2007-10-26: Bargaining Chips and Morality Dip

Starring:

Felix_icon.gif Mariska_icon.gif Namir_icon.gif Samantha_icon.gif

Summary: It's just about three poses shy of breaking into bitches + bikinis + brawling (in pudding), folks.

Date It Happened: October 26th, 2007

Bargaining Chips and Morality Dip


Queens, NYC - Felix's Apartment

This is….round two of the Dinner Party of Extreme Awkward. Only, without Will there to make things just that much worse. No booze is evident, due to Namir's particular religious strictures…..to Fel's disappointment. Because doing this a little drunk would be a hell of a lot easier. But there is take out, and soda, and even chocolate. As if that might help. Fel's idly bustling around the kitchen, working on making sure there are enough clean plates.

«Are you sure this is a good idea?» says Mariska, turning the corner into the kitchen with both hands momentarily occupied in ensuring the earring she's just put in intends to stay put. She lingers just over Felix's shoulder, quietly contemplating the countertop now hosting a small bounty of take-out boxes.

"You're not going to be rude, are you?" Sam asks Namir as they come up to the door of Felix's apartment. "His choices are his choices, and even if you don't agree with them, you're going to be a guest in his home." She tucks the bottle of non-alcoholic cider close to her side. "So be nice."

Rude? Namir? Rude? Him? Rude? Whatever would give Sam that impression? It couldn't be the steely set of his jaw, the lack of anything resembling a smile or mirth on his features, or the general essence of Not Thrilled that emanates from his person, could it? Nah. Namir is the picture of a perfect guest. If that guest has just been kicked recently. "I am the epitome of nice," he grunts in a tone that would certainly belie that sentiment. A fist is raised to knock on the door, curt and abrupt.

«No. But these are the only friends I have left,» he says, raising a guileless blue gaze to her. «They've already figured out most of the truth, they deserve to hear it from me.» And then he's padding over to open the door.

Mariska remains in the kitchen, mulling the man's words with a look that practically screams her apprehension. Her green-eyed gaze momentarily falls on the vodka bottle seated next to the refrigerator and succumbs to a moment of weakness, cracking open the cap and taking a quick swig before replacing it on the counter and putting on a more company-friendly expression.

Samantha gives Namir's arm a little squeeze. "I appreciate you making the effort." Sam tells him, a little honey to go with the vinegar. And just then, Felix opens the door. Samantha favors the Fed with a smile. "Good evening, Felix." she greets, even if her smile's a little tight too. After all, their last conversation didn't exactly end in the greatest fashion either. But she's a guest.

There's no smile from Namir, but at least he doesn't deck the Russian immediately upon seeing him. That's a sign of some sort, right? Namir also manages not to scowl too deeply and offers a small nod in greeting. "Felix," is all he says. Nice and civil.

Well, it was more than Fel was expecting, really. He motions them in, before shutting the door behind them. "Evening," he says, quietly. "Glad you could come." Even if this looks like it's gonna be an ordeal.

Well, as quickly becomes apparently when Namir and Samantha file in, looks like Felix still hasn't found the sense to kick that manipulative bitch who calls herself his babymomma to the curb yet; Mariska lingers somewhat uncertainly in the archway between the kitchen and the living room. "Can I get either of you something to drink?" she asks, English burdened by her accent but complete with articles and everything.

Samantha presents the bottle of cider toward Mariska. "Hello, again." she says with a faint smile. "Anything non-alcoholic would be lovely. What did you two rustle up for dinner tonight?"

For his part, Namir remains silent. Mariska is given a nod as well, though it's at least noticeably less icy than the greeting given to Felix earlier. He doesn't have a beef with her, really, just that guy she calls a husband. Sam told him to be nice, so he is — by shutting up and letting her pull the 'nice guest' stuff.

"Thai," Felix says, quietly. It's already arrayed on the folded-out kitchen table, along with soda and water. "Mostly vegetarian," he adds, nodding faintly to Misha. Blame the wife.

The bottle of cider is happily accepted and Mariska offers Sam a small smile before she turns around and fetches a few glasses. Spiced apple juice might actually suit Thai food well, or so the Russian woman wagers, and what's the harm in showing someone their gift won't go to waste then by opening it right then. She goes about this task quietly for a few moments before attempting to dive into polite chit-chat, lest the silence suffocate them all. "I hope the two of you have been well."

"I've actually been dealing with a long term medical emergency. This will be the first evening that didn't involve wearing scrubs I've had in a long time." Samantha looks over her shoulder at Namir with a silent 'be nice' face before turning back. "Need some help, Mariska?"

That look is met with a faint furrowing of Namir's brow. What? I am being nice. Maybe she wants him to say something nice. He glances around the apartment and finally manages to utter, "You have a nice apartment." He sounds like he's being nice, if one squints and plugs one ear.

"Thank you, Dayan, Applebaum. But we might as well start in on this. You have questions, I'll try and answer them," Fel says, sounding utterly weary.

For a moment, Mariska mulls just jumping ship, in a more or less literal fashion, fleeing the kitchen for less intense climbs. Like Bosnia. Or Darfur. For Felix's sake, however, she doesn't. Instead, she says to Samantha, "Sure. Take these?" 'These' in this case being the pair of glasses intended for her and Namir.

Samantha accepts them and moves over to Namir, offering him one and studying Felix with a raised brow. "Did your superiors give you permission to reveal all, Ivanov?" she retorts, her use of his last name just a little jab since he removed the familiarity of theirs.

Well, he asked. Sam can't smack him if Felix is the one who opened the door! Namir is safe. (Ha.) He takes the offered glass, but doesn't drink. It's almost a reflex more than anything. See glass, take glass. His focus is Felix. "I really just have one question," he states flatly. "Why is it that you people think myself and Bekah and those like us deserve to be snatched and tagged like animals?"

"I don't," Felix says, with a serenity that's not really all that well-feigned. "I don't at all. They grabbed me and tortured me for a while, Namir, until I broke down and admitted what I could do. Honestly, I don't really know how they justify what they do to themselves, other than that they're supposed to help protect humanity from the monsters you saw the other night." He glances at Samantha. "No, actually. But they're the ones who wrenched my life out of shape. They can deal with people being astute enough to catch on."

Bam. One of the other two glasses that Mariska had been holding greets the countertop with a bit of a bang as she catches a clip of Namir's single, pointed question. Maybe it's best that she just stays in the kitchen for a minute or two more.

"Are they aware of what I'm doing?" Sam asks. Translation: did you tell them what I'm doing?

"I'm not arguing that people like that should not be on the streets, but profiling everyone who might have a talent is the wrong way to go about it." Felix may not be the worst of them, but unfortunately, Felix is the only member of this group that Namir knows, and so Felix is the one who gets the verbal beating. "We're not cattle, we're people, and we do not appreciate being injected and poked and who knows what else against our wills."

"You are preaching to the fucking choir, Dayan," Felix says, pinching the bridge of his nose in that 'I am fending off a migraine' fashion. "That's what I said. Unfortunately, their retrieval team was one who likes a bit of the rough stuff. Samantha, yes, they are."

Mariska lingers in the kitchen for a few more moments, glass on glass clinking in a quiet and mostly muted fashion while she continues to stall her reappearance. When she finds her way out, she has a glass for Felix and stands there by his side while his friends work him over a bit in their not-so-impromptu interrogation. Her gaze is steely but she keeps her thoughts to herself… which, in a room full of other Evolved, knowing or otherwise, is a pretty novel concept.

It's an interrogation that Felix invited on himself, and Sam intends to take advantage. "Do I need to start worrying?" Samantha asks Felix frankly.

The mention of their knowing about Sam's work causes Namir to go silent — but judging by his expression, that's only because if he opens his mouth, he'll do something that he'll regret later. If they mess with Sam, he will become dangerous. Oh irony. He waits for the response to her question.

It's not a conscious act, but Fel does take a little half-pace back, so he's in contact with Mariska. It's gotten to that point, that fast. He accepts the cider with a grateful murmur, before sighing quietly, "I honestly don't know, Sam," he says, taking a judicious sip. "I've got no orders or news concerning you. But I'm still very much a peon. I don't know what they intend."

If Felix is so comfortable divulging this sort of information in front of Mariska, it might make one wonder precisely how much she knows. Or… maybe not. For her part, the Russian woman keeps taciturn and in tactile contact with her husband via a subtle free hand left to drift too closely next to his. Hm. Is she… manipulating him somehow with this gesture? Is she more literally controlling than either of their houseguests might have previously reckoned? Honestly, she looks pretty harmless while she stands there, cider in hand, green eyes having set their sights on something invisible over Namir's head.

Samantha simply nods. "Alright." Sam doesn't press, even though she wants to. She keeps the virus to herself as well, saying only, "Are we going to have an awkward and uncomfortable dinner now?"

Calm breaths. Yes. Namir is calm. "Why do you work for them?" he asks, voice once again level. "Do you have proof that they even have your daughter? Do you even know it's really her?"

"Because everything that I value, they have a hold on. They can revoke my citizenship if they choose to. Yes. I've seen her, and I've seen the tests," Fel says, resolutely. "I work for them because the other options were mindwipe, permanent imprisonment, or death."

Mariska's lips draw into a thin line and she takes a healthy sip from her glass when their daughter becomes a pressure point of the conversation. She gives Felix's hand a momentary squeeze before looking to beat a retreat back in to the kitchen, however, along the way she does make a 'shall we?' head-gesture to Samantha, inviting the woman to join her at the cold buffet.

Samantha seems to think that's a really, really, really good idea. She rises, her own hand briefly brushing Namir's shoulder as she heads back into the kitchen with Mariska. "Your daughter," she says softly, "Why are they still holding her? How long can they keep her from you?"

Namir purses his lips and lets out a sigh through his nostrils. It's ridiculous, this entire thing, and he's still not sure what to think. It's a source of heavy conflict. "Why the tagging?" He's no longer looking like he'd rather just throw his drink in Felix's face and storm out, at least.

"To have a rough form of census and tracking. I'm not clear on its full capabilities, but it lets them know we've been taken, tested, and vetted. Like a wildlife study," Fel says, with a bitter grin.

The Russian woman almost visibly winces, shoulders tensed and then relaxed as she begins to pick through the various sauteed greenery. She takes a moment to mull Samantha's question before she replies, "Because keeping her ensures his compliance." And hers, but that part goes unspoken. Of course. Sasha's leverage. And dangerous. But, that part goes unspoken, too. However, Mariska does add something else to the conversation, more or less under her breath, in regards to how long the Company might keep her: "Not as long as they'd like to think…" Her Soviet swagger suddenly subdued and sinister.

Samantha leans against the fridge. "They can't keep her forever. It'll go sour. From your tone, I suspect for them it already has."

But Namir isn't grinning, not even bitterly. He doesn't like being a rhino. "And what do they do while you are in their custody? What sorts of tests?" He doesn't know, he was sort of mindwiped after he got released.

"Blood tests. I was required to demonstrate my abilities in various ways. A lot of the time I was drugged or unconscious, so I don't know what was done to me then," Fel's voice remains matter of fact, though he's begun to pace under Namir's scrutiny, sipping only now and then from his cider.

"A child is not a bargaining chip," Mariska says, turned now to face Sam and at least give the appearance of holding a casual conversation, even if the subject matter is anything but. "They will learn that, eventually. One way… or another."

"Anything or anyone one we ascribe a value to can be a bargaining chip." Sam says matter-of-factly. "As long as we allow it. I don't assume you'd accept help, but let me know if there's something I can do. Medically speaking or otherwise."

Namir remains standing and still. He hasn't even touched the cider. Hell, he probably isn't even aware that he's holding it. "And if they deem you a danger to society, they lock you up," he adds. It's not a question. "Not very well, apparently." Considering that three of their prisoners got loose.

"Yes," Felix says, simply. "There are monsters too big for even them to easily handle. And the great big daddy of them all came calling, and freed the ones you saw. I'm not going to try and excuse them, Namir. I'm not. I don't like or agree with their method, but they have me by the short hairs."

Sam's offer seems to perplex Mariska, and the Russian woman tilts her head slightly in order to ask, "How do you mean?"

"I mean they haven't tagged me yet." Sam says. "I don't think they even realize I have an ability, unless Felix has told them. I was offering to help, but if you're good on your own…" she trails off, shrugs.

The great big daddy? Namir's face contorts into a confused frown a moment before something seems to click. "Sylar?" The name is uttered quietly, because Sam shouldn't hear him talking about it. She might get the funny idea that he's interested in tracking the serial killer down or something.

Fel stiffens as if Namir had reached out and belted him one. "Yes. How do you know about him?" he asks, too shocked to be outraged or peremptory about it.

Did Mariska say she didn't need help? No. Huh. Must have been something in her body language, then… or else there's just mixed signals all around. Still, the Russian woman looks unsure of what else to say, save for, "What do you mean… medically speaking?" Or, maybe something just got lost in translation.

Samantha blinks at Mariska. "I'm a doctor." she says slowly. "You know. I fix people?"

"Word tends to get around when there's a man going around cutting off the tops of Talented peoples' heads," is Namir's dry response. "I may not be in the investigative branch of law enforcement, but information does spread." And if this group is going after Sylar, well, he can grudgingly find something about them that's good. "I'm assuming they have been after him all this time?"

Felix nods. "Yes. They caught him, too. He's in custody, last I heard," Fel is pacing now, openly. At least he hasn't gone for the cigarettes, not yet,.

Mariska narrows her eyes ever so slightly, uncertain as to if she's being patronized or if… maybe… hey, wait. She turns to toss a quick look over her shoulder; maybe she can see Felix from where she is, maybe not. It depends on the route that his pacing might take. Is this some kind of trick. "You… heal people?" she asks, returning her gaze to the other woman in order to exert even more emphasis on the verb, eyebrows raised.

Samantha looks faintly annoyed. "No." she says, and repeats, "I'm a doctor." Mariska has unwittingly hit one of Sam's sore spots - the negligent disregard people have for her as a medical professional when there's people in the world who can simply touch someone and make it all go away. "It has nothing to do with my ability, which is about as far as you can get from healing. It's mainly based on destruction."

Ah good, caught him already. "Well, that will give Sam some relief, I suppose," utters Namir, glancing in the direction the two women disappeared. He goes silent a moment before shaking his head and running a hand through his hair and over his neck with a sigh. It's only then that he notices he's got a cup in his hand, and he peers at it with confusion and surprise. When did that get there? "I don't like it, but if you need help with anything, give me a call. I won't help you capture innocent people, but there is still the third escapee out there."

"I know. We're still looking for him," Fel says, quietly, expression still very unhappy. His pacing does bring him across Misha's field of vision, now and then, at leas. "I….my partner's figured this out as well. You all might want to confer. I don't know what they'll do now that I've let this out. Let you know, try and take your memories…."

If it were possible for Mariska to take a step backward, she would. Unfortunately, there's a little fold-out table in the way and so all the maneuvering room that she's been allowed is on a horizontal plane. With this in mind, Mariska attempts to excuse herself from the kitchen with the stereotypical 'what the fuck just happened here?' pronouncement of, "Would you… excuse me for a moment?" She has to go assault her husband about the serious lack of detail he's been going into about his friends. Mariska all but flies from close quarters, plunging into the living room and heading straight for Felix like a shark on the scent of blood in the water.

Samantha is completely confused. She honestly thought Mariska knew. Seems she didn't. Woops. She turns, and also heads for the living room. "Namir," she says, her expression tight, "Maybe we should be going."

"As if they haven't alr— " In comes Mariska, and then there is Sam. Namir blinks at first one and then the other. Now what happened there? "We haven't eaten yet, habibti," he intones, but it's certainly a reflex. Almost as soon as the words have left his mouth, he wants to have not said them. He can tell there's some major tension here. Maybe it is best if they leave.

Fel just looks that much more beleaguered. Oh, god, how did he fuck up now? He glances desperately between Samantha and Mariska. "It's worse, isn't it?" he asks, brow furrowed. "How, exactly?"

Mariska looks a little bit startled, if anything. Maybe unnerved. «Is there anything you forgot to mention about her?» she asks in a hushed half-whisper, latching on to Felix's arm, eyes wide. «…is she…??»

"I appear to have offended Mariska." Sam says. "So much so that she's speaking in a language no one but you can understand." Which is one of the heights of rudeness as far as Sam's concerned. "Namir, if you want, take a cab, but I'm leaving." With that, she heads for the door.

It, well, that … it …

Namir doesn't need to be told twice. He sets the still untouched cider on the nearest flat surface and follows after, pausing only a moment in the doorway. "Take care, both of you." And with that, out he goes on the heels of his fiancee. This is going to be a fun discussion at home.

"Yes," Felix says to Mariska, patiently. He doesn't stop Samantha. Well, that went about as well as expected. "They both are. Take care," he says, quietly.

Oh no. They're not done here. Mariska wastes little time in turning her attention from Felix to the fleeing backs of Samantha and Namir, to whom she calls, "No. Wait."

Samantha stops and turns, a hand going to her hip and head doing that swivel-thing on her neck that is the full on get-in-your-face challenge posture of any girl worth her druthers from having grown up in Queens. "Yeah?"

Oh good God. Namir also comes to a halt right beside Sam (who, thankfully, does not hit him in the face with her hair when she turns on Mariska). It's almost like watching two animals preparing to battle. It would be a lot less terrifying if they had a vat of pudding present or something, but no, alas. The Israeli rests a subtle hand at the small of Sam's back, as though that will be enough to keep her from going for blood. Please don't punch the nice Russian lady, sweetums.

Like the ultimate pokemons of Heroes doom. Fel looks to Misha, obviously puzzled. She's going to explain this, right? And then he peers back at Namir and Sam. I have no idea.

The Russian woman's dark brows have squiggled into a frustrated wrinkle. "I… didn't know," she begins, leaving those three words hanging in the air as if they ought to explain everything. Mariska's hand now seeks out some of Felix's fingers to tangle up with and squeeze… for support, of course, and certainly not in retaliation for leaving her so poorly informed. "I didn't know that you… were like us." 'Us' as in her and Felix, who she gestures to with a vague headtilt. There. There's a little more exposure. Sure, the world is full of fascinating freaks… Mariska's clearly just having trouble negotiating the logistics behind so many of them having converged upon one place.

"Namir's been bagged and tagged, and so have a few people we know." Sam says flatly. "I don't know why they haven't bothered with me yet, but I intend to put up a good fight if they decide I'm worth the bother. I'm hoping they're not. But yes. And?"

Namir casts a glance toward Felix. It says something. It says: If things turn ugly, I'll grab Sam and make for the elevator if you promise to grab Mariska and get back into the apartment.

Felix gives Namir a nod. It hearkens back to the day when they worked together and a significant look and a hand signal was a conversation in and of itself. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you," Felix says, quietly. "But….those are secrets I try to keep. Not mine to reveal."

"And…" Okay, so. Subtlety. Clearly not the method to use here. Mariska's tone ices over significantly in response to Samantha's flat retort and Felix's sensible and yet some how stupefying addition. "…is this normal for you? Because it is not for me. I'm not — I don't expect everyone I meet to be some kind of…" Freak. "…different." The fact that neither of the opposing couple seems at all intrigued as to the nature of how she lumps herself into the same category also serves as a something of an oddity. Unless…

To Felix, then, Mariska more directly addresses, "But, then, you told them about me, apparently, da?"

"No, he didn't." Samantha says. "But it makes sense." And it does, in her mind. "That's who they want to get their hands on. And they can get both of you through your daughter. If you weren't Evolved, then you knew about them, on account of Felix being so."

Namir shakes his head as well. "He hadn't told me either." Which is the only thing he offers. Still keeping his hand on Sam's back, he goes quiet and carefully observes the situation.

"I wasn't going to rat you out to anyone. That's your secret," Felix explains, looking pained. "And yes. I don't know all the genetics involved, but the fact that we both carry it means our daughter is apparently some sort of power to be reckoned with," That's all he dares say, at the moment.

Unfortunately for Mariska, something about the situation at hand still isn't adding up. Poor thing. This'll probably keep her awake for days as she works around the angles of that which was said and that which went unspoken. "Evolved," she echoes, repeating the word as if she'd never heard it before. More direct reference to Sasha and her extraordinary ability makes the girl's mother fall silent and avert her eyes. Oh, look. What nice hardwood floors. In an attempt to divert conversation, she recalls something Sam had said and wonders aloud, "What did you mean… destruction?"

"Sonic projection." Samantha says. "I can emit enough sonic force to cause quite a bit of damage, and with Namir supporting me, quite a bit becomes quite a lot."

When Namir and Sam get together, the earth moves. Shut up, Namir. Behold, he doth remain silent.

Mentioning the daughter he's never met. Always a downer. Fel looks solemn and embarrassed at once. He just glances between them, as if looking for another question he can actually answer.

Without any additional input from Namir, Mariska misses the inference. As an awkward silence settles over then, the Russian woman concedes that perhaps the evening isn't as salvageable as she'd thought. She just looks at Felix now, as if for explanation of what she might have missed, or maybe searching for some glimmer of common ground. Come on. Help her out here.

Samantha kinda just stands there, and waits for someone to say something. Then archly, "Shall we call it a night?"

Mariska's confusion seems to spark something, and Namir adds, "I can control the volume levels of sounds." But, well, things are awkward, and they probably only stand to get even more so. So Sam's question is eagerly agreed to: "I … think we should." He starts to back away from the other couple. Maybe after things have had a chance to settle, they can meet again and discuss things.

"That seems wisest," Fel looks utterly drained, and doesn't really seem eager to meet anyone's gaze in particular.

Fair enough. Perhaps a reprieve is in order for everyone. Mariska sports out one last attempt to be gracious, if such a thing were even possible at this point, and offers meekly, "Have a good evening. Thank you for the cider."

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