2008-04-19: Estrogen Brainstorm

Starring:

Jane_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Quinn_icon.gif

Summary: Kory, working Peter's List, seeks out one ally and potentially finds two.

Date It Happened: April 19, 2008

Estrogen Brainstorm


Imago Cabaret

The Imago is open for casual brunchers and lunchers on Sunday, it would seem, before it truly takes up the Cabaret atmosphere later on. Kory has her laptop open on a table in front of her, and is sipping at a mug of something. She has a menu laid on the table to her side, in the international sign for 'ready to order'. She glances at the laptop to check the time, then at the door, expression pensive.

She'd been out on the street, enjoying the warm weather. April is good, especially when temperatures get up into the 70s. Jane has her hair back in a ponytail, her clothing a modest tank top with athletic shoes and shorts. Backpack over one shouldder, guitar case over the other, she makes her way into the cabaret in answer to a text message from a surprising source. The five feet eight inch woman's demeanor is calm curiosity as she stands near the entrance and searches out the message sender.

Kory glances at the door again, and her face lights in a calm smile as she lifts an arm to get Jane's attention. She waves twice to draw the eye, but does not call out to make herself heard after the mid-afternoon hubbub.

Quinn works here, actually. Well, a little later in the day. But early arrivers do get a chance to hear her and the house band at practice, a more intimate experience, if a little less flashy. She is seated at the piano at the stage, talking to some dancers, occasionally tapping out a hint of a melody.

She spots Kory and makes her way to the table, but Jane's focus is split. Her eyes move toward the stage where people are playing and remain there as she listens. A critical ear is used, she makes a mental assessment of skill levels and musical styles. Rock is her preferred genre, and should that be theirs her impression will be more favorable.

There's also ponderance of taking out her guitar and joining in. Kory will probably have to recapture her attention with a positive act.

Kory rises and says, "Jane. Hello." politely once the woman has moved close enough for her to call without making a lot of noise. "Thanks so much for coming. Hungry? Lunch is on me." She notices the distraction, though, and is willing to be patient and wait the other woman out. If that means sitting through two talented women jamming, so be it. "Ah, my tribulations," she says to herself, amused.

Quinn is idly playing the piano, her skills such that even what is basically audible doodling is musical, and eventually, it segues into a familiar melody.. to some at least. Taking their cues, the rest of the band joins in on what is becoming an intro.

Her attention is captured by Kory, partly, and she sets her gear down. "Morning, Kory," Jane greets. A chair is settled into and she idly remarks "They're fairly decent." Eyes drift back to the stage. If Quinn should look her way, the woman now with Kory looks like she might have been in that Number Two Pencil video. If, that is, she's seen it. She could also possibly be recognized as someone who occasionally picks a spot on the streets and plays guitar because she feels like it.

"Oh, yeah, Quinn's good. A bunch of people from school pulled me in here to hear her. She's got hell of range, too," Kory confirms. "If you wanna say hi and jam a bit, I don't mind waiting." She's seen Jane perform on corners. From a safe distance. "Up to you. I just need a few minutes when you're ready."

Quinn leans back, as she starts in her own rather smooth, rich alto voice. But its clearly just a practice, as she doesn't use a mike or try to project it out to the audience, "Lost.. I get so lost sometimes. Days pass, and this emptiness fills my heart." then, giving her crew a teasing look, she can't leave it there. With little effort, the voice transforms, getting a whole new quality, tone and timber in the next line. If you closed your eyes, you'd swear she'd started a duet with the original singer of this piece, Peter Gabriel, as that distinctive, slightly hoarse tenor, faint Brit intonation and all, takes the next line, soaring into, "When I want to run away, I drive off in my car. But whichever way I go.. I come back to the place you are."

There's a nod, but she again seems lost for a short time as her ears perceive the sounds coming from the stage before turning to give Kory her full attention. "Quinn," Jane repeats. In her head is now an old Manfred Mann tune. Except the woman at the piano doesn't at all seem like an eskimo and she's already here.

"What's up?" Given her experience with Kory and her unpleasant habit of withholding critical info about people she knows and her stubbornness, the musician/lawyer is sure this has to be about something of import.

"Have a seat," she tells the other woman. "Peter's asked me to talk to you. And, well, a number of other people. He seems to think we need to work together." There's no malice in the tone or phrasing, that would imply she doesn't want to work with Jane. But she also knows how silly this all might sound. Lowering her voice and glancing quickly around to make sure no one's really paying her attention, she continues to explain. "He thinks we kind of need to close ranks, join forces, because somebody's got a plan and we stand a better chance of stopping it if we stand together. Are you familiar with the name Pinehearst?"

One of the band uses his hand to tap out a certain African flavored rhythm on his snare with his fingers, Quinn following along with the piano, swaying as she gets lost in the music. Too lost, it seems.. perhaps. Most aren't paying attention directly at first, though the performance eventually draws eyes, and then gasps and murmurs as, with no dramatic light lowering, or diversion, they can watch an inky color start to inch from the roots, slowly engulfing the fiery tones of her hair…

She's all business now, on hearing what Kory has to say. The curiousity has shifted to something a touch stern. Jane eyes the woman, her demeanor calm, though touched with a bit of frost. "Maybe you'll remember, Kory," she begins, "me telling you about a man who tried to kill me because he knew about my ability and wanting to contact Peter, which you refused to help with, saying I should go to the police. You wouldn't listen to why that was impractical."

"I did finally catch up with him, and he told me the man's employer is a Pinehearst front. He found out about things from them, he and some of his buddies decided to do freelance elimination of what they call freaks."

She lets silence settle in for some moments, hoping the point about not withholding data is made by her statement, and moves on.

"Peter told me Pinehearst was as bad as the Company. So what do we need to make have a crashing failure?"

"I remember," Kory says, regarding Jane evenly, after the moment of silence has passed. "I was acting under Peter's behest—" and she stops, giving Jane a 'just a second' gesture as something catches her peripheral vision. That's not a trick of the light, is it? She watches for only a second, but turns back to Jane because she knows she hasn't gotten back into the woman's good graces. So she meets Jane's eyes, unwaveringly, and tells the woman what she wants to know.

"I know you thought I was holding out on you. But the thing of it is, all I was able to tell you was really all I was able to tell you. Peter really was in the future at the time. I didn't find out until a couple weeks later that Elena was missing because the Company had kidnapped her to try and flush Peter out. And Peter couldn't come out after he got back, because he had developed a condition that would ''kill people'' if he didn't get it under control." Yes, there's a subtle 'now do you get it' emphasis on the consequences of Peter's condition.

"As for what we do? I have no idea, yet. He asked me to meet people and get together and talk it out. So that's what I'm doing. Once we have people on board, we'll meet someplace a little more secure." Although the music is doing a nice job of keeping this conversation more-or-less confined to the table, especially since Quinn's so good that most eyes are on her.

Quinn is particularly now. Fortunately, maybe, most know her show, or at least what its about, and are just thinking 'Wow, special effects!'. Though it gets harder as her build changes, slightly, hairstyle. It takes a nudge from her band while she's singing, in that voice, "In your eyes.. the light the heat, in your eyes.." and she looks down at, well, more masculine hands and there's a barely stifled, "Oh sh…."

Unfortunately, the illusory display goes unnoticed by Doctor Forrest. The business at hand has her attention now fully held by Kory. "He told me he stayed away to protect me," Jane remarks in a calm voice. She isn't, and hasn't been, speaking so loudly as to be heard beyond the table in any case. "But that's pointless and always will be, Kory. The same people who took Elena also came at me, would've taken me in if I'd not been already laying low from Danny Ferrera trying to kill me and cautious. Met them in a public place. They came at me just because I know Peter. All he achieved was leaving me in the dark and in danger as a result."

"But that's all behind us now," she continues. "What's important is the moving forward. There's a mission to be carried out, I'm in, and I'll bring whatever I can to the party."

Jane's response is listened to, with seriousness. "I'm sorry; I really didn't know. I was just going by what I had." And this is sincere; Kory is not the sort of person who says platitudes just to get the heat off her. "The Peter who asked this of me is from the future. He's a different person. Almost literally. Scarred. Visibly and mentally. And he's been doing a good bit of keeping me in the dark too." She reaches for her cup again. "I'm putting together pieces as fast as I can. But I wanted to start with you because I wanted to give it to you straight now since I didn't before."

The stopping of the music gets her attention again, and she glances back at the singer, concerned. And blinks. Then raises a hand for her waiter.

Quinn runs a hand through her hair. It almost looks as if she is rubbing the red back into her hair, as it shine through brightly in the path her hand makes. She shakes her head, clearing her throat, "Pause for the cause…" she says quickly to the band, pushing away from the piano.

The movement Kory makes draws Jane's attention to the stage again briefly, she seems puzzled, but shakes it off. Eyes settle on Kory again, followed by a slow nod. "That's interesting. Scarred, in and out. I've been there, a bit. Mental scars. Peter was a prisoner once, I'm told I helped break him out. But I don't remember. The Company took the memory of it, made me believe I was a drug addict until Peter clued me in. Sometimes it still feels surreal, like it's just another story I was told."

"It was months until I could deal with stress without having to force myself not to scream." She shows a bit of a mischievous smile. "You won't like what happens when I scream. Unless it's needed tactically."

Kory returns her attention to Jane as the woman speaks. "What he has been able to tell me is that Pinehearst has a formula. That will make everyone like us." Us, yes. Not 'You' in the singular or the plural. Kory's making a quiet admission here. "He's a prisoner again, too, Peter is. The future one says so; he also says not to try rescuing him. Just to concentrate on stopping that formula from getting released to the world."

With a self-effacing smile, she nods and adds, "I promise I will try not to make you scream, unless it's needed tactically."

Quinn moves toward the bar, already back in her usual state… walking by the table as she does so.

That would be why, if Kory thinks about it, Jane likes Black Canary when she visits the Secret Lair. She listens, and a scowl forms. "Prisoner," the woman mutters. "Everything in its time. This formula. It sounds bad news at face value. Not everyone deserves talents like ours. And the world certainly isn't ready to have the existence of these talents known to the general public. Danny Ferrera is proof of that."

"Jesus H. Christ. Humanity hasn't yet gotten the point of so many science fiction horror stories and debates on ethics around such talents and now someone wants to actually create that kind of nightmare. Or is so clueless as to not see how bad it could go."

It didn't take Kory long to put that together right this second, actually. She was too busy trying to duck Jane's wrath to give it much thought before this.

"Exactly his point, yeah, that people are not gonna take it well. People are greedy, petty, jealous, and vindictive. Those qualities plus what they could add to it? It'll be a volatile mess!" Kory says, arm flashing out to grasp Quinn's wrist if she can catch it. "'ey. Singer. Join us a sec, willya? Jane. Quinn. Quinn. Jane." Quinn wasn't on The List. But if what Kory saw equals what she now suspects, another name has just been tacked onto The List. "Have a seat."

Quinn wasn't really expecting that, so didn't evade. Now red brows go up and she shrugs, customer's always right, after all. And its public, can't be too dangerous, right? She says, "Sure.." nodding toward Jane courteously. "What can I do for you?"

"Quinn," the woman with Kory replies, sizing her up briefly. "Good sounds up there." An eyebrow raises; Jane isn't sure exactly what the purpose of flagging her down was. It could be she has a talent like theirs, given what they were discussing, but then again it could be something entirely mundane. She reminds herself of things talked about with Lee, avoiding tunnel vision and not automatically presuming everything is about the Evolved.

In this case, tunnel vision would be right. Or so Kory hopes. "Always the good sounds up there, yeah," she echoes sincerely. "So, um…you getting enough rest? Looked like you were slipping a teense up there." Looked like; not 'sounded like'. "Might wanna be careful about that." She meets the new woman's eyes and adds, "I don't tend to show when I slip." Jane's ability is left unremarked upon.

Quinn winces and she glances at Kory carefully. She says, wryly. "Well, with new developments, I'm still getting a handle on things." she dances around a bit, but figures if she's right, Kory will know what she's talking about. "But you know us performers, its all flash and showy."

"A handle on what?" Jane asks quietly. She has an inkling, but with it being unconfirmed she won't say it outright. Silence is held to otherwise.

Quinn gets up, looking a little drained. She says, "I promise, I'll be back. I have a set tonight, where would I go? But I have to take a breather for a moment.. that's kind of tiring." She likely doesn't mean singing.

"Go ahead. We'll be right here. I ordered something to eat, and Jane, you're still welcome." Kory gives Quinn an encouraging nod, and allows her to walk away before she turns back to Jane and clarifies. "Unless I miss my guess, she's one of us. And if I saw what I think I saw — well, then, she's going to be very handy, maybe." The waiter shows with an order of fresh, hot bruschetta, which gets him a radiant smile of thanks from Kory.

"What did you see?" Jane asks curiously as she watches the musician head in another direction.

"…well, for a minute it looked like she was less Annie Lennox, and more …Peter Gabriel. She looked like she caught herself, and slipped it back," Kory explains. "So she's either an illusionist or some type of shapechanger. I'm thinking the latter — she said she was tired."

"That is interesting," Jane remarks. "It seems she channels the image of the person she performs songs from?" But she's quiet from that point, adrift in thought about Candice and her onetime trickery. And whatever might have become of the real Elle Bishop.

Her next words, some fifteen seconds later, are a question. "I wonder what her real face is."
Quinn comes back some time later. She looks a bit more composed, and no more tired than she did the first time. She smiles, "Well, how are you doing?" maybe hoping her little episode was forgotten?

"I'm not sure about that," Kory says, thoughtfully. "I have a feeling she can do it whenever she wants. Her whole act is about taking requests. Which means she's worked up one heck of a rep—" Kory pauses as she spots Quinn approaching. "I'm good, Quinn. The practice set was great. You got a lot of Gabriel in your repetoire?" she asks, once more indicating the vacant chair as an invitation.

Quinn nods as she settles. "Oh, yes. He's a favorite. Actually, the one I love doing is 'Big Time'." she chuckles, 'Its so funny, honestly. The crowd usually digs it." she places her drink, a dirty martini with extra olives, in front of her.

The other musician nods once in Kory's direction, then settles attention on the returned Quinn. "Some of his work with Genesis is decent too. Obscured, though, by the band not really hitting it big until it shrank to a trio and Collins took the lead." Jane flags down a server and asks for a pint of Guinness Stout.

Her guitar case rests against the table's edge, backpack is at her feet.

"True," Kory confirms, pleased that she and Jane have something in common other than information and who wants it and whether they can have it. "And that bit you do with coming off just like the person you're covering. Not something easily duplicated. Tiring, no doubt, to keep that sort of focus for an entire song, little say doing it over and over for a whole performance." She has a bite of bruschetta. Nope, not pushing. But coaxing, maybe.

Quinn hmms, "Not really as hard as it looks. All smoke and mirrors." she grins, "Though it does narrow my choices. Have to have a certain ma..mannerisms. And here, I can't do the same stage show. You should see the scenery I can do when I work myself up right."

"That would be interesting," Jane offers with a forming grin. "I'll have to see it sometime."

"So would I," Kory agrees with Jane. A moment of silence as she considers how to approach what she wants to say next. She opens her mouth, then closes it. Tries again, and stops. On the third try, she says, "This is going to sound like a crazy question, but bear with me, Quinn, okay? Would you ever consider using your …talents…for something besides entertaining?"

Quinn pauses, a long moment. She frowns a moment, as she says, "Well, I guess it depends on what talents, and for what reason." she glances over, murmuring as she looks at Kory, then Jane, and for a flash, bright blue eyes are deep brown, then back again, "Sometimes a little razzle dazzle can provide distraction, but I don't do anything illegal."

There's nothing said for the moment, Jane letting Kory handle this part with someone she knows better, but the words are considered.

"We're on the side of the angels," Kory gives Quinn an earnest look, then tilts her head slightly to include Jane as she speaks softly, thankful for crowdmurmur and the band still occasionally tinkling out a song here and there. "I have no plans to do anything illegal either. That said, we all know the adage about mice and men, ladies. But I'm not the boss. I'm just the administrative assistant, messenger, and Muse. I won't ask or try to force either of you to do anything you find immoral, objectionable or otherwise outside a level you'd consider beyond your limits."

She wipes her hands on her napkin and places her hands on the table, palms up. "But what we are trying to do is — if I understand right, and I think I do — save the world."

Quinn murmurs a low, "You're kidding.. sounds like its out of a novel. What would we be saving the world from?" she peers, but she is curious and not entirely dismissive.

Kory shakes her head. "Quinn, I wish to God I was, but I'm not. There's a formula being created. By a company called Pinehearst. To give everybody the sort of abilities we have." In this case, Jane is potentially included in the 'we', though Kory neither gestures nor looks at the other woman, allowing her to decide what to say and when in her own time. "A friend of mine with …" she takes a deep breath, because this sounds even more unbelievable, "time-travel abilities has come back to warn us."

Quinn takes a breath. She says, "Well, you know, a year ago.. maybe a little less, I would've thought you were right for the white coats and padded room. But.." she smiles wryly, "A bit has happened since then. Given the circumstances, who am I to say what someone can or can't do?" She pauses, whistling low. "Everyone doing.. special things? That's a weird thought that gives me a sort of scared sh.. witless, begging your pardon, feeling in the pit of my stomach. And here I thought the worst thing was more in the whole pitchforks and torches line, or perhaps widing up a lab rat."

"I suppose that's still a possibility," Kory admits, "Given that the formula may or may not give specific powers to people on demand. They may wanna dissect us on tables so they can figure out what makes each of us who can do these things able to do these particular things." She shudders. "It is really a good thing I do not need to sleep much, or this would give me nightmares." She waves to the waiter. "Chocotini, heavy on the Bailey's, stat."

Quinn grabs her drink, gulping, then immediately beginning to choke. It takes a few seconds, and a rather painful swallow before she rasps out, "Forgot about the olives.." after getting her breath, and voice back, "I think I'm agreed that's one very bad idea. What were you planning on doing about it?"

Kory half-rises from her seat, ready to beat on Quinn's back, or Heimlich her, until she manages to speak again. She shrugs. "I've been asked to get people together. Make them aware. So we can network. Talk about whose abilities will serve the greater good in stopping them. Whose will work best for gathering information we can use to stop them. Whose abiliities might give us an edge on whether we're making the future better or worse. I'm an idea girl, not an action girl. My own ability is only good for more secure conferences than the one we're having now."

Quinn looks curious, "What.. well, if you don't mind me asking, what is it?"

"Fair's fair," Kory answers with a nod. "If you were to fall asleep here and now, for some strange reason — and no, your drink wasn't spiked — if you were to just conk out and doze off, we could keep having this conversation."

Quinn pauses, 'Like sleeping telepathy? Or in dreams?" she smiles a bit, Which is, I guess, pretty secure, yeah."

"Mine is a far more tactical ability," Jane chimes in. "Ultrasound. I'm a soprano unlike any you've ever met. But that's just a tool," she adds. "If you've been through college you can likely bring some of the same things I've got to the table. Ability to organize information, prioritize, study and analyze too. This task I think needs a good bit of that."

"Dreams," Kory confirms, now encompassing Jane in the statement. Because as far as she knew, Jane hadn't known either. "And yeah. Pretty secure. Neat, also, that I can give y'all suggestions to bury the dreams in your subconscious. Leave 'em so in conversation nobody will even know we talked about it unless they know the codeword I used to unlock 'em. And I use bizarre codewords." She smiles wryly. "I've been doing this since I was sixteen. I have practice. And a degree in Psych."

Quinn grins wryly, "I never went to college, actually. I started performing before I can remember. I was homeschooled on the road, and I do have a high school degree, according to the tests. But no college. But, if we're doing the truth thing now.. I can, well, change how I look, and how things around me look, and feel. Its pretty realistic, but I don't change."

She lapses back to silence, letting the two converse as she thinks over the subject of Pinehearst. To her, they're known to keep tabs on people, that's how she was spotted by the freelance failed assassin. They want to make a formula and mess with genetic coding. Essentially create GM people with Evolved talents by serum. They'll need scientists and lab space, experimental activities. They have to therefore recruit for that purpose. Who runs the firm? How close are they to the goal?

It's clear they're very lacking in the most important thing. Information. "Security is crucial. They can't know anyone is gearing up to oppose their efforts, or have any idea what we manage to learn about their operations. Who can we contact to get an inside source, Kory?"

"We should perhaps adjourn and reconvene in dreamland."

"We've got one," Kory says quietly. "But yeah, if you're feeling exposed, I can hardly blame you. I can meet with you guys anytime. But it'll be better if you get to sleep naturally. Without medication. I can still punch through that, but it takes longer and makes it harder for me to hold the connection together, especially if more people than two are involved. I only just recently learned I could do it. In October." Kory exchanges a meaningful glance with Jane, given that was more-or-less their first meeting.

Quinn nods, "Weird. Well..mm.. I guess you have an idea what I do. If you give me someone to imitate, I can do their looks. I can make id tags, but not if they have to be scanned. It does work with cameras, but not with lasers reading information. At least, not that I know.. though that might be that I just create a black bar on the bottom, not the code inside it to be read." she chuckles. "And a voice sample. The voice, body language, all that? That's just me, no special abilities involoved."

She's pondering what both of them say, mulling it all over. "So… you could fool a security camera, then," Jane suggests with eyes on Quinn. "Make it so the device only picks up an empty corridor or whatever place is necessary, so people present aren't detected. Barcodes… it's like you have to know what the code is to cause it being displayed correctly?"

Kory listens, eyes wide, expression widening into a hopeful smile. Peter was right. All he said was 'let them meet, get them talking'. And it's happening. She lifts her fingers to her lips and blows a kiss skyward, then returns her attention to the Estrogen Brainstorm building at her table.

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