"Why would I want you to go off and get yourself killed."
<NYC> Chimaera Arts - Dumbo
This is just one of the many abandoned warehouses in DUMBO, and like many of them it has recently changed hands. Unlike most of those, however, it does not have some corporate developer's sign out front promising a transformation into luxury condominiums or a boutique shopping center or the latest concept restaurant. Instead it's marked by a piece of weathered but wildly colorful plywood propped up on a stack of broken pallets, which reads "Chimaera Art Space!" above "chimaera.org" in smaller letters.
The warehouse is moderately large and decorated with graffiti art in various styles--some of it recognizable as the work of renowned local street artists. A pair of monstrous scrap metal sculptures, perhaps still works in progress, flank the entrance. The building itself has undergone significant renovation recently, complete with wiring, plumbing, and a modular partitioning system. The grounds, too, have been cleaned up, ramshackle fences torn down and rusting detritus removed in favor of reclaimed (and brilliantly repainted) outdoor furniture ringing an impressively engineered firepit.
In the evening Chimaera bustles; an introductory sewing class chugging along over in fabric arts, most of the partitioned-off stalls occupied with various projects, a lively cookout in the courtyard, a figure drawing class in one of the classrooms, a back portion of the warehouse cleared and set up for aerial silks practice.
Probably Wendy was supposed to be there -- had planned to be there -- but she hasn't been, still hasn't been once the hour starts growing late and the group is winding down. She does appear eventually, riding her bike straight into the warehouse and pulling up alongside a beaten old couch. She currently has on a gauzy white shrug over sleeveless floral sundress, pastel sneakers, a pale blue bike helmet with a design of an octopus with cherry-blossom-decorated tentacles, and a disgruntled expression. "Do you ever think about what it would be like not to have morals?" The first thing out of her mouth when she slumps onto the arm of the couch, unzipping one of the panniers on the back rack of the bike. She sounds only a little wistful. "I bet we could be rich." She pulls a paper bag out of the pannier, her disgruntled expression unchanging. "Have some Cajun. It's -- New York Cajun, so I imagine it's questionable, but --" One shoulder lifts and falls, delicately.
Polaris is draped kind of bonelessly on the couch, but despite her posture and half-lidded eyes she is fiercely focused on the project levitating in front of her. The intricate steel mesh cylinder looks uncannily alive as its fine component wires bend and twist and weave together in--not perfect harmony, but she has been improving. She's still dressed in what she'd worn to work: a black fitted t-shirt with a silver graphic of an intricate origami unicorn, black jeans, and her usual assortment of highly metallic accessories.
She looks up at Wendy, her smile a little distracted even if her wire weaving has stopped, rotating slowly in mid-air. "Not...really?" Uncertain, faintly suspicious, if in a decided unworried way. "Maybe a little. We could probably get rich even without crossing the moral event horizon. Just not sure we could do it without..." Her shoulders pull inward, but she accepts the paper bag from Wendy kind of automatically and pulls out a plastic spoon and a tub of what looks more or less like gumbo. "I mean my judgment is pretty questionable too, so." She shrugs, the gesture tense and exaggerated by comparison. "Why, you dream up any nefarious schemes?"
"Mmm. I think crossing the moral event horizon comes with getting rich." Wendy's eyes linger on the twisting wires until they stop. "You're getting good at that." She hasn't actually removed her helmet; it bumps up against the back corner of the couch when she slouches back. "Besides. You're all holy now, my mom is pestering me again about getting married, our nefarious days --" she sounds very longsuffering about this, "-- are long past."
"Oh sh--oot, that's true." Polaris has just started shoveling mystery gumbo into her mouth, but she perks up a little at the complement. The length of woven wire curves up at either end like a cartoon smile. She swallows, perhaps a little too hastily. "I mean. It's good she's, like, recovered enough to pester you about it? Hey, that's something we'll have in common when--" Her wide hazel eyes skate aside to her friend. She is clearly working herself up to saying something she thinks Wendy will not like. "I want to get baptized." The words come out in a rapid tumble. "And join Ryan and Jax's team."
"Getting pestered about marriage? I'm sure she'll fret over you, too, when --" Wendy trails off, her fingertips dropping from where they'd been tracing the path of the metal smile in the air. "-- Oh." Her eyes turn away, now watching the fluttering silks dropping from the ceiling where the last of them are being taken down. More tightly, "Oh." Her leg swings slowly, the heel of her sneaker bumping lightly against the base of the couch. "... do they still have a team?"
Polaris looks down into her food, pushing it around. "I dunno until I go talk to them about it, but I wanted to tell you first, and--" She emits a frustrated noise and digs the spoon deeper into the gumbo. "Hive doesn't know how they'll even do it, without him--Dawson--fuck, you know what I mean. But all those people! Maybe with me, there's a better chance..." Her hand tightens, and she stares down at where the the edge of the plastic spoon digs into her skin. "It's. Important. But you're my family. And you'll tell me if this is like--misguided or pointless or...you just don't want me to do it."
"Why would I want you to go off and get yourself killed." Wendy's heel continues to thump slowly against the couch. Her hand falls to her stomach, her fingers curling lightly against the hem of her shrug. "Likely not pointless. There's a lot of people still in there. It would be good if they weren't."
"I'm not going off to get myself killed!" Polaris's voice rises, agitated--not yelling, but loud enough to draw attention. She cringes, her words much softer when she continues. "I didn't mean 'want' like--" Her teeth grind, brief. "I mean if you ask me not to. I won't." She looks back up at Wendy. "And whether you ask that or not, I'm asking for your help. With the planning."
"Do you think you should maybe ask them about joining first before you plan our takeover of their operation?" Wendy's eyes have closed, her fingertips flicking against a corner of the gauzy cloth of her shirt. "I don't even really know how they operate. Our escape was -- nonstandard. Most of the rest of what I've heard kind of --" Her brow pinches, expression tightening. Her voice a little softer. "Well. Maybe aggrandized. A little."
"Well, obviously." Polaris sighs. "I mean, I don't even know if they'll let me on the team. I'm a badass and all, but. You know. Not the most stable badass." The mesh of the woven wire stretches out and tightens, then returns to its previous shape, the structure of the last few rows evened out by the pressure. "However they operated before, they can't do that anymore, not without--" She sucks in a quick breath. "--without Flicker. They need nonstandard."
She bows her head. "Aubrey improvised. Maybe if he hadn't we woulda lost someone else but we don't know that." She turns slightly toward Wendy, her attention suddenly more intense. "What we do know is your plan got us out. From inside. No training, no equipment, no support." Her dark green eyebrows arch. "Imagine what you could do with all that."
"I can imagine -- a lot of things." Wendy's fingers scrunch harder down against her stomach. She sits up abruptly, eyes opening again. "I'm sure they'll be glad to have you." There's a tightness to her voice, her eyes turned down as she hops off the couch. "I'll see you at home." She pulls her bike back away from the couch, tucking her dress between her legs as she swings back onto the saddle.
"I doubt they're glad to have anyone," Polaris replies darkly, shoulders curling in as she sets her food aside. "Look, I know this is a lot. I'm sorry. And I'm sorry for trying to drag you into this clusterfu--" She rises onto her knees on the couch cushion, twisting around to face Wendy again. "Just. I'm really scared." There's no shame there, just a small waver to her voice. She subsides a little. "But I'm not trying to get myself killed."
"Well. I get the impression they also don't want to die." Wendy glances down briefly to the rear-view mirror on her bike, flicking a small glance to Polaris. Her lips are thin, her nostrils flared on a small huff of breath. She doesn't say anything else, just pushes off, across the warehouse floor and back out into the darkened city beyond.