2010-01-06: Raising the Stakes



Date: January 6, 2010


Peter and Nathan figure out what to do about DeSouza.

"Raising the Stakes"

The Sky — NYC

It's a cloudy day crisp winter day in New York City, and it's even crisper in the atmosphere. Nathan hovers above the city (bundled up in a thick black wool peacoat, and a plaid scarf with matching mittens — Brayden had bought them during his year in Ireland), admiring what he can amongst the misty-clouded skyline. He's cleared his head as best he can, and has put his focus into the Alpha Protocol rather than his own feelings, fears, and internal struggle. Facing Logan's demons — Nathan's demons — hasn't been easy, but then there's little time to think on such things when the government is kidnapping people.

Here he lies in wait, quietly staring at the city below, wholly unsure of his own place in it. His eyebrows furrow. Hopefully the sky is as safe as he believes it to be for a meeting.

If it was safe enough for a nuclear explosion, it's safe enough for a clandestine meeting of two people who can fly. Wrapped up mostly in black, Peter blends in with the night sky rather well, making him even more difficult to see— At first, he flies right by. Then turns around, flies back, and finally gets the hover right.

"Nice scarf," he says, the sound of a tease in his voice, before her rubs his hands together. It's cold! He should have worn gloves. Teasing doesn't get to last long, not with everything else that's happening. His voice goes serious quick. "What's going on?"

Peter's voice causes Nathan to jump a bit as the younger Petrelli had managed to blend with the night sky. With a smirk and a chuckle, Nathan straightens the scarf, "I really liked it before I got my memory back." At this he shrugs, "Thought it might help my level of optimism." He was wrong.
His eyes and lips twitch before he manages a single word. "DeSouza." He glances at New York before turning back to Peter, "Tracy said she told you." His lips purse, "She erases memories. Which means she may read minds…."

"It's possible. Rene can erase memories, but he doesn't read minds. There's lots of ways an ability like that can work," Peter says, looking down to the city for a moment. He knows a couple people who can do both, who can do more. He could do a lot more. The him from the future— he doesn't even know for sure how much he could do.

"I came in contact with Matt Parkman. It's possible he could counter another telepath, or at least make it more difficult for her, but…" He shrugs, in mid air it might even look funny. "It's likely he's on their radar."

"It's likely I'm on their radar," Nathan quips before he crosses his arms over his chest. "And while I can fake my intentions to the President, I can't control my own thoughts. Not easily. Lying to a telepath is virtually useless, particularly one who may be controlling the President. She could have her own agenda, Pete. This might not be what we thought it was about at all." Beat. "What if DeSouza is trying to off the rest of us for her own powerful ends? What if I made it past the President, into the Protocol, only to get lost in my own head again?" Their efforts feel so futile. "And while I can make a small difference outside the Protocol, inside I'd understand its operations."

The more they talk about DeSouza, the more Peter's expression hardens, briefly looking like the older self that took his place for a time. Something similar in the set of his jaw. "If those are her motives, then I'll have to make sure that she doesn't stay in the position she's in." To protect his brother. To give everyone else a fighting chance. "I'll take care of it." It doesn't sound like he likes the solutions he's coming up with.

"We need to get you in there."

His own jaw tightening, Nathan hmmms, "Maybe there's a way to expose her. Her own system could take her down if she's exposed. What if we could turn the tables, and contain her that way." He presses his lips together beore he admits, "It might be selfish, but I don't want her poking around in my head. And while I know others are capable, I'm concerned she'll …" he flinches before shaking his head. Verbalizing his fear that Logan could rear his ugly head again would only give it real weight, so instead he bottles it up and tries to push it out of his mind.

"My assistant's pushing for a meeting with the President, but if he's being manipulated by DeSouza, I'm not even sure I'd be able to get in without her approval."

"Exposing her could make things worse for you," Peter says quietly, seeming to be considering all these options. And coming up with others while he isn't speaking. They just aren't said outloud. "I understand the concern. This reminds me a lot of how things were with dad…" And he wasn't even there for a lot of it, but he knows how bad things were. When their father was a telepath who could steal powers, it made getting close in any form dangerous. "I don't think I can help with the meeting with the President, but I can… do something about this."

"It's true," Nathan concedes with a still-tight jaw. "I can handle the President — I remember how to be a politician again, remember?" his lips curl into a broad toothy grin. "DeSouza is a different story. Especially if we don't know what she does. She may be able to control people's thoughts." He shakes his head, "Things are bad. Worse than I'd thought. Tracy said they're violating human rights, and it's impossible to inquire into something I'm not supposed to exists…" Although inquiring at all is a risk, even if he's well aware it exists.

"I know. They tortured a girl around Claire's age," Peter says, not arguing with anything his brother has to say at all. They agree on some things. "Last I heard, electricution wasn't an approved method of interrogation. Even with the Patriot Act. Maybe they no longer consider us human, and think the laws don't apply." It reminds him of the future he saw, just reversed. Where normal people might as well have been treated as animals.

Claire's name sends chills down Nathan's spine accompanied by a distinct pang of guilt. But like his fear, the guilt is bottled up and pushed aside for the situation at hand. "They're torturing American citizens?!" His nostrils flare, but there's little to say other than the question itself. "Even animal torture is a misdemeanor in the state of New York. Thinking of us as something other than human could still incite prison-time." Pause. "And possible impeachment for those in political office."

"And that's just one of the many people we know they're holding," Peter says, frowning in thought. They never tortured him, but whose to say they didn't torture others. "Gene managed to get her and her friend out, but even with them safe, there's no telling how far they'll go. Once they cross that line, there may be no going back." Once human rights are violated… "I know where the girl is. I don't want to put her through a testimony unless it will be listened to, but I know you'll need more evidence than my word."

"If I can get in, I'll be able to get evidence. If I get evidence the President and everyone involved will be facing impeachment. Likely prosecution." Of course, this is assuming the entire project gets exposed, which likely means people with abilities will be exposed. "I'm at a bit of an impasse with my new head of security as far as that's concerned. To make people accountable for what they've done, things might have to come into the light." He falls silent. "Unless we can charge them with something else, the law can't help us without exposing people like us… except if we take issue with the lack of due process… even then, inquiries will still expose us." He sighs and shakes his head.

"And if nothing else, the threat of impeachment and prosecution might be enough to get them to bury the whole thing," Peter says, though he's not at all implying they'll just get away with it. A public trial would expose too much, everything they're trying to protect. "They'll want to save the careers, just like we want to save our own lives. It could work."

"Maybe. Unless they see through it as nothing more than a threat. They're counting on us keeping it a secret. They wouldn't have gone after us if they weren't." Nathan scowls at the city. "How did all of this even happen? I don't even understand how it started. Who started it?"

"I don't know the exact details, but I know that they've been using the Company's files for much of their activities," Peter says, floating backwards a little, as if he's intending on flying away sometime soon. "It's very likely a disgruntled agent decided to go renegade when the Company stopped keeping track of every single Evolved and focused on the dangerous ones only." If that's true, he might even blame himself for it. He'd worked hard to change the Company to something better.

"I'll talk to Ma. Try to get a list of disgruntled employees, we need to find the root," Nathan smirks. "But then, aren't most agents disgruntled? Regardless, we can get a list. We need to know who we can trust through all of this." And Company agents aren't high on Nathan's list, but that doesn't mean they can't solicit the help of those without a chip on their shoulder. "Is there anything you need from me?"

"The list will probably be longer than one man can look into," Peter says with a laugh, perhaps agreeing with the 'most agents disgruntled.' It had been kind of a pre-req. Even he'd been disgruntled. He'd just been hopeful at the same time. "No, I don't need anything right now. I might send Matt your way, though. It might not hurt to have a telepath on your staff, especially one who also used to be a cop. Might be a good way to keep anyone from Alpha Protocol who isn't loyal to you from getting onto your staff."

"Matt could be helpful," Nathan agrees as he raises a hand to his forehead. "Church is the head of my security detail. Ma's idea. Especially after our office got attacked. By… someone. Blonde woman." His lips quirk into a grin, "Although I think he's spying on me for her. At the very least he's acting as babysitter, making sure I stay out of trouble," and stopping him if necessary. "It'd be good to have someone else I can trust onboard. The team is strong, but it's hard when starting over; I've never worked with them before. Tracy's bent on revenge. Anais is trustworthy enough, but her sister is like us. And KeLyssa told the boys I'm Superman. I don't think she knows I can fly, but all I need are Simon and Monty thinking it."

"Simon and Monty are better at keeping things secret than you might think. And they're still out of state, so… hopefully it won't be a problem." Or at least Peter thinks they're out of state. He wants to go see them, but… he's having a hard enough time pretending he's not on the same team as his brother. "I'll talk to Matt as soon as I can. Since he knows how to guard his thoughts, I'll make sure he knows what you're really up to. He was under the impression you were working for Alpha Protocol. If he has that impression, then maybe others do as well." And that works in their favor.

"Good. I realize that I'm drawing a target on myself, but if we're going to succeed, I'm going to have to keep playing both sides here." Nathan shakes his head at the question though, "No. Just DeSouza." He scowls. "Just watch out for yourself, Pete. Don't let yourself become the monster. And don't let her near your mind. I don't want to be separated again."

"I'll be careful," Peter says, though with him, it's hard to tell if he'll actually manage. Especially with the hardening expression on his face. But… "There's too much at stake if I fail," he adds, floating over to give one squeeze to his brother's shoulder, before suddenly spinning and zooming away.

"Everything's at stake," Nathan agrees as Pete zooms away. He watches as Peter disappears into the black of the night before retreating home through the blanket of darkness.

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