Gray Squirrel


abby_icon.gif cat_icon.gif colette3_icon.gif

Scene Title Gray Squirrel
Synopsis Colette, guided in Cat's direction, finds her.
Date July 14, 2009

The Rock Cellar

A comfortable place, located in the basement of 14 East 4th Street. The red brick walls are covered with memorabilia from various icons of rock and places in rock history, creating a feel similar to that of a Hard Rock Cafe.

The left wall has two bars separated by swinging doors which lead to and from the kitchen. Directly across from the entrance is a two foot high stage with all the equipment needed for acts to perform there. The right wall has three doors marked as restrooms: two for use by women and one by men.

Thirty square feet of open space for dancing and standing room is kept between the stage and the comfortable seating placed around tables which fill the remainder of the Cellar.

The lighting here is often kept dim for purposes of ambience, and when performers are onstage the place is loud enough to make conversation difficult. Just inside the door is a podium where location staff check IDs and stamp the hands of those under twenty-one with a substance visible under UV lights at the two bars and by devices the servers carry. On the podium's front is a sign with big black letters that just about explain it all: If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll, You're Too Late Now!

In the half-hour before curfew call, the Rock Cellar's usually loud and packed dance floor is mostly empty. Tables are clearing out and wait staff are wiping up after the long and busy evening. The house lights have just come on, the wordless signal to those still left that they don't have to go home, but they can't stay here. By the doors to the club, one of the bounces stands with his tattooed arms folded across his chest, cabbie hat tipped down low on his brow, laughing and smiling in conversation with one of the club regulars who's on their way out the door.

Neither of them notice when the wind catches the door the regular is holding open and swings it wide. There's just an awkward laugh from the younger man as he stumbles just a little, waving outside with one hand, "Yeah, yeah… I think that's a sign I should go stagger home. See you tomorrow Cliff." Taking his leave, the young man steps out onto the sidewalk, reaching for a pack of cigarettes tucked into his front pocket. Cliff shakes his head, smirking, and takes a step away from the front door on his way towards the bar.

Once his back is turned is when he fails to notice the heat mirage ripple in the air, and light warping, peeling back to reveal a young girl seated at one of the cleaned off tables in a long, white leather jacket that travels down to ankle length. Hefting up her messenger bag, she lays it down on the tabletop, then pushes her sunglasses up the bridge of her nose with two fingers. It's a little late for sunglasses.

Playing it as if she's been here all along, the girl slides off of her stool and sidles up to one of the waitresses, pulling a piece of card-stock out of her pocket — too big for a business card, more appropriately the size of a get-well card or something of the sort. She shows the waitress something, and her brows furrow, head shaking slowly in a "no" response.

The dark-haired young girl turns, looking around at the other emptying tables, walking over to one of the other waitresses, showing the card to her as well, and getting the same response. Exhaling a heavy sigh, Colette Nichols looks over to the bar, gently chewing on the inside of her cheek in thought, flipping that white piece of card-stock around between her fingers.

Someone who won't fall for Colette's charade of having been here all along is watching from her shadowy table in a corner. The place being emptier due to the hour and that accursed curfew makes it easier for her to notice things, and notice Cat does. She watches the teen speak with the waitress, showing her the card stock, and makes a small gesture for the server spoken with to approach her table. It's the panmnesiac's goal to find out what she was asking, as well as keep track of her.

But at the same time, thoughts are running through her active mind. One of them is what the lightmaker is here for, but others concern her desire to climb up on stage once the place is empty and let loose with her guitar.

Unlike everyone else, she doesn't have to go home and she can stay here.

Making her way over, the waitress looks back over her shoulder towards Colette once Cat makes it clear just what it is she's curious about. "Oh she— was showing around this card, asking if we knew what the symbol on it meant? I dunno, seemed kind've weird." Rubbing at one of her ears, the waitress looks back at the girl, one blonde brow rising higher slowly, "doesn't she look a little young to be here anyway?" Blue eyes flick back to Catherine, "You want me to shove her out? It's closing time anyway."

"It's okay," the one who fails to forget answers calmly. "I'll handle this." She lifts her bottle of stout and takes a long drink, then glances at the server again. "Invite her to come have a seat here. Just say someone wants to see her." A reassuring smile is flashed. And things are pondered. Symbol. What symbol? In any case, Cat may well have an after hours audience.

"Whatever you say," the waitress notes with a quirk of a smile, walking back across the empty floor towards Colette. Cat watches their exchange, from the confused look of the girl's crooked brows, to the stare thorugh the smoky lenses of her sunglasses to Catherine's table, and back to the waitress again. But somehow, confusion seems to turn rather quickly into happiness as she tosses a quick and flippant wave towards the waitress, and quickly makes her way over to Cat's corner booth, the long, white trail of her jacket swaying from side to side as she walks.

"Hey there, Doc." Colette's brows rise as a crooked smile comes over her lips, as if there wasn't really any concern in the situation, strangely confident. "You must be why I'm here." The phrasing is odd, as she swings herself down into the booth, scooting over to one side as she unshoulders her rain-dappled jacket, revealing a black Ramones t-shirt beneath. "So, you must know what this is, then."

Slapping the white piece of card-stock down on the table, Colette pushes it over with two fingers. It's clear, from the moment Cat's eyes fall on it, that it is the Pinehearst logo — a blue and green double helix pattern, though this one is crudely drawn with felt-tipped markers.

"I know that symbol," she replies quietly, her eyes resting on the teen with a curious expression. "It's a corporate logo, for an organization which operates in New Jersey. They're up to some Very Bad Things. And somehow you've been directed my way… This is intriguing," Cat muses. "How did you come by that image, Colette?"

"Tamara." It's a knowing smile that creeps across Colette's lips, followed by her fingers flipping the paper over on the table, where very awkward and childish handwriting has scrawled a message in the same markers. They need your help. Soon Both dark brows rise up expectantly, disappearing beneath the ragged fringe of her bangs as her hand slides away from the card. "I don't know, like, who they is supposed to be?" The young girl's nose wrinkles as she folds her arms across her chest, "but there was an old article about this place opening up. Like, it was a music review thing? So I figured this is where she wanted me to go… I don't really question when she needs me to do something, I just do it."

Tamara. Of course. "I saw her again just a few days ago," Cat relates, "and she answered some questions for me. She's very intriguing." The card is looked over, the words written on it, as Cat thinks. "There are ways you can help us," is stated after a stretch of quietude. "Illusions are always useful. But, I have to tell you straight up, this could be dangerous." Her expression has become serious. Very serious.

"The man we're dealing with can rip your ability right out of you, and would have no trouble doing it. He's also murderous, easily able to kill anyone who gets in his way. And… this is the most important thing: You mustn't tell anyone what you and I discuss unless I've told you anyone present to hear us is safe."

Colette's head pitches to the side, teeth toying with her lower lip for a moment. There's a look, only partly hidden behind the dark of her glasses, something clearly concerned about the circumstances, but a conscious effort on the girl's part seems to dismiss it as she slouches back against the bench seat. "He… whoever this guy is? Nothing bad'll happen to me, so don't worry about it. Tamara wouldn't have sent me if something bad was gonna' happen, she's sort've like a guardian angel, you know?" There's something genuine about the smile that comes afterwards, faith, as it were.

"I— Okay it's a little screwed up, from— I mean, the sounds of everything?" She tilts her head to the side, some of that confidence breathing out in a sigh that deflates her posture some. "M'not too… worried about danger, though. I mean— I don't even know what I'd be doing, really. I just— I don't even know what good I can do. But," her brows furrow, teeth pressing down to her lower lip as she looks back towards Cat, milky white eyes peering over the top of her sunglasses.

"I'm sort've… just finding out how screwed up the world is, you know? I— people I know… secrets… just— nothing's really like I thought it was on the surface." Looking over her shouldr at the door, Colette flattens her hand on the table and leans forward, voice dropping some. "Are— uh— does this have anything to do with the Ferrymen?" She winces after saying the word, as if not sure she should.

"I have my connections," Cat replies with something of a grin. "How do I find you, when the time comes, and to give you details? I know people in the Ferrymen." She lets out a quiet chuckle. "Why do you think I told you I had a car when you asked Tamara about how to find them and/or Abby? Maybe you still live in that same apartment with the police detective?"

Her stout is lifted and a long drink taken, as her eyes settle on that t-shirt again. "Nice tee," she informs. She seems to perhaps meet the dictates of that sign at the front doors.

"I— only visit— " Colette catches herself calling him Judah, and she makes a very important revision, "I only visit dad on the weekends. I'm living out on the upper west side now, with my sister Nicole. Um, actually," rubbing one hand at the side of her cheek, Colette's nose wrinkles. "She's— kind of out of town for a while? Uh, on work so— it's— " brows rise suddenly at the compliment, and she looks down to the t-shirt with a puzzled expression, forgetting which one she was even wearing. "Oh! Heh, yeah… thanks," Colette smirks, somewhat awkwardly, having a bit of a hard time taking even a subtle compliment.

"There's this guy, Joseph?" One black brow arches, "He works at a church in town, he — um — he's getting me acclimated to the Ferrymen stuff. I just found out my old friend Trent works for them." There's a laugh, one hand rubbing at the side of her head, "do— uh— I don't really, like… want to get too deeply involved in what's going on, but if Tamara thinks I can help, that's all cool n'stuff. I've got a cell phone too," one hand digs into the pocket of her shed jacket, bringing it out to slap down on the table.

"That'd probably… i'unno, be the best way to get me?" Squinting, Colette eyes her phone before looking back up to Cat with those sightless eyes. "What is it, um, you think you need me for? I— kind've didn't get any idea from Tamara. All she left me was the card."

"I've got some ideas," Cat replies evenly. "You can make illusions. When we deal with this person, he'll need to not see us coming, or think something is going on somewhere else. There are others involved in this, I'll need to speak with them and get ideas, as well as spending some time thinking about it myself. I know about Joseph, the pastor. He and I have talked a few times."

"You've also gotten a lot better with your ability. I never saw you come in," she shares with a smile, "yet you were suddenly here."

"It's not illusions." Colette gives her head a slow shake, "not— I mean, quite like that? I guess it sort've is but— it's not exactly like that. I can manipulate light; anything in the visible spectrum." She sounds educated on the matter, not quite stumbling over herself. "That's… sort've anything from controling ambient levels of, uh, like— dark and light?" Her nose wrinkles as she says that, "to bigger stuff like being able to do like— have you ever seen people do air-painting? My images are kinda' like that, not— photo realistic?"

Rolling her tongue over the inside of her cheek, Colette considers something as she looks over the top of her glasses again. "I can turn things invisible. Myself, other people, pretty wide range too. But, the problem is, I do it by bending light around them, which uh— makes it pitch black inside of the invisibility. I can see, uh, only since I uh," she pulls down her glasses, revealing her eyes, "I can feel the light outside of the bending, it's— hard to explain. Ever since Tavisha helped me, I can s— sort've make lasers too."

"I remember your air painting, Colette," Cat states, smiling. "That day at the bus stop. Maybe you forgot." Cat didn't. "We also talked about invisibility, how it got really hot for you inside the envelope you made, it trapped your body heat, which is also light. Infrared, not in the visible spectrum. Now, lasers…" There's a look coming to her eyes, as she drifts into quiet for the processing of thought.

"Lasers cut, they'd be good for opening doors when needed. Among other things." In her head, she's also plotting an introduction to Deckard, to fix those eyes. "We'll come up with a few things you can help with, Colette," she finishes with confidence.

"Oh— yeah you were there, weren't you?" Closing her eyes, Colette rubs a hand against her forehead and laughs, shaking her head from side to side. "You know, I— I never used to believe in stuff, like— you know, fate or whatever? But— ever since I met Tamara, it's hard not to imagine that everything happens for a reason. I— I lost my eyesight in a fight at the Lighthouse, 'cause some crazy guy was trying to hurt the kids back in the winter. But— if it wasn't for that, I would've have been able to do half of the things I can now, so…"

Slouching back against the bench seat again, Colette gently chews on the inside of her cheek in thought. "I— you've been doing— whatever it is you do for a while, haven't you? You and Grace both— you both knew really, didn't you? I mean…" it's hard to say what she implies that they knew. "It's weird. Ever since finding out about the Ferrymen… it's like the world changed, it's like— one of those funny paintings that's just jumbled colors, until you cross your eyes? Then the picture shows up."

Fake ID's are good for getting into bars, and one of those is the one below the building. Curiosity maybe getting the better of her, or maybe some indescribable urge to get out of the apartment. Or god taking a two by four and kicking her out her door. Something, //something… gives her the urge and desire to break out "Stephanie Tarkin" and get in the door at the Rock Cellar.

And find herself in a place that she really sticks out like a sore thumb, and the music is just not her kind. But that's never stopped Abigail from going anywhere, being anywhere; and here she is, for some reason, heading through the place to get a drink at the bar.

It's late at night, being just a few minutes ahead of curfew, but the place is still marginally open. Cat is seated at a corner table in shadows with Colette, holding a quiet conversation about clandestine activities and organizations. Her eyes are partly on the teen speaking across from her, but she remains alert. A person coming through the door is noticed and tracked as the tattooed bouncer checks the woman's ID and gives her admittance. "Not sure they're still servin' at the bar, Miss, but you might get lucky. Closing time is soon anyway. How you gonna get home before curfew?"

The place is, in keeping with what she was just told, mostly empty. Only the bouncer, one server, and the pair at that table are still present. Cat seems about to speak to Colette again, only to hold her thought and nod in the bouncer's direction. A signal to send Abby her way, which the man follows. He gestures. "Someone wants to speak with you, Miss."

Then, at the table, conversation resumes. "The things I could tell you, Colette, would blow your mind. But I'll be merciful on your brain and not share it all. Let me just say I came to New York last August, and soon after I found/was found by the most interesting people." And lost one along the way, she reflects mentally.

Wrinkling her nose, Colette can't help but laugh, oblivious to Abby's presence entirely. "I ran into Tamara in August too, that's… really when things started changing for me. She just…" the young girl looks away, smiling warmly, "she sort've… made everything better, without even really trying to."

Idly flipping that card she had come in here with over in her hands, Colette bites down on the corner of her lip, looking up to the ceiling. "What you, uh… what you guys need me for, it's not like— um," how to put it politely, "I don't… want to hurt anyone." Looking back down, Colette's brows crease together, teeth dragging over her lower lip slowly. "Like— I just— I know Tamara wouldn't put me into a position like that, I just— I want to make sure this isn't some… uh, bad… thing?" Navigating linguistic labyrinths has never been her specialty; it shows.

"Just coming to look. I live upstairs," Abigail assures the bouncer. That is until she's being motioned towards Cat and… crap. Colette. It's not that she doesn't like the girl. It's that Abigail doesn't honestly know what to do with Colette.

But across she goes when 'summoned' by the queen bee Cat. There's no curtsy, though, when she arrives. Just a smile and pulling up a seat. "I'm out of coke. So thought I'd get some down here. and now… I'm here. Evening Colette." Nope, Abigail won't ignore colette, though she glances towards the short haired woman's eyes. "Still didn't get them fixed?"

"I understand," Cat replies with a slow nod at the girl across from her. "You shouldn't be in a position where you'll need to do anything like that." She looks up when Abby arrives, greeting her. "Perfect timing, I think, Abby. You can have a beer if you like, you know," she offers. "Curfew's not far off, Colette may need a place to crash for the night. We were just discussing a few things."

Eyes shift from one to the other and back again, as Cat frames a query. "Would you lose ability to do some things if your eyes are fixed?"

Even though Abby's approach was slow, Colette jumps half a foot as if Abby just appeared out of nowhere like some sort've ghost, "Oh! Jesus," one hand rests at her chest, shoulders rising and falling with a few quick breaths, "Uh, h— Hi Abby." She glances over to Cat, then back again with her nose wrinkled. "I ah— n-no. No I didn't." Swallowing awkwardly, Colette pushes her sunglasses up the bridge of her nose — not conspicuous at all, no sir.

"They'll get fixed when they get fixed, everything happens for a reason." Which is a decidedly different manner of approach to the topic since they last spoke. "Oh!" Another exasperated sound, and Colette motions over to a table a few booths over, "See that bag?" An olive-drab messenger bag with a freyed strap, "could you go grab that for me, Abby? I got your thermos in there!"

Finally, she leans back into her seat and looks over to Cat with one brow raised. "Uh, n… no not really? I uh, well, sort've. I dunno if I could still see the way I do right now. But I can only really see out about fifteen feet. Beyond that it's like, uh, fog? You know, I can't make out shapes or colors. If you're going to want me to be able to turn things invisible and not trip over myself, m'gonna have to go, uh, blind in a fashion. I can't read anything like this though, unless it's really big print." Like the card. "It's all just a blur otherwise."

She bites back the 'language' that she normally shoves back at friends when they curse or take the Lord's name in vain. But it's Colette and so she doesn't. "Hey" and there's an offer of her thermos back. "But no umbrella?" That's not a bad thing, nor does Abby sound like it's a bad thing. "Thanks for getting it back to me and no Cat, it's okay. I just really only came for some caffeine. I think i'm gonna head down to Lucy's and sleep there, Leo brought home a friend, so there's no room in my manger for Colette, unless you were meaning… " Up on the fourth. But then Colette is describing what she actually can see and she listens closely. "I can ask someone, if he might be willing to.. give it a go. Fix em." She's not saying the name.

"Room there for you too, if you need," Cat replies, confirming her unspoken meaning. From there she turns back to Colette, nodding. "I get it. That's your choice, we can make arrangements when and if you ever want it." Then to Abby again. "Caffeine for you, on the house. Take what you need."

And as her attention settles on Colette once more, a suggestion is made. "I can play some Ramones for a while before getting you into shelter for the night, or take you up now. You might be able to make it home invisibly, but you don't have to try."

"Joseph… didn't give you back your umbrella yet?" There's a baffled look from Colette as she exhales a sigh, "he's as scatterbrained as I am I think." One quick and affirmative nod forever places the label of scatterbrain on Joseph, undeservingly, because that's so very Colette of her to do. "He's got it," she adds, as if it wasn't clear, "I stopped by a while back and gave it to him at the church." It only takes her a moment to realize how generalized that was, "Uh, his church." Because there is more than one, obviously.

Colette leans one elbow on the table top, drumming her fingers against her chin idly. "Nah I— don't really want to go home. Judah's not expecting me until the weekend, and with Nicole gone to Vegas for— " she shrugs, a quiet sigh escaping the young girl instead of an answer, "I wouldn't mind hanging out somewhere else. S'been a while since I played the part of vagrant, y'know? S'not like you an' Abby are total strangers."

Then, all of the sudden, the obvious clicks. "Oh my God Abby, you're— " she stops just short of blurting it out as loud as she can in the club, but then just grows quiet and leans in towards the blonde. "You're one of them too? I mean, I freaked out when Stephen down at St.John's told me Trent was in the Ferrymen, but— holy shit this is awesome, s'like some kinda' weird Twilight Zone thing."

Joseph has her umbrella. Figures. "I'll get it tomorrow from him." The free caffeine is good, and she'll get it later. She's enjoying the estrogen rush that is this moment as opposed to the testosterone military fest four floors above. "You're gonna play?" Inquired of Cat before Colette is unexpectedly invading her private space.

"Uuhhh…" What to say? "Just… recently. Before I just.. healed for them but since I can't do that anymore I … drive folks around, deliver meals, fix up minor scrapes, pass messages and deliveries. That sort of thing." She looks to Cat as if to ask about whether Colette knows about Phoenix.

Well, there's a surprise. Another surprise. Cat had, up to that moment, believed Colette already knew about Abby's Ferry link, given her having asked about finding the organization as a way to Miss Beauchamp. Innnnteresting. The blonde's unspoken question receives a non-specific answer. "There are things afoot requiring her specialty, Tamara sent her my way."

"You've shelter as long as you want it," she asserts for the girl. "And I'm going to play," she adds with a chuckle. "Came down here late to hang out and indulge a little, pretending there was a crowd present. I've been inspired to play Ramones tunes somehow." The statement sparks a grin.

Colette mirrors the grin from Cat, even as she leans back and away from invading Abby's bubble of private space. "I think… this is the first time I've been out at night since," her nose wrinkles, "since that computer company building got bombed back in… November?" It's a long time to be afraid. "I… it kind've reminds me of last summer," scooting down the bench seat and dragging her jacket with her, Colette waves for Abby to come take a seat in the booth with them. She won't bite — honest.

"You know Tamara too?" Sightless eyes peer over the top of slouched sunglasses at Abby, before the darm lenses are pushed back up again. "I— guess she kinda' knows everyone, doesn't she?" Looking down at the table, Colette's focus shifts, rather suddenly turning to Cat. "Wait, like, play play? You're like— a musician or something?" Or something.

"I know of her. Met a few times, usually fleeting." Abigail fills Colette in. "The fourth room on the fourth floor should be empty for you to use. Place was cleaned this morning." And she takes a seat in the actual booth instead of the chair she pulled up. "Oh yes, Cat is a musician. She's a very private musician, eccentric. But good." Good is an understatement, she's sure. "Guitar."

"I'm a lot of things," Cat replies mysteriously. "And I do like my privacy very much. People who work here know I have some connection to the owners of this place, but they don't know my name. They just know if I want something, to do it. Like the Ferrymen, and everything we've talked about here. This can't be talked about with people I don't say are cleared, okay?" She looks at Colette quietly, hoping to impress that fully. She remembers very well what Grace said months before. Colette has no sense of operational security. Maybe that's changed. The girl has, notably. No fear, she shows a measure of confidence now."

The last of the people working here depart, locking the door behind them and turning the sign to read Closed. Lights are reduced to the level reflecting that, and Cat stands from her seat. She's headed toward the stage, where there will soon be covers of The Ramones.

"Hey, cool! Yeah I'll totally hang out here for tonight, I ain't got anything to do this week, and I know Tamara'll find me when she wants to see me again." That is said with so much pride and confidence, "so I'm fine with being anywhere. It'll be easier for you guys to get a hold of me too if I'm not too far away."

Though, to Cat's particulars of secrecy, she seems eager and adult enough to respond affirmatively with a quick, "Gotcha." But then quickly reminds everyone here that she's not really changed by suddenly adopting a phoney Russian accent, "Gray Squirrel vill not divulge ze contents of zis conversation to anyone!" Then, with a crooked grimace and an awkward look on her face, she sulks her head down between her shoulders and offers an awkward, "uh— sorry."

"Who's Grey Squirrel?" Abby's puzzled, settling in, knees up so she can settle in for the impromptu playing by Cat. She can sneak over to Lucy's, it's not that far away at all. Ramones. She thinks she knows who they are, key word thinks. They do play a variety of rock, both new and classic there. But this is the Rock Cellar.

Onstage, Cat plugs in and tunes up quickly, then her fingers go to work on strings and frets with solid skill. She begins to move in the fashion of her former stage act at the Surly Wench, and as she does so she can picture the audience, hear and see that same crowd, her table in the corner with the gear and the pint of stout waiting for her. Helena present, Danielle too, enjoying the sound of her craft. Happy memories, being indulged in, the world seeming to fade away. It's only her, the instrument in hand, her voice, and the remembrance.

"… Rock rock rock, rock and roll high school!"

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