Working for the Man


matt_icon.gif tracy_icon.gif

Scene Title Working for the Man
Synopsis Information is passed through unofficial channels by two high-ranking government folks. They're terse, they laugh, they tease - it's pretty out there. But then, people working for the government have to be, don't they?
Date May 27/28, 2009

Matt Parkman's Office

There's a couch.

Few people have seen or heard much of Matt Parkman in the last few days, least of all his family. Thankfully though unfortunately, this isn't too uncommon for the high ranking DHS official. Those who have seen the now red-faced and hollow-eyed man with any frequency probably wish they hadn't. Though he isn't one to lose his temper at work, occasional shouts have been heard from his corner office and the offices of his immediate underlings. After passing along the information concerning Magnes Varlane to those who were already hard at work on the case, all of Parkman's efforts have been concentrated on finding out who it was that called him, how he was able to do so, and why he was so interested in…But his underlings and even his equals have had a hard time figuring out why Parkman doesn't want the glory for the now inevitable takedown - why he doesn't want his name slapped all over the job in order to glean the appropriate credit and momentum. Like the naming of the Hindenburg, many are hesitant where they would otherwise be bold, scared that this strange tip, already too good to be true, is going to blow up in their faces at any second. In the middle of a dark and gloomy lull, Parkman sits at his desk, his fingers knotted in his hair which is just on the edge of needing a trim. The jacket of his suit has long since been tossed across the room and onto the tempting leather couch against the wall, and it's clear that Parkman's been in that particular suit for longer than many deem appropriate.

And someone knows exactly how it feels. Not exactly exactly, because she doesn't have a family. But she spends enough time at work to know what it's like wearing the same clothes for much too long. Still, she makes it look better. Way better. "Parkman." She says, after knocking on the door and poking her head in without waiting for an answer. Is it Niki? Jessica? Judging from the pearls around her neck: Tracy Strauss. Of course, she heard about the phonecall that he's been dying to find out about. Um…whoops. Okay, that was her bad, but in her defense…well she's sure she'll get to explain her defense here. So now it comes down to the promise she made him make. I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine. "We need to talk."

"You can get the same information I got if you talk to Basinger," he grunts without even lifting his eyes from the desktop, though changes are they're closed. "He's got my full report, and I'll bet dollars to donuts he'll even get Jenny to run you off a copy and bind it before you can polish off a cup of coffee." From the sound of it, the now tired tirade has been said time and time again, though arguably perhaps not to someone as influential as Tracy Strauss. Not until now, at least.

She steps in the door. And closes it. Pointly. "Parkman, relax. I'm about to give you all the answers you're looking for." Probably because the questions are her fault anyway. But she's not going to tell him that - telling him that takes away her leverage in the situation, and she needs that. Because she's going to need something from him. "About the Magnes Varlane phoencall you got. I can tell you everything you need to know." She gives him a coy little smile as she steps deeper into the office. Yeah, she knows he wants her….information. And she wants his. So it's all fair. Love, war, and business, it's all fair.

As if he wasn't tense enough already, Parkman's muscles tighten even more as he inhales sharply and snaps his head up to stare at Tracy, as if he could dig out what he wanted with a look. A slightly squinty-faced look accompanied by a tilt of the head. He's desperate enough to do it, but Tracy's professionalism reminds Parkman of his own. With another, more frustrated male-animal noise, he pushes himself away from the desk and leans back in his chair, gesturing brusquely toward the couch.
"I'm listening," Parkman says after a tight swallow, unsure if he wants Tracy to know exactly how important the information is. That Molly was kidnapped is certainly something she has had opportunity to glean from her various well-informed sources, but the fact that her taker was Parkman's own father might be a detail that escaped even her hawk-eyed notice. Certainly the fact that whomever was on the other end of that phonecall had more to talk about than Magnes Varlane…

Tracy settles into the sofa, or rather, on the edge of it. She's a woman on the edge, after all, given her job and the current life she leads. "The phonecall you recieved about Varlane was from a man named Adam Monroe." Gosh, and this isn't even the interesting part of the story. "I met him just before I met Varlane himself, who followed me to lunch one day in order to confront me about being considered a terrorist." She cocks her head, waiting, watching him with her cold blue eyes. Maybe there's a hint of a smile on her face - she can help him, he can help her? This is a good thing. And, of course, the most immediate point to come to mind? Outside of the government, who has really been calling Varlane a terrorist with ties to Nakamura? Varlane knew that they knew.

Parkman blinks, his face suddenly paler than a thousand sunny days spent indoors could inspire.
He swallows, then narrows his eyes as if to question Tracy. But why would Tracy Strauss have any reason to know that name? Surely the Petrelli's hadn't opened their bosom to her so far as to embrace her with Company arms. Swallowing again and leaning forward in his best attempt at a calm exterior, Parkman laces his fingers together to keep from punching the desk. Instead, he rests his effectively shackled hands on it. "Adam Monroe," he repeats, licking his teeth behind his lips afterward, as if the name left a bad taste in his mouth. "Where'd you dig up that name?" As if it were anyone's name. As if it were John Smith.

Tracy Strauss may have been born at night….well, you know the rest. Parkman can hide the tongue against his teeth. He can shackle his hands to the desk. But he can't hide the pallor in his face, and he certainly can't hide that Tracy found a very delicate pin in a very delicate spot and hit it with a sledgehammer, even if it wasn't intentional. "It's the right name, Parkman, you know it." She cocks her head to the side, watching him curiously. "I thought you'd be at least a little happy - this saves you some work. Because from what I can tell, you know it's the right name as much as I do. So who is this guy?"

"This guy," Parkman says on the edge of another swallow, his eyes narrowing as his cracked mask falls from his face, "is a guy I very much need to know how you know, Tracy." It's rare that Parkman uses the first names of his business associates, and so the gravity of the situation as it has been revealed to Parkman is so slightly exposed to Strauss.

Tracy is used to people getting upset with her. It doesn't really phase her - if she were here trying to please everyone and watch everyone's blood pressure? The simple reality is that she wouldn't be here. What is it with this Adam guy? she wonders to herself, still managing to look calm and collected on the outside. "He told it to me," she tells him, her honesty stark and perfectly open. "When he followed me to my lunch place. I'm getting followed by a lot of nasty people lately, so it'd be nice if you could help me out a little in the Adam Monroe department - what kind of guy makes the Deputy HomeSec look like he just killed his own mother?"

"I'm more than happy to. Did he make any mention of wanting to see you again?" It's Parkman's turn to be on edge, but in the eager and hungry way, not the uptight and defensive one. "If I put a tail on you, he'll know. He's a crafty-ass son of a bitch who'd I'd very much like to put in a very deep and dark hole for a long, long time."

"He seemed particularly polite to me. And he's already found me again since our first meeting, I saw him yesterday." She explains, with a gentle wave of her hand. "Yesterday morning? Yes, yesterday morning." She says, nodding after she's sure. "Second time in two days that I'd seen him. Like I said," she offers a little shrug. "He was very polite. Now, Magnes Varlane was a little bit more…." she wavers her hand a little. "unstable."

Unable to sit any longer, Parkman stands and begins to pace, though he remains behind his desk. "Believe me," he says with a tired half-sigh, half-chuckle, "Monroe's charm is just a ruse. The chances of him turning from scum to informant are… well, they're shit." Embarrassed at last by his language, Parkman's pale cheeks redden slightly, and he shakes his head, muttering an apology. "We need to bring him in, but he's not going to come willingly." Parkman rubs his forehead as he thinks, every inch of his body coiled to pounce at the shadow that is Adam Monroe. "And even if I tail you, he'll spook and run off again. Dammit."

Tracy shakes her head, lifting a hand a little bit to try and get the man to calm down. "If I may be so bold, there's more that you and I have to discuss. So we should probably set a pace. We're both busy people." She lowers her hand to her lap, crossing her legs and tugging her skirt down to make sure she remains Republican-inspired modest. "Tell me about Adam Monroe, besides the fact that he's 'scum'." And her thoughts? Relax a little, your head's about to pop off.

Wouldn't that be a relief. But Parkman sighs, stopping in his paces and rolling his shoulders back like an athlete getting a second wind before plunging back into a game. "There's not a lot I can't tell, Strauss," he says after a moment, his level gaze as honest as always. "Remember that breakout from Primatech awhile back? He was one of them." As was the bitch that decided to make a snack out of Parkman's left arm. Swallowing again, the man lifts his right hand to rub the sensationless arm that now hangs in its stead as he continues to sift through his own head for possible answers to the puzzle before him.

Primatech Paper is still a new concept for Tracy. She didn't hear about it until recently, when she opened up her connections with Matt Parkman to begin working a bit more hand-in-hand with Homeland Security. So she nods, but doesn't understand the full ramifactions of what Primatech is. "So what can he do? And what did he do to get in there?"

"Adam's a regenerator," Parkman explains, though something seems to be distracting him even as he does his best to fill Tracy in on as many details as he can. He turns toward his computer, but rather than sit to do his searching, he stands, hunched over the monitor. "He's… well, he's old. Been around for centuries. Got a lot of information, friends, grudges, agendas, and enemies. It's not a healthy combination for anyone."

Well that does warrent an eyebrowraising. "He's centuries old?" She asks, clearly a little taken aback. "Well…shit." Because really, where else does one go with that? "Is he a danger to me?" Not that Tracy's only out for her own skin. She'll defend other skins too! Just making sure hers is okay in the process. She's not selfish per say - she watches out for her own hide like everyone else. She's jsut honest about it. Doesn't mean she won't help another hide in teh process.

"If you get in the way of what he wants, or become a way for him to get it?" Parkman's own eyebrows lift as he asks his own question, and remain there when he turns his head to look at the woman across the room. They flatten again after a moment. "Yes." Final - like the slamming of a cell door or the bang of a judge's gavel. Parkman's fingers even come down on the keyboard with a definitive CLICK before he turns his screen for Tracy to better see what he's pulled up.

The retrieved file belongs to Richard Cardinal, Registered Evolved and Currently Wanted Felon.

Well isn't that just fucking fabulous. But then again? It's really starting to become par for the course. Seeing the screen, Tracy gracefully pushes off the sofa, being cautious of her well-manicured nails as she does so. A few steps take her across the room and she's leaning over the screen, peering at it with narrowed eyes. "Richard…Cardinal…" she reads, turning her eyes back to Matt to wait for an explination.

Parkman smiles smugly, leaning back and filling his chest with a deep breath.

"A man who is hopefully much easier to find."

Tracy nods softly, turning the screen back to face him. "Will he be stalking me too?" She asks, crossing her arms over her chest. "Between that Humanis First bitch, Monroe and now this other guy…um…" She waves a hand in front of her face, trying to remember. "Mortimer. Mortimer Jack. I came here with information on Monroe, but I need something from you in return."

Positively gleeful now that the end of the tunnel is in sight after such a long time in the dark, Parkman suppresses a grin and a chuckle. "Trust me, Tracy," he says gently, flicking the pad of his thumb across the monitor's power button. "Okay, I'll bite. My turn. Who's that?" Not every pidly crook shows up on DHS's radar, after all. The local cops have to have something to do.

Alright, well that's good for nothing. "I need a couple of things from you. One, I need you to write a request to the local PD asking them to release all the information they have on Jack to you, and then I need you to feed me some of it." She waves a hand, as if pre-empting his asking her why. "Second, I need a list of the top crimminals operating on Staten Island." For security reasons. "And….after we talk about that, we'll talk about the third thing I need."

"What did Monroe want from you?" Parkman interrupts, either distracted by his own thoughts or reminded of his own needs after Tracy's rattling off her list as if he were her personal assistant. His face is suddenly stern - searching and suspicious. How much information is she feeding Adam?

"My phone number, among other things. And to talk about a visit I had from Magnes Varlane. At the same lunch spot." She notices his sudden change from happy to unhappy, and she folds her arms looking displeased. "Parkman, spare me your HomeSec suspiciousness. Not everyone's trying to get you re-merged under DoD. I'm helping you, remember?" And her thoughts, too, those radiate. Remember the state you were in 20 minutes before I walked into this office? If I were as tight as these people I'd never get anything done.

Parkman is silent for a moment, then relents. "I'll get you what I can," he says with a nod. "What lunch spot?" The two sentences are practically seamless, one flowing easily after the other as Parkman bends to jot down the first two items on Tracy's wish list.

"Burt's Falafels." No, she's not kidding. "Apparenlty if you ever want to stock me, that's the place to do it." Not that she thinks he'd ever stalk her - and her tone is indicitive of that. She settles down again, this time on one of the chairs in front of his desk. "And I'm sorry if I'm a bit demanding. In the past two weeks, I've been threatened…twice? Maybe three times, depending on your threat. Followed, locked in my own car - it's not been a good month. "Anyway, between the falafel place and the Orchid Lounge, people seem to just find me."

"Don't give up your haunts," Parkman says as assuringly as he can, dotting his pen on the notepad before dropping it to the desk again. "I'll brief you when I can." Whether he means about Monroe, Jack, or Staten Island's Most Wanted, he leaves open to interpretation. "Anything else I can do for you?"

Whatever her next request is? It's heavy. She smooths her hands down her legs, taking a moment. But she meets his eyes - she always does. "I need to talk to someone," she says. Okay? Yes, dramatic pause. No joke. Sylar's not available. Neither is Hiro Nakamura. "I need to talk to the President's brother, Peter Petrelli. Can you help me?" He's the freaking DHS, so she's hoping he can. "It's important."

Stunned to silence again, Parkman's first noise in repsonse to Tracy's request is a laugh. It's quiet at first, but it soon grows before he can reign it in. He wipes his brow, then blushes again with embarassment, knowing he's likely ruffled the White House Rep considerably with his outburst. "You want me to find a needle in a haystack when you've got one almost stickin' you in the eye, Strauss? That's rich." But in the back of his mind, Parkman is sobered. He can only hope that Tracy doesn't know about Molly's ability, and the fact that he couldn't ask his adoptive daughter to help right now if he wanted to sucks the last bit of mirth right out of him.

"I'm not asking you to bend over backward here for me," she says, sitting back and crossing. Crossing her arms, crossing her legs. Just…crossing. Yes, she's ruffled. Her beautiful plummage is spreading at it's full. Maybe that's what the leg crossing is - for men, thigh=beautiful plumage. "I'm saying that if it comes up, keep me in mind. It's probably nothing, but…I'm very thorough in everything that I do." Tracy turns her eyes back up to the man, cocking her head to the side as she considers him a moment.

Normally, the flash of that particular thigh doesn't do that much for Parkman, but this is a Parkman running on little sleep and large doses of caffeine. He gulps, then averts his eyes and sits, flicking the monitor back on to give himself something to look at. "I'll do my best," he mutters, cowed by Tracy in some way or another, but it is likely as much her physical attributes at the moment as it is the fact he's offended her. "But I'm telling you, you shouldn't get your hopes up."

Tracy doesn't even notice, so it all passes without incident. She looks back at him with a shake of her head. "I don't expect anything, but it never hurts to put it out there. I might get lucky," she turns her eyes back to the man, thinking a moment. "I don't think I can give you anything more on Adam Monroe. Do you want a text message or something the next time he hits me up for a falafel?"

"That'd be nice." Parkman smiles as if he hardly expects her to do it, then shakes his head. "He's too careful to give you any of his contact info, and I wouldn't want you wrapped up with him that tight anyway. It could only be bad for you. I'll see what I can do, but we need him brought in." For questioning, and so, so much more.

At long last, she moves to stand. "I'll do my best," and if he looks in her head? She means it. It could be because she's such a nice girl. Or it could be because that she wants the flow of information to continue between the two of them. It's really anyone's guess. "Thanks, Parkman. Go home and get some sleep, okay? You look like hell and you're kind of starting to smell." But it's said with a smile. A geniuine, kinda friendly one.

Parkman snorts out a chuckle, then flashes Tracy a smile and playful wink of his own. "You're the one who shut the door." But he soon shakes his head and waves a dismissive hand at her before turning back to his computer. As much as he'd like to go home, there's far too much work to be done. Soon, hopefully, he'll force himself to leave. Soon.

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