Twilight Zone


f_nathan2_icon.gif tracy_icon.gif

Scene Title Twilight Zone
Synopsis The President returns to New York City in preparation for an upcoming press conference.
Date August 20, 2009

A New York City Hotel

"Welcome, Mr. President, how was your trip?"

If there's one luxurious way to travel, it's by private jet. Sparkling water, five star dinners, his wife looking out the window which is far, far better than her looking directly at him. This he's come to find. In the bright sunlight of a New York summer day, Nathan Petrelli stops scanning the empty lot with the three sleek black cars currently idling in a loose, semi-circle configuration, turns his sunglasses towards the hotel representative, his name glimmering bright on the name tag.

"Long, boring and comfortable, thank you. You'll be happy to know Vegas is still where we left it."

The man laughs politely, starts to lead both President and his security entourage towards the entrance of the hotel - the back way, rather than the grandiose front doors. Of course, as luxurious as his flight across America had been, he could have gotten here quicker - but you jump through the hoops you have to to keep up appearances.

He glances back over his shoulder, when the cars are lined up, and one revs its engine. It reminds him, not vaguely, of crime thriller that might involve such clandestine vehicles and an exchange of an expensive suitcase, the click-click of handcuffs exchanging from one wrist to the other and a flash of silver. Except in this production, he's the briefcase, one in an impossibly expensive black suit, silken gold and red tie, sunglasses he only thinks now to draw off his face and tuck into his pocket.

Vegas, and then New York, directly to his chosen reservations. Anyone on his staff will have gotten the memo - there's nothing President Petrelli can't do without them hearing about it. In theory.

She's been waiting inside of that hotel. Nice and public, but still someplace where they will quickly be available to talk. If everyone knows about it, you know Tracy was the second or third person down that very long line.

She has a smile plastered on her face, because inside..well, she doesn't know. There's so much she simply doesn't know. And it's really starting to get to her. Still, her red dress is immaculate, her pearls gleaming, her hair pulled tightly back. And, like when the Fake Nathan first set foot in New York, she falls in step beside him.

"Welcome back, Mr. President. I've drafted up some talking points for the Press Conference, and highlighted the Columbia 14, which I believe should be stressed in conjunction with the very real need for FRONTLINE at this point in history." She's watching him, seeing how he regards her.

He sees her coming and there is absolutely no change in his demeanor, save for a faint smile, just for her. No sharp eye contact, no reaching out to touch or any real acknowledgment about what she does and does not know. Not, at least, in the first few seconds. "Let it never be said you aren't always on the ball, Ms. Strauss," Nathan says, as they move through the only sparsely populated hotel, at this early hour of day. "I'd very much like to see what you've got for me."

Whether unconsciously or not, their brisk steps have led them a little further from the security tagteam behind him - not that it matters, the President wired as ever to be heard and monitored when it comes to these transitions, but it's an illusion.

"How's holding the fort been in my absence?"

Tracy isn't about to reveal anything here, not where someone can overhear. No, she's going to do her job. She's good at her job. There are no questions in her job. She does it, and that's the end of it.

"Well as I'm sure you're up to speed, Mr. President, a unified voice against FRONTLINE wouldn't go amiss. Neither would the capture of this killer, but you must be sure not to make it sound like a manhunt. Remember what I said: Mano y mano situations never end well."

His hand drifts as if to touch her back though never does— simply a polite, steering gesture as they wind towards the stairs leading up from the foyer, towards the row of silver elevator doors. "Sometimes a manhunt wouldn't go amiss either," Nathan says, once they come to a stop to wait for a door. At this range and stillness, it seems as though signs of being a decade older have been smudged away, or perhaps were never there to begin with. If there's any way to signal Tracy as to what were searching gaze might want to find, these are just as held back.

"Don't forget that I came into the political arena with the promise of such a thing. And while we do have Tanner in custody, there's certainly enough bad guys out there for us to chase."

Tracy presses the button to the elevator, already knowing where she's taking him. "Manhunts can be lost, Mr. President. What's worse, the man you're hunting doesn't have to lose - he just has to survive and maintain. You would be putting a great burden on yourself, and the people you're hunting might go ahead and die on you without you ever knowing. Defining sucess in those terms is nearly impossible, and I must be very firm against it. Now waging a hunt on a less tangible thing - poverty, terrorism, etc - is much more advisable. Even if you make strides toward achievement, those strides are considered victories." Because every single thing in this world has a political spin.

"You're not wrong," Nathan says, gaze shifting to where she had punched the elevator button, a twitch of a smile at the corner of his mouth. His hands come to fold together behind his back as they wait, his gaze tracking up towards the numbers lighting up as the elevator descends. "FRONTLINE is exactly that kind of victory— or will be, as soon as we know the rest of the public side with it. Of course, it's not the only thing on the agenda."

Well Tracy needs to know all about that agenda, even now as she's trying to save her career by keeping it hidden. "My understanding had been the discussion would be almost exclusively about FRONTLINE," she says, by way of explaining she doesn't know what else is coming up. As the elevator stops, she steps in, holding her hand over the door to wait for him to do the same.

He follows her inside with a few brisk steps. "And it will be," Nathan amends, his solder-stiff posture returning once inside. "It was meant to be. But there's been some talk about the plans to reorganise the Office of Evolved Affairs, to put it lightly. Figures that people only start paying attention when things get moving. I need to figure out the best time to confirm rumours."

The doors ease shut, sealing them inside with only a smile of confirmation towards his security tagteam; they move, obediently, for other avenues upstairs, leaving President and media professional alone for however long it takes for the elevator to rise up.

"Reorganize?" Tracy asks, lost a moment as she looks over him. He does look younger, does that mean he's the right Nathan? Her eyes scrutinize while her brain continues to swirl around and around the ideas that are being passed about. "In what way?" He'd better answer - she is, after all, defending the hell out of him. But she needs to make sure he's the right one before he tells her everything. Still, he doesn't appear to be shot.

"I'll have Susan get the latest report forwarded to you by the morning," Nathan dismisses. "Then you can tell me how you think it should be handled. The world seems to have their eyes on what goes on in New York City even more than Washington, D.C." Now he looks at her, as if trying to catch her wandering gaze with his own, the sound of the elevator gliding up through the chute underscoring the pause. "Looking for someone?"

"Yes," but that's all she'll say on the matter. Still, she's bursting to tell him the truth, about everything, so he can be aware. She has no desire to blindsight him. Her anger and her career are balancing. She'll call Len later and call things off - maybe. It's so unreal for her to feel so undecisive. "And what about the Press Conference? What will be discussed there beyond FRONTLINE?"

Back to business. Nathan switches his gaze back to the elevator doors, patiently and dully waiting for them to open. "For now? Nothing." His voice takes an impatient, distracted edge as he turns up his wrist, glances at his watch. "But if rumours have spread as far as I've been told, we might be hearing questions beyond FRONTLINE - and you'll have the report on what in your hands tomorrow morning. It's not my job to debrief you."

The momentum of the elevator tugs at them as it starts to grind to a smooth halt however many storeys upwards.

Tracy raises her brow at his words. Perhaps she's misled - perhaps it's the old Nathan. Still, as the door opens, she breezes out easily. "In the morning, then." She affirms, offering a curt nod. "At any rate, with or without FRONTLINE, the Tanner arrest - by federal agents no less - will be a good talking point for the evening." She pauses, waiting for him to walk out and prepared to march beside him.

Nathan steps out into the corridor, headed for the familiar suite at the end of the hallway, his hand up to smooth down his tie as if it weren't already in immaculate place. "It will be. I look forward to seeing what you've prepared for the evening. Were you planning on going over that with me now or was this just a very warm welcome?" His tone, unlike the brief bristle demonstrated in the elevator, is open rather than pointed.

Tracy offers that smirk of hers, never really playful, always with something a bit serious behind it, but a smirk none the less. "I'm sure it's both, Mr. President." she promises with a curt nod, walking along with him still. "If you need some time to prepare for the conference, I'll step out. I have faith that you'll do fine with your preperation now."

The correct door would likely be the one with the man in the black suit and glasses hovering just outside, although the floor is, as it should be, cleared of the public. Nathan offers him a smile as he goes to open the door, moving to stand within the threshhold as he turns back to Tracy. "As far as warm welcomes go, you rate highly, Miss Strauss," he says. "We'll see if we can't get in a couple of drinks along with paperwork while I'm in New York."

And so it begins. "Of course, Mr. President. I'll be available at the Press Conference if you need me, but if not I'll probably see you tomorrow after my briefing," she assures him, taking the subtle hint that he does not need her tonight. "I hope you have a good day," because chances are the PC will be so crazy, they won't speak too much.

"You too, Miss Strauss."

The door smoothly clicks shut, Nathan left alone in the expansive, expensive hotel suite, the curtains drawn against the view that only has a slice of the ruined Midtown in frame of the windows. The whisper of clothes being shed is all that's left, the audio wire discarded as he moves to retrieve something more comfortable from the wardrobe, all his things already in place by the helpful hands hired to make sure the President's life moves on, seamlessly.

The reflection is what brings him pause, first. Shy over forty, clean shaven, and not a scar on his body save for the old, old ones that run tracks through his chin from more militant days. He brushes his fingertips over the smooth, rounded plain of his shoulder - not a track in sight.

If you leave no marks, you can get away with anything. He jerks open the wardrobe, banishing away the reflection and such thoughts for the time being. Like maybe he never had them in the first place.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License