Talking About Moab


cat_icon.gif kinney_icon.gif elvis_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Talking About Moab
Synopsis It's what happens when Teo brings Connor to meet with Cat and Elvis
Date March 15, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

Sunday evening, March 15th, 7:45 p. m., that's what the displays on the cameras she's monitoring tell Cat as she waits for guests to appear in the lobby. She knows Teo is coming and can get here by elevator, also lead them to this top floor, but she needs to actually let them into her residence. The doors to the penthouse don't have the same keycard as that fourth floor.

She's ready. Food is laid out on the kitchen table; casual fare along with soda, beer, and wine to accomodate most tastes. And when they arrive on the floor, she's standing at the open doors facing the elevator.

Church always puts Teo in a weird mood, what with the sudden and bitter backwash of stories like Sodom and Gomorrah and Lot's wife and other cheesy, overwrought reasons to hate yourself and get all awkward and stiffly polite around the guy you're dating. Fortunately, over the course of a relatively warm afternoon, bus ride, and important architectural discussion about how to fit an emergency escape route down between the load-bearing wall and sheetrock, the worst of it wore off.

By the time they find Elvis, Teo's remembered how to smile and he puts his cigarette out on the sidewalk outside the Village Rennaissance's grand edifice. There's a drove of brief, pleasant and practical queries — about how Bootstrap's doing, of whether or not Elvis has seen Cardinal and Abigail yet. Connor, Elvis. Elvis, Connor. In the elevator, Teo angles a glance up at the camera. When they reach the suite level, he discreetly scrubs his shoes off on the mat in preparation for varnished floors. Knocks.

"Hello, donna." He smiles; shows teeth. His sweater is characteristically worn, a peaty shade of gray, a shirt peeking out of the collar. He had failed completely to notice that the blue jeans he had pulled on did not actually belong to him, and had probably cost the mayor's son four hundred dollars. It isn't awfully conspicuous.

Despite how naturally it has become for Sonny to use his ability and don different faces, he's still not exactly comfortable being a different person. Which is why Sonny - looking very much like the doctor, Connor Kinney, was comfortable and fairly talkative until a third person entered the equation.

Then, the doc got a little quiet, a little more abrupt. It's the kind of behavior certainly not characteristic of the friendly mayor's son. Lying is hard. Pretending to be a different person is hard. He's getting a headache and they've barely begun.

Dr. Kinney emerges from the elevator behind Teo. He's wearing brown courderoy pants and a blue striped shirt. A special wardrobe. The clothes just wouldn't suit Sonny Bianco. For one, they're not designer - unlike the jeans Teo mistakenly donned. The newest Phoenix recruit waits for introductions and gives Cat a polite smile.
There's important fucking work to be done, and ain't no fucking social call more important. No she hasn't seen Abby and Cardinal, Bootstrap's fine and she volunteers no further information just yet. She's in a foul mood, alleviated only by sucking down as many cigarettes as she has time for.

"Buona sera," Cat replies for Teo. "Welcome, please do come in." Her eyes settle on the man arriving just behind him, and perhaps the truest test of the alter ego adopted by Mayor Bianco's son takes place. If Cat doesn't find him familiar, it isn't likely anyone else will either. He, on the other hand, has the advantage of her. They spoke at the Garden on Staten Island, just ten weeks previous, New Year's Eve.

Focus goes to Elvis next. "Good to see you in much better shape than you were, chica. Thanks for coming."

And it's back to Teo and Connor, awaiting introductions and about to do so herself before it becomes awkward.

Perhaps hilariously, all of Teo's work fits loosely into the category of 'social call,' lacking few entirely casual acquaintances anymore. He isn't thrown off-balance by Elvis' belligerence because Elvis lacking belligerence would have thrown him off-balance; Salvatore's unease is taken, similarly, in stride.

At least for now. Obliged to make introductions, he does so with unceremonious gallantry, the gesture of long fingers. "Doctor Connor Kinney, metamorph and medic," fellow in corduroy, "Doctor Catherine Chesterfield, eidetic memory. By now, you both know me and Elvis." He scrubs four blunt fingers down his jaw, then starts to yank his jacket loose.

Elvis offers a grim smile to Cat, and a nod. "Yeah, thanks hun. I'd have dropped by without all this business, but apparently it's -really- important that I be here at this precise moment." Peering daggers sidelong at the two men. "I was going to call, go riding or something. Weather though, you know." She shrugs, tucking hands back into jacket pockets as she settles in for the duration. This was going to suck, because it was already sucking.

"Nice to meet you," says Connor smoothly. He offers his hand out towards Catherine. Normally he'd smile a charming smile, but in an attempt to keep his personalities separate, he keeps his expression neutral. In a way, it's good that they've met. Else he might have let his guard down and simply acted like himself with a different face. "Glad to be trusted enough to be here."

He casts a glance to Teo, then a sidelong one to Elvis. His hands slide casually into his pockets.

Doctor Kinney's hand is shaken once and released, still callused at the fingertips and lacking signs of rough living elsewhere. "A pleasure, Doctor," Cat replies with a smile. She doesn't show any signs of recognition, it would seem Salvatore is passing his strictest test so far. "Cat will do, by the way, for persons in this organization. I'm not one for a ton of formality, most of the time."

Then she turns and heads for the kitchen; they've fortunately arrived by the elevator which makes it not so much of a walk across the spacious penthouse to get there. "I've got food and drinks for anyone wanting," the Hostess offers. "So we can relax and be comfortable while we talk."

"You can go after a few minutes, if you want," Teo tells the other biker. His head is listed forward, looking all the world like an especially timid porcupine; his hair's grown out a little over the past month, as hair is wont to do. "Or— fuck, I guess you could go now — I just wanted to see how you were doing and 'f Cat could get some food and booze into you."

He's generous that way. Or something. He's grateful if dimly surprised when the lawyer takes his jacket. Without particular ceremony or aplomb, he launches into shop talk. "I talked to that pilot I met the other week. Fedor, call-sign 'Schoolmaster.'"

"Has a jet, can do flyovers and sensitive photography of the Moab penitentiary. He's offering to help with an assault if it comes to that, too. He wants someone from Phoenix to ride with while he does." As he walks, Teo links his fingers behind his back, pulls them far enough that his spine gives up an audible pop of tension. "Figure Wireless will be keeping an eye on the whole thing. Any ideas who?"

Elvis bristles, inwardly. She was building a motor and now, after Teo loses Abby and Helena and Conrad he wants her input. What the fuck would he do when he lost Cat, grant her oral sex? "Why the fuck does he want to help us, does he have a girlfriend in lockup?" As she of course sweeps across the floor and finds herself a seat. Angry or not, there is booze and food and it's free. "Cat, darlin ya'll mind if I smoke in here?"

Connor tries not to look uncomfortable or awkward, and for the most part it works. Instead of coming across edgy, the doc manages to look fairly laid back and indifferent. "Connor," he says, by way of returning informalities. He tugs off his own jacket and sets it somewhere out of the way. "This is quite the place. Certainly not lacking in space, mm?" He steps inward and moves towards the food and drink. He picks up a can of pop, taps the top and then pops it.

He listens as Teo speaks. It's very strange to suddenly be privy to things that the Phoenix leader has until this point played close to his chest. As the newbie, he keeps his mouth shut and listens for the time being. A sidelong glance is sent to Teo. This is harder than he thought it would be. Worse than pretending to like people at parties in a lot of ways. He's met Elvis and Cat before. They know what he can do. It's very possible they might suspect and then never trust him again if they found out. It's a strange line to walk.

If Cat is thinking it odd there are two people with the same ability, one attached to the Ferry she met and this one here now, she doesn't let on. Her expression remains cordial as she enters the kitchen where the food and drink are. Simple fare, really. Burgers, fries, cola, beer, wine, hot dogs. It's clear she isn't expecting this to be a bigtime society thing, as was shown already by her clothing: Jeans, sneakers, a peach button front blouse. "Connor," the Hostess repeats. Then she addresses Elvis. "They're your lungs. I don't mind."

And Teo, next. "I'll go. I've recently begun reading about aircraft and how they work. Flying intrigues me. And I've some ideas I want to look for. We should also make the effort at times when people are likely to be out in the yard for exercise, if they're allowed any. This would give us an idea which parts house women and which men."

"I was going to ask Eileen to send a message to them, eventually. I think she'd help us." Teo answers the younger woman's ill-spirite stare with a momentary frown, but doesn't start a fight. Or try to grab food out of her way when she puts her grubby mitts to it. No, he takes up his own space, waits his turn, steering with a downturned eye even as he returns volley verbally. When Connor looks at him, there's a shaded fraction of a glance, an encouraging half a smile, before he's speaking again. Burger levered into plate. "Girl's learned a new trick with her avian telepathy."

"She can use birds as conduits to telepathically communicate with other human beings. If we can get her out there during yard time, maybe with an augmentation from Gillian, we could find out what's happening in there. The architecture, function of space, guards they've seen, and who's being interrogated, how, and about what." A frond of lettuce slots in through his teeth, is cut down with a crunch of molars.

Elvis peers at Teo for a moment, as she lights up a cigarette. "Why is he helping us? He's not Phoenix, right, so why the aid? Does he owe us something, or what?" Leery as she may be, it's sufficient to dissuade her from hurting Teo or this doctor guy.

Connor picks up a small handful of chips and politely crunches on them as he listens. This is a learning exercise for him. He's here to find out what Phoenix is all about. He eyes Elvis sidelong and then murmurs, deadpan, "You know, I could prescribe you a sedative." That's supposed to be a joke. A very un-Sonny like joke. He chews slowly on one of the chips. He strategically moves out of the way of Elvis' cigarette - and not for the reason one might think. He's an ex-smoker.

"You know," says the doc thoughtfully. "Maybe there is some of this info kept here in the city. In an office that handles prisoner transfers." A half-shrug. Just a thought.

She's listening as others speak, absorbing the information like a sponge. "Eileen," Cat muses. "We talked recently. That whole thing with Victor had me thinking about the way seeking revenge can just take over, rule a person's life. So I went to Staten Island, remembering what you said about birds, and her particular tool. I found a spot in the open and sat playing guitar. I thought maybe she'd see me alone and come to check things out, but instead she spoke to me mentally." Her chest rises and falls with a slowly drawn breath.

"We came to an understanding regarding Ethan. He has value to her, as father or father figure. I've no quarrel with her, or reason to put her through that loss. And no desire to allow him power over my life any longer."

"Asking her to aid us is a solid idea."

And there's rumination over Connor's suggestion. "It's possible. Other sources," she won't mention Carmichael by name, "didn't. That doesn't mean the holding facility won't. Although they've recently, I'm sure, changed procedures and reviewed security precautions." Because Phoenix and unexpected others expressed their disapproval of darkholing Deckard.

Yeah, Teo had not given Salvatore the full account of that particular clustefuck because— the real explanation for bruised ribs, with automatic rifles and kevlar and shit would just go over badly.

Other times, transparency helps. Catherine's recollection warrants a slowing in Teo's munching. He looks a little sad, but doesn't say anything about it. Danielle's still a sore point with him. By default, Ethan, too. Cat's girl, and one hundred dead children; he isn't heartless enough to forget and lacks the virtue enough to forgive. "Thanks. Thought so."

His eyes shift between his lover and the lawyer when they move on to the subject of transfer facilities. He grunts ruefully. "Doubtful. They know about Phoenix. They take precautions where we're concerned. No sensitive information on wireless transmissions, no names in dossiers. Fucking irritating."

He gets the ring of his beer can with his teeth, spits it out into the nearest receptacle and cranes his head around to find somewhere to sit himself down in conversational proximity to Elvis. "I think Fedor wants in for the same reasons anybody ever helps us. He likes blowing shit up, thinks HomeSec's a troupe of asshat fascists. He already helped get Abby back, and Hana has paperwork on him that confirms he is the kind of guy he says he is.

"I'm as sure about him as I am about anybody else we have." A beat, and Teo's smile goes ruefully crooked. That could have been more reassuring, but he doesn't like to lie.

Elvis frowns just a touch, she wasn't going to pry but whatever. "Then fine, get ahead with it. Are we going to make it clear this is a Phoenix thing, or just try and break everyone out and hope for the best?" She pauses for a moment as she exchanges one cigarette for another. "And once we get them back, assuming we don't get ourselves killed, where are they going? Not back to New York, I hope. There is gonna be so much police presence locally, looking for those mother fuckers that we're gonna be so busy hiding them that we can't get onto doing anything important."

Connor's eyes unfocus a bit as the doc gets lost in thought. He purses his lips, then raises the can of pop up. "I know some people. I'll ask around. See if I can't get it narrowed down to a facility. Just so the information's on the table. Even if a raid isn't practical." He might not know what's really going on, but he can piece it together. Phoenix people in Moab? Check. Raid planned on Moab? Check. What he has no idea about is Abby's kidnapping and tongue-slashing. Probably best that he doesn't. He and the healer girl might not see eye to eye, but that doesn't prevent compassion.

"I think Fedor would be too obvious to send in as a mole. But it's entirely possible. They have some of you. HomeSec probably wants more. But," he shrugs. "hat's difficult to manage without getting paranoid. I have access to background checks since I do the hiring of some temp staff at the trailer clinic. Let me know if you need me to run them. Though I'd imagine a technopath could do a much more thorough job." He just wants to find a way to contribute before someone asks him why he's here.

To what Elvis says, Connor nearly opens his mouth with the offer of changing the faces of the escapees. But he closes it soon after. Right. Pretending just to be a metamorph. He pops a few chips in his mouth and chews. He'll leave it to Teo to volunteer that.

"Fedor's thing is airborne transportation and weaponry," Cat remarks. "He's very capable, and valuable, in that regard. Part of what we can achieve in the overflight, if we're able to do it while prisoners are on yard time, and if we can also gather intel through Eileen and her birds, is learn just who's in there and why. If we have that, it becomes more possible to pick and choose people for release. We can study faces, learn what people are allegedly in for and hopefully not free people who truly need locked up." Cat recalls her conversation with Teo on this score.

"We have a technopath already assisting us. We've come to the point where we have all she can provide, without being given more specifics to look for. DHS, also, knows we have this technopath and have taken countermeasures."

The panmnesiac takes a brief time to speculate further. "Connor, you're a medical doctor. Is it possible you could find a way, tucked somewhere in medical journals, of counteracting drugs used to suppress abilities?"

A shrug moves through Teo's shoulder, left to right. There are enough strains of conversations going on at once that it isn't immediately clear what he is shrugging at, but there's no disagreement in the gesture either way. He finishes washing down a mouthful of burger and places his can on the nearest level surface. An endtable.

"Manufacturing new identities in bulk isn't impossible," he notes with a blank sort of haste, upon Connor's cue. "The Ferrymen have been doing it awhile."

"I don't like the idea of cutting loose two dozen serial killers in your country though." Cat elaborates on that; he nods at her, then lifts his gaze to study Connor, inquisitively, when she makes her other query. The notion had started with Anne and seen little practical action so far, but with Hana's use of the drug on Carmichael, new headway seems possible. "We could probably get a sample of the thing."

Connor sets his can down and digs his hands into his pockets. He purses his lips into a ponderous expression and shifts from one foot to the other. "Mmmhmm. I can look into it. But that's not the kind of thing that gets published. What I might be able to do is find out how it works in the first place. Then I might be able to figure out how to reverse the effects. But." A beat, "I'll have to be careful. They've no doubt got ears out and flags that go up if anyone looks into that sort of thing." Kind of like when people go onto the internet to find out how to build a pipe bomb.

He rubs the side of his neck and glances to Teo, brows raising. "A sample would be a place to start. But I'm not a chemist, I'm a surgeon. I might have to bring someone else in if it turns out that it works in an unusual way." He purses his lips and rubs at the slight bit of stubble on his chin. "I might need to test it. Do you have access to very much of the drug? Knowing how it affects different abilities will tell me if the creators found a common root of all Evolved abilities or if it just works on the majority of subjects by…suppressing seratonin or adrenaline or something of that nature."

"Fuck'em, seriously. Fuck'em. We empty the whole fucking joint out, because ain't no prison right. None of those fuckers inside ever chose to live by the rule of law, they got told they better fit in or they get thrown in some deep dark hole. We empty the whole fucker out, and every last guard there dies. Ain't none of those fucking fascists got no fucking right to life or liberty." Elvis is, finally, back on her game it would seem. Cigarettes do marvelous things.

"And I'm fucking tired of your chickenshit jackassery. These men might as well be wearing swastikas and death's heads on their lapels, so if you even hint you dont want us slaughtering every single last one of the rat bastard motherfuckers I'm gonna come cross this table and cut your god damned teeth out with a fucking fork." Eyes fixed ever so firmly on Teo, for the moment at least. "This shit is a mother fucking business, these people make money off of depriving people of their liberty. We burn them down, and we leave none standing. This is the price they pay, this is what they get for being fucking slavers."

She won't debate the merits of whether or not to terminate the guards present at Moab. Cat remembers her conversation with Teo, regarding how this is all the fault of DHS if dangerous people are released, because they've chosen to hide. To not give trials in the public eye so everyone can know convictions were done fairly and with proper procedure. More importantly, know who was convicted and why. Her experience with DHS, also, tells her the debate on the guards is moot. They will make their deaths necessary by trying to kill the rescuers, some things just take care of themselves.

She also hopes to make this clean as possible, however: Cat has her thoughts on the public eye and they do have Hiro Nakamura. Fewer dead bodies is less people the government can parade to the media as the grieving families of honest civil servants murdered by terrorists.

Getting Elvis to see the big picture may be even more frustrating than trying to explain things to Brian Fulk. It doesn't have to happen now.

This process of thought has Cat quiet for a time, the wheels seeming to turn in her head during it, before she speaks with mild sarcasm in her voice. "Yes," the Lieutenant deadpans, "because we'll accomplish tons by trying to cut each other's teeth out with forks. DHS would love us for it."

Connor gets her attention. "We believe it's a generalized agent, and is effective."

By now, Elvis has yelled at Teo enough about being a yellow-belly, jelly-spine, gutless, et cetera et cetera, that he is kind of, sort of used to it. It is not a good sign that the former football hooligan from Sicily tends to have more presence of mind about breaking into Federal Penitentiaries than anybody else. There's a delightful break in pattern where Cat's concerned tonight, and a half smile from her compatriot for it.

"If we find some psychic child rapists rotting in the fucking tar pit, I'm not digging them out." Teo makes a slight grimace at Elvis. "I guess, glorified anarchists and general social rebels, welcome to the world. Or what she said." He flicks a finger at Cat in the process of flicking the crumbs off his fingers. He sniffs loud, like a dog.

The chemistry doesn't mean nothing to him, but it certainly isn't Teo's area of expertise. "I don't know how much of the drug we have. I'll find out and let you know."

As the torrent of curses is unleashed, Connor balks and stares, but he doesn't say anything. Well. That was interesting. "Chickenshit equals a desire to not slaughter, hm?" he murmurs. Well. "I…" And then his phone goes off. To his credit, it's just an old timey phone ring. Nothing too obnoxious. "Scuse me. Hello?"

The doc steps off and has a murmured conversation. Sounds workly. A moment later he snaps the phone shut and steps towards the Phoenixers. "M'sorry. I gotta run. One of the docs down at the trailer clinic got called in to surgery and can't make his shift. There's an outbreak of the flu down there and I gotta go handle it. Teo, see you later. Rest of you, nice to meet you. I'll see what I can do about that drug if you get me a sample." He goes for his coat. That last bit might be considered 'breaking character.' He sounds more like himself.

Elvis narrows her gaze, patently ignoring the doctor. "And who the fuck are you, Teo to judge others. Who are you, who's hands are so clean? Your just as much of a killer as I am, so get the fuck off your high horse. We kill the guards, because then getting staff becomes all the more difficult and when they do find somone to work there it takes that more money to employ them."She huffs, third no wait fourth cigarette. "and yeah DHS can fucking go to hell, I've cut more delicate bodyparts out with rougher tools for far less."

This needs to be defused now, before they start to fight right here. Cat looks from Elvis to Teo and back again. "Good food here," she comments toward the woman. "You need to eat and keep your health for the mission." Inwardly she's thinking if they take Elvis along, they can give her an assignment that keeps her occupied, lets all that aggression out. Like ripping doors off of cells.

Maybe. Fighting comes as easily to the Sicilian as it does the outlaw and, despite Teo frequently seems to be on the verge of losing his head to the girl's adrenalized strength, it still remains firmly rooted to his shoulders.

Elvis' accusation does not invite denial. He doesn't like to lie. Instead, there's a furtive glance spiked over Teo's shoulder, after the way he had called salutation to his departing lover. His features lock up, colored with manifest tension. "When I start using my psychic powers to rape kids, we can talk more. I didn't say a fucking word about the guards, ragazza. I'll kill any of them before I let them kill you.

"Promise." He slings one leg over the other, some vague effort donated toward matching the stylish dignity of his surroundings by adopting a sophisticante's sprawl.

Elvis exhales, and then its all over. She sets down her last cigarette and slumps. "I dunno, I mean I dunno." And its really, entirely that simple. In a wave it comes and goes and now she's like a perfectly normal human being. "Rapists get their own, but if you're gonna lock someone up they deserve a trial. Granted, I dont think a justice system is inherently just or fair when you're forced to adhere to it, but this is another deal entirely. I just don't want to leave anyone there, who don't deserve to be. Can you imagine, what it'd be like to miss a shot at freedom?"

"Good night, Connor," Cat offers to the departing physician, then her attention goes back to the others. Things seem calmer between them, so she opts to listen and be silent for the moment.

"Yeah," Teo admits. The line of his shoulders falls slightly when he exhales. Inhales again. It's going to be hard to get up, between this much food and that much on their collective mind. "I can imagine." Empathy is one of his greater talents, and with his best friend, co-leader and — fuck knows who else locked up in the hole there, he's been exercising that a lot.

Even anger requires fuel. "I don't know either. This country's legal system is in no fucking way prepared to deal with this shit. I feel like we probably need more fucking information either way." He glances at the remains of Elvis' final cigarette and the corner of his mouth lengthens out, neither a smile nor a frown.

"So, I'm building a bike. A bike from total scratch, I just got a frame, transmission, wheels, forks, suspension, and yadda from other stuff but the geometry is all new. Nothing ever built like it, it'll be very fucking fast when I finish it." She nods towards Cat. "I'll build you one of your own for the cost of parts, if you want. I'm calling it a high endurance supersport." Subject changes were good.

Things continue to be calm. Cat stands by and finally begins to eat herself. There's a bottle of stout she opens and drinks from slowly, while having her meal. It's a thing she enjoyed in the days, a mere span of weeks, when she was an active stage musician. Someday she'll get back to it. For now, she just lets her mind travel.

March 15th: Tit for Tat
March 15th: Little More Than a Man
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