Hunches And Speculations


gwen_icon.gif niki_icon.gif peter2_icon.gif

Scene Title Hunches And Speculations
Synopsis Gwen and Niki ask the question: What would Peter do?
Date November 21, 2008

Primatech Paper

"…six bloody weeks until they'll give me field duty again."

The voice coming down the halls of Level-1 belongs to a very frustrated, and very put-off Agent Woods. "Do you believe that? I mean, I'm sittin' here sidelined while you and the dynamic-duo get to play around with one of the biggest cases we've had in years."


"See, the way I look at it is, you need me to keep your 'ead in check, you know? I mean, sure, I've got some bruised ribs, a broken arm and a bum knee, but I've got spirit yeah?"


Rounding the corner and down the hall, the door to Agent Petrelli's office is left open, in which stands Agent woods in plain-clothes with his arm in a sling. Leaning agains tthe door frame, he looks rather unremarkable in his brick-red sweater and faded jeans, almost out of place amidst the strict suit and tie policy around here. "Maybe you an' I could go out for a pint, eh? You could bounce some ideas off'a me, 'bout this whole cherry cobbler nonsense."

That right there causes Peter to look up from paperwork where he sits behind his desk, the very sound of his sigh is so heavy and exasperated it should qualify as a special ability in and of itself. "Woods." He tries to be diplomatic, "It's classified as the Rage-Dementia Virus, it… don't call it that. You've got other people calling it that." Woods smiles, immediately, picking focus on the wrong part of Peter's sentence.

"Really?" His head tilts to the side, "They are? Hot damn I knew that was bloody catchy!"

And that's when two tall drinks of water, one blonde, one brunette, appear in Peter's doorway. For her part, Gwendolyn slinks herself into the door frame, crossing her arms over her chest and leaning her hip against the frame. "Hullo, Woods." she greets her countryman with a smile that might give her Scottish husband cause to growl like a bear. Then affixing a more placid expression, she turns her attention to Peter. "Petrelli, Sanders and I would like to interview you; it ties into our current assignment. It's Niki's A-Levels, so to speak, so be a sport and let us know when you've got time? Sooner the better if it's at all possible."

Said tall blond drink of water nods, a bit behind and to the side of Gwen. She's letting Gwen do the talking at the moment, and generally being trainee-listening-to-teacher. Hopefully it's a lesson she takes to heart. "Hi, you guys."

Any excuse to get away from a bored Woods is a great one. Peter practically jumps out of his chair when he comes to stand up, clearing the distance thorugh his rather small office to the doorway. "I've got time, plenty of it." Cracking a smile, Peter motions over to the leather loveseat and overstuffed armchair by a small glass-topped table that rests not far from his office door. "Come on in, have a seat, we can talk."

Woods looks a little hurt, though perhaps exaggeratedly so. His eyes drift over to the chairs, then over to Niki and Gwendolyn, both of them comicly taller than Woods in his rather modest height. "Well, if it ain't Wickham and Sanders, how're you two lovely ladies doing tonight eh?" Peter casts Woods a sidelong stare, moving over to rest a ahdn on the agent's good shoulder.

"Woods, come on. One's married and the other's way more woman than you can handle." He gives a teasing shove, "Go down to Level-5 and bug Elle, she might have anothert box of cookies, right?" One dark brow rises as Peter eyes Woods, and the blonde agent eyes Niki and Gwendolyn again, then raises his good hand in defeat.

"Fine, fine, I know when I'm not bloody-well wanted." He feigns injury to his pride, backpedaling away from the office and bumping into one of the secretaries with an awkward grimace. "O-oh ah, sorry 'bout that, I ah, — right." Woods grins, and then waves his good hand towards the doorway. "If Bishop doesn't 'ave any baked goods, you know I'll be back."
Gwendolyn blows Woods a kiss. "Don't worry darling, we'll always have the cafeteria." Then with a grin, she remarks, "Are you implying I'm not too much woman for him, Petrelli? I'm hurt. Deeply wounded. In fact, I might cry." She moves to take a corner of the couch, expecting Niki to follow. "Ta, Woods." she calls out, and prepares to settle in.

Niki just gives Woods a faint smile back, before looking back to Peter. "Thanks for the compliment, Peter." She moves inside to take a chair, and looks back over to Gwen. All right, wise teacher…how DO you tell a man "Hi, we're here to spy on you?"

Glancing over to Gwendolyn, Peter nods in agreement, "That's exactly what I'm saying," he cracks a smile, walking over to sit down atop his desk, legs hanging over the edgs, hands folding in his lap. From here he's facing the leather loveseat and chair, a few feet away from them, a comfortable conversing distance. "No offense, but Niki is more woman than I can handle." His lopsided smile remains as he gets comfortable on the desktop, both hands raising together to point to a striped bag on the glass table. "Cookies, by the way. There's only a couple left, they're from Elle." He smiles, just a little, at that. "So, how can I help you two with your case?" If anything, Peter is over-eager to help.

Gwendolyn has her own opinions of what kind of women Peter can handle. They rank somewhere between 'kittens' and 'fluffy bunnies'. "Sabra has requested that we profile and track your alter ego." she says frankly. "The reason we're here is because we have very little on which to begin, and the closest thing we have to a profile in example is you. So we need to ask you some questions, these may help us establish some of his patterns, which will give us a start."

Niki chuckles. "I don't know about that. But thank you." She'll take the offered cookie, nibbling, and then notes "Anything that would help us beat him would be great advice too."

That right there, makes Peter comedown off of his desk. All of the lightness from his expression fades away and drains into something akin to a look of distrust and confusion that very quickly turns to worry. His eyes dart to Niki, and then Gwendolyn. Peter's tense, that much is readily apparent in his posture, "How — " It's clear from Gwendolyn's statement that he hadn't informed anyone in the Company about his altercation, or the division of himself. He looks even worse for wear now, the color drained out of his face to make the tired and dark circles around his eyes seem even more pronounced. He barely looks like he's been getting any sleep at all. "What are you talking about?"

Peter turns, walking around his desk, one hand moving to pick up a small white bottle with a red label, the yellow text on it clearly reading Advil. He pops the red top off with his thumb, bringing the rattling bottle to his mouth as he takes two pills and dryly swallows them. Niki's words just cause him to choke on those pills, gagging for a moment before they finally go down.

"L-look, I…" He glances up at Niki, then over to Gwendolyn, "I'm not entirely sure what it is you two are getting on about, but I don't…" His words fade as he looks between Niki and Gwendolyn again, one hand coming up to rub at his brow slowly. "I don't know anything." His tone becomes a bit sharper, less amiable, "If I did I would have told Sabra about what happened. I don't — " Peter strains out a frustrated sigh, "I don't even know what happened."

Gwendolyn tsks. "Our job isn't to beat on him Niki, it's to monitor him." She looks back at Peter. "Let's dispense with the protestations and the gaping about the hows and why's of Sabra's information network. Whatever it is, clearly there's some very good reasons why she's currently our head of the Company. Now, you can settle in a bit and let us ask the questions we think our pertinent, or we can let you continue to flutter like a schoolgirl, walk out uninformed, and potentially take damage we didn't originally have to because of something we may have picked up by speaking with you on the topic. Shall we start?" God if she doesn't sound like a schoolmarm.

Niki looks a little awkward. "There's a picture. Like one of Isaac Mendez' pictures. It shows you fighting a…duplicate you." She'll try to make with the clarification. "Gwen and I are supposed to try and do something about it.'

Peter stares blankly at his desk for a moment, both hands settles on the desktop as his shoulders slack and his head hangs, only furthered by Niki's words. "That wasn't him in the picture, that was Espenosa, the guy that had the sonic scream." There's a slow shake of Peter's head, and he straightens up to look over at Niki. "There… I looked at the painting again, there's a face in one of the broken panes of glass, it's me, but…" He eyes Niki, "But it's not me." He's trying to put some associations together, ones she'll understand.

"Look, I don't know what you're hoping to figure out. I don't know what happened, one minute I was fighting Espenosa, the next minute there was this girl there, and then I got this throbbing headache…" No sense in trying to sweep some facts under the rug, not now that Sabra apparently knows. "Then, all of the sudden, there was another me, but naked." His expression screws up into an awkward and distatseful look. "We — I don't know, he just rose up and started attacking me. Woods was already unsconcsious, and he beat the shit out of me. I threw a car at him, and he flew away."

Circling around behind his desk, Peter sits down and rests his head in his hands. "I've…" How much to tell, "Ever since I got my memory back, I've been having these flashes. Moments where I lose time, forget things, or hear voices that aren't there. I — " He looks up to Gwendolyn, "Look, the last thing I wanted was to have Claudine try to claw her way around in my mind to fix things. God knows she'd just break them worse…" His fingers curl into his hair, stress riding heavy on his tired shoulders. "I haven't seen him since then, but ever since he showed up, a good chunk of my powers are gone. Just, not there anymore."

Gwendolyn refrains from looking expasperated. How he likes to go on! "We're not actually looking for particulars. Profiling involves a lot of speculation in point of fact. If he is some kind of reflection of you, or just a manifestation of some aspect of your psyche or some other figment of your imagination who happens to be a genetic duplicate - which most shapeshifters in my research cannot duplicate in entire - then we may be able to determine some of his patterns based on any familiarity we may find between yourself and him. Of course, the easiest way to end this unpleasant topic is to weather through it. May we begin with our questions? Again, we shan't be looking for specific answers. We're looking for your…mmm, hunches. Such as they are."

Niki looks hesitant. "No, wait. This is useful." She'll object. "What abilities? If we know what he can do, it might help us figure out a vulnerability. What he -can't- do."

Peter eyes Gwendolyn for a moment, straining slightly not to sigh as he listens to her. Then, resting his head in one hand, Niki's question seems to burden Peter just a bit, having to admit the loss of functionality, "I've — I don't have telekinesis, flight, my shapeshifting, pyrokinesis…" There's a moment of hesitation, and he murmurs, "Induced radioactivity. He… has has that." Peter searches his thoughts, frowning slightly, "Weather control, and… I can't phase either. But I know he and I both can regenerate, so there's got to be a few things we can share. I just — " Peter leans back in his chair with a creak of the leather. "Ask. Just ask what you need, but — If you're looking for what I'd do, I'm not sure if that could possibly apply to… to whatever he is. I mean, I… I just don't know."

"It may, and it may not, but it's a start." Gwen's got a great pokerface. "I'm interested in places you think he'd go. People you think he'd seek out."

Niki considers. "What about…" She considers. "If we just knew something about a motivation, or where he might be. If you were going to hide from everyone, Peter, where would you go?"

Both hands come up to rub across Peter's face, breathing through his fingers for a moment as he drags his hands down towards his chin. "The Ruins," It's the first answer to come immediately off of his tongue, "If I wanted to hide," and for a long, long time he did. "The Ruins are the best place in the city, if he has my regeneration he can survive the radiation there, he can hide where no one else can go." There's an awkward swallow, "He's got my invisbility, so… you might not even be able to find him. I ah…" Peter slouches forward, folding his hands atop his desk. "I guess, maybe PARIAH. If they'd take him in." It's safe enough to implicate them, now that the people he cares about are — Claire. — "T-then again, maybe not. It — That might be less likely." They can't have Claire, he couldn't let that happen. "If he doesn't want to be found, hell, with his flight he could be halfway across the country right now."

"That's true." Gwen concedes. She doesn't think so, though. Leaning on the couch arm, she puts her hand to her chin. "What do you think he wants? In the painting, the reflection is dark." She seems to mean more than the terms of lighting.

Niki shakes his head. "No. If he were that far away, this fight wouldn't be about to happen. He's somewhere close." Call it a gut instinct. "The PARIAH lead might not be a bad one…we should pull our files on known and suspecteds. See if we can't find one of them."

"Other than beating the crap out of me?" Peter lets out a bit of a laugh at that question, shaking his head, "Your guess is as good as mine. I don't have a goddamned clue what he wants, except he was willing to strangle the life out of that girl for it." Peter winces, slightly, "She… got away. I had other problems to deal with at the time than securing her down for questioning." There's no hope in trying to protect her now, whoever she is. "Her picture's in the painting, kind've obscured by the baseball cap, but she's there. I don't know who the hell she was…"

Niki's words cause Peter to tense up, jaw tightening as his head cranes to one side, "I — I don't know about the PARIAH angle, too many people there know I went to the Company, they — they'd never accept him in, right?" He has to try and cover, hope that they don't go looking and find the wrong person. "Just — It's a dark-horse option. I wouldn't count on it."
Gwendolyn considers a few moments. "That's all for now, I think. There may be more questions. Unless you have anything else, Niki?"

The blonde shakes her head. "I don't know. It's -something- to look into. It beats having nothing." She stands. "Thank you, Peter."

Peter just nods, slowly, as Niki and Gwendolyn conclude their investigation into that night's events. "Yeah I… If I think of anything else, I'll… I'll let you know." He grows quiet as the two agents rise up from where they had settled down in, and once the pair has finally slipped out of Peter's office, he leans forward enough to let his forehead thump down on his deck, hands coming to fold behind his head as he lets out a slow, groaning sigh.

His headache just got twice as big.

November 21st: Nines, Zeroes, And Newspapers

Previously in this storyline…
I Think I'm Paranoid

Next in this storyline…
Vehicular Manslaughter For The Win

November 21st: What A Lovely Way To Burn
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