Jeez, what was I thinking, that's not a phone call conversation. I need to do this in person. About a half-hour before his shift ends, Nassir Amari gets a text on his mobile.
I can only imagine what Nassir thinks this is about.
Mike said: I can only imagine what Nassir thinks this is about. ((Well, Jason's hoping that a public coffee shop of his choice in his work neighborhood will be maximally unthreatening-sounding. As opposed to "the abandoned steel foundry out on Route 47" or "the Quill Foundation, at the warehouse door marked 'EXTREME DANGER'" or "in your basement tonight at 2am don't be late".))
He replies with the address of a Deja Brew a block or so from the precinct. I'll leave it up to you whether it's Jason walking in with him already there, or you waiting for him when he gets off.
Jason grabs a slice of cold pizza, says so long to Numina , and hops onto his hoverdisc. He carefully parks it on the street across from the Deja Brew (being circular, and a hoverdisc, it's pretty darned simple), and jogs across the avenue to the coffee shop. He wants to be there before Amari, in case he -- Well, what might he do? Bring along a SWAT team? That doesn't seem likely, but ... A threatened cop is not a safe cop. Rusty taught him that ages ago. The nanobots will keep me from getting shot. I just need to keep them under control. And myself. It's inevitable that Jason's recognized in the shop, but Halcyonites -- except for the ones deeply immersed into media, like the Ponies -- try to maintain a blase air about capes and the like. Oh, the Golem was sitting over there? I didn't notice. So he's not mobbed by anyone when he goes in, even though he does draw glances -- which he ignores when he can, returns with a polite smile when he can't. The barrista says how much she loved his cartoon when she was a little kid. "Me, too," Jason replies with a smiling Stock Answer #12. "What? Oh -- ha, right, you were a kid, too." He still gives her a nice tip, and sips his decaf. He hates decaf, and he's dog tired from the past couple of days (and still a bit sore from that crash landing), but he really doesn't want to be jittery (or more jittery) for this meet-up. He looks around -- it's early for lingerers at the coffee shop, especially with no schools nearby, so the place is mostly empty except for the line at the counter. Comfy chairs? Or a cafe table? Is this going to be informal or formal? Let's make it informal. Just us plain folk. He grabs a worn leather wingback chair that has a good view of the entrance, angles its mate so that it's mostly facing the room. (A nervous cop is not a safe cop, Rusty intones.) He can see the hoverdisc through the front window. No surprises. He'll know I'm already here. I wish Numina was here, too -- I could use some of that forgiveness thing before Officer Amari rips me a new one. Which is a weird thought for him to have, but he doesn't have time to dwell on it now. He takes a sip of decaf, sets it down on the little table then rests his hands, palms down, on his legs in front of him -- visible to any law enforcement officer who walks in the door (A cop who can't see your hands is not a safe cop, Rusty reminds him, unnecessarily) and, not without intent, letting his jeans wick away the sweat oozing from them. I've probably dealt with a thousand policemen in my life, he thinks to himself. Straight ones, crooked ones, commissioners and beat cops, paramilitary and volunteer sheriff. Why am I so nervous this time? Because this time I'm the one that blew it. And this time, it's my own team that's at stake. And so Jason waits.
Nassir Amari looks fairly young, especially considering his job, his home town, and his two small children. He looks older this morning, however, either because he's coming off a long shift, or has a lot on his mind. Why not both? Jason can see him scan the cookie cutter coffee shop - cop eyes, no missing that - and note his presence, all while moving to the counter. He acknowledges the barista with a chin-nod while he's still crossing the room, and lays a bill on the counter with only a murmured 'thanks,' no actual order, before turning to Quill. His lips tighten and, after scanning the shop again, he moves to sit in a chair opposite Jason, rather than the one the young man had arranged for him. - he feels safe in this space. or he's spiting me - He leans forward rather than relaxing into the chair, fingers laced together in a doubled fist, his elbows resting on his knees, his eyes on the low table between them. "Mr. Quill," he murmurs, "you're up early."
((Jason would have gotten up and extended a hand to shake, a greeting to "Sgt. Ansari". We'll assume a tense but polite exchange, unless you think he'd do something different.)) "I'm usually up this early for school." Jeez. And I'm going to be late for 1st period, too. Oh, well. AP Chem isn't that tough. It just pisses off the teacher. "I appreciate your coming to talk with me after --" last night "-- a full shift" that started with almost being attacked by me. Forgive yourself, he hears that slightly speaker-distorted voice say. Even just a little. Make eye contact, pitch your voice down, and be sincere -- if you can fake sincerity, you've got it made. Rusty always told that same joke. "I wanted to apologize, sir, for my behavior last night. It was --" Don't say inappropriate. Don't say inappropriate. "-- inappropriate --" God, I hate that word. "-- to say the least, and I will endeavor --" God, Jason, this guy isn't your father, you don't have to use polysyllabic words! "-- I will not let it happen again."
Amari's gaze comes up as Jason stammers through his speech, his joined hands resting against his mouth and obscuring the lower part of his face, one skeptical eyebrow raising as Jason staggers to a stop. The barista brings over a simple cup of coffee and a cream pitcher. He waves away the change and forces a polite smile. His eyes drop to the coffee cup as she leaves, but he doesn't move, and Jason can see a hint of his own tiredness in the officer's eyes. After a few more moments of awkward silence, the older man purses his lips and both his eyebrows go up - the expression of a TV cop who doesn't believe the perp's official statement - and he spreads his hands. "You and your friends are under more pressure than you can handle." The corners of his mouth turn up, but instead of expressing any humor or empathy, it only exaggerates the tension in his jaw. He reaches for the cream, shaking his head. "The rest of you might be able to adapt and handle it." He pauses before pouring. " Might. But ..." He abandons whatever he was about to say, his eyes sliding right, gaze lowered, toward the rest of the shop. As the silence builds again, and Jason opens his mouth to speak, the sergeant sets down the cream with a click that cuts him off. "Can you teleport, Mr. Quill?"
[Adding to this before Dave gets home, since I committed the cardinal PBP sin of ending a post with a closed yes/no question :P ] He shakes his head before Jason can answer. "None of our files indicate you can teleport. None of your Quill tech does that either, as far as anyone knows, and we have a kid in the forensics lab who's basically memorized every episode of that cartoon of yours, so." He takes a drink of the coffee, looking right and out the windows. "Teleporting is a rare ability, by all accounts, but I..." he shakes an index finger in Jason's direction, while still looking out the front windows, and Jason is, weirdly, reminded of watching old Columbo reruns with Rusty and Amir and his father. "... I ... was teleported last night." He sets down his coffee, rubbing his eyes with his other hand. "... and a few second later, Concord teleported into the precinct to make sure I was all right. So." His fingers squeeze tighter between his eyes, knuckles going white for a moment. "So. Concord teleported me." He drops his hand, and his eyes meet yours. "Concord. Used his powers. On me."
Oooookay. That's not what I was expecting him to -- wait, he knows Adam is Concord, right? Yeah, I'm pretty sure he does. So he's ... torqued about Adam using a power ... on him? No, no, no -- Adam doesn't take the blame here. "If Concord used his powers on you, he --" Ah. The bobbing eyeballs. He doesn't want this overheard, or anything that might threaten Adam and his identity. Well, Jesus, neither do I. "-- did so to protect you. Under the circumstances, I suspect he thought you were in danger. He also ... teleported the danger away. A lot more vigorously." Jason echoes Amari's eye-flicker around them, hoping the other man sees him doing so, understands that he, too, is concerned. "Given the circumstances, I believe he did the right thing. He acted quickly, and effectively, to protect people." [[Theoretically this is a Defense of Adam, if he's effectively under attack. Jason is not 100% certain that's what's going on here, but that's the threat he sees going on. So I don't know how that fits into game mechanics, or if it has to, or should at this point.]
"I'm aware of his other actions." The older man makes a slow motion with his head, stretching his neck. "I was on desk duty all this shift, since I had a meta-encounter; I processed the report from the expressway." He retrieves his cup. "I don't want to get into particulars, here, Mr. Quill, but there have been a number of worrying developments with Concord, and the vast majority have happened since --" He stops himself, staring at his coffee. His expression changes, softens. When he looks back up at Jason, he's almost smiling... almost. "He's young. Too young, maybe, for... everything he's called on to do. His parents --" he swallows against a hitch in his voice, takes a drink of coffee, and tries again. "His parents must be terrified. For him, if nothing else. Someone like Mercury, with generations of experience to fall back on, or you, maybe, but..." [No need for defend rolls in this situation, I don't think - you're defending him, but not Defending him; Adam's not under attack. Relevant moves might, however, be Pierce the Mask to get at Nissar's motivations here, and possibly Provoke if you feel he needs to be pushed toward or away from specific actions. Neither of those may be relevant right this second, but could come up.]
Jason nods, slowly. Crap. He wants to retire Adam. Or pull him from the group. And immediately he begins to wonder if that would be a bad thing. No. We haven't been perfect, but we've been trying. We can help him, in a way that his home family can't. "I understand," Jason says. "Nobody understands the dangers of --" He gestures vaguely. "-- this kind of life more than I do. And I've been exposed to those dangers since before I was --" He catches himself. He's focusing on the words so carefully for the right effect that he almost forgot the other concern. "-- since I was younger than Concord. But that wouldn't be a comfort to Concord's family, either, given what it's almost cost me, what it has cost me. But --" His brow furrows. "Concord is ... incredibly powerful. We've seen it. That power can do a lot of good and great things, things that could save thousands of lives. That have saved lives. But even that's not enough, I know, to balance the worries of those who love him." Which side of this am I arguing? he wonders. Both sides? Jason lowers is voice. "Power of that sort needs exercise. Training. Experience. Monitoring. Coaching. It -- doesn't go away, stop being a danger, stop being powerful, just because it isn't used. In fact, it might become more dangerous that way, to -- Concord, and to others around him." Does he know about the shard? Or that Adam's sharing his head with a voice that is telling him what to do? If he thinks it's just a matter of Adam staying home and not going out on missions any more -- it doesn't sound like the shard would accept that for long. But if I tell him about that, if he doesn't know already -- that's betraying a trust. And it might make things even worse. "I'm worried about him, Sgt. Amari. That's why I'm trying to help him. To be a friend. Someone who can assist him with this power he has. And, yeah, I know, I don't always do the right thing, and that scares me, too. That I might let the team down, including Concord. But -- I don't think he has an option to just turn it off, sir. Which would mean y--his family would need help in controlling it. And there aren't a lot of options there. "The bigger teams, the 'adults' -- he'd be a sidekick, or a ward, the kid with the dangerous power that needs to be kept an eye on, a bird in a gilded cage. The government --" Jason shakes his head. It's no difficulty being sincere about this. "They'd lock him up. Put him someplace they thought was safe. Study him. Figure out his power, how to control it, how to stop it. But not whether he needs it, whether it would hurt him to stop using it. Or they'd figure out a way to use him to use it." Jason leans forward, mirroring Amari's pose. His intensity is not feigned. "My team -- we like Concord. We respect him. We want to help him, help him control this, help him learn to make the right decisions, be there with him when there's danger, protect him, mentor him, pick him up when he falls, shield him when he's vulnerable, cheer him on when he's kicking ass to protect people." A quirk of a smile. "Make sure he gets his homework done. Make sure he goes home safe to his family. Make sure he has his family, and that he also has friends who understand his ... challenges." [Pierce the Mask coming online, if this goes south.] [Sorry, that was long. It's all one chain of argument, though.]
"I believe your good intentions, Mr. Quill," Amari says. "But I'm sure you recognize that when you talk about "something someone must do to keep from losing control" it sounds less like a duty or calling, and more like an addiction - an affliction." The words come easily, smoothly; it's likely not the first time Adam's father has drawn that comparison, even spoken it out loud; this is a familiar, ongoing concern of his. He holds his coffee in both hands, looking into the cup. "No parent wants that for their child, least of all --" Again, the tightening lips. "I hear what you're saying - the situation he's in may not be --" he stops, shakes his head -- "is in no way perfect. But it may be the best option he has, and until some better option presents itself --" He shakes his head again - the smallest motion - then nods much more firmly, and stands. "Until a better option presents itself." [That's him agreeing to leave things the way they are, for now, which I think was the core of what you were going for.] He takes a last drink of coffee, and sets the cup down on the table. "These powers are dangerous, Mr. Quill. Not just Concord's. 'A surprised meta is not a safe meta' is drilled into you from day one at the academy, and with good reason. Far more than half the damage done to this city is from people who live here and say they want to protect it. And from what I've seen, the longer someone has abilities, the less any of you seem to notice that. They cut you off from people -- all the regular people you can and should be connected to, until all you see or care about are the others just like you." Again, he rolls his head on his neck, loosening it. "Cops have the same problem, but we can't drop a car out of the sky. You can, Mr. Quill." [Annnnd that's him shifting your Danger up and your Mundane down, unless you reject his Influence.] He glances at his watch. "I need to get home. Thank you for contacting me."
Jason stands, extends a hand to shake because that's what's expected. "Thank you for meeting with me, sir. Believe me when I say I understand your concerns -- all your concerns." More than you know. " And I will do whatever is in my power to keep Concord, the team, and the city safe." "The number I texted from is my mobile. I'd like to stay in touch, if you have any concerns. Or if I do." ((Assuming a normal leavetaking ...)) Jason drops back into the chair. That's all assuming I'm not making a bad mistake. That I'm not doing this for me and the team, and not for Adam. Or, hell, assuming Adam still wants to be on the team. I need to meet with him, too, apologize. Not sure that's going to go as well. A young woman in a "Deja Brew" t-shirt is circulating around with a tray. "Is everything all right here -- Mr. Quill?" I still look over my shoulder for my dad when someone says that. He smiles. "Yeah, everything's fine. Hey, can I get an espresso, in a to-go cup? I have a real need for caffeine right now." ------------------------------------- And Curtain. Jason will take the shifts, since that's how he's feeling anyway. That won't help his C&S, which is what he needs now, but it's been one of those days already and it's only 7:15am and past time for school. Good thing that the hoverdisc won't stand out too much at Gardner Academy. Jason will text Adam (maybe by voice)
((Oh, and special bonus point to the GM for throwing in that bit of neatly turned-about cop wisdom in there. Nicely done, sir.))
((Need [Cutscene] [RP] tags on the title, dagnabbit.))
*** Dave H. said: ((Oh, and special bonus point to the GM for throwing in that bit of neatly turned-about cop wisdom in there. Nicely done, sir.)) Heh. Thanks.