Date: December 29, 2009
Tracy shares some news about de Souza while Nathan learns that his mother wanted Church on board to be his babysitter. The three come up with some next steps to take down the AP.
Nathan's Office - NYC
Holding the phone to his ear, Nathan sits in his office alone, computer on as he reads several proposals taken to Senate — none of which have any measure of usefulness to anyone. He rolls his eyes at the current one and then urges into the phone, "It's garbage. Americans will see what we've been wasting our time and their money on and feel a deep sense of shame. If we do … no listen to me… if we do our job well, then we get reelected. Then we make a difference." He rolls his eyes and then forces a political smile that extends into his tone, "Alright. Yes, we can have lunch and discuss it…. I look forward to it." He hands up the phone and mutters, "Wind bag. Nothing but hot air."
Something has brought Tracy into the office after her near-shunning of the world at large yesterday. Her reasons to keep away are as important as her reasons to come in, and so here she is, making her way through the gradually familiar rooms of the offices, wrapped up starkly in her black peacoat, gloves and red scarf. Her long strides and determined forward stare are barely different from any day, but there's a certain dire set to her features that brings a sense of urgency with her on the way as she heads straight past the receptionist to Nathan's door. She doesn't knock, she simply opens the door. "Nathan."
As the door is open, the proposal is thrown on the desk with an air of disdain, but despite it, the Senator manages a bright-ish smile for the entrant. He narrows his eyes as he registers who has entered the room. "Tracy." He blinks. "What are you doing here — I thought you were working from home for a few days? Everything okay?" He motions for her to take a seat across from him.
There is no smile mirrored on the face of Nathan's advisor. "It's pretty far from okay. I take it you haven't spoken with Peter." Tracy slips inside, closing the door behind her. She moves to the desk but stands at its edge, important gaze bearing down at Nathan with the same sense of urgency she walked in with. "He fixed my memories, too. And I know exactly who took them. Nathan, please tell me you haven't scheduled a meeting with the President yet."
Nathan's smile collapses into a frown as he leans back in his seat. "The meeting's in the works, but as far as I know nothing's been confirmed yet." Getting a meeting with the president isn't the simplest process. "Did… did the president take your memories?" Now that would be a twist.
"No, the Secretary of Homeland Security did. Marilyn de Souza." Close enough. A close contact of the President. They'd have to work together on matters of homeland security. "There's no saying if he knows what she's capable of or if he's being manipulated too. What— kind of government is this turning into? I don't know what kind of world I stepped into here… but it's not what I signed up for when I started working in politics." It really wasn't in the beginning. She's changed since then, but one thing stays the same: this isn't right. Tracy blinks, a frown creasing at the corners of her lips as she shakes her head in disdain. "Who knows how far this mess goes."
"Marilyn de Souza erases memories?" Nathan gapes with widening eyes. Now that is a problem. "Erases memories or does she do more?" he swallows as his eyes turn dark and he stands from the desk. "H-how are we supposed to do anything about what's going on when they can make us forget they even exist?" Like his mother so frequently does. Pursing his lips together he continues to frown, "Is she manipulating the President? Or does he even know?" Frown. "What if this isn't even about what we thought it was —"
"I don't know, Nathan. I only know what she did to me." Tracy's frown takes a turn for the softer, even vaguely sympathetic — the chance of getting anywhere near someone who can induce memory loss can't exactly be encouraging for someone like Nathan. She knows what it's like to have her mind invaded — it makes her angry and it was only a few snippets that were stolen. Not everything. She folds her arms, tight against the faint bulk of her coat. "Peter's working some kind of plan in that head of his." If it's possible to sound skeptical and hopeful at once, Tracy has succeeded.
"Pete's resourceful," there's no arguing that point, "but it's not that simple." Nathan turns to face the window. "What if this is the goal? Take everyone out so she can take over. Dammit." He can feel a headache coming on behind his eyes. Instinctively a hand is raised to his forehead as he shakes his head, "We can't be dead in the water here." Silently he weighs his options. Turning around he verbalizes his thoughts, "I could try to avoid her… try to enlist the Haitian… I don't want to halt the project." His jaw tightens, "How else will they face justice if we don't deliver it within the system?!" the words are hissed angrily as Nathan bangs his fist down on the desk.
The pound of Nathan's fist is met not with a flinch, but with a cold stare where it struck. The ice in her eyes isn't meant for Nathan, or for his anger — no, that was warranted. It's directly firmly at the system they've found themselves in. Or against. First things first… "Haitian?" she echoes questioningly. What Haitian? Who? What? "Someone in de Souza's permission wields a lotta power. I wouldn't be surprised if she has a master plan in all've this."
Nathan can almost feel something inside him mentally itching to get out, but it pushes it back, shaking his head to subdue his own anger. "The Haitian," he confirms with a sigh. "He has an ability that seems to stop abilities." And he can erase memories. But that detail is left unspoken. He swallows hard. Everything about this situation feels dire and the closer he seems to get to their goals, the more lofty they appear. "This is a dangerous game we're in."
Someone who can stop abilities. Interesting. Tracy considers for a moment, lips pursing. "It's not a game, it's— it's people's lives." Cold anger rises from a very personal place. The woman's jaw tenses as she attempts to keep it at a distance, lest Nathan's office get redecorated as a winter wonderland. "If there is a way to take her out've the picture…" Marilyn could be the key to everything changing. The advisor paces alongside the front of the desk, halting at a corner to regard Nathan again. "Sometimes I wonder. If it'd just be easier if everyone knew the truth…"
Nathan knows his mother would disagree with Tracy. Angela had spent her life keeping all of it under wraps. But then, "Maybe you're right; I've wondered that. If people knew at least they'd know. They're already taking us away in chains, how much worse could it get if they knew?" He presses his lips together while leaning against the desk. "But then, if we went public would they even believe us? They'd write it off as CGI or some kind of party trick with wires…"
"Panic, hysteria, dissension, paranoia, anarchy, hate, human rights out the window-" The voice comes literally just from behind the door as it clicks and swings open. "-genocide, maybe." It is Church- though in this office and any of its complexes he is known as mister Grant. Or Grant. He's only been on for a week or so now, but already whatever security he has put in place seems to have fit in quite well. Time will tell how truly effective it is. "If you want to throw the world into a state of chaos, by all means, tell them." His features are very grave, and somewhat out of place on his usually friendly face; he stands half-rigid in the doorway, one hand still curled around the handle of the door. It takes him a moment to shut it behind him, dark eyes gauging for something as he sweeps a look over Tracy, then Nathan.
"But do keep in mind that I'd probably have to stop you from doing it, and nobody wants that." Church- Grant- smiles disarmingly.
"We'd be free to get the Justice Department involved. Human rights organizations…" Calculating eyes settle on Nathan, but they're truly looking behind him, searching, quickly-quickly, through her mind. Onto the various possibilities. Tracy knows very well that there's hate out there for people like her (and apparently like Nathan; how he's like her at all is still a mystery), but the Senator might be right. How could it be worse? It's a wistful thought. And it's about as idealistic as Ms. Strauss gets.
Then again, there might be something to the mysterious words drifting in. Even so, she whirls to study their source, blonde-turned-red hair swinging over her shoulder. Her arms unfold from their poise across her buttoned peacoat and Church is given the most unimpressed of stares. Tracy (aka Linda) has not yet met the head of security, and she's instantly … unreceptive. An incredulous smirk comes to her lips, verging on downright cynical. Hostile, even. She's not in the mood for pleasantries. Least of all for an eavesdropping stranger. "And you aaaaaare…"
Arms are crossed. One over the other at Church's entrance. Nathan's expression turns darker. It's beyond clear why his mother insisted on his hiring Church. The other man is given a hard stare before Nathan turns away. "Ms Johnson this is Mr Grant. Grant this is Linda Johnson. Mr Grant is our new head of security." He glances at Tracy and then turns to face the window again. Somehow griping to glass is less maddening than discussing their situation with people.
"Ms Johnson raises some important points though, Grant. We wouldn't need to get into the Alpha Protocol. As it stands, we can't make a difference unless we get in. And we can't really get in if de Souza messes with my memory." Of course, he doesn't voice his real concern about encountering de Souza. He turns back to face them, a pained expression having taken over his face, "The longer we wait the more suspicious they get. Ideas?"
Grant is a mask, more than anything else. As a mask, Church can have quite the poker face. He just greets 'Linda' with a nod and a half smile, hands finding each other behind his back. While she may be unreceptive to him, the other way around is another story. Seeing someone's twin can be kind of odd, especially if you've seen the first one working as a stripper. At least he has some tact and isn't staring at her, right?
"Oh, lovely. Madame secretary is a Mnemokinetic." The way he says this could allude to him knowing something else, but it is really hard to tell if he is being an ass or actually does. "Could always handle this the old fashioned gangster way- but I suspect that's out of the question." No qualms about doing it to his enemies. Figures. "The cons outweigh the pros when it comes to just telling the world. She probably knows that too, so isn't banking on anyone saying a thing. Our best bet is negation- but if this Queen putting us in check can't be handled that way, then perhaps just …a power thief."
"Mm." Tracy tips her head up and regards Church through calm, narrowed eyes. The nice to meet you, Mr. Grant goes unspoken and clearly unfelt. Not immediately willing to accept the newcomer as a co-conspirator or even colleague just yet. He obviously knows more than the average security man, however. She eyes Mr. 'Grant' all the more critically. Gangster way? What kind of security did Nathan hire? For now, she just listens. Observes. Thinks.
Nathan hrms quietly. With a frown he paces his desk slowly. "We don't know exactly what she does, just that she erases memories. If she's a telepath it could go beyond that. And we think this may be her plan, not the President's." He sighs. What rabbit hole has he jumped into this time? "And how do you suggest negation, Grant?" the tone borders on ironic. "I can't just have the Haitian follow me around, and in order to get into the Protocol's good graces, Pete and I can't be seen together."
"Your brother turns invisible, Nathan, gimme a break. How do you know he's not standing over in the corner listening in?" Church lifts a hand to gesture vaguely at the back of the room, looking very unconvinced of what he says- so chances are that Peter is not in there. "And why can't we hire our Haitian friend, exactly? There are places still on staff under me left open- he has experience in the bodyguard thing." Just ask your mom. "They may have him on whatever list, but unless he forcefully outs himself as having an ability they won't entirely have something to go on. Besides- at this point they may welcome his presence. Some of the people they are bound to be going after- well-" Lawrence does pause at this, considering words. "Let's just say even I could have trouble with some of them."
"And unfortunately only one Thief comes to mind, and I'd rather not give him the fishing pole. If you think I have an unlimited number of ideas, sorry, but that really isn't what I'm here for. I'm just here to make sure whatever happens, happens without a high degree of danger. Which includes telling you that you're off-track, if what you're thinking about could put you in danger. Like telling people we're here, for example." Silly Nathan.
Tracy agrees with Church on one point, and since it's clear he knows a thing or two about Peter, she speaks up, glancing to Nathan. "You should talk to your brother, Nathan. Don't count him out. He might be able to deal with this without you risking the line of fire." For all they know, Peter already be taking care of it instead of standing invisible in the corner. He did promise. That said, she turns to face Church fully, a bold look directed straight at the head of security. She flashes a smile; not only is it short-lived, it's not quite warm. "Thanks for the input, Mr. Grant, but it's my job to tell the Senator if he's off-track. It's your job to keep the heat off of whatever track he happens to be on."
At Church's words Nathan looks to the back of the room. He doesn't think Peter's around, but then it's true: Pete can be invisible. He purses his lips together, pacing the desk again, arms folded across his chest. "Fine. I'll talk to Pete and we'll go from there. And we'll try hiring the Haitian." Which actually might not be a bad idea anyways. At least the advisors do their jobs and he gets help and advice as needed. He can't help but frown at the notion of getting off track. A frown that overtakes the rest of his features. "So I try to delay my meeting with the President until de Souza is dealt with? In the meantime the Alpha Protocol will be allowed to do whatever they want. Human rights violations included."
"And if that means keeping the heat off of bad ideas, then so be it." Tracy's boldness in trying to stare him down is rewarded with what is essentially a slap to the hand in the cookie jar. Church lifts a palm in what appears to be an offering of peace to Nathan, a frown on his own lips but voice kept neutral. "There are some times when you have to allow discrepancies in the larger plan in order to reach an intended goal. Trust me, if I hadn't learned that years and years ago, I'd still be wrestling with a phaser in New Orleans." Lawrence has a point; the finer details have to be hammered out before they go gallivanting off to stop the enemy. Hammer at the weak spots, and the joints holding it up- and eventually it will collapse. If that means ignoring a couple of incidents in order to actually weaken a pillar, then it will be worth it when the whole deal comes crashing down. It is easier to ask forgiveness, after all.
Church's initial comment is met with a faint smirk of condescension and a quiet sound under the breath of the advisor as she gives a reserved roll of her eyes. She doesn't interrupt him, for what it's worth. Tracy's patience is wearing thin, however. "I agree that we have to be strategic. We have to be careful, but," Tracy looks to Nathan, "there's no reason this has to be cause for a serious delay. Not with the kind of resources we have." Peter. The mysterious Haitian. "This thing can't be allowed to go any farther than it has." The woman spends a moment adjusting the ruby-coloured winter scarf around her neck. "De Souza's supposed to be in charge of AP. Maybe your contact knows something the public doesn't. Something we can use."
"Alright. We need to move as much as we can. I'll get in touch with my contact. I haven't spoken to him since I got my memory back," Nathan swallows and frowns. Bennet might not be happy with memory-gained Nathan considering he shot Claire. On purpose. With a shotgun. Clearing his throat he nods. "In the meantime try to coordinate with George's people. I want to know where they get their money from. It doesn't appear out of thin air — if something gets funded, something else got cut. Which means someone out there isn't happy."
"Or it's listed under something else. If that's the case it might be useful for someone to drop hints asking about what it is. Indirectly start inquiries from other sources to distract from what you're doing." Multiple enemies. This is strategy! Church shifts, one hand straightening his blazer as he steps sidelong towards the door. "I've got some things to handle- I originally had come to tell you that I'd gotten a couple more guys in for interviews. You can listen to them and look over my notes at your leisure. And- even contacts can get smudged. Remember that."
"I'll make some calls," Tracy adds. Her voice isn't as recognizable as her face. At least that's deniable. She can check out various avenues via the phone. "I have to get going too." She tenses slightly, but squares her shoulders. She moves to follow Church, turning back halfway to address Nathan. Sidelong, the security man is given a ever-so-slightly patronizing glance over her shoulder — presumably just out of Church's sight. The Senator is given a more sincere look, one of the determination she walked in with. "If you need anything else, Nathan…"
"I'll listen to them in the next couple of days, thanks Grant." Nathan pulls out his chair and sits down again. "Thank you both for all of your work. I know we're not operating under the best circumstances." He shrugs. "I'll make some calls and see if we can't get some political comrades along the way — even if they don't understand what the project is doing, an inquiry might be enough to kill it." As the pair leave he turns to face the window, to see his own reflection staring back at him. He scowls at himself with disdain before turning back to the desk and picking up the phone, "Bennett… It's Nathan Petrelli calling. We need to talk."