Looking For A Pen?


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Looking For A Pen?
Synopsis Grief, guilt, rage, plotting, and info shareage.
Date February 16, 2010

The Verb 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.

Elisabeth's arrival at the Verb is not unexpected — it's just unexpectedly LATE. Following her brief call this morning, a case of far too little too late in terms of information Cat could have used, Elisabeth was recalled to the FRONTLINE base for a meeting. And she needed to warn people and deal with her innocents, make sure Abby's parents and her father and Felix's loved ones and anyone else she could think of were covered by various bodyguard types. As best she could. She's entirely freaked by the hit on Jenn Chesterfield, and when she lets herself into Cat's penthouse, she's steeling herself to deal with unemotional Cat again. Because it's what Cat always does — hides her emotions behind a Vulcan-esque facade.

Coming face to face with the brunette, though, Elisabeth's blue eyes skim the other woman's face. "I am so far beyond sorry, Cat," she murmurs quietly, moving hesitantly to hug her friend.

15:46. That's what the clock shows on the computer screen where Cat is taking in commentary from various public figures. One of them is Sylvia Lockheart, stating "She was a tough woman, a good opponent, and New York City has lost a bright and dedicated mind. It's tragic what happened to her, that this had to happen when it did, and my thoughts and prayers go out to her young daughter in this time of crisis."

"Fuck you, Sylvia," the resident mutters as matches the words with a rather rude hand gesture, "if you had your way, she'd have died in a concentration camp along with Donovan and everyone else featuring the SLC. Go eat shit and die, bitch."

There aren't tears, and other than that burst of commentary Cat seems calm as expected. Her features are a poker face. It seems, however, this hasn't been the case all day. Empty stout bottles are visible lined up in the distant kitchen, the woman herself is seated against a wall in the open spaces of the residence, and there's a torn apart punching bag with its attachments broken a few feet away. Delivery of another hasn't happened yet.

"Elisabeth," she greets somberly, "I got a warning from Jensen Raith last night, about an hour before the murder. Someone tried to hire him, he said she was too high profile and refused, now he claims to be followed. After his call, I saw a voicemail from Mother. Tried to call back, no answer. I didn't even think to go check on her in person. God damn it, she had security and knew better than to dismiss them, being a candidate with SLC. But she did, and somehow the man who slit her throat managed not to have his blood turned to water."

There's a frown — Elisabeth never really paid attention to what Jenn's ability was, to be honest. Moving to sit next to Cat, Elisabeth says quietly, "My best guess on that — leaving out that it could have been an Evo attacked her, because that possibility still exists — would be that they got close enough to surprise her and they were not viewed as any kind of threat." There is pain for Cat in her eyes. "I've scrambled as many people as I can manage… to try to cover Abby's family and Felix's and mine. I just… never really thought they'd get close to her," she admits.

Grief is present, as is a measure of guilt, in those met eyes when they settle on the blonde's face, mixed with and dominated by controlled rage. Elisabeth has seen this before; it was similar after the death of Danielle. Not so much when Mason died at Pinehearst, that being a different situation. This seems to strike harder, and in Cat fashion she copes by making herself busy. "Suspects include Danko and Humanis First, the Lockheart campaign, Jensen Raith, and Skoll. I can't rule out Jensen," she explains, "because he said someone tried to hire him and he refused because of her profile. He didn't, notice, say he refused because he wouldn't take part in assassinations period. The call could've been timed to come just after she was already slain."

"In any case, I intend to move swiftly, to end this threat definitively." She moves the mouse pointer and pulls up the registry website item on Rebecca Nakano. Postcog, Tier 1. "Step one is finding her," she asserts, "and learning if she can use the talent to discover who performed the act. I want to know if Skoll did it, or it was a hireling."

As she considers the list of suspects, Elisabeth shakes her head slightly. "Go ahead and rule out Raith," she says quietly. "Not because I trust him or anything, but in my experience, hit men have their own codes of honor. If he came to you and warned you, there was a reason for it — and he didn't do it. Danko is still in rehab, so he couldn't specifically have ordered the hit now, and frankly Humanis First's MO would be more likely to take her out AFTER she won — they'd have hit Donovan if he'd won too. Taking her out when she'd lost is not as good an example."

Liz raises her brows and says, "I can give you Becca's phone number. She's actually currently working a case for me." She glances at Cat. "She's the one I've had monitoring Danko's place. She's a PI now. And she's a good idea — she might be able to get us a face to work with."

"If Miss Nakano is willing to assist," Cat remarks while nodding, "I intend to bring along a telepath so whatever she sees can be relayed directly to me. If possible, I'd then get a technopath to intersect with me and the telepath so any face we get can be turned into a jpg and passed around. Whether it's Skoll or a hireling."

"Then I want to see Molly Walker."

"Well, good luck with that. You might get Parkman to agree to that. Maybe." Elisabeth's sympathy is firmly with Cat… she cannot begin to imagine how her friend is feeling, and she's terrified that soon enough it could be her in this boat.

"Maybe I'll ask Parkman, maybe not," Cat replies evenly, "though I may approach him about the whole thing. There will be no more speculating what he's up to or where he is, letting him have initiative. There's only one way out. Find Skoll, and bring the conclusion on our terms." Leaving that aside for the moment, turning attention back to Rebecca, she indicates the screen. "Postcognition. What does that entail? Psychometry, objects from the scene can be brought and handled to get information?"

"I understand that," Elisabeth says softly. "And if you can locate him, you know I'll back you every step of the way." That's all that she has to say on it. She'll go to the wall for Cat. "Take something shiny — she uses a mirror and she can see into the past. I don't think she requires something personal, but take something just in case."

"A mirror," the brunette echoes with brows furrowing," so… she needs to visit the scene, rather than have things to read from brought to her, or touching the body? If that's so, I'll ask Veronica to get us past the cops and crime scene tape when I contact her."

Following the question, Cat states "After we locate Skoll, we can figure out what sort of force is needed to bring all this to an end. Location, associates and armaments around him, the works."

There's a nod and Elisabeth replies, "Yeah, I think she has to be on the scene, if I remember right. It caused her no end of trouble when it first manifested on her. But here." She moves to write down the number — "Call her. This is her cell."

"Looking for a pen?" Cat asks with a dry chuckle when Elisabeth seems out to write something down. "Have you met me? Just say the digits." Some quiet follows, details being sketched out in her head and other matters surfaced. "Veronica won't know you and I talked about her call," she reports in a hushed voice, "turns out Mother heard about it through Robert Bishop, suggested she and I do the teamwork thing, so I said she was the source of my data. V had a fourth name, Doc Carpenter. Turns out he's the guy who duplicated Helena's mind when her father's crew snatched her."

Liz laughs softly and repeats the number from memory. "Hell, I could just flash you my phone," she admits. And then she nods. "I had lunch with her today — she told me already. I didn't know the man's name was Carpenter, but I know who we're talking about. She wanted to make sure I knew to warn Claire in case you were tied up with things with your mother. I sent word."

"Good," Cat replies with a nod. "We don't know she's the only possible holder of the catalyst, but it's reasonable she has a catalyst. It's part of Arthur choosing to strip her power away. The whole thing… it's still a riddle," she confesses. "At face value, it makes sense the Feds would want to recreate the serum and pad Frontline with it as intended. We know Sarisa can likely find or already has found Gregor, he being captured during Apollo. Likewise with Hector Steel. Zimmerman we don't know about, can't know if they have him or not. This also applies to Carpenter, haven't heard anything about him since Norman White vanished."

Her brows furrow. "What doesn't fit is why camps? Only four people are said to have vanished; one from Staten Island and three from Midland, Texas, all of them SLC, but that's probably just the tip of an iceberg. Camps indicate plans for a lot more detainees. If the goal is making serum, they also don't need SLC people as test subjects. They need non-SLC."

Thoughts continue to receive voice. "Possibilities: 1) That the Rebel data and the mystery call Veronica got are connected and the Institute has a goal other than serum. 2) That the Rebel data and the mystery caller aren't connected at all, the caller just worries about the locations of people who might be in Federal hands and put to work. 3) That the Institute has two goals, one being the serum and the other calling for camps. 4) There could be other angles I've not even considered yet. It's possible the obese Chinese doctor at the illegal labs Harlow led us to is involved with something, he was clearly conducting experiments. And I've not heard anything yet about an organization working with Bella Sheridan. There could be one."

Cat's eyes close. "I've not asked around about any files recovered in that raid, Elisabeth," she admits in a hushed voice, "I've been… busy." Fingers brush absently at the leg of black jeans. The shirt is black too.

There is a long pause and Elisabeth debates how much to say. "The phone call is a trusted source — not Rebel. I know that much for fact. I'm not sure where the source GOT the names or why they are connected, except that all four of them have gone off the radar, but I'll check into the thought processes behind that." She grimaces. "I've been a little swamped and forgot to follow up on that avenue, actually, so I'm glad you reminded me. Bella Sheridan is a Company shrink. She's my shrink, in point of fact — she's the woman Teo attacked a while back. I don't know if she's operating with Company sanction or not — but it might be something to kick back in Vee's direction and make *her* deal with." A cold light comes into Elisabeth's blue eyes. "But I will say this much… based on the rumors of the condition of her subjects, someone better get to that bitch before Demsky finds out. Cuz if you think I'm pissed… Colette's his kid."

A slow breath is drawn in as she listens, hearing word of Bella being Company, matched with clenching fists. "If her operation was Company sanctioned, Mother either didn't know about it or was lying about them changing their methods," Cat states with an edge to her voice, "and I lean toward not knowing because she pointed Nicole Nichols, her personal assistant, my way regarding Colette. Nicole was not so happy about her sister being involved with such things. I can't be certain, it might be coincidence, but the woman may be electrokinetic. After our meeting, she left the Rock Cellar and touched a wall on the way out. There was a power surge, made light fixtures shatter."

Her eyes close again.

"Things came together, for our last conversation. Nicole had asked me to make a statement about being outed as a former member of Pariah, to say I'd been young and misguided. I said only that Mother and I would talk. Before we did, though, Helena and Delilah were drawn into a dreamscape which included Mother and Allen Rickham. Things they saw and heard suggested Mother was still in contact with Allen, and both of them with Rebel. She may have been more trustworthy than I thought, though she wouldn't confirm or deny those links. She also asked if I didn't ask her about the entity because I didn't trust her. I said no, it was that I'd no idea of any involvement she had. Turns out, according to her, the entity was active far earlier than we'd thought, the Company had episodes with it, and a psych profile said it was childlike. Prone to tantrums."

The eyes reopen, some sadness showing in them. "It was true, what I said about the entity and not going to her. But I also mistrusted. Their history with the Company, finding out about all that when I was twenty-six, being slipped into her own deceased child's life and identity… I'd put it all aside after Pinehearst, thought she turned a corner, then she goes back to work for them."

There's a soft sigh. "I've warned you before, Cat…. that things are never as simple and black-and-white as you choose to believe. Sometimes you have to dance with the devil to stop the greater evils," Elisabeth replies quietly. "Take Dreyfus. I'm pretty sure he's the source of the hits on Teo's mother and yours," she admits softly. "Francois warned me a few days ago — I thought word had already reached you. But…. it would make sense that he'd want those of us there in Russia to suffer the same way he is with the death of his child." Her tone holds a wealth of regret. "I wasn't sure Francois was right. Not until your mother got this. But… I've already got bodyguards looking out for everyone else that I can get to."

"I've done that," Cat replies, "working with the Company people in Operation Apollo. Accepting the assistance of Gabriel Gray, for that matter. I'm not incapable of compromise," she asserts, "but I don't forget who I'm dealing with. Mother seemed, at least, to have forgotten. But I can't be certain, given the possible remaining links to Allen and Rebel." Her fists clench again, she seems to want something to strike at but holds herself in check.

"Courtesy of Carlisle Dreyfus and Skoll, I'll never find out. It's cowardly, him striking out at us through others because of his own failure to keep his son from joining a bunch of fucking Nazis he himself had been with. His fault, and his son's, for throwing in with them. Not yours."

She seeks eye contact, speaking with that edge to her voice and the desire to bring down retribution showing. "Never feel guilt, never blame yourself for what happened to his son. It was him, or you. They created the situation."

There's a soft smile. "You sound like Richard," Elisabeth comments and moves to stand. "If there's anything I can do to help you, let me know. Please. I'll do anything I can. But I'm going to focus my energy right now on getting the rest of the parents that I can get to out of the line of fire while you're handling the investigation part of this. And if one more thing happens…." She pauses. "I'm going to take a chance on a CIA agent who seems to have a vested interest in the case." She puts her hand on Cat's shoulder. "If you … want to talk, Cat. I'm here."

"The best defense against Skoll and Dreyfus," Cat states through gritted teeth, "is a good offense. He doesn't understand how focused I got against their Vanguard when they killed someone close to me the last time. But he'll find out." The hand at her shoulder is accepted, until she stands a few moments later.

"See you," she offers, "I've got things to do." Like contacting a postcog PI and mulling over how to contact Molly. Maybe in a dreamscape…

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