Unwanted Revelations


cat_icon.gif knox_icon.gif

Scene Title Unwanted Revelations
Synopsis Something is making Knox afraid.
Date September 12, 2010

St. Joseph's Church

Long ago St. Joseph's Church used to be a bastion in a rough neighborhood on Staten Island. After the bomb and the exodus in the wake of the fallout cloud, the church was abandoned. For the four years following, this sturdy construction has served as the wayward home for a number of would be priests, drug smugglers, human traffickers and rebellious organizations. No one group or person has ever retained long-term ownership of this vagrant structure.

St. Joseph's Church itself is a resiliant building, having survived the exodus, the rise of the Rookery and the Great Storm of 2010 that dropped nearly twenty feet of snow on the city. The brick facade of St.Joseph's may be crumbling, its stained glass windows may be shattered and portions of the roof may have collapsed inward, but no amount of damage can truly crush the church's obvious spirit contained in every single mortared brick.

On the interior, the church looks battered by the weather. Wood is grayed from exposure to rain and snow, the pews have all long since been looted away save for two scuffed and scraped remnants. The dais at the back of the church is cluttered with debris from a collapsed portion of the roof and loose timbers spiked with rusty nails lay everywhere.

Signs of transient residency are scattered around the church, from empty beer cans to discarded pieces of ratty old furniture arranged like some makeshift living room around a smashed television. People come and go from St.Josephs, but few ever stay.

Staten Island has its fair share of lions in the tall grass, its fair share of hunters and its fair share of prey. That they at times choose to congregate in packs or prides is not surprising.

Beneath shafts of pale morning light filtering thorugh a hole in the high ceiling, Benjamin Washington — better known here on Staten Island as Knox — lounges back against a tatered and worn out armchair seated next to a cracked and broken cathode ray tube television set inside a too-old wooden box frame. Outside of the crumbling facade of St.Joseph's church, a familiar motorcycle serves as a signpost to the knowledgable, serves as a warning to the wary; this claim is staked.

Staring up thorugh the hole in the ceiling, Knox watches pidgeons roosting in the rafters shuffling and cooing in their morning reverie, one of his hands flips open and closed a lighter, its metal top clicking with each snap of his thumb. He isn't here because this is where he chooses to roost these days, far from the truth in fact. But clandestine meetings off of the grid are best done in places with as few prying eyes as possible.

That Knox has something worth discussing this far off the grid that a ruined church is the backdrop for it is perhaps a sign of the times.

Making her way through the Rookery before sunrise, with the first rays appearing just as she arrives at the ruined structure, Cat's arrival is heralded by the sounds of booted feet on the floor. A practiced ear might divine the approaching person is female and weighs about 66 kg. She's neither trying to be loud nor quiet. Alert eyes survey the interior as she moves, noting changes from the last visitation. On sighting the man, she speaks.

"Fort Knox. Good to see you." Steps halt a few feet away, in full view of his seated position, eyes taking in the face. "Electronic dark," she assures.

Snapping the lighter closed and leaning forward in his chair, Knox twists to regard Cat's entrance into the ruined church over his shoulder. "Been a long while, feline…" Tucking the lighter into a pocket on the front of his black tactical vest laden with a pair of knives and magazines for a handgun, Knox pushes himself to his feet, boots scuffing the floor and urban camouflage patterened pants looking a far cry from his biker-chic leather pants he used to wear. That there's a red scarf loosely draped around his neck and shoulders, hiding the bottom of his chin, is unsurprising to Catherine.

"You alone?" Dark eyes flick towards the side door Cat had come in from, then back to the brunette, "I ain't talkin' with nobody else." What does a man who grows empowered by fear have to fear himself? Apparently more than would be expected.

"It has," she responds, leaning her backside against some nearby available surface. There is calm curiosity written onto Cat's features. "And I am." Whether or not she's armed is unclear, the plain blue hooded sweatshirt covering her upper body and the faded jeans below that don't show evidence either way. The backpack slung over her left shoulder is much the same.

She doesn't comment on the circumstances of this encounter, having been told to come electronically dark speaks loudly.

Knox offers one more fleeting look to the door, then dips his head in a slow nod and exhales a breathy sigh. "Last time you'n I talked, I told you I was goin' on a walkabout, puttin' my ear to the ground. I don't think you knew exactly how far down I was puttin' my ear, girl. We got problems, though. Big, scary, fanged problems an' I ain't sure who else t'turn to about it." Walking a few paces away from Cat, Knox rubs one hand over the back of his neck.

"Back when I went t'lay my ear to the ground, I hooked up with Norman White's gang. Being a former Moab inmate kinda' gave me an in on that. I went to his rallies, listened to his speeches, saw the crowd he was pulling in. It was probably… back in September when I first noticed there was somebody there at every rally, somebody who didn't look like he fit in, y'know? Business suits, real quiet, it was like he was takin' notes or somethin'."

Shifting a look over to Cat as he turns around to face her, Knox folds his bare arms over his chest. "When I finally talked to him, he knew me. I didn't know Rupert Carmichael bankrolled PARIAH back in Cameron's day, but he knew me by name just by lookin' at me. Carmichael said he was worried about how what White was goin' t'do was gonna' turn out, told me to lay off and lay low… said he was working on a revival of PARIAH, said that Erim was workin' with him… I mentioned you to him, an' he told me that Phoenix was compromised by the Company by some chica named Ananda. Told me to stay out of touch with you and yours, so… I did. Rupert smelled like a whole lot of low tide." Fishy business.

"I only recently heard that name spoken," Cat admits with features shifting to a mixed expression of disgust and shame, "after the Company's collapse. I need to ask some questions, get a photo of her so I can see the face. The last two women who came to us were a Federal and Company agent with information about Pinehearst. We didn't admit her to the group, but she'd worked with us against the Vanguard and knew who we were. Minea Dahl. The other one was a telepath who worked as a reporter. Mona Rao. She came across Emile Danko, a real piece of work with Humanis First, spotted what he was up to from his thoughts." Her eyes flash, the combined subjects of that man and the alleged infiltration have her commencing a slow burn.

"Minea Dahl wasn't given inside information, she was never a member of the group, but it seems she may have been sent by the Company with information we mostly already knew as an attempted plant. Mona Rao, though, was taken in. Minea was allegedly taken out by Teo Laudani. Mona… Mona was hanged by Danko's cell outside that church they burned last year. If she was a Company plant, it bit her in the ass badly. I can't be sure it was either of them, they're just the most likely."

In moving away from that bitter topic, she turns to the surviving Carmichael. "I met him not long ago. Rupert told us he used to have persuasion mojo, but lost it to the 510 flu. We managed to at least clear some things up and agree to avoid hostility, or try to. That Messiah attack when we were breaking the Institute's deep freeze was really bad timing. Just a few minutes earlier, and we might still be in the Ice Age."

"Rao," Knox says with a wag of one hand, "That was Kaur's cover identity. She was Company through an' through. I dunno how Carmichael found it out, I dunno what she was doing either, but Carmichael spun it was her there to destroy Phoenix and everyone in it. You don't look too destroyed to me, but it seemed like a pretty logical step at the time, y'know?" Knox's brows furrow about the comment of the raid, looking away with a shake of his head.

"Carmichael told us a different story about how he lost his ability, said some guy with red lightning just ripped it outta him. He said that this guy, some dude with glasses that I figure was Edward Ray, and— he swears up and down— Nathan Petrelli all came to him and sucked his powers out. Ain't sure what to make of it, really." Knox paces back and forth across the battered, hardwood floor, boots clunking noisily as he walks.

"Carmichael got in touch with me after White got killed, told me he found two of White's old gang, girl named Risa and a kid named Kris. Says he offered them safe-haven, told me that he got in touch with other members of PARIAH, like West, fed them all the same story about you being compromised and untrustworthy. They ate it all up, an' truth be told I did too…" sliding his tongue over his lips, Knox looks askance to a shattered stained glass window, then back to Cat.

"I told Allen about everything, he'd been doing backup with me on Staten Island, lookin' over my shoulder. Something was goin' on with his girl too, pretty lady, never got her name. Kept him pretty busy, I dunno what it was but I didn't see him for a few months. Then all of the sudden R.Ajas and T.Monk get in touch with me, an' they're callin' themselves Rebel. They're all freaked out, talkin' fuckin' crazy talk about how we can't trust the government, how we gotta move and take a stand, I mean— Cat. I've never heard either of them like this, but they were… I dunno, they were talking about a bloody revolution and quoting these Marxist guys and— it was just wild."

Exhaling a sigh, Knox rubs one hand over his forehead and stops his pacing. "Me and Allen go to talk to Rupert, he's got West, Kris, Risa and Karl with him. We talk some, Rupert's sales pitch about a new rebellion seemed… I dunno, it seemed right. Rebel says he's all in, says the entire American government needs to collapse, says we need to "light the torch" and all this crazy shit. He was spooked, Cat. Rebel saw somethin' that scared him, I could almost feel him afraid… weird as it sounds."

"Far as I can tell, the Company wasn't out to take us down," Cat mutters darkly, "they only wanted to know how much we'd learned about them and other things. They certainly never made a move. As for Ananda Kaur, poetic justice. Her mission got her on the radar of HF and got her hanged in public outside a burning church. I'll call that one a tie and remember her as Mona Rao, the martyr. I still want to find out when Rupert learned about her, if it was before or after she died. Either way, he used it to drive wedges, and that pisses me off." Continuing to speak, an admission is made.

"Saying it was the 510 flu that got Rupert was smokescreen. He told us the same story, about Tyler Case. That's the man with the red lightning. There were two of him in New York then. One from 2019 who came back with Edward Ray, Nathan Petrelli, a fat guy I think might've been the future version of Eric Doyle, that technopath who called himself Robin Hood, and April Silver."

There's a lot more to share, and she plans to share it, but first she goes to silence and waits to see if the man's brain explodes or dribbles out his ears.

Smokescreen has one of Knox's brows lifting up, watching Cat carefully. "Okay, I guess I deserved that after being AWOL as long as I have…" A sigh slips past Knox's lips as he rolls his shoulders, crooks his head to the side and starts pacing again. "RUpert didn't say jack or squat about how he found out about Rao, but I know he's got government-level contacts, he told us as much. Says he's got ties in Washington, that it's where he gets most of his intel from. Seems to check out, much as Rebel's checked it out."

Lifting up a hand to rub at the back of his neck, Knox shakes his head from side to side. "That's where shit starts to get weird, Cat." Knox's eyes divert to the floor. "Right about the beginning of February, Rupert calls me, Allen, Kris, West and Risa into a meeting. He says something happened to Karl and that he wouldn't be around anymore. Then all of the sudden he introduces us to our new leader, Peter fucking Petrelli."

There's a squaring of Knox's shoulders, a shift of his weight from one foot to the other. "Peter comes in all fire an' fuckin' brimstone, talkin' about the Evil of the government and how every single last one'a Nathan's boys should eat a bullet. Cat, this was Cameron on a bad day after drinkin' speech. Ain't Peter the one who cleaned up PARIAH? Made it not about blowin' folks up? Man he scared some'a the people in the room, worst part was that Allen and the rest of them were eating it up. After that chick Allen was hanging out with stopped… I dunno, hangin' around? He got really dark, it was like someone turned a switch off on him or somethin', like he'd become more monster than man."

Shaking his head, Knox starts pacing around the room, breathing in and out unsteadily. "So Peter takes over, makes a list of people he wants us to recruit. Claire Bennet, Ashley Williams, Jesse Murphy, Niklaus Zimmerman… starts putting these lists together, handin' 'em out. Apparently it's all real specific shit, like he needs these people for somethin', wouldn't tell us what."

Rubbing one hand at the side of his head, Knox looks over to one of the intact windows, then back to Cat. "Few months later, we get most of the people together, Peter an' Rupert call for a big meeting. Cat, there was a fuckin' army there. Dozens of our kind, nothing short of Evolved to the core, all of 'em militant as the next zealot. It was worse than Norman, Cat. It was worse than Moab durin' the breakout. They wanna' overthrow the government, we're talking full on coup-de-tat stuff, kill Petrelli, replace him… I dunno."

Looking askance to the chair he was sitting in, Knox's hand lifts up and rubs over his mouth, then falls away as he looks to Cat one more time. "We had a kid get killed a few weeks ago. After the attack on the hospital out on Staten. He— he was like, I dunno, this Melissa girl's adopted son or something, went by the name Kendall. He snuck along for one of our missions, then got himself shot. We had a funeral…" Knox's brows knit together, his eyes avert to the floor. "Seein' the ceremony for that, it— it was like I got snapped outta' somethin'…"

Voice quiet, Knox slouches his shoulders and tucks his hands into his pockets. "I'm afraid, Cat. I dunno what t'do, but… I got me a bad feelin'. I've been doin' recon for Petrelli the last couple'a weeks, he's scopin' out television stations and radio stations across the city, havin' Rebel doing some big project that's been keepin' him busy. I dunno what's goin' on, but when the Company fell down Petrelli freaked. He's been on edge, worryin' about somethin'. I heard him and Rupert havin' an argument… Rupert was scared. I dunno about what. Cat, I needed t'tell you this before it gets any deeper."

Sliding his tongue over his lips, Knox shakes his head from side to side slowly. "I'm worried somethin' bad's gonna happen."

"There are a lot of blanks to fill in, Fort Knox," Cat begins in a solemnized voice, "and I'm going to do that. Allen… I believe the woman he spent so much time with was Jennifer Chesterfield. She ran for Mayor earlier this year, I think he was advising her. But the night of the election, which she lost, a member of the Vanguard garotted her."

Eyes close and her head lowers briefly, then raises as she makes eye contact. "What you're telling me about Rupert and Peter, about how people started acting strangely after meeting him, it says he might have gotten his mojo back. The Tyler Case that came with Edward Ray used that red lightning on a lot of people to either take away powers or switch them with other people. Remember how there were suddenly two Gillians, and she was able to copy abilities like Peter used to? Tyler Case did that, gave her mojo to someone else and she got his for a while. Some of them were set right by a woman named Delphine Kuhr, others just returned to normal over time. The only person who didn't get her groove back wasn't like the rest of us with powers." She goes quiet there, to let that sink in and for whatever reaction it draws to pass, because she thinks it might make him need to wreck something before being ready to listen further.

Sliding his tongue over the inside of his cheek, Knox tilts his head to the side and furrows his brows, then looks downt o the floor and over to the doors. "I'm sorry…" is because he makes the connection from one Chesterfield to another, and it crushes him. Exhaling a heavy-hearted sigh, shaking his head, Knox walks a few paces away from Cat, towards the demolished dais where an altar may have rested at one time, broken glass and slivers of wood crunching under his boots the whole way. All that's there now is graffiti, faded spray paint from vandals long since past, signs of water damage and the stink of mold.

"If he did get his power back, he's told us he used to be a persuader, used t'be able to make people do whatever he wanted. Fuck me I don't like the idea of bein' helpless about that sort've thing." There's a furrow of Knox's brows and a look to Cat. "Did you know Rebel has a body?" Knox seems to be thinking that Cat might be able to draw the same conclusions he is. "Some Chinese guy, I got a feeling it's a loaner. But if he's got a body…"

She's speculative, and somber, facial reflection of an emotional state risen from the mention of Mother's assassination. "Monk and Rajas started calling themselves Rebel while Norman White was still around," Cat remembers verbally, "both of them parts to the whole. Last December, though, it stopped being just them. I was busy handling very important business, and Wireless had gone dark. They contacted me, said Wireless was in a nasty fight, they were going to help her. She was battling some Chinese technopath in cyberspace, and a virus got used on her. Made her body comatose for a while." That's not the end of the story.

"Rebel apparently got there just in time, and they used the enemy's virus against him. Coming out of that, the two became three. I think it was necessary to survive, so now the Chinese 'path is one third of the bunch. That might account for the hostility toward the US and the Marxism. Might even explain the Chinese body they're using, which I didn't know about. Whatever Rebel saw that scared them, I don't know, but I do buy the claim camps are being built right under our noses. All this outer district and reclaimed zone business, the portioning off of Roosevelt Island… Nazis used similar tactics at first. I also believe the Institute was involved with making and spreading 510 flu." Silence comes for a beat as she exhales slowly.

"I can think of a few ways to defeat Rupert's ability, if he's using it, without his cooperation. I can get negation drugs, and some people who can counter him with their own ability, like Elisabeth Harrison. I'll need to think a bit, come up with a plan to sort out people who've had their minds scrambled and get Rupert to share what he's up to."

"Rupert says that the government created the 510 too, Peter went on the warpath and blew up a CDC production building in Chicago that supposedly produced the stuff, that's why— well— one'a the why's that we went after the Staten Island Hospital, 'cause we were afraid they were makin' it there too…" Rubbing one hand over his cheek, Knox turns around from the altar, leaving the stained-glass windows at his back as he walks. From above, tiny drizzling patters of rain have started to fall through the hole in the ceiling.

"We don't know how Rupert's power works. No two abilities are ever the same. The way I get strong ain't the same way somebody else does. Same outcome, but you stop people like me differently than you'd stop people like that Jessica chica I heard about. Maybe you don't need t'hear him, maybe he has t'make eye contact… Problem is, the only people who know for sure what Rupert can do, he's affected. Bigger problem is that we're still trustin' Rupert t'be tellin' the truth. He's the one who said he could do persuasion… what if it's not quite what he says it is?"

Shaking his head, Knox looks down to the floor and rubs one hand against the back of his neck. "We don't even know for sure if he's really the enemy. I just— I'm nervous about what they're plannin'. But can we really afford to be fighting amongst ourselves while the government's makin' shit like what you were just talkin' about? Me an' you can't deny that places like Staten Island Hospital and Moab existed. This ain't just a smokescreen… but I can't figure out what the fuck it is."

"They were doing more than making virus at the Staten Island hospital," Cat somberly shares, "they had kidnapped people for experiments. Those flash forward visions back in June? The Institute grabbed a precog and Gillian, fed them full of drugs, and coerced the 'cog into using his ability under augmentation and amplifying drugs. The Institute was also behind the deep freeze, it ended when we finally managed to break the stranglehold Juliette had on the weather with help from Helena, Liette, and a few others." Her eyes close again, perhaps part of composing thoughts, organizing things before she goes on.

"Right now, we don't really have the full picture, but it may well be whatever Rupert and Rebel are up to, if they're even the same thing, are tied to the riots which might happen on November 8th. So we stay in contact, gather information, and work to piece it all together. Meanwhile, I can also talk with some people I know about how to undo persuasion. I know a telepath. And I might check out Peter. It's no surprise the Company's fall freaks him out. His mother's one of the founders, I don't know if she's been arrested or not, her name wasn't in the news."

That was not something Knox was aware of.

"His— mother is what?" Both dark brows on Knox's forehead rise up slowly and then drop down into a bristling furrow. Rolling his shoulders, the former gang leader stalks across the hardwood floor towards Cat, sliding his hands out of the pockets of his camouflage pants. "You— you're telling me his mom was one of the people responsible for buildin' that shit hole prison that I had to get locked up in? That not only is his brother a Grade A asshole but his mother's Cruella goddamned Deville?" Anger is angled away from Cat and instead towards the broken television where Knox views his own reflection, shattered, in the broken glass.

The hissing sigh he gives comes with a shake of his head, and the stalking lion paces away from Catherine. "There's one other thing I can't figure out," is offered against Knox's fouled mood. "Peter's been holdin' back, everywhere." Looking over his shoulder to Cat, one of Knox's brows raise. "I dunno if everyone else has noticed it or not, but he's been makin' us pull our punches. Rupert says demolish a building, and Peter clears it out of civilians and then drops it into its own footprint, zero collateral damage… We take hits, sure, but the civvies and shit? They ain't gettin' hurt."

Turning around to look at Cat, Knox rests his hands on his hips. "He done that every assignment we've taken, I dunno what to make of it, when you compare it against all the fire in his words. Outside'a that— I dunno… I dunno what else there is to even talk about."

"I know a lot of things that would shock you, Knox," Cat states, "I'll share most of them but not all at once. We'll figure out the mystery, it's important to stay in contact. Messages for each other can be left here and checked for periodically, we'll need to be careful Rupert doesn't find out we're doing this, which you already know. There are people I need to talk with and find out what they know, and others about how to overcome persuasion. I can cook up a plan to convince Rupert to share what he's been up to. It won't be easy…" Her voice trails off, remaining stilled across a brief stretch of heartbeats.

"But I've done things like it before, solved big mysteries well enough to act on them." She's hoping to inspire confidence in him, ease the worry. Maybe it'll work, maybe not, but she has to try.

Exhaling a sigh, Knox lifts up a hand to the back of his neck and scrubs it there as he slouches forward. "I hope your right, 'cause I've got a bad feelin' somethin' big is goin' down soon, an' the last thing I want is another Norman White hangin' over my head. That man didn't need t'die how he did, an' if I coulda' done somethin'…" There's a sharp shake of Knox's head as he turns away from Cat, lacing his hands together over the back of his neck.

"I won't be able t'stay in touch much, not without raising suspicions. Gotta stay low-tech, Rebel can tap into anything with a fuckin' microphone I think. I'll get in touch with you again like I did last time if I find anything out." Shaking his head, Knox's hands come unlaced and fall to his sides, swinging slowly. "If you find something out, leave a message here for me," Knox looks over his shoulder to Catherine again, "I'll find it."

Lifting up one hand to scratch at his jaw, Knox shakes his head. "Keep an eye out, Cat, this ain't familiar waters we're treadin' in."
While listening, his points are acknowledged by slow nods and her mind is mulling over what was just shared. "Thanks for coming to me with all this," Cat offers quietly, "my eyes are always open." The mind is at work now, as it ever is, considering the various angles of procession with all this. It has a weight, but isn't unwelcome.

Feet go into motion then, carrying her back out the way she came.

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