A Proposed Experiment


cat_icon.gif matt_icon.gif

Scene Title A Proposed Experiment
Synopsis While talking with Matt Parkman, Cat gets an idea.
Date December 23, 2008

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.

She's returning to the library headquarters when afternoon arrives, having spoken with Jennifer about her new girlfriend, a woman she and Dani both knew, and her mind has turned back to reflections on a life cut short, the absence it caused in her own life. Cat trudges in from the streets, her feet protected by winter boots and the rest of her by jeans, hooded sweatshirt, coat, and gloves with the fingertips cut out. One shoulder is supporting a guitar case, the other a backpack.

Once inside the building, she lets her eyes wander to take in whomever might be about, see what might be taking place. The somber expression has returned.

Taking a rare moment away from Rickham, Matt Parkman is seated at a table with files spread before him. They're printouts of information sent by Hana, accessed via Phoenix's computers here in the library. Though he appears to be quite absorbed as he complies notes on a sheet while picking through the various pieces of possible evidence, he looks up when he hears the clomping of winter boots on the dingy hardwood floor. "Doctor," he greets, forgetting the rest of Cat's name for the moment.

Her eyes drift to the agent when he speaks, and her path is adjusted to approach the man. "Agent Parkman." Cat glances at the material he has in hand for a moment, but only a moment, there'd be nothing she expects is new in it. But she does speak further. "We've done some additional compilation based on items provided by Doctor Ray, and information he shared verbally. Have you looked over that as well?"

Matt nods in response, looking back to his papers. "I've been told some stuff, but it's never the same when it isn't from the horse's mouth." He glances back up at Cat and squints, making an attempt to delve into her mind for any details she might have that aren't in the documentation provided by Wireless.

She's been around telepaths before, and on watching his face it doesn't take much to guess what he's doing now. Her lips curve into a thin smile, but no words are spoken. Communication occurs by thought alone. Welcome to my brain, Agent Parkman. The woman's head tilts to one side, and she calls up her memory of the Catabase in the state she so recently amended it to be. There's all the info on the Kazimir Volken Group, with a different analysis based on the sharings of Doctor Ray and some items he provided as exhibits. The info on the people involved with KVG remains generally unchanged.

It's a large amount of information, and Matt has to strain to retain the focus necessary to sort through it all, connecting strands and making mental footnotes on the information provided by Wireless. The lack of last names, save for two, troubles Matt, but he says nothing about it until he surfaces from the 'Catabase.'

"I know Wireless knocked out their funds and communications, but it's stupid to think they haven't already recovered from that," he says with a sigh and a small nod of thanks for Cat's cranial hospitality. "We need a way to track them down. Assuming their operating from inside the city, any clue as to where they're holing up?"

"I wish I knew," Cat replies simply. Her face has turned entirely businesslike, but in the eyes there can be seen a sort of quietly smoldering rage which mixes with the pain of loss. "If I did, you'd know already too. They've made themselves a priority to me. It was the lack of concrete details, like names and photographs, which drove us out into the streets last Friday night. We could have, and did, furnish information to authorities, but as you can see it amounts to needles in haystacks. We, at least, have seen the people in question and could recognize them. That's what we were hoping, to get eyes on a target or two and point them out. It went rather differently than expected, however, as operations will."

Issac Mendez is dead. Matt frowns at the rememberence of the passing of such a useful individual. "Could you provide sketches of what they look like?" He asks, an idea glimmering. Sure, he's seen those faces in the Catabase, but having hard copy replicas of those images to pass around to law enforcement at all levels would be ever so useful.

"I could," she answers. "I've personally seen three of them. The one called Ethan, the asian man named Wu-Long, and the blonde woman. And…" Cat trails off to think for a moment, calling up all three images, as a flash of inspiration strikes. "I may be able to do even better. I need to consult with a technopathic operative and see if she can make it happen, but… If I give you the images telepathically, and you transfer them to her, maybe she can turn them into printable data files."

Matt can only assume that the 'techopathic operative' is Hana Giletman, but he doesn't say anything. He only nods. "That sounds like a plan, Doctor. How soon do you think you can make it happen?"

"Fairly soon," Cat replies. "It may or may not work, but the worst that can happen is we won't have photographs we don't already have. Nothing to lose." She reaches into a pocket for her iPhone, ready to send a text message and start the process. "I haven't said directly what I'm capable of, but I'm certain you've figured it out, Agent Parkman. I won't pretend I don't have misgivings about your agency and the role you play in it. I always will. But I'm also pragmatic. It isn't lost on me that in this country, which was founded by the escalation of a tax revolt, the first crisis George Washington faced as President was putting down a tax rebellion."

The trouble with Cat's declaration is that Matt isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to academic subjects. Still, this one isn't hard to piece together. After a nod of appreciation, he goes back to the papers on the table. "If there is one thing I've learned in Homeland Security, it's the people either don't know what they want, or what they want is the opposite of what someone else wants. Our job is to keep as many people happy and safe as possible."

"Peace will have to be made at some point," she states. "The key, to me, is the end of secrecy. Agencies like this Company, all they've ever done and now do, must be dragged into the light of day. If a person with an Evolved power is at issue, the criteria need to be hard and fast, the case handled in open court. We right now pull people in for hearings in cases of mental illness. They have access to representation, and decisions can be appealed. Regardless of what people who work for us, the government… and we the people are the government, you are our hired agents… are doing or not doing, it's not being done in open court, and that can only lead to suspicion."

"For that," Matt counters in a way, "there need to be specific laws or at least policies on the books for how to deal with abilities in courts. Are they weapons? Could my reading your thoughts without persmission be considered rape or robbery? Sure, this all needs to happen - this is all good stuff - but it's not going to spring up overnight. People need to be patient."

"And," Cat replies, nodding, "do you, as a agent of the law, need a warrant to look into my head without my consent? Some areas will always be gray. It stinks, but such is what it is. In a case of rape, things are often hardest to prove. He says she was willing, she says not, and they were alone. Telepathy works just the same, in law. For our part, we're a minority in the population, and history says minorities are in trouble. Holocausts and pogroms, the Inquisitions, and witch hunts. In this country, even, the Salem Witch Trials. Can you tell me you don't have fear too? That they tolerate you as a useful freak, to be disposed of when all the other freaks are gone?"

Matt's fear has never been so specific, but it has been similar to the Holocaust and pogroms, different versions with different oppressors and oppressed. He tightens a bit, curling his fingers slightly around a stack of papers while the other set presses into the table. "It helps to know people," he admits. Without his small connection to the Company and the Petrelli family, he might not be where he is now. "And with Rickham, especially if he goes public, a lot of that will possibly change."

"Mr. Rickham," Cat agrees, "is hope on two legs. It shows that the people, regardless of fear, still understand enough the dangers of too much police authority and still believe in fundamentally American principles. He can't do it alone, however, he still has bureaucrats to face, and reactionaries in the non-Evolved majority, probable opposition in the House and Senate, maybe even the Supreme Court. But, it is a start. He must survive the risk of being exposed. His ability, like anyone else's, is his own business. If he wants to be public, fine. If not, that's his choice. One of our best Presidents, at a time of crisis, served while concealing a big secret with the help of the press. Not that it could happen now, but still, the historical precedent is there." Her voice in speaking here, as it has been since she approached him, is calm. Confident."

"Hell, Doc," Matt says with a chuckle. "You should see about making him appoint you to a cabinet position." A lot of this is skimming over the top of Matt's head, but he's grasping the general idea. "Have you been in to talk to him?"

She smiles slightly. "I'm hopeful of speaking with him at some point, I admit," Cat replies. "Doc… I don't have to be formal all the time. Cat will do, if you like. As for professional goals, I could be happy playing guitar at the inauguration. That's my passion, to be a rocker chick. The law stuff is my parents' idea, I did it to make them happy, and I'm good at it because I never forget anything." From there, though, a silence settles in, and her eyes cloud over a bit. The grief is surfacing, visible in them. "I want to ask you for one thing of a personal nature. It's not something I ask because you're grateful for our help with the President and the Volken group, I ask simply because you're a human being, like the rest of us. Can you find out if there's been an unidentified female body found in New York or other states around it, height about 5' 3?"

There are quite a few people still missing loved once, and the news of another makes Matt frown in sympathy. "Not a victim of the bomb?" he asks, shaking his head as if he already knows the answer. If she had been, her description is sure to have wound up on some sort of database, even if they only found parts of her. Height can be estimated.

"She's a victim of the Kazimir Volken Group," Cat replies somberly. "Killed within the last week. Her name is Courtney Danielle Hamilton. I can provide photos, and DNA for comparison. Also…" her eyes close, this is bringing up images in her mind, causing events to replay, "she'll be missing all five digits of her left hand. It's not known how she died, the body may have been dumped, or put through some method of destruction. If possible, I'd like to find and lay her to rest." After speaking she looks at her phone; the text message started earlier is completed and sent.

To: Wireless.

From: Cat.

Subject: Potential experiment. I have an idea to construct photos from my memory.

December 23rd: Stocking Stuffer
December 23rd: Partnership, Phoenix, and Plans
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License