Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger


cat_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Synopsis On a certain rooftop near Central Park, members of Phoenix once again run into someone who has the potential to make them much stronger than they would normally be. But she's got some personal business to take care of first.
Date December 16, 2008

Ruins of Midtown, Deveaux Building Rooftop

It's cold right now in Manhattan, but as ever, Helena needs no jacket, even if she chooses to wear her well-loved leather one. At the moment she's not doing much, just standing on the rooftop of the Deveaux Building, which has been in limited degree cleaned up since the altercation that led to some of its destruction. It'll never be as beautiful as it once was. Helena looks out over irradiated Midtown, holding the envelope Gillian had put her note in with two hands. It appears sealed - though in this case, re-sealed.

Not everyone is so lucky to be able to not need coats. Though she's warmed by the long trek up the staircases, Gillian still has a heavy black button up coat on, one that looks like something a man would wear and not tailored for a woman's body. Her boots cover her ankles and part of her calfs, and she looks as if she's wearing two pairs of pants. The scarf has been removed, due to the heat from the walk up the stairs. She might abandon checking this building after a few days. So close to the rad zone. And— too many stairs. The cough would probably be heard first, as she gets to the roof exit, shifting the door and stepping out.

She doesn't look exactly the same as the last time the two saw each other. Hair has reddish highlights instead of pitch black— her make up is a lot lighter than before. And now her cheeks and nose are bright red. From exertion as well as the cold. A mild surge of energy may be available at this distance, as she's not holding it back yet, even as her eyes connect with someone mysteriously under dressed for the whether. "That— that's not for you." she manages to say, breathing still off. Unarmed as she looks, she does have a carrier bag hanging at her side.

Helena turns, to take in the face that goes with that voice, and for a moment she just stares. "I know you." she says flatly. Even with suspiscion, she gently lays the envelope to one side, removing her hand from it. "Why are you leaving Peter letters? Who are you?" She doesn't sound jealous or catty, just rather sad. "He won't get it."

"Remember you too," Gillian says, taking in tired breaths, but standing up a little straighter. "You're the one who slammed him against the ceiling— Windy." Close to what the other woman she met on this rooftop calls her, but not quite the same. "I'm just trying to contact him. He owes me, and I owe him." The exhaustion remains in her voice, but there's also a hint of frustration, as if she's angry at something. "If he doesn't get it, he doesn't get it. If I knew this rooftop was so popular, I wouldn't have…" she shakes her head.

"You don't understand." Helena takes a step forward. "He's in prison. He's in HomeSec custody, and he thinks he belongs there." She doesn't know that for sure, but she's pretty certain. "The one of him that's left." What an odd thing to say. "Who are you to him?" Her tone is entreating as opposed to demanding, almost painful in her earnesty.

"Depends on which one of him we're talking about," Gillian says, working her way closer to the edge, specificaly so she can sit down in a place where the wind can hit her face. She's still overheated from the long walk up the stairs— it's a lot of stairs. There's a reason she's never lived in an apartment higher than four floors up. As she gets closer, she ties off the knot in the back of her head, before she gets too close. Whatever else 'Windy' is capable of, she doesn't want to get knocked off the roof. "The suit saved my life, then split in two, teleported me into yesterday. The other one… I have no idea. We tried to kill each other, I guess. If he's letting himself be locked up, he— really is an idiot."

Helena nods. "Yeah." she says, "He really is." With a shrug, she moves to take a seat herself. "He doesn't belong in there. He won't make up for what he's done sitting on his ass with HomeSec watching him." Her eyes flick across to Gillian. "Why did my ability go haywire that night? Did it have something to do with you?"

The last few weeks have made Gillian a little more free to talk to people. No names exchanged, but she looks away from the skyline to the other woman and nods at her last question. She seems to agree with the rest, too. "It was me. I hadn't learned to control it yet. That's why he nearly blew up the hotel, too. I've learned how to control it since then. If you're used to it, if it's controlled, it just makes people like you stronger than you used to be, able to do more with your ability. Better, faster, stronger…" She shakes her head. "The suit version of him asked me to help him kill the other one. Me and… the person I was staying with." There's a twinge of something else in her eyes, a negative emotion of some kind.

"Yeah, he - " Helena makes a sound of disgust, looks away. "He wanted that for a long time. In the end, they were going to come back together, until one of them was killed." She looks back at Gillian. "The people who wanted him captured is a longer list than those who wanted him dead. And that list is pretty short."

Her soles are flat as she too ascends the stairs, nearing the top some time after the two who came before her. A guitar case is carried across one shoulder, a backpack across the other. It's jeans and a nondescript sweatshirt for Cat now, she having gotten out of the corporate lawyer costume she wore earlier to meet with Wireless and start the tracking. As she emerges out onto the roof, attention isn't paid to anyone else possibly being there. She just heads to the portion of ledge closest to the point of emergence, letting her eyes take in the city below and beyond.

"I know. I was there when they made the decision to go back together," Gillian says with a grumble under her breath. "They were both so dead set on killing each other, on having someone else do it if they couldn't… And just when they realized what fucking assholes they were being— what self-centered little dicks…" There's a pause and she tilts her head a moment. She doesn't say it, but there's an implication in her raising eyebrows. 'Maybe not little.' But then she suddenly spits off the roof in disgust. "Fucking HomeSec. Not like even confession he blew up the city to them will give those who knew people he killed any kind of solace. Doesn't make up for any of it." She's still looking very winded from her walk up the stairs as she glances over at the sound of someone else on the roof. "This place really is popular. I'm not going to get arrested coming up here, am I? I only picked this place cause he brought me here once."

Helena blanches a little bit. Well, a lot. "It's an important place for him." she says quietly. "Cat," she calls out, "What are you doing here?" Back to Gillian. "If I could convince him to get up off his ass and get out of jail, I would. I'm fairly certain he could walk out of there any time he wanted, if he believed it was the right thing to do."

The woman turns slowly at the sound of voices, one of them being addressed toward her, while in the act of lowering both backpack and guitar case. "It's quiet, and seemed like a good place to play, to just look out over the city," Cat replies for Helena. "I don't think there's risk of arrest, but if it happens, well, your lawyer's already here."

"A lawyer— good to know. And what're you? A doctor?" Gillian sounds almost like she's quitely mocking the woman, or maybe not believing the other one's a lawyer. "Guess you're too young to be a doctor. And maybe he is being held against his will," Gillian says, frowning a little. "We don't really know. He was shot too, just not through the head. And unless the suit one died and didn't— I don't know how it works— go into the other one. That one would be trying to stop what he saw happening. There's a reason I chose to help that one. Besides him saving my life and not being a complete assface."

Helena shrugs. "I'm just me. I didn't get a chance to go to school to become anything at all, really. But she really is a lawyer." Helena's looking a touch irritated herself. "Would you stop calling him that?" Then, "It is a possibility that they're holding him against his will. But I know Peter." Her tone bears much conviction. "He wants to do the right thing, and desperately. Just so much that he overdoes it, and all goes wrong." Then, "Cat - do you have any connections in Japan?"

"I might be able to look up a classmate or two there," Cat replies, her feet moving toward the other two slowly. "Or I can call my father and see what's in his business contacts, maybe both." Her eyes settle on Gillian, there's a ghost of a smile as she states "I'm a lot of things. You'd be amazed."

"Archer, lawyer, terrorist… bowler…" Gillian says, shaking her head a bit. She doesn't really want to stand back up, but as the cold starts to get to her again, she moves the scraf around to wrap her face. "Fine. No more Assface," she says, shaking her head a bit. She'd not called him that in the letter at least. Her ungloved hand slides into the sleeve of her coat, likely for warmth, but since she's exposing one and covering the other… it's more like she's touching her wrist for some reason. "Desperately trying to do the right thing… I desperately do not want to not end up in a camp. And way I saw it he had the best chance of keeping that crap from happening— he's probably one of the only people who didn't outright lie to me. Both of them, actually." Though she'd accused them of being liars at the time. Until their truths made the other lies fall apart.

That earnes Helena's immediate attention, and she rises in alarm. "How do you know about the camps?" she demands intently. "Did Peter tell you? Do you know anything else about them?" She crosses the distance between herself and Gillian, the Japan tangent momentarily forgotten. "Did you - oh." The look on Helena's face goes from shocked to unexpectedly rapturous. "I - " her hands clench as suddenly she's connected to the weather systems of the entire city. The air around the rooftop is abruptly flush with comfortable warmth, emanating like a wave.

There's a quiet scoff in response to Gillian's statement. "Terrorist? No. But you could add guitarist, singer, pianist… some other things to that list." Cat goes back to quiet then, and her eyes close as she too feels the spreading warmth. She's not said what her ability is to Gillian, or admitted to having one, but the clues do abound.

The surge of power makes a mild glow around her finger tips, even without touch this time. A purple glow. Gillian doesn't notice, because she's looking back over. The knot in the back of her head came loose in frustration at the men— the man— and she blinks a few times before she starts trying to slacken it, squeeze the flow of energy, the charge. Not cut it off completely. Especially since she's making it warmer. "Sorry. That was me. But hell, I'll take that over getting knocked off the building…" There were questions, though. She adds to the list in her mind. "Musician. Keep it simple," she replies, before looking back at the blond. "The suit one told me about a dream he had. When he heard my name he recognized me from it. Claimed it was a dream of the future— and since I know people can paint the future… it didn't really surprise me that someone who's a swiss army knife of abilities could dream it too."

It takes Helena a few moments to recover, and it's hard for her not to sound a little blissed out as she speaks. "I know about that dream. I died in it. But it's not the first vision about me someone's had where I die, nor is it the only way I've been prophecied as dying. So I know the future's malleable. Those camps aren't in the future, though. They're here, now. There's proof."

"The camps also aren't a stretch to see coming. So much fear, and registration law, it all matches up with the details in history books describing events that started seventy years ago in many ways. And centuries ago the Inquisition, or the Salem Trials. Like she said, though, we've got more than the semblance of repeating history. And she isn't the only one saved from something grisly by a painting." Cat's solemn again, her eyes turning back to looking out over the city.

"Sorry to hear that," Gillian says, sounding a little angry at the mention of the camps already being legitimate. She spits over the roof again in frustration, before unravelling the scarf. If she's going to make it slightly warmer, she's going to enjoy it while she can. "I hope I die if that happens. He didn't specify if I did or not. He jumped straight to asking me to get him help killing himself." Other self. That man is so confusing. "You're Cat," she points at the lawyer plus, and then to the weather manipulator. "And I can keep calling you Windy in my head, or else you got some kind of name. And I'm Gillian." Only fair to give hers first, though Cat already knows it.

Helena looks a bit sheepish. "Helena." she offers. "I'm sorry, I'm usually tapped into the local weather systems, but it feels so much bigger right now, it's a little harder to focus." Then, "If you ever think you might want a hand in trying to keep it from happening - more than it already is, let me know. There's people who want it stopped."

"You heard what you heard that night, at Dorchester Towers, Gillian. Now you know better why I screamed rape when Helena and I faced off with those two and I accused one of them of being an Evolved terrorist. I had the distinct feeling when he started making calls the next stop would be a deep, dark hole. People may try to throw me in one, or put me in a camp, but I'll fight like hell to avoid it and if I have to make them kill me instead." And Cat nods toward Helena. "Best way to prevent that is to get proactive. Stop the camps before they become public knowledge because so many have been carried away in cattle cars."

The name seems to ring a bell. Gillian shakes her head and starts to stand, a quiet whisper of 'of course' is repeated, until she says. "It's fine. I know it's disconcerting at first when I raise someone's abilities. I have something personal to deal with first," she says, looking to where the note she left was when she left it there. "Just leave my note here. If you manage to get … Peter … out of that place, or if you need help doing it— I'll help with that part." That's kind of personal business to. "She knows where to find me," she gestures to Cat, giving the answer to her riddle in the letter, not that it was very good. "Even if you don't break him out, I'd appreciate you leaving the letter here."

"I wasn't going to take it." Helena assures. "I just found it, is all." And she does leave it where it is. "If Cat knows where to find you, I'll keep that in mind. Especially to help get to Peter." She starts to drift away from Gillian, albeit regretfully. "Cat, I'm headed back home. Let me know if you need me."

"See you, Helena," Cat replies, her eyes settling on the blondest and shortest of the three here on this roof as she heads for the stairs. "Take care."

"See you later," Gillian says, already beginning to wind the scarf back around her neck to block off the cold. "It was nice finally meeting you— you know— offically." She'd met the woman before she heard her name. But now she has a name to the face, and she has some idea of who she is based on the name. 'Helena' got mentioned more than a few times.

"It's cold out here," Cat states as Gillian winds her scarf and Helena's imported warmth fades due to her no longer being present. "I've got a hotel room not far away. We can go there and talk, have room service, and be warm."

Reaching into her carrier bag, Gillian pulls out a pocket watch and checks the time on it. While she does this, a watch on her wrist just barely becomes visible. The same watch she wore that night in Greenwich and complained about having broke. The split second glimmer might reveal broken glass and definite stopped hands. At 3:33. Someone with perfect memory— amped up memory at that— only needs a fraction of a second. 3:33 was not the time of the incident in Greenwich. "I should go. I have to work eventually," she says when she drops the pocketwatch back into her back. "It was nice seeing you again, Cat."

"See you, Gillian. Don't work too hard." Her eyes take in the watch, the brief sight indeed all Cat needs. Her head tilts a bit, she wondering why it hasn't been fixed given her complaints about it being broken, but she doesn't speak of it. It's filed away with everything else, and as Gillian makes her way down the stairs Doctor Chesterfield is doing what she came here to do. Grieving, with the guitar being unpacked and held as if to play.

And why wear a broken watch. "Shoe rental isn't hard work," Gillian says, muttering as she makes her way to the door. The mutter has something to do with libraries and giving anything to be back in one. The lawyer would know from the articles that she worked in the Brooklyn Central Library, right up until she disappeared. She heads down the stairs and leaves the woman to her grieving in the cold.

The letter left on the rooftop reads:

You were right. One day I hope to be able to tell you why I did what I did that night. Things might have been better if I'd aimed for your forehead too. But then I wouldn't know what I know. I hope he's still in there somewhere, too.

If you'd like to find me, remember Alice in Wonderland and a grin.


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