Sloppy Filing


barbara_icon.gif niki_icon.gif

NPCs provided by Raith

Scene Title Sloppy Filing
Synopsis Two of the synthetically powered Zimmerman triplets raid Petrelli Law Offices, looking for some crucial documentation.
Date October 13, 2010

Petrelli Law Offices, P.C.

Tourists in New York have a wide variety of activities at their fingertips, day and night, for their entertainment and enjoyment. Breaking and entering is not among them. Neither is burglary or larceny, and of course, none of this matters to either Niki Sanders or Barbara Zimmerman as they stalk the hallway outside of Petrelli Law Office. It's best not to dwell on the cunning plan that earned them after-hours entry into the high-rise that houses the office, suffice to say that it was cunning. They have more important matters at hand.

Building security has proven to be either ineffective or uninterested, and the pair has gone unmolested so far. The only significant obstacle to their entry into the office proper, and by consequence, the documents kept inside, is the front door, as it were. And if they've managed to get this far without real problems, the rest of the endeavor should prove uneventful, aside from perhaps revealing a few unexpected insights into the way that New York City operates. Or perhaps not.

Weeks of preparation has gone into this little family outing, and it leaves Niki feeling tense. If it were anyone else, Monica, or Elisabeth, or even Peyton, she wouldn't be feeling like this. Maybe it's because she's exposing her darker side to her newly discovered sister, in most of it's inglory. Hopefully she won't have to show her the full extent of what she can do with her superhuman strength. But she will protect Barbara at all costs.

A plain charcoal-coloured jumper has been pulled on over her clothes - regular street clothes so that she can blend in easily. Her blonde hair is tucked under an engineer-styled cap. "Just wheel the cart in behind us. If anybody spots us, you smile and act like you're supposed to be here." She's gone over this before, but it can't hurt to give the reminder to her similarly dressed counterpart.

After a deep breath, Niki reaches for the handle to the office and gives it a quick jerk. No lock can stand up to her strength.

For every bit of tenseness and and nervousness that Niki feels is at least doubled for Barbara. Perhaps more, the redhead running a hand back nervously through her hair as she offers a hesitant smile to her sister. "I hope this stays this, uh, simple," she remarks with a glance of to the side. "I'm a little out of my element, Niki." Still, her sister had asked her to come, and it had taken some convincing considering Barbara wasn't exactly one who was big on putting herself in harm's way.

Family, however newly discovered, can be quite persuasive sometimes. At the very least, she was sure if something went wrong, she'd have Niki to make sure things turned right.

Taking a deep breath, hands gripping on the push bar for the cart, giving another nod. "A-Alright. That sounds simple enough, at least. I'm as ready as I'm ever going to get for this." And with little hesitation, she slips into stride behind Niki, just as instructed. She might regret this later, but for now it was just best to hope things go well.

Unfortunately for Niki, this lock does the impossible and stands up to her strength! Sort of. Nothing breaks off and the door does not open, but on the other hand, it's clearly not going to survive another assault like that, and a second jerk takes the lock and the entire door handle out as cleanly as a lock and entire door handle can be taken out. It makes no small amount of noise in the process, but no alarms sound, no guns open fire, and no one is even shouting at them to do anything. The darkened interior of the office, or at least the small lobby where a client would patiently wait their turn, is all that is there to greet Niki, and Barbara as well when she steps inside. It makes sense that there's not a layer of security here; the building's own force is probably considered 'good enough.'

Aside the lobby, there are a pair of other doors that likely lead to offices proper, or perhaps record storage or who knows what else. From the look of things, the only way it could be even easier would be a smash and grab, rather than a careful search for a specific document.

Which is very close to what Niki has in mind. Nudging the door closed behind Barbara, she adjusts the gloves on her hands and tosses the broken handle into the cleaning cart carelessly. She may not have left any fingerprints on it, but it's still evidence she isn't keen on leaving behind. And it might make kind of a nice trophy.

Niki heads for the second set of doors, hoping they'll open more easily than the first. If not, well, then she'll just repeat the earlier process. "What I want you to do," she says quietly, "is grab anything expensive and electronic and put it in the cart." It's why she insisted on one that's closer to the size of a hotel laundry cart than an office-building cleaning cart. "We want this to look like someone came in looking for computer equipment to fence. If they're looking at the physical, they may overlook one set of missing documents when they go to take stock."

Barbara seems to fidget noticeably as the small piece of evidence is gathered and thrown into the cart, looking down at it and then up at Niki, giving a small nod. "That… I never would have thought of something like that," she says sheepishly, instinctively pulling her hat down a bit further on her face. You know, in case a security camera is recording them right now.

Sighing, Barbara steps away from the cart, looking for something to start their little collection of stolen goods. It's a lobby, there's certainly bound to be at least a computer she can lug over, a display TV, something. Drumming fingers on her arm nervously, she steps away to retrieve something, giving a bit of a nod over to Niki. "And what after this?"

It is a lobby, if not a particularly well-appointed one. All the same, a lobby needs a receptionist, and a receptionist in this modern era needs a computer. No surprise then that one is sitting there on the front desk, along with a printer and a telephone. Good place to start.

The second door that Niki tries showcases a less-sturdy handle than the first, and it bends and twists into uselessness- and openedness- on the first try. And behind door number one is… a lawyer's office. Expensive desk and chair, fancy computer, telephone, printer, and filing cabinets, leftovers from the olden days when things were still done on paper. Currently in use because some things, like contracts, are still done on paper. Best place to start looking, and if it's not there, that still leaves the other door in the set, for a different office.

"After we're done here, I'm going to get you to safety, and then take the electronics to Redbird's basement so if there's anything to track any of it, it should be shut out." Niki wastes no time in wrenching open filing cabinets, checking their organisation, looking for anything that ties to Linderman.

"The computer in here's nicer," she tells Barbara in a hushed voice. "When you've got the reception desk finished, come in here and grab this one. And shut the door behind you." As an afterthought, Niki adds over her shoulder, "You're doing great."

That's reassuring, at least - both the praise, and the reassurance that she's going to be out of here and somewhere safer as soon as this matter is handled. Not that she doesn't want to help Niki, but there's an uneasiness that won't pass. After a moment of snatching at wires and detaching, the computer tower hefted up and carried to the cart, the rest of the pieces following in two more quick trips.

Slipping into the room behind Niki and pulling the door shut, Barbara lets out a bit of a sigh. "Have you… found what you're looking for yet?" Barbara grimaces, looking around nervously until her eyes land on the other computer she was instructed to grab. "Someday, I will figure out how you talked me into this," she half teases quietly, pulling out cords.

How Barbara got talked into this mess might be largely irrelevant. Unless figuring that out keeps her from getting roped into more shenanigans later in life. At the very least, grabbing electronics is going well, right? Niki makes quick work of the locks on the filing cabinets, and finds them organized according to… something other than last names, apparently. There is a method to it, sure. It's just that referencing the section marked 'L' turns up nothing relevant to Daniel Linderman, save for some invoices that don't shed any light on the situation.

In fact, everything in this section is invoices, and the totality of both cabinets put together yields invoices, contracts, tax forms and… other documents that don't appear to belong elsewhere in the cabinet, or have real relevance to anything, along with a small, old and faded photograph of an Easter egg. Miscellaneous, is the right word for it. The fact that 'miscellaneous' is in one of the locked drawers, however, would seem to highlight its importance. Sloppy filing?

"It's because I'm the cute one," Niki quips, flashing a grin to her identical sister. She frowns when she realises she isn't finding what she wants here, but squints. There's some purpose to this, or it wouldn't all be locked. But damned if she can figure out what it is without a bit more time and digging. She isn't sure she has much of the former. The photo of the Easter egg is plucked up and studied just because it catches her attention in how out of pace it seems. With a shrug, it goes fluttering into the cleaning cart with the electronics. A second trophy. Innocuous enough.

Before suggesting they try the next office, Niki decides to rifle through the desk and check for loose flash drives or any clues as to the whereabouts of what she's looking for here.

"Do we… have any idea what offices what we're looking for could be in?" The unasked question being Niki, is this going to take much longer? She can't help but chuckle and shake her head at her sister as keyboards and mouse are dropped into the card, Barbara heaving out a bit of a sigh as she wipes her brow, looking down at the picture Niki had thrown in. It stands out to her as well, eliciting a quirked eyebrow of confusion. "Is there anythin' else I can do?" she asks with a glance offered askance to Niki, then back to the door.

The desk contains no flash drives, CDs, DVDs or even floppy disks, meaning someone was paying attention during the course on information security. With nothing else of interest in this office, it's time to move onto the next, and the door to that one poses about the same level of challenge to Niki as the first.

This room, however, looks like it was or will be someone's office at one point in time only. Expensive desk and chair, but no computer, indicating that the previous occupant either moved out, or is still moving in. Either one could be true. But again, twin filing cabinets, each with a lock of about the same quality that already failed to stop Ms. Sanders from accessing their contents. The locked drawers in these ones, however, is much more helpful, since they actually appear to contain legal documents rather than simply, miscellaneous. And that includes more than one collection of papers that could be accurately described with the words, 'and testament of.'

"Jackpot," Niki murmurs under her breath and starts looking through for anything and everything related to Linderman. This includes the names of his known associates. One never knows when a little blackmail might come in handy, and legal documentation is just a goldmine for that sort of thing. "I think I'll find what we came here for in here," she assures her sister. "You've been great. It'd have taken me a lot longer to try and cover this up by myself."

Barbara gives a quick nod to Niki, a last glance out to the hall before she slides the door shut behind them. "Oh?" she inquires as she moves to look down past Niki's shoulders, eyes narrowed in an attempt to read the text better. To no avail, and she rights herself, taking to looking through the desk draws in the hopes of something that can be tossed into their small collection and assortment of odds and ends. "There's not really much to take here, unless you want to add a file cabinet."

Blackmail material is apparently thin 'round these parts; the Petrellis must keep all of the juicy stuff at a different location. A locked box in Switzerland, maybe. But thumbing through the documents does turn up, at long last, a document for Daniel Linderman, which even a glance reveals describes where and how, upon his eventual death, his various concerns and assets ought to be handled. This is it, the main event, the moment everyone's been waiting for. And all it took was burglary and a little theft. Normally, this would be the exact point where everything nosedives. But still, no one leaps out from the shadows with a gun, no one shouts, no alarms go off, no nothing. So far, so good.

"Got it," Niki whispers. Rather than toss the document into the cleaning cart, however, she unzips her coveralls and instead tucks it around her back between the waistband of her jeans, covered by her tee shirt, and a quick cinch of her belt, maybe just a little tighter than is comfortable, pins it in place before she's smoothing her attire out and zipping herself back up.

The next task is rearranging the prop cleaning supplies and towels and rags to hide the electronics. "Let's get out of here," Niki mutters once she's accomplished that much.

"Sounds like a plan to me," Barbara replies, clearly not wanting to stick around any longer than necessary in the office building. Making room for Niki to pass, Barbara makes her way to the other side of the cart rather quickly, taking a deep breath as he hands once again settle on the push bar. "Whew. Alright. So that's it, right?" Well, clearly, given the indication to get out, but you never can be too sure when you're committing a breaking and entering. "I'm ready to go when you are," she breathes out, beginning to push the cart.

The cart is pushed, but it doesn't make it to the door that first granted them entry to the offices. That front door is opening, and just on the other side is someone not from building security. They're too heavily armed for that- ordinary security guards are not issued submachine guns, after all- and even if they weren't, the word 'Stillwater' emblazoned on the right breast of his flak jacket settles that once and for all. They never heard an alarm go off; that, of course, does not mean there wasn't one.

The contractor's reaction to the situation is delayed, it apparently taking him a moment to parse out what is happening in the beam of the flashlight attached to his weapon, to realize that the office is in the process of being robbed, apparently, by the cleaning staff. And that delay between when he opens the door and when he finally shouts out, 'Freeze!' is exactly long enough for his day to turn out really bad.

Son of a bitch. This was definitely going way too smoothly. Niki should have suspected that a place branded Petrelli would have something like Stillwater on standby. And they're like fuckin' deer. Where there's one, more will follow.

Niki doesn't freeze, of course. A hand on Barbara's shoulder urges her down before she grips the cleaning cart with both hands and shoves it forward toward the man in the doorway. "Behind the desk," she tells Barbara. "Go!"

Barbara's barely even waiting for Niki to give her instructions; she's already beginning the break into a sprint towards the reception desk. "Goddamnit, Ni-" Barbara isn't exactly a criminal, but years enough running safehouses and being on the run from the Company have her at least smart enough not to use Niki's name when there's a good chance someone's about to get hurt, be it her, Niki, or the hapless fellow from Stillwater.

There's no dramatic dive over the desk, no movie quality slide across its surface to the other side, Barbara isn't quite smooth enough for something like that. She's lucky to avoid stumbling over her own feet as she rounds around it, ducking down near where they computer she had removed used to be.

A cleaning cart pushed at him isn't any cause for concern for the Stillwater contractor. This is a cleaning cart pushed by Niki Sanders, which is a completely different sort of thing. The cart slams home with enough force to send him tumbling over it- and likely dislocating a few joints in the process- and landing in a disoriented heap on the floor. And, much as Niki predicted, he didn't come alone. The sudden appearance of the cleaning cart stunning the friends he'd brought just long enough for Niki to take further action before two of them peek around the door frame and open up just as Barbara gets behind cover, spraying fully automatic fire through the air into what- or whoever happens to be standing in front of them.

Once the cart is moving toward her target, Niki is likewise ducking behind the desk with Barbara. "I can work with this," she growls to her sister. To imply that, yes, things have gone a bit sideways, but they aren't totally fucked just yet. Her hand comes up to feel around the desk, reaching for a letter opener and maybe a paperweight or two.

"I'm glad one of us does!" Barbara half shouts back, wincing at the sound of gunfire, hands over her head as if that will protect her. "Are you sure you can handle that, Niki?" She would peek up over the top of the desk, but she doesn't feel like gaining new ventilation. Which also has her hoping that the desk is strong enough to prevent a bullet form doing the same to the rest of her.

No letter openers on the desk, but there are plenty of things that would count as paper weights, including a stapler, a plastic pen and pencil holder (complete with pens and pencils), and a two-hole punch. And of course, the desk itself could probably be used as a paper weight.

"Smoke!" is shouted from the hallway, over the gunfire and the pained moans from the agent that Niki took down with the cleaning cart, "Get 'im outta there!" On cue, the air inside the office begins filling with thick, white smoke, although it is very plainly not coming from a grenade or any device like that; it's simply appearing in the air. Niki and Barbara are not the only Evolved in the office this evening.

It's times like this when the divide between Niki and Jessica is the most blurred. When family is involved.

"Shit," Barbara grumbles, still huddled on the other side of the side of the desk, watching with more surprise than she can really manage to show on her face as Niki jumps up and attempts to seize control of the moment. "W-Wait!" Barbara shouts after her, finally peering out and into the thickening smoke. Eyes widen at Niki's proclamation, staring ahead. From all she's heard, she's not even sure Niki's in control anymore, after that.

There's a tense feeling in the back of Barbara's mind as she looks up at the smoke filling the room, a growing sense of urgency and anxiety. If she sees one man in white or yellow smoke, she's bolting.

The stream of projectiles works to give Niki a moment to react and take charge of the situation; even pencils and pens can inflict significant damage when they travel fast enough. And whatever abilities the contractors may have between them, they clearly don't have what they need to extricate their comrade- who is standing up only because Niki(?) is holding him up- from his present predicament. This time, at least, they seem willing to relent, and while the smoke does not disperse, it stops growing thicker. Evolved abilities have their limits, after all. "Just take it easy, now," the apparent leader pleads. Diplomacy may yet prevail, even if brute force has done an excellent job so far.

Niki gestures for Barbara to come join her. She keeps an arm locked around the unconscious man's neck, but she's holding the gun out to her sister. "We're gonna leave here, and we're going to take our haul. And if you don't try and stop us, then you'll get this poor bastard back in one piece."

When she's handed the gun off and she's sure Barbara isn't going to do something crazy with it, Niki wrenches her human shield's arm back at an odd angle. "If you think that Stillwater pays you enough to justify trying to stop us, you better hope that he thinks it's enough to justify the way I'm going to return him to you in pieces." And Niki could do just that if she really wanted to. Fuck diplomacy.

That grimace still hasn't left Barbara's face as she peers out, tugging her hat down again in a likely vain attempt to hide her face a bit more. When the gun is held out, there's a deep frown on her face - guns aren't exactly her forte. Well, none of it is, but she could probably punch someone better than she could shoot them.

Thankfully, Niki's got the punching covered.

A hand grips on the edge of the desk, Barbara slow, hesitatntly rising up to feet. "I-I-" She gulps, another moment before she hurries out and takes the gun from Niki's hand. She holds it out, just like she practiced in Thompson. Fat lot of good that had done when it mattered.

A look over to Niki as her ultimatum is laid out, and Barbara remains silent. The last thing that needs to happen is her ruining their momentum.

There is one benefit to talking to individual contractors when it comes to things like this. Even if they are basically mercenaries, they're still human, and while Stillwater Security might see this negotiation as bad news, since it might affect its ability to get contracts in the future, Stillwater Security contractors see this negotiation as good news, because they still have a chance to get one of their own out alive. "Okay, okay, fine." Same voice from earlier. "We're backing off. Way off."

"See? That was easy, wasn't it?" Niki drags the man with her effortlessly into the hallway and tilts her head behind her. "Take the cart," she instructs. "We'll leave him on a street corner for you." She flashes a brilliant smile. "Under a street lamp, so you can find him easily."

It may be a tad early to start breathing easy, but Barbara is none the less relieved, keeping her eyes on the Stillwater personnel as she moves to take the cart back, backing up and away with it, always looking ahead - the last thing she planned to do was turn her back to people who would probably shoot her given a moment's chance. Her gun is kept up, pointed ahead just the same - sometimes, the threat is as good as an actual gun shot. Which was good, because Barbara would be lucky to hit the far wall and not some passing by bird outside instead if she actually shot at someone. As she moves past Niki, she looks over to her, shaking her head.

"Just so you know, this is the worst sister bonding experience ever," she mutters just loud enough for the super strong triplet to hear. At the very least, there is a strained sense of mirth to the comment, no maliciousness to be found.

True to their word, the conscious Stillwater contractors stay back. Way back. They're dealing with dangerous, unstable people and are unwilling to put their comrade at risk when it's not necessary. "Yeah, street corner, great," is the not-so-happy reply, "Just, take it easy, okay? Nice an' easy."

The way out, and ultimately, the way back home is free and clear. If Stillwater has anyone besides the four that confronted the sisters in the building, they aren't showing their faces, with good reason. And that just makes everything all the better. It's best not to dwell on the rest of their daring escape, suffice to say that it was daring, seeing them free from Stillwater (having left their captive, as promised, under a street lamp), out of the building, and away from the scene with their ill-gotten goods well before the police are able to respond.

And, perhaps mostly importantly of all, away from the scene, free and clear, with a small bundle of paper with all the potential to alter the course of history. Whether for better or for worse, only time will tell.

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