broome_icon.gif harper_icon.gif

Scene Title Arrangement
Synopsis Within the confines of the Institute, Agent Harper is summoned to a meeting with Doctor Broome.
Date April 24, 2010


Circular lights recessed into the ceiling light one by one as a door smoothly slides into the walls of a darkened corridor. The lights are a path, a guided way hanging above a smooth black floor of tightly spaces tiles. Through the doorway and with the buzzing of an alarm announcing the door opening at his back, agent Desmond Harper carries himself with a swift and even gait.

Polished black shoes click in steady rhythm on the floor, the trail of his midnight blue coat sways from side to side behind him, and black leather gloves dutifully straighten his pinstriped necktie. Harper's progress down the white-walled hall is measured at the same pace those lights are coming on ahead of him, section by section illuminating the corridor ahead, emitting a buzzing noise like some electronic insect as he passes each bulb.

The last light glows above a door at the end of the hall, a single red light winking on its surface like a slowly opening eye. As he clears the third of the hall, Desmond lifts an identification card up, swiping it towards the door and with the groan of steel and the clack of magnetic locks releasing, the groan of hinges swinging, and the door opening away from Desmond at the same speed in which he approaches it.

Everything moves like finely oiled clockwork, and Harper's step through the threshold and into a hemispherical room lit by arched strips of light overhead, each tiny and brilliantly bright LED making the eggshell white walls seem even more sterile and uninviting. The moment Desmond has cleared the opening door, it begins to swing closed behind him. He's been through this before, these motions, and when he comes to the door ahead, there is a pause.

It may as well be time stopping, for how fluid everything has been up until now.

Slowly stepping towards the snow white door, Desmond's gloved knuckles rap twice on the exterior out of habit, then lower to depress a smooth touch surface beside the door that illuminates when his gloved hand draws near. A light turns green, and the smal, easy to understand icon of a speaker radiating waves of sound from it appears with a cheerful musical chime.

"Doctor Broome," Desmond breathes out quietly to the door, "it's Desmond. You wanted me?" There's silence, and then only an audible beep from the door and a noisy click as it unlocks and moves an inch away from Desmond into the room beyond. Gently nudging it with the pads of his fingers, the door silently swings open into lavish color and the wildly tinkling noises of piano keys in flurried press. Harper's back tenses, and his slow entrance into the warmly lit room is like stepping through a portal into another world.

The frantic pace of the piano playing echoes across the spacious living room as bright orange sunlight of an afternoon spills through picture windows displaying the scenic vista of lapping waves crashing on a white sand beach, the sun dipping behind the dark spots of a distant island on the horizon. Cotton-white clouds trail streaks of purple behind them before fading into sunset hues, and Desmond is forced to squint against both the light and the unreality of it all.

Turning to watch the door close behind himself, there's a steady click that seems arrhythmic to the maddening pace of the piano playing. Fredric Chopin's 25th Opus carries a powerful gravity and haste with it against the goldenrod painted walls, the delicate and yet frenetic notes seem as light as the squares of glass that make up the ceiling, and the faintly audible electronic hum they give off.

Stepping into the room, Harper's shoes squeak against the hardwood floor, and he maneuvers past the kitchen and through the living room, past a pair of leather sofas and a tea set left out for someone else to clean up. By the wall of windows displaying the island paradise beyond rests the baby grand piano, as glossy black as the hall outside, and as dark as the suit worn by the old man sitting at it.

Standing with the piano between he and the old man playing, Desmond's back tenses and his shoulders square. He doesn't dare speak up, doesn't dare move so as to impose himself on the doctor's view of the ocean beyond, and Harper allows the open lid of the piano to hide his face and keep Broome's silhouette shrouded from view.

It's only with the defining stroke of a low, deep note that the hasty speed of playing ends and silence comes to the impossible house, where tropical waves crash just outside. Swallowing awkwardly, Desmond Harper steps around the piano, even as the creak of a wheelchair squeaks in the same moment, and the elderly form of Doctor Simon Broome slowly wheels away from the piano.

"Ah," the old man notes with a toothy smile, thick dark brows lifting and forehead creased with a dozen or more creases of worries from long ago, "Desmond, it's good to see you." Despite his advanced age, Simon Broome respectfully commands a heavy of hair nearly as dark as Harper's jacket, only the streaks of gray at the side and the weathered quality of his face belies his true age.

One hand moving down to the control stick at the left side of his wheelchair, Doctor Broom wheels himself back further, pivoting so that he can get a good look up at the agent. With his right arm laid limply across his lap, he offers an awkward left-handed shake to Desmond. "I'm glad you could come down, Agent Harper, we've got a great deal of things to discuss."

At first offering out his right hand, then hesitating and offering out his left, Desmond's gloved fingers wrap around Broome's liver-spotted palm, squeeze gently and release. "I'm sorry to interrupt your recreation time, Doctor Broome… had I known I would've delayed myself some— " Broome raises one hand dismissively in a manner that silences Harper, and when his hand comes back down its to wheel himself away from the piano and towards the living room.

"Think nothing of it, Desmond. Please, come, sit. I apologize for now having cleaned up much before your arrival," Broome notes with a lift of his brows, motioning to the kettle on the table, "tea?" Harper's expression sinks when he's offered the tea, and a nervous smile flits across his lips. He makes no move to sit, just positions himself behind the sofa so as to have fair conversational distance to Doctor Broome.

"No, sir. I— " Harper's eyes stare out at the crashing waves again, brows furrowed tightly, and then look back to the doctor, "I'm sorry this is all a bit distracting." But he doesn't give time to respond to the admission as he quickly catches from the falter. "I have some business to attend to in the morning, so I'd much appreciate it if we could have our talk sooner, rather than later."

Disappointment sags the corners of Broome's lips down, and the tired old man's eyes humorlessly look towards a corner of the room where two ferns stand. "Leave." Broome addresses the plants, and surprisingly they respond by distorting the way an image reflected in unstilled water would. A white-clad nurse with short red hair and a young boy no older than twelve appear where the plants were. "And take him with you," Broome adds in a gruff, disheartened tone of voice.

As the boy moves, the room distorts, the walls ripple like water and the sea changes colors erratically. Eventually, when his concentration is broken, the entire fabric of this woven reality breaks apart, peeling away the lavishly decorated beach house, the furniture, the piano, everything to nothing more than an enormous matte white room lit by harsh fluorescent lights. The redheaded nurse leads the child out of the room, and Harper watches them leave with obvious discomfort, all the way until the door is closed behind them.

"I— apologize sir. You weren't in your office and Doctor Gregor said you'd come down here for one of the patient's recreation, I didn't mean to disturb your— " Desmond's hasty apologies are met with furrowed brows and a scowling expression from the wheelchair bound doctor. The look itself robs Desmond of a voice, and Broome need not a single thread of power to manage that feat, he's refined that look over decades.

"Recreation with our patients is an important part of our research, agent Harper. Callum has a great deal of talent, but— well— I'm certain you felt the subtle wrongness about everything? Can you imagine when he's older, the things he'll be able to do? I thought you of all people may have understood that, but I see your pragmatism has once again ruled the day. But… that's what I keep you around for in the end Desmond, isn't it? Your razor edge." Looking up sternly from his wheelchair, Doctor Broome slants a look to the door, then back to Desmond again.

"We're going to give Doctor Luis some time to play his game with the Fournier girls." The doctor states simply, leaning his head back against the padded rest, watching Desmond's searching reaction. "The administration has been asking for our solutions to the weather problem, and they would like to tap our patients for an exercise in weather manipulation, but I've told them that with our limited resources we have no weather-manipulators on hand. Eventually they'll discover our omission, and I would like for this situation to be remedied by then."

Nodding his head once, curtly, Desmond offers an askance look to doctor Broom when the wheelchair bound scientist begins wheeling towards the door to the recreation room. "Luis has his grief and I'll allow him that much, but he has a deadline. If Liette isn't retrieved by then, I want you to take Squad Zero and bring her back by force. I pray that by then you'll have an understanding of where she is?"

"We're working on it," Desmond notes as he moves briskly past Broome and to the door, turning the latch and pulling it open for the wheelchair bound man as he steps aside, "but the weather's hindering our efforts. I— don't understand why you're letting this go on, sir. If we could just get a reprieve from the weather, I have little doubt that— "

Broom wheels up to Harper, staring up at him intently. "Little doubt, is doubt enough." Steadying his eyes on the agent's, Broome makes certain his point is elivered before wheeling ahead of him and into the chamber Desmond had just come in from. "The weather will serve two purposes, one to solidify to the people of the world that the SLC-Expressive humans are a threat," Harper hustles past Broome, lifting out his proximity badge to wave at the other door as the doctor speaks, "and to pressure our enemies into surrendering. A blizzard of these proportions, not even the best prepared network can weather forever. Four more weeks of this, and they'll do whatever it is we want."

"I want you to return to New York with Squad Zero, stay ready in case we need to make our move. Don't antagonize the people handling Liette any more than you already have," Broome insists, one black brow lifted at the notion. "We have enough to worry about, especially considering they likely have come into possession of Lorraine, though I have my doubts that if they are the ones who took her from us, that they're even remotely aware of what she's capable of."

"What about the other one, Buchanan?" Desmond asks as he swipes his card again, the reader not having picked up his proximity badge the first time. When the light turns green, he's stepping away from the door as it swings open. "It's going to look bad on us that we lost her and the mother both."

"Not at all, Desmond. It's quite fortuitous actually." Offering a mild smile, Doctor Broome lays his good hand over the inoperable one laying across his lap. "It's unlikely that they're wholly aware of just how dangerous miss Buchanan is, and as for the raid on our transport… it simply shows that we don't have enough funding or manpower yet. I expect when this crisis is averted, we'll have all the funding we could hope for, and permission to follow through with the restructuring."

When the door opens, Broom waits for the steel to pass in front of his chair before wheeling ahead and towards the hall, lit by those round circular lights in the ceiling. Behind him, Desmond Harper follows with a slower pace than the one he first had come here with. "If these people who have Liette find a way to circumvent the weather, then we're aware of further resourcefulness on their part, as well as a weakness in the link between the girls that we were blind to. If our projections are correct, as long as Julie remains on the amplification drug, there'll be no stopping her. This is a test," Broome stops, turning his chair around with a creak and a whirr to Demond at his back. "This is all empirical, Desmond, and there's no reason we can't benefit from this crisis."

"What if we can't get her back?" Desmond asks the obvious question, stalled in the middle of the hallway as they are. "What if— they find a way to keep them apart, she's a massive security risk and an enormous liability to our reputation. This entire operation could be in jeopardy if we prove that we cannot hold on to our captives. This is the exact reason that the government is looking for alternatives to the Company."

Lifting one brow and offering a humorless expression to Desmond, Doctor Broome shakes his head. "You let me worry about the Petrelli administration, Desmond. I assure you I have a plan for that eventuality, I haven't gotten as far as I have in this world by simple luck." Reversing the chair and turning around again, Doctor Broome continues to wheel down the hall, but Desmond prompt in following him.

"Doctor," Harper pleads, both hands lifting helplessly, but the only response Broome gives is the whirr of his chair's electric engine. Bringing a gloved hand up to his face, Desmond scrubs at his mouth and then begins to follow behind the wheelchair bound doctor again. "If they return Liette?" He asks in somber query.

That much has Broome coming to a halt, and with a slow turn of his chair he leads with a look over his shoulder to Desmond, one brow raised. "Well…" the doctor notes rather exasperatedly, "then we let them go." The answer makes Harper hesitate, starting to say something, then stopping and watching Broome confusedly. "Our job isn't to fight a war against the government's dissenters, Desmond. If they play by our rules and follow our instructions, we are obligated to show them the same courtesy."

Swallowing tightly, Harper nods his head and looks past Broome and down the long stretch of hall left, then down to the doctor once more. "What if it goes differently— what— what if something happens that we haven't accounted for?" It's less pragmatism there and more nervousness than anything, the first sign of a crack in Desmond's exterior. "What if you're wrong?" Broome watches the agent, carefully, then offers a broad and toothy smile in response.

"In that unlikelihood," Broome offers with the blossoming of a toothy smile, "I have a contingency for that, and we'll make an arrangement."

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