Just An Innocent Meeting


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Just An Innocent Meeting
Synopsis And with 9000 things on her mind and little sleep, a misspeak.
Date Jan 9, 2011

Central Park

She's waiting in the area of the park designated by the text sent earlier as this Sunday morning presses onward, clad in winter clothing with layers which disguise her shape and a raised hood to obscure the face. Not so out of place, this garb, given January temperatures, and it's been working for more than two months now. Care is taken not to call attention on herself, the plan is to fall into step near Elisabeth when she passes by, to walk along and quietly converse while making it seem they don't know each other.

She can only hope the once and future audiokinetic is again possessing an immune system that works.

It's friggin' freezing out here. But Elisabeth's got her woolies under her jeans and heavy down jacket. And out in the park is certainly a good place to make sure they're not being followed — anyone else crazy enough to be out here is sure to get noticed. Her blonde hair covered by a black hat, her gloved hands shoved into her pocket, Liz approached Cat's rendezvous and murmurs in dry amusement as her friend falls into step, "You couldn't have found a coffee shop indoors? Good to see you, Catherine."

"You too," Cat answers as the left foot leads off, "but people and soldiers go to those too, and sitting in one place can be troublesome, given the posters with my face on them a few places around the city. Word is a man named Leon Heller is leading the hunt. Is that name familiar to you?" Her head turns just slightly toward the slightly less tall person, to give the impression of two people who happen to be on the same path doing the small talk thing.

"The name's familiar enough, yeah," Elisabeth says quietly. "Steer well clear of that sonuvabitch." Her tone is cold. "From what I gather, he's a cold-blooded butcher. And if we're not goddamn careful, he's going to be standing in my job."

"I need to research him, learn all I can," Cat remarks, "his name was mentioned as the commander of military forces on Staten Island and in connection with a massacre at a parking garage. Rank is Colonel, I don't as of yet have a photo of the man or any details on his career history. If he's a possibility for replacing you, that says he's on track to earn a star at some point."

"No… you're misunderstanding. He's the head of FRONTLINE Staten, Cat — and if the investigation into my activities and Redbird yields anything at all, he'll be head of FRONTLINE Manhattan. He was their first choice. Kershner pushed hard to get me into the position instead of him." Elisabeth sighs. "Most of his career's going to be classified, so unless Hana's back on the grid with her powers — which so far as I know has not happened as yet — the best thing you can do is make sure the Ferry's aware of the fact that the bastard has zero compunctions about killing and is running a goddamn team of psychos."

"Rest assured the word will spread," Cat asserts in somber tone, "first step is telling Colette. She's the source of the name and some information about patrol patterns. Heller's the one who grabbed Judah Demsky, she's looking for help getting him out of that problem, and also to go get Tamara. I don't think Tamara will need rescue, though, it's doubtful the Institute will keep her negated. They'd rather try to take advantage of her gifts, and in doing that won't be able to hold her. I told Colette that, but I don't quite think she believes. Guilt is in play, regarding her and Demsky."

"Fuck," Elisabeth swears. "They took Demsky?? What the fuck for??" she demands. And then she's derailed. "Getting to Tamara? No one needs to get to Tamara — she's wandering the city as usual. She walked out of the Institute as soon as she felt the need under her own power." Elisabeth doesn't mention what else happened. "Apparently the alternate version of Richard was attempting to keep her safe — he was doing a decent job. It was the most lucid I'd ever seen her while I was up there. But she left when it was time."

"Most likely because Colette is a wanted woman, and Demsky is her adoptive father," Cat answers dryly, "maybe even as bait, which seems to be working. It might just get her to try charging right into the teeth of his Frontline unit and be cut down."

The news of Tamara draws a chuckle. "Of course she did," Cat comments, "I don't think there's a cage invented in present or future that could hold her."

"Most likely not," Elisabeth agrees thoughtfully. "Tell Colette to hang tight, okay? Because she's a fool if she's thinking about hitting Miller airfield. It's a suicide run. The armored unit's identities are classified, but I can tell you that it's not a team that's going to mess around. They'll just cut down whoever goes in there." She sighs.

"I don't want to write anyone off," Cat explains with a tinge to her voice, "but the simple truth is sometimes a plan and resources can't be lined up fast enough. The intent to rescue Demsky and Harkness will always exist, but the means may not. The Council members she spoke with didn't give Colette what she wanted, a rousing endorsement of rushing in to grab him, so she may look to others. Cooling her jets won't be easy."

A slow breath is drawn in, then released.

"If Demsky and Harkness are even still alive. If they didn't have value as bait, I doubt they would be."

Elisabeth winces to hear that Harkness was picked up as well. Shit. She shakes her head. "Son of a bitch," she murmurs. "I don't know what to say, Cat. You guys have your hands full keeping the people you've already got safe, and I've got mine full dealing with FRONTLINE investigations and Endgame plans. For what it's worth, I don't think they're probably bothering to keep Demsky or anyone else actually out at Miller Field. It's too out in the open, in my opinion. And as far as I know, no one on FRONTLINE Staten is pulling guard duty either. So I'd suggest they keep that in mind."

There's a long pause as they walk, and Elisabeth says quietly, "I don't know who FRONTLINE Staten actually reports to, Cat — the DoEA higher-ups may or may not be reporting to the Institute. I can't really put my finger on that. If they decide to make a move and need more manpower, though, Endgame's associations with them will certainly garner them as much help as we can send."

"Whether or not any moves are made to recover persons in their custody," Cat states, "learning all we can about him and his unit is crucial. We may not move against him, Special Activities haven't even been approached yet, but he's definitely moving against us. Knowledge equals preparation."

"I wouldn't go so far as to say he is moving against anyone. Dick is moving against people, though. The power swaps must have a purpose. It'd be good if you could start collating that data and figure out what the hell he's up to now. And once the broadcasts you and Richard are working on go public, we'll be in better position to take some actions and see which way the wind's blowing."

"Word is the Institute wants to catch me alive and unharmed," Cat shares, "per Veronica Sawyer. I'm certain Colonel Heller wants to assassinate me on sight, along with the others. The Feds aren't all on the same page, again. Now… about the switchings. John Logan and Hana Gitelman were struck. Richard said there were others, but didn't give details. Got any to share? I haven't heard about any other incidents."

After a few beats she reports "Delia Ryans should be back in her body now. She somehow got trapped in Dema's head, Hokuto grabbed me and some others, including another 'walker, and we retrieved her a few days ago."

Elisabeth nods. "Jaiden texted me a couple days ago about Delia being okay. Very glad to hear that. Richard would like to talk to her when she's stable and able." She pauses and says, "Right now, three of Endgame's people have passed their abilities sideways — Elle Bishop's power went our telepath, his powers went to another of our associates, and Elle's got her radiation power. And I know that Dick hit Niki as well, swapping her with someone we don't have a name for."

Information is absorbed as it's heard, drawing only the slightest of grimaces from Cat. "Elle, the telepath, and an unmamed third with radiation," she muses, "Niki and someone else. What does she have now? And… when did Elle become a friendly person? Hell, I thought she'd be with the Institute or in prison?"

"Elle Bishop became someone to keep out of Dick's hands as soon as he made a point of warning me to get rid of her," Elisabeth replies. Her tone is mildly disgusted. "Supposedly, Elle was the catalyst for Endgame's demise in Dick's future — if you believe a damn word he says, which at this point I do not. She killed Noah Bennet — something she had zero intention of doing already by the time he warned me, so we simply made sure it didn't happen. And for all that she's a flake, I have to admit she's really trying, Cat. As to what power Niki has…. that I don't know. She wasn't entirely sure when I spoke to her, and she was goign to ground to sort it out." She pauses. "In the meantime, Aric's gone to report that he's been attacked and give them a description of Tyler Case." She grins wickedly. "Thereby reopening the Case investigation and stirring up the DoEA."

Her head tilts as an image of a painting flashes into the mind's eye, causing Cat to briefly seem distant, before she floats what may seem an odd question. "Killed Noah Bennet… was he shot in the eye?" There's a blonde woman in the painting, face half hidden, at first thought to be Claire, but now… maybe not so much.

Seconds later, emerging from that contemplation, she remarks "Nice move with Aric."

"I… don't think I know for sure, but I can ask Elle what she saw," Elisabeth replies. And she grins. "Well, … it's definitely something Dick never did. Right about now, it's all about making sure he doesn't get what he wants out of the timeline. We're better off writing our own, not just letting him shove us down his."

"If what he saw was horrible on the scale of Volken's plans, both versions, then Dick could and should simply describe it, instead of making these moves. All I can see of what he's up to is a power grab, much as Volken and Arthur Petrelli intended." Cat scowls briefly, eyes gazing out into the distance again. "There doesn't seem to be a pattern to these switchings, other than Redbird associates."

"Dick's future is …. immeasurably dark. But Richard and I are of the opinion that he's reached a point in his life where he's struggled so hard to change things and just seen them get worse that he's afraid to let things change any more. He's in the 'devil you know' camp. Hi agenda is to keep us as close as possible to the timeline he's familiar with, making sure that certain things that turned Richard into him still happen while doing his best to keep as many people safe as he can. Or so I'm told. And …. in truth, I'm willing to believe that much," Elisabeth says quietly. "It's like looking at my Richard goen through a mirror darkly — sometimes foreknowledge is the worst thing you can have. We're hoping your public address is what puts us back on the path toward the intended future… where yeah, we're going to hit a dark patch, but then things will get better. Nothing's ever perfect. But better than what Dick's come from would be nice."

"Darkness fell four years ago," Cat muses slowly, "there's no preventing it. Dick's just given up trying to turn on the light, by what you tell me. It's easy to get discouraged. There will always be madmen out to grab power. In some cases, they'll temporarily succeed. But they never last long." She goes quiet there, feet moving ahead across the park at an unhurried pace in keeping up their pretense.

As they walk along, Liz smiles a little. "That's probably a good way to look at it." She sighs. "All right. I better get back."

Few words are used to cement this meeting's end, Cat turns her head toward the blonde to make eye contact and nods once. "Take care." Her footsteps continue on, making it look (she hopes) like two people randomly found themselves on the same path and struck up a convo until their destinations carried feet in opposite directions. Nonchalance is the rule.

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