Strange Things Are Afoot


atticus_icon.gif cassandra_icon.gif richard2_icon.gif

with appearances by Father Matthew Wilder and Father George Hernandez

Scene Title Strange Things Are Afoot
Synopsis RayTech's current large project has some things going slightly off-kilter.
Date November 21, 2018

Our Lady of Fatima's former Rosary House

East Elmhurst is coming back to life. It can be seen in the streets, even away from the hospital and the central area, but nowhere is it more evident than in and around the church of Our Lady of Fatima, a Catholic parish comprised of generally lower middle-class socioeconomics back in the day. The demographics haven't changed a lot. The people who remained were, in many cases, the ones who had nowhere else to go. They were lucky enough to be able to stay in homes they'd lived in when the Safe Zone was established. And now, with the help of RayTech, the large building in the lot adjacent to the church has begun massive renovations over the past months to turn it into a full hydro and aeroponics project for the neighborhood.

There are always people here — working construction and repair on the Our Lady of Fatima school building and church (whose repairs were part of the agreement RayTech made to get the old Rosary House), working in the interior of the Rosary House to get the set-up in place for greenhousing, etc. Many people in and out — it's perhaps a good view, to see all the community pulling in one direction.

When the car pulls up with Richard and Atticus inside, the parish's head priest is standing on the sidewalk in front of the church itself speaking to Cassandra. He pauses as the car pulls to a stop and smiles at the men emerging. "Richard," Father George hails easily. "You didn't tell me you were stopping by today." He knows the CEO of RayTech well enough by now to not stand on much ceremony. Of course… he's a relatively young priest too, so it's not like formality in this parish is expected. He's more often to be found digging in the dirt with all the kids here.

"All things considered, Father…" Richard opens the car's door and steps out, adjusting his cuffs for a moment before approaching with a smile, "I wanted to make sure everything was going alright down here."

His gaze briefly drifts towards the skies, and then back to the priest— as realities brush against each other and people see other worlds, there's been a certain amount of stress on everyone.

The giant of a man that's Richard's bodyguard closes the door after Richard gets out, his head on a swivel as he lets his gaze wander around the area - few details missed as he surveys the area for potential threats. Following Richard a pace or two behind, giving space, he still takes a moment to nod in the priest's direction should the man's gaze wander his way.

It's nice for Cassandra to be out on the streets again. She's been here for a few minutes, her SESA badge tucked into the breast pocket of her jacket, a notepad already being put into use to take notes of what she and the Father have been talking about. She pivots on her heel smartly, turning to face the car as it drives up, a brow arching above the edge of her sunglasses once she takes in exactly who it is. The Raytech signs all around heralding the 'new and improved hydroponics farms' as well as the repairs Raytech is doing to the parish itself pretty much underline that this place is being bankrolled by the company, but it was unexpected to see the CEO himself drive up.

"Mr. Ray." Cassandra says simply, nodding her head. "Good to see you again." She then looks over - and up - at Atticus, pushing her glasses down a little to get a clearer view of him. "I see you're employing giants now? I trust he's the real deal? We don't need a repeat of the raptor in the receptionist's desk, you know." She's teasing a little there. Probably. "Cassandra Baumann." She says, offering her hand to the larger man. "Assigned to investigate…" She chuckles. "Well, I don't exactly know /what/ we're investigating just yet. I've only just arrived." She turns back to the priest. "You were saying, Father?"

George Hernandez grew up on these streets. Queens is home. So it's all the more important to him to see this revitalization effort happening. He appears to be in his early 40s, lean but with that peacefulness to him that some people get when they're doing the thing they know they were meant to do. "All things considered, indeed," he murmurs, ushering Agent Baumann over so that he can also shake Richard's hand and give his…. bodyguard?… a once over. "Father George Hernandez," he introduces himself to the blonde giant with a smile.

When Cassandra invites him to continue, he looks pensive. "Perhaps now isn't the time," he offers reluctantly. He doesn't want to cause alarm among the benefactors!

"We've been growing giants down in the labs— Atticus here is a field test," Richard jokes, then pauses to observe, "That's a joke. We aren't really." It's a strange world where he has to actually explain that he's joking about that, but that's the world that he lives in.

A firm shake of the priest's hand, and an easy nod to Cassandra, "Ms. Baumann." His gaze sweeps to George, and he pauses before suggesting, "We can perhaps all wait inside until you're done with your associates here?"

"Atticus McCallan," Atticus replies with a bit of a smile to both Cassandra and the priest, taking a moment to shake the offered hands, and then stepping back to where he can keep an eye on things again. As he does, though, he notes in a dry toned aside, "Richard might have dreams of being Frankenstein, but I'm not a monster of his creation." A pause.. "Or maybe he doesn't. Either way, a pleasure to meet you both."

The man moves with a grace and controlled power that hints at understated power. Those that are observant would also likely note that the man is carrying at least one handgun, his jacket opening enough as he moves to make it's grip visible in a holster under his left shoulder.

A brow quirks when Richard looks to explain that he's joking. He come to realize that Richard's got to have one hell of a backstory just because occasionally he does that — feels like he has to explain something that most people would obviously never even consider anything BUT a joke. Shaking his head slightly, he can't help his amusement. "You'd need much deeper pockets to grow giants of this caliber," he points out, tongue firmly in cheek. "It's good to meet you, Atticus," he tells the bodyguard as he shakes his hand. "No, I think it's probably something you should be aware of as well, Richard, so I might as well fill you in since you've made it easy." He gestures to the group and draws them into the main nave of the church, out of the chilly outdoor air. The pews at the back of the church are empty and have padded seats — they may as well use them.

And don't think he doesn't notice that Richard hesitates for a split second at the doorway like he thinks he about to get smited, either!

"I figured I'd get a report at least filed so that if it all keeps happening, we've got information to form a pattern, you know? I have no idea what's actually going on, but we've had several children from the school lately go missing only to turn up the next day right back at the school with no idea what they've been doing or where they were doing it." He lowers himself to a seat as he talks. "They're fine. No one's been hurt or apparently mistreated in any way. It's just… a little alarming."

There's a saying among the professionals - specifically the IT guys at SESA - that anything people don't understand is, by default, easy. "Nah, it's easy. Just get a few water tanks, some bottles of vitamins, some horse steroids from Mexico, and you'll be golden. Shouldn't take you more than a few days to pump out another couple of Atticus', right?" Cassandra grins, obviously joking, and very nearly adds 'I'll take one.' but thinks better of it. Following the priest into the warm confines of the nave, the heavy doors closing behind them. Cassandra certainly noticed that Richard and Atticus were kind enough to follow the whole 'ladies first' thing, which was a rarity nowadays.

"We'll need their names, of course. Their classes. When they were discovered to be missing and were found - that sort of thing." Cassandra opens her notebook, jotting something down. "How many children?"

There might be just a slight shake of his head at Cassandra's comments on the proverbial ingredients for lab grown Attici. There is a look sent her direction, one that's not really concealed, and runs over her from head to toe, before he returns to that continual wandering gaze of his.

"Are they all taken from the same general location, and returned to it? Did they have anything to say about their time away?" Atticus asks of the priest, his tone casual and even, interested but not attempting to lend any particular weight to his questions.

"That is concerning…" Richard's brow knits a little at the news as he settles into the pew, hands folding between his knees as he leans forward a bit, "You said there were no injuries, sicknesses— did a doctor, or their parents check them for marks, bruises, injection sites?"

He's no cop, but he can't resist a mystery, especially where kids are involved.

Father George nods. "Of course," he tells Richard in answer to the question. "That was the first thing we did was check if there was physical evidence of anything untoward. Like I said, they don't seem in any way harmed or even afraid. Just confused because they're missing a day. I'll get you the names to follow up on, Agent Baumann." He looks between the three of them. "Honestly, if it weren't for the fact that it's happened to three separate kids at different times over the past couple weeks, I'd probably just chalk it up to the usual chaos around here. Not like a kid skipping a day of class is unusual," he admits with a rueful smile.

"You're obviously welcome to look around and if you do want to get into it, I'm sure some extra eyes and ears would be helpful. You know the best way to get involved around here — go stick your hands in the dirt in the gardens, Richard. I'm sure you'll have a posse of them nipping at your heels pretty quickly." The CEO is pretty well liked — the times he does get down here, he doesn't exactly put on airs, so the locals enjoy having him around, apparently.

Atticus glances at Richard, then at Cassandra, and then moves to take a slow circuit around the room that they're chatting in. He's certainly willing to help look around for random child abductors/returners, but the decision - at least with Richard here - is entirely his boss's. There's a look on his face, though, that hints at an interest here - kids, you're not supposed to fuck with'm.

"Okay." Richard brings one hand up, rubbing at his chin thoughtfully, "I assume you talked to them— was there anything connecting them at all? Same neighborhood, physical similarities…?

A wry smile, "And you know how I like working in the garden." Atticus may be about to get recruited to weed. Probably not a duty he thought he'd have when he took this job.

It might be that the most Atticus is familiar with, in so far as working in dirt is concerned, is digging trenches, or places to put appropriate IEDs. How hard can gardening be, though?

"Sounds like we're gonna hang around and see what runs up and smacks us in the face, that it, Richard?" Atticus asks, walking back up to the group as he hears the last bits of the conversation.

The idea of Richard Ray, on hands and knees, rooting around in a garden for a particularly choice weed is an amusing one. Probably an image that everyone at Raytech would blow up as a desktop to remind themselves that the boss can still get down and work in the dirt like the rest of them. "I'll go with you, if you don't mind, Mr. Ray. It seems more likely that children will approach in the garden than on a perimeter sweep, and I'd like to talk to a few of them. They might know where their friends ran off to, if we just ask."

George gets a big smile going. Roping in Richard, his bodyguard, AND a SESA agent to do work on the site? If there were a betting pool, he'd be cleaning up. Standing up, he ushers all of them out the side door of the nave and captures the attention of a couple of the people outside. "John, would you mind showing Mr. McCallen where the heavy lifting is being done? We can always use a strapping lad to haul bags for us." He has no shame! "Richard, Agent Baumann — we actually have a bunch of the kids working in the hydroponics today, so… let's go see if we can find people who'll talk." Do all priests railroad their visitors into being manual labor? This one is good at it!

The suit jacket's shrugged off as Richard steps after the priest, lain down on a handy bench before the man's unbuttoning his shirt-cuffs and rolling the sleeves up. "Alright, Father, lead the way," he allows easily, "I usually work pretty good with kids, too."

George is positively gleeful. When they gain the Rosary House, or what used to be the Rosary House, Cassandra is treated to the full scope of the project. The entire second floor has been removed so that the building is essentially one large warehouse space with hanging gardens. Raised beds full of soil are on the floor as well, and there are probably two dozen people, half of them kids ranging in age from about 8 to perhaps 16. The priest is greeted with waves and smiles. There's definitely some noise going on in here. It's not a quiet location. "Might want to—" whatever he was going to say is interrupted when a boy no more than about 8 or 9 appears next to Richard Ray's arm and rather diffidently says, "Father Matthew said for me to tell you 'it's about time, young man.' and I'm supposed to take you to him."

Apparently the grapevine here works very well indeed, if Richard's arrival is such common knowledge already. The boy looks at Cassandra and peers close. He sniffs, perhaps a little disdainfully. "Cops, Father G. Really?"

"Just trying to help figure out where your friends went." Cassandra says. "If anything, we're good at helping out with that sort of thing. Besides, I'm not here to bust up anything you guys might have working in the background." Cassandra pointedly does not refer to them as kids, and she looks over at the beds that are being tended as she takes her sunglasses off once they've made it inside the greenhouse. "Man…it's nice in here." The hot, moist air blows over them both as the door is opened. "I bet you have, like, forty cats living in here."

The child that appears next to Richard gets a bemused— if pleased— look. "Father Matthew's— " Alive? No, be polite! "— here?" He has to be a thousand years old by now, surely! He breathes out a chuckle, bringing up a hand in a wave, "Ms. Baumann, do some asking around? I'll go talk to the good father."

The kid gives Cassandra the patented 'uh-huh' face. Father George clears his throat and laughs quietly. "Off you go, then. I'll introduce the agent to the Ramirez's. Join us when you're through," he tells Richard easily.

With one hand on Cassandra's elbow to politely guide her to the right through the plants and people, he points. "Jessica Ramirez is the last of the kids — she disappeared yesterday on her way here and showed up this morning on the steps of the school ready to go to class like she hadn't just missed a day."

The boy gets the gist of what Richard was going to say and gets a cheeky grin. "Yeah, he's like a million years old and shi— stuff, but he lives with Father George at the priest house." The small house on the church's grounds. He lowers his voice. "He's kinda weird sometimes in the head. Said someone told him you were coming!"

Cassandra winks and, hopefully, to make the kids more comfortable, tucks her badge away. "I don't have the authority to arrest, anyway. I'm just here to investigate." She turns and takes a step after the priest. "Thank you, Father George." Cassandra is guided, side-stepping hoses and pots and workers with dirt past their elbows, the smell of soil and wet and good growing things filling this formerly quiet space. It's peaceful here - almost like home. "I might ask you if I could come visit and sit in here. I grew up in Louisiana, and the climate in this building reminds me a lot of home."

Back to the important thing at hand, she jots down Jessica Ramirez's name in her notebook as she's pointed out. "She doesn't have a problem with authority figures, does she?" Cassandra gives a sidelong glance to Father George. "Think you could break the ice for us before I approach her?"

"You know, I'm not surprised anymore when people expect me," Richard wryly states, the hint of a chuckle sliding through his words; one hand motioning for the child to lead the way, he moves to follow. "What's your name, anyway, kid?"

"The parishioners here don't have a lot of problem with authority exactly. The years since the war, there hasn't really been much authority." Father George shrugs slightly as he walks with Cassandra. "The community as a whole is a little insular — take care of their own, you know? You might get some skepticism about the idea that you're going to be able to actually do anything, but I don't think there's any real hostility going on or anything." He pauses and admits, "No one gave me any kind of inkling on that when I said I was going to contact the agency, anyway." He could be wrong and they're all just humoring him, after all. "You are welcome to come back anytime. Especially if you're willing to get your hands dirty, Agent," he says with a smile. "Honestly, having this project here has been phenomenal for our community's mental state."

The cheeky escort of Richard's replies, "Tommy. Tommy Lombard. My moms cleans the priest house, so I see Father Matt every couple days. He's cool." He leads with unerring ease through the plants to the far wall where an elderly man with the quintessential Roman collar sits in a scrounged-up lawn chair observing the goings-on in a patch of sunlight. The years have been hard, and he looks like some of them perhaps were harder still in his corner of things. He was never a large man, but now he's willowy and looks… frail. He's got to be getting close to 90 by now. Dark eyes, however, still spark with intelligence and humor when they fall on the errant Richard Ray. "Well, then. Been waitin' on you for months to stop in and say hello, boy."

A particularly less than clean Atticus carries four bags of dirt with him as he makes his way up the stairs following a pair of kids, boy and girl, whom spend about as much time walking backwards and looking /at/ him as directing him where to take the load of dirt. With three bags up on one shoulder and the other held in his other hand, Atticus is moving a bit slowly up the stairs and at a distinctly awkward tilt…but what's better than getting four trips done in the space of one?

"These go over here, somewhere, right kids?" Atticus asks the pair that met him down where the bags and dirt were at, flashing them both a broad grin that's completely at odds with the normally reserved nature of the man. He's shed his jacket, somewhere along the line and the gun that might've been glimpsed before is quite visible in its shoulder rig - but worn so comfortably by the man that it seems to .. just not be an issue.

Then again..maybe that's what the kids were staring at.

"That's understandable." Cassandra says to the priest she's with. "After all, we've been doing a lot behind-the-scenes. It's stuff like this greenhouse and that solar install going on at Red Hook that gets all the attention. We're just working at keeping the city from tearing itself apart."

Resting her hand on Father George's shoulder, Cassandra steps out into the aisle towards Jessica, ducking down a little and waving to get the girl's attention. "Jessica? Hi. I'm Cassie. Can I come talk to you for a little while?"

"Oh, come on," Richard spreads his hands, warm humor in his complaint, "How was I supposed to know that you were here of all places, or even that you were alive, Father? I do get mail, you know, letters…"

He walks over to the priest with a warm smile, "Glad to see you haven't joined the heavenly choir yet."

The old man chuckles. "I only got here about three weeks ago," he relents on the teasing, offering a long-fingered hand to shake. His skin has that papery texture of the elderly. "Didn't realize who you even were until Jared Harrison was in here last week — name change threw me. I've been trying to decide for a few days whether you'd even want to hear from a fossil." He doesn't get up; the walker at the side of the lawn chair might indicate that he can't. But though his glasses are a bit thicker these days, he's clearly still just as sharp as ever. "You're doing good things up here. And I hear you brought friends." He tips his head. "You going to be looking into the crap going on with these kids?" The demand is gentle. And both his brows shoot up because the Jolly Blonde Giant appears on a scaffold off to the left of his field of view. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, boy…. what are you into that you need a Titan at your back?"

The two kids wave Atticus to drop the bags right there. And then they scarper, to go whisper in corners behind their hands to other kids. Jessica, a girl of about 9 or so, uses the time to dodge out of the way despite the priest's accompaniment of the strange woman.

Father George sees the commotion and then rolls his eyes. "Gonna be one of those days," he sighs. "C'mon… you can both meet Matthew. He may actually know what you need." And he waves upward toward Atticus to indicate where they're traveling.

Cassandra's not strange - just different. And yes, being in slacks and a suit jacket probably screams 'fed' to anyone within a dozen feet of her. Still, she sighs as the girl runs off, standing and pivoting, heading over to where the Father is leading her. "Hopefully Father Matthew can give us some input. Please, lead the way when you're ready." She shrugs out of her jacket and hangs it over one arm, her own sidearm tucked on her left.

Atticus stands there a moment after having set those bags of dirt down, flashes a smile to the kids as they scamper off, and then begins to take just moment to brush dirt of his formerly nicely bright and clean white button down shirt. After a moment he shrugs, unbuttons it at the collar after taking off the tie, and leans against one wall as the others approach.

"Yeah," Richard admits, "I suppose we are… you know me, can't leave kids in trouble. And I never could resist a good mystery." The arrival of the others - and the comment - has him looking back with a crooked smile, chin raising a little in a greeting nod. "You wouldn't believe me if I told you."

"Father, this is my bodyguard, Atticus… and this is Agent Baumann, probably the only person authorized to officially investigate this." A motion to the aged priest, and he offers more simply, "This is Father Matthew."

"You and your mysteries…" Cassandra chuckles softly. "You know, you're the very image of Fred from Scooby Doo, Richard. Just add in an orange ascot and blonde hair and you'd fit perfectly. Father, it's a pleasure to meet you." She offers a clean hand for him to shake, her grip firm.

She straightens, stepping aside for Atticus to give his greeting, if he so chooses. "Officially, yes. I'm here at the behest of SESA, looking to make some inroads socially with the residents of the safe zone, and helping figure out where kids are going off to was a good way to get connected. With an ability like mine, good mysteries aren't that mysterious once I get my hands on the right things or in the right places."

"Indeed, a pleasure, Father. Bodyguard now, FBI at one time - if I can help out, I will." Atticus says, stepping forward for long enough to shake the other man's hand with a firm grip that's strong without being challenging. He glances over at Cassandra, offers her a bit of a nod - an ex-professional to another, as he steps back and makes sure that those shorter than he can be a part of the conversation without having to talk over, or around, his bulk.

Offering his hand, warped somewhat by age and arthritis, the elderly priest with the sparse white hair smiles as he greets the other two. "It's a pleasure to meet you both." He then retorts mildly to Richard, "With the things I've lived to see come to pass, I'd pretty much believe anything you told me — 'More things in heaven and Earth,' after all." He wheezes out a laugh at Cassandra's comment, though. "You're sharp," he tells her.

Father Matthew sits back in his chair and rests his arms on it. "It's good that it's being checked into," he tells them all. "The children are … well, they are particularly not bothered, I guess is the way to put it. None of them act frightened, they just can't remember where they were." He pauses and admits, "And the fact that even that doesn't bother them bothers the rest of us."

Father George grimaces. "Tell you what, I'll leave you three to talk to Matthew — he probably knows more about all this than the rest of us. The kids do talk to him." He grins slightly. "And regularly underestimate just how much he sees, too. I've got to get back over to the school. Please… if you figure out what's happening or if you need anything else, please feel free to ask me. You have open access to everything here and all the people. We just want to make sure the kids are okay." He heads back through the building to pick up his own responsibilities.

Father Matthew eyes Cassandra. "And what ability is that, if I may be so rude?"

"Later, then," says Richard with a wink to the priest, "Maybe I should catch up on confession, after all…"

Probably not a great idea. The good father may not have long enough on this Earth to hear his full confession.

At the question about Cassandra's ability, he notes, "I've seen her ability in use myself; she's very good at what she does."

Cassandra remains quiet as Father George heads back into the building, leaving the three of them alone with the elderly priest, turning back to him when she's asked exactly what her ability is. "You're not being rude at all, father. To put it simply, I show the past. I take non-living objects or locations and can see… threads… of time extending from them. My ability allows me to grasp those threads and show them to everyone in a ten to twenty foot radius, just as if you were standing there watching it happen with your own eyes."

She absentmindedly pushes a lock of hair back behind one ear. bobbing her head in thanks to Richard and his praise. It's nice to be told you're good at what you do.

Atticus's eye's widen just a touch at Cassandra's ability, once revealed, wouldn't /that/ have been useful in times past. He remains quiet for the moment, though, keeping a watchful eye on all and sundry, while not letting his attention wander too far from the discussion at hand.

"You want to go to confession, young man, you say the word. I'll clear the whole week," Father Matthew fires back with a wicked twinkle. He has a soft spot for Richard Ray, very obviously. At Cassandra's explanation, his brows rise up his forehead and he looks intrigued. "I dare say that might come in handy." Without George standing nearby and the kids far enough away not to listen, his dark eyes flicker to his companions. "The families of the kids have all just been happy to get their children back. But I have to tell you — it worries me," he admits. "With strange things going on in the underground of this city, the homeless ones are coming above for shelter more often and they're telling strange stories. Rats. Ghost stories. All kinds of things come out of that place. And we serve a decent number of the homeless around here when the weather's cold. So if something is happening to them, maybe the kids are getting sucked into it too. I just don't like it."

"I'd encourage anyone that's been staying in the underground to keep out, Father… from what my connections tell me, those rats aren't just an urban legend," says Richard rather grimly, a hand coming up to scratch at the curve of his jaw before falling back to his side, "I can't think of a lot of worse ways to go, either."

He frowns down to the priest, "Is there any… similarities between the kids who've disappeared? Same way home, same hair color, anything."

Cassandra has witnessed a few of those worse ways to go in her time investigating here in the Safe Zone or, rather, the surface of the Safe Zone. Below the streets are anything but safe. "Your connections are fairly accurate, Mr. Ray. Given the choice, I'd stay out of the underneath and, even if I absolutely had to go down there, I'd stick to the main mapped out paths. Poking around in dark corners is the perfect way to have some danger in your life."

She turns to Father Matthew. "It works out pretty well to bring closure to people." She says softly. "I volunteer, from time to time, with the city to help identify the lost. I see some things that aren't very pretty…" she trails off. "I might show up for a confession or two, even though I'm not catholic."

Atticus doesn't quite manage to hide a bit of a smile and … for those with good ears .. a chuckle at Father Matthew's comment about confession time for Richard. Still, when looked at, Atticus is the epitome of the bodyguard, stoic mein and all. He does look like he's thinking about any number of things that might really not have been fun to see the actual work being done.. and with a shake of his head puts that off before concentrating more on the now.

A gentle smile quirks the lips of the old priest. "God doesn't care about religion, child. That's the province of man. If you need an old man's ear, it is here for the asking." He seems to sit up just a little taller.

The questions asked make the priest have to think along lines that didn't occur to him before. "They're all around the same age. Jessica's 9, Ian's 11, and Maria's …. also, 11, I think. That would actually put them all in the same class at the school." He glances up. "We don't have nearly as many kids these days, so we break them up in age ranges for multi-grade classrooms right now. They'd all be in the 5th and 6th grade class."

At that revelation, Richard slants a thoughtful look to the others, and then back to the priest. "Fifth and sixth grade class," he muses, "Alright, now we're getting somewhere. We have one string of commonality to tie them all together…"

One brow twitches up, "Who teaches that class, and could we speak with them?"

"Better yet, could you have the teacher come speak with us first, outside the class?" Cassandra glances over to Richard. "Me showing up in the middle of things is probably the absolute best way to get the kids and the teacher to not say a word, and I'm just a SESA agent. They don't trust me by default, because i'm a fed and I have a gun. Attacus, no offense, but you're a giant white dude with a gun, too, so they probably won't say much with you around, either. I think our best bet is to have the good Mr. Ray talk to the class in our stead or, at least, break the ice a little for us." She tilts her head, thoughtful. "Think the kids would mind seeing christmas in New York from around 1940?"

Atticus gives an affable sort of shrug, "Kids and I do fine, but.. generally not when I'm on duty and can't really put the gun down in a setting like this." The big man doesn't seem put off by bringing up the fact that he's gonna be more than simply a wet blanket on their willingness to talk. His job is to /be/ intimidating, at least with Richard out somewhere where he can get shot…or worse. "Since I don't know that we can't expect someone, or thing, to try and disappear one of us for a bit I can't really go 'off' duty at this point either."

Father Matthew nods immediately. "Of course. Renee Burton teaches that grade." The man's not above turning some things to his advantage. "I think being able to see such an amazing thing would be wonderful, Agent Baumann. It might be easier if you're all here in a more social demeanor anyway — and I happen to know that tonight the congregation is using the kitchen in the rectory house to start putting together our Thanksgiving for the homeless. They'd be thrilled to have something to entertain everyone and that will let you mingle and talk to who you need to without it being obvious." He looks between them. "And if you change clothes and come a bit earlier, I do believe we could certainly use the hands in the garden." He's getting the strapping lads' hands dirty, he really is!

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