Say One Thing, Mean Another


helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Say One Thing, Mean Another
Synopsis Two different conversations. But is Helena buying what Peter's selling?
Date February 9, 2009

Moab Federal Penitentiary

The Moab Federal Penitentiary is an expansive multi-level prison designed by the United States Government in cooperation with the Company. The prison rests on sixty acres of government owned land in Moab, a remote and mountainous region of Utah bordering Canyonlands National Park. The prison is an enormous and fortified concrete structure containing both above-ground and subterranean prison cells. The above-ground cells feature narrow windows looking out over the prison grounds, and are known as Green Level, each progressive subterranean level is likewise color-coded, from yellow, to orange, to red. Only the most dangerous Evolved are detained on Red-Level, and are in sealed isolation chambers tailored to their specific abilities.

We have to talk.

Helena bolts upright in her bed, eyes gone wide as saucers. She looks around (as if that would be any kind of help), and both her mouth and her mind are silent as she slowly lowers herself back down on the bed, facing the ceiling. Must have been a nightmare, or so she'll let anyone monitoring her think.

She's gotten better at making her thoughts more orderly, more accessible as she might need them to be, and a few other tricks as well, but for now, she doesn't need those. She frames her words, shaded with suspiscion, shock, but also an undernote of hope. How are you able to do this? You get drugged up same as me, don't you?

The words have shot through Helena's like a bullet, entering and exiting her heart, starting it pumping once again. That's what they think. I don't know why — but I'm immune to them. The injection doesn't work, the pills they used to make me take do, but this new stuff — I don't understand it. My powers have been coming back slowly, but there's a problem. Peter's voice in Helena's mind hesitates for just a feather-beat, but it's enough to make it obvious he's trying to consider what to say, When my duplicate died, he took some of my powers to the grave with him. I can't teleport anymore, and… some other things. But I've got a lot, enough to get some of us out if we can come up with a plan.

A plan? To break out? Is Peter really —

I'm going to start talking to you, but I need you to pretend like we're not having this conversation. Everything in these cells is monitored.

"Helena?" It's a distant, quiet voice coming through the vents, Peter's tired and weary tone that has been so much his level method of communication. There's no strength in his voice, not like the one inside of Helena's mind. "Are you awake?"

Before I try to plan to get us out — to get everyone out — I need to know what happened to Phoenix. Who's alive, who's dead. I need to know what our options are once we get on the outside, before I even think of trying to make it out of here. But I have a plan, Helena, and you have to trust me.

Trust him? Since the moment they met, she's done nothing but trust him, believe in him, encourage him to be the hero she knew he wanted so desperately to be, even when he broke her heart many times over. She doesn't have to fake the sudden moisture in her eyes, she closes them and presses her hands to them, as if by the motion she could stop that dam from even considering a break. "What do you want?" she asks in a choked voice.

I only know who was alive as of the last time I saw them. Gillian, Abby, Elvis got away…I think they got one of the Brians - // she cuts off. //You don't think it's coincidence that they happen to put me right next to you, and you happen to be immune to their suppression drugs? This could be a set-up. And why now? Why after days of telling me to how done you are, you suddenly act like you care?


There's a momentary pause there.

We — Nevermind, I'll ask later.

They never did get acquainted, did they? That must be somewhat awkward to explain.

I know exactly why they put you next to me, they're testing us. Trying to see if we're going to communicate and escape. They probably want to see what information they can get from our conversations — it's the same trick they were using when Parkman let you come see me in Manhattan. If they capture you, you become a martyr, but now — I don't know why that changed.

"I just…" His voice rings hollow thorugh the vents, "I'm sorry for — I mean… everything. I don't know I— //" Peter hesitates for a moment, swallowing back his words. "I — I've been pretty screwed up, I mean, emotionally… since my double died. I — I hurt — It hurt… worse than anything I've ever felt before. There's… there's so much I want to tell you, but I just — I don't know how to. I've… done so much damage.//"

Yet even as he speaks, the mental conversation continues, dancing around his own words. I didn't want to let you know the moment you got here. I wanted to make sure that you were you and not some… some trick. But there's something going down, between me and McIntyre. He's going to help get us out of here, if I can pull this off. But I'm going to need to get down to Red Level to free some of the prisoners there too. This whole place, Helena, I want to bring the whole place down. I have Ted's power, we can get everyone — everyone — out of here, and then take it down. But this place is like a fortress otherwise. The walls are designed to stop phasers, cells customized to people's abilities to keep them locked up. It's…

There's a moment of pause, verbal and mental before Peter picks up again. It's been too long, I — never really got to meet anyone from Phoenix. How strong are we on the outside? If we get out of here, how long are we going to be able to lay low before they find us? We can run, but Alexander was right when he told McIntyre off yesterday — we can't hide forever. I need to know I have somewhere safe to go, and I need to know where McIntyre is going to take us, then we can start moving.

"Oh, because you were a bastion of sanity before?" Her soft, choked laugh is bitter. "Man, me and Gillian. We sure can pick 'em. I've given you every chance in the world. I tried to help you and you couldn't push me away or what Phoenix had to offer fast enough."

Though some of that hurt is genuine, a good portion of it is, as they say, for the cameras. Her mental voice is a lot more calm. Do you know they don't have telepaths eavesdropping now? she asks. I know of….places. I have contacts. I can't think about it too hard, or the information could slip out. When I know more about what you plan, I can maybe share more. But I'm done trusting you blindly, Peter. You have to trust me, for a change. And we work together. Especially if you want Alexander's cooperation. You think he's going to trust anything you have to say? He'll sabotage you if he thinks what you're doing puts him - or me - in danger.

Good to know old Al is still a team player.

The sarcasm carries through well.

"I — I know I — I was going through a lot back then, Hel. The raid on Primatech couldn't have gone any worse, I just — When I found out who had escaped, what Sylar had done, I thought — I thought turning to the Company was the right answer. I — I hadn't made the right choices, and I just… I don't know if I was wrong, either. There's so many good people there, but at the same time, I just — I don't know what to do. I put you, I put all of PARIAH at risk with that operation, and… and now it's all over. I sold out PARIAH, Helena."

He did what?

"The raid on PARIAH, I — when Parkman's men picked me up after my double was killed, I just… I caved. I confessed to destroying Manhattan, and… and I told them everyone I knew about PARIAH. Where to look for their officers, where to find their base. I — I… what if I had been with Phoenix instead? What if I had sold all of you out? I — I can't… make up for that.//"

Okay, it's okay. I understand. But for right now, we need to keep this between me and you. I don't think they have more than two or three Evolved on staff here, there's this guy that has super strength, and some guy with electricity, but I think all of their Evolved are muscle — not interrogaters. You migh tnot have noticed, but this place is under-staffed. I've picked some stuff up from the security guards' heads. Passcodes, shift changes, all that. I don't think there's any telepaths here at all, which means for the time being we've got an opening.

"I'm sorry, Helena, I…" Peter swallows dryly, his voice a hollow and tinny sound through the vents, "The only thing I knew is that Claire would be safe, because my mother would never let her get arrested. Because — God, Helena, I — there's so much about my family I found out…"

My plan right now, is to keep you in the loop. You, me, and McIntyre. Yesterday's big thing — that was a show. Put on for the guards, to get them looking in the wrong direction. They brought in somebody, somebody scary, I don't know who though, but they've got some kind of special prisoner, and I think they're going to be adding more Evolved security within the month. We need to get out of here and fast. But we can't talk — this is just — they're monitoring everything but our thoughts. It's how McIntyre and I have been able to work things out. He's been here almost as long as me. Peter's mental voice wavers, sounding fatigued. It matches not the weariness in his spoken voice. The plan is that I feed security codes to the prisoners mentally, and we try and spring them. Response time for emergencies is almost a half an hour to here, and since I have my abilities, I can try and take on the guards. We can't try and circumvent the injections, they take almost 48 hours to wear off, which is why it's doubled up in our systems every 24. What I'm going to need from you… when you're ready, are locations for McIntyre to go, places you know are safe. Places I can send him to when he's ferrying people out of here. I know of some of the old Ferrymen safehouses, but I don't know which ones have been comprimised. So, I… I don't know what I have to do to earn your trust. But I'm going to need all of that if we're going to be able to get out of here.

Alexander didn't abandon me. You did.

The sharp edge on that thought could cut like a knife.

"Don't talk to me anymore." she says, turning her face away from the wall. "Just don't."

Find a way. she replies. I don't like the way this all lines up. And I'm not going to give up Ferrymen contacts to you for people I don't know who may or may not be moles. It could bring the entire system down. You want a start on how to get me to trust you? Find a way for me to contact the outside world. That'd be a start. Help me make contact, and then we'll see what we can do. Together, or not at all.

I don't know if I can do that, Helena. I don't know if I can get anything out of here without leaving here myself. We can't just broadcast somthing, I'm not Wireless, I can't do that sort of thing. If we make any more like that, and we get caught, there'll be no opportunity to move again. I'll get thrown down in Red Level and you'll never seen me again.

Those spoken words cut Peter like a knife, "//I — //" It's the last thing Helena hears him say, just a single, choked series of words that are swallowed up by the sound of his own crushed heart. Peter grows dead silent, at least outwardly.

We only have one chance to do this, Helena. Whether… whatever happens afterwards. I think I know how to bypass the drug in others, and it's only temporary and I have to //be there with them. We only get one shot at this, Helena. I amplify McIntyre to the limit of my — of Gillian's — ability, and then we get out of here. Fully amplified he should be able to get us all, but…// He's talking to a wall at this point. If you're not in, you're not in. I just thought I'd try. I'll see what I can do, Helena. But I'm just one man, I can't make miracles.

That's Phoenix's job.

"You're what? You're helpless? You're sorry? You love me?" Bitter, broken. "I don't believe you. I wish I'd never met you."

Part of the act, right?

You want me to risk an entire network for twenty-five people. The damage if this goes sideways could cost far more. You've obviously got a time-table for when this needs to happen. There's plenty of places we can take people that don't have to involve the network. Find out for me what McIntyre's range is, and I'll see what can be done. We're in Utah. We've got a whole country, at least for an initial jump out of here. But you need to still try to find a means for me to contact that outside. Try. That's all I can ask.

It's going to be short, even with my amplification it's going to barely push him past what the drug is capable suppressing. Peter's mental voice is the only one now, the only voice to be heard, echoing just as hollowly as it does inside of her mind as it did through the vents. And I'm not risking an entire network for twenty-five people, I'm doing this to destroy Moab — the whole thing. This prison took years to build, and if we can bring it down around their ears, it will be a sign to others that we won't be taken lightly, that we won't be held down. That's more like the Peter she knew, the Peter who united PARIAH and turned a loose-knit of terrorists into freedom-fighters.

I want to be able to move people into hiding the moment our feet hit the ground. I don't know what this kind of supercharging is going to do with Mcintyre — if it hurts him, burns him out or — god forbid kills him, I want us to be safe from moment one. So… think about it. I'll see what I can do as far as a message goes.

I can make it short. All I need to do is make it one word, single image, whatever - that people can understand. If you can figure out how to send it out, I can tell you what kind of signal it needs to be.

Helena flips back onto her back, eyes going to the ceiling. Surely enough has been said. But the hollowness of his mental voice makes her ache, and she is a fool. So she says one more thing, and prays that he'll understand, that he'll remember the last time she spoke the words that come tumbling out of her, and what they meant.

"You're an idiot."

February 9th: Present Company Excluded

Previously in this storyline…
Present Company Excluded

Next in this storyline…

February 9th: Hands In A Box
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