I Want In


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Scene Title I Want In
Synopsis Hiro Nakamura is told where to find Peter Petrelli.
Date February 17, 2009

The Rock Cellar

A comfortable place, located in the basement of 14 East 4th Street. The red brick walls are covered with memorabilia from various icons of rock and places in rock history, creating a feel similar to that of a Hard Rock Cafe.

The left wall has two bars separated by swinging doors which lead to and from the kitchen. Directly across from the entrance is a two foot high stage with all the equipment needed for acts to perform there. The right wall has three doors marked as restrooms: two for use by women and one by men.

Thirty square feet of open space for dancing and standing room is kept between the stage and the comfortable seating placed around tables which fill the remainder of the Cellar.

The lighting here is often kept dim for purposes of ambience, and when performers are onstage the place is loud enough to make conversation difficult. Just inside the door is a podium where location staff check IDs and stamp the hands of those under twenty-one with a substance visible under UV lights at the two bars and by devices the servers carry. On the podium's front is a sign with big black letters that just about explain it all: If You Don't Like Rock 'N' Roll, You're Too Late Now!

Nothing distinguishes this afternoon-slash-evening from any other day. The clientele is here. The music is here. The drinks are here. The noise is here. The Hiro is here.

Well, one thing is different anyway.

IDs may be checked at the door, but this one didn't get checked. Hiro slipped past them in a timestop as easily as if they were not even there, sat down at an empty table out of easy view, unslung his sword to prop it beneath the table against his leg and safely out of view, and let time proceed as normal. He has ordered no drinks and seems to expect no attention, not even glancing up at the passing servers.

It's still early, the Rock Cellar is thus sparsely populated. There's no band on stage, though one may well be scheduled to perform. The lights are up to full brightness at present. A server begins to approach Hiro's table, she's five feet four and red-haired. "Hello, sir. Could I get you something to drink and a menu?" Her inquiry is cheerily made, with a smile.

Her connection with this place hasn't been publicized, yet; Cat keeps it all on the down low. Club, apartment building above, recording studio, the whole bit. It may always have to be that way. The library was crawled, Teo said, which means Homeland Satan is hunting them.

But nostalgia for being onstage takes hold, and she finds herself standing on it, looking out over the seating area. She lets a wistful smile come to her features.

Hiro offers a polite nod to the server and replies neutrally, "Just ice water, please." It's a pity he's not a mind reader, nor well enough informed yet. He might well have some things to say to the woman he now looks at on the stage.

Ando would like her. Of that much Hiro is certain. All he was going to ask the server for was going to be the water, but he decides to add a question. "Who's your performer?"

The redhaired nods once, her smile constant. "Water it is, sir." And Hiro's question sends her gaze to the stage, where it settles on Cat. "It isn't her, I'm pretty sure of that. I see her around here from time to time, she's all mysterious." Then she turns her attention back to him. "I think the band tonight is called Damaged Apple."

The woman onstage, a brunette of five feet and eight inches, clad in jeans and a plain hooded sweatshirt, looks out over the seating area, scanning it. She takes in a slow breath, and lets it out. A heavy sigh. She knows she could plug in and totally rule the crowd, but it's known she used to play onstage at the Surly Wench, if she performed in public again it would draw notice, maybe a review in a paper, and that would lead to connections being made. Such are the consequences of joining a vigilante group, their beneficial operations notwithstanding.

Then her eyes light on Hiro, and Cat watches him for some long moments as if frozen to the spot. After those moments, she comes down from the stage and slowly starts making her way to him.

Hiro's eyes lock solidly with Cat's. He's not one to look away. Dressed in black, features very Asian, patch of facial hair on his chin, black hair tied back in a short tail not too much unlike a topknot. He continues to watch the woman approaching, wondering privately what her return interest might be. Even once she's within speaking distance Hiro only continues to watch her and says nothing. Between them she will likely have the first word.

She doesn't speak until she reaches the table, and is seated. Cat crosses her legs at the ankles, and regards him with poise. Her head is held high, shoulders squared. When she breaks the silence, caution is the order of things. Her voice is kept quiet, to be heard by him alone. "You once visited a man in a subway, sir. What message did you give that man?"

"Apparently one that didn't do the trick." replies Hiro simply, eyes fixed on Cat. That server ought to be back with the water soon, so he's brief in elaborating, "Save the cheerleader." He doesn't add the other half that he'd heard. Save the world. It seems more a reminder of failure than anything else. "I know about the message. But I'm not the one you think I am."

"You're you," Cat rejoins simply. "One can't be too careful, these days." She regards him in silence then, and speculates on what he says.

The server returns. Hiro's water is set on the table. "Here you are, sir. Could I get you anything else, would you like a menu?" The smile is constant, she's good at what she's paid to do here. And she turns to Cat. "What would you like, Miss?"

"I'm all good, Amanda," Cat answers.

"No thank you." Hiro replies to the server, identified as Amanda. He's polite but distant about it, and waits until she leaves the immediate area.

And then, quite suddenly there is a silence. All things go still. Time stops for all but Hiro and Cat, and the man asks her simply, "You seem to know me. Who are you?"

"Impressive," Cat replies. "That establishes you as you even more, Mr. Nakamura. I'm Doctor Catherine Chesterfield. Cat will do, no need to be formal. I know of you, through Peter Petrelli, and things he told me. I've seen your strings arrangement on Reed Street, as well." Her eyes watch him calmly, they don't look away. And it's then she identifies herself as probably unlike any woman he's spoken with since his time at the Burnt Toast Diner in Odessa, Texas.

"If you have questions, I'm the one to ask. I'm very good at remembering things."

Indeed, there is quite a bit in common between Cat and Charlie. But Hiro is more fixated on the differences. For one, he loved Charlie. "The strings." he says cryptically. "Failed experiment. They're only garbage now. Where is Peter?"

"Peter is in prison, sir," Cat replies solemnly. "I believe the prison is at Moab, Utah. He has issues with guilt, and allowed himself to be locked up. But I disagree, the strings are more than garbage. They don't achieve what you intended, but they do hold information, and information always hold value. There are people in the world who would see me locked away in a deep dark hole for what I know."

"Moab." Hiro parrots with a nod. He glances at Cat, not bothering to argue with her. He's not a debater. "Let me explain what I meant before. I'm not that Hiro. If this is even the same universe anymore where I went in the past to warn Peter Petrelli about what would happen in New York, it hasn't happened yet. But I have to tell you that so far, I don't plan to bother with it. Because it doesn't seem like it'll change a thing. The Hiro you've been told about doesn't exist in this universe anymore."

"The parameters of trying to change it, they're so many. Alter one thing, and others shift in response, trying to make them all fit into place, it's exceedingly difficult," Cat agrees. Her voice remains somber. "We can only work with the world we have, stop things from taking place. I'm with an organization which has done just that, and very recently."

"Now, I have to warn you, if you plan to visit Moab and find Peter… the prison was built to house Evolved inmates. I can't say if they do or don't have defenses against what you're capable of, but… the Department of Homeland Satan will certainly have tried to create some."

There's a flash of confusion in Hiro's expression as he asks, "Do…they really call it the Department of Homeland Satan?"

"No," Cat answers. "I call it that. It fits what they're doing. Even the people who work for it, some of whom are good, well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Department of Homeland Security, enforcers of the Linderman Act, which requires all Evolved persons to be registered as such, and locks up those they declare dangerous without trial, indefinitely. They're gearing up to test for genetic evidence of being Evolved. A federal agency, which affiliated itself with an operation called simply the Company."

"I know about the Company." replies Hiro, managing in spite of himself to look relieved that he didn't somehow jump sideways into a screwed up universe where the words Security and Satan are interchangeable and this Cat lady might actually BE Charlie. That would just have ruined his day. Time for a drink of water. "Tell me about this organization you're in?"

"We call ourselves Phoenix," Cat begins. "Our mission is to resist the efforts to lock people up simply for how they were born, without any legal process. We oppose registration, and we fear the whole thing is aimed at rounding all of us, the Evolved, up into camps for potential extermination. Some would call it paranoia. I see it as the next step, according to the evidence of history. If needed, we oppose by force of arms, but our preference is to use the media and shape opinion. Our most recent action was blocking efforts to release a very dangerous virus into the world." She becomes more somber on speaking of it, and a determination shows in her eyes, on her face.

"Suresh's virus." replies Hiro. Okay, so he knows some of what's going on at least. He has a little more water. "So you stopped it. The virus. How many of you have been locked up in Moab?"

"Three of us were captured during that operation, by Homeland Satan," Cat replies with her jaw setting a bit more. "Locked away incognito indefinitely for the grand crime of saving ninety percent of the world's population from viral death. We don't know exactly which prison they're at. One female, two male. Evidence says the men are at one place, the woma at another. Moab is a possibility, but we don't believe that's their only Evolved prison."

"Are you planning a prison break?" asks Hiro simply.

"We're planning to get them out, yes," Cat replies. "How, we don't yet know. There's so much to be learned first, about where they're being held, and the defenses of those places. It's no good to free some only to have others become captive."

Hiro seems to just contemplate this quietly for a moment, watching the woman as if to guage her veracity. "If what you're saying is true, I want in."

She's entirely serious, her face shows this. Not a trace of insincerity shows there. "Good," Cat replies. "This building, the club here and the apartments above it, are mine. It's not publicly known, however. My finances, my links to this building, are all obscured. You should let time start again, and come with me. I'll take you to the fourth floor, which is a safehouse, and make contact with another from our organization. Or, alternately, you can walk into the building above, see how the first floor is laid out, and teleport yourself to that floor, aiming for the center. It's fairly standard, as far as layout. You won't wind up in a wall."

There's a grin and Hiro just says, "Let me worry about how to get from place to place."

In a flicker, time starts up again. All the normal noises of the establishment return as if nothing is any different at all, and indeed very little is. Among the few changes, there is a now-empty glass that used to hold water. And there is a note, written in a careful hand on the table.

To: C

I will find you again in a few days. I'd like to hear what you have planned then.


She blinks, seeing him just vanish, and glances around at the resumed activity which shows that time has been let to flow free again. Cat takes the note and pockets it, rising from the table. She hopes no one noticed a man was there and then wasn't, that they'll just assume she left.

There are people to contact. Teo is one, but another can be told much more readily. She makes her way back into the private areas of the Rock Cellar, where the elevator is, taking out a phone along the way. A simple text message is sent.

To: Wireless

From: Cat

Subject: Development

A very interesting ally has surfaced. Hiro Nakamura.

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