I Believe In Edward Ray



And the Words of:


Scene Title I Believe In Edward Ray
Synopsis While organizing Endgame's files, Peyton finds Cardinal's explanation of why he does, what he does.
Date Jan 31, 2010

New York Public Library

Once upon a time, the New York Public Library was one of the most important libraries in America. The system, of which this branch was the center, was among the foremost lending libraries and research libraries in the world.

The bomb changed that, as it changed so much else.

By virtue of distance, the library building was not demolished entirely, like so many others north of it; however, the walls on its northern side have been badly damaged, and their stability is suspect. The interior is a shambles, tattered books strewn about the chambers and halls, many shelves pulled over. Some have even been pulled apart; piles of char in some corners suggest some of their pieces, as well as some of the books, have been used to fuel fires for people who sought shelter here in the past.

In the two years since the bomb, the library — despite being one of the icons of New York City — has been left to decay. The wind whistles through shattered windows, broken by either the blast-front or subsequent vandals, carrying dust and debris in with it. Rats, cats, and stray dogs often seek shelter within its walls, especially on cold nights. Between the fear of radiation and the lack of funds, recovery of the library is on indefinite hiatus; this place, too, has been forgotten.

After a few days of watching Danko every waking moment and many hours she should have been sleeping, Peyton has returned this Sunday afternoon to the task she promised Elizabeth she would help with — sorting files in the library. So she is stowed in here, the room-heater on to help keep the chilly space at least bearable, though she's kept on her coat and scarf. She begins the task, reading each file to see which category in their loose classification system it would best fit in, cross referencing when necessary. It's not bad work — it actually takes a bit of thinking, and Peyton finds she likes organizing much to her shock. After all, taking notes in class was something she never even tried to do, and she had never had a job, let alone a job that might require filing.

These days, nearly everyone records everything digitally - computer hard drives, CDs, DVDs, even videotapes and cassettes. Richard Cardinal was, it turns out, that one in a million that still believes in keeping everything has hardcopy. Unfortunately his organizational system left something to be desired, with maps of Staten Island stacked up on top of Pinehearst files and next to some surveillance photos of a yacht.

At the very least, she's been learning a great deal about the rabbit hole she's gone down, from what really happened on Staten Island that ended in Chicago Air being shut down (the CIA made a deal with the owner, Fedor, and used him to start paving the way for FRONTLINE to move in) to Edward Ray's failed plan to activate the Suresh Linkage Complex in every man, woman and child in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Today, though, she's found something rather curious. A notebook that it seems had just been started in on, with the simple label in sharpie drawn across the cover 'WHY I'M DOING THIS'.

Peyton frowns as she picks up the notebook, opening it and sitting down to read. Is this Ray's notebook or Cardinal's, is her first question, though she really doesn't know one's handwriting from the other to be able to tell from such a clue. She begins at the first page, needing to read to know where to place the notebook in the filing system they'd agreed on. She reaches for her Starbucks coffee cup, the liquid cold, alas, after the trek across Midtown, but luckily she doesn't mind cold coffee.

"I was lost, when I first met Edward."

That's the first line in the notebook, answering - probably, anyhow - the question of who wrote it.

"I don't mean that I didn't know where I was physically, I mean more - mentally, emotionally. I was a petty crook that'd gotten involved in something bigger than himself, and tried to do what was right. I was a man who, in the right place at the right time, destroyed the plans of one of the most dangerous men in the world - and paid for it with my hand, and my ability. I was on the run, afraid to trust anyone, afraid that the few I could trust would just become targets for Arthur Petrelli. I was adrift, metaphorically and literally, on a yacht with an ex-whore and an amnesiac who was the most wanted man in the city. An amnesiac who offered to introduce me to the one man that might know where I should go."

It goes on from there, apparently some sort of journal entry or autobiography of some sort.

Well, it's not Ray's, Peyton thinks, but she doesn't recognize it as Cardinal, either. After all, he has his power now, and has two hands, but all is possible in a world where people can blow things up with a thought or live forever thanks to the genes that make them Evolved. Gillian's powers have changed even since she's known the girl, thanks to her run in with Arthur Petrelli and others. Peyton can relate to the lost part, though her own past was different. Not a petty thief, but a petty sort of girl who stole the limelight from others more deserving, just because she had long legs and was on the arm of one of Hollywood's pretty faced actors. She reads, finding herself lost in the strangely poetic words describing anything but a beautiful mind in one man's life.

"I still remember my first impression of him, bent over a laptop computer, waving me in by name without looking up as if I had an appointment. He knew I was coming, of course, had predicted it like he did so many other things. He was a weedy little fellow, with pale blue eyes that seemed to look right through you - yes, that's a good way of putting it. He didn't look at you so much as at the potentialities of your being present. He never wasted time on trivialities when there was important business to be done. I'd barely been introduced to him before he had John put someone else's power in me. I don't know who it was, to this day, the guy had a hood tied over his face and he was bound to a chair - Edward, bastard of a pragmatist that he was, probably had him killed afterwards. It kept Arthur from finding me, and that's what he needed, right then."

"One of the first things that he asked was if I was a man that could make the difficult decisions. To kill the one, for the hundred. The hundred, for the thousand. The thousand, for the million. Then, I thought I was - now, I only hope I am. He asked, because that's how ruthless he was - how ruthless he thought he had to be. It was all numbers, to him, statistics and probabilities, a game of chess where the only thing that mattered was the endgame. To understand Edward, you have to understand how far ahead he thought. That first day, that first hour that I met him, he decreed it absolutely necessary that I get a vial of the Formula that'd been brought back from the future - and I still don't know why. That's a gambit that hasn't even played out yet. He got me an appointment with Linderman to replace my hand - knowing he wouldn't do it - an appointment with the Flying Dragons later on. Just to give me the contacts I'd need to do my job, if he failed. Contingencies upon contigencies, plans and conspiracies that most people could only dream of."

A note, scribbled in the margins: FORMULA: KAZIMIR CONTIGENCY? PETRELLI?

Kazimir. Petrelli. Peyton knows the basics of Kazimir's possession, if that's the right word, of Peter Petrelli, how that was the reason that the man could not shake her hand when he met her, that night they met. It feels so long ago, now. Peyton knows, too, having been told by Gillian, that now Peter is back to himself, somehow, no longer cursed with that fatal power.

That part is unclear, but Peyton now has a guess as to how it was accomplished. She chews her lower lip. Is this how the world was saved? Is this the last thing Cardinal did before he died? That question is immediately pushed aside — she still refuses to believe. Tamara said… But Tamara speaks in metaphors, and metaphors aren't to be trusted.

More words, scribed from the pen of a man who no longer haunts these halls, speaking of the man who haunted it before him…

"The one thing he said that struck with me the most, he never actually said - Joseph Sumter gave me a vision once, and Ray was in it. He told me 'Some futures are forged from blood, collateral damage, bullets. I prefer to forge mine with change. Blood comes later. But there's always blood in the end.' I have no doubt that he believed that, down to the bone."

"You also have to understand that the Edward Ray I knew, that I first met, wasn't the one from this timeline. He came from the future where Arthur stood supreme astride the world - and came back to change that. Sure, it's a classic sci-fi cliche, but think about it for a minute. You're the one man in the world who can design a plan for any possibility or exigency, but the only plan you can come up with to save the world is to go back in time and make sure that certain events never happened, risking paradox and self-destruction as a more reasonable risk than any sort of plan that could fix things as they were. Think of the desperation that would drive you to something like that, think of what you must have seen coming to take that risk."

"Think of how guilty you must have felt to have failed the world so badly up until then."

The next words blur as a tear from Peyton drops upon the page. She can almost hear Cardinal speaking to her, as if he is in the room, giving her the words she needs to be strong. "Forge the future with change," she echoes, reaching up to wipe her eyes, and reading on. She frowns as she makes sense of the words that come after — not a sci-fi reader or much of a reader herself, the idea of paradox is one that takes her a moment to think on, finally remembering the warnings from a certain Doc Brown in a certain movie series to help make sense of it all. Her father's favorite childhood movie, as it turns out, of which she moaned and groaned at him for making her watch, gives her insight into Cardinal's words. The rest she understands. Her own changes of late have been motivated out of guilt and fear of staying the same stagnant and static person she has been. Desperation is something she understands.

"I didn't understand so much of this back then - and he didn't see fit to tell me. He kept me in the dark, manipulated me like he did everyone. I don't know if it would've been better if he'd been completely honest - maybe it would have, maybe not. In the end I thought I could maybe strike a middle road, to save the lives I thought would be lost in his plan. I tried to kill him, for murdering a friend of mine, shot the bastard twice in the chest, but he survived, somehow. I was just another piece on the board in a game being played - not against Arthur, but by one Edward against the other. The younger won, in the end, but I'm not sure if that was for the best. If the elder's plan had succeeded, had turned every citizen of that city - two hundred and forty-five thousand - into Evolved, maybe the war could've been avoided. Maybe it still can. I just know that I failed the one man who didn't deserve it, and in that, I finally know what Ray meant when he asked me if I could make the hard decisions. Rest in peace, John. I'm sorry."

"He's dead, now - probably, one can never be one hundred percent sure - but we're still doing his work. He left me a map, letters and hidden lockers, videotapes to tell me where the next threat was. It wasn't just his future self, either. I've recieved messages that were sent before he came back from the future. Somehow, he always knew that I would be there to carry on his work. I don't have to be his disciple, of course - I could abandon it, set my own course, walk away. Go back to being a thief, or become a businessman. A spy or a spook. Melt into society and never reappear, except as a legend. Except that I can't, and he knew it. I look at the world and I see where it's going. Most people catch a glimpse, and that's enough, but I can see it. Einstein reputedly said that he didn't know what the Third World War would be fought with, but that the Fourth would be fought with rocks."

"I know what it'll be fought with. It'll be fought with us. Some of us could destroy entire cities in a day, wreck ecosystems with an hour's work, destroy a crowd of people with but a gesture. Others can find every secret in the world - technopaths hum on the wires while shadowmorphs and invisible men stalk supposedly secure warehouses. No one is safe. Nothing is safe. And when the real truth of this hits the world, we'll be swimming in oceans of blood."

"We have to avoid that. We have to make sure that everything our species has fought for doesn't end in nuclear and evolved fires that leave this world little more than a cinder walked by the lonely few who could even survive that horror. We need to have a plan, because if we don't, we're all damned. I can't turn my back on the world and let things crumble, but I'm no planner myself. I'm lost, and I need someone to show me the way."

"And I believe in Edward Ray."

The entry ends.

The end comes too fast, despite the ominous words and solemn predictions. Peyton flips through the remaining pages, hoping for another entry, even another phrase or sentence — as if it'd be one more "conversation" with Richard. The tears begin in earnest, tracing down her cheeks in gray streaks of brine and mascara. These are tears for her friend and her guide, someone who helped her feel not-so-lost in the world when she needed it — just as Edward found Cardinal once. But both men are gone, and she isn't sure the rest of them will understand any clues in the roadmap that Ray left to Cardinal. But if Cardinal were truly gone — wouldn't Ray have foreseen that? Found a way to get the map to one of them?

Unless the King's Men — or Women, for the most part, with the exceptions of Mack and Bones — are Cardinal's legacy, and Ray foresaw that too.

Peyton stands, hugging the notebook to her chest. She'll have to bring it to the others, though for now, it feels like a secret conversation from beyond the veil, and she will cherish it, even if she does not understand it all.

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