We Rise Together


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title We Rise Together
Synopsis A new Phoenix video shows up on the internet.
Date Sepember 17, 2009

Across The Internet, Across The Country…

The wonderful thing about video is that it can be done at any time, and uploaded when it's most convenient. Phoenix has the benefit of Wireless when it comes to making their video posts, and that prevents it from being traced. It may be that sites will start banning their videos, citing them as terrorists, but enough people tend to be alert to when they go up to spread the message before there's any chance of being taken down…and thus far, they haven't been.

The backdrop is a simple pale blue sheet, Helena herself is in a black tanktop with a men's shirt left with buttons undone over it. Seated in her chair, she eyes the notepad in her lap a touch nervously, though the video itself will be waist up and no one will see it but her. By the time the camera's on, she may not even remember she has it.

"Delilah?" she calls out. "You told me to yell when I'm seated. So this is me, yelling."

"That is you, yelling. Yes, I hear you." The camera, personified for the sake of poses, has its eye on Helena, while voices sound off outside of the screen ahead. It's a small dust storm on Helena's face, next thing that she knows- because Delilah is there with powder for her face. Koff, koff. Just like the cartoons. "If you look shiny, we all look grubby." Which is her mantra for the last fifteen minutes or so, even to the point of testing the colors of some things of Helena's on unsuspecting bystanders(well, if she can catch them).

The square of the camera gets a view of Dee's backside, and though some may find that promising- the camera does not, and he fruitlessly begs for her to move out of the shot so he could do his job. "I don't know if it should just be a touchup or if I should paint you up. On one hand it makes you look too shallow, but just a touchup doesn't bring out your eyes." Delilah, this is a speech, not a commercial. But, actually, they are technically selling something.

"Well, if I look too umm, perfect, people are not going to buy the whole 'civil rights slash resistance movement leader' thing at all, will they?" Helena asks dubiously. "Do what you think will make me look umm…convincing. Worth listening to. I'm sure you can make my eyes pop without making me look like the starlet of an HBO series or whatever."

"Well, yes. But we're selling the movement too, remember." Delilah crouches slightly, peering at Helena from Very Close Up. At first it is a bit unnerving, but then it's clear that she's fixing something when Dee moves back a bit of her hair. "Now I sound shallow. But this is how they got strapping lads to join wars a while back. Pretty ladies told them to."

After a moment where Helena's eyelids are victims of a tiny brush, and her lips just baring a swish of flushed tone, Delilah is stepping back like a painter to double check the work. "Alright." She nods sharply, snapping shut the magazine-sized makeup case and shuffling back to man the camera.

He rejoices- finally! We get to start! Ready? There are a few clicks and squeaks during the awkward seconds between, as Lilah fiddles with the controls. Okay, ready now? Beep, boop, beep. Are we doing this or n- "Okay, Helena. You ready? Three-" Her fingers are up in the air within Helena's vision as the blonde looks into the lens.

Three, two, one.

Helena looks into the camera. For a few seconds she's silent, perhaps frozen, perhaps gathering her thoughts, but regardless, after that initial moment's pause, she begins to speak, offering up the speech that will later be seen when it's posted up all over the World Wide Web.

"My name is Helena Dean. Many of you know me, many of you have seen my face before. I am the leader of Phoenix. I am not a puppet, nor being manipulated by greater forces. I'm doing this of my own free will, which I'm fortunate to have, considering the months I spent unlawfully imprisoned in the Moab Federal Penitentiary, along with many others."

"I want to talk to you about courage. I want to talk to you about the understanding that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important."

"What many of you have done is marvelous. You've allowed your voices to be heard. You've said no. You've said that you, that your children, will not be treated like second class citizens. You won't allow yourselves to be catalogued, you won't stand for your civil rights being taken away."

Across the country, in a small and darkly lit bedroom, a pair of teenagers huddled around a computer watch wide-eyed as the message is read across data streams and telecommunications grids. Helena's voice isn't something new to them, isn't something they haven't heard before. It's the sound of rebellion, a spark to light the fire under them that they've been listening to for nearly a year. The second time now, that they've heard about this place called Moab, first from Vincent King — Shard — now from Helena.

Just beyond the bedroom, leaning up against the door, an anxious middle-aged woman with dark ringlets of hair stands with her brow pressed to the doorframe. Her eyes are closed, ringed by red around the edges, cheeks damp with tears. The voice of a rebellion is muffled on the other side of the door, but clear enough to make the point. She's losing control of her children, losing control of what they want, and the aspirations of rebellion are now feeding the fire of their youth. She just wanted a normal life for her children, and maybe they'll still find it somewhere.

But not until things have been set right. It's too late for normal now, too late to let the fires cool. They, like others, only want to rise up to the occasion.

"Ay dios mio!" The cawing of Spanish interupts the relative silence of one young girl's evening, and the peace of a trailer park just outside of Laredo, Texas. Heavy footfalls belonging to a mother toting at least one screaming toddler echo outside of a certain door, ajar in the messy hallway of an overcrowded trailer. "Roxaaana- watch your brother!" The poor door, weak on its hinges, clatters wide open into her room. Roxana is average in virtually every way- from her clothes to her hair, her eyes, her skin. Long brown hair, matching eyes, a rounded figure- a dark complexion that she shares with the mother now cramming her oversized frame into the front of the already cramped room. Though she is sitting on her bed, Roxana's mother literally drops the screaming two-year old into her lap, almost sending the old laptop lain aside sprawling to the floor.

"Mama! Look out!" The teenager, in her chain reaction of catching both the sibling and the computer, snaps at her mother, who is already leaving by the time the noise reaches her back. "Aie, Rosario, you are too loud…" Though once the little boy hit his sister's arms, he somehow caught his tongue and has since hushed himself. Instead, he now busies himself with watching his sister peck the ramshackle keys of her computer, in all its glorious missing letters and complete lack of a right shift key. "Do you want to watch something with me? It is very special, so you must be very quiet."

And he is very, very quiet, as Roxana clicks play on a video she has let load for what seems like eternity, greeted by a familiar and reassuring face framed in blonde hair.

"I want to encourage you to continue this practice, to refuse to register, and to do everything you can as a socially conscious citizen to discourage registration and convince our lawmakers to either adjust it so that it becomes a voluntary action rather than a required one, or that it is abolished completely. I want to urge you to continue to demonstrate, continue slam registration bureacracy, make your own Miracle Days. I want to tell you to show the world that Evolved people can bring gifts to this world for the betterment of all. I want to tell you to Rise Up."

"But before I do, there's something you need to understand."

"We live in a world that hates and fears us. There are people in this world who see all of us as an ending, rather than an awakening. Men and women who willingly turn against their parents, their children, their spouses, their friends and neighbors, out of fear and hatred, whose goal is nothing more than to insure that anyone with the Suresh Linkage Complex ends their life in a body bag. You all know this is true. They make no effort to hide themselves, even though as individuals they've no doubt insinuated themselves, or have sympathizers, within all levels of law enforcement."

Far away, but never far enough, a familiar round-faced man leans back in a creaking office chair, Balancing a cardboard coffee cup on his stomach, his brows furrow and eyes narrow, focused solely on the image playing on the screen of the computer in the small downtown internet cafe. Resting his head to one side, he sweeps his eyes over the picture, volume turned down to nothing. Bill Dean's tongue rolls over the inside of his cheek, thoughtfully, one hand snatching his cup up as he rises to stand.

Behind him, a shorter man with curly copper hair narrows his eyes and looks from the screen to Bill. "What're we gon' do about that?" His eyes flick back to the screen as if to indicate the topic of his discussion. Bill only smiles, slapping a hand on the Irishman's shoulder.

"Don't you worry yer' Lucky Charmes about it," Bill notes with a confident smile, turning around and guiding the Irishman around and away from the screen as well. "I think we'll have this whole Helena problem under control before y'can start pissin' about your blue diamonds and green clovers." There's no amusement on the Irishman's face at that, as he and Bill make way for the door of the cafe.

A truck door slams, somewhere outside in the late afternoon sun. Roxana flinches, Rosario does not. They continue watching together, regardless of if he understands; and all but ignoring the ramble of angry Spanish from the front room as an unfortunately familiar man returns from work. Her mother yells back, something crashes in the kitchen.

"I hate him. What about you?" The cherub-faced boy in her lap is rocked enough to make him look up at her with a rather concerned look on his face. But he does not reply, simply goes back to listening to the woman on the faded screen.

"Roxana!" The male voice turns in on her hallway, and she flinches again from the background noise. Promising herself that she will watch the rest when she is able, the girl closes the laptops's screen two seconds before her step-father appears in the doorway, still dusty from the world on the other side of the open window. "Your stupid bitch of a mother can't even make me dinner, so go do it."

Now, Roxana's mother may not win any awards, but if there is one thing that the teenager will not stand for is the man that rails on them in all manners of speaking- to call her Mama something as simple as 'stupid'. "No!" Rosario breaks into a wail. His sister's arm tightens around him, and he whimp
ers quiet.

"What the hell did you say to me?"

"And so, for every one of you who chooses to rise up - who chooses to demand your inherent right to be treated as the citizen you are - you //must understand that to these people, you are nothing more than the ending destination of a bullet. Even for those of you who cannot find that strength, who hesitate because of fear or concern for loved ones - if these people have their way, they'll come for you anyway. And all they need to do, is demand your wallet, and look at your Registration card to know you for what you are."//

"These people, they want us afraid. They want us silent. They want us to believe that we are at fault for their acts of violence. What they would want us to believe is that we'd be indirectly responsible for what they do in answer. But it's not true - it's not even an answer. Because these people will do what they do - they'll kill people even after we're silent, and kill more people when there aren't any voices left. We're not responsible for their sins. We never will be. We are only responsible for our silence."

"And so once more, I ask you again, to rise up. Rise up for yourself. Rise up for your family. Rise up for your neighbors, and for those who are too afraid. I ask you to continue your efforts as we will continue ours. I ask you to be brave - not foolish, but //brave - in the face of death, and those who would bring it, rather than give them what they want - our silence, and ultimately our end."//

A thumb brushes around the edge of a tarnished copper ring resting on a grubby index finger, brows furrow and a lingering stare is given to the screen of a laptop. Standing up from the bench seat in the dark, concrete room, a tall and broad shouldered man straightens the collar of his worn and faded army jacket. A concentrated look is afforded to the Phoenix video playing on the screen, even as a voice calls from an open doorway, "Erim!" The man in the green jacket turns, resting his hands on his hips. "What the hell're you doing?"

"I'll be there in a minute…" Erim grumbles distractedly, bringing his hand out to trace fingertips along the top of the laptop's screen. His head tilts to the side, eyes lingering on Helena's as he listens to the message of strength, of standing up, of not being silent. His lips creep up into a hesitantly offered smile at that. "Cam's gotta be proud…" he breathes out, followed by a jerk of his head up to the sound of footfalls coming in through the doorway.

"S'at Helena?" Benjamin Washington's — Knox's — voice grows softer this time, standing at Erim's side as he looks down at the screen. "Man, girl's sure got his spirit, ain't she?" His dark eyes uplift to Erim, quiet save for the seemingly pointed question his one black brow asks in being raised. Erim nods in response to the wordless question, slowly, pressing the screen of the laptop closed as he nods for Knox to take the lead.

"Let's go."

"I said no. Get out of my room!" Roxana's volume lifts higher, and she leaves her little brother there on the bed as she stands up. Her stepfather is not a big man, but a grown man nonetheless, and not to mention a combative one. He takes her standing up as a threat, in all its finery.

"You'll show me some respect, you stupid little back-talking whore-" And the next thing that the girl feels is the sting of his palm across the entirety of her face, sending her stumbling for a grasp as she falls into the side of her bed. Rosario's wail screeches alive again, and the echoes of feet thunder in the next room as Roxana's mother scrambles for something.

"Don't Touch me!" Roxana's scream drowns out her baby brother's, seconds before she appears to snap. She lunges up for the man in her little bedroom; his hand wraps over the wrist aiming a punch at his neck, and only her left hand finds a place curled in his dirty red shirt. "GET OUT!"

Her free hand latches onto the arm holding her back. A visible shiver runs through her stepfather, his features loosening and his muscles falling slack. He crumples to his knees, Roxana's hand still trying to wrench his arm from her own. "I'll kill you, you stupid little bitch…" The man's voice slurs, as if drunken. His eyes roll back, loose in their sockets- the breath he takes next is soundless, and by now the teenager struggling with his grip is streaming tears down her brown cheeks.

At long last, he falls limp onto the floor, surrounded by the sobs of his step-daughter, the wails of his stepson, and the soon to be scream of his abused wife.

"They can try to take our words - if you haven't seen them, then you should know that they're attempting counter-grafitti using our own call to action, partnering them with images of death on our streets, but even then, it proves only we offer hope, and they offer death. And we cannot stand for this. We cannot let them take our lives…or our words.

"Last year, we brought a Miracle Day to New York City. People were fed. Erosion rain washed away years worth of radioactivity from the Midtown disaster zone. The hungry were fed, and a young girl was healed from a seemingly impossible disease. It was a chance to show everyone what the Evolved can do. But we're thinking bigger this time. We can't give you a date yet - we can't offer it publically until the last possible moment to avoid retaliation - but when that day arrives, if you can do something extraordinary to help your neighbor, your community, or even the world - do it. Take the chance to show everyone that those who hate can only rob this world and destroy lives, while we can make it better. No matter where you are, if you can see these messages, then you have the means to make a difference. And we can show everyone. If you want to know more - if you want to make a miracle, than watch for further messages. We'll be bringing you more information soon."

"They will not take our voices. They will not take our lives. And they will not take our words. My name is Helena Dean. And I ask you to be strong. Be brave. Rise up."

The screen pauses, leaving Helena's face focused on it. A leather chair creaks, and a broad-shouldered man leans back into the protesting material as his hands fold in front of himself. Breathing in a deep breath, he turns in the swiveling chair to look acros the office, eyes focused on a blonde woman seated on the arm of a leather sofa nearby, legs crossed and her hands folded on her knees. "Well?" The man asks, one hand moving up to push up the frames of his aviator sunglasses, fingers pinching the bridge of his nose, "are you really sure about this Sarisa?"

Her expression turns into a faint smirk, head tipping down into a nod as she pushes up from the arm of the sofa. "I think everyone will be pleased with the plan once we run it by Sebastian." One delicate hand runs thorugh her hair, determined eyes focused out the tall windows of the office, "they're the only people with the experience we need to get the job done. The President has made noises to that effect too, hasn't he?" She turns subtley, looking down to the man in the chair.

"You know I don't like this, like letting them slide after everything they did." Aviators' eyes narrow behind his sunglasses. "What about Daiyu, you're sure we aren't going to be able to rely on him to— "

"No." Sarisa states flatly, breathing in a deep breath before resting her hands on her hips and fully turning to face her protege. "No, Feng's just the start. We'll see how they handle this situation with Humanis First, and then…" Sarisa shrugs her shoulders and offers a smile that doesn't quite reach her eyes.

"We ask them to rise up."

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