2010-04-13: All Lined Up



Date: April 13th, 2010


Tracy checks in with George to check on the schedule of Nathan's press conference.

"All Lined Up"

George's Office

New York City

"The fifteenth. Four-fifteen." George is sitting at a desk near the front lobby of his office, jotting down squiggles as quickly as the person on the other end can rattle off numbers and he can confirm them. "That's three I owe you— I'll do what I can. Say hello to your houseguest for me, would you?"

After he hangs up, a frown touches his lips. He understands that certain measures are needed to keep that particular houseguest contained, but he still doesn't like it. One of these days, he'll have to find someone with more experience in that area and pick their brains. No time today, though— he'll be lucky if he has time to freshen his coffee before his next appointment.

Which he doesn't. George's next appointment is right on time, if not four or five minutes early: the blonde consultant who is supposed to be making herself scarce, Tracy Strauss, though that certainly shouldn't be what's in Dawson's date planner.

She appears around the corner of the lobby and, calmly making sure there isn't a multitude of people around, heads to desk George is situated at. For what is essentially a business meeting, Tracy is dressed casually — in that she's minus a blazer, at least, and sporting a simple white blouse and grey slacks. "Congressman?" Tracy's pleasant enough, with that smile, but there's already an expectant look in place. "Hope I'm not too early."

The lost-art quality of shorthand comes in handy sometimes. Even if someone does manage to translate that entry, though, it just says 'Z2': nothing really meaningful without also employing a mind reader, or maybe a hidden camera and guessing after the fact.

"Slightly," George murmurs, "but I'll manage. The break room's this way if you're interested." He doesn't get up right away, waiting for a cue from her that he can follow. "So what can I do for you?"

"You can update me on the scheduling, for one," Tracy replies, her bright smile almost outshining the watchful glint in her eye. Meeting face-to-face has a certain upswing to it; more personal, unlike the phone. She heads toward the indicated break room — the cue, glancing for George to follow. "No trouble with what we spoke about?"

"Lots of apparent trouble," says George, nodding to an assistant as they pass in the hall. "The conference is set for the 15th… supposedly something to do with Tax Day, but we've been deliberately feeding the rumor mills with personal gossip. And for bonus points, the president's anti-terrorism conference with the UN lines up with it, too."

For a moment, he falls quiet and turns his attention to the coffee pot, only to speak up again once the door swings shut. "Speaking of, I've just picked up some new information… A woman tried to take over his mind during the meet-and-greet the other day. Her backers wanted her to make sure he stayed on his usual schedule till 4:15 that afternoon, then let him go— possibly setting him up for an assassination. Everyone needs to be ready to dodge bullets around that time, just in case."

Tracy, hanging back while George attends to coffee, seems poised to speak on one thing when her answer shifts. While a small, restrained measure of surprise floods the blue of her eyes, it's more than that; it's recognition. "Caulfield," she states. "I heard that she was bought by the Protocol. I figured it was a matter've time before something like that was going to happen. She wasn't … successful though," she fishes for confirmation.

Turning and offering a second cup - basic politeness, if not a perfect score on the Emily Post etiquette exam - George inclines his head. "That's her. I tell myself I should've seen it coming, but when I first learned what she could do, she seemed so small-minded about it… And no, there's an agent keeping her detained; we'd be in full-on panic mode if she'd been successful. Now we just have to worry about warning him in time."

Tracy reaches out to take the cup of coffee, though her brows raise on George even as she's taking it. She edges a wary smile at him. "An— agent?" Interesting use of words on the Congressman's part; suspicious use on the advisor's. Drawing the cup in close, her eyes narrow. "Well regardless — it would've been … more than a disaster."

George shrugs. "Ms. Caulfield was about to get away from me when she shot him in the leg. If it was a bluff, then it was an awfully elaborate one." He takes a sip, then sets the cup aside, pensive once again. "So has Nathan decided what he's going to do with his surprise visit, besides show up? Is he planning to tell the public exactly what sort of, ah, weapons these traitors are planning to use?"

Tracy gives George an unabashedly confused look, though it hedges on disbelief — she doesn't have enough information to make sense of that explanation, but what's done is done and as long as no one is possessing the President, hey, it's a win. "Mm," she smiles tightly — and knowingly, lifting the cup higher though she doesn't drink. "If you're asking if he's going to reveal our secret— " Pointed look! " — no, he's not gonna lay it out."

So you're more than just a trusted assistant, he thinks. Figures. But what ability might she have? Maybe something useless, maybe something obvious when used… or she could just be hedging her bets. Not that he can blame her.

"That girl from the pirate video is staying with a friend of mine. I intend to make sure she stays under wraps that day." Unless he has to reveal her to save their bacon, but that would take one heck of an emergency.

The girl from the pirate video. The one who seemed to turn into water. Didn't Tracy refute the validity of that video once upon a time? It wasn't so long ago. She regards George in self-possessed silence for a moment before moving on. "So the 15th. Big day." For more reason than one. She seems to … consider, or perhaps reconsider, but with a toss of her head and a solid nod, she's passed whatever thought she had. "Let me know the time 'n' place and I'll make sure the Senator gets there."

George nods. "Will, as soon as I know it myself. I left some wiggle room in the timing— and a good thing, too, it needs to fit with the UN conference and God only knows what else. I have a feeling it'll be quite the pile-up by sunset… Anything else we should be keeping in mind?"

"Yeah," Tracy is quick to answer. "Security. Not … that I doubt your discretion, Congressman, but all things considered… one can… never be too careful. Senator Petrelli's resources are… unfortunately limited." Finally, she takes a sip of coffee — only to place it on the break room table afterward. "Thanks again for bringing this together. I'm sure if everything goes well, the Senator will think of you in the future."

And it's George's turn to lift his coffee in half-hearted toast. "Just don't let him name either of us as his running mate. I don't know about you, but I like actually having a career." Ha ha. With that, he moves to see her out, and check what else is on the schedule today. He's got a couple more people to add, now.

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