cafe://Polychrome v2.0 - Navy Pier - Grand and Lake Shore
The Polychrome 2.0 is a serious upgrade in both style and function. Gone is the soft-industrial warehouse look, the walls repainted from their worn brick color to a more warm rich red adobe. The walls are adorned with old Sci-Fi posters and paintings by independent local artists.
The entire cafe is situated around a circular bar-like counter in the very center of the room which, in turn, surrounds the chrome and copper homemade monstrosity Frankenchino machine the only surviving relic of the previous Polychrome. Frankenchino billows steam and froth from it's masses of pipes and valves, the temperature and levels of fluids measured by gleaming old fashioned pressure gages and controlled by a plethora of levers and turn-gaskets. Comfortable high backed chromed stools with leather upholstery orbit the counter, which through it's thick Plexiglas surface into it's refrigerated interior can be seen sandwiches and pastries and other snacks in refrigerated. Above the counter is an outfacing circle of LCD TVs showing various feeds off the Internet.
Circular segmented couches surround low black coffee tables around the cafe, each one having a computer monitor on a swivel in the center and a cordless keyboard and mouse and allowing the patrons full and free net access. In one corner there are more dedicated semi-private computer terminals at high-mounted and a kiosk where one can rent a laptop. Another corner sports an Internet jukebox which has been built into the body of a full sized Robby the Robot replica. Another corner has a small stage from which patrons can enjoy independent bands or poets on certain nights. The last corner is set up with merchandise such as books, magazines, shirts, mugs and gadgets.
Monday evening and Robert has settled, camping out at the end of the counter, his favored seat. In front of him is a plate of cookies, with half left, and a large mug of coffee. His newspaper is open and he is working his way through it, methodically reading each story thoroughly before moving to the next one. Outside, the weather is clear, with a light breeze from the south.
Dylan wanders in, taking a break from setting up a new apartment and his brows go up instantly as he catches the scents in the room, perhaps concentrated by the artificial heating. He pauses, glancing at the door as though considering backing out and then shrugs to himself. Youthful bravado getting in the way of common sense. As usual. His saunter towards the counter is just a tad on the 'too casual' side and his expression of studied indifference wouldn't fool anybody more than a year or two older than Dylan himself. He orders a coffee and starts trying to isolate that scent that suggests he might have wandered into somebody else's territory.
Robert's coffee absorbs the majority of his attention, a brief glance given to the younger man as he walks in, the bravado amusing him slightly. His wry humor lurks in the back of his gaze, barely moving his lips beneath the beard. He glances back down at the paper, clearly comfortable in this place, confident and relaxed as he continues the cookie destruction. Each one is broken into pieces and each piece eaten slowly.
Dylan blinks as his gaze passes by Robert and then back, faux-casually. And his metaphysical senses reach out and feel … well, perhaps something that isn't quite factual but makes him grin. Smells like a wolf and doesn't seem that much more powerful. And one wolf is simply /not/ a match for one leopard in his book. The thought process is almost painfully transparent on his youthful features as takes his coffee and then finds a chair only a few feet from Robert. His accent is California coastal with just a hint of something Hispanic in there as he says, cheerfully, "Nice day, isn't it?"
The energy from Robert is calm, his wolf practically curled up and sleeping. The approach of the younger man brings a slight lift to one eyebrow, but Robert returns the greeting politely, if briefly, with a slow nod of his head. The amusement lurking in his eyes deepens as he tilts his head, giving the other man a slow, considering look, assessing. "New in town?" He observes softly, his voice a low rumble, coming from deep within his chest.
Dylan nods himself, frowning faintly as he realizes he's not going to be able to match that rumble. So instead he stretches, rather like an indolent cat in a sunbeam, seeming to take up far more space than a young man his size should be able to invade for a brief moment. And if that kind of, sort of nudged into Robert's personal space, well, it was probably an accident. Or maybe not, to judge by the sardonic smirk on Dylan's face. "So, this a usual hang out for you?"
Robert moves then, resting both hands on the counter, his fingers meshing as his gaze turns into something weightier, more neutral, wolflike as he considers the other man in silence. "This is a neutral place, designated so by the Crocodylidae and their leader. And I am the Ulfric for the pack within the city of Chicago. I suggest you learn manners." His voice is low enough to be purely between the two of them, the wolf's low growl lurking beneath the man's deep tones.
Dylan blinks as Robert suddenly goes formal and then the younger man's metaphorical ears flatten at the news about who he's been messing with. The metaphysical ones as well as he pulls back his own power and stuffs it down, down, down to where there can be no hint of a challenge. Even his posture changes, shoulders slumping as he slides a bit lower in his seat, putting his head lower than Robert's. He clasps his hands in his lap and says, quickly and quietly, "I didn't mean to offend the Ulfric." Which is strictly true. He /wanted/ to annoy a random Lukoi. Not one of the /dangerous/ ones. He swallows and says, "Also, I'm a guest in the city and any offense I may have caused shouldn't fall on the local pard." Which is a dangerous admission but one he feels honor-bound to make.
Robert's stare is still heavy, waiting for the man's apology and he accepts it with the briefest of acknowledgements. "I accept you apology. I would suggest that you learn not to test your strength against my pack." There is a dry humor in his voice now, the wolf put back into his place as easily as an Ulfric should. "We tend to run high on this released from the military." He reaches for his coffee, his tone neutral, his expression utterly impassive. "I will not mention it to Forest." Another cookie, another bite, but his gaze lingers on the younger man.
Dylan breathes a sigh of relief at that. They both know that troublemaking guests are rarely welcome long. He clears his throat and can't help but have a small, wry smile on his lips as he says, "Hm. I'll remember that, sir. Might save on the bleeding later." There isn't a threat in that, his tone seems to suggest the blood would likely be his. Especially given the ex-military angle. He shrugs and looks back up at Robert, meeting the Ulfric's eyes and then his gaze sliding politely away. His voice echoes that humor he's feeling as he says, "Neighborly of you not to bounce me off something hard until I sloshed a bit. Thanks."
"It would save my people the effort, certainly." The dry tone holds humor, making that lurking in the back of his eyes as he returns the gaze steadily. "I respect the Crocodylidae's neutrality here. You may have received a different response outside this place." Despite that, the Ulfric doesn't appear ruffled, or distracted from his coffee. In fact, he takes another cookie before making a gesture towards the plate, indicating that Dylan could take one. Lapsing into silence, he drinks the coffee slowly, holding the mug out for a refill with that brief incline of his head to acknowledge the receipt of it.
Dylan blinks at the use of the word 'Crocodylidae', having never met a werecroc. He suppresses a shiver at the mental image, not wanting to look weak in front of a wolf. Especially the Ulfric. The offer of food causes him to pause a moment as he works through the politics of it in his head, again fairly transparently from his expression. It's a peace offering and food from an alpha's hand, which generally signals that you're not about to get thrashed. On the other hand, if he /were/ a member of the pard already, taking it might insult the Nimir-Raj. After a moment he shrugs again and reaches out to snag a cookie. Sometimes there are advantages to not being a part of the power structure yet. And sometimes a cookie is just a cookie. He takes a bite, swallows and says, "Good. Thanks again." And then a polite, "You know Forest well?"
Robert's amusement shows, a brief flicker lurking in the back of his gaze as the other man considers the cookie. But he dips his gaze, hiding the amusement to prevent causing offense. "I have met with him. I make it a policy to know others in my position, and to be certain that they know me. I find that it prevents problems." His voice is still that low rumble, and when he lifts his gaze, the man's gaze is neutral, impassive. "I am publicly as I am. It brings risks and benefits."
Dylan is sitting at a table near Robert's with a half-eaten cookie in hand and an expression that hovers somewhere between 'cowed' and 'relieved'. The Ulfric has coffee, paper and a plate of cookies, apparently the source of the young leopard's snack. Other than the two of them and the server, the shop is fairly quiet. Dylan sits up a bit at something the Ulfric just said and says, quietly but with some surprise, obviously not wanting said server to overhear, "Seriously? You're public? And you don't worry about a squad of Federales with machine guns full of silver or something?" His tone has polite deference to an alpha and a leader (albeit one not of his species) at war with an incredulous 'are you mad?!' quality.
Robert glances at the server before he returns his gaze to Dylan, his expression neutral as he rests his hands together on the paper, meshing his fingers lightly. "I do not. I believe that those who consider us a threat do not understand us, and unless the stronger of us come forward and show them the reality of living with this infection, that fear will remain and grow. Therefore I choose to be a public Ulfric, and known to the local media, in order that we can have understanding between our people." He reaches for the coffee, taking a swig.
Cale comes into the Polychrome with an unfocused sense of purpose that carries him through the door, but starts to fray once he's come in. He has an old, well-used pack sling over his shoulder, though it's a bit flat, not thickly packed. Focus comes in a moment as he blazes a trail towards the bar, a bit too distracted by thoughts to pick up on people more than vaguely for the moment. Weaving past tables and folks on the way.
Dylan shakes his head and gives Robert the same kind of half-admiring, half-worried look people give motorcycle stunt drivers. "Well, better you than us. No offense intended. And I know most of the U.S. is better than down in Mexico, but still. That's a lot of crosshairs to be in." He shrugs and then blinks as he notices Cale. He doesn't bother the other leopard just yet but he /does/ finish that cookie in one bite, swallowing quickly and dusty the crumbs off his hands and shirt.
There is a flicker of something else in Robert's gaze as he turns it towards his coffee mug. "I came from Mexico. It is why I choose to do this. To prove to the people there that we can live in peace and their killing is unnecessary." There is the tiniest hint of the wolf growl in his voice, and his energy wakes, metaphysically lifting the wolf's head, gaining its attention for a moment before the Ulfric soothes it back. Cale's arrival is noted, the impassive gaze following the man for a moment.
Cale murmurs an order at the bar. Coffee. Much, black. Audible enough to keen ears. He turns away then and the purpose frays once more. Seat. He scans the place for an indecisive moment before his outward awareness catches upon Dylan and Robert. He considers the two for a moment before he approaches the table. Unhurried, but not overly cautious.
Dylan nods and goes still at that hint of metaphysical power from the Ulfric. Given that Robert is one of the few here who might know what he's talking about, he vouchsafes another tiny mosaic tile about his time as a leopard south of the border. "I was infected in Juarez. Stupid tourist with the usual stupidity tax." He watches Cale approach and nods, pushing out a chair with his leg and saying, "Hi. You've met the Ulfric?" There is a faint stress on that title, warning Cale in case he didn't already know.
Robert nods slowly at Dylan, an acknowledgement of the understanding. "My pack was killed." His voice is utterly emotionless, utterly empty, as is his expression as the newcomer approaches the table. He tilts his head, watching the other approach as he lapses into silence. He inclines his head slightly as a greeting, reaching for his coffee mug to take a swig without speaking.
"I've heard of him," Cale confirms as he comes to a pause at the edge of the table. The nudged chair is noted and is near where he pauses, but he doesn't sit immediately. His voice is neutral as he turns his attention to Robert. "Bad time?" His question for the wolf. He remains standing for now, keeping things simple.
Dylan winces slightly at that information. 'I'm sorry' doesn't cut it. 'That's rough' is entirely too flippant. Finally, he decides to try to think like a werewolf for a second and says, "I hope that the ones who did it come to the worst sort of end." It's simple and honest. Having been a shifter down there, he's lost friends to ranchers, local and federal police and drug traffickers, all of whom seemed to have a stash of silver bullets handy and no guilt about killing a shifter. Cale's stance gets a wary look and he suddenly considers the idea that the two groups might not be on the best terms. He asks, "Anything I need to know, Cale?"
Dylan's response earns him a look that might even border on approval, a brief narrowing of his eyes as he considers him for a long moment. Then he returns his gaze to Cale, considering the man's posture, his neutrality, before he nods briefly, speaking softly. "You can join us." Robert's permission is given with that odd, wolflike tilt of his head as he considers Cale thoughtfully. He rests his hands around the mug, waiting to hear what Cale has to say in silence.
Cale seems to think it better to not comment on that dire topic, nodding his head slightly towards Dylan as he speaks. The permission seems to be what he was waiting for, the chair shifted, his bag dropped beside it. His jacket shrugged off and hung haphazardly over the back of his chair before he settles down. "Nothing to know," he says to Dylan then. "At least, nothing I know." He shrugs, then pulls the bag onto his lap to start digging inside. The sounds of paper of varying compositions.
Dylan looks briefly chagrinned as he realizes what Cale was waiting on and whacks his forehead in a 'duh!' gesture. "Still not used to different, ah, clubs, being in the same territory without a fight." He shakes his head. "Weird. But good I guess." He cranes his head a little to see what Cale is doing, curiosity getting the better of him. He glances at the Ulfric and then back at his fellow leopard, his expression slightly wistful, as though wishing they were putting on a more impressive showing. Then again, to the Lukoi 'impressive' is sometimes synonymous with 'threatening and thus yummy with hot sauce'. His lips quirk up at that thought and he tries to assume a more sober expression, lest he get in trouble. Again.
"I prefer that we work together, to help each other." Robert's comment is mild, directly to Dylan. "It is foolish to fight one another, weakening each other when others wish us harm." His voice is that low rumble, his beast practically curled up, sleeping, as he reaches for his cookies, eating one slowly, in pieces. "We should instead strengthen each other, aid each other when possible." He is speaking softly, his gaze moving between the two younger men, clearly believing in his words.
Cale quietly tends to his bag as the others talk. Listening, but focused as he pulls out a thick notebook that looks new. Then another thickish booklet that has the name of a local technical school. And a few thinner mail order tech catalogues. "I don't know anything about the wolves," he murmurs, his voice discreet. "Or what they think about what's been going on as of late." His voice remains light on that, strictly neutral. He keeps his eyes on his items, the bag dropped to the side after he pulls a pencil out. Starting to organize the items with the notebook where he can write and the other books set to the side in a neat stack.
Dylan considers the Ulfric's words and then says, slowly, "I … think … and this is just me speaking for myself and you know, also kind of above my rank to begin with, that the old hostile structures are less necessary these days, especially in places where the, ah, resources aren't exactly limited." He shrugs and says, "But it isn't an entirely rational decision for a lot of us. I mean, alphas, sure. Your defining quality is having control. But for a lot of the rest of us, it's hard to see past another predator in our hunting ground, no matter what the brain says." He shrugs and says, "Also, you run into the problems Popes have with Kings. Nobody who has a taste of absolute power wants to bend knee. Not even to a consensus." He looks back to Robert and says, apologetically, "No offense, but we aren't built for some of the finer niceties of modern day politics and society."
"I believe that we can rise above our beast and act as people." Robert's voice is mild having listened to Dylan's words, having weighed them up. "We can share our resources, and prevent such tragedies as our community has seen. Had we reacted, shared information at the first sign of trouble, at the first death, we may have prevented the others." He speaks softly, as he reaches for a cookie, taking a bite and finishing it before he speaks again. "I bend my knee to nobody. But I will discuss and negotiate with others, and work with them. It is only insecure leaders who feel the need to hoard power."
Cale is content to let the two discuss lofty topics as a pot of coffee is delivered and a cup for him. He pours himself some, careful of his set up. A light motion towards the pot as it's set down opens the invitation. It's black coffee. Good, but not fancy. He sips from his cup, then cracks open the tech school catalog to start flipping through it intently. Focus. Purpose.
Dylan frowns faintly and says quietly, "But we /aren't/ people any more. Or at least not humans. Human social structures make about as much sense for us as a birdhouse does for fish." He doesn't comment on the killings, as he wasn't here for them and that last line, about insecure leaders gets /very/ raised eyebrows and that studiously blank and politely affable expression that every beta shifter probably learns in his first few months. The one that says, 'I have no opinion on that. In fact, I didn't even hear it.' Cale's browsing gets a bit of a sardonic smirk. The other leopard is probably being the smart one here.
Robert lifts his eyebrows slightly, giving Dylan a steady, considering look, his gaze gaining weight. "Would you prefer that we not speak, separating us and leaving us vulnerable to those humans who hunt us? It is a necessary step to share information and resources. Should I refuse to aid someone merely because their infection makes them a leopard? Perhaps but it is illogical to do so when by aiding, I can strengthen our community. We have, in recent days, healed pard and shared information with all leaders I can speak with." Possibly one of the longer speeches from the man, who leans back, lapsing into silences as he glances at Cale's catalog thoughtfully.
Dylan looks away from Robert at that steady gaze, nodding and thinking through the Wolf King's words. "No sir, that's not what I'm saying … but I have a question for you, if I may? How soon after you were infected did you come into your strength? Your drive? Whatever it is that makes you an alpha. And I guess an alpha's alpha, when you get right down to it?"
"Information is one key," Cale murmurs. "Knowledge and power and all of that typical line." His tone distracted as he hunts and compares without looking up. Dylan's question gets him a glance and an arch of brow. But Cale decides to let things play out, dipping his eyes to the catalog again. He finds something worth recording a moment later as he picks up the pencil and starts to scratch out a quick copy of some information in neat, but blocky text.
"Information is key to the matter, Cale." His use of the other's name makes it obvious that he noted it as he joined them, and there is the faintest trace of warm approval in his voice. Dylan's question is considered, the Ulfric turning over in his mind his answer before he speaks. He takes a swig of the coffee, finishing a cookie before he speaks. "Straight away." The reply is brief, minimal, but he adds softly, "Please, call me Robert."
Dylan nods at Kale and says, "It would be, yea." He looks back at the Ulfric and then grins at being granted that particular liberty. "Thank you. Oh man. My first official name drop subject. 'Well, I was talking to /Robert/ the other day, you know, the Ulfric….'" That is delivered in a deadpan 'upper crust' accent and he rolls his eyes at the thought, showing that he's obviously kidding. He blinks, wondering if he remembered to properly introduce himself and then shrugs, doing it now. "Dylan. Of no particular pard at the moment, though hoping to become a part of the local one." He puts his thoughts back in order and says, "Ah. Ok, instantly. Then you don't really /know/ what it's like to a beta, right? I mean, with all due respect, I think the idea of our Nimir Raj letting anybody /else/ have a voice in our fate, individually or as a pard would be …horrible. Unthinkable." His expression goes intent and inward focused. "We don't follow you guys just because our beasts tell us you're stronger. We follow you because some of us, me included, need the structure and the limits to keep us inside the lines. So we can live with ourselves and maybe not hurt more people than strictly needed. And that obedience, that blind trust and absolute submission of our sovereignty and fate comes from knowing that in return, the Nimir Raj or Ra or, I'd imagine, the Ulfric, accepts that burden and makes it his or her sole duty and right to command our lives and deaths. Weak leaders lose packs. And you can always tell because the betas, us, drift away first. We're the most dependent on structure and strength. When our leaders give up their right to govern unilaterally, it's hard to see that as anything but a weakness and danger."
Cale finds another and he scrawls out another line of notes. A careful eye might note that he's focusing on information systems and security courses. Noting times and costs, though then the pencil pokes at each dollar amount, he frowns faintly. But it gets written down nonetheless. "Absolute submission suggests you don't have any voice or choice in anything," he notes without looking up. "I don't submit absolutely to anyone. No one should." His opinion put forth without much fear, as he seems confident in it.
"A pleasure to meet you, Dylan." Robert's voice holds that faint trace of amusement which fades as he listens to the other man, his headtilt purely wolf. He does give the other man's words his full attention, listening. "I am not passing my burden to another, Dylan. I enforce my structure and the limits for my wolves. But I do not wish to hoard the information that may aid another. Nor do I wish to refuse to aid another group. Had I done so, the leopard who was attacked would have been left unhealed." He leans forward, giving the visiting leopard a serious look, his gaze heavy. "It is my duty and right to run my pack, but I do not fear speaking with other leaders and sharing the information that I have, nor the resources because together we are stronger. Do you perceive the difference?" Cale's comment is considered, a thoughtful frown on his forehead for a moment.
Dylan glances at Cale and says, quietly, "I disagree. I've seen what happens with a pard runs wild." He looks down at his hands, massaging the knuckles as though they are arthritic, which is fairly well impossible for a lycanthrope. His voice is introspective. "We're the worst of both breeds. The cruel, slow playful hunting of a cat and the devil's own inventiveness and willingness to hurt others, Cale. When you get right down to it, that's what's at the core of all of us. Or a mixture of a wolf's insatiable appetites and man's vicious cruelty. There have to be absolute limits. And on some level that requires absolute power." He looks back up to Robert and nods, "I'm sure you know what's best for your people, si…Robert. And I do understand the difference. But it's the idea of that balance shifting and things becoming more a congress than a dictatorship that scares me. Terrifies me, actually. /Nothing/ is worse for us or the humans around us than mob rule."
Cale looks up and considers Dylan with a light frown. "No, you don't quite get what I'm saying. I'll follow someone who I respect. Do things their way, but absolute means absolute. It means you don't get a say, you don't get anything that's not given to you. That's a word you don't want to play around with. If Forest were an absolute leader, I would find another way. Like you said, if things turn out bad, I'd go somewhere else. Being led is one thing. Being ruled over is another. It's a subtle, but important difference." His eyes flick towards Robert then, but he doesn't seem to have much direct comment for now, so he looks back to his note taking.
"I rule. I rule absolutely." Robert's tone is firm, spoken with a shake of his head. "I have no intent to suggest a congress or a democracy to anyone. It weakens a pack, and we have seen it happen in other places, where the Ulfric gave the vote to his people." There is the tiniest hint of distaste in his voice. "But your leader should always have his people's needs in his mind. The strength of my pack are the wolves in it, and the strength of the wolf is his pack." Cale's comments bring a slow nod from the man. "Here, each person has the right to leave their group, to join another, the Independents. There are wolves in there, and they are not my people." The silent "Not my problem" is unspoken.
Dylan shrugs uncomfortably, obviously not wanting to look at those ideas of Cale's too closely. And then listens to Robert, head tilted slightly, finally nodding, though a touch uncertainly at that 'independents' line. First he's heard of that. He holds up his hands at chest level in a 'surrender' gesture. His faint grin is conciliatory and apologetic. "Hey, what do I know? I'm the new guy around here. And about as far from power as you can get."
Juno pushes one of the doors open from outside, the bell dingling as they enter the cafe.
"Yes, Charley and his," Cale replies, looking up to Robert. He considers the man carefully. Keeping his expression carefully neutral. "You allow yours no say? And you tell them everything they will do without any recourse to say otherwise?" If that's all yes, then you do rule absolutely. Otherwise, it isn't actually absolute. Because absolute is absolute. That's why I speak about it how I do, because there is no wiggle room with the term. Absolute control is the way of the dictator. No one likes them. At least, no one I know does."
Robert considers Cale's question, the tilt of his head showing that he gives it consideration. "You leopards are very philosophical. My people make decisions but if I speak on a topic, it is final. I hear their views, and if they have a point, I will acknowledge it. But my decision is the one that goes for the pack." He reaches for the final cookie, taking a large bite, finishing it before he speaks again. "It would be foolish to refuse to hear their thoughts when I value their knowledge."
Dylan gives Cale a befuddled look. "Like? What does like have to do anything with it?" He chuckles at Robert's note on leopards and then he nods Robert's words. He says, "But that still makes you the undisputed leader. Which is exactly what works."
Juno walks into the cafe, eyes flicking around to get the layout of the place. She gives a lopesided grin as she looks over the monstrosity of a coffee maker. She gets in line to place an order, the eyes roaming the room curiously. She eases her coat back off her shoulders.
"The world is full of fools," Cale opines simply. And has he considers the tech school manual again, he adds, "I took art and literature in college. Blame that. But I didn't waste my time on that, fortunately." Dylan gets a glance and he notes, "If you don't like where you are, you leave. If your leader doesn't make it a positive environment, why should you stay? It has everything to do with it." Of course, his voice remains light on such topics. He's always low in volume when speaking of such things.
"Then we are in fact in agreement." Robert's tone is dry as he lifts his coffee mug, taking a swig as he considers Cale's manual, with a tilt of his head. "You have plans to study?" The abrupt question is asked as he lowers the mug slowly to the counter. That question put in place, he lapses into silence, considering the man thoughtfully.
Dylan gives the newcomer a careful look and then lowers his voice to the point where it barely reaches the two adjoining tables. "A strong leader, of course. Likable and 'positive' are … um … luxuries. At best." He takes the cue from Robert and sits back sipping at his own coffee, now cool and apparently lost in his own thoughts as the two discuss Cale's educational plans.
Juno chats with the Barista and nods, walking over to grab a seat along he bar. She shrugs the coat off and leans back. The head nods to the others at the bar. She sits quietly, keeping to herself. She grins as a coffee drink with whip cream and a brownie is deliverd.
"I don't agree," Cale replies to Dylan simply. No deeper argument or other elaboration. And he doesn't seem troubled by it. His eyes flick towards Juno, lingering for a moment before Robert's questions are given their due. "Yes. Big plans require work.. and I'm not where I need to be for this. Even if the plan is probably a pipedream right now. But I have time to waste, so why not spend it?" He shrugs, his focus from before giving way to an easy casual air and a more conversational tone and volume.
"Time to use instead of waste?" Robert glances at his coffee mug, lifting it for a refill and gaining one quickly, his habits of drinking coffee paying off. "Likeable and positive are useful tools." He comments softly, considering thoughtfully. "As are angry, and other things. You use them all as needful. Cale, what is your plan?" Direct, as he turns his gaze back to the man with the catalog.
Dylan shrugs at Cale with an amused, 'I'm not budging either' grin and settles back with his coffee. He's curious too, by his expression, but why should he do the conversational heavy lifting when there's somebody else to get answers.
Juno digs out a tourist booklet for Chicago, she starts to flip through it, sipping her drink. She breaks chunks off her brownie, eating distractedly as she flips through pages. She runs the back of her hand along her forehead with a soft sigh , then folds down the corner of a page, marking it.
"Self contained, broadly accessible knowledge base. Technological security, networked and monitored. Opt-in tracking and instant alerts. Real high brow stuff that I'm on the fringes of right now." Cale vaguely outlines the basic ideas with those simple terms. The three are gathered at a table and Cale takes a moment to pour some fresh coffee from the lingering pot. Black coffee. Juno is at the bar herself. Cale has a notebook with some notations written out on it and a tech school course catalog set atop some mail order computer tech catalogs beside it. "It depends on a lot of things, but money is what I don't have. Yet. Haven't talked to some needed people yet either."
The door to the cafe opens and Forest comes inside, his eyes scanning over those within quickly before he heads to the counter to order himself a coffee, black, and a brownie. He speaks in soft tones with Miah, sharing a joke of no consequence, then pays for his items and turns to move towards Dylan and Cale.
Robert nods slowly, listening to Cale speak of his plans. "It seems a useful thing. If you get it going, give me a call." The positive note is brief as he sips his coffee. Forest's arrival is noted and he lifts a hand in greeting, inclining his head. "Joining us, Forest?" He asks, his tone holding dry humor, but friendly.
Dylan gives Juno a curious look but doesn't interfere, especially since the conversation just turned towards matters that are just slightly incomprehensible. He's good with a computer but that sounds /complex/. When Forest arrives, he smiles faintly in greeting and starts to stand before he blinks, remembers he's in public and turns the motion into a stretch. He glances between Robert and Forest, nose wrinkling slightly and expression watchful briefly before he turns to find the view outside fascinating. And if it dimly reflects back the people sitting in the shop, well, that's probably a coincidence he's looking that way.
Juno retrieves an iphone from her jacket pocket. She starts tapping on the screen, the eyes flick up as the door chimes but then drop back down. She smiles at something on the display.
"If being the operative word," Cale notes. Forest's presence noted then via Robert's address of him, Cale pausing his looking to turn his head to look towards the man. A dip of his head offered, his expression lingering towards quiet neutral, but with an edge of the uncertain. He goes on then, bringing his attention back to the table. "Right now I barely make enough for myself. Something like this will require hardware, people, location, security and a laundry list of other details that I'm still not sure on. After I make sure I have the sort of knowledge to plan it out properly. Some aspects are simpler, could probably be done sooner. I'm still unsure."
Robert moves then, resting both hands on the counter, his fingers meshing as his gaze turns into something weightier, more neutral, wolflike as he considers the other man in silence. "This is a neutral place, designated so by the Crocodylidae and their leader. And I am the Ulfric for the pack within the city of Chicago. I suggest you learn manners." His voice is low enough to be purely between the two of them, the wolf's low growl lurking beneath the man's deep tones.'
"If it is as it sounds, you should apply to your family, and see if they can see the use of it." Robert's words are low, directed to Cale, "If not, speak with me. I would have a use for a system like that." That said, he lapses into silence, taking a swig of the coffee, watching the cafe over the brim of it. The interplay from Forest is noted but Robert does not respond, letting them sort their own issues, but he watches silently, his gaze weighty.
Dylan deeply and respectfully in return to Forest, saying, "Morning." And then he studiously doesn't notice what happens next, sinking down in his chair a bit and giving the door a look that suggests that if he could think of a way to be out of it without drawing attention to himself, he would. His shoulders twitch a bit and he goes back to rapt attention to the outside.
Of course, Robert's words are left unacknowledged for the moment. The touch by Forest and his direct attention take the young man's focus at once and fully. Not seeming quite sure just what to say, perhaps, he is silent and gives no resistance to Forest. Waiting quietly.
The hand squeezes just a little tighter on Cale's neck, Forest's gaze strong on the young man's before he let's go and says in a clear tone, "I would like another of these brownies, Cale." The words simple but there's obviously more to them than most others would realize.
Robert watches the interaction with an impassive gaze, finally rising from his seat to leave the three family alone. A coffee refill is apparently in order as he moves to the counter, near to Juno, as he takes his mug and his paper. "More coffee please." His voice is a low rumble as he offers the mug to the server, dropping a note on the counter.
Juno looks at her phone, then looks up across the room to the table of guys, specifically Robert. She looks back to the phone display, she glances over as Robert leaves his chair. She slides from her seat, stuffing the phone into her pocket and apporached Robert with an unsure smile. "Excuse me, are you Robert Moye?"
Dylan turns back to Forest and Cale at the words, his curiosity (as usual) winning over the good sense to pretend he's not seeing or hearing anything. His expression is openly inquisitive but he at least has the good sense to keep his mouth shut. His eyes flicker towards Robert as the man rises and then he's staring at the two of them again, head tilted a bit to the side and a certain subdued but predatory excitement glittering in his eyes and in his scent. Whatever's going on, it's certainly not boring. His twitches a bit as Juno speaks but doesn't /quite/ look away.
Cale furrows his brow with an air of bemusement, lingering for a moment before it clears back to his neutral expression and he gets up and quietly turns to go towards the counter himself. He glances at Robert as he gets there, but doesn't say anything except to order the brownie. It's a simple transaction and trade of money for confection before he brings it back and offers it to Forest without yet sitting again.
Forest sits in the chair that Cale vacated and once Cale brings him the brownie, Forest takes it and starts to eat it, eyes on Cale until he finishes the brownie. Then he nods to the chair on the other side of Dylan, his display over. Turning his attention to Dylan he strikes up a conversation, "So,how are you finding Chicago Dylan?"
Juno's question draws that serious gaze to her, and Robert studies her for a moment before he replies. "I am." He receives his coffee and gives the server an abrupt nod of acknowledgement before returning his gaze to Juno. "Can I help you in some way?" The question encourages her to speak, in case his impassive features do not.
Dylan's eyebrows go up and he nods in comprehension. Tribute. That's simple enough. And a lack of debate about it too. He smirks faintly. Looking back to Forest at the question, his expression and tone are deadpan as he says, "Oh, I just follow road signs and get here eventually." And then in actual answer to the question, "I'm enjoying myself. It's different. And, of course, there are things I need to get done. But I like the energy. If not the smell. And the company is good." A pause and then another segue into that droll tone, "If occasionally eclectic."
Juno smiles "I hope so and I'm sorry to bother you" She pauses then seeming unsure how to proceed "I, I am in town visiting and have.." She pauses and considers her words, the pale eyes flicking side to side. She looks back to Robert starting again. "Do you know a woman named Etana?"
Cale lingers for a moment where he stands before he goes around the table to the seat indicated, His current work left where he left it. The notebook has several tech school courses in computer security and high-level database programming printed out with requisite dates and costs, though only about four have been picked out of the list. After he's settled, his eyes go to the notebook and other things, but after a moment he decides to leave them there for now, his hands folding together atop the table as he sits quietly.
Juno's question gains her Robert's full attention, a steady consideration as he tilts his head. For a moment, he considers her in silence. "Why do you ask?" Robert's voice is soft, but the low rumble is coming from his chest, a deep sound. "I rarely give out information to strangers." There is a dry note in his voice, as he lifts one eyebrow.
Forest grins at Dylan's answer, seeming to find the man amusing at least. "You said you're from Mexico and then California? I'd imagine this snow is driving you mad then." He picks up his coffee and sips at the hot liquid as he speaks with Dylan, taking note of Cale's silence and gazing a little at the notebooks before him.
Dylan shakes his head and says, "No, sir. Actually I'm kind of loving it a little. It makes everything brighter in more ways than one." He taps the side of his nose as if indicating that he finds the way that the snow buries scents and leaves the new ones stronger on the air interesting. A gesture that wouldn't mean much of anything to a human. "And, ah, doing a little exploring in it was fun yesterday. It makes for a challenging run." He pauses for a moment as though checking his answer for completeness and then adds, "Though I think I'm going to want taller boots." Which assumes a couple of things but his shrug and slight head tilt towards Forest cede him the authority in those matters and suggest that Dylan is keeping that authority in mind.
Juno nods her head "I respect that, and it's part of my problem, trusting a stranger. I need some help I think, and she's offered it, but I've just met her." She puzzles her eyebrows, eyes flicking around. "And I saw your interview in the paper; you seem like a honest caring guy. So like, I was wondering if you knew her, and had any.." She ponders a word then adds "opinion?"
Robert takes a slow breath, letting it out in a soft sigh. "I see." He settles onto a stool, reaching for his coffee, taking a swig before he speaks. "What help do you need that she may offer you?" The question is soft, and the woman has his full attention, his gaze resting on her face thoughtfully.
Juno smiles with a bit of apprehension, slipping back into her seat. She speaks quietly and clearly unsurely, the first few words are tentative then as if someone pulled the plug they spill out in a quick rush "I, I got bitten in the desert outside of Vegas, and well, like Hyena are not a native species so. I have this freakin fever and I know the stitches are not infected, they tried to convince me at the hospital it must have been a coyote, and while I'm clueless, i can tell the difference between a coyote and hyena" She stops for a quick inhale "I saw her one the news too. She says I shouldn't be alone when the full moon comes, in case. And I've just met the women and I have no idea what to do, she seems nice but" the color drains her he cheeks a bit.
Forest grins at Dylan and nods, "I grew up in this kind of weather, snow can be a lot of fun. You ever been out skiing or snowmobiling? Great fun those." His eyes turn once again to Cale, a nod given to the notebooks on the table. "Anything interesting going on here? Taking a class or something?"
Cale glances towards Robert and Juno as Forest and Dylan speak, though he doesn't linger long on the looking. Listening, perhaps. His attention moves back to the two at his table, but this doesn't seem to interest him either, thus his eyes lower slightly and he starts to consider some things. The air of thought about him tangible enough as he leaves the talking to others for the moment. Until he's addressed. His eyes lift and he is quiet for a moment before he says, "Just exploring ideas. Which take money that I don't really have right now." There is the feel of 'more to say', but he seems reluctant to elaborate.
Robert listens, his expression neutral but his energy is warm, gently offering support to the woman as she talks. He nods slowly, the incline of his head an acknowledgement of her words and he takes a moment before he responds. "You should not be alone on the full moon. However, you have options if you do not feel the Oba would suit your needs." His voice is low, kept to themselves as much as he can, considering his words carefully. "In the meantime, there is also a matter of healing. The fever will exhaust you and make you ill. There is a clinic you can go to, where there are others who will be in the same position. Otherwise, the Independents are another option. Their leader takes all manner of creature." The color drain brings a lifting of one eyebrow, questioning her silently.
Dylan shakes his head and says, "Nope. I've generally lived by the rule that strapping my feet to a plank and daring gravity to do its worst was tempting fate in the worst possible way." He laughs quietly and says, "But I guess there's nothing stopping me now." He looks back to Cale when Forest questions him and then glances between the two of them, eyebrows lifting fractionally. He makes a quiet offer, "Should I get lost so you two can discuss business?"
Forest nods to Cale then rises to his feet, "Come on you two, we have things to do and discuss." He picks up his coffee and moves to the counter to get a refill, nodding to Robert once again before he moves to the door, expecting for Dylan and Cale to follow.
Juno runs her hand along her forehead "Yeah, I feel like I have the flu from hell. And i keep hoping it gets better but it's not. " She smiles a bit sheepishly "Sorry, I'm just going crazy with all this in my head. Etana seems nice, and she's been very helpful, explaining things to me. But it seems, I don't know, reckless to just trust a stranger. A clinic, really?"
Cale looks back to Forest as he speaks, then simply rises from his chair moving around to gather up his things. The collection of notebook, course catalogue and tech mags slid into the weathered pack that was beside the chair. He's still not got much to say, but he will be following forest once his jacket is back on and the bag is slung over his shoulder. Though there will be a soft tension about him and how he walks.
Dylan stands smoothly to follow Forest. His expression is, as usual, both curious and faintly amused. He stops to give Robert a respectful nod and a bit of an overly-familiar wave and grin before exiting. And then he's following the other two, picking up enough tension to add spring to his step.
"The clinic is for Preternaturals, to help them with that period. I have a young man there at the moment who may become a wolf. I am due to visit him if you wish to go along with me." The offer is given neutrally, carefully, his gaze thoughtful. As the others rise to leave, he gives a quick nod, an acknowledgement. "It would be wise to seek the healing there, and be safe."
She is quiet a minute, eyes on her half eaten brownie. She looks back to Robert and nods, a waves of relief seems to lossen some tension in her shoulders. "Sure, that'd be great, thanks" She looks at the others leaving. "I didn't mean to interrupt you with your friends"
Robert glances across, following the departing men with his gaze. "I think our conversation was over. It has given me an interesting insight into their group, however." He withdraws his wallet, taking out a note and leaving it on the counter. Enough to cover their drinks, food and a tip. "Shall we go and visit my soon to be wolf?" His tone is dry, as if the person visited might not relish his company.
Juno grabs up her coat and stuffs the tourist guide into an inner pocket. "Sure, thanks again" She pulls the coat on, doing up the zipper, she leaves money for her coffee. "Oh, I'm Juno, sorry" She offers out her hand
St.Rumon Health Center: Exam Room 1 - North Avenue: East
Dark blue tile and pale blue paint make this examination room look like any other. Against the wall at the door's side, there's a counter, cabinets above and beneath, along with a small sink for washing one's hands. In the middle of the room stands the examination table, a spread of white paper that crinkles at the touch marking it from head to foot. There are two chairs that sit against the wall, a rolling stool for the doctor's use, along with a powerful spotlight that sits in the corner. A couple of abstract paintings hang on the wall giving a bit of upbeat color to this otherwise sedate room, a minimalist wooden cross hanging alongside them.
Little has changed for Damien. At least, in this moment in time. He lies on his bed, covered with just a thin sheet and in one of those pale hospital gowns. Sweating faintly and distinctly uncomfortable in expression. Though his thoughts are elsewhere. A soft, distracted glaze to his eyes, which linger on a random object in the room. For now all is quiet, he with it.
Robert takes Juno's hand, offering a quick, wry smile, "And you have my name." Then he leads her to his SUV, driving them to the hospital. Here he leads directly to Damien's room, tapping on the door before he opens it. "Damien. I have brought someone with me. If you wish, she can wait outside but I felt it may be helpful for you two to meet." The man's voice is low, as he reaches for a chair, moving it to sit next to Damien.
An aura of nervousness surrounds Juno like a halo. Once inside she tugs her coat off, fingers wiping at her damp forehead. She reaches into a pocket and the sound of a phone powering off is heard. She looks at the guy on the bed, an off kilter smile offered. "hi"
Damien flicks his eyes towards the door in a snap when its knocked upon. His expression firming when Robert enters. And brings a friend. There is a wariness about the man as he considers them both, lingering a bit in considering Juno. A measured silence comes before he decides on his response. "I guess that depends why you think meeting her would help me." Obviously the intent is in doubt and it wouldn't he hard to note a light rise in the wariness as he now lingers in considering Robert.
"Because you are both in the same situation." Robert's voice is low, thoughtful as he settles in the chair, considering Damien. "Damien, this is Juno. Juno, this is Damien. How are you feeling today, Damien?" He pauses for a moment, considering the other man briefly in silence. "I felt that meeting someone in the same position is useful."
Juno looks to the floor as the two exchange words. The pale eyes showing the clear emotion of hoping a hole opens under her that she can fall through. She hugs her jacket to her chest, flicking her eyes up curiously. "I can go, if you want" She half turns to the door, showing she means it
"I feel like shit," Damien tells Robert in all blunt honesty. "But other than that I'm fine." His tone not combative per say.. just annoyed. It would be noted his left shoulder and neck have bandages, but only those about his neck have slight traces of red beneath the surface. But those are slight. He turns his attention on Juno, then says, "Stay if you want, I don't mind." Though his tone doesn't soften exactly. "So who or what got you?"
"Damien is not my biggest fan." He comments softly, dryly, glancing towards Juno and back to Damien. "I am sorry you are feeling like shit, Damien. It will pass." He leans forward, resting his elbows onto his knees, hands together, considering Damien thoughtfully. "Have you thought of other questions?"
Juno nods her head, the eyes looking a bit lost. "I ah, got bitten by a Hyena, outside if Vegas, just like a day or two after the last full moon. And, Hyena are not a normal Nevada species. A friend said that maybe a clan out there was out with a new member who mistook me for a snack in the dark." She shifts the hold of her coat, tugging up the pant leg of her jeans to show a bandage wrap around her calf. "20 stickes and I feel like I freakin have a flu and a half'
Damien glances at Robert with a faint smirk and no denial. "Nothing that matters right now. Maybe if this takes, but otherwise, I don't' really want to know what goes on." He then considers Juno, his head twisting just a bit to glance down at the leg. "At least you have the leg still. Probably going to come out of this with some battle scars." He lifts his right hand to prod at his neck gingerly, eyes flicked downward slightly.
"Then if this takes, I may have answers for you. In the meantime, I shall arrange for Juno here to be admitted to the clinic. If this is what you wish for, Juno?" Robert turns to look at her, lifting an eyebrow questioningly. "You will be safer and more comfortable between now and the Full Moon here, and receive the treatment you need." Stated as fact, as he rises, moving the chair back to its position.
Juno walks closer, curiosity winning out over awkwardness. She runs her eyes along Damien's neck. And shoulder. She tilts her head a bit. "Really, you don't want to know, damn, I asked questions for like two hours. I hate heading into anything unprepared. So, what happened to you?" She looks to Robert and nods "Yeah, It's probably for the best. I feel more like shit everyday"
"A few of my friends hassled the wrong guy," Damien replies to Juno on his own arrival to this state. He then levels his gaze on her, adding, "I don't want to know the inner workings of him and his friends." His head tilting towards Robert for a moment. "I've spent my life trying to keep out of shifter business. Because if you get involved in it, you get in between a lot of people who can make you dead without breaking a sweat. The less I know, if this doesn't take, the better I'll be. There will be time enough to learn shit if I change. If I don't, then I don't have to worry about him worrying if I might say something that will make him have to darken my doorstep again." He relaxes back and adds, "Besides, if you change, you're going in no matter what. Not like you have much a choice."
Robert returns the nod and steps out of the room, leaving them to speak alone for a long period. Outside, his voice can be heard as a low rumble, discussing details with the staff.
Juno nods her head "Yeah, the worst part is not knowing, I'd rather just know now, have it be done with." She shrugs a shoulder, eyes flicking to Robert then back to Damien. "I guess i'm just glad people will help, I'd hate to hurt anyone if i do change. Have someone else has to go through this, cause it sucks" She sighs softly "Well, good luck"
"Luck will be if I come out of this without having to deal with.. whatever," Damien replies, frowning faintly. "And the way he talks, they won't let you hurt anyone. Bad for business. So you're either on board or you're a liability. At least, that's what he says. But hey, at least you have a choice." A certain sarcasm noted in his tone. "But whatever happens, its just another challenge. That's all life likes to throw at you."
Robert's return is quiet and he gives Damien a quick nod at his words. "Juno, you are all booked in. You have a room next door." He glances between the pair, tilting his head. "I believe you will speak more easily without my company. Damien, you have my card." He reaches for his wallet again, offering a card to Juno. "And you do too now, should you need me."
Juno nods to Damien "I got a think maybe a less hard version of that" She looks to Robert and nods, taking the card. "Thanks again. For the help" She smiles and tucks the card into her coat pocket.
Damien shrugs his shoulders slightly. "Some people get the ass end of things. Some people get the silver spoon, some people get the middle. And where you start ain't always where you end. I'm not complaining. Just stating the way of things. You learn fast that life ain't fair. Once you accept that, you're better than everyone who doesn't get it yet." His eyes flick to Robert and he says, "You can stay if you want. You know I'm not going to go easy on things just cause you're here. Not how I roll."
"I would be surprised if you gave me an easy time, Damien." Robert's voice holds a note of dry humor, a flicker of affectionate teasing for the younger man in his words. "Life is not fair. This is true. But I think Juno might share her experiences more easily without me, and I certainly should do some work." He reaches out, offering Damien a hand, oddly formal as he takes his leave.
Juno listens, quiet, her cheeks blush a touch pink at the silver spoon comment. "I don't expect life to be fair or unfair, it just is. To think that it is unfair would mean your never happy, and with that in mind i might slit my own wrists" She chuckles softly, then looking to Robert. "It won't bother me if you stay, but in understand if you are busy, thanks again, for listening, it was a pleasure to meet you"
Damien takes a few moments to consider Robert, his expression lingering in it's simple dour state. Then he snaps his hand out to grip the hand. Not a light taking, but a quick, firm grip that gives the sound of flesh to flesh. The grip itself firm, but companionably so, rather than testing. Well, perhaps just a bit testing. He's strong for a human, which might be a given considering his size. Of course, he has no illusions. After a bit he releases the grip and looks at Juno. "Not fair only means you can't trust that anything will last. Because no matter who you are, life can throw something at you that will take it all away. Maybe it won't, but you won't know until its too late. That's why its unfair. Cause you've got no one to complain to when that happens and no do overs. You just have to man up and deal with it."
The testing is met easily, but Robert's grip doesn't force the point, his own hand calloused and strong. "I will see you tomorrow, Damien." A promise, and a nod, before he turns to Juno. "I hope that this works out for you. It was my pleasure." Again, his voice is low, the rumble warm as he turns to the door, leaving them alone.