One Foot In The Grave


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Scene Title One Foot In The Grave
Synopsis When tactics on getting information fail, Peter Petrelli is forced to adapt to his environment and realize that information gathering is — after all — a two-way street.
Date August 25, 2009

The Verb, 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.

Footsteps approach the kitchen of the penthouse, and on reaching the kitchen where her refrigerator is Cat settles into a chair at the table and gestures her guest toward another.

Standing by one of the windows, Peter Petrelli has his arms folded and that smile on his lips from before gone off of his face. He's staring out one of the windows overlooking 4th street, brows furrowed. "There's been a man outside of your building for the last two hours," Peter finally states in a flatter tone of voice than he was using with Peyton. "He was at the bus stop, then behind it, then on his phone once. He's surveiling the building," Peter turns, blue eyes looking up over his shoulder. "He's been keeping eyes on who comes and goes from here."

Turning away from the window, Peter looks down at where Cat sits in the chair. "I didn't come here to tell you that you've got spooks, though." His blue eyes narrow slightly, glancing towards the direction of the elevator, then back to Cat. "I'm just going to ask you one more time, as politely as I can, for you to tell me where Else Kjelstrom lives. She played shows here, you're tight with the music business — I need to talk to her one on one." Peter's blue eyes cast to the side, "I went to Wireless, but she's burned me. Ever since Pinehearst I've been on her shit-list. I'm not getting off any time, she sees things more black and white than you do."

Her features darken into a scowl at the news someone is outside the building keeping surveillance. "I was hoping she'd have sense enough to call for contact and stick with videoconferencing, she's been a captive of Humanis First and might be watched by them to see where she goes. He might be about her, or not. Or interested in me and the building," she muses. "Two hours, that was before Peyton came. He's after something else. Company, DHS, others." She moves to the window to have a look for herself, glancing at Peter in hope he'll indicate which one.

"Humanis First has one of ours, and it's so much like it was with Dani, Peter. She's probably dead, the odds of finding her are slim. Dani and I got snagged in the apartment, they traded me for Eileen. If I'd been able to advise Helena, I'd have told her to tell Ethan to get fucked and leave me there. I was traded, and for Dani they demanded a technopath. Like we could've made that switch even if we wanted to. And we couldn't find her. While we were captive, she was tortured right next to me. You know how my memory works, I'm sure I don't need to tell you how that burns at me."

Having said that, she leaves the topic behind to cover Else. "She's been approached enough, Peter. I've talked to her twice, each time the subject is raised she becomes hostile. She says all she does is get high and write things down. Doesn't see anything beyond that, doesn't remember doing it. I got her agreement to show me anything of the kind she writes. I'll pass that on to you. Already have some."

"Eve came looking for her, Saturday night," she relates. "I stayed quiet, let her, Gillian, and another do the talking. Same result, as expected, so you can't say I'm overbearing this time. I told Eve it would be that way, she wouldn't listen. She saw firsthand. Is it going to be the same with you?"

There's more. "Word is a man named Norman White, a terrakinetic who escaped Moab, is intending to sink Staten Island. That would cover the beaches of 34th Street."

"Cat." Peter closes his eyes and tilts his head down, "I didn't come up here to hear about the problems you're dealing with right now. I didn't come up here to talk to you about your spy problem either," he motions to the window, then turns blue eyes back to Cat. "And you're clawing at the wrong tree if you're looking for anything even in the same neighborhood as sympathy." For a man who only finally learned about the fate of Danielle Hamilton, Peter's expression shows no surprise, no shock, nothing that Cat would expect from the Peter she knows. He and Dani had a bit of a history — even if it were her mostly just hating him and wishing he was dead — there should've been something.

Stepping over to the table, Peter rests both gloved hands down on its surface, only backing away when he notices an apple in a bowl on the table turning a little dark in his presence. He winces, visibly, and looks back to Cat. "You don't have the best bedside manner, Cat. Neither does Eve. You're too analytical and Eve's out of her mind." At the notion of the books, Peter's blue gaze darts around the room, then finds her again. "I don't want to talk to her, I just want to know where she's staying. Munin— " he catches himself, "Eileen got jumped by a guy in Brooklyn. She told me he's ex-vanguard, some kind've assassin trying to mop them all up. Call it a hunch, but I've got a bad feeling about Else and her music, and this guy. If he thinks she got wind of something, he might go after her. I hardly sleep, I need something to occupy my mind with."

There's a slight softening of Peter's features. "I'm sorry for snapping at you earlier, but you can get— you know. Look, I'm sorry about the things you're dealing with, but they're not my trouble. I'm not Phoenix, and this doesn't involve me. Else— is something… uh, else." His eyes narrow, head quirking to the side. "You said you had some of her writing?" He doesn't even touch the topic of Norman White, not yet.

No one is recognizable or obvious. It'll be addressed later somehow. Peter is the immediate situation. She turns back to face him, and at times while she speaks she starts to scowl. But she doesn't. Nothing is said until she has the floor again, after hearing him out. "Not your trouble, right. Humanis First wants to kill us all, you're part of us all, so it concerns you to some degree," Cat comments somberly. But she doesn't belabor that point further. He gets it, or he doesn't. She moves on.

"Now, a threat against Else is something different. You could've said that from the start, Peter," she chides. "The guy who attacked Eileen, I have a little on him, maybe. A while back I was asked to look into a man called Feng Daiyu. What turned up is he's from China. A former soldier in the mid-80s, then a cop in Beijing. After Tiananmen Square, his career tanked. Communist Party accused him of disloyalty, like he was opposed to the handling of it all. After that, he vanished from records." While speaking, she moves toward the room where video footage comes. Once in there she pulls up building exterior camera feeds from Saturday night. "If he's after her, he might have been at the show. He'd probably have been caught coming and going." Footage is accessed and played at slow fast forward speed.

Peter glances to Cat sidelong, "Humanis First isn't my problem right now. They come after me, then I'm their problem. But right now I'm dealing with things that I can handle. If I try and do everything, fix everyone all I'm going to do is wind up dead, or worse." At the intelligence on Feng, Peter nods slowly, eyes halfway lidded like it makes sense, like its corroborated with something. His head turns when she moves, watching Cat cross out of the kitchen into the video room.

Walking behind her after a few moments, he takes a look at the screen in a glance, then nods. "I saw him first hand a while back, tore him off of Eileen and got him across the face with my hand. He's healed up nice and fast, he must have some kind of Evolved healer not to have any scarring from what I did…"

Furrowing his brows, Peter glances up at Cat. "If he was at the show he might have followed her back to her apartment, or at least flagged her residence so he can go back. Originally I just wanted to talk to her, but I'm not sure right now, I just want to see if Daiyu makes a move." There's a tightness at the corners of Peter's eyes. "He got into a fight with Ethan in the subway at Roosevelt Island. A couple'a kids got killed in the crossfire, the last I heard when I was— " he shakes his head, "I heard Ethan lost the fight, and is in traction."

Tucking his hands into his pockets, Peter looks back at the video feed of Feng, then back to Cat. "Eavesdropping on Gabriel and Eileen I learned a little bit…" It's not entirely the truth. "Daiyu's like Ethan, a hunter int he Vanguard who specialized in taking down Evolved targets solo. He's a planner; observes their techniques, looks for emotional or physical weaknesses, then attacks. I don't know where he is, but I'm trying to find out. If he's got any interest in Else, I want to know why."

"Indications are he has some sort of Federal link now, an intel outfit. Perhaps CIA, who aren't supposed to operate at home. But you know how it often is with things that aren't supposed to be. And a good question regarding Feng and his hunt is why. Is he helping an agency hunt down former members because of what they did with the organization? Or is he interested in them because they helped defeat Kazimir? It had a lot of operatives, after all, at least some might be out there looking to ice turncoats. And there are the links to the Vanguard and Norse call names in the precog material."

She studies the image of Feng onscreen and turns them into several .jpgs, shaking her head a bit. "Who wears a suit to a rock concert? It's almost as if he wanted to be made." Then she thinks. "I want to ask someone about him, at the show he and Feng sat together. He's a good shadow man." Footage restarts, she looks for what Feng did after leaving the place and when, trying to see if it's before or after the show ended."

"Ethan's in traction?" She doesn't seem at all bothered by that. Maybe even happy in some small way. "Told Eileen I wouldn't go after him because she asked. Doesn't mean I mind someone else doing so. If Feng looks for weaknesses, Eileen's his. She thinks of him as a father. And… y'know, I sang part of Else's Shores Of The Empire State for her recently. She asked me to stop a few bars in, and the look on her face… It scared her."

"He hailed a cab?" Peter narrows his eyes, watching the video footage again; something doesn't add up. "Why would he— " blue eyes dart up to Cat, then back to the footage again, listening to her as he studies Feng's motions out front of the club again on the film. Breathing in a deep breath, he folds his arms and shifts his weight around, brows furrowed.

"They're close…" Is all Peter says about Eileen and Ethan. "I want to find out what Feng's doing here too. All of the Vanguard remnant I've seen look surprised by him being here, so whatever he's doing they had no idea about it."

Straightening up, Peter priest his eyes away from the screen and looks towards the kitchen. "You might've been onto something about him wanting to be seen. If he's CIA, or operating under their umbrella, he knows how to not be seen. But he walked into your bar, sat around in a suit and tie and then took a cab somewhere?" Peter's eyes narrow as he looks back. "He wanted someone to follow him. Maybe he was trying to draw someone out, if he— " cutting himself off, Peter's head shakes. "I'm just throwing ideas in the wind now. Alright, you said you had some of Else's writing? Do you mind if I take them with me? If you've got her address I'll stop by and see if anyone's been there and stake it out for a little while. I don't have much of anything else to do."

Draw someone out. Cardinal? Another thing to discuss with him. "He may have some Federal or Company attention too," Cat shares. "Agent Dahl came by on Monday, looking for camera footage. Didn't have a warrant, but a guy at the desk gave her a disc anyway. She wouldn't say what she was looking for, treated Delilah like dirt. The guy, well… it doesn't make me happy, but I really don't need anyone going and getting a warrant, poking around. That's why he isn't fired." Out she goes, headed for the office area, where she sits behind the computer and begins to type. An amount of time later she prints the pages and nods at them. Then provides Else's address.

Furrowing his brow at the unfamiliar name of Agent Dahl, Peter's blue eyes flit around the room, watching as Cat prepares the printouts and writes down the address on the corner of one of the printouts. Leafing through the pages, Peter's eyes follow the transcriptions of what Else's notebook had left behind. He breathes out a sigh, then nods his head slowly. "Alright," the papers are stacked up and then folded, tucked inside of the dark fabric of his suit. "Thanks for this, Cat. Keep an eye on your stoop, too, someone's tracking heads that come and go I think. If you've got a Humanis First problem…"

Peter shrugs his shoulders. "If you find yourself buried up to your neck in trouble, reach out to Eileen. She knows a guy— I haven't had a chance to meet him," there's a hesitant smile Peter offers, "but I take it on good word he's a decent problem solver." The documents are waved in the air, and Peter turns, walking to the doorway of the entertainment room before looking back over his shoulder.

"Take care of what you can manage, Cat. I'll worry about what I can fix. We'll meet somewhere in the middle. But right now, it's a lot better for all of us if I keep my distance."

"It could be a number of things," she speculates. "Company, DHS, HF. Hell, former Vanguard for that matter. People who beat Kazimir qualify as targets for some, I'm sure. I don't think I was followed back from the Suresh Center, but I know Danko was there. Saw him, and he saw me. Helena's father…" She trails off.

"Information goes two ways. I want to know what you turn up. See you, Peter."

"If I turn up anything, it'll find its way to you. I don't think I'm going to be making any more public appearances here, though. But the information will get to you." There's a wave of the documents as Peter takes a step back, beginning to thumb through some of the writing as he walks. There's a pause in his stride, looking back like he heard something, but Cat isn't talking. His brows furrow, and he nods to himself, and then looks back one last time.

"Stay safe and… remember, if you get in over your head, talk to Eileen. You can't be too careful, Daiyu's acting like a man who's already got one foot in the grave…" Peter's lips show the ghost of a smile, "those kind've people are dangerous, because they already think they're dead." There's one, slow crease of Peter's brows, aas he looks back down to the paperwork and turns towards the elevators. There's a point Cat made here, one that is remarkably salient when all things are considered.

Information is a two-way street.

Maybe there's a lesson to be learned from Feng Daiyu after all.

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