Lay It All On The Table, Part Two


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Scene Title Lay It All On The Table, Part Two
Synopsis Conversation resumes when Elisabeth gets back from checking on Abby.
Date June 19, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, Cat's Penthouse

Arriving by any of four elevators, visitors will find they open into three foot corridors facing wide double doors made from sturdy southern pine which swing outward and have the strongest locks available. The stairs lead to single doors, also outward opening, at the end of three foot corridors. Entry requires both a key and a keycard; other security measures are a video camera and voice communication terminal at all doors. The 4th Street side has floor to ceiling windows interrupted only by the access points. Cream colored curtains are normally kept closed.

This level has enough space for sixteen apartments. There is an office space with reception area, conference room, and executive office; a room for archery practice and other forms of physical exercise; a very well appointed kitchen and dining area; a music zone with an array of instruments, electronics, and amplifiers; an entertainment area with an HD set covering an entire stretch of wall from floor to ceiling; a locked room where security footage for the building is recorded and can be monitored; a laundry room; a staircase for roof access; central air and heating; the main bedroom and a few smaller guest rooms; plush deep wine carpet everywhere except the kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms; and track lighting everywhere overhead. The light levels can be lowered or raised in the entire place, or selectively by segments. The overall decor suggests the occupant is a woman.

With Elisabeth having dashed off to see Abby, Cat is left to wonder just what's going on there. Some of her coffee is enjoyed and the task of scanning data onto computer continues. "Thirteen Founders," she muses to the open air, "one rival company seeking to replace the first. The current heads of both making a power grab… Add to that Humanis First and the issue of Frontline, which is really just part of the power grab both firms are aiming at. Any further along this road, and it won't be America anymore. We'll have to start spelling it with a k. Amerika. It's so pervasive, really. It even makes resistance feed into the problem somewhat. Increased violence risks causing people to support Frontline without thinking of the consequences in letting that happen."

"Leaves me thinking of Star Wars Volume Three. The Senator's line. How does democracy die? To thunderous applause."

The visit downstairs to Abby doesn't take long, and when Elisabeth comes back, she looks … odd. A little bit relieved, but a little bit upset too. "Sorry about that," she apologizes with a glance at Cat. "Abby, last I knew, was bodyguarding the person I was supposed to be securing, keeping my panic button close in case they needed a fast getaway. Apparently it's not required anymore." She shoves a hand through her hair.

"What happened to your charge?" Cat asks, becoming mildly curious. Her eyes settle onto a piece of the documentation again, reading resumes while she converses.

Elisabeth shakes her head and says quietly, "I don't honestly know." And that's what is bothering her. "But Abby swears on a stack of bibles that she's safe… and I have to take that at face value." She looks at the brunette. "I swear to God, Cat, sometimes I think I'm pretty much not doing a damn bit of good to anyone."

The detective's face is studied in silence for some moments after she speaks, a silence broken with calm statement. "You are. Storms have quiet moments too." She considers asking who the charge is, but opts not for the present. "Abby's a very face value sort of person," Cat agrees, with her head tilting. "But what's up with the blue hair now?"

And shaking her head to clear it, she turns back to the topic they were on before Elisabeth went to speak with Miss Beauchamp. "I think we should lay the full roster on Helena. "This is no time to be holding back information from each other at the top."

Elisabeth grins at the question. "I'd have to say 'don't ask' — her hair's been every other color," she comments. "Why not blue?" Elisabeth sighs heavily. "No," she finally says. The additional names won't do her a damn bit of good anyway, and I promised Cardinal. And considering he's out there right now, on the run from Arthur and missing a hand…. No. I won't break faith with him." She looks at Cat, her blue eyes far more than worried as she tells Cat about that bit of information. "What I do need you to do is get to this Delphine and get her Abby's abilities back as quickly as possible. Like yesterday. I get the impression the severed hand is not the only injury the man is suffering."

"I'll try to see if I can get the list of names another way," Cat muses, letting the point go for now. "And yes, that is the plan, restoring people to what they should have at the earliest opportunity." She pauses to taste her coffee, eyes closing, before remarking "You didn't say his hand was missing, Elisabeth? Anyway, what's gotten up his tail that he doesn't contact me? Last I heard was him asking about a man called Feng Daiyu. Wireless looked him up, he was a Chinese soldier in the early 80s, then a local cop in Beijing. He had good records, but around June 1989 his career seems to have soured. Criticisms were made of softness toward criminal elements and questions raised about his loyalties."

Elisabeth shakes her head and says quietly, "Yes, I said his hand is missing. I knew he was in bad shape after his last run-in, but…." She bites her lip, her worry for the man emblazoned across her features. "I don't know why he's not contacting you, except that he's apparently running a gambit of his own — his intel is good and he's … Teo is the one who yanked him out of the shadows and turned Logan loose on him. So he's not sure who to trust anymore, and Phoenix isn't it. He's trusted me to a point — and in part, I already broke that faith by giving the information to you. And I'm trusting you to keep my faith, Cat."

Her eyes close. "Damn," she mutters. Consideration is given to tracking Teo and ventilating his skull with a bullet. Stolen doses, attacking allies, helping John Logan…" Cat's head shakes. "Cardinal's hurt, okay, but he still needs to pull his head out. Anything he can trust with you is trustable to me and Helena too. Sooner he understands that, the better. I agreed to sit on this, so I will, just the same."

"Alec wants to see you," she comments, her features shifting into a bit of a grin. "He's got something to come clean about. It's the truth, but not the naked truth." A snicker follows. And she moves on. "I went to see Joseph Sumter again recently. He gave me another vision, and in it was a name to check out: Eric L. Willard."

Elisabeth raises a brow at Cat when Alec's name comes up. "Oh wonderful," she sighs. "Just what I need, the other thief who's shared my bed to want to tell me something that'll piss me off or scare the shit out of me." She scrubs her face with her hand, and she says quietly, "I'll do what I can with Richard, Cat…. but whatever gambit he's playing, I think you should let it play out. Abby says that he's made contact with her, and that he's not tracable by Arthur or something… I don't know how that works, though."

She chuckles again. "I don't think it'll scare or piss you off, Elisabeth. It might just make you laugh. When you meet him, though, you should hit him hard before saying anything at all. Even hello." The grin flashes briefly, and is chased away by consideration of something else. "We'll see where that leads, regarding Mr. Redbird's moves. We've been talking over ways of infiltrating the building without putting anyone at risk."

"That name I gave you, from the vision Joseph Sumter gave me… it relates to Niles Wight. The name is on a cemetery gravestone."

"Eric Willard?" Elisabeth frowns. "How does that relate to Niles Wight?"

"The vision," Cat explains, "was in a cemetery where a gravestone had that name. Lightning and thunder were around, the sky was cloudy gray. Niles Wight was there, talking directly to me. He said I was right, two paths one can go by, but the direction never changes, the destination is always the same. The only way to escape death is to be godly. The only way to be godly is to escape time. Then there was another Niles, and a scream as one Niles pointed, sent lightning into the other. But I couldn't tell which was Elder or younger, they looked timeless."

Elisabeth nods slowly, a frown crossing her features. It's the first time she's gotten the entirety of the vision from Cat. "Well, let's start digging on him. You want me to do it, or you want to let Wireless handle it?"

"I think maybe both, actually," Cat replies. "I'm talking to her soon about all this data we have, I'll put the name into that mix."

Elisabeth nods briefly. "All right, then," she says. "I'll get on it as soon as I get back to my place. I'm on admin leave til Monday." She smiles a bit at Cat. Let me figure out what intel I have in my hands and we'll talk about what's upcoming, okay?" She rolls her eyes. "And I'll catch up with Alec this weekend sometime," she says grudgingly.

A nod, Cat stating "A little redundancy never hurts, after all. And speaking of redundancy, I'm working up a plan to build some for me. I'll need to spend time with Norton periodically, under negation, and work at accessing limited memories instead of being effectively nineteen again without the ability. I've been taught a hard lesson about over-reliance."

"I'll be making some signs, and other instructions in my own writing so I'll know it came from me to calm myself and get focus established. May also need assistance from you and Helena in getting me to concentrate and think, really think, about snatching sense from the static."

With a nod, Elisabeth says, "That's a good idea. The question is, will you TRUST us? I mean…. even with things in your own writing, you'll have lost a bunch of things, and you didn't know us back then." She considers. "I wonder if Hiro could help us out with that. If he makes contact and gets his abilities back, maybe it's something we can ask about…. whether a trip to when you were 19 might help that."

"It was there," Cat assures, "it just didn't make any sense. But when I began to read things I found in my computer, bits and pieces came clear and matched up with the records. It's like I'll have to train my mind to access memories from the time since I manifested in dispowered ways. It won't be easy, but I believe it can be done. Part of it, you see, is forcing myself to do it. When I was collected in Hartford, the only things that were clear, that felt real, were from seven years ago so I went with them. But I had to acknowledge the truth of time having passed, because my car title and my driving license, my iPhone, all those things were more modern than I could clearly remember. Then I saw Midtown, and finally saw my own face in a mirror when they got me home."

"Part of me, also, wants to not acknowledge the bits and pieces at first, because it causes questioning of the sanity." She studies the detective's face for evidence what she's explained makes sense to her.

Elisabeth sort of gets it. "It's like waking up from a coma, only you know that you've been walking around the whole time," she says quietly. "Instead of sleeping through it all, you have all this memories that you have no attachment to. So the important part is that you have the memories, we just have to help you attach to them."

"By making myself stand still and focus, really focus. Over time it should get easier, because I'll have built a supply of recent unenhanced memories at each negation experience. It'll take away the shock because it becomes a regular thing, a sort of routine. It could be I'll reset to that evening in Hartford, actually, and the few days that followed." Cat lets out a laugh. "It may be a new experience for Norton, coming across someone who actually wants to be negated."

Elisabeth hehs softly. "OH, there've been a couple of times when I'm damn glad he negates me," she says with a chuckle. "But let's leave that topic for now," she adds with a wink. "Tell me what I can do to help while you do it, okay?"

"I'll do that," Cat affirms, as she takes her empty cup to the kitchen for more coffee before digging back into the documents. There's scanning to do, and technopaths to contact.

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