Black On Black


cardinal_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Black on Black
Synopsis A random meet turns into a debate in methods of various pro-evolved groups. And flirting.
Date July 11, 2010


Generally Sunday nights aren't the hottest night for clubbing. It's the evil Monday morning that looms just hours away. But that doesn't mean that Tartarus is empty. Quite the opposite. There are still plenty of people shakin' their groove thang on the dance floor. And there's Melissa, sitting at the bar, wearing a red plaid skirt, black corset, fishnets and boots, with her hair a rainbow. Blonde streaked with red, blue, purple and black. Yes, the manager definitely fits in.

Right now she's leaning against the bar, a drink in her hand as she looks around the club, monitoring as much as anything else. But tonight has been quieter than Friday night, and it has her smiling a little. Just a night out with the goths, and no emergencies. Yet.

Cardinal, meanwhile, is in his usual clubgoing outfit; which is to say, a black t-shirt, black denim jeans. Nothing special, maybe, but he doesn't stand out at all, especially with those dark shades on. At least he wins cool points for that, especially given that they don't seem to bother him one bit.

The cover's paid and he's inside, making his way at a casual, unhurried stroll along towards the bar. He might hit the dance floor later.

One good thing about doing a lot of scanning around the club is that you tend to notice people. Especially familiar faces in the crowd. And so, once Cardinal gets a wee bit closer to the bar, Melissa's gaze lands on him and remains there. She watches him as she lifts the glass to her lips, sipping at it and studying him as she hasn't really had much of a chance to before. The grand opening was sort of hectic, after all.

She waits until he's closer and she can speak without yelling and have a hope of being heard. "Richard, wasn't it?" she asks, though she's perfectly aware of his name.

At the call of his name, Cardinal looks over in the young woman's direction; a grin crooking to his lips at the sight of her, chin raising up in an easy nod as he steps a bit closer, giving up on his hunt for the gothlings he'd met the other day for the time being. "Hey… Melissa, right? Abigail's friend…" A gesture to the bartender, asking, "Bourbon, on the rocks."

A grin curves Melissa's lips and she nods. "Yeah. Good memory." She looks back to the bartender then, telling him, "It's on me." Looking back to Cardinal, her head tilts slightly and her expression goes amused. "Not sure I figured you for the goth club type. A lot of the people who were here for the opening only came for the auction and paintings."

"I am a bit of a collector," Cardinal admits as he leans against the bar with one hip, a hand resting on the bar proper and his other hand gesturing a bit, "Mendez's work is more important than a lot've people realize. It's got historic significance." A glance across the dance floor, and he adds, "…but latex corsets are hot, so, what the hell."

Melissa nods when he admits to being a collector. She remembers that much. Then she laughs and nods. "I can't argue that. Why do you think I'm wearing a corset?" she points out. "So you're a goth addict rather than one yourself. Makes sense. Got plenty of those in here. Can never decide if it's because of the corsets or fishnet though. I hear both mentioned." A pause, then she nods towards him. "Why the shades though? Only thing I can figure is either you think it looks cool, or you're evolved with some funky colored eyes."

"I'm a sucker for a good pair of legs in 'nets, true, true…" A smirk twitches to his lips, and then Cardinal looks back to her, brows lifting a bit. One hand lifts, finger tugging the shades down so he can look at her with dark, but normal looking eyes. "Boo." They're pushed back up, and he shakes his head, "Hemeralopia. Light blindness. This helps keep it down to a tolerable level."

Melissa grins. "Damn. And here I was hoping it was the funky colored eyes. Met a guy once who had eyes that changed color. It was pretty cool. Light blindness though? That sounds like it sucks. I'm not a huge fan of the day star, but it's nice every once in a while." A quick glance around the club. "Wouldn't have thought that the light in here would be that bad though."

Cardinal pulls out his wallet as the bartender slides his drink up, going through it with light fingertips to find the bills to pay. "Oh, it's not, but you know - if some strobes kick on or something, could get a splitting headache. More've a precautionary measure," he explains, paying for the drink and picking it up, "I can stand daylight, just gotta wear these and remember not to look up."

Melissa picks the cash up, handing it back to Cardinal. "It's on me," she says, repeating her words of a minute ago. "And damn. Yeah, don't blame you for the shades." She shakes her head, sipping at her drink. "So how'd you meet Abby, anyway? Through her bar?" she asks curiously.

"No, I knew her before Izzy died," Cardinal admits, accepting the money without complaint after the second claim of it— tucking the bills back in his wallet, he allows, "I helped her through an unpleasant patch awhile back, known her ever since. Dated Izzy for awhile, too."

There's a look of confusion on Mel's face. "Izzy? Can't say I've heard the name. Chick, I'm guessing? Or are you equal opportunity?" she asks, grin reappearing as she finishes her drink and sets the glass down on the bar. "Though it's good you've helped her. Girl goes through entirely too much crap."

A smirk twitches to the edge of Cardinal's glass, and he takes a sip of it, letting the liquor burn down before explaining in a slightly roughened voice that clears up once his throat recovers, "Isabelle. She owned the bar before Abigail, left it to her in her will." A snort, "You're telling me."

Melissa's lips curve a bit. "Sometimes I'm surprised she's as…nice as she is, all things considered. Grateful, but surprised. Not sure I'd be half so sweet if I was in her shoes." She grins. "Of course, I'm pretty sure I was never as sweet as Abby, even when I was a kid. Sure as hell never was that devout," she says, glancing away to watch some of the dancers even as she talks.

"There's a reason the girls called her the Nun…" Cardinal's tone is wry as he looks back out to the dance floor as well, his head shaking a little, "…and she's got steel under there, don't doubt it. She couldn't've survived everything she has without it."

Melissa laughs and nods. "Oh, believe me, I know she's got steel under there. Girl is one of the toughest people I know, even if she doesn't feel the need to show it like so many…people." Guys, but she's trying to be nice. Well, info gathering, but no one says she can't be nice too. "So you a native, or like me'n Abby? A transplant?"

"New Yorker bred and raised," Cardinal replies with a shake of his head, "Best city in the world." He pauses, considering, "Worst, too."

That brings another laugh and Melissa shrugs. "I don't know about the best city in the world. Worst…I find it hard to argue there. Had a hell of a lot of shit happen to me here, and I've only been here for…I dunno. Five months, maybe? Almost enough to persuade a girl to move home. If home didn't suck just as bad in other ways."

"How much has happened here? How many deaths, just in the past few years? Fuck, there was a Humanis suicide bombing right in the goddamn street just a few weeks ago…" A flicker of anger in his voice, though Cardinal's tone remains firm, "…and yet, look. Look out on the dance floor. You see them hiding in bomb shelters or fleeing town? No. They're New Yorkers." He looks back to her, "That's what makes this city great."

Eyes move out onto the dance floor, even as Melissa nods. "Yeah, I know about the bombing. Ice cream cart. I was there," she murmurs, holding an arm out so he can see the little scars from shrapnel from that very bomb. "But yeah, I get what you're saying." She smiles slowly. "New Yorkers are like cockroaches. Survived the bomb, the freak winter, and all manner of other bullshit."

As she shows off the scars, Cardinal grimaces. "Fuckers," he mutters into his drink, tipping it back to take a swallow of the liquor, eyes closing, "Exactly. Everything that happened, and we're still all here. Any other city'd be deserted by now."

The look on Melissa's face shows that she agrees completely with Cardinal, even before she nods. "Yes, they are. Racist fuckers. I'd love to personally hurt each and every one that had a hand in planning that bombing. Bad enough they gotta hurt innocent people, but an ice cream cart all but guarantees that there'll be kids in range."

"Preaching to the choir, sister," Cardinal mutters as he drops the glass down to the bar, slanting a look over towards her sidelong, "'Course, now we have suicide bombers on the Evo side of things too, to listen to the news… gotta wonder what fuckin' genius planned that."

Melissa shrugs. "No idea. Pentagon though, yeah? At least it wasn't kids. Bombing sucks, but it's so much worse when you get kids in it. Kids haven't done anything, they're supposed to be protected by adults, not killed by them," she says, disgust dripping from every word.

Cardinal exhales a rough snort, "No shit. I agree with you there, but, you gotta look at the big picture here…" He points the drink, and a finger, at her, "…suicide bomber hits the park, kills some kids. Fuckin' horrible. Starts a manhunt. Evolved suicide bomber hits the Pentagon…" He trails off, "…well, then all those kids might end up in a concentration camp in response. These 'Messiah' guys are just giving them fuel to turn the public against the Evolved. Won't be long before anyone who's SLC-positive gets hauled off as a threat to the country at this rate."

Melissa looks back to him, brows arching. "You really think they wouldn't be trying that anyway? I mean, look at how things were when the 510 was floatin' around. The government hates the evolved. They're scared. Hell, look at Moab. You think all the evolved who were in there deserved to be? That they actually did something wrong?"

"Oh, of course they would," Cardinal says with a tight shake of his head, waving that off with his free hand, "That's not even in question. The difference being, are they going to try it all sly and underhanded in a way that they can be stopped…" He fixes her with a look over the edge of his shades, "…or are they going to do it openly, with the full support of the people of the United States of America? You can't just take pot-shots at every target that comes along. You've got to keep your eye on the prize, or you just may be out've arrows by the time you get there. Worse, they might be keeping those arrows to fire right back."

Melissa's head cocks. "I can see what you're saying," she allows, nodding slightly. "How would you go about it though, if you were in charge of this Messiah group? Lobbying for change? Promoting public awareness?"

"What do I look like, an optimist?" A chuckle tumbles past Cardinal's lips, his head already shaking, "No, no. There's a path to victory here, but it's slow, quiet, and steady, which is why a lot of people don't like it. Look…" He sets down the drink, turning to regard her seriously, "If you revealed everything to the public, everything, they'd fucking explode. There'd be riots, murder, civil fucking war. That's Phoenix's plan, which is lunacy. They've got their hearts in the right place, but they haven't thought through the results. Messiah's whole 'blow them up in public' plan is also fucking crazy, for the reasons I've already said. This needs to be done quietly."

When he goes serious, Melissa turns a little more towards him, nodding a bit as she listens, little showing on her face. "Sounds like you've given this some serious thought, Richard. But if you're not for explosions or information, what are you for?" Her lips curve into a wry smile. "Saying it needs to be quiet doesn't really say much."

Cardinal admits dryly, "I have a lot of time on my hands to think." A tip of his head, then, and he explains, "You pick and choose your battles. The black budget shit - Moab, the Commonwealth Institute - they can't admit they exist. You can raze them to the ground and you'll never hear a peep in the news except a cover story. You reveal the grey-level shit to the public; find proof they're planning concentration camps, show that to the media, degrade their support so they don't get elected again and they can't push some of the darker stuff through. You make the people that're really behind this, the decisionmakers and the people funding it, that sort of thing, either vanish quietly or die in a way that looks like an accident."

Melissa shakes her head. "The Commonwealth Institute is…well, okay, it's not exactly public, not everything they do, but some of it is. But again, I see your point. Though do you really think it'll be easy to find any kind of proof for those things? More, do you really think you could tie the high level elected officials to it? I'm sure that they have some sort of plausible deniability set up just in case."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Richard picks up his drink again, brows raising, "You want easy? I thought you wanted effective."

Melissa smiles. "And here I thought we were just talking. Or was this a recruitment speech? You getting a gang together to do things quietly, Richard? Certainly does sound as though you've done a lot of planning on how it could be done."

A low chuckle stirs against the edge of Cardinal's drink as he takes a long swig of the bourbon, eyes closing as he murmurs, "I'm just giving my opinion. It wouldn't be easy. But it'd get the job done with the least amount of casualties on any side. Of course, people're just going to keep blowing up shit and murdering in the streets until everything explodes, so, who cares what I think?"

"Hey, I think the fact that I've been listening shows that I'm interested in what you've got to say," Melissa says dryly, shrugging slightly.

The edge of the glass tips her way, Cardinal's brows raising as he tries not to smile. "Why, are you planning on blowing anything up, Melissa?"

Melissa laughs and shakes her head. "I think I've had enough explosions for one lifetime, thanks," she says, absently rubbing at her arm. "I don't have to be planning anything though to be interested in hearing someone's opinion, Richard. Hell, the other day I ended up listening to an hour rant from someone who came in, explaining why being goth was wrong, almost evil. Considering that I am goth and manage a goth club, I think it's pretty clear that I'm pro-goth, but I listened."

Cardinal's gaze lingers on her for a few moments over the edge of his glass, and then he exhales a chuckle… bringing it up to his lips, he finishes it off before thumping the glass down. "And you pull the look off, too," he observes with a wink, "Guy probably wanted to be tied down and showed he was wrong at the point of a flogger or something."

That has Mel busting out laughing and nodding. "Probably, yeah. Can't think of any other reason why he'd come into a goth club if he thinks we're evil." An impish grin forms. "And stop with the compliments. You'll turn a girl's head with talk like that," she teases.

"Well, I was looking for a lovely girl I'd met here the other night, but, in lieu of her," Cardinal teases with a wink, "You'll do for flirtation practice. I'm sure you've picked up a guy or three already, anyway."

Melissa grins. "Oh, just one tonight. But the night is still young. Besides, I've been working most of the night. Still, practice away. I've been told I need to work at casual flirtations and stuff anyway."

Cardinal exhales a rough snort of breath, gesturing in an up-and-down motion to her outfit. "Please. Casual flirtation? In that outfit, just drop something and lean down to pick it up. Congratulations, flirting with any male in range achieved."

"Well you're certainly good at the complimenting part of flirting," Melissa says with a grin. "But it's not so much the how as just doing that I've been told I need to work on. By Abby, actually."

"Abigail… told you that you need to flirt more." Cardinal regards her bemusedly, "Abigail."

Melissa laughs and shrugs. "Well, actually she said I needed to try casual dating, but how are you supposed to date without flirting?"

"Ah…" Cardinal lifts his chin up in a slight nod, "…bad breakup or something?" That's the only reason he can think that Abigail'd make such a suggestion!

Melissa hesitates, then shakes her head. "No, not a breakup. Just a guy being very, very difficult," she mutters.

"Some guys are like that…" Cardinal rests his elbows back against the bar, turning to sweep his gaze over the dance floor in absent meandering, "…not about to offer any advice, though. I'm unqualified."

That brings an amused look to Melissa's face. "Unqualified? You are a guy, aren't you?"

"I don't know you, him, nor the situation…" A chuckle stirs on Cardinal's lips as he pushes off from the bar, stretching slowly as he braces both hands to the small of his back, "….nnmn. Anyway."

"Ooooh, but you didn't admit to being a guy. Should I find that lovely girl you talked about and ask her?" Melissa teases, the amusement look forming into a full fledged grin. "But yeah, I should probably get back to work. Paperwork waits for no man. Or woman, for that matter."

"She doesn't know… yet," Cardinal replies with a grin over, his head shaking, "Let me know if you ever figure out your fucked up situation, though…" As he turns to head for the dance floor, he adds, "And think about what I said!"

Melissa laughs and nods. "I will. Guess I can expect you back in here again, then?" she asks, grinning and rising from her seat, stretching a little.

"Maybe!" And Cardinal's gone, lost to the crowd of black on black on pale, somewhere. A shadow amongst the others.

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