A Penny Saved...


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Scene Title A Penny Saved…
Synopsis It was only a matter of time before their lives caught up with them.
Date November 17, 2014

The day was meant for relaxing, for blowing off steam and stretching her legs, but not every rainy day can have such creature comforts. But then, Elisabeth Harrison was in New York City not that long ago.

There is a desert that stretches as far as the eye can see in every direction, save for the dirt mound that rises up ahead, with a concrete structure jutting forth from within and a rusted metal door making all the appearances of a fallout shelter. A rickety chain link fence surrounds the property, clear blue skies overhead and a scalding hot sun. There had been no crane in the window this morning, no immediate need to talk to Hiro Nakamura. Yet, he showed up of his own volition, urgency in his eyes, and a simple enough request.

“I need to take you to my father.”

The Arizona Desert

November 17th, 2014

10:08 am local time

Hiro had been pressed to offer an explanation then, but as he moves to the rusted iron door with surprisingly mundane motions, he talks as he walks. “We’ve learned something from Pinehearst,” Hiro explains in a conversational but rushed tone, unlocking the metal doors and swinging one side open. “Father has gathered people he trusts to his side to discuss matters, and he wished to extend an offer to you.”

Hiro looks back from the open door that leads into the darkness of the bunker beyond. “It has to do with getting you home, and… your world.” There’s a tension in Hiro’s throat at that, and a look offered to Elisabeth that is both apologetic and hopeful. Sorry for ruining your day, coupled with but maybe there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

As for the door behind him, there’s no light there.

Hiro's reappearance just days after she called on him to update him and Kaito about the murder of local analog-Liz and Gabriel's frame-up, Samson's apparent presence on the murder scene, and get Kaito's thoughts on whether Arthur had either identified the people who'd landed her in 1982 or those who'd landed now or he was just fishing (along with why he'd choose the local Elisabeth as a target) is not exactly unexpected. When one part of a complex situation starts moving, all parts start shifting to accommodate. The place is something of an interesting surprise… and she looks around with a small frown. "Please tell me we're nowhere near Coyote Sands, please?" She doesn't even want to tempt the Universe that hard.

Blowing out a slow breath, she follows Hiro into the bunker. It's rather stressful, to this day, for her to deal with stepping into a completely dark space. But she's had enough therapy by now, at least, that the low hum that kills Gabriel's ears is at least not evident. The slow-burning rage over the death of her local analog and the pain it's causing the local versions of people she loves is a constant companion and she is still having to fight the desire to just go vibrate Arthur Petrelli to bloody mist — her memories of the last Pinehearst battle are gory but in this case brutally satisfying. But as awful as it is to realize… she's become used to losing people and having to pick up and move on in this mess that is her life and she's learned the hard way that sometimes you have to let the evil you know stand to avoid a greater one.

"Let's see what your father's got in mind," she murmurs as she follows the temporal teleporter.

There's a guilty look on Hiro’s face as he steps in to the empty darkness of the bunker, then flips a breaker switch. As lights come on one by one, Elisabeth is greeted with ancient concrete walls streaked with rust, exposed power cabling, and a faded stencil painted on the wall that clearly affirms her fears: COYOTE SANDS - SITE 2.

“Not many people know about this bunker,” Hiro explains by way of an informative non-apology. “I suppose that's why Father said I didn't need to explain much about this place to you. You… already knew.” Hiro looks over to the stencil on the wall, then leads Elisabeth through the concrete entryway to a doorway exiting out onto a descending set of stairs.

“This site was once a satellite research center off of the relocation camp. It's where Doctor Suresh, senior, conducted much of the early work on researching our kind. The space was converted into a secure space by Charles Deveaux in 81, and my father’s been using it most recently.” Hiro leads Elisabeth down the stairs, looking over his shoulder to her as he goes. It's curious that he chose to walk in with her from the outside, rather than teleporting directly to Kaito.

The name on the wall makes her slant Hiro a Look. One that women the world over give men, in the South usually accompanied by the warning sound "mm!" that says they're mildly perturbed. She shakes her head, her lips thinning to a line for a moment, and then she continues on with him. "Is there something in place that keeps you from teleporting straight in?" she asks, curious about the bunker itself. "Since you're bringing me her, when you have the chance, I'd like you to show me where it is on a map. In case I need it when I go home." When, not if. Whatever occasional thoughts she might have had about giving up, Arthur Petrelli seared them right out of her with this action. She would have been content to just go home. He just blew that intention to smithereens and she and Felix are in possession of the paper equivalent of a Tac-nuke of Doom. How to use it, though, is the issue — it can't just leave a power vacuum. This world doesn't deserve to suffer Humanis First.

It's not like she hasn't gone public before, after all. For all the good that did her. The thought merely makes her grimace.

She makes mental notes on the bunker itself as she moves through the hallways with Hiro. Space availability, rooms, whatever she spots that might be of strategic use someday. It's automatic to memorize the layout as she goes. "Who are we meeting with, Hiro?" she asks calmly.

Hiro, too, briefly looks at the faded stencil on the wall as they descend the stairs. “It’s just outside of a community called White Hills in Arizona, but I can get you a more detailed location. I’ll leave it under the sugar bowl by the microwave in your apartment.” For a moment, Hiro stutters like a frame was clipped out of his film reel. “It’ll be there when you get home.”

At the bottom of the stairs, there is a long concrete-walled corridor with exposed metal power conduits on the wall. Caged lighting sheds a buttermilk glow on the rust-stained walls, and the sound of Hiro and Elisabeth’s footsteps scuffing in desert grit echoes amid the silence. “My father, and friends of yours. We have some important news, and none of it is particularly good. But,” Hiro furrows his brows and offers Elisabeth a sidelong look. “None of it is particularly bad either? I suppose it’s what you make of it.”

Then, motioning to a heavy metal door up ahead he notes. “They’re waiting for us.”

The Refuge

Coyote Sands, Site 2

White Hills, Arizona

Simulated sunlight radiates out from behind closed vertical blinds in a mostly white space. Smooth hardwood floors provide a warmth against the eggshell coloration of the segmented couch, marble countertops, and glass partition walls of this modern looking apartment. A television hung on the wall shows a muted 24-hour news channel showing President Mitchell signing a treaty with the standing Japanese prime minister Maresuke Matsushita.

Nearby to the television is a casual living space of low-backed fabric-upholstered chairs, an L-shaped sectional couch, and a glass coffee table with a dog-eared copy of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James sitting atop it. In one of the chairs, Yamagato Industries CEO-in-exile Kaito Nakamura sits with a cup of tea one hand, glancing to the enormous metal door on the far side of the apartment. Also seated within the living space are the unlikely associates of federal agent Felix Ivanov and the recently-exonerated Gabriel Gray.

Kaito sips his tea, briefly looking to the two that Hiro Nakamura brought to this safehouse. “They’re here,” he indicates a moment before the metal door unlocks with a heavy clank and swings open on greased hinges. Kaito’s sword-wielding son Hiro emerges from within, followed by the only Elisabeth Harrison left in this timeline. Setting his tea aside onto a narrow glass table beside his chair, Kaito rises to greet the two.

“Miss Harrison,” Kaito dips his head, then looks to Hiro with a deferential motion to join them in the living room. “Given the recent events,” Kaito flicks a look to Gabriel, “I wanted to pull together individuals I knew I could trust. I feel it is important we discuss current events, and those yet to come.”

On the television behind Kaito, the chyron on the bottom third of the screen reads A Historic Day followed by The US and Japan sign the MED Treaty. The Mutual Evolved Defense treaty, an international agreement lending US Evolved military forces to Japan to supplement the JSDF. To Felix, with all of the information he now has access to, it is a tightening of a noose. Arthur’s reach is spreading.

The brunette version of Liz stops short, a single brow quirking upward at the sight of Kaito Nakamura and the two men who she… quite honestly never expected to see in the same place at the same time. Certainly not in the company of this particular would-be world-saver. Which is rather how she thinks of Kaito right now — yet another man out to essentially head off the worst outcomes. When the elder Asian man comes toward her, she pauses and bows her head and greets him respectfully. "Mr. Nakamura." She hasn't seen him quite this often since he ran her through telepathy training.

Blue eyes flickering curiously to Felix and Gabriel, she sighs heavily. "So… I wasn't mistaken. He's fishing for something in particular?" Because Arthur has known of their presence in this timeline for a lot longer than she'd like — and he has known who some of them are for quite a long while too. So it stood to reason that he made this particular move because he wanted a specific reaction.

It’s got to be a sign of an oncoming apocalypse, Felix Ivanov sitting calmly in the same room as Gabriel Gray. Cats and dogs living together. But there he is, though he rises when Liz appears, waiting for Kaito to greet her before he comes to tug her into a rough embrace. No standing on formality with these two, not anymore.

She can feel the rigidity of tension in him, that piano-wire hum in that lean body. For all his apparent deliberate calm, well, it’s Sylar he’s next to….

Liz’s question he doesn’t answer. Not yet. Apparently he’ll let Mister Nakamura explain this is unlikely situation.

Gabriel has been behaving.

This means: no dominance stares across at Felix, no snide remarks, no reminiscing about the good old days, no sneers nor sass. He makes eye contact with furniture, mainly, and sits with his shoulders curled and his hands tangled together. There is an odd submissiveness that he's cultivated over time, as if his genetic makeup didn't contain godlike potential, as if his hands had never been stained red, as if this is what survival for him looks like, when before it was posture and power.

He doesn't stand as Elisabeth enters, but does look to her, a hint of apology in dark eyes. Hi. He is dressed neatly, presentably, hair combed and clean shaven and wearing shades of blue, even while off-duty. His wedding ring is the shiniest thing on him, with exception to his watch, and the quiet, incredibly accurate tick tick tick that only Elisabeth can hear.

The look on Kaito Nakamura’s face is a dour one, devoid of levity or mirth in ways more severe than he usually musters. He looks to the television, watching alliances forming across the ocean, and then closes his eyes and furrows his brows. For a short time, Kaito is silent, and in that silence Hiro Nakamura affords a steely look to Gabriel, arms crossed over his chest. The two have a deeply troubled past together, strings crossing at a diner and a waitress, of monsters and cheerleaders, and the resentment hasn't faded with time.

Hiro,” Kaito says without opening his eyes, and Hiro looks away and down to the floor, moving to circle the room like an anxious hound. When Kaito’s eyes do finally open, it is to regard each of the people in the room one by one, then look down to his hands folded in his lap.

“This isn't just about any one thing, this meeting is about how the threads interweave. How it affects all of your lives.” Then, looking to the television he adds, “all our lives.

“Arthur Petrelli is in the late stages of building a device capable of traveling between parallel timelines.” Kaito offers a look to Elisabeth, then slowly around the room. “It is real and it is based off of technology the Company attempted to silence thirty years ago. But… fate found a way.” Wringing his hands together, Kaito seems uncomfortable.

“In a matter of seventy-eight hours, Arthur will complete his tests and successfully activate the Looking Glass, and begin journeying to other parallel worlds. What he will do once he does… I do not know.” When Kaito admits that ignorance, he looks aside to a series of tiny paper cranes lining the edge of a the coffee table between the furniture. “That device is the best hope for you to get home,” Kaito admits to Elisabeth.

But there's something heavier in the air, something troubling. “Unfortunately, it will not be able to convey you to where you need to be. Looking Glass… will not be your alternative, and I will help you consider alternatives.” When he looks to Gabriel, Kaito seems at first thoughtful, then grim. “But this is not all I wished to speak of…”

Elisabeth goes still, stunned. WHAT?? "Jesus Christ," she breathes out. "That is … " She looks at Felix. "Magnes can't possibly know about it or he'd have said something." But would he? She's… dear God. "I have about a million questions for that bombshell, Mr. Nakamura. But perhaps you should lay out the rest while I organize my thoughts on that front."

There’s only an upnod from Felix, lips pressed into that thin line that means he’s repressing emotion as hard as he knows how. Those with that keen hearing can hear the machine-gun trip-beat of his heart, as his body responds to a designation of ‘imminent threat’ by trying to dump that variant adrenaline into his bloodstream. He can control motion, but he can’t control reactions as much as he’d like.

One hand goes to the pocket of his jacket, where there are flash drives, reproductions of the bombshell he dug up with Harper’s help. It may well be too late for those to do any good, but….

Gabriel glances to Elisabeth as Kaito speaks, reading her response by routine, and his expression is oddly inscrutable. No shock plays out across it, potentially just because he is something of an outside quality to this gathering, and likewise keeps thoughts concealed. Kaito's news brings about a set of logical conclusions, but he keeps silence.

And meets Kaito's gaze when it lands on him, that defenses, guarded exterior unrelenting.

"Well, sounds like we have all the time in the world."

“Were it that easy,” Hiro chimes in, eliciting a look from Kaito that sends the younger Nakamura wandering away from the conversation again. Kaito looks down to his lap, then over to one of the walls, focusing on a distant point.

“Based on my calculations, after today Arthur Petrelli will be… hunting for you. The noose will be ever-tightening, until there is no escape. This world is not safe for you, and the longer you stay in it the longer you and your family,” he looks pointedly at Liz, “are in danger. This includes Mr. Varlane.” Wringing his hands together, Kaito looks over to Gabriel, then down to his hands again. “There are narrow windows of opportunity that present the best opportunities for you to escape this world by the means you did previously. One of which was today,” and Kaito notes that in the past-tense to remove any hope that it could happen now. “Unfortunately, neither the time nor the resources provide us the option to make that happen now.”

Then, with his head tilted forward, Kaito adds. “The next window is between June 1st and June 30th in… 2017.” Three years from now. “With another window of opportunity in November of the same year.” Glancing to the television, Kaito tenses. The screen continues to show Arthur shaking hands with the Japanese Prime-Minister followed by a shot of several Japanese people in what looks like a new generation of Horizon armor posing for a photograph.

“My purpose here is threefold,” Kaito explains. “One, to get you home and away from Arthur. Two, to protect the identities of those of you who traveled whom Arthur does not know about. Three, to destroy project Looking Glass and prevent Arthur from ever utilizing it again.” The television cuts away from the coverage of the summit in Japan, to a news room where a distracted newscaster is settling into a seat and SPECIAL REPORT flashes at the bottom. Kaito nods to Hiro, who turns on the volume.

« — orts are still coming in, but we are hearing that there has been an explosion at Pinehearst Tower in Manhattan.»

On the screen, a street-level cell phone video shows the green column of Pinehearst Tower set against the evening sky. The middle of the tower is engulfed in a massive plume of thick, black smoke and flames roar out from within. Embers are gusting from within the smoke, papers blowing out of the gaping hole blown in the middle of the building.

«Eye witnesses reported hearing a tremendous explosion that rattled windows and set off car alarms for blocks. We’re going to cut to footage taken from a rooftop weather camera that caught the explosion. Please be warned what you are about to see may be troubling.»

Kaito steels himself, chin up and brows furrowed, and on the screen a rooftop camera somewhere in Chelsea shows the New York City skyline, of which the Pinehearst Tower rises above all other buildings. Then, there is a blinding white flash within the middle of the building and an eruption of flames that explode outward, sending billowing smoke up into the air. Glittering pieces of glass rain down the side of the building, and Kaito closes his eyes, then blinks his attention back to Elisabeth, Felix, and Gabriel.

“Arthur will rebuild it,” Kaito explains, unsurprised by the explosion on the screen. “He will be distracted by this, and it will afford you time. Time enough to understand how the combination of abilities that brought you here can take you away when the next window of opportunity appears.” Kaito looks to Gabriel, “You are their only hope to get home, but I cannot compel you to do this. But it may be in your best interests… if you and your family left with them when they went. For your own safety.” Then, to Felix. “Arthur can do little without the resources of Pinehearst at his disposal. I predicted you may be able to… blunt those instruments, somehow.”

Behind Kaito, the television shows the gleaming spire of Pinehearst Tower belching out black smoke. Hiro stands at his side, arms crossed over his chest. Elisabeth must remember that even in her timeline, Hiro Nakamura was a known terrorist.

Times may change, but people rarely do.

As she listens, Elisabeth sighs heavily and shoves her hand through her hair. “Fuck,” she breathes out. And then the news shifts and all of them are watching what, to Liz, is a horror unfold. “Oh, no… no, no, no. Jesus.” She’s initially thinking that … well, Magnes is in that building and something that they all did just blew the place to hell. Blue eyes flicker toward Gabriel and Felix, then back to Kaito and Hiro. Then Elisabeth merely shakes her head, understanding who just set that in motion. “Mr. Nakamura… you’re proposing to get us underground for three years?” She wants to make sure she understands what he’s talking about in this instance.

She does share a glance at Felix at the suggestion that he has ways to stop Pinehearst, but she looks at Kaito. “Do you understand what bringing Pinehearst down may do to your world? In my world, we did it. But the cost is great.” The power vacuum alone might destroy this world. Her eyes go back to the burning tower and linger there, sadness in her blue eyes. Goddamn Petrellis.

When she turns to face them, Elisabeth pulls in a breath and straightens her shoulders. Looks like Mama has to go to work. Hiro is not the only one considered a terrorist.

“Felix… Looks like we’re going to be digging that hole after all. Mr. Nakamura,” she looks at the older man. “Please tell me what you need from me. I’m assuming information on how we stopped Arthur in my world will help some — but I don’t think that method will work here, honestly. I need a plan of action for the next steps. You said we had windows of opportunity — do you know why those particular times are windows like that? I mean… why then, exactly?” It causes her great anxiety not to know what’s coming, but… it’s also become a way of life. And if she has to go back into the shadows for this, she also has to have a way to keep Aurora safe. “And I need to find out if Magnes managed to get a message out to our timeline, which may or may not be of any use to us…. But I’d like to know.”

She meets his eyes and tells Gabriel evenly, “You have a great many choices in this. I would assume you’d like to speak to your wife before deciding anything?” She gives him a small smile. “If you decide that you don’t want to be involved in all of this mess ” She looks toward Kaito and then admits to Gabe as her eyes go back to him, “ I’m not entirely sure that’s an option, what with someone pulling Samson out of mothballs. But I won’t hold it against you. You should know that the ability that helped get us here nearly killed its owner. And I … feel uncomfortable as hell asking any of you to risk your lives just to help us get out of this world. It doesn’t appear that I have very many choices but to ask. But you are not obligated to this in any way. Regardless, assuming we can find a way to leave, you and Eileen are of course welcome to leave with us. Felix… obviously the same goes for you and your family.” Her blue eyes flicker slightly. “But understand… I cannot promise you that what you find on the other end won’t be worse.”

Liz gets that dry look from Felix. Nearly a twin to the one he gave her during that first meeting in the Italian restaurant. The one that says she knows very well indeed he has no choice on this. He is what he is, after all, and just standing tamely by while Petrelli cements his hold on the world’s jugular is not to be contemplated.

IT seems this Felix is as bad a Fed as the one in her original world, literally in bed with at least one terrorist. For the explosion doesn’t make him flinch. He purses his lips at Kaito’s comment. “That so?” he asks, but there’s that betraying, almost silky note in his voice. He hasn’t dared go directly up against the Petrelli machine thus far, but clearly, the opportunity’s just been offered him. “What’re you thinking?” For at the very least, that explosion’s going to be an FBI case.

A pause, and he adds, “I have certain information on Petrelli’s past activities, including previous human experimentation. The sort of thing he would not want in the public eye. But the question is….if we do bring him down, we need some kind of structure in place ahead of time, or it may well be a case of hurling everything out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

Gabriel watches only long enough of the television to then turn a hard look in Hiro Nakamura's direction, a certain sharp-edged disbelief that somehow doesn't also contain within it anything sanctimonious. Destruction had been his own instinct — and he sees it now, glimmering bright in a time traveller, and he shows his teeth.

He turns his attention to Elisabeth as she addresses him, and says, "The noose he's talking about, you realise that's because of what just happened," and he points at the television, "right? You're at war now, whether you wanted to be or not. Whether any of us wanted to be." There's no anger in that delivery, but certainly a renewed tension, the kind that comes with a heightened awareness of the spiderweb they're all trapped in.

"You need to stop talking about worlds like they're delicate ecosystems," he says, and again, his anger is not present. Tense, direct, almost impatient. "Gardens that can be ruined by an invasive species, or mechanisms with a spanner thrown in, something you can leave any time, something you can discard and start again. It's not like that for me. I'll survive, my family will survive, no matter what comes next. I'm not running to greener grass, but I get why you're offering. You think it'll unmake what you've started, for us, but you're wrong."

He looks to Felix, then to Kaito, then chooses to re-engage with Elisabeth, like she's the only one he cares to deal with. "I'll help you. You wanna hide in the bushes for three years, that's your choice, but I need to know how this works well in advance of that."

“Hiding won’t help,” Kaito notes with a raise of one brow, “not so long as Arthur Petrelli controls Molly Walker.” At that, Kaito offers a knowing look to Hiro, who looks away and down to the ground. When he looks back, there is a rigidity and steeliness in his countenance. “We can take Molly away from him, but it will only be a matter of time before Arthur finds even the darkest holes. The deeper you dig, the harder he will search. Hiding in plain sight may be what is best for you, even if that plain sight is… rural Kansas, or wherever only you know of.”

Hands folded in his lap, Kaito closes his eyes for a moment. “This was never going to end well, from the moment the fifth anniversary of the bomb rolled over us. Whether we acted now, or whether we allowed Arthur to maneuver unchecked, something was coming. There has been a ripple spreading outward, a current that is drawing this world with it toward a future that even I cannot predict. We must all fight for our places,” has an incline of his head to Gabriel, “or be swept away with the tide.”

Slowly standing from his seat, Kaito looks to the television which now shows a new street-level video from just below Pinehearst Tower of the building’s midsection exploding in a massive ball of fire, raining glass and flaming debris down on the street. “Mr. Ivanov, you do what you feel is most pertinent. You are the expert here, and I see the choices you make being ones made out of compassion, but also practicality. You have a sword, it is up to you how you choose to swing it.”

Then, looking to Elisabeth. “I do not believe there is any stopping Arthur by force. Not in time to save you or those he knows about. You and Mister Varlane and your families are no longer safe here. What you choose to do with that information is up to you…” Kaito begins walking to Elisabeth, reaching into the side pocket of his suit jacket to retrieve a single red paper crane that he holds out to her. “Read this in private, later.”

“I do not believe it will be wise for us to meet again.” Kaito admits with a tension in his voice. The finality of ever goes unsaid.

"That noose has been tightening since November 8th, 2011," Elisabeth tells Gabriel quietly. "We've always been here on borrowed time — sufferance, if you will. We've never been safe." Not exactly anyway. Pulling in a slow breath, she looks at Felix. "It's not in me to run and hide. But my daughter's safety is paramount, so… no matter what happens from this point forward, just…" she has to find a way to protect that.

Shaking her head, Liz shoves her hand through her hair. When she takes the paper crane from Kaito, there is a subtle tremor in her fingers and she pauses a moment to grip his hand tightly. "Thank you for what help you've been able to provide," she says quietly. Her mind whirls with a hundred thoughts, none of which she can at this moment put into words, and her jaw firms.

"I hope to God you're right, Gabriel," she murmurs. The guilt will be incredible if he's wrong. Then again, she didn't start this mess. She just helped create it by being caught in it. "Because we're going to have to figure out how the hell to make this work. The machine was part of the original accident that sent us from our world, but it wasn't part of how we got here from that first world we landed on. And whatever it is that the power actually does… there has to be a way to try to aim it. Sliding from world to world is also not a viable long-term strategy."

That’s when Felix fishes in his pockets, produces a handful of little flash drives. Plain, unlabelled, in multiple colors. More than enough for all of those present. “I took the liberty of reproducing that information I mentioned,” he says, slowly.

A beat, and he adds, “The saying goes that three men may keep a secret only if two of them are dead. But the converse is that a secret dies with its keeper if there is only one of them. Considering how little value Petrelli and his allies places on one human life, I don’t dare risk this dying with me.” Harper will remain unmentioned, for now. What isn’t known can’t be betrayed.

He proffers them on his palm, held out to all, and no one in particular. To Liz, the lines of worry restrained are too familiar - memories are blending, after all this time, between this one and the Felix she knew in the old world. “I can’t force you to take one. But I hope you will. I also hope you’ll wait to make this public until I give the word. There I can’t make anyone do anything, either. It may be too late to be very useful - changing the tide of public opinion may make no bones when he’s got his boot on the neck of the developed world.”

Another breath, drawn in a little shakily - he’s still flooded with adrenaline. Then his gaze is fixed on Liz. “I may take advantage of that offer with Cameron,” he admits, “In time. But….this is my world. This is where I have to stay and fight.”

One of the flash drives drifts up as if on an invisible string, arcs, lands in Gabriel's outstretched palm, curiousity reflected in amber-brown eyes as his attention darts from the disappearance of that crane and down to the item he's taken for himself. His fingers close around it, and his hand drops to the side, his unease palpable.

Particularly at the mention — the reminder — of Molly Walker.

"We have time to figure it out," he says, tone a little distractible. Then, sharper with dry humour, "Apparently."

His lack of faith or interest in Kaito's schedule might just be a matter of ego, but not so much that he hasn't taken note of the warnings being delivered to them now. He's followed the strings of fate before and played directly into their tangle. In this world, he came out the better, overcame certain doom, and doesn't know of anything different.

Somber in the face of all of this, Kaito folds his hands behind his back and furrows his brows. “In spite of how clear a vision of our path I may seem to have, I will warn you that I am not a prophet. My understanding of these events is limited by my own knowledge of things transpiring in the world. Arthur is a manipulator, a keeper of secrets, and a cunning adversary…” There is a tone of regret in Kaito’s voice, a distant hint of past admiration, and also past regret. “Whatever he is truly planning may not be readily apparent to any of us. But he has been… acting erratically as of late, likely in an attempt to throw me off his course.”

Mister Nakamura,” chimes a new voice, soft and German-accented from a hallway out of the living room.


Kaito raises one brow, turning subtly to spy a young woman dressed in black with a wave of blonde hair swept down one side of her face. Elisabeth only vaguely recognizes Aria Baumgartner without her blue hair, from the days of hunting down Niles Wight and the Moab escapees in her timeline. “We should get moving, I don’t think I can keep Molly from finding us here much longer.”

There’s a noise in the back of Kaito’s throat, and he reaches into the inside pocket of his jacket to retrieve a flat square of lead. “If you are traveling beyond this world,” Kaito says as he offers it out to Elisabeth, “I want you to keep this. It is the truth about your childhood, and your father. A truth that is lost even to me, as I have no way of recovering the information stored on this object.” As Kaito flips the flat square of lead over, he reveals that a penny has been impressed into the material, minted 1982. “A Company agent named Caspar Abraham stored knowledge of you on this penny using his gift. Caspar is long dead, but perhaps you can find a way to recover the truth in this world… or another.”

“When you’re ready, I can take you wherever it is you want to be,” Hiro explains, though it’s clear he’s doing his level best to avoid making eye contact with Gabriel. The enmity there cuts deep. “Afterward, I’ll have quite a bit to do. I don’t know when — or if — we’ll have the chance to speak again.”

Elisabeth takes the square of lead, curious about it and shocked when it's explained. Though she doesn't say anything, can only nod her thanks to the older man around a sudden tightness in her throat; the object will join Dave Cardinal's wedding ring on the chain about her throat. Whoever the Elisabeth Harrison of this world was, all that's left of her origins now are sitting in that small object. It is a rather odd moment. She tucks it safely into her pocket for later.

"Well… peace was fun while it lasted," she murmurs somewhat drily. Looking between Gabriel Gray and Felix Ivanov, her blue eyes rest on each of them for a long moment. "Guess we've got things to do, gentlemen." She has no idea what precisely she's going to do with all this, but it's clear to her that she's not exactly going to be a bystander in all this, even if she wanted to be.

"I think we should go ahead and get back… because that mess is likely to be involving Frontline and Homeland and your phone is likely to start ringing off the hook soon, Feeb," Liz observes to Felix, her gaze flickering over the screen that is still showing the breaking news out of Manhattan. Worry flits across her features. The view holds an unfortunate similarity to the attacks on the old World Trade Center, and though Elisabeth can't remember the actual fall of the buildings — those are among the memories missing thanks to a chunk of brain matter being obliterated — it still brings up emotions and memories even now. "I think perhaps the park would be fine, Hiro. That way it's not attached to anyone's home. Just in case."

She pauses a moment and then nods to the older man. "Safe travels, Mr. Nakamura."

Fel remembers the fall of the Towers very well indeed - the disaster took loved ones and friends. He finally tears his gaze away from the spectacle on the screen again, looks back to Liz. There is no betraying flicker when it comes to the square of lead, but Liz gets a long look.

It’s as if he’s aged some years during the course of the meeting, short as it’s been. He deposits another pair of the flash drives on Kaito’s desk, mutely, and squares his shoulders, as if bracing to take on a burden. “They’ll be calling now,” he says, in a flat voice, “And wondering where I am.” For indeed, where is he usually that he can’t be reached, considering? It’s a flag in and of itself, his absence. “We should go,” he agrees.

“Mr. Nakamura, thank you. For everything,” he adds.

Gabriel only gets a little tilt of the head and raise of his brows, wry acknowledgement of all they’re setting aside in the face of the larger threat. Strange bedfellows, as the saying goes.

Or, perhaps more accurately, needs must when the Devil drives.

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