Like a Can of SpaghettiOs


cat_icon.gif claire_icon.gif

Scene Title Like a Can of SpaghettiOs
Synopsis Cat shares the intelligence she's gathered on Moab Penitentiary with Claire before dropping two considerable bombshells on her.
Date March 25, 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.

Contact was made, and an invitation tendered to come here. On entering the building at 14 East 4th Street in Greenwich Village, Claire was expected and watched for. The elevator she steps into only shows buttons for three floors, which may seem odd given one can tell the place has six floors when looked at from the street outside. The control panel hiding the others is closed and locked. But when the doors close and the car goes into motion, it climbs above that third floor. The lit-up numbers show the progress. Four. Five. Six. Then they open again, and across the corridor is a pair of open double doors. Cat, unarmed, is waiting for her there. "Thanks for coming," she greets with a smile. "Not many people get told I live here, or have any connection to this building."

Then the jean and Yale hoodie clad older brunette is on the move, across the floor of her residence, toward a table which has sandwiches, stout, and photos. "I think you'll find these very interesting," Cat tells her.

Claire is similarly dressed in a faded hoodie - Harvard of all schools, a thirft store find - and jeans a little too torn to be considered fashionably so. She steps out of the elevator, unsurprised to find Cat waiting for her. "I've spoken with Hiro Nakamura already…" She trails off and approaches the table. "What do we have here?"

She chuckles a bit. Harvard. "I know," Cat answers. "It seems he and I think the same things at different times, without mentioning you to each other." Except she knows, so there must have been mention, right? But she doesn't elaborate. One hand slides a bottle of the stout toward her. "Yours if you want it. If not, I have other kinds. Harder kinds." She isn't one to quibble about alcohol and being twenty-one.

The photos on the table are numerous, and there's a folder with still more inside.

The first images are of an old highway which intersects with a winding dirt road. There are signs posted which give 'shoot on sight' warnings in unmistakable terms. She's made notations on them indicating the road junction is some fifteen miles away from the site.

The next shots revealed are of the airstrip at one end of the place, where no planes are parked; there are only facilities for refueling present. Two towers overlook this airstrip, each with two rifle-carrying guards and an anti-aircraft gun.

Then the prison itself, surrounded by high fencing topped with razor wire. There are no external walls around the perimeter. It's concrete, with four more guard towers providing a clear view of the prison yard. As with the airstrip towers, there are two rifle-wielders and an anti-aircraft gun.

Next comes a fenced in recreational court area, with picnic tables and basketball hoops, divided down the center.

Then there are shots which show just a white blur and no details whatsoever.

"Rum and Coke, if you've got it," Claire murmurs absently as she starts to scan the photos. "Is this the place," she asks rhetorically. Of course it is. "I'm assuming there's some significance to these white-out photos, or you'd have tossed them away." The girl lifts her dark head to regard Cat, patiently waiting for more details.

"There is," Cat provides. "These were all taken from the air, at distance. I tried to use the infrared features to get a look at the interior of the place, that was the result. They've got electrical and heat-based defenses against things like phasing in use, it made seeing the inside impossible. So we still have to recon the interior. We've got a plan to make that happen soon." While speaking, she opens the folder and sets out more images.

They are shots are of the recreation area, and in these people in orange jumpsuits are present. Sixty-seven in all. Most of them weren't looking the right way for their faces to be captured, but some were. One of them is Helena Dean, next to the yard fence on one side of it with other female prisoners behind her, and a gathering of men close to that spot on the other side. Alexander is one of those.

While Claire is looking at them, Cat goes for a bottle of rum, grabs pepsi from the refrigerator, and a glass then makes her way back. On her return the items are set on the table. She takes the bottle of stout for herself and drinks from it.

Claire drops heavily into a chair when she spots her best friend in one of the photos. "Hel'," she murmurs, fingers brushing over the girl's image. It's like a punch to the stomach, even if there's relief there. She's still alive, at the very least.

"She got taken in when we fought an operation called the Vanguard. They wanted to let loose a virus and kill most of the world's people. We found out she was in Moab when we interrogated the person who captured her, on the Verrazano Narrows bridge," Cat informs, her voice containing steel. "We won't let her and Alexander stay there any longer than we have to. Nor your uncle. Given he went to prison on his own, he may not want to leave, but Hiro can handle that. Even if he has to freeze him in time and 'port him out to have the argument later."

"We hope to be ready to raid the prison soon. There are, however, some other things you should know about first. One of them relates to you being free to take part in the operation."

A single sheet of paper is pulled from the folder and slid over to Claire. "You may have wondered why I told you to avoid traffic cameras."

The sheet of paper details a raid on the apartment of DHS agent Jonathan Carmichael, the taking of information from the hard drive on his computer, and interrogation of the man under the power of Persuasion too. Among the information it contains is that Arthur Petrelli is alive, that a man named Roger Goodman who works for Biomere and Agent Carmichael work for him, and that both Noah and Claire Bennet are being looked for. There is mention that they use traffic cameras to locate and track people. There are mentions of a company called Primatech which is linked to DHS, and that Biomere where Roger Goodman works is a front owned by Primatech.

"What's this?" Claire pries her eyes away from the photo of her friend to look at the report set in front of her. Her eyes widen slightly. "Arthur Petrelli is alive?" Her head lifts quickly. "Who's aware of this information? I think this may be enough to coax Peter to leave with us, even if he thinks he deserves to be in prison."

"I am, Teo is, Hiro is, the man who used the power to make Carmichael talk and forget we were even there is, Noah Bennet, Hana Gitelman, and now you. As well as Carmichael and Roger Goodman," Cat tells her. "Carmichael at least believes Arthur is alive and giving order to Goodman. It's unverified, of course, it could simply be something Goodman claims is true, or it could be an impostor."

She trails off for a bit.

"The most important thing is you not getting caught by them. They may well throw you into a deeper hole than Moab if they get a chance. Shield your face on the streets. Don't get spotted on traffic cameras. Carmichael… he has an ability which makes a person's limbs stop working. They can't move, and get snatched up before they recover. It's how he got Al and Brian in New Jersey, and how he got Helena on the bridge. He nearly got me too. I was far enough away I could still crawl, and was able to get farther enough that the effect stopped. I was barely able to carry out my mission and destroy the viral package there."

Claire nods slowly, soaking up the information given. It's unsettling. "So they're out there, actively looking for me." She nods slowly, understanding. "I can't say I didn't think people were watching for me, but I didn't think they were… I didn't think it was this serious." She frowns. "Thanks for the warning. I'll be sure to watch out. And don't worry, I can take care of myself."

"I don't know what their purpose is," Cat states. "It may mean something that your grandfather is allegedly not dead, or it may not. One of the people they took on January 28th wasn't sent to Moab. He was instead turned into a Company agent. He's a guy who's able to make copies of himself. Somehow the copy they captured was brainwashed into taking that role and is kept from being mentally linked with the original." This, perhaps, shows Claire how Peter came to be Peter and Peter.

Then Cat's eyes close, and she draws in a deep, slow breath before speaking again. "There's more, and this you definitely won't like," she remarks gravely. "Hiro will tell you about this too. I only learned about it last night." Oh god.

Green-blue eyes squint faintly at Cat as she speaks. "I find it's best to just spit it out when it comes to sharing important information. It's easier to ask for details than guess at what you want." Claire is sure she isn't going to like what she's about to hear, but she's equally sure that she needs to hear it, and so she waits patiently, sipping from the drink poured for her, finally.

"The Moab operation is big. We need as much help as we can get," Cat begins. "It's been suggested, but not by me, that we get assistance from Gabriel Gray." And it's out there. Cat waits for the explosion.

Claire actually chokes on the sip she was beginning to swallow. After a moment of coughing and sputtering to clear her throat, she stands up, already in a rage. "What?!" That's an interrobang, folks. She is Not Happy. "You want to ask Sylar for help? Do I have to remind you that he wants to open my head like a can of SpaghettiOs and take my ability? What makes you think he won't just turn around and start killing our allies?"

"I'm not the one asking him to help, or even suggesting he should, Claire," Cat replies. "You don't need to remind me of that at all. I've seen the newspaper clippings which said you died, and then another clipping of the same date which said someone else did. I also know he has the same ability I do, and who he took it from." Her voice quavers there, perhaps she feels some link to Charlene Andrews by that fact.

"I also haven't forgotten he assumed Helena's identity and drew attention using it, which nearly got Helena and I thrown into a darker hole than Moab. Or that he tried to kill Helena. And that I stitched up a woman's forehead after she survived being attacked by him."

"I don't know that he won't start killing our allies. I said myself taking him into Moab could be simply leading him to the buffet table. It's very risky. I don't very much buy that he's changed, left behind those ways. If the choice were mine, I would choose having you and Hiro in the operation to free our friends over him without hesitation."

But here she pauses again.

"I also want to succeed, Claire. Hate me if you like, but we could use every single weapon we can get. Hiro will talk to you about this. He may still be in, placing enough priority on freeing Peter to swallow it."

"You don't need to remind me of anything," Cat adds softly. "I never forget."

Oh, Claire will be talking to Hiro all right. That much is certain. "I'm not going to drop out, if that's what you're worried about. Even if I have to fend off Sylar and whatever defenses that hellhole has, I'll get Peter out of there." Another long drink of booze and cola is taken. It may not be the best way to settle nerves, but it's effective enough for Claire to settle for it right now. She sinks back into her chair slowly, taking several deep breaths to calm herself.

If it were up to her, Gabriel wouldn't be in the mix. She'd use Gillian to boost Hiro enough to freeze the whole place in time and teleport everybody out one by one. But Gillian cooperating without Gabriel, or if Gabriel is rejected, troubling subject. Would that love didn't trump reason and the enhancer could see clearly, separate herself forever from the man who canopened her own sister and attempted to show her the same death, but it does.

Cat also has her own guilt. "I'm intent on getting Helena and Peter and anyone else I know out of that place," she affirms. "If it means we have to tolerate Gabriel Gray and be watchful for him to start raiding the buffet table, so be it. Life was happy not so long ago. Had a musical career starting, had a romantic partner, had friends. But she got murdered by the people with that virus, and I had to let her be abandoned and die. There wasn't time enough to find and save her."

"It's not like that here and now. We have time to get them, and we know where they are. I won't let them be left to rot in prison. Even if it means working with Mr. Gray."

Her jaw is set, the eyes flash with repressed rage and loss, one hand clenches into a white-knuckled fist.

It isn't that Claire's unsympathetic, she is. They've both lost people important to them. The younger woman climbs to her feet. She just has her own issues to deal with right now. "I need to go. I need to get outside and clear my head. I have to think about this. Prepare. I'll be in touch, either directly or through Hiro." She takes a step toward the elevator, glancing back. "Thanks for the drink."

"You're welcome, Claire," Cat offers as she begins to collect the photos. "Old Lucy's is still open. I've made arrangements to see they have funds to operate in Isabelle's absence and can bank their money each day." A few beats pass. "Abby doesn't know I live here or have anything to do with this building. Please don't tell her."

"Wouldn't dream of telling a soul," Claire assures her. "It's not my place." The button to the elevator is pressed and she waits with a tap of her foot for the car to make its ascent. "I'll see you around."

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