2008-01-02: Who We Are


Randall_icon.gif Meryl_icon.gif Church_icon.gif Novak_icon.gif Kory_icon.gif Alicia_icon.gif Joule_icon.gif Charlotte_icon.gif Celeste_icon.gif Dani_icon.gif DaphneM_icon.gif Rochelle_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif Benjamin_icon.gif Elle_icon.gif Bob_icon.gifElisabetha_icon.gif KeLyssa_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif Gene_icon.gifLachlan_icon.gif AJ_icon.gif William_icon.gif Sylar_icon.gif Jane_icon.gif Erin_icon.gif Cam_icon.gifPierce_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif Micah_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif Nathan_icon.gif

Summary: Individuals around New York City and abroad are on a journey to find themselves; to make peace with the past, to go on into the future… and they need to decide which path to take.

Date It Happened: January 2nd, 2008

Who We Are

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New York, New Jersey, Africa

Mohinder (voiceover):

There are over six billion humans on the planet Earth.

As the orange glow of sunset strikes his subject, Randall's eyes are wide open. His gaze flits away for only a half-second at a time as he switches from charcoal to eraser, taking away just enough of the dark base shades. Finally, satisfied with his work, he turns the canvas around and hands it over to the boy's parents. "I'm sure his grandmother will appreciate it. Did you decide on a frame yet?"

Each one is a being unto their own…

"I need quiet," Meryl says quietly into a com, flipping the radio off. After thinking for a moment, she turns it back on and leaves it on the ground where she'd been standing. A voice comes through, though it's garbled by static. In the meantime, the Company agent picks her way over some debris. Hiding behind a crate, Meryl readies a shadowy firearm, peering around the slats as her quarry takes the bait and approaches the radio. Whoever it is fires a shot blindly at the sound, at the same moment Meryl fires the tranquilizer dart. Her target will feel a sharp pain in his shoulder as he starts to run, but he won't get far before he drops. "Right, then," Meryl says, picking up the radio so she can call for assistance. That's another take-down for her, and it means Earl in Human Resources owes her another lunch. Time to get in out of the cold.

Yet the DNA that separates one genetic code from another is barely perceivable.

He's only been home long enough to soak himself in peace inside of his own home(for a good three hours), but Church is already feeling the stabbing sensations and dull throbbing of being away from Mount Sinai hospital. Bekah did help him out, considerably- but even with her help, Lawrence remains bandaged and stitched as he pushes himself out of the hot water. Pain is most of what he can feel now that he has stepped into the air and wrapped himself around the middle with an already damp towel. Over the next few minutes, he pries the old gauze from his wounds, and takes his time in reapplying it; during this practice of dexterity and more pain than a simple act should give, the man has wandered through his apartment and to his office desk.

On the top of the desk is an array of folders and papers, all manila and black on white. Some of them are labeled with the seal of Brubaker Secondary, while others are of Primatech or simply independent origin. Lawrence is hesitant to go nearer, instead going to his bookshelves and filing around for a few more minutes; with even more hesitance involved, the agent brings out a cigarette tin and finds a seat behind the desk, sharp brown eyes looking it once over. With the lighting of one of those cigarettes with a sparking snap of his fingers against the paper grain, the smell of the pungent, spicy smoke betrays itself.

Our consciousness is what makes us human.

The darkened bedroom is still and silent, the curtains drawn, and the sounds of New York City somewhat muffled thanks to nearly soundproof windows. A small lamp switches on at an oak desk against one wall, revealing a man with thinning red hair is sitting there. He has paper in front of him, and pen in hand, and is beginning to write a letter. 'Dear Sarissa, It has been a long journey with our daughter, and—' it begins, and ends. Novak pauses, crumples up the paper and tosses it aside. A wastebin next to the desk is overflowing with crumpled papers, all of them displaying variations upon these words.

Finally, Novak looks up and sighs. The lenses of his glasses are temporarily turned opaque by the lamp light shining on them, blocking any view of his eyes. His gaze is on a map pinned to the wall above his desk. A map of the world. Though there are many pushpins in place, only one of them is labelled. The label is a scrap of paper with one word in red ink. 'Sylar.'

Novak pauses for a moment, and then draws a new sheet of paper from a pile weighted down by a copy of Activating Evolution. He begins to write a letter. It begins, 'Dear Mister Suresh,'…

When we feel emotion, be it joy at new life…

Kory comes out of the shower, and wraps herself in a big, thick towel. With one bare hand, she swipes away the condensation from the mirror so she can see her own face. She gazes into her own light brown eyes for a long moment, before nodding approvingly at her reflection. She tucks wisps of her hair behind her ears, before reaching for the plush, terrycloth bathrobe. A good book — Artemis Fowl — is waiting for her, along with a really good cup of Ghirardelli cocoa. Steam preceeds her out the door, obscuring her features for a moment as she leaves the bathroom and heads for the bedroom.

Or remorse over a life we left behind…

The cold stone offers no reprieve. But honestly, Alicia didn't expect it to. The flowers are placed in a vase in front of Mark's headstone. She kisses her fingers, then places them against his name. Without saying anything, she turns to walk away. Her ears catch a sound somewhere nearby. She tilts her head to listen. The sound… is almost like a baby crying. She moves to it, searching for what could be making the sound. As she gets to a bush, she sees a kitten underneath, two of it's legs bent at awkward angles. Unfortunately, its a large bush, placing the kitten just out of a woman her size's reach. Fortunately, that won't stop her. She stretches her arms out beneath the bush, drawing the… slightly fighting kitten towards her. "It's ok. Let’s get you fixed up. Maybe… maybe you can help Jamie feel better afterwards." She whispers. She looks back to her husband's headstone and smiles. Sure, he didn't do it… but she can't help but wonder if from wherever he is, he didn't push things slightly.

The knowledge of our love and pain reminds us that we are not alone.

Joule is sitting on the roof of her apartment, getting windburned in the cold. The moon and the ambient lights from the windows of the taller buildings around her light the night enough for her to see the picture of her father, held carefully in gloved fingers. She holds it over her heart for a long moment, with closed eyes. The wind picks up and plucks it from her fingers, and she nearly dives off the roof racing to catch the photo before it blows away. She manages to catch it in her fingertips with her other hand holding onto the top of the fire escape ladder. She smiles with relief at the photo, seeming both amused and at peace despite the near thing.

We are human.

While it's 9 PM in New York, a young woman is wearing a pair of jeans and a boat-neck blouse, sneakers, and carrying a messenger bag through a sunny afternoon in the African jungle. She's walking along a narrow path. The path ends, and she comes to a clearing with several little huts and camp fires. The white girl gets quite a few looks as she stands at the opening of this clearing, flipping open a file that holds several pages and a picture of a handsome African male. She keeps the file open as she moves through the village, looking at each face. Finally, she stops behind a fellow bent over a camp fire.

"Mister Ndugu?" She asks, closing the file. The man rises and turns to face her, looking her over as confused as his fellow villagers. The woman just smiles.

"Hello, my name is Charlotte Corday."

We strive to be unique—

Late evening at Slinging Ink Tattoos, Celeste and Dani are sitting around the shop as the last customer leaves, Dani looks to Celeste before he moves to sit down on the couch, a bottle of water of his hand. "I always thought that I was the only one who was different. Then I come to New York and I find that I'm not alone." He takes a drink from the bottle of water. "Strange how life is like that."

We strive to be special…

Celeste is sitting on the black leather couch her sketch pad in hand and a bottle of water on the coffee table in front of her. She is sketching something from her memory, she isn't quite sure what it is but it's strange, she stops then looks to Dani, "Yeah. I know what you mean. I thought I was the only one with strange powers also, but I'm glad that I'm not alone. For the longest time I only thought of myself as a…well freak. I'm glad we are friends now, and that we can trust each other with this knowledge. It's great to have a friend like you." she says with a smile before returning to her sketch.

To stand out from the sea of people…

Whoosh! Anything loose flutters at the blur of blonde and red as it streaks by. Then Daphne is in the room. Surrounded by priceless artifacts, treasured pieces of art, and one small sports medallion, she pulls her messenger bag towards her and opens it. Out comes a file folder. Balancing it on her hands, she ruffles through a couple of the papers, but eventually she pulls off the safety clip. A photograph comes with it. Bingo. Time to leave a calling card.

Who are otherwise … just like us.

There are so few lines of work that can so skilfully meld performance and athleticism, and at the same time be able to include spandex; wrestling is just that, and as of late the only thing bringing Rochelle a constant paycheck. The economy finds jobs like her other at a loss, but at least the need for entertainment has not waned. Hippolyta versus the Moirae(three aptly named sisters) was tonight's own cage-rattling event. Hippolyta won out, but only after the trio lent her a beating with less than clean ways.

As a result, when Rochelle is able to file away to the locker room- it is with stale streams of blood down the front of her face, and fresh, superficial injuries that streak similar marks over her limbs and the leather-and-gold costume she wears. As the woman shuts the door behind her with a loud bang; as Rochelle crosses the room, brown eyes fall over the floor length mirror, and hands moving to untie the heavy leather clasp of her belt pause. There is a subtle cosmic joke that she play the role of a heroine- and now find herself in a reality that may start becoming the same. She stares at her reflection and the ungainly gash across her forehead. After a moment of glowering at her escaping braid, Rochelle purses her lips. A pair of fingers reach gingerly to the cut on her head. Second joke of the evening, but less so.

"I hope I know what I'm doing."

For some, fine-tuning this sense of identity is a constant struggle.

Lee is diligently and carefully packing up his electric violin and gear. Behind him on the wall are a series of photographs. Halloween costumes of himself and Nima. Age 7. Lee is an adorable Tiny Tim Cratchitt, complete with crutch. Nima is a whirling Wonder Woman who is barely captured by the camera. Age 8. Lee is Captain Blood, sword and pirate hat and all. Nima is Jean Grey. Age 9. Lee is Tom Sawyer, with white paintbrush. Nima is Spiderwoman. Age 10. Lee is Inspector Javert, Nima is Supergirl. Age 11. Lee is Midshipman Horatio Hornblower. Nima is Hawkgirl. Age 12. Lee is the Marquis de Montauran (you remember him, right?) Nima is Black Widow. Lee passes the pictures, his violin case under his arm, his face set with determination. On the back of his violin case is a sticker: "Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken." — Oscar Wilde. Lee leaves, the light turns out, the photographs now indistinct glistening squares in the dark.

Yet others think they know who they are…

Benjamin, seated in his cubicle, staring at the computer on his desk. Pondering his own reflection in the monitor, he wonders softly to himself, "Who am I turning into?"

…as if their nature had been coded in their genetics before birth.

Sedated and unconscious, Elle Bishop lies on the sofa in her father's office, the position she's been set in unnatural and awkward. She has been asleep for hours now, her ragged breathing the only sound in the room. Her complexion is pale, her cheeks abnormally pink, and her throat is scratchy - testaments to her time spent in the cold several days before. Showing no signs of waking, she sleeps, forced.

At his desk, Bob Bishop watches over his daughter with patient anger. His hands are folded over a closed folder; the dossier, bearing the name 'Elle Bishop' on the side, is thick with papers. Briefly, he reaches for the framed picture of his daughter which sits on his desk, tracing a finger lightly over the frame. When he looks back to Elle, a frown has settled on his brow. With no way to pull her back, he waits.

And yet others fight change in their design.

Elisabetha sits in her room, while her servant and friend, Emily, undresses her for the night. She could do it herself, if she cared enough. But it's just… Too much effort. Emily keeps up a steady stream of chatter about her shopping trip earlier, despite the lack of response from her mistress. Elisabetha can tell her Teacher is in his room, because he closed his door. That means Novak is busy. She had wanted him to teach her today. Teach her how to use her gift. Perhaps tomorrow.

Emily finishes slipping a nightgown over Elisabetha's body, and says, "There!" Stroking her hands through the older blonde's soft hair, with gentle movements, she looks down at her and smiles. "I will return shortly, Miss Eli. I bought some icecream! Would you care for some?" Elisabetha waits for about eight seconds before she slowly shakes her head. Emily nods and leaves the room. Elisabetha drags herself across the bed with her one hand, with great effort, towards a nightstand with a scented candle lying on its surface. The burning wick sends the scent of roses spiralling into the air on wisps of smoke. Elisabetha puts one hand in the air over the flame. She licks her lips slowly, as her red eyes narrow. She closes her hand into a fist. The flame goes out.

To blend in, become one with the sea of humanity.

It is late at night, closing time at the Secret Lair. KeLyssa is now there all by herself. As she sits in the back office, counting the money from the till, she takes a deep breath and pauses. Opening up her right hand, she just stares at her palm for what seems like hours. Slowly, out of her palm, a little pillar of ice raises up, twisting and turning to give it an odd shape. "Why?" She murmurs. "Why am I able to do this? I wish I could just be normal…" She shakes her head, throwing the little pillar of ice in the garbage. "I wish this hadn't happened to me. Anyone else, but not me." She says with a quiet sigh. "I just want a normal life. This ain't normal. If only I could just…wish this away." She looks down, as if ashamed, and sniffles. She remains like this for a little while.

But a potential paradigm shift exists within each of us.

A street map of Manhattan sits on a coffee table in a quiet dark apartment. Shadows cast across the street lines and names while a hand floats a small distance above it, a push pin clasped between two fingers. The hand starts to shiver and shake, the fingers loose their grip. The pin drops down onto the city streets and rolls off the table. Peter's hand clenches in frustration, a shock of electricity breaks out between his fingers, surging up his arm, with loud crackles, drawing his eyes down with a wince of pain.

The capacity for good or evil is determined by a simple fork in the road.

A room surrounded in darkness, Gene's face and body is illuminated only by the light of a computer screen. Dressed in sweat pants and without any top, Gene mulls over an online application. Breaking his gaze as if reminded by something, the teen pulls out a picture from his desk. Frowning faintly as he looks at it, Gene puts the picture by the corner of the monitor. It displays a woman in her twenties holding a newborn from her hospital bed. A man is hugging the pair, looking almost as happy as the mother. The Polaroid picture has written at the bottom 'Our Newest Addition!' and an asymmetrical hole in the man's face, as if stabbed repeatedly with a pencil or pen. Alone in the darkness, Gene finally lowers his head and clicks the mouse. As the 'Your Application has been sent. Thank you for applying for a position at Pinehearst. Expect to hear from us soon' message appears, a teary-eyed Gene gets up to go to bed, the dull light showing an iron-shaped scar on his back as he passes.

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Which way will you turn?

A street in Brooklyn at night. A young Hispanic teenager stands on a stoop outside an apartment building and glances up and down the sidewalk casually, smoking a cigarette and with hands stuffed into the pockets of his hoodie. Another man — taller, older, Caucasian — ambles down the sidewalk and pauses to speak to the teenager. They make a quick swap: the elder palms over some money, the boy passes over a baggy. They break away as quickly as they came together and the older man continues on down the street and around the corner toward 33 Prospect Park West. He pauses just outside the entrance to the building, withdraws the baggy and stares at it for a while. Then, Lachlan drops the bag in a nearby trash bin and heads up the steps to the apartment — and he's being watched by an intimidating Black man who stands across the street.

Left or right?

Fortunately, the dancer's body has been kept in shape with recent activities on stage. Especially now, since AJ's taking some fighting lessons from Will. He moves in to attempt a grapple, only slide off because of sweat, not his powers. Sighing, he pulls back. "I dunno babe. It's just… awkward for me. But, I DO need to learn some way to defend myself. After the whole thing in the park… I can't do what I did last time. Getting scared and running away just isn't right when I actually have a chance."

Grabbing a towel and wiping the sweat off his brow. "Though, I know it's only the first day, but maybe… maybe a different form would work. Something we could learn together?" He asks, hoping the former SEAL has some idea. He's somewhat clueless about fighting in general, beyond basic sibling brawling as a youth.

Will reaches out grab his own towel, wiping sweat from his face and neck as he considers. "You need to work on keeping your eyes up, anticipating what the other person will do." William reaches out for a bottle of water as he considers it. "I've been thinking of starting some martial arts training. We could do it together. Your dance training could pay off for something like Capoeira."

When Will says it, AJ simply grins. "Ya know… I never thought about it. Let's go for it." He chuckles, reaching out. "Now… dinner." He says with a firm nod.

Good, or evil?

The man turns the corner of the street, head kept low with his hands in his pockets. He does little to draw attention to himself— he's just another citizen of New York, struggling to pay the bills and have a life for all that anyone else should know. He approaches the old watchshop slowly, noticing the boards on the front before he's even in front of the building. Passing the shop, Gabriel turns down the next alleyway, disappearing from view with a shimmer once he passes the dumpster.

Faced with the threat of everything they know changing…

The camera pans in on the interior of a four star hotel room somewhere in Manhattan. Jane Forrest sits at the table in it, the emptied plate and carrier dish of a room service tray across from her, as she eyes the iPhone display in her right hand. She's checking messages and finding none. Her brow furrows, this seemingly makes no sense to her if the facial expression is any indication. She goes to Contacts and stares at Peter Petrelli's number in it, then shakes her head and uses a fingertip. It scrolls up to the name Nathan Petrelli. "Peter doesn't answer or return the message, let's see if the Senator knows what's up. If not, I'll find Peter and Danny Ferrera myself. Jane Forrest does not hide out in hotel rooms to avoid assassins longer than she has to. I'm going to find him before he finds me again." And the camera shifts to another location.

A person’s identity changes as well—

It seemed as if the ability to cause a random disease then take it away just wasn't what this ability was all about. It wasn't the maximum potential. Erin could feel the viruses, she could see them - surely she could do more with them. And so it occured to her over time to try. Starting with something easy - namely the plant that's sitting in a green plastic pot in front of her - she touches the leaves just enough so that she has contact, and sure enough, they start to turn yellow and spotty as if infected. Surprised, Erin pulls her hand back… But this time is different. The deliberately studied and created virus is stable. Thriving. It's not long before the plant is half dead, and a smile appears on the actress' face. How interesting.

If only to ride the turning tide.

Hot dog stands are a rarity in the winter, but there's one on the street corner near where Cam's standing. The boy watches the vendor, from a distance and being as subtle about it as he can. Finding the weaknesses, looking for sympathies he can use to get a free hot dog. All the planning goes out the window, though, as the vendor makes a dash for a hiding spot as the cops chase a man carrying a gun and splattered with blood around the corner, heading right for Cam's position. He quickly ducks to crawl under a bench, but once down places his hand on the sidewalk, forming a very slippery patch of ice right in the bloody man's path. The instant the man's foot hits the ice, he goes down, and before anything else can happen the cops are on him, pinning him and cuffing him, reading his rights.

Humans are chameleons in their own right.

Somewhere within New York, the nondescript white van parks outside an equally nondescript building. The men begin to unload their passengers as snow drifts lazily and peacefully down from the dark sky. One, two, three people are extracted one by one from the back of the van: Niki, Mohinder, Nathan. Each are taken into the building, past a few thick doors into which only one small window looks — but it doesn't matter much anyway, as all the rooms are dark. The trio are taken into separate cells and strapped into tall reclining chairs meant for restraint. Each is fitted with an IV that feeds a steady amount of sedative — just enough to make them groggy and hazy — by one other man whose face is hard to make out through the shadows and the unfortunate reflection on his thin glasses. After fitting the final IV, he smiles coldly and pats Nathan's cheek. "You and I are going to have quite a time together, Mister Petrelli," he intones in a voice slightly tainted with a British accent. "Before you die."

Like the chameleon evolved the ability to changes a myriad of colours to hide from the jaws of a predator, we change and adapt to our circumstance so that we, as a species, may thrive.

Everything is black.

Dead to the world, the woman in the the nearby cell is a victim to the restraints, to the sedative, and to the serum Mohinder cautioned her against taking that was nevertheless thrust into her bloodstream against her will by whoever her captors are. Winter coat and scarf long gone, likely to make her easier to strap down, the vivid red-orange of her short-sleeved fitted shirt is revealed, and the restraints are tight against her skin. Niki's straightened blonde hair brushes over her shoulder as her head lolls unconsciously toward it. One of her last thoughts before losing consciousness was that she won't be home tonight like she told Micah she would be — "I'll be back before you know it."

The blackness prevails. Now, her mind is blank. Niki won't be coming home.

But at what cost?

Nighttime falls on the Dawson household in Queens and quickly bedtimes approach. And pass. And though the lights are on in the bedroom of one Micah Sanders, the rest of the house is dark. His mom promised him she'd be home to tuck him in for the night but yet….here he sits. Alone. At the desk. In X-Men pajamas. Trusty laptop in front of him. Worry and uncertainty take turns floating across his face as the laptop screen displays Google. Does he…..or doesn't he? Part of him wants to know. But still, part of him wants to trust that everything is ok. Slowly, his hand raises, drifting towards the laptop. Will he….is he? But then, the hand changes and reaches for the lamp. Turning it off, the boy climbs into bed. Perhaps morning will bring better things.

When the jaws close in…

The pierce of a needle is enough to rouse Nathan for a moment, head tilting to the side at the touch to his cheek. His eyes crack open barely a fraction only to see a cold smile in the haze of unconsciousness and the glare of light against glass, and then in one small fit of alarm and consciousness, his body jerks in protest and anger against his restraints. The sedatives are quick and insidious and drag him back down, head resting against the chair as he opts to stare up at the ceiling instead. …there're these moments when you think, just— even for a second, it'd be better just to give in, that would be Niki's voice drifting through memory, and as the world seems to tilt, that is what Nathan does. Gives in. His body relaxes and his eyes close against the medical glare of the room's lights.

… We become capable of anything.

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