To Be Called Upon


cat_icon.gif hana_icon.gif

Scene Title To Be Called Upon
Synopsis The hunt begins.
Date December 16, 2008

An upscale restaurant which serves breakfast, somewhere in Nuked York City.

Morning arrives, on the 16th of December, and Cat is active already. Before 8 a. m. she's dressed and out of the hotel room she used for the night. Her attire is that of a corporate lawyer; charcoal gray jacket and skirt, cream colored blouse, black pumps with two inch heels. Her hair is pinned up to not go far past the bottom of her collar. The marks at one temple have faded further, but still remain as a lingering physical badge of the ordeal. She's seated at a table in an upscale restaurant where breakfast is served, a cup of coffee near one hand and orange juice across from it, quietly and calmly waiting.

The woman with the haunted eyes is left alone with her thoughts until Hana arrives. She nurses her grief, her guilt, and her grudge.

Saying this restaurant isn't Hana's usual sort of place is like saying the sky is blue; and yet the woman who walks in the door practically fits it as though it were a well-worn glove. Her long brown hair is pinned up against the back of her head, save for a few tendrils that have worked their way free to frame the face to which extremely subtle makeup has been applied; she wears a taupe dress-suit with an ivory blouse under the jacket and her own pair of shoes with two-inch heels. The normal feline grace of her movements is muted into something less implicitly suggestive of menace as Hana walks across the room. The hostess who attempts to intercept is dissuaded with the simplest of words: I'm with her.

"Hello, Catherine," Hana greets, forgoing the salutation of good morning in what may be a sensitivity most would not expect from her. Or maybe she wouldn't have said that anyway. The technopath sits down across from Cat, accepting the offer of coffee immediately extended by the waitress.

The sound of her name causes the woman who was just joined to stiffen slightly, just enough for the perceptive to notice, but it quickly passes. Hana can't have known Ethan made a point of addressing her by that name rather than the shortened form she's accustomed to, after all, and Cat has no desire to seem weak in Hana's eyes. She sets it aside as best she can, behaving as if the reaction never occurred. "Hana," she replies. "Thank you for coming."

She can't know, but Hana is perceptive; the reaction is noted, filed away in a fashion Cat herself is more than familiar with, and outwardly completely disregarded. Just as Cat pretends it didn't happen, so does her companion. "You're welcome," the suited woman replies, inclining her head just a touch. She takes a sip of the coffee, black as it was poured into the cup. "How are you doing?" Likely a question Cat's heard a thousand times by now.

"The heart grieves," she answers, "but the mind knows matters must move forward, and so one summons the strength to do so. I would tell you first that Ethan the Sadist, while he demanded the surrender of a technopath, does not know your name. I believe this to be true, my estimation is if he knew he would have demanded you by name to show us he knows."

Hana nods at both halves of Cat's reply, the personal and the more 'professional'. "Most likely," she agrees. "Or to hide his vulnerability." Demanding the technopath means such a person can hurt you. A quarrel with Hana Gitelman could be almost anything. "Even if he did, however, it would be only an inconvenience." Another sip of coffee. "My name is whatever I choose to go by," she points out.

A ghost of a smile appears for a brief moment as her ears take in the operative's reply. "All the world's a stage," Cat answers, "in understanding that, personae can be invented and abandoned as needed. Our task, then, is to discover the particulars of our opponents personae as best we can without them knowing we have done so. I shall soon undertake to learn details of how their operation at Dorchester Towers was carried out, I've little doubt the manager will allow me to view camera footage of the night in question. He won't want a lawsuit, or to have it get around that anyone was abducted from the building. It would, however, be better to determine if such footage can be accessed without anyone knowing we've done so. If I ask in person, our opponent can also inquire if anyone has inquired or be told if he had someone on the inside."

"Camera feeds," Hana replies, "are a bit tricky once they're archived." She holds the cup between her hands, fingers curled around its smooth, pale sides. "If it's kept on external discs, I can't access them unless they're being read." By computer, obviously. A slow, thin smile is given to Cat over the top of the coffee mug. "Getting such discs without notice isn't a problem." And if the video is kept on a hard drive… then there's even less of a concern, isn't there?

Her own cup is lifted and sipped from, then set back down on the table while she listens. "He was in the building, he got past security without trouble. It suggests to me he might be a resident of that building. I also aim to find out if this is true and if so to learn which apartment he lives in. If I had a surname, I might well already know, but things are what they are. Everything I've seen on this organization suggests their goal is genocide. Ferreting out details of our abduction is just the first step in efforts to be made. The general task is to uncover all we can and forestall their goals. Do you have anything already on them?"

Hana nods briefly as Cat talks about Ethan-as-resident-of-Dorchester. "'Them'," she echoes, "no. Not for those who are here. But I have a good deal on the operations of Kazimir Volken, also known as Richard Santiago. Teo and I discussed him the other day." The technopath blinks once, regarding Cat steadily. "I can dump the details to your computer, if you like." A pause, the coffee cup halfway to her lips. "Might work on its security while I'm at it." It's an offer, if not explicitly stated as such.

She nods once. "I know everything that's in it," Cat replies, "but it's a good thing to have security enhanced so no one else learns what I know. The data itself, I read it periodically to have it stored in case of machine failure so I can recreate it. The machine, meanwhile, well, something could happen to me and redundancy is our friend."

Taking another sip and then placing her cup on the table, Hana nods to Cat. "By the time I'm done with it," she remarks quietly, "there should be fewer people in the world who can break through than already know about it." 'Break through' in any practical timeframe, of course; any security can be defeated by almost any level of security cracker given sufficient time.

"Thank you for that, and the delivery of information to augment our records. It goes without saying that as they expand, with things being uncovered and persons identified, that data will be shared immediately. You're quite welcome, while at your task, to peruse what we already have. One person in particular draws interest, she would require special attention in any operation. The possibility exists that Ethan's accomplice in the abduction has some variety of time manipulation. Without seeing either of them move, I felt a sting as if injected by a needle, and the drug took hold."

"Time manipulation," Hana echoes thoughtfully. She picks up the cup again, finishing the coffee. A waitress drops by to refill it almost as soon as the woman sets it back down. "I will see what I can find out." Either about her specifically or, more likely — one unknown time manipulator is a needle in the haystack of Evolved — what Bennet can suggest as possible counter-tactics for that power.

"I considered the possibilities, in reviewing what happened when we were taken," Cat states with fingers curled around her own cup, "and judged that the most likely. It's possible, for example, someone invisible entered with them, but I believe if that were true I'd have felt the physical closeness when the injection was made. Along that line, it would've required two such persons, to drug us both at the same time."

Inclining her head, Hana doesn't disagree. "Possible," she states, "but less likely. That would be four people all told, and more people complicate such operations." She would know.

"A nice side benefit of remembering everything is being able to freeze and rewind at spots to consider all details fully," Cat remarks prior to a sip of her coffee. "Did you want to order?" She says nothing about it, not wanting to be seen as assuming in case she's wrong, but she did pick a place which has a good number of kosher items on the menu, even if they're not specifically declared as such.

A small but honest smile curves Hana's lips. "It would be strange if I left without eating," she remarks. Oblique assent, but it conveys the reason for that agreement. Not that the technopath has any objections to either eating or doing so in her current company. But she's not going to say that, either.

The menu is given a brief scrutiny, and the ever-watchful waitress who manifests like a summoned genie once it's set aside is indeed presented with a kosher order. Some things, Hana no longer observes; her life now has neither religion nor culture worth the words, and the memories are easier when left quiescent. But some conditioning is beyond breaking, and not worth the effort anyway.

For her part, Cat asks for eggs and sausage. Careful not to offend the potential sensibilities of the operative across from her, she chooses the all-beef variety without calling attention to having done so. Silence rules at the table while the waitress is present, but once she's gone the Ivy Leaguer speaks again. "I'm also seeking new lodgings, and my eye is on the Solstice Condominiums. I'm hopeful of not having such an event as occurred before happening there, so I've an interest in people residing there already. Whether there are government or Company operatives, not to mention anyone on the Registry as telepaths."

In the absence of the waitress and the resumption of their conversation, Hana nods slowly. "Company operatives," she remarks in a tone whose very slight distraction could be easily missed, "are… difficult to identify. They are fairly numerous, and the Company keeps its records close." The technopath blinks, her attention somehow refocusing on Cat even though her gaze never left the other woman. "There is one registered telepath on record at Solstice. Also, the captain of SCOUT." Talk about an unlucky choice, in light of Cat's criteria.

Her eyes close for a moment, then reopen. "I won't be living there," Cat states. "The search goes on. I may well make my own location, perhaps outfitting the recording studio as a portion of that place. Far better that way, in any case, as it involves no neighbors and I can control security."

Hana inclines her head yet again. "Given your preferences, I can assemble a list of possibilities, if you wish," the technopath offers, picking up her coffee mug and taking another drink. "You are also always welcome to stay with one of us in the interim, or for as long as you see fit." That's basically what the Ferry exists for, after all.

"Thank you," Cat replies quietly. "I've stayed in accomodations, and may do so again. Yet I also hesitate to do so, given my own means and finances. Space may, after all, be limited and I wouldn't wish to occupy anything needed by others of lesser resources. The things I've asked for, also, constitute task enough. I don't want to create the impression I see you as my personal technopath."

A sideways quirk of Hana's lips meets Cat's words. She considers her companion's final statements for a brief time, a few beats of silence. "The Ferry… is not like Phoenix. We are 'a group' in that there is strength in numbers, in association, in the sharing of resources. Call it a 'social contract', if you will. The binding thread in that contract is mutual aid — and you, Phoenix, are 'one of us'. The network is there to be called upon."

"Benjamin Franklin," Cat quotes, "said we must hang together, or we shall hang separately. True as much now as then." Her cup is lifted, a sip is taken, as the waitress starts across toward their table. Food will soon be present, and with the staffer's arrival the opportunity for handling business being interrupted. "How much time might the securing of the tapes from Dorchester Towers take?"

"Indeed," Hana agrees. "The only difficulty is distracting whomever's on duty, if anyone is physically guarding the records. I can have them later today." It's not like she has other pressing engagements in her life; only Ferrymen business. Then the waitress arrives at the table, and conversation is postponed. Until much later.

Any additional notes fall to the bottom.

December 15th: Brilliant, Watson
December 16th: The Academic and the Terrorist
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