Natural Disasters


cat_icon.gif s_logan_icon.gif

Scene Title Natural Disasters
Synopsis Two dreamers meet over a common enemy, and then seek the waking world to plot about more earthly solutions.
Date February 6, 2010

Dreamscape: Hokuto's Hall of Mirrors

A mirror smashes outwards, two figures falling through it and landing in what should be a sprinkling of glass shards but seems to have turned into silvery glitter that scatters across luxurious red carpeting. Hokuto's hall of mirrors abruptly has company.

There's a feminine chuckle from one of them, a woman with bright red lipstick and eyelashes out to here, platinum blonde hair in curls and a white dress with a drifting skirt and cinched waist. Before Logan can completely get a glimpse of her, white light floods across her form, and with a wink of one doe eye, the visage of Marilyn Monroe has disappeared, leaving him bereft and blinking. His subconscious probably shouldn't surprise him, but there it is. Lifting his head, Logan gets up as far as his elbows and eyes the mirror he'd fallen through, its glassy surface healed over and showing off a clear reflection.

"Sod it," he decides, collapsing back down. One moment, he'd been fighting a zombie hoard. The next, he'd been ejected back out. Either he'd been kicked out here or the woman had woken up or something, he doesn't know, and isn't going to try finding out.

He's dressed in a black suit, pitch as charcoal, his white shirt pristine and crisp save for where blood blossoms purple in his collar. His scarlet tie has come loose, flopping to the side, and he— looks like he could have better days. A shadow mars beneath his eye, a bruise, and his bottom lip is split as if he were punched in the mouth. Blood mingles through his golden curls and his skin is an unhealthy pale. Reaching a hand, he gropes at the carpet and gets to his knees, gets to his feet.

She was passing through, on her way to patrol sleeping minds and see if a battle could be found; a chance to take on the entity again. Cat's image is of her most comfortable self clad in jeans and a t-shirt from some rock band or other with a guitar case over one shoulder and backpack across the other, but on sight of the Marilyn Monroe image and the man with her, it changes slightly. Suddenly the shirt, instead of featuring Aerosmith, displays the sneering image of Billy Idol.

With the shiny-furred black panther at her side, Cat stops to regard both Vanishing Marilyn and the Man. "It looks like you found it, and had a scrap," she remarks quietly. "I'd like to see how much damage you did to it." Because in the view of Cat, or at least what she tends to project as her operational view, there's no way he didn't dish out far more punishment than he suffered from the entity.

"Good job."

Logan looks up, midway climbing to his feet, green eyes landing on the panther stalking sinuous around the woman, though he doesn't show so much fear as he does interest. Almost as if it were edited into film, there's a shining black and silver cane in his hand, and he uses this to stand up the rest of the way, bandaged hand coming to rest over the silvery wolf head that tops it, one finger lining along the ridge of its snarling nose. "Who knows how much we're hurting it, really?" he says, with a bitter kind of realism in his voice, and he glances down at the T-shirt the woman happens to be wearing. That at least gets him to smirk, though he doesn't comment on it.

"Don't let me stop you, though. They'll banish it from the woman's mind, and then it will hook itself into another, and another." He lifts a hand to wipe his cuff across his mouth, smear scarlet red onto the white fabric of his shirt, inspecting it without particular distaste, just resignation.

"It's true we can't really know if we've hurt it when a battle is won, if the entity didn't just leave to seek a weaker or an undefended mind, but we do know each time it attacks and leaves without driving the person to suicide," Cat opines dryly, "that's a victory. Stood in the way of what it wanted, and as more people become aware, join in, the tide will shift. I think," she surmises aloud, "it somehow feeds on those it attacks. Gets energy and strength from those it terrorizes, became able to more easily trouble people who never used Refrain. I think each time it's driven away, or caused to leave rather than continue stiff fights, it weakens. Withdrawal conserves strength."

"I think maybe we don't need to trap it somewhere, but maybe to build an army for a sudden mass assault. Thousands of minds all at once, telling it to go die, whether invaded or not." Silent contemplation follows.

After a span of seconds for cognitive process and consultation of impeccable memory, quietude is broken. "An augmentor, a telepath to plant commands in sleeping minds to think a word or phrase at precisely the same moment…" Her head shakes. "Crude idea, just brainstorming, really." And that's enough to have Cat still present. Consideration of tactics and strategies to end the entire affair in one stroke.

"It's hard to know how to kill a thing when it exists by its own rules," Logan says, not quite a reassurance, kicking his cane with the ankle and letting it spin up to rest casual against his shoulder. "I did get the impression it only gets stronger the more minds it has access too, though. More material to work with, if you know what I mean." Now, the silvery end of the cane points at her, chest-level, though to his credit, his eyes remain up on her's. "You know Helena Dean, don't you? I saw you, you and your pussy cat," another glance at the jungle creature, his bloodied mouth forming a smile, "in the classroom. What are you to her?"

"You know Abby Beauchamp," she tells him in quiet reply, eyes studying the face and eyes which meet hers with something of a neutrality edging into frost. Veiled within the response and reaction is neither confirming nor denying she knows Helena Dean and has connection to the weather witch. Instead Cat takes the tack of projected aloof curiosity, even as the panther at her side begins to snarl slightly and focus on the man also.

"What about Miss Dean?" she asks.

His other hand goes up, fingers splayed in preemptive surrender even if pale eyes alight with some mirth at the shift of attitude towards him. It dwindles soon enough — Logan isn't in the mood. "I met with Miss Dean some several days ago, asking for her help in something. I don't suppose she told you about it?" One groomed eyebrow goes up in query, though he continues on ahead of the question, hand dropping again. "There's a lot we can do in our sleep, but there's more we can do when we're awake, and I can't afford to do it all by myself."

Nothing in her expression indicates whether she was told of this affair or not. That she isn't spouting details of what it was, however, may be evidence of not knowing. Or simple caginess. Whichever is the case, Cat answers smoothly. "I'm intrigued. In the morning, I'll be awake. You'll find me at the Rock Cellar in Greenwich Village, under the Verb, at noon. I've an arrangement with the manager which allows me to be present before the place opens for the day."

He considers for two seconds, a businessman's assessment of Cat's poker face — the name Abigail Beauchamp is bad for business for Logan these days, but this time, he nods once. "In that case, I'm going to see if I can sleep without dreaming," he says, moving on around— and leaving a lot of room between he and the jungle cat— to meander towards where a large round mirror is set into the wall, ornate silver and a shining surface. He runs his fingertips over it and it ripples like silver liquid, showing only darkness beyond. "And if not, see if Miss Monroe is any good in the sack. I'll see you tomorrow, shall I?"

"You shall," she tells him quietly, as she herself turns toward one of the mirrors. Cat perhaps intends to continue on her journey and patrol for the entity. There's naught else to speak of with him in this time and ethereal place.

The Rock Cellar

A comfortable place, located in the basement of 14 East 4th Street. The red brick walls are covered with memorabilia from various icons of rock and places in rock history, creating a feel similar to that of a Hard Rock Cafe.

The left wall has two bars separated by swinging doors which lead to and from the kitchen. Directly across from the entrance is a two foot high stage with all the equipment needed for acts to perform there. The right wall has three doors marked as restrooms: two for use by women and one by men.

Thirty square feet of open space for dancing and standing room is kept between the stage and the comfortable seating placed around tables which fill the remainder of the Cellar.

The lighting here is often kept dim for purposes of ambience, and when performers are onstage the place is loud enough to make conversation difficult. Just inside the door is a podium where location staff check IDs and stamp the hands of those under twenty-one with a substance visible under UV lights at the two bars and by devices the servers carry. On the podium's front is a sign with big black letters that just about explain it all: If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll, You're Too Late Now!

And when noon arrives, Cat is where she said she'd be. In the Rock Cellar, seated at her customary table partly in shadows to one side, which allows a decent view of the entire place. She isn't a mobster, but it may mean something that she doesn't sit with her back to the door. Very few people are around at present, a server or two and some kitchen staff including the chef. Before her is a pint glass of a very dark brew with a tall and creamy head. She's clad far more formally now than she was in dreamscape. Charcoal gray skirt and jacket, cream colored blouse, hair arranged not to fall below her collar, and heels. It seems she's chosen to display the persona of an attorney and businesswoman for this meeting, rocker chick being put on a shelf with the exception of the venue chosen.

He will find the door unlocked upon arrival.

It's snowing outside, and ice dots his grey peacoat, something of a Prada make with a black scarf bundled artfully about his neck and tucked into the woolen fabric. Hands covered in leather gloves undo the buttons to let the fabric drape free of the black beneath that, a shirt tucked into a black waistcoat and matching slacks, Italian shoes making sleety footprints after him as he moves through the facility. No tie and no suit jacket, but he's just as formally and immaculately put together as a businessman should be. Or a mobster.

Flipping his scarf over an arm, Logan identifies the woman waiting for him in her shadowy section. No cane, but he does have a black briefcase swinging from one hand as he struts on over, some approval for the fact she does look like the woman in her dreams.

A gesture of her right hand greets him, and spoken words. "Mr. Logan," Cat begins, "please do have a seat. Be comfortable." Before the chair across from her is a menu. "The food here is quite good," she asserts, "and despite the early hour the chef is ready to provide." Examination of the fare will reveal truth; while there are lesser cost items such as one might expect in a rock club, there are also more upscale offerings. The pint is lifted, a brief drink taken of the contents, after which she nonchalantly dabs bits of the foamy head away with a napkin.

"I'll pass on the food but I'll take a drink," says Logan, casual, shrugging out of his coat and draping it over the back of his chosen seat, pulling it out for himself and sitting down. "And you, what do I call you, then? I suppose 'terrorist' is an inapplicable to you as it is to Miss Dean." Without checking for No Smoking signs, Logan is already taking out his cigarette case, an expensive silver thing that springs open with the touch of a fingertip. He takes one out for himself, hooked between fingers, and offers it to the woman opposite him.

Smoking doesn't appear to disturb Cat, inasmuch as she doesn't request or require he not do so. The offered cigarette is declined with a slight raising of her hand. "Doctor Chesterfield will do, or Cat," is her answer. Same name as one of the mayoral candidates. Didn't the papers say she had a daughter some time ago? "Beyond that, do labels matter? I fit so many, and some of them are subject to whatever definition one chooses to apply."

She raises a hand and one of the servers, dressed in white blouse and black skirt makes her way over. stopping next to the man. "Good afternoon, sir," she greets, "may I get you something from the bar?"

He does know that name, and he glances up at Cat in assessment, as if to match Jenn's face with the one across from him. Logan only says a ponderous, "huh" before he's sealing his teeth around the orange filter of the cigarette. It's around that that he makes his request for a drink, a gin and tonic — "easy on the tonic too, love, I don't have malaria — and bring us an ashtray" — and he waits until his request is completed to speak. Until then, Logan lights up, lets smoke create a haze between them and slowly disperse.

"Shall I be direct?" he proposes, reaching across to shed ash into the tray provided. "You know, by now, about what Refrain does. It's not necessary, but it lights up minds like Christmas lights and makes them weaker prey for the Nightmare Man to take down. So far, we're fortunate that the drug is contained within the state, but it won't be for long. Once it finds a new market, he'll have an easier time going national, won't he?"

The server departs, returning in fairly short order with the requested drink and ashtray. Then she departs again, seemingly taking the cue of the menu not being opened and studied to mean a disinterest in food. Thus it is that Cat and guest are left to discuss their business.

Her pint of stout, having been taken up and tasted again, is set down followed by a reprise of dabbing gently at her lips. "I'm aware of Refrain," she confirms, her own mental file on the substance being opened for review along with what she perceives those tanks in Rasoul's labs may have looked like.

"I take it you desire to see the drug remain within containment, Mr. Logan, or do you instead recommend the entity be dispatched before it escapes. Perhaps both."

"I don't have much faith that we'll get rid of this thing before the Refrain is out of my hands," Logan says, perhaps unwittingly associating himself with its distribution. Or casually pointing out the connection. He takes a sip of expensive gin and dry tonic, once he knocks the slice of lime from the edge of the glass and into the clear liquid. "And I do have faith that it'll be harder to knock out once the shipment due to the leave the state this week is distributed. It's a deal I've been working on for nearly two months now, and rather than cut them off and damage a very lucrative business relationship indeed…"

He trails off, shrugs, taps off dead ash. "It's too late now, anyway. Best thing for it is to destroy the shipment, while it's all in one piece. When I approached Dean, she pointed out she wasn't interested in being my attack dog, which is fair. And if I wanted mercenaries, I'd hire them."

"What exactly is it you want?" Cat inquires evenly, "and where is this shipment?" Her mind is at work, she perhaps speculating his intention is to see it destroyed while somehow still getting paid in some fashion. He, at least in her mind, must have some angle beyond not letting the nightmare-making entity become stronger. Or, she speculates, he sees it as good business. Word is out there that Refrain causes suicide, which may well crush demand for the drug, along with suicide itself wiping out the current customers. And there are possible others.

"New Jersey, or it will be," Logan states, watching her think without particular effort made to guess what's wheeling around in her head. He relaxes back into his seat, thinking for a moment, before he starst again, voice almost storyteller and coy. "Terrorists are a bit like the weather. Shit happens. A bridge falls and cuts off all traffic between the mainland and Staten Island. Do-gooders rebuild a neighbourhood once used as a hive for drug dealers and junkies. A shipment of Refrain is destroyed in the name of all that is good and pure. It's nothing to do with me and nothing to do with my affiliations — I can't stop it from raining anymore than I can stop vigilantes taking action in whatever direction they fancy."

He pauses, then, letting wasted smoke leak out from the embering end of his cigarette. "I want the Nightmare Man gone as much as any of you," he states, voice level and low. "Forget what I did to Abigail or what you know about me. I want a good night's sleep and sure, I'd like to see a deal through to the end and turn a profit and protect my reputation.

"But I don't like the idea of things I'm doing making him stronger. So I'll give you this information, the when and the where and the who, and you can decide if you like the idea of sleeping minds making beacons as far as fucking Texas."

Her pint of stout is lifted and held prior to taking a drink from it, as a slight smile forms on her features. "I won't cry any tears if a large batch of Refrain ceases to exist," Cat allows. She doesn't so much say she intends to make it disappear, perhaps to allow him plausible deniability, or to let herself claim she had nothing to do with it after the fact.

"I'm listening," she adds.

He sets his cigarette down against the lip of the ashtray, and picks up the briefcase he set down. A few loosened buckles later, and he's extracting a manila folder from within, laying it down on the table surface to avoid both of their glasses. "Names and faces are in there," Logan states, sitting back once more. "Dean didn't want to take action until she had an idea about who I was talking about — you won't find much if you dig any further. Business owners on paper, much like myself, but do what you like. You'll also find the details about the location and the product itself. You'll want to do yourself a favour and shred that when you're done, whether you lift a finger or not."

"You're saying," Cat inquires as she takes the folder and commences to look at the contents, "it would be better if the people mentioned here aren't listed in any records, or known to persons other than me, for reasons of safety?" It's a brief examination she gives the contents, item by item, just long enough to have fully seen them.

"I imagine just the former, but perhaps I'm underestimating your ability to cover your tracks," Logan says, blithely, looking away now as she reads and memorises, lifting his drink to his mouth with a scrape of ice cubes bumping towards the curving crystal sides. Within the folder, there are some grainy photographs, strangers, names she won't necessarily recognise, and then a dock-side address — New Jersey, as promised. Lastly, a list of the order itself, varying amounts depending on the doseage itself, but what it amounts to, when Cat does some quick math, is something approximately 40,000 units of Refrain.

Silence reigns while she peruses, her pint at times being tasted from. The head is gone now, leaving just the dark brew. When Cat finishes going through the contents, she closes the folder and keeps it in front of her. Should he desire its return, he most likely needs to ask for such directly. "This is very interesting. One never knows what might happen to such illicit traffic. Things can very unexpectedly go wrong, product become irretrievably lost."

She's still sticking to vague terms, the theme of plausible deniability, and her features remain mostly the poker face. But a flash at one point goes through the woman's eyes, a glint which suggests the panther is in play and will strike.

Logan seems inclined to let it remain in her hands deemed capable, his own tasking themselves with closing up his briefcase once he's crushed out his cigarette. The briefcase is leant back against his leg, gloved hands returning to his glass and rotating it against the table, offering her a knife-edged smile, pale eyes going crescent. "I have faith in natural disasters." The last of his dry choice of drink is finished, mouth wiped against an expensive sleeve, and the glass is set aside. "Is that about everything we require of each other, then?"

Maybe a bolt of lightning will come from the grey snowy sky and lay waste to all of it. Is Refrain flammable? Something perhaps good to learn. "I believe we've covered matters of current interest," Cat replies. "Do enjoy your day."

There's a sharp scrape of chair legs against the ground, scarf tossed back around his neck and briefcase and coat gathered up. That's all that needs to be said by way of departure, Logan flashing her one last smile before he's heading off, a flap of a coat as he swings it around to lay across his shoulders as he goes.

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