2007-08-15: DF: All The King's Horses


DFAileen_icon.gif DFCyprus_icon.gif DFErin_icon.gif DFGeorge_icon.gif DFLaurel_icon.gif

Summary: All the King's (not so wild) horses do their best to come up with a strategy for how to handle their suddenly absent leader.

Dark Future Date: August 15, 2009

All The King's Horses

Marriot Marquis - NYC

Eighteen hours, and the President is still missing. The Marriot Marquis has turned into the nerve center of the country, it would seem, and it is as hectic as a warzone. Phones ring, people rush about, and things are getting done. The President may have been kidnapped, but the government is not on hold. If anything, it seems almost more active than it has been in days. One of the conference rooms has been reserved for a meeting, and inside, Cyprus Donovan waits for the others to arrive.

The aide to the President talks into a cellphone, pressing his fingers into the bridge of his nose. "Keep the mix going," Cyprus speaks into the cellphone, his voice sounding more tired than anything else. "I want equal air time with kidnapping and murder. Until we know the truth, it's best to keep both as very real possibilities. And while you're at it, Margie? I want you to compile a list of the international responses. I don't think they did this, but I don't want them knowing that. Detain the embassies. For their own 'protection'. You're an angel." And with that, he clicks the cellphone off, and tucks it away to lean with both arms against the conference table. This is far from the confident man on national television hours ago. This is someone who is exhausted.

At the other end of the room, George paces back and forth, once again talking to thin air. Or, rather, to the mike clipped to his right ear. "—right, it needs to keep moving. Prove by action that they haven't shut us down. —Look, you're not getting it… I don't care which one's optimum, just pick one and carry it out decisively. That image is what we need most right now. —All right, keep me posted." He hangs up and slips the mike into a pocket. "How's Margie lasted this long, anyway?" he says to Cyprus. "I swear I'm going through two dispatchers a month over here."

Pushing open the door to the room, Aileen comes bearing fresh cups of coffee for all. None of the usual crap, too. The good stuff. Carefully moving to set the cups down on the table before she has a chance to accidently spill anything, the woman glances between George and Cyprus, not really saying much of anything. She proceeds to set out the cups before taking her own and sliding into a chair.

"Spa treatments and cabana boys, if I'm to believe the expense account reports," says Cyprus evenly to George. He reaches up to run a hand through his hair, and blinks very slowly. Most people know that aside from the hour he forced himself to sleep before the speech, the Presidential aide hasn't rested since the crisis began. While he's staying awake, it's beginning to show its toll on him. He takes the coffee, and takes a long sip from off of it. "Thank you, Dr. Kincade." He glances over at George. "Still no information or witnesses, huh?"

Stepping into the room, Laurel's dressed in her usual Secret Service outfit, a long blazer, though now she's wearing black slacks instead of the skirt she often wears on duty. She still carries a side arm, but the chance she knows how to use it is small. "Sorry, I'm late, Mr. Donovan," she says upon entry, sounding distraught and worried, and glancing around at all those present as if suspicious.

"I was actually giving the odds and ends a much-needed kick," George cryptically explains. "But—" A clipboard is picked up, glanced at, and set down once again in favor of a cup of mud. "Nothing that appears to be relevant. One tip-off here, but the informant has an 'extensive history of reports'." In other words, he's a nutcase who calls the hotline out of twisted desire for attention.

Cyprus takes another long sip from off his coffee, and glances towards Laurel as she enters. "Better late than never," he says, with a little bit more bite in his voice than he'd normally allow. Yup. Definitely tired. He sets the coffee down, and goes back to leaning. He doesn't lift his head to speak, just stares down at the table. "And all we have is blasted out wall, no eye witnesses, and not nearly enough blood at the scene to give us reason to suspect homicide," he comments lowly, still stating the obvious. He glances over at Aileen, then at Laurel, then finally at George. "If they have kidnapped him, why haven't they made any demands yet? Are they just taking their time in killing him, you think?"

The doctor glances towards Laurel as she enters, gesturing towards the cups of coffee. There's some there for her, as well, if she wishes. Aileen sips from her own cup, shifting in the chair. "Maybe they're trying to feel us out? See how far they can bully us around and how much they can get away with?"

After a quick sip, George sets the cup down again and walks over behind Aileen, resting his hands on the back of her seat. "Or maybe they're trying to cause this— keep us working under unknown conditions. If they killed him and let us know it… well, we'd have to move forward without him."

Moving towards the coffee and taking a cup, Laurel doesn't drink from it right away. She looks worried, visibly upset, but… "Maybe they— want information from him first— things that only the President would know." It's hard to be sure, but that would be a reason… She hopes he's still alive. Not just because then she'd be out of work, either. "There was another attack that night— on McCarty— I left a report." They should all know about it. "Didn't seem to be aimed at the President, but— I'd sent a message to increase the guards around him…" And she'd gone to the party and did her best to stay at his side— until he had to pee.

She should still be in the hospital. A normal person would still be in the hospital, but Erin… Well. It hurts, but she's just got a hole in her shoulder. Nothing a little time can't fix, right? God. Ow? Yeah, it hurts. She let the doctors stick her in a sling as she soundly bitched at them for not having a god-damned healer to fix it. She's also pretty much full to the top with pain medication as she shoves open the door with a foot, then stands just inside it, staring — as if she's doped up on pain meds. The sunglasses are perched atop her head today - they all know what she can do, anyway, so the metallic glow hopefully isn't too disconcerting. "…Hi," she says. Confused? A bit. She'll catch up.

"We are moving forward without him," says Cyprus evenly, lifting his head to regard George from across the table. As Laurel speaks, he turns his head in her direction, and frowns. "And he did. What little good they did for him." He pushes off from the table hard, and begins to pace towards the back of the room, rubbing his face with a hand. He seems to be considering the possibilities, weighing and measuring things in his head before stating "Do we have anybody who we can use to track him? Any clairvoyants or finders over in Homeland, George? Hell, do we have anybody who can at least tell us if he's alive or dead?" And then Erin arrives, and the aide lifts a brow. "Ms. McCarty," he greets. "So good of you to join us."

Well, it's a good thing there's also a doctor in the room, just in case. "There's coffee there, if you want it." Aileen states before her gaze shifts back to George. She herself has no suggestions to offer and simply sips at her coffee, listening in.

George turns, nodding to Erin, before returning his attention to Cyprus. "They're working on it, but— how did Jim describe it? 'Like looking for a needle in a needlestack.' And the one finder who's worth a damn is on someone else's payroll— I need a damn Colonel Makepeace so I can go deal with that. Not something I trust to be delegated."

"Erin, you should be in the hopsital," Laurel says when she sees the not stable woman who's joined them. She looks concerned and worried, and still paranoid as her eyes flit around. They're moving on without them, that shouldn't be a surprise, but he's the President— there should be things done to find him too. "I can— try looking for him, with the other members of Secret Service who aren't currently injured." Like… Erin there.

Blink. Her eyes narrow a little as she tries to parse what Cyprus just said. Aaah. Raising her good arm, she points, smiles a little. "You've been watching movies again, haven't you?" 'Good of you to join us? REALLY?' Evil scientist dictator! Wait, what is she doing here again? Right. Meeting. "I got shot," she explains, voice a bit of a draw, blinking, head twitching a little as she tries to shake herself awake again. Ugh. She's going to sit down before she vomits all over their base of operations. So… she sits. Plops down in the nearest chair, lets her head droop a little, and catches up on the conversation as it goes. "I say you let me infect a couple people with something and we nuke everything that way." Not foolproof, because Nathan dies in the process, BUT. They kill the terrorists! To Laurel: "'M fine. Just need …" Time.

Cyprus looks over at Erin with a distinct bit of aversion, and seems to focus for a second. He turns to George after that has passed, and frowns. "Well, then, make an offer they won't want to refuse," he says easily. "This is the President of the United States of America, for Christ's sake. And while your sentiments are appreciated, Ms. McCarty and Ms. Halifax, Agent Dawson is correct. We can't just start kicking down doors and throwing black bags over people's heads until we find the answers we want, as tempting as that may be. We need a finder. And they work for someone else. So, we need to find a way to make them work for us, for a while. And then, then we can show them precisely /why/ the government does not negotiate with terrorists."

George eyes Erin, more at length this time. It's telling that he takes her suggestion more or less in stride. "I promise I'll pick you up a couple of new toys while I'm out," he murmurs. One of these days they'll have time to put her through some serious therapy; until then, he can at least try to point her toward targets that actually sort of deserve what they're getting.

"I'll do whatever you decide is best," Laurel responds softly, though there's a hint that she's not pleased that they're moving towards certain methods. Moving towards the table, she too settles down into it, taking a sip, and then looking into her coffee afterwards.

The doctor's eyes scan Erin with concern for the moment but she looks back to Cyprus as he's the one with the real feel on the situation. Aileen does pull out a small black notebook, jotting down a few things as she listens.

Erin squeezes her eyes shut, the feeling of general ickyness lifting a bit thanks to Fearless Leader. Does she know that Cyprus is doing it? No. She'll just atribute it to good medication and stick with that. She still doesn't feel great - after all, she just had a shard of metal rip through her shoulder - two if one counts the bullet that skimmed - and she's also mentally unstable at the best of times, but… Better. A little. She laughs through her nose, given that, to her at least, George's suggestion is hilarious. "How do you know I haven't already infected all of you?" Cue the narrow-eyed smile here. Vacant eyes look at all of them in turn. Long pause. "Who's hungry?"

"No one's immune systems have begun increasing their white blood cell counts, and there haven't even been trace signs of pathogen reaction in people's respiratory systems," states Cyprus with a faint smile. Sometimes, it can be strange to realize that the man reads your body's reactions as easily as some people read body language. He watches Erin closely for a long second, and focuses on George. "There is another possible tack we might be able to take. There is Mrs. Petrelli. I can have a message sent to her within minutes, and she can be taken to the scene of the kidnapping. She might be able to provide… some insight."

George purses his lips. "Showoff." /His/ power is much more subtle, or rather it tends to only manifest while something much weirder is already stealing the spotlight. "And I'd recommend saving that for a last resort. The pressure from just being who she is, then Gray on top of it… dump too much on her shoulders and she may well crack." If he only knew.

"Well," Erin says. "It only takes one."

But not today. She's just too tired, too worn, too exhausted. Even with Cyprus' help, she can't seem to concentrate as well as she'd like to. In some corner of her mind, she wonders what happened to her— But it's a corner so far unexplored, and a place she may never reach. Who cares, though?

Raising her head, she meets George's eyes - randomly almost - that smile fixed on her face. "Do you ever look? Actually look? Just to see. Look at yourself from outside, try to figure out what makes you you? What are we doing here? Can you affect the future just by thinking about it? If we wish hard enough, can we save the world?"

Aileen purses her lips quietly. She doesn't have a power and has no idea what it would be like. Her glance shifts between those present, jotting down more notes. "I've really got no suggestions here. See if we have anyone else that could do the same thing, though? George may be right. The pressure may be too much. Her gaze flickers again to Erin, eyes focusing on her for a long moment. "I don't know that I can help much here. I might as well get back to my research." She closes her notebook for the moment, shifting in her chair. She seems a bit tense.. but who /isn't/ in this room?

Cyprus smiles at George, but even in that, his fatigue is showing. "I would rather have another option as well, Agent Dawson, but it seems we are severely lacking in those," he says quietly. "Besides, if there is one person I trust to know whether or not the President is even still alive, it is Kate Petrelli." He leans once more against the table with both hands, and takes a deep breath as Erin speaks. He focuses on her, and shakes his head. "No amount of wishing ever saved the world," he comments lowly. "It takes hard work, and people willing to make sacrifices, for the greater good. We are formulating a plan. A strategy to bring about the best possible results." He focuses back on George. "Get me that finder. And do it yourself, you might just get lucky. Whatever the price, we'll pay it. I'll talk to Mrs. Petrelli." He glances at Aileen for a moment, and tilts his head to the side. "Yes, your research. I hope this situation isn't delaying it too much. If you need anything, just ask."

George reaches over, giving Aileen's shoulder a quick squeeze before she heads off. "Ms. Halifax, you feeling up to some field work? I was already lucky to make it in and out of that den the first time…" As he talks, he sets the official communications gear down on top of the clipboard, picking up a nondescript pay-as-you-go unit in its place.

"It's not. I'm sure the President will have a lot to catch up on when he returns, but things should continue smoothly, thank you. I'm sure you and George will let me know if there's anything I can assist with." Aileen finishes up the cup of coffee, tossing it in the trash. George is offered a bit of a smile before the doctor moves for the door.

All the crazy talk from the other Secret Service operative has made Laurel more nervous. But when she's addressed she looks up in surprise and then quietly nods, "Of course— I'll… do what I can. You might have to give me a briefing about where we're going exactly, but— yeah, I'll be there if you want me, Agent Dawson."

That's right. Just ignore the crazy person. Maybe she's not so crazy after all, though. It's very possible that wishing is the exact way they can make everything better again. Have they tried it? Have they had enough faith for it to work? Walk on water! It's okay, you can do it, if you believe.

Blue eyes turn to Aileen as she starts to leave. Really… Erin wants to find the president as much as everyone else. Selfish reasons, of course - he's the one who writes her checks and keeps her the hell out of detainment. That's why she respects him - not because she thinks he's a good person, or because she's his best friend. It's Nathan's ensurance trap, though, so at least the ball's in his court on that one. As long as he keeps her free, he's got her.

And so she's obligated. "If all else fails, Rabies is a wonderful alternative." Pause. "Laurel, tell 'em."

Cyprus lifts a brow, glancing between Laurel and Erin. "Tell us what, Ms. Halifax?" he asks evenly. He seems at very least intrigued by Erin's command.

A meaningful pause. George really does need to spend some time getting to know Erin better, later on. So that he knows whether to send her on a five-year mission to Alaska, Hawaii, or perhaps the country's Antarctic research facility.

For the moment, his outward attention remains on Laurel. "It's pretty simple, really—" But then he trails off, giving the question from Cyprus a chance to be answered.

The craziness is not something Aileen wants to deal with. She gets enough of that at the hospital. That and people with head trauma tend to be a little nutty already. The doctor slides out the door without another word.

Oh that's not fair. Laurel glares a little over at Erin, and then says, "She made me sick once— gave me rabies— and then took it away." It's a very effective form of torment to someone, making them hallucinate and paranoid to the point of being unable to comprehend reality. Maybe that's what's wrong with Erin. She gave herself rabies.

"I can make it airborne. No cure. Good incubation period - sometimes months. It'll take awhile, but…" She trails off with a shrug. "You guys want immunity, you have it." She wants to be let off the leash. Come on. Just give her a chance here. "Like I said, if all else fails." The scary part is… Erin'll do it. And she won't look back.

And that gets a long stare. "I see," finally says Cyprus. He glances over at Erin, then at George. The look is obvious. It's probably one that gets used around Erin a lot. He straightens slowly, and nods to Aileen as she leaves. "Break a leg, Agent Dawson," he offers George, before reaching into his jacket and pulling out his cellphone. He presses two buttons, and turns away from the room. "Margie? Tell Mrs. Petrelli I wish to see her as soon as possible." The rest of the conversation is too quiet to follow.

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