Scene Title Click
Synopsis "There are no facts, only interpretations." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Date November 8, 2010

Battery Park City - Department of Homeland Security

This government facility was opened by the Department of Homeland Security in the fall of 2009. As a thirty-story building it rises high over the landscape of Battery Park City, a monochromatic monolith of gray and black set admist manicured trees and a concrete plaza where several flagpoles rise and a granite slab sign displays the building number 663 in serif font face.

Inside, this facility houses department executive offices, holding facilities, interrogation rooms and an armory to supply a standing security force with the necessary firepower to defend the building against terrorist threats on home soil. The lobby of the building features a large seal of the Department of Homeland Security at the center of the ground floor in plain view of balcony tiers of the second and third floor, accessible by stairs flanking the glass facade entrance and security checkpoint.

«We're receiving reports of increasing violence on Roosevelt Island spreading out from Summer Meadows, FRONTLINE has been dispatched.»

It all started with five simple words.

«NYFD is unable to get control of the fire in Hunter's Point, Queens.»

It could have been worse, were it not for the efforts of those who worked to minimize the broadcast frequency, to shut out hundreds of thousands of homes across Manhattan from the violence. Thousands of lives were spared, thousands more spared the fate of being turned into an instrument of death.

«NYPD is reporting automatic weapons fire in the vicinity of Mt.Zion Cemetery.»

Manhattan was spared the brunt of the initial assault, the power of the radio jammers designed by Warren Ray blocking out the signal, blocking out all radio and satellite signals for three solid minutes. Enough to delay exposure, to cut off the initial wave of violence, but it was not perfect, it was a Band-Aid on an arterial nick.

«Operations HQ this is Staten Island we have an inbound Chinook broadcasting friendly identification. Inbound from Fort Drum New York.»

In the nerve-center of the Department of Homeland Security's central facility in New York City, Secretary Matthew Parkman sits like a spider at the center of his web, patched in to all communications thorugh proxies of intelligence officers screening information flooding in from all over the city, relevant information passed up the chain of command to keep Parkman abreast of the situation while he remains distant from direct face-to-face interaction.

«They're broadcasting FRONTLINE's codes. I think it's FRONTLINE-OS. Hot damn that's a stroke of luck!»

Things could be worse.

Parkman sits slightly hunched, his elbows resting on the arms of his chair and his fingers laced together. The worst of it is over. The initial blow of Rupert Carmichael's - of Andrew Mitchell's - master plan has already hit.

But like all major fires set in New York City, they soon spread and multiply.

Like all earthquakes, there are aftershocks.

Still, as tense as he is as he sits behind the glass wall that makes up one side of the corner office, staring at a row of desks arranged so that he could have some semblance of a sanctum on this historic day, Parkman is at relative ease. He's no longer flicking his dark eyes from one intelligence officer to the next as they sit in front of computers, paying attention to what is being fed to them through screen and headset so as to best digest and parse it out through the speakers that have been hooked up for Parkman's convenience. He's no longer running over their personnel files in the back of his mind, unable to shake the fact that as disconnected and distant as they may be, they each still have families. They each still have lives.

Now, as the pace of the day has slowed to something Parkman is more comfortable with, all he wonders is just how crazy they think he is. But maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe, when you get this high on the chain of command, when they pin that American Flag to your lapel, people stop second-guessing your more eccentric actions.

Because at least in Parkman's case, there is a method to this madness.

The door to Parkman's office swings open as he's sorting through a series of classified file-folders on the extant members of FRONTLINE-OS that were able to be recruited in time to assist in the riot situation. The visage of a blonde-haired asian man with a slender build and dark eyes stares back at Parkman before he slides the folder closed on hearing Miriam's arrival.

"I have your quarterly, Sir." Not some sort of quarter-annual report, but a fifteen-minute updated trancscript of priority communications and situations. As she lays it out on the desk, Miriam's brows furrow and her head slowly shakes from side to side. "The President has been moved to safety as of eight minutes ago, the Vice President is now currently at the Raven Rock facility in Virginia."

Miriam's attention turns to the folder, then back up to Parkman. "Director Pierce is handling things on his end on Staten Island as best as possible, nothing new yet to report there except for FRONTLINE's arrival. Will there… be anything else?"

"Thanks," Parkman says without looking up at the woman who has served him well over the last year. Instead, he pours himself into the report she brings, bracing his jaw and chin against the splayed fingers of one hand, his elbow resting on the desk. "I want to know the minute that Chinook touches down," he says, looking up from the file not to Miriam, but to the glass and the screens beyond it, scanning what he can see of the GPS overlays.

There was a reason it's being done like this - so that he doesn't suffer information overload. So that he can stand a better chance of keeping his wits about him. But the bags beneath Parkman's eyes are dark after his long night and bumpy ride back to Batter Park City from Baltimore. And the danger has passed, hasn't it?

Getting to his feet, Parkman moves out from behind the desk to stand in front of the glass. He brings his arms up to fold them across his chest, unhindered by the restraints of a suit jacket. His usual sidearm is absent, leaving the straps of his suspenders as the only thing to break up the cornflower blue field of his shirt. "Coffee," he adds, finally looking over his shoulder and offering Miriam a weak smile. "Cream this time."

"Sir— " Miriam's voice tenses ever so subtly, "Matt." Therein lies the moments of earnest forthrightness that are so fleeting from his assistant, but like nuggets of gold panned out of a river; precious. "You haven't slept, you can't keep putting all of this burden on yourself. You need to get some sleep, at least an hour— if not more."

Miriam's brows furrow together as she approaches the desk again, fingers curling around a clipboard she holds fast to her chest. "People are counting on you, and right now you're burning the candle at both ends with a blowtorch. If you don't slow down, recover, then you're not going to be ready when you really need to be on your feet."

Firm, but only just so, Miriam leans forward over the desk, her brows raising slowly. "You know I'm right, and I don't need a fancy ability to know that."

Miriam isn't the first person to berate Parkman about the pitfalls of his tenacity, nor will she be the last. But what makes his assistant's concerns hold more weight than those that come from Pierce, or Molly, or even when they came from Kaydence, is that Miriam is in the trenches with him every day. She's the keeper of the Blackberry and the leather-bound planner. She's the runner of reports. The bringer of coffee. The proof-reader of statements. The Steve Caiati of the Department of Homeland Security.

Rubbing his hand across the stubble that's been forming on his jaw since he regained conciousness inside the security firm just a few blocks down the street, Matt Parkman sighs. "Fine," he submits, his tone not too unlike that of a child who knows he can't possibly get away with begging for five more minutes of cartoons before bed. He walks back to the desk to grab his suit jacket off the back of his chair, but the hand that grabs it balls into a fist, the index finger pointing straight at Miriam's face as he settles a stern look on her. "An hour. You call me in an hour. I'll be upstairs."

Which, more than likely, means the low-tech floor, abandoned today under the undeniable advantage of being able to see what's going on and communicate in real time.

"Come on," Miriam insists, not letting him just wander off unsupervised where he could take up nesting in another office and keep working. "I'll make sure to check for monsters under the bed," she admits with a chipper smile, pushing the door to his office open, slipping past her secretarial space and then finally making her way out onto the tactical floor.

Rows of cubicles and desks buzz with the activity of intelligence analysts, computer screens flicker and phones ring. As Matt is guided out to the floor, Miriam turns on her heels to face the direction of his approach, one brow lifted as she assesses the Secretary with marked scrutiny. "An hour and a half," she begins to bargain, and this could go on for the rest of the way knowing her.

Mirima is met with a frown from Parkman as he shrugs on his jacket, if only for the scrap of professional dignity it affords him. It doesn't matter that the analysts don't know why their superior is leaving the enclosure he's been holed up in all morning. Parkman knows, and his submission to his assistant is a begrudging one. He adjusts his lapels as he goes toe-to-toe with her in this little game.

"One," he reaffirms. "And if you're more than two minutes late, I'm calling you." Cell phones have dandy little alarms on them these days, after all. Miriam should have never shown her boss that feature.

The hive of activity is hastily organized at times, spaghetti string of cabling and wires from where new terminals were brought in track waving paths across the carpeted floor. As Miriam and Parkman deftly navigate around the mess, one of the junior analysts hunched over a colleagues terminal with headphones on is watching a looped replay of the transmission that sparked the riots, analyzing the sound waves inside of the message itself.

Shaking his head as Matt passes by, paying more attention to the broadcast itself than the Secretary behind him, the junior analyst turns of his headphones carefully, then slides them off of his head. "I don't know, it looks like there's something backmacked inside the transmission, maybe we could try switching the channels? Hold on I'll compare it to what was on the radio."

Turning abruptly, the junior analyst nearly runs headlong into Matt, jerking to the side where his foot hooks around a coil of headphone wire. His step around and away from Matt knots the cord around his legs, trips him up and yanks the headphone plug out of the speakers.

« — ou martyr us, we will rise up. Every prophet in his house.»

For all the reaction that breech of audio causes inside the intelligence center, for all the panic it suddenly breeds, it may as well have been a gunshot.

For Matt Parkman, it's the beginning of a nightmare scenario

Two voices, one slightly ahead of the other, whisper far in the back of Matt Parkman's mind even as his eyes, drifting as they are from the analyst back to Miriam, start to take on a slightly glassy sheen.

You will believe…

Kill everyone…

…surrounded by your most hated enemies…

…without regard…

…joy of freedom.


That slightly sticky, oily texture so distinctively Rupert Carmichael's oozes across Matt's subconsciousness. He had thought the danger had passed. He had thought he had dodged the bullet. He had spent the entirety of the President's speech without audio, watching the feeds from helicopters that buzzed around the city like honeybees over a field of daffodils. He had thought it - this part, at least - was over.

He isn't ready for it.

It's far too easy to reach out into the mind of the nearest security personnel. Ryan Larson, father of two, pitcher for his son's little league team. He never suspected it, not even knowing what the Secretary could do.

I need your gun. Give it to me.

Larson turns and nods to his superior, taking his sidearm out of it's holster and handing it over. "Of course, sir," he says as if it were any other order given and followed. But Parkman turns his head, taking his eyes off Miriam in order to look at Larson. They narrow slightly, and he tilts his head just so.

You have to die first.

And like any man used to taking orders, Larson complies with little hesitation. The command pushed into his head is stronger than any order he's received before, and his muscles act before any part of his brain can even begin to protest. The gun is turned back and held against the man's temple.

All it takes is a squeeze.

But it needed to happen. Larson was one of them. Larson was a plant. An informant. Spying on him from the beginning. He was always just a figurehead. A weapon to be used at the whims of others.

Already in a panic trying to turn off the speakers while others non-screened analysts are covering their ears, the sudden and noisy pop of a single handgun round sprays blood against a white-painted wall along with small chunks of bone and hair before Ryan Larson slouches backwards limply. All around, Parkman can feel the eyes on him, the analysts pouring hour over hour on state secrets, men who could have just as easily filtered information to the New York Times, made the entire department look a fool.

Voices rise up, but Matt can't hear them, their traitorous cries. Some are running, others are ducking behind their cubicles. Black-clad security officers watching the stairwell door withdraw their pistols, "Secretary Parkman! Put down your weapon or we will be force dot shoot!"

Matt can hear that clear as day, see the immediate threat they pose.

Jacob Stahl has a daughter leftover from a divorce, raises her on his own, his gun trained on Matt.

Rick Carlisle just transferred from the FBI, looks up to the Secretary like a hero after Senator Petrelli's speech.

These men are from Matt's team.

They're his friends.

"Matt stop! For the love of God stop!" Miriam's voice cuts sharp through the cloud of confusion, backing up and away from Parkman towards the gun-wielding security officers.

She's been working with them all along.

Traitorous bitch.

She sold the department out.

Matt's lip curls with an angry snarl as the fog rolls in. Picking up the gun that fell from Larson's hand took only a second, but he raises it to aim at Miriam's head in what feels like slow motion. She had access to so much, and even if she didn't, she could have. It wouldn't have been hard for her to rifle through files when Matt was in a meeting. It would have been easy for her to plant bugs to keep him one step behind where he needed to be.

But Stahl and Carlisle have been with him longer, and their guns on him are stranger than Miriam's desperate cries. Cries for mercy she doesn't deserve. But Jacob and Rick. Matt's eyes narrow, and he adjusts his grip the standard issue sidearm.

Somewhere deep within his mind, chains rattle, and another Matt Parkman roars with a different sort of rage.

Matt winces and shakes his head in an attempt to clear it. "Everyone," he bellows, his voice ringing in his own head just as it does Miriam’s, and Jacob's, and Rick's. It rings in the head of the analyst still tangled in the headphone chord, and in the head of his coworker who had called him over for the consult.

"Shut. Up."

That the Department of Homeland Security can be prepared for crisis of one sort or another is often understatement. But when situation like this arise, when carnage replaces order and when protocol becomes difficult to follow at an adrenaline-spiked rate, that is when the unfit are cut away, when the true prodigies shine. Those who can handle themselves in time of crisis or emotional distress are the ones you can count on, the ones you can rely on.

Miriam doesn't stand still when Matt relents from what looked to be a murderous assault. Instead she bounds back for her deck inside the first set of doors on the way to Matt's office. Not heeding Parkman’s own request, the other security guards continue to shout for Matt to lower his weapon. Their voices rise, a crashing tide, other more frightened sounds from people trapped behind their cubicles or pinned in corners with no hope of escape.


It hurts, it hurts like a hot sheet of metal sliding around beneath exposed skin. But the darts from a taser gun pulled out of Miriam's purse pop into Matt Parkman's right shoulder and send thousands of volts of electricity coursing thorugh his body. Muscles contract, the handgun fires once more reflexively into the floor with a puff of carpeting fibers an dust.

As Matt's legs give out and he crumples to the floor, Mirima may have had grace under fire, but she also had the mistaken sense to assume that was it. That it ended with the tasering.

"Matt? Oh God, Matt are you okay?"

The gun falls out of Parkman's hand when he hits the floor, his teeth grinding together even as he screams through them. Being effectively tasered and actually tasered within the same twenty-four hour period is something he could have done without, but the electricity that shoots through his brain, if only for those moments where he lies prone and gasping, offers him a moment of clarity.

It may be clarity coupled with extreme pain, but it's clarity all the same.

But when the pain ebbs enough for him to be able to speak again, his voice is a growl, and what grip he was able to regain on reality is lost once more to the pressure of the compulsion. "Fuck you, Miriam," he snarls, opening one bloodshot eye to look at the bespectacled woman still brandishing her weapon. "You self-serving, arrogant piece of shit." With a series of painful grunts, Parkman struggles to his feet once again, grabbing the pistol once more. He looks at the two men with guns drawn on him, and he narrows his eyes. "You too," he presses. "Fucking incompetent, just to make us look bad. Like this was some kind of game. It's -over-." Guilt is part of a Parkman-Styled-Revenge, it would seem, and with a deep breath, he forces thoughts of nigh-on suicidal self loathing into the heads of the armed men.

Like always, Parkman has bigger fish to fry.

But inside his head, the other Parkman is straining against chains that have been weakened by those few precious moments of reality. It's like watching a video game, where the camera is situated behind his own eyes.
NO! He screams, his mental voice echoing back at him. Get a grip, Matt. This isn't you. This isn't you.
Bearing down, Matt tries to fight against the urge to advance on Miriam. The urge to grab and pin her against a wall. The urge to press the barrel of the gun against the hollow of her throat. He searches, trying to find the most basic parts of his mind. If he can cut the power behind those actions, he can bring this whole wild ride to really quick end.
Or lobotomize himself. It's going to be a coin-toss there.

Down the hall someone is already on the phone to the downstairs, calling in this crisis. Another analyst has the frame of mind to charge one of the security men when he begins to turn his gun on himself, wrestling with it, the analyst struggles to try and keep the suicidal note from sounding. The gun discharges, there's a yelp of pain, and the technician falls away clutching his abdomen while the security operative lifts his gun back up and into his mouth and pulls the trigger.

Jennie Stahl will not have a father to give her away at her wedding.

Her father is now a red smear along an elevator door, a crumpled black suit laying all bent and broken on the floor, and a bullet in the brainpan.

The collision of a folding chair to the head of the other security officer knocks him flat to the ground. When the gun goes off, it discharges into the wall with a puff of the sheetrock. Landing on his stomach, Agent Carlisle reaches out for his firearm, only to have his foot stepped on by another one of the information analysts and his head smacked by the folding chair again. This time he stops moving.

"Matt for the love of God stop! Matt Stop!" Miriam backs up into her office, short heels scuffing on the carpet as she backpedals, her hands trembling from the surge of adrenaline, her eyes wide, senses acute, heart pounding in her chest.

Parkman's left eye twitches, his head shaking as if those taser darts were still delivering shocks to his system. "Funny," he all but spits as he moves toward Miriam, his motions stilted, like the tin man running out of oil. "But I shouldn't be surprised that he didn't leave you a little gift. Or maybe he did. I can always look. See just how badly you've betrayed me. Figure out just how I should make you pay for it."

The smallest trickle of blood can be seen seeping from Parkman's left nostril as Miriam runs out of room to retreat. Shaking, he lifts his free left hand to grab at her cardigan and shove her back against the wall, and as much force as there is behind the muscles attached to the limb, the motion lacks fluidity and that small grace that comes with brute strength.

One chain falls to the ground with a deafening clatter that momentarily clears the thick, dark air once again.

Matt blinks, is eyes clearing enough for him to see Miriam's face - really see it. "Miria-," he starts, but he can't even finish her name before he's choked back by the darkness once more.

With another roar, Matt pulls against the chain, the metal cutting into his right wrist with the weight of the man on the other end attempting to tear it from the brick in which it's been set.

Blood - real, actual blood - oozes from a sudden wound, running down into Matt's right hand and interfering with his already loose grip on the firearm.

Tears well up in Miriam's eyes and she's blubbering hiccupped sobs as she tries to lean her head away from Matt. No one is brave enough to get near, or perhaps foolish enough, not knowing the exact extent of Matt's power and having seen what he did to three other agents now, they're frozen with fear in the presence of an unleashed telepath.

"Stop, stop, stop please stop," Miriam helplessly weeps as her eyes wrench shut and a line of snot runs down from her nose to her upper lip. She can't tell which facial tic is Matt regaining control and which is him losing it.

All she knows is that with one errant thought, she could be the next red stain on the office wall.

The second chain breaks away from the wall with a crack and the thunderous crumble of brick. Matt tears into the darkness, the chain flying behind him, knocking against the imposing, encroaching, ethereal walls of the prison, drawing sparks from the black with each soundless clank and rattle.
he sprints without running out of breath, driven on by sheer force of will toward a light he can barely see for one moment before it is swallowed by a corner he can only turn to avoid using the equivalent of muscle memory. He's walked these halls many, many times before - Rupert Carmichael can't best him in here.
Here, Matt has the home court advantage.

Matt's right hand slides against the grip of the pistol as he lifts it, his arm slamming against the wall next to Miriam as he struggles for breath. His entire body shakes with the effort of standing, let alone maintaining his grip in the pistol and Miriam in turn.

Suddenly, after a harsh incline in the black, Matt see the light again. A thin, L-shaped sliver. A door.
He bursts through into a room as black as the one he just left, save for a single, bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. The sort that would light up a closet or a basement - some forgotten room where dusty memories are left to twist and fade.
In the pool of light cast off by the bulb sits a small, red-haired boy playing with a set of wooden soldiers. He calmly looks up at Matt when the man explodes through the door, his chest heaving, wrist dripping blood, and chain lying like a cold metal snake from his arm. Matt narrows his eyes, his face twisting with contempt. Hatred.
"Hey, Fatty," the boy says with a menacing grin. But when Matt steps forward, the chain scraping along the floor like a train skidding to a halt, the boy's blue eyes grow wide, and his freckled skin even paler.
Without a word, Matt reaches up with his right hand and grabs the cord on the light bulb.

Confusion beats like a pulse through the intelligence office and will continue to do so for hours beyond. Where Matt Parkman lays motionless on the floor of the office he is surrounded by DHS security, guns drawn, radios crackling, trying to figure out why the secretary isn't responding to anything. Huddled in a corner, arms of a co-worker aorund her, Miriam chokes back sobs and strangled breaths, hiding her face against a DHS agent's chest as she's escorted away from the scene.

Eyes wide open, pupils dilated, blood trickling out of both of his nostrils Matthew Parkman stares vacantly up at the ceiling, watching his coworkers swarm around him and try to make heads or tails of what they are seeing. Vision begins to fade, tunneling down on all sides, darkening like the penumbra of an eclipse, until all Matthew Parkman can see are the dim silhouettes of shapes, huddled in the dark.

Then, nothing, except the sound of his own breathing.

Then silence.


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