Bad In Practice


cat_icon.gif edward_icon.gif

Scene Title Bad In Practice
Synopsis Following up on an invitation, the younger Edward Ray pays Cat an unannounced visit.
Date July 18, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's Penthouse

Long days are best ended in peace and quiet, in alone time and personal space. After the busy day Catherine Chesterfield, managing to crawl back to her Penthouse shortly before midnight is a small victory in and of itself. The quiet din of the television having been left on echoes across the apartment, along with the quiet snoring of Benjamin Washington, better known as Knox. Despite having a place to stay all of his own here, the sheer presence of Cat's entertainment room has been a constant draw for the former PARIAH operative.

On her way past that room, Cat can see him sprawled out on the sofa, pillow covering his face, one leg dangling off the sofa with a remote still held in his hands, fast asleep. It's not an unusual scene. Past the entertainment room and on her way to the kitchen, her ears still quietly ring from the blaring guitars and squealing amps from Else's show that ended just a short hour ago.

When she clicks on the kitchen light, the last thing she expects to see is someone else sitting at her kitchen table. "Oh, hello Miss Chesterfield," the light from the overhead lamps reflects off of circular-lensed glasses with wire frames, "I hope yoou don't mind that I let myself in." A bowl of cereal sits in front of him, spoon settled down into the Cheerios, one hand moving to nudge a carton of milk out of the way.

"I heard you wanted to talk?" He motions towards the chair across from him, lips creeping up into a smug expression of amusement. It's been a very long time since Catherine Chesterfield was confronted with this Edward Ray, and now both of them have found their home in her apartment, without knocking.

The partly tired woman glances at the man sitting at her kitchen table eating cereal quietly. She could be hostile, given the intrusion, and it does disturb her. Cat's put a lot into security. Cameras around the outside of the building and in the common areas inside, the footage going to her so she can check it at times. Having control and knowledge of who resides here too, to cut down the risk of an Ethan/Odessa thing happening again. But, she asked for this. Edward and his grasp of probability, it makes the odds of him being able to know the perfect moment to make a move and gain access so easily in his favor. Seek Edward Ray, and he shall find you. When and where he feels like it. Much like Hiro Nakamura with his starting and ceasing to be present.

If, she fully realizes, this is really Edward Ray. A look at his face confirms it's the younger version present now, apparently. "Are you really you?" Prove you're you, and not Arthur, is the thought in mind, and a question which might address that comes to mind easily. If it even matters. Arthur's telepathy could pierce through and get enough to answer such questions, potentially. Is it even possible to avoid being suckered again? "What's my proper title?" she asks dryly while moving to sit. The folder she had for the conversation with Else is placed before her.

"Arthur would know you are a doctor, miss Chesterfield. But do you really think he would have left mister Washington sleeping there on the sofa, instead of stealing his power?" Logic, rather than proof, is Edward's armaments. "Take a seat, I don't have a lot of time to be discussing matters with you, but mister Laudani told me that you wanted to speak with me, so…" He brings the spoon down to the Cheerios again, taking a mouthful as his brows raise, blue eyes motioning towards the chair across from him.

"That's a good answer," Cat admits as she settles into the chair. "And yes, I did ask to speak with you. It wasn't one thing I planned to ask about, but given the circumstances I'll first ask how I can possibly make security good enough to not have guests waiting for me when I get home. One never knows, after all, when it might be Ethan and Odessa, or Arthur, or anyone else of the hostile kind." Her pique having been vented, she then moves on.

"Pinehearst. At our last conversation, arranged by a technopath, Father said he and mother are working with you against him. Forces are coming together for that purpose. Richard Cardinal says he has a plan to end things definitively, which he has yet to share. He wanted to ask Father about the viability of it, but we've been unable to make contact."

"The older version of you first put us on this path, asking me to help end Pinehearst and preserve Primatech. I committed to nothing, so he pointed me at Father. Things have taken care of themselves since, as to motivation. Over and above all other reasons, he simply cannot be allowed to take over the government and build his Evolved army."

"So… what plans were formed in working with Father?" Dark eyes rest on him, silence settles.

"There's no such thing as perfect security, miss Chesterfield," He still refuses to call her a doctor, "not in this day and age. I think you of all people should have shed that naievte some time ago. You can throw as much money as you like to ensuring that something is going to work, but there's always a variable you don't predict."

"As for Richard Cardinal," both of Edward's brows rise, "I don't trust him. Laudani brought him around once, and when I got a good look at him I realized he was dangerous. I'd be careful where he's concerned, miss Chesterfield, because while he may hate Arthur Petrelli, there's a certain level of similarity in their ability to throw others under the proverbial — and sometimes literal — bus."

"As for your father, yes, he and I did speak. It was thanks to he and Teodoro that I was able to escape from Arthur after…" he cuts himself off, shaking his head and then taking another casual bite of cereal. "Your father is trying to hide progress on the Formula, as is your mother. I told them to be ready, because I knew you and your ilk would be coming." One of Edward's brows rise and his voice takes on a bitter tone, "I sure hope they're ready."

Licking off his spoon, he looks up to Catherine with a slight narrowing of his eyes. "Did I ever tell you why I left?" he suddenly breaks away from the conversation, "why I never came back the day after the meeting at the library? My mind had been elsewheres for a long time, before that incident. All of this, I am afraid…" Edward motions to the table, "everything that's happening?" He looks up from the table to Cat, "is because of Gillian Childs."

"Interesting," Cat replies after listening, palms resting flat on the table, "naivete, no. But I had to ask anyway, just to make a point." She takes some moments to think afterward, the result being expressed when she has it. "Father said he recognized it had been edited, no one else remembers it well enough to spot the difference. Arthur found himself in a jam because of this, needing to make a demo to the head of Frontline, and chose to use Advent virus with a defective version so a subject or subjects would manifest and live long enough to convince General Autumn he has the serum. Contact with Father has since been lost. Mr. Cardinal, meanwhile, doesn't trust either of you. I've my own bones to pick with the older versions. The actions of Tyler Case were unneeded, as was his indirectness. He could've told me straight up what Arthur was all about."

"No," she confirms, coming to the last statement he made and the question ahead of it, "you didn't say why you left. Gillian's name was in a list I only saw part of at Pinehearst. A list of people perhaps given the original serum in the 80s, and possibly also adopted after the fire which destroyed it and left several children orphaned. I myself, according to Father, am one of them. So… how is all of this about Gillian?"

Shaking his head slowly, Edward rubs his hand across his brow and slouches back into his chair with a faint smile. "You certainly have a way with reiteration but you lack your father's knack of deduction." Pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose with two fingers, Edward leans forward, folding his hands and resting his chin across the backs of them. "I can't say how effective my, er, counterparts plans have been. And sometimes, indirectness is necessary… especially when you are able to see how someone reacts when you come to them up front, and how someone reacts when you don't."

Pursing his lips, Edward narrows his eyes and realizes he's gotten a bit off track. "One day in the stacks, when I was still planning the assault on the Vanguard, I met Gillian Childs for the first time. Her hand brushed mine, and… she opened my mind, expanded my ability and— for just the briefest of moments, I could see it all." But then there is no elaboration on what he means, what 'all' encompasses.

"If you ask me — and you do — I think everything my counterpart has done is based off of these insights into the future that I and my older counterpart have obtained. Ever since that day Gillian touched my hand, nothing I've done has been by chance, and I can imagine the same is true of him."

"We aren't so hard to work with that we need to be manipulated like pieces on a chess board, Edward," the woman quietly fumes. "Neither I nor Helena are naive, or reckless. You're right, we are coming for Pinehearst. I hope they're ready too. There isn't much choice in the matter, despite Mr. Monk suggesting we sit this one out and his belief we'll fail. The results of that are Arthur gaining unbridled power, and him taking us all out one by one if we just sit still. It's a quandary, really. We were asked to gather people for what's coming and survive. If we don't tend to Arthur, there is no survival. What comes next, we're told, is a war. I can see the signs Mr. Monk pointed out myself, the historical parallels. And precognitions are pointing toward some resurgence of Vanguard remnants with nuclear intentions."

She cracks a faint smile, studying his face, while stating "I'd ask you what you saw, what your moves are in response, if any of that future still remains given your older version's acts, probably also yours… But it would be pointless. You'll tell me just what you think needs to be shared to increase the chances we'll act toward what outcome you believe is the best possible."

"You and I both understand any mission of the type we carry out is dangerous, and sacrifices get made. Dani was one of them. We wouldn't have given up our technopath in trade for her. Not that it would've been possible if we tried."

"Sometimes the only thing for a situation is to send waves and waves of people onto a hostile beach with nothing but rifles against solid positions, hoping there are enough to overrun the enemy, like at Normandy in 1944. We just have to hope we aren't being thrown under the bus, and if we are our deaths accomplish something worthwhile."

For all her litany of explanations, Edward just sits quietly, listening and absorbing, plucking out relevent bits of unforseen or unknown information — names, situations, events, cherrypicking the ones that seem the most intriguing and scrutinizing them with a very visible level of intent. Then, after a long time, his head nods and his eyes dip shut.

"I think, right there at the end," Edward notes with a motion of one hand towards some salient point, "you figured it out exactly. I'm not sure you know what you figured out, but— you did." Both of Edward's brows rise slowly, and he leans back with his hands folded.

"Is this what you called me all thee way out here for, Cat?" All the way out here it's as if he was a good distance away from Greenwich — or perhaps the city entirely. "Did you want to just throw points at me? I'm not whoever's obviously gotten wedged in your craw, you can try to tell them, perhaps. I told you about your father, what he and I did, what I know. But that can't be why you wanted Teodoro to send me out here."

Looking down at that unfinished bowl of cereal uncertainly, Edward's blue eyes linger there for just a moment before creeping back up. "Tell me…" his brows furrow, "was the future miss Dean saw so horrible, that the future you're creating now a better replacement? My counterpart seems to think that, and in a way I do too. But you know… I think it's selfish of he and I. Selfish because of what lot I was dealt in that future — doublecrossed by Arthur."

Tilting his head to the side, Edward regards Cat with a modicum of curiosity. "Was the future that bad? Or was her lot in it that bad? I won't say miss Dean and I are alike — but perhaps we're not as different as she'd like to imagine."

"I asked for your presence because you're you. Because in the past we worked according to your plan, and it worked. Staring mass death in the face, we were able to stop it. I asked to see you because you've been working with father on the demise of Pinehearst, the end of Arthur's plans, and might have specific recommendations to that end. I know very little about that future. Helena doesn't share much. Teo has told me more, that a number of us were murdered at Arthur's direction. He set Helena and others up to be martyred, without need. I don't even know where I would be in that future. Makes me wonder if I'm dead too, then. The most I've been told is I've learned to be a pilot."

"I only know what I see, Edward," she quietly adds. "I can only advise Helena according to that. What I see is Arthur having gone mad, this told to me by Father in his decision to work against him. I see the United States, which should be and must become again the hope of the world, rushing to become America, with a K. Evolved army being formed, the Presidency bought and sold by Linderman and Angela Petrelli… Strange bedfellows. It burns me to realize and admit Humanis First are partly right. Someone is building an Evolved army to take over the government."

"Is that what you honestly think, or what other people have told you?" One brow rises as Edward moves to stand from his chair. "I'm not saying you're wrong, but you may want to consider the source. Japan has has an Evolved special-forces unit in its self-defense force for quite some time now, and they're still an autonomous nation." He grimaces slightly, "Every generation thinks that the one before them might have had it right, and that change is only bad. I used to be a conformist, like them. My time spent in confinement of the Company and Pinehearst changed my perceptions on things…"

Tucking his hands into the pocket of his tweed jacket, Edward lets his head hang slightly. "The one thing I think you misunderstood about our meeting here, Catherine, is that it's of any value to me to help Phoenix survive this time." There's no smug pride in his voice when he says that, only disquiet and hesitance.

"Who do you turn to, when you're starting to become the enemy?" One of Edward's brows rise slowly. "I don't know the answer to this question, and perhaps I never will. But you should consider why Phoenix was martyred the way it was in the future. Because from where I stand," he rolls his shoulders, "from what I've seen… things only get worse from here. I'm trying to change that, but I have to play things…" he squints, "a little closer to my chest that usual. I can't risk even a slight error, a slight mis-step. Telling the wrong person the wrong thing… I hope you understand."

She chuckles dryly. "I had to ask. There was nothing to lose. The worst result would be not having what we already don't have. As to Frontline, well, it speaks for itself. We're not talking about an Evolved army unit, Edward. We're talking about that unit being created specifically to be a permanent law enforcement arm, which the Army has never been here. A force like that, in the hands of either Linderman or Arthur, can't be good. It can only bolster their power grabs. It can only be a Gestapo, intended to use against anyone who dares to oppose people who've stolen the nation. The way everything was set up, to block permanent concentrations of power, is being undermined. Checks and balances destroyed." Her eyes close.

"They never even tried to have a national debate on how to apply current law to people with powers. It can be done, easily. There isn't any person judged dangerous who couldn't have been committed in open court, or convicted of a crime legitimately and imprisoned. There's been no attempt at all to establish schools for learning control of abilities. It's all been secret this, secret that, lock up all the freaks in the deepest hole available. We did Homeland's work for them, only to have them swoop in after it was all done and cart people off. Helena and Alex locked up for stopping genocide in a prison the Feds still haven't admitted was raided, much less existed. Can you," she asks, "say that doesn't smell like Nazi Germany or the USSR?"

"If we start to become the enemy, well, we may not ever realize it. But things always correct in the end. Jefferson wrote the 'tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed by the blood of patriots and tyrants.'"

"Jefferson lived in a different era. I trust his words no more than I trust Socrates and Plato. Good ideas, bad in practice." There's something wistful in Edward's expression as he forsakes the rest of the cereal, raching out to grab the carton of milk on his way back to the refrigerator. The door clicks open, revealing a thin sliver of bright light from within as he tucks it back away on a shelf.

"I will afford you this, however, Catherine, if only out of respect for your father and his work." Edward looks up from the fridge as he closes the door, "Your ability isn't what you think it is, what you've limited yourself into thinking you can do. There's more to your ability than meets the eye, and that's why you were given to Mason." Edward pauses as he moves away from the refrigerator, eyes lingering on the floor. "His words, not mine."

Her eyes trail him as he moves, resting speculatively on the man. No comment is made as to whether Cat believes it's true or not. There's no asking him to elaborate. He will, or he won't, as he chooses. The only thing clear is they will do as they will do, and the consequences will be whatever they'll be.

Her reply is simple, quietly spoken. "I'll remember you told me that."

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