2009-11-15: A Biker And Clown Walk Into A Shop



Date: November 15th, 2009


Charity and Benjamin come to Enlightenment Books looking for Cass. Benjamin is dressed up as a clown. The punchline to this joke is still up in the air.

"A Biker and a Clown Walk Into a Shop"

Enlightenment Books

It's late in the evening, closer toward closing time. The store has a few customers browsing through the shelves and discussing the proper way to deal tarot cards. However, it seems like it's been a quiet Sunday. The day before, Enlightenment Books was closed for most of the morning until Amy came in. Cass hasn't been in the store all day, as she's been staying with Erin at the hospital. However, the bookstore owner needs a change of clothes and to pick up a few things that she keeps stored in the back room before she heads back to the hospital. Looking tired and worried, the long haired brunette pushes through the bell-less door and gives the woman behind the desk a warm smile.

"Hey Amy. Sorry about yesterday. And today. I'm only here for a couple minutes. Everything been good? No problems yet?"

Bundled against the cold in a worn brown leather jacket, hands encased in leather gloves are shoved deep in her pockets, Charity stands outside the book store for a moment, shortly after the owner walked in. Her dark hair is pulled out of the back of her ballcap, the bill pulled low over her brown eyes. Her hand slips out of the warmth to hold up a piece of paper with an address scrawled on it. "Looks like it."

Glancing around carefully, Charity lets herself in, only opening the door wide enough to slip in. She checks to make sure there isn't anyone else in the store, before reaching back to press her hand on the door, intent on locking it. She frowns and lifts her hand from the door opting not too… When had she gotten so damn paranoid?

Moving further into the store, Charity licks her lips nervously and pulls the cap off her head, letting dark hair fall over her shoulders. "Hello?" She offers to the two figures there. "Ah… I'm looking for the.. I think it's the owner of the store.." Pulling the paper out again she reads the name. "Cassandra Aldric?"

Strangely enough, Cass is right by the front desk, though she may look like a customer at the moment since she's on the opposite side of the counter. It's one of those coincidences that seem to run through her life lately. If Charity had come minutes earlier or later, the bookstore owner would not have still been there. She'd be back at the hospital. Amy, behind the counter, gives an unsure look at Cass, wondering if she should field the customer to someone else as her boss looks tired and already said she didn't want to stay long.

However, Cass shakes her head softly and then turns around to give Charity a polite smile. "That would be me. Hi, how can I help you?" Though she doesn't exactly sound hurried or wanting to get rid of Charity, she has dark circles under her eyes and doesn't look like she's gotten any real length of sleep.

"You look like shit.. like you were drug to hell in back, while having rap music blasted in your ears. God knows that's how I feel." Charity comments lightly, even though her voice holds a bit of a flat note to it. A smile does tug at her lips as she offers, "You don't really know me… My name is Charity Davies… you were mentioned to me as a person to talk to." She glances at the person behind the counter uncertain. "I… ah…. is there a place we could talk?" She asks, looking back at Cass a dark questioning brow lifting.

It must be a day (more like week) for tracking down a friend to the evolved. Seeing as the door opens up again, this time admitting a rather tall man in … a clown costume. Facepaint, red wig, red nose (that has a happy face drawn on it) and in his hand is a case that reads: Bingo the Clown. He enters the bookstore as if it were a very familiar place to him, and it is. Intending to beeline for Cass, he stops short, seeing as Charity beat him to the punch… and is asking for a place to talk.

Charity's light comment is met with a surprised raised eyebrow. That's not exactly what she was expecting to hear from someone she doesn't even know. "Thank you?" Not that Charity is wrong. "I do kind of feel like that." Though it's not because of any of those reasons. It's just near impossible to fall asleep in hospital chairs. When told that someone told her to come to her, the warning bells start to go off in the back of her head - as fuzzy as it may be and she just gives a quick nod. "Sure. Let's h—" As she's already facing the door, it's impossible to not see the entrance of Benjamin, or The Clown as that's all Cass can make out of him. And her mouth just remains open midword. What can she say after that? Her train of thought is completely derailed now. It's just not nice to do that to her on a day like today.

Paranoia is a the word of the day as Charity is concerned, but then when you are a hunted evolve who just help build and crash a UFO into a hotel….. well… you have to be nervous. So the sound of the door, the biker is whipping around, hand moving behind her for the handgun at the small of her back. If Cass might or might not see the flash of metal, before Charity's hand drops away in shock at the colorful individual standing right there. "What the…. Damn… I knew I shoulda locked the door." She grumbles, eyeing the man suspiciously. He didn't look like the bad man government type.. but still…. She gives him an amused once over. "Yo.. Bimbo the clown.. Circus is in town I take it?" Her hand is already itching for the gun at her back.

Since it's hard to tell who he really is under the makeup, which is entirely the point.. this is going to get interesting. Benjamin smiles through the makeup that he tried to make as non-scary as possible. (Clowns can be disturbing, okay?) "Hello Cass," he greets, not making an effort to alter his voice. So hopefully she recognizes that. A laugh is given at Charity, "You could say that, yes." Considering he and the missus had been hiding in a circus for a few months. "I didn't mean to interrupt, but being back in the area, I had to come by and say hi, and make a few balloon animals."

The jumping and whirling by Charity is noticed, but not commented upon by Cass. For the moment, the gun isn't noticed, which is all the better as she would be much less likely to help an armed stranger than an unarmed one. All she knows for now is that the woman is jumpy and that starts to worry the sleep deprived bookstore owner. The voice is something that Cass recognizes and her eyes widen in surprise when she realizes who it is. "Be—" She cuts herself off. If he's dressed up like a clown, there's a reason for that and she won't give away his disguise just yet. Looking between the two of them, she tries to come up with a solution, but all she can think of is getting them both to get out of sight. Everyone is staring. "Let's just all go to the back room. Then, we," she looks to Charity, "can talk. And we," now she's eyeing Benjamin, "can get you some balloons."

Yeah.. clown smiles are like Cheshire cats… Next thing you know they are shoving a pie in your face, so Charity takes a step back from the man. All she can think is how it's easy for kids to be freakin' scared of something like that. An uncertain glance to Cass, Charity's brows lift a bit and then she really looks at the clown, curious now. "Yeah.. lets… It's been a long ass week." She's essentially been living homeless, she probably looks fairly worn. A small smirk is given to Bimbo the clown. "Can you make a little motorcycle out of balloons? Knew a guy once who could do that." She says that while motioning to Cass to lead the way.

"I came prepared with balloons! Does Abigail like balloon animals?" Oh dear God. See, this is what hiding from the government does to a person. Turning respectable accountants turned Company agents into clowns, that's what it does.

Don't worry Charity, Bingo the clown does not have a pie in his case. Just balloons, a Company issued weapon on his person, an airhorn, and well, a few gags. *cough* "I can try. Normally kids want poodles or giraffes," he says as he joins the two women going towards the back.

Already starting toward the back room, Cass shoots Amy a 'just kill me now' look that makes the other woman grin before turning her attention back to the store. The door is marked 'Employees Only' but for the past two years, it has hardly been a restriction that's enforced. It seems like the store has hosted it's own versions of clandestine meetings in a strangely public place. "I'll second that." She holds the door open for the biker and the clown, wondering how she finds herself in these situations and why she's at all surprised about it any more. However, she gives Benjamin a smile at his question. "She's a bit young for balloons. If they pop, I don't want her to swallow any." It's a quick way to get a choking baby. Of all the things that Benjamin could wield with authority in a clown outfit, her money's on the airhorn, though she'd pay money to see him try and shoot anyone dressed like that. Once all three of them are in the room, she shuts the door behind them.

"I'm sorry for coming to your place of business.." Charity starts as soon as the door closes. "But it was the address given to me." The words trail off as she glances at the clown, "I'm guessing he's at least… somewhat trustworthy… Tho…. dude… I can't take you seriously in that outfit." The smirk returns lifting a bit more. "But considering you haven't shot me yet, I'm guessing your not one of those video game reject, government types that have been snatching people up, so that counts for something."

Benjamin grins at Cass, and any embarrassment on his face is lost behind the paint. "Sorry, I lost track of time, I forgot she was still so little." He doesn't say anything fully identifying himself until once secure in the backroom. His trained eyes quickly scan the area, hunting for cameras or any obvious signs of surveillance. He shrugs, grinning, and unable to take offense at Charity as he removes the rubber nose. The wig stays on, because once that thing comes off? His hair is an untamable mess. "I'm sorry for bothering you too, Cass, and hey, I can't take myself seriously in this either. But it's been an effective disguise for a few months now." His grin twitches a bit as he gives Charity his attention, "No cause to shoot you. They're after my wife and I as well."

"It's fine," Cass assures both parties. The door is shut now and there's a desk, a couple chairs and the makings for tea and coffee sitting on the counter against the wall. There's no surveillance back here - all the high tech security cameras Gene set up a year ago is in the main room. "Sit down, if you'd like. I can get you both something to drink." The mention of someone giving Charity her address makes her tilt her head just slightly. "Who told you to come here?" It could be any multiple of people. And as for Benjamin, she just smiles, "No, he's not from the government. Though he does kind of look like he's here from Barnum and Bailey. What are you doing back?" She asks him, curiosity evident on her face. There's concern there as well.

Brows lift high on her head at Ben's revelation, Charity's eyes flicker over to Cass her head tilting a bit considering her. "Boy.. seems like you are the go too person." She offers her hand to Benjamin, "Since it seems we're in the same boat then.. Charity Davies.. Owner of Davies Repair and Customs. Some weird seer stopped by my place told me that the next morning they were coming for me.. I have been on one hell of a roller coaster ride since." Her attention moves to Cass now, "Rebel also known as Micah.." Is all the answer she gets on that question. "and I could definitely use something to drink." She suddenly looks tired.

"In a way, I am. Word out from upper management we were to hide. Meryl and I went a few states west and hid in a circus. She's as wanted as I am, seeing as she killed one of the government goons sent to nab me on our honeymoon." Ben takes the offered hand, shaking it in return. "Benjamin Winters, pleasure to meet you Miss Davies." He winces a bit, "I'm glad some people are getting a head's up. Well Cass, Meryl and I started making our way back, at my insistence. We can't just lay low and do absolutely nothing but protecting our own backsides. Ever since the Company's turnaround, it's more about helping people than just studying and policing the dangerous elements of our kind."

At the observation, Cass just shrugs. It echoes too closely what Angela told her the other day. It does seem like, lately, more and more people are coming to her for help. It partly has to do with her desire to help Peter, and also to help Micah. However, it also has to do with her past. "Charity. You were one of the people Micah told me to get in contact with." And, obviously, hadn't succeeded until now. As both Benjamin and Charity know her name, she doesn't introduce herself and instead goes about making a cup of coffee for Charity as well as one for herself. The caffeine should do her good. "I'm actually glad that you're back, Benjamin. We're going to need a lot of help. There's so much to do."

Settling into a chair, Charity rubs a hand over the side of her face. "Mrs.. actually, widowed a few years now… And truthfully.. call me Charity. I hate formality.. Make me sound old." Her gives him a smirk and sighs. "You also missed out on some of the fun, group of us stopped a train filled with our kind. Kids and babies included. Fucking bastards are heartless." Dispite her use of the word fun, disgust colors her words. "Then we had to free Micah.. Poor kid and a friend of his were kidnapped…. I separated from the group.. decided to look for you." She motions to Cass. "Where we were staying was a bit more crowded then I'd like." She doesn't mention the fact there were so many kids it was uncomfortable for her.

The coffee gets a thankful look from the biker. "Well, then good thing I came here then." She smiles a bit and lifts a hand to rub at tired eyes, "Sleeping outdoors was easier when I was younger."
"That's what I figured," Benjamin says about Cass needing help. He dips a gloved hand into one of the pockets of the costume and pulls out one of his old cards. The number is crossed out and a new one written in. It's handed across to Cass, "That's a disposable cell number. Our old contact information is no good. Meryl and I have to stay out of sight, or pick really good disguises." Which, is stating the obvious. On both counts. "Is Lachlan being watched at all?" he asks. Then he gives Charity an apologetic glance, "I'm sorry.. Charity it is then."

Finding a seat, he settles into one, careful to not trip on the ridiculous shoes he has on. "Dang, I would have liked to have been in on that." Which is a bit weird coming out of his mouth, since he used to be the sort all too happy to hide under his bed. "I kinda figured they didn't care who they took, where they took them from or under what circumstances. My wife's still flipping out about how they came after us… when the subject's brought up." Since Meryl normally has the attention span of a spastic gerbil on speed. He offers a tight smile to Cass and Charity. "We'll have to see about alternate plans. I'm afraid the papers I got from our emergency locker won't cover more than Meryl and myself, but that doesn't mean we can't help in hiding. How many people need a roof over their heads for hiding?"

As Cass had already called Charity by her first name without prompting, she just nods her head and tucks away that piece of information about the biker to be stored for later. "I heard. Helicopters were used against Peter, is what I was told." And as that's who she wants to help out, she's not about to help them. "I heard the news bulletin from Senator Wynn that Micah and Cam got out." The woman breathes a sigh of relief. "I haven't been able to get in contact with him, but at least I know he's safe now." She gives the other woman a wry smile. "I know what you mean." Her own mug of coffee is drunk down to half in a few quick gulps. God, she needed that.

Though her tongue is not a little burned feeling, she nods at Benjamin. "I wasn't about to call your old phone. I think Lachlan's safe. We've been pretty much been keeping a low profile since…last year." That year that Cass doesn't like to think about, let alone talk about. However, her serious and almost pained expression easily breaks into a smile when she adds, "I think the clown disguise is really quite brilliant. No one suspects the clown." How could they? "I'm working on ways to keep people safe and hidden." She gives Charity a studying look. "I've been outfitting the basement of this place into a place where people can hide safely. It opens up onto the street and the store doesn't even really use it right now."

"At this point.. Just me." Charity offers after she takes a careful sip of coffee. "Oh that's good coffee… The others in the group I was with have shelter….. I figure once I know what's going on around here I can contact, Matt and let him know what's up. Might be able to get this whole thing more help." She grimaces slightly, "I was suppose to get a new id from Micah, but his kidnapping threw that out of whack.. and with them looking for me and the others… Either way.. sitting on my ass in another country while people are still getting snatched up was not my idea of a good thing. I'm already over my head in this crap.. figure I might as well see what else I can do to help."

A tired smile is given to Cass at the mention of the basement. "Any place with a place to sleep other then the ground would be great. I'm not picky.. I've lived worse.. But not being able to go back to my place is a killer. They have that place watches, poor Mack must be going out of his mind wondering where his boss is. Freakin' government." That last said with a a lot of venom. "I went from simple mechanic to fugitive… All cause I'm a bit different."

Benjamin frowns and looks sharply at Cass. "Peter? Please tell me it's not the first Peter to pop into mind.." Meryl.. will have a FIT. "My contact has been a bit cut off since Meryl destroyed my Company issued phone." He suspects she did it deliberately too, despite the typical excuse she gave him. She had a fair point in doing it too. Who knows if the government can now track their old numbers and devices. He can't help but laugh at Cass, "It really has been a good place to lay low and hide. Meryl's thoroughly enjoying it, and giving me a heart attack in the meantime." Elephants, high-wire, the time he caught her with the lion tamer.. hey watch this, the lion won't bite me! Augh. ANYWAY.

Benjamin looks to Cass and nods. "It's a little too close to your place to use as a front, but it'll do in a pinch since you're willing." Things are clicking and whirring, and he sighs, grimacing. "Micah. Good kid. Niki asked me to babysit him once." It really wound up the other way around that time. He toys with the red rubber nose, and looks to Charity, "I know how you feel. Heck, we were in Wisconsin, which I think counts as a foreign country, and it was still hard to sit around, doing nothing. I'll scope the circus a bit deeper, see if there's room for more to hide there, even temporarily. I keep wanting to go back to my house, we hadn't even had it a year when this falls down on us." He likes that house, gosh dangit!

Cass nods and nods and then…pauses and looks at Charity. A Matt that was a fugitive. Matt's a common name, but one that is running away with other Evolved people? It's a bit too fortuitous to be believed. "That's not Matt Parkman, is it?" She has to ask, at least. He was someone else that she had to get in contact with from both Angela and Micah. Then, she nods her head. "It's just a basement," she tells Charity apologetically. She would invite the woman back to her own home, but that's where her baby is. And it's not a place she wants to be compromised.

"It is," Cass tells Benjamin with a frown. "He's been taken by the government. They…did something to him. I don't know what happened, but we've got to get him out of there somehow." And once she does, she has to get Matt Parkman to fix him. Don't know how they'll do that, but they can figure it out.

"If it helps…" Charity glances over at Benjamin with a smirk. "I'm a mechanic. I can find the problem in just about anything with a motor… and I mean anything." Cass' comment about the basement gets a chuckle. "Still better then where I have been staying, but I also don't want to impose on anyone.. I mean, you mentioned I baby.. I had two of my own. I know how that is." The smile she gives Cass is a sad one, but then she picks up her mug. "Matt Parkman? So you do know him?" Brow arching slightly. "He was a part of the rescue group.. I'm still impressed he trusted me enough to jump off the back of a moving motorcycle to a moving train." Her smile widens into a rather mischievous one.

"Son of a biscuit," Ben groans, trying to not smack his face with a hand. "I have to tell Meryl, he's her partner." And was his best-man at their wedding. "Great. Okay. Count me in on helping. I'm a better shot these days, both with my power and with a gun." He's not an expert marksman, but he can hit a target with a gun. "I can knock out more than one person at a time too… and I'd offer space in our temporary housing.. it's just.. we're lucky we can both fit in the trailer." And Basil's cage.. and not many people can really deal with Meryl for lengthy periods of time. "Still, I'm sure we can make room for one more if need be. I'll need to talk to Meryl about it." It's not a time to be greedy about space or being unwilling to help, right? A grin is flashed towards Charity, "Nice. Incredibly handy, that is."

"Why do I feel like we're Jews hiding from the Nazis?" Ben asks after a moment of silence. The parallel is a bit disturbing and one he can't help but make.

"It's not imposing." Cass shakes her head, insisting. It's just a basement, after all. "I mean, it's not truly set up for anything yet. But, you're welcome to use it as a shelter." And her baby's not going to be in the basement, so for now she doesn't quite mind it. "I'm sorry," she says quietly about Charity having lost two babies. There's not much she could say about that situation that would feel proper. Instead, she moves the subject, as that's not something she imagines the other woman would like to talk about it for any extended amount of time in mixed company. "No, actually, I've never met him before. I left him a message yesterday, but I heard he was in hiding and I doubt he'd get it."

Benjamin gets a sigh and a nod. "I'm hoping that we won't have to shoot anyone. I don't even know how to get him back. I was told he may actually be capable of coming to us, but I don't know what that means for us." As for the Nazis, she frowns and takes another swig of her cooling coffee. "Problem is, we don't have attics."

"Oh god.. your right." Charity comments at Ben's analogy. "It does feel that way… and that's only just part of what I can do… But it's the most helpful in my line of work." She gives him a lop sided smile, but then it falls some. "Wait.. Peter? Would that be… Peter Petrelli? I have a crotch rocket waiting for him at my shop, he special ordered me to build it to be really light for something… Never showed up for it." She arches a brow, glancing between both of them. World is getting smaller and smaller by the moment.

Benjamin smirks a little, but it's without amusement. "Attics, basements, corncribs. A hiding spot is a hiding spot. Hey, I don't want to have to shoot anyone either, I'd rather incapacitate them in a more peaceful manner. Which.. we may have to do." He, like Cass, doesn't know what to say about losing a child. He's only got one and he's determined to not have anything happen to her.

All thoughts of kids are tossed from Ben's mind as he splutters at the terminology of 'crotch rocket'.

The world can seem awfully small indeed when you know a teleporter. Having arranged for a brief one-night visit to pick up some of his things - and gotten in and out of his apartment without running into any armed goons - Matt, his hair still russet brown thanks to last week's disguise job, pages quickly through the backlog of text messages on his cell phone. Helicopter, yes, saw that one. The other one of importance has brought him here. "Hey, you guys still open?" he calls out, just after knocking on the front door.

It really is a small world. And Cass has stopped being surprised that everyone she meets knows everyone else. Especially when that anyone else is Peter. Everyone in New York City seems to know him. "That would be him." Though she's not quite as offended as Benjamin by the term 'crotch rocket', she does raise her eyebrow at it. She's not as well versed in the subject of motorcycles or the like. "I…okay. I'm sure he'd come to get it when he can." As for going to get Peter, she nods her head. "We need to find out what's happened to him. If he's able to come to us, then that's to our advantage. The last thing I want to do is to try and break into the government's security if what we can do is just find Peter on the street."

Amy, behind the counter, just smiles and nods at Matt as he comes in. "We are, sir. Feel free to look around." Back in the Employee Room, Cass is totally oblivious to the fact that the man she is supposed to find is out front. Maybe he'll find them if his ears are burning enough.

A glance is given to both, a brow lifting "Motorcycle.. speedy little things.. normally made in countries like China or Japan…" She offers noticing the looks. "I custom build bikes and cars.. Anyhow.. I'm not worried about him getting it or not, I at least know why he didn't." She points out, before going quiet to listen, sipping at her coffee.

Benjamin isn't offended.. just caught off guard. There's a difference. Despite the Haitianing, there's still a bit of his old self here and there. "Good call, if it can be avoided, all the better. If I see him, I'll detain him." He won't hurt him and he's well trained in this sort of protocol. Also, Peter IS the boss's son and his wife's partner. There'll be Hell to pay if he does harm a hair on Peter's head. Like Meryl shaving his head and eyebrows or something.

"Oh.. motorcycles, I just.. never heard them referred to that way." Ben coughs a little, showing his old self there.

Meanwhile, closer to the front entrance, Matt and Amy are still talking; the words 'Aldridge' and 'meeting' come up somewhere in there. "Oh, if this is a bad time—"

While he talks, Matt casts his senses briefly outward; Micah mentioned this person as a point of contact, there might be someone else here that he knows. Scratch that, there is someone else here that he knows. Charity, it's Matt, he sends to her, I'm out front.

Cass herself is caught off guard. "Of course. A motorcycle." The idea of Peter riding a 'crotch rocket' is something that has caught Cass at a weak moment. Exhausted and badly needing something to laugh at, she suddenly bursts into a peal of laughter. It's not even really that funny, but the incongruous image and word play is just enough to set her off. Setting the mug down on the counter, she puts her hands on her knees and bends over in laughter. "I'm---I'm sorry. That's just—-Peter." There's no other way to explain it.

Out front, Amy looks uncomfortable. She's not used to fielding people who desperately want to talk to Cass. "Aldrige? There's no Aldrige here, sir. The owner's in a meeting right now. I can let you know she's out here if you'd like, but it sounded important."

Charity is quick to point out over Cass's laughter, "Only those damn small sporty ones, you gotta hunch over to ride." It's not a secret that she doesn't think much of those kinds, a Harley girl herself. "Also called Rice……." She trails off her head tilting a bit, looking distracted for the moment…"Well… I'll be damned, you speak of the devil and he shows up at your front door with tassels on." Charity practically jumps to her feet and moves to the door to the back room, if it's locked as soon as her hand touches the door they won't be. "Matt!" She calls out, opening the door, with a big grin. "Get your ass back here." She motions to him to join her in the back room. "Your timing is mindboggling."

Yeah, an important meeting with a mechanic and a clown. If that's not a setup to a bad joke, then what is?

Ben looks to Cass as if she needs help, but then, he too is joining in on the laughter. It's one of those infectious types of laughter borne of stress and just the oddness of the situation. His laughter trails off as Charity gets up, seeing as she seems to have received a message from Mars. Which doesn't bother him. After working in the Company for awhile, abilities just become commonplace. "Speak of the devil."

"It is, huh? What--" Matt leaves off with the questions, hearing gales of laughter but having obviously missed the punchline; offering Amy a shrug, he just continues on toward the back. And stops in the tracks at the door, giving each person a quick once-over in turn. Charity he already knows. Cass looks normal enough. And then there's—

Slowly, he reaches into his pocket, withdrawing the other half of the disguise - a pair of sunglasses studded with hundreds of tiny little rhinestones - and slips them on. "I'm sorry, Krusty, I didn't know it was your birthday! I would've brought something."

The door to the backroom isn't locked, but that's because Cass trusts Amy and expects her to knock before entering. Plus, the room isn't all that large and so they would be able to tell if the door started to open before it would get to be a problem. Amy looks put out, but doesn't argue when Charity invites Matt back, just going back to the customers.

Talking about speak of the devil, for sure. Still attempting to control herself, the bookstore owner straightens and Charity flings the door open and Matt enters. "H-H-Hi." She takes a deep breath and holds out a hand, a slight giggle escaping. "Cass Aldric. You must be Matt Parkman? You know Charity, I've heard. This is my friend, Benjamin. You've got very excellent timing." By now she's finally stopped laughing, but she needs to take deeper breaths in order to try and get herself to a normal heart rate.

Leaning over to Matt, Charity murmurs. "He looks weirder then he is." She closes the door again once the telepath is in the room, and says much louder, "Good to see you again…. Didn't think I'd be seeing you again. How's Merrick? He was out cold when I left him to you all." There is no hiding the concern for the younger man's health. She drops back into her seat and picks up her mug again downing some of the cooler coffee.

"That's Mr. Krusty to you and if you aren't careful, I have a seltzer bottle and I know how to use it." Ha ha. Oh the jokes. Ben's heard 'em all. Clowns, they get no respect.

If Ben had read the file on Matt Parkman at the Company, he'd already have some pertinent details about the officer. Seeing as he hasn't, he's coming into this cold. "Mind the shoes and don't go stepping on them," he says, just to get that one out of the way. "So, Cass, if I need to drop in to pass you information or just to check in, I can do so like this. I can be prepared with balloon animals and children's book readings or something." Which isn't anything out of the ordinary. Maybe for this bookstore, but not generally speaking.

Matt smiles faintly at Benjamin, slipping the glasses off again once the door's closed, but keeping them handy just on the off chance that anyone else wanders in; if nothing else, he can play the monkey to Ben's organ grinder. "I see that," he says to Cass, shaking hands briefly. "Merrick's fine, he wants to get a sample of the drug they were using— I told him not to try getting himself injected unless we run out of options."

As for Benjamin being less weird than he looks, well, Cass isn't sure she'd go that far. However, his wife is certainly stranger. Letting everyone get reacquainted, she asks only, "Can I get you some coffee or tea?" Everyone has had the offer, Matt should be able to get it, too. "I'd switch up the disguises, to be honest. The clown is great at disguising you, but it's also conspicuous. Though, I'd love to be able to say that we've got a clown to entertain the kids on some weekends. Can you make UFOs and Fairies by any chance? That'd be a big hit." This is, after all, an occult bookstore.

A grin goes to the clown, before she gives Matt a concerned look. "Yeah… that's the last thing he needs to have done." Charity glances at the others, "I imagine there is a better way to get that stuff. What did he want it for?" She asks curiously, eyes going back to Matt. The mention of UFO's makes Charity chuckle… you had to be there really. "Yeah, UFO's would be great.. especially after the one that crashed in DC, kids will probably be all over Aliens and UFOs for awhile."

Benjamin's brows raise as he regards Matt briefly, "They're using a drug now.. I am out of the loop. Go into hiding a few months and all Hell breaks loose. This is excellent news." Note the prolific use of sarcasm here. "I wonder if it's similar to the one we use." It'd have to be, right? Switching tracks, he grins at Cass, "Now Cass.. remember who I'm married to.. of course we're swapping out disguises.. and yes, I can figure out how to make UFOs and Fairies. So, I'll pop in from time to time on a weekend like this." Or grab Meryl to bring with him with another of their disguise ideas. Be afraid.

Matt is not afraid, but then he hsan't met Meryl, so that will probably change somewhere down the line. For now, he nods to Benjamin. "The first few people we pulled out just looked sedated, but the last two— Wait, what do you mean 'the one we use'?" He doesn't try digging through the man's thoughts right away, giving him a chance to come clean. If he doesn't like the answer…

"Woah now," Cass is already anticipating the problem that may arise here. "Everyone chill out here. We're on the same side. Benjamin isn't a part of the government. We're here to get to the bottom of what is happening and I don't want anyone to jump to any conclusions." And knowing what Matt is through Angela, she fixes him with a glare for the moment. "And I don't want anyone's thoughts violated." It's her store, so as far as she's concerned her word is final. Giving a glance over to Charity, she wordlessly asks for some help in backing her word up. "This is about helping people. And I need your help to do it." She stares at Matt in hopes that he'll back down. "And I also need these two's."

The look Charity gives Benjamin is a curious one, her eyes narrow a bit. "You mentioned something about a company?" She glances at Matt, reaching over to try and touch his arm, wrapping fingers there to forestall him, "He and his wife are in the same position we are. I don't think he's one of those government guys. I mean…" She motions to clown. "Look how he's dressed." She muses softly, before a thought occurs to her. "Maybe we can get a sample of that stuff?" She gives Benjamin a hopeful look. "I can't imagine Merrick not having a good reason for needing it."

Benjamin looks to Matt, a rather mild expression in place. As mild as it can appear beneath the layer of greasepaint. "I'm calm Cass. Which is odd, I should be more worked up than I have been." Then again, he's never really been a sort to have a flaring temper. Patient and steady through the worst, that's usually how he is. "I sure did, Charity. I've only worked with them for a couple of years, however." Still. He's attached to the Company. "No, I'm not one of the government guys, they want me as bad as the next person with a power." Maybe more, not that he's going to chastise his wife for killing one. "Cass? Do you still have any samples of the Haitian pills? There weren't any in the locker we have access to, and our facilities have been raided by the Government. My sources on it are tapped right now."

Yeah, Matt figured that Benjamin wasn't with the government, which leaves only one likely possibility… exactly, Charity. But as Cass speaks up, he backs off. "Okay, okay— Micah said to trust you, so if you say to trust Benjamin here, I will." He clearly doesn't like the idea, but he already doesn't like the situation with the government, so that's nothing new.

There's another grimace at the mention of 'Haitian pills'. The man himself was bad enough, now they're referring to his ability in convenient tablet form? "How long ago were these raids? They might have used what they found… Anyway, like I said, the first drug we saw them using was a sedative, the second was to turn off people's abilities for a while. I don't know if either of them messes with memories." Which isn't why the Haitian pills got their name, but he doesn't know that. And Molly's lack of memories could just as easily be explained by long-term sedation.

The very fact that Cass has a clown in her back room should say that she isn't going to take this as a joke. As much as that makes sense. Cass had her own misgivings about the Company and still can, but she sees them as a much lesser threat than the government now. Especially since the Company is now scattered like it is. "I do," She tells Matt with a cross of her arms, clearly putting some faith in her old friend. "And I don't have any of the Haitian pills any more. I'll talk to my father. He may still have some." As for the raids, she doesn't know, she didn't even know about that until just now.

Benjamin takes a wild stab and turns down his frilly collar to show Matt his markings, "I've been tagged too, standard procedure. I got tagged before I worked for them." This fact doesn't bother him the way it did in the beginning. Now it's just that, a fact, a procedure. "Parkman, I'm not here as an Agent of the Company. I'm here because we all have something in common and we need to work together to see this through and to end the nightmare." Well, technically, he is an Agent. It was programmed into him and isn't something that'll easily be dispensed with. "They were raided not too long ago," he says, turning the collar back up. "Recent enough for me to see why Mrs. Petrelli gave us all the order to go underground… and to come back on our own to see what the heck was going on." He looks to Cass and nods. "Maybe he grabbed some when we were taking what we could with us."

Well, that's some additional assurance. Matt pulls down his collar to reveal the same marks at the base of his neck. "Coffee's good," he says, absently remembering the unanswered question from earlier, "still dealing with some jet lag. So we're working on the drug issue for Merrick, hopefully he can make something of it. Or someone else with the Company can, if we can find them. What about me— you said you needed my help?"

Obviously, Charity is the odd man out at this point, she's reduced to listening. Her brows lift a bit as Matt seems to know about this company too. She smirks at Benjamin and comments. "You talk about being out of the loop.. I'm feel like I dropped into a movie after all the important information is out. You all are talking about is greek to me… course… I didn't know how many out there were like me till I that precog, Usutu showed up and next thign I knew I was hopping on a train." Her eyes flick to Cass as Matt asks about his part, curious to know as well.

Cass realizes that this must all seem like a foreign movie without the subtitles to Charity. Glancing around, she decides that they can all wait so that she can be brought up to speed. "By now you know that there are people with abilities. You are one of them." She assumes, as she was a fugitive from the government. "There used to be a company, called, originally enough, The Company, that studied people with those abilities. It was created by people with abilities in order to…I don't know. Direct the future for others like them. They would abduct people, study them, wipe their memories, and then put them back where they found them. Unless they thought they were dangerous. Then, they would keep them locked away." This doesn't sound like something the bookstore owner approves of at all. "Now, the government is stepping up what the Company used to do, except they're ignorant and they're non-discerning. They don't care who they take and they find everyone with an ability dangerous. The Company has all but been dissolved now. They're scattered." At least that's what she's been told by Angela.

Giving a small pause for Charity to absorb that, she continues. "That's where we are now. We know every little about what the government is actually doing with the people they take. Just that they take them. And that a Senator by the name of Ivory Wynn is the one helping spearhead the project. Rebel - Micah - was starting a group to fight them. Now we're all scattered and there are people on the run."

She turns to Matt now. "Yes. I need your help. They took Peter. And I was told that you can help us. Something's been done to him. They think he's dangerous and that you with your ability may be able to find out what happened, and how to fix it. But…we need to find him first."

Benjamin grins to Charity, "We've all been there, done that, to some degree. Some of us are luckier than others about how we find out about our abilities and others like us. Kinda makes me wish for the simple days of the COmpany coming for you, and dragging you off, then letting you go again." He's a little thankful for the Haitian, his own memories are dulled and almost gone of that. It would clash horribly with his re-education. "And I am out of the loop on some of the more pertinent details. It kinda happens when you no longer have access to constant updates and reports." And your wife attempts to run your cellphone on peanut butter.

"I listened in on the interrogation of one of the government men who tried to take me. They're calling themselves Alpha Protocol. To quote the guy, 'Our prime directive is to investigate and neutralize any and all threats to America's soil.' It sounds like a group of soldiers, following orders without a lot of detail, beyond each and everyone of us with a power is a threat."

Matt shakes his head, wandering over toward one wall and staring out through the window. Or, if there isn't one, then just staring at the wall will do. "I kind of figured it was something like that. Good to have it confirmed, I guess. The hell of it is, some of us are dangerous… and some more of us are becoming that way because the government's coming after them. And if they're blind to that…"

He turns back, now. "Micah told me about Ivory, said he was trying to fix things from the inside. I was planning to track him down, see if he's telling the truth— if he is, then he should be able to find out where Peter is. Do we have any leads on him, otherwise?" It's assumed that the Peter in question is the one he met a couple years ago, the one from Micah's text, otherwise someone would have clarified.

"Huh…" Is the only thing Charity says at first, looking thoughtful. It's a lot of information for the biker to take in on one sitting. "You know.. there is this guy I met.. Joel… He mentioned something similar.. now that I think on it. I kinda told him to go away… only not so nice." She gives a bit of a crooked smile. She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, sitting up straighter in her chair. "You sure about that Matt? I mean… if is spear heading this whole cluster fuck…" She spreads her hands and frowns. "I'll go as back up if ya want it.."

"Alpha Protocol." That's a name that Cass tucks away for later. That's something she'll need to look up more about. "Fixing it from the inside?" That's something that causes her to pause. "Last time I talked to him, he said that this guy was kind of leading it." It's something thoughtful to think about. "If you're going to meet with him, I'd be careful about what you tell him. He doesn't seem like someone who's on the up and up." Though, if Micah now thinks he's working to fix it, that leaves the bookstore owner more unsure than before. "If he's been lying to Micah, then, I don't want to put all our chickens in one basket." And then the man who Micah thought was his friend actually turned them all in.

"Don't need to tell me twice, as with people who don't have an ability, there's going to be the sort that need to be locked up." Criminals, they're everywhere. Benjamin vaguely remembers in his early days at the Company, being stabbed in the chest by Sylar. That one, he was dangerous. "Not to sound corny or anything, but Dumbledore said it right in what book was it.. Half-Blood Prince? Tyrants everywhere create their own worst enemies, fearing the people they oppress." Sure he's quoting a book, but there's a fair point and valid observation in it. "Whatever operation is come up with, since I don't know what's being organized and by who, if you need my assistance, just say so."

"Yeah, that's the other side of the coin," Matt replies, tapping the side of his head briefly. "If he's lying, then I'll know— and I should be able to get out again, then we'll know. If I do get caught, then at least you know to play it cautious."

At this point, he takes out a couple of cell phones from his pocket, one after the other. "I'm heading back to a safehouse in a little bit. I'm keeping my phone turned off— this one's a temporary, it's off too but I'll turn it on when I get back. Let me get your numbers?" He has Cass's already, she sent him a message earlier.

Pulling out her own crappy little tracphone, Charity rattles off the numbers without a blink. "Make sure Merrick gets that in case he needs to find me, not sure I'd be much help on his little project. Oh.. and Micah too.. Figure if Usutu thinks we're each other's strengths.. the kid should know how to get a hold of me." She pushes back her seat and stands. "You got a cot or something down in that basement?" She directs that question to Cass.

With a shake of her head, Cass doesn't like this plan. They need Matt to fix Peter and if he's going to put himself in a situation he could not come back from, that's not good enough for her. "I don't like it, Matt." Even if they've just met, she doesn't feel weird using his first name. "I was told that I needed you to help Peter. If you get captured, then we can't fix Peter." As for the plans and the operation, she shrugs and shakes her head at Benjamin. "I don't know, either. There's a lot we don't know that we need to get nailed down. I'll make sure you're in the loop." As for Charity, she smiles, sheepishly. "All I've got down there at the moment is a sleeping bag and a terrain pad. I've got a cot that I'd like to move down there, but I haven't been able to move it down there yet."

Reluctantly, Ben gives Matt the number to his own disposable phone. Hopefully the contact list won't grow out of control. "I should get out of here. As you said, this is a conspicuous get-up.. however I will need to show up another time like this so people think you are hiring a clown for the kids, Cass." He too keeps the phone off much of the time, just in case. "I check my messages frequently, but not too many people have the number anyway." He frowns to Matt, and backs up Cass. "She's right. This needs to be prioritized. Get out the people who are taken, get them to safety, then take care of those crap weasels who are after us."

Matt smiles faintly at Benjamin, in spite of himself. Crap weasels, indeed. "Okay, got it— someone needs to go for Peter first, and I need to hang back till he's out." He writes down the numbers as they're given, double-checking each one in turn: important when your reading ability can poop out on you at times. "Anything else I should know before I get going?"

Wrinkling her nose a bit, Charity chuckles. "Well… I've been sleeping on the ground when need be.. I think I'll survive another night." She moves to grip Matt's arm again briefly. "Good to see ya.. Call me if you need me. I'm gonna go crash." Grinning at Benjamin, Charity offers a "It was a pleasure you meet you, Bobo." An obvious dig at his attire. "Keep me informed." That last directed to everyone. Then she glances to Cass, "Point me in the direction of where I can crash and I'll get out of your hair."

"I'll make sure that I do." Cass gives Matt her own number, though he should have it already since she called him before. "I don't know if we need to get him. He may be able to come to us. And if that's so, then, we can hopefully work this without having to storm the castle. Then, we can go in, take down whoever needs taking down and get everyone out." That all settled, she nods at Charity. "It's right this way. Moving toward the back door, there's another, smaller door that opens up to a steep set of steps. The basement is concrete and a little foreboding, but it's a place to sleep, like Charity said. She'll have to find out a better accommodation if she's going to be doing this more often. Maybe a basement isn't the best place for people to hide out.

Benjamin chuckles at Charity, "Next time I may be in a different disguise. Keep you on your toes with the names." The narcokinetic actually feels like storming the castle. Those bastards have been ruining lives, and they upset his wife, and he doesn't like her to be upset. "Cass, it was good seeing you again. Tell Lachlan and Phyll.. I mean your father.. I said hi." Meryl's nickname for Dr. Aldric is catchy. His rubber nose is popped back into place and he gets up carefully so that he doesn't trip over his own shoes. "Charity, a pleasure meeting you, same with you Parkman."

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