What They Seem


maury2_icon.gif tracy_icon.gif

Scene Title What They Seem
Synopsis Things are not always what they seem, but Tracy has yet to realize that. Because in this scene? Maury Parkman LOOKS exactly like Matt Parkman.
Date June 6, 2009

Central Park

For the first time in a long while, the sky is clear and it isn't raining anymore.

Of course, that only makes the plumes of smoke rising up over the smoldering ruins of Midtown in the distance seem all the more sharp in contrast against azure blue skies. The fires may have come under control and started to burn out, but the scar the smoke cuts through the skies is a strong reminder of just why this city needs protection, just why this city cannot truly protect itself with the tools currently alotted to it.

Under this backdrop of lush green foliage and crystal blue skies marred with charcoal gray, Central Park looks to be just as much a contrast of urban and rural as the skies are light and dark. Acres of well-tended parkland sits juxtaposed with the edge of crumbling gray skyscrapers and thirty foot high concrete barricades where Midtown meets the park.

This vista is what transfixes a lone man seated on a park bench beneath the boughs of a tree. Eyes too tired and too worn for his age watch the ash and smoke rise up to dirty the heavens, then slowly dip down to the blackberry resting in his palm. Fingers curl around the plastic device, looking at the wallpaper of a little girl behind all of the icons, a little girl he's likely scarred for life with his acts. But all of this, he tells himself, all of this is for his son. It's the mantra of denial that Maury Parkman repeats as he wears his son's face like a mask as the charlatan he is.

Another quick look is given to the blackberry, checking for new texts, but none come. His eyes wander to the time — quarter past noon — then back to the text notifications. She's not late, but there's an anxiety rolling over the back of his mind on her arrival, an anxiety about how well he can keep up the charade of a man he hardly knows. Maury had always enjoyed testing his limits when he was younger, but here — now — it seems like he's becoming too old for this. Or, perhaps more acurately, too doubtful of his own actions.

"They were out of tomatoes, but everything's just fine beyond that," she says, stepping up from behind Maury to drop a paper bag onto his lap without much of a hello. Or any of a hello, really. But then again, Matt should know how Tracy is by now. Matt should, but Maury doesn't. Tracy can't tell the difference, however - he looks almost exactly like Matt now. Wearing pumps and a skirtsuit, Tracy settles down beside the Deputy Secretary of DHS, pulling out her own vegetarian falafel. "So what are we doing out here?" She asks, much more used to the rushed office visits than a quiet Sunday afternoon in the park. She bites her falafel, looking over him curiously. "Did you get your hair cut?" Because he looks just a little different…

"Oh, Miss Strauss," Matt's brows crease together, thoughts pulling away from concerns of older men into the guise of youth. "Yeah I— " one hand lightly brushes over the top of his head, then down to the bag in his lap. "I was getting a little shaggy there." Awkwardly, fingers begin to unroll the top of the paper bag, glancing inside before flicking dark eyes back up to the woman at his side, silent for just a beat too long before speaking again. "I thought we could use the change of scenery. It's been a hell of a week for me, so I'm taking some personal time out of the office, so this is all entirely on my time."

A jogger passes by, pausing several feet away to look up at the columns of smoke in the distance, before a shake of his head comes and he picks up his run again, eyeing the pedometer attached to his wrist. Matt's focus shifts to the jogger, then up to the smoke, then over to Tracy all in one jerky motion. "It's a hell of a thing, isn't it?" He nods in the direction of the smoke, "I guess things like this make what you're working on a bit easier. Isn't that the saying though, 'Fear is the foundation of most governments'?" Matthew Parkman isn't often one to quote John Adams, and the tired adage seems a bit awkward coming from a man in his position.

"Miss Strauss is it now, Parkman? You must want something very badly from me," she notes, taking a bite of her falafel wrap as she watches the jogger and the smoke, listening to him speak. Taking a break is certainly understandable, the man's daughter's been kidnapped. But the rest of what he says causes her to swallow her bite, sit back, and look over the man like she's never seen him before. "Here I was under the impression that you suppored Frontline. Come on, Parkman, out with it: What's really going on here?" She doesn't seem particularly concerned, instead leaning over her lap to take another bite of her food. "For a minute there I was hoping you had that list for me."

Thoughts reach out like the suffocating tendrils of some deep-sea creature, gently coiling around the twisted lobes of Tracy Strauss' mind, sipping on her overful cup of memory in order to pad Maury's masquerade with more detail. "I do support Frontline," his head inclines, thick fingers greedily pulling the falafel out of the bag, plucking at the corners of the rice-paper covering of the wrap. "I just think that every movement needs to gain momentum in some fashion, and fear is — historically — the best motivator. Peole are terrified of this," he motions with the falafel towards the ruins of Midtown, "people are terrified of people like me." In so many more ways than he is willing to admit, as well.

"I wanted to talk to you about something, actually." Dark eyes wander away from Tracy, a feigned weakness Maury has become so adept at putting on. "You know I was going down to Pinehearst to look into things about my father. Turns out I was barking up the wrong tree entirely, my father hadn't been there in months and was operating under an alias with his employment. I had a talk with a few people in the administration there, and when I got back home I found out a little too late that I was hitting the wrong beehive."

Pausing between thoughts to take a bite on his lunch, Matt turns his focus away from Tracy as he eats. There's a bit less manners in the way he hungrily swallows down the food, licking at fingers before scrounging in the bag for a napkin to clean himself off some. "The ah— Pinehearst— it was a bit more conplicated than I thought, but an opportunity came up and I think the information I was afforded might go well to sitting in your lap instead of collecting dust in mine."

Poor Maury Parkman, doesn't even realize how he's slipping up. "Your father? What the hell does your father have to do with anything?" she asks, her own bites very dainty. As always. It seems Tracy Strauss wasn't totally up-to-speed on the whole Pinehearst situation. To her mind? Matt has decided he doesn't need her help, so certainly she has no need to go and give out what she did find out about the place. "You know I'll always take information of any kind," says the woman, dabbing some sauce away from the corner of her lip. Her lipstick never even smudges. "But if I might ask, what about Adam Monroe?"

"My father's why I was…" Matt gives a shake of his head, "I guess I can explain that later. Adam— Adam's not really in the picture right now, Tracy. I mean, he's important, but there's some things I want to talk with you about that are a bit more personal. Adam— " he cracks an awkward smile, "he can wait, we've got all the time in the world to deal with that."

Reaching into his jacket with one free hand no occupied with falafel, Matt withdraws a business card and offers it out across the bench to Tracy. A simple white piece of card-stock with a green double-helix printed on it, displaying the logo for Pinehearst Company's Fort Lee New Jersey office. "The warrant and the investigation into Pinehearst— I wasn't entirely on the level with you about that whole situation. I received a call from the office of General Sebastian Autumn," a man Tracy is familiar with, a longtime supporter of Frontline since the early days of Mitchell's original Presidential campaign. "He had some choice words for me, and opened up about some details I wasn't quite aware of…"

At first, she's sure he's hitting on her. Come on, more important than Adam Monroe? He was frothing at the bit just to get a scent of Adam. Hell she had a feeling he was using the DHS agents that were following her in order to track Adam more than to protect her from assasination.

But then he offers something so much more tantalizing, much more enjoyable. Information about FRONTLINE, and of the Vice President. She takes the card slowly, glancing down at it before back to Matt Parkman. Her icy blue eyes are locked on his, falafel forgotten in her lap. "I'm listening."

Tone dropping some, Matt looks down to his falafel and thinks better of taking another prolonged bite and lays it back down in the wrapper. "General Autumn informed me that Pinehearst has worked out a deal with the Department of Defense in regards to Frontline. I'm sure you've read in the papers about how Pinehearst is trying to develop a gene therapy that can remove people's powers?" One dark brow rises conspiratorially, "well that's apparently only the tip of the iceberg. Autumn told me that Pinehearst is developing a serum for the DoD that can induce Evolved abilities in ordinary people. Frontline is — largely — going to be comprised of synthetic Evolved soldiers pulled from every branch of the US armed forces."

There's an incline of Matt's head towards the ground, "This is all off-the-record, of course. Pinehearst's development of this has been kept quiet." Dark eyes divert from the ground to Tracy, "However, I was directed to speak to a man at Pinehearst's offices named Roger Goodman." Privately, a dead man, but there's no public record of his death. Publicly Goodman works for a competiting biotech firm, but that's a whole other series of raised eyebrows. "Your name came up in conversation, and I told him I'd pass word along that he wanted to talk to you."

She takes it all in. This is certainly heavy stuff. "Got a phone number?" She asks, raising her own eyebrows. Her falfel is entirely forgotten. "Should I just go to Pinehearst and discuss it with them?" Of course, she doesn't talk about the phonecall she got from Abby, about Nathan Petrelli's father. "That is to say," she corrects, treading very lightly as she smiles to Matt, her colleague. Her smile is almost…soft. "…did he mention anything else about Pinehearst that I might need to concern myself with?"

"I don't think a phone call would get you far…" Somewhat distractedly, Matt turns his attention back to his falafel, taking a huge bite out of it and continuing to make a slob of himself as he hungrily eats his lunch as if it's the first thing he's managed to stomach all morning. A few napkin dabs and finger licks later, his eyes have leveled back on Tracy. "If I were you, I'd check up on their offices, but there's a number on the card — I figure that just goes to a switchboard though." It's a bit of an anachronistic term, there aren't traditional switchboards anymore, about as much as there are traditional operators in the old sense of the word.

"Pinehearst seemed about as much on the up and up as any company can be these days," Matt's eyes wander the wrapper of his falafel, eyeing the juice dribbling from the back end of the wrap as it spatters down onto the paper. His brows furrow, and a sidelong glance is given to Tracy. "You seem unusually cautious, did you get a bug in your ear about this already?"

"Parkman. I have assasinations, threats, and goodness only knows what else. You have two men tailing me wherever I go, or so I'm told. Of course I'm cautious." She moves to stand, tucking the card away. "I'll stop by there this week." She promises, nodding to him with a smirk. "Thanks, Parkman. I love this open information sharing we have going on. It seems to be benificial to the both of us."
She tosses her falafel wrapper into the garbage can, turning to look once more over the smoldering wreckage, but her mind is always on the job, and soon her eyes follow suit - moving back to Parkman. "I'll be having a hard look at Pinehearst to see if we can't get the President's endorsement on what's being ssaid out in public. It would be a lot of good publicity for him."

"Good luck on that," Matt notes with a bit of cynicism, his head quirking to one side. "You know, you've got yourself a tough job. I sympathize with you," the words come with more honesty than much of anything else he's said all afternoon, though there's some quiet resignation in his eyes when he delivers it. "Having to be the right hand of someone who has an agenda you don't even entirely understand?" His dark eyes level on Tracy's, fixed there in a scrutinizing manner. "Director Hicks I mean," there's a hesitant and awkward smile offered at that, "and you with Petrelli. That's a hard family to deal with, no matter the job."

Tracy offers a smug smirk, her bag hanging easily over her shoulder. One well-manicured hand reaches over, touching the strap gently. "We don't get to choose our families, Parkman, we're stuck with the ones we're given. We have to make the best we can with what we have. Personally? I far from mind Petrelli." Why or why not, she won't say. But he's a lot more level-headed - at least to her - than most of the other people she's worked for. "He really beleives what he's doing, that's why I don't have reservations in aiding him in that agenda."

In a way, the answer seems to put at ease the troubled look that was brewing behind Matt's eyes. "Yeah, that — conviction…" he manages a hesitant smile, "that's a very Petrelli trait too, isn't it?" When he looks back up, whatever was clouding his thoughts is gone, replaced with something more searching, if only for a moment.

"Don't sit on that too long," Matt makes a motion with one haf-eaten falafel towards Tracy, still content to be seated on the bench. "Just— call it a hunch on that, alright?" There's a mild smile afforded for the words, and Matt turns his focus back to the meal, more so than the retreating form of the young woman. "You never know what life's gonna lay in your lap next."

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