Awake My Soul



Scene Title Awake My Soul
Synopsis Luther prepares himself for the day of the memorial and President Petrelli's speech in Midtown. "Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow." — Dorothy Thompson
Date November 8, 2011

Skinny Brickfront

How fickle my heart and how woozy my eyes

Waking up in a bed will be an alien feeling for the rest of time. It's not an unwanted feeling, but the feel of a fabric with higher thread count than sandpaper grit – than a grainy, concrete dust covered cardboard box stuffed with last week’s news – has been the highlight of Luther’s recent stay in the skinny brickfront building where Redbird continues its operations. But. To be continued?

The teams left days ago. Their mission objectives beyond time and distance for what the prodigal janitor would join in. They’ve gone to Alaska to stop the plot of a madman version of his boss from the future – a future - trying to send a message to the past. They’ve gone to Cambridge to free innocents, men, women, children, from being lab experiments at the hands of an institution filled with the most evil of motives: good intentions. Or something like that.

I struggle to find any truth in your lies

Though he hasn’t done much smiling given the current state of the world, there has been plenty of nodding on Luther’s part the past few days. Catching conversations in passing, staying in the background to let the big guns do their polishing. Instead, he recalls that he’s been charged with a different task. Whatever Cardinal has spent the past (and will spend in the future, likely) months worrying over like a starving dog on a tired bone hasn’t really come up in Luther’s present reality. Until now. Like a meteor falling, the impact is bound to crash headlong into the road of his life.

That certainly wasn’t how he and Richard Cardinal met, though the meeting was no less impactful than a meteor strike. They’d met in the abandoned rubble and devastation of Midtown.

"Keep an eye out for anything by a Doctor Edward Ray… he was a researcher from MIT. Interesting guy."

If Luther had to say, Richard Cardinal was definitely, an interesting guy.

Cursed, some would say, to live in interesting times.

And now my heart stumbles on things I don’t know

My weakness I feel I must finally show

Slowly, steadily as the sun’s light peeks in from the thinning glass window panes, Luther pushes up from the soft curvature of the mattress to an upright sit, scrubbing a hand over the greying stubble. When he and Monica visited her son from the future – from the same future as the mad boss-man, another concept worthy of the scratching of chins - he'd borrowed a mirror from J.J. for a trim. But that was what, a week ago? The persistent shadow on his jaw twists with a yawned sigh. He stands to tread the few steps to the window and looks out to the light creeping over the cityscape. A phrase lurks in dark subconscious depths and bubbles to the surface as the shadow of sleep fades to wakefulness.

"And there will be riots."

Like the many days leading up to this one, a frown creeps up on the edge of his mouth as Luther stares into the bathroom mirror and examines his features: a light but healthy pallor to his skin despite having been on the streets, crow’s feet scratching their marks around his eyes showing at some point in his life he had enjoyed it, and natural, deep folds in his brow from all the furrowing it has done over four decades. It’s a face he’s not used to seeing, though today… today he takes a long, hard look into the mirror. The words ride out from his tongue on a roughshod clip, but stay in the saddle. “Focus,” he utters, willing the tension down from his forehead, smoothing out the wrinkle cutting in between his brow. He rolls back his upper shoulders, straightening to that full 6-foot-3 height he’s hardly had any reason to display in the past five years. Luther looks himself straight in the eye.

"Don't fuck up. Today of all days. Focus."

Har har, har har, har har, har har…

A portable radio set to a local news station drabbles on about preparations for the unveiling of the Midtown Ground Zero Memorial and President Petrelli’s afternoon speech that are underway. Luther sips a cup of coffee and pokes at a simple, yet compared to his recent past luxurious, breakfast for himself laid out on a plate. Eggs over easy. Buttered toast. Bacon. It’s practically a Grand Slam.

Beside his plate, a set of yellow legal pad notes and a file folder sits open with a few hastily printed photos off of some registry. Mugshots. A few names as well, some to match the photos and some without. Amid Halebi and Sylar, watch for them. Luther’s eyes narrow at the photos as he chews, feeling the pressure mounting.

Remember, security detail. Frontline's on the good team. It’s the president who's the asshole.

Last minute studying for a final exam to a class where he didn’t attend the lecture. The folder flips closed. If it comes down to something truly terrible needing to be stopped, he'll have to wing it. He’ll have to…

Lend me your hand and we’ll conquer them all

But lend me your heart and I’ll just let you fall

The brisk November morning chill has little effect for a man whose power makes him his own heatsink. But even a man who can absorb energy to convert it into inner body heat could use a beanie and a peacoat (by now, properly laundered). By force of habit, hands slide into pockets and hunched posture returns as he walks down the street. His path isn’t meandering from the ultimate destination of the memorial of Ground Zero, but he’s got a few stops on the way.

He crosses a footpath that runs over a bridge in north Central Park, retracing steps from an old memory. The memory of waking up underneath the stone and brick, half in the water and half out, stark naked with the world on fire. When the Bomb struck, he’d been down in a sub level basement and when he emerged, it was the apocalypse. It was Hell. He felt like he was on fire. There’s a handprint on the underside of the bridge burned into the concrete. His hand. Luther reaches up to cover it.

His own silent memorial.

Lend me your eyes I can change what you see

But your soul you must keep, totally free

If traffic was bad before the bomb, and even worse after the bomb, then today’s traffic is at a fever pitch with the five year anniversary of it. Luther takes a roundabout route to get through to Midtown anyway, slipping through alleys, side streets, and shadows to avoid the construction. And checkpoints.

So many checkpoints now.

In a way, he's grateful his van and meager belongings have found an abandoned spot on Staten Island to live the rest of its days, no longer a factor of mobile liability. He watches a couple of NYPD officers as they direct drivers through a bottleneck, checking IDs and waving some one way, others another. Behind them, a couple of other officers who look like they're dressed and ready for a riot. Not one person's expression looks light. Resolute might be a better word. Accepting. This is the way the world is now.

Luther tugs his beanie a little tighter, hunches, and turns down an alley as an officer waves a passenger-less taxi through down the street.

In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die

Where you invest your love, you invest your life

The crowd is gathering, the press of people in an already densely packed city making the sidewalk space even more a premium than usual. The advantage of his height is only to afford a slightly better view of the podium with the presidential seal and an array of microphones and AV equipment set up to broadcast the event to local and national news.

He can feel the knot in his throat stopping the churning in his stomach from getting too out of hand as he looks around at the people, looks up at the destruction and construction surrounding the area. The creases in his brow return, as does his hunch. It’s all he can do as he scans the surroundings, looking for the things his file and notes had said to look for. What he’s not looking for, is a fight. But Luther’s gaze narrows with every murmur of the crowd, paranoia meeting with diligence, with alertness. Waiting for things to turn… interesting.

A fleeting thought wanders into his mind. How are the others doings?

He squashes the anxious energies, turning it into a slight rocking back and forth on his toes and heels.

The throng stirs, many heads turning restlessly, like a wide plain of grass bending to winds of change.

Awake my soul, awake my soul

For you were meant to meet your maker

You were meant to meet your maker

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