They Spared Nothing


abby_icon.gif barbara_icon.gif cat_icon.gif

Scene Title They Spared Nothing
Synopsis Barbara tells the tale of what happened at Thompson Commune.
Date July 30, 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.

Giving a few days for things to calm down had been the plan, let Barbara relax in New York before the stuff they brought with them was dispersed to those who were better equipped and better off handling them. A permanent record - not just written down or spoken at a council meeting - was a good way to go, thus, Abigail and the red headed Niki look-alike were coming off the elevator that had brought them all the way up to the penthouse of the apartment building that Cat owned and maintained.

The backpack is in hand, containing the negation canister with its remnants and various other things that made the blonde medic nervous to cart around. It's evening, she had a shift and is still in her paramedics uniform and blonde hair up and back.

"She's Catherine Chesterfield, panmnesiac. If she's seen the armor, you'll know soon enough. Remembers everything, I call her the Encyclopedia Cathrinica. You might be able to stay down on one of the safe house floors too, if you ask. They're open to folks. Cat! We're here!" Abigail calls out, bending over to start unlacing her work boots so she can peel them off.

Barbara walks closely behind Abby, dressed in a simple white t-shirt and jeans, her bag slung over her shoulder and her hands in her pockets. These last few days had been her first time in New York in almost twenty years, and she'd been lost in an odd sense of nostalgia much of the time since they had returned here.

But now, she walks with purpose, a rather curious expression on her face as she strides behind Abby. "She remembers everything?" Barbara says inquisitively. "I believe there was someone similar in the commune." Hands slip out of her pockets, removing the hat and sunglasses she had been wearing from her head. "I imagine she'll be able to pass on what I tell her just fine, then."

And having been alerted by staff in the lobby of two people coming up, Cat is waiting at the entrance across from the elevator they've chosen. "Good to see you, Abby," she greets with a touch of relief. "Thanks for coming out." There's no objection to boots being removed there, she's saving the move to go further inside until that's done and turning attention to the woman with her.

The result of this is an extended study as Cat mulls over which one this might be. Tracy died her hair? Or did Niki/Jessica/Gina? For that matter, did that trio decide to add a fourth personality?

Even if it weren't for the subject of events in Canada, this would be very interesting. "I do," she confirms on the topic of her memory mojo, stopping just short of asking Barbara which one she is.

"Catherine, meet Barbara, Barbara, meet Catherine. Barbara here… is quite likely, one hundred percent, the sibling of Niki and of Tracy. Just I don't think the other two know that and the odds of two others looking identical and all that… a little too much to be a co-incidence but.. Barbara here is not another one of Niki's MPD's"

The bag is summarily handed over, carefully. "We bring presents, back from Thompson. Two agents showed up, were asking for my license and registration. Said they wouldn't notify the RCMP for trespassing on private property. They are indeed operating across the border without notification to the Canadian government." But that was a given.

"They died. Their ID's and weapons are in there. I don't know whether they'll make the news or not. One was evolved, either a telekinetic or some other such ability because they threw me into a piano when Barbara brought a gun to bear on them."

As Abby gives her explanation, Barbara simply nods, only interjecting at the end. Arms fold across her chest, gaze looking off to the side for a moment. "I've not met either of them," she states simply, for Cat's benefit. "But if what Abby says is right, I'm sure they are my sisters. I was told there were two, and this fits with that." Her foot taps for a moment, and then she gives another nod.

"I had been watching the Commune since it was attacked. In case any of the escapees from the attack decided to come back by. It appears the Institute had the same idea," she says a bit bitterly, shaking her head. After a moment, she turns her attention from the other two women, digging into the bag at her side.

"Cat will do," she provides after listening to both as they give their commentary. "There wasn't any mention I saw of a third at Pinehearst," she muses, "but then again Arthur only let me see part of that list. The people on it were given a serum to induce SLC abilities as children by the Company, were the children of Company researchers given to others after their parents died, or both. I'd bet on both. The list included Niki Sanders and Tracy Strauss." Fingers take the bag Abby's handing to her, she peers at the contents.

"I can't say how glad I am to see you both made it away from there. We should go sit and tell or listen to stories." With that, she's headed toward the entertainment room.

"Barbara's better to tell you what went down. Bennet only directed Tasha and Kaylee as well as myself there since we were already across the border. Your suspicions were right, though, Tyler Case and his sister were present, as was Delphine."

Bag relinquished, the blonde is off in search of refreshments and letting the other two get more acquainted.

"A pleasure to meet you, Cat." Barbara wrinkles her nose as she listens to Cat, nodding slowly. She glances over at Abby briefly, even as she pulls a sketchpad out from her bag, holding it at her side as she follows behind Cat and into her entertainment room. "I've heard that before, yes," she says somewhat cryptically as she takes a seat, legs crossed and the sketchpad set in her lap.

"I'm a bit surprised I am here," Barbara admits with a rueful tone. "The attack on the commune was brutal. They spared nothing." Again, that bitter tone bubbles up. "Black military helicopters descended on the commune, and it all went to hell from there."

At that, Barbara flips open the sketchbook, to the same drawing she had shown Abby days before, a drawing depicting the attack on the commune, depicting Institute agents in hazmat suits with Evolved refugees in their arms and yellow negation gas forming a haze - and oddly armoured soldiers, dressed in a manner resembling FRONTLINE armour, something which Barbara's finger points to in an effort to draw attention to it.

Across the penthouse, perhaps two minutes walk from where they are, is the kitchen which will have what Abby seeks. Closer, though, is the entertainment room which has a smaller variety of refrigerator. This one holds a certain variety of dark beverage, an amount of wine, cola and an assortment of food. Not so far away is a microwave. Seating is ample in that area, placed facing the HD set which extends from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall.

"Likewise, Barbara," Cat offers in terms of pleasure and meeting. Items of bagged evidence are placed on the table where she chooses to sit and listen to the shared story. That sketch is glanced at briefly, the items depicted are familiar to her. "DHS used craft like that when they swooped in to arrest people when we fought the Vanguard and destroyed the virus. The suits are Institute people, and these," she indicates the armored persons, "are Frontline gear." Her features are dark, scowling the most common expression as this is all spoken of.

"I was afraid of something like that," Barbara says with a shake of her head. "The gear looked similar to what I had seen on American news broadcasts…" She trails off flipping to the next drawing in the book - an extremely similar looking one to the first, only from a different perspective. This one, however, includes one important detail - a woman of similar look to Delphine Khur being carried away by one of the Institute Handlers.

"It's like Abigail said. At the very least, I know that they've gained custody of Tyler Case, Elizabeth Case, and Delphine Kuhr. Likely many, many more." She leans back in her seat, a grimace on her face. "They used that gas and rubber bullets. It… was a pretty obvious capture effort, in retrospect. And it happened so fast, there was little time to prepare or fight back." She shakes her head, looking worried. "I'm not even sure how they knew about the Commune. It wasn't something that occurred to me until Abigail said something about it after her group showed up."

"Our experience," Cat states gravely, "is the Institute comes after people they want for specific purposes. Those they've abducted locally fit that bill. Tyler Case and Delphine Kuhr would be very useful to them. What they would want with Tyler's sister is unclear, save for the chance she could be used as leverage to make him cooperate. Grabbing others who were present I can only speculate about, not knowing their capabilities. The most likely answer I have is not wanting to leave witnesses of their actions. They were also sloppy," she opines with a gesture toward the gas canister, "failing to remove all evidence."

She goes silent for a stretch of seconds, then asks a question of Barbara. "Did the raiders seem to be using any kind of small device to locate people within the commune?"

"A small device?" Barbara repeats, sounding unsure. "Not that I can recall. But the whole thing was very frantic, so I can't imagine I would have noticed something like that." Barbara looks thoughtful, as if trying to recall such a thing, but after a moment, she shakes her head, unable to bring such a thing to memory. "Sloppy or not, they were still keeping the same eye on the Commune I was. Though I imagine they would have been fine without me, I'm still glad I stayed in the area.

Barbara lets out a sigh, relaxing in her seat a bit. "The only thing that I found odd was the watch Abigail shoed me she pulled off one of the agents that had been waiting for them," she says, motioning to Abby's bag. Her own sketbook is folded closed, coming back to rest in her lap.

"Something like a compass, which points toward people with SLC abilities," Cat explains. "We've been wondering how they knew to go there, and that's a possibility. I also wonder if they were used in the raid, like when people tried to hide, did the raiders somehow know just where to look? Tell me about the watch, if you would." The bag is glanced at, but not approached.

"The watch is a sports watch, but it's been pretty much gutted," Abigail fills in as she returns. "some of the stuff we picked up in our haste to get out of there. Digital it looks like. I'd think it was just a watch except, they came back to the commune for it. I'm having someone I know with a relevant ability look at it. See if it can't be fixed. If it can, then that's a bonus for us. If it can't, then… it's useless."

Barbara begins to open her mouth to respond, but once Abby fills in the details adequately, she falls quiet, nodding in her direction. "From what I remember of it, that's about it. But no, I can't say I call anyone with a… compass or anything of the like." Barbara rolls her shoulders, sitting up a bit straighter. "What good would a compass do, anyway?"

"It's a detecting device," Cat explains quietly, "but instead of pointing north it points at people with SLC abilities. I came across an equation for building one some time ago, and a diagram for making the device, but the one I made doesn't work. Yet. I'm careful who I tell about it, haven't gone to any mathematicians or engineers. People like that might be linked to the Institute, don't want them to know I or we have any clue."

She rises to perhaps get some of whatever Abby brought from the kitchen, still speaking. "My non-working model was given to someone with a relevant ability as well. Haven't heard back from him." She wonders if they're speaking of the same person, but chooses to neither speak the name nor ask for it.

"This was a watch. It could just have been a watch with some sort of tracking, or who knows what. It looks like it would have told the time and all the usual. I can take a picture and have it sent over to you. And I'm being careful about who's told what, Cat. I have as much reason to fear the Institute as anyone up there at the commune did. I cherish my life as it is and I'm not going to compromise it any more than I have to. The moment I know anything about it, I'll let you know."

Cola and cold tea, brought over and put down, enough for everyone. She takes some cola for herself.

Barbara quirks an eyebrow, hesitating before she takes some cola for herself. "How is that even possible?" she inquires, with an expression of mild disbelief. "I don't pretend to know anything about mathematics, science, or engineering. But that seems… pretty incredible." Her eyes narrow a bit. "And incredibly dangerous. It would certainly explain how they found the Commune. We'd done too good a job of staying largely off grid otherwise."

"I wouldn't be speaking of this to anyone who didn't already know or need to know," Cat gravely remarks, "if the secret weren't already out. I'd been told by more than one person the Institute already has the devices, I doubt it'll be long before they're mass produced. They detect electromagnetic fields in people like us, I found someone who sees the whole spectrum and he confirmed the fields for me."

A quiet stretch comes when the panmnesiac wets her throat with Pepsi.

"So we can't confirm or disprove compasses were used to find the commune. We should go back to the beginning of the story, see if there's any small detail which might shed light on how they knew. What day and time did the raid occur, Barbara? Did it seem they'd kept it under watch for any amount of time so they could move when they knew the largest number of people were around? Did you hear any of them talking to each other?"

Abigail glances at her watch, a wrinkle of her nose. "Cat, I gotta go, Huruma's dropping Kasha off. Barbara, call if you need a ride somewhere, I can take you, or I'm sure cat can take you." The barely touched pepsi put back down as she pushes away from where they were sitting. "I'll get back with you about the watch, if I find out anything."

"Gosh," Barbara says with her eyes closed. "I've kinda lost track of time, I admit. It was a few weeks ago, in the evening." A half assed answer, to be sure, but the best she had at the moment. In fact, she flips open her sketchbook, looking to it for the date. No help, however. "There hadn't been any indication that they'd be watching us. And if they were, they were very careful about it. Nothing seemed weird beforehand, I remember that much."

At Abigail's indication that she has to go, Barbara gives a nod and a wave to Abigail. "I believe I'll be fine, thank you. But I have your number, so I'll let you know if I need anything."

The EMT is glanced at as she announces departure, Cat acknowledging it quietly. "Thanks again for coming, Abby. See you soon." Curiosity exists about Kasha, but is set aside in favor of more demanding mysteries and attention goes back to Barbara. "I get it, we can come back to it some other time, maybe, details might come up when you're not thinking about all this."

After a contemplative pause, she asks "Did you see any of them use abilities when they raided? How'd you manage to escape?"

"A few. The ones we encountered there the other day as well, like Abby said. Nothing extremely destructive, however." Barbara looks contemplative herself as she goes over the details she has a firm grip on in her mind. "I… managed to stay largely out of sight once things got bad. I tried t' lead a few people away, to make sure that some of us got out." She closes her eyes for a moment, sighing. "I wasn't trying to abandon anyone. I stayed as long as I could. But it was easy to tell it was either run, or be taken. I tried to do what I could, and then got myself out of there as fast as possible. Not having to rely on a power helped, I imagine, since it meant less problems once the gas hit."

"I've been there," Cat replies in a hushed voice as her eyes focus on a wall. It's like she's replaying an event in her head. "It was out in Jersey City, we went there to tackle a Vanguard cell and destroy their sample of a dangerous virus. Turned out Jersey City police were already there, they'd spotted someone suspicious and made a move on him. They found out he had a lot of heavily armed friends inside the warehouses and were in a vicious gun battle. So we wind up helping the police against the Vanguardites while trying to fight our way through to the target we came after. When Al spotted it, he tk'd the thing out through the window. Moments later, the building blew up. Al, Brian and I were thrown out into the street along with the biohazard container, and the DHS helicopters were arriving."

Still eying the wall, she continues the tale to its end. "I had the thermite grenade to destroy the material, and got lucky. One of the DHS agents had a disabling power, a psychic blast. I was just far enough away to stay awake and crawl over. It was the edge of his range, because limbs worked better as I kept moving. Set off the thermite, saw it start to burn through the container and do its job, then I looked back. Al and Brian were down, about to be grabbed up by the agents, there was no helping them."

Barbara grimaces as she listens to Cat, gaze moving off to the side and away from the panmesiac , remaining silent during the entire detailing of Cat's story. "Did it eat at you, afterwards?" She asks quietly, regretfully, still looking off to the side. "I… can't help but think about all the people that got left behind and taken. I was supposed to be there to protect them and make sure things like this didn't happen." She exhales sharply, shaking her head. "That's quite the story, I must admit. Until now, I've never been… in a situation like this. Or like that."

Turning her head to rest eyes on Barbara, Cat seems to have emerged from the grip of memories. She lets a slightly cold smile form. "Got home, the next morning I set out to locate everyone I could who'd been in on the operation at various places around the city. The captured ones were located, two were taken to a prison in the Utah desert. I helped plan the raid that went and broke them out."

She takes a brief drink from her cola, then explains "The virus destroying op and the prison assault weren't Ferry activities, to be clear. Sometimes all one can do is run. What matters most is what we do next."

"Of course," Barbara says with a slow nod, taking a sip of her drink. She doesn't address the matter of who's operations they had been, instead just letting that slip away. "I'd love to get back those who were taken from Thompson, but…" she chuckles, looking a little amused. "The only reason I was of help for Abigail and the others was because it's hard to miss with a shotgun. Still, I plan on sticking around New York until, at the very least, I have some more information about what exactly went down at Thompson, and why."

"There are a number of possibilities, none of which can be proved or disproved yet. Information leaks, compasses or other detection methods, postcogs, clairvoyants, precogs…" Cat lets her voice trail off, studying the redhead for a moment. "Your sisters both have abilities. Niki, the one with multiple personalities, is incredibly strong. Tracy Strauss is an icemaker, registered on tier two. Maybe you've got your own mojo, maybe you don't, the odds say you do. Whether or not you want to share is up to you, I won't press."

She takes another short drink.

"But I am curious."

Barbara chuckles, running a finger along her sketchbook for a moment before she shrugs. "That's not the sort of thing I mind sharin' with someone in the Ferry, to be honest. As long as I think I can trust them, and so far you haven't proven otherwise." Barbara grins, eyeing Cat for a moment. A long sip of her drink is had, tapping on the side of her glass. "I wasn't sure what to call it until I became involved in the Ferry. My father…" She drifts off for a moment, shaking her head.

"My father gave me an idea when he told me, years ago. But, I see the past. Postcognition." She looks up for a moment, sounding very frank. "I'm hoping to use this talent while I'm here in New York, to help figure out what happened."

"That's a useful piece of mojo," Cat remarks, "I've come across some of those. One has the ability to get information from touching another person. Found out about that one only after I shook hands with her," she laments. "Another gets visions of past events in a location she currently occupies, using a mirror to view them." She isn't asking how Barbara's version works, not by words, but the question is certainly present.

"I wish it were explainable as something like that," Barbara says with her eyes a bit widened. "I would enjoy meeting these other women sometime, if it can be arranged." She shifts her position a bit, staring at Cat for a moment. "I get visions… randomly, for the most part. It's like being a fly on a wall when it does happen." She closes her eyes after a moment, sighing. "I've never been good at really expressing what I see in them. That's why I carry the sketchbook, to be honest. Drawing what I see helps me relate it better."

She smirks next, leaning back. "I can try and bring forth a vision, but it doesn't always work, and it's never as… clear as the ones that just come to me."
"One you can probably meet," Cat replies with a chuckle, "she works as a private detective, often using that ability. The other, not so benign. If I'd known she had that talent, I'd not have shaken hands with her. The less she knows about a person, the better." Her cola is reached for during a moment of consideration which produces a question. "So you only get images, not images and sound together?"

Barbara shakes her head, looking thoughtful for a moment. "It's… like watching a recording, I think is a better way t' put it. But it's a lot to take in. The drawings make it easier to get the entire vision across, if that makes any sense." She quirks a questioning eyebrow at Cat. "When I try and bring on a vision myself, it's like watching a staticy TV."

"It does," the hostess responds with a nod. "It makes me wonder about the emotional component to things with what you do, consider the chance events leave impressions where they happened and when they're strong enough you pick up on them. Like, say, a place where a murder happened. The victim might've known what was going on and been afraid, while the killer was extremely angry, making the occasion jump out at you while a less dramatic thing is harder to perceive."

Barbara's hand comes to chin as she considers this, remaining silent for several moments. "I… it depends, I guess. Like I said, it's like watching a video. What I see dictates how I feel. The only time I ever really and sort of… emotional impression is when I have a vision related to a specific object, rare as that is."

"I was speaking more of the video itself," Cat rejoins, "that events of greater drama in a location or on an object make a better quality recording which is easier for you to pick up, might even jump out, that being what happens when a vision simply comes to you. Lesser events perhaps get staticky because the recording they leave has been taped over many times."

Her cola is picked up again, a chuckle coming out before she drinks. "Don't mind me. My brain is geared toward learning all it can and brainstorming about how things work sometimes."

"I think I get what you mean." Barbara says with a slow nod. "I don't think that's quite it, though. My visions tend to be… random. They can be related to certain stimuli, I've figured out, but that's not always the case. They're usually fairly clear - clearer and more likely related to what I want if I have something to… ground a vision. Like a photograph, or better, an actual person."

She mirrors Cat's reach for her cola, shrugging. "I don't talk often about my ability. Even after knowing of it for many years now, I still haven't figured out all of the nuances. So talking to anyone who might be able to help with that is welcome."

"So clarity is more related to what something or someone means to you than the intensity of an event itself," Cat muses before placing the topic aside. Attention is moving on to the bagged items brought forth from Canada, in particular the spent negation gas canister. Examining that without removing it from the bag reveals some residue exists.

"This is good news," she breathes out, "I can maybe have this tested to see what it's made of. Knowing what it's made of can lead to something which blocks the effects."

Barbara grimaces as the canister comes into view. Every time she saw it, it just reminded her of that night back at the commune. "It wrecked absolute havoc at the commune. Like I said earlier, I'm lucky I have a power I have no reliance on in a stressful situation. I'm sure…. several people found themselves at a complete loss before those rubber bullets hit them." She eyes the canister for a few more moments before closing her eyes. "Working out a way to block it was already a good idea. If they really do have this compasses you spoke of, it needs to be done before every safehouse because a danger zone like the commune was."

Nodding as Barbara speaks, Cat gathers up the items to store away safely until she can get them to places and others who'll hopefully be of assistance. "It's a contact gas," she comments, "I've seen it used but haven't been hit by it."

Once that task is done, she turns attention to getting the triplet settled into one of the guest suites for the night, should she accept. More definitive arrangements can be made later.

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