As For The Moon Landing...


cat_icon.gif rhys_icon.gif

Scene Title As For The Moon Landing…
Synopsis Cat goes to explore Hiro's base of operations.
Date October 8, 2010

Jittetsu Arms

Nestled in the bowery of Chinatown, the small storefront of Jittetsu Arms could easily be passed over by most people. Signage has long since been stripped away from the shop following its closure in 2009 following a Department of Homeland Security raid on the building related to Triad activity. Ever since, the boarded up antiques shop has been one sign among many that the economy in New York City shows no signs of restoring itself.

That Jitettsu is closed is by no means definition of its inhabitation, however. While the storefront itself remains boarded up and sealed to the public, doors locked and lights off, the back shipping entrance accessible down a narrow alleyway is a different story. Back lights at the store shine warm in the dark of evening and the shadows of movement beyond the cracked windows seem muted and distant.

The back door, however, is left open, wedged so by a single brick tipped on its side between door and frame. The swords dealership and repair store does nothing of the kind these days, with any merchandise and display items lifted from cases and shelving, stripped bare by previous owners and looters alike.

Spiderweb cracks make icy lines across the windows of the store, and dust settles in a fine layer over practically everything — if not everything, the evidence of life clear in accidental brushes of curious hands on the surfaces. Expansive is the backroom, with high windows that leak in dim scraps of morning sunlight as opposed to any electrical methods of illumination. It plays shards of it down into the wide, mostly empty room, but signs of life show in a few touches. A dressing screen stands half folded, with the grey and blue patterns of The Great Wave off Kanagawa patterned onto its texture, half obscuring a clothing rack dripping with metal-creaking amounts of assorted clothing for a young man, some wrapped like corpses in plastic for protection.

But then there's the string web, and it stretches from all corners, made to measure time and attempting to measure so much of it. It's nonsensical to the untrained eye with newspaper clippings and photographs pinned and pegged to various intersections weighing down twine, fishing line, yarn and brown string, some winding together, some simply cutting through independently from one corner to the next.

Despite earlier shadows suggesting the presence of someone in the expansive back room, one wayward woman seeking answers finds no one.

But that does not mean that Catherine Chesterfield has found nothing.

She isn't noisy in making entrance to this place, but neither is she particularly quiet. Causing alarm isn't her goal, but she's not averse to discovery. Soft-soled shoes tread across the floor, brown eyes scan the interior to capture all details. That no person is discovered here despite those apparent shadows is disappointing, but all is not lost. It's Friday morning, Cat has some time to spend in wait.

But while doing so, there's that web of strings which for her might well be a gold mine. "Well, well, Hiro," she breathes out with some degree of amusement, "thank you for constancy." She begins to explore and peruse the creation, starting from the point nearest where she entered.

Familiar and unfamiliar faces, dozens of them spreading from one side of the room to another. Helena Dean, her father and mother, Cat and her parents, Magnes and two unfamiliar older people that might be his parents, Peter, Sylar, strings upon strings upon strings. Hiro had said once his original string web at Isaac's loft was a failure, how it did not take into account the lives of so many other people he had met, how it did not take into consideration his friends and the people he had learned to find just as important in the post-bomb world.

However long it has been since they last saw one another, Hiro has been busy.

"Like my dad says, looking's free but touching'll cost ya." There's a lopsided smile on a young man standing just outside of Cat's peripheral vision, in a doorway that divides the workshop floor from the storefront. Slouched with one shoulder against the frame, Rhys Bluthner isn't the time-traveling swordsman that Cat may have been expecting here. Short, red-cheeked and impeccably dressed in black slacks and a vest over a button-down white shirt, the young man has a sleek fashion sense in opposition to the Wal-Mart commando stylings Hiro has.

"But I knew why you're here," Rhys explains with a downcast of his eyes and a slight trouble with tenses, hard-soled shoes clicking with each step into the room, "question is did you know?"

The hand in which she holds a text concerning Mandarin Chinese doesn't move, it's the other which is employed to pull what used to be a folding crane from a back pocket of her jeans and unfold it to show the now crinkly as well as grainy image of Barbara Zimmerman. "I have two reasons," Cat replies in training her gaze upon the teen, "which aren't mutually exclusive." With her back now turned to the figurative gold mine this place contains, she takes a step toward him.

"Of first import, who are you? You're young, but your clothing signifies money and a sense of professionalism. I'm partial to Brooks Brothers myself, when corporate attire is called for."

Two more steps forward. "Second import: where and when is Hiro?"

"Honey, just because I happen to make this look good," Rhys comments in a whispery soft voice, "doesn't mean I'm a professional. Despite what pony-tail and cargo-pants might say, he's making up this whole rules of time travel stuff as he goes along." Arms still crossed over his chest, feet sweeping in scuffed steps as he slowly closes the distance between Cat and himself, Rhys seems largely casual and languid, like a tired housecat just getting up from lying in the shade.

"To answer your first question, my name's Rhys. I'm Hiro's better-half in a wholly platonic sorta way, and I'm the reason you have that fun little origami decoration. I am young, but you could say I've got an old soul." There's a flash of a smile at that, as if largely proud of himself.

Then, of course, there's an askance look to the string web as Rhys diverts from his path to Catherine and plucks at a gray string zig-zagging through the web. "Well," Rhys murmurs, "to answer your other question that's not as easy as it sounds. Hiro isn't here, which means he's back…" there's a wave of his hand at the map, "God knows when. This history has already all happened, so he's sorta like the holes in swiss cheese, don't know which hole's the newest but they're all there."

Turning slowly, Rhys looks back to Catherine, arms still folded. "He won't be back for a while, so if you've got yourself a question, I'm your man."

She isn't a Mossad-trained operative, but she is formidable in her own right and entirely capable of emulating Hana Gitelman, which she's doing right now. Brown eyes remain on the teen as he speaks; when his silence yields her the floor Cat's words are spoken in a dry and quiet voice. "Better half, indeed. I would counter that was a woman with red hair in Texas, one not so unlike me, Rhys." Now she knows his name, but doesn't share her own. He's with Hiro, she presumes he already knows it.

"I'm interested to know what situation the woman on my crane will face, to be better prepared in dealing with it. Beyond that, I've something to ask his assistance with as well, a matter of grave import." Eyes track his fingers to that gray string he just plucked, trying to see what it holds, before drifting away to the spot where she saw images of herself and her parents.

There could be two, or four.

Strangely, it's just Mason and Jennifer.

"You're going to help a woman you know, Jessica Zimmerman— Tracy Simms— " Rhys waves one hand flippantly in the air, "the redheaded one," he stammers before closing his eyes and holding a hand to the side of his head. "Barbara." Practically exhaling her name as an exasperated breath, Rhys takes a step away from Cat and runs his fingers thorugh his swept back hair. "You're going back to Canada, not that long ago from the way I feel it. A commune, and you're going to help Barbara escape that place, because there's people that are going to be coming there to try and make sure she gets captured."

Turning to look back at Catherine, Rhys arches one brow. "I think that pretty much sums it up for you, right? You go there, you help your friend, history goes as history went and you get to come home without donuts raining from the skies or purple water or anything weird like that." A joking smile is flashed to Catherine, followed by Rhys' hands coming to fond in front of himself.

"As for any favor you want to ask of Hiro? Good luck on that one, sister. He's about as receptive to that sorta stuff as I am to flannel. Trust me, you have better luck squeezing Cristal from a stone than you would favors from Hiro Nakamura, no matter how important you think they are. Trust me, his perception of what is important isn't the same as most people's."

"Yes, they can be confusing," Cat agrees with a dry chuckle, "especially since one of those sisters herself has three different women inside. Symmetrical," she considers, "that the triplet is also a mental triplet. Now, as to the mission, I get it. I go back and help Barbara escape, but I also let Tyler and his sister get taken along with any others. It's only about her, and I'll be faced with a team of Institute goons in their Frontline armor with that gas."

On turning away from those images of herself with Mason and Jennifer, to view Rhys again, she remarks "Now, as to what I hope Hiro might provide, it's critically important and also concerns the Institute. They're close to turning satellites for the Company's tracking system into a means of pinpointing all of us, anywhere on the globe. Maybe he will, maybe he won't assist with this endeavor, but it would certainly increase chances of success and lower the extreme risk involved with stopping that development."

Her voice halts, eyes remaining on the teen calmly, asking the silent question 'do you want to be hunted and captured like a zoo animal by GPS?' Or risk provoking a war to block it.

"Regardless of whether or not he lends himself to that mission, I will take the journey to ensure Barbara's escape, probably seek to bring a team with me, and come home to a place which isn't beyond the silver rainbow."

"If you can find him you can ask him, but Hiro has his hands full with what's going on in the past to really be too concerned with what's happening in the present." Narrowing his eyes slightly, there's a nervous look that crosses Rhys' face. "He— can only afford to do so much at one time. Now this isn't my story to tell, but maybe if you find Hiro or when he finds you for your mission you'll be able to ask, but… maybe he would do what you're asking him to do, maybe because he has a hero complex and thinks he can save the whole of the world with just his two hands…"

Shadowing his eyes behind half-lidded stare, Rhys casts his eyes down to the floor. "But I'm asking you… to seriously consider not asking him for help." Looking up slowly, Rhys offers a steady shake of his head. "Hiro's sick, Catherine. He's sick and honest to God I do not know how much time he has left in him. This fight," he waves to the strings, "all this that you're going back to ensure?"

Arching one brow, Rhys lets the notion of insurance hang in Cat's perception for a moment. "He's never done this much back and forth through time before, and it's taking a toll on him. So yeah, maybe he'd help you with what it is you're doing, maybe the time he spends helping with that by coming here and being here, means he isn't somewhere else because he might feel beholden to help you, be in your debt or something."

There's a dry swallow, and Rhys offers a steady shake of his head. "I'm asking you to consider that he's got his burdens, but he would take yours on for you, probably because it's you who's asking. But consider what you'd be puttin' him through. The man has enough on his shoulders right now… but it isn't my responsibility to ask him or tell him. That's yours. And you'll see him sooner more likely than later."

When Rhys' green eyes finally meet Cat's again, it's with worry on his face. "If you can't do this on your own, than you've got no choice. But please, you know how he is, and you know what he'd do for his friends. I only hope that you might do him a similar courtesy."

She's silent as the teen speaks and shares information with her, Cat's face displays traces of an internal debate confirmed by the look to her eyes. "Sick," she murmurs as the floor returns, clearly given pause by that statement. "I can't say I won't ask, I still might, but more hesitantly than before. This isn't about me, Rhys, this is about others. The Institute has a means to track everyone with the SLC, we give off an EM field. Don't think for a minute I'd even consider asking if the stakes weren't high." She also knows the odds of seeing him before departure time are slim and none. But she still had to at least try, explore the possibility.

Moving forward, conversation is steered toward the mission in Canada and its parameters as she takes on a speculative expression. "Will it cause bad consequences, Rhys, if I manage to secure a mechanical device from one of the Institute capture team?"

"The past should be left as the past was, as much as it can be anyway." There's a tension in the back of Rhys' throat, his pupils grow wide and dark, and watching Catherine there's a tremor in his voice along with a widening of his eyes, followed by repeated blinking of his eyes and a look away. "I think— " Rhys hisses hoarsely, lifting up one hand to his mouth. "Catherine," Rhys' green eyes elevate to the brunette, "I think you should focus on making certain that everyone who leaves with you comes back in one piece."

Nervously smiling, Rhys looks down to the floor with his brows furrowed. "Disruptions in time are… difficult to estimate. But there's— I don't know the science behind it, but if you disrupt something that you yourself personally know as truth, than you're more likely to do severe damage. I— let me explain…"

Rubbing one hand over the back of his neck, it seems to be taking a great deal of effort for Rhys to put things together into words. "It— alright, hypothetically, let's say you walk out of this building and you're mugged. Your wallet gets stolen and you go home. Later on, you go back in time to stop yourself from ever losing your wallet."

Rhys winces, "Problems occur there. But let's say that you wait until you leave, and steal the wallet from the mugger? Still bad, because it's operating on things directly influencing your personal timeline. It's— " he sighs, shaking his head slowly.

"I can't explain what I see well. If you weren't involved in the mugging at all, you have more freedom to meddle in the events and still be able to return to a time you recognize. Make too many ripples in your own pond, Catherine, and everything falls apart. Make too many ripples in general and… well, they'll find their way back to you."

Rhys motions to the string web slowly. "You need to be careful, with every choice you make."

"Yes, I know," Cat muses, calling up a conversation had nearly two years ago at Isaac's loft while looking over another web of string, about how the parameters of going back to prevent the nuking of Manhattan could be so extensive as to test even her own memory. "Everything has consequences, and they're generally unpredictable."

Feet go into motion, she resumes walking along the path of that webbed string slowly to sight and peruse each component. "Someone once said time is a river, one can make small changes to how it flows, but the really momentous alterations require moving mountains. But I think maybe not. It could be whoever is behind the efforts Hiro's opposing works like a beaver. Slowly and steadily moving sticks, logs, other objects into the river until a dam is built, which redirects the river and forms its home."

"That's one way of looking at it," Rhys explains with a furrow of his brows, looking worriedly at the string web. then back to Catherine. "The situation you're in, Cat, it's a dangerous one. You've got to be willing— got to be careful— to consider the implications of everything. Every step, every choice… because we're all responsible for our own future. What's happening in the past might not seem as urgent to you as all the trouble in the world right now, but I see it differently. I see it like it's happening right now, and it's terrible. It's tragic."

Looking down to his shoes, Rhys exhales a sigh, then slowly looks up to the panmnesiac again. "Just remember, if you do it right, if everything goes well and you come back and we're all still here… then whatever happened, happened."

"Did I not, Rhys," Cat replies calmly with her eyes lifting from the strings to send a glance his way, "say I understood well the need to let Tyler Case and his sister be taken in, to ensure Barbara, and only Barbara, escapes? What you're telling me is that should apply to objects also." There's a haunted quality in her eyes, incongruent to the stoic acceptance shown in the rest of her features, which attests to making such weighty decisions before.

"You see the past, you can see my past too, probably, you know I've been at that moment of decision and made the heartbreaking sacrifice, chose not to take the apparently easy route because bigger things were at stake. Though I'm tempted, does what you see not calm your fears, Rhys?" Back to the teen, she continues perusing strings. It doesn't alter the past to soak up information now, after all.

"No," Rhys says in a small voice, slowly shaking his head, "no it doesn't. It just means you're someone who will do anything in order to do what you think is necessary, Catherine." There's a worried look that crosses Rhys' expression, a shadow of fleeting doubt briefly dawning on his rosy-cheeked face. "That's either going to be in our favor, or it's going to be to our detriment. But a woman like you, Cat," Rhys' brows furrow together and his teeth draw across his bottom lip.

"All it could take is one small push, one bad decision, and you'd turn the slippery slope from hero to villain into a waterslide." The joke elicits a faint crease of dimples at Rhys' cheeks, a smile that is hesitant, as uncertain as the future. "I just hope for all our sakes, what you feel is necessary is also what winds up being right."

"You really are an old soul, Rhys," the brunette remarks with her back still to him as travel of strings continues, "you could best even the most distinguished of Yale philosophy professors in a debate." The words come with another turn of her head his way, and a forming smile.

"Tomorrow would've been John Lennon's seventieth birthday, Rhys. It's not entirely about him, but close. Is that whole conspiracy theory about Paul McCartney dying in the sixties just that, or is it real?"

"Paul's Paul," Rhys explains with a demure shy away from the other topic, one brow lifting slowly. "As for the moon landing…" there's a sly smile that crosses his face, followed by a bubble of laughter, "well…" There's at least the hint of something in his expression bordering on good humor, even if it's plastered over a surface of nervousness.

"The jury's still out on that one."

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