I Advise Against It


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Scene Title I Advise Against It
Synopsis When Elisabeth Harrison arranges for a meeting with Julien Dumont, she asks the wrong questions, and gets the wrong answers.
Date January 26, 2011


Eduardo's is a run-of-the-mill diner for New York City's standards. Fashioned in that old vintage fifties diner fashion that is still chic, its black and white tiled floors, red leather seats and chromed trim on everything keeps that Norman Rockwell sensibility. When the panoramic view outside of the diner happens to show chain-link fencing surrounding fire-gutted apartment buildings, however, it's like viewing a Norman Rockwell painting through a mirror, darkly.

The muted reflection of Julien Dumont finds some level of artistic appreciation in the juxtaposition of the diner atmosphere and the urban decay brought on by the riots. Diners are his favorite places to meet, especially diners with a vantage point as keen as this one. Smartly dressed in formal businesswear the same sharkish color of gray that Sarisa Kershner is fond of, Julien looks like any businessman in the city on his lunch break; blonde hair swept back from his face, a half eaten reuben sitting on a plate scattered with fries. His focus is more on the snowy sidewalk outside rather than his meal, for good reason.

Julien — or one iteration of him, at least — has arranged for a meeting here at the request of Elisabeth Harrison. It's been months since the two had met, and this particular iteration of Mr.Dumont only vaguely recalls the meeting had at the old Gray & Sons watch shop down in Brooklyn. So much has changed since then, and so much more is still changing.

Dabbing at his mouth with a checkered napkin, the replicator turns to the sound of the door opening, a soft bell chime that has his attention as fast as screeching brakes outside during a near accident on icy roads had. Not who he was waiting for, but it takes that moment of additional scrutiny to discern the unfamiliarity of the arrival to the diner under layers of winter clothing.

He'd heard on the radio that it's barely going to get above twenty degrees today.

Julien Dumont longs for the time he spent in Brazil, these days.

Not more than five steps behind the person who first drew his eyes, Elisabeth Harrison does in fact come through the door. Whipping a hat off her blonde hair and shaking it out by running a hand through her hair, she's dressed in a pair of heavy wool slacks in a deep hunter green and a a heavily lined brown leather jacket. Glancing around, clearly looking to meet someone, she gets a big smile as she spots the man. It looks like two friends catching up with one another as she walks across and slips into the chair across from him — she's good at looking casual. "Thanks for taking the time," she murmurs.

"/I// have all the time in the world," Julien quietly notes, finishing wiping his mouth before folding the napkin to the side of his plate, hands lacing together as he watches Elisabeth help herself down to a seat. "I don't actually do much at my job at Chase Manhattan, more so than sit in on board meetings and listen to investment bankers whine at me on the phone all day. I'm not the source of the intel you're going to be getting today. Which— I figure is what you wanted to meet with me for?"

Lifting one brow, Julien considers Elisabeth briefly, before pushing his plate and the remaining half of his sandwich aside to the edge of the table for a waitress to pick up. "I understand that we didn't get into specifics much over the phone. Such as things are…" he laments with a rise of his shoulders into a shrug. "What can I help you with, today?"

Glancing up to smile at the waitress, turning over the coffee cup on the table and letting her just fill it, Elisabeth waits until that's done and then encloses the table in silence. Her blue eyes flicker to the Julien in front of her. "I realize that our mutual boss has her own agenda going on, but you guys are the data gatherers. Some rumors came down the pipe at me recently and I think it's…. well, to be quite blunt, terrifying enough… that if you don't already know what's going on, you need to. Have you heard of a Mallett device?" she asks, doctoring her coffee while they speak.

"Not a familiar term," Julien admits with a slow shake of his head, reaching for a so far untouched cup of coffee, drawing it closer to himself. As he talks, he tears the corners off of individual packets of sugar, pouring them one by one to a total of four into the small cup. "But I'm not on any science teams either. Three of my entourage," as he refers to his replicants, "are working on a Retriever squad with Sabine, I'm handling face duties for when meetings like this happen." Julien lays down the emptied sugar packets, all lined up together nearly.

Blue eyes alight to a waitress passing by, then sweep to Elisabeth. "That term's never come up in anything they've sent me," the replicator admits with a tip of his head to the side, appraising a bowl of individual creamers thoughtfully before forsaking them, stirring the black, sugared coffee with measured spoon turns.

"Is it something you want looked into?" Julien asks without looking up to Elisabeth, withdrawing his spoon from the coffee with two taps of the side on the rim of his cup before settling the spoon down on his folded napkin.

"Yeah. It is," Elisabeth says quietly. "Professor Ronald Mallett worked with Edward Ray at MIT. He was trying to build a machine that could… well, what amounts to sending messages back in time." She rolls her blue eyes. "I can not believe I just said that out loud. But I based on the rumors I've caught wind of, I believe that the Institute has managed to build the fucking thing. Now you think about what they have the potential to do in terms of changing the entire timeline and putting…. oh, Nathan Petrelli, perhaps? … into a position of power earlier than he got there already." She looks up at Julien. "It could all be bullshit. But I think it wise to look into the situation."

The look that Julien gives Elisabeth is a wary one, followed by a tilt of his head to the side and one brow raised. That he seems a bit dubious about that is unsurprising, though that he doesn't call Elisabeth insane goes to show just how much disbelief he's willing to suspend. "Alright, presuming that there's anything to find, I can manage that." Lifting up the coffee, Julien drinks in a slow sip, then cradles his hands around the mug and stares across the brim at Elisabeth.

"I hope that wasn't all you had on your mind, because I don't like having to deliver nothing but bad news in one of these meetings." Blue eyes wander out the window the the stark skyline of Hunter's Point and the fire-blackened buildings dusted with snow.

Elisabeth tilts her head and smiles faintly. "Really?" she asks. "And what bad news are you delivering me?"

Staring blankly at Elisabeth, Julien looks left and right, as if she were addressing someone else. When that moment of sarcasm is over, the replicator puts down his coffee and clears his throat awkwardly. "The— bad news that I— don't… know what a Mallet Drvice… is?" There's a hesitant tension to the blonde man's voice, as if trying to delicately approach that he thought the sentiment was obvious enough. Flashing a grimace, Julien reaches up and scrubs one hand at the back of his neck.

"Sorry I— I thought that was clear," he murmurs, looking out the window sheepishly, one hand still curled around his coffee.

Elisabeth chuckles. "In all reality, that's not necessarily bad news, Julien," she says quietly. "Because it means that maybe we're out ahead of it. A little." She shrugs. "Considering what's going on in my corner lately, through my own stupidity mind you, I had a moment there where I thought 'oh great… and now he's going to say 'now you've walked right into my trap!' or something suitably villanous." She reaches up and rubs the back of her neck with a rueful look. "Been a tough couple of weeks."

Laughing, Julien smiles down into his coffee, shaking his head. "I'll toast to that," he admits with an upwards motion of his coffee towards Elisabeth before bringing it back in to sip from. "I was alone here in the city for most of last week, Sabine's team got called away on a delivery assignment. I'm still not sure exactly what was going on, but they had to make an urgent air delivery of a target they pulled out of the Suresh Center to some facility in Alaska."

The coffee cup is tipped back, and Julien closes his eyes, exhaling a sigh. "Fortunately I didn't have to go with them, because I'm not particularly partial to the cold. I was born in Brazil, you know?" He looks up from the coffee, smiling fondly. "Probably… three years ago? Dealing with these winters is miserable."

"After last winter? Let me tell you what, man, I'm all about avoiding the snow. Can't seem to get warm." Elisabeth's hands cradle her cup, warming herself over it. She hasn't even unzipped her jacket, in truth. "I'd hate to be in Sabine's shoes. Alaska this time of year has got to suck. When's she due back?"

"Mn, ah— yes. Probably quite cold." Lifting a hand up to scratch at his right ear, Julien offers an askance look to Elisabeth again, then down to his coffee. "She came back beginning of the week," is a subtle way to once more clarify the obvious. "I ah, was there anything else you wanted to discuss, Elisabeth? My lunch is only forty-five minutes, and I've already spent a half hour of it." One brow lifts, and the replicator downs the last of the black coffee, squaring his cup on the table beside his napkin just so.

"Otherwise it seems I did waste your time by calling you out here, which is highly unfortunate…" Pursing his lips, the replicator folds his hands in front of himself, hunching forward and looking across the table to Elisabeth.

Elisabeth shrugs slightly. "I wasn't sure if you meant this past week or last week. Sorry… I'm ridiculously tired," she apologizes. "I can't figure out how Kershner found friggin' time to pee much less time to ride herd on all of us." The admission is nothing but the truth. "It's not a waste of time," she adds with a bit of a grin quirked at him. "Hell, anything that takes me off the base for a little while is counting as a break time for me."

The blonde says softly, "Let me know if you turn up anything, okay? It could be nothing. I'm hoping it's nothing. But the shit I've seen in the past two years?" Liz grimaces wryly. "At this point, I discount nothing."

Withdrawing a wallet from his jacket, Julien pages thorugh a few bills and lays a twenty down on the table, then settles his coffee cup on one corner of it. "Getting fresh air is as good an excuse as any. Though, if you don't mind my offering some unsolicited advice to you?" The wallet is folded closed and tucked back inside of his jacket. "What you're doing, with Richard?"

Julien quietly turns in his seat, then slides out and stands up, smoothing out the front of his suit jacket and slacks before retrieving his heavy overcoat. "Be mindful of how far you're digging and how large of a flag you wave when you do. My entourage has told me that the Department of Evolved Affairs has been more carefully scrutinizing the Institute's work as of late, looking for a reason to go after them…" Blonde brows rise, then fall in a furrow.

In parting, Julien offers Elisabeth a wan smile. "If get the notion of siding with the lesser of two evils…"

"I'd advise against it."

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