Reminisces Over Cocoa


ben_icon.gif cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif

Scene Title Reminisces Over Cocoa
Synopsis Ben, Cat, and Helena chat about various things. There is cocoa. Ben might stick around more often.
Date December 30, 2008

New York Public Library

Ben has just stepped into the library himself, after waiting to see if anyone was around to see him go in. He's shrugging his coat off, still dressed in his medic's uniform. Just got off shift.

Helena is emerging from the makeshift cafeteria, a cup of hot cocoa in her hands. Her brows lift as she sees Ben, and she smiles affably. "You know, you've got our entrance passwords, are you sure you won't consider joining with us crazies?" she asks, taking a sip of her drink. "Cocoa." she says. "Want some?"

Ben considers the cup, nods. "Maybe in a bit," he says, shoving his gloves into his coat pockets for safekeeping. He squints an eye at her. "On the hot chocolate. The joining? I'm not really sure why there's a distinction between groups at all. Not much of one, anyway. Except for Phoenix taking more risks and being more reckless."

"The Ferrymen have a specific purpose, and so do we." Helena says. "Our overall interests are the same, that's why we work together." She sighs, looking not exactly annoyed at Ben, but frustrated in general. "It's not waking up in the morning and saying 'oh wow, let's massively fuck up everything we try'. We do our best to plan, and then people do stupid things, or make stupid decisions - myself included - or things go sideways because you can't account for everything random. But we've done some good, and we have the opportunity for more good." She grimaces, starts to say something else, and stops herself with a sip of cocoa. Safer.

"Yes, Phoenix has done some good," Ben says, turning toward the cafeteria area. There's hot chocolate to be had. "I'm not saying it doesn't. I don't understand why you'd want me to join Phoenix when I'd essentially be doing the same with the Ferrymen. I can always help with Phoenix. I'll come when called."

Helena pads along, because arguing with Ben is starting to become a pasttime. "You've got a point." she conceeds. "But I guess it makes me a little nervous, someone who isn't really signed on knowing as much as you do. Do you know why we have passwords?" The question is curious and not rhetorical.

"Because it's sensible?" Ben ventures, walking along with his coat draped over one arm. "You don't have to give me updated passwords. I just come when called. I don't see what difference a Phoenix membership card is going to make there."

"It is," she says, "But they're also identifiers. Sylar - do you know who Sylar is?" She pauses mid-explanation.
Ben shakes his head. "Nope. Sounds like a guy from Star Trek," he says.

Helena laughs. "That's Spock. She pauses. "Though he does have this creepy, uncanny resemblance to Leonard Nimoy." Shaking her head, Helena moves on. "Sylar is an Evolved. His power is…I don't know how he does it, but he can get into people's brains and see what makes their ability work, and then he can do what they can do. Only when I say 'get into people's brains'…I mean literally. He slices off the tops of their heads and gets in there. I don't know exactly what he does with the brain to gain the abilities, but one of the ones he's aquired is shapeshifting."

"No, a minor…" Ben starts to say, brow furrowed, but he cuts himself off. "Alright. You have a shapeshifter. That's fucking scary." His brow furrows further; this is somewhat more serious than being annoyed because of course he knows Spock's name.

Helena nods. "Yeah." Her face tightens a moment and she shakes her head. "Yeah. He is." She makes a vague 'so you see' gesture. "Passwords are at least one way of making sure that people are who they say they are. I know it's not perfect. Anyway, it's still faulty logic, I know. But if you were around more, and something happened, you would potentially be right there."

"I would potentially be right there if something happened here?" Ben inquires, trying for clarification. "You want me around more?"

Helena blinks. "Well, yeah." The blonde pushes some of her hair back with her free hand. "But if you're not keen, you're not keen."

"I can be here more often," Ben says, glancing over at her. "I want to help. That's what I came to New York to do. I'll be around more often, sure." He comes to a halt, frowning. "What does 'signing on' require? Do I have to sign a list? Get a card? Maybe a t-shirt? Do you need my social insurance number? What needs to change?"

Helena grins. "Updated passwords, access to our database, knowledge of our safehouses, more shared resources…there are some advantages." Her grin gets widen. "I can at least personally promise white Christmases and sunny beach days."

"You didn't really answer my question," Ben says, blinking twice and squinting an eye at her. He does that a lot.

"Two pints of blood and a pinky swear." says Helena with an absolutely straight face.

Ben rolls his eyes and keeps moving toward the hot chocolate. "Uh huh. I can be around more often."

Helena seems pleased, but her tone turns thoughtful. "In all seriousness, there's no oath to swear or contract to sign. It's just about commitment. And the understanding that all these people who are also committed, are placing their lives in your hands, and yours are in theirs. We may have Rickham's unofficial sanction, but that doesn't mean SCOUT wouldn't bust us, or the Company tossing us in cells. Most of us, anyway. And agree to adhere to our standards - no on torture, no on terrorist tactics involving civilians. I try to make sure people do what suits them best, but in the end, we also need to be there for each other if things turn ugly." She looks a bit furtive now, as if she's waiting for him to pick what she just said apart.

Ben finds himself a cup, sniffs it, and starts messing around with a packet of hot chocolate. "No torture. No terrorism. I guess that'll free up Wednesday," he says without smiling. "Now I can finally take that ballroom dancing class. You have Rickham's unofficial sanction?" Say what?

"As if you have any rhythm." Helena volleys, and then, "Oh…well. We kind of saved the president-elect. We got word of an assassination attempt…it's how Alex got hurt in the first place." Again, the amusement leeches away from her face. "Long story short, there's a faction out there called the Vanguard and they have big plans. We gave everything we have about them to Rickham after we got away from the crater at ground zero." It's a very, very abbreviated version of the incident.

Ben sets his coat aside and starts heating up some water, blinking. "Alright. That's… surprising. The part about Rickham. How big is Vanguard?" He pauses. "And why does everyone have group names, anyway?"

Helena moves to one of the chairs, sitting on it and setting her cocoa down. "Why does nomenclature offend your sensibilities so much?" she counters. "Names provide identity. Symbolism. People rally around names that define that provide a link to such things."

"I can understand Phoenix having one. You can put it on banners and have a logo and hooray, rallying point. Do the Vanguard do that? Do they wear t-shirts? How can they take themselves seriously by having a rock band name when they don't even use it?" Ben says, shaking his head. He folds his arms across his chest and waits for the kettle to boil. "It just seems oddly silly. But that's really the least of the problem and I don't think psychoanalyzing it is any help at all, mind you. Just that it's… kind of comicbooky. Do they use the name to recruit? How do you go about getting yourself involved with the Vanguard? Do you torch a community center that's holding meetings for Evolved support groups and someone comes looking for you to say, hey, great job, I always hated those dance recitals, by the way, would you like to join the Vanguard?"

Helena almost snorts her cocoa, and wipes her nose as she peers at him with laughter-weepy eyes. "I think I like Funny Ben better than Surly Ben." she informs him, still giggling. "Just saying, for the record. The members I've had occaision to interact with don't as far as I know, have t-shirts, flight decoder rings, or membership buttons, but you never know."

"It's the same Ben," Ben says as the kettle clicks off. He unplugs it and pours the water in with the powder, setting the kettle down only to realize he's forgotten a spoon or anything to stir with. That seems to puzzle him for a moment. "So you've met them. Who calls the shots for them?"

"I dunno. I bet there's also Bad Doctor Ben and Secretly Cries At Romantic Comedies Ben." Helena muses, but when he asks a serious question she goes for the serious answer. "A man named Kazimir Volken. He's very, very old - part of his ability, I guess. He um," There's a tightening of her features, something like the earlier expression she'd taken on mentioning Sylar, "He touches people, and they turn to dust." More quietly, "He's the one who killed Cameron."

Ben starts poking around for a spoon as she jokes, not seeming to pay much attention. He stops when she tells him about Cameron, turning his head toward her. "Did you see it happen?" he asks quietly.

Helena's eyes drop down to her cocoa. "I saw him kill a stranger." she admits. "It was before Cameron. It was before Cam. I told him about it actually," she lifts her eyes then, her expression not quite settling into an expression of grief or grimacing or anything, as if her face muscles don't quite know what to do with themselves. "He kind of didn't believe me. I didn't see him get killed, I only saw what was left of him after." Her chin juts out, and she takes a long drink of the chocolate, regardless of how it scalds her mouth.

"But you'd seen it happen to someone else," Ben murmurs, regarding her. And then he turns back to his spoon hunt, magicking one up from somewhere or another to stir the powder in his cup around. "So you knew exactly what happened to your friend." The spoon rattles against the side of the cup as he finishes stirring and releases it. "Who stops people like that?"

"He's the head. His arm's a bastard named Ethan. Sylar, too. They've got a whole agenda, a bio-weapon to kill all the Evolved and wipe the world clean." Helena's voice is quiet now, possibly almost too soft to be heard. And very quietly, "We do."
Ben glances sidelong at her, frowns, and looks into his cup. "Mhmn." And then, "If Kazimir is Evolved, why would he want to purge the Evolved? To be the only one left holding that kind of power?"

Helena's mouth curls into something wry. "Thanks for the vote of confidence." She shakes her head. "I don't know. That could be it. It might be a self-hating thing. I can't even begin to try and wrap my brain around it. It just needs to be stopped. Rickham's going to be to that." Again, she sips her cocoa.

Ben raises an eyebrow. "It's good he's with you. He might have the resources to fight someone like that. You don't. We just survive and do what we can and we can't do jack shit if we're dead." He has a sip of his drink, not seeming to mind the heat. They're in the cafeteria area; Ben's coat is on a chair nearby. They're drinking hot chocolate. He's still in his EMT uniform. "So are he and Sylar just using each other until they think they can kill the other and take over? Risky."

Helena shakes her head. She's seated a table, cocoa in her hand. "Sylar was really buying into his thing." she says. "You should have heard him. Talking about the Flood and how it was going to wipe everything clean." Which means she's heard Sylar talking, which means she's been in his presence, and that could not have been good for her.

She's been in her archery area, busily shooting arrows into the target there for a period of time, and now emerging to the more open areas of the library. Cat comes within earshot just in time to hear Helena speak of Sylar talking about a flood. She stops short, her features immediately showing concern and focus. Her eyes lock in on Stormy's forehead, looking for evidence of the kind of injury she sewed up for Gillian some days ago.

Ben has another sip of hot chocolate, cup steaming. "Huh. That's… that seems naive, somehow. Believing everyone will be wiped out except you. Kind of dumb, even." He looks up, frowning. Maybe he heard Cat. Maybe not.

"Sylar's far from stupid." Helena doesn't wear trauma well, especially when she's trying to pretend she's not wearing it at all. "Anyway. Plans. Plans in the works." She tilts her head. "So you'll be around more? Really? But just not wearing our t-shirt?" She hasn't noticed Cat yet.

"Stormy," Cat says when she ascertains the leader isn't showing signs of attempted canopening, "my God. How did you escape him?" She closes the distance quickly, her eyes wide and face showing that set jaw she gets when focused and angry.

Smart people do stupid things all the time. Ben's about to say that, but then there's Cat, so he just nods to her and has another long sip of hot chocolate.

Helena takes a deep breath. "Hi, Cat. Don't make a fuss." Her cheeks start pinkening. "It was weeks ago." She doesn't answer the question, however.

She relaxes, visibly, but still has some of the grr face showing. A seat is taken, and she seems to go adrift in her own thoughts for a time. The image of Gillian with her open wound flashes into memory, and Cat somberly states "I've seen the aftermath of one of his failed attempts." She's empty handed at the moment, her customary gear of guitar case and backpack presumably stashed elsewhere.

"Their brains," Ben repeats after a few moments. "That's… fucked up."

Helena nods. "Yeah." she says, a smile forcing its way onto her lips. "Change of topic! You left Alley Cat and went back to being an EMT? You look good in a uniform. Doesn't he, Cat?"

"You don't look bad," Cat replies quietly. Her features shift into a slight smile, and with Helena changing topic away from dire things, she chooses to not mention other things, like having been carted away from her apartment in an ambulance that night. Briefly, inwardly, she ponders if he might know of corrupt folks who could be involved in such a thing, but it's a needle in a haystack, and now is not the time.

Attention shifts to the blonde a few moments later. "Is there more of the hot chocolate around?"

"Yeah, I work as an EMT now. A lot of my classes transfer, so it's mostly labwork and field hours I need to log," Ben says automatically, as if he is very used to explaining this. He picks up the hot chocolate box hidden away behind him and offers it out to Cat. "Here you go. It's not bad."

"It's better with marshmallows." Helena rises to her feet, going to root through a cabinet until she produces a plastic bag full of small, multi-colored mashmallows and waves it in Ben and Cat's directions, respectively.

"Thanks," Cat offers to both as she takes a container of the cocoa with one hand and reaches for marshmallows with the other. She doesn't drink the liquid yet, content to smell the aroma and let it cool for the moment with her eyes closing. It's a thing she sometimes also does with fresh coffee.

Ben raises his hand and shakes his head at Helena. "No, thanks. Too sugary and not quite enough like actual food."
"Philistine." Helena ascribes to Ben, and dumps several into what's left of her cocoa before returning the bag. "So do you have any other questions?" she asks him readily. "I mean, ones I can reasonably answer."

Marshmallows go into Cat's chocolate as she chuckles at the banter, after her eyes reopen. For the moment she just listens, given there could be more questions coming from Ben.

"No, not really. I'll come around a little more often? There are all kinds of free books here anyway," Ben replies.

"Well I'm glad we can be of service." Helena seems to enjoy bantering with Ben, demurely sipping her now newly improved cocoa. "You'd still need to keep passwords updated, though. I don't want you accidentally shot in the head or something. I'll get you a disposable phone before you leave."

"Do you want to go to college, Stormy?" Cat asks, just before testing the chocolate to see if it's cool enough not to burn her mouth when drinking yet. Then she turns to Ben and nods. "The books are good here. I've looked at a few of them, got still more to look at." A quiet smile forms, some measure of playfulness entering her eyes.

It's almost as if Ben exists in a realm outside playfulness. He was serious, they have free books here. "How do you keep homeless people out?"

"I don't have time for college." is Helena's reply. She looks to Ben. "We're on the edge of the rad zone. Most homeless don't bother with this area. We have more problems with stray animals in the outer corridors than homeless people."

"If you did," Cat speculates, "what would you study?" Her question is calmly asked, and punctuated with another small drink of her chocolate. The eyes close, she enjoys the warmth and the taste of it.

Ben considers that; he nods. "I can see it," he tells Helena. Cat's line of questioning gets blinked at.

Helena blinks a bit, it's like Cat's asking her about her life in an alternate universe. "I have no idea." she says. "I don't know what I'd like. I don't even know what I'd be good at anymore." A pause. "My mom used to say I was her little chef. Maybe culinary school?"

She nods slowly, thinking for a moment, then replies. "Find one in the city and apply, Stormy," Cat recommends. "I still do, though, think you're smart enough for the Ivy League." She doesn't seem to think it's all that farfetched, or alternate universelike. The expression to her face says she's entirely serious.

Ben smiles faintly and thinly. "School costs money."

Helena shakes her head. "I don't need paperwork that people can trace. The only thing on me right now is the fact that I went missing, if my dad even bothered to report it in the first place."

Helena adds, "Also, kind of hard to focus on making creme brulee when life as we know it might end." Her tone is wry.

Her eyes move from Helena to Ben and back again, Cat saying nothing about the cost of studies. She isn't silent, however. "It's good to think about, because life as we know it isn't going to end." She pauses there, to take another taste of the chocolate, then states "I was approached in Central Park, someone had a dream. I made a note of it in the files, and put in a photo she emailed me, Stormy. I think, also, she may still want to speak with you herself."

"…I'd heard there were people who saw the future. One of those people had a dream?" Ben asks.

"I can't worry about school and all this," Helena gestures around vaguely, "Too. This is more important." And she can go to school later, not that she can really imagine it. At hearing she and dream, she arches a brow. "Who was it, Eve? Have her talk to Teo. I'm not unwilling to use her information, but I seldom walk away from her without wanting to punch her in the mouth." Helena doesn't like the way she feels around Eve, and is less forgiving of the singer than others. "Teo handles her better than I do."

"It was," Cat replies, adding "she told me about her dream, and that's enough, really. I made a note on it, about the content for people to read. I'm just letting you know the data and the image is there." And to Ben she nods once, signifying yes.
Long distance to Kazimir: Helena has a Tricky Ricky question for you when you have a mo!

Ben holds up his hand again. "I don't ask questions," he says. "Fascinating idea, though. Kind of hard to get your head around. Can you change things people have seen?"

"You don't ask questions?" Helena pseudo-echoes and snorts. Then, "Yes. My death's been predicted at least twice, and at least one of them didn't happen. The other is still sort of hanging, but since I know it can be avoided, I will."

"I've seen it happen," Cat adds. "I was foreseen to be attacked by men with hostile intent, and because it was foreseen, I was able to go a different direction that night when I left the Surly Wench." Her face goes wistful, she remembers playing there and perhaps wonders if she ever will again.

"Not specific ones about business," Ben tells Helena with a little shrug. "Good to know the future isn't set in stone. Does she ever get lottery numbers? Just curious."

Helena rises from her seat, walks back to the bag of mini-marshmallows, and takes one out for the express purpose of throwing it at Ben. Because she is veyr mature. Then she walks back to her seat. "I think she'd be moving to a de-luxe apartment in the sky if she did."

Her brow furrows. "Was that something from a tv show theme song, Stormy?" Cat pauses in the act of lifting her cocoa to ask the question, as if she were trying to remember where it was heard before but not finding it.

The marshmallow bounces off Ben's chest. He looks down as it falls to the floor with a flicker of weariness before taking a long swig of hot chocolate.

Helena is now tempted to grab the whole bag, but keeps her seat. For some odd reason, Helena delights in torturing Ben. "Don't know." she says with a shrug. "My dad used to say it." She looks to Cat. "Is Eve's vision serious, or something that can wait until the morning?"

"It has to do with bridges," Cat replies. "I doubt we'll be able to adopt any strategy regarding it in the next day or two," she adds, "and probability man has been advised, so… it's just a matter of info sharing at this point." In keeping with that point, Cat turns back to the topic of a theme song. "I remember it from somewhere. It was before 2002, it's like there's a point, a dividing line, where memory became total and before that it was just like everyone else's."

Another pause. "Like someone installed a new hard drive in my head, with better compression and unlimited space."

Ben stoops to pick the tiny marshmallow off the floor. "That's interesting. That's around the time period people started developing abilities —- you do something with memory?"

"Bridges." Helena echoes, gaze growing distracted. "They could block the bridges to keep people from escaping?" she muses, noting, "I think that's the time an increased number of people developed abilities. But there were others before that." Like her mom.

"Or destroy them," Cat replies. "And yes. I don't forget anything since that time. It was really useful, and still is, but it's a sword with two edges," she explains. "Some things I really would rather not remember clearly, or at all." Her eyes focus briefly on a wall as if she were starting to replay something.

"Huh," Ben says, thoughtfully. He turns about to dispose of the minimallow. Tidy is good. "On both accounts. I suppose having perfect memory would be pretty awful sometimes. I can think of lots of things I'd… well, no." He trails off, shrugs awkwardly.

Helena grins a little to herself. Helena has never bothered to hide how much she loves her ability, but she doesn't recall if she's explained what she does to Ben or not. Instead, she sips more cocoa and remarks, "It's not like we can choose what we get."

"It definitely chooses us," Cat confirms, shaking free of whatever was being replayed. "Two sides or not, it's mine, part of me, and I wouldn't want it gone. If I pass near anyone who cancels abilities, I get all confused. Everything is foggy, can't think straight." More of the liquid is enjoyed.

Ben tilts his head, squints an eye. "So I've heard," he says. "I've seen some bad ones. One poor guy started getting lizardy. Lost his job. Lost his friends."

Helena's eyes widen. "I've never seen that before. Everyone I've met didn't seem to…change, physically anyway."

"I've not seen anything like that either," Cat replies. "Most of the changes are mental, the way people deal with having an enhanced tool in their boxes. Although some are both. Either way, it shifts how the world is viewed."

"Yeah. For all of us, I suppose." Ben puts his cup down, makes himself smile. "I'm going to check on Alex and then head out."

December 30th: Recruitment Over Coffee
December 30th: The Training Begins
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License