Don't Shoot The Messenger


abby_icon.gif eve_icon.gif hana_icon.gif helena_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Shoot The Messenger
Synopsis Helena has doubts about her leadership, but Hana and Teo reassure her. Until first Abby and then Eve shows up with bad news.
Date November 8, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

Arrival at the library involves passwords and rerouting and such, but eventually, Helena and Teo are 'home' as it were. Helena's been very quite and very tense on their way home, somewhere between her classic Fists of Determination and Oh My God, Where's A Blanket I Can Hide Under. As they step into the first floor hall with its abandoned checkin desk and rows of abandoned books, she says quietly, "We need to do something. Maybe push up the timetable on the miracles. I need to talk to Bennett, start getting names and locations."

A headache's taken up residence in Teo's temple again, the zone he commonly identifies as the junction between metal and bone. Typically as expressive as his younger compatriot, hunger, fatigue and cold medication blur his readability a little. He defaults to a look of— irritation, which works as well as any other sentiment. He is, after all, ever the Italian. Italian gives passcodes. Italian walks through dust.

Italian gets a cup of water and stares at her. "There's a pair of Feds trying to hunt down PARIAH, if you saw the graffiti. I know one of them. Right now, he's too paranoid, pissed off and jumpy to be useful, and I doubt Karl would bat an eye before giving the Feds everything on us the moment he's in, but you should know that. In case things change." Everything does; is; faster than he can track. He looks down at his drinking water.

Up again, piecing together the parts behind Helena's statement. "So we need to establish Phoenix as separate from PARIAH, for the public and for the government." And for themselves, he doesn't say.

Helena casually digs into her jacket pocket before shrugging it off, pulling out a disposable phone. She thumb-mashes some keys as she speaks. "I agree. Do we want to use the miracles project as a medium for that? Because then like I said, our timetable moves up. Or should we just submit a statement to the press?"

"You could," Teo acknowledges, with an inclination of his head. "But it wouldn't hold water until something like your Miracles project goes through. Your classic dichotomy between words and action. PARIAH's established that they're keeping their name and their motto. They've become a distinct entity from Phoenix and shown what they stand for, but until they start firing shots, the declaration's just another speech. I don't think it matters much, whether you come out with a verbal statement first, except —" pause. His fingernail taps on the rim of the cup, startling the water into translucent flurries inside. "Maybe to establish who to credit the Miracles project to."

Helena nods in agreement. "That needs to come at the time that it's enacted. And part of why I think the countdown's important. When it hits zero, a statement could be issued as well, via the internet." She peers at Teo. "Are you any closer to bringing your brother in? Because if I can partner him with Jennifer, or transportation problems are solved as far as the food part of it." With a sigh, she goes to stretch out on one of the reading tables. "Teo," she says, rubbing her temples with her hands, "Do you think I know what I'm doing?"

The hallway opens into a lounge room, where young students might have settled to read, once. By the time Teo puts his cup down on the table, it's empty. "I think the countdown would fuck with people's heads in a bad way. It will create fear, which is the ethos terrorism is built on. While the punchline will be good-tempered and altruistic and pretty fucking funny, it would create problems.

"We'd have our asses hunted across all of fucking Manhattan," the curses dropped with as much intensity as he'dve said 'air' or 'endtable;' his vocabulary's always been a dingy thing, "and PARIAH or some other party could just as easily exploit HomeSec's divided attention. I want to think there's another way. There might not be." He lifts his shoulder in a shrug— which stops, hangs there for a moment, when Helena puts her head in her hands and asks. "Yes," he says, at length. His eyebrow flexes. "No. I—" a pause. His forefinger pops into a point. "That was a rhetorical question." He sees now.

The hallway opens into a lounge room, where young students might have settled to read, once. By the time Teo puts his cup down on the table, it's empty. "My fratellino is in." He'll leave it at that: clipped, short, optimistic, informative. "I think the countdown would fuck with people's heads in a bad way. It will create fear, which is the ethos terrorism is built on. While the punchline will be good-tempered and altruistic and pretty fucking funny, it would create problems.

"We'd have our asses hunted across all of fucking Manhattan," the curses dropped with as much intensity as he'dve said 'air' or 'endtable;' his vocabulary's always been a dingy thing, "and PARIAH or some other party could just as easily exploit HomeSec's divided attention. I want to think there's another way. There might not be." He lifts his shoulder in a shrug— which stops, hangs there for a moment, when Helena puts her head in her hands and asks. "Yes," he says, at length. His eyebrow flexes. "No. I—" a pause. His forefinger pops into a point. "That was a rhetorical question." He sees now. </re>

"Not entirely." Helena replies, still rubbing her forehead. "There's all kinds of shit going on and it feels like I can't stop anything and I'm ineffective. Peter said he'd come back after Elle Bishop was saved, but she saved herself and now he still won't leave because of that weird virus attacking the Evolved. And to top it off, now there's two of him…I think he picked up the powers of that guy who can split himself into multiples. Your FBI guy wants us to turn on PARIAH, and I just feel…god, Teo. Tell me I'm doing it right."

Summoned, Wireless talks her way past the sentries and walks into Phoenix's home base, navigating her way through it with relative ease even though it's not a place she visits often. Her search for Helena soon bears fruit, the tapping of the technopath's steps against the hardwood floors clear announcement of her approach. "You're doing it right," Hana says, even though it wasn't her confirmation Helena asked for. She says it without hesitation and almost deadpan — which in anyone else would probably signal a jest. Hana? Is perfectly serious.

If Hana's voice were only a little less entirely unlike his own, Teo would've mistaken it for the thought that passed through his head, it echoed his beliefs so closely. "I'd tell you if I didn't think so," he agrees, quieter now, clip slowed fractionally, and tone gentler. He hasn't exactly diverged from business, but Helena's is his, at least for now. "My guy's with the FCC, his guy's with the FBI, and they could cool their heels. Al, Hana, and the rest of us have your back, so Peter can watch his own— and that's only a little bit ironic. I'm glad he's working on the virus. I'm glad someone is. A thing at a time, sola." He steps across the floor, settles against the wall closer to the young woman, shoulder squaring against its cold, flat surface; he reaches over to tug her hair. "I think you'll feel better once you're doing something with your hands."

Hana's voice causes Helena to lift her head, tilting it slightly with Teo's tug. Her mouth starts to form the word 'Hana', but careful is as careful does and instead she greets, "Wireless." Her tone is thankful for her presence. "There's just so much. Could we be breaking it down better? I feel like I don't know what I'm doing." This, to the two of them.

"Says he's with the FCC. He's got a service record longer than mine." Hana isn't one to let things like that just slide. But she doesn't dwell on the correction either, as she closes the distance between herself and the pair. "The most important part is that you are doing," the woman says, settling into a crouch across from them. "It's probably better not to try and change plans at this point," she adds, deflecting the 'can we do it better' query. (revised)
Helena holds her hands up as if to say 'what, exactly'. Looking over at Hana, "I meant in general." She takes a breath, "You know those experimental labs Bennett mentioned? Do you know if he has any intention of giving those over to us? Because if you want us to be the arm, we need to know where to apply our fist."

Hands up in surrender. "Says he's with the FCC," Teo says, accepting the correction without argument. The distinction isn't a stark one, to him. As far as he can tell, the laundry list of radio skills, the crippled social capacity, allegiance to teh FBI, current assignment, and service experience means more than the department printed on the card, but then again— he isn't the cyberpath who might well be sidling around a bear trap. He watches the woman speak. Adds, "If you have notions on the Miracles project, we'd welcome them too."

Wireless glances sidelong to Teo. "He's ISA. Ranger before that. Radio communications specialist." She directs her attention back to Helena. "Oh, Bennet will give them to you." Rather than an attempt to reassure, her tone is… disgruntled, of all things. But it's nothing relating to Helena or Phoenix. "I wouldn't recommend doing it now — but we're running out of time on all fronts."

"The thing is," Helena's now got a thoughtful look on her face, "They may have the tech for a quick test…but shouldn't we start looking into ways to counter it? I have a feeling if testing really becomes mainstream, we're going to need something to that effect. Have the Ferrymen put any thought to this?"

"And perhaps socially inept his whole life," Teodoro remarks, with something like amusement in his voice. He glances away, out the door and into the tunnel of must that networks this room to the others. He reaches up, pushes his knuckles against the edge of his head, feeling the round bumps of the nails in his head through his skin. Worrying about something, or someone, or multiple things in his peripheral, while he listens to them discuss science, raids, and the fucked up kidnappee pens where they intersect.

Teo gets a glance from Hana. I resemble that remark. "You'll need to find a technician for that," she says quietly, redirecting her attention to Helena. "Or get Company files on the tests. The paper ones," Wireless clarifies, with a slight moue of frustration. "They'll likely either have a way to fake a null response or evidence of an agreement to not test their employees." The woman shrugs slightly. "It's conjecture; I can't get any evidence. But it's the way they operate."
Helena cocks her head. "The Company has been benchmarking the testing? I thought it was HomeSec or the CDC or some other government agency." Sitting up, her fingers curl around the edge of the reading table she's perched on. "If it's not one damn thing…" Maybe Peter could…but then again, maybe not.

Abby's scuffling her way through the library, having passed the security, password, all that jazz. A fair sight healthier looking, color in her cheeks, normal Abby. A bag of groceries under her arm and san's purse. That's still back in her bathroom sink. The blonde, the /other/ blonde, is singing to herself as she enters the room a nod for the trio present. "Supplies" Her only interruption to their conversation.

Hilariously, Hana apparently believes she resembles that remark. By now, Teo's learned that courting amusement at the woman's expense is a bit like courting a particularly inexpressive lion. One wonders at the sentiment that shows teeth behind the black lips, at what the claws might do when flexed out of their sheathes, and has a somewhat difficult time keeping a straight face. There's only a faint cant to his mouth. He glances over his shoulder at the sight of Abby moving in all hale and laden with groceries, grunts her a greeting: "Buona sera." His eyes shift back to Hel, and his head turns to her a moment later. "Do you think your boy could find out?"

"HomeSec, CDC… They've only known about the Evolved for a year and a half," Hana reminds Helena. "They're so far behind they wouldn't even know where to start. The Company has given them as little information as it can get away with." She follows Abby's entrance with a relaxed sort of watchfulness, offering the girl a polite nod. "No one else could work on it," Wireless continues, looking back to Helena. She glances briefly to Teo, but doesn't offer an opinion.

Eve enters and she rubs her arms lightly as her heels click on the floor, "Hello everyone" she says and her hair is all wild like because of the wind tousling it. "I have news" she says softly and nods her head slowly.

"I don't even know if he's my boy anymore." Helena admits, far too quietly, to Teo. "But we're still in contact. Both of him, with me." Hana's statement gives her pause for thought, and then she then looks up at Abby and Eve's arrival. "Spill it." she says curtly to the latter.

"back at you Teo" Abby's slinging the bags down on some surface to start pulling stuff out even at Eve is announcing that she has news. "Good news? bad news?" This doesn't deter the southerner from her task.

Teo pushes his hands into his pockets and gives the wall more of his weight. His gaze darkens when Helena's voice shrinks; his mouth hardens fractionally, surprised though he shouldn't be. However, that much he's never made his business and it would be a Hell of a disruption to other affairs if he'd start now. He doesn't. "I'm sorry," he offers softly, with a look, before he looks away. The one-note rhythm of Eve's shoes precedes her, but when she does arrive she warrants a greeting and a crooked smile. "Signorina." He doesn't elaborate on the other questions or prompts.

"Both of them?" Hana echoes, one dark brow rising. "I suspect that answers that question." She gives Eve the same regard Abby's arrival received, and straightens as the impromptu meeting moves on to other business, moving over to lean a shoulder against the wall. Quiet observer, now.

Eve tilts her head at Helena and smiles faintly at Teo, " Bad news, ran into Sylar outside just a bit ago. First thing, he has a new ability that lets him control your body. He can stop you from moving if he wants, or make you 'dance' with him" Eve says with a light sigh as she ruffles her already crazy looking hair. "Secondly, he is going to kill someone soon. A young woman with red hair, of course I couldn't get any other information out of him. So I'm thinking nothing can be done with that and lastly," Eve's gaze centers on Helena, "He has some sort of plans for Peter. He said something to the effect that Peter is conflicted and 'divided'. The last thing he said to be was that when /they/ are done with him, if anything is left that I could help pick the pieces up" Eve leans against the wall and blows a strand of her hair out of her face. "He talked about the fact that he found a group of people that accept him for who he is, and I am assuming that whoever these people are that they are not on the good guys side"

Helena's shoulders slump. A crease appears on her forehead and that look of helpless, which had slowly been draining away returns with a vengeance, worse than before. She says nothing, just nods.

'Well. That was in no way good news. But then… we don't get very much good news here it seems" Abby's hand still on a bag of chips that she pulls out. "How many groups /are/ there? Seems every time we turn around, there's a new one, for the good or for the worse"

Perfetto. The assholes, they multiply. Teo smiles, abruptly, because he doesn't know what else to do with his face. Ehh. "Better to know than not to. Grazie," he says, simply, despite the obvious evidence to the contrary slumping on her feet next to him. "Is that all you two talked about?" He pushes his shoulder into the wall, rocking him forward and onto his feet. He scrubs short fingernails through his hair, squinting at the twinge in his skull.

"You need to give Peter a heads up as soon as possible. Sylar didn't elaborate anymore than that he had plans for him so I don't know how soon" Eve says to Helena and then looks to Abby, "Keeping the balance of good and bad. We splinter away from PARIAH and this new 'group' appears. I'll be dreaming a lot I think" Eve sighs then stands up straighter. "I got him to maybe promise to not kill someone one day soon" that is about it. Eve shrugs her shoulders. "Sorry to be the bearer of bad news" Eve does look sorry to be the one to tell everyone this but Teo is right, better to know.

"There a way to find out who the red head is?" Abby asks from her spot. She frowns at Tro and his squint then to the others in the room.

Helena's spine straightens. "Tell me you didn't tell Sylar about the split." she says. "Tell me you didn't run that goddamn mouth of yours, Eve." Outside, a chill wind whistles, and there's a faint rumble of thunder. Is she discounting the redhead? Possibly. Probably not, but.

"Everyone knows of the fucking split," Teo says, shortly, neither a rebuke for the question nor an answer to it: it's a reminder, simple, that there's only so much damage that could be done by discussing the fact PARIAH tore in two. And he'd rather not see that damage occur to the relationship between their weather-witch and seer, given that was healing. If he catches Abby's glance, he doesn't return it. Feels no need to aggrandize, his attention already divided.

"Are they still alive.. even a little… once he's done with them?" Abby's perhaps looking a little too morbidly curious. "Or is that it, they're dead dead" She has a reason for asking it. Her attentions squarely on the group as a hwole, her blue eyes going to the lot of them as she's finished unpacking.

"He opens up their brains, Abby." Helena says wearily. "What else did you tell him, Eve? It's important. There are all kinds of details he can find useful, especially if he's joined another faction. Who's running the show. Who came with us, who went with PARIAH. Where we base, our projects, what we're doing. I cannot stress to your impro - " she takes a breath, "I cannot stress how important it is."

It hadn't been a bad question, for all the relevant underlying details. Teo doesn't interject this time, pale eyes turning toward Eve inquiringly, before they swivel away. He's still listening, however, albeit distractedly. Curls his fingers in his pockets, feels them cold despite the sturdy stuff of his suit.

Hana remains a piece of the backdrop, listening as Helena interrogates the other girl. Leaning against the wall, hands settled comfortably at her sides, she watches Teo's gaze flicker about with an impassive expression of her own.
Eve pages: Not that Helena knows /anything/ of what happened between Sylar and Eve, if Eve lied or not. Helena /wouldn't/ know of it. Because she wasn't there.

"Too much blood loss. I would think" she says to Abby's question, "Sorry" Eve says to Abby and then her gaze returns to Helena's, "No, nothing else Helena" Eve says and then she yawns, "Good, sleep is needed and that means that I can dream and hopefully help more with the situation" Eve looks to the others and then nods her head at them, "Goodnight everyone" and with that the woman walks away, probably to her apartment she bought recently.

"I know he does Helena. Doctors do the same thing, open up a persons head and poke at their brains, the person sstill alive" Abby's musing, it's plain to see, wheels turning in her own mind but then shakes her head. "Was a thought.. if she's still alive, even a thread.. I could save her I think. She'd be without her gift, whoever she is but.. alive and normal is better than dead. Was just a thought" The latter murmured to herself. But then eve's murmuring about bloodloss. The one thing Abby couldn't deal with and nods.

Helena absently rubs at her temple. "Good night, Eve." she replies. Whether she believes the woman or not is unclear, but she'll hold her peace before saying anything until the dream prophet is out the door.
You have been applauded.

Time takes its toll, or merely transpires. Either way, Teo needs to go soon and he looks like it. "Eve, there are a few other things we could use intel on, if your dreams could give it. Anything happening out in the city the next few weeks that we could intervene with for a miracle— shit falling, fires catching, murders, thievery, leaky gas. I don't think we want to pigeonhole ourselves as spandexed vigilantes or involve ourselves with domestic disputes, but it'd be good to know our options. So— your nightmares, if you wouldn't mind," he finishes, with a wry curl to his mouth, a touch of self-deprecation: he knows it's not a kind request.

Hana's gaze is met briefly. Almost self-conscious, he gives his neck an almost audible crick, making himself remember— "Abby, you had an idea about who to take your healing project to. If you haven't run it by Hel yet, that could be weighed." Not because Hel looks like she could use the headache, but practical decision-making could prove a reprieve. "I should head. Gonna try and find a Fed and Alexander," whose conspicuous absent he finds grating, especially in light of the circumstances he abandoned Abby to. "And sleep. If that's it.

Hana nods slightly as Teo redirects the conversation. She looks over at Helena as Teo starts to take his leave, straightening up and stepping away from the wall. "I should also go. But before I do — Helena…" Though the technopath doesn't smile, her expression might possibly border on sympathetic. "We have unfinished business. I sent a request the other day. Do you know anything about it?" Cryptic, but then, it involves someone else.

"That idea.. was stupid and too much time has passed and the only other person… " Abby shakes her head again, ponytail swinging side to side. "The only other person lost his chances because of his surrogate daughter and a couple others who said not to do it. We'll find someone else, for me to heal" She pushes up from the table, moving towards Teo to wrap him in a hug if he allows. "Sleep tight. Thanks for the visit the other day. It helped" The hug being a total cover to surreptitiously check him out and help him out. "And when is someone going to come fetch the friend in my bathroom?"

"Ack." Helena actually says, "I got your message, and I'll pass it around. I don't know who Mallory Alistair is, though." Hel has met her a few times, and may even have been introduced, but it's been a while and she's got a lot on her mind. "If someone's following this girl, I don't know about it. Catch me up on what you're talking about, Abby?"

Teo is hugged. Which he returns cheerfully, lean arms wrapped around Abby's small body, until he feels the tingle of her gift insinuating itself on his skin and mutters irritably in her ear. "I'm fine! I'm fine," as he pulls back, making a face at her that a six-year-old boy might, trying to tough out a cut on his hand when his mother insists on making it better with a kiss. Though he's more fine now than he was a moment ago, he realizes, his hand aborting as he reaches up to touch his forehead again. He crooks her a smile. "Thanks," he says, a moment before a dozen fresh conversational vistas open up and start yanking him in all directions simultaneously.

He blinks, almost audibly. Looks, for a moment, very much like the blonde thug he'd been eight years ago.

Coughs once. Partly to clear his throat; partly because it retains a residual itch. "Abby got bugged. Al called her to heal some Russian stranger's stab wound in the middle of the night, wasn't there when she got to him. The stronzo managed to get the dot in her purse, and Alexander's been gone since. And Mallory—" his features stiffen. He'd mentioned her the other night, but it stands to reason. "She's a seventeen-year-old student at Washington Irving. Her twin brother is Evolved too. I'm done with them, and I'd like to hope Phoenix was too."

"If you'll wait a moment, Abby, I'll go back with you," Hana informs the healer. Dark eyes level on Teo as he coughs, the woman's head tilting just slightly to one side. A curious lioness, she is. Quiet, as he speaks, her eyes narrowing a hair afterwards. "Is there a particular reason?"

Helena pushes herself off the table. "I'm going to go crash." she announces. "I'll see everyone later, but if I don't get some sleep, there might be unexpected monsoons." With that, she heads off, though pauses momentarily. "Wireless," she says over her shoulder, "Thank you." And then she's off.

"Your welcome" is murmured quietly to Teo, a bump of her shoulder to his then hip. What little energy Abby expended doesn't show. "Sure. I was going to see about getting a pair of boots for the cold weather while I have the money, but that can wait, i'll take you back there… Your wireless?" The last spoken with surprise, now seeing who Grace had talked about. "Thought.. you were a guy…"

Teo doesn't like it when Hana narrows his eyes at him. In that one way, she diverges from the rest of the felidae family; from cats, narrowed eyes almost unequivocally indicate respect. Wireless is a little different. Nor does he know how to answer that, not exactly. Considers it seriously for a protracted moment, before a shrug shifts through his suit-clad shoulders: an unhappy one. "She's a seventeen-year-old student at Washington Irving," he repeats, straightforwardly. "Buona notte, Helena. Abby." He drops a kiss on the healer's golden brow and turns, hands in his pockets, .45 at waist, and fatigue showing less now. Telekinetic, Fed. He can't remember what else he was supposed to do, but fuck it: he won't get to it before he crashes tonight.

Hana nods to Helena as she excuses herself, though her attention is only momentarily diverted from Teo. Her brows lift at his explanation, and from Wireless' expression, it's fairly clear she doesn't follow Teo's reservations. "She doesn't seem keen on Phoenix herself," the woman informs him. "I only offered to teach her." She nods to Teo as he turns away, and sets off as well to join Abby on the way out the door. Hana gives the healer a mildly surprised look — Why would you think she was a guy? — but doesn't actually ask. She just inclines her head. Let's go deal with this bug.

"'S what I meant," Teo replies as he lopes away, offering a backward wave of salutation for Wireless herself. He's done with the Allistairs, and they seem as done with him. "Seems like a smart kid. I'm glad. Buona fortuna."

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