Proof Not Positive


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Scene Title Proof Not Positive
Synopsis Cat and Melissa discuss children and what to do about them.
Date March 29, 2010

Staten Island Coast

The coast of Staten Island is as much of a presence as its inland, with rivers that invade right into its heart as well as cutting off the circulation of transport from the rest of New York City. The coastal regions reflect a lot of this borough's rural nature, with rough shores and plantlife, broken brick, and general abandonment. The harbors are left to the devices of those that freely come and go, a conspicuous lack of official presence - a number of them notably overrun by the developing crime syndicate, but there are still quite a few, particularly on the coasts nearest to Brooklyn and Manhattan, that are accessible to the lawful public.

11:30 now, after some time spent indoors and maybe even more outside for another snowball fight and session of playing in the snow. Cat left the books she brought for Liette and avoided asking more questions or drawing things for Liette to see and comment upon. As they're walking away from the Garden toward the coast where Cat's boat waits to take them back to Manhattan, the Brennan girls left behind with their father, she turns her mind to pressing matters at hand.

"She's such an interesting, intriguing girl, isn't she, Melissa?" the panmnesiac commences quietly.

Melissa smiles. "She really is. I've never met anyone quite like her, and I doubt that I will ever again. She is…unique. I just wish that I could undo all the things that have been done to her. It's amazing that at her age she's never had the chance to be a child. Amazing and unbelievably sad."

"I'm worried about her being in Doctor Brennan's hands," Cat shares somberly as boots crunch snow underfoot on the way ahead. "The things she's talked about, told us, and he still entertains for even one second the idea of giving her back to her father. People being kept in tanks, she doesn't deny experiments are being done on them." The expression is serious, contemplatively so.

"Are you sure that's what he's planning on doing?" Melissa asks, a brow arching. "Liette was near us the entire time we were speaking to him. If he doesn't plan on taking her back, do you really think he'd say something within earshot of her? She's had enough hardship without having to worry about that as well."

She looks out over the water, hands in her pockets. "I had a feeling she was a lab rat, since the day I found her. But Brennan seems to want the best for her. After all, he has children."

"He hasn't contacted me to suggest he and I speak privately, where she can't hear us," Cat replies. "But I do admit it's possible he's being careful. As to Doctor Brennan wanting the best for her, I believe that's probably true. I think, most likely, the case is he's painfully naive and trusting of authority. That he fails, even refuses to believe, there's not some mundane explanation for people in tanks and the secrets Liette admits keeping. His judgment is also, I believe, clouded by Rebel's counterproductive action."

The boat is somewhere ahead, landmarks spotted along the way here attest to that, it might be another five minutes walk to get there. "You heard me at the meeting," Cat muses, "did you, like others, think I was a nut job spouting conspiracy theory bullshit?"

"No, I think he's well aware of what's going on at Liette's 'home'," Melissa disagrees, shaking her head. "He's not that naive. Rebel…I can't blame him for being paranoid there. Rebel sort of outted me to someone. As a member of the Ferry. I ever come face to face with him, I'm gonna want to hurt him."

Her gaze flicks back to Cat. "Which stuff? About the virus? Or something else?"

"That," Cat replies, "and other things. Like the potential of Summer Meadows being turned into a ghetto right under our noses, and/or the hospital and military base here on Staten Island becoming a concentration camp. The information obtained by unlocking Rebel's website and the research I've done into the claims." Her voice goes silent, eyes settling on Melissa for an assessing study.

"Rebel threatening Doctor Brennan was a very bad move, and I've told them that a number of times. I've also rebuffed their demands that I share the girl's location. I will not do that. But I worry about leaving the girl in his care. People are looking for her, who don't have her best interests in mind, and some of them are probably Federal. Three things are of issue here, and all are critical. The girl's welfare, learning whatever can be learned from her about the lab where her father works, and blocking whatever the goal of all this is. Do you trust Doctor Brennan to not hand her over to any Federal agency at the drop of a hat, just because they're Feds?"

Melissa slowly turns to face Cat directly, and gone is the mostly carefree Goth. Her eyes are hard and serious now, as is her voice. "If Brennan or anyone else gives that girl to the Feds or anyone else who would use her for a lab rat, I will hurt them. I will hurt them, and I will kill them, and I will get that girl out. She's a fucking child, not a guinea pig or pawn, and I'll do whatever the hell I have to in order to ensure that she gets to be a kid. But I think that Brennan is with me there. Why else would he be staying away from his family to hide her? And she has instructions to find me if anything happens. I will keep her safe."

"That's reassuring, Melissa," Cat replies. Her demeanor is unchanged, she's still the mostly stoic and calm businesslike woman she projects being. Because I believe I know who her father is, and where he works. Brennan may also, if he's been shown a copy of Pause magazine. Doctor Jean Martin Luis, a French national working at the Commonwealth Institute of Science and Research in Cambridge, MA. Probably not far from Harvard and MIT. It was founded by Doctors Luis and Mohinder Suresh." She takes a silent few beats to let that be processed.

"I've also learned Doctor Luis had a daughter who died from an unknown virus after a family trip to India in 1973. Isn't it interesting his daughter's name was Juliette?"

Melissa frowns a little. "What makes you this Luis guy is her dad?" she asks, though she's making a mental note to check that magazine again.

"Some time ago, a contact within the Company told me she'd been asked about a number of scientists who may be in Federal hands. Two of them I know were taken by the Feds, I was nearby when they were snatched up. I also know who ran the operation in which they were grabbed, and her ties to a place called Pinehearst. Pieces fit. Not long after that, another contact brought me four paintings. One of them was of Doctor Luis. I recognized him when I read the magazine article, tying a name to his face. As to believing he's her father, well, consider the man's deceased daughter was named Juliette, and the girl in question now is called Liette." Silence again, to let mental bridging occur for Melissa.

Melissa shakes her head. "I got the Juliette bit, Cat. I'm not that dense. But that doesn't prove anything. It could simply be a coincidence. A lot of people have daughters named Juliette. We can assume he's Liette's dad all we want, but without knowing it doesn't make as much a difference."

Silence continues for a stretch, perhaps two minutes time covered of the way to the boat, before Cat replies. During that time, she debates even bothering to continue drawing Melissa in, that she might be prone to reject things as conspiracy theory and not truly listen. In the end, the pain manager is given benefit of the doubt in quiet voice. "You know, when Helena and I made Moab public, even provided pictures taken from the air, the majority chose to believe denials of that truth, despite reporters being able to verify things. It's impossible to hide something like that, even a facility in the desert leaves a trail. Locals having stories of a restricted area they can't even enter, of a sudden increase in people to the area, traffic coming through for construction, aircraft overhead coming and going." She pauses again, making the final turn toward the coast.

"You know it existed, because you were there and met Helena. I know it existed, because I was one of the planners for the raid last April. I took the aerial photos, some of the images from satellites were provided by Wireless. You may even remember seeing me during the battle in the yard. Woman of my height, dressed in black with body armor and covered face, fighting with the electromagnetic security man. Does that give more credibility when I speak of such things?"

Melissa sighs. "It's not your credibility that's in question here, Cat. It never was. I just said that a similarity in names isn't enough to say without doubt that Liette is Luis's Juliette. It's enough to call it into question, but not enough to say that it is fact."

"I can't yet prove it," Cat shares, "but there's more which indicates the direction I'm going. In January of 2009, a man named Kazimir Volken attempted to release a virus called Shanti. It was a particularly lethal strain he'd had mixed with another agent to become even more so. The original virus, not known to be communicable in significant ways, was named for a young girl who died from it in the 70s. She was Indian, just as Juliette Luis was said to have died from an unknown virus picked up on a trip to India. The girl's name: Shanti Suresh." The boat comes into view ahead.

"I don't suggest the death of Juliette Luis in 1973 was faked, the dates don't match. I posit instead the man was so affected by her death it unbalanced his mind, and he made another daughter, gave her the dead one's name." She shows a slight smile. "Do the coincidences now start to pile up for you too? Juliette Luis and Shanti Suresh, two girls dead from viruses connected to India. Jean Luis and Mohinder Suresh, now partners doing research on SLC people at a company they sold to the defense department…"

Melissa stops and stares at Cat. "This Kazimir guy. What do you know about him? I've heard his name from two different people, but they wouldn't tell me who the hell he was or is." A pause, then she nods. "As I said, it's enough to call it into question and present it as a possibility, but still not enough to prove it, Cat."

"Kazimir Volken was a Nazi," Cat explains, "who founded an organization called the Vanguard, some decades ago. He spent all that time building it up, working toward a point where he discovered the means of enacting a Hitleresque final solution. It began, ostensibly, with the purpose of exterminating powered people and progressed to a goal of rebooting civilization through wiping out ninety percent of the world's people. Kazimir, notably, was powered himself. He could literally suck the life out of people to keep his body going, and was able to jump into and possess bodies. Sometime during the sixties, his original shape was abandoned in favor of FBI Agent Richard Santiago."

As the boat is seen, perhaps two hundred yards away where she tied it, Cat admits "Proof is needed, this is true. But we have enough evidence to know Liette has more info, things we must learn if we're ever to find proof and rescue people held prisoner in tanks, comatose. We know where to look, also, and efforts to infiltrate will be made. You have to understand this: Rebel are not wrong about the girl. It was a very bad move to threaten Doctor Brennan, as a result their credibility with the Ferry and with Wireless is much less, but the basic truths remain. He is in over his head. I don't believe I can convince him of this fact, I tried once to show him the large picture before Liette was even in the mix, and he wouldn't let himself believe. I even showed him a picture of a viral image from the CDC that Rebel had posted, and he suggested going to the CDC. Never mind the image I showed him had CDC markings on it." Her eyes roll a little.

"But perhaps you can get through."

Melissa falls silent at the information on Kazimir, and her brow furrows as she absorbs it all. But she doesn't look at all happy about it. Then she blinks and looks back to Cat. "I think you overestimate my influence over Brennan, Cat. I barely know the guy. But I'll look into the subject."

She looks out over the boat, her head tilting. "Got another topic we need to discuss though. I've got a kid at my place. He's sixteen, and has the 510. His parents kicked him out 'cause he's evolved. He needs someplace to go until he turns 18. He…wants to stay with me. Need to know what the easiest legal way of going about that would be. Adoption or that whole divorcing parents thing."

"I think you have more influence than I do," Cat replies. She seems done with that whole extended topic, giving her attention now to the almost-man. "Legally, Melissa," Cat opines gravely, "you can't adopt him, and I recommend very strongly you don't try. You're a Federal fugitive, and if you walk into a courthouse trying to do something that's part of public record, odds are you get snagged and sent to some other prison. Maybe it'll be an overt prison and you can get a trial for whatever alleged crime they had you at Moab for. But… maybe your cell is one of those coma tanks Liette talked about." She reaches and steps into the boat, then waits to be joined before starting to untie it from mooring.

"His best options are to go for emancipation, or for you to just shelter him indefinitely. It's what the Ferry does. I doubt his parents are seeking him, if he was ejected for having SLC. Going to court now, also, is a bad idea. Having the flu would be obvious and lead to being SLC tested, then registration. I wouldn't advise a sick person to try registering, given DHS tendencies to overreact."

Melissa shakes her head. "No crimes, Cat. I was in Moab because of what I am. not what I did. But yes, I was worried about that too. And I'm not worried about anything happening now. He's partially paralyzed because of the flu. But when he's better? He needs a guardian for school and stuff. But if emancipation would work, then what would that involve?"

"Ah yes," Cat notes with a nod and sarcasm to her voice, "the high crime of breathing oxygen while having the SLC. It's heinous, you know." Then she moves on. "What he needs is to have a place to live, show some means of supporting himself like a job, and the like. It's basically convincing a judge he can function as an adult. His SLC status and possible registration remain issues, however. It's a court, if asked what the story with his parents is, and he will be asked… They'll be asked too…"

Melissa nods slowly as she gets settled in the boat. "Well, if worse come to worse, I know an illusionist. I'll drag him with me and we'll pretend to be the boy's parents. Though I don't imagine it'd come to that."

The rope is removed from the mooring spot and begins to float free, Cat starts the motor and aims for Manhattan's shores. "The creative can address many situations," she replies. "Where there is a brain, there is a way."

"I thought it was where there's a will there's a way?" Melissa asks with a small smile. "But yes, we'll figure something out. I won't let him be taken back to those monsters that are his parents."

"That too. But the will needs a brain to form ideas." A terse statement from Cat? Did the world just end?

"Yes, but the brain needs the will to carry out the plans," Melissa points out, before she looks ahead, watching now where they're going.

Some time later, however long it takes to cross a river in such cold conditions, they reach the Manhattan shore and part ways, leaving Melissa to return to Roosevelt Island or wherever she might choose to go, and Cat to tend business matters. Among them making contacts to commence investigating one Howard Lemay and try contacting Claire Bennet. Again. Both from concern and from wanting to know what the hell she was supposed to get from that man's home.

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