The Sinking City


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Also featuring:

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Scene Title The Sinking City
Synopsis If you want something done right, it always pays to go straight to the top. Phoebe Thornton approaches President Nathan Petrelli, concerning the various fates of New York City.
Date September 9, 2009

The Petrelli Mansion

The Hyde Park estate is nothing short of impressive, if perhaps it's not what you are accustomed to. Such is not the case for Phoebe Thornton, or the woman leading her through the expansive home. Heidi Petrelli is an elegant image in a silken white blouse, light for the still warm beginnings of fall, and tailored blank pants over that. Her glossy back hair curls inwards at the ends, bobbing above her slender shoulders as designer sandals carry her over marble flooring, opening the door for them both to an empty office.

It's not this room wherein Phoebe is to meet the current President of the United States, but beyond it. Doors open out into the outside world, sunlight streaming on through, and the sound of male conversation drifts into the house. "He'll be with you soon," Heidi says, even as she leads Phoebe through the room, towards the open doors. Her smile is as ever kind and open, her bright blue eyes curious as she adds; "I forgot to ask, have you met my husband before?"

Of course, Phoebe is noting the details of her surroundings, furniture, decor, not to mention the attire of her hostess as she moves through the house. Behind her, silent in her wake, Misha follows the pair along, the covered paintings arranged neatly on a wheeled case that is drawn along behind him. It is as she pauses in Heidi's wake, that she affords the woman a warm smile and a slow shake of her head. "Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity up until this point in time." Her own business dealings generally keep her far to busy to even consider attending the numerous fundraisers that pop up during election times. Blue eyes do crinkle at the corners as she watches Heidi's face, assuring in tones that are equally warm, "I have heard only good things, however." Beyond the drivel one reads in the paper, of course.

Heidi's smile brightens as a small, polite chuckle escapes her throat. "Not bad for a politician," she says, before striding on towards the open doors. Misha had only gotten a glance and a polite greeting from the woman, but has more or less been a shadow to her since then. However, when she goes to announce their presence, it's both names on her tongue.

"Honey?" That's one way to identify the President, as Heidi leads them out towards the outdoor set up of tables and chairs beneath canvas. Nathan and the man he was talking to are already on their feet, meeting concluded.

The President looks like a man who is very much at home, if in a sort of magazine way. Immaculately groomed, in a white button down shirt and grey set of slacks that look no less formal for the lack of tie and jacket. The man he was meeting with is a little more straight laced, in his navy blue suit, periwinkle tie and pale shirt. Taller than Nathan, balding and otherwise white haired, Raymond Praeger turns his attention towards both women through the glasses at the end of his nose.

"Ms. Phoebe Thornton and her friend," Heidi glances back at the two with a flick of dark hair, "Mosha Feldman are here to see you. I hope we're not interrupting?"

"I was just leaving," Praeger is quick to reassure, smoothing a hand down his tie, which needs no adjustment, held in place with a silver pin.

Nathan's eyes settle on Phoebe, moving forward to offer a hand in greeting. "Ms. Thornton," he acknowledges, "thanks for coming up this way. Ever since landing in New York, I try to spend some time at home as much as possible."

"I suspect that is not nearly as much time as you might prefer." Pheobe's response is coupled with another quietly warm smile, her handshake surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, firm. "It is refreshing, however, to know that you make such an effort to take time for yourself and your family, Mister Petrelli." Releasing his hand, Phoebe's expression remains warm as she tilts her head toward Mosha and the covered paintings. "I assure you we have no intention of taking up to much of your afternoon. Normally, I would have had these sent to via courier, but under the circumstances it seemed wiser to deliver them personally."

Nathan spares a glance towards where Heidi is playing the role of excellent host, sending a wink his way before curling a hand on Praeger's arm and leading him back towards the house, talking quietly with him, leaving President and painter to talk. His gaze swivels on over towards what Mosha is holding in his hands, before he makes a gesture towards the table so that the man can lay whatever they are out for him.

"I'm sure I'll understand why any moment now," he says, lightly, and his own crows feet wrinkle at his eyes deepen a little further in the beginnings of a smile, as he moves to set aside near finished glass of water from his previous meeting. "Please, both of you, take a seat."

Mosha takes the time to see Phoebe safetly and comfortably settled in a chair before going about the business of opening the case and taking out a series of rather disturbing oil paintings. As the canvases are set out, Phoebe purses her lips, her expression turning more serious. "I realize that the imagery is not the most pleasant," she provides. "Unfortunately, I could not, in good conscience, keep them to myself." As the most recent paintings are arranged in clear view, she laces her fingers in her lap, nostrils flairing as she draws in a slow breath and releases it still more slowly. "As you have probably surmised, they are prophetic in nature."

Despite his invitation for them to sit, Nathan paces around to the other side of the table and remains standing, if for a better view of what he's dealing with. It's been a long time— and perhaps even longer than anyone knows— since he's seen paintings of this kind. The ones that tell of the future. "Do you know the artist?" he asks, as brown eyes study the images laid before him, a fingertip coming to settle on the very corner of one painting made up purely of black and red, a shadowing eclipse.

"Mendez? Brill?" The prompts are made gently, curious, his attention only flicking briefly to Phoebe before settling on one painting of more detail - of helicopters in the sky, like flat, black wasps swarming in on a land mass he recognises well.

"Thornton." Phoebe answers matter-of-factly. The blunt honesty stirs a faint frown from Mosha, the bodyguard's displeasure obvious as he shifts in his spot behind her chair. Even so, Phoebe ignores it. They'd argued for hours on this point and she is not about to budge on dealing honestly with her country. She does, however, frown faintly as she observes Nathan's profile calmly. "You came very close to never seeing these," she notes. "Fortunately, my loyalty to my country outweighs my displeasure with some of your representatives." This time, goes unspoken but blatantly implied.

Now it's her turn to be scrutinised, leaving the paintings for now and giving Mosha not a second glance and his uneasy shifting. There's a tense pause, before Nathan punctuates it with a simple, affirmative nod, returning his sights to the paper and paint. Eventually, he draws out a chair and sits down opposite the two, the expanse of fortune telling making a colourful distance between them. "What can you tell me about them? Do you have any clue about what they might mean, or are you coming here for that insight yourself, Ms. Thornton?"

"I have made a point not to attempt to analyze these things," Phoebe admits in frank tones. "In this case, however, I take them to mean that your efforts with Frontline are going to save Staten Island from destruction." Falling silent a beat, she slants a glance at the paintings, her head giving a faint shake. "Considering all the opposition Frontline is getting I thought that you might appreciate seeing that your choice, while unpopular with many, might end up saving the lives of a great many people." Glancing back at Nathan she offers a warmly maternal smile before adding, "Politicians very rarely have opportunity to know that they are making the best possible choice before hand."

The warm smile works, and gets a hint of one in return, gaze shifting towards the one she refers to. "That was the basic idea," Nathan concedes, his tone bone dry enough to split. "And I hope you're right." The eclipse and its glowing visage is pragmatically skipped over. Speaking of destruction, he studies, now, the crumpled landmass being run through with water, rooftops peaking out like tiny islands as a relatively untouched Manhattan skyline glimmers in the distance. And then, the almost more foreboding aftermath, if it is that, lying comfortably beside it as its companion, water reaching up the barnacled skyscrapers with those splashes of bright, fire-orange making mushroom clouds on its horizon.

"New York's been my home for a long time, as much time as I spend on Washington," he reflects, out loud. "I've called it the 'sinking city' before. This," a hand gesture towards the images, "is not exactly what I had in mind. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you've kept these to yourself?" His eyebrows raise up, doing all the asking needed.

"Until now, yes." Glancing at the paintings, Phoebe frowns faintly before forces herself to look away. "I would prefer not to know the things I know, at all. Unfortunately, fate has other plans it seems." Fortunately, fate doesn't rear it's ugly head in her life that often. Falling silent, it is not until Mosha's hand comes to rest on her left shoulder that she clears her throat and adds quietly. "Obviously, this is not something I wish to announce to the world." Or anyone for that matter. "I am hoping that I can count on your discretion."

"Absolutely," Nathan says, with a solid sort of agreement. Conviction is his brand of honesty. "We've had enough problems with citizens independently trying to take matters into their own hands, playing hero. If there's one thing the Evolved has given us, it's a complex." He gives her a twist of a smile, before he says, "It won't get out further than those necessary, about this. About you. But I need to know that you'll be in contact with me if anything like this comes up again. Knowledge is a powerful thing, and a heavy burden."

From her expression it is relatively clear that Phoebe had expected that request. So much so that she is already affording a single firm nod of her head. "Should there be more paintings, you will most certainly hear from me." Pausing a beat, a faint frown touches her lips before she adds in pointedly flat tones, "My only stipulation is that you make a point to keep Ms. Strauss as far from our dealings as possible." She had her chance with Phoebe and blew it, one shot is all you get with a Thornton.

Now there's a surprise, and despite himself, a small smile begins to tease at the corners of his mouth, in the face of Phoebe's flat tones and seriousness. Nathan makes a nod of acknowledgment. "It's her job to be both a media person and a politician. It's easier for her to keep a lock down on information that she doesn't actually know, so, you don't have to worry about that. May I ask why Ms. Strauss in particular?"

"There is," Phoebe murmurs with a glance toward the paintings. "A wealth of information Ms. Strauss does not know." In the wake of Nathan's question, she gives a faint shake of her head, blue eyes turning back to his face. "Ah. We ran into one another at the opening of the Suresh Center. I made an attempt to alert her that I had information that you might wish to know. To which she responded with arrogant condescension and the assertion that the 'wealthy' always thought they knew more then they did. The fact that she brazenly insinuated that I was stupid and uninformed also did very little to endear to me." And sadly, Phoebe is Irish enough that she'll likely carry that grudge with her to her grave. "In short, I find her rude, coarse and socially unacceptable. I do hope you understand."

"My apologies, for Ms. Strauss' behaviour," Nathan says, his words smooth and easy and spoken without batting an eye. "I'm sure, had she known the gravity of the information, she would have done differently, as little excuse as that may be. I'm surprised she clearly wasn't aware of all the good you've done with that wealth, as she put it. Considering my family hasn't exactly been disadvantaged for a long time either…" He trails off, with a single shouldered shrug. What can you do? "I understand. May I keep these?"

"Your apologies are appreciated, but hardly necessary. Nor should you feel the need to make excuses for her behavior." Although one might consider the wisdom of insulting the wealthy elite come election time. But that is another matter, entirely. "As for the paintings, you may consider them yours, yes." She has copies, of course. She assumes that that is probably understood. Shifting in her chair, she offers another warm smile as she rolls to her feet, obviously preparing to take her leave. "Of course, should another put in an appearance I will contact you, as I have said. In the meantime, I can only hope that, while the content might be mildly distressing, you will also see that you -are- doing the right thing."

"Thank you," Nathan says, with what sounds like a genuine tone of voice, upon getting to his feet as well, offering his hand once more to Phoebe, and then to Mosha as well. "Being able to paint the future is a double edged blade. It offers reassurance as much as it gives some insight into the inevitable. I'll see what I can do." And with that, he draws the paintings atop one another, leaving the eclipse to conceal more devastating futures than a simple light show, although he looks again at it with a crease in his brow, as Phoebe and Mosha are approached to be led away.

Hands are shaken on all fronts, Mosha's hand resting gently on Phoebe's elbow as they draw back and make their way toward the escort arriving to see them out. It is over her shoulder that Phoebe offers, "It was a pleasure to meet you, President Petrelli. I only wish the circumstances had been less ominous in nature." Alas, such things are not to be. That said, the pair take thier leave.

"Right back at you." The casual words are almost jarringly at odds with the formal conversation, but Nathan is distracted, after all. Once alone outside, with the sound of the last of summer's insects, the ones that are still surving, creaking from the bushes, he sits down and angles the image of the eclipse towards him, shadows from shifting leaves from over his shoulder making their own patterns on the definite strokes of red and black.

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