Opposites... Or Variations


cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Opposites… Or Variations
Synopsis A multi-topic discussion.
Date April 12, 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.

She's back at home and awake on the morning of the twelfth. Food is at hand, and coffee, where Cat sits at the kitchen table. Eyes are on the day's New York Times, she starts at the front page and takes it in slowly. One hand reaches for and lifts the cup of liquid life, while the other holds a fork poised to bring food to mouth.

It's about then that Elisabeth stops by the building on her way to work. She's dressed in a pair of black slacks, a sleek silk blouse, and a suit jacket that covers the holster at the small of her back. Her badge is hidden from view too — being a cop out on the streets sometimes is not the best plan. She lets herself into the building and the elevator, and then calls Cat as she's on her way up. "Cat, open the door, lady!"

The paper is abandoned for the moment, Cat making her way across the floor. "Which elevator, Elisabeth?" she asks. There are four, and it would bite to go all that way just to pick the wrong one. "Want food or coffee?"

"West," Liz replies. And she says, "Coffee's always welcome." And then the elevator opens, and Elisabeth is face-to-face with the brunette, hanging up her phone. "Hey there. Just thought I'd poke in and whether we've had any more contacts."

She made it there just in time to open the doors and let Elisabeth in, then close them. "I need to check in with Wireless soon, actually." Turning then, Cat takes a few steps. "What'd you make of this Robin Hood?"

There's a shake of her head. "Don't get me started. Bastard took nearly $40K out of my investment account… the last of my mother's life insurance money after I paid off the apartment. And Abby's got $32K in her account that she asked me to look into — I reported it to cybercrimes."

Four steps away, Cat stops and turns back. "What?" She looks surprised. "Wireless sent the warning, it didn't have anything about electronic thefts. But… I shouldn't be shocked. The name Robin Hood by itself says he steals." She rolls her eyes briefly.

"So now we have good technopath versus evil technopath? Or one who thinks he's the good technopath but doesn't bother to see who he's actually stealing from and what they do with their money."

"There's no way to know — I'm assuming it's the same guy though. And it's not like he wiped out my portfolio, but he took a healthy chunk, that's for sure. It's not like I'm old enough that my retirement account is that big," Elisabeth replies. "That was just the savings account. And so far, the only people who're reporting being stolen from are pretty damn well off, but yeah…. your assessment sounds accurate enough."

"Maybe the attack is also aimed at the FDIC," Cat muses. "Was any amount bigger than the insured portion?" Her brow furrows. "I don't think I was hit," she adds. "But it might be hard to tell, I've made some moves lately a thing like that might get lost in."

Elisabeth looks askance at Cat. "As if I know whether it's more than what it's insured for?" Liz replies. Most normal people don't actually know that information. "I could direct you to a cybercrimes expert to talk to, if you want. Heck… Hana might even know that answer, I dunno."

Everybody knows what it's insured for, at least the bare minimum. It's posted on the doors of every bank that each depositor is insured for up to $250,000. "It'd be interesting to know, is all. The possibility it could be an attack on the Feds as well as individuals intrigues, if Robin Hood really wants to hurt the wealthy he takes more than $250K, but he's still missing the mark."

She scoffs. "Idiot, really. The insured portion is paid for from public money, through taxes, and will filter down to the people he allegedly wants to help. Maybe more than filter down. Most people don't have high powered attorneys protecting them from their fair share of taxation."

Like most people, if you pointed Liz to the sign on the bank's door, she'd have remembered the number, but well… as it is, she blushes just a hint. "Well, I doubt pointing that out to him is going to make him stop." She shrugs. "You might want to check if you got hit, though." She helps herself to coffee.

"I may," Cat answers. "It's not really such a big thing for me at present, there aren't large chunks missing in any case." She lifts her coffee again and enjoys a small amount of it. "The focus is more on finding the still missing and getting them home. We don't have any more info."

There's a grimace, and Elisabeth looks worried. "It's been days, Cat. We don't even know if some of them got captured and are even now sitting in lock-up at Moab." The 'what-ifs' here are pretty long and involved.

"They may be locked up, or they may not," Cat concedes. "They could also be scattered with comm gear broken. I won't stop looking in any case." Her jaw sets, fingers tightening on the cup. It would perhaps seem she has issues with failure and abandoning people. "We aren't operating on any kind of deadline here, and attention is being paid to reports of persons without ID found injured or deceased."

"One of the hits we got was in a red desert somewhere."

Raising both her eyebrows, Liz asks hopefully, "We've got someone else who's made contact? That's great news!" She smiles. "So no panicking yet. Cardinal and I are still tag-teaming keeping an eye on Abby. She's doing all right." She glances at Cat. "I've been keeping Cardinal up to date on what information we're getting."

"A few days ago," Cat confirms. "Cardinal. I've not yet begun to look into what he asked me for regarding Linderman." Silence strikes there, she rises and takes a few steps toward the office area. "I'll be right back."

Feet head in that direction, she's gone for just a few minutes before making her way back with a print of the painting called Dual which she takes out of a manila envelope and places on the table to study.

Elisabeth sips her coffee while she waits, and then when Cat comes back, she looks intrigued. "What is it?" she asks as she joins Cat to look at the painting…. and then gasps at what's on the canvas, leaving her coffee on the table to look far more closely at it.

"It didn't occur to me this could mean anything when he gave it to me on the 6th, I didn't even open the envelope and look at it until I got home, and I still don't get the link. It may be a piece of prophetic art, but what it reveals seems to be only what we already knew: that we'd assault Moab," Cat shares.

Elisabeth studies it quietly, and then she says, "No…. if it's a prophetic piece, there's more to it than the obvious. A phoenix is transformative. If you look at it this way," she points to where the Phoenix is rising, "to my mind that means both that we assaulted Moab, and that something is changing. It's that part," she points to the lower part, the skull, "that bothers me."

She considers.

"In tarot, though, death is also an indication of transformation, not necessarily of death. Just… well, without a context, it's always dicey. But looking at this suggests to me that the Moab raid is …. some kind of pivot point. That something about what we did there will cause change." She looks at Cat. "For good or bad? Who knows? Could be as simple as the idea that the attack will bring about the downfall of Moab. Or it could be a lot more complicated, right?" She smiles a bit. "Art in general is supposed to be about what's beneath the surface."

"I've found prophetic art to be both metaphoric and literal, it's hard to tell when is which," Cat muses. "Eve once painted a bridge on which Kazimir faced off with a wolf, and the bridge fell apart. There was no literal wolf present, from what I was told, so it must've been a metaphor for something or someone unknown. Unfortunately the battle couldn't be kept off that span," she laments.

"But on other occasions the depicted potential event was literal, seemingly. One predicted Helena Dean would be impaled by rebar. That didn't happen. Another showed me getting jumped in an alley near the Surly Wench. A friend headed that one off."

"Prophetic art," she considers, "doesn't mean something is unavoidable. They're often road signs, warnings. What the hell is this painter trying to say by a mirror image of a prison?"

Tilting her head, Elisabeth asks quietly, "It really could be anything. If it's literal, maybe it's…. I don't know. On television, the mirror image is always the dimension of opposites. If you assume there are infinite realities, then it stands to reason that …. in one world, our raid on Moab succeeds, in one world it doesn't and we all died? If that's the case, it's good we're in the former." She shakes her head, though. "In general, prophecy really only becomes clear in hindsight."

"One painting I've wondered over from time to time has the Midtown crater covered in plant life of two kinds," Cat muses. "One type I identified as solanum nigram, a type of nightshade reputed to have some anti-radiation qualities. The other is an unknown species. I looked for it everywhere I could think of, even periodically searching for the newly discovered. Nothing turned up." Her eyes drop back to the print, that line of thought being set aside.

"Opposites… Or variations. There are so many parameters and permutations it'd make a brain melt if thought about too long. Much like the end question of whether or not God is real with logic applied."

Elisabeth grins at her. "Yep… that's for all you eggheads to think about," she tells Cat affectionately. "All right. Let me get out of your hair. Keep me in the loop, okay?" She finishes her coffee and then heads out to leave Cat to her work. Elisabeth herself has things to handle today as well.

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