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Scene Title Rumors
Synopsis Rumor in hand just to get the taste buds salivating, Tracy Strauss approaches a DHS Agent with her new little project.
Date December 28, 2009

Department of Homeland Security Annex

Forty degrees in late December? That's practically a heat wave. The lobby of the sweeping building blasts new arrivals with dry heat, instantly making scarves and coats an unhappily unwanted accessory. Traffic clogs as people busily shed outerwear before venturing in. Steady foot traffic splits to various offices, commercial and government alike, routed up elevators and stairs, past security and through doorways.

After all that heat, the Homeland Security offices are nicely comfortable. Quiet and secure, they are a little lower-key than some of the louder areas, but with a certain intensity that comes from being /very busy/. Down a hall and around a corner stands a small meeting room, scheduled appointment pulling Alexander Novikov from his data streams. Unable to completely sever his umbilical, he has a small laptop in front of him, and he is tapping quickly through large amounts of information with his eyes skimming the screen. His suit is not expensive, but it is well-fitting and crisply pressed. His tie, however, is crooked.

As for expense? Well Tracy Strauss has spared none. She is wearing a black A-line dress, the sleeveless, short ones that somehow are appropriate for work-place settings even though, in any other style, they wouldn't be, with a string of pearls around her throat and a very feminine, form-cut blazer, which hangs open after she's entered the building. Her pumps click, click, click on the hard floor as she moves, walking purposefully and with ease and grace and a little swagger. "Mister Novikov," she says, upon entering the room. She's never met the man, but the meeting was arranged over the phone, and it's supposed to be in this room, so this better be him. Tracy flashes the man that award-winning smile, pearly and white and wide, but the sort of smile that always seems to be holding something back, even though there's no direct evidence of such. A well-manicured hand is offered for the shake. "I'm Tracy Strauss. Thank you for agreeing to meet with me."

Novikov looks up, gaze sweeping Tracy in a quick appraisal. His manner is unassuming, but there is a sharpness to his study which suggestions both focus and intelligence. Slower is courtesy, drawing him to his feet only after a moment, and with a startled, 'Oh, right,' jerk. On his feet, he meets the clasp of Tracy's hand with firm politeness and gestures with the blade of his left toward one of the chairs. "How do you do, Ms. Strauss?" His smile is that of a man who is not particularly good with people, but tries anyway. "It's no trouble. I'm sure you're quite busy. Happy to make the time."

"Well I'm sure we're both quite busy, so I won't waste any of your time." She gestuers to his seat, so that he might return to it, while she removes her blazer and hangs it on the back of her own chair, settling down and pulling up close to the table. Her seat is set high, and it gives her an air of authority, though it seems unintentional. "I'm told that you're working on intelligence for the Summer Meadows group, the people who are working and living ther.e Is this correct?"

Inclining his head a certain, precise angle, Novikov watches her with bright eyes. He drags his nails back through his hair with a quick ruffle and then drops his hands to lace his fingers at the edge of the table. He taps the laptop with a finger, and then pushes it away. "That's right," he agrees. "It tends to attract a … certain amount of attention." His hesitation is slight, quickly smoothed over. "It's an easy target," he adds, bluntly.

"I'm not looking to target them, Mr. Novikov. Quite the contrary. I need to know everything possible about the group performing those activities there. There's been some discussion about a few of those members being on terrorist watch lists. I need to know who and why and, most importnatly, I need to know who is in charge." Tracy clasps her hands lightly on the table, light glittering off her perfectly clear-painted nails.

"To be perfeclty frank, I'm doing some work with the Office of Evolved Affairs, and if there are Evo-Terrorists involved here, there may very well be an Evolved…twist to their motives. This can either be good for us, or bad for us. I'm sure you understand."

As she speaks, he listens. The whole of his attention clearly narrowed on Tracy, Novikov obviously has yet to learn the important social lessons about how some people find that kind of thing unnerving — or else, for one reason or another, he doesn't care. He nods, slightly. "I went down there in person accompanying Secretary Praeger. He might have a better idea who in particular is in charge; he got the grand tour. It is clear that there is some level of organization, but." But. He opens his hands wide, cupping all that he does not know between them. "What do you know about suspected terrorists?"

"Absolutely nothing, it's only a rumor that's been going around, and you know how reliable those can be." They can be reliable. Other times not. Either way, Tracy doesn't seem to find his stare un-nerving, in fact, he might find her return gaze quite so. Her eyes are like ice, and the more she speaks, the more it seems like the heater's just kicked off, like a cool chill is striking up the room. But it's only a feeling. "I'm asking you, Mr. Novikov. I do a lot of work with DHS and so it's not uncommon to find me down here working with a lot of your agents. In this case, I want you to find out who is in charge for me, and if they have any Evo-ties."

"Oh, I don't know." Novikov's smile is faint, just slightly distracted as his eyes pull away from Tracy to glance around, and then down at the laptop before returning to her. "I don't place a lot of faith in rumor, but I've learned not to discount it. It is a good starting point, and if people are talking, even that means something." He falls silent, and then taps two fingers. "I'll see if there's any fire to that smoke, look into the organization there."

"Excellenct," Tracy says, rising to offer her hand once again with that same, cool smile. "And names and information on as many of the key figures there as you can. Don't hesitate to call me at my office at any time with questions or information. You're reporting to me now on this, Mr. Novikov, and I will greatly appreciate your speed on this matter." She's all beaurocracy, this one.

Smile faint, Novikov's eyes move over Tracy's features as though filing details away. He straightens, following her to her feet and taking her hand. He can't match her chill, but he can match her courtesy: "I appreciate the offer of assistance," he says in return, inclining his head. "I will let you know what I learn." He remains on his feet as she leaves again, a thoughtful gaze trailing after her. Once she's out of sight, he leans a moment on the table, and then reaches down to pick up his laptop. "Well," he murmurs, but he limits his talking to himself to a single syllable. Briskly, he moves out, returning to his lair to go rumor hunting.

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