Neither Chicken, Nor Egg



Also Featuring:

darren_icon.gif bf_kara_icon.gif

Scene Title Neither Chicken, Nor Egg
Synopsis Arthur Petrelli prepares an important asset for his future plans.
Date May 6, 2009

Cold concrete walls are impersonal and unwelcoming, lacking a sense of sterility usually reserved for hospitals by way of the streaks of water damage running from the metal brackets at the ceiling. The elevator doors at the end of the hall, though, a polished aluminum and reflect a blurry mirror of the hallway. A number on the screen above the doors slowly counts down.


Fluorescent lights flicker in the ceiling, and the distant click of shoes on concrete approach from the end of the hall.


A doctor, young and blonde, comes to wait by the elevator door. His lab coat is a crisp white that pops against the dirty gray of the concrete walls. He checks the paperwork, then looks back up to the number above the elevator doors.


He lifts a hand, straightening his chin-length hair, adjusting the collar of his button-down shirt, and his identification tag that reads Doctor Darren Stevens. The green bar at the top indicates top-level security clearance, which is required for this basement level of the Pinehearst Company's facility in Fort Lee, New Jersey.


A chime emits from the elevator, and as the doors slide open two gray-clad orderlies with face masks on wheel out a gurney with a black vinyl bodybag atop it, stamped with biohazard symbols. Behind them, Arthur Petrelli cuts a tall, ominous shadow. Hands folded behind his back, he walks out of the elevator with a blonde woman at his side in a gray paramilitary uniform, sidearm holstered at her hip.

"Arthur," Darren greets with a smile that isn't returned. He looks to the security officer with him, then back again. "Is— that necessary?" Both because this is a secure facility, and because Arthur is terrifyingly powerful. Arthur glances at the woman who has chosen to stand a step behind him, then to the orderlies wheeling the corpse away on the gurney. When his gaze settles on Darren, the doctor grimaces and steps aside, motioning with his clipboard down the hall.

"We've set aside lab 1 for this test," Darren explains, thogh the words test elicit a side-long glance from Arthur. As the pair walk side by side down the hall, the security officer follows behind them a few paces, inobtrusively. "When does the patient arrive?" Darren asks, chin up and brows furrowed as he inspects the gurney, curiously.

Arthur makes a noise in the back of his throat and motions to the zippered bag. "This is our patient." He explains plainly, following the gurney as the orderlies lead it to Lab 1. Darren looks at the body bag, then back up to Arthur. But before he can commit to anything as a follow-up, Arthur continues. "Please leave the questions until we're in the lab, Doctor Stevens." The cold inflection of those words chilld Darren to the bone, and he lags back just a little, glancing at the security operative with the Stillwater Solutions badge on her shoulder, below her name, Kara Prince.

The orderlies push the gurney into Lab 1, moving it to the center of the room and lowering the lamp after turning it on. They starts to unzip the bag, but Arthur motions to them and stops them both cold in their tracks. There's a slow shake of his head, and Arthur nods to the door. Both orderlies dip their heads into apologetic nods, then slip back and away toward the door. Darren follows them with his eyes, then starts to circle around the bodybag. As the orderlis exit, the security officer enters the room and stays by the door.

"I'm not sure I follow this, Arthur." Darren says with a slow shake of his head, looking down to the bag and then back up to the Pinehearst CEO. Arthur comes to stand on the opposite side of the gurney from him, and motions to the zipper. Darren exhales a sigh, steps away and grabs a cloth mask to pull over his face, rubber gloves, and then goes back to the bag. He makes momentary eye contact with Arthur, but is repelled by the older man's steely stare.

Exhaling a muffled sigh, Darren slowly pulls the zipper down. There isn't much of a stink to the corpse that's revealed, because it's been dead for decades. The woman inside the bag is highly decayed, mostly bone in some places. Her clothing is threadbare, hair wild and tangled, mouth open in a rictus of death with lips peeled back over her teeth, eyes have shriveled into gray lumps inside of deep sockets. Darren shakes his head and looks up to Arthur. "I don't understand."

"I need her alive." Arthur says plainly, motioning to the decades-old corpse. "I need you to make that happen. That is what makes you useful to me, isn't it?" Arthur's biting tone makes Darren wither, then look down to the body again and scoff out a response.

"Arthur. Arthur." Darren gestures to the corpse. "She's, what, twenty years deceased? Thirty? Even with amphodynamine, there's no guarantee that I could… that I could even rewind her personal timeline back far enough that she isn't just a well-preserved corpse. "Arthur, I appreciate your faith in me but this is asanine. Who is she? Why does it m— "

A low rumble shakes the room as Arthur grabs Darren by the throat with an unseen hand. He lifts off the floor, choking and gasping, face turning red. "Arthur. I can't." Arthur slowly takes a step forward, exhaling a steady and frustrated sigh. "E— even if I could, sh— she'd unwind within— w-within a week!"

Arthur looks down to the ground, hands curled into fists, then slowly relaxes them as he looks back up to Darren. "You're right," Arthur says, flashing Darren a brief smile. Then, Arthur reaches up and grabs Darren by the side of the face. There's a scream from the doctor, and an exchange of light begins to pass from Darren into Arthur's palm, then an electromagnetic ghost of Darren ripples away from his body and is pulled into Arthur's. The power thief twists his hand, snapping Darren's neck with a burst of superhuman strength, then deposits his lifeless corpse onto the floor without so much as a second thought.

The security offer's eyes wide, looking from the body to Arthur. There's a moment where she considers her paycheck, versus just witnessing a murder. As she reaches for her sidearm, Arthur motions toward her, lifting her off of her feet and throwing her up against a wall. "Ms. Prince," Arthur intones, moving his other hand to pluck her gun from the holster and then hurl it across the room. "Please stick around."

Keeping her pinned to the wall with telekinesis, Arthur turns back to the corpse on the gurney. He raises his free hand, emerald light flaring around his palm with a sicly lemon-lime corona at its edges. His hand comes down to the brow of the woman on the table, and she lets out a riotous scream, back arching and legs kicking, jaw opening and life coming back to her decayed corpse. Arthur's eyes flare with green light, and the security officer watches in horror as the decayed corpse begins to move.

Green light floods over the body, washes it out until it is just a silhouette. The figure's back arches, fingers curl against bare palms, and Arthur's brows furrow as a line of blood begins to flow from his right nostril and over his lip. A scream erupts from the body on the table, and a haze of emerald light burns up from her like an aurora. "If you want something done right…" Arthur grouses, "you have to do it yourself!"

The green light explodes, and the corpse on the table is restored to that of a terrified blonde woman, gasping for breath and clutching at her stomach. Arthur's eyes widen, lips part in disbelief, and when he meets her eyes he exhales a breathless greeting of exhaustion and gleeful anticipation. "Mrs. Price," Arthur intones sharply, "welcome back."


Rianna Price stares up from the gurney, from a mostly unzipped body bag and lets out a horrified, agonized scream. She clutches at her stomach, looking around with wild blue eyes. "Where's my baby!? Where— where is she!?" Pinned up against the wall, the security officer looks on in abject horror at the sight before her eyes, and Arthur turns from Rianna to that very woman.

"Mrs. Price, I know what your ability is. You're going to want to move. That body… isn't stable." Rianna looks from Arthur to the woman held up at the ceiling, and at the same time she can feel her fingertips breaking down, flesh decaying, an agoninzing, stabbing sensation in her stomach. She howls with pain, eyes flashing green before a lattice of green light erupts from around her, and she—


For the briefest of moments, another woman sits where the revived corpse was. But in that moment of terrified awareness, she is met with an even more terrifying reality, her own death in reverse. Rianna Price disintegrates into a rotten corpse over an agonizingly slow thirty seconds, clutching and grasping at her body as it rots and falls apart. Arthur is transfixed, unable to look away as she is met with this gruesome fate. When the horrific end finally arrives, when the corpse stops writhing on the table, Arthur turns his attention to the woman he has pinned to the ceiling.

"Mrs. Price." Arthur says with one brow slowly raised.


"Let's talk."

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