2007-08-01: Bad Wolf


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Summary: It hides in plain sight.

Dark Future Date: August 1st, 2009

Bad Wolf

NYC - The Syndicate's Headquarters

The Syndicate's Headquarters, New York City.

The obelisk of a building stands tall and strong amongst its crumbling and dismal neighbours in Manhattan. The sign in front of the organization's - if it can be called that; its hands are everywhere - ground level club casts a reddish glow into the dark street. A throng of people trickle inside, given the go-ahead, or not, by security.

Inside S*Y*N.

Pulsing with the lifeblood of the underground - a strong beat, despite the state of the city, of the nation - the club is crowded. It always is. The dancers that dominate the three stages strip to Poison's "Nothing But A Good Time". A blonde in a short black kimono, her back to the club, slips behind the silver curtain that hangs, glimmering, behind the catwalks. Backstage, she drops the kimono. It falls fluidly past long legs and black spike heels into a silken puddle on the floor.

Zoom up, up, up several floors:
An upper level of the building.

"Incoming, transmission affirmative. Expecting a landing right on time, over. Get ready to meet and greet," A man with tan skin, dark hair and a black suit says into an earpiece as he heads up a flight of stairs with a posse of other suited men. They emerge from the stairs onto the lofty rooftop - the view up here is spectacular… but dismal. A helipad exists up here. It's windy to begin with this high up, but the breeze seems particularly strong.

Dismal, perhaps. What Nathan sees is a scar. But we all like to show off our scars, don't we, and somehow, seeing his home city in this ruin isn't so bitter as it is… satisfying. It's why he's even here. It's how he got into power. He watches out the window as the helicopter makes its smooth landing, his reflection faint, just inches away. The healer had done what he could, but there was still bruising, telling of still cracked bone beneath the surface. Before the copter could touch down, he shakes out a couple of pain killers into his palm, downing them without water. He avoids sedatives of any kind, but for this meeting, he doesn't want to show pain.

"Mr. President?"

They had landed, and the Agent waits for Nathan to exit the copter. Outside, the gusts that batter at the top of the building don't seem to bother the world's only flying President, and he walks with authority across the area, tailored jacket flapping in the wind, flanked by two identical Agents dressed in matching black suits. He quickly scans the group come to meet him, puts on a small smile, and moves towards whomever seems to be the leader of the pack, extending a hand.

The Syndicate's men stride toward the helicopter, waiting for the visitor to disembark. When he does, they don't overcrowd him - he has his own men. "Mister President, sir, welcome back," says the man in front - Greek by blood, his name is Costa. He's more of less the Syndicate's PR man. He's the one who shakes the President's hand. Firm, quick, business-like. The other men keep their distance; they have sidearms and glance about the rooftop, watchful as gargoyles. "Impeccable timing, sir." A hand goes to his ear and the communications device therein. "The boss is ready to see you." With a nod to the others, he leads the way to the door which then leads to the stairs.

From there, it's just two flights down.

Gleaming black walls. Dark marble floors. Ambient light. Another world, one that has the distinct feeling of… an office building. And yet this is no regular office building, that much is also decidedly obvious. The air itself is uneasy. None of the office doors have have name placquards.

Costa runs a keycard beside one door that's no different from the rest in appearance. It *bee-beeps* in response and there's the sound of unlocking. "If your men could wait outside, sir…"

In a sort of eerily synchronised way, the Agent Cains snap their watchful gaze towards Nathan, who glances back at them and gives a nod. Though they remain stoic, they don't seem especially happy about this arrangement - but their job is to first and foremost follow orders, so they take up positions, flanking the door. One of them smiles at Costa, before looking back down the marbled hallway, hands clasped behind his back.

Nathan puts a hand to the door, and nods to the Greek. "I can take it from here," he assures, with a faint smile, before pushing open the door and walking in, a hand unconsciously lifting to make sure his tie is in place. Inevitably, it is. His gaze is easily drawn towards the person he's come to meet, and despite bruising, he smiles a little easier. "It's good to see you again."

The dark marble flooring spreads into this room as well, black and grey blooming with charcoal veins over its gleaming surface. The lighting is comfortably ambient or ominously dim, depending on one's point of view — and why they're here. A wide, open space is made less wide and open by dividers in black wood and white paper: behind them, mystery. Otherwise, red prevails, pinned to the very walls in the form of curtains; rather than the sumptuous draperies of the lower floor, these decorations are more haphazard. A few curtains sparkle with beads or tassels. Not every wall is covered. To the left, a shadowed white wall houses several Rorschach Blots in frames; one such inkblot painting resembles a smoky blue helix.

An expansive plate-glass window monopolizes most of the wall opposite the entrance with a view of the cityscape. The view is lofty, and it's not hard to tell, from here, that some of the city is in ruins. The window is slightly dark, tinted, and electronic shutters wait on either side to horizontally engulf the view at a moment's notice. A heavy desk of black metal and thick glass sits boldly in front of the window. A few picture frames, their photos turned toward the high-backed black leather chair, are scattered on the desk along with some writing implements, a flat-screened computer monitor, a phone, and a silver letter opener. There are no chairs gathered 'round. The space is not meant to lend comfort to its guests.

The person the Nathan is here to meet is easy to find, but not easy to see right away: the office chair is turned away from the desk, toward the window. All that's visible is a hand clutching the arm of the chair - a slender, light hand. "Hello, Mr. President." Channeling Marilyn Monroe in a sultry, low voice, the boss spins the chair about and immediately stands. A black pantsuit with a frilled shirt of some scant make underneath, her figure is a sharp one. She tosses her golden blonde hair. There's a languid smirk on her lips already. "How was your flight?" she asks in a boldly mocking tone.

Someone shuts the door behind him, leaving he and the Syndicate boss alone in the ambient office. He paces around to stand before the desk in a slow stroll, keeping his gaze mostly on the blonde woman. Her question earns a rough chuckle from the politician. "Not thrilling, but comfortable," he says dryly. "Either way, it's nice to be home again." The distant scars that run through New York City outside earn another glance, as he comes to a stop at her desk.

"What happened to your face?" Don't colour her concerned just yet. It sounds like an idle sort of curiosity. "Run into a door?" The smirk never quite leaves her mouth as she regards Nathan with a bit of sparkle in her otherwise icy eyes; almost amused. The woman wastes absolutely zero time, now, in approaching the powerful man in the country. Maybe one of the most powerful men in the world. Maybe the most. She starts to wind easily around the desk. Office etiquette is overrated.

As if on cue, the mess of bruising twinges, but he refuses to let it show. There's no sympathy to be gained here, in the inner sanctum of an influential crime organisation. Especially not from the woman who is, arguably, one of the most powerful non-names in New York City. Even world leaders have to play their cards right. "Flew into a wall," he says, moving towards her as she approaches. "You, on the other hand, look great."

"Hm." Funny, how that one sound that's not even a word can carry such sentiment: in this case, knowingness and self-satisfaction. In other words, she chooses to disbelieve the sketchy excuse for bruising and knows she looks good. It's a short distance around the corner of the desk, but she makes it count — there's a sauntering sway to her hips for the few paces that bring her within a couple of inches of the President. "I want to talk business. The papers we talked about are on my desk." That's what they're here for, isn't it? One of the blonde's brows arches ever-so-slightly as she looks up (barely) at him. "But." A finger trails down the man's tie. Her smirk now it quirks up one-sidedly, wicked, and suddenly fades until she's utterly and totally serious. "You and I both know Nathan Petrelli shouldn't be the one signing his name." The Syndicate kingpin swipes a document from her desk; the header is emblazoned with Syndicate, the S resembling a helix. She plants the paper on his chest. "I want your real signature."

He's met with this woman enough to know that even an innocent (or likely not so innocent) touch can lead to broken bones, so he doesn't try anything, even when she touches his tie. That next part, though, the page pushed against his chest and that request, causes him to step back almost as if burned, a hand coming up to take the document before it can fall. His stoic expression ripples in wariness, and remains. "Believe me," he says, after a moment. "The only signature worth anything to you, Jessica, is one belonging to Nathan Petrelli."

"It's worth something to me." Jessica steps close again, never taking her strong, perceptive stare off of the President. Her blue eyes seem darker, under the shadow of her focused brow, with the intensity of her gaze. "The official documents? Sign your lie. I want to know who you really are. You think you can fool me? Please." Here, the blonde grins, rolling her eyes as if she's about to scoff. She doesn't, but she does plant a hand on her hip and look at him incredulously. "You can trick the rest of the world, but I know the signs." Slow and easy, she swipes the letter opener off the nearby desk. A weapon in her hands, but she only holds the flat surface in front of the President's face. It's silver, reflective. "What do you see, when you look in the mirror?"

His eyes are drawn to the silver, unstoppably so, for only a second. A second is enough. A slice of perfect reflection, the same bruises, the same everything - except for that smirk, a weak sign but one that does not appear on the President's face, only in a fleeting reflection.

So it starts.

No. It ends here.

His hand closes around Jessica's in a tight squeeze, but he doesn't try to steer her hand - just lower it in an inch so he can give her a hard look. The signs. "I see weakness," he says, voice barely above a whisper but with all the conviction in the world, keeping that hold over her hand. Now, he smiles. "You can call me Logan."

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We have a winner. Jessica could easily shun the force that holds her wrist with a mere flick of hers, but she doesn't. She just clutches the faux knife in her hand while her pink-glossed lips spread into a smile more wicked than the last. "That's more like it," she croons. She steps in close, closer than ever, so that her one stride positions her thigh between … Logan's - but it turns out it's so she can snatch that scorned piece of paper. Not that she couldn't have done it before. "The strong ones win." And here they are, at the top of their worlds. "Survival, baby." She offers the document up between them again and draws a gold pen from a pocket just inside the V-neck of her suit jacket.

"Evolution," Logan agrees, with a smile that matches hers. Gently, he takes the pen from her hand, as well as the document, before… stepping back, laying the page out flat on the desk and swiftly signing the singular name he'd confessed a moment ago. He hopes that he won't regret this later, but then again… it's a secret within a bigger secret. The pen is laid down, the page offered out, accidentally or coyly flicking a lock of golden blonde hair. "Always more than I bargain for," he sighs, though his smirk remains.

The paper is taken, though the powerful blonde doesn't take her eyes off of the newly announced Logan. There's space for more than one name on that paper. It's a binding document, of sorts. An arrangement, an agreement. She too flattens the document on the desk and signs her own name, sharp and fast with the fine pen. "You know the Syndicate is supposed to be… on no one's side," she says as she finishes the last curve of the signature. "This is just…" Smirk. "Sharing." Because Jessica is so giving.

And giving is what this town is all about. Logan raises an eyebrow at her, then takes that pen out of her hand, slipping it back into its holder. "The Syndicate is whatever you want it to be," he says. "I'm just a name on a page." A smile, because they both know it's more than that, but it's been discussed, argued over, until everything can be summed up in just a few paragraphs of contractual agreement. There are more pressing matters to be concerned with. Way more pressing. "It's my first night back in New York City - you gonna let me buy you a drink?"

"You gonna be seen down at the bar, Mr. 'President'? What would people say." Jessica says this with false concern for the man's public image - or not so false, given that this is her establishment, and the President's presence here is a closely guarded secret. Doesn't matter, anyway. "I have all we need right here." Grabbing onto the neatly pressed collar of Logan's suit, she kisses him slowly but voraciously on the lips without delay. She doesn't make any move to stop any time soon, winding a hand up to hold the back of his neck. Hello, Mr. President, indeed.

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