2010-03-06: Not So Steady Ground



Date: March 6, 2010


Old acquaintances on equal footing, what's a girl to do?

"Not So Steady Ground"


Saturday morning, Grand Central station. Quite possibly the best time to venture out into the arena of the public. The place is completely packed. With her long, dark brown hair, Cody slips through the crowd and down a long corridor toward the storage area. From her pocket she pulls a single orange tipped key that reads J47 and fits it into the matching locker. Opening the door, she finds an olive green knapsack which she trades out for her messenger bag.

The locker is still open but in plain view as she ducks behind a large pillar and begins to change her clothing. Her face distorts to one of disgust as she unrolls a blue coat and shakes her head. "He would leave me with a pea coat… friggin' Pyle." She pulls it on and then moves toward a nearby garbage. It's rather thankful that this area of the station is always relatively deserted, because she begins to shed. Pulling her hair off by the handful, she doesn't stop until she's completely bald. Once her head is completely bare, she brushes a hand over her scalp and closes her eyes as a new growth of dirty blonde hair grows and grows… and grows.

Once the long tendrils have braided themselves into the usual pattern of long whips, she tucks it under a dark green captain's hat, leaving the rest to flow down her back. Before closing the locker again, she checks the olive bag for everything that she might need. New ID, passport in the same name, and a few bundles of small bills easily totaling five thousand. It's always easy to amass this kind of cash when you never actually have to pay for anything, go Delta.

It all takes less than ten minutes before the locker is locked and the woman has disappeared into the crowd only to reemerge when one of the glass doors at the side of the building is pushed open. She's casual as she walks down the sidewalk and to the corner. There's a Starbucks across the street and she's craving a latte.

A motorcyclist dressed entirely in black parks at the curb near the Starbucks, but he's not after coffee. The black leather jacket, black pants, and black boots protect him should he tip off the large bike. But he doesn't tip. His black helmet matches the rest of his gear. Cody comes into gear. The blonde hair is almost unmistakable. But… a pea coat?

The cyclist comes up to the corner where she's standing. A very audible whistle can be heard from under the helmet. He's not sure it's who he thinks it is — chance meetings don't happen everyday and so he tests it with a measure of crass not befitting for a man in his position. "Hey beautiful!" He whistles again and then calls, "Tiffany — is that you?"

The motorcycle gets a long look before the rider, Cody's blue eyes sweep appreciatively over the lines from front to back… then up. Her face is frozen in a stare as the second whistle and the call comes from the cyclist. If pressed, she won't deny that her breath is caught in a momentary bit of panic, but it's the name he called her. There's only one person that has ever called her by that name.

Before she has the chance to reconsider, she's fitted snugly behind him on the bike and gripping the back bar tightly. "Just drive. I don't care where."

Once she's on the back of the bike, the cyclist drives to Central Park. He parks the bike, hops off and offers Cody a hand to help her. He snakes through the park and then down towards an alley — a quiet alley well off the beaten path. It's a quiet alley — near silent. The motorcyclist shrugs before removing his helmet.

"Agent Baker," Nathan says before ruffling his own hair and holding the helmet underneath his arm. He pulls the gloves off his hands and issues her a toothy grin. It's not an easy smile, but it's not diplomatic either.

A very long sigh of relief whooshes out of the blonde agent as Nathan pulls the helmet off and addresses her. "The report I got, I thought you were gone already." Her voice catches and her eyes lift to examine him closely. "I thought I failed again. I've been doing that a lot lately."

Pulling off the captain's hat, she shakes her hair out and sits heavily on an outcropping of rocks. "It's a big job, I found Bennet like you told me to… but I don't think he's a man I can trust. He told me not to talk to anyone, that he would handle it. A few days later I saw my termination order." That could be the very reason why she hasn't been seen around the Island or in the barracks lately.

"They were moving me and another prisoner — a woman that is very fast — when we were rescued," Nathan folds his arms over his chest and leans against the brick wall of a building. His eyes narrow at her before he hmmms quietly, "No failure here. We were told a rescue isn't possible until the collars came off…" There's a pause as he considers Cody's words, "At least you received the order before it was carried out… So you're not around Building 27 anymore?"

"The protocols, they're… they want us to be human weapons — that's what — " Tracy " — I've been told." Nathan tightens his jaw and leans his head against the solid wall. "Do you know who is behind all of this?"

With a heavy sigh, Nathan shakes his head. "Bennet is on our side, but he's slow to move." With a frown he asks, something he's not entirely sure he didn't hear in a dream, "What is… Theta protocol?"

"I was lucky," Cody starts out slowly, her voice low. Even though there's no one around, she seems to be afraid that someone might hear. "My assassin turned out to be my best friend. More than a few other agents weren't so lucky. There's been 'suicides' all over." Plus one very good looking man turned into a very ugly corpse. She taps her boot against the rock slowly as she thinks, her mind is all over the place at the moment.

"So Millbrook is out too?" She knows each and every one of the people in the barracks, she's studied their files. She's even met Daphne once, unfortunately it was rather unpleasant for the little speedster. So is the price of forced cooperation. "That's good. She wasn't doing too well in the barracks. Very bitter. Then again, who wouldn't be in her position."

The fact that Nathan knows as much as he does shouldn't surprise Cody, but if the small lift of her eyebrows is any indication… it does. "I think that's what the end result is, they've been grading people on destructive power. They haven't been as creative with it as I have… so a few people have been assigned a re-evaluation. Which is a good thing. It buys them more time. Something that we don't have much of anymore." Something that is a little unfortunate for Bennet, but to each his own.

Nathan's questioning her and for some reason, she's just got a knot in her stomach. "Theta is one of the ones I haven't heard about, but it's on my list. As for who's behind all of this, I have some names but nothing concrete yet." she admits, looking back and forth around them. The blonde refuses to look at him, perhaps it's guilt. Perhaps something else.

"Yes. Millbrook and I are both out," Nathan narrows his eyes. "And the boat we were on… I was drugged, but I thought I heard something… probably nothing…" He shrugs before he leans against a wall of a nearby building.

"No information on the end result… that's problematic. If we know who's behind these things we can get closer to stopping them, but I don't think many people know who's behind it…" He shrugs again before pressing his lips together. "I don't know why they would've moved me, honestly, flight is useless as a weapon. And I'm a Senator, not a hired gun." Although he does have naval training. "Brooklyn, I think they said we were heading to… maybe… maybe it was somewhere else…"

"I'm pretty sure there's a Theta protocol, it's one of the only ones that I don't have any information on, Br — Senator." Cody stops herself from being too familiar with the man especially from going back to when they were familiar. Readjusting the backpack, she looks over at him and licks her lips. "Maybe the man with glasses will be more cooperative with you, I'm headed in a different direction. I found another angle to work this from, so I'll be there." Brooklyn, this news is new, which means it will require some looking into.

"Flight isn't a useless weapon, you really should know better than that." She says with a sigh, "It's passive, but there's a lot of uses you could have in a militaristic manner. If you think about it. Like the dogs the Russians strapped bombs to in order to kill a tank during WWII."

"I need to think on the angles now, Baker. This isn't what we thought it was and we went in blind. I don't intend to do the same thing twice," Nathan cringes at the memory of his time in Building 27, but he doesn't mention it. He nods at her comment, "You have to head in a different direction and I will try to get in touch with glasses, but maybe that's a job for my mother." He suppresses a chuckle before he tacks on, "they have phones in Fiji, right?"

Pushing herself up off the outcropping of rocks, Cody Takes a deep breath and nods. "You went in blind, but there was really no way for you to know if you weren't digging for it." She's still not looking directly at him, everywhere but his face. "How are you going to work on it now? You can't do it as Senator Petrelli, I wouldn't put it past them to try to take you down on the senate floor. What about your wife and kids? Are they safe?" She's focusing on his motorcycle boots now, the black leather is polished to a dull shine like her own combat boots.

"Heidi and the kids are safe," Nathan assures. "Thanks to Peter." He sighs heavily. "Well they've labeled me as sick. And as far as working it, I honestly don't know." He clamps his eyes shut, the lack of eye contact Cody is giving him leaves him feel less trusting, but he wouldn't admit that aloud.

"Honestly, with Millbrook out we have a solid lead for a human rights inquiry. I need to get in touch with my people and do what I can." His lips curl into a small frown, "I'm not afraid of being taken down, and now that the family is safe… " he blinks. "I'm not going to just reappear in Senate if that's what you mean. But I am in politics, it's my job to take responsibility for this. It's happening on American soil. And no one else is in a position to take responsibility. I don't even think the President wanted me caught… I don't know, but…" he frowns further.

Then she just can't take it anymore. "One second…" Taking the two or three steps toward Nathan, Cody raises her hands and brushes them over his face, wiping the beard away. At least for the moment. "I'm sorry, it was just too distracting. You know what it does to me." Not that he did it on purpose, she highly doubts that he meant to grow a beard and find her on a random street corner. The thought is ridiculous.

When her hands fall away from his face, her blue eyes find his and she twitches an eyebrow upward. "Someone needs to reach the president then, we really don't have much time anymore. A little over a month at the most." She doesn't relay the deadline that Justin's files had given. Just in case. "If you go, at least take someone that can protect you."

Nathan's lips curl into a soft smile. "Sorry, there really hasn't been much opportunity to shave lately, and, in all honesty, I haven't felt like it." He shrugs a little. "The President can't possibly know about the weaponization of people, can he? I could be wrong, and I'm not always the best judge of character, but…" he frowns further. "I can't see it. What I need is someone that can read minds with me. If I go. It's a huge risk to even show up in D.C… or maybe… " He smirks. "I might have an ally that can do it. Maybe."

"Parkman or your brother?" She finds her captain's hat again and tucks it on her head, then her hands push into the pockets of her coat. "Parkman's still inside, I'm working on something to get them all out." Pause. "Listen, Epsilon protocol, they've got some sort of tracking program. I don't know the exact details, I just know that it's a program to track everyone that's ever been held." She gives him a small sad smile and shrugs her shoulders. "I don't want you to get caught again."

"I hope your plan, whatever it is works. Once they're moved…" Nathan winces. "It won't be good, that's all I know." Pressing his lips together and nods, "I guess they would be tracking us, wouldn't they?" A mirthless chuckle escapes his lips. "How did we get here? How far can the government go before citizens stop it?" He shakes his head a little as he begins to walk from where the pair came. "I should get back. Thanks for the info… now I just need to get it to the people who can do something about it… assuming they're not involved." He'd finally managed to pick up a disposable cell phone. Reaching into his pocket he pulls out the piece of paper Tracy gave him and rips the edge. Taking a pen from his other pocket he scribbles down his number on the now very small piece of paper, "Get in touch if you learn anything that could be useful…"

"We're already doing something about it, Nathan." Cody says in a strained voice as she takes the paper. In return, she reaches into her wallet and pulls out an old receipt. She glances at the bottom of it before pressing it into his palm. "The number at the bottom of the receipt is mine. Keep it in your wallet." That same hand reaches up to his face after the hand off and brushes softly against his jawline. His stubble reappears and grows into a little bit of a scruffy beard, the same one he came with if not just a touch longer. "If you want to do something under the radar with me, you're always welcome."

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