Monochrome Delirious, Part VI

Participants:

odessa2_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

arthur_icon.gif mitchell_icon.gif f_nathan_icon.gif peter3_icon.gif woods_icon.gif

Scene Title Monochrome Delirious, Part VI
Synopsis Just as nothing makes any sense anymore, things begin to become painfully clear.
Date May 5, 2009

The Merry Old Land of Oz?


I don't ever care to rise to power

A long and dusty highway leads west out of New York City, a highway set on both sides by the lapping waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Long ago, this was a bridge that led into New Jersey from Manhattan, but now it looks more like a concrete sandbar with toppled supports and suspension lines that delve into the murky recesses of the icy cold waters. Across this bridge, a handful of people are the only living beings in sight — a fallen President and his second in command, his younger brother, a Company agent, and the young woman that has somehow pulled them all together in this inexplicable journey.

I would rather be with you an hour

Leaving Manhattan's drowning corpse behind, leaving the skeletal wreckage of buildings demolished by war, Odessa and her companions make the final trek into the sunken ruins of New Jersey, where amidst the stark and dusty-gray landscape rises a single edifice to everything that once was, a spot of light impossibly placed in a world of absolute darkness. Pinehearst Tower.

For the things that one can buy

It dominates the New Jersey skyline, a tower that does not even exist in this day and age, only in a future that will never come to pass. But this gleaming emerald cylinder shines with the only color amidst a sea of dark concrete and twisted steel. "I never thought I'd see this place…" Nathan intones with a grim quality, hands tucked into the pockets of his slacks as he looks up at the tower in the distance, passing beyond crumbling tenement buildings and blown out storefronts, "…I never thought I'd want to again."

Are not worth a lover's sigh

"What ah— is this place, exactly?" Glancing over to Nathan, Woods' curiosity seems to match his incredulous expression as he takes another look at the green-tinted glass that rises up hundreds of stories into the gray clouds hanging heavy above. "I mean, aside from conveniently emerald in color."

I don't want to set the world on fire

Nathan pauses in mid-stride, looking over to Woods with a steady, but conflicted, expression. "It's where me and Pete's father lives, the only man strong enough to oppose Munin once she came to power." He nods in the direction of the tower, "but he's hardly the benevolent Wizard everyone says he is, he's…" one shoulder rolls slowly, "I don't know, it's complicated." Woods doesn't seem to get everything, and it's clear from his expression, but Peter — of all people — interjects before Woods can question this anew.

I just want to start a flame in your heart

"This'll make sense once we meet him. But… he can do a lot— almost everything." Dark brows crease together, and Peter looks over at his brother. "I… think I've been here before, but I have a hard time remembering things good." Woods looks at Peter, then over to Odessa with something uncertain in his eyes, then back to Peter again.

In my heart I have but one desire

"Wasn't all of this slightly less bleak and a little more whimsical when it all started? I mean, is it just me or has all of this turned into something really dark?" Despite his protests to the contrary, Mitchell, Nathan and Peter all shrug, and seem to dismiss the notion as Woods being Woods, and return to the short distance left before they reach the emerald tower, and finally, the Wizard.

And that one is you, no other will do

Woods just folds his arms, huffing out a sigh, "This is all bollocks, just so you know."

What Odessa wouldn't give for a dose of morphine right now. She cradles her arm gingerly, held close to her body in a makeshift sling to keep from agitating her shoulder too much. It will have to do for now.

"I think you might be right, Woods. Something hasn't felt right since… Back at the foundry." The woman shakes off the thought, but not the feeling, as she keeps moving ever closer to the Emerald Tower, one step at a time. Her expression is trepidatious as she slowly pries her gaze away from glittering green and turns to regard Peter instead. "What do you mean you don't remember… well?" Odessa asks. Then, she exchanges looks with Woods as if to say I don't think I'm going to like this.

"I haven't been able to… uh," Peter rubs at the back of his head as he walks down the street, "really been able to remember things right for a couple of years. I'unno why, just happens that way. M'hoping the Wizard can help me get my brain all back in order." The notion brings a snicker from Woods, one that he quickly stifles once he realizes he made it, and that it was loud.

A little ahead of the group, Mitchell turns around and folds his arms. He watches the group talking, then turns back to glance up at the tower not far away, retruning to walk as he steps off of the highway and into the parking lot, past abandoned cars with blown-out windows and bent parking meters, towards the verdant park that surrounds the tower's base.

Odessa rolls her eyes and smacks Woods in the arm with her uninjured one when he starts to snicker. "I have a bad feeling about this," she murmurs to the tuxedo-clad agent. At first, she sticks a little closer to him, but as Mitchell veers, so too does she. "You seem like you've got something to say," she prods proverbially. I'd like to hear it.

"I'm just thinking back to what the witch said," Mitchell doesn't turn around as he talks, "about wanting us to kill the Wizard. What, exactly, made her think that we'd go through with any of that, just because she had him," a motion of Mitchell's head is given towards Woods, "held captive? None of us care about him at all, save for you."

With his point made, Mitchell moves beneath the boughs of pine trees across a stone path leading up to a tarnished metal statue of a green DNA helix. He pauses, looking at it crookedly before turning back to Odessa. "It's like all she cared about was you going to kill him, like none of us really mattered in the equation."

"Were any of you personal friends with her?" Odessa only lets that question hang for a moment before picking up again. "No? Yeah, I think that might be why she was so fixated on me." She stops next to Mitchell and stares up at the statue as well, rather than turn to address him proper. "I don't know, honestly. None of this makes much sense to me at all. I don't know why I'm here, how I got here… I wasn't actually going to do it, you know. I just didn't want to lose Woods aga-" She stops herself short. "He's my friend. I'd have done the same for any of you."

Mitchell, Nathan, Peter and even Woods all stare at Odessa with equal scrutiny and say in unison, "You were friends with the witch?" When that moment of awkward serendipity has ended, most of them — except for Peter — are clearing their throats and looking away. Peter merely looks a bit clueless, and seems to be waiting for the answer to a rhetorical question.

"I wouldn't do the same for you, for what it's worth." Mitchell adds after a moment, turning around without waiting for a reaction as he approaches the front doors of the building. The matte steel doors look unusually new and shiny despite the old, dusty and worn textures of everything else around the tower. After a single knock, a thin slat opens in the door, along with a pair of bespectacled eyes.

"Who is it!?" The voice chirps from the other side of the door, causing Mitchell to take a half step back, head canted to one side to stare at the door as if it were going to bite. He isn't sure how to answer, what to answer, or even if he should. Instead, he helplessly — and somewhat reluctantly after what he said — looks back to Odessa.

Slowly, she grins. "Of course, now you want my help." Odessa steps closer to the door, while staying far enough back to be seen through the slat. "I'm Odessa Knutson, and these are my friends. We've been sent here to see the Wizard by Sabra Dalton. We bring… news."

"No one sees the Wizard!" The voice behind the door screams out, and promptly shuts the slide. Mitchell's eyes practically pop out of his head at the reaction, followed by a slouching of his expression that would threaten to slide his face right off of his skull. He covers his mouth with one hand, and looks to Nathan, who just shrugs his shoulders and looks away.

"Maybe… maybe you should all try going in without me," he admits with a sheepish scratch to the back of his head. Peter quirks a brow, looking over to Nathan with a smirk.

"Why, you afraid?" By the time those words leave Peter's mouth, Woods' face has turned bright red. Their dialogue has gone from grim, to word for word from the Wizard of Oz. He storms over to Nathan, grabbing him by the tie before reaching into his jacket and pulling out his pistol. The gun is waved in the ex-president's face, just a moment before Woods shoves the man back and storms over to the door.

"I have absolutely had it with this nonsense!" He slams on the door with one hand, brows lowered, "Open the fuck up!" The slat slides open, and just as the man behind the door was about to repeat the same line again with whimsical measure, Woods presses the barrel of the gun between his eyes through the slot.

"Open the fucking door!" Free hand flailing wildly, Woods' remarkably crazed gesticulations don't get the doorman's attention as much as a gun pointed to his forehead does. There's a quiet clunk and then a creak as the door swings open, leaving Woods pointing a gun at nothing, breathing in heaving breaths.

Odessa blinks several times in rapid succession when she's denied entrance. What the— She turns to look at the others, about to open her mouth to speak when Woods just loses it. Dark eyes grow wide as he yanks the gun from Nathan and marches to the door to scream profanities at the keeper. She only realises her jaw is hanging open after the door has opened.

"Wow." The corners of Odessa's mouth quirk upward with amused astonishment. "Thank you, Woods." She leans upward and plants a kiss on his cheek. "My way's a little more subtle, but that was quite the display." The smile fades into something a bit more sheepish, "Now please give Mister Petrelli his gun back?"

Swallowing a bit awkwardly, Woods grimaces and holds the gun out towards Nathan, who snatches it back with a bit of a scowl. On the other side of the door, the doorguard who was there moments ago has vanished from sight entirely, though to his credit he did not leave a drizzled trail of golden fluid on the tiled floor. "I ah— I saw it in a movie once." Woods' response isn't as ridiculous as it would seem, given their current surroundings.

As everyone moves in to the ground floor of the emerald tower, Peter looks back, watching Nathan standing outside. His wordless raise of one brow spurs his brother to movement, and finally Nathan follows the rest inside. "I know where he is," Nathan mutters, pushing past Peter to head down the central hall, "follow me."

In some ways, there's a measure of courage in his cowardice.

Odessa's good humour fades once they're inside and she's taking in her surroundings. "Do you think we'll get any answers?" she asks of Woods, edging a bit closer to him as they follow after Nathan. She allows her eyes to do the roaming to peer at curiosities here and there, keeping her head held straight and high. For now, at least.

"Knowing this movie… no." Woods mumbles to himself, rubbing at the back of his head as he makes his way behind Nathan at Odessa's side, "I think I have a pretty good idea how bloody retarded this is all going to be." At the end of the hall, a pair of double doors opens into what could have been an enormous lobby at one point; a marble floor with high columns rising up to a vaulted ceiling. A lobby in all senses, save that it isn't a gateway to anywhere, no doors or exits, just a pair of curtains on either side of the room shrouding the walls, ones Woods is looking expectantly at.

By it's what appears at the center of the room that really gets his attention. With a great measure of fanfare and a flash of light, an enormous and luminous green head of Arthur Petrelli flares to life between the pillars, glowering down at all those gathered with brows furrowed and lips downturned into an overly exaggerated frown. Woods, thoroughly unimpressed unlike everyone else, hangs his head and sighs.

"I am Arthur, the Great and Powerful. Who are you?" Woods slaps a hand to his face and rubs it down slowly as the giant, disembodied green head begins bellowing out its demands, asking who everyone is, despite two of them being his sons. Quietly, Woods begins to sidestep and walk towards one of the curtains with a resigned sigh.

Once Odessa gets over her astonishment of first the room and then the giant frigging head that appears she manages to find her voice and introduce herself. "Odessa Knutson. The Not Nearly So Self-Important As You, I believe." She turns to look at Woods and mouths, Who does this? Even she finds this display to be absolutely absurd. When her partner begins to wander off, she meanders after him, squinting faintly at the curtain he's headed toward.

Silence! The Great and Powerful Arthur knows why you have come. Step forward, Tin— The gigantic and glowing head cuts himself off when he sees Odessa and Woods headed towards the curtain. Peter arches a brow, looking over to Nathan and Mitchell, then back to Odessa again. Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Arthur! Woods looks back over his shoulder to the giant head, rolling his eyes as he snorts out a sigh and proceeds to raise one hand, and then one finger in the direction of the giant head.

"I'm fucking done with this rubbish." Grabbing the edge of the curtain, Woods yanks it back and turns to look down at—

Odessa.

Woods gapes for a moment, mouth open and brows furrowed as he stares down at Odessa, hunched over a wooden bench with her hands duct-taped behind her back, and a bowl of what looks like burning incense letting smoke rise up into her face. Her dark hair is stringy and greasy, matted down to her forehead, eyes red around the edges and rolled back into her head, a line of saliva hanging from her mouth.

"Wh— what the fuck is— " Woods doesn't have a witty anything for that.

"What the hell are you going to do?" Odessa asks the giant image of Arthur Petrelli. "You're some sort of freaking projection." She stalks back toward the rest of the group so she can better see the green apparition. "I have had it just about up to here," she raises one hand up over her head as if to mark height, "with this bullshit! Don't posture! Just give me some ans—" She stops short when Woods' begins stammering, getting her attention. "What? What is it now?!" Red heels click loudly on the floor as she storms back over to see what's behind the curtain.

The woman reels back in horror when she sees herself there. "What the fuck— What the fuck is that?!" With wide eyes, she grabs Woods' arm. "No no no no no! Explain this! Explain this! You've known what's been going on all along. What is that?!" Odessa's arm flails uselessly toward… herself. She then eases her injured arm out of its sling so she can grab onto Woods with both hands. He's the only thing that's made any sense around here, perhaps by having made the least amount of sense to start with. "No," she wails mournfully. "Please, James," for once, she uses his given name, "Tell me there's a reason for this."

"It— " he can't take his eyes away from the image, "it's— this is supposed to be the Wizard of Oz," his mouth hangs open a bit, "it's a stupid movie I hated when I was a kid. I— " when Woods looks over his shoulder to point back towards everything that was going on, none of it is there. All that remains is the dingy and peeling wallpaper of a hotel room, yellow patterns on orange print, rolled away like scrolls from the mildew spotted walls. Brown shag carpeting is matted down with dark stains in places, and the bed has been lifted up and pushed onto its side up against the wall next to the door, covering a blown open window.

There's a stammering, hopeless look from Woods as he turns around, looking back to where there is an Odessa bound over a bench with her hands tied behind her back. "I— this isn't supposed to… to end like this…" Nearby, on a worn old shelf, a record player sits in silence, needle all the way on the outside, record spinning in slow silence. "I— this…"

Odessa stands terrified of her shifting surroundings. This is something she has no control over it. Try as she might, she can't make it stop. She holds tightly to Woods and begs, "Don't leave me. Please, please don't leave me. Not again. You were funny! You were nice to me! No one was nice to me there. I actually kind of liked you!" Her throat feels tight, making speaking the words difficult and she can feel the beginnings of tears stinging at her eyes. "The movie…"

Quietly, she speaks up after a few ragged breaths, "Does it have a happy ending?"

There's an awkward look on Woods' face, teeth pressed to his lower lip, sweat beading on his brow as he glances down at Odessa's prone form, then up to her standing one. His neck tenses, a loud swallow comes, and he can't help but look away when he answers. "Y— yeah, it does. Turns out it was all just a dream, it— it was kind of retarded."

Hesitating for a moment, Woods looks up and asks, "what do you mean aga— "

His words cut out when the hotel room door opens. Woods is gone, like the faint memory that he was. There's no goodbyes, there's no final snarky comment. He disappears like he died, one minute he's there, and another minute he's gone. Odessa's perspective blurs, shifts and distorts, heavy eyelids opening to look at a black smear moving into her groggy field of view.

Her head throbs, her skin is slicked with sweat and her lips are damp. The dark figure moves casually, calmly, closes the hotel room door and turns a key in the lock with a clunk of the deadbolt. "You're awake, good…" The voice is an unfamiliar one, but at the same time there's something about it she feels like she's heard before.

"No!" Odessa shrieks and tries to grasp at the figure she had just been clinging to for dear life. In rage and frustration, she screams.

All just a dream.

"«Fuck you.»" When Odessa murmurs the curse, it's in French. She tries to raise her head — tries to see something. "What have you done to me?" she asks feebly. Behind her back, her fingers twitch. Concentrate, she demands of herself, but nothing happens. Somewhere in the back of her mind, things start to make sense, but none of that quite makes its way to the fore just yet.

"Opium." The voice states in level amusement, "We've been over this before. You're more lucid than normal, though." Tilting his head to the side, the darkly dressed figure moves right up to where Odessa lays sprawled over the bench, then drops down to crouch. His hand moves up to her cheek, but it isn't a palm or fingers that find her flesh, but rather the cold steel of a knife gently brushing over her skin with delicate and precise control.

She can make out more details through the drug-enduced haze, dark eyes, dark hair, an unfamiliar and expressionless face. "Now, I'm going to ask you again…" he tilts the knife around, leveling it to press under Odessa's chin where it has been so many other times. "You need to tell me where Ethan Holden is, or am I going to have to start cutting off fingers?"


Participants:

odessa2_icon.gif feng_icon.gif


If Feng Daiyu was a man who was prone to smiling, the satisfaction of a plan coming together would bring one to his lips.

Opium.

Fuck. Odessa glares as best as she can through the fog, both literally drifting upward, and the one clouding her head. A moment later, she's wishing she weren't so lucid. When the knife touches her cheek, she starts to tremble. Threats like this never scare her. They never get this far. She stops flexing her fingers in vain, hoping to somehow regain her power, and closes her hands into fists protectively.

A hard lump is swallowed down in Odessa's throat and she stares back at the man in genuine confusion. Nobody this drugged up could fake that. "Ethan's dead," she says. Why does a man looking for Ethan know her? She can probably count on one hand the people that know of her very existence outside of the Company or the Vanguard.

"It's not nice to lie," Feng states in a flat tone of voice, moving to walk behind Odessa, and when he moves out of her line of sight from where she's restrained, all she feels is the cold press of a knife sliding between her closed fingers, then turn apart and scrape along her palm in a bloody line to pry one finger free. She feels a pressure on her back; his knee. "He is very much alive, and I'd like to know where it is he's hiding."

It's not a pinkie or index finger that's taken, it's Odessa's thumb. The edge of the knife is pressed to one joint, second knuckle, and his thumb presses on the other side of her finger. "Last try, where is Ethan Holden. When I run out of fingers, I'll find other things to dislodge from you. Taking teeth out with a knife is especially painful."

Odessa screams as he get her thumb loose from the fist it was clutched inside of. "He's dead!" she insists in a panic. "I was told he was killed months ago!" Panicked tears flow down her cheeks, gasping sobs interrupting the words she tries to form. "If- If he's alive, he hasn't bothered to tell— tell me!" The terror bubbling up inside of her makes her scream again and she shakes her head frantically. "I swear! You're the first person to tell me he isn't dead! You've got to believe me! Please!"

Dark brows rise slowly, and Feng watches Odessa with an unseen expression from her perspective, but she can feel his eyes on her. "I'm not certain what must hurt more, knowing that he let you think he was dead, or the loss of your thumb." There's deliberation in those words, and the knife moves to a different position. "You were out-sourced recruitment by the Vanguard operating out of Queens; viral research. The last communiqué sent out to the second unit mentioned you being recruited," there's a brief pause, and the knife moves away from her thumb.

"Tell me the name of one person above all who would know whether or not Ethan Holden is?" Feng's head tilts to the side, one dark brow rising as he leans closer, whispering at the back of Odessa's hair. "One name, and you can still play the piano."

There's another shriek when the knife moves and an incoherent plea for mercy. Odessa's body quakes with each ragged wail. It's kind of funny the things a person thinks at times like these. Scared to death of losing her fingers, Odessa's mind wanders to how badly she misses her harpsichord. She would laugh at how stupid the thought is if the situation were any less dire. "I'm thinking," she calls out when she realises she's been unresponsive for too long. "I haven't seen— I don't know if any of them are alive." Wu-Long is dead. Dina. Even Sierra. Eileen… She wasn't there when everything went to hell. The Eileen in her opium-induced nightmare would have deserved to be turned over to this son of a bitch, but not the Eileen Ruskin of reality.

"De Luca," Odessa decides finally, hanging her head in defeat. "Elias de Luca." The man on her back would have to find him first, but that isn't her problem, is it?

Now that's a piece of information Feng Daiyu leans his knee off of her back for. "Elias DeLuca is dead. He was at Eagle Electric when— " Feng cuts himself off, realizing a little too late exactly what Odessa is implying, "DeLuca is alive." After all this time, after so many months of being presumed dead in the explosion that destroyed Eagle Electric, it's clear now that Vanguard's miracle-worker is still out there somewhere.

Feng rises up off of Odessa's back entirely, his knife disappeared to somewhere unseen by the time he makes it into her periphery. Dark eyes swivel to look back at her as he twists the knob of the door and watches the brunette uncertainly. "I'm leaving you here, tied up. Eventually the opium will burn out and leave your system. You are free to try and escape." One hand reaches out to move the needle on the record player, it pops, clicks and hisses.

I don't want to set the world on fire…

"If you come looking for me," Feng states with a firm stare down at Odessa, making sure his eyes meet hers.

I just want to start a flame in your heart

"I will kill you."

"«I'm sorry, Elias.»" Odessa whispers under her breath in French once more. Such a betrayal for the man who saved her life. She follows Feng's movements first simply by sound and then out of the corner of her eye. He can't just leave her here like this, can he? For a moment, she considers vocalising the protest, but the threat is too sincere. He'd probably just as easily kill her here and now.

When her eyes find his she nods slowly to show that she understands. Odessa may have a propensity for looking for trouble, but even she isn't foolish enough to actively seek death.

Not, at least, when death is seeking someone else.


Previously in this storyline…
Monochrome Delirious, Part V


Next in this storyline…

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