The Trial of Emile Danko


abby4_icon.gif cat_icon.gif chuckles_icon.gif danko3_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jericho_icon.gif joseph_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif mcrae3_icon.gif meredith_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif robin_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Guest appearance by:


Scene Title The Trial of Emile Danko
Synopsis The Ferry assembles to decide Danko's fate.
Date November 11, 2009

Grand Central Terminal — Subbasement

The lowest levels of the Grand Central Terminal is the stuff of legends and urban myth - turns out, it didn't disappoint. A mess of platforms, of tunnels, of steam pipes, and storage areas, there's been no real effort made to restore power to this place - be prepared to wield a torch or a glow stick (both of which are provided readily, unless you're an intruder…) or enjoy stumbling around in the oppressive darkness. Or at least, such is the case for most of this area.

Renovations are ongoing, but have progressed to this level as well. Platforms and their unused tracks are used for storage - where trains might have marked their gigantic metal forms, there are now boxes of supplies of many kinds, labeled and ordered for a time when they are needed. Minimal light systems have been set up for when work down here is required.

In addition to wider spaces being utilized, the smaller storage rooms have been converted for other purposes - residential spaces. These are basic but not uncomfortable, though chill sets in quickly if a space heater isn't handy. Some are private, some have space for two or three, some are merely rows of cots. Bathroom facilities have been installed, and some even have running water, but it's definitely a work in progress in comparison to the upper level.

They situate like vultures. Young and old, male and female, some with faces too worn, too fatigued by the stress of the past three years to easily differentiate one from the other. Winter coats dwarf bodies both large and small, while some are dressed in lighter jackets slick with rain, their collars turned up to shield noses and mouths from the scrutiny of prying eyes — and there any many. Eileen has lost count of the number of Ferry operatives that fill the concrete platform where the trial is set to take place, though the limited space in which people have to move contributes to making Grand Central Terminal feel more cramped and overcrowded than it really is.

For many, this is the first time brushing shoulders with people they've known only by name; the network's structure is so inscrutable that only a small handful of members can point to all the safehouses in New York City on a map, which is why the man at the center of the room — Emile Danko — has been blindfolded with a long black scarf knotted at the back of his head.

The platform's flickering fluorescent lights reflect off his domed skull, catch in hair and glitter on earlobes, around fingers, wrists and necks in the form of the jewelry worn by those who have traveled deep below ground for the purpose of casting their vote. Because there are no chairs, they gather in throngs around wooden crates and boxes, some perching on corners, others leaning against their companions for comfort and warmth. Energy buzzes electric throughout the room, manifesting as coarse murmurs and hissed conversation.

Although there is no judge presiding over tonight's drab spectacle, Eileen takes the initiative when the platform is full and cuts through the din with a tersely spoken "Quiet," in lieu of a gavel. "Let's begin."

Joseph is not late. He was in fact early, helping to make sure they wouldn't get a black out, and make sure Danko is situated as he should. He rarely ever is— late, that is, not to important things, and regardless as to how he feels, this is important. This pull of network generates such an impression, at least to him, staring as people mill through the platform that he's so often seen empty full of shadows. Lights, now, are all vibrating with electricity and it's almost as though the terminal had come to life when he wasn't looking, and perhaps a train would pull up on the tracks. Hopefully not, as people use it was a pathway through the tunnels, dragging themselves up onto the platform with and without assistance.

Rather than standing far away, he's made sure to be in the thick of it, reluctant though he is. A coat of brown wool is drawn around his frame over a dark blue shirt he's bothered to iron, slacks, sensible shoes, his minute gold crucifix from its thin chain, wedding ring. Stitches make a track at his forehead, freshly bruised, and circles beneath his eyes betray a lack of sleep.

As Eileen's voice cuts through the din and demands attention, he snaps a look back towards her, and then straightens his spine so as better to use his 6' height and look about the crowd, for familiar faces. Or allies.

Pink hair is subdued under a knit cap, bundled up for the cool and passive beside Joseph in the thick. Abigail wasn't not going to show up. Not for something like this. Her own gold chain and it's cross tucked away beneath layers of clothing and a hanky occasionally drifting up to wipe at her nose or muffle a cough. She come at the least to look at Danko. She doesn't like this, not at all. It shows on her face that's for sure, but the reasoning behind it could be a great many things.

Eileen calls for attention and her blue eyes drift over to the minute woman and gives her the full of her own attention the same as her Pastor does. She still considers him her pastor.

Huddled in her leather jacket with the zipper pulled all the way up, Kaylee shifts uncomfortably at the edges, hands shoved deep in her pockets too keep them warm. Blue eyes move over the assembled, rather surprised at all the faces she sees, her mind more then likely a buzz with loud thoughts. Her eyes grimace slightly as she works not to listen to any of it as it's a privilege to her to be here to listen to everything, as one of people who caught the man. Eileen and Joseph get a glance from the telepath, the pastor's condition receives a slightly worried look. A glance her way gets a nervous, little smirk. But then finally her gaze settle on the man on trial and her eyes narrow thoughtfully as Eileen speaks up.

Peyton, like Danko, is blindfolded — not because she's on trial, but because she's not a true member of Ferry, though she is an ally — so all that Joseph will get of the clairvoyants face is the lower half, her teeth nibbling nervously on her lower lip. She sits with her head low, dark hair falling forward on either side to veil her face as much as possible. She knows Danko is blindfolded, but she's still frightened. She huddles near Cat, close enough that her shoulder touches the other brunette's, needing the physical contact to make her feel secure.

Robin is leaning against a wall, his arms crossed over his chest as he watches the proceedings. He knows some of what Danko has done, knows that he's one of those that actively hunts Evolved, knows about the church, but not much more than that. He nods to the familiar faces in the crowd but is silent, his brown eyes hooded and his expression grim.

Helena arrived with Cat. There's no worry about her hushing up, because she hasn't spoken a word, though her eyes do seek out others who are present and hold merit in her eye. There are nods offered, but there is nothing here to smile about, and she takes up a position near Cat as well, perched on the corner edge of a box. Eventually she's done with her silent greetings and her gaze rests on the blindfolded man. The look on her face is internal and uncertain, like she's trying to puzzle out what to feel.

There are way too many people in here and a bunch of them are armed. Teo has his back flat against the cast-iron bulk of a light post that's the closest perpendicular to where the blindfolded terrorist holds the epicenter of the Ferry's collective attention. The platform is dense with spectators, more of them even than you would have seen on the busiest days of the Manhattan transit network.

Some kids, even. That's fucked up somehow. He wipes his nose though there's nothing to remove from it except the cartlidgenous cold of having been outdoors too long. The compaction of bodies, disturbed concrete dust, and mouth-breathers doesn't promise to lend the situation any warmth, in any sense of the term you can think of. He says nothing between fragmented salutations and excuse-mes and you-can-stand-heres, finds himself altogether unexceptional in his sense of apartness and morbid interest, sardined with so many of the bereaved and disenfranchised.

He sees Joe at the one side, Abigail's rosebud head not far from him. Tosses perfunctory waves up and over, over the matted head of some woman, before letting his hand fall and slot into his pocket. His own crucifix, and the silver shield that play thematic accompaniment to it, are hidden away in the fabric of his sweater.

Across from the Sicilian, there's a throng of unlikely companions, far away from their Staten Island roost. McRae, who one might imagine was chiefly responsible for the recent low pressure zone over this dreary armpit of the state, has seated his behemoth's height between a lanky young Egyptian man and a rock-jawed Haitian girl woman her woolly black hair halfway through the metamorphosis of fizzing into dreadlocks. Between the two seeming guardians, it's the boy whose features threaten to soften, eyes flitting sporadically toward the Peyton Whitney's cloth-masked face. Kaylee isn't far away from the cult; likely, the safehouse had traveled in groups, by boat before divvying up for vans, trucks, and buses. Despite the diversity of ethnicity, gender, and age between them, their faces are largely alike, teeth locked, eyes pitted grim and raw in their sockets.

Few, if any, think to pay mind to the blond woman looming skeletally tall by the stair exit, one hand on the rust-lichened rail, her hair pulled back and up under a tattered baseball cap, lean shoulders turned shapeless by the oversized denim jacket she pulled on as proof against the weather.

Much like being called in for Jury Duty, this is a civic duty as well as a moral one. Being a part of the larger picture lends Delilah her own space within the crowd dividing themselves to surround the impromptu court. No crucifix on her, unlike Abby and Joe; she even wore her brown coat instead of the banana yellow one, though the scarf looped under its collar is multicolored, yet they are somber colors. She sits on a series of wooden boxes with some of the others there, stocking'd knees crossed and skirt tucked under carefully. Her arms are crossed in front of her, and for a while she has been relatively huddling into them where she sits, brown eyes downcast. Only when Eileen speaks do Delilah's eyes focus again, roaming upwards and quickly over the crowd before alighting onto the one who spoke. Lots of people she knows. A lot that she doesn't- not really. But they're all here for the same thing.

Standing next to Helena's perch, with Peyton on the other flank, Cat gives her attention to the proceedings. She's moved about among the crowd, exchanging greetings already with those she knows, and come to settle at this spot for the main event. The accused is eyed, her features a mask of projected impassivity, as her ears take in Eileen's call to order.

Fastened down stiff into the kind of cheap metal chair more commonly seen in church luncheons and around card tables than deep in secret underground hives, the form and face bound to Emile Danko's name are somewhat less intimidating in person than they might've been by reputation. At least, while he's tied down into a chair.

He's not a big guy. Never has been. Compact, rawboned, skull-faced and pale near to the point that veins might just be visible in their netted blue trace through the near side of his neck. Bandaging shows papery stiff beneath the fitted flanks of a black t-shirt smeared and spackled with ghosts of damp ash and darker blood — the same stuff smeared in five-fingered tracks across wire-strung forearms and through the colorless burr fuzzed in trim across the gleam of his skull. His arms have been wrested behind his back, slender wrist fastened over wrist by a pair of cuffs that only partially obscure the fresh bandages wound thick around his right hand. He seems to acquire more of them for every few days he spends here.

He looks the part of the antagonistic prisoner, all the way down to the ghastly way buzzing lights and black shadows shudder through and around the hollows in his face with inconsistent electricity. But he hasn't said anything, and he hasn't moved much either, save once to scuff his jaw down against his shoulder after an itch. So far as zoo exhibits go, his could stand to have a little more energy.

"This man stands accused of crimes against humanity," Eileen says, her voice echoing in the platform's steel rafters. There are birds up there — Manhattan's equivalent of Mexican cave swallows, pigeons that have learned over the course of many generations that the city's underground is a sanctuary from the urban predators. Nothing plucks them from their nighttime roosts down here. The sound of their soft, mourning voices and rustling feathers persist even after the rest of the room has gone quiet, but like the distant growl of traffic overhead, it's just ambient noise. They do not compete with the speaker pacing below them.

"More importantly," Eileen continues, "he stands accused of crimes against this network and the people under its protection." Gray eyes move through the crowd, seeking out the gaze of one man in particular. "Some of you have heard rumours about what Humanis First does to the people it has in captivity, but we all know what happened at the Guiding Light, and no one in this room knows Emile Danko better than Pastor Sumter. Joseph, is there anything you want to say on his behalf?"

It's unexpected, for different reasons, Joseph narrowing dark eyes at Eileen in a moment of suspicion before he manages to curb that expression back into polite neutrality. He thought he might have to fight to speak, especially with this woman acting as ringleader, but he doesn't refuse the offer either. "Sure," is harmless agreement, barely loud but the open wide space encourages acoustics. With a glance to Abby at his side and little else, Joseph temporarily breaks from her side just enough to claim his own space.

For someone with a mostly shy demeanor, speaking publicly is easy, which can only be expected thanks to the title Eileen placed to his name. Which doesn't make him any less nervous. "I can't defend this man," he starts, letting his voice ring just loud enough to be heard towards the back, but not gratingly so. "And I'm not going to. Because this isn't a trial."

Caaarefully not watching Eileen, Joseph instead works on catching the lines of sight available to him, both familiar and not. His hands are still in his pockets, though his spine is straight. "This is an excuse. I know we're all here to listen to one another and come up with somethin' fair, but it's an idea and nothing more. Because there are those among us who would like to commit murder tomorrow morning or even earlier if they can get away with it, and they'd have us believe that this," and a hand goes out, a wide gesture to indicate Danko, Eileen, the wider group, "makes it acceptable.

"It ain't. When we vote, vote to turn him to the authorities. I got names and contacts we can use to make sure it follows through, and he'll be brought justice both in this lifetime and the next. Eileen's right - I know him. I know what he did to me, and Mona, and Felix, and who knows how many others. And I won't see the Ferry be like him."

He pauses, as if weighing whether he wants to say anything more, and tiredness seems to make his shoulders go slack beneath his coat. "And I guess we should get this over with."

Kaylee is indeed close to McRae's group, finding some comfort in the presence of the people she's living with, doesn't clear the unease. Maybe it's constant buzz, or maybe being around people that she use to be on the opposite side of the tracks from… or her former boss was.

As all attention is drawn to the Pastor, Kaylee leans forward slightly, her head turning slightly so that she can listen. She never pushed him for his story, so she's curious to hear what he says and she is not disappointed. She smiles softly at his words, nodding slowly. Having seen similar happen and having it about kill her, she'd rather not have it happen with this group. "Hear hear, Pastor." The young telepath whispers under her breath to herself.

Helena remains quiet. Technically what was done to her, was done by her father, but Danko surely played his part. At Joseph's words with regard to murder, there's a flicker from behind her eyes, but still the normally verbose leader of Phoenix has yet to contribute anything to discussion. Of course, the night is still young.

"Any of your names and contacts outrank the Vice-President of the United States, Padre?"

It's a voice out of the cult, but neither of the two who flank McRae nor the old man himself. The one who speaks is aloof, at the ragged edge of the group diametrically opposite from where Kaylee huddles in her own counsel. He's young— almost as young as Eileen herself, white, recognizable to a some as another ex-con, to a few as Jerry's friend and the late Carolina Perez's companion and lover.

Charles 'Chuckles' Delgado, whose moniker is conspicuously absent from his demeanor now. His shoulders are heavy above the arms crossed on his chest, unsmothered contempt in his eyes, and his voice— though pitched across the hubbub of civilians and range in yards, refuses to carry any hoarse note of pain or even a palpitating wrinkle of anxiety. "Didn't think so, but it's good to know even you've thought about how this tool's got ways and means of getting away if we let John Law have him."

Light coruscates briefly across the hollowed circles of McRae's eyes, reflexively widened, before he blinks back incriminating evidence of pain, squaring his jaw. A dozen sentiments war on his weathered features. He shifts his eyes past Phoenix's operatives, but he doesn't actively seek to make eye-contact with them or anyone else who has failed to acknowledge he or his. Perhaps strangely, the storm shaman has paid little if any visible attention to Emile Danko himself.

Teo shifts uncomfortably on his feet, glances down his shoulder at a piping voice of agreement at his elbow. Kids, even. This is fucked up, somehow.

Delilah watches and listens to Eileen as she speaks, but the only other reaction is to Joseph; she seems to sit straighter when he begins. From the looks of it, Delilah agrees with him, but she is not going to be making any calls this quickly. Jury is a jury is a jury- the Sentencing Hearing just happens to fall on them instead, so it is her job to not have chosen something before coming in. Danko or not, it's still a human life. If she has a choice in the matter, it's going to be deliberate.

When the young man speaks from across the gathering, Delilah shrinks back at the sound of his voice. Perhaps there is still guilt floating around on the matter of Carolina's death. The contempt in him, however, grates awkwardly with her, and the redhead speaks up herself- though it is for the most part, simply to alert the rest of them to her thoughts. "So drop him off on the White House lawn- It's not like some of us couldn't. It's not impossible to make turning him in such a spectacle that there is no way for even his little friends to help him…"

Danko could be sitting in the back row of the Guiding Light nodding off to a sermon on maritial strain and what God has to say about the role of Man and Woman for all that words in his favor or against seem to have any impact. He's far from relaxed — narrow shoulders knotted tense against voices angled in from directions he didn't know people were even standing in — but his breathing is slow and regular and he keeps his chin tipped down towards the mess of his shirt.

There are more voices here than he was expecting, and not all of them are young.

As Joseph speaks, Eileen winds her way snakelike through the crowd, murmured apologies too soft to be audible except by the ears they're intended for. Like most of the people in attendance, the expression on her face is difficult to decipher. Neither smile nor frown twitches at the corners of her pale mouth — even her eyebrows are set in a neutral position, or at least as neutral as their natural curve allows. She passes behind Helena and Cat, coming to place hand at the small of Peyton's back so the other woman isn't startled when she feels warmth curling in her ear and hears the sound of the Briton's breathy voice, thick and low.

"I'd like to see you speak," it says, guiding her to her feet, though these words are meant for Peyton and Peyton alone. "Sumter's holding back, and you know as well as I do that we can't afford to have Danko walking free. Tell them what Humanis First did to you. What Humanis First will do to them."

When Eileen first moves, Joseph tries to track her progress, but gives up when the diminutive woman fairly disappears in the varied crowd. He listens, instead, to those who reply to him, trying frantically to read the room. It's too early to tell. Joseph's shoulders square when Charles speaks up, when Delilah responds in kind, and several eyes are already turning to him to see if he has a response.

"We found him bleeding and desperate in the middle of Midtown. It took three of us, only one with any kinda experience, to drag him in. If he had friends in high places, don't you think he woulda called more to his side than someone who betrayed him and a beat cop?"

If Joseph denies having thought about how Danko could still squirm free— that's all he says on the matter. Delilah gets a glance, but hesitates to contradict - the outcome she proposed is better than an execution, as much as it might chafe.

The clairvoyant swallows audibly; Peyton agreed to do this, but she's still learning to be brave, learning to stand up for something that matters in the grand scheme of things for the first time in her life. She nods, and looks up, though she's blindfolded as a symbolic gesture to those who are afraid to be identified for their alliance to the group. She could easily choose to see through someone's eyes, but she's agreed not to. It's safer for her as well that way, after all.

"I heard once that people will be their true selves only when no one is watching. If that's true, what he doesn't know is I've seen him when he probably thought no one was watching. My power lets me do that. I'm an eye witness to the fact he's kidnapped and tortured at least three people," Peyton says; her voice is soft, uncertain, though it carries well enough due to the hush in the crowd. "Felix Ivanov, Helena Dean, and Wendy Hunter. He kidnapped them and treated them like they were less than human, like they were animals, or actually worse. It's illegal to treat dogs the way he treated them. Ivanov … he lost his foot and Wendy Hunter lost fingers and an ear. Their scars, Helena's scars, are much deeper, even worse. I can tell you that I will have nightmares for the rest of my life because of what his group has done to me and to them."

She was doing well to that point, but she sobs, and her hands go up to cover her eyes, though all they cover is the black cloth that covers them. Her shoulders hitch for a moment, a long moment, as she tries to breathe.

Her head comes up again, and her voice is simply a whisper.

"I don't know if it's okay to kill him or not. I'm … I've n-never been that ethical of a p-person." Her stammer comes with the nerves of speaking in front of a group, albeit one she can't see. "But the only thing that terrifies me — ha!" she laughs for a second, as there is so much in this world that terrifies her, "What happens if he escapes or gets pardoned or is only put away for two years or something… how many of us will he come a-after? What then? What if his jury is like h-him — and hate people like us?"

Only now does Helena start to seek out faces. Eileen's is studied a bit covertly; Joseph's, frankly. Teo is regarded with something akin to confused wistfulness, and McRae, well. For a moment it looks like she's going to pitch herself off the crate she's perched on and burrow into him like he's the last flotation device on the S.S. Titanic. For the moment, she misses Kaylee and others, but she's still getting a feel for the room. And then Peyton is mentioning her in conjunction with the others, for the first time in a long time, the attention makes her swallow hard. She doesn't quite look at her hands, brow furrowing.

Leaning against a pillar that holds up the dingy ceiling, Meredith has been listening to the different exchanges between those for and against mercy. The normally outspoken blonde has kept her silence for the most part, nodding at all the right places, murmuring agreements to the arguments she would actually agree with. For the most part, however, she's been nursing a cigarette like most people would nurse a beer. Pinched between two knuckles, her puffs are interspersed, but long drags.

Blowing the smoke out, not much caring where it drifts off to, she eyes Joseph as well as Eileen as they make their own fair points. Finally, she can't help but call out in her Southern drawl, "Yeah, and what about the people he's left bleedin' in the streets?" It might come as no surprise as to where she comes down on the issue. "Just 'cause he's a kicked dog now don't mean that's what he'll always be."

Peyton's arguments get another demonstrative nod. That's what could be waiting for them: more Danko's, or even worse, a vindicated and set free Danko. "What's their laws done for us lately other than try and register us like animals and treat us like freaks? The very fact that we're here shows how much faith anybody's got in 'em."

"When did we become the judge and jury and executioner outside of a courtroom" Abigail's voice pipes up, nasal and clogged with a cold that she's shaking off. "He's done terrible things, horrible things, things that, probably a great deal of us could never imagine doing and even more of us who have done something akin to murder. But we're not Emile Danko. At least I pray to god that we're not and likely a great deal of you are seeing red, and I don't blame you. Hell, he done gone and killed a woman outside of my bar. He burnt down my church and hurt countless others that we know. But we're not Emile Danko. We're not some.. some rabid jerk who has a hate on for anything that resembles an evolved. And we are certainly not a justice system."

Abigail's raises a hanky to swipe across her nose. "Ferrymen are people who help, and people who get those in need of help, out of harms way and see that the world is a better place for them as best we can make it. We don't tie a bloody noose around a man. It's the law that gets to do it. If he needs to be tied up in a pretty bow that's not around his neck, and passed off to those in the justice system who will prosecute him for what he's done, then, that's what needs to be done. Not a lynching in the back woods, at dawn like the hateful bigots that he and his group are. We're better than that"

Abigail frowns. "I know that we are better than that"

McRae's boy lifts his chin, jerks his head sidelong at the blindfolded heiress on the platform. Despite that Charles Delgado, former Crip, has little if anything in common with Peyton Whitney, trust fund baby, the situation brings out certain commonalities, of blood, of whose ought to be spilled if anyone's is. He grunts again when Meredith speaks up, nods vigorously, and the motion finds an echo in the two young people posted on either side of his leader. A grayed smile pulls at Jericho's mouth.

Chuckles is emphatic, straightening, his eyes narrowed hard on Delilah. "We got no control over what happens to him as soon as he's in the custody of the law. If we drop the pendejo off at the CNN main office or the Prez's lawn, it makes no fuckin' difference. Even if we know anybody's willing to go in and testify, he's got information to sell, and he ain't Evolved like his victims was. He's already won that fuckin' game before the jury sets their asses down on those chairs, man.

"He deserves to die 's much as a man ever does." Chuckles rears his head, swerves his gaze sharply onto Joseph's face in the crowd, harsh-focus, murderous conviction defined in the sneer of his face. Joseph, first; Abigail second. "'S just your conscience crying like a little bitch if some legal executioner ain't doing your dirty work for you. Well chin up, babies, you never got to touch steel. It ain't like there ain't enough takers in here willing to take some motherfucking responsibility."

A louder murmur roils through the assembly. Discomfiture: the law's glaring inadequacy weighed against the possibility of mortal sin, the dichotomy of options growing starker by the second.

"I still," Cat speaks up from near Helena, "have faith in the US Constitution and in the people of the United States to do the right thing. Time and again the lofty ideals in our founding document, the unanimous declaration from Congress on July 4th, 1776, have come into question. There were mighty struggles each time, the debates and the battles took years. And each time the light won out: those ideals were applied to people the men who wrote that document never intended them for. Minorities with skin colors other than mine, and women for that matter."

She lets her eyes wander around the room, making eye contact in many places to survey reactions and apparent thought processes, gauging the reception. While this happens her voice pauses, only to soon resume.

"We cannot advocate the restoration of due process and still kill this man on our own decision. He is not at present armed or engaged in activities counter to the rights of any individual present to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yes, there is risk that if he's turned over to civil authorities he'll be set free by others of his movement. It's also possible a jury would fail to convict him."

"But as to the question of civil authorities taking his crimes seriously, they will. I would remind one of the various charges he'll face is having assaulted a White House staffer shortly after she publicly revealed herself having an SLC ability and attempting to murder her."

"Over and above what I've cited, I feel we should also consider this: Part of our problem is public relations. The existence of fear in the public mind. If we turn him over to civil authority, we take a step toward easing that. And if, after we do, others of his beliefs set him free or the authorities fail to act against him, we still gain. They will have publicly underlined our points."

A grimy mix of oil and cold sweat glistens harsh off of every arch sculpted rigid into the dome of Danko's cadaverous skull when he tips it back over his chair. A slow breath filters quiet through the flare of his nostrils, and slowly but surely, through give and take and the promise of more personal (and potentially violent) argument from all around, smug self-assurance is lining its way subtle and familiar into an upturn at the corner of his thin mouth.

It's talk of public relations that sees a cant into the slant of his brows to go with it, though, one booted ankle rolled idly against the rigid set of its restraint. The skullish sink of his eye sockets and irises the color of cold steel are effectively masked behind the bind of his blindfold, but contempt is a pretty easy expression to read at a distance, even when reduced to broken parts.

Eileen has moved away from Peyton during the course of the discussion, her woolen coat and dark gray scarf providing her the dreary urban camouflage she needs to evade Joseph's attention. By the time the conversation comes full circle, so has she. It would be a lie to say she's getting any pleasure out of this, but the hum of malcontent growing like a nest full of angry hornets lends her an aggravated sort of energy that's reflected more in her body language than it is in her voice. That remains as cool and aloof as when she first opened her mouth.

"Let's assume," she says, "for the sake of argument, that the government does take Danko into custody and the upper echelon of Humanis First decides to treat him as a sacrificial lamb. What's to stop him from making a plea bargain with Homeland Security? Our names, the locations of any safehouses he might know about but never had the opportunity to take action against in exchange for amnesty. Don't forget that we operate outside the law, too."

Her eyes settle on Joseph, Abby, hard and glassy. "You can't compare the Ferry to Humanis First. When they kill, hatred is the motivation. If we put Danko to death here, tonight, it's because innocent lives are worth more than his. It's because we need to defend ourselves."

There's a moment where it looks as though she might be content to leave it at that, but the moment lasts only as long as it takes her to draw her next breath. Eileen is fixating on Cat next, though Delilah and Helena earn some of her ire by the virtue of their association and proximity. "This is the first I've heard of Phoenix having compunctions about murder." There's nothing accusatory about her tone when she says it. They're not the ones on trial here. "How many people did your organization kill when we took Moab by force?" Eileen asks. "Pinehearst? If anyone should understand the necessity of what's being proposed, it's you who moved against the Vanguard. Tell me why we should handle Danko differently than we did Kazimir Volken or Arthur Petrelli."

The debate is spiraling somewhere that Joseph can't reach, and he's put on edge. As much as he'd relaxed when Abby had rallied to his argument, as much as he'd sent an almost pleading 'what no 8<' look to Meredith, and as much as he'd bridled when Chuckles flared his words at the God Squad over here— he remains silent and then baffled as Eileen starts to talk. Whatever he'd hoped to douse when he'd made his first appeal—

Well, it's burning bright now. He brings his hands up to rub his face, and when they fall away, angered exasperation is turned to Chuckles and McrRae's coterie. "This isn't cowardice," is as close to a snarl from the pastor that he can get when his target isn't Emile Danko himself, which isn't so close. "And I for one am tired of hearin' about how compassion is weakness. Compassion is our backbone, and without it, the spine of the Ferry would break and scatter into a million pieces, with no one helpin' anyone. I'm sorry for your loss.

"And I'm sorry for my own loss." He looks towards the blindfolded Peyton, and the women she stands by. "And for everythin' he has done, but killing someone ain't gonna make a lick of difference. We can't account for Emile Danko's immortal soul, but we can for ours, God willing." His hands go up, palms turn out, a preacher's gesture. "The Ferry's. I don't know what Phoenix has done— "

And now Helena gets an uncertain glance from Joseph, and he clears his throat, conviction failing him for a moment, voice crackling. "But this— this is a Ferry matter at heart."

A glance to people as they speak, Kaylee frowns a little but she doesn't pipe up. Eyes drop the backs in front of her, head dipping down into neck of her jacket as she gives a long sigh. She can understand the arguments of both sides, but something nags at the back of her mind. Her eyes lifts to look at Danko as he sits there, brows lift high as she continues to stares at him. Then above the din of voices comes a simple question. "Do you know what he's thinking right this moment?" When eyes look at Kaylee, her chin tilts up a bit and she steps forward some. "Above all the noise, his thoughts are screaming. I've been trying to ignore it all.. but I can't help but hear his. It's like a caged animal snarling."

Her eyes latch on to the small bald man, her voice might be somehow familiar to him, it whispered in his mind the night they captured him. "His mind is broken, but not in a good way. He's almost all animal. Cold.. Unfeeling.. Violent.." Her voice is almost nonchalant as she says the next. "He's planning to kill each and everyone of us if we give him even an itch. He has no plans to do less then that if let live." Her eyes move to Joseph, giving him an apologetic look.

She swallows as butterflies suddenly fill her stomach. "But… I can also tell you. He's alone. Separated from the pack. I felt it that, in his mind trying to protect the others. He's cut himself off from Humanis First. So they might not even come after him if handed over…" Her voice drifts off as she considers and adds.. "But in the same breath…. No one would miss him." Those words are loaded with meaning, ominous in their tone.

"I do have to say… The people I've met in this organization are nothing like what I've been a part of in the past. Many know I ran with Adam Monroe.. Many don't even know the name." Her blue eyes refuse to look at anyone as she speaks, her words firm and steady. "Killing him… I'd expect it from Monroe. Of course, some of the people Monroe killed while not innocent in anyway…. they were not like him." She motions to Danko, her tone a mix of pity and disgust. "So..maybe it's good.. that I really don't have a vote.. I'm in the middle. But… I also don't want to see this group sink to his level." Her eyes seek out Eileen's as she states, "I also only believe in giving a chance, like this organization has done for me. Turn him over… if there is worry about what he knows.. I'm not opposed to going in and searching, blocking what he might have that you all don't want known. Then…the government fails and loses him… Well…" She spreads her hands and steps back into the Staten crowd again, "Then I would definitely say we need to protect ourselves."

What's left uncovered of the blindfolded woman's face pales a bit at Cat's speech. It makes sense, and it's right, and it's what makes them American, but it scares the hell out of her. Despite the fact she didn't say her name, despite the fact that Danko shouldn't know her ability, there's a chance he knows it was her speaking. There's a chance he knows she's the one who rescued Wendy and helped Phoenix rescue Helena. She backs up, unseeing, hand out behind her as if she were truly blind, looking for her seat. She manages to sit, feeling alone and forlorn, her arms wrapping around her sides as she waits for the ordeal to be over.

Helena's brow lifts, and she utters her first words since arriving. "Phoenix is part of the Ferry." And that's all she seems to have to say for now.

"And how're we supposed to help people if we're all dead?" Meredith levels Abigail with sort of pitying smile. Her cigarette is almost down to the filter, but she isn't about to crush it yet. Not while she can still get some nicotine out of it. "You realize the whole reason we're all here is 'cause we never trusted the government to treat us fair. Sentiment's nice'n all, but I like bein' alive and keepin' both my home and my appendages right where they are. This ain't just about revenge, sweetheart. This is about keepin' people safe. You can't tell me that we turn him over and he'll be put away forever as a sure bet, but we know for certain one place where we can put him where he won't come back."

Meredith pauses to take a long drag and finally, drops the butt to the ground and grinds it under her heel just about in the middle of Cat's speech. Once the woman finishes, she has her own feelings to add. "Who here's got faith in those laws? If we trusted them, we'd all be out of work right about now, 'cause we'd have nobody we had to hide away and get out of the country. Maybe they'll take his crimes seriously, but all they've gotta do is say, 'self defense' and who's gonna say different?" Her brother's been in enough legal scrapes for her to know how the law actually works. While Flint might have been responsible for the crimes that put him behind bars, she knows that any time after that and he wouldn't have stood a chance.

The look that Joseph gives Meredith causes her to pause and think around a few of the words she was about to spew out. While she may not believe in souls or any of that God stuff, she has some sort of a faith in Joseph and she's not ready to defame him so readily in public. Instead, what she adds in a steadier tone, is, "What I'm sayin' is it's a matter of survival. I'll worry 'bout my soul once I know I'll be around to worry about it. I'm not saying compassion is weak. It ain't. This ain't about compassion. Far as I'm concerned, it's shootin' a wolf that's after the sheep." Even if Meredith wouldn't consider herself a sheep for a second.

Abigail just purses her lips, blue eyes looking back at Meredith's, at 'chuckles' and everyone else. "Three quarters of em don't know that I did take a man's life Joseph." Abigail mutters to Joseph. "And that I live with that every day" And she hates it. But it had to be done. This, doesn't. The pink haired woman matches gaze for gaze to her, not deigning to back down or give in to what the others who are for shooting Danko in the head say. Just a firm resolution in knowing where exactly she stands in this matter.

Thumping, a rip of seams— there's a small flare of a scuffle when Chuckles starts toward the pastor, finds himself halted by a callused hand hooked on his elbow. McRae's eyes don't even move toward the two boys, the flamethrower who for all intents and purposes has always been the combusting noisemaker and guardian lion, and the former Crip who'd done all the dirty work that he apparently thinks he's entitled to talk about.

Jericho mutters something under his breath, and Chuckles' response is a serpentine hiss, seething, but he doesn't throw the older man off his arm. The logic may well hold, that taking a swing at the self-righteous look on Joseph's face probably isn't going to do much good for his argument. If the Ferry is going to decide that it's off with Emile Danko's head, they'll want to feel like they're discriminate and righteous for doing so. So.

At the other end of the auditorium, a grin flares hyena-white from under the shadow of the skeleton lady's baseball cap. She pushes the brim up half an inch with the point of her bare thumb. Whereas the burning brings sweat up under Pastor Sumter's collar, she's using it to warm her hands.

"Does the man have anything to say for himself?" Teo's query is half-lost under the grumble and punctuating exclamations of the crowd, but it impacts, mushrooms a small zone of silence around him enough that a succinct series of Chinese whispers takes it out to the unreached corners of the rooms. The Sicilian cranes his bristly head. "Seems like our media circus 's made sure everybody in this fucking room is going to get some blood on their hands either way we vote. One of us kills Danko, or we let other people die by his hand or what he knows.

"Funny thing, he's the only unknown quantity left in the equation," he finishes, shoulders squaring in a nervy clinch under his jacket. He glances at Helena.

Questions were asked of Cat when Eileen spoke, and now she undertakes to answer them. Her voice is clear and carrying yet muted in tone. Solemn. "At Moab, people were actively engaged in holding people against their will and without any due process. Guards opted to resist us freeing them, so there was a fight. People died. At Pinehearst, we were faced with a madman drunk on his own power. The only way to neutralize him was the method undertaken. And against Kazimir Volken, it was the same. At the time of confrontation, events dictated grisly things be done. He was fully capable of killing anyone opposing him right there, in that moment."

She pauses here to let her eyes rest on the blindfolded Danko, studying him, as if contemplating what Kaylee reports from his thoughts. When Cat's voice returns, the words are still solemnly spoken. "This man is not. We have other options."

She's now spoken her peace and in falling silent takes a step toward Peyton.

Does Danko have anything to say for himself? The ex-marine, ex-government agent, ex-terrorist seems to detect the silence that rolls away from Teo's familiar voice at a smokey haze. He lifts his head out of its lazy rest against the metal chair's cool backing with a deliberate kind of drowsiness, unhurried as a sidewinder stirring in wait for something fuzzy and fleet-footed to skirt just a little too close.

Still blindfolded and no cleaner about his sunken face than he was the last time he turned his ear to the loudest portion of the crowd, he sniffs while Cat finishes speaking. Twitches his bound wrists, and then a boot toe. It's hard to get comfortable. :( Whoever tied him into this goddamn chair really wanted to make sure he stayed in it. For some reason.

"If," he starts, only to force himself to stop and swallow at the dry rake of his voice hoarse in his own ears, "if you people let me out of here alive — out've this trial, and out've this situation — I will escape."

"I'll find a way. Then I will find you, and your children. Your parents. Your guardians and personal charges. Brothers and sisters. The people you love and trust. And I'll kill them." So far as promises go, that's a hell've a one to make, but he sure sounds like he means it, vocal chords scraping along like scales over sand while his eyes scan blind over the vague outlines of his captors muddled and overlapped around him. "It only takes one weak link to talk. Only one. These witnesses you've brought — little girls. Telepaths, mind readers. I can hear it in their voices." And then, directly to the girls in question, brows lifted: "I'm gonna find you."

The likelihood of reaching an agreement about Danko through civilized discourse decreases with every moment that passes, every word pressed brusquely though rigid lips, jaws set, teeth clenching. Chuckles' outburst has not gone unnoticed by Eileen; they aren't going to achieve anything productive if they continue plodding stubbornly along this path. Someone might even get hurt, and for all her circuitous twisting and posturing like a cobra puckering up for a kiss, there's only one individual on the platform that she wants to see dead.

When Danko has finished speaking, another ripple of conversation surges through the assembled crowd, growing in intensity and strength with every moment that passes where neither Joseph, Eileen, nor any of the other people who have taken the floor step in the quell it. For the first time, she raises her voice to a level louder than is needed to be heard. "We put it to vote! All in favour of turning him over to the local authorities, raise your hands!"

"I used to say that if we turned this into a war, it would be the end of things." Helena doesn't look at anyone when she speaks, though she pitches her voice to be heard. Still, it's like the fire's gone out of her. "And I didn't realize it already was a war, and we've been soldiers all along. I'm sick, and I'm tired of everyone pointing a finger at what we did as excuse to promote their desire for violence. What we did, we did as soldiers. We've never executed anyone in cold blood before."

She looks around the room. "What I don't get, is why we're acting like execution or turning him in is our only option." There's a pause then, as she considers his words. Her eyes suddenly come into direct focus on the man in question. The narrow, become slits. "We have an incredible array of abilities here in this room alone. Surely /someone/ has a means to incorporate a punishment that will ensure justice is served without ending his life, or risking the lives of others. She looks around the room. "For example…there are people that we all know perfectly well, could make him an entirely new man. In any number of ways."

There's an angry young man coming at him and Joseph simply stands straight and awaits Chuckles to break from Jericho's hold and begin fisticuffs. It doesn't happen, however, which causes the pastor some amount of relief - both for the fact he doesn't want his a face even more broken than the blossoming bruise at his temple and the stitched slash there, and that he won't have to hurt back.

You know, to arrogantly presume he'd get a hit in at all. But see, it all doesn't matter, because Teo opens the floor to let Danko talk and Joseph is struck mute in the dreadful, expectant silence that follows as much as there's a no no don't battering in his mind, loud enough that Kaylee from across the room could near hear. He stares at the floor throughout, letting nothing show on his face but the recent evidence of his last encounter with the speaker.

Until it ends, and Joseph looks vaguely sickened. Familiarity of those words before and of course, the follow through written out in the ashes of his church. His hands stray to his pockets, trying very hard to fade into the woodwork as much as there isn't any.

Helena's words, though get hawkish attention, hungry for a solution until— it's that one. The urge to disappear into the floor disappears quicker than he can, and he states, flatly and tellingly roughly, "I don't want him to forget. I don't want him to forget a damn thing." A glance towards Meredith, as they had heard this solution before, Joseph parroting his response then and now. "If he gets to repent, it's in full knowledge about what he's done."

Selfish maybe, but then, he's had a long time to champion his solution. When he raises his hand, his arm feels heavy, but he casts an expectant look around as if waiting for people to follow his example.

Abigail's hand rises, alongside the Pastor at much the same time that he does. Yes, turn him over to the authorities. There's no glance around to see who else is raising their hands and when Helena speaks there's a purse of lips and wrinkle of raw tipped nose and her hand remains unwavering still in the air. Her reasons already spoken but echo Josephs in mind.

Danko's defiant words actually make a small smile spread on Kaylee's lips, there is something in her eyes, a little flash of something… Well…. it's not good. Her expression seems to say 'bring it old man,' but it's never spoken out loud. Then over Danko's thoughts are those of Joseph.. They pull Kaylee's attention like a moth to the flame and as much as he wants to fade into the woodwork… At least one person continues to notice.

"I'm with Joseph. He doesn't get to forget… none of his victims do." Kaylee hand raises slowly for turning him over…. she just can't do the other…. not matter what is in his head.

The ensuing quiet has a gelatinous quiver to it. Not the least because of the sussurus of whispers and pissing upset in the quiet, fear making dozens of sets of hands go white interlocked with one another, hate setting teeth and stilling the idle scab-picking and fidgets of the furtive wallflowers who had as yet spoken little if at all to the wider floor.

After a moment, Teo's hand creeps up, fingers angled almost tentatively toward the ceiling, his mouth in a line, brows furrowed, eyes dedicated to an incisive examination of the floor.

No movement from the woman perched on the ascent of stairs. She surveys the crowd, the precious few hands that reach, smells the stink of uncertainty— of abstinence around adults and the children compelled to join them at this macabre event.

Making Danko into a dumb shell of his former self sounds all well and good at first- but Joe has a point. Nobody else can forget, so why should he? She looks visibly torn, knowing quite well that she needs to decide now. She lifts her hand halfway, mouth partly opening.

"Can't someone…switch his brain to be more like a normal person? Make it so he only felt remorse? He'd feel what we feel, instead of being so…" Cold. Perhaps being messed with like that is one thing he's actually afraid of- that's how Dee sees it. "But- uh- in any case, whether or not someone can-" Her hand finishes its ascent towards the tall ceiling.

"If we had someone capable of what you're proposing," Eileen says to Helena, maintaining the volume of her voice, "then we wouldn't be having this discussion." Up in the rafters, the pigeons are starting to get restless, and not just because the crowd is too. Light glints off silver feathers gleaming midnight blue and deepest violet. Fat pink toes tipped with claws curl around corrugated steel. "You're right about one thing, Helena — we are soldiers. This is a war, and in wars people die. They are killed in cold blood to prevent them from turning their weapons on their enemies. If that's too difficult for you to understand, then you have no business carrying a gun, never mind rallying others to do the same."

Now she's raising her own hand as high as her diminutive stature will allow. "All in favour of execution?"

Danko's words only put the seal of approval on Meredith's opinion of what the people must do now. Having said her piece, she doesn't add anything else out loud. As far as she's concerned, Danko has already made her point for her. There's nothing more to say. Her vote is for keeping him off the streets and she raises her hand for them to do just that.

Helena is visibly torn. She didn't raise her hand for turning him over, and she's not raising her hand now, either. Not yet, anyway. "Mindwiping him is only one solution." she insists. "Someone could alter how he feels. Make him feel remorse. There might be physical things…" she trails off. This is going to go nowhere. But she still doesn't raise her hand, nor did she before. Helena Dean appears to be abstaining, and looks frustrated and ashamed.

Peyton's not a voting member, and so remains quiet, no hand raise or statement from her. Since Danko's speech validated her fears, she's trembling visibly in her seat, one hand reaching over to take Cat's, squeezing it tightly.

Finding her hand squeezed, Cat turns toward Peyton. She doesn't pull away, but neither does she speak. Through eye contact and her own impassive demeanor, she seeks to impart calm into her. Moments later, she glances back at Helena. She hasn't spoken a vote, perhaps believing her earlier remarks constituted just that, a sentiment added to by her not desiring to speak or act in disagreement with Miss Dean in front of others.

Jericho's hand finds air, an instant after Chuckles' does, and the black woman with them.

Roughly enthroned in their midst, David McRae's shoulder shifts visibly, unfinished motion rolling through the long muscles of arm and twitching knotted in the side of his neck, but the agreement never reaches conclusion. McRae looks visibly worse for it, his tall frame slumping like a tree under a bitter crush of snow.

At the stairs, a thin-boned arm goes up like a flagpole, unceremoniously self-entitled.

The divide is narrow, but when all the hands are counted, those who stand behind Pastor Sumter win the majority. Eileen lowers her hand, face a ceramic mask with a mouth painted on, gray eyes dark with conflicting emotions too complex to interpret by examing her face alone. She's not so brazen as to question the verdict of the collective. "Then it's decided," she says, her tone now as flat and sphinx-like as the expression she wears on her face. "We turn Danko over at dawn."

"Jesus," muttered to himself in something that sounds a whole lot like vacant dismay, Danko blinks hard behind the mask of his blindfold. For those paying attention, it reads a little like a wince. All that's missing from the hollow of his jaw and the narrow wind of a half-smile at the sound of Eileen's verdict is a free hand to rub up over his face.

Tangible relief is in Joseph's stance, and for the first time tonight, he looks towards Danko. Blindfolded though he may be. Joseph reaches a hand and squeezes Abby's arm, visibly happy for just a moment of allowing himself to be so, before he's moving towards where a couple of Terminal regulars have been lounging nearby, the ones that dragged the convicted out in the first place. They'd both voted differently.

Without regard to the narrow split of vote, Danko is dragged roughly by the arms, handcuffs snapped efficiently back into place, and drawn from the proceedings at a frog march to await dawn. More then they will be relieved this mess is over with.

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