Mysterious Ways


cat_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif edward_icon.gif

Scene Title Mysterious Ways
Synopsis A field trip for Doctor Ray
Date December 25, 2008

Isaac's Loft

This spacious loft looks to have at one time been an art studio, judging from the wide array of paintings arranged up against the walls and littered across tables. Half-finished murals adorn one wall, nor merely faded spatterings of color. The loft is bordered on one side by a large row of windows looking out into the entrance hall, a door with a frosted glass window set into it leads out. From the entryway, there is a raised walkway that descends down a few steps into the main loft, where long and paint-stained tables are stacked with mostly blank canvas in frames, and some completed paintings in a stylized and sharp color-contrast style. What dominates much of the loft, however, is not the abandoned artwork or the layers of dust that have settled on them, but rather strings — hundreds upon hundreds of strings.

The entire loft is filled with strings that stretch from one side of the main room to another, most of them laden with newspaper clippings, photographs, or plastic baggies filled with strange oddies like locks of hair, a shirt button, interlinked paperclips and the like. The majority of the news articles are all related to the bomb that destroyed most of midtown manhattan in 2005, some also relating to Senator Petrelli's political campaign, then other seemingly unrelated incidents. A single red string seems to interconnect all of the other threads, bouncing from one point to another, tied off to different articles — all which can be slid by slip knots into new positions — and tangled up towards a knot at the center where an article related to the bomb is hanging, showing a photograph of a man named "Gabriel Gray." It takes a moment to notice that the shapes and colors on the floor beneath all of this chaos is an image. It is a profound one at that, the painting of a city being blown apart by an atomic explosion, complete with a crimson and orange mushroom cloud rising up from the middle.

Beyond this area, the entire north wall of the loft is a large line of blown out windows covered with venetian blinds, angled to filter in light during the daytime, and affording a view of the broken skyline of midtown in the distance.

It's here. The day has come. December 25th. Christmas. The alleged birthday of Jesus Christ. In Roman times it was called Saturnalia, some historians say a Roman emperor who wanted to unify his domain chose Christianity as the official religion and the Church then co-opted the pagan festival to help spread conversion.

In many parts of the world it's a day of joy and quiet family time, with the opening of gifts placed under some variety of evergreen tree and others in stockings by a fireplace or representation thereof. Merry Christmas is the standard thing to say.

But for one resident of New York, there's precious little holiday cheer. She's grieving, and her options are few. She could defy Helena's wishes for her not to be anywhere near that place and go to the apartment where gifts under a tree with her name and Dani's still sit, also the stockings they made, and get totally drunk. Or she could find some way to stay busy, keep her mind occupied.

And so it is that after the exposure at the Cathedral the day before and the encounter with Eileen Ruskin outside Piccoli's, and spending yet another night at another hotel, Cat came to the HQ. She had her guitar case over one shoulder, the backpack over the other, and a shopping bag with bottles. One bottle of wine, and several more of Guinness Stout to seek out Edward and invite him to take a field trip.

Field trips are about learning, about finding out what lies beyond your familiar four walls and in places you haven't been before. Edward Ray, of course, is a man who thrives on information and learning, expanding his horizons so that he can see just a little bit beyond where they are and spot what's coming up on them. So when the offer to take a trek out into the snow-dusted city of New York on Christmas Day arose, it wasn't a difficult conversation to drag the physicist and mathematician out into the cold.

Odds are, he had a good feeling about the trip to begin with.

It wasn't so much the invitation but the destination that caught Edward off guard, and in a way that a child presented with a confusing new puzzle might be surprised; it's a mixed sense of wonder and curiosity. When Catherine Chesterfield decides to bring him out to the ruined north end of SoHo, and up into an apartment building that has had its front face demolished by the explosion that tore the city apart, he can't help but be filled with some degree of child-like excitement.

"I'll admit, Doctor Chesterfield," Ever with the formalities, and these first few words are wht carries down the hallway not far from a loft that formerly belonged to Isaac Mendez. "You have me at a loss for what could be awaiting me out here, espescially in a neighborhood such as this." Probability is only as good as the relevent information to formulate statistics, and this whole region of the city is a blank spot in Edward's specialties.

His wet boots squeak on the tile floor of the hall as he walks, matching the wavering timbre of his voice, "Why you had to bring alcohol as well is admittedly a puzzling facet to this mystery." It's either teasing or chiding, sometimes with Edward, it's hard to tell…

The two people on the way to visit the Loft that a certain someone has begun to squat in aren't the only ones with alcohol. There's a couple bottles sitting up against the wall of the string filled loft. The paintings that remain untouched by the damage, the cat having learned not to scratch on them at the very least. Instead, Chandra has taken to digging and scratching at the piles of blankets that have gathered around for some additional warmth. Much colder and she'll need to evacuate to a hotel room, but for the moment… Gillian has decided to stay.

Not that the person she's waiting for will ever get his sorry ass out of jail and actually accept a bullet to the shin like she wants to give him.

The bottles, though, some are emptied, which would explain the smell of alcohol that lingers in the air. A fruity kind of liqueur of some kind. The bandaged brunette, with red highlights grown out a half inch, sits in the corner with a battery operated electric lantern to give extra light. She has a sketchbook in her lap, and a pencil scratches against the paper.

Her eyes settle on the bag of bottles she's carrying, then drift back up to the man. Her reply is spoken in a quietly distant voice. "Because I'm grieving, and I couldn't be certain you'd come to see this place, Doctor Ray," Cat states. "I'm having trouble keeping busy, finding ways to occupy my mind and not think about what could've been, what isn't, what never will be. Panmnesia's got lots of benefits, but it carries its price too. Every memory is vivid, the sadder ones keep coming to visit at the slightest provocation. If you hadn't come, I was going to hole up somewhere and become entirely drunk in my misery. So thank you for coming. Honestly."

A few more steps forward and Cat is pushing the door open to enter the loft and look around for Gillian while she holds it for the Harvard man she's brought.

"I'm not very good company, or so I've been told." Edward admits off-handedly as he walks, wool-gloved hands tucked into the fromt pockets of his fur-lined winter parka. "But if I'm the best you can get,' He makes an expression meant to imply poor you, "I'll do an admirable job of being mediocre." He strays away from even bringing up the topic of her grieving, perhaps in his own way knowing full well what the results of it would be, perhaps entirely out of social awkwardness.

When the door is pushed open, Edward only takes a few hesitant steps in before stopping first at the sight of the strings arranged around the room, and then a moment later at the glow of a battery-powered lantern. He tenses, hands reaching into his right front pocket before more closely assessing the hunched form swathed in blankets with a sketchpad. He peers thorugh the circular lenses of his glasses at the young woman, then to the cat padding out from around the corner of the steps leading down to the lower portion of the loft. "…Your friends have some very peculiar choices for living accomodations."

At first, when the door opened, Gillian looked up startled, more suspicious than hopeful. The pencil stops scratching as she reaches in the direction of her coat— but she sees Cat in the light before seeing Mr. MIT. The recognizable face helps her relax, letting her find the pencil that fell near her lap and put the sketchbook aside. The cat might be hopeful for some food, but such isn't why they are here— still, he pads his way over and makes a valiant effort to introduce his sides to their ankles.

"You brought someone here?" she says, a quietly annoyed tone to her voice, the same tone she'd had when people kept appearing at the rooftop. Not the most welcoming "host". The bandage around her forehead is clean of fresh blood, at least, giving indication that the stitches did what they're supposed to do.

There are so many things she could say as he steps into the loft and speaks of his not being company and avoids the topic of grief. She could remark on how she considered going to Hartford for the day and rejected the idea, not wanting to face them in this emotional state and find herself explaining it all to them. She could ask the scientist what the odds would be of Mason and Jennifer Chesterfield being supportive parents to the daughter they would learn is bisexual, Evolved, tied up in a genocidal conspiracy, and mourning a loss such as this, but no. She doesn't. It's time to be tough, to chain it all back, to not show any more cracks in front of him.

It helps that he spots Gillian and remarks as to choices in living quarters. It draws her focus out of such thought patterns as that one. "There are places in the city people feel connected to, for their own reasons, a choice I don't dispute any of them on." The scientist is left on his own for a time as she walks over to speak with the woman.

"Merry Christmas," she offers in a quiet tone, her eyes checking out the bandage when she gets close. "I thought he should see the strings and look them over." But she doesn't explain further than that. If Gillian chooses to live here, there will be the occasional interruptions. One hand goes down to rub a bit behind Chandra's ears, and she puts down the bag of alcohol.

Edward stares down at the cat as it approaches with a disinterested stare, nudging it away with one boot when it comes close. He steps around the animal and begins ducking under the strings, removing his gloves and stuffing them into his pockets to let his bare fingers feel both the cold air and the texture of the seemingly incomprehensible web. "It's like…" His voice is filled with that child-like wonder again, "A roadmap of causality." Blue eyes flick around the photographs, settling first on a newspaper clipping of Nathan Petrelli's senatorial campaign victory, following that to another string and tracing it towards a picture of Daniel Linderman. His head cants to one side, and his finges touch on a string that he follows to a photograph of a a dark-haired woman in her early fifties, from which Nathan Petrelli's string and Peter Petrelli's string originates. His eyes narrow, and he follows that string outwards, tracing a path back to where it meets with a photograph of a blonde-haired man in a suit, and then to a multitude of unfamiliar faces gathered on the Deveaux Building rooftop.

"I'm going to ask the question you're prepared for me to ask, Doctor Chesterfield," Edward doesn't look up from the photograph, eyes narrowing again when he spots Daniel Linderman in it, "Exactly who made this, and to what ends?" Finally leaving that group photo alone, Edward follows a length of rope towards a photograph of a man with horn-rimmed glasses, then to a picture of a girl in a red and white cheerleader's outfit. His head cants to the side, as he follows her string to where it intersects with a black thread, which he then follows to the middle of the web, where there is a newspaper clipping showing the destruction of Midtown, and a photograph of a man with dark eyebrows.

"Who is this guy?" Gillian can't help but ask as she gets to her feet, leaving the sketchpad alone where it sits. She has to pull her coat a little tighter around her, not that it does much since she's been living in the cold for the last week or so. "Merry Christmas to you, too," she adds mildly to the woman of perfect memory, though her eyes remain mostly on the man among the web, as she starts to move closer. The alcohol that she's 'celebrated' with has opened up the knot in the back of her head. She's not even thinking about it right now.

"He's Doctor Edward Ray, a physicist from the Harvard Institute of Technology," Cat answers. "And he's giving us some consultation on issues which might be faced. Your stitches seem to be holding up nicely." Then the Survivor of Sylar gets an I'll be right back gesture as she goes over to answer the man's questions. "It was made by Hiro Nakamura, with the goal of laying out a timeline for how things got where they are, in his hope of identifying a specific divergence point so he can go back in time and seek to prevent all of…" Cat trails off, her eyes moving to spot the mural on the floor which features the detonation. "… that."

He hadn't even noticed the mural, and when Edward's eyes settle on it, he takes a step back to more carefully assess the picture. His blue eyes track up to Cat, warily, "Who is Hiro Nakamura?" His eyes narrow slightly, "How did he assemble the web, I mean — What sort of verification on any of these connections and…" One hand reaches up to move a slipknot on one of the strings back and forth, effectively rearranging the web's layout with a nervous stare. "Is this accurate?"

"Good question. You don't think this Nakawhatcha will show up and kick my ass for staying here, will he?" It wasn't a Japanese guy who gave her the address, after all. Gillian's not even sure how close that guy happens to be with the person who did give her the address… "I don't think it's completely accurate. Not that I know too much about this… crap. Just what I was told." And she's not got a perfect memory like some people— she just knows one clue that's definitely missing. "Seems centered around Sylar being the bomb." Of course she looked at it. She's been staying here for days… She rolls here eyes up toward the ceiling and then walks over to fetch the cat. "The stitches are fine— you're better at it than a person who's just read a book about it should be."

"He's a person I haven't met, with the ability to travel through time," Cat replies. "His father is a businessman in Tokyo. I've been told the man comes here from time to time and adds to the strings, some of the events in here have been prevented. But he remains obsessed with preventing the nuclear detonation itself. As to the events listed by the strings, I can't offer any proof, just my own knowledge. The blonde woman, the one in the cheerleader's uniform, she didn't die then. It's a success story, there."

And with having explained that much for the scientist, Cat's eyes shift to Gillian. "I took a course or two as well, but it isn't hard when I could picture the techniques needed to suture in my head while doing it, and I'm a guitarist. Dexterity's connected to it, having some idea of how much pressure to use for the task at hand."

"You let her stitch you up?" Edward's gaze tracks from the photograph of Sylar to Gillian, eyes wide with disbelief. "Well, you fared better than I might have predicted." There's a faint hint of a smirk there as the scientist ducks beneath the black string and moves to follow the white string as it bounces around from point to point on the web, finally finding the photograph of Peter Petrelli again.

"Him." Edward's head tilts to the side, and he pulls the photograph right off of the string, turning it around to hold out to Cat. "He's the one from the poker-table photograph, Helena said his name was Peter." One brow raises, "Where is he now? I have a specific desire to meet both him and that brunette woman from the photo, but I don't see her listed anywhere in these strings." He tucks the black and white picture of Peter into his pocket along with one glove now. Finally, Edward's eyes track over to Gillian for more than just a glance or a sarcastic barb. "You are?"

"Predicted?" Gillian asks mildly, glancing over at Cat as if she's not sure if Mr. Harvard might happen to have all his cards straight. He looks like the research types who would frequent the library, talks like them even, but there's something about him that seems particularly off. "What the hell are you talking about?" she has to ask, looking between the two. A lot of the stuff coming out of HITman's mouth are not quite connecting as they probably should with anything that makes sense to her. Course she's missing a lot of the story. "Ass— Peter got taken in by HomeSec." She says the name like she wants to kick the man. "Pokertable photograph?" Someone fill in blanks here, please.

Yeah, yeah, very funny, Doctor Ray. Cat doesn't speak the words, but her face betrays the thought when Edward snarks on her suturing prowess, punctuated with a roll of her eyes. "Yes," she confirms next, "that's Peter Petrelli, he's in the custody of Homeland Security. The man she wants to visit there and speak with. But he doesn't look like the man at the poker table, exactly. The one we know has a nasty scar across his face.

And she deliberates for a moment in silence, on whether or not to introduce these two, eventually deciding the mission comes first, and if she can be convinced to lend a hand, her unique ability may be a godsend to the Doctor's upcoming strategy. "Her name is Gillian. Gillian, this is Doctor Edward Ray from the Harvard Institute of Technology. Doctor Ray, Gillian." Beyond that, she'll let the two speak and see where it goes before adding anything.

Edward glances at Gillian, then narrows his eyes as he starts to fill in some blanks with conversation Helena had been having with him, "Same fellow," He mumbles to himself, walking out of the string web over to the stacks of paintings. He paws through them, spotting one of a blonde girl in that same cheerleader uniform running from a dark silhouette looming from an open doorway. His head tilts to one side, regarding Gillian for a moment, and when he passes by her is the first time she feels that tug in the back of her mind from his presence, still restrained as she was trained to keep it.

"Petrelli like the former Presidential candidate…" Edward muses, pulling another painting up depicting a man with the top of his head sliced completely off with a pool of blood below. He has no way of knowing it was Isaac Mendez' fortelling of the artist's own death. "Pieces are fitting into place, Doctor Chesterfield, and I can't say I'm entirely enthused by the picture they're painting for me." The canvas is tucked down into the rack with the others, "Why is Miss Childs sleeping in an unheated loft in the middle of SoHo's uninhabited north end?" He's blunt, and to the point at times. It's strange how he vascillates from meek and humble bookwork to pragmatic scientist.

That tugs a little stronger than it would be if she hadn't partook in copious amounts of fruit liqueurs, various flavors. Gillian feels the small pull and glances in the direction of the woman whose ability she's aware of— but how is perfect memory augmented? She has no idea… "Yeah, like that one. The one I didn't vote for." Though she didn't vote at all because she'd been missing at the time, but she wouldn't have voted for him even if she had the option to vote. Missing people hiding from secret government agencies don't show up at poling booths.

"Nice to meet you, …Doctor Ray." That's a joke all by itself there.

Assface without the asscrack scar. She has no idea what she'd call him without it… she frowns a bit, but there's a question, about her. Not quite directed at her. "Cause the person I was living with for the last two months tried to cut open my head a few days ago after getting back from a surprise trip to Antarctica curtesy of the same Peter Petrelli you want to meet."

She looks over the paintings as he pulls them out and puts them back without comment, save to answer his observation. "Grim things, and things so far beyond grim as to defy words describing them, are recorded here," Cat states. "I wish I could say otherwise." She doesn't comment on Gillian's ability, choosing instead to see if she'll say anything directly or if would just be felt and revealed by default. Barring that, Cat deems it her story to tell.

Edward looks up from the paintings for a moment, his eyes just lingering on Gillian for a long time with a silent and perplexed stare. "If I may be blunt," Edward offers with a shrug of one shoulder, pawing to the next painting with cold fingers, revealing a stark painting of a red silhouette of light with a glowering countenance expelling orange light from around his body, "You have poor choice in friends." He settles that painting back, moving to the next in an attempt to soak up as much of this place as he can.

"You'd be safer in a church shelter, the Cathedral of St. John runs homeless shelters; no questions asked." The next painting he tugs out is completely black, save for a yellow-white ring. It takes Edward a moment to puzzle out that it's an eclipse, and his eyes narrow slightly as he looks it over a bit more closely.

"This artist…" He puzzled over what name to say, and all probability lies with no on both Nakamura and Petrelli, and further "no" to his status of life. "How accurate are his works?" Detailed answers, however, aren't as easily predicted.

"S'what my parents always used to say," Gillian says with a hint of a cynical smile. "You don't know all the circumstances, though, so I'm going to give you the same response I gave them when they told me my choice in friends suck. Fuck off." She doesn't move away, though, folding her arms around her body, the cat still held there. It seems the yellow cat would like down, but she's ignoring his squirms for the moment. "I'll switch to a hotel in a few days, or start looking for an apartment. I'm not homeless by desperation. I'm staying here because— " She can't even admit the reason in full, because it's stupid when she thinks it back in her head. She already knew the person she was waiting for wouldn't show up. "Guess it's just more proof of my poor choice of friends," she mutters bitterly, bending down to put the cat back on the floor where it wants.

Speaking of the floor… she points at it once Chandra starts to pad around on the nuclear New York. "That happened, didn't it?"

Edward's question is met with Cat's quiet contemplation as she reaches into her memory of things Peter told her, both verbally and by mental transfer, to call it all up so she can relate accurate information about anything she knows of Isaac Mendez and his works. Her voice is heard while the review is ongoing, speaking the first detail, which agrees with the Enhancer. "It did. Efforts to prevent the outcome were unsuccessful. Other things he painted seem to have occurred, but were reversed. The girl in the painting, with the shadow over her, she's the one in the strings as having died. But she isn't dead, I've met her. A very angry young woman, not taken to listening to reason or employing logic."

A glance goes to Gillian when she defends her actions, then the scientist. "She has her reasons," Cat opines. "If she wants to remain here, that's what she'll do. Criticizing the decision achieves nothing, except to anger her." And back she goes to calling up information on and about Mendez so she can express it.

Edward's eyes peer through the circular lenses of his glasses to Gillian, watching her for a moment before letting his gaze level on Cat. He doesn't say anything, but the impassionate expression speaks for itself in some ways. Having rifled thorugh all of the remaining paintings, Edward walks back to the string web rather intently, following the white thread again until he finds a convergence. There's a pluck of one hand as he pulls a small painting — a big bigger than a postcard — down from a paperclipped spot on a string. Painted in black, white and blue, it depicts two people meeting in a subway. One clearly Peter Petrelli, though the other unfamiliar to him. There's a lowering of his brows, and a hesitant expression of uncertainty as he tucks the painting into his jacket pocket, then retrieves his gloves and tugs them on.

When he meets Cat's gaze again, there's something telling about his expression, something smug. He made her mad, yes. But he had to have realized the outcome, had to have predicted the cause and effect. Did he provoke her on purpose? "While I thouroughly enjoy the company of your associates, Doctor Chesterfield," Edward glances over to the red and black explosion painted on the floor, "I think I have what I needed from here." Inspiration, perhaps. Is this some strange self-fulfilling prophecy? Has Cat inspired the very string-web she saw in the future? Time travel is so complicated.

"I think I'm going to head back to the Library in Midtown." A purposeful slip; he had to have predicted that Gillian didn't know. "What was that thing you said to the guards again?" A brow raises, "I'd prefer not to have a rifle pointed at me because I forget whatever nonsensical passcode they're using today."

The not-dead woman isn't the only angry one, apparently. Gillian stays knelt down, glowering at the bomb, or possibly more accurately the source of the bomb and all if the destruction that happened. Not here to glower at, so— the painting will have to be enough. She's not really listening much, until the man mentions a Library. That causes her eyes to dart up with surprise, blinking a little. Even if he hadn't predicted, he'd know now. She's not good at hiding this surprise, nor good at hiding the mind surge of energy as the knot in the back of her head loosens again. She's listening now. Librarian at heart, such a location would of course gain her ear.

And the panmnesiac stands there in silence for some moments, looking from one to the other, working to make a decision about what his intention is. Cat realizes the Doctor could, by probability, determine Gillian didn't know their HQ location, and he may have said so to smoke out that fact. But, she judges, more likely that if it was by design, his intent was for her to know the location and show up there on her own, rather than being invited… Not a stretch, that, Gillian's defiance is demonstrated and could be played upon. But… what course to take? Give up the password? No. She'll simply have eyes out for her to be in the area soon, or even follow them now. Hell. It's what she herself did when she overheard Peter and Sergei on the street once.

"I'll go with you, Doctor," Cat replies, moving to take her bag of alcoholic beverages and head for the door. "Take care, Gillian. I'll stop by again soon."

Once outside, beyond range of being overheard, Cat speaks. "I don't have your gift, but I can analyze. Was telling her where we're headed a baiting move?" Her expression suggests she'd very much like to be clued in on his thought processes."

Slipping out of the loft with a painted smile on his face, Edward casts blue eyes in the direction of Cat with his head tilted to one side. His mouth hangs open slightly, and then closes as he pauses in mid-stride to give her an incredulous, and clearly patronizing look, "She didn't know?" There's a slight crook to the corner of his mouth, a knowing smirk. "What would Miss Beauchamp say?" He muses in rhetoric, moving to pick up his stride again with his hands tucking into the pockets of his jacket once more, "God works in mysterious ways?"

Yes, that's just what she would say.

"Yeah. I'll leave a note under the guy on fire picture if I take up in a hotel," Gillian says softly, tone changed as the time went by. It's a mild sound, really. A hidden note for her, since she'd likely include the actual hotel, and the name she registered under. It's better to hide that. She'll leave a more obviously located note for Assface and Nakawatcha. "Chandra, get over here," she says, spotting the cat moving back in the direction of the paintings. Instead of fetching him, she moves across the room to the bag of cat food. Just like Edward probably predicted… sometimes bait and curiousity works better than force.

She stops in her tracks when he looks at her in that patronizing way, her features shifting into a scowl. There was snow in Manhattan the night before, from Stormy's effort to make a white Christmas happen. If there's any left on the ground nearby, probability says Cat will make some of it into a ball and fling it directly at the center of his back. "Insufferable…" she mutters under her breath. "Just like a Crimson man."

The snowball strikes the middle of Edward's back with a soft thump, and out on the street now within view of those blown out windows of the second floor loft, Edward just cracks a smile and watches Cat over one shoulder. His brows raise slightly, then lower as he turns to keep walking again, hands hidden in the pockets of his parka.

"Come along, Doctor." Edward says in a chiding and parental manner, "It's going to rain soon." His boots crunch the ice-crusted snow underfoot, making his way down the sidewalk with a little bit of snow still clinging to the middle of his back.

So far, so good.

She walks along with him after that, having to wonder if he predicted the snowball coming and opted not to step out of the way just before it hit. Cat can't know the answer. He isn't saying, so she doesn't ask. If it looks like a minor victory, let it be that. A short time later when she draws alongside, her voice is quiet in beginning to speak. "The subway photo, that would be Hiro Nakamura," she offers. "There are other details from things Peter Petrelli told me, I should write them down if you want the data. Beyond that… The last time we spoke, you seemed to warn Helena against visiting HomeSec prison, and believed she wouldn't listen. Is this how she gets the mugshot?"

Edward pauses when Cat catches back up, and to her questions his brow raises slowly, a very inquisitive if not somewhat impatient expression. "The subway painting isn't for me," he offers obscurely, "And any details you're willing to share I'm more than glad to accept." He hesitates for a moment, looking from her to the blown-out front of the building, then back down again. "As for Miss Dean, that situation will take care of itself as best as it can." One shoulder rolls in a non-comittal shrug, "One thing at a time, and right now…" Edward lets out one tired sigh, "I have enough to think about. As do you."

"My problem is not being busy enough," she somberly offers. "Having time to wander in thought, rather than being in focus. You've seen how I am when action is critical. It's the quieter times lately that trip me. One of the things I think about is paying respects. Need to find a body, and lay it to rest, somehow." Cat goes quiet there, she doesn't ask for his help, leaving the scientist to speculate on whether or not she wants it and won't directly ask, or probability to see the chances behind each. Whatever he thinks or says, she's clamped the mask of stoicism back on with the last of her words on that topic. She's moved along. "I heard a new term for the people we're concerned with last night. Vanguard."

"Don't look for the body, the body finds you." Edward mutters, a strained look on his face from the prolonged conversation. One thing he didn't actively predict, but will certainly take note of for future reference, is Doctor Chesterfield's ability to talk about nothing and anything, at great lengths, and her inability to empathize with Edward's own desire for silence.

"Vanguard." He considers the word, "That's telling, in the definition — and yes," His blue eyes flick to the walking dictionary, "I'm aware what it means." Before she can expouse it's many definitions to him. "It pins the odds on there being a bigger bulk, a force to follow the advance to come." He stops at the corner of a street, peering down one unlit end to the other. It's amazing that electricity hasn't been restored to some parts of the city, two years after the fact.

"There's going to be more, if both the pictures and my intuition are any indication. You're a handfull staring down an army," He pauses before crossing the street, turning to hold up one hand to Cat, "And before you give me a historical example out small numbers conquering greater forces," He manages a restrained if not sarcastic smile, "I'm aware."

Turning around, Edward steps out into the snow-covered street. No city works vehicles come out this far north in SoHo, this close to the comcrete barricades that close off the ruins, so the snow that fell last week still lingers in melted and refrozen drifts. "I'm already devising a plan," He says as he struggles to climb over a snowbank, then hops down the other isde, managing not to slip on the ice when he lands. "But it's going to take time, and input. I've taken your…" Edward waves one hand ambiguously in the air, "Your database" He refuses to call it by its other more comical name, "of membership, and I've been analyzing their capabilities based off of records of what they've done, and from speaking to some of the more vocal members at the library. I am very interested in meeting mister Fulk." Edward raises on ehand, not even looking back at Cat this time, "And no, I'm not going to say why. Not yet. Not even to him."

She gets it, she really does, from the pained look to his face when he speaks of things finding her, and her not finding them. He wants quiet. She remains close enough to hear, and when he's quiet she drops back to give him that quiet as well as space. It's the thing she fears most now, being alone and thinking, but it can't be avoided. It's hers to endure, as best she can. Cat remains behind him a solid distance the rest of the way back, taking travel in thought and memory she can't escape.

It's only when they reach the HQ that she again closes the distance to provide the password and secure his entrance. After that, she moves silently away to read, or whatever she can find to occupy herself.

Doctor Ray won't be disturbed again.

December 25th: La Vigilia di Natale

Previously in this storyline…
Stocking Stuffer

Next in this storyline…

December 25th: Coffee Corner
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