When Burning Birds Meet...


brian_icon.gif cat_icon.gif cook_icon.gif delilah_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif helena_icon.gif jenn_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif mona_icon.gif rickham_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title When Burning Birds Meet…
Synopsis … the topics are many.
Date August 16, 2009

Old Dispensary

On the outside, this sprawling multi-level complex has not seen use in many years, its walls covered in greenery and stone exterior and glass windows showing evidence of disrepair. Surrounded by a chain link fence, a drive leads from the street to a large dock, and around the back one can expect to find more sprawling greenery that eventually leads to a concrete drop off into the Atlantic Ocean.

Passing through the chainlink fence and into the dispensary will reveal that the aged and crumbling outside is a facade. The loading dock is kept clear for the most part of everything save vehicles and supplies, though a section has been quartered off and transformed into an open workshop. The dispensary itself has been transformed into something akin to a makeshift dormitory, complete with common areas, a sizable kitchen and eating area, with various rooms converted into bedrooms for the residence. One room has even been set up as a makeshift clinic, amply stocked with supplies.

The back lawn and garden of the dispensary is surprisingly well tended, green and lush during the right months. Vegetables have been planted in accordance to season closer to the building, though someone has indulgently planted a plots of flowers - notably sunflowers - here and there. Further out, the ground drops a little and makes it to a concrete edge from which opens out into deeper water of the Atlantic.

The Old Dispensary is as yet an undiscovered location, but since Staten itself seems in jeopardy, this may yet be the last time Phoenix will gather in this place. The meeting will undoubtedly be telling. Helena let folks know they'd be meeting up in the basement training area slash war room, and chairs have been set up, along with a white board in case anyone needs it. There are also working outlets in case anyone has presentations.

Helena looks around, satisfied that the majority of the membership is there. Sticking her hands in her back pockets she calls out, "Hey, guys. Thanks for making it. So um, tonight we've got some issues to go over, give folks a chance to throw stuff on the floor. Delilah's got the agenda, and Del, if you don't mind a quick summary of what that is, we can go over those issues in as much as we can and at the end introduce anything new. Del?"

"The first and biggest thing on the list-" Yes, she has a list- it's on a clipboard. "-is the matter of a new headquarters. We're obviously giving this place its last legs, so we'll need to address that before much else. That being said, Staten deserves a moment in the spotlight. Our media and grassroots, recruiting matters, possibly some discussion about specific persons in our database, the Suresh Center, and lastly- Humanis First."

And as Delilah reviews the agenda, Cat turns on the large screen she brought down here for the purpose. It lights up with the directory in which several named files are kept on the various activities dating back to formation less than a year before. Among them are what Delilah spoke of: Humanis First and the Suresh Center.

Cat doesn't speak, the floor being Helena's now.

Sitting next to Gillian, Brian's arm is spread out over the back of her chair. He leans in now and then to whisper something to her, or bring his hands up and rub her shoulders gently, very gently as to avoid any bruises or soreness that may have been there previously. Brian always has trouble with sitting through long meetings where he can't talk a lot. And so Gillian gets to be the audience of one to his ADD:

Every now and then a joke on how a certain word is said, or an innuendo is made, or someone gets made fun of. All in very hushed whispers of course. Wearing a black shirt and jeans, he has come comfortable, for once. Leaning in he makes another comment.

"Suresh Center trying to steal our thunder." He mutters.

In lieu of the actual pet that Delilah had claimed ownership of earlier in the day, there's Teo, seated in characteristic eccentricity on the floor. His back is leaned up against the wall, his head slightly off-axis, either under the weight of eye-numbing fatigue or the choreographed, artificial ennui of an inherent predator. Possibly a combination of both.

Still, the Sicilian's eyes rock back in their pits in proper timing when the presentation begins. Acknowledging Helena with a blink, first, half a smile, before moving on to the projected slides. His smile seesaws back on-center, but it's smaller somehow after this. He doesn't say a thing.

The limping might be less (as only Brian would truly notice), but it's still there. Gillian sits next to her brother, not leaning too heavily on any one place, and switching her weight around as necessary. By all appearances, she could just be extremely sore in multiple places. "You're split in a dozen places and you're still a chatterbox," she gently teases her brother, quiet, but doesn't elbow or slap as she might have in the past. Still sore. It's not easily visible unless someone watches her move, which she avoids doing. And as she suspected… a lot of information needing to be gone over. Even with her brother's jests, there's a frown on her face.

Cook comes in and finds a seat as quick as possible. He doesn't make a big deal about it, he just slumps and leans back in his seat.

"So okay." Helena looks around at the semi-smiling faces. "It seems like any minute now Long Island is going to be gone over by military forces and law enforcement, and Minea Dahl's been recaptured by the Company. Presuming she was interrogated or telepathically scanned by their people, that also puts the fourth floor safehouse in danger." Yeah, not a big win for Phoenix all around. "If people have any suggestions for alternate locations, the floor is open. I was going to submit scoping out Roosevelt Island, but now that the Suresh Center is there, it may be too much of a target. Ideas?"

Unobstrusive among the rest of the group situated here and milling around, Mona has taken a seat in one of the chairs near the edge. One leg crossed over the other, she doesn't do much but listen for now, a frown on her face— though one more thoughtful in nature. A pen is in her teeth, and a notepad sitting on her lap, the former of which she removes to lets poise above a new page.

Leonard is Helena's bodyguard, same as ever. He's silent, sitting in a rickety folding chair off to one side, head on his arms on one of the tables. Like a mastiff lying by the hearth.

Elisabeth is standing along the back wall, having just slipped in. At this point, though, she remains silent — a place? No, not really. She's got nothing useful to suggest there.

"Roosevelt did have some nice properties, but I'm glad that it's the Center getting attention and not something else." If the media wants to fixate on a place, best be a good one. Delilah pauses while looking over the screen up ahead, fingers rapping on the table. Isn't it just like when the teacher asks a question? Awkward crickets.

"It's too bad that we can't have a floating fortress or something. Make this a hell of a lot easier, huh?" Dee laughs, despite the moment of seriousness on everyone else (except maybe Brian).

"It might be possible to acquire a boat large enough for our purposes and keep it moving, so there's never a fixed location," Cat replies to Delilah's suggestion. Whether or not she meant it as a joke, it seems to hold merit with her.

"I want an underwater fortress." Brian mutters to Gillian, before raising his hand and offering a suggestion. He doesn't wait for anyone to call on him, it's just a nice little 'almost courtesy'. "What if we got some kind of legitimate business? A store or a shop or something, maybe even a business that doesn't get a lot of customers. We could build our hideout into it somewhere. Then we have something concrete and don't look suspicious running into abandoned buildings. I'd be willing to work there." Brian offers, looking to Gillian, expecting her to support his idea.

Possible suggestions. All the suggestions Gillian liked before are Libraries. But they're not really on the top of possibilities considering they've already done that. And fire + books = bad. And they are a group named after a bird made of fire. But speaking of fire. "I was going to suggest a firestation, but Brian's idea is better than mine. I've seen buisnesses built into firestations before, restraunts, bars, museums… We could probably do the same. I just like the idea of a whole… firestation hideout. And with all the bitching about how short they were on firemen during all those fires in midtown, I'm guessing there's a lot out of use." She shrugs. "Having a mobile safehouse would be a good idea too, considering. Especially if the dreams and paintings are right and we're doomed to be flooded."

"A firestation, or a business. Or a firestation that we run as a business. Any other suggestions?" Helena looks around, nodding. She seems to like the firestation idea.

Elisabeth speaks up and comments, "Bear in mind that the fire stations all tend to have a lot of windows and great big doors. Lots of points of ingress and egress…. this can be good… escape routes and all. But it can also be bad — it gives anyone raiding us multiple points of attack. Just sayin'."

"We can also close them up though. The.. ingress egress thingies." Brian speaks up and voices in counter to Elisabeth's argument. "Seal off windows and big doors. Do our own remodeling in whatever fashion we see fit. Make it seem legit." He glances over to Gillian and gives her a little grin.

"I would think they'd be working at getting more stations operative too. We couldn't be there for long, if that was the case. And maybe we should stick to something smaller. Less chance that we leave more behind." Delilah chimes in, shifting in her chair. She opens her mouth to say something else, but her lips close and open again, eyes coasting over the people sitting around the table.

"Err…Mobile safehouse like mobile home?"

Firestations have dorms in them, escape routes, big water pipelines that can be modified for evacuation channels. All this and more, Teo's considering, but he doesn't say aloud, not when the essential merits and detriments to the location have already been nicely sorted by Phoenix. He closes and opens his eyes, once, settles the shaven bowl of his head back against the wall.

"I don't think we're going to agree on a location at this session," Cat comments, "the thing to do seems to be scouting for decent locations and putting together a list which can be debated then."

"Well if we buy an old firestation for a price and make it a legit business, it wouldn't be in trouble of being taken up. This city's pretty old, a lot of the firestations are already discontinued. But yeah, we'd have to scout it out." Gillian will certainly agree with that. There's a grin to Dee, dimples appear on her cheeks, "I was meaning the boat Cat suggested, but hell, a mobile home could work. Or one of those double decker busses." That's kind of a joke, yet not."
"I like the idea of the firehouse, but I don't know if trying to run a business out of it would be too much of a tap on our resources. I think there's no reason we couldn't set up a trailer safe house, though."

"Abandoned subway station," Leo suggests. "As a secondary. We had that one, we can find another. Business," He shrugs, elaborately.

"Routemasters are already red. And- Well- maybe not mobile home exactly- maybe more like motor home. Unless we wanted to stay planted and only be able to move if we had to. Or even have multiple locations belonging to us." Delilah nods to Cat once. "Yeah.

"A single-wide and a Winnebago?" Dee leans on her hands, watching faces. "I used to live in Thomas Jefferson. Was there for a few years- if there's one place that for certain doesn't give a rat's arse about who comes and goes…" It would be the Trailer Park. "Lots of abandoned properties- some of it overgrew, nobody's touched that, really. There was an old hippy back there in the woods, but- hippy. He'd probably join up." She giggles at this, reminding herself of someone that only she knows.

"So I'm thinking the best thing would be to ask for a couple of people to volunteer looking into firehouses - maybe Brian and Gillian? And Delilah could likewise scope out the trailer park for us." Helena seems satisfied with that. "I do think time is a concern - we only have a limited amount of it, and we're not even sure how much, so if you guys could have something to suggest inside of a week, that would be best." With that, "The next topic was media, grassroots - the original message. There's been some commentary that we should focus on our civil rights agenda and refrain from any militant action in the future." Helena tosses that on the table and looks aorund to hear thoughts.

"I think so," Leo says, finally raising his head from his arms, sitting up. "We schismed off of PARIAH over just that, and look which of us remains standing. Obviously we have to defend ourselves, but we shouldn't risk becoming the mutant IRA. I don't think there's any future in that." Says the man who used to torture prisoners without blinking. Perhaps Moab's prompted a change of heart.

Media. This is something Mona has somewhat more expertise in, as far as being possibly useful goes. As she sets down her pen, she does an impromptu clearing of her throat, taking a slight glance around before speaking. "It's a ways off yet, but I've been working on a piece," she hazards, lifting her voice. "Something longer than normal. Almost a study. What I'm hoping is that it'll help get people to pay attention to our plight, when it's published." 'Our', of course, referring to the Evolved. "I know it's just a small thing, but. —-And I can help with writing for flyers and pamphlets, too; whatever you might need."

Elisabeth speaks up and says, "I agree that defending ourselves is always a priority. But 'defending ourselves' is different than going out there and looking for people's asses to kick." She looks around the group. "I don't think defense and the core of what started Phoenix are mutually exclusive. I do think running out there and becoming PARIAH definitely is not in line with what I understood this group to be about. It was originally, as I understand it, a peaceful protest organization. An underground group whose goal was to get people involved at the community level — get out there and start USING the powers we've got, those of us that can, to help make things better for people in this city any way we can. Any point that we might make out there by doing days of miracles and such like Phoenix has done before could potentially be tainted if we get any more militant than we are." She shrugs a bit.

Delilah will try to take a couple more eyes along, but nods to Helena as that part closes up. Her pen scratches along the paper on her clipboard. "This is why I'm glad that the Suresh Center came when it did. If it's really legit, we'd have a good friend there, potentially. Right?" The redhead peers up and around for a second, eyes drawn to Mona when she speaks.

"I've been off and on with various things- I think I remember you from the vigil, right?" Dee smiles, though somewhat weakly. "People seemed to react to that letter I put out after the movie set was attacked. They like my graffiti too, but that's neither here nor there." She sits up to listen to Liz now.

"If we wanted to reach out to the public, maybe we and the Ferrymen can think of some ways to clean up some neighborhoods. Or get the Government to do it for us without actually letting them know they are? The park and East Harlem are really rife- falling apart. But nobody pays attention because of things like Staten Island. I lived in a little FEMA trailer with four other people for…three or so years. I got lucky when I met some of you guys…" Delilah manages to sneak looks at Teo and Cat, especially, before her eyes go back to her pen.
Public> UnDeclared Destiny Adelaide says, "Hmm"

Silence presides over Teo's kerchief of floor, easily taken for agreement: it is. Phoenix is, he thinks, what it always has been— despite that his term of leadership had been characterized by an awful lot of grenades. Rescue operations fall loosely under the umbrella term of 'self-defense,' or so the word went. Even if those rescue operations include grenades, helicopters, machine guns, alliances with terrorist fragments, severed tongues and—

It's not like any of them thought that this would be simple. He drags his legs up off the ground, sets his elbows on his knees.

"Such actions may be unavoidable," Cat remarks somberly, "much as we'd like to avoid them. Our split with the others wasn't entirely over that, it was never said we'd not engage in direct operations. My impression was instead the split came over their inability, their unwillingness, to rein in anger."

"The larger question in how we conduct ourselves in the future is how trustworthy other organizations, notably those with government authority, are. If we leave it all in their hands, simply collecting intel and forwarding it, do we also endorse their shredding of the Constitution and denial of due process?"

"If we take that path, do we forward the intelligence we collect and monitor the outcome to make sure the public knows what happened, learns who was locked up and over what charge, insisting they be given trials no matter what the crime or alleged crime? If we ever for one moment accept locking any person away without a trial as the Constitution requires, we consent to the practice in general."

"As to defense, well, the Vanguard operation could be called self-defense. They were going to kill us. As could the Pinehearst operation because Arthur had begun to attack and kill us one by one in addition to his alliance with corrupt generals seeking to pad out their Evolved Gestapo by chemical means. So…" She trails off to spend some moments in thought before continuing.

"Perhaps the middle ground here is we focus on community action, rally people to the cause, inspire civil disobedience and the spreading of information. Expose and spotlight illicit government acts, encourage the population to inundate officials with demands to stick to standard American principles, work to dispel fear of us, and evalutate case by case whether or not we can avoid hands-on actions."

There's a nod at the talk of Firehouse searching. Gillian seems willing to take that up, likely with at least one Brian's assistance. But the change in topic makes her nod slowly, "I think it's good to have training and to be prepared to act when necessary. Defend ourselves and others, but I think that there's smaller things out there that we could get a hand in," she says, looking toward Cat, nodding in agreement to most of what's said. This is exactly what she'd told her already, though she didn't say they shouldn't do military-ish things at all.

"There's a difference between defending ourselves and others and seeking out fights, and I think we've managed to do that already. I just think there's more we could do that most people don't these days. Those other groups. We actually care what happens to people outside of ourselves, and to normal people, small things almost matter more. Shelter, food… They'll never see the big things we're trying to stop if they don't effect them. It won't sway their opinion like basic needs being helped. We helped fix up the Lighthouse and make it liveable pretty fast. Imagine what we could do in a few nights to some of the neighborhoods that have people living in FEMA trailers like Dee was."

Helena looks around, nodding. "I understand that the Pinehearst operation swallowed a lot of our time, but I also think that it kind of had to. And I also think it's a mistake to assume that just because we had to direct ourselves toward the operation that it means we've lost our focus in entire. I think perhaps bringing on another Miracle Day should definitely be up there, but I'd like for someone to possibly take account of all the skills and abilities our membership brings to the table and work out how they can be applied to community aiding projects. Would a couple of people be willing to step up for that?"

She then turns to Mona. "I'd like to know more about the project you've got percolating…I also would like to do more videos, more podcasts, more flyers…more everything, really. I'd like to come up with more suggestions to give to the public to encourage civil disobedience where the Linderman Act and the treatment of the Evolved are concerned. We've got a big following in youth movement. We can expand that. As for assisting our own…" she turns around. "Leo? Would you be interested in heading up internal training? People can come to you and let you know what they need, and you can either run classes or match them up with folks who can help them?"

"About getting the government to move - there was something going around in another state or two called Object Orange." Delilah then elaborates. "People would paint buildings too far gone in bright orange. The city would notice and demolish them. I'm sure that even prefab homes could go where they'd been- we could take credit for the first few, paint a burning bird in with the orange. Then we could switch up the orange shades and just start doing them plain. It would look like we made it catch on- and maybe it will. And we could fix up places and just leave a tag behind. They'd know we were making an effort."

"Shelter is a big thing where I'm from. And like I said- everyone is all up in arms about Staten, nowadays. When places like the one I'm from are suffering, have been for years." Let's see FRONTLINE fix that.

"I was there, yeah," Mona affirms in response to Delilah's question of whether she had been present at the vigil. She then turns her eyes to Helena, letting the tip of her busily-working pen pause in midair, this time, without setting it down. "After Petrelli's press conference, there's been all kinds of incidents involving non-Evolved, Evolved violence— 'witch hunts', if you wanna use the term. Local beatings, prejudice. I've been doing some snooping around in the news over the past months; seeing if I can maybe collect them into something like a commentary."

"I think Dee's got some good ideas," Gillian says with a nod, leaning back a bit until she's reminded of why she wasn't leaning back originally and winces and sits back up. "And her too," she nods to Mona, not really knowing her well enough to say her name, or address her personally. One of the people she doesn't really know all that well, outside of mentions in the catabase.

First, Helena answers Leo. "Delilah mentioned wanting to learn to throw a punch. I'd like you available to teach Phoenix members or arrange for them to be taught defense and urban survival. Could you do that?" And then, "Mona, your project sounds excellent, and yes, all the ideas proposed are good. I'd like to see something written up, specific task proposals that we could tackle and breakdowns of how to accomplish them. Include a second Miracle Day on that list." No one seemed inclined to volunteer. "I'd like to help with that, but Gillian, Del…maybe Mona? Could the three of you work on some sort of objective and task document? And are there any other ideas to throw on the floor regarding this?"

Breaking the silence she's lapsed into since asking questions and voicing opinions, Cat offers "I've a decent private Krav Maga trainer. I started working with him some time ago when Hana became temporarily unavailable, and have kept up the sessions since. It wouldn't be hard to get others in with him, I think." She lets her eyes wander across persons present.

"I'd be willing to train beginners. And if you could speak to that instructor, Cat, I'd like that as well. I need to go on, myself," Leo's voice is surprisingly mild, and he seems much less broody than he has.

The sounds of her pen make up for Dee's momentary silence. "I'd like to throw a punch that isn't trailer-bitch Dustball Fu, yes." She sits up to look over at Leo, then around at anyone else that might look like they know how to end a fight with a real Fu. Then to Cat when she suggests something that frankly- Dee has never heard of, but if Cat takes it, it must be worth the trouble. "I can start a task document here, I've got a few spare sheets. We can record them later."

Objective and task document? "I'd be happy to help. Oh, and while we're on the topic of training," Mona continues, treading just a wee bit more delicately into these waters. "I know this idea itself might be uncomfortable, but it might turn out to be useful." Given what sorts of things Phoenix has been through in the past. "My offer from before still stands. I can do my best to give people defensive mental training. Resisting telepathic attacks."

It's Mona's offer that finally startles real change into Teo's frame. He sits upright, and the sterile pallor of his eyes cut to the right like a tear through window glass, blinking sidelong at Leonard. The weight of his attention is probably as tangible as fragments physically landing on the back of the other man's head.

"I got time between taking care of kids and other things," Gillian says, giving a small nod. "I can at least make a bullet list of little things we can do for people that will make a big difference to them— and for us to if they're things we can actually take credit for." Which is more than they can say for most of the things they've done in the last few months besides making it rain when there were fires burning down portions of the city. …Telepathic defense… "I'd definitely like some defense training against telepathy. Even more than learning how to throw a punch."

Helena's expression grows momentarily strained - the ones that know her best will notice. But she nods to Mona. "I think if anyone wants to employ your assistance, it would be an excellent idea. I'm willing to share some of the fundamentals I learned from Claude, but I wouldn't call myself a teacher." With that, she nods to Gillian. "That's exactly the sort of thing I'd like to see. If we come up with not only the objectives, but how to implement them, we can move them forward faster. If no one else wants to chair Miracle Day efforts, I'm willing to." A pause. "Are we ready to move on to recruitment?"

Of course Leo sits up at that. "We need to talk when this is done," he says, and there's a concrete grimness in his voice that wasn't there before. "I could definitely use your help."" He doesn't glance at Teo.

Telepathic defense? "Oh crap, that's not how you found us, is it? I bet I was like a fucking open book…" For a moment, Dee looks extremely sheepish at what Mona talks about, though her attention does wander over towards Teo, who seems to have sat up like a pointer at attention. "I don't know much about Miracle Days." She looks away from him now, back to Helena. "So I think I'll head up the housing ideas once we have some laid out? Unless doping someone up counts as a miracle these days, of course."

Though Mona also notices the abrupt change her proposal had inspired in Teo, she doesn't comment on it; she just turns a brief and thoughtful glance on him. Probably not unusual. It can be a hard thing to be fond of a telepath, on reflexive principle. "But of course," she answers at Leo, giving the end of her pen a good taptap on the bottom of her notepage. "Anyone who's interested can just talk to me later; I'll be around." It's with amusement, too, that she regards Delilah. "Nah. I knew about you guys from before. You're just fine, don't worry."

Attaboy. Teo squints a smile through his eyes, barely tugs his mouth with it. Glancing down instead of over at the women whose attention he briefly drew, he starts to dig through the inside of his jacket panel to hunt up cigarettes. He doesn't move to rise yet, though, or not further than to tuck one heel in underneath his hip and turn slightly on the center of his balance.

"I can make suggestions for miracles, if I can figure out what everyone's abilities are— and the abilities of people who can help us." Gillian glances around at many of the people she's augmented in past missions, and how she's seen things work out in that area. "With me you could even do twice as much, long as you give me a shot to rest. You and Leo and Brian can handle my augmentation— at least. Others might need a… test day to make sure they can control their abilities even while I boost them. I'll let Dee handle the when, where and what of the housing situation, but I'll see if I can come up with other things."

"Miracle Day was pretty much what it sounded like - we pinpointed a singular day where we focused on using abilities for good deeds. Abby did a major healing, Jennifer made enough feed to feed all the shelters in Manhattan, I provided erosion rain…stuff like that." Helena explains. "Alright, Gillian - I'll - it's your baby. I'll help where I can, since I spearheaded the first." That's right, boys and girls, the women who are not quite not-rivals, working in tandem. Someday, a musical may get made. "What I wanted to put on the table was the issue of recruitment - how we handle it. I think we need to find a better way to vet people. I'm not sure Sergei has access to background checks anymore, but Elisabeth might…except she's had to step out. I was thinking maybe Teo, Liz, and Leo could come up with a protocol for scoping out potentials, and likewise come up with a safer way for interested parties to contact us."

"Bringing people in was also one of the things our technopathic allies suggested," Cat remarks. She's back to silence, most of her questions and thoughts being on things yet to be raised.

"If we've got a telepath on hand, well, couldn't that serve?" Leo says, turning his chair around, resettling himself, and leaning back in it.

Delilah is left to peer over at Gillian, sad that she doesn't have something worth augmenting- worth using. It's depressing, being surrounded by usefulness. "Sometimes I hate this ability. I can't do jack-doodly with it. Well, not when it calls for it." And now she's wondering what would happen if Gillian augmented her. Golly, what a mess. They could poison water supplies with that much.

"You shouldn't smoke." Delilah says it without even looking back at Teo to have seen that he drew them out. She then quiets down when Helena goes onto recruitment.

Grateful for the explanation of Miracle Day from Helena, Mona transfers her gaze to Gillian. Not much an augmented telepath could probably do to help the masses, sadly, but. "I could definitely help with the face-to-face background checking," she does note in agreement with Leo, brows arched.

"I got little suggestions for recruiting, I kinda got tricked into making my way to you guys," Gillian says, remembering an encounter long ago, with a certain person in the room and a man who should be dead. Twice. "And I doubt that sort of recruiting will work for many people." But at least she seems willing to work together with someone who she has every reason to be a rival of.

Helena grins faintly at Gillian's statement, but looks between Leo and Teo to see if they've got anything to say about putting their heads together on this, so to speak.

Teo would appear to be disinclined to broach the subject for the time being. Glancing up from the shunned cigarettes— now clutched determinedly in the fingers of one hand— he blinks back at Helena for a brief moment, acknowledgment, before glancing at the thin slice of profile he can make out of Leonard, first, then Elisabeth. It seems like Helena's proposition will provide food for thought before anybody starts— spitting something out.

"I wasn't so much recruited as given an ultimatum." Dee lets out a small snigger, referring back to that first time that she listened in on conversations and got caught. "Maybe someone this time could hang around the Suresh Center? Gauge people that come there, gauge if they might take that extra step?"

Leonard purses his lips. "I don't know how to create a portal that will let those who legitimately wish to join our cause while filtering out those who mean us harm. Other than face to face meetings with a telepath,and that seems like a bit much to demand of a telepath."

"I'm going to be holding seminars there, starting tomorrow," Cat states quietly. "I've been to the center and checked it out. My report is here." With that, she opens the file on the Suresh Center, its contents displayed on the large monitor screen.

"It wouldn't be too much to demand of me," Mona assures, giving her writing arm a stretch with a faint 'crack' from her elbow and grimacing as she does. "Screening every single person that walked by? That might be, yeah. But interviews, sure, and I could probably hang around the Suresh Center on my spare time. I could be there anyway for big events; ferret out people with not-so-nice intentions." The last part is added almost as an afterthought.

In unconscious echo to the telepath's flex, Teo shifts the bones in his own back. There's a click, audible mostly only to himself. "Liz's subsonic persuasion should be able to help with that. Give the sense that Phoenix isn't the enemy. Inquest should be easier after that— reading strains of doubt, other loyalties." The box scuffs up in his hand, tossed up, caught again with a rap of paper and cardboard, absently. He curls the left corner of his mouth and smile doesn't quite reach his eyes, this time.

"So it sounds like there's a big of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', beyond scoping out the Suresh Center for potentials and incorporating a telepathic scan. I think it might be wisest to do that after the background check. Adding Liz's ability if she's willing, as well. I admit I'm not keen on telepathic reading without consent," for obvious reasons.

"But if it's not hurting anyone…and there's our safety to consider it. If anyone has some viewpoints to share, we could pick this up, but I'd like to move on, unless people have strong feelings." Helena looks around. For some reason her eyes fall on Teo, her brows crinkling. For a moment she falters. "The last few items we had were about some of the people in our database - I'm guessing that's a Cat presentation - the Suresh Center, and last was Humanis First."

"Mona's already been helpful in that regard," Cat states, looking around to see if people are reading her report on the Suresh Center. If they seem done, she'll bring up the Humanis First tab and let that speak for itself. She's certain Helena reads the contents frequently and will already know what's in there.

Mona is done with the Suresh Center report, yes, and indicates so by sitting back in her chair after a moment or so of leaning forward in order to squint at some of the finer lines. She sends a glance up at Cat when mentioned. "I've just had the luck to, uh — learn an interesting thing or two." She'll leave it up to the info on the screen to explain what she means.

"I could take a couple classes there and observe from a non-teacher point of view, but it'll depend on if I have time with helping at the Lighthouse and other things," Gillian offers, but doesn't seem to have much more on that topic, so she glances at the tab that Cat had put up, eyebrows raising a bit at some of the new information presented there. She hasn't had a chance to check it regularly.

What started out as muffled laughter eventually winds its way down the stairs with a bit more noticeable noise. Two pairs of footsteps come down the narrow basement steps into the room Phoenix is utilizing for its meeting, even if a bit late to the party. "…so I told her 'no you can't be a rock star while you live under my roof' and you can probably tell just how well that went over." The laughter spilling down the stairwell is decidedly feminine, and surprisingly coming from the small form of Jennifer Chesterfield, as she walks down the steps with a cigarette in one hand — even more surprising given that she doesn't smoke.

"You should see what my boy Vincent gets into sometimes. I swear, all he ever does is find out exactly what would piss me off the most, and run headlong at it." The rougher, heavier voice following Jennifer's belongs to an equally unlikely face to be seen on Staten Island, given that it belongs to the man who should be the President of the United States of America — Allen Rickham. "Some people just don't appreciate how difficult it is raising a family." Arriving at the bottom of the steps behind Jennifer, Rickham moves to just behind and beside her, reaching out for the cigarette she holds, pinching it between two fingers as he takes a drag off of it, dark green eyes sweeping around the meeting room. "Oh…"

"I told you we'd be late if we stayed for that extra glass of wine," Jenn notes with a side-long stare given to Rickham. The tall, lanky man takes a step out past her, biting down on his lower lip as he makes eye contact with Cat, then Helena. A few more steps are taken out past Jennifer, and Allen draws a deep breath of that cigarette, exhaling smoke thorugh his nostrils as he grows quiet, watching the meeting taking place as Jennifer comes in behind him, close on his heels.

Helena generally does keep herself abreast, but for whatever reason, she's been a bit out of it as far as Humanis First beyond what they have on Danko. So when she turns to see the projection, that is the first time she sees Bill Dean. Reported by Mona. Father of Helena Dean; unknown extent of involvement with Humanis First. She stares at it and swallows hard, and for a moment looks like she's going to be ill before she turns around and says in a voice that is remarkable for its lack of quaver, "Humanis First. How do we want to deal with them?"

Oh hey, couple of drunk old people. Teo's eyes thin this time, glancing over at Catherine's mother and the former President-elect as they come in practically interpolated, but that doesn't quite construe as a smile either.

"You said self-defense was still on the agenda," he says, aloud. At Helena, this time, no doubt; coincidentally, the first time he's really spoken up since the meeting began, though whether that's really a coincidence, given the sight of her, remains open to question. "They've been giving the Ferry some trouble recently, but the Ferry's handling. What the fuck do they want with Phoenix?"

Dee is stuck looking past Helena at the projection, brown eyes large and almost bunny-sized. She turns herself to look as two new voices come into her hearing, peering closely first at Cat's mother- they've at least met for a short time- and then- one of the few people she'll probably never get over seeing in such close quarters. They've met too, in passing more than much else.

Gulp. Okay, let's see. "What do you think they want?" Duh, guys. Duh. "Humanis is to Phoenix what the F.o.H. is to the X-Men. They obviously don't want to be girlfriends."

"They're terrorists, but none of us are vigilantes. And last I heard, Phoenix wasn't advertising itself as a significant target.

"Something's changed." From the future that the ghost survived, he means, but that wouldn't be something Teodoro Laudani was in the mood to elaborate on at this particular juncture. His brow's in a knit of disconcertment, the irritability of a dislocated time-traveler whose experiences have become, abruptly, irreelvant. Technically, this is what he is.

She remembers the conversation spoken of by the two arriving, Cat recalls it very well. It was part of Father laying down the pre-law, demanding she study it instead of music or be cut off. Then she remembers what Mother recently said about his practice of doing things just to piss her off, to encourage her rebellion. Father. The emotions rise and threaten to spill over, but she focuses herself and holds them back from showing. "Mother, Allen," she greets, "welcome." There might be introductions, but the two have met most present; Mona can be introduced soon enough.

There's business at hand, which she addresses. Teo's question first. "I don't know they're interested in us personally," the panmnesiac begins, "but they are interested in killing people with abilities in general. I saw Danko myself at the Suresh Center opening, in the lobby after the tour. Shorter than average guy, late forties or early fifties, bald. We're still working to get a photo of the man. I saw him, which means he saw me. I've given Miss Dove an anonymous warning about him too."

"What've they done against the Ferry? If you've data to add about Humanis First, please add it." There's keyboard and mouse available for that. "As to what to do, well, we gather info, learn who they are, watch our backs, and warn whoever we think will be targets, I'd say."
You paged Jenn with 'I think Mother's been shown most of Cat's files, if she were willing to read.'

Like stray wisps collecting into a fog, Mona hears the traces of Jenn and Rickham's thoughts before hearing their owners enter; two new additions filtering themselves into an already crowded, chatty pool that is slightly surreal. Accordingly, her eyes are already on the entryway to track them as they enter, before meditatively moving back up to the screen. "I'd offer to keep an eye on them," she remarks. "More than I've been doing, that is, but I think our Mister Danko was getting suspicious. I'd have to have some kind of— disguise, or something. I can keep my ears open elsewhere, though."

"It's a fucking shame we don't have too many normal guys on the team anymore," Gillian says with a sighing sound, even glancing toward Teo, as if wondering if he'd even read normal or not. "Don't know if they're connected enough to have their hands on tests to recruit people, but it'd be good to have someone infiltrate, get info, that sorta thing. The telepath might be good enough, though." There's few other ideas she has at this point involving those people. They're dangerous, as many groups in the past have been known to be, and maybe they're not going to come after them… but at least one person in the room might have personal stake in the situation.

"Jesus fuck, is no one's dad a normal Joe or are all dad's going to show up as Darth fucking Vader in the second act?" Cause seriously. First Peter's dad, now Helena's dad… And her parents were working with Arthur too, even if her real parents are dead. Maybe. A glance is cast toward the latecomers, an extended look at the one she knew better.

Delilah raises her hand helpfully, her intentions purely coincidental and nonchalant about subject matter. "Mine's dead, if that helps. He got cremated when my house burnt down." Nothing more, thank you, good night.

"You're seriously asking why Humanis First has anything against you?" Rickham's matter-of-fact tone of voice springs to life as he plucks the cigarette from his mouth and waves it around in the light like a laser pointer towards the screen. "They target schoolchildren who have Evolved powers; beat them to death in alleys behind diners in this city." His green eyes track to Helena, then over to Cat, then towards the somewhat unfamiliar face of Mona Rao, scrutinizing her for the barest of moments before looking back at the screen. "We're evolved, that's all that matters. They're genetic-purists, psychopaths and murderers. You're a vocal pro-evolved organization, it's like asking why Greenpeace targets whalers," he brings the cigarette back up to his mouth but doesn't quite settle his lips on it yet, "it's their nature."

Watching Rickham over the frames of her glasses, Jennifer winds her way around the room to come and stand behind Cat's chair, laying a hand on her shoulder and leaning in to whisper to her quietly, as to not interject information so boldly as Allen is compelled to given his very slightly inebrieted state. "Allen got in contact with a friend of yours, Benjamin?" Her brows rise slowly, "He says he's found out something about that drug that's being shipped around town. He wanted Allen to relay to you that he's going to come by to talk some time late next week…"

Helena's jaw tightens slightly when Gillian makes the Vader joke. It's easier when she doesn't have to think about the words on the screen. "Rickham has more or less said what I wanted to on the matter." Helena confesses. "I don't think that ignoring them because they haven't messed with us is a policy sound to our consciences. At least, it's not to mine. So I want to put forth to everyone the question of how much or how little do we want to move against them, and to what effect? I realize this is probably not a question you all can answer immediately, so if you need to think about it, there's time." At Mona's description, Helena considers and notes, "I -think- I remember that guy. Cat, maybe you and Mona should talk to Wireless. Do you remember that trick you did with Matt for images of people's faces? That might come in useful if it's doable again."

There's a motion of long fingers, either dismissal or some other variation of negative feeling. Teo shakes his head. "There are a hundred fucking factions out there who want to see Phoenix burn— and not in a good way.

"Cops, DHS. You're not vigilantes." You're. That's either misspeak or the truth Teo's kept his teeth on until now. "Countermeasures, I understand, but until they make themselves our problem, I wouldn't go looking for trouble. Most Phoenix should do is what Cat has said." There's something bizarrely like adamance in his voice, at odds with even the closest facsimile to 'normal' than there ever was. Quite possibly, because it has absolutely nothing to do with who Teo used to be.

This would be Ghost talking. What Ghost remembers, what Ghost understands of the strings of fate and the way they resonate even when cut as brutally short as the events of the past few months have. Arthur may be gone, but he was only the hand wielding the hammer— and the hammer's still falling.

"That's my vote. 'Scuse me, mi dispiace." Finally, he's pulling himself up, boots dragging an audible rasp over concrete. He pulls a cigarette out with his teeth, turns for the staircase, head hangdog low over the snik-snik of his lighter.

Her head tilts toward the whisper, Cat listens, and nods once before whispering back. "Fort Knox. It'll be good to hear what he's learned. I think I've seen a dose of it, but can't be sure the shiny blue chemical I saw is Refrain." She glances up to hear others speak, and shows a neutral expression at Teo departing without expounding on HF acts against the Ferry. There's time for that still, and other sources to ask.

"I agree the best course is to gather info on them and pass it where it needs to go. I think, notably, in this case we can trust law enforcement. Members of Humanis First won't be in danger of getting thrown into dark holes without trials as we would."

Sorry, Hel, she's just calling it as she sees it. Gillian sees the look on her face, shrugs, and gets reminded why she shouldn't shrug right now. Maybe she should look into that healer soon. One would think after a few days it'd be healed enough she could at least shrug without grimacing… She definitely doesn't disagree with the guy who should be President, but what all they can do personally…

"We can also keep speaking out against them in those media things you wanted to do. The whole miracle campaign is to show that we're not bad guys, though I imagine they'll probably make up stories based on it. I know that there was a counter demonstration after the second Library incident, there can be other. Not all action needs to be with a hammer or a gun."

Symbolically speaking. Especially since direct action when they're not being directly acted against could be bad, even if that could… draw attention to them anyway

"So what's this Refrain?"

Delilah watches Teo respond and depart to go outside, eyes skirting between faces, pausing here and there. "I did try and devalue them in that literature I dropped around a few weeks ago- the vigil after seemed rather collective in thinking that they have no place anywhere. I'd say anyone that reads the stuff agrees with 'Tommie Paine'. Discrediting bullies is easy enough. We just need to make sure that everyone sees an enemy in them more than they do us, which doesn't have to be violent. Can be small like what I was doing. Do it enough and they'll lose steam. If they target us directly, I think we'll try crossing that bridge when we come to it, right? And yeah, in this case, the police are on our side. If they catch any of them, you know it'll be big news. What we need to do, I thin, is focus back on the media and roots we have been talking over as it is."

Nodding slowly to Cat, Jennifer straightens out, but keeps one reassuring hand on her daughter's shoulder as she looks back up to that screen, the tension of anxiety playing at the corners of her eyes. Across the room, Allen Rickham takes a long, slow drag off of his cigarette, watching Teodoro sidle up to him and then past on his way to the stairs. The older man nods his head silently, but flicks Cat an uncertain who the hell was that look, even though he's met the young Sicilian before.

Nodding his head to Delilah, Rickham pulls his cigarette away from his mouth. "The more anyone fights, the more competant and threatening you make yourselves, the more easy it's going to be for people to be scared out of their minds of what you can do. It's one of the reasons I never told anyone — not my family, not my friends — what I could do. It makes me a goddamned monster and the last thing I need is people being afraid." He's never called himself a monster before, though perhaps the aftermath of finding out about his future self leaves some room for fear of what he might become with it.

"Words work well. Keep up the speech angle. You aren't going to change hearts overnight, over a year, hell maybe not even in a decade. But don't stop, no matter who says or thinks it's a futile effort. Violence isn't now — and won't ever be the right answer to anything." Rickham considers his cigarette as he says that, then looks across the room towards Jenn quietly.

Helena seems somehow surprised at Rickham, as weeks and weeks ago he'd counseled her to give up, go to school, and turn around again in a few years to try to play this out in the political arena. "Cat has an entry on Refrain in the Catabase, so feel free to check it out. It sounds like for now, we try to gather as much information about them as we can." Helena says. "And turn it over to the appropriate parties. At the very least, they're helping us in discouraging people to register, and not carry those damn cards. Getting caught with one's practically a death sentence these days. I want to do some public speaking, but I don't know if the gamble against an attempt versus them trying to make a martyr is worth the risk." There's a pause.

"I've been contacted by at least one group in the city who intends to be more…hands-on about things. Saying they're willing to take action, and the heat for it. I've tentatively agreed to stay out of their way, but I want to see what they wind up doing. Former members of the Vanguard are involved, the ones who turned coat on Volken, which is why I'm especially cautious. We've thrown a lot on the table folks - and there's likely more to talk about, but we don't have all night."

"Not to make light of the topic, but it's been suggested that we could use more, well, casual events to help build the groups bonds and familiarity with each other. So you should in the next day or two, hear some specifics." Helena runs a hand through her hair. "Do we want to continue discussing anything that's been tossed on the table so far, or should we bring things to a close?"

She doesn't seem to have anything to add here, and Gillian's question about the drug can easily be answered without speech. Cat opens the file named Refrain, and all the data she has on it appears onscreen.

The resident telepath, at least, doesn't have anything to add to what's been said, merely resuming her thoughtful stare at the screen once Cat brings up the newest tab. She does drag her fingertips over her eyelids, blinking. The little notepad stays open on her knee, just in case.

"I might have had enough social gatherings, but… whatever," Gillian says, leaving out the fact that she's just not the best at socializing these days. The picnic with Brian and his girlfriend had been about the exitent of what she'd been capable of handling. "As long as I don't have to cook, I might show up." If she can walk around without limping or wincing, at the very least. Even more reason to tie down one of the healers.

Vanguard… The formers and the traitors… She has no comment there, but her eyes do drift toward the Refrain tab as she reads over it instead.

Delilah is torn between reading about drugs(she has a small pull towards those, it's an obligation) and trying to think of anything else right away. Instead of asking 'should we bring a covered dish', Dee somehow finds a grip on something more sensible. "If anyone wants to come with me to scope out some spaces in the trailer park, I'd be happy to have someone along. Not that I can't do it myself, but it'd probably be good to have someone else see firsthand what I was thinking about when I brought it up."

Staring down at his cigarette, Rickham remains quiet. He mostly came here to make sure that Jennifer got from the mainland safely enough, though the amount of time the pair are spending together lately seems to be growing. Rolling the cigarette by the filter around in his hand, he looks up to Cat, then over to the screen before turning his back on much of the meeting, starting to walk back towards the stairs. There's no reason for him to say farewells, this isn't his organization and this isn't his meeting. At the very most he's just a tresspasser in things bigger than him, and things he has too strong an opinion on.

As Allen starts to head up the stairs, Jennifer's eyes drift up to his retreating form, then down to the floor in quiet contemplation. There's enough on her mind right now without worrying about ex-presidents. Her eyes drift up to Delilah, then around the room, brows furrowing as she seems to notice something only now. But that revelation is saved for herself, and the peering mind of Mona Rao, who hears the internal dialogue of, 'they're all just kids…'

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