An Actual Road Trip Beyond Oxnard
An Actual Road Trip Beyond Oxnard
The next morning, and it was Eden who woke the other two up; and she hadn’t been able to find any real information on Suresh’s computer.
“Hey guys, if we leave now, I’m able to snag us a flight for next to nothing.”
“I thought we were using your miles?” Karen asked the antique bookstore employee. “And what about the car?”
“Yeah, but as few air-miles as possible,” the woman replied. “And I can get it first-class to Dallas and a quick connect to Midland. No waiting in terminals. As for the car, I have a friend heading for LA tomorrow to start another year of college; he said he’d be glad to drive it instead of paying airfare.”
“Cool,” John replied. “But what about, what about the Professor’s—”
“”Hey,” she replied from the door with a concerned look and tone. “I’ll be back in a couple of days, and I got a call that his son will fly in at some point to collect him.”
“Hey, you need to figure out some things for yourselves, John,” Eden smiled wanly, but her tones emphasized her point, as well as his name. “And I’ll have your cell number if the family wants to talk to you.”
Karen sighed, “Fair enough, Eden. She’s making a good point, John.”
They hurried through packing their few real belongings, Eden letting them move the rest to her place for now. Two hours later and they were airborne.
When they reached Dallas, the three found that the Midland flight had only one seat, which Eden would need, but she noticed that the small airline had a pair of seats open on their flight to Los Angeles. Eden sighed at letting them out of her sight for a few days, but as it was really a company man delivering the car, it should work out.”
“You guys catch that one,” she told them. “Go see the beach and Disneyland for a couple of days and pick up the car. It looks like that idea is meant to be for now. You can head back home if I can’t make it,” The careful tonality of her emphasis gave her point greater push. “When Doc’s son finishes up in New York, I’ll try to fly out. “
“Sorry we can’t come with you,” John smiled. “There’s this diner in Midland we stopped at with the professor that has great pie.”
“Yeah, I know it isn’t a short drive, but no sense spending even your bundles of money on what the car rental guys want.”
Hiro Nakamura was distraught: not only had he failed to save Charlie, but had ended up on the wrong flight—to Los Angeles instead of Texas. Low on immediate funds, and looking around the LA International Airport in dismay, he felt great dread as got directions to the bus station and headed to find a late-evening taxi.
Karen and John had managed to get a little sleep, but as they collected their bags and moved toward the taxi line, John considered something as a small Japanese man in his late teens or early twenties pressed by.
“I think I’ll call Eden. I just don’t feel right about running off without her, even though it was her idea.”
“Sounds good to me, John,” she yawned, waking up a bit more as they exited the terminal and reached a phone both. “That’ll make me feel better about not insisting. At least nothing else’ll go wrong.”
John reached for the phone only to hear a nasty chuckle from the other side of the phone booth; three really ugly dudes that could only be vampire cultists from the way they were dressed began to saunter around.
“Nice looking gal, there, pretty boy,” the largest one sneered. “I don’t think I’ll mind taking my time with her.”
“Run!” he shouted to her, and she did, not realizing for just a moment that he wasn’t following her. She heard the sound of flesh hitting flesh.
Hiro turned in their direction, and away from three running but driverless cabs. He noticed the familiar-looking couple from the plane, and when the man shouted ‘run’ in Japanese he remembered that strange shock months ago in the diner.
“Hey! Shocky Man!” he started to shout, then watched as the faces of three evil men changed to something truly ugly and animalistic—from his comics he recognized them as demons. Something inside him snapped.
“One more time!” he loudly shouted to himself, and lunged forward.
Karen heard the sound of a man yelling in Japanese, and turned…to find John collapsed passed-out in the backseat of a taxi next to an exhausted Japanese guy. The vampires were hanging from their legs, tied with belts to a low lamppost, but were starting to break free.
“Please…you get us out of here now,” the man told her in accented English as he passed out.
“John,” Karen asked. “What were those?”
“Karen, with so little observational evidence to go on, I won’t deny the possibility,” he sighed, grimacing as he watched the rest of his visible bruises fade to normality. “And my healing seems accelerated.”
“You’re not one of them are you?”
“No, I didn’t get bitten, which a large amount of data I’m suddenly able to access in my memories tell me is an essential first step.”
‘What do you mean a large amount of data? How’s that different from normal?”
“It’s like having a whole second section. Occult, religious, and other data Names, accounts, demonic anatomy and analyses. Insane stuff. Vast amounts of it. But I have no index for it. No frame of reference.”
“So…you see a vampire, you know about vampires. If you don’t…nada?”
“Exactly, Karen, that’s it,” he sighed great confusion. He moved to a sitting position as the other male came-to.
John replied then switched to English. “You called me Shocky Man! You’re that busboy from the dinner!”
“Yes. You remember me.”
“Yeah, it was about that time that I started thinking better. And who could forget the pie at the Burnt Toast Diner?”
Hiro smiled at one who had stood heroically against demons.
“True, it very good there. I am on my way back right now,” he agreed, then as he remembered Charlie, grew somber.
“Are you okay?”
“Yes, but my friend, the waitress, she is dead. I could not save her.”
“What?” Karen responded in confusion. “The happy blond chick?”
“Charlie, yes. Bad man kill her; I try go back to save her, but not able to. I end up back in Japan. Ando still in Texas. Must get there.”
John considered the phrasing, “If she died, how could you save her?”
“I had power; cannot use any more. I could bend space-time continuum and move in time. But could not save. My power seems to be gone.”
“Whoa…” John replied, and Karen looked sad as she spoke to their new acquaintance.
“I’m sorry. I know how losing someone you care about hurts.”
“Thank you, you are kind. Now my mission is failure.”
“What’s your mission, um?”
“Nakamura. I am, in your ways, Hiro Nakamura.”
“You sure were tonight,” Karen assured him. “Though you must have something left—you were able to save John.”
Hiro nodded guardedly. “Yes, but without control, power is dangerous thing.”
“Hiro, please. You help me.”
“Um Hiro, then.” He turned to the teens he knew. “Hiro H-i-r-o is a name in Japan. Hiro, I’m John, this is John, Karen and Karen. If I might ask, what is your mission?”
“I must save the cheerleader to save the world. New York, day after election…B-o-o-o-o-o-m. Gone. Must save cheerleader to save world.”
“How do you know this?” John asked.
“First real time I jump, I jump just before explosion. I read Mr. Isaac’s comic book; it shows me, and Ando, and others. We must save cheerleader to save New York.”
“What’s a comic got to do with it?”
“Everything in comic has happened to me and Ando on our trip.” He gestures around them now, “Not this though. But Shocky Man look like other man. Like Flying Man and brother. Maybe Shocky Man needs to come to save cheerleader too. He not afraid to fight demons to save girl; is very brave. Maybe better at saving than Hiro.”
“Um, name’s John, Hiro,” John smiled, offering a hand to shake. “Karen and I were only going to visit here before heading back to New York.”
“Eden’s in danger…” Karen realized. John nodded and continued. “And isn’t she near the diner?”
“If she in Texas, bad man try to kill her too. Need to save cheerleader to save New York.”
“If, if this is indeed the case, then it should be tomorrow, once we’ve rested and we’re sure you’re injuries aren’t too great.” He looked at Hiro. “Yours as well, Karen. You and Hiro take the two bedrooms; I’ll take the hide-a-bed and chair are yours for the night.”
“Thank you, sir,” Hiro sighed. “But tomorrow I must make my way; I have to be back where I started in three more days.”
“We can even drive that,” Karen assured him. “John and I were going to anyway.”
“No, no vampires like those demons tonight. Never thought I would see one. Just people; people with powers.”
“Well, I don’t know about powers, but we’ll help, okay?”
Karen waited with John, or John as he seemed to go by now, while John showed Hiro where he could wash up, and Karen where she could sleep for the night.
“John? I thought we’re tight on money. D you need to do some stock market thing?”
Hiro, who had entered the room again, lost his smile for a minute, thinking hard. He checked his watch for the date.
“We can try change time. Save bad gambler men from being killed in Las Vegas. We save, and take money from card game.” He proceeded to describe events surrounding the game itself, and not that he and Ando had cheated.
“That’s a lot of money,” Karen said as she sat down in surprise. “And it sounds like a pretty nasty demon that did it if it was that fast. So we have to help him, John.”
“No. Problem. Million dollars. Maybe more. On table. We save men, and give money to Mom-Sama.”
Karen beamed at Hiro, then in cautious triumph at John. He sighed and rubbed his eyes.
“We are not bandits…but if your mother agrees, and you will tell her all of it, then we will accompany at least for a while. No more than a week, perhaps two. We must not leave the—Los Angeles unattended.”
Back in New York City, Where Eden had Immediately Reflown
“Eden, I'm going home. To Madras. To scatter my father's ashes ... and go back to my life and stop trying to live his.” As Mohinder told her this, a knock sounded from the door, and the voice of a man named Peter Petrelli called through it.
“I'm looking for Chandra Suresh.”
“He doesn't live here anymore,” Eden called back as she moved toward the door, Mohinder in front of her.
“The guys at the Petrelli campaign gave me this address. They said he came by this morning?”
As Mohinder opened the door, Peter continued.
“You Chandra Suresh? Hey, aren’t you the cab driver from the other day?”
“No, That was my father. I mean, Chandra Suresh was my father. But now that you mention it,” Mohinder considered with a little suspicion, “I do remember you now. Something about being special?”
“Yeah. Weird. Um ... your father wrote a book about people with ... abilities. I--I think I may be one of them.”
A while later, after talking to Peter Petrelli, Eden and Mohinder conducted a heated debate on whether to follow up or not. She sighs..
“John…the guy I told you about? He might have been one, too. And, tell you what? I’ll go with you. Please? What can it hurt for just one more try?”
Mohinder and Eden reentered the main room.
“So…Mr. Petrelli…” Suresh began. “When you're with your brother, you can fly, and when you're with the artist – ”
“Isaac, yeah. Um, I only met him once, but after, I ... I drew the future. It was weird.”
“And now you don't do either.”
“Maybe I can only do things when I'm around other people who can ... do things. Did that sound as lame as I think it did?”
“It sounds like you should be talking to my father. This was his research, not mine.”
“Well, where is he? How do I get a hold of him?”
“He's on the table,” Mohinder bluntly responded, indicating the urn.
“I ... I'm sorry, Mr. Suresh. But...you believe that this is possible. You have to, I mean ... you believed it this morning. What if I prove it to you?”
“Then prove it.”
“We'll go see Nathan. When I'm around him, I can fly. I've done it before, twice.”
“Fine. Let's go see your brother.”
“Wait, um ... he's in Vegas.”
“Of course he is,” Mohinder scoffed, but Eden nudged him back to civility with an elbow and a frown.
“Then…I'll take you to Isaac's. But it’s ... it's complicated.”
Eden nudged him again, “Let’s just go see, Mohinder.”
They made their way down to the subway, and as they neared the destination, they resumed conversation rather than quiet.
“I've only met him the once,” Peter admitted to them. “But ... maybe I ought to do the talking to start with. He's, heh, he's kind of a heroin addict.”
“Heroin addict?” Mohinder sighed. “You neglected to mention that.”
“Hey, just suspend the skepticism, at least until you meet him”.
“The default scientific position is skepticism.”
“Your father managed to get around it. I don't know, he took a pretty big leap. Gotta respect that.”
“I did more than respect it. I believed him. I had to. I was his son.”
“Can't be only one reason why you believed him.”
“Look at what's happening to our planet: overpopulation, global warming, drought, famine, terrorism. Deep down, we all sense something's not right. My father always talked about how an entire species will go extinct while others, no more unique or complex, will change and adapt in extraordinary ways. He had a romantic take on evolution.”
“And you don't? You're both geneticists.”
“That is also evolution. We're all just variations of the last model.”
“Yeah, cheap knockoffs of our fathers.”
They continued talking, until things began to slow down, then stopped, even the subway itself as everyone was frozen in place except for Peter Petrelli.
An older Hiro Nakamura, dressed as an urban samurai with sword and all, stepped forward out of thin air.
“How is this happening?” Peter asked as he stepped away. “Who are you?”
“I'm sorry if I scared you. You look different without your scar. I am Hiro Nakamura, from the future. We haven’t met yet.”
“I don't know you, buddy.”
“Not yet, as I said, I'm from the future. I have message for you,” Hiro assured him, and handed him a photograph. A younger looking version of the man in front of him, Peter himself, a guy maybe a year or two younger and a pretty brunette stood together. “I don't have much time. I'm risking a rift just by coming here. The girl – Claire –you have to save her.”
“What girl? And where’d you get a picture like this? Who’s the guy?”
“The cheerleader must be saved. The other man is your brother who Linderman took from your mother seventeen years ago. Save the cheerleader. Listen to me. She must live. The painter Isaac? Go to him. He will know. When the younger me calls you, you must tell me where we meet. You told me many times how lost you felt. Before it all started. This...is what you've been waiting for. Be the one we need.
“Wait! What brother?”
“He’s in Los Angeles with me and Karen! He’ll meet you in Texas! Save the cheerleader; save the world!”
“Wait! Hiro! I don't understand!” Peter called out from all the way at the other end of the car from where he’d been talking to Mohinder. Time resumed as Hiro disappeared. “Where are you? I -- I don't understand!”
“Peter! Are you all right? How did you get all the way across the car?”
“He must have a power, or be near someone,” Eden told Mohinder. “What’s with the picture?
“He handed it to me,” Peter off-handedly remarked. “The cheerleader.”
“What?” Mohinder asked.
“I need to save a cheerleader in Texas to save the world.”
“What?!” Eden interrupted before but not because Mohinder might have said something. She was staring at the photo. “Why do you have a picture with you, John, and Karen with some Japanese guy?”
“You know them? Hiro said he was with them now, on their way to Texas. In a place called Los Angeles.” Peter looked at Mohinder, then back to Eden, “Do you know this Hiro? He’s the one who was just telling me we have to save the cheerleader in Texas because something bad is going to happen.”
Mohinder looked at the other two, and because he’d seen Peter suddenly show up in a different place, had doubts about his own misgivings.
“I will need to return to Madras; take care of my father’s ashes and see what resources and notes he may have left behind. It shouldn’t be more than a few days or a week. Then I’ll be able to see what I can do to help.”
“I can keep an eye on your apartment and your namesake,” Eden agreed, referring to the pet lizard. “But I don’t know what else I can do to help.”
“By making me accompany Peter on this otherwise unprofitable trip, you have done plenty, Eden. Thank you.”
“No, Mohinder,” she smiled, and shifted her voice slightly. “Just come back after you’ve taken care of your business there.”