The Slip


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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title The Slip
Synopsis The girl from the cornfield finds the cat and the nightingale. The three embark on a journey to rescue Hiro Nakamura that goes horribly sideways.
Date April 30, 2010

Old Lucy's - Upstairs

I don't want to set the world on fire

Popping and scratching is the first audible sound, the noise of a record playing on a phonograph, hissing quietly behind the melodic tones of a song all too familiar. The ground is cold, concrete is cracked under her cheek, and where Odessa Knutson lifts her face up from the floor, there's a dark stain of blood that matches a cut on her forehead by her right eyebrow, deep enough to view the bone.

I just want to start a flame in your heart

A popping sound comes through the crumbling brick walls and shattered windows. She chokes, dust coming away from her lips that had been pulled off the floor. Brass shell casings lie on the ground by her side, the laid out signs of violence from some time before now. There's bullet holes in the brick wall opposite of a toppled kitchen table with a cloth draped on the floor. A dark bloodstain on the floor is smeared near the bullet holes, but there's no body, and the blood's too old to be Odessa's.

In my heart I have but one desire

There's a rumble outside, possibly thunder. When the doctor pulls herself up from the floor, her arms are shaky, rubber gloves still on her hands and fingers trembling from adrenaline that still surges through her. A loud crack of thunder makes the headache she already has throb painfully behind her eyes. Reaching out to brace herself on the worn wooden stairs nearby, Odessa props herself up on one knee, then dizzily gets to her feet, fingers shifting to the notched railing instead of the steps.

And that one is you

Someone is shouting outside, which isn't all that surprising considering what was just happening. The popping is louder now though,loud enough to sound like gunfire. That realization causes a line of tension to reflexively run through Odessa's spine, and it's only now that she realizes her surroundings are different from the hospital she was just in. It's gray, cloudy, and a drizzling rain is falling down outside through the broken windows.

No other will do

It shouldn't be warm enough to rain.

I've lost all ambition for worldly acclaim

Staggering over to the window, Odessa lifts a hand to smudge her rubber gloves against the glass, wiping away of ash and grime from the surface, fingers streaking over the panes as she squints against the gray light of daytime. There's a shattered building across the road, brickwork crumbling in on itself, roof collapsed and wooden framing sticking up like a dead animal's broken skeleton from a battered carcass. The pavement of the road is cracked, rubble strewn across it from the building she's in, which on glancing up is missing its second floor entirely.

I just want to be the one you love

Swallowing noisily, Odessa's feet scuff across the floor, headed for the doorway, noticing the door itself has been forcibly knocked inward, hanging crooked off the doorframe. There's bullet holes in it too, ones that correspond with dried marks of blood on the floor of the home. When she steps out into the street, Odessa is met by another cacophonous boom that shakes her chest and nearly knocks her off of her feet, and only a few hundred feet from where she stands, the belltower of a gothic cathedral explodes with a shower of stone dust and debris, sending masonry and stone blocks falling down to the ground.

And with your admission that you feel the same

She can still hear the music of the turntable playing behind her, and as the dust cloud clears, Odessa hears a rumbling clank of metal getting closer and closer, shouting and the pop of gunfire drawing closer to her. Her hands begin to shake, blue eyes wide, and when the barrel of a panzer tank leads the armored bulk of the body, her heart sinks into the pit of her stomach. Soldiers in gray uniforms rush ahead of it, dark helmets strapped to their heads, bayonette-bound rifles clutched tightly in both hands.

I'll have reached the goal I'm dreaming of

As the tank rolls by, Odessa's eyes fix on the symbol emblazoned on the side, of a golden eagle laid over a white circle with a black Swastika on the side, all bordered in bright carnation red. There's another rumble, and a noisy eruption of flames and smoke from the turret of the tank, and Odessa's eyes lift up towards the horizon, and the winding streets of Berlin in ruins, smoke rising from the crumbled roofs of houses, the chill of rain running in rivulets down her forehead.

Believe me

"Oh f— "

Sixty-Five Years Later

…and One Hour Earlier

Old Lucy's Bar, New York City

I don't want to set the world on fire

Playing over the speakers of the stereo on the second floor of Old Lucy's, the Ink Spots classic tune warbles melodically from the speakers. It's a relatively ordinary morning, especially with Abby gone and the second floor of the bar belonging entirely to its current resident, one very pantsless Odessa Knutson.

I just want to start… a flame in your heart!

Just as the song is ending, there's a knock at the second floor door. Biometric locks and all of the order insane paranoia security that Abby had installed up here may be bypassable by a spook like Feng Daiyu, but the woman on the other side of the door doesn't have a PhD in ninjitsu, if she had a PhD at all, really.

"Odessa!" Clara Francis is something of a mystery herself. "I've got Thai takeout!" Her voice comes through the door noisily, not thinking to push the call button on the intercom. "If you don't come out and get it in the next twenty seconds I'm going to freeze time and eat it all!" There's a certain sing-song quality to her voice.

Today's going to be a good day, she can tell.

"Hang on!" Odessa shouts in response to Clara, dashing about the apartment in the button-down man's dress shirt that she may or may not have stolen from the closet of Assistant Direct Martin Crowley. "I don't have any pants!" She's still pulling her shorts on when she opens the door, hopping slightly as she pulls the dark blue Mets emblemised fabric over her backside. "Thai food? I don't think I've ever had that." She gestures for the woman to enter the apartment, a warm smile on her face. "How did you know I'd be hungry? Is that part of your super power?"

"No, but people usually eat breakfast at some point, right?" Offering a crooked look down to Odessa, Clara walks in to the apartment, eyes lifted to the ceiling and a strange expression of curiosity crossing her lips. "You know, this place is a lot bigger than I expected when you mentioned it. You'd think someone who could afford to live here," she strides through the foyer towards the dining table not far from the entrance, setting down the crinkling plastic bag and styrofoam containers inside, "wouldn't have to steal liquor?"

Turning around slowly, her head tilted to the side, Clara offers a brow-furrowed look to Odessa, huffing out a theatrical sigh as she reaches up to unzip her orange arctic weather jacket. "You know, I'm glad I brought this coat with me when I came here…" blue eyes alight to the borrowed laptop belonging to Abigail Beauchamp settled on the coffee table through the doorway into the living room.

On the screen is what had been garnering Odessa's attention since before Clara arrived, an email left open and unresponded to:

<moc.liamg|oetelknirf#moc.liamg|oetelknirf> "Teodoro Laudani"
Subject: hiro

Salut Odessa,
This is Francois Allegre, I have borrowed Teodoro's electronic mail. I apologize for taking so long to send this out, but things have been complicated. A woman stopped by asking after you recently, her name is Daphne. She spoke of a mutual acquaintance of ours by the name of Hiro Nakamura that she believes is in danger. She is good intending but perhaps following odd advice? She has writings from a woman who sees the future that implicated you and another person may be connected to Hiro some how.

The whole situation is very confusing. Do you want me to tell her where you are residing currently? I did not wish to without asking permission of you, it felt rude.


"You got any silverware?" Is all Clara asks, though had she gone over to read the email, it may have been more spluttering confusion and less conversational query.

"I don't pay to live here," Odessa responds casually, a small smirk on her lips. "I am put up out of the goodness of my patron's heart." She gestures to a drawer in the kitchen. "Yes, I have silverware. Money, no. Things? Yes. I have plenty of things."

The pajama-clad blonde takes a seat at the table, staring at the screen with a frown. Both hands hover over the keyboard for a moment before she scowls at the injured one and moves it instead to rest on the table. Typing one-handed is not her forte, so she keeps it short and sweet.

<moc.liamg|yojelagnithgin#moc.liamg|yojelagnithgin> "Joy Saint-Jacques"
Subject: re:hiro

Yes she can know.


"I'm glad you decided to come see me." Odessa can only hope that it isn't to drug her and hand her over to the government or something equally shady.

"I don't have much else to do," Clara notes with a furrow of her brows as she takes out Styrofoam container out of the plastic bag, checking to see if it's the one marked Extra Hot or not. "My roommate Avi is being decidedly grumpy lately and he's miserable to be around, and I just…" there's a shake of Clara's head. "I've never had much chance to have a friend." There's a threat of a smile there as the doctor turns, "not— not in a long time, anyway."

Offering the top container out to Odessa, Clara tilts her head to the side and then looks up to notice she'd forgotten to close the door behind herself. "Mmn, take your red curry…" she offers thoughtfully, voice quiet, "I'll go close the— "


This word is offered brightly by Daphne who has appeared in a blur, the wind of her presence rustling Clara's clothing and displacing any loose papers in the apartment. Snow dusts her navy blue peacoat coat and, ridiculously, one of the Olympic tuques worn by Americans in the last Olympics — white with red and blue nordic looking designs and Moose in navy blue thread parading across her head. Hers, of course, is no mere facsimile, but the real thing, stolen from an actual Olympian, once she got her legs back after the Evo flu.

Dark eyes flicker from Clara to Odessa, and she tilts her head. "So which one of you is Odessa?" Etiquette was never her strong point.

Odessa had just taken the offered food from Clara when there's suddenly another presence in her apartment. Her injured hands sweeps across the room, holding it still.

At least, it holds still the papers that have yet to settle on the floor, holds still the frightened Persian cat that's making a dart from under the kitchen table and toward the bedroom at the end of the hallway. Holds still the hands ticking on the clock.

Does not hold still any of the blondes gathered in the room.

"Oh, what the fuck!" Odessa stands up quickly and fixes an incredulous look on Daphne. The red curry is set aside quickly. "How are you doing that? Are you a temporal manipulator, too?"

Clara winces ever so subtly when Odessa stops time, rolling her eyes and blowing a lock of blonde hair out from her face. Blue eyes settle on Daphne, and the third of the blondes in this room is probably the only natural one too, Daphne I'm looking at you missy. "So— I— should've brought breakfast for three?" Nevermind what kind of person has extra hot red curry for breakfast. "I um, take it you two do know each other right and… I— I shouldn't be panicking or anything?"

Grimacing slightly as she slouches to one side, weight resting on one foot, Clara tries not to look over eager as her thumbs slide across the front of the Styrofoam container in hand holding her curry. "Be— because if you two aren't about to try and murder each other I'd love to be able to eat. It's… I'm just going to get a fork, you two… let me know." Clara awkwardly manages as she just turns around and goes for a fork, like no perfectly adjusted person would do in this situation.

That's the running joke too, three blondes, three temporal manipulators, three badly-adjusted women. They've also the potential to walk into a bar, if they go downstairs. Perhaps Hiro is setting this up just as some gigantic cosmic joke in the most literal sense. Likely not.

"I eat sushi, but I have no idea how to manipulate tempura," Daphne says with a shake of her head as she watches a piece of paper that had been fluttering to the ground stop its fluttering mid-air.

"This isn't about Japanese food, but about a certain Japanese man. He's in that hospital over on Roosevelt and in a bad way. Else Kjelstrom asked me to help him — didn't think he might survive this flu and even if he did, was worried he'd be blackholed and might as well have died, right? She told me to find a Nightingale, who I think is you, if you're Odessa, and a Cat and some shit about a snowglobe and a glass and then there's some cornfield shit, but that's about me, and we're supposed to somehow go help him." This is all said in one breath before a folded up piece of paper is pulled out and handed to Odessa, as Clara's busy looking for a fork.

"Here's her notes, but you have to be on 'shrooms to get it, I think, but maybe it'll make more sense to you. Anyway, Hiro Nakamura is sick and being held against his will, and I need to save him, so… how about it? You lame or you game?"

"…Where's the opium?" Odessa slowly looks around the room, because surely she is tripping on opium. Because this shit is messed up and — "Oh. Oh." She tilts her head upward, listening to the music still filtering through the speakers. "That's where I know this song from. … Oh." Her head hangs for a moment before she shakes it once to clear the fugue she was in danger of slipping into.

"You're aware that very little of what you just said made any sense, right?" She takes the notes from Daphne and looks them over. "Oh… Actually, you do make a lot of sense." She glances up at Clara and then looks back to Daphne. "Yeah, she's Schroedinger's Cat. You've got the right people." She sets it all aside and sighs. "Sit down. Clara and I need to eat and I need to find clothes before we go rescuing anyone." She slowly sinks back into her seat and opens up the red curry.

"You must be Daphne. Shut the door and tell us what's going on."

Ankles crossed and sitting at the dinner table, Clara raises a hand in a wave with a fork pinched between fingers. Her bright orange arctic survival jacket still on but unzippered. "You know, I think right up until a few months ago this might have been the most surreal moment of my entire life, but— " Clara motions to the table, "go on have a seat, we sort've literally have all the time in the world." There's a lopsided smile there as she opens up the white Styrofoam container, letting out the peppery aromatic zest of the red curry.

There's a contented noise in the back of Clara's throat as she looks askance to Daphne and adds, "I'm also going to eat peacefully or so help me I will break down and cry right here in front of you all like a sixteen year old." Her fork jabs a piece of beef slathered in the thin, spicy sauce, blue eyes looking from Daphne, to it, then back again. "You can have some of Odessa's."

"I don't know a lot," Daphne says, glancing at Clara with a tilt of her head, and waving off the food. "S'okay, I'm not hungry," she adds, before glancing back at Odessa. Clara is clearly more interested in curry. "What I said. Else, she's that singer, and a precog. She got rounded up and put in that hospital on Roosevelt, and they ran into Nakamura there. Apparently he was really really in a bad way, like, might not make it and this was days ago so you know, I'd like to help him soon if we can, because it might be too late." Except time is paused for the moment, apparently.

"I asked Else to see what would happen if I helped him — like, I donno if he'd be worse off if I take him from the hospital or not, and that's what she came up with. It doesn't make any more sense to her than it does to me, so don't even think about asking her for help," Daphne says with a shake of her head.

"But if you're the Cat and you're the Nightingale," dark eyes dart from Clara to Odessa, "and I'm the cornfield, why us three, and how do we do this?"

"Well," Odessa reasons, sticking a fork into her curry and stirring it around a little bit. This looks a little dubious to her, but she's going to give it a try anyway. "If we're kidnapping Hiro Nakamura from a hospital where people are being held against their will… I'm going to bet that you'll need my ability." She shrugs. "And I suppose Clara's as well." An afterthought. No offense.

On the table, Odessa's cell phone buzzes and she lifts it up to study the face. She can receive a text message while time is still frozen? She doesn't even understand how this crap works. She flips open the pre-paid mobile and scowls at the message, snapping it shut and setting it back on the table with a frown. "Anyway. You were saying?"

"It's funny," Clara opines from the table, mouth full of curry and talking while chewing in such a lady-like fashion, "Hiro Nakamura came to see me on the roof of a parking garage over a month ago. He knew who I was, and he told me that there was someone out there who wanted to steal my ability and take it for themselves to hurt people. Obviously I thought he was talking about someone I met back in Antarctica," Clara just keeps talking like all this is perfectly natural and makes sense, "but when I mentioned Gabriel he just snapped at me and said it was someone else."


"Then he told me to watch out for ducks," Clara adds in a sing-song voice as if to highlight the absurdity, "and left me a fresh hot pastrami on rye with extra saurkraut and sweet potato fries as some sort've parting gift. He seemed perfectly fine to me then."

Cleaning her fork with her lips, Clara looks left and right, then raises her brows slowly. "He said ducks, honest."

"Ooooh-kay, then," Daphne says, widening her eyes slightly at Clara's words. The speedster is definitely not used to being the normal one in a conversation. "So what, you stop time, I move really really fast, and what do you do, Ducky? Because I can see how stopping time would be super cool, and I can see how being fast can help, but what's the third super power in this little trio of Allies? If you're in, that is. Sounds like Hiro has helped you, and I know he's helped me, and I owe him because I almost killed him, so there's that." Her face screws up in a grimace at the memory she can't shake herself of — one of the reasons she has to do this.

Daphne's eyes alight on Odessa. "So you owe him for something? I guess he's a time traveler too. Why he can't get himself out of this mess, I'm not sure, if that's the case. Probably something to do with the flux capacitor, right?" She means the time-space continuum, of course.

Odessa lifts her head and her brows at Daphne. "You almost killed him? Nice work." It draws an appreciative nod. Daphne is definitely the sane one in this trio. She considers for a moment why Hiro can't just save herself and then she frowns.

Hiro, you're a son of a bitch.

"I think he set me up to save him, actually…" Odessa sets down her fork so she can rake her fingers through her hair. "If I'm right, a him from the future made me immune to the Five-Ten. And that would probably come in handy for him right now. I don't understand how the whole not crossing your own path thing works, but if I had to hazard a guess, he's pulling our strings to do what he can't." She shrugs. "Gotta admire him for that." At least, she as a manipulative bitch does.

"I'm Schroedinger's Cat, for what it's worth" Clara explains before taking a heaping spoonful of rice into her mouth, chewing noisily and waggling her fork at Daphne as if threatening her with the rest of her sentence. "Mmnh— the ah," Clara clears her throat, "the simple way to explain it is that I can move at a speed close to the speed of light if I'm not being observed. So like, if nobody's looking at me or— I'm not in anyone's line of sight— I'm moving so fast that the rest of the world seems to be frozen still in comparison. No one can see me or feel me around them. It's kind've nice. If I touch things I draw them into the same state of accelerated movement," Clara's head quirks to the side, "but if it's a person I have to make sure they aren't looking at me or it ends."

Jabbing her fork down dramatically to punctuate the sentence, Clara skewers another piece of beef. "To that point I can be really obnoxious and hide people's keys on them eternally." There's a shift of Clara's eyes to the side at Odessa, then back over to Daphne. "I— I'll admit this seems a little weird. I mean, I just happened to have a vaccine for the virus dropped in my lap by a little girl who likes to think she's Gabriel's girlfriend the other night." Clara clears her throat. "She's very nice but looks twelve."

"Schroedinger? Isn't he the piano playing guy in the Peanuts?" is all that Daphne has to say to Clara's explanation of her ability — never mind she's maybe a little jealous. Speed of light trumps speed of sound, except that Daphne doesn't have to worry about being witnessed. "Well, I feel a little redundant, then, if you two are basically all time-stopping blonde duo, but the lyrics or whatever the shit that noise is seem to think we all three need to go, I guess." She chews her lower lip. "And I already had it, so I'm immune, too. The hard way." The really really hard way. "So… what's the plan… we go, stop time, swoop in and save him?" She glances at the door, clearly antsy to do it yesterday.

Odessa waves a hand for Daphne to be quiet. Something important was just said. She leans forward and fixes Clara with a very serious stare. "Gabriel's what?" Her lips may have pursed just a bit and she may look like she could set something on fire with her eyes for just a second there. "Little shorter than me? Dark hair? Acts like a fucking bird?"

Mouthful of rice, Clara just nods like she didn't say much of anything of importance, chewing and swallowing and shovelling in more of the food, she's something of a pig when it comes to eating. Continuously bogging her head, Clara jabs her fork in the air at Odessa, tilts her head to the side and then slowly rises up to stand from the table with a scuff of her chair's legs on the hardwood floor. "That's her, real sweetheart but she could be his little sister."

Looking at her food, only half finished, Clara closes the lid and then picks up the Styrofoam container, gets down on her knees and… puts… it under the table, followed by a vibrating buzz noise.

"Nobody look under the table," Clara states as she climbs out from under it. "My lunch will stay warm, with its atoms moving at the speed of light until we get back."

Such flagrant abuse of power!

Also she's ready to go, blue eyes slanted at Odessa. "Come on get dressed our chubby little Asian friend's not going to get any chubbier." Or something.

"Really, is the who's dating who segment of TMZ really necessary when someone might be dying — I don't know Gabriel or a bird girl or anything, but you two can pow-wow on that when I'm not here, right? Go get some pants on, Florence, and I can zoom us over, or…" Daphne peers at Clara. "You said you can get people but only if they don't look at you? You can move us that fast as long as, what, we close our eyes when you move us, or did I understand that completely wrong?"

Odessa is positively fuming when Clara gives her that little tidbit. Boo, that whore. "All right, all right. Point taken." Standing up from the table, she resists the urge to look under it as she heads to scoop up the cat frozen in time, the cat named Schroedinger, by the way, and head for the bedroom once occupied by Teo. "I'll be out in a minute."

When the door shuts behind her, the papers suddenly resume their descent to the floor, falling with a whisper. The confused mewling of that poor kitten follows. "Yes, I know. I did that thing that I do where you don't know where you are," Odessa assures from behind the closed door. "Be a good girl while Mommy's gone and don't scratch up the door." Oh, people and their pets.

Odessa emerges after a few minutes dressed in a dark grey hooded sweater dress with black leggings and a pair of high-heeled boots. "All right," she murmurs, "let's go pick up my patient. We'll bring him back here, okay? This is the safest place I know right now, and it'll be easier for me to take care of him here than some Ferry safehouse with a bunch of meddling do-gooders."

When Odessa comes back out, Clara's in mid-conversation about something with Daphne. "…so if you close your eyes it's fine. But I think, outside of a few seconds you might be almost as fast as me. But, really, it's not very glamorous. Everything just stands still and I chug along at the normal pace. Oh, on the plus side temperature gets somewhat subjective at that speed because you're moving faster than— something— sciency? I'm not really clear on it, but it's not cold outside when I'm moving that way. It's just hard not to be seen by other people, especially moving in a crowd you know?"

Zipping up her jacket, Clara looks over to Odessa with her brows raised, then reaches into one pocket and pulls out a black hairtie, reaching up to pull her hair back from her face and tuck it into a ponytail, wrapping the black tie around the base a few times. Clara points at Daphne, "Locomotion," then to Odessa, "emergency brakes," then points to herself, making an awkward face and swirling her finger around in a circle, "hnnnn— colorful commentary?" she adds with a point to herself, one brow twitching and grimacing as she does.

"It's almost like mine — I mean, when I'm speeding, it feels like everyone might as well be frozen, most of the time," Daphne says, nodding to the other woman, though she's still a little jealous. "Can you get across the water? Like, the ocean?" she asks, perhaps just a tiny bit competitively, before she turns to Odessa.

"Wait, your patient? I was going to bring him to Francois. You're a doctor? What if he's really really sick? Do you have resources to help him? I'm not going to rescue him just to have him die on me again." Except that was a hallucination.

Odessa levels a look on Daphne. "Why do you think I'm Nightingale? I'm a medical doctor, and Francois is sort of indisposed at the moment, so I'm Hiro's best option right now. If he starts to go downhill, my ability can put him in stasis. Think of it like cryogenics." You know, like Walt Disney's frozen head! "If he starts crashing, I freeze him, figure out how to stop him from crashing, and then I make him better." Her lips twist upward in a smirk. "I'm a very good doctor." Of this she is quite certain.

"That's— you're a doctor?" Clara narrows her eyes at Odessa, "really?" She doesn't mean to sound condescending. "I'm— a nurse. I mean I know it's not quite the same thing but I assisted the primary medical technician at Amundsen-Scott in Antarctica for six years— off and on." There's a scratch at Clara's cheek as she offers an askance look to Daphne. "Are you like, an orderly or something because if so Hiro Nakamura just arranged for himself to be taken care of by three time-traveling blonde medicial professionals which — I for one — find patently absurd."

Waggling one finger in the air slowly, Clara lets it suddenly settle on Daphne. "Almost as absurd as the notion of running on water that just does not work you are making things up."

"Nope, not an orderly. Spent too much time in doctor's offices as a kid to ever want to voluntarily go near a hospital," Daphne says, resisting the urge to go peer under the table just to foil the warm lunch when Clara tells her that her power doesn't work and that she's lying. Still, she feels a sense of pride there — she can too run on water, and not just the frozen variety!

"Well, Roosevelt's an island, so you can decide for yourself whether I'm a liar or not," Daphne says. "And I'm not a time traveler. And I'm not really a blonde. So you know. I'm not cool like you two and I'll cry about it later, can we go already?"

"You think Hiro's into blondes?" Did Odessa just fluff her hair up a bit? Surely not. She doesn't care what Hiro's into. Honest. "Yes. Let's, uhm… How does this work exactly?" She shakes her head and simply opens the door to the apartment. "Out. Everyone out so I can lock up." And then, with the aid of science and science-defying abilities, it's off to Roosevelt Island.

Sixty-Five Years Earlier

Berlin, Germany

April 30, 1945

The rattling pop of gunfire jostles her awake, the painful sting of agony criss-crosses through the blonde's body. Smoke rises up from the edges of her bright red parka where she lays amidst the rain falling down steadily from the clouded skies above. Tiny pieces of broken pavement lie strewn about the battered streets, and with blue eyes wide, Clara Francis stares up at the rain, a line of blood drooling down her forehead.

With a horrified retching, she rolls onto her side and rests up on her arms, immediately vomiting onto the pavement, tangled locks of loose blonde hair clinging to sweaty cheeks. Shuddering out uneven breaths, the Antarctic researcher blinks her tear-filled eyes open and closed, gloved fingers curling against the street into fists.

As she stares down into the puddle of murky water, Clara lifts one hand, reaching up to feel dully through her gloves the deep gash on her forehead still bleeding. Her eyes close, dark lashes brush her cheeks and she lets out a ragged, horrified snarl of a sob, nearly resting her forehead down on the pavement, but having second thoughts what with having thrown up all over it.

The sudden shudder of an explosion too close by knocks Clara off of her knees and sends her rolling across the road. Ears ringing and eyes wide, Clara staggers and rolls onto her back again, and she can't even hear the panicked scream she lets out, turning to look as she watches the bell tower of the nearby church come crumbling down towards her. Lifting her arms up over her head she holds in her breath tightly, and the sound of rocks crumbling all around her sounds like the end of the world.

It's dark, it's cold, her ears are still ringing. "Sind Sie verletzt?" Someone is shouting at her in German, and Clara lowers her arms, eyes wide and tears welled up in them. There's a man standing over her, dressed in a charcoal gray SS officer's uniform, dark hair swept back from his face and eyepatch covering one eye. A hand is offered down to Clara, then other held up and facing towards a shimmering hemisphere of blue-green light that flickers like the screen of a television.

"Fräulein, sind Sie verletzt?" He shouts at her in German again, and Clara's lips part in a look of confused horror.

"En—," she splutters out, shaking her head from side to side, "En Français?"

Sixty-Five Years Later…

Roosevelt Island, New York

April 30, 2010

"I'm going to be sick!" Clara yelps as a blur comes skidding to a halt on cracked ice outside the looming and tan-colored ice-crusted structure of the Coler-Goldwater Memorial Hospital. Dropping to her knees and staring wide-eyed down at the ground, Clara breathes in deeply and turns to look up over her shoulder at Daphne and Odessa. "We— just— sprinted across the Hudson River!" One of Clara's gloved hands waves out at Daphne with blue eyes wide. "The laws of hydrostatic friction are staring at us and screaming obscenities!" Shouting this from the dignified position of her knees in the snow-plowed parking lot, the cold suddenly feels much worse when time speeds up. It must have something to do with the near thirty mile per hour wind.

Daphne backs away from Clara when the other threatens to toss her cookies curry in the snow, wrinkling her nose. "I don't know about hydrostatic friction but I look at it as skipping stones, even if I'm not all that flat — my feet are, right?" the speedster quips, looking up at the building where a Hiro awaits a trio of heroines. "Sooo… if you can stop time," Daphne addresses Odessa, "we should just be able to waltz in and bring him on out, right? Wheelchair probably, or a gurney — those things can take your power all right?" The question is tossed to Clara.

Daphne backs away from Clara when the other threatens to toss her cookies curry in the snow, wrinkling her nose. "I don't know about hydrostatic friction but I look at it as skipping stones, even if I'm not all that flat — my feet are, right?" the speedster quips, looking up at the building where a Hiro awaits a trio of heroines. "Sooo… if you can stop time," Daphne addresses Odessa, "we should just be able to waltz in and bring him on out, right? Wheelchair probably, or a gurney — those things can take your power all right?" The question is tossed to Clara.

Odessa stumbles and falls into the snow when they come to a stop, content with laying on the solid ground for several moments in her red wool coat and black leather gloves protecting her from the chill. She lifts her head slowly and nods, holding up one finger. "Un instant, s'il vous plaît."

Once she's sure she isn't about to lose her curry in the snow, Odessa pulls herself back to her feet and holds her hand out toward the hospital before them. "I don't know the layout of the building," she murmurs, "so no running off ahead." Her brows furrow with concentration, then she nods. "Allons-y."

Breathing in deeply, Clara pulls herself to her feet, brushing her gloved hands off on her thighs. "I— don't really know what it looks like in their either. Just— I have an idea." Clara looks askance at the other two, trying to regain a touch of her dignity as she walks towards the automatic front doors of the hospital. They slide open slowly, leading in to a breezeway. There's a rush of warm air from this space, and then as they emerge on the other side, an absolutely packed lobby of the hospital. Nurses and doctors are moving at frantic pace through the halls, the waiting room is packed.

A young woman sitting with a baby on her lap tries to wetly suppress a cough into the corner of her arm, an overweight man in a puffy jacket that makes him look even larger reads a copy of Guns & Ammo which might be the most inappropriate thing to leave in a hospital waiting room to read, a pair of Hispanic teenagers bicker back and forth with each other in Spanish, a mostly unshaven old man sits with one leg crossed over the other with a dog-eared copy of Birds of South America laid out in his lap, blue baseball cap ratty and torn, and standing just twenty feet away from where Odessa, Clara and Daphne are in the lobby—

—Matthew Parkman.

"I don't care how many people you have to move out of there I want him isolated in his own ward until we get a proper medivac to get him out of here." Silvery gray hair clipped short atop a round face, dark eyes and a black wool jacket. Though with one arm bound in a sling, Matthew Parkman looks far less threatening than normal. "Nakamura doesn't go anywhere until we can move him, do you understand?" There's a point of one of Matt's thick fingers at the chest of a hospital administrator.

"Wait, what—" Daphne whispers, but Clara's already forging ahead and so she follows, a nervous hand reaching up to tuck more of her hair under the ridiculous hat she wears that isn't going to make her blend in any time soon — but then neither would she without the hat. Maybe she can convince everyone she's some Olympian from a sport no one cares about. Synchronized duck hunting or the like.

"Shhh, listen," she whispers and gives a nod to the man giving orders. "Is he trying to help him?" Daphne is still conflicted, worried about what will happen if they try to rescue a dying man — but now that Odessa's a doctor. She turns to look at Odessa. "You can do as much for him as they can, right?"

"That's what you think," Odessa murmurs as she waves her hand and freezes the packed lobby. It's jarring to have all that activity and all that noise suddenly cease. "Does anybody else recognise that guy from the television? I do. Pretty sure that means we're in trouble if we don't move fast." A look is shot to Daphne, "Which is your department, I believe?" She rounds the desk where a nurse sits typing at a computer. Odessa places her hands on the back of the woman's chair and wheels her away from the desk so that she can get in there and search for Hiro's record, and thus his whereabouts.

"Room one-twelve, looks like." Odessa carefully returns the screen to its previous state and pushes the nurse back into place. In the back of her mind, she wonders how many times Nakamura's done something similar with his own ability.

A look is spared to Daphne again and Odessa jerks her thumb toward Parkman, "No way is he going to help Hiro. And I'm pretty sure I know of only one person who could possibly offer better care right now than I could. And I have that man's phone number." Mohinder, you have got to make yourself harder to Google. "Trust me. I'm not going to let him die."

Looking around, eyes wide, Clara seems a little out of her element as she stumbles past Odessa. "Okay, okay…" Clara's eyes flick from side to side, looking through the hospital, "this— is weird having all these eyes on me and time still being frozen." Swallowing tensely, the blonde looks over to Daphne, then finally notices Parkman's figure frozen in the hall. "Wing— where? Which— which way is the room?" Brows tensed, Clara takes a step to the side and looks over at Daphne, then towards the brown plaques on the walls with number ranged.

"Okay over… over here— why is my heart racing?" She asks aloud, breathing in deeply and exhaling a shuddering breath afterward. "101 through 120, this way…" Clara treads a few fet footsteps ahead of Odessa and Daphne, then stops at the double doors after passing by Parkman, looking back over her shoulder to Odessa.

"How— how long do they stay like this? Frozen?" There's a furrow of Clara's brows, eyes flicking left and right before looking back to Odessa, then over to Daphne, then back again. This is making her feel very much like she did in Antarctica, terrified.

"Come on… and yeah, that's a good question — how long, and how wide a range you got? I mean… if they're frozen but we walk into a buncha people that's no good…" Daphne says, glancing at Odessa, though she keeps moving. Standing still, in her mind, is usually a waste of time, even when one has as much of it as one might want, thanks to the company one keeps. "Come on — if I go through this door, the world stays frozen, right, little snowglobe girl?" Her hand pauses on the double doors, peeking through the slight crack between them to make sure that there are no orderlies walking around on the other side — or worse, people with masks and guns and hazmat suits.

"However long I need them to," Odessa assures. "I know what this room looks like frozen, they'll stay frozen up until the time I see fit to unfreeze them, or if I lose my concentration." The so stop distracting me goes unspoken. "We come up to another gaggle of people, and-"

Odessa finally just scowls at the other two, "Why don't you let me worry about this? I've been doing this sort of thing since I was a kid. I know what I'm doing."

She sighs, keeping one hand held out toward the waiting room, fingers twitching minutely as though manipulating the tension of threads of time stretching out beyond them. "Walk through the door, they stay frozen. But you should probably let me go first so I can see if I need to work my magic in there, too." Not one to keep them waiting, she takes one last sweep of the room, committing its image to memory, and then hurries down the hall to the room Hiro's been relegated to.

It's like a game of Red Light, Green Light, except as long as Odessa's staying focused it's just a game of Red Light, screw you! With Clara stumbling down the hall nervously, the blonde's gloved hands wring together, her eyes flicking from one frozen face to another. "I'm… so used to not seeing people's eyes like this, it's— it's haunting." By the time Clara's walked past one of the frozen doctors, Odessa's already hustled herself halfway down the hall, past door after door after door of sick and frozen patients.

In the lobby, the older gentleman with the blue baseball cap closes his Birds of South America book, laying it in his lap. Slowly he comes to stand, chin tilting up as he looks down at the frozen teenagers in mid-argument, hands raised in warning gestures, one of them almost flipping the other off. His eyes flick over the wire frames of his glasses, tongue slides across yellowed teeth, and he begins to walk forward towards the double doors to the east wing's isolation ward.

Room 112's door is as plain as all the others, a faux-wood finish with a narrow window on one side. Through the glass, Odessa can see an empty isolation ward hospital room, with a plastic curtain drawn around the bed, veiling whoever rests inside. "Well? Well?" Clara blurts out as she comes up behind Odessa, resting a hand on the shorter blonde's shoulder, rising up on her toes and trying to spot Hiro through the window.

Daphne glances at the seemingly empty room, but for the curtain. "Got it? You see the room, you ready to go? 'Cause I'm going. Hospitals give me the creeps, and it's somehow even creepier, like she said, with all these blow-up doll doctors and nurses." It also reminds her of a certain dream, and she half expects Marilyn Monroe in a nurse's uniform to turn into a freak from a video game and chase her.

"Ready? Going in," she warns, before pushing into Room 112 to see if Hiro's behind the curtain.

Odessa stiffens up and turns to sloooowly look over her shoulder first to the hand resting there, then at Clara. "You go in first. If Daphne and I don't watch you go in, that means you're using your ability, right? I don't see anything in there, but I don't like the looks of the curtain." Clara's abject terror is beginning to rub off on a normally confident Odessa.

"You go in, I count to five and turn around and observe you. Five is a good number, right?" Which is about the number of deep breaths Odessa is going to take as she finishes formulating this plan. One… "I'll send Daphne in with—" It seems that Daphne is already ready to go in. Two… "Okay, fuck it. Just go. I'll watch the hallway. Shout if it's anyone but Hiro behind that curtain, you got me?"

Somewhere in all of that, Odessa said something, and Clara is stumbling through the door with Daphne, looking back over her shoulder to Odessa at the door. Clara stumbles as she hears the beep-hiss-beep-hiss of a ventillator. Her back arches, throat tightens and the blonde takes a few steps deeper into the hospital room, creeping past Daphne and up to the curtain, gloved fingers drawing it back with a shaky hand. Clara breathes in deeply, then exhales a sigh of relief when she sees it's just Hiro.

He looks just like she remembers him, save that he's got dark stubble all over his chin and his long, dark hair isn't bound into a ponytail, just laid out around his shoulders. There's an oxygen mask on his face, and thankfully he's not intubated. "Okay he— it's him!" Clara shouts, turning back towards the bed and creeping over to Hiro's side.

"Nnnh— " comes the reaction to Clara's hollar, and Hiro groggily opens brown eyes, staring blearily up at the ceiling. "A— Ashite…" Hiro murmurs, turning to settle his eyes on Daphne, lips creeping up slightly into the faintest hint of a smile. "Yaeko hime…" he offers in a tiny, weak voice.

"Oh man he's delirious," Clara murmurs, taking a step to Hiro's bedside, her hand laying on his. "I— also do not speak Japanese." Blue eyes flick over to Daphne inquisitively.

"I… me neither, except like domo arigato, Mr. Roboto," Daphne says, staring at Hiro — a very, very real but very very sick Hiro. "Hiro Nakamura," she murmurs, her eyes wide as she stares at him. "We're here to help you. My name's Daphne… We've met before," she says, her voice matter-of-fact as dark eyes glance around the room. Finally she spies a wheelchair in the corner and pulling it close to his bed. "You need to come with us." The tiny blonde moves to his side, pulling his legs over the side of the bed and moving him into a sitting position. "He got a jacket in the little closet thingy?" she asks, shooting a glance at Clara, before shrugging and just wrapping the blankets around him. At least with Clara's power, the cold isn't much of an issue.

Three… Odessa's shoulders sag with relief when she's told it's just Hiro in the room. She spares a look down either side of the hallway and then pokes her head into the room, keeping one hand outstretched toward the lobby. Four… A moment's hesitation passes before she slips into the room entirely.

Swiftly, Doctor Knutson pulls off her winter gloves and on a pair of rubber gloves from a dispenser by the door. Snap! It's difficult pulling them over her broken fingers, but she manages. "Hiro," she says in a clipped tone, reading over his chart and then looking over the top of it to her patient. "Mite kudasai." Please look. Her Japanese is not the greatest, and she only knows a few basic phrases, but she's been occupying her time with study of the language, so she may as well give it a shot.

"Daijoubu. Kite." She can only hope her limited vocabulary is reassuring. Odessa stands next to Daphne and carefully begins pulling connectors from the man's body, flicking a button on the machine when it seems to think the patient has flatlined. Once free of all of that, she's assisting the speedster in moving the time and space master to the wheelchair. Five…

In the pit of her stomach, something doesn't feel right.

There's a noise Hiro makes in the back of his throat, tongue rolling slowly across his lips. "Nnn— Nakamura?" Hiro breathes out, shakily starting to get up from the bed, the aches of the flu's ravaging of his system causing him to tremble in Odessa and Daphne's arms. "Kensei," he corrects them weakly, "Takezo Kensei." There's a hitch at the back of Hiro's throat, his brows furrowing, and he looks up to Odessa with a strange expression on his face.

Sniffing at the air, Clara turns to the side slowly, looking over her shoulder to Odessa. The blonde takes a step away from the bed, sniffing at the air again. "Does… anyone else smell smoke? Like, something burn— " something catches Clara's eyes. The blonde takes a step forward again, this time dragging that plastic curtain back the rest of the way. When it pulls away from obscuring the wall, there's a framed picture of two ring necked Canadian Mallards in flight over a pond.


Immediately Clara freaks out, turning around just in time to see a tile of the drop ceiling smash down followed by a pillar of swirling black smoke lit by intermittent crackles and sparks of flame inside. The column lands as though it had weight, column down to hit the floor and then become a rolling black carpet of darkness. There's a flickering snap from the cloud and a low harmonic rumble as Clara is launched off of her feet, smashed against the hospital room's far wall, then another, then up against the ceiling and then finally thrown against the heart rate monitor, smashing her head against it leaving a bloody streak.

The smoke swirls around, dark and diaphanous beneath the blonde's feet, and Odessa is lifted up off of the ground and presses back up against a wall by an unseen hand. Daphne is bodily flung up and over Hiro's bed, toppling past him as she crashes to the floor on the other side. Hiro is thrown back against the wall behind Samson, invisibly pinned like a butterfly to a board waiting to die. A cough rattles from the master of Time and Space's lungs. But— he's awake. Hiro is awake and he's moving, which means…

He's recovered from the virus.

The pillar of smoke coalesces, forming into the shape of a dark and ashen man on the inside as it whirls around. Stepping out of the smoke as if walking through a curtain, a bald old man with gray stubble on his long chin bares cigarette-yellowed teeth to Odessa in a predatory smile. His eyes are wide in the way a Lion's are before it feasts, wire-rimmed glasses slouching down the bridge of his nose as he steps forward.

One hand comes up, slowly, pointing two fingers at the front of her head. "Shh," Samson Gray murmurs, and that shushing hiss seems to relax Odessa, soothe her, and suddenly she doesn't feel so much pain, so much fear, like the sweet touch of morphine in her veins. "You won't feel a thing, my dear."

"Kensei what? What's that mean?" the speedster says, turning to look at Odessa before suddenly the room is full of smoke and flying bodies.

Daphne lands with a groan and a clatter on the far side of the bed, head hitting the wall. She shakes her head and looks for the source of the clatter — a metallic clatter. She pulls herself up to her knees and her hands land on a bedpan — thankfully clean, but beggars can't be choosers even if it weren't. Both body and pride a bit bruised, she peers from her hands and knees under the bed to see what the hell just hit the room. One of these people in the room was definitely not invited to the party.

"No!" she cries, as the smoke man looms over Odessa, and the speedster rushes across the room in a blur of patriotic colors to bring down the bedpan on Samson Gray's head and push the man away from the blonde, the kinetic energy of her assault fuelled by her super speed.

Smoke. That's definitely why that last deep breath did anything but calm her. "Kensei," she repeats to Hiro, knowing the significance of the name from stories Adam once told her what seems like so long ago. "Watashi wa Kensei no tomo— tomodachi desu." Please let him parse that. Odessa's head snaps up when the curtain is pulled back, the rustle of sound making her jump.

It's nothing compared to what follows.

"CLARA!" The blonde doctor is making a hurried attempt to cross the room and pull the other woman to her feet, when she's thrown up against the wall herself.

In the lobby, time resumes. Someone in charge of Homeland Security might be very perturbed by the alarming commotion coming from Room 112. And with the hold on time released, so too ends the restriction on Daphne's ability.

Odessa watches Daphne go flying ass-over-tea-kettle with wide, frightened eyes. It doesn't immediately register that the terrified screaming filling the room is coming from herself. Kicking and thrashing, tears fall down Doctor Knutson's cheeks. "Help me!" Very few times has she found herself so without control, and each and every time it has frightened her to no end. "Please!" she begs when the smoke forms into a solid being. "You don't have to take it from me! I can help you! I can teach you!"

But would it really be so bad? It's so easy now to just relax. He said it won't hurt, so why put up a fight? Maybe it won't be what she thinks…

"Please…" Odessa repeats in a whisper, the last of her will given so little voice.

"I'm not the student," Samson offers in a wheezing breath to Odessa, flesh splitting on her head and hot blood beginning to run down the side of her face, "I'm the m— " The moment the bedpan strikes Samson in the back of the head he jerks forward, smashing into Odessa and letting out a yelp as she and Clara both are released to the floor. Samson breaks apart into a whirling cloud of growling smoke, billowing up and filling with an ashen thickness before a sonorous hum sends Daphne crashing through the hospital window and out to the snowy bushes outside, bloody glass trailing behind her.

The smoke cloud whirls, turns and rises up into the air, filling with a billowing thickness before slamming the door shut and turning around. There's a flash of fire flickering and popping inside of the smoke, Angelina's ability manifest in those sooty clouds. Hiro, bent over the wheelchair slowly pushes to his feet, grabbing the metal IV stand with both hands, legs shaking. "Watashi-wa Takezo Kensei!" He proclaims loudly, chest rattling with fluid and a bruise already blossoming on the side of his face.

He should have seen that coming. That's what's running through Samson's head. He should have felt Daphne coming, but he didn't. Something is desperately wrong. As Samson reforms from the cloud of smoke, there's another telekinetic smash against Odessa, pinning her to the floor by her throat and another hand goes out towards Hiro, knocking the drip stand from his hands and then yanking him through the air towards Samson.

"You're the one I came for…" Samson breathes out the words in a rattling breath, and at the hospital room door, people are pounding, trying to get it to open. Samson's lips pull back into a thin line and he raises his hand, two fingers pointed towards Hiro's head. "With what you have…" Samson wheezes, "with what you have… I can finally be a father to him."

As the shearing sound of a telekinetic scalpel begins to slice across Hiro's forehead, the temporal manipulator screams noisily, his eyes wrenching shut and hands clutching tightly into fists where he is held in the air. "Yamete! Yamete!!" Hiro cries out as blood rolls in a thick line down his forehead, Samson's lips draw back into a an expression of seething anticipation and his—

Sixty-Five Years Earlier

Berlin, Germany

April 30, 1945

By the time Daphne Milbrook's eyes open, rainwater has slicked her blonde dreadlocks and plastered them to her cheek. Brown eyes stare languidly at her own reflection in a shallow puddle she lays in, swirling crimson from the blood of fresh cuts on her cheeks, forehead and hands. Loose glass lays on the ground all around her, dark brows twitch, and the speedster feels tired.

The splash of boots in the muddy ground are slow in pace, patient in their approach. Blinking blearily, Daphne's dark eyes stare at the supple black leather of the boot, her lips working to form words but not quite managing them. She swallows, dryly, looking up to follow the gray pant legs with a black stripe up the side and then to the scowling visage of a weathered old man with oval glasses perched on the bridge of his nose. Blue eyes stare coldly down at Daphne, and when the soldier turns to the side, Daphne can see the crimson arm-band with black and white horror crossed as a Swastika below an eagle, a sign of rank.

Another man approaches, younger and in similar military uniform, and Daphne can hear the sounds of a truck rumbling up the dirt road. "Wer ist sie?" Ask the young soldier, pointing down to Daphne. The old man looks back and down to Daphne, shaking his head slowly, the corners of his thin lips downturned disapprovingly.

"Ich weiß nicht…" the old man grumbles in a coarse voice, black gloved hands wringing tightly behind his back. He looks back to her again, noting the dark of her eyes, then back up to the young officer, "Möglicherweise werden die Amerikaner wissen. Nehmen Sie." He nods to Daphne, waving a gloved hand at her.

The young soldier salutes and moves towards Daphne as she begins to lose consciousness, crouching down to pick her up by one arm and help her off the ground. The last thing she hears, is the voice of the young soldier speaking to her in a hushed tone of voice.

"Ich hab ihr, Herr Volken."

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