I'm Not A Fugitive Anymore?


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Scene Title I'm Not A Fugitive Anymore?
Synopsis A reunion, and catching up.
Date January 19, 2010

Dorchester Towers, Apartment 101

With Peter Petrelli going on his way, Cat resumes her course toward and into Dorchester Towers. She sets things up inside the living area of the apartment when she gets there, then goes back for the rest of those items brought here by car. A short time later, all is prepared. Almost. Eyes settle on the man standing nearby, one of the people she employs to keep tabs on such things as an apartment she keeps as a legal address but doesn't actually occupy, and an instruction is given. "Make the call."

He pulls out a phone and taps digits in, presses send, then waits for the other end to pick up. "Miss Dean," he would begin when and if she answers, "I'm Charles Waterson, an associate of Doctor Chesterfield. There are some items she arranged to have delivered to apartment 101 at Dorchester Towers. Are you free to come collect them?"

Helena had been in the Bronx safehouse, climbing the walls, scanning for that unnamed atmokinetic who'd seemed in so much pain. The call comes on one of her standard issue throw-away phones, and after a moment of rummaging her brain, she remembers the man's name. "I'm free." she says. "It'll take me about an hour or so." She's restricted to public transport, and well - city traffic, but eventually she will make her way to the Dorchester apartment. She hasn't been there in a long time, she almost feels needles and pins for returning.

"Door's open, just come in when you get here," he replies. "See you soon, Miss Dean." The call thus ends, and he turns to the boss. "On the way. About an hour." He leaves, and Cat waits. Memories start to crush in on her, being in this place, but she forces them away with calling up more pleasant things. And listens for the voice, the sounds of another presence within.

When Helena arrives, the place is changed little from when she last was here. No one seems to be present, there's just a note stuck to a wall which says the items are on the kitchen table. A set of Matryoshka dolls, spread out so they can all be seen individually, an opened bottle of wine, and a registration card bearing her photo. It shows her name, this place as her address, and identifies her as Atmokinetic - Tier 2.

Helena smiles at the dolls, fingers itching with the urge to nest them, but her eyes are drawn to the wine, and then the registration card. Having a card means a lot of things - some good, some bad. She stares it, not sure how to react, but then she shifts her thoughts to the opened bottle of wine, and that's enough for a smile. "Cat?" she calls out. "Come out, Cat!" She whirls around, looking here and there.

"You're on Tier two, not three," the woman's voice says, letting that simple statement carry the full meaning of the card's presence. It seems to be coming from the living area. Nothing more is said, instead sound is from a stringed instrument of some sort. Not quite a guitar, but not a larger type such as a cello or viola. It's… guitaresque. The playing style is very much Cat, however. Classic rock. In this case, she's playing Dancing Queen.

Helena makes a dash for the living room, stops short when she sees Cat, and beams. "Put that thing down so I can hug you!" Not that the balalika isn't awesome, but people are more important to Helena, and she wants to hug Cat. "I knew you'd come back. I knew it."

It's her, in all her taller than average female glory. Cat sets the instrument down and stands, revealing herself in an Aerosmith tee and jeans. Arms open to accept and enclose a shorter blonde, smile spreading out. And confidence included in the expression. "I never had a doubt." She also braces herself, for the possibility the impending hug has a tackling quality.

Oh, yes. Tiny missile blonde is indeed expected. There is a launch and tackle, and Helena holds onto Cat tight, kissing her cheeks. "Did everyone make it? How is everyone? What happened? We didn't hear anything! Obviously you succeeded or you know, the world, it wouldn't be here! You have to tell me everything."

"There's a story to tell," Cat relates quietly, after her backside impacts carpet. Face turns into the kissing of cheeks, arms draw the blonde in and hold on. "Russia wasn't the bomb location," she relates to begin that tale, "that was far, far south of there and a very cold place. Vanguard cells were taken down along the way. One in Russia, one in Argentina, one in China, one in Madagascar, and finally at the South Pole."

"And like all battles, there were injuries. And casualties. Gabriel Gray, Francois Allegre, and Richard Cardinal didn't come back with us."

Helena makes a face. "The fucking Antarctic?" she says, but then the list of the dead brings an expression of dismay to her face. "Gabriel," she's not sure how she feels about that one, "Cardinal? Is Liz alright?" Then she blinks. "But Francois Allegre, he was the other kami. What happened to Kazimir?"

"Yes, and it was fucking cold at the pole," Cat relates. "Elisabeth is holding it together," she reports, "but grieving. Like us, she doesn't let it show much, but it's there. Kazimir's spirit went into the Vanguard leader, and hopefully it died with Mikhail Wagner. There was an earthquake, it shook the ground and made a sinkhole under the station. The bomb, which turned out to be 100 megatons, started counting down. Francois went into the drill site to try disarming it, but he couldn't. There was a radio call," she explains, "about initiating failsafe."

"Just seconds later, there was what I can only describe as an explosion of shadow. Blackened the entire sky. Munin swallowed the moon. Over the course of a few minutes, pieces of shadow fell to the ice like ashes. Somehow he was able to contain the entire blast."

Helena blinks. "That's…that's amazing." she says. "Cardinal went out…a lot like Conrad, in a way. A hero." She nods to this, but there's something she's holding back, a question she's not asking. "I saw Teo a few weeks ago. I had to tell him about this thing - the Nightmare Man. I need to tell you and the others about it, too."
"I had that thought too, witnessing it," Cat remarks somberly. "Even down to the hole that opened up. Teo… you saw how Teo was wounded by a Vanguard operative in Russia. Aleksandr Koslow, a doctor they tagged Skoll. He had a twisted healing ability, seems to have used it on him. He needs an appointment with Flint Deckard."

Silence follows, though, eyes on the blonde as she listens regarding the Nightmare Man.

"I dunno where Deckard is." Helena admits. "I've been kind of…keeping to myself, while you were gone." There, she admits it. "There's this Evolved…he's going into people's dreams. Taking them, twisting them. I almost took a walk right off one of the Alley Cat rooftops. Dee lost control of her powers briefly. All because of this Nightmare Man. People are trying to stop him."

She's still on the floor, not having moved from where she was tackled to, in listening as this is told. Her features shift just slightly, eyes looking Helena over. "You nearly walked off a roof?" Cat sits up slowly, concern settling in. "What's his objective, in dream invasions?"

Eyes remain on the woman, she making an assessment of whether or not Helena seems suicidal. Walking off a roof. Damn.

"Not voluntarily." Helena asserts. "The Nightmare Man, he has a way of warping you and manipulating you - and there's a way to fight back against him. Hokuto has been recruiting people to fight back, and help others to do so. She's been making these sort of passageways, into other people's dreams, so we can teach them how to fight back."

"Illusions?" Cat asks, "presenting things in dreams which aren't what they appear. Like you think you're walking toward a newspaper vendor and instead it's the edge of a roof?" She seems puzzled, doesn't appear to get the idea of Helena being manipulated or warped. Visually tricked, maybe. But that's all. The mind continues to work. "How does Hokuto Ichihara make passageways?" That seems to put an end to lingering beliefs the woman has precognitive talents.

"It's part of her ability. The dreamscape is whatever you make it, Cat. The Nightmare man can try to emotionally manipulate you by confronting you with the darkest, deepest holes in yourself, the really ugly parts, and drive you to try and damage yourself while you're locked in the dream he controls. There's ways to fight it, though." Helena says earnestly. "Now that your back, your mind is susceptible, but I'll show you what to do. And Gillian, and Liz as well. God, Liz might especially be in danger if she's grieving and vulnerable."

"I've had a dream visitor before," Cat relates, "but not him. Was months ago, and interesting. There were famous female musicians, Founding Fathers at the place Washington used when he first became President, and a trip to the moon with the Apollo 11 crew. July 20th, actually." There's some silent consideration of what holes could be made in her mind, but also the determination not to fall victim.

"I think Gillian might be at Saint Luke's. She got injured in the last battle. Elisabeth… She won't be in town long. Has to go to Annapolis for training with her new job."

"There's still a lot to share with you, Storms. Information to pass along."

Helena nods. "I'll go to see them both. At least, I'll try to catch Liz. If she's leaving town, she ought to be safe, though. Still, better safe than sorry." There's a pause, and she nods. "I wanted to ask - " she finally admits, "Kazimir - " she looks a little furtive. "If he left Peter's body, what happened to him?"
"Peter's in New York," Cat replies. "Says he's tired of fighting, wants to do more tangible things. Like working as an EMT." Her voice takes on a neutral tone, she isn't so enthused about discussing the man with Miss Dean. But it had to come up. "His scar is gone now."

A choice is made, not to remain on that topic long. "Rebel told me they'd found Wireless some weeks ago, I've not heard anything more about that. I need to brief them about the mission's outcome. I want to ask for a background investigation into Sarisa Kershner, too. The Frontline boss. She was the lead Fed in the hunt, after General Autumn. The woman is a shark, I'm not sure what her agenda is."

"In any case, Helena," Cat informs, "your record is purged. You are, allegedly, moved from tier three registered to tier two. I gave them this as your mailing address, it's an easy thing to change, though. I may list my address as the Verb soon, instead of using this, since some quarters already know we were there. The Alley Cat properties stay secret."

Helena blinks at that news, but doesn't seem inclined to harp on it; she'll deal with the reality of Peter's status privately and in her own way. Which may be a good sign, if one thinks about it. "I'm - I'm not a fugitive anymore?" She sounds faintly disbelieving, even though she already saw the registration card. "I mean, I can do what I want now?" Though what she wants, that's another question.

"You'll have a decent scholarship to a college of your choice," Cat tells her with a chuckle. "One hundred sixty thousand dollars. Of course, I can add to that. Paperwork regarding all that should be arriving soon. You're no longer hunted, allegedly," this said to reflect some wariness about the Feds. They are Feds, after all. "You can attend Columbia, or culinary training, or any other college. Of course," she grins, "I'm biased toward Yale."

"As exciting as that is, we'll need to think of a way for me to be able to take advantage of this opportunity without looking like a sell-out. People need to keep fighting, Cat. They'll give up if they think I sold out." Though she can't help but grin, "It'd be kind of ironic if I went to Columbia, yeah? As much as I'd love to go to culinary school, I think political science might be a smarter move for me at this point."

"It's not an undoable thing," Cat replies. "I've thought about it some. One thing that can be said is we believe the time has come to stop letting fear rule our lives. That we still oppose Registration, and feel being open is a personal choice, but have chosen to not remain in the shadows." She lets that float for a moment before continuing to the subject of school.

"PoliSci's a good choice, Helena. I think you'll do well in it. You'll be covering how things work, all the various systems of government and shaping public opinion, along with people who may well be in future leadership and making contacts. Ivy Leaguers get well placed after graduation. You'll debate them too, and sharpen your message through it."

Helena notes, "I was registered against my will. It would be fair to mention that. There's going to be backlash no matter what, but maybe it's better to just be honest."

"That's the sticking point, too," Cat opines, "which I've not figured out how to get around yet. We made Moab public, the Feds don't acknowledge the place even existed. Seeing you studying at Columbia will cast more doubt on you ever being locked up. If and when challenged, you can simply say of course they're leaving you alone, if you happened to disappear now after making all that known it reinforces the point. Some will believe, some won't. But in the end you'll still be out there."

"The mission we just completed is classified, Helena," Cat shares. "We're forbidden from discussing and making it public. Kershner said we could share it with our organizations, and expected we would, but not beyond that. Classified or not, we aren't really in a position to make it public. No proof, again." Her eyes roll with frustration. "So saying you were pardoned because we stopped a second Vanguard plot won't work."

Helena shakes her head. "I have to say something, Cat. I don't have to say anything about the nature of the agreement, but obviously something's happened. But I can say I was offered clemency and that after giving it thought, I chose to accept, even while being aware of the potential backlash. I can remind everyone that they still have the right to resist without violent action. Explain that I've given up a great deal, and with this opportunity, I can get something back and offer something even better than I do now. It may assuage some of them. I'll continue to be an activist."

"It's still true, Helena, if you just say you decided to attend school and not live in fear, much as you're advising us all to do, claiming when challenged about having been in Moab that you know they could come grab you, but to do so would prove your point. That they locked you away in a secret prison once and did it again." Cat watches the blonde's face to see if she gets it. "Whether or not we ever faced the Vanguard, it'd still be true that if you vanish suspicion falls on the Feds."

"And that position keeps up clear of having to say anything we can't prove, that the public would never believe. I don't think we'd get locked up for going public, they'd just laugh and say you're cracked."

Helena takes a breath and then, "Alright. I guess we could do it your way, though I don't know that it will be terribly believable. How do I explain my card?"

"You were forcibly registered as tier three," Cat answers, "and they don't want tier three's existence to be publicly known, so they sent you a new one for tier two." She pauses, standing from her seat on the floor with a thought to go get the wine bottle, adding before she moves. "If you claimed to have been granted a pardon because you helped with some classified mission, then the call comes to give details. The details can't be backed up, and that makes us look like conspiracy theory nuts. What I suggested is the best way to tell the truth, using only what's already been made public. We at least had photos of Moab, and could back up the story."

"But I don't have to tell them why I was pardoned, Cat. Just that I was. And even if they ask, I can state that I can't discuss the terms."

She tilts her head, considering this for a moment, and nods. "This is also true. Like the Moab story, people will believe you or they won't. No real difference. And you can say you're done with living in fear, that you choose to have a public life despite being a potential target for Humanis First and others." Feet pad across carpet, she's briefly out of the room.

When she comes back, it's with the bottle and two glasses. "I don't really like being in this place," Cat admits quietly, "it hurts. But it was the best way to pull off the surprise. I might start living at the Verb again, and stay at the firehouse from time to time, back and forth between them, using the Verb as legal address. Maybe even play music on my own stage. The firehouse remains an internal secret, used to house members who need a roof and as HQ."

Helena nods. "I'd thought much the same. Cat - I've kind of mooched off you these past couple of years, is there anything I can do to pay you back? Anything at all?"

"I don't see it as mooching," Cat replies as she extends one of the glasses to the weatherchanger. "I'm not interested in being paid back. Are you going to Abby up and insist? Call me Helenathropic, investing in a worthwhile person."

"You know, Helena," Cat suggests in moving away from the subject of being paid back, "you can have PoliSci as a major and see what Columbia has in the culinary area as a minor. Like nutrition or something."

Helena says gently, "Nutritional science isn't really the same, Cat. But cooking can be a hobby that I love. I guess this," she makes a vague gesture, "Is really sort of my calling, because I can't seem to shut up."

"It happens that way a lot, callings finding people rather than being found. Of course, I still think you can handle both PoliSci and culinary school. Have to look over Columbia's offerings, see what they have in that regard anyway." Cat lifts her glass, spends some moments sipping from it.

"The education deal was made to most of us. Eileen, Claire, Gillian. I think Eileen and Claire will both be at Columbia. Haven't asked Gillian about her choice. It felt odd, really, when we got to Russia and were met by Company agents, taken to the home of a retired agent and his wife. Ethan and Elisabeth were in handcuffs; he'd been arrested and brought along. She was Federally kidnapped and treated like a prisoner. Abby, Teo, Francois and I flew on our own, with no idea what would greet us. They'd already flown Elisabeth across the water. Our hosts in Ryazan were a retired Company agent and his wife. Sarisa Kershner came to see us a few days after we got on the ground."

"She floated the idea of record clearings." Cat laughs quietly. "Wasn't necessary, I'd gone there to follow the trail wherever it led, but if the Feds want to give bribes for what we'd do anyway, well, I'm not refusing."

"No, it makes sense. I just - I have a hard time believing it." Helena confesses. "In a few months I'll be twenty-one. I've lived for three years as a fugitive. I've been shot, imprisoned, tortured, helped save the world, hidden from the world, cried, fought, spoken out, and now suddenly there's this chance."

"I don't trust the Feds either," Cat replies. "They're still who they are, and I think Kershner has some sort of agenda. Things were seen in Madagascar we really don't want Kershner to have any idea we're aware of, so they won't decide to alter memories. I saw evidence of that happening to some people," she confides. "I don't know if she supports Petrelli, or the Constitution. Or if she has any idea which Nathan is using the Oval Office. Most likely she's on her own side. She's also a psychometrist, and I'm embarrassed to admit I shook the woman's hand before I had any idea about that."

"And Elisabeth," Cat goes on to cover with her voice becoming more subdued, "her 'reward' in all of this is being fired from the NYPD. They let her resign to save face, but she's out one way or the other. In the same meeting as she was told this, Kershner offered her a spot on the second Frontline unit."

Helena's eyebrows lift. "Frontline." she says dubiously. That draws her to another thought. "You know, I could actually speak to Michael Spaulding now. Tell him about Cameron. I don't if it would help him, or if he needs it. But I could try."

A nod. "You could, at that," Cat comments before returning to Elisabeth. "She took the offer. That's why she's headed to Annapolis. She actually let that shark rope her into joining the Gestapo. Met with Kershner and others without me present for backup, and took their offer despite it having been made clear more than once they have no respect for her."

"She believes she's infiltrated Frontline. I cautioned her to be very careful. They know who she was with, will be watching her. And to watch out for corruption. The very reasonable requests, the subtle and insidious ways they'll have of twisting a person…"

Helena shakes her head. "Liz always plays both sides against the middle." Helena says. "But I can't really fault her for it. I know I'm an extremist." She smiles suddenly and hugs Cat again. "There's so much to do now that you're home. I felt terribly lost without you."

"We have to be careful what we tell her now, more than before, I think," Cat opines quietly. "There could be telepaths around, and Kershner's a psychometrist. The slightest skin contact… I'm sure she realizes that. But it still bothers me. And what happens when they give her orders that clearly violate the Constitution, unmistakably call for her to go against any standards of decency and she refuses? They immediately throw her in the deep and dark hole so she can't tell anyone what's coming."

Her words trail off when the renewed hug arrives, Cat leans into and returns it. "Yes," she agrees, "always things to do. But I can't picture you ever being lost, Helena."

Helena shakes her head. "I'm glad you can't, but that doesn't make it untrue. Everything's better now. We'll figure out how to stop the Nightmare Man, and I guess I need to go ahead and work on my application, huh? Or is it garunteed admission? Wow. Normal life. Now see, that I can't imagine."

"The Nightmare Man," Cat briefly ponders, "and the way to stop him. Does it tie to the simple force of will? Refusing to accept whatever's being tossed around, to not give in?" She lifts the wine glass again, following that utterance with a sip from it. "I think you'll be in easily enough, just need to pick your school. I think Yale fits you," she suggests with a quiet laugh, "but you'd probably want to stay in New York. Columbia's an Ivy, that's good enough. It's better than Harvard in any case." Yes, she's very Yale and Ivy biased. Non-Ivy universities don't seem at all good enough in her eyes. Not even NYU.

Helena totally knows that, because she immediately teases, "Or maybe NYU…" and then laughs, "I'm just kidding. And it's a bit force of will, yeah, but it ties into some very Jungian principles that you want to be aware of in order to fight back properly."

A mock scowl comes ahead of a mental placement of an item at the top of her to-do list. She's read some psychology texts before, but not so much in depth. Soon she'll visit a bookstore and buy some tomes regarding Herr Jung to read. "What are those?" Cat asks with interest. Perhaps she pictures herself now facing off with a dream invader and defending herself by literally tossing Carl Jung's writings as weapons.

Helena goes into a whole lengthy explanation of the whole Shadow self versus the Avatar - well, she calls it a Patronus because Cat will totally get that. It takes a few minutes, and by the time she's done, she's adding, "And mine apparently comes in the form of Cameron."

"He represents strength in your mind, a source of it you can call on when needed," Cat reasons. "Not sure who mine would be. Perhaps myself, or a Founding Father." She sips from the glass again, then with a half-smile remarks "Joan Jett. Ann Wilson. Benatar, maybe." Silence then, with speculation.

And the voice's return. "So… targets. Does this person or entity just randomly invade dreams, or does it target specific people?"

"From what I can tell, it's mostly Evolved," Helena says, "But anyone who's been subjected to Refrain is especially vulnerable."

"Which is perhaps how you got invited to this party," Cat mutters. "Refrain, I have to tell you, has Vanguard ties. But that's a story for another time." Her features darken, the eyes show metaphorical storm clouds there. "Do we have a list of people who've been assaulted? And Hokuto's doorways…"

"I can only tell you who I've encountered…but what about them?" Helena inquires.

"How do they work?" Cat asks. Her mind is at work, doing what it does. Creating charts and lists. People targeted to see if patterns exist once she has info to put there. Attraction factors, with just two entries. Refrain use and the SLC. "It sounds like she's able to follow a trail the entity creates in its travels, like it leaves a marker she can home in on, and if others are recruited to assist in the battle they're open for passage. Does a person need to be visited by Hokuto or the entity to have a key into the passages?"

"Who've you encountered?"

Helena explains as best she can about the doorways, and the blue tint of Refrain use, and about the rules involved in going into someone else's mind, as well as the dangers. The talk lasts for hours, punctuated by bits of catching up on either side of the Atlantic.

It's all listened to intently, every word remembered (as if they wouldn't be). Wine is had and shared, maybe some time spent with guitar and singing less than soberly. And balalaika too.

In the morning, there's things to do. Like reclaiming residency at the Verb's penthouse, with the quarters at the HQ becoming a backup place rather than primary.

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