2007-07-18: Getting Control


Cass_icon.gif McAlister_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif


Ali comes to talk to Cass about her ability. Lee makes snarky comments.

July 18th, 2007:

Getting Control

Bat Country Labs, Brooklyn

It was a rough night for Cass and the look of it shows up on her face. Even later on in the morning, she looks tired. Or perhaps simply stressed out. Her black framed glasses that has been her staple uniform while in the labs are perched on the end of her nose as she reads a report that obviously isn't getting through to her at the moment. While her eyes are staring at the page, they're stationary. It's just something for her to focus on while her mind wanders elsewhere. The woman has more than a few things weighing down on her at the moment.

Taptaptap - a faint rapping of knuckles comes on the glass of the door, a thing quickly followed by the trying of the handle, and.. an Ali coming soon behind. "… hello?" Oh - my. She's dressed /nice/? A black dress (a leetle wrinkled, but hey) - that bag still slung over her arm, heels (that she's somewhat unsteady in) on her feet.

"Woah. Okay. I expected concrete and stainless." It's offered to .. no one in particular. The room, perhaps, as she lets herself in. ".. 'lab' and 'library' are two different things, yaknow." It's light, teasing. Perhaps a bit tense.

The sound of tapping jars Cass out of whatever reverie she was in before. Closing the folder holding whatever it was she was staring at, she gives a weak smile to Ali. "Hey, come on in." A promise to help out is probably the only thing that would have pulled her away from Lachlan. Otherwise, she'd be watching him like a hawk to make sure he didn't do anything stupid before their meeting later in the evening to do something very stupid. "Yeah, don't ask a bookstore owner to decorate a laboratory. The results are something a little like this." Standing up, she blinks at what Ali's wearing, but doesn't comment on. "If your shoes are uncomfortable, you can take them off. I can't walk five steps in heels without falling on my face, so I know how that goes. The floor's just been swept." Gesturing to one of the overstuffed armchairs she bought just for occasions such as these, she starts with the small talk. "How've you been doing?"

Invitation /accepted/. Those heels come off - carried in one hand with an obvious sense of relief. "Better. I'd like a little sleep.." A shared, rueful grin is offered at that, the DJ moving slowly toward the chair. "Community service and two jobs is more than I counted on. Won't be so bad when my boss for one of them gets back." She runs her free hand through that somewhat unruly hair of hers. "Sorry. Look - right now? I'm /really/ nervous - I should probably tell you 'I'm Sorry' now and just have it cover whatever stupid thing I do, right?"

"I can understand that." Cass could do with a little more sleep, too. Running a lab and a bookstore at the same time is a little exhausting. And that was before her boyfriend started going Rambo in order to try and get his sister back from a possible Company kidnapping. "There never seems to be enough hours in the day." Even if there were more hours, she'd probably just fill them with other things that needed to do. "It's alright to be nervous." She gives the DJ the most reassuring smile she can muster at the moment. "I tried to get someone else here with us, but they're all kind of in their own sort of emergency situation." Lachlan with Megan, Peter with his strange angry brooding manner, and she doesn't want to bother Ramon what with recovering from losing his eye. All her normal muscle-y type help gone in the span of a couple of days. "But, things happen. Whatever stupid thing you do, if you actually do anything stupid, stays between us. You had questions about Activating Evolution?" While still friendly, she slowly moves into a more professional manner of speaking.

McAlister lowers herself to that chair .. and simply says, "No. I get it. What I need is somebody who can show me how to.. kinda get a handle on it." A faint smile, and she focuses on Cass. There's.. a faint air to her, of cutting through the inevetable layers of explanation. "You wanna do me a favor and go and get me your wallet?" And she keeps talking, softly - "I'm starting to learn how not to, you know? But .. it's hard keeping track of what I'm saying all the time, so that it doesn't keep happening." Seriously - "And I'm a DJ. I gotta know if I screw up on air.. if it's gonna hurt people. You said you knew.. maybe.. someone working on Dr. Suresh's stuff.. "

Lee comes moping in carrying a cardboard cup of coffee ostentatiously NOT from a Starbucks, a pile of school paperwork and a copy of Oscar Milosz' "Miguel Manara - six tableaux" for light reading. He is heading for the curtained off section where his father lays unconscious, still.

Leaning back in her slightly smaller armchair, Cass nods. "Sure. I mean, I can try. I'm not a professional or anything, but this place, well, I started it to do things like that." And, as if Ali's request to see her wallet is perfectly rational, the bookstore owner leans over and rummages through her purse. Retrieving her somewhat banged up leather wallet, she hands it over to Ali without even thinking. In fact, she's still talking while she does all this, as if her actions were independent of her thoughts. "I'm, well, actually it's me that's working on some of Dr. Suresh's things. I'm trying to find more practical applications that can help people through his research. He did an amazing job of discovery, now I want to take it to the next level." The arrival of Lee is both a surprise - that he showed up now - and not one - because his father is here. "Hey, Lee."

Ali sighs, taking the wallet… and she opens it. Showing Cass's ID to her. Quietly. Waiting. Looking somewhat resigned. It's enough, where she sits in that armchair - not even the door opening and Lee's wandering in distracts her, at the moment.

Lee nods to Cass. "Hey." he says with the depressed air of someone who has been hanging around a hospital a lot. "I went home and read that book last night. Godawful. I guess it's up to par for a /science/ book." He looks at Ali somewhat curiously, probably her outfit.

Blinking, Cass looks at her ID in Ali's hands and then at Ali herself. "One second, Lee. You can trash a major breakthrough in theoretical science once my brain has caught up with my eyes." She doesn't have to go through her purse to make sure that is, indeed her wallet. Now that she thinks about it, she remembers getting it and handing it over to the blonde woman without even thinking. "You…haven't met someone by the name of Peter, have you?" A few things would make a /lot/ of sense if she had.

Ali shakes her head, once. "no. I don't think, anyway." She bites her lip.. and holds the wallet back out to Cass. "… I can't turn it off." It's simple, quiet - "If I'm careful.. I don't say things that make it happen. You know? And sometimes it just doesn't even when I do.. " Confusing, but she's earnest, and worried. "I've sort of figured out it kicks in when I want somthing, or I focus on it - but I'm not exactly /zen/." She glance at Lee, then down - vaguely embarrassed. "Trouble is - there's a couple of people who know. And what they /want/ is to help.. I think. There's just a lot of strings. Well, my boss said you might know somebody - so.. " She lets it hang.

Lee looks back and forth between them. "Christ." he says, cryptically, but somewhat negatively, and withdraws for a moment to put his papers down next to the bed of his father. He leans over him, perhaps says a few quiet words to him, the other girls are too far away to hear.

"Hm." Well. So there are /three/ people out there that have an ability of similar (if not the same) make. That's…actually kind of worrying. Because Peter had to have absorbed his ability to do it from someone else. Taking her wallet back, she quickly stuffs it back into her purse. While she frowns at Lee's curse - negatively or positively - she doesn't say anything directly to him. "Don't mind Lee, he's having some of his own coping problems." Snatching a blank pad of paper from the table in front of her, she starts scribbling a few ideas down for later. "We can try a few things to work on your control, make sure you only use it when you're consciously aware you're using it." Then, she looks over her glasses at Ali. "Wait, your boss? Said /I/ might know someone? Who is your boss?"

"Jack Derex?" Ali is uncertain - "I work for him down at the Den - it's a bar, over in Brooklyn?" A faint smile. "I.. think I accidently made him give me the job. We sorted that out, though." And this would, then, be the girl holding down Jack's Bar on her own. Thus the tired circles under her eyes, likely. She focuses on Lee, though - "Hey. Ali, by the way. Sorry - I know I'm not the polite-est at the moment."

Lee says, "I am normally a lot more polite than when I'm here too, but when things are this bad, it is a bit freeing, I'll admit. Lee Jones." He offers his hand. "Wait, is that our Jack?" he says sidelong to Cass. "I wouldn't think they'd give a liquor license to a hobo killer, wouldn't that lead to a downward spiral?"

A little less on her guard, Cass just nods her head. "Ah. Right. Jack." Someone she knows well. That's a little less disturbing than some random person telling Ali to come see her to help people with abilities. "I know him." Unfortunately, the past couple of times they talked were in extenuating circumstances, so the mention of a new hire didn't come up. "Oh, wow, me neither, apparently. Sorry. I should have introduced people. But, now that's done with." Pause and a slight headtilt toward Lee, "You've been polite?" she asks with a maddeningly innocent tone. "And, the liquor license came before anything else."

Ali shakes his hand - and just quietly adds - "Well.. he didn't come out and /say/ it. He.. mentioned he new a chick that owned a bookstore, and it sort of added up quick, and .. well, then he got in to a wreck or something." She clears her throat. "I haven't seen him in a couple weeks. Alyssa McAlister. Ali. Good meeting you."

Lee replies, "Good meeting you too. My father's trapped here with a bunch of tubes in his arm, so I'm around a lot. My sister too." He is about to make another nasty comment about Jack, but apparently the news that he's been in a car crash makes him happy enough that he feels he doesn't need to. "That's terrible." he says pleasantly. Clearly the news has perked him up significantly. "Well, I have a bunch of school paperwork I need to get done. I'll see you two around."

<OOC> McAlister abuses him mercilessly. "And when Ali runs into him again? There's going to be a /conversation/ about the /guns/ and the /broken window/. :)"
"Sometimes Jack can be…" What's the word she's looking for? "Completely and utterly without subtlety." The ribbing is gentle, as Jack isn't there to defend himself and Cass trusts and likes the man, but it has to be said, for it is the truth. The wreck, while perhaps cheering for Lee is not so for Cass. "Yeah. He's been watching Trina." Who was not so fortunate. "We're out here if you or your father need anything," she reminds Lee. She watches him retreat for a moment, frowning, before she returns her attentions to Ali. "And…you said you were worried about people wanting to help you with your ability for their own gains?"

"… yeah. There's.." A visible and raging internal debate for a moment - but.. in for a penny… "Somebody I know works for some sort of group - kinda like an FBI agent. I dunno much, but.. I get the feeling that they're not exactly.. you know.." She waves a hand. "… right? And then there's this chick who called me after the block party and the arrest - " Speculative, Ali leans back. "a city councilwoman.. Johannsen. She's.. offering to help, and seems to know a lot." The latter, at least, seems to be less objectionable. "She pulled in some favors to help with the court stuff, but.. I guess I"m just jersey. She's working with Mr. Petrelli and there's the campaign… and I've already messed up that family enough, right?"

"Certainly sounds like you've got a lot of people wanting to help you." The FBI agent sounds suspicious, but someone who works with Nathan can't be all bad. "I'm a big believer in trusting your instincts. I mean, we developed them for a reason." The reason they're there is to warn us away from situations that may be bad. "I know the Petrellis, they're good people. I don't know the city councilwoman, but if she works with Nathan I can't imagine she's bad." Pause. "Then again, she's a politician." Politicians, she naturally distrusts. Even Nathan at first. "Arrested? Messed up their family?" That part suddenly filtered through everything else that is running through her head. And it certainly puzzles her. "Okay, well, I mean, if you don't want to go to those people for help, you don't have to. I'd be glad to answer any questions you had and try to help you with control. What I'm hoping this place will be is like a free clinic, hence being in the basement of a hospital." Meaning, well, it's free. No strings attached.

"… yeah. I threw together this block party thing in Brooklyn a couple months ago. We hooked a bunch of sprinklers to the hydrants and set out some tunes, that kind of thing - " Ali flashes a grin. "It was a lot of fun.. until one of the lines blew." She sobers quickly - and it's clear this isn't a moment she's proud of. "It took out a couple folks - mostly brusies and scrapes. Broke Heidi Petrelli's kid's arm. Mikey, or something? And.. we weren't exactly using.. you know. Our gear. And we didn't have a permit or anything. Or insurance. Or whatever." She runs a hand through her hair.

"And after, I went over to talk to her and she says something about the kid seeing somebody messing with the lines and I asked her to call around and tell people, you know? And.. she did. It was before I knew, but.. " She bites her lip. "So, I kinda told her. And I apologized. And she probably thinks I"m crazy. If I had any cash I'd pay for the kid's arm and stuff, but.. yeah. Just what I need to do, right? Slip up and tell her something that messes with her more. At least that wasn't /horrible/."

"That sounds like fun. The block party, not the line blowing and broken arms and everything after." Cass folds the pad of paper she was working on over itself and puts it back down on the table. There's nothing written on there that looks like it could be taken as confidential information, but all the same it has a different meaning to Cass. "Monty." A name she herself probably wouldn't remember if she and Heidi hadn't gone out to dinner for her birthday for not-so-nefarious plannings.

"What I would say is the fact that you wanted to apologize and felt bad about using your power against someone is a good place to start. Believe me, not everyone has it." Like John Carter. Unconsciously, her head turns slightly so she can look over her shoulder to where Lee is grading papers and sitting by his father. "Some people use their abilities without remorse and without caring who they may hurt along the way." She sighs and shrugs her shoulders. "It's a messy world. But, Heidi's a very tough woman. I saw her just the other day and she was fine. Even mentioned that Monty was doing much better." In fact, completely healed, but that's another story.

"… I. Cass? I can call you Cass, right?" And.. if earlier was the penny, this is the pound. "I never wanted to hurt anybody. And you know something? I can't hold down a relationship to save my life." A faint smile - that's saying something, given everything - "But I keep wondering how much I just.. said that messed people up. I'm terrifed to say stuff I've been saying all my life - if I tell somebody to 'go stick it'.. will they? /Did/ they? I told the guy that dumped me junior year to .. you know. er. Himself." She clears her throat. "I /really/ don't want to hurt people. And my job is.. on the air. Mass communicating, you know? If I don't figure out where this starts and stops.."

"Of course." It's her goal in life to never be called 'Miss Aldric' in any circumstance she can help. Unless it's a person in uniform. Boys and girls in uniform are allowed because it just /fits/. "Knowing you can do something like that…it's a great burden. It's something that you have to work with every day. The closest thing I can come to to a medical diagnosis is Diabetes. You have to watch what you eat and keep checking your blood sugar levels." She's seen how people cope with their abilities through Peter and how much it can mess up not just other people, but themselves. "But, that doesn't even work right. Because what you can do isn't a disease. If you want to, I can try and help you figure out just /what/ exactly it is you can do. And, hopefully, once you know the boundaries of that, learn to control it, know when you're using it, and maybe not turn it off, but make sure it doesn't come through when you don't want it to."

"Fair enough." Ali offers, then - "I don't want to.. not entirely. Maybe it's just me, but.. there was this guy with a purse, and then somebody else trying to shoot Jack, come to find out.. it's got a point."

She grins, wide and friendly. "So what happens next?"

The strains of 80s John Cougar Mellencamp, played very low, begin to come from the little curtained-off area. Lee has set up a tiny CD player, garage-sale quality, next to his dad's bed, and he is leaning over with his elbows on his knees while the player plays, fidgeting with his book, unread for the moment.

"Well, I mean, there /are/ ways to suppress your powers. But as far as I know the only two ways are through a sort of pill cocktail that suppresses them and another kind of virus that infects people with abilities and does something to turn them off." Both she plans on studying. Neither has she had any breakthroughs on. "But, I agree. There's an evolutionary reason you have those powers and suppressing them isn't the way to go. The only way you'll have to worry about the pills is if you run into a super secret organization that likes to take people with abilities randomly and study them." There's a particularly bitter edge to that statement in light of recent events. "And the second, well, I don't where you could come in contact with that, so I wouldn't worry about it for now." The John Mellencamp playing the background is actually a fitting background to this whole episode. A brief glance over at Lee, but he still seems to want to be left alone. A soft smile finally pulls at the corner of her lips when she turns back to Ali. "Well, we find a time for you to come back here and we start working. I'd recommend starting to prepare by meditation. It's a very helpful tool in learning control. Breathing exercises, relaxation, really, it's just good to start to get a hold on."

Ali nods… thoughtful… and then? There's a moment of a deep breath and… a potential nonsequitur, as the woman stands. ".. is.. are. Are Trina and Jack alright? You seem to know - he left me this voicemail that sounded rough, and…" A slight shrug. "THey're friends, you know?"

"As a couple? Yeah." Cass smile disappears again. So many people seem to be hurt or in the hospital or kidnapped or somehow damaged. Sixth months ago she was worried about bottom lines and restocking the store. Now she was worried about survival of her friends in a very real way. "But, Trina's in the hospital because of that car crash. She hasn't woken up yet." There's no way to really tiptoe around that subject. "That's where he's been most of the time." Which is probably why she's pulling extra shifts. "So…thanks for looking after the Den for him. I know he'll appreciate it when he can think about something else again."

"Yeah.." Ali looks.. somewhat stricken. "Cass? … if you see 'em, tell 'em I"m worried, huh? And I'll hold down the Den. And .. if I can help, just.. let me know, right?" But.. for now, she heads for the door. "We'll figure it out. Thanks. For everything."

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