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Heroes: Godsend

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Written by Adam Sklar

Based on a universe by Tim Kring

This free-to-read novel is fan-made and is not connected to, or associated to any canonical Heroes storylines. It is a fan-made spin-off [that takes place one year after the events of Season 4. Heroes was created by Tim Kring and distributed by NBC, I do not own any of the rights to Heroes.
__]

Chapter One: Rude Awakening

Chapter Two: Red Letter Eclipse

Chapter Three: The Cardinal Tragedy

Chapter Four: Hope Never Dies

Chapter Five: The Devastation of Eden

Chapter Six: Filicide

Chapter Seven: The Impossible Son

Chapter Eight: Just Like Old Times

Chapter Nine: A Paladin’s Absolution

Chapter Ten: Wanton Warmonger

Dedicated to the memory of Bill Hartman [
(1934-2015)]

Original Storyline and Characters © Adam Sklar

[
Heroes Universe and Characters © Tim Kring/NBC]

CHAPTER ONE: RUDE AWAKENING

The feeling… It’s indescribable.” Riley, a scruffy young adult mutters as he recalls falling through a void as the empty space surrounding him ripples with devastation. The powerful wind causes his clothes to rapidly flail around as if even the inanimate items are aware of the impossibility going on around them. Blind to his surroundings, he falls unwillingly, expecting nothing more than a handshake from Death himself. Immediately after this thought, he sees a winged female figure reach her hand out to him, but the blinding light grows stronger until everything becomes silent. As he screams, wishing for it to be over, Riley falls front first onto a grassy meadow, the impact immediately renders him unconscious.

It was frightening. If I had to explain how it felt, I would say I felt like I was born again.” He mutters once more, reliving the traumatising and unforgiving nightmare he endured. As the long grass is gently touched by the slow wind, the tips of the grass stroke along the skin of the unconscious figure. Riley gasps with a groan following immediately after. He tries to move and makes an almost repressed shout of pain as he reaches for his back, breathing heavily until the pain fades away. His eyes jitter from side to side whilst he attempts to make audible sounds that grow louder with each increment.

Hello!?” Riley checks his ears for any sign of blood or injury. He realises that he cannot hear a single sound that escapes his mouth. Riley stumbles to get up, checking his clothing for any signs of documentation and realises that he has no idea who he is. Upon looking at his wrist, he sees an automatic watch which has seemingly met its demise at 1:33. As Riley spins around in panic, it appears that the meadow goes on forever with no end in sight. He turns around again and sees a well-hidden mansion and a small residential area nearby. With nowhere else to turn to, with no other choice to make, he walks as quickly as he can to this potential haven. As Riley gets closer to the building in the distance, he sees a male figure walking out towards his direction. Immediately, Riley panics, paranoia sets in.

“What if they’re dangerous? What if I’m dangerous?” he thinks in rapid succession as his current form of vulnerability causes him to think hastily. With no other choice, he breathes steadily, calming himself down and accepting that he must take the one singular path provided to him. Riley carries on walking up to the figure until they come face to face. He stares at the well-dressed man who has a welcoming smile on his somewhat friendly looking face.

“Looks can deceive. I don’t know this man yet.” Riley thinks to himself.

The lips of the stranger begin to move, but not a single sound can be heard by Riley. Unable to hear in any form, Riley expresses loudly that he cannot hear. He lets the man know by gesturing and pointing to both of his ears and shaking his head. The stranger nods with a polite smile and proceeds to point his hand in the direction of the building, implying that Riley should follow him. With no choice, he obliges. Riley strokes the long grass as he walks towards the mansion, experiencing the wonders of nature for the first time. The two strangers walk side by side, approaching the manor and entering the building through two large wooden doors. The stranger points above the doors to a plaque which reveals one name, ‘Petrelli Manor’. As Riley is led into the building, faint and muffled sounds begin to become audible, the gentle groans of tree branches and the faint singing of nearby birds, a delightful reminder that the world is well and truly alive.

“I can hear, I think…” he mutters to himself, despite still suffering from a constant muffled tone, a possible consequence of whatever had happened to Riley moments ago.

“That’s good. I imagine that your hearing should improve quickly.” The stranger nods and smiles towards Riley.

Riley and the stranger walk into a small room with soundproofed walls and dim lighting. It almost looks similar to that of an interrogation room, with no memory of his life, the anxiety attempts to overwhelm him as he successfully remains calm.

“Please, sit down. I’d like to ask you some questions.” The stranger states with an almost hushed tone.

“I… I want to know what’s going on. I don’t know who I am, I don’t know where I am. I woke up and I felt like all my bones were broken, and then all of a sudden it felt like they were… fixed.” Riley attempts to explain, with a hint of confusion in his voice.

“This is a place for gifted individuals. A haven, if you like. After a certain incident last year, some members of society have been casting people like us out from the general population. You are one of those people. As am I. Observe.” The stranger explains in detail, before speaking without moving his lips.

“My name is Frank Bowman, at its most basic form, my ability allows me to harness the power to read minds and relay my thoughts through the minds of others.” Frank smiles whilst Riley reacts in shock, thinking to himself that this must surely be a dream.

I can assure you that this is no dream.” Frank answers Riley’s thoughts.

“I find it remarkable that a person with little to no memory of their own life, or life itself, can somehow still grasp and understand the concept of what humanity perceives to be… normal. It could be due to the underlying instinct that we have, as to what should be allowed in this physical world. Regardless, I am here to help you to learn about who you truly are and to get you settled into this place.” Frank remarks and reassures Riley whilst walking to a desk with a computer and opens a drawer that contains a blood removal kit.

“In order to find out who you may be and what your abilities are, I’ll need to extract your blood. Do I have your permission?” Frank requests.

“Um… Yes, I don’t know. Wait. How do you know that I’m one of these… people… with abilities?” Riley stammers with a severe tone of doubt and confusion.

“You found yourself here, did you not? Of all the places in the world to end up at, I think arriving outside one of our havens has a purpose, a deeper meaning. I’ll have you know that you are not the first to suddenly appear nearby.” Frank states with certainty.

“What’s that sound?” Riley exclaims in discomfort. “It’s getting louder.” He raises his voice in a concerned tone.

“It’s moderately silent in this room, Riley. With the soundproofing on these walls, there are no sounds other than our own voices.” Frank answers Riley whilst trying to read his mind, hearing the very same noise Riley is so very desperately attempting to explain.

“It’s really loud, like a constant high pitched tone.” Riley explains as he continues reacting negatively to the ever-growing sound building up in his head.

“I think you’ve developed tinnitus, after whatever it is you went through.” Frank explains, refusing to notify Riley that he can no longer read his mind, for the tinnitus is blocking his thoughts.

“The weirdest thing is that I feel like I know you, almost as if I recognise you. Do we know each other?” Riley asks with a tone of doubt in his voice.

“I can’t say we’ve ever met before. Perhaps in your current state, you’re trying to remember certain things and you may be associating some of those things with me.” Frank erases Riley’s doubts. Riley stares at Frank as he sterilises a needle for usage in the blood test.

“This place is perfect. We have our own school, residences, farm, and medical facilities. This is a place for people who are all in the same boat as each other. Including you.” Frank carries on attempting to reassure Riley as he draws blood from his arm. He takes a sample of the blood and places it under a digital microscope and links it to the computer, followed by turning the monitor away from Riley.

“What is it?” Riley questions.

“Your name is Riley. Riley Stenson. You’re in our database, but your abilities aren’t listed. It seems to show in your blood that your abilities are… somehow inactive, which is extremely odd. Fortunately and almost ever so conveniently for us, there’s an eclipse tomorrow. I imagine that should kick-start your abilities once it’s over. I must say, your timing is impeccable, Mr. Stenson. Almost as if it were meant to be.” Frank remarks as he types information into the computer. “I’d like to get you settled into this place. Meet people, go to some lessons and get used to Petrelli Manor so you can feel comfortable finding your abilities again. And then we can help you remember who you are.” He continues speaking, as he shuts down the computer.

“The name doesn’t even feel familiar to me. I… I, uh… It doesn’t feel right.” Riley groans in confusion.

“It’s alright, Riley. This is to be expected. You may be suffering from retrograde amnesia. Your memories need to work their way back before it’ll begin to feel normal again. You’ll rediscover little things about yourself as you go along, but you might not remember absolutely everything. We’ll help you to remember who you truly are.” Frank comforts Riley, guiding him outside of the room and leading him into the main section of the Manor.

“There are around forty-five people here. It’s one of the smallest out of all of the havens around the world. There are four here in the United Kingdom. After an event last year, humanity became aware of us. Some started hunting us. Others even expected the world to become a better place, but they got scared. Just like people falsely believed that modern day humans wiped out the Neanderthals, they were expecting us to wipe them out, so they cast us all away. The sad thing is we actually co-existed with our predecessors, whilst the majority today don’t seem too happy to do so. The Petrelli Foundation then set up these havens all around the world in order to protect those in need. In large focus groups around the world, thirteen percent of people who were tested have abilities. Sixty years ago, it was only four percent. Now, this could be due to the lack of documentation back then, or it could be that more and more people are developing abilities today. They can be as little as mine, or as large as being able to move oceans and destroy mountains. I’m curious to see what your abilities are, Riley.” Frank explains, as the two walk down into the school, passing several classrooms.

“What do you teach here?” Riley asks.

“What do I teach, or what does the school teach?” Frank requests for clarification.

“Both, I suppose.” Riley answers.

“Well, I teach history. We teach many things here, including essential subjects, such as English, science and maths. We also cover subjects in relation to our abilities, both theoretical and practical.” Frank responds as the two stop and look through a window into a classroom.

“Why does this feel normal to me? Why am I getting used to this so quickly?” Riley looks towards Frank.

“If I’m right about you having retrograde amnesia, this means that your parietal lobe hasn’t been compromised. You may not have any memories at this current time, but some part of you must know that this is an element of your life, of our lives.” Frank attempts to explain whilst a girl looks towards Riley from inside the classroom. She gasps quietly, immediately placing her hand over her mouth, looking away and trying to avoid being noticed.

Did my blood… did my blood give you any indication as to what my powers might be?” Riley asks with a tone of hesitation in his voice, reluctant to know how gentle or dangerous his abilities may be.

“No, it didn’t. The only thing we can detect is the presence of an alternate structure in their DNA through their white blood cells, which would confirm whether or not a person has any abilities. However different an ability is, we all share the same alternate structure in our DNA.” Frank discusses as Riley nods nervously, whilst appearing to be distracted by a figure in the classroom.

“I don’t mean to be rude, but who is that girl in the classroom, right there? She was following us earlier on, I saw her.” Riley points.

“Oh, that’s Lily Cooper. She only turned up last week, a new resident. Do you know her?” Frank asks, looking towards Riley. “No, but she just looked at me a moment ago and it looked as if she recognised me.” Riley responds sharply.

“Well, the chances seem slim, but if you want to speak to her, you’re more than welcome to. It’s nearly four in the afternoon, so school will be over shortly. I’d like to introduce you to everybody in Roberts Hall, where everybody goes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You see, this really is a place to live in. We’re all family here.” Frank smiles and leads Riley to Roberts Hall.

Frank instructs Riley to sit down at a table near the front along with some other teachers.

“This is Riley, he’ll be joining us today.” Frank introduces Riley to the teachers on the table.

“I’ll be back shortly, I just have some business to attend to.” Frank places his hand on Riley’s shoulder firmly, before walking away. Residents of the haven begin entering Roberts Hall and queuing up to get their dinner.

“So, Riley, is it? My name is Kevin Bisley, or Mr. Bisley, if I’m to be teaching you! What’s your power, or powers, young man?” Sitting next to Riley is Kevin, a skinny young teacher with combed glossy hair and a tucked in shirt He asks Riley whilst hardly being able to contain his own excitement.

“Um… Frank couldn’t identify what my abilities were, something about them currently being disabled at the moment. I… I don’t quite know why.” Riley stammers.

“I’m sure we’ll find out! I study and teach the way powers work in people and how different our DNA is from those without powers.” Kevin explains.

“Oh yeah, Frank had mentioned something like that to me, about how our… white blood cells contain DNA? I… I don’t know enough about this, in fact, I don’t remember anything. I just ended up outside the field today and found myself here. I don’t remember anything at all. Frank identified me through my blood and I’m in the system already. He’s trying hard to make me feel as welcome as I can possibly feel.” Riley stutters.

One male teacher immediately pushes their chair back, the legs screech harshly on the solid floor beneath it. The teacher gets off the chair and he proceeds to walk away quickly, revealing that the lower half of his left arm is missing.

“Did I do something wrong?” Riley looks around for an answer.

“He’s understandably… paranoid. His name is Mitchell Jacobs. We’ve had other people appear in the field before, about five or six. Not together, of course. One of those was really dangerous, horribly dangerous. We didn’t know his real name, but one of the teachers dubbed him as The Consumer. His power… it’s fuelled by human flesh. Everything seemed so normal at first, then a couple of students went missing. Mitchell found our new guest… consuming them. He ran away, that’s when he discovered The Consumer’s powers. He had the ability to suspend people in motion, to paralyse them. The more flesh he had consumed, the stronger his powers were. It’s horrible. Mitchell lost his arm, and Frank discovered him lying down on the floor. As The Consumer was about to cut his other arm off, Frank shut him down…” Kevin abruptly finishes the story as another teacher intervenes.

“That’s enough, I think. No need to scare our new guest any further, that’s far too much information. We don’t need to relive any more of that.” Another teacher groans.

“No, it’s okay, thank you, but I’d like to listen. What do you mean Frank shut him down?” Riley nods towards Kevin.

“Frank might not have told you about his abilities, he can hear thoughts and send thoughts to others, but he can also harness the power of other people’s minds. This is something he doesn’t like to use. At that moment, Frank immediately… well, the easiest way to describe it is that he hit an ‘off switch’ in the Consumer’s brain, effectively killing him, albeit only temporarily until Frank hit the ‘on switch’ once he was imprisoned. He could have killed him, but Frank chose to arrest him instead. We keep a prison underground that only he accesses. That’s why Mitchell only has one arm and why he fears new residents.” Kevin concludes.

“We seldom see dark figures showing up on our doorstep, so I’d rather we keep the discussion to a minimum. It’s nice to meet you Riley, I’m sure we’ll do our utmost best to help you rediscover your powers. My name is Amelia Hale, I teach English.” Amelia, a middle-aged woman with white blonde hair, a sharp pinstripe suit and leopard patterned glasses introduces herself. She reaches her hand out to shake Riley’s hand.

“Sorry, I just… I wanted to be transparent.” Kevin explains.

Riley shakes Amelia’s hand and shakes his head as he looks towards Kevin.

“No, no, it’s okay. I appreciate the explanation, I hope I can prove to Mitchell that I’m a good person. At least, I think I am.” Riley remarks, as he finishes shaking Amelia’s hand.

“The most important thing to remember is that Hope Never Dies.” Kevin whispers into Riley’s ear.

Elsewhere, Mitchell hastily walks down a corridor, and knocks on a dark wooden door, and proceeds to open it.

“You should wait until I say you can come in, that’s customary.” Frank speaks sharply.

“I’m sorry, but I’m not happy with how openly you’ve allowed our new guest to just walk on the premises. After… this… you should be introducing a probationary period where new arrivals prove their worth.” Mitchell speaks angrily as he points to his missing arm.

“Mitchell, we’ve had our fair share of… broken characters show up on our premises, and all but one have been handled exceptionally well. Nothing like that will ever happen again, I assure you. No… Riley is fine.” Frank attempts to reassure Mitchell, whilst clenching his fist to hold himself back from harsher comments.

You can leave, now. I will join you shortly.” Frank raises his arm towards the door as a gesture to show Mitchell out. Mitchell nods his head hesitatingly, and leaves, closing the door behind him. Frank turns around again, facing a monitor and pressing a few keys on his keyboard.

“Apologies for that, I had a feeling he’d turn up. Again, all is going well. Riley is in complete control like you predicted. I took him outside Lily’s classroom and she recognised him. Like you said, she may very well be the catalyst required to aid Riley further. The Eclipse should slowly turn the tide. I’ll send you a sample of his blood in the morning for you to go over as planned, he should still be absolutely fine to operate The Godsend Device.” Frank talks to a mysterious figure on the screen.

“Good. Be prepared for the eclipse, it may kick-start what I interrupted. This will be a rude awakening for him. Thank you for your efforts, Frank. They are forever appreciated.” The mysterious figure responds and signs off.

Frank shuts down the monitor, before steadily walking out of his room. Mitchell reluctantly re-enters Roberts Hall and sits back down at the table, giving a small, albeit forced smile towards Riley. Unsure of how to reciprocate, Riley smiles back politely. A wave of students and residents begin to enter the hall as dinner hour starts. Riley turns around to face the influx of people and he notices a heavily nervous Lily do a double-take towards him. Riley stares at her and slowly attempts to get up from his seat with every intention of speaking to her, but Frank returns and places his hand on Riley’s shoulder, sitting him back down.

“So, how are you settling in, Riley? Are the teachers being nice to you?” Frank chuckles as he takes a seat next to Riley.

“Um, yes, they’ve been helpful. I’ve spoken to Kevin and Amelia. I feel like I can tell what my personality is, if that makes sense. I think I’m rediscovering certain traits, likes and dislikes.” Riley explains.

“That’s good, Riley, keep at it.” Frank remarks with encouragement and a pleased smile.

“Please can I have a look around for a moment?” Riley requests politely.

“Of course you may.” Frank agrees.

Riley nods at Kevin, Amelia and Mitchell before leaving his seat and heading towards a table that Lily is sitting down at.

“Hi, um, may we talk?” Riley asks as he looks towards Lily in the eyes. She stares back towards Riley, her eyes shifting constantly as she analyses his face.

Are you okay?” Riley asks.

“Hey, she doesn’t want to speak to you, can’t you tell?” A student on the same table speaks sharply towards Riley.

“No, I do, Michael. Thanks.” Lily looks towards Michael and back towards Riley. “Let’s go and sit at that empty table over there and talk.” She points to a nearby table and gets up from her seat, carrying her food tray with her. With a half-eaten sandwich and an untouched bottle of squash on her tray, she hesitates and stammers whilst trying to speak to Riley. “A… are you… Are you hungry?” As she fights herself, she manages to get out a clear enough sentence.

“No, I’m okay, thank you, I don’t feel hungry at all, actually.” Riley replies with a small smile whilst the two walk over towards the empty table. With no logical reason, Riley suddenly feels nervous as if his stomach isn’t settling properly. The two sit down at the empty table and stare at each other, one set of eyes appearing emotional, the other visibly blank. The moment seems to have paused in time, both Lily and Riley in synch with one another.

“Riley?” Lily mutters sadly.

“Yes. Do I know you?” Riley whispers.

Lily gasps and stares, her lips trembling and her voice breaking. “Yes.” She answers slowly.

“I’m sorry, my memory is… I don’t know much at the moment. What can you tell me?” Riley shakes his head as he tries to unravel any memories about himself.

“We were… We were together. We were in a relationship for a while. Then something happened, Riley. Something changed you.” Lily answers with an extremely hesitant tone.

“Something changed me?” Riley quotes Lily.

“I can’t go into details about it, Riley. Not right now, it’s too dangerous. The point is, somehow, you’re here. I missed you. It’s difficult, but you’re here now.” Lily responds.

“I’m sorry, Lily. I can’t remember you, I can’t remember us. But I know that when we were walking to this table, I felt inexplicably nervous. Perhaps that’s why. Maybe a part of me knows, somehow.” Riley explains, as he reaches out for Lily’s hand, resting flat on the table, beside her food tray. She reacts in shock, immediately pulling her hand away from his.

“I… I… I’m sorry.” Riley apologises with sincerity.

“I just wasn’t… I’m not prepared for this.” Lily answers with a frightened look on her face, her eyes terrified. “It’s strange, even after what’s happened to you, I… I look into your eyes, and I somehow still see you in there.” She holds back her tears and tightens her hand into a fist. “How did you get here? How did you know?” Lily tries even harder to hold back any tears.

“I… I don’t know how I got here, Lily. What happened to me, well, the feeling… It’s indescribable. It was frightening. If I had to explain how it felt, I would say I felt like I was born again. Everything was ripping and shredding around me, lights strobing heavily. I thought I saw an angel. I wish I knew what happened before that, and why, especially why. Then I just fell onto the field, right outside.” Riley attempts to explain whilst racking his brain.

“Listen, Riley. People here only think I have one ability. The ability to control the emotions of others. But you, well, the version of you that knows me knows that I have another ability, something nobody else here knows about. And I’m going to keep my promise for you.” Lily reaches for his hand, picking it up, and holding it against her cheek. “Remember.” She looks sharply into Riley’s eyes.

Riley suddenly gasps quietly and closes his eyes. He sees rapid firing images of memories inside of his mind. Memories of him and Lily, these blurred images embed themselves into his mind, his face blurred in these seemingly welcome memories. The colours, the sounds and the emotions, all traversing through his entire brain. He opens his eyes again and breathes heavily as the emotions overwhelm him. Riley sees himself lying on a field next to Lily as they watch the night sky together, the emotions of happiness and love begin to engross him.

“Lily. I… I… I couldn’t see my face in those memories.” Riley gasps with confusion.

“Well… maybe… it’s probably because of your memory loss, Riley. Have you even looked in a mirror since you got here? You probably don’t even remember what you look like.” Lily explains.

“That’s a good point. Your power… I remember. I remember us.” Riley speaks, as he tries to get an impression of his face by touching it with his hands, feeling the shape of his eyes, nose and lips.

“I have a couple of powers. I can control the emotions people feel, as well as access shared memories. Because of that, I can only access memories that we have shared together.” Lily explains.

“Those are incredible powers. That explanation makes me wonder, what if you just made me feel love for you here and now?” Riley theorises with a tone of sarcasm in his voice.

“No, no, I promise. I only showed you our shared memories. I can only make you remember us, what we had together.” Lily responds quickly, oblivious to Riley’s sarcasm.

I believe you.” Riley whispers.

“When did we last see each other then? I mean, I don’t even know what year it is. I don’t know how old we are.” He questions Lily.

“It’s 2011, December at the moment. We’re both seventeen. Your birthday is on the 13th October 1994, and mine is on the 12th October 1994. You’re the baby.” Lily smiles briefly.

“A day apart, huh?” Riley mutters quietly. “Oh, of course, would you know what my powers are?” He asks, desperate for an answer. Lily looks downwards.

“I’m sorry, Riley, I don’t know what they are. All you’ve told me is that they change based on certain factors, both emotional and environmental. You’ve never used them around me.” She answers.

Riley looks around, desperate for a faint memory to come to mind, just hoping for a hint regarding what abilities he may hold.

“Oh well, we’ll find out tomorrow, I suppose. Frank reckons the eclipse will restart my abilities.” He explains.

Lily carries on eating her food, finishing off the last few bites whilst her hands still shake slightly from the shock of seeing Riley once again.

“As for when we last saw each other, it feels like it’s been a really long time, but it hasn’t. I’m just glad you’re remembering… Hopefully we can find a way to bring you back to your old self in no time.” Lily smiles reassuringly.

“What about family? Do I have any?” Riley asks.

“You have parents, but I’ve never met them, you always spoke about your Dad, but I’ve heard nothing about your Mum. You have, or had a brother, I don’t quite know exactly, you never introduced me to them.” Lily informs Riley.

Riley shakes his head as this pertinent information brings about no memories at all. He looks longingly at Lily in her eyes, struggling to deal with the overpowering emotions he just felt.

“So, how does this place work?” Riley asks.

“Well, what do you mean in particular? The residential zones are split up into four sections, everybody has a job here, unless you’re a student, then you study. Some people here have families, some don’t. In a way, everybody here is a family. I’m just hoping that one day, the outside world will be used to people like us. The thing is… I could make it out there. I could actually make it out there. If you have a minor power, you’re less likely to be noticed. If you have a more visible power, it’s difficult. So many people have been murdered, even people without powers. It’s unfair.” Lily exclaims.

“I don’t even remember anything about that. The things I can remember now are just feelings and emotions between you and me, blurred memories. I feel like I know you so well all of a sudden, but I don’t remember anything. To know that this world seems like a horrible place, it feels uncomfortable.” Riley mutters.

It’s not all bad. A lot of people are more aware, more understanding these days, I’ve met a lot of nice people who have sheltered those at risk. This place is just a haven for those who don’t have anywhere else to go. You’ll remember things eventually.” Lily tries to reassure Riley.

“One thing is bothering me, though… How is it that you’re here in this place too?” Riley questions Lily, who stutters with difficulty to try and come up with a feasible answer.

“After you went missing, I… I, uh, I went from place to place, I had nowhere to go. I tried checking all the havens for you, but… but, I couldn’t find you. This was the last one I came to, so I… I stayed here. I guess maybe somehow, you knew I was at this one? Either it’s a great coincidence, or time will tell.” She stutters. “I thought you were dead.” Lily spoke sternly.

“I’m sorry.” Riley, shocked by Lily’s tone, responds apologetically as Lily wipes her eyes.

“Heads up.” Lily nods as she looks behind Riley, indicating that somebody is coming. “She’s the head of the dormitories.” She states.

“Hi there, Riley! Frank just filled me in, welcome to Petrelli Manor! My name is Caroline Hamilton, I’m the head of the residential facilities. My role involves looking after the dormitories and the people within it. We’ve got some space at the moment, so you do have a choice as to where you’d like to stay, if you want to have a look.” Caroline informs Riley.

“Is there room in Harker?” Lily asks.

“There are a few rooms going in Harker Building, including one a couple of doors down from your room.” Caroline answers.

“You could take that room if you like, Riley? Harker is a good building, the rooms are nice, and I’m a couple of doors down if you need my help for anything?” Lily tries to persuade Riley to take the room.

“I don’t think I’ll be staying here long.” Riley looks towards Caroline.

“Well, whilst you’re here, room 83 is yours. Come by to the office after dinner, and I can give you your key. Lily can show you where the office is.” Caroline writes determinedly onto a piece of paper resting on a clipboard whilst walking away.

“Thanks, Caroline.” Lily speaks with appreciation. “We should go to the office now, and get you settled in. I’m sure Frank might want you to take part in the lessons tomorrow and see how you find them.” She suggests.

“I don’t want to sound blunt or harsh, but lessons aren’t important to me right now. I’ve appeared here with no memories whatsoever, the important thing is to discover who I am, and why all this happened. Somebody out there must know. Everybody is acting too relaxed about me, even I’m behaving far too relaxed.” Riley explains quickly.

“But you need to stay here until the eclipse anyway so Frank can help you adjust to your powers? You’ve at least agreed to that, so why not check out some lessons whilst you’re here?” Lily tries to reason with Riley.

“Fine, fine. Maybe one lesson.” Riley agrees.

The two begin to walk out of Roberts Hall and Lily throws away the food waste on her plate and positions her dinner tray onto other trays before walking out with Riley.

Hold on a minute!” Frank calls. Riley turns around and walks back to Frank.

“Making a friend already, I see?” Frank smiles.

“Somewhat, just trying to see if any personality traits will click, or help me to remember anything. Best way to do that is to try to bond with people, right?” Riley answers.

“You make a good point. Of course. Listen, I’d like you to sit in on my lesson tomorrow morning, and see how you find it, you don’t have to attend others if you wouldn’t like to. It’s a small lesson since we’re finishing early for the eclipse.” Frank requests.

“Well, I kind of promised Lily that I’d at least take part in one lesson, so, okay, I’ll join in. Maybe it’ll distract me from being nervous about the eclipse.” Riley accepts.

“Great, I’ll see you there. Lily’s in that class so she can show you where it is. See you tomorrow!” Frank responds as he walks back to his table. Riley waves to the rest of the teachers on the table and walks back to Lily, following her out of Roberts Hall.

“This place is remarkably idyllic.” Riley states.

“They’re perfect havens.” Lily responds.

“Nothing is perfect. I heard about… The Consumer or whatever his name is, that’s a great example.” Riley argues. The two stare at one another and Lily shakes her head. The two walk side by side towards the dormitories and retrieve the key for room 83. Lily quickly leads Riley to their dorm and guides him to his bedroom door. Riley shakily tries to insert the key into the door handle, missing a couple of times before succeeding. He places his hand on the door handle, and slowly turns it clockwise and pushes, opening the door into his room.

“I’m just going to sort out some things in my room, I’ll come back in a second. You have some bedding, towels and a desk, you can borrow a laptop from the office if you need to. I promise I’ll be back in a bit.” Lily informs Riley as she leaves to go to her room. She opens her bedroom door, slowly closing and locking it as quietly as she can. Lily quickly sits on her chair by her desk, letting out a trembling sigh whilst she adjusts her dark hair. She reaches for her notepad and tears a piece of paper from it. Lily gently places the piece of paper in front of her, taking a pen to it and begins writing a heartfelt note.

“Dear Riley. I’ve written this message for you to read when the time comes…” She finishes writing the note and neatly folds the piece of paper and places it in her jacket pocket. Lily walks back into Riley’s room and sees him standing by the window, staring at his reflection as he attempts to get accustomed to his appearance.

“Riley?” Lily speaks with a worrisome in her voice.

“I don’t know what’s happened, but I can feel it. I can feel the repercussions of what happened in the form of numbing emotions. Something horrible happened, and I don’t even know what it is. I can see it in my own eyes.” Riley confides in Lily.

“We’ll work through it together, I promise. We’ll find out what happened to you. We’ll fix it all.” Lily explains.

“This just seems too perfect. I’ve ended up outside a safe haven, where I’m welcomed with open arms. I shouldn’t be sitting around doing nothing, I need to find out who I am.” Riley admits and argues.

“Good things happen to people. Maybe you’ve had so much bad that this is the one good that you’ve been granted? The one good thing that you deserve? Perhaps we should call it a night. You look knackered. We have our lesson in the morning and it’s finishing early so we can go and see the eclipse.” Lily states and Riley nods in agreement.

“Thanks, Lily. I’ll see you in the morning, yeah?” Riley speaks softly.

“I’ll be your wake up call, be prepared for some loud knocking!” Lily jokes.

“Not too loud, please.” Riley shakes his head with seriousness. “I might not have my memory yet, but I’m very tired.” He smirks.

CHAPTER TWO: RED LETTER ECLIPSE

What did you do?! What did you do?!” Lily yells.

Riley groans as he feels paralysed and stuck in place whilst looking at his surroundings.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Lily enunciates as she faces directly towards Riley, ensuring that she has his complete and total focus, without fail.

“Um, I… I remember… Our lesson, I remember the lesson finishing early. We came out to see the eclipse…” Riley groans.

“Tell me more, carry on.” Lily demands.

“This morning… You woke me up with a knock on my door.” Riley remembers. Knocking occurs on his bedroom door, waking him immediately. Riley reacts in shock and surprise having forgotten that he now lives in a haven.

“Are you there, Riley? It’s time to get up!” Lily shouts, her voice muffled by the door.

Yeah, yeah. I’m up. I’ll meet you in a second.” Riley groans as he realises he slept in the same clothes he wore the night before. He stumbles to his cupboard where he notices that some clothes have kindly been given to him already. He picks out a dark green shirt, an equally dark blue jacket and some black trousers. Riley dresses into his new clothes and leaves his room to meet Lily.

“Hey… Riley. Class starts in an hour and a half, let’s grab some breakfast from Roberts Hall first?” Lily reacts in shock, hoping that her reunion with Riley the day before was not a concoction of her imagination. She guides Riley as the two go to Roberts Hall together and quietly eat breakfast with each other. Lily’s group of friends approach, immediately joining them at their table.

“Hey Lily!” a female figure greets Lily as she sits down next to her.

“Hi Jamie, you alright?” Lily replies to Jamie, a tall and slim teenager with shoulder length blonde hair, a plaid shirt and skinny jeans.

“I’m not too bad, so you’re friends with the newbie, huh?” Jamie remarks.

“Yeah, this is Riley, we knew each other on the outside. He’s lost his memory though, so I’m trying to help him get it back.” Lily explains Riley’s situation. Jamie doesn’t respond, she looks to the other members sitting at the table. As Lily is about to place a spoonful of cereal into her mouth, she notices the others have become awkwardly quiet.

“What’s the problem?” Lily asks whilst she slowly and carefully places her spoon back in her bowl. The others stare at one another, unsure of how to answer.

“Nobody in here knows each other, except for the families that arrived together. Now this guy, Riley? Yeah, Riley’s come along, and you two know each other. I guess it’s just a bit upsetting to some of us that we have family and friends out there who could be dead or alive. It’s a great thing you two have found each other! It’s just making some of us think.” Jamie explains hastily.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t think about it like that.” Lily stutters under her breath.

“No, honestly, there’s nothing to apologise for!” Jamie speaks clearly and places her hand on Lily’s shoulder. They all continue eating their breakfast in dead silence.

Lily and Riley leave the table after having finished their breakfast, departing from Roberts Hall whilst feeling the digging stares of cautious eyes in their backs. Riley turns around and Jamie and the other students suddenly avert their gazes in the most nonchalant fashion.

“Come on, Riley. I should show you where the classroom is, class’ll start soon.” Lily instructs, as they both leave.

Jamie waits until the coast is clear before making her suspicions known. “When I was in her room the other night whilst she was in here having dinner, I saw that picture in her desk, remember? A picture marked ‘Me and Riley’. Whoever that guy is, it’s not Riley. You saw that photo, right, Jonathan?” Jamie whispers to the others on the table before directing a question to Jonathan, a slightly built teenager with very short hair, wearing a jacket and jeans.

“Yeah… So what’s Lily up to? Either she’s smuggling somebody else in, or Riley’s powers are to shapeshift? For all we know, it could just be another guy called Riley.” Jonathan responds.

“I overheard the teachers speaking about Riley’s powers being inactive. Come on, Lily doesn’t help people she doesn’t know. Another person called Riley would be too much of a coincidence.” Jamie argues.

“Maybe he’s just stuck in this form whilst his powers are inactive? Or maybe that is his real form?” Jonathan counter-argues.

“I don’t think it’s his real form… She wouldn’t take a picture with anything other than his real form, right? Either way, we’ll find out exactly what his powers are once the eclipse is over.” Jamie wraps up her concerns.

Lily walks Riley towards the classroom whilst steadily analysing his eyes, truly accepting that Riley is here. As they step over creaky wooden floorboards, Lily looks at an obviously distracted Riley, but chooses not to speak to him just in case she interrupts his train of thought. As soon as they reach the classroom, Lily abruptly stops walking.

“Oh, is this the classroom?” Riley asks, followed by Lily nodding. “Sorry, I didn’t want to say something in case I disturbed you, seemed like you were deep in your thoughts there.” She explains.

“I was just staring into space, really. I was finding the creaking of the wood quite… therapeutic.” Riley answers with a slight smile. The two walk into the classroom where Frank Bowman is already sitting at the desk, setting up his presentation for the lesson.

“Lily, Riley. Good morning. How are you both?” He asks.

“I’m good thanks, Mr. Bowman.” Lily responds, smiling.

“And Riley?” Frank asks.

“Sorry, yeah, I’m okay thanks.” Riley responds with a nervous tone in his voice.

“I promise you, Riley, there is absolutely nothing to be worried about. Today is an exciting day, a red-letter day, even.” Frank expresses cheerfully. Lily sits down at her seat and nods towards Riley to indicate that he should sit down too. Riley takes the seat next to Lily, and sits down whilst the other students begin arriving into the class.

This is a small class.” Riley whispers to Lily.

“There aren’t many students here, it’s kind of nice. Everybody knows everybody.” Lily whispers back.

“Right, good morning everybody! As you know, we’re only having a quick recap session today for revision purposes so that we can go outside and watch the eclipse. Turns out that it’ll be in alignment with Mars also, which is a very rare astronomical event, quite exciting. For those of you who don’t know, we have a new student, Riley Stenson.” Frank claps his hands once and introduces Riley to the class. Riley nods nervously and smiles towards his new classmates. “Today, we’re going to carry on with the Sullivan Consequence.” He informs the class. “Hmm, Geoff, mind reminding the class where we left this topic off last time?” Frank points to Geoff, a young male student in the room.

“Um, well the Sullivan Consequence is when somebody with rapid cellular regeneration jumped off a large structure in front of a news crew and revealed herself to the world. It happened in the Sullivan Brothers carnival.” Geoff answers.

“Correct, that’s why we refer to it as the Sullivan Consequence. Claire Bennet jumped from a Ferris wheel, which quickly resulted in a global panic. Many of us tried to find out how to undo what had been done, but the consequences were so severe that any change made in the past would still create a ripple effect that would result in the Sullivan Consequence anyway. In another word, it was inevitable to change things, so they were ultimately left as they were. Many died as a result of this, and many others went missing, including the infamous Gabriel Gray, also known as Sylar. It is believed that Sylar killed up to fifty people, and he is one of the reasons that people are still hunting us today.” Frank inspects Riley’s expressions for a reaction. “Here in the United Kingdom, many families discovered that their children or relatives were indeed one of the evolved and they tried their best to protect them. Some others decided to hand them over the police. The more unfortunate ones were killed by a group of hunters known as the Purgers, the first group of killers who sought to rid the world of the evolved just because they couldn’t understand people like us.” Frank continues, as he looks to the class, witnessing their concerned expressions as they are reminded of the devastation that burdens those who aren’t in a safe sanctuary. He walks around the classroom, looking over everybody as he continues to remind them of the murderous group of killers known as the Purgers. “At the end of the day, we’re all human. Powers or not, there are good people and bad people. Like I mentioned Sylar earlier, a killer of the worst kind who must pay for his crimes. There were rumours that he had redeemed himself, but he must still pay for the atrocities he has committed.” He mutters whilst walking behind his students. “We should always be grateful for those who helped set up these safe havens across the world, for we aren’t in as much danger as those on the outside.” Frank concludes as he looks outside the window and then down to his watch, noticing that it is almost time for the eclipse. “It’s time to cut this lesson short, the eclipse is due to start any minute now. If you’ll all proceed out to the grounds outside, we’ll begin setting up for the eclipse.” Frank instructs the class as students begin placing their chairs away and proceeding towards the doors that lead outside.

“Lily?” Frank calls.

“Yes, Mr. Bowman?” she answers.

“Make sure Riley doesn’t get lost, we wouldn’t want him missing the eclipse, now!” Frank smiles, as he nods towards Riley.

“I’ll stick with Lily, don’t worry.” He reassures Frank. Riley and Lily walk outside the classroom and Frank walks back towards his desk sombrely, slowly tidying up his paperwork and letting out a long sigh, staring blankly into the sky outside his window.

“How long is the eclipse due to last for?” Riley asks Lily.

“Oh, well the entire event takes place over a couple of hours or so, but the actual coverage of the sun lasts maybe about seven or eight minutes? That’s the length of time we’ll remain powerless for. Hopefully when it’s over, it’ll kick start your abilities again.” She clarifies.

“What good are these abilities if I have no memory of who I am?” Riley questions himself. Lily stares towards Riley, unsure of how to answer him. She looks down, staring at the ground and stammering with the jumbled thoughts that cross her mind, unable to utter a clear answer.

“It’s okay. I just have to deal with things as they come, right?” Riley places his hand on Lily’s arm, attempting to reassure her with a gentle grip. After a moment of silent reassurances through their stares, the two walk out to the back of Petrelli Manor and join the others on a field in preparation for the eclipse.

As Riley and Lily look upwards towards the sky, the other students begin flocking into the field to join in on the natural wonder that is about to occur. Frank hastily leaves the classroom, and walks towards Riley.

“Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Where does it come from? This constant, unfulfilled need to solve all of life’s mysteries, these seemingly simple questions with what must be complex, yet unanswered explanations.” He speaks with awe. “With no memory to hold onto, I guess that feeling is ever more powerful for you than it is for those like myself, overburdened with memories of one’s life.” Frank continues to delve into his philosophical thoughts with Riley whilst they both gaze into the sky as shadows begin to envelop the land they stand on.

I don’t feel good. I feel—” Riley groans, immediately blacking out as the sun is totally obscured. What felt like a brief moment of unconsciousness turned out to be an entire six minutes of blackness, of no control”. Riley awakens to notice that the eclipse is almost over, the sun shines fiercely upon the fiery manor.

What did you do?! What did you do?!” Lily yells.

Riley groans as he feels paralysed and stuck in place whilst looking at his surroundings.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Lily enunciates, her hands holding Riley’s face, as she stares Riley in the eye, ensuring that she has his complete and total focus, without fail.

“Um, I… I remember… Our lesson, I remember the lesson finishing early. We came out to see the eclipse…” Riley groans.

“Tell me more, carry on.” Lily demands.

“This morning… You woke me up with a knock on my door.” Riley continues to groan, his vision blurred. As his sight adjusts to the surroundings, Riley notices that the entire complex is on fire and bodies lay around the field. The eclipse concludes whilst Riley shudders, he feels a cold hollow emptiness in his chest. The fear and panic overwhelms him as he contemplates what must have happened during the course of the eclipse. Riley turns to his side to see Frank Bowman lying on the ground, lifeless. “No, no, no!” Riley shouts as he stumbles towards Frank, desperately trying to check for any signs of life.

“He’s gone, Ri, he’s just gone. Everybody’s gone.” Lily speaks with a broken voice whilst Riley looks around to see all the residents of Petrelli Manor have perished. Nearly fifty people have died on the spot, their bodies and limbs covering the grassy terrain.

“What… What did I do?” Riley cries.

“It wasn’t you… It wasn’t your fault. I promise you. I… Look, let’s get out of here, the Purgers are going to be here any moment. They would’ve heard or seen this place by now.” Lily tries to get Riley’s attention as she wearingly reminds him about a group known as the Purgers. Riley is oblivious, dumbstruck and totally unaware that words are escaping Lily’s mouth.

“Listen!” Lily shouts and slaps Riley across the face. “Somebody’s alive, Riley.” She hears a groaning survivor and shakes Riley by his shoulders. He immediately turns from side to side, concentrating and trying to find out where the sounds of desperation are coming from.

“This way!” Lily sees a figure by the main building and pulls Riley with her as they run towards an injured figure. “Owen, are you okay?” She recognises the injured student as he recoils in fear.

“Get him away from me! Get him away from us!” Owen yells in fear, shaking tremendously.

“It’s okay, it’s okay! It wasn’t him. Owen, look at me. I promise you, it wasn’t him.” Lily rushes to reassure Owen, placing her hand over his arm, using her abilities to calm him down.

“Then what the hell was that? His eyes, they turned orange and he just attacked everyone, relentlessly! His powers… how did he have his powers during the eclipse? We were all defenceless!” Owen yells, his mind full of endless questions. Riley listens to Owen’s testimony of the events that occurred, trembling at the thought of what he had done.

“I don’t know, Owen. But… but look at his eyes now, they’re not orange, it’s not his fault.” Lily continues to defend Riley and uses her powers to calm him down. Slowly, a growing sound begins erupting from the meadow nearby.

“What is that?” Riley whispers towards Lily.

They found us. We have to go.” Lily commands as she grabs Riley and Owen by their arms.

“You ain’t going anywhere, missy.” A croaking voice of man with a thick accent emerges from behind Lily as he knocks her over the head with the butt of a gun.

“Oh, none of youse are going anywhere.” He chuckles whilst stroking the top of his hair, fiddling with his ponytail and scratching against the baldness on the sides of his head.

“Riley, do whatever it was you just did, and get rid of them!” Owen shouts through his teeth towards Riley as he crouches down to inspect Lily.

“I… I can’t, I… I do… don’t know how, I j… just don’t know how.” Riley stutters fearfully.

“G… g… got s… s… speech problems, laddie? The name’s Simon, and I’m gonna be taking youse all away.” Simon mocks Riley whilst laughing and waving towards his group as they approach the Manor.

“You three, go search the front of the place, and you two, check the back. Kill anybody who we don’t need, powers we’ve already catalogued, you know the drill! You hit the jackpot, Si!” An oncoming group member instructs other followers, as she applauds Simon.

“Nah, I dunno, Hilary. Looks like somebody else hit the jackpot, I don’t see anybody else alive here.” Simon mutters as he scratches the rear of his head.

“Then you need your eyes looking at, Si. Look at that, a little one crawling through the grass, must only be a kid!” Hilary giggles, pointing towards a crawling child, no older than ten.

Shut up.” Simon sneers as he walks towards the crawling child.

“Mum… mummy, please. Help me find my mummy, please?” The child pleads as Simon walks around the child, noticing his broken leg.

“What’s your name, kiddo?” Simon asks the wounded child.

Emmett, my name… it’s Emmett.” He answers with pain in his voice.

“I had a horse once Emmett, her name was… uh… Opal. One day she fell. Her leg broke.” Simon pretends to reminisce.

“Like… like mine?” Emmett wonders, as he struggles in pain.

“Yeah, kiddo. Like yours. So we went and put her down. Just a little quick thump and it was done, you see?” Simon represses a chuckle, as he crouches down to Emmett.

“She… she was a horse, right? I can be fixed. You’re not going to do that to me, are you, sir?” Emmett asks with the utmost politeness, as Simon stands up and withdraws his gun.

“Of course not, kiddo.” Simon mutters as he fires his gun in the back of Emmett’s head. Owen screams out, Lily’s lips and hands shake and Riley shudders in fear whilst he realises just how dark and evil the Purgers must be.

“You never had a horse, did you?” Hilary laughs.

“I fucking hate ‘em.” Simon groans, as he holsters his gun.

“You’re lucky the P of E doesn’t go after you, or us Purgers.” Hilary giggles.

“We’ve been through this before lass, why would they? My power is ‘armless, I can only detect whether or not somebody else has a power and what their power, or powers are. That boy already had one that we’ve categorised. These three don’t. Oi, you.” Simon hastily reminds Hilary why he isn’t targeted, as he looks towards Riley.

“What?” Riley struggles to speak, fearful of what Simon may do to him.

“I know you have powers, laddie. More than one. Yet you’re the first I’ve come across that I actually cannae scan at all. I ain’t got no clue what powers you’ve got, so this is your lucky day because we’re gonna take youse all just in case.” Simon nods his head in frustration and laughs it off. “Get these three prepared, we need to take them back.” He instructs Hilary, as the other Purgers confirm that there are no additional survivors.

“What about the guy in the prison?” Riley kneels down and whispers to Lily.

“He’s too dangerous, they wouldn’t be able to hold him back. Trust me, from what I’ve heard, he deserves to stay locked down there.” Lily whispers in return without any sign of hesitation.

“Might I say thank you to our mysterious benefactor, two down, two to go!” Hilary thanks the person responsible for making Petrelli Manor visible as she reacts excitedly at the prospect of two remaining Petrelli Manors left in the United Kingdom.

“Cover them, let’s go.” Simon instructs the other Purgers. Who place covers over the heads of Riley, Lily and Owen, blinding them from seeing whatever hell they are about to be taken to. As they are pushed into the back of a van, Riley begins breathing heavily, his heart beating faster, his head twitching. Lily quickly feels the uneasy and terrified emotions emitting from him. She moves her hand around to try to find him and she places her hand onto his, gently caressing his hand and using her powers to calm Riley down. Her powers could not be used at a more opportune time, for the incident that occurred during the eclipse could truly come about at any given time. Riley, Lily and Owen attempt to sit upright as they try to get as comfortable as anybody could possibly be in a frightful situation such as this.

Good night.” Hilary speaks in sing-song as three Purgers cover each of their masks around the mouths with a piece of chloroform soaked cloth, causing them to fall asleep as they unwillingly embark on their journey to a locale unknown.

In what seems like mere seconds in their unconscious states, Riley, Lily and Owen are woken up inside a small and dimly lit room, secured by strong titanium walls.

“You two have very similar abilities. If you didn’t have the power to control emotions, I’d have killed you.” Simon states from behind a reinforced door as he looks towards Lily and Owen through an opening.

“I’m dangerous. Please put me somewhere else. Please.” Riley stammers pleadingly.

“You can’t hurt us. See these walls, laddie? That’s just over two metres thick. Oh, and we’re also quite, quite deep underground.” Simon speaks as he slowly leans towards Riley.

“I’m not talking about you.” Riley whispers as he continues to stammer, as Simon looks towards Riley and his friends with a smugly surprised expression.

“Ooh well, what a conundrum. You think you’d hurt your friends here?” Simon chuckles.

Yes.” Riley answers, interrupting Simon.

“Riley, you’re not going to hurt us, I promise. Not with me here, I know you wouldn’t.” Lily nudges herself towards Riley and places her hand on his shoulder.

I killed them all. How many were there, forty, fifty? I don’t even remember it. I had no control over my body, yet I remember their dying screams.” Riley struggles to speak, a blank expression on his face is overwhelmed by the tears developing in his eyes.

“You mean you’re our mysterious benefactors? Youse are the ones responsible for all of that back there? Wow, kiddo. You sure saved us a lot of time and hassle.” Simon nods as Riley looks towards him, enraged.

“Just me. I’m scared that I will kill all of you.” Riley groans.

“You cannae possibly do such a thing, boy.” Simon replies confidently.

“Please, I’m begging you to just lock me in a hole somewhere on my own!” Riley continues to stifle his tears whilst Simon chuckles and begins to walk away, before stopping abruptly.

“Actually… there is something I’d like to show you, lad.” Simon returns to the door, staring at Riley with a glint of curiosity in his eye. He opens the door, instructing Riley to come out.

“Riley, don’t go with him. Stay with us. Please.” Lily pleads.

“I know you can control it. If anything happens to me, I know you can control it.” Riley nods towards Lily, attempting to smile as he leaves with Simon who closes the door behind them.

“Just remember, Hope Never Dies.” Lily reminds Riley, who reacts in surprise as Simon pulls him away. She looks through the metal grate on the door, waiting for Riley to be out of sight.

“Do you know? Did you read him?” Lily speaks in a stern tone, refusing to blink as she stares into Owen’s eyes, impatiently waiting for an answer.

“Yes. Yes, I know. As soon as I’d calmed down, I read him and I knew.” Owen answers.

“I know it must be horrible, your ability. I don’t know how you cope with it.” Lily sympathises.

“Over the years I’ve come to cope with it, but reading him overloaded me, I’ve never felt so weak before from reading a person, seeing everything they are, seeing their past, present and future, it was messy and convoluted. It took double the effort with him.” Owen confesses.

“What future did you see?” Lily begs Owen to answer her, as she listens out for guards.

“You have to understand, my ability to see the future of a single person has almost never been accurate, it doesn’t account for other people or any decisions made from now onwards, I can only see the future of a person as if it were to be the consequences of choices already made.” Owen stutters as he tries to explain his abilities in the simplest way he can conjure.

“That’s okay, Owen, I just want to get an idea, what did you see?” Lily pleads eagerly.

“I saw nothing good, Lil. Complete desolation. An apocalypse. A world without water. A world without greenery. I saw him, old, withered and alone. It wasn’t Riley anymore, he had changed. Whatever happened, nobody saw it coming. I could feel what he felt.” Owen mutters as his voice breaks.

Lily stares, her eyes wide open, her eyebrows depressed and her face doleful.

“I didn’t just see him, Lily. I saw two people. Something I’ve never experienced before. But reading the other person barely works at all, it’s a colourless mess of undecipherable images. The clearest thing I could make out was his name.” Owen explains in greater detail.

“Don’t say it. I can’t risk anybody hearing it. I trust that you know it wasn’t Riley that killed everybody in Petrelli Manor now.” Lily makes a statement for Riley’s innocence.

Of course I know that. What can we do, though? How can we help him?” Owen runs through an endless number of questions as they form themselves in his mind.

“No matter what happens, we need to help him get back to who he was before, we need to help him recover. Please, Owen, please can you help me do this?” Lily pleads once more, holding gently onto Owen’s hands, encouraging him with her abilities. She knows that attempting to save Riley cannot be done alone.

“If I had any family, any friends in that place, I would’ve said no. He’s damn lucky I didn’t. But I feel somewhat hopeful about this. Somewhat.” Owen mumbled.

“I know I wasn’t at Petrelli Manor for long, but I’m your friend, Owen, maybe we didn’t hang around as much but we’ve always smiled and said hi to one another.” Lily protested.

“Sorry, Lily. I know you have. It’s just even in a community where everybody should understand each other, I was never accepted by a lot of people there. They knew that I knew everything about them. The one thing I’ve learnt about knowing every single detail about a person is that I actually stop judging them. You don’t know how hard it is that knowing everybody inside out can make you adore them, or despise them. That can happen to me within a matter of seconds after meeting a new person. You can understand why I keep myself hidden.” Owen complained whilst Lily stares at Owen empathetically as he looks towards the ground.

“My power to see the memories of other people is pretty useless in comparison to yours, I can only see the memories I’ve actually shared with them. I don’t need that, my memory is pretty good!” Lily enthusiastically tries to lighten the mood.

“I’d rather be reminded of good memories when I touch somebody, than see entire lives of people who don’t know I exist.” Owen interjected.

“I’m sorry.” Lily exclaimed.

“No, I’m sorry. I’ve been feeling like this for a long time now.” Owen apologised.

“Why didn’t you ever ask me for help? You know I can control emotions, I can help you feel happier?” Lily questions Owen.

“It wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t really be how I feel. Just a fake overlay to block out how I feel. I appreciate it, really. I want to be able to feel what I feel, even if it is complete shit all the time. Knowing I’m still a good person despite feeling like this means a lot to me. It’s not that I don’t feel happiness at all, I do.” Owen insisted that he doesn’t need his emotions altered.

“I wonder what’s happening with Riley, they’re taking their time with him. I’m genuinely worried.” Lily mutters quietly.

“I’d be concerned if you weren’t worried at all. There’s nothing we can do. Right now, all we can do is wait. Unless you’ve got a teleporting power I don’t know about. To pass the time, if you could choose another power, what would it be?” Owen wondered as Lily shrugs and looks towards the door eagerly awaiting Riley’s return.

“I guess… I mean I’m happy with my powers as they are. Right now if I had to choose it would be teleportation just so we can get to Riley.” Lily responded logically. “What about you?” She asks in return.

“The ability to slow down or stop time without affecting me, definitely. I sometimes take a long time to make my mind up about things, so to be able to take as long as I like to make a decision or help somebody in danger who is far away sounds great to me. Anything instead of this, for sure.” Owen sighs whilst Lily nods. He moves his lips, but becomes hesitant to talk.

“What were you going to say?” Lily asks reassuringly.

What did you see? When it happened?” Owen stutters, refusing to make eye contact.

“Are you sure you want to know?” Lily mutters softly as she gives Owen a chance to be spared the knowledge of the events that occurred at Petrelli Manor.

“If I’m going to help you save him, I need to know.” Owen explains, followed by Lily nodding reluctantly.

“We were waiting for the eclipse. I smiled at Riley and he smiled back. He went to go and talk to Frank and I could see him smiling politely. As the moon fully covered the sun, he suddenly changed. His smile dropped rapidly to a shell-shocked look, his eyes turned a glowing orange. Frank didn’t even… he didn’t fight back. He put his arm on Riley’s shoulder to make sure he was okay, but Riley snapped his neck there and then without even moving a muscle. That’s when I ran to hide. He looked terrified, he didn’t know where he was or what was going on. He killed everybody. Some tried to fight him physically, others fled for their lives. All of those watching the eclipse were defenceless, yet his powers were still working somehow. He eviscerated people and set everybody on fire, the buildings too. It was as if unrelenting fear lay inside of him that set itself free the moment the eclipse had reached total coverage. After it all ended, he went back to Frank’s body, standing over it and staring… just staring at it. That’s when he saw me. I thought I was dead. I couldn’t use my powers to calm him down, but I ran up to him and instantly tried to reason with him, not knowing if I would make it out alive. If Riley loved me, there would be a chance that he would have felt that love too. The vibrant orange in his eyes began to fade away and slowly, Riley was back. I saw a tear fall from his eye, almost as if he was somewhat aware of everything he’d done, but he just couldn’t remember or control any of it.” Lily reflects painfully on the tragedy.

“The fact that his powers still worked during the eclipse makes him something different, something extremely powerful, Lily. He’s very dangerous. With what I’ve seen from reading him, I will help you. I will. Since I’m locked in here with you, our interests are aligned. That leaves me with no choice.” Owen responds.

“You have a choice. He’s really important, Owen. He’s supposed to save the world. I know that much. If something happens, just keep reminding him that Hope Never Dies.” Lily concluded.

Simon is slowly tugging Riley alongside him, leading him through the dimly lit corridors, the darkness of the facility speaks volumes of the Purgers’ reputation.

“I shouldn’t have really brought you out, but my own curiosity is just far too powerful not to. You’re an intriguing figure and all, son, I cannae tell what your abilities are.” Simon smiles whilst he continues to guide Riley down the corridor. Riley refuses to speak, pondering on how Simon can be such an upbeat person after murdering an innocent child.

“Okay, okay. Here we are laddie.” Simon mutters as the two enter a very long and dimly lit room. He flicks a switch, causing the lights in the room light up one by one from the back to the front. Riley covers his eyes, struggling to adapt to the bright lights after being trapped in darkness for a while. The lights all come to life, revealing a complex looking machine with two people connected to it, one tall and strong black male with short black hair, and one small and pale female with ginger hair. Riley refuses to move whilst Simon slowly walks forward.

“Well, come on then.” Simon grabs Riley aggressively by the arm and starts to bring him towards the machine.

“What are you going to do to me?” Riley mutters, as he desperately tries to pull away.

“What? No, I’m not going to do anything to you. I want you to take a look at this.” Simon remarked, his unnatural level of curiosity desires to see Riley’s reaction to The Machine.

Riley stares towards the two figures who are linked up to this machine, concerned for their wellbeing. Wires are embedded into their heads and arms, as they are kept unconscious with only their very basic functions left intact.

“Oh, don’t worry about them, they’re pretty much brain dead. They’re only there to do the cloning. The lass has the power to clone herself, and the lad has the power to give and take life.” Simon explains whilst he looks towards the middle of the machine, he stares at an unlit and concealed pod with a third figure trapped inside.

“Oh the clones get produced in this here container. Are you ready?” Simon asks with impatience, refusing to wait for an answer as he flicks the switch on the middle of the machine, turning the light on for the darkened vat in the middle.

Oh, God.” Riley groans, fighting against the very bodily instincts that are trying to make him vomit out of sheer shock and fear.

“It’s wonderful, isn’t it?” Simon chuckles with a big grin on his face whilst he continues looking towards the container.

Riley looks away, attempting to debunk what he saw as the machine lit up. With little motivation, he looks back and his disbelief is shattered as he sees his own face reflected in the glass, he shifts his focus from his reflection to the figure inside the container, which appears to be a ghostly-pale and muscular version of himself.

The Nomad, My employer’s employer, had us create this machine specifically designed to put these two together, to control and combine their powers in order to clone people. Bloody fantastic, I say. Unfortunately, most of the clones result in albinism, so they do. The Nomad is the only one who can always clone himself without albinism since he designed this machine using his own genetic detail. We’ve had some people who are cloned without albinism, it’s a wonderful game of chance.” Simon laughs, as Riley stares on in horror.

What the hell is this?” Riley panted, as he averted his gaze from the machine.

“Chances are you’re going to die anyway, lad. Once we categorise your powers, that is. My employer only keeps those who will benefit our cause… even if they don’t want to support it.” Simon huffed as he observes the two prisoners who are unwillingly trapped and wired up to the machine.

“We, the Preservers, or the Purgers as the media likes to call us, are funded solely by the Preservation of Eden. Yeah, that eco-friendly Company that thrives to document, categorise and protect all living things on this planet, or so the world believes. It’s just a front for our goal to… well, you won’t need to know that much. You’re at the headquarters for it right now. The hidden part of it anyway.” Simon chuckles as he informs Riley without any hesitation, altogether curious about the impending reaction from Riley.

Riley refuses to react as he walks up to the machine, his lips trembling when he reaches out to touch the glass container, his clone submerged fully in the vat of water-like substance, its face covered with what Riley presumes to be an oxygen mask.

Oi, what’s going on in here?!” A voice echoes as Riley pulls his hand away from touching the glass. The clone opens his eyes abruptly, before blinking rapidly and falling asleep.

Jorah. I was just showing our delightful guest here the special surprise we have planned, since he’s not going to live past today.” Simon responds slowly with an explanation.

“Of course he’s going to live past today. Take him back, right now. None of the guests are authorised to access this section of the building, you should know better. Do this again, and your job will be on the line. Get the girl, and hand her over to the crew for them to prepare her.” Jorah huffs whilst Simon shakes his head and grabs Riley by his clothes, leading him away from the room and back into the holding room.

Jorah interacts with the contraption as he presses a variety of buttons in a sequential order, resulting in the clone opening its eyes once again.

“It’s time to get you ready. I’m calling you… Wildcard. Seems quite fitting, wouldn’t you say?” Jorah grunts and smiles whilst the clone looks sternly towards him in the eyes, as if he is seemingly programmed to follow his instructions. The water drains from the container, the wires disconnect from Wildcard’s body and the glass container opens up, allowing Wildcard to exit.

As Simon leads Riley back towards the cell with Lily and Owen, he looks towards the other prisoners and questions their presence.

“Why do you keep these ones here?” Riley mutters.

“Sometimes it takes a little longer to document their… abilities. That’s all. And sometimes we like to use them for other things. Like Dillon and Quinton in the room you just saw.” Simon shrugs. Whilst the two are walking, Riley looks inside one holding cell and sees two young Asian female twins, holding tightly onto each other. They stare at Riley in shock.

“Those two are pretty interesting, they can tell the future, but only when they’re touching each other. We believe they’re both capable of seeing the future without touching one another but it may very well be one of those instinctual actions that comes with being a twin and they’re so used to relying on that instead. They also have another ability, something I can’t detect. Rather intriguing lasses, so they are.” Simon explains.

“I didn’t ask. I don’t want to know what you’re doing with people here. Those two people in the back room? That’s morally wrong, it’s horrendous.” Riley lashes out.

“You know what, lad? Screw you, and screw those people. I might have a power too, but what we’re doing here is for the greater good. We’re protecting people, finding out how to achieve world peace. Think about it, wars with people like you? People capable of wielding fire, controlling the land, and moving things with their minds? It’d destroy the world.” Simon argues with a raised voice.

“People are capable of ending the world just fine by themselves. Powers or not. I lost my memory, and I don’t even need those to know that. If you’re saying you’re protecting people by destroying us, why are you cloning us? Why are you categorising our abilities? Your lies just fell apart before you even finished concocting them.” Riley scolded. Simon looks towards him with a chagrined expression, refusing to reply.

“Get in.” Simon grunts aggressively as he opens the door and pushes Riley back into the holding room where Lily and Owen are.

“Riley, are you okay?” Lily speaks softly, comforting Riley as he nods his head.

“You’re coming with me, lass.” Simon huffs as he grabs Lily, taking her with him and shutting the door as he leaves.

“Lily!” Riley and Owen both shout as they bang on the door. Riley bangs his head against the metal door, angrily trying to use his powers.

“Stop hurting yourself, Riley, please.” Owen objected.

“What good am I if I can’t even use my powers? I need to save Lily.” Riley murmured.

“You’ve gone through a lot of trauma, you need time to learn how to use them again.” Owen explains. Riley stares at every corner of the room, looking for anything to use.

“They cloned me.” Riley divulged.

“W… what?” Owen sputtered.

“They’ve got two people in a back room, they’re linked up to some kind of machine that uses their powers to create clones of people. They’ve used it to clone me.” Riley reiterates, looking down at the ground in shock.

“Wait, how? I mean, when could they have gotten what they needed to create a clone of you?” Owen asks.

“It could’ve happened when we were unconscious. Some hair, a scraping of skin or a drop of blood. I’d never have known.” Riley theorises.

The metal door opens again and Simon enters the room, knocking Owen out immediately, before dragging Riley out of the room.

Time to go!” He shouts, whilst restraining Riley and leading him to a lift.

“Why did you attack Owen?!” Riley shouts, attempting to get free from Simon.

“It was the quickest way to avoid a struggle, lad. He’ll get a nice sleep in return for a little bit of a headache.” Simon shrugs his shoulders, as the doors close and the lift begins ascending.

“Where are you taking me?” Riley asks agitatedly.

“My employer whom you met earlier insists we need to get you ready for something. I’m taking you to the surface.” Simon answers as the lift continues to ascend.

Riley stares blankly, refusing to talk any further, ultimately concerned for the wellbeing of Lily and Owen. The two remain in silence whilst the lift takes nearly two minutes to reach the surface. Industrial lights shine through the openings of the lift as it continues to rise to the surface, giving Riley an idea of just how deep the facility is. Sunlight finally penetrates its way through the lift as it stops to a halt, the doors open and reveal armed guards who lead Riley to a chair and sit him down, strapping him tightly into the constraints. Simon proceeds to walk towards a control panel with a video monitor to let Jorah know that everything is ready to go ahead. A dark and abandoned industrial building stands tall in front of Riley, with noises coming from the roof. Riley shivers with fear, terrified that he is going to be shot to death by a firing squad. He continues to tremble and holds his eyes shut, refusing to acknowledge his surroundings.

I believe you two have met. Jorah’s given him a name now; Wildcard.” Simon chuckles as he stands on Riley’s left hand side. Riley looks towards Simon and then slowly looks to his right where he sees Wildcard standing firmly besides him. Riley gasps and shudders in sheer terror. As he looks straight ahead, his clone gradually stares at him.

“What you don’t understand, laddie, is that you are part of something so much greater than you could ever imagine. I wasn’t even aware of it until my employer let me know certain facts. The Nomad has some big plans for you.” Simon smiles whilst looking towards the top of the industrial building where two security guards are holding a struggling figure.

“You see, Riley, we need you to unleash that fire from within you. The fire inside of you that destroyed Petrelli Manor, not the literal kind. Don’t worry about hurting anybody, this chair and its restraints are held down by some seriously powerful magnets and some technology that even I don’t understand. We figured you’d need some motivation…” Simon explains as he raises a thumbs up to the guards on the roof. They take off the cover of the figure they are holding, revealing a gagged Lily.

“Don’t you even… don’t hurt her!” Riley protests, shouting for help as he sees that he is surrounded by seemingly endless woodland.

“Oh we’re not going to hurt her. You are. Well, another version of you at least.” Simon states as he stares towards Wildcard. “It’s a best of both worlds scenario, boy. We get to train the clone and reveal your inner demon. Of course if you can summon it yourself, we won’t have to hurt anybody. I promise.” He continues to explain, attempting to motivate Riley.

“I can’t control it! I don’t know how to!” Riley shouts, pleadingly shaking his head at Simon.

“Very well.” Simon nods towards Wildcard and raises another thumbs up towards the armed guards on the roof, who then take their leave. Wildcard stares towards Lily, making her step forward towards the edge of the roof.

Don’t do this!” Riley yells whilst struggling to try and break free from the chair. “She’s innocent!” He continues to protest as Simon walks up to him and crouches down, grabbing Riley by the chin and stares into his eyes.

“Come on. You can do it. We’re going to kill her. The lass is gonna to die because you cannae save her. It’ll be all yer fault.” Simon whispers, trying to motivate Riley further as an orange flicker occurs in his eyes. Simon’s eyes open widely with apprehension, before the orange of Riley’s eyes fade away.

Pathetic.” He mutters and nods towards the clone again.

“Please!” Riley screams whilst Wildcard continues to make Lily step towards the edge of the roof. Rubble crumbles off of the edge, falling to the ground below.

“I love you, Riley.” Lily mumbles in a muffled tone underneath the gag, hoping that his abilities will allow him to hear her. She tries to fight the restraints holding her hands behind her back, realising that with the guards surrounding her, she is powerless to save herself. Immediately, she realises that she cannot fight against it any longer. Lily makes eye contact with Riley below, nodding towards him slowly as tears drop from her eyes.

Do it.” Simon commands the clone, who looks towards Lily and makes her take one final step, causing her to plummet off the roof to her death below.

“No!” Riley yells eyes turn a harsh orange as he teleports out of his chair and tries to teleport Lily to safety. When he fails to use his ability, he rushes towards her as quickly as possible. Lily continues to fall as her body crashes into the ground below. Riley stares at her whilst realising he was unable to save her. Instantly, he dissipates into particles and flies violently into Simon’s body. Riley aggressively shuts each vital organ down one by one, giving Simon an extremely painful death. He flies out of his body and the particles rapidly reassemble back into form. Simon spews with blood, before collapsing to the ground and dying a very slow death. Up to twenty armed guards begin to surround Riley, aiming their automatic rifles towards him. Wildcard curiously stares towards Riley, before teleporting away, temporarily abandoning this battle for another time.

Stand down!” An armed guard yells as he walks towards Riley. Suddenly, the armed guard turns his gun on his colleagues and they all enter a disastrous firefight with one another until around ten are left standing. A stray bullet hits Riley in the shoulder and he stares at the wound whilst it heals rapidly.

Hold your fire!” Another armed guard shouts as they all stare towards Riley whilst trying to back away. Riley blinks, and with no physical exertion whatsoever, all the remaining guards drop dead on the spot. He walks towards Lily’s body, seemingly still aware of who she is. Riley kneels down and places one hand behind her head, lifting her up. No matter who, or what is in control of Riley, he clearly shares the very same feelings for Lily. The orange in his eyes slowly dissipate, as Riley suddenly realises he is holding Lily’s mangled body. He gasps in shock, slowly beginning to cry as he rests his head on her chest. Riley hears paper crinkling whilst resting on Lily and discovers a letter marked with his name inside of her jacket.

CHAPTER THREE: THE CARDINAL TRAGEDY

“Do you ever wonder how many people you’ve seen for the last time?” Riley ponders towards Owen, as he looks onto a computer screen.

“All the time, I try not to. You never did tell me what happened next. What was on the note?” Owen asks.

“She was trying to tell me that not all is as it seems. That I’m not really who I think I am. And this confirms it.” Riley reflects on the final written words from Lily whilst he sits next to her cadaverous body. He slowly inspects the envelope as his hands tremble at the realisation that Lily is dead.

“Lily?” Riley’s voice quakes as he strokes her cheek with one hand, holding the envelope in another. He stares in denial and slowly looks towards the envelope, opening it up and unfolding the piece of paper within.

“Of course, if you’re reading this now, the time has come. Please forgive the clichéd tone of the first sentence. You are Riley Stenson, at least, in your mind. But your body is not. I only hope that this doesn’t mean anything horrible, but I hope that we can work together to get your mind back into your body, wherever it may be. I’d say this in person, but I’m too scared. The day before you turned up at Petrelli Manor, you told me to carry on waiting there, and that I’d see you. Somehow, you must have known. I went to go and see two friends after that for help, two friends who could see the future. They repeated the same advice to me, to wait for you. You told me to tell you one thing, the most important thing, that Hope Never Dies. Come see me, I can tell you who you are. I’ll be waiting. I will help you. I love you. Lily.” Riley reads in Lily’s voice as he begins to tear up. He shouts in frustration and cries besides Lily’s body. After sitting beside her and holding her cooling hand for a while, he remembers that there is a room in the building designed to clone people. Riley rapidly picks up her body, and sprints towards the left with the intention of taking her to the Machine. He quickly presses and smashes the buttons to call the lift, but nothing happens.

“Damn it!” Riley yells and he concentrates with extreme focus. He holds onto Lily’s body and teleports to the top of the lift where Simon had taken him to minutes ago. Riley realises that he failed to teleport Lily with him. He screams in shock and panic, realising that he successfully used an ability. From the top, Riley is able to reactivate the lift. He teleports back to Lily and carries her body, re-entering the lift and slowly working his way back to the cell they were in. He slides the lock from the outside and opens the door, entering the room.

“Riley?” Owen grunts, recovering from the blow to his head. He sees him holding a very pale Lily. As Riley walks into the room, the door closes behind him, locking it.

“She’s gone, Owen.” Riley mumbles and Owen appears shell-shocked.

“No… no… how did this happen?!” Owen yells.

“They used her to try and bring it out of me. They did, but it happened too late, she had already fallen.” Riley weeps, struggling to accept that his current memories have only recorded her for one day, but his emotions have loved her for years.

“She fell?” Owen whimpered whilst Riley tries ever so hard to concentrate on his powers to see if he can bring her back to life, but he fails to do so.

“The clone of mine; Wildcard. They made it control her to walk off a roof of an abandoned industrial building. They wanted me to bring out whatever is inside of me, for some godforsaken reason. I don’t think they realised that I would… that it would kill them all. She left me a letter…” Riley explains mournfully whilst looking towards the door.

“I have an idea, Owen. We have to move quickly.” He informs Owen as he stands up and attempts to blast the door open with telekinesis. At first, it fails. Riley concentrates and carries on trying to blast the door open. He controls his breathing and focuses on the door, breaking the hinges and carefully removing it, quietly placing it against a wall.

“You’re in control of your powers.” Owen notices.

“Maybe, I don’t know the extent of them yet. It just feels natural to me.” Riley replies, as he picks up Lily and carries her towards the end of the holding room, ignoring the pleas of all the other prisoners. Owen follows Riley, reluctant to leave the other prisoners behind.

“We need to let them go, we have to save them.” Owen explains agitatedly.

“We will. Later.” Riley answers, as he opens the large doors into the machine room.

“What is this?” Owen gasps in surprise.

“This is where they made my clone.” Riley answers whilst walking up towards the front of the machine, resting Lily’s body on the floor.

“These people, they’re wired into the machine.” Owen grunts, fighting himself not to vomit after seeing the severely malnourished and wounded figures.

“I can save her, Owen. I can bring her back.” Riley nods with a trembling voice as he fiddles with the machine’s console, pressing various buttons and trying to understand how it works.

“Riley. Riley! Look at me!” Owen shakes Riley on the shoulders, turning him around.

“It wouldn’t be her. It wouldn’t be Lily.” Owen explains mournfully whilst Riley stares indecisively between Owen and Lily. “It would be a continuation of her, but it wouldn’t be the same Lily, Riley.” He continues to explain, attempting to help Riley to understand. He stares at her lifeless body, attempting to use his potentially wide range of unknown abilities to bring her back to life. “I can’t read her, Riley. She’s too far gone. Let her go.” Owen pleads, as Riley tries one last time to bring Lily back to life. Realising that he cannot do so, he slowly falls out of denial and straight into a volatile mixture of anger and acceptance. In a fit of rage, Riley yells and raises his hand towards The Machine, destroying it and setting the two prisoners free as they fall face down to the ground. Owen covers himself out of panic as glass shards fly across the room. Water trickles and fills the cracks of the tiled floor as the machine lets out a deep buzzing noise, the mechanic equivalent of a death rattle.

“You could try to save these two, Riley? They’re damaged, but they’re still alive. You can try and heal them.” Owen insists.

“I don’t know how. I can’t save Lily. What if… What if they’re loyal to this company? What if they’re bad?” Riley groans mournfully as he stares at their lifeless bodies.

“Bad? Do you think they’d have willingly submitted themselves to this hell? No. You can do it, they’re still alive. They need you.” Owen encourages Riley whilst he turns both of them around so their faces aren’t facing the dark watery surface. Riley places his hands onto both of them, concentrating strongly on how he wants to save them. Their skin begins to become more vibrant, the cracks and tears in their skin fade away, their bodies plump and their breaths stabilise. The girl grunts, shaking in sheer panic. As she wakes up and becomes aware of her surroundings, she attacks Riley out of fear and Owen gently pulls her away.

“It’s okay! It’s okay. You’re alright.” Riley reassures the girl.

“W… what happ… happened?” She stammers.

“You were in that machine, we rescued you. I’m Owen, that’s Riley.” Owen explains, as the girl looks towards the male who was in the vat beside her.

“What year is it?” She asks.

“It’s 2011. It’s December at the moment.” Riley answers.

“A whole year… an entire year that we’ve been in there. My name is Dillon Aldaine. His name is Quinton Walgrave, we were both taken by these people. Is he okay?” Dillon introduces herself as she looks at the still unconscious male.

“He’s waking up. He’s fine.” Owen checks on him as he slowly wakes up, attempting to catch his breath.

“Dillon.” Quinton gasps as he reaches towards her for a hug.

“How did you two come to end up in that machine? Why you two?” Riley asks politely, hoping to check that Simon’s facts were correct and not a colourful fabrication.

“I’ve got the power to replicate myself, Quinton here has the power to grant or take life from a living source. The Nomad, he’s in charge. He has a power himself and reflected our abilities so we couldn’t fight back. Before all this, we didn’t know each other. I guess they thought our powers were just what they needed to make this machine work, to make clones. Since we’ve been in there a year, I guess it means they did it.” Dillon clarified.

“They did, I’ve seen one of me. Except it was stronger and taller than me. I was told most of the clones have albinism too.” Riley reveals.

“I guess the clones also share our traits too somehow. Quinton is tall and really strong. I’m a carrier of albinism. I’m surprised his muscles haven’t deteriorated in the state of limbo we were in. He’s my gentle giant.” Dillon points out as she softly cuddles Quinton.

“He did lose his muscles, you were both in a horrendous state… Riley healed you both before you woke up.” Owen explains.

“That… that makes sense, I suppose.” Dillon responds. They both notice the lifeless body behind Riley and Owen, her pale freckled face obscured by her hair.

“I can’t help but notice somebody behind you. Who is that?” Quinton asks, pointing towards Lily’s colourless body whilst Riley stares momentarily, forgetting that she had died.

“She was a friend. She didn’t make it.” Owen answers on Riley’s behalf.

“I’m sorry, pardon me. I didn’t mean to pry.” Quinton apologises sympathetically.

“Wait, you can give or take life? Can you bring her back?” Riley pleads with hope.

“I can only give and take life, I can’t heal any injuries she’s already sustained. She’s in a really bad way. If you want me to, I can take a crack at it.” Quinton informs Riley.

“Please, try. I can focus on my abilities to heal her after you bring her back? I don’t know how many abilities I have, it seems to be whatever I put my mind to.” Riley explains whilst Quinton nods and shimmies towards Lily’s body and places his hand over Lily’s forehead.

“Lily?” Quinton mutters. “What did you do?!” He shouts.

“What?” Dillon responds breathlessly.

“You knew Lily too?” Owen gasps, as Riley stares on in shock. “She was Riley’s girlfriend. The people here killed her.” He answers on Riley’s behalf.

“We worked with Lily for a long time. There was a group of us. She… oh, God.” Dillon shudders, observing her mangled state and realising that if Quinton brings her back, she would be in a heightened state of shock and agony unless Riley could heal her. “Quinton, go on. Bring her back.” She instructs. Quinton kneels down and places his hands over Lily’s body and groans, as nothing happens.

“What’s wrong, Quinton?” Dillon clamours.

“I don’t think my powers are working yet.” Quinton answers in disbelief whilst Dillon tries to use her powers and experiences no issues, successfully cloning herself multiple times, before absorbing those clones back again.

“Maybe Quinton still needs to heal. That machine changed us, it was draining our powers constantly.” Dillon explains with regret as Riley falls into despair.

“I couldn’t bring her back. We need to bury her.” Riley responds.

“I’m so sorry, I really am… Lily meant a lot to us. Where is everybody?” Dillon inquires.

“They killed her. I killed them all.” Riley choked, as Dillon and Quinton look towards Owen.

“I don’t know if it’s one of Riley’s powers, or something greater, but when he is in a state of extreme distress, he loses control of his body and his powers. Something else takes over. Lily believed that it could be fixed, that it could be sorted. I do too. If you guys are going to join us, you really have to trust me on that.” Owen explained.

“Right now, all I know is that you two saved us. We’d be dead if it weren’t for you. The least we can do is trust you. Everybody we know is dead, we thought Lily was dead too before they put us in the machine. If only we were saved earlier. The one thing they made us all do before putting us in that wretched machine is watch all the prisoners die, just because their powers had been categorised. We’re with you. Right, Dillon?” Quinton declared.

“Right. We’re with you. Whatever we can do, we’ll help you guys.” Dillon agreed.

Riley kneels down and places his hand on Lily’s body and nods towards the others, as he extends his other hand out towards all of them. Owen, Dillon and Quinton place their hands onto Riley as he teleports with them outside to where the lift is.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know where else to teleport to. I can’t just go anywhere, I have to see it first, or at least know what it looks like, perhaps.” Riley speaks apologetically, as dead bodies lay in the field in front of them near the industrial building from which Lily fell to her death.

“Where is she?” Owen points out that Lily’s body is missing.

“This happened earlier. I tried to teleport us into the cell we were kept in, but Lily’s body didn’t teleport with me.” Riley stammers in confusion. “I’ll go back up and get her.” He explains and calls the lift.

“Do you want me to come with you?” Owen offers.

“No, thank you. I’d like a moment alone.” Riley expresses his appreciation and enters the lift, slowly returning back inside of the facility on his way to recover Lily’s body.

“Is Riley dangerous?” Quinton asks gently.

“Yes, but not intentionally. He’s broken. He’s brainwashed. He needs to learn in his own time otherwise it could be fatal.” Owen answers.

“Fatal to him?” Quinton stated.

“No, fatal to us.” Owen stated. “No matter what, always trust him. Goodness will come through. He will save the world. No matter how difficult things become, always trust him. I know you’ve only just met us, but I only met him today too. My ability allows me to read a person in their entirety, their past, present and potential future.” He answered.

Riley stumbles back into the now derelict room with The Machine, and Lily’s lifeless body waddles slightly against the flowing water that ripples along the floor. He picks up her body, and returns to the lift once more to join the others outside. Owen, Dillon and Quinton stare mournfully as Riley carries Lily’s body towards them.

“Alright.” Riley struggles to maintain his composure as he gently places Lily’s body onto the ground, resting it against a tree.

“You killed Simon too?” Quinton notices as he observes Simon’s deceased body.

“I think so. I don’t have any memory of what happens when I’ve turned. I see flashes, I hear fragments, but that’s about it. He died differently from the rest of them by the looks of it.” Riley answers quietly.

“He died slowly, horrifically. He hasn’t been dead for long, I can still read him.” Owen explains.

“Good. He was a bastard. He deserved to die in the worst possible way.” Dillon responds.

“I don’t think you need to worry about that. It seems like all of his organs were crushed one by one.” Owen shudders.

“I don’t want you to be scared of me. I don’t want anybody to be scared of me. If I ever turn in front of you guys, just please run and hide.” Riley chokes up, stroking Lily on the cheek.

“Let’s just focus on saying our goodbyes, Riley. Let’s bury her.” Owen insists.

“When your powers are restored, can you bring her back?” Riley pleads.

You have my word.” Quinton nods.

“Let’s see if I can do this.” Riley mutters to himself, as he raises his hands and parts the soil to create a grave.

“How many powers do you have?” Dillon expresses an interest.

“I have no idea. They either happen or they don’t. I just think and if I have it, or want it enough, I think it works.” Riley answers with confusion.

Quinton walks towards the dead soldiers, examining the mass killing that occurred moments ago. Out of curiosity, he tests his power on one of the dead enemies, resulting in him coming back to life and screaming in pain.

“What’s going on?!” Owen shouts in Quinton’s direction.

My powers work. I had a feeling they did. They just don’t work on her.” Quinton grunts as he kicks the injured guard in the face and knocks him out.

“All of these guys must have been dead for just as long, or longer than Lily has been by now. Can you read them, Owen?” Riley asks hastily.

“I can read them all. Just not… not Lily.” Owen answers hesitantly.

“I can’t bring her back, I can’t teleport her. Quinton can’t bring her back. You can’t read her. She’s dead and powers won’t work on her? I don’t understand. Wildcard was able to use his powers on her just fine.” Riley holds back his tears as he faces Owen.

“I don’t understand either, Riley. We’ll do our best to find out why powers aren’t affecting her.” Owen struggles to answer.

“Wildcard?” Dillon asks politely and Quinton walks back towards the group.

“It’s what they called my clone. I’d prefer to call it that rather than share my name with it.” Riley answers. “It feels wrong burying her without a coffin, she’s going to wither away.” He cries.

Quinton places his hand on Riley’s shoulder, attempting to comfort him. Strangers who share the same loss are strangers united to the same cause. Riley places some shattered concrete around the hole for some protection and places Lily’s body into the grave. He raises his hands again and slowly brings them together, filling the grave with soil.

“Why was the soldier screaming?” Owen looks at Quinton.

“Like I said earlier, I have the power to give and take life, I can’t heal any existing injuries or imperfections one’s body might have. He looked as if he had a few bullet holes in him. That’d explain the yelling.” Quinton answers.

“That makes sense.” Owen replies whilst Riley finishes burying Lily and making sure that nobody can see the burial site.

“There is one person left. I need to talk to him, but I cannot risk having you guys with me in case I turn. Please can you stay here or find somewhere safe until I come back?” Riley requests.

“There’s another abandoned building behind this one. It’s intact and out of use, at least it was the last time we used it. We can wait for you in there?” Dillon answers.

“No, Riley. I want to go with you.” Owen states.

“I don’t want to lose anybody else because of me. After Petrelli Manor, after Lily, I’m so thankful that you’re still sticking around. I won’t risk losing you either. Please do this for me.” Riley asks sharply, as he picks up a handgun from a dead soldier and turns the safety on and places it into the back of his trousers.

“Fine. What on earth do you need the gun for?” Owen agrees obstinately and asks. “How do you know how to use it?” He shrugs.

“I don’t know. Muscle memory, perhaps? I’m taking it just in case I need to scare him. That’s all, I won’t use it.” Riley answers, as Owen nods and walks away with Dillon and Quinton.

“You take care.” Dillon nods towards Riley.

“You too, all of you.” Riley acknowledges as he teleports back into the room he was held in. He exits the room that he was incarcerated in moments ago and heads towards the room with the cloning machine. Riley inspects the layout of the building and spots a corridor leading down towards two large wooden doors. He slowly walks down towards them, checking the handgun he picked up to make sure that the safety is on, before holstering it once again. Riley opens the door and sees Jorah sitting at his seat behind a big desk. His office is full of windows that look outside to the vast woodlands.

“You took your time, I’ve been waiting for you. I hope you appreciate that I didn’t intrude on your little introduction with Dillon and Quinton. That was an expensive piece of kit, young man. I was going to come and see you when you retrieved the girl’s body, but I couldn’t risk anything.” Jorah greeted Riley as he stares at the security monitors.

“Her name was Lily. I have questions. I hope you have answers.” Riley stated.

“You can hold off on the anger. Your powers don’t work around me. I… Well, let’s just say my ability blocks the abilities of others. The more you try to use them, the more it fuels my strength. I know you have questions. You want to know who you are, you want to know how you ended up outside Petrelli Manor, don’t you?” Jorah assumes.

“How did you know about that?” Riley asks in surprise.

“Oh it’s all connected, Riley. I believe Simon let it slip that we fund the Preservers, or the Purgers as they’re more commonly called. Not only do we fund that, we also have a mole in every single Petrelli Manor in the world. All the data on those computers are just ripe for the picking. Every time an intriguing person turns up, we extract them. You, however, are part of a grander plan.” Jorah chuckles.

“And why is that?” Riley mutters whilst Jorah turns around the computer monitor on his desk to face Riley.

“Why do you call yourself Riley, hmm?” Jorah asks, as the screen shows the last person scanned at the Petrelli Manor he came from.

“’Identity Unknown’? Frank told me I was called Riley Stenson.” Riley responds with confusion.

“Did this ‘Frank’ ever show you the screen when he identified you?” Jorah tilts his head and Riley refuses to answer.

“You’re setting this up. You’re trying to stray me off course, to steer me away from the very answers I’m looking for!” Riley shouts and reaches for the gun behind his back, aiming it towards Jorah.

“I know who you are, young man. My employer kept you as a big secret, but as of recent events he had to divulge your identity to me so we could ease you back into the swing of things. We only want to do what’s best for the world. Trust me, our actions may upset you, but our intentions are good. Please. I suggest you put that away. You wouldn’t even use it.” Jorah smirks, raising a tranquiliser gun with urgency and shoots it at Riley. As the dart penetrates his skin, his irises abruptly fill with orange.

Well, well, well. Despite my powers, you can still shift. I guess the existence of multiple consciences aren’t really an ability, but a state of mind, rather… The last time I saw you, you were just a little boy. You never went onto the surface, and seldom few of us were ever allowed to see you. I’m not corrupted or dangerous. That’s what he told you so that you would never go onto the surface. Is that why you killed all of those men out there? Because you think they’re corrupted and dangerous? Or perhaps that was because you wanted revenge for Lily?” Jorah disclosed, staring towards a menacingly silent Riley whilst observing his facial expressions. “Two personalities, and neither one of them has their memories intact. Remarkable.” Jorah notices as he reaches under his desk for a deadlier weapon. He raises a handgun and aims it towards Riley. They both react instantaneously and shoot their weapons at the same time. Riley’s gun doesn’t fire, the safety is on. Jorah shoots a bullet straight into Riley’s chest. He gasps in pain as the wound doesn’t heal around Jorah.

Stings, doesn’t it? What you’re feeling right now, that’s your lung collapsing. Soon, your chest will tighten, every breath will hurt, your heart rate will shoot up and you’ll feel like fainting.” Jorah notifies Riley, intent on keeping the plan intact. He’d rather die than to allow Riley to extract any information from him. He knows that in order for Riley to heal himself, he’d have to die. Jorah is prepared to sacrifice himself for what he believes to be the greater good. Riley immediately turns the safety off and fires the gun multiple times towards Jorah, shooting him straight through his head. The colour of Riley’s eyes turn back to a sharp green as he shouts in disbelief and drops the gun. He glares towards Jorah’s body and rolls his eyes towards the broken windows and the heavily green view as birds fly away into the endless blue sky. The gunshot wound on his chest and his back heal immediately with Jorah’s powers no longer active. With his will to live diminishing by the second, Riley picks up the gun and aims at the side of his own head. As his eyes flicker, he notices an important detail on the computer screen; a small piece of text that reads ‘Relatives identified.’ Riley drops the gun and races to the computer in surprise.

“Riley?!” Owen shouts as he races down the corridor and into the office.

“I’m okay. I’m here. Be careful. I turned.” Riley clamours.

“What happened?” Owen slowly asks.

“I turned, or shifted, as Jorah called it. One moment I was talking to him and the next I could see his body hitting the ground. I almost considered shooting myself for a second, not that it’d do anything. Then I saw this on the computer, I was never even identified at Petrelli Manor. Frank gave me a different name, he must have known more about me and I killed him.” Riley answers, struggling to bring the puzzle together.

“We’ll work it out, Riley. We’ll work it out, I promise you.” Owen reassures him.

“I miss Lily a lot already. She knew what to do, she guided us both. She was so brave.” Riley experiences difficulty talking whilst Owen supportively places his hand on Riley’s shoulder.

“I’m so sorry. I know exactly how you feel, even though I don’t want to. You spoke to me so quickly in that room when you brought Lily inside after it happened, I didn’t quite grasp it at all. It took me some time to realise what had happened.” Owen stammers.

“It was unexpected, Owen. They used her and she’s gone. She left me a letter and that was that. She had answers, answers that she can no longer explain. She saw so much bad in the world, yet she remained so hopeful.” Riley reiterates.

“You won’t lose me, you won’t lose Dillon or Quinton. We’re here to stay. Things are difficult right now, but we must be getting closer to the truth.” Owen comforts Riley.

“Do you ever wonder how many people you’ve seen for the last time?” Riley ponders towards Owen, as he looks onto the computer screen.

“All the time, I try not to. You never did tell me what happened next. What was on the note?” Owen asks.

“She was trying to tell me that not all is as it seems. That I’m not really who I think I am. And this confirms it.” Riley answers as he points towards the computer screen.

“Relatives identified? Have you clicked it?” Owen asks anxiously.

“Not yet. How could I have believed it’d be so simple to find out my identity back at Petrelli Manor? I’m just back to where I started.” Riley groans.

“Once you click this, you’re further than you’ve ever been. Further than we’ve ever been in this quest. You have to be ready, this has to be your choice.” Owen nodded.

“Okay.” Riley shakily raises his hand over the screen and taps the box that says ‘Relatives identified’. He stares at the screen in shock, refusing to believe that his eyes are reading the right names. Suddenly, Riley finds himself outside of an American hospital room as two first-time parents cradle their new-born child.

He’s so beautiful.” The mother whispers, her weary face staring in awe at her child.

“He really is.” The father agrees quietly. “Eleanor, I know we discussed names for boys and girls, do you know what you want to call him?” He wonders.

“I liked the name you suggested. It’s an important name too.” Eleanor smiles.

“So is that what we’ll call him?” The father caresses Eleanor’s cheek, smiling towards the baby.

“Noah. Noah Gray.” Elle’s lips quiver with happiness. “I love you, Gabriel.” She stares lovingly into Noah’s innocent eyes.

“I love you too, Elle.” Gabriel gently strokes Elle’s hair and stares at Noah.

Riley gasps quickly and stumbles backwards as he recovers from his vision, learning that his parents are Gabriel Gray and Elle Bishop. He catches himself from falling over.

“Riley?! What happened?” Owen stammers hurriedly.

“My father is Sylar?” Riley sputtered.

“According to all the books, he never had a child. He didn’t even meet Elle until 2007. Lily promised me not to tell you, but I read you back at Petrelli Manor. As impossible as it sounds, I know that it’s true. At the same time, I also know that Gabriel and Elle never had a child, he killed Elle.” Owen explained.

“If you’re saying it’s true, but Sylar killed Elle, then how can I even exist?!” Riley shouts as he grabs himself by the hair on the back of his head.

“I don’t know, Noah, but I know it’s true, you are their son.” Owen shakes his head.

“Noah? That’s what they called me in my vision. I don’t really understand.” Riley mumbled, squinting his eyes in confusion.

“I’m sorry. It’s your name. The one I saw when I read you. Noah Gray.” Owen stammered. “Riley Stenson isn’t a fake name either. You’re Noah, but Riley’s conscience exists within you. It seems that slowly over time, the two are merging together. If Noah can hear me now, then I hope he can remember himself too. Lily wanted to fix you. She wanted to find where you were in order to restore your conscience.” He continues explaining.

“This is too much to take in, why didn’t you tell me earlier?” Riley shouts.

“I promised Lily I wouldn’t, we both wanted you to find out in your own time. I’m so sorry. I can tell you everything.” Owen answers emotionally, refusing to make eye contact.

“Is there anything else I need to know?” Riley asks impatiently.

“My ability allows me to see the potential future of a person. Lily asked what I saw from you, and I saw that Noah was in control and Riley was pushed deep into the back of his mind. The world was destroyed by bombs and warfare had eradicated a great deal of the human population. I still see that future, but I explained to Lily that it’s almost always inaccurate. It doesn’t take into account the choices made by other people or the choices you’ll make from now on. But, I’ve told you just in case you’d want to know. I hate my powers, I’d change it if I could.” Owen answers, his emotions are almost unhinged.

“Okay, Owen. It’s okay. We can move forwards now.” Riley reassures Owen.

“Just remember, Hope Never Dies.” Owen mutters.

“What?” Riley answers alarmingly. “Where did you hear that?” He requests.

“Lily told me to remind you that Hope Never Dies. She said it’s important.” Owen answers.

“It’s not the first time I’ve heard that. Somebody at Petrelli Manor told me the exact same thing. I think there are people who are aware of me. There must be.” Riley theorises.

“I’m sorry, Noah, Riley. I, uh. What do you want me to call you?” Owen stammers.

“Riley, Noah. I don’t know.” Riley whispers indecisively.

“I’m sorry.” Owen cowers.

“No, I didn’t want this, I didn’t want to scare you. Listen, I’m okay, this is just going to take some getting used to. If I’m in control, I’m Riley. When I’m not, I guess I’m Noah.” Riley assumes. “You were saying you would change your powers if you could. What if… What if I can somehow change them for you? I don’t know the true extent of my powers.” He suggests.

“Do you think you could do that?” Owen gasps.

“I have no idea. I can try. If I put my mind to it, it might work. What would you change it to?” Riley smiles.

“I’d change it to being able to manipulate time, to slow it down, stop it and speed it up.” Owen answers.

“Ooh, that’s slightly overpowered, don’t you think?” Riley chuckles.

“Look at you, ‘Mr. I can do anything I imagine’. Who’s overpowered now?” Owen snickers.

“Well, not anything. Who knows? These powers are probably Noah’s, not mine.” Riley responds as he places his hands on Owen’s shoulders, and thinks deeply about swapping Owen’s abilities into just one that can manipulate time instead. Riley concentrates heavily whilst he imagines stripping Owen of his current powers, and granting him an alternate power instead. A swarm of blurred images infest his mind as he lets go of Owen.

“Did you do it?” Owen questions.

“I don’t know, try it?” Riley replies.

“It’s not working, I can’t do it. But I can’t read you either. My mind is quiet at last. It’s okay, I appreciate you trying. But having no powers is better than having what I had.” Owen answers despondently, walking in front of Riley.

“We shouldn’t keep Dillon and Quinton waiting. We need to free the prisoners first.” Riley insists as Owen taps him on the back of the shoulder.

“It worked!” Owen answers enthusiastically.

“You cleaned up too?” Riley notices the room is clear of all the piled up pieces of paper and knocked over chairs.

“Well, I was so excited when time was stopped, I guess I just wanted to relish in it. I didn’t even realise time had stopped at first, I just thought something caught you by surprise.” Owen shrugs.

“I’m glad, Owen. Take it easy though, I don’t know how this will affect you. Try not to use your abilities too much.” Riley instructs as the two run back towards the holding rooms and begin to set all the prisoners free, including the interesting twins.

“Hold on a second. What are your names?” Riley asks.

“I’m Jessica Anather, this is Jennifer Anather. We’re known as the JJ Twins where we come from. Listen, thank you so much for freeing us, but we need to make sure our families are okay. We haven’t seen them for weeks.” Jessica answers quickly.

“Of course, I don’t want to take up too much of your time. I understand you can tell the future when you touch each other?” Riley surmises.

“We don’t need to touch each other. That was a lie we told Simon because we didn’t want to be separated. We can also talk to each other by using our thoughts. Why are you asking about the future?” Jennifer responds.

“I need to see mine. Please. I need to see if it has changed at all.” Riley pleads whilst the JJ Twins stare into Riley’s eyes, not blinking at all, as if reading his very being with total concentration, all that is, and all that will be.

“I see death. I see a world of infinite sandstorms led by a pale version of yourself. I see you, wounded, wearing a breathing apparatus of some kind. You’re looking at the remnants of an exploded bomb which says ‘Preservation of Eden’ on it. I see somebody beside you in spirit form talking to you. You begin healing the world by growing grass and foliage, slowly restoring the planet to its former state. Preservation of Eden? Isn’t that this place? They must make weaponry too. The future is ever-changing, this may not happen. We’ve seen this future before. Should this chain of events begin happening, you must do what it takes to ensure the outcome isn’t as drastic as the one we see. We have to go home, we can’t risk being here any longer.” Jennifer warned, as the twins nod towards Riley and take their leave.

“But—” Riley stammers.

“Thank you.” The JJ Twins run away and Riley looks towards them as they enter the stairwell that leads them to the elevator with the rest of the liberated prisoners.

“I can’t believe they had everybody downstairs when they killed Lily. This entire building is empty. They must have seen that this could have happened. Riley, I feel angry. Something isn’t right.” Owen wonders.

“Somebody must know. Simon mentioned somebody called The Nomad. Sounds like the guy at the top. We just need to leave before anybody comes to clean this all up. Let’s go.” Riley insists, reaching his hand out towards Owen.

“You’re not going anywhere, murderer.” Hilary grunts as a small group of reinforcements arrive, targeting their guns towards Riley and Owen. Riley spots a handcuffed woman behind the armed guards, as if they are escorting her away.

“You don’t want to do this. I don’t like killing, and I’ve certainly killed enough today.” Riley warns them in an agitated tone.

“You killed my husband. Kill them.” Hillary orders the guards.

“Bad idea to work together then, wasn’t it?” Riley exclaimed, realising he wouldn’t ordinarily say something of that nature.

“I’ve got an idea, Riley.” Owen informs him as he places his hand on Riley’s shoulder and stops time.

“You’re really getting the hang of this.” Riley expresses his admiration as he walks past the guards and reaches out for the restrained woman. “Do you think you can unfreeze her without unfreezing everything?” He inquired.

“I can try, but if it doesn’t work, you’re going to need to deal with these guards, Riley.” Owen clarified.

“I don’t want to kill people. They might work for the Preservation of Eden, but these men could be fathers, husbands, and sons. Who am I to decide whether they live or die? All those men out there that Noah killed, he did so out of fear and anguish. I could tell that he didn’t enjoy killing them. He was scared the entire time, he constantly felt like it was him or them.” Riley blurted.

Whatever. Just be prepared to teleport us out of here if things go south, yeah?” Owen pleads, his voice emits traces of anger. Riley nods in agreement. Owen places his hand on the handcuffed woman and closes his eyes with determination.

“What’s going on?!” The woman gasps in surprise.

“I’m Riley, this is Owen. We’re going to help you. Time is frozen at the moment so don’t you worry about these guards.” Riley introduces himself as he breaks her handcuffs.

“My name is Hope. They had me in a hidden room in the building away from everybody else. It was so dark.” Hope’s voice shakes as she relives her incarceration.

“Hope is a person?” Owen looks towards Riley, who appears stunned.

“What do you mean? Of course I’m a person.” Hope answers.

“There’s been an important message going around, it’s been stuck in my head. Quite a few people have told me the exact same thing; Hope Never Dies. I always thought they meant the nature of hopefulness itself and not an actual person.” Riley explained.

“We can talk about this outside, even though we’re pretty safe, I feel uncomfortable talking around these guards. The others are waiting for us. We should go, Riley. Get us out of here?” Owen looks towards Riley, requesting for him to teleport them out of the area. He places his hands onto Owen and Hope and teleports outside to where Lily was buried. Riley can hear the muffled gunfire coming from down below as time is resumed.

“They’re just around here, let’s go.” Owen guides Riley and Hope.

CHAPTER FOUR: HOPE NEVER DIES

“Hope? Oh my god.” Dillon mutters whilst she and Quinton run up to Hope and hug her tightly.

“You two know each other? Is it just me, or does everybody know each other?” Riley questions.

“We do, I thought she was dead. We both thought she was dead. Quite a few of us worked together before we were captured by the Preservation of Eden. Hope was one of them, so was Lily.” Dillon answered.

“They told me you guys were dead too. They must have said that to all of us. Have you seen the twins?” Hope wondered.

“Wait, don’t tell me you’re talking about the JJ Twins?” Riley butted in.

“Yes! Jessica and Jennifer. You’ve seen them?” Hope responded.

“No, I don’t believe this. They were in the building. They left before we found you. Both of them were extremely adamant to get home, it seemed as if they had nothing to stay here for. They probably thought you guys were all dead too.” Riley assumed.

“This is a hotspot, the main place they hold any prisoners. It’s no surprise they ended up here as well. It’s no surprise we all ended up here.” Hope theorises and turns to Riley. “Before you came along, we were all trying to take down the Preservation of Eden. They were doing terrible things. Harvesting powers and killing people, all in the name of a ‘better future’. You brought us together, Riley. We can take them down. Together.” She nods.

“Are you immortal?” Riley quietly quizzed Hope.

“I don’t know, I’ve never tried to see if I am, hopefully I never have to. My ability allows me to absorb massive amounts of energy, I can either harness that energy or deplete it entirely. I’ve never absorbed enough for it to kill me. Do you remember that gigantic comet from a while ago? How it miraculously broke apart and disappeared as it entered our atmosphere? That was me, I absorbed it. Unfortunately it’s how the Preservation of Eden found me. I spent years running from them and eventually found Dillon and Quinton here. We then teamed up with the JJ Twins too. Lily was the last to join us. In 2010, The Nomad took it upon himself to take us all down and here we are. The JJ Twins got away back then, but we weren’t so lucky.” Hope explains in detail.

“I’ve heard about The Nomad, what makes him so powerful? Why can’t any of you guys stop him? Quinton, you have the power to give and take life? Couldn’t you have stopped him easily?” Riley shakes his head in confusion.

“The Nomad has a power none of us can fight against. He can control minds and reflect any damage we try to inflict upon him. Not just us with powers, but normal people too. If I tried to take his life away from him, it’d only kill me. Hope was his target. He wanted to kill her and when he realised he couldn’t, he must have locked her up in the most secure room he had in that building. After your escape, he must have arranged for somebody to transport her out.” Quinton presumes.

“It doesn’t make sense. They knew how powerful I was, they must have seen it coming. Why didn’t they have a back-up plan, a contingency? If he wanted Hope to be escorted out of that place, surely he would have done it earlier?” Riley ponders.

“I don’t know any more than you do, Riley. I hope we all learn the answers soon enough.” Quinton responds softly.

“Why were you in there, Hope?” Owen wonders.

“I—” Hope begins to speak before she is interrupted.

“The Nomad is using something called The Godsend Device, we’ve heard information on what he intends to use it for, but not enough to paint a clear picture. We just know that whatever he does with it, it’s nothing good. It’s an artificial device that can grant anybody a power they want, or at most, omnipotence, every single categorised ability to date. Hope is the only person we know that has the right ability to destroy The Godsend Device, to absorb it, to save the world from it.” Dillon explains.

“That sounds familiar to me. I don’t know why. I… I need to try and speak to Noah. He’s scared. I don’t know who he is, I don’t fully know who I am, but he’s extremely lost. Maybe he can help.” Riley explains.

“Who’s Noah?” Hope asks curiously.

“I am. At least, this body belongs to Noah. Right now, I’m just me. It’s confusing, I know. I’m trying to work it out myself, but I don’t have any memories of how this all happened. All I know is that I’m trapped inside Noah’s body and my own body is out there somewhere. We’re trying to work out how and why this is all happening to us. The Nomad has the answers.” Riley stammers as he attempts to explain his situation, as Dillon stares at Riley uneasily.

“There is no way you can approach The Nomad, he’ll kill you.” Hope argues.

“I have a gut feeling that if he wanted me dead, I’d be dead.” Riley answers.

“Have you tried meditating? I know it sounds funny, but it might just work. It’ll allow you channel into your inner self and maybe you’ll see Noah.” Hope offers a potential solution. Riley nods and pretends to disregard Hope’s advice and leaves to seek solace in an isolated zone away from the others. He enters the building from which Lily fell and sits on the hard concrete floor in the middle of the desecrated room. Riley takes a deep breath and slowly closes his eyes.

“I don’t know if you can hear me, but we’re in this together. I can feel your fear, your aggravation and confusion. We’re going to work out what happened to us. I know you didn’t mean to kill everybody here or back at Petrelli Manor. You were scared, you didn’t know where you were or who anybody was. At first, I thought you were killing them out of pure villainy and wickedness, but now I see that isn’t true. Please, talk to me.” Riley speaks calmly. “I know you’re there. I can feel it.” He murmurs, sensing the presence of a lingering figure in the darkness of his mind.

Riley, I presume.” Noah groans.

“Noah? Can you hear me? Listen, you don’t have to kill. People are peaceful, very few of them are truly evil.” Riley persuades Noah.

“Every… Every waking moment is agony for me. Let me die. Let me die.” Noah mumbles.

“We will work this out, together. We’re both victims here. Victims of a greater mystery that we can only solve if we work together. When we shift, I know how confusing it feels. You’re suddenly in an unfamiliar place surrounded by strange faces.” Riley explains confidently.

“You don’t understand, I have an underlying instinct that tells me everybody is evil. I can sense it, I can feel it.” Noah answers.

“Even me?” Riley asks curiously as Noah refuses to answer. “Well?” He pushes for a response.

No.” Noah answers reluctantly.

“Then let’s work this out together.” Riley remarks. “You don’t need to kill anyone.” He concludes. Riley walks back outside and rejoins the group with a positive outlook.

“How did it go?” Owen asks nervously.

“I think it went better than I could ever have expected.” Riley answers. “I was half imagining for him to start using powers against me too, but then I remembered I share his body. I knew I could feel so much weirdness when this all started. I felt like the shape of my face was uncomfortable, the positioning of my teeth and everything else too.” He explains.

“Riley, I think we need to—” Dillon is interrupted as alarms suddenly begin to blare from the facility as holes emerge from the ground revealing missile silos. The group suddenly step backwards as they retreat from the developing breaches.

“What the hell is going on?” Owen shouts, his voice suppressed by the deafening sirens.

“The future you saw, it’s happening.” Riley mutters.

“The bombs are here? Underneath the Preservation of Eden?” Dillon clamours.

“Jennifer told me that in the future she saw, I was looking at the shell of an explosive that had the Preservation of Eden name and logo on it. Do you know how many facilities there are?” Riley asks impatiently.

“Five, maybe six! This is their central hub, the main facility. That’s why we targeted it. I never knew they had missiles though!” Quinton shouts.

“We can stop it! Quinton and I can stop it. I know we can. We have a huge amount of experience with this, if we’re familiar with the systems in control of all of this, we can stop this from ever happening.” Dillion insists.

“Dillon’s right, we can. Since this is the main headquarters, chances are we can control all of it from here.” Quinton responds supportively.

“There’s a town out there. If any of these missiles go off, they’re in danger.” Owen groans worriedly.

“There’s a whole world out there, Owen! Who knows where these missiles are going? There are potentially hundreds of them prepping for launch right now all around the world at all of their facilities. The future we saw was deserted.” Riley argues.

“Riley, look!” Quinton stands on the edge of one of the missile silos and points to a room that appears to be a central control panel. “Can you teleport us down there?” He asks.

“I can, I can. Everybody hold onto me.” Riley instructs the others whilst they all place their hands onto him. He teleports down with them into the control room. Dillon and Quinton immediately check the control panel, inspecting the information on the computer.

“Where is everyone?” Riley ponders quietly, his voice muffled by the rumbling machinery.

“I think you killed them all outside.” Owen answers abruptly.

“I thought those were just prison guards.” Riley explains under his breath.

“I think they pulled out all the stops for you. There’s nobody left.” Owen theorises.

“Judging by this equipment, this place is designed to run by itself. This was activated remotely. Wait a minute, only one of them was activated from elsewhere, and then two minutes later the rest of them were activated here.” Quinton explains whilst he fiddles with the complicated control panels.

“One of the missiles is set to hit the nearby town. Owen, you were right. You guys need to try and evacuate it just in case.” Dillon responds, examining the systems alongside Quinton.

“Careful, somebody’s been here.” Riley mutters. “You said the rest of them were activated here, that means somebody is around, or was around.” He explains under his breath.

“You guys need to go, just in case things go wrong. Evacuate the nearby town. Dillon and I have got this.” Quinton insists.

“How are they going to believe us?” Owen asks curiously.

“Maybe we need to scare them away, nobody’s going to believe three people shouting about a missile.” Hope suggests.

“Okay, okay.” Riley nods quickly, tapping Hope and Owen as he teleports back outside with them and begins to run towards the nearby town, instructing Hope and Owen to follow him.

“Dillon, why did you bother with sending them to save the town? There are missiles set to hit places all over the world. If we fail, saving one town isn’t going to matter.” Quinton wonders.

“I needed Riley to go. There’s something not quite right about him. Lily’s dead because of him.” Dillon mutters.

“They saved us, Dill, they saved us and you know it. We’re here to help him find out what The Nomad did to him.” Quinton reminds Dillon as he continues fighting with the console.

“Do you remember what we dug up on The Nomad? The information that we found before we were put into that godforsaken machine?” Dillon shakes as she squints her eyes.

“That he has a family? A lot of people do, even the crazy ones.” Quinton responds quietly.

“Of all the things we learnt, we couldn’t even find out what his real name is. But we know that he has a wife and a son. Don’t you remember the name of his son?” Dillon stares blankly.

“What? Do you really think that’s him? Riley? A lot of people share the same name, Dillon. The chances of that, the chances of us all coming together despite everything? The odds are astronomical.” Quinton argues.

“You should know by now that whilst life for us in particular has been highly unfair, the ability to carry on believing in coincidences is something that we simply cannot do anymore. No matter what our quest surrounds, all of those involved are always brought together. I’m not saying Riley’s bad, I’m just saying I think we need to be cautious. If we know the Nomad like we do, the chances are that he’s using Riley just like he’s using everybody else. He may very well be as innocent as us. I just wanted some time to think without him around. You know me, I think quicker when it’s just us two.” Dillon concludes.

Riley, Owen and Hope continue running towards the nearby town, the sirens reverberate through the solid concrete roads as members of the town begin to depart from the nearby buildings and speculate as to why these alarms are blaring.

“You need to leave, all of you!” Riley shouts whilst waving his hands in the air rapidly. Members of the public begin to slowly step backwards in concern and confusion. Screaming occurs from inside a nearby restaurant, and Riley, Owen and Hope follow everybody who is running inside the restaurant.

“This can’t be happening, this can’t be happening.” One bystander shudders.

“This isn’t real, surely?” Another bystander whimpers with fear. As Riley, Owen and Hope enter the restaurant, they can see that everybody is watching the television. A startling banner reads ‘Breaking News’ as the newsreader is covering live footage from silos opening up all around the world.

“We have contacted the Preservation of Eden and are eagerly awaiting a response. We advise everybody to remain in their homes whilst we attempt to defuse this alarming situation. We assure you that everything will be okay, and that this is merely a false alarm.” A government official speaks confidently to an interviewer on the news.

“You all need to leave, everybody. This is real.” Riley speaks loudly.

“Shut up, kid. We don’t need people like you scaring everybody else. You heard them, this is a false alarm, some kind of technical screw-up.” A gruff customer complains as people begin retreating from the restaurant. Some leave calmly, others leave in panic. A few remain as they truly believe that it is indeed a false alarm and nothing more.

“Please, I promise you, this is real! I’m trying to help you!” Riley grunts worriedly. The gruff customer who complained earlier slams his drink down on the table and angrily confronts Riley.

“Get out of here.” The gruff man clenches his fists.

“Sir, I don’t want to scare anybody, I just want to—” Riley speaks quietly as he is interrupted when the man pushes him aggressively. Riley’s eyes flicker as they turn orange.

“Noah, don’t hurt him. Let him go. Remember what we spoke about?” Riley speaks from within, attempting to calm down an extremely agitated Noah.

“What the…” The gruff customer mutters, before stumbling outside of the restaurant.

“He won’t do anything in a public space like this.” Hope whispers.

Noah.” Owen mutters as he trembles in fear. Noah turns around and recognises Hope, his every instinct warns him that Hope is dangerous.

“Let’s just go, Owen.” Hope asks quietly, grabbing Owen’s arm.

“Noah! You don’t have to be scared, none of us are corrupt or dangerous. We’re all good!” He shouts whilst he shields Hope. Noah slowly walks towards Owen, his eyes locked onto Hope as he refuses to blink.

“What’s going on here? We don’t need any aggro.” A staff member calls out as the remaining customers begin to grow agitated.

“I will let you go, Owen, you are good. But Hope is dangerous, she’ll end the world. I might not have all my memories back yet, but I have this driving instinct telling me that she will destroy everything, she’ll absorb it all. I must end her.” Noah mutters.

“Noah, I won’t let her go. She’s good, you’re good. The Nomad tricked you! He’s the one who is going to end the world, and Hope is the one who can save it!” Owen yells.

I don’t believe you.” Noah grunts, as he continues walking towards Hope.

“Damn it!” Owen panics as he grabs into Hope’s hand, and freezes time.

“We have to go, Owen. We have to go. Leave him here, he can find us.” Hope insists.

“My friend is somewhere in there, I can make him hear me. You just need to go.” Owen instructs, as Noah’s body begins to twitch.

“What the hell?” Hope mutters as she notices that everybody else around them is still frozen. Noah’s entire body twitches, struggling to move, his body makes cracking motions as he slowly breaks free from Owen’s power. Noah suddenly rushes up to Owen in a twitching motion, his angry and unforgiving face rests in front of Owen’s.

I’m sorry I couldn’t save you.” Owen represses his cry as his lips quiver. Noah turns his head at an angle, inspecting Owen’s face closely. Hope tries to pull Owen away, but fails to overcome Noah’s power which is suspending Owen, keeping him locked where he is.

“I won’t kill you.” Noah insists. “But I will hurt you, now please, leave.” He reveals. Owen continues to resist, trembling in fear as he stands up to the powerful Noah Gray. Noah purses his lips in frustration. Owen immediately begins to shout and scream in pain as he feels his bones cracking one by one. Suddenly, Noah raises his hand and waves it into the air, throwing Owen across the room and knocking him into a brick wall with such tremendous force, rendering him unconscious as time resumes once more.

Jesus Christ!” A staff member shouts out as customers begin to flee the restaurant. People scream and yell as multiple people begin calling the police to report an attack. The calamity between the customers who are running noisily through the café begin to make Noah extremely scared and agitated. Hope shudders and shakes in fear as she looks around her, her hands shaking as she suffers from the most unforgiving terror that she has experienced. Hope stares towards Owen worriedly, wishing that he’d followed her instructions instead.

“Please. You can’t kill me.” Hope stutters, as Noah emits flames from his hands and bursts them towards Hope. She raises her hands in self-defence and absorbs all the fire. Noah then strikes electricity from his hands and hits Hope with a severe blast of lightning. She raises her hands once again and carries on absorbing the energy of his attacks.

Noah.” Hope cries. He walks menacingly towards her, and tilts his head.

“I’m a good person, Hope.” Noah mutters.

I know you are.” Hope sobs whilst Noah successfully emulates Hope’s power. He places his hand on her forehead and begins to absorb her essence. Hope holds back her screams as she disintegrates slowly into particles and gets absorbed into Noah through his hand. Suddenly, as if the death of Hope flicked a switch in Noah’s mind, he becomes increasingly aware of the terror in the eyes of those who are trying to exist the building. Time slows to a standstill as Noah is overwhelmed by the pain and terror that he has inflicted upon innocent people, he realises that his fear of people and the world was an irrational one. Noah tries to apologise to everybody, attempting to convince them all that he has tried to save the world. Suddenly, Noah is thrown across the room and he forcefully hits the wall and falls harshly onto the floor.

Show me how it ends!” Riley yells from within Noah, as he throws him across the room even more, using his own powers against him.

Stop.” Noah insists.

“Why don’t you kill me too?! You’ve killed everybody who has tried to help us!” Riley shouts.

“Stop!” Noah insists aggressively. The customers continue to flee in panic as they see Noah talking to himself, switching between two personalities as the argument reaches its crescendo.

“Look at all these people, Noah. Look at the sheer fear on their faces. What did they do to you? What did they ever do to you?” Riley mourns, as sirens begin to wail in the distance

“What did… What did Owen ever do to you?” He whispers.

“I gave Owen a chance, he was the first person I ever gave a chance to and you cannot deny that.” Noah exclaims forcefully.

“But what did he do to you? What did Frank do to you? What has anybody ever done to you?” Riley grunts.

Frank tried to kill me! He was trying to kill me.” Noah argues, repressing his anger.

“Frank never tried to hurt us, he was trying to guide us.” Riley responds dejectedly.

“All the people that helped to kill Lily, they were evil and they need to be stopped.” Noah mutters.

“No. They were hired guns. Probably brainwashed by this Nomad we keep hearing about. The only evil person here right now is you. Maybe I was wrong about you, maybe you’re lost. Perhaps you’re just too far gone.” Riley grunts.

“I… no. No, I’m good. I thought everybody else was evil.” Noah stammers.

“Then prove it. As far as we know, The Nomad did this to you, you were brainwashed. He made you so fearful of the outside world. I don’t know if it’s too late to come back from all this, you killed everybody at Petrelli Manor.” Riley groaned.

“I didn’t kill Lily. I didn’t kill Owen, I didn’t want to, but I could’ve. That is a choice made by a person in control, I had to save the world.” Noah responds.

“You might as well have fired the proverbial bullet on the human race, Hope was the only one who could absorb the Godsend Device, remember?!” Riley snipes.

“I might be powerful enough to do that too. Look, I’ll heal Owen.” Noah pleads.

“I can feel my control fading away, Noah. Our consciences are merging. This is your body, not mine. Please can we just work together for answers to the seemingly endless number of questions that we have?” Riley requests. “Please, heal him.” He concludes.

“I can make this up to you, Riley. I promise. I can make it up for all of us. I don’t know what happened, but after… After killing Hope, something changed in me. Almost like a reset that cleared my mind. I don’t know if it was something she did when she died, or if it was because I was raised with the objective of killing her. I just had this instinct inside of me. I couldn’t control it.” Noah explains as he walks up to Owen’s body apologetically with the intention of healing him from the drastic damage that occurred moments ago.

Don’t.” Owen mutters, shaking as he regains consciousness. He looks around him to find Hope, closing his eyes mournfully as he realises she’s gone. Owen gasps painfully, as the people in a chaotic panic outside suddenly start behaving normally one by one.

“Put your hands in the air!” A police officer yells as he enters the restaurant, followed by armed forces who are aiming their laser-sighted weaponry towards Noah.

“No, please. I’m just trying to save my friend. Let me save my friend, and I’ll come with you. I promise.” Noah pleads with desperation.

“I don’t want to be saved. You don’t get to choose who lives or dies, right?” Owen groans whilst Noah looks towards him and then back towards the armed forces.

“Put your hands above your head, and get down on your knees, or we will fire!” An armed guard shouts aggressively.

“You don’t understand how easy it would be for me to end you all right now, be grateful that the thought isn’t crossing my mind!” Noah yells emotionally whilst his teeth chatter, causing the armed guards to become increasingly alert.

“You did this.” Owen whimpers.

Noah begins readying his powers in order to scare the officers away, with no intention of killing the officers, he emits a gentle glow from his hands. Suddenly, he notices a figure that stands out remarkably in the background, an elderly eastern-Asian man in a dark brown suit, with visible tattoos around his neck. Immediately, all of the police officers react as if they’ve forgotten their current objective. They look around in complete confusion and leave the general vicinity.

“Who are you?” Noah mutters as the Asian man enters the restaurant and removes his hat.

“That’s not a very respectful way to request an introduction, Noah. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt considering you had at least ten automatic rifles aimed at your face mere moments ago. My name is Hisoka Quincy.” He introduces himself and inspects the scene.

“How do you know me? Do you work for The Nomad?” Noah ponders worriedly.

“You’ve learnt of The Nomad already? Then you’re ahead of schedule. I’m pleased. I did work for him, a lifetime ago.” Hisoka replies whilst Noah stares at the nonchalant civilians outside who are just going about their daily lives when they were in terrible fear moments ago.

“They’re not scared. They’ve—” Noah mutters, as he is interrupted.

“Forgotten? Not exactly, let’s just say they’ve been switched to autopilot. They’re unaware of everything going on around them. They’ll return to their homes and remember the day as an uneventful one. In a way, they have forgotten.” Hisoka observes. “It’s no coincidence that I live here, Noah. I’ve been waiting for you. I’ve been staying as close to their headquarters as possible. If things are going the way I think they are, then your new friends, Dillon and Quinton, are inside the Preservation of Eden?” He reveals.

“How could you possibly—” Noah grumbles whilst being interrupted.

“It’s a chain reaction. A very well executed one at that. Everything happening right now is because of The Nomad, I was here to disrupt the falling dominos. It seems like someone has already done that, these alarms shouldn’t be happening.” Hisoka answers as he looks towards Owen who passes out from shock. “Right now, we need to get your friend to a hospital. We both know he won’t let you heal him.” He explains. “There’s a hospital right down the road. Let’s go.” He concludes. Noah stares in disbelief, double taking from Owen to Hisoka and back again. He picks up Owen and the two of them proceed quickly to the hospital at the end of the road. Night begins to fall as they pace down the road.

“If you know that this domino effect was meant to happen, then do you know what I did in there? In that restaurant?” Noah asks impatiently.

“Yes. You absorbed Hope.” Hisoka answers truthfully. “Nothing could’ve prevented that, Noah. Just be happy that it happened the way it did. The Nomad wanted you to eviscerate her. If I came earlier, you would have still done it. Your father raised you to do that. You couldn’t have overridden this underlying instinct that itched against your skin, the instinct to kill her.” He reveals.

“Why would Sylar raise me to kill Hope?” Noah struggles to speak.

“Sylar? Oh no, no. The Nomad. He is Riley’s father after all. Of course, you know that he’s not yours. I’m going to help you remember as much as I can fill in, Noah. Just trust me when I say that you are good, and that even now, Hope Never Dies. We’ll talk more soon, let’s just get Owen seen too first.” Hisoka answers.

“Don’t you know what will happen to Owen? Wouldn’t his involvement be part of these falling dominos?” Noah shakes his head as he requests an answer.

“No. The dominos effect the most important elements of a plan. Owen was not a crucial element, he was a bystander in all of this. There are some things that cannot be planned for. Outside sources can hasten or hinder a plan, but The Nomad has a contingency for every possible event. Sooner or later, his plans will always come to fruition, whether that is by his hand or another’s.” Hisoka speaks softly as they enter the hospital lobby. The staff are panicking as patients are attempting to flee the hospital after seeing the news broadcast, the siren remains intact as Dillon and Quinton continue to work on the control panel.

“Can somebody please help us?” Hisoka raises his voice whilst still emanating calmness.

“I’m sorry, half our workforce are missing, patients are scrambling all over the place—” A lead nurse apologises. “Ah, Nurse McCreary, could you please take this gentleman to a room whilst I carry on restoring order in this hellhole?” She instructs.

“Right this way! Doctor, we have a critical patient!” Nurse McCreary speaks with urgency whilst she leads Hisoka, Noah and Owen to a single room. Owen is placed onto the bed and a doctor enters the room and begins to examine him. Suddenly, Owen wakes up, yelling at the top of his lungs in pain. Nurse McCreary attempts to restrain him before realising that he isn’t even moving.

“What’s happening?!” Noah shouts.

“My name is Doctor Laidlaw. Sir, could you move your fingers for me?” Laidlaw instructs Owen, who is unable to move anything below his neck. Owen screams in pain as he suddenly struggles to breathe.

“Nurse McCreary, check his airway. The patient is paralysed from the neck down and he appears to be experiencing difficulty breathing.” Laidlaw explains to himself, as Nurse McCreary checks Owen’s airway and finds no obstructions. The doctor examines Owen’s chest and assesses the initial signs of injury. “His lungs have collapsed, the patient is entering the first stages of multiple organ failure and the most likely cause is the blunt force trauma that occurred. I can’t say for sure until we get an x-ray, but I firmly believe he has a C1 injury and needs immediate support. Nurse McCreary, please set up the ventilator. What happened to this boy?” He questions Noah and Hisoka firmly, leading them outside.

“He fell from a roof. I carried him here.” Hisoka answers.

“Must have been a pretty high roof, we don’t have many here.” Laidlaw sighs. “Listen, I don’t think he’s going to make it. He has severe arrhythmia, both of his lungs are collapsing and I highly suspect that he has an injury at the base of his skull, a C1 injury. Without a miracle or somebody who has the ability to heal, I don’t think he’s going to survive. Ordinarily I would perform a tracheostomy, but given his condition, we’ll use a non-invasive method. We can try to make him as comfortable as possible. I’m sorry. I’ll be back as soon as I can, things are very messy around here right now.” Laidlaw mutters regretfully.

“Thank you for seeing us so quickly.” Hisoka expresses his gratitude.

“You’re welcome.” Laidlaw departs to deal with other patients, as other nurses enter the room and begin assisting Owen and connecting him to life support machines.

“I have to heal him.” Noah mutters.

“There’s no healing a man who wants nothing more than to die, you might save him, but he’ll be dead inside.” Hisoka whispers.

“You don’t know that, he could snap back. Since I met him yesterday, he’s grown so much stronger. I need to right my wrongs, show him I can come back from all of this.” Noah groans sadly as the nurses leave the room. He enters the room and sees a defeated Owen lying on the bed, he has regained consciousness unnaturally quickly despite all the drugs that have been injected into his system.

“Owen…” Noah whispers worriedly.

Get out.” Owen grunts breathlessly as the mask muffles his rapidly decaying voice. “Have you any idea how I feel? My body is clinically dead. I should be dead. Why am I still alive, Noah? What did you do to me?” Owen speaks ever so slowly, every word takes their turn to gradually surpass his lips.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to throw you against the wall.” Noah stammers.

“Oh, you meant it. I know you did. I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about when you changed my powers… Oh that’s right, Riley was in control when he did that. You changed my powers, what else did you change? What else did you give me?” Owen continues to grunt and whisper breathlessly, forcing himself to speak. Noah shakes his head in worry as he stares towards Owen, unable to conjure any words that may appease him.

“Get out.” Owen gulps exhaustedly. Owen slowly backs away and leaves the room. He approaches Hisoka in the empty lobby in order to continue the vitally important conversation that never reached its conclusion earlier.

“What’s your story?” Noah wonders.

“God made me a promise, and He broke it. Here I am.” Hisoka answers. He picks up a chair that has been knocked over during the chaos that occurred among workers and patients moments ago and proceeds to sit down. Noah pulls a chair and places it in front of Hisoka, joining him. “I never wanted to work for him. He had my wife. He still does. She’s more important to him alive than dead. He needed me to do things for his plan and my reward was for my wife to be freed from that treacherous prison of his. On the surface, The Nomad isn’t bad, but he will do anything to ensure that his plan sees the light of day. You’re so important, Noah. Ever so important.” He begins to tell his side of the story.

“What do I need to know? How can we stop these dominos from falling?” Noah asks hurriedly.

“Have you learnt of the Godsend Device yet?” Hisoka wonders.

“Yes! Before we left for this town, I was told about it. Something about it being able to conjure as many powers that a person wants?” Noah reflects and nods quickly.

“Doesn’t it make you wonder why it hasn’t been used yet?” Hisoka responds curiously.

“Who’s to say it hasn’t been used yet?” Noah debates.

“Oh, we’d know. We’d know. Our Earth still orbits our Sun, does it not? We wake up every day to live our lives as freely as we can, we are in control of our very selves. The true reason why I know it hasn’t been used yet is because there is only one person strong enough to use it, Noah. You.” Hisoka answers. “Trust me, in time you will learn why. I don’t know everything myself, I knew what I needed to know. You are the only one who can operate The Godsend Device, The Nomad will do anything in his power to ensure that happens. He wants to control the future, to craft it as he sees fit. Why it has to be you, I do not know.” He continues explaining.

“I don’t understand. I ended up outside Petrelli Manor without any memory, with Riley trapped inside of me. I’m also the son of Gabriel Gray and Elle Bishop, but Elle is dead and I shouldn’t be this old if I was supposed to be born a few years ago?” Noah stammers impatiently.

“I don’t know, Noah. Time and space can be an unintelligible construct. All I know is that The Nomad wants to enact his plan this year, and he needed you to be old enough to use your powers to the fullest extent possible. He needed you to be this old, this year. I pray that you find answers. Noah, we don’t have time anymore, you have to get back to Dillon and Quinton as soon as possible, they’re going to need you. Trust me.” Hisoka speaks rapidly.

“You know that something’s going to happen, don’t you? Are they going to die?” Noah murmurs worriedly.

“That, I do not know. They aren’t crucial elements, but I do know that these alarms shouldn’t be going off, and only one thing can be responsible for that, something that was never supposed to be created. The Nomad planned for it to be made, but he should’ve been smart enough to know that it wouldn’t be able to use The Godsend Device.” Hisoka grunts.

“What was never supposed to be created?” Noah asks impatiently.

“Your clone. It was the only thing that The Nomad couldn’t create any contingencies for because of how unruly and unpredictable it is. Because of this, The Nomad created the one contingency that he knew would kill it if he needed to do so, a missile armed with a weaponised chemical that disempowers clones and clones only. The explosion would do the rest. If I had to theorise, your clone worked this out and sought it upon itself to launch the rest of the missiles. He is the worst version of yourself. The whole world is going to go very crazy very soon if Dillon and Quinton don’t stop it, but you need to go now. I will stay here and keep an eye on Owen.” Hisoka explains.

“I have to save him. He’s my friend.” Noah answers.

“He’s Riley’s friend, not yours.” Hisoka responds calmly. Noah stares at Hisoka with sadness in his eyes and proceeds to walk back into Owen’s room. He stares blankly towards Noah as they both stare at each other silently. Owen has lost the will to argue whilst he looks towards Noah tiredly, staring at his vibrant orange eyes.

“Well?” Owen groans.

“Let me save you.” Noah whispers. Owen shakes his head slowly as a tear falls from his eye.

“I don’t want to be saved. You killed Hope. The future I saw? It’s going to happen because Hope is dead. Everything happened the way it was supposed to, with her gone, you’ve kick started a chain reaction that won’t end until nothing is left.” Owen grunts slowly, struggling to finish each word, let alone each sentence.

“You don’t know that. I will do what I can. I will try to save the world. Both Riley and I were thrown into this face first, we had no idea what was in store for us. The Nomad is responsible for all of this and none of us have even seen him yet. Hisoka told me a lot. The Nomad is a puppeteer, and I’m the marionette.” Noah explains.

“You can’t. People like you… People like you should be stopped.” Owen mumbles. Noah stares at Owen, his eyes full of guilt as he reaches his hand to try and heal Owen. “Don’t… even… think… about… it. Leave me alone, Noah. Leave me alone to die.” He murmurs.

“Owen, where is this coming from? You were kind, optimistic, caring. I could feel that during your time with Riley. Please, do you forgive me?” Noah mutters sadly.

“I felt anger like I’d never felt before shortly after my powers were changed. I feel that the anger I have, I’ve earned. I know the past, present and future of hundreds of people out there. It destroyed me… Forgiveness? I forgive Riley, not you.” Owen answers impassively.

“Then… will you forgive me, in time?” Noah’s lips tremble as he is overwhelmed by the level of guilt he is experiencing for the first time, the hollow emptiness forms inside his chest. He was totally oblivious to the fact that his powers could damage Owen to this extent. They stare at one another and anger begins to form in Owen’s eyes. He stares deeply into Noah’s eyes and readies himself to speak.

“No.” Owen growls, he blinks rapidly before slowly closing his eyes. The machines start going haywire, the life support systems begin to shut down and alarms start to blare.

“Owen? Owen?!” Noah shouts as nurses begin to rush into the room and escort him out. The heart monitor begins to flatline as a doctor begins to perform CPR on Owen.

“I’m sorry, Owen. Goodbye.” Noah mutters under his breath as he walks back towards Hisoka, refusing to take the selfish choice of saving Owen.

“No, no. This can’t be happening. Get back! Don’t do this!” Hisoka murmurs loudly in the distance at the end of the corridor.

“Hisoka, what is it?” Noah calls out in concern and begins dashing towards him.

“It’s The Nomad. It’s too late. There’s one thing I didn’t tell you, powers don’t work on clones! Save my wife and son! Find Catherine and Jared, please!” Hisoka’s voice shakes as the space around him begins to distort heavily, almost mimicking the effect that heat has on the air. He stares at Noah, his eyes full of wisdom and hope. “I believe in you.” He whispers.

“Hisoka!” Noah shouts as he disappears into thin air, leaving no trace of the man who stood on these tiles moments ago. Suddenly, flashes of fragmented memories ravage Noah’s mind as he breathes unsteadily and focuses on the sirens, remembering that Hisoka warned him of Wildcard’s nearby presence. Noah teleports back into the console room and approaches Dillon and Quinton apprehensively.

“Riley?” Dillon calls out, before she sees his orange eyes.

“Where are Owen and Hope?” Quinton asks.

“It’s just me. Noah. Riley is losing control over my body.” Noah reveals.

“Are you…?” Quinton speaks carefully under his breath, as he protects Dillon.

“I killed Owen and I think I killed Hope too.” Noah remarks with a defeatist tone. Quinton immediately progresses towards Noah, ready to take his life away from him.

“Do it. Please.” Noah’s teeth chatter as he attempts to restrain his tears. “Do it!” He yells outrageously, begging for the punishment he so very strongly believes that he deserves, for the lives of Lily, Owen, Hope and countless many more at Petrelli Manor would never have been lost if it weren’t for him.

“What happened to you?” Dillon ponders mournfully and places her hand on Quinton’s hands, lowering them and suggesting that he should hold off on his seemingly imminent attack.

“I’m starting to remember fragments of my life. A man named Hisoka came and spoke to me, somebody who used to work for The Nomad. He told me as much as he could. Now he’s gone as well because he chose to help me. The Nomad got rid of him. I learnt that I was raised to do two things. Kill Hope, and become strong enough to operate the Godsend Device, I’m the only one who can. I was brainwashed by The Nomad that it became a sheer instinct of mine to fulfil those goals, not once did I ever question whether or not I’d be doing the right thing. I was so inherently fearful of the human population on the surface that I felt like I was going to die every single second. With Hope gone, that changed.” Noah explains.

“Then it’s not your fault. He tricked you like he did us.” Dillon mutters mournfully.

“You were right about him. He killed Hope. He did what we thought was impossible to do. He killed our friend, Dillon. He killed our friend.” Quinton argues.

“Can’t you see it, Quinton? The Nomad arranged for her to be removed after Riley had escaped from the Preservation of Eden so that he would be able to rescue her. It wasn’t a coincidence that he had guards remove her right at the same time that Riley was on the verge of escaping. Even the guards themselves were probably unaware that Riley would save Hope. He knew Noah would take over eventually and complete his mission because everything goes his own way. It always does. He has a contingency for everything, and obviously what happened to Riley when he ended up outside of Petrelli Manor was a contingency in itself.” Dillon clarified.

“He planned all of this? Like a domino effect?” Quinton responds.

“Yes, and now the dominos have been disrupted.” Noah exclaims. “Listen, Hisoka theorised what happened here, he thinks The Nomad set off one missile from wherever he is. Wildcard set off the rest of them here.” He confirms.

“That makes sense. We’ve nearly stopped all of the missiles, they’re not going to launch, but they need to go through some remote safety procedures before they can be disabled completely. We just have to wait. There was one we couldn’t bypass because it wasn’t activated here. I’m trying to find out more now.” Dillon answers.

CHAPTER FIVE: THE DEVASTATION OF EDEN

“I’ve managed to stop the missiles from launching, but there’s that one that I can’t stop, it simply doesn’t have an override!” Quinton yells.

“What is the missile’s target?!” Noah shouts, as he struggles to hold the door closed.

“This can’t be right.” Dillon mutters.

“What is it?!” Noah yells with impatience.

“You, Noah! The target is you! Or Wildcard, I don’t know!” Dillon blares.

“Somebody’s coming.” Quinton speaks alarmingly as he notices numbers changing on an elevator shaft at the end of the room.

“You aren’t stopping anything, any of you.” Hilary barges into the room with a small group of soldiers and an unidentified clone. Hilary stands beside the clone and strokes his arm. “He’s gorgeously muscular, isn’t he? Oh, you haven’t met. Let me introduce you all to Tyler Noble, one of our finest private-hire soldiers who perished in some long-forgotten war. We didn’t make as many clones as we should have, Tyler was one of the first and he’s been around a long time. It never ceases to strike me how albinism looks on him, I just remember him as this dark and handsome man.” She continues to admire the clone.

“You got over your husband pretty quickly, from the looks of it.” Noah lectures sarcastically.

“Noah, can you get them all out of here?” Dillon faces Noah and whispers.

“I don’t know how. Riley’s been the one in control up until now.” Noah stammers.

“They’re your powers, not his. It should be just like riding a bike, I hope.” She explains whilst self-replicating in order to create a distraction for the clones. Hilary immediately raises her gun and shoots Dillon in the chest, causing all of the clones to dissipate.

Dillon!” Quinton shouts whilst he runs up to catch her from falling.

“We have no time for your pointless distractions.” Hilary barks. Quinton slowly places a wounded Dillon to the ground and bursts towards Hilary, placing his hand on her head as he begins to take her life away. The armed soldiers suddenly raise their guns towards Quinton as Noah quickly manages to stop time. He gasps in shock as he realises that he was able to stop time. Everybody has stopped moving, apart from Tyler. Noah concentrates on all of the soldiers and waves his hand in the air, teleporting them out of the area. Tyler rushes towards Quinton angrily with the intention of killing him. Noah pushes Tyler out of the way, knocking him to the ground whilst Quinton and Hilary remain frozen in time.

“You don’t want to do this.” Noah speaks confidently as he tries to use his powers on Tyler.

“Don’t waste your energy, your powers won’t work on me. Only I know what I wish to do, saviour.” Tyler growls, slowly circling Noah like wolves do their prey. Instantly, Tyler leaps for Quinton and Noah jumps in the way to physically attack him. The two enter a fist fight as Quinton desperately tries to get Noah out of the way so that he may prevent Quinton from killing Hilary. Noah struggles to keep Tyler out of the way and continues to use what powers he can against Tyler. With time at a halt, any powers against the environment will not come into effect until time has resumed once more.

“Get out of my way.” Tyler speaks forcefully.

“No.” Noah grunts whilst examining the structure of his surroundings. He notices that the support beams surrounding the elevator shaft are separate from the ones around the control panel and the silo. Tyler continues to try and get to Quinton whilst Noah blocks his every move.

“I take it you don’t have any abilities.” Noah presumes.

“I don’t need any. This is futile, give up.” Tyler argues.

“One last chance, Tyler. You’re on the wrong side here. You can come with us. We can help you.” Noah insists whilst he uses his telekinesis to crush four of the six support beams.

“I’m already dead. We’re all pawns, Noah. Every single one of us. I’m doing what I know to be the right thing.” Tyler grunts as he makes one last effort to reach Quinton. Noah collapses the remaining two beams and resumes time as he rushes towards Quinton and teleports with him to where Dillon is resting. The concrete ceiling collapses on top of Hilary’s already lifeless body and crushes Tyler. The support beams surrounding the rest of the silo begin to groan whilst the concrete floor cracks slightly.

“Noah, what did you do?” Quinton stammers.

“I gave him a chance, Quinton. I saved the soldiers, but Tyler was a clone, immune to my powers. Time was stopped and I collapsed the structural beams.” Noah answers as small chunks of debris begin falling from the walls around the rest of the facility.

“This place is going to fall.” Quinton complains and crouches down to care for Dillon. Noah reaches towards Dillon and heals her wounds.

“It’ll hold. We’ll be fine.” Noah reassures Dillon and Quinton as banging occurs on an industrial door on the other side of the facility. “Looks like somebody else heard us.” He mutters to himself.

Dillon stands up and rapidly approaches the console, confirming that all the missiles have been deactivated.

“What do we do now, Noah?” Quinton asks impatiently.

“Now we save Riley. We find him and we try to restore his consciousness.” Noah nods confidently and is suddenly overwhelmed with dizziness.

“Noah?” Dillon calls out worriedly as Noah passes out onto the ground.

“Noah!” Quinton yells as banging continues to occur on the industrial door.

Noah.” Hope murmurs with an echo. “Riley doesn’t have long.” She explains.

“Hope? You’re alive?” Noah gasps as he realises he is inside the dark corners of his mind.

“I had to find some way to talk to you. It took some time for me to understand what had happened earlier today. When you… absorbed my body, you took my conscience with it. The human mind only has enough strength to contain one conscience. Because you’re this powerful, you were able to temporarily hold onto more than one. When you… absorbed me, it destroyed a lot of Riley. He’s nearly gone. Being trapped inside of here is so unearthly, it’s like a transcendent dream. Occasionally I hear Riley, then sometimes I hear you. You’re both more alike than you’d care to admit.” Hope explains.

“What… what do I do?” Noah stutters.

“Find Riley’s body as soon as you can and see where you can go from there. You have to find the man responsible for all of this. He’s used you to work against everybody without you even knowing it. He’s immensely dangerous, Noah.” Hope explains whilst Noah can hear the faint banging of the industrial door and the muffled shouts of Dillon and Quinton who are trying to wake him up. “You need to go, Noah. Find a way to save Riley. Find a way to save me.” She pleads.

“You can stop the Godsend Device, can’t you? I don’t have a power like yours yet, at least nowhere near as strong as yours is. Maybe you can give me that strength?” Noah wonders.

“I don’t know. Noah, I don’t know.” Hope explains.

“Noah!” Dillon screams loudly whilst Quinton shakes his unconscious body until he wakes up.

“What happened? Are you okay?” Dillon whimpers worriedly.

“It was Hope. She’s alive. Her conscience is inside of me and she warned me that Riley is nearly gone, we have to find his body and restore his conscience.” Noah explains.

“Glad to hear it, but she really could’ve picked a better time.” Quinton groaned as he helps pick Noah up. “He’s nearly through.” He whispers.

Noah levitates the collapsed concrete from the other side of the facility and blocks the industrial door, granting them some more time away from the deranged Wildcard.

“You guys need to understand that I’m still learning how to do everything. I’m still trying to remember who I am. Hope said I was good. Riley and Owen believed that once too, I hope you do as well.” Noah gasped.

“We do. You’re breaking free of him. His hold over you is lessening.” Dillon answered. “What is that?” Dillon notices a small shard protruding from Noah’s head.

“What’s what?” Noah asks, tapping his on his head trying to pinpoint where Dillon is looking.

“Hold still.” Quinton instructs Noah as he slowly places his hand onto the side of Noah’s head and slowly pulls out a broken black fragment. “It looks advanced. It’s a technological chip of some kind.” Quinton stammers.

“He influenced you, Noah. He puts chips into all of his employees, I never would have guessed he’d put one inside of you too. His powers have a very limited reach, maybe just from here to the end of the room.” Dillon murmurs whilst she points out an estimated length. “In order to control people no matter where they are, he had a chip designed in order for his powers to reach further. I think he intends to have you use the Godsend Device in order to allow him to expand his reach to cover the entire world.” Dillon reveals.

“It must have broken earlier on in the restaurant when Riley attacked me.” Noah mutters to himself. “So it wasn’t me that hurt Owen? It wasn’t me that absorbed Hope?” His eyes widen as he prayed for his innocence.

“No… He can’t control you with this, he could only influence you. If he raised you with the belief that you had to kill Hope, he would have made sure he etched that belief into every corner of your mind. Whilst you were in control of what happened, he was the one responsible for it all, not you.” Dillon discloses.

“We have to go, before he breaks—” Quinton informs the others as Wildcard smashes through the industrial door, shredding the remarkably strong steel and obliterating the obstacles that surrounds him.

“Guys, you have to go, now!” Noah shouts.

“We’re not leaving you!” Dillon remarks loudly.

“You will die! Powers don’t work on it. I just explained to Quinton, powers don’t work on clones! I have a plan, trust me!” Noah insists.

“Powers might not work on it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t help with a distraction.” Dillon states, as she clones herself multiple times to serve as a diversion for Wildcard. He begins to barbarically destroy Dillon’s alternates one by one, giving Noah enough time to teleport with Dillon and Quinton to the far end of the room by the emergency exit.

“The missile is meant for him, not me. I’ll lure him somewhere where nobody else will get hurt.” Noah explains hastily.

“That might kill you too!” Dillon speaks worriedly.

“It shouldn’t, but I have a feeling the Preservation of Eden has done everything to keep me alive so far, I have to try. They didn’t anticipate that Wildcard would go rogue, Hisoka told me that this missile was designed as a contingency to disable Wildcard, nothing else.” Noah debates.

“Okay, that’s a good point. They do need you.” Quinton agrees.

“Now go, please. I’ll find you guys after it’s all over. You saved the world, again.” Noah nods whilst he bids farewell to Dillon and Quinton. They run out through the emergency exit that leads into a small tunnel with stairs to the surface. The two continue to sprint as far as they can and rapidly turn a corner.

Don’t!” A figure yells, aiming a gun towards Dillon and Quinton, who raise their hands.

“Please don’t. Wait, you’re not from the Preservation of Eden, are you?” Quinton notices.

“No. I’m not. Where is Noah Gray?” The figure questions quickly.

Wildcard has unforgivingly destroyed Dillon’s short-lived distraction, and quickly teleports in front of Noah, punching him with such a powerful force that he slams against the steel wall. Noah groans in shock and raises his hands in order to crush the ceiling above them, debris falls and violently slashes Wildcard’s body. His wounds heal as fast as they form. When Noah remembers that direct powers such as teleportation won’t work on the clone, he decides to grab him instead and begins to fly as fast as he can. Noah jolts through the exit of the silo as he struggles to carry his alternate form. Wildcard continues to unleash his unrelenting powers upon Noah, who is unable to defend himself against the horrendously vicious attacks. The Clone slashes severely deep cuts into Noah’s body and temporarily causes blindness from a mixture of fire and electricity emerging from Wildcard. He tries to withstand the attacks for as long as he can before he succumbs to the pain and collapses into a field far away from any source of human life.

“Please, stop.” Noah gasps breathlessly, struggling to speak as his healing ability endeavours to keep up with all the damage being done to his now extremely fragile body. Bones crack as they heal and relocate themselves, wounds close, stopping blood from pouring endlessly.

“I know how good it feels, I know. The power fills you with euphoria. You just want more and more until all sense of normality is tucked well away. You want to become so high with power that life becomes a blur. I am you. You are me. Please stop.” He implores.

Wildcard walks silently around Noah as he attempts to crawl away.

I’m not you. You’re merciful. I’m merciless. Clearly something changed with you. You see, my last proper memory is my blood being taken from you after he showed me The Godsend Device.” Wildcard mutters his first words, his voice raspier and deeper than Noah’s.

“The Godsend Device? He wanted you to use it.” Noah stammers.

“You don’t remember everything, do you? He wiped your memory. The Godsend Device was designed for me. For us. It was created in the future, an artificial stone that can grant anybody the powers they desire. It can also take anybody’s powers away from them. But it only works with our biological fingerprint… When I worked out what had happened, where I came from, I rebelled against him and sought to use the Godsend Device for my own gain. I can’t even find him, I can’t find it.” Wildcard explains thoroughly and aggressively.

“I know that I’m meant to be the one to use it, but I don’t understand any of this. Why was my memory wiped? Why is all of this happening?” Noah struggles to speak.

“My blood was taken from you before all of this happened, I don’t share your pathetic memories. I am however remarkably surprised that my memories are intact at all.” Wildcard responds. “But I am going to get The Godsend Device eventually. I’m going to kill our beloved step-father and I will start by killing you first.” He remarks violently and begins crushing Noah’s internal organs by aggressively clenching his fist. Noah screams out in excessive agony as he begins bleeding from the mouth. He grabs his chest whilst he suffers from excruciating pain. The Clone continues to clench his fist and starts breaking Noah’s bones, beginning with the fingers and working his way through the rest of the bones in his body, following up with the shattering of his femur. Noah cries out uncontrollably as he experiences the worst form of pain a mortal human can experience. His internal organs begin to shut down as he continues yelling out breathlessly whilst he sees he trail in the sky heading towards the field he is lying down in. As Wildcard continues to cause massive injuries to Noah, unaware of the incoming missile, Noah gasps and cries, accepting the possibility of imminent death. He blinks rapidly and slowly closes his eyes after relishing in the view of the wondrous night sky. The missile hits the ground right where Noah is lying and decimates the entire field. Gigantic chunks of land soar into the dark sky and come crashing down into the newly formed crater below. Dirt and thick dust swarms the devastated field. Noah’s body reforms almost instantaneously and falls to the ground below. In his unconscious state, he sees Riley separate from him inside his own mind. An empty black space surrounds Noah and Riley as his mind holds no other present thoughts.

I’m dead, aren’t I?” Riley fretted.

“I don’t know, Riley. I don’t remember what happened, but you’re here.” Noah exclaims.

“It’s okay, Noah. With you in control, I’ve had time to remember. I remember dying now. I think The Nomad intended for us to forget, but being as powerful as you are, your memories effectively healed themselves… I’ll try my best to remind you of what I can… I remember you spoke to my Mum, well, her clone. She told you about his secret. That’s when it happened. You went after him. Your powers went out of control and he had to interrupt the process.” Riley explains.

“Riley, I never wanted this.” Noah mutters.

“It wasn’t your fault. He is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We believed him to be a wonderful father, when in truth he is a despicable character with the intention of controlling the future. I helped you become a better person, Noah. You were damaged, frightened and lost. You’d never seen the outside world, only the images he planted in your mind.” Riley proclaims.

“I’m not evil, am I?” Noah’s lips jitter.

“No, you’re my brother. I love you. He told us lies about the world, he said it was dangerous to go out there, that the surface was destroyed. When you woke up after the eclipse, your first thought was to defend yourself and try to stay alive. You were on the surface, a place you had never been to before. The last thing you remembered was probably Dad killing me. You wanted to defend yourself next.” Riley explains carefully.

“I knew what I was doing, Ri. Sometimes I could see what was happening when you were in control. When Lily died, I could see it happening but I couldn’t control anything. By the time you were really anguished, I was able to take over and I got scared, I felt like I had to kill everybody. I felt like I didn’t have a choice. I thought I was going to die. I thought we were going to die.” Noah clarifies with regret. “I didn’t mean to get Lily involved, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to kill Owen. I know Hope is alive, but I hurt her.” He exclaims.

“Hope Never Dies. I heard Hisoka, even he knew it to be true. Since she… ‘died’, I was able to sense her within us, as if she were in an unconscious limbo. I hope that you’ll be able to find out how to save her one day.” Riley answers. “Your fear, your conflicted need to kill, I could feel it. But as time progressed, I sensed it fading away. His control over you is gone, Noah. You are your own person, you are your father’s son. Just like him, there has always been goodness in you. You’re my brother after all, biological or not.” He consoles Noah.

“After I saw you die, the next thing I saw was him. I recognised him.” Noah states.

“Who did you recognise, Noah?” Riley asks patiently.

Frank. I recognised Frank. When I came to during the Eclipse, I looked at him and all I saw was Dad, your Dad. I killed him out of… out of self-defence and fear. I… I didn’t know he was a clone.” Noah answers with a stammer.

“The Machine was made with his genetic detail, Noah. Who else would he trust to oversee his infiltration of the Petrelli Manors other than himself? He had a mole at every single one. Frank was just ‘F’, the person in charge of the sixth Petrelli Manor in the country. Because it’s made from his genetic detail, his clones are the only ones that will never have albinism like so many of the other clones are likely to get.” Riley answers as he reveals that Frank was also a pawn in a larger game run by The Nomad. “My presence within you may have helped you find that goodness quicker. It may have granted you my ability, it enhanced the hero within you. Please don’t forget that you are good, and you will be a hero. I feel like I’m fading away. Do what you have to do, stop him, find a way to destroy the Godsend Device, save the world.” He explains confidently.

“Please don’t leave me on my own, Ri.” Noah stammers.

“You’re never on your own, Noah. You take care, I don’t think I can—” Riley continues to reassure Noah as his sentence cuts short, the remainder of his essence fades away.

“Ri? Riley?” Noah calls out, looking out into the endless emptiness of his mind.

Remember.” Riley’s disembodied voice utters, as he uses the last of his energy to help Noah to recall the critical events of his life that led up to his appearance outside of Petrelli Manor.

CHAPTER SIX: FILICIDE

He’s so beautiful.” Elle whispers, her weary face staring in awe at her child.

“He really is.” Gabriel agrees quietly. “Eleanor, I know we discussed names for boys and girls, do you know what you want to call him?” He wonders.

“I liked the name you suggested. It’s an important name too.” Eleanor smiles.

“So is that what we’ll call him?” Gabriel caresses Eleanor’s cheek, smiling towards the baby.

“Noah. Noah Gray.” Elle’s lips quiver with happiness. “I love you, Gabriel.” She stares lovingly into Noah’s innocent eyes.

“I love you too, Elle.” Gabriel gently strokes Elle’s hair and stares at Noah. “Who are you?” He looks up at the hospital room door and speaks firmly.

“I’m nobody yet. But I will be, all thanks to that son of yours.” The Nomad answers.

“Listen to me, get out. You will regret this.” Gabriel speaks sharply as he approaches The Nomad, who recalls the events from which he stole Noah Gray from his parents.

“You took the boy away from his parents?” Valeria Stenson mutters. She nervously fiddles with her short hair whilst The Nomad strokes her soft, pigmentless skin.

“I had to, Valeria. Noah is necessary for the Godsend Device to work. You remember when I brought him here, don’t you?” The Nomad asks.

“You came in with the child, said you’d rescued him from some kind of accident where his parents had died. I always wondered why there were never any adoption proceedings, you just stole him.” Valeria shudders.

“I promise you Valeria, I want to be completely open and honest with you now, that’s why I’m sharing this with you. Do you remember Michael?” The Nomad responds with a question.

“The one who could teleport and travel through time?” Valeria answers.

“Yes, he could jump through time, but also into parallel universes. Without him, none of this would have been possible, God rest his soul. Noah wasn’t born here, Valeria. He came from somewhere else. I remember the very day, it was Sunday, November the 13th, 1994, the day I brought him home. Michael and I had visited many different timelines and universes. None were similar enough that resulted in Noah Gray being born by Gabriel and Elle. After a long time searching, Michael did it. He found him. We both jumped into the other universe and into 2009, and that’s where I saw them. That’s where I saw him. We’d teleported into a hospital not too far from Costa Verde.” The Nomad continues to remember.

“Gabriel, let him go.” Elle insists, as The Nomad walks in with a smile.

“What a beautiful boy. You have no idea what your son is capable of.” The Nomad enlightens the new parents.

“What do you want?” Elle groans, shielding Noah’s delicate head with her hand.

“I want your boy. We can do this the easy way, or… the other easy way.” The Nomad mutters. Gabriel advances towards The Nomad forcefully and raises his right hand, his two fingers extended as he slices them through the air whilst he aims towards The Nomad’s head. Gabriel grunts in pain as blood begins to pour from his own forehead. The Nomad reflected his attack effortlessly, causing the upper region of his head to slowly slide off as Gabriel falls dead to the ground. Elle screams out in terror, and charges her power by electrifying her left hand.

“Now, now. You saw what I did to your beloved. If I were to reflect your power, you would potentially be sacrificing your dear child.” The Nomad explains bluntly.

“Leave my baby alone.” Elle whimpers fearfully as Gabriel’s blood spills onto the hospital floor.

“If you hand the baby over to me, I’ll let you live. You have my word. I would have let Gabriel live too, but he attacked me. I’m sorry.” The Nomad promises.

“Without Noah, without Gabriel, what would I even have to live for?” Elle argues.

“You should be grateful to have walked among the footsteps of those who came before you. You should be grateful to share your footsteps with the greats among us today, including your son. You would live knowing that he will one day save the world and bring it a far better future, just not in this universe.” The Nomad speaks confidently, as Elle slowly, yet reluctantly hands Noah over to him.

“Please don’t hurt him. Please don’t.” Elle whimpers.

“I won’t. But I’m sorry, I cannot afford to let you remember any of this. I can’t risk having you come back one day to take Noah from me.” The Nomad shakes his head regretfully.

“No, no, no. Please. I promise you I won’t ever come for you. Don’t make me forget my son.” Elle’s lips quiver as she fights to prevent herself from crying.

The Nomad continues to shake his head, as he makes a waving gesture with his hand, gently erasing the ever so delicate memories of Noah from Elle’s mind. He leaves the room with Noah.

“Gabriel? Gabriel?!” Elle shouts.

“Time to go?” Michael asks, as The Nomad nods towards him, and Michael teleports them both home, back into November the 13th, 1994.

“Did you have to kill Noah’s father?” Valeria whimpers.

“Don’t be afraid of me, my love. You know I would never hurt you. I’m not in control of my reflection power, you know that. It just happens. Besides, Noah’s father is still alive in this universe.” The Nomad states.

“But his real father isn’t.” Valeria argues.

“Well, no. But biologically, Gabriel Gray in this universe is still his father.” The Nomad counter-argues.

“You never let me see him and you never let me play a part in his upbringing, he barely even knows I exist. I’m so surprised at how you’ve managed that considering you never let him go to the surface. He doesn’t even know what the real world is like, you’ve convinced him it’s a wasteland. How could you?” Valeria whimpers.

“I have planned this for many years, my dear. The plan is flawless. It cannot fail. I can’t allow for any outside contamination to affect Noah negatively and cause a relentless butterfly effect to spiral so many ways, ways that I couldn’t possibly prepare enough contingencies for.” The Nomad speaks sharply as he defends his critical plan.

“You think I don’t remember, don’t you? You think I don’t remember why you want to enforce your brave new world?” Valeria mutters, refusing to make eye contact.

“What?” The Nomad gasps quietly as he reaches for Valeria’s chin and turns her head to look towards him again.

I remember death. I remember the day it all went wrong. We were at the expo and there was a mass shooting. I was taken. I tried to convince them I didn’t have any abilities but they didn’t believe me. They shot me in the legs and in the arms. They let me suffer and bleed before they finally shot me in the head. They were a group of psychopaths who were adamant to kill everybody with abilities, even without proof of the person having them. I remember still being able to see after I died. It was like a still frame that slowly blurred out and faded to black over the course of what felt like ten minutes. The next thing I remember is waking up in The Machine. You told me I’d had an accident, and I know you tried to erase my memory. I’m telling you it didn’t work.” Valeria reveals whilst The Nomad stares in confusion. “I’m glad it showed me that you trust me though. Because clearly you’ve never tried to read my mind otherwise you would have learnt this a long time ago.” She states quietly.

“I have tried to read your mind, Valeria. I try every day. I was worried it was just a sign of trauma. Never did I realise that my abilities no longer affect you.” The Nomad admits.

“I’m frightened of you. I always have been. You used to be so gentle and loving. I tried to convince myself that you were going through a temporary stage of grief, but you were truly reborn from my death. You learnt who you truly are. A psychopath who enjoys killing.” Valeria’s teeth chatter as she verbally attacks the Nomad.

“Don’t be so ridiculous. I’m doing what I must! This has to happen today, because if anything goes wrong, I have a contingency in place for it. There’s an eclipse tomorrow.” The Nomad shouts whilst Valeria blinks rapidly, recoiling in terror.

“I’m not your wife.” Valeria huffs through her teeth. “Your wife died. She’s gone. Eternal blackness. I’m just a continuation of her, a copy that isn’t under her influence at all. She was born, she died. I fight every day with myself trying to learn who I am, what I am, and I never find answers.” She mutters.

“You are my wife. You are eternal. I love you.” The Nomad reassures Valeria as he places his hands on her shoulders.

“Dad?” Riley calls out as he enters The Nomad’s office.

“Yes, Riley? What is it?” The Nomad responds agitatedly.

“Noah tried to go outside.” Riley answers rapidly.

“What? I’ll have to have a word with him.” The Nomad sighs and leaves the room with Riley.

“Noah?” He calls out as he walks down a dim hallway outside of his office.

“Riley, I asked you to keep this between us.” Noah huffs.

“Look, I’ve already told you why you can’t go onto the surface, it’s too dangerous. There are lots of people out there who would want to get their hands on you and use your powers for their own agendas. You’re not strong enough to survive on the surface, unlike the others.” The Nomad explains.

“I know, but I just wanted to see what the surface is like. I’m seventeen, Dad. I don’t understand why everybody else can go the surface if I’m supposed to be the most powerful out of us all?” Noah replies with confusion.

“You know very well why you can’t step onto the surface, Noah. The combination of your hyper photosensitivity and surfaced-based respiratory issues would cause you to burn out and suffocate within minutes. Once your powers have fully manifested and we’ve completed your training and our objective with the Godsend Device, only then can we safely introduce you to the surface.” The Nomad firmly reminds Noah, attempting to wade his way through the rebellious cracks of his ever-changing persona. He places his hand gently onto Noah’s shoulder and guides him away from Riley in order to carry on their conversation in private. “You know I’ve told you about the people on the surface, they’re all monsters. They act nice on the surface, but deep down, they’re all treacherous entities. It’s either kill or be killed up there, Noah. You know that, we’ve been through it.” He mutters exasperatedly.

“But Riley’s always told me stories about the surface. He tells me about how nice it is. How much he can’t wait for me to be able to see it.” Noah responds, perplexed.

“Your brother is telling tales, he is as gullible as he is foolish. Riley will be lucky to survive for much longer if he continues taking these reckless and unauthorised trips to the surface. Trust me, Noah. You trust me, don’t you?” The Nomad remarks.

“I trust you. I’m just looking forward to being able to work with all those volunteers we have from your company, the ones that can restore the world to its former glory. I want to meet other people, I want to see other abilities and get to know everybody. Not that I even know what it used to look like, or what it looks like now for that matter.” Noah exclaims.

“Together, you and I will clean the world of its atrocities and rise alongside a new one. It’s been a long time, Noah, and you’ll be ready very soon. I have another task for you.” The Nomad smiles.

“What is it?” Noah asks curiously.

“Follow me.” The Nomad instructs Noah, as he follows him into his office. The Nomad reveals a hidden room behind his office that contains a small prison that contains three individual jail cells.

“What is this?” Noah’s eyes lit up with concern.

“This is where I keep any troublesome people, Noah. At the moment, I only have one. I need you to kill him. You’ll need to learn how it feels to take a life, to defend yourself against evil.” The Nomad grinned.

“But he’s behind bars, how is it self-defence?” Noah frowned.

“Everybody on the surface has the capability of being a cold-blooded killer. Bars or no, he is capable of killing. In fact, he has killed many. Would you like to know what this man here does? He eats the living to fuel his own abilities. What’s his ability, you might ask? He can inflict paralysis upon his victims so that they can lie idly as they are eaten by this disgusting predator.” The Nomad explained whilst gnashing his teeth. “Now, I know you’ve used a great deal of your powers in the past, but you’ve never used one on a person. Until today. You’re ready, my son.” He smiles twitchingly.

“What do you want me to do?” Noah mutters confidently.

“Do whatever you must. Make it quick, make it slow. Make it painless, make it painful. The choice is yours. Alex is here to help too. She’ll dispose of him when you’re done.” The Nomad answers. Alex, a young-adult with dyed purple hair and colourful floral sleeve tattoos, awaits further instructions.

“Hey Noah.” Alex smiles.

“Hi Alex.” Noah nods. Alex grew up alongside Noah and Riley as their older step-sister, rescued by The Nomad from a young age.

“What are you going to do with him when I’m done? Burn him, or teleport his body somewhere else?” Noah questions, revealing Alex’s powers of teleportation and fire-wielding.

“I don’t know yet. That depends entirely on what you do to him. You don’t have to kill him, you know?” Alex suggests.

Of course he does. Didn’t you hear what I said about him, Alex? Noah needs to get his first kill out of the way. It’s necessary.” The Nomad sneers.

“Once we use the Godsend Device, there’ll be no need to kill anymore, right?” Noah asks patiently.

“That’s correct, Noah, but for the time being you must understand that some people are just too far gone. Even though we will fix human nature, there will be the lingering psychopathy in the back of some of the most broken human minds. You must be prepared for the rebels of the future, some, like him, may be able to resist the change.” The Nomad explains steadily.

“Okay.” Noah responds as he stares into the prisoner’s emotionless eyes, assessing the faint presence of any left over human feelings. He stares endlessly into the prisoner’s eyes, struggling to bring himself to killing somebody at all.

“It’s okay, sweetie. You don’t have to do this.” Alex reassures Noah and gently places her hand onto his shoulder.

“If you’re going to carry on behaving like this, you can get out.” The Nomad snipes. “Noah, what are you waiting for?” He clamours.

“I won’t do it. I believe we can reason with those who are broken, those who are lost.” Noah argues.

“Oh, for goodness’ sake. Must I do everything for you?” The Nomad controls Noah’s powers, making him disintegrate The Consumer from the inside out, killing him on the spot. “A fitting death, if I say so myself.” He smiles and nods, before leaving the room to return to his office.

“Are you okay, Noah?” Alex murmurs softly.

“I don’t know.” Noah shudders.

“We can leave, together.” Alex suggests quietly. “I’ve spoken with Riley, we can all leave together.” She whispers.

In the distance, Riley turns a corner and steadily proceeds to leave the building, slowly walking towards the exit and gradually moving faster whilst checking behind him to make sure nobody can witness him leaving. He quietly opens a reinforced door and runs up the dimly lit stairs towards the surface. Riley bursts through the door and gasps deeply whilst catching his breath at the same time.

“Riley?” A female voice calls out.

“Hey, Lily.” Riley responds raggedly.

“Ri, what’s wrong? Are you okay?” Lily mumbles and reaches her hand out to Riley whilst quickly walking towards him.

“I think something is wrong. Whatever I’ve been sensing, it’s going to happen today.” Riley answers and holds onto Lily’s hand.

“Is it your powers?” Lily asks hurriedly.

“I don’t know. You know I’ve had suspicions for a while now, right? I can just feel this ever building energy inside there and I had to get out. Like I said, something is going to happen, I can feel it.” Riley explains hastily.

“Come with me. We can leave together. We can just run?” Lily suggests.

“I can’t, Lil. I have to stay with Noah, I have to help him. I spoke with Alex and she’s going to try to persuade Noah to leave. Then we can go together. You know I told you about the Godsend Device and how my Dad wants Noah to use it? I feel like he has a hidden agenda.” Riley responds quietly.

“You told me you thought he would do something else with the Godsend Device, but what’s so different now? Why now? He’s your Dad, Ri, surely you know him better than most.” Lily attempts to reassure Riley.

“Do I?” Riley grunts sadly. “It’s a mirage. His entire personality is an illusion. Think about it, I thought my life was normal until I met you. I thought everybody was raised in their own homes, taught in their own homes, Noah has spent his entire life inside there, he’s never ever stepped foot on the surface. I’m so scared that he will kill everybody if he does.” He shudders as his worrisome behaviour begins to startle Lily.

“Why? Why would Noah kill everybody?” Lily shakes fearfully.

“Dad brainwashed him, I could hear him telling Noah lies about the surface, that it’s full of killers and psychopaths. If Noah ever found his way to the surface, he would kill relentlessly in order to defend himself because he thinks Dad is right, and why wouldn’t he? He idolises Dad, he believes every word he says.” Riley huffs.

“Then we can leave with him? Let’s go together.” Lily insists.

“Lily I can’t, we have to wait until Alex speaks to him. Trust me. If my suspicions about Dad are right, I need to stay here for now. Please. Carry on staying at the Manor and wait for me.” Riley instructs.

“I can’t, I hate those places. You know me, Riley, you can’t ask that of me.” Lily whimpers.

“I’m sorry that your parents pushed you into one of those places, I am. But please, you need to help us. It won’t be for much longer.” Riley pleads whilst Lily nods reluctantly.

“Here, take these.” He hands over two photographs to Lily. One of them two together and the other of Riley and Noah together.

“Is that Noah?” Lily wonders.

“Yeah, that’s Noah. We’re a bit younger there, that was taken a couple of years ago. Dad doesn’t normally approve of photographs, but this was on a good day. It was the last day I remember Dad being… well, Dad.” Riley whispers bitterly.

Lily strokes Riley’s hand and smiles at the photograph of them together, admiring the beautiful smile on Riley’s face.

“That was the first time you’d ever seen the night sky. The first time you saw stars glisten in the black abyss above us. You were in awe, you couldn’t fathom it.” Lily reflects.

“I just love the way you’re staring at me and smiling in that photograph. You’re beautiful, Lily. I love you.” Riley expresses fondly.

“I love you too.” Lily smiles and tilts her head to the side, gazing into Riley’s green eyes.

“I don’t know what you can expect, Lily. Anything can happen. I just know that my Dad sends people to the manor here so he can keep a close eye on them himself. Should anything happen, it will happen at this manor.” Riley explains.

“Riley, I don’t understand. How are you so sure something is going to happen? I asked earlier, is it because of your powers? Sometimes when you’re agitated, they don’t function properly, you might be panicking.” Lily attempts to explain.

“No. I’m not panicking, Lily. I have to let this play its course, right now, dominoes are falling and you’ll be the one to stop them.” Riley tries to restrain himself from panicking.

“Okay, okay. I trust you, Ri. You should go back inside, you don’t want your Dad to think you’ve disappeared again.” Lily insists calmly.

“Okay. Next time we see each other, we’ll go stargazing again?” Riley suggests.

“I’d love to.” Lily chuckles sweetly as she cuddles Riley tightly.

“I’ll see you very soon.” Riley smiles. “One last thing. When you see Noah, remind him of the most important thing. Hope Never Dies.” He strokes Lily’s cheek and says goodbye. Riley re-enters the building and rapidly sprints down the stairs and back into the complex, slowly opening the reinforced door and closing it behind him. Meanwhile, Lily quickly departs from the premises and reaches for her mobile phone and begins to call a person from her contacts list.

“I need your help, please. Are you two still around?” Lily pleads.

“Whereabouts are you, Lily?” A female voice replies.

“I’m still in the area before I left you guys. I’m at Glasshearst, not too far from the Petrelli Manor here.” Lily answers.

“We just dropped off the guys that we rescued with you earlier, Emmett and his mum. Can you see the radio tower from where you are?” The female voice asks politely.

“I can, should we meet there?” Lily asks.

“Yes, we’ll see you in a few moments, Lily. Are you okay?” The female voice wonders.

“I hope so. I’ll explain when I see you.” Lily hangs up, and proceeds to jog towards the nearby radio tower. Her mind is a garbled mess of paranoid, pessimistic thoughts and ideas, all of which she hopes aren’t true. As she steadily approaches the tower, Lily spots two female figures approaching.

“Hey, Lily.” A female figure greets Lily.

“Hey Jennifer, Jessica. I know we were supposed to part ways after rescuing the woman and her kid, but I really need your help.” Lily pleads mournfully.

“What is it, Lily? Are you… are you alright?” Jennifer places her hands on Lily’s arms, struggling to comfort her.

“It’s Riley, my boyfriend. He’s in danger. Riley’s been telling me to stay at Petrelli Manor and to wait for him, but I don’t like not knowing what might happen and you guys know that. He can sense something is about to happen but he can’t tell what it is. I was hoping you guys could help me.” Lily wonders, shuddering.

“Of course we can.” Jessica nods enthusiastically towards Jennifer.

“Do you have something of Riley’s that can help?” Jennifer asks quietly as Lily hands over the photograph of her and Riley, dropping it by accident.

“This is a beautiful photo, Lil. It’s beautiful.” Jennifer picks up the photo of Riley and Lily, admiring the emotions that have been captured in the photograph. Jessica and Jennifer both hold the photo with one hand each and focus deeply as they try to envision the future. With two individuals both seeing the future, certain discrepancies can arise. One may see a sunny day, the other may see a stormy night. The future is always changing, little details can be vitally important or extremely irrelevant. If both Jessica and Jennifer see the same thing, it is likely that what they share in their visions will become true, very rarely have their visions ever been wrong. They gasp in unison as their vision of the past, present and future reveals a desolate outcome, one with humanity nearing its extinction.

Lily.” Jennifer murmurs.

“You said your boyfriend could sense something was going to happen?” Jessica asks impatiently.

“Yes, one of his abilities allows him to sense danger, but he never knows what it is. It’s always when something really bad is about to happen though. The last time he had this feeling, that comet fell towards Earth.” Lily explains.

“Listen to me, Lil. This is bigger than anything I’ve ever seen before, bigger than anything we’ve seen before. We saw multiple outcomes, and none are good. You have to listen to what Riley told you earlier, stay at Petrelli Manor and wait.” Jessica explains rapidly.

“What did you see? Please?” Lily begs for answers.

“We saw their father, The Nomad. We saw his intentions. He’s raised Noah to be his own personal weapon. Something will go wrong, he’ll be slathered across international newspapers as a terrorist hell-bent on destroying humanity.” Jessica struggles to answer.

“I don’t understand.” Lily’s lips shake as she struggles to talk.

“From what I could see, the man who raised Noah has brainwashed Noah into believing that everybody on the surface is a villain, a killer. Noah’s powers are controlled by his own survival instincts and his strongest needs. Should he ever be unleashed onto the surface without any proper instructions, his own instincts will turn himself against all of humanity. All I could see is that Riley ends up being the victim in all of this.” Jennifer mutters as her face pales with fear. Lily stares in shock and disbelief, she looks in the direction where Riley lives, shuddering in panic.

“It’s too late, sweetie.” Jessica reaches out to cuddle Lily, who bursts into tears. She looks into the distance and contemplates the endless number of choices, none of which she can make. Her body shudders in terror as she comes face to face with the harsh reality of The Nomad’s actions.

“What happens to Riley?” Lily whimpers, as Jessica and Jennifer both take turns to explain the delicate details behind the future they saw, instructing Lily on what she should do.

“I need to… I need to go to Petrelli Manor and wait for him. That’s all I can do, right?” Lily clears her throat.

“Yes. We need to go home, we’ll find people to help us if things get worse. If only the others were still alive to help.” Jessica mumbles.

“Just remember, it’ll be Riley, it just won’t look like him. Guide him and protect him. Only then will you have a chance at saving his life.” She concludes.

Noah.” Valeria calls out quietly.

“Mum?” Noah responds and walks slowly towards Valeria.

“Trust me when I say this hurts me more than it’s going to hurt you, darling.” Valeria mutters through her teeth.

“What? What do you mean? Is something wrong?” Noah stammers with concern.

“You need to come with me, sweetheart.” Valeria instructs, as she takes Noah’s hand and walks down a corridor with him, leading him towards the exit door.

“Wait, what are you doing?” Noah questions worriedly as Valeria panics and turns a corner, walking towards Noah’s bedroom instead. She walks up to the mirror on his wall and places him in front of her.

“Take a look at yourself. Your eyes are beautiful, Noah. The reason your father doesn’t want you to go to the surface is because you’d stand out. We’ve rarely ever met anybody else with powers that affect the physical appearance of a person before. Your powers give you these vibrant orange eyes. The remarkable orange that glows with such intensity when you use your abilities.” Valeria explains calmly as she holds onto Noah’s arms.

“But… I thought orange was a normal colour for eyes?” Noah mutters.

“No, sweetheart. It’s not. That’s what makes you all the more beautiful, it makes you who you are, my darling.” Valeria comforts Noah. “Do you trust me?” She asks Noah abruptly, grabbing his hand again and quickly picking up the pace whilst Noah reluctantly follows her. Valeria rushes towards the exit and opens the reinforced door that leads to the stairway. She walks up the stairs with Noah as he struggles to follow her, refusing to walk up the stairs.

“I can’t! I can’t go outside. Why are you doing this?” Noah trembles in fear.

“Noah, I asked you earlier, do you trust me?” Valeria reminds Noah, requesting an answer to her yet unanswered question.

“I do. But—” Noah answers and is interrupted by Valeria.

“That’s all that matters. Know that I would never purposely bring you any harm.” Valeria explains hastily and carries on walking up the stairs with Noah. As they reach the top of the stairs and stand before the exit, Noah begins to panic. His own instincts are telling him to back off, to leave and go downstairs. Everything The Nomad has told him has led him to believe that he would die if he stepped outside, or worse, be subjected to the carnage of these so called scavengers on the surface that The Nomad warned him of.

“Please, I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. Why are you doing this to me?” Noah shakes.

“I love you.” Valeria whispers as she wipes a tear from her eye with one hand and opens the door with the other, allowing the sunlight to pour into the stairwell and shine against Noah’s skin. Having never felt the welcoming warmth of the sun on his skin before, he screams in panic. Noah blocks his face with his hands and blinks as he tries to flee whilst Valeria holds him in place. He quickly realises the warmth is doing him no harm, the soft touch calms Noah down. He lowers his shaking hands, squinting towards the cloudy midday sky as birds fly from the trees into the distance azure skyline. Branches creak and leaves crackle against the wind, Noah gasps as the clouds wander by, revealing the powerful yellow sun in the backdrop. The sun glares against his own orange eyes, clarifying the immaculate details in his irises. Noah remains silent and in awe as he witnesses a tiny fragment of the beauty of the planet we live on.

“Your father is a liar.” Valeria whispers, as Noah turns his head delicately to look at Valeria.

“Why?” Noah grunts.

“Sweetheart, there’s no easy way to put this. I should’ve told you earlier, but I don’t have much of a choice.” Valeria mutters whilst staring into Noah’s eyes. She struggles to speak, unable to find the nicest string of words to compile together. “We’re not your parents, darling, but I love you all the same. To me, you are my son, not by blood, but by soul.” She reveals. Noah shudders as he struggles to absorb all of this newfound information. Valeria attempts to place her hand on Noah’s shoulder, but he recoils in denial and disbelief.

“Why? Tell me why?” Noah implores.

“Sweetheart, I…” Valeria mumbles whilst Noah storms down the stairwell and back into the facility.

“Noah, wait! Please, wait!” Valeria panics, begging Noah breathlessly. He sprints down the corridor until he sees the man who raised him as his own.

“What have you done to my parents?!” Noah yells as his powers begin to surge. Valeria stands behind Noah, alarmed by his powers.

“Noah!” The Nomad reacts in surprise as he raises his hands, imploring Noah to lessen his anger, for his powers can overload at any given moment. He stares at Valeria in disbelief and anger.

“My parents?!” Noah screams.

“They’re dead, Noah! They’re dead! They’re not from here! You’re not from here!” The Nomad shouts.

“What do you mean? What the hell do you mean I’m not from here?!” Noah mutters loudly.

You’re from a parallel universe! You weren’t born here and I needed you to be this old this year for the Godsend Device to work properly! I took you as a baby in 2009, and brought you back here in 1994!” The Nomad explains hastily, hoping that his honesty instead of withholding answers will allow Noah to understand. “Noah!” He shouts as his voice grows ever louder, the energy surging from Noah almost reaches a calamitous level.

You took my life from me.” Noah groans as his eyes begin to glow ever so bright. The Nomad reacts in shock, as he looks towards Riley.

“What did you do to his parents, Dad?” Riley stammers as the Nomad stares mournfully into both of Riley’s eyes, taking turns at looking from his left and right eyes.

“I’m so sorry, my boy.” The Nomad chokes up and grabs Riley, dragging him towards Noah.

Dad!” Riley cries whilst Noah’s eyes turn to pure white, he is no longer in control of himself or his powers.

“You give me no choice! No choice at all!” He screams agonisingly, placing one hand on Riley’s head and the other on Noah’s, transferring Riley’s very conscience into Noah’s body. Riley screams in devastating agony as he attempts to endure the process. Valeria covers her cheeks with her hands and screams in fear, she runs up to The Nomad and attempts to stop him. He smacks Valeria across the face and she sobs uncontrollably, unable to defend her dying son. Riley’s body shuts down as The Nomad spares him from any further pain. As the transfer completes, Noah passes out. His abilities to come to an abrupt halt, letting out a disastrous force on the surroundings, cracking the wooden walls and shredding the carpeted floor. Valeria is violently knocked out by the vigorous blast. Lights flicker from the ceiling as Riley’s body collapses to the ground.

“I’m so sorry, Riley. I’m so sorry. I couldn’t do anything else.” The Nomad cradles Riley’s body, shaking. As a bystander, Alex shudders at the end of the corridor and freezes in place, shaking involuntarily.

“Alex?” The Nomad struggles to speak as she slowly emerges from the shadows. With extreme difficulty, she holds back her sadness upon discovering that Riley is dead.

“I need you to get a hold of Petrelli Manor. Get me Frank. There’s going to be a bit of a delay in the plan.” The Nomad explains quietly as he mourns for his only son.

Alex walks away from the calamitous scene. As she turns a corner, she leans against the wall and begins to shake emotionally. She quickly composes herself and enters the main communications room and presses various buttons on the console in front of her.

“Frank?” Alex calls out.

“Yes, Alex, what is it?” Frank answers.

“We’ve had an incident.” Alex answers as The Nomad enters the room.

“The Event has happened, as I feared it may. I’ll keep Riley’s body intact in case we can ever achieve a restoration. I’ll be sending Noah outside of Petrelli Manor. I trust you’ll make him feel welcome until he is strong enough to use the Godsend Device. I’ve wiped their memories to help prevent the overload from ever happening.” The Nomad explains.

“I see, I’ll await his arrival. Can you anticipate what will happen?” Frank asks quietly.

“I saw many things happening, but I didn’t see anything happen this way. I wanted today to be the day we finally began our future, but sadly that will have to wait just a little while longer. I always knew that if something went wrong, if Noah used his powers too soon, that I could force Noah to repress his abilities by trapping another conscience inside of him and restore his abilities with the eclipse. For their whole lives, I had hoped it wouldn’t come to this. I’ve interrupted his process, the time it takes before Noah becomes active again should be long enough so that the energy isn’t fatal. Noah has never seen the outside world. He’ll be dangerous, he’ll kill. I do expect that he will wreak havoc upon the manor and that you may perish. Should that happen, I’ll have the Preservation of Eden send out a crew of Preservers to recover him and resume the process. When he wakes up, it should be Riley in control. I’ve taken a sample of his blood to ensure that there are no complications with his system, I’d like you to take another sample once you recover him so I can check again and make sure everything is in order. You must make him believe he is Riley Stenson. We can’t afford to bring Noah out so soon.” The Nomad instructs.

“I understand. I’ll do what I must for our plan to come to fruition. I’ll keep an eye out for Noah.” Frank obeys.

“I’ll have him there in ten minutes. I’ll speak to you tomorrow.” The Nomad responds.

“There’s something you might want to know. A girl arrived at the manor last week. Her name is Lily. She says she’s been on the run for a long time and wants somewhere safe to stay, so we let her in.” Frank informs the Nomad.

“And? We let people in all the time.” The Nomad responds with a puzzled expression.

“I read her mind. Riley asked her to come here. Not just any Riley, your Riley. He must have known somehow.” Frank explained.

Bloody hell. I’ll have her retrieved. Please can you get a sample of her blood for me right away? I have another contingency prepared already. Say it’s for an urgent medical check. Just in case.” The Nomad huffs as he contemplates every possible scenario that could happen. Frank nods in understanding.

“There’s another thing you should know, I saw the JJ Twins nearby. They’ve been rescuing strays and dropping them off at the nearest Petrelli Manor. Should we let them carry on? It might help further our research.” Frank wonders.

“No. Thank you for letting me know. I’ll send out a group to retrieve them too, I can’t risk them finding out that we’ve infiltrated the Manors.” The Nomad nods and signs off, shutting the feed down.

“Alex, I know this is hard, I did let you know that this could happen. You’re strong, that’s why you’re my right hand girl. You’re the daughter I never had.” The Nomad comforts Alex.

The two apprehensively return into the room where Riley and Noah are. Alex tries to control her breathing as she remembers warning Riley that something like this may happen. The two silently mourn for Riley together and take a moment to think about the drastic tragedy that occurred moments ago.

“Would you send Noah outside of Petrelli Manor please?” He requests. Alex crouches down next to Noah, and places her hand over his chest, teleporting him to the outside of Petrelli Manor as he falls into the meadow, his watch stuck at 1:13.

“Could you get Lily as well? Bring her here. There can’t be any complications, things are unstable enough right now.” The Nomad asks as he places his hand on her shoulder.

“Okay. I will.” Alex agrees quietly, placing her hand on her own chest and teleporting herself into Lily’s room in Petrelli Manor. Lily covers a plaster over her arm where blood was just retrieved moments ago.

“Lily.” Alex speaks abruptly.

“Alex? What are you doing here?” Lily gasps.

“You have to come with me.” Alex instructs.

“I’m… I’m not going anywhere. What is this?” Lily stammers.

“Riley’s dead, okay? He’s dead. The very thing he told you might happen, happened, only worse than either of us ever imagined.” Alex answers, causing Lily to burst into tears. Alex holds back her own tears as her lips quiver. She reaches out to her as the two hold each other’s hands for emotional support. A hardened soldier and an emotionally vulnerable girl both suffering heavily from the same loss of a person they both had equally strong feelings for.

“Listen to me. Riley’s dad isn’t a nice person. His agenda is logical, but flawed. I was raised to believe it was the right thing to do, and I so strongly believed it was until very recently. He wants to force utopia upon the world, to change humans themselves to no longer harbour an aggressive nature. To do that, he needs Noah. There’s something called the Godsend Device, it was built in a parallel universe just for Noah. It can grant a person omnipotence, total and unlimited powers. The Nomad only wants one, the power to alter the entire human genome.” Alex explains, whilst Lily appears unresponsive as she carries on crying.

Please, Lily, listen to what I have to say. I have to take you to him. I’m going to do my best to make sure he lets you go, to make sure he lets me bring you back here so you can try and help Noah.” She explains further.

“Okay… Okay.” Lily nods shakily, as Alex teleports them both back to the communications room in The Nomad’s bunker.

“So you’re the one responsible for softening my son, hmm? Turned him from the hardened man he was into a weak and emotional waste of a life? Huh?” The Nomad growls sharply.

“Riley was always soft, it was in his nature.” Alex answers hastily.

“He made you soft too? I’m genuinely surprised. Get out of here. Get out of here now!” The Nomad yells violently towards Alex, she looks worriedly towards Lily and reluctantly leaves.

“You see, I used to be a very, very nice man, I did simple things like holding the door open for people, donating to charities, I did what a lot of people out there do, normal and boring actions that make you believe you’re somehow a good person that does right by the world. Then I saw the wars of the future for myself and I knew I had to stop them. When I first killed… I felt remorse for a split second, then euphoria followed. It helped me. I just have a little bit of steam I need to blow off, and you just happen to be an obstacle in the way of my plan. But I have plans for you, my dear. You will be the final contingency.” The Nomad speaks rapidly whilst he raises his hand towards Lily. Immediately, Alex bursts into the room and jumps towards The Nomad and places her hand his shoulder, with the intention to teleport him to a fatal location.

Disappointing.” The Nomad turns towards Alex and shakes his head in frustration as he reflects her own power back onto her, causing Alex to teleport herself to the very same location she intended to send The Nomad to. Alex ends up high in the air above a rapid river. She falls and hits a tree branch, crashing into the terrifyingly fast waters below. Alex desperately attempts to teleport herself away, but the extreme currents whack her body into a mangled state, preventing her from being able to place her hands on any part of her body. The horrific water bashes her into sharp rocks and splintered wood. Alex is pushed underwater by a forceful wave as a large log crushes her chest, holding her arms down. With what little breath she has left, Alex struggles to reach her hands to either of her legs whilst the log pushes down further with dreadful force every second. She holds onto her breath for as long as she can whilst the gashing wounds cause her to bleed out. With the dark water and natural debris forcing their way around her body, Alex closes her eyes tightly. As she struggles to hold her breath for any longer, she slowly succumbs to the water and perishes.

“My plan has been twenty five years in the making, and I sure as hell am not about to let it fail now.” The Nomad mutters, as he slowly begins to feel happy and calm. “Is this your doing? Are you trying to make me feel good so I will spare you? Trust me when I say you are absolutely wrong.” The Nomad growls through his teeth, as he raises his right hand and clenches it into a fist. He suddenly shuts Lily’s mind down, killing her instantaneously.

“I could do this all day.” The Nomad mutters to himself and clicks his neck, nodding as he relieves himself of heavy stress.

“Jorah? Are you there?” The Nomad speaks firmly into a microphone on the desk.

“I’m here, sir.” Jorah responds.

“Could you please retrieve Lily Bowman’s blood from Frank at Petrelli Manor? Meet me by The Machine as soon as possible.” The Nomad instructs.

He leaves the communications room and heads towards an elevator that ascends into a private room inside the Preservation of Eden headquarters. The Nomad passes by his employees and gazes towards the holding rooms, staring towards the ill-fated captives. He proceeds slowly into the back room where Dillon and Quinton are connected to The Machine. Jorah is patiently waiting with a package in his hands.

“Sir.” Jorah gently hands over the package to The Nomad.

“Thank you, Jorah.” The Nomad places the vial of Lily’s blood into a container that connects to the middle vat and waits for the clone to generate, expecting it to also have albinism.

“Abilities have zero effect on the clones. Valeria remembers everything that happened to her, she remembers dying. I couldn’t wipe her memory. This is a slightly unexpected surprise, and also a fatal flaw in the design. Nevertheless, we shall continue, there’s no time to make changes to The Machine. If Lily comes out with albinism, I will make sure Riley remembers her that way. I had Frank take a sample of her blood back when she was in Petrelli Manor, so ideally she shouldn’t remember anything that Alex might have told her. More importantly, she shouldn’t remember me shutting her down. I’m surprised the clones have their memories intact at all, DNA shouldn’t contain memories whatsoever. I just have to keep cloning her until one comes out without albinism. We could be waiting a long time.” The Nomad explains as he gazes in awe. The clone has formed ever so perfectly, resulting in no albinism whatsoever.

“You’re beautiful.” The Nomad whispers whilst he admires Lily’s ever so perfect skin and her untarnished body. The chances of a clone not resulting in albinism in his machine are ever so rare. The Nomad opens the machine as Lily remains unconscious. He strokes her soft skin, admiring his successful creation.

“Jorah, could you do me a favour? Make sure Lily is back in her room where she belongs in Petrelli Manor, I’d do it myself, but people would get rather confused if they saw Frank and myself in the same place.” The Nomad requests.

“Of course, I will.” Jorah obliges.

“Could I ask why you killed this girl if you intended to bring her back anyway?” Jorah asks.

“You know my ability allows me to see almost every single trail, almost every single path that can possibly ever happen. I know that Lily is going to try and save Riley and she knows he’s inside Noah. Lily will probably try and restore Riley’s memories of them two, which will in turn also make Noah adore her. We need to kill Lily’s clone to snap Noah out of it when the time is right, that way, he won’t be able to bring her back, no matter how hard he tries. I need to keep Lily’s actual body safe in case I need to persuade Noah further down the line with the Godsend Device. Like I said, when Noah is captured, make sure you keep Lily’s clone alive too. Killing her at the most opportune time is most likely just what we need to make Noah snap back into himself permanently so that we may continue with the plan.” The Nomad shrugs, as Jorah nods. “Do you still have Simon in your employ?” He wonders with curiosity.

“I do. You don’t approve?” Jorah responds.

“He’s psychopathic in his nature, it’s dangerous to have him on our team.” The Nomad explains quickly.

“He may be violent, but he’s the best at his job. Since he came on board, we’ve been able to categorise abilities twice as fast. He’s efficient.” Jorah defends Simon.

“If only I could alter personalities, that’d be wonderful.” The Nomad grunts and Jorah chuckles.

“I’ll make sure she gets back to her room safe and sound. It’ll be like nothing ever happened.” Jorah reassures The Nomad.

“Onwards and upwards.” The Nomad nods. He leaves to return to his bunker, a place no child should ever have called home. The Nomad carefully takes Riley and Lily’s bodies through his office and into the hidden and empty prison cell where he places them side by side. “I’ll see you both very soon.” He whispers, caressing Riley’s cold cheek.

CHAPTER SEVEN: THE IMPOSSIBLE SON

The ground is barren, a wasteland that serves as an instant reminder of the beautiful devastation that occurred moments ago. Beautiful in such a sense that the world has been saved and one lonesome field paid the price. War has been avoided and Wildcard is gone. Riley is a distant memory, his final farewell forewarned Noah of the events to come. Noah winces as he struggles to even limp towards the nearest building, a dark and lonesome church that has barely been damaged by the dramatically devastating explosion. His vision blurs whilst his tinnitus grows exceptionally louder. In the distant fires, he sees his clone faltering away, an unexpected survivor of the unforgiving blast. As he walks with extreme difficulty towards the church, Noah wonders why he continues to search for the truth. He cannot fathom why he wishes to carry on learning how Riley’s conscience was merged with his own. Tiles fall from the front of the church as the structure faced the remnants of the explosion, they clatter onto the ground as Noah stumbles up the steps and through the broken doors into the church. He lurches into the building and passes the pews, leaving a trail of blood in his wake. Tiles fall from the uncomfortably high ceiling, creating an echoing bang as they fall from grace. Noah falls over before the steps that lead up to the lectern, passing out from tremendously unbearable pain. Blood pools around him whilst he lies unconscious.

Weak. What a waste of a life. You are no son of mine.” Sylar mutters in Noah’s mind.

“Have you any idea of the sheer importance of the dangers I faced? Your so called problems are nothing more than the delirious and farfetched thoughts of a whinging child. You serve no purpose, you shouldn’t even exist. Get up. Get up and do the right thing for once. Get up!” Sylar yells in Noah’s mind whilst he tightens his eyelids, desperately trying to fight the pain.

“Get up!” A stranger shouts and shakes Noah’s body, slowly waking him up.

“We don’t have much time, they’ll be here soon. Come with me.” The stranger directs as three armoured agents for the Preservation of Eden rappel from a helicopter and smash through the once beautiful tinted glass, aiming their weapons towards a heavily vulnerable Noah. The stranger draws his firearm, a Strayer Voigt Infinity handgun, and begins shooting towards the Eden Agents, ridding of them one by one as they fall onto the fragments of glass that followed them into the church.

“Are you okay?” The stranger checks Noah for any signs of injury whilst the helicopter pilot retreats from the scene to fight another day.

“It’ll be going for backup soon, more of them will arrive in five, maybe ten minutes. We have to go.” The stranger continues as he finishes examining Noah, noticing his wounds have healed quickly.

“Who are you?” Noah groans, staring at the stranger, and his horn-rimmed glasses.

We share the same name, you and I.” He revealed.

“Noah?!” Dillon and Quinton shout as they run across the breaking wooden floor.

“Yes?” The Noahs answer in unison.

“Noah, are you okay? Mr. Bennet helped bring us here.” Dillon’s voice shakes.

“I’m fine. Apparently I just needed to sleep it off. I’m fine… Riley, he’s gone.” Noah answers.

“What happened? I mean, how can he be gone? He’s part of you.” Quinton inquired.

“After the bomb hit, I saw Riley separate from me. It was all in my head. I was knocked unconscious after it hit us, I was ready to die. But Riley spoke to me and he reminded me why I need to carry on, I have to destroy the Godsend Device. The presence of Hope inside of me was slowly killing Riley. I’d like to think that he could see that I was no longer being manipulated by the Nomad and that he felt like he could let go. But… Wildcard is still alive.” Noah summarised.

“We need to go, Noah. More Eden agents will be after you now, so will the Nomad. I know people who can help you, people who can keep you hidden away.” Noah Bennet instructed.

“You don’t want to be around me. I’m unpredictable. I’m responsible for so much evil that has happened.” Noah stammered.

“You’re not evil, Noah. You saved my life, you saved our lives. You didn’t have to do that, but you chose to. You weren’t in control of your powers. You’re good at heart, Noah. I know you are.” Dillon hastily defends Noah.

“What if Riley was the only thing that made me good? Now that he’s gone, I—” Noah is interrupted.

“This Riley might be gone, but I know that a part of him, whatever shape or form that may be, still remains inside you. I’ve seen it for myself, believe me. Funnily enough, he’s related to you. You are not the first person to have their conscience or memories merged with another.” Noah Bennet explains whilst crouching down in order to help Noah stand up.

“There was a girl, Hope. She was the only person who could’ve stopped the Godsend Device safely, Noah. Her powers were energy absorption and it looked like she also had instantaneous cellular regeneration. Instantaneous, Noah, how could I have been able to consume her?” Noah begs Mr. Bennet for an answer.

“My daughter, Claire, has a similar power to Hope’s latter ability. We found others like her shortly after everybody found out about these powers. Sometimes people just find a way to bypass abilities, no matter what they are.” Noah Bennet reflects on the past.

“Is your daughter okay?” Noah ponders.

“Claire? Oh, she’s fine. We’re going through a rough patch at the moment, but otherwise, she’s fine. I didn’t quite agree with her actions, but it would have happened one way or another eventually, with or without her. I’m just looking forward to going home to see her.” Noah Bennet answers. He helps Noah to stand up and takes a small map that contains photographs outside of his pocket.

“You see this point on the map right here? These pictures too? That’s a safe-house I have not too far from here. The place was used for Primatech housing, the Company I used to work for. I know you need to see a place to be able to teleport to it. Can you take us there?” He encourages Noah.

“I can try.” Noah expresses weakly, as he successfully teleports them above the living room of the abandoned house, causing them to fall down onto the wooden floor.

“You might need to work a bit on the landing next time.” Noah Bennet exclaims, standing up and heading to the window to look outside the curtain. “Looks clear, still. I was here a few hours ago with a friend. They’ve renovated this entire street. This house was always under the Company name though.” He explains and holsters his weapon.

“Thank you.” Noah struggles to speak.

“I know this must be very difficult and very confusing for you, Noah. I wish I could make it easier for you, you’re innocent in all of this. A pawn in a horribly corrupt game of chess.” Noah Bennet sympathises. “There’s a reason why I’m here. Hiro? You can come out now.” He calls out as a figure emerges from upstairs, donning a black outfit with his Kensei sword sheathed and resting on his back. “This is Hiro Nakamura, he likes to call himself the master of time and space. He certainly is. As you can tell from my accent, I’m not from here and neither is he. A friend of ours told us about a man who was going to bring about the end the world. Eventually, word spread of a device that would be the catalyst for that and we couldn’t let that happen. That’s how we found out that you, The Impossible Son, existed. So Hiro to brought us here.” He introduces Hiro to the others.

“Hello, other Noah.” Hiro nods politely and smiles, walking down the steps into the living room in order to join the group. Noah nods back towards Hiro whilst he tries ever so hard to understand just how important his role has become.

“Do you know why I exist? Why I’m here when I was never born?” Noah shakes.

“Do you?” Noah Bennet responds quietly.

“I think so. I didn’t before, it was all such a confusing puzzle, as if all the pieces were purposely shaped incorrectly. I couldn’t piece any of the evidence together.” Noah answers.

“I know a friend of mine saw a future where you existed, you were just a little boy. This future never came to happen, at least not in this universe. This… Nomad… must have spent a long time looking for a parallel universe similar enough in which you were born. It seems he did.” Noah Bennet reflects on the past. “Do you know why you were given Noah as your name?” He asks.

“No. I know that I get my surname from my father, but that’s it.” Noah responds.

“You were named after me. God knows what I did in this alternate universe of yours, but clearly I did something right to help your father. That took a little longer in this universe and of course by then, your mother had already passed away, so you were never born here. I reckon if your mother were still alive, you’d have probably been called Peter in this universe.” Noah Bennet describes.

“Is my father still alive?” Noah inquires.

“Oh, I’m certain he is. The last time I heard from him, he was in hiding on a Greek island. He stayed around for a while after the Sullivan Incident, but he was a highly desired individual. I think he came back to the United States eventually, but I’m not certain. We can always look for him after this is all over, it might be nice for you two to meet, you technically are related after all, even if you weren’t born in this universe.” Noah Bennet responds clearly.

“What now?” Dillon inquires, whilst being comforted by Quinton.

“I don’t know a great deal about the Godsend Device. All I know is that it can give and take powers to and from people. I think it helped The Nomad to understand how to harness abilities through the use of machines, like with Dillon and Quinton here. He made one of me and I think he intended for it to use the Godsend Device, but it went rogue and The Nomad tried to have it killed. I don’t know, it’s all speculation at this point. I’ve not even seen The Nomad since this all started.” Noah responds abruptly.

“We know more about it, Noah.” Hiro steps forward and nods. “The Godsend Device is from a parallel universe, much like yourself. This was one where the Company thrived globally, it was solely responsible for trying to create a man-made stone that could immediately harness any categorised abilities and dispense one or more of them into any person. They could never get it to work. The Makers searched far and wide for somebody who could help them and they came across another version of you, Noah. Your ability is pure omnipotence, power unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. They killed this version of you, harvested everything he had to offer in order to weaponise his abilities in the form of The Godsend Device, they called it The First Machine. However, even after all of this, nobody else could use it other than you. Even Arthur himself couldn’t use it. They lacked the power to bring the other version of you back, so to keep the stone safe, they altered it in such a way that it would only work exclusively with your own biological blueprint. Of course, with this version of you dead, they put the stone away for another time, waiting to find somebody who could bring this other version of you back to life. Needless to say, The Nomad found that universe and took it for himself, then he found you in another universe and took you too. It is most fortunate that you aren’t able to harness your power entirely, because you might lose yourself. Judging by what we’ve seen and heard, your own emotions determine what powers you are able to use, giving yourself some kind of cap on the powers.” He clarifies. “Like Kryptonite, only friendlier.” Hiro smiles.

“Riley’s power varied based on his own mood. When his conscience was placed inside of me, it must have helped me to not lose control over my powers.” Noah surmised whilst remembering what Riley showed him before his conscience disappeared. “The Petrelli Manors in this country are all compromised. The Nomad has a clone of himself in every single one. Not only did The Nomad make me forget what happened before I ended up outside one of the Petrelli Manors, he made me forget what the man who raised me looked like. We need to liberate the other Manors.” He insists.

“There are only two Petrelli Manors left in the country. The others were wiped out by that terrorist group. The first and fifth Manors are intact. Run by Alfred Carver, and Edmund Feltham. I presume these are also clones of The Nomad.” Noah Bennet assumes.

“Most likely. Maybe they can tell us about where The Nomad might be.” Hiro exclaims.

“We’ll do that together. You need to focus on finding the Godsend Device and stopping your clone; Wildcard. He’s probably healed by now and he doesn’t have Riley’s emotional cap to stop him from being reckless with his powers, he could be scanning for you right now.” Dillon explains, as she looks towards Quinton.

“Dillon’s right. You have more important things to do, we can get back to you after we’ve secured the Manors. What should we do with Alfred and Edmund?” Quinton asks.

“No, if he has any powers left, they’re fading fast. That missile had a chemical compound that disables the abilities of a clone. As for The Nomad’s clones in the other manors, restrain them, please don’t hurt them unless you have to. Frank might have been a clone of The Nomad, but his humanity was still intact, unlike what I’ve heard about The Nomad so far.” Noah instructs. “I can’t kill Wildcard easily, powers don’t work on clones. There’s nothing I can do to guarantee stopping it without destroying my surroundings.” He stammers fearfully.

“I have just the thing.” Hiro smiles as he removes his sword and hands it over to Noah.

“I can’t take this from you.” Noah shakes his head in disagreement.

“Yes you can. You must. Just make sure to give it back.” Hiro nods, placing the sword and its strap around Noah’s head, resting it on his back. “Just remember, it is not the sword. It is the man. I believe the sword will channel your focus and hone in on your true nature. If Wildcard is truly weakened, this may be all you need.” He speaks confidently.

“Noah? Do you think you could give us a head start?” Quinton interrupts politely.

“I don’t know where the other Petrelli Manors are.” Noah answers regretfully.

“Nonsense, I am the master of time and space. No offense, other Noah.” Hiro quips.

“None taken, honestly.” Noah shrugs with a slight smile.

“Okay. See you soon, Noah. Take care.” Dillon speaks carefully whilst Hiro places his hands onto Dillon and Quinton’s shoulders and closes his eyes tightly, teleporting away.

“I… I suggest… you and I finish what we started.” Wildcard stumbles into the house invisibly, his footsteps so delicately light that both Noahs cannot detect where he is coming from.

“Is that Wildcard?” Noah Bennet whispers, as he quickly grabs his gun.

“Yes.” Noah answers hastily.

“Now… who… are you?” Wildcard mutters right against Noah Bennet’s ear. He reacts by knocking the butt of his gun against The Clone’s face, causing him to reveal his severely disfigured and wounded state from the explosion. He is excessively dishevelled and decrepit that it is truly a wonder why Wildcard has persisted to continue his fight with Noah Gray. The explosion has very clearly hindered his abilities and dulled his awareness, making him oblivious to his otherwise apparent crippled condition. “That isn’t a polite way to greet me, Bennet. Hmm, I’m sensing somebody very important in your mind, somebody who you truly fight for. I’m getting a name… Clarice? Claire? Wait, Claire’s a bear? No, no. Must be a preposterous nickname of some sort, of course. If I ever see this Claire of yours, trust me when I say I’ll flay her alive. Hmm, her power is rapid cellular regeneration? Well, maybe I’ll just test how rapid that truly is.” He grunts.

“You stay the hell away—” Noah Bennet swears through his teeth.

“Don’t, please don’t aggravate it.” Noah advices. “Why do you want me dead? You’re my clone, why are you evil?” He asked whilst confused.

“I’m so sorry, please forgive me, I didn’t mean to be so, so horrible to you.” Wildcard speaks sombrely and begins to pout.

“We can work this out, together. All of us.” Noah firmly insists.

“How can you ever forgive me? I hurt you so much. I hurt your poor sensitive feelings.” Wildcard begins to burst out laughing, coughing from the pain it causes. “Ouch.” He grunts. “Oh, didn’t I tell you? The Nomad made some alterations through that Machine of his. When he… created me… he removed my ability to feel sympathy or empathy for anybody. To put it in simpler terms, I’m what you might call a psychopath. That’s why… you and I… are not alike, coward.” He huffs aggressively.

“Your problems don’t lie here, they lie with The Nomad. Go and find him instead.” Noah Bennet speaks encouragingly, as Noah slowly reaches for his sword.

“No, you see, I don’t quite like the idea of there being another me out there, it really causes an itch on my brain and you see, I can’t quite scratch that itch away.” Wildcard shrugs mockingly whilst leaping forwards towards Noah, knocking him into the wall and strangling him as he drops Hiro’s sword. The Clone tilts his head sideways, analysing Noah’s very fearful reactions whilst he violently pushes his hand through Noah’s stomach, penetrating the skin as blood begins to spatter onto the floor. With no alternate choice, Noah Bennet suddenly fires his gun into the back of Wildcard’s leg, causing him to drop Noah.

“Ooh, that tickled. Would you like me to tickle you too? No, no. Perhaps I’ll keep you around so I can let you watch your daughter writhe in pain. I find a sense of enjoyment from bringing pain to others, I think you do too.” Wildcard chuckled as he walks towards Noah Bennet. “Life is a wonderful thing, is it not? I do not need to be sane of mind to see the beauty in existence itself, but I feel that you don’t appreciate the gift of life, your pain is unbearable to the point that you may just be very happy to receive the gift of death. That sweet relief from all your suffering will be just a delight to you.” The Clone surmises as he raises his hand towards Noah Bennet. Noah immediately strikes the sword through Wildcard’s back as it bursts out through the front of his chest, eviscerating his heart. The Clone grunts and blinks rapidly with a scowled expression on his face. He slowly walks forwards and tries to escape the sword so that his chest may heal.

“Oh. Oh. But I wanted to go. Let me go home.” Wildcard mumbles illiterately as he falls dead to the floor, his pale body and severe injuries would be enough to make any mortician come to the conclusion that he had been dead for days.

“The problem with bad guys, especially psychopaths, is that they like to talk too much. They probably think they have all the time in the world.” Noah Bennet guesses, as he takes off his blood spattered glasses and kneels down to inspect the Clone.

“Is he dead?” Noah asks quietly whilst trembling in shock.

“Oh, he’s gone. You did it. He doesn’t quite have all of your powers after all.” Noah Bennet nods, followed by him cleaning his glasses and putting them back on.

“It was the missile, the chemicals. But I think you did it too, you stopped him from… well… disembowelling me.” Noah breathes as he shares the violent and perhaps almost unnecessary achievement with Noah Bennet. Hiro reappears in the room, slightly startled by the unexpected mess on the carpet.

OWh. What did I miss?” Hiro remarked.

“A lot. You missed quite a lot, my friend.” Noah Bennet shakes his head.

“I see that I gave you my sword at an opportune time.” Hiro smiled. “Oh, but it is bloody.” His smile turned to a sad frown.

“I’ll clean it, I promise.” Noah stammered apologetically.

“We’ll have to get another one made just for you, Noah.” Noah Bennet exclaimed.

“Did we have to do that? Tell me we had to.” Noah begins to allow guilt to rise to the surface whilst he contemplates as to whether they could have restrained Wildcard instead.

“I’d only seen him for five minutes, and in those five minutes alone, he was one of the most messed up people I’ve known. He seemed too dangerous to keep alive.

“I was nearly like him before. Would you have done that to me too?” Noah ponders.

Never. You aren’t a psychopath like he was, he was created that way. You learned from your mistakes, you were raised in a way that no child should ever be raised. You’ve learned so much in such a short amount of time about life on the outside. I’m proud of you.” Noah Bennet smiles, firmly placing his hand on Noah’s shoulder and reassuring him once more.

“Thank you, Mr. Bennet… Thank you, so much.” Noah expresses his gratitude.

“Please, I know it’s confusing, but you may call me Noah.” Noah Bennet insists.

“Let’s not confuse people further.” Noah smirks subtly. “Are Dillon and Quinton okay?” he asks quietly whilst Hiro still appears to be distracted by the body on the floor. Noah Bennet stands in front of Hiro, obscuring Wildcard’s body. “Hiro?” He called out.

“Yes. Mr. Dillon and Miss. Quinton are just fine. They are at the first Petrelli Manor now.” Hiro explained.

“Dillon’s the girl, Quinton’s the guy, just saying.” Noah reminded Hiro.

“Hmm. I was calling the big one Dillon and the little one Quinton. No matter.” Hiro shrugs. “The first manor was rioting by the time I took them there. Looks like they had already found out that Alfred was a mole placed by the company’s Big Boss. Dillon and Quinton should help restore order.” He explains calmly.

“That’s okay, I’m just glad they’re alright. Can I ask you for a favour?” Noah pleads as his trembling subsides.

“Of course, other Noah. What is it?” Hiro responds.

“Can you… take me back in time… so I can save a friend of mine who died?” Noah begs.

“I’m sorry, I can’t do that, Noah. Every single action has a consequence of its own. Every consequence led to this moment, to us three standing right here. These consequences may have been important. Not to be mean, but maybe it was of cardinal importance that this tragedy happened.” Hiro explains.

“Then… I… I’d like you to show us the future. Before, I was told that it was a barren wasteland after all the Preservation of Eden bombs fell all around the world due to the Clone, but only one bomb fell, and now the Clone is dead. I’d like to see what the future has in store for us.” Noah stammers.

“That, I can do.” Hiro smiles.

“It’s possible the future can give us some insight as to whether or not we are making the right choices, every single action of ours opens up a new road. It’s nearly impossible to ever drive down the perfect road, but we sure can avoid the worst one.” Noah Bennet speaks and nods as he offers his thoughtful insight. Hiro places his hands over Noah and Noah Bennet’s shoulders and closes his eyes tensely and teleports into the future. The land is barren still, the surface is covered in cracks as the sky is lit up with yellow clouds that flash with the most volatile and aggressive lightning. Noah Bennet and Hiro immediately fall to their knees whilst the unforgiving planet makes it a struggle for them to survive.

“Whoa, whoa!” Noah shouts and places his hands onto Hiro and Noah Bennet, focusing strongly on keeping them alive, allowing them to survive these newfound conditions.

“Thank you. How do you do that?” Noah Bennet asks curiously.

I don’t know. If I want something enough, somehow I’m able to do it. Sometimes it doesn’t work. It was only recently that I managed to have control over my powers again, but like you said, I have that cap so I don’t overload myself like I nearly did before.” Noah explains. “The future hasn’t changed. It’s still a deserted wasteland. But we stopped the bombs. Only one fell.” He mutters.

“Looks like somebody had another idea.” Noah Bennet answers.

“How many years into the future are we?” Noah asks.

“Only two and a half.” Hiro responds. “Is there anyone left?” He remarks.

“I have a strange feeling, it’s like I can sense somebody. But I don’t know where they are.” Noah comments on the bizarre sensation that he is feeling, as he struggles to pinpoint a place in his mind where this person may be.

“We can try to use our powers together in a joint effort? With me, you don’t need to see a place to get to it.” Hiro suggests, his hands still resting on their shoulders.

Do it.” Noah closes his eyes as he concentrates with such motivation to focus on the person he can sense. They teleport into a deserted area in a derelict Japan during the dead of night, the buildings in the distance decrepit and the environment relentless.

To… Tokyo?” Hiro stammers.

“Look. There’s a large cabin over there.” Noah Bennet states whilst pointing out a circular area that seems to be self-sustaining with grass, plants, trees, and power generated by wind. A figure walks out of the cabin, as if expecting their imminent arrival.

“Just on time. Not a moment too soon. We don’t have long.” The wounded figure in tattered rags rasps as a piece of equipment to aid breathing rests on his face.

“You were expecting us?” Noah answers, approaching the cabin and still placing his hands onto Hiro and Noah Bennet to support them against the hazardous surroundings.

“This here is your future, our future. I’m you, Noah.” Future Noah answers.

“What happened?” Noah Bennet asks impatiently.

“It’s good to see you, Noah. It’s been a long time. Or at least it feels like it has. I can’t answer your question fully, time is moving in circles and you need to be the one to break this constant cycle. I will tell you this, we always end up in this future, one where humans have driven themselves to extinction. I am one of the last ones, after all. It was easy for you to sense me Noah, for that very reason. There were a few others like us who survived, but most of them perished soon after. You can let go of Hiro and Noah, this area is stable.” Future Noah answers whilst he looks towards his cabin. Noah apprehensively lets go of Hiro and Noah Bennet, who begin to breathe just fine.

“I’m not alone, there’ll be a couple of people you’ll want to see. I’ll at least give you this chance even though they won’t remember this when you save our future.” He explains, as somebody else steps out from the Cabin.

“Riley?” Noah stammers.

“Hi, Noah.” Future Riley smiles.

“How? How are you alive? You’re not a clone, are you?” Noah struggles to ask.

“No. I’m not a clone. You saved me eventually. It took a long time for me to learn how to live again, to heal, since most of my conscience had already merged with yours. The human body is only strong enough to hold one conscience permanently. Luckily with you being as powerful as you are, I was able to hold on just long enough to be saved.” Future Riley answers as another person leaves the Cabin also.

“Hope… I’m so glad you’re out.” Noah smiles emotionally. Riley comes towards Noah and cuddles him. Hope follows Riley and cuddles Noah straight afterwards.

I’m so sorry.” He struggles to speak.

“It’s okay, Noah. I forgave you a long time ago. You weren’t in control of yourself. I know you now, and I know that you’re good. The Noah I know today? He’s morally correct, forgiving, understanding and the most perfect person I’ve ever known. He’s saved so many people, until it happened.” Hope explained, as a third figure emerges from the cabin.

Hello. You don’t know me yet, but hopefully you will no matter what happens in your future. My name is Jared Quincy. I joined you a bit further down the line, after it all happened.” Jared introduces himself.

“Jared Quincy? Aren’t you Hisoka’s son?” Noah murmurs under his breath.

“I am.” Jared answers.

“I’m so sorry about your father, I knew him for such a short time but he provided me with the insight I needed.” Noah groans apologetically.

“My father’s alive, I can feel it. Somehow.” Jared answers confidently.

“Jared has been a big help, he’s kept Noah alive for longer than he should’ve been.” Riley explains.

“For longer than he should’ve been? What exactly happened?” Noah asks.

I’m dying. I’m using every bit of my power to try and heal the world, but I’ve only been able to support this part of the city. The reason Mr. Bennet, Hiro, Hope and Riley are able to breathe right now is because I’m constantly shielding this area. Cleansing it. I was slowly expanding the radius because I thought I could eventually cover the entire world, but as of the last two weeks that radius has been diminishing. I don’t sleep, the others hardly do either. We know this is the end for us, we just knew we were waiting for you. Just over two years ago, the same thing happened to me, but I failed. This is our final quest.” Future Noah reveals.

“Why are you in Tokyo?” Hiro ponders.

“We came here to find the JJ Twins, we wanted their help. They must have been long gone because we never found them. There are bunkers nearby that contain signs that they were there, but all that remains are glimpses of their former presence.” Future Noah answers.

“Am I still alive?” Hiro asks, looking into the doorway of the cabin.

“The last time I saw you, you were. We tied ourselves here because it was too dangerous to find anybody else. All I know is that after it happened, you went back to America with Noah Bennet. I’d like to think that you’re both in a bunker somewhere with your families and friends and that you knew I could handle myself. There’s nothing to suggest that it would be any other way.” Future Noah hopes. “Like I said, we don’t have much time. Noah. Something will happen, and you need to do it differently than I did. I’ll tell you what I did. I didn’t use the Godsend Device, I refused to touch it, at first. The Nomad killed everybody, Dillon and Quinton too. He then told me the Godsend Device was the only way to save Riley because there was still a little bit of him left. I reluctantly agreed because I selfishly wanted Riley back. Things went bad for a little while, but then he went crazy and tried to find a way to go back in time and change things, of course, he’d killed all the time travellers he could find so that they wouldn’t interfere with his plan. Hiro, however, was safe in hiding last time I checked in with him. What I’m trying to tell you is that you need to think of another way, find a way to get rid of both The Nomad, the Godsend Device, and to save Riley too. You just need to—” Future Noah is interrupted as everything instantly turns black and falls silent. Noah, Hiro and Noah Bennet start floating, unable to speak to or hear each other. Their bodies begin freezing from the sheer cold emptiness. The area is dimly lit and Hiro manages to grab onto both Noahs and teleport back into the safe house. They cough violently and take in a deep breath, slowly recovering from the events that just occurred two years into the future.

“What happened?!” Noah Bennet shouts despondently.

“The future… It changed.” Hiro murmurs whilst catching his breath.

“What he told you would have changed the course of your actions, changing the future. But it was even worse than before, there was nothing.” Noah Bennet reacts in shock.

“We were in space, in the exact same place we were standing just moments before. The Earth just disappeared. It was gone. There were no nearby stars, everything around us was nothingness.” Hiro speaks expressionlessly.

“What could possibly have changed to result in Earth ceasing to exist?” Noah Bennet speaks woefully.

“I don’t know, but that’s what he was trying to warn me about. That I’d need to do something differently. The future is constantly ever-changing, I can still prevent that from ever happening.” Noah insists.

“Perhaps we can.” Noah Bennet exclaims.

“What can you tell me? What don’t I know? The only thing I know of him is this mirage he presented when he raised Riley and I. Nothing more. It could be useful to know everything there is about him. How did you two find out about The Nomad?” Noah asks diligently.

“Perhaps we could tell you an abridged version of our side of the story. From the first time we realised The Nomad was going to be a force to be reckoned with, up until I found you.” Noah Bennet offers.

“Please, go ahead.” Noah answers as they sit down on the sofas in the living room, whilst Hiro stands against the living room window and stares outside towards the sky, observing our celestial neighbours.

CHAPTER EIGHT: JUST LIKE OLD TIMES

“I’d had a few calls from Angela Petrelli, she can dream of the future. She kept telling me about a threat called The Nomad, that he would bring about a world in which we have no control of ourselves. I dismissed it as nothing more than an onset of severe paranoia after the Sullivan Incident. She was having dreams left, right, and centre. I didn’t take this one seriously at first. I was dealing with the fallout from the Sullivan Incident and I had to focus on that. It wasn’t until she told me that it didn’t matter what this Nomad would do, he’d bring about the end of the world anyway. that’s when I knew I had to listen.” Noah Bennet recalls his conversation with Angela Petrelli.

“Angela.” Noah Bennet calls out.

“Noah, thank you for coming.” Angela expresses her appreciation.

“I’m sorry I didn’t come before.” Noah Bennet apologises.

“You had your own issues to deal with, Noah. You had to sort Claire out, you have a lot of your own problems, I understand.” Angela explains.

“Why do you want my help? I thought I’d be the last person you’d want any help from.” Noah Bennet stammers in confusion.

“Somebody has broken the rules, Noah. Somebody broke the rules, there exists a boy in this world who was never born. A boy of such great power, but also of such great goodness.” Angela mutters.

“A boy who was never born? What do you mean?” Noah Bennet asks for clarification.

“It wasn’t until my last dream that I could truly confirm it. Parallel universes exist, Noah. There is a man who can jump into other universes where things are very similar, or very different. I don’t know this man’s name, but I know him only as The Nomad. He called himself this to remind himself of his constant travels to and from other universes.” Angela explains calmly.

“I suppose after everything we’ve seen, the idea of parallel universes shouldn’t be too hard to believe. Who is this boy?” Noah Bennet responds, accepting the existence of parallel universes immediately.

“He shares your name, Noah. He is Sylar’s son, but not our Sylar, one from another universe. The Nomad went into a parallel universe and took him from his parents and probably killed them. He’s called Noah Gray. I believe Elle Bishop is the mother. There’s a reason for all of this, The Nomad is planning something big and all I know is that it ends with the extinction of the human race.” Angela reveals. Noah rests his hand on his face, desperately trying to make sense of the situation.

“Why this boy? Why does The Nomad need him?” Noah Bennet questions Angela.

“My dreams were blurrier and hazier than ever when it concerned events on the other side, but after a few of them, I was able to piece the puzzle together. The Company thrived on the other side. Arthur and Maury, well, their alternate selves created something called The First Machine, The Nomad calls it The Godsend Device. An object so powerful it can grant anybody the abilities they desire. Everybody who tried to use it perished on the spot. You see, they killed and turned another version of Noah Gray into a weapon by harnessing his powers into this artificial stone. When they realised it couldn’t work without Noah, they reprogrammed the device to only work with his genetic fingerprint so nobody else would die from touching it. All I know is that The Nomad has the Godsend Device and another version of Noah Gray too. I need you to save him. He was raised in isolation, he’s never known the world like you and I do, he was a prisoner, a child forced to grow up thinking the outside world was a dangerous hive of villains and killers. He’s going to kill a lot of people, because of The Nomad. He was a scared little boy who is going to slowly learn that his step-father was a liar. You can change that, you can help him.” Angela encourages Noah Bennet.

“Don’t you want somebody like Peter to help? Why me?” Noah Bennet wonders.

“It has to be you, Noah. You have to be the one to encourage the boy, to make him see things for what they truly are, to give him hope that the majority of people in the world are truly good, because right now he thinks that everybody else is bad. I’ve asked for somebody else to help you too.” Angela explains, as she calls out to Hiro.

“Noah.” Hiro smiles, reaching out to shake Noah Bennet’s hand.

“Hiro, it’s so good to see you.” Noah Bennet exclaims whilst shaking Hiro’s hand.

“I didn’t just want Hiro to help get you there, I also need him to help Noah too. I saw you both help him in my dreams, so it has to be you two.” Angela explains further.

“Can we go back and prevent The Nomad from ever taking Noah in the first place?” Noah Bennet suggests.

“Absolutely not, Noah. The Nomad has screwed with time and space more than anybody I’ve ever known, I don’t know what the consequences are to altering such a pivotal event any further. The Nomad is far too powerful for any of us to stop, he can control minds and reflect any damage inflicted upon him. I believe he can also rapidly predict all possible consequences of his actions in order to decide the best possible approach. If he weren’t so powerful, you could shoot him in the head, but he’d see it coming from a mile away and he’d make you shoot yourself first. Your job is to save Noah Gray and to destroy The Godsend Device, then we’ll work out how to secure The Nomad.” Angela answers abruptly.

“So, this man ends the world?” Noah Bennet asks quietly.

Not to begin with. I saw him making Noah use the Godsend Device so that The Nomad could enhance his powers to have such an enormous reach that it would affect the entire world. Through Noah, he granted himself a power that allowed him to alter the very genetic structure of human beings so that they would become peaceful entities. No more wars, no more fighting.” Angela answers.

“That doesn’t sound so bad.” Hiro remarks.

“Oh it gets worse, Hiro. He forces his pre-conceived idea of utopia upon the world, ridding us all of our own free will. He begins to control the world, and every single individual within it. As far as I could tell, it went well for just over a couple of years, then he became so disgusted with humanity that he…” Angela gasps worriedly.

“Angela?” Noah Bennet comforts her by placing his hand gently onto her shoulder.

“This is the worst thing I’ve ever seen, Noah.” Angela shudders.

“What did the man do?” Hiro asks calmly.

“He forced everybody to kill themselves at the same time. Billions of us dead in less than two minutes. Within five minutes, he was one of very few left.” Angela hesitantly answered.

“Then we need to stop him.” Noah Bennet nods, firmly grasping Angela’s shoulder to reassure her.

“You save Noah Gray, you save humanity. Find a way to get to him safely, and get The Godsend Device together.” Angela instructs.

“I’ll keep you updated, Angela. Where do we start?” Noah Bennet wonders.

“The Nomad lives in a bunker in England, not far from a place called Glasshearst, chances are Noah isn’t that far away. Take care, both of you. And Noah? Thank you.” Angela concludes, as Hiro places his hand onto Noah Bennet and teleports them away. Angela nervously sits down on a bench and tries to stop her hands from shaking. Hiro teleports them both into The Nomad’s bunker, where The Nomad is sitting impatiently on a chair with his hands on his legs. This ominous and cunning figure has a svelte appearance with neck-length hair as he dons a dark suit.

“I take it you were expecting us.” Noah Bennet mutters wittily.

“Hmm, two and a half minutes late. You see, despite all the planning I’ve done, I’ve discovered that the only method to resolve things with you two is through the simple usage of words. I kill either of you, and there’s no way I can stop the hellfire that will rain down upon me.” The Nomad murmurs whilst tapping his fingers on his legs.

“I don’t think you can talk your way out of this.” Noah Bennet stares quizzically.

“Out of what? I haven’t quite done anything yet, Mr. Bennet.” The Nomad smirks. “You see, my plans all surround a peaceful conclusion, one where humanity can leave together in peace.” He explains almost dolefully.

“You’re wrong. If you’re allowed to do what you plan to do, no matter what happens, the outcome is always the same.” Noah Bennet clarified.

“Care to explain what that outcome may be, Mr. Bennet?” The Nomad rolls his eyes.

“Extinction. Humanity’s extinction.” Noah Bennet proclaims.

“Impossible. In all my calculations, the extinction of mankind is not an outcome that can ever happen.” The Nomad demurred.

“Well then your calculations are incorrect.” Hiro countered.

“Mr. Nakamura. What a delight. The last time traveller, as far as I know, anyway.” The Nomad shrugs with a smirk. “Thank you for delivering yourself to me. You won’t be leaving this country alive, all time travellers are… complicated, as far as my plan is concerned.” He stares impassively, his eyelids pendulous.

“I cannot say the same, Mr. Nomad. It is not a delight to see you, I don’t take kindly to idle threats.” Hiro glares, pursing his lips moodily.

“Idle?” The Nomad chuckles. “I went through a very big day yesterday, you two. I’d rather avoid any more drama. Tonight before the break of dawn, my plan will come into effect. Any longer, and I won’t be able to save my son. I’m the only one who can.” He quarrels.

“Noah Gray is not your son. You stole him.” Noah Bennet blurts.

Not that one. Riley, my son. His conscience is trapped inside Noah, for good reason too. I’ve been over the whole ‘you stole Noah’ accusation before, the childhood he’s had with me is far better than the one he was destined to have where he came from.” The Nomad mumbles.

“How can his childhood have possibly been better than the one he was meant to have? You raised him in an almost prophetic way, carving false instincts into his mind, allowing him to almost grow into a psychopath. I’ve seen that before, and I’d rather not see that in him.” Noah Bennet exclaims.

“You talk like you know him, Mr. Bennet.” The Nomad clamours.

“I know him enough. Enough to know that he’s good, we both do.” Noah Bennet whispers.

“Only because my son is trapped inside of him. If it weren’t for him, Noah would be as evil as he was destined to be.” The Nomad growls.

“Somehow I suspect that’s not the case, otherwise we would’ve known about him by now, you see?” Noah Bennet denies The Nomad’s claims. “Why is your son trapped inside of Noah anyway?” He asks impatiently.

“That is a story for another time.” The Nomad mutters.

“Sylar went through a similar thing.” Noah Bennet reveals.

“He did? How ironic. At least they’ll have something in common should they ever meet.” The Nomad chuckles dryly.

“You cannot stop us.” Hiro murmurs.

“I only want to make the future a better place. I want to prevent world wars, genocides, evil done by humans to humans. But right now, there is one problem I must take care of.” The Nomad walks to his right, and fiddles with some buttons on a control panel.

“What are you doing?!” Noah Bennet shouts alarmingly.

“Nothing that concerns you.” The Nomad sighs in an annoyed tone as he lifts the cover of a switch and presses it.

“This is it, this is how it begins.” Hiro mutters.

“You’ve launched a nuclear bomb?” Noah Bennet gasped, furrowing his brows worryingly.

Nuclear? No.” The Nomad laughs manically. “I haven’t launched anything yet, and you’re not going to stop it either.” He murmurs darkly. Noah Bennet races towards the control panel, but The Nomad picks up his chair and begins smashing the control panel with it, rendering it useless.

“What have you done?!” Noah Bennet shouts and abruptly aims his gun at The Nomad.

“Are you aware of my powers, Mr. Bennet? You shoot me, and you may as well have shot yourself.” The Nomad’s corrupted eyes glanced askance at Noah Bennet. “Doesn’t matter if you catch me off-guard either, thankfully my ability works even when I’m sleeping.” The Nomad smirks.

“Where is he?” Noah Bennet insists on an answer and holsters his gun.

“Right now? At this moment in time, Noah is talking to… Wait a minute…” The Nomad stands up abruptly and turns away from Noah Bennet and Hiro. “Hisoka…” He mutters to himself.

“What’s going on?” Hiro whispers to Noah Bennet.

“Nothing good.” Noah Bennet answers.

Hisoka… You’ve eluded me for long enough.” The Nomad speaks into Hisoka’s mind.

“Your powers won’t reach me here, Nomad.” Hisoka mumbles in pain.

“Haven’t you forgotten that chip I implanted into all of my employees so that my abilities will reach them?” The Nomad smirks.

“You told me that I didn’t have one. You lied.” Hisoka grunted.

“Are you really surprised, dearie?” The Nomad speaks through his teeth, smiling.

“No, no. This can’t be happening. Get back! Don’t do this!” Hisoka shouts out to Noah Gray, warning him. The Nomad closes his eyes tightly and concentrates on exiling Hisoka into a parallel universe.

“Now, where were we?” The Nomad sighs “Oh yes. Noah is in a hospital right now saying goodbye to an ill-fated friend who he severely wounded. Right now I suspect he’s on his way back to Dillon and Quinton, two of his other friends. Well, they’re all Riley’s friends really. He was in control of Noah’s body for the most part until his conscience began to merge with Noah’s, faster than I imagined it would, faster than it ever should, really.” He explains as he is suddenly alarmed by a barely functioning monitor on his control panel. “Well, this makes for an interesting twist. I did not see this coming. Looks like we’ll have to cut our meeting short, gentlemen.” He scowls.

“What is it?” Hiro questions.

“You see, I make machines. Machines that work with people with powers in order to fulfil my own gains. One of these machines allowed me to clone people. I cloned Noah as a contingency, but his clone has gone rogue.” The Nomad reveals willingly.

“You’re tampering with things you shouldn’t be messing with, are you trying to play God?” Noah Bennet complains.

“Close, but not far off. Don’t be a basket-case.” The Nomad sighs tiredly. “It seems that our interests have aligned temporarily, gentlemen. Looks like you have two choices. You can capture me, or participate in your favourite hobby of trying to save the world. I’ll tell you where Noah Gray is.” He offers.

“We can do both.” Noah Bennet argues.

“No, you can’t. I won’t let you. You see, you go and I’ll let Hiro live… for now. Don’t rest anytime soon, I will kill you, Hiro.” The Nomad shrugs. “Noah is at the Preservation of Eden located thirteen miles north of Glasshearst. That’s where you’ll find him. Trust me when I say that no matter what you do, nothing can stop this avalanche now.” He smiles.

“You’re not killing anybody.” Noah Bennet scowls and places his hand on Hiro’s shoulder, walking them to the end of the room away from The Nomad.

“Hiro, there’s some old Primatech housing nearby, I think it’s abandoned now. They had some in most major countries but it’s somewhere we can safely hide. It’s a long way away from here.” Noah Bennet explains.

“We can go there, Noah. What about the other Noah?” Hiro asks.

“I want you to take us to a house in that area and then teleport me to find Noah on my own.” Noah Bennet answers.

“No, I will not leave you. Angela said we do this together.” Hiro argues.

“Hiro, please. I need you to stay at the house in case anything compromises our safe-house. Should that happen, you can come to me and we’ll find somewhere else to go. I can’t risk you dying. Visions or not, I won’t go against my instincts, ever.” Noah Bennet explains. He stares towards The Nomad, who tilts his head menacingly under a dimly lit light.

“Okay. I understand.” Hiro slowly agrees as he places his hand on Noah Bennet’s shoulder and teleports them into the street of the housing area. “Have you ever been here before?” He asks as a streetlight flickers over them, the dying lights fail to pollute the night sky, revealing a dark wonder of stars above.

“No, I knew people who did though. The person I remember the most was a man named Simon, he used to do the nastiest stuff to people. Thank God Primatech fired him. I wonder where he is today.” Noah Bennet ponders. “That house there, let’s go.” He directs Hiro as they quickly walk into a derelict, but structurally intact house.

“I don’t think we can do this alone, Noah.” Hiro raises his concerns.

“I trust Angela wouldn’t send us to our deaths, Hiro. She had her reasons for sending us alone. Soon enough, we won’t be alone. We’ll have Noah Gray on our side.” Noah Bennet responds calmly as he looks outside the window of the house they have taken solace in.

“Doesn’t it bother you that he is here, in our world? In a place where he shouldn’t be?” Hiro remarks.

“Of course it does. He has a biological father here and his mother is long dead, neither of which conceived him. Angela did say The Nomad probably killed his parents on the other side, but we don’t know that for sure. Either way, they’ve been deprived of their son’s childhood.” Noah Bennet explains.

“Should we contact him?” Hiro murmurs.

“Sylar? Not yet. How do you think you’d feel if you suddenly found out you had a son that you knew couldn’t exist, yet did?” Noah Bennet crosses his arms.

“I’d feel confused.” Hiro answers as he waves his hands dismissively.

“No, we’ll wait this out. Once it’s all over, then it’ll be up to Noah if he wants to see Sylar.” Noah Bennet decides. “Can you teleport me to the Preservation of Eden headquarters that The Nomad mentioned?” He requests.

“Doesn’t it seem too easy? Surely he’s leading you into a trap? Noah, he said his plan would come into effect no matter what.” Hiro argued.

“All the bad guys think their plans will succeed, why should he be any different? No. I saw him when he looked at that monitor. Noah’s there.” Noah Bennet answers as he checks his gun and holsters it. Hiro walks up to Noah worriedly and places his hand firmly onto his shoulder.

“Take care of yourself, Noah Bennet.” Hiro nods and teleports Noah Bennet outside the Preservation of Eden as alarms blare loudly. He runs around the Preservation of Eden trying to find an entry into the missile silos and walks through an emergency exit door in order to enter the area. As he runs down the corridor, he bumps into two figures.

Don’t!” He yells, aiming his gun towards Dillon and Quinton as they raise their hands.

“Please don’t. Wait, you’re not from the Preservation of Eden, are you?” Quinton notices.

“No. I’m not. Where is Noah Gray?” Noah Bennet questions quickly.

“He’s… He’s inside!” Dillon shouts.

“I’m here to help. Dillon and Quinton, right?” Noah Bennet recognises the figures.

“Yes. Do you know Noah?” Quinton stammers.

“In another life, I suppose I do.” Noah Bennet nods as Dillon and Quinton lead Noah Bennet back towards the silo control panel. Loud crashing occurs as they run as fast as they can into the compound.

“Where is he?” Noah Bennet exclaims breathlessly.

“We missed him.” Dillon mumbles worriedly, observing the thick broken concrete shards on the ground. “Look, blood.” She notices.

“Noah’s blood?” Noah Bennet wonders.

“Either his, or Wildcard’s.” Dillon answers hastily.

“Wildcard?” Noah shakes his head in confusion.

“Noah’s clone. They called him Wildcard.” Quinton answers.

“How quaint.” Noah Bennet responds whilst he looks towards the opening of the silo. Alarms continue to blare as numbers begin counting down on a monitor.

“You can’t stop it?” Noah Bennet shouted over the alarms.

“I tried, I managed to stop every single one around the world because they were all activated here, but there’s one that I can’t stop because it was triggered elsewhere, if I can find out where it was activated, I can stop it.” Dillon answers.

“You can’t, it was a person called The Nomad, he activated it and destroyed the panels.” Noah Bennet explains.

“The Nomad?” Dillon walks in front of Noah Bennet and stares at him.

“Yeah. You know him?” Noah Bennet asks loudly.

“We know him, but we don’t know you.” Quinton stands parallel to Dillon. “What’s your name?” He demands.

“I’m Noah Bennet. I’m here to help stop The Nomad.” Noah Bennet answers.

“Noah? Same name as the other Noah?” Dillon raises her eyebrow.

“He was named after me, in another universe.” Noah Bennet explains.

“In another universe? Wait—” Quinton mutters.

“I don’t have time to explain all of this, look.” Noah Bennet stutters at he points to the monitor. Steam begins rising around the missile from the darkest depths of the silo, as the monitor begins counting down from thirty seconds. “We need to get out of here.” He states and impatiently grabs Dillon and Quinton, leading them hurriedly back outside as they retreat to a safe distance. As thirty seconds come to pass, Noah Bennet, Quinton and Dillon are running as far as they can go whilst the missile launches from the silo. Noah Bennet turns around and the three stare at the missile in shock as it launches into the dead of night.

“What can we do?” Dillon’s lips quiver.

“Wait.” Noah Bennet answers.

“You’re not here to help Riley?” Quinton wonders.

“I’ll do what I can to help everyone. Riley isn’t bad, is he?” Noah Bennet questions.

“God, no. Riley is what made Noah realise he was good. I’m still getting used to believing that Noah is good after what happened, but it wasn’t his fault.” Quinton answers.

“Then I will do what I can to help them both.” Noah Bennet promises as he places his hand on Quinton’s shoulder and looks upward into his eyes. “I’ve been thrown into the deep end here. I only learnt about Noah Gray less than three hours ago. All I know is that The Nomad is going to destroy mankind. I’m here to help Noah to stop him.” He explains.

“We’re here to help too.” Dillon nods and holds onto Quinton’s hand. “You said something about another universe?” She asks.

“The Nomad has a power to jump into other universes, he stole the Godsend Device from one and Noah from another.” Noah Bennet answers. Dillon and Quinton gasp quietly.

“We know that there are other universes, but not that Noah was from one… The Nomad… he must have worked out how to give himself powers.” Dillon murmurs.

“What makes you say that?” Noah Bennet wonders.

“Quinton and I, we tracked The Nomad for a long time and made sure what his powers were. Plane jumping or universe jumping, however you want to call it, wasn’t one of them. We were captured by him a while after that, and placed into one of his inventions in order to clone people. We created Wildcard.” Dillon answers.

“The Nomad created Wildcard, not you. He told me about the machine you were in, I’m sorry that you had to be subjected to his experiments. Maybe you just never knew that was one of his powers?” Noah Bennet answers and apologises as he keeps track of the missile’s position in the sky.

“No, he definitely wasn’t able to do that, judging from the records we found, he had a person called Michael do it for him. He disappeared a long time ago. Did that happen in 1995?” Dillon asks Quinton.

“1994, I think.” Quinton asks.

The same year Noah was taken. You’d think if someone was taken from a parallel universe, somebody else would try to get them back, right? But what if they couldn’t?” Noah Bennet theorises.

“What do you mean?” Dillon stutters.

“What were your powers? Together they had to be able to create clones, correct?” Noah Bennet speaks quickly as the missile begins to reach its peak.

“Yes, I have the ability to give and take life, Dillon has the ability to self-replicate. The Machine harnessed our ability.” Quinton answered.

“You say Michael disappeared, but I know for a fact that The Nomad has been jumping in and out of universes. What if he found out how to get that power, but he used Michael in another machine in order to prevent anybody from a parallel universe from crossing over?” Noah Bennet concludes his theory.

“That’s kind of far-fetched, Mr. Bennet. How do you know The Nomad can jump into other universes?” Dillon asks politely.

“A friend of mine, Angela Petrelli. She dreams of the future. Over the course of a few years she’s been having fuzzy dreams that she couldn’t interpret. Very recently, she was able to understand what these dreams meant and she saw The Nomad in another universe. She saw Noah Gray, she saw the Godsend Device and she saw the end of humanity. Angela warned me of this so that I can make sure these calamitous events don’t happen.” Noah Bennet answers.

“Then Michael might be in a machine, but his ability is to jump into other universes. That alone isn’t enough to prevent others from crossing over, you’d need somebody with a serious amount of strength to block that kind of power.” Quinton explains.

“That’s a problem for another time.” Noah Bennet surmises as he sees the missile curve in the night sky as it sets its sights on a target nearby. They run around the compound and enter a gigantic open field in order to continue following the missile trails as it flies ever so fast in the blackness above them. The missile penetrates clouds as it locks onto its foreordained target. Suddenly, the missile departs from the calm sky and strikes a field nearby. Seconds later, a gigantic boom is heard by Noah Bennet, Dillon and Quinton whilst they stare at the devastated field in the distance.

“Noah!” Dillon shouts whilst she runs into the distance, followed by Noah Bennet and Quinton.

“Noah!” Quinton calls out also, running towards the faraway field. After five minutes of running, they reach the annihilated field and search for Noah Gray. Noah Bennet looks around yearningly in shock as he tries to find The Impossible Son. He discovers tracks leading to a nearby church and sees a figure stumbling through the front doors.

“This way!” Noah Bennet shouts and sprints towards the church, followed by Dillon and Quinton. As they reach closer to the Church, Noah Bennet runs inside. On her way up the stairs, Dillon becomes distracted by a silhouette on a hill, refracted by the heat wave from the remnants of the explosion.

“Is that…?” Dillon gasps.

Wildcard.” Quinton shakes his head. Wildcard stumbles away, refusing to cause a confrontation in his currently wounded state. Dillon grabs Quinton’s hand and they run inside of the church.

That’s how we found you, Noah. It’s been a long evening for us. I have to say, it’s very strange for us to hear Sylar’s son with a British accent.” Noah Bennet concludes.

CHAPTER NINE: A PALADIN’S ABSOLUTION

As Noah Bennet summarises his journey from America to England, time seemingly and suddenly slows down to a halt, as Noah falls unconscious. A figure emerges in his mind.

“Hello, Noah. My ears were burning.” A figure mutters slowly. “It’s about time you and I spoke about… matters of life and death.” He continues to mumble.

“Who are you?” Noah grunted, struggling to see the face of the mysterious stranger.

“What, you don’t recognise your own father?” He states rapidly. “Sorry, not your real father, I didn’t mean to get your hopes up.” The Nomad reveals himself as he emerges from the shadows. Noah instantly reacts by attempting to attack him. “I’m afraid that I must disappoint you by revealing that I’m not really here, I am merely inside your mind.” He clarifies.

“How are you doing this? We destroyed the chip. Do you have the power to stop time too?” Noah shudders.

“Perhaps I’m nearer than you think. And not at all, I certainly wish I had that abilitiy. Our conversation will be over before it even begins. It is amusing how the mind can be manipulated in such a way that our lovely chat can feel like an eternity to finish, when really it’ll take but a millisecond.” The Nomad explains.

“What do you want?” Noah exclaims angrily whilst The Nomad changes the scenery in Noah’s mind, revealing the bunker in which Noah grew up in.

“I wanted you to know that you’re ready. You seem to have taken your eye off the ball as far as the Godsend Device is concerned, I’m here to correct your course and lead you to the right place. Thank you, however, for taking care of Wildcard. He’s the first clone to rebel against the programming of the Machine. You truly are a remarkable one.” The Nomad chuckles dryly. “I must admit, I wondered if you would recognise Frank. I will declare that it was truly painful for me to wipe your memory, given that I’d raised you myself.” He utters.

“You didn’t raise me. You imprisoned me and turned me into a murderer. The only thing that helped me see the error of my ways was Riley’s presence. How such a kind and caring person could have come from you, I’ll never understand.” Noah huffs aggressively.

“That’s a fair comment, but it won’t be forever. Your adolescent years were filled with extremely vital training. After our plan has come into effect, you will be free to do whatever you like.” The Nomad responds carefully.

No. Everything I did was a consequence of the choices you made. My very existence here is a consequence of the choices you made. My life, this entire path was set out for me before I could even walk.” Noah mutters whilst The Nomad changes the scenery again, taking them to the field where he was hit by the missile.

“Oh, do be quiet. If I left you in that other universe, you’d have died by the time you were nine. I checked your future out before I rescued you from that hellish universe, do you think I would have taken you with such reckless abandon? Everything I have done is for the greater good.” The Nomad lies through his teeth.

“If you could truly see the future, which you can’t, then you should’ve seen that your plan was ultimately flawed.” Noah grunted.

No, no, no. Definitely not. There’s only ever been one complication with you, the tinnitus you developed after The Event actually blocked me from being able to read your mind. That was challenging, to say the least. Aside from a few rocky moments with Wildcard, the plan is totally intact. Hisoka may have given you evidence that turned you against me, but he actually corrected your course without realising it.” The Nomad explains hastily.

“What makes you think I’ll operate the Godsend Device now, after everything you’ve done?” Noah speaks sharply.

“What made you kill Hope? Years of training, pure instinct. The very same instinct that will drive you to using the Godsend Device. If you should happen to exhibit a bit of free will, I’ll just have to encourage you some other way.” The Nomad answers softly.

“I won’t ever—” Noah grunts, as he as rudely interrupted.

Shut up. You saw the future, did you not? Let’s take one last look.” The Nomad titters and changes the scenery one last time, revealing the desolate wasteland of the future. “With or without me, this will happen. Have you ever considered that perhaps I’m the one who can prevent it?” He speaks quietly.

No. I don’t believe you. People have died because of you.” Noah mutters.

“No, people died because of you. I never wanted The Preservation of Eden to kill people whose powers had been categorised. That was all Simon’s doing. He intimidated Jorah. I only wanted to kill time travellers.” The Nomad scowls.

“So that makes it okay, does it? I told a friend of mine that I was merely a Marionette, and that you were the Puppeteer. You’re cross because I’ve severed your strings. You were solely responsible for all the bad I did, and now that I’m good, you’re unhappy.” Noah argues.

“Good? You will never be good. You were born to be evil, like your father before you.” The Nomad murmurs bitterly. “And like your father, you too will succumb to your need for power. Enough of this, I need to remind you of something that you clearly missed. Do you remember the first man I wanted you to kill, the one I made you kill instead? The man whose powers were fuelled by human flesh? He was at home, in the bunker. When you were at Petrelli Manor, I made sure that you were slipped a subtle clue, that somebody whose powers were fuelled by human flesh was incarcerated underneath Petrelli Manor. Are you getting it now? Do I need to spoon-feed it to you?” He grimaces. Noah looks down in shock, facing the revelation that the bunker he lived in was beneath Petrelli Manor all this time. “I had to keep you close, didn’t I? I told you, everything was planned, I hand-crafted every single one of these dominos for you.” He continues to glower. “See you very soon, Noah. I’ll be waiting.” He whispers and fades away.

“Noah!” Noah Bennet shouts as he attempts to wake Noah up. “Noah, can you hear me?!” He continues to shake Noah who slowly wakes up, startled by the vision he saw.

“Are you okay, Noah?” Hiro asks caringly.

“The Nomad, he appeared to me. I think he made me collapse just so he could speak to me.” Noah reveals.

“What?!” Noah Bennet shouts.

“First it was Hope, then Riley, now it’s the Nomad. I’m having too many of these telepathic discussions that require me to be unconscious.” Noah stammers as he begins to stand up. “I know where he is. I know where I need to go.” He explains impatiently.

“You’re not going alone. This is why we’re here. We have to be here.” Noah Bennet argues.

“I can’t have your blood on my hands too.” Noah complains.

“You won’t, Noah. I promise, but we’re coming with you. No arguments.” Noah Bennet insists and notices that Hiro has disappeared. “Hiro?” He calls out in panic and looks around the house, unable to find his dear friend. Minutes pass and there is no sign of Hiro. “Can you find him?” He places both his hands on Noah’s arms as they stand next to the window.

“I don’t know, my powers aren’t that straightforward.” Noah answers.

“Noah.” Dillon speaks quietly as she stands beside Hiro.

“Hiro, where were you?” Noah Bennet exclaims.

“The future.” Hiro whispers.

“Dillon, where’s Quinton?” Noah wonders.

“He’s fine, he’s still at one of the Manors helping refugees out. Hiro brought me back, he needs us two to help him.” Dillon answers.

“I have an idea, Noah.” Hiro explains as they all gather around in a circle. “The Nomad wants to kill me. He will succeed. I have an idea that might prevent that from happening.” He suggests.

“You don’t know that, Hiro. Angela wouldn’t send you to your death, surely?” Noah Bennet shakes his head nervously.

“Perhaps she didn’t see it.” Hiro answers. “Noah, Dillon, I want you two to see if you can create a replica of me, like you do with your powers, Dillon. If we can convince The Nomad that I’m dead, he won’t go after me anymore. I don’t want you to make a clone like the ones made in that machine of theirs, just an illusion. I know it’s hard for you to use your powers, Noah, so perhaps if you work with Dillon, you might be able to do it.” He states.

“I’ve done it before. I know how.” Dillon answers.

“Do you need Noah to help?” Hiro wonders.

“Yes, I couldn’t do it alone before, but with Noah here, I should be able to do this. We need to join hands.” Dillon instructs them whilst they join hands together. Noah Bennet walks towards the window in the living room.

“I’ll be home soon, very soon.” Noah Bennet whispers to himself as he stares longingly into the night sky, the crescent moon glimmering on the dark street. Hiro, Dillon and Noah continue to hold hands as they focus on creating a copy of Hiro. Suddenly, a duplicate of Hiro emerges from his body and stands behind him.

“Thank you, Dillon.” Hiro smiles and nods.

“You’re welcome, Hiro. I just hope this works out.” Dillon replies happily.

“What are you going to do, Hiro?” Noah asks patiently.

“I shall stay here whilst you go and confront The Nomad. If you need my help, use my duplicate self.” Hiro insists.

“That won’t work, he’s just an illusion of yourself, he can’t use your abilities.” Dillon answers regretfully.

“Damn.” Hiro grunts. “Noah should be able to help, but if you truly need me, come and get me.” Hiro suggests.

“Of course, but I’m not putting you at risk.” Noah states. “I’m so tired. I haven’t slept since… well I don’t think I’ve had a proper sleep since this all happened.” He complains as Dillon and Hiro walk out of the back room with him.

“You better get used to it.” Noah Bennet walks up to him and places his hand on Noah’s shoulder and smiles, staring into the back room that Noah came from.

“We’ve sorted out the first manor, but I should get back to Quinton, we’re waiting for a lift to the next one.” Dillon nods energetically.

“Okay, I will take you back and take you and Quinton to the next manor.” Hiro smiles. “Good luck, Noah, and other Noah too. I will be waiting here for you both.” He added.

“You better hope The Nomad doesn’t catch wind of this.” Noah Bennet murmurs.

“Let’s get going.” Noah nods and places his hands onto Hiro’s illusion and Noah Bennet, teleporting them into the bunker in which he grew up in.

“What is this?” Noah observes as a specific path of lights and petals have been laid out in the hallways of the bunker, designed to lead Noah straight to The Nomad.

“It might be a trap.” Noah Bennet whispers.

“He doesn’t want me dead, he needs me. It’s you I’m worried about.” He murmurs and follows the trail down through the corridors of the bunker. “Wait.” Noah stops dead in his tracks as he senses something from a door at the end of a dark, unlit corridor. He slowly turns his head towards the ominous door and tilts his head cautiously.

“What is it, Noah?” Noah Bennet asks as he places his hand apprehensively onto his gun.

“His office is down there… I can feel something coming from inside.” He answers quietly and proceeds to walk down the blackened corridor.

“That’s leading away from the trail, Noah.” Noah Bennet mutters whilst he realises that Noah is completely ignoring what he is trying to say. He reluctantly follows him, as Hiro’s illusion lags slightly behind. Noah carefully wraps his hand around the cold door handle and steadies his breath, unsure of what he is sensing from inside this room.

“Are you okay, Noah?” Noah Bennet speaks quietly and places his hand on Noah’s shoulder.

“No. This is his office. He never usually let us in here. He might be inside.” Noah answers worriedly and hesitates to open the door. He slowly gains the confidence to enter the room, slowly pushing down on the handle and swinging the door open. The door to the small prison room casts a dark shadow as it lies open, an unusual state for such a secretive room. Noah slowly walks through the door and his lips begin to quiver, he slouches with a heavy heart as he refuses to believe what he’s seeing.

“Is that—” Noah Bennet whispers.

Riley.” Noah grunts mournfully and stares at his step-brother’s corpse, which has been placed inside one of the jail cells in order to keep it safe.

“Why didn’t The Nomad bury him?” Noah Bennet wonders.

“As heartless as he is, even he hoped that one day he’d have his son back.” Noah answers and kneels down next to Riley’s body and places his hand onto Riley’s cold cheek.

“Can you save him?” Noah Bennet talks with anticipation.

“In another future, I did. It’s too late in this one.” Noah whispers tragically as he realises that no matter how hard he concentrates, he is unable to restore Riley’s conscience and his life force. The dominant conscience in Noah’s body has destroyed what remains of Riley.

“Hope, are you there?” Noah whispers to himself. “Can you hear me?” He mutters. With no answer, Noah continues trying to restore his stepbrother’s conscience into his body. “Please, please, please.” He murmurs under his breath, forcefully pushing both of his hands against Riley’s body.

“I’m sorry, Noah. He’s gone. The explosion sped up his decay, when it weakened your body, it lessened your hold on him. I think I’m only here because somehow my body is too. The Nomad didn’t predict Wildcard going rogue, therefore he never predicted anything that could have happened following the bomb, including the exponential state of decay that Riley’s conscience faced.” Hope answered.

“He’s gone.” Noah stammered.

“I’m sorry, Noah. I really am.” Noah Bennet expresses his condolences as he fiddles around with a small keypad on the wall.

“He had the ability to create clones, why didn’t he create a clone of Riley in order to put his conscience into my body instead? He didn’t know that powers didn’t work on clones back then. Or anybody else’s for that matter? It never had to be Riley.” Noah murmurs.

“Perhaps somehow, he knew. You know how secretive The Nomad is, he couldn’t let any outsiders get involved with his plans. It had to be Riley.” Noah Bennet explains and continues tampering with the keypad, revealing another secret room next to The Nomad’s office. A warbling sound emanates from the dimly lit room as Noah discovers another machine.

“What on earth is this?” Noah Bennet mutters anxiously.

“I think that’s Michael, my stepsister Alex told me stories about him when I was a child, but I always thought he was a myth. She used to break into these hidden rooms, you see, but I never believed her.” Noah talks alarmingly and rushes towards the machine.

The Michael? Dillon and Quinton told me about him.” Noah Bennet follows Noah towards the machine.

“What use could The Nomad possibly have for Michael in this machine?” Noah ponders.

“I think I know. When I was with Dillon and Quinton on our way to find you during your fight with Wildcard, I theorised that somebody from your universe would find their way over to ours in order to rescue you. The Nomad had to ensure that would never happen and to do so, he put Michael into a machine to block others from ever entering our universe.” Noah Bennet stares and nods slowly as he observes a middle aged woman who is also connected to the machine. “That’s what she’s here for too, if Michael’s powers are just to jump into other universes, that’s not enough to block people from coming into our universe. This woman must have power blocking abilities or something similar that’s tuned into the machine in order to prevent anybody with Michael’s powers from crossing over into our universe.” He continues theorising.

“How do you work all of this out?” Noah shrugs.

“I was at the top of my field for a very good reason.” Noah Bennet smiles.

“Wait a minute.” Noah mutters to himself as he walks up to the vat containing the unconscious woman. “Somebody who helped me yesterday, Hisoka, he told me that The Nomad was holding onto his wife. What are the chances that this might be her?” He contemplates and places his hand on the vat. The woman suddenly awakes inside the container and panics at the presence of three strangers in the room. Unlike the machine Dillon and Quinton were trapped in, this one contains no liquid. With a respiratory mask on her face, the woman is unable to scream or speak. She slams her hands on the glass container and gives a distraught look towards both Noahs.

“Stand back.” Noah Bennet raises his gun at the console and prepares to shoot.

“What are you doing? There’s no guarantee that will do anything, it might even kill them. Plus, it’ll cause a lot of noise. Let me try something.” Noah suggests whilst the female figure watches on unsure of what they are saying. He walks back towards the vat and places his hands onto it, concentrating on the female figure inside. Noah closes his eyes as the thick glass begins to vibrate. He immediately opens his eyes and successfully teleports the woman outside of the container and next to Noah Bennet.

“You’re learning to control it.” Noah Bennet smiles surprisingly. “Are you okay?” He takes off his jacket and gives it to the barely clothed and trembling woman to wear. She nods rapidly and pulls the respiratory mask from her face and drops it onto the floor.

“I could feel it. Him. Death. I think he died some time ago, but his powers were still filtering into the machine. It has a system to keep the most basic functions of the brain working, I know because I helped make it. Because we were connected through it, all I could feel was this absolute depression resonating from him through me.” The woman explains snakingly. “Thank you, thank you so much.” She cries.

“Michael’s dead?” Noah mutters and walks up to the container to gaze upon the old, lifeless and preserved body of Michael, his abilities still functional through the machine. “This machine is different from the one Dillon and Quinton were plugged into, it looks older.” He observes and places his hand onto the container with Michael inside.

“Noah was wondering something, are you Hisoka’s wife?” Noah Bennet asks quietly.

“I am! Do you know Hisoka? Is he alright?” The woman exclaims. “I’m Catherine Quincy, by the way.” Catherine introduces herself.

“I’m Noah Bennet, he’s Noah Gray. We share the same forename.” Noah Bennet responds calmly.

“Who’s he?” Catherine mutters quietly.

“My name is Hiro Nakamura, master of time and space.” Hiro’s illusion smiles as a muffled scream suddenly emits from Michael’s vat.

He’s back.” Noah exclaims.

“Ever since you left this place, you’ve really begun to hone in on your abilities, I’m pleased. Maybe we can stop The Nomad after all.” Noah Bennet smiles whilst Noah teleports Michael out of the container.

“Are you Michael?” Noah nods questioningly.

“Noah? You’ve grown so much. I am… I am.” Michael murmurs with a surprised tone.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know you, Michael.” Noah mutters regretfully.

“It’s okay. You’re what, seventeen, eighteen? How many years have we been in this machine for?” Michael shudders.

“I’m seventeen. My powers still haven’t reached their full capability based on what I’ve heard. Needless to say, The Nomad wasn’t happy about the delay in his plan when my powers came about later than normal.” Noah explains hastily.

“I was loyal to The Nomad. He sold me a very different idea from the one he wanted to enact. I strongly believed he wanted to save the world and that I’d have a part in doing so. I’m sorry.” Michael stammers.

“You have a part in it now.” Noah reassures Michael. “Listen, the Nomad isn’t far, you and Catherine need to leave as soon as possible.” He instructs Michael and Catherine.

“Where’s my husband?” Catherine stumbles towards Noah and mutters with great concern.

“I intend to find out, but for now, please go. I promise I’ll find him.” Noah answers whilst Michael nods and leads Catherine outside of the room. “Wait.” He calls out quietly.

“What is it?” Michael asks carefully.

“I should teleport you somewhere safer so he can’t just come after you. Just in case.” Noah insists. “Now, with my powers as they are at the moment, I can only teleport you to places I know about or see in some form. I’ll send you to a safe-house, there’ll be a man there named Hiro, tell him I sent you two and he will help you.” He explains whilst placing his hands onto Michael and Catherine.

“Isn’t this Hiro right here?” Catherine mutters.

“My name is Hiro Nakamura, master of time and space.” Hiro’s illusion smiles whilst Catherine stares at him with great confusion on her face. Noah Bennet shakes his head and waves his hand as a gesture to disregard Hiro’s illusion.

“Trust me, Hiro is waiting for you at the safe house.” Noah utters confidently.

“Thank you.” Michael and Catherine express their appreciation. Noah nods and teleports them away to safety.

“Are you ready?” Noah Bennet stares into Noah’s concerned eyes.

“Promise me that if things go wrong, you guys get out of here.” Noah requests.

No. I won’t.” Noah remarks, withdrawing his gun and walks outside of the room whilst Hiro’s illusion follows him. “Are you coming?” He argues. Noah sighs as he reluctantly follows them down the corridor, continuing to embark on the trail The Nomad has set for them.

“This is where it happened.” Noah whispers to himself as they reach the trail’s end.

“Where what happened?” Noah Bennet wonders.

This is where my brother died.” Noah answers.

“Yes it is.” The Nomad abruptly enters the corridor from behind a corner. Noah Bennet aims his gun towards him. “Let’s just talk about this calmly.” He approaches them steadily, causing both Noahs to slowly step back in apprehension. “I must thank you for stopping the bombs from falling. My company is being investigated now, looks like I won’t be running it for much longer, it might undergo a facelift. No matter, soon enough that won’t be a problem at all.” He expresses his gratitude.

“We fixed your problem, Nomad. You need to fix the rest of them.” Noah Bennet insists.

“What problems? The plan is still intact. Noah doesn’t need to be fully trained to use the Godsend Device. This will give us all a better future, Noah. Your daughter won’t ever have to be afraid of not being normal anymore.” The Nomad nods as Noah Bennet rapidly approaches him, pressing his gun into The Nomad’s forehead. “Why do you see me as a villain? May I ask you that? How is it that I’m the villain here?” He continues nodding, pleading for an answer.

“How is it that you cannot see that you’re the villain here?” Noah argues. “You kidnapped me as a baby, took me from my parents and probably killed them too. You killed your own son and sought to kill anybody who got in the way of your precious plan.” He shouts.

“I consider myself to be… chaotic good… on the alignment system. I do what I believe is the right thing.” The Nomad shrugs his shoulders and purses his lips.

“No. No good person kills another. You’re evil.” Noah Bennet murmurs.

“Listen to me carefully, Mr. Bennet. I’m giving you the opportunity to have a perfect life with your daughter. No more fears, no more concerns and certainly no more complications. It’ll be a perfect life for us all. Humanity will prevail more than ever before.” The Nomad speaks encouragingly.

“As nice as that sounds, it’d never last. You would end up either causing the extinction of humanity, setting off the bombs again, or worse. We’ve seen it. I’d rather live a life with Claire filled with love and anger than to live in an almost emotionless one.” Noah Bennet clamours.

“Don’t be stupid. Time travelling to the future is the most useless ability there can be. Once you arrive into the future, you’re touching an alternate timeline because the future may have already changed by the time you’ve arrived there. Time is fluid, the future changes with every single choice made by every single individual. The tiniest snowball grows into the largest avalanche, changing the course of history in one way or another.” The Nomad argues and spits, growing tired of the endless complaints that are being presented to him. “One of the main reasons I set up the Preservation of Eden was to ensure that we could imprison or destroy all those with time travellers. Luckily it’s such a rare ability as it is. I see you brought the time traveller with you. Risky choice. I told you that the next time I’d see you, you’d die. I can’t afford to have somebody wandering through time and space and altering my plan.” He growls.

“My name is Hiro Nakamura, master of time and space.” Hiro’s illusion smiles.

“Yes, I know. We’ve met.” The Nomad drawled in annoyance.

“Leave him alone.” Noah grunts.

“Oh I’m not going to do anything, Noah. You are.” The Nomad smirks and begins to control Noah’s mind, forcing him to raise his hand towards Hiro. “Now, your father used to kill his victims in a very artistic way. Let’s have you adopt his signature move, shall we?” He growls, forcing Noah to keep his index and middle finger up and aimed towards Hiro’s head, who stares at Noah in complete silence.

“Don’t do this.” Noah stammers. “Please.” He groans.

“Goodbye, Hiro.” The Nomad grunts, controlling Noah’s powers and making him slice his fingers sideways, slashing Hiro across the forehead through and through. The top of Hiro’s illusion’s head slides off onto the floor, followed by his collapsing body. The Nomad examines their reactions and closely inspects Hiro’s body from a safe distance. “Very clever. Oh I’ll admit that is very clever indeed.” He chuckles with a smirk and walks up to Noah, rapidly placing his hand onto Noah’s forehead and sees into his memories.

“Noah, Dillon, I want you two to see if you can create a replica of me, like you do with your powers, Dillon. If we can convince The Nomad that I’m dead, he won’t go after me anymore.” Hiro suggests.

“You thought you could trick me?” The Nomad mutters.

“What do you mean?” Noah grunts.

“Don’t play games with me!” The Nomad yells. “I know that isn’t Hiro. Both your faces are a big tell. I’ve seen people who have watched people die in front of them. Some fall into shock, others into despair, but both of your reactions were somewhat forced.” He reveals calmly.

“Noah.” Noah mumbles fearfully.

“It’s okay.” Noah Bennet mutters. “It’s okay.” He nods reassuringly.

The Nomad lifts his hand impatiently and lifts his head, focusing on controlling Noah’s powers again with the intention of teleporting the real Hiro to their location.

“How are you able to do this?” Noah grunts in pain.

“You misunderstand, my dear boy. I have had a great many years of experience with my abilities and the abilities of others, controlling other people is second nature to me. You haven’t had enough time to learn how to control the full extent of your abilities yet.” The Nomad explains whilst he successfully teleports the real Hiro in front of him. “Now, shall we try again?” He whispers menacingly.

“Hiro, go!” Noah Bennet shouts towards Hiro.

“Oh, no, no, no. You’re not going anywhere, Hiro.” The Nomad continues to control Noah’s mind and forcing him to prevent Hiro from leaving.

I’m not doing this.” Noah shuddered.

“I do not tread on butterflies, Mr. Nomad. You have already committed a genocide upon these butterflies, altering time to your own gain. You are an evil man.” Hiro commented.

“You know, during my stay in America, I once met a woman who said a very similar thing to me. She could dream of the future and she saw me pulling the hypothetical trigger on the world.” The Nomad reminisces whilst Noah Bennet realises that he must be talking about Angela. “I told her that she must be wrong, all I want to do is improve the world so that we may hone our focus onto more important things like curing all cancers and diseases, saving our planet and terraforming it into a safer one, ridding the world of hunger and allowing every living soul to live their life in peace and happiness. No more war, no more terror. Do you know why I want to do this?” He mutters mournfully.

“You make your intentions sound good, but I know who you saw in America, because that’s how we found out about you. Angela is never wrong. If she saw you end the world, you will end the world.” Noah Bennet responded harshly.

“No. I never will. And I’ll answer my own question for all your sakes. I want to save our world and expand because we may very well be the only intelligent civilisation in existence. We may be the first, we may be the last. Each possibility is equally frightening. If we carry on hindering progress with pointless wars, we will be the cause of our own extinction.” The Nomad insists.

“If we let you go forwards with this plan, something will happen further down the line where you decide to end the world one way or another. We cannot afford to let that happen. I’m giving you this one chance to come with me and sort this out peacefully. I thought you of all people would appreciate that.” Noah Bennet suggests.

“You’ve become too much of a headache for me. Do you understand what you’re hindering? The very future of humanity, the future of existence itself!” The Nomad yells.

“Be quiet. It’s over. I’m not going to let you get away with all you’ve done so far. Either you come with me, or I’ll find a way to make you die right here, on this very spot.” Noah Bennet firmly gives the Nomad a choice.

“No, Noah, you can’t kill him, you know he reflects any damage.” Noah whispers.

“I like you, Bennet, but I want you to see that I’m right. So… I’ll let you go for now.” The Nomad rasps as he raises his hand and twists it into a fist, causing Noah Bennet to disappear.

“Noah!” Hiro shouts.

“What have you done?!” Noah yells.

“I sent him to where you came from… The Noah Bennet from that place is dead, much like your father. So he might just settle in over there.” The Nomad sneers evilly.

“You… You told me you couldn’t take me home… You took Michael’s powers?” Noah groans.

“He was my good friend, the man you freed from that machine, that’s okay by the way. I forgive you. We won’t need that machine after today. Michael was the one who found you for me and he was the one who believed in my plan with such dedication and passion. He agreed to be the first candidate for one of my Machines, one that I’d designed with the intention to copy powers over to another person. Unfortunately for Michael, he had second thoughts about my plan, so I had second thoughts about him too…” The Nomad explains monotonously. “Come on, Noah. Don’t be foolish. Surely even you know that I could never risk you going home, I could never risk somebody from the other side coming over to bring you back. Not with all that I have planned. The Godsend Device came from the other side. I’m fascinated by this device, it’s man-made, yet awe-inspiring. A true achievement. I feared to use it, however. Everybody who tried to operate the device just… ceased to exist. It was then designed to work for one single person, you.” He removes The Godsend Device from his jacket pocket and stares at it with admiration.

“Noah, don’t listen to him.” Hiro shudders quietly.

“Why me? What makes me so different?” Noah groans in shock.

Omnipotence. Your power, of course. It is so great that even you cannot harness it yet. One day you will have the ability to do anything you can imagine, but you just need proper training and experience. You’ve not had long enough to explore them fully. Noah, you are the only living entity in all the universes I have explored who has such a power. You truly are a Godsend.” The Nomad speaks with admiration.

“Don’t… don’t call me that. If I were truly a Godsend, I’d have helped the hundreds or thousands of people out there who you’ve made to suffer!” Noah shouts. “I saw my father. I don’t know if it was a hallucination, but he was telling me about how weak I am, that I’m a waste of a life and he’s right. You took the possibility of a good life away from me.” He continues to mutter angrily.

“Oh, stop your whining.” The Nomad groans with impatience.

“You have one chance to go back from all of this, Nomad.” Hiro speaks reassuringly.

“Oh no… I’m too far gone. The plan… is too far gone. This needs to happen.” The Nomad exclaimed.

“Why don’t I just destroy the device? Have you ever contemplated what might happen if I tried to do that?” Noah huffs under his breath.

“The Godsend Device is beautiful as it is devastating. If it were destroyed or used incorrectly, the powers within it would manifest and explode with the strength of a hundred supernovas… An Epinova… I’m not telling tales either, I saw the onset happen in another world. However, the world we live in is the only world that resulted in the Sullivan Incident. All the others I visited it had it happen elsewhere, or not at all…” The Nomad informs Noah of the uniqueness of this universe and all universes.

“You may not be my father, but you raised me. You sure as hell know I’d rather die before letting you kill everybody.” Noah speaks sharply.

“You misunderstand my intentions, Noah. I merely wish to improve the very condition of the human race, to make certain… changes for the future.” The Nomad clarifies and puts the Godsend Device back inside of his inner jacket pocket.

“Through manipulation and murder? No. You can’t be trusted.” Noah grunts.

“Only those who stand in our way, like the time traveller here.” The Nomad clamours. “You need your training, Noah. You need to understand the true extent of your abilities.” He insists, whilst controlling Noah to raise his hands once more towards Hiro.

“I’m not doing this, Hiro.” Noah stammers fearfully.

“I know.” Hiro answers. “It’s okay.” He smiles with courage.

“Well, well. Time to go.” The Nomad rasps.

“Remember what I said, Noah? It is not the sword, it’s the man. You don’t need it this time. You never did, neither did I.” Hiro murmurs confidently. Immediately, Noah breaks free of The Nomad’s control and raises his hand towards The Nomad, violently throwing him against a wall whilst Noah takes the full-force of the impact. The Nomad stands up impatiently, having felt no pain at all from reflecting it onto Noah.

Then I’ll have to do it myself.” The Nomad growls whilst he shakes his jacket.

Noah raises his hands again, forcing The Nomad to remain stuck in place and preventing him from moving or using his powers completely.

“This… is… interesting.” The Nomad chortles as he tries to break free.

“Hiro, go!” Noah struggles to hold The Nomad in place.

“I won’t leave you.” Hiro remarks and walks up to Noah.

“You have to. You have to. We’ll find Mr. Bennet, I promise. I can’t let you die. Please.” Noah pleads.

“Noah, I will go, but I’m coming straight back. I’m going to get help.” Hiro reassures Noah and teleports away.

“Goddamn it!” The Nomad screams angrily and expresses a fit of rage and causes Noah to suffer from a great deal of pain. He grabs his head in pain and loses his control of The Nomad. “I raised you! You dare disrespect me?! You ignore my every instruction and rebel against your own father?!” He yells, spitting from his mouth. Noah falls to his knees in great pain and attempts to block The Nomad from using his powers. Slowly, he stands up and begins to repress the uncomfortable levels of damage being inflicted upon him. Noah begins surging his powers and heatwaves begin to emit around his body.

“You’re not my father.” Noah growled.

“So, this is what it comes to? We’re back to where we started. How poetic.” The Nomad shakes his head in annoyance.

“Except this time, you don’t have another son to kill.” Noah retorted as his abilities begin emanating shockwaves and the concrete walls begin to crack. “I can feel you trying to dig into my mind. Try it.” He dares The Nomad, who begins to repress Noah’s powers and causes them to die down. The lights begin to shatter and the room falls dark.

“Don’t do this. Look at it, look at how beautiful it is. We can do this together.” The Nomad implores as he reaches for the Godsend Device.

“You can’t stop me without having something like another conscience to keep my abilities at bay. That’s how it works, right?” Noah murmurs as his powers are constantly growing and shrinking as the two mentally fight against each other for control over Noah’s powers. Noah shouts with an echo as his orange eyes begin to glow, becoming one of the only light sources in the darkening room. The constant battle reverberates around the entire room as The Nomad struggles to keep Noah at bay. Suddenly, a stupendous shockwave leaves Noah’s body as he wins the fight. The blast collapses the entire corridor and its floor, causing Noah and The Nomad to fall through it. The wave continues obliterating the walls and floors of the lower levels until they crash violently into the sewer below.

Hiro teleports next to Angela in the park where he and Noah Bennet last met her. Hiro slowly approaches Angela, hesitant to reveal the outcome of their plan.

“Angela.” Hiro mutters whilst steadily approaching Angela in a park.

“Hiro. What’s happened?” Angela asks worriedly.

“It’s Noah Bennet. He’s gone. The Nomad sent him to another universe.” Hiro answered. “We will save him. We will bring him home. I have to get help. I’m going to need Ando, I want to teleport as many reinforcements as possible. The Nomad is a bigger threat than I ever imagined.” He speaks reassuringly.

“This is all my fault, Hiro.” Angela reaches out to hold onto his arms as she loses her balance. Hiro helps her to sit down on a bench.

“What… what do you mean?” Hiro whispered.

“I left out a very importance piece of information from my dreams, it was so selfish of me. If I hadn’t done so, perhaps Noah would still be with us.” Angela stammered.

“He is still with us, just not in this world. What did you leave out, Angela?” Hiro asked nervously.

“It wasn’t just you and Noah that I saw in my dreams, Hiro. Somebody else was supposed to go with you too, but I didn’t tell you, I didn’t tell him.” Angela’s lips begin to shake.

“Who?” Hiro presses.

“Peter, my son.” Angela reveals. “I didn’t tell anybody because in my dreams, The Nomad had him killed. I couldn’t bear to lose another child.” She explained fearfully.

“You don’t know that. The Nomad wanted to kill me, but Noah and a friend of his created an illusion of me instead, so it only looked like I died. That might have been the same for Peter if he went.” Hiro responded.

“No… They saw your death coming because you’re a time traveller. Peter isn’t.” Angela shook her head in defeat.

“He might have been if he came along, he might have borrowed the ability from me.” Hiro pointed out a possibility. Angela stammers, unable to form an intelligible response. She takes a deep breath and sighs towards Hiro.

“Either way, Noah Bennet is gone because of me, because of my selfishness.” Angela stared blankly.

“We will save him, Miss. Petrelli.” Hiro reassures Angela.

THE FINAL CHAPTER: WANTON WARMONGER

Noah and The Nomad slowly regain consciousness after being knocked out by the devastating collapse. The Nomad is sitting with his back against the wall and one arm resting on his wounded knee.

“How long was I out?” Noah groans in pain, struggling to move as his wounds begin to heal.

“I only came to about two minutes ago. I just waited for you to wake up.” The Nomad coughs up blood as Noah realises that he has been heavily injured by the collapse.

“I’ll stop you.” Noah huffs.

“You can’t. You won’t. You’ve tried stopping me despite knowing that my powers allow me to reflect the damage of your attacks against yourself, which obviously resulted in you being where you are right now. Crippled. Far be it from me to tell you who to trust or not, Noah.” He smirks whilst holding the Godsend Device in his hands, protected from the collapse by its outer casing. A bloody Noah struggles to get back onto his feet, trying to run through all the possible choices he can make in his mind.

“You’re hurt. Just like the clones, you can be hurt by environmental damage. I know your weakness now, Dad.” Noah shakes his head in disappointment.

“Even though I cannot read your mind, both you and I know that there are only two choices you can make… Save the world, or destroy it. It’s really as simple as that.” The Nomad shakes his head, still reeling from his injuries. “I’m not the bad person here, Noah. Of course, I have my own intentions, who doesn’t? I’m probably what people would call an anti-hero more than anything.” He continues defending himself, whilst inspecting the Godsend Device to make sure it hasn’t been damaged by the collapse.

“You’re trying to play God… I don’t believe you just want the power to change humanity. No, actually, I think you want every single power there is available from this, you want to become God.” Noah groans whilst he slowly picks himself back up.

“When you put it like that… it’s insulting, Noah. Really insulting. You make it sound like I have a religious agenda.” The Nomad stares fearfully. “If you do this, I’ll take you home. You have my word. Or at the very least I’ll show you the way home. Wouldn’t you like that? Somewhere to actually belong, somewhere to live in peace.” He attempts to persuade Noah. Water drips from the broken pipes and the red emergency lights flicker onto their faces as Noah begins to stare angrily into The Nomad’s eyes.

“What home is there? You killed my parents when you snatched me from them. I… I, I’ve already been through this. Why does the Godsend Device supposedly only work with me? Why didn’t it work with Wildcard?” Noah represses his shout, his words escaping through his closed teeth.

“Because you’re pure. You’re you. No clone is ever a full recreation, an important element is always missing. I wouldn’t say it’s the soul, but that’s the closest word we have that could possibly explain it.” The Nomad explains whilst gazing into the tranquil, serendipitous lights glowing from the Godsend Device. “You have the power that’s inside this Godsend Device, pure and total omnipotence, you’re the only one who can truly control it.” He continues to explain, stroking his finger over a slight crack in the casing.

“I’ve never been able to use powers just by imagining it, I’ve only been able to get powers when I needed them. You know that.” Noah argues. The Nomad shakes his head angrily, staring at Noah.

“But you have used powers by imagining it, that’s exactly what you’ve done up until this point. Before I put Riley inside your mind, you were on the verge of allowing yourself to go through the process that would grant you total control of your abilities, you did things I thought impossible. Yes, I definitely set you back after I put Riley inside you, but… but I did it to save your life. One step back, two steps forward.” He growls. Noah continues staring at the Nomad with a hateful gaze. He breathes a deep sigh, hesitant to entertain the Nomad any further.

“I raised you from a baby, you might not be my son, but you are my son. Do you think I’d want to see any harm come to you?” The Nomad attempts to appeal to Noah’s soft spot, but it backfires as he begins to burst out laughing in disbelief, hurting himself in the process.

“You killed your son, you cloned yourself and then cloned me in order to try and fulfil your own desires, Lily was killed just to try and bring me into control. Of course you’ve never tried to hurt me directly because you need me in order to do this. And do you know what? I’m never going to. You can’t hurt me. I can’t hurt you.” Noah grimaced.

“Noah, I’ve readied myself for this for longer than you’ve been living. Do you really think I wouldn’t prepare as many contingencies as possible for the final hurdle?” The Nomad lectured as he clicks his fingers, causing five people on their knees to appear beside him. “Now, I could have just rebuilt the machine and put these two back inside, but I figured that you might hold some emotional value for them… you might be omnipotent, but I am omniscient. Nothing you do can change the course we’re on, Noah. Nothing. Everything I did was to prepare for this very moment to work, no matter what happened along the way. A contingency was made for everything, absolutely everything! Even Riley was born to be part of a contingency plan that came into effect!” The Nomad chided as he gently rolls over the Godsend Device towards Noah.

“How did you… Quinton? Dillon? Oh, Jesus… I don’t know the others, let them go, let them go.” Noah shakes.

“You don’t know them? Oh that’s right. You never met them. Meet dear Lily’s parents, and her sister.” The Nomad murmurs slyly whilst Noah glares at them despondently. “I saved Mr. Bennet, I want to bring him back to see that my plan will truly be the best thing that can be done for mankind and then he will trust me. You will trust me too. But these people, they’re expendable to me. I have a feeling that they’re not so expendable to you.” He stares with a tiny hint of sympathy in his eyes.

“I’m not going to listen to you. I’m not going to do this.” Noah protest whilst shaking his head.

“I will kill them, Noah.” The Nomad warned.

“No… No you won’t. I know you won’t. You need them for your future.” Noah surmised.

Wrong.” The Nomad spoke as he raised his hand towards Dillon, gently shutting down her brain as her head twitches and her body falls to the ground.

“Dillon!” Quinton yells as Noah’s heart sinks whilst he stares at her lifeless body in utter disbelief. Lily’s family shout in terror, trying not to stare at Dillon’s corpse.

“I warned you, Noah. The coldness of my heart isn’t just a sign of psychopathic behaviour, but also of complete honesty.” The Nomad enunciates his words. “I only shut her brain down, I didn’t damage it. You know that Quinton can bring her back. If you do this for me, I will keep him alive in order to do so.” He mutters carefully whilst Noah stares at Dillon dolefully. “Noah? Would you like for me to make Lily’s family feel what the sensation of death is like too?” He persists as he continues to enunciate his words, ensuring Noah understands him entirely. Lily’s family begin shouting in terror and fear, not understanding why they’re here.

“No.” Noah spoke in a brittle tone, as he looks inside the Godsend Device and stares at the Stone.

“Perhaps you need one final nudge.” The Nomad smirks and reveals Riley and Lily’s corpses, dropping Lily in front of her family members as they scream in anguish.

What are you doing?! How did you know where we buried her?!” Noah shouts angrily, averting his gaze from Lily’s body whilst noticing in his peripheral vision that she is wearing different clothes. Her family wail in agony as they see Lily’s dead body.

“You buried her clone, Noah. Surely you could’ve worked that one out yourself when you realised powers didn’t work on her body.” The Nomad revealed with a grin. “I shut down her brain without injuring her too, your dear friend can bring her back to life also. But know this, she won’t have any memories of you two together, or of the things you went through with Owen. This’ll be a selfless act on your part to save the most important thing to Riley, the most important thing to my son, who you can also save using the Godsend Device.” He nods slowly, revealing an almost sympathetic smile. Noah remembers that Wildcard was responsible for killing Lily’s clone, he theorises that clones can use powers on each other.

“You can’t save Riley. He’s gone completely.” Noah reveals.

“Lies.” The Nomad growls as he immediately inflicts severe migraines on Quinton and Lily’s family members. “Last chance.” He mutters through his teeth.

“What do I do? Tell me what to do.” He whispers.

“Noah, no!” Quinton shouts. “Don’t let Dillon or Lily come back to the dystopia he’ll unleash upon us. There must be another way.” Quinton murmurs quietly.

Quiet.” The Nomad barks. “Open the casing by pressing down gently on the top. Mind the crack.” He instructs Noah, who follows his guidelines and presses down on the top of the enclosure, causing it to open up and expose the luminescent stone from within. “All you have to do is touch the stone with one hand and touch me with another. The stone will do the rest of the job for us.” He continues to inform Noah whilst trying to repress his uncomfortable mixture of fear and excitement. Noah worries as he looks around and panics. He takes the Godsend Device out of the enclosure and holds it tightly in his right hand, the power surges through him, making his orange irises glow stupendously. The Nomad extends his hand, his eyebrows raised as the excitement of a child lies behind his eyes. Noah reaches out and holds The Nomad with his left hand. The Godsend Device lights up and begins vibrating through Noah and The Nomad, trembling the environment around them. As Noah panics, the effects of the Godsend Stone suddenly stop working.

“Hope?” Quinton mutters.

It’s not Hope.” Noah shakes his head worryingly.

No.” The Nomad grunts. “No!” He yells as Noah looks towards him, alarmed by his behaviour. He opens his hand, and sees the Godsend Device is slowly beginning to form cracks on its surface.

“It’s happening. Noah. It’s happening. It’s going to result in the Epinova I warned you about! Right now the last thing I want is this world to die. This shouldn’t have happened. Please, take me to my office.” The Nomad implores.

“What happened? Why—” Noah stutters.

“There’s no time for this!” The Nomad interrupts and yells fearfully. “Noah, don’t you see? My plan has failed, I can’t have the blood of the entire world on my hands too. We have to go!” The Nomad clamours whilst Noah rushes towards Quinton, untying the rope behind his hands.

“Quinton, can you bring Dillon and Lily back?” Noah asks hastily. “I’m so sorry you had to see this. Your daughter will be fine.” He nods towards Lily’s family.

“Yes, I can. I can bring them back. You go, I’ll take care of these guys.” Quinton answers.

“Thank you, for everything. Tell Dillon and Lily that too.” Noah expresses breathlessly whilst Quinton grabs him on his arm.

“No. Thank you.” Quinton nods with admiration in his eyes whilst Noah rushes towards The Nomad and teleports them both to his office upstairs.

The Nomad rushes to his computer and checks through Noah’s DNA sample.

It’s all my fault. Of all the things I prepared contingencies for, I overlooked this one. When I… when I killed Riley and merged his conscience with yours, everything seemed fine. But now that his conscience has merged with yours entirely, it seems to have altered your DNA by a fraction. That was enough for the Godsend Stone to… malfunction. It didn’t recognise you fully, but it recognised you enough to start incorrectly. You’re right, there’s nothing of Riley to save anymore.” The Nomad begins to cry as the Godsend Stone begins to form more cracks. “I didn’t mean to kill Riley, I planned for it, but trust me when I say I didn’t want it. I definitely didn’t want the effects to be permanent. It was for the greater good. I wanted to use the Godsend Device to grant myself a power that could change the structure of our species, to alter our genetic makeup and make our species a peaceful one. No more wars against our own kind. No more wars between us and them, just peace. I strived for that, no matter what I had to sacrifice in order to get it.” He explains with great defeat in his voice.

“You still wanted to play God. You wanted to alter our kind. That is not something you’re allowed to do.” Noah expresses his beliefs angrily.

“No, no, no. It’s artificial selection at most, Noah! We’ve been doing it for hundreds of thousands of years! I’m sorry, but we don’t have time to discuss this. There’s no time to undo this. You need to try and contain the stone. You’re ready.” The Nomad insists.

Noah sits down and tries to concentrate on the Godsend Device, he places it on the floor and focuses his hands around it, desperately trying to create a containment field around the stone. Immediately after trying to contain it, an immense blast of heat radiates from the Godsend Device and incinerates parts of Noah’s skin and clothing. He gasps in fear and shock whilst his wounds heal.

“We need to get that Stone as far away from this planet as we can and I physically can’t do that.” The Nomad shouts agitatedly and steps backwards in fear.

“You want me to potentially sacrifice myself to save the world? Again?” Noah mutters.

“I want to see my son save the world again.” The Nomad’s teeth chitter whilst he tries to ignore the overwhelming loss he feels.

“Just like that, you want to trick me into thinking that you’re good? You could have been good if only you’d gone about all this in the right way!” Noah represses his shout.

“What’s done is done.” The Nomad stares in defeat.

“Every single thing that has happened to me is a direct consequence of your actions. My entire life has revolved around the choices you made for me. I was your prisoner, whether I liked it or not!” Noah shouts and uses his telekinesis to push the Nomad against the wall with incredible force.

“Noah.” Valeria calls out.

“Mum?” Noah mumbles and drops the Nomad. He walks up to Valeria slowly and she raises her hand to stroke Noah’s cheek. “I’m so sorry.” He struggles to speak.

“No, my darling. I’m the one who is sorry for letting you live this life for this long.” Valeria apologises whilst The Nomad stares at them breathlessly.

“You showed me how things truly were.” Noah exclaims with appreciation.

“I only wish I’d done so earlier, sweetheart, so that you wouldn’t have to have this overwhelming burden of guilt resting on your shoulders. I lived in fear like you did for so long. You and I both know you were not responsible for any of your actions.” Valeria expresses reassuringly. “Now go, darling. I love you.” She whispers. Noah stares at The Nomad one last time, analysing his distraught expressions and recognising that this man is responsible for his own downfall. He realises that in choosing not to kill The Nomad, he has finally regained total control of his own destiny. Noah looks back towards Valeria and smiles, teleporting away.

“All this time, you planned for Riley to die?” Valeria weeps.

“How long were you standing there for, Valeria?” The Nomad questions as he struggles to stand up.

Isn’t that obvious? Answer… you answer my question right now.” Valeria cries.

“No, darling. I didn’t.” He responds monotonously.

“But you were prepared for such a thing?” Valeria responds immediately as the Nomad refuses to answer. He stares at the ground and notices Valeria is hiding a gun behind her back.

“Let’s not make any rash decisions here, Valeria.” The Nomad spoke calmly.

“Did you intend for me to die too? Was that… was that part of your plan?” She asks mournfully.

“You know it wasn’t. You’re my saving grace, Valeria. Your death allowed me to find two very special people who would pave the way to understanding how to use abilities on such a grand scale. I saved you. I brought you back. In spite of everything, I couldn’t lose you.” He responds with a vacant and stolid look.

“You did everything for yourself, you selfish bastard. I don’t even know if I’m me anymore. Do you understand how heart and soul shattering it feels to learn that I’m just a clone? That I’m dead? I can’t even tell if the life I led is still the life I’m leading now. The life I had before is probably in the eternal blackness of death. What kind of life is this? A life without a soul?” Valeria ponders in desperation.

“Darling, you mustn’t concern yourself with such philosophical questions such as those. You are here and you are alive.” The Nomad advises.

“The only life that matters is gone. Our son. Because you killed him, just like the hundreds of others you have killed as I turned a blind eye, scared of ever confronting you.” Valeria scolds the Nomad.

“Everything I did, I did for—” He mutters under his breath before being interrupted.

“The good of humanity? You tell me that so many times, but the one thing you’ve failed to explain is just how your actions would truly benefit mankind. Would you just explain that to me for once?” She requests in an erratic tone.

“We are on the verge of evolution. Millions of us are born with abilities every year, it’ll be tens of millions soon. Sooner or later, war would break out between those who have abilities and those who don’t. I wanted to skip that process entirely.” The Nomad explains.

“By turning everybody into almost emotionless beings?” Valeria cries.

“No. War would happen regardless. Before abilities become commonplace, wars were had for every single reason, whether justified or unjustified. We are a vengeful species, a species capable of such slaughter. I wanted to bring about a utopia. With all the abilities I could amass from the Godsend Device, I’d want to change the very structure of our species, to make us a peaceful one, a happy one, to save the world once and for all.”

“Even if those were truly your intentions, you went about it all the wrong way.” Valeria mutters disapprovingly.

Noah begins his ascent and soars as high as he can into the sky, strongly trying to ignore the drastic cold he feels tearing his skin. As he begins to leave Earth, he looks behind him to gaze upon the very planet he lives on, admiring the rich blue tones that radiate a sense of peace, despite the chaos that occurs every second on the surface.

That’s a planet I saved once.” Noah thinks to himself. “This is a planet I’ll save again.” He looks as far away as he can and flies at the fastest speed he can achieve, whilst simultaneously teleporting to the furthest distance he can. The Earth becomes nothing but a miniscule blue dot in a vast and overpowering sea of blackness. Without knowing where to teleport to, Noah thinks of a nearby planet and sees it in his mind. Soon, the thoughts of planets turn to thoughts of comets, thoughts of star systems and thoughts of galaxies. His skin begins to freeze and disintegrate. Noah panics as the very hazardous environment causes him to constantly drop in and out of conscience. The overwhelming speed and lack of air begins to make him hallucinate.

Remember me?” Lily fades in beside Noah, blood dripping down her face. Noah refuses to acknowledge his hallucinations whilst trying to take control of his greatest power.

“You know I’ve always believed in you, don’t you? You have the capability to save the world. I believe your own ideology overthrew the darkness within you. That mixed in with Riley’s personality really paved the way to you becoming a better human being. You being here is proof of that.” She continues to praise Noah.

“There was no darkness inside of me, just The Nomad’s brainwashing tactics. I gave into him, Lil. I was going to do it.” Noah struggles to speak.

“Karma hit him back, Noah. Of all the things he saw, he didn’t foresee that your very biological structure would have eventually been altered when he merged Riley’s conscience with yours. He prepared a contingency for every possible scenario, but he didn’t realise you would have changed after the… entanglement of personas.” Lily explained.

“Why would somebody design that for me?” Noah groans, as his voice breaks.

“Not for you, remember? But for another you, elsewhere. He altered the destiny of multiple universes and forged your own destiny, one you overcame.” Lily clarified. “I always told Riley we’d go stargazing again, I never imagined I’d be among the stars.” She stares onwards.

“You’re a hallucination… So I’m basically talking to myself.” Noah grasped. “How would I even know you told Riley that?” He stammered.

“You have his memories too.” Lily answered. “Go. Save the world.” She gently touches Noah on the shoulder and disappears.

With a clear goal in mind, Noah focuses heavily, taking control of his true abilities and begins regenerating instantaneously. His very essence begins to heal faster than it is being destroyed, allowing him to continue on with ease.

The Nomad continues to defend himself to Valeria, who tearfully tries to withstand his silver tongue. She slowly paces towards The Nomad as she truly begins to mourn the loss of her son, accepting that he is gone forever.

“I only wanted to save the world.” The Nomad’s voice cracks.

“Violence begets violence. You’re nothing more than a vainglorious dictator that wants to assuage his fear of humanity.” Valeria grumbles.

“I don’t fear humanity, my dear. I fear what humanity is capable of.” The Nomad murmurs.

“All your choices led to this. What’s left of our son is flying out there right now, trying to get as far away from this planet as he possibly can. What’s left of our son made Noah a better person. You killed our son. You killed my only child. You did all of this, Spencer.” Valeria’s broken voice reaches a powerful crescendo as she utters The Nomad’s name.

“Forgive me, Valeria.” Spencer shakes his head in defeat whilst Valeria immediately raises the handgun and shoots him in the head. For The Nomad, it feels as if time has slowed to a standstill as the bullet begins its inevitable approach to his brain. He realises the consequences of all his actions, that saving his wife was ultimately his undoing. “That’s when I saw it.” Spencer thinks to himself as the bullet begins to shred through the skin of his forehead. “That’s when I saw the eyes of my dead wife… and the reflection of my soon-to-be-dead eyes in hers. You never truly realise how much an idea can consume who you are until all hope is lost. I see it, the bullet… I feel it, her broken heart. My eyes struggle to focus on the tiny object that will bring about my end. It is not the bringer of death I want to see, but the remnants of my wife. Knowing that I will never be able to earn her forgiveness is the final suffering I shall endure. Through all the darkness, I still can’t see the light, all I know is that it isn’t my wife who is about to kill me, it’s The Nomad.” He concludes his thoughts and closes his eyes, accepting the fate that he has brought upon himself. The bullet strikes through and through as The Nomad’s dying body collapses to the ground. Valeria kneels down beside him as an amassment of blood pools from his head. She waits for that final breath to take place, for him to be gone forever, no longer tarnishing this world. The two stare at one another as his perishing eyes rapidly shift to the left and right as he gazes into Valeria’s eyes, his breathing slows until it reaches a sudden halt. Valeria raises the gun towards her own head with clear intent to shoot, her finger slowly pressing down on the trigger, unsure of whether or not she wants to end her own life too.

Noah continues flying and teleporting as far as he can go until he reaches a vast spot of darkness. Desolate planets and dying stars surround the lost hero. His sacrifice will cause him to never to be known or remembered by a single stranger on Earth. Noah looks down to the Godsend Device as the iridescent light from within slowly stops flickering. Noah closes his eyes, hoping to see a hand reach out to him one last time to offer him the sweet salvation of death. The stone stops flickering entirely and collapses on itself, emitting a dreadful and frenzied explosion that instantly destroys Noah’s body and any nearby planets and stars. The very formidable shockwaves stops time in its wake. In mere hours, the effects reach Earth, harmlessly stopping time for a short moment. Onlookers with abilities remain unaffected as they notice the rest of the world has reached a halt. They apprehensively meet others with powers whilst they all gaze into the dimly lit sky as auroras blanket the Earth. They wonder who, or what could have stopped time in such an alarming and beautiful way.

“It is suspected through various surveillance and civilian footage that somebody with a great deal of abilities has just helped prevent the deaths of countless lives. The remnants of a faraway explosion being dubbed by the Preservation of Eden as an Epinova are visible from Earth even at daytime. The sheer colossal scale of the otherworldly disaster has baffled scientists as the light cannot have physically reached our planet in such a short amount of time, suggesting that whatever was taken away from our planet had an unnatural origin. Also, the tragic discovery of an unidentified body of a twenty-one year old girl has been found in a river, police—” Hours have passed as a newsreader covers the recent explosion that has since become visible to Earth, despite being astronomically far away.

“You’re making a remarkable recovery.” Dr. Laidlaw smiles confidently. “Looks like someone has enough karma to redeem themselves of all their sins.” He chuckles whilst interrupting the news.

Not all of them.” Owen grunts as the room around him begins to tremble, the television screen smashes and various equipment begins to fall over. Dr. Laidlaw screams in pain as he is slowly lifted up into the air, his face begins to bleed from every pore whilst he continues yelling in a way no human should ever have to. His body falls to the ground whilst Owen begins levitating from the bed, still paralysed from the neck down. He hovers in a ghostly manner as the wires and tubes are forcibly and violently ripped from his body whilst he leaves the room.

Piece by piece, Noah’s body begins to reassemble. His clothes disintegrated in the inexplicably massive explosion along with the distant stars, planets and moons nearby. Planetary fragments surround Noah as he drifts through the vastness of desolate space, surrounded by celestial death.

Noah.” A figure whispers inside his mind. Noah is still unconscious, his brain healing from the extensive damage caused to him a few hours ago. “Noah.” The figure calls out inside his mind once again as his eyes open. He blinks rapidly, attempting to wake himself up as quickly as possible, witnessing the godforsaken space around him.

“It felt like—” Noah thinks to himself.

Being born again?” The figure responds.

“Worse.” Noah struggles to swallow and his skin slowly begins to freeze, the very calamitous explosion still radiates warmth in the infinite emptiness. He looks around to see who he’s speaking to in his mind, but there’s nobody in sight.

“I tried to reach you before all this happened. I tried to bring you home. Do you remember? But something stopped me. Once I realised I was able to come and get you, I came as soon as I could.” A female figure reveals herself to Noah, slowly approaching him.

“When I fell onto the meadow not far from Petrelli Manor? That was you I saw and not a hallucination?” Noah remembers.

“That was me you saw. I tried to reach you when you were inside a void before you teleported onto the field. It was our only opportunity to get you and I missed it. Then something happened and I was able to cross over now.” She answers.

“There was a machine blocking anybody from crossing over into this universe. We stopped it. Am I dead?” Noah answers whilst the female figure slowly approaches Noah.

“No. You came close. Very close to dying. I sense something is different within you.” She answers Noah.

“I need to see Lily. I have to see Dillon and Quinton too. They might need me, they might be able to help me save somebody that needs saving.” Noah ponders endlessly.

“You’re needed back at home, Noah. I need you, my people need you. Your mother needs you. She’s been waiting for you for a long time.” She opined.

“My real mother? But… this is my home. It might not be where I’m from, but it’s all I’ve ever known. I… I don’t even know your name. How are you even able to read my mind? My tinnitus blocked others from reading or controlling my mind.” Noah responds as they continue to bridge their minds together in order to communicate.

“Firstly, my name is Ione. I’m known as the Nephilim, my father had no abilities, but my mother did. I believe they call you the Godsend. Do you still hear your tinnitus?” Ione calmly asks Noah.

“I… I don’t hear it anymore, no. Perhaps it had something to do with what happened. The Nomad was the only one that called me a Godsend. I’m not. I was stolen, led to believe I had a greater purpose, when my path was already laid out before.” Noah explains. “Wait… I can’t use my powers. They’re not working. What’s keeping me alive?” He replies with a bleak tone.

“Believe me when I say you truly are a Godsend. We need you, Noah. We’re so far away from home, so far away from any source of life. This is a barren and empty pit in space, reeking with horrendous energy from what just happened. Being in the centre of all that probably affected your powers.” Ione makes her observations known. “I need you to come home.” She utters.

“Home, as in where I came from? Where I was born?” Noah peers.

“Yes. Where you were born, your real home.” Ione responds blithely.

“After that, can you bring me back?” Noah requests.

“If you truly want to, then yes I shall.” Ione promises.

“I need to save Noah Bennet, I have to bring him back here. After all he did for me, I have to save him and get him home to his daughter. I need to save Hisoka too.” Noah exclaimed with a sanguine temperament.

“You can do that. We can save them together.” Ione nods. “I can’t stay here for long, Noah. A friend of mine is helping me from the other side, that’s how I’m able to withstand these conditions, but not forever.” She warns.

“I’m coming back. I’m not done here yet… Let’s go.” Noah accepts that whilst his current quest has come to an end, the unforeseen consequences that follow will inevitably lead him to further ones. Ione reaches out towards Noah, gesturing for him to take her hand. He reaches his arm out with pain, his skin slowly healing from the Epinova as he clutches onto Ione’s hand.

I’ve got you. Let’s go home.” Ione whispers. “You were meant to do something extraordinary.” She murmurs gently with finality in her voice. The two fade away from the very fabric of this universe in order to return to the home that Noah has never known.

Help me.” Hope whispers from within Noah, crying for freedom from the vessel in which she is trapped in.

A child is born to innocence. A child is drawn towards good. Why then do so many among us go so horribly wrong? What makes some walk the path of darkness while others choose the light? Is it will? Is it destiny? Can we ever hope to understand the force that shapes the soul? To fight evil, one must know evil; one must journey back through time and find that fork in the road, where heroes turn one way and villains turn another.” – Mohinder Suresh

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Heroes: Godsend

  • ISBN: 9781310813832
  • Author: Adam Sklar
  • Published: 2016-01-26 06:40:13
  • Words: 63538
Heroes: Godsend Heroes: Godsend