As Above, So Below


odessa2_icon.gif richard4_icon.gif

Scene Title As Above, So Below
Synopsis Some roads are circular.
Date February 7, 2020

The Last Road

The time since Watler Renautas’ departure has been spent mostly in quiet contemplation of the revelations laid out before them. Richard Ray and Odessa Price lay together on top of the covers of one of the two beds in the motel room she’s rented for their reunion. It did not go at all the way she’d hoped for.

Her back pressed to his chest, Odessa stares at the wall in front of her pensively. She’s been doing that for roughly the last two hours. Finally, however, she speaks, because she has to. “I asked you to meet me for more than just… Facetime,” she tells Richard in a voice thick from disuse and from previous tears.

When physical contact can be dangerous, and your reunion is interrupted by revelation after revelation given by Richard’s most enigmatic and unpredictable agent, things have gone quite far astray from the original intention of the meeting no doubt.

He’s been trying to keep calm since, trying to make sure one of the two entities within him don’t lash out in a misguided attempt to protect their host. At least he understands that much, now.

“I figured you wanted to talk about the whole, you know,” he murmurs, “Escaping from prison thing.”

“Yeah.” The mattress creaks in protest as Odessa shifts her weight. She only gets so far as her back before she abandons the mission, however. Now, it’s the ceiling that’s the focus of her stare.

The sound of her drawing in a breath punctures the silence and serves as a prelude to what she has to say. “I… guess it was Mazdak,” she starts with. “PISEC had us working on a way to kill Adam.” Odessa trails off, and while her eyes stay on the ceiling, they roam slightly to the right, vaguely in Richard’s direction.

“That’s… not surprising.” Richard leans back a bit, still on his side as he watches her, one hand and elbow propping his head up, the other gloved hand resting on his hip.

“Either of those, really. Were they trying to kill you all, or capture you?”

Now she’s looking past the ceiling. Her chest feels tight. “They killed Schwenkman.” Blue eyes close and lips part around a sound that never quite escapes her throat except as a quiet gasp. “Maybe that’s for the best,” she tries to convince herself. “I think he might have killed me himself if he’d been able to get his hands on me.”

Which perhaps requires some explanation, though it isn’t likely to require much. The list of people who’d like to kill Odessa is quite lengthy. “I was sabotaging the project.”

There’s silence for a few long moments from Richard, and then he rolls onto his back as well, a sigh exhaled from his lips and one hand coming up to rub over his face. “Good,” he says quietly, “Schwenkman was a fucking monster. He made Pete look sympathetic. If Mazdak got their hands on them we’d really have been in trouble.”

He grunts slightly, “What was their oh-so-genius plan to kill Monroe?”

“How differently we saw Rich,” Odessa murmurs, providing a dissenting opinion without intent to spark argument. This is definitely a subject they can agree to disagree on. Whether one of them is right or wrong doesn’t change the man’s deeds and won’t bring him back.

She doesn’t even give her opinion on Pete Varlane.

That could also be dissenting.

“It… doesn’t matter. It was immoral. In the wrong hands — hell, even in the right ones — it had the capacity to kill so many people. There was no earthly way to target just Monroe.” Odessa shakes her head. “I… Luther told me I should do what I could to make sure I wouldn’t be used again. And… I’m not sure that isn’t exactly what was happening. I don’t think what we were doing was strictly what they said it was for.”

Odessa falls silent, sucking her bottom lip between her teeth a moment. “Before you ask, I don’t have a copy of the research. And even if I did have it, it wouldn’t be of any use to anyone anyway. There’s only two people who could decipher it and put it back together into something that makes sense. I’m only one part of that.”

There’s silence for a moment… and then Richard breathes out a quiet laugh without any real humor in it, hand pressing against his forehead. “Christ. They were making a bioweapon, weren’t they…? As above, so fucking below— Monroe was building one too. He had Shedda Dinu steal Gorgon and try to modify it to target only non-expressives. It was an Advent descendant. Pretty fucking nasty.”

“I just love that everyone is always trying to destroy the fucking world around us, no matter what side they’re on…”

“Like from the war,” Odessa says of Gorgon. It probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that she’d be familiar with it. “That’s not one of mine,” she feels the need to qualify. Of her many sins, that was not one of them.

“Do you think I’ve joined them?”

“The Mitchell administration was developing it during the war… we wiped out that lab, but the CDC kept a sample, because of course they did,” Richard observes with scorn in his voice, “It was originally intended to kill all Evolved, Monroe wanted it the other way around.” He doesn’t say how that went.

At the question, he’s silent for a few moments before answering.

“No. If you had, they would’ve used you to get me. Not Nathalie.”

The way Odessa would like to respond to that is very unkind indeed. Not because it has any particular barb or edge to its sentiment, but because it assumes a certain lack of devotion on his part. That is, she doubts he would have come for her if he’d heard she was in danger. But he’s been through enough. He doesn’t need to coddle her fragile sense of self-worth.

“I had the chance to go with them,” she explains instead. “I could have gone with them and… I don’t know. I don’t know what would have come next. I’m nothing to an outfit like Mazdak.” Because they don’t know the truth about her. Or, she expects, if they had, she wouldn’t have been given a choice about whether or not to accompany the Mazdak escort.

“But they were sent to kill Mohinder.” It’s then that Odessa finally makes the effort to turn the rest of the way, propping herself up on one elbow to regard him before she finally draws herself up to sit and watch him as she gathers her thoughts. “I couldn’t let that happen.”

“Really?” Richard turns his head to look back to her, his brow furrowing in surprise, “But you two hate each other.”

It’s true, after all. And he knows full well that she’s capable of letting people she doesn’t care about die.

“No, Richard,” Odessa corrects, her voice soft. “I hate how small Mohinder makes me feel. I hate the way he treats me. I…” It’s surprisingly self-aware of her to say. “I hate that I think he’s right about me. But I respect Doctor Suresh. He was my mentor for years. Everything I ever wanted to be in my field.”

A rueful smile breaks out across Odessa’s face. “I am nothing if not a great disappointment once again.” She doesn’t even begin to dispute that she gave Mohinder plenty of reason to hate her.

“I don’t think he’s right about you, Odessa. And I think… honestly, I think Mohinder is disappointed in himself and he takes it out on you because the two of you made some of the same poor decisions,” Richard says quietly, watching her, “He’s not perfect either.”

“His midgame is abysmal for example.”

“For someone who has every reason not to blame himself for the choices he had to make…” Odessa lets that trail off. They’re both acutely aware of Mohinder’s propensity for self-loathing. “I thought maybe things were on the mend, but he was—”

There’s a quiet growl of frustration that comes with Odessa sliding her fingers into her red hair, curling them into fists. “He was playing the martyr.” Her hands relax, only to ball up again. “Woe is Mohinder.

Where has she heard that before? The sentiment rings familiar to Richard in some fashion he can’t explain.

“I— might have made it look like I was going to kiss him and then punched him in the head instead so I could try to get him out of there.” Odessa at least has the grace to look sheepish about it. “In my defense, not even close to one of my worst choices, but definitely not one of my betters either.”

“No, yeah, that all tracks,” Richard breathes out a faint chuckle, “That sounds entirely like him, all the way across the board…”

He shifts an arm under his head, frowning at the ceiling, “Why did they want to kill him, though? I mean, he’s not— exactly high up on the priority list of anyone right now, that seems like an unusual choice.”

“Well, if I had to hazard a guess…” Slowly, Odessa is starting to perk up. There’s more liviliness to her speech now. More animation. “I’d say it’s at least one part revenge for being even unwittingly part of the plot to try and kill us all.


“As to the rest…” Her face lights up, a broad smile coming across her face. “Well, Mohinder’s got some thoughts on that himself. That’s really why I’m here.” She leans forward as though sharing in some exciting conspiracy. (For her, that’s almost assuredly exactly what this all is.) “He wants to go back to Manhattan.

There’s a moment of pause. Right.


Leave it to the Wizard of Oz fanatic to believe in the magic of a place so utterly boring. “He says this whole thing is about control of information, and he’s probably even right.” Odessa sighs and lets her gaze drift toward the ceiling with a sort of dreamy expression. “He’s so smart.”


Richard’s brow knits in confusion as he turns his head to look back at her, “He wants to go to the bunker? I mean, it’s still producing music, but we’ve installed the quantum radio array there, if he shows up he’ll be picked up by Raytech security in like three seconds.”

“The fuck is he thinking?”

“Oh, he’s not planning to go alone.” Odessa leans forward, brows lifted toward her hairline. “You’re supposed to go with him.” She smiles. “Probably.” If anyone can call off security, it’s the boss, after all.

“He said he wants to make recordings.” The smile fades a little. She’s got no better insights into Mohinder’s mind, frankly. Whether or not she knows him better than Richard does at this point remains to be seen. Life at the Company was a lifetime ago. “He must know something that Mazdak doesn’t want anyone else to know. I don’t know why it has to be there, but he seemed adamant.”

“Jesus H Christ.”

Richard smacks a hand back over his face, and sighs, “Fine. Does he have a way to get there? I can meet him there, because I have a jet. If it must be at the damn bunker. Did he bury a bunch of tapes in the backyard or something?”

Slowly, Odessa’s shoulders creep toward her ears, hands splayed out in front of her. S h r u g! “I mean, Silas might be able to get him past the Safe Zone border. Maybe even as far as here. Right now, the government should think he’s dead. They may not be looking for him.” Which means that might buy them some time before facial recognition pings on CCTVs come to bite them in the ass.

“I’d help, but…” That energy drains away in an instant, swallowed up by her sadness again. “He wants me nowhere near him, and that’s probably for the best anyway.”

“Wait, Silas?” Richard’s brow could not furrow more without causing his skin actual damage at this point. “What does Silas have to do with any of this? Scruffy guy, sneaky as fuck? MacKenzie?”

There’s a moment where Odessa clearly panics about having just revealed more than she intended to about her connections. Not because she doesn’t trust Richard, but because it’s probably safer for everyone involved if all that stays compartmentalized. Finally, she smile slowly in that way that clearly communicates whoops!

“That’s the one! We knew each other! Kind of. Back in the day?”

Silas wasn’t in this timeline back in the day.

“Don’t worry about it!” Odessa waves a dismissive hand through the air between them.

“There was no back in the day,” Richard replies, shifting to sit up more, eyebrows going up, “What are you doing with one of my operatives?”


Why does nobody send me reports anymore? Jesus Christ have I just been— have I just fucking been sitting on my ass while all of this was going on?” He rakes a hand back through his hair, turning his head to stare at the window.

Yeah. Basically, he was. To be fair, the witches tricked him into it.

“No!” Odessa is quick to assure. “Of course not! So, like, it’s not me who knows him, but the other me?” She’s hoping he understands what that means. He watched her struggle with dreams and visions of other versions of herself for years, after all. “My head’s kind of a jumbled mess,” she admits.

“He only picked me up yesterday. He had nothing to do with the break-out. He’s just… giving me a place to lay low until I figure out what I’m going to do.”

Which brings them back to the subject at hand. “Mohinder thought we should turn ourselves in. And… I think he’s right. We probably should. But now, now he wants to go to the bunker,” she babbles. “I can’t keep running forever. Everything catches up to me eventually. It’s better when it’s on my own terms, you know?”

“Fuck. What have I been doing, have I really…”

Richard trails off, and then draws in a deep breath, looking back over with a faint smile, one hand sliding closer on the bed. But not touching her, even with the glove on. He doesn’t want to risk it if he can help it.

“You’re right, yes. I’ll— see about getting you some collateral to buy yourselves some relief with,” he says quietly, “Let me know when and where he wants to meet…”

He glances back to the window, frowns again, and then swings his legs off the bed and pushes up to his feet, stepping to the door, “I’ll be back in a second.”

“Richard…” Watching him work things out isn’t always the easiest task, because he tends to jump to the conclusion that he’s failed in some way. At least, that’s by Odessa’s estimations. “Don’t beat yourself up just because I play my own cards close to my vest.”

So close, she may as well have the Queen of Hearts shoved into her bra.

The door closes behind him, and then there’s the sound of a car door opening… and it closes a minute later, followed by his return.

“I’m so fucking out of practice, Christ, I don’t even have any real operatives in the field anymore, just…” Richard grimaces, turning the satellite phone he’s holding on, the chunk antenna adjusted as he tries to get a signal. It’ll take a minute or two, those things are finicky.

“It’s not just you, Odessa. Even after I realized things were happening again, I was so slow to respond…”

For a minute, she’s afraid he’s planning to leave. Not that she would find much grounds on which to blame him. When the door opens again, it’s clear she’s been staring pensively at the wall for the length of time he’s been gone. Her head snaps up suddenly, as if startled from her reverie.

“It’s not your responsibility,” Odessa tells him, blue eyes filled with worry for the way he’s talking. “You’re not The Shadow. You aren’t the savior of the city.” Of the world. “You’re Richard Ray, a man who can do a lot of good, but… still a man.”

For all that he’s had some extraordinary gifts forced on him.

“It can’t keep falling on your shoulders. It’s not sustainable.” Odessa shakes her head. “And… You aren’t the only piece in play. You can’t expect—” She sighs heavily. “None of what I’m saying is helpful.” So, she’ll stop trying. For now.

“I am just a man. But I’m a man who sees what’s going on, who always has, and I’ve… had my eyes closed for so long,” says Richard quietly, “And then I only had one eye open. I was looking at Eileen, I was looking at Adam, I was…”

He grimaces, “I need people I can trust, but I let too many of them slip away. Christ, Des, there are at least two Shedda moles in Raytech alone… I wasn’t looking at the board. I started to figure it out just before they took me, but I didn’t have time to really analyse it. We’ve all been manipulated, all of us…”

He starts to type into the phone, sending a message, “And fuck, I hope I’m wrong about what just occurred to me.”

Then he stares at the phone, waiting for a response.

He doesn’t wait long before getting it. His eyes widen a little, “ Fuck. Fuck. FUCK!

The last is shouted as he drops the clunky phone onto the bed and pushes up, hands sliding back over his scalp, “God damn it!”

The shouting doesn’t seem to faze Odessa, which just watches Richard spiral through this like a falling leaf caught in the breeze. “You’re still playing chess, Richard. Most of us have switched to shōgi by now.” That’s perhaps delivered a little too mildly and perhaps a little unfair.

“You are so fucking dramatic.” And she’s frankly a little bit over it. Odessa slides off the bed, grabbing the phone as she does, and padding across the room where she leans back against the wall and tries to discern he was trying to reach.

“Are you there, Kazimir?” she asks her ex-lover without looking up. “It’s me, Odessa.”

There’s no response from Richard just yet, as he stares at the window. The curtains are drawn so he doesn’t see anything, just the curtains. The fact that he doesn’t even rise to that bait may be slightly concerning.

The phone’s screen may be more enlightening.

are you still in the pnw?
i need you to get a message to claire bennet for me; she should be living with her father noah up there

dude she was kidnapped by two japanese chicks
noah and hull came out here looking for her, idk where they are right now
i'm with cyrus, we're trying to make contact but hull is off the grid.

That he doesn’t lash out at her is ultimately what gets her to glance up. But only briefly. She looks back down to the phone, scanning the messages. “Who…” Odessa presses her lips together. “Adam?” The two Japanese chicks thing would fit with what little she knows about the company he’s keeping these days.

There’s silence that passes between them as Odessa decides how much gravity to ascribe to this turn of events. Years ago, the kidnapping of Claire Bennet would have been easy to assess the motivations for. “I thought her ability had diminished.” Unsurprisingly, Odessa assumes that people are only worth as much credit as their Expressive abilities give them.

She reaches out between them, not physically, but with her other senses, trying to ascertain where he’s at emotionally. How much damage control she might be about to need to run. The phone is given an underhanded toss back across the short distance to the bed. It bounces harmlessly on the mattress just once.

“What does it mean?”

“Not Adam. Baruti,” says Richard in quiet, tight tones, “Some pink-haired bitch was the one that took me, apparently, from the security footage we got. And… yeah. Yeah, it had. A little more every year, which didn’t make any sense. I was hoping to test the SOD process on her, but I was barking up the wrong fucking tree, I…”

Emotionally? Richard is a mess. There’s an entire ocean of guilt and fear that’s flooding through his mind, broken by sharp flickers of desperation and realization as he tries to push through it. He’s very close to a breakdown, and from the feel of it, he’s been riding that edge for a few weeks now.

He turns, then, sweeping a hand in the direction where Renautus had been standing earlier. “Ishi Nakamura passed on the Catalyst to Claire when she was a baby, Des. She had it until Arthur took it from her.”

“If there’s anything left of the third conduit, she has it.”

“How can she have it if— ” Her voice hitches for a moment, as though it’s difficult to form the next sound, “— Arthur took it from her?” It’s difficult to keep her own edges from fraying as she allows herself to tap into his emotional state. It starts to show in her posture, the way the pace of her breathing quickens. She feels on the verge of a panic attack.

“You’ve got to stop this,” Odessa tells him, chest starting to heave. “Not Monroe. Not Mazdak. You have to stop taking this all on yourself.”

And it’s with wide and frightened eyes that she finally looks up to Richard again. “You’re going to become him.”

Richard draws in a slow breath, closing his eyes and straightening a little. “I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore, I just… guess. All I can do is guess, and I’m years behind everyone now,” he admits, one hand coming up to rub over his face. More guilt than one lifetime can contain, there, because he’s lived more than one lifetime.

Like she just pointed out.

His hand drops, then, and he offers her a faint smile that doesn’t have any humor to it, the sadness in his eyes deep. “Temporal inertia’s a bitch, ain’t it?”

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