Instead Of Miracles


anne_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Instead Of Miracles
Synopsis … there are scalp massages, desperate plans, and an infinite procession of waiting rooms.
Date February 17, 2009

Harlem — Ferrymen Safehouse

Something about a martial curfew has forcibly choked Teo's sleep schedule into something approximating normal. Insofar as that he now runs on twenty-four hour days, but only about four to seven of them are ever spent sleeping. He prefers not to miss daylight. It's an interesting time to be alive. There are regular uniformed patrols in the streets, armored trucks sitting on curbs at intervals, overseeing little white bakers' vans, yellow cabs, and pimped out Caddies alike. The presence of military is stronger in some places than others, of course.

It isn't too strong in Harlem, predictably enough. This Ferrymen safehouse is a stone building of blue-gray standing at six stories tall on the edge of a residential block, four apartments on each floor and enough room to install two families in each of those when it's at full capacity. As of Feburary, it's at greater than full capacity, packed tight with unregistered Evolved fugitives from whatever passes for justice these days. Teo spent the first part of his morning eating Cocoa Puffs with an old lady with the ability to turn objects to stone. This latter half of the morning, he's sequestered away in the attic.

Waiting. With so little electricity to go around, the light through the window is all he goes by, limning the angles of his face pressed nearly to the glass. Through the fog of his own condensed breath and over the distance of this quieter, smaller, tributary street, he is watching the staccato trickle and skeins of traffic, civilian and otherwise, sliding along the main road with the same narrow-eyed restlessness of an indoors cat watching birds.

While the curfew and all its troubles has meant that most of Phoenix, and all other folk, have to stay where they are and not move so much, it's actually meant a whole lot more work for Anne. All these people still need to be fed, and carrying the truckloads of food needed into the various safehouses would probably raise an eyebrow or two, especially since food is hard to get by. So, she's been acquiring it and transporting it in through other means. It's a pain in the neck, for serious. But that's not what she wanted to talk to Teo about. Not today. After having gotten directions from Hana, Anne made her way to the attic by her normal means of transportation which means that one moment Teo was alone, and the next? Anne was watching him peek out the window.

Personally, she'd say he looks a bit more like an outdoors cat that's been forced to be inside, on account of a blizzard or something.

"Don't shoot me, it's Anne." It will have to pass for a greeting, this time. She's nearly gotten shot enough times these last few weeks, on account of nervous Phoenix and other folks. Don't spook the ones likely to be carrying guns, okay? Okay. "Hope you don't mind, but Hana gave me the headsup on where you were, and I thought we could talk a bit, maybe, if you have time?"

There is nothing especially overstated or theatrical about Teo's fingers loosening on the handle of his pistol other than the fact that, you know, he has to loosen his fingers around the handle of his pistol. Fortunately, his drama was pre-empted by the teleporter's statement, otherwise he'd be turning a strawberry shade of pink probably. Ferrymen safehouse. Safehouse is supposed to mean safe. He keeps forgetting that. "She asked me to stay put," he corroborates, agreeably. "Didn't give details, though. It's not a problem at all. I have nowhere to be for a few hours.

"Is there something I can do for you?" He pushes his shoulder against the gray wooden paneling of the wall, tilting his weight back to centered balance across both boot-clad feet. A quaver-beat's pause, and the corners of his mouth seize upward, a grin broad enough to push his ears up a visible fraction of an inch. His ears are all the more concpicuous these days with all his hair hacked off. "Good to see you back on your feet, signora."

"Thanks. It's rather lovely to be up on my feet again." Anne replies with a warm smile. "Though sometimes I think Wireless and Claude are conspiring to knock me right back down again. However much it's for my own good, and I asked for it." She's sounding much to cheerful to be serious, though. It's just one of them things that needed doing. If you're going to be a terrorist, you gotta know how to defend yourself. At least a little bit, for everyone's sake. "Um. Well. I wanted to talk to you about Sergei, and that Claude is out looking for him now. Just so you know." A little sneaky prodding was all that had been needed, and of course avoiding trying to hide said sneaky prodding. She was sure mr. Invisible could be touchy when he felt like it.

"Also. You need your escaperoute 101 class, mister. We don't want you getting kidnapped or anything, if it can be avoided." Having one of the leaderfolks imprisoned was quite enough, in her opinion. "There are a couple of other things, too, but if I go babbling them all out in a long line it'll take foreeeever. So I'm saving the most fun ones for last." She nods her head sagely at this statement, before fishing up a little GPS device from her pocket, holding it out for him on an outstretched palm. "How've you been? You don't exactly look like you sleep your eight hours."

"I should talk to Claude in person at some point, eh?" Mr. Invisible is a face that Teo has only seen in passing. Which… is better than not having seen him at all, realistic as that possibility is, between the Sicilian's tendency to run around by himself and the fact that Claude's moniker is rather apt. "If your training is proof to that particular conspiracy, I'm setting you loose on Homeland Security all by yourself," he answers gallantly, inclining his head in playful deference to their taskmasters. He reaches over to pluck the GPS device from her hand, playing its neat black contours over in his fingers thoughtfully, examining the configuration of buttons, already memorizing the interface through tactile examination.

"Grazie. I will study very hard under your tutelage." The electronic piece is wiggled next to his head, clasped between ring finger and middle, before he lets his arm fall. His fingers never stop worrying around the diminutive object, however. "I've been all right, thank you. Can't seem to stay asleep most nights. How has Claude's search been going?"

"It would be horrible if you were the first one to fail." Anne replies with a soft smile. This is mostly funny because the class isn't that difficult. Just some boundries to what she's able to do, and such. No porting fifty folk out at once, thanks. "In truth, I think you know most of it already, after the tactics discussions prior to the bridge." Some things she could do, and some things she couldn't. It was as easy as that.

"As for your other question.. I don't know, actually. Nothing, as of a couple of days ago, but. I kinda figure he'd have let us know if he found him." So most likely it's a 'no'. Didn't mean there couldn't be any clues, though. "Do you know anything more on whether or not we'll be able to get the old dispensary back?" They'd hardly more than moved in before they had to evacuate the place, after all. It was somewhat frustrating, if understandable. "Also, I was wondering… if we know anything more about Helena and Alexander." Pause. "And Brian." He was harder to remember, since he was on the outside too.

Brian's a lot of places at once. It is his gift and his curse, apparently. Teo reaches up, drags blunt fingertips over the bristly roof of his scalp. He acknowledges the humiliation of his potential failure and the recap with a nod, frowns slightly at the thing about Claude. All right. All right, it's no problem. Trask might be dead, anyway. One of the darker, colder parts of Teo's psyche is well-aware that a very real probability is there.

Did the math. Realized that searching for Trask was one tactically valuable thing to do, to pass the time, and get the Phoenix operatives to familiarize themselves with the dark haven that Staten Island provided, even if the man himself is dead. If you have to go to ground, better to learn the landmarks and terrain of no man's land than rot underground.

"I don't know if the dispensary is safe to return to yet, because I don't know what kind of interrogations HomeSec's been putting our kids through. Or what they will, if our people haven't broken yet." Teo manages to keep his voice even saying so, but it takes visible effort; his face goes too still, his fingers freeze in their lattice around the GPS unit at his side. "Brian has an idea for pulling a sting operation to trap HomeSec, though. He's hoping to set up a few dupes at the dispensary with you, draw HomeSec in if they have pricks posted or coming there, and all of you bail at the first sign of trouble.

"I don't know what kind of timeframe he's thinking. You two should probably talk to each other before I get too many fucking terrible ideas and cock it all up." The right corner of his mouth goes up briefly, mirthlessly, before straightening again.

Anything more about Helena and Alexander. And Brian. He's reminded again with a visceral stab of how precious little they have to go on. The vehicle GPSes got them nowhere that resembled a final destination. "There's one lead I know of, so far. We have the name and personnel profile of one of the ranking operatives who took them in. He's— powerful, and his unit sure as shit knows what it's doing, so it'll be risky as fuck but…" Teo doesn't finish that sentence. Feels no particular compulsion to elucidate on the desperation of the situation, in his professional or personal opinion.

"Wireless is doing further logistical research. I'll let you know."

[Anne(#296)] Anne nods a little to this, and runs her fingers through her hair. "I go chase a Brian, then." She agrees with a nod. Talking things over with him seemed like a good idea. "If for no other reason… well. His planning, lately, has seemed a little on the impulsive side. Lots of strong emotions, and such." Which wasn't necessarily a bad idea, but some of the things she'd heard sounded dangerously like the kind that don't get you more than trouble when you put them into practical application. She might be wrong, though. God only knew.

"Do we have a clue as to what their means of making folk not have their powers are? We theorized the other day that it's likely not just a nullifyer, as he'd have to live in their cell pretty much." ANd those guys don't grow on trees either. "So.. maybe a chemical agent, or a technological one. I was thinking that if we'd be able to snoop out what that is, we could maybe track /that/ going to wherever they are." Her thought was that such things would have less security on them than the prisoners themselves, and might thus be a lot easier to find. She hoped. "A lot of ifs I know." Still, if all they had was crap, even bad ideas were ideas.

"This operative. Is he the one making people's limbs go numb?"

"I'll pass that along to Wireless. See if she can find any manufacturing locations or destination addresses," Teo says, nodding his head. Nullifying chemistry or technological equipment. Seems a reasonable chance such things are being employed, even if Teo has no idea what they would be labelled or coded under. Securing those records might have slipped through the cracks like the global positioning systems. Either that, or Helena, Alexander and Brian are being kept in medical comas while telepaths and needles ream their minds for—

Teo swallows hard. Coughs, once, briefly, squaring his shoulders. "Si. According to Wireless' brief explanation, at least, it seems that's the guy. The risks become crystal fucking clear, eh?" And yet muddy and obscure as Hell, still.

"Kinson might be able to shut him down and edit his memory. I'm not sure. There's a psychometrist around, too— read the history of people through touch. Problem is, I don't want to kill the guy or send him back with any idea of what happened, or HomeSec would just change the gameplan again. Put us back at stage zero, one lead down. Not to jump the gun," but boy, he needs to shut up. Already ahead of himself, and they don't even have any idea where Carmichael is now. He crooks a grin, abashedly neurotic. "Fucking migraine."

"Rather a problem, yes." Anne agrees, tilting her head to the side to study him for a while, then she points to a spot on the floor. "Why don't you have a seat, Teo? We got other stuff than this to talk about as well." There's a slight touch of 'mother' entering her voice when she says that, and once her words are finished she wanders over to get a chair for herself, lifting it up an inch or so from the ground, before turning to head on back again. It's not angry mom, or even bossy mom. Just the woman who isn't expecting any kind of argument with her request. She Said So, and thus It Shall Happen. "Though to me, things seem rather muddy to be honest. At least morals are coming back up a bit, those worried me for a while."

Not anymore, though, appereantly. They might not be awesome, at the moment, but they were better. And even while hiding, there was the sense of Phoenix growing a little bit stronger again. By inches, admittedly, just by inches. But they were still growing, and that was the important part to her. The rest.. well. It would be alright. She settles down on the chair and waits patiently for Teo to take the indicated spot by her feet. Why? Well. …she hasn't shared, yet.

Well, Anne is the boss. Okay, maybe not really, but Teo knows better than to argue with a fierce maternal figure when they are telling him to sit down after commenting on his state of sleep-deprivation. Obediently, he shuffles across the floor over to the base of her chair. Swinging one foot over in front of his other, he drops himself down neatly into an Indian-style pretzelling of his legs, settling with a neat thump and scuffle of butt and denim. "Morals," he repeats, after a moment, blankly. "I try not to act without acknowledging them, but I realize we're going to have differences.

"Between members of Phoenix." He cants half a grin up at her, folds his hands loosely on his lap. The segments of long fingers and notches of scars interlock comfortably with one another. "Last night I was lying around trying to get to sleep and wound up wondering 'What Would Helena Do.' You know what I really wish we could?"

Anne is totally the boss. Just not in Phoenix. In fact, very few people there would likely say she has all that much authority at all, but it doesn't matter so much to her. So far, the few things she's wanted? They've happened, and without much fuss. And as long as that happens, who cares who's giving the orders? Really? "We are going to have differences." She agrees instead, with his words, and gets up to move herself and the chair around him. At which point he starts moving too. "Please don't do that." She tells him, pausing for a moment, and once he complies she puts the chair down behind him and settles down. "I'm sorry to see that girl leave, you know?" The duplicator. She seemed sad.

She eyes his scalp for a few moments, steeples her fingers and carefully brushes the tips of them down his scalp, before commencing a scalp massage. Her husband used to have bad headaches, sometimes, and you can learn these things with practise. Having music hands actually help, since it means your fingers are strong. "What was it you wished?" She wonders. "I'm kinda hoping it has something to do with that opera we're going to attend, now that the world didn't end and all." That's important stuff, and not to be forgotten.

"'M sorry about Jennifer, too." Recently acquainted with the glory of neckrubs, Teo is only momentarily surprised by the feel of his scalp sliding like a bag of rubber around and against his recently reknitted skull. That feels nice, he decides first. Very nice, second. By the time he's reached the third phase of cognition, his brain doesn't want to think at all, so he idles there for a moment like a car left running, eye half-mast, completely indifferent to the probability that the edges of his face are getting pinched and pulled about oddly by this exercise.

To Anne's fingers, his head is like coarse velvet, short hairs quick to flatten or reverse in direction with every slightest adjustment of the pressure put to them. "The blackouts," he answers, his voice slowed. "From the Edison plant going up.

"Wish we could figure out how t' fix that. Find surplus energy, or… repair— something. 'S been more than two weeks and the riots are just getting worse with every fucking outages. That would be a miracle. Hel— Hel would think of miracles." Not like him, he means. Skulking in the gutters, bulletining GPS panic buttons, Hana's hapless padawan. His basic competence lies with logistics, at best; befriending strangers and swearing them in to a temporary cause. The cause itself was Helena's domain. "D'no." A quaver-beat. "This is nice, signora."

"Well." Anne murmurs softly. "Miracles I think we should be able to handle." She smiles a little where she sits, assaulting his reknitted scalp without much thought that it might have been injured recently. She knew it had, but she also knew that when Abby asked her god for some helped, he usually helped good and proper. Whether he was doing the work, or she was evolved and doing it for him. In truth, did it really matter which way that went? She wasn't so sure it did. "Repairs. Find ourselves some good ol' fashioned folk who know that stuff, get them here, fix the problem." It sounds so easy when she says it, doesn't it? Only.. not really.

"Feed the hungry, maybe. I think that, that we can do easier." Maybe not legally, but she had a good notion on how to pull off the feeding part. "Lots of homeless shelters with many folk and little soup. That we could do. Help folk about to get mugged or beaten. That we could do." She smiles a bit to herself. "We're not police, and I'm not saying get anyone in jail. But. Share a little hope, you know? With someone scared." Little bits. "And you're welcome." She adds, belatedly, before mirth tinges her voice.

"Just don't forget you owe me a footrub, mister. Sonny vowed for the both of you." In case he did not know.

A low sigh escapes through Teo's closed teeth. "Feed the hungry, maybe," he echoes, after a moment. "Not sure about helping folks with— vigilante justice. That isn't our area and just scares the fuck out of people in the end. Seems people don't think it's civilian business to enforce the law. Unless you mean something relatively innocuous, like teleporting in and yanking people out of hot spots, but you'll probably get people freaking the fuck out about Evolved and—"

Paranoid, isn't he? Teo would have to be at this point of the game. "Maybe. Or maybe I'm playing things too 'safe.'" There's too few of them, morale's in ribbons, and though he can certainly acknowledge the gradual building of strength — like bone fractures healing over, conditioning to form a stronger structure — things still look fucking bleak. Not merely for Phoenix, but for New York City. If he didn't temper his stubborn optimism (or optimistic stubbornness) with a little prudence, he'd probably be dead.

"I'll look around our contacts," he decides after a moment, slightly slurred from near-drowsy pleasure. "Maybe somebody will have a brilliant plan for straightening the electricity grid out and we could find the tools and manpower. Maybe."

February 17th: Failsafe
February 17th: Dr. Bianco's Drive-Thru Face Clinic
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