Of Mice And Cats


abby_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Mice And Cats
Synopsis Sometimes the best laid plans only seem to go awry.
Date August 8, 2010

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!

Sunday evening, as clocks cross the threshold of 17:00, Cat is up to something. She's made phone calls to two women in different parts of the city and invited them to join her here. Her own dinner has been ordered and is before her, partly eaten, a dark brew with creamy head by one hand. On the table are an assortment of books, one of which is being perused while she enjoys the meal.

When and if the invited women arrive, they'll find Cat seated at her customary table, the one in shadows near a wall which allows her to keep a clear view of the entire place while not so much calling attention to herself. There will be servers ready to greet them when they arrive, Doctor Chesterfield having told the staff she's got guests coming.

The Cellar isn't empty, but neither is it overrun with customers at present.

It had been good for Elaine to get out. She'd been a bit restless and out of place of sorts lately and it hadn't even been a week since the events that caused the bruising that covered most of her skin. It was fading a bit, for which Elaine was grateful, but the worst ones around her throat were still visible. If she had the guts to wear a turtleneck in summer, she likely would have. Peering around the Cellar, the server shows her to where Cat's table is and she moves to carefully take a seat. "Hi!" At least her attitude is cheerful.

The greeting is pleasant when spoken as Elaine arrives. "Good to see you. Thanks for coming." Menus are present, the server having informed Elaine of this when bringing her to the table and asked if she cares for anything to drink. Cat's eyes lift from the book she's been working through by looking at each page just long enough to see all of it, and rest on the tall red-haired person. When they reach her neck, those eyes linger and a scowl forms on her features. "Someone tried to strangle you, Elaine?" she asks with a tone which suggests she'd be quite willing to perform some severe harm against that person.

At the same time, however, some of the other books in her stack are placed in front of Miss Darrow. Back and forth dictionaries for Portuguese, Ukrainian, Greek, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese, in fact, with the top being Russian.

Elaine made sure to order some Sprite before she sits down, but she offers a small smile while the menu is glanced at. "Yes, but it's already taken care of." She notes, peering at the menu before making a quick decision. The stack of books is in front of her, and she takes a moment to pull the Japanese one out of the stack, sliding it back over. "I already speak Japanese fluently." She states with a bit of a grin.

Harried, in a hurry, lots of things to do on days off. So the unexpected trip to the Rock Cellar was squeezed in because it's Cat and it's usually important when the panmnesiac calls. Sunday best, pale flats, hair back and up in ways appropriate for church where she's most likely been part of the day, when she enters and is directed towards the table where the mistress of the building has ensconced herself in addition to someone else that Abigail is passingly familiar with, she can't help but frown.

Partly because of who it is and partly because of the mottling on the woman's skin. "Elaine, Cat." Cat may have the world's best memory, but Abby in her own right has a memory for names, faces, and food orders. Declining a drink, purse put into her lap as she takes a seat, there's a glance to either. "Please tell me we are not staging a Magnes intervention over his childish stunts in his white costume because I think that's already been done and I have no desire to go over that with him again. If he hasn't listened to me by now, he ain't gonna be listening to me now."

That the matter has been handled is given a brief consideration, Cat not speaking further of matters involving stalkers and what becomes of them. She instead forces away thoughts of Jennifer Chesterfield having been garrotted by a Vanguardite, to focus on something far less harrowing. She watches Elaine pick up the Japanese book, and moves to draw her attention to the Russian dictionary. Her mouth opens as if to speak, but no words come, the moment coinciding with Abby's arrival.

"Abby," she greets in switching gears, "thanks for coming. I see introductions aren't necessary, and no, this isn't about Magnes Varlane at all."

Elaine is then addressed, in the language that book she's trying to draw focus upon. "«Do you already know this one too?»" It's a test to witness, if the language is unknown, the Scotswoman picks it up as easily as she did Dutch when they first met.

There's a tiny bit of a frown that tugs at Elaine's features as Abby mentions Magnes. It's clear that the topic was obviously a little close to home. "He's fine." She states firmly, though she's not about to say anything more on the topic. She notes the Russian, fingers brushing the dictionary. "«A little.»" The response comes before she speaks in English again. "Russian's one of the ones I'm studying currently. Chinese as well." She notes out of the stack of dictionaries.

She catches what Elaine said, a glance to Cat then to the books. Abigail's brows furrow, a frown coming to her face again. Language games. She was brought here for… language games? "Are you… thinking you might get Noah to bring her, Cat? I don't know that he would." She quietly points out, in English, to the panmnesiac.

Eyes rest first on the redhead, their quality speculative and curious as Cat frames a reply. "How fast can you learn it, Elaine?" She anticipates it may be very quick indeed, given what she's been told. Then they move to Abby, showing a lack of intention to speak about Noah Bennet. More an intention to not even let on this has anything to do with the man in horned rim glasses. "You said you wanted to learn Russian, Abby. I think Elaine can help you get there, and might be more natural with the accents than I am."

She lifts her glass and imbibes a small amount of the dark brew within.

"If I study seriously and can hear someone speaking it, films, audio recordings, otherwise… I can speak it as fluent as a native in two, maybe three days." Elaine states. "That's about how long it took me to learn Japanese. The others I don't particularly keep track of how quickly I learned them." She lets the statement about Noah roll off into the corner, mostly because she has no idea who Noah is or what Abby might be talking about. Secret things are secret, after all. "You want to learn Russian?"

"You have got to be kidding me."

Abby looks at Cat, almost in disbelief. "I already have teachers, Cat. I have people teaching me how to do it, and I don't have the time to take on yet another person, even if they can… learn Russian in three days. I have too many things on my plate to squeeze in another one or two hours and do my job, open my bar, visit Kasha and all the other things that are on my plate." Abby turns to Elaine, a hand up.

"No offense intended, in the least, if learning languages is your God given gift then I am so glad for you to have gotten such, or if you got a memory like Cat's. More glory to it all. But… I think I'm very well fine with who I have. I'm not gonna learn fast as you or fast as Cat here, in the time I have to learn." The Medic's attention turned right back to Cat.

"I can do things on my own, Cat. I really do appreciate the effort that you have put into finding me a teacher. Next time, you might just ask if I had found someone, over the phone because «I am learning Russian on my own»" Hands settled in her lap and a sigh. "Was there anything else of import while you have me here or should I be leaving you and Elaine to discuss languages?"

She watches Abby while the rant is ongoing, Cat's face for the most part impassive, as if she were thinking 'are you done yet?' "I might've," she replies quietly, "and I certainly don't have any misconception you're helpless. It's unfortunate if it now appears I do. This applies to more than Russian, though," she tacks on, "she can quickly learn and probably teach any language." Which might make her a candidate for the schooling program the Council is commencing. "Anyway," quoth she while lowering the glass, "I was curious to find out how good she is and maybe help you at the same time, Abby. And the food is excellent here too."

Turning to Elaine, she states "Not to be talking about you as if you weren't here, of course."

Elaine's hands ball into fists for the moment, chewing on her lower lip as she notes Abby's protest of her being able to learn Russian just fine. She distracts herself for the moment with the stack of dictionaries, a slight frown touching her features. "I apologize if I've done something to offend you, but that doesn't mean you have to act like I'm the last person on the planet you'd want to learn from. I'm good at languages, yes, and I honestly think I'd be a decent teacher. If you don't want me to teach you, you could just politely say so and not act like I've got the black plague, okay? It hurts." She rubs her neck, self-conscious of the bruises before falling into silence again.

"That's not it, not in the least and please don't think so. There's something going on here Elaine that you aren't privy to. What Cat is neglecting to tell you is that while you can learn it in three days that would leave me with less than a week to learn what little of it before I'm gone. Like I said, I've been learning it since the day I found out what I was going to Russia. I don't literally have the luxury to take on another teacher more than the ones that I already have. I work in an ambulance for three days on, one day off, twelve hours straight, then I have a bar that I'm re-opening and it sucks up my spare time. I already devote two of those hours left over to learn as much Russian as I can."

The comment about the food being good is brushed away. She's never really been down here save for a time or two when she was called down. "I need to be able to sleep at some point Elaine, and I have a man in my life whom I love and people who depend on me. Like I said, right now, I don't have the luxury, but if I find myself in need, I will be sure to look you up."

The blonde's jaw is tight. "And I surely don't lack faith in your ability to teach, but in myself and my ability to learn. It don't come easy to me and I know I won't be fluent or even near capable of holding a conversation when I go, because I'm not yourself, and I'm not Cat, and I have a strong accent as it is."

Gathering her things, Abby stands. "And as you've discovered Elaine, I have the wonderful ability of sticking my foot in my mouth at every occasion in which I can. I have perfected it unknowingly into an artform. I'm going to go now. You both have a wonderful evening, I gotta get on with my day."

Eyes move from one to the other as their voices are heard, Cat's attention coming to linger more on Abby as she expresses her mind. A choice is made not to try defusing things further here, the blonde might be getting angry and that could lead to a literally fiery situation. "Take care, Abby." Nothing is said or done to try convincing her to stay.

Elaine studies Abby for a long moment and offers a small nod. "I apologize… I didn't know you had such a short time-frame. Anyway… good luck with your trip." She isn't sure of the entire situation, but she's not going to be rude about it.

'God bless Cat, Elaine. I'm sure I'll need all the luck that I can muster. Y'all take care now." The same small nod offered, politeness and manners dictating such as the medic heads off to the exit to leave the women to their language conversation or whatever they may do.

Quiet is maintained until Abby's away from the table, Cat taking the chance to partake of liquid from that glass. Silence is broken with "That was unexpected. Part of my idea was you might have more time to spend with her in the effort than others might. Immersion, having someone with her as much as possible just holding conversation in both languages, would help it stick in her mind."

What's done is done, she moves on. "How does your talent actually work? I pick up languages through pure memory, read books like this to get the vocabulary in comparison with English down, then use other texts to cover things like noun declensions, verb conjugations, and grammar. Time is decided by how free I am to do the reading, and the structure itself."

The glass is lifted and drawn from again, a chuckle coming as she returns it to the table. "Eastern languages are the worst, the way they're written from right to left. My brain defaults to the Western standard."

"Well, I've had a few conversations about different theories of how it really works, what it is behind how I do what I do… so far as I can understand, it's like figuring out the pieces to a mathematical equation… my brain just understands how they all fit together once I study the problem long enough to see how it differs." Elaine reaches for her drink, sipping quietly.

"If I'm purely reading, I can pick up the written language pretty quickly… I have to learn it in different media. If I've never heard the language before I won't know how to pronounce it, but I could understand all of the text… I just have to connect that piece to the audible form. So… hearing it, my brain begins to process. And it's not always that I have to translate it back to English first. It's kind of unlocking it. Once I figure out how things conjugate, things like that, everything just starts to click. Like a puzzle."

Her head tilts, Cat is comparing Elaine's method to her own. "General pronounciation isn't hard, dictionaries break things down well enough, but it's all book learning, really. Having the knowledge doesn't equate to speaking as if it were my first language. I can get close, but there's always a telltale accent. It sounds like your mojo is a combination of brain performance and spoken aptitude."

Elaine nods slowly. "Yeah, guess that makes sense. Either way, I have to combine them to learn everything. I can make it sound pretty good, but I've an ear for accents, so I can usually perfect it so I sound native. That takes a while, though, cause it's not really part of my ability."

"It's got immense potential," Cat muses, "I could hand you a copy of something by Dostoevsky and you'd be able to pick reading the language up from that alone, it seems." Elaine is asked if that's correct or not by the expression shown her in saying so, while she spots the server coming with the redhead's meal.

There's a quick nod from Elaine. "That shouldn't be a problem. Might take a little bit, but I could get through it." She explains. "Don't actually need much of a reference, but if I do it'll pick up quicker. Like.. reading a dictionary." She nods towards the stack.

"The Russian-English dictionary is for you, Elaine," Cat informs with a nod toward that book. "The rest I haven't even begun to go through yet." She's for whatever reason educating herself on chemistry first, if the book by itself near her is any indication. "And I wonder…" She goes quiet, trailing off there to let silence prevail as Elaine's meal is provided by that server, to keep the conversation private.

The dictionary is nodded at again. "Thank you." She murmurs, looking up as the server arrives with her food. Elaine smiles softly, offering a small nod and murmur of thanks before she watches the server leave. "You study this stuff a lot, then?" She notes the other books.

"I read a lot," Cat remarks with a mild smile showing, "it helps keep me busy." But she won't let the conversation focus on herself very long, demonstrated by seguing back to Elaine. "Lots of things are languages," she opines speculatively, "math's been called a language in some circles, even." Look out, she's getting ideas.

Elaine gives a bit of a nod. "That's something that's been brought up. If my ability is really so formulaic, then I might be a bit of a math genius and not know it. Who knows where things could go from there."

She intends to find out, but not so much now. Cat picks up her fork and proceeds as if to commence eating, pausing before taking that bite to comment "You got lucky when you registered, Elaine, not to get a clerk who'd decide you're a security risk because you can break written codes just because you see them and have you locked away."

Calm as can be, with no evidence she disbelieves that statement showing, the fork enters her mouth and exits without the food, lips are closed and chewing occurs without sound. The panmnesiac conducts herself according to Emily Post.

"Didn't really think I had a choice about registering, anyways. I'm an orphan. You get thrown into the foster system and you don't get a choice about your life, usually." Elaine purses her lips. "Besides, unless you really think about how the ability works, it doesn't seem like code breaking. It's more like, 'Oh, cool, you can learn a language in a few days, so you can just talk to random people in random languages'. I hadn't even thought about the written codes until more recently."

Her head inclines in a nod while chewing, speech reserved until her mouth is empty. "True," Cat agrees, "not having the choice, which is sad. The point is more about the power held by clerks who conduct the process. Get one with a prejudice against us, one just looking to lock people up, and disaster happens." Silence again as she takes another bite and chews carefully, letting what she said just float out there so she can observe whatever reaction it draws.

Elaine frowns a bit at that. "It's not particularly fair that people would consider themselves better to be the ones to judge who gets to live life and those that have to be locked up. You'd think a job like that would take a little more… screening, you know? I mean, are there even any Evolved working as clerks? Probably not, or few, if any." She moves to take a bite of her food.

"I don't know," Cat offers as answer to the subject of clerks having or not having mojo. She doesn't disagree on the issue of fairness, bias is addressed by a simple statement. "Prejudice shows as hatred in the actions people take and the things they say, but often the biggest truth is fear fuels it all."

From there she seems unintent on continuing that vein, opting instead to enjoy her meal and what her glass holds. There may be other topics like colleges and life in New York as compared to Scotland while the two dine, but likely not further discourse on political affairs.

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