What Was Your Name Again?


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Scene Title What Was Your Name Again?
Synopsis Tracy Strauss meets a mysterious woman.
Date July 31, 2009

Bert's Falafels

There are things she has curiosities about, and items of information she could share with the White House Communications Director for New York. Cat's been wanting to do this for some time, and that time has come. It's a Friday morning, a time when most people dressed in business attire are headed for work. She isn't one of those people, and she isn't dressed in business attire. Instead it's a pair of dark shorts, a nondescript gray tank top, athletic shoes, and a baseball cap with the brim pulled low to shield her eyes along with mirrorshades. Hair is pulled back into a ponytail.

She enters the place called Bert's Falafels and moves to occupy a spot where she's not so likely to draw attention after securing something to eat and drink. From that position she keeps a silent watch to see if the woman she's interested in meeting turns up.

It's around 8:30 that Tracy enters the Falafel joint - a time when the place is mostly empty. But far be it for old Bert not to open his shop at the crack of dawn. You never know when someone will want a falafel.

"Hey Bert, the usuals. Tomatoes on both - yeah he wants tomatoes now," she says, her hair up in a tight power-pony. She wears a black A-line dress with pearls, and a bag over her shoulder. The cuts have all healed, save for one that might scar on her arm - but you'd have to be looking for it. Cat doesn't even get a glance - The White House Communications Director is much too busy to be gazing around the resteraunt. Instead? She's gazing down at her blackberry.

Jackpot. She's here, but she's busy in speaking with the proprietor, ordering her falafel with tomatoes. Cat observes, still not calling attention to herself, and lifts the coffee cup to her mouth for a drink of the blessed liquid inside. Her free hand adjusts the messenger bag over one shoulder as she waits for an opportunity to speak with her without anyone right there to overhear their conversation.

"Yes, I'm running late. No….that's fine, just push it back an hour. Have some coffee there too…yes, that's fine." Finally, Tracy turns off her cell phone, or at least hangs it up, slipping it back into her bag as a small paper-bag lunch of two falafels with tomatoes are handed over. "Thanks Bert, you're still the most handsome man on the block." she winks playfully to the old man who laughs and waves for her to get out. She seems to be prepared to do so, to turn our and walk away without so much as a look to Cat.

As Tracy turns, this is when Cat nonchalantly comes off the wall and moves to follow. It's made to seem a random thing, the synchronized departures. All that says otherwise is her voice speaking quietly to the woman as she nears the door. "Morning, Miss Strauss," she offers pleasantly and quietly. "You've been having a most interesting career. I admire your success immensely."

It is a bit of a surprise, to hear someone who knows her name. Even more of a surprise to see that Tracy cannot, in all honesty, say she recognizes the owner of the voice. She manages a polite smile, stopping and turning to face the woman. "Well thank you," she says, smile still shimmering white. "That's very nice of you to say." Her smile faulters a bit, turning slightly apologetic. "I'm sorry, but if you're with the media, you'll have to arrange a time to ask questions through my office. I might be free to answer one if it's brief, but I'm already running late."

"Oh, I think you have time, Miss Strauss," Cat replies with a slight smile as she stops when Tracy does. "It's a nice day to walk a bit anyway, even though it's cloudy temps aren't too hot yet. And I'm not with the media. More directly, I've information to share with you, things you might find interesting." A step is taken then, as if expecting or hoping the political operative will walk and talk with her through intrigue.

Of course, Tracy will walk and talk with the woman. Maybe there are cameras. Maybe she's just a citizen. Maybe she's a citizen that will talk to cameras. Tracy hasn't been particularly attentive to the media since the press hijack, so she's looking for the opportunity to boost her (and the missing Petrelli's) reputations in the public. "Well, it's about six blocks to the office. If you don't mind that we head that way, I'd be more than happy to listen to what you have to say, Miss….I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't know your name."

She doesn't provide a name, and in fact acts as if she hadn't heard the subtle request for one. Cat simply nods and starts walking at a pace to match Tracy's. She speaks while on the move, her voice kept quiet to keep it between them alone because this isn't for overhearing. "Splendid, Miss Strauss. You've no doubt heard the news reports about that biotech firm in New Jersey. It's so very appalling, what the reports say they were into, isn't it?"

Citizen journalist. Those words flash through Tracy's mind immediatly. Lawyers are nothing. It's reporters that can be the real pain. "Of course, I'm waiting until all the final reports are in before I make any assesment on what Pinehearst was doing. Sometimes things that come out at first are incorrect, other times more information comes out later. I'd prefer to suspend my judgement until all the facts are made public." she pushes out the door, high heels clicking briskly on the street.

"That's very wise, Miss Strauss," Cat replies quietly, "but I doubt the facts will ever be completely be made public. Like how Arthur Petrelli, who was supposed to be dead, was conspiring to boost your Evolved Gestapo with people carrying abilities given to them by a serum. Or how General Autumn was conspiring with him in a bid to undermine the Presidency and secure power for himself. Or…" she lets her voice trail off briefly.

"Or how Arthur, when he couldn't make that formula happen in time to demo for General Autumn, chose to inject subjects with a failed version which gave abilities just long enough to show off before killing them." Then there's another pause.

"Or that your name was mentioned in records kept there."

There can be no doubt that Tracy listens to all of this. Very closely. How much more is going to come out? If it goes a few levels deeper….

…she could be royally fucked. So could the President.

But even while these thoughts toil in her head, Tracy's footsteps keep their pace, her face holds it's smile. "I'd hardly consider anything we're doing to be a Gestapo, Miss….what was your name again? What we do is for your protection, my protection, and the protection of the people of the United States. We're doing our best to protect them. That being said, I'm a public servant, and I've been deeply involved in many of the Evolved policies that have passed in recent months. It's no surprise my name should be connected to them as a point of contact for the media or some such thing. As it is, the authorities have not alerted me to my name being connected at all to Pinehearst." Part goes unsaid: So why are you bringing it up if the authorities don't even know?

If she weren't wearing mirrorshades, Cat's eyes would be seen to roll. Her mouth curves into an indulgent smile. "Oh, please, Miss Strauss, there's no need for the boilerplate administration position between us. You know using army units to police the streets is counter to everything America is supposed to be about. We have never used the military as a standing, routine police force, and you know it. The Founders are doing somersaults in their graves over this. And the Linderman Act, bearing the name of a mobster, protects no one. All it does is mark decent people as if they were sex offenders and sets them up to be imprisoned without trial or exterminated."

"As to your name, it wasn't as a media contact. Quite the contrary: it was in a list of people who were adopted as children when very young, injected with the serum to give abilities as infants before it was destroyed, or both. You may or may not know it yet, but the odds are you have some form of enhanced ability."

And still not a word she's said as they walk along has been any louder than absolutely needed for Tracy and only Tracy to hear.

Tracy's blood runs cold she's sure, she's positive she can feel it. Her hands, anything they would touch now, she's sure they would freeze. Thank goodness she touches nothing, her stride never faulters, her smile, though it does tilt into a tired frown, does little more than that.

"Miss, since you seem to wish to speak anonymously…" which Tracy marks down as rude in her mental checklist, "You, like many others, seem to be under the impression that FRONTLINE is an entire army of Evolved people. Unfortunatly for this country, you and the people like you who seem to make up these absurd fabrications about what FRONTLINE is have not even taken time to read the bill, otherwise you would know that what you are saying is ludicrious. I must suggest that you do a bit more research on the matter - I'm sure you'll find that an 'army' of Evolved 'policing' the streets is not what FRONTLINE is all about. However, if you wish to speak ignorantly on the matter, feel free to continue in your current line."

Tracy thanks her lucky stars she's almost at her building. "As for my birth, this is a completely new allegation. I can assure you I have my birth certificate, stating that I was born directly to my current parents. It is also on record that I have taken the blood test and I have been found to not possess the Evolved genetic code. Now, if that is all Miss, I really have some work to do."

Her lips curve into an even broader smile as she hears Tracy speak, and Cat's head shakes. She chuckles lightly. "Priceless," the woman murmurs. "What your ability may or may not be is your business, as it should be for anyone unless and until they show themselves as dangerous or uncontrolled, in keeping with American traditions. As to the SLC, it's likely as easy for you to have faked the results as the President did. I am not interested in outing either you or him, however."

"And if you wish to believe Frontline isn't a Gestapo, feel free to keep telling yourself that. Just like there was never a secret prison for locking up Evolved people like yourself at Moab, Utah."

"One question, though, and I don't expect you to answer: Has Nathan seemed ten years older in some vague way for the last few months? If so, don't tell anyone. And if you look into any of this, be discreet, or you'll get thrown into a deep dark hole or have an unfortunate traffic accident which kills you because they've found out you know too much."

She starts to move away, delivering one final comment in doing so. "I may find you again after you've had some time to reflect on this, Miss Strauss. Good day."

Tracy chuckles, forcing herself to calm down. She knows she bit too hard on her last line. She needs to be more relaxed, at ease. Personable. It's just hard, all things considered. "I can assure you, as a veteran of working in government for quite some time - it's much duller than most people think. There's no such thing as grand conspiracies anymore, as much as urban myths would like us to believe otherwise."

There, she said it with a smile too. A smile that's harder to keep as the woman keeps talking. But she manages. "I can assure you that President Petrelli is at his peak. His health has been good, as his doctors will attest to. Of course, maintaing the highest office in the United States is bound to take a toll on all the presidents, as it has in the past. But I can assure you he's a strong man." And lost. And missing. Probably dead. But strong, mmm yes he is strong….

Ahem. "I hope you have a pleasant day," she nods to the woman, appearing totally unfased. Of course, she doesn't chase the woman down. She doesn't confide in her. Some day people will learn.

Tracy won't communicate with people she can't even trust to hand over a simple name.

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