Devil in the Details


eileen4_icon.gif helena_icon.gif raith_icon.gif

Scene Title Devil in the Details
Synopsis The leader of Phoenix and the leader of— whatever it is that Raith's in charge of meet up to talk business. Eileen plays interpreter.
Date August 13, 2009

West Side Sushi

Located in the Upper West Side, West Side Sushi is a small sushi bar and restaurant that caters towards a medium income though manages a more upscale environment. The decor is tasteful and modern, vibrant in the tone of wooden floors, reflective glass bars, tricky lighting fixtures and artwork on the walls. A winding bar occupies one side of the building, the other devoted to private, comfortable tables with booths and armchairs. A decent range of Japanese cuisine is offered, from light meals to proper dinners, with a focus on sushi of varying prices. A full range of liquor is also available, including sake.

It has a trendy kind of vibe that implies temporary success and limited lifespan, but while it's in its prime, it's a nice place to go, with a casual if still sophisticated ambience with prices that aren't out of reach of the common man but quality that doesn't guarantee it will be overlooked by the wealthier patron.

One of the best qualities that sushi has is being family friendly. It's the perfect place for Jensen Raith to take his two daughters out for dinner. Or at the very least, it is a good place for him to appear to be taking his two daughters out for dinner. The truth is, obviously, a bit more complicated than that, and with the eatery nearly full with patrons aiming to get in a meal before it gets too late in the evening. At the very least, the crowd provides a level of 'white noise' that will adequately interfere with any eavesdroppers.

With menus removed and dinner before them, along with two pitchers of sake. Raith holds off on conversation for the moment, while he works his way through a bite of eel, but that is fortunately (or tragically, depending) short-lived. "So," he says to the just-barely younger of his companions, "Tell me about your citizen action committee. You know, what you aim to do, where you do it, why you do it? I'm curious. What makes a firebird tick?"

Helena would surely be bemused by the cover if she knew that was the plan in presentation; the only way she and Eileen would pass for sisters is in a fairy tale. Snow White and Rose Red, particularly. And truth be told, Raith still has yet to be anything but a Big Bad Wolf to her, though one perhaps less immediately dangerous than Ethan. Immediate being the applicable word. She avoids the sake, sticks to water, and like Raith, also seems to favor the unagi, along with the spicy tuna.

She's also gone out of her way to dress up for the occassion, in so much that a subtle shift in the color of her hair, and darker colored eyes will reduce the likelihood that a casual passerby will recognize one Helena Dean. After a brief look at Eileen, she considers his questions. "The idea is that Evolved citizens of this country shouldn't get their rights taken away just because of their genetics." she says. "Legislation like the Linderman act violates our civil rights. We don't deserve to be kidnapped, experimented on, or forcibly categorized by our government." It's a start, anyway.

Eileen is quiet, the silver rings on her fingers catching the light in the restaurant as she maneuvers her chopsticks with practiced precision and dips a piece of yellow tail — hamachi — into a shallow bowl of soy sauce mixed with wasabi mustard. Unlike Helena, she hasn't taken any precautions to avoid being identified, but also unlike Helena, she doesn't need to. Her face isn't easily recognized outside certain circles, and the chances of running into someone like Daiyu Feng or Felix Ivanov in a place like West Side Sushi are slim.

She has, however, made an effort to clean herself up and change into a set of clothes that allow her to blend in with her fellow patrons. Having traded in her jeans and leather jacket for a pair of flats, a ruffled black skirt, white dress shirt and a dark gray cardigan thrown overtop for warmth, she could pass for a college student. If she and Helena aren't having dinner with their father, perhaps their philosophy professor has taken them out to discuss Kant over a light meal.

As Helena speaks, Raith nods, mulling over these tidbits of information in his head and considering what they all might mean for him and his organization. "Aso, aso," he says, although it probably isn't the best place to do that, "That's a good platform to work from. Makes you seem a lot less crazy than the old guard, from what I hear." Certainly, he's referring to PARIAH under Cameron Spalding. Probably, at any rate. Conversation halts again with a piece of ahi this time, washed down with some hot sake. "No, good platform. You know, I think we might be able to help each other, possibly. Depends on a few things, but it's a thought." Apparently not enough of a thought to take precedence over more ahi, though.

There is no point in alienating a man who has bought you dinner. But she's also fairly skeptical, given what she knows of this man's past alliances. "Wouldn't that be a fairly big change in philosophy for you?" she asks. That is as delicately as she can point out, his former status as a member of an organization dedicated to wiping out the Evolved - even the ones who were members. She is admittedly, holding back quite a bit, cautious being the watchword. He and maybe even Eileen might have found it amusing when Helena didn't sit with her back to the door. "How is it that you think we could? Help each other, I mean." Her tone is polite, curious - doing her best to avoid skepticism in her tone.

"Ah, she really was in the loop," Raith replies, clear that he is speaking to Eileen regarding this matter. But he quickly turns back to Helena. "Only a big shift for anyone who disagreed with what the actual plan was. Compared to what I thought I was getting into… well, still pretty different, but details. Times have changed. Viewpoints have to change with them, but here's the new deal." Another pause for another sip of sake.

"What you do, I'm noticing, is advocate for social justice. Equal rights, and all that jazz. Narrow concern, though. Us? Broad concern. The Evolved are a concern, sure. But so are serial rapists that manage to avoid legal prosecution and need to be dealt with more, directly. And I'm pretty sure you don't have a biweekly meeting to discuss which nutbag you're going to take out next. Am I basically right, here?" Raith has no illusions in his mind that Helena is going to jump for joy at all this. On the contrary, he's expecting her to give up on conversation and go straight for the exit.

He gets neither. "There are a lot of problems in the world." Helena agrees calmly enough. "When threats are direct and imminent, it's in our interest to respond to them. It's often in everyone's interest that we respond to them." She leaves it at that. "As you're no longer with your former organization, who would 'us' be, exactly? Tell me about your group. What you aim to do, where you do it, why you do it?"

Eileen busies herself with another piece of sushi — something that the restaurant calls a summer melon roll and combines pieces of paper-thin prosciutto with strips of salmon pink cantaloupe. Fusion cuisine. There's a slight tick at the corner of her mouth, the beginnings of a smirk — the similarities between what's on her plate and the arrangement of people at the table are apparently not lost on her. Amusement crowds her pale eyes when she glances sidelong at Raith and arches both her dark brows at him in an expression that's mild but inquisitive, awaiting his answer with the lofty air of a housecat watching a pair of courting magpies from behind glass.

"'Us' is, well, us," is the answer that Raith offers at first. "Some of us who're still around that think Big V did it wrong, let everything get too big and out of hand because, let's face it, he was stone-cold nuts. And so, what we aim to do is start laying the groundwork for a better future, starting right here in New York, and we do it because we want to make the world a better place.

"Maybe not for us, don't get me wrong. Not much place for people like us in a brighter future. But pointing everyone else towards that's future means getting our hands dirty so others don't have to. You follow?"

"In general." Helena confirms that she does. "But how is that you think you can do that? How does your vision change from what his was? Aside from the part where people like Eileen and I anyone else really, don't die." She nibbles delicately on a piece of tuna sashimi, expression still on Raith. It's a bit like a fencing match, full of verbal parries, ripostes, and thrusts.

"Raith's only interested in the dangerous ones. The Sylars. The Volkens. The Arthur Petrellis." It's the first thing Eileen has said to anyone except their server since the three of them sat down and began perusing their menus. She balances her chopsticks on the edge of her plate, reaches across the table to retrieve their communal pot of green tea and, as she speaks, carefully pours a steaming stream of liquid from its spout and into her porcelain cup. "We only intend to target individuals who've already used their abilities to hurt or kill. Rapists. Murderers. Terrorists." A beat. "Present company excluded, of course. We're taking a closer look at Humanis First, too."

Raith gestures towards Eileen with his hand and tilts his head briefly to one side, as if to say to Helena, 'There you have it.' "The qualifier is being a danger to society. Being Evolved, when applicable, is just a coincidence." Stopping to refill his cup of sake, Raith pauses just short of pouring when something apparently occurs to him. "No big productions, either," he says before completing what he set out to do, "Volken had to do everything big and over the top. Draw lots of attention. Scare people. I find you have much better success when you do it quietly, don't draw attention.

"You make a production, people get freaked out, buy guns and start pasting each other when they jump at their own shadows. You do it quiet-like, and people just go about their day. Oh, those gangs are up to no good again. Better stay indoors after dark so they don't get me, too. And that, of course, is where we want them to be. Inside and out of the cross-fire. You still follow?"

Eileen's grant of exception is regarded with a faint, wry smile before she looks back to Raith. "I do." Helena acknowledges. "Except what my group does - it's not something you can do quietly. In order to accomplish our goals, we have to be at least somewhat public." She takes a sip of her water. She leans back in her seat, attention on Raith, sensing there's something of a pitch here.

The teapot is set back down on the table with a gentle clink. It's an ornate piece of dinnerware, defined by its brass handle and the whiskery dragon that encircles its bloated circumference and seems to wink whenever something is reflected in its nacre scales. In this case, that something is Eileen's hand as it withdraws and returns to the chopsticks she left on the edge of her plate. "I think he's asking you to avoid drawing attention to our activities the next time you make a promotional video and plaster it across the internet."

Once again, Raith gestures towards Eileen with his hand and tilts his head briefly to one side. There you have it. "You need to be somewhat public, and that means there're things that you just can't do. Us? We don't exist. We can do whatever it is that needs to be done. We'll stay on our side of the pool if you stay on yours, unless we need to do different. It's a sensible thing to do, you see. Between Humanis and the know-nothings on Capitol Hill, if nothing changes it's just a matter of time before the brown shirts come knocking. It'll pay to have someone who can watch your back when they do." There's an implication there that's hard to miss.

Helena cocks her head. "So you're suggesting that…our participation in certain projects…like with Arthur Petrelli, like with your own former leader…are you saying we shouldn't be getting ourselves into such things? That we'd be getting in your way?"

"I don't think it's our place to tell you what you can and can't do," says Eileen. Then, with a pointed look at Raith from beneath the veil of her lashes, "Neither does he. If it hadn't been for your people, we wouldn't be sitting here, eating this food, having this conversation. You certainly didn't get in the way at Pinehearst, either."

"Never meant to downplay your ability to do things," Raith adds, agreeing with Eileen on all counts, "But let's face it. You need to keep a public face, and if you intend to advocate for equal rights, you want that face as unblemished as possible. There are certain things you shouldn't do, because it will negatively impact your ability to advocate this way. These are things that we can do, because we don't have to stay on the public's good side. But, of course-" Pausing momentarily, possibly for dramatic effect, Raith lifts up his sake cup from the table- "Pinehearsts happen now and then, and sometimes, there's no way to avoid it. And when they do happen, maybe we should hit them together, get them resolved before anyone realizes we're there, and then leave. Like it never happened. Capice?"

"If you're telling me we need to be discreet about that kind of operation, then you're preaching to the choir." Helena says. She's starting to feel like maybe she's a bit slow on the uptake. "I'm not sure what it is you think we're doing that we shouldn't be doing. But as long as what you're doing isn't harming innocent people, I doubt we'll be getting in your way. Is this because you don't want us involved in the Munin Project?" Her eyes briefly flit to Eileen, then back to Raith.

Eileen does not spit out her tea or snort it through her nose. Her lips remain exactly where they were when Helena first started to speak: on the rim of her cup. It's a good thing, too, because swallowing gives her the time she needs to formulate her response and smooth out whatever stiltedness might try to creep into her voice. "I don't see what a couple of Swiss satellites have to do with anything Phoenix is interested in," she says, lowering her cup. "Unless Catherine is still on about those dreams of Eve's and that one Kjelstrom song?"

Unlike Eileen, Raith doesn't give a verbal reply. He narrows his gaze at Helena, before shifting it to Eileen and allowing it to hover on her for several moments, before moving it back to Helena. He reads the news, sure, but dreams and songs? In the dark, there. Maybe happily so. "Just do what I do," he says, "And don't worry about it. Any hydrazine that leaks is most likely going to fall into the ocean. Not exactly a major disaster."

"She might not be my favorite person, but Eve's a fairly potent precog." Helena says quietly to Eileen. "And while Cat sometimes finds the Devil in the details, I don't think she's playing Cassandra to be concerned." She looks back at Raith. "State plainly what it is you want from me and mine. I can take it back to them and we can decide if it works. In theory, so far, it doesn't seem like it won't, but I'm crap at subtle and it'll be less of a waste of your time if you lay it out for me."

"I think you've got the idea, already," Raith replies, "We fact-check anyone we go after, make sure they've got it coming. No innocents show up in the obituaries, and we won't have any problems." It occurs to Raith as he reaches into his coat and withdraws a wad of bills, some of which are counted and then dropped on the table, that so far, he's spent more money on nice dinners than he has on bullets. There's something to think about. "And potent or not," he adds, standing up from the table, "She's still seeing things the human psyche wasn't made to see. Before you go pouncing on any satellite stories, I'd make sure those dreams are legitimate concerns, and not just loose screws."

Eileen eyes the money on the table as she places her cup down. It's like trying to guess how many pennies are in a giant glass jar in order to win some sort of prize. Is there enough there to cover dessert? She doubts it.

When Raith rises from her seat, so does she — and not just because he's her ride back to the waterfront. There's something to be said for unity. "He's not the best with words," she tells Helena, somewhat apologetically. "We'd like to work with your group when it's mutually beneficial. The last thing we want is for you to think we're picking up where Volken left off."

Helena rises from her seat, a few seconds off from the other two. "I think it's possible." she says quietly. She's not going to be making any promises. "I'll speak to the others about it. Is it fair to say Eileen is the person to speak to if you need to be contacted?"

"Perfectly fair," Raith replies, "Preferable, even. I sort of like being difficult to track down." A very brief, lopsided grin is all else he offers before speaking once more. "It was nice meeting you, and should be nice working with you. Take care, and watch out for the Meat Man." And that's all. With their bill, and their business effectively settled, Raith heads for the exit with Eileen in tow, leaving Helena to do whatever she pleases for the rest of the evening. An alliance has been struck. It's uneasy, tenuous, and lined by bright-eyed idealists on one side and trigger-happy psychopaths on the other.

But it's still an alliance.

In tow, at least as far as Eileen goes, means lagging several moments behind. She lingers by the table and watches his retreating back as she removes her shawl from the back of her chair and drapes the garment loosely around her shoulders. "I think we've reached the point where I don't have to tell you that you know how to find me," she says.

"No," Helena says quietly as she moves to sling her own light summer wrap around her shoulders. "I know where to find you." Then, briefly looking down at the floor, she asks, "Do you - I'm sorry, but - have you - have you seen Peter? Because if you haven't, you should know…"

"That he has Volken's power?" Eileen offers with a glance back at Helena. She trusts Raith to wait in the car for her and not pull away from the curb until she's sitting in the front passenger's seat with the belt fit snugly in its buckle. "He has his eyes, too. I'm still puzzling over which is worse."

"Yes." Helena murmurs, her expression going bleak. "Is he alright?" Helena can't help herself, nor can she hide her anxiety. She shakes her head. "I'm not even sure if I should be asking - I'm not even sure what I should be doing…" she trails off.

Helena's bleak expression is met with a small, tentative sort of smile. "Gabriel's helping him get a handle on it," Eileen assures the younger woman. It's the very most she can offer in terms of news. "I promised someone else I'd send my birds to check in on him. If I find anything out of sorts, I'll let you know."

"He wants me to stay away from him." Helena says, sounding unsure as to how long she can expect to keep to that desire on his part. "Yes…if you would. I'd be grateful." It's something. And she has a rough idea of where Gabriel tends to hang around, so if - when - she decides she needs to try and track down Peter, she has some idea of where to look. Licking her lips, she straightens her posture and says, "Have a good night, Eileen."

"He wants the world to stay away from him," Eileen corrects Helena gently. "You would, too, if you were wrestling with what he is." She offers no formal farewell, only a slight tilt of her head that might pass for a nod in some distant culture and then turns, headed toward the door. As much as she trusts Raith not to leave without her, she doesn't trust him not to scowl at her reflection in the rear view mirror all the way to the docks just for holding him up.

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