cat_icon.gif hana_icon.gif matt_icon.gif

Scene Title Conversion
Synopsis Perfect memory, telepathy, and technopathy conspire to produce images from recollections. Matt also evades near-certain death.
Date December 31, 2008

New York Public Library

She's been waiting for this, since two days before Christmas, and now contact with Agent Parkman has been made. Eleven ante meridian, at the library headquarters, Cat had recommended, and contacted Wireless to let her know of the meeting place and time.

Now she waits at that place, dressed casually. Jeans, sweatshirt, athletic shoes. She'll change for the party after business here is done.

When they arrive, she'll be found seated at a table, her expression calm enough. Three books are at hand. One on the Italian language and the one on Hebrew are by her left elbow; the German book being paged through.

It's a blistery day in New York as is befitting the time of year and occasion, and it isn't too much warmer inside the decaying library. Still, at least the structure shelters from the wind. Matt Parkman rubs at his upper arm with his left hand, trying to get some warmth back into the appendage he still has feeling in. His suit and woolen coat aren't quite cutting it. Not time is wasted in finding Cat, but the agent has an idea of where he might find her.

"I don't think I'll get over how appropriate this place is for you, Doctor," he says by way of greeting as he pulls his gloves off and rubs his hands together. In another moment, he's reaching across the table to offer a cordial handshake. "I'm sorry this has taken so long. Thanks to you guys we've got a lot of information to comb through."

There's some warmth to be had in the library — but not in the larger rooms, with their high ceilings and open spaces. Hana can't be said to be warm either, at least in demeanor, as she enters the room, preceded by the sounds of her feet tapping against the floor. She wears her normal leather jacket and black jeans; Alaskan weather, the Israeli woman will bow to, but New York just doesn't get that cold. Hana offers little greeting as she walks up to table, not beyond a curt but polite nod; the table itself is between her and the other two individuals here.

She sets the books aside and stands when approached. Her eyes settle on the man and her right hand extends. "I could fit in a number of places. Law office, courtroom, concert hall, punk rock dive bar." A cold focus comes into her eyes, she means the business of tearing that operation down very much. "Thank you so much for coming, Agent Parkman," Cat replies. "We've learned more since then, as well. Another source gave us the name Vanguard in association with the Kazimir Volken Group, Doctor Ray suggests it means something of a small army has been assembled. He's still working on his operational plan. And a precog has reported bridges over the Hudson may be targets.

Then Hana arrives, and Cat greets her in a fashion similar to that of the operative herself.

Matt makes quick mental notes regarding these new developments and nods first to Cat and then Hana. With that part out of the way, the nitty gritty nature of his visit bears its head. With a sigh, Matt furrows his brow with that characteristic combination of slight insecurity and determination. "I'm afraid I'm not that practiced at this, but I can't think of another way to get it out of your head." Matt's focus is on Cat as he says it, but he might as well be looking past her eyes as much as he is looking into them.

"I want you to think about when you saw these people. Like replaying a file or a tape in your head. So just relax and sink into it, and don't fight." What, Matt leaves a mystery.

Hana's dark eyes narrow as Matt declares his intent, but it's not like she doesn't know why they were summoned here today. So she remains quiet and waits, however stiffly; in fact, after a moment the Israeli walks away and goes to stare at the nearby computer screen instead. Less temptation that way.

She knows the drill, very well. The idea came to her from how she and Peter Petrelli had been able to communicate. Her features become a bit unfocused, the eyes settle on a distant wall; Cat herself seems distracted. She calls up vivid memories, going for the images that will be clearest.

"This is an upscale building," Cat replies, placing her glass on a table and glancing at the door. "I'm not worried. Security can handle whatever's going on." Except she knows that isn't always true. They totally failed to respond when Stormy was mistaken for Gabriel Gray, and took no action against the faux Fed with Rock that night. On the off chance it could be something of interest, she heads for the door. It's opened, she sticks her head out to look around carefully and see what's going on.

Odessa breaks free from Ethan and scurries over when 101's door opens. "Omigosh," she gasps, fixing wide eyes on Cat. "There's some dude just going ape shit out there! I think he's drunk."

Ethan steps back allowing Odessa to be the friendly one who's startled. He, prepares the next stages of the plan. Sticking his hands in his coat, he gives a little shrug. "Baby," His accent is American, not distinguishable. "Let's just go home. He's just a crazy drunk." Then a little laugh. "Look at that!" He points a finger out at the commotion, draw her out

Odessa smiles widely and reaches for Ethan, tugging him along inside with her. "Golly! It's so nice of you to invite us in." Once inside, with the door safely closed behind them, she shakes out her free hand before breaking off from Ethan again to step deeper inside the apartment and look about curiously. "Wow!" She exclaims when she peeks into the living area, "That is the biggest television I have ever seen!"

Ethan is tugged in quickly and stumbles into the room. Giving a little smile to Cat. "Thank you very much. We appreciate it. So much crazy stuff happening these days. You never know when there's one of those Evolved thugs just going insane anywhere, you know? We'll be sure to get out of here as soon as that guy is gone." He says, then looks back to Odessa. "Honey, don't intrude on them." He says with a chiding voice, sticking his hands back into his coat pockets.

The journey of memory stops there, and Cat rewinds a short distance to focus in on specific images. First Odessa, described in the files as the unknown blonde with potential time manipulating ability. It's held in her mind's eye for several seconds, to allow Matt capturing the image clearly.

As Cat replays the scene in her mind and Matt focuses on drawing it out of her, the people in it materialize in the library and the run-down and neglected bastion of academia fades to the doctor's apartment. The figure of Cat herself is blurry for a moment before Matt fixes it in order to strengthen the entire illusion. But Ethan Holden and Odessa Knutson, or at least these remembered versions of them, nor Cat's own self-image, react to the presence of their more substantial and real viewers.

Though, for all accounts, they're just as real. They breathe. They are palpable. They are the same shadows on the same cave wall as everything else.

Matt takes control after a moment, making Odessa and Ethan continue in their giggly action, though at a slower though realistic pace, in order to study them. Odessa in all her flighty, blonde glory, Ethan in his good-old-boy American fa├žade.

"Hana," Matt whispers, afraid he might distrupt the fragile fabric of his creation. "Do you want them to pose for you?"

To Hana's perspective, the library disappears, becoming somewhere else entirely; this causes her to turn back towards the other two even before Matt addresses her, ingrained instinct causing the woman to tense. She's halfway to having a weapon in hand before her mind catches up with her reflexes; probably more disruptive influence inherent in that aborted intent than there was in the telepath's own stated words.

"Just get them where you need them," she informs Matt. The technopath takes a bare couple of steps forward for a clearer view, mindful of the fact that she can't see the table or any of the other real furnishings anymore. But she can still hear the computer's electronic chuckling in the background, the murmur of digital information flow, amplified into a torrent by the data she's already dumping into it.

Her features shift as the illusion takes hold and she finds herself, seemingly, back in the shared apartment. Cat's fists clench and are drawn up slightly, the eyes showing a cold rage and stern will. She approaches the image of Ethan and stands right in front of him. "Someday," she whispers, "if I have my way, you and I will have a reckoning. But the larger issues are more important, and we don't know which of you freezes time. You probably need to be shot in the head at distance so you can't see it coming."

Then she turns toward Odessa's image, and speaks further. "Same goes for you, bitch."

And back to Ethan, she smiles coldly. "You can't have known what my memory is like. Or you're overconfident. Or stupid, maybe all three. Otherwise you'd never have let me go alive. Because I never forget."

To say the experience of seeing Dani mutilated at Ethan's hands, and believing he killed her less than a month ago, has had an effect on her would be an understatement.

Out of respect, Matt waits until Cat's mental confrontation is overwith before he puppets the images for Hana. However, there seems to be a glimmer of pride in both of their faces - an unspoken challenge put there undoubtedly out of Matt and Cat's combined thoughts. Ethan and Odessa stand with their vaguely smug expressions, turning first to the left, then the right. It's like a police lineup, without the chart backdrop and slated information at their chests.

Hana's memory is merely human… but she can translate the images she perceives into perfect computer record, and she does this for both figures as Matt turns them in place, stuffing the data into a section of disk space that was set aside back when Cat first contacted her to propose this project. To say it's done easily would be a lie; the task is simple, but that's not the same thing. Nonetheless, Hana refuses to show any of the strain in Parkman's presence, her posture stiff and set, dark eyes narrowed in concentration.

She just watches the illusion before her, eyes fixed on the images, until they change or someone prompts her to go for other memories which other apparitions can be created from. Cat's eyes remain loaded with those emotions, and her fists remain clenched almost to white knuckle tension.

Matt waits as well, watching, or in actuality, anticipating some sort of signal from Hana so that he doesn't destroy the illusion too early. He may be apprehensive about delving into the chaos which is the Israeli woman's brain, but that doesn't mean he can't skim the farthest fringes of it in order to know when she's completed her task.

Careful observation would reveal to Matt a definite change, from 'heavy processing load' to 'normal operation', that he can sense without even looking closely at all. Hana draws in a breath, then, just to make it clear she's finished, nods briefly to Matt. At least… she's done with the raw data feed. The Israeli woman drops herself into a nearby chair and leans back against it, closing her eyes. "I need to trim the files into something you can use," she states for Matt's benefit.

Matt eases out of Cat's mind, and the illusion fades as it loses its motive power. He too sighs, closing his eyes tightly and rubbing at his forehead in reaction to the effort that it took and the implications of the action — not necessarily what will come of it, but the fact that for the second time, he consciously manipulated the perceptions of those around him. At least Cat and Hana were willing participants.

Not wanting to disturb the volatile Hana, Matt turns to look at Cat. How long? is the question he projects at her, assuming that silence might expedite the process.

Let's not overload Gitelman, is Matt's mental answer. But you only need to think about what they look like. Once you've pulled that out of that encyclopedia of yours, I can do what I need to. It'd be a much longer and more difficult process if Matt were having to dig these people out of Cat without her assistance. Matt swallows, curling and uncurling his hands in and out of fists as his patience wears. There's no point in attempting the other two if the first set does not come out right or well.

The other two speak in silence, even the lack of words not particularly noticed by Hana. It's a little longer before her eyes blink open again, immediately seeking out the agent's form. The hint of weariness doesn't dim their intensity in the slightest. "You want to see the images." It's not a question, and at the silent command which accompanies it, the computer monitor behind her obediently displays an array of thumbnail-sized previews for Parkman to view and manipulate.

The images have been cropped down to a more typical portrait size, in succession seeming like the individual frames of a roll of film, catching both Ethan and Odessa in motion as Matt's illusion depicted them. An unknowing observer would likely name them high-quality photographs, especially with the apartment interior as background rather than a blank digital space.

It is with subdued eagerness that Matt crosses the room to the computer to survey the photos. "That's amazing, Hana," he praises in awe as he enlarges one after the other. Then, in a more hesitant and anxious tone, he adds, "Can we do two more?" People, that is.

Once Hana breaks her silence and invites a review of the images, Cat steps over to look at them without a word. She nods once, finding them of decent quality. "Thank you, Hana," Cat offers solemnly. Her eyes flick over to Matt when he asks that question, then back to the technopath. She doesn't say it, but her expression betrays wanting to do just that. The more people they have images for, the better.

It's a different application of her ability than Hana is used to, but she's not taxed yet. Parkman and Cat are both regarded with a somewhat oblique scrutiny, as though the determining factor is not her stamina, but their intent. Then the technopath dips her head just once, silent assent. Yet she remains seated.

Hana's nod is all Matt needs in order to proceed. He nods in turn to Cat, and, not knowing what setting she saw Wu-Long and Eileen in, projects his own. It is a different sort of effort, as it is from his own mind instead of Cat's, but within a matter of moments, the library has been transformed a second time, however it now resembles Central Park as opposed to the doctor's apartment.

Central Park. The image causes her to call up the specific memory of Eileen Ruskin and hold it there for Matt to do his work with. It's the same as before, kept in her mind's eye for several seconds in the expectation of Matt being able to grab it in that time, while she inwardly projects Wu-Long was in a parking garage, when the trade for this one happened.

Cat's eyes soften a bit, she no longer shows the controlled fury and her fists don't clench, but she does remain completely focused. Eileen is perhaps someone she believes is of contemptible naivete, and Wu-Long, while dangerous, doesn't carry the emotional resonance of those directly involved in abduction, mutilation, and murder. He's clinically viewed.

One dark brow arches at the depiction of Eileen — the illusory park isn't worth so much regard from Hana — before the technopath goes back to work. She takes a few seconds to clean up discarded file scraps from the last round and free more space, all of which is promptly refilled with the new set of images.

Eileen is turned about in much the same manner as Ethan and Odessa were. After a few minutes, the blink of an eye changes the park to the parking garage, and there Wu-Long stands and soon undergoes the same treatment. While Eileen looked the part of the innocent pawn, Wu-Long's demeanor is all-out eerie. It takes Matt a great deal of concentration to to allow his own demons to creep out from under cars or behind columns to join in the scene set by the Chinese criminal.

And Cat? She just stands there watching the illusions fueled by images from her own considerable memory.

There's a point, one fairly quick in coming, at which Hana nods again. Then she returns to sitting with her eyes closed, attention focused on the disk drive at hand, chopping and converting the raw image files into something more mundane computers can easily manipulate, transfer, display. The wait drags on just noticeably longer than it was the first time through, before the monitor obligingly spits up a new set of mugshots for Parkman's perusal.

Hana Gitelman and Matt Parkman have a history, and though it isn't very detailed, neither is it very honest or nice. Still, once the illusion has faded and Matt has finished looking at the second set of pictures on the monitor, he can't help but turn and plant a kiss on the woman's cheek. "God love you, Hana," he says with a joyous sort of sigh. He's like a kid on…Hanukkah.

Once the illusions have faded and Hana has called for review of images again, Cat too moves to view them. They're studied for a short few moments, then she utters a simple "Thank you again, Hana." And a brow raises as Matt kisses her on the cheek; she moves a few steps away to make sure she doesn't get struck by error. It seems, in Cat's view, no one would touch Hana if he didn't have advance verbal permission without immediate consequences.

Mostly, it's because they each believe the other is hanging out with the wrong crowd. If that weren't the case, it's possible Parkman and Wireless might even manage to get along. As it is… the only thing that saves Parkman from a gory end is the fact that Wireless — yes, even she — is fatigued and not even remotely expecting such a move.

Hana's eyes snap open as she recoils in surprise when Matt's lips touch her cheek; her right hand automatically shoves him away, and not exactly gently, but the ex-Mossad does have the presence of mind to check it. (No actual hazard here. Today.) Most of the force of her respose goes into the chair, which clatters across the floor in a harmless direction after the woman jumped to her feet and kicked it, automatically clearing space for movement. The knife in her left hand disappears almost as quickly as it appeared.

"Fucking hell, Parkman!" Hana looks like she can't decide whether to be more shocked or pissed. Vaguely, that probably translates to 'thank you, too', at least in some obscure lexicon.

Matt would be deceiving himself if he ever held a notion that Hana - the compatriot of one of his more personal enemies - would react in such a way. Still, he's somewhat braced for the shove and so only stumbles back a few steps. He coughs, then rubs at his jacketed chest as he looks somewhat sheepishly up at Cat, then Hana.

"So…I'll wait for the e-mail?"

"It's coming your way soon," Cat suggests. She briefly considers asking Parkman about progress on finding remains, but elects not to. The man of probability prediction said she wouldn't find them, they'd find her, and she also chooses to believe Matt would tell her if he had anything without need of being asked. Solemnly she looks at each in turn, to say "Thank you both for this." The source of her having the idea isn't spoken of, and with the business handled her focus turns in another direction.

There's a party to prepare for and attend, one at which she plans to avoid talking business as much as possible.

Proper personal distance re-established, Hana doesn't offer anything resembling an apology for her outburst — not even an analogue to Parkman's sheepish look. But her reply — "I'll send it… later." — is a valid indicator of the technopath's relative fatigue. Certainly more so than her flat expression. Cat's more typical statement of gratitude receives a nod, though Hana doesn't look away from Parkman. It isn't quite a stare, but it's close.

Then Wireless breaks off and walks away.

December 31st: Let's Make a Deal
December 31st: New Year's Garden
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