2010-01-06: Friend of Ma's



Date: January 6, 2010


Candice pays the Petrelli office a visit in Masumi-form

"Friend of Ma's"

Nathan's Office - NYC

Afternoon of the 6th of January, and it is business as usual in Senator Petrelli's office. Phones are ringing, interns rush hither and yon, and Anais is an island of smiling calm in the center of it all. She strides through the center of an office, the hem of her grey knit dress swirling around her knees, fire-bright ponytail swinging behind her head. A cellphone is pressed to one ear, and in the other hand is a small buff-colored square of paper. It has the look of a formal invitation and it is being carried in the direction of Nathan's office.

"Yes, it just arrived today. I'll have to get back to you on that, Joy, I'm not sure of his schedule." Anais pauses to listen, absently side-stepping a young man rushing towards the bank of copy machines against one wall. "Of course, the Senator would very much like to attend. It just depends on…no, I understand. I'll make sure he RSVPs right away, all right? I know you have a press release to get out. Next week? That would be lovely…all right. Say hello to your mother for me, would you? Tabby sends her love too. Yes. I'll talk to you soon, Joy."

The speech ends with the redhead just outside of the Senator's office, and she snaps the phone shut an instant before using the same hand to rap on the door.

"Come in!" Nathan calls at the rap on the door despite being on the phone. As the door opens, he waves the occupant in while he holds the phone between his ear and his shoulder, "Yes, that would be great. If you can… please… My assistant Miss Gallagher knows my schedule and we can schedule a mutually convenient meeting…. Excellent. I hope you have a great day. Alright. Thank you. You too. Goodbye." He returns the phone to the cradle as he slumps back in his leather office chair with a sigh, "Anais, what can I do for you? Have a seat." He motions towards one of two chairs across from his desk.

It's a couple minutes before the next arrival makes her arrival. It's an entirely new look today. The redhaired Julie might draw unwanted attention, the blonde Stephanie shouldn't be here, and the brunette Candice might give too much away. So it's an Asian woman, mid-twenties, in a nice business suit that approaches the door to the Senator's office, before making her presence known (either by rapping at door or announcing to secretary, as appropriate).

"The universe felt you were not busy enough," Anais answers when Nathan has finished his own conversation. She lays the benefit invitation before him on the desk before stepping back to settle into one of the offered chairs. "I can have KeLyssa RSVP for you but you're going to have to give a guest list…"

The woman trails off, her head turning towards the door when one of the receptionist's arrives to announce a visitor's presence. Her brows lift and she tilts her head at Nathan, the question plain in her eyes. Should she go?

"See who in the office wants to go and I'll foot the bill," Nathan's toothy grin plays on his lips. "I don't want to bring an escort; instead we'll just make an office party of it." At the announcement of a new visitor, however, his demeanour changes. He continues to smile, except now it's political.

He shakes his head at Anais, silently urging her to stay. She knows what he's working on these days. No matter what the visitor wants, he knows Anais can be in on the meeting. Theoretically.

"Welcome, I don't believe we've met." He stands up from his desk as he reaches out to shake the Asian woman's hand, "I'm Nathan Petrelli. What can I do for you today?"

The Asian woman walks over to shake Nathan's hand. "Senator Petrelli. I'm a friend of your mother's. I have something to talk about, of a confidential matter. Is this secure?" she asks, looking serious.

Anais also rises to her feet, a heartbeat after Nathan stands to greet the stranger. While her own political smile isn't nearly as toothy as his, it is both warm and welcoming. Her fingers lace loosely before her and she stands at ease through the greeting ritual. But that attentive focus grows more somber when the introductions do not unfurl as expected.

The secretary had closed the door after she left, but Anais glances towards it anyway to be certain of their privacy. Then she looks back to the other woman, studying her more intently.

"The room is secure," Nathan states matter-of-factly. "Grant — my head of security — ensures it." Hopefully this isn't another one of his mother's babysitters. "And Ms Frazier is privy to all matters of this office." Except Nathan's mental health, especially as he's pretending to be memory wiped still. Forcing Brayden's easy smile, he sits back in his chair. "So, tell me what we can do for you Ms — I think I missed your name…" Of course, he knows she didn't give it, but Brayden would be the charmer under such circumstances. Pushing Brayden to the front of his mind, Nathan takes a deep breath.

The Asian woman smiles faintly. "You can call me Masumi." Not her real name any more than any other, but it will suffice for the moment. "And I'm given to understand you're working the official angle against the government project known as Alpha Protocol." She takes a moment, eyes flitting to Anais for any sign that she's aware on that.

Anais inclines her head when she's named. "It's a pleasure to meet you," she murmurs into the pause between the other woman's name and her stated reason for visiting. She begins to sit down immediately afterwards but pauses once more, her own eyes shifting to Nathan. Surprise flickers over her face, an emotion that is quickly suppressed as she tucks her chin down and settles in the chair.

He studies Masumi carefully, managing to maintain a neutral expression. "I'm not in the habit of discussing political matters with random people Ma sees fit to send to my office," Nathan states matter-of-factly. "And maybe this was a practice I yielded before my memory loss, but not anymore." He grins as warmly as he can given the circumstances. Playing two sides means being careful about who receives trust. "Besides which, I don't really know what you're talking about," he lies all-too-easily. It's good to know Logan's good for something.

Masumi lifts an elegant eyebrow. "Senator, I was given to understand…at very high levels…about your role in things." It's a little bit of a bluff, but only a little. Angela Petrelli counts as "very high levels". "There was a file, in your office, containing information about Alpha Protocol, which was recently obtained. We've managed to contain that situation. Now, I was asked to try to coordinate with you. Given…certain actions, on the part of you and your brother, that was a reluctant agreement, but I am willing to make a good-faith attempt to work with you to help this because I believe we will be more successful together than separately. But my patience is somewhat limited."

After another glance at Nathan, Anais finally introduces herself into the actual conversation. It is a gentle introduction but she regards Masumi levelly as she speaks. The elegant lines of her face are set stiffly, but the smile lingers. "The Senator has only just stepped into his role, ma'am, so I'm afraid you must be mistaken. We're still working to clear the backlog from the previous Senator's workload. I've been through almost all of those files and I saw none regarding this Alpha Protocol."

A sardonic chuckle escapes Nathan's lips, "I don't know what Ma told you, but Pete and I aren't speaking these days. We don't see eye-to-eye on a number of issues. Coordinating efforts between us would be futile." He narrows his eyes at the woman before adding, "Besides, Ma's in Fiji sipping Mai Tais or Mimosas or something else fruity and alcoholic. I don't see how you would've connected with her." Logan's self begins to push to the surface, clawing his way out. The lies — the games — are his modus operandi. His smile broadens at Anais' words. "That must've been it then. Just a misplaced file from a former Senator."

A deep, "trying-to-keep-her-patience" sigh escapes Masumi's lips. "Firstly, I spoke with Angela Petrelli…personally…not a week ago. Secondly, your office was violated by an operative…blonde, mid-height…who managed to distract yourself and another of your assistants, and made off with the Alpha Protocol file. Thirdly, you, Ms. Frazier, were assaulted by a telepath going by the name "Julie". That matter has also been rectified. Now…are we done playing games? Or shall I take my leave and let myself and my organization handle this matter alone?"

It is one thing to dissemble in a boardroom, or even a meeting such as this. It is another to attempt to do so when facts-personal facts- such as those are laid out in such clinical language. Anais tenses, lips parting as a soft, wordless exclamation escapes her. She is a fair-skinned woman but her face has gone pallid when she looks again at Nathan, obviously shaken. The encounter with Julie, and the resulting mental trauma, is still too fresh for her to disguise her reaction.

Nathan narrows his eyes at Masumi as he feels Logan internally clawing his way into his conscious mind. Pushing Logan's nature into the back of his mind, Nathan opens his desk cabinet to extract his glass scotch decanter and three tumblers. He uncorks the crystal decanter wordlessly as he pours a glass for Anais and pushes the glass towards her. He pours another glass and pushes it towards Masumi. Finally he pours a third glass and downs it moments later. With a content, "Ahh," noise following. Replacing his tumbler to the table he tops it off again before he leans back in his seat.

"If Ma sent you, she would've sent word. She's cunning, and she knows me well." It's a simple enough statement. "So. Who do you work for?" He offers another easy smile, this one easier — albeit more wicked — than the last one, all of Nathan's former selves want to smile at Masumi now. "And what, exactly, is your business here?"

Masumi takes the glass, drinking from it. "Your mother didn't directly send me." she states. "However, she did state that both you and Peter were attempting to address the angle, and asked that we not interfere with your efforts. My organization determined that it might be more productive to attempt to work with you, rather than simply avoid you. My business is exactly what I claimed it to be. The organization I work for wishes to deal with the problem that is Alpha Protocol. We have several possible strategies in mind for that. However, as you can appreciate, this is a delicate matter, and it would be far easy for too many participants to stumble over one another's efforts. After meeting with Ms. Petrelli, and out of respect for her standing and connections, I have been sent as…" She considers, and looks amused. "An olive branch, as it were. I represent certain resources, and possess certain abilities of my own. I am willing to work with you…and you will note, "with" you, not "for" you…to work together on solving this problem. You are, of course, welcome to refuse the offer. In that case, my organization will continue to pursue our own agenda for solving the problem. However, this would likely mean reduced effectiveness on both our part and yours." The language is cold and clinical. "You've already seen what can happen to the people around you when effectiveness is reduced. A telepath's powers, or a sniper's bullet…either is capable of downing all three of us at a moment's notice, and our enemies would not hesitate to employ them."

Were Anais not in such dire need of that drink, she might notice the small tells that Nathan, not Brayden, is giving. She is a perceptive woman and there have been a number of signs in the past weeks that tell a chilling story about his mental state. But right now…now…

The glass of scotch is taken after Anais rises, plucking it from the desk on her way to the Senator's window. It's an excellent view, if one enjoys cityscapes. She hasn't known anything else, so she studies the scenery outside while sipping at the liquor. But when Masumi speaks again, Anais turns to regard first the woman and then the man. Her lips are pressed tightly together.

"Clearly. I would've a head's up if she had," he smiles ironically. "Pete and I have different opinions of how to hamper the government's efforts," Nathan says bitterly as he sips at his glass, taking his time with the second one. His eyes flit from Anais and then to Masumi. "And what exactly is your organization?" he asks with raised eyebrows. "What can you offer us?" He doubts its more than they already have and know. "Obviously your organization has hampered our efforts. Stealing files isn't what I deem friendly behaviour," he scoffs before polishing off his glass of scotch.

Masumi replies "You can call us Chimera. More than that…well, Senator, as the saying goes, you don't have the clearance. And…yes. Unfortunately, that was before the meeting with Ms. Petrelli. Once she saw that things were escalating due to misunderstandings, she took it upon herself to clarify the matter. Surface observations of your role in things since the Kirby Plaza incident…well, let's just say it cast you in a dubious light, Senator. However, I'm confident that you have access to that information now…if not, the contents of the file are easily redistributed to you…and I'm pleased to see that Ms. Frasier is none the worse for wear." After, y'know, being burned alive. "We have a number of operatives who are skilled in black ops. My personal talents are also at your disposal. If we come to an agreement."

It has taken several deep breaths and about half of the scotch in her glass for Anais to reach a point where she feels comfortable in speaking up again. The alcohol has worked wonders in bringing both her demeanor and her tone of voice back to something more sociable. Pleasant, reserved, cultured. She is all of these things as she takes the few steps necessary to place herself beside Nathan's desk. She says, simply, "Perhaps you might leave the Senator your contact information, Ms. Masumi."

"Chimera," Nathan repeats as he glances at the door. "Before we reach an agreement, I'll need to talk to my mother and confirm you are someone I should be trusting. You have to understand, desperate times." He smirks ironically as he finishes his glass of scotch, and internal urge nudging him to throw it against the wall. Instead his lips twitch into a frown and then back into a small smile. "Please leave your information. I'll get back to you by Friday. And, assuming Ma can verify you are someone I should be trusting, then we'll plan." He arches his eyebrows.

Masumi nods. "Understood." She takes out a small business card…blank except for a telephone number, and sets it on Nathan's desk. "As I said, Ms. Petrelli is unaware that I've come to meet with you on the matter. When you speak with her, please make reference to the fact that I was sent by Betty. She'll know what it means." Indeed…Angela Petrelli is one of perhaps two people left alive who'll understand the significance of that name in this context. "It was a pleasure meeting with you, Senator Petrelli, and I'm pleased to see you're recovered, Ms. Frasier." With that, she turns and starts for the door, before stopping just inside it. "By the way…while we aren't willing to have her remanded to any sort of official custody, we are willing to oversee disposing of Julie with you." Disposing of, like something you might get rid of out of her fridge. "She somewhat overstepped her parameters on the issue. Consider it another olive branch." If revenge be an olive branch. "Have a good afternoon." And with that, she'll step out of the office.

Anais' breath catches at Masumi's parting shot but she holds her tongue until the woman has stepped outside of the office. Then she looks down at the glass of scotch before lifting the rest of it to her lips. The remainder of the glass' contents are knocked back quickly, in a way better suited to Nathan than the lady herself.

"Disposed of," she remarks quietly, after the alcohol begins a slow and comforting glow of heat in her stomach.

The idea of disposing of Julie elicits a very brief wicked grin from a creature within Nathan, a creature tempered into submission by his own internal goodwill which replaces the smile with a tight frown. After Masumi is safely away, he turns to look at Anais while pouring himself another glass of scotch. "Thoughts?"

Only a second of that grin is seen, when Anais turns to set the glass on the desk. It's startling, that expression on the face of the cheerful fellow she knows as Brayden. Startling enough that she doesn't immediately answer. After a slow blink and another deep breath, words are found. "I believe your first step should be to call your mother. After that…I don't know. Everything about her explanation seemed…vague. Except for the details on what has happened to those in this office." It is far easier to speak of certain events, when using neutral language. Anais disguises any unease she's feeling behind an impassive mask.

"Ma has many demons lurking her closets," not that Nathan doesn't. "She had said that she thought she knew that gal that came into the office right before I hire Ch-Grant." He downs the newest glass of scotch, and then replaces the bottle in the cabinet. "She didn't want to tell us anything. She didn't give me reason to trust her," he says rather honestly. "But Ma. Ma will be able to advise us. Hopefully."

"No. I wouldn't trust her." That Anais can support, wholeheartedly. A moment is spent in studying the man's face, what she can see of it, before she tilts her head towards him in a slight nod. "I hope so too. If it's all right, Bray-Senator, I may leave early today." She gives no reason, not even a made up dinner engagement. Perhaps he'll understand.

"Yeah. Go home now if you like. There's no reason to stay for the rest of the day," Nathan says with the most supportive grin he can muster. "And please, call me if you need anything." He maintains that supportive smile through all of his words.

"Thank you." Anais hesitates before finding a smile that doesn't quite match the level of her employer's. "That goes for you as well, you know. If you need anything, please call. I'll be at home." Having made this offer, she wastes little time then in turning to stride from the office.

And after Nathan is safely alone in his office he angrily throws the glass against the door. He's frustrated. At every corner there's someone he can't trust; something he can't deal with. And he hasn't talked to anyone about Logan. Or what Logan did. Peter and him are giving the appearance of being on the outs, his mother is beyond distant (even moreso than usual), his sons live elsewhere, he hasn't seen his daughter (and may never again if she doesn't want to talk to him… he would understand), and he's separated from a wife he tried to murder on multiple occasions. He glances at the shards of glass before turning to the window. He hisses, "Dammit Nathan! Pull yourself together or you're going to need to buy new tumblers."

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