Time's Up


alexander_icon.gif helena_icon.gif peter_icon.gif

Scene Title Time's Up
Synopsis Time is like a river, you can throw an obstruction in its path, but time — like a river — will find a way to return the flow to its proper course.
Date February 4, 2009

Moab Federal Penitentiary

The Moab Federal Penitentiary is an expansive multi-level prison designed by the United States Government in cooperation with the Company. The prison rests on sixty acres of government owned land in Moab, a remote and mountainous region of Utah bordering Canyonlands National Park. The prison is an enormous and fortified concrete structure containing both above-ground and subterranean prison cells. The above-ground cells feature narrow windows looking out over the prison grounds, and are known as Green Level, each progressive subterranean level is likewise color-coded, from yellow, to orange, to red. Only the most dangerous Evolved are detained on Red-Level, and are in sealed isolation chambers tailored to their specific abilities.

"Please state your name for the record."

It all began so simply, with an ideal; Freedom. The remembrance of Cameron Spaulding's legacy was a fist thrown to the air, not in violence, but in defiance. Phoenix was — is — the realization of his legacy. But every great ideal, every rebellion eventually finds its end. Some end in fire, some end in shame, and very few end in what could be called a success. Phoenix was founded on the belief of rising from failure, into something greater, something miraculous. The Phoenix rose, and the Phoenix burned, and once more it has returned to its ashes.

"Do you or have you had in the past, association with the known terrorist organization known as PARIAH?"

The last several days have been a blur, one series of interrogations after another. Windowless concrete cells kept Helena Dean and Jesse Alexander Knight company, solitary imprisonment without trial or access to a lawyer. The throbbing migraine that lingered for a full day after their capture was a parting gift to whatever strange power subdued these captives. Days alone, days with only one-way glass and a voice speaking from the other side over a speaker to keep them company. Worst of all, days spent powerless.

"Did you have any prior warning to any of the terrorist attacks that took place in New York City on Wednesday, January 28th 2009?"

Where once strength and superhuman ability existed, there was now a sense of hollowness and emptiness, as if everything that had made them unique, made them special was stripped away like so much paint from an old board. But the discomfort of the days following the defeat of the Vanguard paled in comparison to what awaited the detainees of Homeland Security come today. Taken in the middle of the night from their holding cells, rendered unconscious by the same horrible and suffocating sensation of paralysis that had overcome them before, captives of the Manhattan Holding facility never got to see dawn's light that morning.

Only drug-hazed darkness.

"Were you ever aware of or did you ever partake in any activities with the intention of undermining the government's authority in regards to the Linderman Act?"

The throbbing pulse of a helicopter joined the blurred haze of chemical-coctail that sedates those undergoing transport from the Manhattan Facility. A seven and a half hour transit, handcuffed in a seat in partial-awareness of their surroundings.

There were seven of them on this particular helicopter, a large cargo chopper guarded by United States Military. Everyone detained aboard shackled together, dressed in matching gray jumpsuits with sequential identification tags on the right side of the chest.

"Did you participate in or did you have prior awareness of a plot to firebomb a Homeland Security holding facility on March 26th, 2008?"

Once the helicopter lands, each row of detainees are taken from their seats, led out in single-file lines, hands and ankles still shackled together, with a connecting chain binding the legs of each prisoner in a row to one another. The bleary sedatives that had been administered before the flight begin to wear off, causing the haze of slate gray skies to seem crisp against the sharp lines of a mostly concrete facility built into the hillsides of a mountainous and unfamiliar location.

"Did you have prior awareness of a plot to unleash a biological weapon on New York City on January 28th, 2009?"

The women and men are separated from one another, send to walk side-by-side with a twenty foot high fence dividing them, armed prison guards escorting them across a gravel courtyard towards the looming gray building. Razorwire lines the top of the fences, tall watch towers with armed guards surveil the arrival of prisoners from the helipad.

"Are you or have you ever been a member of an anti-government terrorist organization?"

This is the reward of heroism.

Helena gave them nothing.

Over and over the questions were asked, over and over Helena refused to answer them. Her lack of weather sense left her feeling exactly as described - hollow and empty, but that emptiness, that lack of power became a hole she could retreat into. She could feel nothing, and so she could give them nothing, only stare at the walls of her prison, lying on her side, mouthing the words to every ABBA song she knew to try and keep from thinking of things, not too hard, not too loudly.

Helena almost weeps when she sees the sky, even with that dull ache of nothing still inside her, even with her connection severed, she's always favored the outdoors and being under the sky. She treasures every second of it, knowing she may not see it again for a long time. Bleary eyes trace her surroundings, fall on a familiar scarred redhead. There is only the faintest widening of her eyes, a mix of joy and despair. Alex is alive. She is not alone. He too, is captured. Where are they?

Alexander does not speak Italian. He's learning, haltingly, courtesy of Teo and now and then Lucrezia. His accent is lamentable when he tries. But as he casts eyes on the concrete buildings, taking one shuffling step towards it at a time, one phrase comes to mind, clear as a bell to any listening telepath or snoop.

"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate."

He's remained staunchly mute throughout the ordeal, saying nothing. There's nothing to say. He's caught. Presence is confession enough, so he doesn't deny, demur, prevaricate. Merely stares with a trapped animal's desperate silence. His skull rings like a cracked bell, that terrible tinnitus that has him shaking his head as if in denial. But he does stir himself to some awareness on that slow walk, only to stop short when he sights Helena, making the line back up behind him and a guard come striding up to hustle him along with a few blows from the but of a rifle.

The fleeting glimpse of one another is just that, fleeting. Long and awkward silence permeates the crowd of sulking shoulders and hugs heads, not a familiar face in the crowd. But if these people gathered here are not members of Phoenix, then who are they, and why are they here? The prison guards all bear identical identification on the sleeves of their jackets; the seal of the Department of Homeland Security, and a branding of the logo MOAB in capital letters in sky blue on white.

It's just like Edward said.

Alexander and Helena's lines are led into seperate doors on identical but mirrored sides of the facility. Each prisoner is led one by one through a screening process where they are unchained from the line by two armed guards, escorted across a large room towards a curtained off partition where asterile and cold steel table awaits. Each prisoner is urged to lay down, and some struggle — some fight. They're rewraded for their efforts with pepper-spray and mace, forced down onto the table as the physician administers an injection. The curtain, likely, is to keep the act of what transpires to each captive private.

When it comes Helena and Alexander's turns at the curtains, there's no privacy, no secret. "If you could lay down, please. The less you struggle the less this will hurt." Their lines are reiterated to every patient, a male and a female doctor, respectively, administering an enormous needle to the underside of the jaw, "This is a one-time injection designed to suppress your post-human capabilities, rendering you harmless to yourself and your fellow inmates."

So many guards, so many guns. despite being separated by a concrete wall, the notion that they aren't alone in this, that there is some shared fate here is the one thread of companionship that can be clung to. That this isn't a private, personal nightmare.

Designed to suppress… and suddenly, Helena's resolve to stay placid, to keep in that hollow core, it almost audibly snaps, and she begins to squirm and struggle, to lash out as she shrieks, "No!" To take away her ability, not just suppress it. That's what she thinks. "No! NO!" She doesn't fight clean, either. She claws, she kicks, she bites. Though she be but little, she is fierce.

Unfortunately, for a petite little thing like herself, it won't be enough. A strong-armed guard or two is all it will take to exert the force needed to keep her down.

There's an ugly phrase Al used to hear bandied about the precinct, back in the halcyon days when he was a protector of law and order. Suicide by cop. Those suspects not willing to yield, but unwilling to take their own lives in the usual fashion, determined to be gunned down.

He never thought he'd be one of them. He failed with the pistol, back in the polluted snow in Jersey. Al wastes no time in futile struggling. He goes straight for the most lethal weapon on the nearest guard, moving with surprising quickness for someone so recently emerged from the haze of sedatives.

The struggle is always the same, two unarmed prison guards restraining the resistant, bringing her down to the table where arm restraints are applied and her shoulders are held down. A strap is brought over Helena's head, binding her back to the cold steel. "You shouldn't struggle," the doctor states again, face concealed by a white facemask and protective goggles. The needle, inches long, is brought down just under Helena's chin and pressed up towards the base of her skull. It's excruciatingly painful, made more so by thrashing and jerking against her bonds, against the men holding her down.

The needle is withdrawn with a dribble of amber-colored fluid and a droplet of blood. A white curtain does not mask the sounds of screaming, or the obvious struggle.

Alexander's fight goes as well, hands still cuffed and ankles shackled together, his quick but jerky motion for one of the guard's tasers is rewarded by the sudden crack of a baton against the back of his head, sending him down to his knees, stun gun clattering out of his hands to the floor. Then, with a piercing sting, he feels the sharp crackle of electricity in his body, tensing muscles and breaking his resolve. Yanked to his feet, there is a brutal spray of mace across his eyes, and he is hauled to the table, strapped down and forced to endure the same needle, lodged deep below his chin, scraped up against the base of his skull, it almost feels like it grinds against bone, or punches thorugh it — the pain is almost unbearable.

"That one, send him down to yellow-level." One of the prison guards barks after Alexander is injected, and he is drawn to his feet, jerked away from the table and hauled off in front of the other prisoners. Helena's treatment, more mild, is still stiff with reaction to her struggle.

When Helena is yanked up from the table, carried arm-in-arm by MOAB guards, she once again is reunited with Alexander on the other side of the screening room. She can see him through a wall of bars, struggling with prison guards, and dragged out of his screening room, Alexander can see Helena once more through bars, being carried by her arms through an open hall.

Helena has never been pretty in her grief, and she feels ashamed on so many levels right now. It's the sight of Alex that lets her pull herself together, forces her to at least try and compose herself, make her legs move so she's not altogether dragged. Her eyes flick only briefly at him as they pass each other - she seems to sense that right now, indicating allegiance or alliance or camraderie will make things worse for them both. She swallows, her face briefly permitting her fear to show before she shoves it down hard, trying to keep her face neutral, closed.

Al tries not to dignify it by screaming. But he can't keep as silent as he longs to - there's a horrible, strangled sound from him, even as his body thrashes. God, how it hurts. As bad, in its way, as when the IED went off. He's gray with pain when they frogmarch him away, but even as he's dragged, there's a last, desperate glance at Helena. He mouths a word at her, silently.


Escorted through a series of security doors and small, sealed rooms, Helena is eventually led across a long hall lined with barless cells. The exterior doors nothing more than iron slabs with a sliding view slot in the front, and were it not for the immaculate and brand-new condition of them, it would have all of the charm of the maximum security wing at Alcatraz. Cell after cell, each numbered in descneding order, and Helena is brought back towards the end, numbers counting down and down.

Alexander is dragged in a different direction from the other prisoners, brought towards an elevator awaiting his arrival, the crackle of radio communications from the prison guards giving them advance alert of his changed accomodations. The last Helena sees of Alexander, is a profile-view of his face as he is pulled into the well-lit elevator, watching his eyes as the doors slide shut, swallowing him up into the belly of this concrete beast.

Al is a limp bundle in the arms of his guards. The time for fighting is over. He's failed at his last attempt at winning his freedom, and now there's nothing left but to endure. His breathing is ragged, hissing in through clenched teeth, but he says nothing. No whimpers, no protests.


Each cell looks identical from the outside, with no indication that there is anyone inside at all, how many cells are already occupied, but the sheer number of holding cells indicates that this prison was designed to detain thousands of people.


Behind Helena, she can hear the sound of metal doors sliding open, prisoners behind her being shunted into their own confines. Yet she's led on, far and away from the others.


"You'll spend the next two hours in your cell," The guards try to sound accomodating, as if they're escorting her to the penthouse at the Ritz Carlton, "After which time, provided you've calmed down, you'll be let out for dinner. Men and women share joining cells, but dine seperately." How many times has this guard given this speech, how many people are already detained here?


"After dinner, you've an hour of recreation time in the field provided good behavior, then it's back to your cell." They're trying to be cordial, trying to afford some level of humanity to people treated like so much less. "Lights-out is at nine, and your cell is automated and will turn off all electricity at that point."


"Breakfast is served at seven in the morning, same accomodations as dinner. Your cell has a private shower, you may use it whenever you wish. Toiletries will be provided for you by Moab Facility Staff." No mention of contact with the outside world, no phones here, no ways to tell anyone where she is, to come get her, to let her out.


"If you misbehave," She's absolutely alone here. Alexander is gone, the other prisoners are being located in cells further down the line from hers, why is she being segregated from the rest of them? "You'll be moved to a higher security area which will afford you less freedom of movement within the facility."


"You will be given a daily injection with breakfast that will aid in suppressing your post-human capabilities, allowing you to remain a neutral threat to yourself and those around you. Refusal to take the injection will result in punishments." The guards begin to slow, having nearly reached the end of the long hall. "Attempts made to escape the facility will result in the use of lethal force without warning."


"You will have access to a closed-circuit television in your cell that will allow prison staff to contact you in the event of an emergency of in the event of a visitor," They speak as though nothing has changed, as if this isn't the last place Helena Dean will ever see in her life, "If you request to recieve religious broadcasts they will be afforded to you. Any attempts to disrupt the peace of the facility will find those rights revoked from you."


"And here we are." Stopping outside of Helena's cell, a guard manipulates the keypad lock, followed by a security key which unlocks the exterior sliding door which swings out on hydraulic hinges. Within is a small breezeway that leads into a concrete cell, blocked off by another door of bars. The key is used again to unlock this door, and Helena is led into the ten foot by seven foot cell. A concrete slab with a thin mattress and rolled up blankets will serve as her bed. A poured concrete bench seat and table, with a small flat-screen television mounted to the wall above it. The floor is recessed, featuring a drain and a shower near the door. Thin ventillation ducts line the ceiling, just a few inches tall. "Welcome to your accomodations, Miss Dean."


Straightening her spine and lifting her chin, she takes a look at her accomodations. She refuses to allow the foreboding that she feels take her over as she steps inside. She idly wonders about such things and books (maybe) and newspapers (probably not). Turning around, she faces her captors from the inside of her accomodation. She refuses to look at it as anything but temporary. She could say something glib, but merely holds her tongue; studies the faces of her captors. Waits for the doors to clank shut.


It's hard to remain steely when the bars finally rattle shut, when the steel doors close and the cell is left to the glow of caged lamps in the ceiling, and the thin sliver of open sky visible thorugh a narrow and tall window on the opposite wall from the entrance. For a long, long few moments, Helena is left by herself in her prison jumpsuit and slippers, finally unshackled and left… what, alone? The walls and floor radiate with cold, despite the attempts of warm air to filter in from the vents near the ceiling.

Then, fate.

"It's been a while," A voice, distorted by the vents calls out from one of the opposite cells. It's hard to make out at first, over the sound of the forced air moving through them. "It sounds like… I'm not alone in here finally." The tinny reverberation of the voice echoes quietly in the vents, "It's not so bad here. Just… don't do anything stupid, don't try to be a hero." There's a momentary, bitter, pause. "It never does any good to."

It takes Helena a moment, and then she moves to sit on the bed, pressing her cheek and palm to the cool wall. "I won't." she promises, her voice cracked and dry-sounding from her vigil of silence and then sudden outburst earlier. "How long have you been here?"

There's a pause, awkwardly placed, after Helena's question. "Almost a month, I think. I was the only one here for a long time, I've only just started hearing other people…" Once more the vents go quiet, and the cell itself is almost as silent as a tomb, save for the distant rattle and clank of doors opening and closing somewhere further down the line. "It'll be okay, I promise." The voice seems resigned, even as it tries to bring a modicum of hope. "My — My name's Peter. Peter Petrelli…"

"What's yours?"

Helena closes her eyes, turning her head so her forehead is against the wall. For a long time she is silent, perhaps so long that he may even wonder if she's there any more. Taking a breath, the words come across strained, tired.

"It's Helena, Peter."

"And I don't believe you."

February 4th: Half Pain

This is the start of a Storyline…

Next in this storyline…
No Going Back

February 4th: No Good Deed...
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