1964-06-21 - Viva Inhumans!
Summary: Karnak finds an unaware Inhuman. Vesper finds a lot of questions don't have answers.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
karnak vesper 

It is a warm summer evening in the heart of the City. Masses of people crowd the sidewalks, on their way home, or perhaps to a nice restaurant or other business to indulge in their favored vice, be it gluttony or lust or some combination thereof. Except for one person. A woman, wearing a dark green jacket with the hood pulled over her head, her loose-fitting white pants somewhat distinct as she leans against a wall, watching the people moving past her on the sidewalk with no small amount of disdain. Her eyes continually flicker, never focusing on one specific person for long as occasionally a snort of some negative intent escapes her lips.

A young lady with a rather large hat has stopped at a food cart to refresh her water. She has spent a fair bit of time outside and it may show in her slightly pink arms and the quietly tired way she carries herself. There are a few scratches inflicted by tiny claws on her shoulders, meaning her purse rides on the other side. Even this is cause to be a bit tired. She rests her head against a light pole while she waits for the refill. There's a bit of a line for hot dogs and chips, so the wait is fair.

Karnak looks bored. Possibly her most dangerous emotional state. Then she spies out Vesper, eyes narrowing as there's something about the movements, the shifting that seems out of place. Most people would think Vesper was just a normal person.

However, Karnak is not most people. Curious, she slips away from the wall, navigating fluidly through the crowds until she stands next to Vesper, saying simply, "What are you doing?" A simple question, with multiple levels of meaning.

Most people are not poisoned by the very air they breathe. Most people do not carry a toxin load worthy of the survivor of a Calcutta or Manila slum. The Industrial Revolution is personally alive and very unwell for Vesper. She manages well in hiding it. A handkerchief blots her lips when the stirrings of a cough appear. Lungs flutter. Throat closes. Those big sunglasses and the hat help conceal her opinion to all this.

The handkerchief hasn't fully dropped from her chin when someone asks out of the blue. "I…" French, by the accent. Her gaze averts. "They serve food and drink here. I will pay for the water."

Karnak nods, "Of course. The most apparent level of questioning. An acceptable response." She might almost sound amused, but her expression remains perfectly neutral, "I admit to not having had the food of this place yet, it seems… disorderly." Her nose wrinkles a bit, as even she seems to take a measure of comfort in the presence of another Inhuman. Even if she would never admit it to herself.

The French woman speaks perfectly decent English, just not the English of New York streets. Put her in a more posh environment. Decidedly England English as a good beginning. Her manners befit the iron fist of a governess' care. "It is good to meet you." Vesper falls back on the familiar. Her intransigent politeness will not bend. "The food is popular. Not something I eat so I cannot comment on its quality." It's not particularly in her to stare. The tattoos or marks are unfamiliar. Even wearing the sunglasses, her eyes stay averted. "Bread and meat, very safe and organised enough. You ask and pay. The food is given to you."

Now there's a smile, "Though matters of 'safe' vary, of course. What is safe for some is not so much for others, is it? It seems wise of you not to partake at the moment, though." She lowers her voice, a knowing tone in her words as she says, "Inhumans do not enjoy the same tolerance of toxins in this place that the humans have defiled the world with, after all." She makes sure to not be overheard, giving Vesper a knowing look.

Vesper nods to the sentiments expressed. "I do not care for boiled sausage. The texture lacks much to redeem it," she says, and probably earns the ire and vitriol of all Central Europe. Vienna and Berlin can stuff it. Her face blanches at the rest of the statement and she starts, stepping into the queue. It's down to only two people, the person in front demanding ketchup for his hotdog. She holds out her bottle, arm shaking slightly. "Who are you?"

The woman does smile at that. Not a nice smile, really, though there's no specific malice in it. Just… a lack of any caring whatsoever, an absence of emotion in the gesture as she speaks, "I am called the Shatterer by some, though my name is Karnak." Her eyes study Vesper closely, even as her voice stays very low, barely able to be heard by Vesper much less those nearby, "I am studying this city, when I saw you, and realized what you are. Or at least the surface level of that."

The vendor doesn't likely speak great English but he knows coins when he sees them. Two nickels and her water is filled from a pitcher full of melting ice. He mops his face with a towel and looks at Karnak in expectation the woman might spend money somewhere. With him.

The conversation keeps Vesper's back stiff and her shoulders in a line. Her easygoing if modest bearing buttons up tighter than an East Soviet army checkpoint. Tremors strike her shoulders to her back and sink low. Her mouth clamps tightly into a line as she listens. Can't shut off your ears. "I don't know this name." Honest, even if it's unclear.

Karnak doesn't care what the vendor thinks, apparently, as she follows along with Vesper, "Well, I have been… how is it said, out of touch? But that is a situation that I intend to remedy." Once the vendor is out of immediate hearing range, she then looks back to Vesper, "Whom do you know of our people?"

"I… I don't," Vesper replies. The stutter cracks as she tries to find her voice louder than a whisper. It betrays her, utterly, refusing to allow that to be. Damn throat! Her fingers push her hair over her ears. The hat makes this gesture unnecessary. "I am sorry. I do not know anything there. Not useful."

The smile fades, replaced by a frown, "You will learn, I am certain. Though things are in greater disorder than I believed." Her eyes flicker back and forth as she studies the city with disdain, then looks back to Vesper, "I shall need to reach the others here. They are here, that much I know."

The vendor hands back her water and Vesper takes the bottle. She checks the straw. Swirling it around gives a good distraction for her. The disdain Karnak displays strikes her like an open palm to her cheek. Shying away a little, she might shrink into herself a little more. "How can blame be given for ignorance? Does the one unaware of the fact bear the penalty and expectation of penance?"

Karnak frowns, "The weakness of this society, this city, is too readily apparent, if you have the discipline to see it." She seems to have no concern about Vesper's reaction to her words, "Ignorance can be overcome. Willful ignorance cannot. It shall be seen which kind these people have." Her eyes flicker to Vesper, "You have potential. If you do not allow yourself to be distracted."

"I do not think to fail," says Vesper. Her hat balances neatly upon her head. A push of the brim gives it an even better angle with which to show up French fashion. The straw is placed against her lips and she sips the liquid as a good countereffect to the heat of the day. "Discipline to … see, the weakness. What then does someone do with it?"

"You will fail. Everyone fails. What matters is what you learn from the failure." Karnak glances at the hat with morbid curiosity, then looks directly at Vesper, "You see the weakness. In everything. Everyone. You know their flaws, the flaws in everything." There might be a hint of bitterness there, though it is pretty well concealed.

The laugh from the woman is quiet. One of those peculiar, profoundly quiet noises that has more to vibration than actual soundwaves. Her shoulders do not move much. "I am a scientist." Unlikely as that could be in the Sixties in America. Bold claim to make. "I of course see the imperfect. I look at the structure. I see the whole, the flaws and the beauty. Nature abhors perfection. It innovates. It changes, yes? The structure is not the same always and the small flaw makes something profound. A butterfly's colours, a new hybrid of flower. Humanity. How many times has the eye come to be, again and again? I must see the flaws to correct them."

Karnak nods slightly, "You do have a basic understanding, then. Yes." She actually smiles, looking somewhat pleased at that answer from Vesper, then she notes, "You did not tell me your name. An unnecessary label, but still a practical one." She looks thoughtful at Vesper's answer, hmming softly as she tilts her head, considering the other possibilities.

Science, the antidote to all fears. Most of them anyways. Vesper nods. "I am Vesper Mezieres." She dabs her hand on her handkerchief, that tucked away in her purse. It will do to remove the moisture. It is not common to shake hands where she is from. Here they do it far too much. She holds out her hand. "A biology researcher at New York University. You do something different?"

The woman stares at the hand blankly for a moment, then clasps it firmly with her fingers, as if taking a moment to recognize the gesture. "I am Karnak, Magister of the Tower of Wisdom." She says that, as if that explains everything about her, which… well, it just might. "I know little of science, save that it works."

How one knows little of science and much of wisdom… Vesper might be familiar with puzzling through this. Cambridge experience helps. Age-old religious-based school and cutting edge science sit side by side. She slowly nods. "Where is a Tower of Wisdom?"

Karnak actually chuckles at that, "One might answer that it is a matter of perspective. Though in truth, it is far from this place, at least the physical location. But you are always there once you have the mind for it." She hmms, "And what science do you practice?"

The Gallic understatement keeps her from speaking with anything like pride. Very quietly Vesper says, "Biology most of all. Other fields as they join. A necessity to know something of chemistry, physics, as they interact with my field often. Medicine is another form." She has hard work to put those all in simplified terms. "Astronomy, biological ethics, sometimes a touch of planetary science, botany.""

Her head tilts slightly, "Biological ethics? Explain that, please." She sounds somewhat intrigued by that idea, regarding Vesper with an intense gaze.

"In simple terms, examining the morality of all actions in the life sciences." Vesper spends a few moments compiling her thoughts into something that feels a bit more salient than repeated from a dusty journal or textbook. "In a broader sense, a critical examination for ethical standards upon matters like health policies, responsible activity, the implications of technology and the sciences."

Karnak nods slowly, "I see, actually. Yes, it is not too dissimilar from what I do, I suppose. You analyze a system, an ethical system, and determine the effects and causes of things. In the real world, which can be far different than mere theory would teach you." She hmms, "Is that somewhat accurate?"

"It must be more accurate. We cannot see all ends, but a failure to observe the possible interaction and grapple with the difficulties does a disservice," Vesper sighs quietly at that. "You said you were seeking someone. People?"

Karnak hmms, "I am… not familiar with this society. I wished to see its weaknesses and values, to see where it could be unraveled should it prove a threat to us." She pauses, and looks over at Vesper, "I was not expecting to see another here, at least not of the Royal Family. Of which there are some here as well, from my understanding."

"The royal family? London is that way." Vesper points over her shoulder. "You are about two hundred years too late, I am sorry to say. They are long gone from these shores."

Karnak shakes her head, "Not any human royalty… Inhuman royalty. I see you have a lot of learn about our people after all." She frowns, glancing carefully at Vesper. "What do you know about what you are?"

"I know you keep calling me an inhuman, which would be… it sounds not that you intend to offend me? I am assuming this. Generally I know something inhuman to be 'not human,' and often describedin behaviour. Am I so strange?" Vesper asks this quietly, her head tilted back. The glasses want to slide down her nose.

Karnak ahs, "It is not an insult. It is who you are. It is who I am. And certain others of us." She tilts her head, then suddenly she turns, "If you wish to learn more about yourself, you should ask more questions. I can only teach those that ask proper questions."

"Why a system of royalty when such is hardly common in this period of history?" Vesper is a scientist by trade. By education she is far more than the sum of hypothesis and question. She can dig deep into those requirements as bid to obtain an understanding beyond the obvious. "How were their whereabouts unknown? Is there something that sets them apart from the common people other than status? You do not look the same as I. Is it a custom of which I am unaware?"

Karnak tilts her head, "Hardly common now, perhaps, but it is quite common when we first started. It makes the most sense after all." She smiles faintly, "And our whereabouts were unknown because we knew how humans would react. Which would be poorly. Because that is how they react to everything." Okay, maybe that's pessimistic, but also somewhat true.

"You have maintained the system even if there may be better ones? Are your people given to tradition particularly strongly, or are they more figureheads as with so many monarchs in Europe?" Not Vesper's own. Those people are absent their heads on many fronts.

She arches a brow, "Considering the weaknesses inherent in a system chosen by the masses, it seems like a wise precaution. Besides, while one person is smart, people as a whole are stupid animals. They should not be trusted with any measure of power." Karnak then shrugs, "Of course, a monarchy is only as strong as its ruler, but in this case, the king is strong." Which is something that seems like she would not admit typically, unless it was really the case.

"You remind me of Hobbes, I think. A different view of things. It is not wrong, but the view held comes from hardship and recovery instead of a period of prosperity?" Call this guesswork. She has a bit of understanding and things to piece together. "Perhaps this is best for a talk with coffee. Or seats."

Karnak tilts her head, "Seats are not necessary, but you say… coffee? I am unfamiliar with this. Let us acquire some of this coffee, and we can discuss this and other things further. To be frank, few enjoy talking to me. I don't believe you enjoy it, but your curiosity overrides that." She then gestures, "After you, Vesper."

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