Welcome To Another World


vf_edward_icon.gif vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_magnes_icon.gif vf_ruiz_icon.gif vf_woods_icon.gif

Scene Title Welcome To Another World
Synopsis Liz and Magnes awaken to find themselves… well you saw the title.
Date November 8, 2011

The Hub

The last thing they remember is the screaming, the crushing weight of gravity, and the blackness. Nothing.

The first thing they feel after that, a slight pain in their necks, like someone stuck a needle deep into the skin there. The other aches and pains in their bodies seem to come after the first breaths. A creaking of metal, the flickering of fluorescent lights. The place also feels chilled, but much warmer than the Alaska they’d just been in.

At their first movements, they find their bodies unencumbered, a new change of clothes having been put on them. No armor. No bulletproof vest. Just simple, too big they don’t quite fit clothes. That’s when they notice their skin feels rough, as if someone washed them with a hard bristled brush, burning their skin. Their whole body aches, the more they regain consciousness. The more they move.

“— told you, I have no idea how they got in there. Nothing’s ever come out before,” a masculine voice can be heard from not too far away. As their eyes adjust, they see a man, dressed in work clothes, the kind that a janitor might wear. Light stubble covers naturally tan skin, slightly thick and curly black hair and brown eyes seem focused on who he’s speaking to, rather than those just starting to wake up.

“I want the answer to that as much as you do, trust me.”

The chill in the air is the first thing she becomes truly cognizant of, and instinctively Elisabeth remains both limp and still. Too many nightmares still begin with cold and with silence. As she surfaces further, she takes mental inventory of her pain… not so bad. Compared to other pain she’s experienced. Everything is relative, right? The low voice nearby draws her attention, though, and she struggles to force blue eyes open. The longer she’s unconscious, the more vulnerable — and she’s not having that.

Pulling in a slow breath, taking just a moment to gather her strength, Elisabeth forces herself fully awake and turns her head toward the speaker. Unconsciously she reaches mentally for her power, just in case it has to come into play, as she demands in a husky voice, “Where … are we?”

There are flashes. Flashes back to expanding, to his extended perception of his very existence. No… not his existence. Gravity? It was difficult to tell the difference. The ring, no, the sphere of his very being, the connection to the Earth itself, the Earth's connection to the sun, the interconnected state of everything orbiting around each other, orbiting around him. The sudden…

"AHHHHHHHHH!!!" Magnes shouts, shooting up from the ground, then falling to one knee as sharp pains take him right back down. He's shaking, looking around. He touches the ground with both hands, then looks up at the sky. "I can feel it all… it's so fast… it's huge… I can't…"

He suddenly vomits.

Right on to someone’s shoes.

Oh fer fuck’s sake!” The shout comes from a hawkish blonde man, leaping away from where Magnes emptied his stomach contents. His brown jumpsuit looks like it might belong to an industrial technician; tall boots, heavy work gloves, belt full of tools. A name tag on the uniform says Harvey, crossed out with a line of black marker. Below it is scribbled, Woods.

“Mateo, y’can’t just — they’re obviously sick!” Woods throws an accusing point in Magnes’ direction, “I don’t care if they fell straight out’f yer ass! They’re goin’ in the incinerator b’fore every-bloody-one dies!” The British man steps around the dark, concrete-walled room, lips downturned into a frown, blue eyes wide, face red.

“Un— fuck’n —believable,” Woods mutters again, scrubbing one gloved hand at the back of his head.

And they’re awake. Rather violently as there’s vomit on Woods boots. Mateo shakes his head, trying to hide the hint of amusement at the situation considering it’s also very dire. A sense of humor keeps the world from being too depressing to live in, sometimes. “I don’t think they’re sick. They’re not running a fever. And I administered the negation drug, too.”

Negation. As Elizabeth reaches for her power, she’ll feel that there’s nothing there. That dullness that comes with negation. Possibly explaining the pain in the side of their necks. He reaches to grab a bucket from the wall and holds it out to Magnes, in case he needs to do that again.

“And Ray said not to kill them, incineration or otherwise.” He sounds like someone in charge, and someone Mateo expects the other man to know.

Stepping closer, he offers a gloved hand to the blonde woman. “You’ll be fine. Don’t mind, Woods. He just doesn’t want to turn into a puddle of cherry cobbler.”

Elisabeth is already moving into an upright crouch, ignoring all the aches in her body, her blue eyes both wary and watchful on the two people in the room. The word incinerate has a very specific effect. Although she doesn’t take the hand proffered to her, she moves to stand slowly and doesn’t go on the offense either.

“Who are you people? Where the fuck are we?” And then she pauses and narrows her eyes on the two men. “And I swear to God, if you’re talking about Edward fucking Ray, he better get his ass in front of my eyeballs this fucking minute.” Her tone is part incredulity, part demand, and part just flat out pissed.

Magnes starts to stand up straight when he grabs the bucket with one hand, holding his head with the other. "It's gone… it's in the back of my mind, like, I can't shake the feeling. It's gone but it's so… it's so vivid…" He stares down at the ground, shaking. "The Earth… it was moving, it was so fast, and it was held there by the sun like glue, and the moon pulled against the Earth…"

He winces, feeling a sharp pain in his head. "I need to find Eileen, or Huruma…"

Seemingly starting to get his senses together, his mind beginning to catch up with the present, he looks to the two men, then Elizabeth. "Where are we? Where's Adel?"

Woods levels a look at Mateo, one brow raised, then looks back to Magnes and Liz with a wrinkled nose. “Well, my name’s Woods, this’s Ruiz,” he jerks a thumb to his far more tanned companion. “An’ you’re in the crematorium, so… that’s something, in’nit?”

Shaking the vomit off of his boot, Woods steps around the room and reaches into one of his worksuit’s pockets, retrieving a piece of paper and looking it over. He eyes Liz, then Magnes, then tucks the paper back into his pocket again. “Ruiz, mate. Mate.” Both of Woods’ brows shoot up to his hairline. “M’tellin’ you, they’re sick with somethin’. Listen t’that one,” he waves a hand in Magnes’ direction. “They’re probably teleporters on fuckin’ drugs or somethin’.”

Then, angling a suspicious stare, Woods brows furrows. A second option comes to mind, one that has his jaw set and neck tense. An option he doesn’t vocalize out of fear for the possibility.

Edward fucking Ray causes Ruiz to raise a surprised eyebrow. Which might be all the confirmation that Liz needs that he did, in fact, mean Edward fucking Ray. With a glance toward Woods, he doesn’t seem inclined to honor her demand and go get him, as he does not head toward the heavy metal door that seems to be the only exit that isn’t into an incinerator. Instead he focuses on the kid, who’s talking nonsense. Mentioning names.

“They didn’t teleport in, I told you that,” he mutters at Woods, as if he had already explained where they came in. And it didn’t involve teleportation. “What’s the last thing you both remember?” Woods might be freaking out, for good reason, but Ruiz does look toward him again, perhaps picking up on the terrible ideas that the other man might have. “And what do you think the date is?”

Sounds like Ruiz didn’t want to think of the possibility either, but— he’s at least willing to find out.

Elisabeth is nothing if not observant after all this time. Ruiz’s glance to Woods makes her step slightly sideways, in a semi-protective stance nearer Magnes. If they’ve both been negated, unconsciously she must assume he’s going to be the weaker link here if shit goes down. Looking between the two men, Liz tells Magnes very softly, “Shut it, Magnes. Don’t say anything else for a minute.”

She considers what to say, her gaze moving to the man clearly more in charge — Ruiz. “The date?” Liz murmurs, her brows pulling together. “November 8th.” With her wits slowly catching up, she asks warily, “How long have we been here? Wherever the fuck Ray has tossed us this time.” And then with one more pause, she adds, “And don’t think you’re gonna be throwing either of us in an incinerator without one hell of a fucking fight. I didn’t yoinked through a fucking black hole to get my ass burned — I’d rather be crushed, thanks so much.”

She’s perhaps just a hair on the perturbed side. Though it’s not exactly obvious, she’s also struggling to keep a panic attack from roaring into full-blown screaming mimis — being negated is not a great place for her to be. “Where do you think we came from that you’re talking about fucking incinerating living people in a crematorium?”

"I was a black hole…" Magnes suddenly grabs his forehead, wincing. The detachment from Earth, the hunger his ability felt… the hunger he felt. Not simply a hunger in the pit of your stomach, but the primordial forces of the universe that ask nothing more of you than to consume.

Swallow the Earth, the moon, the planets, the stars…

"Ugh!" he shouts, snapping himself out of it again to try to be present. "My body is so heavy, I can't move right." he informs Elisabeth, looking to the apparent exit. "Let's leave."

“Yeah you’re not goin’ anywhere,” Woods rather firmly states, arms crossed over his chest and head tilted to the side as he gives Magnes the stink-eye from a distance. The talk of black holes makes Woods give an incredulous look to Ruiz. But then when he settles back on Liz, its with a roll of his eyes and an exasperated sigh.

“Okay, alright, Jesus.” He unfolds his arms, waving hands in the air. “We’re not gonna’ throw you in the bloody incinerator. M’just a bit, you know— y’came out’f bloody nowhere!” He spreads his hands around, as if to show where nowhere is, unhelpfully. “You’re in a bloody disposal facility, tha’s why there’s the crematorium. Tha’s why Ruiz is here,” Woods jerks a thumb over to him. “Because tha’s how we get rid’f the infected bodies. Which,” Woods’ lips purse to the wide. “Ruiz assures me y’aren’t. So.”

Blonde brows rise up to his hairline, and Woods levels an expectant look at his companion. “The fuck d’we do now?”

“November 8— well it was the same day still,” Ruiz comments, looking at the both of them. He almost asks a question, but instead gives the answer that he hopes to hear, “It’s 2011. You’ve been here almost two hours.” At least long enough to get cleaned, stabbed in the neck and… apparently undressed. He won’t even apologize for that cause he’s sure someone else might have just pushed them into the incinerator.

But if it had been someone else, they wouldn’t be here.

“You’re not getting incinerated, but he’s right, you can’t leave.” He focuses on Magnes, all the mention of black holes. “Do you want to go get Ray? Cause she apparently knows who the old bastard is. And he might be able to answer some questions.” Cause he still has more of them.

Probably all of them do.

When Woods starts talking about 'not going anywhere' in that vaguely threatening tone, that's when Elisabeth's left eyebrow shoots up in an Oh, really? expression that has made experienced soldiers quiver in their combat boots. Challenge accepted. And then when he gives in a bit and stands down, she too eases back a bit. Her eyes shift back toward Ruiz. "Infected….."

Elisabeth frowns again, her expression confused. "With what?"

And then when Ruiz requests of Woods to go get the old bastard, that brings a glint to those blue eyes. “Yes, do go get the old bastard,” Elisabeth encourages in a silkily polite tone. “I do believe that it’s about time he and I had a few words face-to-face. And I highly recommend since he’s already given instructions that we’re not to be killed,” yes, she has a good memory for what’s been said already, “that you let him know that if he keeps me waiting on his sorry ass for too terribly long? I’m going to start getting really. Fucking. mad.

"Edward Ray is that guy Cardinal hates or something like that." Magnes is never entirely clear on all of that. "If Elisabeth wants to see him, I'll go get him if you'll only let me. I never met him or anything." He shrugs, though he still seems to be in a lot of pain/discomfort.

He holds the bucket firmly. He has a tendency to think of everything as a weapon, due to his ability, though he has to remember that he doesn't have access to that right now.

However, a bucket is still a bucket… "I'll do anything if we can stop standing here all day. If you're not going to kill us, then tell us what we can do! I'm Magnes J. Varlane, by the way."

"Fine," Woods grumbles, continuing to grouse to himself as he goes over to the metal security door. "Bloody do this Woods, an' do that, oh an' don't mind the bloody apocalypse zombies, oh an' can y'get a man's throwup on y'boots too? Lovely!"

When Woods yanks the door open he lets out a high-pitched scream and leaps backward, one hand on his chest. "Bloody Christ Edward, don' do that!" Standing in the doorway, just about to knock, is the slim and healthy frame of one Edward Ray.

As Edward eyes Woods there's a mild smile. "Sorry, James. Please, go take a break you seem like you need it." Woods looks back at the others, then exhales a breath through his nose and slips out as Edward slips in to the room. Bereft of his glasses, Edward Ray seems more pointed in his features. There's dark circles under his eyes, his cheeks are thin and he looks underfed.

"Mateo, thank you for seeing to our guests." Edward walks by, resting a hand on Ruiz's shoulder briefly before walking closer to Liz and Magnes. Jaw working open and closed, Edward's eyes narrow and he looks between the two with momentary uncertainty.

"You're… Elisabeth Harrison?" Edward squints. "I recognize your face from the newspaper. One of the victims of the 2008 rocket attack…" Then Edward looks to Magnes, squinting again. "I… have no idea who you are."

Ruiz leans in. “Magnes J. Varlane,” he adds with a shrug.

Edward looks back to Ruiz, staring vacantly for a moment with one brow raised. "A girl didn't come through? Brunette, twenties?"

He doesn't wait for Ruiz's answer. Instead, Edward looks back to Liz and Magnes with the apologetic smile of a doctor who has bad news. "I'd say it's a pleasure to meet you both, but unfortunately our circumstances imply otherwise. But, wherever it is you're actually from, I want you to know you're not prisoners here. And, ah," Edward looks at Ruiz, then back to Liz.

One of Edward's brows slowly raise. "Why… ah, is she glaring at me like that?"

While the sudden appearance of the older gentleman might surprise Woods, it’s the blond man’s reaction that startles Ruiz. Edward Ray always did seem to have amazing timing on things. Not to mention giving strange instructions. “No, no girl,” he responds, shaking his head. “Just these two, falling out of el umbral.” The Spanish word means threshold, but the Latin root comes from shadow. It’s his not so affectionate name for his ability.

“I started using it for disposal instead of the incinerators like you told me to,” he adds, contradicting what Woods had thought he did with them. He’d stopped using the incinerator. At least for now. Maybe now he understood why. “It took an hour to get whatever she was wearing off of her,” he gestures toward Elisabeth Harrison, who now has a name.

Someone who, apparently, was supposed to be dead.

“He said he turned into a black hole. And she that she entered it.” And came out the other side? “And she knows who you are. She called you Edward fucking Ray.”

She's no brilliant scholar. Elisabeth is an educated woman, but she's assuredly no chess master nor is she a physicist. She is, however, also not stupid. Time is not a line. How many times has that been said recently? And what did she see in those moments when the Mallett Device went off?

The jagged tops of broken skyscrapers jutting upward from a roiling ocean. Sea birds fly through the air, and a bright sun burns overhead. There’s something echoing in everyone’s ears, a tinny and staticy broadcast, as though over a ham-radio. THAT SONG over the radio.

Her head spins. What did Richard shout in those chaotic moments?

”I don't need Adel to tell me what happened! I just got back from your future! I had your goddamn tablet in my hands, I know everything you did!” A future where the children grew up in a wasteland, aborted supposedly when they all came back. But was it?

”A girl didn't come through? Brunette, twenties.” Adel….?

Elisabeth's knees can't hold her up anymore and she dizzily tips and takes a knee on the floor, one hand bracing her. "No," she whispers in horror.

El umbral, the tanned man said. The umbra — the shadow of the moon in an eclipse… solar flares. She heard news about solar flares, she knows she did. Something about disruption of broadcast signals. And Magnes creating a black hole in the air above them while the Mallett Device opened a … portal of some kind to a world that was flooded. A future that they had aborted just two years ago.

"One of the victims of the 2008 rocket attack…" She'd escaped that death. The blonde is visibly panicking, ghost white with a clammy sweat breaking out on her whole body as she shakes. Infected. The people they’d incinerated on the Narrows, living vectors of a catastrophic virus. A future where over 90% of the human population was killed — another aborted future.

"No, no, no…" Confused blue eyes come up to Edward Ray and she chokes out, "In all your fucking string maps, you still didn't understand." She herself barely understands what her brain is putting together. "Time is not a line. And you put him on this fucking path… and he lost his mind, trying to change it all, over and over, building that fucking machine. God damn you."

Magnes has no idea what's going on, he doesn't really know about all of these aborted futures, he's never really been one who truly kept up with what he was doing. He knew he was doing good, he knew that innocent people were being hurt, he never really thought about it much beyond that, mostly because it's all kind of confusing.

He stares at Edward Ray, he's pretty sure he's never met this guy, though he's heard of him, sort of. "Hold on!" He holds his hands up, with bucket, a bit more aware now. "We're in a zombie apocalypse and you negated us? I know you all have personal stuff, but we have to get back, I have to make sure everyone's okay, I have people I need to see again, Elisabeth does too!"

Dramatically pointing his bucket at Edward Ray, there's a deep creasing of his brow as Magnes looks dead serious now. "I need my ability back, we need to find a way out of here. And isn't this kind of suspicious and coincidental? Elisabeth, think about it!"

He shakes his bucket at Edward Ray. "Why did we just happen to come out into Evil Dead Land, after Evil Cardinal just happened to trigger my ability with French or whatever, and we just happened to come out in a place, of all the places in the entire world, that's run by this important guy? That is really coincidental!"

Stomping forward, he tries to push his bucket forward into Ray's chest a few times, for emphasis. "And you know what else? Physics-wise, even though I realize that I don't know the exact nature of my ability, Evil Cardinal had to know that there wasn't enough mass for him to do what he was supposedly trying to do!" Squinting, now, he seems to have really awakened into full form. "Tell me what's going on or I'm going to beat you with this bucket!"

For the first time in a long time, Edward Ray is speechless. He gapes at Magnes, brows furrowed and wide blue eyes just staring in the way one might at an impossible unusual traffic accident. Like an accident where a truck full of clowns is broadsided by a bus or orphans and it's impossible to tell where clown parts end and orphans begin leaving you to wonder why?

Helpfully, patiently, Edward places his hands on either side of the bucket and gingerly takes it from Magnes and hands it off to Ruiz as an afterthought. Curling one hand closed, Edward places it to his mouth, starts to talk and then stops. He sweeps that hand over his cheek, lifts the hand away with an idea — which is promptly aborted — and he just covers his mouth with his hand again and stared vacantly off into the distance for a moment.

“Magnes, I can see why we don't know one another,” Edward quietly offers, followed by a soft exhalation of breath as Edward rubs a hand at his forehead and tries to piece this together.

“Let—” Edward strains, pinching the bridge of his nose. “Let me — get this straight. You both fell into a black hole that you,” Edward motions to Magnes with one hand, “caused because — “ nope, he skips the French part. “Because reasons, and… you wound up here, thanks to Mateo’s ability.”

Rolling his tongue across the inside of his cheek, Edward raises a gently warning hand to Magnes as if to indicate slow down champ. “Details of whatever that all means aside, allow me to reciprocate and catch you up on where it is you are, since I'm of the mind that you're not who I was expecting.”

Breathing in deeply, Edward exhales a slow breath. “You're in the substation below the Consolidated Edison Power Plant in Queens.” Edward’s blue eyes sweep around the room. “Your abilities are negated because if they weren't you may well be dead. Topside, the world is succumbing to a virus called Shanti-Rage. In non-evolved it grants spontaneous Evolved powers and causes the body and mind to deteriorate until — ” he looks at Mateo, then back to the others, “ — until cell death results in liquefaction of organic tissue. In the Evolved, it strips you of your ability and then causes neurological degeneration until you become a vegetable or suffer catastrophic organ failure.”

Rubbing one hand at his chin, Edward looks down to the floor. “Infection risk is high and mortality rate is 100% since a regenerator succumbed to disease and it evolved. The only inoculation are regular doses of a drug called adynomine, which chemically suppresses whatever genetic traits it is that makes us the way we are. It also suppresses the virus in non-evolved as well.”

Looking aside, Edward’s expression falters and his stare becomes more distant. “As of 2011 the estimates are that 82% of the entire world’s population has died. The survivors are being hunted down by the individuals who released the virus — a paramilitary organization known as the Vanguard, led by a man named Sylar.

“As for… going home?” Edward looks helplessly at Liz and Magnes. “I'm more than willing to try and lend help to you, in whatever home actually means. But…” Edward’s brows furrow. “I have a feeling that's a longer conversation. But right now I don't even know for sure where you're from, let alone how to send you back.”

Edward manages a weak, sardonic smile. “I'd hoped to deliver the bad news over something like dinner, but— “ he spreads his hands exasperatedly. “Here we are.”

Now this kid? This kid’s funny. Ruiz can’t help but grin when he watches Magnes talk, threaten with the bucket. When Edward hands it over to him, he even gave a joking, but true, “I gave it to him in case he threw up again,” in the form of an apology. That wasn’t really an apology. But he turns to put the bucket back on the wall where it belonged. He would need that later.

Thanks to Mateo’s ability. That statement earns the scientist a raised eyebrow. He shakes his head as the man continues, trying to explain exactly where they are trapped and what they have to do to keep taking the injections if they want to avoid— well— dying. It’s something that those here have lived with for too long. “I stopped taking the injection because you told me to use my ability for disposal for a few days. You knew this would happen.”

It would have been nice if he’d explained why at the time, he had taken it as they needed to conserve fuel, which had been needed for almost all incinerations. “I have an ability that could be similar to a black hole, I suppose. It draws in and destroys everything. It changed, it turned… colors, then the two of you fell out.” No one had ever hijacked his ability before, cause that’s what it felt like to him. He even touches his nose as if checking to see if he still had blood there.

“Nothing’s ever come out of it before. Who knows what would have happened to you if I haven’t been using it.”

Elisabeth’s mind is spinning so fast, she barely seems to register that she stands slowly. Blue eyes take in Edward with a baffled, stricken expression, and as he starts to talk, she is shaking her head negatively at various points. She does manage, just barely, to keep herself from interrupting him, struggling visibly for calm despite obvious signs of severe anxiety. He’s confirming all her worst fears. And Magnes is right… it’s convenient as hell. But given what she did to the Mallet Device… it’s a reasonable possibility.

Swallowing hard, she looks at Magnes and then back to Ruiz and Ray. She covers her face with both hands and shoves them upward, yanking her long hair backward to the nape of her neck where both hands then rest. She pulls in a deep breath and lets it out very slowly on a deliberate count of ten.

“So… very very long story less long….,” she begins, “in our world, we stopped this eventuality. The human vectors were killed before they could infect anyone. I’m not one of the theorists or science people… but my best guess would be that we got here by virtue of some kind of quantum-level interaction between some or all of Ruiz’s power, Magnes’s out-of-control power, some solar flares, and a major malfunction of the Mallett Device — which was built by a man from still a third future… no, let’s just acknowledge what it is… a third REALITY that we know about.”

There’s a subtle tremor to her voice, a faint stammer evident in some of her words despite her stern control of it. “Time t-t-travel sucks and someone needs to shoot Hiro N-n-n-Nakamura if he’s still alive. Because I’m pretty goddamn sure this all started because he wanted to make the future he saw better. But I’m truly starting to b-believe that just by knowing what’s coming and trying to avert it, you’re making it worse and worse.”

Elisabeth looks… somehow beaten down in this moment. She fights to subdue the stammer completely — it’s a throwback reaction. “Basically what I just said out loud is the sum total of what I sort of understand about the possibility of parallel timelines. The basic concept of it is simple, but … the specifics of understanding it and what it meant to us? Totally beyond the scope of my education.” She releases her grip on the back of her neck and slowly brings her arms down, crossing them over her chest. Her voice is very low when she completes the thought.

“And beyond the understanding of the man who ultimately used the device as well. So… I would venture to guess that unless you have Dr. Mallett alive to help us figure out the physics bullshit… we may be well and truly fucked on going home ever again.” Tipping her head, though, she hesitates a moment before asking curiously, “Who developed adynomine here? And who exactly were you expecting?”

"So I'm stuck here in a zombie apocalypse with no ability? Uggghhhhhh!!!" Magnes starts pacing around, in a bit of a panic. "Fuck, fuck, fuck!!!"

He isn't taking it very well.

"Wait a minute, Vanguard, that's that thing. What about Kazimir, Eileen or, uh, I mean Munin? Vanguard is being run by Gabriel?! Ughhh now I know it's stupid, Gabriel is always doing stupid stuff and his motivations never make any sense!"

He crosses his arms, considering a few things. Peter was Kazimir for a while, he never met the real Kazimir, but if people were fooled that easily, then he must have done a good job of pretending. The pacing continues, he shuts up and goes into thought for a few moments, rubbing his chin. "If Kazimir is alive I can maybe talk to him. Why is Gabriel the leader of Vanguard instead of Kazimir or Munin? Why is Gabriel the leader of anything?"

A few things are considered again. Names, details. "Is the virus airborne? And what about healers, like Abigail Beauchamp?"

Uncrossing his arms again, he looks over at Elisabeth, then Ruiz, and points at him. "My black hole opened and, somehow, thanks to a bunch of stuff I don't understand, his ability turned into a white hole, both of which together formed a wormhole. We've basically just confirmed a theory that there was previously no scientific evidence for. High five!" He holds up his hand, as if trying to cheer up Elisabeth. "But really, I think I understand now, based on what he's saying about his ability. We didn't time travel, we didn't time travel at all. I think there's a good chance that time travel might be bullshit, Hiro probably doesn't understand his ability, just like I didn't really understand mine."

He stares up at the ceiling, sighing. "It's a theory among physicists that black holes open up a hole in the universe, but they don't really know what happens, or if there's even an inside. But one of those theories is that it forms a wormhole, and a white hole spits you out somewhere, maybe in a different part of the universe, maybe in a parallel universe entirely."

Holding up a finger, as if to indicate where they are right now. "This is a parallel universe! Which means that we've confirmed that there are most likely infinite parallel universes. Every time Hiro goes back in time, or into the future, he creates a multiple parallel universes every time he arrives." He suddenly spits onto the ground. "There's now a universe where I didn't spit, but with Hiro, the implications are far more enormous. And then you enter into a chicken or the egg scenario. Did the parallel universe already exist, or did Hiro just arrive in it? It's a paradox, really!"

Inundated with opinions, questions, theories, and accusations Edward gives a wide-eyed stare to Ruiz. Breathing in deeply he pinches the bridge of his nose again. “You just described string theory,” Edward quietly opines, one brow raised. “But that's neither here nor there at the moment.”

Wetting his lips, Edward goes back through the hastily assembled mental list of questions. “Elisabeth, you and Magnes seem to have a much more firm grasp of physics than you let on. That said, let's not make assumptions without empirical evidence.” But then, they're here.

“I had a suspicion about Mateos’ ability. After I learned what it was there was a greater than zero statistical chance that one of the times it opened, something would emerge. Based on my predictive models, I assumed it would be an Asian woman between twenty and thirty years old.” Edward eyes Liz and Magnes. “Obviously my predictive models aren't always one hundred percent accurate.”

Drawing in a slow breath, Edward tucks his hands into the pockets of his jacket and paces around the room. “I'm— surprised you know Ronald Mallet, or at least of his research.” Edward levels a look to Liz. “He is— more likely was a good man. As for the adynomine, I don't know. One of our scavengers, K-Mart, found a cache of it. I think he and Peter might know where it was manufactured. But I sent Peter on a long-distance reconnaissance expedition out of the city, he's not due back for at least six months.”

Turning to Magnes, Edward steadies himself and removes his hands from his pockets, clasping them together. “The Vanguard is— I suppose technically still under Kazimir Volken’s leadership. The woman you spoke of, Munin? She's here, with us. She turned on Kazimir, right around the time Kazimir took control of Sylar’s body, or however that works. I'm honestly not clear on the details — I don't think Munin is either.”

Edward takes a few steps around Magnes, gesturing as he talks. “This universe may seem parallel to you, but it's home to us. Furthermore, until we can figure out — precisely — just how you came to be here, it's your home too.” That much brings a frown to Edward’s face.

“I have some theories, but until I review some data I won't hazard them as guesses.” Edward motions to Magnes and Liz with one hand. “For the time being, you both need to get used to the fact that you may be here a while, until we can work this out together…”

Edward tucks one hand back into his jacket and ends his circling of the room back by Ruiz. “The adynomine is likely making you nauseous, you need to eat to mitigate that feeling and also to keep your strength up. Mateo can show you to the galley, such as it is, and get you set up with somewhere to sleep for the night. We— had some space open up just recently.”

Frowning, Edward looks to Ruiz, then back to Magnes and Liz. “There's one hundred and sixty-seven people living here below Con-Edison.” The very place where Conrad Wozniak died, Liz recalls. “Myself, Mateo, and Mister Woods are the only ones who know about who you are and I'd like to keep it that way for now. Upsetting the balance of a situation like this, introducing chaos to stability, could cost lives. Not just your own.”

“Not everyone here is as open-minded as I am. People are angry, desperate, and can act unpredictably. They likely won't know who you are, but if anyone figures it out…” Edward shrugs, “lie.”

Edward doesn't know what else he can do for them. Not now, possibly not ever. “I'll want to talk to you later, but— later. Yes. If you need anything else, Mateo knows where you can find K-Mart.”

It had been a risk to be off the negation drug for any time at all. But Edward had been doing that for a long time now, so Ruiz had been willing to take the chance for the community. Even though he’s a glorified garbage man. Their description of other timelines hits a particular chord with him, but they only hear a soft whisper of “«El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan»”

It had been from a book his mother used to read to him. One of the few things he kept with him from travels up to the north. The garden. Of forking paths. Where all possibilities were real, where every possible world existed, in a twisting garden of time.

Time is not a line. It’s a maze. An infinite twisting labyrinth. And they’d found a way to break through from one side of the maze to the other.

And wanted to a way home.

He couldn’t blame them.

“I know where K-Mart is.” He’s the go to man for supplies. “And I’ll show you both around, but yes, keep being from another world to yourselves.” He can already imagine the chaos that could happen, people who would suddenly see hope in the possibility. Even he felt it. And the way the young one kept rambling it might happen even if the adults all agree.

“So you want me back on the shot now? Or do you want to wait and see if this Asian woman comes through?” It’s the last thing he will ask of Edward, because, well, he’d like to not get sick. But there might have been a very good reason. Edward often seemed to have those. It had kept the hundred and sixty seven of them alive more often than not.

Elisabeth chews on the corner of her lip, but she nods decisively. “Magnes,” she say, turning to the young man with stern blue eyes, “I realize how hard this will be for you. You're a blurter… But you will keep any conversations about who we are, where we’re from, or alternate realities behind your teeth. We are not here to make waves in their reality … And whatever we do here could be catastrophic for all of us.” She watches the young man closely to be sure he will follow her lead here, and there's a warning tilt to her chin that he might recognize from Apollo days — she has a reason and she doesn't want to speak of it while the strangers are around.

"EILEEN IS HERE?!" Magnes suddenly lights up, trying to jump, then looking down to the ground when he just immediately lands on his feet again. "Ugh it's so weird how I can't just jump."

"Wait a minute, I remember the time they said Kazimir was in Peter's body, but I think it was just Peter pretending to be Kazimir? But I don't really know how any of that works." He starts pacing again, because he can't really sit still, his mind is racing, there's a lot of thoughts, a lot of stimulation. "Well, I know I can keep a secret."

He pauses for a moment, considering. "Wait a minute, back when Eileen was Munin, I think she threatened to kill me. But she probably had a good reason, she usually has a good reason for what she does. She's really nice, you know, and wise."

Nodding to Elisabeth, he quickly agrees. He knows that she knows what she's doing better than he does, really. "It's alright. I should probably figure out how to fight without gravity. Hiro's sister taught me a lot but it's difficult being this heavy."

“I’m— not sure you’ve ever met Munin,” Edward opines with one brow raised and rapidly widening eyes. “I… please exercise caution around her, she’s —” Edward squints one eye halfway shut. “She has a large collection of knives.” Clearing his throat, Edward rubs one hand at his temple and looks at Magnes with a side-eye before making his way close to Ruiz.

“Keep doing disposal of the marked parcels, but…” Edward lowers his voice, “I don’t think we’ll be expecting anyone else, and… I don’t know if there’s anything we can do for these people.” Brows furrowed, Edward manages something of a consoling smile as he looks back to Liz and Magnes. “Elisabeth, perhaps once you’re settled in we can talk? Just,” he glances at Magnes and then back, ending his sentence with an awkward you understand smile.

While the boy says he can keep a secret, Ruiz looks toward Ray in one of those ‘he’s not very good at keeping secrets’ expressions. After all, he’s telling two strangers in another world a lot about his own world, in a ways that’s… very confusing. “Even I avoid Munin,” he admitted, with a small shrug of his shoulders. But why he says ‘even I’ is left up for interpretation. Like he might be more able to deal with her than most.

Sometimes. Or perhaps she just doesn’t care enough about the man who disposes of bodies and other trash to even stab him.

“There’s not a lot of fighting, usually. Unless you join one of the scout teams.” Those who stay within the factory, though— “ The goal of their group is to avoid detection, avoid fighting. Cause once Kazimir finds them, the only hope for survival would be to run.

No one can fight Kazimir.

“Come on, I’ll lead you to your rooms and find some supplies for you. We’ll say that K-Mart found you.”

And hope that no one in the Underground knows who they were.

Elisabeth gives Magnes a skeptical look. “If you tell anyone besides Edward and Ruiz anything, Magnes…” The warning trails off but the expression in her blue eyes warns Magnes that there will be Hell To Pay if he messes up.

Blowing out a small breath, she nods slightly to Edward. “Give us an hour,” she instructs quietly — it’s not an order, but she’s also not acting like she’s going to just let Edward Ray dictate her actions. “A better debrief on your world will be helpful.”

Slanting a look between the men, she repeats, “We got found by K-Mart.” The blonde pauses briefly and smiles a very faint quirks of her lips. “Gotta love the supply sergeant,” she murmurs under her breath, as if the words bring back a good memory.

Then she follows Mateo Ruiz wherever he takes them, watching and taking in every detail.

"Eileen seems rough and murderous and all of that, but actually she's very kind and caring. I doubt that much has changed between worlds. She shows up at your door, looking all pragmatic, and then, like…" He clears his throat, following them as he tries to do an Eileen impression, speaking in a soft monotone as if that sounds anything like her. "Magnes, it is okay, I understand how you feel, here is some wisdom that I was told when I was younger."

"And then she walks around touching things, ugh she's like a beautiful bird!" He shakes his head, then just continues to follow. "Well, we can't stay in here forever. I'll have to learn how to fight and scout. We're in this world, so I guess we have to fix the zombies and beat Kazimir. I'm sure there's some future painting or a prophecy somewhere that tells us what to do. Even if we have to stay here for a long time, we can figure out how to win, we always win!"

"I mean except that time I turned into a black hole…" he quickly adds.

Angling a look over his shoulder as he begins to lead Elisabeth and Magnes out of the room, Edward stops mid-stride and squints. He looks back at Magnes, head tilted to the side, then to Ruiz, then back to Magnes.

“You know that most of her childhood wisdom came from —” Edward closes his eyes, closes his mouth, shakes his head. No, you know what, nevermind.

Some battles can’t be won.

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