Is This To Ground Enough?


cat_icon.gif kinson_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Is This To Ground Enough?
Synopsis Cat seeks an opinion from Teo, and the state of affairs is discussed.
Date February 3, 2009

Village Renaissance Building

As she specified in the message she sent, Cat was in the elevator to the left of the Village Renaissance Building at the time mentioned, waiting for Teo to appear, so he wouldn't need to interact with the people there and could be taken straight up to the fourth floor. She has the control panel with the hidden buttons open, and when he enters she presses the one to go up, The car starts moving.

"Thanks for coming, Teo," she greets, choosing to speak in Italian. "I wasn't sure you'd think this is to ground enough without showing it to you, so…" Her eyes rest calmly on him. "I'm also relieved to see you made it through."

"«Me too»," Teo answers, glancing through the small elevator room and over at the wall. The shiny metal shows his reflection back to him and he spends a moment eyeing himself as if he doesn't trust what he's seeing, wondering if the subtle inconsistencies from memory are distortions in the flat and curvature of the wall or if the sheer magnitude of Abby's healing had finally begun to efface away the old marks and crooked lines of old injuries.

Unthinkingly, he rubs at his hands into one another. It feels like the ridges of broken finger bones are subtler now, too. It's weird to think about, that coming back from the dead improves upon one's health or looks. "«'Think this is to ground enough?'»" he repeats, after a moment. A quaver-beat's pause as he parses grammar. Nods. "«Is your legal name associated with it in the government's database?»"

"No," Cat replies. "This was set up with the aid of Wireless in moving money around, my name kept out of it, to make things not trace back to me. It's to serve several purposes. The first three floors are apartments being rented to the public."

The elevator doors open and she steps out onto the fourth floor, then gestures sweepingly at the units there, sixteen of them. "This floor is designed as a safehouse. One floor above is a recording studio with facilities for our media projects. Kinson's been there and seen the place already. The top floor is where I make my home now."

The Sicilian releases his gloves into the grip of one hand, jams them into his pocket. He studies the layout of the building with lucent-eyed interest, a small smile playing across his angular features. The utility and function of the rooms are assessed without remark before his gaze marches across the floor, defaulting to habit wrought by years of demolitions work, to examine load-bearing walls and earmarks of superstructure.

Function first. How to break everything with bombs, next. Good categories and processes to think by. "I like it. Be good to have Hana run a background check on the building's servicemen and other residents, but I figure she's probably already done that." Which leaves only… "Did you let Hel or Alexander in here before they got caught?"

She's all poise as she answers, standing in the center of that corridor while Teo makes his assessment. "I also have the benefit of being able to review applicants to rent on those first three floors, of course, and weed out certain things for reasons of safety. There's the rock club in the basement, and things in place designed to make questions about motley people coming to this floor and the ones above explain away as the guests of eccentric musicians with money. Checks are being run, I've had Grace by to give pointers on safehouses, and am looking for people to be attendants for this level. I want to seed the staff with as many people in the Ferry and our organization as possible, for added security." And a few silent beats pass. Helena.

"Stormy," Cat relates, "hasn't been here, but she does know about the place and the basic plan. She'd never give it up, but she's in prison and can be picked at by telepaths 24/7 now. They'll get out everything she ever knew going back to when she was in diapers. That presents a vulnerability, but then again no more than for any location the Ferry or we have that she knows about." The thought of Helena's brain being raped that way makes her jaw set, hatred flash into her eyes, and the fists clench in white knuckles.

"There are a lot of rock clubs in town. If she knew what part of town this was going to be set up at, I don't think it's a good idea to keep this place. If she doesn't…" The corner of Teo's mouth turns downward. His gaze flits from wall to furniture. It's obvious to him how much care went into constructing this place. They'd always known Helena or any of the operatives would be taken, someday.

At the same time, they'd never thought they'd get caught. It isn't merely the arrogance of youth; it's the only way to get through the days, and crippling paranoia that permeates them. "If she doesn't, we'll knock a few new escape routes in through the walls or sewers or whatever and set up shop. Good work, signora." He tilts a glance at the woman, half a smile.

"Thank you," she answers, her head tilting a bit at the word signora, rather than signorina. She's twenty-six and unmarried, thank you, but a slight smile shows for a brief moment before the subjects at hand take it away.

"I started thinking security after getting released by Ethan and his lot," Cat somberly relates, "and having a place where I have as much control as possible, so that doesn't happen again, and came across this place among holdings when I was working with Hana to make anonymous donations to our treasury. I don't tell many people my true resources. I wouldn't want that to look like a power play, or overshadow things."

"Since Thursday morning, I've been busy. Finding people, getting their accounts of what happened, sharing information. Wireless has my report on Jersey City, and the word I put out about making contact so we can know who we have and find the rest. I asked her to find things about unidentified people in hospitals or morgues, to pass along HomeSatan communications which might relate to captured people and where they're being held or moved to, and other items of interest. I found Ygraine FitzRoy, she told me the events at Consolidated Edison. Abby told me about the bridge. I've not had any contact with the Eagle Electric group. Hana was terse about the Invierno, she only said mission accomplished and told me how to find you, and your need for a healer, so I pointed Abby that way."

'HomeSatan' is a phrase that makes Teo smile in turn— mostly just his eyes. The phrase fits better today than it did last week, before the burning bird was rewarded for its effort and sacrifices and doing HomeSec's stupid job for them with a lot of jail and terror. "The mission on the Invierno was accomplished without casualties on our side, far as I know. A lot of people died on theirs," he notes, after a stiff moment, watching the window.

Mattias. If he was alive after 3 rounds from the AR-15— "There was a turncoat on the ship, who helped us. I think Hana and Monica arranged to have him put up somewhere, but I didn't keep track.

"I might check in after shit has died down a little." For now, he has other priorities. Teo runs his thumb nail along his jaw, his eyes flat from thinking. "I'll find out about the Eagle Electric and let you know. I take it the lack of contact indicates you've either been avoiding Brian or Brian's been avoiding you. Probably best to keep it that way for awhile. 'Til we get the whole crowd together on Friday, or so's the plan."

"I've not seen Brian," Cat confirms. "I'd like to. But I can't imagine it'll go well, he already hated me." Lapsing back to silence then, she replays those first moments off the boat at Jersey City again. "We were in trouble from the start at our end. New Jersey cops stumbled across Vanguard, we found them in a firefight with the cops, and it went to hell from there. After all three of us got blown across the street, the virus was laying there in the snow, and my legs were numb. I had to crawl there and thermite it. I saw it burn, target destroyed. The closer I got, though, the better my legs worked. No evidence of drugs, or injury, those wouldn't wear off that fast. Helena got taken down by the same thing at the bridge."

A loud breath gusts through Teo's teeth, pressed together, trying to think through that recollection without visualizing too hard. Brian's face going slack, Alexander washing paler than bone, both of them sloughing to the ground crippled by the same weird paralysis that had almost claimed Catherine. "Sounds like something Evolved. Fucked if I know what, exactly.

"Brian—" He lapses into a brief silence, his fingers flexing in and out of a fist at his side, rough knuckles bare in the heated air. "He's tweaked you left them. Al and Brian. I'd appreciate it if you were conciliatory and sincere on that point. Although I understand that any apologies you offered won't be constructed on the premise that you were at fault." His long way of saying: be nice. He doesn't forget to add, gently, "Please."

"I agree, Teo," Cat replies. "You're the third concurring opinion on that. Abby told me she felt the numbness too, on the bridge, and it caused her to fall. As she fell, her numbness went away, she said it was a man who did it. She also said she saw Stormy go down at that same time. The question is do they have two who can do that, or just one, if there was time gap between our events in Jersey City and the bridge situation."

Then her lips quirk a bit. Cat continues "I'll be nice. I'll ask what they would have done if they felt their legs go numb, got better, and knew going back to help them only means they get taken too, for that very reason. I'll calmly asks if he thinks I should have shot them before I went. It is what it is, and I've been working to assess everything since Thursday morning. Brian's not lifted a finger that I can tell. Kinson… Kinson thinks he can get people freed, I pointed out a flaw in his plan, like running into a negator, a Sergei type working for Homeland Satan. He's also working on some media projects for you and I to review before it's put out."

A slow shrug seesaws through Teo's shoulders. "Not something I'm concerned about yet. If you saw his face, we have it on file. Doesn't matter yet — how many they have, how they do what they do, or how fast they can move. Not until we have to go and kick the shit out of them, anyway. We're avoiding direct confrontation for now." He scrubs a palm across his face, a little absently. Steps across the floor toward the nearest doorway, cocking his head to check the dimensions of the unused room.

"I'm not sure you know what 'nice' means, if you think throwing Brian's helplessness in his face is 'nice.' If you're sorry there was nothing you could do, I'd stick to that. Please," he adds again, angling a glance backward over his shoulder. "It was good you asked Kinson to stand down. Haven't met him yet. Getting to talk about media projects could be a good time to, si."

"Throwing his helplessness in his face, no," Cat answers. "Asking what he would have had me do, yes. But no… Better you to ask what he'd have had me do," she amends. "He hated me before, he hates me now, little's changed. I do wish I could've gotten them out. I'll tell him that. Beyond that, if he chooses to label me coward, he'll label me coward." The whole thing impacts some on her poise, makes her seem worn to a degree. Solemnly, she adds "If I were told by one or both of them they'd rather die than get taken, I'd have shot them. But I don't know anything like that." Then she makes eye contact if she can.

Her voice is solemn and sincere. "Given what's in my head, and that Homeland Satan could poke at me leisurely with telepaths if they get their hands on me, I should be shot in the brain if that's about to happen and nothing else can be done."

As they talk here on the safehouse floor, Cat and Teo are near the entrance to the unit with 403 on the door, which is open. The apartment space inside seems roughly the same as a standard one or two bedroom middle income NYC apartment.

The Sicilian's expression flattens. Not because he objects, but because— "I know." Teo is still clad in his winter gear, black canvas jacket unzipped, gloves jammed in one pocket, gray hoodie with its cowl left slung loose over the back of his collar. Stomped clean of frost, his snow boots remain on his feet, demarcating his psychological categorization of this space as safehouse rather than home. For now, anyway.

"I think Al would've…" His mouth finds a white line, his shoulders a harder, sharper cast. He blinks slowly in the economically down-tuned lights. "I've asked Hana to tap into the Global Positioning System units the government transports would've been installed with. Seems like Parkman warned them about using technology to record most of that crucial data, but they either overlooked GPS or weren't expecting to find Phoenix operatives there.

"She's established they crossed state lines, but they've probably switched transports, started using code words. It'll take time." Somewhere between warm and stiff, his tone could be termed reassuring. Hard to say who that was intended for.

Kinson comes off the elevator. He's clutching a cup of coffee from some random coffee shop in one hand, while the other rests on the strap of his backpack, ever-slung over a single shoulder. He looks tired - like he's been burning the candle at both ends and in the middle to boot. He smiles when he sees Cat as he steps off, and blinks when he sees Teo there. Someone new. This is a development. "Hi." is all he says, his tone that of the shy guy that Cat might remember from the dock. It seems he's like that around new people.

"They've got a place in Moab, Utah," Cat states. "Doctor Ray told us about it, he said the probability was that Peter Petrelli would get moved there in mid-January. But I'm also certain they've got tons of places. I… I think one of our best bets is asking Kinson to help us. If we identify a decision maker, someone who can order their release, Kinson can command him or her to do so, or to tell us where they are. It gives us a start, in any case, on finding them and maybe can get them sprung without anyone being at risk."

She hears the man himself speaking, and turns his direction partway. "Hey there."

Looking between the two of them, Cat makes introductions. "Kinson, this is Teo. Teo, Kinson."

A slight scowl steepens Teo's brow. "If Peter's being kept at Moab, the chances of Helena being put the same place are closer to nil than good. But if it's the one place we know for keeping Evolved locked up, it's worth looking into. I seriously doubt we're going to be able to just order somebody up the ladder to let 'em out, but I'll take that un—" —der advisement.

Interruption comes in the form of curls and a very small voice, phases through the wall of distraction that the construction of plans. He turns his head sharply, pallid eyes finding narrow slits, curious rather than overtly aggressive. By the time Catherine is making introductions, the man has worked it out by himself, but it bears saying aloud. Confirmation elicits a smile, a ghost of apology in its cast on the off-chance the seemingly timid operative misconstrued Teo's posture for hostility. He offers a hand.

Kinson takes the hand and shakes it, "Nice to finally meet you, I've heard you're pretty cool." he smiles slightly. "If it'll help get people out of that hellhole, or hellholes as the case may be, I assure I'll do what I can including ordering every bastard in there to dress up like Shirley Temple and sing "I'm a little teapot" while our people waltz out of there." his voice doesn't change in pitch or timbre, remaining in that grey zone between whisper and actual voice.
Her mood has lightened a bit with Kinson's arrival, and his words cause a smile to crack. Cat stands there as the two shake hands, picturing Homeland Satan agents doing Shirley Temple routines. It's priceless.

Not to be rude in the midst of conversation with the man, but Teo does notice the shift in the woman out of his peripheral too. It threatens to turn his head so that he might look, if not stare, but he manages to refrain from anything that obnoxious. Instead, the even geometry of his smile goes slightly crooked. It's better that Kinson's started to make himself home here. Home means family.

And all that shit. Oddly enough, the smile takes an uncomfortable list when he retroactively catches up on the compliment by way of gossip. "Eh," he says, a sheepish duck of his head. "'M all right." his gaze stays downcast for a fractional moment longer, a low laugh fading out of his voice as he pushes his train of thought through the rather hilarious mental image to the tactical option it represents.

"Does your stuff work through electronic surveillance? Could you affect people through cameras or mics?"

Kinson takes a deep breath and his face scrunches ever so slightly. "Ehhh.." he says in that quiet voice of his, "It doesn't quite work through cameras or recorded a mic..if I were in front of a crowd? Sure. A bullhorn? Likewise. Transmissions though?" he shrugs. "Not so much.." he looks over and catches Cat's reaction and her smile. He gives her a wink and a little smile of his own.
She's just listening now, and thinking to herself as the pair discuss Kinson's capabilities. Cat's own features show speculation.

"Can't plant you in any government facility worth breaking into, then," Teo decides, ruefully. He refrains from painting an image of rifle-bearing panic squads, sound manipulators, telepaths, negators, or anybody else who might be outfitted with earplugs. If Kinson or Catherine can't work out the further logic for themselves, he'll make words. Until then, he moves on.

"Maybe if we find a few sensitive individuals to target. What happens when you give commands, exactly? Could you ask them for information? Make them forget what they told you afterward?" His head tilts to the right, and he shoves his hands into his pockets, lets his weight shift off-center. Casual. As if they were discussing the abominable weather or the price of gas. Getting higher with every fucking hour.

Kinson thinks on this for a moment, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "Oh yeah, all of the above." he says quietly, "It's all tied to how loud I make the suggestion..if I'm speaking like this, it's only for a few minutes..but a normal voice is much longer. Shouting? Well.." he trails off, looking down, uncomfortable.

She speaks up, some questions of her own forming as the two speak. "So if you speak quietly, and tell someone to forget he ever saw you, he forgets, but a few minutes later will remember again, and know you did something Evolved?" Cat is curious and speculative. "So they'd need to not see your normal face to cover when the memory returns. People can't remember what they never saw in the first place. There's also the commands themselves, using the right words to block people finding ways to disobey. Like Brian said, 'don't shoot' is too narrow. It would have to be 'surrender' instead."

The other man's eyes are narrow with thought. Evidently, there's something in this Teo thinks they can use, even before he just says it: "If we get our sound manipulator on you, you could do all the shouting you fucking need. But Cat's right. It'd need a lot of prep. And a good target. We'll have to figure out who is.

"It's good to finally meet you," he adds. Arranged behind the other words, it sounds like the concluding sentence of a compliment, practical applause for a damn useful talent. He aims a clap of one hand at the younger man's shoulder, angles Cat a smile before he's looking back. "Sorry you caught us in a bad month. Hope you won't be bored, though."

Kinson ponders what Cat has to say, "Well, I don't know about any of that, Cat..I've umm..never really explored my ability. The most I ever did was ask a computer shop owener back in Chicago to make a charitable donation of a top of the line laptop to the Chicago arts scene, and I got exactly that." he smiles a little, "Aside from that? It's kinda scared me a little much to actually think about doing to someone. I think I'd have to practice.." and he looks a bit embarassed at that, until Teo speaks, and he smiles a little again, "Well, I just hope you heard good things about me..and really..if this is a bad month? I'd hate to see really shitty." he nods and looks around, taking a quick sip from his cup.

Her eyes rest calmly on Kinson's face, as she agrees "It isn't a thing to use lightly, and you're not like that, I know," Cat asserts. "But in terms of Homeland Satan agents who deprive people of being charged and tried in the open for crimes, due process and all that, choosing to darkhole them instead, I've no issues with violating their free will. At all. Beyond that, it's just a matter of considering possible outcomes, ways to use the tool in practical application."

"I understand arresting Helena, Brian, and Al. They came upon a site where they didn't know what was going on, so it makes sense to round everyone up until it's figured out. But they've had time enough to do that, and if there was any decency in that agency, they'd be released already. That they aren't tells us Matt Parkman is either no longer an ally, lacks any kind of real influence in that agency, or both."

"We're trying to wreck a pretty big project of theirs," Teo points out. "And we're willing to break a lot of shit to do it. I don't think Parkman or any of our boys ever forgot that was the bottom line. We're still enemies. I seriously doubt HomeSec's stronzos took a break from experimentation and the care and feeding of their abductees just because there was a viral apocalypse on the horizon. Hell, we did their work for them.

"Not saying I'm not pissed off. I'm just saying I'm fucking pissed anyway." That is, despite understanding.

"We'll get you practice. Work out the kinks, moral and otherwise," he reassures the younger man, no more brightly than the rather morbid subject of breaking somebody's free will over Kinson's knee strictly warrants. A quaver-beat's pause, and his pallid gaze shifts back to the woman. "There anything else?"

Kinson hears Teo go off, and just remains quiet. He's still the newbie, and apt to make the newbie face from time to time. This would be one of those. He diguses it with a coffee cup, though. Handy, those are. He takes a couple of steps towards Cat. When Teo speaks, he just nods.

Her features are calm and focused now. Teo's words draw a nod, and a slight grin from Cat. "That would be why I've dubbed them Homeland Satan." She glances at Kinson as he moves her way, then over toward Teo. "You're looking to find the people not accounted for yet, as I am, we both keep looking and compare notes? You should soon have my report on things learned so far, Teo."

"Other than that, thanks for coming. Take care, Teo." Looking over toward Kinson, she states "He agrees this is a suitable go to ground place."
Teo offers a thumbs-up by way of confirmation. "Just need to take out a couple drywalls and route to the sewer, or something disgustingly innovative like that. A little more surveillance in the corners wouldn't hurt, either." A quizzical look fetched Kinson's way betrays his awareness that might— have— come on a little strong, but. At least he isn't about to apologize.

Except, of course, that being Teodoro Laudani, he is. "Italians are excitable. You'll have to forgive us for that." He grins, rueful.

He taps a parting salute out on his brow with a forefinger. "I'm getting off Manhattan tonight. Be on Staten, and back in the morning to see how that EMT's been taking care of Anne. See you two soon to talk media. And Friday." He doesn't forget to mention that, though the angle of his head indicates Kinson ought to ask his purdy lady friend: Teo has somewhere he needs to be.

Kinson nods, and smiles.."This place.." he nods. "I, um..I really like it alot." you can tell he wants to say more, but his style among more than one other person in the room is muted and understated. He nods, "Friday." he replies in a whispervoice.

"The elevator will take you down to the first floor unescorted, it's only the buttons leading to floor above three which are hidden." Cat says, nodding. "Secret escape routes, cameras in the corners, easy enough. One elevator goes all the way down to the Rock Cellar, escape can be tunneled out through the basement. It's out of sight down there, the only people who know are those I trust with the full purpose of the place."

Then she turns to walk a short distance and speak with Kinson, letting Teo make his exit.

February 3rd: Checking In
February 3rd: All Memories Are Fresh
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License