Discourse and Debate


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Scene Title Discourse and Debate
Synopsis A pundit's Q and A session in a bookstore ignites both debate and tempers.
Date October 2, 2010

Upper East Side Barnes and Noble

The modern chain bookstore in 2010 is much more than just a bookstore. It is an entire metropolis of multimedia, selling DVDs and CDs and software and e-readers, bookends and lapdesks and stationery and knicknacks, bagels and frappes and smoothies and paninis in addition to the row upon row of bookshelves full of books.

This particular Barnes and Noble has an extensive cafe area of plush velveteen seats with little tables to set the books that the patrons may or may not end up buying but eventually stain with coffee or raspberry tarts. Today, that area is busier than usual. A podium has been set up and a sign near the cafe entrance says in cheery hand-written letters, "Why Should You Register? Questions and Answers with Popular Pundit and Political Author, Alexis Papadakis!" The man who stands waiting for people to grab their coffee and take their seats and for the minute hand to make its way to the seven is a familiar face, a robust man with dark curly hair and rosy cheeks, seen often as an analyst on news and debate programs.

Marjorie Mihangle has always enjoyed any sort of bookstore. They are quiet places, after all, and when you're raising a 10 eyar old on your own, you take every bit of quiet that you can. The door lets out that mechanical chime, the one that has since replaced the old-fashioned jingle bells on the door itself, and walks through the detectors to make her way over ot the magazines. She selects a few Gormet Baking ones, humming an old Judy Garland tune to herself happily as she wanders along in her red pumps. She is an old-fashioned looking woman, a woman who looks like she belongs on the cover of 'Modern Housewife' herself.

Three kids sit at one of the bigger tables, bags beside each of their chairs and holding their own respective books they were allowed to pick up. Their father - Brennan - is returning with drinks, cookies for the two younger and a cheesecake to share with the oldest who is keeping an eye on her sisters. "Annnnd here we are. Hot Chocolates allll around" Brennan starts to unburden his gourmet fortifications for the girls. He hadn't intended to attend this Q & A, but it has tweaked his interest enough to pick up his own copy of the book and stick around.

It's sometimes difficult, trying to find your way to a lecture and order a coffee when you… can't read the signs. But Gin mostly makes it alright, ending up sitting alone at a table to wait for the lecture to start. With a coffee. She doesn't add cream or sugar, notably. She never did acquire a taste for them. She doesn't have a copy of the book in question with her or anything… for all intents and purposes, it seems like she just wandered in on this little shindig.

Savannah's no stranger to bookstores. But it's no random happenstance that she's showing up at a familiar haunt. She'd gotten wind of this (thanks to Kam's offhand mention of the topic) and made arrangements to be there. She slips into one of the seats quickly, large black moleskine notebook in hand, pen clipped to that. She happens to be planning on taking quite a few notes.

Brad Russo is getting ideas; always getting ideas. Today his political mind is working — this is a man he'd like to interview someday on The Advocate, and that means giving credence to things like book talks and engaging in the material of the culture. He leans against one of the back walls, there but not. He skimmed the book already and so he leans, arms folded over his chest in his khakis and blue and white checkered shirt. His blazer rests comfortably over his shoulders as his fingers tap against the opposite arm — both hugged even tighter to his chest. The debate is a hot one, and God-willing, will spark some equally heated discussion. His lips press together and he hmmms to himself.

Certainly not there for the register — America's registration rules don't apply to him; not because of his British citizenship, but because Interpol handles all of his fake paperwork as it is, and he has a shiny Non-Evolved registration card in his alias — Nick meanders through the foreign language section of this bookstore on the Upper East Side, far from his normal haunts and anyone likely to recognize him from the docks. He picks up a book on Conversational Polish and begins to flip through it.

Taking the podium, Papadakis clears his throat and grins broadly at the assembled group of patrons. "Thank you so much for giving up your Saturday night. I know with curfew as it is, this will pretty much take up the bulk of anything you get to do on this glorious fall evening before you make your ways home, and I want to say I truly do appreciate you being here!" The man has a booming voice. There is no need for a microphone.

"I'm going to skip the boring bio stuff about who I am and why you should listen to me… if you really care, you can read it on the 'about the author sleeve' on the book over on that table that I'm sure you're all going to buy!" He winks. "Truly, though, no purchase required, but I'll be happy to sign any books you do purchase — you have to buy it first and bring it back with a receipt so I know I'm not just graffiti-ing up the bookstore's copies."

He chuckles at his own jokes, and looks out at the crowd. "So I'm not going to ask how many of you are registered, but I'm going to assume some of you might not be. Don't worry, no one's taking names and giving them to the police. This is meant to be a Q and A, and I do want you to know I'm not the government, have never worked for the government, and never will work for the government. I don't get a kick back from them for how many people show up to register because they listened to me, right? Though that'd be nice!" Another wink.

"Let's just start with some questions. The book has lots of material in it I don't want to repeat."

Marjorie hears the man with the microphone speaking, and she starts to meander over, the magazines held agaisnt her chest lightly. Her big green eyes turn to watch the man and they get a little wider as she starts to listen. Still! She's not one to judge - not right off the back, anyway. She's more than happy to judge down the road. Curious, she meanders a bit closer to the book table.

Her hand falls to one of the books and lifts it, turning it over and oepning the cover in order to read a bit 'about the author' and about the book. Instead of getting wider, her eyes now become more slender in a somewhat displeased way.

"Why do you think that people should register, beyond the obvious 'it's the law' reason. Of course it's the law and we should all obey the law. But what do you as the author, believe is the benefits to registering Mister Papadaskis? Do you think there are any people who shouldn't register?"

This comes from Brennan, even as he peels the papers off a pair of straws and starts sliding them into the hot chocolates and making sure the kids are all satisfied.

Savannah's being polite. Despite his commentary on buying books and graffiting them, his winks whenever he delivers a sly line, and his general self-assurednes, the blonde doesn't roll her eyes. She just smiles politely, opening her notebook and drawing a small squiggle across the page as she waits for something interesting to be said. When he opens up the floor for questions, Savannah doesn't jump right away. She'll let questions percolate. She glances over as one is offered, smiling slightly as she sees who it is. A-ha! Familiar face! She turns back to the author to listen, pen poised at the ready.

Gin doesn't jump in right off, trying to get a feel for things lest she ask a stupid question. Brennan's, though, gets a scowl from the woman, and she mutters something to herself, into her coffee as she takes a sip.

Following Brennan's question, several more take root. While some might not be forthright with questions, and others might not have questions at all, Brad doesn't wait to be called on — this is not school, and he's been out of school for some time. "Mister Papadakis, we're familiar with your premise, it's one postulated by political pundits throughout these fifty states, but there are lingering questions about whether keeping individuals' DNA on file is unconstitutional, particularly when these individuals have committed no crime. I'm no scientist, but, theoretically, keeping a sample of someone's DNA could, in essence, be used for ill. Could you comment on the nature of the constitution and how collection processes are handled and what measures are being taken to protect citizens?"

He clears is throat again. "While I am registered," and would be happy to display his card for the masses (and has, in fact, displayed his card), "do you feel the government is asking its citizens to put more faith in it than it places in its citizens? Why or why not?" It seems Melissa's viewpoint has, at least, sparked some questions.

"What a lovely family you have, sir," Papadakis says with that Colgate grin pointed in Brennan's direction. "No, that is a legitimate question, and actually, 'because it's the law' is not a good answer, not if we look at some laws that have been enacted in the past. If we follow unethical laws just because we are afraid of breaking the law, we in effect are saying the law is valid. But this is not an unethical law. It is meant to keep all people safe."

The man leans on the podium. "We've all heard the obvious reasons, the scare tactics: 'Wouldn't you want to know if a pyrokinetic was living next door to your straw house?' That sort of thing. But let me give you another scenario."

He looks around — the group is small enough he can make eye contact with each and every spectator, and even a couple of people outside of the cafe who he catches listening. "Bad things happen. There are people with amazing abilities who could possibly help, if we knew who and where they are. Last winter, people were attacked in their dreams because of someone with the ability to enter their minds while they were asleep — the obvious thing to say was, if that person were registered, we might have been able to stop them. But the less obvious answer — what if we had access to all the great abilities in this great nation of ours? We might have been able to find someone to stop that person before so many people were injured — or worse! — by the oneiromancer in question."

His eyes then fall on Russo, and he gives a nod of recognition. "Of course, Mr. Russo, you have the hard hitting questions! I actually have the utmost faith in our citizens — unfortunately, it is part of the government's job to monitor. The DNA sample — I can't say I'm an expert on what the constitution would say on that. I'm pretty sure ol' Thomas Jefferson wasn't really too equipped with DNA and RNA and the possibilities of cloning or anything in those regards. But I'd say it's similar to saying that a certain driver needs eye glasses when they're behind the wheel, and putting that on the driver's license — it's just a safeguard."

From the second floor of the book store, Delia Ryans peers down at the little crowd asking the author questions. She was hoping just to get an autograph to begin replenishing the collection she'd lost, not to get caught up in a debate. Crouched beside the glass half wall, she's listening to the author while reading the first few chapters of a new romance novel, Secret Stallion. Judging by the blush on her face, it's a pretty steamy one.

There's a quick look down to the floor as Russo asks his question and she furrows her eyebrows slightly as the author starts talking about dream attacks. Turning her head, she buries her face in her book and purses her lips into a frown. There will be no autograph hunting from that man today.

"That's just…that's just a bunch of cock-a-mayme." Marjorie can't contain herself, not even for a few questions. She raises her voice, her cheeks flushed in anger as she listens to teh back and forth. "The government has no right to know who has what ability. Why, so we can be drafted against our wills? So we can be taken for the government's use? That's what they're doing, you know - keeping track of people and conscripting the ones they see useful for their own ends without even a thread of rule of law involved! How's that for against the consitution!"

The woman trembles a little, and she's so mad she can hardly see straight. "They've been doing it…who knows how long! And now we're just making it easier for them! If I didn't want my son to be a criminal, I wouldn't have registered! The U.S. Government can swoop in and take me any time they see fit, just like they've been doing for years!" She sounds rather crazy, but she looks as normal as anyone else…

"The government has a right, they had the right when in two thousand and six, one individual obliterated a good third of this island that we are currently sitting, living, residing and breathing on" Brennan points out to Marjorie. "The government isn't to blame for registration having come into effect but the man responsible for the midtown disaster. Through his actions, you and everyone else where who may or may not have exhibited an ability, became legally required by law, to come forth and state what they could do, if they knew what they could do"

Brennan doesn't rise from his seat and his hands and fingers move, sign language for those who know, so that his oldest can understand what her dad is saying even as the five year olds look on and then back to their cookies.

"Is it a just law? No. But it's the law, and eventually, I hope, it will be changed through peaceful means. Don't pin the blame on the government for the changed that they have instituted, or for the measures that they go through to re-enforce the law. Blame the groups like Humanis First, or Messiah, Pariah and the other violent and very forceful groups who have used force and terroristic acts to force the government to change, to crack down."

He looks to the Author then back to Marjorie. "The changes are in response to what the most vocal aspect of society has done. If you want to be able to walk out your door without needing to carry a registration card, then work to ensure that the other part of society,t he ones who quietly, non-violently, work to try and change the law from the outside and inside, are heard."

"So in your scenario, you're suggesting that the government could look up someone with an ability that might have been able to help stop people from being attacked in their dreams. But what if that person with an ability is a minor, or someone who doesn't want to use their ability? People have no obligation to use their abilities." Savannah's gaze shifts back to Marjorie with a small smile. Seems she's got the same idea.

She turns back, focusing on the author's answer to Russo. "Regardless of the government as an entity, these are still people working for the government in these positions. You didn't quite answer the question… sure, there's the government monitoring, but the government is still people and people are flawed. It's one thing for the government to know you need glasses to drive, it's another thing for the government to know that you have an ability. Do you think there are enough safeguards in place to prevent this information from being leaked? What better way to steal an identity than through DNA."

Tacking on to Savannah's response, the woman earns a small grin, "And Thomas Jefferson intended citizens to be free. The entire reason independence happened was for freedom of the people — the colonies didn't want to be repressed under British rule." Brad lowers his hands to his side as he shoots the political writer a lopsided smile. "And, as this — " he motions towards Marjorie " — lovely lady has observed, there is room for much corruption. Simply put, do you think the President has adopted the adage that people shouldn't fear their government, but governments need to fear their people?" He quirks a single eyebrow as his hands are raised openly, this isn't a defence tactic, it's merely a hard hitting question.

"And while many groups have stirred violence all their own, registration hasn't inspired said groups to disband. In fact, in many ways, it's had the opposite effect. Do you care to comment on that? I recognize that group formation could ultimately lead to political anarchy, so there needed to be some repercussions in terms of the government…." He chews absently on his bottom lip. Ironically, if Paradakis had taken an anti-registration viewpoint, Brad would be asking questions around its merits.

"Or are the measures a response to a larger fear that the groups are going to take action against the government? History should leave the average citizen wary about the governments' intent, and the government should be wary about restricting its citizens too much. Where repression strikes, historically, revolution has bloomed. Any thoughts on that?" He pauses. As his smile turns apologetic, "Sorry, I realize I'm hitting you with a lot at once, but I'm merely following the logic."

"Yeah, it was so much easier for y'all when you could prey on people in secret," Gin notes in Marjorie's direction, a sneer on her face. "Think 'f it like guns. Maybe not everybody what's got a gun is gonna be dangerous, but the ones what decide to be are the ones ruinin' it for all y'all. If'n you don't like registration, that's all well an' good, hunny, but don't blame the government. Blame the midtown man. Blame the fucking great storm. Blame your own goddamn people, that's who." Her thoughts mirror the docotr's, if more… volatile. The gruff-voiced woman looks back over to the author, frown still on her face. "That's what it's about, isn't it? These evolved what got it in their heads that power means they can do whatever they want. Now the man's gotta answer to that, one way or the other. There ain't no erasing what happened in Oh-Six. And god knows about the thousands of smaller wrongs the world don't hear about. Maybe you don't think twice about gettin' too close to the stove, but once it's burned ya, you don't forget the lesson easy." Guns, stoves, she's got a lot of metaphors for the Evolved. Probably some colorful ones, too. "Maybe this ain't the best solution, but we can't jus' sit here and wait for the next hit. Done that for four years already."

Nick turns a corner with the book he's selected, trying to find the stairs, but the maze of shelves has him turned around and he's somehow near the romance section of all things. He literally trips over Delia, but manages to keep his balance, though his Polish book goes flying and lands with a smack on the tile floor several feet away.

Alexis Papadakis blinks as suddenly his little question and answer becomes a soapbox for his listeners, a debate erupting between the housewife and the doctor. Clearly he didn't expect this, and the middle-aged Greek American looks a bit bemused about how to handle it. Brennan is doing a good job of answering the question for him, but it's his books he's here to sell, not Brennan's — who he realizes after a moment is also an author. As the others speak up, Papadakis looks a bit bemused from one person to the next — it's clear this is the loudest and most opionated group he's encountered on his book tour to date.

Alexis scratches his head of dark curls and nods. "Well, it is begging the question to say that it's an invasion of privacy or against the Constitution, I suppose. We have to define what that means and that's a question that's much, much bigger than just the Registration issue, I'm afraid," he murmurs. "I'm sure the Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of such issues, and if they haven't, they will in this regard."

He takes a deep breath. "If people don't want to use their power, just because the US government knows they have it does not mean they're going to be forced to use it. That's jumping to conclusions — I'm sure that people will be able to make choices for themselves." He nods toward Gin. "This is a solution to the problems we've faced since 2006. We have to give it a chance to work — and not giving it a chance means it won't. We can't go into it assuming it won't work, because then it will not, that much is for certain. It will only work if we find ways for it to work, and when we find the ways it doesn't, then the government can fix them. No system is perfect, and no first attempt at anything goes perfectly, not in government."

Papadakis shakes his head again. "There are people who are registered with very dangerous abilities who live very normal lives. People who are tier 2 and tier 3, and yet they are able to have normal lives that are productive. Why would the government let them all walk around if their goal is to put them away forever? They know where they are. They could put them away now if that was their end goal." He opens his hands, palms up. "Clearly it isn't."

"I am not jumping to conclusions," Marjorie says, flushing a little bit deeper. "I've seen it, people being forced away due to their abilities, being taken by the government. This was before the 'Midtown Man'" She seems unafraid to stand up for what she's saying as she's talking, particularly with a few smiles and nods from some people, less so from others.

"Before the midtown man happened, this was happening. All the midtown man did was to make it easier for the U.S. government to take advantage of the citizens. They are taking specific people, and now they have a network of people to select from for their needs, those needs that they never dicuss on C-Span. If peaceful means worked, this never would have happened!" The woman sighs, huffs a little, clearly a little distrubed.

Delia winces as she's being tripped over and stands up quickly to help catch the book, "Oh god… I'm sorry…" She whispers in apology to the 'priest'. "I mean, I'm sorry, not the oh god… Oh god I did it again… and again.. shit— I mean… Just ignore me." She stammers as she picks up the Polish book and holds it out toward the young man. There's a little bit of a confused expression on her face as she reads the title and then looks up at him. Her own book and hidden behind her back, mostly because the man on the cover has a profile that looks suspiciously like the one in front of her. Why do they all look like beefcake versions of him?!

"I think that we're getting a bit away from the topic at hand when you start talking about people having been kidnapped for years now, when we should be peppering the esteemed author with questions about his book and making sure that he knows it's contents cover to cover" Brennan politely points out to Marjorie. "of which I have purchased one and will eagerly await to get it signed for my wife." He pats his copy, receipt tucked in the cover with a genial grin. "Where did you do your research?" This for the author. "What made you decide to write about this topic. Was it something near and dear to you" In other words, is papadakis evolved? "Or did you just go 'interesting topic… hmmmm I should write about it?"

"Well, it would be kind of a blatant show of force if suddenly people from tier 2 and tier 3 just disappeared. I'd like to think the government wouldn't be stupid enough to just try and do something that speedily if that was a goal. That's a good way of looking like Germany with the Jews all over again." Savannah states, shaking her head a little bit. She nods in agreement with Brennan's question. "You also said you weren't associated with the government and never would be? You've got a keen interest in politics and the government, but is there a reason why you wouldn't personally want to be involved in the government?"

Gin has an interesting… background. For one, she didn't grow up with the Holocaust and World War Two as common knowledge that everyone knows about, even the ones that don't believe in it. So she sometimes has to remind herself what the hell people are talking about with that reference. It manifests in a blink at Savannah's words, followed by a quick shake of her head.

Russo is skeptical about the evolved soldiers, but he does little to enter into the dialogue about it, instead choosing to step back from his own questions. He slides towards the coffee and wrinkles his nose at it before pouring himself a cup, his desire for it to be a different liquid at the forefront of his thoughts. After bringing the cup to his lips, he arches an eyebrow at the author and shrugs his shoulders; it seems this crowd is passionate about the issues at hand. With that shrug, he glances at his watch and slides back towards the door, while he was hoping to grab the author, chances seem slim today, not with this crowds' animations about the topic.

Nick chuckles, taking the book from the tall redhead, and shakes his own darker head of shaggy short hair. "You know, just 'cause I bought a bible don't mean I'm a priest. I'm about as far from that as you can get, miss." He turns to peer down into the cafe, seeing what it was that Delia was spying on. "Quite the gathering. You could probably sit in an actual chair and eat a scone or something while you listen. It'd be more comfortable," he points out.

Papadakis chuckles, though the amusement is far from his eyes. "Conspiracy theory is hardly going to help here. And if what this lady," he glances from Savannah over to Marjorie to indicate the latter, "is correct, that they've been kidnapping people since before 2006, then it wouldn't be all at once, would it?"

The more personal questions earn a smile. "I am Evolved, if that's what you are asking. I have super smell. I know, it's hardly a dangerous power, and I am not likely to be asked to join FRONTLINE for it, but I would make one heck of a K-9 unit team mate!" He waits for the chuckles for the lame joke.

"I wouldn't work for the government because I like working outside of it, I like looking at what it's doing and analyzing the hows and whys and I make much more money working for the private sector, I admit." There is another wink at the joke, and a pause.

"I can't answer some of these questions because I'm not equipped to either refute or confirm the rumors, I'm afraid. I do suggest you read my book and see if there are some issues in there that resonate with you — perhaps something in there will help address the issues."

Papadakis glances at his watch. "I need to make sure to sign your books and give you plenty of time to get home before curfew, so I will be over here," he nods toward a seat set up with pens and a bottle of water. "Feel free to talk amongst yourselves."

"I'd rather not, listen that is," the redhead replies with a little bit of a blush on her cheeks. "I'm not actually interested in anything he has to say." There's a haughty quality to her voice and completely unconsciously, Delia swings the book out from behind her back and flips through the pages. The cover is in full view of the 'Polish priest' in front of her, and when she realizes that he can see it, her face turns bright red and she lowers the softcover slowly. "I— I know that. But I— Uhm… I don't know. Not like we've ever been introduced or anything. I'm Delia by the way… If you call me Red, I'm going to start calling you Choir Boy."

It is a parent's perogative to be calm in situations wherey ou want to scream and pull out your hair. This is one of those situations. Marjorie can't help but look around teh room, her anger giving way into something more numb - something dumbfounded. Conspiracy Theories - that's what they're calling them. She's just a crazy homeless person standing on the side of the street with an empty styrofoam McDonald's cup, the design of which has been out of circulation for two years.

Marjorie stands there a moment, just staring as people begin to move around her, to go about their lives without a single thought about what might happen to them if they dare register. She picks up a book, almost as if in a haze, and gets in line.

Savannah winces, both at the suggestion of adding to a conspiracy theory and to the author's cheesy stile of delivering lame jokes with a bit of a wink. She folds her arms over her chest, eyeing the display of books. Kam would be proud of her for getting the other side of issues as far as research goes, but…

He'll just have to be proud of her another day.

Scribbling a few notes in her moleskine, she looks around for a moment to spot Marjorie, noticing her in line. She scowls, just slightly, pulling herself from the chair to get a book herself. Guess Kam will be proud of her after all. She slips into line behind Marjorie, leaning forward to comment to her.

"For the record… I believe you."

Gin does not laugh. There's a bit of an impression that she doesn't as a general rule. But when the talking is over, she stands up with her coffee in hand, and watches the line form. It's ironic, given that she was such an obvious supporter and the others really… weren't, that she doesn't grab a book and get in line. Instead, she simply turns to leave. It would just be a doorstop for her anyway.

"Choir Boy? God, no. You can call me Nick," he says offering his hand and raising a brow at the romance novel in hers. "That stuff'll rot your teeth, Czerwony," he tells her, the last word tinged by a different accent than the vague American accent of the rest. He nods toward the stairs. "I'm gonna buy this and a cup of coffee. You want one? We can eavesdrop on the asshole and smirk behind our cups." He begins to move toward the stairs, apparently heading that way whether she follows or not.

The man of the hour is settling into a comfortable chair, reaching with a broad grin for the first of his 'fans.' "Who is this for? Alvin? My biggest fan ever? Excellent!" Papadakis says, scrawling something into the front cover of the book, then signing it, the A and P large and loopy, an autograph of someone with confidence and arrogance.

Marjorie turns her head a little as Savannah walks over, holding the book in with all of her cooking magazines. "Thank you," she says, graciously. "I didn't realize how very crazy I must sound until…well until most of the room didn't seem to follow my train of thought. But…these things do happen. And registering will make it so much easier for us to be found." She looks ahead, and moves up in line. She sets her book down in front of the man. It's not paid for. "You don't have to sign this," Marjorie says softly, not wanting to disturb those around her. "I just wanted to have the opportunity to inform you that what you're encouraging is very dangerous. It's simple for you, an Evolved with an ability that probably won't be of great interest to the Federal Government, to encourage registration of others. But for those of us who could be considered too dangerous or too useful, standing up and wearing our name-tags for the President to see is asking to be exploited. My ten year old son doesn't have a father because of the sort of 'dissapearances' that occured prior to the Midtown man. You should be ashamed of yourself for encouraging something that may lead to the loss of a family member."

"Sure, that sounds good… but you can buy me a hot chocolate, I don't drink coffee." The brain rotting book is set down on a nearby shelf before Delia begins to follow Nick down the stairs. As they pass by the table of the author, she ducks her head down making sure her hair falls in just a way so that he might not be able to see her. It stays that way until well after they pass by Doctor Brennan's table and get into line at the counter.

"So what does zervonee mean?" Her accent is distinctly New York, though she doesn't have the drawl of Brooklyn or the Bronx, or the nasally one of Queens. Should it be placed, it would be muddled Manhattan, as though she trained herself to have a more neutral or West Coast manner of speaking.

Savannah smiles to Marjorie as she speaks her mind. That's not quite how the blonde would have put it herself, but… at least the points are getting out there. She doesn't speak up, taking a moment to see what the author might have to say to Marjorie, who seems one of the more impassioned of the group. Next to Gin, of course.

"It's a secret," Nick says as he heads toward the counter, ordering a coffee and a hot chocolate and purchasing his own book once the checkout boy offers. How convenient. He nods toward the author. "So what's he saying that has you all riled up, Delia? I wasn't really listening," he says. Her prior boss was kind to him, and he apparently is repaying the favor through politeness and hot beverages.

Alexis looks up with surprise at the woman and he nods, taking the book and setting it aside. "I'll keep that in mind. But I won't be ashamed at speaking my beliefs, just as you should not be ashamed at speaking your own. Thank you for voicing your principles. It is part of what keeps our country great — that we have the right to do so," he says amiably as he reaches for the next book, smiling at the next patron.

Marjorie sighs, stepping out of line, but staying by Savannah. "I'm sorry," She apologizes to the woman, a little flustered agian. "I should really be apologizing to him but I'm sure I can't bring myself to. I'm a grown woman, I shoudl be able to control myself better than that." She looks around, stepping a little bit further out of the way.

She looks at Savannah again. "Although if I may be bold enough to say so, thank you. IT was a little bit reassuring to have someone here who didn't think what I was saying was completely insane."

"Fine, I'll just google it if I ever find a computer with internet access that I can use." Or a phone with the same, it just doesn't help her right now. Heaving a long sigh, the redhead glances toward the author and shakes her head. "Nothing much… just one of his examples hit a little too close to home." Wrinkling her nose at the dark haired man, she takes her cup and leads Nick toward one of the tables far away from both the author and the doctor. "Sorry for tripping you upstairs, I never think about being in the way."

Savannah smiles warmly again to Marjorie. "You aren't insane for having that kind of opinion," she notes, but holds up a finger as a hold on just-a-sec motion as she turns to have her copy of the book signed. "Don't need to make it out to anyone, just a signature is fine. I appreciate you taking the time to share your opinions." She's polite at least.

Majorie waits politely for Savannah to get her book signed. Once Savannah has returned to her, however, she continues talking. "I promise I wouldn't ever say such things unless I knew them to be true. But then, I'm sure that's what most everyone who says off-color things might use to defend themselves, isn't it?" She chuckles a little, finally relaxing. A clean, manicured hand is offered to Savannah. "I'm Marjorie Mihangle."

"Thank you very much for listening, miss," Alexis says with a broad smile, signing with his flourish and nodding toward Marjorie again. "You aren't insane, ma'am. If what you say is true, you are very entitled to your viewpoint. Even if what you said is not true, your opinion has merit. Thank you for making it a lively discussion." He gives them another nod, then turns back to the rest of the line, waiting for the next guest to bring his book forward.

Meanwhile, Nick settles into one of the comfortable seats, unsure of why he's letting himself relax just a touch — perhaps because he owes Lydia for his kindness, perhaps because he's about as far as he can be from any of the lowlifes who would recognize him, over here in the Upper East side. He lifts his coffee to his lips, and pushes the book toward her. "You can look it up in there, if you can figure out how to spell it. Polish is a bit like grabbing a handful of Scrabble tiles and making words out of 'em. I don't read it at all, couldn't tell you how to spell the word."

"Zzzzz…." Delia makes a little bit of a buzzing sound with her zees as she tries to spell out the word in her mind. "Easter European, that means is either ess-zee or see-zee, right?" Flipping through the book, she places two fingers in where both spellings might occur and glances up at the dark haired man with a quirked eyebrow and a little bit of a smile. "How's your arm by the way… you look a lot better than the first time I saw you. I meant to ask about it in the park… but… it was a bit hairy there."

There's a very sharp gaze towards Alexis from Savannah's direction as he insists it's not true. She bites back a sharp retort, instead turning her gaze towards Marjorie, reaching to carefully guide her a bit away before continuing her conversation. "Don't ever let anyone tell you that your beliefs are not true. I've talked to plenty of people and I know enough that I don't trust the government with my personal information and I'm not even Evolved." She takes Marjorie's hand with her own, smiling.

"Savannah Burton. I'm an author too—fiction, though. Evolved characters and things like that. It's a lot easier to tackle issues I believe in because it's a world of my creation, but… point is, I do some research, talking to various people, getting various opinions, personal stories, things like that for ideas and really just to make things have more of a realistic feel. Plus I'm a sucker for letting people talk about themselves and their lives when they might not ordinarily. I'd love to talk to you more… you sound like you've got a lot to say and not a lot of people to listen."

"Do I ever have a lot to say - enough to get me in trouble sometimes. Would you like a cup of coffee? Owain will be at basketball practice for another half an hour yet, so I have a little more time before I have to go pick him up." That must be her son. She seems ready to lead the way

"And…well I suppose I wouldn't mind talking with you. About part of it anyway. Other parts of it are probably best if kept out of print in any way but….I have enough to say on the subject from personal experience."

"Donno, I never had to spell it," Nick says again, sipping from his coffee, his sharp blue eyes glancing at the pair of women walking away from the author, then back to Delia as he tips his head in their direction. "Looks like you're not the only one in disagreement with him. And thanks, yeah, it's mostly better. Sorry if I was a bit rude that day. Blame it on the morphine."

The line continues to move forward, people thanking Alexis for his comments, most in agreement, one or two there to sass back but none quite as strongly as Marjorie. Soon enough it's close enough to curfew that the bookstore workers begin vacuuming, cleaning up, and a voice comes over the loudspeaker, asking the patrons to bring any further purchases to the registers as the store will be closing in 15 minutes.

Curfew comes early on Saturday nights.

Turning her head to look over her shoulder, Delia offers everyone out the window and Nick a good view of her profile. "Lots of people don't agree… I'm sort of waffling on the whole registration thing. I can see how it's a good idea, I just don't think it's a good idea the way it's set up." Looking through the book, Delia squints through a bunch of words until she finds one that might sound like the one that he called her and blushes a dark red. "Seriously? In another language?" Flipping a few more pages, she runs her finger down the list of words until she taps one and smirks up at him. "Chulopiek chore, hah!"

Savannah smiles towards Marjorie, gesturing for her to lead the way. "Coffee's great. Oh, a lot of the people I talk to leave themselves entirely anonymous. I don't put actual pieces of people's stories, I just use them for inspiration in characters and events. It's why I care about the personal stories so much… the people. So really, share anything you like. A lot of my inspiration is just from emotions and feelings people have on certain topics, help me round out different characters. That sort of thing. Some people aren't comfortable with even an acknowledgement in the book as a thank you. They don't want their names tied to anything, even if it doesn't necessarily list them as Evolved or not. People get jumpy, even if I'm not putting anything they directly say in. I've never done that." She follows Marjorie towards the door.

"Well I don't mind telling my story on the record - to an extent. There wasn't enough of that, back when this was relevant." She gets upstairs, and gets in line for a cup of coffee. When it's her turn, she orders a pumpkin spice latte. "And I'm sure I know a few other people that might be good to talk to, although I'd have to talk to them first. ARe you actively researching a enw book currently?"

The slaughtered words get an arch of a brow from Nick, and he glances at the book. "Yep. Still not appropriate. I don't even go to church. Not even on Easter," Nick says with a wink, taking the Polish book from Delia's hand. "Time to head out, or be late for curfew. You need walked anywhere?" He gets up, taking the coffee with him and begins to move toward the door.

When people start shuffling toward the exit, Delia glances at her barely touched hot chocolate and pushes the book back to him with an apologetic smile. "Uhm… You don't want to walk me where I'm going, trust me. It's just better if I go alone." She shrugs a little bit and widens her smile. "Maybe you'll trip over my big feet again sometime, I'll uhm… If I have any cash, I'll buy the hot chocolate and coffee, okay?" Taking a very long and very quick drink of the sweet beverage, the redhead then stands and wipes her mouth off with the back of her hand. "I'll see you some other time though."

"Yes, I'm working on a new series, actually, so I'm actively searching for interviews and stuff.. so if you do know some people who might be good to talk to, I'm all ears. And by all means, ask them. Saves poor Kam, my agent, a lot of work searching out interviews," Savannah explains.

Majrorie nods, getting a pen from her purse. She scribbles on a napkin and hands it to Savannah. "Well I have to go get the son and get him home, so why don't you give me a call and we can set up a time to talk about it?"

Meanwhile, at the announcement of the store closing, the author signs the last guest's book, smiling his thanks, and gets up to make his way toward the front of the store, thanking the manager for letting him use their cafe, then slips out into the fall night. The employees of the bookstore hurry about to straighten shelves and clean the coffee machines, readying the store for the morning shift before making their ways home before curfew.

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