The Man Who Sold The World, Part I


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Scene Title The Man Who Sold The World, Part I
Synopsis Matt Parkman goes in search of his father and his missing daughter, unaware that both are waiting for him in the den of Pinehearst. But first, Matt must be confronted with a ghost from his troubled past.
Date June 2, 2009

Pinehearst Headquarters

Despite what Cardinal may have implied about Pinehearst, Matt Parkman sees no reason not to go by the book in executing his newly acquired warrant. In fact, there are plenty of reasons to make sure everything goes as planned. No screw-ups. No loop-holes. Just good, solid police work that results in a strong case for the conviction of Maury Parkman.


Matt is more than a little tense as he walks through the doors of the biotech facility and into the spacious lobby, four agents behind him and another four outside. There's no need for a all-out S.W.A.T. team after all - there's no reason why Pinehearst won't cooperate. They're a legitimate business.

Then again, Maury Parkman's employment here is possibly far from legitimate.

The smile Matt gives to the receptionist along with a view of his credentials is strained, but congenial. It can't be every day she sees a Deputy Secretary, can it? Generals, maybe. "Afternoon, miss," he says with slightly narrowed, searching eyes. Reaching into his suit jacket, Matt withdraws a folded 8x10 photograph with a mug-shot type picture of Maury on one side, and a screen capture from a surveillance camera of the same man escorting a teenage girl down a hallway. "Have you seen this man?"

The faint green tint that the windows of Pinehearst's lobby gives to the receptionist is somewhat unflattering, only made all the more so by the put-upon and remarkably puzzled look she gives on spotting Matt Parkman and his entourage, his badge folio, and then the photograph. There's a squint that comes, one accompanied by a tilt of her head and a parting of her lips. "Stephen Daniels?" The name rings hollow,and the receptionist's expression is one of mixed uncertainty and confusion, "He— works in the mail room," there's a jerk of one hand over her shoulder, motioning hesitantly towards the direction of elevators and stairs.

"I— if you could— just hold on a moment? Is— is Mister Daniels in trouble?" She's already reaching for a button on her switchboard, depressing it as her tone becomes a bit stiffer and attempts to measure some level of professionalism.

"Ah, Miss Chesterfield?" The receptionist glances up from the switchboard to Parkman, then back down to the phone. "There's— there's a man from the Department of Homeland Security here, ah— Deputy Secretary Parkman? He— do you think you could— " clearly she keeps being cut off by the woman on the other end. "O-Oh, alright ma'am."

Swallowing dryly, the receptionist glances back up to Matt and the rest of the men, her thoughts a flutter with innocent concerns about what Stephen Daniels might have done, if he is a terrorist, if he's in league with terrorists, and if she still has a job. "I ah— one of our administrative staff will be down in a moment to ah…"

"The mailroom." Matt nods, and speaks only after the receptionist has presumably finished. His eyes are still narrowed, but with interest rather than anger. "He's working today?"

The trouble with places like this is that the receptionists don't wear name tags. Sure, he'll wait for whatever big wig is heading down from the executive suite, but that doesn't stop him from nodding a man toward the elevators and stairs.

"Ah…" The receptionist eases a bit, glancing from agent to agent and then finally back to Parkman before she taps away at the keys of her computer. "Stephen… is scheduled for today, but I have him listed as absent." There's a puzzled tone to her voice, like she wasn't expecting that result. "Is— Is this something I should call his supervisor up here for?" The young redhead asks with a squint, "I ah— I mean— I don't want to assume… I just, did he do anything wrong?"

Matt furrows his brows in thought. If Maury isn't here, then the goose-chase starts new. Great. "Not just yet," he answers with an even tighter smile. "But maybe after I talk to one of the higher-ups." Leaning against the desk, his expression takes on a slightly conspiratorial cast. "Don't worry about it, miss. Everything'll get cleared up and taken care of before you even start thinking about what to have for dinner."

Expedience is expected when dealing with members of the Department of Homeland Security, and when the lobby elevators chime from the arrival of one from the upper floors, the receptionist turns with a relieved sigh, watching as the doors shuttle open, revealing a bespectacled woman carrying a leather folio to her chest. The power suit she wears accents her figure well, and for a woman of her age, the slimming look gives a certain femeninity that her rigid stature and impassive mask of inexpressive discontent needs to help soften her image.

Jennifer Chesterfield is very much the image of her younger daughter Catherine, the same auburn hair, the same steely look in her eyes, but decades older and wiser. As she strides across the carpeted lobby floor, there's a feigned smile that crosses her lips as she aggressively offers a hand out to Parkman on approach. "Deputy Director, it's a pleasure to see you down here— or well, I certainly hope it is." The smile never reaches her eyes, "My name is Jennifer Chesterfield, I'm the human resources director of Pinehearst Company. Is there something we can do to help you here?" She glances at the receptionist, then the other agents, then back to Parkman again.

Something about this woman — other than her surname — seems awfully familiar to Matt. But he can't quite put a finger on it.

For the moment, it's a feeling that Matt pushes it out of the forefront of his mind. After all, there's plenty to focus on - and taking center stage is the administrator sent to deal with him. He smiles his most professional smile, shaking Jennifer's hand quickly, obviously just to get the gesture out of the way.

Jennifer is shown the same picture. "I have a warrant for this man's arrest." Studying the woman's face as she studies the picture, Matt searches. Is she aware of any aliases used among her staff?

Something is clearly wrong here, the moment Matt delves into her surface thoughts there's nothing but repetitions of organic compunds and the periodic table of elements in a sing-song voice, the kind a child in highschool would put together to help remember them all for a test in biology class. All Jennifer can do is keep up that demure smile, head canting to the side just enough to let bangs fall away from her face. "Stephen Daniels, yes. He works in the mail room here, I think he started before I did…" there's a touch of impersonal uncertainty on her voice, one hand coming up to rub at her chin.

"He hasn't shown up to work since the fires in Midtown started up. I think he lives in Chelsea too, but he hasn't called in either." A look is given to Matt, one brow arched and for just a moment there's a more playful cast to her smile, as if enticing him to beat her at her own game.

"If you'd like, Mister…" her eyes wander until she spots the plastic badge pinned to his jacket, "Parkman," there's something about the way she says the name that rings familiar, "we could go upstairs and I could let you look at the personnel files? Is mister Daniels in some sort of trouble?"

Like mother, like daughter.

Matt turns his head slightly, but nods. "I'd be grateful for any information you're able to give me." He's not demanding it - it was offered freely. Helpful citizens are so helpful.

He looks over his shoulder, and one of the agents moves closer, poised to follow him upstairs with the HR Director. That unsettling feeling has him even more tense than he might otherwise be, but the only other reaction Matt has for it is to skim the thoughts of all he can, including those with him. Administrative assistants. Secretaries. Title-less nobodies grabbing coffee or making copies. No one within his metaphorical grasp is outside his nervous censure.

How much trouble is the ever elusive 'Stephen Daniels' actually in? It's hard telling now. "I'm afraid I can't say," Parkman says with a slight shrug. Not that he doesn't know - he just can't say.

Making her way to the elevator, Jennifer keeps that leather folio held fast to her chest before turning on her heels, giving an impassionate smile to Matt as he and Agent Lawson step inside. "I hope this isn't anything serious, we at Pinehearst desire above all to fully cooperate with government agencies whenever possible. Admittedly Mister Daniels isn't in a critical position here, but any mis-step on an employee's part reflects poorly upon us…" How true.

A keen eye would note that Jennifer presses the call button for B-4, the second-lowest basement level, rather than the upstairs offices, but she does not miss a beat, turning to look back over her shoulder at Parkman as the doors slide shut. Meanwhile, Matt's mind sifts out the chaffe of the scientists, office workers and janitors on the ground floor, his mind reaching out to regions of the building he can't even see to pick up the faintest broken whispers of something useful. His mind is awash with scneitific codings, research filings and project due dates. Whatever it is Pinehearst does here, it does with a great deal of effort and enthusiasm, with every worker seemingly pressed under the tumb of a very impending deadline for some biotech project.

He's so focused on the thoughts rattling around in the exceedingly talented brains of people in the far reaches of the facility's ground floor that he doesn't notice the button Jennifer has pushed until the doors have closed and their on their way.

But when he does notice, Matt does his best to hold back a grimace. He swings a hand forward to press the STOP button and turn a surprised and angered face toward the woman.

"Upstairs?" he asks, his voice grating. Lawson shifts his weight from one foot to the other, uncomfortable and unsure of his orders.

The elevator comes to an abrupt halt, and Jennifer arches a brow as she glances from Matt to Lawson, then back again. A smile different from the one before, one less impassive and more Mona Lisa comes over her as she presses the button for B-4 again. "I assure you, Matty, what you want here isn't on the office floors…" Matty. The way Jennifer says that, the soft tone of her voice and that smile brings it all flooding back. A young brunette woman, horrible olive and gold wallpaper, a woman shouting, an old man turning and waving a hand in the air. She stands in the doorway of an apartment that will haunt Matt for the rest of his life, and he, he has the audacity to tell his wife to shut up and mind her own business.

She's gentle, naive, young and kind. She took the young boy's hand, led him out into the hall and kept him company. He was only six years old, and she was in her mid twenties, and mother yelled at father, and father yelled at mother, and glasses were breaking, and all she could do was say—

"Everything's going to be alright, Matty. Just, trust me, okay?" The same words she echoes now with purposeful and intentional display of familiarity, as the elevator lurches down again, and agent Lawson begins to become unnerved, shooting a quick stare to Parkman with eyes wide, waiting for an order, for an inkling, for something.

Jenn. Matt's throat tightens at the memory that comes flooding back as soon as the gears of recollection lock into place, like finally finding the right key for an ancient lock.

"You can't be protecting him," he breathes, his voice a hairs breadth's away from a growl as he stares at Jennifer, ready to rip her open if her the vaguest thought betrays whatever words she might spew out at him. "Lawson," Matt adds as punctuation. "Remember what I said at the office." Telepaths are far from easy targets, and the last thing Matt needs is his men turned against him.

Lawson tenses, looking to Jennifer, then over to the elevator door. These's a dry, awkward swallow he gives when considering the ramifications of that, and his awkward posturing only causes that imperceptible smile on Jennifer's to grow some. The elevator comes to a slow, lurching stop as the doors slide open, and the bespectacled brunette steps out into the black and white tiled hallway under fluorescent lights, then turns on one heel to look back over at Matt and Lawson in the elevator.

"I'm protecting you, Mister Parkman." There's a hesitant smile offered, and Jennifer motions for them to come out of the elevator. "Now, you can either stay in there and be tense, or I can take you to see your father." Absolutely all pretenses are dropped here, in the midsts of scientists wandering the halls, scientists now within reach of Parkman's mind, ones diagnosing symptoms of biological rejection, ones clearly thinking about developmental studies done on human test subjects for a military contract.

"He's been waiting for you a very, very long time."

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