The Aleph, Part I


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Scene Title The Aleph, Part I
Synopsis The variable has changed, but the equation remains the same.
Date November 15, 2011

Scorching hot sun burns down over a rocky desert bristling with brown scrub vegetation. At the horizon the sky and land meets in a heat-haze blur bleached bone white from the distant salt flats. The land is not flat, here, riddled with ridges and hills, none of which provide shadow in noonday heat and the blinding overhead sun. The sand is disturbed by a swirl of air pushing away from the dark silhouette of a black-clad man appearing as though spliced into the view from a different film reel.

With a flourish of one arm, Hiro Nakamura swings the Kensei sword down at his side, sending a line of blood into the sand. He then slides the blade along the inside of his sleeve, then sheathes it back in its scabbard in one fluid motion. He turns, then, toward the hill at his back and steps to one side, regarding the rusting bunker doors set into the hill face. Hiro narrows his eyes, checks the horizon, and walks ahead.

Coyote Sands — Research Site 2

White Hills, AZ

The elegant notes of Chopin's Berceuse echo through the white-washed walls of a spacious, hardwood floored suite. Seated in a high-backed, black leather armchair, Kaito Nakamura reviews a piece of paper with handwritten kanji covering every inch. The paper is curled at the edges, and a small cardboard tube sits in his lap. Turning to look up from the paper, Kaito's jaw set square. Nearby, Hiro Nakamura stands before an unlit fireplace, one hand resting on the framed picture of a woman on the mantle. He doesn't let his father see the sadness in his eyes.

"This is disturbing," Kaito admits as he sets the message down. That recognition elicits a look from Hiro over one shoulder. "According to our informant, the entire facility has disappeared without a trace. As if it was… erased." Hiro nods, a few times, as though that news wasn't new to him.

"Everyone there is gone, including Kara Price." Hiro drives that point home, and Kaito slouches back in his chair and steeples his fingers in front of his mouth, dark brows furrowed and attention somewhere beyond the physical. In the silence, Hiro turns away from the mantle and approaches Kaito slowly. Each of his approaching bootfalls thumps softly on the hardwood floor. "I've been backwards and forward there. There's no trace of it. It's just gone."

Kaito looks suddenly, as though seeing something. Then, he blinks his focus up to Hiro. "No," he agrees, "I suppose it wouldn't be… if it didn't move forward or backward through time." The look Kaito affords Hiro is an uncertain one, as he floats that hypothesis to his son. Hiro paces again, wringing his hands together as he walks.

"Then where?" Hiro looks at Kaito, and his father answers with a shrug.

"That, as they say, is the million dollar question, isn't it?" Kaito's glib answer sends Hiro turning his back to his father and pacing away, both hands up and smoothing over the top of his long hair, then back to the tie of his ponytail. "This report mentions an aurora borealis shaped like a spiral," Kaito adds, his dark eyes following his son's nervous pacing. "I saw such a phenomenon reported on the news on the same day."

That has Hiro stopping dead in his tracks, looking to his father. "In Alaska?" Kaito shakes his head in response. No.

"Cambridge, Massachusetts." Kaito enunciates firmly, and Hiro looks down to the ground and seems puzzled by that revelation. "We need to find out if there's a correlation between these two phenomenon. If something disappeared from both locations, or if there was perhaps some sort of reciprocation."

Hiro looks up to his father sharply. "What… are the odds of that?"

"Greater than zero," Kaito admits with a raise of one brow. "Which is to say, nothing is impossible."

Anxiously smoothing his hand over his hair again, Hiro paces back to his father. "If Kara is gone — missing — I might be able to reason with— "

"No," Kaito is quick to dismiss, though gently. "Do not approach Odessa." Hiro breathes in deeply and then exhales a frustrated sigh. Kaito slides the encoded message into the paper tube and slowly rises from his chair, approaching his son and laying one hand on his shoulder. "We did all we could for her, but there are some things that can't be helped."

Hiro looks away, eyes narrowed. "She blames me. If she knew the truth— "

"If she knew the truth, it would destroy her." Kaito lifts his hand from Hiro's shoulder, slowly. "She may yet be able to help us, though. But not now. Not yet."

Reluctantly, Hiro nods in agreement and looks to the fireplace. "What do we do now?"

"We wait."

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