2008-04-28: Ripples


Gene_icon.gif FuturePeter_icon.gif

Summary: A rock dropped into a still pond creates ripples. How many ripples often depend on variables beyond the control of the one throwing the rock.

Date It Happened: April 28th, 2008


Gene's Car

Of all the cars to be sitting in the back seat of, most people wouldn't choose the one with NASCAR-like mesh over one of the doors. The Pinehearst parking lot has cars of many shapes and sizes, some far more expensive than others. The closer the parking spot, the nicer the car tends to be. The quality of the car had little to do with the choice of a place to sit down, though.

Unseen, invisible, with only an indent in the seat as an indication someone might be there, Peter sits, staring straight ahead, watching a set of birds that have landed on one of the light fixtures in the lot. They take to wing, circle around, and land again in the same place. Occassionally they land on the lot, pecking for discarded bits of lunch that employees dusted off of their nicer clothes on the way back to their job.

The birds and their patterns have nothing to do with why the scarred man is sitting in the backseat of someone's car invisible, though. He's waiting.

With all the things that Gene has to worry about, invisible men are not one of them. Too busy to even consider taking his car into the shop, the young genius is clad in his usual business suit as he moves toward his car, just sighing as he sees the damaged ride. Moving toward the driver's side with hardtop laptop case, Gene makes his way into the car to begin his post-work ritual. The first thing is likely what will bother Peter, which will be the laptop case thrown right over his shoulder. While it is intended to bounce into the back seat, it might have a collision coarse with the invisible man.

Collision coarse it may have, but at least Peter notices it well as the computer is tossed over his shoulder. Surprises him, cause he doesn't expect people to carelessly throw their belongings as soon as they settle into a car, but enough of a notice to raise his hands and catch it. No impact with the seat. The invisibility spreads around it as he holds onto it as well. "Do you always throw your computers around?" he says in a surprised tone. Though he'd fully intended to wait until the car pulled out and they started to get further away from the building… there was a wrench thrown in the plan.

Or a laptop.

Only the voice of Peter spares him from a possible nasty fate, but Gene's finger is ready to press a button on the dash. "Usually it just lands on the back seat cushions. I don't have to deal with invisible people in my car that much. You keeping tabs on me now?"

It's a good thing voices don't change completely. The surprised tone also helped lighten things so that the raspier voice isn't quite as raspy as it could be. Helps to sound more like how it should. The laptop is set down on the seat beside him, reapparing unharmed, whil Peter himself remains invisible for the moment. There might be people outside who could see him, and he didn't venture here for a confrontation. Not today. "Depends on if taking an interest in what you're trying to do is the same as keeping tabs." The longer he talks, the more the tone settles in a lower raspier sound. Still his voice. Just… almost as if he's got a cold, or someone had recently tried to strangle him.

It's a good thing voices don't change completely. The surprised tone also helped lighten things so that the raspier voice isn't quite as raspy as it could be. Helps to sound more like how it should. The laptop is set down on the seat beside him, reapparing unharmed, whil Peter himself remains invisible for the moment. There might be people outside who could see him, and he didn't venture here for a confrontation. Not today. "Depends on if taking an interest in what you're trying to do is the same as keeping tabs." The longer talks, the more the tone settles in a lower raspier sound. Still his voice. Just… almost as if he's got a cold, or someone had recently tried to strangle him.

Figuring that it would be fishy to just stay in the lot, Gene sighs as he turns on his car and just makes his way out. He doesn't say a word until he is a block or so away from the Parking Lot security guard. Gene's tone is grumpy, perhaps grumpy after a work day or that wascally brain anomaly of his. "You know you could have just waited until I got home," he states in matter of fact tone.

"It was wait in your home, or wait in your car. Though I wasn't account for a laptop flying at me," Peter admits after a moment, glancing out the window as they get further and further away. There's a few more seconds of silence as he glances out the window before a ripple effect washes over the area, making him appear. The man in the back seat does look very much like Peter Petrelli, with some very distinct differences. Hair slicked back, rather than hanging at his forehead, and a deep indented scar slashing between his eyes. One side on his forehead, the other into his cheek. The scar is much too old to account for the amount of time since they last saw each other. But with healing, and abilities, that could be explained. Thick black stubble nears a light beard. Also different would be little hints in the set of his jaw, the tension in his eyes.

"What you get for sneaking around my stuff, Peter" comes the simple reply. Once Peter appears, the car is swiftly pulled over to the side of the road. "What's going on?" he inquires, knowing that something is amiss… Or more than usual at least.

"You tell me," Peter responds simply, looking toward the mirror so that he can watch the other man's reflection. "I know you don't buy into the 'we're making the world a better place' cover story. So what are you hoping to get out of your employement at Pinehearst?" Answer the question with a question. Not the best way to start things, but… "I know you like to keep your findings to yourself— you always have and always will. I've come to understand that. But I need to know how much you know already."

The flight or fight impulse is strong in Gene, both of the options looking good right about now. Despite a finger hovering over a button on the modified dash, his voice is mostly calm. "No, /YOU/ tell me. When you step into my car, you lose rights to tell me what to do. If you are really Peter Petrelli, which I have my DOUBTS about, then you'd know about what I know because Peter knows roughly almost everyone I know. You an identical twin that Peter knows nothing about? Hrm?"

Is he Peter Petrelli? Yes. Is he the Peter Petrelli this man knows? No. But none of these answers will lead things in the right direction. "I'm from four years in the future," he speaks up, not bothering to hide it any further. "I know things that even the Peter you knew doesn't. But I'm not here to talk about me, or the time that I came from. And I don't know what you know right now, because the me of this timeline doesn't know what you know. And didn't see you again until much later."

"Future? Guess you must have some sort of temporal exchange program going on with yourself," Gene offers as he begins to laugh. Since Petrelli likely won't share the humor, the laughing stops. "Because you know… you went to the future… and now you went to the past." Pause. "It was funny, you know it." Folding his arms (which means moving the finger from the DIE button), Gene sighs. "If you are from the future and you got back here, I can only assume that you know about what I'm after. If you are some mind game from 'Evie' who I figure by now is NOT a little girl, I will kill you even if you aren't actually in the car. I know about what Pinehearst is planning. All of it."

The humor isn't shared. The serious expression doesn't fade in the slightest, nor does Peter look all that amused by it. Past went to the future, future went to the past, present is stuck in a state of limbo. "Everything…" he repeats quietly for a moment, before shifting one of his hands around. A crackle of electricity fills the air, sparks dancing between his fingers, then a small tiny jolt jumps from him, to make hair stand up before it disipates. "I learned how to control small levels of wattage thanks to that machine you made me. And you helped me train a lot more than that as well. For a while." But that's not important right now, it's one tiny piece of proof he can give. Most spies can sit in the back seat invisible, toss real lightning that only makes hair cling with static and nothing else. And he knows about the machine, too. Which Peter only told a few people. "It's good that you're working against them."

"Well, looks like I'm alive in your future. That's nice." Gene pauses to look out the windows, making sure that there aren't people following or the like. The genius is about to press the button, but the voltage stops in time to avoid countermeasures from being deployed. "So, I take it if you are here, then the forumla gets out in the future and does a lot of bad things."

"Not exactly, but you must know what would happen if their work hits the streets and the general population," Peter says simply, giving him another long look through the mirror. Whether or not things get worse than that… why would someone risk travelling through time if it wasn't a big problem? Or one small one very close to home. Like the loss of a close loved one. "I'm making things different by pushing people in the right direction. You're already there, working for yourself, but your information could be of help when the time comes. If you choose to trust in other people."

"You are aware of the troubles that brings. Time travel. Pushing people in the 'right' direction gets them involved. If one of them betrays the cause or screws up, we could be in as bad a bind as before." There is a short pause as the young genius tries to consider the matter, his eyes suddenly opening wide as he turns in the chair to face Peter. "Exactly how MANY people have you talked to? I figure I was not first on your list."

"Every drop of water in the pond has a potential for disaster down the line, a single shift of a gear could offset everything by months, or years, or destroy it all together," Peter says quietly, eyes narrowing as he's faced. "I'm well aware of the risks, and I've chosen people who would have gotten involved in the upcoming events anyway." It's true he's pushed them to become involved much earlier than they would have, but there's little he could do to avoid that. "It's your own future that you're saving, not mine. It could lead to another terrible future eventually, but if everything would end up perfect, what would we have to fight for?" Not exactly answering his questions. "You are one of the last, cause you're the one in least need of pushing. You're right where you need to be. It's just your information that could be helpful to others."

Silence reigns in the car for a few seconds, Gene sighing as he closes his eyes to think over the matter. "…Why we do all that," Gene begins before he opens his eyes to give a smirk. "When you and I can end it right here, right now?"

"And how would you suggest that, Gene?" Peter asks, perhaps surprised by the mention, but also serious at the same time. There's a lot else he could say in response to that, but… "I'd like to hear how you think we could fix it all right here, right now?"

"The information on the network. You teleport me in and protect me, I delete it and the back-up. I doubt that one person has memorized the entire formula. Then I just need to know the people responsible for pushing the formula and we deal with them to ensure the data isn't reproduced. As long as I have a little time, it's easy to make something that can kill or stop almost any human, regardless of abilities." Gene is totally calm as he says this, not even hestiating once. It's clear that he doesn't have all the answers, but he's seemingly confident that he can turn the tide in a much more direct fashion.

"Pinehearst is more than one facility," Peter says, watching him quietly, though he doesn't sound as if he thinks it's a bad idea. "Even I don't know the location of all of them. I just know they have buildings in multiple locations throughout the country, and overseas as well. I do think you could eliminate a lot of the information in one moment, but that doesn't mean you'd get all of it. And it doesn't set up the people to fight against them when the backlash occurs." There's another pause. "And while I can protect you from most of the people who could show up, I'm not sure even I can beat my father alone."

"There are more facilities?" Gene hadn't planned on that. "Well, it is possible they would keep back-ups, but if we took out the research here and then the people in charge, maybe that would be enough to dissaude anyone else from trying to take the formula," Gene as he looks out the window. Of course, there is one thing that does get him, a fact that either he forgot or was never told. "Wait… Your father? He's in charge? What sort of powers does he have?"

"So you don't know everything," Peter says after a moment, trailing off a little before taking in a slow breath. "My father has almost the same kind abilities I do. In fact… he many of my abilities already. You're very lucky he hasn't discovered your agenda yet. One of the original ones he had is telepathy." There's another pause, as if he's considering something. "He also has regeneration, so he'll be difficult to kill. And he can permenantly steal abilities, with a single touch. Unless I have someone with me who can target negate— only negate him— I won't stand much of a chance. Even now. Especially if I have to protect someone else at the same time."

The Geek God listens, opening his eyes wide to what he hears. That's not good. "I haven't really run into your father. I tried to make an effort to not run into upper brass," Gene admits, looking down at his feet. "Maybe we can target him first. If we can draw him out somehow, we can force him to be on the defensive. Is there a way we could lure him to a place of our choosing? If we can get the jump on him, maybe we could neutralize the powers or kill him before he puts up his guard."

"That's not why I'm here, Gene," Peter finally says, shaking his head. "There's already a me here, and I didn't come here to kill my own father." It's not a happy topic, at all. "It's not my fight. It's your fight, and everyone else that belongs here." Everyone else not him. "But there are people that have the capacity to do what you're asking. It just can't be me. Not this me at least."

"You are willing to go back in time and tell everyone and their brother that the world needs to be changed, but you can't kill guy. Nice to know I understand the future you just as much as I understand the current one." Gene sighs as he thinks about it. "I'll see what I can do to permentally elimate all the data on the formula." Will that include the copy of the research he took from the Pinehearst computers? Sooner or later, the truth will come out. "So, you want me to just to let everyone know about the formula and get involved… If the Evolved become public…" Gene leads off, having watched enough X-Men to know what happens.

There's a moment where he might defend himself, a narrowing of his eyes as if he might argue what the young man is saying. It takes a moment before he asks, "Have you ever killed anyone, Gene? Have you ever killed anyone who you once loved?" Serious question. He can point people in the right direction, but pulling the trigger… Peter shakes his head. "I don't want you to let everyone know about it, it's the information you have that can help people fight against Pinehearst. Ways to get in. Our. Intricate details about the formula beyond just what it does. And now that you know they have other facilities, you might be able to find out about that, too. Our abilities can never go public." X-Men aside, he's seen two futures where it did, and a third that he knows of. "But that also means the formula can't either. You're a lot more careful than most people, and you would be a good guide. One that would make sure they don't mess things up while trying to help it.

"I'm not asking you to kill him… Just help us do the job. Sure you know some people that wouldn't mind doing it," Gene states as he rubs his head, trying to get out the tension. Finally, he makes up his mind, either too tired or not knowing enough to come with another plan. "I am careful, which is why I'm not sure I can reign in all these people. All I can do is my best. I take it you know of all the people you've already talked to."

"The only ones I've given any real information to are the ones I trust most in the present and the future," Peter says with some assurances. "I have spoken to Elena, but… I don't really want her involved in this too much. I'd rather her focus on her education and her own safety, but if you choose to include her more, I won't stop you. The others are Kory Alexander, who works at the Secret Lair comic book store, and Niki Sanders— who has been working with me for a while now. Even the other me." Prometheus and the Muse… And someone he cares very much about.

Gene hrms and nods. For some reason, he pulls out his cell phone to glance at it, but he puts it away swiftly enough. He doesn't want Elena involved either, but if it happens, it happens. "Niki, I know. Kory, I don't. I'll see what I can do. If those are the people I have to work with, I'll do what I can."

"You don't have to do anything, but they're the ones who know the most about what's going on," Peter says, meaning it, though there are others he's spoken to. A lot of others. Some less vague than others, but those two know the most of all. And probably not enough at the same time. "I need to go. I have to take care of a few things that are time sensetive. Sorry for breaking into your car." There's a moment's pause. But the idea he may be leaving is pretty easy to grasp.

"Take it easy" is all Gene offers, expecting Peter to vanish away. After all, he got to the past, so clearly has Hiro's power. Or at least a power like it.

"Very little is ever easy," Peter says with a shake of his head as his eyes close. "But you should take care of yourself… And Elena too." Maybe the glance at his phone had been taken as a sign of something. Probably a dozen or some odd ways he could actually leave the car, and the one he chooses looks very much like what Hiro would do. Like a bunch of frames being skipped in a movie. The back seat is empty. Except for the laptop.

The last part causes Gene to pause, his head tilting to one side. Isn't Peter supposed to telling Peter to take care of Elena? He scratches his head, maybe something happening in the future that he doesn't know about. Hopefully, it won't be like Evelyn… Where they say they are a couple in the future and then he never sees her again.

As Peter leaves Gene to his own devices, the young inventor merely pulls onto the road again, knowing that his work got roughly five times more difficult. But if it was easy, it wouldn't take the aid of a genius and some amazing friends to get it done, right?

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