Dealing with the Devil

Participants:

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Scene Title Dealing with the Devil
Synopsis Danielle comes forward and presents her case to Daniel Linderman.
Date September 28th, 2008

Linderman Building — Linderman's Office


It's been a while, and she's considered the options, and now there is a reporter showing up at the Linderman Building. While some of his employees might be distressed at her presence, he himself probably has no knowledge of her visit till she's there and stating that Ms. Hamilton with the Post has some important information for him, and urgently needs to see him.

While Linderman wouldn't give up his gift for all the money or power in the world, there are still times that he wishes he possessed Angela Petrelli's sense of foresight. If he knew Ms. Hamilton was coming, he would have had a valuable opportunity to prepare for her arrival. Instead, he sends his employees scrambling to make the reporter comfortable while he finishes his business upstairs. By the time Danielle is escorted up to his office, it's been almost an hour after she first arrived. On the bright side, she hasn't been assaulted — and if the cordial treatment she received from the front desk is any indication about Linderman's temperament, she might not have anything to worry about after all.

The door opens, and sitting behind a stately antique desk is a rosy-cheeked man with silver hair and an immaculately-trimmed beard. He looks just like he does in the newspapers, but that's probably no big surprise. His appearance isn't what he's needed to hide for the past few decades.

The reporter was figuring just that. Oddly enough, coming here in the open is probably the safest thing that she could do to deal with this. She's escorted up, and she steps into the room, with a smile, and walks up toward his desk, offering her hand out. "Mr. Linderman." she says.

"Ms. Hamilton." With a smile, Linderman rises from his desk and takes Danielle's hand, giving it a firm but gentle squeeze. "I'm sure you understand that this is very unorthodox," he says, "but I was told you might have something of interest to me?" With a broad sweep of his free arm, he gestures for her to take a seat in one of the leather armchairs positioned on the side of the desk that faces the office's tinted windows.

Dani nods "I thought you might be interested." She takes out a mini-recorder from her bag, sets it down on the desk, and presses play. This is the big gamble. She's gambling a lot on the possibility that he doesn't know about this, personally. The contents of The Tape begins to play. Kain's voice. Mischa's voice. Direct mention of "Daniel" and "The Linderman Group". Mischa ordering Dani killed. Kain saying that Linderman wouldn’t want the police involved in that car chase.

Linderman settles back in his chair and, silent, listens to the duration of the tape with his large hands folded upon the desk. Every now and then he tilts his head, just so, as if that might help him to better discern what he's hearing. The expression on his face, however, remains neutral — guarded. You don't climb as high up the social ladder as Linderman has without learning a few tricks about body language.

When the tape reaches its end, he leans forward and raises his eyes to meet and hold Danielle's gaze. "You're right," he says, "I am interested." The ball is back in the reporter's court now.

Dani replies, "Your people put me in the hospital, Mr. Linderman. I have brain damage as a result of it. Then they beat up the detective on the case, and threatened her daughter's life. My career is PROBABLY tanked if I don't pursue this story. I've got a lot riding on it." She takes a deep breath. "You're a businessman. You don't want this going forward. Neither with the police, due to the legal ramifications, and ESPECIALLY not in the press. You know public opinion. You don't want this hitting the news. I don't want to end up dead, and I don't want to end up being responsible for anyone else ending up dead. I also don't want to end up jobless because I can't chase this. I've got multiple copies of this, and contingency plans; if I vanish or get killed, this will hit the press. So we both have problems. I'm not a businesswoman, Mr. Linderman. You're a businessman. Help me solve this." In other words…willing to deal.

"The detective assigned to your case wouldn't happen to be Mrs. Kaydence Lee Damaris?" Linderman asks, raising both his bushy white eyebrows. Before Danielle has a chance to answer, however, he shakes his head and begins smoothing the invisible wrinkles from the front of his suit jacket. "Never mind. Rest assured, Ms. Hamilton, you have nothing to worry about. Neither I nor any of my associates would lay a hand on a member of the New York Police Department, let alone a child. I'll be honest with you: I don't know what's going on with Mr. Zarek or Ms. Christinel, but I intend to get to the bottom of it for both your sake and mine. That said, I think I might be able to come up with arrangement that's to your liking. If you're willing to hear an old man out?"

Dani looks interested when Linderman comes up with the right name from the get-go. But she nods. "That's why I'm here, Mr. Linderman." She sits down. She can't help but feel like she's dealing with the devil. But some prices are too high.

"As much of an imbecile as Mr. Zarek is, he's also a valuable asset to my business — as is Ms. Christinel. They will be dealt with according to this company's policy, not that of the city's district attorney. In return, I can offer you a lucrative position here at the Linderman Group. You're a smart woman, and — now more than ever — I'm in need of employees with a good head on their shoulders." Linderman turns his head to look out the window as he speaks, his gaze drifting past New York’s cityscape and into the distance. "Job security for life, a salary in the six-figure range — and you needn't worry about the legitimacy of your position, either. If keeping your hands clean is important to you, then that can be arranged."

Danielle blinks. THAT wasn't something she expected. Getting the dogs off her heels, yes. But suddenly she's being presented with a real deal with the devil. She thinks about it, putting on a neutral expression and letting it run past her brain. She finally asks "And exactly what position are we talking about here, Mr. Linderman?"

"Public relations," says Linderman, "building a rapport with employees and investors while managing the flow of information between this organization and those outside of it. If your present predicament has taught me anything, it's that Zarek lacks finesse when it comes to his people skills. What happened to you shouldn't ever happen to anyone else, whether they're investigating my business or not."

Danielle can't help but look a bit amused. "I don't know that you want someone who has short-term memory problems as your PR person, Mr. Linderman. But I'm not going to turn it down. I accept."

"I'm very glad to hear that." Once again, Linderman reaches across the desk, but this time it isn't to take Danielle's hand. Instead, he rests his palm upon her brow and, gently, slips his fingers into her hair. "As for your memory, you are a reporter — you of all people should know that I possess certain… talents."

Which may have been part of her plan in all of this. She replies "I suppose it counts as part of the employee benefit plan." Classic Dani…buries nervousness under humor.

Linderman's response is a low, throaty chuckle. At least it's good to know that humor won't go unappreciated here. "I want you to close your eyes and relax, Ms. Hamilton. You may begin to feel yourself slipping — but when you wake up, it will be in the comfort of your own home. You have my word."

Danielle tenses up. How can she NOT? But then, her comment of contingency plans wasn't a bluff. And if he wanted her dead, there were better ways and places than doing it in his office. She nods, closing her eyes, and trying to relax.

Sure enough, less than a minute has passed before Danielle feels herself beginning to lose her grasp on consciousness. Maybe it's because putting her under makes it easier for Linderman to work, or maybe it's just an unfortunate side-effect of having someone mentally tinker around in your brain — either way, blackness is about to swallow her whole.

Danielle has nothing left but to trust in her plan. Her eyes are already closed, and so there's already nothing to see. But at some point, she transitions to unconsciousness, and slumps in her chair.

Linderman lurches forward and catches Danielle in his arms, gently easing her into a position that won't cause any strain on her neck or her back. "That's a good girl," he murmurs, beginning to work in earnest. He is, if nothing else, a man of his word…


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September 27th: I'd Do It Different
Previously in this storyline…
It's Your Call

Next in this storyline…
Trying Plan B

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September 28th: First Day Of School
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