A Shiny Record of Truth-Telling and Other Such Honest Behavior


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Scene Title A Shiny Record of Truth-Telling and Other Such Honest Behavior
Synopsis All manner of dealings happen at Rapture.
Date September 28, 2008


The pulsing beat of bass throbs through the walls of Rapture, a high-class nightclub in the heart of Harlem. Rows of expensive cars line up out front of the exclusive club and a crowd of would-be patrons wait outside, cherry-picked by the bouncers to have only the cream of the crop on the interior, while leaving just enough eye-candy outside to entice other patrons. The club serves as a respite for the trendy and the influential from the grind of daily life.

On the inside, Rapture is as much a spectacle as it is a structure. Multiple dance floors in tiered balconies overlooking an enormous central dance floor ringed by plush leather-upholstered booths. Pale blue light shines on the wrap-around bar that curved around the back of the establishment, and the entire building is filled floor-to-floor and shoulder-to-shoulder with the pulsing, flowing sea of people dancing to the rhythmic beats of electronic dance music piped through the expansive sound-system.

"Just make sure he doesn't pass out." Stepping out of one of the private suites in the back of the club, a tall and well-dressed man emerges to the pulsing and rhythmic beat of the Rapture nightclub. Standing near the blue leather-padded door is a mountain of a man, with a smooth, shaved head and small circular-lensed sunglasses obscuring his eyes. He nods, straightening his suit jacket that fits him like a tux on a gorilla, "And hey, take care've this will ya?" The dapper-dressed man wipes at his hands again with a stained cloth, tossing it to land over the enormous man's shoulders before cracking a smile, heading out into the crowded club.

It is scenes like this that play out day and night here at Rapture, a facade of social intermingling painted over a foundation build on corruption, greed and deceit. Tonight of all nights is usually one of the busiest, the last hurrah of the weekend before so many return to the doldrums of their daily life. It is in this surging environment that Kain Zarek is most at home. He weaves his way through the sea of writhing bodies dancing to the pulsing, electronic beats. Pulsing lights surge and sweep across the ceiling by the second floor balconies , they too also filled with dancing, moving, swaying forms. This is his element, where he is master of his domain.

Amidst the sea of clientèle, Rapture serves as a cover for more than just the criminal and the illicit, more than just the alcohol and the beautiful faces, it serves as a meeting place. Rapture is a sight of convergence, for many different walks of people, and tonight that is no different. A night for meetings; expected and not.

Bryan Buckley might just be the only well-dressed man in a booth by himself. He sits sprawled, like some large animal in a den, his arms on the back of the booth and one ankle resting on the opposite thigh near the knee. Next to his lowball glass of some sort of brown liquid on the rocks is a folded handkerchief.

Glowering, Bryan watches the dilettantes and nere'do'wells mingle and undulate on the dance floor ahead of him. Slowly, his hands curl into fists against the leather.

Maneuvering through the crowd, it is the affairs of the day that bring Kain out from his "day job" to the small task he moonlights on, as a broker of illicit good and services. To this end, he finds himself leisurely making his way down to the circular booths by the dance floor, past the seething sea of dancers, a thin smile plastered across his face. But tonight he does not stop by his usual booth, nor does he stop by the table of a lonely and vulnerable looking young woman. Instead, tonight, Kain is all about business.

"Ah had a few people take a look at your pretty pictures." A manila envelope is thrown onto the table in front of Bryan, sliding to a stop as it collides with the handkerchief. "Ah' must say, y'got some funny tastes in friends." Moving to take a seat on the opposite side of the table from where Mister Buckley is seated, Kain folds his hands and rests them on the tabletop, leaning forward as a sly look crosses his face. "But before we go an' get ourselves down to the nitty-gritty, Ah do think we should discuss my… service fees."

Bryan practically leaps from his position to grab the handkerchief from the table, letting it come into contact with that folder for only a nanosecond or two. He takes a deep breath, a sigh of relief, in a way, before he settles back into the leather. "You should be more careful," he says coolly, lifting the cloth for a moment before tucking it into an inside pocket of his jacket. "You never know what sort of things people might be carrying."

And Bryan certainly wouldn't want any harm to befall any careless person who might next handle that envelope. "As for your fees, I don't think they should be brought into conversation quite yet. What information will my initial payment cover?"

Into the club walks a certain tall, leggy blonde. Hair and makeup are nicely done. High strappy heels. Leather miniskirt, black translucent gauzy top over black bra. Not that different than a lot of clubgoers, but this particular blonde might be of interest to a few people here.

Sneaking out of the Petrelli Mansion, and past Homeland Security, was not an easy task. But Claire is a member of PARIAH, after all. She thrives on taking on a difficult task and conquering it. She's got her brunette hair done up in a sleek bouffant updo to add a sophisticated element to the slinky black dress she's sporting. The black high-heeld shoes don't quite match the dress, more for business than for clubbing, but their impossible heel adds the desired few inches to her height. Thank you, Grandma Petrelli.

After having flashed her fake ID to the bouncer, Claire strides into Rapture like a woman who owns the place. Only once she's inside to scour the crowds and doesn't spot who she's looking for does the confidence start to slip from her features. "West, you are so dead," she mutters under the thump and din of bass.

"Positive ID on two," Kain reaches inside of his jacket, sliding out some folded papers. "The freaky one with the funny eyes, and the blonde fella'." Kain tilts his head to the side, long and sandy blonde hair falling down to frame one side of his face from where it had been swept back. "The freaky gal's gonna' cost you more, I got some juicy bits on that one that Ah had to do a little extra pullin' on." With a click of his tongue, Kain raises his brows and breathes out a sigh. "Your blonde friend, he ain't so special. Couple of contacts of mine saw 'em up near the Bronx a few days ago on the street." As Kain talks, one of the waitresses comes over to the table, settling down a short glass filled with ice and a dark liquor, a wedge of lime balanced on the edge of the glass. Kain flashes her a charming smile, affording her a half nod before she saunters back across the floor, keeping Kain's focus for a time.

"Now this is just t'say Ah've seen 'em. An' your initial deposit, while generous, just helped grease the wheels as it were and get some information out've otherwise uncooperative sorts." Waving those folded papers back and forth between two fingers, Kain raises one brow slowly, his lips crooking into a grin. "What'cha gotta ask yourself, now, is just how much do y'wanna know where tall dark and spooky… is." Kain's voice fades for a moment as he peers over Bryan's shoulder, his head cocked to the side as his eyes are caught by that tall, blonde woman managing her way through the club's entrance. There's an obvious look of confusion on Kain's face, for just a moment, before he tries to regain his composure. Was that Nikki Sanders? Here?

When Kain's attention drifts, so does Bryan's. He squints, then looks over his shoulder, but by then Nikki has slipped into the crowd. "So out of four people, you could only find two of them," he sums up as he turns his head back to look at Kain. Still, the likelihood of Adam Monroe keeping a bargaining chip like Elle Bishop close by is pretty good. "I'd like to know where both of them are, actually. Are you prepare to tell me that, Mister Zarek?"

Al shows not a flicker of recognition when it comes to Claire, save a blink that one might excuse as mere bedazzlement at her prettiness. He's just off-duty, and heading for the bar, clad in black slacks and t-shirt. He's not been about for a few days, and the scars acquired in the interim are….distinctive, to say the least. His right arm and hand are now decorated with the branching, vine-like silvery marks of a severe electrical burn. Doesn't seem to pain him much, at the moment.

There's one person, at least, who knows where they are. All depending on who asks. Or who's asked. Since Kain was watching her, it is obvious after a few more steps that it is, indeed, Niki Sanders, though her hair's a little different style than usual. She heads up to the bar, to order a drink.

Claire recognizes Alexander, but also has the good sense to keep her mouth shut about it. She's already been dragged in by Homeland once. And registered, even. She isn't about to give someone away who can't make a swift exit. West can at least go airborne. Of course, it's obvious he decided not to show, so he either decided it wasn't a good idea to meet, or he's already in trouble. For his sake, it had better be… Well, Claire isn't sure which scenario she'd rather have it be. Either way, this clearly calls for a drink. She pushes her way toward the bar, pressed arm-to-arm with the blonde who came in ahead of her. "Jag Bomb!" she shouts to the bartender over the music. Alexander is finally flashed a small smile. Hey. I see you there.

"Ah'm prepared to tell you where they might be," Kain lays the folded papers down on the table, sliding them back and forth with two fingers pressed down. "Now, what Ah'm thinkin' here is half a'what you paid up front, again, t'get this all in your pocket." With a smile that spreads from ear to ear, Kain slides the paperwork back towards himself. "What Ah'm also offerin', is perhaps a little explanation about the whereabouts of tall dark and spooky, and who you might just be able to talk to about her." Kain's head tilts to the side, brows raising as he pushes that paperwork back towards Bryan. "We got ourselves a deal?" Even as he speaks, Kain's eyes divert back up to who can only be Niki Sanders, seeing her here certainly means something is either very right, or very wrong.

Bryan notices someone heading through the crowd, it's hard to misplace the hulking behemoth of a man, dressed in his somewhat too snugly fitting suit. Well over six feet of broad-shouldered muscle with a smooth bald head, making his way directly over to the table with a disconcerted expression as he closes a cell phone and slides it into the pocket of his suit-jacket. "Mr.Zarek," He says firmly, before the distance is even closed, "Mr.Zarek, we got a problem…" Kain's eyes shift to the side, shooting a withering glare to the hulking man.

"Can it Manny, can't you see Ah'm in the middle a somethin'?" Kain waves one hand dismissively to the hulking goon, "Why don't ya go scale a skyscraper or somethin'." Shaking his head, Kain looks back to Bryan, only to have an enormous hand laid on his shoulder, firmly squeezing.

All Bryan does is smile at the larger man before he looks to Kain again. "I won't keep you. Normally, I'd cross-reference your sources with my own, just to make sure I'm not paying for information I could get for free." He reaches into his jacket (the opposite side from where he placed the handkerchief) and withdraws an envelope which looks deliciously thick. Delicious for Kain and his cronies, that is. Bittersweet for Bryan. He holds it up before setting it down on the table and giving it a gentle push across. It comes to a stop inches from Kain's left hand.

Really, he's offshift, and thus it's not his problem. But Al glances up at the little currents in the crowd, eying Kain and his entourage speculatively. The 'tender hands him a beer, which he seems quite content to nurse to the bitter end. He winks gravely at Claire, but doesn't otherwise greet her.

Gina is near the bar…not that far from Claire, honestly, all things told. (Got to love TV coincidences.) She looks over as the blonde girl puts in her request, and considers her. "You look a little young for something like that." But it's said more in a conspiratorial tone than a chastising one.

Claire tilts her head to one side to regard Gina with a smirk. "Looks are deceiving." She frowns faintly as she watches the shot get poured. "Besides, my boyfriend stood me up. Gotta make the best of things." Once she receives the shot, she knocks it back with a practiced ease. "Ah! That's a good start."

"Ah' appreciate your donations to a fine cause." Kain says with a crooked grin, immediately snatching up the envelope and pushing the papers towards Bryan. "What you got in there, that's the most recent info Ah got on ol' spooky. Now Ah'll save y'the trouble of puttin' the pieces together y'self," Kain waves one hand around at the papers, "But that little flesh-grindin' trick she does? With the whole Jeffrey Dahmer bit? Yeah, there was a guy mah employer has a hand on, seems he might've ran afoul of that there little biter you got there." Slowly rising from his seat, Kain stuffs the envelope of money into his jacket pocket, tilting his head to one side. "She took a bite off'a bit more than she could chew. His name an' all the info Ah could get is in that packet."

Scanning the crowd once more, Kain leaves his eyes on Miss Sanders for a moment, just long enough to ensure that he makes eye contact with her, to get a feel of her attitude. It's the lack of recognition that eases Kain a bit though, he heard what she did to a partner of his in Vegas in an elevator — Kain doesn't want to end up that way. Not as long as he can help it. The young brunette at her side earns a lingering stare as well, followed by the rueful frown of someone pulled away from something they enjoy. "Hopefully that'll do you right," Kain motions to the papers, his focus turned back to Bryan. "Now, Ah've gotta get me downtown. Guess the boss has his panties in a bunch." One shoulder rolls, trying to play it cool. Kain's terrified.

"That so," Bryan hums to himself as he takes the papers and folds them. It would be foolish, after all, to openly survey them while he's here. Cameras and prying eyes are something he'd like to avoid grabbing the attention of. "It's been a pleasure, Mister Zarek. Give my regards to your employer." Not that Linderman would know every agent under The Company's employ.

"Old enough," Alex opines, in a soft drawl, as if to defend Claire. He takes a tentative sip of his beer, but really it seems to be mostly for show. Still reflexively watching the ebb and flow of the crowd.

"They aren't that deceiving," coos a voice on Gina's opposite side, as a tall, dark-haired man slides into the seat next to her at the bar. Sylar has chosen his vantage point well; with Gina in the way, it's difficult for either Claire or Alexander to identify him in the dim light of the club. Separating his voice from the music is even harder. "I hope you haven't paid for your drink," he adds, his lips curling into the slightest of smiles. "Let me put it on my tab."

Gina grins back at Claire. "They can be, can't they?" And sips her drink, and then there's a comment from the other side. She turns to look at the man there and gives him a flirtatious smile. "Eavesdropping, are we?"

Claire takes Gina's distraction as an excuse to order up round two and scoot a little closer to Alexander. "Any news?" She tries to keep her tones as hushed as possible in this environment. "Has anyone found Peter?"

Kain shakes his head, affording Bryan a crooked smile, "We'll see if Ah' get the chance." He says without his usual dose of humor. One last pat of his chest to make sure the envelope isn't going anywhere, and Kain makes a hasty retreat from the booths, looking back to Miss Sanders at the bar, then to the dark-haired fellow seated on the side of her. He narrows his eyes for a moment, then looks back and continues moving through the crowd, "Manny!" Kain calls out, motioning to the huge man who waits by the door, "Go call Grape Ape and let him know the boss is callin', Ah've got me a feelin' that Ah'm not goin' to want to go at this alone."

"He has a name you know, Sir." Manny snorts, reaching into his jacket for his cell phone as Kain pushes past out the front door. For a while, Manny just stands there, listening into the receiver of the cell phone before muttering, "Jackass," then follows Kain out of the club.

That generous offer is badly received. Because Al's up on and on his feet again in an instant, lashing out with his power without even thinking about it. He's attempting to grab Sylar bodily. "You," Alex says, tone gone venomous.

It's hard for Sylar not to eavesdrop. Some abilities are easier to turn on and off than others; unfortunately, his heightened sense of hearing doesn't fall into that category. The music is doing a number on his eardrums as well, but he learned a long time ago how to grit his teeth and bear it. Maybe, if he clenches his jaw hard enough, it will alleviate the pressure building in his skull. At the first sign of Alexander bearing down on him, Sylar freezes, grasping the edge of the bartop so tightly that his knuckles go white. "Yes," he hisses, his voice now loud enough for even Claire to hear — and identify. "Me. Let's not try to make a scene. I don't want to be caught here, and neither do you. Not if you want to see Peter alive."

Having remained in his booth a few moments more once the envelope has joined the papers in his jacket, Bryan is content to finish his drink in relative peace. But when there is nothing but ice left in his glass, he wipes the lip down with that handkerchief before standing and making his way over to the bar. He comes up on the other side of Sylar.

"Jameson," he says to the bartender when he nears, and as he waits, he lets his attention wander from side to side. With the second movement of his head, Bryan notices and recognizes Sylar…and hears what he says.

The glass is returned quickly enough, and with his back partially turned toward the man, Bryan presses the glass to his lips, circling it there. Some men use rufies. Others use small doses of venom.

Bryan is smiling when he turns back around, setting the glass in front of Sylar before he claps a hand on the man's opposite shoulder, grinning widely at the PARIAH operatives and Gina-Nikki-Jessica. "Now, now. Can't we all just…get along? Enjoy an evening out?"

Gina looks annoyed as apparently both Alexander and Bryan are moving to cockblock Sylar. GRR. She speaks in a bitchy tone, "I don't know when everybody decided this was a big public party. But why don't you two move on?" She looks to Bryan and Alexander.

Claire's working on her second shot when Alexander springs into action and she actually recognizes Sylar's voice. She coughs on Jagermeister and Red Bull, the combination burning her throat and making her eyes water as her face goes white as a sheet. She stares at Sylar in horror, reaching out to grab her compatriot's arm. "He's right. We can't afford to be spotted. And he won't attack us here." And he claims to know something about Peter. Resolve returns and Claire narrows her eyes at Sylar. "Sorry, honey," she intones flatly to Gina without actually looking at her, "This one's mine." She crooks a finger while jerking her head toward the floor. "Let's dance." Then you can tell me where Peter is.

Gina and Bryan get barely a glance. Really not his concern, not right now. "What do you want?" Al demands. The glasses near him have begun to sing, a high harmonic note, as he tries to keep a clamp on his power. Going Tetsuo in a crowded bar is a real quick way to lose your job, at the very best. But he lets Claire go. "You think you can actually get info from him here? I think I'll come along. Call me greedy, if you like."

There's a hand on Sylar's shoulder, keeping him glued to his seat. At this point, he couldn't move to the dance floor even if he wanted to. "I don't know where Peter is," he says flatly, "but the man looming ominously behind me? Probably has a pretty good idea." It's a little too late to worry about being spotted. "Hands off. Just because I don't want to make a scene doesn't mean the Incredible She-Hulk won't." He's referring to Gina, of course — not that he knows which of the blonde's personalities is presently in control. He's banking on the hope that she — Jessica — remembers him from the raid on Primatech Research and will come to his assistance. "You have something we want, and she has something that you want."

Bryan laughs, giving Sylar's shoulder a small shake before he crosses his arms on the bar in front of him. "Drink up, Mister Gray. You've earned it for being a stellar mediator." He keeps grinning, those fangs visible to any and all who care to look. But then again, the Rapture isn't exactly a place where things such as that are too incredibly odd.

"However, I didn't realize that your little excursion in cooperation with others had changed you so profoundly. And I doubt She-Hulk would be so eager to jump between the sheets with you if she was in her right mind…and either one of those."

Bryan glances between the three on the other side of Sylar before letting his eyes settle for passing from Claire to Alexander. "Quid pro quo? You tell me where the firefly is being kept, and I'll let you know where you can find a good puppy dog. Doesn't mess on the floor or anything."

Gina looks back at Claire. "Look here, Microbitch. he was buying me the drink, not you." And then Alexander and Bryan are both getting uppity. "Oh, this is so not worth it." Gina stands, and starts to flounce out. Easier pickings somewhere else.

"I need to go," Claire tells Alexander. If Sylar's being kept at bay, then she needs to run while the running's good. And so what if she ruffled the blonde's feathers? She doesn't even know what's going on. It's better that way, definitely. So when Gina takes her leave, Claire isn't far behind, backing slowly away and keeping her gaze on Sylar as she moves for the door. As much as she wants Peter back, it'll do her no good if Sylar's killed her. And it'll do the world no good if he's got her ability.

And this leaves Alex….alone. The singing of the glass dies away, as he remains interposed between Sylar and Claire. Here's hoping Sy already has TK, or else it'll be a very short evening overall. "Go," he says, with a calm that's mostly feigned.

Sylar watches Gina go, dumbstruck. He finds it difficult to believe he could have been mistaken about her identity, but he's far from infallible when it comes to these things. Errors happen. He just wishes that this one happened at a less important time. "I don't like beating around the bush," he tells Bryan, point blank, "you have Peter Petrelli. We— " A short nods in Alexander's direction. " —have Elle Bishop. I want to propose a trade."

"You were not last seen with Elle Bishop, so forgive me if I'm less than likely to believe that claim." Bryan's grin relaxes into a tight-lipped smile, and he lifts one hand to cradle his chin as he lets his gaze wander from Sylar to Alexander and back again. "That is, unless you can convince me you aren't lying just to get your hands on Peter. But I'll tell you, he isn't exactly the best company."

"Let's say we don't have Elle Bishop." This is as close as Sylar will come to admitting the truth. "But let's also say we have the capability of retrieving her for you." Before he says anything else, he waits for Bryan to answer Alexander's question. As certain as he is that the Company does have Peter in its possession, he isn't about to stake his life on it.

Bryan looks at Alexander, and his smile becomes a placating one. "He's not sitting in my living room, no, but I know where he is. And I'm prepared to point you in his direction as soon as I have the little spark plug back." Not The Company. Him.

As for the whereabouts of that spark plug, Bryan's focus goes back to Sylar, since he's the one making this deal. "You might be able to do that. Probably, actually. But I'd like to lay out some guidelines. No offense, Mister Gray, but you don't exactly have a shiny record of truth-telling and other such honest behavior."

Alexander is mute. He neither knows where Elle is, nor particularly trusts Bryan's claim that he knows where Peter is. So he merely folds his arms, and listens, after a faint inclination of his head.

"If we were to bring you your little spark plug," and that's a pretty big if, "you'd have to do a bit more than point us in Peter's direction. Like I said before, I'm proposing a trade. A living body in exchange for another living body." Sylar eyes the glass sitting in front of him on the countertop. He'd forgotten about it until now. "What guidelines?"

Some of Bryan's thunder is stolen when Sylar beats him to the 'living body' punch. "That little spark plug has to be in top condition. Perfect working order." Looking to Alexander again, Bryan frowns, taking a moment to consider. Delivering Peter into Pariah's hands is one thing. Into Sylar's? That might be cutting Bryan's employment with the Company, not to mention his life, somewhat short. "Name the time and place, and I'll be there with Peter." Because a working Elle is worth much more than a broken Petrelli.

"He doesn't have Elle, and he doesn't know where she is," Alex finally pipes up, voice surprisingly deep for his size.

"I found you easily enough, didn't I?" A note of irritation creeps into Sylar's voice as he speaks. "I might not know where she is, but I know who she's with and that's enough. The way I see it, you and your band of merry men have two options. Either you help me track down Bishop so we can trade her for Peter, or I do it myself. It's your choice. If I go it alone, I get to do with him as I see fit. If PARIAH helps, Helena can have him."

With Sylar rebuking Alexander, Bryan slips a hand around to grab his drink back. It's going to waste just sitting there, especially since he needs Sylar to be able to move and such in order to get what he wants. He takes a sip, then wipes the lip of the glass, all the way around this time, once he's done.

"Very well," Alex says, inclining his head again. He's not really the one authorized to give a no, now, is he?

About halfway down the block, there was a sudden attack of conscience. It would have left marks, but Claire heals those pretty quickly, after all. Either way, she's hurrying back into the club to make sure Alexander's still in one piece. She would never be able to forgive herself if something happened. She's actually surprised to find the men still negotiating. Taking up a position flanking Al, but just behind him, she wraps one hand around his forearm to let him know she's there.

"We'll get back to you with the time and the place," Sylar tells Bryan. He's cocky, sure, but not quite so cocky to think that they can do what they need to with a fixed deadline. To Alexander, and now Claire, he nods. 'Very well' will have to be good enough for him. "You want to run it past the others? That's fine. If you want my help getting Peter back, you can find me at your old digs. If not, well, that's fine too." He rises slowly from his seat. "I won't seek you out."

Bryan simply nods to Sylar before taking another sip from his glass. Just like last time, he wipes the lip as soon as it leaves his mouth.

The blue gaze flickers around the little gathering, before Alex merely nods again. He'll bear the news to what's left of PARIAH's leadership.

Claire sends an apprehensive gaze in first Sylar's, then Bryan's direction. Grip a little more firm on Alexander's arm, she murmurs in his ear, "Let's get out of here."

Getting out of here is exactly what Sylar intends to do, just in case Bryan has back up waiting somewhere that he doesn't know about. Turning away from Claire's gaze, he fishes a ten dollar bill out of his wallet to cover Gina's drink and leaves it on the counter before slipping out the back door.

September 28th: Trying Plan B
September 28th: I'm In
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