I'm A Hockey Man, Myself


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Scene Title I'm A Hockey Man, Myself
Synopsis Cat and Leonard check in on Max.
Date September 5, 2009

Somewhere in Midtown

Max has been treating his work on his power like a full time job. There's not much else to do in the technology-less hovel. He can read still, and play cards. But he's an adrenaline junkie. Sitting still is starting to get to him.

He's cleared a space on the floor and is doing a series of crunches. The tinny sound of an old radio blasts out hits from today and yesterday. The place is neatly kept, militaristically so, and the scent of BO and tomato soup has been replaced with the scent of pine sol and soap. He managed to give himself something like a shower by boiling water on a hot plate and filling the old bathtub.

There is sound ahead of her arrival, then she's seen stepping through a doorway. "Max," Cat greets calmly, "how're things going?" He's studied for some moments, then the room's contents.

And behind her, lurking, is Leo. Head to toe black, fatigues, t-shirt, boots. He's buzzed his hair again, and he looks fairly dour. He's brought a six pack of root beer, and a cooler. Trying to make things a little more comfortable, presumably.

Max's face bobs up. He spots Cat, then Leo behind her. He does three more slow crunches, then stands and grabs a towel to rub sweat from his face. "Hey guys. Sorry, TV's out. We can't watch the game." Half his mouth quirks up into a smile. Hell, if he lost his sense of humour, things would be dire indeed.

"The first game isn't until the 19th," Cat replies dryly. "Yale at Georgetown. Of course, the game I'm most interested in doesn't happen until November 21st," she adds. A glance goes to Leonard over her shoulder, then eyes come back to Max. "Making progress?"

'What's that?" asks Leo, intelligently, cocking a look at Cat. He gives Max a grin, sets the cooler down out of the way.

"Ah, you're a football fan are ya? Tch. Too bad. We were starting to get along well, too." A wink, but a friendly one rather than lecherous. Max glances at the cooler, then to Leo. "Man, you guys are preparing me for the long haul, uh? Some guys named Joe and Ian came by, brought me some fresh eats. Asked me when I was going to register. Soon'd probably be smart." He takes a pull from a water bottle, then wipes his forehead again.

"I haven't been able to make it happen yet, but I did manage to stop a charge from getting too big. It only fucked up the radio reception, didn't knock it out entirely. So that's progress." He doesn't sound so sure.

"Yale versus Harvard," Cat answers to Leonard. "We're hosting this year. I might go to the game with Columbia on Halloween, though." And back to Max with a nod. "I'm into Yale football, college-wise. Pros, the Giants and Jets." Because they're New York teams, and she's a New Yorker now. Embracing it.

"As to registration, yes, that's an option. One I'd very much recommend you not take. Nothing stops whatever deskrider you meet at DHS from deciding you're dangerous because you've got an ability and trying to lock you away in some deep dark hole forever. It's your call, but… if you do decide to make that move you'd best have your ability entirely under control first and leave them no excuses."

"Not me," says Leo, lazily. "Don't give much of a damn for organized sports. And she's right - it's a Catch-22, and I've gotten fucked a bunch for trying to be civic-minded and responsible about that paperwork kinnastuff."

Well, that sure puts a dampner on Max's jovial mood - however sincere it actually was. "I'm a hockey man, myself," says the actor, though he doesn't say that with the enthusiasm he might have a moment before. He looks between them and sucks air between his teeth. "I don't think there's any way around it, unless I want to become a fugitive and give up my life. I mean, shit, if you two saw what I did, other people did too. My agent and publicist know. And I can't promise they won't say anything after I run out of money and can't afford to pay them anymore."

Her head tilts to one side. "Hockey. Rangers or Islanders?" But Cat is soon back to business. "That's very likely," she agrees somberly. "There may have been witnesses, probably were. I'd recommend you play it up as much as you can, Max. Once you get a full handle on the ability and emerge from seclusion, call a press conference and announce you manifested an ability during the attack. Say you went off by yourself to get it under control and know its limits so you could fully and honestly comply with the law without presenting a danger to people and equipment. You'll look more responsible that way, and there'll be a public record if they try to vanish you. A way to skewer DHS for your absence."

There's a surprised blink from Leo, and a following rather sheepish look. He busies himself in opening one of the bottles of root beer. "And she's wiser than me, which is why she plans, and I just hit things when ordered," he says, wryly.

"You mean, tell the truth?" asks Max, one brow arched, side of his lip held between his teeth. "What you said is pretty much what I was planning to do. Though I dunno if I'll do a press conference. That seems like putting a big flashing arrow over my head to Humanis First that says 'kill me and a dozen innocent bystanders, please.' Was gonna release a statement. Seems stupid to put my face out there more right now." A pause, then,

"Rangers. But I've been following the Kings and the Canucks mostly. M'from Syracuse, but I've spent too much time in LA." Leo's response gets a grin - more genuine now, rather than designed to put them at ease. "Me too, man. Cept add in 'pretend to be hurt by this.' I'm a grunt whether I'm in the Army or on the set."
He pulls a deep breath and considers them both. "Is the government really making people disappear?"

"You don't have to admit to the public you've got an ability," Cat replies quietly, "registration only calls for you to tell DHS and go through their process. I'm just recommending in your case you make it public, hide nothing… except of course that we helped hide you. It's best our names don't come into this, at all."

"If you go public, and you vanish, suspicion falls on DHS. Publicity they won't want, which can be used to make them cough you up. As for HF, cautious is good. But don't give in to fear of them. No matter what you do or say, they'll kill people. If fear rules us, it only becomes easier for them to operate."

She doesn't answer the question about vanishing people, it's left to Leonard if he chooses.

"You betcha," Leo says, without hesitating. "Been through it myself, and where they put ya, you don't wanna be, I promise." He folds himself down, sits comfortably cross-legged, sips from the root beer.

"Yeah, well, I think enough people associated with this movie have died. I don't want to be responsible for any others. Let 'em turn their attention elsewhere. M'done being in the spotlight." Max puffs up his cheeks and runs fingers through his hair. Just a little bit of sweat and it sticks up at all angles. Somehow, the disheveled bedhead suits him.

"I think if I want any bit of my life or career back, I pretty much have to go public. I get the sense that my ability isn't going to be classified under the anonymous level. My publicist has taught me that sometimes it's better to scoop the press on these kinds of things. If rumours can be substantiated, which in my case, they can."

He closes his eyes for a moment and leans against the wall. "Kinda wish I could stay right here. Least til people have forgotten who I am. But my agent's already told me I need to get my ass back to civilization and give a statement to the cops at the very least. I don't know how they've managed to hold back the cops this long. Probably only because they had so many other statements to take and I wasn't very near the actual source of the explosion." His eyes open and he regards Leo for a moment. Air is sucked between his teeth again. "Well. I guess if I go public, I just make sure not to be alone. Make sure someone keeps tabs on me so that I can't just be disappeared. It's all I can do. Either way, I'm living in fear."

"It's a pile of shit which should never be," Cat agrees, "this hole President Petrelli dropped every single person with an ability into. The Linderman Act needs to be stricken out. And it's small consolation, but… history shows intolerance and fear always lose. It takes a long time, but it always loses. What's needed is keeping heads held high, and not giving in. Not letting it ever break your spirit."

But from there, Cat switches tacks. "About your ability, when you try to master it, how've you gone about things? Maybe if you concentrate on how you felt at the moment of the explosions, you can find the on switch. Got to locate that first…"

"I'd offer to fear or shock you, see if that spurs it," Leo says, helpfully. 'But….might not be such a good idea, you know?"

"No offense guys, but why should I be trying to turn it on? If I could fly or you know, turn invisible, maybe it would be a good thing. But this thing I have, it just fucks things up. I could blow out machines that are keeping people alive, or a car someone is driving. I've been successful at stopping it from getting too big if I feel an attack coming on. Shouldn't that be enough? I mean, what good would being able to make people nauseous, magnify shit and blow out electronics ever do me?" Max moves to sink into a camp chair and looks between them both.

"It's fairly simple," Cat replies calmly, "when you become able to make it happen at will, you also become able to stop it from happening. As to usefulness, it does have some value, Max. If you think, for example, you or someone you know is being bugged you can evacuate electronics you want to keep safe and potentially fry any listening equipment. Or, if you happened to be at a store and an armed robbery was happening, people were in danger, you could defuse the situation. With practice, you may even be able to make it a targeted instead of area effect."

"Because what she said is true. You won't have truly mastered it until you can command it. And it does have its uses. If Humanis tried for you, it'd be useful to be able to stun everyone around you without suffering yourself, wouldn't it?" Leo says, after a mouthful of soda.

"Yeah, but I do suffer. It hurts like a bitch. I…" Max shakes his head. "Sorry guys. I just…I did my good samaritan stuff. In Somalia. In Iraq," he looks to Leo, then re-caps his water. He rubs the heel of his palm across his face. "I was hoping to just live my life, not stop robberies and sweep for bugs to avoid terrorists. Shit like that isn't supposed to happen in this country."

"It's not uncommon for new abilities to be painful like that, until experience and practice make it easier. As to what you use it for, that's up to you, Max. You could decide to never use it. Entirely your call. But by mastering it, so you can make it happen when you want and prevent it happening when you don't, you have the most options."

"And there's the registration angle, too. EMP is tied to the electromagnetic spectrum. You don't want to have it anything other than completely under your command when you go, so no one thinks you're a possible source of uncontrolled radiation." She studies his face briefly to see if that's finally sunk in, then…

"We'll help you to get there, Max. Now, think of what happens when it hits, and tell us about Ian and Joe…"

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