Not In The Face


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Scene Title Not In The Face
Synopsis Gillian goes to Cat for help with her family issues, finds out she has ANOTHER new ability, and then the two bond over a shared condition.
Date June 25, 2009

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.

A few minutes ago, Gillian had jumped through the various hoops to get the elevator to let her up to the Penthouse, including asking for permission to do so. The main difference from the last couple of days, she's not trying to start out in metal form this time.

While she's wearing more make up than normal when the elevator opens to let her step inside, she's not all that changed, even if her jaw is tense. "Cat?" she asks as she steps out, voice just a bit raspier than the usual tones she manages, but at least it's her own voice, instead of a metalized version of it.

It's an easy thing to resolve, the access question, when a call comes from the desk to the mysterious musician they don't know much about. The elevator goes down, collects Gillian, and comes back up. The double doors to the residence across from it are open when she arrives, Cat standing nearby. She's got the keycard and key combo needed to access that panel which hides buttons for floors four through six in hand, offering them up.

"Right here," she replies to the questioning voice, her eyes looking the woman over for a moment. "Did someone hit you, in the face, Gillian? If so I hope you gave him, or her, a solid dose of metalfist. Come in. Please." She moves to close the doors behind her.

"I can regenerate— I just felt like going back to my old ways in a few things," Gillian says, touching the make up briefly before moving closer to the other woman, moving past her and into the residence. "But if someone did hit me, I would've given them a lot more than a metal fist."

Little does she know that could be a pun, but there's one ability she's not experienced yet— at least not in a way Cat knows she might. "I actually wanted to talk to you about— how difficult would it be to get a blood test done? To see if two people are related?"

A nod starts the reply, Cat not thinking further about the increased cosmetics. "I get that." And it's something she should tell the multiply-powered woman about, having not had much opportunity since the revelation. But not quite yet. "Not that hard, really. It doesn't have to be blood, even. Hair, saliva, skin cells, swab inside the cheek… After Father told me I was a formula child, and spawned by others as well, I didn't ask for a sample to have us tested. Should've, really, but there was a ton to go over. Now the chance may never come." This causes anger, held back by will, to surface in eyes and on features.

"It seems you want to have yourself and Brian tested? Or yourself and Victor? Maybe both," she muses as her voice trails back to silence."

"You never know— you still might have the chance," Gillian offers quietly, though there's a tenseness to her sympathy there. "Either way he's the one who raised you, so he's your dad whether by blood or not— but confirmation on stuff would be nice. Everyone seems to be lying, but as long as no one fucks up the tests, this won't lie…" She hopes, at least.

Victor or Brian or both. She'd technically… "Both," she decides quietly. After a pause, she nods and repeats it again, as if confirming for herself. "Both. Do I need to get the samples? Hair would probably be a lot easier than blood— honestly I never knew how much would be needed for that."

She's pensive, in framing her reply. "You're right. Either way, he's still Father. And she's still Mother. Flawed as both relationships have been in the past, they're still prominent in this life. But there's more. Recently, one of the people Delphine was brought out to repair didn't get her ability back. She told us Case had taken something which wasn't there to begin with, or shouldn't have been, and this raises questions. I was stripped by Arthur, and restored by Delphine, which makes me wonder if maybe I'm not a formula child. That perhaps she was among all the names I didn't see in Arthur's database. She, of course, says all this only proves she was never really like us, the whole thing was a miracle of divine intervention which God has decided to bestow on another."

"But I have to wonder if formula abilities, after being stripped with Arthur's method, can't come back through Delphine because the original genetic structure was restored. It also possibly explains her not being left with a different power by Tyler's attack. The one time I know of where he tried to put an ability into someone who never had anything, it was unstable. Agent Sawyer made copies of herself, and they swiftly melted."

"Either way, I don't think that'll be an issue for you. You weren't left without an ability.

Then she returns to the topic of DNA testing. "It doesn't take much material, you might be able to get the samples without having to tell either of them the story. Just keep them separate and protected against contamination. We can pick a lab and send it to them, or multiple labs to reduce chances of errors, have matching results. Very possibly you could simply bring them coffee or soda, anything to drink, and collect the container afterward."

"Divine intervention… that sounds like Abby," Gillian says, not sure what to think of the rest of the speculation. Parts of it go way over her head, science-wise, but she's not completely sure what to think of it. "When this is over, I can let Delphine try to fix me, but— maybe it had nothing to do with the formula at all. Abby's younger than me, isn't she? And you thought I was too young to be involved." But who knows. She's honestly not sure what to think. Part of her would love to find out her ability hadn't been given to her by a needle.

Even if another sets of words in her memory tries to remind her of what else was given to her by a needle. Her eyes close faintly. Sometimes she hates Cat's power.

"I can get Victor— but you know Brian better than I do… You might be better at it. I'll hop over to the Lighthouse and try to catch him if you're too busy, though." There's another quiet pause before she adds, "Will these labs be secure and stuff?"

"I believe so," Cat replies. "Names don't have to be attached to the samples, after all. And, of course, we may not have to use a lab. We could ask Sal to do the testing. If he needs equipment, that might not be hard to arrange." She draws in a slow breath, letting it out as she adds "He should be told what we've learned and suspect in any case." Brian. This brings her to another subject for sharing.

"Recently, Gillian, you were exposed to a person who can copy himself, a person other than Brian. Helena and I weren't told until after, or we'd have warned you and let you have the choice. It doesn't work quite the same way, though. This one uses a source of energy, any source, to fuel the cloning, and they emerge clothed. If I were to hit you, it could make you copy yourself. The copy that person made was absorbed back by a simple wave of a hand."

No need to have names attached, may be able to have someone named Sal do it. Only reason she doesn't recognize the name is her lack of digging in the Catabase lately— or so she'd bet. Gillian seems to agree Brian needs to be told, whether she's looking forward to it or not. Already done it once, technically. It can't go too wrong if she tries to do it again? This one at least knows who she is…

"What?" is the word for the second half, blinking quietly. "Think I like the idea of being able to clone myself with clothes…" Better than what happened in the alley not too long ago. "Likely we'll find out how much will be needed to do it when we go to… contain Niles the Elder. I'm still not sure how we're going to do that."

Luckily, Cat thinks to herself, Gillian isn't mentally conflicted and loaded with three tons of guilt over having nuked a very major city and thus, despite having that same absorption ability, isn't at risk of having opposing parts of her psyche occupy clones she makes. Clones which would then be at war with each other and make things very messy.

"We can test it, if you like, Gillian," she offers. "He told me to hit him, so I did, and then there were two. The way he explained it, he uses the energy to produce the mass of the clone. according to Einstein's theory. Energy equals mass times the speed of light squared."

No, she has other kinds of guilt. But there's little chance the same kind of scenerio would occur in this case, either way. Gillian hesitates a moment at the mention of being hit… but it's nothing compare to other pain she'd put herself through. This mysterious person had been at a Phoenix meeting, obviously, and someone who they'd not known was Evolved. Finding the feeling shouldn't be too difficult. "All right. Hit me." Might as well see if it works. Wait. Her hands suddenly go up. "Not in the face, though."

"Not in the face," Cat agrees, just before moving swiftly with a Krav Maga move taught to her by Hana in the time she provided that training, before her capture caused the panmnesiac to find a private teacher and continue. Assuming Gillian doesn't move to dodge the blow it lands sharply in her midsection with the same amount of force she'd used on Alec in sparking him to clone. And she watches for that same effect, to see if her strike doesn't cause a reaction in the targeted body as the energy is channeled into replication.

Exact same amount of force, but other than a grunt and a sudden step back, nothing seems to happen. Gillian glances around, pressing her lips together, before taking the step forward again. "Try again— took me like— five tries to get super speed to work when my brother wasn't around." Whether related by blood or not, she's still calling Victor her brother. Even as she steps forward and speaks, though, she's rubbing the area that was hit, "You hit pretty good." The hand drops, so she can do it again.

"Krav Maga," Cat replies with a mild grin. "And I work out, keep in decent shape." She moves again, delivering that same blow, but with a bit more force this time to see if that would do the trick. "I wouldn't call myself expert, but I can do some damage if caught unarmed and needing to fight.

"Ow," Gillian says outloud as the hand impacts her body, sending her back another couple of steps. "Not sure how much more of this I can take…" She closes her eyes a moment, still rubbing the area that had been hit. It repairs quickly, the pain fades, but it still hurts, you know? "What meeting was this exactly? Your ability makes it a little easier to do what Peter said I needed to, but…" Maybe her ability and that short instruction from Peter's been one of the reasons she's handled having it as well as she has.

"We were on the fourth floor, discussing business matters, while I tended to sewing up Minea Dahl," Cat supplies, as she observes Gillian. She's poised to strike again, but only if the word to do so comes. If it does, the spot of impact will be a different area of the midsection to show some mercy for the already twice-impacted place.

That meeting. Using her ability, Gillian pulls up everything going on in her head, reliving it in an instant, pulling on her emotional state. And this time there is no grunt. In fact it almost seems as if the impact never happened. No pain, no ruffle of clothes, no need to step back. All of a sudden a second Gillian is standing nearby, mirroring a wide eyed startled expression on the one not feeling any pain. "Fuck— that's… way cooler than being naked," she suddenly says, glancing over at herself.

"Yes," Cat replies. "When we were shown," she relates with a quiet laugh, it was a relief, because we've seen entirely too much Brian, and, well, it's even worse being me. It might be hard for most to get that image out of their heads, but for me," the voice trails off. She doesn't have to explain. Gillian knows.

A few steps are taken away from the woman, and the copy of the woman. "You should find both yous have a link to each other, a mental link." Then, she's speculating as Cat will do. "It's possible, I think, you could maybe make this happen without being struck. It works from any energy source. You might be able to use electricity on yourself as the fuel source, or…"

That's when an idea strikes, her eyes lighting up some. "Maybe this can work against Niles. You can be the target for his electricity and use it to copy yourself, Gillian. The more he attacks, the more you there is to fight back."

"Would kinda like to get a few images out of my head, so— yeah, I understand," the original says, looking over at the replicant. There's a mildly confused look on that one's face. "There's a connection, but… I— I'm not sure how well it will work. If it does, that'll be great, but…" The replicant seems to have a difficult time.

"…I don't think she got your memory," the original says, while she's aware she still has it. The other one nods, seeming to agree with this speculation. "I think this happened with Peter, too. Or at least one of them really liked fire and the other one really liked electricity. So maybe the more I make, the less abilities each one will have…" Which might cause a problem, but she won't worry too much about it right now. "Reabsorbing seemed easier? Didn't require touch or anything?"

"He just waved his hand," Cat replies, letting the idea of multiple Gillians to fight Niles go, at least for the moment. The more she thinks about it, she realizes it would need the multiples to turn metal as lightning rods and stand on thick rubber mats to ground the current. If the clones can't all turn metal, it doesn't work so well. "That was all it took to pull the clone back in."

"Like teaching someone how to flex their own butt cheeks," Gillian murmurs quietly, as if repeating words of advice outloud and not just in her head. A hand raises and she waves it. The clone doesn't vanish at first, but there's that connection, and she pulls on it. And there she goes. Vanishing. "Yeah, I don't think they'll all have every power I've picked up." It's be a little too much to hope, otherwise. "But maybe I can bring out metal me to face him." It seems she's gotten fairly decent with that one, now. Even if she pretended she hadn't quite gotten a handle on it. "Anyway— I'll try to talk to Brian and my brother and get samples. I'll stick it in a plastic bag and bring them back here, to try and find out the truth."

A nod as Cat listens, and a suggestion when Gillian's done. "Plastic bags, actually. One for each so they don't get mixed together, they could be labeled XX, XY, and XZ." Sure the purpose for choosing those letters, she doesn't explain. Her mind has moved on to something else. "How are you dealing with the memory?" she asks in quiet interest.

"Sometimes it's the best thing, I think it helped with the others," Gillian admits, giving the positive for the moment, but then there's the other side, "And sometimes I think I'd rather be punched repeatedly in the face than remember something that well." Just bringing it up makes her think of some things she wishes she could forget, which makes her eyes start to water. Not the best for her make up. "Seperate bags, plastic, I'll be XX, Brian'll be XZ." she informs, leaving XY to be Victor.

Her voice is solemn, as Cat states "Triggers are everywhere. They hit all the time, and they're often unpleasant memories. Most times I force myself back into the here and now. You may understand now better than anyone why I can be so driven, to keep the mind as busy as possible most of the time. I've been that way most of my life, trying to make parents happy, trying to take on so much. Two degree courses in college when Father insisted I go prelaw and I didn't want to give up music. Having this makes me ramp it up a few notches. Some of it is to channel things in proactive directions, other times it's to build new memories and make the pleasant vastly outnumber what isn't."

Then she grins. "If need be, you can always watch your favorite movie now with the ability to call up the whole thing exactly as you saw it, one you could enjoy watching over and over again, and go off by yourself to enjoy it. No machinery needed."

If nothing else, this ability helps her understand what she did to others when she ramped up their abilities even more. Let's Gillian put herself in their shoes. The words of a guy who gave people visions— whose ability she promised not to use on purpose again. And she hasn't yet. "I might try the movie thing. Maybe if things get rough, I can just get lost in that moment…" Instead of the ones that make her wish she was getting punched in the face repeatedly.

There's a brisk nod, and she's turning back to the subject of testing. "Sal's a doctor, he's also the one who can give new faces," Cat relates. It effectively marks him as Sonny, she knows, but that doesn't need to be spoken of. "When we have the samples, we can decide then on whether or not to go to him or use commercial labs."

"I'll see you later, when we visit Niles again? Or you can hang out, make use of the entertainment room."

"I don't think I want the ability to accidentally change people's faces…" Gillian says, well aware that it could happen accidentally, since most of the abilities she picks up have until she figures out the trigger. Or they don't happen at all. She'll keep them not happening, if possible. "So if we choose him, I'll stay out of it until I'm back to my old self." What's the worse that could happen with augmented face changing?

The invitation to use the entertainment room makes her pause, then ask, "Got any good movies? I'm doubting you need a DVD collection, but— pay per view or something?"

"Not for me, directly," Cat replies as she walks in that direction, "but I do have guests to entertain sometimes who can't do what we do. Then there's cable and on-demand selections too." The voice trails off as she continues along, the goal to relax and feed the positive aspects of such impeccable recall.

"That works. I think I'll take advantage of your hospitality for a couple hours, then," Gillian says, already moving toward the entertainment room. For entertainment. It might make her feel a little better to have a movie to replay in her head. She'll just have to pick one she remembered liking. She's got enough bad biopics in her head, about her own life. She needs an escape.

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