A Storm Is Coming

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Scene Title A Storm Is Coming
Synopsis Roger Goodman and Hana Gitelman discuss what the future holds for them both, and Roger Receives new orders.
Date February 25, 2009

Who are we, when even our most fervent beliefs are questioned?

Shoes click against black and white tile, a long shadow cast by light coming through an open doorway, encroaching on the far end of a long and dimly lit hall. Recessed fluorescent lights in the ceiling shine dimmer here, giving deep shadow to concrete walls and brushed steel doors.

What can we as human do, when presented with situations that make us doubt our faith?

Stopping at a pair of double-doors at the end of the hall, a tall, dark man dressed in ink black clothing reaches out one hand to push half of the door open, letting brighter and even more desaturating fluorescent light to shine out into the hall. It silhouettes his thin frame, casting a long shadow as gaunt as the man it is attached to on the far wall.

Who do we turn to? Do we trust our conscience to lead us on the proper path?

Stepping into the room, the overhead lights make the dark circles beneath Roger Goodman’s deep set eyes seem even more pronounced, it makes the shadows from his high cheekbones darker, makes the whites of his eyes and the pale color of his fingernails stand out against dark skin.

Do we wander blind, alone in the dark of our own subconscious, clawing for answers?

Peering into the room, a man in a white lab coat slowly approaches Roger, glancing down to a clipboard in his hand before looking up at the gentleman before him, “It’s good to see you here,” he murmurs, taking a step back to gesture deeper into the room, where a thick-framed old man stands, nearly all of the color drowned out of his brown suit, thinning hair swept over the top of his head.

Or do we seek solace in another; a mentor, one who can guide us…

“Roger.” The response comes from a rough voice and thick lips, and the pale old man moves to stand beside the single prominent feature of this hospital room. A large, four-poster bed with drawn white sheets and a weathered, incapacitated old man laying in it, tube in his throat, gray hair plastered to his sweaty brow, eyes open and peering blankly up at the ceiling, “It’s good to see you again.”

…or potentially lead us astray?

He rests a hand down on the bed, looking from Roger to the man laying beside him, “Mister Petrelli has been waiting for you.”


Six Hours Later…

Primatech Research, Level-5


All Hana Gitelman has known for days has been darkness. Ever since entering into captivity, her constant companion has been absolute blackness. Restrained to a bed, connected to machines she cannot feel the presence of, the former Israeli terrorist has known nothing but the encompassing embrace of nothingness, and the steady, rhythmic beep of EEG and EKG output as they monitor her vitals.

The sounds — electronic beeps - serve as a measure of comfort, like a digital mother's lullaby to technopathic dreams. For the first time in days, this pervasive beeping which has haunted Hana Gitelman's drug induced sleep, finally comes into sharper clarity as the first threads of consciousness slip through her mind, the former Company Agent needs no lights but the glow of the machines she is connected to in order to recognize her surroundings. Hands and legs restrained by buckled and padded straps to the bed she lays on, a respirator mask covering her nose and mouth, more buckled straps over her midsection.

The cold, concrete walls of a Primatech facility are no different anywhere in the world they are found.

'Comfort' is relative. Hana takes little in the fact that she is evidently alive; it is a simple fact. She was awake when they suppressed her ability; the disorientation of silence, to her slowly-rousing mind, is soon resolved as memories click into place. She takes less comfort from the sounds of machines at work than from the straps restricting her movements — if chill, grim satisfaction can be considered synonymous with comfort.

You're afraid of me. She, technopath confined to the walls of her own skull, martial artist restrained by means both physical and chemical, in the keeping of an organization whose partial purpose is the containment of dangerous individuals. One would think Goodman has all the power here, all the advantages on his side.

Apparently Goodman doesn't think so, and that pleases Hana a great deal.

She bothers with neither a pretense of continued sleep nor a struggle to test the strength of the restraints. Hana Gitelman merely opens her eyes.

Several long minutes pass in the dark, before interior lights come on one by one overhead. The pop and buzz of fluorescent bulbs contained in caged recessions in the ceiling joining the electric orchestra of noises in Hana's cell. Without the comforting noise of so much electronic traffic, the silence has been deafening.

As all four of the lights click on, Hana can now see the subtle changes in the cells since she worked for Primatech. Some kind of iridescent latticework has been woven into the concrete, an afterthought added long past construction into the cells. Her ability may be suppressed, but she can hear the silent hum of an electrical impulse throbbing in the wire lattice.

The large, plate window to the cell is reinforced the same way, thin wires between thick plates of tinted glass charged with electricity. Even the steel door into the cell looks thicker, heavier, and unwelcoming. Clearly the raid on this facility in the fall taught the Company some valuable lessons in personal security they had been lacking in.

Almost as soon as she's adjusted to these surroundings, there is a static click from a speaker near the door, as a red light turns green. "Good morning, Hana." The voice is both unfamiliar and familiar to Hana, like an echo from a dream long ago. It's different hearing the voice of Roger Goodman with her own ears, as opposed to translating it from the broadcast airwaves she first heard it on.

It's like a different texture, subtle, refined; the difference between satin and silk that a sensitive hand can discern.

A difference Hana barely notices; she is long accustomed to it, and though her ability is presently nonfunctional, the lessons it has taught her still remain. The woman turns her head in the direction of the speaker, recognition evident in her dark eyes — though the way they instantly turn frigid, the masklike set of her face, could easily be attributed to the simple fact that her visitor is a Company agent in the first place. Since she doesn't actually have a personal issue with Goodman yet, that is likely most of the case.

Digital speech is not an option; speaking through the mask will avail nothing. And she doesn't particularly want to talk to him anyway. So Hana watches the front wall, the window and door, in continued impatient silence. Just get to the point, why don't you?

Dispensing with premises of anonymity, there is a click and a hum, and when the electrical charge in the lattice between the plates of the window fades, so too does its opacity. Smoky black, like volcanic glass gives way to muted grays, and finally crystal clarity that shows the tall, gaunt man with rich umber skin in a coal black suit observing the specimen bound to the table.

"If you'll forgive the impersonal greeting through this glass, Hana." His voice still carries through the speaker, the glass swallowing his words. "You have a reputation for resourcefulness that proceeds you, and for now we'll play this safe."

"I would like for you to listen carefully and thoughtfully to what I am about to say, Hana; nothing more, nothing less. What you do after you hear what I have to say, is entirely up to you." The popping crackle of the speaker grows silent for a moment, between promises of conversation unwanted. "My name, as you may well be aware, is Roger Goodman. Within the Company, my position is that of a Senior Agent. I was brought here as a supervisor under the purview of Director Sabra Dalton, from our European branch. She took over operations for Director Robert Bishop when he took a medical leave of absence in the fall, following the raid by PARIAH operatives on this facility."

Stepping closer to the glass, Roger's face becomes swathed in the play of fluorescent light and the shadow of the hall. It accents the shadows of his high cheekbones, makes his eyes seem more sunken in, makes their whites pop out against his dark skin. "But despite my position with the Company, and my years of service, I have never seen eye-to-eye with their credo or their methods. The Company operates on outdated modes and methods, strategies forty years old that were flawed even in more innocent times…"

"With electronic surveillance disabled on this block for scheduled maintenance," Goodman's head tilts to the side slightly, "You and I are free to speak openly. As such, I have no reservations informing you that my allegiance does not lie with this organization. With a group that mistreats and wastes talented and skilled individuals such as yourself, I can never truly find comfort."

"I work for an individual who has been scorned by the Company and all it represents. A man of great power, and great influence who realizes that no one man can ever truly change the world. It requires many, it requires cooperation, miss Gitelman." Moving his right hand out of frame of the window, Roger presses a sequence of keys out of Hana's line of sight, unlocking and opening the door to her cell.

"I extend to you the olive branch of peace in its name." Stepping out of sight for a moment, Roger appears just a brief pause later, emerging through the doorway as the eight inch thick security door slides aside on hydraulic rails with a pressurizes hiss.

Peace. Peace?

The idea is ludicrous. Absolutely, positively ridiculous.

It doesn't matter if he swears that the sky is blue and sunlight is warm. He works for the Company. Hana isn't going to believe a word he says. Dark eyes narrow; beneath the respiration mask, her lips twist into a scornful grimace.

He has her file; he's read her psych profile. With as badly as she was burned, once upon a time, it's going to take a lot more than pretty words to even make a dent in Hana's unrelenting hate of all things Company.

So far, Senior Agent Goodman is not off to a good start.

His voice is no longer something modulated by speakers of an old intercom system; it contains a rich texture all its own now. "My associate Jonathan is not wholly aware of the reason I asked for your apprehension, and I apologize if he was unnecessarily rough with you…" The tall, dark man moves to the bedside, managing to keep his composure in the face of the steel mask of distrust that Hana affords him, as he begins unbinding one arm restraint. His hands are noticeably warm where they brush over Hana's forearm, unnaturally so.

"I would like for you, Hana, to consider this a measure of good faith on my behalf. I brought you down here to Level-5 not to contain you as my superiors have requested, but to make you an offer." Dark eyes settle on the Israeli for a few, solemn moments, he knows she is not going to trust just his words. "I would like you to rejoin the Company, and work with me in this endeavor. To bring down the organization from the inside, and to protect your erstwhile companions where they hide, huddled together on Staten Island." Dark eyes swim over Hana's form, one buckle being undone at a time.

"I have protected them to the best of my ability, despite their continued efforts to expose themselves by merit of their very childish actions. But seeing them all imprisoned will do no one any good." Once he's unbound Hana's second arm restraint, he looks down at the woman with that same cold, coal-black stare. "Or, you can escape. I was careless, and you had loosened your bonds before I opened your cell. With surveillance down, I was unable to radio for help." Brows lowering, Roger's face mimics Hana's, an impassive mask of emotionless disinterest despite his words, "I give you the choice, how you use it is up to you. I have no intentions of leaving you caged up here, no matter which you decide."

Hands free, the woman strips the mask from her face, the leads from their points of attachment, ignoring the plaintive whine of the monitors as their input is cut off. Her gaze never leaves Goodman, though she sets about releasing the other straps immediately afterwards.

"I will never work for the Company," are the cold, bitter, anger-laced words Hana offers in reply as she sits up. Or with them. By extension, she will never work with Goodman, the Company's current representative; not even with the intent to later turn around and stab him in the back. Bennet is the master of manipulation; Hana prefers the direct approach. Even when it hampers her.

She is not, however, stupid, and she doesn't trust that the monitoring systems are as 'down' as he professes. Nor that she could prevent Goodman from teleporting — or teleporting her somewhere even less amenable to continued survival. Hana limits her expression of distrust and dislike to the vehicle of a glower, rather than the physical outlet she would greatly prefer.

Seeing Hana freeing herself, Goodman inclines his head slowly. "I had thought as much, but I would be lax in my duties if I did not give you the opportunity to do something that could benefit your…" His eyes narrow slightly, "persons of interest." He hesitates to call anyone Hana's ally. But then, it's as if all of his Company betrayal comes full present, as Roger moves away from the bed, reaching inside of his jacket to withdraw a pistol from the holster under his arm.

"You can come in now," he states in a clear, authoratative tone of voice. But it isn't a pair of faceless Company agents that emerge through the door from the halls of Level-5. No, instead it is a somewhat short and rotund old man, his head balding and thin wisps of gray hair barely kept in place in a vain attempt to hide it. The chocolate brown suit he wears accents the cream color of the shirt beneath, both colors in his striped tie. He says nothing, though the look in his dark eyes when they settle on Hana is difficult to read, somewhat sad and helpless, while at the same time scrutinizing.

"I had hoped we would be able to do this without the need of theatrics." Roger raises the gun, but not to Hana, instead he presses the muzzle between his shoulder and pectoral muscle, eyes settled on Hana.

"Maury will escort you out of the premises and ensure that none of the agents present in the facility are capable of hindering you on your escape. Footage of my associate aiding you in your flight from Primatech will put the Company looking in the wrong direction for you, and I will lead the hounds after the wrong Fox for some time."

Dark eyes stay focused on Hana, "Once outside, Maury will part ways from you and give you contact information where my superior may be reached. Do with it as you please." His face retains that steely countance, "I would be quick about this."

The sound of the gunshot is nearly deafening in the cell, followed by the spray of blood on the wall behind Goodman's shoulder. The agent's eyes wrench shut, gun falling out of his hand as he crumples to the wall, sweat already beginning to bead on his forehead. But instead of just sitting and reeling from the injury, Roger's body becomes discorporate in a muddy haze of violet light, flashing two feet from where he was to another spot near the wall. When he rematerializes, there is slightly less pained look on his face, the bleeding seemingly staunched somehow, but he still leans back against the wall for support from the agonizing pain running up and down his left side.

The woman's expression is equally impassive as Goodman speaks; as he prepares to shoot himself; as the shot echoes off concrete walls. She's human enough to wince at the painful sound; not enough to hesitate, having anticipated the report. Hana drops from the bed and picks up the discarded handgun; first checks the clip, then holds it at ready, albeit low and to one side. She doesn't point it at Maury; his reputation precedes him, and her ability no longer provides its own defense.

Which is not the same as saying Hana Gitelman is defenseless.

The telepath gets a passing glance; then Hana walks out the door, offering no form of parting words to either of the men left behind. The facility floorplan is familiar to her, even on Level 5; she displays that familiarity now, needing no direction.

Who are we, when even our most fervent beliefs are questioned?

Goodman's eyes go to Maury's while the Senior Agent slides down the wall, clutching his shoulder. "Make sure she gets out alive, Parkman." Teeth clenched, all Roger can do is stare up at the telepath, watching his impassive stare. "Keep your eyes on her, make sure no one follows you, and give her the card once outside."

It is a question we will all face at one point or another in our lives…

Looking down at Roger, Maury's lips press together in an expression of both anxiety and uncertainty before nodding his head, "Yeah, alright," he murmurs those words in a stumbling manner, "I'll make sure she's safe, Mister Goodman." There's an intense, leering stare given after he says that, head canting to one side slightly. Goodman recognizes the expression, and his neck muscles tense, lips pressing together. Maury strains for a moment, and then nods slowly, taking a step back out of the hall, "You make sure my Matty stays safe on that Island, Roger…" There's no advice there, no suggestion; it's an order "…and I'll make sure your girl gets out safe."

Can we truly hold on so tightly to our own convictions? Can we cling to our beliefs tight enough to weather even the worst of storms to come?

Wincing, Roger nods slowly, his eyes following Maury as the telepath turns and begins to exit out of Hana Gitelman's cell, his hands tucked into the pockets of his dark slacks, pausing only for a moment to watch Roger through the open door, before slipping out of the cell entirely, and into the darkness of Level-5.

Or will we make concessions?

And find a new path to take.


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February 25th: Shell Shock
Previously in this storyline…
Help Wanted

Next in this storyline…
Sharks

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February 25th: GPS Locator Training
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