For Every Action


cat_icon.gif bennet_icon.gif

Scene Title For Every Action
Synopsis Good circumstances are a waste of time.
Date February 24, 2009

Greenwich Village — Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

Hiro has gone from the penthouse. He ceased to be present some time ago, and Cat set to work on going through the data on the flash drive she got from the sword-wielder, who got it from Carmichael, who she had been tempted to interrogate old school: by sticking his head out a window and holding the man by his ankles while threatening to drop him. And that's where the flash happens. The agent mentioned Bennet being among his operations. There are pdf dossiers for him, Claire, and Hana in the data files, with Hana being marked as captured. Recent locations are indicated in the dossiers for each of them, and this is entirely not good.

So she makes contact with Bennet in the most clandestine way she can, not wishing to have it seem she's the source of whatever the man does after they talk to stay out of their clutches or lure Homeland Satan's at least partially successful watching to her own door.

When he arrives, the elevator takes him directly to the sixth floor, where Cat is waiting next to the open double doors. Her right hand extends. "Mister Bennet. I had hoped we could have met under better circumstances, sir."

Mister Bennet extends his own right hand. It's built on large proportions like the rest of him, broad shoulders tucked into the severe lines of a fit waist, all of it encased neatly in a plain but professional dark gray suit, a blue shirt visible by the neat blue triangles of its collar between the buttoned lapels and underneath the knotted tie. He regards the young woman before him through the large panes of horn-rimmed glasses — a trademark by which he is notorious to some.

Perhaps not to the Ferrymen's allies, granted such sponsorship for so many months already. Notoriety has all kinds of bad connotations, and thus far, the relationship between factions is as healthy and strong as the clasp of this handshake. "Miss Chesterfield," he returns, by way of salutation. He smiles. The elevator pings shut behind him. "I've found that good circumstances are a waste of my time, so how bad are these?"

She expected him to come in a suit, and so she's chosen to clothe herself accordingly. It's a rare thing for Catherine Chesterfield to look lawyerly, but here she does. Charcoal gray suit with skirt and dark pumps, their heels two inches elevated to make her overall height five feet and ten inches, white blouse under the jacket. Her own grip isn't limp like he might have expected. While her skin is warm, smooth, and soft, the fingertips have calluses. She shakes once, then releases and moves to close the doors behind him.

"Doctor Chesterfield, actually, or simply Cat will do. The materials are in my office, sir, if you'll follow me. I believe the department of Homeland Security has a bead on you, and is preparing to move soon."

"I understand they captured Hana recently." Noah follows the young woman without verbally acknowledging the correction to her desired title, but he's obviously paying close enough attention that he heard and understood it. His shoes drub a quiet cadence across the varnished floor in her wake, expending no ninja's overemphasis on stealth, as long as they're all on friendly terms here. Accoutremented with eyeglasses and a low-level banker's wardrobe, he fits in against the backdrop of the lawyer's office as well as he did a paper facility, once. "And several of your comrades.

"How did you get your hands on this information?" The other observations weren't exactly sequitur, but they pass for a segue, take the edge out of the inquiry that he ends on.

"Wireless was indeed taken." This clearly causes her a measure of distress. It takes a bit of time to cross the floor and reach that office; once there she steps behind the desk and turns the computer monitor so he can see it. There's a chair he can sit in; this Cat gestures for him to occupy. His question draws a slight smile onto her features. "We showed up, plugged flash drives into Agent Carmichael's computer, and copied it. While doing so, we asked him some very pointed questions. I believe his answers will interest you greatly, Mr. Bennet."

On the screen she's showing him is the first of the pdf documents, the one relating to the man himself. "Then we inspired him to forget we had been there, and left."

Doctor Chesterfield's answer draws a glance sharp with automatic chastisement, even as Noah steps up to the console that she shows him. "You broke into a Homeland Security agent's office? That was reckless. Even if you made him forget, afterward," he lowers his head to study the monitor, resting one broad hand on the edge of the table and the other on her shoulder.

Even with his weight redistributed this way for reading, there's a subtle sense that filters through the edge of the lawyer's awareness, that he isn't off-balance by any stretch of imagination. "You can't be sure all of this intelligence is still valid." The last word is clipped short, hyphenated by sudden distraction. Don't think he doesn't notice that there. That name. His daughter. Claire.

"We didn't break into his office," Cat replies calmly, as she watches him read the documentation. "We visited his apartment, and were able to learn interesting things. Among them are that this agent, Jonathan Carmichael, who leads arrest teams is planning to move on you. He was expecting to meet with someone regarding you and Claire. And as you can see, they appear to have eyes in place, locations are mentioned. Hana's been taken already. Agent Jonathan Carmichael is an Evolved person. His ability causes incapacitation, a ranged effect. Limbs suddenly become numb, anyone close enough is immobilized. This is how Miss Dean, Mr. Knight, and Mr. Fulk were captured." She takes a brief pause there.

"Miss Dean and Mr. Knight are at the prison in Moab, Utah. Mr. Fulk was given to the Company's custody. The person who negotiated that is Roger Goodman, public relations director at a Fortune 500 firm called Biomere."

"Roger Goodman, in turn, takes orders from Arthur Petrelli."

If Noah Bennet's poker face weren't a semi-permanent terrestrial landform on Earth, he probably would have made a face at mention of the Company. It isn't hard to imagine that Doctor Chesterfield is aware of his relationship with that particular clandestine organization; she was in the inner circle of both PARIAH and Phoenix long enough to know there's a little history there.

He takes the seat offered and closes his hand on the computer mouse. Click click. The scroll wheel moves under his forefinger. He's reading, fast, going through the entire document — twice, just to make sure he has everything down, understood. When Cat begins to volunteer information outside the immediate concern of his own family, he shifts the mouse over to the other documents, waiting for the lawyer to protest if she's going to protest, before reopening them.

"Think back carefully, Doctor Chesterfield," he says. "Do Roger Goodman or Jonathan Carmichael have reason to believe their security has been compromised?" He shades a glance back at her. "I need to know before we make our next moves."

"No," Cat asserts with confidence. "The operation was pulled off carefully. We entered his apartment, subdued him, and secured him to a chair." There's no protest to him beginning to peruse documents contained on the zip drive. The files are accessible through the open Explorer window for the flash drive. "We had a person with the ability of persusasion present, he commanded the agent to answer all questions immediately, completely, and truthfully. No marks were left on his person in doing so. It wasn't even necessary to break in for access. We simply arrived. His ability had already been suppressed. Hana was able to dose him with an inhibitor before she was captured."

The woman does have perfect recall, and while Noah Bennet's memory is far from poor either, he'd have to concede her superiority in that department. "Good job covering your tracks," he allows, nodding thoughtfully, as he moves through documents. It takes him only a few minutes to crunch all of the text there is, sifting through salient details, committing the appropriate material to memory.

There's an admirable precious little fat to trim, and next to nothing of what he reads is ultimately disregarded. "You're going to need more information about that prison facility," he decides, after a long moment. "I'm sure you already realize that Claire and I aren't your concern. The Ferry has emergency protocols to fall back on in case something happens to Hana and I." Notoriety.

It happens.

Apparently to many of them. Click, and the next sheet that scrolls past brings Noah to pause, his eyes widening. What the… "Now why would they be looking for you?" he murmurs, as if asking the screen, thoughtfully. He isn't, of course. The screen isn't the one in the room who could answer a question spun aloud.

"Thank you, Mr. Bennet," Cat replies when he acknowledges good work in covering the trail. His mention of Claire draws a terse answer. "I've been hoping to speak with her, and share some recent news, but I wouldn't presume to be better at ensuring her safety than you could, sir." Silent from there, she leans around to see what or who he's looking at on the screen.

"As to the prison, that's all too correct. He didn't know details on the safeguards against Evolved abilities in place, beyond a measure set up to counter insolidity. Walking through walls. He said it was a Company agent who designed the protocols, he only knows what he needs to know. I don't believe he lied. Some of my questions were phrased to catch him in anything of the kind."

Did he now? Mr. Bennet looks at the woman, the screen reflecting off his glasses in odd white rhombuses, lettered with infinitessimal black text, the line of his neck very still, the closest he gets to surprise. Or perhaps optimism. He doesn't do either of those emotions too frequently, so he's probably a little rusty with that whole thing. Whether it's because Catherine believes she has his daughter's ear or that she has Hiro's, it's hard to say.

In the end, or at least for the time being, he chooses to go with the subject of young ronin. "I didn't know he was back in town," he admits, finally, his eyebrows shifting upward. "I'm glad he's contacted you. He'll be an invaluable asset to dealing with Moab, Homeland Security, and…" another glance back at the screen. The Company is mentioned there in tandem with Biomere. The Petrellis. "Whoever else we're dealing with. Do you plan to do any further face-to-face intelligence gathering?"

"I'm needing to consult with Mr. Laudani and go over all of this," Cat answers. "I've just begun to read, I imagine it will take some time to go through and view all the contents of the drive. If I had my way, we'd plan a similar operation to speak with and interrogate Mr. Goodman. I suspect his ability is either insolidity or teleportation. Carmichael spoke of him as being able to just show up at the apartment. If we made a move on him, we'd both have less to worry about in that he can't cause us incapacitation, and more in that he can perhaps escape more easily. But," Cat opines, her features calmly calculating, "if we present him with someone of Evolved persuasive talent suddenly right in front of him with a command to surrender, that becomes less worrisome."

From there she speculates a bit more, asking "Why would Arthur Petrelli have faked his death? One of two things is true here: He faked his death and is now running some sort of behind the scenes operation which involves Roger Goodman, Jonathan Carmichael, and the occasional taking of Evolved persons into Company hands rather than prison, combined with the arrest record being eliminated or an impostor is doing that."

And, returning to the topic of Moab, "It seems doubtful the prison has a means to defeat Hiro's ability, but we've not established that as concrete fact yet. I can't imagine how such a thing could be achieved, but the Company has been involved with such things longer than I've been alive. It would be foolish to assume they've not come up with something in all that time."

The line of Noah's mouth goes hard with agreement; he inclines his head. "You're right. If a Company agent helped design the prison — with the capacity to keep phasers out, you are guaranteed that they have some means to counter Hiro's ability. It's safe to deduce from the established roster here," he taps a forefinger on the screen. "Moab Federal Penitentiary was designed not only to keep the most dangerous Evolved in, but also to keep their cohorts out. As I recall, Phoenix had personal experience with one of the Company's own temporal manipulators just recently.

"You need to know more," he concludes, finally, by way of agreement. "Interrogation may be the best way to go about it.

"Careful as you were with Carmichael, you'll need to be twice as much with Goodman. Please give Mr. Nakamura and Mr. Laudani my regards. I look forward to meeting both of them soon." Business seems, for the moment, to be concluded. Noah rises from the chair after returning the concatenation of windows to the first PDF. Straightening underneath him, the backs of his legs bump the chair an inch backward.

"Thank you for your time in coming here, sir," Cat replies as she also rises. "After I've gone through everything and formulated a report I'll find a way to safely get you a copy. It may not be easy, given the attention now on you and your countermeasures, but I've no doubt you'll evade them, and in fact make them regret any attempts they make."

Coming around the desk to walk with him on the way out, she continues, her voice hardening. "It was very rude of them to imprison people for daring to prevent a madman and his small army from infecting the host of humanity with viral death. We've no intention of letting that stand, but we won't be hotheaded in how we achieve the goal."

And at the doors, she opens them. Speaking sincerely, she offers "Be well, Mr. Bennet."

If Noah Bennet weren't the sort to get his hands dirty, he'd probably love receiving free information. As it is, he appreciates it on a number of levels, practical and otherwise.

The steady beat of his shoes changes in tone as he alights smooth wood and again enters the stone of the hallway, the elevator showing his tall reflection, blurred and furred, back to him. "You're doing well," he tells Cat. "I hope Phoenix realizes that. I know imprisonment and forced Registration doesn't feel like just rewards, but you might all be a little encouraged remembering that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

"It's your turn to push back."

And where it ends, nobody knows. His salutations are as mundane as his appearance and the single arc of his hand, polite. "Good day, Doctor Chesterfield. And good luck."

February 24th: She Had Your Gift
February 24th: Just Not That Guy
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