2009-12-14: Joining Team Petrelli



Date: December 14, 2009


Tracy (or rather, Linda) seeks out Nathan

"Joining Team Petrelli"

Nathan Petrelli's Office

After several weeks of preparations, Nathan Petrelli's staff finally have a home base. It's nothing fancy, but it's a base of operations to begin their political goals. They don't know whether he's going to have any measure of success as far as the empty Senate seat is concerned, but in faith they've chosen to publicize their office and finish setting up.

It's a bit off the beaten path, but the office itself is quiet sufficient. It has wooden laminate floors, contains several different rooms, and is complete with a reception desk… minus a receptionist. They've yet to hire anyone. While it would normally be completely open, a rather unusual sight will strike anyone entering the office: Brayden (or to onlookers Nathan) sitting behind the reception desk doing some research of his own — as usual (these days, anyways), he's dressed in a black armani suit, a crisp white dress shirt… and a red tie with horses printed on it (all wearing red Santa hats). He types at the computer, looking for information on the committee in charge of homeland security. "Stupid internet…" he murmurs as he types something else.

The sharp staccato steps of high heels might draw attention in the relatively empty offices to the short distance to reception. Nevertheless, a quick knock sounds on the doorframe of the reception area, a herald to gain the attention of the man sitting at the desk and draw it to her. The woman's attire is sharp, all business: a black, subtly pinstriped suit jacket and pencil skirt combo, a hint of a creamy white silk camisole between her lapels. A black winter coat rests, shorn, over one arm.

Even if the man in the room had all his memories intact, there would be a stark discrepancy between the familiar face he'd remember — even besides belonging to a different woman — and the one who stands here now. Tracy's long, blonde hair has, after all, been transformed into long, dark, red hair. Presently, it's pulled tautly back into a slender, professional ponytail. She looks on the former Senator with a rather cautious expectancy as she stands with one hand raised, knuckles still touching the wood of the doorframe. "I wasn't sure if your offices were open yet," she says, confident despite the words themselves being unsure. "…but I thought it might be okay if I dropped in…"

The noise of the heels goes relatively unnoticed, Brayden, of course, believes it to belong to another red-head who works in his office: Helen, his beloved publicist. The voice, however, draws his attention, causing him to say (towards the monitor), "I normally don't work the front desk, I'm —" and then he finally looks up. Wow. He swallows and manages an easy, dimpled, smile. "We're in the process of opening," he grins as he beckons her towards one of the few chairs in the waiting area as he stands up from behind the reception desk. "Welcome! We're always happy to see visitors." Brayden peers at her curiously. " — can I help you with something?"

"That's the plan, Mr. Petrelli," Tracy is quick to reply and just as quick to shine a bright and bold smile Brayden's way, red lips and white teeth. "That, and…" She strides toward the desk. "It's come to my attention tht I might be able to help you." Despite the offered chairs, she remains standing, studying Brayden somewhat curiously. "My name is— well," she glances down with a twist to her smile and a very faintly bitter chuckle that does nothing (yet) to mar her confidence. "That depends."

"You can help me?" Brayden asks while both eyebrows are raised incredulously. He folds his arms across his chest, while tilting his head, studying her intently. "Help me, how, exactly?" He needs help in too many ways. He's lost his memory, he can't remember how to navigate politics, his staff are vying for that seat, and he still needs to help his brother. So many ways he could use help.

"What do you mean that depends?" his eyes narrow suspiciously. Is she one of the government goons that his mother warned him about. She doesn't look dangerous… although red hair is always unpredictable.

"It depends on whether or not I think I can trust you, Mr. Petrelli. I do hate to be vague. But, hear me out for a minute." Tracy may wile her way around some of the questions, but she launches as straight to the point as she can, well-spoken, her smile firmly in place. "As far as the public is concerned, you're a potential candidate for the seat left by the sudden resignation of Ivory Wynn. But as I understand… you're not exactly yourself. And, as I understand, you want to make a real change in the government." Pause. "I was previously an advisor for— well, that depends too. You might not believe me yet, but you need me, Mr. Petrelli. I have a proposition for you."

Brayden really doesn't know what to think of the woman in front of him. With a quiet hmm he considers how to broach the issues at hand. After several moments he nods, "It's true. I'm not myself. I have amnesia and I'm trying to keep my hat in for Wynn's seat, and beyond that I'm interested in the committee for homeland security. Things are happening within our government that are… need to be dealt with…" His eyes narrow waiting to see how she responds to that comment. "Who were you an advisor for?"

By some feat of skill and miracle, Tracy manages to not be hypnotized or otherwise completely distracted by the man's choice in ties. However, something else causes her to slip in her otherwise self-assured spiel: Brayden's comment. She's in something of an unusual predicament — more than unusual, difficult. It throws off her A-game slightly, her smile faltering only to return as she looks down at the floor… until all hints of pleasantry are ripped from her face completely. She drapes her coat over the back of a chair and takes one more step toward the edge of the desk and looks up at Brayden, deadly serious. It's time for some truth if she's going to get anywhere at all.

"I know your brother," she states. "Chances are, that means something to you. You know he's different— you know that has something to do with what's … happening in the government right now. Something that has to stop." Tracy watches his reaction just as he watched for hers. "If you want to make a difference, Mr. Petrelli, you can't go in blind. On paper, I was an advisor to Senator Gertz and my name is Linda Johnson. You can check me out if you like. My credentials are legitimate. I've brought them with me. In reality, though… I worked closely with Senator Wynn… who worked closely with an organization called the Alpha Protocol. And now I want to work with you."

Twitch. The smile is gone, Brayden has become silent, and there really is little else to say except to go where the conversation goes, even if this is some kind of strange form of entrapment. "Yes. Pete's different." He frowns, "And the government needs to stop. I want Wynn's spot on the Alpha Protocol, or to get as close to it as humanly possible." There's cause for pause, that hesitancy that is so common for him in this position. "We need to rebuild this country and government and the only way we can do that is from the inside."

He's not sure he can trust Tracy. Everyone has been telling him to trust no one, to remain skeptical, but then… if he can't trust anyone, he won't get anywhere. Ever. FInally after studying her his eyes narrow before murmuring, "I need the help."

"Good." Hard-set determination rings in that one simple word, even more evident in the blue eyes that lock on Brayden. "I'm sorry for all the mystery, I— you should know," Tracy says, her smile returning only for a flash. "They want me. They know my face, they know who I am." And what she can do. The woman's features harden, her whole pose stiffening. "And that's exactly why you need my help. I've been on the inside; I know things the public and … ninety-nine per cent of the government isn't allowed to see. I know the players. I know how it works. Peter can confirm me, if you need him to."

Tracy doesn't know if she can trust 'Nathan' either, but she needs this; thinks that she needs this. And when she wants something, well… she's indomitable. Besides which, if he screws this up for her in any way? He's doomed, in her mind. "So do we have a deal?"

Silently Brayden nods. "They want everyone," he mutters. "And the only way to stop them is on the inside. I have — well I'm adopting — a plan, assuming I get that seat." He glances down the hall and towards the door, inspecting for ears. "And yes, I'll talk to Pete. I know he's missing pieces of his memory as well, but if he can vouch for you, then I'm sure you must be trustworthy."

He presses his lips together and studies her a few more moments before reaching his hand towards Tracy. "Welcome aboard," his tone is sure, but his mannerisms aren't, his smile has faded as his eyes continue to narrow slightly.

Despite being critical in her study of Brayden, Tracy can't help but feel — and look — pleased when the offer is accepted. Not to mention relieved, an expression that puts a blight on her well-crafted, hardened professionalism, revealing how exhausted she is underneath … for all of one second. "Thank you." She reaches out to meet the offered hand to shake on it: firm, practised, if warmer and softer than the average politician's handshake. "Maybe we can get together later to go over some of the details. You can tell me about your plans."

After releasing Tracy's hand, Brayden offers a practiced (and very political) smile towards the red head. "Yes, we should meet to further discuss plans. I have — well, we can talk later. Perhaps when my actual office is set up and I'm not sitting at reception." Pause. "And I actually need something… I need to know who is part of the Alpha Protocol. I want to take one of the members out for a casual lunch. Assuming I get the Senate seat it'll be less suspicious taking them for lunch now then…" he shrugs a bit.

"…I'm not sure that's such a good idea," Tracy says slowly, brows coming together as she eyes Brayden as though questioning his sanity slightly. She steps back far enough to take her coat from the back of the chair, but her eyes hardly leave the would-be Senator. "A casual lunch, to what end? You're not even supposed to know they exist as an organization."

"I wouldn't talk about the Alpha Protocol. Not at all. I need to figure out if we know someone in the organization already. But in order to figure that out… I need to get a list to send to Helen to figure out who we know because I can't even remember," Brayden attempts to explain. Not that he necessarily wants to remember… with that same frown, he sighs. "I can wait on it. Perhaps just meet with someone on the Committee for Homeland Security> Assuming I knew someone there…"

"That'd be a good start. I'm sure you'll be a familiar face to someone from DHS, you were— … are well-connected," Tracy says with one of her smiles. "In the meantime, I'll see what I can do about getting you a list of everyone who works on the Protocol." Which she was planning on regardless, beyond the names she knows, but that's neither here nor there… "Also, I have a contact there who might be of some use to us." Us, already! "I'll reach out to him." A beat goes by before she lifts slightly-darker-than-usual eyebrows to question casually, "Who's Helen?"

"Excellent. It seems we're well on our way Ms. Johnson," Brayden offers her a political grin. "Thank you for joining the team… Helen is my publicist. She was with me during my first campaign and knows nothing of the AP, but she knows most of my connections and can assist well in that regard…" there's a pause as he glances at the computer and opens his schedule on the reception computer, "Can we meet next week so I can officially get you on the pay roll and we can further discuss any progress made? I'm pretty open thus far…"

Tracy nods along in agreement with everything Brayden says and makes a mental note to meet with this Helen in the future to make sure they're on the same page. "Of course," she says succinctly, sliding her coat on and reaching into one of the deep pockets of the winter-made trench. Soon, she's handing over some eatly organized papers as well as a simple white business card with black lettering. Linda Johnson's credentials mimic her own nicely, in most regards. "Here's my information, and my card. My cell number's on the back. My schedule is wide open."

"Thank you," Brayden says as he accepts the card and papers that he'll have Helen (or someone else on his staff) review. "I'll be in touch," he says honestly as he sits down at the desk again. "And Ms. Johnson, I'll arrange for you to get an office. I think you'll be needing it."

Tracy trails to the door, pausing to comment over her shoulder with a fainter smile; gracious, but strangely pre-emotively defeated, not at all like he demeanour throughout the rest of the meeting. "…Yeah we'll see." She doesn't need to be a public face of any sort, after all, so an office may be pushing her luck — but they can talk about that later. "It was nice to meet you again, Mr. Petrelli. You won't regret your decision," 'Ms. Johnson' says before her high heels carry her back the way she came.

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