2008-03-10: Do You Know This Woman?


Gene_icon.gif Tracy_icon.gif

Summary: Tracy goes to Pinehearst to find out who that woman is. There, she meets Gene and finds out some pieces of the cold truth.

Date It Happened: March 10, 2009

Do You Know This Woman?

Fort Lee, NJ - Lobby - Pinehearst Research

She's been meaning to get here for a while, but life has had a way of creeping up on her, just like it does many others around. Finally, she's got a little time off to make her journey to New Jersey. Stepping out of her car, the sharp dressed Tracy walks briskly into the room, shoes clicking against the tiled floors. She carries very little, save a purse and a magazine under her arm. Glancing around, she assures herself of her surroundings. Once, she assisted them. It's been years.

Slowly, she approaches the desk in the lobby. "Pardon me, is there anyone around who would know your staff very well?" She asks, baring her broadest smile, just to keep herself calm. After all, one doesn't need to explode at those who aren't the woman in the picture without reason.

"Excuse me?" The woman at the desk wears a large and artificial smile, playing the part of Plastic receptionist to a T. "Do you have a question about one of our personnel?"

Meanwhile, unaware of the conversation going on inside the building, Gene pulls into the employee parking lot and gets out of his 'Bumblebee' ride, slamming the door on the retro-outside, high tech inside mustang. Sipping his ice cold slurpee, the man makes his way toward the lobby, dressed in a simple business shirt and black slacks. He doesn't wear a tie, having a few buttons unbuttons at the top to try and look semi-causal and sexy But mostly to get out of wearing a tie.

"Yes, I do, actually. Unfortunately, I don't know her name, but I've seen her in a magazine." Tracy says, politely. "I know it sounds strange, but…" Tracy chuckles softly as she pulls the magazine out from under her arm and opens it to the tagged page. The page shows a picture of Senator Petrelli. And off behind the Senator is a woman who looks much like the one asking questions. As the lobby door opens, Tracy does spare a glance over her shoulder, just to see who entered. One always needs to be aware of their surroundings.

The woman looks at the photo, frowning faintly. "I know that he spoke at a Pinehearst convention down in Las Vegas, but I'm afraid I can't tell you more than that." Of course, if she knows more or not is a totally different question.

As Gene enters the front doors, he takes out his employee ID, getting ready to scan in when he sees a familiar face staring at him at the desk. He looks her over for a moment, a little confused on her attire. He shrugs it off soon enough. Moving over to swipe his badge at a reader to 'clock in', Gene offers a causal "Hey, Niki… Going some place formal tonight?" Yet again, Gene finds himself unknowningly putting himself in harm's way.

"Nono, Not Senator Petrelli. The woman behind him. The one that…" Turning her face to Gene. "I'm sorry, were you talking to me?" She asks, tilting her head. Of course, she already knows that the woman behind the desk is probably just going to deny things. They're trained to do that. Pulling the magazine up, she holds it out towards Gene. "Do you happen to know this woman?" She asks, smiling again. "I really need to find her."

The receptionist merely lets Gene field the question, giving 'what the hell' expression at Tracy as soon as she turns to face the young man, going back to her work a short time later.

"You aren't Niki," Gene states with a slightly quesioning tone, caution entering his voice and demenor in mere seconds. There are many sorts of Evolved in the world, maybe this woman is a shapeshifter! The danger of being paranoid in a world where almost anything is possible… The threats can come in almost every shape and form literally.

"No, I'm sorry. I'm Tracy Strauss." The woman says, smiling before things click in her head. Almost audibly. Niki. Nicole. Niki. Nicole. "Wait, he said his wife's name was Nicole." That part is murmured in a soft whisper. "Who is she? Really?" She asks, cutting some of the annoying parts of the chatter to the side. Who needs small talk?
The name defintely catches him off guard. He expected it to be someone he hadn't heard of, but this woman has a name he's heard of. Shapeshifters wouldn't be able to read his mind… And telepaths shouldn't be able to change their shape. Of course, the Geek God doesn't know what to make of the woman, but he is willing to give her a chance.

"Tracy… Strauss. I think I've heard that name before. I'm Gene. Gene Kensington." The concern doesn't leave Gene's face, but he at least decides to extend his caution to his friend as well. "If you want to talk, we need to leave. Now." With that, he moves toward the front doors with his eyes slightly narrows with focus and determination, the same thing he usually does when he is moving people to a place where they can talk about IMPORTANT THINGS.

That's really not all that surprising to Tracy. She's dealt with her fair share of… unmentionable subjects. Many times in her line of work, she's had to reach more secure surroundings. "Of course." Turning over her shoulder, she offers a "Thanks anyway." to the lady behind the counter before following along with Gene. "Political Advisor. If you know any politicians, it's possible you've heard of me. I'm currently working for the Governor's office." She explains, wondering just what intrigue there is that it must be private…

The receptionist frowns as she watches the proceedings, clearly not sure exactly what is going on. Hopefully she doesn't mention this to anyone else or there might be trouble.

The information given to Gene goes through his mind as he tries to figure out the name and why it's familiar to him. Her additional info helps. "My grandfather… I think I remember him saying how he talked with you once or twice," Gene recalls as he makes his way out the door. "Or maybe he was talking about you. He's John Kensington, not sure if you ever heard of him. He's kinda bald." Like saying that last fact really narrows down the field of bald guys named John. As he crosses into the employee parking lot, he belatedly winces. His lunch break ends in half an hour, but hopefully he can take some Family/Personal leave for the second half of the day for some bogus reason. Maybe he can have a made up relative die or something.

Tracy nods softly as she moves along with Gene. "Perhaps. But then, I've been doing this for a while, so I've worked with a lot of people, stepping my way up." She offers a demure smile. She tactfully holds her tongue about Nicole for the moment, however, preferring to keep it under wraps, since Gene apparently thinks it's unsafe to discuss here. "Where did you say we were going?" Her shoes continue to clack on the asphalt as she walks along.

"I have no idea, but I didn't want to talk about anything that might be sensitive in there. There are some people you really don't want to talk to down there and you looking like Niki has some questions that I doubt you have answers to… Since you seem to be looking for them yourself." Gene pulls out a keychain that seems to be twice has large as a normal car keychain and three times the buttons. He pushes a couple and the car starts the doors unlocks and actually pop open slightly. It looks like a remodeled Ford Mustang, but it definitely isn't your father's muscle car. "Step into my personal office, get away ride, and lair of importantness." He moves to Tracy's side first, opening it all the way like a gentleman. Gene's trying to avoid another Niki-scale mistake again, that's for sure.

Once Tracy gets in, so does Gene and he begins to drive.

"Gentlemen still exist." Tracy says with another demure smile as she does take the seat in the car. Once Gene does enter on his side, she turns down the over friendliness. "So, apparently, you know this… Niki as well. Would she happen to actually be a Nicole? There was a gentleman who called me Nicole a few weeks ago." She's not rude, just to the point. Though she does pull a notepad from her pocket and jots down both Gene and his grandfather's name. Just to double check things later.

Crossing her legs in her seat, she tugs the seatbelt on around herself as she looks forward. Nothing more to say for the moment, she waits.

The car is high tech. There seems to be some sort of GPS built into the dash of the car, but it seems to have no brandname on it. Like it was custom made or something. Grinding the gears, Gene makes his way out, using his ID to get out of the automated gate. Keeping his eyes to the road, Gene drives, seemingly making nothing but right handed turns at intersections with lights to avoid stopping for long periods of time.

"I could be her full name… She goes by Niki if it is. Who is this man that you are talking about?" he asks, his eyes glancing back to the rear view mirror from time to time. He seems like he's making sure that he isnt being followed to a keen observer.

The driving is a little awkward to Tracy. "Why do you keep going. Is there something I should be worried about?" She asks, looking behind them briefly. "I never got a name from him. Tall man. Very dark. Rather handsome, admittedly." It's all rather strange and starting to make Tracy a bit uncomfortable. Between the craziness before and the odd driving habits here. "Pinehearst… I've worked with them before, too."

Clutching her purse tightly, she checks to see if she has any emails on her phone from the governor. Right now, she's safe. She tucks the notepad into her purse gently.

Without looking to Tracy once as he drives on, Gene replies, "It could be her husband, but I have no idea without a name. I never met him personally, just her son… As for why I keep driving, there are some good people at Pinehearst. There are also some very bad people at Pinehearst. I'm still sorting it out myself, but it isn't easy. Better not to take any chances. I don't want anyone else getting hurt. I can't really go into much more than that, but it's good you got me instead of someone else." Figuring that he hasn't seen anyone, Gene pulls into a parking lot where a convenience store resides. "Should be fine here."

Intrigues, intrigues. Perhaps there's something of value to all of this after all. A small smile begins to cross Tracy's face as she considers. "Really now." She tosses some of the thoughts away as she goes back to the important thing. "It's that bad?" She pauses. "Either way, you know this Niki. And she looks that much like me. Who is she?" Point blank. There's no other way to say it. She leans forward slightly to see the convenience store. At least it's something public.

"To be honest, I'm not sure I should tell you. After all, this is looking pretty odd from my side of things too. Sure, I don't want you getting hurt and want to help you, but for all I know, you could be one of the bad guys," Gene states, frowning as he reconsiders the matter. He sighs as he looks to a couple of people entering into the store. "I mean, Niki and I aren't exactly getting along, but I don't want her getting any trouble or hurt."

"I'm not out for hurting anyone, Gene. My reason for coming is simply to find out why there's a woman that looks like me in this picture. That's all." Tracy says, running a hand through her hair. "I mean, we've all heard there's someone out there that looks like us. I've actually heard of this one and have part of a name. And a rough idea of where she lives, because of running into her husband. I just… Look. This is something I need to know." She protects her own emotions with an icy face of stoicism. It may have just gotten a little cooler in here…

"So, you know it was her husband." The young inventor frowns. This is not easy to do. The two blondes meeting might be bad. What happens if they are from two different timelines somehow and they make the universe explode through a temporal paradox? Gene does not wish to make the universe explode through temporal paradox. "How about this? I talk with Niki Try and set up some sort of get together between the two of you. Maybe right here since it is safe and all that. You can talk and try and get some answers, I can make sure the bad people don't get involved, we all get what we need." There is a brief pause. "Work for you?"

"He thought I was his wife, so I'm sure. Putting two and two together." She pauses for a moment remembering something. "She has a son. He said that I was Nicole Hawkins. And had a son with him. Michael? Something like that." But, if Gene does the research, he'll find that Tracy Strauss has existed in this timeline since birth, through school, and into her professional career. "I'll work with that. If that's all that you can offer, I'll work with that." She sighs. "Thank you for… what you can provide."

The woman knows where Micah is and who he is. Gene fights the urge to be defensive or even concerned. After all, Gene might feel he's called to defend and mentor the kid, but the mother isn't willing and the kid likely isn't either. Looking toward the steering wheel, Gene nods. "Right. I'll need some contact information from you so I can work out this get together… Then I'll ask you to do two simple favors and I'll drive you back, no prob."

"Of course." Tracy says, pulling her business card out of her pocket and offering it to Gene. "Though most of the time I'm working with the Governor, I'm sure we can arrange something to all of our satisfactions." She sits back again, leaning against the chair. "What favors?" She asks, raising an eyebrow softly. That has her a little on the defensive. When men want something… it could be simple or not.

"I'm not going to ask to touch your breast to ensure that you are real and not some sort of Niki hologram or mental illusion, if THAT'S what you're worried about." Gene begins to laugh. Of course, Tracy likely WON'T, so it soon becomes a nervous chuckle before dying completely a short time later. "Annnyway, first, I want you to drop bringing this up to ANYONE. There are a few people that you don't want to get word of this or else there will be trouble. Secondly, I need to ask if you have…" Gene pauses as he tries to figure out the right way to say it. As he looks to Tracy, his eyes seem honest, but clearly hestiant. "…Any unique abilities that might have arisen. Stuff that only you could do and no one else."

"I wouldn't allow that anyway, as a touch of my arm would be sufficient to prove my reality." Tracy says with a small smile. She's not Niki and not quite as fiery of a temper. Her anger is quite different. "People are bringing it to me. That's why I came here. One of my own co-workers brought this magazine to my attention, after realizing I was not at Pinehearst." She explains but nods. "I can hold off for now, but I can't speak for people confusing me."

Thinking about the other question, she doesn't know what he's talking about really. "Well, I have an ability to convince men to do what I want them to do." Her grin spreads slowly across her face as she watches Gene. "But that's simply knowing what men want."

"I think you'll find that power doesn't work as well on me," Gene states dryly. Getting a causal burn and Tracy's confidence cause him to be a little put off. Considering his track record, this might be a good thing for the young woman. Sighing as she agrees mostly, he adds, "Just state that it must be a doppelganger It's supposed to be bad luck to meet them, so just hide behind the superstition as a cover for now."

Reaching behind the car, Gene pulls out a small metal pole from the back. It's only an inch or so thick, but it's solid steel. It's just a piece of junk Gene planned on using for one of his random creations. He offers it out to the woman to take. "I don't expect you to understand what I am saying if you never encountered them before, but they are special things that come out. I don't know what triggers them, but in the comics, mutants are usually triggered by stress." There is an awkward pause. "So, um, we need to get you really mad, scared, excited, or something."

A metal pole. Tracy looks at it before touching it lightly. "What am I supposed to do with this?" She asks, then his little spiel about comic books. "Alright, maybe I should continue handling this on my own." This guy is clearly off his rocker. Comics? Mutants? "I'm afraid you've confused real life for something else." Slowly, and casually, she reaches her other hand for the handle of the car. Of course, she's still got one finger on the pole. She's trying not to look like she's sneaking away until she's sure she's got it.

"This is serious business, Miss Strauss." With Gene's comment, he notices her trying to escape. The doors are locked with a calm movement of his hand. "I am going to prove this to you, but I am going to have to ask you to swear to secrecy. If my own gift is revealed, I'll have to take certain measures to protect myself. Are we clear?"

As the door locks, Tracy freezes. Physically. "What do you have in mind, Mr. Kensington." Ice. Nothing but ice in her voice as she glares. "You really should allow me to leave." Her hand grips on the handle of the door behind her as her other hand moves away from the piece of metal. The temperature arounder her also begins to lower again as she fights her own fear.

"Call me Gene. I'm just going to show you my ability. Cool it, I'm a good guy here…" Gene pauses as he realizes that she thinks the pole is bad. So he just throws it causally into the backseat. He reaches into his pocket, merely trying to pull out a mini-screwdriver. After all, just showing her the stuff he's made should be more than enough to have her believe him, right?

"Mr. Kensington. At the moment, you're holding me in your car against my will, and are explaining things in a way that I cannot understand or believe. I would prefer to keep it on professional terms." The words come from Tracy slow and measured. Her hand tightens on the handle behind her. "So please, explain to me, how it's possible to see that in the light of… 'good guy' as you put it." Did that last come out with a mild puff of visible air? Maybe. Maybe not. Tracy isn't noticing it.

"You CAN understand, but you believe myself to be a crazy person, so now I need you to stay long enough for me to show you." With that, he withdraws the screwdriver, and begins to take apart the dash, pulling it out unless Tracy does something to stop him. "I'm a young man with no friends and a power that is killing him slowly. The need to be understood doesn't get much higher than me. Just be glad I'm not some killer or something."

He's taking the car apart in front of her? That's something you don't see every day. "Well, I'll admit. You're not trying too hard to make a new one." Tracy's emotions are running high. It'll only take a little bit to make her freak out and run. But the door's locked. So, for now, she just sits there, hand on the door, glowering. She's pushing her emotions into a frigid anger, letting it harden and grow as she waits for the right opportunity.

The anger is condensing around Tracy's hand, chilling the handle, frosting over and becoming brittle in her hands. However, she hasn't noticed at all, yet.

"I'm not here to make a friend, just prove a…. point," Gene is leaned over toward the dash as he prepares to remove it. A glance to the side causes him to see his handle and pause. It's frozen. He sits back up with a look of chagrin. "So, looks like I found out your gift by accident. Not in the way that I intended, but I guess stress is stress. From what it looks like… Cyrokinesis of some sort. Maybe touched based, since you didn't shoot it in my eyes or something." Gene just closes his eyes instinctively at that, his overactive imagination getting to him. "Man, getting your eyes frozen would suck."

Tracy stares at the boy before following his gaze. As she looks at it, the area of frozen metal grows, spreading outwards and upwards. She gasps and pulls her hand away, towards the back of the car, ignoring anything that Gene's just said. There's more important things going on in her mind… and around her. Her hand's movement sends her purse forward. The purse smacks against the door, a good solid whack. Metal as cold as it was just can't stand against even that mild of a thump. Another gasp comes from Tracy, fear flooding her body. The door is open, though. Her body shakes, not from the cold, but from the sheer confusion and fear. Looking once towards Gene, and once towards the open door… she makes her decision. A foot steps outside the door as she begins an attempt to stand and run.

The door is completely shattered? "My car!" he exclaims, but within a flash, his selfish comment fades into concern. "Tracy, wait, we need to talk!" People already begin to stare, wondering about a freezing door.

"Sugarbunnies!" the Geek God exclaims, merely trying to touch the frozen door pieces, but sadly almost freezing his hand just by touching them. "Ow!" he exclaims, just pulling back into the car and getting away as quickly as he can.

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