Don't Be Such An Idealist


cat_icon.gif mason_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Be Such An Idealist
Synopsis Father-daughter advice.
Date May 7, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

Rain patters down on the windows of the Penthouse, followed by the distant rumble of thunder that carries across the city. Weather like this isn't uncommon in New York during the springtime, and that light drizzle cast down over towers of muted gray concrete and red brick give the city a somber feeling. The evening looks particularly gloomy because of the storm, flashes of lightning illuminating up the spaces between the highrises that give the horizon a blocky and jagged quality.

The weather, though, is the least of Cat's concerns. Right now the house is as spotless as it can get, and the buzzing coming from the intercom signals that any time left for last minute cleaning and primping has ended. Two quick buzzes in short succession, and on the display showing the security camera footage of the ground floor, Cat can see the lightly rained upon frame of her father pacing back and forth outside, an unbrella held fast in one hand.

It has a slight feeling of deja vu, or it might for other people. For Cat, the sight inspires playing back a memory of Edward Ray outside also, and the security staff making contact when they see him through the glass doors. It's set aside with fair swiftness and the fleeting wonder what surprises he may bring with him, and her action isn't needed this time. Mason is expected. The head of security, one of the very few here who know much about who the eccentric living on the top floor, strides over and opens the doors for him. "Good evening, sir," he greets. "She's expecting you." He will escort Mason to the elevator and send it to the sixth floor.

On that floor, by the time he arrives, Cat is waiting at the entrance across from the lift. She's dressed casually, there's no pretense of being a person who spends much time wearing suits and dresses. The woman looks like what she is most at heart: a rock musician. Except for her not having ever gone for the whole funky hair and body full of tattoos and piercings thing.

She's arranged for fine food, the kitchen table is set for two people enjoying that, and spirits are on hand. Her father's favorite.

Coming through the door, Mason's eyes wandere the penthouse in an appraising way, evaluating the life his daughter has made for herself. Though judgemental, it's not tempered with the same cynicism that it would have been years ago. There's more of a wistful quality to Mason's eyes as they move from one poster to another, to furniture and musical instruments, then finally to the thing he's most proud of in the whole building — his daughter.

"You've a marvelous place, Catherine. I— " he cuts himself off, tugging at his necktie as he leans his wet umbrella up by the door, quietly walking across the room afterward. "I'm… sorry for the abruptness of our last meeting, for— dropping all of that on you at once." Mason's eyes wander to the table not far away, "That— that's a very expensive bottle of whiskey."

"Thank you for coming, Father," she greets while closing the door behind him. The table isn't that far away, he having been sent up in the elevator on that end of the building. The other features he scans are more distant, it might take a minute or two to walk the length of the penthouse. His umbrella is left by the door where he placed it, she makes a mental note of acquiring a stand for such implements in the near future. "There's nothing to apologize for, sir."

Steps are taken once the door is secured, toward the table. "Please, come sit. The building… it was one your money managers had gotten hold of and had restored, I simply discovered it in the holdings and directed some alterations. It used to be an office building with a recording studio operating on the fifth floor." He may well know it was acquired on the cheap not long after the nuking.

A glass to pour whiskey in is gotten out, she sets to preparing a drink the way he likes it. "I know your tastes," she supplies, "and want you to be comfortable, at ease here."

The only recognition the building receives is a slow, quiet nod as he makes his way over to the table. Then, though, there's a dry laugh followed by a shake of his head, "Catherine, dear, it's going to take far more whiskey than that to put me at ease right now." A bittersweet smile crosses Mason's face as he pulls one chair out, moving to sit down and fold his hands on the table. "I— I'll admit, Catherine, I didn't set aside time to come here strictly of my own volition." It seems no meeting between the two can entirely be carried out without some form of revelations.

"I spoke to Arthur after our… after we met, and he's very interested in getting to meet you face to face, to discuss things pertaining to Phoenix." Running his tongue over his lips, Mason's eyes wander the table's surface as he talks. "He says that there's a gentleman named Peter who could use your assistance right now, somethiinig about— having lost all of his powers?" There's a crook of one dark brow, "His son, I take it he means."

She sits after he does, and rests eyes on his face. The words he speaks draws a closing of her eyes and a slight chuckle of a dry sort. "We seem to be thinking along the same track again, Father. I didn't invite you here just for business, I did and do want you to see the place, the things I'm working to breathe some life into here for the Village. But there is still business."

"Peter losing all his powers… That could be a number of things," she muses. "Psychological comes to mind first of all. I'll help Peter. What are the particulars of him losing his abilities?"

Breathiing out a sigh, Mason gives a shake of his head, "Arthur didn't say. I— figure it was an enticing point to get you to go talk to him." Tilting his head to the side, Mason eyes the bottle of whiskey, staring it down as if he were in some wild west showdown with it, waiting for it to make the first move on him. "I ah— I really don't know, it sounds a bit curious, but— " waving one hand in the air, Mason's eyes lift from the whiskey bottle to Cat.

"Exactly what was it you had on your mind? It— I know I left you wish quite a bit to consider, so… I'm not entirely surprised that you have things on your mind." Leaning back in his chair, Mason's posture indicates he's bracing for something he quite honestly deserves — a daughter's anger and frustration. "What's on your mind?"

"A few days before we met, Father," she begins, "I had an unexpected visitor here. He came with a request and no support for it, that the organization and I work to keep the Company from being taken down. We've worked for him before, on the battle against Vanguard, and for that undertaking he had evidence sent back by a future iteration of himself, from a time when the virus plot we defeated had decimated the population nine times."

"This iteration is ten years older than he should be, and has accomplices. Tyler Case, Nathan Petrelli, a man of some apparent unflattering girth, a woman, a technopath, and a man who makes electrical copies of himself. The latter of this group has decided to commit murders, perhaps of people who may speak against him. His name is Niles Wight. One of his attempted murders was interrupted, the target survived. Each of the persons I know names for are ten years older than they should be." "

Tyler Case has the power of switching abilities between people. He used this on one of my friends, and as a result the older Nathan Petrelli has potential to manipulate time and space." She looks far from happy, but it doesn't appear directed at him. "Along with his unsupported request was a claim that Pinehearst should fail instead of the Company, and a threat that he would return with Tyler and Nathan to do far worse than power alteration if I did anything he would call dangerous."

"Doctor Ray also suggested I carry my questions to you."

Once silent again, she briefly entertains the notion Tyler may have caused Peter's situation, if it's indeed true, but that's set aside to mull over later. To ask Peter about directly when she sees him.

Well. Mason blinks a few times and then lets his head sink down into his hands, fingers raking back through his receeding hairline, finally ending with his hands folded behind his neck as he exhales strained sigh, palms massaging the back of his neck in some desperate attempt to make the headache he feels coming on go away. "Edward…" Mason's eyes fall shut, and slowly he sits up with a conflicted expression. "I was wondering if you and he had any sort of relationship, I— "

Reaching across the table, Mason grabs the bottle of whiskey and twist out the stopper, reaching for a glass next to begin pouring himself a sure-fire headache remedy — or at least that's a reasonable enough excuse. "I met Edward Ray when I was in college, he— was one of those child prodigies, you know— the kind who go to college at the age of ten? Well— he was a touch older, but the notion still stands." Mason's eyes wander the amber liquid pouring into his glass, "He was a brilliant child, even when I was still struggling with my education — before my ability manifested — he was excelling in fields of science that were far over my head."

Finished filling his glass, the bottle is set down and Mason stares blankly into the glass. "He— he was always fascinated with the concept of time travel, of alternate realities— you know, science fiction?" Looking up to Cat to emphasize the irony in those words, Mason takes the first sip of his whiskey, the first of many.

"I hadn't seen him since I graduated, and— out of the blue he called me back in April." The whiskey glass is swirled around in one hand, "Edward told me that— that he was being held captive by the Company, and he knew things about me— histories— things I'd never have thought someone could find out." Troubled, Mason takes a sip of the whiskey, "He… he told me a few things I needed to hear, things I was too goddamned cowardly to admit for myself. I— I haven't told your mother but— Edward asked me to help him take down Pinehearst."

Wrapping both of his hands around the glass now, Mason looks up to Cat with that troubled expression unable to be wiped off of his features, no matter how much he drinks. "So… ten years older. You're saying he's from the future, then? I mean— in all likelihood, it seems like the most— " there's a dry laugh, "reasonable answer. I— Edward wanted me to talk to you, just— to meet you and come clean about everything I did. He… he always did have a long view on things for his age."

"He's ten years older than he should be, Father," Cat remarks somberly after hearing Mason's response. "I have to wonder at the source of his concerns regarding Pinehearst, he offered no evidence, told no horror stories to gain my cooperation. If he had evidence, I believe he'd have shared it. But, I have to admit, the formula and the things tied to failed experiments make me wonder if it all turned out very badly in his time."

She pauses for an extended series of beats to once again speculate.

"It's an uncertainty I have, that if the formula goes bad he would have said so directly and his not doing so makes me doubt all he claims. This, however, wars with what I know has happened before and lends a bit of credence. Tied up in all of this is my belief the Company has no redeeming value and should be dragged out into the light. My instincts are that Pinehearst too should be made completely transparent. If its work has merit, it can handle the scrutiny, after all. It's a view one of my most respected associates concurred with."

A question makes its way to the surface and finds expression. "What did you tell Edward?"

Snorting otu a laugh, Mason gives his head a slow shake, "Nothing in this world can ever survive total transparency, Catherine. The world would collapse were it not for secrets, there's just some things that people are safer — and better off — not knowing." Looking down to the table, though, there's a nagging doubt visible behind her father's eyes.

"I— I told Edward I'd help him." Another long swallow of whiskey comes to wash down those words. "Catherine, I— I avoided your question about a lot of things… about what Pinehearst is doing." Scratching at the back of his head, Mason looks just as remorseful as he has before. "Arthur— was crippled following an attempt on his life by Angela Petrelli two years ago. During this time, he was fervently working on development of a new version of the Formula that was secured by Kaito Nakamura. He— he has a scientist working for him, a woman named Alison Meier. She's a geneticist, brilliant, but— but she's troubled."

Tapping his wedding band on his whiskey glass repeatedly, it's obvious Mason is nervous. "Before Arthur approached your mother and I to join Pinehearst, she— there were these horrific experiments she was performing. Just— monstrous things. She was kidnapping homeless, forcing them to take injections of various revisions of the formula and then releasing them into the 'wild' to see their effects. It— God, Catherine— it was horrible. The virus she used to attempt to bond the modified genetic information attacked cellular makeup, causing— people just melted."

Swallowing dryly, Mason decides another mouthful of whiskey is the solution. "When her results weren't to satisfaction, and after Arthur recovered— " it dawns on Mason he has no idea how Arthur recovered, "— from his injuries, I— he called your mother and I in to help revise the formula."

Her head tilts to one side as she listens, part of the story touching a direct chord with her experience. "So what I saw, the man I shot and the one who melted moments later, were victims of Doctor Meier," Cat breathes out slowly. "And she used a virus in her work. Jesus H. Christ, that's the link, or it looks like it. Doctor Ray, when he found us to help versus the Vanguard, said the info he sent himself was about just that. Tell me," she asks, eyes closing and fingers rubbing the bridge of her nose, "was the virus called Shanti, by chance?"

"I don't know," mason mutters, shaking his head, "The medical references we have calls it Strain 67." Which to Cat, means her gambit was worth it, as the fatal version of the Shanti Virus was designated Strain 128 in the Company's information. "it was a virus that aggressively attacked Evolved individuals, and Doctor Meier hypothesized that if it could be designed to infect human subjects as well, the virus could carry the genetic information designed for use by the Formula to the proper protein chains it needed to manipulate."

There's a shake of Mason's head, slowly, "Her work never produced stable results. Arthur has officially suspended all projects until a representative of his from Tokyo returns with some information, I— I'm not really sure what we're waiting on, but it's supposed to be the veritable Golden Goose."

Again time is taken to process what she hears, her eyes reopening. The metaphorical wheels can be seen to turn there. "Not surprising, even to a non-geneticist, Father. A virus that attacks the Evolved agressively being used to spark Evolved abilities seems bound to take out the recipient once the genetic material is altered. It brings in the formula, then the person becomes the favorite food of the virus. That's just…" Insane. Stupid. Evil. All of the previous and them some? But her speculation and words are led in a different direction soon enough.

"I know what he's after in Japan," Cat states with her face hardening somewhat and eyes darkening. "A man named Adam Monroe is allegedly recruiting people to go after Hiro Nakamura. He has as one of his associates a man called Ethan. Ethan's the sadist who murdered Dani. Given that Kaito, who locked away the original formula, is Hiro's father and they live in Japan…"

A vacant stare is afforded to Cat as she explains the situation, but there's no recognition on the name of Adam, just a furrowed brow. "I— I'm not entirely sure what to make of that, but— " looking down into his glass, Mason seems to lose some of the focus for his sentence. "I ah— if he's going after the Formula that makes some sense. Kaito Nakamura I— I know of him, but he and I never met. I imagine Arthur has an axe to grind with him, it's possible Kaito was involved in the attempt on his life…"

Though all of that is conjecture. Mason furrows his brows again and looks up to Cat, that expression starting to be etched into his features. "He has your mother and another Pinehearst operative headed to California to recover the original scientist who first developed the Formula, a doctor by the name of Lewis Zimmerman. He— " Mason's eyes close, head shaking slowly, "in his time, the experiments he did for the Company were— notorious only begins to describe."

The picture in her head gets clearer by the moment. The Company. Pinehearst. Same names tied to both and their affairs. Husbands, wives, children, experiments…. Cat rises from her seat and gets a glass for herself, then adds a small amount of whiskey and a larger portion of cola. She will drink it slowly. When the chair is reoccupied she eyes the food before her and lifts a fork as if considering starting to eat it.

"Sometimes things I learn make me lose appetite, but not often," the panmnesiac explains. "I can't let that happen so much. The way my memory works, if I didn't force myself to eat over top of distressing things, I might starve and waste away. So… Lewis Zimmerman." There's an unspoken note made, a decision to again contact the Nakamuras and warn of the possible agenda at hand.

"He must be an old man by now," Mason mutters, closing his eyes as he shakes his head and finishes that glass of whiskey, "I've no idea how you're mother's doing with him." Running his tongue over his teeth, it's like Mason's trying to dismiss the bad taste this conversation is leaving in his mouth. "I— I don't really know what to do, Catherine. Arthur he— he fully supports what you and your friends are doing— Phoenix?" His eyes meet hers for certainty.

"But— these experiments— he has some sort of plan, I just can't figure it out yet." Mason's eyes track over to the whiskey bottle again, debating the merits of another glass. "I don't wholly know if I'm doing what Edward wants because I think it's the right thing, or… I don't know, out of some misplaced sense of guilt." The bottle is left where it is, and Mason is left cradling the empty glass in his hands. "I ight be leading your further astray than you should be, Catherine…"

"Does he support us because he believes, or because it fits his agenda to seem to believe? If we accept his funding, we also follow under his influence. I…" Cat trails off to compose her words before continuing. "The same names keep turning up. Nakamura. Linderman. Petrelli. Two generations. I have to wonder if the Hiro, Peter, and even the President are in the dark for the most part."

"Kaito seems to have been the voice of moderation among them, of sanity. I trust his son, and am interested very much in him not being killed. I also trust Peter, to a degree. He aims for the right thing, when he can be gotten to see it. The baggage he carries, though… The man doesn't have issues. He is Issues. Capital I. We raided the prison he let himself be locked up in. He wasn't the only person we were after, but we went for him too. To open a door and let him walk out through it if he wanted. For all we knew he might've chosen to turn that down."

"As the situation stands, Father," Cat tells him quietly, "we can't yet move in either direction. We don't have enough on the Company to impact their operations, or on Pinehearst. Even within Phoenix, there's no guarantee of support. The Company is known, getting support against them is easy. Pinehearst we've no proof against. So to be effective we need to build our database on both."

"What's your opinion on the risks of Arthur Petrelli becoming a clandestine partner of the government in the way the Company is now, if Pinehearst takes their place?"

There's a slow shake of Mason's head as he listens, as if he can't believe he's having this conversation with his daughter. "Reason doesn't always mean right," her father notes, giving a tilt of his head to the notion, "I can't profess to know Kaito at all, but if we're to judge people by their sons…" a mildly displeased look crosses his face, "perhaps you can just Arthur by the acts of his two progeny? Or does that cloud the waters of generalizations some?"

Clearing his throat, Mason works his hands back and forth around the cup of whiskey, "As to whether or not Arthur supports because he believes… I think the only way to know that would be to talk to him. I've no way of knowing what's going on in that man's head, he's a hard read."

"If I had to put my stock with either the Company or Arthur…" Mason's lips purse into a frustrated expression, "in the end I might wager with the ones who were not a part of the nuclear destruction of a majority of New York, and didn't put their own puppet into the seat of the Presidency." But then, Mason seems to dither, "No one is perfect, Catherine. No one is totally white or black, we're all— everyone's just different shades of gray— and I think in the end, you're going to find that you're never going to be satisfied with anyone, or anything, if you keep looking for absolutes."

Pushing the glass away from himself, Mason exhales a loud sigh. "As long as I've been around, all I know is what makes sense to me, and it may not make sense to anyone else. I— Arthur does things I disagree with… but sometimes," he frowns, "sometimes the ends justify the means. I just— " His agreement with Edward keeps dragging him down, "perhaps I'm just a poor man for commitment."

"I know, Father," Cat admits. "I'm grey myself. I've blood on my hands, and for it there would always be some who call me murderer. I've thought a lot about the Founders, that's how I see so much of this, restoring their ideals or trying to. Due process, public trials, the rule of law. I know often battles have to be chosen carefully, because they can't all be won. A friend recently said I'm in danger of becoming Donna Quixote, always tilting at windmills. But I'm no idiot. It isn't lost on me that after leading the Revolution in the field, one of Washington's first acts was sending the army to enforce tax laws, because he had a new government to run and laws to enforce. Needed revenue to do it."

"I also understand in the end it doesn't matter what labels we put on ourselves or have put on us. Revolutionaries, terrorists, freedom fighter, resistants, vigilantes, patriots… In the end the only one that really sticks is the one attached by the winners."

"It's true in fairness Arthur should be heard out, and I haven't yet. I will hear him. I'm also not going to leave Peter hanging. I… it comes back to the Founders, again. They agreed to the 1789 Constitution after insisting on a bill of rights, and they set it up to always have the means of rebellion."

"What I'm suggesting is we at the very least learn as much as we can about both sides and be able to act as situations dictate. Does that make sense? We prepare ourselves to take on either or both."

There's a wistfulness to Mason's expression as he listens to Cat, eyes closing as he does. Mason's so still it seems as though he'd fallen asleep, save that he finally speaks up once she's done, "In a way you're right, it all does come down to the Founders— but I'm just not sure the one's your talking of, and the ones I'm thinking of are the same ones." Tapping his hands on the tabletop, Mason leans back and rubs both hands down his face, staring up at the ceiling with an expression of nervousness there.

"Just— don't be such an idealist, Cat, that you won't be willing to choose the lesser of two evils. Because sometimes," he seems like he's trying to convince himself, "sometimes there's just no other option." With that said, Mason finally looks back down and scans the penthouse again.

"Enough of this— of all of this." One hand waves at the table as if in gesture to his conversation. "I think— for the remainder— I'd rather just find out an answer to a slightly less pressing, but important question."

Forcing himself to smile, Mason asks, "Have you gotten any better at cooking?"

"Washington, Jefferson, and company charted their own course. Wrestled with the topic of how much government and how little. They made compromises, put things off to future disputes to settle others. Slavery for one. Since then, the central struggle of the country has been over when and where to apply the lofty goals in the Declaration. The battle always goes on. Evolved are just the latest minority in the crosshairs. And there will be plenty of time to discuss all of this later," Cat grants. "First things first: Where is Peter?"

His smile is met by a confident laugh, and an answer to his final question. "Yes. It gets much easier when entire cookbooks need to only be looked at once."

"Arthur said he was staying at Pinehearst Headquarters," He doesn't need to elaborate, Cat's seen the card, "But he might have gone elsewhere, I just don't know— only Arthur would have those details." He's spoken his peace, tried to come to terms with his decision, but now even Mason seems to be struggling between his loyalty to Arthur and the unspoken promises made by Edward Ray.

Clicking his tongue, Mason gives a small shake of his head. "Knowing the recipe is only a part of the formula, dear. You've got to have the heart too, that's the key of most foods." Looking around the Penthouse, Mason manages a hesitantly optimistic smile. "Why don't you show me a few things in the kitchen."

Leaving the weighty issues for later discussions and probably debates with her father and others, having whatever situation Peter's in on her mind stewing, Cat complies with Mason's request. For the remainder of his visit, she shall speak of culinary matters, music, and if possible her works to help the Village back toward what it once was.

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