A Serpent's Trail


wf_eli_icon.gif elisabeth_icon3.gif wf_eve_icon.gif wf_hana_icon.gif wf_kay_icon.gif wf_logan_icon.gif magnes_icon3.gif bf_odessa_icon.gif wf_peter_icon.gif

Scene Title A Serpent's Trail
Synopsis A path is forged for the heroes journeying inside the Dome.
Date 20 March, 2018

The Wastes of New Jersey

To look upon the Outer District from the outside is to be both aware at how bright and vibrant it glows within the cover of night, and how heavy the shadow is that falls on the land and ocean that surrounds it, like Vegas in the desert. But instead of riotous neon, the lights of the Outer District come in hues of yellow glows and the occasional piercing white sweep of searchlight. The protective forcefield that domes this little city is almost invisible to the eye, but with enough study, one can imagine that they make out the faint outline of light reflecting off of curvature. Beneath this strange halo, buildings of steel and concrete stand where none had before, warping the Staten Island skyline as they once knew it.

Sounds carries through the forcefield too, but not the wind, and so there is nothing for their ears to pick up as they wait some miles away from their destination. Save for Elizabeth, whose sensitive ears pick up the rev of engines, the occasional mechanical grind, the barking of a dog.

But that's all quite far away.

Around them, in the predawn darkness, are the ruins of smalltown New Jersey.

No, not ruins. Waste.

Having come from where they come from, and seen the wreckage of Midtown in all realities, they know what ruins look like. Ruins show the decaying skeletons of entities that once existed, foundations still roughly in the shapes of what they used to be. They both demonstrate and embody a history, a story, of war and ruin and neglect. They've walked through the urban ruins at the heart of Manhattan, where a nuclear bomb blasted the flesh from those bones, and strewn them like prophecy, retaining something like meaning.

This, where they stand now, is not the same. Rather than finding themselves surrounded by a generic crumbling of buildings fallen to abandonment, battle-scarred and brittle, they stand on an almost level field of careful and considered destruction. Homes and roads and powerlines and cars and schools and playgrounds have all been demolished, broken down for scrap, atomised into rubble and dust. Trees have been uprooted and taken. The ground underfoot varies between soft ash, sinking mud, and sharp, blasted gravel. The topography is flat, save for the occasional, inexplicable rise of small mountains of more of the same of what the ground is made of, some as mildly hilly rises, and some as tall as thirty feet, coming to a conical point and a slow spread, like the bottom of an hourglass.

Our heroes gather together in the midst of a formless grey wasteland. To the south, this continues as far as the eye can see until the horizon gives way to hazy blue hills. The wind occasionally tosses the smell of a nearby landfill in their direction.

They've been waiting for about twenty minutes after being dropped off at this location by a furtive middle-aged woman who hadn't spoken to any of them save for Kay. The trade had been a small crate of foodstuffs and sundry supplies that had rattled at their feet the whole journey, and then finally, the screech of the door sliding open, where the heavy darkness outside had begun to take on a hint of light detectable only through adaptation to the dark. The door of the van had barely closed before it lurched forwards and drove away, kicking up a cloud of ash and dust in its wake, leaving them behind.

Soon, the sun will properly rise, and they may need to make a decision as to their next move.

Sooner still, the faint growl of an engine — something a little smoother than the asthmatic fitting of the van that brought them this far, on the serpent's trail — reaches their ears. The question of friend or foe comes down to a matter of faith. In Eve, in Kaydence, in the general expectation that the universe isn't looking to twist the knife one more time.

In the space of the time of them getting into the van and being dropped off at their current place Eve has spoken little, whispered tones to Kay and Peter. Reassuring smiles when she can for the others, she's not afraid of failing to get in. It's failing to get out that scares her. Goggles sit on top of her head, a black wig covers the usual red hair and the tail of her trench coat whips in the wind. “Our destination, a real live hellmouth.” A pale hand goes to slide over her dark ensemble, pulling the hood of her coat over her hair, boots crunching on gravel. “Alright we know the plan, don't die.”

It's really that simple. “And everyone listen to Kay here she's got the lay of the land. If she says duck, just drop.” Nobody dies today, that was the seer’s vow.

Stepping forward to stare at the bright city under the dome, she squints her eyes and can't help but think of what kind of food they might have in there. It would be best to liberate that too, the waffles. Maybe there would be waffles. Eve finds herself rubbing her belly and she frowns, she always waited to eat and was hungry during dangerous missions. “Trust us, we’ve got a path. Let's take it. Tippy toes now!” Clapping her hands together softly the dark haired woman blinks and whips around as she hears an engine coming towards them. One hand braces her messenger bag on her shoulder while the other lightly grazes her pistol on her hip. The other weapons she carries are hidden by her coat.

Don't die. Well, that's at least an order she intends to follow. Elisabeth's ability is trained on their surroundings with all of the intensity she can bring to bear. Clad in dark cargo pants, the combat boots she wore into this world, and a heavy dark coat with a hat over her bright hair, the audiokinetic has no intention of being taken by surprise. So the sound of the engine brings her blue eyes immediately in the direction from which the sound originates, her hand warily falling to rest on the weapon in her belt. Eve's reaction does nothing to ease her watchfulness — then again, nothing likely will. Tippy toes are not required when there are two in the party who can silence all sound from the travelers, but … well, Eve is always Eve. She wishes she could smile at that thought.

From near Eve, there’s an older man that they are all pretty much used to, as there’s often at least one other of himself around at most times. Not today. Today if there’s another him somewhere, it’s stayed a decent distance behind and is thus out of sight even in the wasteland that surrounds them.

Or maybe this one is the only Eli that they’re going to have to deal with for a while. Unless something happens. “Not dying’s always a good plan,” he murmurs in response to the Seer, picking out a rather large knife from his belt and checking as if to make sure the sharp end is still sharp. He still has a machine gun on a strap laying against his back, but sometimes a knife works just as well.

But he doesn’t expect to need it today. Still, he starts to use it to clean his nails, of all things.

Not dying is, indeed, a worthy goal. Whether or not it constitutes a plan, well, the jury – consisting of Kaydence Lee – is still out. Brown eyes flicker to Eli, then Eli's knife, finally to Eve. At the rumble of an engine, she offers the seer a reassuring smile. "If I don't get shot," she says, "they're with us. If I do, then avenge me, provided it's not too much trouble." That smile flashes to a broad grin before she goes jogging ahead of the group, a hand raised to the sky to signal.

Toward the rear of the group, a pair of blue eyes surveil the surroundings. Pale fingers twitch at sides, like they're looking for something to grasp on to. Odessa Woods is out of her element and deferring to the authority Damaris represents. Whether that rankles her isn't readily apparent. There's a sword strapped to her back and a gun to her hip. If there's a cause for either, she'll be ready.

Peter hasn't been himself the entire journey. The confidence of a man who knew his place in a war has been replaced by the slouching uncertainty of his youth, lost in the interstitial moments between conversation with Kay and Eve. Drawing in a deep breath, Peter starts to move past Odessa from the tail end of the team. He rests a hand on the short blonde’s shoulder as he moves by, pausing long enough to look down at her with a mixture of uncertainty and nervousness. She's seen that look a lot, being a living dead woman.

As Peter moves past Odessa, he unzips his jacket to give himself some more mobility, and closes the distance up to where Elisabeth is near the fire of the group with Eve and Kay. Briefly, he turns a look up and over toward the dome, looking at it with a mixture of fear and uncertainty deserving of an artifice its size.

“Everything sounds clear,” Peter asserts, having heard some of what Elisabeth had with his borrowed copy of her ability. “Just let me know what I need to do,” is offered to Kay, because he recognizes her familiarity with the wasteland bureaucracy, such as it is.

Magnes hasn't been as social in the last few months as he has been in other worlds. He does stare at people in this world or not, people like Peter. But he's otherwise keeping his gravitational field expanded, primarily because in this world he's considered the odd prospect of invisible spies, or invisible stealth robots.

His robot hunches have been notoriously accurate in the past, so…

"I believe we're on the path we're supposed to be, so I'm not afraid. But… it's crazy to think that I had a daughter grow up in this world, especially seeing this dome up close. This is all still so surreal…" He runs his fingers through his hair, having an exhausted look about him despite getting as much rest as he can manage.

His perpetual stress can't be understated.

The sound grows loud, unfurling within the heightened scope of Elisabeth and Peter's hearing until the rest can sense it like a shiver in the air, and then, up through the soles of their feet. No headlights break the horizon despite the growing growl of its approach, and so it has to get near by the time they're capable of making out any further details.

And there are very few details to make out — it's a vehicle, one that roams on wheels, with the proportions of a truck, with cabin and sleeper affixed to a cargo unit. Matte black, and blocky, and where the windshield should be is just more of that same smooth black composite. The doors are mere seams in its armored sides. Although sharing conventions with other vehicles they might have seen, this is a manufacturing particular to this reality, resembling a little the terrible machines they've had the pleasure of running into until now.

The vehicle veers near the group, hurtles on past, and then comes to a smooth halt some forty feet away, dust rising up around its wheels.

The engine doesn't die, idling and ready, even as the hatch at the back of the vehicle slides open with an articulated clicking of metal. The first figure that comes out takes a ready leap — a man, solidly around the mark of thirty-years-old, and dressed in a uniform of black, with armor stiff around the angles of his shoulders, flat across his chest. Dark hair, and groomed scruff growing in down his jaw and neck. In deep gloom of near-dawn, his eyes are a bright and vibrant pale green.

This time, John Logan does recognise these faces, and he halts at a conservative distance, wielding a rifle of some kind — and much like other things that come from the Outer District, it too is familiar-but-not, of no design that any of them readily recognise — and a curious eyebrow raise. The patches on his shoulder read, bold as brass, DoEA.

"They say anything to you about weapons?"

He isn't talking to them.

The second person who emerges from the vehicle does so without any semblance of flair, unless one counts focused economy of motion, or the strategic separation on approach that suggests, if not outright suspicion, at least an abundance of caution. A touch shorter, a shade older, it's at first the loose shoulder-length hair that implies female; given armor, that implication is confirmed only once she's crossed enough distance that their guests might parse angular features and intense gaze into familiar identity.

Just because Hana Gitelman recognizes most of the faces before her doesn't mean she's inclined to effusive greetings. Perish the thought. Enough to say that her own rifle, carbon-copy of Logan's just as is the DoEA-marked uniform she wears, isn't pointed at them; only the alertness of her attention, the intensity of her scrutiny.

A scornful noise is her prompt response to Logan's question. "Why would they?" As well tell a fish about water.

There's a look over at Magnes, “Please tell us oh great magic 8 ball.” Eve snickers and slides her hand to her neck to massage a point of tension.

As the sounds of the engine die and the two people in the car reveal themselves the brown eyed, wig woman grins widely and winks at Hana before she's bouncing over and clinging to John Logan’s chest, “Geegolly you still smell good my Golden Goose. How do you do that?” An exaggerated whisper to Logan on that last bit before she's stepping back to regard Hana with the look of woman to woman, former terrorist to still current terrorist. “What's up girl.”

“Come come sweeties.” A particular look for her man Eli. Wiggling her fingers over at the people behind her, Kay for sure these are her contacts. “These are friends. Not food.

Elisabeth glances at Peter as he joins her, her blue eyes then skipping back toward the approaching vehicle. Magnes wanted to make contact with John Logan. Gollygeeyippeeskippee, there the bastard is. It's kinda like Old Home Week … only not. Her jaw firms slightly, but Liz makes no comment other than to shoot Magnes a sharp look. Behave is the silent order. Which likely she has little hope of him following, because behaving means no diarrhea of the mouth — and she hasn't yet discovered the right kind of medication to stop that problem reliably.

Blowing out a slow breath, the audiokinetic murmurs to the man sharing her powers, "Petrelli, take a deep breath and quit lookin' like you're scared of your own shadow, my friend… they'll eat you for lunch." Hana in any world is a hard woman — in this one, Liz has no doubt that if they are in any way a threat, Hana could pretty well decide to obliterate them all. "Onward into the breach." Maybe we'll all make it to the end. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

There's a sardonic raise of an eyebrow in the direction of their non-Evolved source of information, as if Eli wanted to say, something, but opted to keep his words to himself. Mostly. "We won't let 'em pluck your wings, Katydid." That must be a nickname he has for her, much as he calls Eve some unflattering names as well. It might just be a sign that he likes the person. However his pale eyes settle on Logan for a long moment, pausing in the cleaning of his nails. Logan, the patch he wears on his clothes, and then the woman at his side.

After a moment, he pulls his fingers up to his eye line as if to check and see if he got all the dirt, then starts to trim them as well. Maybe he just needs something to do with his hands. Or he's just making it clear that, indeed, they are armed and ready. Even if they're not actively using said weapons for outright threatening purposes. Yet.

Kay opens her mouth to speak just as Eve bounds forward ahead of her. Her jaw clamps shut again, right hand coming to rest at her chin as she observes the interaction with a look given to Logan as if to say I don’t control her. She’ll have to make sure she cuts him in for a bigger portion of her next haul for what he and his companion are set to do for her - for all of them.

Hands spread out to either side in a display of the fact that she’s not about to brandish anything here. It may be in direct opposition of Eli’s posture - and he’s earned himself a look that’s just a little too tinged with amusement to be as sharp as she might have meant it - but she’s always been about her shows of good faith. Kay’s brows lift in tandem with her shoulders. What can you do? She’s traveling with an entire deck of wild cards.

As Peter passes by, Odessa flicks her gaze in his direction, followed up with a sharp grin. She’s familiar with that little trick of his. There’s a fondness to her expression that’s really for a different version of him, but the look he has for her is for a different version of herself, so they’re even.

The moment passes and the grin fades with it, replaced with wariness. She watches Hana and Logan in turn, then Eve, who seems to be taking the reins. Odessa’s fingers still from their restless movements, lest she look ready for a fight she has no desire for.

Briefly glancing at Elisabeth, Peter eventually comes up to stand beside Magnes and just watches the exchange between Eve and the others. For a moment he looks at Magnes and appears surprised, as if when he looked over he didn't see the person he expected — or the version of him he is accustomed to, at any rate. After a moment he rests a hand on Magnes’ shoulder, not to borrow an ability but rather as a show of solidarity. Perhaps this Peter has realized something others didn't: that he and Magnes aren't all that different from one another.

"We have to trust him." Magnes finally says when Elisabeth glances at him, without adding anything else to that. Who knows what these other people know, but the people immediately outside of their group probably don't need any further details. They may have to trust him, but he is still Logan. He looks over at Peter and nods. "I'm stressing, and it's making me feel heavier than normal, literally."

The action of raising his rifle to point it at the person suddenly coming at him is veered away at the last moment to point aside, Logan standing stiff and upright as Eve crashes into his personal space, a glimmer of familiarity tempered as amusement. Just. His gloved hand steadies at her arm.

"You've spent far too long in the monkey house," he says, to her. "That's how."

A proper grooming regime, regular showers, decent meals — all the luxuries of living with a great technological marvel of a bell jar. He moves past Eve, now, closing up a little distance, some implicit trust outsourced to the severe woman he arrived with at his back.

No ready invitation to enter the dark mouth of the truck, even though it remains open and waiting for them, the next black doorway of their journey. "Afraid we don't permit carry ons," he says, wry, voice raising enough so as to include them on. The glow of his eyes, skipping Kay, lands on each one of them, and maybe there is some sense of their internal chemical workings responding, a warm kind of shiver that departs as soon as it enters. "If you find yourself using a gun inside the Dome, then trust me, it's already too late."

Now he looks to Kay, a little flatly accusatory, like she ought to know better — but there is a curiosity to it, as well. It's not every day that a small band of armed Evolved are knifing their way behind enemy lines.

Eve's exuberant approach captures the greater part of Hana's attention, just on general principle; the rest, she chiefly divides between Eli and Peter, also on general principle. There's no fellow camaraderie in the look she casts back Eve's way, only an unsurprisingly flat lack of humor apt to be rather less quelling in effect than the owner of that nonamusement might wish.

"Same shit, different day," is the aphorism given by way of reply, a multitude of particulars elided into four pithy words that really do say everything that matters.

Dark eyes flick to the space beyond Logan as he moves forward, scanning once more over the assembled crew, perhaps gauging their responses to his insistence. Hana makes no argument in either support or counter, save for the resolute bulwark of her presence and persistently watchful stare.

“It's all stinky right?” Eve grins still at Hana as Logan makes his way past to the others, “But what about bananas do you have any?” It's whispered but she listens as he states that they cannot bring their guns. “Oooh my sweet babies, oh oh.” Looking down at the guns underneath her trench coat the woman scrambles to the side where a large pile of rubble sits.

“Now don't cry, you’ll see battle again. Momma Eve’s only running a small errand. Shhh shhhhh, Louanne please.” Practically begging her desert eagle to behave. “I'll be back, I’ll be back.” She whispers over and over as she moves debris to make a hiding place before she hides her guns and looks over her shoulder at the others. “Okay I'm ready. They’ll stop crying soon.”

There is a moment where Elisabeth pauses, not because leaving the weapons behind is in any way unexpected but because she's weighing everything she is watching, filing away bits of information in the back of her mind. There's a simple, brief nod to Magnes at his words; John Logan has his own role to play in all this. Trust is not the word she'd employ, but she's not averse to using the man. Despite the enmity she holds for at least two of his alternate-world analogs.

She walks toward the stash spot and pulls her pistol and it's holster from her pants, dropping it into Eve's pile without a word — it's not like she's not perfectly deadly without the firearm. Those were mainly for the journey this far. And then Elisabeth simply waits for the permission to board the vehicle so they can get underway.

Without even a stray breath to indicate anything at all happened, a second Eli pops out from behind the first, almost as if side stepping out of a shadow. At least his clones are fully clothed. Without saying a word, he shrugs his machine gun off and hands it to the second one.

He nods toward him as he adds, “He’ll take our weapons back to headquarters. No need to just leave them lying in the wasteland.” Good weapons and ammo were hard to come by, after all. That had been his plan all along, but they wouldn’t go this far without them, either. The other Eli adds the machine gun to the one already hanging from his back, and then the first, the one with the knife still in hand not in a sheath, looks toward Logan.

“No weapons at all?” Cause he hates to abandon his knife without a nod, but he doesn’t even really wait for it as he hands that over too. The other him will gather up the pile soon as well.

As Eli multiplies and begins gathering up the weapons, Kay flashes a smile to Logan. See? I know the drill. She unbuckles the belt hanging loose around her waist and refastens it before draping it, holster, pistol and all, over Eli like some kind of festive garland. She pats him on the cheek once.

Odessa parts easily with her firearm, but her hands stay at the strap that crosses her body, holding her sword to her back. It's clear she'd rather not part with it, but if it's not just no guns, there's not much choice. Lest she wish to strike out and find her own way into the dome.

Which she does not. In the end, Odessa relinquishes her prized Kensei blade to Eli's care. She can get along just fine unarmed.

Squeezing Magnes’ shoulder, Peter offers him a momentary look and a nod, then steps forward past him to join the others. “I’m ready to go,” he says with a renewed confidence. “I borrowed the stopwatch,” he says with a nod back toward Odessa, “just in case anything goes backwards. She and I should be able to… help.” Beyond that, he reaches up to scratch the back of his head with one hand, looking between Logan and Hana with a bit of uncertainty. He doesn’t know either particularly well, not beyond reputations, and he knows full well sometimes those can be a bit misleading. Other times, though, highly deserved.

Magnes steps forward and pulls out a simple glock he picked up, figuring he shouldn't bring anything particularly precious to the gates of a dystopian city. He does take a moment to consider when the timelines branched, staring at Logan for a long moment.

It occurs to him that this is most likely an iteration of Logan that he's shot in the past.


"Uh, thanks for this." is all he says to Logan, not entirely sure if perhaps they've already made up in the past or some other unknown factors.

Those glowing green eyes switch to Magnes when he speaks, unsettling and intent, which Magnes could take to mean he is probably making some correct assumptions on the status of their rapport. But Logan only smiles, then, abrupt and white and sharp at the edges.

"You won't be thanking me when you're trying to get out've the fucking place," he says, good natured enough, before tracking again the orderly setting down of weapons by one of the strange rubble piles of atomised civilisation. "Alright," he says. "Single file. Best behaviour, everyone." And he looks to Peter Petrelli, the frank up and down of someone who is going off of reputation as well, and adds, "I've got my eye on you."

He turns back to the truck, his expression clearing a little of that irreverence as he looks to Hana with a chin up of a nod. The level of compliance is good enough, and worth the risk.

"I hope none of you are afraid of the dark," he says, as he hauls himself up into the mouth of the truck, and then turns back to them. "Or small spaces. There's no opening these from the inside."

And they'll see what he's talking about, as they near. The interior of the truck is cramped, with a foot and a half, maybe two feet of walking space straight down the centre. On either side are four upright structures, silver and chrome and glass, secured on some kind of mechanised railing. Those with familiarity on the tactics of the now defunct Institute can recognise these by the sterile descriptor of transport unit, where the object of transportation was frequently known as assets.

Or people. They otherwise resemble what they otherwise feel like — big, upright-standing metal coffins with curved smooth doors, eight in total.

Bananas. Hana fails to dignify that question with any response greater than a dark look.

In the meantime, she looks on as their guests set their weaponry aside, some with more fanfare than others. Her gaze sharpens on Eli as he hesitates, a thin twitch of her lips too mordant to call smile acknowledging kinship in his reluctance. He passes the blade on before she might signal either way, which outcome is probably for the best.

The sword is a different matter, unusual, distinctive. There is no leeway in Hana's oversight of that transaction, implicit or otherwise.

After the handoff is said and done, Logan summons the passengers forward into their awaiting chariot, such as it is. At her cue, Hana shoulders her rifle and clambers up into the vehicle herself, sliding past her companion to tag open seven of the austere capsules. Personal-sized voids yawn wide at her touch, black padding seeming like so many holes punched into vehicular gloom. Holes their guests are expected to step into of their own volition, with shoulder restraints to secure them from disruptive jostling but cushioning thinner than their comfort might desire.

Comfort is in short supply these days.

She exits again, clearing the cramped space so that their passengers might make their own way aboard. "If you are," she remarks matter-of-factly, taking up a position at the rear corner of the truck and leveling her gaze on the audience, "we can put you to sleep." There's an implicit addendum hanging off the end there, the sense that Hana herself fails to endorse that option — which makes it, too, rather less than reassuring.

“Ah duh sorry my sweet booger bear,” Eve whispers as she leans into the Alpha Eli. “I didn't want him to have to work too hard.” A sad look given over to the Omega before she reaches over and presses her hand to his cheek, “No sacrificing tonight my brave Knight, get our things home and..” she leans in to whisper something in the Omega’s ear.

As Logan and everyone get to the truck Eve moves forward with obvious curiosity as to how they were being smuggled in.

“O o nobody panic.” She holds up her hand to her friends with wide eyes, “I've slept in one of these before. For a long time.” Looking between the group before she's going for the first one she's allowed to be near. “Totally awesome. Your dreams will be fineee. Promise.” Hers were… if you counted that as fine. “I volunteer as the first, no sleeping for me!” She likes to be awake.

It's… not the mode of transport that Elisabeth expected. Her jaw clenches tightly as she moves to walk up to the vehicle and then realizes what the fuck they're in for. There is literally nothing she's been able to really do about eliminating fears driven deep by events of years ago. Even in the Virus world, it was a constant struggle, but at least she could move around and there were lights.

A fine sheen of sweat breaks out over her whole body and the audiokinetic takes an involuntary step backward. There's no sound to it but a pulse of not-sound rolls off her and ruffles loose hairs on everyone close. There's a moment where she looks like she's going to bolt. She's made of sterner stuff, even in the face of some of her most visceral phobias, but it takes absolutely every ounce of willpower she possesses to force herself to step up into that vehicle and put her body into that rolling coffin. Hyperventilating is going to become a problem real soon. The panic is not invisible nor intangible, merely inaudible. For now.

“Better be careful not to pop another me in there— it’ll get tight,” Eli jokes rather than seeming to take the situation too serious, as his Omega leans down to listen. Once that one straightens, he nods, grinning at her, and a moment later he winks, making an audible click to his tongue to emphasize it.

“I’ll pass the message along.” He’s still not sure how well his ability will manage once the Dome is between hims, but he can at least make it back to the base if he hurries. They had an abandoned vehicle not too far. “Have a nice nap, crazy-pants. Keep an eye on everyone and make it out safe,” the Omega adds, as if his real self wouldn’t be right there with her.

And the Alpha even says, as he moves to get inside his own coffin, apparently trusting Eve and Kay enough to hop in without question, “We got this.” It’s dangerous. It’s hard. Most of them die or never smell the air of freedom again.

But they got this.

"This is the safest way in, y'all," Kay says apologetically. Whether that's true or not, it's the safest way presented to them right now. And there's no amount of griping or wishful thinking that's going to change that. Now or ever.

As Elisabeth begins to panic, Odessa's attention turns to her, hawkish at first, then softening. While Kaydence reassures the others, Odessa steps in front of Elisabeth and reaches out slowly to rest her hands on the other woman's shoulders. "Breathe, Liz. Deep breaths. Let me help you." Her right and slides up and rests against the back of the taller woman's neck, a patient smile on her face. "If you can give me a count of five with the door open, you'll never see it shut."

Odessa closes her eyes and lifts her left hand from Elisabeth's shoulder, face screwing up in concentration as she tries to divine something. Thumb rubs against fore and middle fingers. "There." Blue eyes open again at the declaration. "This is your thread." Her hand held between them demonstratively, as though there could be something to see there. But even Odessa can't see the things that she senses with her ability.

"All it takes is one little tug, and that's it. We're in the city and you didn't even know we'd left this spot. But I need you to be able to stand inside one of those things and count to five." Odessa smiles encouragingly, but not without sympathy. "I'll be with you the whole time."

Watching Odessa with Elisabeth, Peter affords the small blonde a momentary nod of both recognition and appreciation. Theirs is a story that Odessa wasn’t too clear on, and the tangle of their lives in her world was so deep and so snarled as if to never be unwound. Peter’s eyes retain whatever secrets exist between them in this world, looking away and to Hana and Logan as he closes the distance to the truck.

“Ok, so I get this part…” Peter motions to the containers, “what’s the plan for once we get inside? Where should we expect to be coming out? And what’s the plan if we wake up somewhere we’re not supposed to be.” At that, he slants a look back at Kay, hoping that there is a plan B. Sometimes, though, that’s a luxury.

"This is pretty much exactly how we first met." Magnes says to Logan with a shrug, looking to Elisabeth, almost reaching out to take her hand, but then Odessa seems to have a much more useful idea, so he heads inside and takes a seat, crossing his legs. "If it helps with the darkness, at least I can tell you if anything spooky pops up that no one can see."

This may not be the Odessa with whom Elisabeth spent a year, but she's not so different in many ways either. And she too has become enough of a friend that Liz is more than grateful for her face to appear in the field of view that is rapidly tunneling at the edges. Focusing hard on the eyes in front of her and on the voice giving instruction, the audiokinetic fights to hear them through the roar in her ears and use them as anchors to the here and now — as awful as it is, it's not that icy, wet stone floor. Her nod is a little bit jerky but she manages to at least suck in a breath, and although she's shaking all over she forces herself to take those steps.

Into the coffin-like structure she goes, gasping out softly, "Five…" Liz can count to five. Sure thing. It takes her a long moment as she leans back into the harness, and she blows out a breath. "Four… th-th-th-three…" The stutter becomes acute and she can't get two out at all. So she skips it and starts to bite out the last number. If all goes according to plan—

"You'll see us on the other side," Odessa assures in a quiet voice, a hand on Elisabeth's cheek as she counts. Before she can finish sounding out the single syllable of one, Odessa makes a winding motion with her hand and curls that invisible tether around her fingers. Frozen fear isn't the most glamorous look on anyone, but this is the kindest way she knows to help the audiokinetic through this moment of terror.

Kaydence offers a slim smile to Peter. "We'll be deposited in whatever place our benefactors here feel is safest. They know better than I do." As for if this goes sideways – which it won't, she's decided – she doesn't necessarily have an answer for that. Her faith in her associate is great enough that she believes they won't be willfully dropped into a bad situation.

"We're all clever people," Kay says with a grin that doesn't reach her eyes. "We're great at improvisation." Plan B is to wing it.

Watching Odessa lull Elisabeth into a state of isolated time, Peter listens to Kaydence and slowly slides a look in her direction. There's that uncomfortable grimace. Peter’s fine at improvisation, it's just typically a matter of collateral damage. That kink in the plan settles ill-well with him, and his grimace spreads to a forced smile as he looks to Logan and Hana, stepping up to the back of the truck next.

With Eli among the first, Logan assists by ensuring the security of straps over shoulders, no eye contact made and no reassurance offered — the movements of his gloved hands are professional and expert and economic. As if he's done this a hundred times before.

And not all of those times could have been smuggling the willing through gates, either.

There is a flash of eye contact in the split second before doors slide closed, too close for comfort away from Eli's face. To touch them is to find nothing in the way of handles, latches, buttons, only seems without any give. The cylindrical slide of the door resists any kind of mechanical pressure that could break the desperate out of them, locking them within a claustrophobic cave of darkness for as long as they can imagine this journey is going to take.

Once this is done, Logan looks to the display going on between Odessa and Elisabeth, studying them both for sign that either Hana's promise of a deep sleep or his own particular talents will be called upon. When that thread of time is knotted, halted, Logan tips his head a little like a hound trying to divine the source of some strange noise — or, in his case, the absence of one, as stasis renders Elisabeth a black shadow, or dead meat, in accordance with his biological radar.


He steps nearer, studying this phenomenon for half a moment, before he slides the door closed with a mechanised hiss of edges sealing closed, locking Elisabeth away within a sarcophagus of darkness and steel.

With an elegant sweep of his hand, he offers the casket directly opposite from Elisabeth to Odessa. "I don't suppose she needs a prince to break the curse, or anything."

Hana's expression remains impassive, her manner unruffled, as their guests react to the mode of transport presented them. That calm is an affect just as much as it is truth, her attention resting lightly on the interaction between Elisabeth and Odessa, and on the expressions and words of those beyond the two women. None of it requires intervention on her part, in the end, and so attention is as much as she needs give — on all points save one.

"If so," Hana remarks through the doorway in uninvited response to Logan, with a casual absence of inflection that carries meaning all its own, "she'll have better chance with Petrelli."

A wink and click of her tongue follows after the Omega while she's left with Alpha Eli, “I promise, everyone alive.” She had to promise.


Time Fairies.” The seer peers over at Odessa and Liz and her eyes widen as she bends forward a bit and squints as she watches them. “Just like that.” Snapping her fingers as Liz is frozen in time and nods her head to Odessa. “Very nice of you.” Not many people were kind anymore, not in this world. Well! “We meet up with our peeps and then we find T, sister seer wait for us. We are coming.” The last bit spoken into the air as she is strapped into the “coffin” and grins over at her friends. “We’re the most clever sons of bitches I know, don't worry Peter.” Her stare at her best friend is meaningful, this is for Gilly. This has always been about her. For both of them even though they stand on opposite sides of that particular debate.

With one Eli disappearing into the coffin, much too close to his nose to make him comfortable, he just rolls his shoulders and deals with it, hoping he can make like a screaming princess and fall asleep. Just sadly without the time stasis thing. And he doubts the ride will be comfortable enough to really sleep.

With one last salute (using that knife), the other Eli burdened with weapons starts to hurry off in the direction they had come from. He wants to be back to Headquarters, or at least a drop point, before they get in the dome and find out if that severs his clones the same way being negated would.

Odessa flashes a rueful sort of smile to Logan’s query and takes her place in the coffin offered up to her. She closes her eyes for the entire process of being strapped and closed in. If she keeps her eyes shut, then the door never closes and she’s just as free to move about as she was before. It helps that she has to keep sharp focus on her ability for Elisabeth’s sake. The distraction is most welcome.

Kay watches everyone file in. She’s the one that got them into this and she’s going to make sure everyone’s secure before they head off. She places a hand on Peter’s arm and gives him a serious look, dropping the carefree front she puts on for moments like these. She doesn’t have words to reassure him that she hasn’t already used. This is her acknowledgement of the gravity of their situation. “C’mon.” She moves her hand to a space between his shoulders as he steps up into the vehicle. “Don’t wanna hold up the line.”

Peter affords a wary look to Kay, then past her to Logan and finally Hana. Though they have only the most tenuous of connections, her reputation through Noah Bennet from back in the day was what kept him comfortable here. She's the one person he's certain would never turn.

“Be careful,” Peter says to Kay as he steps up into the back of the truck, warily scanning the interior of the vehicle as he hesitantly moves toward the container designated for his encapsulation during transport. Be careful. The words rattle around in his head. Nothing about this is careful. He supposed that can't be helped.

"Is she really okay?" Magnes wonders as he watches Elisabeth from his seat. It's not that he's never experienced time manipulation, but… it's still a bit concerning. "And uh, let me know if anyone needs any gravity, I guess." That's all he can really contribute at the moment, especially since his anxiety is a bit through the roof right now.

The doors close in a series of clicks and the sound of rolling metal, leaving them each alone in the darkness. These units aren't built for complete sound cancellation, but the world is nevertheless muffled to all but Peter, and Elisabeth, who's consciousness fixes in time under Odessa's control. They feel more than hear the vehicle begin to move, a subtle shift of momentum that stabilises soon enough, the ties that bind them catching them from bouncing off the smooth black interior of the coffin. The terrain of New Jersey, atomised into a wasteland of dust and bone and rubble, makes the ground shiver beneath their feet, a vibration that doesn't leave them alone.

Alone in the darkness, Eve barely has to close her eyes to invite her dreams in, the darkness so total that the close confines of the walls seem to evaporate into an unknown distance, into eternity.

The air around her, stagnant, filled with the sound of her own heart beat, her own breathing, seems to fill the casket with humid warmth. For a moment, she might suddenly imagine that whatever ventilation systems are in place that allow for contained life have been shut off, and her hands come up against the walls of her casket immediately. Instead of the strange synthetic padded surface she expects, her touches glass — slightly damp, slightly warm, and as light begins to fill her vision, she sees her own breath fog up the pane in front of her, which is already opaque with humidity, streaks of water running. She sees the foggy image of the wasteland they all left behind, just now, grey and desolate and bleak.

She turns, realises she is standing at a wall. The rooftop above her slants off, glass and electric lights, and chains on which plants in baskets hang and do not sway. The hothouse is filled with plants of all kinds, all placed in ordered rows and configurations, but wildly overgrown, some reaching as high as the ceiling and coiled around the lights, others spilling flowered fronds onto a concrete floor.

A harsh buzz flies past her ear, a glimmer of blue light trailing by as an insect of steel disappears out of sight, following the same weaving pattern of a bee.

Up ahead, Eve sees a slim and petite figure, bent over the plants, tending to them in robust looking gardening gloves. Pale blonde hair waves past her shoulders, obscures her face, holding shears and worrying off the head of a flower with a harsh snip. When she straightens, and looks over, it's only after Eve wakes that she will recognise the youthful face of Georgia Mayes, blue eyes warm and her smile small. For now, recognition does not settle in, and the figure turns her back, disappearing around a corner, leaving behind damp footprints that do not come up as human, but the smaller, unique footprints of the rubber-encased paws of the mechanical hunters that patrol the city and its borders.

It's these that Eve follows at a more urgent clip to catch up, wading into the heart of the hothouse, turning along the paths that take her to the central location. There, rows of plants make up a wild display of flowers and deep green leaves, elevated some feet off of the ground, a row that is about seven feet long. It takes her a moment to see what she is looking at, the beauty of flowers and leaves catching her eye, until she notices a long, pale human arm hanging out from within the bushels. Coming closer, she doesn't see the earth or pottery from which the plants grow, either, seeing only that they emerge bloodlessly from the prone form of a human man.

The leaves and stalks growing out from the centre of his chest shift and sway a little with each deep breath he takes, his expression at peace in his deep unconsciousness, head hanging back. His face has been kept shaven, his ashy brown hair trimmed at a manageable length. He seems in his mid to late forties, with a pallor to his skin that speaks to Eve of a half-life.

She finds herself standing over him, at his head, any feelings of possible horror or pity counterbalanced with the natural curiousity that sees her peering into the future. Her ears start to fill with the sounds of a steady beep… beep… beep, and she sees his eyes begin to twitch between the pale membranes of his eyelids.

That beeping is replaced by another sound. A dull roar. The white-blue light becomes brighter, becomes golden, and around her, plants begin to shiver, chains begin to sway, and the panels of glass begin vibrating in their frames. As she looks up, she sees it — a rain of fire, coming down on the slanted rooftop of the hothouse. It hits the glass, blossoms out, showering her in light and heat without the death, but at any moment, it feels as if it could shatter. She opens her mouth to yell— something— but it's a drawn out piercing, borderline operatic note that seems to hit the glass, cause cracks to run through it, threatening to explode into shards to let the fire in—


For everyone else, save for Elisabeth in her suspended state, and Eve in her dreaming, the ride is uncomfortable, boring, dark. The constant rattle of the truck is an irritant. The darkness is total. Keen ears strain for details as they go. They hear the footsteps of Hana or Logan or perhaps both pace down the aisle, even as the truck continues to drive, and then the sound of that eighth empty casket slide open. The two outside exchange some low words, of which only Peter can make out the jist— a "see you on the other side" from Logan, among others — and then the casket sliding shut, concealing one of them within. The heaviness of the steps coming away from it indicates that it was the slighter of the two left behind.

More sounds filter in, soon. Mechanical, droning. The sounds of construction, mainly, as they leave the wasteland and enter civilisation. Now, a coldness starts to join them. What was once uncomfortably stagnant, slightly warm air suddenly dips in temperature, an uncomfortable chill that slides beneath their clothes and makes their muscles twitch and shiver down their back.

The truck stops. After hardly a minute, the truck starts again.

The cold does not alleviate as they continue, but it doesn't intensify either, the natural warmth of their bodies countering against that momentary refrigeration. The drive is slower, with more turns and twists, and they can imagine that they've entered the Outer District proper, now navigating roads as opposed to the blasted remains of the New Jersey landscape. Finally, they stop again, brakes whining.

Followed then by the sound of a door casket opening. And another. Each one opens in turn, greeted by John Logan in his uniform in the semi-dark of the truck interior. The backdoor of the truck is still closed, and all they see are the shining surfaces of the caskets, and the low glow of the interior light. As they start to emerge, they all hear it at the same time. From the casket that Eve was placed, there's a long, drawn out scream, muffled through her still-closed door.

Stretching as he gets out of his own coffin (cause that’s what it felt like), Eli looks around for a moment as he adjusts his arms, but then that scream is heard. Where there was one Eli, there are suddenly three as they all move together to get to the screaming voice, moving to get it open even if they don’t quite know how. It’s not too hard to figure it out. Eve’s ever loyal companion is going to be there to help as soon as it is opened. “What happened?” all three ask on top of each other, not giving an accusing glance at anyone at least.

Because he knows that sometimes she wakes up screaming, better than most people might, and he’s usually there to slap her back into awareness if she needs it. And he’ll do it here.

Not the best way to adjust from that long, uncomfortable trip.

As Peter emerges from his confinement, he's quick to pull himself up to his feet and give one uncomfortable look back at his former prison. Eve’s scream is dull in the back of his mind at first, mixes with too many industrial sounds echoing in ways he never felt with this ability in the Wasteland. He sees Logan, sees the other stow-aways, but noticed a conspicuous absence among the present: Hana.

Wireless' disappearance rests ill at ease in the back of Peter’s mind as he gives a confused look to Logan, then to Eli. Peter doesn't need to crowd her, so he stands somewhat helplessly as he tries to make sense of his new surroundings.

Eve's screams are cut off as Eli rushes to her side and the redhead grips his arm hard as milk white irises fade back to doe brown, "She's.. there's.." Her brow furrows and she tilts her head in confusion, no no no. Hellfire. "Hellfire. It's going to rain down." Whispering softly as she buries her face into one of the Eli's chests.

"Paw print tracks, paw print tracks, pawprinttracks." Rocking back and forth the seer's eyelids flutter as she clings to the replicator. It will take a moment but she will return to herself. A twitch in her jaw, the echoes resounding loudly in her head. The sound of destruction and fire.

There's a fine sheen of sweat over Odessa's face when her casket is opened and she's freed from the confined space. She's ghostly pale and looks like she could use a good night of rest, but they all know those aren't going to come easily for as long as they're in the domed city.

When Elisabeth's casket is open, the time manipulator makes her way to her on shaky legs, reaching out to cup the other woman's face as she brings her back into temporal step with the rest of them. She meets the resumed panic with assurance. "Sshhhh. We've made it. You're safe. No closed spaces." Her hand moves from Elisabeth's cheek to squeeze her hand reassuringly instead. "We're all okay."

Even if Eve Mas is screaming.

It isn't until Odessa is free and the doors open that Elisabeth is loose from the timestopped bubble. For the blonde, it's a blink of an eye and her heart is still jackhammering in panic but everyone is moving around. John Logan is not exactly a comforting sight, and then there is screaming. Eve's surrounded and Liz can hear what she's saying but it doesn't make sense to her. Paw prints? What?

She holds Odessa's hand in a vice grip for a long moment, getting her wits about her as she automatically throws a wide one-way silence bubble around the truck's bed so as not to have Eve's screaming bring guards down on us. It doesn't impede Peter's senses — he should be able to feel the barrier, though. Their sound within the truck are stopping basically right at the walls of the truck's cargo compartment, though all the sound from outside make it inside just fine.

"Oh, lord," Kaydence mumbles under her breath, drowned out by that scream from their supposedly fearless leader. Eli (plural) has it under control, as expected, and she keeps her distance. As much as she can in the small space they occupy, anyway. Instead of focusing on that, she catches Logan's forearm and gives it a squeeze, holding his gaze for a moment. The gratitude may be silent, but it's there. And there's no need to say she owes him.

In the gloom of the truck interior, Logan's eyes are bright points of green light, focused now on where Eli has gathered Eve into his arms. Tension has gathered up and down Logan's neck and shoulders even as that shrill, muffled scream has been replaced with whispered muttering, and close confines means that all hear the echoes of Eve's dreams through her utterances.

He looks to Kaydence as she puts her hand on his arm, distractible and dimly unsettled, but acknowledgment for her gratitude is there — subtle, in the twinge of micromuscles that relax his sharp expression some.

"Keep her — keep all of them — quiet." He raises his voice, some, gathering attention. "If you do anything to draw attention to yourselves — if you get in trouble, if you seem out've place, if you so much as garner a second glance, you're done. The world's a lot smaller in here, and they're brisk about weeding out any sign of trouble. So keep your heads down and mouths shut until further notice."

Moving out comes quickly — the back of the truck rolling open, Logan leading the way. Hana has, at some point between here and now, gone her own way without explanation, the unit that had held her while they passed through the barrier kept open and empty. Stepping out from the truck comes with the smell of water and stone, a subterranean scent mingled with a sharper note of exhaust fumes as they enter the an underground basement space, other similar looking vehicles of that matte black and streamlined angles lined up and idle.

This last leg of the journey feels as dark and inexplicable as the rest, down through a concrete hallway, up concrete stairs, around a concrete corner, and then quite suddenly, with a beep and click of a door — they're outside.

High noon daylight comes down as harsh, but only due to the darkness they'd been stowed within for the better part of two hours. Under the open day, the curvature of the Dome above is all but invisible, save for the quality of the light that seems to diffuse ever so, scattering across its barrier. They find themselves in some backstreet, the air full of distant noise — mechanical groans, a constant droning hum of generators, the occasional roar of an engine revving and dying. A rumble travels up through the soles of their shoes, and turning to the exit of the backstreet, a huge shape glides by at a hover, of that same black metal composite. A truck, its passing rattling the bones of the buildings around it, the sight of tree logs strapped and secured to its back visible for a second or two until it passes by completely.

It's replaced, a minute later, by another vehicle — ordinary, in comparison to what they've seen before, a scratched up looking van without much in the way of distinguishing markers. It parks just in view, engine idling. The driver doesn't emerge, but they hear the sound of its front door swinging open, and closing.

This is sign enough for Logan, who tilts his head towards it, looking back at the group. "Your ride."

No explanation as to where they go next. It's very possible that he has no idea, himself.

Stepping out into the street proper, whatever section of Staten Island this used to be has been taken over by warehouses and loading docks, everything industrial and scrapped together and ugly. Catching a glimpse of the interior, those familiar with the geography of this place, from whence they came, see how much of the woodlands have been decimated with logging, using every available resource within to survive.

And there, beyond the barren rise of the topography, a city has sprouted where there was none that they remember. Buildings rise like knives from the ground, and more follow, wreathed in scaffolding. In the hazy noon, it's harder to see, but lights and motion glimmer from the city, and just visible to Eve, she sees a woman's face glide across the the gleaming surface of one of the buildings, a projection of a young woman with blonde hair and haughty cheekbones and cattish eyes.

Gone again, steel and glass reflecting only diffused sunlight, and then none as they enter the van, closed away once again in shadows and metal. The engine growls, and carries them blindly further into the hothouse for their next and final destination.

The serpent's trail has taken them this far. Where they go next in Eden is up to them.

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