Definition Of Morality


kazimir_icon.gif wagner_icon.gif

Scene Title Definition of Morality
Synopsis In deciding on the final course of humanity, two old friends discuss the twin pillars of philosophy and religion and how they apply to the Vanguard.
Date April 8, 2007

When the ceramic cup settles on the saucer, it makes such a subtle clinking sound as to fade into the morass of background conversations filling the coffee house. Leather gloved fingers slide away from the cup and settle to lay atop a napkin on the table, hesitantly curling into the patterned fabric.

"Morality—the idiosyncrasy of decadents, with the ulterior motive of revenging oneself against life—successfully. I attach value to this definition." A quoted idiom from the literary works of Friedrich Nietzsche is not entirely surprising to be offered in the meeting here today. Reclining back into his bench seat, Kazimir Volken furrows gray brows, blue eyes peering thoughtfully over the frameless lenses of his glasses.

It's with tired resignation that the man seated across from Kazimir dips his head down in thought, reaching out to pick up his own cup of coffee in turn, rolling his thumb over the polished surface with more consideration to how old his hand looks than anything more philosophical. Not ever even lifting the cup to his lips, does Mikhail Wagner settle it down on the saucer again, finally looking up to Kazimir again.

"It's convenient for people who have lived lives like ours to see the notion of morality as little more than strictures of punishment." Wagner's dark eyes meet Kazimir's far lighter ones, unable to see anything other than the weight of age behind them. Two old men, sharing coffee in a cafe on a rainy day doesn't seem unusual. From the outside, no one would be any more the wiser on who they actually are. What they can actually do.

The raven perched in the flower beds beyond the front windows knows, but its beady, black eyes tell no secrets.

Its crowing voice has no comment.

Cafe Kranzler

Berlin, Germany

April 8, 2007

"I will stand by my assessment that you and I are, if not paragons of the notion, than little more than primary examples of those needing to be punished. By merit of what we have become body and spirit, we're guilty of a litany of sins tracing back further than either of us are likely aware." Finally lifting up that napkin, Kazimir dabs at his mouth, then looks askance to the other patrons of the cafe, going about their day unaware of the people sitting right beside them.

"I had thought that I would live and die without the world ever realizing what I have known since a young man," Kazimir's pale eyes track back to Wagner. "But what happened in America is going to echo across the world, Mikhail. The curtain that has been pulled back will never be able to be closed, and I am adamantly certain that when all is said and done, the people of this world will see our work as salvation… even if the realization must be made long after the likes of you and I are gone."

Wagner swallows, awkwardly, but ultimately allows his head to bob forward in a reluctantly conceding nod. "The world will be united in grief," is quoted from Kazimir's own speeches, "then, they will just be united."

"You were always a canny disciple, Mikhail." Kazimir's praise always seems backhanded, perhaps in the way his tone of voice lacks inflection beyond the most baritone of sandy disaffection. "I know you have doubted me on occasion, called into question my judgment. Were it not for you and Amato, I most certainly would have mis-stepped along the way on this journey. I may not have had to give an eye for your wisdom, but I do certainly feel as though you both are akin to Mimir's burbling."

"Salucci is here," Wagner queries with a raised brow, diverting the conversation from Norse allusions. "You have spoken of him much since you took the young man under your wing, I was hoping that he and I might be able to meet. It is rare that you take a shining to anyone, let alone someone of…" Wagner's gaze dips down to the table, "someone like ourselves."

"Don't delude yourself," Kazimir quietly chastises, eliciting Wagner's eyes to flick back up to him in curious scrutiny. "The tripe I dredge up from the Fuhrer's playbook about the dangers of people like you and I are stock and barrel for the footsoldiers of our organization. The worker ants needn't know the finer workings of Queens to understand that their work is done for the greater good of the colony…" Kazimir's brows furrow, perhaps lost in his own analogy.

With a dismissive wave of one gloved hand, he passes off that train of thought for a more direct route. "We are not the problem," is something Kazimir would only ever offer int he confidence of the closest of his own. "What we can do, is." Blue eyes search for understanding in Wagner's, only to find further curiosity and yearning to understand.

"Amato Salucci is a fanatic. One hand reaches out towards God, the other reaches out towards myself. He walks a balancing line between blind faith and questioning his own morality, simply on the understanding that I am more than what I appear in flesh and blood. Amato upholds the strictest of our tenants because he is the shepherd of the flock, he is our street-corner prostelyzer." Despite how cutting the words seem, Kazimir handles them with all the delicate touch of a jeweler repairing a fine timepiece.

"You are a pragmatist, like your father Heinrich. You have a vision, Mikhail, one not strictly tethered by some inane religious ideology or idealism, but rather your own sense of moral entitlement. Maybe your own notion of punishment for what happened to your beloved." Blue eyes narrow, but Kazimir lowers them down to the full cup of steaming coffee set in front of himself.

"So you think Amato a simpleton?" Wagner can't help but wonder.

"No," is a quick correction. "He simply has his convictions elsewhere. He believes, because he has faith. You believe, because you have fact. You are a man of science, and Amato is a man of faith. There are some areas of overlap," Kazimir suggests with a raise of his hands, thumb covering thumb in a gesture reminiscent of a Venn diagram. "Overall, your ideals are not complementary."

Wagner's grayed brows lift. "You'd think we might compare notes, then?" There's a breath of laughter beneath his words, jest that does not reciprocate in Kazimir's stony, gargoylish countenance.

"Some things are meant to stay independent," Kazimir explains, folding his gloved hands on the tabletop, "advisors among them." The silence that falls after Kazimir's words is a heavy one, laden with the uncertainty of Mikhail's own distant stare focused on his own reflection distorted in the surface of his coffee.

For a time, the murmur of conversation through the cafe serves as pause between discussions. But in a way these half-heart comments are peppering context of their own into the world around them. A television suspended in a corner of the cafe displays news coverage of riots in America, juxtaposed against the images of police officers flanking Senator Nathan Petrelli as they demonstrate their superhuman abilities. Flashes of the devastation in New York City follow, with images of a burning city skyline, skyscrapers resembling little more than torches of skeletal steel.

When Wagner's eyes catch that sight, then close shut. For all of his moral relativism, Kazimir was right. It had never been about the people with abilities, but what they could do with them. Kazimir himself was self-justification in his own murderous ways, he was paradoxically both what the Vanguard was striving to defeat, and what had founded it all in one. He was their Alpha and ultimately their Omega, the one who would bring them together, and the last they would destroy in the end.

"There is someone I would like you to meet," Kazimir finally admits, his tone quieter than before. Wagner is reluctant to meet the old man's eyes, but never the less does in silence. "He is on his way here from St.Petersburg, though I suspect that he'll be late on arriving. Amato, Munin and I are headed to London soon and we can't delay our travel arrangements for much longer. I plan to arrive in the States by the end of next year, and I do not believe I will be returning to Europe for some time."

Wagner leans forward, glancing askance from their booth, then back to Kazimir. "Is this the one you told me about, from Shanghai in 2003?" Kazimir's response is a slow nod of acknowledgement.

"He's going to safeguard Hugin, here, while Hans' team finishes securing Munin at the secondary holding facility." Kazimir explains as he leans to the side, finding the silver wolf's head of his cane, leaning out of the booth and pushing himself up to stand slowly, bracing his weight on the cane's haft.

Wagner rises to stand with Kazimir, one brow arching slowly. "Fine then," Wagner agrees with a furrow of his brows, "I'm interested to meet mister Daiyu." It's a mild interest, but something at the very least.

"One other thing…" Kazimir suggests as he takes a step closer to Wagner, as if to speak in confidence.

"How much do you know about Antarctica?"

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