Seeking Liberty


cat_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Seeking Liberty
Synopsis Cat seeks many things — not the least is freedom.
Date November 14, 2010

Redbird Security

It's not a long trip she takes after separating herself from the group Cat had been with at the memorial service, straight for the nearby building one of those three stated she was headed for with the intent of getting there first and lying in wait. She doesn't know how far behind Peyton is or will be, and while she anticipates the place will be closed on a Sunday morning, a hand reaches out to test that presumption on arrival at the front doors.

One never knows; given Peyton said she was going to work there could be someone else already there.

Maybe even that redheaded person she saw only once.

It's a few moments before Peyton shows up, head down as she shakes out a full ring of keys to find the correct one. She looks up, eyebrows rising as she pushes her sunglasses up onto her head. It's about noon now, and the light is bright for a fall day.

"Well, I didn't expect you so soon," she says amiably, moving to unlock the door and stepping aside to let Cat in. "Come on in." She peeks in to make sure anyone who should be out of sight is out of sight, before nodding Cat in and following behind her, locking the door after.
The identically statured but years older woman takes advantage of the passage offered to her, stepping through with a dry chuckle. "Really now, Peyton? You did say you were headed back here, made for as good a time as any."

Once inside with the door locked, her demeanor shifts slightly. Caution is no longer needed, away from the public eye. The shades come off, followed by the Yankees cap and hair is shaken loose. "Our lives continue to be non-boring, yes?"

"Unfortunately. My dad once told me it's a curse in China to say 'may you lead an interesting life,' and I'm getting to understand what he meant," Peyton says, tipping her head to indicate Cat should follow here. Lights are turned on as they enter a hallway just past the receptionist's desk, and the business owner opens one of the doors in the hall, leading into an office — clearly Peyton's.

Von rushes forward, having been left there with a bowl of water, tail wagging as he greets Peyton and then snuffles around Cat to do the same.

"Have a seat. What can I do for you?" Peyton says, flopping into her own black leather seat. Without the sunglasses shielding her eyes, it's easy to see the weariness and strain on her face — dark circles beneath and bloodshot within.

There's no evidence of weariness or strain about Cat, her eyes aren't bloodshot, what's presented is the same stoicism generally shown to others. "A number of things," she responds on following into the office and taking possession of a chair. "You look like you've been through the wringer," she muses, "did someone try to assassinate you too?" Venom flickers through the stoicism in so asking.

It's a decent guess that if she got hands on the person who set the Council members up, that person would have a very excruciating day.

"Not on the Eighth," Peyton answers with a sympathetic frown, as she unbuttons her coat and wriggles out of it, letting it drape on the back of her chair. One hand instinctively touches her still-healing arm, though there's no obvious injury there, bandages beneath her sweater as they are.

"I'm sorry about that, though. I'm sure it was … well, horrible." Peyton's been through quite a few harrowing events but seeing that many of her friends gunned down in one moment is one she's had yet to experience.

"It was unboring," Cat remarks dryly, "but not my first assassination attempt. Or even the closest I've been to going out. That was during a battle with Dreyfus and his goons, got shot in the neck. Fell to the floor, passing out with fingers trying to stop the blood." Her hands are briefly studied, then eyes lift to settle on Peyton's face.

"We were in a joint op with a Frontline unit, to take him out. The woman you were talking to that night you seduced Kain Zarek must've kept the pressure on after I passed out."

The mention of Kain earns Cat a stricken look from Peyton and she looks away, cheeks coloring angrily. The fact that Kain is dead is harrowing; the fact that Cardinal killed him even worse; the fact it was in revenge, the worst — the reminder that she slept with Kain after Cat's warning is not a necessary one. She remembers all too well.

"Faye? When was that?" she manages, to change the subject, reaching to pick up a yet-unopened envelope still sitting on her desk. She curls her fingers around it, not looking up.
"April 30th," she provides. Brows raise a bit curiously at Peyton's reaction to Kain's name, but she chooses not to dwell on it. It isn't necessary to state belief the world won't miss that man at all, she opined on that several months before. A silence settles in, her features becoming more somber, less stoic.

"I'm unaccustomed to failure, Peyton. The city as it is, the riots, I had it so wrong. I thought it might be triggered by mounting resistance to universal registration, as it should have been. That it was the doing of Carmichael, I…" More silence, thoughts being composed.

"The first week of this month I searched high and low for Rhys Bluthner. Couldn't find him."

Peyton sighs and taps the desk with the envelope. "Even knowing it was Carmichael, we have no idea how long he had it set up, and he probably had other back up plans than the one that worked. You can't blame yourself, Cat. You might have more information than anyone in the world, but you still can't see everything coming, and you can't stop it even when you can, as we've all figured out. We changed a lot of things, apparently — a lot, because there are people who saw themselves dead and they're not, now — others probably are who didn't, I don't know, but you can't blame yourself."

She reaches to pat the other woman's hand, then shrugs. "Why are you trying to find him? He might not be in this time stream, I donno." Once upon a time, she'd never use such a phrase, but now she's a worldly time traveler.

"That's why I wanted to find Rhys," Cat explains in a quieted voice, "he sees the past with such clarity, enough to have perceived a number of the things people were taken backward to assist with. I believe he could look back and see every move Carmichael made, tell where to go for blocking it completely. Tell us if there's still another shoe to drop."

"I don't know that they would have helped with that if they could have," Peyton counters, though gently. "I'm not sure. I don't know if he was worried about changing the present, but just keeping the past the way it was. In some ways I wonder if the things we fought to fix in the past — if it would have been better if they stayed broken."

Like, saving Thomas Zarek. What would things be like if Kain didn't exist? Cat would probably agree they would be better. Peyton sighs a little and reaches up to push a strand of hair out of her face. "You'll drive yourself nuts if you keep thinking of could haves, Cat. Or the things you tried but didn't accomplish. From what I know, I would guess that even if Rhys could tell you, it still might have happened. Still probably would have, I think."

She shrugs. "Things aren't as bad as they would have been if we didn't try at all, at least. I'm pretty sure."

"What I'm after now is regrouping," Cat asserts, "finding people, taking stock, gathering information. Rhys will be part of that, especially telling me if there's another shoe to drop based on seeing what Carmichael was up to. There has to be more, the man can't have been so foolish as to not fathom what the results of his plot would be, how much damage it would cause our standing in the world."

Silence again, eyes on Peyton.

"Was there any brainstorming done about that? Anything learned which might shed light?"

Peyton listens, reaching down to pet Von who's leaned up against her leg, red fur no doubt dotting black pants. "Good luck with that," she says quietly. "I can tell you someone tried to find that all out, but circumstances got in the way, unless someone else has information I'm not aware of. Very likely."

"The task is complicated," Cat gravely admits, "by very possibly being wanted for arrest or execution. The Verb hasn't been raided, and there doesn't seem to be anyone keeping it under watch, but that may well mean I simply haven't spotted the watchers yet. Haven't gone home, and won't be any time soon for that reason." She lets a slight smile form. "I've got resources just the same, places few people know about." And it's back to stern focus as the smile dies away. "What's needed is to establish locations and status for several people. Abby Beauchamp, and not just because she's Ferry. Joseph Sumter. Scott Harkness. Andy Rourke. Grace Matheson. Among several others. I'm not worried about Elisabeth, the situation will keep her busy with Frontline for some time to come, and if anything happened to her it'd make the news."

"If you're asking me to find them, I can only find people I know — or at least that I've seen through my power," Peyton says. I don't know Scott Harkness, I don't think. May have met Andy, if he's the guy at the Brick House? Grace — she's the woman at Summer Meadows back in the winter?"

Peyton stands. "Some of them are probably on that island. Let me get some coffee and I'll see who I can find."

"There are other ways than your eyes to seek people," Cat replies evenly, "and there's time for that going forward. You don't look in much shape for such endeavors right now in any case, Peyton. I think the thing you're in the best shape for is sleep. Several days worth. When you're in a better state, I can get you photographs of people to match the names. And I have means to learn who is and isn't on an island."

She leans back in her chair.

"It's in my nature to always be busy. It keeps the worst memories at bay, sees me building new ones as much as possible, and though things seem bleak now, I feel the sting of failure, I don't by any means think it's permanent. Liberty always wins in the end."

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