2008-01-16: Kind To Be Cruel


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Cass calls Nathan for advice about Pinehearst. She gets it from Logan.

January 16th, 2008:

Kind to be Cruel

Pinehearst, NJ

It's the peak of the day, enough so that a substantial amount of sun is able to struggle its way through the overcast sky, giving midday a greyish quality. In contrast to the people moving in and out in tandem of the corporate building, Logan paces absently in a perpendicular direction, a silhouette against the glass doors of Pinehearst Research, dressed in a blue shirt and grey slacks, with a coat pulled over and closed against the chill of the air. His hands are in his pockets and now and then, he pushes back his sleeve to look at the time at his watch. Not because he's impatient for the woman he's meeting today, for different reasons entirely.

Strangely enough, Cass doesn't come from the direction that Logan is probably anticipating. She's been at Pinehearst for awhile now, going over all those programs that Linderman told her about. Trying to decide whether this really is as good as it seems to be. Halfway through it, she decided to call Nathan and get that meeting over with so she can make a decision one way or another. This way, she'll at least have one less thing to worry about and agonize over. From inside, she reaches the glass doors and, seeing the silhouette of who she thinks is Nathan on the other side, raps on them to get his attention.

Logan doesn't turn towards the sound initially, but finally spares a glance. There's half a second of recognition, looking over what he can see of Cass through the glass as if seeing her anew and in a way, he is. Then, a twitch of a smile in greeting, and he moves towards the doors, sensors triggering the sliding doors to open, admitting him entry. "Nice to see you're already acquainted with the place," Logan says in greeting, sparing a glance of indication about the foyer interior.

Through the glass, Cass can't tell that Logan is looking at her strangely. There's this whole glare thing that's hindering that. "Well. My introduction to this place was a kidnapping and then an escort that involved running so fast my hair basically became teased for the first time since the early nineties." She quickly studies the man in front of her, already processing what Linderman had told her. She sounds worried when she adds, "I was told that you'd been hurt. You're okay now, though?"

"Yes. Peter." That seems like a good an explanation as any. The last time Logan had tried to describe his injuries to someone Nathan had loved and trusted, it hadn't gone quite so well. He's not sure how, just that he had said it wrong. So it's glossed over with a slight headshake and the one-worded explanation as to why he's now walking around, seemingly healthy. "I'm alright, thank you. Shall we walk?" Better than lingering, perhaps, and he tilts his head a in a suggested direction, taking a step. "You were kidnapped, I was rescued. Things operate differently here," he adds, wryly.

"Ah." That does, actually, make sense to her. "But…what happened? The British guy who seems to run things mentioned you owing them a favor for helping you out." As they walk, she eyes his phrasing of 'shall we'. How oddly formal. "Shall we? Are you practicing senator speech or something?" Following along in the direction indicated, she's all puzzled and curious. "I'm getting that. I was told you were…involved here somehow. What's…going on, Nathan?"

Logan glances at her with a lift of an eyebrow at the mention of a favor. "That's one way to look at it," he says, apparently dismissing her comment on 'Senator speech', sweeping it under the rug as he pursues the line of conversation as they walk through pristine interior of the corporate building at a more meandering stroll than those around them. "I'm involved in that I want to have stakes in what they're doing here. Last thing we need is another organisation who wants to latch on to the truth of things behind the back of society and use it for their own agenda."

"You know I agree with you on that factor, Nathan." Walking along with him, Cass doesn't really seem to care about where they're walking. They could just be winding around aimlessly for all she knows. "The last thing we need - what anyone needs - is another Company." There's a frown at having stakes in this company. She's not even sure what it means. "But, what do you know about them? How do you know you can trust them? I don't like not knowing who is behind all this. And the fact that they guy I've been talking to is supposed to be dead or something."

"Let's just say I do know who is running this place," Logan admits, watching where they're going than the woman walking beside him. "And I know I can trust them. This place is the first of its kind and it can't afford to be letting names and faces floating around at this point. Which is, I think, where I come in. As a U.S. Senator, I can be a legitimate endorsement for this place." Beat. "Provided I like where it's going. That's kind of what I'm here to see. What have they offered you, anyway?"

"You know this super secret mystery boss?" Cass gives Logan a skeptical and surprised look. "Who is he?" Because she's not going to just let that slide from there. If 'Nathan' knows, then why isn't he telling her? "It's not, really, the first in it's kind. The first was the Company. And I just want to make sure I'm not going to start working for something that's just as bad as they are." There's a smile. "I was wondering why they were going to allow you anywhere near the expensive equipment. You still owe me for all those beakers." As for what she's been offered, she shrugs and gives a bit of a smile. "Basically, to run their laboratory. Another reason why I think they may be insane."

"No," Logan says, stopping her with a brief hand on her arm. "It is the first of its kind. The Company chose to work outside of the law, outside of the radar of the government. That was their first mistake in a long list of mistakes." Logan paces away from her, leaning against a railing the surrounds an interior fountain. "From what I can tell, Pinehearst Research is exactly the opposite, or that's how they sold it to me. They're developing tests to detect people like me and Peter and such through blood samples, for instance. They're not going to hide the truth, they're making moves to make powers a legitimate part of society. Intelligently, logically. At least, I hope that's what's going to happen."

He casts her a twist of a wry smile. "And if it doesn't, I'll be in a good position to sink them before they can even think about getting off the ground. But it would be nice, wouldn't it? To trust that? I'd appreciate it if people I trusted were already on board, too, to be honest." A nod to her.

The hand on her arm is enough to make Cass pause. She's the one that's been mostly focusing on Logan as opposed to where they are going. It's a miracle she hasn't walked into anything or anyone yet. "I guess you're right. Though I haven't been able to find anything much about it." As for the tests, she tilts her head a little. "I'm all for integrating people with powers into society so they don't feel like they have to hide any more, but tests to find out who is able to use them and who is not could be handled quite badly if that information got into the wrong hands." Not that she's saying Nathan's hands are wrong for it, but she doesn't know. "Also true." There's a frown. "It would be nice to trust all that. To think there are people out there who aren't out to market this for sinister means." Has she really become so jaded to think that's not possible? Wasn't that what she was trying to do in her own way? "I'm just…so wary of this, Nathan. What made you decide to throw in your lot with all of them? Or at least trust them enough to make it this far?"

"I know," Logan agrees. "A lot of what they're doing here could wind up doing more harm than good, considering the amount of information they'd be collecting, if someone got a hold of this place. Someone dangerous, with bad intentions. That's kind of why I'm laying my claim early, in a way."

Oh, irony.

"I guess I'm trusting their intentions," Logan says, with a shrug. "They saved me from people who would use people like me as labrats and nothing more. I went from a place where I wasn't treated like a person to a place that wants to put people like me on the map. Unafraid. That, and I'm familiar with who is running this ship." Another smile. "Names I'm contractually obliged not to spill, so you're gonna have to live with that for the time being. If you're really interested in being a part of this place, I'll make sure you get those answers. For now, you might just have to trust me."

If only Cass caught the irony there. Instead, she takes Logan's words at face value. Because it's who she thinks of as Nathan and doesn't think he'd actually use one of his speeches on her. And maybe Nathan wouldn't, but Logan certainly will. "That's what I would like to help with." So, what is holding her back? Why is she so nervous about this whole deal? "I do trust you, Nathan." Of course she does. He's her friend. And they've been through so much together. "It just makes me so nervous. Some big company actually wanting me to run something. If they were more legit, it makes me think they'd get someone who was actually certified. And it just seems…too good to be true. This is like everything I've ever wanted dropped into my lap. I'm just waiting to wake up and to find out it's all gone wrong."

Logan casts her a smile, one that's almost sympathetic, even if his gaze remains as cool as ever. He takes his weight off the railing, moving to continue their meandering walk. "Then see it as an opportunity to make sure that it doesn't go horribly wrong," he says. "At least it'll be under your control that way, and I know I'd feel a little better about this whole thing knowing you were in charge of the labs here. Sounds like you're just afraid of failing - easier to do when you have the potential for success, right?"

That last remark actually stings. Cass gives Logan a frown and a bit of a glare at that last one. "That's certainly not why I'm hesitating." Continuing walking, she gestures around her, at what they're walking through. "I'm one person. I could run the lab, do my best to make sure that what's developed there doesn't turn badly, but that says nothing about how this mysterious behind the scenes boss will take what's developed, there." There's a sigh, thinking back on all their wine glazed conversations back at Enlightenment. "We used to talk about helping everyone. Making sure that the future didn't turn out to be…what was painted. I certainly didn't think it involved becoming part of some corporation. Or whatever this is. But, you're right. The opportunity is hard to pass up."

"Yeah, it is," Logan agrees. "If you called me here to give you a vote of confidence for this place, then you can consider it done, at least, for the time being. It's worth taking one more step. I think we could do some good here, anyway, without having to ride off on wild horses to save the day, you know?" A flash of a weary smile. "The world doesn't have to work that way."

"I actually called you here just to get your read on the place." The cynical Nathan has found a cause to believe in? Other than being a senator? Hm. Cass isn't sure how to take that. "I guess so." Nathan's never been big on the whole 'hero' thing. "Though I certainly still believe in heroes. Sometimes they're the only thing to job the world into thinking straight." Thinking it over for a moment, she stops, and reaches out to turn Logan around and look him in the eye. It's the final test. "You really think they want to do good work here? Don't talk to me like you're selling something, Nathan. We're friends. You trust them? Really?"

Logan pauses, but doesn't resist the gesture, expression going stoic for a moment, almost guarded. He's already had a moment of truth just like this and had it go to hell, being tested again… well, it's a test, isn't it. A flicker of a rueful smile, and then a nod. "I trust them," he says, readily meeting her gaze even if his doesn't have the same life as everyone else's does, but hey. He can try. "We're friends. I wouldn't lead you down a bad road."

The guarded expression makes Cass pause. Does Nathan not trust her any more? Is there something wrong? However, the smile and the nod brings her some sort of comfort, even if there's something slightly off about the way he looks at her. Maybe it's just from his injuries, though, because it certainly sounds like something Nathan would say. "Alright." There's a nod. "I trust you. What can I do to help?"

"I guess you can sign your life away," Logan says, another hint of a smile. Because Nathan can be facetious, right? Right. His hand reaches out to her arm to touch in a comforting squeeze. "I have to get home. Heidi's been on my case and worried about me ever since— what happened to me. But call me, let me know how it goes here. The more information we can share about this place, the better."

There's a raised eyebrow to that. "That's actually the last thing I'd like to do." Cass rolls her eyes at Logan, but it's in a friendly way. "Alright. Tell Heidi hello for me." Because she's friends with his wife, too. "I will."

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