People Playing at Gods


cat_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title People Playing At Gods
Synopsis Cat offers information on Coyote Sands to Agent Sawyer.
Date April 24, 2010

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.

Passage up to the penthouse for this is easy, Cat knows Veronica is coming because she called and invited her. Warmth remains in the building, power is fairly constant because it has generators for such times. On the agent's arrival, she finds one of the double doors across from the elevator open, and the woman herself leaning against it. "Veronica," she commences, "good to see you. Are you frozen to the core, or just on the surface?"

There's a gesture of invitation to the interior, Cat waiting to close the door and secure it after she does so. "I was out earlier," the panmnesiac remarks with a chuckle, "and I saw a squad of penguins marching in formation."

"Antarctica followed us home to Manhattan," Veronica says with a shake of her head at the mention of penguins. "Crazy. I'm pretty sure I'm a frozen popcicle all the way through. I think Antarctica was warmer." The Company agent begins to unravel scarf and pull off gloves so she can remove the three-quarters-length black down snow parka she's taken to wearing. "I have to say — I'm really really missing the West Coast. Hell, Argentina even looks pretty good right now."

"I've been talking to Helena about a plan," Cat remarks as she closes the door and turns back to the agent, "where she and a couple other weather inclined people keep temperatures from rising too fast when the cold weather breaks." A few steps are taken, she reaching out to take the removed items as they come off. Were it another time, Cat might make a salacious comment about the popsicle concept and licking it. "Some would say, I'm certain, this weather pattern must be comfortable for us, as ice queens." It's accompanied by a quiet chuckle and a turn into the entertainment area. That huge HD screen is off, the room quiet, as she pulls a bottle of stout from the refrigerator and offers another to the guest.

On a nearby coffee table is a plain envelope and an open folder featuring copies of documents on Coyote Sands.

The shorter of the two brunettes chuckles and gives a shake of her head at the stout. Frozen fingers don't want cold bottles in them. "Might check with Gillian to augment their efforts," she suggests. "And I may be an ice queen, but I'm much more of a warm weather girl at heart. I think I spent most of my teenage years surfing or playing beach volleyball. I snowboarded, too, but you know — two days up on the mountain is much different than a never-ending winter."

Her dark eyes glance at the folders and she drifts that way, certain that they wouldn't be left out on accident and that it's safe to assume they are for her. "By the way — you wouldn't happen to be in contact with Gabriel Gray at all, would you?"

"Gabriel Gray was shot dead by Humanis First on the ice shelf," Cat replies, asking "Is there reason to believe he wasn't?" She doesn't bat an eye, instead nodding at the folder. "That's for you, as if I needed to say so. The fruits of my asking someone about that place Robert Bishop mentioned but didn't give details on. You'll find it interesting, I'm sure." One of the stout bottles is put back, she commences to drink the other.

"There's coffee too," she offers.

"Coffee would be perfect," Veronica says, leaning to pick up the folders and start flipping through them, brows raised with curiosity. "And of course there's reason to suspect he didn't really die, Catherine." Her lips quirk into a bit of a smile. "He's Gabriel. I think he has more lives than a …" Veronica's eyes lift and the smile grows a touch wider. "Well, a cat." She nods toward the files. "Where'd you get these? Or should I bother asking?"

A pot of nearby coffee is used to pour a cup, while Cat speaks. "Mister Gray was a resourceful character, it's true. And since I didn't see the body myself, I'd not put it past him to be alive. He may have more lives than even a cat, I think he could surpass even Doctor Who." She pauses there, moving to hand over the coffee, with her head tilting. "Mayor Lockheart. Don't you think she looks tired?"

Back to the folder. "I got those from an older English lady a contact and I sat down for lunch with recently. Personable woman, not so hard to converse with. It was rather surprising she was so forthcoming, but there we were, with that folder's contents being given to us. Coyote Sands was an internment camp, which had the most interesting people among the prisoners, and staff."

"So you have no way of contacting him? He is alive, that much I know for sure. And I need his help, if he's willing to do so. He might be the only chance to stop his… copycat." She isn't going to let on that Samson Gray is Gabriel Gray's father. "If you have any way of giving him my contact information, I'd appreciate it. I'll try other sources of course as well."

Helping herself to the accoutrements for the coffee, Veronica makes the hot liquid sweet and creamy before taking a sip, hands wrapping around warm mug gratefully. "Thanks," she says, as she shakes her head a little at the contents in the folder. "Well, that's interesting," she says, making note of the familiar names. "You've, I'm sure, already read them and thus still know everything pertinent — wanna cliff notes me?"

"Copycat? That's… distressing. I'll mention your interest to people who may have seen him, should he be among the living. We certainly don't need such a creature as that on the loose." Cat knows very well the danger, someone looking to copy Sylarism would target her, to recreate the demise of Charlene Andrews. "I rather like my skull unopened. One of his victims was like me, her boyfriend was the son of a Company founder."

After a few beats of pause, she lets it go.

"In 1961," she moves on to relating, "a camp was operating at Coyote Sands, Arizona. The inmates were people with unusual physical and mental abilities, sent or taken there for research and experimentation. The program was called Project Icarus. It doesn't say much about the research or the findings, mostly it's an overview. Among the inmates were Robert Bishop, Daniel Linderman, Charles Deveaux, Angela Shaw, and her sister Alice Shaw. The younger Shaw sister was an atmokinetic. Among the research staff, and presumably highly placed in the command structure there, were one Chandra Suresh and Jonas Zimmerman."

"Please do. He might be the only way we can catch the other, if he's truly trying to redeem himself. I also understand that since he is presumed dead, they didn't wipe his record like they probably promised, so… it's possible that helping us find this guy might help him in that regard." Veronica has no authority to promise such a thing, but it's a carrot to dangle.

She continues to flip through the folders and nods. "Very interesting." The significance to those names is not lost on Veronica. "Thank you for sharing these. Are they my copies?" She closes the folders to set aside and sips her coffee again.

"It is indeed," Cat agrees as she drinks from her stout. "And they are yours. The tale turns tragic, as documented in there. Linderman, Bishop, Deveaux, and Angela Shaw took to occasionally departing the camp for a nearby cafe where they'd talk among themselves and return, leaving Alice Shaw alone within the confines. There's little detail, but the documents tell of a massacre which began when one of the researchers angered Alice Shaw, or behaved threateningly toward her, and she caused some form of short duration weather effect. Guards, US soldiers, then opened fire and murdered all the prisoners. At the time, the four other cited individuals were away from the camp. This, I believe, formed the core of what developed into the Company. Project Icarus was apparently abandoned by the government afterward."

More drinking of dark brew.

"However, Chandra Suresh we know continued research into people with these abilities, resulting in his famous book. And Zimmerman some fifteen years later works with the Company and Arthur Petrelli, developing the serum for installing abilities in people without them. It's destroyed and the recipe hidden in the mid-80s, with Arthur Petrelli having most of the people who knew about it slain. Zimmeman surfaces again at Pinehearst, with Arthur, but I'm told he realized Arthur was bonkers and bailed out just before we took the place down."

"And now he's somehow affiliated with this Institute group, yes?" Veronica says with a glance up at Cat. "Do you know if this Institute is at all affiliated with the new … containment method that's being used by the government now?" Not by us, not by the Company. The distancing through the use of passive voice and distance between herself and that method is very deliberate.

"So it would seem," Cat affirms, "based on our beliefs regarding those four persons and some artwork shown to me by a precog who's gone missing since then. It also fits the exhibits set out by the technopath Rebel through website steganography. Further alluded to by Robert Bishop mentioning Coyote Sands to you when you asked about the scientists, and Sabra Dalton giving me these documents." She settles onto the arm of a comfortable chair.

"It's not yet known what the Institute's goal is. To replace the Company, to recreate the formula, to find a way of removing the SLC. Maybe all of the above. It's also a guessing game as to Bishop and Dalton's agenda in sharing this information, but… my best guess is they want to focus unfriendly attention on the Institute and see it brought to heel. That they believe the Institute is a rebirth of Project Icarus."

Veronica stacks the folders and takes another gulp of coffee now that it's cooled a little. "The Company isn't fond of whatever this group is. I'm sure you wouldn't be sorry to see the Company go by the wayside," she smirks slightly, "but this new group — I don't know. It's not for the better, whatever it is. People playing at being gods never works out." She sighs. "With this snow and the other cases, I don't have a lot of time on my hands to go looking into things I don't have the resources to find, but I'll keep my eyes and ears open."

"What I'd like," Cat allows, "is a way to infiltrate the Institute and gather evidence, discover what they're up to, and make it all public in a provable way. The Company… I won't pretend to have good feelings about that organization, or the things it's done in the past. Mother," her tone shifts to more somber, quieter, "swore the place had reformed, was reforming, but then there was the whole thing with Dr. Sheridan and her operation. I would prefer to believe this was a rogue operation run by an agent going beyond her authority with the Company, that Mother didn't know about. Or that she was lied to about reforms and didn't know."

Her pint is lifted, held in air, prior to drinking.

"For the record, the issue was never with the fact of an agency policing people with abilities. It was, and is, over how the Company is used by some of the Founders to subvert and seize political power. Over the utter lack of due process and judicial oversight, and the secrecy involved. We deserve and demand no less than what the Constitution calls for. What any person without the SLC receives when arrested and accused of a crime. Or if judged insane and institutionalized." Her eyes regard a wall, maybe she's calling up a memory.

"We'll get there someday," she remarks somberly, "even if we all get killed trying to make it happen. But at least once I'd like to pull something like that off within the law, using the press, and honor Courtney Danielle Hamilton by getting the story published in her name."

Veronica drains her cup and sets it down empty. "I do believe your mother didn't know. I certainly didn't, and I don't think it was sanctioned per se by the upper brass," Veronica says, her eyes narrowing a bit. "And I think we may have some people on that very task." Infiltration. "Don't repeat that. But realize there are people with higher clearance and perhaps better equipment than me looking into it."

She picks up the files and moves to where her coat hangs, tugging it back on as she gives a nod. "Thanks for the information. You have my number to pass on to Mister Gray, should you happen to see him."

"Any worthwhile and legitimate work by the Institute, or the Company, can be done in the light of day for all to see. One way or another, the light will come to shine in dark places. Hopefully we'll remain in contact on the Institute. And your concerns regarding Mr. Gray will be mentioned." Cat sets her bottle down and moves out toward the doors.

"Don't freeze," she requests, "and feed any columns of marching penguins you see."

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