The One Less Traveled By


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Also Featuring

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Scene Title The One Less Traveled By
Synopsis Mohinder and Matt discuss what one would do, if given a second chance.
Date November 8, 2011

DHS Facility

Midtown Manhattan

An open palm smacks Hiro Nakamura across the face.

It's been going on like this for nearly an hour now.

Under the fluorescent light of the DHS holding cell, Hiro looks pallid and the purple of bruises pops out against fair skin. His glasses are on the floor, twisted, from one of the blows Matt landed on him. Nearby, Rene stands silently, a looming figure in the corner of the room. The symbol around his neck, an s-shaped curve with prongs that nearly resembles half a DNA helix dully reflects the light in coppery quality. Matt Parkman leans in, gripping Hiro by the collar tightly. Matt's brows furrow, swear beads on his forehead.

Tell me more. I need to know everything, Hiro. But he has to believe me or we're both dead.

Matt's psychic voice resonates in Hiro's mind, and when he flinches away from Parkman it isn't entirely an act.

I don't know, Hiro's smaller voice meekly offers. I didn't mean to come here like this, and— and I don't know if I can make it back.

What about your other self, what's he doing? Did anyone else travel with you other than Ando?

No, it was just me and Ando. Hiro reiterates for the fifth time. And I told you, I don't know what me— I— the other me is doing. He's very mad. He's been trying to fix things, change history.

"I don't care about five years ago!" Matt screams in Hiro's face, selling the lie they both perform in front of Rene. "What are you planning for tonight?" Matt's brows furrow again, and Rene tilts his chin up, watching cautiously. Hiro, too, returns his part of the act, but his words are genuine from his perspective.

"You are like me — special." Hiro's eyes search Matt's, trying to understand how he got to be where he is. "Why do you want to hurt other special people?"

Hiro. Please. This isn't the first time this happened. A madman came from the future once, destroyed an entire prison, killed a lot of good people. Nearly killed a lot more.

I am not madman!

Hiro that's — for the love of God listen to me. I'm not saying you are, I'm saying I think

Matt is cut off by the distraction of his phone vibrating. He sucks in a sharp breath and gives Hiro a warning look, then stands up straight and retrieves his phone from his jacket. "Yeah, it's Parkman." He pauses, hearing something unexpected on the other end of the line. "Suresh?" Matt looks to Rene, "What's he doing there?" Without getting off of the call, Matt pulls it away from his ear and motions to Hiro. "Watch him." Rene nods in response, grabs Hiro's sword from the table, and then pushes his way out of the room.

When the door shuts behind him, Matt continues. "When did Suresh get here? Is the President with him?" Whoever is on the other end of the line speaks quickly, and Matt looks to have a hard time catching up. "No, I understand. Call me if he leaves, I'm heading down there right now. Oh — " Matt's cants his head to the side. "If you see anyone else from the Institute, call my emergency number." Matt slaps the phone shut and pauses, looking back at the door to the interrogation room, then breaks into a hustle down the hall.

Isaac Mendez's Loft


Twenty Minutes Later

On his way up the dusty stairs of the converted factory where Isaac Mendez once lived, Matt Parkman comes to a rest on the steps. He scrubs one hand over his mouth, reaching into his jacket to retrieve his wallet. Inside, photos of a young Molly Walker and Matt Parkman Jr. greet him. Matt's expression twists, eyes wander to the side and he slaps the wallet closed in his hand. Breathing in deeply, Matt searches the old concrete walls, watches the way light flickers off of the metal railing. His eyes settle on a faded, yellow and orange graffiti stencil of a fiery bird with the words Rise Up below it. He exhales a snorted, rueful sigh, and tucks the wallet back into his jacket before making it the rest of the way up the stairs.

Coming through the loft's open door, Matt ducks under yellow and black crime scene tape. "Mohinder," Matt begins with his usual friendliness. "What ah— I didn't expect you down here so soon. Isn't the ceremony this afternoon?" Matt's target currently bobs and weaves through the string web, carefully plucking at one Post-It note, then tracing pathways back to their source. As he hears Matt's voice, Mohinder rises up onto his toes, looking at Matt over the top of an easel.

"Ah, Matthew, yes. Please" Mohinder waves him over excitedly. "Please, come take a look at this." Raising a hand to his brow, Matt scrubs one hand at his forehead and trundles over, carefully ducking under the limbo-pole nightmare of yarn. Matt eyes a newspaper clipping about a train derailment as he passes, then spots the bomb painting on the floor.

"It's like a craft store had a nervous breakdown, right?" Matt offers jokingly, looking around at the strings. Mohinder cracks a smile, though only just, and stops following the white thread. Turning to Matt, Mohinder looks him up and down and approaches slowly, resting a hand on each of Matt's shoulders for a moment. "Um," Matt's brows scrunch up, eyes avert to the side.

"It's good to see you Matthew," Mohinder offers warmly. "Have you had any luck tracking down Molly?" One of Mohinder's brows raise, and Matt looks away again, shaking his head and disentangling from his close proximity to Mohinder.

"No it's— a lot's been going on." Matt looks at the strings, "I take it you heard about Nakamura?" Mohinder's expression dims, slightly, and then he turns to the photographs, newspaper clippings, and labyrnthine maze of strings.

"Oh, absolutely," Mohinder explains. "The President was most happy about that development. I have every intention of moving Mr. Nakamura to the Commonwealth Institute, after you've completed your interrogation, of course." Matt's lips press together firmly at that notion. "Though, if you wanted to hand him over early — we have much more reliable memory extraction protocols."

"No," Matt's voice cracks, "thanks." Stepping away from Mohinder, Matt distracts him with something else. "What do you make of all of this?" A gesture is afforded to the strings. "Is he crazy?"

Mohinder laughs, mostly to himself, then walks up beside Matt and points to the red ribbon. "On the contrary, I believe Mister Nakamura is on the verge of something unbelievable." He looks around the strings, then points to one showing Nathan's senatorial campaign victory in 2006. "Each string represents a person. Every action, every choice. How people came together," he motions to a string meeting Nathan's, "how they were torn apart. It's a living map of the past."

Matt pauses, looks to the floor, then as he turns his attention to Mohinder plays dumb. "Why would a terrorist care so much about the past?"

Mohinder makes a soft, scoffing noise, and moves some of the strings aside. "Maybe he thought he could change it. Hiro Nakamura can stop time. Teleport by folding space. Theoretically, he can fold time as well." His eyes come to settle on Matt's, brows raised. Then, he ducks under the strings and moves to a table. Amid the dust, Mohinder finds an illustrated by unfinished black and white comic book.

"So you're saying he's a time traveler," Matt's eyes wander the room. Another time traveler doesn't need to be said. They both remember Moab.

Mohinder, distracted by the comic, flips through its pages and then hesitates. His attention drifts up to Matt. "Is that any stranger than being able to read someone's mind?" There's a joking tone there, and Matt feels for a moment like he's talking to the old Mohinder.

"Yeah, it is." Matt reiterates. Because it's always weird. Every single time. Mohinder rolls up the comic in one hand, then ducks back under the strings.

On his approach, he looks up at Matt, careful not to tangle himself in the yarn web. "Haven't you ever wished you could change the past? Set your life down a different path?" Those words cause a lump to form in Matt's throat. He recalls the photographs in his wallet, the lies he could never tell truthfully, the lives he could never take back. Matt's stomach twists into knots, sweat beads on his brow, his mind races.

"I used to be that guy," Matt admits, and when his eyes meet Mohinder's its for confirmation that his friend remembers too. "Wishing it and making it happen are two different things." But that Mohinder isn't there, something about his eyes that just have seemed off for a few months now.

"Not for Nakamura it isn't," Mohinder opines. "Look here." Mohinder ducks under more strings, and moves to the center of the web. "These two dates seem to be the focal points— both in the past. The first is the bomb. The other— " he traces his fingers down the line, stopping when he sees a photograph of a painting depicting of himself with Peter Petrelli. The post-it note has a date: OCT 4, N.Y. SUBWAY. A chill runs down Mohinder's spine, and for a moment Matt can see his old friend again.

"What? What is it?" Pressing that opening, Matt leans in and rests a hand on Mohinder's shoulder.

"The other's the day I received my father's ashes," is said with some disbelief. The coincidence Mohinder is presented with leaves him feeling light-headed and cloudy. "I was with Peter Petrelli that day. On the subway, he said he saw a man who could freeze time." Connections start to form in Mohinder's mind, momentary thoughts of possibilities.

"Nakamura?" Matt pushes for a confirmation, but Mohinder has none.

"I don't know. He said he had a message for Peter…" Slowly, Mohinder turns from the photograph to look back at Matt. His expression is one of visible concern.

"What? What was the message?" Mohinder slips away from Matt's hand at the question, flicking through Post-It notes, following strings, searching for the answer he knows he's seen. Mohinder's eyes widen, he snatches a thought from the ether and looks back like a man possessed to Parkman, then ducks under more strings and scrambles up the loft steps to the door. Matt looks around, trying to piece together whatever it was Mohinder read, but finds himself shouting at his old friend's back. "What? What was the message!?"

Mohinder turns in the doorway, exasperated, one hand clasped on the door frame. "Save the cheerleader," he nods to the painting Matt is standing on, "…save the world." With that, Mohinder is out the door, and Matt is left staring down at the painting of the explosion below his feet. Stepping back, he sees it for what it is, what Isaac was. For a moment, Matt's blood is cold in his veins, his mind swims with possibilities. He looks up to the doorway, and Mohinder is gone.

Withdrawing his phone from his pocket, Matt makes several hard considerations. But then fate intercedes. Matt's phone rings in his hand, and as he looks at the incoming number he knows that none of this can be a coincidence.

Incoming Call: Bennet, Noah

"Long time," Matt greets as he opens the phone. Then, slipping back into old, familiar treachery he asks a simple question.

"Who do you have for me?"

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