Quietly Into The Night


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title Quietly Into the Night
Synopsis The future has interia. Sometimes, however, it requires a little push.
Date February 18, 2011

A fluorescent bulb buzzes noisily overhead.

We can often times find ourselves in prisons of our own making.

Featureless concrete walls are familiar despite the emptyness of their surfaces. Water pipes up near the ceiling have long been dripping down the walls, creating tracks of rust stains that streak down the pitted stone. These old walls and rusty pipes make up something like a prison, but to the prisoner sealed within they are like a journey home.

When all our best efforts seem for naught, we become caged by the repercussions of our choises.

A single, dirty mirror reflects the dour countenance of Roger Goodman in its grime-streaked surface. Hunched forward and brows lowered, the severe lines of his face with its deep-set eyes and high cheekbones allow the fluorescent light to make him look cadaverous, as if he were some sort of animate corpse. The truth is not very far off.

With hope, there can be a way out of these seemingly impossible situations; one last attempt at escape.

Flexing his hands open and closed, Roger looks down at the pale skin of his palms, creased with wrinkles. Dark eyes narrow as hsi hands clencht ightly into fists, then relax open slowly. As he looks up, squaring his vision on his dirty reflection in the mirror, it isn't himself that he's looking at.

But a man cannot ever truly outrun his own destiny, no matter how many times he successfully manages to cheat it…

«Roger,» a voice crackles over the speakers installed in the ceiling, «Are you ready to talk?»

You can't outrun fate.

Eighteen Days Earlier

The Commonwealth Institute

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Situated at the only occupied seat at the entire conference table, Roger Goodman feels remarkably alone in the face of administrative reprimand. Hands folded atop the table's glass surface, he's angled diagonally to view the taller, older man standing with his back to the table, staring out over a snowy city vista.

"You've made it very difficult for us, Roger." The weathered, textured voice of Doctor Simon Broome sounds more apologetic than expected of someone heading an administrative inquisition into misappropriation of government resources.

"The operation you authorized and led outside of the United States has put a spotlight on the Institute, one that we cannot afford to have, Roger." Turning from the window, bathed in the soft, diffuse gray light of a cloudy day, Simon's wrinkled and sagging face seems somewhat softer.

Stepping away from the window, Simon approaches the head of the table, resting his wrinkled hands on the back of his chair. "The only reason we haven't taken more immediate actions is that you revealed to us locations of one of the remote research facilities belonging to the Pinehearst company. We have to wonder, however, with how close you were to Arthur Petrelli, if you knew in advance that it would be there."

Goodman's dark eyes narrow, lips sagged down into a frown as he considers Simon's weathered frame. "Whether or not I knew about the Pinehearst facility isn't what's at question here. I understand what I did, and I did it knowingly. No one would have authorized the rescue of that girl."

Simon's head dips down into a slow nod as he pulls the chair out from the conference table, moving to slip down into the seat with a creak of the leather. "I know," sounds apologetic again, "but there's reasons that we do what we do, Roger. Not just for protocol, and you understand what it's like for us. We don't have the grace of anonymity on our side, and closer oversight by the government could cripple our long-term operations."

Reclining back against the chair, Simon's elbows prop up on the arms, fingers laces in front of his chest. "We know that you and agent Sawyer are working together outside of the boundaries of the Institute's jurisdiction, we know that agent Sawyer has been a mole within our organization for some time now as well."

When Broome levels that accusation out on Roger, there's a tension in the former Company agent's spine, in his jaw and in the nervousness now present in his eyes. "We predicted that if you were placed in contact with Sawyer that you would potentially collaborate with her based on your shared prior history."

"If you knew," Goodman finally spits out, leaning forward to rest his folded hands on the table, "why did you allow me to take over for Director Harper after he was injured? You only needed me for access to the classified information on the Company in my memories…"

Growling out his words, Roger hunches forward over the table, brows lowered and dark eyes narrowed. "You could have put me right back in the grave if you wanted to. Why put me in a situation you knew I might compromise the Institute in? Why put me with Sawyer if you knew I'd turn to her for assistance?"

"Plausible deniability," is Simon's answer, and one that takes Roger by surprise. "You may not believe it, but the Institute is not a wholly heartless organization. You know we do things that are not visible to the government of this country, things for the greater good of humanity and the future."

"I've heard that excuse before," Roger carefully opines, one eye narrowing more than the other. "The greater good being used to justify any number of atrocities, like what we found in that Pinehearst facility. Fool me once…" Roger quips, one brow rising slowly.

Simon's sigh serves as a bridge between their back and forth conversation, heavy and resigned. "Agent Sawyer has a strong moral compass, one that we knew we would need. The Institute must appear on the surface to be complient with the government's requests. If we don't authorize extra-administrative activities, and if only a handful within our echelon know about them, we can mitigate government oversight."

Wringing his hands together, Simon's discomfort begins to become clearer. "When you authorized an operation outside of our operational guidelines on the level, that raised immediate red flags with the Department of Evolved Affairs and the CIA. Because of your operation in Tajikistan, we now have the Directorate of Foreign Operations at the Pentagon looking at us."

"Let me get this straight," Goodman leans in again. "You wouldn't have so much as raised an eyebrow at this if I had pulled it off under the radar? If I'd done it without utilizing my official authorization?"

Simon looks down at his muted reflection in the dark, glass table, then slowly offers a nod of confirmation. "Unfortunate, but true. I didn't want to put us in this position, Roger, but you've forced my hand on the matter. In order to level things square between the agencies now watching us, we're going to ask you to cooperate with us in handing you over to them for— "

"You're using me as a scapegoat?" Roger's words are strained through clenched teeth.

"No, we're holding you accountable for your actions." Simon corrects reluctantly.

"Actions you would have indirectly sanctioned had I not gone through official channels. You're not punishing me, you're covering your asses." Bristling, Roger looks towards the office room's door, then back to Simon, intently.

"What about the girl?" More so than his own safety, Roger seems determined to see justice in Lucine's case, justice that he could not give to Theodore Sprague or his wife, to Veronica Sawyer's father, to everyone he failed in Midtown.

"She is scheduled to be handed over to the Department of Evolved Affairs," is the answer Roger didn't want to hear. "They've voiced interest in holding her while the investigation into her father's activities and the attack on our transport is being investigated."

The door to the office opens quietly, swinging into the room. The tall, gray-suited gentleman striding in evokes a semblance of fear in Roger's eyes. Similar in build to Goodman, the man known most commonly as the Haitian wordlessly stands in the doorway, looking to Doctor Broome expectantly.

"Rene…" Simon addresses him, turning a woeful expression towards Rodger, who slowly edges up and out of his seat.

"Escort mister Goodman down to the detention level."

Present Day

Former Company Training Center

Chicago, Illinois

"Roger Goodman. First Lieutenant. Three, two, two, seven, seven, two, one, one, two."

Name, rank, and serial number. It is the way that Roger Goodman has been answering his interrogation for over two weeks. This four walls of this interrogation cell are familiar, if only because Rodger recalls being on the other side of that two-way mirror years ago, during his tenure as Director of the Chicago facility. A lifetime ago, now.

Roger's long-fingered hands fold together between his knees, shoulders slouch forward and a bead of sweat rolls down the bridge of his nose. It's uncomfortably warm and humid in here, partly due to the heat radiating out through the steam pipes that travel across the ceiling of the room. The boiler room and reserve generators aren't far from here, and he needn't hear their humming report to know that much. Every single bit of this facility is a familiar memory to him, something that is comforting in these times of confinement.

«Rodger,» the voice from the ceiling-mounted speakers crackles, «we've been at this for a while now. You and I both know you're tired, that you could use some rest. We'd like to give that to you, but we need to know what you did with the girl. Your actions are endangering our operations and the lives of the agents we placed under your command… You don't want that, Rodger, I know what kind of ma you are.»

That assertion has Rodger's dark eyes lifting up and over to the mirror, at his own reflection in its grimy surface. "You don't know the first thing about what kind of man I am." Uncertain of who is on the other side of the mirror, Rodger's tone is accusatory and sharp. "You can keep me in here as long as you want, too, but you know I won't talk. So why not just call in the telepath and get this over with."

Fingers ring tightly together against Goodman's palms, and the silence from the other room brings a tension to his posture. «I don't want to have to do that. We can still work together, Rodger. I wouldn't have brought you back if I didn't think we shared a vision for the future. I know what kind of man you are, because I know how things would have gone if you hadn't been murdered by the Company.»

One of Rodger's brows slowly rises, considering the man behind his reflection more thoughtfully now. «You're an honorable man. You were willing to sacrifice everything for the truth. Rodger, this world needs you. But we can't do anything if the DoEA ties our hands behind our backs and tries to scrutinize every last thing we do.»

Looking away from the mirror, Goodman wrings his hands together again, eyes partway lidding as he stares at the floor between his feet. «Rodger,» the voice through the speakers persists.

«Tell us what you did with Lucine Halebi.»

Eighteen Days Earlier

The Commonwealth Institute

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Dark eyes stare intently at the Haitian as he strides into the room. Rodger's back tenses, attention swiftly moving to Doctor Broome as he swallows audibly and places his hands flat on the conference table. Exhaling a resigned sigh, Goodman slowly pushes his wheeled seat back and rises to stand up straight, smoothing out the front of his suit jacket as he does.

"I'm sorry it has to be this way, Rodger." Simon apologizes with a clasp of his hands together in front of himself. "But you've tied our hands, and we have no other recourse but to cooperate with the Department of Evolved Affairs' oversight committee, lest we find ourselves under further scrutiny."

Creases mark the corners of Goodman's mouth were his frown drags his lips downward. Looking over the Rene as he clears the distance between them, Goodman offers a slow nod as his tongue sweeps across the inside of his teeth. "You're absolutely sure about this, Doctor?" Goodman's dark eyes turn back to Simon, brows pinched together.

"I'm sorry," Simon asserts, "but this decision is final."

"You're absolutely right," Rodger retorts as his fingers wind around the back of his empty chair swinging it up wildly at Rene. The wheeled office chair smashes into a raised arm, but the force of the impact knocks Rene back and down onto the table. Letting go of the chair, Rodger turns not for the exit, but for Doctor Broome. Simon rises up to stand, dark eyes wide and lips parted as if to try to reason with Goodman, but the rapid smack of shoes across the tiled floor are a more resolute thing.

"Rodger wait— " Simon blurts out as he lifts both hands, watching Goodman bear down on him and lean forward. Rodger slams a shoulder into Simon's mid-section, wrapping both arms around him as he drives the old man towards the floor-to-ceiling windows at the back of the room. As Rene rolls off of the conference table, he gets his wits about him just in time to see Goodman slam Simon into the windows, shattering the glass as they both go careening out of the second floor window.

Rene's eyes grow wide as he stares in slack-jawed shock as Doctor Broome and Goodman disappear out the window.

Falling towards the concrete walkway below, Goodman winds his fingers into Simon's suit jacket, teeth baring and expression like that of a wild animal. Purple light streams from Rodger's body as he falls, leaving the area of influence of Rene's negation, soon turning into bands of radiance that shine out between his fingers.

Simon doesn't even have time to scream before Rodger disappears in a flash of violet light that implies inward on itself. A split-second later, Simon impacts the concrete below, the back of his head bouncing off of the ground skull fracturing and back arching as his fall comes to an abrupt and fatal end.

Present Day

Former Company Training Center

Chicago, Illinois

"Roger Goodman. First Lieutenant. Three, two, two, seven, seven, two, one, one, two."

Once more, Rodger's name, rank and serial number is the only answer afforded to his captors. This time it evokes no response from the man behind the mirror, the sound of the pipes rattling and the distant hum of the facility's boiler and generator coming through the walls joining the plinking sound of the overhead fluorescent light's sputtering existence.

Approaching footsteps coming down the hall means that things have become more serious, that the situation has finally progressed from questioning to interrogation. The lock on the interrogation room door opens, and two darkly dressed Institute security agents stand in the doorway. One steps into the room, hand on a holstered gun at his waist. The second steps in, carrying a collapsible baton that he flicks out with a snap before stating. "Please don't make this any more difficult on us than it needs to be, Mister Goodman."

Once the two have moved out of the doorway, Rodger's eyes settle on the figure of a wavy-haired blonde woman in a sleek black suit out in the hall. Hands folded behind her back, she steps into the room with an askance glance from one agent to the other, then onto Goodman.

"Aria Baumgartner?" Surprise is evident in Goodman's voice, confusion painted across his face. Investigating Niles Wight, a transplant from a future that can never be was how Goodman first learned of this young telepath's name. Steeling himself in his chair, Rodger considers the mysterious young woman with uncertainty.

"Mister Goodman, it seems we've already been informally introduced. But, I believe proper introductions are in order." Stepping past the two security officers, Aria moves to the chair Goodman is seated in, considering the glint of the cuffs around his wrists, then meets his gaze. "As you know my name is Aria Baumgartner, I'm a security analyst for the Institute specializing in psychic interrogation. I'm going to perform a deep-cognitive memory scan inside of your mind…"

Green eyes square on Goodman's far darker ones, and Aria's brows furrow ever so subtly as she meets his stare. Pay no attention to what I am saying, Mister Goodman. Focus on my thoughts and follow my instructions clearly, it is your only chance to get out of this situation.

Confusion briefly flashes across Rodger's face as he considers Aria's words, followed briefly thereafter by a continuation of her speech. "The more you struggle against the intrusion, the more damage will be done to your neural receptors. This is a highly invasive process and there will be some pain associated with it. Unfortunately you have given us no other choice in the matter."

This interrogation is being recorded and will be delivered to the Department of Evolved Affairs. There are elements within the Institute that wish for you to succeed in what you have done. The man I work for trusts you, Mister Goodman, but his superior is a dangerous individual who we believe may be a danger to us all. Aria reaches out, resting a hand on the side of Goodman's head, green eyes narrowing.

"I want you to think about the last time you saw Lucine Halebi," Aria says, even as her mind is moving on a different level. My sidearm is inside of my suit jacket under by right arm. When I lean in, take it from me and disable the two security guards and take me hostage. I am too valuable for them to sacrifice.

Why are you doing this? Rodger asks back to her, his brows creasing together even as a defiant look crosses his face. Who do you work for?

Pressing her thumb above his right eyebrow, the remainder of Aria's fingers spread out to touch along the sides of Goodman's temple. There's no time, Rodger. Tension strains both Goodman and Aria, and as her mind begins to flood into his, Goodman can feel a pressure building behind his eyes as she threatens to go through with the mind scan. Now!

Cuffed wrists snap upward, knocking Aria's hand aside from his head. As Rodger bolts up from his chair, both hands reach in to Aria's open suit jacket, grabbing the pistol inside and curling long fingers around it. His forehead swings in, colliding with Aria's brow and knocking her backward, effectively unholstering the gun as she falls. Both restrained hands come up, a thumb sweeps off the safety, and before the Institute security agent can even draw his gun, Rodger fires two quick shots. One into his chest at his vest, sending him up against the wall, the second a few inches higher, punching through his skull just above the bridge of his nose, leaving a dark red stain on the wall behind him.

The second security officer lunges in, smacking the handgun out of Rodger's hands with a crack of the flexible baton, shattering the bones in Rodger's right hand. Goodman staggers back from the hit, and as the security officer lunges in again, Rodger drops down to the ground and sweeps the agent's legs out from under him. Goodman rolls onto his knees, straddling the agent, then drives one elbow down into the center of his throat, collapsing his windpipe.

An alarm blares, klaxon's sounding through the concrete halls, and as Rodger rolls off of the gurgling and choking agent, he turns his attention to Aria with brows furrowed and lips down-turned into a frown. Sweeping up the gun with his unbroken left hand, Goodman breathes in deeply through clenched teeth, training the pistol's sights on Aria as she stares up at him from the floor.

Who do you work for!?

Eighteen Days Ago

The Commonwealth Arcology

Cambridge, Massachusetts

A violet burst of light floods one white-painted hallway, expanding outward from a central point of darker purple gas and illumination that coalesces into the form of Rodger Goodman. Sweat beads on Goodman's brow, he staggers from disorientation of falling becoming standing, then looks up to one of the black domed security cameras on the ceiling.

Immediately an alarm begins to sound, the blare of a klaxon alerting the facility that there is a security incident. Turning his back on the camera, Rodger begins more traditional locomotion, running down the corridor in a spring, the hard soles of his dress shoes clapping against the tiled floor.

Emerging from one of the medical labs, a white-jacketed researcher is bowled over as Goodman charges past her, sending her collapsing down to the ground. A few feet ahead of Goodman, there's a sudden electrical charge and an explosion of thunder as a short man in a dark suit appears in the hallway, handgun out and stubbled mouth curving into a frown. Without even saying a warning, Lucas Eldridge opens fire, a three-shot burst of handgun rounds punching through a haze of purple light as Goodman teleports again, disappearing from the corridor.

"Fuck!" Eldridge hisses, lifting up a burn-scarred hand to one ear, pressing down on his headset. "He blinked again," the agent splutters, "get someone on security to scan all live feeds! I need to know where he is!" Looking up and down both ends of the hall, Eldridge clenches his teeth and paces back and forth.

"I'm going to pick up Roland— find him!" Crouching down and then hopping up into the air a few feet, Eldridge's body becomes surrounded by arcs of electricity before he disappears in a clap of thunder and flash of light, his elevation preventing portions of the hallway from being taken with him too.

When Rodger reappears on the security cameras, sweat is running down his face, shoulders rise and fall with heaving motions and his breath escapes in panting exhalations. The medical lab that he's appeared in is unoccupied, locked coolers and cabinets covered with biohazard symbols line one wall, while microscopes and other research equipment covers the metal-topped tables.

Goodman is quick to rush to one of the cabinets, scanning the serial numbers on one side of each door until he stops in front of one. The alarms are still blaring, and he knows any moment the security teams will spot him and he'll have to contend with Eldridge again. Settling his palm on the door of the locked cabinet, Goodman closes his eyes and concentrates, sending a purple light flooding out from his hand. Violently, the cabinet rocks back and forth as the glass doors are disassembled off of their hinges, broken pieces of glass, an empty metal frame and hinge pins appearing in flashes of light behind Rodger before they clatter to the ground.

Cold fog rolls out of the refrigeration cabinet, and a row of syringes filled with inky black fluid are Rodger's intended target — amphodynamine — the ability amplification drug. As he grabs a syringe, Rodger is quick to tuck it into his pocket, turning around sharply as he hears the crackle of electricity in the room. Before the thunderclap even hits, Rodger disappears in a vibrant explosion of purple illumination and swirling gasses that fold inward before disappearing with an audible pop.

When Eldridge appears in the lab, Olivia Roland is at his side, still in casual dress much as Eldridge. Sweeping the room and staring down the iron sights of her handgun, Roland calls out, "clear!" Then steps away from Eldridge, attentively noticing the missing doors and the robbed cooler.

Eldridge sucks in a sharp breath, cursing under it, and taps his earpiece. "This is Eldridge, Goodman's gone again. He raided one of the labs for amphodynamine!" Walking with his back to Olivia, Eldridge's holds out his pistol in a single-handed grip, keeping a watchful eye out for the other teleporter. "Any sign of him on security?"

«Negative, sir.» Comes over Eldridge's earpiece, causing the security officer to twist his expression into a snarl.

«We lost him.»

Present Day

Former Company Training Center

Chicago, Illinois

A row of four security officers stand at one end of the hall, assault rifles trained on the other end where they see their target emerging. With his cuffs undone, Rodger Goodman drags Aria out of the interrogation room with his forearm clamped down against her throat, utilizing her as a human shield. Her gun is pressed up against the side of her head with his left hand.

"Hold your fire," one of the black-clad security officers shouts, raising a hand to the other soldiers as they watch Goodman step out of the room. Rodger doesn't make any spoken demands, but in his mind there is an interrogative battle ongoing.

I need you to tell me who you are taking orders from, Rodger demands, knowing Aira is still linked to his mind. There's a wide-eyed look of fear from Aria as she makes a stammering, sobbing plea to the security officers to not shoot, keeping up the necessary act that she has been required to.

A friend, is all Aria is willing to elaborate. Please, Rodger, you need to get out of here and go back to New York City. Richard Cardinal is going to be in the city, he's going to arrange a meeting with Sarisa Kershner at Piccoli's Delicatessen in Manhattan at 3:30 in the afternoon. Dragging Aria backwards down the hall, Goodman knows exactly where he is going, turning down a corridor and out of sight of the security team. Once he's rounded the corner, he swings the gun away from her head and uses the gun to shatter a glass emergency case, then the muzzle to depress a button.

On hitting the switch, one of the basement level security doors closes with a grinding shriek of metal into the floor, locking bolts closing down. But with security cameras still active, Rodger can't relax. The gun goes immediately back up to Aria's head as he swings her around and continues dragging her down the hallway.

Richard Cardinal? Goodman's voice echoes as Aria listens in. What does a two-bit crook like him have to do with any of this?

Rodger I don't have time to explain, they'll get through that door eventually. You're outside of Rene's influence now, you can leave— but you have to promise me that you'll — Aria's voice cuts off as Rodger swings her around, slamming her back up against the wall, forearm pressing down against her throat and gun pressed firmly to the middle of her forehead.

You have two seconds to tell me who you are working for or I'll take my chances without a hostage. Goodman's lips draw back to reveal his clenched teeth, and Aria struggles to breathe against the press of Goodman's arm against her neck. Her legs squirm, fingers reach up to grasp at the sleeve of his shirt, attempts to swallow but fails.

I can't tell you! Aria shrieks into Goodman's mind, tears welling up in her eyes and lips trembling as her whole body begins to tremble. Dark eyeliner streaks down her cheeks, green eyes saucer-wide and pupils mere pinpoints as she feels the bite of the handgun's muzzle against her forehead.

Rodger's dark-eyed stare stays locked on Aria's, right up until he hears the groan of metal down the hall from the security door being forced open. When Rodger looks back to Aria, he can see the terror in her eyes, but also the acceptance. He doesn't need to be a telepath to know that she would die to keep her secret.

Tell me what I need to do. Goodman's thoughts race, but that question rises above the murky soup of other errant thoughts. As Aria stares at Goodman, she can feel his arm start to relax away from her neck, eliciting a fit of coughing from the young telepath as her knees shake and threaten to buckle out from beneath her.

One hand moves to her throat, holding it as she collapses down onto the floor. Green eyes, still wide, stare up at Goodman and Aria's jaw trembles.

Kill him, is all she asks, breath shuddering out through trembling lips.

Kill Richard Cardinal.

Eighteen Days Earlier

Institute Medical Facility

Odessa, Ukraine

The muffled sound of gunfire reverberates through the walls of the hospital.

Screams, shattering glass and gunfire has the slim figure of a sick young girl sitting up in her bed. Dark hair is plastered to her sweat-slick cheeks, an IV plugged into one arm. Lucine Halebi stares wide-eyed at the hospital door, hearing warning shouts from two security guards that have been persistent sentinels.

The sudden explosion of gunfire comes with a spray of red on the narrow window of her room's door, followed by the slump of a body up against the glass. Lucine clasps one hand over her mouth, scooting back to the head of the bed, knees pulled up to her chest, brown eyes locked on the dark stain now drooling down the glass as a body smears through it.

A moment later, a haze of violet light floods one corner of her room, revealing a darkly dressed man in a tattered black dress shirt and slacks. Blood is spattered across one side of Rodger Goodman's face as he appears in Lucine's room, a handgun held down at his side. Lucine shrieks, her hand trembling over her mouth, breath held as she sees the phantom teleporter for who he is, recalling his face from the day she was pulled from Mazdak's hands.

Rodger says nothing as he stalks to Lucine's bedside, checking the two bags connected to her IV drip. Chloropromazine, and more importantly Adynomine, the ability negating neuro-toxin. Looking down to Lucine's bedside, Rodger raises a hand up to her, palm up. "I'm here to rescue you," Rodger states in a soft tone of voice, his coal black eyes squared on hers. "You have to trust me, Lucine. I'm… I'm going to make sure you're safe. You don't belong here."

He can't be sure that she can understand him, and for all that Rodger learned Arabic during his time in the Gulf War, only some of it has stuck with him through the years. "«I am a friend,»" being one of those words. Lucine watches Goodman, watches him lay that gun down on the foot of her bed, so that he can withdraw a syringe from inside the breast pocket of his button-down shirt. The syringe, at first, makes Lucine recoil from Goodman, but when she sees that he's rolling up one of his own sleeves, confusion sets in.

The black fluid of an amphodynamine syringe is pushed into Rodger's veins, coursing dark and visible beneath his skin. A sharp breath is sucked inward as Rodger's fingers fumble after the syringe is withdrawn, dropping it to the floor in a noisy clatter. Hunching forward, Rodger leans on the bed's raised railings, then offers his hand out to Lucine again, this time shaking.

Please,»" Rodger urges. "«I can take you to your father»" Rodger lies.

The white lie invokes a small measure of trust in the young girl, one that is made to hesitate by the sudden and noisy explosion of thunder inside of the medical facility. Unable to wait for her compliance any longer, Rodger Goodman reaches out and grabs Lucine by the arm, his fingers dimpling the flesh at her wrist as a haze of deep magenta colored light burns around his fingertips and shines between where his palm and her arm meet.

Dark eyes turn up to the door, and Rodger sucks in a sharp breath as it's kicked inward, and Lucas Eldridge steps inside, sweeping his gun through the room. There's a violent explosion of magenta colored light as Lucine's body glows brightly, light shining out of her eyes and mouth before she explodes in a haze of colored light that swirls in a spiral before enveloping in on itself.

The audible pop of teleportation comes in the same moment as a snap from Eldridge's gun as a tassled dart finds itself punching into the side of Rodger's neck, sending him staggering back and away from the bed, one hand grasping at the needle. He pulls it out, throws it to the ground, but the damage is already done. He can feel the sedatives causing his eyelids to flutter heavily, feels his heart-rate slowing.

When he sees the Haitian's tall and lanky form step in behind Eldridge, Rodger Goodman knows that there won't be any escape today. His back hits the hospital room's wall, legs buckle and he slides down to sit on the floor, staring at Eldridge's increasingly blurry silhouette. "Where is she!?" Eldridge bellows as he storms over to Goodman. "Where'd you send the girl!?"

Smiling, Rodger's eyes fall shut, but before unconsciousness can claim him, he defiantly answers Lucas' question.


Present Day

Former Company Training Center

Chicago, Illinois

With her hair partly hiding a black eye and a cut on her brow from being pistol-whipped, Aria Baumgartner stares down at the floor with an unfocused expression in her pale eyes. A medical technician carefully presses the adhesive tape of a butterfly bandage over the injury, then rests a hand below Aria's chin to tilt her head up and get a better look at the bruise.

"Will she be alright?" Standing at the back of the room, the man wearing Tyler Case's face crosses his arms over his chest, looking expectantly to the doctor tending to Aria. As the doctor looks back, there's a curt nod afforded, though Aria chooses to answer for him.

"I'm fine," comes with a swat of the doctor's hand away, green eyes lifting to settle on Richard Cardinal's borrowed face. Furrowing her brows, Aria slides off of the gurney she'd been sitting on, heels clicking down on the concrete floor. "I don't think he really wanted to hurt me, he could have just killed me in the hall like he did the security guards when we came to interrogate." Bruising is purple and red across Aria's throat, visible injuries form her time as a hostage.

Leaning away from the wall, Richard takes a few slow steps towards Aria, his brows furrowed. "Why didn't he?"

"I— I don't know," Aria defensively retorts, touching one hand gently to her neck. Brows furrowed together, Cardinal takes one step closer to Aria, watching her intently with a back and forth sweep of his dark eyes over hers. The silent intensity of the moment ends with Cardinal stepping away, offering a slow nod to the young telepath.

"I think— " The sound of the infirmary door opening causes Richard to pause, looking back over his shoulder to witness one of the many copies of Doctor Broome stepping in through the doorway, hands folded behind his back. Offering a meager smile, Cardinal tips his head into a nod of greeting. "Simon," seems a bit tired sounding, "what's up?"

"Desmond called, he'd like to talk to you about plans for reorganizing the New York Branch now that Goodman has defected." Stepping into the room, Simon offers a silent nod of recognition to Aria, even as the blonde affords the replicated doctor a nervous stare, one hand still at her throat. Cardinal offers Aria a brief look, then exhales a sigh in resignation and turns for the door.

"Thanks," he exhales on passing by Simon, tucking his hands into the pockets of his pinstriped slacks as he starts to leave the infirmary. Cardinal hesitates, though, in the doorway, looking back over his shoulder to Doctor Broome, then to Aria. Brows furrow and Cardinal considers the telepath for a moment.

You did good, Aria. Cardinal offers to Aria, brows furrowed in concentration.

We're right on track.

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