Be Strong, Rise Up


cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif holly_icon.gif

Scene Title Be Strong, Rise Up
Synopsis Holly gets an exclusive interview with the leader of Phoenix.
Date June 2, 2009

A Safehouse In New Jersey

They've come out here to this place, a fairly neutral spot somewhere in New Jersey to conduct this operation. One that won't be connected to either organization should the authorities look it over. With Cat are a few copies of the publication Holly Louise Parker writes for. She sets them out on a table and opens to the relevant features in each. "This is the one," she suggests to Helena as a phone is held in hand, ready to make the call. "I'll contact her and say as little as necessary to get her out here."

Eyes linger on the blonde's face, assessing her mood. This looks to be the encounter which starts Stormy on a path Cat's been advocating she undertake, not knowing as Helena does just where it can lead.

Then the call is made, and they wait for the reporter's arrival, Holly being told to come alone and tell no one where she's going, knowing only she'll be given insights on a large conspiracy and it can help her career.

Helena is nervous. Afraid is not really the word, fear's reserved for things far more immediate in terms of being life-threatening. But this could be something that changes Helena's life in a huge way, perhaps in a way she really hasn't been prepared for. She pushes aside the thought that certain people won't be pleased with her, but she agreed with Cat that this is necessary. So she sits, and she waits, and she focuses her energy on interlocking her fingers and untwining them repeatedly as she watches the door.

A knock finally comes, a few minutes before the arranged time, light on the door and quick to withdraw. Holly is standing, hair tied back neatly today and her body draped in a fairly casual outfit with shorts and a red shirt. She holds with her a tote bag draped over one side and a camera bag in the other, weighed down somewhat.

The door opens to admit her, the woman on the other side is a brunette of five feet, eight inches and maybe 145 pounds. Ideal weight for her height, according to some sources. She takes a moment to look Holly over, and nods once. "Thanks for coming, Miss Parker," she greets cordially.

Cat won't give her name, and isn't much for being photographed at this stage. Her own clothing is a variety of business casual, she having decided to look a bit like an attorney but also not.

Helena rises from her seat. She's in jeans and a simply button down blouse with short sleeves, ideal for this weather and very non-descript. Her hair's been pulled back away from her face, not even bothering to try and hide it. "Holly Parker?" she asks with a sudden smile. "It's good to meet you. Your pieces are really amazing…but then, that's why we contacted you."

Holly gives a polite nod, setting down her video camera bag and offering to shake hands where appropriate, smiling agreeable, "It's wonderful to be here, this is..nobody else has gotten an opportunity to see this side of the..the conflict between the government and, well, your people."

Her part is mostly done now, the interview to go between Helena and the reporter. Cat pulls out a chair at the table for Holly to occupy and moves to one she placed away from the two, the better to have her not be captured in photographs as they occur. Her eyes shift back and forth between the two other females as she listens and observes.

"I'm Helena Dean." Hel holds out her hand. This tiny little blonde looks at first glance like she should be in a sorority house, not a safe house. Except her too-large eyes are older than they should be. "I'll be the one you're interviewing. I won't ask you to screen your questions, but there are issues I'd like to cover."

Holly gives another agreeable nod, beginning to unzip her camera bag, mostly filled with the bulk of a consumer video camcorder, a small folding tripod tucked beneath it. The young girl grins, "I'll make a note of that for towards the end of the interview - give you room to say whatever you need. The other side seems to have plenty of outlets for their opinions so this'll be all about your gorup"

Helena nods. "Thank you." she moves to take a seat, watching Holly a bit nervously. "You know I can't answer things like where we're based and who our members are, right? I'm the only person who's going to put her face out there. Well. If others do so voluntarily, that's their choice, but I'm not going to out them without their consent." She smiles faintly. "Sorry - I've only ever done the videos we set up when we first started."

Holly extends the legs on the tripod, setting it up at a fair distance to capture interviewer and interviewee equally in their seats, doublechecking battery and popping in a mini-DV tape, before nodding and setting the video rolling. She drops her tote bag down beside the camera as she shuffles over to take the seat offered for her, "We can begin when you're ready."

Helena lets out a deep breath, and then nods. "Okay." she says, trying not to be nervous. Another deep breath.

Holly clears her throat carefully, and straightens up, before looking a little past the camera and begins, "Holly Parker here with an exclusive interview. Today I have the privilege of meeting one of the leaders of pro-Evolved group Phoenix, Helena Dean."

"Thank you." Helena says, looking toward Holly. "I think that pro-Evolved is a very careful bit of language. We stand for any citizen of this country - or the world really - to be permitted their civil rights that they are entitled to like any other person, regardless of the status of their genetics. Those who are Evolved shouldn't have to live in fear or judgement, and should be allowed the opportunity to support their communities and make the world a better place without being viewed as dangerous or a threat."

Holly nods thoughtfully, turning her gaze back to the other woman, "First off, please tell us a little about yourself, and the Phoenix group in general. How did you get involved in all this?"

"I was a runaway." Helena admits. "I'd left my hometown of Sleepy Hollow, New York after my mother was murdered for being Evolved." She sits very straight and keeps her eyes on Holly. "I was recruited to a similar group by a man named Cameron Spalding who was a pyrokinetic. He was also murdered by the leader of a terrorist faction called the Vanguard. At that point, Phoenix was formed and named in his honor." She tries not to sound too rote, but she's also trying to focus on speaking clearly. She's slowly starting to relax, and become a bit more expressive.

Holly nods, trying to avoid betraying her bias in her expression but struggling with it. She waits a beat, and then moves on to the next question, "Now, many people have accused Phoenix of being a terrorist group, especially in regards to particular events. What are your goals as a group, and what are you trying to do on a shorter term." She crosses her feet, trying not to look too nervous - she's been in online webcasts for years but never done a face to face interview.

"We'd like to see the Linderman Act repealed." Helena says. "It's an invasion of privacy and highly unconstitutional. While an operation such as FRONTLINE may have the potential to be a force for good in this country, at the present time it is little more than a tool for corrupt individuals in Washington to exert control over an element that they are afraid of without truly understanding, and we oppose it. We want any Evolved person, whether they're a child, a teenager, or an adult to be unafraid of being themselves, to be able to get the training they need, and not be frightened into killing themselves because they wonder if they're going be executed or illegally imprisoned, as I was." She smiles tightly. "I'm sure you can understand as to why I can't speak to specific projects we currently have underway, in terms of compromise of our members' safety. But we want to show that the people should be judged as individuals. Evolved are as entitled to their rights as anyone else, and they can use their abilities to help, if given the opportunity without fear of persecution."

"Thank you. Now, lets changes gears a little here, what can the average person do to aid in more acceptance of the Evolved? Should people be writing their congressmen and senators and asking them to take a stronger stance against this sort of discrimination?" Holly sits back a bit more, folding her hands on her lap.

"Playing by those kinds of rules did little for the founding fathers of our country, did it?" Helena points out with a faint smile. "Writing to your officials to let them know where you stand is a start, and it certainly can't hurt. But there is more that can be done, if people are unafraid and demand their rights. Evolved kids and teens should feel free to talk to their parents and each other. Parents of Evolved - parents who are Evolved themselves, need to be willing to protect their kids and stand up for them, and if training is needed, find a way to seek it out. No one should be forced to register, but if you must, why not register the entire family, Evolved or not? If there were lines and lines of people willing to support their relatives, think of how much paperwork would be slowed down. Call the department of Homeland Security, but don't stay on the line too long - and then hang up, and then call again. Prove to them that it's the people who have the power to say no, that their privacy will not be invaded. If you have an ability and you can use it in some way to help this city, this country, this world? Then do so, anonymously if you must, but we need to stop being afraid, and we need to stop giving the government opportunities to make us afraid. That's why I'm here, showing my face, giving you my name, and talking to you."

Holly nods enthusiastically at that bit, but catches herself and nods, "Is there anything else you'd like to speak about today before we wrap this up?"

Helena gives Holly a grin. "There's a lot to cover." she admits. "But I'll try to keep things succinct." she takes a breath and turns to address the camera directly. "I want to go on record as the leader of Phoenix to completely deny anything having to do with the murder of NYPD detective Richard Myron. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and friends. To officer Caleb Hartsdale, of the NYPD - you claim you have leads and evidence that ties this horrible murder to us, and I'd like to see what proof you've got. We brought forth a day of miracles to this city. We have done what we can to protect it. Did you appreciate the heavy rainfall in putting out those fires? You're welcome." Helena's expression is wry a moment, but she continues. "If you think about what we've tried to do, murdering a man is a far cry from the goals we've put forth and exemplified in what we've done so far. We didn't do it."

"To the public, for those of you who are Evolved, and those of you who have family who are Evolved: the only power others have over you is the power you allow them. Stay strong, and don't be afraid. There are private organizations at work with hidden agendas, don't let them use you as tools. And for so many out there amongst you who've wondered about the time you lost one day, and that funny mark you found on your shoulder? The answer is yes. I'm sorry, but it's exactly what you think it is."

"One last thing. If you think that government hasn't started taking serious, dangerous action against the Evolved, think again. This," she lifts her chin, lets Holly put the camera in closeup if she wants to see the scar, "Is the result of an innoculation I was given during my illegal incarceration at the Moab Federal Penitentiary." Her expression grows tight. "While there, I and many others were treated to barely humane conditions, and the highly inhumane effort of both telepathic and physical torture. If it hasn't been razed to the ground, then what's still left in the desert of Moab, Utah might still be found. It was with the help of Phoenix that I and many others who were there against our wills were allowed to be freed. Vincent, Toru, Stephen, and everyone else I know on both sides of the fences: stay free, stay safe. Elv, Owen, Kin: if you're out there, if you're alive, come back to us. To New York, Evolved and non-Evolved alike: Be strong. Rise up." She looks back to Holly, quietly. "That's all I have to say. For now."

Holly nods agreeably and smiles, "Thank you Helena for your time and for giving me the opportunity to help the public better understand the issues." She waits a good moment, and then smiles, raising up and moving towards the camera to ensure everything went well, humming, "Well, that was less painful than I had hoped." She flips the power off, and nods, "Well then..I guess that's about it for now. Thank you so much for bringing me here."

Images: Aerial photos of a prison facility in the desert with an airstrip at one end and six towers with armed guards around the building were given to Holly after the interview. Two of the towers overlook the empty airstrip, the four other towers focus in on the building itself. The roof has helicopter landing areas marked on it. On the ground there's a fenced in exercise yard with basketball courts and a fence down the middle to separate inmates in some fashion. Other images include shots of the roads which meet near the place, the warning signs about lethal force being authorized, and some difficult to identify features on the ground near the building. These are included on the webpage as well as edited into the video at appropriate places.

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