Paved With Good Intentions, Part II


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Also featuring:

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Scene Title Paved With Good Intentions, Part II
Synopsis Change comes to PISEC, and there's no going back.
Date February 2, 2020

PISEC, Plum Island

9:45 am

One year ago today, Odessa had traded one form of imprisonment for another. Quarantine had been a cage, albeit one filled with friendly faces, and was exchanged for lockup preceding the trial that had lead to her imprisonment.

Here, in the middle of Plum Island.

She has an especial appreciation for Groundhog Day this year, because today feels exactly like yesterday, feels almost exactly like the days before it. There's been little to do in these winter months, without the garden to tend to. There's been the work she and Mohinder have been at for months, which doesn't exactly bring a shine to one's day. Voss stopped by recently for an update on their progress and to stress the need for forward movement to happen quickly, but…

Aside from that? Just a constant deluge of same shit, different day. There's only so much break to the monotony brought on by group game nights, replaying the same stack of board games they have been for the last nine months. Not to mention, every day something interesting does happen to break the monotony, everything resets by the next morning.

Like clockwork, at a quarter to ten, a guard silently comes to collect her from her late breakfast in the cafeteria. Time for another workday.

Odessa looks up slowly from the mug of hot cocoa she’s nursing. Words cannot possibly express the exact lack of fucks she has left to give for this project today. Or for anything, maybe. Every day is exactly the fucking same and they’re making almost no progress and she’s just grumpy.

“Listen,” she begins, terribly casual, “I’m on my period right now and I just really want to go back to bed. I’m cranky, I feel like my brain’s in a fog. I’m no good to literally anyone,” she goes on to reason. When that reason is met with impassiveness, she sighs, eyes closing heavily as she lifts her shoulders up toward her ears in a shrug. “Worth a try, I suppose.”

Draining the last of her beverage, she pushes up to her feet and steps away from the table, hands up and out in front of her, fingers wiggling to show that she didn’t try to take anything with her.

The guard sits through Odessa's reasoning stony-faced. He might even sigh when she sighs. He's not a fan of the melodrama of it all. When he decides she's not taken anything as a tool to harm herself or others later, he gestures with a nod of his head for her to go on. She knows where they're going, after all.

Through one set of doors they go, heading down a hall that hugs the exterior of the building. They turn the corner, and at the end of the hall ahead, there's the first of a double set of doors that will let them outside. The closer they get, the more unavoidable it is to think about the chilly February weather they'll shortly be exposed to on that brief walk to the next building. Wait— no— Odessa's arms actually prickle from the cold.

That's not right. The doors shouldn't have been opened recently. Definitely not the first and second set at remotely the same time. And the cold, it doesn't feel ambient. It moves past her. At about the same time— behind her, her guard trips or something, the sound of his feet shuffling on the tile like it's slick, and he's trying to catch his balance. She can feel his confusion about something, and it brings her to look back.

Except when she turns, there's not one person behind her, but four.

The guard falls to his knees, eyes rolled into his head. The shorter Japanese woman with the trio of strangers loops an arm around his collar to keep him from falling, a silenced gun held in her other hand. It's pointed neutrally at the ceiling instead of at her. The white male with her is similarly armed, but the third man, tall and brown, is not. At a glance, he's possibly Indian and definitely not pleased to be here.

"Odessa Price," the woman greets crisply. She begins to haul the guard to the side of the hall, leaning into the final doorway before the exit. When it doesn't give way on its own, she adjusts her grasp around the guard's body. His head lolls to the side, blood beginning to drip from the hole in the back of his head while she reaches down to drag the ID pinned to his chest away to wave it over the scanner next to the door. The lock to the maintenance closet clicks open, and the woman pushes the dead guard in, ID zipping back to his body with a snik just before he lands on top of it. His feet still stick out into the hall, but that's a detail to be concerned about in a minute, apparently.

Odessa hadn't heard the gunshot. Hadn't heard anyone coming up behind them, for that matter. Hadn't— felt anything out of place. How could she not have noticed this?

"What you are working on here," the Japanese woman goes on without identifying herself. Her cadence is measured but forceful. "Can you access the data from this building? Or only from the lab?" The deep blue of her eyes are calm, expression deadpan without coming off as severe as she poses her question. That'd require her gaze to hold something it currently lacks.

Odessa can tell why: underneath, she loathes being here far more than the man who's unarmed. But crossing paths with Odessa— that had been something of a surprise.

One leading to, of all things, relief.

Odessa whirls around and fixes the group with a bewildered stare. Notably, she is not frightened. Instead, she simply blinks several times, watching the dead guard be manhandled with a slack-jawed expression, and then shakes herself out of her moment of stupor.

“I’ve never tried accessing my research from any other part of the facility,” she tells them honestly. The fact that she senses relief off the woman she couldn’t previously sense at all brings about her own sense of it. To be fair, she’d narrowed her sense to just the guard at her back, to avoid the morning headache usually brought on by breakfast.

But if these intruders mean to kill her, they don’t mean to do it yet, and she has time to figure out how she’s going to make it out of this alive. They need her, and she’ll remain useful for as long as possible.

“I can try.”

Closing his eyes and drawing in a centering breath, the middle aged caucasian man with Asi flashes a smile wider than it looks like should be possible on his face. The hitman, Silas Redd, takes a few steps backward and sweeps one hand back across his hair. “Darlin’,” he says of Asi, “you’re a professional.” His attention shifts to the other side of the room as his eyes open, “I appreciate professionalism. Because folks with that level of self-preservation don’t get shot in the fucking leg for slowing us down.” He blinks a look over in Aman’s direction, then back to Odessa.

“I know you,” Redd says with a hint of certainty mixed with confusion, like someone trying to remember something through a drugged haze. There’s an electric emotion of excitement tingling between he and Odessa, a current of adrenaline masking a deep and consuming pit of depression. “I think Danny used’ta have a picture of you in a cabinet somewhere. Huh, you got old.” He’s anxious, more so than he leads on, also skeptical of Asi in spite of his vocalized assurances. It’s an act, one Odessa is familiar with. He doesn’t trust her.

Asi lets her gaze slide over in Redd's direction as he makes his pointed commentary, all while mentally chewing over the possibility of there being an endpoint somewhere nearby Odessa could use. Midthought, her blue eyes flare with an electric inner light, and she decides she mislikes those odds. With a tsk, she briefly considers the woman in the tracksuit.

And then moves on to Aman. "Take Price back to the others," she asks him, expressing no doubt aloud that he'll do anything other than precisely what's asked. To do so might actually spook him into doing anything other than— "Come back to us as soon as that's done." Asi's brow arches at him expectantly. He's seen where they've been before, this should be easy for him.

Right, right.

Aman turns to Odessa, looking her up and down to size her up before he even moves closer. It doesn't take an empath to see skepticism worn plainly on him. "Yeah," he ventures aloud, more in wary appraisal of Odessa than of the direction he was given. Just him and the dangerous prisoner who definitely won't stab him or try to kill him or anything. At least they were heading back to Masika and Boomer. "Hold tight, would you?" he asks, the only warning he gives before he lays a hand on Odessa's forearm. She feels a lurch, something pulling at her gut with an intense sense of vertigo—

And then they're gone, faster than a blink and without so much as a displacement of air from their passing.

Asi takes a moment to cast a look at Redd once the two are gone, a silent bid for him to not shoot their emergency exit in the leg. Then she turns partly away from him to fold the guard's legs up into the closet so the door can be pulled shut.


In less than a blink, Odessa and Aman reappear in the center of the lab space. It feels as though they've been pulled abruptly, even though neither of them have moved a perceptible inch— aside from the obvious. Eyes glazed for that brief period of transition where he had to focus on the destination to pull them to, he now turns to gain a better awareness of their surroundings— like someone who's abruptly realized they're not quite where they thought they were. "Hey," he exclaims with genuine delight, maybe even a little bit of relief. "It worked!" His hand claps on Odessa's arm before he steps back from her. "And we didn't end up in a table or another person or anything."

It was a near miss. A crumpled guard lies on the ground near Odessa's foot, bleeding from the center of his forehead.

Three lab assistants and Richard Schwenkman are crouched on the floor nearby, backs to the wall. They don't sit with their hands behind their heads, but they sit without strong compliance for what's going on. Schwenkman in particular eyes one of the pair who are standing in the room.

One is a woman, who's on edge and turned toward them, one hand raised like it could become a weapon. It lowers as she sees the two fully. The second person is slender, pale, music playing from one earbud hanging freely across their chest while the other is jammed snugly into their ear. There's something odd about their hands, too.

They're taping down explosives on one of the sample storage cabinets. It's them who Schwenkman keeps an eye on.

"Aman," Masika warns the teleporter, like they've known each other longer than the last hour.

"Hey, don't worry, aunty—" Aman tells her with a charming grin. "Just dropping Price here off so she can do the thing with the computer, and then we'll all go." It's after that he looks past Masika, notices Boomer, and his grin falters. The apparent additional layer to this operation multiplies his level of unease. He's definitely ready for all of this to be done as soon as possible.

"—Anyway, you got this." he says abruptly. "And they'll probably be missing me. So I'm just gonna…" And then he's gone again, leaving it to speculation if he actually meant to flit from one space to the next right then or if it might've been an accident triggered by nerves.

The older woman, Masika, turns to Odessa with a narrowing of her eyes. "Here, dear," she says with a grandmother's touch, gesturing to the computer she's familiar with. A block of a storage device sits connected to it by a short cable. "Sign in as you, and open every file you have access to. It will handle the rest." she sounds confident, even reassuring, but her emotions are stilled water. She says the words because she's heard them said once before already, not out of any true connection to them.

She glances away for just a moment to the trio on the ground, her 'weapon' hand still half-raised by her side. Ready. She carries no actual weapon with her, only a thin hiker's backpack with a water container is strapped to the back of her navy windbreaker, and an opened canteen is slung across her chest and left open by her side. "Quickly," the old woman suggests, a little more herself than before. The time before things turn messy again is measured in minutes, now.

Odessa doesn’t quite stagger when the world warps and shifts, but she does lurch just a bit, as though adjusting to some abrupt change in her momentum. As she gets her bearings, her eyes settle on Schwenkman. She reaches out toward him with her ability, feels his fear, and brings it back in toward herself. He’s not complicit in what’s happening here.

Doctor Price sits down at the terminal as directed and starts keying in her credentials. “This won’t help you,” she tells Masika, even as she’s doing as she’s told. Each file is opened in turn and she listens to the little storage device whir to life as it starts to extract the data. “I’ve been sabotaging the data for weeks. You - or whoever wants this - won’t be able to make use of the work without someone who knows how to interpret it.”

Namely, herself.

This wasn't something Masika was expecting to hear, evident in the way her brow lifts slowly. Boomer pauses in what they're doing, having heard Odessa over the music. Schwenkman looks up, considering if that's a thing he suspects she's actually done, or if she's just saying as much out of a sense of self-preservation. Either or both are just as likely.

"We'll see what the oni says when she gets back," is as much as Masika is willing to concede, this not being her area of expertise. She's filled with devotion to a cause, but her brand of that cause typically does not involve technology.


"—just gonna…" Aman is in the middle of saying when he slides back into place a foot away from where he'd been before. He tries not to jolt at his unexpected proximity to Asi, then musters down a frustrated look. He's not normally like this, he's just out of his element. He'd not even care about the poor impression being made if it weren't for the implicit threat Redd had laid out moments before. Aman clears his throat. "Anyway. Where to next?"

“There’s a second doctor of note,” Asi explains evenly, turning to look down the hall Odessa and her guard had come from. “He wasn’t in the cafeteria when I checked the cameras initially. He looked to be in his cell.” She gestures with a tip of her gun hand for Redd to take the lead on their journey deeper into the facility. After all, he was their human invisibility cloak.

“I feel like I should say something about fish in a barrel,” Redd muses as a sly smile twists up across his face, “but that seems in poor taste.” He doesn’t have a further quip as he walks swiftly down the corridor, briefly waggling his gun from side to side in one hand to assess the weight of it by how much the magazine wobbles inside the grip. He knows that handgun well, and it shows from all of the notches and scrapes along the barrel, from where the black is ground away to reveal gunmetal beneath. There’s a sense of personal, intimate connection with the gun. A keepsake, possibly storied. Redd seems disinclined to indicate as much outside of his body language.

Within proximity of Redd’s suppressive field, Asi and Aman go sight unseen. The hallway they started in on grabbing Odessa is largely vacant, and the impression that this facility is either lightly staffed or possibly understaffed crosses Asi’s mind. But it doesn’t feel intentional, like the security has been parted, more that there may have been budgetary and facility considerations behind this.

The trio bypasses a manually locked checkpoint with the aid of Aman’s ability to blink between the barred doors and unlock the entrance from the other side. Doing so draws the attention of the security officer less than three feet from Aman, but the loud crack of Redd’s silenced firearm stops him before he can even say a word, leaving a bloody blossom smearing down the wall behind him. Aman could feel that round buzz over his shoulder and the spatter of blood on the back of his neck.

Beyond this gate there are rows of cell doors made from wire mesh reinforced glass roughly two and a half inches thick. Bulletproof, certainly. Outside of each cell is a physical release latch and a mechanical lock, no networked electronics past that checkpoint. Asi can tell that even the sprinkler systems and fire prevention are all analog, likely part of an attempt to prevent technopaths from just releasing the prisoners. It also means that there is no automated humanitarian release system in the event of an actual fire. The cells would need to be opened manually.

Most of the cells are empty, of the twelve in this block. All contained on the right side of the hallway, while the left has narrow windows not unlike a Medieval castle’s arrow slits, filled with the same reinforced glass. Before they reach the cell containing their next target, there is one other occupied cell. Pete Varlane cuts a broad-shouldered silhouette in his cell, sitting forward with both brows raised like maybe he heard something down the hall but wasn’t sure what it was. He doesn’t see Redd, or Asi, or anyone even though he’s in plain line of sight. Pete rises to stand, setting his copy of A Turn of the Screw on the bed beside him, creeping on slippered feet toward the glass door.

Redd watches him for a moment, then continues to the next door over. There, Mohinder Suresh sits cross-legged in the middle of his cell with his back to the door, hands on his knees and eyes closed. It looks as though he is trying to meditate, which elicits a cock of Redd’s head to one side as he lines up his gun to the back of Mohinder’s head, then makes a soft pop with his mouth.

“This your boy?” Redd asks Asi while he withdraws a keyring from his pocket, swinging it around one finger with a jingle, then tosses it over to her.


“You did fucking what!?” Schwenkman hadn’t processed what Odessa said right away, not with the threat of violence looming overhead. While working at Sunstone he’d learned a practiced art of disassociating while in the face of cruelty, something that became commonplace the more influence and authority Erica attempted to exert over Pete. “Are you the fucking reason we’ve been— you— stupid bitch!” Schwenkman leans away from the wall, forgetting for a moment that he’s a prisoner. “You’re protecting Monroe!?” His voice practically cracks at that accusation.

“Do you have any idea the kinds of fucking— f-fucking horror shows we put on because of The Director at Sunstone!?” Schwenkman screams, his hands agitating at his side. “You— fucking useless— fucking backstabbing— fucking— fucker!” It’s the first time she’s ever felt this level of anger in Schwenkman, this level of hate. Odessa can’t be sure it’s directed at her, the situation, Adam, or all of it. But he’s practically red in the face.

Odessa slowly turns her head to regard Rich as he seems to forget exactly what kind of shitshow they’re in the middle of. Her expression is mild at first, though the anger he’s feeling creeps into her like an infection. The muscles in her jaw tighten and she has to clench her teeth together to keep from shouting back.

“Ooh, backstabber.” Odessa retorts with a roll of her eyes. “I haven’t heard that one before.” He misunderstands her motivations entirely, but if he believes what she’s doing, then so much the better. For now. Nobody would believe her intentions if she told them anyway, not with her reputation. Which is why she’s using that reputation to protect Mohinder.

Her brows lift and she looks up at the man from her seated position, like a secretary used to listening to the boss’ tirades. “Are you finished?”

The moment Schwenkman's displeasure with Odessa shifts into physical movement, Masika moves in kind. It's a shift of her arm, her left hand drawing away from her like she's unsheathing a sword, trailed by her right lifting, hand and wrist circling in a wide swoop before she holds a near-fist of delicately pinched fingers by her shoulder. In the movement, a stream of water rises out from the opened canteen at her side, raising and thickening until it comes to rest by her shoulder, at the ready. There's not even a flicker of irritation, concern, or other emotion that flows from her. She's calm, simply doing what needs done, sharpening her focus to a point.

"Sit back," Masika suggests, wholly unaffected by the content of everything coming from him. "Or you will be made to." To her, the names and monikers are meaningless and distant. Nonetheless, they're all very real for the people in front of her, and she acknowledges that by keeping Odessa always in the corner of her eye out of suspicion. Just because she seemed to be taking it all in stride didn't make her any less of a liability.

Cavalierly, she adds, "If you don't be still, I'd like to remind you it only takes half an inch of water to drown."


The soft pop Redd mimes at seeing the way Mohinder is seated brings Asi to shake her head. "Not yet," she intones quietly, glancing back at the other cell, the other occupant, before returning her gaze to the intended cell. "That's him. We'll need him to access his research first before anything else." She flips up the palm of her offhand to catch the keys against her abdomen, eyes not leaving the back of the prisoner's head as she adjusts her grip around the keyring to pinch just one of them between her fingers.

There's no Odessa Price nearby to read the rush of nerves that play out under her skin, hidden under a professional exterior.

Asi holsters her gun and shifts the key into her other hand before unlocking the door. "We teleport back from here," she directs before leaning into the cell door, pushing it open and nodding Aman to head in first out of their group. He shoots Asi an odd look but reluctantly heads in, glancing warily behind all the while. No explanation or greeting is offered to Mohinder while they file in, not at first, not until they're inside.

Before she heads in, the technopath looks once down the hall they came by, frowning and then pulling the door shut behind her, lock clicking, keys tucked into her palm. "Mohinder Suresh?" she asks only then.

Mohinder hadn’t moved when the door to his cell opened, but his shoulders jerked enough for Asi to know he was startled. Redd slides in at the rear during the silence, filling the doorway and keeping his gun held close to his side.

“If you’re here to kill me you’d best go and get it over with,” Mohinder says without turning around, though Asi can see the shift in tension of his shoulders indicating that he’s playing at peace with this, even if he most certainly isn’t. As if to emphasize Asi’s question, Redd cocks back the hammer of his pistol with a small click.

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” is Redd’s way of indicating no, but the hammer click is his way of leaving his options open.


Slouching back against the wall, Schwenkman stares daggers across the room to Odessa. His hands are balled into tight fists, but the threat of violence is one that he is both intimately familiar with and as such works remarkably well.

Odessa lifts her hands slowly from the keyboard, making sure to hold them up where Masika can see them. Still unarmed. Placating. “I’m sorry, Rich. I really am.” As if to extend some sort of olive branch, she lifts her head and regards their aggressors. “If any harm comes to him, or the other prisoners here… I won’t give up a damn thing. We all just want to go on living here. We’re not your enemies.”

She shakes her head, solemn. “Not anymore.”

"We will see," Masika replies, more terse than before. She's not comfortable with the shift in power dynamic Odessa implies by asserting her importance again. It's a subtle thing, and one she actively has to remind herself may not mean a thing at all. It all depends. And she needs to have patience.

In the background while Masika visibly doesn't lower her guard, Boomer hums while they fix another explosive to an expensive-looking piece of equipment.


Asi steps away from the doorway toward Mohinder. Aman lingers in his periphery, away from the door, but more specifically away from Redd. His being armed earns him a silent, constant fix of attention while the technopath approaches the prisoner. "Hey, Oni," he asides. "You know that—?"

"Yes," she interrupts him smoothly. "I remember." Her gaze never leaves Mohinder.

"It's clear you're used to people either wanting you dead, or wanting something from you in lieu of wanting you dead. That should make this easy, shouldn't it?" Asi lets out a resigned sigh. She half-turns back to Redd, tossing the key back to him

—and grabs Mohinder by the scruff of his collar, dragging him to one side of the small room. The hand she'd thrown the key with reaches for


The teleporter blinks at the abruptness of it all, the sudden, practically wordless shift. "Shit," he blurts out. He gets it, though, starting and reaching for Asi in return. He's connected to Asi, and Asi's connected to Mohinder.

And together, the three vanish.

Without Redd.

It takes a moment for the betrayal to hit him, for the sudden shock to wash over and ignite a fire of pure and unbridled fury behind his eyes. “No— no, no, no you son of a bitch!” He screams, wheeling around to see Asi, Aman, and Mohinder in the hallway on the other side of the glass door. Redd lunges like a wild animal at the door, slamming his shoulder into it and then hammering the butt of his pistol against the glass.

“Let me out of here you stupid shits!” Redd screams, a crack in his voice but not in the glass.

Asi lets out a breath once they've blinked from one space to another. Under pressure, she had no idea where the teleporter would take them. Her hand tightens around his forearm in a brief appreciative squeeze when she sees they're at least out of the cell, and she lets go of the rough grasp she had on Mohinder. She can hear Aman let out a gasp of his own at the audacity of what they'd just done, but she doesn't console him. That wasn't the last bold thing they would be doing today.

Having to stand face-to-face with the aftermath of her betrayal hadn't been a part of her plan, but she turns to the glass with the same placid expression she wore the entire way through the facility. Her reasons lurk in the blue of her eyes, dark and deep, and largely without explanation. "Disney, not Shakespeare," is all she deadpans at the man hammering on the glass.

Hopefully Silas would approve.

Then she turns, breathing out a steadying measure while she paces a few steps away and back, mindful that they're now visible— to cameras, to the man in the adjacent cell. If they weren't already running on borrowed time, they sure as hell were now.

Her ears are already ringing with the sound of alarms that haven't yet begun to blare.

"Aman," Asi says to regain his attention. He's standing with his hands linked behind his head, at once full of adrenaline and weariness. His eyes tick away from Mohinder's cell to her. "We still need to get back to the rest of them. Now. Can you manage taking both of us at once?"

Studying him reveals pupils slightly dilated, stare somewhat vacant. Aman shakes his head quickly to try and come back to focus. "I, uh…" he releases his grip on his scalp to grind the palms of his hand against his eyes and forehead quickly. "Yeah," he mutters, then repeats with more confidence, "Yeah, I got this. I got us."

Asi nods, then looks down to Mohinder, offering a hand to him to help him up. "What I want from you doesn't fit into either of those categories. Are you going to come willingly or will I have to drag you kicking and screaming to save your life?"

You’re dead, you hear me? Dead!” Redd’s voice is muffled through the glass as he continues to impotently hammer on it with the butt of his pistol. Mohinder watches Redd’s reaction in languid, stunned silence, then slowly turns to look over at Asi, then to Aman, and back again. There’s something in the way Mohinder looks at Asi that shows some faint level of recognition, like he’d seen her somewhere, but can’t put the pieces together in his head to make it fit. He doesn’t voice that either, leaving the subtle recognition drift past.

“If you take me out of this facility I’m as good as dead on a long enough timeline,” is Mohinder’s simple advice. He knows why he’s here, he knows what the government will think if he escapes, and he knows all too well who would come hunting for him. “I’m here of my own volition,” is said with a pointed look to Aman, “but if there’s something you need me to do, here, to save lives…”

Mohinder squares his shoulders and swallows down his fear. “Then lead on.”

Asi's expression falls slightly at Mohinder's response, at the implication he'd rather not leave here. "There is, I think," she voices after hoisting him to his feet. "But it entirely depends on what they have you working on here. Is it something that targets the Evolved?"

Letting go of his arm, she shoots a look back down the hall again to check for signs of a guard. There had to be one coming soon. Her hand goes to the small of her back, resting over her gun. Aman takes the moment to get his feet under him before they go again, looking properly around their surroundings, peering into Pete's cell with a cocked brow. What? he asks with a challenging stare. Given everyone in this fucked up science prison seems to be — you know, sciencey — he feels a little more free to be bold here.

Mohinder’s eyes narrow, lips part and his head tilts to the side subtly. “What? It… I mean, yes.” That alone is a damning sentiment with the United Nations having put a moratorium in the US on SLC-Expressive research that could be construed as leading toward the development of biological weapons. “We were asked to create a biological agent that could halt the regenerative capabilities of Adam Monroe,” Mohinder explains, his shoulders square and tense. “He’s— Expressive. A profoundly powerful regenerator and a highly dangerous…” Mohinder stops at adding genocidal to the description, given the givens.

“My research here has been at the behest of SESA to develop a biological weapon that could kill Adam Monroe,” Mohinder admits with no small amount of shame. “But I’ve been sabotaging the work with Doctor Price— Odessa. They’re months behind where they should be, but it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s finished and I… I can’t.” He doesn’t explain what it is he precisely can’t do, but nevertheless it’s—

A scream breaks the relative quiet of the hall, an ear-piercing and wailing cry reverberating from down the corridors followed by a wet gurgling and gargling sound. Then nothing. Mohinder looks at Asi with wide eyes, then to Aman, then over to Redd who is still screaming and kicking the glass door.

The commotion down the hall leaves Asi little time to do anything with what Mohinder has said aside from make a snap judgement— there will have to be time for questions later, and that leaving him here is out of the question. She slides a step back toward Aman, pulling Mohinder along with her by his arm while she produces her gun in her other hand. "Definitely now," she directs the teleporter, gun raised to point down the hall.

"Yeah, no shit?" Aman's sarcasm is reflexive, and he wastes no time in putting a hand to Asi's shoulder.

The sound of alarms beginning to klaxon is a distant thing as they blink out of sight.


"Well that doesn't sound good," Boomer pronounces, though they look completely blasé about the whole thing save for a side glance to Masika. Lights are flashing in the hall while alarms plain noisily, muffled by the thick glass and doors separating the lab from the rest of the building. "Where are they, anyway?"

Masika is on the verge of answering when a trio of persons suddenly appear between them. Aman starts to lose his balance, hand on Asi's shoulder needed to stabilize himself, but his foot goes sliding back anyway and he bumps roughly into an island in the middle of the lab space, a dazed expression on his face. She roughs his hand off her with a jerk of her shoulder and steers Mohinder toward the lab terminal, ignoring Masika's look for Asi's stance upon teleporting in, how they were one man short, and for a lack of immediate direction regarding what they were going next. "Where's the other one?" she asks with strained patience.

Asi is working through an order of operations, though. "Log in, open all your work," she directs Mohinder, gun lowered by her side now. It's not Masika she looks to next, taking stock of the area around them. "Gone," the technopath replies belatedly. "We're not the only ones here, I think." Her eyes catch on Boomer's handiwork with a frown and then she rounds on them with an expectant look.

They shrug, one arm bending at the elbow, palms facing the ceiling. "Oh, you know, just terrorist things~" Boomer explains cheerfully. Asi's momentarily frozen in place by it, her mask slipping. This wasn't a part of the new-and-improved plan she was mentally working off of. "We're practically obligated to blow something up," they go on. Their voice takes on an edge as they remind the room, "That was the deal."

The tendril of dread in Asi quickly devolves to resignation. "You're right. I thought we were going to have to blast our way into the facility, but…" Her gaze sweeps the lab once. She won't mourn the loss, she's just not sure what other consequences this will bear.

It's another problem she'll have to face later. She can hear those alarms as well as see them. If they've called for support from the Safe Zone, it'll only take a helicopter minutes to mobilize. A few minutes more to be here. All of this needed to happen fast.

Asi turns back to find Odessa, looking her in the eyes. "日本語が話せると聞いたことあるわ1," she remarks swiftly. "«Is it true?»"

Odessa winces and blocks one ear with a finger as the alarms start blaring. It had taken so long for that to happen that she’d almost thought they were going to manage to get away without setting anything off. Well, she reckons things are about to get a whole lot messier now.

Cautiously, she takes stock of the pieces in play on this game board. Redd’s absence is noted silently. She recognized Silas, though with the expectation that he wasn’t the same one she knew through her shared memories with Destiny and Odessa Woods. The fact that he seemed to recognize her from some connection to Linderman… Nostrils flare with a huff of air exhaled in frustration. Whatever answers he might hold aren’t likely to come to her now. Or possibly ever. She’s long since reconciled with that flavor of disappointment by now.

When she’s addressed, Odessa has to pull her worried gaze away from where it had found itself glued to Mohinder’s profile. “鬼でなければなりません.2” She gives a short nod of understanding, as if it might be necessary in the wake of her perfect Japanese. “Un. «I’ll cooperate as long as no one is hurt.»”

“Excuse me can everyone speak fucking English?” Is Richard Schwenkman’s immediate response, followed by remembering the whole inch of water thing as he slinks back against the wall, leveling dagger-eyes at Mohinder.

Shooting a quick, furtive look to Odessa, Mohinder sits down in front of his computer and begins the login process. He stops, looking distressed, hands coming off the keyboard. “I’ve been locked out,” he says with a shake in his voice, “the security alarm must have tripped something.” But Mohinder doesn’t stop there, he sits up straight and looks over to Asi. “The servers containing all of the research are stored on-site, there’s a wing of the facility with redundant backups. Not networked. Bruce Maddox, one of the prisoners, works there.”

Mohinder what the fuck!?” Schwenkman shouts.

A dry huff of a laugh manages to leave Asi at Odessa's formality. She takes a moment to lift one arm, fingers waggling in what looks suspiciously like a jazzhand. Yes, she's the oni.

Her arm drops by her side after Odessa keeps speaking. "«I can't promise that won't happen.»" she reports deadpan, no trace of regret for it, or concern for Odessa's continued cooperation. Her head turns at Mohinder's report, earning a frown. Asi turns to Masika to gauge her reaction to this complication, and her perceived importance of it.

"This one says she's been sabotaging the work anyway, that she'd be needed to make sense of it." By her tone, by her invisible emotional state, she's unbothered by the news there's a back-up. "It sounds like they've been shooting themselves in the foot anyway with their work here. Take out the workers, too, and they're back at square one."

There's not even a ripple of concern that comes from her, though it certainly begins to emanate from Aman even as he's working through the pain in his head from the ambitious use of his ability. His head lifts away from his hand and he casts a blank look to the four seated on the floor. The woman in glasses seated next to Schwenkman pales.

Asi's the only one not wearing her emotions on her sleeve, deadpan despite a sudden spike of tension. "Time to see how they'd like to leave," she replies to the suggestion. She glances to Odessa, then to those seated. "Pop quiz," the technopath declares, raising her offhand. "Who likes living?"

It may be a rhetorical question.

"You have two options. Come with us, or go out with your research." For a moment, her gaze flits to Mohinder. She remembers his answer, and wonders if he'll repeat it now. "Fifteen seconds." Asi crouches to snag the badge from one of the dead guards, tossing it across the room to Boomer, who catches it awkwardly with one hand. "See if that still works," she directs, then looks back to the group.

Her eyes close for a hair longer than a normal blink. She's hoping something. For a certain answer.

Asi glances to Odessa again for just a moment.

She's hoping they'll say…

Sufficiently cowed by Asi’s impassiveness, Odessa lowers her head, staring at the floor as she tries to figure out how they’re going to get out of this. Or how she’s going to get the others out of this. Their lives for hers seems a fair enough exchange.

Odessa rises from her seat and steps over to Mohinder’s, snatching his hand in hers. “We can’t make things right if we’re dead. Come on. Let’s go with the polite terrorists.” She turns her attention to the others against the wall. “You too, Rich. This ship isn’t worth going down with.”

Her fingers around Mohinder’s are trembling, in spite of the brave face she’s wearing.

“I’m sorry, am I the only one here not willing to get into bed with whatever fucking terrorist death cult this is?” Schwenkman says with a broad gesture around the room. Mohinder rolls his eyes and stands up, looking around at the other scientists and then Asi, before finally squaring a look at Odessa.

“Schwenkman is… technically right.” Mohinder is reluctant to admit.

Thank you.”

“But he’s right for the wrong reasons,” Mohinder adds, which elicits no thanks whatsoever. “But if we leave with these people, we’re signing our death warrants. Not because of their intentions…” he says with a look to Asi, “…but because of our actions. The government put us here as a punishment for crimes we committed, for things we did against other human beings. People who did less than some of us were executed for their crimes. We were given this chance, for redemption, not…” he looks at Odessa again, “not self-preservation.

Mohinder takes in a sharp breath. “If your life is what you value, and you’re a prisoner here, stay. Because if we leave… the government will find us. And not the agencies that took our value as human beings into consideration. Wolfhound will find us. And if you think for one minute they won’t…” He looks over to Schwenkman. “Just ask Rich how he got here.”

Suddenly, Rich seems disinclined to take the immediate apple as offered by Asi. He shrinks back some, exhaling a shaky sigh. Mohinder, on the other hand, squeezes Odessa’s hand with more certainty. “I asked you to sabotage this project on principle, because it was the right thing to do and you’ve always— more than anything— wanted to do what’s right. You just haven’t been strong enough.”

Mohinder lets go of Odessa’s hand, symbolically, and takes a step back. “What would James do?”

It hits her like a punch to the gut. Odessa physically recoils like she’s been slapped. One hand flutters up over her open mouth. She sniffs loudly and then uses that hand to point an accusing finger back at Mohinder. “Don’t you dare.” Appealing to her sense of decency wouldn’t have worked. Pointing out her weakness wouldn’t even make a mark. But that… was a low blow.

“You do not get to— He’s out there somewhere, Mohinder. If I die here…” She’ll never see him again. She’ll never be able to ensure James Woods’ safety. Not that she’s ever managed that before in literally any other life. If anything, that makes it all the more imperative to her now.

“You fucking sanctimonious son of a bitch.” The worst part is that he’s right. If he wasn’t, Odessa wouldn’t be nearly so upset. “Fine.” She takes the few steps back to the chair she started from and sinks down to sit. Odessa folds her hands in her lap and lowers her head. “«Do what you have to do.»”

Behind Asi's impressive exterior, disappointment, resignation, frustration builds by layers. This wasn't how this was supposed to go. Her attempts to grapple with it, attempts to replan away from the anticipated path, are thrown entirely the more Mohinder speaks. The moment she realizes more people than anticipated would be going down with the proverbial ship, her brow lifts, a flash of visible frustration boiling over.

A curse comes barely breathes out, teeth bared as Asi tries to think through what comes next. Boomer laughs across the room, unable to believe it. The woman sitting next to Schwenkman looks down and then pushes herself abruptly to her feet, her badge jangling as she gets her balance. It lands with its blank back facing out. "I'm going. I'll go," the woman decides, even in the face of all of the unknowns.

Being dead is not how she'd like to spend the rest of her day.

That's one, at least. Asi exhales slowly, trying to not let regret take hold. She lowers her hand, heel of it dragging against her cheek in a slip of her visible cool. "バカやろう3," she mutters with a sharp glare at Odessa. "限界は二人けど4…"

She sounds livid, even as she snaps, "落ち着いて, 心配するな."

Be calm. Don't worry.

"Masika, how are you doing? Could you handle a second crossing?" Asi asks, stepping over to the computer to unhook the storage device. She flips it back into the waterproof bag that lay next to it and tosses it to the woman, who by then has directed the water she wielded as a weapon back into its container.

Masika frowns as she catches it, looking it over and then glancing back to Mohinder in particular. "If the group is small," she supposes. Asi gives her a tight nod as Boomer successfully opens the door with the guard's key.

"Take her, head for the extraction point." The technopath steps back, grip tightening around her gun. "I'll finish this, take care of the backup, meet you there when done." Her brow arches as she meets the older woman's gaze. "If you hear helicopters, go on ahead. If you don't hear from us by nightfall, you have the data in hand, you know what to do."

A tense moment passes before Masika nods. "Come," she directs the woman in glasses, who reluctantly follows. She looks back before matching stride with Masika as they head out the open door. Boomer ushers them out with a wave of their arm, looking back to Asi. "So, we'll need to blow the backup?" they ask, a touch of glee to it.

Asi lets out a low breath. "Yes," she confirms, grip adjusting around the gun, gaze down while she thinks. Boomer slings their bag off their body, laying it down on the island by Aman. He nudges aside a microscope, unzipping the duffel to better examine what materials are left. Aman warily looks over his shoulder to get a look finally at what's in the bag, all the better to distract himself from what may be about to happen in front of him.

"This needs to be quick," Asi voices, gun bouncing against the heel of her palm as she looks back up and to the group before her. They're considered one by one in rapid succession. She offers no apology up to any of them, equal parts guilt and determination ebbing forward underneath. Her gaze moves past Odessa and Mohinder both, to the nameless pair first.

Intention spikes in her.


Screams of fitful rage have quelled to the demeanor of a cat stalking the confines of its pen in a zoo. Yet no one has come to gawk at Redd in his prison. He considers his gun and the arrangement of the room, he considers that if a cell could be broken out of it wouldn’t be much of a cell. He paces the floor again, then stops when he hears footsteps approaching. There’s nowhere to hide in the cell, physically, and subterfuge of that nature may not best serve him here. Tucking his gun in the back of his pants, Redd steps forward right up to the glass door, and waits.

“She’s out of her fucking mind, if you ask me” echoes down the hall. “Look, you two can go back to your cells if you’re getting squeamish. But I’m leaving.” Redd angles his head to the side, watching as a broad-shouldered and stout man with gray hair and hands covered in blood walks into view. Two women easily half his age follow him, one with hair like freshly fallen snow, the other her exact opposite.

Pete Varlane pauses when he catches sight of Redd inside of Mohinder Suresh’s cell. He looks back to Kyla Renautas and Donna Dunlap, wiping some of the blood off of his hands onto the sides of his pants. Redd taps on the glass with one finger, then beckons with it to Pete. The others shake their heads, not sure what to make of the situation.

Redd, making eye contact with Pete, asks the one question he knows will benefit them both.

How’s about we cut a deal?


Staring down the barrel of a gun, Mohinder reaches out and takes Odessa’s hand. As he watches Asi, there’s a tension in his shoulders and at the sides of his jaw. “Killing us won’t stop anything,” he says to her and Odessa can feel the serenity flowing through Mohinder in this moment. He is at peace with this situation and his role in it. “Whatever it is you’re trying to do here, it’s not going to work.”

“ちょ- ちょっと5—” Odessa instinctively grasps Mohinder’s hand, rising from her seat and and throwing her other arm around him and pressing the side of her face against his chest. Her fingers curl into the fabric of his jacket. She’s died alone every other time, maybe this go around calls for something new.

Her eyes stare ahead, not fixed on anything, as she allows Mohinder’s emotion to influence her own. Slowly, she stops shaking. Her breathing stops coming in short gasps. She knows how this has to be. Turning her face up to look at him, Odessa reaches to place one hand against the side of his face. “I wish things could be different,” she tells Mohinder, regret in her voice.

“I’ve admired you for so long. You were everything I wanted to be as a scientist and a researcher. Maybe even as a human being.” She smiles shakily, unwinding her fingers from his slowly. “I’m so sorry I can never live up to your expectations.”

Which is the time that she smashes her fist into the side of his head.

Bang. It's muffled by the silencer, but unmistakable. The sound of shattering glass follows, the camera unit on the ceiling sparking and inoperable.

Asi's teeth bare in a sneer as her arm moves, and she fires again. Once. Twice. A third—

Aman starts with a shout, arms flying up by the side of his head as he moves away from the table, barely moving his feet before he blinks steps backward. Spattered with blood, he turns to Asi and shouts, "What the fuck kind of Dark Knight bullshit is this?!" Boomer sinks to their knee, hand still on the countertop as they go spilling to the floor.

The two remaining lab assistants also slump, leaving just Schwenkman, Mohinder, and Odessa left in line. Asi pauses, gun leveled on Scwhenkman and arches an eyebrow at Odessa as she notes finally the strike that had been dealt. For the first time, her confusion manifests externally as well as internally. "The hell are you doing?" she wonders aloud, then looks back to Schwenkman.

"Aman, this is the kind of bullshit where you walk away well-paid." Asi assures him coolly, still not looking away. "Remind me again what your limit is?"

She knows. She remembers.

Which is maybe why he's exasperated when he exclaims, "Three, including me!"

Asi only nods, exhaling slowly. "Right," she says with resignation, recentering her aim. There's apology to it now when she speaks again, even sadness. "You should have gone with the terrorist, you know. It'd have been better than this."

Schwenkman swiftly looks to Odessa and Mohinder, then back wide-eyed to Asi as he throws his hands up. “Wait I can— ”


Blood explodes against the wall behind Richard Schwenkman and he collapses to the ground with a single hole in his skull above his right eye. Mohinder would have flinched with the first shot, but instead he’s recoiling from the swift but inevitable betrayal from Odessa yet again. His vision swims, struck in the temple just behind his eye. Mohinder wobbles, drops to both knees and clutches the side of his head, looking around in abject confusion at the massacre happening around him.

He finally sees Schwenkman’s body, a shuddering gasp replacing anything he might have wanted to say. Dark eyes track back up to Asi, lips parted in disbelief, looking at the gun. Three, including me echoes in Mohinder’s mind. He closes his eyes.

“No!” Odessa whirls around too late to stop what’s happening. She stares in horror as Rich slumps to the ground. Turning to Asi, she fixes her with her wide-eyed stare. “You didn’t have to do that!” As to what she’s doing, she gestures to her cohort on the ground. “I’m trying to— I was trying to— Shit. Oh god, Rich…”

Keeping herself in between Mohinder and Asi, she holds her arms out to make a bigger target of herself. “Mohinder Suresh is the best of us. He doesn’t deserve to die.” Which might sound a little strange, considering she just tried to knock him out cold. Appealing to someone else’s sense of decency is a long shot, but she could feel Asi’s guilt. Maybe… Maybe there’s a chance.

“If it’s all the same to you, I’d be happy to take my chance with the guards,” Odessa reasons. “Or whatever’s keeping them busy right now.” Because they haven’t swarmed the lab yet, which means there’s something going on out there. “Nobody else has to die here.”

Asi arches her brow again at Odessa, her aim faltering. Whatever it was she was expecting from her, continuously she kept defying it. At the assertion no one else has to die, she lets out a soft laugh. Her gun arm lowers entirely.

"This doesn't work like that," she begins patiently. "But I don't have the luxury of time to explain any of this sufficiently. Listen closely, Odessa Price: Eve Mas would murder me if I left you here or killed you. And Mazdak wants Mohinder Suresh dead, so he dies. Now."

A beat passes. The gun does not move, does not fire. Asi tilts her head just a fraction.

"And now he is dead."

Her look grows severe. "You ensure he remains dead, and that no one suspects anything different, or I will risk Eve's wrath."

Asi looks away to Aman, meeting his bewildered stare with a forceful one that encourages nothing but short, concise answers. "You take them. To your home. Wait for contact, and I will come for them within 48 hours. If you lose track of them, you do not get paid. If Mazdak finds out about Suresh, you will have far more to worry about than that." Bluntness is the only kindness she can afford him, and she doesn't spare it.

Aman can't help but spot an immediate issue with this, though. "And how the fuck are you getting out of here? The fuck reassurance do I have I'm getting paid at all if I leave you here? Or— hell— why don't I just go now?"

There's a lot of dead bodies that serve as silent yet loud reasons, along with the fact she apparently knows where he lives, so Asi lets all that speak for itself, making her way to the abandoned bag of explosives to rifle through it. "I have an exit plan," she reassures him flatly. With a jerk of her head, she motions to Mohinder and Odessa. "You are theirs. This is what you were needed for all along."

When he starts to question it, she scoffs and admits while dropping to a crouch, ridding Boomer of a remote detonator and the guard's cardkey, "Yes, and also for Redd, but mostly this." Asi stands and looks back to Odessa, expression tight though she's more at peace now with the way things are than she was before. There's something like Mohinder's earlier serenity to her, along with the fire and determination to finish what needs done— destroying the backups.

"We'll have time to know each other later. Soon." She shakes her head once, setting aside the explosive to free a second clip for her gun to reload it. The nearly-emptied one clatters to the ground. "But you must go, now." She checks the chamber on the gun before palming the brick off the countertop again.

Confused, concussed, betrayed and lost Mohinder stares up at Asi as the klaxons continue to blare. “You’re signing our death warrants,” is all Mohinder has to say for himself after this, firm in his belief that a flight from the government now will bring a fiery end for everyone. But he doesn’t fight this, not anymore. He has neither the strength nor the willpower to. But he isn’t the one planning for a fight.

Somewhere distant there’s shouts echoing in corridors, barks of clear and moving reverberating over cold tile and eggshell white walls. Whatever had occupied the security teams at PISEC was either resolved or no longer priority. This was all so rapidly escalating out of control, yet Asi promised to have an extraction plan. But no one, perhaps not even Asi herself, could say what that is at this moment.

Odessa tenses, prepared to surge forward and throw herself into Asi. And probably take a bullet to the chest in the process, but if she doesn’t do everything she can to keep Mohinder alive, then—

But Asi doesn’t lift her weapon. Confusion settles in even as Odessa’s shoulders begin to relax. She listens to the exchange between the Oni and her remaining partner in crime. Finally, she nods. “Hai.

Turning her back on the pair, she crouches down to the floor. “I’m sorry. You just had this zen thing going on and I had this moment of clarity and— I was gonna drag you out of here myself.” Odessa’s lip curls in an expression of eesh because that all sounds way stupider now that it’s come out of her mouth than it did in her head. “I’m really bad at helping people.”

Holding out a hand like an olive branch, she hopes he’ll accept it and the offer of help to his feet. “Come on. Let’s get out of here and we can decide how we’re going to deal with this later.” Because he’s not wrong. If the government doesn’t come after them, Mazdak is likely to, when they eventually find out they’re alive. This is only a reprieve.

An uncertain look is given over her shoulder, toward the exit and the shouts in the halls. What she wouldn’t give to go for a look, but she knows better than to tempt fate. She’ll live with the guilt of whatever might have befallen the others. Later, she can plot revenge, if it turns out to be necessary.

"Suresh," the technopath sighs, sounding like she'd like to hit him too. "If you are that determined to go back to prison, we'll bring you back later and you can explain you were kidnapped against your will. I'm sure they'll appreciate your integrity and honesty." Then she looks to the sound of what can only be either the security team, or whoever they narrowly avoided back at the cells.

For just a moment, Asi questions the sanity, the safety in doing what else needed done while alone. It wasn't supposed to have been alone— she was supposed to still have Boomer, and more importantly, their ability, to help carve a safe path. A note of frustration passes from her as she abandons that doubt. Aman's limit was three, and only one jump was guaranteed. He was already struggling, liable to burn out— and he was never supposed to be her exit plan, anyway.

He wasn't Mazdak.

Stick to the plan. she tells herself.

"Why are you still here?" Asi barks at Aman. "Go." And already, she's moving away, heading for the door Masika had left through— the one that will take them to an exit facing away from PISEC. "Unless you'd like to blow up!" is the last bit of warning she offers, the door pulled open roughly once the lock clicks. She darts through and takes off in a sprint.

Aman turns back to Odessa and Mohinder both, weight in his gaze. This has been a shitshow as far as he's concerned, but being told he's hit his exit point has given him a bit of his swagger back. "All right, fam, you heard the oni," he says, approaching them. "I'm one of those people who likes living, and a shower sounds great, too, honestly. So—"

He places a hand on their shoulders. "Keep your arms and legs firmly inside the ride at all times, all right?"

It's a joke, which is obvious both from his tone— and the fact that by the time he's finished speaking, the nauseating blip from one point to another has already happened.

Odessa, Mohinder, and Aman suddenly exist in the living room of a spacious apartment stories off the ground, the Manhattan Exclusion Zone visible in the distance across the East River. The transition leaves them several inches off the ground, landing in a stumble among empty cans and dirty laundry.

The lab they had been standing in explodes into fiery debris moments later, the ceiling bursting into the sky before falling back in on itself. Birds nested in the trees nearby take to flight all at once, and they, too, make their escape from Plum Island.

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