A Meeting Crashed

Participants:

claire_icon.gif daniel_icon.gif eve_icon.gif helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif trask2_icon.gif

Scene Title A Meeting Crashed
Synopsis Peter calls a meeting of PARIAH, which is interrupted near its end by an unexpected visitor…
Date September 8, 2008

Condemned Tenement - Renovated Apartment

What was most likely additional storage or workspace has been modified into a modest one bedroom apartment. The floors are bare hardwood softened by the occasional throw rug in muted tones. Directly in front of the door, a kitchenette with a small stove, single sink, and a very old-fashioned refrigerator has been built in along one wall. Close by, a scrubbed oak table serves as both counter and dining table. To the left, a black loveseat and a matching recliner have been set up in front of a television on a glass-topped table. There's a slightly battered desk in the corner with tower, monitor, and keyboard tucked neatly into place. At the rear, an arched doorway covered with a thick curtain promises more.


So word got out as it was supposed to that Petrelli had called a meeting. There were some rumblings - a few people were curious as to just where this guy was coming from after all, and more to the point, was Cameron just going to let him start having his way? So some have come to see if there's going to be an alpha dog fight, some have come because some of what's gone around is that they're going to start investing in active ops and want to know more, and some have come because well, they're lemmings. They got told, so they're here.

Helena of course, made use of her time. This two gigantic pots a Cajun sausage and yellow rice dish that has already been somewhat demolished by some of those present, and now that it's left on the stove to keep warm for others as they like, she's perched in a corner, sitting on top of an overturned laundry basket and writing furiously in a notebook. Every now and again she looks at the door expectantly.

Daniel arrives through the floor, air-masked and carrying a flashlight, eerily silent until he is fully in view. He removes the mask, tucks the flashlight away. "Hi, Helena." he says quietly. "Just checking out the lay of the land under the building. Most of the tunnels are collapsed down there." Not that it impedes /him/ any.

Trask settles into a seat near the center of the room, making sure his you-can't-spy-on-us field covers as much of their area as possible, of course it means that the evolved are powerless during the meeting, but their are prices you have to pay. He is in full Sergei garb, and his face is covered, not trusting Peter with that piece of information just yet.

Entering the room and running a hand through her hair. The woman leans against the wall and nods at Helena and Daniel. Eve is wearing a dark purple tank top and black jeans along with some black boots. She brushes hair out of her eyes and drums the wall with her fingers.

Helena smiles upon hearing Daniel's voice, lifting her eyes from her notebook. "Hi, Daniel." she says warmly. "Food's on the stove. Good to know." She makes another notation, chewing on the side of her mouth and eyes still flicking toward the door in anticipation. When the door opens, Helena straightens, and sees Eve. "Oh. Hey, Eve." she gives the woman a smile, and says again, "Food's on the stove. Help yourself." And then back to the notebook.

Trask nods to Eve as she comes in, he hasn't gotten food himself, not sure when Petrelli will arrive. "Good work Daniel," he says when he catches the tail end of the report coming in.

Daniel says, "Thanks. I'm thinking it's the same throughout the impact zone. Nobody's come through to dig it out yet. Fortunately most of the power mains are still down too." He gets some food, a small bowlful, and sits near Helena. "No word yet?"

A very frazzled looking Claire Bennet comes hurrying through the door to the meeting space. She's a little out of breath, but no worse for wear. Not that she ever is. She's dressed for a work out - a black tanktop and loose-fitting yoga pants. She glances around the room, seeming to be looking for someone as she pulls her brown hair out of its ponytail and shakes it out.

Eve walks forward and smiles at Helena, "Thanks," she says and grabs a small bowl of food. She takes a bite and nods her head, "Good." What is up with the one word thingy!? Eve tilts her head and regards the people in the room with a curious look, "This should be informative," she states.

Helena takes a breath, and fixes a smile on her face. "In what way, Eve?" she asks brightly as she says to Claire, "He's not here yet." She seems to know who Claire's looking for.

Trask shakes his head to Claire as well, "It seems to be just more hurry up and wait, no Cameron, no Mystery man" He settles in to get comfortable for a nice long wait, pulling the stocking cap close over his eyes.

"I'm assuming Peter wants to give us some information about things and hopefully we learn more about this guy." Eve doesn't like not knowing about someone, it naturally freaks her out a little. Not knowing anything about Peter freaks her out just a tad. Eve stiffens at the mention of Cameron but then takes another bite of her food.

"Actually," Claire says with a tired and strained smile to Helena, "I was looking for you." The smile falls away and she closes the gap, expression worried. "One of our contacts just got picked up. Cameron's out posting bail. The less time spent in lock-up, the safer we all are." She takes a deep breath. "Now, the hard part." She stands up a little straighter - not that it does her much good at her height - and pipes up, "Can I have your attention, please? Cameron's out looking after one of our own. I've been asked to represent him for this meeting." She puts on her best I'm a Cheerleader, I Rule This School face. "Consider talking to me like talking to him."

The rain starts coming down outside, what was only overcast skies earlier in the day has now finally given way to light rainfall. These fleeing last days of summer were prone to such inclement weather, but Helena in specific knew it was more than that. She can feel the bitterness and frustration in the wind, and she can feel the disappointment in the rain. The feeling soaks through her, and it is in this sensation that she has a feeling on how Peter will be when he arrives. It's an accurate one.

There is a brief rush of air pushing outwards and away from where the black-clad and scarred member of PARIAH appears, leaning up against the wall with his hands tucked into his pockets. He tips his head down, one brow raising, only furthering the crease of his scar at the expression. "Sorry about the wait, I had to speak with a few people…" Peter's eyes scan the room, looking for Cameron. When he doesn't find him, there's a look of disappointment, but one that seems to have expected as much. Leaning off of the wall, Peter looks around at the people assembeled, the sound of rain pattering on the windows accompanying his assessment of them. His gaze lingers on Claire, affording the young girl a nod, "I've got a lot I want to talk about, and a lot I want to hear about from all of you." He glances over to Helena for a moment, then begins pacing around the table. "So, unless there's any objections, let's get down to business." He has no idea about the words said just moments before his arrival…

Helena starts to reply to Claire, a sullen cast to her features when Peter makes his arrival. She can taste the bitterness in her mouth and briefly closes her eyes. Daniel sitting next to her can hear the slow, even breaths she begins to take, and the rain starts to slowly die off even as she continues to listen to the newest arrival.

Trask frowns behind his mask, but says nothing, letting Peter have his say, he does nod to Claire at her comment, before turning hi chair to face Peter, maybe even leaning in his direction a little.

Eve just continues to lean against the wall and study Peter, her hair in her face but she doesn't bother to move it right now. Her light colored eyes look at everyone around the room and then return back to center. "This has been past due" she says quietly and a smile plays on her lips. She looks up to the ceiling and takes another bite of her food. YUM!

Daniel is too poker-faced to look dubious, so you wouldn't really know whether either Peter's entrance or Claire's statement or neither or both provoked any resistance from him. He just sits in his chair, hands on his worn-denim covered knees, listening.

Claire knows that look. Peter's disappointed that the top dog isn't in attendance. "They answer to me tonight, Peter." She looks around the room slowly as if to confirm that everyone's on the same page. She's not here as Peter's niece tonight. She's here as Cameron's second. "Go ahead. We're all here to hear what you have to say."

Nodding, Peter breathes out a slow breath and leans forward, resting his palms on the table as he looks around at the various members gathered. This was going to be harder without Cameron, and his lack of presence — in Peter's mind — was going to only further the speculation of his involvement. "Some of you know I had spoken with a contact of mine, a woman who goes by the codename Wireless." Dismissing those thoughts, Peter looks around the room again, trying to maintain as much eye-contact as he can. He's mindful, though, of remaining on the opposite side of the room from Sergei. "She's an information broker and espionage agent, who has been working towards a similar cause as us for some time. She, however, has no respect for the way things were being done within PARIAH; the bombings and threats." Peter's brow furrows, his focus intent on the conversation.

"When I told her about my attempt to change the course of things, she agreed to lend us assistance. Wireless is going to hack into the Homeland Security central database and produce a list of all of the holding facilities across the United States. From there, she's going to populate a list of the incarcerated Evolved, which will give us an idea on how to go about liberating them. She has also agreed to aid in our infiltrations, working to circumvent electronic security." It was likely the first many had heard of Peter's overall plan, but there it is in all its size and scope. "I trust her, completely."

"How soon will we have this information?" she tilts her head at Peter. Eve sets her bowl down on the floor and straightens up again. Her hair is thrown behind her shoulder and she continues to study the multi-powered man. "Sounds like we get to have some fun," Eve says quietly and grins.

There's certain to be murmuring, and Helena looks up at Peter in what is not exactly surprise, but there's definitely a look of thoughtful assessment. She writes something else in her notebook, tapping the back end of the pen against her chin before calling out, "What does Wireless want in return for helping us?" Optimistic she may be, but Helena's not naive. She looks over at Eve. "We've got some shaping up to do before we can start making surgical strikes."

Daniel seems impressed - probably because he's been stealing such lists in smaller, less complete, more local hardcopy form for almost six months now, and he knows the scope of the undertaking. However, it does not seem to involve him, so his reaction remains muted. And he has a suggestion: "'Wireless' seems a pretty obvious code name if she does computer stuff. I read in Helena's spy book that you're supposed to have code names that don't have any relationship to what you're doing, so that anyone who, uh, is listening in or gets a hold of your plan can't guess what you're after just by the names. That's why it's a /code/." he concludes, almost proud that he figured out what a code actually is.

Trask grins, shaking his head his Russian accent is of course back, 'Daniel, your right but lets try not to insult our new ally when we haven't even met him or her yet. Assuming they can do what they say they can, it will be a big boost."

Daniel says, "Oh, uh, I didn't mean it as an insult." quietly. "Just a suggestion."

"Doesn't mean, you can't be excited of doing some good," Eve replies to Helena and winks. The action has been lacking lately and so Eve is of course happy about that. "Sounds pretty techy," she admits and grins.

"Why should we trust this Wireless?" Claire cants her head to one side, hands on her hips. She has to play the devil's advocate tonight. It's what Cameron would do. And, to be quite honest, it's what she feels is the right thing to do as well. "What's to say that she won't just turn us all in because she doesn't agree with our methods, under the guise that it serves the greater good?"

"Within two weeks, I imagine." Peter answers Eve directly, "She wasn't specific, but we're not operating on a strict timetable — yet." He then scowls, "This isn't a game, though, Eve. This isn't something to be considered fun, if you want fun, leave." It was an oddly stern moment for him, especially from what Claire and Helena have seen of Peter. He then turns to Helena. "Wireless wants what we want, to end the capture and imprisonment of our kind. She's been fighting this since before the bomb, because there have been people, organizations, that have known but chose to keep it a secret." Then he turns to Daniel, eyeing Trask as he gives his comment, and nods. He leaves it at that, of course, not knowing enough about why she chooses the name she does. Claire's comment, though, elicits a nod from Peter, "You have to take my word on her, Claire. Your father trusts her, and you know he doesn't take unnecessary risks. She's been working to take down people like this for a long time. You're just going to have to trust me."

Diverting a bit from the overall mission, Peter shifts the topic of discussion towards the more immediate needs of PARIAH, "Helena's right, though. With the fact that we're going to be taking our operations to a more unified and motivated front, we're going to have to start acting more the part." He straightens, looking over to Claire for a moment, then back to the room as a whole. "Taking on Homeland Security isn't going to be easy, and we're all going to be putting our lives at risk. To this end, I want all of us to be aware of who is capable of what, how to be able to rely on them, and how to best utilize their abilities." He tilts his head to the side, looking out the window at the distant lights of the city at night. "Right now, I want for all of us to come clean on our capabilities, exactly what we can do. Even if some or all of us know, we should start communicating more. This includes me."

"We'll need more than that." Helena says, straightening her spine. "I've been reading some of the government manuals on espionage and counter-terrorism and guerrilla warfare and stuff." Helena begins, looking a little furtive at all the eyes on her. But as she speaks, she grows more confidant. "Right now we're not a long standing threat to the government, but we're about to become one. We need to start making changes about how we deal with our environment. Right now we're a back burner problem to them, but it won't be that way for long. Someone needs to be put in charge of escape and evade projects, which should include how to avoid identity detection, being able to communicate in inobvious ways, alternate gathering sites, and established protocols for what to do in different capture scenarios." She looks around the room, taking them all in with her deep set eyes. "Basically we need to stop being all rag-tag. Otherwise it's just going to fall apart. And that's regardless of Evolved abilities. Those are the bonus."

Trask hmmms softly, and then speaks up, "Well comrade, this is all nice and good. We should trust Wireless because we should trust you. We should tell you all of our capabilities, all of our skills and special talents. Dah, come clean with you. But I am afraid I have to ask a question that everyone stuck on your rugged good looks and fancy scar hasn't. Why should we trust you? How do we truly know you won't sell our secrets out yourself?"

Daniel has read the same book as Helena, but, well, he's not as good at reading, so he follows the list only with effort, and doesn't volunteer for any particular thing, not right away, clearly mulling over the various options. Finally he ventures uncertainly, like he's not sure whether this is what she's asking: "I've got a lot of stashes around from the scavenger days, but only I can get to them right now. And those won't last forever, rebuilding is going to uncover most of them eventually." To Trask, he says: "Same as we know to trust each other. Cameron vouched for the guy." Why, he does not guess.

Eve eyes Peter coolly, "There is a /difference/ between loving to help people who are oppressed and loving the actual violence that comes with it. I'm not going anywhere" she says to Peter coldly and then retreats into silence, leaning against the wall. She then looks at Helena, "We do need more structure, I agree with that" her glances passes over Daniel but she doesn't say anything.

Wrong form of reassurance, Pete. Claire's expression goes stony as she mutters, "That man has a bad habit of trusting the wrong people." She purses her lips to keep from arguing further. That argument is personal. It doesn't need to get dragged out in front of everyone. When Trask offers his dissension, Claire is turning an icy glare on him. She doesn't even trust him, but she's been instructed not to give him away. "Peter is my uncle. My family. My blood." She shoots the man in question a glance before sweeping that gaze around the room to those gathered in turn. "Peter is a good man. We can trust him." That doesn't mean they should blindly trust every one that he does, but he is trustworthy himself. "Daniel's right. I trust him. And I speak for Cameron when I say that he trusts him. I don't have to tell you all that our trust doesn't come easily."

"If I wanted to sell you all out, I would have by now." Peter looks up at Sergei with his brow furrowed, "If I wanted to kill you all, you'd already be dead and this building would be gone." He's becoming frustrated, and that is reflected by the wind outside growing in intensity, the rain coming down again. "Cameron—" Daniel takes the words right out of Peter's mouth, and he relents the point. Claire's comment about Noah raises Peter's frustration, but he knows the reason that she says what she does, and he tries his best to let it go. Breathing in through his nose and out through his mouth, he calms himself as best as he can, quelling the rain to a light drizzle outside. "If you want me to go first, fine. I will."

Peter moves around from where he stands at the table, walking behind a few of the gathered members as they explain, to eventually stand by the windows, "That book — the one published by Chandra Suresh — it calls my abilities a Mosaic." He gives a moment for the term to sink in, "It means I'm a mimic, I take on the attributes of other people's powers, draw them up from memory, and utilize them myself. I have to learn how to control them, how to master them." Peter's eyes wander the room, keen on observing the reactions of the members, making sure they're both listening and thinking, "It's based on my emotional perceptions of the person, but it has limitations — Sergei, for example." He motions to the scarfed man, "I can't mimic his powers, because when I get close enough to him to absorb them, my gift is negated by his. In that, all of my other powers are as well."

Stepping away from the window and back towards the table, Peter tenses as he considers how to explain the next bit. He looks at Claire once more, then nods to himself. "As of right now, I can fly." He hesitates, finding difficulty in the levels of trust necessary for this revelation, "I have visions, and I use paint to illustrate what I see, most of the time it's visions of the future — of things that haven't happened yet. I can bend time and space, by either slowing down or stopping time entirely. I can't hold that indefinitely though, it's like clenching a muscle, eventually it wears me out. With that ability I can also teleport from one place to another, instantly."

To demonstrate his next ability, Peter vanishes from sight with a shimmering distortion, but continues speaking, "I can turn myself invisible, and remain unseen to both people and machinery, even precognition has a hard time perceiving me when I'm using that power. I have telekinesis, the ability to manipulate objects at a distance. Telepathy, thought reading — But I try my best not to use that unless absolutely necessary. I don't pry into your thoughts, and I can't pry into Sergei's. My memory has become enhanced, through contact with…" His expression darkens for a moment, "Someone, a friend. I can remember and recall things with crystal clarity down to minute details, though I'm still trying to get the hang of it." Peter becomes visible again, back at one head of the table, "I have Claire's regeneration," He raises a hand, causing a few flames to dance on his fingertips, "Cameron's pyrokinesis," The flames are snuffed out, and smoke soon turns into a cloud of fog rolling over his hand, "and Helena's weather control."

When that too dissipates, Peter looks around the room. "As well whatever the rest of you in this room can do, which is just one of the reasons why it's important for us to communicate. For us to trust each other." He nods, slowly, "Now that you know this, I want to know what the rest of you can do. So the rest of you understand each other, and your limitations. That will lead me into my next point, which is I think what Helena will want to talk about as well. So you can either sit here, and not cooperate and this meeting can go nowhere, or we can start trying to act like a team. If we're not going to cooperate, then I may as well not even have come here."

"But for everything I can do, one person can't do anything alone. We need each other, and we need to work together. Every man for himself isn't going to cut it, and it took me this long to realize that for myself."

Helena rises and looks around. "We can keep this simple," she says, with a briefly apologetic glance toward Claire. She's about to step on toes. "Cam and Claire trust Peter. I trust Peter. If you're willing to trust him, then you're where you need to be. If you can't manage a little faith in the trust that our leaders have put in him," again a nod in Claire's direction before she takes everyone in, "There's the door." She looks back to Peter. "My ability isn't restricted to the general barometric pressure. I can create independent weather phenomenon. Cam thinks I'll eventually be able to create tornadoes, call down lightning. When we're on op, I'm usually kept back and utilized when distractions or impediment are necessary. Nothing says b'bye Homeland Security like a hail shower." She looks around. "Who's next?"

Daniel mutters something to himself about not understanding that book at all. Apparently he tried once. It's above his grade level. He says: "Don't try doing what I do without an air supply or you'll suffocate and die." And he's got that straightfaced look again, is he teasing or joking? "The good news is that if that happens to me, or, uh, you, I'm pretty sure, we won't have to worry about burying you, you'll just fall right into the ground and keep going down. " A black sense of humor or is he serious? "I go through things, and that means that right now I can't bring air into my lungs to breathe unless I actually bring an air supply with me." That's the mask and the air canister sitting next to his chair. "I should eventually be able to breathe, since I don't go deaf when I'm a ghost, so air can get in my ears and, and stuff."

Daniel is not quite clear on the mechanics of hearing, but it's clear he knows he needs air to do it.

Trask nods at Claire's words, dropping the accent, he says, "Your word is enough for me. " he reaches up and lowers the scarf, revealing his face to Peter for the first time. "I served in the US Military for a few years, I have basic combat training, and am professionally trained in auto mechanics, and tank mechanics for that matter. On top of that I have some connections with the Local Police department. I can get us information, including knowing when they will be coming for us, what patrol routes are, and in some cases even movements of Homeland Security. Also I seem to have an effect on other evolved around me, Homeland Security designated it as a power nullification field. Among other things it means anything happening near me can not be seen by Precogs or Clairvoyants. I keep our meetings hidden from others.

"I have no problems with trusting Pedro. Cam does and that's enough fore me," she smiles softly, she looks at Peter and her expression is one of curiosity as always. She watches as he demonstrates his ability and she nods at Helena and Daniel. She shivers as Trask talks about his ability and role in the group. She regards everyone as she speaks, "Resident Precog here. I receive my visions of the future through dreams and they aren't all set in stone. My ability?" Eve swallows, "Is evolving but I haven't had a chance to really think about what it means yet." She runs a hand through her hair and looks at Peter, "The visions give me little sleep. Sorry." Her eyes close for a moment, "I have a few combat skills which makes me usable for assignments that need, force." she then looks up at the ceiling and shake her head, "Things to come? Complicated." She says no more. Her gaze then goes to everyone in the room.

Claire glances about the room and shrugs. "All right, my turn." She moves over to the stove and hovers her hand over it. Good, it's still hot. She makes sure she's far enough away from Trask by first scratching a line down her arm and watching it heal. Then, she presses her hand firmly down over the burner, until the sizzle and the smell of burning flesh faintly fill the air. She hisses, as she still feels pain after all. Then she holds her hand up for all to see. The palm looks like it has strips of tape peeling from it, but it's burnt skin. In seconds, it all begins to knit back together, turning a fresh healthy pink and then looking as if nothing had just happened. "Any questions?"

Listening to the descriptions of their powers, Peter nods, watching each member as they go through the details of what they can do. Helena's first, bring a raised eyebrow, "Lighting, and tornadoes?" He seems surprised by that, it was far more than he expected. Daniel's explanation though brings a considerable look of surprise — phasing, it explains how he got the documents he did — "That's amazing," He lingers on the young man for a moment, "That's going to be very valuable in the future, and so will learning how to control it more." Sergei's explanation brings a nod of mostly known information from Peter, but his other revelations — his true identity, associations with police, it all brings to him a thoughtful look. "That's perfect, you're the ideal mole. Your ability to deal with precognition will come in handy once we have to deal with Molly…" He furrows his brow, shaking his head, "But, that's for later." A troubled look comes over Peter for a moment while Eve speaks, not directly in relation to her words, but to something internal. "Dreams…" His eyes shift to the side, and he grows quiet for a time while Claire shows her gift, the one Peter knows best of all.

"With that out in the open," Peter says with as much of a smile as he can manage once that silence ends, "I think it's time I get to the meat of this meeting. The first part's the easiest — I want you to arrange for paired training exercises." He gives a moment to let that register before continuing, "Not the same things you've been doing, but more. I want you all to take the initiative to pair up as often as you can, to practice using your powers. Either here, or in the abandoned portions of the city if need be. I want you to figure out your limits, test yourselves, push yourselves to discover new things, to dig as deeply as you can and test one another to find what you're all capable of." Peter looks from one person to another, "This will also come with what Helena was speaking of. I don't know much about what she recommended, and I don't know anyone with that expertise. So, I'll leave that up to Helena." He turns to the blonde-haired girl, "If you know enough to train people, then that's your job. If not, work with the others to find someone, so that we can prepare for the attention we're going to draw to ourselves. We're going to need this strength for what's coming." Peter nods slowly, and seems to relinquish the floor for a time, to let discussion of those intentions grow. "Let's talk about that, for a little while. I've got one more detail to discuss afterwards, and then I want to hear ideas, opinions and suggestions from all of you."

"It's enough of a topic that it might need a whole separate discussion. But regardless, it's an issue of security, internal and external." Helena provides. "Whoever's interested can get together with me another time to discuss it. We're going to establish some protocols," a nice word she picked up the manuals, "For 'what to do if'. Once there's a solid outline, it can be presented to folks and incorporated. So see me, I guess, if you want in on it or have ideas." She looks at Peter a little wryly, as if blaming him for her own need to take charge before sitting down.

Trask settles back into his seat. "I'll be glad to pitch in on that Helena. If you will let me." He smiles slightly, "I'll be glad to help out with self defense training on anyone who needs it. Obviously working with you on powers will be a little less then effective. I don't want any of you snapping at me like the annoyed Agent Parkman from homeland the other day." He chuckles to himself at that, "I may not be around as much as everyone else with my day job, but when I am here I am always glad to help."

Daniel already does the training thing, an almost neurotic amount of it, actually, and it's well known to the rest of the group. He's always running through walls with backpacks full of heavy junk, timing himself climbing from basement to roof without any stairs, and hell, he has a dogeared algebra book recovered from the wreckage of some blasted-out school building and he is quite serious about working the problems in it. Someone intentionally re-taking 10th grade algebra when there hasn't even been a school to attend in two years is not someone who needs to be persuaded to train. "I'm up for whatever anyone has to teach." He says firmly.

Eve closes her eyes and lays her head against the wall. She drums the wall lightly and just listens to what everyone has to say. "Molly? Pretty name," she says and then goes quiet again. Her eyes then snap open and follow Helena as she speaks. Her head nods and she studies Peter again. "Speaking of helping, your visions you have. We should speak of them together. I may be able to help you find out what they all mean. That is if you want the help."

"Parkman?!" Claire's eyes grow wide as saucers and she stares down the nullifier. "Matt Parkman?" She tries to keep the panic out of her voice. "He reads minds." Obviously, that isn't an issue for Trask, but… "if that is who I think it is, none of us can risk contact with him. Do you understand me? Consider this an order from Cameron. Under no circumstances are any of us to approach or engage Matt Parkman for any reason. Does anybody have a problem with this?"

"Parkman!?" Peter echoes Claire's words and looks, for just a split second hopeful. "He's alive?" Then, the rest of what Sergei said dawns on Peter, followed by Claire's words and his expression clouds, "He's… working for Homeland Security?" The dark-haired man runs one hand over his head, a scorned expression crossing his face as he shakes his head. "Matt Parkman is a telepath, I don't know how strong he is. He's how I got my powers of telepathy to begin with, so if he's refined them to the same level I have — or worse, further — he's incredibly dangerous. He can implant suggestions, control you…" Peter scowls, "That son of a bitch." He glances up at Sergei again, "You're the best person we have to keep tabs on him. See if you can find out where he's living, what he's doing." Peter's brow tenses, again in thought, whatever else is going through his mind he doesn't speak up about. He passes a furtive glance to Eve, brow tensing for a just a moment, before he looks back to Sergei.

Helena blinks. Things are all processing a bit fast. Okay, Matt Parkman is bad, got it. "Sergei, get ahold of a picture of him or something, would you? It's all well and good for us to avoid him, but it's not much good if we don't know what he looks like." After all, not all of them have had the pleasure." She then nods in accordance with Peter, saying to Claire, "He's right. Sergei can be around him safely. Though he should probably be careful, since if this man can't read him, he might find other ways to spy." Dude! Helena seems to have a real grip on this whole Spy Versus Spy stuff. She looks back at Eve. "Who's Molly and what does she have to do with anything?"

Daniel says, "I don't tend to pass the time of day with Homeland Security guys, no matter what ability they have or don't." He doesn't seem too worried about Parkman in particular, even glancing slightly at Helena in puzzlement at the wild reaction everyone seems to have. He mutters something about walking in on a movie halfway through.

Trask nods and actually withdraws a group of papers from inside his coat, "I made some notes about what he was so interested in. I know he was very annoyed when I was standing next to him, checked my ID and found out I was evolved and asked me to move away. Made me assume he had powers of some sort, though I didn't know what. He was working with a couple locals, had the coroner open up a body that was microwaved from the inside. It appeared the coroner didn't want to do it, because the autopsy was inaccurate then he just changed his mind after Parkman had me move.

Eve doesn't reply much to the news of a man named Matt Parkman. She does look to Peter though, her mouth opens and then closes. She shakes her head at Helena, "Did you not hear him say something about dealing with Molly in regards to Trask here being able to negate her powers?" Eve rubs her temples and she closes her eyes.

"Parkman is a threat. The less he knows about any of us, the better. I agree, though. If Sergei can keep an eye on him through his position in the NYPD without drawing suspicion, that's… That's good." Claire takes a deep breath. "Molly? That's… a bridge we can cross when we come to it. Right now, she's of no consequence." She shoots Peter a look. Don't drop too much on them too fast.

"Molly is a trouble for later," Peter agrees with Claire, "I'll go into that later, but it's not something we need to worry about right now." He frowns, taking in a heavy breath afterwards. "Before we get any more sidetracked," Peter produces something from his pockets, a stack of photographs, "There's these." He slaps them down on the table, making a motion with his hand afterwards to fan them out. A low, harmonic rumble accompanies this gesture as he telekineticly arranges the pictures. "They're my last two future-paintings I've done. These are photographs of them that I want you to pass around and look at. I think they mean something, something about what we're going to be doing. Some of you have seen the one from the subway, some of you haven't. None of you have seen the other one." He motions to a single photograph that is different from the rest, "The person in that picture — I don't recognize him — but if any of you do, I think he's who we're supposed to go after, who we're supposed to free." Peter's brow furrows in thought, "There's no real way to know, though. But I wanted to offer these up."

The first photograph depicts a grimy and water-stained subway tunnel. Graffiti is spray-painted across the wall in black, depicting a gnarled arm reaching upwards, grasping at something unseen. The next set of photographs seem to be of a single, large mural, with specific points of interest shown in close-up in subsequent pictures. The first shows the mural as a whole, mostly abstract colors and shapes; a long series of numbers that repeats itself down near the ground; 8954, over and over again. There is a stylized profile of someone's face with closed eyes, a storm cloud with childishly painted lightning seems to be flowing from the face. Over the entire mural a wavy red line with three protruding bars from it is smeared, resembling the combination of an S and an F after a fashion. The red paint used in that symbol isn't clean, and it spatters around the edges, running in long-dried rivulets down the wall. The latter photographs show detail of each piece of that painting; the numbers, the face and the cloud, and the symbol.

The other photograph that isn't of a painting at all, but of an etching of some sort in the large window of a penthouse apartment. What is depicted on the apartment window, and in portion the walls and floor that are visible in the single photograph, is a life-size scene depicting a short-haired man with grim countenance seated on a cot attached to a wall. His posture is relaxed, almost slack, forearms draped over his knees and hands folded. He stares directly out from the etching with lightly shaded eyes. Beneath him, the shadow he casts in the etching is twisted and deformed, a serpentine line that snakes its way from the window, down onto the floor and towards the center of the room. It resembles a deformed S, with forked lines extending from it, like some amalgamation of an F and an S as a rough comparison — the same as the symbol in red from the subway photo.

"A friend of mine has seen the last picture, and I discussed with her the first." Peter slides his hands back into his pockets, "She recognizes the symbol as several things — It's the same symbol used on my father's business cards — He was gifted, like us. Ran a law firm that protected the Linderman group. I didn't think the logo had any significance. She also recognized it as well as the logo for a bladesmith that once operated out of midtown Manhattan; Jittetsu Arms. It's also on the cover of Chandra Suresh's book, and she thinks it resembles a single helix from…" Peter strains to remember the term, "An RNA strand." Peter sighs, "It's also on the cover of some issues of the 9th Wonders comic book, Isaac Mendez — the man I received my precognition powers from, wrote and drew it. He's… dead now, though."

Helena doesn't bother replying to Eve. Any snark would have died when the photos make their appearance anyway. It is of course, the face with the thundercloud and lightning that draw Helena's attention. She's both repelled and fascinated by it at the same time. She eyes the pictures with a small frown before wordlessly passing the set on to Daniel and then looks to Claire and Peter. "We should probably break up," she says quietly. "After everyone's had a look. This is a lot of information. Folks can come to you on their own." She suggests to Peter in addendum, "Things will get convoluted otherwise."

Daniel is back to being straight faced and saying nothing. He must be really confused.

Trask takes one of the pictures as they come around looking at it briefly, before handing it off, "So we have a picture of a man we are supposed to save, a new contact who is off collecting a list of government holding facilities, the Homeland Security Agent working in town is hunting down someone who can cook people like a microwave, and we need to start training in pairs. Did I miss anything?"

Finally leaving the wall, Eve walks forward and picks each of the pictures up in turn. Her head tilts and she breathes deeply. "A prisoner? Storm?" she stops speaking and continues to study the photo. "Not anyone I've ever seen" indicating the painting of the prisoner. Her eyes study the pictures for a few more moments and she nods slowly, "We will talk later Pedro. I need more time to think about these" she points to the pictures and passes them on.

The nice thing about living in a condemned tenement is that nobody comes poking their nose around. However, as the old saying goes, there's an exception to every rule — so it might not come as a complete surprise when a loud clattering noise booms through the hall outside the apartment. Someone — or something — has knocked something over near the building's entrance. It could be a stray dog. It could be a homeless person looking for somewhere warm and dry to spend the night. It could be a team of Homeland Security agents converging on PARIAH's location.

You never know.

Claire frowns faintly as she takes her turn to look at the photographs. None of it sits well with her. And then there's the sound of the crash. Claire's head turns immediately toward the sound of the noise. She's already in leader mode. "Everybody stay here," she demands urgently, heading toward the door. She stops to point furiously at Peter. "And that goes double for you." I'm in charge. You stay put. "I need you here in case we have to start getting people out of here quickly," she explains. You're useful to me here. "If I call out to West, I want you to start moving people." Maybe she's being paranoid, but Cameron is out dealing with law enforcement. She can only hope they didn't somehow get led back here. Trusting that her orders will be followed, she hurries off toward the front of the building, the heavy sound of her footsteps fading off.

Trask is already up out of his chair when Claire gives orders, his gun is in his hand and ready and his scarf is up over his face. He moves toward the door, as Peter starts giving out his own orders, he frowns and looks at Claire and Helena. Still Peter's orders do make sense so he falls in near Claire.

"Sergei will negate Claire." Helena points out, but does what she's told, looking over at, of all people, Daniel and giving him a brief smile before she moves as instructed. "You heard him, Eve." From her tone, she doesn't expect Eve to listen. Everyone else seems content to remain and be quiet. If Helena's bothered by how Peter took things in hand, well - the smart thing to do would be to take it up when it's all over, and Helena is a smart girl.

Daniel, faced with contradictory orders, instinctively leans towards taking action, and does so fast. He snatches up his air mask and slides it over his head, buckling it shut with a few expert motions of his fingers, pumping a few squeezes of air to replenish the canister an amount that is without question too small to make a lot of difference, but every little bit no doubt counts when you're in that strange alternate realm, and it's a good habit for him to have. There isn't a visible change when he becomes incorporeal, but an absence of sound, absolutely no sound, not the tiny bits of cloth on cloth, not the chair scooting a tiny fraction of an inch as he rises, because that doesn't happen, the chair stays exactly where it is. Behind that fireman's mask, with the hose leading down, his expression is as hidden as it is unreadable when it is visible. He disappears into the floor in complete silence, without a flicker, sliding downwards like an image being erased from the feet up. Gone. It's a move he's clearly practiced a lot. Uncertain though he may be in 10th grade algebra, this, this move he knows to obsessive perfection.

Eve snorts and draws her Desert Eagle it was behind her back. Trouble, she'll shoot it. She tilts her head and some of her hair falls into her face. After Peter asks them, Eve puts her gun away and walks closer to Helena. Her gaze is searching as she moves and touches Helena's arm if only to reassure her. "Stop it," she shakes her head a little. "Let's not hurt her unless she is a threat." Eve says not wanting to hurt an innocent. "We don't want the blood of innocents on our hands."

Out in the hall, there's another sound — softer this time, like shuffling. If Peter is to be believed, it makes sense that she might spook after making such a loud noise, but rather than turn tail and run before Daniel can get around behind her, her footsteps can clearly be heard on the creaky floorboards as she makes her way further down the hall. A moment later, her voice, shaky and shrill, joins them.

"Hello? Is anybody in here? I'm looking for a— for a Peter— Peter Petrezzi?"

He did not just do that.

Claire stares at Peter with wide, incredulous eyes. "You can't just do that, Peter. I'm in charge!" Her whisper is harsh. Just because everyone needs to work together doesn't mean that it's all right to undermine her authority.

Take point? Take point?! "You know what? Helena's right." … "Sergei!" Claire barks. "Go stand next to Peter so I can kick the shit out of him!" Positively fuming, it's a good thing that Claire didn't inherit Cameron's powers with his leadership duties, or there would be some KFP.

Kentucky Fried Petrelli. Extra crispy.

The creaking floorboards cause Claire's anger to be put on hold. Not subside or dissipate, though. It's still there in full force. It's just kept in check for now. "Sergei," she orders quietly, "Go and stand with Eve. Eve, put that thing away before someone gets hurt."

Peter is silent, it's hard to tell if he's still nearby at first. Eve feels a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently and reassuringly, the shape of fingers imprinting into the fabric from the touch. He circles around her, footsteps now heard, keeping to the back of the group with the others, "Claire knows Sergei's range, she can — " His words cut out immediately when Claire throws her tantrum. There's silence, a great deal of it, and then Peter fades into existence, staring at Claire, his brow tensing as she orders Sergei around again. He's silent, no sign of him any more, and the impression on the clothing Eve was wearing vanishes as well. This is all accompanied by the sound of rushing air. Peter is gone.

Helena jerks her arm away from Eve's touch. Helena seldom gets genuinely angry, but from the set of her mouth, she's going to take it out on a punching bag or something later. She keeps to the rear - truthfully, it's what Cam would have her do anyway. When Peter disappears, she gapes a moment, and then proceeds as Claire instructs. She can't wait to show them all the chapter section on Chain Of Command. She'll have visual aids. Possibly involving real chains.

Daniel goes through the basement to the utter blackness of solid earth underneath the entrance to the place, the last place he knows that the person was. He then heaves himself upwards, fast, appearing, again, completely silently, no sound, no air displaced, nothing but his air-masked form, just outside that front doorway, moving in with eerie stillness behind whoever-it-is, ready to go solid at a moment's notice. He is just as ignorant of the drama between Peter and Claire now as he would have been had he been there, so he has, technically, missed nothing.

Sergei follows Claire's orders over Peter's once Claire sorts through everything, he moves toward Eve just before Peter teleports out, not quite catching him in the area, he still has his side arm inside and looks to Claire, "So what's next boss?"

The girl (because it is a girl), remains blissfully oblivious to Daniel's presence as he rises up through the floor. This is only partly due to the fact that her back is to him; the majority of her attention is focused on the dark stretch of hallway ahead of her, and what might be laying in wait. "Excuse me?" she tries again. "This is— really, really important." In her hands she holds a crumpled piece of paper, and in an attempt to soothe her frazzled nervous, begins smoothing it between her fingers. "I have a message…"

"Stay here." Claire moves through the doorway. She's upset by Peter's disappearance, but what else is she supposed to do? He can't always be the one to be the hero. Isn't that what got him into trouble once before? She approaches the little girl in the hallway and offers her a reassuring smile. "My name is… Claire Petrelli." That's even almost the truth. "You have a message for Peter? Can I see it?" She holds her hand out for the piece of paper. "I can give it to him."

Out in the basement hall, Peter appears with that rush of air beside several of the stacked crates, he's behind her now. Daniel's ephemeral form hovers not far away from where Peter appears, and he nods to the ghostly young man after noticing him, then shimmers and fades out of sight where he stands. Peter makes no approach to the girl, no attempt to communicate with her, he leaves that up to Claire. Unseen again, he waits in silence while contemplating the severity of this arrival. Someone knows that this place isn't entirely abandoned, someone knows that Peter is alive, someone knows Peter has been here at some point. All three of these things are unfortunate, but it's the girl's nervousness that settles finally in Peter's mind that she isn't the one to be wary of, it's whoever gave the message she's going to deliver.

There's very little Helena can do here except wait and see how this plays out. So she keeps her mouth shut and waits.

Daniel just looms. He doesn't exactly hover. In fact, sharp senses would note that he's actually a tiny bit more in the floor than he would be if he were just standing on it. He stays silent, dark, masked, hands at his sides, loose, ready for action. Really, really creepy.

Trask stands at the door, listening and watching Claire through the doorway, out of sight of the girl, his gun is still out and ready but he makes no move to close on he two girls as yet. He does frown when Claire uses that name though.

The girl freezes up at the first sign of someone stepping through the doorway, but when she sees who it is, she visibly relaxes and the tension appears to seep out of her like air from a balloon. Claire can't be more than two or three years older than her, right? She's harmless — not like the two men standing behind her. Fortunately, she doesn't notice them — not yet — and instead glances down at the piece of paper. "Uh," she says, "no, actually— it's an address." In case the blonde doesn't believe her, she pulls it taut and holds it up for Claire to see. It is an address, and it belongs to this building.

"He told me not to write it down," the girl explains, "in case— in case Homeland Security picked me up, I guess." She pauses, letting this information sink in before she continues. When she does, her voice is softer than it was a few moments ago — just above a whisper. "Dr. Suresh wants to meet with him at Belvedere Castle in Central Park. Tomorrow."

Claire nods slowly. "Belvedere Castle." She resists the urge to glance up and over the girl's shoulder. "Doctor Suresh. I'll be sure to tell him if I see him before then. I haven't seen him for days." Because, really, if someone's looking for Peter? She needs to pretend that this isn't the place to find him in the future. It could spell disaster for them all. Dammit, Cameron. Where are you? I'm not sure if what I'd do is what you'd do!

Mohinder. Peter's eyes narrow in his unseen state as he hears the name, head lowering. He stands there for a time, watching the young girl, then steps to the side just a few feet to obstruct view of himself from the girl behind several of the crates. He fades back into existance, his body shimmering around the edges as Daniel is able to see him again. Peter peers out from behind the corner, keeping the young girl just barely in sight, and he cants his head to the side slightly, tensing his brow as he does; Concentrating.

Daniel, having not been instructed otherwise, continues to loom. Did he practice this too? He must have. It's like the bad guy in a Japanese ghost movie, with an air mask for his face-obscuring.

Trask stays where he is, watching and listening remaining out of sight

If Peter concentrates hard enough, he might be able to skim visions off the very surface of the girl's mind. Mohinder's hands closing around hers, pressing the address into her palms. The sound of his voice, soft but firm, telling her to deliver the message to Peter Petrelli. His smile as he reassures her that she's going to be all right; Peter is a good man, and he won't hurt her. It's so very important that she find him. Lives depend on it.

"O-Okay," she girl mumbles in response to Claire. "You gotta promise though. He said people might— die." Already she's beginning to back away, toe-to-heel, gaze downcast. There might not be much point in asking for elaboration, not when she looks like she's about to bolt at any minute.

"You can tell Doctor Suresh that I'll let Peter know. Don't worry." Claire's expression is concerned, but gentle. She doesn't move to stop the other girl.

"Why would you be coming to look for him here?" calls a young woman's voice. Those who know her will recognize Helena's voice.

Peter hears what he needs to, and when that look of concentration fades from him, he's checked out the girl's mind as well. Visions again, not just words, Cat's gift had been changing how he views things more than just inside of her mind it seems. While a puzzled expression grows on his face, the dark-haired man closes his eyes tightly as he sidesteps back behind the crates. There isn't any more need for him to be here, that much is evident to him, whether or not it's fact. With a sigh, Peter watches Daniel for a moment, and when he looks away his eyes close forcefully. Then, with a surge of air moving to fill the space where he once was; He's heard enough, he's gone.

Daniel steps aside - through the wall - to let the girl go without her ever knowing he was there - no need to let people know that ghosts are real if they don't have to know, that way nobody spends time watching walls to see if someone will come through them. He doesn't concern himself with Peter's comings and goings. Peter is management. Daniel is labor.

Trask backs off a little now that it seems the girl is harmless, his gun still out he steps back into the room to make sure she doesn't see him before she goes.

The girl's eyes flick in the direction of Helena's voice. The fact that Claire isn't as alone as she first appeared seals the deal for her, causing her to turn and walk briskly away. Before she disappears around the corner, she tosses one last look over her shoulder and calls out, "Ask Dr. Suresh! He's the one who gave me the address!" And then she's gone.


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September 8th: Not the Best Time
Previously in this storyline…
Not the Best Time

Next in this storyline…
Impossibilities

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September 9th: Maybe In That Order
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