Old Times


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Scene Title Old Times
Synopsis Goodman has finally done just that little bit extra necessary to annoy Sabra. She proceeds to wipe all of his smug superiority away and leave him something rather like a beggar outside the door. Except one with a price on his head.
Date May 15, 2009

Primatech Research: Secure Records Storage

The Company was formed thirty years ago with a group of like-minded individuals, ordinary men and women who were gifted with extraordinary powers…

Fluorescent lights flicker unevenly, set recessed into the drop ceiling that covers up open pipework and electrical conduits that cross-cross much of the subterranean levels of the Primatech Research facility. Casting a long and flickering shadow, a gaunt form of Roger Goodman looks more tired, more weary and worn than usual — like a shadow drawn thin by exposure to too many bright lights.

They wanted to help their own — to find them and to protect them…

Long and spidery fingers paw through a box of old paper documents, sifting through records all contained within faded red folders, high security documents from Company cases twenty years old. Tugging at one folder, Roger lifts it up and lays it out on top of the box, pawing through photographs and paperwork, until he finds a picture of a young red-haired woman in a white labcoat. His brows furrow, fingers quietly tracing the photo before flipping it over to the back. A note scrawled in pen reads: "Victoria Pratt, 1977." Brows furrowing, Roger pulls the photograph closer, reaching inside of his jacket to retreive a magnifying glass, looking at something in the background of the picture.

They find people, and we make sure they don't become dangerous. Sometimes that can mean making sure they understand entirely what they're capable of and teaching them to use their abilities for the good of mankind…

A look of abject confusion dawns on Roger's face as his brows come together, mouth opening slightly as he slides the lens back into his jacket, and lays the photograph back down in the folder, paging through the documents contained therein before closing the folder and tucking it under one arm.

…and sometimes it can mean eliminating them.

Behind Roger Goodman, the door opens.

The face it reveals is a familiar one, weathered by the weight of years, yet the light of its blue eyes unbowed by time. That keen gaze falls upon the snooping senior agent, the woman's head canting, birdlike, to one side.

"Mister Goodman. I don't believe the number next to your name grants you access to these files."

Spoken mildly, lightly, as if the words are just another piece of some nonconsequential conversation. Sabra Dalton steps into the secure room, the taller frame of Ashton appearing in the doorway behind her. He waits there. She walks around one of the filing cabinets, fingertips brushing absently against its metal edge. "Is there perhaps something I can help you find?"

The look Roger gives to Sabra is expected by her, the look of mild indifference — if not expectance — of being caught in the act. Keeping the folder under his arm, he takes a step around the filing cabinet he was examining, leaving the drawer opened, circling in the opposite direction Sabra is. "I have everything I came for, actually." His tone is so business-like, matching hers. "It's nice to see you again, Miss Dalton. We've been strangers in the same building for far too long." Strangers in more ways than one.

Turning dark eyes to Ashton, Roger arches one thin brow, then turns his focus with that expression frozen on his face back to Sabra. "Is there something I can help you with?" He stops his movements, brow lowering, as if everything he isn't supposed to be doing here is just routine. As if his rifling through restricted Company files was all a part of his day. And, to a point, it has been. That knowledge, perhaps, is what brings Sabra here.

It's gone on long enough.

The elderly woman clicks her tongue against her teeth, looking at the disarray Roger has left the files in. She picks up some of the folders left behind, slotting them neatly into their places in the cabinet. "Old times," Sabra muses aloud. "I lived through… so many of these things," she continues, picking up one more and opening the folder to an image. "I would appreciate it if you treated them— " She slides that one back home as well, half-turning, looking obliquely across her shoulder at Goodman. "— with the proper respect."

Dark eyes lower to the folder under his arm, then back up to Sabra. "I have nothing but the utmost respect for the Founders." There's a hint of a double-meaning in those words, "Their ideals, their dreams. I have the utmost respect for what the Company was founded on the principles of." He grows quiet, breathing in a slow breath as his eyes fall shut, head lowering slightly. "I was wondering exactly when this day would come, and how it would be."

When Roger looks up again, his eyes wander to Ashton in like silence, then wander the room before settling on Sabra once more. Otherwise, the darkly dressed man is like a statue, a patient and motionless play of dark in the light of the room. "How long have you known?" It's not a question of whether or not Sabra knows, but for how long she's been willing to tolerate it. But there's no confusion in Roger's mind that what eventually transpired with Minea likely became the final straw.

After more than thirty years' worth of Company business, Sabra is practiced at recognizing double meanings. Roger's don't faze her any.

Closing the file drawer, metal rasping against unpainted metal, she turns to face him directly. And the old lady smiles, serene as the Mona Lisa. "Roger, Roger, Roger." She shakes her head slowly, turns away, letting her gaze sweep over the filing cabinets, the boxes, all of the many, many memories committed to tangible form.

"I have known that man… for the entirety of his adult life," she informs the agent. "Since before he met the woman who became his wife. Before there was a Company, before he had a power, before… everything." Ms. Dalton shifts to regard Goodman squarely, and while the lines of her expression are pleasant, her gaze is piercing. "How long, Mister Goodman, is an irrelevant and meaningless question."

There's a squint, and Roger's eyes dart over to Ashton, then back to Sabra. That revelation, the one of Sabra knowing more than what even Goodman suspected, goes with a very clear dispelling of his poker face. Swallowing noticably, Roger's posture changes to something more tense, something more uncertain as the curtain of obscurity he was hoping to be able to dance behind is cut away as if it were made of nothing but smoke by the old woman's clarity.

A slow, steadying breath does its best to calm Roger down as his hand more tightly clutches the folder under his arm. "I…" For the first time in their admittedly brief history together, Roger Goodman is bereft of a fork-tongued answer to anything Sabra says. No clever retort, to moral allusion to spin, nothing but a wide-eyed stare of being sucker punched with the truth that he has, ultimately, gotten away with nothing.

There is no trace of smugness on Sabra's face. No sense of superiority, nor accomplishment, nor even success. One silver-white brow arches as she watches Goodman gape like a fish caught on an unseen, unsuspected hook. "No further questions?"

She doesn't exactly give him time to collect his wits and respond. "Hm." The questioningly arched brow descends. "There are, however, limits to my tolerance — and you have surpassed them. For old times' sake…" The elderly woman steps forward, stepping around another filing cabinet; she doesn't, however, approach Roger in any fashion. "…and I do not mean your old times, Mister Goodman — I will allow you to leave this building alive."

Implacable, resolute expression; a steely tone that Sabra Dalton has never in Goodman's experience even come close to adopting. "But understand this — my agents will shoot you on sight." There's a moment's pause, after which the elderly woman begins to turn away, towards the files.

She doesn't, however, complete the motion. "Oh." Twisting back, Sabra lifts a hand. The folder is yanked from Goodman's clutching grasp by an invisible force, directed unerringly to hers. "But not, I think, with that."

Roger's brows furrow together, mouth opening slightly as he takes a few hesitant steps back away from Sabra. Another revelation entirely, there was nothing, nothing on file that indicated Sabra was Evolved, no hint over the months he's known her or the files he's reviewed that she had anything even remotely resembling an ability. His eyes immediately dart to Ashton, and then back. "He's going to be coming to see you…" Goodman intones with an incline of his head, shoulders squared as he begins to edge around the cabinets towards the door.

Though Roger hesitates as he comes between Ashton and Sabra, looking back to the Director. "Every time I was going to speak with you, he insisted that he handle it." Thin brows lower, "Wherever — whenever — that does happen?" His head tilts to the side, "I hope he grants you the same courtesy you have given me."

Blue eyes gaze levelly across the file folder at Goodman. "Courtesy is something Arthur Petrelli seems to have forgotten," she remarks. The elderly woman's close-lipped smile is slow, the crinkles in her face deepening but gradually, yet doing nothing at all to diminish its edge. "Not to worry, Mister Goodman." Now Sabra turns her back, moving to replace the file in its drawer.

"I am well accustomed to relearning Arthur his manners."

There's a handful of things in the world Roger Goodman is afraid of. Truly, honestly afraid of. Arthur Petrelli once sat atop an isolated peak on that list, a man as much myth and legend as he is flesh and blood. But now, halfway up to that lofty peak of fear, squarely rests the white-haired and grandmotherly Sabra Dalton.

Averting his eyes to the floor, Roger takes a few more steps towards the doorway, slipping past Ashton until he's out in the hall. There's no words that can convey anything to Sabra that she doesn't both already know, and already know better than Roger does. It's more humiliating, in the end, to be allowed to leave as he is, than to be captured.

But that does not stop the bright purple flash that floods the hall once he's left the archives, the spidery strands of energy that swirl around where his body once was located. The violet light folds back in on itself like a controlled implosion after he's gone, followed by a crackling pop and a few wisps of purple energy sizzling in the air.

Sliding the drawer closed again, Sabra rests her hands on the filing cabinet before her, blue eyes turned unseeing upon the wall behind it. The woman is quiet for a time; then she, too, makes her way from the records room, closing the door gently. Blue eyes meet blue, Ashton's gaze steady upon her; the white-haired old lady nods but once, and her aide dips his head in return, acknowledging the unspoken instruction.

Then they, Sabra Dalton and her silent shadow, walk away, leaving only a dim and silent hall in their wake.

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