A Raft Of Secrets



Scene Title A Raft Of Secrets
Synopsis The truth is hidden in plain sight.
Date March 11, 2021

A buzzer fills the air, drowning out the sound of multiple voices.

The noise accompanies the rattle of a metal gate sliding open at a security checkpoint. A guard in a brown uniform sits on the stool on the other side of the barred gate, holding a clip-board in his lap. An iron-on patch on his shoulder reads STATE OF NEW YORK, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS. Beside him stands a dark-haired middle-aged man in a suit and a young blonde woman matching businesswear.

“Thank you,” the guard says to the guests who sign in under the aliases Kent Allard and Margo Lane.

“Kent” and “Margo” walk through the gate and the buzzer sounds again, this time signaling the gate sliding shut with a noisy clatter.

“I don’t like prisons,” Margo says with a tension in her voice, giving a pointed look to Kent. Kent laughs, his smile wide in his uncharacteristic amusement at the situation.

“It’s a temporary discomfort,” Kent opines, tucking his hands into his pocket as he walks down the corridor. “Besides, it’s not like any prison on Earth could hold either of us, right?”

Margo keeps a snide comment to herself and instead forces a smile to Kent. “Is this prisoner another component?” She asks, trying to change the subject and not think about their surroundings. The dank concrete, the distant voices, the far-off echo of sobbing.

“No.” Kent says, losing his genial demeanor. “No this is—something else.” He struggles to comport it all into a single bite for her. “Something old, and also something new.”

“A wedding gift, then?” Margo says with an earnest smile. Even Kent laughs at that.

After all, laughter is important at times like this.

Riker’s Island Prison

Riker’s Island
New York

March 3rd

In the basement of Riker’s Island Prison, in a wing past solitary confinement, there is a block of cells that have no name or number. They are dark holes where people were sent to disappear by corrupt politicians and the wealthy. People with power, influence, and no morals. In one such unmarked cell sits a woman rendered catatonic by the trauma she received before arriving at this place and the trauma she has received since becoming sealed away in the most notorious prison in America.


Cindy Morrison sits in the far corner of her cell, knees drawn to her chest and greasy hair plastered to her brow. She stares vacantly ahead, her eyes both seeing and unseeing at once. There is barely any light in her cell, save for that which comes through a steel-mesh reinforced window in the door from the hall. When a shadow interrupts that single beam of light, she does not so much as move a muscle.

Fresh air intrudes into Cindy’s cell as the door opens and the blonde woman on the other side of the door recoils from the smell of sweat and urine. Margo nearly doubles over in the hall and Kent, while staggered by the smell, feels his discomfort more so in his heart.

Jesus Christ…” Kent whispers, tucking his mouth and nose into the crook of his elbow. “This is fucking barbaric.

He turns, checking on Margo, one hand at her back. “Are you going to be okay?”

Margo nods, sucking in a few gulping breaths of fresh air as she nods. “Yeah, yeah.” Margo whispers. “I’ll—I’m fine.”

Kent waits a moment, then turns back for the cell door and lingers in the threshold. He casts a long, dark shadow into Cindy’s cell. “Ms. Morrison?” He calls to her, eyes searching from side to side.

Cindy gives no response.

“Tell me what she’s thinking,” Kent requests over his shoulder.

Margo puts her hand on the opposite wall and braces herself, clearing her throat. “Okay,” she says with some considerable effort. If nothing else it means she can stay in the hall, away from the source of the smell.

But as Margo projects her consciousness beyond the physical constraints of her body, she feels the world twist and bend in unpredictable ways. That she gasps is Kent’s first indication that something is dreadfully wrong. But when she exhales a full-throated scream and clutches her face, slamming up against the wall to wail as tears well up in her eyes he is frozen in momentary horror. He’s never heard that sound come from a person before. Only animals in pain.

“Hey,” Kent hushes, “Aria!” He calls out, then extends his hand and arcs a quick blast of red lightning from one of his fingertips to the side of her head. The discharge crackles in the air and Margo—Aria—releases a strangled yelp and staggers back clutching her head, the telepathic connection temporarily severed.

aria2_icon.gif df_cardinal2_icon.gif

“Aria,” Kent—Cardinal—whispers, resting a hand on her shoulder, “it’s okay. You’re here. What happened?” As he asks that he glances back over his shoulder into the cell where Cindy still sits, motionless.

I don’t know,” Aria says with a breathless gasp, one trembling hand covering her mouth. “She—it was like staring into the sun. There was so much at—at once. She—she…”

Cardinal softly shushes Aria, squeezing her shoulder. “I’m sorry. I should’ve—I didn’t think that through. I’m sorry.”

I’ll be alright,” Aria whispers, wiping at her eyes. “God, it’s like—I can’t even begin to describe what her mind is like, Richard. Who is she?”

Cardinal looks from Aria to the cell, his brows furrowed together in concern. “I don’t know. But she was valuable enough that Arthur Petrelli kept her locked up here for most of her natural life. We need to get her out of here.”

Aria nods, trying to salvage what of her mascara hasn’t run from tears with a swipe of the side of her nails. She sucks in a shaky breath, then looks into the cell. “I did get something,” she says with a nervous look to Richard.

He sees that look, watches Aria closely. “What?

“Just—a name and—and an image.” Aria says, unable now to break her eyes away from Cindy in the cell. “It looked like… like an observatory.”

“And the name?” Richard asks, searching Aria’s eyes with desperate curiosity.

Sunspot,” Aria whispers.


Ten Years Later

Geographic Region Redacted

March 11th

9:49 pm

"That wasn't it."

He is fifteen feet tall and six inches wide. He is a slithering serpent rising up from a pair of glossy black shoes, undulating in reflection toward the ceiling. But as he steps to the side, his reflection in the funhouse mirror distorts, and suddenly he is short and squat, nearly round in proportions. With each mirror the darkly-dressed man walks by his reflection changes based on the shape of the glass. He turns to the other man in the room, gesturing to the mirrors.

"I need to know what he was hiding down there," Marcus Raith states emphatically. "You're sure you have all of Baumgartner's memories?"

damian_icon.gif marcus_icon.gif

"Yes," is Damian's quick response. "Ms. Zimmerman followed your instructions to the letter. When Arnold sent her from the future, I copied every single one of her memories and erased them as I went."

"God damnit," Marcus hisses, running his hands over his hair as he paces back and forth. "We have to be missing something. Do it again, same parameters."

Damian takes in a deep breath, then exhales a steady sigh and holds his hands out toward the mirror. Soon, their surfaces begin to cloud and distant, echoing voices fill the mirror-lined room. Eyes shut, Damian sees into the reflection of his own mind's eye, moving his hands back and forth as he manipulates the memories he holds on to, trying with all his might to find the solution to a puzzle generations old. Marcus sucks in a deep breath, watching the forms in the mirror begin to take shape.

"When is this?" Marcus asks, walking closer to the mirror, entranced by what he sees…

Ten Years Earlier

Sunspot Solar Observatory
Sunspot, New Mexico

March 8th

Paperwork and boxes fill the observation hall. Unspooled cabling creates a tripping hazard on the floor, spread out like a spider's web all converging on a central point where a half-finished machine sits covered in dust and partly shrouded by a drop-cloth, its triangular frame missing large pieces that expose old, corroded copper tubing.

Nearby, Richard Cardinal sits slouched at an old computer console circa sometime in the 1980s. He idly clicks buttons on a portable recorded, forcing the tape inside to rewind and fast forward back and forth. A nervous tic. Nearby, Aria Baumgartner shoots Richard a dirty look as she leafs through old documents.

"Can you not?" Aria asks, looking to the recorder. "What's the American saying? Shit or get off the pot?"

Richard laughs, ruefully, and rises off the seat and starts pacing away from the console. "Did you find anything in there?"

"Just this so far," Aria says, handing a printed document over to Richard. There's a photograph paperclipped to it, depicting a spiral aurora over a city. Richard's brows pinch together and he flips the photograph back and looks at the report.

DRAFT DATE: 1/8/83


The 1982 activation of the LookingGlass device was one of the largest failings of our organization to date. We should never have allowed Michelle LeRoux to continue her research in an uncontrolled environment. In spite of Charles' insistence, we should have pushed back harder.

The Incident occurring from the activation of LookingGlass was so widespread we were nearly unable to complete a coverup. Obfuscation of newspaper records, modification of thousands of eye witnesses recollections, and the scope of reassigning and relocating the  REDACTED , which took four whole months.

Our observation teams will maintain individual eyes on each and every  REDACTED  from the Incident, and make monthly reports on their activities.

The loss of Michelle LeRoux was also a catastrophic failure on our part. Her death is squarely on our hands, and an unsustainable means of operation. There should have been a Special on Thompson's team. If nothing else good came from this catastrophe, it's that we were able to instate real change in the Special/Normal dichotomy of our field agent placement.

As for the device itself, after numerous failed attempts at reactivation, it was delivered to our agents at the Beacon Scrap Metal Company for dismantling and destruction. These records will be sealed under Black level security, and my recollection of the events compartmentalized by Agent  REDACTED .

It is my final assessment that the LookingGlass project is simply too dangerous to be permitted to continue. We don't understand the science behind its operation, and without Michelle LeRoux, we may never.

Richard's brows knit together, eyes searching from side to side. He looks—sharply—up to Aria and then back down to the document.

"Michelle LeRoux…" Richard says in a breathless whisper, followed by a hoarse laugh. "What the fuck is this?" He wonders.

"Who's that?" Aria asks, one brow raised.

Richard doesn't look away from the document as he says, "My mother." His eyes narrow, jaw set tightly. "But… Charles?" His nostrils flare and he looks at Aria.

"What?" Aria says with hesitance. "Did the Company do something to your mother? Did Charles Deveaux?"

Richard sets the document down on the console, then looks around the room again. At the technology, at the chalkboards, at everything that sits in complete contradiction to everything he knew about his mother. "I don't know," he whispers.

"I don't know."

Ten Years Later

Geographic Region Redacted

March 11th

"Deveaux," Marcus says as he steps back from the mirror, turning to look at Damian.

"How much do you have on him?" Marcus says, motioning with a wagging finger at Damian. The memory-manipulator raises his brows, sighs softly, and then shrugs.

"Not much. I have a few scattered references to him in memories," Damian explains with a shrug, "but the majority of our records were kept—" he laughs, "—with the Deveaux Society. When Monroe confiscated it all, we lost the lion's share."

"But there's still the paper records." Marcus says with a tension in his jaw. Flicking a look from mirror to Damian.

"Our access isn't what it used to be, with Claudia's…" Damian grimaces.

"Claudia's final fuck you," Marcus says with a sharp exhale. "Fine. We'll come at it from a different direction. That son of a bitch Broome is hiding something from me, I know it, and I need to figure out what it is."

"Don't look at me. You try to send me into his mind and I'm as good as dead," Damian says with a lopsided smile. Marcus closes his eye and shakes his head, pacing again. "But what does it matter, Marcus. Deveaux's been dead for over a decade, that Richard's dead and the other one is on our side. What's Broome going to do? What could he possibly have behind his back after all this time."

"Other than a three-century old mosaic?" Marcus says with a scowl, invoking Joy's role in all of this.

Damian snorts out a laugh and rolls his eyes. "Okay, you have a point."

"I don't like surprises, Damian." Marcus pinches his forefingers and thumb at the bridge of his nose. "We are so close right now, I can't leave anything to chance. If we can get beyond this solar flare and the ICE-9 threat… that'll be it. We'll finally be able to just… rest." He laughs, bitterly. "World peace in our time."

Damian lifts his brows and looks away, unconvinced. "What's next steps?" He asks.

"I don't know," Marcus says with a sigh. "I need to… think. I need time. I need…"

Marcus laughs again, this time with amusement.

"I need Nakamura."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License