String for a Cat


cat_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title String for a Cat
Synopsis Magnes and Cat discuss theories involving the symbol.
Date May 2, 2010

Morningside Heights

Morningside Heights was and is still known for its high density of educational institutions. Most of the neighborhood is owned by Columbia University; the rest is shared with Barnard College, the Manhattan School of Music, the Teachers College, Columbia Greenhouse nursery school, and a variety of religious seminaries.

In addition to places like the Cathedral of St. John the Divine and Morningside Park, the neighborhood boasts a variety of restaurants and clubs, excellent bookstores, and Mondel Chocolates, selling handmade chocolate candies even today.

Before the bomb, Morningside Heights was dominated by students. That is still the case today, but their majority is now far smaller — with Morningside being one of the neighborhoods least affected by the explosion, it has become a very popular place to live. Housing is extremely expensive, but people are willing to pay through the nose for a place they know is safe and sound — at least in structural terms. Population density is high; like everywhere else in the city, so is crime, although Morningside's biggest problems are theft and embezzlement. Along with the consequences of college parties and/or pranks.

It's been rough, the time since she woke up Saturday morning with IV tubes in her body and bandages at her neck. Sore and stiff there from the suturing, being offered painkillers which she's declined. If she needed such things, Cat elected, aspirin would have to do. Or some other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. So they finally convinced her to accept a prescription for a drug in that variety which doesn't get sold over the counter, one that can cause drowsiness. This, she found agreeable. Being a woman with perfect memory, and the things that memory contains, makes being flat on her back in a hospital bed a terrifying thing. Too little to do, the risk of losing herself in unpleasant memories and never emerging is too great.

She somehow survived it with sanity intact, through a strategy of replaying movies and music in her head, sleeping, and reading every single thing she could get her hands on. When she wasn't going over every possible thing she knows about the Institute, of course. The doctors and nurses are likely very glad to see her check out.

She's had some things brought to her. Fresh clothing, winter weather gear for the near-Antarctic conditions, and the like. At fifteen minutes after nine, there she is at the hospital exit. Standing up out of the wheelchair they insisted she allow them to wheel her out in, which she agreed to only because they wouldn't shut up otherwise. Feet touch ground, and she strides away toward a vehicle in the parking lot.

"What happened to you?" Magnes asks, having tracked her down to the hospital, but certainly not expecting her to come out in a wheelchair. He's standing behind her, suggesting that he probably landed from the sky rather suddenly, wearing a long black wool coat that stops at his knees, blue jeans, and black snow boots. He's got bruises all over his face, though they seem to be fading, there's enough of them vs. how his face normally looks to tell that he was in a ridiculously bad fight only around two or so weeks ago. "But at least your geek face is still intact. Mind if I join you? I wanna discuss some theories, and you're the only person who seems to make an effort or be capable of extrapolating from a vague theory."

People suddenly behind her isn't new, the most recent being Vincent Lazzaro who coalesced from smoke and made contact regarding Liette, sister of she who's causing all this frozenness. The woman's strides slow, letting him come alongside and be seen, but keep going just the same. They even quicken, she anticipates not needing to walk slowly. He's taller, thus most likely if anyone were to have issues with keeping up it'd be Cat.

"Got shot in the neck," she dryly informs, "dealing with Vanguard crumbs. They're like fucking cockroaches, this bunch is all pissed off we stopped their plan of finding and selling that nuke so it could be used to blow up a city. That, and a grudge against Elisabeth Harrison. Fucking hospitals insist on wheeling people out, so they don't get sued if a patient falls and gets hurt trying to leave."

She looks both angry and relieved to be free again. A mix of happy at being out of that hospital, displeased at not knowing if they got all the Vanguardites, wanting to reclaim the weapons taken from her, and hoping Sarisa Kershner didn't lay hands on her skin.

"You probably read about it in the papers or saw it on the tube. What's up, Magnes?"

"It's rare to see you not being stoic." Magnes casually points out, walking next to her and subtly cracking the ice where there's no salt, so it's easier to walk. "I've been thinking about that symbol more often, and how people seem to coincidentally meet a lot. The symbol goes all the way back to kensei's sword, and the sword was Adam Monroe's before it was Hiro's, he's the earliest I've dated the symbol so far. I'm thinking, maybe the symbol is some sort of warning, little things implanted in the subconscious or slipped into imagery by a clandestine organization, similar to Freemasons or the Illuminati. Maybe little things in life, things we don't notice, they're pushing people together so all of these coincidences will happen, and the symbol is like their mark that things are going according to plan."

Hospitals, in terms of being compelled to remain in one for medical treatment, clearly trouble Cat. She isn't about to explain why, however, or even acknowledge there's any effect at all. She realizes something may have been given away by her demeanor, causing a shift as Magnes speaks of non-stoicism. The Vulcan is back!

"It's certainly possible," Cat allows, "there are a lot of mysteries. For all we know, any event mentioned in the bible or the ancient religious texts of other cultures and faiths involved people with the SLC. You can certainly walk on water, as could any person with capability of flight. Mother could probably have turned water to wine, and I've known people who could take a handful of fish, a few loaves of bread, and feed a multitude." Perhaps she's picturing Jennifer Galloway doing so, with Gillian's help.

"And for all we know, witch hunts during the Inquisition and at Salem were aimed at real 'witches'. Maybe it was a clandestine organization, which used the symbol, working to make people believe such things aren't real that finally got the heat off."

"But clearly they're still around, if it's real." Magnes takes his journal from a buttoned pocket, holding it up for her, then slides it back in and buttons again. "There might be a way to track them, maybe using statistics, putting together a database of the symbol appearances using Google maps or something. But who knows how deep it would go… The point is, if these people are manipulating us somehow, or greatly affecting our lives, we'd have to stop them."

She looks at the journal long enough to see and remember what's being shown, as the voice is used to reply. "That's possible. It's also possible this is a precog leaving the marks, engineering their appearances, as signposts. Maybe intended to subconsciously find each other and go from there according to free will. It's all just speculation, really. Like anything else, actions require more substantive proof. Can't act against anyone when we don't know names or locations." Her face turns toward him briefly.

"The only organization I know of involved with monitoring and manipulating us before Nathan Petrelli had our existence outed is the Company. After that point, Pinehearst sprung up. And now there's the Institute." Eyes turn away from him to survey snowy streets, the piles set aside by numerous plowings, and she appears reminded of something.

"Of a more immediate concern is all this snow. No idea when the weather might break, but when it does all this snow has the potential of making Else's song true. So here's a mission for you, Magnes. Use your flying to get high above the city and look down, use some really good binoculars, and look for storm drains blocked by snow. Map what you find."

"I could do that. I'll just get a current satelite image of the city, and one from before the snow started, then visit the sights and note all the points with blocked storm drains." Magnes knows it'll take a while, but he seems to have come up with a plan fairly quickly. A hand is placed against her back, and she can briefly feel an uneasy wave through her body before he takes his hand back, though he doesn't appear to have done anything that left an effect. "The reason I'm telling you this theory is in case it's true, and if it's true, we could find enough evidence to nip it in the butt before it becomes something as large as Pinehearst, and if it already is, we could at least stop it before it started acting."

Briefly veering back to the symbol, she suggests "Continue gathering info, show me what you've got from time to time." She pauses as the hand is placed on her and the sensation courses through, taking a few moments to collect herself afterward. Then Cat goes on. "Excellent. Storm drains are the most important, any place that might trap water is notable too. Being on it in advance is key. The Ferry," she explains, "has a woman who can make fire with her hands. My idea is to make the list, and ask her to do targeted melting at those spots so water doesn't get trapped." Between that, and Helena's efforts with other weathermakers, a good deal of flooding can be prevented. If they could just crack the issue of Liette and Julie Fournier.

"Sounds like a sound enough idea. And I'm a pretty good snow plow, especially with Gillian's help." Magnes slides his hands into his pockets, staring down at his feet. "I was wondering two other things, since you always seem to know a lot. What are the best ways to gain memories back, and combat telepathy? At first I was gonna keep those holes in my memories, so I could continue relating to Claire, but… she genuinely seems to hate me now. And I need to learn to combat telepathy because I'm trying to patch my weaknesses, and become useful even without my ability." There's a pause, and he adds, "I also need to get in contact with a negator, for training purposes."

"Getting memories back depends on what caused the loss," Cat tells him quietly. "If it came from a telepathic or persuasive suggestion, it can be undone by someone with the same ability. The best chance would be with the person who planted it, but for obvious reasons that's not likely. If it came from someone who physically alters the brain to do the work, I don't know if it can be reversed. It could be that only a small selection of cells is affected, blocking access to other cells where memories are in the brain, or it could affect the memory cells themselves. A healer might be able to reverse it, but no guarantees. Like you've seen with Claire," she explains quietly, "damaged brain cells, or brain tissue that was destroyed, can be regenerated but the information they held be gone." She studies him quietly, not letting on anything verbal from her own experiences, but there's a hint that she understands the pain of loss, is familiar with it.

"Telepathy is tricky," she remarks after a stretch of silence. "In truth, there probably isn't a foolproof way to beat it. A determined telepath with enough skill can probably over time get through any defenses. But it can be made harder if you know one is nearby. You can keep your mind occupied with random things to have anything you don't want picked up pushed down. But be careful, that might attract a telepath's attention, just like you might sense by looking at or talking with someone trying to avoid a question. You could also, as part of keeping your mind busy, go proactive. Call up mental images meant to shock the telepath into staying out, or to react physically and give away that you're being scoped. If that happens, then you can make the telepath unconscious, or get away from her. Or him."

Next topic. "I know of two negators who might be available. The first, you've seen him before more than once, but I'd bet one of those times you don't remember. The tall black guy on the carrier, was sometimes around Sarisa Kershner or Peter, who didn't talk much. He both negates powers, and has memory editing ability. He worked with the Company, and probably still does. The other is a simple negator, Doctor Harve Brennan, who works at the Suresh Center. But he's on a little vacation right now."

"I'm not so sure I wanna mess with a Company negator who can alter memories, considering the memories I want back are of the Company." Magnes soaks it all in though, commiting it to his own fairly good but not superhuman memory. "All this preparing myself, it's not easy at all, but I know we're in for a tough future, I know that a lot of people I love and care for are going to die no matter what I do, and I have to do everything I can to make myself a positive variable in that."

She nods. "I did say it's likely you don't remember at least one encounter with Rene, odds being he's the one who took away Company time memories. I don't know how he does it, anyway. I don't think he does it by telepathy or suggestion, but it's unverifiable. He could."

Somberly now. "Thomas Jefferson said the tree of liberty must from time to time be refreshed by the blood of patriots and tyrants. Blood's been spilled, and there'll certainly be more." Within moments further she reaches the waiting vehicle and stops nearby.

"The cruelist part is not being the first to die." is all Magnes says to that, quite morbidly, then waits for her to step into the vehicle and steps back away from it. "I'll see you around, then. Don't be afraid to give me a call if you need anything."

"See you around, Magnes," Cat replies, just before getting into the vehicle. It's just barely managed, the last words he spoke sending her into a spin of memory. Not being the first to die. All the way home she's replaying her experience at Ethan's hands, when she was silent and Dani was tortured, expecting it didn't matter and they'd both be killed. Except she's alive.

Her lover isn't.

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