Sounds Like A Good Start


cat_icon.gif grace_icon.gif

Scene Title Sounds Like A Good Start
Synopsis Cat consults Grace on her plans.
Date January 17, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Fourth Floor Safehouse and Cat's Penthouse

Saturday morning, approaching nine a. m., and Cat's awake. She's had breakfast, showered, and dressed. Now she's standing on the fourth floor of her building, intended to be a safehouse, and thinking to get some pointers on how a good operation runs. The logical choice is a former military woman who also resides in Greenwich Village. The invitation is sent, and she waits out in the lobby for Grace to arrive.

Grace is, as she always endeavors to be, on time. Not early, or not much; most definitely not late. Dressed in charcoal pants and a deep blue blouse, she walks slowly into the lobby, hands tucked into the pants pockets, blue gaze flicking over the room's contents before finally coming to rest on the figure waiting for her. "Quite the place you've got," that rasping voice remarks.

The lobby is fairly empty, except for the staff on duty at the security desk. Cat steps away from the wall where she waits. "Morning, Grace. Thanks." Then she takes a few steps toward the nearest elevator. "I've got a tour of sorts for you," she adds. "If you're willing." The brunette with the non-raspy voice is also in jeans and a red button front blouse.

Grace inclines her head at Cat's statement. "Certainly," she replies, moving forward to follow the other woman. "Just what all have you stuffed into this building?" As it's pretty clear there's a fair amount going on, structure-wise.

Nothing much is said in the way of an answer until she's in the elevator and pulling out what she needs to open the control panel. Then she presses the button marked four and the car begins to rise. "It used to be offices, mostly. There's a recording studio on the fifth floor, I live on top, and the basement is a rock club. The fourth floor is what I think you'll be interested in most, though. It's what I'm interested in your opinions on, in any case."

"Definitely busy," Grace remarks, as she leans against one of the elevator walls. There's not much to see inside an elevator, so she just looks at Cat. "And I think you've got about the right idea on interest, there," the woman adds with a slight quirk of her lips.

Then the elevator opens on the fourth floor and Cat steps out, chuckling a bit. "I didn't want to say so much until we got here, out of traffic areas. I'm playing it fairly quiet what my role in the building and its contents is. Ownership is masked behind some things Wireless set up to hide money trails, along the lines of things we talked about once. The nature of it adds cover to the sorts of people who might be here at any point in time. Musicians and their eccentricities, you know?"

She steps to one side, letting Grace wander as she will, while continuing. "This floor isn't meant for public rental. It's to be a place of safe lodging for those who need it."

Grace nods slowly as Cat elaborates, following her lead out of the elevator. "Sounds like a good start." An exploratory pace down the hall, an idle perusal of walls and doors while she listens, letting the musician's spiel move along at its own rate.

"My first question is if I should put in a separate security desk up here. Currently the idea is to eventually have the staff be laced with insiders, and then be all insiders. The elevators and stairs are set up so no one gets above the third floor without being brought here. That's why those buttons are hidden like that. I already have two people with Phoenix who might take residence on this floor, and accept a paying job with the staff, to help handle it."

Turning back to face Cat, Grace tips her head to one side. "A security desk, probably not as such," she replies, as she retraces her wanderings and returns to stand across from the other woman. "But it would be good to have an operator on the floor to field any difficulties. You won't always be reachable and, as you say, the other staff aren't ours." There's a momentary pause, blue eyes blinking slowly. "Phoenix, as a rule, wouldn't opt for that kind of role." That's why they're Phoenix.

"Not on a strict basis, and it's not certain they'll do it, one suggested the possibility of moving here, and I said I might be able to set them up rent free in exchange for helping out. They have day jobs they could give up in favor of working here, if they're agreeable. And for me, I see it not as a change in my alignment, but as a part of us being affiliated. I have the asset, so I set it up to be partly used for this. When I raised the idea with Helena, she essentially said there could never be too many safe places to go."

Grace makes a slight throwing-away motion as Cat mentions the change in alignment. "Not alignment," she disagrees, "but sitting on a safehouse is… different." That lopsided, wry smile makes a brief appearance. "And you don't count; you just have the money." In the end, the woman nods. "She has that right," Grace affirms.

Her reply begins with a slight grin. "That's fair. I have the money, and I don't often let on how much, not wanting that to cast long shadows more than needed. I also don't plan to sit on a safehouse, I'm after people to do that for me." Cat rests her backside against a wall near Grace as she continues. "I think if questions are ever raised about the kinds of people who come here, get allowed onto these upper floors, it's just the ties to musicians that explains it away easily enough."

"It should be," Grace agrees. She looks over the floor about them and nods once. "If the Phoenix people aren't prepared to do that, we can temp one of ours to fill the gap until something permanent can be arranged." Something the Ferrymen have to do all the time. The raven-voiced woman nods towards the apartment nearest the elevator. "Might think about setting one aside for medical. You have all the stuff you need for outfitting the rooms?"

"They've got the basics on this level," Cat replies, moving to the nearest door, marked 403, and using her keycard to open it. "They've got kitchen appliances, laundry machines, beds, and modest furniture along with a thing or two to prevent boredom. I think 401 is good for the treatment room," she muses.

Grace nods, stepping into the opened room and glancing around. "If you need anything else, just ask. Same goes for med supplies. Money covers a lot of things, but that'd be a curious purchase for a bunch of musicians." She shrugs, offers Cat a hint of a quirky smile. "Looks like you've got most everything in order, really."

"People are the biggest need," Cat replies. "There's a few of my college classmates who might be approachable for this. One of them knows something's going on with me and doesn't ask questions about what."

The apartment they entered, in addition to what she said it had, is a two bedroom and standard bath unit. Not so small as the proverbial cramped New York place, but not so large as to be called spacious.

"People, we're somehow always short on," Grace replies, in that dry fashion her ruined voice excels at producing. "But, like I said, I can get you a couple for the time being. Just to tide the operation over. But with the way politics are going, the impending doom of the world, and work on the Foxhole — Alistair's got his sights set on including Grand Central, too — we're stretched pretty damn thin right now."

"I'm not sure what your vetting procedures are, Grace," Cat starts, "but I can point you toward some people. They might be good fits as Ferry operators." She goes quiet from there, running some things over in her head. "I don't countenance impending doom," she asserts. "Thinking that way can be a self-fulfilling prophecy, the kind of thing where doubt causes people to make failure happen, to undermine themselves. Anyway," she says, turning to the topic of people again, "I'll write you down their names and where they can be reached."

Grace chuckles softly, the coarse rasp of sandpaper on stone. "Can't deny it is a consideration, though." She can't be taking the defeatist tack, given that they're working on a backup plan. The woman dips her head as Cat continues. "Wireless will check them out, first. What happens next depends on what she finds."

"I'll send her the list, then," Cat replies with a nod. And a grin forms. "Want to see the penthouse, Grace?""

Grace looks over at Cat, subtle smile more hinted at than actually evidenced. "Given that I'm already playing tourist… sure, if you're looking to show off."

"Show off?" she replies with a laugh. "Not so much." But Cat is headed for the elevator just the same. The ritual inside it takes place, bringing them to the sixth floor.

Grace follows Cat into the elevator and out again onto the sixth floor, which is regarded with faint surprise by someone who's spent their entire adult life in less-than-spacious settings. "Looks like you've set yourself up right nice," the woman remarks dryly. "I think I'd develop agoraphobia," is her wry quip, as she turns back to face the musician-lawyer. Sure, the Hangar is larger all told — but it's shared.

"I was told to live well," Cat answers as she closes the doors behind them. "So I will." She leans against the wall and watches, letting Grace explore as she will. "It'll be fun to sit out on the roof when the weather is warm again.

Music, archery, office space… perusal of the various rooms would say a lot about Cat to anyone who had an idea of how to interpret their messages. Grace is less inclined to read deeply, and accepts what she's been given for what it is — a gift. The (far smaller) space she calls her own is rarely shared, save with the comrades who might as well be the brothers she never had. "I imagine so. Though you have quite a view even from in here."

"I do," she confirms. "I hope the Village can someday again approach what it was. As a girl, I dreamed of living here, having a sort of bohemian life. Playing guitar, singing. I never imagined it would be a shadow of that place before I could." Cat lets out a soft chuckle. "It's among those memories which are fuzzy for me, incomplete."

"Well, we'll just have to see," Grace replies with a bit of a shrug. "The shell game the politicos are playing right now doesn't help anything." Which cup is hiding America's next President? Take your pick.

"So much was resting on Rickam," Cat relates sadly. "Hope of seeing Linderman's act repealed the easy way, of tolerance spreading. It still could, the people did pick him, but… it's a blow. The battle was always going to be uphill, now it's back to what it was before the election, if not worse. He said we wouldn't be acted against while he had authority to block it, which he never had and now never will."

"Yeah, well. That's politicians for you." Grace never did meet Rickham, which means she's free to whitewash and lump him in with all the rest. A class of being she has no liking for. "Promise whatever they have to and bail when it comes to the wire." She glances down to her watch, then back to Cat. "I should probably move on before too long."

"In the end," she agrees, "they're just people hired to do a job, and have to be supervised just like any other employee, given specific instructions to carry out." A nod follows, and Cat moves toward one of the double doors. "I did wonder at another thing or two. Do you have a set of general guidelines for guests, and… do you know of any good discreet firing ranges?"

"General guidelines?" Grace echoes, with an evident trace of surprise. "I'll see what Meredith's got. I don't think ours quite apply." The second query causes an actual eyebrow raise, and a none-too-subtle grin tugs at her lips. "Sure. I can direct you towards the one we frequent. Unless you get more outre than Scott can, there shouldn't be any problem."

"I've got forty caliber pistols with silencers, and an M16," Cat replies. "And yes. House rules, basically, that make things go more smoothly."

Grace nods. "Not a problem. And I'll pass the question along." Tucking her hands in her pockets, she wanders back in the direction of the elevator.

January 17th: Turning Inward
January 17th: Paint Me Strength
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