Sic Semper Tyrannus



Scene Title Sic Semper Tyrannus
Synopsis The brother of Cameron Spalding discovers the connection to Helena Dean, and it sets him on a course of closure.
Date June 3, 2009

Lower East Side, Studio Apartment

Lazy golden sunlight filters in through an open window four stories up from street level, a warm late spring breeze blowing white curtains slowly through the air. The honk of cars down on the street below and the noise of a busy day in the city is the kind of background noise that has become so usual, so normal.

Seated by the window at a small and old wooden table, the crinkling of the newspaper comes to a stop, folded down the main seam to expose the New York Times headline, A Cure For The Evolved On The Way? Dark brows crease as fingers work over the edge of the newspaper, and it's laid down on the table, replaced in hand by a coffee cup. It's days like this, days so far separated from the sand, from the gunfire and from the screams that haunt him that put part of Michael Spalding at ease.

The coffee cup is settled down, a hand moving to the television remote, turning on the small TV balanced on the top of a bookshelf across the small studio apartment. As the image begins to fade in while the picture tube warms up, Michael can already hear things that set his jaw tense.

«…and with us this afternoon is Jeremy Patterson, author of "The New Urban Rebellion. Jeremy, thank you for joining us today.»

Michael's eyes wander the ticker at the bottom, following out of habit the progression of stock information and tiny red arrows all pointing down. His eyes close, and a sigh escapes him as he leans back against the creaking wooden chair, picking up his coffee again.

«Thank you Larry. It's a pleasure to be here.»

The urge to change the channel fades as Michael listens, watching a man in his mid twenties holding a copy of a carnation red book in both hands, with a tragically distasteful stencil of his own face make to look like a likeness of the iconic Che Guevara image. Rolling his eyes, Michael sips his coffee again, regretting not putting a hint of liquor in it this afternoon.

«Jeremy, your book has reached number five on the international best seller's list, and your opinion on the very vocal minority of the United States that is in strong denial of the Linderman Act has garnered much attention from national media. We were hoping that your experiences might help shed some light on this newest terrorist manifesto by the group calling itself Phoenix.»

Attention is drawn back to the television from the newspaper, and Michael quickly reaches for the remote, turning up the volume slowly as his head tilts to the side.

«Well, I saw the video you were talking about and I've heard some of the claims that Helena Dean is nothing but a fabrication. But I just wanted to come out here, clean, and say that she is a real person—flesh and blood. In my book, I talk about my time working with the West Virginia branch of PARIAH, and I mention a name that miss Dean mentioned in her interview… Cameron Spalding.»

Michael's skin crawls, and his coffee is shakily set down on the table top. Rising up from his seat, he moves away from the table and creeps through the apartment towards the living room, coming to stand behind the couch, lips parted and eyes focused intently on the television screen.

«I met Helena Dean—briefly—back when there was a schism in PARIAH's ranks. In Chapter six of the book, I explain how the upper echelon of PARIAH had disagreements in light of Cameron's death. Helena was at the forefront of one faction of the organization, ones that were opposed to the violent acts we—PARIAH—had been utilizing. Now the people I was with, the ones that would eventually be raided in October here in New York, they went with the old ways.»

With a jerky shifting of his footing, Michael hastily moves to where he laid his jacket haphazardly over the back of the couch when he came home. His pockets are searched, trying to find a cell phone as best as he can. The device is flipped open, and numbers are scrolled through as he keeps his attention focused on the screen.

«So, you're saying that there is some veracity to the interview's claims that Phoenix is a non-violent organization?»

Ringing, ringing and ringing. It takes too long for someone on the other end to pick up, but when they finally do Michael practically breathes out his words all at once. "Hey, hey— Mitch. Turn on your television," his eyes flick back to the screen.

«I'm saying there's a possibility. I left PARIAH before the raid, and I cooperated with government agencies, and you can see me here a free man on the street. I'm not a criminal, I'm a free thinker, and I think that some of the members of Phoenix are the same way. I'm not saying they're martyrs, or revolutionaries—that'll be for the history books to determine. But I'm also not completely ruling out the possibility that some of them might not be violent, dangerous people.»

"Mitch—I don't care if you're watching— Just turn CNN on." Michael swallows dryly after that, waiting for the man on the other end to respond. "Yeah—yeah that's him. Look, he's talking about—no, I know. He mentioned some girl—someone who knew Cameron."

«What do you think of Helena Dean's comments that Phoenix was involved with some secret government holding facility—the "Evolved Guantanamo Bay" as the press is calling it? What do you feel about the suggestion that they may have had something to do with the destruction of this government facility?»

Michael nods his head, repeatedly. "Yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking. Do you know if they showed her face in that video on the internet?" There's a pause, brows creasing together, followed by a sharp nod. "Alright, good—okay. Do you think you can pull a few favors down at the department of transportation?"

«I think that if such a facility does exist, it's within the rights we've allowed the government to have under the authority of the Patriot Act. The thing most of these armchair revolutionaries keep misunderstanding—and I talk about this in my book—is that we are responsible for the state our world is in. We voted in these government representatives, we allowed these bills to be passed. To just pass off the buck and say the government is corrupt and then trying to change the system with violence isn't a solution.»

"Okay, Mitch, thanks." There's a pause, and Michael grimaces slightly, "No I—I'm staying out of things for a while. I just want to try and get in touch with her. Yeah… I just—" his eyes settle on the screen again from momentary wandering, "I want to know what Cameron was really getting into. He's… he was my brother, Mitch. Family's important, even if he was crazy."

«So you're advocating that members of these organizations go through the proper channels? Contacting their congressmen? What about Phoenix's potential involvement with the destruction of that facility, as it was suggested in the video?»

"Yeah… yeah I know, I just—" Michael tenses up, turning away from the television as he smoothes one hand over his buzz cut hair, "I need to get some sort've closure, and I can't do that until I know why he was doing what he was doing." Teeth press into Michael's lower lip, head hanging slightly.

«That's exactly the idea. I want to see more young people using the system against whatever perceived injustices they're suffering from, rather than trying to tear it down and make things worse. I would personally help finance the campaign of any registered evolved who wanted to step into the political arena, and I would donate seventy-five percent of the proceeds from my book to this cause.»

"God, listen to this asshole," Michael spits into the phone, "I think his slime is oozing out of my screen." A shake of his head comes to something said over the other line, and Michael takes a few uncertain steps towards the other side of the apartment, nodding once. "Yeah, yeah it is, isn't it?"

«As for whether or not Phoenix perpetrated violence on the government in the form of a prison facility—it's all conjecture. If they did it, then that is a crime against our country regardless of their intentions, and they will need to pay accordingly for it. If they didn't, then they're liars and I'm not sure which is worse.»

"Yeah, yeah I'll tell him you said hello. We—don't really talk much anymore, but if I hear from him again I'll…" Michael tenses up and nods as he's cut off, looking back to the television over his shoulder. "Yeah, yeah I will. I'll think about it." A hesitant smile creeps up on his lips, "Yeah, you too. See ya." The phone is flipped shut, followed by a sigh as he tosses it haphazardly onto the cushions of his sofa.

«Well, you've given us all a great deal to think about. Thank you, Jeremy. Next up on the program, we have an interview wi—»

The television is turned off with a click of the remote, and Michael exhales a slow, tired sigh as his eyes turn towards the afternoon sunlight filtering through the open window. This is exactly why he came to New York City, and now he just has to find out how to make the pieces all fit together, so he can get the closure he needs and move on.

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