We're All Mutants


adelaide_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title We're all mutants
Synopsis Two idealists meet in a library and plot to change the world together
Date July 30 2010

Brooklyn Public Library

The central branch of the Brooklyn Public Library was designed to resemble an open book, two wings stretching out along the bordering streets, with the main entrance located at their hinge. Inside is the heart of one of the nation's largest public library systems; the Central Library alone contains over 1.5 million books, magazines, and other materials. It also contains the Brooklyn Collection, an assortment of references and ephemera that chronicle the history of the borough, and a Multilingual Center for non-English speakers and linguistic scholars. A cafe on the first floor sells coffee and snacks, while a restaurant on the third floor (open weekdays only) sells cafeteria-style meals. Internet access is freely available throughout the building.

Coming to a halt just inside the main doors, the library's latest visitor gazes around with a wry smile curling her lips. It's been a long time since she was last here… and the events of that day led to both gunfire and friendship.

A soft chuckle, and Ygraine shakes her head to clear old memories, before hitching her pack higher onto one leather-clad shoulder, striding into the library towards a terminal. Two Summers ago, the Briton was simply acquainting herself with the latest edition of Suresh's now-famous book. Now, a hand-written list of titles is tugged out of one of her jacket's inner pockets, a veritable shopping list of knowledge being sought - and though the main topic of enquiry is much the same as it was in 2008, legal texts have been thrown into the mix.

Turning a page in the now famous Suresh book, Adelaide checks her phone, for a moment, the small device set to vibrate. She turns another page after skimming it, taking notes, and then reading further. "Ok," she opens up another book. "I hate legal-ese."

A little more suffering with legalese has to be gone through before Ygraine - now armed with annotations identifying where various desired titles are to be found in the building - comes into view, moving with the intermittently hesitant, neck-craning walk of someone navigating by signs rather than any personal knowledge of what direction to move in.

For a couple of minutes, she moves around the shelves, the Union Jack across her back providing a bright flash of colour amidst the stacks. Snaring several books, she then carries the stack across to one end of Adelaide's table. There, her pack is swung around to rest on the tabletop, a couple more books - these ones on new media and social campaigning - are brought out and set down beside the little heap of books on recent changes to the federal laws of the US and the government's relationship to the Evolved.

Adelaide raises her eyes at the sound of a backpack hitting the table. "Careful,.." she notices a few of the books. "You're welcome to my stacks, seems like, we're.. looking at similar subjects." she sits back to get a few view.

Ygraine lifts a brow, chuckling softly. She shrugs out of her heavy jacket, hanging it on the back of a chair, before cracking a grin. "I… was given something to think about, recently. I'm trying to figure out whether something's possible over here." Her voice carries an accent to complement the flag on the back of her jacket, clearly from the other side of the Pond.

Settling into a chair, she moves her pack off the table, then rests bare arms atop the wood. "Though I'm not quite sure exactly where to start with all of this."

Adelaide says, "Possible?" she asks adjusting herself in the seat. "What do you mean? I mean I think its bad enough that I had to register, and in a way registration of everyone evens the field but it can also cause so discrimination. The haves vs. Havenots… I mean if someone is homeless.. then they might not register and in a way it'll be associated with 'wealth' 'power'… and possibly disenfranchisement.""

Ygraine cocks her head, then offers a low chuckle. "A few years back, the government in the UK announced that it was going to institute a programme of compulsory identity cards for everyone. There were objections to it - not least that you'd be charged for the privilege of receiving an identity card - but some were more… fundamental than others."

The Briton shrugs, toned muscles shifting beneath the pale skin of her partly-bare shoulders. "I'm not at all convinced that any government should have a right to the sort of data being demanded. So I'm investigating whether something that started up in the UK would be possible here."

Adelaide nods. "I have to agree. I mean I understand the need to keep track of things, and states & Federal goverment can be two different animals. States can overrider things. Speaking up. Its not something that any goverment can implement easily."

Ygraine chuckles dryly. "I'm glad to hear it. The… atmosphere here can seem rather odd, to a Briton. Which is part of my concern about possibly poking around. But I figured that I should investigate what options are actually open to people here. I know that at least one of the organisations behind the original NO2ID campaign in the UK also operates here…."

Adelaide nods. "So why's the atmosphere so hard, Miss British?" she asks with a warm tone. "Oh, My name's Adelaide."

"I said odd, not hard", the Briton protests with a laugh. "I'm Ygraine. Nice to meet you."

Adelaide grins. "You're named after King Arthurs mother, interesting." she says turning to look at the other woman. "And why's it so odd then? I mean I guess Briton does things differently than the UK in a lot of ways."

Ygraine looks surprised, then impressed. "Not many people identify it", she says warmly. "And… hrmmm. Yeah."

A slight frown, and the Briton shrugs again. "There's a rather different relationship between government and people. The US constitution was set up so that the whole system would be in a constant three-way tension, with liberty being seen as preserved in the gaps between the contending elements, each of which was intended to be equally powerful. The British system is rather different - and the attitude that people have towards 'the state' is therefore also very different in some ways…."

Ducking her head for a moment, Ygraine chuckles. "Sorry. I could all too easily get sucked into a lengthy ramble about comparative politics. The short version of what I'm trying to do is figure out whether a campaign that was run in the UK could operate here, and if so, what would be required to protect it. The federal government's approach towards data security - and its claimed right to access anything in the US - is already all too well-established, and would force a different model, but I'm wondering what else might have to be changed, and whether the whole idea could get off the ground…."

Adelaide nods. " Its ok. I found it interesting." She leans a little bit backwards. "How does the compaign work in the UK?"

Ygraine cocks her head for a moment, gaze flickering over Adelaide's face, before she apparently decides that the expression of interest was genuine. "Well… the ID card scheme has been scrapped by the new government that came into power a few weeks ago. But the NO2ID campaign was based on inviting people to pledge a small sum of money - not hand anything over immediately, but promise to pay money into a neutral account when asked to do so. That account would be used solely for the fighting of the first court case brought by the government against someone who refused to accept the new ID cards. Whoever they were, the campaign would back them - and help them to hire the very best legal counsel available."

Adelaide thinks. "So… then its tricky." she sighs.. "I like the idea of saying that Evolved or no- you should register. But a large database is worrying. Its like asking and linking all DMV, and this database, they can find out anything. Bad- for enemies or people who have something to protect."

"There was a case back in 2006 - the SWIFT case - when the federal government asserted a right to tap into commercial databases for its own purposes if they were physically located within its borders", Ygraine says, leaning back in her chair. "That led to the SWIFT database being relocated to Switzerland, where the US authorities couldn't claim any right over its servers. But anything that the government itself sets up, it'll have full control over. And, even if you think only in terms of the original design for the US, that's cutting out at least one element of the intended balancing act between the contending powers… and without direct, constant oversight of the courts, the second is also out of the loop. That's why challenging it in the courts might be the only way to redress the balance at all."

Adelaide sighs. "So in other words. we've got a bigger problem Ygraine." she frowns. " I personally was ok with the registration, well of evolved. In a way it keeps people safe. The evolved can keep an eyeout for those who dislike them, and people who are haters… well…" she shrugs. "I don't understand why people hate…"

Laughing softly, Ygraine shakes her head. "I could certainly bend your ear about the social roles played by The Other, and the need that people tend to feel to identify something against which they define themselves. It's sadly especially prevalent in US politics… but I'm rambling again."

Closing her eyes for a moment, the Briton attempts to refocus. "Ahh… well. The key question here would be the legality of plotting to help an unknown individual to break the law. In the UK, it's wholly legitimate - there's no conspiracy since there was no individual set to benefit, and no individual responsible for the intended crime. The aid would just go to whoever happened to be the first person charged for non-compliance, and donations to help pay for lawyers are quite legitimate. Here? I'm not quite so sure."

A low sigh. "Likewise, I'm worried that any database of people pledging support would need to be located outside the country, or it would come under Federal interdiction. Australia or one of the Scandinavian countries might be an option there - places with laws explicitly banning the handing-over of names and data to foreign powers even for 'intelligence purposes'. But I've no real idea how big a problem that sort of thing might be."

Adelaide nods. "Yes…" she says. "But the problem is that then no one- not even the governement could access it or see its ocntent. THe point I thought was to make sure… people could be held accountable."

Ygraine blinks, then chuckles. "Oh, I was meaning any database of people signing up to support a civil disobedience or legal campaign. Given the… tension in the country at the moment, I wouldn't want to suggest that people simply sign up to something that would instantly be monitored and get them identified as worth watching by the security agencies."

A broad shrug. "If there is to be a database of any kind for the US, then it should remain in the US, legally-speaking - since only there can there ever be a hope of democratic control being exercised over it. The fundamental problem is that I don't see democratic control ever being exercised over it, unless some future government manages to scrap it - or it's blocked from coming into existence."

Adelaide nods. "Hackers could break in an get coppies. THe Government can only go so far." She exhales. "What are your thoughts on the evolved, Miss Ygraine?"

Ygraine blinks, brows lifting as she chuckles. "On the Evolved? We're all human, and we're all mutants. Every last one of us is a genetic deviation from what came before, and every one of us has variable abilities. If the principle is established that genetic variation is sufficient excuse to establish segregation, differential rights, and so forth, then that is… dangerous enough. But why should a genetic variation that leads to, say, a greater talent for comprehending languages be regarded as worthy of legislation when someone who is 'simply' a genius is not?"

Adelaide nods. "Ok. I just felt like I needed to ask. Good to hear, sense in that arguement."

Ygraine cocks her head, then chuckles softly. "Of course, all of this has the extra concern for me that it could be seen as a foreigner meddling in affairs that are none of my business. But… I want to get some idea of the legalities before I try talking any natives into doing anything."

Adelaide nods. "Well talk away. I am a native."

Ygraine laughs, shaking her head. "I really don't want to talk anyone into doing something that turns out to be illegal. That could get me deported, quite apart from what happens to you…. But there're a number of organisations I want to get in touch with - certainly the Project on Government Oversight, and the Fund for Constitutional Government, as well as the ACLU - but I can't really claim to have particularly firm plans for anything as yet. And I doubt I have the money to support this on my own."

Adelaide leans in for a moment. "So… lets in touch with these organizations. Lets make a difference change the world. If i ever find someone have kids I want to be able to tell them that I helped to make the world different. That yes I am Evolved, and proud of it… not going to hide in a hole.." she smiles. "On that money front I could help- its worth doing something for people can't… I mean lets discuss this more before I start anything major."

Ygraine once again lifts her brows, looking distinctly surprised. "I certainly wouldn't want to take any money from anyone when I'm still unsure if this can even get as far as taking the first step. Right now, I'm still attempting to learn enough to be sure that I'm asking lawyers the right questions - and that, when I approach the ACLU, I'm able to put a good and honest case to them, rather than trying to sell them on something that might not even be possible here."

A chuckle, then the Briton shakes her head. "Which was a terrible way of saying, 'wow! Thank you', wasn't it? If we do get any kind of legal green light for this, then money will be vital to get it going, unfortunately. Renting secure servers in a country that'll protect them will cost money, quite apart from the expense of any kind of publicity effort. Of course, I'd hope to tap the ACLU in particulr for expertise there - they'll know better than me how to reach the people most likely to be interested in this particular sort of lunacy…."

Adelaide nods. "I see. but its worth a short. You can only ask questions." she says firmly. "I mean I'd say make friends with lawyers and see if they can help you.. or youk now hire a laywer and see if that'll help so you know you're asking the right questions. And Secure servers are do-able. I am willing to help somehow….time.. money.."

"Someone else to do some of the grunt work of looking up references and confirming what's actually been ruled in the past would be helpful. Very helpful indeed", Ygraine says warmly. "I don't want to either get an automatic brush-off from people who don't want to fight the government, or get caught up in the crusade of a lawyer who does nothing but fight The Man and doesn't really care whether or not his clients have a leg to stand on. The more information I can put together myself, the better understanding I'll have of what I need to ask people about and how much value their answers might have."

Adelaide nods. "Then I'll help. I think I know some people who might be worthy people to help diseminate information and the large amoung of files that'd be gone through. We can probably hire interns… " she winks.

"Interns? My you are thinking of spending more money than I was!", Ygraine laughs, shaking her head before flashing a grin. "So… are you someone terribly famous whom I am utterly failing to recognise? Or a secret trust-fund heiress?"

Adelaide laughs. "Its a little bit of a mix of both.. Or something like that." she almost blushes.

"Ah", Ygraine eloquently responds, before sheepishly chuckling. "I apologise. I do tend to have a remarkable talent for inserting my feet into my mouth, it seems. Would I, ahh, recognise your surname, Adelaide?"

Adelaide says, "Its a combination. I am a singer.. I actually haven't really used a stagename though.. Naimarc." she says with a slightly proud air. "It's interesting my father was in the music business, the Vilonist for "Harmonic Unlimited." she explains. "and my mother was one an OBGYN— Emma Naimarc-Xylander… now that I think about it… I have my mothers last name… not my fathers. though they were legally married.. Mom used her last name when she worked …" she seems a little perplexed this. "Dad used his… hm.. I suppose hyphinating things would have been confusing to both sides .. mother patients would be able to ask for her easily and dad's fan's wouldn't have been too thrilled.. Xylander's a fun name.. ""

Cocking her head, Ygraine listens, expression amusedly curious as she listens to the rather rambling explanation. "What sort of music do you perform, out of curiosity? It sounds as if you're a solo performer, rather than part of a band…?"

Adelaide smiles. "It's solo performance mostly, though I have traded partners since most of my songs are story albums. I usually have 'guests' in the songs who do the other lyrics. So each album tells a story… I really want to have a stable partner to sing with… but the idea of a concept album escapse people and many only wantto do one 'song' on an album not mutilple on a album to tell a story…."

"Concept albums?" Ygraine sounds impressed. "I think that I only own one, myself, and it's really quite old. They're certainly fashionable nowadays…"

Adelaide laughs. "I love doing them . I want to tell a story with every…. song and each of songs creates a road that winds around and finds itself… on a larger chain.. so like a musical novel!"

Nodding admiringly, Ygraine chuckles. "I have to say that I'd much rather hear about someone pursuing their dreams than doing whatever they think others want to hear. If you're going to be an artist, then… surely you should produce something that comes from the heart. For me…." She chuckles, and glances down at her legal books. "Maybe these'll give me a way to produce a bit of work with lasting effect, eh?"

Adelaide nods."Maybe. Though this does give me inklings of a an idea for a story-song… perhaps make you the star of it… though with things changed of course. Making a lawyer a bard… since they travel and usually in celtic mythology to some degree their 'inviolateable..' so perhaps a story-song about one.."

Lifting a brow, Ygraine cocks her head. "In what little has been preserved about the Druidic traditions - mostly from the period when the tribes were converting to Christianity - there were three grades of learned men. The bards studied for seven years, before gaining the right to pursue their trade - and had the freedom to travel, inviolate. A further seven years of study would make one a judge, qualified to sit in judgement. And a further seven would allow one to reach the highest tier… Songs and law go together in a number of oral traditions around the world."

Adelaide pauses. "You know your stuff…" she says turning her head towards the woman in surprise. "And that is true. I plan on developing a world around it."

Chuckling, Ygraine ducks her head, then shrugs. "The tiers of the filidh are even more obscure and less interesting to most than constitutional theory. The vast majority of the 'stuff' that I know is seen as wholly irrelevant by most people, unfortunately."

Adelaide says, "It's hardly not-interesting to me." she says quickly. "I mean your say that but I find it fascinating." she takes a moment to grab her cellphone.. "Email trade?"

"I… thank you", Ygraine says, delving into her jacket to pull out a small and slightly old-fashioned model, which she flips open and then scrolls through. Having brought up her own details, she offers the little device to Adelaide. "I'll drop you a line as soon as I've got some stuff I'd like you to look over. And if you're serious about being able to drum up some funds or contacts who could help to publicise things…."

Adelaide nods. "Thank you." she says. "Ygraine." she makes a copy of the information with a few well placed taps of the miniture keyboard.

"You're most welcome", the Briton assures her companion. "I look forward to putting you to work!

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