|Synopsis||Erana and Joey enjoy a quiet dinner at the Sentry cafeteria, complete with -- kale.|
The cafeteria of Sentry Tower is currently filled with several different workers, all eagerly talking, eating, and relaxing after a long day of catering to tourists. Most of the personnel have gone for the day, it's just the night crew currently that are sticking around, or those wanting to grab something for dinner before making their own way home.
The night crew is also here, security guards, custodians, and those that enjoy a more quiet office environment in the labs and work shops.
It's also the time of night that one Fusion of Sentry, has taken to getting a dinner 'in'. Yet, for Erana, she's been pulled aside by Sentry's own nutritionist and given a 'special' meal for the evening.
"Kale?" The question is posed with a great deal of a wrinkling to Fusion's nose, as her gaze moves from the plate, to the older woman standing in front of Erana. "Seriously. Kale?" Once again, Erana's voice rises just a tiny notch as her gaze flickers to the contents of her current 'dinner'.
The nutritionist's not at all deterred by Era's question, merely smiling brightly as she gestures towards the other options, which include a variety of vegetables, lettuce and one other thing, which the woman offers, globing a large amount onto Erana's plate. "And quinoa."
As this futile war of flavor versus fitness plays out, a chipper voice calls from the entrance to the cafeteria as one Joey Griffin makes his way up to the food line. "Kale and quinoa??" The tone is equal parts amused and incredulous, though the grin that's spread over his features is clearly slanted towards the amused side of things. "You must not have been tipping the wait staff well enough," he quips, before giving the nutritionist a winning smile. "Heya, Midge! Glad you're still here - you still do that great bread pudding of yours for the holidays? The *best*." He chats up the lady for a moment before his schmoozing earns him a plate of cheesy pasta, garlic toast and seasoned fries, all of which smells delightfully decadent.
Fairly pleased with himself, Joey moves with Era towards one of the open tables, whispering under his breath, "Bread and fries are yours if you want 'em. Way more than I'll eat anyways," and then adopts a more conversational tone as he sets his food down on the table surface and slips into his chair. "Lady L's made some improvements since I left. Love the museum downstairs, great idea." It's just small talk for right now, as the brown-haired hero keeps one eye on the building staff that's in the room to make sure that no-one's too close to eavesdrop before turning the conversation to more sensitive or classified matters. "Security's tighter too. I like it."
As Joey dotes on the nutritionist, Midge, Erana's gaze is still on her plate of food. One golden 'fork' idly pushing the green pieces of kale around a bit, while Era's gaze offers the look of one that might be gazing down at a pile of steaming ... stuff. Quite sure that Joey will be getting the exact same thing that she is, Erana's expression of smugness dissolves into one of pure disbelief as Midge not only dotes back on Joey, but gives him a load of delightful smelling carbs.
Before Joey whispers about giving Erana his 'bread and fries', the white haired heroine lets out a low, quiet grumbling note. "I hate you." Not that she means it, but dammit all!
Even Joey's reassurance that his 'fries and bread' will be given to Erana does not deter the girl from grumbling all the way over to the table and sitting down with a huff of disgust.
The 'shop talk' is given a few mumbled noises of 'uh-huh', and 'mm-hmm', and 'yeah it's nice', followed by, 'needed'. While Erana moves the food around on her plate some, staring down at her 'feast' with an expression of pure hatred.
Rolling her eyes, Erana begins to idly munch on the dinner, returning the shop talk finally with more than a few uttered, grunted words. "With all of these incursions happening, we had to be more careful. There are more than just civilians entering, there are powered individuals too."
Using a real fork - as he can't just make ones out of thin air like *some* people, Joey takes a bite or two of his cheesy pasta before he realizes that Era hasn't nabbed any of his fries or the garlic toast yet. "Seriously," he notes to her, "I'm really not going to have any of this." He then physically takes the garlic toast and sets it over on Era's plate, though is duly careful not to let the treat touch any of the offending kale or quinoa. Not that the quinoa looks or smells all that bad. The kale, on the other hand...
He takes another forkful of pasta, chewing and swallowing before he nods to the grunts and utterances that are coming back to him. "Powered individuals? Seriously?" His eyebrows lift with the comment - clearly, this is news to Joey and he has yet to encounter any himself. "Makes sense though, I guess," he muses. "Ugh. Just when you think you've got a read on the meta human population, something happens and throws it all on its ear." A quiet sigh. "Let's just hope that most of them are good guys. I don't want to find out what the capacity of the Hole is by overloading it..."
After Joey takes another bite of his pasta, he glances again to Era, frowning at the dour expression and manner of the girl, even after she's seemed to make peace with Midge's dietary discipline. He seems to ponder for just a beat or two, gears almost visibly turning in his head, before he asks. "Hey. Did you want to skip this and head down to Stanley's Pizza and get a couple of slices? My treat, we can even swing past The Scoop for dessert."
Casting a skeptical gaze at the toast, Erana lets it set there for a bit, listening instead to Joey talk. At the last, Erana lets out a quiet laugh, sitting back in her chair to take a drink of the water in front of her. "Always a hero, huh Airman? Trying to rescue a damsel in distress?" Her jovial smile is there, wide and bemused, even as Erana shakes her head, white-silver hair bounding haphazardly about her shoulders as she does so. "Raincheck. Maybe, yeah? Really this isn't as bad as it seems." Her golden fork idly takes a few more stabs at the meal, as Erana chews it around some.
"A few of the STRAY sites are talking about the introduction of powered individuals, you know that during the process, people don't -have- to divulge that information, but a few have." With another bite down, half of Era's plate is now gone, and she takes this opportunity to pluck up the bread and nibble on it a bit. "Thanks for this." She offers then, lifting the bread up and then back down.
"Evidently during one invasion in Canada, Beaconites had to deal with a powered individual who could and would not be stopped. The Steamroller or something like that. When the incursion faded, he and everything there went with it, thankfully. He was immune to telepathy, too. I was reading the write-up about it that Beacon sent. Nasty sounding. At this point, nothing is going to surprise me that might come through." The bread is soon gone as Erana idly gazes at her garlic covered fingers, and thinks better of it, wiping them on her napkin.
"We probably should do another press conference soon - how has social media been?" Erana's grey eyes lift upwards, scanning Joey's face then as she asks the last question.
"Guilty as charged," Joey answers the 'hero' comment with a charming smile, accompanying the expression with a playful wink before he returns back to his own food. He's making pretty good progress on the pasta, and as Era hasn't opted to grab any of the fries takes the opportunity to pluck one up, scoop some extra cheese sauce onto the tip, and plop it into his mouth to chew and swallow. "And, I'll keep you to that raincheck."
He listens, then, as the silver-haired girl details the latest on STRAYs and Incursions, his expression turning serious as she describes the situation up in Canada. "Man." That's all he can say at first, shaking his head. "I'll have to read that report. Codex or someone is trying to figure out more about where these anomalies are coming from, I hope..." He munches on another fry, then another, before washing them down with some ice water.
At the mention of press conferences and social media, Joey nods once. "Yeah, you're right, couldn't hurt..." His mouth quirks just a bit at the question of social media though, betraying his displeasure with the state of the team's online presence. "A mess," he answers. "I can't believe no one was even monitoring the social media accounts after Will left. I mean, he wasn't the most prolific on there, but..." He shakes his head once, a bit of a rueful smile creeping onto his features. "Well, I've been sorting through everything. People have noticed that both he and Lynna haven't been seen with the group, and there's been questions. I haven't issued a response yet, but if we're setting up a press conference it'll be easy to announce it through Twitter and Facebook and all that as well as the regular news channels."
Joey pauses another moment, turning to regard Era seriously. "Erana..." he begins, both his tone and the use of the woman's full name indicating the weightiness of what he's about to say. "I know you want me to be the leader of the group, that you think having a founder at the helm is what the group needs, and I know I said that I'd do it. But I'm still not convinced I'm the right fit. I've watched some of the tapes and read some of the case files and you're more ready for this than you think. I'll be happy to be the face of the team, run the press conferences and do all of that stuff. But when it comes to fighting the bad guys or making the hard choices of who goes where and does what?" He levels his gaze on Erana, eyebrows lifting the barest amount. "That's not my strength, and I think everyone here knows it."
"Lynna will be easy." Erana begins, avoiding the last question for the moment for the easier ones. She's eaten more than half of her meal, the rest is shoved to one side out of her way in favor of sliding her glass of water closer. "She's returned to her people to help with the incursions causing trouble there." An easy thing just to say, so Erana believes, a sip of her water taken again, before her gaze flickers about the room.
The dinner rush has all but faded now, as people leave the cafeteria in favor of their jobs, or heading off back to their homes. Only a few custodians are about cleaning up the tables, chairs, floor, and other duties. Everyone is doing their own thing, leaving Erana able to talk freely enough with Joey as they slowly devour their meal.
"Will - not going to be so easy." She offers, one hand running splayed again through her hair, before lowering to wrap about her glass. "We'll have to be - very careful - in how we handle things. The last thing we need is a public panic. Those that need to know, know. Sentry does. Eagle knows. Codex - because he and Will worked on things together, not even the rest of Beacon knows. So when we do our press conference, you'll need to have something ready for any question that arises."
And then, Erana settles back in her chair again, casting grey eyes onto Joey. "We'll see how it goes. I've been in that position, but it's just been Zara and I. We've worked together for so long, it's easy for us to almost know what the other is going to do. If." Erana pauses. "When we add more to Sentry, I wont be... nice. I know my strengths and I know my weaknesses, and I expect a lot from those under me, and I can't trust anyone new until I get to know them, and ..." Shaking her head, Erana's expression turns a bit sour. "Woe be to anyone we add that doesn't do what I tell them to in the field. We can always put it up for a vote, between us three. Who's the best leader, and basically leave it to Zara to make the tie breaker?" The question is given with a sly grin. Who WOULD Zara choose?
"Yeah, we're gonna have spin something really careful for Will," Joey agrees with a quiet exhale. He, too, finishes up his plate, though it's mostly empty save for a handful of fries and a few bites of the pasta. It's pushed away as he takes another sip of his own water, shaking his head lightly afterwards. "Sequestered himself researching maybe..." he ponders, before a sudden chuckle erupts out of his throat. "Too bad he never got the refraction-based hologram system working, or whatever it was he called it. The one that would make holograms that you couldn't tell were holograms. Just drop one of those in the press briefing and boom, problem solved." Though, the cheeky grin on Joey's features indicate that he knows it really wouldn't be just that simple. Ah, but only if it was...
"No, we'll figure something out," he finally states with no small amount of resignation. Brass Ring has been the leader and the face of Sentry for so long, it really will be difficult to explain his absence without causing any alarm, and Joey knows it. He's just as willing to turn the topic to who'll take up the field leader duties in Will's absence, though, smiling again. "Oh, like there'd be any contest. She doesn't even know me. You, worked with with tons." And he certainly doesn't seem upset in the least that he believes Zara would clearly opt for Erana as field leader. "And, hey, I get it. Will expected everyone to give a hundred and ten and to snap to when he laid out plans, and to follow those plans without hesitation. I trusted that he knew what he was doing, though, and I trust you too." He pauses then, a slightly reminiscent look on his features. "I trusted Punch Lion also, but... He was a little more laid back in how he did things." Another grin turns up the corners of Joey's mouth. "Different group dynamic completely."
"Having a comedian for a leader would lead to a greatly different atmosphere." Erana offers with a dry tone to her voice. "Versus having Brass Ring as a leader. Though, he did teach me a lot, something I've always been proud to say." Erana's gaze flickers towards one of the workers as he comes about, collecting up Erana and Joey's plates and trays, before disappearing again with a quiet smile.
"We can see how things go, in the field and out of it, especially once we start adding new members in." With a shake of her head, Erana rises upwards, "Anyway I'm going to head out, get a work-out in, especially if Midge is going to be giving me these kinds of meals. Evidently she's considering me a little unfit."
With a roll of her eyes, Erana turns about and begins to head towards the elevator. She pauses a moment, casting her gaze back at Joey. "Good to have you back, Airman." And then heads on through.