2010-01-18: Breadcrumbs



Date: January 18, 2010


An interrogation doesn't go as planned.


Building 27 — Governor Island

The interrogation cell is a bare 10x10 foot cement room with nothing but a wooden table and two wooden benches in it. It's dark, it's dank, and it isn't very comfortable, except the temperature which is set to a comfortable 72 degrees. The camera in the top right hand corner is pointed so that the interrogator's back is to it and the inmate is visible. Aldready placed there are some file folders, generic fare pertaining to the detainee about to be questioned, one Nathan Petrelli.

I feel like I should be arguing in my own head, like there are three versions of me. There were. They're together now; I've accepted who I am. For years I couldn't accept myself even though there was only one of me. I didn't know what to say or how to say it. I couldn't accept who I was growing up because of the expectations put on me. My father wasn't what most would call a loving man, and he only had ambitions on my behalf. He pressured me to be who I became. I went into the navy as a pilot to prepare for public service later in life; every move was calculated for me. After the navy came law school and then public service in the District Attorney's office, followed by my first real bid for public office as a Congressman. Senate was just the next logical step, and I'd been told I was destined for the White House. I had a family because it was what I was supposed to do; it was the role of a dutiful son determined to enter public office. And I love my kids. And my wife. But what do I want? When my memory was erased I had no expectations to live up to, and I enjoyed life. Obviously responsibility is important in life, and life needs balance, but how much of who I was — who I am — is because of what was mapped out for me? Even now, here, in a way I didn't choose this. Yes, I knew the risks, but before I had my memory back Ma called this situation dire and that I needed help and OHMYGOSH the world was going to end without it or something. I never bought into that comic book crap. But for an instant it made sense. But what do I think? Or am I nothing more than the conglomeration of three lives of experience — three minds that think differently, operate differently, live differently? Is that what got me here? To this place? Ironically I think these three lives would hate each other. Logan would've hated Nathan's devotion, his goodness. Nathan would've hated Logan's ruthlessness. Brayden couldn't believe either's devotion to political office. And between these three lives, I guess I have one question: who the hell am I? It would be nice to know before the government turns the lights out on me.

His arms handcuffed behind his back, and his gaze directed into the camera, Nathan's lips quirk into a wicked kind of grin — one that Logan bore frequently, one that denotes Nathan's internal thoughts on the irony of the situation in which he finds himself. The smile fades for a few moments as he stretches his jaw, the hit Agent Hamm had delivered is already bruising. With a groan, he does his best to stretch his shoulders and neck — it's best to get these things finished well before the entrance of an interrogator. And, after clearing his throat, his smile disappears. He has his game face on.

Cody is dressed in her regular black hunter uniform. She's not an interrogator but for some odd reason the powers that be felt she would be perfect for the job because of her background and experience in the Middle East. It possibly helped that she didn't turn down the offer when it was first presented, and even though she didn't openly volunteer or appear eager to take it, she did study up as much as she could on the subject.

Unlike her predecessors, she does not wear severe high heels, or an intimidating attitude toward it. After all, she doesn't feel the politician is a very threatening subject, and other than his initial capture, he's been fairly agreeable. Not cooperative, just agreeable. Marching into the room with her military swagger, she closes the door firmly behind her and then promptly closes the blinds to the one way mirror. She has in her hand, a well-worn leather notebook, a legal notepad, a pencil, and a pen. "Hello Senator, let me first say that I feel honored to meet you finally. I've heard many things." Without waiting for him to answer, she sits down across from him and opens her notebook over top of the file folder. This action is hidden from view of the camera.

Eyebrows are furrowed at Cody as Nathan gapes a moment, but just one. He knows her; he's seen her before; he knows her as Tiffany. His gaze settles on her, watching her, but saying nothing. His lips remain neutral as he remembers. He's a trained marine and so pushes his thoughts towards his own training to exactly what he's been programmed to do, "I'm sure you have." He's vague. Painfully vague. And he's been vague since his capture. Vague or blatantly uncooperative. There are several moments as he continues to gaze at her before he says, "What should I call you? If you don't give me a name, I'll make one up. Tiffany perhaps." He swallows as he openly stares at her.

The woman's hand barely moves as she makes short marks in her notebook with the pencil. "You can call me Tiffany if you like, or Baker. I'm not going to try to instigate you with stupid small talk about your accommodations. I've seen them." She places the pencil silently into the crease of the notebook leaving it in plain view for him to read, should he bother, and picks up the pen and legal pad. The message says in extremely boxy letters: YOU NEED TO HELP US. NOT AP. ANSWER THE QUESTIONS HERE SIMPLY. BE VAGUE ENOUGH THAT THE ANSWERS WORK FOR VERBAL QUESTIONS. UNDERSTOOD?

She gives him a straight pointed look into his eyes and pulls some of the papers from the file folder, to his family. "There are things Alpha Protocols knows about, you, your family, everything is pretty much on record, since you're a Senator. Is it true that KeLyssa Ghallager is an employee of yours?"

He blinks at the marks on the notebook, and he sighs a little. It's the vaguest response he can give. Nathan glances at the camera. Thus far he's been uncooperative. He's answered questions with three things and three things only. He glances down away from the camera and shoots her a very brief apologetic look. If he's going to answer, he can't make this too easy, she needs to know that. He swallows before nodding, slowly, "This isn't new information. KeLyssa was my assistant until she disappeared." The words are hissed bitterly. He failed KeLyssa.

Ever since I entered politics I've failed the people I care about. Heidi. Simon. Monty. Ma. Pete. All I really want is to be a good father. A good husband. A good son. A good brother. But something has to give. For the rest of my life something has had to give. I hate it. I hate being a half-ass father and a cheating husband. I don't even know why I'm doing this anymore. Maybe it's my redemption. Maybe this is how I can make up for the wrongs I've committed in my lifetime. Or maybe it's time to just stop committing wrongs.

"What you have on record is what you have on record. I'm sure if you looked up Miss Gallagher's social security number you would see she's employed by my office."

The response to the apologetic look doesn't come from a softening of her gaze into his eyes, they remain firm and steadfast, rather from a small flutter of her eyelashes and a twitch to the right corner of her lips. Deftly, she rolls the pen into the crease of the notebook and picks up the pencil to begin making those same light strokes into boxy letters. As she makes those same camera invisible marks into the notebook, she continues to talk. "Yes, we're one step ahead of you, along with Miss Frazier. Don't worry, she will be released when she tells us everything she knows. Miss Frazier that is, not Miss Ghallager."

He looks tired, angry, embittered, not the same man that she first met in Cork. Brayden was jovial, always smiling, exciting… at least in some very measurable aspects. Not that she could blame him in the least, it was a shame that she hadn't been able to warn him, or at the very least, get a message to him somehow. But he was one life compared to millions and while she could shoulder the burden of his death, she couldn't carry the weight of all the lives she stood to lose without him there. She moves her hand away from the notebook page to lay out pictures of his family in front of him. I NEED SOMEONE I CAN TRUST the message says simply. Then she points from one face to another. Angela. Peter. Heidi. Simon. Monty. "These are the members of your family?"

Discussion of his family is fine, this is information Cody can get from anywhere — the internet probably. And so silently he nods. Nathan is all of those things, and perhaps something else. Resignation, perhaps. And then he adds, strangely, "Pete and I haven't spoken in months." Also public knowledge, but a strange time to mention it.

"What about your mother? Have you spoken with her? The story that you've been passing around to people is Fiji, right?" Cody continues, relatively satisfied with the answers thus far to pick up the pencil again and begin outlining all of her box letters up to this point so that they resemble a series of boxes with a cross intersecting each one. "Tell me, Senator, was it from Peter that you found out about Alpha Protocol?"

"She's in Fiji," Nathan confirms as he shifts in his seat uncomfortably. His lips twitch at the next question. "Probably, I don't recall." And then he adds as a kind of afterthought, "We did talk about it. And we had very different ideas about it."

The pencil is still in her hand when she stacks the pictures to leave Peter on the top, to the men behind the camera it might look like she is trying to remind the good Senator of his brother. "Different ideas? Which one of you thought it was a good idea for you to try to infiltrate the Protocol? Is that what you were aiming for? Or did you want to head it in honesty?" The box letters on the page in the notebook look like KAPPA MAYBE MORE.

The words are read, but don't register on his face, instead, Nathan stifles a chuckle and then answers the way he's answered all along, "I'm an American, Ms. Baker. I served as a Marine. I landed jets onto aircraft carriers during the Gulf War. I couldn't imagine hurting the government, although I admit I'm not happy about the handcuffs." His lips continue in their easy Brayden-like smile, but his eyes wear the weight of the world.

"Some people have funny ways of helping the government. What some think is in the best interest in the public isn't what others think. Personally, the way I feel about things can differ from how you see them. Of course we are in much different circumstances. If you were released tomorrow and able to resume your seat as Senator, how would you approach the President? Would you support his protocol or would you publicly lambaste it?" Right underneath her previous entry in the notebook, she writes. NEED YOU HERE. MUST TALK. Then her blue eyes flit toward his and she leans forward just slightly and then adjusts her seat. Perhaps as a cover for what her impulse had her leaning forward for in the first place.

Considering the Protocol has taken him rather than let him continue in his job, Nathan smirks, "The President is well aware that I support his government. We talked about all of these things before I came to this facility." There's a pause as he swallows, "I'm not an idiot, Ms. Baker. I doubt I'm going anywhere," his tone is bitter now although he's still smirking. He has been all too charming here, in fact, he's been infuriatingly so, even under the most intense questioning.

Once again the letters are boxed in and camouflaged to appear as a myriad of squares on the page. "Anything is possible, Senator, who knows, you could be released tomorrow if the President reviews these tapes and likes what he hears." Better start campaigning Petrelli, are the undertones of that message. For better or for worse, Cody is likely the most congenial of hosts he has had the pleasure of meeting in the facility. "Let's talk about your brother and how Protocol can hope to find him. You mentioned before that you haven't spoken in months, where was he living when you last spoke to him?"

Nathan virtually grins now, "He was living in his old apartment." He's not living there now, Nathan knows this. "And even if you've been watching it, I'm sure your people wouldn't have seen anything; even if he is still there." He chuckles again, "Although, my guess is Pete has long since left it. Following our argument, I'm sure he wouldn't have stuck around." He stifles another chuckle. "Peter was determined to stop the Protocol, I had a different stance. I think the work you do is important, many people with abilities are very dangerous." He presses his lips into a thin line. "Frankly though, I'm more dangerous in a fighter jet which the government trained me to fly than in my normal state."

"Aren't we all…" Cody says softly, something they have in common, though he was never privy to that information. "I'm sure you know already that Alpha Protocol hasn't found any leads to where Peter might be." She enunciates that one word, and her eyes flit down to the notebook page, where the word Kappa is hidden in its own little series of boxes. "But as a side, I'm glad to hear that you think the work we're doing is important. Suppressing dangerous abilities is vital not only to the general public but it can give the possessor a healthy and quite normal life."

The last time she saw him, he'd had a beard on his face. Slowly lidding her eyes, she can still imagine it there, a fabrication of her own left on him after that one night in Cork. Her hair was much longer that morning as well, honey colored locks that covered the two of them in the morning like a soft blanket.

"I suspected they didn't know where Peter was, but Peter has always been something of a flake," Nathan says as his eyes flit downwards towards the notebook. More than one protocol. Awesome. He purses his lips together and hmms, "If I could give you more, I would." He sighs again, "He seems to have some memory troubles since he left your employ, can remember the last couple of years of his life." Nathan also knows this was fixed, but now he's talking for the camera, not Cody.

It had been an amazing night in Cork and the pair had sailed through the air unconventionally the day after. He'd left his thick mountain man beard for weeks following their time together as a kind of reminder. It really had been a good night.

"So, Peter is a flake and you have no idea where. Your mother is in Fiji. Your ex-wife and sons are in Florida." Her eyes flit to give him a sharp look, there seems to be something suggested in that look. Nothing harsh, a signal of assurance? Warning? …something. "Tell me about the people you work with. I hope that your answers match Miss Frazier's, things can get very sticky when Protocol knows that someone has been lying to them." Cody picks up the pencil again and begins to inconspicuously write some more block letters in the notebook. MIGHT NEED YOU TO GIVE SOMEONE UP. MAKE THEM BELIEVE IN YOU. GREATER GOOD.

Nathan nods a little before he bites his bottom lip. "That's right, Pete is somewhere, Ma is off continent, and Heidi and the kids are in Florida." His eyes narrow. He'd been thinking about giving it all up, letting it all go. And now, he's confirmed in his mission. With a nod he hmmms, "Well, there was a woman in my office by the name of Linda Johnson." He knows that Tracy is presumed dead and so he doesn't fear divulging this information. "She controls ice. She once froze an alley outside my office." Beat. "It was very upsetting." He gives her something, and pushes his own innocence further.

"Linda Johnson, where did come from? What do you know about her?" This time the legal pad and pen are picked up and earnest notes are made. Ones that are completely visible to the camera. Everything that he says gets written down quickly in neat cursive handwriting. "I'm sure you hired her personally. Of all the people in these photos, which one is she?" Then Cody proceeds to lay out a new set of photos, everyone in his office has been photographed and presented to him in 8x10 black and white glossy form.

"A red head. Pretty face." Nathan is biased in this regard; she shares Niki's face after all. "Claimed to work for a now-deceased Senator and her credentials checked out." He looks confused as he manages to find the photo, "That one." He presses his lips together again, before looking at Church, "Also, my mom chose my head of security from afar. I know nothing of him, just that she was concerned when…" He tilts his head, this is something he's willing to divulge. "…a woman named Stephanie came to my office and demanded answers about things that I have no connection to. She managed to put myself and one of my staff into the most terrifying illusion known to man. She put Ms. Frazier into a coma. She's very dangerous."

"Which one of your staff? And what sorts of questions was this Stephanie looking for the answers to?" The two pictures pointed out get laid to the side along with Peter's and Cody places the pen between her teeth before picking up the pencil and marking each photo on the back. A. B. C. "This man," she says, taking the pen out from her mouth again, "Why would your mother pick him from all of the other available guards in the city and if she is in Fiji, how often did you keep in touch with her for her to know about the incident?"

"It was Ms. Johnson, actually," Nathan says honestly before he hmms again. "And yes, that man." Fortunately Church is rarely around the office as the head of security he's a bit of an enigma in the office. "I contacted my mother especially because the blonde mentioned incidents from my past." He swallows, "You see I've recently suffered some memory loss and when anyone asks me about the past… particularly in such a threatening manner, well… I do what I can to remember." And Cody herself will see through the memory loss lie. This isn't the care-free easy-going smuggler she'd met. He's worn thin. Like too little butter spread over too much bread. "And we haven't kept in touch much. In fact, last time I called the number was unhooked. Of course, I'm sure you've tried calling all of the numbers listed in my cellphone. It was taken from me." He pauses a moment before adding, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't call my campaign supporters."

"I'll see what I can do, but I'm really just a tadpole here, Senator. Is there anything more you'd like to share while we're talking?" The corners of Cody's eyes twitch ever so slightly before she begins camouflaging the last set of block letters in her notebook. Then she writes five words. NO MORE NOW. NEXT TIME. And gives him the briefest of glimpses before starting to camouflage those as well. She runs her tongue quickly over her lips and purses them to give them a glimmer of moisture before closing her notebook very discreetly.

"That's all I can think of," Nathan says as he arches both eyebrows and allows his lips to curl into his all too infamous diplomatic smile like he's ending a business meeting rather than an interrogation. "Ms. Baker — if you do find Peter, approach with caution." He swallows.

"He's already gotten away from me once, I don't intend to let it happen again, Senator. I don't like failure." Cody's voice turns fairly hard when she makes that statement, possibly because it's one thing that she carries through in earnest. She begins packing away the photos, files, legal pad, but then leaves them all on the table. The notebook and pencil are the only things she carries with her as she moves over behind Nathan to help him stand. "If you don't mind, I'll escort you back to your quarters. I'm sure my superiors will want to review all of my notes and progress with you so far."

"Of course," Nathan says although what he's agreeing to is unclear. Regardless, he issues her his still diplomatic smile as he follows her towards his 'quarters'. Ha. He doesn't ask questions or initiate contact. He's being semi-cooperative now. Only not.

Even though Cody is only a low man on the totem pole, she carries a little more weight than the agents assigned to escort the Senator to and from his little cell. Her success and ruthless nature out in the field has given her a reputation not to be trifled with unless you want to be assigned sewer duty or another job that's less than desirable on one of her bag and tags. There's a very good reason the agent wanted to escort the man down the corridors, their cameras pick up only sight, not sound. As they walk she keeps her lips just slightly open, enough to speak without moving her lips, much.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know they were going to take you. I was out in the field." Doing what, can be implied, but she won't admit to it to him. "I don't know who I can trust here and I can't get my contact on the outside caught up in this."

"It's fine. Honestly, a part of me expected it in a way. Although, the timing was a shock," Nathan murmurs in the same fashion as he walks down the hall semi-casually. He too restricts the movement of his lips, just in case. And finally he asks the one question that's plaguing him, "Are my kids okay?" This government didn't have a problem locking up kids with abilities, what about taking children to make a Senator talk? And then he adds, "If you need help, talk to anyone in my security department; they're very resourceful."

"As far as I know, they're fine. Watched closely, but fine. So far they don't have anything protocol wants. Just make sure you keep leaving little breadcrumbs. I don't know when I'll be able to get you out, if at all. This is too important to risk letting a few people go." As they close in on Nathan's cell, the arm that Cody had been gripping onto gets a light squeeze. "I wish you weren't Nathan Petrelli."

"Don't worry about getting me out. I've lived through much worse than this," Nathan quips through his still stilted lips. "And if they're watching the kids, I couldn't go anyways. Not unless I know Simon, Monty, and Heidi are safe. They're just casualties in all of this." The last sentence is met with a weak smile,

Who is Nathan Petrelli? Is he an enigma? Just a name? A brand? What does that even mean?

"Some days… neither do I. But it's who I am: Senator Nathan Petrelli." He blinks before he adds, "And if I ever see the light of day, I'm going to make all of those higher ups go on trial for what they have done."

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