The Eightfold Path, Part I


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Scene Title The Eightfold Path, Part I
Synopsis Every idea starts somewhere…
Date November 16, 1981

"Senator Hale."

The home office of US Senator Keith Hale is a luxurious space, with darkly stained hardwood floors and cream-colored curtains set against walls of cherrywood paneling. Frosted sconce lamps are interspersed between the tall windows in the octagonal room, and a sturdy desk of heavy oak with claw feet demands attention at the middle of the room. It is here where Senator Hale sits, back straight and hands flat on his desk, a sweating glass of scotch on the rocks at his side. Fanned out in front of him on the other side of the desk are three uninvited, and yet all-too-present guests.

"Repeat back to me what you now know is true." One of the guests is a tall, broad-shouldered and dominantly charismatic man with a close cropped head of coarse, dark hair. His black suit is as crisp as a fresh line of ink on paper and the white shirt beneath and skinny black tie all pop. Charles Deveaux knows how to command a room, among other things. "Please."

Senator Hale slowly closes his eyes and opens his mouth, trying ot say something, but he can't find the words. Instead, he swallows them back and looks at the two men flanking Charles. One of them, also tall and broadly built, wears his dark hair swept to one side, has a square jaw in the way they depict Superman, stern brows and steady eyes. Arthur Petrelli may not command a room the way Charles does, but he commands other things with greater measure.

"Don't make us ask again," Arthur says firmly, closing the fingers of his right hand slightly, and the Senator begins to gag, reaching up to paw at his neck. To the other side of Charles, the lean blonde silhouette is dressed in equally federal style, though his messy coif of hair seem unable or unwilling to be tamed. Hands folded behind his back, he watches the senator's reaction carefully.

"Be a good chap, or this is going to get messy." Adam Monroe adds with a raise of one brow, sharing a look to Charles. Again, the telepath turns to the Senator and makes a demand. This time more forcefully.

"Senator Hale," and at the same time, Charles presses forward with his mind, latching on to the Senator's and grasping it tightly, rearranging peices like a Rubik's Cube. "You have never heard of the existance of Specials. People with Superhuman powers is fiction. The things of comic books. What the CIA found in Russia wasn't a training facility for psychics, it was a slaughterhouse for pigs."

Senator Hale's pupils widen and a blood vessel ruptures in his right eye. He nods, feebly, and repeats in a droning tone of voice, "I've never heard of the existance of Specials…"

Dirksen Senate Office Building

Closed Door Senate Subcomittee Session

Washington, D.C.

November 16


"…and frankly, people with superpowers? It's plain fiction." Seated among his colleagues, Senator Hale looks around the room with a look of disbelief in his eyes that he's even needing to have this conversation. "It's comic book stuff. We're out here discussing whether — what — Spider-Man exists? When we need to be discussing what we're doing about Afghanistan." Taking a drink from his glass of water, Senator Hale continues to look both frustrated and disgusted. "Special Activities found a slaughterhouse for pigs in Ryazan, not some sort of Cold War psychic training facility. We've got the reconaissance photos to back it up. We risked inciting World War III for some… what? Some dead pigs?"

Standing at the far edge of the room by a pair of closed, double doors, Adam Monroe and Charles Deveaux watch the deliberation unseen. Adam slants a look over at Charles, then balls up a fist and gently knocks him on the shoulder. "Boy, he's even ad-libbing. You know, I've known a few good mind readers in the past, but Charlie — "

"Please don't call me that."

" — you're one in a million." Adam continues without breaking his stride, turning to the door and opening one side. No one seems to notice them in the room, or Adam's conversational tone. "C'mon, let's get out of here and grab lunch. We've done what we needed to here."

Though Adam is comfortable leaving, a cloud of doubt hangs over Charles. As he watches the senators argue, he makes a soft noise in the back of his throat and then belatedly moves to follow Adam out. Once they're in the hall, moving down the marble-tiled floors toward the entrance, Charles turns to look at Adam, stopping not far from the conference room.

"How long, do you think, we're going to be able to keep this up for?" At Charles' question, Adam shots up an impatient look, posture slack and head tilted to the side. "Decades? Years?" The worry evident in Charles' eyes is reflected right back from Adam, though for wholly different reasons. "What we're doing is a bandage solution. We keep patching holes as they come up, but eventually we're going to have our Come to Jesus moment. Someone's going to act a fool, and then we're all going to be left with our assess hanging out."

"Charles," Adam reaches up with a reassuring hand. "Have I ever mentioned how much I love your metaphors? Because you just invoked Jesus and bare asses in the same breath." Perhaps not as reassuring. Charles brushes Adam's hand aside, shaking his head.

"We were lucky last year with the incident in Phillips, Texas." Charles' tone sends Adam back on his haunches some, but in defense he casually tucks his hands into his pockets and tries to look even more casual. "We don't even know if that containment can hold Garza indefinitely. If he gets out and goes right back to what he was doing before— Adam, there's not enough of us to keep our kind quiet. If the folks in the lab are right and we're moving to a population boom…"

Adam's expression, somewhere between a wince and a squint causes Charles to back off. "Look," Adam says with a heavy sigh. "Charles, I get it. I do. And you're right, with our current resources we can't keep doing things the way we have. You and Caspar are working hard enough as it is. Even internationally, we're spread thin. For every five incidents we cover up, one slips through the cracks…"

"Where's all this going?" Charles asks. His turn to be impatient.

"Daniel and I have been talking," Adam says with a raise of his brows and a downward turn of his eyes to the floor. "And maybe you're right," he says with those blue eyes rising to make a steely eye contact. "Maybe we need to… control the narrative in a different way." That resolution makes Charles hesitant, and he scrutinizes Adam with a superficial stare, having the self-control and respect not to plumb the man's mind.

"What I'm saying is," Adam places a hand at the small of Charles' back and guides him to walk side by side as they head for the exit. "Maybe, rather than reacting to the next Garza, we control the reveal ourselves. Something's got to give, and maybe the world could be ready for us… if we were made out to be as essential as we truly are."

Charles levels a conspiratorial look over to Adam, moving in pace with him to the door. "How so?"

"Remember Florida? The tsunami we stopped?" Adam raises a brow, and Charles nods to the rhetorical question. "What if the headline was, Heroes Save East Coast, rather than Freak Blizzard in Jacksonville?" Blonde brows raise, and Adam offers a somewhat open-mouthed smile to Charles.

"Angela isn't convinced." Is Charles' rebuke, and it doesn't sit well with Adam. "They'll find a way to blame us. You remember what almost happened at Three Mile Island. She saw what would've happened if anyone found out about Mindy's presence there. It was a literal witch hunt." Adam doesn't have a snappy retort to that.

Charles look at Adam, losing some of his spark for the debate. "What we're doing isn't a long-term solution, and I think we both understand that. But the people," Charles looks around at the Senate aids moving through the hall, ignoring the pair, "they're not ready for this, and I don't know if they ever will be."

Closing his eyes, Adam nods. "Historically, it's never gone well," is his agreement. To that understatement, Charles rolls his eyes and manages a rueful smile, reaching up to slap a hand onto Adam's back as the two walk out the front door of the Senate office. "We'll figure it out one day, Charlie, — "

"I said don't call me that."

" — we have to." Adam flashes Charles a smile that is slowly, but honestly, returned. Both men, though, understand the weight of their debate and that there may not be a right answer.

"We have to," Charles agrees, "or there's no future for any of us."

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