A Small World After All


bones_icon.gif claire2_icon.gif mack_icon.gif peyton_icon.gif

Scene Title A Small World After All
Synopsis Members of Endgame discuss whether or not PARIAH has any place in their plans or vice versa, and it's a split decision.
Date January 31, 2010

New York Public Library

For the most part the library is quiet as always. In the afternoon hours it's on the edge of the time that people would be tromping in…. or normally. With Cardinal gone and Liz up at training, there isn't a lot of people coming in and out of the ruined building.

Standing in the map room, which in a way is invading Bones domain, Claire has a laptop sitting on the table. It's open and on, but the tiny regenerator isn't touching it, maybe she's hoping something will appear. Wearing a pair of worn jeans and a black sweat shirt, she's dressed comfortably. A small frown is on her lips, so much on her mind since her and Bones had a run in with the slowly reforming PARIAH.

Bones has indeed been keeping daylight hours for the most part which has been quite a shock for the Sandhog's union rep since up until a couple weeks ago Bones had always demanded the night or swing shifts. Tromping up the stairs, he makes his way in to the deserted building and his heavy boots can be heard announcing his approach. Turning in to the cartography room, Bones spies Claire sitting in front of the screen and walks up behind her to survey the LCD display. "All Quiet on the Western Front, huh? Not my favorite flick." he notes but tosses his bags aside which hold most of his work gear and he flops down in the heap of quilts, comforters, blankets, upon which sits his sleeping bag with a grateful sigh. "Oh that's better… I had to practically bend myself in two to get down this hole they sent me in to. Thought I might have to shove a kidney aside so that my rib cage could contort."

There are foot steps approaching the map room, though a look at the monitor will reveal Peyton, holidng a notebook to her chest. She peeks her head in — perhaps not surprisingly to Bones, who has seen her in emotional distress more often than not, her cheeks are tear-stained, mascara tinting the streaks gray. She offers a smile to both, though it's a little uncertain when directed at the man on the pile of blankets.

"I found something… I don't think there's anything we … need to act on, in it, but it's… important." She moves to hand the notebook to Claire. "It's Cardinal explaining how he knows what he does… why he believes what he does. About Ray and the future and why it's important that we do what we do." She reaches up to wipe her eyes again. "Sorry for being all weepy. It's like… it's like he was talking to me, you know? Like he was here."

Mack isn't far behind Peyton, though he couldn't be in a more different mood. There's energy to the way he walks, like he's got purpose. This is new for the, as some call him, 'dirty hobo'. Although he isn't actually dirty, either; everything on him is clean and freshly ironed, today. He steps into the map room, which appears to be where everyone hangs out these days, and starts to speak. "Hey, has anybody seen L-" but stops midsentence when he catches the emotion of the room and the weepy-Peyton.

"Hey, Bones." Claire murmurs, only glancing up at the man briefly, though she has to actually tilt her head up to do so. "Yeah… quiet, but mostly I've been thinking about the people that were there. West, Knox, and I go way back to when I was a Terrorist. Not my proudest time." She bits her lip.. "I need to talk to my uncle sometime.. he was a part of all that too."

Her eyes go up again when Peyton pokes her head in, brows lifting at the state of the girl. She starts to ask her whats wrong and then, there is the explanation and Claire goes silent. Reaching for it notebook, turning it towards her as she pulls it close. "Really?" She doesn't get teary eyed, but she looks back at Peyton with a soft smile. "Thanks Peyton.. I know Liz would love to see this."

The man walking into the room gets an odd look from Claire Bennet. The look on her face clearly asks, 'Who the hell?' She glances at Peyton and Bones for help.

"Well for as long as I have known you, you seem like you could use some backup. If you need a little in going to see your uncle, let me know." Bones says, trying to sound a little helpful as he continues to lay on his bundle of comforters.

At Peyton's arrival, looking to weepy-eyed, Bones raises his head in askance of what might be wrong but gets the answer readily enough and raises his brows. "Wow… Fearless leader speaking from beyond the grave. Very cool." he notes a little reverently.

Cocking his head to the side at Mack's arrival, he grins at the other man and nods to him in greeting. "Mack! How's Mackaroon from Brigadoon, eh?" he asks and then notices Claire's look. "Mack. The guy who recruited me, suppose you could say. Good people but he curses too much. And puts far too much stock in his ability to heal." he grumbles, still remembering how he had been under the impression the fellow public servant needed help and opened fire in an attempt to save him.

Peyton turns and offers an uncertain smile to Mack. Great crowd. Two men she's had recent fights with, and one girl who barely remembers her. "Speaking of your uncle…" Peyton says, stepping forward to turn to a page, pointing out a note in the margin. "Apparently Edward Ray gave Cardinal a formula from the future — is that how your uncle … how he's back to normal?" Peyton says softly, knowing that the mission was traumatizing in more than one way for the blond regenerator. "Cardinal somehow managed to save him, didn't he? Before he died, with that formula?" she guesses, her own voice full of reverence for their lost comrade.

She heaves a sigh and wipes her eyes once more. "I wish Liz were here — with your memory full of holes, and these guys new, and me not having a clue about anything in this whole thing… there might be clues there I just am not getting. He talks about a roadmap — metaphorical of course — that Ray left. I hope someone else here can figure that stuff out because I'm really bad with…" She glances around the room and laughs a little, "maps."

Mack listens when Peyton speaks, but he doesn't respond. There's traces of impatience in the way he stands, when he looks around the room, the signs are there, even if he doesn't say anything. The left over advice of a dead man isn't his pervue, and despite his respect and admiration for Cardinal, its just one more death in a long list of lost friends. He's already moved on. So he tackles problems not originating from the grave. "Gabriel McNamera, Claire." He well never introduce himself as Mack. Someday, maybe, people will call him by his name. "You don't like me very much, but I've got plenty of respect for you, despite the fact that I insist on always calling you 'Cheerleader' or some variant of it. We never were close, but Liz did ask me to give you any help you need, so… anything you need, don't hesitate to ask. I may swear too much but I can get shit done, and I've been known to be a good person to brainstorm weird problems, even if I'm not the one coming up with the final solution." Might as well put it out there, right? Then he offers Bones a bit of a lopsided grin. "By the by, if you think I put to much stock in being a regenerator, may I re-introduce you to Claire Bennet? She's twice again as bad as me on that front."

There is a soft, 'Oh..' at the explanation about who this stranger is. "You're Mack." First time she met Bones, she had as him if he was Mack. Cause Liz called him that. How she could mess that up… Listening to him, Claire gets an amused look on her face. "Hello. Nice to meet you… I guess again. What would you prefer? Mack or Gabriel?" Even if he shares the same name as Sylar. "If Liz asked you to help me, then she probably told you about the shot gun blast I took pointblank to the head." The journal is shifted to one hand, so she can offer the other to him. "If we didn't get along, I don't remember." She narrows eyes at him and adds. "So consider this a clean slate.. so don't fuck it up."

Glancing at Peyton now, she looks down at the book in her hand and flips through it with a curious look. "I had wondered how Cardinal got that stuff he used on my Uncle… or what it was really." She closes the book and looks back at Peyton again. "I think the road map might be the set up in the string room… though… I have no idea if that map applies anymore. The new stuff… is so far off the board." She gives a soft sigh.

"All this stuff Rebel has tossed at us is not in that room." Claire says blandly, "Right now.. I have a difficult choice coming up…" Her eyes go to Mack and then to Peyton. "Do you know who PARIAH is?"

"Update itself?" Peyton says, tilting her head curiously at Bones' ruminations, then just shrugs at Claire. "Just what's been in the papers and what I've heard around… it's mostly defunct now isn't it? I thought basically it split and the more … violent people sorta dropped into the woodwork, and the rest of them are still helping Ferry and Phoenix." She doesn't know a lot and no specific names, but she's new to this chess game. "What choice do you have to make, Claire?" she asks, moving to a table and sitting on it, feet dangling as she peers at the blonde.

"Gabe. Or Gabriel. Either is fine. Fuck, call me Patrick, if you want. Anyway, I'll try not to fuck it up if you don't." But then Mack's attention is diverted to the matter at hand. He makes his way to the table and removes a 92FS .9mm Beretta from the holster that holds the weapon at the small of his back and sets it on the table's surface. Thus, he is free to set one cheek on the table, more comfortable as the conversation progresses. "I know a little." Mack's voice is, for once, quiet. "I was the second in command on SCOUT, Will Harvard's partner. We were the point organization on the raid on their safehouse. As a last stand, they brought it down on us so the senior members could bail while they threw the punks and the kids into the buzzsaw for us to pickup and arrest. People died. Fuck." Mack shakes off the teenage-girl-style talking and pulls out a cigarette which he rolls over his knuckles but doesn't light. "Sorry, I'm just really, really sick of buildings falling down on me. Anyway. Whats up with PARIAH now?"

"I was once a member of PARIAH.." Claire starts explaining, "Pretty heavily, until SCOUT…" She motions to Mack, "Go figure… small world…. took it down." She glances down at the laptop. "It seems…." She rests a hand on the edge of the open lid, "That PARIAH is back.. and Rebel is using them to spread the message." Her eyes fall on Mack again. "Seems they are rising from the ashes again. When we got the laptop, I was reunited with two of the members. Benjamin Knox and West Rosen."

"They want us to join them…" Claire quickly holds up a hand just in case Gabe wants to interrupt. "My thought is 'No'. But at the same time… 'Yes'.. to a point. As I told them, we can't turn our backs on the others groups in town. Madagascar pointed out some scarey shit." Moving to where she can see them all, she continues. "Rasoul.. the head of Vanguard in Madagascar had created.. a Neutralizing gas." She shakes he head slowly. "Our government now has that technology."

"I don't want to be PARIAH again.." Claire states firmly, "That much I know… but I don't want to totally turn our backs on them either, especially if they are working with Rebel."

"No offense, Claire, but I said we should listen to those guys so that they would be more likely to let us get out of there alive. Or at least in one piece. They were a bit more than just off their chumps with their 'Sieg Heil' nonsense. I wouldn't trust them as far as I can throw them. And I bet you I could throw them pretty far. Make a first down on Green Bay with that flying kid even." Bones says from his corner, having looked up from his laptop and what he is doing. "I get what Rebel is doing. He's trying to get a group together that can to fast hit-and-runs on the enemy when it finally presents itself, but it doesn't seem like these guys have an on-off switch. All or nothing. No guts, no glory. In it for the win. Until the final solution."

Peyton chews on her lower lip as she takes the information in. "Read Cardinal's journal… he talks about being willing to make sacrifices. It might help you make your decision, but yeah, we should decide as a group — if we are a group. Do we have Liz's number so you can talk to her about it? She might have an opinion. Me — I can't… I don't think I could do the things that they — that you — have done. I think I'm basically here because Cardinal wanted to be able to use my eyes. I can't blow up buildings or kill anyone, I know that, but if it were like us or HF, I wouldn't have a problem with helping find the information that would allow someone else to do it. For whatever that says about me." Peyton's voice doesn't quaver, and she sounds stronger and more sure of herself than she has in a long time. "Working with them, as long as they know it's on our terms, might be not be a bad thing, though, as long as we don't get left holding the bag when they bail out."

"I have Liz's number. And she should be by to visit regularly." Mack picks up the Beretta, pops out the clip, ejects the top bullet. He rolls this around with the cigarette, and then sticks it back into the clip and locks the clip back into the weapon as the others speak. "And I ain't working for or with PARIAH. They're just as fucking bad as the people I signed up with Card to go after, they just happen to be on our side of the philosophical scale. It might not be the same people, and Claire…" Mack shakes his head, "I'm not even getting into that bag of worms. But I'd rather put a bullet in someone's head than help somebody that wants to revive that bullshit." Mack pushes himself off the table, a slow realization slowly creeping into place. "I'm not gonna choke down shit like this anymore. You wanna work with PARIAH, you're all grown ups. But we'll be irrevocably on the opposite sides of the fence from that point on if you do." Well there it is.

Grinning at Peyton, "Don't worry.. I plan to sit down and talk to Liz.. It's not something I have to jump right into right away…. It's just a hard decision… Ultimately, Liz will have a final say." She leans on the table and grins over at Bones. "Well… West and I… we have a…. history together. He came to New York with me from Costa Verde and joined PARIAH. But your right.. they don't exactly have an on or off switch when they get into it.. not to mention.. they tend to act first and ask questions later."

"Left holding the bag is my concern…. I only just got my record cleared form being associated with them." Claire admits with a short nod. "And don't worry Peyton.. I don't think we'll make you blow up any buildings." She gives the woman a reassuring smile. "No… I just don't want to close the door.. having Rebel on our side I think could be a good thing. And maybe… just maybe.. we can keep them from jumping the gun and being idiots." She did have old friend in that group.

Studying Gabe, Claire shakes her head slowly, "I'm not happy to see them back in any form.. but.. We need to keep options open. We need Rebel to talk to us… " She flips around the laptop to show Mack an image of a black nuclear blast. "He is giving us all clues on what is going on.. but I don't think any of us are smart enough to get the clues." She leans over to bring up a slide show of images, people in hazmat suits and various quarantine photos. "There is stuff going on Gabe, that we have to keep on top of. I don't think Edward Ray is gonna have the answers ready for us in this. Plus, Rebel already thinks the worst of Pheonix…" Moving back from the laptop, she shakes her head, "Like I said.. I plan to talk to Liz about it too. She's the boss at this point."

"I learned a saying when I came to America: you can lead a horse to water but you shouldn't throw swine at pearls. I didn't really get it but the point is, we might not even be dealing with pigs or horses. We could be dealing with stubborn mules and no matter how many avenues we offer them that will allow them to not be idiots, it's going to look bad." Bones gives a shrug as he closes up his laptop and practically flows up to his feet which is amazing that a man his size has such grace and agility about him. Walking over to the table, he sits on the edge and then lays his back on it, looking at the other three in an upside down fashion. "Sorry. Back hurts." he apologizes before continuing. "Anyway these days, being guilty by association says a lot. Linkin Park has a point."

Peyton may mix up her words, calling DHS "Homeland Services" and the like, but she has to laugh at the man's utter slaying of two phrases at once. "That's you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, and pearls before swine. Talk about mixed metaphors. No bulls in china shops or unhatched chickens to count in that little speech?" She smiles at Bones, not in an unkind way — what he said hurt her, but she's a new person this week. She shrugs to Claire. "I guess … maybe we can share some information with them and try to keep them from doing stupid shit, or maybe you can, but no formal partnerships. Not like any of our groups are formal in nature. But limited information — I mean, Cardinal has stuff in there I wouldn't want in the wrong hands, you know?"

"Yeah, well, guess thats that, then." Mack puts the Beretta back in its holster and makes his way towards the door, eyes convienently hidden behind his ever present sunglasses.

Grinning down at Bones, Claire shakes her head, but Gabe's sudden move to leave grabs her attention. "The world is not black and white, Gabriel. It is a whole hell of a lot of grays.. Took me a nightmare trip to realizes my dad had it right." She calls after him, "Our own government is changing the board. We can't ignore what's happening.. and unfortunately it's changing how we look at our own kind." Glancing at Peyton and then Bones she adds. "When we ere made to work for the government I worked with a man who spent most of my high school years stalking me so that he could cut open my head and take my ability.. A man called Gabriel Gray." She sighs, "We worked together on this trip… and it worked.. it worked damn well.. Course, now he's buried in a sink hole in Antarctica." her face falls some, at the memory. "I didn't trust him.. and wouldn't turn my back to him…" Or she did once.. and she learned the hard way. ".. but we worked well and took down the bad guys and… I'd do it again."

"The way you said it, it makes more sense. Hmmm…" Bones muses a moment before he turns his head and tracks Mack heading out and calls after him. "You're the one who went on and on about seeing shades of gray, Mack! Who is being closed-minded now, eh?" Giving a sigh and turning his gaze back to Claire as she speaks, he nods quietly. "Point taken. You guys got the job done and it worked out that you lot played a hand in saving the world. The government may be forcing us to act in certain ways now, but they are not putting guns to our heads and telling us to work with maniacs now. Liz may have the final say, but for my two cents, I would want to say as far away from this PARIAH as I can. Perhaps even give Rebel a better option than working with them."

"Mack," Peyton calls, turning to watch him walk out. "Just because they're former PARIAH doesn't mean they're bad. Claire was, too, right?" she calls, then turns back with brows knit together. Already they're being pulled apart, without Liz or Cardinal there.

"There's a point. They are formerly PARIAH members, same as you," Peyton says, jutting her chin at Claire. "Maybe there doesn't have to be PARIAH. Maybe they can join us and be Endgame, and PARIAH can just not exist. I'm sure they have ideas and skills we can use, but maybe we can use them in a more … peaceful and proactive way. I don't know who Rebel except that he's some technopath, and you say you have history with the other guys. They might listen to you. I mean, what they did before didn't work. Maybe they'd be willing to see if we can come up with solutions that could." She pulls her feet up onto the table with her, crossing them Indian-style.

Mack pauses briefly at the door, letting one hand rest on the frame. Or whatever is left of the wall where there would be a frame, lacking a frame (how many times can the word 'frame' be in one sentence'?). To Bones, he says, "I remember." With a glance back at Claire, "But I'm done selling my soul. I got no soul left to sell." Odd, coming from a man who can shoot someone without thinking twice about it. And then he's gone.

"To show him that, Bones, we may have to have dealings with PARIAH." Claire says with a sad smile, reaching down to pat his arms. "Either way… we're gonna go rounds on this… I'd rather stop now before things get too much more heated, wait till I talk to Liz. See what she says." Reaching over she presses the laptop shut, before glancing at Peyton.

"Not sure we want them on our team." Claire says with a soft sigh, shaking her head. "They said that Rebel needs an Army.. not PR reps. I'm… not saying we are PR.. but I know what PARIAH was didn't work. There are better ways of going in then being a damn bull in a shop. More round about ways."

Glancing at Mack before he leaves, Claire sighs softly. "Damn… " Her head drops and her eyes close briefly. When they open again, they focus on the man on the table. "So much for that clean slate."

Bones gives a soft shrug at Claire and slowly sits up with a groan. He rests there for a moment and sighs, the bones of his spine actually wiggling and jostling a little before there is a sharp crack from the vertebra and he scoots off of the table. "Mack may have talked about things being shades of gray but when it comes to his own opinions, things are black and white." He slumps down in to a chair and immediately looks about the room, apparently too lazy to get up because he reaches under the table and pulls out a king-size Twix bar still in the wrapper that had been duct taped to the underside. He begins munching away at it contentedly.

Dark eyes still turn to the door, looking a bit worried, before turning at the sound of duct tape ripping off the underside of the table. Peyton raises brows and looks amused, but then nods solemnly. "I guess if you lost people to PARIAH, you might find it hard to see the gray, though," she says softly. "But yeah, see what Liz says." She glances at her watch, and hops off the table. "I should get going before it starts to get dark. Good to see you guys."

"I use to see more black and white.. So.. I understand to a point, but still.. this is game is getting tricky." Claire comments, while watching Bones with amusement. "Bones? You… " Her head tilts looking at the table. "Know what.. I don't want to know."

Turning to lift a hand to Peyton, "Have a good night Peyton.. Be careful. I'll be talking to Liz next time she's in town, the phone isn't secure enough."

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