2009-09-29: White Queen



Guest Starring:

Dr. Zimmerman

Date: September 29th, 2009


In California, Tracy looks for answers in unexpected places.

"White Queen"

Sunny Hill Psychiatric Facility

Los Angeles, California

Visitors are not allowed in private rooms, so the only way to see the man that she came to look for was the main game room. People sit around at tables, some playing games, others sitting around for a spot in front of the television. Afterlife plays on the screen. A blonde doctor suffering through a transformation into a lizard creature. There's a man standing near the window, wearing a cape, looking out into the clouds. People whisper to themselves from their seats. This isn't the kind of place most sane people would want to be. Because the people here aren't sane.

Sitting at a table is a man in wire rimmed glasses, a scruffy beard and facial hair. Gray hair stands upright as he stares down at a chess board, moving pieces around. The white pawn moves forward, then the black knight moves. Then the white bishop takes the black knight, then the black queen rolls forward and blocks in the king, who needs to castle with his rook to escape.

"Jonas? You have a visitor," the woman in scrubs says, as she leads the blonde woman over. He waves his hand, and continues about his game, not looking up just yet. "I'll be over here if you need me," she adds, before leaving her alone with the old man.

The blonde woman — the visitor — is acutely uncomfortable being here. When Tracy came to California to find Dr. Zimmerman, this isn't what she was expecting. After giving the nurse a small smile, she stands at a distance, just watching the man at the chess board and hanging tightly onto her purse. Her attire seems sharp in comparison to pyjamas and capes. Black and white, suit and pearls and satin. Lovely and classic though it is, it almost looks funerary in here. "…Are you… Dr. Zimmerman?" she takes a purposeful step toward him, heels clicking on the floor.

There's a glance upward as he's in the middle of moving the white queen to counter another attack on the king. Zimmerman's hand continues to hold the small plastic piece as he looks up, and then he drops it in startlement. "Barbara?" The queen rolls on the chess board, knocking over a knight and a few pawns of both colors. There's a surprised blink. "No, no— of course not— yes, I am Doctor Zimmerman."

Tracy reacts with confusion upon being called the wrong name, but it lasts only a moment. "My name is Tracy Strauss." Does he already know that? Critical blue eyes drawn to the fallen chess pieces before she goes back to taking in the dishevelled doctor. She steps in, taking a seat across from him. "I tried to find you in Reseda…"

"Tracy— yes, yes, Tracy. I remember you, of course," the doctor says, accent heavy and thick as he looks down at his chess board, picking up the white queen and beginning to arrange the pieces back into place. "Beautiful babies, beautiful young children, grew to become so beautiful…" There's something off balanced about the way he looks, as if he's staring at something to the side and lower than what he should be looking at. Suddenly the eyes dart back up, to her face. "Why are you here? Why did you come to find me?" There's panic in his eyes, worry.

The panic in Zimmerman's eyes sparks a similar surge in Tracy's— maybe Gene was right to be paranoid. Her determination readily takes over, however, her reason for being here; folding her hands over the purse on her lap, she leans in slightly over the chessboard. "I'm just looking for answers," she says, her voice urgent and lowered. "How do you know me? How do you know— us?"

"Of course I know you," Zimmerman says, stopping from putting the pieces back in place, holding onto the white queen piece as he keeps looking at her face. "You were— you were one of three girls, triplets, all who I delivered and oversaw in the first hours of your life. Did— has it started? I— I remember, but he would not— he did not tell me. Did it happen? Are you… special? Can you— do things that a normal person can not?"

"I can fly, Dr. Zimmerman! I can fly!!!" the man near the window suddenly yells, but one of the nurses hurries over and begins to help him to his seat.

The more Dr. Zimmerman speaks, the more fixed Tracy's gaze becomes on him. She's hanging on his every broken word and there's never enough. She's so focused that she nearly jumps when the man by the window yells. "Yes," she says, Dr. Zimmerman once again the center of her attention … and of her desperation. "What're you talking about? Who? How did you know I'd…" Ms. Strauss pauses, stiffening. "That I'd be able to do things…"

"Because that's what we were trying to do," Zimmerman says, looking towards the superman near the windows. "To prove that we could create— that we had the power to— oh we were so foolish, trying to create one of them. We tried to control things that only God should control." He reaches out his hands for her, but the white queen held in hand is what's pushed into her hand, rather than him taking it. "We treated you like science experiments…"

The woman's desperation to know more, to understand what's happening to her, takes an all too obvious turn toward anger. Not to mention horror and disgust. "You made me this way? Who's we? Who else!" Tracy grabs for Dr. Zimmerman's hands, his fingers, his knuckles, the white queen piece still in her grasp where he put it. "If you made it happen, then, you can take it away. I'll get you out of here and— " She glances quickly to the side, hoping they're not alarming the staff, and leans in closer to the institutionalized doctor. "You need to take it away!"

"No, no, I can't, I can't, not anymore," Zimmerman says, pulling away and even standing from his seat at the table. "There's no way to take it back, nothing that can be done, I can't even recreate it. Arthur— Arthur tried to get the full formula out of me, dug around inside… inside my mind. I couldn't— it brought everything back but I can't— I didn't create all of it, I didn't know all of it. I can't change it, I won't change it. Arthur— Arthur might be able to." The nurses do seem to be alarmed, especially at him moving away. A chair gets knocked over, pieces of the chess board fall.

"Calm down, Jonas, calm down… You're safe."

"Who's Arthur? Tell me! There has to be some way—" Tracy jumps to her feet as the patient's chair falls. Dr. Zimmerman is safe. He happened to pull away in time. Around the chess piece, Tracy's hand cools with a light tinge of icy blue before she realizes what she almost could have done and stops. Guilt rises up all the same, but the anger doesn't go away. She's on the very verge of saying more, but there are too many eyes around them now. Too many ears. She's the frozen one.

The ice crystals can be seen and felt by the fingertips that escaped them, but Zimmerman seems more marvelled by the sight than afraid. "I need— I need to go back to my room. I need— medicine, drugs. It makes the— makes his voice stop. It's so loud sometimes, even now." The chilled hands go up to his head, covering his ears for a moment. The nurses start to pull him away.

"You need to leave, Ms. Strauss, I'm sorry," one of the nurses say, as they try to lead her towards the door, out of the room. The man near the window is suddenly saying he can fly again, a woman in her seat starts to rock.

"Petrelli!" the old man suddenly yells out as he's pulled toward another exit than she is getting led to. "Arthur Petrelli."

Petrelli. The name throws her for a loop. Tracy resists being led, at first. She's planted to the spot. She's eventually urged along as she stares after Dr. Zimmerman. She glares nothing but shock and daggers. Even though the man's broken state of mind should drudges up some vague sympathy, she can barely have any.

Not after learning what he did to her. To all of them.

"Doctor…!" she calls out in futility before they're taken their separate ways for good.

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