Driving the Herd


sf_faulkner2_icon.gif sf_valerie_icon.gif

Scene Title Driving the Herd
Synopsis Faulkner and Valerie share opinions about the journey ahead, and the vehicles they're going to take.
Date March 18, 2021

Petrelli Mansion: Garage

At the back of the mansion, on the far end the little garden is the L-shaped building that makes up the garage. It was big for the space and almost seemed crammed into it.

Valerie doesn’t even bother with a key, as she yanks the lock off the roll up garage door, and opens it to show a rather fancy modern sports car and the black SUV that Kaylee was often driven around in. Neither of them were the Jeep she had claimed. Instead, she moves on to the other garage. This one opens up to a pair of rare and expensive vintage cars, one of which is a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO.

There doesn’t seem like enough cars for the escape, much less a Jeep… at least until she reaches in and pushes a button on the wall next to the door. There is a click and whirring sound of a motor before the other car - a 1948 Aston Martin DB1 - sinks into the ground and a mean looking red Jeep Rubicon lowers to take its place.

A look in shows that there were at least 4 more cars up on the lifts. The Jeep was probably the most out of place.

Shifting the large pack on her back, Valerie goes about tossing the gear into the back seat. By the weight of it, there was more than food and other survival gear.

It's abundantly clear which version of Ms. Petrelli is in charge by the padlock that lays discarded by the open garage door, the hasp twisted open; Faulkner clucks his tongue and nudges it aside with his shoe before proceeding. Inside, sure enough, Valerie is loading up a very nice looking Jeep. "I see why you wanted that one," he calls, as a way to announce himself.

Leaning out the Jeep, Valerie’s narrowed eyes makes sure it is him, before giving him a wicked smile. “It’s practical,” she offers her reasoning with a shrug, like it is no big deal. “Especially if Asami is making herself bait.” There is on more glance inside before she shuts the door. “Be ready for whatever excitement she brings down on us.”

"Practical. Yes," Faulkner agrees. "It's rugged and well-suited to offroading, if need be, whereas any pursuers you may encounter will hopefully be less well-suited. You're potentially one of the strongest of our groups."

He pauses, considering. "You know, though. You're one of the few people I've talked to who doesn't trust Asami. Why, if I may ask?"

“Bingo,” she says with a grin, “Then again, I wouldn’t expect less from you. You are shrew and intelligent… got to be, to be a politician. That shrewdness is what Nathan was missing when he ran. It’s also how you are going to reach Vegas… and you don’t need Nicole for that.” There is a glance at the side mirror, before she moves to the otherside of it and rests an arm on the hood.

“As for Asami, I don’t trust her actions,” Valerie says, like it wasn’t that hard to figure out. “More to the point, I don’t trust whatever is in her head. If it was just her that would be different, but when it takes over she can’t control it and I can’t trust her.”

Looking towards the direction of the house, Valerie lifts one shoulder in a shrug, “But… she” Kaylee, she means, “Also, keeps nagging at me that Asami is one of her closest friends and dealing with scary shit. So…” She sighs out her nose resigned to the fact, turning that look to Issac“…that’s, ultimately, why I am going with Asami… to protect her. From herself, while also protecting everyone else.”

Faulkner nods at her frank assessment, but her reasons for going with Asami see his eyes widen. For a moment, he stands there, in silent shock… then he exhales, and seems to droop, as though he's been carrying a heavy weight all this time. "You know. You're the first one I've heard say anything like that," he says, letting out a small laugh.

His momentary softening of demeanor passes quickly, though; he straightens again and gives Valerie a small nod. "You're exactly right. She initially wanted us all to go together, on the grounds that she could protect us… but it's exactly as you say. She isn't a shield, she's a rocket launcher… and whatever Asami might think about us, when it comes down to it this friend of hers, Violette or v.iris or whatever you want to call her, installed a back door directly into her brain. If she can be made to turn on friends once to do Violette's work — and she has, far more than once — then she could be made to turn on them again."

He shakes his head, starting to pace. "This whole thing — doesn't it seem strange to you? The only things we know about this situation at all come from Asami, by way of this Violette or from her other memories or whatnot… but neither of those sources is particularly reliable. The only person Violette will show herself to is Asami… who she's reprogrammed or whatnot. And as to those other memories she's talking about… my God! By her very premise, whoever put us in here has given us an entire lifetime of edited memories real enough to fool us all! Why is she so certain that they couldn't tweak this other set just as easily?"

He sighs, and again his demeanor softens a bit. "I've tried to talk about this with her," he says glumly. "But it's like she can't hear me. Or won't. She is — or maybe was — my friend, too."

When he looks back to Valerie, his expression is grim. "Altogether, though… it's hard to feel like someone isn't working very hard to keep us in the dark, and for all Asami's talk of cooperation, her past methods suggest very strongly that refusal isn't an option."

Valerie is quiet while Issac goes on his rant, leaning heavily against the jeep. She wanted to be comfortable if it went on for too long. Surprisingly, it isn’t as long a rant as she thought it would be.

“I hear what you are saying and I agree all this is beyond nuts. Not in a good way either. I also hate this need to know crap. I don’t know what's real or..what to believe. Especially, of this other world that she and Nicole talk about,” A finger comes up, “but we can’t deny what we’ve been seeing with our own eyes.” Her blue eyed gaze shifts to a point just to the left of where he stands, as if she were looking at someone. “Like the little boy who’s been plaguing her since before Asami woke me up. We know his name is Carl.. and that feels right.”

Giving a small shake of her head, Valerie looks away from the little boy sitting and reading with his back resting against the wall. Clearing her throat, she moves on. “As for switching to spreading out… It's a better plan than moving in a herd. Here is why… ”

Pushing away from the Jeep, Valerie looks like she is trying to consider her words. “If those two are right and this is some simulation, we’ve never travelled outside of New York… at least not far. Means those computers can’t be all that powerful. So something always happens to keep us here.” The shrug she gives, shows her helplessness to understand it. “Spreading out and taking different routes.. Makes sense. Have you ever tried to run what… five different high graphic games at the same time on your personal computer?”

Valerie was clearly excited about the prospect of trying it, “I’m kinda curious to see what happens.” However, she wasn’t exactly the more stable of the two personalities.

“Come on, Issac, what will it hurt to check this out? I personally don’t like the idea of some unknown assholes keeping me locked up in some fake world. It’s our life to dictate even if that world is shitter than here. They have no right to dick with it.” Valerie jerks a chin towards the main house. “Besides, thanks to Zachery, we know the worst that happens is we die and wake up our old selves. Living whatever this life is.”

"Well, I might end up with an indictment when I get back…" Isaac says… but there's no real force behind it; the faint grin on his face and his tone is one of rueful resignation suggest he's trying to pass it off as a joke, but… it's really not.

He doesn't agree with Valerie's assessment of the computers running the simulation — simulating the City of New York seems like a pretty tall order to him — but he's not going to get into semantics, given that her point still sounds solid. Less solid, in Faulkner's opinion, is her judgement on any world being better than this one; Isaac can be imaginative indeed, and he can think of possibilities far worse than this New York, a spectrum of potential apocalypses (apoclypsii?) that could be waiting beyond.

Asami has her thoughts on why they might be in here, but they're dependent — everything she says is dependent — on Violette's credibility, and so far Violette or v.iris or whoever the fuck she is hasn't done a very good job of establishing that.


Faulkner doesn't think he's going to be able to persuade Valerie of that. Kaylee, maybe, but discussion with Kaylee has its own pitfalls, and besides, Kaylee 's not the one he's speaking to at the moment. "Maybe so. I'm not a fan of Asami dictating my life by force either, but… as you say. We might as well go," Faulkner says, shrugging. "And, for what it's worth… though I do plan to make some preparations for trouble, I plan to at least try to enjoy the trip."

Faulkner smiles. "Which actually brings me to the next matter I planned to discuss with you. I've no doubt that you've put together a care package of your own… but I would say there's no such thing as too much preparation. If you'd like, I could ask Nicole to try to find something special for you," he says mildly.

There is a small, reluctant nod of the woman’s head at the mention that they were letting Asami dictate their lives, because he had a point. Still it didn’t change Valerie’s position. “Honestly, Issac, even if we were against what Asami is doing… the girls are gungho to see it through. Attempting to keep them home only means they will rebel and go anyhow. Sneak out or some shit,” she says with a shrug.

“Especially Jac,” Valerie adds blandly.

“As for the offer, I won’t say no to anything that could help give us an edge out there. “The Petrelli men were not exactly preparing for a war, so to speak. So what I found was mostly hunting rifles, handguns… things like that,” Valerie says, sounding a touch disappointed in the preparedness of her husband and in-laws. However, the prospect of a hook up, she breaks into a grin. “So if Nicole finds anything fun, or even more ammo, I’d appreciate it.”

Isaac sighs. "I've noticed that they — Jacelyn in particular — are among the most…" he trails off, pausing as he searches for a more diplomatic word than rabid, "… dedicated of Asami's cult following. Even seeing her rip my throat out didn't… faze them," Faulkner says, and for a rare moment his usual self-possession falters, disbelief writ plain in his expression. He can't entirely suppress a shudder — that memory has certainly fazed him.

Then he sighs. "Well. We'll just have to see for ourselves how things turn out," Faulkner says, shrugging. "And while I'm certain I don't need to say it to you, of all people… you are probably one of the only ones who might listen, so I will anyway. I am not convinced Las Vegas will be what any of us expect, any more than New York has been, of late. Keep your guard up."

Then he smiles. "Hopefully Nicole comes through; I have something in mind I think you will like a great deal, if we can get it in time," he says nonchalantly. "And with that said… I'd like to ask you a question. Nothing serious, mind… it's just that… as I said, I plan to at least attempt to enjoy this trip. Which, in this case, means ensuring that Nova enjoys it as much as she can." The change that comes over his face as soon as he mentions Nova is subtle, but it's definitely there. He looks happy for a moment, even now.

"I'm not worried about practicality, or responsibility — that will come when we reach Vegas, and between the two of us and whatever gear Nicole gets for us, I'm sure we'll be adequately prepared to make it. But… just from the standpoint of enjoying a roadtrip through the American Southwest… which car would you suggest? Which car would either of you suggest, come to that?"

Valerie’s smile pulls to one side in amusement at the question. “We like her. She’s been good for you and you deserve some happiness in this shitshow.” That said, she shifts to look at the rest of the cars, thoughtful. Maybe she is consulting with the other woman in her head. Hard to tell.

“Hmm..” Finally, she shakes her head. “Depends. I 0need more, Vintage or Modern?”

Isaac inclines his head; their approval is appreciated. He considers the question for a moment. "Let's say vintage," he says. Nova certainly has an appreciation for classics of the musical world; hopefully that taste extends beyond the realm of music.

“Well, sir… I think I have the perfect car,” Valerie drawls out, stepping out of one garage for the other. Motioning for the young man to follow her, she takes him towards the black sleek SUV. “You may or may not have seen this one.”

Reaching just inside the door for another switch, the SUV sinks into the ground slowly. What it reveals is a sleek and curvy beauty coated in a lovely shade of vintage red. “1956 Ferrari 250 GT Spyder convertible,” Valerie announces smuggly, glancing at Issac out of the corner of her eye to judge his reaction. “Sexy right? And gives you some needed speed.”

Isaac follows, watching the SUV sink into the ground. What replaces it is…

"Oh that's beautiful," Isaac murmurs, his eyes locked on the car. Tellingly, he doesn't look back to Valerie immediately, which says a lot in and of itself; when he finally does, though, there's a broad grin on his face. "Yes. Yes, I think that will do nicely."

“Excellent,” Valerie seems pleased by his acceptance. She almost seems to preen. “I'm into the classics as well, prefer them over say… the Lamborghini I was gonna offer if you wanted modern.”

Clapping a hand on his back, with only enough force to send him stumbling forward, Valerie motions towards the house. “Let’s go in and get you those keys before someone else claims it, maybe grab a drink before Gabriella downs it all.”

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