Everything You Were


bf_arthur_icon.gif magnes_icon2.gif

Scene Title Everything You Were
Synopsis Magnes Varlane accepts a meeting with Arthur Petrelli.
Date October 10, 2013

Pinehearst Tower is a looming structure that stands as the tallest building in the newly revitalized island of Manhattan. From its cavernous three-story tall foyer with floor-to-ceiling windows tinted the faintest shade of green, to the state-of-the-art magnetic lift elevators, it is an example of what the world can — and if Pinehearst continues apace — will be.

Within an elevator, the burnished copper doors reflect back the muted image of Magnes Varlane. The ascent from the foyer to the penthouse is a long one, and each chime of a floor being passed feels like a countdown to the man who comes from a world where this was never realized, where Arthur died, where Pinehearst was destroyed in a ball of fire. When the elevator finally comes to a stop, the doors split the reflection of Magnes into two and reveal a spacious marble-floored penthouse lobby. Tall ferns rise up from copper vases, a curving black desk allows Arthur’s office assistant to sit up a foot and a half higher than those petitionning him.

Dirk Dickson politely muffles a phone handset on his shoulder when the elevator doors open, affording a single raised brow in the direction of the man emerging from within. “Mister Parker,” Dirk indicates either an witting or unwitting ignorance of Magnes’ true identity.

“You can go right in,” comes with a motion to the frosted glass doors marked with a double helix, “Mr. Petrelli is expecting you.”

Pinehearst Tower

October 10th, 2013

2:19 pm

Glass doors move with a pressurized hiss when Magnes pushes them open, revealing a half-circle office. The curving back wall is just a panoramic window of mint-tinted glass, beyond which the skyline of New York City and what was once the ruins of Midtown are prominently displayed. There are more copper vases in here, etched with Art Deco reliefs and lush with verdant ferns.

Arthur Petrelli stands beside his desk, facing out toward the sky skyline. His suit is a slate gray color that encompasses an overwhelming sense of neutrality. His hair is a shade lighter, silvery streaked with remnants of what was once black. As he turns, Arthur looks at Magnes with all the curiosity of someone at the zoo looking at an animal they’d never seen before. Lips are parted, dark black brows are raised, and after a moment there’s an expression of both surprise and additional scrutiny.

Magnes,” Arthur only says once the doors behind his guest have closed shut. “It’s almost impossible to tell the two of you apart,” he admits in a relaxed and casual tone, making a slow approach with his hands in his pockets. “I am… so glad you could come here.”

"I wonder if you mean my father, the clones, or the other me here. I assume you know about all three." is the first thing Magnes says, nodding in greeting. "I felt very… conflicted on the idea of coming here or not. But ultimately, I realize that I would rather you be on our side than against it."

"I probably know more about you than is comfortable, because of my world. But I'm not here to stop you, or to change anything. I learned already that it's not my place to change other people's worlds." He stands where he is because he doesn't want to move without permission, or touch anything. He's clearly not entirely comfortable. "I want to work with you to get back home. I'm not here to be the morality police, or a hero of justice. All I want is for my friends to be safe, both the ones I brought with me, and the ones who already live in this world."

"And maybe answers, if you have them, about who and what I am." Rich alluded to those things, and Magnes is quick to lay his cards on the table, about what he wants. "If I know what you're about now, what you want, it'll make this all a lot easier. I'm not here to be your enemy, and after fighting Kazimir, and knowing what kind of loss is involved in a fight of that scale, I'm not willing to risk something like that again."

Kazimir?” Arthur notes with a curious tone of voice, but puts those curiosities aside for the moment. Moving to his desk, Arthur comes to take a seat. He doesn’t make any pretenses about polite handshakes, if Magnes knows as much about him as he professes, that’s probably in poor taste. “Take a seat,” is instead the gesture of goodwill that Arthur makes, motioning to a low-backed chair across from the desk.

“You remind me a lot of my son, when he was a little boy,” is the first thing out of Arthur’s mouth, and the older man slouches back into his chair and folds his hands in his lap. “He was always getting into things, very bright, always investigating. Very talkative, too.” There’s a fond smile, there, though it slowly fades. “I don’t know what you think I am, or who you think I am, but I can assure you your expectations aren’t going to be met here. This is here and now, not wherever it is you came from…” and the pause there is deliberately long. “Which… we can talk about later, I suppose.”

After putting a pin in that conversational topic, Arthur switches gears. “I knew of your father, Pete. We were contemporaries, but not peers. I read his file recently, and yours.” Arthur looks up to Magnes, expression tightening at the corners of his mouth. “I can show you everything we have, about your mother, your father… where you come from, who you really are.” Not once does Arthur reiterate the word clone. “I can give that to you to go over in your own time, because… and I’ll be frank, none of it is plesant.”

Raising one hand, Arthur motions to an ashtray on his desk and a cigarette flies over to his hand. “Do you mind if I smoke?” He asks with a raise of his brows.

"That's fine." Magnes holds up a hand, taking a seat. He looks around, having chosen to wear a white button up with a tie, no jacket, and his jeans with a pair of black boots rather than his usual Converse. "Peter. I know Peter, I've known two Peters…" He bites his bottom lip for a moment. "One of them helped me fight Kazimir, and died. The other was Kazimir for a while, he controlled it, taught me how to use my ability when we stopped the Vanguard. Which, well, I know sounds confusing. Anyway, sorry, I talk a lot." he smiles, apologetically.

"Regardless of the version of Peter, I've always related to him. I also dated Claire, who I know you're also related to, though your family tree always kind of confused me." he admits, his eyes starting to linger around the room, gravitational field extending in the same way that one might walk around and explore. "Oh, sorry, I don't really know what abilities you have, I'm used to just being able to do that without thinking about it."

"I've never personally met any iteration of you, I've just always heard of you, like a boogieman." He laughs a little, because, well, this whole situation feels just a tad absurd. "I imagine that not much about my family history is pleasant, not much involving my father was particularly pleasant."

Arthur smiles and inclines his head. “Boogeyman? I suppose that's not a first for me.” He doesn't have a visible reaction to Magnes’ gravity field, though there's an unusual feeling around Arthur that Magnes can feel. His weight is different than outward appearances would indicate, and there feels like some sort of repulsing gravitational effect constantly active, like he's making himself lighter on his feet. He may have some kind of gravity-based ability. Possibly also density manipulation?

“I assure you, what you've heard isn't applicable here. I don't know much about the world you came from. I've heard word of some sort of viral apocalypse, but that's not your home. Beyond that, I'm in the dark. And truth be told, I don't want to know more. That's your business, not mine. People can be entitled to their secrets, as long as they're not harming my family.” Belatedly, Arthur snaps a finger in front of his cigarette and creates a spark that ignited the tip into a glowing ember. He takes a long drag, then exhales smoke out his nose.

“Your father was Pete Varlane, he worked for a pharmaceutical company that was a subsidiary of the Company, but he was never aware of us. Your mother, however…” Pete inclines his head slowly, rubbing one of his temples. “Your parents are a complicated matter. To be honest, your whole family tree is about as twisted as the Petrelli tree.” He doesn't bring up Claire at all.

“I can get you everything you want on that, like I said. What I'd like in return is to know a little bit about what your world is like. Politically, socially, what kind of culture do you come from and how is it different from our own?” Even as Arthur asks that question, he's leaning away from it. “That, too, is something you can take time on. Write it out, send it on to me. If you're comfortable sharing.”

After a few conversational detours, Arthur gets to the meat of the meeting. “Your work at Columbia is obviously our primary importance. We’re rebuilding the Looking Glass device, here, in Pinehearst Tower. Doctor Schwenkman has an expert team working around the clock on it, and I'd say we’re likely to have it operational by 2017 at the latest. But,” Arthur motions with his hand holding the cigarette. “We have something I think you might be able to sincerely assist us with. While we want to complete Looking Glass, we’re much closer to developing a communication device, capable of relaying a message across the divide between worlds.”

“I'm wondering if you might be interested in working on that project with us, and helping us build a means to send you and yours home.” Arthur raises dark brows, bringing his cigarette back up to his lips. “I'm not your enemy, I'm not your world’s enemy. And I think we could help each other accomplish our goals.”

"I've thought about the differences between our worlds a lot." Magnes doesn't comment on his parents, he knows it'll come, and he knows that he can't focus on that right now.

His mother?

Either way, he continues. "My world isn't this advanced, because, without going into detail, you're dead. That is the primary difference between your world and mine. Your death is the primary branch between our timelines. I know what would happen if you died, regardless of your… means of doing things."

He motions his arms around, looking to the windows. "If you died, the world would probably go to hell, there would be more time travel incidents as things descend into war. Though you've come so far in this timeline, who knows what would happen at this point…" He bites his bottom lip, reaching out to fold his hands on the desk. "I can't risk your death, because it would destabilize the entire world, and not risking your death means that no one in this world can know what happened in my world."

"This is also why you have to stay out of my world, you can't… if you build this thing, you can't just go sending people into other worlds. I know it's tempting, but it would start some crazy interdimensional war. There are people and threats that you can't even imagine, things that came after you were gone. This…" He nods to the window again. "This is the best timeline. Your best bet would be to use this technology to find a way to lock this world off and protect it, not leave it."

"I'm willing to help you, I want to communicate with my world, send them a message. I have theories about how things like this would work, because I came up with the theories that got us from the Virus world to this world. I used what few books we could find in an abandoned library to figure out how to get us here." He rubs his chin, though, staring down at the desk.

"But we have to be careful. I didn't only try to travel, I also tried to communicate from the Virus world, and…" He sounds like he's trying to explain, furrowing his brow. "There's a… thing, I don't know if it's in another world, or between worlds. It speaks inside of your brain, it knows things about you. I sometimes think I can still hear it, I don't know. It wants to be let out, or in, I don't know exactly."

There's an air of terror to his tone, a deep concern. "We had to shut down our experiment, close the hole, because it was just… however powerful you feel, and I can feel some aspect of how powerful you are, and I fought Kazimir, who had Gabriel Grey's body, and even that was nothing compared to whatever that thing was… It was like a god."

Arthur’s ability to maintain a passive mask in the face of the unbelievable or the astonishing might as well be a superpower in and of itself. Slouched back into his chair, he has his hands steepled in front of his mouth, brows furrowed and eyes downcast to the surface of his desk. When he was younger, Magnes remembers his father having that level of patience and reservation. After Magnes is done, Arthur takes another drag from his cigarette and telekinetically sets it down in the ashtray.

“It sounds like you've been through a lot.” Is a massive understatement, but Arthur feels the need for subtle rather than grand at the moment. “I think you'll be relieved to know we’re of like minds. I'm curious about these… other worlds, curious about how many they are, why they exist, and how people traverse them. But…” Arthur shrugs and spreads his hands. “I'm not a conqueror. I have this world to consider.”

Magnes can feel the but in that statement before the voiced. “But I fear what other worlds might do if they find out about this one. Obviously, as you say, I'm dead in your world. I have some ideas about how that may have happened, but frankly I'm not sure I want to know. What I do know, is that if someone who hated me enough to kill me had access to something like Looking Glass…” Arthur leaves the implication open.

“We don't, yet, know if there's a way to close this world off. But truth be told, aside from your accidental arrival here and the events of November 8th, we haven't been able to travel out either. We’re missing something, and maybe it was Michelle's resonance formula. Maybe it's something more esoteric…” Sitting forward, Arthur rests his elbows on his desk and folds his hands in front of himself. “We'd like you to help us find that, so we can get you home. And then maybe establish a dialogue of some kind with you, to work to keep us safe on your side, while we endeavor to do the same on our end.”

An analogy comes to mind. “It's like global nuclear deproliferation. We work to ensure that the unthinkable doesn't happen.” Arthur raises his brows, assessing Magnes’ willingness to play ball. “I have very specific interests, as I said. But I'm not a conqueror. I'm a family man, and I just want my family together, and safe.” Then, with a tilt of his head to the side he adds, “From one father to another, I'm sure you understand. You'd do anything for your children. To keep them safe.”

"I don't disagree. In all honesty, I would rather no one have access to this technology, but what we have to consider is that if we stop that technology in one world, we only branch off the timeline so that another world succeeds. However, we don't know the hard science relationship of universes. For all we know, we'd be permanently safe, while some other version of one world gets invaded by the one that didn't get stopped." Magnes then waves the thought off, considering, again. "The only way to know is to try."

"I know that this is going to be a controversial statement, but…" He doesn't immediately say what he's thinking, he sounds as if he's considering if this is something he even wants to say. "I wanted to start an organization, based in this world with all its technological infrastructure, that would be willing to stop Looking Glass, as we're calling it, in other worlds. Not war, not anything insane, but just… keeping the technology perpetually out of reach, putting people back to their worlds if they manage to cross."

"I don't know if this is feasible, because, as I said, we don't know the nature of how these universes branch, we don't know what creates a universe, or what their relationship to each other is." There's a pause, and his eyes lower to the desk. "But I think we have to try. I'm willing to help you, I think we have similar goals. And, if I ask you questions, I hope that you don't take offense, because all I have are stories of the Arthur from my world. I want to give you the benefit of a doubt as we move forward."

“Until we better understand what it is we’re traveling to and from with these incidents, I think we should table the notion of some sort of interdimensional council. That said, control of this technology is important. The implications are, honestly, mind-boggling.” Arthur seems in agreement with the sentiment, however. In that agreement, he pushes his chair back and moves to stand, buttoning his suit jacket closed as he does.

“Whatever you've heard about me in other… worlds…” The notion still seems alien to Arthur, “I can assure you that I'm nothing like the Arthur they knew. Just as much as you're nothing like the Magnes Varlane I've read up on. You seem to be a rational, pragmatic sort. I think, together, we can accomplish great things.”

Now comes the extension of trust, mutual as it would be. Arthur offers a hand to Magnes, and both men could easily do horrible things to one-another with a handshake. It is a show of trust, a show of agreement, and a pact in the waiting: put aside differences for a common goal.

Can two universes cooperate side by side?

Can history be made?

"I only want what's best for my friends, and the world, or I guess as many worlds as possible." Magnes stands, watching his hand for a brief moment, then he reaches out to take Arthur's hand. "Maybe we'll be the first people in history to change two worlds. But, either way, I'm on board." he accepts, with a friendly smile.

Can they find the way back?

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