2010-08-07: You Can Take The Support Out Of The Group



Guest-Starring: ANNIE

Date: August 7th, 2010


But you can't take the group out of the support? … unless you only rented the space for an hour.

"You Can Take The Support Out Of The Group"

Manhattan Youth Center

Ah, youth. Some say its our most precious resource. Which is why the Manhattan Youth Center seeks to provide for all of those out there — and sticks the Superpowers Support Group in the back where it belongs. And refers to it only as SSG on the billboard of events — though, in fairness, this is also how the signs pointing the way address the meeting: SSG OVER HERE!!. They look vaguely beaten up, but do their duty.

The room's familiar to those who have been before — as are a few of the bodies occupying it. A woman in a huge bonnet that only somewhat protects her ratted and possessed hair, some homeless looking individual skulking in the corner suspiciously. A table to one side is set out with boxes of what appear to be homemade cupcakes. Though there are a few sprinkles decorating the bottom of these boxes, and the floor nearby, none of the remaining cakes seem to have any on them.

But the thing probably garnering the most attention is a gigantic sign posted to the front door, eclipsing even the table offering nametags. It's lettering spells out very specifically: NO NO NO NO USING POWERS AGAINST OTHERS IN THIS ROOM. Another waits inside: THIS IS A OFFENSIVE POWERS FREE ZONE.

Underneath this particular banner sits Annie, her legs daintily crossed, as she addresses a gigantic pink binder weighed down in puff paints and unicorn pictures.

Cam has returned from the week before as well, grabbing a name tag and writing his first name on it, then going to take a seat. Like last time, he's quiet on coming in, but unlike last time he doesn't seem to have the look of suspiciousness.

It's a last minute decision that sends Lizzie on the path to the meeting, a sign with a picture of a cupcake is just too intriguing to her empty belly. Upon sauntering into the room, her first course of action is to claim one of the cupcakes. The smile on her face falters and fades as she sees the sprinkles everywhere but where she wants them.

The young blonde takes a quick glance around the room, possibly to determine how many people are watching, then one by one, she unloads the cupcakes from the box. Picking one of them up, she picks up the box and shakes its contents into a little pile. Then she turns the little cake upside down and mashes it into the pile of sprinkles. By the time the meeting is about to start, Lizzie is sitting in a chair and quite pleased with her sprinkle covered cupcake.

Bert isn't sure about being here. She doesn't have a power, she's only been around people with powers. It's unbelievably awesome that powers exist, it's only been that she's had a bad experience with a lot of it. In so many words, curiousity about the flyers drove her here. Keeping her dark sunglasses on, she looks around the room. Seeing no familiar faces, she removes her glasses and slinks into a seat closest to the door. Just in case a strategic exit is desired.

Charla- or rather, Emma, swore she wouldn't be here again after the disaster that happened last time, but… here she is anyway, sitting in the equivalent spot to before (and back to her previous hair color). Maybe it's the idea of talking with others with abilities that interests her. In any case, she doesn't look quite as excited to be here as she was before, but at least there are cupcakes, of which she takes one. She's now wearing clothes that are a bit more versatile/stretchy than before, in case she's asked to demonstrate her ability. Gotta be prepared for things like this.

Why couldn't Carl have heard about this group a week earlier? He could've gotten in on the ground floor. At least it's still a pretty new thing, according to some polite questions addressed to the receptionist in the front of the building.

The usual laptop has been traded in for a simple notepad and pencil, which are already seeing some use. There's Cam, one of the boys who was involved in a PR incident with Alpha Protocol early on… good thing Carl was working behind the scenes then, or the jig would be up already. And there's Bert— didn't he see her at a tech conference once, a year or two back? Curvy redheads are usually rare enough at those events to stand out when they do appear.

"Nice job thinking outside the box," he offers to Lizzie, watching her improvise with the baked goods. He skipped them himself, just sticking with a cup of coffee.

She'd seen the flyers and debated coming to this or not — she's had enough bad things happen to her, enough bad people come after her because of her power that she's suspicious. Still, Claire Bennet finds herself wanting to talk to other people like her. Maybe even people her own age — most of the people she's met with powers were "grownups" (she still doesn't consider herself one!).

To help keep herself safe in the future, she's actually done a dark rinse on her hair, plus tucked it into a baseball cap. With dark sunglasses and beneath those, dark contacts, at a glance, she's a dark-eyed brunette rather than a green-eyed blonde. It won't keep anyone from recognizing her if they already know her, but if they try to give her description to anyone after the meeting, hopefully it's enough. She's not taking chances — except that this is a big, fat risk as it is.

Nametags? She scrawls "Casey" on the sticker and pushes it on to the green t-shirt she wears. She pushes her sunglasses on top of her head, noticing Cam — she recognizes him but she just smiles vaguely. They didn't really talk — he probably doesn't remember her. Claire sits down, setting her purse on her lap and looking a little nervously at the others.

When there seems to be substantial movement around the room, Annie glances up from her curly scribbles on the binder to grin with a kind of inhuman enthusiasm at all the faces. "Oh my! Look at all the fresh faces!" Sliding the binder to the side of her chair, the young brunette pushes off from her seat to approach Lizzie, Bert, and Claire in turn, "Hi hi hi, everybody. So glad you could make it, I'm Annie. Please do enjoy the cupcakes— oh, isn't that precious, I thought all the sprinkles were gone." In a blur, she's bustled back to her spot and, it's there, that she spots Cam. A special smile tugs at her lips for that familiar face, and it's to him that she gravitates with a quietness usually foreign to her. "Hey there, Cam. It's good to see you again."

By this time, Birds' Nest has flittered over as well and she settles herself with a rustle of overly thick dress fabrics into the chair next to Bert. The red-head is eyed through overly large glasses, long blinking lashes extended by the lens' effect. Bony fingers rise and she swirls them around the air near Bert's face, personal space be damned. "The spirits~ They sense something— festering around you, young lady."

Cam smiles back to Claire, but it's in an unfamiliar way, just responding. He obviously doesn't recognize her, at least not with her current disguise in place. And then he looks back to Annie and smiles in return to her too, answering, "Hi. Glad you didn't give up."

Lizzie's in the middle of sending and receiving a barrage of text messages with one hand and holding the cupcake just within reach of her tongue with the other. Carl's address to her elicits a 'huh?' and a blank stare. Slowly, realization of what he said and his meaning dawn on her and a weak smile is delivered in response, along with a quiet, "Oh… no, they were inside the box."

She forgot to get a nametag and with everyone else appropriately labeled, she mutters a little excuse and vacates her seat for only as long as it takes to scribble 'Hallis' on a nametag and stick it proudly to her shirt. "Sorry, about that… Hi, I'm Hallis Van Cortlandt, it's very nice to meet you." Her wide smile is oh so fake along with the sugary sweet voice to go along with it. Giving Claire an extra wide smile, she waves and introduces herself to the regenrator as though they were perfect strangers. "Hi, I'm Hallis Van Cortlandt and I play a were-goldfish on television. How are you?"
Bert notices people going for the nametags and erps a little to herself. Is this like one of those AA meetings? She was hoping to y'know, blend into the background. She gets up from her seat and slinks over to the nametags. A hesitant smile is flashed at Annie. Swiping a blank one, she scribbles her initials, R.S. on it, then resumes her seat. No sooner than she's sticking the tag to her Muppets shirt, she shrieks in startled terror as Birds' Nest gets in her face. Along with the shriek, Bert lands on the floor, smacking her backside hard. Everything else in the room is forgotten at the invasion of personal space.

"I *thought* so," Charla/Emma says, pointing to Lizzie. Charla had done a feature on that TV show once but never got a chance to actually talk to her. She then watches the confrontation between Bert and Birds' Nest. "Hey, hey… We're not here to get our fortunes told. Don't go scaring people like that," she says. She munches on her cupcake as she watches the crowd. One great thing about being a shapeshifter is that she can eat junk food all the time and not gain weight unless she wants to.

A look of world-weary resignation crosses Carl's face, just for a moment, as the metaphor flies over Lizzie's head. "Oh, I see," he mumbles - but then there goes Professor Trelawney stealing the show. Does she have a real ability, or just think she does? Or is she just groping for any attention she can get? The 'prediction' is vague enough, it could go either way.

"Oh," Claire says, surprised that she hadn't noticed Hallis of all people, but then either Hallis doesn't recognize her or does and is on to her disguise. "Nice to meet you, Hallis. Great job. I'm Casey," she says politely, offering her hand for a quick shake and a thankful smile for not "outing" her real name — if Hallis remembers that she knows Claire's. If not, Claire isn't about to remind her. She gives the cupcakes a thoughtful glance but all the french fries she can eat at her work have sort of turned her into a health-food-addict in her off time lately.

Birds' Nest gives a bit of an jolt when Bert goes down, more offended than anything else, though she soothes it quickly to hide any suggestion of surprise. "I would have stopped your falling, darling child," she mulls sadly, "But that was a lesson you had to learn." Then, straightening her bonnet, she lets her attention wander elsewhere. Or nowhere at all, depending on how you judge that glazed look in her eyes.

Annie's eyes scoot that way, narrowed, and she gives a bit of a twitch, herself while eyeballing the disruptive folk, but she lets herself put that softened smile back on Cam soon. "It's all thanks to you, you know," she shares quiet, private. Then, excusing herself with a grin, she nestles her butt back into her chair and gives the binder a definitive slap. "Okay, everyone. Hi! Please take a seat. I'd just like to start by reiterating that no powers are to be used on fellow support group members — and I MEAN IT." Glare, glare, glare. After she seems sure everyone's gotten the picture, the grinning is instantly back. "Well, great! I think we'll actually start today by finding an issue we can all work out together. So! Who thinks they have something to share with the group? Hm?" She waits a second, but then a warning finger darts up, "Please raise your hand — no blurting!"

Cam smiles again to Annie, and then when she steps away he blinks at Hallis' introduction, "Wait, you're the one… you know my brother. He went by the name Rebel." He quiets again then as Annie starts the meeting. He, at least, doesn't want to be disruptive.

The moment Annie makes the invitation, Lizzie's hand shoots up and at the same time she does blurt out (regardless of the instruction otherwise). "Hi! My name is Hallis Van Cortlandt," a pointed look goes toward the man with the notepad, "Got that? HallisVan.. That's V-A-N.. Cortlandt." She pauses only long enough to assume Carl is writing it down, then a big grin is directed at Cam. "Yes! Rebel! I know him!! —Anyway, like I was saying, my name is Hallis Van Cortlandt and my life was stolen by a shapeshifter. Where's my support?"

She lowers her hand and raises her chin, giving Annie an expectant look. She waits a few seconds before making a writing gesture with her hand, "I'll take a check if that's all you have. But she stole over a million dollars and my grandmother."

Bert scrambles to get up off the floor… and chooses a seat away from Miss Knows No Personal Boundaries. Who by the way, is shot a wary and nervous glance once a safe distance away. Yeah, okay, so far this isn't creepy at all. Bert starts to wonder if she shouldn't have called up Gene to come to this, not that she would have gotten him in public without a fight. "Oi," she utters to herself when Lizzie keeps talking. WHY oh WHY did she decide to come here again?? She has work to do! Her hand stays down and her mouth stays shut for now.

Emma's head snaps toward "Hallis". Did she really just say that? "Wow… what do you know," she says with a bit of a smile. "I'm a shapeshifter myself. But not the one that stole your life," she hastens to add. Talking about this does make her a bit uncomfortable. But then again, that's what she's here for isn't it? To let things out in the open. Maybe she'll even tell her whole story… though she doubts she'll go so far as to use any names or places. Like Claire, she doesn't want to take any chances that anyone will discover that she, in fact, had "stolen" someone else's life- though it was someone who wasn't alive to complain.

Casey, also known as Claire, settles back in her chair, arms crossing, legs crossing, the very picture of self-defensiveness, even though it was her idea to come here. She studies each person, curious as to what their powers are — but part of her knows that it's still to no avail — that even those with special abilities can't really understand what it's like to be her. She sighs a little, brows rising at Emma's talk of being an actual shapeshifter, unlike the fictional one that Hallis plays on television. Her fake-brown eyes meet Annie's and she gives a slight shake of her head before dropping her gaze again. Nothing to see here, move along.

"A— " Annie's aborted protest is cut off by Hallis van Cortlandt's insistence on talking, but only for so long. "Excuse me," she busts in, speaking over several of Lizzie's lines, "But I specifically requested no blurting, miss V-A-N Cortlandt." Never mind that Annie is performing the exact scribbling of notes in her binder as the starlet was hoping Carl was doing. "That is a terrible story," her face soften slightly but then she balls her fists around her pen and forces through with more disapproving gumption, "But if you're not going to follow the rules, we're going to have to move on. And I don't have any idea what you mean about a check…? This isn't the— the unemployment office!" Her eyes dart towards the homeless man JUST as he tries opening his mouth, "OR AA, ALBERT."

Ahem, ahem. Some throat clearing, and the tightening of her legs in that ladylike crossed position, and then Annie puts her hands calmingly in her lap. "So. Even though Hallis is a rule-breaker… she appears to be tho only one offering. Miss…" she cranes her head towards Emma's tag before familiarity lights her eyes, "Emma sounds like she has some good points. But I'd like to hear everyone else contribute." Pointedly. OR ELSE. In fact: "We'll go around the circle. Cam? And let's please stay positive~"

Cam blinks as he's called on to speak first, but he nods a little. "Um.. well, I don't know anything about shapeshifters, but I'd think to get your life back, you need to prove she's an imposter. Talk to friends, tell them stuff that only you'd know and your imposter wouldn't, maybe? Like, if you told me how you met Rebel, I'd know it was you. Only you, and him, and I would know that answer, probably. There has to be stuff like that for everybody you know." He shrugs a bit as he sits back again.

Folding her arms over her chest, Lizzie's face contorts into something of a little pout as she's so soundly and quickly shut down by the group's leader. She crumples the paper from the cupcake into her fist and wrinkles her nose as Cam's suggestion, keeping her mouth shut. Her eyes drift down to the floor where she stares at her feet stretched out in front of her.

Almost inaudible is the muttering under her breath, then again, there could be someone with super hearing in the group. "Stupid… interruptors… I thought she said no blurting then picked on me and was all 'oooo yay!' to someone without their hand up." The muttering comes to a close when she snorts out a huff of air and pulls her cellphone from her pocket again.
Oi vey, going around in a circle!? Bert looks at each person present in turn, then glances to the door. Wait, what?! Bert's attention is now fully on the proceedings. "Rebel!?" Then she claps a hand over her mouth, not meaning to blurt out that she knows of him, or to speak out of turn. "Sorry, I didn't mean to say that out loud." Her eyes remain wide and round, even as she keeps her hands over her mouth.

"That's what I'd do," Emma says in agreement with Cam. "Of course it depends on how long this shapeshifter's been around. If it's long enough and they've managed to work their way into your relationships… they could just say they know things that you don't and then you're back to square one," she notes. She never had to deal with this but having to do the planning to become Charla has given her some idea of how these things work. "And I guess I'm out of the loop here since I don't know Rebel at all." Unless he's some actor or something.

The name Rebel, the talk of shapeshifting, insistence on rule following — it's all making Claire a little nervous, and more and more sure that this is not a place that's going to help her. She gives a shake of her head, tugging her Yankees ball cap lower over her forehead. "I, um. I think I gotta go. I got the wrong room, I think… maybe Organ Donors Nnonymous is down the hall…" she mutters, the first fake support group name that pops into her head coming out of her mouth. Later, she'll realize that that name was a bit amusing, coming from her. Not that she's donated many organs to anyone. Blood is not an organ. Brains, however are. She's pretty sure Sylar doesn't count as a donor recipient though.

Up onto her feet she stands and begins to slip for the door. "Sorry," she whispers.

"I'm not sure giving advice on how to get back at somebody is positive…" Though Annie doesn't sound so sure either way, her curiosity making her somewhat antsy in her seat as she listens, otherwise, to the opinions. When Claire rises, the young coordinator groans with a sharp rolling of her eyes, "Does no one read the signs?!" She begins to fiercely jot down another notation in her binder: probably something to the effect of 'make poster about how we're not /ODN/ either'. "Ummm," it's hard to wrap her head around where she was at before the interruption, but she does so with a few helping gestures of her hand, "Right. Rebel. Wait, what? What's a Rebel? Is that the shapeshifter? Maybe we shouldn't be naming any names. Do you have any advice, ummm…" squint, squint. "R.S.?"

Cam shakes his head to Annie, "I didn't mean getting back at her, I mean getting her life back. That's positive, isn't it?" Then he adds, "And Rebel's my brother, well, foster brother, and it's not his real name anyway." He quickly quiets again then, though.

Lizzie's thumb is flying over the keypad of her phone. The only sound out of her is the little clicks of her thumb over the buttons as she displays exactly how fast she can text mother— Well things that are much too polite for proper society. When Cam speaks again, her blue eyes flit up and she glances at him out of the corner of her eye.

Raising her chin proudly, she shoots one hand up in the air and waves it a little as she sits and waits to be called on. There's a defiant set to her jaw and her dainty features are clenched into a rather determined expression. She stares at Annie owlishly, each second that passes adding a little quickness to the shake of her hand.

"I.. uh… Rebel's no one. Seriously. I have video games and comics on the mind." Taking a cue from Claire, Bert gets up too. "Yeah, I forgot I need to donate a kidney too." Ah, criminy, can't she just leave?! "Uhm, advice? Errr, stay in school, work hard, pay your bills and avoid smooth talking men. Pick a total dumbass instead, or a geek." Then Cam explains who Rebel is, and Bert throws a look at the kid. Oh jeez. So much for leaving at the moment.

Emma waves at those who seem to be leaving. She doesn't really have much to contribute at the moment, honestly. She wonders if this "support group" can really help her at all. She thinks for a while at the mention of love. The subject that's pretty much hung over her head all her life… Maybe that's why she's here. She might find the right man, or woman, here! It's a curious thought to be sure.

"Yeah, naming names of people not here is probably not a good idea," Claire says in her low voice, glancing at Cam with raised eyebrows. Ix-nay on the ebel-Ray, okay-ay? She frowns once more over her shoulder. This was a bad idea. "Right. I need to go find out about my kidney," she mutters before slipping out of the door and closing it softly behind her. Great. Now she looks like a freak even amongst other freaks. Just what she needed.

Well, now things are getting interesting for Carl. He didn't remember anything about Cam having a brother, but a foster brother— well, he has a pretty good guess who that might be. It helps that he was planning in advance to keep a straight face during this meeting. And that a bunch of other people are so thoroughly not doing so.

Filing that clue away for later, he turns his immediate attention to Lizzie's story of identity theft: exactly the sort of misuse of abilities that had him concerned in the first place, back when he first hired on with the government about a year ago. Thinking it over quickly, he puts his hand up and waits for the hubbub from Claire's departure to settle down. Which might take a while, with this bunch…

"That's not really what I meant…" There's a glare for Bert as well, but Annie swiftly presses her lips together, her fingers also curling around the edge of her chair as she navigates her gaze to the floor — the nice, neutral floor. After a second, she sucks in a deep, preparatory breath. "Look. I get that half of you are crazy and the other half are freaking out. Maybe I don't act like I do, but I do. And maybe this was all some dumb mistake butsomething happened — and people have these abilities and someone has to stand up and say it's okay to talk about it! I mean, you all came didn't you?" Her hands flap in the air in abandoned gesture of them before she tucks them underneath her legs self-consiously.

She gives a small shake of her head, tossing brown hair, with slightly watering eyes. "My point is, maybe we could just try to help each other out a little bit, alright? How can our experiences help make other people's easier? Alright. The gentleman who is the only person who hasn't spoken out of turn at this point is raising his hand. So is Miss Van Cortlandt. Hallis, yes?"

Cam nods a little bit to Annie. He does believe in this, that much is obvious, he just has perhaps a little trouble with this taking turns speaking thing. But, now, he's quiet again, not saying anything more just yet, and listening.

Lowering her hand as regally as possible, Lizzie stands up, posture perfect, and clears her throat. "First, the cupcakes are subpar. Dry and without enough sprinkles. Second, you're right. People should be using their experiences to help make people's lives easier. Here I am… SELFLESSLY… telling everyone how this awful woman stole my whole life and you just tell me to sit down and be quiet because I don't fit into your little rule box about speaking." The cell phone is slipped into her pocket when she pauses to take a breath from her little tirade but she's not finished quiet yet.

"A lady who can look like absolutely anyone she wants took my whole life, my family, my apartment, everything. I don't have any I.D. to prove that I'm who I say I am, she's got all of it. So what if a few people know I'm me? That doesn't help me get anything back. She's my exact copy, fingerprints, everything. She'd probably even pass a DNA test, I don't know…" She pauses again and sits down hard in her little folding chair. If the ding caused by her collapse hurt, she doesn't show it. She just does her best to look absolutely pitiful as she looks between all the faces. "I just want my grandmother back, do you know what that's like? The one person that loves me no matter what… and some stranger is having tea with her instead of me."

Bert glances after Claire, and is torn. This is a great exit opportunity, what with the rash of donating kidneys and all, yet, Cam knows Rebel! Which takes a backseat to Lizzie's story. The red head can admire that Lizzie got up and said all that, because Bert sure doesn't have the guts to tell strangers about what she got roped into. Worrying at her lower lip, she glances around the room once more, then slips out. Kidneys to sell, you see.

Emma clasps her hands in front of her mouth as she listens to this. Charla Keble could have said the same thing if she were alive… Will and Jo Keble had no idea that their daughter was killed years ago. She did have good intentions, or so she believed anyway. Nobody would miss Emmitt Galloway, but the Kebles clearly wished for their daughter back. Emmitt could grant that wish, at least in appearance, so why shouldn't he?

Emma wipes her eyes a bit. If there were people with special abilities, maybe there were people who really could speak to the dead… And if that were the case… perhaps she could find out what the real Charla would want. She doesn't respond to the story with words at all.

And that leaves Carl next in turn to speak. Seriously? Annie is dealing with people who (at least in some cases) really are dealing with special abilities, and her response is to whip out Robert's Rules of Order? She is so doomed.

Still, he'll go along with it for the moment. "Well… if you want to get this woman to let go of your life, in a positive way, then you need to give her some reason to go back to her old one. If she's playing around with millions, then it'd have to be something deeply personal— how much do you know about her personal life?"

Skepticism and pity war quite obviously on Annie's young face as she puffs up her chest with a big breath and makes to sit through Lizzie's righteous speech-making. It's only at the initial knock against the cupcakes that her hands tighten around the bottom edge of her skirt, willing herself not to do more than mutter to herself something about well and if you weren't and phone. She remains quiet, though, with a sort of softening around the edges as the story further unfolds. She even stays quiet through Carl's contribution, though her move works silently up and down like that's the last thing she wanted to do.

When it's come around to her, she gives a little sniff. "Again… thank you," a sort of questioning nod towards Carl, "But we're not Ocean's Thirteen. I'd really like to try and focus," she brings her hands in together in front of her — see, focus. "On how we can support Hallis during this difficult time rather than, necessarily, lash out."

"Yeah, I have a comment," the debatably homeless man pipes up, cuddling his paper bag to himself with one hand while the other wavers in the air importantly. "Yeah, umm," he gives a stabbing gesture at Hallis, half speaking to her but also addressing the group on a whole as he speaks without regard for the starlet being right there, "If you look just exactly like yourself, what's your grandmother gonna do if you go visit? Card you? I don't really get what's stoppin' you, is all."

Cam, not saying anything now, looks to each person as they speak. He fidgets just a little absently while listening, but he makes no move to interrupt again, just listening.

Lizzie turns in her chair to face the homeless man as he speaks, her eyelids move slowly as she drags out her blinks. Then, her head tilts and she rolls her eyes up into her head dramatically and stands. Slowly, she turns in a circle to display the clothing she's wearing; loose fitting jeans, a clean white t-shirt, and a zip up, designer hoodie layered over it.

When she's finished the slow turn, she faces the homeless man and points at her clothing. "Uh… Hello?" Point. Point. "I look like I'm homeles? She's got all the nice clothes and money. And seriously, do I take the train to Westchester? Hallis Van Cortlandt doesn't take the train. Hallis Van Cortlandt has a chauffeur take her places. But that… that… woman has the chauffeur too." The homeless man did make sense, his idea was good. Unfortunately, the young woman he's speaking to is a spoiled little princess.

"Well, you missed a good opportunity a while back," Emma says. "If she's anything like me her powers conked out about a month ago… You could have explained things then and not had anything to get in your way… Maybe you should wait for the next time that happens." She thinks a while. "If that does happen again anyway… and honestly, unless you could prove it, it'd still be hard to believe…"

Annie may not be Ocean's Thirteen, but Carl is. Has been for most of his career. His team ended up splintering, but hey— anyone less dedicated (obsessed?) might have just given the hell up and retired.

"A month ago… there was some kind of widespread blackout?" he asks, turning to face Emma. "You have any idea what caused it?" If it's something that can be duplicated, then maybe a whole lot of problems can be solved in one swell foop.

Yeah. It's not really in the Possibly Homeless Man's realm of thinking to get at all what Hallis is talking about, leading to him giving her that same slow — okaaaaaay — blink that she gave him. Only he's fairly certain she's a crazy person, and he clutches his paper bag to himself tighter just incase she gets any designs on making good with her wardrobe's apparent new calling. "Uhh… I don't know what a showfurry is, lady, but, like, unless it's a space-ship, yer basic old jeep would do ya the same thing."

With the conversation seemingly split in two, Annie is having a hard time both maintaining her meeting minutes and also knowing which to quite respond to. With a raised finger and aborted, "ahh…" to Hallis, she then flickers her attention towards Carl and Emma with a dismissing sort of hum through her lips before they part, "Wait, wait." She flips open the binder further, traveling several colorfully stacked pages until a calendar comes into sight with one special date circled three times in pink. "Things didn't stop a month ago— that's when they started."

Cam shakes his head to Annie, raising his hand but speaking up after a moment, "Maybe that's when your powers came out, but I've had mine since I was eleven. There was an eclipse then too…" He frowns, but then shrugs a little and says, "Last month, mine stopped working for a few weeks, right after the eclipse."

The young blonde's lips twitch up at one side in a sort of half smirk and she sits back down in her chair. "Yeah… There've been powers around forever. That's why I hired this woman, I knew she could be me. I didn't know how crazy she'd go with it though." The fact that they'd been somehow turned off, it was a part of the story that she thought the other woman made up. Turning to Emma, Lizzie just shakes her head as her nose wrinkles a little in distaste. "No, she said she got stuck… That she couldn't change back. She says she doesn't have any powers now, I thought she was just lying."

With the new tidbit of information, she leans back in her chair to mull all of it over. "So, if she's stuck looking exactly like me… Then I'm stuck. She's made it pretty plain and clear that she doesn't want to give anything back. She's tried to get back together with my … her … ex-boyfriend. Yeah, she's my ex-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend." There's a tiny little puff of laughter as the wicked irony sinks in and she shrugs one shoulder. "So… if her power was to copy DNA or something. She, well, she's me."

Emma shakes her head. "No, no… I got my powers back," she said. "It sounds like hers work differently from mine but if it's something that a lot of people went through, it should be the same for her and she should be able to change again… When it happened to me I turned back into my original self," she explains. "You should try talking to her again…" That's really the only way to put an end to this, she imagines.

Carl frowns. "Well, that just means she can change back, it doesn't mean she wants to. Still got millions of dollars working against that." Sorry, Annie, the audience continues to be fixated on Solving The Problem - especially since, if all anyone knows is 'it has something to do with that eclipse', then duplicating it is off the table again. Evolved are dangerous, sure, but they're not worth blotting out the sun even if he somehow could.

Carl need not bother apologizing, even drolly in narrative format rather than dialogue — Annie is becoming quickly as absorbed in the topic, her writing hand going crazy even as she begins to lean further and further forward as though her proximity could help her catch everything better. "Oh my goshness, so it's like… uh huh… so there's like, a possibility that it could happen again?! So, it could still happen to — somebody else? Fascinating." But her attention is most especially diverted by something of Emma's and her super intense gaze jerks over there, her head twitching to the side like a bird listening for a return call. "So. Emma. You're suggesting she talk about changing back to her old life. But why aren't you as your 'original self'?" Quote-fingers. But not mockingly. Or, well, the least amount of mocking that quote-fingers can be. She's really more like a reporter trying to demonstrate using the exact phrasing of her subject.

Meanwhile, Birds' Nest has become even more ruffled than her curtain-drape like skirts and she gives a bit of a tug on her collar and then her bonnet. "That's preposterous," she finally mentions, voice pitched high, "An eclipse may be an omen, but I was foretold of its meaning. It's not like the spirits just up and abandon their vessel or anything."

Cam nods to Annie's question about more people getting powers, though he doesn't verbally answer this time. He glances to Emma, curious as well it seems to the answer to Annie's question. He totally ignores Birds' Nest.

Another person ignores Bird's Nest, Lizzie, she's also turned toward Emma with a very interested expression on her face. She even goes so far as to lean forward in her seat in order to see and hear the other woman better. The passive response to the problem the tiny woman is having toward her own doppelganger seems to make sense in this light. She remains silent as long as Annie's speaking, quietly admiring the other woman's skills at grilling people.

"How often do you change into someone else? Do you have to copy another person or could you make someone up out of your head? Like putting pieces of other people together like they do in magazines?" That's a little bit of what Lizzie's interested in too, maybe there's someone else that Sierra might want to turn into.

"My old life sucked, that's why," Emma says sharply in response to Annie's question. "I want to stay as far away from it as possible. Especially from my parents," she adds. "They pretty much hate me." She shakes her head. "Anyway…" She looks toward Lizzie. "I have one form I stay in most of the time, that's pretty much how I see myself now. I'd be in that form now but… well, they're pretty well known so I don't want to risk being spotted." She smiles a bit as if daring people to figure out her secret identity. "If I know enough about a person I can become them pretty much completely, but I can make up however I want to look. That's what I'm doing right now as a matter of fact," she adds, running her hand through her red hair. "Though who knows, I might be remembering some girl from junior high." She grins. "I'm actually in my twenties but I felt like being younger for here."

Carl does pay attention to Bird's Nest, but just long enough to remember her face and make a mental note. Probably deluded. The stories told by the others might be false, one way or another, but they have a natural ring of truth to them that the vague 'spirits' mumbo jumbo doesn't.

On the question of shapeshifting, he remains quiet now, letting the actual (self-proclaimed) shapeshifter present take the lead. Instead, he looks back over toward Annie: "If you don't mind my asking, miss, what sort of ability do you have?"

Annie blinks widely several times in response to the sharpness, but doesn't let it ruffle her for long, only so that she has to give her hair a self-conscious push behind her ears and reorganize her stare to hear the extended answer. "Felt like being younger? Wow," she expresses at the end, "Can you imagine how all those age-cream inventors would just die to hear that? But, look, I didn't mean anything by it. Just, maybe by hearing your story, we can understand how other shapeshifters might also feel, ya know?" It still has that tinge of interrogation, but she's at least trying to soften off her lofty grilling seat.

"Dude. Can you change into me with a good liver and, like, tell my doctor to shove it?" pipes up the Possibly Homeless voice.

The focus of Annie, meanwhile, means that she completely misses eyes in her direction, instead glancing only an instant's length at Carl, which earns him the quick, exasperated, "Umm. She said she was a shapeshifter." Duh. Obviously.

But any further questions her open-mouth might indicate she has are interrupted as there's a knock on the door and a portly woman carrying a clipboard appears at the threshold, eyeing the signs posted, the cupcakes, and the people inside with equal suspicion — and then ultimate lack of caring. "Annie, dear. We love that you help out here, but if your group isn't…" she pauses only slightly to consider that they can all hear her, "Certified with the board then you can't have the room all night. You're over your time limit."

Annie's face quickly falls but she just as swiftly rearranges it, once again tugging at strands of hair that weren't loose but are now. "Right. Of course. To be certified, I'd have to have permanent members. Well… alright, everybody! Thanks so much for showing, I — um — take some cupcakes on your…" Her eyes trail to Hallis and her voice fluctuates slightly, "… way out. Ahem, ahem."

Cam stands then as it seems they have to go, but he says to Annie, "I can't be a permanent member since I don't know how long I'll be in New York, but I'll keep coming as long as I am." He then turns to head out. On passing the portly woman he lets the air around him get very chilly. It only lasts a moment though and he's out the door.

Annie's look is met with Lizzie's, only the blonde has an expression of narrow eyed suspicion. "Maybe," she starts as she heads over to the table where the cupcakes are. She has no qualms about elbowing her way to the front of the cupcake line either, old or homeless, she deserves better cupcakes than they do. She's Hallis Van Cortlandt and that's reason enough, at least in her own opinion.

"Watch it, that one's mine. See that?" Licking her finger, she touches the icing, claiming it from the person whose hand it's in. "All mine," she emits rather haughtily as she liberates the baked treat from the other person's grip. With a triumphant grin, she spins toward the door and is about to take a large bite of it when she spies the tongue lick of missing icing on the other side. Bitterness creeps over her features and the cupcake is offered to the woman with the clipboard before Lizzie makes her way out the door.

Emma stands up. "No thanks," she says to Possibly Homeless Guy. "I don't take requests." She smiles a bit before heading out the door after the others. She's had enough cupcakes for one day. "But I might try something different next week…"

Picking up the notepad and rising to his feet, Carl spares a final glance for Annie as he follows the others out. Did she really misunderstand him, or was she being deliberately evasive? In any case, definitely an evening well spent - compared to the increasingly out-of-date Primatech files or the sure-to-be-jumpy Protocol rosters, it's a gold mine of information. Chalk up one more returning attendee…

Dumped on by chills and twice-claimed cupcakes, the portly woman only hangs out as long as she needs at the doorway to make sure that not only everyone's gone, but Annie's going to clean all this up. The younger woman goes about this in a stiff and dignified manner while she's observed and she prances her way past the woman, shoulder-bag holding that giant pink binder, with her head high when it's over.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License