Steady Light


anne_icon.gif ben_icon.gif brian_icon.gif cat_icon.gif jennifer_icon.gif kinson_icon.gif monica_icon.gif teo_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Steady Light
Synopsis Burning bird powwow.
Date February 6, 2009

The Lighthouse — Basement

Friday afternoon, curfew has been putting a stain on everyone's schedules. Especially terrorists, you can't have clandestine meetings during the day, yet here they are. The remnants of Phoenix. Instructions were given out Friday morning where to meet, directions of how to get there. And finally one by one they all trickle into the basement of the old Lighthouse.

A few tables are here, lined with mostly booze, but some food as well. Finger foods, sandwiches, stuff that can be bought at a grocery store and served instantly. A few candles are all that light the dark basement. There is no furniture besides the tables that hold the food. Rugs have been laid down, and that's all the seating arrangement there is.

After the majority of the Phoenix stragglers arrive, Brian stands up slowly. He was seated by Teo, once everyone gets there though he takes a few steps away. "Hey, everyone." He says, though his voice is not loud or authoritative. It will rely on everyone quieting down to hear him. "Thanks for coming. Booze and food after, if you could all do me a favor, when you leave this location today, forget you ever came to it. Sound good to everyone?"

Kinson nods, "as far as anyone knows, I'm at a Build-a-Bear workshop in Newark." he says in his usual tone.

Having arrived clad in her now-customary all-black biker's gear, Ygraine has removed the jacket to form a somewhat lumpy cushion and is part curled-up on the floor with a sandwich and can of soda. Kinson's odd phrase draws her attention away from Brian, but she soon enough looks back to the speaker and nods.

She's here for the meeting, dressed for winter weather, boots on feet, jeans, coat with hood, guitar case, backpack. But that's not all Cat's got with her. She came to this meeting armed. Her eyes wander around the location, likely not long before or after Kinson. Little is said, she stands near the back and is generally alert. Brian's request to forget gives her the temptation to respond with some variety of sarcasm, but she bites it back.

Anne arrived here today not by way of teleporting, as she usually would to a secret meeting, but quite simply by the grace of one Teo, who was kind enough to give her a ride. She was almost embarrassed about the whole thing, fighting an urge to scuffle her foot and apologize for the mere act of asking, and even if she did no such thing it was none the less evident by her bodylanguage. Still, here they are, and she's taking a good look at the people around her. Some of these faces she knows, and some she doesn't, but it seems a good thing to remember none the less.

She settled down on the floor, dressed in fluffier and warmer clothes than she usually wears, with a small notepad cradled to her chest. Possibly, she was going to talk about some ideas she'd had, but as far as she knew that was just a possibility. what was more certin was that they had a whole lot to discuss. In her mind, the feel of 'remnants' of Phoenix talk that had been going on was one of them. They were only remnants now if they let themselves be. If they gave up, because of what had happened. Idealistic? Probably. But there you go.

As far as forgetting goes? Well. Officially, it's not like any of them ever knew.

Jennifer's arrived, somewhat lateish. The replicator has a surprisingly serious expression on her face, and she's standing not terribly far from the door. Metaphorically as far from things as one could be, as it were.

As per usual, Teo is seated on the floor. He has food with him, which is rather characteristic as well, given food is available. His right cheek is puffed up like a hamster's pouch full of bread, mayonnaise, and whatever it is he's been gulping down barely chewing. Legs crossed, he seems indifferent to the possibility of meltwater chilling into the fabric of his trousers. The younger man's note about the location elicits a slight inclination of his brow, but he doesn't comment on that. Instead, "Buongiorno," once he has his mouth clear, thumbing the corner of his lip. He tracks the faces in the room, attentively if not overtly protectively, the figment of warmth in his features at odds with the wintry pallor of his eyes.

Ygraine looks away from Teo for a few seconds, running her own gaze over the faces of those others present - lingering on Jennifer and Cat in turn before refocusing upon the remaining representative of Phoenix's official leadership.

"First off guys. Good job. Maybe you heard it a little bit already, but you all deserve it. We pulled it off. We're a bunch of kids. And we saved the world." There should be more pride in his voice, there should be more joy in the room, more celebration. "We have differences with each other, we're not all best friends but we came together and stopped a Super Evolved Terrorist." Brian intones gently. "You all are heroes."

And with that, it's time to change subjects. A brief moment of glory eclipsed by the burden of reality. "Abby went home, so everybody should be careful. We're going to have to use like a regular hospital and doctors for two weeks." He lets out a little grin for a moment, before it quickly vanishes. "Furthermore, Gillian, and Sergei are still unaccounted for. Correct?" He pauses, looking over the gathered Phoenix members to see if anyone has any news on them. Then he speaks again. "Conrad passed. We all owe him a lot, giving his life to ensure we stay alive." He pauses again, another short moment of silence. "Helena and Alexander have been captured by Homeland Security," Information most everyone should know by now, but a re-cap anyway, "Teo, is our leader and we need to follow him with the same respect we would have followed Helena with."

"Brian set this up," the remaining representative of Phoenix's official leadership states, picking one knee up. Teo shoves himself off the floor with his hands, hunkering up onto his feet. "I'm ceding him the floor for a little bit, then lead into the other issues we have to discuss. Their sundry and many." The corners of his eyes deepen slightly around a smile that doesn't reach his mouth. Not exactly a day — week — month to walk around like a fucking Crest commercial.

"Gillian checked in. We need to set up to look for Serghei. Part of the sundry and many," he concludes, dropping his right shoulder fractionally, either shrinking by reflex from the sudden nudge of the spotlight or disconcerted again by Serghei's absence. They are too many men down.

Teo is the leader. We should follow him with the same respect we followed Helena. Perhaps it's one of those things you shouldn't mention, but Anne isn't really… so keen on just handing out respect like that. It's an earned thing, and all that comes with it. Still, Teo had worked towards that end for a bit, so it wouldn't be a problem. As ever, the practicalities weren't the problem, and her mind got a little hooked up on the principle of the thing. There's an exhalation, and she refocuses her attention on the words spoken.

She raises two fingers in the air, when Brian starts talking about doctors and hospitals, though. "Um. Given the whole part with the testing kits and all, I don't.. really know if a regular hospital is a great idea." Not really, no. "But. If someone's about to die right then and there, I might.. know another option. Not instant healing, like with Abby, but. It's not something that gets you registered in official records either." They sound a touch unsure, her words, but then it's the first time she speaks up in this large a group of the Phoenixers, so. That has many things to do with it.

Her mind is taking notes as others speak, the eyes moving around to settle on whoever has the floor at any point in time. Cat's features are calm. Without being obvious about it, she keeps a fix on Brian's location and anything he might have in his hands. "The tests are a concern," Cat reports, "I'm told they work as easily as a diabetic's self-test for blood sugar. I doubt hospitals will have them yet, but it does seem wise to be wary. DNA and blood can be stored, I wouldn't put it past Homeland Satan to demand access to such things and conduct tests."

Kinson is the 'new' guy still. Obviously, because there's only a small number of folks who recognize him. He doesn't say a peep after his initial response to Brian about the place. He stands by himself more or less, though he's certainly closer to Cat than anyone else. He keeps a hand on the strap of his backpack and resettles it on his shoulder. He takes a moment to quietly glance around.

Jennifer pipes up, adding a somewhat quiet comment. "From the sound of it, Phoenix may be better off letting the Ferrymen do what they do. With the tests out, it may be the better choice."

Brian brings his bare hands up, as if to quell the conversation. "Woah, woah, woah. Guys. It was a joke. We're not here to talk about hospitals and medics." Brian notes. "If someone gets hurt we will take care of it, we do have connections that aren't Evolved healers." He turns his head to Teo, as if to confirm that. Then returns his attention to the group. "The tests are a concern." He affirms Cat's words, his eyes drifting over her for a moment.

"But what we need to do first is discuss what our primary concerns are. We have two—" Three. "Members locked behind Homeland Security's gates. So what are we going to do? Work on these tests? Or try to get our people out? I think we need to put this issue out on the floor. What is our purpose as Phoenix right now?" He gives a glance over to Teo, then back to the rest of the group. His own opinion kept firmly inside his heart for now.

Many and sundry. Jesus Christ. Teo's jaw squares, teeth grating inaudibly in thought. Looked at, his gaze answers Brian's in kind for only a fractional moment, a slight furrow darkening his brow. They're here to talk about every damn thing that needs talking about, by his understanding: hospitals and medics included. "If the Ferrymen want to sever their alliance with us, they haven't let me know. Their resources are still ours to use. Outsource doctors, hospital equipment, safehouses, or the Cathedral basement.

"I believe our bottom line is, we don't endanger them more than we have to, but our partnership is that. Be careful.

"Tests aren't that much different at this point, I think. We wait and see. They're still in limited distribution. Aside from the obvious clusterfuck the other Wednesday, we've all been doing a pretty good job of not getting our asses arrested. Keep that up, you don't have to deal with tests. Far as I know, they aren't demanding blood samples at bus stops or cafes yet. Don't get arrested. We'll work on alternatives in the meantime.

"Wireless is tracking the HomeSec prisoners through her mysterious means. Right now, we don't have anything to go on for those three." Three. Brian counts, at least in Teodoro's estimation of things. "When we do, I want to move on it. Anybody here prefer to leave them to rot?"

Anne blinks a bit at that. It was a joke. ..oh. Well, in that case. She rests her elbow on her knee and her head in her palm, listening on to the conversation again, fingers drumming slowly along her jawbone and her other hand holding on to that notepad. Then Teo comes with loaded arguments, that make Anne smile. Just a little bit, really, but it's there none the less. Then she's back to seriousness. She nods her head to what Teo says, just agreeing with his words for now.

"We need to get our people back, plain and simple," Cat comments. "But we need to be creative, subtle. If we aim a direct action at freeing them and it fails, if even one person is captured in the attempt, we've achieved nothing. It's a priority to find out where they are and see if we can influence a bureaucrat to release them, or arrange us access to carry the whole thing off. I would also recommend we proceed on the civil disobedience front. Arrange wave after wave of people with no Evolved ability seeking to register, which will tie up Homeland Satan resources, as well as encouraging people confronted with the test to categorically refuse to take it. Make the agencies demonstrate probable cause to test someone, and get a warrant too. That's a media project. Influencing public opinion and behavior is always priority, we can move on multiple fronts at the same time."

Ygraine nods agreement to Cat. "Even something as basic as the "tagging" campaign might work well. The cops are kind of busy with more serious matters at the moment, and a graffiti artist's unlikely to rate highly on their priorities. But… for rescuing people: we have to remember that they were willing to die. I want to see them pulled out - but not at the expense of everyone else. Anything that's tried has to be properly planned, and a lot more subtle than they'll expect, as Cat said."

Ben is late. This is perhaps understandable, considering the hours medical personnel have been working. It's a very tired, very strung-out Ben that slips in, mumbling apologies.

Jennifer takes a deep breath. She looks back, and says "Whatever decision you make, I think you're going to need to find a new source of supply." She hadn't been restocking lately. "I think I'm out." Voice is quiet, but resolved.

Kinson is content to remain quiet and look around, watching the newcomers quietly.

With a prolonged gaze on Cat, Brian turns his attention to Ben, nodding him in. A small gesture is given to the food and alcohol on the table. Most everyone has grabbed a sandwich at least. Heavy indulgence of alcohol will probably start after the meeting, if at all. His eyes go to Jennifer for a moment. "What do you mean, Jenn?" How can a replicator, be out?

In tandem to the multiple man, Teo's gaze shifts between the women who speak, response restricted to a simple nod of acknowledgment, half a smile, before he looks back at the molecular replicator. He keeps his face still; manages not to look like someone just took a steel baseball bat to his stomach. Though, granted, when somebody physically does that, you try not to give them that much anyway. He walks his memory backward over the last thing she said, threads a gentle query out of the tapestry: "Rejoining the Ferrymen?"

"On the whole civil disobediance thing," Anne says, following up on what Cat said. "If one does some kind of media exposure on that, it might be a good idea to kind of tie it into other civil right fights that have gone on in the past, to try and show that this is only the next thing. People are afraid of what they don't know, and so on. You don't even have to make it that obvious, just.. kinda clue ins. Similar music chords," guess what she worked with in the past? "similar symbolic images, and the like." Again, she nods along with someone else, Cat in this case, as far as getting people out goes.

Though honestly? There's more than one bone in her body that just wants to teleport in, grab them, and port out again. Screw the consequences! Only. That's likely a bad idea. Losing stuff, though, that sounds like a bad thing. "What kind of materials are we talking about losing?"

"We need to do a better job of including people in our plans, making use of all their talents, and not just Evolved abilities to the point where people feel they have no value beyond that, and in fact aren't used for even that. During our operations versus the Vanguard, this took place. Willing members weren't brought on board, and valuable people weren't in the mix. We have an invisible man, and he was left behind, despite the knowledge he brings to the table over and above that. Training, also, has been thin. There need to be schedules and definite courses to attend in that regard. Truthfully, the tasks we do when it comes to offensive operations call for us to be as close to Special Forces capable as we can get, and we aren't."

"We need to do a better job of including people in our plans, making use of all their talents, and not just Evolved abilities to the point where people feel they have no value beyond that, and in fact aren't used for even that. During our operations versus the Vanguard, this took place. Willing members weren't brought on board, and valuable people weren't in the mix. We have an invisible man, and he was left behind, despite the knowledge he brings to the table over and above that. Training, also, has been thin. There need to be schedules and definite courses to attend in that regard." Cat pauses here.

"Truthfully, the tasks we do when it comes to offensive operations call for us to be as close to Special Forces capable as we can get, and we aren't."

When Jennifer speaks, Ygraine looks around to offer her a warm, encouraging smile, quite willing to be publicly seen to support the young woman in the decisions she needs to take. She listens to Cat, then nods and adds her own voice. "I have to agree. I'm not disputing the success achieved in saving the world - but I honestly think that a lot more could have been done in that mission to make use of what we had, and before that, to make people both feel wanted and to find out how to help them to develop. Brian, for example, can confirm that the team we shared only had any sort of a discussion about power-capabilities because I sought out the other members to try to show them what I could do, since we were apparently to depend on it for moving around during the mission."

The Briton shrugs slightly, then looks back to Jennifer and flashes another smile. "I have to admit that I'm seriously tempted to look at other options for the future, even purely for my own sake. I'll risk my neck to save the world - I think all of us would: we took the risk of signing up to an organisation specifically designed to oppose the government - but there's more to that than just showing up as another body when specific missions are planned from on high. If there's to be a movement opposing tyranny, it does need organisation - but it also needs those who sign up to be given as much opportunity as possible to make a difference day to day."

Ben helps himself to some coffee and a sandwich or two. He starts chewing, glancing about at the others, eyelids drooping halfway closed. Trying to get his bearings. And eat. So tired.

Jennifer looks back at Brian, and then Teo and Anne. "Out as in "not in Phoenix", Brian. I can't say that I'm in agreement with the way things have happened. As far as what supplies that means you'll be running out of…food, medicine, ammunition…the various and sundry things I was replicating." Which was rather a lot; Jen's been the Phoenix grocery store. "I just thought you deserved to hear it from me rather than me just stop showing up."

It's hard to quell the anger in his easy set off temper. Since two more deaths he is very easy to set off, and this talk of desertion is enough to do it. Brian takes a step forward, his jaw clenching before he gets a hold of himself. His fists clench as he quite literally forces rational thought into his mind. It's quite the task to do, but he somehow manages it. He lowers his head, forcing himself to breathe.

"If that's your decision. I'm sorry we let you down." Agreement in the way things have happened?! You disagree with the world not ending The angry thoughts are bitten back. He can't lose his composure, here in front of everyone. Brian forces himself backward, to take a seat next to where Teo was seated. Bringing his knees up he places his elbows on them and buries his face in his hands.

"Thanks for helping us, Jennifer," Teo answers, at length, regret a new line on his brow insofar that it's a familiar one, to anybody who knows him at all. He doesn't watch Brian retreat to the wall; chooses, instead, to incline his head in gratitude that might approximate graceful, if you look close enough. "We'll have to get our food, medicine, and ammunition through different means. You're right: it would've sucked if you just stopped showing up. Grazie." The lines of his shoulders straighten slightly underneath the layers of jacket, hoodie, sweaters that ever reinforce his Mediterranean against the cold.

He turns his head back to Cat, angles a nod at Ygraine. "Training. Helena originally had Hana down to take point on that, and I think she's still willing to do so. We also have our invisible man, Diego, and a few other Ferrymen associates. Assuming you've all removed yourselves from public life for the while, I think it'd be a good idea to spend some time training instead."

Lacking the words for an appropriate segue, Teo merely lapses into silence for a half-beat, his gaze shifting to the erstwhile musician, Phoenix's teleporter. "However, I'm aware that we can't just spend all our time beating shit up and studying tactics in the basement. We have to come out sometimes, and there's more of a guillotine than usual hanging over our heads. Anne came up with an emergency protocol for that. Signora? If you would?" He pushes his hands into his pockets, turns his elbows out slightly. One duckling's invitation to the other.

"I don't know that I feel 'special forces' capabilities are really going to be attainable goals in the nearest future, but.. I mean, knowing how to defend yourself a little, without powers especially, is probably a good idea." Especially since they've started to run into power surpressors too, so Anne doesn't think one can rely on these things too much. Not entirely. And she knows she does so herself.

When Jennifer talks about leaving phoenix, she nods slowly to this and frowns. It's an introverted expression, though, as opposed to a sign of disliking something. Problematic, that, running out of food thing. "I could probably get us food." She says then. "I mean, we'd need to pay for it and all, but." She could get it. "The other two might be a little bit more tricky, but shouldn't be impossible.. depending on what kind of amounts we're talking about, anyway." Bullets easier than meds, and isn't that hilarious. In either case, her reaction to the situation is an entirely practical one. She doesn't know Jennifer, really, so it's about a specific gap needing to be filled, is all.

And then? Then Teo leaves the floor to her, as it were.

Now, one might think that this would make a fresh duckling nervous, but on the contrary, being the one on stage, holding a conference, and being the one to generally make noise is a role Anne is very used to, so instead she just straightens her back a bit and relaxes. Her voice carries easily over the room, and she speaks in a voice that sounds like she knows what she's talking about.

"Right. Emergency protocols. Given our recent problems with all sorts of things, I as well as a lot of others realized that getting out of troublesome situations, preferably without getting IDd, or at least without getting caught, is going to be a priority. Unfortunately, you don't always know when you're going to get into that kind of a situation. That's why I suggested to Teo here that we make a simple GPS device to take with us in our pockets, with which everyone can basically hit the emergency button when they're in trouble and need to get out. Fast. As some of you may know, I'm a teleporter, which means I could then get the one hitting the emergency button out." That's the gist of it, really. "Of course, there are some things people with these would need to know, as well as safety protocols so we don't just end up having homesec using it as a way to kick our asses. Anyone carrying one of these would need to know those first, but I think this should increase our chances to stay out here and alive."

"The devides have already been made by our resident genious." Well. One of them. The technical one.

Given their recent problems? That was putting it mildly. Monica had had to quit her job, drop out of school, and she still had no idea what was going on with half the safety protocols and procedures they found themselves in now. Sitting there, she hadn't touched a drop of the alcohol available. She'd barely touched the sandwich that was there. Instead, she sat listening, knee drawn up to her chest, chin resting as she listened in silence. Their teammates needed them, and really in light of everything else, those inconveniences seemed small.

She's quiet, listening and letting her eyes drift from person as they speak, gauging facial expressions, body language, words, and committing it all to memory. When Cat has the floor, she speaks in calm tones, addressing Jennifer and looking in her direction. "Your assistance is invaluable, and would be sorely missed, Jen. What would it take to forestall your decision, to keep you among our ranks? You aren't simply a vending machine with legs. We obviously fail to show you that, and I'd believe this is first and foremost for you."

And there are other topics to speak on. "GPS location for escapability is an excellent idea, Anne. And you're correct, becoming Green Beret equals is out of reach in practical terms. But training does need to be formalized. Efficient use of resources says I should have point on training with Wireless, for the reason I can take what she teaches me and share it with others exactly as it was imparted."

"I recommend another thing, for use in offensive operations. If we go about a big project like the one we just did, with multiple locations in the field, we need a central coordinator active during the event to keep everything smooth as possible, direct reinforcements, and the like."

Ygraine nods agreement to Cat as she rises to her feet, moving across to offer one hand to Jennifer. "I'd just add that, though training's important, there's a lot more to be done to make this feel like a team or a family - and either of those would be good. But for either, you need to persuade people that you value them. Not just some specific ability that fits into a pre-existing plan you had before ever they'd heard of you, but that you value all the individuals who take the risk of signing up. Make them feel trusted and valued. Find out what they think they have to offer, and take their offers seriously. Training's only going to work as well as it could if you know who it is you're training and what skills are already possessed by your members."

Ben has drained most of his coffee; he leans toward the nearest person (it could be YOU!) and murmurs, "Hey, can you give me a summary of how it turned out? Work's been nuts."

It's almost a growl that emits, as Brian forces himself back to his feet. He walks up behind Teo, listening to all the feminine voices back and forth. He stands at Teo's side, his breathing, controlled. His dead gaze roams around the room trying to follow all the voices. Before finally he looks over to Teo, a look that says more than his words could right now.

Jennifer frowns as she looks back to Cat, and Ygraine takes her hand in support. "I don't know that you can, Cat. I tried for months to be involved. To get trained. Asked it repeatedly of multiple people. And the only time anyone deigned to remember I existed is when they needed something. It gets old very quick. At this point it might be a case of the horse and the barn door.

There's a smile of unequivocal gratitude at the teleporter, which fades to neutrality as the spotlight moves through Phoenix's other operatives.

Teo spends some time listening. Which, contrary to the implications of cultural stereotype, he is quite capable of doing. "I appreciate that none of you are talking as if being unexpectedly pitched into the foxholes against a clandestine terrorist organization out to wipe out five-point-five billion people in the world sets the trend for Phoenix's activities. The truth is, we don't have a trend yet. Your ideas are fucking excellent."

He pauses to squint at Ben, his cheek twitching apologetically, before his head falls slightly on the stem of his neck and that rueful cast takes his whole face, looking at the floor as he turns his next words over in his mind. "I'll be the first to admit, I need training.

"I also need supplies, emergency protocols, structure, constructive criticism, and people to keep me in the loop. All excellent ideas. However, I'll also admit that I don't need a lot more than that, from anybody, as far as I'm aware. My morale is where it's at because we've had a hard time, but we did the right thing. Victory from the jaws of viral death. Or death by head injury. Whatever.

"Like the next guy over," which happens to be Ben, slack and gray with exhaustion, "I try to do my job. If that means keeping your spirits intact as well as your skins, I'll do my best to meet you halfway. If you want help, ask for it. My phone's on, as should all of yours be. Hopefully once we set up the training regimens, we'll get more face-time in and know what's going on with each other a little more too.

"We're hiding, but that's not supposed to be from each other." Somewhere between 'supplies' and 'morale,' he picked his head up, his gaze as unabashedly frank as his stare. For now, Jennifer is included in its sweep, though he's aware that she's close to the door. Physically, metaphorically.

Anne is a little doubtful that teaching things just the way your heard them is a good idea, but honestly. She's not a teacher, so she's not going to butt in too much there. "We can start up with the instructions on the GPS devices from here on out." Is the last she has to say on all of that, before things go back to who knows what and when and such. It's time to listen, and perhaps most importantly to learn.

Kinson listens to Jennifer and what's gone on with her. He sets his backpack down, and walks over to Jennifer in the midst of all this. "Umm..hi." he says a little shyly, his voice not much above a whisper. "I'm kinda new around here, but my name's Kinson. Nice to meetcha." he offers his hand, hoping it'll serve as an olive branch. "I can't convince you to stay.." he says trailing off, letting those who know him smirk at that, "..but it'd be cool if you did. You guys really are the closest to family I got right now and I'd hate to lose someone I didn't even know yet."

Monica stands up and begins to pace. She really finds it difficult to sit still for long. Maybe it's the job. Maybe it's her nature. In either case, she looks around the basement and grabs a soda. "We have to do this right," is all she seems to simply add. "I don't know how everything got to this point, but Teo is right. And what I've heard so far is we're all aware of the problem, we have the solutions, or maybe part of it, so just do it." She's much happier when things work simply and it seems like things are smoother when you take the complexity out of them.

"We've all lacked training in areas we could use it," Cat begins. "That's why it needs to be formalized, and I believe Teo understands this. A number of areas need improvement in the way we operate, and I think we've put the spotlight on them today. Concrete ways to achieve those goals can be developed now. They're important not just for keeping everyone happy; in truth we can't keep everyone completely happy all the time. Sometimes people will just have to suck it up. No plan will ever be perfect. We can't guarantee no one will ever die again in an operation. We can't guarantee no one will be captured in an operation. We can't guarantee it'll never be necessary to leave someone behind in an operation." Cat lets her eyes travel the room from person to person, not singling any one of them out for attention longer than others.

"When we do have people taken in, we need to do whatever we can to get them back, short of getting more people captured. Getting them back and having others take their place in prison cells only means we need to mount more rescue ops. We've yet to throw out ideas for how we pull this off yet today."

Ygraine gives Jennifer's hand a squeeze, nodding a greeting to Kinson as he approaches, before focusing upon the other speakers. When Cat comes to a halt, she speaks up once more. "I think it's safe to say that the authorities will expect any rescue attempt to be unsubtle, and based upon the use of Evolved abilities backed up by firearms. That is, after all, what was just demonstrated on a very large scale just recently - and their assessment, like Brian's at the start when he congratulated us all, is that Phoenix is made up of "kids". I'm not saying that Evolved abilities shouldn't be used - but the feds'll be getting better all the time at countering precisely that sort of approach. Conventional approaches… well - there're whole fields of academic study on those, and how to counter them. Those can be read up on, with a view to using abilities to aid in any extraction or interception. But I'd say that the first step is intelligence-gathering: not just who is where, but who and what else is there with them."

Ben presses the heel of one palm into his right eye and rubs. Wait, what? Die again? Ben squints over at Cat, then at Ygraine, and leans against the wall.

Standing at Teo's side, Brian goes off of the other man. "We're flawed, guys. We weren't perfect and we won't be perfect now. If you feel left out, if you feel uninvolved, I'm sorry. I really am." His gaze goes to Jennifer, giving an approving nod to Kinson. "We have to be family here. We're not a perfect family, but we have to swallow our pride, and sacrifice something for everyone else. I'm sorry if you feel mistreated Jennifer. And if you change your mind, I hope we can treat you better, and you could live up to your maximum potential, but I can't promise that."

"We're in a dark time. The hardest part is after the victory. We won, but now we're falling apart. If you want to leave, by all means leave. But know, that we need you. Helena and Alexander need you. Maybe you hated them, maybe you didn't like the people got captured." His gaze skims over Cat. "But they're your family and they need your help. We need everyone to pull together now more than ever. We don't have to figure it out today guys. This isn't the end all meeting. We need to know we're on the same page. That we can draw strength from one another."

"It's going to get worse before it gets better." He says, "So if you can't handle it. You should probably leave. No one will think less of you, it's a lot to handle. But if you stay in this room, it means you're willing to give yourself for the person next to you. It means you're willing to live in honor of Conrad, the guy who died so that all of you could live." Brian also died for the same reason, but that won't be mentioned, of course."It means you want Helena and Alexander back." An irritated glance is sent to Cat for a moment. He gives a nod to Ygraine. "I agree."

His gaze then flicks to Ben, "Ben, I won't go into it now," he gestures to the rest of the group. "But catch me right after the meeting and I'll catch you up on everything, alright?"

By now, Teo has managed to turn faintly pink around the edges, uncertain of what to make with the various tokens of support thrown at his head from around the room, be they verbal agreement or offering harsher words where he found himself — at least for now — incapable. He transitions to business because that's — his strong suit, oddly enough. Until they figure out how to institutionalize morale and injured sensibilities, all he can offer is an ear. Pressed to a cellphone.

Done and offered, and therefore done. "I don't want to move on the HomeSec — facility or whatever the fuck that shit bin is they're keeping Hel, Al and Brian in until I have some idea of the bureaucratic and physical architecture involved. I've been doing some thinking, though. I have some ideas. Between Kinson's ability, some oursources I know about, friends we've yet to make, and the 'power of information,' so to speak, I think we could do it. But that's for a later discussion, frankly. From what I can tell, Serghei's our only accessible man missing right now.

"I think he's alive, and somewhere on Staten Island. That's where all the wreckage and bodies have been showing up — shit part of town, to be honest. Apparently people go missing a lot. I'm proposing we go through the Ferrymen to investigate, since they have safehouses established on the island.

"There's a woman named Jezebel in particular I want to network through. I figure 'investigation' means telling a few lies, asking some questions, and run the risk of getting shivved. Or having to run somebody head-first into a wall, depending on the demographic you end up targeting." Teo doesn't look particularly happy to pitch this idea, but then, he rarely looks particularly happy to do most things Phoenix. It's one of those ironic things.

Monica leaned against the wall, arms folded. She listned as the others went around and spoke, committing ot memory what she could. She isn't making a move to leave however. She's in it for hte long haul. She can't imagine anything less. Giving up just wasn't an option. Her mother, and certainly Nana Dawson, didn't raise quitters. "When are we going to move on all of this?" Is what she was really wondering.

There's not a lot to say at the moment for Cat, Teo gets what she's been saying, so she simply listens and observes.

"Close cooperation with the Ferrymen certainly sounds good", affirms Ygraine. "From what I've seen of them, they're competent - and I'd hazard a guess that they'll agree there's a clear interest in locating Sergei and ensuring his safety."

Ben nods to Brian; he raises an eyebrow at something or other, though, before letting his eyes droop half-closed. Tired EMT. "There's something I can say here about being a community before being split into teams of us and them, but I am really fucking tired so I'll just sit here and soak things up." He waves both hands vaguely.

"I'd like to start looking for Serghei tomorrow," Teo says, simply. "Homeland Security, pending intel on where our people are and who has them. Individuals. I figure we can start talking about ideas on physical invading or roping agents in afterward. I've thought about matching people up." He acknowledges Ben's idea with a half grin. "Not with the Ferrymen, but that's an idea. Maybe a better one.

"Cat, Brian. You two feel good about lieutenancy? Possibly only until Hel's back in to make decisions, but as long as I'm here…" He tries to make a reassuring expression. It doesn't come off entirely like a grimace, which is a minor accomplishment in and of itself.

"I do," Cat replies simply. "The situation is what it is, and people have to step up, make things happen."

Ygraine lifts a brow as the new lieutenants are named, then flashes a quick grin to each of them in turn. She remains quiet, however.

Ben's eyes have fully closed now. Slump.

Brian gives a little shrug to Teo's question. It's as much as a 'yes' as he'll give, and as much as a 'yes' as Teo will get. "If anyone needs a place to stay, please let me know." Brian points out. "And like I said, please forget about this place. Unless you want to help me work on it. I'm making it a livable place. For a good cause. If you want to help let me know." A little nod is given to Teo's instructions. "You got it."

There's a faint twitch of Teo's brow at the younger man's minimalistic reaction, a quizzical expression that registers his uncertainty: that could just as easily be construed as a no. "Okay," he says, after a moment. "I'm going to find Ben a blanket and then eat all the food that's still here by the time I get back in the room. That about it?" He moves an expectant glance through the room, his expression evening out to pleasant gratitude. Despite what he personally regards as a number of distractions, retirements, empty sympathy, and dead ends, that went better than it could have.

Looking in Teo's direction, Cat replies "I've got Elvis at my place, she says she's in not so good shape. I might ask Ben to look at her, or send for a Ferryman doctor. I've not asked her yet, but I think she might have warrants out on her, based on things I've heard her say, so hospitals don't seem so much a good idea. I definitely want to get her looked at." Then Cat looks over the food and walks over to Ygraine. "Debater," she greets. "Interesting meeting."

Ygraine nods to Teo, then leans over to plant a peck upon Jennifer's hair, squeezing her hand once more. As Cat approaches, she offers a tired smile. "Yeah. I suspect a number of people'll have a few things to talk about", she says softly, before reaching out to give Cat's arm a quick squeeze. "Best of luck with the formalisation of your role. For the moment, however, I think that a discreet withdrawal might be wise for the pair of us." A quick smile is flashed at Jennifer. "I don't want to risk an argument with anyone, and we've got a few things to discuss ourselves anyway. Take care of yourself, Cat."

Ygraine has left.

Ben rouses somewhat as his name is said. More than once. And then he sort of blushes. "Power nap and I'm all yours."

Ben has disconnected.

Watching Cat quietly, and the group disassemble, Brian makes his way through the dissipating crowd towards the young woman. Raising one hand, he goes to place it gently on her shoulder. "We should talk." He intones quietly.

"Heard about Elvis," Teo answers, obscurely. "When Ben's revived. She'd be a good one to move to the Garden, too, if Jez will take her. I'm going to see if it's logistically possible to get us IDs that will let us bypass curfew, but for now, laying low is our MO.

"See you two." The latter remark is directly, tacitly, at Ygraine and her lover, though he doesn't have a lot of eggs in that particular basket. Expectations carefully constrained, he offers a hand up in salutation, steps off into the hallway to locate a bedroll of some sort for their boy EMT. His step is light with what might either by good cheer or ever-persistent paranoia.

Monica nods her head and seems ready to go herself. "I need to go back to my friend's place before it gets too late."

Monica has left.

Her head turns toward Brian as she feels the hand at her shoulder and hears the man's voice. Cat is calm as she listens and replies. "Yes, we should." She turns partly aside toward Monica, a person she hasn't had much chance to be around, and offers "I can let you watch me play guitar sometime, if you want. See you, Monica." Then her attention goes back to Brian, face remaining calm, while she thinks oh, yes, we should. Her weapon is concealed if she needs it.

Brian has to restrain himself from rolling his eyes as she turns her attention to Monica, randomly. Taking a deep, stabilizing breath. He also has his gun on him, though not because he thinks he will need it, for talking to a fellow Phoenix, but just because he always carries it around. His features aren't 'calm' as hers, he looks irritated, frustrated, and any other -ated word you can think of. He casts a glance to see if anyone else is still around. "Kay.. Do you want to sit?"

Her backside settles into onto the floor without a verbal reply, and her eyes rest on him. Cat intends to listen and hear what he has to say, her own concerns and thoughts being kept reined in for the moment. The floor is his, entirely, for the moment. She can't imagine this will be pleasant, but it's likely not the worst conversation she's ever had, or will have.

Brian goes to lean against the wall, not looking at her for now. He doesn't seem to be all too interested in starting the conversation either. It's all he could do, to tap her on the shoulder and actually ask her for a conversation. The sting of death is still raw, though he's doing everything he can to master it.

Silence is broken, when he apparently yields her back the floor. Cat speaks quietly. "You're angry, Brian. Speak your mind, get it all out. I'm listening. If you want to beat me or kick me, that I'm not so likely to sit still for. You can probably whip me, but I'll fight back as hard and well as I can."

"I know you're angry," Cat adds in a somber tone, "because yesterday someone came looking to kill me for being an alleged turncoat." Is she angry? She neither looks nor sounds it.

"Cat, don't be stupid." Brian reprimands quickly. "No one's going to beat or kick you." He says, shaking his head slowly. Though when she adds the last part, his brows go high. "What?" He asks, actually looking at her now. "What are you talking about?"

"Last night," Cat replies, "Elvis called, said she had info, so I told her where to find me. When she got there and I met her, she pulled out a gun and told me she came to kill me for being a turncoat." Her eyes remain on Brian while she speaks. "It was a most interesting and unexpected development."

Brian blinks. "What a fucking idiot." He hisses, eyes wide at this new bit of information. Though those eyes remaining on him are disconcerting, so he decides to look elsewhere. "I talked to her after I died." Twice. "I was raw." So that's where she ran off to. "What an idiot." He repeats shaking his head in disbelief. "What happened?"

"I told her the full story, same as I'll tell you now, Brian," Cat answers in that same somber voice. Her eyes focus on the wall then, an indicator she's calling the memories up fresh in her head. "We were lying there in the street after the building blew up and threw us across it. I had the thermite grenade, and the box with the virus was some distance away. Then Homeland Satan had boots on the ground. I felt numb in the legs, couldn't walk, but I had to destroy the virus. I had to crawl over to it, and I did. There wasn't any injury to my legs, or a tranq dart, nothing. The closer I got to the box, though, the better my legs worked. After I set off the grenade, I looked back. You and Al were still down, the agents were right there, and I realized all I could accomplish by staying was getting myself taken in too. So I bolted."

She pauses there.

"I wish there'd been something more I could do for you and him, I really do. I'd like to have it be different, but it was what it was. I can't change it."

"Listen Cat." Brian says softly, going to look at her now. "I'm sorry about what happened to Dani, okay? I feel really bad about it, and I wish there was something I could have done to prevent it, or take the pain from you." He says, going to hug his knees to his chest. "I don't have anything majorly against you. You think I hate you, whatever. The thing is, you don't have a sense of humor. Don't get offended at that, it's just true. Not bad. I make a lot of jokes. If you want me to stop joking, I'll just stop talking around you, alright? Humor is what helps me get by." He pauses. "You suck at dealing with people." He says bluntly.

"Again, we have our ups and our downs. I'm not saying I hate you because of it. But you need to understand, what I wanted, what I needed was an apology. I don't need you to tell me the whole story Cat. Maybe there was something you could have done, maybe there wasn't. Coming off like an emotionless robot doesn't help anything. I'll forgive you, even though you're not going to apologize." Brian mutters, going to push off his knees to stand up. "We need to learn to work together."

"Apologies often sound false, Brian," Cat replies. "I could have given one, I didn't expect you to accept or believe it. I even thought you might call the falseness insulting. I'm not sorry I left. But I am sorry I couldn't help you." She attempts eye contact there, sincerity in hers, whether he believes it or not.

"I'm sorry I couldn't help Dani when Ethan demanded a technopath for her. She told me not to be guilty or blame myself, and I try not to. But success doesn't come so easily there, when I can't forget. Each memory, each moment, the way she screamed when she was cut, it's just like I'm right there again when I think of it.

"But I still have to function, live my life, so I wall up when I need to. When I let it out, no one sees. I won't let anyone see."

"I used to be fun, Brian," Cat whispers. "I used to go to a bar three or four nights a week and do my punk rock stage act until four in the morning, then go home to a soft bed and a warm body. But it's all gone. I've only been on a stage once since that day. Haven't slept in that bed either."

"I pull myself through by staying busy, not letting myself think and dwell on things."

A long sigh is given. "I died three times, Cat. I know that doesn't mean anything to you." He notes, giving a shake of his head. "But it means a lot to me. I've lost a lot too Cat. And I am very sorry for your loss Cat, but at the risk of sounding calloused, you're not going to guilt trip me here." Taking a few steps he pauses. "Really sucks what happened to us. But it happened. No one excuses my bad behavior even though I died twice. I don't get any easy outs alright? I have to pull it fucking together. Sucks that you're not going to apologize, either. I would have tried to do something for you Cat. Maybe I couldn't have done anything, but I wouldn't have just run. Never would I do that to you. I'm not trying to make you feel guilty. I forgive you." He takes a step behind her as if ready to leave.

"You okay?"

She remains on the floor, listening as he speaks. "Yes," Cat agrees, in that same quiet voice. "It does really suck. You have to pull it together, I have to pull it together, and I do. That's what I was trying to tell you just now. I pull it together and hold it together, and the way I do it gets me mocked, heckled, called a cold emotionless robot. What I'm telling you is I'm not. I just chain it all down when I go around people. The tears, the pain, all of it. If I don't, I'm just a pool of tears, and I won't let anyone see me like that."

"I'm not trying to guilt trip you at all. I'm opening up to you. And I did apologize, Brian. I'm sorry I couldn't help you."

Pausing, Brian gives a long drawn out sigh. "Okay." He murmurs, slowly turning to face her again. Folding his arms over his chest he goes to lean against the wall. "I forgive you." He repeats, quietly.

"Thank you, Brian." She turns toward him then, studying the man, then arranges a few objects on the floor. "We have to get along, and work together better, you're right, and that means understanding how each other thinks. Learning by brainstorming, bouncing ideas around. Like here. A run-through to see if we can figure a way not to have it happen again."

"This…" she touches an item near her knee, "is me." Another object is placed next to it. "This is the virus box."

Some distance away she puts down a third item. "You and Al."

Then a fourth beyond that, stretched out before her in miniature. "Homeland Satan boots on the ground."

Her object is taken and put next to the one for Brian and Al, then she slides it across the ground. "I'm crawling here. Legs don't work right. Do you remember feeling something like that, after the boots were on the ground?"

She moves the item representing herself further away from his icon and the DHS agents, standing it more and more upright as it goes. "I got to about here, and the effect started to go away. The further from the agents, the better I could move."

"So I destroy the virus…" Cat flicks the icon for that away, "and I see you two still down, with these guys…" Now the DHS icon is moved to be almost right on top of them, "right here. About to grab you. So if I come back your way, I lose the ability to walk and go down. Homeland Satan gets us all. Do you see an option I didn't think of? I've played this whole thing out in my head a hundred times. It always comes out the same."

"This is why we really need the idea Anne came up with. GPS locators. Instant extraction."

After a long moment of bewildered staring, Brian opens his mouth for a moment, a nervous sound emitting from his throat for a moment. He shuts his mouth, staring at the impromptu display. "I.." He starts off, really at a loss for words. "Cat.. I said I forgive you." He repeats himself, looking at her closely. "I can understand it was a hard decision." Straightening, he takes another step back. "Now, if you'll excuse me. I need to pee." With that, he turns his back on her. Going to do just that.

As he turns away, Cat hangs her head. Trying to demonstrate it practically and get his ideas on how to approach the situation, to see if he comes up with something she didn't, fails. Totally fails. "I didn't do this to demonstrate it being a hard decision," she tells the wall once he's out of earshot, "I did this to figure out some way to not have people get left behind like that ever again."

February 6th: Boys In Tights
February 6th: What Do You Want To Learn?
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License