bf_kara_icon.gif sharrow_icon.gif

Scene Title Reverence
Synopsis Kara and Sharrow discuss strategy.
Date June 8, 2019

Sunken Factory


Pine Barrens, New Jersey

"I want to split the teams between here, here, and here," Kara Prince points out each marked location on the map with a general wave in its direction, her attention down on it rather than the person she's providing the explanation to. "Half dozen to a pod. A and B on the map are where I want yours to go." She pushes herself to a standing position again, the oil lamp hanging above the table flickering.

"If they're there and we send them scattering, we've seen them and can track them down from there. If they're entrenched, we have multiple vantage points on them." What goes unspoken is that this advance might end up how so many others have — empty-handed. She's tired of that being the case. "We've seen them move in and out of this area recently, and they've come through more than once. The potential is high of this either being a safehouse for them, or a cache for supplies."

Finally, she shifts her gaze to the side. "We're closing in on them." Of that, Kara is certain. After a pause, she ventures, "Do you have any questions?"

Charles Sharrow isn’t a strategist, but he’s stood by enough in his many years to know a good one when he’s in their presence. Looming over the map as he is, his gargoyleish posture and the stark lighting of the sunken factory makes him look more like something carved from stone than a person. Stone riddled with the cracks of time. He makes a noise, soft and thoughtful in the back of his throat, two fingers tracing a dirt road without saying anything of their significance.

When he looks up to Kara, it is with a silent and assessing stare. Only when he’s found whatever it is he’s looking for does he move away from the map, stepping more fully into the stark overhead light cast by a ceiling-mounted lamp. “You’ve been given a great deal of responsibility, Ms. Prince. Eileen must trust you a great deal to have someone,” he motions to her with one hand, “such as yourself, responsible for so much.”

Kara's eyes narrow a touch, the fingertips of one hand coming to rest on the edge of the table. Something has bothered her for a while about the old man, though it's taken this long to pinpoint it precisely. She looks for a moment toward the door, not out of consideration for who might enter, but in consideration of something that lies beyond.

"I think you misunderstand the way things work around here, Mr. Sharrow, and I've been trying to find the right time to say it," she states, voice light as she can make it. There's still a crispness, resolute and inflexible to her demeanor that persists. "We operate communally. Gray's voice carries weight, but it's the same weight Lang's does— that Ramirez's does. People look to her," and Kara looks back to him directly as she says it. "They respect her, but she isn't a singular leader here."

Her head cants ever so slightly to the side. "I understand you're fond of Gr— of Eileen," The concession in language is made grudgingly. "and I fear that nuance has been lost on you."

“Is it?” Sharrow asks, one brow slowly raised. “I do not mean to question the written structure of Providence, but that isn’t what I’ve seen since I’ve been here. Mr. Lang seems content to pay attention to his vehicles, to his daughter and his partner. I have scarcely seen my old friend Iago, nor Mr. Steel, nor Mr. Danko.” The latter two of whom Kara didn’t even make mention of. “Since the moment I arrived, Eileen has been the sole voice of authority. It is she who has been making the decisions, she who has been at the forefront of each and every conflict, she who greeted me, and she who has put responsibility on the shoulders of others…”

Sharrow crosses his arms and looks at Kara, chin tilted up. “Every good leader has a council, Ms Prince, but that does not mean every voice in the council is held equally. Even if the intention is as such. Try as she may, Eileen cut her teeth on a different form of leadership, and if history has written anything about her it is that she became the leader, even when surrounded by others of equal,” he says with a raise of one brow, “authority. Do the people of Providence see each of the Horsemen as equal? Or do they, internally, see the one who speaks to them individually as the leader?”

Sharrow shrugs, spreading his hands slowly. “Perception is more powerful than reality, when it comes to community and politics. Intention only matters in a courtroom.”

"It's more your insistence about it that's problematic," Kara voices after a beat, swallowing down any misplaced humor she has at the weave of his words. Because this is, after all, quite serious. "Your unwillingness to back down from noisily declaring her as a sole leader in the community, a community over which we do not preside, is problematic." It's not often she leans hard into her words, but she'd hit him with them if it were physically possible.

"Why are you so interested in putting her on a pedestal?" is practically a rhetorical question, given there's little room to answer it in. Because she goes on with: "It's odd. Like you have an outside perspective in looking in on Providence, in a lot of ways, I have the same one looking in on you." Kara's eyes narrow a touch, her posture still open. "Your swing in philosophy is rather drastic. It seems like you've gone from feeling all Evolved should die, to thinking all Evolved are…"

She lets out a little laugh beside herself finally, because it sounds silly to say out loud. "Well, that they're gods."

"You've gone from one extreme to the other, and from here it feels like you're pretty interested in laying your hands on her feet." she goes on curtly. "She's just as human as you and I, Mr. Sharrow."

“You’re right about one thing,” the old man says in return, “I do have an outside perspective on things.” His tired old eyes alight from the plans to Kara. “But you are wrong that she is just as human as you or I. She, beyond any other, isn’t. Because she has been invested with something that is so far beyond the Evolved than they are beyond you or I. She is transcendent, possessed of a force centuries old, and endowed with the collective knowledge of all those who have come before her.” Sharrow’s brows rise slowly. “She will be here long after you and I are dead and gone, and that immortality and wisdom — if nothing else — is close to godhood, is it not?”

Stepping back toward the table, Sharrow traces his fingers over the old paper map. “You can’t say that there isn’t something electric about their kind, something inherently captivating and alluring?” He looks up to Kara, brows furrowed to create cracks in his stony countenance. “Sometimes, it just takes time to understand what that feeling is.”

If Kara is interested in this new development about the thing that possesses Eileen and keeps her from being able to make physical contact with others, it doesn't show. "Collective wisdom, I'll give you, is unique. But there's nothing to say there's not some other woman out there who has lived well past usual life-expectancy. Someone who could slow the passage of time, with one ability or another, by healing or something else entirely." She allows a slight tilt of her head before shaking it. "It is not godhood, it is simply something different."

An opinion which she's cemented in, one not likely to change.

She suspects Sharrow might not be easily swayed in his, either, but they can at least better understand what motivates the other. To keep a tenuous peace between the coresiding forces in Providence, if nothing else.

"There isn't," she says to the allure. "Because the Evolved are not a mystery to me, not where I come from. If you didn't win the genetic lottery, then you could simply apply for it." Her gaze doesn't slide from him, dark blue eyes fixed plainly on him. "Abilities …" Kara muses, "they were an open secret— just another cert to get. You'd agree to take it on, you'd get trained to use it, and it'd be just another tool in your kit. Same as being a marksman. Same as being a mechanic."

If there's a willful oversimplification of the matter, it's done just that — willfully.

"You can have an appreciation for what someone else has without coveting it, sir."

Though here, it wasn't like they were just handing out genetic evolution to those who possessed the prerequisites to apply for them, either.

“Coveting?” Sharrow slowly shakes his head. “No, it’s not that. It is an understanding of the natural order, Ms. Prince. Though we are not animals, we adhere to certain biological imperatives. Humanity, as history has recorded it, is departing this good earth. What begins as one percent of the population will, inevitably, become one-hundred percent. Just as you said, abilities were something you could assign in…” he raises his brow slowly, “your home.”

“But it is not merely the possession of abilities that makes someone divine,” Sharrow goes on to say. “It is how they use those powers, and the legacies they leave behind. The gods of the old world, how were they any different from our Eileen, or your Yi-Min?” Sharrow’s choice of words feels purposeful. “One, a font of ancient wisdom, the other… holds life and death in her hands. I have come to see their kind as something greater than us, as our pets might see us. Something to aspire to, and learn from. Kazimir Volken may not have been an admirable man in life, but in death?” Sharrow purses his lips and shakes his head again. “In death he transcended all of that. He became something more…”

And Sharrow completes the analogy. “Was there not a man, well-written of, with supernatural powers who died and came back? I do believe people do not call him ordinary, but son of God. The times of myth are not behind us, Ms. Prince, they are here and now. Eileen is not just rare, she is singular and plural. In time you will see what she truly is, what lives within her, and what that means for this community. Because whether you believe it or not… it is her community. You just haven’t looked hard enough yet.”

Ah. Kara thinks to herself with a lift of her brow as Sharrow explains his thoughts. So it's worse than I thought. And it doesn't get any better the more he explains his stance. His likening non-Evolved to pets of their betters certainly doesn't help at all.

In the middle of wondering how to tie off the conversation on a remotely polite note, the old man invokes Yi-Min's name and Kara's gaze recenters on him instantly. A subtle shift in her posture occurs as she better faces him, her attention on him in a way it wasn't before. She has to bite her tongue to avoid pointing out his Eileen and her Eileen were not, in fact, the same. The conversation is a minefield of topics she's not sure she has the grace to appropriately address.

If anything, though, it's affirmed to her they do not and will not see eye to eye.

"Men have died and risen again at other points in history. Even in the Bible are other resurrections referenced." On the whole, she sounds unimpressed. "The only importance one event holds over another is the amount of attention given to it. Myths…" Kara pauses for a moment, looking like she'd rather cast the subject off entirely. "If we are living in them, then perhaps we should live in them instead of treat the now like it is already legend."

She tips her head in Sharrow's direction brusquely, indicating his whole person with just a shift of her chin. "I am curious, though, what lead you to such a drastic change in philosophy. You saw the light and see things differently, now— sure," the munitions chaplain allows. She's looking for something a bit more specific, though. "But what changed your mind so completely?"

Sharrow carefully looks Kara up and down, circling the table with a ginger pace. He stops after a while, the table and its map between he and Kara. He blends into the shadows at this distance, starkly illuminated at the fore, but his dark clothing bleeds into the shadows. He looks like a ghost, crawled up from some old cemetery to haunt the sunken factory.

“When I was but a young man, I was a British citizen living in Germany when the Third Reich took control. I was but twelve years old. My father was a steel worker who had taken our entire family to Germany on the hopes of achieving financial security in their growing economy. My mother had died the year before.” He looks down at the map, eyes unfocused as he talks of the past. “My father was killed in a factory accident on my fourteenth birthday in 1943… I became a ward of the state, and through a series of coincidences and contrivances of fate, came to be a servant of an SS officer in Berlin.” Sharrow looks up to Kara. “Kazimir Volken.”

Exhaling a deep sigh, Sharrow looks back at the map. “I brought him tea in the evening, prepared his meals, laundered his clothes, eventually came to learn how to properly take dictation. In time, Kazimir inducted me into his confidence, allowing me to take notes at meetings with the many powerful men he worked with. Otto Brum, Heinrich Wagner, Adolf Meier, Rudolph Zimmerman… and Adam Monroe.”

Sharrow furrows his brows, looking up to Kara. “Kazimir introduced me to a world unlike any I had imagined. A world where the German ubermensch existed, where the Vril energy spoken of by the Thule Society was real. I witnessed the horror and the adulation of the Nazi Party’s search to attain that power for themselves, to bend it to their will… to make being exceptional a certificate.” His eyes drift back down to the map. “I watched Kazimir become disillusioned with this world, I watched him come to hate people with these abilities, and what he believed they did to the will and souls of those around them…” But Sharrow shakes his head. “Little did I know, Kazimir was not like me. He was special too.”

Sharrow shifts his attention over to where a metal folding chair sits near the table and begins walking that way. “Two years later Berlin would fall. Kazimir and some of his inner circle would defect to the Allies… and I would be swept up in the furor of Post-War change. Kazimir left me behind in Berlin, left me for the Allies to find, to take back home to London… I would not see him again.” Sharrow says, stopping at the chair, “not for twenty-five years.”

Slowly sitting down in the chair, it becomes evident to Kara just how old Sharrow is. “In the summer of 1970 a man came to my door, short and tan and mustached. He claimed to be Kazimir Volken, and I called him a liar and punched him in the mouth,” turns into laughter more than words. “Kazimir Volken was not a jovial man. He proved himself to me that day, and that is when I knew he was more than a man, he was a force of nature. I would serve him for the next thirty-seven years, building the foundations of what would become the Vanguard, building a plan of his design that would purge his kind and all like him from the world…”

Sharrow looks down at his hands, folding them together in his lap. “In 2006 the world learned without a shadow of a doubt what I had known for generations. It was as if the world was proving Kazimir’s point, that humanity was in danger of being wiped out by a plague of evolution. That the name for people with powers had changed over time, but the danger they represented was never greater.” Sharrow slowly looks around the room, then suddenly to Kara. “Kazimir left with his most trusted operatives for New York, Eileen among them to whom he was most fond, and I was left to maintain the backbone of the organization. Our finances. But Kazimir died in 2008, died on a bridge a world away from me. And again, even in the face of utter annihilation… he returned. I would not learn of this for three more years. Governments of the world had become aware of the Vanguard, and I would do as told… go underground. Rebuild. The legacy of Kazimir Volken was left to me to tend.”

Wringing his hands together, Sharrow seems lost in thought for a moment. “It took several years, but just as America found its way into a civil war, I learned of the true fate of Kazimir Volken. That he had lived and died twice more, and turned on his own people. That at the end of the hour, when this world was to be purged and his greatest achievement gained… he saw something. He saw something in himself and stopped it. Forever.” Sharrow exhales a sigh, looking up to Kara finally.

“I have spent the last eight years of my life researching Kazimir, what he is, what he became and at each step along the way I find myself learning that he is more than just a man. I have learned that he is a living legacy. If he could change his mind, find wisdom to transcend his own decades-long agenda, who am I — a mere man — to stay so unwavering in my own ideals?” His thick brows raise, slowly. “I did not believe his story was over… and I have been searching for years for signs of his return. To serve him. To serve whoever comes next.”

He motions to the map. “Now I serve her,” Sharrow says quietly, then looks back to Kara. “As you do.”

Would that he would simply fade away into the shadows that cling to him, and not come back. Kara observes him in silence and from the opposite end of the table, mindful of the long shadows cast from the light above, and how they might catch the shift of her jaw given the angles of her cheekbones.

Despite his so saying, she does not see a changed man before her.

Her lips part to speak, the thoughts behind them silently strangled away before they're spoken. Eyes cast downward to the table, to the Scrabble pieces that still rest on the map, the A and the B that make up Sharrow's support to Providence. When she looks back up, it's with a small smile.

"It's been an enlightening conversation. When there's less to be done, we should find the time to speak again."

“I did have one last thing to ask,” Sharrow says as he reclines back against the metal chair. He waits a moment, brows raised. “In your home, where abilities were a certificate, why did you not receive one?”

Kara's smile doesn't falter, save for a shift in her gaze. All things considered, it is a good question. Her eyes narrow a touch before she looks back to Sharrow. On the table, her hand tips over, palm exposed up. "I already had everything I needed," she clarifies, brow arching up in return as she looks down at him.

"Because an ability is not a requirement to become a legend."

Sharrow’s expression shifts to one of begrudging acceptance, followed by a languid roll of his shoulders and a shift of his eyes to the side. “I appreciate your resolve, Ms. Prince. You are a valuable and talented woman to have earned the place and trust that you have…” and as Sharrow rises up from the chair, she can feel the ellipses in the air.

“But should you ever change your mind…” Sharrow says with a glance down to the floor, then back up to Kara. “Perhaps, let me know? I happen to know someone who hands out the certificates you spoke of.”

On the table, Kara's palm rolls closed while Sharrow comes to his feet, and she waits patiently for the old man to get his bearings about him. That action already out of the way, the surprise that comes when he speaks again is limited merely to a hard blink.

Followed by a second, because she couldn't have heard him right. That sort of thing didn't exist here, as far as she could tell. A fork in history between the one she knows and the one she lives in.

… Then again, the old man has no reason to lie.

Her brow starts to furrow. "And why have you not taken up that opportunity?" Kara asks, her voice measured. "For all the answers it might give you, in whatever time you have left." The tension in her forehead eases slightly as she points out, "Or whatever additional time it might give you."

“I’m old Ms. Prince,” Sharrow says with a haphazard smile. “There are some rigors that are not fit for a man of ninety to undergo and expect to come out the other end. I know who and what I am, and I have a fair idea of where this long road of mine ends. But you,” he motions to her, “you’re young, strong of will, and strong of body from the looks of it.” His brows flick up for a moment, eyes downcast to the floor.

“Maybe you would endure,” Sharrow says thoughtfully, “then perhaps you and Sága could build a more complex legacy together.”

It's a lure, to be sure, and a well-placed one. Kara seems aware of that as she stares him down, even though he doesn't lift his gaze. Her weight finally shifts from one foot to the other while she considers the old man, his offer, his history, and the mystery he's just laid before her.

His use of the name she hopes Yi-Min has left firmly behind her brings her back from asking any additional, potentially rash questions. "Young, at least compared to you," Kara feels the need to say, to inject some kind of levity into the conversation. She smiles, then acknowledges his offer with a notable lift of her head. "Sounds like we'll have even more to discuss, after the current threats are dealt with." is as much as she'll concede.

“It does,” Sharrow says with a look to the map. “You’ll be able to count on my people to be there when the time is right…” is all he says to her plan, before turning toward the stairs out. “I will leave you to consider the rest. You might find our conversation something of a puzzle…” he admits on his way out.

“A puzzle with more than one solution.”

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