Also featuring:


Scene Title Quartz
Synopsis I promised you two things.
Date ???


I promised you two things. First, how to speak Chinese. Second, how to fight.

A deserter and technically married man, Wu-Long had evidently not been a man whose word means overmuch, but this is a place in which there is truly very little to do. Sylar's view of the blank ceiling is interrupted by a face that some part of him knows even better than his own. Yellow tan, black eyes, white teeth, dark with tension but he cracks the smile for reassurance's sake. There is no need to ask, this time. This is just a dream, the newest epidermal layer of the increasing sediment under which Kazimir is burying him alive — a ghost in the dream of a nightmare.

Something rough and warm touches Sylar's wrist, just above the edge of the cuff restraints. By default, Wu-Long's hand. The ex-soldier can sympathize.

Or at least, Sylar can remember, which serves just as well.

When Mu-Qian found him in Iraq, he was almost blind but he knows how he must have looked. His own breath a rancid gel congealed down his nose, faeces caked in the cleft of his pants, pointlessly bound up and hopelessly broken down. Helpless, pitiful and, decidedly worse — prideful creatures that they are or not — without anybody to offer either aid or pity. He had seen her framed in the doorway, blurred by salt and water that his body could neither spare nor help, head haloed in the shadow of a burkha.

The heart rate monitor box bleats, rhythm unmoved, unchanged, immune to everything but the mundane circadian cycles and the extraordinary darkness of his master that simultaneously empower and grind his body to gradual nothing. Sylar breathes white into the tube. He thinks that Wu-Long is failing to give the situation the proper recognition. No offense to the desert warlords, but sad little king of some sad little dune, Kazimir Volken is not, and the maleficent Lord has greater weapons at his disposal than hammers, barbiturates, flaying knives and bombs.

What's the point? Sylar wonders. Why the Hell should I believe that anyone could… would—

Chinese. The request is inscrutably mild.

Sylar closes his eyes. Meiyou yong. No point.

You don't fool me, Gabriel Gray, Wu-Long replies. He plants a knife in the pillow.

Ri-ip. Sylar parts his eyelids in time to see the bar of tightly-honed ceramic find foothold in the metal somewhere below the level of the mattress. Pillow stuffing spurts out. Up. A down feather scaling the empty air above the gurney, see-sawing, one blurry edge over the next, propelled by a breeze that Sylar can't feel. Sylar forgets, momentarily, to breathe out of his tube. Momentarily. It is a longer moment than his perception of time acknowledges; his lung starts to burn. He coughs.

The tube flares pink.

Wu-Long's head jerks on its stem, cocking an ear. He turns his head to look at something out of Sylar's available view.

Listen, he says. He unwraps his fingers from the knife's hilt. Before Sylar can point out that he can't hear anything, he clarifies: Listen to me. When you fight a man, it isn't about who is the greatest warrior of all time, or the lone legend that carries the century. It isn't about who did better this year or even who is having a good day. The master becomes the sage. The pupil becomes a master. Blink and you die. It's about who is the best every instant. There is always something.

Sylar knows a lot about instants. Trying to haul them together despite that they are the wrong shape and size. Pound down the edges, rework the seams and weld the ends into something recognizable, continuous, whole, a timeline of more than discernible chronology but causation and effect. Gabriel Gray did not die when Sylar was born, nor even when Virginia was undone too early in the mediocre solitude of her life. And all the others Sylar killed to this point, as he was compelled to by as much supernatural appetite as sapien ambition, no matter what the optimistically naive pizza delivery boys had to say about it.

Sylar knows a lot about keeping instants. He was a restorer of timepieces. He could fit a crystal quartz oscillator into a bezel the size of a fairy's eye. It is precision work, measured in microseconds in time, millimeters of distance, Newtons of force, and fractional frequencies.

He blinks his eyes. I am going to live forever. I will be famous. I will change the world. It's everything I have ever wanted.

You sound annoyed, Wu-Long observes.


Hit hard, hit fast, hit often.

What are you doing? Click, click. Rattle. Sylar can't see.

The art of war is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are: yi. The Moral Law; er. Heaven; san. Earth; si. The Commander; wu. Method and discipline. He who knows them will be victorious; he who knows them not will fail. You have control over none. I wouldn't worry about it: war isn't really an art, anyway.

Wu-Long bends his oxygen tube up for him to see. It is red. The ex-soldier pulls on it, feeding the length of red, violently red plastic out of the blankets and into view. The IV stand jostles still closer, screws and wheels jouncing at angles and under stress they were built to withstand but not intended for. Wu-Long wraps it around the protrusion of blade beside Sylar's head and then grips the ends tight, pulls the loop rigid against the ceramic's molecular cutting edge.

The round bones of his knuckles sharpen. Now, he says, you need to get up.

January 27th: Placeholder
January 27th: Sufferance
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License