Betrayal in Three Acts


amato_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Betrayal in Three Acts
Synopsis Faced with the end of the world, Amato conspires with Odessa to rebuild it in an image contrary to the one Kazimir is attempting to craft.
Date January 13, 2009

Eagle Electric

The Overture

Even without Kazimir Volken's mirrors, light and shadow have plenty of room to play in Eagle Electric. Work lamps cast a relatively dim light which is reflected not in mirrors, but the glass surfaces of beakers, flasks, tubes, and all other manner of scientific lab equipment. The glow of computer screens adds to the ambiance of the scene, proof that whatever midnight oil has been burning has not entirely been in vain.

Perhaps at some point long ago, a younger Amato Salucci envied his Master, wishing to share certain aspects of the man he followed so devoutly. One is displayed here tonight, though perhaps not entirely intentionally. The soft click of the heels on Amato's leather shoes hearlds his entrance into the warehouse, though his dark silhouette is barely seen in the darkness outside the laboratory's intimate circle of sorts. With his gloved hands before him, fingers laced and thumbs arched and pressed together, the Conscience of Kazimir - the Architect of the Work - appears like a pillar of coal at first. It is only when the light hits him, revealing the straw of his hair, the pale skin of his drawn face, and the blood red of his tie, that he appears to me more human and less apparition. Icy eyes survey the equipment he has not seen set up until now, squinting as he judges it. This is the key to their success, no matter what else lies in their arsenal: the very spade that shall dig the Garden of Eden anew.

Odessa's head snaps to the side when the shadow enters the corners of her vision. At first, she shrinks back, frightened that that silhouette belongs to someone else. Her work, kept separate from Mohinder's for the moment, is abandoned in favour of finding out who's come to call. When the man steps into the light and she can see that it's Amato Salucci, the blonde relaxes a fraction. He is, however, Kazimir's most faithful. This makes him a continued danger. "To what do I owe the pleasure?" she asks quietly.

And so begins the first Act.

The greeting demonstrates a distinct change in demeanor in comparison to his last encounter with the woman, and so he cannot help but smile the smallest bit. Any further display of satisfaction is repressed; there is business to conduct, after all.

"I have come on behalf of the one whose will you carry out," Amato states with a lifting of his eyebrows as he begins to circle around Odessa on his way toward her equipment. "Tell me, Doctor Knutson. Are you fully aware of the implications of your work? The effect that it will have on the world?"

Delicate shoulders hunch forward under the circling scrutiny. Odessa never fully turns around to look as Amato passes behind her, only shrinking into herself further. "What does the Master ask for this time?" Pale lips press together. Things were so much easier when she only had to look out for herself. When he asks his question, her apprehension only grows, "I know what effects he thinks my work will have on the world. He thinks I can eradicate the Evolved."

But the good doctor's initial question goes unanswered in favor of another from Amato. He dips his head in acknowledgment of her answer, accepting it. His hands stay in front of him, as if the only actively mobile parts of him were his head to express and legs to move. "But you, I, and our Master all know that the evils of this world, in its current state, are not the fault of the Evolved alone. Sin exists among all who walk this place, no matter what form they take.

"So I ask you, Doctor Knutson, what would a world given a third chance to satisfy the Creator require in order to have the best chances of success? What were the first man and woman missing that cost them their own?"

"I don't like playing your games, Amato," Doctor Knutson murmurs half-heartedly. There's no fire in her now. "I don't have the answers to your cryptic questions. I am telling you, though, if Kazimir wants his virus in the time frame he's given, it will kill everyone indiscriminately. It will be a plague that will make the Black Death look like a mild outbreak of influenza." And still, her pleas aren't as impassioned as they could be. They've fallen on deaf ears for far too long.

"And those who manage to survive will be like crying babes amongst the ravaged remains."

Act II

There is a compassion in Amato's voice that was not there when he first spoke to Odessa, or any time he has ever spoken to her, for that matter. His face takes on the sort of kindly expression one might expect of a local priest hearing the plight of a parishioner. "I am here to pass along a new directive, Doctor. A number of antidotes are to be made in order to ensure this new garden has caretakers - those who would nurse it and those remaining back into the ideal they fell from so long ago. Every child needs a parental figure - one whom they can look up to and model themselves after. Without which, one inevitably descends into chaos."

"Who's to have the antidote?" It's an inevitable question. Who would be chosen to foster this new world Kazimir Volken wants to create? "Who are we to decide who lives and who dies?" Odessa finds herself certain that she won't be one of the chosen few to be gifted the decimated world.

And inevitable question that Amato has prepared himself for - he bows his head, shaking it as he frowns. "I am afraid that even I do not know all of the intricate intentions of our Master's heart. I do know that we will be informed of his decision in time. I am to retrieve the injections and delivered them prior to the execution of the final steps." He smiles, tilting his head to one side as if this were polite cocktail chatter rather than a discussion over potentially inescapable and undoubtedly painful death. "I assure you that our Master is pleased with your recent work - it is promising, and despite…certain tangents, I am sure you are to be rewarded. After all, in comparison to many others whose contributions have been vital, our own have been much larger. Master Volken is one who rewards those who are deserving. Trust me."


"Why should I trust you?" Odessa's dark blue eyes fix on Amato's face, serious and frightened all the same. "You haven't liked me from the start. Why should I believe I'll be rewarded in any fashion other than possibly a swift death, rather than to languish with disease?" She's unable to hold his gaze for long. It's too telling to let her see her doubt.

"Who should you trust, Odessa?" Amato has never used the woman's given name before, and he approaches her as he does now, though he still keeps a comfortable distance. There is no need to spook her, after all. "Sylar, the man who brought you in to this fold of arguably dark-fleeced sheep, is gone - swallowed as a vessel for our Master - a fate that he was aware of from the very beginning." Or so Amato had been led to believe. "So many have lied for their own, personal gains. But I have never parted my lips to spin you a deceit, Odessa. I have never lied to you." His face is as steady as the moon, though shrouded in clouds as if in mourning, above, his eyes like twin, stalwart stars.

"And you serve the man that stole Sylar from me," Odessa responds with no shortage of venom. "You protect his interests. You further his Work." The girl begins to tremble with rage bubbling just beneath her surface. "I could kill you. I could give him a taste of this tremendous loss of mine. I'd be merciful. You'd never know what hit you before you dropped to the floor." She's barely restrained, fingers twitching agitatedly. "You may never have lied, but I still have no reason to trust me. Give me a reason to trust you. Give me a reason to let you live."

"I can give you hope."

There is a silence after Amato's initial statement, his own steady expression shifting to one of simple peace. "But, as it would be foolish for me to divulge that hope before I had some assurance you would not indeed kill me, thus ending your own life rather prematurely indeed, it is wise to keep such knowledge that I have to myself. Wouldn't you agree?"

"You're playing me for a fool," she assesses. "I'm not stupid." It's a struggle to keep her breathing even, but Odessa clenches her teeth in time with the resolve she calls upon. "If you can give me this hope you promise, I won't kill you."

Amato nods, then moves his hands to rub his palms together, taking a deep breath. He then reaches one out in an attempt at a comforting gesture - touching his hand to the woman's shoulder - before he begins.

"I can assure you," he says, his voice an impassioned whisper, "that at this point in time, part of the man that was Sylar, not his body, but rather something more akin to his soul, is alive. I can give you the hope that there is a chance, with as passion and will your…friend had, he will be able to fight back against the oppressive force within him that is Kazimir Volken."

"Why are you telling me this?" Odessa allows the hand on her shoulder, though she stiffens beneath the touch. "So he can fight back. That doesn't mean it's what you want to happen." She pauses, studying those usually stoic features. "What do you want from me?"

"Of all the Evolved on this planet that have plagued it with death, Kazimir Volken is as guilty as any." Amato's lips curl both in passion but also the meaning of his words. Denouncing his Master isn't something that he does easily. "The world he is creating is not one he was meant to occupy himself - know that. Despite whatever last minute ploys he may use, that was never part of the plan. If you are to save the vessel Sylar possesses, let it be with your own hand, and not one that he puppets."

Amato takes a deep breath then and withdraws his hand. "I want you to do what you have been brought here to do. I want you to ensure that ten can and will survive, using an antidote you create that will shield them. You, Doctor Knutson, are to be the one that will slaughter so many lambs that we may paint our doorposts."

"Ethan gets an antidote," Odessa demands adamantly. "And Wu-Long, too. Whether you choose to spare me or not, they are two of the ten." She bites her lip so hard she nearly draws blood rather than allow it to tremble with emotion. From anger to sorrow so quickly. Maybe she can't choose between them. But maybe she'll never have to.

"Should you keep the purity of the Work intact and not allow this new world to include Kazimir - if you give your friend the strength to overcome that which have invaded him before allowing him access to this lamb's blood or knowledge to this night, I shall entrust you with six of Israel's twelve tribes, assuming you already plan to paint the doorposts of your own house…along with the house of one other." And no - Amato will not presume to know whose. He has already risked and assumed too much by coming here and making such requests.

With a newfound purpose, Odessa straightens up to her full height, unimpressive as it may be. "It will be done. Now leave me. There is much work to be done." Without further fanfare, Doctor Knutson turns back to her equipment and experiments. Time waits for no man. But tonight, it will wait for her.


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