Isaac's Work


cat_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Isaac's Work
Synopsis Cat learns the name of a man in a painting.
Date August 26, 2010

Columbia University Library

A member of the Ivy League, Columbia University was one of the first colleges established in the United States. Its buildings and greenswards occupy over 32 acres in Morningside Heights; the university offers a number of quality degrees, from law to nursing, and is also the home of the Pulitzer Prize. Its student body is very diverse, and active in myriad pursuits, from student-run WKCR, what may be the oldest FM radio station in the world, to the Columbia University Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs. It is home to thirteen fraternities, four sororities, and several multicultural organizations.

There are so many things to do lately. Investigate the Institute. Find whichever Redhouse made that sketch for the one-eyed Kira in 1977, if he's still alive. Find April Silver. Get brain scanned by Kaylee. Speak with Isis and Diogenes. Handle the routine details of everyday business affairs. Learn more and more science, foremost of which are the basics behind making her own EM mojo finder and discovering the formula for negation gas.

That's a good thing. She likes being busy, it keeps her from being swallowed alive by the weight of unpleasant memories, doesn't allow time to wallow in that mire.

It's the pursuit of science which has her on this campus today, to the library. The designated meeting spot given to Mister Petrelli is a little used area in this repository of books and academia. Here she waits with a few exhibits in a messenger bag, prepared to show just what is necessary.

There's two faces of Peter Petrelli these days, and the one that Catherine Chesterfield has invoked by this choice of location is the one the public knows. The dapper young brother of the President who overcame depression and works as a paramedic. That persona of Peter that dresses in crisp single-color button-down shirts with rolled up sleeves, slacks and a necktie, that persona that couldn't possibly be a terrorist.

Powder blue is that single color for the day, bright against black slacks, and Peter's emergence into the library of Columbia University comes against a very sparse flow of student traffic. Hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks, hair near chin-length now and parted messily, beard trimmed short but still scruffy looking Peter seems — on the outside — to be healthy. Cat, however, knows him well enough to recognize a man who hasn't slept in a few days. He looks more like he did before the PARIAH days now than ever.

"Hey," Peter offers as a casual greeting, looking over his shoulder back through the door he'd come in from, on an intercept course with the pamnesiac.

She is very much herself. Even after nearly two years in this city nuked by that approaching man, Cat's academic bias is as strong as ever. Her choice of clothing for being at this University is of a mocking quality: a blue t-shirt with Yale on the front in white and dark blue shorts over white athletic shoes. Yes, students of Columbia, you attend a lesser member of the Ivy League in her eyes.

Brown eyes settle on the man when he arrives and speaks that greeting, she is poised and calm, not seeming the least bit short on sleep. "Peter," she offers, "thanks for coming." From the messenger bag comes a sheet of paper with the image of that other man from the painting Petrelli was also in. "Do you recognize him?"

Without really looking at the picture, Peter offers a crack of a smile that turns into a grimace. "Glad to see some things never change," is a bit sarcastic, though that whole attitude falters when Peter sees the picture Cat is holding out towards him, squinting at the paper and then back up to Cat.

"That's Howard Lemay," is an immediate answer, "he's an Institute shill working somewhere in Homeland Security. He used to be a Company operative," there's a tilt of Peter's head to the side, "had a liaison status with the CDC until Claire caught up with him." That incident got some pretty large media play. "Lemay's a Grade-A psychopath, don't know much more about him though. Far as I'm aware he's non-evolved. If you want something more concrete I can ask Rebel…"

Peter steps closer and looks around the library, then back again. "What're you doing with a sketch of Lemay? How'd he pop up on your radar?"

"If I'd known this was agent Lemay," Cat breathes out, "that alone would be enough to have him on radar. But I didn't." She chooses not to use words for telling the rest of the story, sharing why this man has entered her orbit now. It's a strategy unfolding, first see if the man was recognized and if so go deeper. A printed copy of the full painting comes out now and is shown to him, after she ensures no one else is around to see or hear.

Then she puts away the image of Lemay.

That's about the time when Peter's expression pales, seeing himself in the image and finally recognizing the style.

Breathing in deeply, Peter's dark eyes flick up to Cat. He looks considerably different in that image, his hair's either shorter or wept back from his face or both, and for once clean shaven. Looking back down to the picture, Peter slowly shakes hie head. "Where'd you get this? I mean— this is Isaac's isn't it?" Brown eyes flick up towards Cat, brows furrowed. "This hasn't happened yet," is confirmation just for the sake of making absolutely certain to her.

"If it isn't Isaac's work," Cat intones quietly, "he or she is probably the world's best art forger. And no, it hasn't happened yet. If it had, I'm fairly certain you, he, or both would be dead. And there's been no spreading plague, other than the 510 virus. What does come to mind is the Institute's nature. They've been active in biochemistry and making bioweapons. For all we know, the hospital wasn't the only place they've been pursuing Icarus. Probably still are. Or at the very least trying to develop some means of permanently neutralizing the SLC. Richard Cardinal disagreed with me on that, suggested I was conspiracy theory crazy, but I counter it's just common sense."

Another check of the area around them is made, during a pause in spoken words.

"The prime objective in making a serum to give powers, after all, is political power. Being able to take them away is the other side of that coin."

"This could be anything," Peter says with a shake of his head, motioning to the image, "you leapt right away from the obvious answer. The H5N10 virus. I know for a fact that the Institute has been producing the virus in a lab, it was some kind of hybrid. The H1N1 influenza virus that got piggybacked onto the naturally occuring Shanti Virus, then was nurtured in a lab. Messiah," Peter glances around the library, then lowers his voice as he turns back to Cat, "Messiah took out a production facility for the virus in Chicago."

Looking down to the picture, Peter breathes in deeply and then exhales a steady sigh. "With Lemay's CDC connections that's my best guess, that this has something to do with the five-ten." Looking back up again, Peter's brows furrow as he asks again, "Where'd you get this?"

"I got it from someone who may be very angry if he knew I'd shown it to you, Peter," Cat answers, "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it, if needed. It's no surprise they were involved in that flu. Rebel said so months ago, I got a biochem student at Mount Sinai to show me photos of the 510 so I could compare them with my memory of the Shanti virus, but they didn't match. But all that really says is I wasn't looking in exactly the right place, or hard enough."

Shrugging helplessly when the topic gets to biochemistry, Peter looks down to the pictures again, then back up. "Was that it?" Suddenly impatient now that the topic has turned towards people not wanting him to even see this information, she's noticing a clean delineation of more defensive attitude arising. "Because if you wanted me to ID a face you could've wired me the picture, or asked anyone else." He flicks his attention down to the image one last time, then looks back up to Cat.

"Or was there something else?" From the tone, it seems like Peter's expecting there to be an and or a but tacked on somewhere to this converation. Wearily expectant of it, judging from his posture.

"Did you honestly think I wouldn't show you something like this, featuring you, Peter?" Cat asks. "Does there have to be a but, or and, in the mix?" Hands go into the messenger bag again, they come out with the ones featuring the brain and vial of clear liquid. "However, I do wonder if these hold meaning for you."

No and, no but. She chose a different word altogether.

"I'm not exactly the most popular person among the Ferrymen these days," Peter rather pointedly notes, "just a litte bit above persona-non-grata and I understand that. It's not like I've been perfectly liberal with information I have to you either, but that's for security reasons, not personal ones." Brown eyes divert down to the picture, linger there for a few moments and then look back up to Cat.

"Not really, no. Iaac's paintings… I don't know. I've never met Howard before, I don't intend to unless he's on the other end of a gun's sights. I've never seen a room like that either, so…" Peter's head shakes slowly, attention drifting around the library, "I don't know what you're hoping for. Whatever this is though, it can't be good."

"It's precog art, like all other pieces of precog art, or precognition in any media," Cat opines, "never set in stone, just potential. Worth paying attention to, valuable as road signs, so we can steer around the pothole and not have it break the wheels off the car." A moment of silence is permitted, broken with her saying "I personally like it better when a blonde teenager hands me a plane ticket to a place I'd already been eying as a location of interest, though."

The reference to Tamara goes sailing so far over Peter's head it might as well be in orbit. "Yeah…" is his non-denominational answer, brown eyes narrowed as he looks down to the picture than back up again. "There's not really a whole lot to go on in this picture though, Cat. Presumably I should stay away from Howard? Should I see what I'm seeing there? I don't know. Isaac's paintings haven't ever really been helpful, just taunting."

Lifting up one hand to rake through his hair, Peter turns away from Cat and takes a few steps away, then looks back over his shoulder to her as his hand comes down, one dark brow raised as if expectant of whether or not there's anything else she needs him for.

"It says you didn't get all of the places used by the Institute to make bioweapons, Peter," Cat tells him, "and you're going to find at least one. It also says you can get some mileage in finding them by tracking Lemay's movements and investigating every single place he goes."

Having said that, she puts the imagery away in the messenger bag and takes a step to leave the area in a direction other than the one he takes. "Take care, Peter," she offers in quiet voice.

Opening his mouth as if to offer something in the contrary, Peter exhales a sigh and closes his eyes, shaking his head as one hand comes up to rub across his forehead, fingers tiredly working at his eyes as his shoulders slack and head bows forward. He doesn't wind up saying what he was going to, not with Cat putting a definitive end on the conversation, or at least a suggestive one. He just pauses there in mid-stride to watch her go, then slowly turns around and fishes his phone out from his pocket as he walks away, thumbing thorugh the interface before typing out a brief text message.

Rebel. Get me everything you can on Howard Lemay. He's back on our list.

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