Prelude to Disaster


steve_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif rickham_icon.gif

Scene Title Prelude to Disaster
Synopsis Steve and President-Elect Rickham linger briefly at the Petrelli Mansion before returning to their hotel. Steve receives an unwelcome maintenance call from a masquerading Sylar.
Date December 19, 2008

Petrelli Mansion

"Yes, yes I understand." In truth he really doesn't, this is the third time in a day where Allen Rickham has been given the run-around on the phone. Pacing across the foyer of the Petrelli Mansion, the dark-haired President Elect seems put off. The cadre of secret servicemen waiting just beyond the glass doors quietly display their own displeasure with the situation. "I understand that mister Petrelli is a very busy man, but we did have plans set for — " Someone on the other end actually interrupts him. Rickham blinks away his confusion, pausing to peer out at the gray skies beyond one of the foyer windows. "Yes, I realize there's a storm coming — I — No if — I would have appreciated a phone call earlier if you had known his flight would have been delayed."

This isn't the first time that Allen Rickham has had difficulty securing a face-to-face meeting with Nathan Petrelli. Ever since the elections ended, getting a hold of his former rival has been like trying to catch smoke with your bare hands. "Could you — Yes, no that's — Alright." He scowls, visibly, one hand raking through his receeding brown hair as he closes his eyes and leans one arm up against the window frame, letting his forehead come to rest against his forearm. "I appreciate the well-wishing. When he has time, have him call me. I — Yes, thank you. Have a happy holiday Miss Petrelli."

There's a click as Allen slaps his phone shut, but he doesn't move directly away from where he's leaning against the window. All this arrangement for a dinner to court the New York Senator for the Secretary of State position, and now he's stuck in D.C. due to the weather.

Steve Caiati stands a respectable distance away from the President-Elect while remaining close enough to still be considered at his side. Her attention is divided between his half of the conversation and the BlackBerry she rapidly texts on. "I actually told you two hours ago that his flight was delayed," she says gently after the phone is slapped shut. "Right after I got the alert."

Allen tilts his head to the side, looking over his shoulder, "You did not." His tone is remarkably light-hearted, there's a certain interaction the two have, despite their drastic age difference, like an older brother and younger sister. "I would have remembered. I wouldn't have — " His eyes narrow, testingly, "Why did you let me drive all the way up here?" His own phone slips down into the pocket of his slacks, looking through the glass doors to the Secret Service agents. "You did not." Incredulous, and also somewhat teasing. He's a busy man, and also a very distracted man given everything that's going on, maybe he didn't pay attention to her. The smirk that's creeping up on his face makes it hard to tell which of them is being serious.

"I wanted to see what it looked like," Steve responds easily. She hits send on her message and then pulls something else up on the screen, holding out her phone for Allen to see the alert for the delayed flight from DC. "See? Timestamped and the whole nine yards. I wanted to see the home of the man I almost came to work for. You're lucky you're able to offer such a competitive salary. Dinners here would have been nice." She's teasing him. Hers is a relationship most people will never know with any president.

Rickham folds his arms across his chest like a stern parent and leans forward, eyes narrowed as he looks at the screen, then the timestamp. His green eyes lift up to her again, then back down to the screen before he stands straight. "You probably had that technopath from the Department of the Interior fake it for you." Because that would be a proper use of government assets. The smirk grows a bit, and he shakes his head, looking up at the ceiling. "You might still work with him, if I can ever get a hold of him to talk about that State position." One brow rises, "Might have to go with my backup in that regard, if this is any indication of a Petrelli's reliability." Oh, if only Rickham knew.

"Alright, what's my timetable looking like?" He unfolds his arms and shoves his hands into the pockets of his slacks again, strolling past Stephanie to view a painting hanging on one of the walls, a very stylish depiction of a taxi cab with the roof smashed in. Nathan certainly has some interesting tastes. "Are we still going to CitySoft?" He asks without looking over his shoulder.

Steve turns the phone back toward herself to bring up the calendar with a quiet hum. "It's a tight squeeze. We can still make it fit. Depends on how much time you want to have to compose yourself before Washington Irving." She lifts her head to take in her surroundings and nod appreciatively. "I think Petrelli's your man. I wouldn't go with anyone else."

Allen paces back and forth, a tired sigh escaping him. It's been close to twenty hours since he's slept, but at least it's not like when he was on the campaign trail and he'd go a full day and a half without more than an hour or two of rest. "Screw it," He waves one hand in the air, "Let's skip CitySoft, the people aren't going to be able to empathize with a big corporation getting blown up. We'll push Washington-Irving to tomorrow, and we'll…" He strains, "A quick stop in Midtown. Just…" Something comes to him, perhaps an idea, but he keeps his cards close to his chest. "Small press core, we'll do a tour and take a few photos and go off before the storm hits. Easy."

"Simple," Steve agrees, though a little skeptically. "You really need to sleep, Allen. No amount of makeup is going to make you look like you don't." She frowns faintly. "The last thing you want murmured amongst the press is 'Don't you think he looks tired?' It will be all over the front pages. How you aren't fit for the presidency. We've come too far to let things fall apart before they've even begun." She tries to lighten the moment with a smile, "And beside that, you have to look better than I do so that the cameras will be on you instead of me." Eternally camera shy.

Stephanie's barrage of concerns brings a smile to Allen's lips, and he shakes his head, walking up to her to settle one hand on her shoulder. "Every President looks tired, and more so the longer they're in office." He lets the hand fall away slowly, "I'll sleep when we get stormed-in here in the city," There's a bit of a grin, "I'm going to have them take me back so I can get in a fifteen minute nap, since you insist." In all likleyhood he'll probably just sit down and browse You Tube until someone gives him something to do, he's judicious with his free time like that.

"Get yourself back to your hotel and find something warm to wear," His hand comes up, lightly patting at one of Stephanie's cheeks, "I'll meet up with you in an hour." Allen pauses for a moment, managing a tired smile, and turns around to signal to the Secret Service agents that he's ready to go.

Steve leans into the touch a faint bit and smiles. "All right. But only if you promise me you'll sleep. If I see you've logged into your computer when you're supposed to be napping, I'll start posting videos of our campaign parties to YouTube. Or better yet, I'll sell them to the Today show or something."


It's good to be the President's aide. Steve's hotel suite is plush and with a bed that's oh-so-very comfortable. There's only a couple of hours left before the appearance at Washington Irving now, and Steve begrudgingly sets her phone down to rise from the pillows she was propped up on and pads over to the closet in bare feet to search through her closet for the perfect outfit, adjusting the tie on her robe.

A knock on the door. Though Steve hasn't ordered anything up to her room, and security isn't due to escort her down to the waiting cars, and certainly Rickham himself isn't inclined to come knocking, Steve has company. Upon opening the door, she's greeted with a bright, if apologetic smile from a man dressed in a dark blue set of clothing - slacks and a matching shirt tucked in neatly. In his hand is a clipboard and his belt has the kind of tools that a maintenance man might wear. The hotel's logo is stitched onto the breast of his shirt, signalling him for who he's supposed to be.

"Sorry to disturb you, ma'am," Sylar says. "But there's been some localised freezing in the hotel lately, the pipes've been giving the guests on the floor some trouble. Mind if I have a look? I wouldn't want anyone to go without working warm water in this weather. It's set to be a blizzard tonight."

"Sure. Of course." Steve opens the door wide and steps aside to let the maintenance man by. "This won't take long, will it? I'm getting ready to go out the door…" This isn't part of the schedule! This worries her. Can she squeeze it in? …She'll make it work. The panic never shows on her face, covered by a serene expression that she's practiced very thoroughly over the course of the presidential race.

Sylar readily shuts the door behind him once he's admitted entrance, even taking the liberty to lock the door. His demeanor remains cheerful if unobtrusive, barely looking at the woman. "Oh no," he assures. "This really shouldn't take long at all. You just go back to getting ready, Miss Caiati." And he readily heads towards the bathroom, as if, for all intents and purposes, he were in fact going to fix the bathroom.

Steve bites her lower lip and nods, leaving the man to do his work as she moves back to the closet to pick out her dress for the day's event. She holds up first a cream coloured dress, glancing at her reflection in the mirror, and then a black dress. "Definitely black," she murmurs. People died, after all. Got to look like she's in mourning.

"You really think so?"

Before Steve can even turn and acknowledge unwanted input, a wrench of all things spins through the air with kinetic urgency, hurtling towards her and glancing off her skull, landing with a dull *thunk!* against the wall opposite. Sylar lowers his hand from where it had been paused in the air, and begins to approach. A roll of electrical tape is held in the other hand.

Steve lets out a quiet groan when she hits the floor. She isn't quite unconscious, but it won't be long. She rolls onto her side and lifts her head to peer at the blurred vision of the man approaching her. She can't even manage a look of wide-eyed panic.

He crouches down just next to her, gaze flicking over the head wound. Blood makes hair damp and darker, smears skin, but it's not fatal. There's a lot of things here that could be fatal. Instead, Sylar studies her features for a moment, before reaching out. The tape makes a tearing sound as its drawn, and he proceeds to cover her mouth, wrapping it once around her head. A clink of metal as he takes something else out of his pockets - handcuffs? - and his other hand reaches out to grab her arm. "Think about it this way, Miss Caiati," he says, as he connects the metal link around her wrist. "You get the day off and they might even pay you for it."

Steve emits a quiet whimper as her mouth's covered and her arm's grabbed. The metal around her wrist is the final source of worry as her eyes roll skyward just before her head tips back heavily and unconsciousness claims her.

The unconscious woman is lifted, moved towards the opposite wall where her other wrist is connected to the handcuffs, which is shimmied through the radiator connected to her wall. Old school, perhaps, but effective. She could wake up. She could clang metal against metal and be found and Sylar expects that to happen eventually. But it will, in the end, be too late.

Sylar picks up the discarded dress the woman had been modeling for herself, holding it up to inspect this choice. "Definitely black," he murmurs to himself. He expects there will be more to mourn than the already dead. Several minutes later, someone who looks very much like Steve selects a heavy, fur-lined coat from a suitcase, pulling it on over the black dress deemed suitable for the occasion. This rather effectively hides the thick, black tribal tattoo that looks too big for a feminine forearm, and certainly has no business being on Steve's body. A necklace is selected, a wristwatch, shoes, and finally he starts towards the door—

— and a ring tone, shrill, sounds out just as Sylar is reaching for the door handle. Almost forgot. He makes his way back towards the bedroom, picking up the BlackBerry. A text alert, telling the handler of the phone that security is waiting for her, or rather, him, down in the foyer. With a twist of a smile on freshly painted lips, the killer pockets the phone, spares one last glance to the crumpled woman on the expensive carpeting, and leaves the room.

December 19th: No Strings Attached
December 19th: Disaster Within Disaster: Part 1
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