Just Walk Right In


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Scene Title Just Walk Right In
Synopsis After having Dong-Tian tell her to chat some people up, Sami pays a visit to Cat.
Date March 12, 2011


It takes a bit of doing, contacting Cat, but it is possible to do so safely. There are intermediaries involved, ones she doesn't speak of, who provide assistance of an unseen nature. So it comes to pass that she's in abandoned building somewhere in Harlem, a place she picked specifically with Samara Dunham in mind. The instructions were simple enough: come to this place at 13:00 on Saturday the 12th and just walk right in.

When Samara reaches the place, she will find entrance through the lone door a very difficult thing: it seems something is blocking it from the inside. Somewhere within the location is Cat Chesterfield, or so she claimed she would be when arrangements were made.

Just walk right in. Some people aren't capable of such things. But for Samara Beth Dunham there are few things that prevent her from walking in anywhere. When the door didn't open, she'd tried again. And again. Evidently suffering from the very definition of insanity. With a heavy sigh, she presses against the door again. "Walk right in," are the words she reminds herself.

She takes a deep breath and becomes incorporeal, allowing her to walk through the door and reappear whole on the other side.

And on the other side a woman six inches taller than Samara, but with equally brunette hair, is quickly seen seated a few feet away. Clothing is simple enough: hooded sweatshirt and Yankees cap, jeans, athletic shoes. Alert brown eyes rest on the phaser, they compare the woman's corporeal image with that ghostly one from the mirror some time ago and seem to decide the resemblance is close enough, in tandem with another factor.

Silence is broken with a quiet chuckle. "Sometimes security is difficult, sometimes it's laughably simple. No better way, absent a telepath, to ensure you're actually Samara Beth Dunham than leave only one option to get inside, yes?" One hand gestures toward a nearby wooden crate. Between that one and where Cat is perched is a larger crate turned onto its side for use as a table of sorts. The panmnesiac is having lunch, it would seem. Steak with baked potato and mushrooms, beverage of choice is Guinness Stout. And she has enough for two.

"Congratulations, Miss Dunham, on achieving this degree of control."

"Sam," she corrects quietly with a weak smile "Or Sami. Please." Her cheeks flush a pale pink as she slides towards the aforementioned crate. "I guess— " her head turns back towards the door as her smile eases some, "— it's kind of brilliant, actually." The smile grows a little more as she settles on the crate. Her own clothes are relatively nondescript, particularly as she sheds her blue woollen coat. Underneath? A red long sleeved shirt and a pair of dark wash blue jeans.

Time for making a short story of a long one. With a deep breath, Sam's rambling begins, "Thank you for meeting me I know that we only met the once on the rooftop when I was all invisi-girl to the world and unseeable aside from my reflection which was complete and total proof of my existence— " she gasps for air before resting her hands in her lap and finishing her thought, "long story short, I'm a lot more seeable now. Than then."

The younger and shorter woman is regarded in silence as she speaks, her demeanor unaffected by rambling. Cat waits it out with unerring patience, choosing the moment when silence yields her the floor to speak. "I don't apologize," she begins, "for mocking you and your name when we first met. I had a design in doing so, which I trust you've come to understand." A hand gesture is made, inviting Miss Dunham to partake of food and drink.

"Something is on your mind, Sam." Not a question.

"The mocking of my name is nothing compared to what Brian put me through to try to get me to phase again. I mean.." Sami's eyebrows knit together tighter as she tries to work through the story without giving away all of the details, "..after Gabriel pulled me from my incorporeal existence. It was an experience."

The comment is regarded with a cant of Sam's head as she forks one of the mushrooms, but the fork is released and abandoned on the plate. Her eyes stare downwards, trying to discern how to broach the subject. Ultimately, the direct route wins out while her hands are folded in her lap. "It's Brian," she admits in a whisper. She takes another sharp breath, incessant chatter easier than actual explanation, but she releases the breath slowly instead of letting the words flow from her lips, "He's not himself. I mean, all of the versions of him have lost their ability and he can't remember things. And by things I mean… he can't remember the last few months, what's happened, or anything. He can't contact his other selves— I woke up to an empty bed and a gun to my head.. I don't know what to do."

Her own fork is rising, lifted toward mouth by a hand as she listens, but it stops mid-path and reverses course. It seems Cat's attention is very much seized in full. "I know of one other occasion this happened," she relates gravely, "it was in '09, after our successful battle against the Vanguard. One Brian was captured by DHS. Afterward the others weren't in contact with the seized copy. That one later turned up as a Company agent. Agent Brian was eventually murdered by Arthur Petrelli."

Some moments of quiet pass with her eyes on Samara's face while she thinks it over, placing her fork back onto the plate.

"What was Brian doing before this happened? Where was he, who was he with?"

There's a silent shake of Sami's head, wordless as she rolls the fork between her fingers. Her cheeks flush brighter as she shakes her head again. "That's the problem. I don't know. The Brian that woke up next to me thought I was negating him and he accused me of being a Company spy… when the Company doesn't even exist. He took off through the window." A single hand is pressed against her forehead tightly as she sighs again. "I managed to track down another Brian at the apartment. And he was.. different. Very different. Then I found another Brian, he remembered me, but not.. not everything. He thought he must have encountered Tyler Case. But it doesn't explain why his memory is so dodgy— " her voice squeaks around the last word while her eyes become glassy with unshed tears, "I'm worried. I don't know all of the copies he has out there— and I don't know— "

"Tyler Case," Cat replies somberly, "would be one explanation. But the man in question is not actually Tyler Case. He is, instead, another man who's been duplicated into and hijacked Tyler's body, along with his ability. He can cause extended negation without needing to be present for it to remain effective, and cause powers to switch between people. He's been active recently, switching people around. One of them is Wireless. So… does any of the Brians have another ability?"

Silent again, running things over in her mind for a few heartbeats duration.

"It may be his mental link was broken when power was taken away or switched, the copies not having memories of his life in their own brains. They'd never needed them, being able to access the source mind for that, and when cut off maybe only having partial data. The original, though, should have all his marbles. Unless a man named Rene is also involved."

Again, Sam's head shakes firmly. "As far as I know, none of the Brians has an ability of any kind. Honestly, the one I woke up with— to(?)— he was convinced I'd pulled some trick. The other three I've met are without as well. And I don't know where all of him are." The hand presses even tighter against her forehead as she puzzles through everything she knows, "There was one on Pollepel. One with Noah. And.. I don't know how many more. I'm not.. I didn't.. why didn't I keep better tabs on him or something? Why am I not that kind of fiancee?"

She sighs heavily while her hand drops slowly to her side. "What can I do? Please… give me some direction. I haven't told the kids at the Bay House… "

"The oddest thing here is the original, who should have all his memories, not turning up at Bay House," Cat opines, "which suggests Rene might be involved. There are pieces of this puzzle still to find, Sam," she goes on to state. "Have you heard stories of anyone else recently being switched, suddenly able to copy him or herself instead of the normal ability? Your first step is to investigate, ask around for people who might've been around one of him when this happened. Another thing you can do is contact Kaylee Thatcher, ask her to go meet one or all the Brians and pass your memories of being with him into his mind, so he can see who you are and what you mean to him."

Taking another pause, she seeks to establish and hold eye contact with the younger one.

"There's nothing I can say which will put you fully at ease, answer all questions. The answers may not even come. Don't beat yourself up for not keeping better tabs; you're his fiancee, not his prison guard. Brian is still alive, you have that," she quietly offers, hinting at some form of experience with someone close to her who isn't now, "and that means his power will return in time. You have the orphans to assist until Brian is himself again, they'll need you badly. And you've got the breadcrumbs… some of which I'll track for you. In fact…" she trails off.

"What day did this start, Sam?"

Cat manages to make eye contact with Sam for some time. The younger woman listens in silence, longing for nothing more for the way things were. But after Cat's done? The words actually cause those unshed tears to fall in hot trails down Sami's cheeks. Her elbows rest on her knees and her face buries into her hands. Amid several quiet sobs, her shoulders bob against the emotion.

After a few quiet sobs, her head raises, revealing two puffy red eyes and that cracked face feeling from dried tears. "Alive, but he doesn't remember… I… if someone gave him my memories, they'd be mine, not his. The perspective would be mine…" her gaze turns downward, back to the food. Her appetite hasn't been very active in the last few weeks.

"Even if it returns, will his memory? Will I get that back? And I don't even know— " her lips curl downwards into a small frown as she sniffles again. "I don't want to force him to care. Even the one that knew who I was… most recent memory was from December."

Her tongue dabs her lips lightly as she remembers the date it all started. "March first. It was early in the morning. I woke up and he wasn't there. When I went in the hall, he pressed a gun to my templed and started making accusations." She shrugs slightly. "That's all I know."

"If you find the original," Cat quietly informs, "and his mind was tampered with by Rene, those memories would be gone. I don't know of any way to restore them. If you have a telepath show him your memories, you're right. They're yours, not his. I don't think that would force him to care, but… it would at least give you credibility with him. There aren't easy answers, just a mystery to track down best you can. This…"

She trails off again, choosing words during the silence.

"This will test your strength more than anything before. You might not believe you can make it through. But I believe you can."

From there, she's considering the details again. "March 1st. The Ferry acquired some vaccine on the 27th. Was he involved with that action? I've not heard anything about trouble of this kind."

"I'm not strong," Samara's voice cracks around the words as she dries her eyes again. "I'm not. I.. I thought I'd died. The kids need someone better." Her cheeks flush a little brighter, "I love him. I know it's ridiculous and silly and fast, but I do. I don't know how to be a parent. I don't know how to take care of these kids. And I can't tell them he's gone. They've been displaced twice now. Those on the island are sick… they can't— " she sniffles "— they can't have more bad news."

There's a small nod at the question about the vaccine. "Yes. Yes. He was there. I'm nearly certain, he told me about it. And he was back after, but I don't know.. maybe.." her eyes clamp shut.

She doesn't say so directly, it isn't Cat's way to do that, as if to her it would be a sign of weakness the stoic would never let show if she can prevent it, but it's in her eyes. That look which shows she knows how loss of this nature and worse feels, that she understands what Samara essentially believes regarding Brian. That no matter how this turns out, what answers can be discovered, Brian as she knew him is dead. That she believes her fiancee is gone and won't ever return. Or, at least in Cat's take on the phaser's mind, this is what Sam fears. Believes.

But at the same time, she attributes Sam's commentary on parenthood to mean orphans under her care. Pregnancy? No clue.

"You are that strong, Sam," she quietly asserts, "even though you aren't convinced yet. You are, because you have to be."

That horrible sinking feeling of the reality of the situation is enough. More than enough. She nods silently as her sleeve is run across her face again. With a loud sniffle, she nods slightly. She has to be that strong. That's all she can do. That's all she can consider.

The emotion she balks against stresses her shoulders. She hiccups— it's a cracked sound as her body trembles. "Okay," she nearly sighs. "Find the Brians. Look for the original. Talk to Kaylee Thatcher. Is there.. is there anything else? One of the Brians suggested I talk to Cardinal— it's on the list…"

"I'll be meeting with Richard soon myself," Cat states quietly, "it's possible we could both see him at the same time. But before you do, you need to know he's the man occupying Tyler Case's body. It's convoluted and twisted, but the short version is somehow Richard Cardinal, at some future point, goes to the past and dies. The Commonwealth Institute, which this version of Richard founded, somehow managed to save his mind and placed it in Tyler's body. They've got a man who duplicates minds, his name is Elijah Carpenter."

Sam's lips part as she stares blankly back at Cat. Her jaw tightens somewhat while her eyes narrow into slits. Her lips move, but no words come out as she attempts to process this information. The silence continues, even as she tries to formulate some thought. Finally, she manages, "H-h-he.. He did this?" her eyes become glassy again as she fights against the surmounting confusion. "W-why? Why would he— " She gasps for air again while her head shakes slightly. "So if.. if I tell him— will.. will he know everything? See-seeing him d-d-d-oesn't.."

"They're not the same person yet," Cat explains in an even voice, "and I don't know exactly what happens to make it so. But something does. The older Richard Cardinal, who took over Tyler's body, is at cross purposes with the younger one. He's struck before, switching the powers of other people recently, most of them tied to Young Richard. So Young Richard, at Redbird Securities, may have some insights."

Again Sam's lips part wordlessly. She frowns lightly as she sniffles loudly again, bottling that confusion along with everything else. Finally she manages to finish a thought. "But… if I tell the younger one something, will the older one have remembered it? I don't.. I think.. time travel breaks my brain." The frown deepens somewhat.

"It can be confusing," Cat agrees gently enough, "but I wouldn't worry about telling Cardinal things the older one might remember. He's seemingly already moved on Brian, if it's tied to anything going on now he already knows, Sam."

It does help in keeping things about time travel straight, the panmnesiac inwardly muses, to have her brand of mojo.

A quiet sigh has both of Sami's hands pressing to her temples. "It's so confusing! I think my brain is breaking." Her frown remains, but she nods about the Brian bit, "Okay. Whatever happened to Brian has already happened. Ugh. I.. am so confused. I seriously.. how can I do this? How can I manage everything? I can't.. I can't be everywhere at once." Her lips twist to the side. "Alright. So. With Cardinal, I can tell him Brian stuff, but nothing else, right? I mean.. if I tell him things his other self might know them. I seriously think my brain is breaking. Tomorrow it won't exist."

"Focus on solving the mystery, Sam," Cat suggests. "Share what you need to make the pieces come together, figure out when and where the older one attacked and who Brian was switched with, if anyone. Ask if Richard knows anything about a reason, other than taking a man who can be so many places at once temporarily out of play."

Eyes drift back to her food and the glass of stout, then to Sam again during a silence.

"Your brain will still be working tomorrow. Now eat," she gestures to the food, "so you can boost it with protein." Cat doesn't seem inclined to take no for an answer here.

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