Getting The Message Out


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Scene Title Getting the Message Out
Synopsis Peter brings Rupert Carmichael to an important meeting of Messiah…
Date September 30, 2010

Flatbush, Brooklyn

Rain lightly falls down on the streets of New York City, viewed as a repetitive skyline of brick and concrete interspersed with glass and weariness. Reflected in the rain-spotted windows of a yellow cab, the blue lights of a hurriedly moving police cruiser zip down the slicked streets of Fort Hamilton Parkway, cutting a strobing path through the heart of Brooklyn's most affluent neighborhood.

Pickett signs line one end of the street, colorful posterboard signs display strong words; They Are People Too, Tears For Tiers, Ground Big Brother, Free Roosevelt Island. Protesters gathered around a registration center shout their invectives in unison, rhyming slogans and angry fists raised into the air. This is the divisive world that the bomb has created.

"This could have all been avoided…" is whispered in the back seat of the cab, and when Rupert Carmichael's attention turns from his view out that window towards the younger man seated with him, there's a look of mournful disappointment crossing his face. "But these are the cards we're dealt now, Peter. You and I both understand that we have to put our best foot forward and make this for the best. This city is our lemon," he notes with an awkward smile.

Staring out the opposite window, all Peter sees are graves. The Green-Wood Cemetery spreads out as far as the eye can see on the opposite side of the street, a forested and hilly memorial park bristling with headstones set against the backdrop of trees turning yellow and orange in the arrival of Autumn. "Peter?" Rupert rests a hand on Peter's shoulder, stirring him from his thoughts.

Jerking his head up and lifting his chin from his palm, Peter turns to look over at Rupert, then out the window beyond him, then back again. "Yeah— no, yeah I… I understand." Brown eyes drift away, towards the back of the cab driver's head, then out to the cemetery again and Peter's own muted reflection staring back at him in the window's glass, like a ghost haunting his memory; accusing.

"Is that what this meeting's about?" Peter looks to the cab driver, then back to Rupert. "Is that what you've had Jesse working on all this time?" The undercurrent of distrust ripples below Peter's words, eliciting a look of sympathy and patience from Rupert as his hand on Peter's shoulder squeezes gently.

"It is, and you know you've been busy. I've just been trying to take some of the weight off of your shoulders, that's all." Both of Rupert's thin, dark brows lift and crease at his forehead, implying a modicum of empathy for Peter's situation. "You know just because your body doesn't show signs of fatigue, doesn't mean your mind won't, Peter. You need to get some rest, take some time away from this. Didn't you have a job? What about Abigail?"

Peter rolls his shoulder, shrugging Rupert's hand off of it as his eyes close and head shakes. "I quit," is quietly offered to the back of the cab, bringing a look of surprise across Rupert's face. "I can't keep dividing my attention between — " a moment's hesitation as he considers the cab driver, then looks back to Rupert, "between Messiah and between the facade of a normal life."

"It's not a facade," Rupert insists as he leans towards Peter. "When this war is over, you're going to need a life to return to. Peter, I'm telling you we're close to putting an end to all of this. Look at what Messiah's doing, look at all the good it's done so far…" those words light a fire in Peter's stomach, one he has to keep his mouth shut to contain, lest he burn down everything. "We're in the home stretch. You just have to trust me."

How many times has Peter heard that before?

"My father told me the same thing once," Peter says bitterly, looking down to his hands folding in his lap. Rupert grows silent at the notion, breathes in a deep breath and exhales it as a sigh through his nose.

"It's too late to turn this around now, Peter. You knew that from the day you and I put Messiah together, from the day we agreed to set this world on its destined course again." Both of Rupert's dark brows rise as he offers Peter a thoughtful look, then settles his hand down on the young man's shoulder again. "We are the instruments of change… and this meeting is about getting the word out, to as many people as we can. The time is getting close," there's a smile spread across Rupert's lips, "when everyone will have to choose a side."

Where everyone will have to choose a side.

It echoes in Peter's mind — a memory — hazy and distant. He's heard Rupert say that before, but for all his clawing and tugging at the memory, he can't quite seem to draw it out of himself. The distraction of the cab driver stating, "We're here," along with the vehicle slowly rolling to a stop as it pulls up to the curb draws Peter's focus away from the slippery grains of sand he tried so hard to hold in his hands.

Leaning forward between the front seats, Rupert offers a rolled up wad of money towards the heavy-set cab driver, a smile spread across his face. "Thank you, Oleander," is offered with a nod as the money exchanges hands. "You don't need to worry about waiting for us, we'll find our own way back."

"Sure thing, Mister Carmichael…" Oleander notes with a furrow of his brows, looking down at the wad of money before sliding it into the front pocket of his jacket, turning to regard Peter in the rear-view mirror.

"See you fellas around."

Empire Repairs

Flatbush, Brooklyn

Glass cases containing antique radios and electronics are the displays beyond which a workshop of electronic repair and service is situated. Beyond the decades old pieces of curiosity, beyond the circuit boards and soldiering irons lies an isolated room with windows plastered with newspapers to keep out prying eyes and minimize the light. Back-lit newsprint shows memories of the past in small print, photographs of the days following the bomb in vivid color that has faded from exposure to bleaching sunlight.

Under the glow of a hanging fluorescent lamp, West Rosen looks older than he is. Youth is bleached out of his face by the fluorescent lights like the color out of the newsprint pages. Every imperfection in his skin, every pore and blemish seems hilighted, every line beneath his eyes and the dark circles shadowing them all seem deeper.

Dozens of sheets of copy paper are laid out on the table he stands over, sheets arranged and held down by clear tape, creating a tessellation of New York City by means of Google maps printed out from the internet. Colored pish-pins in bright red are scattered around the city, across the five boroughs.

"He's late," comes not from West, but from the impatient man standing behind him. Knox is not much taller than West, but his ability to intimidate is far greater, his outward predatory nature all the more pronounced. Knox's dark eyes move down to the map, a bead of irritation formed as sweat rolling down his brow. "Can you at least open a fucking window?" The air is stagnant.

"No can do, brother," is Jesse Murphy's offered answer, his brows lifted and eyes down on the map. "Windows on this bitch are welded shut, glass is reinforced. Boss' orders, y'know? That little white-haired security friend of his was down here dotting the i's and crossing the t's before I even came out east. This place is tighter than a Battleship, bro."

From where he sits on a metal folding chair, Jesse too seems intent on figuring out the purpose of the map. But he, unlike Knox and West, has a few legs up on them. "Don't beat your brains out over it," he stresses to Knox as he watches the leather-jacketed man shed his coat onto a chair, running hands over his short-clipped hair in frustrated pacing. "The bosses'll be here."

Silent is the last man in the room, arms folded over his chest, leaning back against a cork-board with photographs of buildings from around New York pinned up behind himself. Below the brim of his fedora, Rebel knows exactly what he is seeing, the patterns are beginning to draw together and the outline presented herein paints a picture of clarity on his otherwise emotionless expression.

"What about you, C-3PO," Knox snorts as he spits out the joke of a name, looking askance to Rebel without so much as a returned stare back. "You got some idea of what all this is, man?" One of Rebel's brows lift, his silent stare leveled on Knox in assessing quality, then back down to the map.

"It is clear," he states flatly, but Rebel's stoicism ends with a warning. "The cloud does not envy the mountain." A koan like that from Rebel snaps Knox's patience, and as the agitated man turns whip-crack quick towards the technopath, his rampage is interrupted by the sound of the door to the back room opening. All eyes are on Peter Petrelli and Rupert Carmichael as they enter, the former hanging in the doorway while the latter eases into the room with an apologetic smile.

"I'm sorry I'm late," he admits with a grimace, looking back and forth between Knox and Rebel, "I got tied up at the office." It's a bit of a joke between he and Peter and their long-winded conversation with Griffin just a few hours ago, but one that Peter doesn't find too amusing. "We should probably get down to business, Jesse I know you've finished your scouting and I think it's time that Rebel and I go over the communication plan."

Peter offers a thoughtful look past Rupert, scanning the people in the room before moving in to stand at Rupert's side at the table. "This is about the rally call, right?" One of Peter's brows lift, "before the open declaration of war?" Dark brows furrow as Peter considers drawing closer and closer to the zero hour of Messiah's plan.

Rebel and Rupert exchange a silent glance, before Rupert turns his attention to Peter with a faint smile. "You let me worry about this. All I'm doing is coordinating some of our people to guard a few buildings while Rebel does his work, just to watch his back. You and Knox were going to meet up with people on the Praeger and Mayes project, right?" One of RUpert's brows lift slowly.

Peter considers the maps, then looks up to Knox who's wary expression gives Peter the wrong message. "Yeah," he admits in a hushed breath, dipping his head down into a nod, "Yeah I was going to talk to Kris first…" Knox seems resigned to Rupert's orders, grabbing his coat and shaking his head, storming across the room to brush by Peter and step out into the repair shop's front office.

Peter turns, watching Knox depart, then turns a stare back to Rupert, wordlessly. Silence hangs in the room for a short time, until Rupert raises his brows in a suggestive weren't you going expression, and Peter exhales a sigh through his nose and turns his back on the others, walking out of the meeting with a click of the door shut behind himself.

Waiting a moment, Rupert flashes an apologetic look around the room, then loosens his tie with one hand. "Sorry about that, we're all under a great deal of stress right now… I understand." There's a feigned smile as he looks down to the map, one brow lifted appraisingly. "Let's get down to business, shall we? There's a lot of ground to cover, and I want to make absolutely certain that when we bring the truth out into the open…" Rupert's expression shifts to a smile.

"That everyone will be listening."

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