page and she puts it back, her mind drifting to other reading material, a piece not on any shelf. Her features shift to somber then, it lingers for a few seconds before she shakes it off. "You could probably guess already, from being around me, with or without your own ability, Doctor."

Rickham's steely countenance shifts to regard Conrad for a moment, hematite-dark eyes peering at the man before giving a subtle and humble nod to his introduction. He turns to regard Helena again, iron fingers brushing over the two inch deep cuts in his chest. "Then, Miss Dean," His head tilts to one side, thin iron fibers of hair rattling together with the motion, "I owe you my life, and perhaps my office. I promise you, Matt Parkman and the Department of Homeland Security will do nothing to you as long as I retain the authority to command them. But… You've said twice now, something about a threat, and you mentioned the name Kazimir Volken." He slowly settles his hands on his knees, and with a creaking grin of metal on metal rises from his seated position, his shredded suit jacket still limply hanging off of his solid metal torso. "I want to hear what you have to say. My second priority will be to find out how much the public already knows about this. Protocol in the event of something happening to the President is a media blackout, but those feeds were live. If too many mouths can't stay silenced — I don't know what I'll do."

Edward smiles faintly, knowingly, "Oh, just that if our gifts are in any way similar to the inherited capabilities of our parentage…" One of Edward's wool-gloved hands motions obscurely to the air, turning his attention for a moment to watch as two unfamiliar faces file into the building. His gaze settles on Conrad a moment longer than Elvis, but his bespectacled stare shifts back to Cat without so much as a word shared to either of them. "You father and I share a similar talent, with… divergent specializations I believe." There's a crook of one brown brow, and it's not made clear just how Edward might possibly know that, or even know Cat's father. "Perhaps your ability is cognition-related?" There's almost a testing tone to his voice.

Conrad's gaze shifts toward Rickham. Back toward Helena. Back toward Rickham. "Anybody ever tell you you look a whole lot more like a white dude on TV?" comes Conrad's voice, though not from his mouth. He's using his gift to spare himself the lung pressure. It hurts to do that. Elvis gets a genuinely grateful look. "I'm gonna adopt you, Kid. Tell me it's either Jack or Crown."

"There are two threats you need to be concerned about. The first is Kazimir and his people. They want to wipe out the Evolved population - and we're pretty sure they're the ones who took the shots at you. The other is a conjoined program between Homeland Security and Primatech to create a means of on-location detection of Evolved DNA to be used later for forced identification. They've been experimenting on people in secret facilities in order to accomplish it." Helena takes a breath. "I'm willing to show you everything we have on both in order for you to see for yourself."

Her gaze switches back to Conrad. "Was that you, making the building shake? And popping my ear drums like woah?"

Rather than just nod, Conrad answers Helena with his disembodied voice saying, "Yeah it was me. Also I'm fine with bringing Abby in so long as she's not getting in trouble for it."

Theres a familar purple bag with gold trim, a pair of Romeo Y Juliettas, a cheap cigar cutter and of course a jumbo sized bottle of aspirin. "Man, Conrad you look like shit dude. What the fuck is your issue?"Yes, soft spoken Elvis at her finest. Still she's sort've peripherally aware that the big cheeses are talking, and while Helena seems fit to include her on this stuff she's clearly aware she's not one of the cool kids just yet.

Her eyes drift briefly over toward the people now gathering near Helena and the incoming Commander-in-chief, then flick back over to the scientist when he mentions her father's and his abilities being similar. She hadn't known Father had such a thing, and the statement he does generates a noticeable expression of surprise. Cat doesn't speak for a long stretch of seconds, her mind is at work, pulling up conversations with him from random points in the past seven years. One of them plays out inside her head.

She's twenty years old, the year is 2002. The 12th of November, her birthday. She's in her father's study, taking one of the books off his shelf and looking at the pages one by one. Just looking at them for a moment. Mason Chesterfield comes into the room and speaks to her. "Catherine," he asks, "I'm most impressed with your turnaround at Yale. You've really grown into pursuing both political science and music. Most resourceful." She places her finger in the book and closes it as she turns to face him, a serious demeanor being shown to the man, to conceal how his praise feels. She wants him to be proud of her, but doesn't want it to be so obvious. But that isn't the only thing she's hiding. Not a word is said about how easy it is. How she sits in class and pretends to take notes just for appearances, how she never needs to study for exams. At all. "It's hard work, father," she answers quietly. "But to meet your demands and follow my own dream, it's worth it." The thought at that moment: Hard? Never!"

She returns to the present, her eyes going wide, as she wonders inwardly. Had he known what she could develop, and pushed her so hard, knowing that would make it trigger? The simple fact of her needing it to?

"Holy…" Her head shakes a few times as a thin smile forms. "Well played, Father."

Con stretches a hand out toward Elvis to take what she's got. "I know, Kid. I feel like shit too. It's what happens when you play hero." he tells her without exactly speaking it aloud. "Man. I hoped you were bringing booze. But thanks all the same." The crook with the pained expression manages a grin for Elvis.

Phone: Helena's voice sounds slightly startled on the phone, "Hey…Abby?"

Phone: It's a tired voice that answers the phone, sounds of the bar muted and in the background when the southern woman answers the cellphone just before it would switch to voicemail. "Helena?"

Phone: Helena sounds relieved. "Hey, yeah. So um…we've got a few people hurt at the Library, but nobody critical. Could I ask you to come to the library when you have time? Conrad's cracked some ribs and Rickham can't shift back and I dunno what's up with Parkman. It's not a drop and run thing, but if you could, maybe later…or even tomorrow…please?"

Elvis smirks softly, stuffing a toothpick between her lips. "Yeah well, now you owe me and I'm gonna hold your ass to it. The guy I was looking to for gun stuff sort've went flake on me, like parole is a legit excuse for that shit. Some folks just aint got no damn clue how to be a fuckin criminal, everyone wants to be the OG till they gotta pay to play."

Phone: the sigh that comes through isn't meant as annoyed or reluctant, it's the kind that comes from getting up from where one is sitting. "Was coming there anyways, to sleep, see if I was needed. I'll head there now. See if a friend can get me through the snow" There's rustling in the background of a snow jacket. "Be there quick. Might as well do it now"

Phone: Helena sounds grateful. "If you need me to come for you, let me know. You know I can get you through the bad weather."

"See now that's why I lay off the guns. That and guns can't do what I do." Conrad says with a casual point as he breaks open the cigars and takes a nice long inhale on one. He closes his eyes and his head lolls back a little. "Did I mention I'm adopting you?"

Phone: There's a soft laugh. "No. No, snow doesn't stop him. I'll have him drop me off at the ruins, should be five minutes or less. Need anything brought, coffee? food for everyone?"

Phone: Helena considers a moment. "Booze for Conrad. Maybe it'll sweeten him up."

Phone: I can get a bottle of Jack from here, i'll have Victor stop at starbucks and pick up some of the carry outs. be there in five" Five. In the middle of a blazing snowstorm. "See you then, someone come meet me at the limits so I see where i'm going"

Phone convo between Helena and Abby ends.

Adoption brings about a dismissive wave"So, ya'll have fun at least? I'm sorta pissed I missed the whole damn circus, I mean theres doing important shit and all but hey yaknow?"she rolls her shoulders, glancing between Conrad and Helena to see if she can get away with smoking in the Library too.

Helena looks over at Elvis giving her a 'you-know-better' look. "I don't know that I'd call it fun." she confesses and eyes the pair. "No lighting up, you know that. Conny, Abby's on her way. I asked her to bring you booze to go with that funny tingling feeling she's going to give you." She looks back to Elvis. "So um…this is President Elect Rickham," she gestures to the (literal) iron man. "And we've got one of his security detail, Matt Parkman from Homeland Security in another room. Oh, and this is Edward." She gestures to the nebbishy man with glasses. "Things have taken a turn for the crazy and possible good."

Over near a bookshelf, speaking with Edward, is Cat. She looks a bit wide-eyed, as if she just came to a realization about something, perhaps from whatever she and the MIT scientist are discussing.

Conrad gets a look on his face and stares right at Helena, stogie sticking out of his mouth. He looks like he might just light up anyway, JUST TO SPITE HER. Except dammit, he doesn't have a lighter, so he sighs and puts the smoke away. "Thanks. Because this shit hurts." he says at last, again without using his actual voice.

Now Elvis has her act down pretty good, She was cool and mean and rough in all the right places to keep her cred. For all her hatred of authority, she doesnt seem that spiteful rather she seems entirely almost bashful. She just swollows, and sort've hunches up a touch. Casually averting her gaze from the iron man, as she neatly offers Conrad her properly vintage HRC lighter. She wouldnt be the first one to break the rules with Helena, but she sure wouldnt shy from it.

Because she must be mature in front of Rickham, Helena obligingly sticks her tongue out at Conrad for his trouble.

Finally, and slugishly, Rickham rises up from the bench he had been seated on with the grinding of steel on steel. His dark hematite-shaded eyes focus on Helena as he lets out a tinny and hollow sighing sound with no breath to possibly supply it. How he even speaks without lungs or a larynx is a mystery. "We're wasting time." He says in his most presidential tone, despite the situation and his desveveled manner of dress, not to mention his rather ferrous exterior. "Show me everything you've gathered on this Kazimir Volken, while your friend tends to Matt." A dark stare is leveled in the direction of Edward, brows lowering with a faint scraping sound of grinding steel, as if trying to discern exactly who the man is.

Edward passes a smile to Cat, and circles around the brunette to look in the direction of the president-elect, his hands still tucked into the pockets of his khakis. He seems to dismiss Cat for a moment, focusing on Helena and then the iron man instead. "Information?" One brow is raised over the circular lenses of his glasses, "Perhaps I might be of some service to you in that regard…"

Rickham watches Edward, then looks to Helena with a reserved and stoic expression that seems all the more emphasized by his literally steely countenance.

The President and Phoenix, together.

If only Cameron could see them now.

December 19th: The Devil's Due, Part V

Previously in this storyline…
One If By Sea

Next in this storyline…
Licking the Wound

December 19th: Trying To Help
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