The Foundation


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Scene Title The Foundation
Synopsis In lieu of gaining the space for her pro-evolved foundation, Melissa gathers Trevor and Devon for discussing some finer points of its operational needs.
Date April 22, 2011

The Symbiosis Foundation

The Symbiosis Foundation is based out of a small office space in East Harlem — on the outside, there's nothing particularly impressive about the building, a narrow three-story brickfront with bold black windows, but the property appears clean and well-kept with a metal plaque attached to the wall on the inside of the entryway with the Foundation's name on it, as well as the names of the other businesses that have leased space in the brickfront's modest interior.

Although there is no elevator inside, the stairwell that leads to the second floor where the Symbiosis Foundation is located does not make for a difficult climb, and during business hours the door that separates the office space from the landing is always open. Polished hardwood floors and a bay window with a view of a small park behind the building betray the building's origins — before it was converted into offices sometime in the late seventies or early eighties, the brickfront was a small apartment complex. Each unit has since been transformed into roughly seven-hundred and fifty square feet of space, and the Symbiosis Foundation's office still includes a kitchen in the back with a working microwave, stove and coffee machine as well as a table and two chairs for employees who might choose to take meals there.

The majority of the space, however, is dedicated to the waiting room with its plush seats, front desk and bookcase full of Evo-related reading material beneath a wall-mounted flatscreen TV.

One of the unit's bedrooms acts as a storage room and is located at the end of the hall with a bathroom opposite. The other poses as Melissa Pierce's personal office.

Phone calls were made, asking both Trevor and Devon to come to an address in Harlem, second floor. Once there it's easy enough to see why they were invited, since it's the foundation. Melissa's already there, of course, in the waiting room, setting out some pro-evolved reading material, making it look just so. She's dressed in all black, of course, but not the leather or corsets that makes up her businesswear at Tartarus. Today it's a black pinstripe suit.

Trevor emerges from the taxi cab, taking a moment to look over the building before paying the cab fare. It's not much from the outside, but he's learned to not judge a book by its cover. He heads inside and jogs up the stairs, taking them two at a time.

The reformed street bum has much more energy than before. It took a few days for the withdrawal symptoms to subside and he's been embracing the feeling of being alive and free of alcohol, at least as far as physical dependance. He pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket and searches for the office number. He finds it and waves to Melissa as he enters. Smiling, he looks over the place. "Not bad at all. A lot more cozier than a cubicle farm, that's for sure!"

The bus was late, and the teenager had missed the train that would have taken him closer to the address. One of these days, he'll have himself a motorcycle and won't have to worry about public transportation. Several blocks were covered by foot and the location passed by once, the intern's counting off instead of attention paid to the building numbers. But he arrived, eventually, as requested.

Today in blue jeans and a rugby style shirt of blue and yellow stripes, sleeves rolled to the middle of his forearms, Devon climbs his way up the stairs. There's a pause at the landing as he looks back then down the hall, but it's a brief one and he's moving further along. Eyes this time watch the door numbers until he's found the one Melissa had mentioned. A brief knock announces his arrival but there's no waiting for a response. Trained in office etiquette, the intern lets himself inside a beat later.

When the first person enters Melissa turns and smiles. "Trevor…You're looking better. And Devon, hey. So…what do you guys think? It's the Symbiosis Foundation. A pro-evolved non-profit organization. And one I'd like both of you to work at. Though I recall our prior conversation, Devon. Occasionally is fine."

Trevor looks over the place again with renewed interest. A pro-Evolved support foundation. Interesting, for sure. He smiles at Melissa. "Yeah. You might say I just had to give my system time to reboot. I feel a thousand times better now." He moves over to take a look at the kitchen area. Not bad. A nice little break room area. "So how is this foundation going to work?" He asks, turning around to face Melissa and Devon. "I mean, is this a political organization or are we kind of a support group?"

"This is really great," Devon says, enthusiasm creeping into his normally quiet tones. He pushes the door closed behind him and moves further into the lobby area. "Free time for sure," he continues, turning to Melissa. "Whatever isn't taken up by my internship. And once that's done, I'll be around more." His hands go into his pockets, though eyes continue to move around, taking in the space.

"Both, actually," Melissa says to Trevor, plopping her butt down in one of the chairs. "Not much at first. It'll take time to build up support, connections and the financial means to do what I want. But eventually? I want to use this place to help people cope with various problems, learn to use their abilities, change the laws so that they're more evolved friendly…That sort of thing."

Trevor nods, taking a seat as well. "I'm all for helping people out, especially after all you guys have done for me. And it sounds like you could use another website too." He says with a playful smirk. His eyes look over the office space again.

"This place is nice, but it might not be that way for very long if we're teaching people how to use their powers here." Trevor chuckles. "I foresee a few burn marks in the walls and that nice fridge will probably be the first to go."

"Not everyone has explosive powers," Devon points out. He takes a seat last, hands coming out of his pockets to clasp behind his head. "Some people's powers have little to do with making things explode or burn or be otherwise destructive physically." His eyes go to Melissa, though not for confirmation. "It's great. We need to celebrate it's founding."

Melissa smiles, beams really, at both of them. "We do need to celebrate. And no, not everyone has those sorts of powers. But that's for down the road in any case. Mostly, I think, what we'll do here is referrals, phone calls, lobbying. Though I do need a computer guy, and not just for the website."

Trevor smiles. "Sweet! I'm sold! Who brought the champagne?" He cringes a bit. Damn that's going to take some getting used to. It's just champagne, but still. Why take the risk of slipping back down the hole? "Or the sparkling cider. Whatever. We can order pizza. Do the phones work in here?"

"That's a good place to start." Devon frowns slightly, thoughtful. "I can ask Ms. Quinn if she can plug it on her radio show." He won't ask about having it plugged on television, and while the thought might cross his mind it's shoved into the back with the other things he generally doesn't think about. "I'm sure there's a basement or.. something we can find for later on, when control assistance is something you're ready to dabble in."

"They do. Order away," Melissa says, smiling to Trevor. She nods to Devon. "Quinn's already said as much, and she's going to mention it when she plays at Tartarus. And when that time comes, I hope that we'll be able to buy the entire building, and expand from there."

The reciever is lifts and numbers are punched in. Trevor orders the pizzas. Nothing fancy, just pepperoni and cheese. He hangs up and takes his seat. "So what other computer stuff do you need done? Since the phone lines are installed, I'm assuming the Internet lines are good, or do you need me to run cable too?"

Ugh, running cable: the grunt work of the computer world. But without it, the rest of the computer world can't happen. And if it's gotta be done, Trevor's the one to do it unless they want to just higher someone to install it. If Trevor had his way, he'd be making the phone call.

"She's a good woman," Devon states with a grin. His acquaintance with the radio host, though limited, has never been a bad one. "You need me to run flyers or anything, I can do it when I'm running errands for Studio K."

"No, there are internet lines run. But the website will need to be maintained, and I want to be able to keep a secure database of those we can refer people to," Melissa explains. Then she smiles at Devon. "She is. Quinn used to be my DJ at Tartarus, and when I went to Hawaii with Perry she kept Junie."

Trevor nods. Then, rather noticably, a light bulb gets turned on in his head and his expression becomes very serious. "Melissa, I'm going to need at least two hardware firewalls. If we're going to make this foundation public right away, I can guarantee you people will try to hack the website almost as soon as I bring it online. And we especially need to keep that database secure as well."

The gears turn in Trevor's head as he pulls out the piece of paper with the office number on it and starts making his list. "It's not going to be the most secure network in the world, but it should be enough to keep the hackavists and script kiddies out."

"Really?" Devon grins and shakes his head. "Wow, guess I know who to go for tips on DJing when I'm ready to bug you for a job." His arms drop from his head, elbows resting on his knees as he leans forward a little. "So, besides Trevor and his computer stuff, what else do you need?"

"Can you make the database unhackable? Like, guarantee it? I don't want Humanis First or anyone getting the list and attacking those people because they're pro-evolved," Melissa asks Trevor, brow furrowing. "Otherwise…Anyway to keep it off the internet but still network it within the office itself?" she asks hopefully.

To Devon she grins and nods. "Quinn was our most popular DJ. People still ask about her. And I need so many things. Fliers, so people know how to get ahold of us. Need to start working on getting donations for all the various things that require money. Need to find people in various professions that are pro-evolved, so we can add them to the database. Doctors, counselors, shelters, lawyers…that sort of thing. And I'd like to get someone on staff who has political experience so we can start planning on how to get laws changed. Like that stupid Linderman Act."

Trevor stops his writing to look up Melissa. "If you want the database unhackable, it's gotta be off the net and not linkable to anything connected to the Internet, which would include the office intranet. Even if we had a firewall separating it and allowing only one computer to it for remote access, that still presents a vulnerability."

He raises a hand in the air, in a don't-shoot-the-messenger kind of way. "I know, it's gonna be a pain the ass, but it's the most secure way. Oh, and no thumb drives either." He glances between Melissa and Devon. "I think we may need to build up to the Linderman Act right? You know, cut our teeth on the smaller fish?"

"Most of the policy behind the Linderman Act needs to go," Devon agrees with a nod. "And Trevor's got a point. To keep it truly safe, you'd have to have part of the information in one location, encrypted, and part of the information in another, also encrypted. Kind of like how the president keeps nukes from going off accidentally." He leans back, drawing his hands up to rest against his chin, expression still thoughtful. "I can think of a doctor who might be willing to speak. And …I could tentatively ask JJ for names of others."

Melissa grimaces but nods. "Why no thumb drives? They're not wireless or anything. But if you want the job as my tech guy, Trevor, it's yours. I've had you in mind for the position since you mentioned your skill with computers," she admits. "And yeah, build up to it. That's just one of my goals."

"I don't so much need a doctor who wants to go public, just one who doesn't mind taking evolved patients. I want to be able to give names for those sorts of things. Like if an evolved person's in trouble, I want to be able to give them the number of a pro-evolved lawyer. Or if an evolved woman's pregnant, I want her to get the name of a doctor who can deal with that."

There's hesitation. "Why JJ? He's FRONTLINE. I know he helped us in the Dome, but FRONTLINE is still government."

"Off-site backups, for sure," Trevor says in agreement with Devon. He jots a few more things down on paper.

"FRONTLINE? They're that Evolved SWAT team or something right?" He looks to Melissa. "Well, if we're trying to get legislation changed, we're going to be having dealing with government anyway. Meetings, dinners, cocktail parties, shmoozing and all that. That's what lobbists do right?" He says with a smile.

"The Brennan's," Devon suggests as a name for the doctors. "The female one's a pediatrician. She was actually referred to me after the Dome. As for JJ?" He shrugs, uncertain but in a casual sense. "He gets it. Just as a quality, an understanding about things." He pauses, brows knitting together in consideration. "Guess also because I trust him. And it's just to get names, if you're leery about it I can tell him I'm hoping to find a good lawyer for my emancipation. Or something else."

"Yeah, that's FRONTLINE," Melissa says, nodding to Trevor. "And off-site backups…just not sure where the off-site should be. And some of it, yeah, is meetings and such. We'll be doing charity events in any case."

She smiles wryly at Devon. "I know the Brennans. Met her, and he's stitched me up a few times. But I doubt he's too happy with me right now. But he's going on the list of potentials. I want everyone in the database to have been interviewed. Not just to assess their viability as a pro-evolved resource, but also to make sure they don't mind being on our list. But no, be straight with JJ."

Trevor jots a few more things down on his piece of paper and hands it to Melissa. "I can check for prices on these and there are some things I can do as cheaper substitutes that will probably be just as good. I know you're not made of money." He says with a smile. Just then, there's a knock at the door. Trevor gets up and pays for the pizza and sets the two boxes on the office desk. "Dig in people!" He grabs some paper plates from the kitchen and hands one each to Melissa and Devon.

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