A Kiss Good Night


bolivar_icon.gif claire_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif erim_icon.gif isabelle_icon.gif julian_icon.gif karl_icon.gif mack_icon.gif melinda_icon.gif william_icon.gif

Also Featuring…

baxter_icon.gif knowles_icon.gif and Vance

Scene Title A Kiss Good Night
Synopsis The PARIAH raid goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Date December 14, 2008

PARIAH Base, Ruins of Midtown

It's early in the morning, just a bit past dawn. From the outside, the half-demolished building, its upper floors collapsed in a pile of rubble draped across the lower, looks as abandoned and forlorn as everything else on the fringe of Midtown. Yet the appearance is deceptive, despite the early hour; perhaps especially because of the early hour, when normal people are still in the process of waking up and consuming breakfast. Those who have made PARIAH's work their life have already eaten, and now go about the business of the day.

The interior of the building is occluded from natural light by the broken concrete and twisted steel which has buried it, but the corridors and rooms are all rather well artificially illuminated. What was once a relatively straightforward office-building plan has been thoroughly rearranged by the people who have usurped it. Most notable, again from the outside, are the two entrances which both open into guarded choke-point corridors, allowing a minimum of people through at once. As in, all but single-file.

Deep in the building is what has become commonly known as the 'Map Room' — chamber in which the trio does most of their planning, every available surface bedecked in maps and schematics, tagged with colored sticky-notes and cryptic text, linked by bits of knotted string. Karl, Melinda, and Erim stand around one of the conference tables, along with some of their more trusted followers — Kathleen being conspicuous in her prolonged absence. The document of study, however, is a detailed depiction of their immediate surroundings, and the building itself. "We have to assume most of the defenses are or will be compromised," Karl states, indicating relevant sites on the building diagram. "But that's what Plan B is for, isn't it?" he asks of his companions, smiling thinly. 'Plan B' in the general sense, that is, not a specific plan as such. At least so far as most of PARIAH knows.

They know there's a raid coming. They just didn't find out in enough time for the information to do them any real good.

Leaning against the wall, Julian is more or less listening to what the more talkative, pro-active members of PARIAH have to say. Every now and then, he brings his hand up to cough quietly into a fist. Hey, winter - everyone gets a cold. His hands are bare of gloves, but otherwise, he's clothed for winter, including a scarf that shields his throat. He casts a glance about the other trusted members of the group - as always, taking an observational position.

He does, however, speak up at the mention of Plan B, his voice rasped with illness and tinged with that mix of Belfast and Brooklyn accent. "Should really think about slippin' some other plans in between that and Plan A," he says, wryly. "Could stand to be bumped up through the alphabet a wee bit. Do we not have an idea about when, Karl?"

"Keep with your partners, check your points."

Black boots crunch against rubble as the man paces back and forth in front of the lined up men and women of the strike force. They most resemble a SWAT team, though they most certainly are not that. All highly trained, some of them Evolved.

"Remember, we shock and awe. We show them they are outnumbered and outgunned. Let the black and whites clean up the rubble." One gloved fist smacks into another. "Knock them out, knock them out quick. Avoid fatalities, people." Comes the voice of the man pacing back and forth.

There are no cars near, they came on foot. Silent and quick, they are the unconventional unit. The NYPD will be contacted as soon as they make their strike, bringing in sheer numbers. But for now, it is SCOUT's show.

"We need to show Homeland Security, we need to show the world, this is our city. We're not letting anyone take control of it. This is crucial people, we've got to show the people of New York they can count on us." His boots pivot as he turns to fully face the rest of his squad. "Elisabeth, you'll be with me. Now, one final time, let's go over our entry strategy." The man goes to one knee, to draw the picture for his comrades one more time, in the snow and dirt. His eyes raise up through his helmet's visor as he views the other men and women accompanying him. "And remember, don't die."

The little ragemonkey known as Vance LeGuin paces around the map room like a caged lion. "We're fucked. Fucked! By fuckers." He bangs a fist down on a table causing someone's coffee mug to shimmy, fall and explode all over the floor. The middle-aged musician might be seen as a loose canon to some, but he has been a very effective member of the group. For…the most part. The trio might be calm, but he's not. He drops onto a folding chair and then violently kicks a metal trash can. He's like a six year old throwing a tantrum because he doesn't get to live. He takes his purple glasses off and rubs the bridge of his nose, then shoves them back on again. He stares at the floor and takes several calming breaths to try and pull his rage under control. "So what. Plan B's cyanide tablets and a kiss good night?"

Garbed in the body armor and dark clothing of the SCOUT team, Elisabeth Harrison nods slightly to the team's leader. The quick run-through of the plan yet one more time reassures her. This team seems to know what it's doing, in spite of the fact that this is trial-by-fire for her — she's technically not even completed her training yet, still three days shy of the end of it. She remains silent during the briefing, merely going over the floor plan again in her head one more time.

At Bolivar's heels, there are dogs. Logan Rose is the Welsh spaniel, whose curls bounce with what some might construe as inappropriately girlish cheer; Nina Lou is the mountainous Shepherd who, despite having technically edged into some acceptable age of retirement, looks ready for anything but that.

They cut an odd trio, patrol dog, tracker, and the small, viciously burn-scarred man who strides along between them, but they're unified as much in their purpose as their lack of self-consciousness. Snow shreds quietly behind them and frosty air ahead. It's quiet but evident, that Bolivar is taking cues from his dogs as much as they are from him. The girls smell and hear nothing out of order for now, their ears forward and tails high. Appropriately, Bolivar's hand stays on their leashes instead of his weapon, and his lips are sealed loose against the biting white of cold.

Were this a Bennet operation, the building would already be cleared out.

And possibly burning to the ground.

"Does this look like Jonestown to you?" Claire turns a very flat stare on Vance. The comment may be off-colour, but he's behaving a like a child that needs a little sobering, and so the comment is made. "They can't really stop us. We're a cause. A symbol." But to that effect, "Why are we still sitting here? We should have been emptying this place out as soon as we had some sort of inkling." The brunette paces the room restlessly, coming finally to a halt behind Julian. "When," she echoes the man's question. "Do we sit here and wait for it to happen?"

"Calm the fuck down Vance." Isabelle says firmly to the man and nods her head at Claire, "I agree we need to get people out. Now." Dressed in all black and a brown leather jacket with a hood, Isabelle leans against the table that Vance banged on. "Plan B?" she asks with a eyebrow raised. Her arms folded as she turns her gaze to Karl.

The look Karl gives Julian is a rueful one — but the chime of a cellphone forestalls the words he would've said. It's Melinda who picks up the cheap gadget, automatically calling up the message. "How about right fucking now?" the pale-haired woman snaps, a flick of her wrist sending the offending phone clattering down the same table a coffee cup once resided upon.

Karl steps into the ensuing pause before Melinda can continue with a rant of her own. "Erim, Julian. Downstairs. Collect anyone you can, and wait as long as you can. Vance, with me; we'll take the south entrance. Isabelle, you're with Mel. Burn the maps and try to channel the smoke out the north side. Follow Erim after." He glances sidelong at Claire, not appreciating her criticism. He doesn't bother with protracted explanations, either. She's known almost as long as they have — a mere few minutes. So much for their connections. "Claire, either grab a gun and keep them out long enough for Isabelle to finish, or go with Erim." Karl doesn't wait for questions or alternate suggestions. He just heads out the nearer of the room's two doors.

Erim gives Karl a glance, then does the same, jogging out the other direction. For once, the trio has actually split up.

Julian frowns, not completely comprehending Melinda's words. He'd asked when, and— now? Now? He looks at Karl in something like disbelief when his order is given. "Motherfucker," he says, hesitating when Erim goes rushing out. One last glance to Karl, before he looks towards Vance. With a sigh that's more angry than resigned, the Irishman makes for the door, not without clapping a hand on Vance's shoulder as he goes - the clothing an adequate barrier to prevent any side effects - and of his guess as to Plan B, Julian mutters to him, "Not exactly." And with that, he's moving at a run to follow Erim.

"Alright. We're at a severe disadvantage. But surpise is what we do have. Team B will go to Entrance 1, Team A will come with me to Entrance 2." The paths are drawn in the snow dirt then gestured to the building. "Come in with the gas, and keep pushing your way in. Keep the shields at the front and just barrel in there. We will have to run blind for a minute. So cover your partners, take care of each other. Let's take these terrorists out." William says as he finishes his speech. He goes to lift himself to his feet. "Rifles with rubber bullets, sidearms with live ammo. Only use lethal force if you have to. Now, let's do this." His fist is balled and gives a sound 'thump' on each man's chest as he walks by, giving them each a sage nod. Once Elisabeth is reached, William's brows furrow fore just a moment, his hand unballing to give her a quick and slightly awkward pat on the shoulder, then he continues to encouraging his men. "Baxter you take lead on Team B." Half the squad of SCOUT goes with the said member, two members remaining behind with William and Elisabeth.

"Alright. Fall in." Rifles drawn, the men take to a silent but swift march through the darkness to their respective entry points.

"We're a cause and a symbol." Vance gives Claire a long look, then stands again. He digs his hands deep into his pockets and darts over to look down the hallway. "But we're a symbol to them too. They wipe us out, they can claim…they won." He looks around the room, at the people he's fought beside. His lips crease into a thin line. "We can't let them."

For all his bluster, Vance is a dedicated member of PARIAH. When orders are given, he listens. The musician picks himself up, straightens his clothes and puts a hand through his hair. Julian is given a nod before he gives one last look and falls into step behind Karl.

Picking up her rifle, checking that her sidearm is secure but unfastened for easy drawing as necessary, Elisabeth falls in with William and jogs toward their target, amused on the inside at his apparent uncomfortableness. The past week and a half of practice with Conrad has not been in vain — even as she moves, once they get to a point where she can see the mostly destroyed building, she starts narrowing her hearing range in on the building. Though she's not picking up anything at the moment, it's good practice and it could save their lives if something useful comes up. Meanwhile, she merely keeps up with her group, weapon to the ready.

In the meantime, Bolivar stops with his girls and the rest of the PD's loaned hands. SCOUT leads. He's okay with that. His brow creases slightly when William's orders are repeated down the line to where he is, however, the verbalized stipulation placed on lethal force making it somewhat more concrete than he strictly wants to deal with when they are dealing with super-powered terrorists douching around on their home turf. Resisting the urge to roll his eyes, he looks down at Nina Lou's angular head, reaches down to unhook the leash from her collar. Smooths gloved fingers through the dense caramel stuff of her fur.

He can't feel the strands through the fabric covering his skin, but he does feel it when a growl begins to tick up in her throat. Something's happening. He drops deeper, into a crouch, dark eyes narrowing.

Baxter nods his head at William and responds succinctly: "Sir." He cracks the other man a white grin and, without further ceremony, begins to move toward Entrance 1 with a motion of his free hand over his shoulder; the rifle hangs firm in his other. His teammates know him well enough that they can tell that the quieting of his jogging footfalls is as much ground stealth training as the beginning manifestation of powered flight. "Knowles with me," he says: a fair complement. And just as Harvard had done, he divvies up the rest of the squad by surname.

"I don't know about you," Claire sends one last grin to Vance before he can take off, "but I intend to grandstand the hell out of my trial." She's at least assuming an example will be made through the courts if law enforcement has their way today. "You be safe." She has no intention of letting law enforcement have their way. Karl doesn't have to tell her twice. Claire may have lost her beloved Lulu in the confrontation between the split Peter Petrelli and Sylar, but securing a new firearm was not difficult. She merely slings off the large messenger bag she had across her body and reaches into it to retrieve the short, sawn-off double barrel weapon. "All right, Caleb," she whispers to the new weapon. "Showtime."

A nod is given to Karl as he gives instructions and as soon as everyone is out of the way. Izzy strokes her knife Artemis that is in her waist holder and then she puts her hands out in front of her. Fire ignites over her arms and cackles with power as she burns everything of importance in the room, the maps and any other info that could be used against them. "Things are about to get really hot in here Claire." She warns the young woman as she turns her flames towards the table and smoke rises as the flames continue, but they aren't out of control. Isabelle would never let the flames disobey her. Not under her watch.

Karl and Vance aren't the only ones opting to make a stand at the south. There are two others who've taken up a place on what's now a second-floor balcony, after PARIAH members did some not-so-cosmetic surgery on the interior floor plan. Sheltered behind stone, they have machine guns trained on the corridor mouth from which William's team will enter. There's another member standing guard down its length. Karl gestures Vance towards one of the stone-and-metal edifices raised within the otherwise empty space. Bulwarks to take cover behind while holding off the authorities, in theory.

Melinda grins at Isabelle, showing entirely too many of her neat white teeth. "Miracle Girl doesn't need to worry about that, Izzy." She herself slides out of the chair she'd been sitting in and paces a bit, until she figures she's in quite the right spot. Then Melinda draws in a smoke-tainted breath, eyes half-lidding; this isn't how she prefers to employ her power. A slow sweep of her hand from before her chest towards the northern door, both air and smoke echoing the motion. They won't have any problems with breathing smoke. Neither will the redshirts who've taken up the northern defenses, in reflection of Karl and Vance. But the corridor beyond has become a wind tunnel, and everything airborne is going out.

Erim, meanwhile, winds his way through the honeycomb that is the first floor, shouting at other members of the terrorist faction as he passes by but never stopping. The side-stairs which lead down to the basement are his destination, and the young man all but jumps down them two at a time. He leads the way past foodstuffs, medical supplies, and guns to one particular cluster of boxes. "Help me move these," he directs Julian and the handful of others that followed in their wake, even as Erim starts tossing boxes about himself with complete disregard for their contents.

Julian is right beside Erim, about as careless as to the handling of the boxes as the other terrorist, fingers hooking over the edges and letting the things tumble aside. Those they had dragged down here with them take care to shift them out of the way, as well as move them in unison with the other two men. "How long d'y'reckon Karl wants us to wait?" Julian hisses, mind already skipping ahead to how exactly he's meant to get out of here, and keeping an ear out for the sounds of gunfire or worse. He could do more useful things than talking, like not talking, but he can't help it, huffing out, "My vote is for as long as bloody possible if you want my opinion."

"Alright." William says quietly to the three people behind him. "Masks on." He makes a flicking motion over his shoulder and one of the two men behind Elisabeth moves forward, hefting the large black shield in front of him. William, then nods to the other operative. Who quickly and promptly is quietly tromping towards the door. Falling to one knee the man begins to install a small explosive on the bottom of the door.

"Stack up." William commands quietly as the man goes about his work. The Shield officer presses his back on the wall to one side of the door, William leading Elisabeth to the other side while they wait for the explosive to be fully prepared. While they're waiting, William eyes Elisabeth for a moment. "You look good." Comes the whisper. The whisper which garners looks from both the explosives operator and the shield holder. William screws his face up for a minute. "What? Pay attention." He demands sharply.

Then the man stands up quickly and stacks up on the other side of the door. William gives a firm nod. "Go." The detonator is clicked…

On the other side of the building, Team B is doing much the same. Terrence Knowles leans his black shield easily on his arm as he marches quietly along his compatriots. Jordan Baxter, a man who has powered flight leads the team, Gabriel McNamara follows the two and two more men, non-evolved, who in Knowles' opinion will most likely die today. The man marches beside Baxter, making his way for the entrance, hefting that shield in front of him. "Ready sir." His deep voice vibrating quietly as the steam comes off his breath. The man turns his head behind him, grinning for a second. "You ready Mack?" The man then turns his dark eyes towards the entrance.

And William's teams entry is already underway. Stagger the entrances by a little bit and hopefully their defenses will get confused. The door is blown in, flying violently inward with a loud booming noise. And only instants after that grenades are flying in, flash and tear gas. OH NO PARIAH! IT'S THE PO-PO!!!

Vance nods to Karl and moves to take up his spot behind the stone. The terrakinetic places a hand against the edifice and closes his eyes to gain a connection with the earth. He keeps his hand in place, like a thumb on a trigger. He stares forward, searching for signs of movement. The man beside him moves in silently and slips a physical weapon into his hand. He nods to the other, swallows and lifts the weapon towards the door. His lips move in silent prayer.

And then they come. The concussive blast shakes him right to his toes. At the first sign of motion, he starts to fire towards the door that was just blown in.

Holding to one side of the guys with the shields and explosives, Elisabeth stands clear. She looks at Will with a strange look when he compliments her, and then looks alarmed. "Captain," she hisses in a whisper, "They know we're coming!" This close in the hallway, it was hard to separate out sounds we were making with what was going on ahead, but she clearly heard the shouting as someone went the other way from here. Still, it's too late. The entry has already begun. She blocks out her own hearing as the detonator goes. She can't do much except go in with the SWAT-style entrance, just like any unpowered cop here. She ducks just a hair to the right as she does, getting out of the line of fire for those behind her, even as she makes sure her own line of fire is clear.

Baxter reaches up to yank goggles and filter down over his categorically pretty face and his his shield close, the split instant before he kicks off terra firma and sends the first smoke canister into egress with all of the added velocity he can pull out of three yards of flight. A reasonable amount of velocity. Comparable, in fact, to the velocity of Melinda's wind blowing that smoke — and an additional quantity from pyrokinesis — right back out into Squad B.

Spitting a curse out under his breath, his flight seizes high just in time — and just long enough to hear the scream of machine gunfire roar out, the noise amplified by the wind tunnel like a megaphone.

Fortunately, Baxter's been in the sky long enough to know when the air is telling half-truths. "Machine guns are on the other exit!" he shouts back. "Move in. Do not dig in at twenty feet," no matter how tempting it is: the widening of the hallway will be welcome after the claustrophobia of the route in, he knows, but they can be afraid when they're dead for all he cares. "This is PARIAH's way out. Team A'll be fucking Swissed if we don't cover them. Go!" Always one to demonstrate, fly-boy does exactly that, ripping through the night sky and against the wind, his shield bundled close, silhouette streamlined.

Somewhere back, further behind the line, Bolivar scowls at the smoke and quits patting his dog long enough to pull out his sidearm. He waits for there to be an exit to guard. Rather than, you know, massed with ostentatious SCOUT officers.

The door is blasted open, smoke is deployed, a man enters flight. Amidst all of this, Mack's entrance is relatively low key and boringly mundane. Encased in Kevlar and with a beautiful looking UMP .45, he storms the corridor in his place. The wind is rather unpleasant, especially given the propensity of flying objects to seek out invading SCOUT officers.

At Baxter's command to, in fact, not dig in at twenty feet he keeps moving. Instead, he moves forward to find a bead on these supposed machine gunners to hopefully do more than just get suppressive fire on them. Bastards.

"Trust me, Isabelle, I can handle it." Claire quirks a brow at the pyrokinetic and smirks. She then watches Melinda do her thing and nods appreciatively. She pumps the shotgun once and then hurries toward the north side, heedless of the wind, because she suspects the people coming after them aren't going to let much stop them either. "I'll hold them off. Do what you do best and give me a shout when we're ready to run."

"I'll take your word for it." Isabelle says and then she burns the rest of the documents to ash and then turns her head to Melinda. "We're ready now." Izzy drops her hands and the flames on one arm are put out while the other blazes brightly. She pulls her hood up with the non FLAME ON hand and walks past Melinda towards Claire, not bothering to put the fires that she started with the maps and documents. "Coming blow-hard?" a wink is given to Melinda. "Karl said get to Erim, so to him we go." Izzy eyes the room, satisfied that nothing will survive the fires she started and then she continues to walk.

The hapless sentry in the southern corridor is very much disoriented by the sudden noise and light and — worst of all! — tear gas. It's just about everything he can do to get out of the way. Some terrorist.

Crouched behind his inanimate shield, Karl waits until he judges the representatives of legal authority have reached the corridor's end. The gunfire that sounds out from the balcony above — and Vance's position as his mirror-image — nearly coincides with Karl looking out from behind the stone, yielding the slightest of targets to the entry team, a small slice of face. His eyes narrow, focusing on the SCOUT who comes up first. Karl's mind reaches out to three of the bullets fired their way — by the pair on the balcony, by Vance, it doesn't matter. That trio of bullets which would've impacted futilely on a shield are redirected to swerve around the barrier, with no loss in speed, heading for the second officer in the line. William.

Melinda watches with a bare minimum of attention to anything but her power. Once the important things are well and truly burning, she stalks towards the map-room doorway, untouched by her own wind. She lets the airflow slow, retaining just enough that they don't choke on sooty drafts. "I'm going to go kill some fucking cops," Melinda says to the other women, gleefully cheery as she heads for the north entrance. It would be macabre but somehow fitting if she were whistling while she walked. Death. Destruction. Good times. "You two get to the basement."

At the north entrance, Baxter's abandoned team are under fire from two machine-gunners on a balcony — who actually have the sense to fire in short bursts — and another pair behind constructed bulwarks of metal and stone like those Karl and Vance are using on the other side of the building. However, it sounds and looks like there are at least twice as many fortified positions and gunners than there actually are, an illusionist crouched on the balcony providing false threats and targets for the entertainment of the officers.

One of Mack's rubber bullets scores a hit, enough to reduce the number of gunners by one for the moment.

"Until we don't have any other options?" Erim replies to Julian. Demolishing the stack of boxes reveals a doorway that doesn't see much use. The young man turns away from it, pointing at two of their hangers-on. "Joseph. Theo. Stand watch up above." Then he leads the way through the door.

Into a room ornamented not with wallpaper, paintings, or even a wall-safe, but with a smattering of plastic explosives and wires that apparently lead to other bouquets of the same sort concealed elsewhere in the building.

"Mary and Joseph," Julian mutters as the sound of— explosions and gunfire and all kinds of excitements sound off above them, too close for comfort. PARIAH members are going to die or disappear today, and he expects some cops will as well. Their own fault. Julian's sign of the cross is quick before he's scurrying after Erim. Almost gratefully, despite the direction they're going, towards the cocktail of detonators wired to vulnerable points in the building. "Fuck fuckity fuck," he hisses rapidly. Despite what they're surrounded by, and the obvious heavy-duty weaponry going off upstairs, he takes out a humble switch blade from his pocket. Just in case. "Think we're running out of options, boyo," he says, moving to go through the motions of setting up the timers to the explosives. He is absolutely no expert and has no idea how this thing actually works - but he's been shown what to do, the first time he came down here. Any idiot can flick a few switches.

Terrence Knowles moves impressively quick for a man his size. The stocky man throws his weight forward as he barrels through the hall, narrowing his gaze. The shield is held up in front of him as he barrels forward. He grimaces when the knowledge that the machine guns are firing the other way. For an instance he wishes he was placed on the other team. Where he could protect more, where he could be of more use. The shield is held somewhat carelessly for a man of his training. He doesn't carry it like other SCOUT members would. Most likely because he doesn't really need to. But then there's a shot off the shotgun from Claire. And Terrence Knowles actually tries to step in front of it. A loud twan sounds out like the ricochet of a bullet on metal. Though Terrence's skin is no longer black. It's a sleek silver.. Metal. A giant shrug of metal shoulders as his sidearm is drawn. "C'mon, MOVE!" And then there is more gunfire. Machine gunners from the balcony. Though the bullets either smash against his metal skin or his shield, Terrence takes the brunt of the attack, firing back a volley of live ammunition.

William's eyes go wide for half a second at Elisabeth. "What?!" He asks, but it's too late. The door is already blown, their man is already moving in. He has to move in behind him, and so he does so. Gripping his rifle with both hands, he stalks forward steadily. But his thoughts race through his head. Who was this an ambush on? SCOUT ambushing PARIAH? Or the other way around…? Gunfire rings out, and soon the point man is holding up, taking the brunt of the force with his large shield. William aims his gun upward, firing a spray of his own rubber bullets in return. But then there is a loud cry. William isn't even sure where it comes from, until he realizes he's on his rear. A gloved hand closes around his shoulder and he lets out another cry.

For a moment he's swimming in pain not sure what exactly is going on. Then.. He's back. His eyes scanning quickly to catch up on what he had missed. Bullets. Somehow got passed the shield and into his vest. One penetrated. How, how is that possible? His comrade had dragged him behind the shield man once he had fallen. William snatches a quizzical look at Elisabeth as he quickly pushes himself back to his feet, taking another flurry of shots. How did that happen?

"I'm switching to live rounds, sir." Comes the man's words behind William. He starts to change out magazines…

How could that possibly happen, William is lost in thought as he focuses on pushing forward with the shield man at the front. Blood runs down the kevlar. Not enough to keep him down, though the pain will be a severe annoyance. He will have to go see his brother after this.

Vance has seen standoffs, battles and several ops in his time with PARIAH. He knows how to keep cool in a fight. But that will only last so long until the reality of the situation - the fact that their one safe place has been invaded - hits home. So he summons up all his power and grips tightly to the stone barrier. A vein pops out in his forehead and sweat starts to dapple. Then Will's team will have more to contend with than bullet fire. The ground in front of them rumbles and then heaves up six feet like a giant stone wave. Some of the building's bracing cracks and some debris falls from above. The whole -building- is shaking, but the invaders near the door feel the brunt of it. It will hopefully buy them some time and provides even more of a barrier. They can't get many shots off now either, but they have ways of attacking that don't require bullets.

Wind blowing down the hallway, machine gun fire, now there's a lady with a shotgun. There isn't a lady with a shotgun. Maybe there is, but its not Mack's concern right now. Let Knowles deal with that in his uniquely well suited way. Once the madness begins to crystalize in front of the former detective, he makes a decisive decision. "This ain't a raid, this is a god damn trap!" Fuck rubber bullets. A quick click drops the clip with rubbers in it to the floor and is quickly replaced with real bullets.

When the two point men get through the door and the shields are being bombarded by emplaced machine guns, Elisabeth starts firing. Fuckin A… Rubber bullets are not going to cut it here, there is no way in hell. And then William's hit. How the fuck…?? With that happening, the ground suddenly starts shaking, and Liz pauses. Will said not to try it…. but goddamn, we're gonna get killed here if she doesn't. Disobeying a direct order, she steps forward to stand right between the two shield men, shouting to her entire team, "Stay behind me a second!" And then tries something she's only read about — a trick she has never attempted on another human being since she realized her powers were sound-related. Using the cacophony that is the machine guns as a weapon, she starts reflecting the sound backward toward the PARIAH folks, amping it up and up and up into the sonic range, and then higher still …. into the ultrasonic frequency ranges where they will (she hopes) start vibrating in everyone's ear canals and cause nausea and vertigo in every person who is not behind her. She only hopes it won't reflect back on her own team — but even if it does, at least it gives us a fighting chance.

Jordan Baxter is happy to see that he wasn't altogether wrong about the auditory illusion of gunfire, because making everybody dead at first strike would have been pretty lame. Perhaps amazingly, Jordan doesn't stop to congratulate himself this time because he is, in fact, now being shot at in enthusiastic capacity. His shield is almost wrenched out of his hand when a machine gun round punches a twisted hole in the corner of his shield, channeling shock through his arm. Fuck.

The hallway spits him out into the open room and he instantly spikes toward the ceiling, scattering away from his men in time to see some girls start running around and a machine gunner fall to Mack's shot and the other one teeter when the building starts fucking shaking. Jordan yanks a flashbang out of some unimaginable compartment of vest and flies an arc through the air, hurls the grenade at the balcony before he swoops downward and away from the radius of the deafening and blinding clap of artificial thunder in order to aim another one at the rubble behind which the other gunners are shooting.

He is, unfortunately, momentarily distracted by the sight of girls running away as if they have some kind of purpose or specific destination. "Fuckers retreating inward!" he shouts, a moment before one of the machine guns finally manages to swivel high enough upward to bury a round in him on its way up wrecking the wall with a line of perforations. For a moment, Jordan stops saying anything at all, but he isn't falling. Not yet.

Outside, Bolivar and the PD's boys listen to the fizzing static and roar across the comms and glance at each other, before the order is given to move to the entrances. Nina Lou hasn't stopped growling; she moves forward at her master's side with her hackles up. The younger dog follows at a flouncing gai.

"Mel—" Claire frowns faintly and glances to Isabelle. Melinda heading out without her bothers the former cheerleader, but she knows how to follow orders. "Come on. Let's go." She doubles back past Melinda and grabs Isabelle's arm, dragging her along toward the basement.

"Yes sir!" Isabelle says with a smile and she wrenches her arm free. It was the non-flame arm. There goes Vance with the earthshaking! Izzy wobbles some and then makes her way to the stairs leading to the basement and then looks over her shoulder. "Hope Mel doesn't get herself killed." She says and then jogs down the stairs and comes to the doorway with the bombs, Erim and Julian. "Time to go boom my friends?" Her hood has fallen back down and she smiles at the two in the room.

The machine-gun fire from the southern balcony is reduced to stuttering fits, and then nothing at all as the two on the second floor focus all of their attention on keeping their balance in the face of Vance's power. And not becoming collateral damage. Karl flinches away from a piece of ceiling; flinches more from Elisabeth's attack. But for a short period of time, as the building settles and its occupants try to recover from all the conflicting vibrations, there is no gunfire. Karl, however, isn't ready to quit yet — and he doesn't need a gun. The bullets embedded in his 'shield' work their way out; spent shells from Vance and the gunners above are also turned into impromptu missiles, sent flying at the SCOUT team.

On the north side, the gunfire also falters as the building quakes. The balcony, not being original construction, sheds a fragment of itself — which crashes through one of the illusory defenses. Oh, yeah. Only half of your enemies are real. The one actual second-floor gunner still able to shoot doesn't, disoriented by the sudden appearance of a flash-bang on the balcony. The illusions fail, flickering in and out and then disappearing altogether as the illusionist also reels. Melinda stands in the doorway on the interior of the room, looking up at the flying Baxter and out at the various officers. A wicked grin pulls at her lips, and the young woman lifts one hand, fingers curling into a fist. Baxter is the first, followed by Mack — being next furthest in — to feel the effects of her power — the sensation of choking, the lack of oxygen, the lack of air.

Down in the basement, Erim nods to Claire and Isabelle. "I take it we're not doing well up there?" he asks of the girls. Given that they wouldn't be here otherwise. Turning, Erim opens the trapdoor that leads down into a ruined subway tunnel. The escape from Plan B. "Ladies first," he says, waving them in.

"Glad to someone's all smiles," Julian says of Isabelle, only sparing the two women a glance when they first bust in. He, himself, is not all smiles at all, pale face the picture of anger, and he curses again at the sound gunfire above. But he's done. The place is set to blow. "They don't fuck around, do they? We're set," he barks towards the other three. "That is if Vance doesn't tear the place down first." He doesn't wait for the ladies to contemplate feminism and the manners of gentlemen and ladies going first - he's busy darting underground, although a hand does go out towards Claire - one of the few people in the world that wouldn't immediately regret the contact - to urge her in as well.

William draws back slightly, firing off another spray of rubber bullets. He casts another glance to his bullet wound in his shoulder. Damnit this thing is far beyond fucked. Why did he think it was okay to rush in here thinking they had the upper hand? Was he blinded by his ambition? Finally there was a red apple set in front of him and he just lunged at it. And now people are getting shot and dying because of it… Speaking of dying…

The shield man went too far forward. And then the ground decided to jump upwards. Looking wide eyed down at the ground the man doesn't have long enough to make an exclamation. The ground shoots up, hitting the bottom of the shield and the shield just happens to find his neck below his helmet. The raising ground forces the shield up, effectively half-decapatating the man where he stands. Being stuck between ceiling and raised ground. And then Elisabeth is making her move.


He's not sure who said it. It could have been him. It's all a blur. He's sure if he ever served in a war he would be having flashbacks right now. Horrific flashbacks. One glance up to the head barely connected to the rest of the body is enough to nearly make his stomach uupturn. Damnit. He fucked up. But it's too late to bail out now. "Alright, I want a perimeter around the building!" William practically shouts into the radio on his shoulder. "Quickly!" Some might be able to recognize that tone. Slightly frantic. William's hand flies out to grab Elisabeth by the arm, after her attack is delivered. Pulling her behind the barrier that Vance formed for them. He will not yell at her now.

Tang, tink, twang.

The sound of bullets ricocheting as they smack against Terrence's metallic skin. His own shots ringing out of his sidearm as he lets out a feral cry. His advance is steady, his shots continuous. That is until something freaky invades him and he keels over backwards. His metallic skin fades instantly as he vomits on the ground, quickly grabbing the shield and tuck himself under it. Disoriented, he makes no verbal warning yet.

William peers around the earthen barrier, slowly releasing Elisabeth's arm. His eyes shoot to the side of their earthen barrier. And the question that haunted him finally has an answer. "No live ammo! No live ammo! Only rubber!" William calls out emphatically. Bullets without guns are being hurled at them. And one fills up their remaining member of the team with already shot bullets. William's sidearm is taken out and discarded, "Cover me. Rubber only." William insists. The only bullets being fired now are by Karl. Then, his rifle is discarded. He's got to be quick. Suddenly William is sprinting out from behind the barrier, as nimble and agile as ever.. Got to find the terrakinetic, got to find the.. metal..kinetic. Leap. Flip. Leap. The unarmed SCOUT Captain is best described as a very fast monkey as he rushes towards Vance and Karl…

Vance is in a perfect spot to be hit by the vomit wave. The musician doubles over and unceremoniously tosses up the entire contents of his stomach. He tries to straighten, but the vertigo hits him and he flops down, flat on his back. Snow-angel style. He doesn't realize it, but his upper body is exposed, past the stone barrier he's been hiding behind. He's a good target for the incoming commandos. His weapon lies beside him and he tries, with shaking hands to grab hold of it again. So instead he closes his eyes, mutters a silent prayer again, then shouts at the top of his lungs, "Fortis et liber, -fuckers-." And then he summons every ounce of strength from the very centre of his being to vibrate -everything-. This is his Plan B. Vibrate the hell out of everyone. PARIAH members all over the building should know to take cover or to get the -hell- out of there very, very fast. The building is shaking with the force of a magnitude 3.6 earthquake and is slowly climbing. Debris starts to fall, walls crack, light fixtures shatter. It's bloody armageddon.

As soon as the gunfire stops, Elisabeth also stops what she's doing. It should be enough, she thinks… maybe. She doesn't have time to mourn the poor bastard who got mostly decapitated next to her. She starts laying down cover fire for William as he launches himself at whoever's on the far side of the room, but she's forced to duck back behind the earthen barricade when the spent shells come hurtling at her. She's not fast enough to avoid getting winged — yet again, dammit! Her left arm is still not up to snuff and she takes a round to the back of her shoulder and a graze across the left side of her face as well as she yanks backward. Sure, the one at her shoulder hit the Kevlar, but GODDAMN that hurts like a mother!!! She waits only until it appears the damn things are done flying and moves back out to cover William's movements again in spite of the pain. "Captain… we need to pull back! Retreat!" she shouts as the building starts shaking with force, debris falling all around.

People are disappearing, balconies are doing very un-balcony like things, and the proverbial shit has long since hit the fan and been splattered all over anybody SCOUT related. That said, the building is starting to shake, and its really not looking good. And then you go out and throw this one in there- MACK CAN'T BREATH! A quick scan of the area reveals only one likely candidate for this latest fun-time-fest. Well, surely that constitutes assault on an officer, right? UMP .45 comes up, live ammo and all, and Mack pulls the trigger and doesn't let go until the 35 round clip is empty. Ya know, cause the ground is shaking, he might miss with a few of them.

"Not so good," the brunette confirms with the shake of her head. Could be worse, but could be much better. "Mortals fi-" Claire begins to insist, but she instead takes Julian's outstretched hand, keeping her shotgun loosely held at her side with her free one. "Where does this even lead again?" She flinches a little, because even though Julian's ability doesn't effect her, she can feel it trying to. It's a little uncomfortable until she gets used to it. The ground shaking really worries her, though. She takes a tighter hold on Julian's hand. "Run!" Regardless of the others (they're big kids, they can take care of themselves), she pulls the degenerator along, running as fast as her legs will carry her.

"Just trying to stay positive, Jules." Iz says as she ducks into the underground. "What the hell-" Isabelle says and then runs full tilt after Julian and Claire. "Poor Vance." Izzy says soft enough that nobody should be able to hear her. "Meet me at my bar, if we get split up!" she yells as everything shakes and she continues to move forward.

Outside, the NYPD are hearing things about retreat. Which makes a lot of sense, given the building is shaking and there has been little or no shouting about successful arrests or captures being made. The regular officers start to fall back, leaving only a handful to cover the SCOUT officers who should be coming out. Should be. Aren't. Bolivar's scowl deepens as he peers around the corner and down into the rabbit hole. He can see the two non-Evolved SCOUT members, some big guy falling down, light juddering.

"I'm going to drag some people out," he informs the men over his shoulder, waiting only enough for acknowledgment before slapping his Shepherd on the rump. "Lou," he says, pointing at the nearest SCOUT. "Bring them out." With that, the trio starts to sprint down into the tunnel. The patrol dog finds quarry first, bites into the pant leg of the nearest available officer and starts hauling him backward toward the exit.

Bolivar takes only long enough to get sitrep from the mouth of the tunnel, measures the distance to the fallen black man and jackrabbits over to drag at him. It is a bit like a mouse trying to move a bear, but he's a pretty strong bear. "Retreat! Re—" he stops yelling long enough to stare at little Logan Rose, who's barking her head off. With the mass of air that Melinda shifted through the building, her K-9 training and canine senses have conspired to alert her to what would otherwise be inobvious. Bolivar's eyes go round, and he stops dragging at Knowles long enough to grab at his earpiece. Hollers:


Up ahead, Baxter has fallen on his head. He's gathering himself with difficulty, trying to get color back into his face in deep breaths. Winded by the bullet and again suffocated by Melinda's ability, he's not having a good time. On foot, he starts to stagger backward toward the tunnel.

This is all fucked up. This is so fucked up. How did they know… How could they possible have fucking knew..

William flies through the air, planting a foot here to continue in his leap, planting a hand there to keep momentum in his chain of jumps flips and leaps. Though he loses footing once the whole world starts to shake like the apocalypse. His eyes catch Vance as he starts to tumble. And the 9milimeter on the ground beside him. William gives one last launch off his foot. But instead of getting airborne this time, he goes to the ground. In what looks like a superslide competition, the Captain slides on his back in between rubble and concrete barriers towards Vance's location. And then his legs are thrown up in the last second. His hand darts out to grasp the gun as his body contorts and he springs into a spiral off of the ground to his feet.

Got to stop him..

It seems like slow motion when he finally hits the ground, his gun coming up. He's shaken off balance, but he only needs balance for one second just one…


William squeezes off the only two shots left in the pistol at the back of Vance's head before he immediately drops the weapon. His eyes swivel to Karl, the blood most recently splattered from Vance's skull blurring his vision. William reaches up and quickly tosses off his helmet. "Everybody out." He mutters into his radio. Though he's not leaving. Not yet. Karl. William is sprinting at the hiding man, he may be unarmed, but that'll suit him just fine for his current mood.

Terrence springs up, his eyes open and his skin going that silver color again. Mack and Baxter.. injured. The clip drops out of his glock as he quickly replaces the magazine. Holding the pistol up, the mettalic skinned Knowles lets off a few shots in Melinda's direction as he starts to retreat, making sure Mack and Baxter go before him.

In the last seconds of his life, Vance comforts himself with the thought that he did what he thought was right. So when the SCOUT does his aerial acrobatics and he knows his time has come, he smiles up at William in the seconds before his head's blown in.

The moment he does, the shaking stops. PARIAH has to know what that means.

Well…. that's one way to make it stop shaking. And then Bolivar's warning of a bomb comes through her headset. "FUCK!" she shouts. "Captain! Bomb! Retreat. Now!" She checks on any of the guys next to her to see if anyone survived, but looks up to see William making like he's not done yet — he's going after the other guy. And well…. you don't leave a man behind if you can help it, so she brings the rifle back up from her spot at the doorway into the small hall to cover him once more, hoping he'll damn well retreat. She won't fire, though, unless it looks necessary.

*CLICK*CLICK*CLICK*CLICK* The submachine gun comes to a halt and after a slight delay Mack lets off the trigger. "Terrorist bit-" What? Its been a long week for Mack, and she was trying to kill him! In any case, he gets word of a bomb mid-sentence, and thats enough for him. Luckily, nobody in Team B went down, so no bodies for him to drag out. This means that during his expeditious exit when he is faced with the incredibly obvious salvage plan of PARIAH members trying to leave the same way he is, he takes advantage. Clicking his comm to speak, he barks out in a rudely commanding voice to anybody on the same police line- "Suspects exiting front of building; I do not want one of these fuckers making it streetside!" Following his own possibly rule violating order, he seeks as if to body slam the nearest suspect and 'apprehend' them for safe removal as quickly as possible. Hopefully they'll realize a bomb would probably kill them and not struggle too much.

Bolivar is happy to see everybody is running toward the exit now, although he rather wishes fewer of them were PARIAH guys. Or at least that they were further away. Nevertheless, as long as he has SCOUT between himself and those guys, he has decided to forego a tantrum and, you know, return to his station.

Back at the entrance. Possibly further back, in light of bombs and shit. "Let him go, Lou," he calls, and the shepherd releases the SCOUT agent — who's figured out what he's supposed to be doing, by now — in order to lead the flow of traffic back out the door. With her, Bolivar moves rapidly back to his station where he plans to shoot anybody not in uniform who looks like they're about to remember, violently, that they don't want to go to jail. Which should be — somebody, he imagines. "PD at ready. PARIAH is following SCOUT out," he calls across the comms.

Logan Rose is very pleased with herself. She exclaims in spaniel-speech, pleasantly deafened by the excitement.

Fly-boy, in the meantime, has finally retaken the air, at least improving his circumstances beyond dragging his corpus on the ground. His own .9 is out, sandwiching the PARIAH personnel between himself and Mack. He's give orders or something, but he can't really breathe: although Melinda's down, his armor's been bent into his ribs by gunfire, cutting his rate of recuperation in half. It's all he can do not to let his weapon falter.

There's perhaps twelve or fifteen all told, most of them in their late teens or early twenties — displaced high-school and college students who look most downcast, failing to look any of the cops in the face, thoroughly unsettled by the world that just almost shook itself apart around them. Being hit by the hammer of the law is a totally different thing from exercises in abstract thought (read: planning and plotting), learning how to use a gun, and making profound statements about freedom and strength. These lost souls might as well be sheep now — and sheep they probably were before. They offer no resistance to the officers who apprehend them.

Melinda bleeds out on the dust-ridden concrete floor, but she's already dead, having had no armor and been in the direct line of Mack's fire.

Meanwhile, it's clear Karl has taxed his capability sorely; a thin trickle of blood oozes from one nostril and the PARIAH leader clings to the bulwark behind him as if it's the only thing keeping him from falling over. He watches William bounce across the room, and smiles a thin, humorless smile. "Get your people out, officer." Hopefully Karl's people, too, but that's beyond his ability to affect, now. "Fortis et liber." The metallokinetic lifts his hand, and with it a single shell, a glinting brass streak through the air.

And Karl, too, collapses in a heap, blood spilling from the hole that now pierces his own throat, leading all the way back to his brainstem.

Terrence is at Fly-boy's side, supporting the smaller man. His skin is still metal as he quickly hauls his squad mate out of this FUBAR'd situation. His sidearm pointed at the Pariah retreating. They'll be snatched up soon enough. They'll be roughed up a bit for the few cops killed inside that God-forsaken building. And Terrence will be in on that. No doubt.

Fuck protocol, fuck Pariah, fuck this building, but most of all fuck you.

William's feet plant against the ground as he makes his way for Karl, brows set in determination. He lands feet in front of Karl, his heels dug in. He watches Karl intently, raises an arm as if to defend himself.. And then Karl is down. William looks down at the body, a bit sadly. His eyes scan the room quickly. The only live ones left are he and Elisabeth. His arms tuck under Karl's body as he quickly straightens. "Get out Liz!" William shouts.

William and Elisabeth will be the last to rush out, the body of PARIAH seen by so many on so many videos. Maybe this body will put some people of this accursed city to rest.. Maybe it will cause others to raise up. William's eyes raise up to the sky.

This was not a good day…

Gabriel "Mack" McNamara exits the building covered in PARIAH's fecal matter- not literally, of course -with one perpetrator in a fairly non-aggressive hold, his arm held behind his back. He hands this young man off to one of the members of the NYPD outside before looking back to the building. He considers going back in for just a second before he recalls the first rule of rescue work- don't make the situation worse going into a situation you can't control. Given this decision, he rips his helmet off and tosses it down the street. "Motherfucking pieces of shit! God damn it!" Good old stereotypical Irish anger.

Spilling out into the open, Bolivar has to stop and catch his breath, his scarred cheek puffing while he huffs between the shoulders of other police officers. Happily, they all know him well enough not to ask him stupid questions, like whether or not 'they're' coming, or when, or if he's all right. Off her leash, Nina Lou bounds to a halt, her column-like legs stopping her short, steely, before bringing her around to face the tunnel again, her teeth bared white and sharp as much for use as for show. Logan Rose gets the idea fairly quickly and mimics this, albeit in miniature, at Bolivar's ankle. The PD's officers bristle weapons.

Baxter's breathing comes with better regularity once he has his knee braced on Knowles' shoulder, a small fraction of his weight on the metal man, letting him steer, while his flight carries the rest of him backward. His Glock dips and swerves sharply between the bedraggled pack of youths that Mack is herding up. Despite suffering from a certain level of shock and asphyxiation, he's cop enough to know that these aren't the prisoners they wanted to take. Melinda's dead. That's something, but these—

Fucking children. "Hands behind your head," he manages, finally, gruff with temper. "Hurry."

Time marches on. The officers exit, the stragglers of PARIAH working their way out like lost souls — some wounded, most wide-eyed and afraid, reverting under pressure to reliance on cultural conditioning. People in uniforms provide safety and stability. Much more so than nauseating supersonic wails and earthquakes fit to bring the building down. Not to mention being on the wrong side of gunfire.

Then no more come — no more are left to come — and the building sits silent. Silent, except for the unheard ticking of a relentless countdown. When the explosives finally go off, it is most anticlimatic to the outside observers. There is a loud noise, but one muffled by the insulating tons of broken building already shattered and fallen. The apex of that ruin settles somewhat, as if a chunk was taken out of its supports. And a whuff of dust blown from the wreck is cast out in all directions.

But that's all it is, from the desolate streets of Midtown.

Inside, the story is a little different. In the outer rooms, where so many bled and a few died, several more pieces of ceiling and jury-rigged balcony, loosened by Vance's power, have fallen to obscure the floor. Study of these rooms, and others towards the exterior of the building, combined with the number of prisoners SCOUT was able to take — and the suicide of PARIAH's leader — are evidence enough that the raid wasn't entirely foreseen. Supplies waiting not to be moved elsewhere, but to be used here. Rooms that people lived in, without so much as a sign of packing in progress.

But it's the inner rooms, those which may have been the most important to investigators, that have been demolished, turned into a gaping hole with so much rubble at the bottom. The carefully placed charges served primarily to collapse the inner basement and the rooms directly over it, burying beyond all practical recovery the exit route of those who escaped.

This saga isn't over just yet.

A special thanks to Hagan's player for spoofing Vance.

Early this morning, SCOUT, NYPD's task force for Evolved threats, stormed and captured the home base of the infamous terrorist group PARIAH. The leader of PARIAH, whose name has not been released, has been confirmed a casualty of the raid. Other casualties have not yet been reported to the press, but it has been stated that an additional fourteen terrorists were apprehended. SCOUT's captain, William Harvard, was not available for comment, but Sergeant Lance Peterson of the NYPD made a brief statement.

"We believe this event will be a turning point in the efforts of the law against terrorist criminals like PARIAH. Without their leaders, they'll blow away like so much dust in the wind. The success of the raid has also proven SCOUT's capability for acting against Evolved threats."


December 14th: Lost and Found
Previously in this storyline…
There Was No Meeting

This concludes the 'On Wings of Fire' storyline.

December 14th: Hang Together
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