What: Eden has questions, Mohinder has a mystery, and Bennet has a job to do
Where: Eden's Apartment, Manhattan
When: Saturday, September 29th, 4:00 pm
Just a routine visit, he kept telling himself. Of course, he knew this was going to be far from a routine conversation. routine had flown out the window some time ago. Nevertheless, Mr. Bennet was a businessman, and was not one to walk out on the job.
He passed through the hall he had entered several times before, where he had entered several unpleasant dealings, and came up to a familiar door. He could feel the entrance to the Suresh apartment just a few doors down, and yet was not deterred. Calm and collect, he gave several stern raps on the door.
Right on time. Eden opened the door to find Mr. Bennet, who seemed a tad jet lagged. "Got a pot started, come in."
Eden closed the door and followed Bennet into her apartment. She tried to remain cool, but already she could feel the anxiety rise from her chest. "So, what's the first order of business?"
Bennet slowly removed his glasses from their perch and proceeded to rub the lenses with an embroidered handkerchief. "Eden, I have the distinct feeling that this will be much more than just business. But if you feel the need, let's start with your report. You haven't issued your activities in some time now."
Eden’s eyes widened, and the curious cat in her brain started to pounce. But she recovered. "Peter was contacted on the street as I told you already, but I haven't made further contact with him. Honestly, I couldn't really see his ability. Mohinder and I have quite a solid relationship, no question about that. The trust is there. We go through Chandra's material together, but neither him nor I have come to any conclusion on his disappearance. And on that note, I need to ask you something."
Eden took a breath. “I need to know what happened to Chandra.”
"Well, it seems that business left the building faster than I expected." Bennet returned his horn-rimmed glasses to his face, and took a moment's pause to prepare. "It wasn't the question I was expecting, but we'll follow that track. Just before the good doctor's disappearance, I called you at informed you of a plan to dispatch his associate, Mr. Sylar, and to seize Dr. Suresh's list. The next day, Mr. Sylar, the doctor, and the list were all mysteriously nowhere to be found."
Hands in his pockets, Bennet stepped toward his charge. "Which, forgive me, beg the question... Should we be asking you?"
“Sorry if I appear slow, but ask me what?”
A soft chuckle emanated from his stoic form. "Very funny, Miss McCain. We both know you're smarter than that. It seems all too convenient that Chandra disappeared just after I informed you of the plan. Doesn't that seem... odd to you?"
Are you kidding? Eden felt like an idiot. "Mr. Bennet, you flatter me. Maybe if I was as smart as you say I would have hid Chandra somewhere. But I didn't. I followed orders. And look where it got us. An innocent man is missing."
"Alright, now the easy question is out of the way. May I sit down?" Without waiting for an answer, Bennet sauntered over to the nearest soft recliner. "I wouldn't have believed you of such a thing, not for a moment. But sometimes, you just need to ask. The investigation into Dr. Suresh's whereabouts are ongoing, as are those regarding Sylar's. We believe they've separated. To be frank, we aren't sure. Did you have any reason to believe we did know something?"
Eden poured two cups of coffee. They were going to need it. She sat on the sofa after handing a mug to Bennet. "I just had no idea. I didn't know what happened with Chandra or Patient Zero." Should I say it? "Lately, I've been wondering what happens to all the people we tag. I'm only involved in a few cases. I probably haven't even seen that much, but are they all treated the way I was?"
Bennet sat back in his chair, attempting to soften the conversation, however futile an attempt it may have been. "The vast majority, yes. However, there are exceptions. The Company's purpose is to keep people safe. We monitor special individuals and make sure that they are able to develop their abilities in a safe and healthy manner. But imagine what are power such as yours could do in the hands of someone like Charles Manson? So, we keep the general population safe by... taking care of those few individuals who become truly dangerous. Still, those are rare cases."
Eden was starting to feel more at ease. "Just to be clear, taking care means killing, or just keeping them locked up, or is it case by case? And are there any known cases that are still out there that have yet to be caught?"
"Case by case. That's how we do things. And as far as any cases we haven't caught, there are always some. Patient Zero, of course, and there's another I know of that apparently is being tracked down as we speak. He's radioactive, so the situation is very delicate, as you might imagine." There were issues that the two of them had yet to touch on, and Bennet hid his apprehension regarding the coming moments. "Now, do you have any more questions for me, or is the lesson over?"
“Very funny Bennet. But I do have another question. It’s a little out there…is there anything or anyone out there that could destroy the world?”
Bennet did little to hide his laughter. “Planning a crusade, are we?”
The seriousness was gone from the conversation entirely. All the joking, the casualness of the conversation made Eden like Bennet more. But…she couldn’t shake off the other conversation she had in this same room…
“I’m just testing the waters,” she said with a smile. “There seems to be more that you need to tell me.” She took a sip of coffee, waiting for his response.
“In my opinion, the world is destroying itself. But if you’re asking about anything specific, in regards to the Company… I really wouldn’t know. My authority doesn’t reach that far. I’m more for doing my little part to make things better.” Bennet smiled, knowing the awkwardness of his words still hung in the air. “I don’t mean to sound like a public service announcement, but I believe we’re doing good work. You just have to be comfortable with morally gray areas. It’s all for the greater good, isn’t it?”
Eden was almost embarrassed by what Bennet was saying.
“Come on Bennet, I’m sure you didn’t come all the way from Texas just to ask if I had anything to do with Chandra’s disappearance.”
“Very well,” said the man in the horn-rimmed glasses, rising from his chair and returning to his business stance. “I’m more than willing to answer your questions, but I don’t need a visit for that. I’m afraid that I came with an agenda. Are you familiar with a Mr. Austin Linderman, from Las Vegas?”
“No. Who is he?”
“Well, you may have heard that I am up for promotion within the Company. Well, part of that was learning of just how far its reach extends. Mr. Linderman is the head of the Company, as well as the manager of several large casinos in Las Vegas. He has a reputation for being a rather high-ranking mob boss. Naturally, I was surprised to learn of his connections, and slightly unsettled, but I will have the chance to ask questions later.” Bennet kept his face in keeping with his outward confidence, allowing his uneasiness to remain in the back of his mind, where thoughts on his mission dwelt. “In any case, he wishes to meet with you.”
Eden did not feel good about this. The head of the company was a mob boss? In Vegas? If that didn’t scream ‘crook’ she didn’t know what did.
“What does he want to see me for?”
“I understand your apprehension, Eden, but you of all people should know that reputations are often inaccurate. For all I know, he just wants to talk. He may have a special assignment for you. You’ll find out soon enough. And you should have no worries about your safety. If anything should happen to you, Eden…”
Bennet looked to the side, as though he were suddenly keenly aware of something off to the right. He then turned back to Eden. “…I would take personal action. Our history means something to me, Eden. I may seem like a constant Company man, but I’m still Noah.”
Eden was taken aback. Bennet hadn’t been this outwardly kind since Eden was first taken in. The choice seemed obvious, even though she outwardly showed her discomfort in the decision that she was about to make. But then again, would any decision be easy these days?
“Thank you…it’s nice to know someone has my back.”
She tried to resist the urge of acting like a little kid, but more and more, Noah Bennet was becoming a father figure to her.
“I’ll see him.”
Bennet gave a simple smile. “Good then. I have a car waiting outside for us, if you’d like to…”
Interrupting the moment, the door burst open and Mohinder Suresh stood in the threshold. “Eden, there’s something I…” suddenly aware of the other presence in the room, Mohinder regained his composure. “My apologies. I didn’t know that Eden had any visitors. I’m Doctor Mohinder Suresh. And you are…?”
“Mr. Bennet. I work with Miss McCain at the rehabilitation center.” Ever prepared for unexpected circumstances, Bennet was in immediate business mode once again. He offered a friendly hand to the man he knew all to well. “It’s good to meet you, Dr. Suresh.”Oh, jeez, Mohinder. And it looks like he's found something out.
“Mr. Bennet, let me meet you downstairs and we can be on our way to see that patient.”
Bennet turned to Eden, his face suddenly quite serious. “Alright, Eden. I’ll be right outside when you’re ready.” Of course, his look said much more. “Again, it was nice to meet, you, Doctor.” Bennet quickly stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him. However, never forgetting his assignment, he removed a small microphone from his breast pocket and stuck it to the door before heading down the stairwell.
When the two of them were seemingly alone, Mohinder stepped closer to the girl. “Is everything alright, Eden?”
“It’s fine, it’s just a patient who’s actually outside of the city, so I’m going to need to pack.”
Eden went into her bedroom, with Mohinder following her. She dragged out a suitcase and started piling clothes into it.
“Mohinder, I know you need to talk to me, but I’m really stressed right now. Whatever you got to say, say it calmly and quietly. I’m sorry to be so blunt, but it will be best for both of us.”
She looked at him with care in her eyes, hoping he would take the hint to be quiet with whatever he said.
Mohinder could sense something unusual about the circumstances. Still, his mind was a blur of thought, so he pressed on. “Eden, a few days ago, I received a rather mysterious note by my door. It said… it said that my father was alive. It was signed ‘A friend’.”
Eden had suspected that Mohinder’s news was about Chandra, but this still made her eyes bug out.
“Mohinder, did it just say a friend? Was there any other writing on it?”
“It was crossed out, I couldn’t read it.” Mohinder began to pace about the room, completely at loss. “Eden, I don’t know what I should be doing. Should I find this man who sent the note? Should I go off in search of my father? I feel so useless here.”
Eden went to Mohinder, and held his hand. Mohinder was distressed, but she had to keep him calm. She started to speak in his ear.
“Mohinder, there is so much I have to tell you, but as you can probably tell, it can’t be fully now. But please, Mohinder, don’t go looking for him. Not now. The man who has your father could be very dangerous. I can’t let anything happen to you too. Wait for me when I get back.”
She looked at him, and that same expression was on his face of ‘you’re just a girl’.
“I have resources that can help us, but you have to keep yourself safe now. If any stranger comes to your door, call the police.”
God is this enough? I don’t want to leave, but I have to.
Sensing something behind her voice, Mohinder was calmed, albeit only slightly. He backed away from Eden, allowing her the space to pack. “I’m not sure I understand, but I’ll let you go. Just be sure to return quickly.”
She finished packing by then, zipped up her suitcase, and headed towards the door.
“Mohinder…I…uh…see you in a couple of days.”
And they left the apartment, Eden locking her door, and Mohinder going into his apartment. She took the elevator down.
Who the hell do I trust?
Bennet was standing by the car, as promised, when Eden descended the stairs outside the building. His hand rested in his pocket, fingers on the box inside. Bring her by any means necessary. That was the mission. Bennet was thankful that the syringe in that box never left its place, but was quite mindful of the instructions given to him. Things are getting far deeper than I imagined, he thought.
"Are you sure you’re ready?” he asked Eden as she came up to him. The look on her face was all the answer he needed. They entered the car and, in uneasy silence, drove off toward the airport.