To Save Rickham, Part One


cat_icon.gif grace_icon.gif jezebel_icon.gif trask_icon.gif

Electronic participation by hana_icon.gif

Scene Title To Save Rickham, Part One
Synopsis On realizing the President-elect is a target, a group of people starts mobilizing to save him.
Date December 19, 2008

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries /and/ research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

She sat in the apartment she'd shared with the fallen, in her mind martyred, Courtney Danielle Hamilton. The guitar was played, she let out some of her emotions, and began the path to honoring the woman's final wishes. To let go of the guilt. It isn't gone yet by any means, she'll always be conscious of the choice made, but it is easing. Dani's own words, spoken while they were captives, keep coming to the fore.

"You get it now," Cat asks gently, "why I didn't make the call, stop him from hurting you? Because he's a sadist. I won't make any deal that doesn't include you being set free. He'd still have had one hostage to trade, if he even intends to make a trade. The only things I take as honest from him are that he'll hurt and kill us."

She draws in a deep and slow breath, exhaling it before she states "So if it comes to that, we go down together, and the bastard gets only our dead bodies."

The other woman replies "No. Cat, if push comes to shove, you're more important than I am. You need to get through this, if only one of us can."

Now today, there's the visit by President-elect Rickham to happen, his tour of damaged areas in the city. Cat's mind had turned to things she wrote in the Catabase regarding the Volken Group's next move. She wants to find leaders and talk it over, see what answers to those questions they might have come up with. It's this purpose which has the brunette, clad in a hooded sweatshirt, jeans, athletic shoes, and a winter coat entering the library.

Trask is sitting in one of the rooms off the main hall, when Cat gets let through the sentries, none of the movers and shakers are easily found, but Sergei is there. He is filling out a report of some sort his gloves off so her can write, but otherwise still bundled up.

She spots the man and stops by the doorway of the office where he's writing that report, her eyes resting on him while she silently speculates. She is, as usual, careful to keep more than ten feet away from the man. A few seconds later Cat speaks. "Sergei. Morning. Tell me, do you sometimes review the Catabase?" Hands go behind her head, a rubber band in one of them, she pulls her hair into a ponytail and uses the band to keep it that way.

Trask looks up, "Catabase?" He turns seeing Chesterfield, and subconsciously moves where she can't see the report.

"…dust-off the contingencies; with PARIAH apparently gone, we're more likely to wind up on HomeSec's radar sooner…" Stopping by the doorway is probably a bad idea when other people are planning on utilizing the same hall. Fortunately, Grace is only carrying two boxes; she can see over them, and her conversation with Jezebel doesn't distract her to a point where she fails to notice Cat standing there. "Hey, Cat! Alistair sends his regards," the woman with the raven's voice remarks, hefting the boxes slightly. Invoking the name of the effective quartermaster of the Ferrymen implies what they contain — supplies. "Cat— " A glance around the edge of the doorway. "— Sergei, this is Jezebel. She's recently taken up the Garden." Phoenix knows this safehouse as one of the major avenues by which Ferryed people get out of the city. "Jezebel, Cat and Sergei, Phoenix."

Jezebel smiles around more boxes. "I'm very pleased to meet you both, Cat, Sergei. Grace, where should we put these?"

Trask is well muffled in winter clothes, and speaking with his normal russian accent, his face can not be seen behind the scarf and hat.

She's about to answer Sergei, her mouth is open, but the words cut off when Grace arrives and speaks to her. "Morning, Grace. Send mine to Alistair, would you?" Cat's demeanor has changed a bit from where it was a day before when they spoke. The torment in her eyes has lessened some. "It's good to meet you as well, Jezebel," she adds. Her hands reach out to take one of the former Sergeant's boxes and carry it wherever she might be going.

Grace tips her head to indicate the hall ahead of them. "Two rooms down, on the right." She lets Cat take the top box, grinning unrepentantly at the other woman. "I shall. Sorry if we interrupted something." Except not really, because it's just one of those things that happens. "You look better today." She did notice.

Jezebel quips, "Blessed are they who help carry boxes, for they get to open their goodies that much sooner." She takes a few steps down the hall, humming a few notes of "Jingle Bells". She stops humming to ask Grace, "Think there'll be an emergency Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? I was planning to take the train home for the two days and get back here the twenty-sixth."

Trask rises and slides the report into a manilla envelope, he then turns, pulling his gloves back on, his accent thick, "Anything I can do ladies?"

"Someone wrote me a note as she was starting a journey, told me I shouldn't feel guilty," Cat replies. "It helps a little." Perhaps Grace will understand what Cat means, perhaps not; it's a statement she doesn't elaborate on. Her eyes drift to Jezebel briefly when she's heard to hum Jingle Bells, something melancholy surfaces there for a moment before being chained back.

In the indicated room she sets the box down, her mind turning back to musing. The question she has perhaps will be seen as coming from left field, but come it does. "If you were planning an act of violence to serve a larger purpose in the near future, what would be your most likely target?"

"We seem to have it under control, but thanks, Sergei!" As she deposits her box on one of the shelves in the appointed room, Grace looks over her shoulder at Jezebel. "You… well, whatever the grand cosmic plan was, you just invoked Murphy. I guarantee there'll be one now," she concludes with a crooked but remarkably broad grin. "No worries. We'll deal without you." Blue eyes turn to Cat as she speaks, and Grace nods. "Good." One dark brow arches, Grace's return to the hall interrupted by Cat's query. "Scott would be the one to ask that question. But I figure it depends on the purpose."

Jezebel considers the question. "I think the greater good would be best served by gift-wrapping whoever blew up Washington Irving High School as a gift for the District Attorney. Second best would be chasing down whoever else has been a terrorist lately and sending them off to the FBI."

Trask nods slowly, "Yes well….I am thinking there are more then enough people causing problems these days."

Her eyes move from one person to another among the three as she listens to answers given, Cat all the while careful to keep herself more than ten feet from Sergei. Does she not like the guy? Or has she, by this avoidance, identified herself as an Evolved person without saying so verbally? The ponytailed brunette of five feet eight inches, wearing a hooded sweatshirt and jeans with athletic shoes, seems a bit disappointed at the replies. Words are framed as she rests eyes on Jezebel, her expression suggesting she's on top of the issue. "Let's say you're a particularly ambitious brand of nutjob, one who's been nursing a grudge for the sixty-some years since the US and other countries thrashed your exalted leader so hard he committed suicide, and your fellows got hanged at Nuremberg. Now you want to have some payback, among other goals. Like causing instability. What would you do?"

Having done as she promised and asked for information, Grace picks up immediately whom Cat is referring to. The recognition is obvious in the way her eyes narrow. "It's fairly traditional for terrorists to go after public figures and government officials," she points out, the sandpaper-rasp of her tone dry as old bones. "Anyone who wants change, really, including Uncle Sam. You knock out whomever disagrees and install your own people in their place."

Jezebel makes a face, as if trying to get a bad taste out of her mouth. "I hate Nazis. I'm not going to do a good job of this, but let me think. Would I know where to find the old gold stashes? There's still plenty of harm to do the stock market and gold market. I suppose there's bombing synagogues for the simple-minded, or shooting Allen Rickman."

Trask says, "Kill the President" His reply is simple, and very Russian, "He's the highest profile target around honestly. and He is visiting soon.""
Her eyes light up, on hearing the replies. "Thank you," Cat breathes out. "It's fairly obvious. That's their next move. It has to be. There will be an attempt on the President-elect, the best hope we have of putting our nation back on the path."

Grace regards the three with her for a moment, then shrugs. "Well, we'll just have to keep it from happening." Simple as that. "His itinerary's been publicized, right?"

Jezebel warns, "The Secret Service will be all over those areas, in advance."

"Three locations," Cat replies. She's paid attention, the President-elect's itinerary is in her head, called up now. "He plans to visit the midtown crater, Washington-Irving school, and CitySoft's ruins. It's a wide area to cover, and yes, Secret Service will be in full force. They, however, aren't perfect. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Gerald Ford was shot at a few times, and Ronald Reagan was shot once. They may need some assistance."

"Midtown and Irving are close enough to cover them with one team. Get Wireless to track the motorcade and figure out where he's going when," Grace suggests. "She probably doesn't have time to weasel out the real itinerary, but as long as we're prepared to be flexible, it shouldn't be a problem. Have a second team stake out CitySoft. Secret Service will be there, yes, but so will a crowd of civilians."

Jezebel says, "They may need assistance, Cat, but they won't accept it. If they find us, we'll get shooed off, or arrested just as a precaution. As for which site they'll attack at, the crater might be their best opportunity. There should be plenty of places to hide nearby and no one's going to rush in there. On the other hand, they'd get the best publicity at the school."

Trask says, "So midtown becomes the primary target either way."

"We have assets the Secret Service doesn't," Cat asserts, "but you're right, if we draw attention to ourselves, they could arrest or chase us away. My first thought is to cover the President-elect himself. If a fogbank happens to settle in wherever he is, blocking him from being viewed clearly by a sniper. That will assist us greatly. We also have the advantage of knowing who to look for. Sergei, we need you present. I need to be in a position where I can observe with binoculars and spot faces, then direct people by radio. The biggest threat, I believe, is a blonde woman who may be able to stop time. Or Ethan, who may also be able to mess with time. It's key to locate one or both of those and ensure they're powerless."

"Don't count on that," Grace disagrees. "Cover all possibilities; don't assume they think the way you do." She looks sidelong at Cat, and shrugs again. "Tactics should probably wait until you have your teams figured out. I need to get moving; more deliveries to make." Blue eyes flick to Jezebel, then back to Cat and Sergei. "Do you guys have any plans for New Year's?"

Jezebel says, "I'll probably get roped into going to something in D.C., otherwise I'd host the New Year's party. I can still make up a few things in advance for it."

Trask smiles a little, "I am sure I will likely be working I am afraid."

Her reply to Grace includes a brisk nod. "True enough. Sometimes I brainstorm too far ahead." Cat pauses then, to consider and answer the question regarding New Year's Day. "I… I think I'll be trying to stay occupied, keep myself from thinking too much. Or I may decide to wallow in it." Her voice has become subdued, laced with a sense of loss and melancholy. "In either case, trying to make myself think only of good times."

"Well." Grace bestows a mock scowl upon all three of them, each in turn. Most of all upon Cat. "That just won't do. We'll have to fix it." A small, smug smirk. "I'm sure we can figure out something for you to host, Jez'. And Scott will be so tickled." Or not, but what's the point of having him around if not to be needled?

Jezebel agrees, "Indeed. No melancholy allowed. I'll have to make a batch of rum balls and wassail. You'll love the rum balls, Cat. It's a secret family recipe. Two of them and all your troubles will be far away."

Trask chuckles and shakes his head, "Good luck, Cat, I have a feeling you will need it."

"My mood will depend a lot on whether or not I can tell her memory we prevented the action we expect will be attempted today," Cat states quietly. "But I expect I'll show up and sample the rum balls, and the wassail." She manages a smile, her eyes moving among the three of them.

"Very good. I'll have Wireless send the invitations." Grace waves to the two Phoenix operatives, and steps out into the hall, heading back the way she came. On to the next stop.

Jezebel says as she follows Grace out, "No matter what, another year is another chance. Best of luck, Cat."

Trask watches as the two Ferrymen head out, he nods to Cat, turning to go himself, knowing how she doesn't like him hanging close.

"Sergei," Cat replies, once the two have gone their way. "You don't know what the Catabase is?" She heads to the computer and sits at the terminal, quickly pulling up the info and opening the tab marked Kazimir Volken Group. She then moves away for him to read. "It's nothing personal," she explains quietly, "the way I keep my distance from you. It's just that when you get too close, I can't think straight. Everything turns to fog and swiss cheese."

Trask nods slowly, sitting down, "I knew we had a database, I hadn't heard it called the Catabase before, but I can understand the reference." He looks over it some, "This has a lot of info in it."

"I put that name on there," she replies with a quiet chuckle, "a touch of humor, since I can reproduce it any time I need to, on any machine, without missing any detail. And yes, it does. They'd been looked into before, we had some details, names and such, but… recently they inspired me to pay them much closer attention. Ethan should have killed me." Cat lapses into silence then, letting the man read.

Trask says, "Not all the info I have provided Cam and Helena have made it onto here…"

"Others have added things, here and there, but for the most past this is my doing, Sergei," Cat replies. "If I'd heard about it, unless Stormy said she wanted it kept classified, I'd have put it on. In any case, I can't add what I don't know. The computer, well, it's because redundancy is our friend. If I only keep data in my head and something happens to me, it's all lost."

Trask touches the screen as he brings up one part, "Dr. Claudine Salongo, Psychiatrist, Telepath, is Asian, I've actually run into her before, and looked up her file."

"Excellent, Sergei," Cat replies with a nod. "It's open for people to read and add things to as they have info to share. It might help, too, if we start a system where people who add data put their initials and a date on it, so we know the source." Another pause follows, the woman thinking for a moment, then she suggests "If you would, start that IM program." Without getting too close, she points at an icon. "Put Wireless in the To field, and Cat in the from. The text is Hello. Assistance needed."

Trask types in the information you have asked, as he does he speaks, "I also have a list of other Registered super powers in the area, some of which we have disccusses recruiting, including a Healer, and someone who can make Transport Tunnels, portals to other places in the world. Even if we don't recruit them we might want to notate them in your database, as possible threats.

Wireless: What form of assistance?

Trask looks up, turning the screen so she can see it.

"Thanks," Cat replies, as she watches the IM be sent. "She usually replies fairly soon. Hopefully Wireless isn't busy. And info on persons of interest is always a good thing, to me. Especially about telepaths. I really need to know about them, so I can hopefully stay well clear." When the reply appears, Cat recommends "Type in this: Analysis suggests the next target of KVG is President-elect Rickham. We are considering options to augment security forces and working toward making this not happen. We could use data on the route he'll travel."

Trask types as asked, word for word.

There's a brief moment of electronic silence.

Wireless: That's today.

Wireless: You want me to break into the Secret Service's most heavily-protected files with no more notice than that?

Trask looks over at Cat, Raising a eyebrow behind the scarf, he is typing in the gloves.

"Reply," Cat suggests, grimacing visibly. She hates, hates, to look less than adequate in the eyes of Wireless. "We don't anticipate a need to break into the files, Wireless. We anticipate instead the President-elect's itinerary and routes will only be confirmed at the last moments, when he's actually in travel, for security reasons. We are hopeful you'll be able to monitor electronic communication and confirm his movements as they happen."

Trask continues with the transcribing, "She's good, but is she that good?"

The pause that ensues almost has the sense of an exasperated sigh. Though it could be purely imaginary.

Wireless: That, I can do. Easily.

"I never doubt Wireless," Cat replies with a slight grin. "Even if we had needed what she initially thought to happen, I don't disbelieve she could pull it off. Most of what we have in the Catabase on KVG came from her. She hasn't said so, also, but the mention in there that funds were depleted? I think that's her doing. It has to be. Otherwise Ethan the Sadist wouldn't demand our technopath for Dani. Tell her thank you, please, Sergei."

Trask does so, sending a message of gratitude. "I wonder if there is anything I could do to help her with all that. I'm prolly going to be on duty during the procession, everyone is pulling extra shifts." He lets that slip, in the Russian accent at least, but the implication is there, in terms of how he has the info he has on Registry Lists, with the word, "On Duty"

Wireless: You're welcome.

"One major limitation of my ability is that I can't download images of faces, I can only describe them in words. If we had actual photos of Ethan, Kazimir, the blonde accomplice, Wu-Long and others, well, we could get Wireless to flash them at all security and law enforcement agencies. Sadly, telling people to look for a six foot bald guy, a short blonde woman, and a Chinese guy is the same as saying see that pile of hay? Have at it. And we're kind of at the wall here, until Stormy turns up so we can pull her and others together, wrap all our brains around this thing."

Trask nods, "I don't know what she will decide." He bites his lip, "I'm sorry we couldn't do more…or…"

"We'll figure it out," Cat replies. "So many parameters. They could have the time manipulator freeze things and walk right up, fire a bullet into his head, walk away, and be long gone when time starts again. Or… crap. Sylar is in KVG. He could be the assassin using a false face." Cat's eyes close, she goes quiet for a moment. "I'd say tell Wireless we'll be in contact when we have some sort of plan and teams formed, but I imagine she already anticipates that. She isn't one for belaboring the small points. Best to form the analysis and give her the gist when it's done." This Cat knows, for while speaking she sees Hana's face and the impatience she showed on it.

December 19th: Some Hours Later

Previously in this storyline…
How Not to Eavesdrop

Next in this storyline…
To Save Rickham, Part Two

December 19th: To Save Rickham, Part Two
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