The Benefit Of Hindsight


f_cat_icon.gif helena_icon.gif f_teo_icon.gif

Scene Title The Benefit Of Hindsight
Synopsis Cat, Helena, and Teo start putting their plan to get the stranded eight back to the past in motion.
Date April 28, 2019

Cat's Penthouse

At some point in the evening, Helena had come down from the roof garden with her fingers pressed to her mouth, like something was lingering there, and a few moments later, asked Cat to get in touch with Teo and have him come over as promptly as possible.

Promptly as possible turned out to be—

—about the amount of time it takes to catch a bus over. Yes, Teo may be a ninja these days but he'd rather not use a swingline, pay for a teleporter or whatever ridiculous theatrics are otherwise available to him unless somebody's actually bleeding out on the floor somewhere. He arrives in perfectly mundane shades of black fabric, on perfectly mundane footfalls, gets in with an acceptable keycard and presses the door open against soundless hinges.

"Catherine?" he asks first after the host, as per being polite, though the nature of the call wasn't lost on him either. Business. "Helena?"

"Teo." Helena's voice sounds relieved to see him, and her expression looks it too. He's evenloped in a hug from the petite blonde, and then taking his hand, she draws him to the couch. "You mentioned that you've been doing a lot of work with Wireless." she says softly. "Are you still in contact?"

Probably, Teo's learned to use furniture properly somewhere in the intervening ten years. It wouldn't be befitting of a thirty-five-year-old man to be flipping chairs around and sprawling on tables out of some misappropriated oversynchronization to the tilt and sea and low center one must keep at sea.

Despite all this, he drops himself neatly down at the girl's feet. Picks up an arm, resting an elbow on the couch cushion beside her knee.

For old time's sake, likely. He isn't smiling when he looks up, though, nor when he bobs his shaven head in affirmitive. "I check in every day. She knows you're all here. Sends her regards. She'd be here herself, but you know Hana: it's the same for her." Not really. Either close enough or too painful. If Teo knows, he isn't one to disclose. "What's up?"

Elsewhere in the penthouse, specifically her office, Cat is and has been busy writing instructions for sending back to herself. She's been away a lot since she and Helena met with Arthur, tending to her established schedule and business matters so there's no speculation about things being other than normal around her.

She has also been spending a good bit of time at Pinehearst in the archives, compiling data on Primatech to send back with her, for the benefit of her younger self and those associated with her then. It's a work she's not shown to anyone yet, being stored on a machine with supplies and software that'll work in 2009. Teo's arrival draws her out of the office area, she having estimated he'd be along about that time.

"Buongiorno, Teo," she greets on reaching that seating area, clad in comfortable clothing instead of the professional garb which has become all to customary for her now. Warm days, less clothes. Shorts, t-shirt, no shoes. Carpet feels good between the toes.

Helena leans forward, almost close enough so their foreheads touch. Her hair smells like jasmine and cocoa butter. "I need her to find someone." she says. "Quietly. I need to know if they're alive, and if they are, I either need to talk to them, or find a proxy they will speak with."

For a moment, Teo doesn't say anything. His tanned forehead is smooth, if not quite as smooth as the girl's herself, his regard for her as steadfast now as it had been a decade ago; be as it may that their last encounter was far more recent for her recollections.

When he does speak, at first, it's instead to the lawyer stepping out from her workroom. "Buongiorno, dottore." It's not a slight, but a thinking pause, during which he doesn't turn his eyes. Salutation spoken, then, his lips seal with a click of jaws behind them. His pupils sharpen, either focusing on her face or something that is not physical at all. "Name?"

She doesn't speak much, to avoid interrupting their conversation. Cat makes an offer of food and drink and listens for answers before heading to the kitchen with that purpose in mind. Her taste at the moment is stout, which she returns with in addition to anything else asked for. Or not.

Helena keeps that forward pressed position with Teo, like they're sharing braincells. If the posit that Teo is least physical with those he's closest too, he and Helena are total strangers. She lets out a soft sigh. "Kaito Nakamura." she says softly.

"Why?" Teo seems completely immune to the implications of that posit, thanks; his is watchful, intellectual, almost indifferent curiosity. Kaito Nakamura isn't a name that has been relevant to Hana's work as of late and, as a function of that, it's had no place in the spin of his world either. Still, there's a subtle change in the skin tension mapped against Helena's tall brow that implies that, maybe— he might know what she's talking about.

"What's going on, caro?"

"Because Hiro Nakamura may already be dead." she says softly. "Because Arthur Petrelli's apparently been trying to get ahold of Kaito Nakamura for years. Because Kaito Nakamura's ability is what we'll need to be able to go back, along with Peter and Gillian. If we can't find him, I'm not sure what our other options will be." Helena pulls her head back a little. "Arthur Petrelli has no intention of letting us go back, even though our being shifted may have damaged this timeline in an awful, awful way."

The silence lasts a few protracted seconds. Teo pulls his head back too, allowing cool, filtered air to ease in to the gap between him and his erstwhile liege. He doesn't sigh, though there's a rasping sound, of his leg pulling out of its agile Indian-style cross, shoe scraping floor. "Precogs around the world have been getting black feed. It seems like a realistic possibility, that the only reason we're all still here is because you are. Not that it matters, I guess." His eyes thin slightly, pallid around the pupils, like spurs of sharded glass.

They flick away after a moment, studying the window past Catherine and her drink. "I'll ask her. I'll look too, although my range is a damn sight more limited: I'll be able to do more if anybody gets a lead. And Gillian gives me a boost." His legs unfold from under him, barely a cartlidgenous pop of his knee from the position shift. Standing, he asks in a voice that's wry like he never really used to be: "Arthur's a scary old bastard, isn't he?"

"He is." Helena agrees. "Has it occurred to anyone that it might have appeared because we're here and it might go away once we're back where we're supposed to be, though?" That's her belief. "But if we can find Nakamura, maybe he can actually tell us what the right move is."

She's drifted over to join them during the exchange, quietly enjoying her stout, Cat not finding anything she needs to comment on. Her features are pensive.

Teo's mouth thins out around a smile. "It has. Personally, I think the relevance of your lives between 2009 and 2011 were greatly exaggerated. Either something worse and larger got fucked up, or even the smallest fucking change throws this off— and we're fucked out here anyway." Teodoro fails to sound completely dismayed at this prospect, probably because of that very same premise. Either way, the only recourse of action available to him appears to be to help, and he's either at peace with that or learned to smile even when he isn't.

He's smiling now, slightly, thin as a scimitar turned along an acute angle to the Earth, rough-knuckled hands in his pockets. He slants a step toward the kitchen, his lean shoulders hiking high. Apparently, Teo has decided that getting something to drink was a good idea. Belatedly.

"Teo?" Helena looks at him from the couch. "There may be things you don't know about what's going on. We weren't just yanked forward in time. We were displaced. Arthur showed Cat and I the footage. There were eight of them, and eight of us. Two of theirs were Nathan Petrelli and Edward Ray." Her lips grow thin. "It's what leads me to believe we need to go back - what's more, we need to re-swap places with them."

There's a flash of concern over Teo's shoulder as he moves in to the kitchen. The kind of concern that probably once would've accompanied a flood of scatology and a choppy red-white-red to his complexion, but he doesn't do that anymore. He looks thoughtful, the lines of his face constricting with tension. Grasping the frige handle, he pops the door with a low hiss of cold pressure, glances into its cold-bright recesses before snagging out a beer, its neck caught in the web between ring and middle fingers.

"Doctor Ray and former President Petrelli were at Moab Federal Penitentiary, weren't they? That's an assload of temporal displacement going on. Fuck." This much wryly observed, he comes padding back across the floor, uncaps the drink with blunt fingernails pried in underneath the ridged metal. "I'll ask Hana to look. That aside, you probably need to find out as much as you can about the eight refugees from 2019, eh? If they came out of the penitentiary, I figure they probably aren't huge fucking fans of going back."

"Doctor Ray, Nathan, Allen Rickham, Tyler Case carrying a network server hard drive, a thirty-something brunette, a bald and fat man in his fifties who barely fit his jumpsuit… Peter said there was one called Niles Wight, an electromagnetic replicator, who wasn't in the footage. Hiro, as we knew him ten years ago suddenly appeared. Tyler grabbed Hiro and jolted him with red lightning, then the fat guy made a hand gesture and Hiro froze. Then Nathan was jolted with Tyler's red lightning. Next they all vanished." Cat speaks of all this somberly, lifting the stout to drink again when silent once more.

"If we find Kaito, I think we can convince him to tell us what he foresees as the most likely path to get us back on is - or even the most likely path to forestall the world ending." Helena slinks back in her seat, sounding a touch glum. "Ideally, Peter can then, with Gillian's help, shift us back. I'm kind of hoping that will fix things, especially if we can somehow get the eight that replaced us back here." She sighs. "I wish there was a way to tell our past selves - our 2009 selves - what's going on, from this future."

Once again, Teo reconfigures his legs into a sprawl and then drops himself onto his hindquarters behind them, settling down a pull of his knees. The meniscus of his beer wobbles underneath a translucent sheen of condensation, and he takes a pull that leaves a dark semicircle where his lower lip wiped it clean.

"Even if you could, I don't think it would be wise to focus on what's happening out here," he offers gently. "Who knows? Maybe you could make a better future than this one. If this era is fucked, it's already fucked. Trying to engineer the exact same outcome of events is just going to hold you back from doing the best for your world that you can. When— or if you get back, you'll have the benefit of hindsight and more information, and an understanding of your options.

"But this world isn't perfect. Don't believe anybody who tries to bullshit you that way." Teo's features get a little colder and a little harder when he says so, if only a little. He glances at Catherine for a brief moment, checking the pamnesiac's mood and opinion on this great and overburdened subject. The shadow in the hollow of his cheek twitches, briefly.

"You told them about the Formula yet?"

"I've let her read and learn at her own pace," Cat provides as her answer to the question. "It isn't widespread public knowledge here. You've heard about forerunners of it, Helena, from Doctor Ray. In all honesty, if Father had told me of his work years before I learned of it, I likely would have been most strongly opposed to everything around it. But when I found out it was a done thing, and certainly doesn't pose a general threat to the world."

"Choices have been made along the path, in subtle ways, to let smaller issues lie in the face of having won the larger battles. Registration is voluntary, there are schools for those who choose to come forward which teach control, we live and exist in the open, even advertise in the phone book." She rests her eyes on Helena for a moment, a slight smile coming to her features. "A few years back, New Orleans almost got wiped out again…"

"But Teo is also right. When you go back, see this as just a possibility. A goal. Your future will be whatever you work to make of it. Live your life, in a way you can be proud of, Helena."

Helena looks faintly tortured. "If I go back and try to stop my own death, it could ruin this timeline. If it even had a hope of succeeding. Would either of you want me to do that?"

"Focus on saving the world," Teo suggests gently. "On achieving what makes this world worthwhile. I'm not saying there weren't a few milestones and turning points along the course of history that need to happen— including key political and legislative changes," which warrant a nod at Doctor Chesterfield, "but I don't think your murder was one of them."

A quaver-beat. Teo grunts softly, his expression turning wry. "I might be biased.

"You should consider getting a few doses of the Formula to go back with. Sounds like you're going to need every pair of hands you can get and at their maximum capability. I'm more useful with an ability. So would be Ben, if he'd agree to it. Not to mention it'll be leverage for you dealing with Pinehearst, which you could use." Teo takes another pull of beer, before he lets the bottle rock back with a liquid clink.

"Don't worry about your death, Helena. You aren't immortal, it'll find you someday, somehow. Could be two years, or two times thirty years. Live a life you'll be proud of, until you no longer have life," Cat advises. And she muses. "The formula. Twenty, thirty doses, maybe, if it can be swung? Enough to give some to Pinehearst and have your own supply still."

"You'll also have USB drives with information on them about Primatech, copies of your speeches, and the texts of Dani Hamilton's essays on Evolved ethics."

Helena nods a little bit, frowning. It's a lot to think about. "In the meantime, though." she says. "I gotta get back. All of us. Even Elle. We need to figure out what to do about her, too." Her eyes briefly flick to Teo. "I still don't approve of harming innocent people." What she's not saying? Elle isn't innocent. To Cat, "Have we heard from Trask and Abby lately?"

An inscrutable gesture of acknowledgment flares through Teo's fingers, more of a flex than anything else. It is a lot to think about, and he fully realizes that Helena needs more time to do so. Elle Bishop is a subject that needs addressing as immediately as anything else, and he grimaces slightly at that, a sudden token boyishness. "Can't be too hard to get her wiped in this day and age. Peter can probably do it.

"I don't think Gabriel's picked up anything like that in the past few years, but if you ask him, he may help you. It shouldn't hurt much," he offers, his mood or expression middling somewhere between deadpan and oddly pleased with Helena's conduct. It's the way that he remembers. No more innocent than the day she died, but less joy.

"I'm not concerned about Elle," Cat asserts calmly. All she's ever been when discussing Miss Bishop is calm. "As I've said, one of the reasons for compiling the data I'm assembling on Primatech is to make her, and whatever she might do, irrelevant. It doesn't matter if Roger Goodman exposes the Company after an anonymous source starts that process or not, as long as someone does, and Primatech is therefore dragged into the light of day." The unsaid part of that, in Cat's mind, is the simple expedience of a bullet being fired into Elle's brain. Dead electrokinetics tell no tales.

"There've been no reports of troubles, Helena," Cat adds.

Helena nods to Cat. "Let's keep that to ourselves then, no Abby, no Elle, no Trask. I'm not keen on the way he's been looking at her." She leaves it at that. "But no reports of trouble doesn't mean that there isn't any. It just means no one's necessarily caught on. I want to get this going. I'm done with dragging my heels." She looks to Teo. "Will you let me know if Hana finds anything? If she doesn't, I'm not sure what we can do, but let's worry about that if it comes to it, unless either of you have ideas." Then to both of them, "Do you think we should pull together the eight and see if anyone else has thoughts?"

Teo inclines his head obligingly. "It'll probably take her a few days to find something. By which I mean one or two. If that doesn't work out, it's possible you could speak to Tamara and Colette, see if their investigator agency could rustle something up. Normally, I'd say a couple of flatfoots couldn't outmatch Hana's technological prowess.

"But one of them's a precog and the other one is a fan favorite of the local PD, so they might be able to come up with something." On the off-chance that Hana Gitelman can not, that is. He puts his hand in his trouser pocket, digs a the flat silver carapace of a cellphone out of the fabric fold, lifts a long forefinger to start to excuse himself, though there's a pause. A look.

"'S good working with you again," Teo says quietly.

A ghost of a smile forms on Cat's features. "Colette. Time was she was known to many people, and knew others, we kept her in the dark because she was positively hopeless at any concept of opsec. Grace knew her, you knew her, I came across her once being incautious with her newly found gift, you had Conrad training her with it… She was a mess at that age. No sense of self-confidence. Ten years have done wonders for her."

"I'd not be opposed to talking with some of the eight," Cat replies. "Trask, Django, Isabelle, Lucrezia, Alexander… But not Jessica or Elle. Those two don't really need to be privy to more than is absolutely necessary."

"No reason not to get them started on that now. Waiting for one or the other isn't efficient." Helena says. "If Hana finds him, we'll just tell them to stop." She nods to Cat. "I agree. We can bring Jessica in if absolutely necessary, but I want it to be absolutely crucial before Elle's involved with any of it."

The edge of phone taps on Teo's forehead in brief salute. He grins; shows teeth; deigns not to mention Elle again, himself. "Okay.

"I should be around if or when you bring the other jailbirds in for conference. For now, I'll let Wireless know what's going on." The LCD screen lights up under a flip of his thumb and he turns, treads steadily off toward the back of the apartment, thumb dialing in some number that he's apparently long since memorized. The slender device fits neatly into the crook of his shoulder and ear.

<date>: previous log
<date>: next log
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License