Large As Life


cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif mona_icon.gif

Scene Title Large As Life
Synopsis Possible services Mona could perform for Phoenix are discussed.
Date June 23, 2009

An abandoned theater, Ruins of Midtown

It's been done before, meeting like this with people not inside the organization. Helena was, not long after Cat encountered Mona, given a briefing about that event and was shown some of her writings. It's been explained the reporter knew Dani as well. They've chosen an out of the way location somewhere in Manhattan and come there by themselves. It's only once they've set up that the call is made, asking Miss Rao to visit this place by herself and bring food from Piccoli's Delicatessen. No mention of Helena's presence is made.

Just before 18:00 on this cloudy, gray Tuesday, they wait for her.

"It's one of the old theaters in the no man's lad of Midtown. Helena carries mild weather with her in the immediate area, and despite the clouds, it's still summer, the air thick and heavy. Jeans and a tanktop mean the tattoo on her right shoulder-blade can be seen, but for the moment, she's obscured by a cap with the words 'Keep on the grass' and sunglasses. "Are you sure your friend knows where to meet us?" she asks Cat a little speculatively.

No worries, ma'am. Just as she had promised, Mona sweeps into the scene a few minutes later, hauling three large bags of food in addition to a large handbag over her shoulder. "Cat!" she calls out from afar as she nears the two of them, looking somewhat harried; she's breathing slightly harder than normal as she drops her burden down by her feet. The disguised Helena is noticed and given an acknowledging, if surprised, glance. "Hey, there. Cat didn't mention she was bringing a friend."

Leaning on the edge of a seat, her eyes away from the dilapidated stage so she can see when Mona arrives, Cat turns her head to answer Helena's question and lets out a quiet chuckle instead, the words being cut off as result of the arrival and the hailing voice. "There's your answer," she remarks.

Then, in a louder voice, she addresses the reporter. "That's me, Mona. Full of surprises. How's the career going?" It's a question of politesse, since Cat knows exactly how it seems to go by the content and volume of her recent work.

Helena remains quiet for the moment, silent and inscrutable behind the dark lenses. Likely there'll be some revelation later on, but for now, she sizes Mona up.

"It's going okay." With a mild sigh, Mona partly loosens the scarf swathed around her neck, wriggling a bit in her trench coat. "Busy, but you don't need to be a telepath to tell, probably." With that tired hint of a joke, she turns her gaze at Helena, her own sizing-up swifter. "Good thing you told me to get so much food, Cat. If you're hungry, help yourself, too," she adds at the silent Helena. She bends to retrieve one of the bags by her boots, nodding at the two remaining. "It's sandwiches in there. I just kind of guessed at what Cat might like, so. If you don't want it."

"From Piccoli's?" Helena speaks, taking off her glasses and blinking as her eyes adjust. Mona may or may not connect the dots. "I think we pretty much keep them in business." Other than that, she continues to let the two women chat without interference.

The telepathic reporter is watched quietly as she loosens that scarf, then eyes settle on the bags at Mona's feet. In her head is a single word to be picked up. Food! Until, that is, Cat's eyes lift to her face in curiosity at the comment she makes. Telepath. Her head tilts, and the mind goes to work with speculation. Are you? You never said what your ability is, and I didn't press.

"Piccoli's is always good," she replies verbally with a laugh. "Thanks for bringing it to us. How much did it set you back?" She intends to make good on the cost. In her head are the words she speaks, as well as images of sandwiches and the memory of enjoying their taste, until she becomes silent and turns mental activity in another direction. Starting with recalling pi to fifty decimal places. Then there's a run through of a law text she once read, page by page.

"It's Piccoli's," Mona confirms for Helena's benefit, fiddling with a distraction of her own in the form of zipping up her purse all the way. "And really, do help yourself; I can't eat three sandwiches all by myself. Don't worry about the cost, Cat." Finishing with what she's doing, she happens to look up just as Helena removes her glasses. That— face, combined with mental telepathic fingers that go snaking out to confirm it, means that her lower jaw drops a little. "Cat… you brought Helena Dean with you?" The questioning thoughts directed at her are uncomfortably ignored, for now.

"Large as life," Helena indicates her petite frame, "And twice is hungry. Is one of those chicken parm?" she asks. "Hello. Cat's mentioned your interest to me, and that you were a friend of Danny's." Helena's keeping things decidedly low key.

The question of the other person's identity having been answered by Helena, Cat contents herself to let those two speak for the moment, as she goes to claim one of the sandwiches for herself. Her eyes are still speculative. There's been no reaction to the thoughts she's calling up, the burst of math and the mental reading of a very dry Yale law textbook, but the possibility remains, so she ramps it up a bit. There was this one professor at Yale who had a monotone voice similar to Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and soon a particularly sleep inducing lecture he gave in a class session is transmitted at her, interspersed with impressions of enjoying the sandwich she chose.

"Yes, I believe so, aaand yes." It seems like Mona can't take her eyes off Helena, because presently she narrows them against the glare of the sun, as if to confirm what she's really seeing. "Seriously, it's an honor to meet you in person. I've heard all about your work, you know." Most people who keep up with the news have. Cat's sudden barrage of new thoughts distracts her, making her turn her head slightly in the direction of the other woman, as if trying to decipher a puzzle. Coincidence?

"Thank you." Helena says simply. "A lot of people put a lot of work into what we do." She shrugs a little. "I just get to be the face, is all. Are you Evolved, Mona? Or just interested in civil rights?" Mona has her attention now, but she is getting distracted…"Would this meeting lose some of the mystique if I pigged out? Christ, I'm hungry."

A smile forms as Helena asks about the effect of eating on things here, while Cat continues to enjoy her food. Her thoughts don't appear to have drawn a visible reaction, so she relents on the memory of that particular lecture. It's starting to make her feel drowsy just calling it up. She appears to have ascribed the comment to just that, a comment, and is no longer so much on guard over the possibility.

Mona's expression curves into a little bit of a smile. "Can't one be both?" she inquires quietly, brows raised at a rakish angle. And… right, yeah, she's probably kept the secret to herself for long enough, especially given all of Cat's insistent probing. «Don't— freak out or anything, but um. I'm a telepath. Ish.» The thought appears inside the minds of both other women, simultaneously. The overall effect is a little skull-echoey, kind of like how telepathy is portrayed in the movies. But the writer herself is just standing there, mouth unmoving, surveying the two with a slightly worried and expectant look.

It's almost instinctive, the sudden rock back of Helena on her heels as image of a wall suddenly forms in her mind, slamming down with an echo that only she - and perhaps Mona - can hear or imagine. It wouldn't really prevent Mona from probing if she pushed, but as an automatic defense, it might be viewed as surprising and impressive. "Sorry," Helena says, blanching a little as she knows what she's done. "While I was at Moab I was telepathically invaded quite a lot. It's…I tend to react instinctively now."

Her eyes rest on Helena for a stretch of moments as she watches her reaction, having known some of the torture she was subjected to at Moab. Cat's gaze shifts back to Mona when Helena calms, and her voice follows. "Thank you for confessing," she offers quietly. "I'm impressed by your poise, Mona. When you made the comment about telepathy earlier, I got curious. You took being assaulted by pi to fifty places, a selection of dry legal text, then the second by second recall of the most boring law professor on Earth." Her head shakes. "Nearly put me to sleep just thinking of it, but you, not even a yawn." She shows a playful grin, just before biting into the sandwich again.

The abrupt formation of the wall takes Mona aback. She hadn't really been bent on getting down any deeper, or there might have been more of a disruption as a result, merely sending out an experimental touch— which she now quickly withdraws from Helena. "Sorry," she says aloud and apologetically, blinking. There's not a lot more she can say, where that's concerned. 'I'm sorry you were federally imprisoned and tortured into submission?' Er. She glances over at Cat, amused. "To tell you the truth, I was trying to figure out what you were doing. No, I can ignore what you're thinking if I want to. Sort of. But now you know why I get killer headaches all the time." Not just work stress! Though there is that too.

"It's okay." Helena actually looks a little embarrassed for it, and quickly changes the subject. "Telepaths have it especially rough. I think people tend to be scared of them the most. What is it you're hoping you can do for us?"

"Friendly media contacts are valuable," Cat muses, "you've that going for you, which is considerable in itself, Mona. We've a message to get out, and the more voices it comes from, the better, yes?" A glance goes to Helena then, as if seeking her confirmation on that point. "Telepathy too… Not that we think you're just your skill with words and the ability to see inside other minds, of course. But I won't deny we find those very advantageous. Your ideas on what you can do are of interest." Cat pauses there, her gaze moving from one to the other.

When she speaks again, the tone is a bit more speculative. "I've some ideas of my own about tasks you could perform, and things you can write. One would be helping me to train myself against telepathic invasion. One never knows, after all, when it'll be encountered, or even if it has. The other… it's in the field of ethics. I believe, if we're ever to reduce public fear about us, we need to publish a document of ethical uses for powers and suggest ways things can be handled out in the open, under existing law, with courts and trials rather than blanket indefinite incarceration."

In response to all this Mona grows a little wide-eyed, looking from Helena to Cat, and back. "Anything I could to do to help," she begins earnestly, bringing one bent arm up to scratch at the back of her head. "I'd be more than happy to write on your behalf. Do whatever publicity things you needed, or wanted me to. As far as training you against 'telepathic invasion'? Heh. Well. I'm not sure I'd know how to do that, since my own control is kind of— raw, but er. I could see what I could do."

Helena is content to stay out of that round of training. She's had enough, for now. "Pamphlets are good. Do you work in any other forms of media?"

There's a chuckle, as Cat replies. "Sorry. I've just got a very active mind, Mona." One thing at a time. "We could meet from time to time, and brainstorm, maybe?" Helena's questions has examples of Mona's work coming to the fore, but she refrains from commenting on any of it.

Mona offers a tiny smile to Helena. "I normally don't make a hobby of standing on street corners, so pamphleting would be new for me too. Yes! There's plenty of other things I could do— I blog, podcast, write articles for e-zines and magazines. Just tell me what you need." She shifts her gaze towards Cat, adding a nod. "Meeting again might be a good idea."

Helena nods. "That would work." she says thoughtfully. "Pamphleting isn't really helpful anymore, since the internet can present the information in a more accessible way. I do want to reach out to people, provide means for discussion, get them thinking. Maybe next time you could point us to some of your work?"

"She's good," Cat informs. "I've read all her work." A grin forms. "I could read it all back to you, from the earliest piece to the latest." Her fingers lift the Piccoli's sandwich to her lips, she's about to bite in again, an action which will give Mona another dose of how much she enjoys it. To her, Piccoli's is that good.

"You could just ask Cat here— yeah," Mona answers in some amusement. "But yeah, I can also give you some hard copies when we next see each other, if you don't wanna sit through a recital. Speaking of which—" She lifts her brows, removing her purse from her shoulder so she can reach a hand inside. Cell phone. "Could I get a number?"

Helena hesitates a moment. "The only number I can give you will dump into a generic voicemail." She'll wait to make sure that's alright before giving it.

Looking from one to the other, Cat doesn't comment at this point. She's just eating her food while mentally re-reading Mona's pieces, starting with the earliest she could find.

"Oh. Yeah, that's fine. I understand." Mona blinks, but her fingers hover over her keypad all the same, ready to input whatever number she's given.

Helena offers the number quietly and offers a faint smile. "I'm sorry if I seem distant." she feels compelled to add again. "We just have to be careful, is all.

"What're you into, other than writing, Mona?" Cat asks after she's swallowed the latest bite of food. Eyes come to rest on her curiously. "Me, I like to rock onstage. Something I don't really get the chance or time to do much anymore."

"It's just fine; I do understand," Mona repeats with a quick, acknowledging glance and a shake of her head as she flips her phone shut, stowing it away again. "I'd be as cautious if I were in your shoes, probably. Are you in a band, Cat?" How interesting. Miss lawyer-multiple-doctorates didn't seem the rocker type, at first glance.

Helena grins a little bit. "Cat's a solo artist. Joan Jett meets Pat Benatar meets Blondie. Without the blonde."

"I was with a band," Cat relates, "several years ago at Yale. It was good. But life had other plans. I was pulled into political science and law school, at first I struggled to keep up both poli sci and a music major. After I was done I came to New York looking to link up with people of the same mindset on how the world is going, as well as build a music career. I found a place to play, did a few gigs." Her voice remains wistful, though a slight grin forms at the ending words. "Lately I've been more occupied by things that very much need to be done away from the stage."

"…But at some point, your supermemory kicked in," Mona states as she follows with a slight, growing grin. She doesn't make it clear whether that was a result of active mind-reading or simple deduction, but it's probably parts of both. "I'd love to hear you sometime, if you're ever, er. Not as busy as you are. You've given up a lot to do what you do, haven't you?" she adds, giving Helena a significant glance as well. "Both of you."

The thought that seeps into Cat's head, then, perhaps purposely (or perhaps not!), is that Mona would like nothing more than to be a part of it.

Helena gives the smallest of shrugs. "I'd like to think someday I'll get it back." she says. And not be blown to bits by a Humanis First terrorist. The thought cannot help but leak, whether or not Mona picks it up. "The way we work, we're dependant on each other. The decisions you make, they need to be made with the forethought and concern of whether this will bring harm to others. It's not always easy." People are, Helena has discovered, by their very nature selfish creatures. Herself included.

Tilting her head, she regards Mona in speculative silence for some moments, mulling over that snippet which came forth. "There's time," Cat remarks, "to live out dreams. Tyrants come and tyrants go, history shows us this. While they have, in each case seemed strong and inassailable for a time, they have always fallen. So will it also be with Nathan Petrelli and his administration, along with his successor if he follows the same path."

To both, Mona shows nothing more than a smile, warm and slightly sad. "Like she said, you still both have your whole life ahead of you," she says more gently. "And not many people can say they've done what you have already, right? As I said. If I can help out in any way, I'd absolutely love to." Drawing the strap of her purse back onto her shoulder, she lets a more casual-sounding sigh escape her. "I should probably get going. My schedule for this week is kind of tight. It was a pleasure meeting you, Helena— Cat, I'll call you sometime."

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