2007-04-19: Plots And Plans


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Summary: Elena stops by Cass's apartment to give her documented observations on Peter's abilities as well as her idea as to how they can help him develop an internal "dampener" to keep him from overloading his body. Cass is informed of Desiree Russo's psychic abilities, and Gene's genius.

Date It Happened: April 19, 2007

Plots And Plans

Cassandra Aldric's Apartment, East Village, New York

As has been the theme lately, Cass has been spending less and less time at the store. It's not exactly the way she'd like it, but it's just the way things have had to be lately. However, that doesn't mean that the daily business can be left to slack. Currently her kitchen table is covered in book catalogues and pages of what needs to be reordered from what company. Highlighters of multiple colors organize what books come from where and how many of each she wants. Having spent most of the day doing this, she's a little tired of staring at book blurbs. Standing up, she heads to the window, opens it and then goes to the kitchen to start making herself some tea.

Knock knock knock.

Someone politely knocks on her door. Whenever Cass opens it, it's Elena, her backpack slung on her shoulder and a couple of notebooks in had. She looks exhausted, but pretty cheerful. In the past few weeks, with family stuff, school, work, favors, a new houseguest and everything, this was just yet another stop in a full day where she's running around being busy. "Hi, Cass," she says with a smile. "You busy? I figured I'd drop something off now while I'm in the neighborhood," she says lightly, sliding her hands in her pockets.

The knock on her door doesn't surprise Cass, but she is cautious. After all the talk of apartments not being safe, she's trying to be as careful as possible. But, when she looks through the peephole it's not some mob thug, but Elena standing there. Unlocking and opening the door, she keeps it wide so that the girl can come in. "Hey, Elena. Good to see you. Something to drop off?" She's curious and that's obvious. "Want something to drink? Or eat? I think I've got some snacks somewhere. How've you been?"

"Pretty good, and ….if you got diet pepsi or anything, that would be key," Elena says with a laugh. She looks a little flushed around the face, and she's wearing her Dance Corps hoodie so chances are she has just stepped out of practice. "And yeah, just a few notes. Peter mentioned he was going to be seeing you for help with his sponge power, so I thought I'd drop off a few observations in hopes that it would help, help you tailor his program." She exhales a breath, following Cass into the apartment. "Have you read the papers lately?" she asks. "And how are you?" It's a general question - it looked like Cass and Lachlan were back and better than ever, but it's not her place to pry. Cass will tell her if she's comfortable talking about it.

"Mmm. I've got regular Coke?" Cass pulls two cans of that out and turns off the heat underneath her kettle. She's more in the mood for caffeine of a cold variety than through boiling liquid, anyway. "Notes, hm? That's good. The notes I have aren't all that extensive yet. I need to actually get some groundwork done before I can figure out what exactly needs to be done, you know?" She grins. "I hope Peter doesn't mind needles." As for how she and the newspapers she shrugs and smiles. "I'm pretty good." Holding out the Coke for her to take should she want it, she tilts her head a little at the paper comment. "Some of some of them. Why? Something interesting?"

"Jaden's in trouble. Well, his position in EvoSoft is," Elena says with a small frown. "After the benefit, the Board is doing its best to oust him no matter what his father's will says. It could jeopardize everything." Because Jaden's permission had laid the groundwork for their facility in Seville Medical, removing him from his position as CEO may or may not mean no clinic or rooms for them in the facility. "….I can't even -begin- to figure out how I'm going to help him with it, but….I will. I might have an idea but I'm going to need help from other people we both know."

She cracks the coke can open, and looks at the bookstore owner with a small smile. "I don't think Peter's afraid of needles. If he was I'd laugh at him." She grins. "But yeah, we'll start with the big one." Elena drops on a chair and smiles, taking the aluminum can. "He can't turn it off. So far he's absorbed between 14 to 16 abilities." She frowns a bit. "While I'm of a belief that his body is able to handle something like that, otherwise he wouldn't have this sort of power to begin with, I know for a fact that too much shuts down his body. I don't think it's a direct consequence of his abilities…..I think it's more of a defense mechanism if anything. Like Papa, he can fall into a coma, even fever. I don't know what else he has…..but I believe he talked to Jane recently, and she made a list. We can both get it from her, I think."

Cass frowns. "Well, if he's got legal standing, there's not much his board can do about it, can they? He's the CEO of the company. He's the one in charge." That's the way it's supposed to work, right? She runs a small bookstore, not a mega-million dollar company. "What he should do is pull it like Batman in the new Batman movie - buy all the shares of his company and therefore cement his place as CEO." If it works in the movies, right! "No matter what happens, I'm doing to be helping people. If I have to do it out of my living room." She is quite adamant about that.

"That much I'd figured out. That seems to be the problem with abilities. Those ones you can't turn on or off." Hm. Cass thinks that over as she pops the top of her Coke and sinks into a chair. "That was going to be one of the first things I was going to ask him. What he could do so far." If she's going to help him train on all of them, she needs to know what she's working with. "He mentioned something about a coma when he was here about his hand." She frowns, thinking that through. "I think it's definitely a problem of going into overload. A body shuts down what it can't handle. It's like what happens if your body temperature gets too high."

"Not if it's a public company," Elena confesses, flipping open one of her notebooks and skimming what she found out about it. "If it's a public company, the Board makes the approvals for everything, including whether to hire on or replace a CEO. Jaden probably inherited his father's shares, which is why he has the position….but the Board can also pool together their other shares and buy -him- out if they think it's for the good of the company." She rakes a hand through her hair, and she smiles at Cass. "But like I said, I have an idea in the works….it's just that in the end I'm not the one who has to implement it. I'm a poor girl from Queens. I don't exactly have a power backing in Wall Street. We do, however, know someone who's extremely connected to someone who is."

She nods. "Exactly." Elena smiles at Cass. In fact that was exactly how she explained to Peter, the comparison with a really high fever. "He's absorbed my abilities," she confesses to Cass. "So that's one. I still have to teach him how to use it. My….I suspect I'm wired differently from the others. I've observed a propensity for those who newly discovered their powers to just….lash them out instinctively when they think they're in danger. Mine's different. It doesn't do that. Even when I'm under stress or when I'm in danger, it doesn't do that. I actually need to thank Jane for that because she was the one who reminded me about something that happened to me that cemented that and led me to understand more about what I had." She pauses, and she looks at Cass. "But with my abilities, he might be able to use them as a dampener and temporarily shut down his ability to absorb for a time if we can figure out a feasible way how. Remember the pills I mentioned? The ones that suppressed his powers….if they're chemical, if we get samples of them, if we break them down to the core components maybe we can translate them into a body's natural equivalent and he can use the abilities absorbed from me so he can use that himself. I don't want to put him in the pills…but if he can find a way to do the same thing selectively and naturally, then he can prevent himself from overloading if he's in the same room with a dozen other 'special' ones."

"Eric." Cass hazards a guess. Though she didn't really understand his need to confess his very wealthy background, now she can understand where it comes in handy. "But will his family help bail out Jaden? And if they do, what are they going to want in return? If anything. I don't know….maybe this is one of those things that rich people do for fun." She wouldn't know. "Anyway, I'll let you and your capable plan handle that. I'm going to just hide myself in my make-shift lab and help when I can."

Smiling, Cass nods her head. Standing up, she makes for the bedroom, talking as she goes. "Okay, well that's one less that I know. Regenerating, mind reading, exploding…that's more than I knew before." Her voice is a little faded as she rummages through her bedside draw and then comes back with an ashtray, cigarettes and a lighter. Lachlan is certainly having a bad effect on her health. "You don't mind, do you?" She makes for the window and perches herself there so the smoke will be pulled outward and not into the room. Lighting up, she blows a wreath of smoke outside. "Well, if you can get me some of those pills, I'll see what I can do. I'm just going to hope that they're something biological and not synthetic. They've done that a lot will medicine these days. And I wouldn't surprised if the Company would use that, too."

"They knew each other in school and from what I could find out from Google, EvoSoft and Lancaster Electronics have teamed up before for several projects when Edward Cain was still alive," Elena informs Cass. "And I don't know if the plan is capable or anything….but we'll see what Eric says. Gene could probably help out too." Gene? Who's Gene? But if Cass hasn't been introduced to Gene yet, she'll meet him eventually. The world has a funny way of working out like that. But when Cass brings out a lighter, an ashtray, and smokes, she shakes her head and grins. "It's your place, Cass," she teases. "Go for it."

She also nods at the last. "My concern is that too," she tells Cass. "But I think we'll be more after the effects if anything, duplicate the exact….environment in the body for something like that to happen. It's worth a shot to try." She props her chin on one hand, observing Cass by the window, and then the scenery outside the window. "Peter said he might be able to get them for us….in a way that doesn't involve any felonies. I think his girlfriend still works for the Company, so if anything, he can probably get us access to them. As long as he keeps us anonymous anyway." She exhales a breath. "Save for that, I managed to help Papa discover a new trick, Drake managed to discover a new trick with his as well - which is both awesome and scary at the same time, and I have a new theory on Eric's powers. I also have…. a potential candidate living with me for now. Someone who can help us with this New York Imploding thing if we manage to tap into how she works."

"Well then." Cass smiles and holds her smoking cigarette out the window where it's nicotine smell will blow away rather than toward Elena. "I know. But company first." Her tone is just as teasing and slightly higher to demonstrate that. "Well, keep me updated on that. I'd like to know if my lab will actually be there in the morning." Laughing, she takes a drag and taps ash into the tray she's got perched on her leg. "Who is Gene?"

"At least we'll get an idea of what they're doing and how they're managed to dampen it through pills." Cass leans back so that she's against the window frame and pulls her legs up so that she's precariously balanced. No worries…if she falls it will only be onto the fire escape. Plus, the window isn't open all that high. "Didn't know Eric had a power. Lots of new tricks coming about. I guess evolved powers can evolve." Interesting thought. "I wonder if that means Peter's can evolve into something more. Wonder what that would be." She continues to nod about the plan to get the pills. Something she will only be involved in the end product of. "Elle. I've heard about her. Is that something she'll be willing to do for us? Or will she turn us in?" Another pause. "And who is she and how can she help?" Lots of questions.

"Indeed," Elena says with a smile, her lashes lowering over her eyes as she falls in a more contemplative silence. When Cass's questions come, she looks over at the older woman and ponders. "Oh it'll be there no matter what happens. I'll make it happen," she says, her delicate face turning into something that one would call her Stubborn Face. When Cass asks about Gene, she grins. "He's a friend of Eric's, I've run into him a few times since meeting him. He's….a genius. And he's amazing!" she exclaimes enthusiastically. "He looks like this really….mild mannered, kind of geeky guy but he's got so many aces up his sleeve it's ridiculous." She ponders. "…he's a little paranoid though."

She nods in agreement with what Cass says about the pills. "Yeah, he has one. If I'm right about it, we're going to have to worry about NASA kidnapping him, not the Company," she tells her friend with a laugh. "As for Peter, I'm not sure….Evolution is a gradual process, though the more dramatic changes come forward in spikes if you try and chart the course of how humans evolved through millions of years. If Peter's will evolve into something more….I don't know if any of us are going to be around to see it." About Elle, she exhales softly. "I don't know, to be honest. I can trust Peter to know what he's doing as far as the Company goes, however," she says quietly. "He's had more experience with them. Maybe he's not planning to go through Elle at all if he's conscientious about conflicts of interest." She falls quiet for a while, and then looks at Cass again. "Her name is Desiree Russo. She's a friend of my father's, originally. She's saved his life a couple of time already because of what she can do. She's psychic. She sees things before they happen."

Giving a soft laugh, Cass sips at her Coke can. "Only if I don't make it happen first." Once again, her tone is teasing. "He certainly does sound amazing. I'll look forward to meeting him sometime." Because, with this group of people it's impossible that she wouldn't meet him at some point.

"Well. Um, that would be creepy. I can only keep a look out for one conspiracy company. Two might be stretching me a bit thin." She'll allow Elena to fill her in on what his power is, since she doesn't exactly want to pry. "Well, the thing about evolution also is once you start something it's like a rock rolling downhill. Once you start, it's almost impossible to stop it. I don't know if I'd want to see what else he'd be able to do." But it's with a smile. Taking another drag of her cigarette, she blows the smoke out into the afternoon air. "Hm. Well. The longer the Company doesn't know about what we're doing, the better. But I'm not hiding underground if they suddenly do. Maybe I could ask my father about it." That's a bit of a loaded gun in and of itself, anyway. "A psychic, huh? Hm. So, what does she see? Is there a way to….channel it somehow?"

"If you do, I'll have enough time to actually get some homework done," Elena says with a grin at Cass. Not like she hasn't been keeping up - she is. "He does….he can come in handy too when it comes to the things we need." She pauses. "But he doesn't exactly know about what's going on. I don't know if I ought to tell him or just…." She ponders a little more. "…ah, I'll figure it out later."

She laughs and shakes her head a touch, looking at Cass. "Well I'm only joking about that other one. Sort of. But I'll wait on that for a bit - I'm still trying to figure out a way as to how to test it to begin with. But once I manage to get ahold of Eric again - he's away from New York right now - I'll see what I can flesh out and let you know." Raking a hand through her hair, she also nods at what Cass says about Evolution. "Yeah…." An absent expression enters her face, remembering Desiree and her poodle umbrella, and what she says about the 'Others'. "I'd like to keep it under wraps as long as we can, too," she admits. "Ms. Russo sees things that'll happen through objects. It can be as random as her breakfast, or a tree, or even Monopoly money. From what she's told me, it just happens. There was one attempt she made in where she tried to will herself to see it, and it didn't work. There might be a way to channel it, but so far it's undiscovered. If we're able to help her use her powers at will…..it could be extremely beneficial."

Cass laughs. "Well, I'll have to do it then. You need to keep your grades up." Nodding about Gene, she lets the subject slide off Gene and into the Company and more people she doesn't know. "Bring them by. This is what I'm supposed to be doing, right? Helping people control their abilities. I'll push my couch around and we'll make it into some sort of therapy room for Evolved people." She laughs, but she's definitely serious. Finishing off her cigarette, she stubs it out into the ashtray and gives a look at her pack of cigarettes, balanced next to her on the fire escape. Does she want another one? Yes. Should she? Probably not. Well, she'll wait a bit. Distracting herself with her Coke, she listens. "That's certainly interesting. She's like Isaac Mendez, but with cereal. I'd like to meet her at some point." Turning to Elena, she swings her feet down so they're back on the floor again. "If only because she saved Ramon and I'd like to meet the woman who did that." She still has to apologize to him for everything that happened before. "I also really need to talk to your father, anyway."

"And without the….painting." Elena pauses, and laughs. "She makes -really- good cupcakes though. She used to run a catering business back when she was home in Mississippi." Another indication perhaps that the young woman isn't just interested in Desiree as a subject, but also as a person, and a friend of her father's. But at the joke, she laughs at the idea of Cass pushing a couch around for Evolved!Therapy. "I can see you now," she says with a grin and taking it a step further. "Writing notes while Eric lays on a couch with you going: 'So tell me about your chiiiiiilldhooooood' in this really cheesy German accent." Freud was German, right? At least she thinks he was German. She was into hard science, not stuff like Psychology. "Yeah, she saved Ramon and another friend of Peter's," she tells her. "She's been running around saving people since she got here, because of her abilities. And she keeps seeing…the Thing that's supposed to happen to New York. After I heard that, plus after everything she's done for my father, setting her up a place to stay for a while to keep her close and safe is the least we could do. But yeah, I'll arrange for you two to meet at some point. I already asked Ms. Russo if she was willing to let us help her control her abilities, and she's more than willing. It's what she came to do in New York after all. Help people." She pauses, and stands up from her chair. "Anyway….here are my notes," she says, handing Cass the loose sheafs of paper on Peter. "I hope they help. I gotta get going though."

"Also true. But the painting is more fun." Cass frowns, remembering again that she /does/ have a Mendez in her possession. Maybe it's something she should bring out again. Study it now that she has a firmer grasp on what's going on. "Austrian," she giggles. "Though I guess Austrian and German accents would be very similar. And I don't know how his childhood will help me help him control his abilities. Unless his powers are linked to a deep-seeded Freudian desire for his mo—Oh God, I'm going to stop right now." Shivering, she reaches for he cigarettes. That image definitely deserves nicotine. "Well, she should fit right in with the rest of us, shouldn't she? Us merry band of misfits trying to stop disaster." Lighting up her cigarette, she keeps it between her lips when she stands up to take Elena's notes. She's already skimming over them even before she's sure she's got a good grip on them. "Thanks, Elena. I'll look these over." A pause and she looks up at Elena, pulling the cigarette out of her mouth and keeping it between her fingers. "You know, we should all go out sometime and just hang out. Not talk about any of this. I feel like it's all we ever do lately."

She stares at Cass, and then Elena bursts out laughing, resting a hand on her chest as she sinks further into her chair at the image. "Can YOU do an Austrian accent?" she asks with a grin. "Switch your v's and w's from one another? Oh god. I don't think I'd be able to handle it." She is still laughing when she hands Cass the papers, and she smiles at her warmly. "You're welcome. And I feel the same way," she says, sliding her hands in her pockets. "We're more than science geeks." She ponders for a moment. "Well, Girl's Night is still on, at some point. I'm going to be gone for a week for a school trip….there's a conference up in New Hampshire on biochemistry I'm going to for a class. Though we should do something with the guys, and so you can meet a bunch of people I've met too, I have Gene's number, and Desiree lives with me." She ponders, and she grins. "What about karaoke?"

Sinking back down on the window-sill, Cass adjusts her nonexistant glass and crosses her legs languidly. "Mees Gomez. I vould not appreciate eet if you vould not mock me." She takes a long drag of her cigarette and elegantly blows it out to the side. And she actually pulls it off pretty well. And she doesn't burst out laughing like normally would. Then, she lets the act drop, leaning back against the window in a slumped manner. "Oh yes. Girls night. I'm definitely up for that. I feel like I've been spending too much time around Lachlan. Soon I'll start picking up his accents, be broody and ill mannered to unsuspecting victims." But she's grinning when she says that, teasing the Scot even when he's not here to defend himself. She groans when karaoke is brought up. "Oh /god/ not you, too. I've already told Lach. /No/ karaoke. I don't do karaoke."

"….we'll see about that," Elena says. No. She won't be deterred. SHE WON'T BE DENIED. A wicked grin is tossed at Cass, and before the other woman can protest, the young Gomez is already sailing for the door. "I'll see you in a week, Cass! Say hi to Lachlan for me!" And with that, the door closes behind her.

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