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Scene Title Civility
Synopsis Peter Petrelli meets with Magnes Varlane to discuss the matter of Messiah.
Date July 15, 2010


It's already been a long day and it's not even past lunch yet.

Stepping out of a yellow cab into the Bronx's downtown neighborhood, Peter Petrelli offers fare back to the driver before closing the cab's rear door. Fresh from his meeting at his mother's house, his clean and pressed clothing looks the part of the President's brother, more so than his covert identity that has brought him out here today.

Between the tall brick-faced residential buildings of the downtown Bronx, the streets look much like they did in the years prior to the bomb. Much of the debris from the 2006 explision has been cleared away and while many of the southernly buildings still have metal scaffolding over them were resurfacing work is done, everything seems structurally sound. Under that hot noonday sun, Peter Petrelli looks marginally out of place in a neighborhood like the Bronx. The plum dress shirt he wears with sleeves buttoned up at his elbows may match his black slacks and necktie, but it clashes against the urban pulse of this very gritty neighborhood.

Coming up the street, red and black cell phone in one hand, Peter's attention is directed down to the GPS map displayed on the phone's touch screen, brows furrowed and pace slowing as he approaches his destination. Pausing on the street corner, Peter looks up to a nearby rooftop, then over to the building behind him were a rusted and worn red metal sign follows the corner of a redbrick building, broken neon tubing proclaiming The Majestic in vertical script.

Checking the phone again, Peter bobs his head into a nod, then looks over his shoulder before turning the corner and heading down a dead end street and around the back of that building.

The dirt lot behind the Majestic was once a parking lot, debolished in preparation for a new tenement building to be put in, but construction was never finished when the Midtown explosion drove off so many contractors from the New York area. Here in the dusty lot, surrounded by rusted metal girders stacked up some six years old, Peter Petrelli finally tucks his cell phone into the pocket of his slacks, squinting up against the sun to spy the rooftops, then look around the unfinished construction site.

One brow kicked up, Peter looks back up to the sun and rests his hands on his hips, stepping into the shade at the back of the Majestic building, as narrow as that band of comfortable shade is.

Maybe the person he's supposed to meet is late?

He's here.

Magnes spots Peter down below with binoculars. He was staying high in the sky, just floating and watching the site with the sun behind him to obscure his body… like that one Gundam episode where the Guntank totally kicks ass on the moon.

He slips the binoculars into his black backpack, then suddenly starts a very fast descent. He wears a blue t-shirt with a large white M on the front, black jeans, and his black sneakers, landing with his knees bent right in front of Peter with red inline skates on.

Straightening and cracking his neck, he stares at Peter with a not-so-friendly frown. "What part of neutrality involves trying to make my girlfriend Messiah sympathetic? What exactly did I do to you? Just because I disagree with the group and don't want to get in the middle, you have to somehow get back at me? I admit I had an outburst because you were being kind of a dick when I decided to leave, but I thought we had something resembling a friendship."

Turning in surprise when he hears Magnes touch down, Peter looks up to the sky with a squint, then back down to Magnes. "Huh?" That probably wasn't the answer Magnes really wanted to hear from Peter. Brows furrowed together, Peter looks down the dirt lot, making sure they're alone before turning his attention back to Magnes. "I didn't… do anything like that. The only thing I heard was that Rupert wanted to talk to you after I told him you quit. Lacombe and Riggs were furious and Knox was ready to— it doesn't matter, people were upset. Rupert was pretty suprised, said he and you had some sort of understanding?"

Arching one brow, Peter glances towards the street at the sound of a distant car horn, then back to the gravitokinetic again. "I don't know what happened, if he went and talked to Elaine that's Rupert's business. Last I heard he was going to see how you were feeling and find out what made you leave. You weren't— exactly clear on that when you took off from the beach."

Lifting up a hand to scratch at the back of his neck, Peter treads across the dusty soil underfoot and climbs over to one of the abandoned steel girders, settling down on it as a makeshift seat, then nodding to the spot next to him for Magnes to join him.

"He talked to Elaine?" One dark brow lifts slowly in question to the notion.

"Yes, and she's very sympathetic to the group now. I would have been more clear, but your immediate response to me leaving was to be a condescending dick. People don't usually respond well to that." Magnes says without even bothering to hide the bitterness there, taking a seat a few feet next to him.

"I left because I don't like the idea of so many innocent people getting hurt. I'm not saying they're all innocent, but in a facility full of people, you can't just blow it up and assume they're all evil. And then you go and use Claire as a bomb, what the hell is wrong with you? How did you think I would react to that? Leaving the group was me showing restraint. The point is, I didn't want there to be any hard feelings, I wanted to leave the group peacefully. What the hell is there to be angry about? With that many people, I'm not a huge loss, but I can't do something that's going to weigh on my conscience, why can't anyone understand that? Everything I do for that group indirectly supports the things I don't like. I even offered to consider helping when it was needed."

"There, you said it again…" Peter quietly notes with a point of two fingers towards Magnes. "Look, we talked about this a little bit, but I'm actually glad you brought it up. We'll— one thing at a time, we'll talk about why people in the organization were upset when you left in a little bit. But for now…" There's a crease of Peter's brows, head tilting to the side.

"What innocent people do you think got hurt? And I'm not asking that rhetorically or anything either, I've gone through a lot of trouble to make absolutely certain that Messiah doesn't take on civillian casualties and has minimized the amount of damage done. The only mission I know you've been on didn't have any civillian casualties, and all the people working at Building 26 were very well aware of what they were doing…"

Peter folds his hands in his lap, brown eyes looking askance to Magnes. "Claire aside… and trust me, that'll be next, what mission got you so upset? Which one were you most worried about the civillian casualties on?"

"This isn't about Civilians, it's about blowing buildings up. I work for the government, we all have different levels of clearance. Just because everyone works in the same building, doesn't mean everyone knows what's going on. I'll take your word for Building 26, couldn't have been the most secure place when you can break in with a smoke bomb, but how do you know everyone in those facilities you had blown up, deserved to die?" Magnes pauses, looking down for a moment, then looks back over.

"And what makes you think Messiah is not just going to make things worse for Evolved? What do you think you're doing other than making the public even more terrified of us, and the government more defensive and prone to taking away our freedom? How can this possibly help, at all?"

"Easy, easy…" Peter lifts a hand up towards Magnes and cracks a smile, shaking his head slowly. "Magnes, I know you're a smart kid, hell Rupert said something about wanting you to go to Columbia so you could attend some of his courses, but you've gotta realize that there's other smart people in the world too. How do I know the people at the other buildings deserved what they got? Because there's people in Messiah whose whole job it is, is to get intelligence on those sorts of things. I asked you, back at that first meeting we had, if you could trust me… and you said you would."

Looking out towards the dusty lot, Peter slouches his shoulders foward and folds his hands between his knees. "Messiah targeted a Pharmatech building, you saw that on the news. You know who was there when we brought it down?" Peter's dark brows go up. "Stillwater Security soldiers. We targeted the building after work hours and Rebel swept through the camera systems to check and see who was still in the building. When we blew it up, the Stillwater agents were the only people who got hurt."

Looking back to Magnes, Peter makes a vague motion in the air with one hand. "Bigger thing, the Chicago CDC building. When we attacked that facility it was on a government holiday. There were no employees in the building at the time, only — again — Stillwater Solutions personal security. Now we could've gone in with some rocket launchers or something," he's simplifying the idea for the sake of argument, "and blown the building up from the outside. But you know what we did? Faron, and Perry and Kris and Huruma risked their lives to go inside that building and set up shaped charges for the expressed purpose of a controlled demolition. You know, like when a construction company brings down a skyscraper?"

Peter manages a hesitant smile, "We blew that building so that it fell down inside of its own footprint, so that it didn't damage any of the other buildings around it or hurt anyone in the city. Sure, the Institute has been saying we killed all sorts of government workers… but that's a lie. Rebel and I spent months planning that attack to minimize casualties. He's — well, part of him — Buddhist, he doesn't even believe in hurting people most of the time."

Wiping his palms off on his slacks, Peter squints against the sun to look more squarely at Magnes. "I have never, ever risked civillian casualties when it could be handled otherwise. Now I know you're upset about what Claire did, about the attack on Autumn, but she volunteered. Nobody forced her to do it, in fact the original plan would've had Claire infiltrating the Pentagon with Ash, and that would've killed dozens more people and possibly gotten Ash killed. We went with the bombing because it's Claire's power to survive everything. She wanted to spare as many lives as possible, and end the life of one very evil, and very cruel man."

Shifting uncomfortably on the still warm girder, Peter furrows his brows. "The public's been scared of us since Midtown, Magnes. They've been afraid of our kind since Norman White and Humanis First and Moab. They've been doing terrible things to us long before we ever started fighting. You saw what happened in Argentina, Magnes… we were there. I don't want America to become like that, I want to kill the Iago Rameirez' in our country before they can hurt the people we care about. I want to find the bastards that took people like Gillian and grind them into the ground…"

"I still wonder what the crazy part of Rebel is that I keep hearing about. I know one part of Rebel is Micah, I suspected because of the comic, and confirmed when we spoke, but, I don't know about all parts." Magnes shakes his head, hunching slightly as the wheels of his skates grind into the dirt a bit, his demeanor slightly calmer, but still just as serious. "I need to know, no bullshit, no secretive crap, I need to know, what's the end game of it all? I can't just take vague promises, I'm not those people who think Messiah is some last resort for our kind. I need to know what's this catalyst that's supposed to make everything better?"

Lifts one of his skates up over his knee, trying to pull a rock from inbetween two wheels "What makes you so sure the government is just going to roll over and not just do something worse after you're done with these attacks? How do we know the government won't do something smarter? I know things you probably don't know, I work for Tracy Strauss, and unfortunately, I also keep her secrets just that, secrets, unless it's particularly bad. So, I want a straight answer; what's the desired result of what you're doing, and what makes you so sure it'll go your way?"

"I don't know who everyone inside of Rebel is, the only person who could answer that is Rebel himself and… you'd have to ask him, and I don't honestly know if you'd get a straight answer." Though Peter seems hesitant to continue the conversation, instead, he reaches inside of his pocket and pulls out his black and red cellphone, brows furrowed and brown eyes squared on Magnes with a squint.

"Before I tell you what only Rupert, Rebel and I know… Magnes, I need you to explain a couple of things to me. Because— I want to think that you know what you're doing, and that you wouldn't put everyone in Messiah at risk. I want to think that you… I dunno, I want to believe that you wouldn't hurt people like Melissa and that kid Kendall she's got living with her, because you think you're doingt he right thing."

Sliding the phone open, Peter lifts it up to his ear and states, "Rebel." There's a moment's pause, and then a sagging of Peter's lips into a frown. "Yeah, hey. It's me, could you play back those audio clips you sent to me? I'm going to put you on speaker-phone."

Setting the phone down between Magnes and himself on the girder, Peter looks up to the gravitokinetic at his side and just waits. "We're good, Rebel. You can play it."

No one ever likes to hear the sound of their own voice in recording, it never sounds right.

Magnes Varlane's voice is no exception:

«Veronica, wait! It's me don't shoot!»

«Magnes, Who the hell are you here with — I thought you were with the Institute. Damn it, I could have killed you.»

«Listen to me carefully. I need to get someone out, someone that we really really need out of here. It's not Company business, it's more important than that. You have to trust me,It's imperative that we get him, and that you help us. You need to do whatever you can to stop Gray and whoever else is with you from stopping us from doing this. Whatever it was in that computer room you guys were going for — fuck it up if you can, and help me get this guy out of here.»

«You don't have to threaten, I trust you more than the people on my team. I'm here with Messiah, kind of got guilt tripped into it. I'm not sure what they want this guy for, but I don't think it's good… I'm only here to get him because they said these people were illegally captured.»

«I'll do it, I'd rather Rebel not have access to a government computer anyway. All you need me to do is disable the computer and stop them from stopping you, right?»

«Messiah… no, we don't want anyone to get their hands on this guy — I'm guessing there's no coincidence and you're here for someone else, but maybe. Yes, yes, go disable the computer if you can… if you see Cardinal, he's with me, don't hurt him, and do what he says. Seriously, Magnes, this might be saving the world yet again, or at least the world as we know it.»

«"Be careful, don't let them know what you're doing, unless there's no other way. I'm going to see if there's another way around…»

And then, just for context, another conversation clip, more recent.

«Do you think Claire deserved to be used as a suicide bomber? Even if she can regenerate. I've been contemplating shooting Peter in the head since I heard that.»

Peter reaches down and turns off the phone, then looks up to Magnes with furrowed brows and downturned lips. "I know you mean well, Magnes. I know you like to think you're doing good… but… I can't explain what I heard there. Because, to me, it sounded like you went out of your way to compromise a rescue mission, and then threatened to kill me."

Sliding his tongue over his teeth, Peter shakes his head slowly and furrows his brows. "You do realize Rebel heard you on your Messiah phone back at Building 26 and has been eavesdropping on all your electronics since then, don't you? Magnes…" there's a sharply exhaled sigh, "What're you doing?"

"I didn't think about Rebel listening to me back then, but usually I do figure Rebel is listening to me, which can be awkward at times. But I'm not going to lie, I don't have a million reasons to trust Messiah. At that big meeting I was pretty thoroughly convinced that you were going insane. And I wasn't entirely jumping at the chance to give you a potentially powerful Evolved, not after everything that happened with White. I'm not going to lie at all, I do trust Veronica, and to some extent, I trust Cardinal to know what he's doing, even though I'm not entirely sure what he's doing either. But this is exactly why I'm asking you to give me a reason to trust you. This isn't some religion, I need hard facts."

Magnes is staring at the phone, both hands on his right shin while he tries to think of a response to considering shooting Peter. "That's not complicated at all, like I said, before I got this explanation, my first thought was of Claire being used and hurt. You know how I am with Claire, you know how I am in general, so, yeah, forgive me if murder may have been on my mind after that. I don't think of Claire as a regenerator, you need to understand that, I just think of her getting hurt."

"Magnes, I don't know what Cardinal's told you…. heck, maybe he is working for a better cause, maybe Veronica is too, but you can't just turn on people who trust you because it suits you, you know?" There's a crease of Peter's brows, a frown and a slow shake of his head. "Look I… I didn't come here to ask you to come back to Messiah, truth be told I'm worried that you'd get yourself killed if you stayed with us. So, I'm… not going to give you any more reasons to trust me, outside of the ones you already should have."

Sliding his tongue over his lips, Peter shakes his head slowly. "Magnes, it was me you trained you in the jungles of Argentina. It was me who took you to that little church outside of El-Palenque. I was pretending to be Kazimir so that I could get closer to the Vanguard. Sometimes it was hard to tell where I ended and where Kazimir began, but those lessons on how to manipulate water? Everything you and I talked about…" Peter quietly picks up his cell phone, tucking it into his pocket, "that was just me."

Slowly rising up to stand, Peter brushes off the back of his slacks, then offers a look back to Magnes. "I think you're going to get yourself hurt, Magnes. Because you think you know better than everyone else, and one of these days you're going to turn on someone who can hurt you back. You're going to try and take responsibility for something bigger than you, and you're going to get killed, or get someone you love killed."

There's a sigh, a tired one, and Peter looks away from the lot, out towards the jagged skyline. "I know what it's like, feeling that need to be the hero, to be the one everyone can depend on and wanting to protect everyone else from needing to fight." Brown eyes track back to Magnes. "In the end I killed hundreds of thousands of people, because I was trying to be a hero…"

Looking down to his feet, Peter shakes his head slowly. "There's no going back to Messiah for you, and I think that's probably for the best. I just… I didn't want you to have the wrong idea about what I'm doing, about us, about Claire. I convinced Rebel not to tell anyone about what you did, and West has agreed not to say anything either. So you're safe, Elaine's safe… because there's some people in Messiah who'd want to see you dead for what you did. But I know you don't deserve that."

Giving a small shake of his head, Peter looks back to Magnes and furrows his brows. "We still cool?"

"But wait, how's that possible?" Magnes asks, suddenly surprised for entirely different reasons than Peter likely expects, his gaze quickly turning from the phone to the older man next to him. "After you all said Kazimir died, when Abby said he was dead for sure after everything in Antarctica, a few months after that, Kazimir visited me, he was black and shadowy."

He shakes his head, adding in the end, "But, we're still fine, and I do want to leave it open that I'm willing to help Messiah if it's not something too extreme. I didn't mean to let people down, I'm just doing what I feel I have to. Protecting Elaine, this life I'm starting to build, and trying not to push the limits of my morality."

Narrowing his eyes, Peter looks at Magnes as if the young man had just said a racial slur about Italians in a falsetto voice. Mouth agape, Peter takes a step back to Magnes and furrows his brows, breathing in adeep breath and forsaking all of the other avenues of conversation. "Magnes, when… when Eileen shot me back on the icepack, when Kazimir left me and went into Wagner, it— that power of his transferred into Francois and as far as I'm aware it was destroyed along with the healing ability in the deserts of Mexico."

But then, Peter does know something that came back from Antarctica, something that was shadowy and desperate and needed his help. "Magnes, that was Richard. When the bomb went off, when he swallowed the atomic blast, Richard was trapped in his shadow form. He came to me to help him, he was nothing but a big black tattered mess, his voice was echoing whispers…"

Frowning, there's a slight protrusion of a vein in Peter's forehead. "What did Kazimir say to you?"

"Well, he mostly seemed to be checking up on me, told me working for Tracy Strauss was a good choice to learn etiquette when I said I'd be working for her. Asked how you were adapting, I said you were happy." Magnes is trying to remember everything putting his foot back on the ground so he can hunch over and rub his hands together. "Actually, I think this happened a few weeks after my birthday, so, February some time. Told me not to tell Eileen or anyone else about him… god how do I fall for that? I really need to figure out who Cardinal works for and what he's doing some time…"

"Cardinal works for himself, as far as I know…" Both of Peter's hands come up in the air in a helpless shrug, "to be honest I don't know a damn thing about him or the people that work for him, and as far as I know nobody else in Messiah has any idea what he's up to either. He's so low-tech that Rebel can't keep a pin on anything he's doing, and with his ability it makes it impossible for facial recognition street cameras or satellites to track him…"

Lifting up a hand to rake through his hair Peter shakes his head again. "Look, it— it might not have ben Cardinal for sure, but he's the only person I know who would think to ask about me, and go to you and also know to try and impersonate Kazimir. Only people on Apollo had any idea that you were, uh, in theory close to him. I can't prove it, but… it lines up with how he works."

Glancing back over his shoulder when a car backfiring sounds too much like distant gunfire, Peter shows his evident tension. "Look," brown eyes sweep back to Magnes, "I don't think we're going to come back to you for help, Magnes. You should just try and stay out of things, and… I don't know, I honestly don't know what advice to give you that you'd listen to. I just hope you're willing to take responsibility for your actions in the future. Be careful, alright?"

"I'll do what I can. I didn't mean to cause some sort of conflict, but, I do genuinely hope that what you're doing turns out for the best. I'm still with the Ferry, so, I'm not just dropping out of helping people. I just wanted you to know that." Magnes finally stands, and reaches out to offer Peter a hand. "Just keep Claire safe, alright? She was the main reason I joined to begin with, but, I can't follow her anymore, I have someone to love and Claire makes her own choices. I just want her happy and safe. I just hope I can show you that I'm making the right choices one day."

"Claire's a big girl," Peter means metaphorically, "she can take care of herself, or… that's what I let her think." There's a faint, knowing smirk from Peter as he tips his head into a nod. "I'll keep an eye on her…" Taking a step away from Magnes, Peter creases his brows and watches the gravitokinetic in silence for a few moments, then looks aside to the dead-end street that connects to the lot, before squaring his focus on Magnes one last time.

"Be careful with the Ferrymen, Magnes. There's a mole for the Institute somewhere in the network. You, Elaine, anyone there could be the next person to disappear like Gillian…"

With that depressing news, Peter turns and walks out of the vacant lot, shoes kicking up dry dust from the ground and head tipped down. There's a lot of things words can solve, when they're used right, but sometimes there's problems no amount of words can solve, no amount of problesm that an apology can undo.

But sometimes, a little civility can go a long ways.

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