My Lunch With Phoenix


alexander1_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif helena_icon.gif michael_icon.gif sanderson2_icon.gif

Scene Title My Lunch With Phoenix
Synopsis Frontline representatives meet with members of the Burning Birds and have a conversation.
Date March 11, 2010

The Verb, Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

It's an unusual sort of gathering taking shape here, but it isn't beyond Cat's ability to handle. As the eleventh hour commences, she's standing near the entrance closest to the penthouse's dining room. Arrangements were made, the hidden panel unlocked to allow access to this uppermost floor just as her guests approached the security desk and were politely directed to the right elevator. It reaches the ground floor and opens seconds after they press the button to call it down, and takes them up in short order.

She's arranged for the presence of food; steaks are available along with some other options. There are beverages too, of the non-alcoholic sort, given the military nature of the arrivals and it being the height of their duty day. Maybe she had a caterer provide, maybe Helena prepared the meal to indulge her love of things culinary. Maybe it was a combination of the two.

Clad in the costume of a practicing high-powered attorney in expensive suit from Brooks Brothers, Cat is there to greet them at the open entrance doors a few feet across from the elevator.

Helena seemed a bit daunted by the idea of cooking for Michael Spaulding and company. She let Cat take care of all the details, and instead focused on keeping a clear head and focusing on the meeting to come. For some reason the prospect of it makes her edgy, despite the fact that she's no longer accountable for crimes members of the unit could take her in for. And despite the fact that she was quite confident when she approached Michael before. Both times. She's also in a suit of similar expensive cut, trying not to fidget as she stands beside Cat, hands placed behind her back and with an expression of pleasant centeredness she doesn't actually feel. Why is her stomach doing little butterfly loop de loops?

When they arrive, Elisabeth looks a bit more casual than perhaps is the wont of the military types she's running with. Sure, she's still wearing the black-on-black uniform-type thing, with a heavy coat over it, but her blonde hair is loose instead of pulled up, and she's wearing a black fleece headband to keep her ears warm too. Those combat boots she got on the USS George Washington are getting some serious usage these days. "Hey, guys," she greets Cat and Helena as she enters, moving forward to offer Helena a quick hug because she hasn't seen the other woman in …. geez, she can't say how long at this point. Maybe before Antarctica. "This is Michael Spalding, and Adele Sanderson. Cat Chesterfield, Helena Dean." She gestures as she makes introductions.

"You know if I didn't know any better I'd say this place belongs to Bruce Wayne…" The comment comes from one of the three guests Cat is entertaining today, the blonde-haired figure of Captain Adelle Sanderson, blue eyes alight to the ceiling and around the penthouse as she walks behind Elisabeth and Michael. The comment elicits a side-long look from the Squad-01 captain over his shoulder and a merciless grin from Sanderson. "You got a Bat Cave here, Chesterfield?"

"Adelle." Michael grouses with a twitch of one brow, looking back at the blonde soldier once more. Sanderson's smile spread from ear to ear as she walks past Michael, loosening the scarf from around her throat and slowly unshouldering her black peacoat to fold over one arm. Michael offers a look over to Elisabeth, apologetic in expression, Sanderson hasn't been quite the same since coming back from Madagascar.

"Cat, Helena…" Michael's eyes linger on the latter of the two more so than the former. Adelle seems much less formal, waving one hand to the pair as she halts not far from where she'd come in.

"There some place I could hang this coat up? Oh uh, and can I get a glass of water, I've gotta' take my meds, I'm like fifteen minutes late already." Adelle sweeps a lock of hair behind one ear, offering up raised brows to Cat and a fond smile. The pair had worked well together during the insertion on Marion Island, and while Helena and Michael are the odd ducks out for Operation: Apollo, three out of five ain't bad.

"Oh, please," Cat quips with a forming grin, "batcaves only work in the movies. Anything of the kind I have would be a Panther Palace." She won't say it could be called that, what with the security camera feeds piped into one of the various locked rooms. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lieutenant, and to see you again, Captain." Her head inclines toward both Marines in turn as she speaks, just before answering the malarial sufferer's question. "Yes, I do, on both counts." She holds her hands out to accept the winter garments and any others to be taken.

"I've got lunch set up in the dining room."

Helena accepts the hug briefly from Liz, but eyes Cat sidelong for a moment because no, that doesn't sound like it could be the name for a house belonging to an emperor of the porn industry at all. She refocuses on Michael and says with a furtive smile, "Hello again, Michael." Adelle is offered a nod, and a steady, "It's nice to meet you."

Elisabeth seems to take Adelle in stride. Though she and the other woman didn't work closely in Antarctica, her irreverent nature makes Liz far more comfortable than the more strict military discipline of some of the others. She shrugs out of her coat and lets Cat take it with a quick squeeze of the panamnesiac's arm — Cat's not much for open displays of affection — and gesturse through the massive penthouse toward the dining room.

"This wasn't meant to be a formal thing, Cat. I wanted to ask your help with something and to kind of give you a heads-up. The whole quarantine camp thing looks like it may be coming down. I was kind of hoping to get you guys on board with encouraging the base," the people who LISTEN to Helena, for example, "to quarantine themselves in their homes if they come down with it. Or … get word to them about where to go." She grimaces. "I'm afraid it may be too late to avert all-out war if we can't do a little policing of our own, you know?"

"Man, this is surreal…" Sanderson offers with a raise of her brows, handing her jacket and scarf to Cat and taking out an orange pill bottle with a rattle from the coat after handing it over. "I'd heard about Phoenix on the news when I was in active service in Iraq, bunch of people in my squad were all huddled around a laptop in the break tent back at the barracks when your first video came out." Sanderson's lips creep up into a smile as she takes a slow walk past Cat and towards the dining room, brows raised in search of that elusive glass of water.

For all his awkward stiffness, Michael does manage to smile at Helena, even if she's a somewhat difficult reminder of what Cameron died for. "Yeah I really didn't plan on spending much time on anything other than business here. I just wanted to help with a show of solidarity on this. Kershner's behind us one-hundred percent on this meeting, and I sort've… well, it's good if we're all on the same page, you know?"

"Look at the size of this dining room!" Adelle's voice echoes from the other side of the penthouse, followed by scuffing footsteps and the blonde coming to stand at the doorway with her hands on her hips and elbows akimbo. "This place is almost bigger on the inside than it is on the outside!" There's a huff an exasperated breath and like an overly excitable terrier Sanderson is haded back into the dining room, "I love this city!"

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

Her reply to the addressed topics is delayed, Cat having ventured some short distance away to store removed winter gear, until she returns. The topic has caused her to take on a speculative expression, laced with concern. "The entire thing with this virus," she opines somberly, "has the feel of being an engineered thing. By whom, and to what eventual end, is unknown. But it is true it presents the risk of open fighting." Having turned her mind to business, the reaction to Sanderson's commentary is reduced to a muted chuckle. "I like comfort and open spaces when they can be had," she informs. "Please, sit, be comfortable." A few steps later she opens the refrigerator and comes away with a bottle of water which is soon poured into a glass for the Captain and extended in offer.

"It's not that simple, is it?" Helena asks, mainly of Liz as they proceed to the seating area. "I could ask people to stay in their homes, but what if this virus proceeds to really scary levels? Then people are going to be stuck in their homes without resources, or worse, trapped. How well prepared are we to deal with an epidemic? What can we do to make sure any place they go doesn't become a target for hate groups or, no offense," to the two less familiar guests, "The government?" Helena takes her seat.

Elisabeth shrugs a little. "Nothing's ever simple, is it?" she asks with a rueful quirk of her lips. "I don't know if there is anything we can do. We were informed a couple days ago that the CDC is already looking at implementing quarantine camps. Which, obviously, is not news to any of us." Alluding to Rebel's broadcasts, of course, without saying that aloud. "My thought was if we could encourage the ill people to quarantine THEMSELVES if they're too afraid to go to hospital, maybe we could head that off?" She puts up her hands and sighs. "I know. It's ridiculously naive of me to hope that." She shrugs a little. "But at least coming here and making the suggestion makes me feel like I'm trying. I sincerely doubt there is anything we can do at this point to stop it. If the epidemic gets much worse…. there won't be recourse."

There's a diffident knocking at the door. Someone's been back to his old face and back to his old job, driving a cab - though it's a worn Cruiser outside, rather than any kind of yellow cab. Alex's bundled up against the cold, muffled nearly to the eyes, which are red and teary from the wind.

Following the conversation through the room, Michael Spalding's approach into the dining room is a slow one. Distracted, however, in his proceedings by Helena's presence in the room, that seems to be drawing the full brunt of his attention. He's nodding to the conversation, sure, but the look he's giving Helena is more scrutinizing, as if he's trying to puzzle the blonde out in some way. At the knock back by the elevators, Michael arches a brow and offers an askance look to Cat with one brow raised in silent question. He wasn't expecting anyone else.

Captain Sanderson is far less concerned with anything other than her pills. Unscrewing the cap of the orange bottle, she's shaking out a pair of capsules into her palm and popping them into her mouth before thankfully taking the glass of water and swallowing them down with a knock of her head back. "Thanks," she exasperatedly breathes out, nose wrinkling. "Started to get a headache, kind've reminded me I was late on druggin' up."

Then, looking around the dining roon table after she hears the knock, Sanderson adds sarcastically; "Did you call out for pizza or ssmething?"

She seems surprised by the knocking, no one who needs to knock should be able to even get that far without her having been contacted about it. "Please excuse me a moment," Cat offers as she rises from her chair. Floor is crossed, she will first check the monitor which tells her who's outside. Then she opens one of the double doors. "Morning, Al," she offers with a chuckle. "Come in. We're just sitting down to eat and talk business."

"Self-quarantine and movement to designated quarantine areas is a logical choice." Helena agrees. "It's just that I'm afraid of how that can be abused. To be perfectly honest," she looks at the trio of law enforcement personnel, "The government wants to use us, but they're also afraid of us. Whatever progress we've made, that hasn't changed, and given what I've experienced in the past couple of years, the idea of this virus being a deliberate attack on the Evolved, whether to wipe us out or to make us infectious lepers that the rest of the world will turn on isn't that far-fetched."

Elisabeth looks toward the door and raises a brow. And then stops in shock. She hasn't seen that face in a year or more. She didn't even know he had his face back. "Alex," she greets softly. And then she turns back to Helena. "So am I," she admits. "If you can come up with something else, I'm all ears. Hell, maybe you should get in touch with the head of the CDC." She shrugs a little. "Kershner volunteered the number." She grimaces, though. "The source of the virus is still up in the air, but no… it's not completely paranoid to think it's a targeted attack."

"Thank you," Al says, softly. He's even got his old accent back, no trace of Brooklynese there. He pulls off his watchcap, unwinds the fleece scarf he had wound over his face, exposing hair turned back to its proper shade of new copper, though it's barely more than stubble, considering.

"It sounds kind of out there, to me, Helena…" Michael, the voice of reason, chimes in as he settles down into a chair next to Sanderson at the table, eyeing her pill bottle silently where it sits on the table top. "Without any proof of it being engineered there's no reason to start worrying about the hypotheticals. But if you ask me my opinion on this, it sounds like something Humanis First might have had involvement in. If you're pursiong the hypotheticals, they're the ones who have the most— " Oh God Michael just lost all of his words the moment Alexander walks in through that doorway into the dining room, eyes wide and brows raised to his hairline. The golden boy of Frontline blinks twice, shakes his head and looks apologetic for his sudden air-headedness.

"Ah— I— yeah, Hu— Humanis First…" He gives a look towards Alexander again, then around the table. "They've targeted Evolved before, and they've been quiet for months now. If we're playing the hypothetical card a source outside of the government of a small subversive force within seems more likely than anything else. But, like I said, we're just dealing with the hypothetical. Quarantine is going to be necessary, and I think if Phoenix gets behind that message it'll mean a lot."

"Hey!" Sanderson has no problem announcing why she recognizes Alexander too. "You're Officer Knight!" The blonde cracks a smile and waves a hand towards Alex. "Wow, you're like— famous out in the sandbox. My squad heard all about you saving your team from an insurgency a few years back, came back all bloodied and brokenf or it too. Real hero you are, and you were like, one of the guys on the cover of Time magazine from that whole Petrelli reveal. You and Matt Parkman and stuff… that's so awesome…"

She's a little star struck.

There's a soft snicker, and Elisabeth is forced to cover her mouth. It has been a long time since she's seen Alex's face, and the reactions of the FRONTLINE officers amuses the hell out of her. Because you know what? In the back of her lizard brain, she wonders if Alex will be the thing that swings certain people's opinions of what Phoenix was up to. She doesn't let the amusement out right now.
Public> »Envy« Luke says, "He has pictures of the characters everywhere. Background of his phone, background of his computer, background and customized icons of his veoh/youtube pages… sheesh."
Returning to the dining room behind Al, Cat seems about to introduce him, but halts her words when the man is recognized so readily. She emits a quiet chuckle, giving the officers time to collect themselves, before pressing on. "Al, joining us for lunch today are Captain Sanderson and Lieutenant Spalding." The Marines are nodded toward. "We're talking of viruses and how to react in the public eye. A point was just raised, that a government conspiracy to spread it would be hard to prove. And it's been suggested Humanis First might have ties to it, that it could be a combo of HF and a pocket of their membership." She retakes her seat, while offering Al a place at the table where there are steaks, non-alcoholic drink items, and other choices.

"Self-quarantine is happening to a degree, the disease itself works against wanting to be out and about much. Whether or not one believes camps are being built, many people with SLC won't seek traditional sources of medical care. Walking into a hospital for treatment is the same as walking into DHS for registration."

Helena can't speak to what she's seen of Kazimir's virus, can she? And even if she did, the evidence that she knows of has been destroyed, and by her own hand. "Like I said." she continues softly, "I can encourage people to self-quarantine or to go to designated zones…but I won't do it without warning them that the severity of the epidemic could have grave consequences, and it's up to them to choose given the possibility of likely causes. I'm not sure what else can be done."

Helena adds belatedly, "Hey, Al."

Oh, aaaaaaaawkward. Alex, being a natural redhead, is as pale as a pearl. Which means the blush, when it shows up, is just that much more vivid. It's like he's magically forgotten that his face was once on a magazine as an almost literal poster child for the Evolved. He tenses at that look, like he's really tempted to just turn and bolt. Hello, PTSD. "Hello," he says, gruffly, and visibly forces himself to come to the table and take a seat. He reaches for a can of Coke with his actual hand. Like he can magically fool people if he doesn't invoke his telekinesis. His expression's grim. "We've already fought off one engineered virus. Maybe this time they're succeeding." Whoever this 'they' might be.

"Registration's not exactly a bad idea, you do realize. Everyone in this room is registered, to be honest, we don't have any reason to be barking up that tree. People are scared because they've been made scared. Humanis First didn't help that at all…" and Michael tries not to bring up PARIAH in these confines, leaving that unsaid. "People need to see that registration's good for them. Heck, Cat, your own mother was interested in a non-profit organization designed to get registered Evolved scholarships to major universities as incentive. We should be promoting people to go get registered, get tested and get inoculated for the virus. People who don't know they're evolved risk spreading the disease as much as unregistered people do."

"Michael's right, there's tests now at every major hospital in America. This disease could wipe us all out if it spreads, and worse yet if it does jump to ordinary people it could cause so much panic and hysteria. There's no treatment for it yet, but I know there will be, there's a lot of great scientists in the country who're probably working on a vaccination right now. Once it's available people need to be able to get it…" Wrinkling her nose, Sanderson looks between everyone in the room and shrugs her shoulders.

"Our boss says that there's going to be private vaccines for major government workers and public servants and stuff sometime this month, and then probably public stuff a little later. She gave us the number for Howard Lemay too, he's a big-wig in New York City's Homeland Security division and has lots of ties to the CDC. Maybe we could talk to him about some sort've collaboration news campaign? Use the CDC's money and influence to get Phoenix media out there about pro-registration, vaccination and testing?"

Elisabeth does not want to get into an argument about Registration with her boss. Really, she does not. And she also doesn't want to listen to the argument that Cat will suddenly have. She simply says quietly to the man, "Half the people in this room were not registered by choice, and I seriously doubt you want to have the argument about Registration in this room, Michael. I registered because I wanted back on the squads. They registered because there was no choice — Helena in Moab prison, and Cat because of the Vanguard thing. Quite frankly, everything Adelle just said is more reason to be concerned that it's a targeted attack. To force people to register and out them all." She smiles faintly. "But you know what? Until the President of the United States stands up and Registers himself, I refuse to stand up and say I'm pro-Registration. Not when it's forced." She looks at the two people she has to work with, and well… it's not like her views aren't already known by Kershner. And Autumn.

"I'm not by any means in favor of registration," Cat replies with quiet calm, "because it puts a target on people just for being alive, and it puts them at the mercy of bureaucrats who may well be with HF. They decide what tier to place a person in, and by that very fact decide whether or not that person will have name and address posted for all the world to see. The first step in making Registration fit the constitution is removing that public disclosure." Her eyes move around the table, taking in faces and reactions as she speaks.

"However, I do agree the greater enemy is fear. My own research suggested it had become possible to use the mainstream for positive change, though it'd be an uphill climb. Then this comes along, and I have to say it reminds somewhat of initial fears, that registration was merely a means to an an end of rounding people up, much as the Nazis used the Star Of David and steadily, in degrees, expanded the scope until they had concentration camps. We've already seen such a place. And we've fought against modern Nazis." A glass is reached for, she pours cola into it.

"However, I do believe we're prepared to advocate people declaring themselves for who they are, with or without registering. To simply decide they won't let fear dominate their lives."

"I'm sorry, did we give you the impression that Phoenix was your propaganda machine?" Helena's brow furrows as she looks at Sanderson. "Let me disabuse you of that notion. We're discussing one singular issue - the virus that's attacking people like us, and we happen to be in agreement for the most part on what can be done to deal with it. I endured incarceration, psychic, and physical torture because I believe strongly enough that registration needs to be a choice. I don't carry the card because I want to." She then lifts her chin. "If there is a cure eventually, then it should be available to anyone who is ill, registered or not. To do anything less would be against the Hyppocratic Oath of hundreds of thousands of doctors, and well, to be quite honest, if the we're all going to say yes to deciding it's only the registered who get cured, we should just all hand in our membership cards as members of the human race right now, Evolved and not."

The absolute naievete. Alex is staring at Michael and Sanderson like they've just started singing 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot'. But it's a testament to the patience he's learned in the past 18 months that he doesn't launch into a diatribe or bark cynical laughter at them. He just looks at them like he's really not sure they belong to the same species, SLC or no. And then he swings that pale gaze to Liz. "It's almost certainly a targetted attack," he says, very quietly, keeping his hand wrapped around his can of coke. "Once is chance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action. Not to be the token member of the Tinfoil Hat Club, here but….." He tips his head to Helena. She's said it, and better than he can. Same as ever.

"Woah, woah hey…" Michael raises both of his hands, "No one said anything about propoganda machine. Look you know there's going to be minimal supplies of the vaccine going around, it's going to be hard to get enough of the vaccine out to the public and not knowing if they're giving it to someone who thinks they have the virus or is a legitimate Evolved and at risk is a whole other issue. It hasn't crossed to normal people yet, and if we have every single ordinary person scratching up the vaccine we're going to run out, and then where are we going to be? People getting tested for the SLC and finding out if they're at risk is more logical than just trying to throw it around and hope they have enough to cover their bases."

Michael strains out a sigh and rubs one hand over his face, while Sanderson quirks one brow and snorts quietly, as if to imply people should take off their tinfoil hats. "Who's to say the President didn't Register if he's Evolved? I mean, if he's a tier zero he doesn't have to put his name up anywhere and no one publicly has to know he's Evolved, it can actually be kept private in those regards. I don't know anyone who can fact-check the President's driver's liscense either, 'cause that stuff's a matter of national security. If President Petrelli si registered, and it's a harmless power, nobody would need to know if he wants to keep it to himself. Maybe it's a political ploy? Presidents fail to admit a lot of things about themselves during their administration that can be seen as a weakness or could sway public opinion. Like, that guy who had polio!" That guy. Cat is so going to correct her.

"Jesus, Harrison listen to yourself. You don't have a single shred of proof that anyone's engineering anything about this, you're just— I don't even know. People get registered when they get picked up by the police and show use of an ability. I don't know what got some of you picked up and damn if I have a feeling I shouldn't know. But there comes a time when you've gotta stop being Don Quixote and chasing your windmills."

Rubbing at his mouth Michael shakes his head slowly. "This isn't some big conspiracy unless anyone in this room can prove it. We're not even here to debate that we're here to talk about Phoenix using the influence it has to help stop public panic. Scaring people into registering is a ridiculous idea, what's the gain? If more people were registered ther probably would've been less problems with the H1N1 vaccines too, just— don't be paranoid for the sake of being paranoid. Let's focus on what's real and in front of us right now."

Sanderson furrows her brows as she watches Michael, blue eyes focused squarely on the soldier. "People are going to die, there's going to be mass panic, and Phoenix can do a lot of good to help stave off that. If Helena, and Jesse and Cat get up in front of a camera and say it's safe to register and get vaccinated, you guys could save thousands of lives. What's the bigger evil, some potential fear of forcing people to register, or not using the power you have to save the lives of people who're afraid to do what's right?"

Elisabeth is thankful that both Cat and Helena were able to put her thoughts into better words than she herself. She's had enough stress lately that sleep is not exactly the first thing she's getting, and firing off her mouth like that is bound to be trouble. But Cat and Helena have both managed to salvage the situation, at least. In her head. She even manages to bite her tongue on comparisons between Petrelli's little game of "hide the power." She simply shakes her head at Spalding and says quietly, "You know what, I'm not going to argue with you about windmills. Next time around, you fucking go to Antarctica and stop the Vanguard from nuking the world." She's disgusted. Whatever. The poster boy hasn't got a clue.

"They've already said they'll do as we've asked — all they can do is encourage people to step up, to live openly in spite of the fact that it courts all kinds of hate crimes perpetrated against them, and to get themselves vaccinated in the hopes of not spreading this flu to their kids and other people's kids." She looks at Cat and Helena. "Even kids who haven't erupted yet are susceptible to this, from what I've gathered, so… do what you can, please? As much as I hate it… the panic situation is very real. And I know you guys remember how it was when the Narrows came down." She grimaces. "We don't want that again. Or worse. With the weather hitting us on top of this, we need to be able to keep the panic and possible rioting to a minimum."

"There are a number of things I'd like to make public," Cat states, "the operative question is proof, true enough. I'm not interested in whether or not the President is registered. I'd like to see him announce publicly that he can fly, since he undertook to out our existence to the world. But I can't prove it. And if I did, I don't much like the idea of him being impeached and removed in favor of Mitchell. That's worse than the current situation." Here she pauses, as her eyes settle on the female Marine.

"You were on the carrier, Captain. You may have already been there when Agent Kershner and General Autumn gave their briefing, and heard the mention of a bioweapons attack which intentional miscommunication prevented the Feds from acting against. We, instead, managed to stop it. In doing so, Helena and Al were arrested and sent to Moab. The bioweapon mentioned was an engineered virus. And you've also seen what was happening in Madagascar." The glass is lifted, contents used to create a brief pause and keep her throat from going dry.

"So you've heard firsthand evidence, from a credible source, about such things, Captain, yes? But… we are indeed digressing. The larger issue here is how to carry out the Preamble's charge. To wit… insuring domestic tranquility, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. The first step in this is encouraging people to behave responsibly if they become ill. To not be out in public, and to seek treatment if they do, come what may. The overall fact is if they don't, they may well become dead and save the government from placing them in camps, if that's the intent." They can, Cat realizes, always overrun the camps and free prisoners. Inspire public revolt if need be by proving the existence of them. At least they'll have live bodies to do it with.

"We'll help direct public attention to the logical, sensible precations involed in dealing with an epidemic." Helena interjects quietly. "But we will do it on our terms, under our banner. We use the power we have to give people information and let them make choices. That is the truest freedom we can give them, and if you're going to insist on only vaccinating people who register, well. I've already stated my opinion on that."

"That's the rub," rasps Al, quietly. "It's a matter of the lesser of two evils. What might and probably will be done with the information gathered, versus the very real threat that it will wipe us out on its own. Self-propelled genocide," And then he pauses, and after a mouthful of soda, notes, "I wasn't even arrested. I was just abducted. No Miranda rights, no phone call, nothing like that."

Exhaling a sigh, Michael leans forward and rests his head in his hands as he rakes his fingers back and up through his hair. "This isn't going to go anywhere we just keep going in circles. Look, I wasn't a part of that mission some of you were on, so I don't have all these details you keep talking about. To be honest, it's not what we're even debating here. I'm not making any decisions I'm just a guy who came down here at my boss' request because she thought Phoenix could step up and make a good statement to help direct people towards what the CDC is going to decide on, and she's pretty sure they're going to require a test and registration before you get the vaccine. You can't vaccinate people who are already sick, so reinforcing self-quarantine's a good idea…"

"But," Sanderson chimes in between Michael's thoughts, "letting them know a big cage isn't going to come down on them if they register would go a long way. We're not here on any sort've official anything, we're just here as civilians… our job's SWAT stuff, not this. We're just— we're all worried and our boss is worried, so it's doubly so."

Sanderson purses her lips and looks askance at Elisabeth, then settles her eyes back on Cat. "Think about at least trying to make people less afraid of registering. We'll worry about protecting them, s'what FRONTLINE is here for, after all. Protecting people." She manages a faint smile at that, trying not to indulge the talk of the negineered virus much, since that was then, this is now, and she's just sort've a wind-up toy that runs ahead towards danger without being deterred, if her actions in Madagascar were any indication.

"I appreciate the offer for food, Cat, but I honestly don't know how much more we even have to discuss. You guys seem to have your heads set on a specific course of action, and I dunno of Mike and I can really help change that any more… all we wanna' do is save lives, that's all I ever wanted to do. I think we can at least agree on that being something we can all stand behind."

Well, that at least, Liz can't argue. Not a bit. "Thanks for letting us come by, Cat." Elisabeth wasn't sure it was going to go well, but …. it didn't go as poorly as it could have, she supposes. "We really need to get back." There's a faint grimace. "The ice situation is getting worse and we're on-call with the Guard." She moves then to head back toward the closet to fetch our own jackets, pausing only long enough to ruffle Alex lightly. "Good to see your face again, Alex." She nods to Helena and Cat slightly. If everyone wants to keep arguing, she's going to stay out of it. She figures she's chewed on shoe leather enough for this run.

She's quiet for a time, drinking from the cola and taking food onto a plate as others speak and she listens. Cat's thoughts go over the whole thing, causing a speculative expression to form. She knows things she isn't saying. Helena's been told those things, and Elisabeth's been told some of them. There may be an elephant in the room. Or a shark, whose presence she feels but doesn't speak of. Efforts to verify whether or not 510 and Shanti are the same thing remain in progress. Where the four men she was told of are and what they're doing remains unknown, mere suspicion and likelihood without proof or intel to act upon.

She could tell the two Marine officers, extend them trust enough to see how they react, but… No. There's no way in hell she's going to let people who work for Sarisa, other than Elisabeth, have any clue she's been advised on a group of people including Gregor and Hector Steel… Both of them taken into Federal custody in an operation Sarisa led. Whatever's up, she can't risk Sarisa knowing she has even the first clue. So she keeps it to herself.

"We'll put our heads together and come up with a strategy," she states eventually. "Meanwhile, enjoy lunch. Starving ourselves helps nothing, and being hungry works against clear thought."

"We'll do what we can, in our own way." Helena's got some strong feelings about this, and if Sanderson was hoping for a full on-board or the idea of Phoenix becoming a poster group for Registration…yeah. Not happening.

Leo….Alex….that guy. The Sith. He wants a cigarette. Right now. But he doesn't, out of respect for Cat. The Marines get Alex's best blank pokerface….though it's creepily more like an absence of reaction than a real attempt at concealment. Like….he just doesn't care.

My Lunch With Phoenix, it could be a catchy title for a book, Michael muses to himself as he looks up across the table to the tension in the air and Harrison disengaging herself from the conversation. Exhaling a sigh, Michael slowly leans back into his chair with a creak and lifts his brows up, folding his hands in his lap and shaking his head.

"At least we agreed on something."

That's a start.

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