Not Thinking Recruitment


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Thinking Recruitment
Synopsis Discourse on varied topics. And music.
Date March 23, 2009

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!

The Rock Cellar is not yet open for the day, it being mid-morning. No staff are even present within the place. There's just Cat and her guitar onstage, looking out over the empty seats and taking time to think while it exists. There are Things To Do of the lawyerly variety, and some financial arrangements to make, as well as applying her mind to the mission which still needs major issues resolved. Those are put aside for the moment as she places the earbuds to her iPhone in place and taps digits into the display of the phone feature, then taps the call button.

A few seconds later the phone of Officer Elisabeth Harrison rings.

"Harrison," she barks into the phone before looking at it. Elisabeth's voice softens. "Cat! Morning. What's up?"

"The sky, I think," she answers with a laugh. "Busy?" Feet move a few steps across the stage. "I've a bit of food and a pot of coffee here. And I don't think you've seen the Cellar yet."

There's a pause, and Liz says, "Sure… I'll be by shortly." She hangs up without bidding Cat goodbye, and about a half an hour later, she comes through the front door. She's looking casual today — jeans, a loose sweatshirt, a lightweight jacket. Her hair's up in a ponytail even. She glances around the club. "Cat?"

The door is unlocked, she having been expecting the arrival. Cat herself is still on stage, holding her plugged in red Stratocaster. But she isn't casually dressed, no, she's in a grey charcoal suit with peach colored blouse, knee length skirt, and complementary pumps with hair pinned up so it doesn't fall past her collar.

There's a table not far from the entrance on which rests a fresh coffee pot, breakfast foods, and a few copies of newspapers. One of them is open to a commentary on We Call.

"Elisabeth," she answers on hearing the voice, "thanks for coming." Her eyes check the woman out and a subdued smile forms. "Good to see you're not extra crispy."

"No… Bax took the hit to keep me out of it," Elisabeth comments softly. She moves to help herself to some coffee. "Whatcha got on your mind, lady? That didn't sound like a casual call."

The guitar is set down and Cat comes off the stage, making her way across to that table. "A few things, really. Abby told me what happened, I'm making arrangements to see the bar stays open and she doesn't lose her job. I'll set up an account and put money in it to pay their bills and have whatever the place takes in each day deposited to it; once there's enough I'll take back what I put in and Old Lucy's will have funds. Accounts were frozen, but the place isn't being seized."

She takes a mug and fills it, then adds cream with sugar to the dark liquid. "Later I have to be in court representing one of the Ferrywomen. How did that with Isabelle come to be?" She isn't angry, just… confused.

Elisabeth blows out a breath. "It came about because of a lack of intel on my part. I never caught Isabelle's name that night," she tells Cat as she sips from her heavily doctored coffee. "So when it came down the pipe, it meant nothing. I took a call at 4 in the morning, they said 'we've got a line on a mental manipulator, we think she's behind The 36. It's your case, get off your ass and go.' Which I did."

"When we got there, she was inside her apartment — the first inkling we had that she was NOT a mental manipulator was a fireball she threw at me through the front door while she tried to escape out the fire escape. By the time I got through the door and out the back, she was already on the ground engaging with Baxter, and it was only then that I figured out who she was." Liz shakes her head. "It was a clusterfuck, Cat. But I didn't have any options."

She listens intently and calmly, remaining silent until the floor is hers, at which time a question is floated. "It sounds like someone knew she was there and an Evolved person, and maybe knew you were on duty to aim the call at you with deliberate misinformation. Do you think someone is perhaps trying to play divide and conquer?" The story is accepted at face value; Cat has moved into assessment mode.

The open newspaper is gestured toward. "The press seems to have decided We Call came from us, though we didn't attach any indicator of origin to it. We're accused of exploitation. Not that it really surprises."

There's a shrug. "Honestly, Cat? What they knew about Isabelle I can't begin to guess. We were given a warrant for her arrest based on suspicion of Vanguard activity, suspicion of PARIAH activity, and the suspicion of being the person behind the manipulation of those kids. Now, you and I both know she's not a mental manipulator, but Dispatch couldn't know that — someone up high? Maybe. I just don't know." She pauses and admits, "I have to say that with a little perspective on this… the talking heads are right about one thing. There's no way that 35 kids pulled together and calmly decided to kill themselves. It's just not that feasible."

"An arrest warrant," Cat replies, speculatively. "It'd be good to see a copy of that, or at least to know who went before a judge to request it, as well as which judge signed it. Perhaps Wireless can check out that person's background, learn who he or she associates with. It just seems so… weird. I have to wonder if maybe this is John Logan striking back in some fashion."

Eyes travel back to the newspaper. "That they were manipulated can't be ruled out, I have to say. It doesn't seem teenlike. Maybe a suicide or two in scattered cases, but as a group that way… It'd be more like their age group to get loaded on alcohol and or pot and go graffiti the DHS office. Or launch a blind assault in reckless rebellion."

There's a pivot and Elisabeth looks at Cat with the coldest blue eyes that the brunette has ever seen on the blonde cop. "Let me tell you this here and now… the goddamn DA has already set up that basically, NOTHING anyone does on Staten Island will be prosecuted. If this turns out to be Logan? He's a dead man. I'm not fucking around with that asshole any more."

Her own eyes are cold to match. "It works two ways, in fact. If nothing happening there gets prosecuted, no one will ever officially ask what happened to Mr. Logan. But I would recommend baiting him into the open, from what I've learned. He seems able to transmit substances which inhibit abilities and induce moods in others, with or without touch. I recommend a rifle at distance."

Elisabeth smiles wickedly. "Oh, we can go one better. Cardinal's already driving him insane, literally…. if Logan turns out to be behind this? I'll just tell him that. We'll see what he does with it. His method of revenge suits my mood about Logan just now."

Her face shows a touch of chilly mirth. "So much the better if a thing like that is done right, and a problem takes care of himself." Cat lifts the cup and tests it for the risk of burning her mouth and lowers it, seeming to think it a bit too hot for drinking yet.

Without seeming to notice to heat of the coffee, Liz sips it. "So… what are you doing in here today?"

"I was remembering being onstage before an audience," she replies in a hushed voice, eyes focusing on a wall while she speaks. It's apparently one of those occasions where Cat indulges in playing back an extended memory. "Before she died, and I got so busy, then needed to be low profile. Someday," she asserts, "I'll get back to that. It's a shame you never saw or heard me."

Then she shakes it off and looks at the open paper again. "This wasn't a mistake to do. The criticism isn't a surprise, some people will believe and start to question. I may put something together, along the lines of 'methinks they doth protest too much', making the point it's interesting the two who registered just happened to return when the light was shone on things. It's a planted seed. The Founders didn't turn people to the cause of throwing off the British crown overnight."

Setting her cup down, Elisabeth tilts her head and says, "I didn't realize you'd actually done performances in public. It is a shame I never got to hear you." She smiles a bit. "Is that why you're always nagging at me to sing with you? You want to just get up there?"

"The stage, with guitar in hand, is more home to me than any other place," Cat shares. "It's where I want to be, since the first time I heard an electric guitar. I had a taste of it first year at Yale, I fronted a band, but had to give it up when Father demanded I go on the pre-law path or he'd cut off the money. I couldn't make practices and take a full course load for two majors, let alone performances."

"Soon after I got to the city I started playing three or more times a week at the Surly Wench."

Elisabeth looks impressed. "I never realized," she admits to her friend. "So …. why don't you go now? I've got some time, if you want. I can sit and listen." She smiles. "I'd be honored."

A smile forms, albeit slight, as Cat takes a few steps toward the stage only to stop and face the blonde again. "First… Tell me about your former student. Simon." She adopts a curious expression.

Elisabeth tilts her head. "What do you want to know about him?" she asks mildly, taking her coffee to go sit near the stage.

"How trustworthy is he, for starters?" Cat asks. "You spoke of me finding a job for him," she elaborates while moving in that same direction. "So I have to wonder how honest I could, or should, be." Feet climb the stage and she takes up the instrument, running her fingers over it lightly as she looks out over the empty seats and toward the officer.

Seating herself, Liz takes her time. "He's an eighteen-year-old kid, Cat… my experience with him is limited to the high school. But he's hella intelligent — he's the one I tapped to be the TA for the calculus class that I was in over my head with. And he's unregistered Evo, though that's between me and you and no one else. He's worked for that guy Diego before. I haven't met him, but I'm thinking Simon could be trusted. Maybe see how it plays out. Ultimately, I wasn't looking at him for recruitment, I was just looking at him as a kid who could use a hand, you know?"

"I'm not thinking recruitment either," Cat answers. "But I could tell him safely, for example, about my ties to this building, based on what you've said. We talked after you left, he's not just after any job. He wants something of import. So I've been trying to think of something along that line which isn't too involved or dangerous."

Elisabeth looks thoughtful. "All right… well, I definitely think he could be trusted with the information about the building. But I can't help with what he wants to do. I think working back at the security company might be a good start for him. He said he liked the job well enough. And then with the training he'd get under Diego, perhaps having him on board here as security for the haven might give him the sense of importance?"

She muses, nodding. "I could, perhaps, let him work the desk and control access to the upper floors, explain a bit about how sometimes people come there when they have trouble and I give them shelter without question, and make it part of the job he respects my privacy and theirs." Cat plugs the guitar lead into an amp.

There's a shrug. "Sure. I doubt there will be much work involved in it, but … see what he says, you know? If he seems to be doing well at it, maybe over time we can talk to him a bit more about the fact that the place is a safehouse," Liz replies.

"There's that, and what I can maybe think of, given time. You made him TA for a calculus class…" An idea may be forming in her mind. "Sounds like he can probably handle accounting…" Cat takes a moment more to think about it. "That may be the ticket."

Elisabeth looks interested. "Accounting would likely bore him stupid, but …. again, you're welcome to talk with him and see what he wants to do," she replies with a grin.

"He and I can figure something out," Cat replies with a nod. "Maybe I can even ask him to help me with projects. Occasionally I run across someone who needs help managing an ability, learning to control it. Smart people are always good for that, and as an unregistered person he has both experience and trustworthiness there." A few licks are played, before she indulges in curiosity again. "What's his ability?"

Elisabeth shakes her head. "I actually don't know. You came up about the time he was telling me, so I changed the subject for him."

"No worries," Cat answers. "I'll float mine, he can share or not, and not let on I know anything of the sort about him." Then her fingers move over strings and frets, she seems to be improvising a fusion of classical and rock guitar which might be reminiscent of Metallica.

Elisabeth listens to the sounds coming from the guitar and she settles into appreciate Cat's talent.

She has a short time left before needing to go meet Grace and tend to the business of her arraignment on what she calls bogus charges, placed by someone who attacked Grace to begin with and used her money to browbeat a detective who should know better into arresting her. Cat lets her mind drift to this situation, and it colors her play a bit, adds an edge to it. She begins to prowl a bit, as she once did at the Surly Wench when her stage act drew on the name she goes by, emulating a panther.

Elisabeth doesn't watch so much as she listens. Though her eyes follow the other woman, she is instead paying more attention to the sounds the guitar offers. And for just that small while, Liz and Cat both leave the 'what must be done' behind and allow the music free rein. When they both have to leave, Liz offers quietly, "You're damn good. I hope you do go back to it someday."

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