2007-08-07: DF: An Equalizer


DFKate_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif DFPeter2_icon.gif DFRochelle_icon.gif

Summary: A member of the Alliance meets up with a terrorist who has given all of them a bad name, and brings along something that will make the ground a little safer for him if he's wrong about the man.

Dark Future Date: August 07, 2009

An Equalizer

Football Field

Lee has elected to meet Peter on the 50-yard line of an overgrown high school football field, the school closed. Knee-high weeds drooping with sagging late-summer flowers. A boarded-over scoreboard whose white numbers have tumbled from their rusted hooks to the ground, a jumble of numerals and HOME and VISITOR. The stands are empty, the wooden benches paint peeling from the rain, the gloomy steel structure beneath tangled with garbage.

Lee agreed to meet - communication between the two groups is still good - but Alliance members are no longer bringing Peter's group's associates on their missions or sharing intel with them. And - perhaps unrelatedly, but perhaps not - some Alliance safehouses have recently been closed, and abandoned, fast. Lee mentioned that he would have 'the Equalizer' with him, which is not very veiled code for Rochelle, so it wouldn't be a surprise, but he intentionally put the meeting spot in a vulnerable place, so that it wouldn't be seen as /completely/ in bad faith. He told Rochelle that the people coming had 'around 812 powers' between them, so not to think twice if things started to go sour. As for his own preparation, he has his aluminum baseball bat, but he has it slung in his messenger bag.

Of those 812 powers, 811 of them belong to Peter Petrelli. Though really it's no where near that many. He's been around, met quite a few Evolved, but actually claiming an ability and using it with any skill? That's fairly rare. It's a lot closer to fifty, and of those, only ten does he tend to use often. In some ways, those ten are all he really needs. Teleporting in at a decent distance, because he doesn't wish to find out what teleporting into the 'Equalizer's' Field would do. So they walk the rest of the way. If they have any cover, it's at a distance, and might include snipers, but it could just be the two of them. All in black and with trenchcoats, if he came armed, it doesn't show. Trenchcoats can cover up a lot of weapons, though. Normally, he wouldn't need any. He can't help but cast a glance up at the score board. There's a hint of a smile tugging on the corner of his mouth.

Dutiful wife and soldier, Kate drops Peter's hand after they've teleported within a respectable distance, falling in step behind him, flanking his right. She has only one button on her floor-length trench coat done, leaving her fishnet-clad legs free to make their long strides. She keeps her silence as she moves, watching their surroundings intently. Her fingers splay out at her sides, as though feeling the currents of energy in the air. Where the visions may assault her.

Generally when Lee exaggerates, Rochelle takes it at face value regardless. There's always a reason that he does it in the first place. In this particular case, he either means they are meeting a buttload of people out here on a football field, or just one man with the effectiveness of eight-hundred. She has opted for the latter out of common sense; there's only one of those around, and they've all been on their toes about Peter Petrelli for days. Rochelle walks beside Lee over the field, keeping to herself for the first part of the trek; her short hair flicks in the weak breeze, and the light jacket she wears is considerably large enough to hide a few things in. It is only when they get progressively closer to the opposite duo that her Negation pulses into almost maximum dimensions. It takes up quite a chunk of their surroundings now, and the whole center of the football field. Anything going on with an Evolved power simply turns off like a light.

Lee doesn't seem to notice when his abilities go away. Gravity keeps pulling him down, just like before. He eyes Kate's fishnetted legs with the dubiousness of the professional critic who has just downgraded a movie from 'fluff' to 'shlock exploitation'. It is clear he does not receive the best impression from the entrance. Of course he is all business when he remarks, "You've had a tough week, Mr. Petrelli, a very tough week." and his voice is not without sympathy. "Spoke to some of your people, they say the train situation was a setup. Let's get that out of the way first. I believe them. So does Alliance brass. The only issue will be proving it." Ah, the mysterious 'Alliance brass' again. Nobody's ever seen them.

When the power negation hits him, Peter actually stumbles mid-step. There's reasons he avoids this woman, and apparently this is one of them. He stops for a moment, taking a few slow breaths, which sound more ragged than normal to his wife, and then straightens again and glares towards the two figures before he starts walking again. It's impossible to say just what she shut off— and why it's had this effect on him, but he's still standing and still walking— and that's what matters. He's paler, though, jaw clenched until he hears the first part of what the man has to say. "If you believe them, then why did you bring her along," he nods towards the 'Equalizer'. His voice is actually deeper and thicker than normal.

Kate's reaction to the negation field is much the same as Peter's. She actually has to grab onto his arm to keep upright. She fixes him with wide and frightened eyes before she continues onward, forcing the stoic mask back into place. You don't know what you've got until it's gone, and the void left in the wake of the waves of constant energy is enough to make Kate Petrelli's blood run cold. With a shiver, she wraps her arms around her body, resting over her midsection. Her hands disappear beneath the trench coat.

Rochelle stops to stand just a step behind Lee, arms crossing just moments before Peter speaks. Maybe as a favor or maybe as a warning, she does downsize the field; it switches both Peter and Kate back to how they felt minutes before, but it also hovers invisibly in front of their noses. Her examinations of their approach weren't wholly in vain, as now the woman beside Lee knows how they react. It's a small note, but a useful one.

Lee is almost coldly amused by their unsteadiness. He always was annoyed by his abilities, after all. It feels right not to have them. He replies amiably, "No HomeSec mind-readers, clarivoyants, telepaths, extra-, trans-, or super-sensates writing down everything we say? She's one of the most valuable security precautions on earth right now. I'd think you'd beg for her to be at every meeting you have. I know /I/ hassle her a lot more than I should." He gives Rochelle a reassuring smile, then returns his look to Peter. "What's your next move? I'd have suggested obtaining evidence to clear you and then broadcasting it, but those nitwits with the Oreos have successfully provoked the feds to make every broadcast tower in the Northeast into a militarized zone."

"Good for them," Peter says, taking another slow breath when everything comes back on again. It looks like it might take a few moments for him to recover, though, as his voice remains thick, and his skin's actually a fraction paler than it'd been. "It's a good precaution, if you wish you can continue it. Though I doubt that's how they're getting their info." It may be, but they'd know far too much if they had someone who could listen in on every conversation ever. "I do have reason to believe there was a leak in what's left of my group. There was an incident a week ago where a safehouse was compromised." No details. He's trying to sound businesslike, even with the tension around his eyes. "Also, I had a failed raid where Homeland nearly captured me a few nights before that— where I lost two people and only managed to rescue seven children. I notice that they didn't report they probably killed at least a hundred of their citizens trying to capture me. The first order of business will be to track down my past and current contacts, anyone who could have found out about these things, and find the leak."

Kate staggers back a step when her powers return to her. She even teeters on the verge of collapse. She recovers from the loss of balance quickly enough, physically, but she still appears a little dazed. She keeps quiet, still. Peter's perfectly capable of representing the group. And he hasn't started throwing lightning or anything, so he can't be too upset anyway.

The look in Rochelle's eyes says 'yes, yes you do' when Lee turns a smile her way. Her eyes may be that way, but she does smile back, just for a second. Bother, yes. Hassle, no. Her watchful gaze returns to the opposite pair. "I'd suggest starting with the most recent ones to join up with you." A humble suggestion while she remains otherwise stolid. "Then the ones with nothing left to lose but themselves." Okay, two suggestions.

Lee nods. "I can't tell you we are going to be able to wait for you to clear yourself forever. We have some very savvy political people. They're saying we only have a small window before the government's pressure on you starts to impede our timetable." They have a timetable? One that they're actually still on target for? "If we have to denounce you…it would really hurt everyone, but…you know how it goes." He seems to approve of Peter's plan. "The only tip I got was that it might be her." He nods towards Kate. "But it's not someone who would know for certain, so I don't credit it too much. It's your deal, handle it how you want. What can we do that you can't anymore?"

"It's not her," Peter growls, even if he knows good and well why she would be the prime target for accusation. His wife does meet with the government and pretends to support her brother-in-law in the public eye. But of all of them, she's the one he's most sure of. "If you need to denounce me, you may. I've already sent off a few people who I've had a chance to clear to other groups— I might be sending you one of them." He follows up with a codename that they'd both know of. Elijah Morgan. He has a sister in his group. "There's a third possibility," he addresses to the Equalizer. "It could be someone with everything to lose. This government isn't slow to threaten those we care most about."

"Mm. A real mole, as opposed to a traitor." Rochelle acknowledges this quietly, thoughts straying elsewhere in a matter of seconds. "Perhaps if you haven't said anything to your people…you should. About there being a traitor among you?" She lifts her brows, but only to crease them again. "I'm willing to bet that they would slip up. Would probably weed out the ones unsure of themselves too." Her breath goes deep once, coming out in a low sigh. She adjusts her feet under her, turning herself slightly to peer off into the football bleachers. Rochelle appears done with that, now preferring to keep a wary eye on the literal horizon.

Lee nods, "There's a lot of ways to pressure someone. We just lost one of our top lieutenants and we're sealing off a lot of areas she could give up under torture. I don't expect her to, she's resourceful and her release is a high priority, but be sure your guy meets us here or at Central Two Eight. I know his kin will be happy to be with him again. Petrelli, if you can solve this thing fast, we are right on the verge of an op that is so big that we're pulling in every favor, everyone even remotely unhappy about the government to help. We could use you. It could help a lot of people."

"They have far more at their disposal than torture," Peter says, frowning visibly and looking as if he'd like to ask more questions on that, but he seems to opt not to. There's definitely a tense line forming as he reaches over to make sure his wife is still steady— she didn't like being around the 'Equalizer' anymore than he did, but he's sure she can manage a moment longer, at least until they can get home. "If I can offer you help, you have it— if it'd be too much of a liability to your cause, then I understand not including me. I'll send him by Two Eight— and after I check a few people out, I'll stop by with anything I find. I'll try to make it fast. I have a few ideas where to start."

Lee says, "Good. I'm going to look for an alternate media channel, so if you get that proof that the government did this, we could try to put it out there together." He smiles. "If they get you, we will meet at Phillipi." Trust Lee to use the literary references.

"I hope everything works out," Peter says, obviously thinking about who might have been taken. He knows a few women in the Alliance, after all, and at least one who works higher up. But that's not something he can ask directly about. "I'll bring you as much evidence as I can find." Even if it's a head on a plate? Possibly. They don't take to moles or traitors well. None of the groups do. Putting a heavy hand on his wife, they suddenly dissolve out of existance, teleporting away. It's his prefered mode of travel. And since it works, the woman must have her field tucked in.

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