2008-02-24: Magnum Opus

Season 3 material

Starring:

Angela_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: The past, present and future are all connected because of one desire to be better.

Date It Happened: February 24, 2008

Magnum Opus


Angela's Townhouse

Angela Petrelli uses the sitting room of this Manhattan mansion for its intended purpose: sitting, waiting. As per usual, she appears every bit as much a powerful businesswoman as she does a socialite. In her brown jacket, boldly piped with black, including the stark collar risen at her neck, the woman is a monotone figure surrounded by bright colour choices in the lovely room itself; ochres, whites, warm woods. Perched on the edge of a white couch, glancing at an elegant watch every so often, she doesn't do well sitting still. The sounds of the street — the rumble of traffic, the honk of taxis — directly outside filter in through the seams of the vast house, but seem far away.

One of those honking taxis ended up letting a young man out a half block away. Traffic wasn't moving very fast, so walking seemed more appropriate. Peter's bundled up in a warm coat, clothed in layers under that. The cold may not have bothered him as much before… It's probably for the best, though. There's a firm knock on the door announcing his arrival at the front. Sure, he could appear inside, or possibly do more to get in, but he just knocks. Called ahead, knocking on the door… this is very different from their usual meetings. Part of that may have to do with the visible presence of bruising on his jawline. Faded naturally, the bruise has almost healed, but the fact it hasn't yet…

Angela immediately rises from her seat, although she doesn't rush to the door; gradual footfalls, telltale heels, click their way sharply over the extravagant tile floor. The inside door is pulled open, and Peter's mother looks at him from behind the wrought iron and screen. "You look like hell." In other words: hello Peter, it's nice to see you, won't you come inside? The bruises get a critical look, instantly and totally realizing the meaning of their presence. She opens the outer door with a touch of urgency now, ushering him in with a wave of her hand. "You must be freezing. Come on! In out of the cold."

"Been hearing that a lot lately," Peter says in a hoarse voice, almost laughing a little as he steps inside to get out of the cold. The coat doesn't come off yet, but he does wipe his shoes off on the mat and begin to toe them off so he doesn't walk around the house in shoes that trudged through melting city street snow. Stepping onto the floor with his much cleaner socks, he moves deeper into the house and turns to face his mother. "I saw dad," he says simply.

The doors are closed behind Peter, rattling slightly. "And now you can't heal," Angela says, filling in what could be an end to Peter's statement on her own. "Count yourself lucky to be alive," she points out, nearing her son and laying a hand on either of his shoulders, looking into his face. She smiles, faintly, a certain melancholy character present. "Tell me what happened."

"Can't do a lot of things," Peter admits softly, shrugging his shoulders. That hasn't stopped him from doing what he can to help people, but it's made him push toward tough decisions… "I was following someone I found out was working at Pinehearst. Invisible. There was… a security situation. Dad came out into the hall and ordered some people to come with them. I followed— he knew I was there. So I grabbed him and teleported out before anyone got hurt." It'd been the best idea he'd had at the time. Little did he know? "Do you know if they got Claire out?"

"Claire is safe," Angela says with a hint of reassurance; a reassurance that drops away and shatters as she adds, "If not sound. I suspect they got what they wanted from her. I can assure you Noah is keeping her close to his vest." Moving past Peter, patting one of his shoulders as she goes, she heads into the sitting room. Arms fold within the strict confines of her jacket as she keeps her back to her son.

The relief is pretty obvious on his face. Peter figured they'd gotten her out of there, because he can't imagine Noah would stop until he did, but by the time he recovered from teleporting his dad out and crashing into an IHOP… he didn't really think there was much more he could do to help. "You could've warned me that he could take abilities," he says, looking across at her with a frown, frustration lowering his eyebrows. "Have a feeling you could've warned me about a lot of things."

"You would have gone all the same if you thought you could help." Angela turns about, moving a few paces closer once again. "If you want a warning, here's one: Pinehearst is trying to change the world. It will be nigh unrecognizable as the world we live in, even as crazy as it gets now, it will be nothing like what it will be if your father succeeds."

Of course he would have gone, but just as he's taken consideration for his state into account, Peter likely would have been more cautious around him, had he known. He's just glad that a certain ability kicked in to save him before it got to be too much. "They claim they're trying to make the world a better place. Isn't that what you say your Company is doing too?" he asks defiantly, keeping his hands in his coat pockets as he watches his mother. Even with the defiance, he softens a second later. "Considering who's in charge of it, I don't think they know what's in the best interests of the world. But I think they're going to get a lot more people on their side just because of their tactics."

Angela's demeanour does not match her son's; defiance is not part of her patchwork today. Stoic and confident, but not defiant. She's done enough arguing for her side. She does not deny the accusation about the Company, nor does she confirm it. "Your father and … brother … are playing with fire," she says. "I know what Pinehearst is working on, at least in part; something that should have stayed buried like we decided years ago."

"I don't know what they're working on besides their cover stories… health care, saving children in African…" Peter figures that they're doing their best to make a good name for themselves, while getting things out of it. "I know what they did to Claire, and I know they were stock-piling her blood for later use, but other than that… how do you know what they're doing? Something you guys worked on together when you and dad were still on the same side?"

"Claire wasn't the only assignment that night," Angela offers by way of explanation, going on to say, "And yes. It was wildly successful back then, but we — not just Arthur and I, many of our generation, the Founders of the Company — agreed to end the project. We'd changed the world enough. It was time to watch it grow. Them. Our … projects." She turns to stroll through the sitting room, first toward the window, looking out on Manhattan, before moving to the fireplace where she looks up at the vast, colourful painting above the mantle. She's not admiring the art; her thoughts her in the past and on the future. "If you want the truth — if you're going to be in this, if we're going to stop Pinehearst…" The matriarch faces her son, stern-faced, "You'll have to put what you think you know behind you. The truth is not so idealistic as you'd like to believe. Then, real truth so rarely is."

"I know things aren't ideal, mom. I killed someone," Peter says thickly, strain in his voice. Something he's been living with for quite some time now. He follows to stand a little closer to her, without actually standing within reach. He's not trying to touch her, or crowd into her personal space. The distance alone might show some of the tension and turmoil. "I do want the truth." There's that tension again in his forehead. He wants it quite a bit. "But if I'm going to work with you, in any way, you have to consider some changes. There's some things that you're doing… that you've done… in the bigger picture they might not seem like a bad thing, they may seem like they're for the 'greater good'… but because of one of your little projects… Bob Bishop is dead. I'm sure they would have found another way to get to him, but two people who were working for you turned were recruited by them, for help with what you've taken. And I doubt they're the only ones. Your Company has hurt a lot of people… and dad is using that against you."

"I can't change an empire overnight," Angela replies sharply, but for all her snapping words, her expression softens, in increments, with the ghost of a knowing smile. "The Company is flawed because humanity is flawed. It works because it's imperfect. I'm trying to change the system but I can't do it all at once." Is the softer side of the Company really on its way?

Peter is given a tight smile, broader this time, tired around the edges. Angela's voice, however, is full of its usual authority a moment later. "The past is the past, Peter; if I tell you this one thing, promise me you'll focus on the future instead of what's gone before."

"Things can change overnight, mom. A year and a half from now, you wouldn't have even recognized this country— this world." Peter speaks with knowledge of what he'd seen before, and at the same time he recognizes that it might be happening again, even faster. Logan's in charge of his brother, and if Pinehearst had anything to do with the last world he saw built… maybe that future isn't as changed as he hoped it had been. Maybe it has only changed in small ways. "I can focus on the future. It's what I've been focusing on as much as I can…" There's temptation to keep talking about things that she needs to change, specific things. But he settles back. "Tell me what's going on."

"…Sit down," Angela offers — commands? — with a gesture to one of the lovely sitting room chairs. Herself, she takes up the seat on the couch once more, folding her legs and momentarily fussing with the notepad beside the antique lamp that sits nearby. The stalling doesn't last long before her clasps her hands around her knee, sitting tall. "There was a formula," she begins, "It was designed to manipulate DNA, to make the extraordinary possible in ordinary people, and it worked. It gave people abilities."

Moving to settle down into one of the chairs, Peter stay silent as he listens to the first part, but something about what she's said seems to make him sit up just a little higher. "You're joking," he says, in some kind of drawn out. He knows she isn't, which is half why he says it. There's disbelief and shock. It's drawing on some memories that he happens to have. Six months old, but some of the roughest weeks of his life. Some of the most difficult to forget. Especially when so much of what he'd been trying to do had been to stop what he'd seen from happening. Focused on the future— that happens to be the past for him. "It worked?"

Nothing whatsoever in Angela Petrelli's demeanour would suggest in any way that she is joking. "Incredible agility… strength… people who can— " Can, not could; these are people still here today. "…manipulate fire, ice…" she lists them off, but by no means does the list sound complete. She gives Peter a very pointed look, brows raised in expectation of his reaction before it ever comes down the pipe. "…human flight, among them. It didn't just work. It was a scientific magnum opus. In the wrong hand's it becomes a Pandora's box."

"Son of a bitch," Peter says, no longer able to stay sitting down. He stands up and begins to pace a few steps before turning back to look at his mother. "That is what they were trying to do in the future I went to! Secret experiments on normal people stolen away in camps!" She wanted to eliminate it, so he doesn't get into a debate about the morality behind it, just the fact that this is one of the things he's already heard of. He didn't hear much about it, honestly, but enough to know it happened. Christ. Whatever happened to that paperwork that he gave to Elena and Cass that they'd gotten from Alaska? The data files were no good, but that paperwork… what if Cass still… "God damnit…"

Angela's dark gaze follows her son as he gets up, and she inches closer to the edge of her seat as if ready to spring up as well. She doesn't; instead, she loops up at Peter, hands on her lap. "I know. I know." She frowns. "Pinehearst doesn't have the formula." Silver lining! "They've started from scratch, and they've been unsuccessful in duplicating it." But what tests must they go through to get there? What experiments…? "They're at a disadvantage and we must keep it that way."

"What about all the innocent people they're going to hurt?" Peter has to be the one to ask, realizing that she may not realize just how far they could take it. "Hell, maybe all their health care intitives, all their 'social work' in Africa… what if all they're doing is gathering people in a more publicly friendly way that locking them up in camps?" Though there had seemed to be enough people willing to ignore what had been going on in the camps, but the testing, the breeding… "They are getting people on their side because… look at Ivanov and his wife. You have to know what they tried to do, thinking they would get their daughter back. Now… now he's willing to give his daughter to dad just so she can lose her ability, so that she can live a normal life with her family. When you could have just given her to them."

"I'm not suggesting that we sit on our heels!" the elder Petrelli answers, voice sharp. She looks particularly stern as she regards Peter, eyes shadowed by her brow as she looks up at him. "The Ivanovs' situation is complicated. We were working with the girl so she could control her ability, a very dangerous ability, I might add, when their patience ran out. You're straying from the point. I have no doubt Pinehearst's public image hides its true intentions, just as the Company hid behind Primatech for years. But Pinehearst is more upfront about their goals. They like publicity. What does that tell you?"

"I know what she can do, mom, but it isn't straying as far as you think. You could have given them more access, put them on the team training her, given them the supplies to do it themselves," Peter says, making stubborn eye contact for a moment. He doesn't repeat what he already said before. Now they're helping Pinehearst. Cause they think it will give them what they've been wanting for months. Their daughter. But… "I don't know, mom." He turns away in frustration. Why would they want to be in the public eye on their humanitarian projects? Why would they want to risk public scrutiny of tests they might start to do on people? Why would they have a Senator endorse them? A Senator who could have the ambition to be President, just like his future counterpart. … "They want to in the public eye…" he finally says softly. But it makes no sense.

Angela stands up, weaving in front of Peter to catch those stubborn eyes of his — ignoring all he's said about the Ivanovs and their tribulations with their daughter, everything the Company could have done for them. "Think, Peter," she encourages in a commanding hiss. "They want to give people abilities, they have a Senator with his eye on the presidency sharing the helm, what do you think is going to happen? You saw one outcome already. Publicity goes a long way in changing the world."

Think… It isn't as if he can't think about it, but the idea is… "They want to give people abilities— or to control what gives people abilities," Peter says softly, watching his mother. "In the future I saw, people without abilities were second class citizens or worse. If that happens again and one company controls what could make you better— what could give you freedom and power…" Okay. It does make sense, but it's disgusting. He can't help but shake his head. What kind of world would this be? The camps were bad, but this… "Some people will give anything just to be considered equal."

A slow inhale. Though he promised Ivanov he'd talk to his mother, she's not listening, but he can't just sit down and ignore it. "What do you need me to do?"

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License