Where There Is A Will


cat_icon.gif francois_icon.gif

Scene Title Where There Is A Will
Synopsis And in this instance, there are two very strong wills, when Cat and Francois cross paths since their argument.
Date January 8, 2010

Marion Island

Letting Claire go on her way back to the carrier, Cat continues on hers into the Midgard bunker. Marine combat uniform is the order of the day, complete with rifle, body armor, and Kevlar headgear. Ever cautious of stragglers deciding to make a stand suddenly. Food remains in her pockets, but she's stopped leaving bits of it for the penguins, so they aren't following her right now. But they are present. Even some of the species Huruma pointed out for having Gabriel brows.

Open air turns to interior air as she crosses threshold from the outside to the bunker and continues inward, purpose being to resume assistance in combing this place for anything and everything which can be collected.

There's someone heading the other way, now, bringing with him the scent of stale water, like the edges of beaches that don't get regularly purged with easy tides. It's the scent of the old tunnels, abandoned now, and detectable only when quiet, careful foot steps will reach her ears. Shadow, next, before any more concrete clues can come into play, so perhaps it's no wonder that Francois has his own weapon of choice, a matte black sidearm, in his hand by the time he's steering the corner.

"Chesterfield," is both acknowledgment and surprise, however mild. Guarded, maybe. Green eyed gaze dances up behind her, as if judging the distance he has to get to escape, and if he even wants to find it.

"Francois," Cat greets in return on sighting the emergent Frenchman. Her pace slows, she observes him for signs of hostility. There's no impediment in the positioning of her body to any hope or attempt of escape, and she appears calm as usual. Things occupying her mind which might cause her to seem otherwise are laid aside in favor of considering the bunker's contents.

Further speech comes in French. "«The U-boat they kept here is missing. I've seen the schematics for it. Hopefully the thing is found and sent to the bottom before anyone uses it to create more havoc. I haven't yet found anything which points out just where in the icepack our target is. Don't know if anyone else has.»"

"«I haven't found anything either,»" Francois placidly agrees, voice easy around his native language but dull in the way people reading lines might speak, giving more regard to her than to their conversation. Realising that the weight of the pistol is still clutched in his right hand, Francois sets about tucking it into a shoulder rig beneath his jacket, not making a show of it in the least, but it still stands as a gesture on its own.

He manages a smile, if strained, by the time that's done and he's jutting his chin towards her. "My grandfather would keep dogs, and the ones that have fought before would regard each other as we do now."

As he's opted to speak in English, she follows suit. "Each waiting for the other to make any kind of move which suggests hostility, that the strife might recommence, Francois?" Cat asks. "Or to simply be wary and not fall to advantage of the other?" She retains her relaxed posture, however, backside coming to rest against a wall.

"The first one, I think. You do not have to be wary of me, Catherine." Asymmetrical hands pushing into the pockets of his jacket, Francois moves as if he's headed for out, but his pace is too meandering to truly be an attempt to leave the conversation is and allow Cat to resume her search. His heels drag, shoulders down as if weighed, and by the time he looks back at her, there's a wry kind of tilt to his posture, an eyebrow raising. "We were both wrong."

"Do tell," she invites with curiosity, eyes settled on the man's face and studying. "It's certainly true he won't admit to being anyone other than Kazimir, and I've been advised to accept him as such. Yet he walks free aboard ship, which suggests some degree of having convinced Agent Kershner he isn't truly Volken."

"So it becomes possible you're correct," Cat allows.

Disbelief, quizzical as opposed to disdain, crossing Francois' features — there's something in his response that he didn't expect, whether that be her concession, or her lack of it. It will only become clear when he starts speaking, and there's pause enough for him to consider his words. Apparently, he doesn't want a repeat of the last time they crossed paths. "Pardon. But if you do not think it is Volken," he says, eventually, "then you are simply ignoring facts. I am not throwing him overboard either, and I have not changed my mind."

He shrugs, almost apologetic. "I do not know what Kershner thinks, and I do not care. There is no reason for his pretence, and his pretence is too accurate. I was wrong about the team in Argentina, and I owe them my apologies. I was wrong to leap to conclusions about the situation."

"There's still too much room and need for speculation in this," Cat replies, "being uncertain just where in the icepack we need to be. I would think the site where Chinese drilling crews did their work is likely, based on need to detonate from below to cause the most impact, but proof is lacking." An edge of frustration shows in speaking of it. "Something is still missing, even beyond that. Twenty kilotons won't make the entire icecap melt enough to cause the flood they're after. No evidence exists to my knowledge of other weapons being in their hands to achieve more disastrous results, nor is there any indication I've seen of them acquiring materials to make their own enhanced weapon."

She has, at least seemingly, opted to take his statement of being partly wrong without lingering on the point; to not press it home with statements amounting to 'I told you so'. "I still have complete confidence we'll find the weapon and disable it, stop the plan from being set off. I have to have that, anything else is too bitter to even think about."

As important as her words are, Francois looks away, as if taking them as deflection despite their information. "Catherine," he says, voice settled a little. "You said to me that I would come to you, contrite, when proven wrong. That is not something I am going to do, nor something I expect you to do. And I cannot make you trust me that I know the man I have studied, closely, for half a century." There is some frustration there, some disdain, but petty feelings are banished a moment later.

"I, too, have faith in our mission — that much, I can have. What concerns me now is that you care for Peter Petrelli, and that you will get hurt, because you do not desire to be wrong. Your stubbornness makes me wonder if you avoided telling me not to sidestep an argument, but to hear the truth."

"What would you have me say, or do, Francois?" Cat inquires. "I'm not one to abandon people when it can be avoided, and when it can't be avoided I lead efforts to go back and retrieve them as much as possible. I can't accept Kazimir Volken is strong enough to override anyone's personality without recovery. People who've hosted him before, like the FBI agent Richard Santiago, must have given in to him for whatever reason. Petrelli clearly has access to his memories, enough to carry off the impersonation. If Kazimir were at the wheel, he has enough access to Peter's memories to convince persons who know him of the man still being present. It isn't just about Peter Petrelli," she tells him.

"It's that to accept Kazimir as driving that boat, as being able to override someone's mind permanently, is to accept the world will never be purged of Kazimir Volken. Are you, Francois, able to even contemplate that?"

A step carries him forward, regarding her with something genuine in his eyes. Pity, maybe, or recognition. Sympathy. Reluctance. It's hard to say, as the rest of his expression is schooled into neutrality. "Because you are not able to contemplate a thing does not mean it doesn't happen. I've seen dead men stacked like planks of wood and almost as thin, piled taller than you stand, and now I have seen Kazimir Volken behind the faces of three men instead of two. But non, I do not believe it has to end that way."

He pulls away, and begins to move for where she had entered, steps brisk. "I would have you find solutions to your friend's situation when all this is done. I will help you, if I live to see the end myself. Where there is a will, Catherine."

"There is a way," she follows up to the sound of departing feet carrying the signature of a man's weight and stride. Cat is otherwise silent then, left to peruse her own thoughts and force her mind to things other than Kazimir and Peter. It remains a mystery how he managed to remain after being forced from Gabriel Gray under negation, denied by that same force from infecting another host, and healed into oblivion by Abby. A mystery which has led here, to having had this conversation.

Some seconds after he's departed, she resumes course into the bunker. There is searching to be done.

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