Anything For Her


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Scene Title Anything For Her
Synopsis One Claire Bennet is confronted by her father after months of living on the run. But Noah is unaware that the Institute has left her with a handler.
Date November 8, 2011

Burnt Toast Diner

Midland, Texas

The Nation wakes up this morning to a somber reminder. Five years ago today, the world was forever changed.

A television broadcast echoes through a sleepy diner. Morning sunlight comes through the large front windows where a pair of customers sit as their waitress brings over their order. Sandra, as her nametag indicates, smiles fondly as she looks between the two partons. The pair of coffee mugs clunk as they come down, followed by plates once balanced on her forearms containing a heap of breakfast food. Sandra stands up and rests her hands on her hips. “Alright, here are your chilequiles and your waffle platter. Now just holler at me if y'all need anything else. Okay?”

The devastation unleashed on New York City five years ago was the beginning point for a seemingly unending escalation of violence across not just the country, but the world.

Sandra looks up to the television, grabbing a rag from the diner’s bar as she passes, wiping syrup off of her hands as she looks up to the TV. With a shift of her weight, she comes down to sit on one stool, brows furrowed as she watches the screen show an airfield and the President stepping on to a large helicopter. The caption on the footage reads: Live From the White House.

Right now we're watching live footage of the President approaching Marine 1 for his trip to his home state, New York.

Sandra’s brows furrow, and from behind her a tall and broad-shouldered man with short dark hair emerges from the kitchen. He glances up at the television, and squints as his pace slows.

The White House promises a major policy shift with regards to the handling of SLC-Expressive humans, and after the November 8, 2010 riots he has found little resistance from across both sides of the aisle.

“You know,” the square-jawed man cracks a smile and rests his hands on Sandra’s shoulders. “Sandra, for a girl who's supposed to hate the President, you sure do perk up whenever he's on.” Blue eyes lift up to the screen, and there’s something hidden behind his expression, before he leans down against the counter to face Sandra.

Just weeks since rapid-fire executive orders stripped SLC-Expressive people of their ability to freely procreate and live independently, the White House is promising to level even tighter restrictions on this divisive population.

“A guy could get jealous,” he adds with a laugh, trying to distract her from the television. Sandra turns around, rolling her eyes as she puts the television at her back. “Andy, he's old enough to be my father.” She reaches out and takes one of his hands in hers, wrinkling her nose and shaking her head.

But vocal opponents to this legislation are beginning to gain traction with international communities. The Liberty Foundation, a coalition of SLC-Expressive civilians and allies, in cooperation with the Deveaux Society, have sent a representative to the United Nations to speak on behalf of all SLC-Expressive Americans.

“Hey,” Andy squeezes her hand, trying to distract her again. “So, what did you think of Rafferty's?” Sandra looks distracted, glancing over her shoulder before looking back to him. At her blank look he squeezes her hand again. “For the reception. You were supposed to check it out, remember?”

Catherine Chesterfield, the Liberty Foundation’s representative, arrived in Geneva this week for a six day council on alleged human rights violations in the United States. Chesterfield, an SLC-Expressive US citizen, is expected to speak tomorrow before an international human rights committee.

“I'm sorry,” Sandra murmurs, rubbing a hand at her forehead. “I forgot…” Andy breathes in deeply, slips around the counter and settles in at her side on another stool. One arm loops around her shoulder and he carefully leans in a little closer.

US Vice President Andrew Mitchell arrived in Geneva yesterday ahead of the conference, and is expected to counter Chesterfield’s allegations. Though, some measure of scandal still circles around Chesterfield’s appointment to the conference.

Andy squeezes Sandra’s shoulder gently. “You're not getting cold feet, are you?” Sandra looks up, lips parted and momentarily at a loss for words.

Her late parents, Mason and Jennifer Chesterfield, were revealed to have been agents for the illegal spy agency called the Company, which was disbanded in 2009. Chesterfield alleges no connections to the Company, but has not denied connection to the militant Pro-SLC group Phoenix, or the human trafficking organization calling itself the Ferrymen.

“No, of course not.” Claire offers with a smile and a laugh that has just enough bubble to almost be convincing. “My feet are very warm. Two pairs of socks warm.” But it’s clear in her tone that she’s nervous, that something’s picking away at the back of her mind.

Vice President Mitchell has claimed that, quote, “Chesterfield’s presence at the UN is a violation of what the United Nations stands for. Allowing alleged terrorists a space on these hallowed floors is tantamount to the UN encouraging promoting violence.”

“Well, good.” Andy leans in and rests his forehead against Sandra’s. “'Cause I'm kind of crazy about you.” Sandra leans in, trying to end Andy’s conversation with a kiss. As their lips touch, a man at a nearby table regards the pair over the frames of his horn-rimmed glasses. Andy catches sight of him, and tenses for a moment.

In other news, Homeland Security Director Gregory Armond announced today that the integration of the FRONTLINE initiative is at a full stop. This, coming after the death of FRONTLINE’s creator General Sebastian Autumn last July, and the disappearance of operations director Sarisa Kershner just last month.

“You know that,” Andy nods in the direction of that table, “The creepy guy with glasses is back. Sitting in your section again.” Both of Andy’s brows raise, and he eyes Sandra, as if testing what her reaction would be. She turns, and looks across the diner to find Noah Bennet sitting with a newspaper folded on the table in front of him. Andy leans in and gives a kiss to Sandra’s cheek, then slips back out to the kitchen.

With Director Armond having assumed temporary ownership of the FRONTLINE program during interim transitions, the Department of Homeland Security has moved to halt all further integration efforts. Extant FRONTLINE officers will be allowed to remain in service, but their activity hours will be dramatically cut.

Sandra waits a beat, then circles the bar, pours a glass of milk and picks up a pre-cut slice of pie. She circles around a few more tables, then finally settles down at Noah’s, placing both pie and milk in front of him with a cheerful, “There we go.

FRONTLINE-01 is expected to be present at the memorial services today when President Petrelli speaks to the nation. New York’s FRONTLINE has had a spotty track record, with a high fatality rate matching its hazardous work environment. Director Armond has openly speculated about FRONTLINE’s effectiveness in the face of newer, automated defense options.

“Thanks,” Noah offers without looking up.

“Would you like a scoop of ice cream on that?” Sandra asks back, one brow raising slowly as she does. Noah cracks a smile, then looks past his plant and dabs two fingers on the tabletop.

“Um,” Bennet looks up to Sandra, “no, not today, thank you. But my table's a little sticky.”

Security at the Midtown Memorial is expected to be at an all-time high. With fear of terrorist activity threatening the event, President Petrelli has mobilized the National Guard to assist the NYPD and FRONTLINE in ensuring that the five year anniversary memorial of Midtown goes off without a hitch.

Sandra plucks that rag from her apron, then leans in to wipe down the table. “Someone knows about you, Claire.” Bennet’s voice has a knife-like precision and just as much urgency. Claire’s eyes grow wide at that insinuation. “You need to leave as soon as possible. There's a bag on the chair to my right.”

“Leave?” Claire stops cleaning the table, looks square at Noah accusingly. “What am I supposed to tell Andy?” Her voice raises somewhat at the end, and Noah reprimands her with a stern and wordless look.

“Tell him nothing. Just go.” But it’s clear from Claire’s expression that she has absolutely no interest in following her father’s recommendation.

“I can't do that to him,” Claire pleads, fingers curling into the rag. “We're getting married.

The memorial comes just days after a terrorist attack in Chicago left eight dead and fifteen wounded when a pair of SLC-Expressive men attacked a DHS transport convoy headed for the Cedar Grove relocation center. The ensuing firefight with Chicago’s FRONTLINE-06 demolished an entire city block and cost a purported sixty million dollars in damages.

Bennet looks toward the kitchen, then back to Claire with a tenseness in his jaw. “Have you told him?” He’s seeing spies everywhere, and normally would be jumping at shadows, but Bennet is right to suspect Andy, even if he doesn’t realize it yet.

“No,” Claire firmly retorts. “All I want is a normal life, Dad.” Bennet looks around, nervously, then leans in closer to Claire. His voice is clipped now, hushed and quick. She’s already spent too much time at his table.

“I've done my best to provide that for you. But people are starting to ask questions.” Noah swallows audibly, fingers crinkling the edges of his newspaper as he stares intently at Claire. “Now, I am trying to control the information, but it's not safe here anymore.”

Chicago Mayor Spencer August was quick to praise FRONTLINE-06’s responsiveness, and urged the public to consider how bad the damage to their city would have been if FRONTLINE had not intervened. Though last night Mayor August indicated that he had perhaps spoken too hastily, and that revisions to the FRONTLINE project may be in order.

“I've been hiding my whole life!” Claire hisses, and Bennet looks at her with a nervous expression. He sets the newspaper aside, looking up at Claire with a father’s eyes, mixed with both pride and fear. She knows he means well, but worries what he might do in her name. He knows she means well, but worries what she might do to endanger herself. Neither exchange a word.

This word just coming in. We have breaking news from Washington, California, and Nevada where DoEA enforcement agents have just bravely rounded up over two hundred undocumented individuals as part of a coordinated nationwide sweep.

“I just want you to be safe,” Noah pleads, purposefully looking to the television as he does. Claire follows his eye line and sees people rounded up and handcuffed, marched in a line at gunpoint under flashing blue lights of police. A chill runs down her spine.

“This has been cited as the department's most successful operation since the Linderman Act was passed four years ago. Homeland Security spokesmen praised the near-perfect execution of local police, citing zero casualties on the enforcement side.

“Enjoy your pie,” Claire delivers flatly. Bennet indicates to the paper package on the chair next to him, and she reluctantly circles and picks it up, before moving back to the bar. Her eyes upturn to the television, then, and that chill has not passed.

Officials were also sure to note that community tips were essential in this operation. The incident resulted in the safe transport of suspects to special holding facilities within their states, where the individuals will meet with federally provided attorneys to discuss their legal options. And a note to our viewers. If you see any suspicious activity, please contact the Department of Evolved Affairs tip line at the number below on your screen.

Claire sets the package down on the stool and looks up at the TV screen, then lifts one hand and scrubs at her forehead. Her heart sinks, and she calls to one of the other waitresses moving behind the bar.
“Can— can you shut that off Cindy?” The waitress looks at Claire, brows furrowed, then reaches up and flicks off the TV.

The chill in Claire’s spine does not fade.

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