No Popcorn


cardinal_icon.gif cat_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title No Popcorn
Synopsis Cat hosts a video screening, but there's no popcorn.
Date July 2, 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.

It's taken days, this project, mixed in with more mundane business matters Cat's given attention to, but it's finally done. Access to her residence is provided for the Company agent/potential Institute infiltrator; no arrangements of the kind made for Cardinal. Entirely unneeded, in his case. There's simply no way to keep him out. Except maybe UV lighting. As the clocks on electronic devices reach 20:30 on this Friday evening, she's ready for her guests in the entertainment room. Food and drinks are provided, the HD set is on, and an image displays paused upon the screen. All she needs do is press play.

Two DVDs rest at separate places on tables, one for each of the other two who journeyed to Arizona.

"Catherine." A casual greeting offered from where Richard Cardinal's leaning against the wall casually, gaze swept over towards the screen, "…I'm not late, am I?" Of course he isn't. Chances are, he's been here for a little bit, making sure there's no ambush planned or anything like that. Not that he has any reason to mistrust Cat, despite their differences…

…but a little paranoia never hurts.

The agent present needs sleep, as she's burning both ends of the proverbial candle, but really, more than one candle at that. She sits on one end of the sofa, a little quieter than usual, though she isn't usually the most chatty person with Cat Chesterfield. When Cardinal's shadow speaks up, she gives a chuckle. "Always with the dramatic entrances, Shade," she says lightly. "Did you bring the popcorn or did you leave that in your other shadow?"

"Mr. Clemens," she replies in mildly amused greeting, "you're not at all late. Make yourself comfortable. Eat. Drink." Cat herself is partaking of stout, with a plate of black angus rib steak and mushrooms at hand. A glance goes to Veronica, she opting not to comment on the absence or presence of popcorn. Conversation remains possible, she hasn't acted to forestall such by starting the footage.

"What can I say… it's all I've got." A wink over to Veronica, and Cardinal walks along over to check on the refreshments, brows going up at the sight of steak and mushrooms and such, "Jesus, Catherine, are we watching a movie tonight or're you hoping for a threesome?"

"I hope it's not the latter. Even if I were inclined, I'm too fucking tired. Work kicked my ass today," Veronica says dryly, though Cardinal will know it's more than work that accounts for her lack of sleep. Driving to DC the night before means that the agent had very little rest before the round-up of Jacob Stack earlier in the day. At least she herself wasn't injured, though a couple of days rest in the hospital or infirmary might be the only way she gets any. Rest that is. "Cat's a very thorough hostess, it seems. Thanks for handling the film, by the way."

Eyes move from one to the other, settling on Veronica first. "That I am. And you're welcome. Film editing is a delicate activity, and tedious, though not beyond someone with nimble precise fingers and sharp eyes." The man gets a quiet chuckle prefacing the answer she provides.

"No such luck for you tonight. Elisabeth and I are all good, but I doubt she'd be into sharing you, even if I were so inclined." From that point, attention falls on Veronica and her demeanor shifts, allowing a touch of sadness through the armor.

"I don't know if you run that way, V, but it doesn't really matter. Ethan Holden put a severe damper on my appreciation of other women. None really compare to the departed."

Silence then, she choosing not to comment further on her carnal habits and tastes, the remote is simply lifted and moved around in a wordless asking if the others are ready.

"You have an uncanny ability to turn any situation into something awkward and depressing, you know, Catherine." Cardinal glances over, a brow lifting a little, "I'm just saying, here." There isn't anything to eat that's claimed by him, instead sprawling back into a seat and stretching his legs out, "Go for it. By the way, who is it that handles new identities in the Ferry these days? I've got a guy who might need one."

The weary-looking agent quirks a brow at the information offered and she shakes her head. "Don't worry, I'm not offended and certainly don't need to be given any explanation," she says, her food mostly untouched except for a few bites. She nods to the screen. "Let's get on with the business at hand. I'm sure that we all have other things we need to get to tonight." For one, Cardinal has an unexpected house guest to look after. She herself has sleep to catch up on. Veronica pulls a notepad from her pocket to take notes on.

"Arrangements can be easily made," Cat provides, "I'll pass word you might need such assistance." Her finger presses on the remote, and the paused image goes into motion. What soon appears is the image of Chandra Suresh in black and white with the blackboard behind him, equations not quite readable.

"This is entry number four…"

"Thanks," Cardinal's head bobs over in an easy nod, "I haven't wanted to bother Wireless about it directly, but…" As the images shift into movement, he looks back to the screen, making himself comfortable to watch, and listen.

Veronica seems not to listen as the two discuss Ferry business, eyes on Chandra Suresh discussing the mysterious force that seems to amplify the more people of an Evolved nature congregate, likening it to a magnetism. She jots down the word on her note pad, along with the date. The entry cuts off and "Entry 5" begins, the force being described as a "variant of…" before sudden shaking, like that of an earthquake, cuts of Suresh's words and then the film.

"Strange. I don't think it's the actual proximity of that many Evolved people in one spot that would have caused that sort of shaking, since surely that many people have been together since 1961," Veronica remarks, unaware, of course, that the next bit of film will show Chandra Suresh stating that the seismic activity has been attributed to a pregnant woman.

"Intriguing," Cat murmurs between bites of food as she eats and watches. She moves a bit in her seat as the third segment plays out with that mention of seismic activity spiking, a pregnant woman, and… more seismic activity. The partial name from that film can flashes into mind, but she doesn't comment, attention given to the screen as the fourth segment plays out.

"Norman?" A thoughtful murmur from Cardinal at all the discussion of seismic activity… and then he shakes his head slightly, "No— I already know where he came from. Another earthquake-maker, maybe…"

The next sequence has Suresh ducking for cover as the seismic activity increases due to the woman being in labor, a baby's cry sounding somewhere in the background. "A terrakinetic born in 1961…" Veronica murmurs. "I wonder if the seismic activity is being activated somehow by that magnetic force somehow, though the fact that it's already manifested in utero is … it would have to be immensely powerful."

She's already got her Blackberry out, punching in year and terrakinesis to see what comes up. "Right, I thought I remembered this, but I was in California at the time. "Samuel Sullivan. His brother Joseph Sullivan turned him over to the DHS, requesting Samuel be taken alive. Altercation turned violent and Samuel, among several other residents of an 'evolved commune' of sorts were killed. Some escaped and others end up in Moab," she murmurs, scrolling through the files that come up on the PDA.

Her head tilts as she listens, committing the Sullivan names to memory, but no direct commentary is made. Cat's attention remains mostly focused on the playing footage, and increases as the blackboard segment plays out. This she's careful to see every bit of, that no part of the equations and diagram escapes notice. Once the DVD returns to the main menu, having ended, she turns toward the others to listen if they make commentary. There's no mistaking her intrigue in the scientific matter presented.

There's something about that final segment that makes Cardinal sit up a little bit, leaning forward slightly to watch - and listen - and then he leans back again with a slight frown creasing his lips. "Interesting," he murmurs, slanting a look to the others, "Admittedly, I'm no scientist."

"Me neither," Veronica murmurs. Just an almost-scientist. She shakes her head. "Obviously, don't show this to anyone you don't trust. I don't know what all those formulas spelled out, but we're trying to keep this sort of information away from people." It probably goes without saying, of course, but then none of them have earned one another's implicit trust. "It doesn't really tell us much about the Institute, at any rate. I wonder if Suresh was right in his hypotheses about that magnetism or if the terrakinetic was somehow a factor he hadn't taken into account at that point." But then there was the thing that looked like a compass. Frightening.

"I'm not that deeply versed in math myself," Cat informs, "but it won't be hard to take a few of the symbols and ask a Columbia professor who is what branches they pertain to. Given the mention of electromagnetics and the compass diagram, I'd guess engineering or physics. I can get an idea of where to look and what to read without letting anyone know just what I'm up to." Seeming speculative, she lifts her stout pint, the fork is laid to rest on the plate. "I want to make that compass."

"I think you'll need more than just what's on that board," admits Cardinal with a slow shake of his head, "This film's pretty old, and… I'm pretty sure that if Chandra'd manage to produce one, we would've heard about it by now. Company would've made it standard issue."

"Never heard of anything like it on my end," Veronica says, eyes narrowed as she looks at Cat. "I don't know that it's wise to try to make one for yourself. If your information or the device itself fell into the wrong hands, you've basically just handed them the gun to shoot us all with. We're trying to keep this kind of thing away from the wrong hands, after all." She doesn't know how many people Card or Cat trust to pass this information onto, and that makes her nervous. "If the Institute doesn't have this information — we need to make less of it available, not more." She glances at the copies of the DVD nearby.

"We make it before they do," Cat quietly counters, "and can thus work on figuring out how to defeat it. The Company doesn't seem to have made compasses with these calculations, but that doesn't make it impossible. Or mean they didn't create the thing and keep it under wraps. It also doesn't mean no one else will. The Company never developed a suppression gas, after all, and now one exists."

"Point." Cardinal pushes himself up from the chair, leaning forward and reaching over to pick up one of the disks from where it's laying, waggling it over in the direction of Catherine, "I suppose there's worse thoughts, and if we could figure out how to stop it… well. Just be careful who you hand this to to work on."

"The path to hell is paved with good intentions. Just be careful, both of you, with this information. Obviously we're not the only ones who know about it — Angela Petrelli seemed to know what was on this film, so the Company must have been aware of it at some level. The founders, if nothing else." She picks up one of the disks as well and rises. "Thanks again for the edit job. I assume nothing got left on the cutting room floor?"

"It's all contained," Cat assures Veronica, "and now given we no longer need the source film it'll soon be destroyed. I'll report soon on how scientific matters go." Thoughts are being applied to acquiring components, and to the question of EM fields. Maybe a visit to Colette is in order…

"See you around," Cardinal salutes with the disc as he heads for the door, "Thanks, Catherine. Good luck - send whoever to talk to me, if you get the chance…"

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