cat_icon.gif jenn_icon.gif

Scene Title Regime
Synopsis When Cat comes to her mother's residence, questions are answered and answers are questioned.
Date October 12, 2009

Solstice Condominiums

She's professionally dressed as she approaches the building, not just for this encounter but also for the seminar she held at the Suresh Center earlier and the one she'll hold later in the day; Brooks Brothers skirted business suit in grey with white blouse and two inch heeled black pumps. Cat's hair is pinned up neatly to not fall past the bottom of her collar and she carries a briefcase to cement the impression she chooses to project of having an other than perfect memory.

In arriving, she looks very much the young high-powered attorney. To whatever security persons might be present she offers a simple polite and businesslike greeting. "Doctor Catherine Chesterfield. I'm here to meet with Mrs. Chesterfield."

It's the second time Cat's had to introduce herself, once in the lobby with identification and then again outside of the door to the condo rented for her mother. Expecting Catherine's arrival, she's let in to the open-concept comdominium, where right from the doorway she can see the silhouette of her mother standing by one of the floor to ceiling windows that overlooks much of Manhattan's ragged skyline, now missing the Municipal Building in a noticable gap between silhouettes. Turning, promptly, at the opening of the door Jenn's smile is a mild one, tempered by the uncertainty the conversation ahead is going to have.

"You look beautiful…" Jenn's voice is a quiet one, arms wrapped around herself as she makes her way towards the furniture placed at the middle of the living room, one hand coming to rest on the back of a plush armchair. "Come on in and sit down, do you want me to make you a sandwich or something? Maybe… maybe put on some coffee?" It's like somewhere along the line. Jennifer remembered she's somebody's mother, and is struggling to uphold that ideal, even if she never truly was a mother, more of a parent. The difference is in the affection.

"I could enjoy both, Mother," Cat replies pleasantly as she sets down the briefcase and approaches the window where the candidate stands. "It's good weather for football today," she muses quietly. Much is on her mind, the thoughts in her head are largely on things other than that sport, but there's still room for it. And another as well.

"I think the Yankees will take out the Angels in four."

Starting on her way to the spacious kitchen, divided only by the marble slab island, Jenn makes her way out of the living room, laughing to herself quietly. "You and your father, inseperable connection to spots." Biting down on her lower lip pensively, she stops by the island, one hand reaching out as if to brace herself on it. Her eyes go distant, staring down at the marble top before looking up and over to Cat. "Your father used to gamble, when he was younger. Or— that's what he used to tell me anyway. Placing bets on sports games, it's how he got so into baseball." There's a wry smile, "I guess in a way it's like cheating…"

Moving over to the refrigerator, she opens the door and pauses, considering the notion of food, and then sulks and closes the door with a slap of her palm and turns around, arms folded. "Fifty thousand dollar mortgage on this condo and the refrigerator isn't stacked…" her tongue slides over her teeth, considering the coffee pot. "COme over here and sit," she motions to backless stools at the island, "there's something I want to talk to you about."

She lets out a brief and wistful chuckle at the mention of Father's taste for sports and gambling. "I've not done it," Cat replies, "but I'm fairly sure I could clean up at poker. Remembering the odds of hands, memorizing facial expressions to find tells on other players is simple. And card counting in blackjack would be easy for me too."

Cat walks with the candidate as she moves, winding up at the stools and settling onto one. Cat's eyes rest on the older woman as business is about to become the topic, as expected.

Back to the counterspace, Jenn seems distracted as she fumbles with cans and scoops and coffee filters. "I ah… I know this probably isn't what you wanted to hear from me, not after having just up and disappeared the way I did…" She pauses, one scoop in to the filter, looking over her shoulder to her daughter. "You have to understand, when I started going down this path, there's certain things I have to try and avoid drawing attention to. I— " her eyes close, head tilting forward. "Your father, is one of them."

She can't afford Cat's eyes, not with that topic. Looking back to the coffee machine, she continues counting out the scoops. "I'm going to have to lie about his death, about the circumstances of it. What happened at Pinehearst can't get out and be connected to me, or it'd ruin my chances for candidacy." She pauses, and Cat can almost tell the bitter expression on her face. "There's going to be an article in Friday's paper discussing his tragic and unexpected death due to the crash of a personal aircraft over upstate New York. We're going to run with that, and… I just need you to realize that the press is going to start putting pressure and attention on you."

"It was expected," Cat replies quietly after hearing Mother speak. Her face is somber; much as she keeps a poker face about it the indications she feels the loss are present. "My name will come up as the candidate's daughter, and there will be questions. Especially given your declared intent to register. I don't disagree with the move. Displays of personal boldness are often called for, and this is one of them. But I think you might've worded the announcement better. Registration is to be feared, the Linderman Act is a crime against decency and the Constitution. You should've denounced it as such, while declaring yourself as an act of honesty which says 'so what? I've got an SLC ability. What's that got to do with being Mayor?'"

A question comes to mind, and is given voice. "Whose support are you using to cover the tracks, to provide a public story for Father's death?"

Jenn's smile falters some at that last question, and Cat's consideration of her stance. "Catherine…" there's a hesitance to her voice, and she stops making the coffee, turning around to face the island and lean on it, folding her hands in front of herself. "After your father died, I— I took a good long time to consider a lot of things about my life. I know, right now, things are strained between you and I because of the distance I've been keeping, but I intend to change that." Biting down on her lower lip, she looks to the side, towards a small metal ash tray that reflects the gleaming sunlight brightly on one corner.

"I've gone back to work for the Company."

She wants to believe. Wants to have faith and trust, even after everything that's gone before. Desires to accept that this move Mother took means she's working as an infiltrator, intending to end the Company's practices, to undermine them and gather info on the leaders. Surely this is so, given her closeness to Rickham. There has to be a plan which doesn't work to that organization's benefit. Allen Rickham would counsel her so very strongly against aligning with Linderman and Angela Petrelli. But Cat has to make some queries. The knowledge nothing connected to the Company is ever good remains.

"Why would you do that, Mother?"

"Nothing can change if you don't do something about it." Jennifer's brows furrow and she dips her head down to look at her hands. "I don't have anything, not with your father gone. My work when I was with the Company was what motivated me, drove me, helped me keep my head on my shoulders. I've talked to Robert Bishop, the main director of all of the Company's global operations, and he's given me my old position back. There's a hard line of reform going through the organization since the destruction of the Bronx facility. They have an internal affairs department that's investigating the mishandling of management… and…" Jennifer's head shakes slowly.

"I'm not the only person inside of the Company who wants it to change. Right now, the Company offers something special, despite what it's been used for in the past. Anonymity. They've stopped all human capture operations, the Department of Homeland Security is handling that entirely on their own now. But right now, the Company has the resources and the ability to make a difference." Catherine's eyes narrow slightly. "The world isn't going to change clinging to idealism… and I have to realize you have to take the black with the white, the good with the bad. That's why I'm doing it."

When her focus shifts back up to Catherine, there's a steeled expression on her face. "I talked it over with Allen, and he's supporting me in this morally. After what happened at Pinehearst, I realized that unless we step up and do something with the foundation of enough power to make change happen, this world is going to go straight to hell. As mayor, I can try and clean up the city, reinforce and change legislation, make real reform happen, even if I have to use the Company as a springboard."

Shaking her head again, Jennifer sighs and straightens up. "It's not an easy decision, I didn't just… wake up one morning and decide to try and change the world. But I think, by changing the Company, I can use their influence and power to make better changes for the world. The leadership, I think they've seen a lot of what's going on, and how it needs to differ unless we stay on this course we're on. That's…" there's a hesitant smile, "Cat, I'd like you to come work with me at the Company. This… everything you're doing with Phoenix is all well and fine, but one day you're going to wind up in a jail cell, or worse. The Company can protect you, offer you resources you don't have. We can make this work from the inside, but you have to be willing to trust me."

It's classic. Four years of political science education at Yale and her own observations surface in the woman's mind. This is how it's done, Cat realizes. Operations open ranks and draw in their opponents, co-opt them. One step at a time, they come to own those opponents with each decision which is made to sound so reasonable, so innocuous. Some, in this position, might not remember that. But Cat is blessed, and cursed, with not forgetting.

These memories surface during a stony silence, and her heart breaks. Her face is kept even as best she can manage it, however.

Some long seconds later she ends the quietude. "I'll believe what you say about the Company's changed operations when I see them in widespread practice. If there's to be any redeeming value to the operation, they'll establish schools in isolated areas where people can train with abilities and gain mastery away. They'll provide the suppression medication to police departments so they can be used and DHS assistance with police actions won't be needed. Simple law enforcement and due process under the Constitution can be restored."

"The suppression medication isn't available widely because it can't be widely produced." There's something Jennifer knows there that she's not telling. "There's something about the manufacture of the suppressant drug that makes it extremely difficult to produce, save for the pill version which is highly unstable, and the Company stopped using that cocktail back in 2006 because of the adverse neurological side effects." Furrowing her brows, Jenn folds her hands and dips her head down. "Change doesn't happen overnight Cat. I— I'm not trying to force you into this, but I'm just asking that you take some time and consider it."

When she looks up, there's a tired quality to Jennifer's eyes. "With good, honest people working at the Company, the upper echelon can eventually change. Many of the founders are dead or gone now, or disassociated with the organization. It's the perfect time to orchestrate a regime change, to— to try and make right. Just like you're saying, but change— " she smiles, earnestly, "change isn't going to come overnight, or even in a few months."

Exhaling a worried sigh, Jenn looks down at her hands. "I just want you to consider it, take some time to sleep on it and think about it. Think about how far you really think Phoenix is going to go, how many people are going to senselessly get hurt trying to fight the system. You have to play by their rules if you want to win the game, that's exactly what your father would do."

"They told you they stopped using the pill version, and that it's unstable, has neurological effects? Or did they simply claim it was so?" Cat opts not to let on that she has it in her possession and it works, has shown no evidence of what Mother claims.

Other things Mother says Cat knows aren't always true. Gandhi didn't work within the system to achieve the independence of India. The Founding Fathers, for that matter, rejected the system outright and invented their own which worked for over two hundred years, and will still work, absent the machinations of Linderman. Mother has to know this, she just chooses to turn her back on the truth for the convenient.

But it's also in Cat's nature to rise to challenges and opportunities in the same way she set out to earn degrees in political science and music at the same time. Here is presented a chance to infiltrate the Company and work to undermine it on her own. She needs to consult with others on feasibility and risk, to mull over the implications fully.

"I'll take some time to consider this, as you asked, Mother," she tells the candidate. And she floats another question. "Is, or was, Hokuto Ichihara with the Company; either herself, through her father, or both?"

There's a thoughtful furrowing of her brows, and Jenn shakes her head, taking off her glasses and massaging at the bridge of her nose. "The ah, I was on the clinical research team for the pill concoction, we knew about the side effects projected reactions, it turns out they were more neurologically damaging than we first assumed. But back then having a negator on hand wasn't as easy as it is now— " she shakes her head, "not that it's easy." Then, looking up at the latter question, Jennifer looks at Cat questioningly, head canted to the side.

"Akado Ichihara was a Company agent around the time your father and I began working with the Company. He was from the Japan offices, transferred to New York before we started working with the organization. I haven't heard much about him since, he might have transferred out…" Then, considering something she nods her head. "Hokuto Ichihara is his daughter, you— they had all come over our house before, I think it was in 86 or 87? Akado's wife was an enchanting woman, she was wonderful. Are the Ichihara's still in the city?"

It's listened to and committed to memory without commentary, the candidate's statement of helping to develop it. And the topic is abandoned in favor of Hokuto. "I met her again recently. She knew my name, and I vaguely remembered her from a party ten years ago or so. It's not crystally clear, that was before manifestation, and I didn't know her name. She operates a small bookstore on Roosevelt Island now, and gives tarot readings for ten dollars apiece."

Her brow furrows moments later as her iPhone goes off and she pulls it from a pocket. The caller ID says Delilah's on the other end, and she lifts it to her ear for listening.

"Damn," she mutters darkly after a short time of listening, "I'm on the way."

The candidate is faced again as Cat ends the call and tucks her phone away. "I'll be in touch, Mother," she states. "One of my business interests needs my attention. Take care."

And with that Cat is making her exit.

All her mother can do in response is sigh, resting her chin in her hands. "Tell— " she strains the words out, looking back to the coffee pot and then to Cat again. "Tell her I give her and her parents my regards?" She knows better not to ask about what happened on the phone, or what's spurring Catherine off and away during the middle of this conversation. But right now, the stress of where Jennifer is precariously walking is beginning to take it's toll on her.

"Consider…" Her own words seem foreign as she calls out after her daughter, "Consider what I offered, Cat. Please." And then, knowing the divide between mother and daughter is wedged a bit further apart this afternoon, Jennifer slouches down and rests her head in her hands at the kitchen island.

It's not easy doing this alone.

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