Damn Kids



and Jared Harrison, emitted

Scene Title Damn Kids
Synopsis …and their hare-brained schemes
Date Apr 29, 2010

Cat's Penthouse, Village Renaissance Building

It was barely half an hour after the announcement of Elisabeth Harrison's arrest that Cat's phone rang. The male voice on the other end identified himself as Jared Harrison and asked for a meeting. Given the weather conditions, it is another hour before the man arrives at the building and is escorted to the penthouse elevator by security.

Stepping into the penthouse itself is a man somewhere near 60, in good shape. Elisabeth's blue eyes most likely came from him. His brown hair is streaked with gray but looks distinguished. He's bundled up for the winter weather in a hooded parka, a pair of heavy boots, and ski pants. He carries a waterproof case in gloved hands, skimming the massive penthouse space with wary eyes while he waits for the woman he's supposed to meet.

"Doctor Harrison," the woman who owns the place greets. She's got the door open for him, ready to accept winter gear as it's being removed, her features somber. Maybe even a touch of anger, slipping through the mask of neutral emotion. "Regretfully this meeting doesn't occur under better circumstances." She's taken some time to dress professionally, Brooks Brothers suit with pants.

"I've got coffee and breakfast, if you like, while we speak."

Surprise registers on his face when Catherine addresses him as 'Doctor'. "Mister is fine. Or Jared if you prefer." He holds his hand out to shake hers after peeling his gloves off. "My daughter said if anything were to happen, you were the person to call. That you'd represent her. I assume you've seen the news this morning." The lines of strain deepen the grooves in his face — the laugh lines are not the ones most prominent at the moment. "And coffee would be great, thank you."

He carries the waterproof case with him as he follows her through the room, unzipping his coat to reveal a heavy cable-knit sweater over a turtleneck. Once can only assume the ski pants are probably donned over a pair of slacks or jeans. His voice is carefully controlled. "Have you been in contact with anyone at Homeland Security yet?"

The hand is met by her right extending to shake once and release, skin warm and soft but with calluses near the fingertips and a bit more strength than one might expect. "Cat is good, Jared," she replies. With one hand she gestures toward the nearby entertainment room where the coffee is. "I've not had opportunity to speak with DHS yet, no." Within the confines of her mental processes, she debates how carefully to tread the line. "I intend to review their evidence in detail."

With his gear hung up except for the pants and boots, Jared still seems imposing enough even in his casual clothes. Sharp eyes settle on Cat as they arrive in the entertainment room. He sets the case on the table and says, "I'm not going to beat around the bush with you. I am assuming that you already know what she's involved in, or she wouldn't have told me to come to you. Lawyer-client privilege now extends to both of us; I've been on retainer since the beginning of the year." He gets immediately down to business, his tension showing. "I want to know what their evidence is. I've spent the last four months building a defense case, setting up precedent arguments, and getting my ducks in a row for just this eventuality."

Jared pushes the case across the table to her. "There are four paths of attack laid out with briefs outlining the cases similar enough to back the paths of choice. My biggest concern here is that they're going to attempt to stall or even not hold a trial, given the nature of the accusations against her. They could conceivably fall under the Patriot Act, which will complicate matters. Keeping it in the public eye should force them to deal aboveboard in the courtrooms as opposed to hiding it behind that piece of bullshit legislation."

"I believe their intention is to deal with things according to due process and the Constitution," Cat provides, "given there was a news release of the arrest. Otherwise they'd not have said a single word. Admittedly, her position with Frontline may contribute, the sudden absence of a member in that body would be noticeable. Not that the DHS is above spin. My first intention is to speak with Agent Kershner, her boss. If a sting took place, she has to have been in on it."

Two cups of coffee are poured as she goes on. No need to see the man unnecessarily troubled by the ruse. "I estimate these charges are easily defeated, in any case. Can't guarantee it, of course, but I don't see this going to trial or resulting in prison confinement."

Worry has aged the man's face more than usual, and the spark of hope eases the lines of strain from his face slightly. He's no one's fool. "We both know that if they choose to charge her, they've already got all the evidence they need, Cat," Jared says quietly, taking his coffee cup from her. He watches her over the rim of the cup with the same sharp-eyed look that Elisabeth gets when she's caught a whiff of something. "They could simply have rescinded her pardon and taken her at any time. She's been living in the lion's den." Something that should have occured to him earlier this morning, but quite frankly he's been waiting for this situation to arise ever since she confided in him. And now that Cat's raised the possibility of a sting, Jared gives himself a mental slap on the back of the head.

His cup hits the table hard. "Son of a bitch," he growls. "She's playing bait. She's put that goddamned hare-brained scheme of hers into motion, only instead of using me as bait, she's doing it herself. Of course she is, because she's as bull-headed as her mother when she has the bit between her teeth." Jared glares at Cat. "You knew this was coming."

"I wasn't certain she'd told you, Jared," Cat admits, "but I wouldn't leave you twisting in the wind. I would myself have acted differently, but attempting to dissuade your daughter from a thing like this is not easy. Maybe even more troublesome than me when my mind is set. I will tell you that if Mr. Dreyfus opts to make a move, he will find a very unpleasant surprise awaiting him and whoever he brings." Her eyes are serious as she speaks, there's something dangerous in them. Maybe even murderous.

"It's past time this dance with scraps of the Vanguard reaches a conclusion on our terms."

"You are all out of your frigging minds," Jared fumes, pacing the confines of the room. "She didn't tell me," he retorts. "No. Instead she lets me read about it in the paper and lose my mind with panic. The agents she's got on my house get treated to the sight of me breaking things and can report back that the whole situation appears genuine, if they happen to be plants." He's no stranger to his daughter's mental processes, clearly. "Her original plan was to get me to do it, but I could tell that idea was making her squirm. So instead, now she's gotten her boss on board with it because that woman will do whatever it takes to achieve her ends. I'm reasonably sure Elisabeth wouldn't have even had to work to convince her this could work." The man scowls at the wall of entertainment gear and pivots on his heel to glare at Cat once more. "What do you need from me?"

"Secrecy, and confidence, Jared," Cat replies simply. "We may be out of our minds, but one thing is true: Sitting around and allowing our opponents to have the initiative only gets people killed. You have, I'm certain, read of Jennifer Chesterfield's assassination the day of the election." Her demeanor grows colder to speak of it, the cup of coffee placed on a table.

"Carlisle Dreyfus was the assassin, he used piano wire. He managed to grab an arm and hold it behind her back so she couldn't make skin contact, otherwise his blood would've been turned to water. The time has come to settle accounts."

The man's expression softens. "I'm sorry for your loss, Cat." He didn't realize that Jenn Chesterfield, whom he has met on social occasions, was a victim of the Vanguard. He'd thought it unrelated, not in the know about who went with Elisabeth on her little jaunt nor about any of the details of it except her own part in it. "Secrecy you can count on."

He studies the young woman in front of him and says quietly, "Be sure you know whether it's justice or vengeance you're after. The line between them is very fine." He would know. To this day he doesn't know what he'd do if the Midtown Man crossed his path. And he doesn't elaborate on whether he agrees or not about the necessity of what Cat and Liz are up to. His concern, first and foremost, is his daughter. "If she dies in this attempt, you pass along to Kershner that I'm holding her personally responsible." His tone is cold. "There will be a lot of noise." He's not one of the 'faces' of the Upper West Side, someone who makes the society pages or anything like that, but he knows a hell of a lot of people casually and can make a few waves for certain.

"Justice and vengeance, sadly," Cat notes, "are secondary concerns in this affair. Simply put, Mr. Dreyfus and those with him will continue to kill until prevented from doing so. Whatever presents as the quickest way to do so shall be taken. If he happens to survive and fall into custody, then other things can be addressed." The cup is lifted, she sips from it slowly.

"If anyone dies in this, I hold the Vanguard responsible. It keeps surfacing like cockroaches, it'll come back until permanently extinguished. Only a handful who were with it have repented. The rest… we do what we must."

She can hold anyone she wants accountable, Jared's made his stance clear. He moves to walk back toward the door. "I'll be watching. Let me know if you hear anything, please," he says simply.

"As soon as is possible," Cat provides as she rises and moves to see the man out. Words lack, it doesn't fit to say have a pleasant day or any such platitude. Her mind is starting to move along to other things. Black clothing, a balaclava, knives, silenced pistols, body armor, M16…

Temptation does however exist to offer the man a spot in the hunting party, to tell Dreyfus in person 'want to kill me and torture my daughter? Give it your best shot'.

He leaves the folder on the table for her, speaking as he pulls his coat onto his shoulders. "The briefs I've left in the folder for you should be considered work-product. But the research itself could potentially be used for a number of your friends. Look it over, I'll be continuing to research lines of defense for the situation you've all become embroiled in." Just in case. He zips up the jacket and pulls his gloves from the pocket, looking at the young woman. "I've also included some rulings with language that may assist in the drafting of future legislation if you're interested in that line of investigation." He doesn't know her well enough to determine if she intends to follow in her mother's footsteps, but his daughter trusted this woman enough to send him to her. It may prove something she can use.

"I'm certain your work will be unforgettable once I've read through it," Cat states. "We do have hopes of moving in mainstream circles, using the public spotlight to achieve goals, if possible. Research I myself recently did suggests the Federal authorities have begun to schedule trials for persons accused of crimes involving SLC talents, but concerns remain. It will, in any case, be an uphill battle. My fondest wish would be an ability to prove everything we've seen and forestalled. If proof were had, I'm confident we could sway any jury, any time."

Jared merely nods, his brows pulled together. "I wish you luck," he tells her. "From what Elisabeth has said — and not said — I gather most of what you've seen is unlikely to see the light of day." He pauses and then says quietly, "Get my daughter out of this alive, Cat." There is a rough note to his tone as he says it, and he steps into the elevator immediately after the appeal. "You have my number. If there's anything I can do, let me know." He'll keep up the frantic facade for the world — it won't be hard.

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