Mark Twain Is Going To Arizona?


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Scene Title Mark Twain Is Going To Arizona?
Synopsis Cat fills Helena in about the meeting with Carmichael and speaks of the next day's journey.
Date June 26, 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.

When she returns, the hour is between 20:30 and 21:00 on this Saturday night, Eileen having been dropped off wherever she desired. One of the double doors nearest the entertainment room opens, Cat stepping through and closing it behind her. Her voice follows after, within seconds, as she tells the open air "I fucking hate heels of any size." Hands are used to massage her aching feet, the woman discards the offending shoes a few feet away with a toss of contempt.

Clad in a business suit, she looks around to see if Helena's around so she can share details of their meeting with Rupert Carmichael.

Helena has been like a hermit these past few weeks, trying to cram as much knowledge into her brain as she can in order to be ready for when the semester starts at Columbia. She's in her room, reading thick textbooks, trying to get a jump on the curriculum. "Cat? That you?" Well, it better be. Anyone else who managed to get past the security's going to be in a heaping helping of trouble. There's a light thump of feet hitting floor, and out strides Helena. "Hey." she greets. "How was the meeting?"

"It's me," the panmnesiac replies as the blonde emerges. "It was interesting," Cat goes on to relate. "Guy's house isn't so much different from the one Arthur burned, in Hartford. Carmichael, it turns out, says he used to have the ability of persuasion but lost it when Tyler Case visited him. Weird that it didn't come back like other people's mojo did." Her backside presses to the wall and she slides into a sitting position so she can more comfortably go about the business of rubbing feet.

"Eileen and I explained our position on attacks against the Ferry. Carmichael claims they were operating in a compartmented way then, otherwise that wouldn't have happened. He also says Rickham's a mess, can't change out of metal body now. No word on the status of West's face."

Helena grits her teeth. "I don't know if I can quite forgive MESSIAH for what they've done. It's like stabbing us in the back. And so help me if I ever see West's face again, I'm going to slam him into a building. Repeatedly. I mean, fool me once, shame on you, right?" She sighs, tugs at her hair. "Sorry, I'm ranting. And saying they're compartmented is no excuse. I mean, it was Rickham, and he - I can't believe he was willing to hurt us like that. What could they have possibly been thinking? What were they hoping to accomplish? Grabbing the girl to exchange for winter's end?"

"Nothing was said about forgiveness," Cat states in a dry voice, "practicality overrides such things. They'd been trying to get their hands on Liette for some time, it's what caused all our safety measures about not taking electronic instruments like phones into Ferry places so Rebel couldn't get a fix on her. I still don't know how they found us. They wanted her because she was kept at the Institute. Carmichael says the window has closed on that, nothing she could tell has value now." Shoes are left where she tossed them in getting to her feet and heading for the entertainment zone where there is stout to be had.

"We made it clear no further attacks on the Ferry will be tolerated, and it goes without saying we can and will defend ourselves. He also claimed Rebel never threatened Doctor Brennan's family over possession of Liette, that the meaning was his family could be harmed by the Institute if he kept her. I'm unconvinced, when I asked Rebel if he made that threat months ago, they neither confirmed nor denied."

Helena shakes her head. "I'm getting tired of everyone betraying us." she says. "All the heel-face-turning just makes me want to give up. It just feels like everyone's out for themselves. Are you hungry? I made lemon squares." Someone's been stress-baking. "I guess we need to talk about Phoenix sometime, too. We made all this plans, but they're just not happening. Do we try to fix that, or do we give it up, or…? I'm not sure."

"Betrayals," Cat murmurs, "that's another thing we discussed at our meeting, Helena. Carmichael says Rebel detected a leak somewhere in the Ferry months ago, they suspect someone inside feeding data to the Institute. This was why, he said, they didn't just come to us and seek info directly without taking Raith's daughter. I don't know if that's true or not, but I suggested a method of discovery to Eileen." The small refrigerator is opened as Cat nods to the question of lemon squares.

"Phoenix never dies, Helena," she opines some seconds later, making eye contact. "Mr. Clemens poached off a number of our people and snagged one I had eyes on, but nothing is irretrievable." Lips curve into a brief smile. "That legendary bird, after all, is known for rising from ashes. And our plans can go ahead."

Helena cocks her head to the side. "Who did you have your eye on? I was going to meet Monica at one point, but I kinda got waylaid. Please tell me it wasn't her." Helena's expression turns to one of dismay, but then she offers quietly, "I have a lot more to lose now. School. And my baby brother. It's not as easy now to make the right choice. That freaks me out something hard, Cat."

"I was thinking of Peyton Whitney," Cat shares, "I think the window is closed there. Recently asked for her help, she said she needed to get Richard's consent, and I've not heard from her since. Gillian works with Richard now too. No objection there, but I really don't like the apparent block on information flow. I don't know of any contact between Monica and Richard. She's at the Garden, word is she got injured somehow. Would you visit her while I'm out in Arizona tomorrow? Monica was Phoenix, to me she still is. Just like Gillian. No one should think for a moment we aren't out to find and bring her back." The bottle she extracts is placed atop the refrigerator as she moves to close distance between them and step behind, hands lifting to rub shoulders if allowed.

"I know," she offers soothingly. "Seeing Liam like that is frightening." She doesn't make statements about it all turning out well, or beating the odds and doing it again. For the moment she seeks to inspire confidence and reassurance by simple acceptance of fear and exuding confidence.

When she speaks again, the voice is somber. "For the possible Ferry leak, I advised Eileen we cook up pieces of false but juicy information and give each person a different bit. Same advice goes to Noah, Scott, and very few others like Grace."

"Might work. Did Eileen take to the idea?" Helena shakes her head a little. "Should I come with you out to Arizona? I kind of would like to see what's out there, myself. Would it be too late for me to go, or do you think it's better that I stay?" She seems to waffle a bit, given the idea of seeing Monica, but the trip Cat's about to take intrigues her.

"I think she did," Cat answers, "but she's also very sick and hiding it. Close up, it can be seen. She doesn't know what the cause is. Either way, we'd still have to work out how we communicate the different bits to people and minimize sharing inside the network, if multiple people have the same piece of data or get wind that people are individually being told things, the jig might be up before it starts. I'd like to have you with us in Arizona, but it's your call." She moves away from the blonde, taking up her bottle of stout again.

"I want to nominate you for that Ferry council too."

"I'd like to come, if there's room." Helena clambers into one of the seats, pulling one of her knees toward her chest. "I don't know about that, Cat. I'm not much of a leader anymore. Maybe it should be you?"

"We support each other, Helena," Cat replies as she too settles into a chair. "The Phoenix rises from the ashes when the moment comes. It may not be until after the Institute problems are solved, or during them. Despite what so many seem to think, public profile will be important. Especially after the riots which might happen in November end." She takes a long drink.

"No matter who takes the lead when we bring the bird back from ashes, I never lose faith in you, Helena. Just as you never have in me."

"Maybe there'll be time in Arizona to think about it?" Helena muses. "Or maybe not think about it - I guess I need to feel ready to do that sort of thing again. But for right now, I think maybe it should be you, until I find my feet. Who else is going, do you know?"

"Me, Veronica Sawyer, and Mr. Clemens," Cat states quietly. Leaning back in her seat, she takes a few more pulls from the stout bottle. It occurs to her, but isn't spoken, that there's certainly a Phoenix in Arizona.

Helena blinks a little bit. "Mark Twain is going to Arizona?" she asks a bit dubiously.

There's a chuckle. "It was once reported he died, which led to the famous quote about reports being exaggerated. So I've tagged Richard Cardinal with that name." Cat glances her way briefly.

Helena ah's. "You know, you could have just said Cardinal." Her tone is quite wry. "Is he going to want me along? It may be better if I stay…I'm not sure. Wow, don't you just wish Decision Making Helena was back in the building?"

"It's not up to him," Cat asserts. "This is my gig, I'm pulling the people together and footing the bill."

"We'll see." Helena says, and seems content to leave it at that. "Tell me more about Eileen being sick. Has she been to see anyone? A healer, or even just a regular doctor?"

"I don't know. I hope she has. She's smart enough to get looked at. After I'm back I'll check her out, there'll be a report on the findings anyway," Cat states. "Back to the meeting with Carmichael, we at least seem to have achieved non-hostility. There was even possibility of getting help when or if needed. That teleporter they have, we could build something similar to what we had with Anne before she left the city. It was just a first step toward getting past divisions. I also asked to speak with Allen. I want to hear from him firsthand why he didn't think to approach you or I directly about things. Leaks in the Ferry or not, I would hope he knows better than to think it was either of us. Hell, he was advising Mother's campaign and didn't even bother to make contact then."

"The iron man is a bit tarnished, yes." Helena agrees, and then rubs her face with her hand. "I think I need to get some sleep. We'll sort out whether I can go to Arizona tomorrow?" It's not that she's dismissing Eileen's situation per se, it's just that right tired Helena is tired. "I don't even know where everyone is or what they're doing, but hopefully we can pull something together. Regarding Phoenix, I mean."

"Sleep well, Helena," Cat offers as her eyes flick to the HD set. She's setting aside thoughts of business for the moment, wondering instead if that episode of Glee Helena recorded with the DVR is still there. It might be time to indulge before she too drifts off.

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