Date: December 20, 2009
Don't know how to summarize this…
"Dog and Pony"
Linda's Office — Nathan Petrelli's Offices
It is beyond early for anyone to be working on a Sunday morning, especially after a late night of doing the same, but Monday is the beginning of a very important week for the office of Nathan Petrelli, soon-to-be-Senator of New York. One of the only persons present in the offices happens to be Tracy, who has more than one reason for being beyond early.
Early or not, she's well-prepared for day, not a hint of dishevel after the strange day before: a white cardigan trimmed in blue with pearl buttons that match her earrings, very classic, modest, though it's not fully buttoned, and a just as pristine white dress beneath, slim-fitting to just above the knee. Standing in the newly furnished office of "Linda Johnson", she is looking none too content and reaching for the phone with immediacy. Despite the bright light of day and the recent good news about the Senate seat, she's not off to a light-hearted start. Something is wrong.
Like Tracy, the new Senator Nathan Petrelli — in Brayden-memory form — is at the office early, only he's just arrived. Thanks to Helen the paisley jacket is gone (but not without a fair amount of arguing on Brayden's part!) and has been replaced with a sleek Armani suit and mustard yellow tie (print-free) courtesy of Brayden's new image consultant Trey. Despite Trey's best efforts, Brayden hasn't given into the protests about his socks and continues to wear ridiculously coloured and outlandish socks… at least they can't be seen unless he's sitting down.
Even with the imminent Senatorial start, the Senator hadn't expected anyone else here, and is attracted to light coming from Linda's door. Quietly he pads up to the room and raps gently, waiting for an invitation inside.
Tracy sets the receiver she's just picked up back down again with a soft click, casting a curios and wary glance at the door. She wants to assume it's Nathan who's hear almost as early as she is, but assuming isn't wise on the best of days, let alone these days. "Nathan?" she calls out on her way toward the door, which she then opens, tilting her head toward the opened space. No severe ponytail today; her hair is down, pin straight. "Morning. Come in— " she invites opens the door properly. Despite having less than ideal news to share, she smiles at Brayden (and his lack of paisley, thank you, Ms. Muth). "Looking good Senator." That said, she steps back toward her desk. "We have a problem."
"Morning, Ms. Johnson," Brayden spouts brightly as he begins to follow her in, but the phrase 'we have a problem' creates that horrible sinking feeling in the pit of Brayden's stomach, but it doesn't halt or delay his entrance at all. It does, however, cause the senator to close the door behind him. Crossing his arms over his chest, his expression turns serious with a tight set jaw and narrowed eyes, "What's going on?" Beat. "And how can we handle it?"
"Last night, I had a file containing some sensitive information," Tracy explains — there is no panic to her voice, but she is very obviously leading to a serious place. "This morning? It's gone. In fact, I think it's been gone since last night." She turns a pointed look on Brayden. "I've already been here for a couple of hours calling every intern who might've been in or out. No luck." She turns just far enough to swipe a printout from her desk, which she hands at arm's length to Brayden. "This is a copy. It's the roster of everyone who works for the Protocol."
Brayden swallows silently as the information sinks in and he takes the piece of paper. No one needs to tell him what this means. If that information is leaked they'll know that someone in his office knows about the Alpha Protocol. He stares for several moments before managing, "Did it have labelling on it at all?" Beat. "Maybe Helen or Anais picked it up?" It's possible right? He narrows his eyes, "How the hell would they get in this office?" Unless. "Do you think our friend who demanded answers do it?"
They are very much on the same wavelength. Tracy's concern isn't what the thief's business is with the people on that list, it's the fact that the thief knows where the list came from. "It said Alpha Protocol. It was meant for your eyes only. And come on, absolutely it was her. Who else could it be?" Helen, Anais; no, Tracy shakes her head dismissive. "Mm. Helen was here with us last night and no one was aware of Ms. Frazier being in the building since then. We have to find out who that girl is. You recognize any of the names on that list? You said you had a contact."
He curses quietly under his breath before finally scanning the list. "He distracted us and then swiped it. What is she doing with the list?! And she said she'd be back — I need to get my memory back. Soon." Sure enough, Noah's name is on the list causing him to smirk albeit momentarily. "Yes, my contact is on the list. He said he was on the inside, and I'm inclined to follow him. We both have something invested in the demise of the Protocol…"
Tracy can't help but give Brayden a skeptical look, just as acutely inquisitive as it is dubious, but she doesn't ask what, exactly, his contact has invested in the Protocol's demise … or everything that Brayden has invested himself. Peter, or is there more to it? "Well," she says after a moment. "Who is he? If he's really worthwhile, you'd better let him know there might be someone looking for him." For who knows what reason. She certainly knows why she has the list personally. "And yeah — you do need your memory back. Remind me when that's going to happen again?"
"It's Noah Bennet," Brayden finally admits. "And he sought me out, not vice versa. He's well acquainted with my family, apparently." He purses his lips. "He was associated with that company, if I understand correctly." He sighs at Tracy, "It's not that simple. I need my memory back whether or not I want it, but as for when that will happen — that's up to Pete. Apparently." He shrugs. "Is there anyone on this list that you're in contact with?"
"Bennet," Tracy repeats, but it rings no bells, and is thus met with a small shake of her head. No one she's encountered in Building 26. "If Peter can help you then…" The woman gives Brayden a faint lift of her eyebrows and a clear 'isn't it obvious?' look. "Yeah, Drake. It's been awhile since I spoke with him. I'm trying to contact him." She takes a step to wind around Brayden and look at the list in his hand. "I know Danko and Swan too. They are definitely not our friends."
"Pete can't remember how to help," Brayden quips back to Tracy. "Although I've been told he can. And I'm only getting it back to remember enough to fulfill this Senator role and take down the Alpha Protocol." Hopefully Logan is gone. Hopefully. Clearing his throat he nods, "Alright, so we don't trust Danko or Swan." He hmmms quietly to himself. "And you're on the run. And I'm…" pause "…on their radar." At least his Mom seemed to think so. He stares at her incredulously. "Even if I get my memory back, we can't let on. They need to think me witless, defenceless, and overall incapable."
On their radar. Colour her intrigued. She keeps quiet, however — on that front. "Nice, you want to play dumb. Make yourself the trap." Interesting. Brayden earns a considering and admiring look from his advisor. "The plan's not without its merits." It's not without critique, either. They have a seriously steep hill of challenges ahead. "If you had your memories back maybe you'd at least know what that girl was talking about." They still haven't quite talked about everything that ordeal brought up, but Tracy has breezed on past for the time being. "I know Peter's lacking right now, but he's a swiss army knife. I've seen it. If he can help then make him help!" Logic. Tracy lifts a hand for a moment and steps away. "Anyway, in the meantime, I thought we could look at your old files."
"If they think they can manipulate or control me, I think it'll give us an edge for Wynn's vacant spot." Brayden has been giving this some thought. "And I don't think Pete knows how he can help, just that our mother believes he can." Pause. "And maybe I'd know what she was talking about, but maybe not. Nothing about her seemed familiar. I get tinges of familiarity from time-to-time, and with her there was nothing. And granted, I've heard my former self was… well…" he shrugs "but normally there's some amount of recognition, some sensation of dejavu around people I knew…"
Tracy moves to the outside edge of her desk, turning to lean against it, a pose that should be casual but remains poised as she folds her arms and considers what Brayden has said. She takes a thoughtful breath in and dives straight in. "…Why don't you contact your man on the inside? I'll do the same with mine, and if you don't mind, I'll go through your files. See if I can find anything on Linderman or Primatech— maybe it'll lead somewhere. And you have to start preparing for tomorrow!" Gaining confidence easily as breathing, a smirk twists her lips just slightly. "If Helen's as good as you say she is she'll have a handle on the press conference for the big announcement. The whole dog and pony. I can't be there personally, unfortunately, but I'm guessing you don't remember being in a press conference before, which means, you need all the help you can get beforehand. Senator."
"I can do that. I have his contact information and will get in touch, hopefully he can be of some help." Brayden nods as he continues to cross his arms over his chest, "And yes, go through the files. Tell me whatever you can about any of those things. Also… look into Pinehearst if you can." Beat. "And yes, I need to prepare for tomorrow! It's a big day — but Helen's good! She's talented, I swear it. That interview wouldn't have gone nearly as well without her." It's the truth. "In the meantime… I'm going to track down Pete. I need Nathan's — my — memories." His cheeks flush at the slip.
Tracy pushes away from the desk, arms still folded, to leave her office — the computer with the files she needs is out there — but she stops short. "Wait. Pinehearst," she repeats with a brief furrow of her brow. "No need, I know the firm. I took a consulting fee from them for a couple of years… I know you were involved with the them— " She pauses. "I met you once before when I worked for… the Governor, you'd…" Her self-assured demeanour, ready to take on every challenge, downgrades, becoming rather slow and flat as she finds herself remembering. "…presented a proposal, but we needed more information. You said…"
"What kind of proposal?" Brayden asks as his eyes narrow. He peers at Tracy curiously. That would've been Logan, right? With a small sigh, he shakes his head. "Was it questionable? I'm under the impression that much of what I used to do was." With another sigh he now leans against the desk.
Tracy chuckles under her breath — a quiet, hushed sound, barely there, but she smirks, reflecting. "You better believe it was questionable. I spent a significant amount of time and energy cleaning up after its repercussions once Pinehearst crashed and burned and you disappeared." For a fleeting moment, her gaze is hostile; gone by the time she speaks again with a certain amount of introspection. "…The proposal had to do with some kind of experimental pharmaceutical trial," she explains with a thoughtful shake of her head. "Making … better soldiers. But you'd wanted to take it back. Stop it. You said…" Blue eyes glance down and up again with more intensity. The words have more meaning to her; more than they did back then. "You said it was like playing God."
"I… I said that?" Brayden asks incredulously. His eyes widen as he realizes something for himself and murmurs aloud, "That was Nathan. They were both in there. Logan probably made the proposal…" His cheeks flush as he shakes his head, "Thank you. I feel reassured now. Maybe, maybe it'll be fine…" Maybe he won't try to kill Heidi or his children. That would be a good thing.
Tracy is softly jarred out of her own pensive state — in fact, stirred from staring off into space just past Brayden — and gives the man a hint of a smile, but her eyes belie her sharp perception. "That's great…" She's glad, somewhere, that Brayden has renewed faith in himself — in Nathan. She is. Even if it wasn't her intent. There's one largely overshadowing detail here that is more important: "But uh… Logan iiis…?"
Brayden's own eyes narrow, "Logan is a villain that I don't want to remember." A villain he's terrified to remember. "But if Nathan — I — squashed the proposal," he grins "then there's nothing to be concerned about." He offers her a broader grin. "Sorry, I know I'm cryptic, but it's hard to talk about things I don't actually know about…"
Promising. What can she do, though; the guy has no memory. Yet. "Right. Well," Tracy gives Brayden something of a roll of her eyes, though it's paired with a smile — albeit not the brightest one. "Hang on to that," she says and points at the important piece of paper she left him with. She whisks toward the door of her office, opening it to step outward toward reception.
"I will." Brayden murmurs to himself before he picks up the receiver of the phone. It's time to call Peter; time to avoid the inevitable. And now he's doing it with a renewed kind of confidence.