Signal Lost


cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif mason_icon.gif tmonk_icon.gif

Scene Title Signal Lost
Synopsis Cat consults with an ally.
Date July 2, 2009

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.

Time isn't wasted, given what she was told. After Gillian leaves, Cat comes down from the roof and heads straight for her office area where she retrieves the hand reproduction she made of that floor plan Adam had, to which she added details from her own memory if needed. Next she grabs a video camera and takes that over to the entertainment area. The device is linked to the immense HD screen, both are turned on, and she settles into a chair.

Then her iPhone comes out, a text message being quickly composed and transmitted.

To: T.Monk and R.Ajas

From: Cat

Subject: Consultation

Have crucial intel regarding Pinehearst. Time is short. Please consult ASAP.

Somehow, both T.Monk and R.Ajas seem to have differing opinions on what ASAP means, as opposed to Cat. It's a three-hour long wait before there is even so much as a flicker of a response. But her choice of situation and surroundings has made the contact immediate, and ultimately, surprising. It isn't T.Monk or R.Ajas that graces the plasma television when the background image flickers away, but rather, it's a grainy webcame image stretched and distorted to 1080i resolution from something far, far smaller.

"Kitten…" It almost feels like having her heart wrenched out of her chest again to hear that voice and see that face. The weathered lines of Mason Chesterfield's brow and cheeks, the reflection of a monitor's glow in his glasses, it all brings back frayed edges of memories from just before Arthur's cold hand brushed Catherine's cheek.

"I…" Mason's eyes flick to something on the screen, not the camera he was looking into a moment ago. "Is that really you?" The disbelief in his voice is evident, as is the hudhed tone it has taken. There's no small amount of fear showing in his wavering voice and dark, tired circles hanging around his eyes. He looks thinner, weaker, tired and old.

Helena has been very quiet since Gillian's left, moving off by herself back to the penthouse, more or less keeping quiet. When Cat returns, she drifts through the penthouse like a ghost, and arrives to lean in Cat's doorway. She is silent while Cat plays the message.

She just stares at the screen, her eyes blinking only a few times. It is a surprise to see the face there, less so that it's possible after the futurized Teodoro told her the Chesterfields were alive at his last pass through Pinehearst and more so that Father would be onscreen now, arranged by a technopath. How is he able to do so safely, given being in Arthur's clutches? For that matter, is this really the man himself? What means would T. Monk or Micah Sanders have to know this isn't Arthur wearing his face, or employing some telepathic means to listen in? This combination of feelings and thoughts echoes on her facial features before she speaks.

"It's me, Father. Is this actually you? Arthur impersonated you before. I'm not about to fall for that same trick again." Her jaw sets, the hardening of her features evidence the assault hasn't caused her to falter one bit.

"Arthur's— he what?" Horror paints across Mason's face, one weathered hand coming to his mouth. Looking away from the screen, he stares at something outside of the field of the camera. "Why didn't you tell me that!?" His voice raises, only to be responded with a flicker of colors that splash across Mason's face, no words, just colors. Mason's brows furrow, breath drawn in through his nostrils in slow report before he turns to look back at the camera. "I— I don't— I don't know how to prove to you I am who I am, I— did he hurt you? I— I swear to God if he hurt you I— I'll— "

Colors flicker and flash from out of camera view, and Mason glances in that direction, grimacing, then looks back to the camera. "Catherine, there's— a gentleman who contacted me. He says his name is Thelonious Monk, he— I don't know how we're having this conversation, Pinehearst's network is— " he swallows down his words, awkwardly rubbing a hand at his face again. "Jesus, Kitty— you… he says you need my help for something?"

Monk, ever the puppetmaster.

Helena moves further into the office, situating herself so she can see the screen, but presumably Mason can't see her. She remains quiet, at least for now.

"It was early last month," Cat relates quietly, "after Minea Dahl contacted me and said you sent her my way. I made contact with you, believed I'd made contact with you, on the 11th. The reply I believed came from you told me to get out of town, it wasn't safe. So a meeting was set for the house in Hartford the next evening. I arrived first, found the house dusty and in a bit of disrepair. Then Arthur, impersonating you, showed up. He told me Arthur had gone mad. He'd stolen Peter's abilities, presumably murdered him, and fought with Gabriel Gray. Mother was injured, he claimed. Then he asked me to help take down Arthur permanently, and I agreed."

Her fists clench tightly as she goes on, knuckles becoming white from it. "It was then he shifted to his own appearance, ripped my ability away, set the house on fire, and tossed me out a window."

"But we have assets who restored ability and body. The answer to the question of ending Arthur is still yes. If I'd not been of that mind before, I would be now. And then some."

Mason all but deflates as Cat burdens him down with information, a man with a lesser mind would be overloaded, but the one thing Mason Chesterfield still has going for him is his saving grace in that regard. "I— I… don't know what to say, Ki— Catherine, I…" restin ghi shead in his hands, Mason breathes in a slow, weak breath.

"We've been under radio silence here at Pinehearst for over a month. Arthur has cut us off from outside world communications, taken away our phones, everything. We're not allowed to leave the complex until we figure out what went wrong with the Formula."

What went wrong?

She blinks at the words she hears. Something went wrong with the formula? But… word is Arthur said a demo is upcoming. Things don't add up. "Guard your mind," Cat advises first. "Arthur has telepathy. If you let on you heard from me, he may take actions. Having come at me, he likely suspects you're not on board with him. He hasn't come at me again, despite being able to find people through another stolen ability, so he may believe I'm dead. Best to let him continue thinking so. At the same time, we need information to help with extracting you and putting an end to his operations."

Her eyes close, there's a stretch of silence, before her voice resumes. "That explains why he hasn't killed you, Father. He needs you working with him still. But… if the formula went wrong, why is he about to make a demonstration Monday for General Autumn? We'd been told he has the completed serum."

Fear and worry braces across Mason's face as his head hangs slowly, regretfully. "Arthur will have a hard time piecing together my thoughts, I've got a far sharper mind than his, I can multi-task away from what I'm thinking. He won't…" there's a shake of his head, "there's a reason why your mother isn't here." And keeping her from knowing seems to be the reason.

"The Formula didn't work. We tested it, Arthur found both halves, and apparently already had the Catalyst somehow. He— it killed our test subject, and— I haven't told Arthur this. He's had your mothr, Zimmerman, Meier and I working on it non-stop. But I know what's wrong with it. Someone— someone changed the Formula, it's such an infintessibly small revision, no one else has noticed. I don't know how they edited the document, but they did." Exhaling a sigh, Mason rubs his hand over his mouth, glancing over his shoulder to the door of the small office he's tucked away in, then back to the webcam.

"He's tricking them, the General, everyone. He's had Doctor Meier go back to work on the Advent Virus. The— the thing that was born out of research into Shanti." The look of dread on Mason's face is undeniable, "they're going to inject test subjects with it, and— and he knows it's going to kill them. But they'll remain stable enough for the test. It's… it's all one huge smoke screen."

Leaning back into hic chair, Mason stares down at the keyboard of the computer vacantly. "Catherine, Arthur's… he's been stealing people off of the streets. I don't know how, I don't know I just— the test subjects he's using, they're being tested on against their will. It's just like what Meier did all over again."

She grimaces as the truth is laid out for her, the test subjects, the fakery of the formula, the falseness of that upcoming demonstration. Cat's expression becomes sourer, but still more determined, mixing with a slight sense of relief. "We were thinking we would need to act against Pinehearst and tear it down by Monday. It's a relief to know we needn't act so quickly, the formula isn't in play, but very distressing to also know there's little chance of saving the people he's snatched for the test."

"We have time to pull forces together and form a solid plan for dealing with both Pinehearst and Arthur. Arthur is making a number of enemies, ones not opposed to acting against him. We may be involved in operations, the matter remains undetermined. Mr. Monk advised us the task is being tended to and to let them handle it. However, I have no intention of abandoning you, Father, and in any case gathering information is critical."

"This Monk fellow seems to be very adept at not sharing everything he knows." Colors flicker across one side of Mason's face after that comment, and he stares off-camera at the source, giving a disdainful snort before looking back at Catherine. "I don't know what you're planning, Catherine, but— you can't take on Arthur. He— he defeated Sylar by himself, I don't know what's been happening on the outside, but things here have been getting worse by the day. Whatever happened to Arthur after his encounter with Sylar has pushed him over the edge, it's like— the man I once knew is just gone."

Staring down at the keyboard again, Mason rubs a hand over his mouth again, a familiar, anxious gesture. "Don't— don't worry about your mother and I, we were trained to handle things like this. Worry about yourself. If something were to happen to you, Catherine, I— I don't know what I would do."

"We're not planning to take on Arthur alone," Cat informs. "He's likely beyond our capability. Operatives we would need to make it workable are no longer with us." Hiro Nakamura, Anne Williams. "There is one who could balance the scales, though." Norton Trask. "I think if he were struck in the head with a large enough round it would do the trick. The brain controls most things in the body, odds are it works the same for regeneration. But, it's a gamble," she admits.

"In any case, the die is possibly cast, and we have to make moves against Arthur. He's already killed one of our operatives; that together with him having come at me weeks ago suggests he may come at the rest of us. I'm not in favor of sitting still and waiting for someone who can find me anytime he wants just by thinking about it."

We've recently learned former members of the Vanguard are forming up to assault Fortress Arthur, and we've also been approached by Adam Monroe for the same purpose. While at least one of the Vanguardites involved is known to us as having helped handle Volken and some other projects since, it gives us some disquiet just the same. And Mr. Monroe… given his backstory we would much prefer not to engage in anything with him at all."

Some of this being relayed, maybe all of it, could be for Mason's benefit to seek his opinion. Or it could be that she expects Mr. Monk is paying attention. Or both.

"Adam?" There's a ghastly look of disquiet on Mason's face, "Adam works for Arthur!" He somehow presumes that Cat doesn't know, doesn't remember, isn't aware or— "Catherine, you can't trust anything he says. He's Arthur's attack dog, there's no telling what he's trying to lure you into." Had Mason known more about the Vanguard, he likely would have had just the same reaction about them. "Catherine, please, I— I don't know what you're planning, but don't take Arthur lightly. People who have known him for years tried to kill him, if Angela Petrelli couldn't find a way to do it, there's no telling if you'd be able to. I— I just want you to stay safe. You're my daughter, I— I don't want to lose you."

Then, after a moment of flickering colors from his periphery, Mason's head tilts down into a resigned bow of his head, murmmuring, "you're right…" Then, when he looks back up through the glaring lenses of his glasses to the camera again, he drops something of a bombshell. "Arthur kidnapped Edward Ray. The— the Edward from now, and here." As if clarification were necessary, "He was held here, prisoner, for a time. Your mother and I spoke to him, we— we've been following his instructions on how to debase Arthur's plans, to delay him. Edward was sure rescue would come for him, and— apparently it did. Someone freed Edward Ray and one of Alison Meier's test subjects, Delphine Kuhr, from here weeks ago. I— I don't know if this is all a part of Edward's plan, but— he seems intent on bringing Arthur down."

Both Edwards working against Arthur, and yet not working together? It's a strange notion.

"I've met Delphine Kuhr," Cat replies gravely. "She's how I was given back what Arthur stole from me. Her release was achieved by Gabriel Gray, after the fight Arthur told me about just before he threw me out the window. I know very little about Edward Ray's situation. Either incarnation of him. But," she adds with that same determination in her voice, some steel in her eyes, "I think it's time to find out."

Moments later, she softens. "Father, I know the things I do are dangerous. I've no plans to die, I do know it's a risk. But… far better it is to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."

She reflects momentarily on his parental sentiments, and sympathizes with his fear of her loss, but… she will do what she believes she must. Somewhere inside, Cat believes, he also understands this. Most parents know the same fears, but still they send their youth to do things like charge the beaches of Normandy with just a military rifle in a desperate scramble to grab and hold beachheads.

"This— this isn't a game Catherine," always with the lectures, "Even if you manage to kill Arthur, you— everyone involved, he's got ties to the government now. If you kill him, without— I don't know, I just don't know. You're risking too much, he— this is just too much, Catherine. I don't know what to do, I can't— " colors flicker at the side of Mason's face, and he glances into the multi-hued lights with eyes narrowed, an expression of uncertainty painted across his face. Then, with a nod, he turns back to the camera again.

"Monk says that he's noticed another technopath snooping around Pinehearst outside of the main network, he thinks it's the one that came from the future. He," Mason checks something off camera again, then looks back, "he's relatively certain that Hana has been mentoring him on the side, and wants you to contact her and find out if she sent him in or not. I don't know what's going to happen, Catherine, how all this is going to end, but… but every time I try and figure it out, all I see is death. I— don't want to lose you. Your mother and I don't need to lose anything else dear to us."

She could rebut his mention of Arthur's ties to the government, assert that if he's kept from getting the formula completed those ties fade to nothing. He'll be unable to deliver on providing Frontliners by injection, the false demo planned won't keep him from soon needing to provide the real thing. But Cat won't, the argument would just extend when there are things to do. Instead she opts to give him peace of mind as best she can without lying.

"I'll soon be in contact with Wireless, asking that question, Father," she agrees.

Next comes a question. "Mr. Monk, Father, how do I contact the younger Edward Ray?" But even as she asks, Cat wonders if she really needs to find him. It would be so very Edward to know this is the time she'll be looking for the man and produce himself. As might the older one, who first aimed her at Pinehearst.

Opening his mouth, about to answer with a befuddled how the hell should I know, the flickering colors just off screen cause Mason to bite down on those words and consider whatever it is he sees there. Brows furrowing, Mason casts a suspicious stare back towards the webcam, "He— Monk says you should ask Teodoro Laudani." There's a twitch at the corner of Mason's eyes, uncertain of what to make of that, "Monk says he'd know." Somehow, the accusatory tone of Monk's text manages to translate into Mason's own words.

Those flickering colors offscreen are the reason Cat addressed the question to both Mason and Monk. "Thank you both," she replies. "I know how to reach him." A few beats later, after a stretch of silence, she adds "Father, don't fear. I won't take unneeded risks."

"I know you won't," his words are the exact opposite of what his heart is screaming, "you're a Chesterfield." Which, is to say, you'll get things done, no matter the cost. Even if he can't bear to acknowledge that she is the very image of her mother, Mason at least manages to swallow his parental fears, and let his pride shine through as best as he is able.

She's done just that already. Keeping silent as she witnessed Dani being tortured by Ethan, accepting her sacrifice as something not avoidable, putting the assault on Moab ahead of revenge on Ethan by making her agreement with Eileen Ruskin, working with Gabriel Gray, keeping the secret of Peter Petrelli… The decisions are often hard, but the greater goals are more important than any individual life or vendetta.

"I'll see you soon enough, free of Arthur's clutches," she promises. "Keep your head up. Sabotage him any way you safely can."

We will all keep fighting the good fight.

The slightrly synthesized voice of a man older than Mason rumbles across the speakers, and Mason seems to jerk away from the keyboard when Monk's voice is heard. He blinks his eyes twice, swallows hard, and looks back to the camera. Wringing his hands together, he leans in, voice quiet as he moves his hand up to the camera, causing the image to jitter some.

"I love you, Kitty," Heavy with sentimentality, Edward's words linger from the speakers that produce them, "your mother and I both do, very much." But there's no time for long goodbyes, not now, perhaps not ever. And the camera clicks off, turning the LCD display a matte black with text at the center of the screen reading, simple:

Signal Lost.

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