Ezekiel 16:22


00-00_icon.gif aric_icon.gif brennan_icon.gif broome_icon.gif calvin_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif df_cardinal2_icon.gif claire4_icon.gif darren2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif eve3_icon.gif gina2_icon.gif harmony_icon.gif harper_icon.gif jessica2_icon.gif lemay_icon.gif logan_icon.gif luis_icon.gif mirror_niki_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif veronica3_icon.gif

Scene Title Ezekiel 16:22
Synopsis And in all your abominations and your prostitutions you have not remembered the days of your youth, when you were naked and bore, and were polluted in your blood.
Date February 26, 2011


The Ruins of Midtown

A tangled bit of a string. A single bullet. "One is for starting over, one is for calling it quits."

Those were the only gifts left for Richard Cardinal by the man who claims to be his true guardian; the man who promised to watch over him when he was born, and abandoned him to the mercy of the system. A cold inheritance indeed.

The photograph that he hangs from that thread shows a sign that reads 'Welcome to Coyote Sands'. Perhaps he finds it ironically appropriate to use that bit of string to mark the arrival of his other self in this timeline. A timeline where he chose to follow Edward's own future incarnation, instead of the one that warned him off through his 'sister' in a vision left in another woman's mind.

The string stretches above the featureless concrete of the floor, crossing at a point labeled '1977' with Samson Grey's own vagely-featured timeline. There, it's replaced with a black and featureless string until it crosses that of Darren Stevens, melding with another string at that point. A photograph from that string shows Tyler Case - along with Cardinal himself, and Bebe, on the deck of a yacht. That line finds an intersection with Elle Bishop, with Harmony Roberts, with Aric Gibbs.

The web goes on.

Richard Cardinal leans against the wall of the basement of the nameless place he's set this new map up, arms folding over his chest and one hand rubbing to his lower face. He's examined string maps that led to Arthur Petrelli, Norman White, Rupert Carmichael. This one leads to him.

Now he just needs to figure out where it leads. What that tangle at its heart represents, what it means… without Edward or Hiro to guide him.

He reaches out to pluck a string, watching the whole web vibrate. Your place of origin is where you can do the most damage.

It remains to be seen if that goes both ways.



Backpack with laptop. Books boxed. Garment bag rolled into a battered duffel. Everything packed. Lights low, radio all get yo hands as Calvin moonwalks smooth start-stop-start out've the little boy's room across dusty baseboards and tosses one last pack aside onto the tatty nest of his bed (up against the wall and spread them).

A latch is fastened and a zipper checked as he lifts his phone to his ear and finally taps send, radio dial nudged down to a more respectful murmur. He lights up while he listens to the line trill, ring ring, rolling paper blistered back and a rush of nicotine to take the edge off a headache that's making it hard for him to see straight.

“Yes, sir,” he says to the operator, fluidly polite, try to resist I'll dismiss you, “M'name's Agent Calvin Rosen. I'm with Homeland Security, calling in reference to case number 1007294-N. I spoke with Officer Daniels like an hour ago – “ fuck you, fuck you, fuck you. He turns the radio the rest of the way down, second drag raking ash white hot to his cigarette's midline.

“Right, yeh, that was me. Alright, yeah've got a pen right here.”

He doesn't.

But he finds one quick enough, a business card extracted crisp from his wallet for him to etch on. Tennenbaum, he writes at a scratchy slant as he listens, patient-like. Brow hooded. Quiet. Intent. Careful on the spelling even as he threads his backpack heavy up onto his shoulder. ”Ee enn ess ee.”



Haverhill, Massachusetts

Weathered fingers reach up to pull on a beaded chain, with a soft tug and a click, the basement is flooded with light.

Dingy brick molded on the edges is cast in wavering shadow from the sway of the hanging lamp's lone bulb. Shadows cast by dilapidated wooden shelving ebb like the lapping of surf. Small windows near the ceiling are crusted with grime, the dark of night outside black behind their dirty panes.

Beneath the glow of the lamp, Doctor Simon Broome's countenance looks wrought from stone; a piece of pale marble chiseled into the likeness of a dour old man with eyes as dark as burnt wood. On lowering his hand from the lamp's dangling cord, Simon turns his attention to another figure in the basement, offering him a solemn nod.

Another Simon Broome, identical to the one opposite of him stands with his back to the old and dormant boiler in the basement. A cork-board over one shoulder has weathered, old newspaper clippings pinned up to it, concealed behind a thick layer of dust and cobwebs. "We need to reach a concensus," Simon explains to his doppelganger. The mirror of the darkly dressed old man bows his head into a solemn nod of regretful agreement, turning to look to the basement's doorway where a third Broome stands.

"When we first stole into this basement, over thirty years ago, we had no inkling of the scope of what would be done under our advisement." The third Simon looks between the other two, then to the postings on the cork-board in thoughtful silence. His black shoes scuff across the dusty concrete as he walks into the basement, considering his counterparts carefully.

"The question we have asked ourselves," yet another Simon picks up the conversation thread, emerging from the creaking stairs to the bulkhead, "is whether the agreement we made here in this basement can still be upheld. Or if by our very tresspass here today are we invalidating the promises to a future for all humanity?"

Steepling his fingers in front of his mouth, the Simon that turned on the basement light seems to seriously contemplate that question. "We are all he," is how he decides to come at the problem. "We are all copied from the original Simon, we are — in all ways — exact replicas of him down to all but a few bits of genetic information. We share his experiences, his dreams, his past and his hope for the future…"

"Yet, we are individual." The Simon by the corkboard counters, though is quick to turn that counter to an agreement. "And here we are, as individuals; each of us with a different purpose, a different perspective, different individual experiences. Here we are having raised the same question." Dark eyes travel the other Simons in the room, then turn to regard the cork-board over his shoulder.

"We must weigh our options," one of the Simons warns, "but we cannot dally. The longer we wait, the longer the situation has to worsen, and I fear that whatever miracles Darren Stevens is capable of working, his ability may not be as without flaw as we have assumed. It is an untested, foreign territory. We are all guilty of not only playing God, but trying to replace God. Are we comfortable with this?"

Each Simon regards the other in silence, and it falls to the one that turned on the basement light to bring the conversation to its point. "We will put it to a vote, and majority will rule." Each of the Simons nod their heads in agreement.

"Do we stay the course?"


Dorchester Towers

The ink-dark form surrounds Elisabeth like a cloak, whispering naughty suggestions in her ear as she steps into the dimly lit apartment. She laughs quietly. Clothing scatters to the four winds. Heat and passion flare high then ebb to low murmurs and finally to deep, even breathing. She lays snugged into his side staring at the ceiling in the soft glow of the nightlight.

"I'm beyond tired, but I don't sleep well. Cardinal's Ezekiel's very presence here is anathema. An affront to the natural order of things, really. This is not his time. Things have already happened in this timeline that will irrevocably change the future such that he cannot exist in the incarnation that currently inhabits Tyler Case's body — Richard didn't have me shot. Jaiden didn't fall out of a helicopter and die, he's still here to help. The riots were smaller because we were able to at least lessen the broadcast. Among others."

She sighs heavily and slowly eases out of the bed. He shifts, his hand seeking her body in the warm spot she just vacated, but doesn't wake. Taking her robe to wrap around herself, she slips on silent feet into the kitchen with only the nightlights for company.

"And Ezekiel has done things that will change everything. Whatever Aric was in his timeline, Zeke has hardened him. Made him a killer, though I'm still not convinced that Aric will pull the trigger in the end. Swapped people's powers. Removed Claire's. Stolen Eve's paintings, which might have given us something to work with. The time paradox thing gives me a migraine. I hate having to think about it."

Pouring herself a glass of wine, she walks to the balcony with it and lets herself carefully out into the freezing night. Leaning on the railing she watches an army helicopter flash searchlights on the ground seeking curfew breakers.

"We didn't have to be enemies, but you better fucking believe we are now. If he wants to take that shot? Bring it. I dare him. Every night that I stay in the apartment, I give him the opportunity. If he's having me followed, which is not outside the realm of possibility, he'll see what I'm doing. He claims everything he's doing is to save our future. His future. Our son's future. But a man trying to save our son's future wouldn't have tried to kill my child's father. He's a liar."

She savors the flavor of the wine as she watches. Even with a curfew, the city still lives all night. Just indoors. There are twinkles of lights all over the place. She's beginning to shiver.

"He should not underestimate me or the lengths to which I will go to thwart him. To protect those who are mine. He's crossed one too many lines. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he blew that chance to Hell. It didn't have to be this way."

The sound of the helicopter fades as they rounded the far side of a skyscraper leaving her in the relative silence of the sleeping city. It's strange not to hear car horns honking at all hours.

"The future is not set. I'm a living, breathing case in point. And I have to believe that although time has inertia, inertia does not mean that it cannot be changed — it just means you have to push a hell of a lot harder to make it go the way it needs to. And fuck him if he thinks he's going to win. The alternate version of me, if he's to be believed, beat him once. I can do it again."

She lets herself back into the apartment, locking them in securely. And then she goes back to bed, leaving the robe on the floor as she scoots back into the haven of his arms.

"You okay?" he murmurs, lips in her hair as he wakes enough to wrap his arms around her. "Goddamn, woman, your feet are freezing!"

She laughs quietly at his outrage and silences him with a deep kiss. "Everything's fine. Go back to sleep," she whispers, laying her head on his chest. It is the steady sound of his heartbeat in her ear that finally lulls her to sleep as dawn breaks.



Fort Hero

"Her white-cell count has doubled in the last two days alone," is some of the best news that Doctor Jean-Martin Luis has ever heard, yet his mood is still a sour one. "I took a look at her chart today, she's recovering fine." Paper slides over paper, and Doctor Darren Stevens turns to consider Luis with one raised brow. "I know that shes important to you, but you need to ease up on the medical staff here. Doctor Lane was half ready to quit when I came in this morning after having dealt with you all day yesterday…"

Settling down the clip board on the corner of his desk, Darren crosses his arms over his chest, looking down into the chair that Luis is seated in. "Look, there's nothing saying that a father can't be worried for their child; It's human nature. But the medical team here is under a lot of pressure as it is, and they need you to help pull them together, not tear them apart."

Lazy, tired eyes alight from the floor as Luis listens to Darren, considering the younger doctor with a wandering stare. It diverts from Darren, finds where he's folded his hands in his lap, and only then does Luis have words for his peer. "You cannot begin to understand what she means to me," sounds dismissive, is dismissive. "But you concern is…" Luis' eyes flick up to Darren's, "appreciated. Though wholly unnecessar— "

"It's not unnecessary," Darren interjects, leaning away from his desk and walking to close the distance between himself and Luis. "I'm trying ot start a second chance at a life here, Jean. The Institute is all I have now. I don't have a daughter, you're right. I don't have a family. I don't have anything, except my ability and a desire to do some good with it with the time I have." Darren's eyes challenge Luis', their stares locked and postures nearly as rigid.

There's silence between the two for a short time, though eventually Luis cedes the argument in a rise from his chair, watching Darren with silent challenge mirrored the entire time. Darren eventually brakes the staring contest, a sigh rising at the back of his throat. "Jean," Darren tries to get through to him, taking a step around the chair as Doctor Luis moves for the office door. "Jean I'm not— If you keep this up Simon is going to have you replaced at Fort Hero. I don't have the medical expertise you do, but you know Simon wouldn't hesitate to put you on a long-term vacation if he thought you needed it."

At that accusation, Luis turns, brows furrowed and mouth cut into a sullen frown. The challenge there in Luis' eyes is something more than Darren had earlier. It is a bold and wordless boast, a call of every bluff; he can try it all but screams.

Darren doesn't press the issue further.


The Octagon

"…the next time it'll be a phone call from some stranger telling me you're dead, Veronica. When you wanted to become a police officer, I thought it was a phase, that you'd grow out of it. And then suddenly you move away to New York, and you work for Homeland Security? You can't bring your father back by putting your life in danger for strangers. You know that."

Alma Sawyer is in rare form — sober enough to lecture Veronica for the first time in years, after her only daughter made the mistake of calling her mother for the first time in months. Being alone in her apartment to recuperate from the nearly fatal stab wound, the silence and solitude were too much. She reached out to the one person who is supposed to love her unconditionally, and now she's regretting it.

Veronica closes her eyes and rubs her forehead as she listens to the rant. When her mother finally pauses to let her speak, there is very little energy or passion to the younger Sawyer's husky voice. "I wasn't even working when it happened, Mom. But it's nice to know you care. And there's no guarantee any job is safe." After all, neither woman thought that Keith Sawyer would have been killed in his line of work.

"I gotta go," she says. "Love you." Rather than argue more, she clicks off even as her mother continues to speak.

The words echo in her ears as she fingers the bandage at her neck. You can't bring your father back by putting your life in danger for strangers. Everything she's done her entire life is a ripple in the water from her father getting killed. Nothing she does will bring him back. But putting her life on the line for strangers is all she has left.

There's no one close to care about or protect.

It's all about principle, now.


Fort Hero

The sun may be shining warm over Queens. It's impossible to tell down here. Odessa Price has got a sun lamp set up on her desk, however. That's nice and warm. Though it makes her feel sick, in some ways. It's all much too like the old days. Well, Fort Hero was a Company facility once. Even if it wasn't one she had the pleasure/misfortune to work in while it was purposed as such.

It's not quite her space yet, but it will be. A few things, essentials, were salvaged from her former office in the Suresh Center. Important things like her laptop, and meaningful things like the paper dolls cut out for her by Doctor Sheridan, hand in hand with little letters across their torsos. Pinned across cork board, they read 'STOP BLEEDING.' Below that are paper snowflakes that say, simply, 'PLEASE.' Odessa smiles as she sticks the last pin into the corner of one flake.

The smile disappears as she looks down to the rolled rug propped up against the wall, meant to be unfurled on her floor, and then to where her arm is bound still in a sling. This is going to be interesting. Odessa drags the new carpet away from its stand in the corner and sets it down on the floor, then starts nudging it with her shoe. Heels, naturally. Three inches and a vibrant tangerine colour that perhaps unexpectedly complements the teal of the blouse tucked into her black pencil skirt.

The burnt orange fibres of shag carpet spring up as though something in bloom.

The sound of knocking on the open office door isn't entirely unexpected, some time during the day today Desmond Harper is supposed to be doing a sweep of the refurbished facility to ensure that it is up to operational standards, checking offices seems like a logical part of that. But on turning to the sound, it isn't Harper at all that is standing in the doorway of Odessa Price's office, her name plaque not even on the door yet, faded stenciling that once read Lee, Lashirah still faintly visible.

The black-clad figure filling the doorway is designed to inspire fear, or at the very least compliance. Matte plates of black polymer cover the hexagon-printed synthetic fabric and plastic weave beneath. Hydraulics beneath the armor hisses and whines as one gauntleted arm is lowered from the doorframe, and Odessa Price finds herself reflected in the orange-tinted visor of a suit of Horizon armor.

She knows it isn't one of the city's operatives, the design is more advanced, heavier. She's heard of the Institute's emergency response team, knows that they operate primarily out of Cambridge. The four zeroes on the breastplate's right side are this one's designation. 00-00, nothing, nobody.

«Odessa,» his helmet's speakers crackle greeting.

Odessa turns, the sounds of her shoes muffled by the new (and very much loved) carpet on the floor. She hesitates a moment, letting her gaze sweep up and down the figure in her door. Who roams these halls in Horizon armour?

A slow inhaled breath preceeds an easy smile as Doctor Price backs up to rest against the edge of her desk. Reaching up to carefully scratch an itch that exists somewhere beneath bandages and around stitches where a bullet punched through the back of her shoulder and out the front again, she fixes an inquisitive gaze not so much on the man behind the visor, but on the reflection of her own eye, and black and white damask patch. "Sir?"

To say she has a bad feeling about this would be a bit of a gross understatement.

«A little presumptuous» the unfamiliar voice admits, stepping into the office, «but unsurprisingly prescient of you.» As he moves into the office, the armored figure silhouette reveals another, unarmored, figure waiting in the hall behind him. Clean cut and dressed in a suit, he looks a little surprised to be here and even further surprised by the presence of Odessa in the office. When the armored man steps inside, he followed behind and closes the door, listening to the whirr-thump-whirr-thump of booted footfalls ahead of him.

A plastic ID badge dangling from the man in the suit reads Agent Lambert and professes that he's from the Department of Homeland Security. Odds are more likely that it's his Institute cover. «This is extremely unfortunate,» the armored figure explains, lifting up one hand towards Odessa. «This wasn't even supposed to happen.»

A sudden explosion of red lightning from the raised hand sends Odessa clear off of her feet, head over heels over the desk, one shoe flying off when she tumbles over the desktop and lands on the floor behind it. The lightning arcs and bends to keep track on Odessa, boils her blood in a way that is excruciatingly painful but deceptively harmless. But Odessa knows what's happening the second she sees another bolt of red lightning fire out of the armored figure's other hand into the balding agent, knocking him back against one of the concrete walls, arms wrapped aorund his midsection tightly.

There's a whining, hissing breath from the agent, and then it's all over as quickly as it began. The red lightning fades, the agent drops down onto his knees with hands shaking and smoke rising off of his back, and the figure in Horizon armor reaches up to lift his visor, revealing the countenance of one Tyler Case.

"Do you know what just happened to you?" It's asked with one brow raised, dark eyes focused on Odessa's prone, smoldering form. It's also partly rhetorical.

Despite swinging one arm up to protect herself, to stop time so that she can flee what's about to happen, it happens too swiftly. Odessa was far too trusting of the organisation that was supposed to value her, and her ability. Now her shrieks fill the office, spill out into the halls. She goes toppling over the desk and hits the floor, alternating curling up on herself, and clawing at the floor to try and get away. Blood dots at her back, near her spine, and at her shoulder where she's tugged stitches free in her struggling.

When it's over, her good hand appears over the edge of the desk before Odessa's head appears over its top, terrified and weak. "Give it back," she pleads breathlessly. Her ability is gone. She can feel its absence, making a knot in the pit of her stomach, and leaving her bones aching. Leaving her feeling sick. "Why?"

"Really?" Tyler's sneering countenance asks as he reaches down to his side, unfastening the strap over his holstered sidearm, a monster of a handgun designed to be wielded by someone with the augmentation of a hydraulic-braced suit of armor. "You need to ask me why, after everything you've done? After each and every decision you've made in selfish consideration? A leopard doesn't change its spots, Price."

Agent Lambert slowly eases himself up off of the floor, brushing off his knees as he turns to stare into the barrel of Tyler's fifty-caliber handgun aimed point-blank range at him. "Wha— " the noise of the gunshot going off in the enclosed space of Odessa's office is deafening, an ear-splitting roar accompanied by the explosion of blood against the wall and agent Lambert slouching down and slumping over with a massive portion of his head missing, scattered across the suit of horizon armor and Odessa, chunks in her hair.

As the gun is slid down into the holster, strap clipped over the back, Tyler opens his visor again with a snap, staring at Odessa plainly, waiting for the tinnitus ring to start to subside. "Now you have absolutely nothing but us, Doctor Price. And if you ever want what was taken from you back, you're going to cooperate with us one-hundred percent."

Brown eyes narrow, and Tyler's voice is tense. "Do I make myself absolutely clear?"

"NO!" Odessa doesn't make it to Tyler's side quickly enough. There is no way she could have. When she manifested, it was all instinct. That Agent Lambert didn't save himself by instinct alone is something she can't quite process. Maybe later. Maybe when she's not staring at the corpse on her brand new rug.

"What good am I to you without my ability?!" Odessa turns back to Tyler, pressing her hand to her shoulder where blood soaks into her shirt. "I haven't—" Yet? Tears well up and spill down her cheeks. She's been negated before, but never had her ability stripped from her.

Her jaw sets and finally, Odessa nods her head. "Crystal." A miserable sniffle ruins any illusions that she might come out of this tough as nails.

Tyler's visor is slid down and closed again, and his emotionless expression hidden behind a muted reflection of Odessa's own puffy eyes and tear-filled countenance. «You're resourceful,» is the belated answer to her question, crackling thorugh the speakers on Tyler's helmet. Commotion in the hall sounds like someone from the medical department come to check out the noise of a gunshot, the presence of another crackling voice in the hall — too quiet to be heard — indicates that this situation is being controlled.

«This comes in lieu of firing you, Price. This comes in lieu of a bullet to the head while you sleep. It's a warning, that you're being monitored. It's a warning that the behavior you exhibited while with the Company won't be tolerated here. But it's also a reminder that you aren't //free.» Turning for the door, hydraulics whining, the black-armored figure pauses, regarding Odessa over his shoulder.

«We gave you your life back, it belongs to us» is said as a warning.

«We can take that away too.»

Hydraulics whine, the door opens, and as the Horizon-armored figure slips out into the hall, another operative can be seen partly obscured by the doorframe. «The situation is under control, please return to your offices. Retrievers will be down shortly to contain the incident, you are not in any danger.» An orange-tinted visor angles to consider Odessa through the open door, before she's shut in the office with the corpse. Before she can even process the full extent of what just happened.

She's been spied on. Or told on. Odessa wraps her good arm around herself and backs up until she bumps into the wall. She then slides down to the floor, resting her face against her knees and staring at the wall opposite of her.

She'll still be shaking when the retrievers arrive.


Hamilton Heights Apartments


“Why would you even want to go there? Madonna wouldn't stay.”

Two identical pairs of eyes drift toward the switched off television screen, and the muted and darkened reflected image of a brunette woman eating popcorn.

“What? She wrote a fuckin' song about it.”

The woman the reflection is based already has one arm hooked across the back of the couch, her elbow pointed in the direction she turns so as to get a glimpse of another woman identical in the mirror mounted on the living room wall between two small windows. “Everything we've managed to dig up says that's where to find him.”

The mirror doesn't show the woman sitting on the couch, peering over one shoulder. Instead, it shows her standing in a casual lean, her backside rested comfortably against the back of the sofa, next to where she should be seated. “He doesn't want you to follow him. He's probably on a suicide run.”

From her vantage point, she can see the television screen, where two shapes are reflected back at her. The back of the head of the woman on the couch, and the mirror she appears to stand in, reflecting not herself, but the woman with the popcorn.

The way Niki Sanders' fractured mind works when it comes to seeing a her that isn't her in reflective surfaces is enough to even give herself a headache. “Change of venue,” she announces as she gets up from the couch to move to the kitchen table, where her counterparts settle in across from her in a mirror on each wall the café table is nestled into in the corner.

“Jessica's right. He did say you shouldn't follow. Or, well, Hiro says that Peter wanted it that way.” Gina's frown and her trepidation about Peter Petrelli's well-being isn't enough to keep her from eating more popcorn. “Not sure I trust that. Who knows what's on his freaky time agenda?”

There's a moment where Jessica is genuinely surprised to find Gina agreeing with her, for all that she's offered in the past to somehow murder the third personality taking up residence in Niki's fragile psyche. “But we don't need him.”

“Don't you love anybody?” Gina asks honestly, confusion and a plea for compassion in her face as she peers across to the second reflection. There are differences between the three of them, popcorn consumption aside. While their white tank tops and black cargo pants are all as identical as their features, Gina's lips are glossed a pale shade of pink, and her hair has been loosely curled. She looks younger than the other two.

“This has nothing to do with that.” In comparison, Jessica is all stern lines and severity. Her own dark hair has been pulled up into a tight ponytail on top of her head that just makes her features look sharper. Nothing about the midnight blue liner she wears is meant to soften her eyes. Instead, it's meant to bring out their colour, and make them appear more steely. Give her swift glares more punctuation. “I love Niki, and I love our son.” Her admission is honest and unapologetic. No weakness was admitted.

“Then we need Peter,” Niki cuts in quickly. For all that the other two women are polished in their own way, she just looks tired and worn down. And she is. Her hair is limp, skin almost sallow, and her eyes seem sunken for the dark circles around them. They're bloodshot. She's hungover. Again.

Seeing Micah again, hugging her son and telling him that she loves him, should have renewed something in her. It had the opposite effect. It murdered something inside of her all over again. Niki rises from the table, Jessica and Gina following only with their eyes as she grabs a glass and drags a bottle of whiskey down from the shelf above the stove, pouring just enough to cover the bottom of the glass. After she downs that, she pours much more in. Ice cubes give the illusion that it's something meant to be sipped.

The bag of popcorn is set aside so Gina can lean forward as though she could step through the mirror to comfort her other half. “Niki…”

A huff has her returning to the table, glass clutched tightly in her hands. “If he's in Argentina, then he likely got there with Nakamura's ability,” Niki explains. “So we need Peter.”

Understanding graces Jessica's features, turning narrowed disdain for Niki's vices into something marginally kinder. “So we need Peter,” she repeats.

“And what if he didn't use Hiro Nakamura's ability to get to South America?” Gina asks. “What if he just has teleportation now? Or maybe he crossed paths with a speedster? Or,” God forbid, “maybe he actually did the old fashioned way.” If the old fashioned way includes false passports and sneaky border crossings. Sure. Why not? “What if he can't help you? We should wait. He'll come back for you.”

“Come back for her?” Jessica curls her lip and turns her ire onto Gina. She always has been the easier target.

“It's true love,” is the easy retort.

It draws a groan from the sister personalities.

“What? He cares about Niki. I think he might love her.”

Niki grinds her teeth while Jessica growls a reply that's likely from both of them, “You watch too many romantic comedies.”

“I didn't cheat on 'Caidydid just so Peter could turn around and run off to South America and never come back.” Gina's eyes roll in tandem with a good-natured smirk. Seducing Petrelli wasn't exactly difficult. Subduing Niki long enough to do it, while avoiding Jessica's protector instincts was the problematic part of that ruse.

Two months ago, when Niki's fingers tightened around the glass in her fist, it would have creaked in protest and ultimately shattered in her grip with little warning. Before (a) Richard Cardinal took out an insurance policy against her.

Instead, the amber fluid begins to bubble, boiling inside of the tumbler as red-blue radiates from her hands. “You had no right to do that,” she tells Gina. But her gaze turns accusatory to Jessica. “Why didn't you stop her?”

“You needed Peter's loyalty. I can think of few better ways with puppy dogs like him. No matter how much he tries to convince you he's a fully trained attack dog.” Jessica shrugs her shoulders, reaching out toward the glass in Niki's hands, as if to take it away. The alcohol's evaporated anyway. She doesn't drink whiskey for the taste. She doesn't get that far.

In the mirror, Gina edges away as Niki's muscles tense. She can guess what's coming before it happens.

Her arms come up in time to protect her face, shielding it from the whiskey thrown from the glass at her. She may be immune to the microwaves they produce, but she isn't immune to the effects it has on other things. Boiling liquid is one of those things. Despite this, Gina isn't the one who starts screaming.

Niki does.

She recoils from the mirror, toppling out of her chair. It's Jessica that lands on the kitchen floor on the reality side of the mirror, however, all sleek hair and staring at the the burns forming blisters on her arms in shock. Anger makes a blaze in her eyes as she scrambles to her feet, throwing the lever on the sink to give her the cold stream. “You crazy bitch!” she howls to her reflections.

Either of them.

On floor, so many table legs between them (reflections are funny like that), Niki and Gina stare across to one another with matching expressions of fright, then assess the damage to their own limbs. There's no pain now. No burns.

Once again, Jessica has stepped up to shield her sister from the blows. Even when they come from herself.


Upper West Side, Manhattan

Standing in her Park Avenue apartment, Peyton surveys the room as the doorman and her driver load her luggage onto a cart. The apartment isn't being left vacant. She sees signs that Aaron has returned. There is no rent but only property taxes and utilities to pay for, so she leaves a few non-essential garments along with all of the furniture. It will serve as a place to stay if she finds reasons to come into the city.

Memories of the past months play through her mind, almost like ghosts moving in the room. So few of them are happy, and yet it's still hard to let go. There was always the promise of things being better.

A promise being held out to her now from a friend with a stranger's face.

"Miss Whitney? Are you ready?" the driver says as the doorman pushes the luggage cart to the hallway.

She nods, heading toward the door before something silver catches her eye from one of the end tables. Tipping her head, she moves to pick it up: The silver cardinal charm on a chain, one of several like it she had given to those closest to Cardinal when they had thought he'd died.

The tiny bird is traced gently, before the necklace is set down once more where it was left, forgotten, so many months ago.

The Cardinal that was meant to remember is in the past.

"I'm ready."

The apartment door is closed and locked.

The Cardinal she's promised her loyalty to waits in Massachusetts.


Central Park

These days, despite the aftermath of the dome, away from there, things aren't so helpful. And along a jogging path, a secluded area of Central Park - hard to imagine that those still exist - and under one of the bridges, within the tunnel, four men have encircled a teenager and are starting to rough him up.

Nosies drift above, but with the steady clop clop of the horses carriages and bikes, poeple playing, it's not overheard or dismissed as something else. Or just flat out ignored.

Thump goes a fist, driving into the soft abdomen, forcing the kid to bend over and by doing so, opening himself up to a knee to his forehead. "Freak. You're parents must be too. Fucking birthing out freaks" One of the quartet is busy with a spraycan and in the dim like of a fading afternoon the "hum-" can be seen coming to life on the wall. The teenager lashes out with a fist, try and catch one of his attackers but fails.
As he makes his way from Redbird, his oversized hooded pulled up over his head to keep out the cold and maybe more…to hide his face perhaps…Aric is making is way through the park. He has grown more accustom to taking the road less traveled in hopes to avoid people. As he walks down the path his eyes fall upon the group gathered and he stops. He cocks his head to the sided as he watches the scene for moment. He never rushes in any more. The product of what has happened to him this past year has taught him to never rush into something.

As he gets a better understanding of what is going on, Aric slowly makes his way towards the group. He steadies his breath as he places a hand behind his back for a moment to check that his 9mm is there. It is as he pauses at the beginning of the tunnel and asks in a fake thick Brooklyn Accent, "ay yo…wha up?"

"None of your business unless you want to end up like the kid man, so walk on and do your own business" One of the others, in his hand some knotted rope, thumps it against his palm in a manner that is meant to be threatening. "Just mind your own business buddy, walk along somewhere else"

The man spray painting the wall looks over, ready to drop the cans and help if the newcomer gets any bright idea's
As his eyes move to the kid getting beat up, Aric presses his lips in a fine line as he says in his fake accent, "Now the issue "buddY" is that I can't do that…you see. Your beating up on some poor kid. Why? I want to know…" He pulls his hood back as he runs a hand through his hair keeping his eyes on all the men and far enough to not get punched…yet.

"Maybe he deserves it…I am kind of bored."

"Evolved freak, a mutant, now fuck off" The guy with the rope takes a move forward, even as another pulls back his foot and delivers a swift kick to his side with a thud that is sure to signify some cracked ribs. The teenager starts to glow in the dimness of the tunnel, soft at first that it makes you wonder where the source of light is, but it's unmistakable when all exposed skin has that faint luminosity to it.

"Now…that is gonna be a challenge for me." Aric murmurs as he begins to slowly walk towards the group of men. "I am tired of people harming us because we are different. When you prick us do we not bleed? When you cut us do we not cry out in pain like everyone else? When you woke up this morning you thought this was gonna be a good thing?" As he holds up one hand, electricity begins to crackle and spark down his arm and between his fingers, that glowing hand pointed down towards the boy with the spray can.

"You were wrong."

5:12 pm

Dorchester Towers

“~…Hurt that's not supposed to show, and tears that fall when no one knows. When you're trying hard to be your best, could you be a little less? Do you know what it feels like for a girl? Do you know what it feels like in this world, for a girl…~” Crooning to the stylings of a hit made popular by Madonna, Harmony Roberts of 24 years old, sits bare foot and in her skivvies on her expensive leather couch with a guitar in her lap. Not hers, her brothers actually. The guitar was never her first instrument, but she knows her way around it.

For a time in a long time, none of her neighbors are home, all at the same time. So there is peace and quiet on the telepathic front, permitting her to play music without distraction. And on top of that, she doesn’t need to worry about disturbing anyone for the time being. Her telepathy is affording her some time to where it doesn’t become a factor, and that is great.

When her mind meanders to the subject of the telepathy she possesses, Harmony pauses in her musical activities and tightly presses her lips together in thought. Why? she wonders. Finding perhaps the one subject that she has been asking herself since it all started. She has had this telepathic ability that is not hers for going on three months now. She thought she would never make some kind of peace with it, but she is closing in on starting to enjoy it a little. I mean, once she got the hang of it, peering at people’s dirty little secrets is a bit of a guilty pleasure.

But as she pulls the guitar from her lap, and stands up from the couch to saunter to the fridge in order to grab the water she had stashed earlier, she wonders why the switch happened. What was her part in all of this? And would it have made a difference if she hadn’t been there? Did future Cardinal actually plan to do that to her? Or was she just an unforeseen factor in the plan to switch Aric and Elle? She was sure that the answer to that would turn up in time, but… Nothing. Three months and there hasn’t been a thing. Maybe she was just an extra. A fly in the ointment. *sigh* That’s.. kinda depressing.

You know, if only—Huh? What’s—There it is again. What’s going on with this telepathy? Has she reached a period of development to where she is hearing things? Is it going defective? It’s.. almost like there is a mind nearby, but it isn’t like anything she has heard so far. Not to mention, it isn’t coming from an outside radius. Is it another telepath? No, that wouldn’t make sense. This isn’t an echo, it’s very light. It’s like white noise, soft and warm, and constant. Ugh, it’s gonna bug her all night. It has for the past week or so.

Hey, maybe it’s one of those messed up hormonal things she has been having. A weird change she is going through for being Evolved and—Hey, that’s right.. She got one of her wishes, even if it happened through careless accident. You hear about rockstars and their wild and crazy sexlife, but you never really hear about them getting pregnant, until they get married. And sorry.. Richard Cardinal is just not the marrying type. Neither is she really, not right now. But… Motherhood comes sometimes whether you plan for it or not. And hey, he told her that if she needed anything at all, he would do everything he could to take care of it. Not many men are willing to step up to bat and be a father to a child that happened on a passionate mistake. Richard is surprising all around, huh?

It’s alright that he can’t have a more active role. Harmony understands his life is dangerous; there are people who want him dead, or who would use his family against them. He has even marked himself as a target. That’s so weird. If his future self, or any of the other half dozen people who want to get to him found out he had an inch of care for his child to be, or even that she was carrying it, her life, and the baby could be in extreme danger. She doesn’t want that… What she wants is her power back, so that she can better protect. That would make her feel much better.

She cracks open the plastic cap of her water and sighs, brushing a few blond curls out of the way of her face while meandering back over toward the couch, sipping her drink. Why can’t her life just be a bit less complicated? Nothing is ever simple for her it seems, not anymore. Not even this damned telepathy is—Oh. My. God! That sound is going to drive her nuts! As she plops down on the couch, it gets just a little louder for a split second, as if something were jostled or startled.

And then, she gets it…

Oh my god. Are—are you serious? As she sits there upon the couch, green eyes wide with wonderment and shock, she looks down at her own abdomen, her hands rising up, placing one over the other. That’s it… That’s why—Oh my god… Her telepathy isn’t defective, or changing, She is. There is life growing inside of her, it has been for over 3 months now. There was the possibility of this and now… That static she is hearing, it isn’t from an outside source, it’s from inside! Oh wow… That mind she is sensing, it’s—it’s her own baby… her baby growing in her own body. It’s about the first trimester so there has to be brain activity, and she is picking it up!

One of her hands rises to her lips and she makes a single emotional chuckle, her eyes immediately starting to glass over with tears, getting choked up. It’s my baby… It’s my baby. Hi… I don’t know if you can understand me, or even hear me, but hi. I’m your mommy. Not many mommies get to have an opportunity like this. They can’t really communicate with their babies until AFTER they’re born. But it’s you, I can hear you. As warm tears streak down her face, Harmony rubs a hand, petting down her stomach. I just want you to know that however hard things may be, or how unlike other families ours is, that I am not sorry that things turned out the way they did. You will always be wanted, and you’ll always be loved. And I promise that I won’t let anything happen to you.

This is unbelievable. This is a rare and wondrous occurrence. With her regular ability, this could never have happened. And as she sits there, pondering the beauty of this moment, she comprehends an answer to her initial question. This is why, right here. Whatever divine power or being looking down or into them, saw fit to let her powers get switched for this exact moment. Maybe… she isn’t alone. Maybe there is still a reason for her, and a part for her to play. Whatever it is, she knows that she can’t give up. She has to keep trying to make something of herself, to be involved. It’s bound to work out somehow.

“Oh my god! Nate! Naaaate!” elation washing over her, Harmony springing to her feet, arms almost flailing as she breaks neck to run into the room to tell her brother. “You’re not gonna believe this!!”


Air France, Trans-Atlantic Flight Somewhere Over the Atlantic

The perks of flying business class is that there's leg room and when flying during a red eye, you get pillows, blankets and a buffer between you and the rest of the plane as well as other minor amenities that come part and parcel with the expense. Henri is snuggled in a sling, across his fathers chest and oblivious that he is forty thousand feet in the air and on his way to a foreign country.

Michelle is awake beside him, one of the twins on her lap, the other curled up across from them, spread across the two seats. Marlena's behind her watching a movie on a portable player, closed captioning providing for her what headphones can't. The cabin dark, a stewardess walking through to check on passengers, it's another perk of business class. But when you pay that much for the seats, there better be.

But Brennan is looking out the window, the moon above the clouds and seemingly larger than if they were on land, the multitude of stars that dot the horizon and a blanket of clouds beneath them that seem thick enough that one might actually be able to walk on them.

"You're thinking Love" Michelle's hushed words, Dessandra shifting a little, thumb stuck in her mouth and sucking on it like Henri does his soother.

Brennan tears his gaze away from the window, away from his reflection to Michelle. More silver in his hair. He hadn't shaved the accumulated scruff, leaving a prickly jawline that made him look a little more rugged. Not that Michelle seemed to complain. Brennan leans over, pressing a kiss to her temple and a smile. "You caught me" He confesses. "Red handed, thinking about how big your ruby earrings should be when we get back"

There's a light swat at his shoulder, good one, and a soft snort. "Tease. No ruby's, this was good enough" Expensive enough. Flying last minute is never cheap, especially international. "You should get some sleep mish. We're not going to be landing anytime soon, and when we do" They have four kids to deal with and Henri will want to be fed long before that.

There's a nod from the atmokinetic that is his wife, shifting with Dessandra, getting comfortable attempting to get some rest while Brennan goes back to looking out the window, thinking about what he told Russo. In the dome, people did things they would never have done outside it.

Like infect an old man with a strain of Malaria and threaten his daughter, knowing it would kill another girl out there somewhere in the world too.

Brennan looks down, shifting his gaze to the impossibly small head covered with downy soft brown hair, Henri dreaming dreams that infants do. Melissa had called them Nazi's, called the whole of the institute and by association, him as well.

How many more thought of that? How many more saw that when they looked at him? A hand descends, shifting the baby, his large palms cradling that small head. He'd crossed a line with Luis. He crossed the line when he signed on the dotted line and became an employee of the Institute and not just of the DoEA and the Suresh Center.

How different was he from the people he worked for? How compromised had his morals become? Where was his next line? Brennan lowers his head, pressing lips to the fontanel of the infant, feeling the thread of the infants pulse just under his scalp.

He could leave. He could return to their private practice, take up a position at the hospital, it wasn't like he took the job for the money. It was never about the money. It was about leaving a mark in the world, making it better.

Protecting his family.

So he sits, in his roomy seat, holding his first son. Looking to the rest of his family for a half hour before he reaches in front of him, pry's the phone from it's cradle and starts the process to make a call. Wait for it to connect, wait to be transferred to who he's needing to.

"It's Harve" He speaks into the phone eventually, looking back down to his son. It's a long pause, possibly awkward. "I'm ready" He tells the person on the other end. "I'm ready to do more"


Upper West Side, Manhattan

Face down on the bed, a luxurious sort of sprawl if not for the fact Logan has been there all day. Morning, careening into dusk by the time pale, bloodshot eyes creak open and regard the angle of the tepid light slanting in at an extreme angle through his window. He hasn't dressed, still naked beneath pseudo-Chinese silken robe, legs loose and bony on the stripped mattress. By now, the beer he'd gotten for himself at a midpoint during the afternoon on a detour from the bathroom has grown warm, barely sipped from, but now his hunger drives needy daggers through his stomach, cramps from the bottom of his ribs to the upper of his pelvis.

Fingertips investigate his lips, dry feeling, chafed. The mattress squeaks inquisitively beneath the shifting weight of the lanky Briton, with half his mind still plunged into the ethereal world of green letters, numbers, and squawky human voice.

"Fnn— "

Logan breathes in, lets his eyes shut, retreats from the physical again. Things were just getting interesting.

«— lost. All the snow cloggin' up the roads made it impossible to get anybody back up there for almost two hours.»


«Don't know yet. Stillwater took a hit. Redbird wouldn'ta fared much better, either. Heller had two of the OS with him. He's fuckin' furious.»


«Rats. What I wanna know is who tipped them off.»

«What do you mean?»

«Had to be one of ours. Way above my clearance level. I didn't even know there was a shipment scheduled for Boston until they told us to get our asses out there for clean-up, and it's not just the vaccine. Couple thousand dollars worth of negation drugs and something called Amphodynamine. Fuck if I know.»

It could either be a hunger pang again or Logan's own heart flipflopping around queasily at what he's hearing. Victory, which has rich smugness warming his blood, and then early talk of who tipped who off, Heller's name making his mouth dry — dryer. Slowly, as if guiltily backing up from the window through which one was peeping, Logan reverses, detangling himself from the psychic ropes of digital radio that loop together somewhere in a different world. But it will take more effort to put in place his filters.

Been doing this too long, today.

Legs stiff, back aching, Logan tugs himself for the edge of the bed, a hand numbly going out to draw open the bedside table, fingers skittering the negation syringes inside like a musical instrument.

«So there's gonna be some kind of investigation?»

«He's got a meeting with a Katie Sebastian with the Department of Evo Affairs tomorrow back on base in case the leak's on their end. First thing he did when he came back was have those detainees shot.»

«The ones we picked up trying to use their registration cards to get innoculated?»

«Whoever's helping them's lucky if that's what they get.»

Is it still considered treason if you aren't a citizen of the United States of America?

Logan is a tangle on the ground, his back against the side of the bed and a hand secured around his depleting stash as he listens without meaning to listen but intrigued all the same. He can't help but paw for the information, file it away, even the bits that don't pertain directly to him, but certainly the bits that do. He uncaps the needle with his teeth. Fusses with his sleeve until he just throws off a shoulder of the garment and locates a good patch of skin that—

The sight of track marks stills him for a second or two, mostly near healed, a couple relatively fresh. Where else in the body can you inject? Logan doesn't remember, or not concrete enough to try anything creative.

Silver bite of the needle sinks into his arm, but his thumb hovers over the plunger as if unsure if he wants to, if he needs to, despite the building headache, the feeling of being unwashed and hungry. Unsure if he wants to end the conversation echoing in his head just yet.

«What's he gonna do with the bodies?»

«They're on display in the Rookery. You take that side street down past the old Filatov Clinic to this pile of rubble. Used to be a brothel.»

«Happy Dagger. I know the one.»

«Now there's a tragedy—»

Logan's thumb already driving the plunger down by the time that all too familiar name is whispered through his skull, and the sudden silence as negation dampens his ability like a blanket thrown over a cage. Relief has him slumping back against the bedding, tossing aside the spent syringe to grease his hands down his face.

Eventually, he takes back his beer, and drinks it warm.

Eventually, he gets on his feet.


The Octagon


Sagging some after sticking in the wall beside the board, a red tipped dart is surrounded by other hastily thrown brethren. At the center of the dartboard, the repeatedly punctured likeness of Rupert Carmichael looks to have been the brunt of much aggression being released.

Across the room from the dartboard, slouched down in his sofa with a bottle of beer in one hand, agent Desmond Harper contemplates his poor aim. Pockmarks from other darts line the white wall around the board where Rupert's picture had been thumb-tacked, a few recent darts hit the board but not the picture. His accuracy has gone down visibly with each drink.

The darkness out his window has glittering city lights visible at a distance, though Harper's apartment is lit only thanks to reserve generators powering the Octagon. Flashing yellow lights outside show that the electric company is working on resolving the issue of the lines severed by the dome, a crisis the Institute should have been the one to handle, that they should understand. Yet all that remains are more questions.

Swirling his bottle around by the neck, Harper looks down to the dregs sloshing around inside. His mind wanders, recalling the last few months of reports that have arrived at hsi inbox, the cases he hasn't been present to handle. Goodman's death weigh heavily on Harper, agent Sawyer's involvement more so.

Lips sag down into a frown, and Harper leans forward to settle his bottle down on the coffee table with a clink of glass on glass. A file folder is reached for, thick to bursting with documents, surveillance photos and case files. It's flipped through, leafed page after page until a black and white surveillance photo is tugged out from beneath a document with a red bird logo on it.

The photograph is pinched between two fingers as he rises from the sofa, walks to stand by the dartboard and pulls out the pin in Rupert's picture. The hole-punched photo of Carmichael is tossed aside, falls to the floor and slides beneath the entertainment center.

A pushpin drives a fresh hole through a new target on his dart board, and as Harper steps back he pulls out the dart from the wall that he'd just thrown, feels the weight in one hand. He paces away, walking to the coffee table, then turns and regards the dart board again before hurling the dart at the board.

It misses, hits the corner of the board's frame and falls behind the entertainment center.

Harper tries not to let the man in dark sunglasses staring back at him rattle his confidence. It's okay, he convinces himself, there'll be plenty of time for more shots.

Richard Cardinal isn't going anywhere.


Skinny Brickfront Safehouse


In the harsh light of the bathroom, a small brunette stands before the white porcelain sink, shoulders hunched and elbows resting on porcelain. Dark strands of her hair fall over her face, clinging to the damp surface of her skin, which glistens in place with beads of water. The basin is full of hazy water, evidence that she was in there washing her face.

Claire Bennet has been finally feeling human again, even if she doesn't feel like herself. She's able to keep normal hours, her body finally learning a more human rhythm to living and recovering from it's ordeal.

Leaning there, her blue eyes are focused on one of her arms with a mesmerized and curious look. Fascinated.


More disturbing is the razor blade laying flat on the sink near her elbow. The shiny metallic blade glints a morbid shade of deep ruby along the edge. The blood glimmers in the bathrooms' bright lighting. Around it, pink smears over stark white stone of the sinks lip, finger prints written in pale bloody lines.

Claire watches dark crimson bead from a deep cut on her wrist. The droplet gathers thicker and darker as it slides over her pale skin, quivering at that point at the bottom of her wrist until the drop loses it's grip and falls. Her gaze follows it, with a downward flick.

As soon as the drop hits the water, it spiders outward, already paling to a shade of pink. Then it quick disperses, spreading quickly and eventually disappears. The surface of the water calming in preparation of the next, the bathroom ceiling coming into focus again.

Liz would probably freak if she saw it. It hits a little close to the time Claire finally snapped mentally under the strain of Rupert's influence and painted a room of the library in her parasite laden blood.


It's disturbing to see. Those that know her, would expect the seeping gash across her wrist to seal close, cells seeking cells to make everything right again. It doesn't stop, however, it continues to allow the life giving fluids of the young woman to flow freely. Each drop a waste, needlessly lost in the quest for proof.

Proof of what she was told.

The Institute gave her one thing she wished for, but not in the way she wanted it. Claire was normal. It wasn't the first time, but this time it was permanent and they did everything they could to ensure the stripping of her ability wouldn't kill her.

It still causes her anguish to know that it's gone, like ripping a limb off. A part of her continues to silently wail over it's loss and probably continue too each time she gets hurt.


She'll stand there a while and watch the blood drip for the time it takes to clot and start the natural healing process. She won't reopen it, she's not that bad off yet. When that last ruby drop hangs there quivering, she'll finally wake up and brush the droplet from her arm and wash it off with a swish of her finger in the water. Straightening, Claire look at herself in the mirror, with her hands working on gently wiping away the excess blood. She studies the haggard features and sighs softly.

"Time to get back up on that horse."

She is after all still Claire Bennet, daughter of Noah and Sandra Bennet. Former Cheerleader, still a member of End Game and fugitive of the law.

Only thing that's changed about her is the finality of her death.

"I can do this."



The Ruins of Midtown

There’s always been a clear direction for her to walk in. Always.

This thought runs through the mind of Eve Mas as she walks softly down a dead street in the Ruins of Midtown. The cool night air assaults her body, though she wears a thick and long wool coat that falls to her knees. The dress underneath a deep midnight blue, much as the sky is tonight. Dogs bark and cats yowl in the distance, none of these sounds scare her.

She’s much to busy flicking through pictures on her smartphone, photographs of photographs, poor quality but better than memories. The first of the PARIAH, in the old days… when everything was so ‘simple’. If that was the case so long ago. The seer hums softly to herself as she navigates the ruins, she knows them so well.

The face of Cameron Spalding squinting up at her from the flash of the camera, then Claire’s smile while sitting next to West. The raven haired woman grins lightly and then she’s coming upon Mas Mechanics, unlocking and sliding the gate open she then slams it shut.

The woman who has been fighting for freedom and equality since it all began, trembles from the cold. But also from the enormity of things to come. Such is always though for the woman, there is never any rest. Always something on the horizon.

Wadding through the front before coming to the garage door. She turns as she leans against the wall and thinks back to so many of the previous fights, avoided apocalypses. Her head tipped back to stare up at the late night moon. “Same shit.. different future.” She mutters to herself and frowns.

Not knowing which way she should go isn’t a normal thing for Eve it’s quite unnatural for her. As the shadows seem to close over her willowy form. The tears begin to fall, to do what in everyone’s eyes would be betrayal.. or to do what she knows she must do?

With a light shake of her head, the oracle pushes off the wall and walks slowly to the garage, sliding the door open, "Ashes to ashes…" she sings softly to herself before she quickly whirls back around and stares out to the night around her. "Dust… to dust." the shadows around the staircase leading down to the labyrinth of corridors below looming behind her. The echoing of the garage door slamming echoing throughout the ruins, the sound of finality.

The sound of the beginning of a war.


The Commonwealth Arcology

Like a spider, he sits at the center of a vast web.

Threads of color spread out from a central point, a knot of conjoined strings dozens and dozens of threads thick. All manner of material and color expands outward from that snarl, each string hooking and snagging on another, twisting off in a new direction when it catches another length of twine or hemp. It's like an elaborate cat's cradle, strung with photographs, newspaper clippings and keepsakes that mean something to the man that created it. Once, it was just placeholders and numbers, it was a lifetime of events recreated in a pattern — a sequence.


Like Clotho or Lachesis, Richard Cardinal severs one of the strings with a pair of shears. The string goes limp, pale blue and dangling loose, until it's picked up and tied off against a new string, a deep forest green one that hangs on it the Registry ID card photograph of Melissa Pierce. Richard scrubs one hand at his borrowed jaw, carefully and delicately moving connections on the string, keeping the central knot aloft, but changing the way in which the knot is presented. Tiny, careful, deliberate changes.


Another end of the string is cut, this side of the blue length weighted at the end by the depiction of a young man with short, blonde hair. His Registration card's picture is there too, paperclipped to a photograph of Bradley Russo from a copy of People magazine. That severed end of the string is tied to a black piece of thread deeper and closer to the knot, the newspaper clipping that hangs from it obscured by Richard's hand. He knows what it is, knows when it will be. He knows that Devon Clendaniel will be there now.

Setting the shears aside on a small table, Cardinal breathes in deeply and exhales a sigh, stepping back to reconsider the strings as they spread out in front of him, the new pattern in the weave that still resembles the pattern her recognizes, with subtle differences. The good of the few, some might say, as opposed to the good of the many.

The sound of the door to this white-walled room opening causes Cardinal to bristle, turning towards the sound of the door hissing open and the tall, glowering silhouette of Howard Lemay in the doorway. Cardinal's eyes narrow, darker ones than he was born with watching Rene, before the former Company agent shakes his head slowly and steps into the room, ducking beneath one of the strings.

"We have a mole," Lemay explains flatly, reaching into his jacket to retrieve an identification card to hand off to Cardinal. "Information was taken from the Suresh Center's server cluster in the basement. We only noticed it when our technical department got the system reset at Fort Hero. We're not sure how much data was stolen yet, they're still trying to figure that out. But whatever it was we had kept on the intranet and off of the primary systems, it's the same server we had Retriever dossiers and station locations on. We're already warning them to move."

Staring at the red identification card, Cardinal's eyes grow wide, mouth parts and silence steals his voice, knots a fist at the center of his chest and sinks it down to the pit of his stomach. At one corner of his mouth, a smile threatens Cardinal's revulsion, a smile born of rueful amusement and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Agent Lemay arches one brow, looking down to the card and then back up to Cardinal. "Do you… know him? His bio says he's been working at the New York facility for six months. We're running a scan of his background, I don't know if it's come up with anything yet. Do you want me to put out an alert on him?" Lemay's questions are all reasonable ones, all good ones. But Richard can't quite find an answer that fits the growing sensation building in him, one that is wavering between disgust and rage.

"I know him," Cardinal murmurs, turning the card over in his hand, looking at the seal of the DoEA on the back. "Out of everyone… he's the last person I expected." The card is turned over again, and Cardinal's eyes narrow, the card offered back up to Lemay. "Find him, and kill him."

One of Lemay's brows rise, his head quirks to the side and as he takes the card back, his eyes wander the string web. "Are… are you sure? At the very least we should set him up for psychic interrogation, maybe pull in a favor from Parkman and find out— "

"No." Cardinal reiterates, dark eyes squaring on Lemay's as arcs of red lightning dance between his fingertips.

"Find Calvin."

"And kill him."

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