Bullet in the Brainpan


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Scene Title Bullet in the Brainpan
Synopsis Cat and Grace discuss politics, rights, the Evolved, and how to deal with dangerous abilities.
Date August 28, 2008

Piccoli's Delicatessen, Little Italy

Everything about Piccoli's is welcoming. There's a large, cheerful neon sign mounted on the roof, the interior is brightly lit and spotlessly clean, and the old-fashioned decor is more reminiscent of mother's kitchen than a successful business. Since the doors opened in 1946, Piccoli's has been best known for pastrami, hot dogs, corned beef, and salami. The wait can sometimes be a little long, but the prices are reasonable and the food is always worth it.

Morning isn't a very busy time for the deli, not even towards the middle of it. Soon enough, people will come in looking to buy lunch — but that time isn't quite now. Of all the tables in the deli, only three are occupied, each by a solitary individual. One young woman has just sat down, after hanging the light jacket she wore in on the back of her chair — an odd thing to be wearing in late summer, but the gunbelt she also wears might have something to do with it. Grace picks up the sandwich on her plate, but doesn't do more than hold it for the time being, her attention shifting to the small television in one corner of the room. Turned on, and up loud enough to be audible, it seems to have been left on one of those makeover shows by whomever changed the channel last. A fact which Grace regards with a slight smirk.

She had decided to check out the section of Nuked York City called Little Italy, and hunger overtook her in the midst of said exploration. This deli sat directly in her path, making the decision easy for Cat Chesterfield. As the door closes behind her on entry she's already letting her eyes wander. They drift over each of the three faces, and an eyebrow briefly lifts at the presence of a jacket in late August.

The twenty-something brunette, five feet eight inches in height, is clad in a red tank top over navy blue shorts and athletic shoes with a backpack over one shoulder and a guitar case in hand.

The silhouette approaching the door draws Grace's gaze from the television — not that she was interested in it anyway. A polite, rather meaningless smile is given to the stranger, small curve broadening just a hair as the jacket is evidently noticed. Or something is, anyway, but it's the jacket that's been getting attention today. Grace proceeds to take a bite of her sandwich, continuing to watch the new arrival with idle curiosity.

The woman moves toward the counter, her eyes lifting up to check the menu board for just a handful of seconds. They sweep across it from one end to the other, then Cat takes her place in whatever line is present ahead of her and waits to place an order. It's the corned beef she's got a taste for, and that's her choice whenever the time comes to express it.

With the other woman going about the business of placing her order, Grace returns her focus to her own meal. She trades the sandwich for a glass of water, setting it down too after no more than a couple of drinks. A check of the watch on her wrist — nope, not time yet. So the young woman picks the sandwich up again — only to return her attention to the television as the commercial break opens with a political ad.

Money is placed on the counter to pay, and soon after she's got her food along with a bottle of Pepsi to drink while eating it. Cat turns and heads for a table, there placing her gear and settling into the seat while her eyes lift to take in that politicial ad. Her face remains impassive; no opinion is spoken or visible regarding the content.

It boils down to 'elect me, not the other guy — I can fix New York and deal with the Evolved'. Grace is perhaps not so impassive — she snorts at the end of the message, shaking her head slowly. The sandwich is again put down in favor of a drink. Blue eyes wander the room, for sake of anything else to look at.

A quiet snort escapes Cat when the ad concludes. Her eyes roll. "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The words are spoken in a mutter under her breath; moments later her sandwich is lifted and bitten into.

The mutter doesn't pass unnoticed, and Grace's attention focuses on the other woman, head tilted just a touch. "Is that the solution to politicians, then?" she asks, words carefully enunciated to make up for the harsh gravel of her voice. The tone of the query is difficult to identify, but Grace's expression seems more amused than not.

She doesn't answer immediately, caught by the question in mid-bite. Cat takes her time to chew carefully and swallow first. "If it has to be. That amendment isn't really about militias, it's about rebellion and having the means to carry it off. Constitutionally speaking, that's the best way to consider Evolved abilities. They're weapons, which they've every right to keep and bear."

Grace can wait for the answer, and she does, taking an idle sip of her water. "Rebellion is all well and good," she replies, having no argument with that point. One hand lifts to indicate the street beyond the deli; while it is in good shape, the gesture is meant to draw attention to the ruined city beyond. "But does the Second Amendment extend to atom bombs?"

"The answers are never easy or simple," Cat replies with her hand on the bottle of Pepsi. "Would you lock someone up simply because that person might be able to do what happened here?" She takes a healthy pull from it, and proceeds to bite into that sandwich again.

"No, they aren't," Grace agrees. She takes time out to eat more of her sandwich, then returns her attention to the other woman. "Would you let — " She points at a random passerby on the street. "— that man possess and operate an atom bomb? The technology is restricted for a reason, and this city is evidence enough of why. That they don't need technology doesn't change what happens."

"Far better for a thousand guilty persons to go free than for one innocent to suffer," Cat answers. "Once it's deemed acceptable to lock someone up for simply being who he or she was born to be, it's acceptable no matter what ability is had. If we accept Gestapo policies, we're finished."

"Oh, I imagine we're finished anyway," Grace replies, a hint of a lopsided smile pulling at her lips. "Seems to be the fate of the human race to crash itself and burn — now more than ever." Be that as it may, she still has a sandwich to eat, and the woman applies herself to it.

"How would you solve the conundrum?" Her question is followed by eating and drinking soda carefully while her eyes occasionally lift to the set and whatever it's showing at the moment. Her features, while eating, suggest Cat approves of the food here.

"Which conundrum?" is Grace's reply, sharp edges of her voice mellowed slightly by good humor. "Humanity's drive for self-destruction? Don't think it /can/ be fixed." She takes a large drink of her water, swallowing it slowly. "The Evolved?" she continues with a shrug. "Beyond my pay grade. I can tell you the politicians won't get it right, for sure. But if one of them's apt to nuke another city, I -would- put a bullet in their brainpan," Grace says with all seriousness. Harsh and jagged-edged words from a raspy raven's voice. "Same as I would any normal person with a bomb."

"That works," Cat admits simply, "and it doesn't involve locking people up simply for existing." Her tone is neutral, the voice a clear one. She continues consuming her food and drinking from the bottle between bites. "You might even have to get in line behind me. Or we shoot at the same time, make doubly sure of things."

The blue eyes that study Cat over her glass of water seem, if anything, faintly surprised by her reply. "Perhaps," Grace allows. "I'll have to keep that in mind." She finishes the water, and begins picking up the debris on her table. "Though I know someone who would probably beat us to it by a mile or three."

"The key is someone being in the act of committing such a crime, as opposed to being simply capable of it." To Cat, it seems, that's a very important distinction. Fingers again lift up her now three quarters gone sandwich and the hand rests on her Pepsi bottle. Her features, meanwhile, remain neutral as if it were an entirely passionless discussion of such a weighty subject.

"Something else that might be a gray area," Grace observes dryly — though whether that dryness is intentional or not… She disposes of the paper waste, leaving the glass and plate where they can be retrieved and washed later. "But that's the way of life. Enjoy the rest of your sandwich," the woman offers politely, "and have a good day."

"Always do," Cat replies simply, while busying herself with the finishing of sandwich. Her eyes rest on Grace as she makes her departure.

August 27th: Those Freaks
August 28th: Here be Dragons
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