Feed The Fire


aislinn2_icon.gif ash_icon.gif garza_icon.gif gerard_icon.gif godfrey_icon.gif ignacio_icon.gif isis_icon.gif jaiden2_icon.gif khalid_icon.gif shaw2_icon.gif vor_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title Feed the Fire
Synopsis Members of Shedda-Dinu gather together again to plan their next steps.
Date June 24, 2019

This always feels strange.

The stairwell is just wide enough for one person to walk up, so dark that the only light is produced by whatever those traversing the stairs bring with them. There is no electricity running through these concrete walls, no sconces in the ceiling to bear illumination. Too far ahead and too far below, the steep staircase is swallowed by darkness. It must be this way. The shadows keep their secrets.

For Zachery Miller, the climb is like being born. Suffocating darkness, followed by excruciating pain, and suddenly.


The Times Square Building

Rochester, NH

June 24th

7:30 pm

There is already conversation filling the parlour of the penthouse suite as the stone wall beside the fireplace slides open without so much as a sound. Greased hinges swing seven hundred pounds of concrete to the side effortlessly, revealing the tall and narrow doorway hidden in the superstructure of the building. From within, Zachery Miller emerges with his cell phone flashlight on to light the way.

But the parlor is well lit, from the sunset glow spilling through the tall windows in burning orange rays against the marble floor, to the overhead lights shedding a warm goldenrod glow. Shedda Dinu’s organizer Antonio Garza sits in his high-backed chair by the fireplace, turning to greet Zachery with a toast of his fat glass of red wine.

“Mister Miller,” Garza says with a warm smile, “always a pleasure. I hope the climb treated you well today. Please, grab yourself a drink and take a seat, we’re still waiting on a few people.” There’s new and old faces already in the parlor, some expected ones missing. There’s no sign of Skye or Charity. In their usual seats are two unfamiliar faces. One, a short and tanned man with a face covered in scars; fine lacerations like that caused by a knife. Beside him is a mountain of a man with muscles on top of muscles and no discernable neck to speak of in what might be the tightest-fitting suit he could find.

“I don’t believe you’ve met our associates yet,” Garza says with a gesture to those new faces. “Khalid Sadaka and Jaiden Mortlock.” Khalid eyes Zachery and forces a smile that looks more constipated than anything. Jaiden, however, raises an enormous arm and waves with an earnest a smile as a sentient ham-hock can muster.

Standing, or leaning rather not to far from the fireplace his own glass of nearly untouched whiskey sitting in his hand. Gerard Gerken peers into the flames from afar. He was always a brooding type, eyes haunted from some past act that he couldn't seem to escape. His beard is a little longer than usual, it's time for a trim.

His cotton long sleeve a rustic red, plain black jeans and boots. His frame is sturdy, wiry muscles ripple under tanned skin. Spending a lot of time in the sun lately it would seem.

He's not familiar to Zachery or many of the other "new blood" arriving but for Nacho, Gerard's face is one of a comrade, partner in crime for an op. The middle aged man takes a small sip of his whiskey, rubbing under his chin with his free hand. His green eyes scan Zachery in a loose fashion.

Vör stands behind Gerard, her hands resting on his shoulders as she leans in toward him in a move that looks very familiar. "Smile once in a while, Gigi." There's even a kiss to the man's cheek before she notices Zachery enter and she straightens up to smile at him. The expression gives off the impression that she knows him even though he's certainly never met her before. Unlike the man next to her, she's all cheer and warm smiles.

She disappears from her spot and appears again in one of the chairs, sitting sideways with her legs dangling over the arm. She doesn't get and introduction and she doesn't give one, she just lifts a hand to wave her fingers in that direction.

As those who know him may come to expect, Zachery's scan of the gathering space upon first entering it is just short of frantic. No attempt is made in order to hide the fact that he's physically a little unused to climbing this many stairs to get… well, anywhere, really, but he's barely even heard Garza's voice before a smile rubberband-snaps its way onto his face. Bright and with just enough of his mismatched eyes forced to join in on the expression, standing somewhat frozen in his all-black suit, with only a dark red tie for colour.

"I've been treated worse," he jokes pleasantly, if a little stiffly, "and how could I complain, when I have this to be welcomed into, at the end of it all? Be with you in a moment." Perhaps somewhat rudely, after a cursory nod to those introduced, he moves forward and further in, head high and shoulders rolling back, doing his best impression of a casual, unconcerned amble toward said drinks. On the way there, he catches Vör's smile, and his own pulls a little tighter, uncertain, in reflexive response.

His pace slows at her disappearance and then reappearance, but after a narrowing of functional eye alone, he opts to keep heading for the drinks. Definitely going to need some of that, first thing.

Ash? Ash is already here. Present and accounted for. He's grabbed himself a seat. Two seats actually, one to sit in, one to put his feet up on. He's dressed rather simply. Boot cut blue jeans and a plain black t-shirt. There is a tattered black fog coat draped over the back of the chair he's actually sitting in though. He's lounging back, his fingers interlocked, resting across his stomach as he watches others arriving. He's silent, though he's not without expression. An easy little smirk has settled on his features, attentive eyes studying those that were already here when he arrived, and those that arrive afterwards. One booted foot wobbles left to right, the only real sign of movement from the big fighter aside from his steady breathing. He has not opted for anything to drink and instead just occupies himself with his own thoughts and his people watching.

A hollow thud emanates from an impressive, antique wardrobe just visible across the threshold into the next room. Then quiet.

Squeaky hinges announce the next arrival when the engraved doors pop open.

Isis stands there with her arms wide, holding back the press of furs and fabrics that threaten to smoosh in on her from either side. Her pale sternum rises deeply against the black leather trim of a steely gray vest, taking a moment to catch her breath as she peeks out and into the adjacent room to consider those already gathered. It’s a quick scan as she moves to step down, billowy black fabric around her legs revealed as pants despite the initial impression of a long, high waisted skirt. Something - no, someone - catches her attention midstep and she fumbles out gracelessly, gawking openly.

Ash. No. Curtis? Without her bidding, her feet have carried her quietly forward, wardrobe dangling open in the backdrop, to where he sits. She’s beside his outstretched legs, head canted like a curious cat and streams of hair cutting across her face before she blinks and remembers herself. Her hand fidgets as if she considers reaching out and testing the tangibility of what’s before her, but instead she opts to lower her head and inquire in a quiet hiss, “Curtis?

That Garza takes notice of Isis exchange with Ash is understandable. But that he ignores it in favor of more mundane topics is perhaps suspicious. He does nothing to alleviate her questioning tone, but rather lets Isis simmer in her own privately-voiced uncertainty. Khalid’s attention settles uncomfortably on Zachery as he comes in, shifting in his seat and fidgeting with a broken zipper on his light jacket. Khalid looks the part of a soldier, or at the very least an insurgent, but the momentary uncertainty he affords the doctor is then hidden behind the choice to draw more attention to himself.

“Why’re we here, Garza?” Khalid asks anxiously. “I’ve got a lot going on right now, and while I appreciate a social call so we can all get together, some of us have ongoing projects.” That tone from Khalid elicits a look not from Garza, but the hulking form of Jaiden sitting in what can’t help but feel like too small of a chair.

“We’re here ‘cause there’s more work to be done,” Jaiden says with a nod to Khalid. “Hope you can finish that other stuff quick.” A smile tugs at the corner of his mouth, and Jaiden directs his attention back to Garza.

As an elder in the room, Garza is a calming presence. He smiles away the concern, taking a sip from his glass of whiskey before leaving it to sit beside his chair. “I suppose Godfrey and Ignacio were held up, but Mr. Sadaka is correct,” he indicates with a gesture to Khalid, while retrieving an unlit cigarette from a metal case in his jacket pocket with his other hand, “there is much work to be done, and little time to do it in.”

Raising the cigarette to his lips, Garza does nothing to light it. No motion at all. And yet, the cigarette’s head blackens, then catches fire, then burns down to a smoldering ember. “The last tasks I assigned in this room were important, but they did not pose as much personal risk as what is forthcoming.” Garza plucks the cigarette from his lips, exhaling smoke slowly out his nose.

Cigarette in hand, Garza looks around the room. “How many of you are familiar with an organization called the Deveaux Society?”

“Well, I half expected Narnia,” Godfrey quips, before anyone can even answer Garza, from the wardrobe. He descends from it with far more grace than Isis, even taking a moment to shut it behind him. He’s late to the party as usual. “Pity really, I imagine the snow queen is quite lovely. But, I suppose this will do.” Isis and Ash get a flirtatious wink as he passes, though for who is up in the air.

Pausing on his journey to refreshments, there is an incline of his head to Garza, “Apologizes. I only just got the message, I don’t exactly keep my phone on me,” Godfrey explains his tardiness away, with an added flick of his fingers. “Last thing we need is that being found on my person.”

That done, the next order of business for Godfrey is a tumbler of scotch. Being there was thirsty work after all.

A chuckle sounds from Vör's direction when Khalid voices his question. "Didn't you miss us, Khalid?" she asks, tone teasing and playful despite the fact that this is definitely not a social gathering. Her attention flickers over to Godfrey when he enters, her smile appreciative as she turns to look back to Garza. "Pro-Evolved. Charity. Run by three little old ladies. Suspicious." That's her take on the Deveaux Society, and she shifts to cross one leg over the other as if she's just now noticed this is official business. "Should we be caring about them?" Because she hasn't, except in passing. "Or do you have something fun planned?" That question comes with a wide smile.

When the door opens again, it's slow and uncertain with a small creek. In the doorway stands a woman dressed in black and brown, hazel eyes scanning over the gathered crowd on the rooftop. Hair swept down and over one side of her face, she seems a little out of place for a moment… mostly because of the watering can she holds in one hand at her side. It doesn't help that she seems a little taken aback by the group gathered in front of her.

She blinks, and a smirk crosses her lips. Eyes alight to Garza, and she tips her head towards him. "Bit more people 'ere tonight than I was expectin'," she remarks as she begins to move around the outer edge of the group towards a potted plant that sits in one corner. "Didn't miss anythin' important, did I?"

Whatever attention is at his back, Zachery seems wholly unaware. Any glances in his direction could be attributed to him sticking out, after all, as someone who does not necessarily usually attend gatherings like this. And so, he acts the part of someone unwatched, pouring himself a finger of whiskey and knocking it back all at once with the ease of someone who barely knows any other way to drink.

He repeats the pour, and promptly turns back around with the glass held up toward his chest, his jaw set. New arrivals are glanced to but not lingered on, because he's been listening - and while Zachery might be visibly ill at ease, it's Khalid's own anxiety that draws his attention all too easily.

The man is observed with an upward tilt of his head, while he wanders leisurely back to where he was first greeted. Vör's answer draws a narrowing of his mismatched eyes, and has him finally cut the stare short so he can look to Garza as if for confirmation. Who, what, now? Little old ladies?

Ash is just about to speak up and say something to the room at large, probably about getting on with the day's business, when more people start arriving. He settles back into his chair, having lifted himself forwards a bit. There's a slow brow lift as Isis struggles to get out of the wardrobe, a bit of strain around the mouth as he fights off an amused smile. When she spots him and asks him his name he lets out a light chuckle and tips his head. "Most days." He confirms for her, the smile that goes with it an easy one. "Nice to see you again Isis." His attention swings around as Godfrey enters with far more grace. A finger is lifted, pointing at him, eyes flickering from Isis over to Godfrey. See Isis. Grace and style.

There's a curious expression though at the question about the Deveaux society. He doesn't speak, just lifts a finger, then drops it, pointing in Vor's direction as she sums up her knowledge, and covers what Ash knows about the Society as well. His hand drops back down onto the arm of the chair he's sitting in as he sits up and leans forwards, towards Isis. "But this isn't most days babe." There's a wink from him, and a smirk that is all cocky arrogance. All Ash. An expression she'd be more than familiar with.

Dark lashes cast darker shadows around hazel eyes when they narrow. Isis bends at the knees, billowy slacks pooling like black shadow around her little feet beneath, to bring herself to eye level with the two-in-one man before her. She doesn’t bother to look back at Godfrey’s always fashionable, always late entrance. She’s too busy still searching, even while trying to make herself small so as not to interrupt the proceedings going on around. And then… there he is

That wink, that smile… the words only excess. Crouched before him she reaches out and puts a hand upon his wrist. Outwardly, it’s a gesture that appears fond and inviting - paired with a smile and a glimmer of nostalgia in those vibrant, hazel eyes. From his vantage point, though, Ash is witness to more - subtle things only he would recognize, besides. The sparkle in her eyes becomes a little more untamed, an ember that might too easily be fanned to flame, and fingers grip a little tighter. It’s hard to decipher if the nuanced pressure of her thin fingers is warning… or wanting.

She leans her head in, voice hushed. “It’s good to see you again.” A pause, and a mischievous uptick of her nude, pale lips. “Don’t call me ‘babe’.” The sense of her bare touch on flesh lends itself to a not unpleasant, fluttery sensation before she lets her hand slither away. She remains perched like a tiny alabaster gargoyle and simply pivots her body, forearm draped loosely over a knee, to consider Garza and the important delivery on hand. She doesn’t chime in - the others have vocalized well enough what little she knows beyond their strange blog site.

Also a little bit late, Nacho enters with no fanfare and only a lifted hand and a murmured apology. He looks a little bit rushed — which makes sense, considering he’s late — but still put-together, as usual, in slacks and a deep pink button-down with the sleeves rolled up to the elbows. He nods to those he knows, before moving to grab a drink and a seat without further interrupting the proceedings for now.

Ignacio’s arrival elicits a look from Garza and a subtle cheer gesture with his drink. Most of the people here know him by now. But it’s the dark-haired woman that entered quietly that he deviates from the briefing to introduce. “Aislinn Graves,” Garza says with a broad, bright smile, “you’ll all be seeing more of her. But that’s getting a bit ahead of myself,” he admits with a more reserved smile, motioning with his drink as he talks.

“Vör's description of the Deveaux Society is correct in the most superficial of ways,” Garza explains, looking around the lounge. “The Society presents itself as an altruistic face, but behind the scenes they are — and have for generations — manipulated people toward their own ends. Admirably well, I might admit. But the Society was not founded by the three woman at its head, but rather through the power and influence of a man named Charles Deveaux, one of the twelve original founders of The Company.

Pausing to sip his drink and remove his cigarette from his mouth, it’s evident from just the way Garza said ‘The Company’ that he possesses a deep anger and resentment toward that defunct organization. “Before the war, the Deveaux Society collected three archives of information. One,” and Garza raises a finger away from his cigarette, “the full hard copy archives of the Company. Two,” another finger, “the full records of the Vanguard as taken from their Antarctic headquarters.” Finally, Garza transfers his cigarette to his mouth and then raises a third finger. “Three, the full archives of the Commonwealth Institute.”

Khalid slowly leans forward, shooting a quick look to Vör, then back to Garza. “They have all of that?” He asks, knowing full well the answer is yes. Garza confirms as much with a slow nod and an exhalation of smoke out his mouth. “Why?”

“Power,” is Garza’s simple answer. “They have been leveraging this knowledge to achieve more power. Which, again, admirable pursuits. It isn’t that they have untoward intentions for our kind, but they are less than equitable with their distribution of power. Their vision of the future is monocular, and leaves little room for variance.” Setting down his drink for now, Garza slowly rises from his chair, cigarette still in his other hand but occasionally brandished to emphasize a point.

“The leadership of the Deveaux Society, Claudia Zimmerman and Sabra Dalton specifically, were Company conspirators. They have leveraged their own personal fortunes and connections to undermine our operations, they have resisted any attempt at cooperation — and we have reached out — and now they’ve sicced SESA on us. In order to flourish, in order for us to achieve a lasting foothold for our kind where we no longer have to worry about the past repeating itself… we have to do something about the society.” Garza brings his cigarette to his mouth, drawing in a deep breath and then exhaling slowly. “We have to level the playing field.”

Garza’s attention drifts around the room, watching the faces of the followers, then takes another drag off of his cigarette. “Once more, I am going to need volunteers for a task — one multi-faceted. On the one hand, we require the Society’s full archives. On the other, we have to make sure the matriarchs of the Deveaux Society can’t effectively organize. But this isn’t about assassination… it’s about power. I’m not asking anyone to kill anyone, in fact I would prefer this to be as bloodless as possible. One day, some day, they could still be our allies…”

Halfway finished with his cigarette, Garza motions with it in the air. “The goal is to neutralize our opponent, without lethal force,” which he says with a sharp look to Vör, “and collect their database. These things can’t happen in the same place, but must happen simultaneously.” Once more, Garza looks around the room. “Like last time, I can’t divulge the plans in advance… but you all deserved to know where we are going next. Don’t volunteer now, think on it… deliberate. Then, privately, let me know what you’ve decided before the week is out.”

Slowly, Khalid leans back in his seat, brows furrowed and eyes cast aside. But something has been bothering Zachery about Khalid for a while. Something that he didn’t really see until he’d gotten his drink and his bearings in the room. The biggest and most obvious issue is that Khalid Sadaka isn’t in the room. There’s no biology in that chair, no organs, no soft tissue, no bones, no blood. But there is someone standing behind Khalid’s chair that Zachery can’t see. Someone with scars and old injuries, someone who is hiding who they are.

But aren’t they all?

Garza's words seem to wash over Zachery like an all too familiar song - focusing his attention beneath that pleasant, forced smile that's idly being maintained. It's an expression that… slowly seems to ease into something more thoughtful, then distracted.

His attention is moved elsewhere, his eye sweeping slowly but very deliberately from one person to the next in a way that coincides with the beats of Garza's elaborations. His jaw sets as he tries to maintain a neutral expression while he reaches out in ways his sight nor hands are able. His eye finds Khalid's arm resting in his chair.

"Correct me if I'm wrong," Zachery starts, resolutely, looking up at Garza when the elder provides the room with a gift of momentary silence, "But I'm sure that no matter what the individual decisions, coordinating our efforts with as little mess and as many gains as possible is all something we can all…"

There's a beat's pause in Zachery's comment, excused easily by a thoughtful swirl of the liquid in the glass he holds so close — except that he once more turns his gaze on Khalid's chair and the face of the person not within it. "… Get behind." He savours his next mouthful of that tasty, tasty drink, smile finally and properly making its way up towards dilating pupil.

When her name is spoken, Aislinn looks up from watering one of the plants on the rooftop. It’s not hers, but that doesn’t matter - they were thirsty, and she had expected that. She offers a smile and a small wave to the group, swooping some of her hair back out of her eyes before she resumes watering the plant.

“They fancy themselves th’ Moirai, from th’ sound of it,” is her contribution. “Shame those decisions aren’t theirs alone t’ make.” Those no condescension in her voice, just a very pragmatic, matter of fact tone. Finishing with watering one plant, she moves to the only other plant intentionally placed up here.

“Find a way to cut the threads, and maybe they’ll start to see the value of…” she looks around at the others, motioning with one hand. “Us.” It’s a classical comparison, maybe a strange one for someone of a more scientific background than a poetic one, but she nods with self satisfaction before falling in like with the others.

Ash keeps up the ruse as Isis searches his features, until that is he gives up the ruse entirely, then it's that smirk and the wink, and the cocky smarmy sort of attitude that is all Ash. And none of Curtis. When she tells him not to call her babe it pulls that smirk into a more mischevious grin. That was just as much him confirming that it's her in her body, as proving that it's him to her. He promised a long long time ago to stop calling her babe. He isn't afraid of the woman's touch, like many have been over the years when they learn of what her power is. He just looks at her, with that same smug look on his face.

"It's good to see you too." He murmurs, voice softer, warmer. His hand curls around hers for a moment before letting it go. They're here with a purpose after all. His chin tilts back a bit, and he leans back into his chair once more, eyes on Garza as he lays out the rough idea of what needs to be done. "Don't need time to think. I'll do damn near anything to get more time as myself. Count me in." Ash can do bloodless. Sure violent destruction is his specialty but he's also a freaking ninja okay. Or well, close enough. Eyes track from Zachery, to Khalid, then back to Zachery, watching him for a few moments, eyes narrowing. Zachery isn't… exactly subtle. Ash might not know what it is the man is getting at but hey. Drama. So Ash's eyes turn to rest back on Khalid, waiting to see what the man says in response.

He tips his head to the side a little bit so he can speak to Isis in a quiet tone, head turning just a touch so he can keep whatever is happening between Zachery and Khalid in his line of vision, but also peek over at Isis when he speaks to her.. "Bet you could snag a security guard wherever the archives are being held and let a team in to recover them."

Gerard very visibly stiffens at the mention of the Company taking a swallow of his whiskey and staring even more into the fire that burns. He shakes his head and looks away to find the face of Nacho among the ones that have arrived. With a rub of her beard he walks slowly as the others talk until he's at Nacho's back. He inclines his head in the younger man's peripheral vision. Hey partner.

As Garza talks about not killing, he resists the urge to call Vör out but his green eyed gaze does go to her. He feels like he'll be called to watch her again.

"The Company kept a lot of us locked up in Level Five." His voice is rough and he looks towards the rest of the people gathered here tonight, "They shouldn't be allowed to walk free." That's as nice as he can put it. The man's fingers rub together but he doesn't tap them. Not in his agitated state.

"So we're not having fun?" Vör sighs, disappointed in this particular stipulation. As she always is. Her attention shifts to Gerard, meeting his gaze and lifting her hand to wave her fingers at him. Partners to the end. "I can help," she says to Garza, "getting people where they need to go. But if we're doing this clean, I don't know." Even she knows it's better for someone else to volunteer for that. Historically, her attempts at clean are… well, not.

She also is not exactly volunteering to get people out, but perhaps it's meant to be included.


It's a well known fact that cats are mysterious, teleporting creatures. How there comes to be one in the room is one mystery. How long it has been there, a further one. But nevertheless, there is one feline present in the room now, having emerged from somewhere. Maybe it followed someone in.

The dark spotted gray tabby looks the color of everything else in the shadows of the room, which might explain how it's gone largely unnoticed until now. Now, because the cat makes its way from where Zachery stands by the drinks, brushing lightly against the man's leg as it trots past him. Then the creature hops up brazenly onto the table, strides over to Vör's seat at the table, and curls up in front of her facing the others.

One ear tilts back to the teleporter. The other, a lax angle.

The cat purrs.

Godfrey is quiet over —-> there pouting his scotch, listening Garza with an intensity that he usually has for everything that interests him. Zachery speaking up next to him, pulls the man’s attention, focusing on the one eyed man, before twisting to look over his shoulder, a brow tipping up curiously. Though his attention is mostly centered on Aislinn. So many new faces this evening.

The cat gets a bit of a disapproving look, it’s presence forces Godfrey to stepping aside as it — thankfully — picking Zachery to rub up against. Cats mean hair… and hair always ends up clinging to the fabric it passes over. That just wouldn’t do.

“I will certainly give the proposal some thought,” Godfrey offers, fulling turning towards the room, drink in hand. Unlike the last mission, this one he needed to consider his cover at Yamagato. “I will have an answer for you within a few days.”

Isis's gaze finally makes time for her peers. It's perfect timing, after all. Reactions to Garza's instruction, verbal or otherwise, are telling in so many ways… The gaze is probing - curious without judgment - and moves swiftly over each and every face with a slight lean of her crouched, small frame into the side of Ash's legs at her back.

"Hmm?" There's a jostle of lazily buoyant waves as she turns her visage back to Ash with a gently arched brow. "Oh yes. I suppose. I've never done an intentional swap alone, though," she replies with distracted quiet, Ash's countenance now the target of her studious attention. There's a dancing back-and-forth of her hazel eyes that denotes a deeper search and then…

"If the idea is to spread more evenly the power of knowledge-…," the volume of her voice denotes she is not speaking now with Ash, but with the organization as a whole. She holds Ash's gaze a heartbeat more and then turns her pale face towards their host. "Will participants be allowed the opportunity to review whatever they help acquire?" She drops one knee to the floor, the other still a shelf to support her casually draped forearm. She bites the inside of her right cheek.

Nacho catches sight of Gerard as the other man gets close to him, returning the gesture with a little upnod of his own. His eyes move to Vör then when her gaze moves that way, too, and there’s a lift of a hand with a little wiggle of his fingers and a slightly wider smile.

It’s then that he catches sight of the cat. “Que mierda?” he murmurs, and he lets out a little laugh, as though genuinely amused. It’s quiet, and short, hopefully not much of an interruption, but it isn’t exactly silent, either.

Garza seems unsurprised by the cat’s arrival, smiling fondly at the feline’s presence. “Good to see you could make it,” he says down to the fucking cat like it can understand him. “As for the information, what happens with it after our retrieval will depend entirely on what it contains. Some pieces of information are dangerous, others not. The likelihood is that it will all be encrypted, but that we can take as we come.”

Garza seems uninclined to speculate on tactics to deploy or speak of the particulars of what this assignment will entail. But that he’s even given a little bit of detail on it speaks volumes to the level of trust the others have earned. “There is one other matter,” he says thoughtfully, “something that is a bit less delicate than the way in which we handle the Deveaux Society.”

Taking a brief sip of his drink, Garza looks around the room. “This, I will note, is something I would like handled by separate people… Different hands than the Deveaux work.” His lips press together in a thin line, brows furrowed. “There is, right here in Rochester, a weekly meeting that happens at the American Legion building on the east side of the river. It is a meeting not entirely unlike this one, with a fraternity of like-minded people… and yet they are nothing like us, and…” Garza shrugs, “they hate us for it.”

“I would like volunteers to ensure that the Pure Earth movement is uprooted from Rochester.” With that, Garza asks something simple. Something with an easy answer. Do you hate Nazis? It’s a typically universal inquiry, especially given his target audience.

Oh hey, a cat. When Garza addresses it, she looks down at it quizzically, running to several unvoiced conclusions in her head. Pulling back her watering can, she moves to sit not far from Vör. "I take it back," she remarks in a droll tone, "they sound like folks that need t' learn th' value of us." This time, us takes on a much broader meaning.

She snickers as she leans forward and sets the can down in front of her. "Y'got anythin' in mind there, Garza?" Not that she does. Typically a more low key and good hearted person, Aislinn doesn't typically apply herself to these sort of endeavors. The smile on her face, however, screams that she might be willing to make an exception for Pure Earthers.

Though it seems Zachery is intent on staring at Khalid until he has garnered some sort of response, the cat brushing against his leg causes his attention to shoot downward with a start, dismantling his expression of intrigue into one of just confusion. Whh? His eye follows it, head angling to keep his subject centered in his vision, only for Isis to draw his attention from it when she speaks up next. The corners of his mouth curl into something pleased at her question, and that expression remains when an answer is delivered in turn.

There's always so much going on during these meetings, especially for someone with Zachery's particular skills and occasional bouncy ball focus, but there is something keen to the way his face lights up at the mention of Pure Earth meetings, head lifting and shoulders squaring back behind the half emptied glass he's holding.

Looking at Garza like to a parent who is trying to decide which one of his kids he's going to take to the zoo. Except with the possible implication of bodily harm.

Isis grows still as she watches Garza, hanging and crawling around each word, checking each for holes and with a measuring interest. Garza’s reply regarding the sharing of knowledge is ultimately given a subtle, carefully respectful nod. Then a sandy pale brow pops into a curious crescent…

Ohhhh. So, there’s something for all tastes this go’round. A little more weight of herself is given into Ash’s leg at this turn of the evening. That is all the acknowledgment he gets, though. The hand dangling over the tiny cliff of her propped knee is turned over, eyes searching empty palm as if she were considering the amount of invisible blood already upon them. Isis's fingers curl in one after the other, making a little fist sans any jewelry or decoration beyond a tiny ladybug tattooed on her thumb. She uncoils from her crouched pose, rising to her full short height in order to simply and silently consider those around her once more.

"That's more like it," Vör says, reaching down to pet the cat when he comes her way. Those who know her well enough know that she doesn't particularly care if a target is Pure Earth or whatever. She just likes to go hands on.

And those hands reach down and pick up the cat with an amount of care that she doesn't usually display. But she settles him on her lap and scratches behind his ears. "I don't think you'll have a shortage of volunteers."

Oh. Now that proposition has Godfrey’s attention, though he tries to keep himself rather nonchalant. The business liaison for Yamagato had a bit of a bone to pick with the Pure Earthers. He steps away from the drinks, taking a few steps forward as if presenting himself. Swirling the amber liquid in his glass, he asks, “Are we talking a full on assault or something…” he takes a sip from his glass and looks straight at Isis and Ash, “…a bit more subtle perhaps?” The pair receive a brilliant smile and he offers Ash a business card, pulled from his pant’s pocket, without another word.

Dark eyes turn back to Garza and Godfrey’s head slow inclines in a sign of respect. “I still have the old registration card, if you want subtle.” Fingers flick in Vor’s direction, a smug smile tosses her way. “Or I'm always up for something a bit more… fun? Satisfying?” Either way he is in.

The business card? That’s for Isis and Ash’s eyes only.

Ash just reaches a hand out, settling it on Isis' shoulder, not squeezing or anything, just letting the weight of it rest there, an attempt at a familiar presence as they listen to what all is being said. When she moves to stand his hand settles back on his stomach, fingers lacing with the other hand's. "Normally I'd be all for the open and bloody conflict. But if Curtis is going to stay…" Ash waves a hand at the air. "As he is, then me being seen slaughtering people in the open would be… bad. So if possible? I'd rather stick with the stealth break in portion of what all is going on."

Ash's head turns to regards Godfrey, a slow tilt of his head to the man, in greeting, and acknowledgement of a little shared past. There's a curious arch of a single brow as the card is offered out to him, taking it in hand, looking at it. The brow remains arched as he reaches a hand up to Isis, passing the little card off to her as well so she can read it. When she’s done with it he’ll take it back and tuck it into his pocket, the curiosity also showing a little bemusement as well. "Good to see you again Godfrey."

There's a barely audible grunt from Gerard and he frowns again towards his forever partner and that cat that's laying in her lap. It was better when it was just her he had to deal with.

Changes in their duoness calls for an unexpected play from Gerard and he opens his mouth before he knows he's going too. "I'll take Nacho and…" green eyes sliding again over the furry and non furry pair over there. "Those two." He rarely shows an enthusiasm such as volunteering first. The bearded man does what he is told, it's for the greater good and he swallows that bitter pill with another bit of his whiskey. Bitterness on his tongue but his gaze is clear. He will do what is asked.

When Nacho gets voluntold, as well as his group picked for him, he looks over at Gerard, but then shrugs, giving a thumbs-up to him that’s accompanied by a grin. “I’ve come so far from being picked last for kickball,” he says, wiping away an imaginary tear with the other hand as he settles back, crossing his legs and inclining his head once more to Vör, and also the cat. Since that’s only polite.

“As always I appreciate all of your enthusiasm,” Garza says, though pointedly looking at Gerard to emphasize the word all. “But I will continue to manage assignment of resources, for operational security. The less you know in advance the safer you are. We can't forget that we live in a world of telepaths, empaths, and psychometrists. While they are our kin, not all of them have the motivation to support our cause and live under the gaslights of a non-powered hegemony.”

With his cigarette burned down to its filter, Garza turns his attention to where it's pinched between his fingers. His brows furrow and the butt of the cigarette incinerates into such a fine powder it doesn't even qualify as ashes. It simply disappears in a puff of acrid smoke. “You will all receive assignments at an appointed hour, and this time you will be working with others who have motivated to our cause. Some who were able to make it today, some who could not.”

But it's clear something is still on Garza’s mind. As he paces the floor, he levels a look around the room. “Aside from our operations, I have a longer-term request, one that as always is volunteer based. But we have reason to believe that we need to keep our eyes and ears focused on somewhere other than Rochester and the Safe Zone…” Garza slowly raises one brow. “I am looking for volunteers to permanently relocate to the settlement of Providence in the New Jersey Pine Barrens…”

The look of brief enthusiasm on Zachery's face drops all too easily into one of uncertainty as he listens to others speak, head lowering as he observes each in turn. Still, he chooses to stay silent himself, straightening his back and pushing back his shoulders as he takes a slow, calculated step back and away from those next to him.

His eye settles on the bright demise of the cigarette filter when it flares up in his peripheral vision, and while his attention is still on Garza, the subject of Providence comes up. The muscles in his jaw tighten, and his nose wrinkles in the threat of a sneer. But before it can manifest fully, he upends his glass, pours the rest of his drink down his throat in one go, and settles his focus on the person in the room he knows best.

After an unceremonious nudge of a knuckle at an upward turning corner of his mouth, Isis is beckoned over with the bend an index finger and a knowing look. C'mere a second.

Idly wandered thoughts and gaze are snapped back into sharp focus at the little motion in her periphery. The card is taken instinctively and brought up comically close to her face, a little squint of scrutiny given the raised lettering. Isis looks up to Godfrey managing the first half of a lost and inquiring tilt, but as Ash's coarse fingers take back the card her gaze shoots to the seated man with piercing attention. The card slips from her fingers with a little tight hiss of typography under her lingering touch. A swift little breath straightens her spine and inclines her chin as she considers her ex-lover longer still. Nude lips part-… then there's a little fire show and more assignments up for grabs.

It's a good momentary distraction if nothing else - hazel eyes star-flecked with spots of gold consider Garza, a pale hand coming up to brush middle and forefinger over her nude lower lip. As with all the offers posed to the crowd, this latest one has her turning to consider her peers' reactions… Zachery's is not lost on her, and the suggestive request of a coiled finger prompts her to bite at the fingertip resting on her lower lip. Isis shifts her hip, bumping a knee against Ash and tipping her head back towards the wardrobe. "Don't disappear on me," she comments quietly before gliding away, tiny feet and little steps disguised in the billowy swirl of fabric.

When she makes it to Zachery, the first thing she does is close his hand in her smaller one, pinning down that curling finger to the whole of the fist. There's a little squeeze and a fluttering sensation at her touch. "Yeeesss?" she whispers, but the hushed tone fails to disguise a sharp glinty edge and intrigue. She turns slightly, so as to keep Garza, Ash, and Godfrey within sight on one side and Zach on the other.

The cat remains mum as it is addressed, because talking cats would be silly you guys. But as far as appearances go, the feline appears content to listen without a contribution beyond the purring and languid stretching in Vör's lap. Being volunteered for a mission, though, that gets a flicker of attention sent towards Gerard. A questioning chirrup later, it sits up in the teleporter's seat, taking a good look around at the various faces and speakers.

“And you, muscles.” Godfrey pats Ash’s shoulder and gives his upper arm a squeeze. “Still working out I see. Playing wolf does do a body good.” A compliment for an old colleague. As Isis walks away, Godfrey leans down to Ash and adds, in a whisper. “Oh and tell them, Mr Wells sent you. They will give you a lovely discount on a suite.”

Good deed(?) done, Godfrey watches Isis and Zachrey for the briefest moment, but focuses on Garza. There is no way he was going to volunteer for that. No way he’d leave his current accommodations for… hicksville and the Amish life. No. thank. you.

Ash looks up at Isis with a bemused expression, not a serious one. The card is pocketed once she's done with it and he reclines back into his relaxed position, letting his attention wander around the room a little more. Godfrey's squeeze prompts a quick snorting laugh from him, and he holds a hand out to the other man, offering a quick shake. "I don't know if I have that much time if I'm being honest. Nor if the other party is willing." There's a not at all sly wink at Isis before he lets out another laugh and shakes his head. Amidst the meeting about toppling other powers and Evolved supremacy he's… joking with a couple old friends. "But thank you for the laugh at least, and the reference." Another quick smile at Godfrey before he settles back into his lounged back position again, eyes tracking Isis as she heads to Zachery, then finally moving around to the group at large and the other option put before them. Ash can't go to Providence so he remains silent on that front. Though there is a nod of agreement from him. They definitely need someone out there to keep an eye on things.

"Well, count me out of that one," Aislinn offers with a nonchalant shug of her shoulders. Eyes sweep over the others gathered here, wondering what they might be getting into when they aren't at these meetings that could allow them to uproot to Providence. She's more curious, though, what it could possibly be about Providence that has Garza's attention. Or anyone else's for that matter.

Looking up towards the sky, she sighs as she rolls her eyes at some of the other banter happening. "Alright," she adds after a small space of time, wrinkling her nose as the acrid smell that still hangs in the air wafts her way. "Whatever y'need of me, y'know I'm here for either way." Still looking upwards, she seems to relax a bit visibly, if not in actuality.

"Yeah, I'm out of that one, too," Vör says, head shaking as she pets the cat in her lap. "Things are shitty enough up here. They don't have electricity or running water or a decent shoe store." She can't even.

"But aside from that," she says, lifting her eyebrow at Garza, "I'm game for anything." He knows that already. She looks down at the cat as if to reassure him that he will not have to go to the backwoods and be a mouser or something equally distasteful.

Gerard massages his wrist and nods his head over at Vör, "Where she goes," he doesn't need to finish the rest. Nodding over at Nacho, he walks over to stand behind the woman, eyeing the fucking cat the whole time. Don't try anything. He would say.

He's also a little queasy at just how weirdo those two's relationship must be, cats and all…

Nacho’s eyebrows raise at the mention of Providence, and though he still has a smile on his face, there’s a little shift in the expression, as though it takes on a slight edge. “I’m gonna sit that one out, too,” is all he says. “Don’t think it would be a good idea.” There’s obviously some backstory there, but whatever it is, it will have to be left for another -sce- day.

He glances toward Gerard at the nod, though there’s a little snort at the look toward the cat.

“Ruskin, if that's actually her down there,” Khalid says with a shake of his head, “knows me.” He traces a scar on his face with one finger. “Might be a bad idea to go showing my mug down there. Too much attention.”

Jaiden angles a look at Khalid, then looks to Garza. “Whenever you need me, Sir. I know Ruskin from the Ferrymen days but we were never close. I can blend in.”

To which Khalid offers Jaiden a side-eye. “With what the side of a mountain?”

Thank you,” Garza says with one slow raise of his hand, “for entertaining me. I will consider your comfort and…” he glances at Zachery, “we’ll see where we wind up.”Casually, Garza walks over to the sidebar in the lounge and pours himself two fingers of Scotch, neat, and looks back to the others.

“But, I've spent enough of this time talking… asking of you,” Garza says with a motion to the Shedda operatives that showed up. The cat included. “This is not a dictatorship, nor is it a military force. This is a community, and communication…” he picks up his glass and starts walking to his chair, gesturing between himself and the group as he does, “…it goes both ways.”

Settling down into his chair, Garza crosses one leg over the other and relaxes against the high back. “What questions do you have for me, my community? I may not be able to answer them all — or at least publicly — by let us see what dialogue can be formed. How can I,” Garza motions to his chest with his drink, “help you?” Only then does he take a savoring sip.

While Isis' arrival seems to brighten Zachery's mood somewhat - forced smile brightening with something more sincere at the touch - his attention is turned to the rest of the room almost immediately. Every subsequent refusal on the subject of relocation to Providence seems to have his shoulders drop a little, a look of amusement and anxiety in equal parts creeping onto his features. That just fucking figures, doesn't it.

Still, rather than looking defeated at the prospect of imminent sacrifice, he keeps his chin up and squares back his shoulders to try and maintain some composure. Garza's question leaves him… equally uncertain. Clearly Zachery has everything he needs. Or maybe, more likely, his attention is elsewhere. An idle fidget of his fingers at the hem of a pocket later, and he finally leans closer to Isis, gaze absentmindedly on the rest of the room. He might not look his most confident, at the moment, but he's not hiding. Maybe he's just… whispering her a funny joke. Yeah.

Except instead, he whispers, "Buy you a drink some time, if you find yourself an excuse to wander past the back of Mr. Sadaka's chair over there. No questions."

With a twitchy uplift of her fingers, Isis releases Zach hand. Otherwise, she remains still and observant, hazel eyes tracking Garza back to his chair. She neither volunteered or refused the Providence position and still remains unvoiced on the topic. But, as the host's agenda moves to open the floor for questions and information her eyes widen subtly, catching the light that is more a glow in this elegant atmosphere.

"Hm?" It's several heartbeats more before she realizes that Zachery is still there, let alone that he spoke to her. To her credit, she doesn't immediately look in Khalid's direction, but lets her gaze skim the room before flickering over the referenced figure. "Two drinks," is hissed back quietly enough. Not that she needed to be plied with alcohol - the mystery of this seemingly simple request was more than enough to send her on her way. Aaannd, she’s off. A brief pit stop at the drinks makes her meandering casual, a quick and familiar twitch of the wrist pouring a double shot. She wets her whistle as she moves idly about the edge of the room, occasionally distracted by curious knickknacks. Knickknacks in general are a curious thing - what the fuck's the point?

Nearer now to Mr. Sadaka’s place, she can be found wrinkling her nose and poking at a piece of abstract glasswork while she raises her voice for the Q&A part of the evening. "What’s it all look like in the end? When we succeed and we’re all kin.” She turns back to Garza and keeps him in her green-gold gaze over the brim of her lifted glass. The hand with the little ladybug tattoo reaches out to steady herself on the back of Khalid’s chair as she turns her chin up to down the rest of her drink in one go.

Leaning back in her chair, Aislinn gives a casual wave of her hand - a motion of dismissal of sorts. “Nope. No questions here,” she offers back with a small shrug of her shoulders. She’s not usually one for questions, and really, there’s nothing looming in the back of her mind that needs asking.

Which is a continued welcome change of pace from being in the UK. She offers a look over towards the cat, and then to Vor, grinning at the other woman. She IS curious what keeps her from taking the Providence assignment, but… she can maybe guess.

The mention of the Pine Barrens and Providence garner little reaction from the feline. But the mention of no electricity and running water (or even a decent shoe store, how dare they) does elicit a squint. Or, that could be because Gerard moves closer. Just a squint.

Still the cat looks placid enough, taking a moment to head bunt against Vör's chin with one eye closed, the other squinted in Gerard's direction. It definitely notices the warning look from the other man.

Most of the banter and discussion progresses without note from the cat. Garza's solicitation for comment gets none from the feline. But. Then something perks the cat up, tail tip barely twitching as it stills into practically a statue. A slightly agitated statue.

The cat watches the proceedings attentively, tracking Isis' movement. And suddenly without further warning, the animal launches off Vör's lap position, bounding the short distance towards Khalid's chair, and takes a flying leap to swipe at Isis, claws out and needle pointed fangs bared. Khalid's actual face and shoulders might be in the way, but, well, humans get used as furniture and traction for cat paws many times before. It's tradition.

There is a subtle uptick of Godfrey’s brow as he watches Isis as she kinda saunters around the room. Whatever is she doing? He doesn’t point out or ask out loud, waiting to see how this moment of… oddness plays out.

Of course, Garza is asking for questions. “Oh I have questions,” Godfrey chimes in, allowing his attention to shift to Garza. He takes a sip before continuing. “But none for the ears of present company, I fear. Plausible deniability and all that.” As if that explains it all.

Godfrey glances around him, turning to take in everyone there, and offers brilliant smile. “Apologies to the present company, of course,” he offers without a lick of remorse, an empty thing. His head inclining to Vor and the cat, “As lovely as they may be.” Is he talking about the cat or Vor? Again, could be both.

Or maybe just Vor as the cat suddenly launches itself off of the woman’s lap. Godfrey can’t help but take a startled step back, only to relax when he realizes it’s not have him. Oh good.

Ash sits silent in his seat. There's a curious look from him at the talk about being a community and what not. Ash isn't exactly a volunteer in the same sense as everyone else. He's an activated agent. Hell he doesn't even know if any of that was willing or not at this point. So he sits back, his legs still crossed and up on the chair in front of him, leaning back into the back of his chair and watching everyone around him.

Nacho does not avail himself of the invitation to ask questions — instead, he looks around at those present, his gaze settling momentarily on each as they speak. Whether they ask a question or not. Godfrey’s answer in particular gets a raised eyebrow and an extra second or two of study, but he doesn’t comment, instead continuing his look around.

"Oh no, kitty," Vör says in an overindulgent tone as the cat launches off her. And at Isis. Vör blinks, then tilts her head. As if this were puzzling, not worrying. Whatever set the cat off, she seems to brush it off a moment later, turning back to Garza while the confrontation plays out behind her. "No questions here," she says, putting her hands on her knees, "just let me know where you need me when you need me." As always.

Gerard openly rolls his eyes at the cat's antics and slides that glare over to Vör, this was going to be fun. Not. The bearded man is otherwise silent and takes the last bit, a healthy bit of whiskey and swallows it down before placing his glass on the table.

He shakes his head about questions, the new blood that was around might be more likely to have some.

Garza had leaned forward to address Isis’ question when the cat suddenly sprang into movement. As soon as it became airborn Khalid was swiftly scrambling to get out of its oncoming path. Feline talons purchase supple leather rather than his jacket or any exposed flesh. But even as the cat scratches Isis’s hand and wrist, Khalid is hopping up out of his seat and raising his hands in the air. “The fuck!?

Zachery can feel the unusual duality of the situation at hand. The way in which Khalid simply doesn't exist in his senses and yet there he is cartwheeling around like some sort of panicked lackey. It's the unseen figure that is perhaps more provocative, the biological presence that negotiated around Isis so as to not permit their collision. But when else would an opportunity like this present itself?

The cat attack, Khalid’s shouting, Garza slowly and smolderingly rising from his chair, all of it is distracting enough that though Isis feels the touch of a hand at the small of her back, it’s such a subtle and delicate gesture that it might as well be the breeze. The faint tingle that comes after? Perhaps adrenaline? A chill down her spine. But Zachery can feel in that unseen presence a subtle change, as if the close proximity has physically changed whoever this is in some capacity.

But then Garza grabs the cat by the scruff.

Dinu,” Garza says as he lifts the cat up to about eye level, “do not harm Dinu.” For a moment it's unclear to whom Garza is speaking, until he clearly looks at the cat. “Mr. Shaw,” he says with his jaw set, “I expect you to respect that.” In that same moment there is a physical transformation that momentarily sets in, whereby Garza’s eyes start to glow like liquid metal. An orange glow spreading under his skin, causing wisps of smoke to trail up from his collar.

But then, he drops the cat to land safely on its feet. His eyes cool and the smoke subsides. Swallowing down his frustration, Garza looks over at Isis with momentary suspicion, then to where she was sitting a moment prior, then down to the cat.

“Perhaps these questions are best left for another day.” Garza says with a hint of that frustration still in his voice.

With a lot going on in this room, Zachery leans back with his drink held close, almost like he's standing in the corner of his living room while watching his favourite television show rather than in a room full of… people he probably should know better than to try and instigate trouble with. But for all the things he's got to watch, his eye stays off of Isis' form— at least until the cat's lunge draws it that way.

Several emotions seem to try to make it onto his face at once, taking turns in overtaking one another. Brief panic sits in the rise of his eyebrows first, before they come back down for confusion, then concern, and finally, his expression settles on amusement fighting its way to the top. Garza's got it all under control, see. Probably. The wisps of smoke lock Zachery's attention to the other man's face, while he finishes his third drink for the night in rapid succession, all at once.

"So, not only does it seem like I may be shipped off to the country, then," he speaks up, with a surplus amount of confidence that he'll probably later blame on certain drinking habits, even if definite pangs of anxious energy still pull at his words throughout, "but now I have cat spies to worry about."

Spies that are cats? Or spies allied with cats. You take your pick, really.

Nothing to see here. Nothing to see h-FLYING PUSSY!

There's a flicker of surprise and confusion in hazel eyes. Then pain. The pale hand and arm reaching for the back of the hurriedly vacated chair makes an easy pincushion for glassy feline claws. Isis bares her teeth and hisses viciously at the cat - not in pain but in a utterly unrestrained, feral response. Hopefully the strange reaction is lost amidst the chaos and Garza's more decidedly more impressive backlash…

The cat is pulled away, along with a fresh bit of Isis's skin. The little redhead slaps her free hand down upon her wounded arm at the same time a strange sensation flits and flutters its way up her spine. Luckily for the Phantom, the fabric at the small of her back cages her psyche's natural instincts to flee its fleshy little vessel. With a visible shiver, Isis look to either side of her before cutting a sharp look across the to Zachery, a single brow popping into a sharp arc. "Questions indeed," she mutters in a tone clearly meant more for herself than others. A small trickle of blood oozing out from under her palm, she gives a fleeting glance to the Hell Cat, Mr. Shaw, before turning away.

"There goes the days I could call myself a cat person. Do excuse me."

The flash of stripe and paw couples with hostile hiss and puffed fur. The cat clings to the leather chair back where previously sat Khalid, reading another leap towards Isis for the woman's returned hiss. Fangs bare and the cat's tail bottle brushes out.

Until he is scruffed and lifted. Caught, the cat at first struggles. Garza's smoldering gaze and call out make the feline still, and hang limply from the loose neck skin. Big, dilated pupils stare back at glowing liquid metal. The cat licks nervously at its upper palate and nose, as close to an apology as one might assume of the expression. Maybe Garza's words about not harming one another doesn't apply to him. Yet.

But then no further harm comes, and the cat drops neatly onto all four paws. It stands frozen for a beat, then slinks off back to Vör's vicinity. The cat hops back into her lap at first, then clambers up to the teleporter's shoulder to perch and stare again at the members in the room, particularly the woman previously struck. And Zachery. The others don't get nearly as suspicious a stare from the grey tabby.

While all of that is going down, Godfrey can only watch it all while sipping on his scotch. When Garza gets involved, the liaison finds a place back where the booze is. He only seems to half watch as he examine bottle labels. One in particular grabbing his attention, turning it to read the label with vague interest.

When Garza returns to his seat, Godfrey and the bottle are not far behind. “After that, I imagine a refreshing of your drink is in order, hmm?” There is a smile on his lips as he holds the label of the bottle of red wine towards Garza for him to see. No one can complain about the man doesn’t have taste in alcohol.

There is a glance towards the cat, who he doesn’t know, but clearly has an ability like Zhao. “Or something a bit stronger, perhaps?” A dark brow tips up as his attention shifts back to study Garza with interest and understanding.

Vör reaches up to pet the cat, soothing him after being scolded. "Garza you can be so dramatic sometimes," says Vör of all people, "somehow, I think she'll survive." The cat's suspicious looks are echoed by Vör, just for a moment before she turns back to Garza again at his last words. "Until next time?" She stands up from her seat, careful not to jostle Shaw too much. When Godfrey looks toward the cat, Vör just gives him a sweet smile before she turns to grab a drink of her own. Perhaps she didn't want to go through the meeting under the influence.

"What th' heck?" Aislinn seems a little dumbfounded both by the cat's actions and Garza's reaction, but after a moment she shrugs and relaxes. Eyes alight back to Garza, and she nods. "Alright. I look forward t' it then." She doesn't immediately move to get up though, instead looking around the rooftop, both at the others and just at… everything, it seems like. "Might be a few before I head out," she opines as she picks the watering can she brought with her back up, "y'know?" She offers him a smile, before rising up from her seat.

Ash doesn't bestir himself from his seat, if anything he's gone even more quiet, and more still, alert eyes taking in everything that happens. Or at least as much as he can, glancing from person to person as the whole drama unfolds with cat and the sheer strangeness of it all. A brow slides upwards, but no words as he watches the cat get snatched up and talked to like it's a person. Telepath maybe? Looking through it's eyes? Something, that's for sure. When people start making ready to leave he continues to sit there, observant, watching. Quiet. Though a fair bit of his focus is on the cat, and on Garza as well. Yes indeedy.

Straightening the collar of his shirt, Garza offers a partly-lidded look at Vor, then blinks his attention over to Zachery and Isis without so much as a shift in his expression. “Mr. Miller will be taking a trip to the Pine Barrens come late July, then,” is how Garza chooses to smooth over the incident. “Your volunteering is most appreciated.”

Making his way back to his chair, he pauses momentarily by Gerard, but then continues past to stand beside his seat. “Don’t let the end of business mean you can’t enjoy the hospitality here. In fact,” he looks over to Godfrey, “I’ll take a vodka and tonic.” Then, with a more relaxed smile he turns to the others. “Drink, enjoy one-another’s company…” he says as he notices Khalid already moving for the exit, though he doesn’t make further effort to stop him from leaving, knowing what that operative is working on.

“In the coming days, we’ll each talk face to face about what your future will hold.” Garza looks appraisingly around the room at the gathered members of Shedda-Dinu. “Remember, we are all — each and every one of us — a ember that stokes a greater flame…” Garza’s affable smile cools some, and his tone at the end implies more the shape of things to come than a warning, though it could easily be both. “…that will either burn out, or burn forever.”

“The end is up to you.”

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