The Long Way, Part II


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Scene Title The Long Way, Part II
Synopsis History has a habit of repeating itself.
Date August 14, 1969

A single lightbulb in a metal shade starkly illuminates a map of the Middle East laid out across a metal table. Three men sit among a dozen empty chairs around the table, cigarette smoke hanging thick in the air.

"So we can rule out Saudi Arabia." One of the men says, a white-haired man in a uniform identifying him as a Colonel in the US Army, is Mark Ryans. Ryans plucks his cigar from his mouth and motions from Saudi Arabia over to Kuwait. "Now we know Yusuf has family in Kuwait. We go after them it might push him to the surface, give us an opportunity to lead us back to the rest of his little rat nest."

"Go after them with what?" A younger man at the table asks, his sandy blonde hair swept to one side and eyes narrowed. Rodney Dearing does not wear the regalia of a military commander, but the neatly pressed suit of a man in finance or someone who works behind a desk. The goblet shaped cufflink on his right sleeve is the only indication of his true allegiances. "We already have a disaster on our hands with Operation Lonestar coming out of Vietnam, and Petrelli's gone dark. We don't have anyone to send unless we're going to start doing this shit ourselves."

"Forget Petrelli." The third man says, the one bearing an eyepatch and smoking a cigar. Marcus Ryans sits forward and taps ash directly on the map. "We know where he is because we don't know where he is."

Both of the other men look at each other and then to Marcus. "Care to let us in on your secret?" Dearing asks with one brow raised.

"Petrelli wasn't the only one who went dark after coming back from Vietnam." Marcus says with a look down to the smoldering ash on the map that is starting to burn a hole in the paper. "The man he met during his operation, Daniel Linderman? He's become a ghost." Marcus' eye follows the growing embers at the edge of the hole. "Where's Ben?" Marcus asks without taking his eye off the ember. Dearing looks confused, then notices Mark's discomfort and exchanges a look back and forth with Raith.

"He, ah…" Mark clenches his jaw.

"He came back from Vietnam." Raith says with a slow narrowing of his eye. "With Petrelli. And Linderman." The burning hole on the map continues to expand. "And disappeared."

"What the fuck're you two talking about?" Dearing finally asks.

"Mark's grandson, Benjamin. If I were a betting man, and I am, I'd wager that he's with Petrelli and Linderman." Raith watches the corners of the burning hole start to catch fire and looks up at the other two men. "They found him." With a snap of his fingers, Raith contains the fire under an emerald dome of light on the table. It suffocates the flame, snuffs it out entirely, leaving a burned mark on the map over the city of Baghdad in Iraq.

Dearing sits back in his seat, wringing his hands together. "That shit isn't real," he protests. "That's holes in intelligence, that's fucking ghost stories of mis-attributed KGB bullshit. Psy-ops. We wrote the fucking playbook on this there's no Men in Black out there that aren't us."

Marcus isn't convinced. Neither is Ryans.

"They're real," Raith contests, "and now they have a direct line to us. Through Ben." He looks pointedly at Agent Ryans.

"So this—the mind wipes, all the support we've lost in Congress—" Dearing starts to put it all together.

"I wasn't sure then, but I am now. It's the children, the ones who survived Coyote Sands." When Marcus defines them in that way, Ryans slouches back into his seat and drags his hands down his face. "They're going to come for us as soon as they find out we exist."

Agent Ryans shakes his head, then straightens the pentacle-shaped pin on his lapel. "What, uh, what're we going to do? How do we get our asses out of this fire?"

"Someone once told me about a story of the French resistance during World War II," Marcus says, dismissing the emerald dome around the burn mark on the map. "When they were sure the Nazis were on to them, the Resistance would create a diversion that the Nazis could not ignore. Typically, they'd set a barn on fire that would spread to neighboring fields. They'd use the chaos to slip through the Nazi's fingers."

Ryans and Dearing look down at the map. They understand.

Marcus reaches out and presses the call button on an intercom box on the table. "Send him in."

There's a buzzing sound from a door in the dark beyond the overhead light, followed by a metal security door opening. Two men enter the room, one hanging back in the dark and the other a shaggy-haired man in his mid-twenties steps into the light.

"I'd like to introduce you to my son, Roy." Marcus says, rising up from his seat. "Roy's a Special, like his father." He says proudly, clapping a hand on Roy's shoulder. "Roy, why don't you have that chat with Agents Dearing and Ryans like we talked about. I'm going to…" he glances into the dark where that lone figure is waiting, "have a chat with our friend."

Roy nods, taking his father's seat at the table. "Nice to meet you, Sirs." He says politely, while Dearing and Ryans look at each other awkwardly. "How much do you know about Mazdak?"

As the conversation begins at his back, Marcus quickly makes his way to the man in the dark suit waiting by the door. Agent Duvall greets Marcus with a handshake and a momentary look to the brightly-lit table before returning his attention to his superior.

"They're here." Duvall says quietly. "I felt them arrive a few minutes ago."

Marcus' eye widens. "Where?"

Duvall glances at the table, then back to Marcus. "Here, in New York. I'm working to narrow it down."

"Take Agent Bailey and find them." Marcus hisses under his breath. "Let me know the minute you've found them." Duvall nods, but as Marcus starts to turn away Duvall takes him by the arm.

"Marcus." Duvall stresses the name. "This is more heat than we agreed on." He says with a glance to the table. "If one hair on my boy's head is out of place…"

"You have my word." Marcus says in a quiet voice, looking down at Duvall's hand until he lets go.

"…Cedric will be safe."

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