Burning Birds And Alley Cats


cat_icon.gif cook_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif helena_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif

Scene Title Burning Birds And Alley Cats
Synopsis Humanis First is discussed and Cat theorizes.
Date September 12, 2009

Alley Cat Courier Service

What was once a small warehouse now serves a completely different purpose. From before dawn until after dark, bikes pass in and out the open doors, couriers off to pick up and deliver mail, returning to take on another task.

Although the warehouse should be rather spacious, it mostly manages to feel crowded. At the very least, busy. A row of lockers, stacked two high, covers one long wall. Bike racks for those who prefer to keep their bicycles here - or need someplace to leave them while on break - line the opposite side of the building. There are always people moving about - rummaging in their lockers, little knots of chitchat, trading experiences and advice on routes (or just the latest gossip) beneath the shouted calls for messengers to deliver this package there or go pick up something from somewhere else. There are usually two people tasked with coordinating the chaos of the Alley Cats, a receptionist who takes called-in orders and the manager who sees to the fair dispersal of jobs; a corner of the warehouse near the main doors has been partitioned off to create their offices.

In her head as she stands alone inside this place, after closing but still well before curfew, it's the 15th of September 2008. Cat closes her eyes and lets the memory play out, a slight smile coming to her features. It's almost been a year since this event took place, and for her it's as fresh and clear as things that happened ten minutes before. Word was sent of wanting to meet here, that the doors would be open and the place empty. Safe to enter.

Coming to a stop, Peter looks around, his brow tensing as he tries to sort out the cacophony of thoughts in the area, searching for specific and familiar internal voices. After a moment, he nods, motioning with his nose towards a room nearby, "They're over there" He states, heading towards the break room. To those inside, Peter's approach with his guest can be seen through the single plate-glass window that affords a view of the warehouse interior.

Alexander mutters, as he notes Peter's approach, "Jesus Christ, does he have to dress like he just mugged Neo?"

Daniel says, "That sucks, man. Tell you what, if I can find out if it's him, I'll let you know. What unit was he in in Iraq, yours?" He looks at Peter, then looks back at Alexander, and nods firmly. "Those movies actually were really terrible."

Helena snorts. "You two are awful." she says, giving Alex a nudge with her foot to his shoulder and setting her lo mein down. She'd ruffle Daniel's hair in passing, but since it's shaved close to the scalp, he'll have to settle for a head scritch instead as she pads up to Peter and Cat. Her smile increases incrementally, and she offers, "Hi, can I help you?" Obviously she knows Peter, Cat she looks at with affable curiousity.

Ah liked the first one okay," Alex says, nodding. "And what's her name in the black vinyl was quite a perq. But yeah, overall, a bit of style, no substance," he says, finally calm enough to resume devouring his chicken. "Yeah. He was in my COC, the bastard." Peter gets an amiable nod of greeting, Cat a slightly cooler one.

The person Peter's speaking with is perhaps five feet eight inches in height, a wavy-haired brunette. A backpack is over one shoulder. She carries herself with confidence, clan in a blue t-shirt displaying the word Yale in white letters over dark jeans and boots with a two inch heel. Cat's eyes scan the interior of the courier service briefly, and settle on that break room when her guide heads that way. For a moment she wonders if someone resembling Jessica Alba will be tearing out the door on a run, and if the boss here is some odd fellow called Normal. They are, after all, a bike courier service in a post-apocalyptic city of sorts.

Approached and greeted by Helena, Cat's eyes settle on her. The face is compared with a recent memory, a glance goes to Peter, then eyes return to Helena. "I'm all good," she replies quietly.

Daniel listens, then nods to Alexander confirmingly. He smiles abashedly at Helena's head-scritch, ducking a bit, but merely listens to the conversation as it approaches, not feeling the need to speak up at this point.

"Hey," Peter says quietly, continuing to walk up to the young girl, but falters in his stride as he spots the others in the break room, coming to a stop just out of arm's reach. "I was up at uh," He glances around, "I heard you and everyone else were down here, I figured it wouldn't be too bad if I showed up." His eyes flit over to Cat, then back to Helena, "This is a friend of mine, Cat Chesterfield." One hand slips out of his pocket to motion to her, "She's the one who's window I etched." Peter grimaces slightly, sliding his hand back into his pocket, "She knows, you know, all of this." Trying to be subtle and coming off more as socially awkward, Peter shifts his weight to one foot. "I was going to have her come by, meet everyone. She's been helping me put things together I figured it was time she got to know everyone. Seemed like the right thing to do."

Helena considers Peter a moment. By not bringing Cat to the tenement he's kept it secure, and a public location means no one could potentially cause a scene. "It's good to meet you, Cat." Helena offers sincerely, though her exuberence is dimmed down just a little to something more contained.

"Man." Helena's voice possibly interposes itself on Cat's memories. "It's been so long since I been here, I bet my bicycle is long gone." She walks in, looking about curiously. "You really did it, didn't you, Cat? You bought this place. It's kind of amazing. This is going to be a serious boon to us."

Cook lopes in behind Helena, swooping his arm over the blonde's shoulders and setting his chin on one of them. "What is this place, anyway, ducks?"

In truth, Elisabeth is beyond grateful that the place for tonight's meeting is somewhere that she has never been before. "Not if I come here," she comments quietly as she brings up the rear. Her blue eyes are hyperaware of every movement, every shadow, even as she listens to be sure that we are not followed — though she does not trust that sense nearly as much as she used to. It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you. She shoves her hands into the pockets of her jacket, remaining close to the door.

Delilah has never been here either- though if she has, she does not recall; she follows in with the rest of them, meandering a bit off to the side to investigate the surroundings. "So this used to be a delivery service? Is it out of business now?" Part of her hopes that it isn't- those are lots of part time jobs lost!- but it likely is. Gathering one fist in her pocket, Dee reaches out with the other to slip open one of the lockers sitting ajar.

She's found near the break area, clad as she was that day in her memories. Blue t-shirt with the Yale emblem across the front, dark jeans and boots with a two inch heel. Her left shoulder has a backpack over it. The only differences are perhaps looking a year older and having the guitar case with her. It wasn't brought that day. Cat's pulled out of her reminiscences first by Helena's voice, then by others.

She turns to face the diminutive blonde, letting a smile spread out. "I wondered if the boss here would be called Normal, and if I were going to be nearly run over by Jessica Alba peeling out on her motorcycle."

In the break area there is food and drink to be had. Beer; mostly Guinness stout but some other varieties as well, including Red Stripe. Wine, maybe some aged Scotch.

"And I did, through screens that keep me in control but without my name being tied in. Your bike might still be here, but you don't need it. You've got a Harley now."

"Alley Cat Couriers." she says fondly, and actually blushes a little at Cat. "I'm still a bit indimidated by it. Elvis gave me some lessons, but…you know." She beckons to everyone. "I bet the Goodwill breakroom couches are still there." she notes, and happily, they are. With a ruffle to Cook's head she adds, "I used to work here as a bike messenger. If we opened it back up, our people could get access to all sorts of places. And the building's got more to it, there'd be places to crash for folks, too. We should probably institute our old security measures, though."

Cook is barely listening to Helena anymore. He's heading straight for the beer and food, starting to eat immediately. "Sounfs goof."

From the door, Elisabeth says quietly, "You should most assuredly institute security measures. Including passwords for after-hours entry to the place, and a cache of weapons in case Humanis First comes snooping around." There are any number of measures that can be taken in this kind of situation. She crosses her arms and remains near the door, leaning up against the wall.

Being unhindered, Delilah is now testing at each of the lockers to see how many are open, and if there might be anything inside. Why? Well, she can. And she's not that hungry anymore, once Cook starts at the refreshments so graciously offered to him. She is able to listen, at least, past the squeaks of metal. "Not too many weapons, right? We don't want any poor soul to find a militia in the basement or anything, yeah?"

"Want to fire Normal?" Cat asks Helena with a bit of a grin. She lets her eyes wander a bit, then come back to the diminutive one before moving on to Elisabeth. The mention of old security measures triggers another flashback. To October 10, 2008, approaching Dorchester Towers at about 02:00.

Frustration with no outlet led Helena to call Cat, and the woman obliged by inviting her to a performance at the Surley Wench. And after the performance, and the trip to an all night diner for food, it's in the wee hours that they finally make their way to the somewhat posh Towers. Helena has the pleased, shiny-sweaty look of someone who's long held back from a release, as ever the jacket she was gifted with several sizes too big. With face done up, Madame Alexander doll meets Eponine from Les Miz is not a bad description. She leans on Cat's arm, singing in a voice too pretty to suit the growly song, "An I dont give a damn bout my reputation, never said I wanted to improve my station"

She's in her standard clothing for such an evening as was just had, chosen to emulate a panther with black fur. Cat strides along with Helena leaning upon her. The case holding her guitar is over one arm, a backpack across the other. Her expression shows an absence of fatigue, the physical frame is a bit sweaty from the exertion of her stagecraft but mostly dried from the cooler air outdoors. She sings those lyrics along with the slightly less tall blonde, her own vocal power held back somewhat to avoid upstaging her. One might conclude she's also had a stout or four; tipsy and in a good mood but not staggering. "I think I'm going to offer someone breakfast in bed today," she muses.

Helena giggles. "I have a looooong walk ahead of me." She's had a few beers herself, but her high seems to be more one of release and not intoxication as she sings out the next line, "An I only feel good when I got no pain," lifting her eyes toward the elevator, "And thats how I'm gonna stay" her voice trails off and she stops dead, gripping Cat's arm and staring. "Peter." she breathes. She lets it go and starts to walk forward. "Oh god, Peter?"

The taller of the pair, instrument laden, matches Helena's singing of the lyrics, starting to belt them out a bit and let more of her vocal style shine through, while also laughing. Until her arm is gripped more tightly and the blonde commences with the staring. Cat's own gaze follows and settles on the man she dubbed Rock, he of the scarred face and the early morning art.

She moves after Helena once the blonde is moving forward again, just a step or two behind her and adding what's seen to her very permanent records. First thing noticed is Peter not being alone. His partner is quietly studied and speculated about.

Woods narrows his eyes when he sees the way Helena reacts, and hears Peter's name come from her lips. He sighs, as if this was all just too much effort and reaches into his jacket, producing a pistol with one hand, and withdrawing a badge with the other, "Federal Agent." He says with a sneer, advancing from the hallway with the gun drawn. Peter's eyes go wide, and he looks at Woods with a stunned expression.

"The security measures she's talking about," Cat states with a voice gone somber, "are about more than Humanis First. They're also meant to guard versus impersonation."

Helena smirks. "Didn't everyone get fired?" is Helena's prompt reply. She considers. "There's a few reasons why I wanted to meet up." she begins. "I wanted to get the status of the assets we'd purchased or considered purchasing…such as Alley Cat and any auxiliaries, plus the bus/RV that Delilah was looking into…Delilah?" she calls out, "Do you have any of the buses you were looking at narrowed down for consideration?"

She then looks around again. "I also want to talk to you guys about Humanis First, and what it is we do in relation to them."

She considers. "Liz," she says gently, "I don't want to pull you into things before you're ready, but if you are, let me know. I think it might be prudent to have you perform a sort of…security analysis? I guess you'd call it, on our new location assets, and give a recommendation of how you'd set up security."

Cook listens while he eats. He is basically just watching Helena, and instinctinvely taking food to his mouth one chip or whatever at a time. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. He never says much in these meetings. He likes playing stupid. It's great for when he /actually/ fucks up, since people wouldn't be expecting much more.

Elisabeth's arms are crossed and she says quietly, "I'll have Cat send me blueprints of every place you want looked at. I think it best that I'm very careful where I physically go in person in terms of places you want secure. Once they find out I'm alive, it could be that I become something of a target. But I'll make sure that either I or our security guy come look in person."

Leo shows up. Not without rapping politely at the outer door first - shave and haircut. Which would matter because he's in his little rent-a-cop outfit, and looking more like an upright citizen than ever. Amazing how appearances can deceive, eh?

Finding nothing just around the corner, Delilah joins the others shortly after Helena asks about progress, and just before Leo happens to sneak up behind her and knock on the door. The redhead turns to look and jumps just a little before realizing that it is Leo, and not actually a Rent-a-cop. "Oh, busses, right."

Shaking it off, Dee digs into the front of her jacket for a folded paper, with a butterfly clip holding a handful of newspaper bits to it. "I have a few here, mostly models out before eighty-four or so. They can be equipped and upgraded as much as we want, we just basically need to make sure it would stay old on the outside- looking like an old man just sold it out of his garage." She pries apart some of the clippings, offering them up in case anyone does want to look, laughing at the next thought. "One looks like it came out of that Priscilla movie."

Cook empties a bowl of chips. He looks around, and then innocuously lifts the bowl to his mouth…

Her eyes remain on Helena, brow furrowing a touch as if confused. To Cat, perhaps, the issue of handling HF was already discussed and decided. "It seems best not to engage them directly. If attacked, we defend and escape, but we don't hunt them. We gather information and share it with others. And we don't let them intimidate us. Ever. They should have absolutely no impact on what we do and who we are beyond measures we take to not be found by them." Her words are spoken in a calm voice, and she moves on easily.

"I'll get you the prints, Elisabeth," she agrees with a nod. "And it'd be good to have secret entrances/exits which can be used without being seen to approach or leave the building. A good project for our engineer, yes?"

"We'll need the same for the firehouse in the Bronx I bought. It'll be a second franchise location of Alley Cat." And as she goes quiet, ceding the floor, her eyes move to Delilah's materials.

"Yes, I think so, Cat," Elisabeth replies quietly. "Let him know, and he and I'll check out the prints cooperatively." She hesitates and isn't entirely sure she should stay for this.

"One of the reasons I wanted to bring up Humanis First again," says Helena, possibly apropos of nothing, "Is because I want us all to understand - even if we don't lift any kind of finger against them aggressively, anything we do - anything - could be used by them as an excuse to make a strike. On our own people or others. I'm not saying 'fuck it, let's go get them' but I want you guys to understand being non-aggressive doesn't mean we're still not targets, nor does it mean they won't take our activities as being baited. So before you commit any further, you might want to think about things…like what Miracle Day could cost us, or my going on Youtube to tell people to keep standing up for themselves. I'm still in this, but I want everyone to consider what could come."

Elisabeth listens quietly to Helena and her reply is calm. "For what it's worth to the rest of you — and I highly encourage you all to weigh all the options on this — Helena is both right and wrong. Most of you are not registered, and therefore can fly under the radar. But if you choose to continue to do the good works that you want to accomplish, she is riht that you will likely be targeted. Humanis First….. doesn't care whether you're an activist or just an Evo on the street, though. Being an activist merely makes them a little bit more angry — and makes you a little easier to see."

"So if you're going to continue… just use your common sense. Alter the routes you take to and from EVERYWHERE; watch for anyone who looks remotely like they might be following you and assume you have a tail at all times. If you weave these kinds of behaviors into your everyday life, you'll be better off while they're on the streets. And if you ever think you're being followed, do not lead them where you're going, obviously. Our engineer," she nods to Cat, "may actually be helpful in training some of these behaviors into everyone. Making you more aware of how best to be aware."

CRACK. Cook looks up, eyes widening just a little bit, his mouth full of ceramic. Oops. "Unner the radar. Assume'm followed. Don't lead'em to us. Got it."
"That's all the same stuff I was told when I came in, so of course I understand." Delilah says quite dutifully, at least making sure that Cat glimpses the clippings that she has for copy purposes- but just by sidling over to show them off. Just five different self-contained motorhomes, all between '46 and '83. She listens to Liz, meanwhile, eyes settling on the older woman with an air of understanding and determination mixed all together. She glances over at the noise, frowning at Cook.

"Just because it is salted doesn't mean you should eat it…" Delilah sighs, looking back between Liz and Cat. "I'll need help with that mode of thinking- you all know I don't think about those things all the time. So I'll need some pointers, for sure."

Cook looks down at the ceramic bowl, or what's left of it: "It's salted?" He hadn't noticed.

"Everyone should also understand," Cat remarks matter-of-factly, "Humanis First will kill people they don't like whether or not we do anything. As long as even one person with the Suresh Linkage Complex is still breathing the same air they do, they will find reasons to kill that person and anyone unlucky enough to be nearby at the time. If we allow what they might do to keep us from taking actions, all that happens is HF gets what they want: people with uncommon abilities being afraid, silent, and dying." She winces briefly at the sound of cracked ceramic, but doesn't look up from the material Delilah offered.

Helena simply nods her head. "Then we'll go on doing what we're doing in terms of agenda. Cat and Liz, if you could work up security protocols as soon as possible, and we also need to make a decision about the mobile asset. I'd appreciate your recommendations, Del. Cook…I've been thinking. Leo's not always available and you're a scrapper, would you be inclined toward guarding my body?" Phrased just so, because it's Cook, snerk snerk.

Elisabeth nods slightly to the leader and says, "We'll work it out." And then she smirks at the phrasing. "I'm heading back out, Helena. Call me — we can talk by phone too. Probably safer for now." Besides… she still has a partner missing, in the hands of these murdering bastards.

Cook pauses with a bit of bowl near his mouth. He looks at Helena, eyes going up and down, and then he just grins, taking a large bite out of the bowl. CRACK. Crunch. Crunch. Swallow. "I'll leap'n yer grenade, lassie."

Cook is an absurdity that seems to make everything else less serious. Delilah snickers at him, trying to squash her smile as she speaks again. "I'll have to go look at these ones myself, but I should find one that's capable pretty soon. The uh- friend I have over in the park said he'd be willing to help me hide a trailer- but I didn't say what it was for or who else was involved, so it'll be up to you guys if you decide to go scope him out for security, or would rather we do it on our own."

"See you, Elisabeth," Cat replies as the detective departs, and moves away from Delilah's materials. "I've been thinking a bit more about whatever the Vanguard's remnants are up to," Cat muses, perhaps to herself, "and I remember something in the news on May 5th." It's called up into memory, and she begins to read it off word for word.

"MASSACHUSETTS - Scientists at MIT have put out a report on Monday indicating that the national percentage of reported Evolved births for 2008 was down almost 16 since 2007. This marks the second year of steady decline in reported births of children to registered Evolved parents. While this number may not be indicative of an overall drop in population density of the Evolved, due to lack of nationwide support for Registration and proper recognition of Evolved births in all states, it does serve as an eye-opener towards potential answers to the mystery of the Evolved."

"Professor David Levey indicated that one MIT professor of statistics who departed the university in late 2008 had been working on what professed was a global patterning to Evolved births surrounding instances of full solar eclipses."

"These journals originally published in 2007 by Doctor Edward Ray indicated the possibilities that unknown environmental conditions linked to the events of total solar eclipses have matched records in the governments Registry of Evolved for dates of first manifestation of abilities, as well as births of Evolved individuals."

"While Doctor Ray's research was never finished, Professor Levey insists that the recent decline in reported births since the last total solar eclipse in the United States in 2007 could potentially mean that another population spike could occur during the next total solar eclipse scheduled to occur over India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean, including Ryukyu Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati. Totality will be visible in many cities such as Surat, Varanasi, Patna, Thimphu, Chengdu, Chongqing, Wuhan, Hangzhou and Shanghai, as well as over the Three Gorges Dam."

Helena blinks a little bit. That's a lot of information offered up very swiftly, and she's not entirely sure what to make of it all. "So…there's going to be an Evolved baby boom in Asia?" she asks tenatively, not entirely sure how it's relevant. Did we mention, a lot of information?"

"… how come it has to happen in Asia? If it happened here I'd contribute!" If you look the word 'serious' up in the dictionary, Cook is not the picture you see.

Somehow, Dee does latch onto something there- probably pure luck on her end, when Cat starts naming off countries and provinces. She speaks up almost nervously. "…Isn't China …drafting people with abilities?"

"Possibly," Cat replies with a glance to Helena which indicates she's answering her question, and "That's what I've read. It could be worrisome." with a glance to Delilah. An answer to the redhead's question. Cook gets a mild chuckle. Then Cat goes on to explain why this is mentioned. "What caught my eye most was that Edward Ray found a link between eclipses and the birth of people with the SLC, as well as people manifesting powers. There's also an eclipse in 9th Wonders, a series of publications from Isaac Mendez which features some very interesting people. Claire, Hiro…" She leaves that hanging as her next point is moved onto.

"Now consider the imagery in Else's song, Shores Of The Empire State. She mentions Munin swallowing up the moon. Munin was a Vanguard call sign, and we've been told before the person addressed by that, there was an original Munin. Two of them, in fact. And they aren't people. In July, satellites named Munin were launched."

"Else is now in care of the Ferry after one of the Vanguardites, Feng Daiyu, took an unhealthy interest in her. She was assaulted in her home by him and rescued."

Cat's words conclude with a question. "What would swallow up the moon?"

Helena opts to remain silent. Sometimes the obvious answers aren't correct, and there's still a lot of information presented to absorb.

Cook is playing dumb, remember? He puts what's left of the ceramic bowl down carefully.

"I half expected everyone to say 'an eclipse', but if that's too obvious- well, clouds or smoke? Sky cover." Delilah feels like she is playing a puzzle game level all of a sudden. "I'm no good at riddles." She laughs a bit, but then looks thoughtful.

"It sounds like a combination of using a nuclear weapon or weapons given the mention of land being burned up," Cat replies with a nod toward Delilah, "along with somehow manufacturing an eclipse. The one mentioned in the news article is expected on December 31st. In one of Else's notebooks, though, she wrote a date several times. Or what looks like a date. Twelve dash twelve dash zero nine. December 12th, if it's a date."

"I also think the prediction of Norman White sinking Staten Island into the sea ties into it all. That would make beaches on 34th Street easily. But right now, it's all speculation. If it were true, there'd be the matter of figuring out where, when, and how."

Helena frowns thoughtfully. There's something half-formed in her brain about all of this, something that ties into the weather, but she's barely sorted out what it is yet. She rises, crossing over to stand next to Cook, and murmurs something in his ear even as she listens to Cat. Finally, "We might want to talk to Shard about that. He's opened a dialogue with Norman."

Cook's eyes shift a little, and then he leans over at Helena and puts his finger to his lips, going 'shhhhhhh' with a smile. He pops in the rest of the ceramic bowl into his mouth. CRUNCH.

"Cook, for goodness' sakes, stop eating the dishes…" Delilah twitches and lifts her hands in exasperation at him. If she ever caught him eating her dishes- his ass would be so Cooked. "That big guy from that gathering is the one making the quakes, right?" She tries to recall some things past the haze of lateness. "So we're expecting…what, biblical chaos leading up to December?"

"Norman White, yes. The guy Shard was talking to, disagreeing with. He is huge. When I first heard of Norman, I saw why T.Monk wanted Sparrow Redhouse here. If she can be found, she could be kept near him to counter anything he does. As to what we expect," Cat adds gravely, "we're talking about Vanguard elements, people who've not come onto our radar other than Feng Daiyu, who have a stolen Russian nuke. We know the Vanguard thinks big too. Kazimir got his ass kicked, so some of them seem about to try plan B."

And Helena gets a nod of agreement. "I'd like to speak with Mr. King, very much. If for nothing else than to warn against pissing him off."

"I'll see what I can arrange." Helena tells Cat, after smirking momentarily to Cook. "Listen, Cat - we might want to make some rules about who can actually, you know, stay at the Alley Cat facility. I think for safehouses, we ought to turn folks over to the Ferrymen, and let these places be for us. No strangers, not until they're vetted. There are plenty of holes to hide in."

Cook blinks blithely at Delilah's chastisement. He crunches, crunches, crunches, and then sticks his tongue out at her, showing her a nice mouthful of ceramic. It's like 'My Girl', except Macaulay Culkin couldn't chew through steel.

"I'll make it stick like that if you're not careful." Dee mutters over at Cook. "So should we be trying to befriend these guys over on Staten, or keeping them at arm's length? And I think these places should just be for our folks, for now. We share too much of everything- and having others in too quickly does defeat the purpose of it being a Bird's Nest." Aw, cute. A bird metaphor.

Not only is he capable of eating everything he sees, the man also appears to have an unlimited appetite. Cat eyes Cook briefly, before suggesting to Helena "We should send him out into the ruins with a geiger counter to eat anything radioactive." Is she joking? Can he handle such things, even in small amounts?

Consideration is also given to Helena's suggestion, it draws a nod with her reply. "I agree. Especially in the case of people who used to be with unfriendly organizations no matter what info they have or wounds were suffered. Nothing guarantees they won't wind up in their clutches again." Her features take on a darker expression in saying so, perhaps one of self-criticism. "If we can pull it off, I recommend no one even comes to private areas of this place, or the firehouse, without being a member."

"He's right here, you know. Ask him if he can." Helena says cheerfully, then nods. "Agreed. Cat, you're going to have control over who you hire and fire, which means you can order security checks on people, with a perfectly reasonable explanation for them. We could invite potentials to work for Alley Cat, and cut them loose if they're not quite what we're looking for with no one the wiser. Or even just interview them."

Cook can handle that stuff even in /large/ amounts. "I live to be the objectified human vaccum," he says dryly.

"You can eat radioactive material?" Delilah asks, bewildered, and thoroughly now distracted by thinking about what Cookie can digest- and only somewhat processing Helena and Cat talking about permissions. "I want to see that for myself. I don't believe it."

Her eyes settle on Cook for a moment, Cat being thoughtful as he states his capability. It draws her to ask two more questions. "Will what you eat still be radioactive when it comes out? Are you immune to radiation absorbed just from being near it while eating?"

Helena gets a reply also. "Maybe the HR person should be Evelyn Wozniak."

"I can eat a-ny-thing." Cook smiles wide, showing Delilah his teeth. He shrugs at Cat. "I'm sorry, I left m'PhD in m'other PANTS, I don't /know/!" He cackles, amused. "I just eat the stuff."

Helena shakes her head. "My face is too well known." she says. "We get the wrong person in here, and they see me, and it's all over. But that doesn't mean we can't use Alley Cat to recruit. I wish we had more PI's on the payroll. But you know…Cook, Del, either of you want to work for Alley Cat as messengers?" Hel can't help grinning at the prospect.

Delilah covers her face with one hand. "I didn't want to think about someone having to Geiger his shit…" And when he smiles at her, that cuts it, and she just splits into a slightly pink giggle. "Looks like you'll have to get a plastic bag ready, Cookie." The silliness is broken a little when Helena asks Delilah a question, and the redhead wrangles her laugh to look over and listen.

"I suppose I could, a little bit. I've got the scooter, so technically I could make bigger deliveries if that comes up? Better carry weight."

"Pffft. If I'm th'dog, I d'mand I get m'own human t'ziploc my poop," Cook says matter-of-factly. Helena's question gets a brief shrug. "As long as you don't mind me stoppin' to eat." Because he eats. All. The. Time.

More nodding. "Fair enough there, Storms." Cat turns to Delilah next, then Cook, having had the same thought. Conducting an experiment of that nature. "If it turns out the results aren't radioactive, and you do this, it'll soon be obvious if radiation affects you personally and we can have a healer fix the poisoning damage. A hazmat suit will help, but not completely. Can't be protected and still eat."

She goes silent for a few moments, thinking a bit more.

"And we'll need a decon procedure, possibly." A few steps are taken, she selects a bottle of Guinness stout and starts to drink.

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