Estimated Casualties


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Scene Title Estemated Casualties
Synopsis Messiah has a heated discussion about future plans as a new member is introduced to the ranks.
Date August 24, 2010

Howland Hook Facility

Throughout the months since Messiah began operation in New York City, the Howland Hook facility has seen considerable use by the organization for planning its operations and maneuvers. Even in the face of concentrated searches by the Department of Homeland Security for the insurgents that destroyed the Staten Island Hospital, Howland Hook has remained a secure operation under the guise of a legitimate and ongoing construction effort by the Maxwell Corporation.

On the fourth floor of the administrative building the former confernece room of the Howland Hook Corporation once again serves as a meeting ground for militant anti-government forces. It is not around some glamorous conference table circled with leather-backed chairs that the meeting is held, but instead two folding ping-pong tables laid end-to-end to form a makeshift meeting table, metal folding chairs arranged around it in boardroom style.

The windows on this level have been boarded over with plywood for years, allowing the glow of electric lanterns hanging from the exposed steel supports in the ceiling to shed their bright light down on those gathered here. There are less faces present today than usual, several of Messiah's leg breakers simply had no interest in being present.

Peter Petrelli and Rupert Carmichael are staples of these meetings, each one occupying a different head of the table, making ascertations about which one is actually in charge just as ambiguous as always. Spread out on the table are surveillance photographs and city street maps, held down by magazines of ammunition and empty ammo boxes.

While those who did wish to participate in this meeting begin entering from the hallway, Rupert and Peter seem to each be individualls observing different intelligence information. An unfamiliar face on Peter's end of the table looks anxious when the others begin arriving. Tall, stockily build and dark-skinned, Oleander Thespuda looks like a man who doesn't want to be seen here. His dark eyes cast askance towards the doors, then back to Peter as he hunches forward over the table and grumbles a deep and baritone voice in the paramedic's ear.

On the table, the surveillance photographs of Raymond Praeger and Georgia Mayes — the secretary of the Department of Evolved Affairs and the head of the planned Resettlement Projects, respectively — help add a sense of gravity to what undoubtedly will be brought to discuss.

When Melissa arrives, she pauses to look at Rupert, her expression guarded, her gaze steady. Someone is rethinking her opinion on him from coward to bad guy. After a full minute she moves again, taking a seat on Peter's end of the table and stretching her legs out, hands folding over her stomach.

The photos are glanced over, Praeger's getting a mild grimace, then an approving nod. But then she's studying the new face, her head cocking. "Hi new guy. Welcome to the club," she says in a mostly bland tone.

A face that has been not seen in some time, yet the rumors were the last mission when he snapped a man's neck with one hand bothered him. Harrison took some time away to get his head on straight as he dealt with killing his first man. The longer he hangs out with this group the more it will most likely end up as he walks into the room, his red scarf around his neck as he says softly, "Hello all." He moves to sit in a chair by himself.

Huruma does not offer such greetings to new faces; sometimes, to boot, they don't want to be noticed. That familiar feeling comes from the stranger as Huruma wanders up to the conference room, boots clicking as she walks in, and then to a seat roughly in the middle of the far side. Her scarf is often doubled as a belt, and today is no exception, A sash of red pulled against leather or dark brown skin. Today it is the former, her shape wrapped taut with pants and a camisole.

Though he gets no greeting, Huruma takes her time in examining the man near Peter, before sneaking glances over the items on the surface of the table.

Ling is quiet when she arrives, unseen and unheard - her health restored, she is taking full advantage of the movement, mobility, and silence that her smoke form allows her, that she hasn't had access to over the last several weeks due to her broken leg. When she does walk into view in the room, it's rather sudden, her arrival only indicated by the scraping of the metal chair she pulls out near the head of the table close to Peter, taking her seat with a wicked looking smile on her face. She has little to say, for now. For now, she is content to listen, to hear of results and plans for the future.

That is, as they say, all she wrote.

This group of just a handful of individuals all that fills the conference room. Thespuda's reaction to being greeted by Melissa is a furrow of his brows and a grunt at the back of his throat, followed by a worried look over to Peter. He doesn't say anything that Peter's own greeting doesn't can't up for.

"Take a seat," is more direct than Peter usually is and as he looks around it is evident there's some strain on both he and Rupert. "Take a look at the pictures on the table," he adds with a motion to the photographs, then lifts up a hand to scratch at the side of his bearded chin. "First thing I need to discuss with you is our casualties from the hospital attack… We lost five kids that Jesse brought in from Chicago, and Lacombe is still missing. Last I heard he was washed out to sea after an explosion under the hospital. Riggs has been sweeping the shoreline looking for his body since the day after the attack… we still haven't found anything."

Looking down to the table, Peter rests his weight on his hands, knuckles pressed down into the table's surface. "Rebel can't get a cell phone signal, which isn't surprising given that he was washed out to sea…" Brown eyes drift from the photo of Praeger to the photo of Mayes. "We have new targets to discuss too…"

A brow arches and Melissa glances to Peter, then she shrugs a little and leans back. Only to frown a moment later. "I…hopefully he'll turn up, but I still have some scuba gear from when we checked out that wreckage…" Another shrug at the vague offer, before she too is looking back to the photos. But rather than continue running her mouth, as is usual, she just waits.

Harrison folds his hands in his lap and sighs at the mention of those the group has lost in their attack. He begins to scan the room at the faces he does know and the faces he doesn't know. He presses his lips into a fine line before he looks down at the table and hmmmms. He cocks his head to the side as he says out loud to no one in particular, "They look official…"

"If you don'know who th'man is, I am no'sure you belong here." While sometimes, Huruma can be abrasive as anyone, there are some times when she manages to put it into a more soothing tone. This is one of them, and she glances down to Harrison when she says it, though she glances over the rest as her eyes pull away from the young man. They graze over Peter, sharp. "Are you certain about him? He seems t'ave much more …potential."

"Not t'mention he is one of th'only men in D.C. that can wear a suit."

Ling quirks an eyebrow at the mention of Lacombe's status, furrowing her brow. "The last I saw Lacombe, he was cackling like a maddened hyena as the remains of Bao-Wei Cong washed down on him. I had assumed he had come along just fine, since the rest of our… team washed up just fine." She props her elbows up on the table, fingers splayed and pressed together. "Perhaps he has simply gone underground, even from us?" Lacombe was a madman, and this seems like a more than reasonable possibility to Ling. A glance is given to pictures of their new targets, but little said until she knows more about what Peter plans.

"We're hoping that Lacombe is alright," Rupert finally interjects from his end of the table, "but his ability does have a certain… weakness, to water. If he was submerged for too long…" trailing off, Rupert folds his hands and hunches forward to look at one of the city maps laid out on the makeshift conference table.

Peter offers a silent look up to Rupert, then looks down to the table top and nods solemnly. "We'll all keep looking, obviously." Lifting up one hand to scratch at the side of his beard again, Peter finally sinks down into his folding chair and laces his hands together in front of himself, looking up to Huruma.

"Raymond Praeger is… capable. But what he's capable of is inciting the people of America to unite under a banner of facism. When Messiah started I knew there'd be times where we'd need to go after highly visible and public figures, and Praeger is one of them." Looking to the image of the elderly woman next to Praeger, Peter scowls softly. "Agent Mayes is the one heading up the development of relocation centers for the Evolved. Summer Meadows, maybe even the Reclaimed Zone. We need to keep our momentum that the destruction of the hospital gave us, and taking out these two will give us that opportunity."

Offering a look up to the heavy-set and tall bald man at his side, Peter finally makes a motion of introduction. "This is Oleander, he works night security at a biotech company in the city that is producing the over-the-counter SLC test kits. Rupert got in contact with him for us," Peter explains with a slow nod of his head, "and he's going to help us with our other task we're going to need to perform… We're going to take down the entire Biodynamics Industries building."

Melissa's eyes lift to the ceiling for a moment, until Mayes is mentioned, then she's looking back to the photographs, and grimacing when the Reclaimed Zone is mentioned. "So take out Mayes and Praeger, down the Biodynamic building." She nods and looks to Peter. "Small hit squad for the first two, and another small group with explosives for the third?" she asks.

"Large groups for the men are more likely to get caught and hassled than smaller groups I think." She glances to Ling. "Especially when we have people who can move without being seen," she murmurs thoughtfully.

"You know Peter I can't move that well when I am in my form. So put me where you want me. You know I will do what I must to stop the 31st from happening if I can. I am not going to register. I will not…I refuse too." Harrison's voice fills with tension at the idea as he frowns deeply at the idea.

"I would hazard a guess tha'miss Chao may b'able t'work solo." Huruma turns her eyes over to Ling, and back to Harrison. A few deaths won't redact a law. But she is not in the mood to lecture anyone on the fineries of congress. "She can be in and out, no time." Her words seem to offer Ling a passing compliment; wrong feet are wrong feet, but if your teammates recognize your skills, that is priceless. "Provided she were willing, we would only need t'provide backup should she not succeed." Unless everyone really wants to go charging into shit.

Ash is late, rather late, again, but this time he actually has a good excuse. He makes his way up into the conference room, stepping inside and and pausing to take a slow look around, his eyes settling on Peter. he reaches into a pocket and pulls out a map, tossing it towards Peter. "I've searched for Lacombe, physically and information wise. Can't find him." He frowns, clearly not happy at having a member missing. He shakes his head a bit and then crosses his arms, looking about and waiting to see just what all he's missed, moving forwards to take a seat.

Ling looks thoughtful for a moment, leaning back in her seat. "I can indeed operate alone, if needed,: she replies, but her smile fades a bit immediately after. "I am not, however, invisible. When I used to do… corporate spying, it involved staying in areas largely out of view of anyone. Vents and the like. In case something goes… wrong, some sort of backup would certainly be appreciated." She speaks in a very factual, business like manner. "I am curious what you hope to accomplish with the murder of high profile individuals, however, besides inciting further unrest." She doesn't sound challenging. Curious, rather.

Peter's reaction to Ash's news is a slouched sulk, head hanging and breath exhaling in a tired sigh. Nodding once, there's some resignation to the notion that Lacombe may either be laying as low as possible, or laying six feet under by now. Sliding his tongue on the inside of his teeth, Peter looks up to Rupert when the tactician answers the tactical question.

"Unrest, is today's magic word," RUpert explains with some pomp and smirking humor. "High profile targets like Praeger and Mayes exist to be removed from the picture for two reasons. A blow to morale to the enemy and to sow chaos. With public figures of Registration hit openly and publicly, with Messiah known as the triggers for these deaths, there will be so much fear and distrust associated with the Registration process. If the heads of organizations aren't safe," he explains with a mtion of both hands that is neither demonstrative nor helpful, just flippant, "then how will their underlings feel?"

Uncomfortably listening in to this, Oleander offers Ash just a look, and one that is fleeting with eye contact. He doesn't look like he wants to be here, just stiffly squaring his shoulders, tucking his hands into his pockets and looking down at his feet. Peter talks in a way that affords Oleander the ability to keep his mouth shut.

"Ideally we'd have two individual trigger-men going for Mayes and Praeger independantly. My first cut on this is Williams and Chao," and pointedly, Peter offers a look to Ash and Ling, then down to the table. "Huruma's right about Ling's capabilities to operate mostly unseen, and Ash has experience with these kinds of operations. Praeger is bound to have more security, which will be Ling's strong-point at overcoming. So, I'd like to have her handle that. Ash can go after Mayes. What Rupert and I have decided on, however, is a tactical failure."

That much has Oleander's brows raising as he looks to Peter. Rupert, however, is the one to explain what that means. "Mayes is in position to take over Praeger's job should he lose his life. We'd like to make it look like we're trying to sever the head of the beast, but instead we're just performing some… pruning. I'd like to ask you, Ash, if you could purposefully fail to kill Mayes on an assassination attempt. It would need to look like you were trying your hardest… but fail by a narrow margin. Not the easiest of tasks… but we have a plan for Mayes that involves her survival."

Though, Rupert does seem to have one small caveat, "Injury, however… injury is unavoidable. You've the most finesse and practice with assassinations out of all of us, can you do it?"

When Rupert speaks it has Melissa's head turning sharply so she can look at him, frowning. It's clear that she's about to open her mouth and say something that would likely have the conversation devolving into an argument, but her mouth snaps shut and she instead drags her gaze away from Rupert and to Peter. "So small group with explosives for the building?" she asks, voice a bit tense.

As his eyes narrow on the huge black woman, Harrison opens his mouth as he clearly seems annoyed by how she keeps putting down his comments and he refrains from changing the subject of the meeting. He falls silent as he listens to the big wigs make their plans.

Ash narrows his eyes at Rupert's statement, then looks to Peter before his attention swings back to the older man. "I'm afraid I have to pipe up and speak plainly about how retarded this plan sounds." he lifts a hand up and rubs his palm over his face, shifting in his seat to lean forwards and plant an elbow on the table in front of him. "We're going to hit big head public figures, create fear and anarchy, for what purpose? It's not going to stop registration, all it's going to do is make people fear us. Is fear what we want? From the people? From the masses?" He asks it, his eyes going to Peter again, then Rupert, and back to Petrelli. "Maybe I'm missing the point or have missed too much of this meeting."

"I see." There is, as typical of Ling, some sort of display in this case, a wave hand and the scattering of smoke as it waves through the air in dismissive motion, even if such a message is not the intention. There is a tinge of worry even in just those two words. Liu Yu had been one thing, and Bao Wei had been an act a long time coming. This was something more high profile than she was entirely comfortable with. "And when will be going forth with these plans?" Legs cross and she leans back, trying to keep a casual demeanor. An then a question follows that one might not expect from the Chinese woman. "And what shall I do in the event of… failure. If such a thing is possible. Or shall this be discussed privately?"

"Maybe you should arrive on time," Rupert notes quietly to Ash with a raise of his brows, slouching back into his chair with a creak of the metal. Dark brows go up and his eyes settle on Peter as if to say you handle this. Peter's reaction is a strained sigh and a swipe of one hand over his face, because of course Ash has a problem with the plan, it wouldn't be a meeting if Ash wasn't being contrary to something.

Taking a deep breath, Peter exhales a sigh and looks up to Ash. "Praeger is the command of the Department of Evolved Affairs, he's the one who headlined the initiative for the Non-Evolved Registry, he's the one who pulled Summer Meadows out from beneath the Ferrymen. If nothing else he deserves a bullet in his head just for that. However, Rupert has a plan."

Looking to Rupert briefly, Peter returns his attention to Ash. "Praeger goes down and the average joe worker at Registration sites might not show up for work out of fear of employment. Non-Evolved might back down from Registering out of fear of being caught in our cross-fire. We create a situation that the government cannot control, making it looks like all we want to do is make noise, like PARIAH did."

Glancing to Rupert, Peter raises one brow as if looking for permission for something, and Rupert lifts a hand to wave in approval. With that signal, Peter looks back up to Ash. "We're going to let Mayes live, then we're going to bring in a specialist to coerce her into cooperation. Once Mayes has Praeger out of the way and she has taken his position, once it's evident that she was also a target, scurtiny will be on Messiah. No one will know any bit the wiser what we're doing or that Mayes has been compromised."

Sliding his tongue across his lips, Peter lifts one interjecting hand between his own words. "Before you wonder why Mayes would cooperate with us, Rupert has that covered. We're going to bring in a specialist, someone who can turn her to our way of thinking. Rupert needs to keep the how of that close to the vest, but once the operation is successful, we'll have the new head of the DoEA in our back pocket while the government continues to think we're just people who blow up buildings."

"As for the biotech building," Rupert notes with a thoughtful tone of voice, looking to Melissa. "A small team will be arranged. We're looking at a strike possibly as soon as the end of the week for that." Squaring his jaw, Rupert glances over Ash, then around to Huruma and Ling. "As for Chao's concerns about our, ah, exit strategy… we'll have Kristian Bender waiting to back you up, Chao. There'll be a fallback position where he'll be ready to teleport you out. The same goes for Ash."

Of course Peter has to mention Praeger, Summer Meadows and the Ferrymen all in one sentence, which has Melissa's back going ramrod stiff. Oh yes, she agrees with the bullet in the head on this one. That is personal, not professional. But mention of Rupert having to keep secrets has her eyes narrowing and sliding back to that very man. But rather than say anything, she simply gives him a single nod to the rest of the plan.

Ash turns his eyes on Rupert and he lifts a brow slightly. "Maybe you should come out on these missions and fight alongside us. Watch the people die, watch their blood spill out onto the ground. Us, and them. Maybe you should go out and look for our missing man." He stares dead straight back at Rupert for a long handful of seconds before his eyes pull back to Peter.

"Yes, he does deserve a bullet in his skull. But that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a high profile hit with Messiah's name written across the sky to go with it. Are we ready for that kind of reprisal? Is our objective to cause fear and havoc in the general populace? Because, last I heard, we were fighting to stop the government from opressing us, to stop the populace from thinking every one of us is a danger and should be locked away." He sighs, but leans back in his chair and looks to Rupert, then back to Peter again. "I'm not questioning the need for this action. I am questioning the way it's being done and I'm also questioning whether we can actually handle the heat it's going to bring. I've seen Frontline in action, twice. It's not a pretty sight. Are we ready to deal with Frontline crashing into the Hook guns blazing? Because that's something to consider if we start hitting public figures rather than secret facilities."

Huruma gives Rupert a courtesy glance, half amused and half curious as to his rebuttal to Ash- who has effectively, stolen the show, the poodles in the show, and the leashes the poodles were attached to. She agrees with him on some matters over others, but at the least she finds cause to seek that rebuttal in the first place.

"The noise thing has been done b'fore. We do no'ave t'take all credit for things that could happen t'people like- this. Not publically, that is."

Peter and Rupert have planned ahead, and well it seems. A seemingly well made plan is something Ling can appreciate, something that almost always brings a wide smile to her face, however brief. Dissent in the ranks is not uncommon in any kind of rank, be it a meeting of terrorists, or a board meeting in a penthouse conference room at the tallest monument to capitalism in the city. Dissent is something that can detract from meaningful planning, something that stifles important conversation.

The Chinese woman's gaze shifts to a glower, turning down the table at other. "I trust Rupert would not be putting us in this situation without some knowledge of the potential consequences and steps that must be taken to prevent them." She leans forward, fingers steepled on the table. "This is correct, is it not? We all have our place in this plan, it seems. I highly doubt our tactical leader would suit the front lines well, so I would recommend that you think of one's strengths before speaking again."

With that, her eyes turn to Rupert. "I do have one concern, however, in the form of this… specialist." Specialist is a loaded term, and one that has Ling very curious.

Lacing his hands together, Rupert leans back in his chair and closes his eyes as he speaks. "A name is a powerful thing," Rupert offers in vague explanation, "Messiah's should be feared, respected. Our public image of unstoppable force has earned us the recruits you see. People want to be on our side because it is the winning side. We have yet to fail a single operation we have taken part in, the government has put millions of dollars in bounty on us. That gives us credentials we could not have by being passive. Furthermore, Petrelli's designs of a low-casualty operation like the ones in Chicago and Montana have earned us respect from the pro-evolved groups that listen to our cause. This is why Messiah has only continued to grow."

The point Rupert seems to be making is, why fix what isn't broken? "Howland Hook hasn't been compromised yet, and if it is there are contingencies I have in place for that very eventuality. There is a fall-back location, there are members who have been privately instructed how to handle a raid. Everyone who needs to know, knows. You let me worry about how we'll handle the threat. As of right now, we have every major government agency hunting for us, Ash. The heat? It can't get much hotter. We're already dancing in the fire."

Peter tenses a bit when Ling offers that recommendation to Ash, glancing askance to the soldier and then to the spy, then back again. However, Peter knows nothing more of the specialist than what Rupert has said here, which is— ultimately— nothing. Rupert's answer to Ling's concern is a smile and a gently requested, "I might be able to shed some information on our specialist." Yet more need to know information.

And here is where Melissa can't help but speak up again, her head cocking as she leans forward, arms resting on the table in front of her, one folded over the other. "So then who are our go to people, Rupert? If we can't get a hold of you or Peter, who is it that you've imparted all this magical information into so we can look to them in case the worst happens? Surely you don't expect us to just…flounder about like a bunch of scared prey animals if your chosen few don't stand up and take charge like you expect them to," she says, giving him a bright smile that a blind person could tell doesn't reach her eyes.

Ash turns his head to look down at Ling and her statement. "You can feel free to be a blind soldier. I"m not one. I've questioned everything from day one. Sometimes I mean the questioning, sometimes I am simply playing Devil's advocate, but I will not go into situations blind, nor will I follow blindly. I am no zealot. A psychopath. A murderer. A terrorist. A monster. Yes, those things I am, but a zealot I am not. And if RUpert is going to judge me for looking for a team mate, then I am going to judge him for the deaths his plans have left in our wake, and for not being out there with us on the front lines." This all stated to Ling, though Huruma does get a curious look from the man before his attention pulls around to Rupert. As the man speaks Ash's head shakes.

"No. People should not want ot be on our side because it is a winning side. They should be on our side because it is the /right/ side. It is the /just/ side. Not winning. Winning and losing his nothing to do with the purpose of our actions." He lifts a hand up and rubs his hand over his features. "I did not say we should be passive. No where in my statement did I suggest such. I have been the foremost among the advocates for action."

Ash leans forwards in his chair, then shifts to stand, his hands planting gently on the table, fingers spalyed out as he leans towards Rupert. "That's not good enough." He says simply to him. "You have demanded we go on blind faith most of this time, trusting in you to bring us through things. Yet most of us know little to nothing about you. You continue to do this need to know business, well you know what? We need to know. We're not operating in a cell structure anymore, and if you can't trust us? Those of us sitting here at this table? Then why are we here? I know nothing of these contingencies, and I honestly wonder who doe…." he pauses as Melissa asks the questions he was just about to ask. He turns his head, nodding to the woman.

"And if Melissa and I are agreeing on something…" he turns his eyes back on Rupert. "Then you've fucked up, in a big way. So let me ask you Rupert. What is this? What is Messiah to you? What is your vision for us? Because, it's becoming more and more obvious that Peter here, is more of a figurehead than anything. A charismatic man to bind everyone together. But you're the one really calling the shots." He finally sinks back down into his chair, his arms crossing over his chest slowly.

Harrison frowns as he adds in finally, "I know I am just the kid of the group but…why can't we all take out the registration centers as well? A place they can't do the deed…" He shrugs and says looking in Huruma direction, "Just a thought if we are going all Rambo." He turns his attention back to the leaders at the table.

Ling stares hard at Ash, eyes narrowed. "I am neither a blind soldier, nor a zealot. This much, I promise you. "I am merely someone who knows how to measure the strengths of those around me, and use them appropriately." Her lips purse, and it's clear she has more to say on the moment, but instead, she leans back, choosing not to further the argument any more than it already is.

Rupert lets Harrison's question roll right past him, focusing instead on Ash's more insistant barrage. "Messiah is the end of Registration, Messiah is the end of secret prisons, Messiah is the end of the Institute." Rupert's brows furrow as he leans back, head tilted to the side as he assesses Ash. "Messiah is the right side, but right and wrong are not ever enough to inspire confidence in people that they are safe and secure. Strength and winning gives us more hands to join the fight. This isn't the first group I've run Ashley, but it will be the last. If you'd like to be a leader of your own rebellion, you are more than welcome to start your own. You are always free to leave Messiah… look at Varlane."

Peter remains quiet, hands folded in front of his mouth and thoughtful, and that posture has Rupert glancing to the face of the organization, then back to Ash. "We aren't cell structured, but we are compartmentalized. PARIAH fell because it was led by a man who wanted everyone to know everything. It isn't that I don't trust you, it is that I don't trust telepaths, I don't trust psychometers, I don't trust precognitives. The less people who know the most valuable secrets, the better. You can argue this with me until the sun burns out, but I will not change operation protocols."

"If you don't like the way things are being run, Ashley, and if you can't agree with the results we have obtained so far, you are welcome to leave just like Magnes was at any time. If you aren't leaving, than I suggest you continue to be an excellent soldier and follow orders." With that, Rupert lifts both of his brows and looks to the door, then back to Ash.

"Rupert…" is a briefly contrary tone from Peter, but only that much. Exhaling a sigh, Peter rests his chin on his folded hands and finally speaks up. "We destroyed a production facility for isotope tracking, we destroyed a lab that produced the H5N10 virus, we took out a cell of Humanis First that was going to butcher people like us during the riots, we destroyed a major facility run by the Institute and rescued captives. If you think that the way we're running things is wrong, Ash, than maybe you don't fit in here. But it was this method of operation that saved your life. It was this method of operation that has done more good than harm."

"Everyone who joins Messiah knows the risks. Perkins, Yuan, Jameston, Olson, Jones and Lacombe all knew the risks, all knew that they might die. Any of us could. But you know what, we're going to fight anyway. You want to bring up the dead and not bring up all our victories? That's your call Ash. But Rupert has made us a powerful group that the government is terrified of… and a scared enemy makes mistakes."

There's a grimace from Melissa when Ash agrees with her, and something is muttered about the coming apocalypse. Then she shakes her head and immediately says, "No," to Harrison's suggestion. "I absolutely refuse to target registration centers, and I'll tell you why. First? There are kids at those centers. Innocent children. You know, the people we're trying to save the world for. Second, the majority of people who are there? They're just doing what's legal for the moment, whether they agree with it or not. Most Americans aren't revolutionaries. They do what the law says, because they're afraid to do otherwise. They still fear the law, rather than hating it like we do."

"And you wanna know my biggest personal reason for saying hell no? Because just before we went to Montana? Like, just the day before? Humanis First attacked a registration center I was near with a bomb in an ice cream truck. Remember all those pills I was popping? It was because I nearly got caught in it and died. As it was, I barely got pulled out of the blast radius. A bunch of innocents did die, though. The very people we're trying to save with all of this. Because they were being good citizens. And I'll be damned if I condone us being as bad as those bigoted fuckers."

And though she then gives Rupert a very direct look, she says nothing at all to him.

Ash arches a brow slowly at Rupert. "Magnes was a kid who couldn't hack it. There's a big difference between a kid who wants to play super hero and still has to wear training gloves, and me." Ash's head gives a rather slow shake, one of disdain for the man before him. "Yes, it's not the first one you've run. And what does that say for your track record Rupert? It's been said repeatedly that /we/ are Messiah. Is that true? Or are /you/ Messiah?"

The big man's eyes pull to Peter, then to Rupert, then back again. "You I trust Peter. But I'm done with this blind faith shit. You told me in the beginning that trust needed to be a mutual thing. Well this is not a mutual thing. This is one man keeping information as he sees fit. He doesn't even tell you everything, and you're supposed to be the leader of Messiah."

The man's eyes settle on Rupert again, and he pulls in a slow breath. "Have I downgraded our successes? Have I once said that they were pointless? That they didn't matter? No. Have I continued to participate, go on missions and risk my life? Yes, because I believe in our fight, and I believe in my comrades. But you know what Rupert? You're not one of those comrades. Peter? Is a comrade. Melissa, is a comrade. Huruma, Harrison, Lacombe, Claire, they are all comrades. But you? You're not. Even Rebel risks himself. But you sit here, and do the plans, share only what you wish with us, and expect us to follow in blind faith. Some might be fine with that, but I am not. When I took this…" he taps his right wrist, moving to stand again. "I took it on the understanding that I would be fighting for a cause. So far, we've been doing that. But going after public figures to incite fear?"

He shakes his head slowly, his lips pressing together. "People should not be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people. How can people believe in our cause, if we do things to incite fear into the general populace?" His arms cross slowly over his chest, eyes glancing to Melissa, and a nod going towards her statements, then his eyes come back to Rupert. "Are you so afraid of questions Rupert? That you cover yourself with barbs and hooks designed to goad? I'm not leaving. I have friends in this organization that I will not see die if I could possibly keep them alive. You also, have not answered a single one of my questions and statements. You have only countered them with questions and statements." Ash? Isn't raising his voice for once, he's remaining rather calm and evenly spoken.

Harrison 's eyes move to Ash as he says softly, "Calm down Ash. I don't know Rupert from my head in my ass. I don't know Peter either. I do know you. I do know Melissa. I do know some of the others. I will stand by you and Rupert might know his place is behind the scenes. He has the means I don't know…again just the kid of the group."

As his eyes fall on Melissa he nods slowly and says, "I am sorry that happened to you. I had to leave the city and get my head back on straight because I took lives and it was giving me nightmares. I am back because I will not allow you or anyone in this room to be harmed for being different. I am sure those centers close at night. But it was just an idea." He turns and looks at Peter, "You know I will go where you tell me." He shrugs and says, "So…as long as I am there for my friends. I don't care any more. I will not be put in a cage."

Huruma is not so much rendered speechless as she has, simply, nothing to say. She waits, perched back in her chair, watchful of the rest of the table while the younger members essentially rip Rupe a new one. She can't agree with it all, and she can't disagree with it all. For now, however, she keeps to herself and observes both the fiery moods floating around her, and the words of those they belong to. Having worked with him before, she can trust Rupert to a certain point with things such as these; it is up to him to defend himself, however. Even if it means being flexible with his new 'friends'.

"Good," is all Rupert has to say to Ash's entire diatribe. "Then you're staying and will continue to follow orders, I imagine. I don't expect you to like me, Ash, nor is it necessary. You're very right, Peter and the others are your comrades. I'm just management, and if you don't think I take personal risks performing my actions for Messiah, that's your belief that you're free to have. The moment you disagree with one of our assignments, you're free to turn it down and I will have someone else follow orders."

A look is offered to Peter from Rupert, then back again. All the while, Oleander Thespuda looks like he just doesn't even want to be in the room any longer. "So, Ash. Will you work with us and perform the precision attack against Agent Mayes, or should I be looking for someone else to do this assignment? It's just a matter of yes or no."

Melissa sighs softly and shakes her head at Harrison. "I don't want you to be sorry for me, Harrison. I just want you to understand that targetting registration centers isn't the way to go. We can't be the good guys if we're as bad as the bad guys." Which is debatable anyway, but for this particular issue, it seems to work for her.

Ash stares at Rupert, and his head is given a slow shake yet again. "No, not until you answr the fucking questions Rupert." He rises to his feet, then glances over to Peter, a long and meaningful look, though whether or not peter understand what he's trying to convey is unknown to Ash. "You're dodging the fucking questions Rupert. Answer the fucking questions." His voice is a growl now, he's lost his patience, and he's up out of his chair, looking like he might just go after Rupert physically if the man doesn't cough up some answers and proper responses.

"I don't know what the fuck you do Rupert. Because you've not bothered to share a damn thing about yourself this entire time. You won't answer questions, you won't stand and defend yourself." He takes a step in that direction, but only a single step. "Until you give some answers that actually make sense and matter? You can count me out of any of your missions. I'll fight for a cause, but I refuse to carry out someone's personal agenda again. I did it with Adam, I won't do it for you."

Ash twists his head a bit, then turns, and begins to walk towards the door, the man's movements liquid smooth, graceful, not his normal attempt at swagger and confidence, or anything of the sort. He pauses a moment. "I would suggest the rest of you rethink whether you can follow someone who doesn't trust you with information that could mean the difference between life and death for you, and for your friends." With that the man is moving for the door again.

Harrison nods slowly as he falls silent and says, "I understand Melissa." He watches as Ash leaves and sighs deeply. He moves to follow but sits back down as he runs a hand through his hair as he begins to listen silently once again as he continues to watch the various people in the room.

Rupert offers nothing as Ash departs, brows furrowed and hands folded. Peter repeatedly makes eye-contact to Ash's back and to Rupert, brows lifted as if urging him to go talk to him, but there's nothing from the tactician. "Very well," is offered quietly from Rupert with a thinly exhaled sigh, slouching to the side as be brushes a dark lock of hair from his face. "Peter, I'm going to need you to select someone to go after Mayes then since Ash was your first choice. Might I recommend bringing on Knox? He was eager to go after her on reading the interview with Mayes posted in the Times."

Breathing in deeply, Peter exhales a steady breath and rubs both hands over his mouth and beard. "Alright, yeah… Knox doesn't sound bad. I don't want to use anyone who's been known publicly before, and Rickham's still not in top shape after the fight with that tank." Sliding his tongue over his lips, Peter offers an askance glance to Harrison, then looks over to Huruma and Melissa, then down to the table and back to Oleander.

"It's usually not this crazy," Peter offers as a weary apology, and Oleander just widens his eyes and offers an awkward smile and a shrug of his shoulders. "Can you stay for us to go over the Biodynamics situation?" There's a quirk of Peter's head to the side at that, and Oleander offers a slow, thoughtful nod.

"Yeah, yeah I can do that. Sure." Looking up to the doorway, Oleander's brows furrow worriedly. "That guy gonna' be okay? You know, am I gonna' be okay if he's not okay?" There's a crack of a smile at that and a deep belly laugh. Peter cracks an anxious smile, then shakes his head slowly.

"Ash will be fine, I'll… talk to him tomorrow after he's had time to cool down." Looking up to Rupert, however, Peter makes a motion for the table with one hand. "We're going to hit the Biodynamics building on Thursday. They're the primary producer of the test kits that run over the counter in the city. This is strictly a political opinion we're making, showing our voice against Registration by takind down a producer. We're going to handle it just like the Chicago attack: Night raid, Oleander will be working night security there and he'll get people out of the building for us. Then we'll have a small team go in and level the place just like in Chicago, without hurting the surrounding buildings."

Ash's departure has Melissa shaking her head, but she moves past that whole topic and instead shifts her attention to Peter and Oleander. "Okay, for those of us who weren't in Chicago…did it go pretty much like Montana?" she asks the former, before giving the latter a reassuring smile. Sure it's not this crazy usually. Whatever the nice man says.

"Either way, I'd like to go on this one if possible. And it's good that you'll be able to get everyone out," she says, dipping her head towards Oleander. A sort of salute, probably.

Ling watches Ash leave with a shake of her head and an exasperated sigh, lingering a moment before she turns back to the table proper, eyeing those who remain. "If you think I will be able to help in such an operation, I will gladly attend. And upfront attack, however, is not exactly my forte.

"With Oleander's help there shouldn't be any need for an attack, we go in and go out. A security team with the people setting up the bombs, nothing more and nothing less, just in case something goes wrong. But, I think we'll be alright. Chicago was a mess because there was a Stillwater Securities team there we didn't plan on, but this is a different company with different connections, private— not government subsidized. But we'll have backup waiting just in case."

Looking askance to Oleander, Peter offers the new member a slow nod, then looks across the table to Melissa. "If you want to participate, you're welcome to. After we bring down that building, I think it might not be a bad idea to have a meeting the day after… just— something morale boosting. Maybe for our fallen comrades, something… just to help with the divisiveness going around." There's a look to Rupert at that, and Rupert rolls his shoulders slowly.

"I'd be fine with it," he says with a nonchalant motion of his shoulders. "Don't worry about Ashley, either, I'll talk to him tomorrow, Peter." There's a fond and faint smile from Rupert as he crosses his arms over his chest. "You work yourself hard enough as it is."

Incredulous for a moment, Peter subtly offers a nod back to Rupert, then looks over to Melissa, Harrison, Oleander and Huruma. "Before I say we're done here… does anyone have their eyes on a particular target they think we should move on? I know we have something big lined up for next month, but… I'd like to know if there was anything else, someone or something that would make a good message to send, or a good weak point to target?"

"I don't know about a meeting…What about something more like a wake?" Melissa suggests, her head tilting. "It'll let us let off steam, honor those we've lost, and think about the victories we've had?" She shrugs a little, then pauses and thinks about the second part of what Peter said.

"I'm happy with the selection of the test making factories, really. And I think Praeger will make a statement. But…there is one place that we haven't looked at so far, at least not that I've seen, and it seems odd since we have Rebel on our side." She glances around at everyone, though Rupert gets only a brief look. "The government is campaigning for their side with commercials and ads. Yet there's all these dirty secrets they've been covering up. Moab. The Institute. I mean, you guys saw what was in that hospital, and it was…" She shakes her head. "It was wrong."

She smiles faintly, but it seems forced. "So why don't we show the country what their country is really doing to the evolved? We want people to support our side because it's the right side, so why don't we show them why it's right? Show them the experimentation. Show them the hidden little prison. Show them why they should stand up and protest and tell the government to go kiss its own ass? I mean, with Rebel, we should be able to hijack a satellite or something long enough for a broadcast of our own, right? Or put something untraceable on the internet?"

"A wake would b'nice. F'those who need it…" Huruma stretches her legs a moment, before sliding the chair back a pace and leaning up and out of her seat. "As I recall, that has been done already. It did no'work." She does not specify for Melissa; if someone else knows what she is talking about, all the better. "Not t'th'public, but I have a source tha'tells me our little friends at th'Company-" Words she does not fail to see as possibly startling- "-are having issues with th'Institute as well. On a far more- man-shaped, fleshy- scale. I know tha'terms with them are thin- but- information is indispensable."

As she speaks, Huruma saunters slowly around to the end of the table, eyes largely on Peter first- only to swivel down to Rupert when she sidles up behind him.

"…Don'let it get t'you." The dark woman purrs this into Rupert's ear when she leans down to quite literally- drape her arms down over his chest, her words hot against his scalp. In a way, it is both a warning, and an assurance. Way too close for comfort-

-and there are only so few people that can make her respond to reprimands. Rupert Carmichael is not one of them. Not if he wants to risk using his ability, which could very well be like shooting a bear. Bad idea when the bear is on you already.

Ling looks off to the side, at the door, a bit of a worried look on her face. "I have nothing to add, I'm afraid." FOr now, she is content to follow with what's been presented. Adding anything else seems unwise at the moment.

Rupert tenses up like a mouse being coiled on by a constrictor, eyes wide and throat workin up and down in a nervous swallow. "W— well…" he offers in a hushed tone of voice, noticing Oleander's raised brow and pursed lips. Thespuda is misunderstanding of course, and the bald man's approving purse of his lips and bob of his head seems to imply hey nice job for a scrawny white guy without so much of the vocalization. Peter seems to find this hilarious, and slowly pushes up from his seat with hands flat on the table.

"A wake," Peter echoes with a rap of his knuckles on the table top, "sounds like a great idea. It'd be a chance to honor our fallen and missing conrades and a chance to look ahead towards the future. I think… I think that's a great suggestion." Fondly smiling, Peter breathes in a deep breath as he catches Rupert's eyes, and the smaller man's expression of don't leave me along with her goes entirely ignored.

"I'll have information about the move on Praeger and Mayes early next month, everyone who'll be participating on the attack of Biodynamics will have Rebel contact them once it's confirmed. The wake… will be on Friday night." Lifting a hand up to rub at the back of his neck, Peter looks over to Rupert and Huruma with a knowing smile. C'mon Oleander, I'll get the rest of that intel from you while I show you out."

Oleander, meanwhile, cracks a grin and shakes his head. "Yeah, wouldn't wanna' interrupt that tactical union or nothin'."

Maybe Rupert deserves that, just a little.

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