Cat And Mouse

Participants:

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Scene Title Cat and Mouse
Synopsis The Department of Homeland Security raids the New York Public Library, and Carmichael comes face to face with the final works of Doctor Edward Ray
Date February 11, 2009

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries //and research libraries in the world.//

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.


"Clear!"

The voice rings thorugh the empty and abandoned halls of the New York Public Library, ruins contained within the crumbling decay of Midtown's irradiated wasteland. Boots slam across tiled floors as dozens of men in black and unmarked uniforms bearing face-masks and night-vision goggles kick down door after door.

"Clear!"

Every time that comes over the radio attached to the tactical vest of Jonathan Carmichael, the tall and wiry leader of the operation's face hangs down into a deeper, darker frown. Walking through the halls of the Library, Jonathan's eyes cast about the dust covered shelves and scattered signs of previous occupation. Empty cans and bottles, shopping carts filled with carpentry supplies, sheets hung up as dividers, unplugged extention cords left forgotten. It clearly looks like a large group of people evacuated in a hurry.

"Clear!"

The voices themselves get further and further away, but their echo crackling over Carmichael's walkie is a shrill reminder of just how late they were getting here. Phoenix is gone, that much is clear from the lack of activity. Strolling down one of the corridors, Carmichael's mind wanders back to the incident on the Narrows, that perfect moment where just the right people were apprehended. Of course none of them led back to the man he really wanted it to, nothing sticks to the person he wants put in the deep, dark hole most of all.

«Sir! We found… something.»

Audible only over his walkie, Carmichael's eyes flick down as he reaches up with a gloved hand to depress the call button. "What is it?" It better not be another backpack full of empty Red Bull cans. The response is delayed in coming, perhasp ebcause the officer on the other end is struggling to try and makes heads or tails of what it is he found.

«I— I'm not sure, Sir. We're down in the stacks, it looks like something got left behind, but — I don't know what to make of it. It's… there's strings everywhere.»

Carmichael's eyes widen for just a moment, then narrow, it doesn't make sense. "I'll be right there, hold your position." Barking the order over his walkie, Jon breaks into a spring, charging down the hall past other operatives of Homeland Security, even as more calls of clear crackle over his radio, and the droning thump of helicopter blades approaching to sweep the area resonate through the old and crumbling roof of the library.

By the time he's crossed to the rear of the building, where it's clear few people had been living, the six HomeSec agents gathered amidst the stacks look befuddled. Goggles up and masks off, the room is illuminated by a portable floodlight, and their quiet conversation is punctuated by the rattling hiss of the plastic covering the tall and blown out windows sucking in and out like some polyethalyne lungs.

Slipping into the stacks from behind a laundry-line hung with clothespinned sheets, another one of the agents motions behind himself with his thumb. "You should see this, Sir." Carmichael nods, casting a side-long glance to the other men as he picks up the portable floodlight, circling around a long and dusty table lined with chairs towards the back of the room. When he parts the white sheet curtain, what is revealed to him is nothing short of a jumble of nonsense.

Strings of all makes, colors and sizes criss-cross the room, clipped with photographs, news articles and notes written on post-it pads. Rolling chalkboards are scratched up with half-erased equations and jibberish notations in a difficult to discern handwriting. Carmichael's eyes scan the strings, ducking under them as he walks thorugh the cordoned off area in silence amidst the bright floodlight.

Carmichael pauses as he reaches one point on the strings, tugging down a clipped newspaper article that catches his attention. Blue-gray eyes scan over the text, and the photograph of a dark-haired man in a suit standing with a crowd of other New York socialites. The caption, Carmichael Family Hosts Petrelli Fundraiser draws a scowl to Jonathan's lips, and he lets the piece of paper fall to the floor, stepping past it as he finds his way towards the center of the web.

Greeting him there is a single portrait photograph of Nathan Petrelli, smiling with a broad and toothy grin, one of his Senatorial campaign photos. His eyes narrow, reaching up as if to pluck the photograph down, before he notices something else off to the side, a printed satellite photograph of a construction site. To the untrained eye, it looks indistinct and inconsequential, to a man who's spent the better part of two years ensuring it gets built, it looks like Moab.

Carmichael's eyes track back to the photograph of Petrelli, then reach down to remove a slim cell phone from his pocket, flipping it open as he paces back and forth, ducking out of the way of strings. There's a long, drawn out silence as he waits for the other end to pick up, and then, "It's Carmichael." Jonathan sweeps past the strings, towards an old desk stacked with books, one particularly small, leatherbound folio left open looks to be a journal of some kind.

"No, not a one. But I found something else, you might be interested in." There's a lingering pause by the book, until Carmichael's eyes fix on hastily scribbled red writing crossing the margins of both pages, looking to be some sort of franticly scribbled note. "It's… I'm not even sure how to explain it, Sir. It's just — strings."

His eyes fix on the writing, one dark brow rising as he recognizes a name written therein. Swallowing dryly, Carmichael turns his head away from the page, "I'll box it all up and have it shipped off to you." There's another pause, and a nod as Carmichael listens to the voice on the other end. "Right, Sir. Carmichael out." The phone flips closed, and Carmichael's eyes track down to the red writing on the journal pages again, something about it eating away at him.

But at the moment, he doesn't realize just how significant one terrorist's name in a journal is.

"If all else fails — find Hiro Nakamura."


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February 11th: Blind Spots
Previously in this storyline…
Backswing

Next in this storyline…
Routine Stigma

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February 11th: Friend Of A Friend
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