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Heroes: Emergence of Humanity

Episode 4: Homeward Bound

Chandra Suresh

Brooklyn, New York

The human is like many other species. We seek the common, the known, and the familiar. It is the familiar that usually enables our perspective of the world. The great philosophes of the eighteenth century knew it was true and remarked that the formation of the individual was through family. It was this view that the philosophes interpreted from Aristotle led to their foundation of education, emotion, and government. For the eighteenth century the family was the center of life, and needed to be returned to on occasion.


Hana, Amid Halebi, & Abu Aswan

Rafah, Gaza Strip

It was not the most ideal setting in the world. The Gaza Strip had the notoriety of being one of the most densely populated areas in the world. That was the reason for Hana's choice, more faces meant more ways to blend into the crowd. The safe house in Rafah was also chosen because it was the only border crossing into Egypt. While there was a peace treaty between the two countries, they exercised little civility. With Halebi's shadow walking ability, the passage would be easy; but if the passage need to be taken during the day than it would be easier at an established passage than a wall.

Amid Halebi adjusted the small black tie that was around his neck as he rolled up the sleeves to his new white shirt. He buttoned two tone vest, and wiped the pleat in his pants down as he sat in the safe house near Hana, redoing his Oxford shoes. He looked a lot better out of an orange jump suit and in more befitting his status as an academic. The bags were still under his eyes, the dullness a testament to his recent time in an Israeli prison.

Abu Aswan had shaved off his beard completely, unlike Halebi who just trimmed, and had his longer hair framing his roundish head. He to made himself presentable in a blue button down shirt and tan Khakis. He stood near the wall, looking at his new flat mates, wondering how long this odd combination would last.

"Now what, Hana," asked Halebi, "how do we get to New York, it's not like we can take a plane right there."

"Well, I've just finalized the creation of several passports for us," she replied as she was doing data transfer in her head, before her eyes a computer screen almost seemed to appear, "we'll be leaving through Egypt in a few days, after we pick up the passports, commercial flight. So be prepared for crowds." The last comment was directed at Aswan more than Halebi.

"And after we get to New York," asked Aswan.

"I'll introduce you to Dr. Suresh, he will be most interested to see you."


Alexander

John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

Alex stepped out of the airport to the multitude of taxies waiting to make a wage. His Aquiline nosed guided his way to one of the only other men with a similar nose leaning against a taxi. He was a lot more stocky than Alexander and held himself in a slouch. His five o'clock stubble was thick and his hair was as dark. The familial resemblance was only noticeable when they were in close proximity.

"Brantanik Nikolai," said to his cousin as he embraced him with one arm and kissed his cheek in greeting, "kak dela? (How are you?)"

"Harash-O, a u tiby-A? (Fine, and you?)" he asked in return, his voice more energetic than Alexander's, "please. brantanik, it's been ages since I spoke the mother tongue, let's continue in English."

"What has America done to you, Nikolai?" Asked Alex as he pushed his rucksack into the trunk of the taxi, "if only our parents could see us now."

"I think they would be proud of you, Mr. Professor," replied Nikolai as he opened the taxi, winking, "get in the back, make it look like I'm actually taking a fare you freeloader."

"You're parents would be proud too, Nikolai," replied Alex as he sat down and closed the door, "you are here, living the American dream."

"Get a doctorate in physics and electromagnetism from Moscow University and spend my time driving cabs," replied Nikolai as he started the engine, "I should be doing research for NYU or teaching at Hudson, but no I drive this junk."

"It could be worse," said Alex as he looked at his gloved hands, "just remember that, Nikolai."

"Speaking of worse, there is a stop I need to make," Nikolai stated as a matter-of-fact.


James

USC University Hospital, Los Angeles, California

Elizabeth and Molly Walker were at the bed side of James. He had only suffered minor injuries from a totaled SUV. It was a miracle he had survived. The police office on duty reported to the paramedic that James not only survived the initial crash, but a secondary one that had collapsed his roof. The only outward sign of injury was bruise from the seat belt across his chest and abdomen. The police officer also commented that all James had requested was a phone to call for Elizabeth.

She smiled as James looked at her with kindness in his eyes. Their little girl, Molly, was holding her fathers index and middle fingers, her stuffed white bunny in the other hand. They were making idle talk. James and Elizabeth were slightly scared with how well their daughter took to hospitals, most likely because of all the times she's been, they thought collectively. The ER doctor walked in and asked to see Elizabeth outside of the enclosed area. James nodded and continued to hold onto Molly.

The doctor looked at Elizabeth, "we ran you're husband's blood work and we're hoping you might clarify something for us. It seems that were a minimal amounts of Ketamine in his system. Ketamine is a general anesthetic used for humans and animals. It's recreational use can be referred as Special K, K-Horse, K-Hole, and Hurricane Katrina. Would you suspect your husband of recreational use of a controlled substance?"

Elizabeth was shocked, the doctor was telling her that James had used a substance illegally. She was barely listening to the doctor as he talked about it being a possible reason for the accident. Nor did she pay attention when he said that he had to report it to the insurance company that would clearly want to do an investigation and most likely find James Walker at fault. She stared at the man she loved, the father of her child, years they had together with one thought, who is this James Walker I am with now?


Candice

Las Vegas, Nevada

Rodney and Candice were outside at an open cafe talking over cups of coffee. Ever since the news from the OB/GYN about the false positive, Rodney and Candice had become closer. It was only a week, but for Candice things were notably different. Rodney seemed more calm, less prone to yelling at her, and more likely to spend positive quality of time. It was new and refreshing, and took Candice some time to get used to it.

She walked into the cafe, instantly feeling a pair of eyes on her. She turned in the direction she thought it came from. Facing the doorway was a middle age man with pepper gray hair who seemed to pay close attention to his newspaper. She walked to the counter to get refills on the coffee, her attention was drawn between the server and the man in the corner. She held up her index finger to the server telling her to wait a minute as she walked over to the man in the corner.

She noticed now that his hair was more bowl shaped and parted to the side like a crooked salesman; he looked directly at her, "good day, Ms. Wilmer, please seat."

"Why are you looking at me," she asked, "how do you know my name? Who the hell do you think you are, mister?"

"Ms. Wilmer," replied Thompson with a large smile, "please, take a seat. I won't keep you long from your boyfriend, Rodney."

Candice was in shock that this man could know so much about her. She turned around and walked to the portico to get Rodney. As they made their way back into the cafe, the strange man was gone. Rodney looked at Candice as if she was crazy and recommended that they go home.


Alex and Nikolai

New York City

Nikolai pulled up to a bar, parking the taxi. He leaned back and told Alex to get out and join him inside for a glass of beer. Alex said he'd prefer vodka as he got into the bar. Nikolai followed him, both cousins sat down at the bar and ordered. They were served promptly, Alex looked over at his cousin.

"So why are we here," he asked in his accented English.

"I need to pick up a package to deliver," he said as he drank his cheap American beer, "it is a side business I have in the US. I am delivery boy."

Alex was suspicious but knew not to pry into his cousin's affairs. He turned back to his glass to drink as someone brushed by him. He was a rather robust man with several chins and matching jump suit. He hugged Nikolai like family and whispered into his ear. Alex turned to watch the two, the other man walked Nikolai to the back behind a curtain that was hanging in a doorway. Nikolai returned minutes later with out the man and motioned for Alex to follow.

Alex got up and followed Nikolai, noting the back pack slung on his shoulder now. They got back to the taxi, got in, the bag being tossed in the back as the vehicle was turned on.

"What is it you have to deliver," asked Alex as he pointed a thumb to the back.

"Don't know," replied Nikolai honestly.

"Don't know? Who are these guys asking you to haul things like a mule?" Asked Alexander concerned for his cousin.

"Their the movers and shakers of New York," replied Nikolai, "they are part of the family."

"They aren't relatives of ours," said Alex as he looked out the window.

"I do some work for the Peppinos," said Nikolai as he kept driving, "they're an Italian family, very connected."

"You're working for the mafia now?" Asked Nikolai, "what has America done to you, cousin?"

"It's made me a survivor," answered Nikolai, "all I do is survive."


Chandra Suresh

Brooklyn, New York

We all feel a strong need to return home. When one is in dire need of someone to be there for guidance, family is the first thought. When one wishes to share a happy moment, it is usually family that is relied upon. Humans look to family because they feel it doesn't change ultimately, and we are disappointed when see those changes. However, it is also the changes we see in ourselves that disappoint us. But there is one thing that always remains within family, even when downplayed, and that is unconditional love.