Be Your Own Advocate


anna_icon.gif brand_icon.gif brennan_icon.gif milton_icon.gif

Scene Title Be Your Own Advocate
Synopsis Another meeting of Evolved Anonymous happens in Brooklyn.
Date November 24, 2010

Brooklyn: Community Center

Evolved Anonymous

Some people go to various addiction support groups to deal with their problems. Some people go to other support groups to deal with their grief, to deal with medical issues that swamp their lives. Evolved Anonymous, since the creation of the suresh Center added another support group to the list of many available around the city and around the world. Providing help and conversationg for SLC expressive people and their families. Not everyone who comes likes what they can do or even do anything. They might not even have control over what they can do, or just needs the comraderie and time spent with people who get them, get their differences and what they can do that many others in the city can't.

Across the city, there's a few of these groups happening in various places. The suresh Center, The Octagon, some church basements and even where this one in Brooklyn is being held, a community center. A group of ten people gathered in one of the various smaller rooms provides for more private and intimate a meeting. A teenager and his parents take up a couch that has been dragged in from another room to make for more comfortable seating than just plain chairs.

Brennan was leading the meeting, introduced himself as Harve, the formal 'doctor' title dropped for meetings like this. No move had been made to single out Anna nor indicate that this was a mandatory thing for her. She was encouraged, privately, to keep her eyes open and her mind open and not put blinders on. These were people, just like her, trying to make it through the day. If anyone recognized her from television - or the book store - she would't need to worry. Nothing would happen here.

Milton, Anna, and Brand are all present, taking up spots on the couches and arm chairs that form this loose circle. The meeting had started with the request that folks introduce themselves, first names only, and to greet each other, state whether they were manifested or not. No need to say what your ability was unless you wanted to. Grab a donut, grab a drink and to make themselves comfortable. Brennan had asked individuals, those who had manifested already, if they found themselves needing to use their ability, or just desiring to use their ability day to day, if they did at all. Did they find their ability was useful to them? Did they like their ability why or why not?

Then, since there was a few who had been unmanifested present, far more than he had usually seen, he'd asked them what they thought it might be, how did being unmanifested affect them and their way of thinking? One girl who one could swear has more hardware embedded and piercing her face to go with the vibrant and brilliant neon green mohawk calls herself Clarisse and has been talking the last five minutes, about being unmanifested and the eggshell walk that she does every day, waiting for the day when she will manifest and and the nervousness that comes with the speculation of what she will get.

"I dunno man, it's just crazy. I'm nineteen now and nothing has happened. I'm getting impatient. I just want it to happen already and each day it doesn't, it just ticks me off. I wanna know if I got something cool or whether I got something shitty" A sentiment that many in the city who wait too after the tests turned red, feel.

"We'll be waiting with you Clarisse, and when the time comes, and you manifest, we'll be there to help you learn to control it" Brennan offers, arms across his chest, leaning back in his chair with one ankle perched on a knee, sweater and jeans. The nicer weather - though still cool - in Brooklyn makes him give a silent thanks to his wife. "Who's next, sicne I know we have a few of you who haven't yet to hit your SLC puberty, for lack of a better word at the moment. Sometimes it feels like that, doesn't it. Puberty all over again"

Anna introduces herself as "Caitlyn." She is dressed in black, hood over her head, and every attempt she could make to remain as anonymous as possible has been made. She even put some gums into her mouth to change her voice… even if the change is only a small one. The teenager remains silent for as much as she can. She prefers not to talk at all, really. But she's here, and she's got a frown on her partially obscured face,

Milton opens his mouth, closes it again, crosses his long spindly legs over each other. He shoots a sidelong glance at 'Caitlyn' — not his first such of the meeting — as he tries to remember why the hell she looks so familiar. Has she been in his courthouse for some reason, perhaps? When his turn comes to introduce himself he gives his true name. "I'm Milton. I was nailed as Evolved a few years back, but it's only in the last two months or so that I've found out what I can do. I can see into the past." One hand, which has been fiddling nervously with his sunglasses for most of the meeting, raises into the air to display the shades. "Through these."

Brand is the embodiment of anonymity. Even in his school colors he can blend into the furniture when he's not being looked at directly or speaking up. He can just kind of fade out of the mind, you know? Safer for them that way - but when its his turn, he stands up. "The name is Brand, and I'm a human being. I also have the Suresh Linkage complex, and that in no way diminishes my personhood." He reclaims his seat, and fixes his eyes on the carpet. Arms crossed in front of him, taking a defensive posture.

"So you knew that you were SLC-Expressive, before the manifestation but didn't know what it was. How had that made you feel between then, when you didn't have a known ability, hadn't manifested yet and now, where you have, you know what you can do and have found a focus to help you use your ability?" He gestures to the sunglasses with his hand. "Many people when they first get their ability, don't have a focus or some way to willing turn on their abilities."

BRennan glances to brand when he speaks up and draws attention to himself, not the first time that he and others in the room have forgotten that the young man is there with his ability in play. "We're not here to dispute whether anyone is a human being or not. Of course we're all human beings. This is a group where you can talk with those like you, share your experiences and your tribulations that come with your abilities. How has having your ability, changed the way you live Brand? How's life in highschool?" Brennan glances to Anna then to the other two as the others present in the group focus on the two young men.

'Caitlyn' is not speaking up. She just listens, and lets out a soft cough at Brand's comment, "No you're not, you're a monster." She mutters, more to herself than to Brand. It's audible enough for the entire room to hear it, however… The girl seems to get a little more… comfortable after that comment.
"We're all human beings. Count the chromosomes," Milton drawls. Then he looks at Brennan. "You really want an answer? My ability is useless for anything except parlor games, and it just makes me feel alienated from both sides. From the normal people out there who fear anything with a registration card, and from the Evolved who can actually do things that make a difference. So how's it make me feel? Pretty goddamn angry, is how."

Brand clenches a fist, his forearm bulging out the sleeve of his varsity jacket. The comment from 'Caitlyn' is obviously not well received. "Ever since I got red-flagged in the mandatory sweeps by the Gestapo everyone looks at me funny, like I'm about to set them on fire or something. The superintendent of schools is thinking of making me, and all other SLC-positives ineligible to participate in extracurricular activities like the Academic Squad or sports. The naked bigotry drives me crazy."

"Have you thought about contacting any other post-cognitives?" Brennan offers to Milton. "There's one that I know of, she works at a company called redbird security. Using her ability. She helps law enforcement with her ability, helps people who are missing things find them. An example of how using post-cognition day to day in a chosen career field is a viable thing. But angry is good. It's good to feel something. Maybe some day, with time, you'll come to appreciate it, instead of be angry at it"

Brennan's other foot comes down gently, unfolding his arms, looking between Anna and Brand. "Monsters. We don't say that here Caitlyn, and I'm sure the others would appreciate it if you didn't. Since that would be calling yourself one too and I'm sure you don't see yourself as such. We don't use that sort of language here. Here, we're just us." Clarisse bristles as much as Brand does and Brennan looks to him now. "Can you see the reasoning why they might do that Brand? Someone with super speed, running the 100 meter sprint? Someone with super strength, in football? Is that fair to those without the SLC-Expressive gene? I think if they actually tried to implement such a thing though, they'd find a great deal of opposition and I don't see that coming to fruition. Your gift, what unfair advantage would it give you if you were allowed to keep playing football?"

"I'm not one of you. There's been a mixup." 'Caitlyn' answers Brennan, "There's a war between species, between good and evil. And you /demons/ are not going to win if I have anything to say about it." She sounds a little louder now, a little angry, perhaps. "So, just leave me be, okay?"

Milton rolls his eyes heavenward at Caitlyn's angry statement. He doesn't address her, though, responding to Brennan only. "Well, it's not like there's any kind of support given to you when you're found out. It was only pure chance that I found out about this meeting, and I'm goddamn glad I did. Because —" and he looks around the circle — "no matter /how/ much you try to deny it to yourself —" and he gives Caitlyn a significant glare — "we are who we are. Like any minority, if we don't get our act together and look after one another, we're gonna get the dirty end of the stick every damn time. Yes, this makes me angry. And so it should. But the trick is not to waste the anger… it's to use it to do something. Right?" And he turns back to Brennan. "So if you can put me in touch with this other postcog, I'd be grateful, man."

Brand shrugs his broad shoulders. "I don't know. I don't play football. I'm a wrestler." He turns his eyes toward Caitlyn, his glare narrowing. He doesn't say anything, he just kind of lets her face etch into his memory. She is not so easily forgotten as he is! Saying nothing, he turns his attention beck to the carpet and his sneakers. "Try not to get stabbed on your way home, guy."

"If you all will excuse me just a moment" Brennan's rising from his chair, a gesture for Anna to follow him away from the group. "Talk amongst yourselves for just a moment, my apologies" Out of the comfy chair he goes, not laying a hand on the teenager, but expecting to follow and when she does…

It's with arms crossed and disappointment on his face. "I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the meeting. Your attitude and your actions are not in keeping with the goal here Anna. You were sent to attend these meetings as part of your sentence. This is supposed to be an environment where others who are SLC-EXpressive can feel safe and comfortable talking about the issues that affect them. Issues that affect you. They can't feel that if you are sitting here and calling them monsters and demons and talking about a war between species"

Brennnan glances back to the rest of the group then Anna again. "I'll be making a report to the individual handling your case and they will decide what course of action to take with regards to your non-compliance and behavior here. Do you understand?"

"I showed up, isn't that enough?" Anna responds to Brennan with a dark glare. "I didn't choose to be here, and if you tell me to leave, gladly. But that wasn't my decision, comprende?" The girl turns for the exit without another word, shrugging. She's not quite gone yet, in case Brennan has more to say, however. The teen is not in a good mood.

Milton crosses his legs over the other way again as 'Caitlyn' follows Brennan out. He catches Brand's eye. "Dude, what crawled up /her/ ass and died?" he remarks apropos of the departing girl.
Brand shrugs again. "I don't know. I hear the same kind of thing from a lot of people. Not usually SLC positive though. Self hating I guess." He leans forward a bit, to watch her go. "Maybe even dangerous. What if she can shoot laser beams from her eyes or something and wants to kill us all?"

Brennan's not going to answer the question, just shakes his head. "It's your decision to speak what you did Anna, you had the option to stay quiet and just listen. I'll see you at the Suresh Center" He follows her though, all the way to the door to open it for her and then close it behind the teenager, everyone else unable to hear his words to her for the distance between them. He comes back to the cirle though, not yet sitting back down but claps his hands together.

"Sorry for that folks. Occasionally we get the odd individual who for whatever reason of their own, has a harder time dealing with things, now. Milton. I will see if I know of any other post-cogs who might be willing to help you, sit and talk with you." he turns to Brand though, then takes a seat in the arm chair. "About school. How would you feel if someone with super strength participated in wrestling, against you. And won, all the time, simply because he had an ability?"

Clarisse sorts at that. "Bet Brand here would kick his ass"

Milton gives Brand a thoughtful look, which is enough to show that he hadn't thought of that particular possibility. But then Brennan re-enters and he seems to take heart from the absence of 'Caitlyn'. "That's kickass," he says to the leader, his intent good even if the choice of words could have been better. He subsides back into his chair and starts to fiddle with his shades again.

Brand frowns slightly. "First, wrestling isn't all about strength. There is speed, stamina, and most importantly SKILL. I'm a technical pin artist, and against me super strength is no guarantee." Then he ticks off a second thing. "Secondly, its not all about winning. Its the mastery of self- by using his Ability, he's cheating himself out of true personal development." Then the third item. "Finally, his super-strength Ability isn't all that different than me winning the genetic lottery to have broad shoulders and good muscle potential. Exceptional people shouldn't be handicapped just to make things 'fair' for others - in that path lies tyranny."

"Then that Brand" Brennan points to him. "Is what you need to say, the next time there's a meeting with the school district with regards to this issue. Make yourself heard, make that point." Brennan glances around the group. "You are your best advocate when it comes to living in a world and are SLC-Positive. You are the best voice to show people that you are no different. That you are not any more special than the rest of humanity because of your genetics. That they can't push you around and arbitrarily decide to take away your rights. But you do it by talking, by showing, be being that positive example. It's hard, because people prefer to see the worst, and assume that one bad apple means the whole barrel is bad"

"Yeah but.." The teenager beside his parents raises his hand, as if he was in school. "It's hard. I mean, if I wanna take the bus I gotta have my bus pass and my registration ID and I lost my card like twice already man. and these days there's like soldiers on the street and they can shoot you for like any reason"

Clarisse jsut rasies her hand to make sure her mohawk is in place, looking to the others for the answer to that question.

"He's right, you know," declares Milton. "Why should the rules be any different for him? If you push that to its logical conclusion, you'd have to tie rocks to the jocks in a race so they couldn't run any faster than the nerds. It's not the jock's fault that they can run faster than the nerds. And it's not this dude's fault that he has the genes he has. /And/," he goes on, turning to the card-losing youth, "it's not right that all of us here should be targeted and victimised just 'cos of something that one or two of our kind may have done or may even /not/ have done for all /I/ know, there are more conspiracy theories about this than there are the /Moon/ landings, am I right? The last time an entire class of people was downtrodden like this we ended up with a goddamn civil war!" And he folds his arms, evidently pleased with this line of argument.

Brand frowns darkly. "Actually it would be the Holocaust I think. Yellow badges, reduced civil rights for them, little ghettos they could be herded into. Secret prisons and execution programs…sound familiar?" He wraps his arms against himself tighter. "Guns pressed on the back of your neck. Warm with blood from pistol-whipping old ladies. Dripping down your shirt…waiting for the final click…"

"And I think it's time that we actually wrapped this up" Brennan looks at his watch, interrupting Brand as he starts in on talking about the blood and the parents of their teen evo start to look even more unsettled than they already were about Anna. Conveniently, they have run out of time. "I hope to see you all at another meeting, here, suresh Center, or any other evolved anonymous meeting. I want you all to think hard on what it means to be who you are and to be proud of it. You have my number, how to find me at the Suresh Center and I will see about those people for you Milton"

Milton seems very glad that Brennan interrupts that train of thought from Brand. As the meeting breaks up he makes sure to grab Brennan's contact details and to supply his own.

Brand is not a happy boy at the moment. He twitches, and lets his Ability slip loose from its bonds while he recovers. It might take him a few minutes to catch back up, but he won't bother anyone. You'd never even know he was there.

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