Prophets And Progeny


broome_icon.gif matt_icon.gif

Scene Title Prophets and Progeny
Synopsis Matt receives an unexpected visitor who brings even less expected news.
Date September 9, 2010

DHS Facility

This government facility was opened by the Department of Homeland Security in the fall of 2009. As a thirty-story building it rises high over the landscape of Battery Park City, a monochromatic monolith of gray and black set admist manicured trees and a concrete plaza where several flagpoles rise and a granite slab sign displays the building number 663 in serif font face.

Inside, this facility houses department executive offices, holding facilities, interrogation rooms and an armory to supply a standing security force with the necessary firepower to defend the building against terrorist threats on home soil. The lobby of the building features a large seal of the Department of Homeland Security at the center of the ground floor in plain view of balcony tiers of the second and third floor, accessible by stairs flanking the glass facade entrance and security checkpoint.

At three in the afternoon, the New York City office for the Department of Homeland Security is abuzz with activity. Agents, operatives, and staff run about like industrious insects on all floors of the facility. The top floor, where Department Secretary Matt Parkman has been installed for his temporary yet undetermined stay, is no different.

Save, of course, for the fact that all communication is done without so much as a proverbial peephole for a technopath to peek through.
That's because the top two items on Parkman's priority list involve those who either know how to hack a system as well as they know how to tie their shoes, or those who know someone who can do the former.

But unlike the heart of any hive of bees, Parkman isn't in his corner office. The door and blinds are open, and beyond them a woman with her mouse-brown hair tied back in a professional yet utilitarian ponytail is thumbing through a drawer of files, occasionally lifting one from the stack in her lap and slipping it among its fellows in the drawer.

Parkman is resting against the corner of a desk out in the floor's sea of workspaces and cubicles, frowning as he listens to a report given by one agent to a small group concerning the contents of one Martin Crowley's residence. Of course, the telepath's displeasure isn't making the already nervous agent any more at ease, and he's begun to bumble through his schpeal, even fumbling the pen he's using to point to the various photos stuck to a whiteboard.

The elevator doors opening and closing aren't an unexpected sound, nor are the shuffle of shoes across the tiled floor and the movement of 40-somethings in suits to and from offices. The business of the Department of Homeland Security in New York City is an active and vivacious one. Beyond the sea of desks and chairs, beyond the rows of tables and bulletin boards posted with photographs, the distant voice of a young woman and an old man talking goes largely unnoticed.

It's only when a pair of young agents carrying folders under their arms part out of Matthew Parkman's peripheral vision, that there's a ghost haunting his sight. Tall and long in the face, weathered like an old shoe but soft in the way an old hound dog might look, Doctor Simon Broome is the least likely person to be walking around the administrative floors of the Department of Homeland Security. No visitor badge, nothing but an old man's smile and dark eyes affixed on the secretary himself perched on the corner of a desk.

The young woman Doctor Broome had been speaking to is pointing in Matt's direction, smiling cheerfully as the old Doctor dips his head in thanks, lips moving with a softly murmured appreciation as his eyes meet Parkman's, making his way towards the sea of desks, one weathered and liver-spotted hand raising in an affable wave.

Walking, like a parapalegic shouldn't.

It's enough to make anyone who can put that face to a name suspicious.
Parkman's eyes almost immediately narrow, the sharp lines of his brows lifting in unsettling surprise. He nods himself away from the group of agents, much to the presenter's relief (though it may come with a dash of paranoia), and rises to start toward the older man.

With so much information to keep track of in his position, there's something to be said for Parkman being able to recognize on sight any man he has never met. Still, it is with his head held confidently high and his shoulders squared that Matt extends a hand as he approaches the visitor. But his eyes are still narrowed, and there is that subtle yet unmistakable twist of his neck that serves as his tell. Parkman is searching.

Searching for why this man is here, but more importantly, why this man is walking.

"Doctor Broome. I have to admit, I didn't expect you."

The sensation behind Matt's eyes on meeting Broome's is like leaning over a too-deep well, the feeling of vertigo when faced with that dark abyss and gravity tugging downwards, as if inviting the fall. The brush of psychic fingers across Broome's mental landscape has that same effect, a feeling that light must get when approaching the event horizon of a black hole. It isn't that Simon Broome is a negator, that he's some sort of black spot in Matt's psychic search, but it's that he's a vortex of some kind, and that if Matt peered too long and too hard into this abyss, the abyss may peer back, or swallow him whole entirely.

"Matthew," is Simon's gentle and grandfatherly greeting as he takes that offered hand in his own, squeezing more firmly than an old man might seem capable of, adding his other hand to the back with a gentle pat before disengaging the handshake. A smile creases at the corners of Broome's sagging mouth as he looks Matt up and down and notes, "I was in the neighborhood and thought I'd come in and say hello, it's been too long since you've taken over for Secretary Hicks, and I figured it was about time that you and I met face to face. If…" Simon's pitch black eyes divert to look at the other agents, then back to Mat, "this is a bad time, I can always come back another day, the last thing I want to do is intrude."

Folding his hands in front of himself, Broome offers one brow slowly raised in query, his head slightly canting to the side as he suggestively looks at Mat's open office door, then back to the DHS Secretary.

The handshake grounds Parkman, and he blinks to try and clear the strange feeling. A smile twitches against his mouth, and he nods. "Not at all," he says with a sweep of his hand toward the office. "Please."

Of course, there are plenty of speculations to be made about just why Broome has delayed in this visit, not to mention why it was important in the first place. Yes, the Commonwealth Institute is under the purview of the Department of Defense, and that's not a pie Parkman is used to dipping his fingers into. So it isn't until they are secured in the office with the door closed that Parkman speaks again, stepping around toward his desk - or rather, the desk he's been using - and gesturing for his visitor to take a seat.

He could say it's an honor to meet the man, but Parkman isn't sure if the word honor, though polite, is appropriate. "I'm glad you had a chance to come by," he says with a nod. "Can I get you anything to drink?" Formalities, formalities.

"No, that won't be necessary," Broome notes with a dismissive wave of one hand, looking back to the blinds to Matt's office, turning to reach out and take one of the long plastic arms, twisting it between his fingers and drawing the blinds shut. "I apologize for the abruptness of this meeting, but I presumed you'd feel more comfortable having it here at your office than in your home." Slowly turning back towards Secretary Parkman, Broome's demeanor seems to shift, his posture stiffening a little and his expression more that of a wary parent's.

"Matthew, I like to think that you and I can be friends," Broome begins as he lets go of the plastic arm for the blinds delicately, "but you have found yourself in a very precarious position that does not inspire confidence in your ability to survive what is to come. I, and my better, would be remarkably saddened if we were to lose you, Matthew, you're a very special person."

Folding his hands in front of himself, Broome arches one brow slowly again. "Are you familiar with a young woman named Eve Mas?"

The tenor of the conversation does indeed shift to something more severe, and Matt's guard goes up at the notion of this man visiting him anywhere other than in his capacity as a government official. Rather than sit, Matt moves around to the back of his chair and rests his hands against the leather upholstery, his fingers drumming on the back cushion. His brow furrows, the lines on his forehead and around his eyes deepening as he staves off a harsher frown.

The name sounds familiar enough, but it takes Matt a moment of concentrated thought before he can nod. "I am," he says, his voice as guarded as his posture. But he can't quite recall her ability - sure, he could have someone downstairs on one of the floors not stripped of technology look it up, but he doesn't have the time for that. And there are other questions to be dealt with. Questions that, given the man's more advanced age and the fact that he came to see him cue Parkman to resist asking them. For now.

"Eve Mas is a precognitive dreamer, a very talented one as well, quite possibly the most gifted precognitive alive in the world today." Moving to stand at the fore of Matt's desk, Broome seems to have no qualms with closing the distance between he and the Secretary of Homeland Security, and even though the black-suitedo ld man has all of the mannerisms of a stalking panther, his expression and voice never loses that pleading tone of an old man trying to give advice.
"She painted me a depiction of you, Matthew, a picture of you very dead, and very alone… It was one of her latest dreams, and I have lost sleep over the very notion of losing you." Broome's dark eyes avert to the table top as he leans forward and rests his fingertips down on the desk's surface then looks up to Matt again. "Eve's dream was very clear, because she claims to have seen you standing at the end of a hallway in this building, with men she identified as Sylar and Peter Petrelli fighting one another, and that you were, to quote Eve, incinerated in the blowback of their confrontation…"

Simon's brows furrow slowly, his head tilts to the side. "Eve doesn't know when this may happen, Matthew, but she says she saw out the windows of this floor, new construction rising in Midtown in the distance, something that the Maxwell Corporation plans to have started no later than next year."

Fingers squeak against the leather chair, and the color washes from Matt's already pale features as he stares at Simon from across the distance. The lack of blood in his cheeks makes the shadows under his eyes and the various lines that have begun to develop stand out all the more. He is quiet in the aftermath of the doctor's information, as any man just informed of his death would be.
But after a moment, he clears his throat and braces himself against the chair, the leather screaming under his grip. "How often does she dream?" he asks, his voice flat. "Does she use a catalyst like Mendez, or is it less reliable than that?" It Matt has his way, or is given the slightest opportunity, he'll pull every image from this day to that from the woman's brain in an attempt to make sure it doesn't happen. Even without his death, Sylar and Petrelli waging some comic-book battle sequence is something to be avoided at all costs.
Such things never end well.

"Eve dreams what she dreams, she has little control over when they come, but they've become less… cryptic, since she's gone thorugh therapy and received help." Angling his head to the side, Broome looks down to the desk again, then back up to Matt. "That isn't the only thing that I came here to tell you though, Matthew." Keeping his voice down, Broome looks back to the door to the office, then back to Matt and straightens his posture, hands folding behind his back.

"I don't know if it's in your files, but… I was a father once," there's a faint crease of a smile at the corners of Broome's weathered mouth, "my son didn't live to birth, however, but I loved him regardless and I would have done anything for him. I know how hard it can be, for a father to lose a son, for a husband to lose a wife." Black eyes consider the floor in humble silence, but the implications of Broome's words seem to dance around a difficult topic.

"You should do whatever it takes to protect your family, Matthew. I wouldn't fault you for whatever choices you make, and I don't think any other father would be able to either…" Gray brows crease together, and Broome wrings his hands as he turns to offer Matt a view of his profile, head dipped forward into an awkward bow of his head.

"Don't let your second guesses cloud your judgment," Broome intones as he looks back up and over to the telepath, one brow lifted, "be true to your heart and adamant in your resolve, and take whatever matters are necessary to ensure the well-being of your progeny. You may never know how important children can be to the future…"

Too many of the words have struck far too close to heart for Matt to bear much more of it. A small, whispering part of him actually wonders if it would have been any better had he been at home rather than tucked away in the corner office where someone else's kids smile up at him from their modest black frames on the desk. His jaw is tight, and he takes a deep breath to steady himself.

"Who are you really? Simon Broome is paralyzed. Paraplegic." While his hand doesn't go for the gun ever-present at his waist, Matt is conscious of the weight of it, and the necessary speed to draw and aim it on the man on the other side of the desk. This isn't his first time playing this game, after all.

One gray brow rises slowly, and Doctor Broome offers a slow aversion of his eyes down to the desktop. "I am Simon Broome, or at least a Simon Broome." When those dark eyes alight again, that clarification has done nothing to actually clarify the situation. "There are resources available to the Institute that have allowed me to walk again, among other things. I am the man you believe you are talking to, but I am not the only Simon Broome currently aware of himself right now. To explain more would be contrary to the security concerns of the Institute, but rest assured, Matthew… this meeting is about you, not I."

Taking a few steps away from the desk, Simon looks to the closed blinds, then up to the subtly flickering fluorescent light above. "Your suspicion implies that you won't act on the words I've told you, which makes me ask the obvious question…" As Simon turns to regard Matt again, he offers him a raised brow once more. "What would you need to be told, to believe that I am looking out for your best interests?"

Everything wouldn't be a bad answer, and it's the one that resonates in Matt's head to the point where it threatens to make his ears ring. "The security concerns of the Institute? I shouldn't have to remind you, Doctor, that the Institute is no longer a private entity. It's a government organization, just like this office. Now, if you would prefer, I can call up Secretary Lanford and get the information I need. Or you can fill me in on how you're just one of you. Because in case you forgot?

"The security concerns of the Institute are the immediate security concerns of the entire Eastern Seaboard."

Matt pushes the chair away from him, toward the l-shaped bend in the desk, and stalks back around toward his visitor. "Now I don't doubt that you're concerned for my safety, and I thankful for that. Don't get me wrong. But I don't put my trust in every man, or version of a man that strolls into my office just because he tells me I'm going to die before the next election."

Steady in his silence, Broome stares at Parkman for a long moment before offering him a fond smile, as if to imply you kidder, you. "I am a cognizent copy of the mind of Simon Broome, replicated by the cognition duplication ability of one Doctor Elijah Carpenter, placed into the memory-wiped mind of a clone created by a man named Julien Dumont." That is quite possibly the single-most direct answer possible. "I am also someone with whom there is a great amount of respect for you, Matthew, and the good you have done in your lifetime."

Broome's dark eyes have a certain gravity to them, too long a stage tempts the vortex, tempts the abyss that Mat felt when he brushed his mind, tempts the black hole of thoughts. "You're on my list, Matthew, of people that I feel that I can trust. Secretary Lanford wouldn't be able to provide you with that information you requested, not in any timely manner. You know, because I trust you with my well-being and my secrets…"

One gray brow rises as Broome asks, "Can you say the same of the rest of the administration you work for?"

He could ask why a clone - a simulacrum - was sent to talk to him rather than the real Simon Broome, but Matt can guess. After all, if he could be in more than one place at a time and share a consciousness across whatever distance, he'd have quite a long list of things he'd do. He's about to say something about the nature of trust and the use of what amounts to a proxy when the older man in the shell of one grown in a lab stops him short with such a piercing question.

A question that Matt only answers with a slight upward motion of his furrowed brows and a subtle saddening of his features.

"If I'm going to use all the resources I have available to keep this from happening," he says in a lower tone, the rhythm of his words slower, "then you have to give me more to go on. I have to know what else she's dreamed." One vision, one picture isn't even enough to confidently put Richard Cardinal on the scent.

"All Eve saw was a hallway," and to that point Simon motions to the door, "the hallway before these offices. According to Eve, you were trying to force your way into one of the holding cells, while Sylar had his back to you. Peter was there, and he was fighting Sylar with enough ferocity that Eve said she could feel the heat radiating off of the flames in Peter's hands, peeling paint back from the walls, shattering glass, while ice and frost fell from Sylar's hand and froze the hallway you were standing in…"

Looking away, Simon closes his eyes. "She said that there was an explosion, and that you were incinerated in the backlash of their battle, a bystander casualty. Whatever was behind that door, however," Simon's eyes open slowly, "she imagines it was very important. We have too little to go on, for now, but…" Simon's dark eyes settle on Matt.
"As soon as we know more, Matthew, I assure you that we'll share it." Though there's a faint touch of something like impatience on Simon's face. "You should be more worried about your own family though, Matthew. There's several months yet before there are scaffolding and girders rising out of Midtown… but your son," there's a steady bob of Simon's head in a nod, "if he is anything like you or your father… how long do you think it will take before my hand is forced? Before someone comes to take your son away from you, for the greater good?"

The last thing that Matt wants to talk about with a man who isn't really there is his own flesh and blood. His mouth twitches as the muscles in his jaw tense up. It's his turn to glance toward the blinded windows of the office, but even then, all he does his heave a great sigh. There are perks to picking what staff are allowed to work on any given floor. Perks to having an enforced tech-free zone. But they are perks that do very little to soften the sharp prick of Simon's needling.

After a moment of just looking at the other man, Matt turns away, lifting a hand to scratch at his temple with a grimace. "He's been tested," he says in a much quieter voice. "But… but we don't know what he can do." The likelihood of Matthew Parkman Jr. not carrying the Suresh Linkage Complex while being the son of a second-generation Evolved individual was never very high, but the news was still unsettling. Matt sinks into his chair and rubs his hand over his jaw, looking into the middle distance rather than the Not-Simon. The level of trust he's already invested in here is, in itself, unsettling for Matt, as it is not his normal modus operandi.

"I hope for your sake and the sake of your family, when you do find out, that the country is better equipped to welcome a miracle like your son into this world, than they are now." Broome's tone is warning, and given that he has survived one holocaust era only to see the approach of another on the horizon may have something to do with the gravity of his words. "It's a dark future we're headed towards these days, Matthew, and it is going to take bastions of stability to weather the storm that is coming, lest we all be dashed on the rocks."

Breathing in deeply, Broome exhales a tired sigh and flexes his hands open and closed, looking at the creases and wrinkles in his flesh. Minor inconsistencies in his stories aside, there's a few steps in the process of getting from Julien Dumont to Simon Broome that were glossed over.

"If you take away even only one thing from this meeting, Matthew, let it be this." Simon pleads with one brow raised, "our children are our future."

Matt nods at that, his face still strained with the effort of retaining his composure. He should get out there this weekend - go back to L.A. and visit his little boy. It might be just the thing he needs to ground himself again. He breathes another deep sigh and stands, resting his hands on the desk so that he can lean against it.

"I won't forget, Doctor. I promise."

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