Duty Calls


aaron2_icon.gif diogenes_icon.gif minea_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title Duty Calls
Synopsis Peyton gets stir crazy and makes an attempt at reclaiming her life with a trip to the nearby coffee shop, where she spars verbally with Diogenes, gives Minea information on a certain fuzzy-bald HF member, and agrees to Register — but not before Aaron agrees to come with.
Date August 22, 2009

A posh coffee shop, Upper West Side.

It's a nice coffee house on a corner in the Upper West Side, the bottom floor of one of those posh apartment buildings that overlook Central Park. The interior is in warm earthtones spruced up here and there with a jewel tone like purple or roay blue. Overstuffed armchairs in and sofas in velvet and soft leather are grouped in clusters. There are outlets for laptops and there is free wireless for customers. In short, it's the kind of coffee house that Starbucks wants to be, but it's not a large chain.

A man, a very average looking man, opens the door, takes a look around, and then holds the door for the girl coming through behind him. He gives her a very slight nod, and then heads to one of the sofas without ordering. He can see the door, the counter, and the line easily.

The girl is Peyton Whitney, though it may not be obvious at a quick glance, despite the fact her face has been plastered all over the internet, news, and newspapers the past week. She's got a little "newsie" cap on, pulled low over her eyes. A t-shirt and a pair of jeans and green moccasins complete the look — something normally she'd not leave her house in. But that's what this little venture is about — leaving the apartment for a short field trip of sorts. She has a bit of cabin fever. It should be safe. After all, she has the police escort. Peyton waits in line, head tilted up to read the menu board.

There are mainly two problems with acquiring money through illegal means. Firstly, it's an irregular source of income, and secondly, you will get caught eventually. No matter how good you are, no matter how many years you have spent sticking your hands in the pockets of others — sooner or later, you'll be escorted to a police car. And in these days, if you happen to be able to pull rabbits out of your anal passage through inexplicable means, you will be escorted to the metaphorical black hole and disappear off the face of Mother Earth. Not exactly a pleasant fate, I am sure you agree.

Still, one has to make a living. Diogenes was one of the many, one of the unfortunate who had to make a living. Finding a job was impossible not only because he's an unregistered Evolved who can grant one of the most terrifying deaths, but because he is an illegal immigrant. As such, he resorted to scouting out various hangouts for anything that he could use in order to blackmail whoever was unlucky enough. It's the same coffee house that Peyton has chosen that Diogenes enters, dressed in his fine suit that would hint that he comes from Upper East Side, even if he truly doesn't. Black suit, contrasted by a silken white shirt with its three top buttons open. As he enters, he looks about lazily… and then he spots Peyton, digging his gaze into the woman. Impolite to stare? Says who?

Minea's already seated. Small non-chain coffee houses are ideal for when you want to exchange information. People don't pay attention. Minutes before Peyton had come in, a suited man had left, the folder in his hands left behind at Minea's table. Not the informations he was assigned to get by Len, but actually the promise she made to Felix. The promise that is making her raise her eyebrows at the stuff contained within. SO when Peyton comes in, more the bodyguard really that catches her attention, Minea pay attention. A dip of her head to look under the cap and there's a raise of her brows.

That girl. Unregistered evolved.

Enter Diogenes, with his crisp suit and Minea regards him as well before she returns to her files. Well, for all intent purposes she looks like it. Spook habits die hard and she's keeping tabs on both.

Glancing over her shoulder when she hears the door open behind her, Peyton's dark eyes meet Diogenes' gray ones. She scowls a little as he seems to stare, but turns back toward the counter, as it's her turn to order. "Large nonfat chai, extra spice, and a jalapeño-cheese bagel, toasted, light cream cheese, please," she says in a quiet voice. One of the cafe employees begins to assemble her order while the cashier takes her money. She smiles, steps to the side to wait at the "pick up" window. Her eyes flicker over to Minea, but she was here before her — unless she has ESP, she can't be here to grab Peyton. Eyes move to her plain-clothes escort, and he seems relaxed enough.

A moment later her tray is handed to her, and she murmurs her thanks, picking it up and moving to one of the comfy chairs near but not next to Minea. Far enough away from the policeman that Peyton can feel a sense of autonomy, but close enough that he can help her should she need it.

Obnoxiously and deliberately ignorant of the tasks that keep the nearby barrista occupied, Diogenes extends his hand and places a pair of fingers on her forearm to gently coerce her to a halt, just as she wandered off to tend to Peyton's order. "Get me a frappé, if you have one, or a simple cup of coffee with whipped cream", he murmurs his own order in an unusually stern variation of his raspy voice. It was simple enough; imply authority, and others will play along. His grey eyes veer away from the coffee shop attendant to survey his surroundings once more as he adds, "And I hope the prices here reflect the… state of this place."

Of course, Peyton would still be the first one to receive her order. It so happens that dicks get what they want, but bigger dicks don't. Diogenes was the latter. "Didn't know you speak Chinese", he tells Whitney, referring to her lengthy order. "Have to be careful around here, someone might take that for an insult." And then comes her tray. If she'd still walk off, he'd follow her with his dull grey eyes that emit an uncharacteristically observant and cold gaze. Must be a businessman.

Or something else. Peyton's not garnering Minea's attention. Diogenes is. Just the behavior that's so very unlike a native New Yorker or even the businessmen that reside in the city from other ports of call. Subtle, careful, observe. It really is hard to break habits.

When she's addressed, Peyton looks up with surprise, then frowns as he apparently makes fun of her order. "Pardon me for asking for what I want. I hope I didn't insult you with my request for food in a food establishment," she says, her voice chilly as her eyes harden a bit. She takes a seat, choosing a velvet armchair decorated with a gold fleur-de-lis design. She begins to scrape off the extra cream cheese; New York coffee shops always seem to think "light" means only an inch thick instead of two.

Even the lightest speck of dust on Peyton's clothes would be picked up by him. His lips part and he lets out a strained inaudible sigh, as if silence dominated the establishment and he did not wish to break it. The porcelain rings as it hits the wooden surface of the counter, and the price is announced loudly by the barista. Sinking back into reality, Diogenes slowly shapes his lips into a smile; a polite one, at first, one that evolves into a genuinely grateful one. And as he turns to face the woman before him, he narrows his eyes as if to imply he's temporarily closing his eyes. But he isn't. His gaze runs through the place and those in it. He notices Minea.

She's looking at him. No big deal - he is attracting attention to himself, and she's not the only one looking at him. And yet, his eyes were drawn to her. Intuition? Paranoia? Both? It was difficult to make out threats when you see them around every corner. "There you go", he speaks up cheerfully, digging into his pocket, unearthing a wallet with the help of which he summons the right amount of money to pay the barista with. He needs to look outside. And as it happens, someone else walks in. Someone insignificant, but Diogenes looks in the general direction of the exit, noting of any police cars or the like. People talking whilst gesturing towards the coffee house.

"Your change, Sir", the barista repeats, trying to get attention of the distracted 'businessman'. He smiles again, and accepts the change. "Thank you", he says, picking up his tall glass of frappé and moving away from the counter.

There's a black SUV that looks like your standard issue government vehicle. There's a subtle nod of her head to Dio when he catches up with Minea's gaze. Not a word, not at all. Paranoia maybe. She does have a mystery man it seems running through the city claiming to be CIA and DIA at the same time, which also connected to the FRONTLINE folks. Minea looks down to her files, closing them and shoving them into a black leather folio as a barista brings over Minea's own bagel and a fresh coffee.

There's no police car outside. The police have been watching Peyton's apartment but from various non-descript cars — Honda Civics and the like, or even a taxi with the "off duty" light lit up. Peyton picks up one side of her jalapeño-cheese bagel and bites into it, then closes her eyes to enjoy the taste. She might give up alcohol and might give up drugs, but there's no way she's ever going to give up bagels. Her eyes flicker to the window to watch people walking outside. Suddenly her eyes lose focus as Minea's eyes look down at her file, and she tries to see what the they say before they go into that folio.

Undercover bodyguard… Of course. Would the recently kidnapped Peyton Whitney truly roam about freely without any sort of protection?.. In case you were wondering, the answer is 'no'. Minea obviously was assigned to protect the former hostage! Why else was she shooting daggers at him, other than the reason that he chatted up Peyton?

He couldn't stay here long. He did not know how men and women of such profession behaved, but he certainly did not want to appear on their radar. He could not perform his search for 'victims' here. Wrapping his lips around the brim of the glass, he tips it to take a sip on his way to the nearby seat. A hand pulls out a cell phone (of a novel appearance, of course), and he promptly starts hitting certain buttons, most likely writing up a text message of some sort; he's frowning as he does, his lips moving. Should anyone pick up the words, he's simply cursing at another's inability to do their job right. Another sip. The cell phone is plunged back into his left pocket.

No, he couldn't stay here long. He set an alarm clock to ring a couple of minutes later. And as punctual as clocks are, the final movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata starts playing. It was muffled, but still loud enough. It only grows louder as he retrieves his cell phone. He presses the button that all people technologically proficient enough know to press in order to accept an incoming phone call.

"I've told you, you have to deal with this matter alone. — I'm not in a position to make such dec— Huh? Yeah, I remember." Sip. "So?" Grunt. Groan. "Okay, fine, I'll be there in a bit." He 'hangs up', turns off the alarm, and stuffs the phone back into his pocket. Now to finish his drink quickly.

A name, a picture. Danko in his fuzzy bald glory. Emile Danko and very little else other than the words "suspected Humanis First". Confidential stamped across the top. The other folder has nothing stamped across it, nothing to discern it from something not confidential. They're swept away as she glances towards Peyton, then back towards Dio and his alarm faked phone call.

Satisfied that he's not someone that she should be concerned with, the woman sets about to devouring her own bagel.

Peyton gasps a little. Humanis First definitely captures her attention. To most people, it would look like she's gasping at something outside, and the plain clothes man is up on his feet, picking up a cell phone and looking at her as if to ask her if she needs something. Did she see one of her kidnappers?

It takes Peyton a moment to take in her own surroundings, to return from Minea's point of view, and she sees Bob the cop staring at her. She shakes her head. It was nothing. She chews her lower lip for a moment, before glancing back at Diogenes and his feigned phone call. "Duty calls, hm? Don't get fired," she tosses toward him. She needs to not let this past week change who she is.

And Peyton Whitney is a pain in the ass sometimes.

It only takes a couple of minutes for Diogenes to finish his coffee. He would have to go to an entirely different district, and that was nothing but annoying. His frustration would serve him well at the given moment, however; once he's done and readies to depart, he mutters in a truthfully spiteful tone, his remark also serving as part of his reply to Peyton, "I won't. Daddy keels over and leaves the company to me; can't even enjoy a drink now without being bothered, damn it." The door swings open angrily, and the youngster walks out in a haughty stride, off to steal from th— ehm, help out his colleagues that happen to be in a commercial emergency!

The gasp draws a glance from Minea who looks over to Diogenes again to see if maybe it was something he did. The plains clothes gives himself away easily. But that's a cop. Cop is not a spook. But Diogenes was moving away and Minea's glancing over to Peyton. "Did you register yet?" Simple enough question.

Peyton snickers a little at the Daddy comment. That makes him like her — taken care of for life, right? Little does she know. To Minea, her eyes widen. She frowns and shakes her head. "This… honestly… is the first time I've been out of the apartment since I got home. They didn't make me when I had to give my statement. Apparently they thought I'd been through enough for that day. But I guess I should." She frowns again. "I … I've heard that the Registry can be seen by groups that might want to use people's powers for … what, ill gain, I guess? I really don't want to have to work for someone if I didn't want to do what they do."

"As with all rumors, one should take them with a grain of salt. I haven't met anyone who was forcibly made to work for someone because they had an ability. I should know" Minea reaches down to her purse, careful and slow, aware of the plain clothes who would be watching. Her homeland badge flipped open for the other woman to look at. "Unfortunately, you have been outed by Humanis First and it is the law. You need to take the next step Ms. Whitney" There's no accusations of trying to skip out of everything, understanding she supposed. Look who she works for.

"I wasn't avoiding it," Peyton says with a little bit of a frown. "The first time, I was supposed to go, and I was at the hospital when that guy started shooting people." She sighs. "I have a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, I guess. But people have warned me about Frontline and things like that. I don't want to work for the military." She glances over at Bob, who is watching with some curiosity. This wasn't in the plan. Chai, bagel, home — not talking to other law enforcement types.

There's that FRONTLINE thing again. "Yeah, that draft word, kinda scares everyone. I think people forget that they want military personnel first. So unless Peyton Whitney has some secret military background that the public and paparazzi don't know about, I'm fairly certain that you're safe" Minea tucks away her badge where she plucked it up from. "I got time. I can take you and your plain clothes there, down to a precinct. I can ease you through the process. Least I can do. Third times the charm they say"

And Peyton Whitney looks like she might cry. "I … there's no other way, is there." It's not a question. "Every cop in this city knows who I am and that I'm Evo, or at least that that's what I said on that god forsaken video. Never mind I don't even know what I can do." She already plans to lie about what she can do — like she did to her HF kidnappers. Downplay it, that way no one knows she's useful.

"They'll prick your finger, like with a diabetic testing blood sugar. Turns blue, you're not. Red, you are. It's just paperwork, then an appointment with Homeland. They'll ask you to try and do what you do, if you know what it is that you do. You'll get classified as 0, 1, 2 and you'll carry on with your life. Only law enforcement has access to the list. What do you say?

"They already gave me the test at the hospital," Peyton says. "Because they thought it was drugs that made me freak out but it wasn't." She sighs and motions to Bob, who comes over, looking curious. "This lady's from Homeland Services," she's so not up on her law enforcement types, "and wants to take us to get me registered." She makes a face.

Bob shrugs. "We were going to suggest it soon enough, once you were a bit more secure about things, but no time like the present." He winks at Minea.

"Charles here can come with" It's not really her job to cart people in, but at least she can find out what the woman does, and toss her on the watch list. someone to keep an eye on if her ability is something that might be of interest. "Be an hour, possibly two. I'll ensure your total comfort. Again, least we can do, given your latest trials of life"

What else can she do? She doesn't really want to hide from HF and the cops for the rest of her life. Peyton shrugs. "All right." She's clearly not happy about it, but there's no reason not to — everyone knows she's Evolved anyway. She picks up her chai, the bagel mostly finished. "Let's go, I guess." She pulls out a cell phone to text Aaron: "Off to register. No choice."

Minea's own bagel, only half eaten, is wrapped up and taken with her. She'll let 'bob' do his duty and take the fore. She'll pick up the rear. "Black SUV, Alpha nine seven Charlie Delta six" the license plate read off for the cop's ease of mind as she presses the keypad and it beeps. "I have another reason really, for asking. But we'll talk inside the car"

Peyton sighs and pulls her cap lower as she exits the cafe. She then wraps her arms around herself in a melancholy manner, Bob in front and Minea behind her. She feels like a prisoner already.

Everyone in, single file. Bob is given the back seat, Peyton the front, Minea into the drivers seat. A few moments later they are on their way but not before Minea pulls out that 'confidential' file and plucks the picture from it for Peyton to look at. "Have you seen this man? In your time in HF's hands, did you come across him, or someone named Emile Danko?"

Peyton frowns. She's heard the name Emile. She has. Where? Was it the Irishman? No… Those loud men in the bar, the guy who called her a cab. The guy who set the kidnapping into motion. She doesn't know his name. "I haven't seen him," she says with a little bit of a shiver. "But the name Emile — I know the guy in the bar mentioned an Emile. Said it was a pansy name or gay name or something, and so he calls the guy Shorty." She looks over at Bob in the backseat, and then Minea. "That was the guy who called the cab for us. Older guy. Really loud. Had a marine or army guy or something with him."

Peyton, you are a font of information. Minea doesn't say that out loud, not at all. What are the odds really? Of the HF guys at the bar, referring to someone named Emile and not meaning Mr. Danko. "You catch the name of the other guy at the bar?" She pays attention to the road and later she'll write this all down.

Peyton nods. "He called him Davey… Um." She closes her eyes and thinks for a moment. Her finger moves through the air as if pointing out certain things to herself in her mind. She opens her eyes. "David Le something. I can't remember." It's Legrime, but she can't quite get her memory to fill in the blanks. She's visualized the scene so many times in her captivity. Suddenly there's a chime and she pulls out her phone. "Oh. My friend Aaron said to wait for him — he's just in that apartment building. I guess he means to register too. Can we wait a few, and he can come with us?" She points to the building across the street and begins to text back to Aaron whatever Minea's response.

Thanks for the warning. Minea presses the breaks, ignoring the honks behind her and pulls over towards the building and into the parking spots. There's a wave to the doorman who steps forward and a glance back to bob. "This okay with you?" She doesn't want to step on his toes, it is his job after all and homeland/cops have reputations for chafing each others asses

Come down — we're in the black SUV, Peyton texts to Aaron. It'll be good to have a friend with her — she doesn't want to do this, but feels there is no choice. "Sorry, I was just texting him where I'd be so he wouldn't worry, but he apparently wants to come. Two for one sale, huh?" she says.

"It's in his best interest to. Fines and jail time if your caught unregistered and were knowingly an evolved" Minea points out. "But we can wait." Unless he's coming down to try and convince her to do otherwise.

Well, it's not that Aaron wants to come, but given that the detective that came looking for Peyton on the weekend said she was expecting him to come and register, it seemed like a good time to do it. Of course, the first text message nearly scared him to death given that the last text messages he received were from Peyton calling for help when she'd been abducted. When he finally gets down, he's looking for a black SUV. Something about that just doesn't sit right with him. Black SUVs are creepy. In the end, he only sees one, so heads towards it.

"That's him," Peyton says, and Bob opens the door for him to get in, as Peyton rolls down the window. "In here, Aaron," she says, giving him a smile to know it's all right. She has Bob the plain clothes police man and Minea the Homeland "Services" agent, neither of which seem too fishy. "Hi," she says as he gets closer.

Minea glances over to the indicated person. Another kid. She nods, unlocking doors so that the guy can get in. "Come on in. We're headed down to the precinct. Have a talk with Ms. Whitney here about the people who took her" She's waiting, making no hints of impatience or anything. "Make sure to buckle up please"

"Hi." Greetings over, Aaron buckles up — before he's reminded to. He doesn't talk to Minea but just looks at Peyton, confused. "More questions? I thought you already gave a statement. What more is there to say?" Aside from the fact that the police, no, the FBI, failed to prevent the whole thing and it was the two victims who provided their own escape.

"I did, but… she asked if I saw some guy and I didn't but I heard his name, in Old Lucy's," Peyton murmurs to Aaron before turning and facing front again. Bob slides in next to Aaron and gives him a nod. Peyton texts to Aaron once more, though it might be obvious she's doing so when his phone rings or buzzes a moment later: Going to downplay ability. If you hear me lie, don't worry. You should, too. Erase this once read. She sends, then deletes the message a moment later.

"I'm not connected to her kidnapping case. It was just that what i'm working on happens to slightly overlap and the timing was… convenient" How was she to know that Peyton Whitney would show up at the same place she was gathering information from. "WE'll get you guys down there, and registered and the plainclothes can get you driven home. It'll be over before you know it" Off to the local precinct they go. Minea frankly, has no more questions for Peyton really. Nothing she can't come back and find the woman if she needs to. Though with one hand on the wheel to steer, she slides a business card to Peyton, her name, and a number.

Message deleted, all the while Aaron ponders just how on Earth he could possibly downplay his ability. He's a human anti-depressant. There's not much more or less he can say about it than that. He supposes he could just use what Wendy called him, and then downplay the effectiveness of his ability. But he's not really pleased with the idea of lying to the police.

Peyton takes the card, brows knitting as she looks down at it, then puts it in her pocket. "Call you if I remember anything pertinent, right?" she asks, echoing the police language. "That's about all I remember. The rest I told police. It was an Irish guy who had us, older, stocky, red hair, blue eyes. And the other guy was just like, some middle aged car salesman witha southern accent. I think he flashed a press badge or something, but that's all I know."

Minea nods, taking in the information given. "You have been a godsend Ms. Whitney, in more ways than you can fathom" The station really isn't that far and soon enough, she's pulling up into a parking spot in front of the precinct house. "Come on. Lets get this over with so you can get back home, you and your companion" There's a gesture towards the station house and a glance back to Aaron and his quiet.

It's certainly sooner than he ever expected to be at a police precinct, let alone going there to register. Aaron's eyes flicker at Minea's comment to Peyton. Why the police always have to assume they cannot fathom how their information may be of a help is just one of the many reasons he is growing to dislike them. Once he's out of the vehicle, he reaches out to give Peyton's hand a short squeeze. Then, without further ado, he walks beside her as they go to get registered. Together.

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