Nuclear Reactor


cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif leonard_icon.gif lucrezia_icon.gif

Scene Title Nuclear Reactor
Synopsis Lucrezia reports on her efforts at Pinehearst.
Date July 3, 2009

Village Renaissance Building, 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.

Timepieces in the Penthouse say the hour is just passing 19:00 as Cat sits in her music zone, guitar in hand. It's plugged into the amp, and she's playing. Heart is her taste of the moment, her fingers are working strings and frets of the Fender Strat to produce the chords of Barracuda and her voice sings the lyrics. She always liked the tune for its edginess and rock quality delivered by a female guitarist, but after recent events she connects with it in a far more personal way. "You lie so low in the weeds… I bet you want to ambush me. You'd have me down, down, down, on my knees, wont'cha, Barracuda!?"

The initial knock at the door is likely lost in the hum and shrill of the amplifier. So, too, it seems, is the next slightly louder round of rapping. While Lucrezia might normally be inclined to linger quite casually outside of the suite until the occupant within recognizes that she has company, time is no longer their ally and neither of them really has a second to spare in reverie.

The infiltration appears to take place at a rather alarming rate; every possible crack and crevice is suddenly brimming with a brown-coated, antennae-toting audience. Cockroaches. This city is crawling with them, quite literally; an infestation that not even a nuclear explosion could cure — indeed, the explosive exploits of the Midtown Man only stoked their population to an extraordinarily high number. The intrusion moves with the precision of a small army, quickly lining up into formation and indicating the foyer with what appears to be a rather precise arrow.

The spider queen cometh.

The guitar is thus set down on its stand, Cat rises and makes her way to the door the insectoid visitors direct her toward. It only takes a moment to check the video device and verify it's indeed Lucrezia out there, or at least someone looking like Lucrezia, and open the doors. "Buona sera, Signora Bennati," she greets. "Please do come in. I can't say how glad I am to see you."

A moment's consideration is given to whether or not this really is Lucrezia, but she decides the odds are she is. The Italian actress wouldn't have needed to get close to Arthur for her eavesdropping craft, and insects are inconspicuous. Thus power theft is judged unlikely, and in that the woman's identity has Cat's confidence.

Once their message is delivered and read, the roaches retreat back into the walls like so much dust scattered before a very strong wind. The woman that commanded them remains, as ever, nonchalant about the exertion as she's gladly welcoming in to the young woman's abode. Lucrezia moves quickly, her stride long and leading her directly over to a comfortable chair somewhere within the entertainment area. "It took me a little longer than I had reckoned to get the information I was after but… I think you will agree with was well-worth an extension."

A pause comes while the Italian woman waits for Cat to catch up and take a seat. The momentary meantime is used for silver cigarette case retrieval and she's lightly tapping out a quicktime cadence with a black-papered cancer stick.

Helena emerges from the kitchen, chewing on a cookie…which suddenly upon citing the roaches, she has absolutely no urge to eat. She turns and heads back into the kitchen, muttering about how that was all very Happy Working Song gone horribly, horribly wrong. Tossing the cookie, she comes out once more, joining the other women in the entertainment area and lingering in the doorway.

Following Lucrezia into the entertainment area, Cat waits for Lucrezia to sit before she herself does, taking a moment to also be a good hostess and offer food or wine, maybe both. "All intel on this target is valuable," she agrees after seating and crossing legs at the ankles. Then she's silent, to let the report be made.

The clove is lit and placed between the Italian woman's lips, savored, and then escorted to an arm's length exile by a pair of practiced fingers. The first words that roll out of her mouth are accompanied by sweet-smelling smoke. "Your Peter is alive," she says over her shoulder to Helena without actually looking back. "Confined to a wheelchair but… well enough."

Once the weight of that anvil has been shrugged from her shoulders, she addresses Cat more directly, complete with expressive hand gestures and diagrams drawn in the air. "Whatever it is that they're working on — this Formula — is fatally flawed. Very literally. Their first trial resulted in the death of their test subject. However, this doesn't really appear to have set them back as far as you might like. They will be substituting something else for their government demonstration… something called the Advent virus."

Helena presses her lips together thinly. Some of this she already knows, but having confirmation, that's a good thing. She has some thoughts, but for the moment she keeps them to herself and lets Lucrezia finish with conveying information.

She watches and listens, her mind recording all the while, not that it ever isn't. Cat too remains quiet to avoid interrupting the briefing, the information given thus far confirming what's already learned. Redundancy is often a very good thing.

Lucrezia's drawl sounds not entirely unlike the accent that hides in the more rounded consonants of Teo's words, no matter what face he's wearing, but her voice is more… resonating; she's projecting. An after-effect of acting, no doubt; curling her lips and tricking her tongue into thinking she's speaking as someone else while strolling around on a stage. Even when the only part of her to be seen is her floral cotton-covered back, she still sounds as if she's facing everyone in the room. Then again, this is information that wasn't meant to be kept a secret — at least, not by her — so why shouldn't she employ an imperative voice?

Sweet smoke continues to curl from the tip of the black-papered cigarette as she stokes it with passionate breath. "The Advent virus is just as lethal, only on a slightly extended schedule. It takes about two days for the body to break down into… well, goo." Inhale. Exhales. Rinse. Repeat.

"You are not without your allies inside, however. I had the opportunity to overhear quite a few conversation between a man named Mason and a woman called Jennifer discussing their various theories on all that has gone wrong. Mason seems to think that someone tampered with the original formula somehow." She says this so smooth, so serene; as if she were simply recalling a conversation she had the other night with her friends. Jennifer and Mason. "They are both attempting to undermine Arthur Petrelli's efforts but…" It's impossible for her to avoid entertaining a foreboding piece of doomspeak, if only for the sake of keeping her audience interested.

Helena will bite. She's not entirely immune to an actress' wiles. "But?" she prompts, moving to sit down as well. She tries not to look so wary as she watches Lucrezia, but it's difficult.

And then there's Leo, the faithful bodyguard. Less Fido and maybe a truncated Cerberus, these days. He knocks at the door, the uneven rhythym of a conspirator seeking access to the club's treehouse.

The delivery, Lucrezia's stage style, is thought impressive. It reminds Cat of her own time spent as a live musical act. The presence, the way the audience is worked, she's been there although not on such a lofty tier. And there's a visible reaction given, a slight one, as Cat hears the names mentioned. They're familiar to her, she doesn't say why, doesn't say anything at all. There will be time for that after the data is fully delivered, after all. And at that, her thoughts are interrupted by the knocking. No one is expected, but that happens sometimes. "Please excuse me, Signora," she offers.

Hoping to tend the portal and return before the report resumes, Cat rises. She goes to the nearest door and checks the video device, seeing Leonard, and admits him. "We're this way," she informs, her intent to close the door after him and get back.

The absence of any surnames spoken allowed should not be interpreted as ignorance, as the next few words which roll out of Lucrezia's mouth are delivered directly to Cat, accompanied by an unblinking but somehow sympathetic stare. "I do not imagine it will take Arthur very long to learn of their misgivings… assuming he isn't already aware…"

The Italian woman then leans back in her chosen chair and exercises a subtle, sly turn of her head in order to steal an opportunistic look at the new arrival. It's a man she does not recognize but, given Cat's welcoming salutation, he's someone who is obviously authorized to be in on their little information sharing session and so she proceeds. "I realize this may not be the best of news but, I have something else to share which just might make your day…

Despite the almost impossibly thick security, the Pinehearst building suffers from two very exploitable weaknesses. The first being that ready access into the bowels of the building can be gained through a series of underground tunnels tied in with the subways system."

Helena leans forward. Now this is getting into something that could give them a significant advantage. "Were you able to determine if they're aware of their architectural flaws?" Helena asks with interest. It won't matter much if there's a gang of Arthur waiting for them.

Leo, for his part, is trying not to stare at Lucrezia, and mostly failing. He really can't help himself - the news of import that she brings is momentarily as incomprehensible as a nightingale's notes. And then he shakes himself, hard, as if to wake himself from his reverie.

"This is very interesting," Cat comments once she's back in her seat and listening. "I've been in contact with Mason recently, he told me some of what you've confirmed. I'd learned a good deal from him before, but they'd gone out of contact. When Arthur made his move on me, he was impersonating Mason. I was reluctant to share much with him, given Arthur's telepathy, but Father's ability is such that he can avoid that form of invasion. There is a technopath I can contact to perhaps arrange more video conferences if needed. That's how we were able to speak. It… It was a relief to see him still alive. If Arthur didn't still need his assistance, he wouldn't be."

Thoughts on the architectural flaws are held to herself, Helena's already addressed that.

"Unfortunately," the faded star of the silver screen says, reluctantly rolling her shoulders before snuffing out the ember on the end of her cigarette by mashing it against an appropriate receptacle — or, if none can be found, the face of her cigarette case itself. "I cannot be sure. I did not detect an excessive amount of security, human or otherwise, in the area… but, take that as you may."

She's either oblivious to Leonard's staring or she's taking it in stride. Sitting down. Whichever. Cat's confession that Mason is her father only earns a quick quirking of an eyebrow from Lucrezia; she had guessed that they were family but had not yet wagered as to the degree of separation between them.

"There are three subterranean laboratory levels that exist beneath the main building, access to which are restricted. In fact, I'm fairly certain that the majority of the people who work there do not know that they exist. The building is powered entirely by its own thermonuclear reactor which is housed on the seventh — the lowest — level. The body of Gabriel Gray is kept in a secured cell on the sixth…"

Helena leans back in her chair, her mind filled with imagery; perhaps not as potently so as Cat, however. For the moment she continues to keep her silence, figuring at this point she needs to hear as much as possible.

Her eyes widen when the nuclear reactor is mentioned, and images of the Eve dream which was described to her fill Cat's mind. That's a very troubling development, the presence of such a device, but she remains quiet. Her sense is the briefing isn't yet completed, and the floor (or stage) thus remains Lucrezia's.

A reactor. Oh, shit. Leo's face falls comically at the mention of it. Maybe they can blow up New York AGAIN. It'll be great, everyone can glow in the dark.

Lucrezia makes a vague waving gesture with a hand, perhaps to clear smoke or perhaps to signal that her extended monologue is at an end. She leans back in the chair, relaxing her posture somewhat without entirely caving in to an undignified slump. If only to emphasize the point, she says, "That is what I know."

Helena frowns a little bit as she leans back, her gaze going distant. "We're going to need everyone. Absolutely everyone who's got a grudge against Arthur Petrelli. I don't think there's any other way this can be done." She can't help but query, "Lucrezia, does the name Munin mean anything to you?"

"Nuclear reactor," Cat breathes out, her mind going to some dangerous places. "This has to be done without damage to the building." Her mind replays the dream she was told about again as Helena speaks, and the name Munin brings out additional remembrances. The woman called Else and her song. That same song playing once as she spoke with Allen Rickham. In silence, her eyes rest upon Lucrezia, and she listens.

He can't help it. Leo reflexively bristles at that name, but offers no comment. He just nods tightly to Cat.

"Interested in Norse mythology now, hm?" the Italian woman asks somewhat condescendingly while remaining just this side of sarcastic. Her plucked, black eyebrows pitch upwards, however, as she wonders aloud, "Why do you ask?"

"Because the name seems to have relevance to what's going on, and I know that Norse mythology was referenced amongst the Vanguard. Munin was a bird; was it Eileen's codename?" Helena doesn't seem to care whether Lucrezia's sarcastic about it or not.

"Recently, a contact had a rather disturbing dream," Cat states in beginning to flesh out why the questions was asked, "which featured the Ruins of Midtown, a full moon high in the sky, the shadow of a wolf in the background. On a hill, a dark haired woman faced the wolf with her back towards the moon. There was an enormous black bird with feathers falling off. Where they fell, huge mushroom clouds rose up."

"The dreamer said she heard Kazimir's voice saying the past is prologue. Once before this dreamer told me of what she saw, it was last December. It featured a shadow with a cane and a wolf on a bridge over the Hudson. The wolf charged the shadow, then the bridges exploded."

"Being told of this now, and hearing of a nuclear reactor being under Pinehearst, causes us to have concerns in planning to act against that firm."

Leo's all but huddled in on himself, as if he were cold. He hasn't heard of this dream before, so he's silent, face set in that scowl.

Okay. Why not? Lucrezia certainly doesn't owe Eileen Ruskin any favors… at least, none that she's willing to admit. When Cat concedes to a much more detailed description that Helena was apt to provide, the Italian woman's rapidly rising rancor soon begins to subside and she slips back into a more serious tone but avoids sounding overly sinister. "Eileen was the second Munin," she says, allowing her eyes to roam around the room once before returning her dark-eyed stare to Catherine Chesterfield. "The first, along with its twin, was supposed to have been brought over into your country just before the explosion. However, they were not mentioned after that…"

Since apparently whatever comes out of Helena's mouth seems to make Lucrezia's dander rise, she keeps quiet, trusting Cat to ask the right questions.

"So…" Cat begins, taking up the thread, "The chance is that original Munin and twin may be involved in this, perhaps part of a reforming Vanguard, some of its members who still have the goal of substantially reducing populations, and may seize this opportunity?" This just gets more and more disturbing. "Is anything known on where to find them, or who may know their locations?" At this point, her eyes seem to focus on a wall, as if she were watching something play out there.

"When Eileen and I last spoke, you were present, Signora. I spoke of Arthur's attack on Eileen, taking her power, and I asked if he wanted anything else. She said only her memories. But… she wasn't left an empty shell not even knowing her own name, and she remembers Arthur's attack, so making her forget wasn't the goal. He may have forced his way into her head with telepathy to dig out all he could on the Vanguard's members."

"Maybe so he can find them, maybe so he can impersonate Kazimir effectively, or both."

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