2008-05-05: Thanatos (Dark Future)

Starring:

FutureElisabetha_icon.gif FuturePeter_icon.gif

Summary: While trying to find information to correct the mistakes of the past, a would-be time-traveler finds much more than he bargained for.

Future Date: Early 2012

Thanatos


New York City

It's evening at present, though not quite night. Even so, the skies are dark, and an oppressive gloom seems to hang over everything. The streets of New York are a very dangerous place these days. Dangerous enough that strange disappearances are not uncommon, particularly when vulnerable-seeming women are walking alone. Elisabetha is often with Emily, her near-constant companion and servant, but not tonight. She was just dropping off a letter in the mailbox, after all, which was downstairs, inside the building.

A more upper-class neighborhood, things aren't quite as empty or threatening-seeming near Elisabetha's home, but it's mostly just pretending. The well-to-do people, rich business men and women, and so on try to pretend that there's nothing wrong in this part of the city, that they can live their normal lives — with or without abilities. But pretending doesn't alter reality. People with abilities can strike anywhere, anytime.

The blonde young woman stands inside her high-class apartment building, in the entryway, looking through the glass doors to the street beyond. It's busy, brightly lit, and no suspicious-looking people are out there. Elisabetha herself is wearing a red blouse, with one strap hanging loose, due to the lack of a right arm to support it, along with black pants, shoes, and a light coat overtop of her blouse, because it's improper for her to be walking around with that much skin exposed. Or that's what Emily tells her.

Staring outside the building, Elisabetha finally refocuses her crimson eyes on her own reflection in the glass, and uses the envelope in her hand to brush her bangs out of her face. She's not afraid, really. Not of some street urchin or druggy trying something. She can defend herself. But she feels reluctant to leave her comfort zone. It was a constant struggle to care about anything, and sometimes it just seemed easier to wallow in numbness and thoughtlessness than to actually make an effort.

Sighing, Elisabetha turns to her left. First thing's first: The letter. She tucks the letter in a pocket of her coat, and unlocks the box with her father's name on it. The envelope is then removed from the pocket, inserted inside the mail box, and then closed and locked again. Now for the part she finds difficult.

She has to go across the street to where the latest suitor her mother has set-up for her is waiting. Elisabetha already told him not to pick her up at her apartment, so he chose a restaurant right across the street. Jerk. He thought he knew Elisabetha. He thought she was frail and needed to have accomodations made for her. Well, she wasn't weak anymore, and the sheer ignorance of this man just about made her want to show up, tell him she was gay, and then walk back out. But she knew that would get back to her mother, and then there would be hell to pay, so she sighs, and pushes open the door. This would be a really great time for someone to mug her or kidnap her or something so she can postpone this 'date'.

It would seem that someone has answered her prayers, whether they know this or not. A hand suddenly touches her shoulder. No one had been there an instant ago. No one is there an instant later. Within the same split second, everything disappears around her, except that single hand touching her shoulder, right above location of her birth defect.

Instead of the street, the surroundings settle into a warehouse of some kind, with no signs of life besides skittering cockroaches and a mouse. The hand lets go, and someone steps back, heavy boots making noise against the metal flooring. "Elisabetha Belmont?" the shadowed figure asks in the dim light, a hand remaining raised between them, as if a shield of defense. "I have some questions to ask you. Answer them and you won't be hurt."

Light casts through cracks in dirt on windows, dim, but brought enough that she can make out the male figure, an identifying scar slashed across his face. From the stern set of his jaw and the cold emotion in his eyes, he's barely recognizable as the Peter Petrelli of old.

Elisabetha doesn't have the chance to react when the hand touches her shoulder. If she'd been keyed up and ready for action, she might have been able to spin away in time… Maybe. But she wasn't. Everything is so dulled, it takes her a moment to process the change of location. She doesn't stagger, exactly, but she appears to be somewhat off-balance. She takes a moment to look around the building interior, looks vaguely disgusted by the roaches, and doesn't turn to face the man that speaks to her.

"I am she," Elisabetha answers. She otherwise does not respond. She seems awfully calm for someone who has just been transported to a filthy warehouse by an unknown person who has mentioned the possibility of her being hurt if she does not cooperate.

"When did Novak Garibaldi begin working for Pinehearst?" Peter asks in a harsh voice, keeping a few steps of distance between them. While stern and cold, no one could say he's without emotion himself. There's anger in the narrowing of his eyes, and the may his forehead is creased. Even the hand that remains up between them contains quite a bit of tension.

At least it's likely they're still in the New York area.

"I need as close to the exact date as you can manage, year, month— date if you know it. When." Time is of the utmost importance. If he's going to go back and change things, he needs an idea when they managed to reach certain points.

Elisabetha does not answer immediately. She is gauging the distance between herself and this man — who obviously has an ability. At his further prompting, she answers, "Everything from back then is hazy… I was not the same person in the past as I am now. The world around me was blunted… Irrelevant… But I know the year was 2008… A couple months after our arrival here in New York City." She turns on her heel, slowly, red eyes looking up at the ceiling, not at Peter, as though in thought. She takes a step closer, her shoe making a dulled scuffing noise on the no-doubt-dusty floor. "Month would be harder for me to discern without assistance." She lowers her gaze to Peter, and takes another step forward.

"Just out of curiousity, why does my—why does Mister Garbaldi's employment with that company interest you? Are you a reporter trying to dig up 'dirt' on him? On Pinehearst?" Another step. Her arm hangs loose at her side, hand empty of any weapon.

"March, April, May?" Peter asks roughly, pushing the question even as she explains it's hazy, trying to narrow things down. Her mind could well be going— he's used to that, but it's worth asking. The more details he has on when pieces are in play, the better he can make informed decisions. Maybe he can keep the man from ever working with them, maybe… "Do you know when the formula first got released by accident? Did Pinehearst ever find out how it got leaked?" The answers to these are unlikely to be given, but they're worth asking.

Everything depends on when. Everything always depends on when.

But— she did ask a question, and after a narrowing of his eyes, he grumbles out, "I'm not a reporter. I'm Peter Petrelli." She could probably have identified him as soon as she spoke to people about what happened. No need to hide himself. That doesn't answer all her question, though. Or any of it, really.

Elisabetha nods and says, "I believe it may have been… March. Yes, it's becoming clearer now. He had a meeting with a woman previously, and then she, Teacher, and myself, sat down to lunch one day to discuss more in-depth his work experience… The Tabla restaurant at 11 Madison Avenue. I have eaten there a few more times since. Lovely food." She smiles at Peter as she takes a couple more steps closer. She's really not that far away now. She could probably reach out and touch him if he didn't move away. Not that she needs to or wants to.

"You should go there sometime, Mister Petrelli. Now where was I? Oh, yes. So this was in the middle of the month of March, that he had that meeting with the three of us. The woman's name was Charlotte something." She flips her hand dismissively. Her cold voice tone throughout all this sounds like perfect calm, but is more than that. She notices Peter's tension and anger, and so is trying to soothe his concerns by behaving in a very casual manner. "Mister Garbaldi was my tutor back then, and had tutored various others over the years, so he supplied references, and all the paperwork that would go into this sort of thing. And that same day, he was hired." She smiles a slow cat-like smile. She's been successfully buying time so far. She's almost ready…

If Peter is paying attention to any of the roaches, he may notice that there seem to be a number of them lying on their backs, dead. And a persistent itching sensation may or may not be starting to tingle across his body, growing from annoying to painful.

"I've been there," Peter comments quietly as he tries to think over the timing, seeing no real answers to his questions. The anger doesn't fade, but he's not lashing out, either. Flipped over cockroaches appear to go unnoticed, but the itching makes his fingers twitch. The hand held up between them gets his eyes for a time, since he can't figure out why his body would ever itch like that right now. Control over everything occuring inside his body would be something he takes great pride in. A small shift in his body chemistry will never go unnoticed, when his whole body is constantly under observations. The answers may not be as detailed as he'd like, but they are detailed enough. But now she has a new, dangerous question to answer, "What are you doing?"

Has to be her doing. She's the only thing in the room that he's not studied extensively.

When Peter picks up that she's doing something, Elisabetha tries to hold Peter's attention a bit longer, as she asks, "You've seen a lot, haven't you Peter?" Apparently they're on a first name basis now. "You have seen so much suffering, and suffered so much… I can tell." She holds out her hand slowly, just offering it, not moving to make contact. "I can make the pain go away."

She sighs and says, "You might not believe me, but I do not like it when people suffer. I can take away your suffering completely… Let you see the world with clarity, the way I do. The past will have no hold on you. Painful memories will become just memories. All you have to do is take my hand." She eases off the aura of deterioration, allowing the itching of cells dying to subside for now. "Ending suffering is what I do," she offers, finally.

"Stay away from me," Peter says, taking another firm step backward instead of forward. The words might be meant to be soothing, but they seem to be having the opposite effect, if only because… they're not what he expected. They're not what he wants from her. The hand that is held between them raises up, a sudden force felt at her upper body as he grasps her with his mind, lifting her up. "You can't end suffering. No one can. And you don't know anything about me." Anger isn't even the proper definition for what's coming over his eyes. They're nearly panicked, because he doesn't know what it is she started to do, and the words toy with conflicting emotions. "Do you know anything at all about when or how the formula got released?"

Elisabetha blinks her eyes slowly as Peter moves away. And then she is lifted off the ground. Interesting! "You have multiple abilities, hm? How… Rare. You would not happen to be Sylar, would you? My Teacher has been looking for you, if so." Eyeing the floor below her, she says, "I have experience at ending suffering. I have done it before. I suppress the pain in the hearts of those I touch… And I understand that there is pain inside of you… A lot of it. I can feel it in my mind." Okay, so the part about suppressing the pain in the heart is not entirely accurate, but it sounds nicer than, 'I make the neural pathways in your brain decay'.

When Peter starts demanding answers again, she sighs and says, "I know that Teacher was working on making it usable. What he really wanted was to find a way to make me stronger… I think that is what that nasty drug was originally supposed to be. A way to allow me to empty the entire world of suffering, all at once. But it has side-effects, as you are aware. He has been working on a better version for the past four years. As for when it was originally, released…" She suddenly just lets herself dangle in the air. Her head drops, her arm goes limp, like a puppet with no puppeteer. Her eyes are open, but stare at nothing.

"You won't find anyone going by that name anymore— you or your teacher," Peter says in a harsh voice, continuing to hold onto her with his mind as she explains her view of suffering, and her desire to take it away. There's a lot he wants to yell at her about, but she's going limp in his grasp. There's a shift of his hand as he moves her again, pushing her up against the closest wall like. He's still holding her by the shoulders, but this way he can move the hold to her head, push her face up so he can get a better look at her while he approaches. His questions weren't answered, but maybe she doesn't know— but she's brought up something.

"Suffering is what makes people strive to be stronger. You aren't getting rid of the pain, or the cause, you're just numbing it. And in the end, you're making it worse. Because without pain— without suffering— without the need to get rid of what causes such things— why would anyone keep moving?" That was kind of a lecture of sorts, and a new question comes. "Why would your teacher want to find Sylar?"

In her head, Elisabetha is allowing the creeping numbness to crawl all over her soul, immersing it in a hunger for death and decay. She normally keeps it under control, but to deal with Sylar(!?), she will have to use all the resources she has. That means lapsing back into the way she used to be. Even if it is temporary, it is not something done lightly. She is assuming that once Peter has the information he wants he is going to kill her and take her ability. So this is really the only way…

She hears Peter's voice saying he's not Sylar, lecturing her on how pain is good, how suffering makes people better… But it's coming down to her with a hollow echo to it, as though she were at the bottom of a deep, dark, empty well, looking up at the dim light. She doesn't feel her body being moved around, but she does notice her vision is being aimed towards Peter. She knows he's not Sylar now. But that doesn't bring her back. Instead what he says about suffering… That gives her even more incentive to do this.

The dim light coming through the dirt-caked windows darkens further until it is nearly pitch-black inside the warehouse. In a creepy, unearthly, emotionless monotone, Elisabetha says brokenly, "You want people… To suffer…?" Her red eyes glow like small lanterns in the darkness. "…He wanted… To kill him… I think. But then… He changed his mind. Teacher… Father… He wanted to feed me… To Sylar… So he would have the control… The POWER needed… To end it all." That last sentence fragment holds more meaning that such simple words can communicate.

What she is proposing is monstrous enough by itself. That Novak would feed his student/daughter to Sylar… Give him Elisabetha's ability by having her killed… That is bad enough. But the reason for it? The reason why he wants to do such a thing? So Sylar can kill the world. Terminate all pain by terminating all life. That might not be obvious to other people, but with one of Peter's abilities, he should be able to understand intuitively…

Oh, he understands. And Peter realizes exactly what that means. Her teacher— her father— is no better than his family. Just as bad, if not worse. No better than any of them, who aimed to destroy the world to save it. Delusional, terrible. "You're insane." They want to destroy the world under some kind of delusion that it would stop something. "By ending suffering like that, you're ending everything else. I thought I was going to get answers so that I could stop everything from going wrong, so I could make things better— but instead…"

He's found out that there's a plot to destroy the world, centered around one woman and one woman's ability, whatever it is. He felt something, but that doesn't mean he knows how she could destroy suffering. Through death, certainly, but death can come in so many ways. Another step forward and the hold shifts to her neck, squeezing. Not enough to suffocate, but enough that she'll feel it, that she'll know what he's doing to her. She might even still be able to scream. Not that anyone could hear her.

"If you want to end it all… maybe I should start with you."

The hold on Elisabetha's neck makes a puzzled pout come over her features. She feels the tension as her airflow is restricted, though not cut off completely. She manages to whisper and choke out, "You want suffering… To continue. Life is… Suffering. And I end suffering… So I will end you…!" She clamps her eyes closed and concentrates. The wall she is pinned to suddenly begins to crumble and rot, as black decay races down the wall, and starts to crawl across the cracking floor, towards Peter's feet. The itching is back too, now more of a painful stinging sensation like swarms of yellow-jackets biting and biting and biting. Especially around that scar of Peter's. But no actual damage is inflicted unless he allows himself to be caught in the death field itself.

The itching, the stinging, it bites at his senses, causing some of his concentration to break. Peter's hand twitches, as if he's losing grip of the air itself, and the choke hold starts to fumble. To say he allowed himself to get caught in it would be inaccurate. No one would allow such a thing to happen. But caught he is. The scar on his forehead burns, opening up as if it had just happened. Blood drips down from the newly reopened wound, running down his cheek. With everything cracking and crumbling, he spits out in pain, "Life is far more than just suffering."

It always has been more than suffering. Suffering just creates a drive, something that keeps people moving. To be alive is so much more, but suffering comes with the package. Can't have the good without the bad. It's the way the universe works.

The wound opens even more, and more damage starts to eat away at him, inside as well as out. Eyes squint closed, and suddenly he's just not there anymore. And neither are the invisible binds that kept her against the wall.

Elisabetha falls from a few feet in the air, and hits the ground. For awhile, she just lies there like she's dead, only her chest rising and falling indicating she is actually alive. Chunks of the wall fall from their places, either outside, into whatever lies there, or inside, landing around and on Elisabetha herself. Eventually, she manages to pull herself back together, fighting down the numbness and the darkness. The floor stops breaking, and so does everything else. Sitting up, the blonde woman puts her arm around herself, and just breathes raggedly.

"More than… Suffering…" She thinks about it. She has Emily, doesn't she? Does her best friend and girl friend make her suffer? "…If we end it all, then she will have to go too, won't she? Hmm…" She is still a bit hazy in her head… Tired, really. But she does not like the idea of killing Emily. She will have to see if maybe it would be okay to keep some people alive. To rebuild a world that isn't sick and full of pain. But in the end…

She smirks to herself numbly, and then gets up off the floor, shifting rotted wood and dead roaches off and away. "It has to end someday. The entire universe does. It's inevitable. It's called the heat death. Entropy. I just want to speed it up a little." She giggles and begins looking for an exit.

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