Four Lights


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Scene Title Four Lights
Synopsis Alexander is subjected to a midnight interrogation inside of Moab.
Date February 13, 2009

Moab Federal Penitentiary

The Moab Federal Penitentiary is an expansive multi-level prison designed by the United States Government in cooperation with the Company. The prison rests on sixty acres of government owned land in Moab, a remote and mountainous region of Utah bordering Canyonlands National Park. The prison is an enormous and fortified concrete structure containing both above-ground and subterranean prison cells. The above-ground cells feature narrow windows looking out over the prison grounds, and are known as Green Level, each progressive subterranean level is likewise color-coded, from yellow, to orange, to red. Only the most dangerous Evolved are detained on Red-Level, and are in sealed isolation chambers tailored to their specific abilities.


The sound of the iron door to Alexander's cell opening rouses him from his sleep. It's a herky-jerky groaning of steel, followed by jingling keys and the sliding of bars. The door rattles open on its hinges, breaking the last vestiges of sleep from the former soldier's mind, and it's the sound of footsteps in his cell in the middle of the night that truly get his heart pumping. Flashlights flicker and flare over the concrete walls, and men dressed in black fatigues walk in, one carrying handcuffs and the other carrying a taser rifle. "Get down on the floor." One of them demands through the muffle of a cloth facemask, "Roll off your bed and get down on the floor on your stomach, hands behind your back."

Well, talk about the kind of places where there's no point in arguing. Al tumbles off the bed and obediently disposes himself on the floor, pale hands behind his back. No questions, no arguments, no comments - he gazes dully at the opposite baseboard, trying to blink away the last remnants of an all too pleasant dream. Dawn over the sound, mist on the marshes, a long summer day with nothing to do but fish and while away the time. Georgia seems like a distant vision, the fever dream of a desert-fried brain.

"Smart." One of the men responds, circling around Alexander to place a knee in his back, not too hard though, since he's been a nice, good boy. Alexander's hands are bound by the handcuffs, and a black hood is drawn over his head, cinched around his neck gently by a drawstring before he is dragged to his feet. The two men muscle him up, one holding each arm, and simply carry him right out of his cell.

It's hard to tell exactly how far he's being taken, with the bag obscuring his vision, but Alexander can certainly feel the men stop, and hear the sounds of an elevator door opening, followed by a whirring hum as he is lowered down several floors, and dragged out down a hall. Only when they stop once more, and the sound of another cell door opening is heard is there any indication that he's in his new home, for whatever reason.

Bag taken off from his head, Alexander is uncuffed and shoved through the open door into the pitch blackness of a windowless cell. The doors shutting behind him with an automated whirr of mechanical parts. When they shut, there is only the sound of his own breathing and the echo of slammed bars to keep him company amidst total darkness.

That has his pulse racing. Because, in his heart of hearts, Alex is afraid of the dark. It may be foolish and immature, but there it is. He calms himself as best he can, trying to discover the extent of the cell with his hands outstretched. Is there anything in here, or is it just a blank box? It's odd. Why'd they do this now, rather than directly after the fights in the yard? Or is it more pressure, to get him to talk.

Pressure. Definitely.

All of the lights in the room flick on at once, a blinding flare of four floodlights recessed into the ceiling. The room doesn't look like a cell at all, more some kind of frightening Iraqi interrogation cell. The walls are dark gray concrete, slick with moisture. In the center of the room, a man with a bag over his head and large full headphones and painted goggles sits in sensory deprivation. He is seated in a wooden chair, bolted to the floor. His arms are bound behind his back with handcuffs, ankles bound to the legs of the chairs by zipties. The far wall of the room is an enormous mirror, reflecting Alexander's startled face and the bright lights, as well as the back of the man in the orange jumpsuit seated in the chair.

From a speaker beneath the mirror, a voice crackles in loud, staticy volume. "Greetings Mister Knight."

Al saw a lot of nasty things in the sandbox. But he was not, happily, ever one of the guards at Abu Ghraib. "Yes?" he says, politely, trying for an insouciant tone. He even inclines his head to the mirror and the watchers that must be beyond it, even as his gaze drifts to the man bound in the chair. So, this one's gonna be show and tell.

"Under the chair you will find a black box. Please remove it and open it."

The voice's instruction is fairly simple, but comes with that same staticy and crackling tone of voice. The lights in the cell have turned a faint orange hue at the filiments, producing a moderate amount of warmth, they're clearly heat lamps of some kind.

When Alexander's eyes dip back down to the chair, he sees the box they're talking about, about a foot and a half long and eight inches deep, made of rough and durable plastic with a pair of sliding latches on the front.

He's still perfectly pliant, going down to one knee to reach for the box, without touching the bound victim.Once he has it in hand, he takes a few paces back, and opens it, looking down expectantly. Christmas has come early?

If this is Christmas, Alexander probably should have asked for coal, or strippers.

In the box are an assortment of tools. A screwdriver, a sharpened awl, two pairs of pliers, a wrench and a tack hammer. For a moment his hands just freeze on the edge of the case, staring down at these, with a man bound to the chair in front of him.

"Very good Mister Knight. Please remove the hood, goggles and headphones from the man seated in the chair."

The request by itself seems honest enough as it echoes in the confined space of the room, but in correlation with the toolbox and the bindings, there's a slightly more unsettling undertone that begins to develop.

Strippers really would've been nice — really. Alexander's face is smooth and solemn, still trying for that patrician calm. He sets down the case, off to one side, and removes the hood, the goggles, the headphones. They're also set aside gently. Not his property to break. The case is still within easy reach - there's at least one weapon to be had from that assortment,even at just an instant's thought.

It takes a minute for all of that to flood together, but through the swelling of his right eye which forces it shut, the bruising all across his jaw, and the split to his upper lip that tucks down beneath the long strip of duct-tape across his mouth, it's Peter Petrelli. Blearily, with the hood and accessories removed, he looks up with one good eye to Alexander, letting out a ragged hiss of a breath through his nose.

The voice from the other side of the glass has nothing to add.

Al goes tense, all for an instant, before he forces himself to relax. Without waiting for bidding from the disembodied voice beyond the mirror, he leans in to start plucking at the tape over Peter's mouth. He hates Peter Petrelli….but in the age old division of Us Vs. Them, Peter remain more Us than Them. Once upon a time, they fought on the same side. There's no welcome to his face, no relief at old acquaintance not being forgot. "This," he says, before he summarily rips the tape off in one quick motion, "Might hurt a little."

The scream that comes as the tape is yanked off is muffled by the sock stuffed into Peter's mouth. But the duct tape peels layers of skin off from around the horrible split in Peter Petrelli's upper lip. Blood begins once more flowing freely from the place where Vinnie had slammed meaty knuckles into his face. The scab that had healed, along with some of Peter's facial hair still sticks to the bloodied piece of silvery tape. He lurches forward, eyes forcing shut at the feeling.

"Mister Knight. Please clear the subject's mouth, and lift up the tray of tools. You will find a list of questions we would like you to ask the subject."

Al's eyes are empty, sere as the desert beyond the concrete walls. He's cleaning Peter's mouth with as much gentleness as he's capable of, using the sleeve of his own jumpsuit. "I will not be asking the subject any questions," he says, as he dabs at the wound, having removed the sock and flicked it aside.

"Very well."

Following the refusal, the lights on the ceiling begin to grow a deeper shade of reddish-orange, letting an intense and scalding ripple of heat out from them. Sweat beads on Peter's forehead, rolling down the side of his face. Exhaling a heavy breath through his nose, Peter's dark eyes flick around the room, trying to take in the scene around him, then focus on Alexander again, watching him carefully as the blood is daubed away from his upper lip.

"The lamps in this room will eventually grow hot enough to blister skin. The concrete walls will act as a brick oven.

The warmth from the floor seems to be a modest indication of that truth. "Do you still refuse to look at the list of questions, Mister Knight?"

"I want my phone call, and I want my lawyer. I've had neither since my arrival," Alex says, tone calm. "I've said as much at least a hundred times. If you're going to torture me, then torture me. I can't stop you from torturing him, either. But I will not co-operate with you against my fellow prisoners. I do refuse," It's said with the solemnity of someone throwing down a glove in challenge. And then he cracks a grin, that aw shucks sidelong little boy smile, and adds. "Monsieur Dorleac,"

"Under the liberties of the Patriot Act, Terrorists are not afforded the same rights as civilian prisoners. You are prisoners of war." The masked voice on the other side of the mirror responds as the lights grow hotter, burning a bright red-orange hue. The heat now ripples off of the walls, drying the air at the same time it causes sweat to roll down in thick beads from Peter's head. His eyes half-lid, head bobbing down as he breathes in and out with difficulty through his nose.

"You will comply with our request. Look at the questions, Mister Knight, and we will turn the heat down.

The four lights burn bright over Peter's head, hotter for him since he can't move around the room, or be anywhere other than where the lights radiate warmth down on him. "Retrieve the questions from the box, or we will bring in Helena Dean instead." Peter's eyes snap wide, looking up to Alexander as a muffled grunt of words choked back by the sock still in his mouth erupts from him.

"Then do so," Alex says, raising his chin a little. He glances down at Peter, for just an instant. There's something like ferocity in his face, even as the heat has him flushing brightly - that skin can never hide a blush. But he does, finally, consent to lift the tray of tools from the box, set them aside, nearly fumbling - the plastic is hot, too - and look at what's written there.

Below the tray of tools is a scrap of yellow paper, like a post-it note, which has one single sentence written across it. "Ask Peter Petrelli why he sold out PARIAH to the government." The writing on the note brings back memories of news bulletins, of the PARIAH facility in Midtown being raided, of the massacre that happened there at the hands of the NYPD-SCOUT. A death toll that still hasn't truly been accounted for yet.

And that was Peter's doing?

"Ask the subject the question. If you do not find the answer satisfactory, ask again."

"I decline," Alex says, calmly. "These are games. If you actually wanted the answer to the question, you'd have someone more efficient asking him. If you want to lead me somewhere, take me there. Tell me. Tell him. But I don't work for you. And I won't." The look he gives Peter promises a long and personal retribution, somewhere down the line. But now is not the time, not when to give in to anger hands him over to their captors.

"Very well, Mister Knight."

All four lights dim, the intensity and heat fading from them as they slowly cool over Peter's head, causing him to slouch back down against the chair. With that, the iron door to the cell opens, leaving just the sliding barred doors as an intermediary between the masked officials in black and the two men trapped in the cell. They have another captive with them as well, another prisoner in an orange jumpsuit, enormous like a gorilla is, with the same bag over his head to conceal himself from his surroundings. "Face down on the ground, hands behind your back."

Same plan as before, but it looks like they're changing Peter's roommates.

Alexander exhales a slow sigh, but he obeys. Rather gingerly, since the heat is beginning to fade. Still within arm's reach of the toolcase, trying to keep from eyeing that screwdriver covetously.

It's just within reach too, a whole box of tools in a room growing darker by the minute as the heat lamps grow cold. Slowly, the barred door is jostled open, whirring back on clanking gears. One of the officers walks in, trning his back to Alexander as he looks to the other man leading the gorilla of an inmate in by the shoulders. The way the other man walks, he seems drugged, stumbling and slouching against the wall once he stops.

He doesn't dare move. Not yet. Not with so many eyes there, seen and unseen. Al remains prone as ordered, trying to listen, trying to see.

Not much is being said, and the opportunity to snatch the screwdriver fades as the guard turns back around, circling Alexander to kneel down on his back lightly, bringing his hands up to be cuffed, "Come along." Jerking Alexander up to his feet, the guard motions towards the chair Peter is bound to, "Leave him in here." The massive prisoner is brought in, even as Alexander is being brought out, the world going dark as a bag is brought down over his head, drawstring pulled to cinch it closed around his neck.

At least he gets to go back to his bed.

Triumph, of a sort. Or at least, they didn't force him down. What, precisely, that was supposed to accomplish AL will puzzle over for hours. He's passive, letting them take him as silently as they brought him in.

What indeed? Everything here, though, happens for a reason. A part of some other well-oiled plan. No placement of prisoners, no part of this controlled experiment goes without just cause.

But whatever it is, the four points of light burned into Alexander's retinas that turn shades of green and blue in the dark of the hood serve to remind him…

…that all he has left is time, to figure it all out.

February 12th: Dig Deep

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…
A Kind of Fear

February 13th: It's Enough
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