Chinese Proverbs


huruma_icon.gif richard3_icon.gif

Scene Title Chinese Proverbs
Synopsis Huruma stops by to visit an old friend— but is he thinking with logic or grief?
Date June 4, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Jackson Heights is less of a walking neighborhood, and more of one that requires some wheels. Not that someone would think to harass her. Most of the people that Huruma sees on her way to Raytech's campus are men and women working hard, laborious sorts of jobs. A handful of people on a military jeep as well, guttering past. The campus is definitely nicer than its perch.

When she arrives, the motorcycle is left inside of the gate, rather than around the corner. She can see the CCTV well enough. There's not much use in creeping up. Besides, she's not entirely here to be a problem.

Scanning the lobby as she enters, Huruma finds herself tipping her eyes upward to the large Raytech emblem on the wall. Subtle. Her look is familiar, with pants tucked into riding boots and a low-cut, blood red shirt under the black jacket.

It's clear that security's a priority here; she was asked her name and business at the gate, easily navigated with Wolfhound credentials. The doors have to be opened from the inside for her, and there are two guards ever-present in the lobby. The receptionist doesn't get a chance to greet her, though, because someone's already been alerted to her arrival.

Richard did once run a security company after all. He's gotten rather good at making sure things are secure.

"Huruma," he greets as he walks into the lobby with a broad smile, wearing a black-on-black suit with a red tie, hands spreading a bit, "It's been forever."

"Doors opened for me, that is what I am used to." Huruma had not given the security a bit of grief; she even flashed a toothy smile at the men outside, though perhaps it did not go as well as intended. Her hands sit at her hips as she takes in the walls and the personnel, eyes alighting on Richard last, but not least.

"I never had the chance to pin you down at the gala," Huruma's stride eats up the space between them, and as she nears she claps a hand to the shoulder of Richard's suit. "Looking sharp."

"I saw you at it, but, well…" Richard shrugs his free shoulder, bringing up that hand to clasp Huruma's in a mirror of her own hand, a smile crooked to his lips, "You know I hate those damn things. Then there was that assassination attempt on John Logan and I figured I should get going. Maybe order a cake in case it succeeded, a thank-you card for the assassins…"

He's probably kidding.

"How've you been…? C'mon, we can go to my office, unless you're here on official business?" One brow lifts querelously. They do have business dealings with Wolfhound, after all.

"I had my own fun, John Logan's fate aside." Huruma's voice carries a coolness for that much, and it bleeds away into something more pleased. Her words are preceded by a suck at teeth "Tch! If I were here on official business, you would absolutely be able to tell."

That answers that.

"I've been well. More than I have ever been, lucky me. And you?" Huruma's reply is followed by a short, deep laugh, a brow lifting back to Richard. "Yes, show me your throne room away from home."

Richard steps first over to the desk, leaning over it to pick up a guest lanyard and offering it over. "Keeps security from triggering," he says, with very little explanation of what that means, before heading for the elevator doors just down one hallway, tapping the button for up.

"I've… well," he chuckles lowly, a hint of bitterness there, "I was doing well last year. This one… things are getting interesting. And I mean that in the chinese proverb sense."

The doors slide open, and he steps inside.

Huruma takes mental notations of the security, surmising some things and visibly glancing around for others. She slides the lanyard over her neck, one hand brushing back short hair with her nails as it falls back. His feelings give some of that bitterness away to her as they stand to wait for the elevator, and pale eyes set down on him. It's hard to shake the feeling she's always looking at you, because she usually is.

"Chinese proverb sense?" Huruma questions, slipping in after.

"The old curse… 'may you live in interesting times'." The third floor button is hit, and the elevator starts moving upwards.

Richard turns to look at her more seriously, "Someone killed Remi. There was an assassination attempt on Kaylee. Eve predicted a bunch of people coming in here to kill us all — that's why we upgraded the security to this level. The Horsemen are here, in the city, on Staten Island. Everything's turning into a huge shit-storm, Huruma."

Her entire life qualifies as 'interesting times'. He could probably say the same. Huruma's face turns to Richard as he looks to her. The emotions behind his words speak invisible truths for him, and the empath's senses reach out with casual abandon to study his state further. Huruma's features walk the line of impassive, only the tic of eyes showing her thoughts piecing together in the pregnant silence after he finishes.

Assassinations, predictions, that Biblical gobbeldy-gook again. She does not seem surprised to hear any of this.

"Eve spoke to me as well, recently. Wanted me to be prepared, I suppose. Ranting… about Adam." There is a short pause, this time around. "I calmed her down and taught her the specifics of discretion." Huruma lifts a hand to her chin, fingertips tracing over her mouth as she looks up and away. "Horsemen all the way out here, so far from home… I have already met Lazarus on Staten Island."

At the surface, Richard is emotionally exhausted. There's strain there at everything that he's been handling recently, pulled in so many different directions; beneath that surface there's anger, there's sadness, there's a deeply felt frustration.

If she pushes deeper, though, there's that cold, sharp core of determination that she remembers from the old days, from the shadow wars they fought together. And it's waking up after a long time asleep.

"She needs to learn discretion," Richard says with a flare of anger as she's mentioned, "She's already nearly gotten one person killed. And she sent Samson Gray to kill friends of mine under false reasons… fortunately he realized that and just had dinner with them instead. She's psychotic and needs serious mental care."

The door slides open with a ding and he walks out, shaking his head, "The Horsemen… they aren't back from the dead. The truth is weirder than that."

His heart and mind are being drawn and quartered by negativity. That steeled core keeps him from breaking apart. Huruma watches the point between Richard's shoulders when he takes that step ahead of her.

"She does. So did I." The dark woman's words on Eve's abilities and inability are firm, mouth tight, steps trailing Richard.

"The truth." She huffs. "And what, precisely, is that? I stood in front of Emile Danko and he—" Breath leaves her again in a seethe of her own frustration. "It felt the same, and different, I don't know."

"Then she should get it. I can only tolerate so much endangerment of the people I love before I have to deal with it somehow," says Richard grimly, "I'd rather not. We were friends once. But I will protect my people… and my family." A flicker of pain, there. He's failed in that, recently. Twice.

A card's produced, pressed to a panel on the door to his office. The door beeps softly, and he opens it, walking inside. A tiny red kitten scampers towards the door, and he smiles, leaning down to scoop him up, ruffling between his ears as he walks in.

"It's not your Emile Danko," he says quietly as he approaches his desk, "It's a different Emile Danko, one from behind the Looking Glass."

"Eve mentioned something about ''that'', too." The door closes behind, Huruma's gaze travelling over the contents of the office. Personal touches do not seem his specialty. "She did not elaborate before she was unable to explain…"

Swaying over to the desk, Huruma's hand lowers to the surface, fingers tracking along the edge. "He still knew me. Still trusted that I would not attack. He did not shoot." Her eyes are downturned, lids weighted in concentration. "We seperated. I have not seen him again, though for me, he was easy to find…"

The kitten earns a warm look from her eyes, one feline to another. "Cute. Your assistant?"

"Richelieu," Richard introduces warmly, the feline peeking up over his arms from his comfortable perch to look at Huruma and let out a querelous mewl. "Our office mascot, I suppose…" He steps over to the desk, settling down, leaning back in his chair and letting the kitten crawl over his lap.

Fingers brush over soft fur as he explains, "He knew… another Huruma. Time— something put it the most succinctly, I think. Whatever happened, happened. Somewhere, the Vanguards' virus spread over the world. Somewhere else, Operation Apollo failed, and the world flooded. Somewhere, Arthur Petrelli took over the world."

"Ordinarily these timelines, these strings, don't intersect," he explains, "But… there are ways. My mother invented one of them." The fact that the man has a mother might be news.

She watches him stroke the cat like a cartoon villain, stifling a smile in a purse of lips.

"Another me. Mhm." Sure, Jan. Huruma's eyes hood again and rather than find a seat— she perches her way onto the edge of the sleek black desk. "You speak of this as if fact. But I can tell that your heart believes it." Is that enough? She seems torn, but she has no reason to distrust him.

"In some philosophy, a spider's web is seen like that… dimensions tied together, reflected in one another. Ad infinitum. Are you seeing the web where there are strings? Perhaps we are already indivisible."

"There's been some crossover," Richard admits, his tone dry, "Maybe it is a web… if it is, I could name the strings connected to ours with a fair degree of precision. The Horsemen are from one of those strings, although I don't know which one. I was up in Sedro-Wooley with Avi, Nick, and Claire last month… and that was not the Iago I know." A slight shake of his head, "Much like Ezekiel was… they're just reflections of us through funhouse mirrors. They're possibilities that never were… here. But they were somewhere else."

He brings a hand up, rubbing against his face, "Project Looking Glass was my mother's work, back in nineteen-eight-two. It succeeded, the Company panicked. She died. They could never rebuild her work… so they scrapped it. The Institute picked up the project again, but again, they didn't succeed."

A slow breath's drawn in, tension beneath the surface at something he has to tell her, something that coils around his heart with desperate hope, "And then there was the tape."

"Somebody succeeded." Huruma murmurs, voice a dark intonation. The twitch of her mouth tugs at sharp cheekbones. "The web is Indrajala. Indra's Net. The net is a metaphor."

The tension is stared down, the full moon eyes in Huruma's face boring into it from an arm's length. A tendril reaches out to snag a piece of his tension, pulling tentatively in a subtle effort to unravel it.


"Yes. Someone succeeded. Okay, I'd prefer if you kept this part quiet…" Richard shifts, setting the kitten on the floor - where he promptly rubs against his ankles - and leaning forward, hands folding on the desk as that tug, that pull, relaxes him enough to get out with it, "…I don't want it going too far yet, although I know it's already quietly spreading. Brian's kids found an old camcorder in the sewers… there was a tape on it. There were a number of people on the tape that we recognized, although they've stated they've never been in that situation before to be taped. They were carrying out an experiment trying to breach the barrier between worlds, and from the looks of it, they were in the timeline where the Vanguard's virus took hold."

A long pause, his gaze meeting hers, "There were two people that we could identify as not coming from that timeline, the people leading the effort to get out of it. People we know. Magnes. And Liz."

Richard speaks, and Huruma listens. The kids she just saw the other day? They said nothing. She cannot help but feel offense, just as long as a pang. The rest is absorbed in silence up until he meets her eyes— and spits it out.

"…What?" Huruma's brows draw together, the word hitching on her breath. It gets a reaction, and maybe Richard needs such a thing. Validation is lovely.

There's no artifice in him at the moment, no guile or deception. Just a fierce, desperate hope. "I can only assume that between the Mallett Device that Ezekiel directed at Magnes, and the singularity that he was creating…" Richard closes his eyes, "He punched a hole between strings, and the singularity acted like a portal that dropped them there. They're alive. And they're working to get home."

Then those eyes open, and that core of steely confidence pushes closer to the surface, that conviction that he is right. "And I can tell you the time, date, and place that they'll get here."

Huruma's spine straightens, her body centering on its struts. When she looks away it is promptly out of the window. Sitting there on the edge of the desk, the angles of Richard's single framed photo soon come into focus; her face turns towards Elisabeth's.

"It …has been years, Richard." His conviction licks the surface, a rising boil of righteousness. The empath across from him narrows her eyes speculatively. "If this is the right of it… how do you know? Is this logic and reason, or is this hope from grief?"

"It has. The date on the tape was twenty-eleven," says Richard, drawing in a slow breath, "And… a little of both, perhaps. Edward's final instructions to me were to be on the top of the Deveraux Building on December twenty-fifth of this year. Eve produced a painting of that rooftop, showing a representation of the Looking Glass window with temporal, spatial, and resonant frequency coordinates that match that date. So we know that something will be coming through at that time, at that place."

He brings a hand up to rub over his face, "One of Else Kjelstrom's unpublished songs, when read carefully, seems to indicate a journey between all the local timeline strings that we've had experience with. A journey to get home."

"Merry Christmas." Huruma looks to the photo one more time. If they have really been trapped, do they know how long it has been? What happens if they come back to a place they don't recognize? If they come back at all? Her disquiet does not vocalize, though it stirs behind her eyes. Eve's warnings ring in her ears.

"And if it is not them?"

"Then I'm wrong," Richard says with a shrug, "Then someone else, or something else comes through. I certainly don't plan to be standing on that rooftop alone — I'm hopeful, I'm not a fucking idiot. If it's another invasion sortie like the Horsemen, we have to be ready for it. If I'm wrong, then I'm wrong, and I'll mourn her all over again."

"But I don't think I am."

Sometimes, Richard is a man of faith. Maybe in God. Maybe in Edward Ray.

"Something, more like. Eve told me of an entity. But the thing is, speaking of it gives it power. A spirit." Huruma shakes her head. "You should sit with her. Talk. She suffers. I know that I will try, myself." She leaves it at that. "I beg you are right, and they do come back to us."

"On a more positive note…" Huruma pushes sharply away from talk of rifts, lip crooking. "If you show me your prototypes, I will show you mine. Some in Madagascar are looking for collaborators."

"Kaylee did mention something about that…" Richard reaches out to tap the desk, bringing a screen to life beneath the black glass, "…let me show you what we've got. Most of our prototypes are in Detroit, where Warren's building them, but we have some projects you might be interested in…"

Eve isn't mentioned, but he doesn't say no either.

Some bridges can take time to rebuild.

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