2008-02-09: Convention Clash


Niki_icon.gif Gene_icon.gif

Summary: Niki and Gene run into each other again on less-than-comfortable terms at the King's Hotel before Pinehearst staff leaves the biotech convention. One of them disappears.

Date It Happened: February 9th, 2008

Convention Clash

The King's Hotel

Las Vegas, Nevada

It's early morning — but late enough that the sun is shining here in Nevada, although it goes unseen in the halls of the King's Hotel. In a perfect world, everyone could sleep in and make even more use of the comfortable beds, but in this world, people have places to be.

The elevator door opens into the corridor of an upper floor, its lush red carpeting beckoning one Niki Sanders outward. Coming down from the floor above — where the truly luxurious suites are - she's wearing the same clothes she was wearing all day yesterday at the convention, a slim purple-hued dress minus the jacket she had paired with it. Holding her purse over her shoulder, running a hand in an idly self-conscious gesture through gently toussled hair, she makes her way down the hall.

And coming down the hallway in the opposite direction… Is Gene, who is making his way to his room which is only slightly luxurious. They have awesome little bars of soap though, ones that Gene smuggles into his belongings like a pro. Even the mouthwash makes the grade and is likewise smuggled. If they stay here long enough, he won't have to shop for toiletries for a week!

Currently, the young inventor plans to make his way up into his room, dressed in his usual business clothes, though he is minus a tie and his dress shirt is rolled up at the sleeves as if like a working man. He sent out the digital command for his two recon planes to make it to the Las Vegas area to do a little investigating and testing, it's time to see how they are doing on their trip. A sign that he's actually been gambling is the wad of cash that he is in the process of counting, the amount from his slight murmuring is likely seemingly a few hundred. Busy with the daily winnings, Gene doesn't even notice Niki.

Niki has moved on to hunting in her purse, focused on trying to find her hotel keycard before ever realizing Gene is anywhere nearby. It's a very epic search, by all appearances, given the stress it seems to conjure. If she weren't so preoccupied in her mind, it might not be so hard to do something so simple. Finally, luck! There it is, at the bottom of the bag — realized half a second before realizing she's on a collision course with Gene. It's too late to do anything about it. All she has time to do is look like a deer in the headlights.

The young man doesn't even notice anything until he notices purple appear out of nowhere. He tries to stop himself, but it is far too late. Bumping into Niki, Gene learns that his height is almost exactly the woman's, as they will see each other face to face. Hopefully, Niki will have raised the defense with her hands or averted her face or they might just have a nose to nose or a nose to chin. Not going fast enough to have too much force, Gene stumbles back, dropping a few fifties on the ground. "I'm so sorry…" Gene quirks a brow as he recognizes the woman, unsure if he should be insulted, fearful, or some other emotion. "…Miss Sanders?"

And so the so-called Schedule Coordinator to Senator Petrelli and the engineering geek meet again. Bumping into Gene pretty darn straight-forwardly, she swiftly steps back after the fact, pressing a hand to her forehead and grimacing, then smiling, apologetically. She's not usually awkward and clumsy. "…Gene. That was my fault, I'm so sorry. I wasn't watching where I was going." The blonde steps back a bit more and crouches, perching on her high heels to pick up the cash.

Not expecting the civil response after how poorly the last encounter went, Gene gives a nervous smile before he bends down to assist Niki in getting his money back. "It takes two people for something like that to happen. My mistake," he states softly, just taking the money and pocketing it away. "So, having a nice time I take?"

Niki hands Gene back the bills she grabbed from the floor as she stands up once more. "…Aside from… most of the actual convention, yeah, I am," she admits with a friendly, if slightly secretive, smile. She adjusts the strap of her purse over her shoulder. "I meant to stop by and thank you for those files," she says after a beat. "I'm sure you must think…" Well, he saw them. Instinctively, she glances down at the floor.

"I see" is all Gene answers to the first part and the smile, unsure of exactly how to take the statement. When it comes time to address Niki's past, the young geek sighs as he tucks away the money. "If you seriously lost your memory Then I wasn't the only one surprised," he states calmly, though he avoids eye contact as Niki does, glancing over to a picture on the wall Only looking back from time to time to make sure that the woman isn't getting ready to cry or grab his wrist again. "I'm sure you won't find yourself in the same situation that got you in trouble with the law, right?"

On 'trouble with the law', Niki quickly glances up and down the hall, as if expecting someone to be there, someone who could eavesdrop. How thin are these walls? She gives the young man a hard, pointed glance - shh! She shakes her head in hurried agreement. "No. I mean, God, I hope not. Look, um. Gene. I'd really appreciate if you…" she trails off for a second or two, tucking a strand of blonde back and holding onto the not-quite-brushed locks. "… didn't mention anything about my past to anyone. I work for the Senator Petrelli now. It'd be really bad press if…"

The young man doesn't really seem to mind. After all, he figures that 'trouble with the law' could just as easily mean tickets. Besides if people want to find out, he figures they will find out. Of course, it's always easier to have a lax attitude when it isn't your ass on the line.

After his good moral side swiftly kicks out any evil thoughts of blackmail, Gene gives a simple shrug. After all, a nice guy will likely have a cute girl without having to demand favors from. Or Gene would die a virgin just like that one retarded fortune cookie said he would. He hopes not, that was one mean fortune cookie.

"It's no biggie. If I wanted something out of the deal, I would have asked for it," the young inventor states as he plants his hands in his pockets, letting his thumbs hook around his belt. Suddenly, realization hits him. "You work for Senator Petrelli? You mean you stopped working for Pinehearst?" he asks with an arched brow. "Last I checked, I thought that's why you were on the business trip with the rest of us."

There's some hesitation, on Niki's part, before she gives the thanks that was on the tip of her tongue — she gives Gene a subtle look of inquisitiveness, almost wary. Blackmail was the furthest thing from her mind (whereas, a couple months ago, it would have been the first). "Thank you," she does say, however, with a sincere smile to go along with it. "No, I do— sort of. I'm here with N— Senator Petrelli while he endorses Pinehearst for the convention. He's a big supporter. I kind of work for both of them. They work for each other."

Nathan Petrelli is involved with Pinehearst? Why would he be involved with it? Gene looks to the ground, his blue eyes lost in thought as he tries to piece everything together. He has his work to alone with that missing plane, but if Nathan is involved, perhaps he has answer as to what this genetics company is really working on. To involve a senator and pull together Evolved it HAS to be more than simple research, Gene is sure of it now.

"I'll need to have words with 'Senator' Petrelli then. Hopefully, he'll remember the man who helped saved his wife." He appears ready to pass by Niki without another word before he remembers something.

Withdrawing roughly a hundred bucks, the young man offers it out to Niki. "Here, use this to buy your son Micah a souvenir or a gift. It's important to get your kid something when you're out on business. It's not a bribe, but it lets them know you were thinking of them even if you don't have a time to give them a call every day." Is Gene giving Niki parenting advice? It would seem that he is trying, perhaps unconsciously not able to finish a conversation to a Pinehearst without somehow putting his foot in his mouth.

The gesture throws Niki off-guard, that's for certain; if she had anything to say about Nathan's connection to Pinehearst, she's derailed momentarily from it. She looks at the money and back up to Gene. While her expression doesn't start out offended, it gets there in increments. Bit by bit. She's surprised, more than anything. "… I don't need your money," she says slowly. "It's a nice gesture — I mean, for the souvenir." Some souvenir, a hundred dollars worth. "But I can … I can buy my son a gift by myself."

"Well, make sure that you do. A child never should be forgotten by their mother," Gene offers quietly. "Remember, he likes technology." Silent as he considers something else, the dark haired hacker sighs before he runs a hand through the few strands of hair in front of his face. "Well, I suppose I should let you get to whatever you need to do and I need to go and handle some stuff too." Like puking in the restroom. This seemingly random bouts of nausea sucks hard core. "Nice running into you. -I mean figuratively, not the you know, because that kinda hurt a little."

Getting advice from Gene is a little unsettling, for whatever reason — maybe because she feels chastised. She decides to let it go — but she doesn't let Gene go, not yet. She starts to turn away, but spins back to grab for the man's elbow lightly. "Hey," she says suddenly, with vested interest. "What you said before — about saving the Senator's wife. What did you mean?"

"If you're so interested, ask Nathan about it," Gene states calmly, not fighting the grab but clearly unamused by it as he frowns slightly. "He knows all about it. Since you work with him, I'm sure you'd rather talk to him than me. Now, unless you want me to possibly get sick all over you, I suggest you let me go. I haven't been feeling the top of my game… crashing into you was enough to sent me to the edge of no return."

Niki promptly lets go, her hand splaying in front of her. "… Okay. Jeez." Unable to keep the look of offence from her face — what is this guy's deal? - she steps off to the side, near the wall, out of the way.

"Thank you," Gene states calmly before swiping his card through. The door is opened, though the young man doesn't really care to close it behind him. He's too busy moving into the bathroom to make his bi-weekly tribute to the porcine god. Yes, Gene is an odd gentleman and he's not getting any more normal, that's for sure.

Niki just watches him go, dumbfounded for a second — but once he disappears, she shakes her head dismissively and starts to saunter down the hall the direction she started in, willing to forget this weird little run-in. Near the end of the corridor, on the same side as Gene's room, she swipes her own key card through the slot on the door. Granted access, she nudges it open—

But she he has another sort of run-in. Two men emerge from the stairwell just behind her, dressed in plainclothes; not suspicious, save for the fact that one of them grabs her from behind and presses a chloroform cloth to her nose and mouth.

A feminine squeak of surprise is all she manages to get out before dropping her key card and going limp, bare legs buckling. Her purse slides down her arm awkwardly and hits the floor. The other man elbows her hotel room door open, kicks the purse inside out of sight and shuts the door. It happens fast. One second they're there and the next they're methodically dragging her down the stairs and are gone.

Finishing his tribute, Gene flushes the toilet. Thankfully, his rush to get to the restroom has left two open doors. The squeak catches Gene's ears and he moves toward the door, checking to see what happened. Wasn't Niki just… Despite his wish to dismiss it (Gene is paranoid and KNOWS he has an overactive imagine), the young man walks over to her door and knocks a couple of times. "Niki? Open up, ready to talk about what happened with Nathan. Niki?" There is a couple of seconds of silence. "By Ming's mustache!" Gene curses under his breath.

Racing to the stairs (or jogging… nausea and running don't really go together), the young would-be-hero opens the door to look down the stairwell. As he likely doesn't see anything, he races down the stairs, trying to get to the where ever the bottom of the stairwell leads. If it's one of those secure areas, he will merely head back to the lobby and ask if they were two men coming through the area. If he can open the exit without turning on the fire alarm he will go out, trying to see if there is some car or something that the people might have taken her in.

The exit opens without the fire alarm — even though it says FIRE EXIT USE ONLY IN CASE OF EMERGENCY. Indeed, there is a vehicle, the only one moving at the time, a red Nissan Xtreme. It drives — calmly, precisely, rather than speeding off — out of the narrow lot behind the hotel.

Gene bursts out of the fire exit, figuring that this is an Emergency with a capital E. As he does, the bright sun greets him, but he shields his eyes and tries his best to get the plates. "Tracking cars… Damn, I've got to get a better way of saving the day than this. I just need to get into my car and-Wait, it's in another state. I just need to get my… Wait, Artoo's in another state." Gene has a brief flashback of the repeated failures of trying to get the bot through airport security and the couple near arrests that caused. "I can shoot out the tires with… the gun I don't have. If I had COOL powers I could just fly onto the car, stop it with mindbullets or just flip onto the top using ninja magic."

Knowing that there is a chance the car could be ditched if used in a crime, this leaves Gene with one best shot to try and save the day. He checks his shoes to make sure they are knotted up well. "Memo to self, build a launcher that makes GPS trackers so I don't have to what I am going to have to do now." That done, Gene just begins to sprint after the Xtreme, which has likely turned into a street by now. He will then look as he tries to keep up with the car (which is a failed effort) trying to get a cab to 'follow that car!' Sadly, this isn't New York, so there aren't cabs just lining the streets. He's trying, after all, he was supposed to be a hero on this trip and for some reason, he refuses to let anything happen to Niki, even if she thinks he's a freak. Why? That's a story for another time.

The Xtreme makes good time once it hits the road. It has a destination and it knows the fastest way to get there. Next stop, Nevada desert.


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