Perceptive Levels Of Alone


colette_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Perceptive Levels of Alone
Synopsis Not knowing the truth of the matter, Colette Nichols seeks out Messiah at the source the Ferrymen Council recommended: an old friend.
Date January 20, 2011


With it being just after noon, and with it being so cold out, most of Tartarus' employees aren't here yet. No reason to go out and brave the cold any sooner than they have to, after all. The door is unlocked, but there's only one person in the club proper, and that's Melissa, who arrives before everyone else, at least on days that she shows up. Blame her OCD.

Despite her being the only person here, there's music playing, though at a much quieter volume than it'll be later. Just enough for some background noise while she does some work. Inventory of the booze, it looks like. She's dressed in black leather pants and a black net shirt with something between a bikini and bra beneath. And she's tanned. No way she got that tan in New York unless she's suddenly become fond of tanning booths.

And since she is alone, or so she thinks, Melissa is singing along to the music, something she couldn't do at any other time since, well, she sucks. Cats screeching on fences are less aggravating than Mel singing.

Perceptive levels of alone aren't entirely accurate most of the time. In years past, that sinking sensation of being watched or of an unseen presence in a room could be brushed off as paranoia by the rational, or ghosts by the superstitious. Ghosts of the modern age have more weight to them, more vivacious energy and less rattling chains and damnable wailing, even if the latter would be on-theme for this particular club's spooky aesthetic.

Behind the bar and checking the bottles, Melissa doesn't notice the depression of a ghost's weight on the stool behind her on the other side of the bar, doesn't hear the subtle creak of leather over the music. It's only when, in the mirror behind the bar, the abrupt presence of Colette Nichols is suddenly visible does she realize that she may never have been alone at all. Unintentionally, Melissa's present-tense ghost looks like she's dressed for a night out here, in a fire-beaten leather jacket, black hoodie and dark brown leather pants battered and worn with use. Hood up and slouched forward, Colette's dark bangs have over her blinded eye, hiding it from sight.

She's thinner than Melissa recalls, paler too if that were possible. The dark circles around her eyes give her a ghasty countenance, the stink of cigarettes on her clothing and her dour choice of attire makes her seem all the more like some unwanted poltergeist.

"Hey," is Colette's understated, and unexpected greeting. This ghost is, despite appearances, alive.

When there's suddenly someone in the mirror, Melissa visibly jumps, just a little, and turns around abruptly. "Jesus fucking Christ, Colette. Don't you know better than to sneak up on a person? Especially an evolved person who's likely to hurt you on accident?" she asks, brushing a hand through her hair and dropping the clipboard on the bar.

She doesn't seem too terribly thrilled to see, Colette, despite the time since their last meeting.

She grabs a glass to fill with coke, eyeing the woman for a long moment. "You're too early for clubbing, so what brings you to my neck of the woods? The Ferry finally getting back to me on what the fuck Susan's up to? Or is there another disaster looming over us?"

Colette doesn't look up from the bar when she's addressed, though she does shift backwards on her seat, jacket creaking more than the softer leather of the stool's cushion. "Susan? Oh— Only Susan I know's dead or— fuck, I don't know. I heard she might've gotten shot after she sold everyone up the river, fuck if I know where she is, but I hope it's hot." Smoothing gloved palms across the bartop, Colette looks over her shoulder and back towards the door, "redheaded cunt can go burn in hell for all I give a shit."

Snorting noisily, Colette does her best to put a runny nose out of her mind, wiping it with the back of a gloved hand. "I need t'get in touch with Messiah, people up in the Ferry told you might be in touch with them. I've— got some shit I need t'discuss with 'em, so either you can help or you can't."

Green eyes finally lift from the bar to Melissa. "Either way, I won't be in your hair long."

"Sold everyone up the river?" Melissa asks, brows lifting. "This is news to me. But last I heard she was alive and well…and working for the Institute. Recruiting for them too. So you might wanna pass that on. For that matter, more info exchange wouldn't be a bad thing in general. I asked Abby for info on Susan months ago." And from the irritated tone of her voice, she didn't get that info.

Her head tilts then, resting the cup on the bar, her other hand settling on her hip. "What do you need with Messiah though? And yeah, I can put you in touch with them." No need to mention that she's talking to Messiah right now, right?

Lifting up both gloved hands, Colette offers a helpless shrug. "Look, I dunno what they know or don't know, fuck if they tell me anything half of the time. They're too busy telling me my safehouse isn't safe or trying to run shit that isn't their goddamned problem." Dark brows furrow, and Colette considers the Institute comment with a squint, then looks back down to the bar.

"Institute's why I'm here…" Her mismatched eyes flick to the side, viewing a mostly empty tip jar on the bar. "They… took someone important t'me, on the day'v the riots. It— " Colette's head shakes as she shuts her eyes and lifts one hand to sweep off her rook and rake back her bangs from her face. "I need t'get in touch with them 'cause I need their help getting her back. My dad too…"

When Colette finally squares a look back at Melissa, there's depseration thinly concealed behind her eyes. "I ain't got anybody else t'turn to."

The tirade has Melissa shifting slightly, though she continues to look steadily at Colette. "You should about like me with the Ferry. Except they didn't tell me my safehouse wasn't safe when it really wasn't and when I had kids there. The lack of information exchange is a bitch. Was then, is now."

She shrugs and picks up her drink, sipping at it while she thinks. "Who'd they take besides your dad? I didn't hear anything about people being taken. Killed, sure. Lots of people killed. And names would help, here, Colette. I know someone on the inside. Someone who might be able to help. Maybe more than Messiah."

"Tamara," Colette seems unassuaged to mention, since it was requested. "M'not tryin' t'be sketchy I just didn't know if you'd give two shits. I don't know if situations were reversed if I would, y'know? Doubt of the benefit, or somethin' like that." There's a faint hint of a smile on Colette's lips at that comment, fingers lacing together and hands falling down into her lap.

"I dunno if the name means anything t'you. She— got around. Kinda' spooky girl, wild blonde hair, talked like she didn't know when or where she was, or…" a distant, bitter-sweet smile grows where there wasn't one a moment ago. "Like— knew too much about you? Anyway she— she got hurt the night of the riots out in Queens. She was bleedin', bad… and…"

Sliding her tongue over her lips, Colette shakes her head slowly. "I had t'leave her behind. She'd have died if I tried t'take her with me… I saw the white suit Institute folks scoop her up, I— I figure they've taken her to some facility or somethin'. Cat said somebody saw her recently but— I don't buy that for a fuckin' moment. Gonna' check up on that later, I just— I figured I'd need t'get the wheels greased on this sooner rather'n later."

Biting down on her bottom lip, Colette looks back up to Melissa. "My dad got arrested or— kidnapped— I dunno… Grabbed by this guy named Heller, he's an Army Colonel. S'about all I know. I wanted t'see if Messiah'd be willing t'help take the shithead down and find my dad. Maybe pick apart the Institute too, I— haven't really planned further'n comin' here an' talkin' t'you…"

"Heller? Goddamn he gets around," Melissa mutters. "He killed someone I know, and apparently is hunting that person's brother." She sighs and shakes her head. "I give a shit though, Colette. I'm not a total ice queen or anything. And hell, I like to think that if something happened to Kendall or Junie that I'd have people helping me. So yeah, I'll talk to Messiah, but I can't promise anything."

"Actually," Colette clears her throat, folding her hands up on the bar and leaning forward. "I was hoping I could talk t'them. I don't like people playin' telephone with shit that's important t'me. So if you know where I can talk t'one of them face t'face, or can arrange a meeting or something that'd be good. I— it's my family. My dad's almost all I got, and he doesn't deserve this— " cutting herself off, Colette looks down to the bar and lifts her hands to rake hair back from her face again.

"What d'you know about this Heller guy anyway?" Colette asks quietly, not looking back up again. "Who was it that he killed? Where?" She has a vested interest in the man, and it seems she isn't the only one.

"I can't out members of Messiah without their permission, Colette. It's too dangerous for them," Melissa explains, shaking her head. "I'm not gonna screw you over though. You should know me well enough to know that. And I don't know much more about Heller than what I've already said. He killed a woman named Marjorie, and is hunting her brother, Griffin. And a lot of people are wanting to take him down. Can't say I blame them either."

Sliding her tongue along the inside of her cheek, Colette offers a curt series of small nods. "Alright," seems swiftly muttered as the teen reaches into her jacket, pulling out a sheet of reflective gold star stickers, the kind a kid might get for doing super in elementary school. They're slid across the bar, towards Melissa.

"There's a memorial wall down in Central Park, not far from d'Sarthe's restaurant. The one with all the pictures of people who died or went missing in the bomb. When the folks from Messiah are ready t'talk, put one of these gold stickers up on a post card you'll see up there, it's a picture of Manhattan 'fore the bomb. Put two stickers on it if they don't wanna meet."

Colette shifts her weight on the stool to the side, then starts to slide off. "I check the board daily, if I see one gold star, I'll come back here and find out when and where we should meet up. I don't carry a phone anymore, so that's the only way you'll get in touch with me."

The sheet is glanced at, Melissa arching her brows, but she takes the sheet and slides it carefully into her back pocket. "I know the place you're talking about," she says, nodding. "I'll try to get word to you as soon as possible. I know you're worried about your family. Sorry I can't be of more help immediately though."

"Nothing's ever as fast as anybody wants it…" Colette admits disappointedly, brushing one gloved hand over her jaw as she steps away from the bar. Sliding her tongue over the inside of her teeth, Colette turns back to look over her shoulder at Melissa thoughtfully. "Hey— that place you used to run, back on Roosevelt Island… d'you know if anybody did anything with it? Like— I know the DoEA was crawling all over it or something, that's what I heard anyway. But have you been back there or anythin' since?"

Tilting her head to the side, Colette's brows pinch together and then one rises slowly. "Just— curious, I guess."

"Not there specifically, no. But I'm back in Summer Meadows, thanks to DHS and my probation. At least until the end of next month," Melissa says, grimacing faintly. "It seemed like too much of a risk to go looking around, and I can't afford to be picked up, especially not now. And frankly, thinking about it tends to piss me off and make me wanna find Scott and break his goddamn nose."

Mention of the name has Colette looking down to the ground, then smiling wryly. "If you find him, could y'tell one'f us?" Mismatched eyes alight back up to Melissa. "When— the government came kicking in doors on our safe houses, Scott stayed behind at the hangar to delay them so everyone could get away. He… they took him too, few'v the other operators too I think. I— I honestly dunno much more."

Lifting up one gloved hand to the back of her neck, Colette scrubs there before looking down to her feet again. "If there's anything you want that you left behind there, lemme know. I can get to and from Roosevelt Island through the subway tunnels pretty easily. I was thinkin' about checkin' in on the place. See if anything happened to the family that ran the butcher shop…"

"I didn't keep anything of mine there, since I lived across the street at the time," Melissa says, shaking her head. "Some of the kids probably left some stuff. And Kendall probably has some stuff there. But nothing of mine. Let me know what you find, though? And…I'll keep an ear out for Scott, and anyone else they may have in custody."

The lack of concern or surprise at Scott's capture informs Colette well-enough that Melissa may not care much either way. It also indicates that her welcome here may as well have been all used up. "If I hear anything about Heller, I'll let you know, so you can pass it on to your friend." There's a tense furrowing of Colette's brows. "I won't shed a fucking tear if someone else kills him before I can get a chance to… sounds like he's gone out of his way t'make enmies of the wrong sort'f people."

Colette turns away, the edges of her body beginning to fade into a monochromatic display of black and white, then dissolve into invisibility beyond that. "Thanks for takin' an interest, by the by. It means a lot t'me that you'd help out. Y'didn't have to…"

"I help people, Colette. It's what I do. And even though we haven't spoken in ages, last I knew we were friends. I never turn a friend down unless I have to," Melissa answers, even though she ends up talking to thin air. "I'll let you know something, soon as I can," she says again, those words more of a murmur than anything else.

"Friends," is quietly repeated by the partly visible girl, as if the word were unfamiliar or unusual in some way. She arrests the process of bleeding into the background, turning to look back up at Melissa, half of her face ghostly transparent, as if she were made of fragile glass. "Yeah— I guess… I guess we were," sounds uncertain and decidedly past tense. Looking down to the floor of the club, then back up to Melissa, Colette manages a half visible smile.

"I guess we'll see how that's held up," the teen admits in a cool tone of voice, "and hopefully I'll see you later." Which is something of a play on words, as Colette fades into invisibility the rest of the way, leaving Melissa in the same perceptive level of alone that she was earlier.

Only this time, she has something to think about.

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