November 8, 2006
noon (NYC time)

Slouched on the bench seat in the back of the van, one dark-haired girl with her bangs hanging over one eye lays sound asleep. Her forehead rests on the shoulder of a man not too many years her senior. In a way, this is where their story actually starts, even if she's blissfully unaware of it for nearly three years out from this point. "I just don't get it…" His words are a window into the indecision that Trent Daselles is struggling with. Staring down at his hands folded in his lap, he's doing his damnedest not to look over at the girl sleeping on his shoulder — Colette Nichols.

But his partner in the van has less to say about this, brows furrowed and head down, dark hands folded and the faint light that comes in through the tinted windows glinting dully off of the necklace he wears; one pointedly resembling half a DNA helix. "You and Woods were supposed to pick her up and bring her to her sister. I don't— " Trent knows that the Haitian can't — won't — speak back, won't do anything to help alleviate his concerns. In a way, he's the perfect listener. "I don't get why we're just dropping her back off at her apartment."

The van slows to a crawl, then only when it stops does the Haitian look up from the floor of the van. His brows tense, and when he pushes himself to his feet, Trent's eyes follow him as he hunches over and stalks to the front of the vehicle, resting one hand on the passenger's seat to take a look out front and assess exactly what's going on. Cars are stopped as far as they eye can see down 43rd street — rows and rows and rows of stalled vehicles waiting in gridlock traffic just before noon.

"What's going on?" For a moment, Trent considers standing, but the subtle weight of Colette's head on his shoulder gives him pause. Teeth draw at his lower lip, eyes closing and a sigh slipping out in frustrated strain. The Haitian's eyes sweep the scene, looking past the obvious of the gridlocked cars, to the flicker and flash of dozens of police cruisers and ambulances up ahead. Something isn't right.

The moment that gaunt figure whips back into the van, he doesn't pause at Trent, but instead moves right for the hinges of the back door. Thrusting them open and jumping out of the back of the vehicle, turning around to offer a stern and very expressive stare towards Trent, one that implores haste and urgency. He doesn't need the words to convey the look in his eyes of revelation, and more unusually: fear.

It would take Trent the remainder of his years to come to terms with how his blank stare and uncertain hesitation changed everything that day. The way his throat tenses, mouth goes dry, and he waits sixteen seconds too long to do anything. By the time he's pulled one of COlette's limp arms around his shoulders and helps her unconscious body out of the back of the van, it's already too late.

The Haitian takes a hold of his sleeve, dragging Trent and by proxy Colette away from the van, even as the driver only offers them a confused stare in the rear view mirror — in this one instance it would have paid to ask questions. "Hey, what— what the hell's going on?" Trent's voice however is not so paralyzed, but the Haitian offers no explanation, only the understanding of what he sees here, and what he's been warned will eventually happen today. Now, it isn't the time he expected. Here, it isn't where he was told. But, there's enough signs that match up to make the next few moments of absolute chaos just barely predictable.

Watching Trent, the Haitian and Colette disappear in his rear view mirror, it's the brightest light words can describe that eventually draws the driver's attention away. A sudden flash of radiance brighter than the sun, light that takes away the driver's sight in a single excruciating moment. He never sees the wall of heat, ash and flames that comes roaring down 3rd street, never sees the cars being thrown up into the air like toys, never sees the Empire State Building flayed of its exterior and never sees the wall of shattered glass and fallout carried on the blast of a ten kiloton nuclear explosion.

November 8, 2011
3 pm (NYC time)

Four tin mugs are set down on each side of a small green formica table. One by one, each cup is filled with boiling hot water, steam rising up around the spout as a tea bag floats up to the top of each brew. The first pair of hands to take a cup are small and thin, brought up to pale lips and the half-blind stare of a young woman with dark hair down past her shoulders. Colette turns her mismatched eyes across the table to the broad-shouldered man sitting across from her, with his narrow cheeks and sunken features. Judah Demsky looks tired, has looked tired for the last two years. Behind him on the wall, a compound hunting bow and quiver of arrows pops out against the cabin wall and the door leading to the snowy expanse of land beyond.

"Thanks," comes the voice from beside Colette, where a blonde woman a few years older than her takes the tin mug and brings it up to her nose, breathing in the aromatic scent. "I think there's some people about twenty miles away," she says in a small voice, wanting to sip the tea but knowing its too hot. Instead, and focuses pale eyes on the hearth burning nearby and the small collection of firewood stocked beside it. Colette offers her a side-long look, then sweeps that over to Judah, who leans down to rest his face in his hands tiredly.

"We can't risk it, Kathleen." Colette offers quietly to the woman at her side as the girl pouring tea goes to sit beside Judah. But then, her brows furrow, and Colette turns to look at the young woman who sat down as she feels a warm hand take one of her far colder ones. Tamara brushes a finger over Colette's knuckles, offering her a mild smile of reassurance.

But she's right. They can't risk it.


A bubble of laughter erupts from the couch as a knitted wool blanket rustles and flutters across a woman's shoulders. Wearing the quilted blanket like a cape, Colette Nichols swoops down upon the blonde who had been reclining on the couch. "I'm cold," Colette threatens, letting the blankets fall around them as she straddles her legs around either side of Tamara's waist, one foot touching the floor for balance. The blanket hangs down over her shoulders, concealing her buttoned-down shirt and sweater vest. She reaches up and brushes fingers through Tamara's hair, leans in for a kiss of cold lips against far warmer ones. "So," she huffs out a small breath, cold fingertips just in from the wintry weather outside brush against the blonde's collarbones with prickling chill. "I was going to wait, but I can't anymore."

Colette's other hand slips down into the pocket of her slacks, and as she sits up straight the blankets slide off of her shoulders and pool down around their legs. What she takes out of her pocket isn't wrapped, knows it isn't a surprise. It's the half of Tamara's puzzle ring that Colette slipped off her finger last night. The one Tamara let her take. It's symbolic, more than a surprise. Face flushed with color, mismatched eyes meeting the seer's darker ones, Colette offers the ring back out as she had in years past. "Tamara Brooks," her eyes are glassy, "will you just marry me already?"


«The Department of Evolved Affairs today confirmed reports that more than three thousand Evolved residents have now successfully relocated to the Eltingville Blocks.»

Outside the grimy window, a crumbling urban sprawl is dark against a cloudy gray sky. Rain patters against the glass, streaking down in ever forking paths. A piece of crawling ivy has intruded into the house through a gap between window sill and wall, bright green leaves popping out against the peeling, mustard-hued paint. On a rocking chair near the window, Colette quietly holds a cup of water in one hand, her expression distant as she listens to the radio on the coffee table in front of her.

«In light of Eltingville’s success story, President Petrelli is expected to push legislation to authorize the creation of twelve more relocation settlements across the country.»

Tasha lays on the couch beside the rocking chair, blanket draped over her shoulders and sound asleep. The bandage tapes to her brow less red than it was yesterday, her injury is healing. Colette sets her water down on the table between the rocking chair and couch, resting one hand down on the rifle leaning up against the sofa’s ratty arm. A distant noise causes her tension, but it’s just the storm. She relaxes, fingers moving away from the wood stock.

«This news comes on the fifth anniversary of the Midtown explosion, with tensions between Evolved and Non-Evolved Americans at an all-time high.»


La Mer…

Qu'on voit danser


Men and women in clean suits raise their hands and back away from terminals. “Please— please don’t kill me!” One of them begs. Most of them are young, College-age. On the computer screens are readouts of air pressure, energy levels, and one screen showing what looks like some kind of photo negative of the sun with an arcing flare coming off one side.

Beyond the lab at the center of the room is a hundred foot wide cylindrical wall of two foot thick reinforced glass. It provides a 360-degree view of a room within, and one that shows unending horrors. Inside that enclosed glass room are two medical tables, each propped up at a 45-degree angle.

On one bed, Elle Bishop is restrained by rubber-padded mechanical restraints. Two foot long metal rods have been inserted into her arms at her wrist, forearm, and bicep. Each rod is connected to a series of cables spooling up into the ceiling of the chamber. Lightning is arcing from Elle’s screaming body to the bolts in her limbs, which then courses up the cables to a flickering storm of lights in the ceiling.

Beside Elle, Colette Nichols is restrained in a similar fashion. While she lacks the bolts through her limbs, there are plugs sticking into her biceps as though she were some sort of USB hub. These cables go down to the floor. One is plugged into the right side of her neck, crackling with an unusual fluorescent light. Between the two stands a man in a red and white lab uniform, short brown hair. He has his eyes closed and hands out, brows furrowed in intense concentration.

«Power output stable, continuing to maximum output.»

The sound crackles over loud-speakers in the lab.

«Power levels at one hundred percent and holding!»

It’s happening.

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