Sins Of A Father


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Scene Title Sins of a Father
Synopsis Zoe Porter finds that not all sins are forgivable.
Date June 30, 2009

Linderman Building, Archives

It is said that the bonds between a parent and a child is something that transcends all others.

Fluorescent lights are her home, lights that pull color and life from everything around them, casting the matte metal finish of tall archive lockers and polished tile floors to something almost unreal seeming. Situated behind a glass-topped desk, even the vibrant red locks of Zoe Porter seem less vibrant in this lighting.

That the bond between family is so strong, that eventually the connection is something bordering on the supernatural. A parent, knowing in an instinctual way when a child is in danger.

Amidst the quiet, tomb-like surroundings of the Linderman Building Archives, this solemn and desaturated world is something Zoe has come accustomed to. As she sits in front of a monitor, typing away data entries into the archives database, the soft ping of the elevator opening out in the hall in an unusual but welcomed distraction. Just a few moments later, when the brushed metal doors to the archive swing open, a welcomed distraction turned into a wonderful surprise as a familiar, white-haired old man comes sauntering in with a broad smile on his face.

The love of a parent for their child is one that few things can sunder, provided that the love is honest, genuine, and true…

Turning to glance up at a painting hanging on the wall, Daniel Linderman's eyes narrow a touch, taking in the depiction of a black figure surrounded by a nimbus of shadows and smoke, wrinkles at the corners of his eyes showing the tightness of his scrutiny, wrinkles like the ones his slightly too-loose suit already has. He turns, passing blue eyes over in Zoe's direction, his smile returning upon seeing her seated there, and after but a moment of watching her in silence, his shoes click-clack on the floor as he makes his way towards her desk.

…and if that bond of trust and love is ever broken, nothing can ever take its place.

Zoe's eyes are silver.

Cradled in her hands is an old piece of scrimshaw; the bone of a whale with an etching carved into it of a whaling ship. It must have been required recently, and at this very moment she's reliving some of the moments of the whaler's widow, how this piece he'd given her a few years into their marriage was a love token he'd made himself. That's how Zoe lives - in other people. Only recently has she begun to live for herself.

The vision ends, she lowers her lashes, and when they open, they're the normal color. Blinking a touch, she smiles warmly. "Daniel," she greets with a daughter's warmth, moving to set the scrimshaw down. "What brings you down here? I thought you were busy until pot pies on Sunday."

There's a look of surprise on Daniel's face, then a grimace and a laugh as he slowly shakes his head. "I had some free time, and I had a thought about how better to spend it, then with you." There's a faintness to his smile, something making it dither away some as he continues his approach to the desk, brow furrowing in a momentary scrutiny. "I… have been a bit of an absentee parent as of late, haven't I?" His eyes downcast to the floor, taking the comment oddly personal from the look in his eyes. "Sometimes, a parent must choose to make sacrifices…" his hesitance to continue lasts only a moment before the malaise in his features clears. "But, I assure you, things are going to change, Zoe."

Tilting his head to the side, Daniel comes to stop at the side of the desk, glancing down at the whale bone with a curious expression for a moment. "You've grown up so fast…" there's wonder in those words, quiet and surprised, "why, I remember when you were a tiny little thing…" his words trail off, focus becoming distant as he brushes his fingertips over the glass of the table.

"I've never thought you were neglectful." Zoe's words are instant, loyal, loving. "You've always been a wonderful parent to me. I have no complaints." Even if the data she's been pulling up has been questionable. "I would love to spend more time with you, if you can spare it." she says earnestly. "But I know you're a busy man." Noting the scrimshaw, "I got it at the last Christie's action. Several other pieces as well, if you'd like I can show you…" She always gets excited at the prospect of sharing these old, antiquated items to anyone. For her, they're her today.

Casting his blue eyes to the side, Daniel's expression hardens some, brows lowering slightly. "Perhaps… some other time," Daniel states with a margin of difficulty to the offer, "right now… Right now is a time more for honesty," there's a faint quirk of his lips to that, "more so than anything else." Exhaling a quiet sigh, Daniel stares at a distant spot far from the desk, his voice having some of that distant quality to it as well. "I've lied to you, Zoe, about so many things. It must be hard, to believe one thing, and to never know that the truth is another."

Those blue eyes shift back to Zoe, his lips pressed together in a neutral yet tense expression. "Your parents — your real parents — were wonderful people; bright, insightful. You're very much the spitting image of your mother, enough so that I find it disarming." Pacing around to the other side of the desk, Daniel keeps touching the glass surface of the desktop. "I've never been wholly truthful to you about the circumstances surrounding their deaths, or… why you came to be my charge." His eyes lift up, slowly, watching Zoe with a scrutinizing expression.

"Your parents once worked for people I was — still am — associated with. They were loyal, almost to a fault. They were agents of the Company." His eyes narrow slightly, blue stare focusing on the redhead. "You were born by design, born to fulfill a specific role in a scientific experiment taking place at the Company. Your… gift," he motions to the scrimshaw, "was artificially endowed to you. Your ability is synthetic, given to you as a part of a great experiment. Your parents… they knew, we all knew, but it was never our intention to tell you…"

Zoe blinks, confused. "But… you… they died when I was fourteen. In a plane crash, and my ability - I've had it since I was six!" How could it be synthetic? It's part of her, she knows it is. "Why are you saying this - why are you saying this now? If you never even intended to tell me? I've touched all sorts of objects my parents owned, and I've never seen any of this." She's visibly unsettled, rising from her chair.

Why is he telling her this? It's a hard question to truly answer, and Daniel's expression hardens when the question is asked. "You did see it… you have seen the truth, multiple times throughout your life. Unfortunately, that knowledge is…" he motions wide with one hand, "it wasn't meant for you. So, we had someone take those memories from you, more times than I can count. Zoe, you've seen so many things you should never have seen, and time and again I signed the papers to allow your memory to be altered. Thankfully, the long periods of trances you go into with your ability makes the missing time something easy to account for."

Furrowing his brows, Daniel stares down at the floor. "Your parents died in service to the Company as well, on assignment. I didn't have the heart — the courage — to tell you then. I was a coward, I— " he closes his eyes, shaking his head as he circles around the desk, looking down at the scrimshaw left there, picking it up in one hand, turning it over as blue eyes upturn towards the striking mirror of her mother.

"Because I want to be honest with you, for once in your life…" he walks around behind Zoe when she stands, resting a hand on her shoulder, squeezing gently in a reassuring touch, "because you shouldn't have to die, without ever knowing the truth." As if punctuation to his words, Daniel grips that piece of scrimshaw tightly in his hand and then thrusts the tapered, sharp end into her back, just below her ribs as his other hand grips her shoulder tightly.

Leaning in with the thrust, Daniel brings his lips to the side of Zoe's head, breathing out a whisper into her hair. "I'm so sorry…"
"Gcch— kaaa…." Zoe twitches violently as the pain shrieks through her nerves and blood goes to all the wrong places. Her hands try to grasp for the scrimshaw, but he's holding her too fast; she scrabbles and reaches feebly, when her hand manages to clamp down over Daniel's wrist, fingers brushing against his cufflink. And in that moment, Zoe's eyes go silver.

Whatever it is she sees, it will remain a mystery. Zoe's always found comfort in the past, and as she coughs, blood starting to seep from her mouth, she finds herself smiling, smiling, and oddly enough weeping in what sounds like relief as she starts to stagger. "You…you're not…" Another cough, and then she slacks and drops to the floor. Her eyes remain open.

Her eyes are silver.

"No," it's Daniel's voice that whispers that singular word to her, "I'm not." But strangely, the look of remorse in his eyes looks so honest. The piece of bloody whale bone drops to the floor with a clatter, blood spattering from its bloodied half onto the tile. Hard-soles shoes click and clack over to Zoe's side where she lays collapsed on the floor. Looming over her in his black suit, Daniel peers down silently, lips pressed together in a thin line that slowly downturns to a frown.

"But I need to motivate Adam," he says in a rough tone of voice, "and sacrifices need to be made in order for that to happen." Narrowing his eyes, Daniel shakes his head slowly, "I'm sorry it had to come to this, Zoe. But some times hard decisions have to be made." As he watches the redhead lay convulsing on the floor, a thick line of red running out of the corner of her mouth, Linderman's brow begins to moisten with beads of sweat. His eyes move to the growing pool of blood spilling out from her back, and part of him marvle sat the crispness of the red.

The fluorescent lights do little to hide that shade.

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