Schroedinger's Cat


cat_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Schroedinger's Cat
Synopsis Observation changes that which is observed, and for Peter and Cat, that holds true.
Date November 14, 2008

Isaac's Loft

This spacious loft looks to have at one time been an art studio, judging from the wide array of paintings arranged up against the walls and littered across tables. Half-finished murals adorn one wall, nor merely faded spatterings of color. The loft is bordered on one side by a large row of windows looking out into the entrance hall, a door with a frosted glass window set into it leads out. From the entryway, there is a raised walkway that descends down a few steps into the main loft, where long and paint-stained tables are stacked with mostly blank canvas in frames, and some completed paintings in a stylized and sharp color-contrast style. What dominates much of the loft, however, is not the abandoned artwork or the layers of dust that have settled on them, but rather strings — hundreds upon hundreds of strings.

The entire loft is filled with strings that stretch from one side of the main room to another, most of them laden with newspaper clippings, photographs, or plastic baggies filled with strange oddies like locks of hair, a shirt button, interlinked paperclips and the like. The majority of the news articles are all related to the bomb that destroyed most of midtown manhattan in 2005, some also relating to Senator Petrelli's political campaign, then other seemingly unrelated incidents. A single red string seems to interconnect all of the other threads, bouncing from one point to another, tied off to different articles — all which can be slid by slip knots into new positions — and tangled up towards a knot at the center where an article related to the bomb is hanging, showing a photograph of a man named "Gabriel Gray." It takes a moment to notice that the shapes and colors on the floor beneath all of this chaos is an image. It is a profound one at that, the painting of a city being blown apart by an atomic explosion, complete with a crimson and orange mushroom cloud rising up from the middle.

Beyond this area, the entire north wall of the loft is a large line of blown out windows covered with venetian blinds, angled to filter in light during the daytime, and affording a view of the broken skyline of midtown in the distance.

In the early morning, a few hours after dawn breaks across the horizon, Cat is on the prowl. She's adrift in thought as she moves through the city. What had Helena chosen not to tell her about Rock? She doesn't speak of him, or didn't when last they met. A short time later her car pulls up near one of the places she'd been told about and stops. She gets out and locks the doors, then begins to make her way inside. Gloves are on her hands, both against the not-warm air and to avoid leaving fingerprints. The door to the building within which Isaac lived and painted is tried. It may, or may not, be locked.

The doorknob falls off when Cat's hand tries it, letting the door swing awkwardly open. The screws are loosened, part of the door itself looks damaged, only the venitian blind curtain that hangs over the large plate-glass window serving as any sort of shielding to who is inside, all of the glass on the door having been blown out years ago. When the door skitters open, Cat is left in the view of an elaborate network of colored threads and newspaper clippings, photographs, and trinkets like locks of hair, keychains, and plastic baggies filled with dirt. It's a starts minagerie of nonsensical belongings, with all of Isaac's easels and paintings pushed aside.

On the floor, from the raised area by the entrance, she can see the painting that started it all spread out on the floor beneath the web. A fiery depiction of New York being destroyed, lightly covered in as much dust as everything else here is. It's a sign of what once was, and perhaps what is still…

But at the moment, she's alone in the loft, left with the ghosts of the past.

The door is closed behind her as she makes her way slowly inward. The woman's eyes travel over the artwork on the floor first, and stop there to study it carefully. Cat's intent is to not miss any detail visible. When that's done she moves on, her eyes skimming over the paintings which were shoved aside as much as can be without touching anything. And from there she progresses to the elaborate network, taking bearings in the hope of finding a starting point to it all and moving along in sequence.

Like a spider's web, the string web radiates out from a single central point. A black string that intersects with all of the others, a yellow post-it note on the string reads "Sylar" in capital letters. Beneath either the beginning or ending of that string, is a newspaper clipping that shows New York City the day after the explosion, a headline that changed the world forever. Following the black string, Cat finds it intersecting many others, one of which showing a high-school photograph of Claire Bennet and something odd. A newspaper clipping from 2006 reading that Claire Bennet was killed in her high school by the serial killer Sylar. Safety-pinned to that newspaper clipping is another identical article that lists an entirely different girl as having died. The dates on the articles are identical.

The black string snakes away, through other colors, through other notes and newspaper articles. One declaring Nathan Petrelli's landslide victory in the Presidential election. It's overpinned by a picture declaring Allen Rickham's come from behind victory. It's here she notices all of the strings end in slip-knots, effectively allowing a re-arranging of key points and events on the lines.

Moving along slowly, carefully, to perceive every piece of information here, Cat pauses at the spot which both says Claire died and lived. Her head tilts, eyes lingering there, while she ponders. Her own voice emits quietly, a theory. "So… Sylar got you, Claire, but someone altered time and prevented that. Or sent a warning back so others could do so." While still standing there, she accesses the files of memory to call up Claire and everything Rock shared about her, or projected at her and the two others when his amnesia dam burst.

"I think he's been here, recently." The voice from the doorway behind Cat is a familiar one. For a moment it's hard to discern if his voice was one conjured from memory, but decidedly real. The sound of footsteps and the crunching of broken glass signify that it's definately a voice from the present, and not some far off memory. "Didn't think I'd find you here…" The sound of leather slapping against cloth comes with each footstep, Peter's long jacket brushing against his slacks while he walks. He looks a bit different than Cat recalls seeing him last, but at the same time familiar — more like when she first met him at the Wench, more so than once he took charge of PARIAH. "Good to see you again…"

Her foray into the vault of memories is interrupted by that voice, Cat abandons the call-up to make that discernment, returning to here and now. She turns toward the sounds and studies the man, comparing the differences in appearance, and the not-differences. "Morning, Rock," she replies a few moments later. "Have you been well? And… who's been here recently? I like to explore sometimes." It's definitely different. This one doesn't appear horrified that she would dare to act against someone being actively dangerous, a fact which doesn't escape her notice.

"Tired. But I'll live." Peter walks towards the railing near the door, pashing through it before gliding down to the ground as he becomes solid again. "Hiro Nakamura, if I had to guess." One hand is motioned towards the strings, "He took up Isaac's place after he died… He's…" Peter frowns slightly, "Obsessed with changing the past. Preventing all of this…" His dark eyes scan out towards the ruined city through the blown out windows beyond. "There's new pieces here. I… check back every so often," Peter's head nods to the strings, "See if Hiro's here. I could really use his help right now."

"I see," Cat comments, her eyes now settling again on the conflicting articles of the event in Odessa, Texas. "Your niece died, but didn't die, since she's alive. It could, scientifically, be the first article is in error and later corrected, but if that were so it should mention the erroneous reporting. That evidence tells me her death by Sylar was forestalled. Either directly or by proxy. Hiro's work, I'm presuming, in either case."

"That's how this all started…" Peter's tone of voice becomes reminiscent, walking over to the articles, his fingers leafing through them with a distant look in his eyes. "Save the Cheerleader, Save the World." It's like a mantra, one that causes him to look down to the painting of the explosion beneath his feet. "Hiro traveled back in time to give me that message, to prevent Sylar from getting her power… from becoming unstoppable." Closing his eyes, Peter looks away from the painting, and Cat as well, turning his back on both.

"For all the good it did. You can't change the future." His hands tuck into the pockets of his slacks, the long trail o fhis coat wavering from side to side as he takes a few slow steps away. "We saved her, and we didn't save the world… we ruined it."

Peter shakes his head, then turns to point at the mural under Cat's feet, "That still happened." His tone is embittered, "Whatever it is, whatever it means. None of it matters, Hiro failed, we all failed and now we have to live with the consequences of that failure. Trying to go back to the way the world was? It isn't going to happen. Hiro's delusional if he thinks he can change any of this, stop any of this from happening." Peter's lips curl into a frown, head hanging. "One day maybe I'll convince him myself… just how futile hope is."

"What is, is," Cat states calmly. "If it were so easy as just going back to change things, make it all be different, I should think he would have already. Knowing where and when the explosion happened would give the ability to arrive ahead of that point in time, make a sniper nest atop a nearby building, then peg both you and Sylar in the head. But…" she trails off and lets that hang for a few moments, "we come back to Heisenberg's principle. Observing changes the observed. We can't know if, for instance, there wouldn't be someone else with precognition waiting atop whatever building was chosen to stop Mr. Nakamura from stopping the detonation. A person could go insane trying to calculate all the permutations."

"That would cause a rift." Peter mumbles quietly, "It — It's something Hiro said. Why he couldn't go back and do it himself, it would do something, weird…" His eyes narrow slightly, and Peter turns away from Cat again. "But you're right, it doesn't matter. We've got the world that was made, and now we have to live with it. Change it. Make it ours." He walks over to a stack of paintings that are pushed together, pausing to look at one depicting a young blonde woman with her eyes wide in panic. His eyes linger over the depictionof Claire, letting his head shake slowly before he turns to finally regard Cat again. "You probably want to be careful on your way out. HomeSec knows about this place, I think. Depends on how much Parkman told them…"

"Parkman," she mutters. "The traitor. What was the metaphorical thirty pieces of silver he was offered to sell us all out, to join in with people who would put him and us into concentration camps, and eventually the waterless showers? How anyone can not get where this is all heading fails comprehension. Unless he knows and doesn't care, thinks by working with them he'd be spared, not thinking the bitter truth, that all it offers is being last to die."

"His little girl." Peter says quietly; ruefully. "Molly Walker." The pieces of that particular puzzle start to affix themselves into place. "The Company, and then Homeland Security took her. He's… like a surrogate father to her. He's afraid if he runs, that they'll find him and Molly, and that he'll never get to see her again." Peter's lips press together tightly, head shaking. "I offered to take the both of them away, far away and hide them." His tone turns somewhat sarcastic. "He shot me for my efforts."

"Hope dies hard," Cat comments. "It's not easy to face the truth that unchecked they'll kill her anyway. Our only chance, really, is to fight back smartly and make the population rise up to defend traditional American values of liberty and democracy. To understand that tolerating actions against us simply for being who we are is to say it's okay to act that way against anyone, despite the fear they feel. Once we're gone, another group will be picked for extermination. Without the population as a whole behind us, though, it's all lost. We're too far outnumbered."

"That's what I'm doing." Peter says firmly, turning to walk back towards the door, "There's no such thing as a bloodless Revolution, Cat. Or selective bloodshed. Every person you kill has a family, has hopes, dreams and a life. Maybe they didn't have a choice to be working for who they did, doing what they do? How many Matt parkman's are there out there?" He pauses partway up the steps back to the landing, hands tucking into the pockets of his slacks again, shoulders shrugging.

"Where do you stop drawing the line at who is acceptable to die and who isn't?" His eyes settle on Cat, "Construction workers building a new prison for our kind? maybe their financial backers? The people who make the steel?" His eyes divert down to the floor. "In the end it's all about justifying to yourself how much blood you're comfortable spilling." He shakes his head slowly, eyes closing. "I've stopped justifying."

A long breath is drawn as she turns to face him. "That's where the line needs to be drawn. Where the actions stop being defense we can explain to the public as such and become indiscriminate acts which will only increase the paranoia and determination to exterminate us. For more than two hundred years in this country people have understood the need to keep police in check, and they will again. If we don't make them believe the only way to be safe is killing all of us. Thomas Jefferson said the tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. There will be blood. None of us believe otherwise. We weren't born yesterday. But we also realize we have to make it clear this isn't about evolved versus non-evolved. This is about liberty versus fascism, if they let police have this power, they've opened the door. If you don't believe people will see and understand that, well, consider this: they elected Rickham."

"Rickham was a step in the right direction." Peter admits, looking towards the door, "Let's see how long it takes for his position to turn him into a monster too." There's hesitation in Peter's voice, aand his eyes close slowly, "How long before all of us become monsters." It's an afterthought, more than anything, perhaps dregged up by the guilt of old memories surfacing after seeing this place again. "It… was nice seeing you again, Cat." His eyes lift from the floor, looking back to her. "You know…" He smiles, faintly, "I wonder how things would have been different. If I would have stayed that day…"

"There would have been red heels," Cat replies with a hint of a smile. "But what is, is. You didn't, and now there may still be red heels. Stormy will wear them. Make her happy, Rock. She deserves it, and so do you." She chooses not to comment on his leaving the Company for other paths, it's progress, although she had hoped he would infiltrate and expose their whole operation to the public in some provable way. It doesn't seem she has the first clue there are two Rocks about these days. "Take care, Peter," she adds, moving to depart the loft herself.

Peter's head lowers for a moment, and he hesitates at the door. "…Helena and I…" His voice is distant, then tempered by something else. "There's no future there." He doesn't explain further as he steps out of the doorway, causing the hall to turn deep black with darkness, stepping into the shadows as if they were some watery surface, rippling and shifting as he does, accepting his form and leaving nothing in his wake save for the slowly fading gloom behind him.

November 14th: For the Birds

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 14th: Reversible
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