There Is A Plan...


alia_icon.gif cardinal3_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title There Is A Plan…
Synopsis Cat, Elisabeth, and Cardinal attempt to get on the same page.
Date May 11, 2010

The Verb 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.

Going anywhere these days is beyond dangerous. Even wrapped up in arctic survival gear, it's too cold to be outdoors more than a short time. Many vehicles are rendered unusable by the cold — unable to start with dead batteries or even frozen gas lines. Elisabeth couldn't call ahead, she could only make the trip from Red Hook to the Verb and hope that Cat was home. It turned out that she wasn't, but Liz made herself at home in the penthouse by making coffee and taking it into the music room after leaving all of her winter gear near the front door where it can dry. When the brunette makes her way back into her home, the sound of the piano can be heard through the apartment — an intricate classical piece that requires enough of Elisabeth's concentration to both remember and play well that she doesn't initially register Cat's entrance to the room.

When Cat steps into the room, the blonde has her eyes closed while she plays the haunting melody line. A faint furrow of her brows together indicates her concentration… and perhaps gives away the sadness that she continues to struggle with in her personal life. There's a hitch in the music — a jarring couple of notes as she misses keys — when her blue eyes open and she sights Cat observing. But she finishes the piece instead of simply stopping. Only then does she take her hands from the keys.

It's been a difficult trek, but one she had to make. And there are others to make still in the coming days. A trail of winter weather gear is left behind her as she crosses the penthouse from point of her entry to the music zone where she hears piano emerging. Cat's eyes briefly seek out Helena, Alia, and Peyton. They might be elsewhere in the building. Or out assisting people in need. Or something. As her shoulder contacts the doorway wall, supporting her leaning there, not a word is spoken lest she interrupt the piece. The five feet eight inch brunette with the row of stitches to the right side of her neck is content to listen. Perhaps even visualize sheet music for the piece.

But when the playing, and thus music, stops, this changes. Hands come together in applause, along with a single spoken word. "Brava." Honestly spoken and given, her demeanor suggests enjoyment of what was heard.

Elisabeth flushes faintly, her smile easing the lines in her face to a more neutral, easygoing expression. The sense of sadness is shuttered once more behind the facade of going about the business of living. "Thanks," she replies mildly to her friend. "The communications blackout is getting to be a huge pain in the ass," she adds as she moves to stand, retrieving her coffee cup from a low table away from the piano. "I made coffee. Figured you'd need something warm when you got back. I hope it's not a bad time."

Her eyes close briefly, feet approach the table with coffee, and the reply is dryly spoken. "I've so many huge pains in my ass I can barely walk. Which is odd, given the actual wound is in my neck." Cat's lips lift into a brief smile to underscore the humorous intent. "But there may be reason to hope, a way found to break the weather pattern." Fingers close around the cup and hold it, eyes closing again as she breathes in the scent. "Naval galley people aren't bad at coffee, but they've got nothing on us," she opines.

There's a snort of laughter from Liz — the comment about pains in the ass and not walking invites naughtiness, and a bit of fun would not be amiss at the moment. But Elisabeth is diverted from making comment by the idea of breaking the pattern. She sips from her cup before replying, and when she does, her voice is flat. "We need to either get Liette's sister out of the hands of the Institute, or we need to kill one of them," she murmurs quietly. "One can't exist without the other. And as much as I hate to say it… neither of them can be allowed to remain in the Institute's possession."

The cup is being lifted to her mouth, but halts in mid-air when the full weight of what she's just been told settles in. "That's… interesting," Cat replies with eyes settling curiously on the blonde. "Where'd the information come from, Elisabeth? We're in agreement on one thing, at least: not letting the Institute have Liette. I don't know just what they want her for, but I'm certain it isn't anything good. We have a plan to enact, by which Liette says she can help stop this weather."

Silence again, followed by tasting the coffee.

"Let's just say that we're both playing with a little bit of fire in our sources these days, Cat," Elisabeth replies softly. "Vincent Lazzaro will tell you bits and pieces, and Sarisa Kershner — and others — tell me bits and pieces. Together we might actually be able to come up with the whole story. What's Liette's thought on stopping the weather?" She moves to lean her hips against the back of a chair, studying Cat thoughtfully.

"I think perhaps our little birdies," meaning Kershner and Lazzaro, "are each either playing their own games or uncertain enough of trusting one another that they're trying for the same goal and stepping on one another. I figure it's time I do what I do best — start finding out what everyone knows and put it together to make sure we're all on the same page."

"She agreed to help us, and told us how it might be possible, when Delilah and I spoke with her. She also told us of a drug the Institute created, a thing called Amp, which amps abilities. Liette has no idea what's in it, but Colette said she was dosed with something by Bella Sheridan which boosted her power. Refrain is part of it." Eyes settle on a wall, Cat perhaps calling up memory of the segment where Liette became agreeable to replay it.

"She seemed to feel guilty at one point, when asking if we had other atmokinetics to tackle the problem. Now, about Lazzaro, there's few things I'm certain of about him. One, he's a dick. Two, he's not tied to the Institute. He could've snatched Liette away easily if he were instead of helping us fight off the Institute's move to grab her. Three, he wants spring to happen. Yesterday."

There's a slow nod. "Well, whatever else is going on, I'm pretty sure Kershner's not tied up in the Institute as well. She, too, is interested in taking them down. Was Lazzaro the one who helped Colette and Liette get away that night? I sent a picture of him with Colette to see if she could verify for me, but she hasn't gotten back to me yet, what with the phones being pretty much on the fritz. The fact that he's a dick is a given," she dismisses that bit.

"And we all want this stopped. So as I said — it's about time we all started doing a little information sharing, and that seems to be what I've done best for a while now. Rounding up all the little bits and pieces. Bella Sheridan….. can be gotten to. If you want her." Elisabeth's tone is dark. "I was seeing her for help with the PTSD. And I'm thanking God that I never told her shit."

"Kershner did have… another suggestion for dealing with Liette's sister." An unthinkable one… Apparently, they're not alone; a shadow spreading tattered and ripped over Elisabeth's shoulders, Richard Cardinal's seen better days. That hollow, echoing whisper observes, "…I don't know if I'd be able to carry it through, though, even if it was the only way to save New York…"

"And hello, Catherine." Cat…

"Colette wasn't present then," Cat replies. "Her information comes from two people who were. They claimed to have been extracted by a bald man, of my height, in a suit who turns to and from smoke. Coincidence is possible, but very unlikely." Eyes track the shadow which spreads over Elisabeth's shoulder, her head dips in a form of greeting.

"Mr. Clemens," the brunette with a series of stitches to the right side of her neck greets. "I'm skeptical about Sarisa not being tied with the Institute, given the interest in certain scientists who were captured in an operation she led. But it is true the prisoners could've been taken off her hands and sent to the Institute with or without her knowledge and agreement." A pause of a few beats is taken, a slow breath drawn and released, Cat touches the stitches at her neck and clearly looks displeased about something.

"I was unconscious for half a day and change, Sarisa was there for the ambush. I don't know if she touched me or not. She definitely had opportunity. That I'm not in an Institute tank for experimentation suggests she might not be with them. She has to have some idea I've got ties to the Ferrymen, and maybe know where Liette is. Like Lazzaro, she could've grabbed the girl already."

No comment is made on Sarisa having a suggestion for handling the weather problem, perhaps Cat already heard it.

Alia slips into the main part of the penthouse from the exercise area, a practice rapier in a scabbard in one hand, the borrowed bow put back where she had found it. She pauses in the simple tanktop and pants that made up her workout outfit, tilting her head at the gathered assembly as she looks them over. She looks a touch unnerved at the stitches at Cat's neck. She turns her attention to Cardnial, and there's a sudden little bit of a glimmer of a smile to her eyes, quickly muted. "Ah. Shadows. Good. Questions." She is about as good with words as ever as she approaches the group.

Elisabeth had already informed Cat as to the other suggestion. And as much as she hates to even consider it, the possibility must be considered. Elisabeth herself might be able to do it…. from afar, with a sniper rifle. So long as she didn't have to see the child face-to-face. Luckily, however, she does know someone who just might be able to do it without a qualm if push comes to shove. Let's hope it doesn't.

"She's a shark and an extraordinary bitch at times, Catherine, but she's also just a cog in the wheel," Elisabeth replies, sipping her coffee. She glances down as Richard curls over her shoulders, apparently not surprised to see him. She expected him. Her eyes go back to Cat and she says mildly, "You have a tendency to leap to conclusions that you believe are logical based on memories that you have, but the leaps in logic you take are not always supported by the facts in evidence. So I'm going to caution you strongly not to leap to the conclusion that Lazzaro did anything to help the Ferry members until one of Colette's friends positively IDs him. A bald man turning to smoke is as generic a description as you can get. Just because YOU only know of one does not mean only one exists in this city. As to your ties to the Ferrymen? Sarisa's known that for ages. In fact, you should assume she pretty much knows about every Ferry safehouse that you knew about when she touched you and who every Ferryman that you could ID was. Based on a comment she made to me, I think that conclusion would be logical and potentially borne out. She's been covering my ass and Richard's since I started working for her. With her own agenda in mind, of course, but …. Essentially at this point, we've little option but to assume the Ferry's entirety is compromised to her ever since you shook her hand."

When Alia enters the room, Liz falls silent.

"Kershner's a shark, but she's not behind this… I think she's as irritated by the entire situation as you are, if only because it's outside her control. She's made it clear that the Institute… is backed by people well above her pay grade. A Doctor Broome is in charge of the situation. She considers him dangerous, which makes him a man to watch…" More sharks in the pool… Cardinal's whispering voice greets, "Alia. Good afternoon… but Catherine. If all else fails… the twins can't live without one another." Literally… The last said in - careful tones, reluctant and almost wary of their own meaning.

"Yeah, we shook hands," Cat replies, "I wouldn't had I any idea of her power. It's certain she got something from that, but I doubt it's as much as you suggest. Sarisa, after all, isn't me. How could she remember so much seen in just a few seconds without being me?" Alia's presence doesn't seem to cause Cat trouble, there's no objection to her being present and hearing the conversation at hand.

"And I agree it's possible Lazzaro wasn't the guy. I said as much. The facts in evidence, however, do support it being him. He's the same height as me, just as the man reported from the site is. He's bald, just as the man from the site. And he uses a smoke form, just as the man at the site. Not proven, no, but very, very strong odds."

Eyes move between the Shadow and the blonde, her expression pensive. It seems Cat's troubled by the idea of executing a teen, but she isn't saying it's unthinkable. "So I'm told, Mr. Clemens. There's not yet proof Sarisa has issues with the Institute, that she's not tied to them, but the evidence is mounting. I'm prepared to accept your conclusion in her favor on this matter. What exactly has she shared about Doctor Broome?" Corroboration, unspoken: Brennan mentioned the man.

Alia takes a seat, listening to the conversation at hand. Most the details being spoke of mean very little to her as she has nothing to associate the names or descriptions to yet. In fact, the only name said so far that seems to ring a bell is Liette. The rest of them are just so many words so far. Her question isn't urgent, so it can wait… Though, it seems, from mentioning of the institute, it might at least be tangently related.

The Technopath pauses a moment at the mentioining of twins, and everyone's reaction to what The Shadow Who Speaks said… If anything, though, she doesn't seem outraged, just a bit confused by the comments.

"She's told us that the Institute is blacker than black," Elisabeth replies, her hands cradling the hot cup of coffee. "They have no oversight except the White House itself, and they've had enough money funneled into them to be based on the moon if they wanted to be. She has no idea where they're located, but she did indicate that Broome was far and away one of the most powerful people around — as in, if she starts asking questions or even brings it up, they'll simply remove her. And I'm not entirely convinced she even thinks it would make any waves — the Institute's secrecy is paramount from what I can gather. She also indicated that there's no way in hell that Broome doesn't know that Liette's sister is behind the ice age. Whatever the agenda with this weather thing is, he'll allow it to continue as long as it suits his purposes and then he'll simply put the kibosh on it. Dr. Luis is a non-issue." She nods to Alia, though, offering a bit of a smile. She doesn't object to the young woman listening in.

"I think she may be overstating Broome's… omniscience," Cardinal whispers quietly, "The very fact that she's that worried about him says volumes, though… I don't have much on the man himself. I'm waiting on an information request on more about him and the Institute. We need to locate them as a priority… there's at least one person in there we either need to retrieve or kill before we're all fucked…" All of us…

"Nothing is unlimited, or without a trail, in Federal terms," Cat opines. "The White House may be the only agency overseeing Broome, but the funds still get voted by Congress when they approve the budget. Items for classified projects often aren't shared with the entire House and Senate, but the heads and sometimes members of committees involved with finance do get the full story. When the weather is resolved…" she states that with calm confidence. Is it just her usual projection of not doubting to smooth fear? Or is she saying without saying that should it be needed she'll execute Liette herself? Maybe both?

"…technopaths and hackers can go back to work on that front. Tracking the money. It's true," she nods in Alia's direction, "what you said about traps and bait. If they don't know they've got a technopath opponent, their heads are in sand. They could easily make vulnerable something juicy in a particular machine and when they see it gone for, cut the power off."

She takes from her coffee cup for a moment. "Once the weather is clear, I'm going to take a trip to Arizona and check out a place I heard about through Veronica Sawyer."

Alia sighs, softly. "Cardinal. You said… Institute protected … from technopaths? Do you know how?" Her voice is inflected with worry now, even if her face tries to hide it. What was an idle question might now be an urgent one. She focused on the shadow intently.

"I don't think he's omniscient, but I do think it possible that for whatever reason Broome could have the ear of the President or key people in contact with the man, which translates to he gets what he wants." Elisabeth shrugs slightly. "Any number of people may be able to say the same. But ultimately… Richard's right. Something has got to give. We're at arctic temperatures and the death toll is going to be tremendous when we finally get a head count. The places in the city that don't have heat very heavily outnumber the places that do; shelters are packed to the gills and desperate. If we don't find a way to end this soon, it's not going to matter because we're all going to be dead of the cold. Technopaths and hackers aren't going to be of any use to us when the communications systems of the country are not working, Cat. Let's deal with what's in front of us before we try to deal with Arizona." She looks at Alia and then the shadow on her shoulder curiously.

"No… I'm afraid I don't. I'd still recommend that you and Apila stay well away from the Institute's systems unless you want to find out the hard way," Cardinal murmurs quietly, "I agree, though, until this weather is dealt with, pretty much all our plans are hampered - most of my operatives are stranded, I can't even proceed with the Linderman situation until the snow clears…" Damn weather..

Her eyes rest on Elisabeth, Cat's face showing a slightly harder expression, voice changing in tone to become a bit sharper and maybe this time get the unspoken message across. "I'm speaking about Coyote Sands, which Bishop mentioned to Veronica. My asking about got me a dinner with Sabra Dalton and a file from her. It was very interesting. I mention this, because the weather will not be a problem much longer."

Alia nods a little. "Accounts still draining as planned." She notes. "South Staten Island is still on-grid." She notes with a musing tone, before sighing. "Asked … because if looking for technopath… might not be ready for traditional approach?" She grins just a little at the idea. "no matter. No landlines. Only can tell the later by hopping the electric grid's network." She pauses a moment, something on her mind, but she shakes her head and puts it off for another time. One problem at a time, Alia.

Elisabeth simply shakes her head at Cat's sharp tone, biting back something she was going to say in favor of saying, "For all your assurance that the weather situation is going to be at an end soon, I've yet to hear you say anything that even remotely resembles a plan. Right now, the best we've got is 'go in there and either kidnap or kill the kid.'" Blue eyes study her friend. "I think a little more planning might be in order. And since you're supposed to be the information guru, how about we put the primary focus on locating the goddamn place and unless it has immediate implications for this situation — which appears to be quite local so therefore that possibility is pretty remote — we'll worry about the facility in Arizona after we keep from turning into human popsicles. Okay?"

"Just try and make sure that you don't bankrupt them, Alia, I'd rather like there to be some money in there if I manage to take over… god-damn Monroe's plans always fucking with mine…" A muttering from the living shadow, before Cardinal exhales a hiss, "…everyone to their projects, Liz. I'm sure that this place in Arizona'll be important eventually. We just need to hope the old bastard's still in a coma until we find them." Find them…

Alia smirks and nods. "No bankrupting. Hell, barely can dent the accounts without drawing undue attention." She pauses momentarily. "… If I can help…ask." She sighs. "Deep freeze no good."

"There is a plan," Cat replies. "I thought you might've caught on when I spoke about the Institute's drug, Amp, and Liette agreeing to help us with the weather. While I'd like to find Bella and make her tell us how Amp is made, beyond Refrain as a component, we don't need a drug to amp Liette. We will amp her so she can use whatever form of emotional connection she has with Julie to hopefully back her down. There will be atmokinetics present to lend their efforts to the cause, and some others." More coffee is sipped, a pause to words now spoken in completely calm voice.

"If that doesn't work, there will be Plan B. I had hoped not to need elaborating on Plan B, so consciences about involvement with such a thing can be clear." A few beats more silence follow.

"The place in Arizona is where a young Angela Shaw, Robert Bishop, Daniel Linderman, and Charles Deveaux were interned by the US government in 1961. It was called Project Icarus, a federal project to study people like us. Chandra Suresh was a researcher there, along with some guy called Zimmerman."

There's a bit of a frown. "Wait," Elisabeth says quietly. "Will Liette's sister even listen to her? I mean, she's currently — as I understand it — under the impression that Liette has been kidnapped and whatnot." She shakes her head. "Not that I have any better suggestions, quite frankly. If you want Bella Sheridan, say so before I have Jessica take her out of the equation altogether." Liz is taking all that somewhat personally, honestly. "And out of curiosity… what happens if Liette — who, if I understand correctly, is some kind of power mimic — gets access to Gillian's ability? Which is how I assume you're going to amp her. What other powers is she currently in possession of?"

"Lewis Zimmerman." A whisper from Cardinal, "He's currently in attendance at the Institute… against his will, I'm fairly certain. He was at Pinehearst as well. He's the man who invented the Formula." The Formula… The shadowman pauses, "Catherine. How do you know that Liette will even cooperate? From what I understand, she isn't exactly very happy about where she is right now…" A prisoner…

Alia twitches a little as she has another reaction to that list. The names do ring bells alright… she quotes "Lord, what fools these mortals be…" She turns to Catherine, and with a smile, asks something very very softly. "Cat, how urgent is checking out Arizona?" She looks to Cardinal. "…A prisoner… offer a trade. Freedom for services." She shakes her head and tries not to consider what she said just meant.

"I said just a few minutes ago," Cat replies with a chuckle, "that Liette agreed to help us with the weather. Dee and I talked to her not long ago. She told us about Amp, and said if she met an augmenter she might be able to influence her sister. There's something of an emotional link between them. It doesn't let her always sense the mood or communicate directly, but I believe through being augmented she could perhaps impart the perception she's safe and calm Julie away from the weather. Or perhaps tap into the ability and ease the weather off herself." More coffee is taken in, a break in the voicing.

"Yes, it's dangerous. The alternatives are turning Liette over to the Institute, which can't happen. If the plan fails, or Liette tries to pull a fast one on us, well, Plan B. If I must, I'll do it myself. I had hoped not to need saying it so directly, so no one else here has to think about it again. Or acknowledge the possibility further. Hoping," she adds quietly, "you'd get it. And think of Coyote Sands. A Company head, see, told someone a secret for a reason. Told about a place he was kept in, where he first met three other Company founders at a place built to study them. Like the Institute."

Blue eyes give Cat a long look… the woman tends to get fixated only on certain aspects of a conversation sometimes, and Liz is beginning to wonder if that amazing memory is starting to become more of a detriment than a benefit. But that's a problem for another time. As she moves to set her coffee cup down, the pager at Elisabeth's waist goes off. The blonde groans. "Fabulous. Communications are apparently back up. For now." She glances at the number and grimaces.

"I gotta go, Cat — gotta get back and suit up. Big mess." She sighs and looks at the panamnesiac and says, "I don't have time to worry about Arizona right now. My focus right now has to be on finishing the Dreyfus situation, dealing with the weather and its effects, and hopefully keeping people from dying. Following up on Sabra Dalton's leads is so far down my list of priorities at this moment — and should be pretty far down yours too — as to be nonexistent until the rest of this is dealt with. Keep me apprised of when you plan to make your attempt with Liette. If nothing else, if she can't get her sister to stop, maybe she can pinpoint a location. Suggest to her that we might be able to reunite her and her sister with their birth parents. It may or may not give enough incentive for her to tell us where the damn place is located." She moves to pad on socked feet back to the front door to get back into her arctic outdoor gear as quickly as she can so she can respond to the summons.

"My worry is that, like a lot of children, she's just saying this to get her way… who knows what she could do, once amplified?" A warning whisper from Cardinal, as he rides along on Liz's shoulders out.

Alia nods as she sees that Cat made the same conclusion about the Sands that she did. She doesn't comment on the possibility Cat mentioned. She in fact stays utterly silent, which is mostly usual for her. It's with that she looks towards a clock, considering something.

Observing Elisabeth as she begins to pack up and go, Cat speaks quietly to the man of shadow. "Do you really think I've not considered that? Not consulted others in the Ferry about the situation and gotten their thoughts? Yes, she could be pulling a fast one by agreeing. I said so already. I said it was dangerous." Her head shifts slightly, over to the preparing blonde and back to shadow.

"There are only two options. The attempt at ending the situation with Liette's help. If it fails, or she pulls something, Plan B is default. Either way, the weather situation will soon be over. Therefore I project confidence."

Alia considers quietly, then nods, before turning to Cat. "If I can help…" She leaves the sentence unfinished as she stands up and walks over to pour herself a cup of coffee, and from ap ocket, pull a tube of ibuprofen, which she promptly takes two of.

"Exuding confidence is often a good thing," Cat remarks to Liette. "Liette will help with and succeed in getting the weather to normal, or she won't. If that's the case, we do what we must. Her life isn't more important than all the people who'll freeze or starve. Continuing to discuss it when we already know what needs to happen is pointless. So I move on to discuss the unknown. And to share information. But they don't appear to listen at all." She hopes Alia at least gets it, but won't torment the technopath by seeking reply in words. She sets down the empty coffee cup and wanders toward the exercise room. Soon there will be arrows flying, and Krav Maga practice against the punching bag.

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